Posts Tagged ‘news’

Charlie Brooker’s 2012 Wipe for BBC Two

1 January 2013

I am a proud member of Team 2012 Wipe, the fruit of whose toil will be on BBC Two tonight:

Update 02-01-2013: Here’s the programme, while it lasts:

Looking like a scraper site, DM? The Daily Mail flaunts its spam-a-like pages with content from… the BBC!

31 December 2012
Jon Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe in A Young Doctor's Notebook

Jon Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe as Older Doctor and Young Doctor, both inspired by Mikhail Bulgakov’s experiences in a rural hospital

The Daily Mail’s TV & Showbiz pages include many non-stories which look uncomfortably like a dump of content the paper doesn’t own…

Mikhail Bulgakov is the Russian author of the original stories on which we based the mini-series A Young Doctor’s Notebook. I recently googled Bulgakov’s wife Yelena and came across a piece which begins:

This is the story of the Soviet authorities’ persecution of the Ukrainian writer Mikhail Bulgakov, as told through the diaries of Yelena, his third wife, and Bulgakov’s own letters.

The curious thing is that the link takes you to the Daily Mail, which isn’t the first site I associate with literary biography. And the page doesn’t read like a piece of journalism, exactly. Here’s how it looks:

It seems to be the programme note for a BBC Radio 4 drama from 2001. There’s no embedded audio, link or TX details; it’s not a review – just some contextless content. Which makes the Daily Mail look uncomfortably like a “scraper” site: those odd-looking, often illegal bits of the web which use other people’s property as padding around the real point of the pages, adverts:

Some scraper sites are created to make money by using advertising programs. In such cases, they are called Made For AdSense sites or MFAs. This derogatory term refers to websites that have no redeeming value except to lure visitors to the website for the sole purpose of clicking on advertisements.

When I accessed the Mail page which did well in search for Yelena Bulgakov, it had ads from Play, M&S, WeightWatchers, Ariel, Always and Google Ads. Perhaps it’s an anomaly, I thought. A one-off test page with some placeholder text which should have been deleted to avoid any risk of looking like the Mail was covertly bringing users to a page with content they don’t own to generate commercial revenue. I had a look around the TV & Showbiz section of the Mail and found a similar looking page:

And another one:

Again, lots of ads around both and in the second one, some information about other Radio 4 programmes. As it turned out, I found it difficult to think of a Radio 4 programme that hasn’t been surrounded by ads and made into a Daily Mail page.

Very odd. Someone had even added a picture to the Archers episode description, like with this documentary about Gandhi:

It’s a while since I worked at the BBC; perhaps these pages are part of a project where the Beeb has generously handed over its own content – or that of independent production companies – to help with the Daily Mail’s revenue streams, even while the Mail takes every opportunity to bash the Beeb. Perhaps there’s a reason none of these pages seems ever to have been linked to from the Mail’s front page. Perhaps it’s a good use of your licence fee. Who knows?

Other advertisers who find themselves next to BBC content include Marriott, Sky, Toyota, Dell, Lotto, Virgin, Nokia, Nationwide, Direct Line, Reiss, BA, Corsodyl, HSBC, JP Morgan, BT, Barclays and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. On all of them are Google Ads, the terms and conditions of which have a questionable relationship with the content.

10 O’Clock Live for Channel 4

19 February 2012

I am back at 10 O’Clock Live. When it isn’t live, you can again watch clips, like this one people like [NB: the final “…unless you count all those times they had a go at witches” is unforgivably omitted and archivists should note that what sounds like “Tory boys” is in fact “toy boys”]:

Screenwipe Review of the Year 2011 for BBC Four

29 December 2011

I am a proud member of Team Screenwipe 2011, the fruit of whose toil will soon be on BBC Four:

Black Mirror: The National Anthem

4 December 2011

I made a thinkribution to The National Anthem, the first story in the Charlie-Brooker-yielded Channel 4 drama collection Black Mirror, but (a) barely perceptibly and so (b) you should watch it — with a caveat about adult themes.

Black Mirror: The National Anthem

  • date/tx/channel: Sun 04 Dec/2100/C4

Party Conference Music: Primal Scream or Dandy Warhols?

5 October 2011

Staithes rocks

A rapid-response piece for the Guardian about Primal Scream’s outrage over being played at Conservative party conference:

“But whoever initially misidentified the music must have a tin ear. Bohemian Like You sounds like a Rolling Stones megamix with an emphasis on One Hit (To The Body) off Dirty Work, while Rocks sounds like a Stones megamix with an emphasis on Little T&A off Tattoo You.”

I am also compiling a Big List of all music played at all party conferences, politicians’ Desert Island Discs, etc. This will help.

Twittiquette – or Twemes among Tweeple who Tweetup for Twirting and/or Twisticuffs

5 September 2011

The

I’ve written a piece for the BBC about words beginning with “tw-“, and why people enjoy coining them on Twitter.

“Flick through a dictionary and you’ll notice something about the English language’s ‘tw’ words. We have a few related to ‘two’: twin, twelfth, twilight and so on. And there’s a tiny minority of what you might call fairly sensible words: tweezers, twig and of course tweed.

“The rest, though, tend to be of a type that’s more playful or, depending on taste, more grating. ‘Tw-‘ words can be about inanity or ignorance: twit, twerp, twonk or twaddle. They can suggest lightness, smallness or delicacy: tweak, twiddle or twinkle. Or they can flag up that you’re being self-consciously old-fashioned: ’twas and ’twere; ‘twixt and ‘tween. All very twee.”

Sadly there was no room for the etymology of “twonk” – coined/popularised, according to the Telegraph, by John Sullivan to give Del Boy a non-sweary swear word; nor for gay slang “twink” (“with a slender build, little or no body hair, and no facial hair”).

Also, now that we know that “twilight” relates to “two”, why not let’s enjoy some twilights I’ve seen?