17 items from 2013
Viewers voice concern that repeat of Mrs Brown's Boys was cut short and bulletin did not devote enough time to severe storms
The BBC News director has defended the corporation's coverage of Nelson Mandela's death, after 850 viewers complained that it had devoted too much airtime to the former South African president and not enough to the storms that lashed Britain's eastern coast.
James Harding apologised to anyone who thought the corporation did not do enough about the weather on its BBC1 10pm bulletin on Thursday night but said Mandela was a man of "singular significance" and the "most significant statesman of the last 100 years".
The BBC received about 850 complaints about the extent of its Mandela coverage, including its decision on Thursday evening to interrupt a repeat of sitcom Mrs Brown's Boys on BBC1 to bring viewers news of his death.
"Firstly I'm sorry if there are people »
- John Plunkett
A new survey reveals that although Britons watch plenty of television, we are one of the lightest consumers of news and current affairs in Europe
Any TV viewer who is reasonably informed about the world suffers moments of shock during quiz programmes when a contestant is unable to name the current prime minister of the UK or has absolutely no idea who Ronald Reagan was.
A poll conducted by the European Social Survey, though, offers an explanation for such knowledge gaps. Although Britons are the second biggest consumers of television as a whole – only Bulgaria, apparently, has more couch potatoes – audiences here are also by far the lightest consumers of news programmes, with 13% of the sample (against a European average of 8%), confessing to watching no bulletins or current affairs at all.
One of the most intriguing findings of the survey is that the only two countries with more news-avoiders than »
- Mark Lawson
BBC One's annual Children in Need broadcast pulled in 10.42 million viewers at its peak on Friday night (November 15), overnight data has revealed.
Children in Need Highlights
A 40.6% audience share helped the charity raise over £31 million. An average of 5.47m stayed with BBC One for the BBC News at Ten, while 4.22m crossed over to BBC Two at that time.
The conclusion to Children in Need on BBC One averaged 3.1m (37.8%) between 10.35pm and 2am.
Meanwhile, the England football team's friendly against Chile peaked with 4.57m viewers at about 8.30pm on ITV, giving the channel its highest-rated primetime programme of the night outside of soaps.
An average of 4.23m tuned in for the match, attracting a 17.7% share between 7.30pm and 10.15pm (+1: 99k).
Elsewhere in the schedule, »
Judi Dench is a delight in the moving, surprisingly funny film of the true life scandal of the baby sold to adoption by the Catholic church, which has just premiered at Venice
• Watch the trailer for Philomena
• Review of Venice opener Gravity
• Review of The Canyons
Is it possible to tell a good human interest story without descending to mawkishness? That's the dilemma faced by the journalist hero of Stephen Frears's new film and it is also, by implication, the problem confronting the drama itself as it embarks on its task of spinning glucose into gold. Thankfully, not every human interest story is trashy by nature. Not every happy ending is therefore also a lie. Philomena, which bowed to rapturous applause at the Venice film festival, is an ongoing, confounding delight of a film.
Adapted from the true-life account of Philomena Lee, Frears's picture charts the fortunes of the »
- Xan Brooks
Baffled protagonists, daft plotting and mahogany dialogue abound in Channel 5's new American import, but a little bit of stupidity isn't always a bad thing
Rejoice! For the high-concept stork has descended from the heavens with another bundle of ineffably stupid joy. Under The Dome (Monday, 10pm, Channel 5) is an Event, a TV Happening in the same big-budget vein as Lost, Terra Nova and FlashForward, in which the inhabitants of Earth were haunted by visions of Joseph Fiennes's chinos. If anything, its concept is even higher. So high, in fact, that the cast appears to be suffering from altitude sickness, with characters staggering around listlessly while peering upwards, or pulling faces like geese struggling to choose between souvenir cagoules in Glen Nevis Visitor Centre.
So here we are in Chester's Mill, a snoozy Maine town about to be rent asunder by the arrival of a mysterious transparent dome, shooming »
- Sarah Dempster
Nick Pollard claims top shows are 'one-paced' and 'predictable', and corporation is too often swayed by pressure groups
Nick Pollard, the former head of Sky News who led the investigation into the Jimmy Savile scandal, has criticised the BBC's handling of news as "committee-driven" and "one-paced".
Pollard, who spent close to 30 years working for in news for organisations including the BBC, Sky and ITN, said that corporation lacks the cut-and-thrust of its rivals.
"Within the BBC there is a tendency to approach news as a sort of committee-driven process," he said, speaking on BBC Radio 4's Media Show on Wednesday.
"Other places, Sky or ITN, [are] very ideas-driven places. If you have a good idea someone will say 'That's great – let's do it.' I get the sense that if you have a really good, bright idea that no one else has thought of in a BBC newsroom someone will say »
- Mark Sweney
ITV's live coverage of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge leaving hospital eclipsed BBC1's average of 3.3 million
ITV enjoyed a royal baby-related ratings boost on Tuesday night, with an extended early evening news bulletin providing live coverage of the nipper's first photo call and delivering a peak audience of more than 7 million.
The 6.30pm ITV News, extended from 30 to 60 minutes to catch the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge leaving St Mary's hospital with their new arrival, averaged 5.4 million viewers and a 28.6% audience share.
Viewing hit a five-minute peak of 7.5 million just after 7pm. In the half hour from 7pm, ITV averaged 6.95 million viewers and a 35.3% share – the biggest audience on any channel on Tuesday.
BBC1, less fleet of foot with scheduling, switched to a royal baby news special half way through The One Show: Best of Britain (2.6 million/13.6%) at 7.15pm, but this averaged just 3.3 million and 16.7% over the following quarter hour. »
- Jason Deans
The birth of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge's baby boy brought in an audience of 4.9 million (22.2%) across various news channels last night, overnight data reveals.
However, the Duchess of Cambridge's new arrival failed to dislodge Coronation Street as the most-watched broadcast of the evening. The ITV soap pulled in over 7.4 million for both its episodes at 7.30pm and 8.30pm.
BBC One's special Royal Baby News Update brought 2.9 million (13.4%) to BBC One at 8.30pm, while 3.9 million (13.4%) tuned in for the 10 O'Clock News. ITV's News at Ten also pulled in over 2 million viewers.
BBC Two had 2.05 million (9.89%) at 8pm for University Challenge. However, the strong lead-in didn't help sitcom Count Arthur Strong, which only managed 692k (3.1%) at 8.30pm.
Channel 4 struggled again to pull in any sizable audiences, only managing 1.44 million (6.75%) at 9pm for Undercover Boss.
The latest series of Big Brother remains steady for Channel 5, grabbing 1.41 million (7.9%) at 10pm. »
Rather than replacing the comedy clip show, the explosion of homemade videos on sites like YouTube has given the genre a whole new lease of life.
Ahead of the launch of the show this week on Comedy Central, Digital Spy spoke to Seann all about it.
How did you get involved in the show?
"Comedy Central wanted to do a show that had internet clips, and that sounded fun to me if we could do stand-up and sketches off the clips - use the clips to branch off. We were able, so I was really happy with that."
How involved are you in actually choosing the clips ?
"Fortunately I have a nice team that will go through loads and loads of clips and then we'll eventually go through them. »
✒Some of those who relished the Pirandellian spectacle of the BBC's coverage of the Queen's visit to New Broadcasting House on Friday (climaxing in especially postmodern fashion with her contribution to a Radio 4 special about, well, her visit to New Broadcasting House) consulted the maps for BBC staff of the "goldfish bowl" newsroom, as previously reproduced in MediaGuardian. And, yes, the spot where Hm stood as she appeared panto-style behind the news presenters is the No 1 no-go area, marked "please don't stand here".
✒This wasn't the only instance of royal scorn for the rules, as she wore a hat in the newsroom and was accompanied by an equerry equipped with a sword, both contrary to BBC guidelines though more alarmingly so in the latter case. At one point it seemed possible the sword might come in to use, when a second chap in military garb could be glimpsed making a »
Not many television executives get their kicks away from the glare of the studio lights by going rally driving. But Deborah Turness, who once competed in the 33-day Paris to Peking off-road rally, is no ordinary industry suit. The first female editor of a network TV news operation in the UK when she was put in charge of ITV News nearly a decade ago, Turness has just repeated the feat in the Us where she was confirmed last month as the new president of NBC News.
"She has such energy and passion that you knew Deborah was in the room even if you couldn't see her. Her presence was so overwhelming," remembers former ITV News editor-in-chief David Mannion, who hired her to rejuvenate the channel's news bulletins. »
- John Plunkett
The final series of Shameless, pretty much Channel 4's only long-running returning drama series of the past decade, opened with 1.7 million viewers and a 10.2% share in late February, but has been bumping along at just over 1 million viewers since then.
Shameless hit a ratings peak during its fourth series in early 2007, attracting up to 3.5 million viewers and a near 20% share for the early episodes of that run.
However, back then the show benefited from following Celebrity Big Brother, which »
- Jason Deans
James Stephenson has been named BBC World News head of news
"I am delighted to have been asked to run BBC World News," Stephenson said.
"The channel is the strongest it has ever been and this year's move to Broadcasting House has placed it at the heart of the BBC Newsroom.
"I look forward to working with the World News team and the whole of BBC News to make the most of all we can offer to our global audience."
Controller of English at BBC Global News Richard Porter added: "I'm absolutely delighted that James will be leading the next phase of development of our news output.
"This is a very big year for BBC World News, with investment »
Harriet Harman accuses TV industry of ageism and sexism, saying female presenters' days on screen are numbered after 50
Fewer than one in five presenters at major broadcasters over the age of 50 are women, a new study reveals.
Research compiled from figures taken from the main UK broadcasters found that just 18% of presenters over 50 are women. BBC television and radio, Sky, ITN and Channel 5 combined have just 26 women over 50 working as regular on-air presenters out of a total of 481 presenters.
Overall, women over 50 make up just 5% of on-screen presenters of all ages and both sexes and 7% of the workforce, both on and off screen.
Senior executives at the BBC, ITV, ITN, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky are to meet members of the Older Women's Commission on Thursday to discuss what can be done to end such discrimination.
Harriet Harman, Labour's deputy and the shadow culture secretary, accused the TV industry of ageism and sexism. »
- Jane Martinson
Last night's Comic Relief telethon on BBC One pulled in a peak of 12.2 million viewers, the latest overnight data has shown.
The 25th Red Nose Day special peaked between 8.15pm and 8.30pm during Peter Kay's sit-down challenge.
> Red Nose Day raises record-breaking £75m for Comic Relief
Piers Morgan's Life Stories, which last week achieved its best ratings in two-and-a-half years, plummeted to 2.82m (11.4%) due to its Comic Relief clash, with the ITV programme adding 117,000 on +1 for an interview with Strictly Come Dancing judge Bruno Tonioli.
Meanwhile, Channel 5 commanded a healthier 1.16m (4.7%) in the »
ITV has picked up three coveted awards from The Royal Television Society (Rts) for its coverage of the Jimmy Savile sex abuse scandal.
At an awards ceremony held last night (February 20) in London, ITV documentary Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile won 'Scoop of the Year', beating entries from Al Jazeera and Panorama.
The jury members praised the Exposure documentary as being "a sensation without ever being sensationalist".
"They felt an investigative challenge which had defeated other media organisations over decades had been achieved with commitment, skill and sensitivity," said an Rts statement.
"The programme-makers had given a voice to victims who had always been denied one, with unprecedented impact across many British institutions."
Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile also picked up the 'Current Affairs - Home' award, while ITV News's coverage of the ensuing scandal around late BBC star Savile was honoured with the 'News Coverage - Home' accolade. »
Trevor McDonald has said that he regrets making a comeback to ITV's News at Ten programme in 2008. The iconic broadcaster hosted the channel's flagship evening news show from 1992 before retiring in 2005. However, he was invited back to front a relaunched edition of the programme in 2008, before retiring again later that year. McDonald explained that he was "flattered" to be asked back to the show by ITV, but realises he should have stayed away. "To be honest I was flattered to be asked to return and looking back on it I think probably I shouldn't have," he told BBC Radio (more) »
- By Tom Eames
17 items from 2013
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