Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to the Editor of The Times

Letter No.: 
April 25, [1957]

We wish to express our deep concern at the new trend of policy in sound broadcasting recently announced by the B.B.C.
The advent of Independent Television has created competition in light entertainment; in an enlightened democracy it is not the special duty of a public corporation enjoying a monopoly under a Royal Charter to maintain a full and independent service of high quality in the field where this competition does not obtain.  Such a service must not be sacrificed to the projected intensified effort to hold the majority audience.
So far as the increase in the vast national television audience has been at the expense of sound broadcasting, it has come mainly from the sound audience for the lighter kinds of entertainment.  It is unjust that the B.B.C.'s reaction should be to cut by nearly half the time devoted to its Third Progamme, which even now has less than one-third of the time available for either Home or Light Programme material.  The proposed new "Network Three" is not put forward as, nor can it be, a substitute.
We therefore hope that this retrograde policy may be reconsidered before October, when it is planned to become effective, and that meanwhile the B.B.C. will have the guidance of responsible and informed opinion, publicly expressed, in all the fields concerned.  This is an issue which closely affects the interests of the listening public and the nation as a whole, and it vitlly concerns the spiritual, cultural, and intellectual life of the community.
Yours, &c.,
Beveridge, Arthur Bliss, Adrian C. Boult, George Cicestr., T.S. Eliot, E.M. Forster, Christopher Fry, John Gielgud, Victor Gollancz, Johan Masefield, Harold Nicolson, Russell, V. Sackville-West, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Peter Laslett.

General notes: 

Printed in The Times newspaper, Friday, 26 April 1957, headed "Special duty of the B.B.C.: future of sound broadcasting".

The Times (no.53825), Friday, April 26, 1957, p.11.