Blog Archives

Not cakes, dancing or music

It's a big reality and music night on Wednesday. On BBC1 we've got two Comic Relief programmes, The Great British Bake Off, followed by The People's Strictly. On ITV is music awards show The Brits. All these programmes will likely score well in ratings, so I wanted to mention a documentary over on BBC2 which will probably get lost among these big rating hitters.
Historian Amanda Vickery, pictured below, takes us through the 300 years of campaigning for political and sex equality for women.
Amanda Vickery.       Image BBC.

Amanda Vickery. Image BBC.

Labour's recent controversial “pink bus” initiative to get women to vote may have annoyed some, but it is important to know of the women, and men, who campaigned, suffered and in some cases even died for this cause. With the general election coming up, it is important to remember how hard fought the vote was, and the quest for sexual equality was and still is.

This is a 3 part documentary, called “Suffragettes Forever! The Story of Women and Power” starting on Wednesday at 8pm on BBC2, and will be on iPlayer.

Reserve your seat in the House!

Sir Robert Rogers. Image BBC.

The title wasn’t that enticing really “Inside the Commons”. I can hear the yawning.

Really though, it was very interesting. Reporter Michael Cockerell (who is heard not seen) informed us that they’ve spent a year following the people and day to day running of the House of Commons.

The rituals of the house are fascinating. For instance, as there are 427 seats and 650 MPs there are not enough spaces to sit on the famous green seats, so unless you’re a front bencher you have to reserve your seat for the day.
This is a bit like reserving your sun-lounger at the beach. The Commons’ day starts with 3 minute morning prayers so to get a seat you have to get a piece of card known as a ‘Prayer card’, write your name on it and place it in a card holder on the back of the seat you want. You have to be up early as doors open at 8 o’clock and if you leave it till 08:30 all the good spots are gone! Also, if you’re not there for the prayers, the Commons officials will tear up your card! Being there for the prayers ensure you that seat for the day.

Music and money, two documentaries of note

Two documentaries worth checking out which aired recently, one which was mentioned in my last post, one which I’ve caught up with belatedly.

We take recorded sound so much for granted nowadays. Just turn on the radio and listen and, if you like something just get the CD or download it. It’s easy. Yet take a moment and think what it must have been like without all that, before Thomas Edison recorded his own voice in 1878. Appreciate this amazing invention and watch part one of “Sound of Song” on iPlayer. The three part series continues on BBC4 at 9pm.

Imagine spending £215,000 on a watch? Bargain. How about  £30,000 for a facial with golden particles?  Well those that can and do spend these amounts trot out the line that their spending helps the rest of us. It is called the “trickle down” effect and successive governments from the 80s onwards have sold us this theory, but does it actually work? Well, there a number of leading economists who say this doesn’t work and the vast majority of us have seen precious little of any trickling down of wealth. Find out how the “non dom” rule has had billionaires flocking to Britain and resulting in us having more billionaires per capita than anywhere else in the world.

Watch  “The Super Rich and Us”, a two part documentary which is now available on iPlayer. Part one is repeated on BBC2 this Thursday at 11:20pm (and I assume part two the following week).


BBC reruns The Rockford Files

Embed from Getty Images

Hollywood legend James Garner died earlier this year. The series which made him a household name, The Rockford Files, is being shown on BBC2 weekday afternoons, starting from next week. Why they're starting with Season 5 is a bit odd, but that might be just where they left off when they last ran the series some years back.
Catch or record this gem and hear THAT theme music and the iconic answerphone message, Monday to Friday next week on BBC2 at 2:15pm.

Freesat Awards 2014

Embed from Getty Images


The Freesat awards were held on Tuesday night and I’m particularly pleased that a number of my favourite shows got awards.  Line of Duty won best drama which was well deserved and even managed to beat Sherlock! Keeley Hawes (pictured) put in a stunning central performance in this and I hope she gets specific recognition for it when BAFTA determine their TV nominations for next year.

Matthew Baynton and James Corden both wrote and starred in The Wrong Mans which got best sitcom. It was a situation comedy like no other, not being filmed in front of a studio audience and being more of a Hollywood comedy caper/drama in style and ambition. Truly ground breaking and brilliant.

Doctor Who won Best of British for its 50th celebration episode, Day of the Doctor, and I wholeheartedly agree with that!

BBC2 won channel of the year, which in its 50th year is great to see. It consistently produces great programming, and Line of Duty and The Wrong Mans were on the channel. Very well deserved.


The full list of winners

Freesat Channel of the Year – BBC2 

Best of British: TV Programme or Series – Doctor Who, The Day of the Doctor (BBC1)

Best Factual TV Programme or Series – Educating Yorkshire (Channel 4)

Best TV Sitcom – The Wrong Mans (BBC2)

Best TV Drama – Line of Duty (BBC2)

Best Live TV Programme or Series – Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway (ITV) 

Best Children’s TV Programme or Series – Katie Morag (CBeebies)

Best Digital Radio Channel – Absolute 80s

Best Specialist Channel – The Travel Channel

Best News Channel – Radio 5 Live

Personality of the Year – Ant and Dec (ITV)

Best British TV Soap – Coronation Street (ITV)

Tribute to comedy writer Bob Larbey

Early last month comedy writer Bob Larbey died.  On Saturday, BBC2  will be airing a short tribute programme at 8pm presented by Penelope Keith. Afterwards there will be repeats of two  programmes  about two of Larbey’s sitcoms, Every Decreasing Circles and The Good Life.

Happy Birthday BBC2 (continued)

This is my third post on the 4 part series Happy Birthday BBC2. My first post covered parts 1 and 2 and my second post covered part 3.

First up was the cookery programme, Two Fat Ladies (1996-1999). Producer, Patricia Llewellyn told us how she had already met Clarissa Dickson Wright and had been struggling to find a format for her, then she paired Clarissa with Jennifer Patterson who came up with the title of Two Fat Ladies.  Llewellyn was a bit worried of Wright’s reaction to the title, but she was fine with it. Llewellyn also  told us that Wright and Patterson didn’t always see eye to eye as both were strong characters and that she needed a certain amount of diplomacy!

The sketch show Goodness Gracious Me was next. One of the show’s stars, Sanjeev Bhaskar said that when it first went out they had the same people who rang in every week saying it was racist towards white people. He said at least they had six regulars who watched every episode! We saw various clips, but not the famous ‘going for an English’ though!

Read the rest of this entry

Jeremy Paxman leaves Newsnight

Embed from Getty Images

Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman is leaving the BBC2 show after 25 years saying  it was time to move on.

Paxman is such a character and towering presence that it will be a difficult task for whoever’s job it is to decide on his replacement. I’m sure the press and betting establishment will be touting the runners soon.

Happy Birthday BBC2 (continued)

This a continuation of the post on April 22nd. In that post I covered episodes 1 and 2 of the programme “Happy Birthday BBC2” shown as part of the 50th anniversary of the launch of the channel.

Part 3 of the programme kicked off with the Sci-fi sitcom Red Dwarf 1988-1999. Robert Llewellyn, who played Kryten from series 3, informed us that everyone told them that science fiction wasn’t funny. Show co-creator Rob Grant said that up to that point everyone in space had been middle class, and that no-one sent to space had had a beer or a curry! Grant told us that Alan Rickman and Alfred Molina had been interested in doing it, which was a great coup, but the makers got cold feet and thought that the actors were too good and maybe by series 3 they’d be off to Hollywood playing super villains. Well they were right in Rickman’s case!

Grant said they “wound up with a stand up comic, an impressionist, a dancer and a stand up poet”. This was Robert Llewellyn, Chris Barrie, Danny John Jules and Craig Charles. I thought this was rather dismissive of Grant and he could at least have said how well it turned out with an unknown cast. Also, Llewellyn didn’t join the show till series 3 and Kryten was played by another actor, David Ross, for his introduction episode.

Read the rest of this entry

Happy Birthday BBC2!

Embed from Getty Images

I love this photo. It shows the first controller of BBC2, Michael Peacock (pictured right) with David Attenborough who will take over as Controller after him. They are looking at cuddly toys and models of kangaroos called Hullabaloo and Custard, who are the mascots of the new channel. BBC2 being the young kangaroo springing from the pouch of the parent channel.
I love the playful ‘what are we doing!’ looks on their faces!

The channel has shown a number of celebratory look back programmes, focusing on various aspects of the channels output over the last 50 years.
Some I’ve caught so far are …

Read the rest of this entry

%d bloggers like this: