almostwitty: (monkey)

A poster reminding BBC staff about the closure of BBC Television CentreAnyone who loves Britain’s televisual heritage will not have let the closure of BBC Television Centre go by without at least one sad thought of glorious days gone by, lamenting how the creative engine that kept the BBC going will now surely be lost, and how they will no longer find a home or see their friends and colleagues at the bar.

Forgive me for interrupting the nostalgia fest – and none of this is meant to dismiss the great work that went on there – but the two BBC chat’n'compilation programmes that look back at the great days of Television Centre have reminded me of one thing:

As a current BBC employee, there is no way I – or many people I know – would have even had a chance of a job there back in the 1970s. That’s not down to my skills or experience, but simply because my face would not have fit. The two programmes that looked back at Television Centre didn’t feature any non-white people on its various panels, and hardly any women compared to today’s television schedules. What, no room for Floella Benjamin or Lenny Henry on the comfy sofa?

To be fair, this in itself was symptomatic of 1960s/70s Britain, an era where any thought of diversity (by today’s definition) was a sci-fi dream as alien as anything from Doctor Who, but in the mass rose-tinted view of a simpler life where everyone was friends with everyone else, this seems to have been forgotten.

A similar delusion seems to have befallen some people as they realise our television heroes back then were as flawed as their British society counterparts. It’s apparently a shocking revelation in a new Doctor Who behind-the-scenes expose book (ironically written by the man who directed/produced one of the Television Centre tribute shows) that William Hartnell was racist, and senior members of the production team would sometimes use their oblique power of promise to extract sexual favours from fans.

Forgive me if I’m not shocked at the thought that a white British man in his 60s in the 1960s would not have been entirely comfortable with people from other races. Or that the casting couch phenomenon was alive and well in 1980s/90s Britain. As the Seventh Doctor once said in one of the spin-off novels: “Absolute power corrupts absolutely”.

None of this is written to denigrate the creative genius that created moments of joy and laughter for millions of people (or indeed the distress of those on the wrong end of the power equation), but let’s not pretend it didn’t happen. And isn’t happening now.

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (evil)

Someone at the BBC had the genius idea to broadcast, after the Royal Wedding, a trailer for that other British institution that’s stood the test of time… the BBC. And it’s a fab trailer that brought a whisper of a tear to my eye.

 

Unfortunately, the BBC wasn’t forward-thinking enough (at the time of writing) to actually put it on its own website or YouTube channel. And it comes to something when even the Royal Family are YouTubing, Flickring and Tweeting their way through it all. Fortunately, someone else has uploaded it:

As a TV nerd, I was flicking through all the other channels all morning, comparing the wedding coverage. Amazingly, CNN basically had a series of trump card captions comparing Kate to Diana, eg: “Diana didn’t go to college and was a nursery school teacher. Kate went to the University of St. Andrews and graduated in Art History”. That poor woman is going to suffer with mother-in-law issues for eternity.

Amusingly, Fox News also had full live coverage of the Royal Wedding. You’d have thought that Republicans/Tea Partiers would be against using tax payers’ money for a ceremony of pomp and circumstance…

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)
and it's on the BBC! (six to eight seconds in...)



Shame they don't pay anything...
almostwitty: (Default)
I'm getting ready tonight to do something I've never done before, something where the entire country will see me and something you can only do once in five years.

Yes, Matthew, tonight, I'm going to be on BBC HD and BBC One tonight (or BBC Two in Wales and Scotland) for the Election Results programme, being one of those anonymous election drones somewhere behind Dimbelby's right shoulder, tapping voting results into the BBC's massive computer. I've been in training all week for this, using my ridiculously posh telephone voice. You can go backstage and get a tour from the director, or get an intro from David Dimbelby

So I've got two twelve-hour shifts, on Thursday night/Friday morning, and Friday night including the Ten O'Clock News. I've even got my Wargames T-shirt, although the spoilsports at BBC News are making everyone wear a BBC Election T-shirt on top.

It's already ruined the magic of network news television for me - I was live on set for Monday's Ten O'Clock News - but never mind, I'm actually doing something IMPORTANT for a change. It's going to be FUN!

But I need to vote first...
almostwitty: (Default)

You’d have thought that linking from a website to another website would be a basic principle in building websites. Even the BBC seems to agree – its’ latest Strategy Review states that “BBC Online will be transformed into a window on the web with, by 2012, an external link on every page and at least double the current rate of ‘click-throughs’ to external sites.”

Except OFCOM, the commerical broadcast regulator, has reprimanded GMTV for essentially linking to another website from its’ main website.

During a broadcast, viewers were invited to apply for free gym passes via GMTV’s website. Once they got there, they were told to click through to moneysavingexpert.com to pick up the gym passes. Ofcom said this is effectively promoting Lewis’s business and breaches rule 10.3 of the broadcasting code which states products and services must not be promoted in programmes.

Hrm…

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)
then you need to contact the BBC Trust. It's them who make the decision, not the Culture Secretary (Tory or Labour) or anyone else.

You can give them your views here.
almostwitty: (Default)

It’s amazing what you can cut together with rushes of interviews…

(The BBC documentary that was actually made partly from these rushes is The Virtual Revolution, presented by the divine Dr. Aleks Krotoski, Saturdays at 8.30pm on BBC Two)

Incidentally, it’s nice to know that I have finally achieved my ambition to have my name listed on a BBC network programme’s credits. Even if it’s only my netname, and it’s only listed on the website…

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)

It’s amazing what you can cut together with rushes of interviews…

(The BBC documentary that was actually made partly from these rushes is The Virtual Revolution, presented by the divine Dr. Aleks Krotoski, Saturdays at 8.30pm on BBC Two)

Incidentally, it’s nice to know that I have finally achieved my ambition to have my name listed on a BBC network programme’s credits. Even if it’s only my netname, and it’s only listed on the website…

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)

In a show that is in no way an attempt to recreate elements of Mythbusters, a presenter of the BBC’s Bang Goes The Theory climbed one of the BBC office buildings today using the power of nothing but suction:

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)

In a show that is in no way an attempt to recreate elements of Mythbusters, a presenter of the BBC’s Bang Goes The Theory climbed one of the BBC office buildings today using the power of nothing but suction:

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)

As some people may have noticed, Torchwood: Children of Earth annoyed quite a few Torchwood fans, and some of them responded in less than flattering ways, especially towards one of the writers, the gentlemanly James Moran.

The best quote I saw was when someone Twittered James to ask that he walk into the production offices and shoot the executive producer. Fan-icide, you might say.

So I wrote a short 400-word article about it for Ariel, the BBC’s in-house magazine – reproduced here for your slight enjoyment…

An article I wrote for Ariel

An article I wrote for Ariel

Of course, extreme acts of fandom stupidity and inaneness are not restricted to Torchwood fans, oh no… read an earlier post and the priceless comment

Now, guess how much I was paid for those 400 words of non-wisdom...

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)

As I speak, there is the glorious sound of a gospel choir working their way through a bunch of classic hymns and not-so-classic modern pop tunes.

This would be great, if it was not Friday at 4pm, they were on the ground floor of the building I work in and only the bottom two floors (those belonging to BBC Worldwide) are enjoying the party, complete with mince pies, wine, DJ and glitterball. In the meantime, the wage slaves up above have to - in theory - keep working.

It wouldn’t be so bad if I hadn’t arrived back at the BBC just when the Christmas party limit was slashed, so my “departmental” Christmas party last week was at a bar, and consisted of some free drink - and far too late - some very unChristmassy canapes. Although I’m lucky I got to go to one at all, I suppose…

Then again, my first BBC Worldwide Christmas party was quite an eye-opener. I’d only been working for a week, and got shepherded to the party at Heaven, which included girls dancing in cages, and ice sculptures where you could drink vodka from an ice woman’s breast. This was 1997, mind you…

Originally published at almost witty. You can comment here or there.

almostwitty: (Default)

The formerly-stuffy-old BBC have done something I never thought I'd see them on most nights, let alone election night. They’ve started quoting from the blogosphere.

Not content with having two chief bloggers working away behind the scenes, they’ve interviewed them on camera, and reported rumours from the rest of the blogosphere. Which certainly makes a nice change from the 2005 General Election coverage. They even had Huw Edwards “commenting” back on a couple of the comments pointed at him.

So either the BBC have truly embraced user-generated content and blogging, or they had some air time to fill while waiting for results to come in.

Still, it makes a nice change from having to see some of the god-awful websites that represent the Welsh political scene at the moment. I never thought I’d see an Assembly Member using Myspace - but then again, I suppose it’s better than the Aberconwy Labour Party not having updated their website since nominations closed - and not having had time to even look at it on a PC before publishing it.

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