If a nation is founded on Christian principles and consists of individuals bound by a confession and taught a creed, they are unlikely to be swayed by a story, a film or a piece of music that contravenes those standards. The English surrender to the Arts appeared as Christian belief declined. It has produced a society that is susceptible to be influenced through artistic channels, as expounded in Music Mania.
In Germany, society was controlled by music. In France, by paintings. The English have a most particular weakness for stories. And this weakness was deliberately exploited through Dr. Finlay's Casebook (1962-1971). The programme was well-developed before the propaganda started. The characters were well-known and eminently likeable. Dr. Finlay, hot-headed, impetuous, always learning something. Dr. Cameron, wise, loveable, trustworthy, always inclined to drink something. And Janet, so faithful, so safe and pure, as the housekeeper.
Belle: A Call for Legalised Abortion
Things changed in 1965 with an episode called Belle by Rosemary Hill. It was a deliberate attempt by the BBC to promote the need for legalised abortion, 2 years before the law in England was changed. Belle is a back street abortionist, who lures desperate women to her rooms and treats them abominably in return for money (not that doctors work for free!). Some of the women are badly injured in her hands, some die. The doctors are left shaking their heads and given the words (in paraphrase):
What are we supposed to do? The women come to us and we can do nothing to help them? Our hands are tied. So they seek help from someone who can do something. But what a mess. If only the law could be changed!
The young women are treated as victims of circumstance. Their condition is nothing to do with them. They are as innocent as if they had all been raped.
Happy Release: A Call for Legalised Euthanasia
In 1967 there is Happy Release by N. J. Crisp. This time we are treated to euthanasia. A man, who once was a chemist, is looking after a wife with terminal cancer. She is in such pain. She wants to die. Can he not help her? Is there no way? The lady dies far quicker than expected and the doctors are thrust into a moral dilemma:
She is dead. Her suffering is over. If her husband had helped her die, then it was only a mercy. Poor woman. She was so brave. It would not have been anything other than an act of love if her husband had killed her. Who could blame him? Who cares? Perhaps if a doctor could help. Who knows?
Suicide or murder. Neither would have a stigma. The only possible judgment would be on someone who did nothing and thereby was complicit in causing her agony.
The Conscience Clause: A Call for Compulsory Vaccination
The intention to propagandise was confirmed by the third episode in this style: the 1968 episode The Conscience Clause by Elaine Morgan. Dr. Finlay vaccinates a child against smallpox. She did not want her child vaccinated as she had listened to a local lawyer who is not pro-vaccination (he had been vaccinated as a child and then caught the disease badly). Dr. Finlay persuades her to have the injection. The little baby girl is the beloved first child for the couple. Her father is away at sea and looking forward to meeting her. But before he returns, the child has died in a gruesome, gangrenous way - not fit to be seen - only a few days after the vaccination was administered. Dr. Finlay reproaches himself throughout the episode. Dr. Cameron's character is vehemently pro-vaccination. He expresses little concern for the bereaved parents or for the suffering of the baby. He wants to vindicate the necessity of vaccination through a post-mortem. So, the writer pulls a rabbit out of the hat. It was congenital syphillis. What do you know? The vaccination was just a coincidence. It was all the parent's fault, anyway:
Bernard Shaw says that vaccinations are dangerous.
What medical qualifications does he have, Doctor?
None at all, man.
Then how can he know more than you, Doctor?
How indeed, man!
It is not that other episodes of Dr. Finlay's casebook are without problems. The premise of Dr. Finlay's world is insidiously subversive because we have all the trappings of a sweet old Scottish town without the Church. Oh, there is from time to time a minister. He is sometimes a cross man who beats his daughter, other times he's an idiot. He is never a respectable, admirable man. And that leaves a void for the doctors to fill. Time and time again, the doctors face a moral dilemma in the lives of their patients. In reality - in the 1920s - the Church was central and the ministers would have known everyone in their parish. They would have been involved in the lives of the people and available to support, advise and counsel. In their absence, the doctors offer a ministry of medicine. They do not always know the answers, but what would we do without them? The legacy of such shows is a nation that adores the NHS to the point of aggressive idolatry today.
As for the propaganda to promote abortion, euthanasia and vaccination, that was a deliberate subversion. A story may be set up in such a way that the characters can only reach the conclusion designed by the writer: that is the point. Back people into a corner so that they will conform to a new standard, as influenced by the television, until they enforce one another into believing righteousness is error and principle is cruelty. Cut off from a Biblical worldview, separated from the Church, and divorced from the law of God. Damned.