Category: TV Page 2 of 14

I Used To Work With Someone Whose Parents Wouldn’t Let Her Watch Magpie When She Was Young On The Grounds That It Was ‘Common’…

… but looking at this LP from one of the presenters, I think that they were probably just trying to shield her from the wanton perversion simmering below the surface of a seemingly innocent children’s TV programme.

Shocking, it is. I’d write to my MP if I was confident he could read.

Hands away from the swimsuit area please, Mr Robertson.

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.

The Ghost Of My Holiday Romance Toyboy Husband Shot My Conjoined Twin Baby As She Lay Dying Of Leukaemia… But I Still Love Him!

For some years now, the shelves of newsagents have been awash with… well, I don’t know what you’d call them, really; tragic confession magazines? I’m sure you know the sort of thing – like the one pictured here, they’re jam-packed with true tales of tragedy and woe, and yet often topped with a no-context-at-all picture of a smiling woman. Given the coverlines swirling around her, I always wonder: just what is she smiling at?

Anyway, there are a lot of these magazines, and a lot of the tales seem to focus around death or children or the deaths or illnesses of children, but there seems to be very little coverage of them; I can’t help but wonder if, like their equivalent in book publishing, they’re a bit of a ‘dirty secret’ – very lucrative, but not necessarily something that the folks involved want to admit to being involved in or talk about too much. Like being a pimp or drug dealer, or the composer of The Ketchup Song.

But, in a strange case of synchronicity, these magazines are the focus of not one, but two programmes on TV this week – one on Tuesday and another – on a different channel – on Thursday.

Hang on a mo, though… is it synchronicity… or a clever marketing ploy?

Hmm. If the latter, then my simple-minded ways have been exploited by a cruel media machine. I feel so dirty and used, like my very soul’s been violated.

Perhaps I should sell my story.

Not So Much A Blog, More A Way Of Scoring Points

None of my schoolfriends believed me when I maintained that there was something… unexpected on Penelope Pitstop’s car dashboard.

But this screengrab vindicates me. Oh yes.

And now, with this decade-spanning disagreement finally resolved in my favour, I can move on with my life.

NB: There is a possibility the above is slightly exaggerated to justify showing an innuendal image. Do not panic. All is well. Please do not adjust your ‘nets.

“Seeing Is Believing”…

…has not been true since Winsor McCay and Gertie The Dinosaur, but it’s startling to see just how much greenscreening there is in use, especially in TV shows where you might not expect it.

I mean: Ugly Betty? Seriously, I’d never have expected that.

10 Things I’ve Learned From Watching Come Dine With Me A Smidgen Too Often

1. Anyone described as being a ‘self-confessed foodie’ is usually a bit of a pain

2. When shopping in your local deli/butcher/fishmonger, be sure to mention that you’re holding a dinner party, and address the person behind the counter by their first name more often than is normal in conversation

3. Not supplying drink for your guests, even if it’s for religious or medical reasons, usually leads to them getting a right arse on

4. Musical entertainment, whether provided by you or hired professionals, is not a good idea if you want to win

5. Any female contestant not in some kind of relationship will be labelled a ‘singleton’ in the commentary

6. Depending on how the group is constituted in terms of gender, a butler (with or without a shirt) may be popular

7. Don’t try out something new on the night of your big event (actually, re haircuts and outfits and the like, this rule applies to much of life)

8. Rare is the person who can lift the silver salver without making the money move in some way. Less rare is being able to see the cameraman reflected in the surface of the salver

9. It’s impossible to stand in the kitchen and talk to the camera about the meal you’re preparing without acting like you’re either Nigella L or Hugh F-W

10. Dave Lamb’s voiceovers for Come Dine With Me are like the commentary for Masterchef, but with an awareness that – ultimately – we are only talking about cooking here.

…Which is probably why I watch the show a bit too much, as the above rather shows.

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.

“In my experience, those who beg for mercy seldom deserve it.”

No, I haven’t gone all hard-boiled; those are the works which you have to use as a first line if you decide to enter Alibi’s search for a new crime writer competition.

The first line is supplied by Stuart MacBride, and then it’s up to you to complete the story (between 2000 and 5000 words in all) and get it to them by noon on Saturday 16 May.

The prizes are pretty decent, I feel – they’ll pay for you to go to the Crime Writing Festival, and you get 100 crime books (though as one of the other prizes is an e-reader, these might be eBooks, I suppose), and they make your story into a downloadable e-edition. I’ve certainly seen worse prizes, and entry is free.

Full details are available here. I’m planning to give it a go, let me know if you decide to.

Actually, thinking about it, I might go for something a bit hard-boiled, or noirish, might be interesting to try writing in a very different voice from the usual…

Slightly Further To Yesterday’s Post, But Not Entirely

A new word for your dictionary…

Jedward [Jed’wood]

1. portmanteau n. Contestants John and Edward in ITV talent contest The X-Factor in 2009. Their elimination sparked a very short-lived campaign of complaints.

2. n. Slang term for any item which excites a great deal of interest for a brief spell and is then forgotten as though it had never existed. Often applied to workplace tasks whose lasting impact is inversely proportionate to the importance placed upon their timely creation at short notice, as in:

“Dave, I need a full report on the last six years’ sales figures for the MD, by tomorrow morning.”
“If I bust my guts to deliver it on time, will he actually read it, or is this another bloody Jedward?”

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