Wednesday, August 16, 2017


BBC Director of Arts Jonty Claypole says the long-awaited Civilisations is now slotted for February 2018, very close to its fourth birthday as an idea from DG Lord Hall - main presenter Simon Schama thought it was coming in the autumn of 2017.

Jonty told Brian Appleyard of the Sunday Times: “It’s not rigidly chronological, it’s thematic and chronological. Civilisation is an important part of the BBC’s history, and there is an exciting intellectual challenge in coming back to some of those core questions Clark raised, 50 years on, not trying to attempt a remake. I don’t think that would be wise. Instead, we’ll be engaging with some of the intellectual inquiries Clark was … We’re taking a global view of what art means to humanity over time and in different civilisations and cultures. Art is a prism through which we see what we have in common as human beings.”

 No, I don't know what he's on about either.


500 years since the start of the Reformation; 260 years since the birth of Thomas Telford; 150 years of the RNLI in Sheringham; 50 years of Milton Keynes; 40 years since Elvis died...all given coverage by BBC News.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Not long now

Around four weeks to go to the new look BBC Weather. It can't come a moment too soon - the Countryfile forecast on Sunday with Louise Lear was among a number of recent bulletins on the old system to hit the crash barrier.

Still the new system is in the hands of Creative Director, Yael Levey; she's created "6 personas" so that the design development serves a range of different needs. The personas are Jenny, Jade, Tim, Tony, Helen and Imran.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Happy anniversary

Is it just me, or is the BBC awash with anniversaries ?

I had a boss once who said that "anniversary journalism" was a cop-out - either a story was worth re-visiting because something had changed, or it wasn't. I think he was right. It's also a rather lazy way of commissioning tv and radio programmes - especially as there's apparently a limitless number of significant years.

Radio 1Xtra is marking its 15th birthday; we've had BBC1's Diana, to mark 20 years since her death; BBC Sport Online has special features for 25 years of the Premier League; Radio 2 is celebrating 50 years; we've got the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act; we've just had 60 years of Test Match Special; 70 years since partition in India; the Proms marked composer John Williams at 85; 100 years since Passchendaele.

(This item marks 9th anniversary of my first blog posting)


STV have come south of the border for their new CEO, hiring ITV strategist Simon Pitts, who will join in January.

Simon (BA Modern Languages and International Studies, University of Bath and MA European Politics, Economics and Law, College of Europe) started out as an advisor in the European Parliament before joining ITV seventeen years ago. He was among insiders tipped to succeed Adam Crozier - until the appointment of Carolyn McCall from Easyjet last month.

Jiw jiw

A tad late on this, but the BBC has almost apologised for the Newsnight discussion on the future of the Welsh language.

"Whilst different perspectives were included in this item on the Welsh language, the discussion of such an important subject would have benefited from more thorough analysis and debate.

"We regret that, but believe it was important to look at this topic and we will do so again in the future."

Even the BBC's leading Welsh speaker was uncomfortable with the casting.

Subscription drive

Deeply anxious about Saturday nights on the BBC this winter.....there's a raft of "audience participation" shows coming down the pipeline, like clustered buses.

As well as The Generation Game, we'll have..

Ready or Not ? Each week a roving team of hosts head out to surprise members of the public in a series of quick-fire quiz 'hits' to win cash or prizes on the spot, "from a shopping centre to the seaside, from Loch Ness to Liverpool".

Wedding Day Winners (working title). Two couples take part on their actual wedding day. Before they say "I do", friends and family must compete in a series of games to win prizes on their behalf. Each couple then go head-to-head for a chance to win a luxurious honeymoon. Once the games have finished it’s time for each couple to celebrate at their own wedding reception.

Getaway for Winter (working title) Are you planning to leave the UK over winter 2017/2018 to rent a property abroad? If so, we want to hear from you! We’re looking for people to take part in an exciting new BBC One series following people who live in the UK that are planning to spend the winter abroad.

Netflix and Amazon Prime will be delighted.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Facial hair

How we roll in BBC Radio and Education. Below, close to £1m of talent (or maybe more).

Still here

Overnight tv figures say 9.9m of us were watching for the 4x100m GB gold at the World Championships....a remarkable 15% of the population. Even more remarkable considering we're in peak holiday time. Last year 56% of people took a holiday abroad sometime over the twelve months.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

What's the point ?

Sad days for those of us used to "point" sizes for typefaces, eg 7pt, 10pt etc. The BBC's new typeface, Reith, has gone for names not numbers, becauses the end size depends on the online device displaying the text.

So, in descending order of size, the new Global Experience Language offers

Great Primer
Body Copy
Long Primer

Will they stick ?  Who put the Minions in there ?

Other people who read this.......