Tag Archives: BBC

BBC to axe the brass?

It’s breaking today that amongst the top-brass of the BBC facing the Axe in the ‘radical’ shake up of management is the BBC’s Creative Director Alan Yentob.

I can’t honestly say I’m upset to hear Alan Yentob will be leaving his lucrative management position: with a professional career based almost entirely at the BBC at taxpayers expense, the ‘creative director’ position always sounded like another job for the boys. Right from the first announcement I’ve always been unable to square where he has added value to the output of the BBC, and why the BBC needed a creative director in the first place when the purpose of the role was duplicated at so many points closer to each individual broadcast outlet.

If the role was supposed to cement the position of creative arts (from programme production to commentary) then he’s failed miserably as arts in general at the BBC, and more specifically commentary of arts, is a shambolic mess. Yentob has failed miserably to deliver authoritative arts commentary across all of the BBC, with the likes of BBC4 being almost entirely ignored. That’s without discussing the recent appointment of the insufferable Will Gompertz who’s mere appearance on the television is enough to send me running shrieking from the room, a topic I’m no doubt going to revisit at some point in the not too distant future.

It would appear that there’s going to be a substantial payout to cushion the blow, not to mention a pension pot of over £1m, further aggravating the impression that Yentob is a man paid well beyond the range of his talent.

Even more upsetting than that however is the news that his arts program imagine is likely to stay. This is upsetting for many reasons, not least because it has always been a poor shadow of The South Bank Show, but because it was given a prime BBC 1 slot, which week after week missed it’s core audience by both over-indulging (a turnoff for the casual viewer), under-informing (a turnoff for those really interested in the field) and self-aggrandising (which frankly irritates everyone).

Of course it would be unfair to neglect to say that there have been truly superb individual episodes: his portraits of Gilbert & George and Richard Rogers were particular highlights, but so often imagine fails to deliver, rambling aimlessly through a topic before ultimately disappearing up it’s own arse. Of particular irksomeness are the overly long-shots of Yentob himself rather than the subject of the film, or the apparent chumminess of Yentob with many of the subjects; rather than being a passive channel through which the narrative can be delivered he’s all too often in the middle of the action; which at times leads to an uncomfortable feeling that you’re eavesdropping on a private conversation rather than being invited in to listen and learn.

Alan Yentob for me a figurehead of all that’s wrong with the BBC: which when it’s good, is truly world-class, (and let’s be frank it bloody should be for what we pay for it), but when it all-too-frequently gets it wrong it’s awful, biased, insufferable, self-indulgent, self-serving, self-congratulatory claptrap. 

Terror Threat

The terror threat is palpable in central london at the moment: I think every day for the last week has seen at least one major road closure to examine suspicious bags or cars – the security services are certainly on edge, it’s not just London, Paris too is on high alert with regular evacuations of tourist sites, something almost unheard of in our laissez-faire republican cousin.

It’s an odd state of affairs – Be Aware! we’re told, but the question most people ask is of what? Odd looking cars, people with turbans, odd beards, shamrocks, the germans, smurfs – what? Most people on the street wouldn’t know where to start without some guidance, and so far there’s been no guidance. The result? Fear – precisely what the terrorists want, we change our lifestyles because of them, and they win.

It’s interesting to watch the various media outlets explain the terror threat, the BBC have made a huge thing out of it – it’s been the lead or top three story all week, ABC news and FOX are the same, some French outlets – most notably Canal+  are following our lead – whilst the German’s are remaining remarkably stoic, the conservative Erste network and the rather lowbrow commercially guided ZDF and ProSieben channels are treating this as an ‘and in other news’ feature. Not once has the terror threat come above story 3 – why? Because there’s very little one can actually say about it without resorting to hyperbole and conjecture, and that’s not news.

When I grew up it was exposed on an obvious Military installation at the height of the terrorist activities of the Irish Republicans. Cars were bombed, people were shot – but through all of this, guidance was always given, you knew that you have to check your car before you got in it, you knew you had to report certain people, numberplates or activities, and you knew most of all that the chances of you actually being involved were ludicrously low; but for the sake of everyone in your community you should be vigilent anyway. Some commentators have been screaming for exact facts, but that’s clearly not intelligent or practical, but if the state, both ours and abroad, want us to be more aware; they must start giving the public more useful information about what they need to be vigilant for, rather than simply scaring people about an unknown, unsized, unpredictable threat.

A new colour scheme for auntie?

BBC New Colours?In light of last night’s thorough mauling in the Polls maybe it’s time the BBC have a redesign, after all, they seemed extremely keen to do so in 1997!

It looks rather nice, even if I do say so myself.

the next bbc colour change perhaps? (large version)

It certainly has been a hell of a night for the Conservatives so far, they’re clearly communicating a message of positive change to the electorate as the feedback people seem to be giving is they’re not punishing labour, they’ve simply (and finally) had enough of them and see the other parties, and especially Cameron’s team as being where Britain needs to be going

A headline writer’s dream.

Great Headline - Great Tits Cope Well With Warming

Subliminal Messages?

Take a close look at the photo from this rather dull article about one of a million new broadband providers, do you think there’s someone at the BBC trying to flood the British public with subliminal messages about how we should all /switch?

BBC Fuckup

Surely what’s more worrying about this story of the BBC interviewing a job interviewee live on air believing him to be someone else is that the actual content of the story is factually incorrect? Apple Corp didn’t win against Apple Computers Inc. as the presenter says, it was the other way around, so the fact that the guest knew nothing about the subject seems to be compounded by the fact that neither, it would seem, did the presenter.

BBC 2.0

In other news today the Beeb have finally decided that they’re going to overhaul there website (no doubt at massive expense to the license paying public… but that’s another argument). Dubbed bbc.co.uk 2.0 (how bloody original is that!) the whole user experience will be based around share, play and find: one would assume this is to cater for the currently massively underrepresented demographic of three year olds using the site. They’re also re-branding myBBCplayer to the iPlayer, also 10 out of 10 for originality there!

That’s what really annoys me about the BBC it seems so driven by the committee that the independence of thought and genuine creativity shown by a good proportion of it’s staff is often killed off, death by committee me thinks.

W’s Matter!

It’s been a pet hate of mine for a while, but I’ve quietly seethed about it and nothings changed, so I feel it’s time to let rip; Do the BBC know *nothing* about the internet? Evidently not when almost all of there programs across TV and Radio fail to get the URI correct! If you’re going to say: “go to bbc.co.uk/news” then you have to make sure that bbc.co.uk/news actually takes you to the correct place. Spot the difference between these two:

  • bbc.co.uk/news
  • www.bbc.co.uk/news
  • Now the BBC might not think that a gaggle of www’s makes a great lot of difference to an internet address, but they would be wrong.

    It’s *such* a simple thing to sort out, they could either sort the servers our to accept addresses without W’s so that they don’t have to change all the promotional material, or they could make things even simpler and announce the address as news.bbc.co.uk which would act as a marker for each program and would make addresses easier to say – although the downside of that is you’d have people assuming they need to put a hoard of www’s in front of the address which would royally fuck everything up.

    While we’re on the subject of www – I think they should be referred to as a gaggle of W’s – what do you think?

    The BBC skewers LU

    Well of *course* the BBC isn’t going to give away the plot to give London Underground plenty of time to cover up it’s own incompetence, or you could see that as the BBC being totally inflammatory without real grounds, depending on which side of the fence you fall. I happen to be of the opinion that private contractors on the railways are nothing more than money grabbing scumbags who are quite content to see a job be done badly so long as the wage cheque’s arrive on time: What the TV program actually has to say will be interesting to watch, these things are pretty hard to stage after all as filming on the London Underground is so closely monitored and controlled, but until I’ve watched it I’ll give both parties the benefit of the doubt…

    Read for yourself:

  • The BBC’s viewpoint
  • The Tube’s viewpoint