IBA Archive at Bournemouth University

Documents | Correspondence

Prospective Legal Action – McCrea Case

Document Information

Classification: Correspondence

File: 3078/2/31 (Alternative Code on File: 405/2)

Box: 3995527

Attached media: Letter to Mr McCrea

Summary of Document

This is a small file containing correspondence between 31/12/1964-10/9/1965. It documents a dispute between Ulster television Mr Anthony Finigan and Daniel F. McCrea about a 30 minute comedy play “legal lights”. In a letter to the ITA Mr McCrea states that he submitted scripts to Ulster TV. It would be the first time the company would air a play from their studios. His play “Legal Lights had been accepted, however Mr Finigan said that it needed a few minor alterations. The two men, along with the co-writer Mr Fox, had a meeting to discuss these alterations. A contract was then promised to the writers. Mr McCrea submitted the revised script. He was told by Finigan that the play would no longer be airing but he would keep it. McCrea then read in a newsletter that UTV would be airing a different play in the New Year. McCrea was extremely angry as he felt that his play was accepted and felt he should have had a financial settlement from UTV. The initial complaint is dated 31/12/1964.

Internal correspondence within the IBA suggests that they are hesitant to get involved with business deals as they are not the responsibility of the authority. In this case however, the authority investigated Mr McCrae’s complaint. In a letter dated 6/1/1965, Bill Wilson states that he believes that Ulster Television did lead Mr McCrea to believe that his play would be aired and that he would receive and appropriate fee. However he also believes that the company intended to settle up financially with McCrea. He suggests a reply to MrCrea emphasising it is not the authority’s responsibility to get involved with business decisions but they have spoken with Mr Finigan and assure him that it is the company’s intention to make a financial settlement. A letter was then written to Mr McCrea on 7/1/1965. McCrea was satisfied with this.

After three weeks, Mr McCrea had not heard anything about his settlement from UTV so writes back to the authority on 29/1/1965.   Finigan writes to McCrea on 2/2/1965 offering 52 guineas for his script along with legal declarations. Mr McCrea seemed to still be unhappy with Ulster TV because he really wanted his play to be aired, and UTV didn’t seem to want to broadcast it. He did however accept the fee from Finigan.

The file also contains clippings of letters to the Newspaper containing reviews on the play that was aired instead of Mr McCrea’s, this was called “Ask your Mother”. The play did not seem to get very good reviews, which McCrea sent to the ITA on 3/4/1965.

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