This book began its life as a report on a one-year project initiated by the Independent Television Authority (now the Independent Broadcasting Authority). The aim of the project was to explore ways of using the forms of television entertainment as instruments of adult education. Adult education as I defined it was “education for democracy” — an education that would help to enable people to understand, control and, where necessary, change their environment.

The project was planned in three stages.

The first stage would involve an attempt to examine, from the point of view of a regular TV watcher, the kind of education that popular television was tending to give, night by night, to the mass audience. I intended to approach this ...

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