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Wayward Action!

Mike Leggett

"This book is about broadcast television in Britain in 1973."
Following the award of a prize in an art competition sponsored by a local commercial television station, I campaigned with other film and video prize-winners, (including Beau Geste Press, who printed an A3 poster/flyer), to have our work transmitted on the Westward TV channel. Prize-winners in other art categories had their work exhibited publicly: the best the station was prepared to offer was the screening of some extracts from the moving image work. The television station finally offered a discussion about their refusal to screen complete works in a monthly magazine arts program. The 15-minute broadcast item became a performance and discussion intended to raise questions about the ownership and access to Britain's three television channels*. Documentation of the whole event was completed with the book Wayward Action! published by Beau Geste Press in 1974. 
(* Britain at the time had three television channels in any one geographical area, two run by the BBC and one by commercial franchises. The book was submitted in evidence to the Annan Committee on the future of broadcasting, a national enquiry whose report (1977) led eventually in 1981 to Britain licensing another television channel, Channel Four, with a remit to provide access to a wider range of program makers, including artists. Television by its very centralised nature defines for the many the tastes of the few, a situation much changed in the era of the internet).