Television and radio programme reviews, trailers, highlights, twilights and cinema news. Also the neglected gems from years past.
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…
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:
“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.
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.
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.
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.
As they used to say on the TV show, she’s the one with the ‘big boobies’.
NBC solemnly announces death of Sen. John McCain.
Wait for it. pic.twitter.com/xAqZ3HtvHa
— Rob Beschizza (@Beschizza) August 26, 2018
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…
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
The casual unquestioned anti-Semitism of the joke about Jews pursuing “show biz and tailoring” in the Cotswalds (as opposed to Israel) on today’s News Quiz on @BBCRadio4 would be shocking if it was not so familiar; as was the joke that “Israel looks exactly like Palestine”.
— Doctor Swift (@toddswift_dr) May 12, 2018
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.
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.
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
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:
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, 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!)
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:
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.
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 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:
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:
“That, dear viewer, is anti-Semitism. At its deadliest and most depraved. Which is how it always ends up. Which is why it can’t be tolerated. Those still in doubt need to educate themselves. Fast.” @afneil opening #bbctw pic.twitter.com/MFi7pYorkB
— BBC This Week (@bbcthisweek) March 29, 2018
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.
So it’s farewell to Jim Bowen, my Bullseye Tumblr muse. He was the engine of that show, propping up hours of awkward banter with shy contestants like Colin the carpet tufter from Dridlington (my favourite ever contestant name town and occupation combo) shuffling in their seats, eyes down. They had only come to win a dinner service, maybe a luggage set, they didn’t want all this razzle dazzle. He chatted to them about their home town, their family, their job, and would valiantly press on whenever the banter couldn’t overcome the nerves and didn’t land, as it once didn’t with a shopkeeper from Diss who took umbrage at Jim saying he had DISS-satisfied customers. The man disagreed (DISSagreed!) Jim explained what he meant. “I know what you meant,” he muttered irritably; right, on with the show!
Jim really came into his own during the quiz portion of the show, routinely asking anyone who responded to a question with a self doubting tone “are you asking me or telling me?” They would confirm that they were indeed telling him and he was duly appeased. Except for one time, when a woman threw him by saying “I’m asking you”. He paused and in a low sombre voice said “I’d prefer it if you’d tell me”.
He wasn’t very consistent bless him, oscillating between violently and unnecessarily shushing the always silent audience whilst the contestants considered their answer and then occasionally jabbering all over their thinking time. My favourite such occasion was when he asked a woman about a cathedral that had burned down “…which cathedral was it?…it was a cathedral…but…but it’s got another name for a cathedral” MOOOOOOOO. Thanks for that Jim.
Another classic was when he spent a man’s thinking time telling him he looked like Rumpole of the Bailey. The man looked annoyed at this comparison and then came Bully’s roar which annoyed him further. Afterwards Jim apologised to the glowering contestant for offending him but maintained that he did look like him.
That man should count himself lucky that at least he didn’t get the “I’m surprised you didn’t know that” treatment on a question about STDs.
The quiz section led to everyone’s favourite part of the night; the famed prize board. Where Jim would get to announce such bizarre prize hauls as “pound puppies and fine wines” (GAMBLE!) and physically drag people to what they had won and also to what they hadn’t won. Like when he pushed two unhappy contestants up onto a beach set and made them sit unhappily in cane chairs so they could watch footage of a holiday they had failed to obtain, having lost all of their other prizes in the process. But they had a good day and that is all that matters. Plus you got a tankard win or lose.
I will leave you with a clip of Jim being serenaded by some very 1980s men for far too long. His face in the middle is wonderful.
Thank you Mr Bowen for all of the awkward moments, the great chat, the deliberately bad jokes, and for a show that I always find gives me the biggest of hugs whenever I watch it.
James Bowen (born Peter Williams; 20 August 1937 – 14 March 2018).
Love Island finalist Olivia Attwood claims the reality TV mating show does not secure all would-be breeding pairs the same level of income. She’s part of a story that female stars were “reportedly offered less than their male counterparts for the same work after leaving the show”. Yeah, different human beings earn different amounts of money on account of their popularity, skills and reaction to limelight. WTF! It’s the ‘gender pay gap’, dummy. And no, it’s not something you can wax.
The women and men who participated in the reality television show, in which single contestants are sent to an island and instructed to couple up and find love, were given a variety of employment opportunities with outside companies after the programme ended.
Two went to work as sub-title writers for ITVBe, one became the German chancellor and another scored a job testing NHS orthopaedic treatments on a pro-celebrity ice dancing show.
Although ITV offers an equal prize for winning the show, regardless of gender, stars have allegedly found that other companies they have worked with offered women less money.
The jobs on offer included nightclub appearances, paid sponsorships on social media, media appearances and partnerships with brands. Ms Attwood claimed that women were offered less money for these roles than the men who participated in the reality television show.
Might it be that the punters would pay more to see the boys than the girls?
And now on Sky News, the weather….
"…and here's the weather" pic.twitter.com/g3ZoEfmCmk
— Andy (@alreadytaken74) January 21, 2018
Spot the differences between the “BBC women on the march” for equal pay and ‘Grid Girls’ women being told they can’t work at Formula One events. Clue: age and class.
First up, the women who know what’s best for themselves and all women. The women taking a stand for equal rights, more money, opportunity and the sisterhood:
The women told they don’t know what’s best for themselves and who don’t know their own minds, being presumably too thick and infected by misogyny to earn an honest living of their choosing. Thankfully, more intelligent and higher ranking women are here to lend these losers a steer.
And then this, in which the female expert in all things female schools two grown women no longer working the darts circuit in the right and wrong way to dress, earn money and conduct themselves. (Neither group is from the 70s – that’s the 1970s for the ‘babes’ and the 1870s for the bluestocking.)
Is it about equal pay or equal recognition? And do BBC staff do comparable jobs? What price reputation, on-screen charisma, popularity and individuality? Or is it a simple fact that you need a knob to earn the top whack at the BBC?
Former BBC China editor Carrie Gracie was giving evidence to the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee yesterday. She was angry and upset to learn that the BBC’s male Middle East and North America editors earned “at least 50% more” than their two female counterparts – the women taking home around £100,000 a year less. She left her job and is to work back in the BBC newsroom. Gracie, 55, has been at the BBC for over 30 years.
“We’re not in the business of producing toothpaste or tyres at the BBC,” she said. “Our business is truth. We can’t operate without the truth. If we’re not prepared to look at ourselves honestly, how can we be trusted to look at anything else in reporting honestly?”
Adding: “I could leave the BBC tomorrow and get a better paid job. I don’t want to leave it in this state. It is in deep trouble and we need to sort it out and I need to be there alongside the other great BBC women, helping the BBC to sort it out.”
Always interested when well-paid people at the Beeb talk about how much more they can earn elsewhere. The question is always: where? Working at the BBC for big bucks is not a sacrifice.
She then added.
“I do not want any more money, that is not what it’s about. This will not resolve my problem. My problem will be resolved by an acknowledgment that my work was of equal value to the men I served alongside as an international editor. An apology would be nice….
“One of the things that’s made me sad is the tendency for this to turn into a comparison between me and the North America editor, and me and the Middle East editor.”
But don’t we have to compare the jobs to work out how underpaid she was? Do we consider the jobs of China editor and North America editor the same?
The BBC offers some guidance:
BBC head of news Fran Unsworth said that when Gracie was appointed as China editor, her salary was actually higher than that of the Middle East and North America editors.
“At the time that we set Carrie’s pay in that role, there was no issue around gender at all,” she said.
However, after Gracie’s appointment, Jon Sopel was hired to be the new North America editor. “Jon Sopel came with a different pay history,” she said.
“He had been a BBC One presenter, he had been a presenter on World News. He was a former political editor of the News Channel. He was a former Paris correspondent. And he had accumulated a much higher salary than Carrie was on at the time as a presenter of the News Channel. And we did not cut his pay in asking him to go to North America.”
The North America editor was on air “twice as much in peak time – and that is at a busy time in the China story”, she explained.
She added: “It’s a different job, the China job. It’s a more features-based agenda, it’s not on the relentless treadmill that something like the North America editor’s job is.”
Lord Hall [BBC boss Tony Hall] added it was “a mistake not to review Carrie Gracie’s pay when the new North America editor was put in place”.
The gender pay gap wasn’t news until the BBC was forced to publish a list of its best earners. It was only then that we saw that US editor, Jon Sopel, and the Middle East editor, Jeremy Bowen, were earning a lot more than Gracie and Katya Adler, the Europe editor. Sopel and Bowen are familiar faces on the magic box. Adler would be hard to identify in a crowd of two women, and until Gracie became news, relatively few viewers would have known her name and face. In panic mode, after Gracie complained and a lengthy review, the BBC offered her a lump of backpay and assured her that the oversight had nothing to do with gender pay discrimination.
“I didn’t want the money,” she said. “I wanted robust data for people’s different salary levels. I wanted acknowledgment that my work was as good as my male colleagues.” The BBC told after decades at the corporation her work was in “development”. That’s absurd.
But she was well paid. And the question as to whether she was working at the same level as the more recognisable Sopel and Bowen is pertinent. Comparrisons do need to be made.
F1 will no longer feature female models – Grid Girls – in the pits. Women won’t be in the cars, either. That tradition stays. Says Sean Bratches, managing director of commercial operations:
“While the practice of employing grid girls has been a staple of Formula 1 grands prix for decades, we feel this custom does not resonate with our brand values and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms.
“We don’t believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to Formula 1 and its fans, old and new, across the world.”
The BBC spoke with one of the newly sacked: Charlotte Gash:
“It’s upsetting and I’m rather disgusted that F1 have given in to the minority to be politically correct…. I know the grid girls are there to look pretty when they’re out on the grid but my role was interacting with the crowd and we were there as an advertisement for the sponsors. We love doing it we don’t want it taken away from us.”
Charlotte Gash, there.
Men, start your engines…
If you cannot understand what your interviewee is saying, you can always couch it in terms you do understand. When Channel 4 journalist Cathy Newman interviewed University of Toronto psychology professor Jordan Peterson, she did just that, opting to bypass Peterson’s actual words and debate points Peterson didn’t say. Her preferred method was to tell Peterson over and over “What you’re saying is…”
The upshot is that anyone tuning in will fancy reading Peterson’s book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. Camille Paglia calls him “the most important Canadian thinker since Marshall McLuhan”. You might not agree with him, but it helps to listen:
Peterson debates the interview: “She fabricated on the fly the villain she hoped I’d be”. And on his right to offend, he nails it: “All you have as a journalist is the right to offend people and hurt their feelings.”
His video the psychological significance of biblical stories is worth watching.
On Sky Sports, Tim Sherwood, the former manager of Spurs, Aston Villa and Swindon Town, turns his mind to Stoke City. Mark Hughes is no longer with Stoke, sacked after spending five seasons building a team. When still in the role, Sherwood explained what Hughes needed to do to continue.
Mark Hughes can’t win. But he can win if they win. Apparently. pic.twitter.com/dl4oZBDKAV
— Shelley Johnson (@shelleyj89) January 6, 2018
“Mark Hughes cannot win. The only time he can win is by winning this football match”
– Tim Sherwood
Spotter: Shelley Johnson @shelleyj89
Jeremy Corbyn wants to say a few things about “Harry and his brother”. Or as the BBC’s subtitler puts it: “Harry and Hezbollah.” A typo or is ‘Hezbollah’ the new nickname for Meghan Markle? Bit harsh.
Spotter: Giles Dilnot