Charles Moore: Harold Wilson Night: The PM Who Lived and Died by Television
Charles Moore covers politics with the wisdom and insight that come from having edited The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph and The Spectator.
No one but the BBC would have dreamt up a “Harold Wilson Night”. It is hard to think of any other politician who was at the top for so long (he won four general elections) with so little to show for it. But it is fitting that the BBC should have commemorated the 50th anniversary of Wilson’s capture of the Labour leadership because, at the time, it loved him.
In the general election of 1964, Wilson spotted that the BBC comedy Steptoe and Son would be broadcast on polling day. Believing that the programme (about father-and-son rag-and-bone men) was particularly popular with Labour voters, and would therefore keep them away from the polling stations, Wilson went to see Hugh Greene, the director-general, to persuade him to reschedule. Greene, who craved a Labour victory, obliged. Since Wilson’s overall majority was only four seats, it is possible that it was the Beeb wot won it.
The Parliament Channel put out “Harold Wilson Night”. Presumably, it has a very small budget. This had the delightful effect of excluding virtually all clever televisual tricks, apart from annoying music played over the clips from the 1966 election night. There was a rather touching new interview with Wilson’s mathematician son, Robin (sunny and genial, apart from his hatred of the “gutter press”), and decent linkage by Peter Snow, but otherwise the channel simply ran old programmes and interviews....
comments powered by Disqus
- Decades After Trinity Nuclear Test in New Mexico, U.S. Studies Cancer Fallout
- Lawrence Of Arabia's Hand-Drawn, WWI Map Is Up for Auction
- Thousands Of FBI Documents About Civil Rights Era Destroyed By Flooding
- Ancient Egyptian Woman with 70 Hair Extensions Discovered
- Europeans drawn from three ancient 'tribes'
- Conservatives press the case against the new AP framework for US history
- Who wrote the new AP US History framework? Now we know.
- Pro-Israel groups going after federal support of Middle East Studies
- 100th Anniversary of Beard's 'An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution' commemorated
- University of Illinois Bigwig to Native American Studies scholar Jean O’Brien: Drop Dead