There was no wink and they never sold it out for these half-hour, densely, beautifully produced pieces, which is, for all possibilities, obscuring that this doesn’t at all sound like a comedy show. It is all the production elements you would use in a full-scale news production. All the gravitas, but just inflated to a point that it has no gravitas whatsoever. And I think that is where it became this excitingly subversive thing because it just showed that BBC Radio 4 and everything it stood for was just a big bag of shit.
John Oliver on why he's a fan of On the Hour. On the Hour
, of course, is the legendary BBC news radio program created by, among other people, Armando Iannucci (The Thick of It
, In The Loop
), Christopher Morris (Jam
, Brass Eye
, Four Lions
, Why Bother?
), Stewart Lee (41st best stand-up comic ever
), and Steve Coogan (Knowing Me Knowing You With Alan Partridge
, I'm Alan Partridge
). Short-lived but influential, On the Hour
mimicked the tone and production of other radio news shows but replaced the content with what Oliver describes as "unremitting bullshit". On the Hour
was aired in two six-episode series (S1E1 S1E2 S1E3 S1E4 S1E5 S1E6
; S2E1 S2E2 S2E3 S2E4 S2E5 S2E6
), and begat a television series called The Day Today
. That show in turn added Graham Linehan (Black Books
, Father Ted
, The IT Crowd
) to On the Hour
's already all-star lineup, upped the already-insane levels of overproduction, and ran for six short-but-glorious episodes (one two three four five (WAR!) six
), as well as a special 9/11 radio report
. [more inside]
posted by Rory Marinich
on Jun 10, 2013 -
British manned space flights; an insidious threat from outer space; a man mutating into an evil alien, his human consciousness being eaten away; and a scientist - utterly anti-Establishment, courageous and cerebral - the only man who can fight it. No, not Doctor Who, but his highly distinguished predecessor, Prof Bernard Quatermass
. A decade before Doctor Who first aired, the The Quartermass Experiment was the first science-fiction TV serial produced for adults
, and a live-to-viewers BBC production
, to boot. The show ran for six episodes in 1953, of which only the first two episodes are known survive
. The short sci-fi series spun off three original sequels
and a radio drama-documentary
, along with movie re-makes of the first three series
by Hammer Films
. BBC brought back live TV with a 2005 adaptation of the original 1953 series
. You can watch the various series on online (in parts on Daily Motion), thanks to fans of The British Rocket Group
. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief
on Jul 23, 2011 -
Nigel Kneale's adaptation of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four was one of the most controversial television programmes of its time
. Broadcast live, it made "unusually extensive and imaginative use of filmed inserts (14 in total). These sequences bought time for the more elaborate costume changes or scene set-ups, but also served to 'open out' the action.
" And now you can watch it too! The full version is currently on Youtube
. Short of the John Hurt film released in 1984 being posted online, the 1954 BBC TV adaptation is about as doubleplusgood as it gets for now. [more inside]
posted by Effigy2000
on Dec 12, 2010 -
Blatantly jumping on the opportunity to create yet another thread on The Wire
, I'd like to remind you that starting tonight
, BBC 2 will air the entire series start to finish, an episode every weekday. First episode starts in a moment, at 11:20 PM UK time. Watch! [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane
on Mar 30, 2009 -
The Doctor is set to regenerate once again as David Tennant calls time on Doctor Who. "When Doctor Who returns in 2010 it won’t be with me
" Tennant, widely acknowledged as one of the most popular actors ever to play the Doctor, said. "Now don’t make me cry. The 2009 shows will be my last playing the doctor.” [more inside]
posted by Effigy2000
on Oct 29, 2008 -
In a single 1931 document
, electrical engineer Alan Blumlein
patented stereo records, stereo movie sountracks and surround sound. His equipment was used to make some of the first stereo recordings
at EMI's Abbey Road studios - several decades before the technology came into popular use. Blumlein went on to pioneer 405 line TV
(the first wholly electronic format which won out over John Logie Baird's rival system) and to produce the equipment that made the first outside TV broadcast
possible. At the outbreak of World War 2 he was a key architect of the secret H2S
radar project. Unfortunately he was killed in a plane crash while testing the technology and the whole incident was kept secret. Hence he remains an obscure figure despite his achievements. A recent BBC Radio 4 program
contains a lot of the archive stereo footage and tells his story.
posted by rongorongo
on Aug 7, 2008 -
The new Doctor Who series has been airing on BBC Television for three weeks now. And it is "good TV"
Most all of the reviews are startlingly positive, far more than I've seen for a television series in a long, long time. What is most striking is that many of the commentaries about the "New Who" state that it is just plain ole' good television that combines something intelligent, something scary, something mysterious and something balls-out fun. In our world of reality television, what other series would you classify as being "good tv"? What makes for "good TV"? (Link goes to a fan site that has re-printed and linked to numerous reviews)
posted by tgrundke
on Apr 14, 2005 -
Ah, now that's lurid-sounding. What it is, however, is a comedy from BBC that's way, way funnier than The Office
. Reviewers chatter about the Herman's Head
-like gimmick -- you hear the characters' thoughts -- but the better gimmick? Excellent writing.
posted by mimi
on Nov 22, 2004 -
Twenty Years Ago, The BBC produced a topical drama called Threads
- little did they know the furore it would go on to create. [more inside]
posted by metaxa
on Sep 6, 2004 -
Tv Licenses do not infringe people's human rights.
Journalist and broadcaster Jonathan Miller refused to pay his license because it seemed as though the BBC had license to charge what they like raise the charge when they like; and that it didn't take into account the gulf between someone only receiving an Analogue service as opposed to digital. He lost the case. Serious implications.
posted by feelinglistless
on Jul 17, 2003 -
One-in, one-out: the nominations.
"Who should be granted honorary British citizenship and who should have it revoked?" The BBC's Today programme has its annual poll and this year, it claims, is a little different. Various celebrities, politicians etc will be giving their opinions and the result will be announced on New Year's Day. Who will you be voting for?
posted by Kiell
on Dec 18, 2002 -
David wins Fame Academy!
Mix Big Brother with Pop/American Idol and you get the Fame Academy
, where 12 gorgeous
under-30s are thrown into a glorified stage school
for a few months, and only one emerges an idol. The prize? Supposedly the 'biggest TV prize ever.' A £1 million recording contract, a fancy apartment in London, a personal shopper, chauffeur, and more. All is not lost for the 'losers' though, as they've all gained professional management and Mercury Records
is considering them all for solo careers.
In contrast to the 'Idol' shows, being couped up for weeks on end has caused even the wackiest
contestants to grow in their singing and songwriting abilities. So will this show reach the US? Probably, given these other crossover shows.
posted by wackybrit
on Dec 13, 2002 -