At the end of this month the members of the Intertel Council arrive in England from the United States, Canada and Australia for the first council meeting to be held in this country. The inaugural meeting was in Vancouver in November, 1960, when the agreement setting up the International Television Federation, to give Intertel its full name, was signed. Others followed in Lisbon, Georgia and Sydney. Now it is England’s turn to welcome the representatives of the other member organisations – the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the Australian Broadcasting Commission and from the United States the Westinghouse Broadcasting Company and the National Educational Television and Radio Center. It is appropriate that the Council should visit this country, for its chairman is John McMillan, Associated-Rediffusion’s controller of programmes.
A full and varied programme has been arranged for them following their arrival on October 31. For the first few days they will be staying at Ditchley Park, the Anglo-American Conference Centre near Oxford. The first session on Friday, November 1, will open with two critical reviews of past Intertel programmes by Maurice Wiggin, television critic of the Sunday Times and an American television critic who will be flying over specially for the meeting.
In the afternoon the future of Intertel will be discussed after which members will visit the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-on-Avon, for a performance of ‘The Tempest’. On Saturday morning problems of production will be thrashed out, followed in the afternoon by a business session of the Council to talk about finance and assignments. After dinner that evening there will be a pre-transmission showing of Associated-Rediffusion’s latest contribution to Intertel – ‘A King’s Revolution’.
Following a tour of Oxford colleges and historic buildings on Sunday, the members will move to a London hotel to be ready for luncheon in their honour at the House of Commons on Monday, November 4. Then they will visit the House of Lords and tour the Palace of Westminster in the afternoon, before an evening at the ITA where the host will be Lord Hill of Luton.
Finally Council members will visit Television House on the morning of Tuesday, November 5, for the last session and lunch given by the board of Associated-Rediffusion.
A busy time indeed which reflects the work which each member organisation has put into its own contributions to the Intertel series of programmes. Because each programme is screened in the countries of each member, the audiences soar to between 40 and 50 million. Viewing figures of this size are a tremendous achievement but they are also a tremendous responsibility. Only the highest possible standards will do and this means that each Intertel programme must be the biggest challenge anybody who works on it has ever had.
Good luck to the Council and to those who will carry out its decisions. As Aidan Crawley once wrote in Fusion: ‘Intertel may well establish itself as the most thorough and authoritative television commentary on international events in the English-speaking world’. It is fitting that a Council meeting, which could well help to take Intertel further along the road to this goal, should be held in England.