More musings on Doctor Who and national identity from me have been published at John Connors's Time Lines blog. I've written an introduction with more ideas at The Event Library, and the posts themselves are available at part two and part three.
The first part of a series of musings on Doctor Who and British identity, at John Connors's Timelines blog, originally commissioned by John for the fanzine Plaything of Sutekh which he co-edited with Richard Farrell. A short introduction can be found at The Event Library, too.
The public face: going into Blackwells, photographing the new reissues of some old Target Doctor Who books, and Tweeting it with the handles of BBC Books and Blackwells noted.

BBC Books notice this and retweet.

I then send BBC Books a private message correcting the indicia on six of the titles, which have listed the wrong original publisher. They have at least not unfollowed me yet.
A gift in pdf from the BBC Genome team: the Christmas Radio Times of 1923. More is explained at the BBC Genome blog. This is the era of the BBC as monopoly private company rather than autonomous corporation and that's reflected in the business-led feature writing which opens the magazine; but there are contributions too from Ramsay Macdonald, a few weeks away from becoming first Labour prime minister, and Lilian Bayliss of the Old Vic, as well as various broadcasters including several of the uncles and aunts of the regional stations. The adverts are revealing of a vanished time; the listings show that a simultaneous broadcast of Shakespeare recitals by Sir Frank Benson was taken by most stations, intriguingly for me coming from 5NO in Newcastle; 5WA in Cardiff offers A Christmas Carol instead. Although not the modern Woman's Hour, which did not begin until the 1940s, there is a Women's Hour, but it only seems to last thirty minutes. Christmas Day itself is one of a Christmas party and religious messages, including one specifically aimed at children.
sir_guinglain: (Default)
( Jul. 16th, 2015 11:30 pm)
I intend to complete the BBC charter review questionnaire, but was struck by how little I really know about the principles guiding (or purporting to guide) the BBC and how they have changed over time. The BBC Trust website maintains a handy archive of past and present BBC charters to chart this process and help provide some (but my no means all) of the answers to the (admittedly largely rhetorical) questions raised in the media in the last few days.

As readers might have seen elsewhere, I approved of this letter to The Guardian from David Hendy.
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sir_guinglain: (Hartnell words)
( Apr. 20th, 2014 11:16 am)
Here I am, an agnostic and I suppose a functional atheist, humming 'Jesus Christ is risen today'... but here is a Doctor Who Easter Bunny, co-creator Cecil Edwin 'Bunny' Webber, profiled on BBC Two's (Happy Fiftieth Birthday, BBC Two!) website for An Adventure in Space and Time last year. ([twitter.com profile] danblythewriter's idea.)
The official announcement of Caroline Skinner's departure as executive producer:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/doctorwho/articles/Doctor-Who-Executive-Producer-Moves-On

An odd half-story suggesting disagreements between the two executive producers but not adding any details (ETA: Other sources suggesting it's rubbish):
http://www.bleedingcool.com/2013/03/13/doctor-whos-executive-producer-steps-down-with-immediate-effect/
A public service announcement for followers of Doctor Who non-fiction and broadcasting history: the much-anticipated biography JN-T: The Life and Scandalous Times of John Nathan-Turner by Richard Marson has changed publishers. It will no longer be published by Fantom, but by Miwk. Fantom are in the process of refunding all pre-orders made through them, and pre-ordering is underway from Miwk; the book will be published in May this year, rather than April. Miwk have also set up a Facebook page for the book.
sir_guinglain: (RadioTimesRichardDimbleby)
( Feb. 4th, 2013 02:18 am)
There has been more uploading of archive television onto YouTube than I realised... so following a suggestion of [personal profile] magister I've watched the first twelve minutes or so of episode 1.1 of Colditz. It takes almost a full ten minutes for the episode to reach the multicamera video studio, the fixed abode of BBC drama, the end of a progression from newsreel footage to new footage posing as newsreel, to colour location filming maintaining a cold quasi-documentary realism, to an intense two-hander scene on video. I'll be back to watch the rest.
sir_guinglain: (RadioTimesRichardDimbleby)
( Nov. 22nd, 2012 01:24 am)
Catching up with the first two episodes of the second series of The Hour from BBC2 and Kudos, and I am less sure what to make of it than I was last year. Hector's outsider status seems to have been forgotten - was he really being addressed as a 'journalist' in the trailer at the end of part two? He definitely wasn't one in the first series - and there are still lots of anachronisms which grate at the ear. On the basis of these two episodes, even more than last year's series, The Hour represents a 1950s broadcasting environment from which today's producers would like to be descended from, rather than what Tonight, Panorama, This Week or World in Action were actually like. There are more than just a few strands of reality, though - there were anguished discussions of immigration on television throughout the 1950s, I've read - though the distinction between 'news' and 'current affairs' which preoccupied the BBC until the coming of John Birt in the late 1980s is sadly ignored.

It's too early to say whether the police corruption/sex trade/racism storyline will hold up, and a visit to Soho by any television drama invokes memories of Our Friends in the North. Our regulars seem all a little less likeable than before, too, though the hints at Peter Capaldi's Randall Brown's inner life (and his past with Anna Chancellor's Lix) could be rewarding. Otherwise I fear a timid adherence to a formula extracted from the last series, and from the leads' other roles - the prospect of Romola Garai being substitute mother to a small girl, as looks likely to happen, brings back memories of last year's The Crimson Petal and the White.
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A very good preliminary exploration of the culture which allowed Jimmy Savile to prosper, in the online edition of the London Review of Books. I don't agree with everything, and some of the contextual details are wrong which skews Andrew O'Hagan's argument. 1963 is the age of Carry On Jack or Carry On Spying rather than Carry On Camping, and there is lots to be drawn from the contrast. I'm not sure that Savile was ever loved - bewitchingly possessed of some energy late twentieth-century Britain found preternatural, perhaps. Revealing interviews with Joan Bakewell and Nicholas Parsons, and just as revealing bewilderment from David Attenborough, frame historical cameos from people now mainly remembered as people who paid their visits to Roy Plomley to reveal their Desert Island Discs.
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