THE BBC television listings for Wednesday, March 19, 1952, included In the News, a panel discussion with the Scottish MP, Robert Boothby, among the guests; Dinner Date with Death, a crime story; children’s entertainments; and Pot Luck, with “Charlie Chester in a programme of prizes and surprises”.

Sandwiched at 7.15pm between the children’s shows and Charlie Chester was the TV debut of Glasgow’s Citizens Theatre, and the first production to be televised direct from a Scottish theatre.

TV cameras were in place to relay the performance of a J.M.Barrie play, The Old Lady Shows her Medals, with a cast that included Madeleine Christie, Lennox Milne, Joan Seton, Ethel Glendinning, James Cairncross and Andrew Keir.

“After looking in at TV from the outside”, began the ‘Last Night’s Teleview’ column in the following morning’s Evening Times, “it was interesting to look out from the inside at the Citizens’ Theatre ...

“Many of Glasgow’s citizens were evidently of the same opinion, for the theatre - turned TV studio for the evening - did not have a vacant seat when the curtain rose and the warning red lights appeared on the cameras.

“It was all very interesting, though difficult at times to appreciate that the cast were deliberately underplaying and that the concentration of grouping rather than movement was also essential TV technique.

“In the theatre the Barrie sentiment still worked, but I had the feeling that ‘The Old Lady Shows her Medals’ had been slowed down just a shade too much”.

The paper’s London-based writer, David Dewar, who watched the production on a TV set in the capital, said it was probable that, because of the start-time, relatively a small English audience tuned in.

“The majority of London viewers are eating, not looking, at 7.15pm - hence the usual TV play begins after eight o’clock.

“Personally”, he continued, “I thought that the company acquitted themselves very creditably.

“The players had an almost impossible job of making their acting equally acceptable to two radically different audiences - the ‘live’ one inside the theatre and the TV viewers.

“Technically, the reception in London was, except for one or two ‘flashes’, excellent, but it was a pity that on one occasion we had to hear the prompter”.

Read more: Herald Diary

The year was another busy one for the Citz, climaxing in the panto, A Glaikit Spell, with, from left, Marion Mathie, James Gibson and Andrew Keir. The cast also featured Iris Russell, Molly Urquhart and Madeleine Christie.

The opening night, on December 18, was, said the Evening Times, “uproarious”.

The theatre, it added, “has confirmed its title to be the authentic successor to the real Scots pantomime which reigned supreme at the Princess’s Theatre for many decades.

“A Glaikit Spell achieves the difficult feat of appealing equally to those who relish satire and those who lap up low comedy”.