Why we need BBC4

BBC4 collage: Congo Calling, Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe, The Joy of Disco, The Killing (1280x720)In the wake of the impending shutdown of BBC3 this autumn, the BBC has so far been vague when it comes to discussing the fate of BBC4. Rebranding seems certain if the station does survive. But there are many reasons why the BBC shouldn’t close BBC4. Continue reading

Why British-Grenadians should care about the island’s 40th independence day

Grenada flag-waver, by Wayne Marshall (Sep 2008) (1448x815)There are just over 9,700 Grenadian-born people living in the United Kingdom, according to the 2001 UK Census. How many of them were aware that the island of their birth celebrated its 40th anniversary of independence on Friday, February 7, 2014? Continue reading

Free Speech: BBC3’s Question Time needs to take young people seriously

Free Speech, ep1, 07.03.2012, BBCTonight comes the second episode of Free Speech, BBC3’s latest invention in its uphill struggle to make politically conscious television interesting for young people.

The show, which kicked off last month with a live broadcast from Queen Mary in east London, is effectively Question Time for young people. Its arrival was loud, its guests were louder, and, sadly, it proved how far we have to go before we see intelligent and critical debate shows for the young generation. Continue reading

The Photographer and his Muse

Aneurin Barnard and Karen Gillan as David Bailey and Jean Shrimpton in We'll Take Manhattan (BBC4)The unending appeal of fashion magazines worldwide is primarily down to the fact they are sold on two essential features: pictures and people. Prompted by the likes of Life magazine, Vogue became a major driver in our consumption of pictorial periodicals. At the heart of this transition were David Bailey and Jean Shrimpton, a photographer and model paired together for what became a revolutionary shot in New York, 1962.

We’ll Take Manhattan, a BBC Four drama, is the story of that shoot and the intimacy between Bailey and his sweetheart on-camera and off. Continue reading

The decline of children’s TV

Kirsten O'Brien, SMart, CBBC, 2011It was a time of innocence, of compassion, of playfulness. A time before the Nanny State, rampant gang culture and too many road accidents caused parents to forbid their children from “playing out.” Before the web became everyone’s favourite distraction, before video games conquered the home and before Toy Day was brushed aside by schools for being “too childish.” It was the golden age of children’s television, and I never imagined I would feel such an attachment to it. Continue reading

Luther still at large

‘Ludicrous’ is how the startlingly good crime drama, Luther, has been described by Radio Time’s TV editor, Alison Graham. Last year I gushed over the first series and promptly ordered the DVD the night it ended. Some might label it as such, but I my view it’s still frighteningly real. Continue reading

Media Watch: Ian Forrester

Last October, Guardian Tech alerted me to a unique BBC project aimed to make positive change through digital innovation. BBC Backstage was formed in 2004 to encourage social innovation through the use of shared data and collaboration. Sadly, it was brought to my attention a little too late as it closed early this year. But fortunately its successes have been archived to help future inventors and digital producers. Continue reading

Zen: An Honest Man

The fact the word ‘Zen’ precedes the name of my blog is no coincidence. For me, it’s as much about the symbolism of me striving to achieve spiritual oneness as it is about me leaving a useful record of my exploits behind to encourage others. Okay, so don’t actually follow Buddhist teachings and my blog hasn’t been loaded with salient moral teachings, but I do feel I’ve expressed some poignant messages that people feel in life, and readers hopefully feel enriched in some small way by relating to what I’ve written – all through my desire to communicate and chronicle using this weblog medium.

So while I ponder whether writing about comics and TV could ever really be classified as ‘using your skills for good’, Zen has now taken on another meaning.

Zen is the name of a new BBC drama series based on Michael Dibdin’s books about the life of Italian detective Aurelio Zen. It stars Rufus Swell and Caterina Murino and was filmed on location in Rome. Presenting playful genre twists, romantic scenery and a direct lexical connection, how could I pass this up?

An interesting new series that harkens back to the honourable 1960s male leads of old. You can read more of my thoughts on Zen at Platform Online.

This show is now part of a pattern of fabulous Sunday night television. The BBC produced some truly amazing stuff last year, so here’s hoping the rest of 2011 will be just as good.