Photo clippage #44

Friday 31st October 2008

It’s that man again. But for what wheeze is he trying to comandeer the resources of the nation?

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BBC suspends 2,000 for doing their job

Wednesday 29th October 2008

TV Cream has learned that following the suspension of renowned outspoken and unpredictable broadcasters Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross for being outspoken and unpredictable, the BBC is to mete out the same treatment on a further 2,000 of its reporters, presenters and actors.

Director-General Mark Thompson apparently made the decision after someone at the Media Guardian rang him up and told him to.

Thompson, who was on holiday at the time, is reportedly furious at the thought of BBC talent exhibiting precisely those same talents for which they were originally hired.

The news is set to be broken to the unlucky 2,000 tomorrow in as undignified, flustered and underhand fashion as possible.

Among those to be banished from the screen and the airwaves until a colossal morale-weakening internal investigation has been thoroughly prosecuted are:

Jeremy Paxman, acclaimed tenacious and forensic Newsnight presenter, on grounds of asking a tenacious and forensic question during an interview in October 2002

Bruce Forsyth, venerated entertainer and occasional purveyor of saucy quips, on grounds of purveying a saucy quip during an edition of The Generation Game in December 1974

Daniel Corbett, jovial weathercaster, for being jovial about a computer graphic of a rain cloud on New Year’s Day 2005

David Tennant, shouty time-travelling magician and saviour of humankind, for not saving Kylie Minogue on Christmas Day 2007

Fiona Bruce, consummate deliverer of hard-hitting news, for delivering news that hit hard about David Beckham’s toe in 2004

Terry Wogan, cosy grumbler and dispenser of blarney, for dispensing blarney when grumbling cosily about a misplaced traffic cone on the M4 during a link on Radio 2 in March 1981

Some big beasts of the media establishment, including Sir Lord Gus MacDonald and Lord Sir John Tusa, have expressed their approval of Thompson’s actions and spoken from personal experience of the value of not allowing people onto the air with a talent for doing the job they have been allowed onto the air to do.

So far none of the people at the BBC who actually hired any of the 2,000, or who nurtured, trained, promoted, schooled, produced, directed, controlled, sanctioned, commissioned and paid them, are in any way affected.

This post was written by the Estate of David Paradine Frost: “Mark Thompson? Seriously, he’s doing a grand job”


US election clippage: part two

Tuesday 28th October 2008

Back to 1984 this time, and Dan Rather’s waiting for us in an impressively-staffed, multi-screen CBS studio.

But first, the ubiquitous plugs. This time we’ve got to tip our electoral college-sized hats to “Manufacturers Hanover, the Financial Source Worldwide”, “the Sun Company – where there’s sun, there’s energy” and last but not least “Mastercard, Mastercard International: so worldly, so welcome”.

Surely this is maddening to anyone watching these kinds of programmes. You’re desperate for the latest news, you’ve been waiting up for the next set of declarations…and instead you get a load of smarmy sponsorship messages. It sounds very parochial, but does this sort of thing still go on? Even on crucial history-making election nights?

Anyway, once Dan can get a word in, he’s got some exciting news. It seems Ronnie might be back in, despite poor old Walter Mondale taking the District of Columbia and thereby garnering a thunderous three votes. It’s morning again in America!


Change, m’dear

Sunday 26th October 2008

Welcome to the hitherto-titled Digi-Cream Times blog, now with added new-nameness and general all-round gumption.

You’ll see that all the archives have made it across from the old address. Well, almost all.

A few YouTube videos seem to be lost forever, including a rare clip from Teldorado, the 1992 special edition of Wogan with our man jetting off to Los Barcos to meet “the people who will be sharing their lives, and yours, twice-weekly for a very long time”; an extract from Clive’s Sinclairs, in which Clive James takes a pithy look at the history of home computing (“I’d heard that budding entrepreneur Alan Sugar was in town and wanted to pick my brains urgently”); and Larry Grayson performing ‘Shut That Door (It’s Awfully Cold In Here)’ on Top Of The Pops.

All the posts have now been assigned categories, listed in the sidebar on the right, so you can more easily browse and nitpick the blog’s tiresome recurrences.

The old blog will stay online, at least for the time being, so any referral links floating around will not suddenly become dead.

Meanwhile for anyone who missed it, here are The King’s Singers performing a special musical aide memoire, explaining the demise of Digi-Cream Times and the birth of TV Cream Towers.

It was the last thing to be posted on the old site, and hence makes little sense out of context over here, but since when have questions of sense and context bore any importance to the writer of this blog?

Take it away, chaps!


If it’s music you’re after

Thursday 23rd October 2008

Advance notice of a new TV Cream pet project, which you’ll be able to hear from 1st November. Yup, a good two years or so after everyone else started, the very first TVC podcast is on its way.


US election clippage: part one

Monday 20th October 2008

To help hurry along the fortnight until polling day in the United States, here’s the first in a thankfully short series of clips from ancient American election programmes.

First up, an extract from CBS’s results night coverage of 1972. And what a ragged, amateurish affair it all is. The theme tune is frankly bizarre, resembling some atonal noodlings, possibly composed by Stockhausen or John Cage. Then, before we get to anything by way of news, comes the information that “this broadcast is sponsored by the Ford Motor company, and 6,283 Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealers – the goal, no unhappy owners.”

Cut to Walter Kronkite, who looks shifty and ill-informed. “Some or all of the polls have closed.” Make your mind up, Walt!

Then there’s an opt-out to a Virginia local network. The studio’s props and graphics are of an appalling low-fi quality. In the conversational area, two people sit on chairs underneath a giant eagle. “We’re going to have very mixed coat-tails tonight,” one mutters.

Compare this to the giant, multi-coloured, multi-gadgeted affair we had over here for the general election of 1970. Sure, Bob McKenzie had to get a workman to paint extra numbers on his swingometer, but at least he had a wall big enough to paint on in the first place.


What are you sayin’? What are you playin’?

Saturday 18th October 2008

With the future of genuine digital radio stations in doubt (as opposed to all those ‘pretend’ ones that you can get through your telly or online), it’s time for someone to step in and make sure there’s more than simply Planet Rock listed in Radio Times.

Inevitably that someone looks like being the BBC, but that’s all to the good, for there are plenty of opportunities for the corporation to launch cheap but effective channels quickly and professionally, thereby saving the medium from ever-dwindling pointlessness:

Radio 1 + 15

An exact, as it happens, unexpurgated repeat of what was being broadcast on Radio 1 15 years ago to the day.

Radio 1 + 15 + 1
An exact, as it happens, unexpurgated repeat of what was being broadcast on Radio 1 15 years ago to the day delayed by one hour and with new, live running commentary from relevant DJs, producers and guests.

Simon Says
Great music, great guests and lots of gossip from the country’s premier uni-monikered Etienne elite. Provisional schedule:
6am Simon Groom
9am Simon Mayo
12pm Simon Potter
2pm Simon Bates
6pm Simon Dee
10pm Simon Amstell
1am Simon Parkin

Order! Order!
A companion service to BBC Parliament, broadcasting live debates from the Palace of Westminster interspersed with memorable reports, interviews and rolling news coverage from the last 70 years. Launch highlights include A Day In The Life Of Scud FM; Michael Heseltine with a minute-by-minute account of the time he waved a giant mace on the floor of the Commons; a full replay of the 1981 Crosby by-election results programme; and Round Robin: a retrospective on Robin Day’s time hosting The World At One.

How We Used To Live
Old people remember the war in calm, reassuring voices.

I’m Backing Britain
A rousing, morale-boosting endeavour to see the country through the recession. Run by the Central Office of Information, this station will provide round-the-clock advice, tips, instructions and the very latest from the nerve centre of the government’s recently-formed National Economic Council. Presenters, including Michael Aspel, Cliff Michelmore, Angela Rippon and Suggs, will work six-hour shifts until the crisis is over.

On The Mike
24-hour coverage of Michael Palin as he lives his life.