Archive for the 'Television' Category

ITV – Tough Gig – Episode 2 – Dara OBriain

ITV – Tough Gig – Episode 2 – Dara OBriainReally enjoyed the other night, great to see something original, interesting and watchable on ITV… they returned to form with Cops with Camera’s after the news mind. Larping, even people who play Warhammer and D&D think larping’s weird. Most blokes have been paint balling on stagnights, but who goes larping? D12 hitpoints with +1 agression modifier – attack!!


I could eat a horse.

Channel 4, like the BBC and other broadcasters, has a viewer enquiry team who handle calls, letters and emails from members of the public on a variety of issues from “my picture looks funny” to “I can not believe you are going to transmit a programme that endorses the consumption of horsemeat.”.

The horsemeat quote is in relation to a the new series of Gordon Ramsay’s F Word, in which Janet Street-Porter (who let’s face it is a touch equine in appearace) buys some horse meat in France and gallops back to the Cheltenham Festival to set up a catering stand for hungry race goers. It’s part of a strand in the programme where she looks at other sources of food such as goat meat (very popular with Africans and West Indian’s in this country) . Surely we can all see this is publicity stunt surrounding what is actually a very interesting issue. There’s been things like this before, ‘Cooking in the Dangerzone’ had dog, seal, etc. 10 years ago people thought sushi was disgusting, most still do.

There were a handful of other calls on the same subject, and no doubt Channel 4 will get more post-TX. Bare in mind that this hasn’t TX’d yet.. it’s going out on May 22nd I believe. So what people were annoyed about (surprise surprise) is the idea of something that they’ve read in the papers… Metro had it’s usual rehash of the Evening Standard’s piece claiming a ‘new row over Ramsay’s horse BBQ’

Actually Jane Fryer’s piece at least acknowledges the fact that horse meat was regularly eaten in this country until the end of the war. I read somewhere that it was sometimes sold as ‘French Beef’ as us English sure do love a euphemism.

Michele Hanson in ‘Comment is Free’ asks ‘Gordon Ramsay wants us to eat horses. If you must have meat, why not make it greyhound?’ (First catch your greyhound) as well as a ill thought out rant for turning vegetarian.

I’ve eaten horse (on a pizza in Venice). And I’d eat pretty much any other animal too. Hey in Peru they eat guinea pigs – we eat rabbits, who cares, as long as it’s ethically raised, not endangered, tasty and you’re hungry. The British have such an bi-polar relationship with animals, witness the recent Sony Goat debacle where a goat bought from a butchers was used as a prop in a PR launch, and the story was again whipped up by… the Daily Mail. It’s like we’re returning to the Victorian attitudes, where ‘it was incorrect to comment on the food before one, even in praise, on the ground that such remarks would be too naked an expression of ‘animal and sensual gratification’. (source: Drink. By Andrew Barr)

Now if you want to see sensationalist eating of horse flesh in the cheap name of entertainment.. see this section of Fear Factor, where two ladies have to eat cooked horse rectum.And here’s the recipe, thanks internet!

KARTA – horse rectumFrom the Kazakhstan National Cooking Web Page

INGREDIENTS:* 100 g of karta* salt* green pepper or dill to taste

PREPARATION:The thick part of the rectum is washed without removing fat, then carefully turned inside out so that the fat is on the inside. The meat is washed once more and both ends are tied. Karta can also be dried and smoked. To dry it karta is covered with fine salt and kept in a cool place for one or two days, then dried. Karta is smoked over 24 hours, then dried over 2-3 days. After washing it well, karta is then boiled for 2 hours on slow fire. Before serving it is cut into rings and decorated with green pepper or dill.

Yum bring on the Horse Bum!

Fix Bayonets! BBC Worldwide lays out digital plans

Media Guardian article. Well that’s very interesting isn’t it? It’s been on the cards for a while, the whole development of into a global ad funded portal. Plugging in the iPlayer technology into that surely had to happen.

from TFA Mr Smith said that the commercial iPlayer would be as sexy and must-have as iTunes, and would be stand out from other offerings in digital download market due to the quality of its content. Ooooh bold statement!

I thought this interesting too The third element of Worldwide’s strategy will be a series of community websites based around BBC brands such as Top Gear and Good Food. And what this means for the traditional editorial offering within the ‘proper’ BBC (see what I did there) From my experience there’s all ready a bun fight over brands such as top gear, Roly would like to own it within the channel, iF&L own it in the petals and worldwide own the website of the magazine of the show (phew).

Finally Commenting on “the digital revolution”, Mr Smith said the BBC is now moving in the same direction as consumers. “There are really only two sorts of men in a revolution: those who cause them and those who profit from them,” he added. “As we haven’t caused the revolution, there’s clearly one thing to do.”

Profit by it it seems. Interesting that he finished of with that quote from Napolean Boneaparte, here’s some others that are perhaps just as apt. How about:

A revolution is an idea which has found its bayonets.

followed by

Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets.

And finally..

Men are moved by two levers only: fear and self interest.


More HR shiftage in medialand today as well, with Julian Bellamy coming back to Channel4. Interesting that Emma Swain has been appointed the temporary controller of Three over perhaps Elaine Bedell. Meanwhile I’m hoping Kevin Lygo’s new beefed up role at C4 will be truly 360 in scope. The job title as ‘head of television and content’ sort of implies there’s telly, oh and all this other separate stuff. Isn’t it all content Kev?

PS. Napolean also gave us “A picture is worth a thousand words.” the cheeky wee despot sure had an eye for the power of the image.

Jamie Oliver: Schooldinners

Jamie Oliver: Schooldinners.Watched ‘Return to Jamie’s School Dinner’s‘ last night. On the one hand I think what he’s trying to do is grand (as I talked about first time round). On the other hand he’s divvy’d the blamed up between the School Governors, the LEA, the Government, the local pub who pulled out, and finally the parents for packing the kids poor lunches. The one one group he hasn’t actually blamed is the supermarkets. Yes he should lay in to the Sec of State for Education (liked the bit about the Iraq and the ‘handler’ stepping in), but it’s ignoring the elephant in the room not to address the supermarkets, where most of the parents do the shop. He could probably achieve a great deal more by saying to Justin King’s face “take crisps, pop, cheeze straws off you’re shelves or I’m off to see if Tesco’s will do it”. Jamie vs Sainsbury’s – Who’s the bigger brand? This ‘anti-Jamie’ (better coverage here) story is interesting for it’s total madness.

BBC spoof vids – Now and Then

Bit of a ta-doo about this video in the Beeb at the moment. Natch the Daily Mail had a field day, but it must have been a hard call, choosing between slagging us off or condemning ‘political-correctness-gone-mad’, but I think we won by a nose, after all, the Mail can’t resists a pop at the beeb. Also most of the comments underneath from it’s own readers side on the ‘just a bit of fun’. My fave being “Look, I can’t stand the BBC, but this seems to be much to do about nothing. Don’t take it so personally. – M. Fernandez, Cpt, U.S. Army, Baghdad, Iraq

There’s been a lot of discussions between staff too. This weeks Ariel (internal BBC news paper) had:
page 1: “Bring back the fun says Peter Salmon”
Page 2: “Al-Jazeera spoof video is no laughing matter, says BBC”

Jeeeze, Someone also made a good point on our internal staff message boards.
Shame on the person that leaked it externally. Can’t people do a slightly dumb thing without it getting blown out of all proportion? And saying it’s licence fee money wasted. Come on. Does anyone seriously believe that has eaten up any licence fees? Also it’s, erm, how to put this politely? A bit rubbish.The British Army can do a better version than the mighty BBC!.

Indeed. Apparently some members of the top brass are furious. But is the problem the content, or that it leaked? Over lunch we talked about other BBC spoof videos. Here’s some pisstakes done by members of the public, the best being the slagging off of Grownups. Aye, and back in the day we really knew how to do PROPER PISS TAKES AND LEAVING VIDEOS OURSELVES! Check out this one featuring Suzi Quatro and the VT Christmas classic Legs & co.

Soldiers’ Trophy Pictures on Channel Five

Soldiers’ Pictures goes out on Channel five on Wednesday the 6th September. There’s a write up about the subject in the Guardian. What’s also interesting is that there a small piece of the post production in this week’s Broadcast: “colourist Vince Narduzzo used the DVNR 1000-HD RGB workstation to reduce noise and enhance the quality of the soldiers’ pictures to reveal their graphic nature.” (Italics mine).

The BBC’s Creative Future

So it’s half time here at the BBC Creative Future debate. This morning was spent huddled round the TV screens watching Mark and the Creative team talk about, well, our creative future. I always find this things (the big conversation etc.) slightly scary. It’s weird watching TV about your job, they always have a strange visual grammar too, part corporate video – part propaganda.

The other thing I find strange is that I’m in probably the most progressive bit of the BBC. So when you hear, “we should consider 360deg commissioning, and involve areas like online from the start”. You sort of feel like shouting “I’ve been saying that for ages!”.

So what’s been said? Well, lot’s of no brainers for us in the online ‘tail’, but that might come as a shock or confusing to the rest of the ‘dog’. We’re now head to head with companies like Google and Yahoo! Who are ‘already global, rich and fit for the digital age”. Interestingly Microsoft wasn’t mentioned… It’s not (just) ITV, Channel4 and Five anymore.

There was also a short vox pop from someone from UKNova, who’s name I didn’t catch, who said something along the lines of “people are sharing your content, and if you don’t start doing it, we will”. Which I thought was odd, but brave. I reckon if I walked into TVC canteen and ‘vox popped’ our own staff less than half would know what UKNova was, maybe less…

So the temptation is perhaps to go something like this.
New Media: ‘ha ha telly people, your time has come! Stand aside and make way for the digital revolution”
TVC people: “sigh, not this again, didn’t we do all this six years ago?”
New Media: “Ahh, but this time, we mean it!”

I guess that’s what part of today was about, in some ways it’s a classic internal comms exercise. It takes a lot of repeated consistent messages to affect a step change. From a technology point of view though I wonder if it was ever like this when they introduced colour TV? People bemoaning about the loss of chiariscuro?

And the iMP a.k.a The Player internally, now becomes the BBC iPlayer. I’m sure about the product, not sure about the name.

Some other Mr T soundbites.. “Ultimately the internet’s going to be the most important medium we operate in and an important way of delivering TV and radio”
“The four big themes: creative, digital, simple, open….will be central to our work over the next 12 months”

Some other things I picked up on..

UGC – you on us: This is going to move out of just News, and coincidentally today we launched comedy soup, it’s not b3ta taken away and force bred with youtube, honest!

Metadata is like, um, important: Ashley’s talked about this ages ago, it was true then, tis true now.

For God’s sake get the kids in man!
One in four teens doesn’t watch ANY BBC tv. That’s really bad. Why? ‘Well there’s so much other competing media these days like playstation’s and DVDs’ goes the line… crap. When I was a young there were Commodores and Spectrums and ghostbusters on VHS, and I watched almost every broom cupboard transmission… So it’s got to be the internet then, can’t just be that? The programmes have to share some of the blame.

And finally…. that we’re launching a competition to redesign the BBC homepage.
Send us your designs here more on that in a bit….

This blog is no longer being updated

I've left it here for historical purposes. Please visit my new blog at


These are my personal views and not those of Channel 4 or the BBC
September 2019
« Dec