‘Broadly speaking, First Night is intended to be a ‘popular’ drama spot. By ‘popular’ I don’t mean that at the end of the play the audience should necessarily say ‘wasn’t that nice?’. What I mean is plays about people of today concerned in problems, joys and aspirations of today, problems which may be difficult or even dangerous. Plays which seem to catch hold of the very air we breathe, but at the same time have beginnings, middles and ends. . . We want plays that are clear in their development and positive in their content. . .’

From a text by Sidney Newman, Head of bbc tv drama section, written for The Author and circulated as ‘documentation’ to bbc scriptwriters. (Our italics.)