Tag Archives: television

The secret world of Whitehall – and other BBC Michael Cockerell gems


British Houses of Parliament
If you’ve missed them when they were originally broadcast, YouTube has a wealth of BBC political documentaries for you to watch at leisure.

I missed Michael Cockerell’s “The Secret World of Whitehall” when it was originally broadcast. All three programmes from the series are on YouTube in full:

Episode 1 – The Real Sir Humphrey – This looks at the role of the Cabinet Secretary, chronicling the historic evolution of the role through its various job holders.

Posted in TV and film | Also tagged | 1 Comment

Tim Farron on BBC Question Time tonight

It’s not often that I can bear to watch Question Time these days. I tend to take the view that my life is too short to cope with the likes of Quentin Letts or Melanie Phillips for an hour late on a Thursday night.

However, there is good reason to watch tonight. Here is the panel:

And here is Tim’s own billing:

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Tim Farron on Russell Howard’s Good News tonight

Tim Farron & Paul Merton on HIGNFY

Fresh from his success on Have I got news for you last week, Tim Farron will be on Russell Howard’s Good News on BBC2 at 10 pm tonight.

No doubt he’ll be talking about his reasons behind the Syria vote. It’ll be interesting to see how the generally young audience think of what he has to say.

In the meantime, if you are bored and looking for something to do, you might want to contact Oldham HQ and help Jane Brophy. She has been a fantastic by-election candidate and her team have put together a marvellous campaign which has helped train lots of new members. Get in touch here and I’m sure they’ll give you some knocking up to do by phone. Good numbers of people have travelled to Oldham in the last few weeks to get the feel of a by-election. I’m quite gutted that I didn’t get to go. Let’s hope that the result she gets today shows some progress.

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Baroness Floella Benjamin writes…Tax break for children’s programmes is great news

I am overjoyed with the wonderful news that the Chancellor has extended tax breaks to children’s television productions. This is something I have campaigned on for years as Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Children’s Media and the Arts. I have asked questions and spoken on this issue in the House of Lords, supported by Pact (Producers Alliance for Cinema & Television) and the Children’s Media Foundation.

I always say, ‘Childhood lasts a lifetime’ and we can all remember our favourite children’s television programme, they hold fond memories, which are part of our formative years.

But even though children’s programmes are much loved, they are often undervalued and those who contribute to this sector of the creative industries are rarely credited.

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10 reasons why Mary from Sherlock should stick with the Liberal Democrats

As this post appears, we’ll be getting ready for the season finale of Sherlock. If my Twitter feed is anything to go by, we includes many of this site’s regular readers.

We’ve waited two years for the third season and it’s all over in a week and a half. I loved the nods to the fandom, the tube line geekery and the usual ingenuity of the first episode. I also liked the fact that the eccentric guy with the beard was right.

The second episode dragged in places but had the best Best Man’s Speech since Four Weddings and a Funeral 20 …

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The Eurozone crisis explained. OR: How not to get distracted by smurfs doing star-jumps

The Eurozone crisis isn’t, by common consent, a sexy topic rich with comic potential. Important, yes. A rib-tickler, no. So kudos, immense kudos, to comedian John Finnemore who performed a pretty acute summary for BBC Radio 4’s The Now Show this week. In just 6 mins and 35 secs. Enjoy…

Posted in Humour and YouTube | Also tagged , , , and | 1 Comment

LibLink … Vince Cable: Was this the last waltz for ailing Strictly Come Dancing?

Never let it be said that the Lib Dems’ deputy leader is a one-trick pony, capable only of talking sound common sense on the economy – he is also, as we all know, a ballroom dancing prince, a man who knows his paso from his tango. So he’s on sure-footed ground in the Mail, when he questions whether the Beeb has runined the show that, in previous series, has entranced millions:

Britain is divided into two nations: those who watch Strictly Come Dancing on a Saturday evening and those who watch The X Factor. There are a few neutrals, but not many. I have been firmly in the Strictly camp from its early days but I worry now that the formula no longer works – that it is not just losing the ratings battle but is losing its way. A national treasure is at risk. …

More than any other show I can remember, it has brought together people of different ages and social backgrounds from different parts of the country – men and women. It has helped to create a national conversation and has given a big boost to dancing as a popular pastime.

Yet something has gone badly wrong. Millions of viewers voted with their feet for the other channel. Even diehard supporters like me became bored in the early rounds this year by very ordinary performances from an excessive number of unknown ‘celebrities’.

You can read Vince’s article in full here. And as an extra special treat on a cold Monday morning, you can enjoy re-living our shadow chancellor treading the light fantastic with Alesha Dixon:

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Oh God … It’s Don’s “there’s too many repeats on telly” rant again

In what has become a tradition almost as eagerly anticipated as the Queen’s Speech, Lib Dem shadow culture secretary Don Foster has unleashed his annual broadside against telly bosses for broadcasting too many repeats. The Telegraph dusts off the same-old, same-old:

Nearly 600 hours of repeats will be shown on Britain’s four main television channels over the festive period according to schedules released by broadcasters. It is thought to be the highest ever number of Christmas repeats to be shown during the two week holiday period. … Over the four main terrestrial channels some 580 hours will consist of repeated

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Foster on online pay-per-view for England World Cup match: football’s “making a fast buck” at fans’ expense

Well, the good news for Lib Dems is that it should be safe to go knocking on doors on Saturday afternoon knowing you’re not going to interrupt an England World Cup qualifier on the telly. The bad news – if you’re a football supporter without home access to the Internet – is that you can’t watch England take on Ukraine.

The BBC explains:

England’s World Cup qualifier in Ukraine on Saturday will be shown exclusively live to subscribers on the internet who will pay at least £4.99. All previously broadcast England matches have been available on TV.

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Adam Boulton writes… Lib Dems should back a Leaders’ Debate

Two weeks ago Sky News’s political editor Adam Boulton launched a campaign to to get the leaders of Britain’s three main political parties to take part in a televised debate at the general election. Lib Dem Voice asked Adam to pitch his arguments in favour to our readers, and he gamely said yes…

Liberal Democrats know what it feels like. You’ve got a brilliant idea, it’s so obvious it just has to be right. But your competitors make patronising noises about your initiative, while trying to work how they can nick it for themselves.

That’s how I feel about Leaders’ Debates at the next General Election. Of course they should happen. Television is still the major mass medium of communication at a time when more and more people feel alienated from politicians – how could our political leaders possibly deny the public the chance to compare them face to face at election time?

Posted in General Election, Op-eds and The Independent View | Also tagged | 17 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 13 September 2009

Welcome to the Sunday edition of LDV’s Daily View. And as Mark Pack of this e-parish is (apparently) forraging for chocolate in Bristol, it falls to me to bring you today’s supplement with extra multimedia entertainment.

2 Big Stories

NSPCC and Nick criticise new Government regulations for parent helpers

Today’s Telegraph reports:

Ministers are under intense pressure to scale back plans for a “big brother” child protection database which will force millions of parents to undergo paedophile and criminal checks. In a major blow for the Government, Britain’s largest children’s charity, the NSPCC, criticised the regulations for parent helpers which it said threatened “perfectly safe and normal activities” and risked alienating the public.

The paper also quotes Nick Clegg’s condemnation of Labour’s proposals:

This scheme is wildly over the top. How are we supposed to create a country fit for our children if we regard every adult looking after children as a potential threat?”

TV companies to get product placament approval

The Government is to overturn its ban on TV companies selling product placement in programmes, after culture secretary Ben Bradshaw overturned predecessor Andy Burnham’s objections:

Independent broadcasters will be allowed to take payments for displaying commercial products during shows. The change is intended to bring in extra funds for commercial broadcasters. Experts believe it could raise up to £100m a year.

There are currently strict rules against product placement and this ban would remain in place on BBC shows. Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw is expected to announce a three-month consultation on the changes in a speech to the Royal Television Society next week.

The move will not apply to the BBC, and children’s programmes will remain product-placement free. A long-overdue acceptance of commercial reality? Or a retrogade intrusion into public broadcasting space?

2 Must-Read Blog-Posts

Why I Hate Leaflet Delivery (Jennie Rigg)

After about an hour or so of having my knuckles scraped by ridiculously snappy letterboxes, and falling over on uneven paths, and generally feeling pretty battered and bruised and grumpy, I got to a house where a skinhead with no shirt on and a BNP tattoo set his dog on me. … I suspect that this is a big part of the reason political parties are haemorrhaging membership. The expectation that people risk their own personal safety for nothing on a regular basis is not a rewarding experience for the activist.

Why you still don’t know what Party Committees are up to (part 4) – is there an easy answer to the dilemma? (Mark Valladares)

… the whole point of blogging is that it is interactive, or it is nothing. If most committee members don’t blog, don’t engage with the blogosphere, in short, have lives, and do not respond immediately, or even at all, will they be criticised? You bet they will and, like I did, would probably withdraw back into their collective shells.


Sunday Bonus track

You may have noticed a chap called Derren on the telly this week attracting a lot of attention. Here’s a reminder of him at his best:

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[email protected]… Nick Clegg: Don’t leave the Liberal Democrats out of it

Over at The Independent, Nick Clegg (under a slightly unfortunately whiny headline not of his creating) puts the case for a televised debate between the leaders of the main political parties. Here’s an excerpt:

A debate wouldn’t advantage a party; it would advantage the people. It would be the voters’ opportunity to see the leaders competing to be Prime Minister promoting their policies and answering difficult questions about how they’d change the country. It would bring in a wider audience than leaders could reach otherwise, giving more people the opportunity to make up their own minds based on the facts.

If Gordon

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged | 7 Comments

Time for a heated, televised debate?

De facto Deputy Prime Minister Lord (Peter) Mandelson has hinted that his boss might be ready to debate Nick Clegg and David Cameron in the run-up to the general election. The London Evening Standard has the story:

In an exclusive interview, the Prime Minister’s most powerful ally suggested that Mr Brown would become the first incumbent of No10 to agree to the idea.

“I don’t think Gordon would have a problem with that,” he said. “While Cameron is good with words, he doesn’t have the ideas or policies to back them. I think people would see through the smile.

“The more the public sees of them, the more they’d realise that Gordon is the man with the substance.” …

A TV debate would expose the Tory leader’s weaknesses, he argued. “Cameron lacks substance and he might come across as someone who exudes effortless superiority in public, but loses his rag in private.”

It would be highly risky for Mr Brown to agree. Tony Blair and John Major both refused to give their opponents the chance to score points on live TV. In America, such candidates’ debates are a fixture and President Barack Obama’s strong, calm performance was key to winning the trust of voters.

Nick Clegg’s office has welcomed the idea:

The Liberal Democrats would welcome a televised debate with the other two leaders. Since he became leader Nick Clegg has been taking part in open town hall meetings around the country and we look forward to giving people the chance to see who really has the vision for a fairer country.

“Open debates are good for politics and good for the public. Anything that inspires more people to get out and vote should be encouraged.”

But alas it seems as if Lord Mandelson might have mis-spoken – The Times reports:

Posted in General Election and News | Also tagged , and | 8 Comments

Lib Dem peer demands Strictly recount

The Daily Mail reports:

A LibDem peer has joined the debate following Tom Chambers’s controversial Strictly Come Dancing win, calling Saturday’s final a ‘fiasco’.

Former North Cornwall MP Lord Tyler was called on the BBC to release the voting figures for the three finalists following producers’ decision to allow Chambers to progress from the semi-final, despite coming bottom of the judges leaderboard.

Lord Tyler has written to BBC Director General Mark Thompson, requesting the Corporation makes the voting figures public.

The story should come as no surprise on two counts, both already trailed on LDV:

1. As Paul Tyler has emerged as Parliament’s

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  • User AvatarRob Parker 23rd Jun - 11:55pm
    I hate to break this to you Caron but it is absolutely a done deal and we cannot get out of it. The referendum result...
  • User AvatarDavid Evans 23rd Jun - 11:52pm
    I do think that once again some of us are looking with rose coloured spectacles at those we choose to look on as our personal...
  • User AvatarTim Hill 23rd Jun - 11:00pm
    And TonyH shows the other reason for standing. 9 votes by a paper candidate contributes 9 votes more to a national tally. Not standing, doesn't.
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    We should always stand a candidate. We have a duty as a party to give people the chance to vote Liberal Democrat. Those who argue...
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    Bless are we playing be nice to Brexiteers again. Don't challenge there rants it upsets them.
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    I don't think the country has become meaner. IMO, the version of Britain sold to the world from the Blair years up to the referendum...