Christmas Links #3

Links  Ah Review 2004, you were Letterboxd before Letterboxd.  That's when I spent the year keeping a diary of all the film, television and audio drama I watched and listened to that year.  On the 3rd December 2004, I watched The Incredibles at the cinema (from celluloid) and Have I Got News For You Season 28, episode 7 (Neil Kinnock as guest presenter with Will Self and Linda Smith)(episode 8 is also listed for some reason but that wouldn't be broadcast for another week so I wonder what I was thinking)(again).

After subsequently deciding in the few years afterwards it was one of the most boring things I'd ever posted on this blog, I've since warmed to having this time capsule, so much so that in 2014 I paid homage to it by not just listing all the films I was watching but reviewing them in herds on a weekly basis.  It's all still here and reminds me that March 2004 is when I first signed up to receiving DVDs by post from Screen Select.   How times have changed.

"Created especially for the BBC by the film’s animators, the three 40-second idents show Charlie Mackesy’s beloved characters across day, dusk and night scenes."

"Christmas card efficiencies."

"Nearly two decades in the making, Crossroads: The Noele Gordon Collection is an exclusive box set of 94 discs (over 700 shows) containing every known existing episode from the earliest surviving show through to Nolly's final performance in November 1981 (wrapping the set up with the last show transmitted by ATV on New Year's Eve 1981)."

"Christmas dinner will be nearly 22% more expensive this year than in 2021, according to new research for the BBC.  The price of seven key items has risen by £5.36 over a year, with chipolatas - the crucial ingredient in pigs-in-blankets - seeing the steepest jump."

"The Christmas Tractor Run is returning to Liverpool to raise money for Alder Hey Children's Hospital."

"It happens every December, before dinner parties and cocktail events. My husband rummages deep in his dresser, pushing sweaters around like piles of autumn leaves, until he emerges triumphant with the piece of knitwear for which he has been searching: that legendary item, the ugly Christmas sweater."

"What does Christmas mean to men? Tonight asked some men - namely Bernard Levin, Rene McColl, Andrew Shonfield, Lord Boothby and Steven Watson - to take a little time to reflect." 

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a dead wife must be in want of a festive miracle, apparently. Here, Stylist’s Kayleigh Dray explores the most baffling of all Christmas movie tropes."

"2022 marks Channel 4’s 40th Birthday. It also marks 40 years since Channel 4 first broadcast the film adaptation of the late Raymond Briggs’ timeless picture book - The Snowman™. In a huge celebration of this iconic animation this 1x60 documentary explores how this little twenty-six-minute film has become so embedded in the nation’s heart at Christmas."

Christmas Links #2

Links  The annual reviews on this blog really began in earnest in 2003 with Review 2003 in which I asked a number of friends, writers, directors and other people who's worked I'd enjoyed that year a series of questions about that year.  Such was the joy of the blogosphere twenty years ago, you could send a list of questions to the likes of Charlie Stross, Paul Cornell, Danny Wallace or Emma Kennedy and they'd reply, some with long paragraphs.  

As such it's difficult to pick a single post, but the question which says much about the one thing in 2003 which will have the most lasting consequences is perhaps the most interesting because the oddly ambiguous working led to some talking about the global consequences of the Iraq war and others moments which happened in their own life big and small, with some deeply personal writing.  I hope everyone subsequently prospered all the same.

"My mother is an artist, and every December she built me a lifetime of memories, one day at a time."

"The lights on the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree are due to be switched on later, marking the beginning of the countdown to the festive season.  The tree has been an annual gift from the people of Norway to the people of Britain since 1947, in gratitude for Britain's support during World War Two.  So how have times changed since the first tree was levered into place? Track the tree's early history through the newspapers of the time."

"This won’t take more than half an hour."

What’s on the box?
"It’s Puzzler magazine’s 50th birthday and we’re marking the occasion by challenging you to crack the visual clues to name 50 well-known British TV shows from the last 50 years.  Send us the name of any FIVE of the shows and you could WIN a 50" Ultra HD LG TV. You’ll need to submit your answers via the entry form just below." [via]

"With one month until Christmas Day, BBC Newsreel was out and about looking at some possible gift ideas."

"It's arguably the most festive street in Wirral."

"The skincare founder will celebrate with dancing and partying in her native Colombia."

"Lots of venues in Liverpool are having special screenings of Christmas films in the run-up to the big day, so here are 9 places where you can take your Buddy to see one ..."

"This year, we have created an online Advent Calendar, featuring contributions from Physics students from over twenty countries across five continents."

"On the Breadline: Parents tell how they are forced to cut back on swimming lessons and other activities to pay for food and heating."

A History of the BBC in 100 Blog Posts: 1927.

There were a number of firsts for the BBC in 1927, although one of the more popular examples, that Christopher Stone became the first Radio DJ in April doesn't seem to be true.  A glance at the BBC Programme Index indicates that what was then called a "gramophone recital" began as early as November 1922, and the first named "DJ" was Moses Baritz in March 1925 (although some sources date this back to as early as 1924).  Is this a mistake or has Baritz, born in Manchester of Ukrainian Jewish origin and founding member of the Socialist Party of Great Britain been written out of history?  See above the only photo I could find for him online.

Below are some actual firsts.  The first director general of the BBC was Lord Reith and there's a lengthy interview with him from 1967 with Malcolm Muggeridge (clips from which have featured in documentaries throughout the years notably TV Hell).  There's a tribute to Sir Henry Wood because 1927 was the first year the BBC Proms were broadcast on the radio.  It's also the first year various sporting commentaries began across rugby, cricket, football and tennis (this was the first BBC Wimbledon).


"Lord Reith was the first Director-General of the BBC (in 1927). He is commemorated with a blue plaque at his former home at 6 Barton Street in Westminster."
[English Heritage]

A series of interviews in which Lord Reith tells his life story to Malcolm Muggeridge.  You'll recognise it from the clip from the TV Hell theme night in which he says that everyone having access to television is "a potential social menace of the first magnitude."
[BBC Clips][BBC Programme Index]

"As the BBC approaches its 90th birthday, arch scrutiniser and listeners' champion Roger Bolton examines the genesis of Reithian values and finds out how well Lord Reith - the first Director General of the BBC - lived up to his own exacting standards."
[BBC Sounds][BBC Programme Index]

Behind The Scenes

The first iteration of the BBC's Children in Need began on Christmas Day 1927.  
[BBC Programme Index]

"The BBC had just one instruction for Captain HBT Wakelam when he made its pioneering sports broadcast: "Don't Swear" was pinned up at eye-level as he faced the microphone while England faced Wales in the rugby international at Twickenham."
[The Guardian]

The Thirty-Second Season of the Promenade Concerts was the first to be broadcast and supported by the BBC.  Broadcast during the 1994 concert series.
[BBC Clips]

"Nicholas Kenyon explores early music at the BBC in the 1920s."
[BBC Sounds][BBC Programme Index]

"The Governors of the British Broadcasting Corporation assumed office on January 1st, 1927, and have the honour herewith to present their first Annual Report."

"The issue of this Handbook is a reminder that broadcasting is an established and accepted institution. People may still marvel at the wonder of wireless, but perhaps they should marvel still more that in so short a space of time this new Public Service should have become so essential and so powerful a factor in our life."
[World Radio History]

Christmas Links #1

Links  Happy First of December.  Here we go again with another year of Christmas Links, the one consistent element of this blog since 2014.  Since it's also the twentieth anniversary of the annual reviews, I'm going to include links to some of the favourite guest posts and choose some meaningful items I've written myself before we head off into the links each day.

Let's begin with Review 2002, which for the most part was simply the reposting of material from earlier in the year and has really been a case of trying to find the least embarrassing piece which is sadly this somewhat overwritten description of a real thing which definitely transpired at a Cafe in Paris.  My memory still suggests this is how it happened, but I don't know.  The older version of me has many questions.
BBC Radio and BBC Sounds to bring festive joy, magical stories and musical treats for audiences this Christmas:
"This Christmas BBC Radio and BBC Sounds will delight listeners with a line up full of festive joy, magical stories and musical treats."

"The Chimes is a feature-length, full-cast adaptation of the ‘lost’ Christmas book by Charles Dickens, due for release on December 5th, and now available to pre-order."

"An unknown "Grinch" tried to steal holiday cheer in on Florida town. On Monday, Melbourne Beach's public works crews were doing their morning check of the historic town pier and discovered someone cut up their 1,400 feet of holiday lights."

"Students’ self-portraits, handwritten recipe cards and yes, the Bidens’ pets, play a starring role."

"When the world is going to hell, you reach for the familiar and the comforting. Even if it leaves you covered in needles."

"Take a look at these festive photos of food from the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year competition's past entries."

"A huge crane that is helping to restore flood protection to a Derbyshire town has been given a festive makeover.  The machinery, which was named Lifty McShifty following an online poll, has been in Matlock since August."

"There has been an idea expressed that, despite the "what what what?" conclusion of Doctor Who: The Power Of The Doctor, that the Fourteenth Doctor iteration of Doctor Who, while physically very similar (add a few years around the temples) to the Tenth Doctor, may have a very different personality indeed, and might not reflect David Tennant's original portrayal of the character."

"BBC Newsreel (1948) goes to Wimbledon to take a behind-the-scenes peek at the people working painstakingly hard on sets, costumes and rehearsals to ensure the traditional Boxing Day pantomime goes off without a hitch."

A History of the BBC in 100 Blog Posts: 1926.

The big news of 1926 was the general strike in which large parts of the UK workforce walked out for nine days that May to try and force the government to "prevent wage reductions and worsening conditions for 1.2 million locked-out coal miners" due to an uncertain market due to Germany providing "free coal" as part of the reparations for the Great War and mine owners deducting pay in order to keep their companies in profit.

As a result of the strike, newspapers stopped publication for the duration because the printers had walked out and the BBC decided to broadcast five news bulletins a day to keep the public informed, breaking a prior agreement that radio news would only be available in the evening so as not to create unfair competition for the printed word.  The then Chancellor, Winston Churchill, attempted to commandeer the broadcasts for propaganda purposes, but Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin (pictured) resisted.

Behind The Scenes

"Rare footage of a silent British film in production, as newsreel cameras capture a BBC on-set radio broadcast."
The programme, A Film in the Making, was broadcast on 5th March 1926 on 2LO London.

"First 'Outside Broadcast' by the BBC. This was one of the first LP recordings at the BBC- aptly named LP1. St.Hilary local prayer/ Christmas play rehearsals by the local vicar recorded in 1926."
This is a documentary about the broadcast with clips.
[Cornish Memory][BBC Programme Index]

Collection of BBC News radio broadcast summaries from during the period of the general strike.
[University of Warwick Digital Collections]

"Letter to Lord Chancellor on the granting of a Royal Charter to the BBC, 19 November, 1926 (Catalogue ref: PC 8/1089)"
[The National Archive]

"The first reports came through just after 7:40 on Saturday evening. Listeners to the BBC's fledgling radio service heard the closing words of a talk on Gray's Elegy, then a plummy announcer's voice breaking in with news that an unemployment demonstration in Trafalgar Square had turned violent. The angry demonstrators were already sacking the National Gallery, he said, and they weren't finished yet."
[radio slade]

"Initially called 'The televisor', Baird first demonstrated his television set in 1926. This programme traces the history of his invention and includes extracts of interviews with William Taynton, the office boy who became the first ever person to be televised and the voice of Logie Baird himself."
[BBC World Service]

"This was another contest about the existence, or otherwise, of what has become the most frequently disputed copyright subject matter – compilations.  The plaintiffs, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), claimed an injunction to restrain what they considered an infringement of the copyright in its periodical, the Radio Times."
[University of Cambridge]