Tuesday, March 2, 2021


 And it works on stamps.... 

Deep thinking

The Deep Nostalgia app also appears to work with paintings. Here's the BBC official portrait of John Birt (by Tai-Shan Schierenberg) going through the motions.

The eyes have it...

If we were all stuck in offices, I suspect the My Heritage Deep Nostalgia app would be getting a bit of traffic today. Here's Lord Reith. 

Monday, March 1, 2021

And another

Inaya Forlarin Iman is the latest recruit to the GB News presentation team. She stood as a Brexit party candidate in Leeds North East in 2018, coming fifth out of six, with 3.5% of the vote. 

Inaya, 24 (Tonbridge Grammar, Arabic and International Relations, Leeds University) has said that her mother was an illegal immigrant to the UK. She is a founding director of Toby Young's Free Speech Union, writes for Spiked and the Daily Mail, and has been making most of her tv appearances as a 'commentator'. She gets to present at breakfast on weekdays. 

She's clearly capable of filling. Here's a video from her YouTube channel, from a year ago, where she speaks without deviation or interruption for 16 minutes. 


GB people

One suspects GB News will not be as hot as the BBC on socio-economic diversity statistics. Nonetheless, they were proud to announce the hiring of Michelle Dewberry, (2 GCSEs Sydney Smith Comp, Hull and former Brexit candidate) as a weeknight presenter. However bright and bubbly the former Apprentice star might be, she probably already feels the neck weight of her programme tagline "connecting with communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland". 

Gill Penlington's qualifications as Senior Executive Producer include PPE from Balliol, a contacts book from three years editing Question Time and launching Kay Burley at Breakfast on Sky News. Amanda Hall, an assistant editor at Sky News, brings a 1st in Ancient History from Birmingham, and three and a half years trying to make London Live work. Alex Farrell, joining from TalkRadio, managed to run a law degree course at King's, London, in parallel with production shifts at LBC and Heart. 

Sunday, February 28, 2021

No brainer

I hope Tim Davie and Richard Sharp don't call time on the BBC's quest for game show formats - it's going to take some time to turn round the oil-tanker of BBC Studios.

Latest hires are Amanda Wilson and Elliot Johnson, billed as "TV format gurus", currently in the employ of Banijay/Endemol Shine. You'll be delighted to learn that since 2011, their offerings have included  Darling What Have You Done To Your Hair, Queer as Pop, Red Hot and Yummy, Scorchio and Four Heads. 

Amanda commented: “Last time I was at the BBC we had success with Strictly Come Dancing. It’s great to be coming back to bust some new moves and I hope the formats we create will also get 10/10 from the judges!”

Elliot Johnson added: “I started my TV career in BBC Music Entertainment under the stewardship of Chris Cowey and had an exciting time producing performance shows and music documentaries. So when we were approached with this opportunity it was a no brainer to be part of a revitalised BBC Studios hungry for new entertainment formats and ambitious music projects.”

One after another

Binge on The Annunciation with former BBC DDG Mark Byford, via Zoom on March 28th

This Study Day, lasting longer than the average England Test innings, "will involve four separate but complementary talks/lectures of 45-50 minutes, each richly illustrated, on different aspects of the Annunciation, with time for pauses and individual reflection in between. (For copyright reasons these sessions will only be available live.)"

All for £10, plus £1.25. 

Tragic inevitability

Scots rockers Mogwai are celebrating reaching the No 1 spot in the UK Official Album chart, 25 years after they started in 1995.  They've had support from 6Music. This will eventually be a music feature on the Today programme, once we've got over the 6th Form Debating Society that is Salmond v Sturgeon. 

There are similarities; Pitchfork reviewed the album as "mountainous songs suffused in nameless sadness", and highlighted in particular the one-chord track "Midnight Fit" - "The song’s shrieking drama, taunted by chords and drums that refuse to alter their courses, gives it a sense of tragic inevitability. It’s like watching someone stumble unknowingly toward an open pit."

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Please call your branch

Gordon Ramsay's Bank Balance is swiftly moving into overdraft territory. The third outing, last night at 9pm on BBC1, was watched by an average audience of 1.6m. That's 2.1m below what schedulers call the 'slot average'. 

TV critic Aidan Smith, writing in The Scotsman: "This is the worst show I’ve seen in the whole of the pandemic."

International, not global

The ad for International Services Director (Senior News Controller) at the BBC has been published, and it still looks like a narrowing of the job Jamie Angus used to do. The three key responsibilities - World Service English, the delivery and production of the Language Services, BBC Monitoring and BBC Media Action.  No mention of BBC World, BBC Global News Ltd and bbc.com.

And yet, the postholder seems to have some responsibility for overseas offices.  This sentence can read in many different ways, and may need some additional commas...... "As Director, you will be responsible for World Service Group’s overall editorial and strategic direction and financial performance for our News bureaux based around the world, ensuring at all times that our output meets the standards required of the very best of BBC journalism."

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