Questions

It’s New Year’s Eve and what do kids do on New Year’s when their parents are away? They invite all their mates over, throw a party and drink their way through dad’s drinks cabinet.

Well Alan Carr is no different. This New Year’s Eve – while the Channel 4 bosses are away at their ski chalets in Vermont – Alan is throwing a party and inviting all his mates over to drink their way through Channel 4’s booze cabinet.

Join Alan on New Year’s Eve when he broadcasts from a forgotten Channel 4 basement that he’s turned into his party headquarters, having changed his Facebook status to ‘Party at mine, all are welcome’…

Lets face it – ITV is rubbish isn’t it? If it wasn’t for Simon Cowell, the occasional Champions League match and Corrie, no-one would watch the channel.

And so, with ITV making a move to pay-TV with three high-definition channels vanishing behind Sky’s subscription wall, you have to wonder if anyone will tune in at all.

The agreement with Sky, as reported by MediaGuardian.co.uk, covers HD versions of ITV2, 3 and 4. Yes, really.

Along with an online presence, it seems that ITV are putting £75 million aside for their digital channels.

The company’s chief executive, Adam Crozier, said: “For the past decade ITV has not faced up to the challenges presented by the rise of internet-based platforms, the continuing growth of pay TV and subscription services and the globalisation of content.

“Our priority for the next 18 months is to make ITV a creatively dynamic and fit-for-purpose organisation while maintaining strict financial controls. Over time we expect to move to a position whereby half of ITV’s revenue base will be derived from non-television advertising sources and today we are announcing our move into pay television with the agreement to make HD versions of ITV 2, 3 and 4 pay channels on Sky.”

ITV’s HD channels will become available to Sky+ HD subscribers in autumn, starting with ITV2 in October.

ITV was in talks with other providers, Crozier said, including Virgin Media, but the deal was exclusive to Sky among satellite platforms.

Really though… is anyone actually mental enough to pay to watch these channel in their own right?

The licence fee is a prickly topic that sees people vigorously defending the BBC or attacking them for having an unfair advantage over other stations… or in some cases, people don’t like the way it is spent.

Well, according to one thinktank called the Adam Smith Institute, the £3.5bn annual licence fee should be scrapped and replaced with a voluntary subscription service.

The report, Global Player or Subsidy Junkie? Decision time for the BBC, reckons that Auntie could be offered a “transitional guarantee” of income from 2012 when viewers would first be told they didn’t have to pay the licence fee.

An interim annual fee of £145 (the current cost of the licence fee) would be charged up to 2015, the report proposes, after which BBC services would become subscription-only.

David Graham, the report’s author and a former BBC producer who now runs the media consultancy Attentional, tells the Guardian that the BBC “invests heavily in opinion management and capturing UK regulators rather than looking outwards towards the international media market”.

“Continuing with the current funding model means justified hostility from the rest of the industry, contraction and decline for the BBC,” he added.

“The new government seems ready to rethink fundamentals. I hope this paper will help to encourage a serious debate, at a critical time, about a very important British institution.”

In terms of the licence fee the report argues that the BBC would, over a “limited period of time”, allow licence fee payers to “either lapse or switch to voluntary subscription”.

What are your thoughts?

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Charley Speed, Elle MacPherson, Julien MacDonald, Grace Woodward
BNTM Cycle 6 Judges

Ruth Rendell has criticised the graphic portrayal of violence on television. She has said, in an interview with The Daily Telegraph that she believes that some scenes are too explicit.

Do you agree?

“The crime on television at the moment is over-violent,” she said. “I don’t think it’s necessary. I don’t like it, and many people, not necessarily of my age, don’t like it.”

She continued: “The more you pander to what is, presumably, the taste of young people, the more you corrupt. I don’t think they want it, really – they are told they want it.”

“Why do we have to have violence, torture, brutality in crime dramas every time we turn on television? Any new crime drama is going to have, sooner or later, a lot of torture and nasty things that make people flinch. Lots of young people I know shrink and flinch from that kind of thing on television, so I think showing it is a mistake.

“It corrupts people because if they see it they get used to it, and, sadly, they expect it.”

Is she right though?

The fact is, more than ever, young people realise the power of the ‘off button’ or the ability to switch channel. Granted, they haven’t worked out the same rule applies to unpopular opinions online, but still.

The simple fact is, violence on-screen is a moot point because thanks to a world of options opening up online, you can watch whatever level of violence you like or, indeed, easily avoid it by watching the myriad on non-violent TV shows that are currently airing.

There is indeed a market for brutal television. Dexter would lack the visceral punch without some of the more grisly scenes… but by the same token, it wouldn’t be very popular if it was just a gorefest.

The main thrill of the show is the psychological riddles that a peppered throughout. By the same token, there are shows that simply try too hard by littering scenes with ultra-violence… and these tend to be ignored by everyone except those that want to complain about the level of gore on television.

What do you think?

There’s been a lot of talk around boring media circles about a bloke called John De Mol.

Now, this chap is being linked to a bid for Channel Five after RTL put it up for sale. This is boring right?

Well, De Mol is the creator of Big Brother, which is leading to mutterings that the show might be making a move, one button up on the remote.

If De Mol wins the bid for Five, it is understood that one of the conditions is that he’ll provide content for the broadcaster.

Even though Big Brother hasn’t been getting the ratings that Channel Four would like, you have to assume that, even in the beleaguered state that Big Brother is in currently, Five would bite their arm off for that audience.

De Mol created Big Brother in the ’90s and it was a runaway success which transformed the way people made television.

Who is to say that, with a fresh channel to play with, the show couldn’t be huge again?

Sky have been rumoured to be sniffing around the show, but have yet to make a serious play for it.

With Big Brother finishing on Channel 4 for good at the end of the current series, it will be interesting to see what happens.

Don’t wave goodbye to it just yet.

Paranoia, bitching and Ben’s cryptic convo


Housemates Nathan, Shabby and Caoimhe have been moaning that people are talking about them, and they’re right; they are.

Last night, Shabby told Caiomhe, “I really feel like, ‘If you want to talk about me, you want to talk about me’. I talk about you.

“I felt like when I came in with Mario talking they were trying to loop round [the conversation].”

Caoimhe replied, “That’s how I felt with Mario and Ben.”

And Nathan added, “There was far too much whispering, that’s why I left [the bedroom]

“There were Govan and John, then there’s Ben and Dave. Then Dave got into bed with Sunshine and they’re whispering.

“I’m getting f**king strange vibes mate.”

Stop using a strange vibro then dude…

And sure enough, at pretty much the same time, David and Ben were discussing how Ife, Caoimhe and Shabby’s friendship is affecting the rest of the housemates.

Speaking to John James, David said, “My outlook on it is that the three girls are going to isolate themselves more and more…

“You shouldn’t be that close knit, you make people feel like they’re trying to break in.

“When one of them gets voted out the others will try to get involved but I think by then it might be too late.”

Ben then decided that speaking in code was the way forward, and said, “David annihilated a bad sore, but in doing so encouraged a much worse one… festering causing much bigger problems.

“Do you get what I mean?”

Er, no, not a friggin’ clue Ben…

He added, “Because one is stupid and one isn’t and people who aren’t stupid are a lot more dangerous that those who are.

“Deep divisions would have been …alleviated [but] that person is still here.”

Ok… wild guess… you’re on about Sunshine? No? Give up then.

So can you solve the puzzle that is Ben’s little rant? Do let me know, please!

Today, The Guardian has reported on a funding crisis that is battering the production of children’s programmes in the UK, threatening one of British television’s best traditions.

And now, Ed Vaizey, the new culture minister, has vowed to look investigate the problem.

But is it already doomed?

For some years now, funding in children’s television programmes has fallen. In strak figures, in 2004 there was £50m a year more being pumped into the sector.

ITV no longer broadcast children’s TV on terrestrial telly.

Colette Bowe, the chair of Ofcom, told MPs last year: “We are sleepwalking into a situation where we do not have enough UK-generated content of high quality for our own kids.”

This is a crying shame when you think of the rich heritage we have as a nation when it comes to making children’s shows… all of Oliver Postgate’s stuff, Roobarb, Grange Hill, Danger Mouse, Wallace and Gromit, The Wombles, all the Gerry Anderson shows… and on and on I could go.

The knock-on from this is that UK animation studios are losing work to overseas companies who benefit from tax breaks.

Bob the Builder now lives in Los Angeles.

So is TV for British children doomed? The future looks bleak.

The World Cup is so close that you can almost taste the drinks promotions and the resultant crushing hangover that makes your brain feel three sizes too big for your skull.

And yes indeed, your TV will be riddled with men kicking a football or chasing people kicking a football and men endlessly talking about other men kicking and chasing a football. Are you ready?

The World Cup must be hell of the sport-hating TV fan. Coronation Street gets shunted off to daft times because some inconsequential match went into extra-time and then penalties.

In some cases, your favourite shows will be ditched altogether because the news is more important and, infuriatingly for you, topical sniggerthons featuring James Corden will be deemed more relevant, leaving people running out into the street in tears into the arms of men in England shirts… their cars draped in St George’s crosses with JJB logos on them.

Essentially, you will not be able to escape it for a month.

Auntie BBC and ITV will be rammed with live matches, the worst/best fervour coming along for England matches with every single aspect analysed to the point of plucking every single blade of grass from the pitch with tweezers and gently laying each one down on a psychiatrists couch.

Yet, should you decide that you’ll run away to the relative sanctuary of BBC Two and Channel 4, don’t think that football will leave you alone there…

Pretty much 100% of the world’s advertisers will be shoving spherical leather down your neck while they peddle cameras, chocolate bars and burgers.

So how are you preparing for this footballing onslaught? Of course, people like me (aka idiot football fan who will watch and whoop at absolutely any game, regardless of importance, relevance and quality) will be happier than a pig with two arses… but for those of you who want to slit your neck at the footballing festival will have to come up with a plan or simply silently suffer.

One thing we’ll endeavour to do is to keep you in the loop for decent shows that aren’t football based so keep an eye on the front page. Otherwise, may I advise doing some David Blaine style isolation stunt where you live in a box up a pole for a month because it is the only feasible way of dodging the footballs.

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