Tuesday, October 6, 2015

x 4

The Daily Mail may have discovered an additional line of BBC income paid to Alan Yentob - a share of the overseas sales of Imagine.


The BBC has refused to confirm or deny the story. Previously we knew he receives a salary as part-time Creative Director, and presentation fees for Imagine, and is likely to be drawing on his BBC pension.

A share of overseas royalties for a staff member would be unusual.


In what must seem (at least to BBC Creative Director Alan Yentob) another example of the self-flagellation Auntie enjoys so much, the Corporation is buying a documentary on the collapse of charity Kids Company.

More details from Broadcast. http://m.broadcastnow.co.uk/5095104.article

Monday, October 5, 2015

Number crunchers

OK, let's get the next book started...BBC Economics Editor. The vacancy may once again tempt Director of News, James Harding to bring in another of Fleet Street's finest. How about Sam Fleming, who he hired at The Times in 2010, now with the FT in the States ? Or a bigger fish, Gillian Tett, also of the FT, and beloved Newsnight panellist ?

Longer odds, I'd guess, on Sky's Ed Conway bringing his DJ mixes to Broadcasting House, or indeed, Sky's City Editor Mark Kleinman, whose every tweet seems to be an exclusive.

Insiders I'd like to see given a run: Simon Jack, from Today, and the indefatigable Mickey Clarke, of 5Live's Wake Up To Money. Plain speakers, both.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Pine nuts

That tinker Peter Fincham has actually snaffled Robert Peston, with the offer of a Sunday morning show on top of the job of Political Editor ITV News.  Now he has to find something to drop from the current schedule to make space. This morning's proud offering was a repeat of Murder She Wrote, and three back to back repeats of the Jeremy Kyle Show. I hope Pesto got some assurances of a programme budget against that big-spending line-up.

Now James Harding should afford Runaway Robert the briefest possible period to collect his haid-dryer and back-comb from New Broadcasting House before gardening leave.

Then, I trust the BBC Westminster crew will greet his appearance on the lobby cabranks with the appropriate level of helpfulness and camaraderie to a former colleague, whatever that might be, eh, Kuenssberg, Landale et al ?  Sotto voce chanting of Lynam, Chiles, Bleakley, Trinny and Susannah, and Kilroy-Silk might be fun.

It's all about the money, money

Culture Secretary John Whittingdale will be speaking on the under-bill to Chancellor George Osborne at the Tory Party Conference in Manchester tomorrow morning.

Rather depressingly, he's lumped together Eastern Europe-stylee in a section called "Party of Working People: The Economy." And it's an all male build-up to George, with Sajid Javid and Patrick McLoughlin also at the podium of rationality rousing the faithful to the required level of euphoric anticipation.


The more I think about it, the more I worry about the Amazonification personalisation that will be offered if you sign up for a myBBC ID. I've lost sleep constructing possible "recommendations" one might get from Auntie.

"Hi, we see you're over 55 and live in Redruth. 1.2% of people in Cornwall over 55 with a BBC ID have signed up for BBC Playlister, and of those, a further 0.5% have added a Frank Sinatra track. You might like to catch up with the James Watt Show on BBC Radio Stoke, where James talked to the author of a book about Frank Sinatra. Frank would have been 100 this year had he lived. The show is available for 27 days on iPlayer Radio. "

"Hi, we noticed you voted to save former sprinter Iwan Thomas in this week's Strictly Come Dancing elimination, via your new myBBC ID. Another sprinter, Christian Malcolm, will be on A Question of Sport, this coming Wednesday at 2235 on BBC1.  Lord Coe is another former sprinter, and Zeinab Badawi interviewed him for HardTALK in December 2014; the programme is still available."

"Hi, we noticed your name is Dilys Williams, which suggests, though you live in Todmorden, you might have Welsh heritage. And you're 30, which falls into our vital 25-34 year-old demographic, and even more importantly, you're classed as socio-economic group C2DE. The One Show, co-hosted by Alex Jones, who is Welsh, is very popular with viewers of that age and class definition. Alex will shortly be presenting a brand new BBC1 primetime series 'Shop Well For Less', with Steph McGovern from BBC Breakfast, which is aimed at that same demographic. The programme team are keen to hear from viewers who might like to take part...."

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Journey's end

There are a number of interesting betting markets in Strictly. The straightforward win still has Peter Andre as favourite, but with most bookies Jay McGuiness has moved to second place, ahead of Helen George. And the longest odds are still on Carol Kirkwood and Jeremy Vine.

But if you look at the market for first elimination, the shortest odds are on Iwan Thomas, who, in the training video for this week's show actually looks as if he may have been kicked into shape by Ola Jordan. The bookies, of course, take the popular vote into account - by their reckoning, Iwan, Carol Kirkwood and Daniel O'Donnell will all leave before Jezza.

  • In July, Chancellor George Osborne accused the BBC of being imperial in its ambitions for its online services. Jeremy Vine's new comprehensive website can't be far behind. It's peppered with important videos, and has been built by Natasha Courtenay-Smith, who has provided similar glossy offerings for Cerys Matthews, Adil Ray, Mary Nightingale and Samantha Simmonds.  
  • Meanwhile Paddy Power still thinks Robert Peston is odds on to be the next Political Editor at ITV, at 1/3, despite the blandishments of Lord Hall and Eddie Mair.  Sharing second spot, at 5/1 are Allegra Stratton, Cathy Newman and Tom Newton Dunn.

Janet and John

The Dame Janet Smith Review may be among the BBC's most expensive-ever undertakings, especially if it sets the scene for extensive compensation.

But the Dame and her team are still clocking up the payment schedule, with constant vigilance and rebuttal the name of the game, as we await publication. Here's a bit of yesterday's website update...

"The Review notes further recent press speculation in relation to its findings, all of which is premature and speculative and is not endorsed by the Review. In particular, the recent statement in the media that Dame Janet has changed the conclusions in her Report after receiving objections to her findings is inaccurate.

"Publication of the Review’s Report remains delayed solely as a result of the Metropolitan Police’s concerns that publication of the Report could prejudice its ongoing investigations into sexual abuse. There is no other reason for the delay."

At least some of the recent speculation has come from that exemplar of clear thinking, Culture Secretary John Whittingdale, who helpfully told the Evening Standard, "I don't know what's in the report but by all accounts it is going to be pretty shocking."

Friday, October 2, 2015

More meetings

Nice to see that Renee Zellweger is taking a balanced approach to her research for the next Bridget Jones film, which may feature our heroine once again on the tv production team of Sit Up Britain.

A fortnight ago she was spotted at ITV Studios, where she was said to have sat in on planning meetings for Good Morning Britain and Lorraine. Today, she attended the 3.15pm news meeting in the News bit of Broadcasting House. It'll be a minor triumph if she can synthesise that into anything funny...

Studio tour

If you pop your head round the mighty doors of Studio 1, Television Centre in the next six weeks, you're in for a mild surprise.

Developers Stanhope have been allowed to use the space (which is being refurbished as a proper tv studio for the BBC) as a marketing suite for the flats which will replace old BBC production offices in the listed-doughnut at the heart of the site.

Models and mock-ups of the finished flats, complete with faux 50s interiors, are on show, and top-end purchasers can discuss various configurations of the biggest apartments. Here's the living/dining area of a proposed 3-bedroom number. You can almost see Bill Cotton in the armchair.

Other people who read this.......