It is often said that all television is documentary because television reflects what we are doing and thinking and, perhaps, hoping. But in a direct sense, BBC Television produces two kinds of documentary: the dramatic document and the feature based on the facts of real life. In the past ten years viewers have seen many vital subjects dealt with in a documentary way, from the colour bar to foot-and-mouth disease. And they have given these programmes high praise. Documentary can combine studio, film, and outside broadcast facilities. By their very nature such programmes take a long time to prepare and mount. Behind them are weeks of writing and investigation. For a documentary must be accurate and, in the finished product, it must be telling.

Four boys stand in front of a panel of magistrates
One of the outstanding documentaries of the decade was The Course of Justice, which dealt with the way the courts of this country work. The series was first televised from Alexandra Palace in 1950, and then repeated in a new production from the Lime Grove studios. Here a London juvenile court is reconstructed in the Lime Grove studios.

Documentary turns its attention to women – in the first instance to look at Women Alone and in the second to report on her work for the community.

The nurse (below) is in San Salvador; and her role was part of The World is Ours series of filmed documents, produced in co-operation with the United Nations.