Thursday, August 25, 2016

Hic

The BBC tells us that its spend on drink, supplied centrally rather than claimed on expenses, is down 40% in calendar year 2015, at £27,640. Unhelpfully, this figure doesn't include drinking for the purposes of 'journalism, art or literature', which, outside looking for love, must surely be the three of the biggest drivers of toping. Here's the excuse...

BBC expenditure on alcoholic refreshments can be classified as non-production related ‘spend’ and production related ‘spend’. Where the ‘spend’ is for production related purposes (e.g. in the case of an end of series , party) the information requested falls outside of the scope of the Act because it is held for the purposes of ‘journalism, art or literature.’

If you want to be on trend with BBC staff here's their top purchases..

Lager

PERONI NASTRO AZZURRO NRB 2,664 £3,201.60

Top ten white wines, dominated by sauvignon blanc...

OYSTER BAY SAUVIGNON 42 £341.57
BRANCOTT SAUV' BLANC 51 £356.49
MUD HOUSE SAUVIGNON BLANC 54 £363.97
CUVEE DE RICHARD BLANC 74 £441.90
VILLA BERTA GAVI 90 £601.20
PINOT GRIGIO BREGANZE 96 £611.04
BOURG CHARD CHENAUDIERES 92 £647.31
MARLBOROUGH RIDGE SAUV 145 £959.86
THE NED BLACK LABEL SAUV' 136 £964.53
SILVER GHOST SAUVIGNON BLANC 206 £1,023.97

And no champagne, but still plenty of prosecco

UNDURRAGA ROSE 3 £19.98
PROSECCO LA MARCA TREVISO 4 £31.96
SOFFIO NO.3 ROSE 6 £37.96
PROSECCO ROMEO & JULIET 5 £43.25
CODORNIU BRUT NV 7 £47.45
PROSECCO RIVAMONTE 7 £47.45
DEFINITION PROSECCO BRUT 6 £58.44
PROSECCO ZONIN 9 £75.91
LINDAUER BLANC DE BLANCS 12 £127.80
UNDURRAGA BRUT 25 £171.45
PROSECCO SALATIN TREVISO 23 £198.95
PROSECCO FRIZZANTE MARCA 37 £232.32
PROSECCO SOFFIO NO.3 34 £234.74
PROSECCO LA GIOIOSA TREVISO 90 £657.51
NYETIMBER CLASSIC CUVEE 42 £1,007.16
FRENCH SPARKLING WINE 60 £1,139.13

Derek Smith RIP

I didn't know of British-born pianist Derek Smith until a transatlantic flight offered this cd which I found, enjoyed, and listened to on repeat for the best part of eight hours. Particularly this track.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Shine on

Project Diamond, launched today formally at the Edinburgh TV Festival by the broadcasters' Creative Diversity Network (CDN), aims to capture the ethnic groupings of those working on programmes commissioned by the BBC, ITV, Channel Four and Sky.

They've promised to publish first data in 2017, as a benchmark, but already one of the unions is unhappy about lack of transparency. BECTU want to see figures published for programmes, by series, broadcast in peaktime with more than 50 employees. They say the Arts Council of England already does something similar, and unless the union hears from the CDN soon-ish, there's unfortunate talk of a boycott.

Top Ten

When it's generally a nice warm day, the BBC's News at Huw Ten, this week minded so far by Sophie Raworth, does ok for figures. It was the third most popular show in the overnights, behind Emmerdale and the BBC's agglomerated figures for regional bulletins at 6.30pm. 4,556,000 watched, and Big Huw's not even back from his summer break. At ITV, Tom Bradby is back, though I can't find figures.

Credible

Support for James Purnell's BBC career development was gathered, presumably unprompted, by The Guardian by 2pm yesterday. Cynics might say it's shortened the odds on him being successful in whatever interview might take place for running network radio.

First, former BBC Chairman Lord Grade. “James is a very serious and smart guy and he understands as much as anybody that impartiality and independence are at the heart of the BBC. I would have 100% faith in him to carry out the job in accordance with the royal charter.”

“The question is: does the person have the ability to understand their role and what the imperatives of the BBC are ? I have no fear he would in any way allow his political history to interfere with his obligations to uphold the BBC’s impartiality and independence. And I speak as a Tory backbench peer. It makes me very uncomfortable politicians making party politics out of people’s careers in this way.”

Then, former deputy chair of the BBC Trust, Diane Coyle. "The idea that one individual in a senior role can bias the whole organisation is ludicrous. The head of radio doesn’t set editorial policy. Each radio station has its own controller. The idea [he] would be picking over the editorial agenda of the Today programme or PM can only be a charge of people who don’t understand how these structures work.”

"It is a managerial job … giving someone a range of experience as a credible contender for the DG role when that next comes up.  It is great relevant experience for if that job comes up. You want a wide range of candidates for that role. The more diverse the better.”

Continuing

Perhaps the best leader Labour never had (© Fraser Nelson in The Spectator), James Purnell, is still getting press flak over his career development.

Downing Street (under Boris or Theresa ?) has indicated that his latest role, overseeing education output at the BBC, is a matter for the BBC. That seems to apply as well to rumours that he's lined up to manage network radio from the autumn.

This morning, The Times (paywalled) has found former Culture Secretary John Whittingdale, presumably now back from clubbing in Ibiza, who opines on the matter thus: "I do have concerns about somebody who has played a very prominent role in a political party then going on to have an editorial job in the BBC . . . to become head of BBC radio puts him even closer to determining content and taking editorial decisions.”

"I have a lot of time for James Purnell and think he is an able man and has done a good job, but you can’t escape the fact that he is a lifelong Labour politician who served in the last Labour government.”

Few former Culture Secretaries have made a career in broadcasting, save for the first Minister for Fun/National Heritage, David Mellor, still building his CD collection by hanging on to a Sunday review show on Classic FM. Imagine the hoo-ha if we were now talking about a former Tory minister running BBC Radio....

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Explainer

A 'friend' of Times restaurant critic, Giles Coren, has been in touch with The Daily Mail, explaining how BBC News boss (and former Times editor) James Harding came into the view finder of Jeremy Clarkson's mobile phone in a convivial way in the Mediterranean this week.

Apparently, Mr Coren and family are on a shore-based holiday somewhere in the Ionian Sea with Mr Harding, and it was Mr Coren who called up bad boy Jeremy, on his passing hired yacht, to arrange the get-together. The 'friend' tells the Mail ‘It was very unfair of Clarkson to act like a paparazzo and take a sneaky picture of James’.
  • Whilst the boys are growing stubble, recorded Giles is playing quizmaster on ITV's bizarre new show, 500 Questions, stripped across four days of primetime this week. The show was taped in Cologne, in front of a German audience (it was cheaper than moving the set to the UK). First responses in the Twittersphere liken the format to that of incomprehensible fictional gameshow Bamboozled in 'Friends', for which Joey auditions as host.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Down time

It looks like there was quite a lot of logging on at work for BBC coverage of the Olympics. Auntie reports 68.3m unique browers from the UK for Olympic content over the two weeks.

BARB puts the 16-and-over population at 59,210,000, and 4-15 years at 8,931. Ofcom figures say 81% of the UK population has fixed or mobile broadband.

So either many more people have more than one 'device', or occasionally use somebody else's connection.

Toots Thielemans RIP

This version of his composition, Bluesette, is from his 1964 LP, The Whistler and His Guitar, recorded at Bell Sound Studios, New York, featuring Dick Hyman on Lowrey Organ. I can't find the original 1962 single recording, in which it was paired with "The Mountain Whistler", recorded for Swedish label Metronome, and apparently big in Flanders.


Drift

The Guardian uses stats from the commercial tv research team, Thinkbox, to suggest that the BBC has lost 18% of tv viewers aged 16 to 34 in moving BBC3 online.

The BBC counters, saying BBC3 programmes available on demand now make up 11% of all catch-up requests, compared with 4% before the broadcast channel closed.

This percentage may stand still for a while. There are some 14.5m 16-34 year-olds in the UK. The student population is around 2.5m. From 1st September, those living away from home will need a full tv licence to watch BBC3 on demand. They can catch up with ITV2 and various C4 yoof offerings for nowt; they just have to remember - no live stuff.

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