Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Yesterday, on the train back home after a weekend on the other side of the country, I caught the end of Jeremy Vine on Radio 2, discussing anger management with Rabbi Julia Neuberger. Discussion over, he segued into 'Fairground' by Simply Red. Now, there's very little more likely to make me want to punch holes in brick walls than the sound of Mick Hucknall. All of the good work done by the interview and phone-in was unravelled just outside Stowmarket. I thought Jeremy Vine was meant to be a music lover?

In the profit column, we're living through a golden age of archive television repeats. BBC4 dug out Magnus Magnusson's rather wonderful preview of the 1972 Tutankhamun exhibition, and cobbled together a half-hour of the greatness that was Sir Mortimer Wheeler (who should be played by Simon Callow, if a biopic is ever made). Elsewhere, More4's 'Channel 4 at 25' season has thrown up some real gems, including the 1986 production of Mervyn Peake's 'Mr Pye' and a complete 'Tube' from 1983. The latter made for both joyous and sad viewing. Paula Yates, Big Country's Stuart Adamson and Tyne Tees studio 5 - designed by Richard Rogers, as it happens - all went long before their time. OK, I know that studio 5 is still there as a church, but it should be a TV studio.

Talking of which, the BBC's decision to sell off Television Centre strikes me as the worst kind of short-sighted, cost of everything, value of nothing, horsepiss. The main block - as good a bit of New Elizabethan/Festival of Britain-style design as you'll find away from the South Bank - is as fit for purpose as it was when it went up in the late 1950s. Any short-term financial gain will be spunked away on hiring in facilities of the same type as those sold off. Even though far less is made in studios nowadays, if TC closed, there would not be enough capacity in the UK to meet current peaks of demand. The cost of moving to new premises will be lower on paper, but, in reality, it will spiral. The great money-saving manoeuvre of BBC Birmingham from Pebble Mill to the Mailbox ended up costing far more than staying put and renovating the existing site. But, hey, what do I know? I only help pay for the Corporation.

8 comments:

Clair said...

Let me take your blog's cherry...

Now here's the thing. Is some smart TV bod ever going to launch a purely archive channel, with Broadcasting's Greatest Hits on it? I reckon it would do bettter than, say, Virgin 1.

LF Barfe said...

It'll start off well enough, but get diluted and adulterated. Remember what UK Gold was like when it started? Every episode of the Goodies in sequence.

Clair said...

That WAS a long time ago, wasn't it?

LF Barfe said...

Yep, it was 15 years ago. I think there would be a sizeable audience for a channel of old stuff, presented intelligently. Go all out for anorak appeal. Call it Associated-Retrofusion or something like that, with in-vision announcers, clocks, globes and symbols. Don't be afraid of showing black and white programmes. Open up with a Rutland Weekend Television, Q, There's A Lot Of It About and End of Part One marathon.

Despite the misguided renaming, there's a tiny bit to enjoy on the channel formerly known as UKTV G2, now available on digital tightarse television (aka Freeview). I'm hoping they go back to the 1991-2 series of 'Whose Line Is It Anyway?', as I'm clearly visible in the audience on one of them.

BPP said...

Virgin 1's rubbish. Unless you've got a hangover, then it's alright for police car chase shows.

BLTP said...

What was great about the Big Country on the Tube apart from bouncing around the room to fields of fire (I almost rolled up my trousers in tribute)was how long they got to play.

LF Barfe said...

Yep. Can you imagine any pop show today devoting 25 (count 'em) minutes to a film on bands from Northern Ireland? Them were the days.

Bright Ambassador said...

I used to love that Cruella de Ville (on the NI report) song on The Tube and thought I'd never hear it again. Top drawer.