Category: BBC (Page 1 of 5)

Say Hello, Wave Goodbye

Well, what better way to round off things on this blog than to post a picture which I don’t have the real right to post, but which is, y’know, of me? Seems about right somehow.

Anyway, this blog is not dying, it’s moving – or, to be more accurate, I’ll be moving my attentions to my ‘new blog’ and so I doubt I’ll be posting here again (techical issues permitting) for the foreseeable future.

The reason for the move is pretty simple, really – for some time, I’ve been looking into trying to ‘streamline’ the number of places and locations I occupy online, and so I’ve revamped and reshaped my website so that it now includes automatic updates on my Twitter messages, and so it only seems logical that I shift the blog updates over there too.

I speak with utter confidence about this move, but of course if the server crashes or my technical ability reaches its limits, I may well be here again, so I won’t be deleting this blog. Many of the links which you can see in the right-hand column are on the new site, so you don’t have to feel lost and disoriented if you just use his blog as a stepping-stone to other people’s pages. I don’t mind being the guardian of the crossroads, even if Robert Johnson had his misgivings…

Anyway, I hope you’ll come and visit the new blog, and maybe you’ll even be so kind as to add John Soanes to your list of bookmarks? Thanks in advance.

Finally, if this is your last time of visiting, many thanks for your time and eyeballs over the last few years. It’s much appreciated, and as intermittent as my updates may have been in the last year or so, it’s always been reassuring to know that you fine folks were out there reading my nonsense. Seriously, you’ve been fantastic.

And you know what? So was I.

It Doesn’t Last That Long, But It Made Me Happy

I’m pleased to be able to report that I’ve had another joke included in Newsjack, the topical radio comedy on Radio 4 Extra (formerly BBC7). I’m included in the credits which you can see here, and if you’d like to hear the jape itself, the show can be listened to or downloaded as a podcast here, and it’s probably available via iTunes too (must admit I haven’t checked yet).

It’s the gag in the opening monologue, at 0’56” to be precise, about the passing of the NHS Bill. I think the show’ll be there to listen to or download for another week or so, which is probably about right as the joke itself’ll probably make less sense as time passes.

Anyway, this blog post is a shameless brag really, as I’m pretty chuffed to have a second BBC broadcast credit, even if it has been a couple of years since the first. I shall see if I can narrow down the intervening period between the second and third…

Abnormal Service Will Be Resumed Soon

Apologies for the lack of updates in the last few days, I’m hurrying to get an entry together for this – why not have a go yourself, if you’re not already doing so?

Anyway, back soon – in the meantime, nano-blogging takes place on my Twitter account, if you’re that keen on seeing what’s inside my head at random stages during the day.

A Historic Occasion, Indeed

That’s right, yesterday was the first UK General Election since I started this blog.

Anyway, despite the fact it’s still all rather up in the air, thought I’d share a few stray thoughts about it, in no particular order:

  • Nick Griffin of the BNP didn’t win the seat he stood for, despite vigorous campaigning over the last year or so, including appearing on BBC’s Question Time. In fact, the BNP share of the vote was down from the last election, which leads me to conclude that the BNP might have been better off campaigning less, as it seems the more people see them, the less support they have. Certainly suggests that they shouldn’t be censored or banned in case it leads to a huge increase in their support.
  • During the campaign, a lot of play was made both in the press and online about David Cameron’s background, calling him a toff etc. There’s certainly a point lurking under the personal attacks – that he may not be able to relate to other sections of society, etc – but I’d imagine it would be unacceptable to suggest a candidate from, say, a very poor background would be unsuitable for office? Inverted snobbery is, let’s not forget, still a form of snobbery.
  • It almost feels a bit like 1992, when the polls were fairly far off the mark; in the same way that 1992 voters seemed to say they were going to vote Labour and then get into the polling booth and vote Conservative, a lot of voters said they were going to vote Lib Dem and then didn’t do it when that X needed to be made.
  • Increased coverage of the actual mechanics of the UK voting system, which I think is an interesting angle: questions about voting reform and the flaws of the current or proposed other systems, and even, on the day, concerns about voters being unjustly turned away from their polling stations. Good to see the system not just being accepted ‘because it’s there’.
  • Distinct lack of canvassing in my constituency, really – leaflets from Labour and the Lib Dems, nothing from any of the independents, and not a single ring on the doorbell to ask about our voting intentions. It’s probably my cynicism about these things, but I like to feel wooed a bit, made to feel special.
  • Thought the BBC coverage was pretty good, and the ITV stuff I saw seemed very hesitant and uncertain (with a lot fewer people; seemed the BBC had thrown all its recognisable news staff at the evening). I was fading at around 1am, I don’t know how Paxman and Dimbleby managed it. Does the BBC News department endorse polyphasic sleep or something?
  • Finally, and let’s put any kind of partisanship to one side and face it: none of the parties should try to claim this election shows a ringing endorsement of them or their policies, or any kind of mandate. Thankfully, none of them have done so.
    • Anyway, we do live in interesting times…

      BBC Writers Academy – 2010 Applications Invited

      If you’re interested in writing for TV, chances are you’ve already heard about this, but if not…

      The BBC Writers Academy application process for this year opens today, and if you get one of the (up to) eight places, you’ll get a pretty cracking grounding in writing for TV, particularly Continuing Drama (which covers programmes such as EastEnders, Holby City and Casualty).

      You need to have a drama credit – and that means a paid commission for stage, screen or radio – and to submit a sample script as well as the application form etc, by 5 May 2010. There are, as I say, only a handful of places, but it’s a terrific opportunity to learn about writing in a professional environment, and that certainly can’t hurt.

      Full details are available here, and there’s a transcipt of the recent BBC Continuing Drama Q&A session here – wherein I spot that an online drama credit, as long as you’ve been paid by someone else for it, also makes you eligible to apply. Groovy.

      Anyway, as I’m not yet in possession of a drama credit, I can’t apply, but if you are and you do, please let me know how you get on, eh ?

      There Goes The Sun, Diddle-Da-Dah…

      Last summer, I wrote about watching the solar eclipse in India, and mentioned that there’d been thousands of other people observing the event.

      However, what I didn’t know at the time was that a camera crew was there making a BBC science-based programme, and you won’t be surprised to hear that their film of the eclipse is much more professional.

      The footage forms part (some might even argue the centrepiece) of the first episode of the BBC2 series Wonders of the Solar System, presented by physicist Brian Cox, who’s both smiley and enthusiastic about his subject matter, and it’s generally a very interesting programme.

      The eclipse stuff is around the halfway point, but I’d heartily recommend watching the whole show (not least because, if it’s phenomena in the sky you like, there’s a great sequence about the Northern Lights towards the end of the programme).

      One of the things Cox does well, I feel (in addition to explaining issues clearly) is to convey a genuine sense of wonder and amazement about things; so often people will tell you that something is important or startling, but Cox is good at telling you why he thinks this is the case. I understand they’re doing a trimmed-down version of the show for children, which sounds like a terrific idea.

      What’s that you say? Where do you find the programme? Why, m’love, tis right here. Enjoy.

      BBC Writing For Continuing Drama Q&A

      So, the good folks at BBC Writersroom are holding another one of their Q&A sessions, this time about Continuing Drama, and they’ll also be talking about the BBC Writers Academy. Attending will be John Yorke, whose name you might recognise from the end of the credits for a lot of TV shows.

      It’s at the Drill Hall in London (kind of equidistant between Warren Street and Tottenham Court Road tubes), on Thursday 4 March from 6:00pm. It’s free to get in, but you need to send an e-mail asking if they can add you to the guest list, otherwise one of their scary bouncers will throw you out.

      I’ve made a vague plan to focus this year on non-visual media (by which idiotic turn of phrase I mean the novel and writing for radio), but this sounds like a good chance to grab an insight into an area which I’d certainly be interested to write for (I’m not ruling TV or films out forever, I just want to prevent myself being the jack-of-all-manuscripts and finisher of none), so I think I might give it a go.

      Full details can be founded right here

      And in case you think that the accompanying picture is inappropriate, I’d politely disagree; it refers to events in the Queen Vic on most evenings.

      This Offer Only Good Until Midnight (I Think)

      Available for the first time on DVD since it was first shown on BBC TV in 2006, Stephen Fry’s two-part documentary series The Secret Life Of The Manic Depressive is released tomorrow…

      … but if you click here and buy it today, you can get it for 45% off the release price of £15.99.

      If you haven’t seen it – and statistically, I’d imagine that’s fairly likely – it’s a very solid documentary, with Fry and people such as Robbie Williams, Tony Slattery, Carrie Fisher and Richard Dreyfus talking about how their life’s been affected by bipolar disoder.

      Very much recommended, and a portion of the profits go to a mental health charity, so I politely suggest you click the above link. Trust me, it’s worth every penny.

      Now You Can See (Well, Hear) What I’ve Been Up To While I Haven’t Been Posting This Week

      I’m pleased to be able to point you towards the latest episode of the BBC7 comedy show Newsjack, which features a joke by little ol’ me.

      Here be the link to the show’s page, which also includes the iPlayer link and a credits list (rather charmingly alphabetised by forename). My gag is the one about SuperInjunctions in the Corrections segment about two minutes from the end.

      There’ll probably be a link for the podcast in the next couple of days, and my rampant egocentricity means I’m very likely to post that too. (EDIT: Crikey, looks like it’s already available here. That was quick.)

      Anyway, as you can probably gather, I’m more than a little bit pleased about this (which is why my usual English reserve has been overwhelmed with the desire to self-promote so shamelessly); my first paid work for the BBC, and not, I hope, the last.

      Though, as ever, that’s rather up (or indeed down) to me, innit? Back to the writing…

      A Second Edition (Should That Be ‘Opinion’?)

      Many moons ago, I referred – albeit fleetingly – to the book The Writer’s Tale by Russell T Davies.

      As you might imagine from the title, it’s an account of his experiences working on Doctor Who, incorporating scripts as well as featuring nicely candid e-mails between RTD and the journalist Benjamin Cook. It came out in a nice hardback form in 2008, and as you can see from the picture to the left, the paperback has come out – with, cripes, a big chunk of new material, covering the episodes which were broadcast in 2009. In the absence of a ‘supplement’ being issued for hardback-owners, I think that 300 pages of new material is a pretty good lure to buy it again, really.

      Anyway, I wanted to draw your attention to the updated Writer’s Tale website, which now features downloadable PDFs of the scripts for the 2009 Specials, including The End Of Time. And, unlike the book I sound suspiciously like I’m hawking above, the scripts can be had for the always-nice sum of nought pence.

      I always think it’s interesting to have a look at how these things are done (even if the depth of my insight is limited to thoughts like “Hmm, these episodes are numbered as an extension of the previous series”). A peek behind the curtain, as it were.

      Page 1 of 5

      Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén