Broadcast on Halloween night 1992 Ghostwatch
- a live investigation into a haunted house - was one of the most controversial and terrifying programs the BBC has ever shown. [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry
on Oct 31, 2010 -
, character actor, has died at 87
after a 52 year career on stage, television, and film. In the United States he may be best known for playing the whimsical Tom Ballard alongside Stephanie Cole's cynical Diana in the BBC series Waiting for God
, often shown on PBS. Born in Edinburgh in 1922, he had a distinguished career on stage, particularly at Olivier's National Theatre, undertaking (among other roles) The Player King in Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
In 1974, citing an inability to commit to a single role, he turned down the part of the Fourth Doctor
, which eventually went to his friend Tom Baker. A few years later, in 1977, he played in Terry Gilliam's Jabberwocky
He had another star turn on television in a previous BBC series, A Very Peculiar Practice
, as the physician Jock McCannon.
His last role was in 2008 in an episode of Foyle's War
, "Broken Souls
Said his agent Sue Grantley to the BBC
, "We will all miss him enormously."
posted by sister nunchaku of love and mercy
on Oct 30, 2010 -
"… if I ever have to see this gurning little maggot clicking into faux reverie mode again – rising from his seat to jazz-slap the top of his piano wearing a fake-groove expression on his piggish little face – if I have to witness that one more time I'm going to rise up and kill absolutely everybody in the world, starting with him and ending with me.". Charlie Brooker, the UK Guardian's TV 'critic', calls it quits.
posted by lalochezia
on Oct 15, 2010 -
Back in the 80s when Doctor Who
was mired in a creative and ratings slump, the programme's creator Sydney Newman was asked how to revive it. His answer
- regenerate the Doctor as a woman. [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry
on Oct 12, 2010 -
is a lightweight, fast game of forming associations, which is, ahem, "based on" the BBC's Only Connect
. Hundreds of grids to play and you can submit your own, too! (The BBC site has a few dozen more
, in a fancier, louder flash app.)
posted by Wolfdog
on Sep 20, 2010 -
application aims to use steganography
to hide samizdat
-type data within a larger stream of innocuous network traffic. Thus, civilians in Iran, for example, could more easily evade Iranian censors and provide the world with an unfiltered report
on events within the country. Haystack earned its creator Austin Heap
a great deal of positive coverage from the media during the 2009 Iranian election protests. The BBC described Heap as "on the front lines"
of the protesters' "Twitter revolution", while The Guardian called him an Innovator of the Year
. Despite the laudatory coverage, however, the media were never given a copy of the software to examine. Indeed, not much is known about the software or its inner workings. Specialists in network encryption security were not allowed to perform an independent evaluation of Haystack, despite its distribution to and use by a small number of Iranians, possibly at some risk. As interest in the project widens
and criticisms of the media coverage and software continue to mount
, Heap has currently asked users to cease using Haystack
until a security review can be performed.
posted by Blazecock Pileon
on Sep 13, 2010 -
"I HEREBY REQUEST
that my body or any part thereof may be used for therapeutic purposes including corneal grafting and organ transplantation or for the purposes of medical education [...] with the exception of my skull, which shall be offered by the institution receiving my body to the Royal Shakespeare Company for use in theatrical performance." [more inside]
posted by oulipian
on Sep 11, 2010 -
“We strive for a future that we cannot touch, and memories of our life’s past leave traces that form a road behind us.
When we stop, there are no traffic lights and no give way signs; only ourselves in the here and now.
” -Here and Now
: Sonia Yee [more inside]
posted by infinite intimation
on Sep 9, 2010 -
A Widow's Journey [MP3].
"In 1989, Appapillai Amirthalingam - the most prominent political figure of the Tamil community - was assassinated at his home in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo. Twenty years on, the Tamil Tigers have been defeated by the military. Appapillai's wife and son travel back to their homeland in search of his legacy in an attempt to understand what the future holds for Sri Lanka's Tamil people."
posted by chunking express
on Sep 2, 2010 -
- a fun brainstorming and decisionmaking online tool from the BBC.
posted by Miko
on Aug 24, 2010 -
This past Saturday evening a woman dumped a rescue cat into a garbage bin on the side of a residential street in Coventry, U.K. Fifteen hours later owner Darryl Mann
: "I came down to feed Lola on Sunday morning but couldn’t find her anywhere. It was really hot day outside and I searched nearby alleyways but suddenly heard a tiny meowing coming from the bin. I looked inside and I found her in the bin, she was terrified and covered in her own mess....At first I thought she’d somehow climbed inside the bin herself but when I checked the CCTV
I was gobsmacked to see some a woman had done it deliberately." Mann posted the video to YouTube
in an effort to find the perpetrator. As a result, the woman was identified by this morning. [more inside]
posted by ericb
on Aug 24, 2010 -
On August 16th 1951 a number of people in the quiet southern French town of Pont St.Esprit began to fall ill. Stomach pains were soon followed by violent and often terrifying hallucinations. Local hospitals were soon overwhelmed and more than thirty people were taken to asylums in nearby towns. It was soon decided that the cause was bread poisoning and the evidence pointed to just one Bakery. The reason, it was believed was 'ergot', a fungal infection found in Rye bread which had often caused mass poisonings in Medieval times.
Journalist Hank Albarelli
, however, claims that a recently released CIA memo
shows that the CIA were in fact testing LSD on the inhabitants of the town
. [more inside]
posted by dng
on Aug 24, 2010 -
From the BBC blog of documentary filmmaker Adam Curtis
: Experiments in the Laboratory of Consumerism 1959-67
: "I have quite a lot of film from the archives that was shot in the Madison Avenue agencies in the mid 1960s, and I thought I would put some sections up. It is great because it shows some of the major advertising men and women of the time, many of whom are the real-life models for characters in Mad Men."
Includes a 9-minute video interview with the late Herta Herzog
. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Aug 23, 2010 -
is running around modern day London. Airing Sundays on BBC1
, The BBC has reinvented the master dectective and his sidekick for 2010. Sherlock is cast as a modern day "high functioning sociopath" while Watson is a former army doctor with PSTD returned from Afghanistan. It has been written and created by Doctor Who writers Mark Gatiss
and Steven Moffat
Reviews are in
and the update is a stellar success. The series has been sold worldwide, however UK viewers can watch with BBC iplayer. Rumor has it that those unwilling to wait for release can find alternative sources for viewing.
posted by Funmonkey1
on Aug 2, 2010 -
"Sixteen-year-old Sabera, with a pretty yellow head scarf, frets that she is missing school. 'I was about to get engaged, and the boy came to ask me himself, before sending his parents. A lady in our neighbourhood saw us, and called the police,' she explains. She was sentenced to three years but, in an act of mercy, it was shortened to 18 months . . ." The BBC reports from an Afghan women's prison. [more inside]
posted by Jaltcoh
on Jun 30, 2010 -
50 Impressions in Two Minutes
and Classic Movie Lines
(neither of which are precisely what you think), followed by acting master classes with Kevin Spacey
, Ralph Fiennes
, Michael Caine
, Al Pacino
, Robert DeNiro
, and, last but certainly not least, Marlon Brando
. All by Peter Serafinowicz
, who you may know as Spaced
's Duane Benzie or Shaun of the Dead
's Pete. (Thanks, iridic!)
posted by WCityMike
on Jun 17, 2010 -
Some kind soul
recently uploaded, in five parts, a 1991 BBC Omnibus
television documentary about Peter Greenaway
, who never ceases to inspire me in his dedication to push film into new, richly interesting places, to liberate it from its addiction to stale 19th-century psychological narrative and to open it up to accept and incorporate all manner of artistic information it's usually denied. Cleverly titled Anatomy of a Filmmaker
— Greenaway is an enthusiast of the nude human figure, which he sees as the single constant of art — it covers the filmmaker's career from his earliest shorts up through Prospero's Books
. There are bits about the time he spent honing his skills cutting together British propaganda, his experience with painting and his longtime collaboration with Sacha Vierny. It also presents subsections on Greenaway's own inspirational creators, including John Cage and the increasingly-intriguing-to-me R.B. Kitaj.
posted by colinmarshall
on Jun 14, 2010 -
The Martians And Us
a BBC documentary series on the history of British science fiction.
Part 1 - 'From Apes To Aliens' (1
Part 2 - 'Trouble In Paradise' (1
Part 3 - The End Of The World As We Know It (1
) [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry
on Jun 7, 2010 -
BBC World Service has over 500 audio documentaries
you can download. The subject matter is incredibly wide ranging, for example, internet cafés
, the influence of Islamic art on William Morris
, South African female AIDS activist Thembi Ngubane
, the importance of cows
, novelist Chinua Achebe
, financial risk management
, Obama as an intellectual
, the physical and emotional effects of a car crash
and many, many more. If the quantity and variety are overwhelming, you can subscribe to a podcast
, which delivers a new documentary to you every single day.
posted by Kattullus
on May 8, 2010 -
“Vegetable, Vegetable or Vegetable” is an “intrusive and unpleasant game” featured on Ouch
, the hour-long monthly BBC
talk show on disability. In it, the show’s hosts must figure out a caller’s disability by asking “fiendish” questions, to which the caller may answer only yes or no. (When it’s all over, Daleks holler out the answer.) This is only one of the many scabrous, puckish, and unskittish ways in which Ouch
covers life as a “crip,” a term the show uses unabashedly.
posted by joeclark
on May 5, 2010 -