Sunday, October 23, 2016

Cutting edge

A correspondent notes, in response to my list of apparently dead or dying BBC blogs, that the most recent entry in the BBC Editors' blog is from last December, headed "A year of innovation: BBC News and Social Media in 2015".

Almost time for another post, eh ?


Consumers of BBC UKTV in Australia may notice that it has been slightly re-positioned this month. Tim Christlieb, director of channels, BBC Worldwide ANZ, said British comedian Michael McIntyre would be “the embodiment of the spirit of the new brand”, in an attempt to differentiate it from its premium BBC First channel.

“It will be witty and sociable, light-hearted, quirky, confident and spontaneous. A place where viewers come for fun, amusement and relaxation, a place to escape boredom and a place where viewers feel included in the conversation. And it will all be underpinned by the trustworthiness of the BBC brand.”

Tonight the trustworthiness of the BBC brand includes C4's Chatty Man with Alan Carr, Duck Quacks Don't Echo, made for Sky, and 8 out of 10 Cats, made for Channel 4.

  • BBC America today has wall-to-wall James Bond films. Tomorrow it's Star Trek: The Next Generation from 11am to midnight. Tuesday has Star Trek from 11am to 5pm, then it's back to back CSI Miami til midnight. 


Do we care about AT&T taking over Time Warner ?  Well Time Warner have HBO, CNN, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and most things Rowling, the Harry Potter Studio Tour at Leavesden, and a range of UK indies....

Wall to Wall, which brings you Who Do You Think You Are and Long Lost Family; Renegade Pictures, most recently on BBC1 with Lose Weight for Love; Twenty Twenty, makers of The Choir and First Dates; and Headstrong, still looking for new product after running New Tricks and Waterloo Road.

Time Warner also owns DC Comics, Mad Magazine, and the film review website Rotten Tomatoes.

Saturday, October 22, 2016


This time last year, I offered a short list of BBC blogs that weren't enormously active.

It's got worse. The blog for Scottish soap River City hasn't been changed since February 2013. Radio 1 and 1Xtra Movies, where "Rhianna tells you all you need to know about the latest movie releases" is stuck in 2014. as is the Radio New Comedy Award.

The 5Live blog hasn't twitched since the US Open of 2015.

Hot Radio 1 property Greg James hasn't put digits to keyboard since November 2013. This may change. Greg looks like he's being groomed as Plan B when the Grim Grimshaw breakfast experiment is pulled. He's taken Nick's place on the Children In Need roster, which now looks like a living audition...


Anonymous Wikipedia editors have been having fun this month with the biography of Jason Seiken, former digital thought leader at the Telegraph. First there was a brief attempt to insert the sobriquet "Psycho". Then: "He is a dreamboat".

This maybe why senior Wiki figures have put the whole thing on report. "This article contains wording that promotes the subject in a subjective manner without imparting real information."

Maybe some information about the scale of his Telegraph pay-off might help. It's eighteen months since his official exit, and the dual US/UK citizen has yet to add to his c.v.


The conviction of Gordon Anglesea was, I think, undercooked by our national news outlets yesterday - probably a consequence of Fake Sheikh overkill.

The former policeman superintendent was arrested as part of Operation Pallial, a massive re-investigation of allegations of very nasty child abuse in North Wales care homes. So far 51 people have been arrested or interviewed under caution; nine have been convicted; eight have been acquitted; 73 complaints are still under active investigation, and the CPS is considering evidence against 40.

Anglesea successfully sued the Independent on Sunday and Private Eye back in 1994, accumulating £375k in damages. The website Rebecca, run by journalist Paddy French, has many detailed pieces about him, the various failed trials, and the thread of Freemasonry running in the background. It also is very frank about witness Steve Messham, whose allegations got Newsnight into big trouble, in a fatally flawed report that eventually brought down BBC DG George Entwistle.

More to come, I think...

Friday, October 21, 2016

Dave Cash RIP

One of the Radio 1 originals, Dave also played a part in two of the worst records in the world. "Knees" came from his partnership with Kenny Everett on (pirate) Radio London in 1965...

The second used 'jingles' from Dave's Radio 1 afternoon show, featuring three-year-old Ian Doody, son of a network newsreader, woven into a backing track composed by Chris Andrews, featuring a chorus of Madeline Bell, Lesley Duncan and (some say) Dusty Springfield

Mere details

The BBC now requires existing holders of online 'accounts' to re-sign in with more complex passwords and postcodes.

I wonder what happens if someone, say, puts in the post code of their favourite pub...

By the way, W1A 1AA doesn't work.

Bigger Bob

Not a bad 24 hours for Bob Shennan. The BBC's Director of Music, Controller of Radio 2, Asian Network and 6 Music was in Leeds to pick up the Aria Award for Radio 2 as Station of the Year - and then Bob was announced as Director of Radio, giving him "daily oversight of BBC Radios 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 live and digital-only stations 1Xtra, 6Music, BBC Radio 4 Extra, 5 live sports extra and Asian Network, as well as the BBC Performing Groups, the BBC Proms, BBC Music and radio production." Could be quite a noisy office.

There will, apparently, be a new Controller for Radio 2: "The BBC has confirmed to RadioToday that Bob will still have oversight of BBC Music but won’t remain Controller of Radio 2. His successor as boss of Europe’s biggest radio station will be announced at a later date. " Let's hope there are at least interviews before anyone anoints Lewis Carnie.

Now, Lord Hall and his HR matron Valerie Hughes D'Aeth have to put the new job spec into the Hay Job Evaluation Nutribullet and come up with a new salary for Bob. It's exactly the same 'size' as the seat about to be vacated by Helen Boaden, but the seat is not at the toble table. Helen also took on myBBC from James Purnell without a salary increase. We are told Bob "will work closely with James on the strategy for radio"; how much is a portion of strategic control worth ?

Bob's on £244,565. James is on £295,000. Helen leaves on £352,900.  How many points do you give Bob on Know How, Problem Solving and, the biggie, Accountability ?  Go on, have a stab.

Thursday, October 20, 2016


Online fashion retailer YOOX Net-a-Porter, or YNAP, is the first tenant announced by developers Stanhope for the Mediaworks building at White City.

Previously, as The Media Centre, it was the BBC home for HR, Mark Byford and BBC Worldwide.

The fashion firm will take two floors - 70,000 sq ft of the 230,000 available - to accommodate up to 650 members of its global technology team, moving in March 2017.

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