Silent witness

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The Independent Online

The innocent enthusiasm of Anthony Davis, the man who wants to re-create the "wholesomeness" of the silent movie on television, is touching and admirable. He is trying to sell five episodes of a romantic comedy, which uses all the old devices of slapstick, captions and mime, to a British television channel. It must be suspected, however, that he has hit on a successful formula for all the wrong reasons.

It has always been a fundamental defect of television that ­ apart from sport, some genres of cartoons and election results programmes ­ it is impossible to understand what is going on when the sound is turned down.

Seventy-five years after the start of television broadcasting in Britain, it would seem that Mr Davis has belatedly found the solution to the intrusive and fragmenting effects of the box on family life. Now teenagers can do their homework, parents can gossip and anyone who wants to can watch the television ­ all in one room.