1949 - Television notes

The most impressive dominion of television, so far, is outside broadcasting, and this summer has been distinguished by many brilliant transmissions, especially those from Lords and the Oval.

Last Saturday, for example, you could sit comfortably in your own parlour and observe the dramatic fluctuations of the Middlesex-Surrey match from a closer vantage than that enjoyed by any member of the MCC. Instead of watching Compton's spin through trembling binoculars, you had it magnified under your very nose by the telephoto lens, and instead of fighting your way to a bar at the interval you had only to step into your kitchen to get a bottle of beer.

The advantages of watching sport on the screen contrast so sharply with the cost and discomfort of sitting in the crowd that stay-at-home fans are likely to multiply by the million as television extends its range. In due course, the crowds at Lords and the Oval will be studio deadheads, mugs who accept with avidity a free pass from the BBC in order to provide the back-cloth and acoustics for broadcasting.

The emotional intensity of the contest, I suppose, must be greater in the arena than in the parlour, yet if I had been sitting on the Mound Stand I doubt if my excitement could have exceeded the sensation of witnessing from my armchair the spectacular dismissal of Edrich or the miraculous survival of Sims. The vigilant cameras pick up and bring home a miscellany of minor incidents which contribute to the total effect of the occasion - the mannerisms of a player, the chagrin on the face of a defeated batsman, the odd shot of a fat man in the crowd or the flag fluttering on the pavilion.

This has been a great summer for outside broadcasting, not only in cricket but in such sports as tennis, swimming, motor cycling and sailing. It has been no mere technical triumph either, for behind the camera tactics there has been abundant evidence of a well-planned strategy of visual broadcasting.