Archive for the ‘BBC’ Tag

Directing Your Way To A Fortune

bbcThe BBC has published the pay details of its top executives in a move to try and placate the many individuals who complain about the way public money is spent on over inflated salaries. The attempt to be open has shown to be rather pathetic as the pay details of some 300 senior staff have not been published. If they aim to be open and honest they have failed at the first attempt.

Looking down the list of people and their jobs one quickly comes to the conclusion the BBC is living in a world of its own where every minute task needs to be controlled and directed. Thus there are nine directors just to look after all the BBC staff and another to look after audiences. Scanning the list of staff is like watching a gravy train passing by with each carriage full to bursting.

In defending the very high salaries the BBC trots out the well worn argument of the need to pay the going rate to get the best staff. Its an argument used by many organisations, but one they fail to realise is a spiral that can only end in disaster. If everyone is chasing the best the cost will just keep increasing to unsustainable levels. I’m sure there are many capable people who would do these jobs for a lot less. However, that would mean those who appointment them seeing their pay packets drop. Turkeys and Christmas come to mind.

When British Is A Dirty Word

UK FlagThe suggestion that the BNP may be invited to take part in the BBC programme Question Time has raised the hackles of many people. As much as the BNP claim to be a legitimate political party their views are abhorrent to the vast majority of the British public. Members of the party have been accused of inciting racial hatred and the party has been accused of racial discrimination because of the restrictions they place on eligibility for membership.

Putting such a party in the public eye will inflame many who strongly disagree with their views, but the fact is some people do support their policies and have voted them on to councils across the country. Its makes them a legitimate participant in the programme and they cannot be ignored. Its commonly acknowledged that the only way we will solve many of the conflicts around the world is through talking, why should we treat the BNP any different.

A more powerful action rather than getting angry and violent towards then would be the sanction of silence. Ignore them and they will be come increasingly frustrated to the point where their true colours will come to the fore and they will expose themselves as bigoted fascists. This will cost them much of their support as those who sympathise with some of their policies realise that its a front for something more extreme. Let them express their views on Question Time while we all hit the mute button.

Broadcaster Freedom To Be A Biased Broadcaster

bbc-news-channelJames Murdoch’s call to end the dominant position of the BBC in the news media is, he claims, in the interests of ensuring the independence of journalism in the UK. That is an interesting idea when one considers the biased nature of some of the output from his own media companies. The Fox network is accused of favouring the political right by many political commentators on both sides of the Atlantic.

In the UK the Murdoch’s newspapers the Sun and The Times been accused of being biased and his satellite service Sky TV hold the monopoly on broadcasting many major sporting events to the point where they have been accused of holding pubs and clubs to ransom over the cost of showing the more popular sporting events.

The News Corporation is one of the worlds largest media companies with a turnover of almost $22 billion in 2008. Perhaps James Murdoch is concerned that the BBC, with a turnover of just £4.5 billion, is able to provide a service of higher quality that is respected around the world. Of course the fact that there are no shareholders or advertisers influencing the BBC’s output might be the reason it is so successful.

Easy Writing For Easy Money

I am assuming that BBC correspondents get paid a fee for contributing to the non core elements of the BBC such as their Magazine, but even if they do not one would expect they would put a bit of effort into their outpourings. The BBC’s Paul Reynolds article, Hell on Earth, is a case in point. This is typical of the no effort output we often see in newspapers and magazines and which some writers have made the basis of their careers. The formula is simple, take an everyday event or pastime and knock it about a bit by adopting a derogatory stance.

In this example http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8119428.stm the occupation enjoyed by thousands of people is turned into some sort of horror story with out any underlying substance, facts or evidence. Its simple and quick to write and does not require any effort to research. Its presented in a tongue in cheek style that dose not challenge the intellect of the reader but fails to achieve its humorous aim.

Many newspapers now pay celebrities to write these articles on the assumption they have something interesting to say. Of course they do not so they have to revert to this easily produced style, some going as far as being deliberately obnoxious just to get a reaction as opposed to getting a valid view point across. Our newspapers and magazines are sadly lacking in quality writing, but I would have expected the BBC to avoid falling into the same trap.

Radio Days For Free

The web site http://www.archive.org is a depositary of copyright free films, music, books, software and old radio programmes from the UK and America. Many of these programmes I remember from my youth and include a few of my favourites; such as the delightfully simple but funny Clitheroe Kid, Educating Archie and The Men From the Ministry. Elsewhere on the internet you can find the Sci-Fi series I followed avidly as a kid; Lost in Space.

There are also many American gems. I can recommend the Evening with George Burns. To think it was recorded back in the early 1980s as a bit of a ‘this was my life’ show, when he still had many years ahead of him. It may surprise those who think the BBC were the leaders in radio drama just how many good quality radio programmes were produced in the US, particularly in the 1940s and 50s.

At home, the BBC has been very remiss and slow in releasing these old shows on tape or through their digital station Radio 7. Unfortunately the station is plagued by repeats, sometimes it seems like they just play the same set of tapes year after year. I know many recordings have been lost over the years but what does exist is a public treasure and should be shared with all. The radio was a very important part of my childhood, and sites like the Internet Archive are a valuable resource.

The Genius Of Photography

Roberta Lapucci, art conservator, has claimed the Italian artist Caravaggio used “techniques that are the basis of photography” 200 years before the invention of the camera. Its a startling claim as he thinks the 16th century painter may have treated the canvas with light-sensitive substances made from crushed fireflies. His paintings certainly have a photographic quality which is emphasised by the way the subject matter is illuminated. However its clear the compositions have been carefully posed and do not have the immediacy of a photograph.

The BBC series ‘The Genius Of Photography’ is a glorious journey through the development of technology and the art of photography. Invented in the 1820s it gave photographers a chance to put on record the world around them. In the late 1950s and early 1960s my father supplemented his income as a wedding photographer. I would often assist with his Saturday morning job by carrying the equipment bag and tripod, and working in the dark room (the bathroom) as he printed the proofs. I used to place a penny on each print to leave a white spot into which he would write the number of the picture that the happy couple and their family would use to order prints.

The trick was to get everything done so we could return to the wedding reception and elicit orders from as many people as possible. There was always a bit of one-up-manship between relatives, each trying to go one better than the last by ordering a few extra photographs. Using a young child to take down the orders also helped to encourage a bit of generosity. However, being a child also had its disadvantages. He once photographed a nudist wedding, I was not allowed to help and never did see the bride and groom in all their glory.