Friday, December 11, 2015

Red eyes

Let's face it. They're never going to be in the same league as Fellini, Tarantino or Spielberg. But the directors of BBC TV news bulletins never let that get them down. In the daily build-up to News At Huw, they endlessly kick around ideas to make their host and his setting look more authoritative/sparkly, depending on mood.

Many of them hanker after the good old days, when the "newsroom" background shot was actually the work of an Italian graphic artist, animated in a permanent loop on a laser disc. (Said artist has imagined views of Salford Quays still in use on Breakfast). Face with the untidiness and lumpy asymmetry of real hacks and their desks, the directors would ideally have them all dressed as air stewardesses and pursers, and subject to nightly choreography lessons ahead of the opening shot.

One basic rule of thumb at Broadcasting House - if it doesn't move, paint it red. This week, one alert director noticed that the balcony above their newsroom studio, glimpsed momentarily as a robotic camera trundles Busby Berkeley style above the hacks, was just BORING OLD GLASS. A giant sheet of red cellophane was duly ordered and applied.

The directors' action has now incurred the wrath of BBC Tours, which, unlike BBC News, makes money for Auntie. That balcony is the starting point for punters paying £15 quid for a 90-minute forced march round the building - punters who are promised "We'll give you a view over our state of the art newsroom". Many of these punters have noted it is now a very red and fuzzy view of very red and fuzzy hacks, and have given generous feedback on the matter.

Who will win ?  I'll keep an eye out for you, if you like.

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