Television and the world

United Kingdom, 1961

TV show
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Filmed to commemorate BBC-TV’s 25th anniversary, this documentary takes us on journey through 10 countries, showing the impact of television on people from different cultures. Beginning in Italy where production is determined by the government and a literacy program screens at dusk. TV arrived in Egypt in 1960 and has been aimed predominantly at the wealthy. In Thailand, TV is heavily regulated by the State. Japan are amongst the world’s leaders in television engineering, their programs include both eastern and western content. In the USA viewers responding to a survey have indicated that TV is too violent and too commercial. In Brazil, 50% of television content is taken up by commercials, which can be interrupted by wealthy politicians for public announcements. Russian television targets propaganda to housewives, but protects its children from violence focusing on educational and entertaining programs. Polish television is run by the communist party and focuses on national issues. Nigerian television devotes morning programs to education and evening sessions to entertainment. A small experimental unit operates in India, while South Africa’s policy is no television at all. What emerges chiefly is the dependence of all countries, outside the East European bloc, on ‘trashy’ American films that inaccurately portrayed life. Photographed by Kenneth Westbury; edited by Harry Hastings; commentary by Michael Flanders.



Richard Cawston

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Black and White

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