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TV & Radio Category

Television and radio programme reviews, trailers, highlights, twilights and cinema news. Also the neglected gems from years past.

The Inbetweeners are back for a 10th anniversary special

the inbetweeners

 

After the yellow Fiat Cinquecento – The Yellow Peril – sank in 2010, The Inbetweeners headed off for films in Magaluf and Australia. But now the car and the foursome are back in suburbia for a tenth anniversary, two-hour TV special. Simon Bird, James Buckley, Blake Harrison and Joe Thomas are back. Let’s hope none of them are ill, and nothing’s deeper than Jay’s box of bedside tissues. At what point does teenage humiliation turn into something darker and more depressing?

 

Posted: 10th, December 2018 | In: TV & Radio | Comment


Whistle along to this clip of brilliant British TV from 1972

Here’s a lovely dash of Brilliant British TV from 1972. It’s Blue Peter. John Noakes is on the turntables. And a wonderful whistler is knocking them bandy:

 

Posted: 5th, December 2018 | In: TV & Radio | Comment


Deke Duncan: DJ who broadcast to an audience of one gets BBC radio show

deke duncan stevenage

 

“I genuinely thought this was a well-crafted parody, something that the likes of @serafinowicz & @robertpopper would conjure up, but no…it’s 100% genuine – All hail Deke Duncan from Stevenage,” tweets John Morter. A video from the BBC archives takes us back to 1974. We meet Deke Duncan, the producer, presenter and pretty much most other things at Stevenage’s Radio 77 his wife Teresa can’t or won’t do. With no licence, Radio 77, based in a shed at 57 Gonville Crescent in Stevenage, can only be beamed through a speaker in his living room, where Teresa listens. It might be the most romantic thing ever. 

 

 

This week, Deke Duncan, now 73, was invited to present a show on BBC local radio. He fulfilled his “ultimate ambition” to broadcast to the rest of Stevenage.

“We used to record all the shows and play them back and think – that’s cool – but we couldn’t afford to keep buying spools of tape so recorded over them,” he said. “That house was our ship. We took the fantasy so far we said we must not go out the front or back door because you’ll fall in the sea.” The nautical theme followed his love of pirate station Radio Caroline, which broadcast from a boat off the coast of Essex in the 1960s.

Mr Duncan, who has since moved to Stockport, Greater Manchester, still broadcasts Radio 77 to “the smallest audience in the country” – his wife.

He said he felt “emotional” when station editor Laura Moss invited him to present his own one-hour special over Christmas.

 

 

Spotter: Flashbak

Posted: 21st, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True, TV & Radio | Comment


Richard Baker: voice of BBC TV’s first news bulletin dies

Richard baker

 

Richard Baker has died. The former BBC newsreader and Proms presenter was 93. Baker introduced the corporation’s first news bulletin broadcast on 5 July 1954. To many, his was the face of TV news. He also voiced the children’s series, Mary, Mungo & Midge, first produced by the BBC in 1969. Asked why he did not smile more often on television, Baker replied: “Because there is seldom anything in the news likely to make anyone smile.”

The Times adds:

Mr Baker served on a minesweeper with the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve during World War Two, which interrupted his studies at Cambridge University.

He was born in north London [Willesden] and was the son of a plasterer, attending grammar school before reading history and modern languages at Peterhouse College.

He worked for the BBC from 1954 until 1982.

The BBC recalls his big break:

In 1950, he wrote to the BBC asking if they were recruiting actors, resulting in an offer of a job as a presenter on what was then called the Third Programme, much later to become Radio 3…

When the news department began planning bulletins, Baker and Kenneth Kendall were recruited..

Notable how chance played a key role in so many careers…

 

Posted: 17th, November 2018 | In: Celebrities, TV & Radio | Comment


BBC sign language expert nails Brexit

Are you keeping up with Brexit? Nothing’s been signed. No deal has been done. The UK remains in the EU. Millions of words have been written on the matter. But the whole thing can is best summed up by the BBC’s sign language interpreter:

 

 

Those Brexit options:

* A second referendum. Question to be asked: ‘Did you understand the 1st referendum?’
* Carry on talking to the EU forever
* Reduce number of people on benefits by giving the unemployed each two hours work as Brexit chief negotiator

Posted: 16th, November 2018 | In: Politicians, TV & Radio | Comment


I Was Big Bird: Caroll Spinney retires from Sesame Street

spinney oscar sesame street big bird

 

Oscar the Grouch and big Bird are looking for a new inside man following news that Sesame Street puppeteer Caroll Spinney has retired from the roles he’s performed since the show’s 1969 premiere.

“Big Bird brought me so many places, opened my mind and nurtured my soul,” said Spinney. “And I plan to be an ambassador for Sesame Workshop for many years to come. After all, we’re a family! But now it’s time for two performers that I have worked with and respected – and actually hand-picked for the guardianship of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch – to take my alter-egos into their hands and continue to give them life.”

After five decades as the heart and soul of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, it’s impossible to entirely separate the man from the characters he so vibrantly brought to life. Big Bird visited China with Bob Hope in 1979. He’s danced with the Rockettes, and with prima ballerina Cynthia Gregory. He’s been feted with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, celebrated with his likeness on a U.S. postage stamp, and named a “Living Legend” in 2000 by the Library of Congress. Performing Big Bird has taken Caroll to China, Japan, Australia, France, Germany, Canada, and the United Kingdom. He has performed on hundreds of episodes of television, starred as his big yellow avatar in the feature film Follow That Bird, and conducted symphony orchestras throughout the United States, Australia, and Canada. Spinney even met his wife of 45 years, Debra, on the Sesame Street set in 1973.

From now on, Matt Vogel and Eric Jacobson, will be warming Oscar and Big Bird. For an inkling of what they can expect, Spinney told Jessica Gross in 2015:

There used to be an urban tale that my right arm was twice the size of my left. Although that wasn’t true, I would say it was twice as strong. The bird’s head weighs four and a half pounds, which doesn’t sound heavy until you try to hold it over your head for fifteen minutes. A guy once said, “Well, four and a half pounds, that’s nothing. I could hold a hundred pounds over my head.” I said, “I don’t think so. I bet you can’t hold your empty hand over your head for five minutes, let alone if I put a four and a half pound head in your hand at the same time.” About two and a half minutes into it, he’s going, “Geez…” He never made it to the five minutes. He said, “This is stupid, I’m not doing this.” Well, he was stupid, anyway.

You can see Spinney at work in I Am Big Bird :

 

 

Posted: 19th, October 2018 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, TV & Radio | Comment


Steve Punt is a more convincing Eric Idle than Eric Idle is

BBC Breakfast used a photo of Steve Punt and not Eric Idle during their interview with the former Monty Python stalwart (that’s Idle not Punt):

 

eric idle steve punt

Eric Idle (left) and Steve Punt (right)

 

Punt played Eric Idle in the BBC show Holy Flying Circus, which covered the release of Monty Python’s Life of Brian. 

 

Posted: 17th, October 2018 | In: News, TV & Radio | Comment


Madeleine McCann stars in a sick Facebook quiz and audience growth campaign

Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child. The Daily Record directs our gaze towards a Facebook Post we’re pretty sure nearly everyone missed. Lots of children whose names you will be more familiar with are mentioned in a post on a page run by the “Savage Banter Casuals”. Says the Mirror:

Paige Doherty and Milly Dowler among child murder victims mocked by ‘banter’ Facebook post.

And then more savage banter:

Madeline McCann, Kriss Donald, Holly Wells, Jessica Chapman and Keith Bennett are included in the so called ‘humorous’ social media quizz.

 

madeleine mccann quiz

Best to stick with the tabloidese ‘Maddie’

 

That, of course, is Madeleine McCann and a ‘quiz’. It’s always bet to spell a missing child’s name correctly. But when you’re incandescent with rage, mistakes are easy to make. Thanks to the Record reading an obscure Facebook post, we get to know of a “sick and vile” Facebook quiz “making fun of child murder victims” that “has been revealed”. That’s “revealed” as in ‘read’. And also seen: “The face of each child was photoshopped on top of the English football team, with the caption: ‘Sunday night quiz, name the full 11’.”

The Record reproduces the photo:

 

madeleine mccann quiz

The sick quiz

 

And then the paper helps quizzers with the correct answers. Spoiler alert!

Clockwise, starting from the top left, the tragic kids being mocked in the post are: Madeleine McCann , Tia Sharp, Paige Doherty (pictured twice), Steven Lawrence, Milly Dowler, Kriss Donald, Sarah Payne, Jessica Chapman, Keith Bennett and Holly Wells.

 

maddie mccann

If you don’t want to know the answers, look away now.

 

We then get a small story of each horrific case, and hear from Disgusted of Facebook telling us it’s “disgusting using murdered children’s faces as a joke”. Adding:

The post has now been removed and page administrators have apologised for causing offence.

So the Facebook page is not all that “savage” then. It’s actually just adolescent, sad and apologetic.

In other news, the Daily Mirror’sAudience Growth Editor” hits the web with a story: “The Cry author says Madeleine McCann case DID inspire BBC drama.” 

The scene where they react to Noah no longer being in the car prompted many viewers to compare the the show to Madeleine McCann’s disappearance.

Madeleine McCann went missing from her bed in a real-life horror show. Noah was made up.

In 2007, four-year-old Maddie disappeared from a holiday apartment in Portugal sparking a huge media campaign to find her, that’s still ongoing to this day.

Not so much. It’s more of a police investigation than a media campaign. But, sure, the media did turn the single-thread story of an innocent missing child into ‘Our Maddie’, “every parent’s worst nightmare”.

 

the cry mccann

 

The Cry author told The Herald about the inspiration for her work in a story headlined “The Cry author Helen FitzGerald on how real-life heartache inspired BBC drama”:

THERE is a moment in the first episode of new Sunday night drama The Cry when Jenna Coleman’s character, a washed-out new mother weighed down with baby, buggy and bags, struggles up the steps of her tenement flat.

“I watched it thinking – my God, that was my life,” marvels Glasgow author Helen FitzGerald, upon whose novel the new series is based.

Yes, indeed – author bases work of fiction on own life’s experiences, ideas and thoughts. Who knew? But will that help “audience growth” as much as zooming in on the Maddie McCanna angle? As the Mirror works out which missing child gets the most clicks (who needs Facebook for “sick” stuff?), we learn that like The Cry, FitzGerald’s life was set in Australia, what with her having been born there.

Australian-born FitzGerald, author of a string of successful thrillers, is certain the roots of her novel – which has been adapted by screenwriter Jacqueline Perske – lie [sic] in her experience of new motherhood.

And Madeleine McCann, right? After 15 paragraphs of how her own life shaped her work, we finally reach the Mirror’s headline news:

FitzGerald, now 52, was a teenager in Australia in 1980 when Lindy Chamberlain was wrongfully convicted of murdering her nine-week-old daughter. She claimed she saw a dingo leave the tent where Azaria was sleeping, during a family camping holiday…

In 2007, four-year-old Madeleine McCann vanished from a holiday apartment in Portugal’s Praia da Luz, sparking another high profile media campaign in which accusations were levelled at Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry.

Adding:

“I saw Lindy speaking on television to the McCanns, giving them support and I thought – what a terrible community this is, what an awful thing by which to be bound together.”

She adds: “I have always believed both of them. But thinking about their cases made me wonder – what kind of couple would get away with something like this? What would have to be going on behind the scenes in that relationship?”

And on motherhood:

“Does anyone remember Mr Chamberlain’s name?” she says, wryly. “Lindy was incredibly naïve and open and just had no clue, and she got slaughtered by the media. Her case was really the first example of trial by television.

“Women are always the target, especially when babies are involved. No matter how much we talk about parental or gender equality, that’s what happens.”

Actually, no. We can’t recall his name. Maybe that can be a quiz question? But he’s called Gerry McCann. But, then, he’s not the inspiration for the book and the TV drama as such as Lindy Chamberlain’s story was.

Spoiler: Lindy Chamberlain’s husband was Michael Chamberlain.

Fact: Madeleine McCann is missing. There are no suspects. If you know what happened to her, call the police. Please don’t speculate here.

Posted: 15th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, Tabloids, TV & Radio | Comment


TV reporter Gustavo Almadovar is signing off

Gustavo Almodovar, a one-time reporter for Channel 9 eyewitness news, can’t say his last name without moving his head. “I’m not so sure it’s worthy of the attention it has received,” said Almodovar, who left the Florida station in 2008. “Aside from friends and a few co-workers teasing me about the video, life has been quite ordinary. It’s like bubble gum. People will chew it for a little while, toss it and move on.”

 

 

The Internet got to work. Here’s the disco remix:

Posted: 14th, October 2018 | In: Strange But True, TV & Radio | Comment


Boris Johnson in Kuenssberg and Rigby fake news shocker

boris johnson interview

 

Boris Johnson is back on the telly. Both the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg and Sky’s Beth Rigby have the first televised interview since Johnson resigned as Foreign Secretary. Is it a case of mistaken identity? This might be a mater for the US Supreme Court…

Posted: 28th, September 2018 | In: Politicians, TV & Radio | Comment


Cold War Steve: Steve McFadden stars in an exhibition by Twitter’s greatest artist

Cold War Steve mcfadden

 

The art of Cold War Steve is to feature in an exhibition at The Social, London. Called A Brief History of the World (1953 – 2018), the show’s running thread is the presence of British actor Steve McFadden, famed for playing tough nut Phil Mitchell on the BBBC dystopian soap opera, EastEnders. There’s fun to be had in spotting famous faces from the world stage and British telly. Personal favourites are poleaxed TalkSport DJ Alan Brazil and the late Cilla Black offering a quizzical look to us from the montage – a look that says ‘Who invited you?’ and ‘What the bloody hell am I doing here?’

Christopher Spencer, the talent behind @ColdWarSteve explains it simply: ” The more incongruous they were, the funnier.” And, boy, are they funny:

 

Cold War Steve mcfadden Cold War Steve mcfadden Cold War Steve mcfadden

 

More from @ColdWarSteve on Twitter.  A Brief History of the World (1953 – 2018) is at The Social from October 15.

Posted: 27th, September 2018 | In: Celebrities, News, The Consumer, TV & Radio | Comment


BBC reporter demands people stop using Instagram, Facebook and their phones to look at the BBC

“How do you deal with smartphone ‘zombies’?” asks the Jeremy Vine show on BBC Radio 2. You mean people like Mhairi McFarlane (@MhairiMcF), who responds: “What’s wrong with looking at your phone? I have £500 worth of computer in my pocket containing all my friends and the sum of human knowledge but I’m supposed to prefer what, small talk with random johnnies?” Not talk. Listen. Sorry. LISTEN!

The Vine show’s judgemental man at large is Tim Johns who under his @timoncheese handle tweets: “Here is how I spent my morning: using a megaphone to heckle members of the public for having their heads buried in their phones.”

To which my response is: ever been punched?

Johns is wonderfully lacking in self awareness. He says the people with their faces “buried in their phones” are “completely oblivious to the fact I’m walking around with a big microphone”. Tim, mate, they’re not. They’ve seen you. It’s not the 1950s or Wrexham, when and where you’d cause quite a stir. To wit, the first pedestrian (only three are recorded – and one of them’s a Cabbie) he gets to speak with is an Australian woman. There will be emails home.

Johns is a middle-aged man in central London looking to annoy people minding their own business. He’s more in common with a chugger than a happening. He also has a megaphone slung from his neck “to keep them safe” lest they step out into the road and be killed, or not pay him a blind bit of notice. Give it up Instagram and Snapchat – real narcissists have old media credentials. “Life is more important than Facebook,” Johns chides one stranger. But Facebook might be more important than the BBC.

 

Posted: 6th, September 2018 | In: News, Technology, TV & Radio | Comment


Jed Mercurio’s Bodyguard harks back to the Johnson Dick affair

When not giving the ‘go‘ for an innocent man to be shot dead on the London Underground, Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick is on the PR trail. Last week Dick popped up on Good Morning Britain, the televised middle-class coffee morning, to discuss, among other things, Jed Mercurio’s BBC thriller Bodyguard.

Dick mistook fiction for fact, praising the show’s “senior” females as “role models”, who are, er, actors working to a script. A woman playing a top copper with five lines on the show is not the actual superior to the lower rank plod who plays the show’s star, the actual Bodyguard.

Cressida did, however, manage to say the show was “ridiculous”, turning off as soon as sexual signals were exchanged between the protector and the protected – in the show the Home Secretary and her Bodyguard shag. But is it so far fetched? No.

 

 

In 2011, the BBC reported on a real-life matter:

A police bodyguard to former Home Secretary Alan Johnson has been sacked after an inquiry into an alleged affair with the Labour MP’s wife.

PC Paul Rice, 45, was dismissed by the Metropolitan Police, which condemned him for damaging its reputation.

Mr Johnson quit as shadow chancellor in January as allegations surrounding the affair became public.

The Dick and Johnson Affair – not as ridiculous as it sounds.

Posted: 5th, September 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, TV & Radio | Comment


 Columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown says far Right ‘Allo Allo cast pose threat to British society

Did you see the Nazis massed in Gloucester? There was Herr Flick and the rest of the Herrenvolk who used to star in he BBC’s fly on the wall documentary Allo ‘Allo!.  These recreational Nazis were at the Gloucester Goes Retro festival.

 

Gloucester Goes Retro

 

Columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown spotted them. She noted: “Too busy accusing Labour of anti-Semitism to heed the real scary threat posed posed by the hard right.” Yeah, all four of the Far Right enthusiasts surrounded by media – which is pretty much par for the course when it comes to reporting on Nazis, a minority focus group with huge reach. There the “real” threat – unlike the Jew hatred that’s rife in the Labour Party, which is presumably fakery made up by a team of scriptwriters.

 

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown allo allo nazis

 

As they used to say on the TV show, she’s the one with the ‘big boobies’.

Posted: 30th, August 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, TV & Radio | Comment


NBC announces death of Senator John McCain with mating human dolphins

 

RIP John McCain (August 29, 1936 – August 25, 2018). Victor in six elections to the US Senate, McCain was the US navy pilot who crashed twice. He was was on the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal when his A-4 Skyhawk jet caught fire. He was hit by shrapnel by the plane’s exploding bombs. The accident cost 134 men their lives. He was shot down during the Vietnam War, bayonetted, beaten badly and held for five-and-a-half years as a prisoner in inhuman conditions at the infamous Hoa Lo prison. The admiral’s son survived months in solitary confinement and torture. When he ran for Congress in Arizona, he told a journalist who accused him of not being local:

“Listen pal. I spent 22 years in the Navy. My father was in the Navy. My grandfather was in the Navy. We in the military service tend to move a lot. We have to live in all parts of the country, all parts of the world. I wish I could have had the luxury, like you, of growing up and living and spending my entire life in a nice place like the First District of Arizona, but I was doing other things… The place I lived longest in my life was Hanoi.”

And on CNN

Posted: 26th, August 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Strange But True, TV & Radio | Comment


Peter Firmin: remembering The Clangers, Bagpuss and their creator

peter-firmin bagpuss

 

Peter Firmin (1928-2018) co-created Bagpuss, The Clangers, Basil Brush, Ivor the Engine, Pogles Wood and Noggin the Nog. You might not know the man, but every Briton who grew up in the 1970s knows his work. In 1999, Bagpuss was voted the most popular BBC children’s programme ever made.

It was a family affair. Mr Firmin’s wife Joan made Bagpuss’ paws and knitted the original Clangers. Their daughter Emily played Bagpuss’ owner, who places the saggy old cloth cat in her shop window.  The shop doesn’t sell anything. Each week Emily brings Bagpuss objects to mend and repair. Bagpuss wakes up, explores the new find with his pals and then after so much talk and hard looking drifts back to sleep.

Only 13 episodes were ever made. Each one if wonderful.

 

 

The Clangers are aliens living on small blue planet. They live in caves protected by saucepan lids – the noise of the lids gives the Clangers their name.

As for Mr Firmin:

Born in Harwich in 1928, he trained at the Colchester School of Art and, after a period of National Service in the Navy, he went on to attend the Central School of Art and Design. it was while teaching there that he met Mr Postgate with whom he formed Smallfilms.

In 2016, in an interview with the BBC at the unveiling of an exhibition of his work, Mr Firmin said of his relationship with Mr Postgate: “He wrote and imagined things and I brought them to life as pictures.”

He said: “We sometimes disagreed, but generally we agreed in the end as we had the same sort of taste and, also, we both rather liked the idea of gentle stories where there was no aggression really and everyone was rather happy, gentle and content.”

Mr Firmin was no fan of computer generated imagery. “I hate CGI faces on humans because you look in the eyes and there’s nothing there. There’s no soul.”

In 1974, his knitted Clangers with their black button eyes held an election. The General Election was taking place in the UK and far, far away The Clangers were asking you to Vote Froglet.

The BFI:

On a small blue planet far away, it’s polling day for the Clangers! Coinciding with 1974’s general election, this episode sees narrator Oliver Postgate trying to persuade the ever-popular woolly creatures of the merits of party politics. But the Clangers aren’t taken with the prospect of a society ruled by one group – even though the Soup Dragon stands for election on a ‘free soup for all’ ticket.

Oliver Postgate provides the voice of the narrator who, uniquely in this episode, engages in conversation with the Clangers. Their responses were adapted from the written script and played on swannee whistles by Stephen Sylvester and Oliver Postgate, as usual, while the music was composed by Vernon Elliott. This was the final in the original series of The Clangers which ran for 27 episodes from 1969-74.

 

Posted: 2nd, July 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, TV & Radio | Comment


Shop Smart: Save Money the Hampstead and King Alfred’s School way

Fiona Phillips and Gaby Roslin are plugging a new Channel 5 TV show. Called Shop Smart: Save Money, “their new TV show that encourages savvy shopping”, says the Daily Mail. Both presenters are keen to show how they learnt the value of a coupon and special offer from periods of poverty and periods of “financial issues”. “When I was a student, I had £5 a week to live off,” says Roslin.

Even now, she says she still can’t scatter the cash. ‘I have bills to pay like everyone else. Mortgage, gas, electricity, water, car. We all do.’

Prescient stuff. Says Roslin: “My parents weren’t well off and I was brought up thriftily.”

In 2010, she told the Independent:

From the age of three, all I wanted to be was on television. My dad was a Radio 4 newsreader. He was a friend of Valerie Singleton and I used to go to Television Centre to watch Blue Peter being broadcast…

I got into King Alfred’s, a co-ed, progressive school in Hampstead.

King Alfred School is fee paying. It’s located in one of the country’s most expensive places to buy a home. The current fees t the school are:

Reception, Years 1 + 2 (4 – 6 years):  £ 5,177 per term
Years 3 – 6 (7 – 10 years): £ 5,965 per term
Upper School (11 – 18 years): £ 6,241 per term

The Sun says: “Gaby Roslin is well-placed to give advice on how to get value for money.” Here’s a bit more about King Alfred’s:

You were not told who was top or bottom and you called teachers by their first names. At first, you didn’t have marks. I wasn’t very good at maths but they didn’t say: “Let’s drop it.” You discussed it with the teachers.

Cynics would call it the kind of school wealthy kids who don’t need to write CVs go to.

Posted: 9th, June 2018 | In: Celebrities, TV & Radio | Comment


The Last Line – an outstanding bit of British TV from 1981

In 1981 ATV went to the Wolverhampton Fiesta. Jacqueline was there. She was about to do something dangerous. John Swallow reports:

 

 

Spotter: @aflashbak and @CFBClips – two Twitter accounts well worth following

Posted: 4th, June 2018 | In: TV & Radio | Comment


‘Casual anti-semitism’ on the BBC Radio 4’s News Quiz

Ever listen to The News Quiz on BBC Radio 4? It’s the soundtrack to a Boden catalogue: knowing, safe and predictable; sold as edgy to ambulatory roadkill who book family yurts at Glastonbury and can conjugate Prosecco. It’s the tinkle of dinner party laughter that says, ‘Wouldn’t this be funny if it was funny.’ Today’s audio vanilla was a cracker, kicking off with guff about Trump, Israel, Iran and those pesky Jews. Once upon a time someone at the Beeb decided that Israel and ‘The Jews’ should always sit at the top of the news cycle. So here it was again. Tune in as someone called Jeremy Hardy ‘satirises’ all the safe targets before talking about Jews, you know those problematic “tailors” and “showbiz” types who give conspiracy theorists – enjoy the bit about the “miraculous” missiles – and the right-on, uniquely sensitive and knowing Left direction and cause.

 

 

 

Running through the hideous bilge lies the essential truth that mocking Israel and Jews is a sign of Jewish strength. There are no jokes on the religionists running Iran because they’re thugs who might smack you in the mouth. On the News Quiz, they only lampoon what they don’t fear.

Posted: 12th, May 2018 | In: News, TV & Radio | Comment


Artist accuses Netflix of Stranger Things stormcloud theft

stranger things cloud theft

Heavey’s Stranger Things cloud

 

Sean R. Heavey thought the Hellish cloud hanging over the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, looked familiar. The town, the setting for Netflix’s hit TV show Stranger Things, was in the shadow of what Heavey thinks looked like his artwork. And then things escalated when Heavey was alerted to a scene on spin-off show Beyond Stranger Things (episode 3) on Netflix. He says his concept art that was used by the Stranger Things production team.

 

stranger things cloud theft

A Netflix original?

 

He wrote to Netflix, who told him it was ought luck. He says:

“They are saying the only similarity that exists is the use of a similar cloud formation, that copyright law does not protect objects as they appear in nature, and that an artist can’t claim a monopoly over real-world public domain objects such as a cloud formation. The problem with that argument is that it’s not a similar cloud they use — it’s my cloud photo.”

Real world? We’re talking about conceptual art and a fictional TV show.

Heavey has called in the lawyers. But isn’t Netflix right: viewing and adapting different sources for inspiration and an original story is fair use? Is Heavey sues and wins, won’t the makers of ET, Poltergeist, The Goonies and any number of sci-fi books and comics form a line to the copyright courts, suing the derivative show for borrowing and using ideas?

Spotter: Boing Boing

Posted: 11th, May 2018 | In: News, TV & Radio | Comment


Eurovision bans ladders and pliers but not Cliff Richard

banned eurovision

 

The Eurovision Song Contest is the trashsy, tacky music show that the UK never wins. Organisers of this year’s show in Portugal have produced a list of forbidden items.

Now take it away, Cliff Richard:

 

 

Spotter: BBC

Posted: 26th, April 2018 | In: Strange But True, TV & Radio | Comment


Hank Azaria says sorry The Simpsons Abu is upsetting

Hank Azaria says he’s “willing to step aside” from voicing the character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon in TV’s The Simpsons.  Azaria is pressured by a Indian-American comic Hari Kondabolu (The Problem with Apu), who claims the Indian character who knows more about the USA than Homer Simpson (fat, yellow ignorant, child-throttling and lazy) is founded on racial stereotypes. Azaria says his “eyes have been opened” by the debate. No offence was intended. He thought it was a jokey show about a 2D family of yellow-faces and blue hair. But he now knows that The Simpsons is slice-of-life stuff.

 

azaria apu

Not a real Indian

 

Azaria, who also voices porcine Chief Wiggum (a snout-face, slow-witted copper), Comic Book Guy (a fat pedantic slob) and bartender Moe Szyslak (a cranky, wire-haired batchelor) could soon be out of work unless the show’s writers can shoehorn a part for a slim actor who wants to write his own lines.

Azaria goes on the record: “The idea that anyone young or old, past or present, being bullied based on Apu really makes me sad. It certainly was not my intention. I wanted to bring joy and laughter to people.”

He did. He has. He’s not the writer, though. And Azaria’s reaction to criticism explains why actors should be wary of rewriting their own parts. “I’ve given this a lot of thought, and as I say my eyes have been opened,” he continues. “I think the most important thing is to listen to Indian people and their experience with it. I really want to see Indian, South Asian writers in the writers room… including how [Apu] is voiced or not voiced. I’m perfectly willing and happy to step aside, or help transition it into something new. It not only makes sense, it just feels like the right thing to do to me.”

Hear that, Indians. Form a queue.

The Simpsons has been dying on its feet for years.  As Lisa Simpson puts it in reply to this pathetic furore: “Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?” The camera then pans to a photo of Apu.

(Bart Simpson has been 8 for years – which is both weird and perverted!)

Posted: 25th, April 2018 | In: Celebrities, News, TV & Radio | Comment


Banning Russia Today would be as ridiculous as the bilge it broadcasts

Like many of you, I was disappointed when in 2012 Ofcom banned the Iranian state’s English-language mouthpiece Press TV. Ofcom, the broadcasting regulator, revoked its licence for breaching the Communications Act, for running its editorial oversight from Tehran, a habit that contravened the rules. “Broadcasting rules require that a licence is held by the person who is in general control of the TV service: that is, the person that chooses the programmes to be shown in the service and organises the programme schedule,” Ofcom said. Press TV could run editorial form the UK or broadcast from Iran. “Ofcom gave Press TV the opportunity to apply to have its operations in Tehran correctly licensed by Ofcom and Ofcom offered to assist it to do so. Press TV was given the opportunity to make representations on Ofcom’s ‘minded to revoke’ letter”. Press TV has failed to make the necessary application and Ofcom has therefore revoked Press TV’s licence to broadcast in the UK.”

A few British journalists and politicians – George Galloway, Yvonne Ridley, Ken Livingstone, Lauren Booth and Jeremy Corbyn – were all familiar faces on Press TV. The Guardian says Corbyn “presented a call-in programme on Press TV, a propaganda channel of the Iranian government which was banned by Ofcom and which regularly hosts Holocaust deniers.”

Nick Cohen added in The Spectator:

By hosting interviews, Corbyn gives the propaganda the ‘credibility’ of a Western politician. It’s fascinating to hear Iranian democracy campaigner Maziar Bahari’s own thoughts on Corbyn, who he describes as ‘a useful idiot’, and goes on to say:

People who present programmes for Press TV and get paid for it should be really ashamed of themselves — especially if they call themselves liberals and people who are interested in human rights.

The Iranian regime executes gay people, democracy activists, Kurds, and orders the rape of female prisoners. But Corbyn is happy to take their money and aid their propaganda campaign. Watch the end of this clip as Jeremy hosts a caller who describes the BBC as having hosted ‘Zionist liars’.

A few highlights:

 

 

And:

 

Corbyn mural east london

Corbyn and ‘Yvonne Ridley/ – that one form Press TV? – both like the mural that Labour now says is deeply anti-Semitic.

 

Business Insider noted:

Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn accepted up to £20,000 (about $27,000) for appearances on the Iranian state broadcast network Press TV — a channel that was banned in the UK for its part in filming the detention and torture of an Iranian journalist…

Corbyn’s final Press TV appearance was six months after the network had its broadcasting license revoked by Ofcom for airing a forced confession by Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari. Ofcom is the government’s TV regulatory body which sets rules for UK broadcasters. Bahari told Business Insider that while he was detained by Iranian authorities he was tortured and threatened with execution before he agreed to read out a pre-agreed script on Iranian television, filmed by Press TV…

Press TV is part of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s tightly controlled broadcasting machinery. Its director is appointed by Iran’s Supreme Leader — the state’s chief religious and political authority – which means that its output is often biased in favour of strict establishment ideology.

During the period between the year of Corbyn’s first appearance and his last, for example, Iran hanged at least 1,314 people, according to Amnesty International. It is a place where the rights of women, LGBT people, and religious and ethnic minorities are harshly curtailed. In 2011, the year of Corbyn’s third appearance, three Iranian men were executed for homosexuality. An Amnesty International report released last year said that Sunni Muslims and Kurdish political prisoners have been executed for bringing “corruption” to the world.

Press TV’s newsroom director, Hamid Emadi, replied:

“Press TV believes that Ofcom is the media tool of the British government – the same government that sent troops to Iraq and Afghanistan to participate in the killing of innocent civilians. The British government and Ofcom will not be able to silence Press TV’s voice in the UK.”

But it did.

And now the no less monocular Russian Today (RT) is in the firing line. And that too is a shame. If we want to see the bias, disinformation, conspiracy theories, barbs, slurs and propaganda broadcast by regressive foreign regimes, Press TV and the Kremlin-fed Russia Today are useful. Its presence makes us thankful for our freedoms in which a plural media let’s use see more not less.

But some want it banned.

Labour MP Stephen Doughty opined: “On Russia Today, can I urge the Prime Minister to speak with the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to look at reviewing Russia Today’s broadcasting licence, and to speak to the House authorities about blocking their broadcasts in this building itself. Why should we be watching their propaganda in this Parliament?” Shadow chancellor John McDonnell says RT, at times, “goes beyond objective journalism”.

Ofcom has RT in its crosshairs. There are seven investigations into whether the channel breached impartiality rules since the Salisbury nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia that left both in a critical condition in hospital. RT says the British did it. RT says the story is “woven with lies”. So what? If RT is your single source for news, and one you see as operating at the vanguard of truth, you should loosen the elastic on your tinfoil hat.

The argument that Russia poses a unique threat to our way of life through its obvious bullshit and clandestine social media activities gives the country and its broadcaster too much credit. Banning RT and its laughable attempts to troll the West would only limit our world view. We know what nonsense Russia pumps out because we can see it first hand. It’s ridiculous stuff. Don’t ban it – that’s the kind of thing Putin and his goons do. Just do what most of us now do: ignore it.

Posted: 20th, April 2018 | In: News, TV & Radio | Comment


Dale Winton RIP

Dale Winton (born 22 May 1955 )has died at the age of 62. The presenter of daytime telly’s Supermarket Sweep and later the National Lottery has checked out.

 

dale winton died

 

Dale Winton started out as a  DJ in London club circuit. That was followed by a stint at United Biscuits Industrial Radio Station, where he worked on programmes broadcast in factories. Winton went to work at Nottingham’s Radio Trent, hosting the morning show, then to Radio Danube and Radio Chiltern.

In 1986, Dale Winton joined BBC Bristol, where he presented Pet Watch (BBC One), and CTVC (1987). then it was on to Beacon Radio in Wolverhampton, Network 7′ for Channel 4, Home Today on ITV and lots of outings on satellite telly.

 

But Supermarket Sweep made him. Here’s the pilot episode – it really was fun:

 

Posted: 18th, April 2018 | In: Celebrities, TV & Radio | Comment


Andrew Neil explains anti-Semitism to the uneducated and Corbyn’s Labour

Andrew Neil presents must-see TV. Brilliant work by @afneil and @bbcthisweek in explaining what anti-Semitism is to the uneducated, and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters who have difficulty spotting it:

 

 

Mireille Knoll was found dead inside her Paris flat. Police think she was killed for being a Jew. The killer then her home set alight. French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, opines:  “It reminds us of the fundamental and permanent side of this battle” against antisemitism.

On the same day Ms Knoll was killed, Islamists murdered Arnaud Beltrame, a 44-year-old police officer. He was a true hero.

A year before Knoll’s slaying, Sarah Halimi, a retired Orthodox doctor and kindergarten teacher, was killed in her Paris apartment, her body then hurled out a window. In 2012, three children and a teacher were murdered in an attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse. In 2006, Ilan Halimi, a 23-year-old cellphone salesman, was tortured by gang members who assumed his middle-class parents could pay a hefty ransom because they were Jewish. Halimi’s charred body was found by the side of a road three weeks after his abduction.

The oldest story is back. The Jew – the ‘rich’, ‘powerful’, uniquely barbaric and deserving Jew – is seen as fair game. Don’t yield to anti-Semitism. I’ve been confronted with it recently – things I never thought I would have said to me, and threats made to me. Jew bating is normalised. It’s unnerving.

Posted: 30th, March 2018 | In: News, TV & Radio | Comment