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The Times(20 Dec 1950) 7

Sir, – In your issue of December 17 you announce that the B. B. C. proposes to spend over £4m. during the next three years on the development of television. 1 I have just returned from a visit to the United States, where television (though not, I believe, more highly developed technically) has become an habitual form of entertainment in many more households than here. 2 Among persons of my own acquaintance I found only anxiety and apprehension about the social effects of this pastime, and especially about its effect (mentally, morally, and physically) upon small children. 3

Before we endeavour to popularize it still further in this country, might it not be as well if we investigated its consequences for American society and took counsel with informed American opinion about possible safeguards and limitations? 4 The fears expressed by my American friends were not such as could be allayed by the provision of only superior and harmless programmes: they were concerned with the television habit, whatever the programme might be.

Your obedient servant, t. s. eliot 24, Russell Square. W.C.1, Dec. 17

Published By:   Faber & Faber logo    Johns Hopkins University Press

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