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Broadcasting Museum Pays Tribute to the BBC

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For more than a dozen years, some of the best of American television has been influenced by - or in the case of public-television series, co-produced by or acquired from - the British Broadcasting Corporation.

The comedies of Monty Python and Benny Hill, the dramas of "Masterpiece Theater," the social satire of "Steptoe and Son" and "Till Death Do Us Part" - which in theme and characterization spawned, respectively, "Sanford and Son" and "All in the Family" on American television -are but a few examples of the BBC's influence beyond its borders.

The BBC, a national service that is older than American television networks, has been the model for state-supported broadcast systems around the globe. This year, the BBC turns 50 in an atmosphere of nostalgia and controversy. It is under fire at home for its allegedly left-leaning news coverage, particularly of the Middle East, even as it celebrates its many triumphs. Here in New York, the Museum of Broadcasting is saluting the BBC's contribution to television in a diverse retrospective that began yesterday and will continue until Jan. 31.

Invented a New Form

"Two things occur to me when I think about the contributions of the BBC," said Henry Becton, president of WGBH-TV, the public-broadcasting station in Boston. "They showed the potential for the multi-part drama series drawn from literature and history, inventing a new form that did not exist in film or television. The second is they pioneered the use of the documentary essay by a great thinker, which gave viewers the chance to learn about a subject area synthesized through a great mind like Jacob Bronowski, for example."

Today, the museum will present programs focusing on science fiction, offering at 12:05 and 3 P.M. a production of George Orwell's "1984," which was one of the BBC's first adaptations. "The Quatermass Experiment," a 1953 science-fiction program, will be shown at 2 P.M., and the first episode of "Dr. Who," the popular series about a mysterious time traveler from another galaxy, at 2:30 P.M.

"What we've tried to do is show the strengths of the BBC and to showcase the kinds of things that have not been on public television or cable," said Robert Batscha, president of the museum. "All of our exhibitions include from 40 to 80 programs, but this is one of our broadest because it traces the work of 50 years of broadcasting." Seminars Begin Tuesday

The retrospective encompasses more than 100 hours of telecasts, with screenings of film clips and 10 seminars, beginning Tuesday, by American and British broadcasters who will discuss the similarities and differences of television in the United States and Britain.

The roster of seminar participants includes: Michael Grade, director of programs at the BBC; Lawrence K. Grossman, president of NBC News and former president of the Public Broadcasting Service; Bill Cotton, managing director of the BBC; David Frost, who was the host and creator of "That Was the Week That Was"; Ken Russell, the director, who developed the stylized dramatization of famous artists' lives on television; the playwright Alan Bennett, and David Attenborough, the naturalist and comptroller of BBC 2.

The Museum of Broadcasting, at 1 East 53d Street, is open to the public from noon to 5 P.M. Wednesday through Saturday and noon to 8 P.M. on Tuesday. It is closed on Sunday and Monday. Suggested contributions are $3 for adults, $2 for students and $1.50 for senior citizens and children under 13. For tickets to the seminars or for other information, call 752-

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  • APA 6th ed.: Morgan, Thomas (1986-11-15). Broadcasting Museum Pays Tribute to the BBC. The New York Times p. A50.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Morgan, Thomas. "Broadcasting Museum Pays Tribute to the BBC." The New York Times [add city] 1986-11-15, A50. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Morgan, Thomas. "Broadcasting Museum Pays Tribute to the BBC." The New York Times, edition, sec., 1986-11-15
  • Turabian: Morgan, Thomas. "Broadcasting Museum Pays Tribute to the BBC." The New York Times, 1986-11-15, section, A50 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Broadcasting Museum Pays Tribute to the BBC | url= | work=The New York Times | pages=A50 | date=1986-11-15 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=19 October 2019 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Broadcasting Museum Pays Tribute to the BBC | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=19 October 2019}}</ref>