A History of the BBC in 100 Blog Posts: 1935.

If there is a gap in todays offerings it's a link to BBC: The Voice of Britain from 1935, directed by Stuart Legg for the GPO Film Unit.  As BFI's old Screenonline website explains, this was "the most expensive documentary to have been made costing more than £7000 and it was probably the first GPO film to use synchronised sound. The impressionistic approach did not go down well with many contemporary critics, who were disappointed at the lack of detail about how the BBC really worked."

Nonetheless it has proved popular over the years but doesn't seem to be available to stream anywhere online, even at the BFI Player.  The BBC Archive's Facebook page hosts the odd clip like this assessment of the microphone by George Bernard Shaw, but that's about it.  But it is available on DVD as part of The General Post Office Film Unit Collection: Volume 1 - Addressing The Nation.  Hopefully at some point the BFI will compile their range of films pertaining to the BBC into a single collection.


Dinner is Served: Market cheapjacks
Thu 17th Oct 1935, 21:00 on National Programme Daventry
"A Sound Picture of the Nation's Food Services.
This feature programme aims at giving vivid pictures in sound of the organisation of the national food supply. The story is told by some of the men who do the work ... farmers, fishermen ... market porters, salesmen, and buyers, against a background of its natural sounds."
[London Sound Survey][BBC Programme Index]

Behind The Scenes

"Grace Wyndham Goldie, television producer and one of the few women executives of her era at the BBC, is commemorated with a blue plaque at St Mary Abbot’s Court, Warwick Gardens, Kensington, where she lived in Flat 86 from 1935. Having early understood the potential of television, she was a powerful influence in bringing politics and current affairs to the small screen, and in giving a critical edge to this coverage."
[English Heritage]

"Plans for construction of the BBC Studios at Alexandra Palace. The First Floor and tower plans show the distribution of space between the Baird and Marconi-EMI systems. The Baird required more space for the three separate elements needed for the electro-mechanical process."
[Alexandra Palace]

"Gen. view of British Broadcasting House and pan. up Broadcasting House. Semi cu. B.B.C. announcer walks to mike. Long view of family listening in radio room. Semi view of policeman walking outside house and cu. of policeman listening outside house. BBC announcer saying "Here are some more election results"

"King George V's Christmas Speech.  He thanks the people for celebrations to mark his 25th silver jubilee, he sends Christmas wishes from Royal Family to all his subjects."

"It is unfortunate that there exists no authoritative account of the dialects of Northern Ireland on the fines of the excellent reference books used in the compilation of the Scottish and Welsh place-name booklets."

"The year has been one of further progress and expansion."

"An altogether novel instrument for creating unity of thought and emotion during the year to the searching unity of thought and emotion between scattered individuals has been evolved by broadcasting. Never before in history has it been possible to appeal simultaneously and orally to people divided in space and in mood and unaffected by the influences of crowd psychology."
[World Radio History]

This Blog in 2022.

About  Inspired by John at Dirty Feed, here's a look back at some of my favourite posts of the year on this blog.

An Editor's Burial: Journals and Journalism from The New Yorker and Other Magazines.
In which I made turned an anthology into a link list to save you from having to buy it.  I've had mixed emotions about The New Yorker since reading this book after the treatment of Evin Overbey and thinking about how some of the biographical essays and the behaviour of past editors could be viewed through a different lens.

The big kahuna, the one post which went massively viral this year thanks to being tweeted and retweeted by In Our Time's own Twitter feed and some of its contributors.  It was a beast to prepare but absolutely worthwhile given how useful its been to people.  Someone I know even has it bookmarked on their phone so they can use it when they're walking about and looking for something in their field to listen to.  Which reminds me that I need to do an update soon.

The title of the blog became even more ironic than ever this year as most of the bigger posts were lists.  This was a way of accessing a number of BBC programmes about Doctor Who as listed in the parish circular that month by Eddie Robson.

Speaking of lists, here's one which didn't really work.  Putting all of the Trek stories set before Discovery into chronological order seemed like a nice idea in theory, before you realise that so many of them are set in alternate realities, dream sequences or are subsequently wiped out after the timeline's been fixed.  Which is why I haven't included the second season of Picard.  That one is *complicated*.

By far the most popular post on the blog is the Doctor Who viewing order, bringing in a couple of hundred googlers per day when the series is on television.  So I thought I'd play to the gallery and do the same for Star Wars.  No one noticed.

I'll be returning to this in the new year once I've caught up on the BBC 100 posts.  Getting to touch the pages just as they'd emerged from Jaggard's print shop was one of the most spectacular moments of my young life.

After the success of the In Our Time post, I wanted to do something with one of the BBC's other large archives and settled on Cooke's life's work.  Again, no one noticed.

These were arguably three of the main exhibitions to visit Liverpool this year (I'm yet to see the fourth, The Turner Prize at Tate) and I went to town on all of them although it's pretty obvious which I was most comfortable writing about.  The opening line of the Doctor Who review has just made me guffaw.  Speaking of which ...

Having long abandoned even attempting to review the Chris Chibnall era of Doctor Who after finding myself repeatedly noting the same, some would say choices, others would say faults, I knew there'd still need to be words written about Jodie's swansong and right up until transmission, I had no clue what the angle would be.  Then, fortunately, Paul McGann made a cameo.

One of the few posts reacting to current affairs.  In the month's since I've become less and less interested in the current crop of working royalty, especially after the Harry & Meghan Netflix series and the King's first Christmas address in which he congratulated poor people for helping out other poor people while he's decreed that his coronation should be a full budget affair with every pomp and lashings of circumstance.

Twice this year I wrote similar posts (!) trying to explain how I perceive fictional multiverses are nestled together and this was the second, slightly more coherent attempt in the wake of Doctor Strange 2.  We'll see what happens after the next Spiderverse films are released.

A History of the BBC in 100 Blog Posts: 1934.

The Christmas Number of The Radio Times in 1934 features the three wise men on the cover.  Inside we find something more akin to The New Yorker than a modern listings magazine, with short stories, columns about various aspects of the festive season by long forgotten literary voices and an especially grim cartoon about a young man receiving a radio as a Christmas present and then spending the rest of his life in bed listening to it with the final panel showing his grave with the apparatus still playing nearby.  Reader, I feel seen.

The Christmas Day schedule on the National Programme favours light classical music for much of the day with Ireland, Sullivan, Kern and Eric Coates the standouts by various orchestras.  Before the King's Message (participants above) is the usual Empire Exchange "a programme of greetings and sound-pictures depicting Christmas in all parts of the British commonwealth" (a running order for which also appears in the magazine).

Prime time, from 7:30 to 9:30 offers A Radio Christmas Party during which we're promised "comedians, dance music, ghost stories, chorus songs, charades and musical games, all kinds of happy-go-lucky entertainment" which sounds smashing but is thin on detail.  The night closes at 11-12 with Dance Music from Billy Cotton and his band with the Pips at 11:30.

This was also the year of Death at Broadcasting House, the early Ealing drama about a death at Broadcasting House based on the novel by Val Gielgud and Eric Maschwitz.  It's available from Network on Air for a very reasonable £6.  


Sat 15th Sep 1934, 21:15 on Regional Programme London
"An Excursion in Sound to the Hop Gardens of Kent."
In connection with this programme, read the article by Pat Forrest on page 616.
[London Sound Survey][BBC Programme Index]

"Mr. Oaten will, at the end of his talk, answer questions put to him by an 'Enquiring Layman'."
[The Leslie Flint Trust][BBC Programme Index]

Behind The Scenes

"The building and launch of a new long-wave radio transmitter - just as the TV age is about to be born."
The transmitter opened on the 6th September 1934.

"Exterior views of BBC Broadcasting House. Closer shot of roof area showing radio masts. More shots of exterior showing different sides of the building. Closer shot of the statue above the doorway. Shots of reliefs and carving on exterior walls."

"Recording studios, converted by the BBC in 1934-1935 from a roller skating rink, built 1909-1910 to the designs of Lionel G Detmar and Theodore Gregg."
[Historic England]

"From 1931 to 1935, the BBC used this streamlined condenser microphone known as "the bomb", which employed a Western Electric or STC capsule but had a BBC pre-amplifier."
[Science Museum]

"Lord Ponsonby pleads for the preservation of accents but says cultivating one is the most objectionable form of speech that exists."
[The Guardian]

"Originally published on 29 December 1934: Words, according to the French cynic, were given us in order that we might conceal our thoughts – but also, perhaps, in order that we might discuss the B.B.C."
[The Guardian]

"THE first B.B.C. was formed on October 18, 1922, and received its licence on January 18, 1923. It represented a joint effort on the part of three hundred wireless manu- facturers and shareholders. Lord Gainford, a former Postmaster -General, was the first Chairman, and the other members of the Board represented the principal wireless manufacturers concerned, that is, the late Mr. Godfrey Isaacs (Marconi Co.), Major Basil Binyon (Radio Communication Co.), Mr. A. McKinstry (Metropolitan Vickers), John Gray (British Thomson -Houston Co.), Sir William Noble (General Electric), Mr. H. M. Pease (Western Electric), and Mr. W. W. Burnham (Burndept). Smaller manufacturers and traders were repre- sented by the late Sir William Bull, M.P., who became Vice - Chairman. Mr. (now Sir) John Reith was the first General Manager, joining the Board as Managing Director in October, 1923."
[World Radio History]

"The year has again been marked by steady progress and expansion."

Christmas Links #24


Links  Here we are then, the end of Christmas Links for this year and the surprising reveal of exactly what I was doing with the accompanying videos featuring people walking about random places across the globe at Christmastime.  It wasn't random.  We were following the itinerary of Phileas Fogg and Michael Palin, but around the world in twenty-four posts.  The destinations listed on this page just happened to match the number of days in advent.

I had hoped to post the video of Michael returning to London at the end of the trip, where he's cross with a newspaper vender and isn't allowed back into the Reform Club, but it's not on YouTube and neither is a video of the Reform Club at Christmas.  So instead find above the opening of the journey as he explains the effort he's about to undertake which only makes me want to rewatch the thing all the more.  Happy Christmas!
Sugababes are releasing their new album of ‘lost’ music (today) and fans are elated: ‘Pop justice!’:
"After years in the pop wilderness, the original Sugababes trio is about to drop new album The Lost Tapes – a collection of songs that were leaked as demos in 2013."
[Editor's note:  Holy Fuck!]

"The 12 Days of Big Finishmas Christmas sale is here! Check this page for updates on the downloads on offer!"

"A group of four British women recently arrived on a remote Antarctic island to look after its population of passing tourists and penguins. As they prepare for Christmas at the bottom of the world, they tell BBC News how they're settling into their new home."

"Arriva North West warned customers services in and out of the city centre "may be extremely congested""

"‘Twas the festive season of 2015, and my 5-year-old daughter Molly was trying to explain to me the holiday ditty all the kindergarteners were going to sing in unison at the annual concert."

"Some think I’m a bit of a Scrooge, says teaching assistant who can afford to give everyone turkey and all the trimmings."

"It can save you time as well as money on your energy bills but can it cook a whole roast dinner? We find out."

"Carpenter Tan Koon Tat has been beset by rain and the rising cost of materials, but is still determined to bring some festive cheer to the neighbourhood in Marsiling."

"If you’re stuck for things to watch this festive season, this just might be what you’re after."

"Five Iberian lynx were released into the wild this week in southern Spain as part of an expanding breeding programme aimed at conserving one the most endangered feline species."

Christmas Links #23

"Tail Town Cats will spotlight six adorable adoptable cats as they climb the Festivus pole; viewers at home can watch live."

A parent’s guide to setting up a new games console at Christmas:
"If your children have a new Xbox, Playstation or Nintendo Switch waiting under the tree, here is what you need to know about subscriptions, parental controls … and getting the most fun out of it for all the family."

"Birkenhead used to have fab Christmas lights and a Christmas light switch on."

Cirencester couple creates Christmas model village:
"A couple have created a model village and decorated their house for Christmas to raise money for charity."

"A limited edition three-way death match featuring Shoppe Geō, Funko, and Comfort Zone."

"The question everyone wants answered at this time of year is whether or not it snow at Christmas. Helen Willetts has the answer."

"For many in construction, Christmas is not the season of goodwill. Sadly Ebenezer Scrooge has always had his hands on construction’s cash as we head into Christmas.  The old excuse was that the office was shutting and no one was around to process the payments. With online flexible banking this rings a bit hollow, yet we still see companies hoarding cash at the year end."

"Six in ten Britons who celebrate Christmas don’t consider celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ an important part of the festive celebrations."

"Read about some of the cartoons we hold in our collection, including artwork for Christmas cards."

"On the plus side, you never have to remember to water this tree."

A History of the BBC in 100 Blog Posts: 1933.

Although Eric Gill's sculpture of Prospero and Ariel was created in 1931, it wasn't until 1933 that it was installed above the entrance to Broadcasting House.  Art in Context has posted a superb article about the creation of the statue and an analysis of the controversy surrounding the artist.  In 2006, an article by one of Gill's biographers Fiona MacCarthy opens with a subheading which asks "Eric Gill's reprehensible private life would doubtless land him in prison today. But does that mean we should value his sculpture less?" To which I say, yes, yes it does.  This old Night Waves celebration sounds horrible in hindsight, doesn't it?

Based on what we know now, Gill's sculpture should simply not be there.  Given what he admitted to in his memoirs and other controversies which have effected the BBC's reputation over the years, it is reprehensible that they continue to have a work by this man at the front of their historic headquarters.  Just because it's embedded in the BBC's identity to the point that they named their in-house magazine after it and that its a familiar site is not an excuse for excusing the actions of its creator.  If Ditchling Museum of Art and Craft which was once "the Eric Gill museum" can get there, so can the BBC.

Behind The Scenes

Striking photograph of Broadcasting House from Munich born photographer Emil Otto Hoppe.

"The two tracks featured on this page were made in 1933 (BBC library number 304) and they may be the oldest surviving BBC location recordings. They appear on two sides of a 12-inch transcription disc which must have been part of a set. The other disc or discs can’t be found."
[London Sound Survey][BBC Programme Index]

"Taken with permission from Journeyman: the autobiography of Ewan MacColl [...] I had started doing occasional radio work in 1933 when I had been approached by Archie Harding, the North Regional Programme Director, to read some verses in a feature programme about May Day in England."
[Working Class Movement Library]

"In many ways it is intriguing that the Ellington Orchestra got the opportunity to broadcast on the BBC at all, and the decision to include both an interview with Ellington on the day of his arrival, 9th June 1933, and a forty-five minute performance by the Ellington Orchestra three nights into his week run at the London Palladium, really is noteworthy."
[Wall of Sound][BBC Programme Index]

An article about the restoration of an early television recording made using the 30 line vertical Baird process of a musical revue.
[The Dawn of TV][BBC Television Index]

"The year 1932 saw the close of the first decade of British broadcasting, a decade marked by a record of achievement which can have few parallels in the history of new -born public institutions."
[World Radio History]

"The year has again been marked by steady progress and expansion."

Christmas Links #22

Prawn Cocktail back on the Christmas menu, while Yorkshire Puddings remain the nation’s festive fave:
"Christmas is coming, and budding festive chefs can find inspiration in BBC Food’s most popular Christmas recipes of 2021."

"On Saaremaa, a local distillery turns town-square trees into festive mixers."

"Usually the only controversy over a crossword is the answer, but on the eve of the first day of Hanukkah, some New York Times readers found something a lot more upsetting."

"For seventy years, Queen Elizabeth II was a staple of Christmas Day, appearing on television, radio and on the internet throughout her reign to deliver her annual Christmas Message."

"Kelly Conlon was blocked because her New York firm is involved in a personal injury claim against operator of Radio City Music Hall."

"It's "knot" your fault that Christmas lights always get twisted."

"A kitten which went "from being left in a bin to being loved by so many people" is proof that Christmas wishes "really can come true", a charity has said."

"As I got older, I learned who the sender was and was brought into a secret world of his delusions."

"In a period of personal grief, producer Jimmy Iovine enlisted a range of pop stars for a good cause. And unto us “A Very Special Christmas” was born."

Christmas Links #21

Links   Finally to Review 2022, which is still developing with many more posts to go.  As you can see from the title, the idea was to only include material from non-BBC sources, but who better to tell its own story than the BBC itself?  After an intensive month of working through as many public digital archives and sources as I could, sorting the items into years in one big blog post (which is what this was going to be originally), I'm now in the process of augmenting that with some Google searches and a hunt through the BBC's own website for documentaries about significant moments in its history.  I'm also adding new links to older posts if something amazing crops up.

"The six sport stars will compete for the public vote on the night of the live show on Wednesday 21 December."

"We can all see it coming – but it/s still worth waiting for."

"New Time Lord pairs brown chequered suit with a bright orange jumper and tan brogues."

"In 1906, a new carol appeared in “The English Hymnal,” an influential collection of British church music."

"Now that Midtown is no more, it'd be hilarious if there were another Business Improvement District with an equally overblown name."

"Families have been urged not to put fat from Christmas dinners down the sink to avoid fatbergs forming in sewers."

"Mozilla, Google and Apple have announced that they are working together to build a new browser benchmark. The service will be called Speedometer 3."

"Sainsbury’s, the National Lottery and Tesco also flagged for tokenism, negative stereotyping and inauthentic representation."

"With the year drawing to a close and Christmas almost upon us the sounds that seem to sum up the season are less jingling bells and carols, more the cough of Covid and an enormous, exhausted sigh of relief." [New Zealand] 

"Look back at every Christmas chart-topper of the last 70 years."

A History of the BBC in 100 Blog Posts: 1932.

Two or three huge moments in the BBC's history in 1932.  Broadcasting House opened and the official home of BBC radio moved there from Savoy Hill.  The BBC Empire Service, forerunning of the BBC World Service began its first experimental broadcasts, ending the year with the first Christmas speech on that occasion from King George V, written by Rudyard Kipling.  The BBC also began experimental TV broadcasts using the Baird system and incredibly we have some brief footage of him with his machines and what may have been part of the first broadcast.

Broadcasting House Opens

"As it approached its second decade, the BBC’s happy-go-lucky attitude was fading fast."
[History Extra]

"When Broadcasting House, London entered service in 1932 the BBC published a book of photographs of the building called 'Broadcasting House'. Its pictures give us not only a view of the studios and other technical areas but also of many other parts of the building. A corridor, a staircase, a dressing room, the boiler room and the ventilation plant were all considered worth recording just as much as the Control Room, the Concert Hall or the Chapel Studio."

Thorough history of television broadcasts from Broadcasting House.
[TV Studio History]

"Offices and studios for the British Broadcasting Corporation (north extension not of special interest). 1930-32 by Col. G Val Myer and Watson Hart, relief panels by Eric Gill and Gilbert Bayes, etc. Portland stone on steel frame."
[Historic England]

"And now we are at Broadcasting House."
[BBC Programme Index]

A commemorative catalogue with hundreds of photographs of the exterior and interior.
[World Radio History]

"John Logie Baird striving to create television. B.B.C. Broadcasting House."

The First Christmas Speech

"By the 1920s radio was increasingly becoming the medium through which leaders could talk to their nations and, in some cases, their empires, with radio the norm in the US by this point."

"In this clip, John Reith, the founding director general of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), opens the first programme of the BBC Empire Service. The service went on air at 9:30am on Saturday 19 December 1932, and Reith’s address was read out five times over the day to reach different parts of the world."
[British Library]

The continuity announcement then part of the speech.
[BBC Sounds]

"The first ever Royal Christmas Message, written by Rudyard Kipling and broadcast live over wireless from Sandringham by King-Emperor George V in 1932."
[Roman Styran][BBC Programme Index]

Behind The Scenes

"Directed by Henry Hall from first studio completed in Broadcasting House."

"The BBC Dance Orchestra and Henry Hall play cricket then play 'Here's To The Next Time' for a radio audience."

"The New Empire Review, now present the first pictures of the, BBC [British Broadcasting Corporation] Orchestra (Leader Arthur Catterall) Conducted by Adrian Boult."

"A video-only extract from the 30-line TV restoration of Betty Bolton singing some time between 1932 and 1935."

"It was not until 22 August 1932 that the BBC finally took over television programme production from the Baird company. At this time, the vision signal was being sent out on 261.3 metres (London National) with the corresponding sound on 398.9 metres (Midland Regional)."
[Baird Television]

"New Zealander Joan Sherley tells of the time she heard King George on the radio in 1932."
[BBC Sounds]

"In October 1932 the BBC introduced a marriage bar, stemming what had been an enlightened attitude towards married women employees. The policy was in line with the convention of the day; marriage bars were widespread in the inter-war years operating in occupations such as teaching and the civil service and in large companies such as Sainsbury’s and ICI.  However, once implemented, the BBC displayed an ambivalent attitude towards its marriage bar which had been constructed to allow those married women considered useful to the Corporation to remain on the staff."
[Bournemouth University]

"One of London's loneliest four-footers."
The guard dog of Bush House!

"This year had again been one of steady progress."

"On July 7th, 1932, the visit of their Majesties the King and Queen to Broadcasting House, the B.B.C.'s new London head- quarters, set the seal on ten years of British broadcasting. On November 14th and the following days the B.B.C. celebrated its actual tenth anniversary with a week of special programmes. The purpose of the present article is to review the B.B.C.'s career as objectively as possible."
[World Radio History]

Christmas Links #20

Links  Which brings us to Review 2021, the one with all the sandwiches and the best way to celebrate that, as you might have seen yesterday, was to eat another one.  The project was mostly out of necessity.  I needed something to keep myself occupied during the first Christmas since Mum died and this meant that I had to go out and make special trips to places in order to purchase the sandwiches and then do a bit of research for each of the posts.  

The farthest I travelled was the other side of Ormskirk to Booths and the closest was the local Spar shop (and I was disappointed to find that this year they're not using back bacon but followed the crowd into streaky bacon territory).  Anyway it mostly did the job.  I wept a bit on Christmas morning, but the rest of the day mostly went without a meltdown.  Thanks sandwiches.

Doctor Who: The War Doctor
BBC Radio 4xtra are broadcasting the Big Finish War Doctor audios at the weekend through January.  Here's a link to the first episode.

"He’d brought a Sainsbury’s carrier bag full of gifts. I can’t stress how unusual this was – ‘out of character’ doesn’t begin to cover it."

"Runners dressed as Santa chased people in Christmas pudding costumes to raise money for charity."

"Arriva has now released when its buses will be running over Christmas and New Year."

"The panel investigating the Capitol attack voted Monday to ask the Justice Department to hold the former president accountable for his scheme to subvert democracy."

"Now a global phenomenon, the holiday tradition traces its roots to medieval Europe."

"From romantic getaway ideas to family-friendly trips and solo excursions."

"The special features various Muppets from The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, and Muppet Babies."

"This 1987 special isn't just one of the best things The Muppets ever did, it should be a modern holiday classic."

Review 2021: The Christmas Sandwich Reviews: Co-op Turkey Feast.

Food  Did I imply that Review 2021 was over and that I wouldn't be writing about any more pre-packed Christmas sandwiches?  Yes I did.  Did I think it was over?  Well, yes.  But then having written about all of the annual reviews from across the decades at the top of all the Christmas Links and realising that it might need some kind of big finale (without getting too carried away), I decided to go after the big white whale once more, the supermarket sandwich which eluded me last year, to finally try the Co-op Turkey Feast (with smoked bacon, pork, sage & onion stuffing (which is pork AND sage & onion stuffing, not pork as a separate entity on the sandwich no matter how its implied on the box), cranberry chutney & fried onion mayo on malted bread).  Apologies for the quality of the photograph but I was in my break at work and every second counts.

Much like the rest of the supermarkets which featured last year, the Co-op (pronounced coop) has just sort of been there.  Dad was telling me earlier about how membership had been passed down hereditarily through my Mum's family and that he could even remember the number she used to give when visiting one of the local shops and how she received a dividend at the end of the year.  But it's only quite recently that it's really become part of my life, through the shops opening on Myrtle and Hardman run-on streets in Liverpool and on Lark Lane, not the Doctor Who one which is mainly residential, the real one with all the restaurants and retail.  When it opened, it was during the period with the verbose branding with "the Co-Operative" written on everything which made it feel very metropolitan somehow.  They're since returned to the more familiar homespun low-caps logo.

If you don't mind, I'll refer you to the Wikipedia page for an explanation of how the gestalt structure of the Co-op chain works and how it might go some way to explaining why there are two near identical supermarkets at the top and bottom of the same road, and why some shops feel more corporate than others and instead move on to the sandwich.  After about a year of not eating turkey, bacon, stuffing and cranberry sauce on malted bread, my taste buds have lost any baseline expertise that it they might have acquired last December.  But this seems like a pretty generic example.  Despite being out of the fridge for two hours after I bought it, the bread and filling were still cold which give everything a slightly stodgy texture.  The cranberry sauce is pretty overwhelming so the flavour of the onion mayonnaise is al most non-existent.  The bacon is thin streaky kind which otherwise finds itself wrapped around small sausages.  It's fine.

Christmas Links #19

Links  Review 2020 didn't really happen for understandable reasons, consisting of a single post listing the films I gave five stars to on Letterboxd.  So instead, let's talk about this weekend's release of photos and a video revealing the Fifteenth Doctor and Ruby's costumes.  The video is on YouTube Shorts here and they're absolutely funny/adorable in a similar was to Jodie and Mandip so lets hope unlike them, that chemistry will be taking full advantage of on screen.

His costume is supremely tasteful, both contemporary and yet somehow redolent of the past.  It'll be interesting to see if there's any mix and matching as the series progresses.  Few people seem to have remarked on the fact he seems to be keeping the 'tache which is another first for a Doctor.  The last time the Doctor wore one of those on TV he was masquerading as a milkman.  Hers has the off the peg feel of most of the more recent companions and presumably she won't be wearing that all the time.  

These are the sacrifices parents are making to try to pay for Christmas."

"Volunteers in the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv have made a Christmas tree out of camouflage nets."

"In a small distillery just outside Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, a clear liquid drips out of a copper pot still into a stainless steel barrel, ringing like church bells."

"Researchers urge members of the public to look out for the beloved insect that was once a mainstay of Australia’s summer."

"Police have been called in to try and get the traffic flowing."

"Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without our seasonal film quiz, which includes festive faves and merry movie title mashups…"

"A stalwart of Melbourne’s Christmas celebrations, the Epicure Gingerbread Village, will not be a feature of festivities for the first time in 11 years."

"any popular images and traditions of Christmas come from the Baby Boom years. With the dark days of World War II behind them, many Olympia families wanted to celebrate the holiday in style. Here’s a look back into Olympia history at a Baby Boomer’s Christmas."

"Tate Kids Gallery."

"Robin Miles was looking for stage and screen roles when she began reading books for the blind. She’s become one of the country’s most celebrated narrators."

Christmas Links #18

Links  There wasn't a Review 2019, at least nothing taggable.  There were the usual predictions (about which I couldn't be more wrong for either year) and a Review 2010s in which I list my favourite books, films and television of that decade largely one per year.  There's nothing much here I disagree with three years later (god, is it only three years since 2019?).  

I still think more people should see the film Advantageous which is still on Netflix.  Written and directed by Jennifer Phang, it should have been a spring board into a long cinema career but she's nevertheless instead found a niche on TV directing episodes of things like The Expanse, Cloak & Dagger, The Boys, Foundation, The Flight Attendant and Stargirl.

"Easy peasy pigs in blankets with a gorgeous maple syrup glaze. A Christmas favourite, these are supersized and guaranteed to go down a treat."

"The East Yorkshire-based frozen food giant is much cheaper than Asda and Tesco's offers."

"Skeleton crews on Antarctic research bases - known as 'winterovers' - wait until June for the festivities to begin."

"In this Midwestern town, it’s Santa season 365 days a year, with decorations and carols."

"The Challenge returns for a second year with a series of fiendish brainteasers and a final twist!"

"The land of Punt, a mysterious place where ancient Egyptians bought gold, incense and other luxury items, has been located using DNA from mummified baboons."

"Mention frankincense, and it’s hard not to instantaneously think of Christmas."

"Frome has a flourishing independent retail scene, with dozens of locally owned shops and cafes, but even here, campaigners are warning local stores are at risk."

"As part of its ‘Truth or Dare’ season, Channel 4 is setting the life of Prince Andrew to a series of song and dance numbers. But is this musical take on the disgraced royal too much, too soon?"

"Christmas celebration in Norway is a true feast of lights, full of events, preparations, and traditions that last a whole season. White snow and decorations add to the magic."

Christmas Links #17

Links  It's in 2018 that the wheels really came off the annual review.  Work commitments meant I had to balance this and that so Review 2018 consisted of just two posts listing my ten worst and least favourite films of that year.  

In hindsight I can't really argue with the choices although of the top ten, I've only revisited Spider-Man, Molly's Game and Annihilation since.  But every year brings new delights and introductions to unseen old favourites so who has the time?

Perhaps there should have been space in the top ten for Black Panther, I was obviously trying to promote some of the less seen films that year and Anchor and Hope, the lesbian narrowboat romance was certainly that.  

The Square was clearly picked as the favourite because I was still cross about the sharp decline in the quality of the Liverpool Biennial.  With a new creative team, the 2021 edition was a slight return to form.

The bottom ten still makes me shiver, especially The Snowman and not just because of the amount of ice on screen.  Folding Ideas has since posted avideo explaining the problems with the edit and I'd rather rewatch that than the film itself.

Disney Finally Fixes Their 30-Year Mistake:
"Disney finally fixes their 30-year mistake with the addition of a lost scene to The Muppet Christmas Carol. But how does this lost scene improve the entire film?"

"Despite the cost of living crisis, Kirkby has come together to spread Christmas joy."

"Scottish Ministers have sided with objectors, and against the council, in a long-running planning wrangle over plans to permanently close off a short stretch of a Kirkwall street."

"It’s 10 days until the dread day, when most of London shuts down — for Christmas Day, but a few hardy venues will open for the visitors stuck in the centre of town and with nothing else to do."

"What to do in New York on Christmas Day if you don’t celebrate Christmas."

"Every year, photographers and Photoshop artists come together to bring the magic of the holidays to sick children across the world."

"Here’s how to keep calm around the dinner table this year with our advice expert’s guide to defusing festive feuds."

"An unsigned singer said it was "magical" to hear her Christmas song played on BBC Radio 2."

"It's a countdown of sweet new recipes!"

"Bovril has been a long-standing match-day favourite, heating the terraces up and down the country on a cold winter’s day, but now Stockport County is aiming to fill the stands of Edgeley Park with festive cheer, creating the nation’s first Christmas dinner in a cup."

Christmas Links #16

Links  On the 4th December 2017, I put out a statement which began " The short version is - there won't be a Review 2017 this year" and goes on to explain that I'd been too busy with work (true) to be able to arrange anything.  Then in a moment reminiscent of Doctor Who returning to television after Mark Campbell boldly said in the introduction to the Pocket Essentials about the series that this wouldn't happen, I filled the period between Christmas and New Year with a review of the year.  The categories seem quite random.  No favourite books, music or what have you. So ...

My favourite film scene of that year was Wonder Woman battling the bullets in across no man's land.  My favourite company was Cinema Paradiso and still is now that they've decided to increase the number of discs they're sending out across accounts to help navigate the postal strikes.  My favourite Doctor Who story of that year was All Hands on Deck, Eddie Robson's brilliant Short Trip about how Susan joined the Time War.   My favourite podcast was Rachel Maddow.  My favourite TV moment was the twist at the end of the first series of The Good Place

"The nation’s seasonal publishing and gifting tradition nourishes its unique literary culture."

"They have everything they could ever want, except for a cheap snow globe."

"Londoners get an extra present - free travel on Christmas Day.  For the first time, Christmas day bus and tube fares are scrapped thanks to a seasonal gesture by London Transport.  This clip from BBC News was originally broadcast on 25 December 1978."

"Move to see restitution of 116 historical objects taken by British during the sacking of Benin in 1897."

"Don’t just re-heat your leftovers – turn them into delicious new dishes…"

"When @BBCBreakfast went to an outside broadcast at the absolute worst time."

"Elves are meant to be supporting players in the story of Christmas, but in the 21st century, they’ve stolen the show."

"According to Government guidance, you must be present or ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man or Gibraltar during the qualifying week to get a Christmas bonus."

"Whether you fancy a heartwarming carol with Elvis or the story of a yuletide drug dealer from OutKast, there’s a festive album for you in our rundown of the best ever."

A Spotify Playlist.

A History of the BBC in 100 Blog Posts: 1931.

Part of the history of the BBC is the programmes themselves and so as well as archival material about how the corporation was formed and lives, this history will also include examples of programmes found in other archives.  We start slowly here with a transcript of a talk by J. Maynard Keynes subsequently published in The Listener (and reproduced online at the linked fabulously retro) website.  Believe me, this is just the start.

The life of Ludwig Blattner, the inventor of the Blattnerphone (pictured above with Ellen Terry) was magic and tragic.  Born in Germany,  he ran La Scala cinema in Wallasey between 1912-1914.  He spent the Great War in an internment camp then ironically created the technology which allowed the BBC to record Chamberlain's announcement of the outbreak of WW2.  But in October 1935, he hung himself at the Elstree Country Club and didn't live to see its application.

Find a long article about the Blattnerphone below.  There's also a film from the Pathe Archive, a British Instructional Films Production made in conjunction with the BBC which has numerous shots of Broadcasting House just about ready for the official opening including the old main entrance but without the Prospero and Ariel statue above the door.  Broadcasting was still based at Savoy Hill, although that was soon to change.


"Excerpts from their broadcast of Thursday 29th January 1931.  These recordings, which feature four numbers, were made on early home recording equipment and cut on 6" double-sided metal discs. They were recorded from the radio during Jack Payne's broadcast on the BBC National Programme which started at 10.30pm and ended at midnight. The London Regional Programme carried the same broadcast from 10.35pm."

"The recording presented here was made on an aluminium disc and is not of very good quality. Added to which, it was obviously a busy night at the Piccadilly Hotel, judging by the background noise from the clientele. However, after a rough start, the sound quality gradually improves, particularly after the first minute, when it is clearer and free of crackles."

"A British Instructional Films Production made with the co-operation of the British Broadcasting Corporation. A film about the standardisation of the English Language."

"This article was written as a radio talk for a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) series on unemployment (Keynes's talk was the second in the series, delivered in 11 January, 1931).  It was first published with the title "The Problem of Unemployment II"  in The Listener, 14 January 1931, p.46-47.  It was re-titled "Saving and Spending" for the 1931 Essays in Persuasion."
[History of Economics][BBC Programme Index]

Behind The Scenes

Lengthy text feature about the metal recording device invented by Ludwig Blattner which was first hired/adopted by the BBC in 1931 and allowed the recording of radio programmes reliably for the first time.

 "Now Pathetone presents one of the BBC's most popular Broadcasters - Albert Sandler and his Park Lane Hotel Orchestra - Filmed at the Park Lane Hotel."

"When BBC secretary Marie Slocombe was told to clear out a pile of old records in the late 1930s, she was dismayed to find items featuring the voices of George Bernard Shaw, Winston Churchill and GK Chesterton among those lying on the floor. In this programme, radio historian Sean Street reflects on how Marie Slocombe's decision to keep and organise those early recordings laid the foundations for the BBC's archive, now one of the most significant broadcast collections in the world."
[BBC Archive][BBC Programme Index]

"The past year has again been one of steady and continuous progress, as is witnessed by the increase in the number of wireless receiving licenses issued."

With the opening of the Scottish Regional Transmitter at Westerglen, near Falkirk, 1932 will see the addition of another instalment of the new plan of high-power transmission.
[World Radio History]

Christmas Links #15

Links  It was pretty much agreed at the time that 2016 was a rubbish year, what with the situation at home and abroad (little did we know it was but an appetizer for what was to come).  So as an alternative and to highlight that it wasn't all bad, I created a single post listing "216 Good Things Which Happened in 2016" selected by me and contributors to the blog old and new via Eloni's Birdcage.  Now it's a nostalgia capsule reminding us of things like Lindsay Lohan live tweeting the Brexit vote and this giant pyramid of bowling balls.

"Candace Cameron Bure wants to put the Christ back into Christmas movies, but she’s not really following through."

"What did viewers make of the BBC's Christmas television offering for 1979? Barry Took reveals all.  This clip is from Points of View."

"Magdalene students threw a college Christmas tree into the nearby River Cam after a JCR bop."

"Virgin Atlantic has unveiled details of its inflight Christmas menu, available on selected flights from December 24-26."
"The cheeky chappy displays his bum in nativity scenes across Spain each Christmas."

"Most Britons would be pleased to receive socks, underwear or deodorant this Christmas."

"Two more deluxe coconut gateaux winged their way to me this year, without any begging. Evidence if ever it was needed of Cruise’s very hectic year."

"The Christmas lights display in a Borders village has been saved at the 11th hour."

Christmas Links #14

Links  It's seven years ago and the weekly "My Favourite Film of ..." posts are in full swing (expect a catch-up in June 2027 starting on the tenth anniversary of the last post).  

So for Review 2015, I asked people to write about when and how they saw some of their favourite and not so favourite films.  

Mags wrote about seeing Fatal Attraction dozens of times while she worked as an usher just for one moment,   Kat talked about seeing The Empire Strikes Back with her Dad when it was originally released,  Annette's first experience of seeing the ending to My Girl,  Tim's visit to an illicit screening of A Clockwork Orange,  Marc on finally seeing Casablanca at St Luke's Church in Liverpool and firstly (in order of posting) Diane on the inclusivity of a Sex and the City audience.

Now, on with the show....

"‘We used real wolves for the Roman camp part. They were meant to be attacking – but they kept running away with their tails between their legs’"

"Dozens of tractors covered in fairy lights took to the Ribble Valley roads at the weekend as an annual charity tractor run returned."

"The Christmas events will run during the school holidays."

"Four families who parked in Lancaster for free to do Christmas shopping had to pay to get out after returning to the car park to find it locked."

Snow scene (1998)
"Konnie Huq makes a Christmas snow scene, under the watchful eye of the returning veteran Blue Peter presenter Yvette Fielding. No pressure, Konnie."

"I'm not a bot is exactly what a bot would say." [via]

"Twitter timelines seem to have been flooded by hateful accounts, prompting Ann Moody to have to make some tough decisions."

"The end of the year was a time for fasting, feasting and poking fun at the status quo."

"Monica Hudson said she has to be very careful pruning, since mistakes take longer to grow out for trees living in pots."

"BBC Radio 1 reveals further 29 new presenters taking over the station this festive season."