shadow of its former self
, a waste of money
dominated by champagne socialists
, a victim of media fragmentation
, a political pawn
or still the trusted heart
of the UK's (and, arguably, the world's) broadcasting world? As scandal
threatens to undermine confidence in the BBC and the voices calling for the dissolution of the licence fee gain a more cohesive platform
, can the BBC survive, - is it the solution or the problem
, and can the British public really afford to let it die the death of a thousand cuts
On the day after the BBC announces it will put every UK publically owned oil painting online
and the Director General talks about the BBC's "special responsibility" to culture in the UK, what should the role of the BBC be and, perhaps more importantly, what should it cost?
The Kneale Tapes
) documentary about British science fiction screenwriter Nigel Kneale
. [more inside]
This is the Wartime Broadcasting Service. This country has been attacked with
nuclear weapons. Communications have been severely disrupted, and the number of
casualties and the extent of the damage are not yet known. We shall bring you
further information as soon as possible.
- The BBC releases
for use in the event of nuclear war
The Russell T. Davis papers
– As he prepares to leave the role of Doctor Who show runner (previously)
he’s releasing a book of email exchanges with Doctor Who Magazine
writer Benjamin Cook about his time on the longstanding British SF series, revealing the younger face of Who he’s like to see
, and plans for a Doctor Who/Harry Potter crossover
which never materialized.
of Tank Girl
fame has created the animated film
that will be used to introduce the BBC's coverage of the summer Olympics with music by his fellow Gorrlaz compatriot, Damon Albarn
, inspired by Monkey
, the cult classic television program
. [more inside]
The first known recording of a digital computer playing music
, recorded by the BBC in 1951. The music played on a Ferantti Mark 1
, one of the first commercial general-use computers, and was entered via punchtape
and played on a speaker usually used for making clicks and tones to indicate program progress.
First it was Blake's 7
, now another Terry Nation cult classic sf television programme
is to return. The BBC have announced they are remaking Survivors
. Telling the story of the survivors of a plague that wipes out most of Britain, the original was famed for its gritty and somewhat controversial story-telling
As of 2010 Steven Moffat will be replacing Russell T. Davies
as lead writer and executive producer of Doctor Who
. In 2005 Davies revived the series
, which had been dormant (bar the odd US co-production or audiodrama
) since 1989, for BBC Wales
. It won awards and was successful enough to spawn the spin-offs Sarah Jane Adventures
and the popular-in-America Torchwood
. He is replaced by Moffat
, one of the regular writers on the show, whose highly acclaimed episodes
have won a number of awards
. "I applied before but I got knocked back 'cos the BBC wanted someone else. Also I was seven. Anyway, I'm glad the BBC has finally seen the light and it's a huge honour to be following Russell into the best - and the toughest - job in television. I say toughest 'cos Russell's at my window right now, pointing and laughing."
Record levels of immigration have had "little or no impact"
on the economic well-being of Britons says a report (pdf)
from an influential House of Lords committee. Initial reactions from the various parties, institutes and publications have been largely predictable.
Coming so closely on the back of the BBC's recent "White"
series on white working-class Britain, it looks likely to provoke some debate on British attitudes to immigration (pdf). [more inside]
For the past 50 years, The British
have made some of the funniest
Comedy TV Shows. Come inside for A Video Chronology of The History of British TV Comedy. [more inside]
Mark Kermode reviews Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
. "Is that a nest of tables? No, it's Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley having some red hot passionate embrace that is positively teaky." [more inside]
BBC launch Flash version of iPlayer
The BBC have developed iPlayer
as a vehicle for online distribution of its programs. Originally this involved downloading a stand-alone application for windows users only. This application has had a troubled beta launch
and has drawn criticism from Linux and Mac users who were unsupported. The Flash version is an attempt to placate these users (though I believe you have to be in the UK
"Hello, and welcome to Mainly For Men
, part 2
). And, as the title implies, this is a programme, fellas, just for you." Yes, everything the BBC thought the red-blooded male back in the late 1960s would be interested in (ie women, cars and shark fishing). The result was so hideous it was never broadcast until a TV Hell themed night many years later. Possibly NSFW... some brief nudity ('artistic', naturally) and mild swearing. And rampant mind-blowing sexism.
Jon Ronson decides "I'm going to tell my son the worst swearword in the world"
. His follow up article
is also interesting. Incidentally, his "Bad Science" colleague from The Guardian did uncover a list of the worst swearwords
from the BBC no less (and previously
Ronnie Hazlehurst RIP. Who?
Well if you've seen any of the BBC's sitcoms and light entertainment programmes from the 70s onwards, you would have probably heard his work... [more inside]
For those of us who thought the BBC's mammoth self
were one of the symptions of modern marketing excess, a trawl on the Internet has turned up this John Cleese-presented advertisment on What Have the BBC Ever Given Us?
. And it being the BBC, Spitting Image have the right of rebuttal
... [more inside]
"I feel guilty because I have friends that are working really hard to get into television or acting and I'm just sitting here having not done anything more than enjoy playing with gadgets."
Susi Weaser (24) makes little one-minute gadget reviews
them on YouTube . The BBC must have liked them - because they hired her
Remember the announcement
for the BBC's Manchester Passion
? The full list of songs
were recently announced
are over, tonight
the procession through the city
will be broadcast live on BBC Three - for now you can watch trailers and interviews
with the cast (only for UK viewers/proxy users)
The ashes of the recently deceased contains high amounts of nutrient rich phosphates, just perfect for sprucing up that garden of yours. On the iconic peaks of Scotland though Mountaineers have decided that enough is enough
, the BBC's political editor, now has a weblog
100 things we didn't know this time last year.
We seem to have an overload of year-end lists, but this one from the BBC was rather entertaining (if UK-centric). Feel free to add anything that you
didn't know a year ago in your corner of the world.
Highlight of the election coverage:
George Galloway is the leader of Respect
and won a historic and unexpected victory against the Blairite Oona King, on an anti-war ticket. He was then interviewed by Jeremy Paxman, an increasingly controversial interviewer well known for asking questions absurd numbers of times until they get answered - a technique which arguably backfires here. You might want to watch Galloway's acceptance speech
first. [Windows Media. My two cents: Paxman is an egregious cock, more interested in getting his eternally righteous indignation across than any issues.]
BBC Test the Nation: Popular Music.
UK centric [slightly] quiz in the Test The Nation series [- but allows a 'not UK' option.]
write the theme from 'The Office' Handbags & Gladrags
As the verdict of Butler
into the intelligence used to justify the war in Iraq, draws near in
Britain, a senior intelligence source reveals
took the "rare step" of withdrawing the intelligence
that underpinned the claim that Saddam had continued to produce WMD (an
admission that such information was fundamentally unreliable), however Blair did not
tell the public "that the
evidence of WMD was crumbling beneath him"
. [Watch the Panorama
programme in question here for 7 days from 11-7-2004
The Dossier that Lord Hutton declared was not sexed-up
senior BBC resignations), Dr Brian Jones (former head of the nuclear, chemical and
biological branch of the Ministry of Defence's Defence Intelligence Staff) says was
sexed-up, and details exactly how
The recent post that revived the rude ‘Rainbow
’ kids show sketch reminded me of the our (that is, British) obsession with comic double entendre
- the ability to accept the filthiest things as long as there is a parallel innocuous interpretation. I think it is something to do our love for wordplay and subtext, our innate hypocrisy and the belief that sex is, in fact, rather naughty. Perhaps the prime example are the Julian and Sandy
sketches that ran on the BBC Radio show ‘Beyond Our Ken’
from 1964-69. Over Sunday lunch, millions (there was ONLY the BBC in those days) listened to two very camp characters saying outrageous things in Polari
(underground gay slang). A much earlier prime example is the great dirty joke
(it’s the one in blue at the bottom of the page) that got comedian Max Miller (died in 1963) banned from the BBC for 5 years. A more recent case of innuendo is, of course, Mrs. Slocombe’s pussy
. Of course the double entendre
can also be unintentional
Trusting The Redcoats:
How many independent-minded Americans actually rely on the BBC (specially the World Service
) for accurate coverage of American politics? Not to mention The Guardian
. Is it a strictly an elitist, liberal/left-wing phenomenon? What does it mean? What does it say about better-informed liberal newspapers and media of the U.S.? If so, why aren't like-minded Europeans just as cosmopolitan and, say, pay the same attention to news sources like The New York Times, NPR and others, rather than stolidly sticking to their own national staples?
The BBC is asking visitors of its news site to vote from a shortlist of the ten most embarrassing political moments
. Visitors can watch a short film
[real media] which shows all ten nominated moments (forgive the home-video moments style background muzak). There's some variety here: Tony Blair and Neil Kinnock in moments exhibiting a baffling degree of misguidedness, George W Bush and Kenneth Clarke in tight spots (figuratively and literally), while Charles Kennedy and John Prescott probably coming out of their situations looking better than they did beforehand. For me the most cringe-inducing clip is that of John Redwood, the then newly appointed Secretary of State for Wales, attempting to mime the Welsh national anthem. Genuinely difficult to watch.
The BBC introduces
it's new grass-roots political website iCan
. After research showed (surprise surprise) that "many people are very disillusioned and cynical about politicians and local civic institutions
" moves were made to set up iCan, to enable people to get information on and engage in local and national political issues. With search tools to find actions on local issues, message boards, and the ability to create a website for your cause, "iCan aims to make politics accessible to ordinary people confronting a problem.
" It's also one of the things Rupert Murdoch and The Guardian would like to squash.
Take one flag. Add black marker pen. Instant Harmony!
Does multicultural Britain need a flag makeover? Does this set a multi-colour precedent? Rainbow's
taken isn't it? Is it maybe a plot by smaller flag makers to undermine market leaders? And what about Wales
The more you earn, the lower your IQ.
That's the clear but unexpected result from the second National IQ test
broadcast by the BBC. The test is still online if you are curious. The first test was discussed here
. For a higher IQ, be an unemployed Irish man and drink too much.
At what point does a government have to stop and wonder if it's judged the mood correctly?
The UK government manages to bribe a rebel
with a cushy job, but not one
, not two
, but three
other MPs walk away from the government in one day.
Are things going wrong in the UK?
How to love the US
is a story on the newly redesigned BBC pages, just recently mentioned here.
I was struck by the tone of the piece, which seemed to me to be a desperate bid to find good things to say about the US.
Have things really sunk so low? Is the US so despised that it needs the BBC to pimp it?
50 years ago last month,
a dark cloud settled in over London. And stayed for four days. This fog, which was brought on by a lethal combination of high pressure, near freezing temperatures and London's pervasive coal burning, starting killing things. At first, the animals at a cattle show, then the elderly, or those prone to resperatory disease. By the end, over 4,000 people had died. Strangely, to this day the disaster retains a low profile, unlike more glamorous disasters such as the Titanic, or Bhopal. Stranger still, is that unlike those others, while the fog was at its most deadly, few realized there was even an epidemic occurring, with most viewing it as, at worst, a mild nuisance.
Is the BBCi website far too big and monopolistic?
Editorial from 'The Guardian' discussing whether the BBC's website, funded by the British license fee is taking the thunder away from commercial websites worldwide trying to achieve the same results in advertising run market place. There is some logic to the argument -- when e-marketing revenues are dwingling how can some sites compete with this bohemoth? On the other hand, if they were achieving the same results people would be going to them instead, and the BBC's website is very, very good in some places, indispensible in others.
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?
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.
has been voted as the Greatest Briton
in a BBC survey. Yes, he gave some great speeches when he needed to, but who gave him the language to make them
? Who is missing from the list
Trial by Tabloid?
Top BBC presenter Angus Deaton
has been sacked after a sex & drugs scandal
. He has presented comedy news quiz Have I Got News For You
for over ten years. So, is ti right for him to be sacked after trial by tabloid? Do we actually care what our T.V. presenters get up to after the cameras are turned off?
Actor Richard Harris dies
"Don't let it be forgot - that once there was a spot - for one brief, shining moment - that was known as Camelot..." Such a sad day all around. R.I.P., Richard.
Centre of Great Britain
The BBC (God bless 'em) are running a series of "Centre of ..." stories. No-one in the UK seems to care, do other nationalities care more about their country's centre of gravity?
MOD Selects The Carlyle Group as Preferred Bidder for QinetiQ
. In a move that seems to be going ahead with very little coverage, Britain's military research agency is being sold off to a foreign company. Given the important role Qinetiq
plays in Britain's Defense, and the type of business The Carlyle Group
is, this is perhaps surprising...