Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Creative housing

Salford Council finally considers a planning application for four square-jawed tower blocks of flats at MediaCity this week, trumpeted as "1,036 luxury apartments in the heart of MediaCityUK with assured 6% NET rental yields". Yes, they've been marketed for some time without planning permission.

The council will consider a report that estimates the developer's potential profit at £38m, yet, they're only offering £1.3m for local "improvements" - and no "affordable housing". Bound to sail through, eh ?


The BBC Charter Reneweal offer will come on Monday September 7, from the Director General in a speech to staff at 0830.

According to Director of Strategy, James Purnell, he will offer "a vision where the BBC not only continues to be at the heart of British creativity, but also enhances our creative industries and offers even better value to the public."

The Scottish Question re-echoes

Who's really pressing for more money for BBC Scotland ? Why, could it be BBC Scotland ?

That's the opinion of Kevin McKenna, soi-disant champagne socialist, professional Glaswegian. Observer columnist and Scottish Daily Mail writer.

He says a Charter Renewal team lead by BBC Scotland Director Ken McQuarrie proposed a second radio network and a weeknight HD tv channel solely for Scotland, and an additional hour of tv news produced in Scotland, with its own bureau staff in London and around the world.

Apparently, and unsurprisingly, this had the backing of the entire BBC Scotland executive, and, initially, was enthusiastically accepted in London. But "it has since been quietly pulled and re-written. Tony Hall, under pressure from £250k London executives who are all defending their little metropolitan fiefdoms, is now saying it will never happen."

News returns to our screens

The summer may be over for most of us, but the rolling maul that is the current Newsnight presentation schedule continues. This week the show returns to 45 minutes, after a post-modern view of news in August (that this blog refuses to accept), i.e. that there is 'less' news in any given month.

But with main man Evan Davis on two weeks' leave, we get three Maitlis's and a Peston this week, followed by two Warks, two O'Briens and one Maitlis next week.


PR Week believes former Kid's Company CEO Camila Batmanghelidjh has been getting some crisis management advice from 6 Hillgrove Public Relations. It says the company, founded by one Richard J. Hillgrove VI, has been helping with her personal media strategy, though it's not clear whether or not a fee is involved.

Previous clients of Hillgrove are Trudy Styler, wife of the ever-popular singer, Sting, and Charles Saatchi, patron of the arts and smoker.

Monday, August 31, 2015


The second episode of XFactor 2015 attracted just 4.88m viewers overnight (excluding HD and +1, which boosted it to 6.47m). That compares with 7.48m with the same exclusions for the same slot last year.

Never mind what happens when Strictly starts, Simon, Cheryl, Rita and Nick were beaten by the BBC's hospital warhorse first fielded in 1986, Casualty, with a clunky, contrived 'event' four-part special, notching up 4.92m in the overnights.

Danny Greenstone

Radio and tv producer Danny Greenstone has died, after a heart attack. Danny joined the BBC in 1969, straight from Beal Grammar School for Boys, as a filing clerk in the newspaper cuttings operation known as "News Information", based just behind Broadcasting House in Duchess Street.

By 1973, he'd made it to Radio Light Entertainment. In 1977 he worked with John Lloyd on what became The News Quiz, though Danny wanted to call it "Keep Taking The Tabloids". Danny's other radio creations included Wit's End, Medium Dry Sherrin, Beadle's Nightcap and The Law Game, for Radio 2, and Old Took's Almanac, which went out on World Service and Radio 2.

Thence to London Weekend Television, where he worked on Surprise Suprise, Game For A Laugh and Child's Play. He was part of the team that brought the UK’s first series of Pop Idol to your screens, and was also involved in the creation of Ant & Dec's PokerFace.

In 2008, he went the other side of the mike, for a weekly show on BBC Three Counties. He was about to direct a West End stage version of The Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town, written by Spike Milligan and Ronnie Barker, due to open in October.

Danny, standing, with Margaret Thatcher in the cubicle
for a recording of Old Took's Almanac

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Natural aptitudes

Musing on how the BBC might have "mapped" the talent of 3,000 managers, I tried a random scan of "BBC" and "Talent" on Linkedin, and came up with a range of exciting titles. Some of their owners might have moved on - but I've left out most plain "Talent Managers" and "Talent Co-ordinators". There's probably, I'm guessing, more people branded "Talent Something Or Other" in the BBC than bother to join the funfest that is Linkedin.

Is this HR and Recruitment, hiding under a new, sexier title - or a whole new genre of staff ?

Talent Manager, BBC Factual Production
Talent manager for consumer/live programmes and The One Show - BBC Factual London
Talent Manager (on-air), BBC Sport
BBC Comedy Talent Manager 
Head of New Talent, BBC Academy
Director of Talent, BBC TV at BBC
Talent Advisor - Future Media, myBBC
Talent Advisor - BBC Digital at BBC
Head of Production Talent Entertainment Events & Comedy
Talent Executive at BBC Television 
Head of Talent Management at BBC Television
Head of Production Talent, Drama at BBC Television
Talent Manager, BBC Production Talent Network (Factual)
Talent Manager - Children's at BBC
Talent Coordinator BBC Learning at BBC
Talent Manager, Natural History Unit, BBC Production Talent Network
Talent Manager (Sport Online, Interactive, News and Radio) BBC Production Talent Network 
Talent Manager and Executive Coach at BBC 
Talent Acquisition Specialist - BBC
Head of Production Talent, Wales at BBC Resourcing & Talent Development 
Business Partner, BBC North Editor, On-air Talent - BBC North (Development and Events)  
BBC Docs Talent Manager 
Head of Talent, BBC Comedy at BBC 
Head of Talent & Editorial Operations, BBC Scotland 
Talent Manager, Drama at BBC 
Head of Production Talent, Natural History, Features, Daytime, BBC Television

Are we taking Scotland seriously ?

Just over a week until we get the BBC's first positive paper on Charter Renewal. Will it address The Scottish Question ?

Two thoughtful pieces worth a longer read today - Brian Wilson in The Scotsman.

Ms Sturgeon assured her Edinburgh audience that “independence from government is essential to our public service broadcasters”. This may have caused wry smiles among those who are harassed on a daily basis to comply precisely with the agenda of government. Practising what one preaches is a useful starting point in changing perceptions. But the bigger problem in Scotland is that the phrase “independence from government is essential to…” could be applied in so many contexts where the exact opposite has evolved in practice. There is now no branch of Scottish civic or public life dependent on Edinburgh largesse or patronage that can remotely be described as “independent from government”. Why would broadcasting, the prize target, be different?

And Pat Kane in The National.

I enjoyed the brilliant, likeable – still evidently Glaswegian, but also pretty establishment – Armando Iannucci and his Mactaggart Television Lecture. But as you listen, it’s easy to imagine the case for Scottish channels being drowned in the grander storm of liberal-left and conservative UK elites, battling mightily for the “soul of the Beeb”. 

That’s what happens when you don’t vote to become a nation-state: all that’s left is supplication and reasoned argument to the centre, mostly likely resulting in a head-pat and a “terribly sorry”. And there you can bundle up BBC Scotland reform with lots of other devolutionary frustrations. But, of course, there’s more to Scottish media than pining after Pacific Quay with an SBC badge on it.


It's always useful to devote part of a Bank Holiday weekend to something instructional, say, on career development. Why not immerse yourself in the BBC's Nine Box Grid, a talent mapping exercise which has been in operation since 2010, plotting the performance and potential of 3,000 managers across the Corporation ?

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