Ladies and gentlemen. Thank you very much indeed for being here this evening at St James's Palace to celebrate this important anniversary in the history of the Royal Television Society.

Ladies and gentlemen. Thank you very much indeed for being here this evening at St James's Palace to celebrate this important anniversary in the history of the Royal Television Society.

We did have an interesting seminar for 20/20 vision a little while back; it would certainly be fun to have a reunion of those who participated to see how much they learned and were changed by the experience.

During the past 75 years, television has had a profound effect across the world, for good and, perhaps on occasion, for the not so good.

It has stimulated debate and provided access for many to culture, education and knowledge, as well as, for example, helping to make sport the great force for good it is in the world today.

It has broken down barriers and developed areas of common interest, generating understanding of, and links between, communities and nations and, of course, it has also entertained us marvellously.

The Royal Television Society has played its part in all this by providing a platform for thoughtfulness and discussion, new ideas and excellence to balance this always hectic and often very - and unavoidably, I suppose - commercial process of expansion.

The Television Society was - as you all know - founded 75 years ago following a lecture at Leeds University by John Logie Baird.

When the Society began, it was principally as a place for scientists and engineers to exchange ideas about the exciting new medium.

I am sure that the small group of television enthusiasts who came together in 1927 could not have imagined what was to come.

There are now more televisions in British households than there are people and more than a billion hours of television - for good or ill - are watched in the United Kingdom each week.

I am pleased to say that the Society became the Royal Television Society in 1967.

In your 75 years, the Society's role has expanded and you are now the leading forum for discussion and debate on all aspects of the television industry.

Your bi-annual Cambridge Convention, for example, or other conferences (such as that held in London last month), enable people to come together to debate the challenges which lie ahead. And there is never any shortage of challenges!

You also now have electronic membership via e-mail following your investment in web technology, especially to reach younger people, with more than 1,400 "e-members".

In addition, through your awards, the Society plays an important role in recognising and rewarding excellence in television by setting a gold-standard for quality.

The Royal Television Society has only been able to grow and to flourish in this way as a result of your support as patrons and members - and in particular with the generous contributions from the BBC, the ITV companies, Channel 4 and Sky.

But none of it would be possible without the able and committed support of those who run the Society on a day-to-day basis, in particular your Chief Executive, Simon Albury, his deputy, Claire Price, your President, Will Wyatt, and your Chairman, Simon Shaps, to whom all our thanks are due and given.

And finally, in order to save me writing a letter and as a "thought for the day", I just beseech those who are set in authority over us (as far as terrestrial television is concerned) to remember that, as viewers, people don't remain as teenagers for the rest of their lives.

In other words, we all get older and what we wanted to watch when we were younger is not necessarily what we want to watch once we are past 50!

So my little plea in this 75th year, and before we embark on the next 75 years of broadcasting, is that not everything needs to be "accessible to young people".

Please may there still be programmes which recognise that a large proportion of the population is in fact older, whose tastes and views may have developed to the point where it does not always want "innovation and excitement" all the time, but is sometimes looking for reliability, familiarity and continuity.

So, in the rush to make everything ever-more "relevant", please don't forget the requirements of the older, perhaps more discerning viewer. Here endeth my "thought for the day".