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2 items from 2012

Can Channel 4 rise again?

21 November 2012 4:00 PM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Just turned 30, Channel 4 has for too long relied on a tired roster of television celebs (see Hotel Gb). But there are signs it might be finding its funky, irreverent soul

In the film Broadcast News, an oleaginous TV exec asks a newly redundant media worker if there is anything he can do. You know, to help at this difficult time. "Well, I certainly hope you'll die soon," replies his former employee.

Shane Allen's leaving speech as Channel 4's head of comedy was equally scabrous. "The thing about Channel 4 is that you were allowed to go too far, so Shane was taking advantage of that before he went to the BBC," said one guest at the do, at the Comedy Pub in London's West End last month. Some walked out. Others gave him the nickname "Shane Guevara".

Allen, who takes up his new post as the BBC's »

- Stuart Jeffries

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Sir Peter Bazalgette: Big Brother man facing a big challenge

11 September 2012 5:17 PM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

His appointment as Arts Council chairman has attracted criticism but insiders say 'Baz' is the right man for the job

When Sir Peter Bazalgette, the man who brought Big Brother to the UK, was appointed chairman of Arts Council England, the level of opprobrium from some quarters was entirely predictable. "It is very worrying that someone who has dumbed down, trivialised and sexualised mass TV viewing with Big Brother has been put in charge of British culture," Labour MP Denis MacShane told Bazalgette's most relentless critic, the Daily Mail.

It was the Mail's Quentin Letts, Bazalgette's tormentor-in-chief, who named him one of the "10 worst Britons", and dubbed him a "brutal populist" and "buttery schmoozer" who "throws champagne parties at his £10m house" in Notting Hill. Bazalgette – or "Baz" as he is known to friends and colleagues – does indeed throw a memorable summer party in the gardens of his west London home. »

- John Plunkett

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