In the two years building up to the government’s NHS reform bill, the BBC appears to have categorically failed to uphold its remit of impartiality, parroting government spin as uncontested fact, whilst reporting only a narrow, shallow view of opposition to the bill. In addition, key news appears to have been censored. The following in-depth investigation provides a shocking testimony of the extent to which the BBC abandoned the NHS.
Tigers in Nepal's Chitwan National Park have taken the 'night shift,' apparently to coexist with people.(Youtube)
Armando Iannucci's Bafta lecture 2012 - In which the creator of The Thick Of It argues that the BBC should be more aggressive, fight back against critics in the press and goverment, be more like HBO than committee-driven American network TV, and that if as James Murdoch says the only reliable, durable guarantor of independence is profit then the only guarantor of profit is independance.
Breaking: There Is No News A supercut of awkward silences in news reports.
Next year, BBC Radio Two's series The People's Songs, will tell the history of modern Britain in 50 songs. They have just announced what ten of them will be. [more inside]
The world's hardest radio quiz is back.
BBC documentary from 1973 on the London Chapter of the Hell's Angels (SLYT 24:37)
Paul Mason of Newsnight writes in praise of bokeh.
Doctor Who Online podcast interviews Ian Levine. In parallel with his career as a DJ and record producer who worked with Bananarama and the Pet Shop Boys, Levine was also a consultant on Doctor Who in the 80s and was instrumental in finding many missing episodes of the series. His latest projects include private reconstructions of unproduced or incomplete stories like Douglas Adams's Shada. The interview is three entertaining, if controversial hours [direct download link to episode one and to episode two].
Red Star in Orbit is a three-part BBC documentary about the history of the Soviet space program, originally broadcast in 1990 as part of the ongoing series Horizon. Based on a book by American space historian and NASA vetran James Oberg, who features prominently in the program, Red Star in Orbit was filmed and assembled while the slow collapse of the USSR was already underway. The filmmakers were given an unprecedented amount of access to active Cosmonauts, veterans of the program and to Star City itself. [more inside]
The benefits of fasting have been covered before on Metafilter, but a new BBC documentary (discussed by the presenter Dr Michael Mosley in the Telegraph here) looking at the science behind fasting seems to show that the evidence supporting fasting’s general health benefits beyond weight loss are growing.
Georges Cziffra warms up for the BBC, mixing improvisation with a bit of the first Chopin étude. [more inside]
'While they never met, they had some things in common. Both were Army captains, engaged in important work for the nation, their costly educations paid for by U.S. taxpayers. Ian Morrison, 26, returned to Fort Hood, Texas, last December after nine months flying 70 combat missions over Iraq. Dr. Michael McCaddon, 37, was an ob-gyn resident at Hawaii’s Tripler Army Medical Center. The pilot and the doctor shared one other thing: they found themselves in a darkening, soul-sucking funnel that has trapped some 2,500 military personnel since 9/11. Like them, each died, at his own hand, on March 21, nearly 4,000 miles apart.' [more inside]
Mugshot Yourself: Meet 1864's greatest rogues, then become one yourself. Try your face on different mugshots, and add the best of them to Copper's growing collection of New York's most notorious. Con men, petty thieves, prostitutes...Oh, and you.(via BBCAmerica)
From TOR.com: What Everybody Gets Wrong About Jekyll and Hyde: 'And when I say everybody, I mean everybody.' [more inside]
"What is a cult film? A cult film is one that has a passionate following, but does not appeal to everyone. James Bond movies are not cult films, but chainsaw movies are. Just because a film has become a cult movie does not automatically guarantee quality. Some are very bad; others are very, very good. Some make an awful lot of money at the box office; others make no money at all. Some are considered quality films; others are exploitation movies. One thing cult movies do have in common is that they are all genre films - for example gangster films or westerns. They also have a tendency to slosh over from one genre into another, so that a science fiction film might also be a detective movie, or vice versa. They share common themes as well, themes that are found in all drama: love, murder and greed." - of the British TV film slots accompanied by an introduction perhaps the most celebrated is Moviedrome, running between 1988 and 2000 and presented first by Repo Man director Alex Cox and then film critic Mark Cousins. [more inside]
The Evolution Documentary channel (autoplays video) has collected documentaries and clips about evolution available on youtube, including documentaries from BBC, Nova, and National Geographic. [more inside]
Olympic athletes come in all shapes and sizes. The BBC's handy new app allows you to see which athlete you are the closest body match with. [more inside]
A Guide to Writing Sherlockian-Tea Habits. In which EnigmaticPenguin (of death) schools fanfiction authors in correct English tea theory and practice. Follow up: Biscuits.
Chirp is an application that allows information such as photos, text or links to be transmitted to devices in earshot. The "chirp" containing the link to the data may be played from a devices or broadcast over radio or PA systems. Unlike many similar system the technology does not require receiving devices to be pre-paired. For now available only as an iPhone application. Discussion and demonstration.
Quite Likely The Worst Job Ever: 'The men who made it their living by forcing entry into London’s sewers at low tide and wandering through them, sometimes for miles, searching out and collecting the miscellaneous scraps washed down from the streets above' [more inside]
A Magazine article on when to take off a wedding ring after a marriage fails generated a large response from readers. The feature asked when it was appropriate to remove the band, and explored the symbolism of doing so. Here, readers share their stories about the dilemma of what to do with a symbol of marriage once the relationship has broken down.
Where are you on the global fat scale? The BBC investigates.
Today marks the end of an era as the BBC World Service broadcasts for the last time from its longtime home at Bush House. [more inside]
First Class was a titanic "electronic" tea time BBC general knowledge quiz show in the late 1980s, presented by heartthrob Debbie Greenwood (now a regular on QVC UK) with the aid of a BBC Micro called Eugene. Two teams of teenagers represented their schools as they battled for supremacy playing a random selection of arcade games like skateboarder 720 degrees and Hypersports, the ultimate prize an Acorn Archimedes. Now, the nail-biting encounter between Armthorpe School in Sheffield and Montagu School of Kettering is on YouTube [parts 1, 2 & 3]
The BBC's new Olympics 2012 ad (full 2m40s version; SLYT) is a CGI masterpiece for the video gamer era. (best viewed with YouTube HD resolution settings on) [more inside]
Breaking Out. This afternoon, in a lift in Manchester ... a BBC Research and Development experiment into new editorial formats.
The Hollow Crown is a season of 4 of Shakespeare's history plays being broadcast by the BBC. Avoiding past mistakes these are made for a television audience and set on location. [more inside]
There are fears for the future editorial independence of the BBC after news journalists were ordered to come up with money-generating ideas for the corporation, a leaked email reveals. BBC bosses have told reporters to think of money-making schemes and present them to their line managers at forthcoming job appraisals – raising concerns that the organisation's prized editorial standards will be compromised by commercial imperatives. The 2,400 staff working in the BBC's Global News department, including the BBC World Service, have been told that they must now "exploit new commercial opportunities [and] maximise the value we create with our journalism".
"Book TV's After Words features the author of a recently published hardback non-fiction book interviewed by a guest host with some knowledge, background, or connection to the subject matter of the book." There's also a podcast version (link goes to XML feed), for those who'd rather listen. Many more non-fiction author interviews can be found at Booknotes (transcripts and streaming video). If your tastes run to interviews with authors of fiction, check out the BBC's Modern Writers archive. (BookTV (but not specifically After Words) previously, Booknotes (but before the series ended) previously.)
'Caught in the act: the first record of copulating fossil vertebrates.' [BBC.co.uk] "The remains of the 47-million-year old animals were unearthed in the famous Messel Pit near Darmstadt, Germany. They were found as male-female pairs. In two cases, the males even had their tails tucked under their partners' as would be expected from the coital position. Details are carried in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters."
"I've been lucky enough to film with elephants, gorillas, bears and none of them have ever sat on my head."
Magic Meerkat Moments: In this clip from BBC's Planet Earth Live, we get to see meerkats, which have become so acclimated to film crews that they now view them as part of the landscape and use them for shade and as vantage points. [via]
Shock of the New is a 1980 documentary television series by Robert Hughes produced by the BBC in association with Time-Life Films and RM Productions. ... It addressed the development of modern art since the Impressionists and was accompanied by a book of the same name; its combination of insight, wit and accessibility are still widely praised. - Wikipedia [more inside]
BBC's Essential Mix has been running two hour DJ sets for nearly 20 years, usually continuous mixes of current club tracks. Nicolas Jaar took things in a decidedly different direction this week, with an eclectic mix of sound track music, jazz, hip-hop, IDM and pop music with just a sprinkling of deep house here and there. Truly essential listening.
Ben Howard performing a cover of Call me Maybe by Carly Rae Jespen on BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge. [more inside]
Irene Shubik started as a television script-writer, first writing for Encyclopædia Britannica Films (some videos on Archive.org) in the United States before moving back England, where she was hired on at Associated British Corporation. There, she worked as a story editor for the prolific TV producer Sydney Newman on the anthology series 'Armchair Theatre.' A long-time fan of science fiction, Shubik approached Newman about creating a science fiction version of 'Armchair Theatre,' and Newman agreed. The result was 'Out of This World,' which ran for a single season in 1962. Shubik followed Newman to BBC, where they continued the theme of 'Out of This World' with a new program, 'Out of the Unknown.' Between the two series, 63 episodes were made, though only 21 episodes survive in full, and audio and video clips survive from another 18 episodes. The videos and original short stories are linked below the break. [more inside]
The Up Series [previously] continues. This documentary series, begun in 1964, has revisited the lives of a select group of British citizens once every seven years of their life. 56 Up, which shows the group at age 56, will air sometime in mid-May on the BBC, but until then, have this great Guardian article about the impact of the films on the lives of the people featured in them.
Pirate Bay to be blocked By UK ISPs. "File-sharing site The Pirate Bay must be blocked by UK internet service providers, the High Court has ruled." [more inside]
Limbless amphibian species found. [bbc.co.uk] A UK-Indian team of scientists have announced the discovery of a new species of limbless amphibian. The creature - about 168mm in length and pink in colour [image] - belongs to an enigmatic, limbless group of amphibians known as the caecilians [wiki].
I Woke Up Gay (SLYT): In the small town of Ystrad Mynach, South Wales, seven years ago, a 19-stone rugby-playing ladies man and bank clerk Chris Birch snapped his neck while larking around doing somersaults and backflips with his friends. As the tabloids excitedly revealed a while ago, he suffered a massive stroke and woke up as a completely different person -- a person who happened to be gay. [more inside]
The History of a Mystery is a 1996 BBC Timewatch Documentary about Rennes-le-Château and its 19th-century priest, Bérenger Saunière. [more inside]
High in the Himalayan foothills, fearless Gurung men risk their lives to harvest the massive nests of the world's largest honeybee. [more inside]
Young Edd Gould always enjoyed drawing comics of himself and his friends. Growing up in the internet age, his doodles evolved into Flash animations of increasing complexity, and in time Edd and pals Tom Ridgewell and Matt Hargreaves teamed up to produce an "Eddsworld" series of online webtoons and comics. At first crude and halting, the group's "eddisodes" progressed from surreal shorts and one-shots into full-fledged productions that pushed the boundaries of amateur web animation, with expressive characters, full soundtracks, complex effects, and a fast-paced, off-kilter sense of humor: MovieMakers - Spares - WTFuture - Rock Bottom - Hammer & Fail (2). At its height, the college co-op was producing shorts for Mitchell & Webb and the UN Climate Change Conference, fielding offers from Paramount and Cartoon Network, and racking up millions of hits on YouTube. Work slowed, however, when Gould was diagnosed with leukemia -- a relatively survivable form, though, and Gould carried on working gamely through his hospital stays. So it came as a shock last week when Matt and Tom announced that Edd had passed away, prompting an outpouring of grief and gratitude from all the fans he'd entertained and inspired in his short 23 years.
Jake Cole of the film blog Not Just Movies discusses the semi-legendary hour-long debate about Monty Python's Life of Brian on the BBC Four program Friday Night, Saturday Morning. The debate features Pythons John Cleese and Michael Palin on one side and opposite them broadcaster Malcolm Muggeridge and Mervyn Stockwood, the Bishop of Southwark.
Exploring Cardiff's Roath Lock studios, home of Doctor Who, Casualty, Upstairs Downstairs and the Welsh language Pobol y Cwm. Oh yeah, and there's a trailer for Doctor Who series 7, in which Farscape fans will catch a glimpse of Ben Browder.
Could you run a marathon without training? [bbc.co.uk] "London Marathon entrants have a month of training left for what’s seen as one of the greatest feats of human endurance. Yet Irish twins Jedward claim they completed the Los Angeles marathon without any training. So is it possible to run one on a whim?"