26 June 2010
‘The Funny Business’was the heading in an article in Radio Waves, a radio review/preview column in the Culture Section of a national newspaper last weekend. The reviewer began his article: "What happened to political sketch satire in the Labour years? No series really emerged to replace Spitting Image on television or Radio 4's Weekending, which spluttered on to an end in 1998 after almost 30 years." After commenting on possible reasons for this dearth of broadcast satire, the writer continued: "BBC Radio 7 is doing its bit by bringing back Newsjack, a show that is exactly like Weekending and the News Headlines, but without the arthritic knee or odd back twinge. The key element of all these shows is listener participation". I was heartened to note that the reviewer had picked up on Newsjack's similarity to Weekending, as our intention when commissioning the series was to provide an outlet for new, aspiring comedy writers, encouraging them to send in sketches and topical gags and providing material for broadcast in exactly the same way as Weekending did. Several now well-established writers, including Andy Hamilton, Steve Punt and John O'Farrell got their first writing breaks by sending in sketches and jokes to Weekending, and now, 12 years after Weekending finally ended, we are hoping to nurture a new generation of comedy writers through Newsjack. The production office staff receives and reads through several hundred entries for each show and in last week's programme (the first in the current series) 24 writers were credited with sketches which had been accepted. For any of you budding writers who are somewhat daunted about sending in their material, there is extensive help available. There is a Newsjack website with tips and advice on writing for the series, www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/newsjack and for general information on writing for the BBC, you can also visit our writers' room at www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom Those of you who live in or near London can of course apply for tickets (free) to come to the show, which is recorded on Wednesdays for a Thursday broadcast. You can check if tickets are available on www.bbc.co.uk/tickets And of course, Newsjack is one of the few Radio 7 programmes which, I'm pleased to say, is available as a podcast. It can be downloaded on www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts
And finally … I began my letter by quoting from a newspaper article about the lack of political satire in broadcasting, and later this week, when flicking though the current copy of Radio Times (19th - 25th June) I noticed an article by satirist Rory Bremner, in which he posed the question, "Where are the next characters of British politics?" Lamenting the loss of great characters and personalities in today's politics, Rory wondered: "Where are today's rousing orators or dynamic personalities? Have they fallen victim to media culture, a school of presentation where the polished-machine politician is preferred to the maverick, the virtuoso, or the larger-than-life?" So for a Radio 4 programme, Archive on 4: the Character Crunch, Rory explored and celebrated some of the great characters of post-war British politics - Nye Bevan , Winston Churchill, Harold McMillan, Margaret Thatcher and Neil Kinnock amongst many others. It's a fascinating article which whetted my appetite for the programme, and thanks to the iPlayer, I was able to catch up with it yesterday. If you feel it's a programme you'd enjoy and would like to hear Rory introducing and discussing some colourful and memorable archive recordings of politicians, plus clips from satirical broadcasts, you have one more day to "listen again" to The Character Crunch on http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00sqh18 Do listen out for Neil Kinnock having a go at Jim Naughtie on the World at One. Mr Naughtie was totally lost for words. Great stuff. Happy listening! Mary Kalemkerian Head of Programmes, BBC Radio 7
Too tired to write and edit photos - maybe on the plane.
25 June 2010
19 June 2010
UNHCR – Trees only move in the Wind: A Study of unaccompanied Afghan children in
Christine Mougne June 2010
(This report has just been written and published by Christine Mougne as an independent consultant for UNHCR after extensive interviews with 150 Afghan refugee children throughout
Chelsea Barracks was the place to be yesterday (18 June). It was a red carpet day for the 70th Anniversary of De Gaulle’s rousing BBC Resistance speech which galvanized the French into tackling the Nazis.
Nicolas Sarkozy flew in to celebrate the event with David Cameron and the
De Gaulle’s iconic speech was one of the historic moments of the 2nd World War. He crossed the Channel on the 17th just as Petard was announcing the Armistice with the Germans. He persuaded Churchill to allow him to make the broadcast and then sat up half the night writing it. (All those students who are busy swotting for their exams will understand what that’s about.)
He pretty much said, “All French people who want to stay free, listen to me.”
President Sarkozy is the first French president to travel to
The initially small band of Frenchies, no more than 7,000 strong by the late summer of 1940, were survivors of the
Interesting that Sarkozy would want to align himself so publicly with
The Big news is my daughter Tamsin delivered her own baby in her bathroom.
Quick and problem free. Damien, her and the two cats watched as she caught
Gwen in her hands then sat cradling her until the ambos arrived. Good birth
story for the mothers club eh?
A few years ago we contacted Domaine Musical de Petignac. We needed a paino tuner.They sent us Elisabeth and she pretty much rebuilt our piano – as she looked like a cross between Tilda Swinton and Cate Blanchet, it was a delight to watch.
For the past 24 years Gerard et Fabienne Fauvin of Domaine Misical de Petignac have been holding a music Festival. This year was the first time we went but I have already noted in my agenda the date for next year.
June 18. We will be there.
Evidently, they don’t need to advertise. A few weeks before the event, they email about 300 supporters. Last year 6,000 people turned up. I don’t know how many showed this year, but I would have liked to have taken them all home with me as they all looked so stunning.
We were there because 7 Sons were playing and also Anvar. I hope they play again next year because they are great and we will definitely be going. The pianos were magnificent. The pianists were tremendous. Their fingering was other-wordly. ETish infact. Long long fingers that worked independently of each other. Independently of anyone on this planet in fact. It truly was out of this world.
Luxury Sunday lunch
Twenty nine years after first noticing le Moulin de L’Abbaye in Brantome, we finally have lunch there. I’m a patient person. I happily took a coupe in a tall skyscraper glass offered by a svelte slender nymphe.
We ate on the terrace. It wasn’t too hot, it wasn’t too cold. It was just right and afterwards, when we had eaten every tiny deliciously crafted morsel and drunk every drop of delicious Bergerac white wine – if there had been a big comfortable bed on that pretty terrace, with the river water thundering by, I would have curled up in it and comfortably nodded off.
ps The Benedictine Abbaye across the road has the oldest bell tower in
The Carelton Hobbs Bursary Acting Prize, (or Student Acting Prize as the bursary was originally named) was established in 1953 and was re-named the Carleton Hobbs Bursary in 1978, after the death of one of radio's most distinguished actors, Carleton Hobbs. He worked on more than 4000 radio productions and became one of the first members of the newly formed BBC Radio Drama Repertory Company in 1939. Carleton, known affectionately as ‘Hobbo’ to his fellow actors and friends was famed amongst other performances, for his role as Sherlock Holmes (with Norman Shelley as Watson). These splendid dramatisations were first broadcast in the 1950s and 60s and the programmes retained in the archive have all been repeated on Radio 7. BBC Radio Drama has a great track record for developing new talent, launching the acting careers of many fine actors through the Carleton Hobbs Bursary and from 2003, the Norman Beaton Fellowship. These two awards come under the umbrella initiative, Soundstart. The 2010 winners were announced and presented at Bush House on Tuesday this week by the acclaimed actor Kenneth Cranham, who was also one of the judges. Kenneth introduced the awards with great style and as we listened to a voice reel with short clips from the winners' entries, it was such a delight to see and hear the enthusiasm of these young actors - some of whom are on the brink of their chosen careers. There were six winners, and I cannot think of a more appropriate prize than the opportunity to join the prestigious Radio Drama Company. The six actors will join the RDC in July, for 5 months, during which time they will be directed by the cream of radio drama directors, and take on many roles in more radio dramatisations than they possibly ever dreamt of. I shall be listening out for their performances and credits on-air. Carelton Hobbs Bursary
Iain Batchelor Pippa Bennett-Warner Henry Devas Claire Harry Norman Beaton Fellowship Adeel Akhtar Deeivya Meir You can find out more about the Soundstart initiatives, and read the names of past winners on the Carleton Hobbs Roll of Honour, by clicking on to: www.bbc.co.uk/soundstart Mary Kalemkerian Head of Programmes BBC, Radio 7
Put your piece on the blog as a response to mine. (Some weeks earlier, Stephen wrote a piece on ChCh, NZ …ed.) Stephen O’R
For Crying out Loud
I have been perusing Jos Blog and your piece on
There was one exception, and that was Eric Kearney the manager of the Civic Theatre in
We spotted him leaving a menswear shop where he was spending my cash, but lost him in the chase. The next weekend on info from a spy, we blagged our way into a ‘dance’ explaining that we were only looking for a friend. Found him, fought him and kidnapped him, back to our flat. After checking with the police that we would not get our money back if he was turned in, we got him a job, kept him under watch and collected his pay. This was our form of compensation. He complied because we had the threat of the police held over him. It worked for a couple of weeks, when the minder (on crutches on compo) was talked into going to the pub after work, where our robber beat up the barman and was arrested for GBH. Our ground-floor neighbours were Maori who set upon me one night all 5 of them and I was having a hard time, but staying upright, yelling to my mate who arrived and taking a shovel from the back of his ute, laid about him with it dispersing my assailants, who then apologised and offered us a drink. “Sorry mate we did not realise we were neighbours” I also have the honour of winning the middleweight inter-college boxing, in Christchurch, in 1960 because the Christchurch college decided that boxing was a contact sport and they did not enter. So I had a strange 4 days wandering the town, which had a dark underbelly. And the PX where you could get Phillip Morris cigarettes, Coke, and Jack Daniels. At the restaurant, the chef was totally demented, shaved his wrists, waved a knife around the kitchen and carried a 6-shooter in his back pocket.
Miles Warren would take me to lunch. Was I too being groomed? TTFN, Roger
As to were you being groomed; maybe but I would have thought the offer of a loan so you could take up the job would have been a more suitable grooming gift. Was Miles Warren gay? Me set upon by 5 Maoris (twice) but no friend with shovel. Why 'For Crying out Loud' ?
15 June 2010
Please note that this survey is different from the recent Strategy Review, which was submitted to the Trust by the BBC Executive and published last March, outlining future proposals for the BBC. This is a review of three specific stations and the services they provide. David Liddiment, the Trustee who is leading the Licence Review has said publicly,
"There are a lot of people out there with views on these stations…. We want to hear from as many listeners as possible with their thoughts on the services."
So I do urge you to fill in the consultation form. This is your opportunity to let the Trust members know what YOU think of Radio 7, in terms of quality of programming, distinctiveness, value for money - and future development of the network. The consultation form can be found at: www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust. You have until Thursday August 26th 2010 to submit the form, so with summer holidays coming up, please don't leave it too late - your opinions are very much valued.
14 June 2010
12 June 2010
10 June 2010
St Mary's Ward
It seems that the mining tax beat-up, plus the promise of being horrible to migrants, is paying dividends. The Govt (labour) has slid to a defeat position based on these two things - plus the labour party's refusal to go to the polls over the climate change legislation, which was killed by the Greens the indpendents and the conservatives.
The decision not to go to the people was greeted with howls of 'gutless wonders'
by the conservatives (who had just voted against it) and this seems to have
been echoed with a swing to the greens - who had also just voted against the
labour program. Go figure! as they say in
Jan is jury of Film Festival so a movie every day. Tonite Todd Solenz (Happiness)
this one was called ummm er ummm it will come to me "In Wartime" I think.
It seems the most interesting part of this sad brave story is that the money
which enabled the trip came from supporters of the current Turkish Govt..
The spin could be coming from Mossad of course but evidently action against
Wet weather dominates our lives.
A tornado appeared off Maroubra beach 4 ks south of here but did not come
to shore. In Lennox Heads in the North of the State - retirement heaven-
it was hit by a tornado last night making roofs and politicians fly.
Kristina our American gal Premier, with the zippy hairdo which is all the
rage, flew to Lennox Heads late last night and was able to read out the damage
report herself on radio. God knows what we would have done without her. Imagine
the joy of the women made homeless by nature receiving nurture and getting
a gink at the hair. Bliss.
We are doing the film festival at the incredibly beautiful
No cherries would survive the birds in our orchard. Even the Wallabies get in on the act. They stand tipi-toe and get the pears - I had of course thought your trees would be naked like ours but no! the French always have to be different. We are having a bumper crop of oranges and the limes never stop. The macadamias make me feel inadequate. Even a four pound hammer doesn't help it just crushes the whole thing.
For the first time in years I happen to see breakfast tv and they were doing a thing on the dangers of cycling. There was a perceivable anti-cyclist bias although the cycling representative was very strong about cyclists’ rights. There has been a couple of incidents of cyclists striking back, so now it’s ’aggressive cyclist attacks innocent driver’ but drivers hold the record - one FWD driver deliberately stopped in front of a cycling pack putting 6 of them in hospital. His defense was he did not mean it. Stephen O’R