Irene on BBC TV
In 1956, Irene Mawer appeared on BBC television in Great Britain. At this point, Ruby Ginner had retired and the Ginner-Mawer School had closed. Irene had moved from Cheltenham to Birmingham in 1954 – which placed her perfectly for the BBC studios there.
Irene’s TV appearance was on 12 August 1956. The programme was called Children’s Television Club and was broadcast live from BBC Birmingham’s studio at Gosta Green. Most TV was live in those days and there is no recording of the show. Mawer performed a mime to piano accompaniment. (I am grateful to Andrew Martin at the BBC Archive Requests/Programme Index for the above information, 5 July 2022)
In a newspaper clipping Miss Mawer’s performance is described as ‘extraordinarily vivid miming’.
After her death, found among Irene Mawer’s papers was an A4 handwritten sheet with the title ‘BBC 1956’ giving an outline of her career. It refers to the TV performance, saying “Music plays an important part in the work of a mimetic actor. And in this story, created for Children’s Hour, Irene Mawer both tells her story, and illustrates it in mime, to music specially composed by Winifred Morris.”
Sadly, I have not been able to find out any information about Winifred Morris – the information may be on the web, but unfortunately there is a modern-day author with the same name, so she takes up all of the entries for Winifred Morris.
Miss Mawer’s great niece recalls a childhood memory of seeing her great aunt’s appearance on the television circa 1956/1958 “We saw Irene in a one-off TV performance. She did three mime pieces, but the only one I can remember is something connected with a Christmas tree.” Given that the TV show that the BBC archivist told me about was in August, it seems strange that the theme was Christmas. Perhaps there was more than one performance, but at the moment, there is no evidence for this. The only other connection with television was a Ginner-Mawer dance performance twenty years previously, in 1936.