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Francis Bacon FRANCIS BACON 1561-1626; British philosopher and essayist
Wee have also Sound-houses, wher wee practise and demonstrate all Sounds, and their Generation. Wee have Harmonies which you have not, of Quarter-Sounds, and lesser Slides of Sounds. Diverse Instruments of Musick likewise to you unknowne. • The New Atlantis, 1624; a utopian essay
Kenneth Baily KENNETH BAILY British journalist, editor of the Television Annual series
1 The reasons for the BBC’s unstatesmanlike management of its Television Service are mixed ones. To some extent sound broadcasting has become a vested interest at Broadcasting House, and television gets kicked around as the latest, and partly unwanted child. Then, the war caused a break in television development ... Also helpful to a BBC that is cool towards television has been the fanatical enthusiasm of viewers for their first television sets. This has made ‘selling’ the programmes far too easy; as soon as television reaches a district, sets sell themselves, and licence revenue soars, whether programmes are good or bad. • editorial in The Television Annual for 1950/51
See also Go to R C Winton R C Winton
2 Our first reaction to the new invention of pictures in the home is the urge to look for the largest possible screen. This is a fallacy. ... The television screen need satisfy nobody beyond a fireside circle. ... The medium sized television screen will suit most homes. The largest-sized screens have advantages in large rooms. The medium range of receivers now in supply gives pictures measuring roughly nine by seven or eight inches. The largest screen in general use gives a 12 by 10-inch picture. • ‘Television comes into the home’ in The Television Annual for 1950/51. The aspect ratio of television screens at the time was 5:4.
J L Baird JOHN LOGIE BAIRD 1888-1946; Television inventor, pioneer and visionary
1 Seeing by Wireless — inventor of apparatus wishes to hear from someone who will assist (not financially) in making working model. • advertisement in personal column of The Times, 27 June 1923
2 May I direct your attention to the fact that the licence to manufacture this apparatus will be of little avail unless coincidentally some sort of broadcasting at stated intervals can be assured to producers of television. • letter to Sir Evelyn Murray, secretary of the Post Office, 8 September 1928
3 There is one receiving set at my home on Box Hill, and I believe the BBC and the Post Office each have one. That makes three and I should say there are half a dozen other sets in the country. Add to them the receivers which clever amateurs may have built for themselves from our directions and you might count another twenty. That makes twenty-nine in all. • at the start of experimental 30-line television transmissions, 30 September 1929
4 There is no hope for television by means of cathode ray tubes. • during visit to US, September 1931
    cf  Go to Campbell Swinton AA Campbell Swinton 1
5 Cathode ray tubes are the most important items in a television receiver. • 1940
Juanma Bajo Ulloa JUANMA BAJO ULLOA Juan Manuel Bajo Ulloa
1967- ; Spanish film director
There are many directors who make two movies at the same time—their first and their last. • 2004, quoted in The Guardian International Film Guide 2005
  GEORGE BAKER Head of US Republican Party National Publicity Bureau
The man who talks politics over the radio has got to talk sense in order to get a hearing. If he doesn’t his audience walks out on him. ... The radio will entirely change political methods, I believe; it will knock the nonsense out of politics. • 1924; cit Edward W Chester: Radio, Television and American Politics, 1969
Kenneth Baker Lord KENNETH BAKER 1934- ; British politician; Minister for Information Technology
1 By the end of the decade multi-channel cable television will be commonplace in-home countrywide—TV will be used for armchair shopping, banking, calling emergency services and many other services. • 1982
2 The British film industry ... has an importance quite out of proportion to its size in money terms. • quoted in Daily Telegraph, 20 July 1984
RUSSELL BAKER 1925- ; Pulitzer Prize-winning essayist and journalist
Situation comedy on television has thrived for years on 'canned' laughter grafted by gaglines by technicians using records of guffawing audiences that have been dead for years. • source unknown
Barney Balaban BARNEY BALABAN 1888-1971; US film exhibitor (Balaban & Katz), President of Paramount Pictures 1936-1964
We, the industry, recognize the need for informing people in foreign lands about the things that have made America a great country, and we think we know how to put across the message of our democracy. • quoted in New York Times, 1946
Bela Balazs BELA BALAZS 1884-1949; Hungarian writer
Film art has a greater influence on the minds of the general public than any other art. • Theory of the Film: Character and growth of a new art, 1947
Michael Balcon Sir MICHAEL BALCON 1896-1977; British film producer
1 The growth of the film industry in this country during the past few years, and the welcome extended to British pictures, not only in our own Dominion but in the vast American market, have proved beyond doubt that in order to progress still further we must pursue a production policy ever less and less parochial and more and more international in appeal. 'Internationalism' sums up Gaumont-British policy. • World Film News, vol 1 no 3, June 1936
2 Here during a quarter of a century many films were made projecting Britain and the British character. • plaque erected at Ealing Studios at the time of its sale, 1955
3 We made films at Ealing that were good, bad and indifferent, but they were indisputably British. They were rooted in the soil of the country. • quoted in Halliwell's Filmgoer's Companion
Stanley Baldwin Lord STANLEY BALDWIN 1867-1947; British prime minister
1 I think the time has come when the position of the film industry be examined with a view to seeing whether it be not possible, as it is desirable, on national grounds, to see that the larger proportion of films exhibited in this country are British, having regard ... to the enormous power which the film is developing for propaganda purposes, and the danger to which we in this country and our empire subject ourselves if we allow that method propaganda to be entirely in the hands of foreign countries. • House of Commons, 29 June 1925
2 There was a greatly preponderating body of opinion against broadcasting proceedings of the House. • House of Commons, 26 March 1926, Hansard vol 192, col 866; a member responded: ‘May I thank the Prime Minister on behalf of a long-suffering public.’
Juan Antonio Bardem JUAN ANTONIO BARDEM 1922-2002; Spanish film director
1 The [Italian] neo-realist movement has been a breath of fresh air in the rarefied atmosphere of the film world; and it has clearly shown that the real protagonist of every film is, and should be, Man. • Robert Hughes (ed): Film: Book I, New York, 1959>
2 You can’t overthrow rιgimes through movies, but it can help. • July 1978
Clive Barnes CLIVE BARNES CBE 1927- ; English-born theatre and dance critic
Television is the first truly democratic culture—the first culture available to everybody and entirely governed by what the people want. The most terrifying thing is what the people do want. • New York Times, 30 December 1969
J M Barrie J M BARRIE 1922-2002; Scottish writer, author of Peter Pan
The printing press is either the greatest blessing or the greatest curse of modern times; one sometimes forgets which. • source unknown
Charles Baudelaire CHARLES BAUDELAIRE 1821-1867; French poet
1 I am unable to understand how a man of honour could take a newspaper in his hands without a shudder of disgust.
2 Immense nausιe des affiches.
[The immense nausea of advertisements.]
• Mon coeur mis ΰ nu: Journal intime, published posthumously 1887
Jean Baudrillard JEAN BAUDRILLARD 1929-2007; French cultural theorist and philosopher
1 Television knows no night. It is perpetual day. TV embodies our fear of the dark, of night, of the other side of things. • source unknown
1 It is perhaps not a surprise that photography developed as a technological medium in the industrial age, when reality started to disappear. It is even perhaps the disappearance of reality that triggered this technical form. Reality found a way to mutate into an image. • 'Photography, or the Writing of Light', European Graduate School, 2000
  Sir BEVERLY BAXTER 1891-1964; Canadian-born journalist, author and British Conservative MP 1935-1950
In parts of Lancashire where life is very grim and one sees the local cinema palace and its perhaps slight vulgarity, but there it is, a magic door at which people can leave the hardships of reality and, for two or three hours, be carried away on wings of song or phantasy. • House of Commons, 3 November 1947
Andrι Bazin ANDRE BAZIN 1918-1957; French film critic
The cinema gives us a substitute world which conforms to our desires. • quoted in the title sequence of Jean-Luc Godard's Le Mιpris, 1963
Go to Jean-Luc Godard See also Jean-Luc Godard
  SHERL BEARLSTROM American writer, author of 'Hollywood and History'
We are the top nation and we need history to explain how we got here. If that means stealing your history and heroes to do it, then Hollywood will think it's a small price to pay for success at the box office. Your Lord Puttnam was right: it's up to you guys to make your history more interesting than our version of your history. Otherwise you are going to lose—forever. • quoted in The Times, June 2000
Go to David Puttnam See also David Puttnam
Thomas Beecham Sir THOMAS BEECHAM 1879-1961; British musical conductor
Movie music is noise. It's even more painful than my sciatica. • quoted in Time magazine, 24 February 1958
See also The Times  
Tony Benn TONY BENN Anthony Wedgwood Benn
1925- ; British politician
1 The one thing that is absolutely essential is that there shouldn’t be any governmental control [of the media] directly or indirectly. • 1969, quoted in Campaign
2 The public, as a whole, are denied access or representation in these new talking shops of the mass media as completely as the 94 per cent without the vote were excluded from Parliament before 1832. The real question is not whether the programmes are good, or serious, or balanced, or truthful. It is whether or not they allow the people themselves to reflect, to each other, the diversity of interests, opinions, grievances, hopes and attitudes to their fellow citizens to talk out their differences at sufficient length. ... The press and broadcasting authorities have a responsibility for providing enough accurate information, at the time when it really matters, to allow people to acquire greater influence. The people, for their part, have the right to demand a greater ease of access to the community through the mass media. • The New Politics: A socialist reconnaissance, Fabian Tract 402, 1970
3 The trouble is that most of what we see and hear is filtered through someone who is an expert in communication—maybe a producer, or a journalist, or an editor. They feel it is their job to make their material interesting.
    But making it interesting means that someone plonks himself down between us and the real situation.
    You just don’t hear people who are actually working in industry talking in their own language about their lives and problems.
• Sunday Mirror, 2 May 1971
4 The present combination of corporate or commercial control theoretically answerable to politically appointed Boards of Governors is not in any sense a democratic enough procedure to control the power the broadcasters have. • ‘External Influences on Broadcasting’, paper for Fourth University of Manchester Symposium on Broadcasting, reprinted in The Guardian, 9 February 1972
Alan Bennett ALAN BENNETT 1934- ; British playwright, actor
She was talking of her contemporaries, how she had spoken last week with Hemingway and how Ernest had said, When I reach for my gun, I hear the word culture. • Forty Years On, 1968
cf Go to Hanns Johst Hanns Johst
Arnold Bennett ARNOLD BENNETT 1867-1931; British novelist and playwright
1 Good taste is better than bad taste, and bad taste is better than no taste at all. • Source unknown
2 Journalists say a thing that they know isn't true in the hope that if they keep on saying it long enough it will be true. • The Title, Act 2
Warren Bennis WARREN BENNIS Professor of Business Administration, University of Southern California
The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment.  
Eric Bentley ERIC BENTLEY Eric Russell Bentley
Drama critic; Professor of Theatre, State University of New York at Buffalo
The potentialities of the talking screen differ from those of the silent screen in adding the dimension of dialogue—which could be poetry. • Kenyon Review, Spring Number 1945]
Panofsky  Erwin Panofsky
Bernard Berenson BERNARD BERENSON 1865-1959; Lithuania-born US art critic
We define genius as the capacity for productive reaction against ones training. • The Decline of Art
Ingmar Bergman INGMAR BERGMAN Ernst Ingmar Bergman
1918- ; Swedish film director
1 Film is mainly rhythm: inhalation and exhalation. • Four Screenplays, 1960
2 When we experience a film, we consciously prime ourselves for illusion. Putting aside will and intellect, we make way for it in our imagination. The sequence of pictures plays directly on our feelings. Music works in the same fashion; I would say that there is no art form that has so much in common with film as music. Both affect our emotions directly, not via the intellect. And film is mainly rhythm; it is inhalation and exhalation in continuous sequence. Ever since childhood, music has been my great source of recreation and stimulation, and I often experience a film or play musically. • Four Screenplays, 1960
3 Film as dream, film as music. No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls. • quoted by John Berger: 'Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye' in Sight and Sound, BFI, June 1991
Henri Bergson HENRI BERGSON 1859-1941; French philosopher
We think the moving by means of the immobile. • L'Evolution crιatrice, 1907
Tim Berners-Lee Sir TIM BERNERS-LEE 1955- ; Pioneer of the World Wide Web
If we know what the future is, we aren't looking far enough ahead. • July 1997]
Sarah Bernhardt SARAH BERNHARDT Henriette Rosine Bernard
1845-1923; French actress
My one chance for immortality. • on being filmed
Sidney Bernstein SIDNEY BERNSTEIN 1899-1993; British entertainment impressario, founder of Granada Television
1 The right of access to the domestic sound and television receivers of millions of people carries with it such great propaganda power that it cannot be entrusted to any person or bodies other than a public corporation or a number of public corproations. • 1949, evidence to the Beveridge Committee
2 I will earn more from the ice creams I sell in my cinemas than I ever will from commercial TV. • around the time of winning an ITV franchise, c.1956
cf Thomson Roy Thomson
Luc Besson LUC BESSON 1959- ; French film director
There is a dramatic deficit between what France makes and what it consumes. • on French film production, as President of the Cannes Film Festival jury, 10 May 2000
John Betjeman Sir JOHN BETJEMAN 1906-1984; English Poet Laureate
Manchester produces what to me is the Pickwick Papers. That is to say Coronation Street. Mondays and Wednesdays, I live for them. Thank God, half past seven tonight and I shall be in paradise. • 1975; quoted in The Times, 25 November 1985.
An early instance of someone giving intellectual respectability to soap operas.
See also Go to Anonymous Anonymous
See also Go to H V Kershaw H V Kershaw
See also Go to Picture Page: Hackney Empire Hackney Empire
ERNEST BETTS 1897-?; British film critic (Daily Express, Sunday Express, The People)
1 Chiefly as a result of American films, a large part of the world, and especially the youthful world, now has a cabaret outlook, full of feeble passion, Woolworth glitter, and trumpery heroics. ...
But there is a difference between entertaining a man by making him drink and entertaining a man by making him drunk. The American film has doped the world with rotten juices. By a strength of purpose which is staggering and its one superb virtue, it has flung at us, year by year, in unending deluge, its parcel of borrowed stories and flashy little moralities.
• Heraclitus, or the Future of Films, 1928
2 The soul of the film—its eloquent and vital silence—is destroyed. The film now returns to the circus whence it came, among the freaks and the fat ladies. • On the advent of talkies, Heraclitus, or the Future of Films, 1928
William Beveridge Sir WILLIAM BEVERIDGE 1879-1963; British lawyer, economist and social analyst
The whole experience of broadcasting has shown its power properly used to help other entertainments rather than impoverish them. • 1951 report on broadcasting, supporting the BBC monopoly
Evil communications corrupt good manners. • I Corinthians xv 33
  JOHN BIRT Baron Birt of Liverpool
1944- ; Head of current affairs and controller of features and Current Affairs, London Weekend Television (LWT); BBC deputy director-general 1987-1992, director-general 1992-2000
There is a bias in television journalism. It is not against any particular party or point of view. It is a bias against understanding. • Article in The Times, 28 February 1975
Billy Bitzer BILLY BITZER Johann Gotlob Wilhelm Bitzer
1872-1944; US cinematographer
The fade-out gave us a really dignified touch. We didn't have a five cent movie any more. • Billy Bitzer: His Story
Conrad Black CONRAD BLACK 1944- ; Conrad Moffat Black, Baron Blackof Crossbarbour
Canadian businessman, newspaper proprietor
The BBC is pathologically hostile to the government and official opposition, most British institutions, American policy in almost every field, Israel, moderation in Ireland, all western religions, and most manifestations of the free market economy. ... It is a virulent culture of bias. Though its best programming in non-political areas is distinguished, sadly it has become the greatest menace facing the country it was founded to serve and inform. • Letter to the Daily Telegraph, 26 July 2003. Black owned the Daily Telegraph at the time
GEORGE BLACK English theatrical impressario with his brother Alfred
It's not going to be all dancing girls and comedy shows. We'll be doing serious stuff as well. Documentaries. Really serious documentaries. After all, we've got prostitutes in Newcastle as well, you know. • 1958, when the consortium in which his company was involved was awarded the ITV franchise for north-east England as Tyne-Tees Television. Quoted in Denis Norden: Clips from a Life. London: Fourth Estate, 2008.
William Blake WILLIAM BLAKE 1757-1827; English artist, poet and visionary
As a man is, so he sees. • 1799
Andrι Blondel ANDRE BLONDEL Andrι-Eugθne Blondel
1863-1938; French scientist and engineer, inventor of the oscillograph
The word ‘television’ is a poor choice, not merely because ‘tele’ is Greek and ‘vision’ is Latin but also because it is a simple synonym of telescopy. One could have found a more characteristic Greek expression such as ‘teleopsy’ and derivatives from this word. • 1938
see C P Scott
  GEORGE BOAR farmhand of Long Melford, Suffolk, who ‘invested his whole fortune’ (£126) in buying a television receiver
Television's far more entertaining and much less trouble than a wife would be. • The Radio Times, February 1939, six months before the BBC Television service closed down for nearly seven years. Long Melford was about 15 miles beyond the recognised reach of the television signal from Alexandra Palace, London, although the flat terrain may have made reception possible.
Humphrey Bogart HUMPHREY BOGART 1899-1957; film actor
The only reason to make a million dollars in this business is to be able to tell some fat producer to go to hell. • Source unknown
Arpad Bogsch Dr ARPAD BOGSCH 1919-2004 ; Director General, World Intellectual Property Organisation
Human genius is the source of all works of art and invention. Their works are the guarantee of a life worthy of men. It is the duty of the state to ensure with diligence the protection of the arts and inventions. • Legend inscribed around the cupola of the WIPO headquarters building, opened 1978; original in Latin
Nils Bohr NILS BOHR 1885-1962; Danish physicist
We must continually count on the appearance of new facts, the inclusion of which within the compass of our earlier experience may require a revision of our fundamental concepts. • Adopted as the motto of the Council of the Scientific and Medical Network
Renι Bonnell RENE BONNELL Cinema Director, Canal Plus
America has a vested interest in allowing a pool of talent to develop in Europe. It is to the benefit of an industry of prototypes to maintain reserves of raw material. National industries must be allowed to prosper since variety is in the interest of all. • European Audiovisual Conference, July 1994
LUKAS BONNIER 1922-2006; Swedish publisher
We have to prepare for the write-less world, where children never learn to read or write, just to look, talk and listen. • speech at VIDCA conference, Cannes, 1971
John Boorman JOHN BOORMAN 1933- ; British film director
It is the business of turning money into light and then back into money again. • on film production, quoted by Tom Stoppard, The Sunday Times, 20 January 1980
Daniel Boorstin DANIEL J BOORSTIN 1914-2004; American historian, Librarian of Congress 1975-87
The traditional novel form continues to enlarge our experience in those very areas where the wide-angle lens and the Cinerama screen tend to narrow it. • The Image, 1961
Charles Booth CHARLES BOOTH 1829-1912; English social reformer
The demand for amusement is not less noticeable than that for holidays, and supply follows. To ‘what shall we eat, what drink, and wherewithal shall we be clothed?’ must now be added the question ‘How shall we be amused?’ To this an answer has to be found. Even to the police it is a problem. • quoted in A Fried and R Elman: Charles Booth’s London, Penguin, 1971, p258
Mark Booth MARK BOOTH 1955- ; Chief executive, British Sky Broadcasting
We don't think people want to watch the Internet over their television, we think they want to watch television over their television. We believe in entertainment and the power of television. • September 1998
Jorge Luis Borges JORGE LUIS BORGES 1899-1986; writer
Those who defend dubbing might argue (perhaps) that objections to it can also be raised against any kind of translation. This argument ignores, or avoids, the principal defect: the arbitrary implant of another voice and another language. The voice of Hepburn or Garbo is not accidental but, for the world, one of their defining features. • On dubbing, 1945
HERBERT BOWDEN Herbert William Bowden, Lord Aylestone
1905-1994; British politician, Labour Chief Whip; Chairman, Indepedent Television/Broadcasting Authority 1965-73
I do not like the idea [of televising parliament]. ... I do not want Parliament to become an alternative to That Was the Week That Was or Steptoe and Son or Coronation Street. • House of Commons, March 1963
BRENDAN BRACKEN 1st Viscount Bracken
1901-1958; Irish-born British businessman, politician and publisher; Minister of Information 1941-1945
I am advised that in order to stop it [production of the film The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp] the Government would need to assume powers of a very far-reaching kind. These could hardly be less than powers to suppress all films, even those based on imaginary sources, on the grounds not of their revealing information to the enemy but of their expressing harmful or misguided opinions. Moreover it would be illogical for the Government to insist on a degree of control over films which it does not exercise over other means of expression, such as books or newspaper articles. Nothing less, therefore, than the imposition of a compulsory censorship of opinion upon all means of expression would meet the case, and I am certain that this could not be done without provoking infinite protest. • Memo to prime minister Winston Churchill, 11 September 1942, quoted in Chapman: The British at War [0074]
Marlon Brando MARLON BRANDO 1924- ; American film actor
1 Acting is the expression of a neurotic impulse. • source unknown
2 Once you are a star actor, people start asking you questions about politics, astronomy, archaeology and birth control. • source unknown
3 An actor’s a guy who, if you ain’t talking about him, ain’t listening. • The Observer, January 1956
Bertolt Brecht BERTOLT BRECHT 1898-1956; German playwright, theatre director and poet
Radio is one sided when it should be two. It is purely an apparatus for distribution, for mere sharing out. So here is a positive suggestion: change this apparatus over from distribution to communication. The radio would be the finest possible communication apparatus in public life, a vast network of pipes. That is to say, it would be if it knew how to receive as well as transmit, how to let the listener speak as well as hear, how to bring him into a relationship instead of isolating him. On this principle the radio should step out of the supply business and organise its listeners as suppliers. • ‘The Radio as an Apparatus of Communication’ in J Willett (ed): Brecht On Theatre. London, 1964
Joseph Breen JOSEPH BREEN Joseph Ignatius Breen
1890-1965; American film censor; Director, Production Code Administration 1934-1954
These Jews seem to think of nothing but money-making and sexual indulgence. People whose daily morals would not be tolerated in the toilet of a pest house hold the good jobs out here and wax fat on it. Ninety-five percent of these folks are Jews of an Eastern European lineage. They are, probably, the scum of the scum of the earth. • comment on Hollywood in a letter to Rev Wilfrid Parsons SJ, editor of America, a Catholic weekly, 1931
[Henry VIII's] attitude towards marriage and divorce [is] objectionably flippant. • letter to Dory Schary, 19 May 1952 ordering a change in the character of the king in the forthcoming production of Young Bess.
Catherine Breillat CATHERINE BREILLAT 1948- ; French film director
No female director could ever fall in love with an actor. They are stupid and ignorant and don't know how to follow instructions. • quoted in The Sunday Times, 20 January 2002
Robert Bresson ROBERT BRESSON 1907-1999; French film director
Film, radio, TV, the press form a school of inattention: people look without seeing, hear without listening. • '1950-1958: Exercises' in Notes on the Cinematographer, 1970
Robert Bridges ROBERT BRIDGES 1844-1930; English poet and critic; Poet Laureate from 1913
The common use of the telephone, and with much greater effect the later invention of broadcasting speech by wireless, have revolutionized the whole problem [of English language reform]. We cannot yet tell exactly how broadcasting will affect speech, but some results seem inevitable. It must, we think, encourage a stricter standardization than otherwise would have been possible or might have seemed desirable; also a clearer and more distinct articulation of syllables than is generally practised: and this points to its making a differentiation of dialects on the scientific basis of their acoustical merits, which implies the utilitarian recognition of an ζsthetic standard which has hitherto been scoured as a vain fancy of educated taste. • The Society's Work, Society for Pure English Tract XXI, 1925. Bridges was one of the founders of the Society in 1913.
Broadcast English
Asa Briggs Lord ASA BRIGGS 1921- ; British academic and historian
In Germany the State itself was soon interested in television, Goebbels had spoken to one of the Baird Television directors about it, and had told him what a wonderful thing it would be to show Hitler and himself in every home. • History of Broadcasting in the United Kingdom, volume 2
  JOHN BRILEY 1925- ; American screenwriter
Whenever we have any moment of deep societal rift or disruption in America, one of the ways we can express it is through the ideas and behavior in film noir. • quoted in New York Times 6 February 1994
David Brinkley DAVID BRINKLEY 1920- ; US television journalist and news presenter
The one function that TV news performs very well is that when there is no news we give it to you with the same emphasis as if there were. • Source unknown.
Leon Brittain Sir/Lord LEON BRITTAN 1939- ; British politician, European Commissioner
Statistically there may be less of the more culturally advanced stuff. • as UK Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, on future of broadcasting; May 1985
Jacob Bronowski Dr JACOB BRONOWSKI 1908-1974; Director of Research, National Coal Board; author and presenter of the television series The Ascent of Man
Television must be a balanced service. We are all kinds of people, and every person has many sides. Television must meet all these demands. People seem to think that if one appears in a ‘Brains Trust’ one never does anything but debate and read Third Programme tracts. The word ‘intellectual’ is debased; because most so-called ‘intellectuals’ I know have fun, play games, go to the pictures, read ‘funnies’ sometimes, and feel worried and frustrated as anybody else at times. This is the mistake some controllers of television have sometimes made—of being so obviously serious, so patently educational, as to make us all feel that we have got to be taught. Nobody wants to be deliberately taught anything about life. But most people have an insatiable curiosity about life, as it happens, as it comes. If television reflects life in a balanced manner, it cannot help feeding our curiosity.
    Television exposes people to intelligent conversation. Television is also a habit. The two things together make one good thing, for by habit tolerance for other people’s opinions grows. Television leads people to get inside the opinions it throws up. They become tolerant about more sides of a question than they knew existed before. ...
    When the invention of printing permitted The Iliad to be circulated, only 500 people read the first publication of it. Today it is sold in thousands in paperback books. People improve all the time. There are many ways of trying to explain this; but it is just a fact of evolution. ... No man can stop it. No medium can; but all mediums help it, whether they set out to or not.
    It is for this reason that I regret any plan there may be to give television a kind of ‘Third Programme’. This can only become a closed sect of people, viewers and broadcasters, ever feeding off themselves. This kind of approach to broadcasting forgets a fundamental fact about humanity: this is that anybody can run, but not everybody is capable of running a four-minute mile. Not everybody is capable of absorbing the highest realms of knowledge; but everybody is capable of absorbing knowledge.
    In the end the trend of public opinion will kick out the controller of a mass-entertaining service, because it has got ahead of him in its desires. This is the terrible things about American television. Its controllers have not educated themselves as much as the informational germs in their own programmes have in fact educated their viewers. A few years ago, American television put on documentaries in peak evening hours. Rarely so today; most peak hours are filled with variety or cowboys. Yet the documentaries sowed the seed which now puts many of the people out ahead of the variety and cowboys. I come back to the importance of having a balanced service. You cannot do any of these things deliberately. You will not make people wiser by having an educational channel, or a learn-as-you-look hour once a day.
• ‘Can Television Make Us Wiser’ in Kenneth Baily (ed): The Television Annual for 1960
Gordon Brown GORDON BROWN Rt Hon James Gordon Brown MP
1951-; British politician; Chancellor of the Exchequer 1997-2007; Prime Minister 2007-
I have always been struck by how unfair it is at Christmas when thousands of children get the presents they wanted, yet others watch the television adverts in the knowledge they can never have those things. I think it is an unfair society that is endlessly pushing these television adverts on young people. • Quoted in The Times, December 2003
  JOHN MASON BROWN 1900-1969; American drama critic
Some television programs are so much chewing gum for the eyes. • interview, 20 July 1955; sometimes attributed to Frank Lloyd Wright
Boudleaux and Felice Bryant BOUDLEAUX and FELICE BRYANT 1920-1987 and 1925-2003; American country and pop music songwriters
Lots of times I date my honey/When I’m running short of folding money/But the radio and TV are free. • ‘Radio and TV’, sung by the Everly Brothers, 1961
Andy Burnham ANDY BURNHAM Rt Hon Andrew Murray Burnham MP
1970- ; British politician; Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport 2008-2009
Product placement exacerbates this decline in trust and contaminates our programmes. As a viewer, I don’t want to feel the script has been written by the commercial marketing director. Here and now, I do want to signal that I think there are some lines that we should not cross, one of which is that you can buy the space between the programmes on commercial channels, but not the space within them. • speech to government's Convergence Think Tank, 12 June 2008. Shares in ITV plc fell three per cent after his statement.
George Burns GEORGE BURNS 1896-1996; American comedian, husband of Gracie Allen
Television was so new that if an actor burped, everyone agreed it was an innovative concept and nothing like it had ever been done on television before. • source unknown
EDWARD ARTHUR BURROUGHS 1882-1934; Bishop of Ripon
We could get on very happily if aviation, wireless, television and the like advanced no further than at present. • sermon to British Association for the Advancement of Science, Leeds, 4 September 1927
A R Burrows A R BURROWS Director of Programmes, British Broadcasting Company
1 It is highly probable that before 1924 has passed it will be regular practice for many schools in the country to include in their schedules broadcast talks by the highest teachers in the land. The burden of the schoolmaster, who is expected to be an authority on every subject under the sun, and, being human, is not so, will be somewhat relieved, and the interest of students should be much quickened. The strictly educational side of broadcasting, for which there undoubtedly is a future, is a matter of such far-reaching importance that a steady development may well prove the soundest policy. • ‘What had been done: a review of the first year’s broadcast’, in ‘Broadcast Listeners’ Year Book 1924
2 We broadcasters are not in the fortunate position of newspapers or places of entertainment, which have their circulations and box-office returns as evidence of their success or failure. • The Story of Broadcasting, 1924
George Bush GEORGE BUSH 1924- ; US President, 1989-1993
One in which every adult American was educated well enough to be able to programme the clock timer on his video recorder. • quoted Feb 1991, when asked how he would like his presidency to be remembered
George W Bush GEORGE W BUSH US President, 2001-2009; son of the above
1 I will work with entertainment leaders, advertisers and others to encourage less violence, substance abuse, foul language and sexuality. As president, I will urge entertainment leaders to limit violence and sexual images voluntarily. Working together, we can find sensible, family-friendly curbs to curb excesses and to set a positive tone for America. • During the presidential election campaign, 2000
2 You teach a child to read, and he or she will be able to pass a literacy test. • 21 February 2001
Samuel Butler SAMUEL BUTLER 1835-1902; English writer
An art can only be learned in the workshop of those who are winning their bread by it. • Erewhon
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Page updated 3 July 2009
Compilation and notes © David Fisher