Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Limited availability

It's hard to get a seat on flights to Scotland today, as BBC suits wake up to a story they ought to be near.  Not helping, you understand - just near.

For some, it could be a last chance. Home Newsgathering might have to hand over to Foreign Newsgathering on Friday.


I wonder if anyone might explain a few things to me. Who designed this banner, when, who printed it, how much did it cost and who paid for it ?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


  • The Jeff Pope mini-series on Cilla launched on ITV last night with an audience of 6.7m. 4.2m stayed with Series 11 of New Tricks on BBC1. Original British Drama.
  • Actor James Cromwell, who inhabited the role of Dudley Smith in the movie version of LA Confidential, takes the part of Rupert Murdoch in the latest stage production of David Williamson's theatrical biography.  An updated version hits Sydney in November, and is expected in the West End next year.
  • Some BBC local radio listeners will get a break from the pan-England Mark Forrest Show on the evening of October 12 - stations are being offered a night of comedy recorded at the BBC Radio Theatre, featuring Nabil Abdul Rashid, Toju, Afolabi Dasaolu, Michelle De Swarte, Miss London, Daliso Chapondo and Aurie Styla.


London Live, still shackled by all that inconvenient local programming, and still awaiting an Ofcom decision on dropping most of it, is quietly creeping back up in viewing figures. Starting with an average daily reach of 217k back in April, it dipped to 130k in July, but the most recent figures from BARB have it back above 180k. Not far behind channels like Military History, HUM Europe and BBC Parliament.


Long shifts ahead for radio referendum results night: Jim Naughtie and Rachel Burden co-present the overnight show carried on both Radio 4 and 5Live. At 5am Rachel rejoins Nicky Campbell for 5Live Breakfast, while Jim, we are told, heads to Good Morning Scotland with Hayley Millar. Hard to believe he won't find time for an emotional essay on Today....

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Future is Public Facing

"Last week we launched a project at the BBC that is, rather grandly, called the Future of News. The aim is to try and understand what audiences might reasonably expect from the news over the coming decade. We are trying to consider what technology will do, what people will want and how stories will be told. Our approach is open. We want to canvass opinions, we want to host as many views as possible from people across the industry and our considerations and conclusions will be available to all: the Future of News will be public-facing, with findings that people can watch, hear, read, engage and debate openly. And most crucial to our understanding of how we need to change is understanding what you want from us as a global news provider."

Not a script line from Ian Fletcher, leader of The Way Ahead Task Group at the BBC in the next series of observational comedy W1A, but BBC Director of News James Harding at the Public Radio Programme Directors' annual conference in Portland, Oregon last week.

UK bandbox ?

There's a re-bumbling of buzz about Major League Baseball coming to the UK. The game has just elected a new commissioner, Rob Manfred, who'll replace Bud Selig in the New Year, and it's one way he could make a mark.

Earlier this year, the Dodgers met the Diamondbacks on the (always-hallowed) turf of the Sydney Cricket Ground in the 2014 season opener. Back before 2012, MLB officials held talks with the London Olympic Legacy Committee, and measured the stadium; even with new reduced West-Ham-style seating, they reckoned they might squeeze in, though some sightlines would be poor. The Oympic Stadium might even beat Manchester City to the punch with baseball; City have set up a partnership (for soccer) with the New York Yankees.

Sunday, September 14, 2014


The embattled Alex Jones asserts that the critics didn't understand Tumble - "it was made for families". Fewer families turned on for the Grand Final on BBC1 last night - 2.72m viewers, 17.4% share, the lowest for the series. Someone called Bobby Lockwood won.

Meanwhile, BBC bosses will hoping time-shift lifts Dr Who. 4.8m watched in real time last night; the unambitious Celebrity Chaser managed 4.1m on ITV opposite, as people settled in for the XFactor, which overlapped the good Doctor by 15 minutes.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

News from Rubovia

On stage at the Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton yesterday - BBC DG Lord Hall receiving an honorary Doctorate in arts from the University of Wolverhampton. More pink and yellow, from the front, when we get it...

Too clever ?

"I think Newsnight should be the group of clever friends you want to sit down with in the pub at the end of a long day and make sense of what is going on in the world."

I remain worried about Ian Katz. He's given an interview (and posed for pictures by Jim Laurie) to the Evening Standard, about his relationship with Paxo. Paxo told him, pretty much on arrival, that he wasn't hanging around, but Katz says he was grateful the departure wasn't instant.

He's not grateful about much else. “I’d love to know if he was less petulant in meetings before I got there. I think that’s just his modus operandi. He’s dyspeptic about pretty much everything. Ideas are flattened. Almost everything you suggest Jeremy will think is ‘preposterous’ or ‘infantile’ or an otherwise ‘completely lamentable’ idea, and that’s a challenge because you have to sell it to him.” There are viewers who will be alarmed about a future in which Katz's programme ideas meet reduced challenge. Pub conversations are not noted for their high standards of journalism.

Previous Newsnight editors have been more publicity-shy. Interviewer Charlotte Edwards says Katz seemed remarkably nervous, "his jaw pounding gum at around 100 bpm. The clothes, at least, are relaxed: open-necked shirt revealing a rugged thatch, rolled sleeves, faded black jeans and lots of tousled hair. Overall, the look is Eighties heart-throb, a sort of Jewish Patrick Swayze in his Dirty Dancing heyday."

Charlotte also reveals that 'fun' boss Ian organises lunchtime workouts of running and press-ups with male colleagues. Throbbing.

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