The national broadcaster is frequently criticised for abandoning impartiality to act as a government mouthpiece. Ofcom considers accusations substantial enough to require investigation of the Corporation’s practices.
It is alleged one can have too much even of a good thing, but this oft-repeated assertion has no basis in science fact, plus it neglects to factor in the presence of Sir David Attenborough.
Already this year we’ve had Galapagos for Sky, Africa for the BBC and now, about to begin on Eden, we shall be served with David Attenborough’s Natural Curiosities. He’ll be doing house-house calls next. If only!
Series producer Stephen Dunleavy interviews Sir David about what they hope to achieve.
“We have been working on David Attenborough’s Natural Curiosities for the past six months and this is very different to your normal series. You’re not out in a vast wilderness; it’s very much more intimate. You’re more generally behind the scenes of museums, but how would you describe the series to this audience?”
Sir David Attenborough
“Well, it puts an extra dimension onto animals. We’ve been making natural history programmes, you and I, and others, for a long time but we’ve always dealt with the animals as they are and sometimes as they might become, but we’ve never thought about them with their history and their particular relationship with human beings – the superstitions we had about them.
This is an extra dimension to animals which I think is particularly fascinating. It has certainly fascinated me ever since I was a kid, ever since I picked up a reproduction of a 17th Century natural history book and saw these fantastic animals, monsters, dragons and mermaids, all of which people thought actually existed and some of which have a really good basis for making them think that. This extra dimension to animals sets you thinking about them as to why they are the way they are, which is something which I don’t think we have done on television before.”
David Attenborough’s Natural Curiosities begins on the Eden channel at 8pm on 29th January.
Jonathan Meades is unleashed on the county of Essex. Contrary to its caricature as a bling-filled land of breast-enhanced footballer’s wives and self-made millionaires, Meades argues that this is a county that defies definition – at once the home of picturesque villages, pre-war modernism and 19th-century social experiments.
Shaped by its closeness to London, Meades points out that this is where 19th-century do-gooders attempted to reform London’s outcasts with manual labour and fresh air, from brewing magnate Frederick Charrington’s Temperance Colony on Osea Island to the Christian socialist programmes run by Salvation Army founder William Booth.
Meades also discovers a land which abounds in all strains of architecture, from the modernist village created by paternalistic shoe giant Thomas Bata to Oliver Hill’s masterplan to re-imagine Frinton-on-Sea and the bizarre but prescient work of Arthur Mackmurdo, whose exceptionally odd buildings were conceived in the full blown language of the 1930s some fifty years earlier.
In a visually impressive and typically idiosyncratic programme, Meades provides a historical and architectural tour of a county that typically challenges everything you thought you knew and offers so much you didn’t.
Jonathan Meades: The Joy of Essex
BBC Four Tuesday 29 Jan 2013 21:00
BBC Four Wed 30 Jan 2013 03:00
Good interview with Jonathan Meades for The Quietus.
High Court rules Work Capability Assessment arguably unlawful. Judicial Review of Work Capability Assessment Granted.
Tonight, Monday 30th July, both Channel 4’s Dispatches and BBC’s Panorama explore the controversial methods used in assessing the most vulnerable sick and disabled people’s right to benefits. No longer the preserve of medical professionals who have treated their patients long-term, the process is now dictated on a commercial basis by Atos Healthcare, the contract-winning private sector company the government placed in charge of assessing disabled people’s ability to work.
The Dispatches programme will reveal damning and irrefutable evidence obtained from secretly filming how assessors are trained.
“GP Dr Steve Bick agreed to go undercover and become an assessor at the company. While training he’s told more than once to understand the new Employment Support Allowance process is ‘meant to take people off benefit’.
Despite repeated claims by the government and Atos that there are no targets for taking claimants off benefit, it’s made clear to Dr Bick that if he finds too many people unfit for work, his own assessments will be monitored.
The trainer explains: ‘You are being watched carefully for the rate of support group (people found unfit for work and therefore eligible for the highest level of ESA). If it’s more than, I think, 12 or 13 percent you will be fed back ‘your rate is too high”
I’m sure we shall witness the prejudice exhibited in Atos assessments can be proved unlawful under the Disability and Equality Act 2010.
Read the background to the secret film investigation about tonight edition of Dispatches – Britain on the Sick. Atos Assessors Told To Keep Disability Benefit Approvals Low.
Dispatches – Britain on the Sick
Channel Four 20:00-20:30
“Using undercover filming, reporter Jackie Long investigates the shocking processes used to assess whether sickness and disability benefit claimants should be declared fit for work.”
Follow @C4Dispatches To join the discussion on Twitter, use #OnTheSick
BBC Two 20:30-21:00 (except Northern Ireland (Analogue), Wales (Analogue))
“Panorama investigates the government’s plans to end the so-called ‘sick note culture’ and their attempts to get millions of people off disability benefits and into work. In Britain’s modern welfare state, millions are being paid to private companies to assess sick and disabled claimants but is the system working? Or are new tests wrongly victimising those who deserve support the most?”
Panorama broadcast times:
Monday July 30th 2012 20:30 BBC Two (except Northern Ireland (Analogue), Wales (Analogue)).
Thursday August 2nd 2012 04:30 BBC News Channel.
Friday August 3rd 2012 01:30 BBC Two (except Northern Ireland (Analogue), Wales (Analogue)).
The programme will also be available to watch online via the BBC iPlayer.
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Benefit tests chief to stand down
The man in charge of reviewing the government’s controversial fitness-to-work benefit assessments is to stand down in November, the BBC learns. (source)
“Harrington Stands Down, Panorama and Dispatches Investigating #WCA Tonight – Coincidence? I THINK NOT! He’s been kicked out because of his comments to panorama and I won’t accept the dwp excuse that this is the last year of the Harrington review as it isn’t even complete yet!” (source)
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To borrow one of Bernie Ecclestone’s oft used comments during last weekend’s Grand Prix, “It’s business as usual” in Bahrain.
Shortly after the race on Sunday, a British news team from Channel 4 television were chased by riot police on foot, in cars and armoured riot vehicles. A police helicopter was used to keep them under surveillance.
Amid calls for democracy the Bahrain government have been censoring news of unrest in their country by refusing to admit legitimate news agencies from around the world, including those from Channel 4 News, Reuters, CNN, Sky News and Financial Times. Permission had only been granted over the Grand Prix weekend to sports journalists who regularly cover Formula One.
The Channel 4 team, who had not been granted the official accreditation, were spotted by security forces filming a small anti-government, pro-democracy demonstration in the Gulf city. When they attempted to leave by car, the chase by security forces began.
When the pursuit came to an end journalist Jonathan Miller, his producer, cameraman, their driver and prominent human rights activist Dr Ala’a Shehabi were detained by the roadside for an hour during which time they were subjected to verbal abuse and physically assault. They were then taken by security van to a police station and detained for a further 7 hours, after which the British members of the team were deported back to the UK.
Bahraini authorities refused to give back the cameras and computers of the Channel 4 News crew, Miller tweeted late on Sunday.
In the link below, correspondent Jonathan Miller describes the treatment they received while being held in custody.
• Channel 4 News team arrested & deported from Bahrain – Channel 4 News
There are 2 videos on this page. First some predictable bullshit from Bahrain spokesman Sheik Aziz. The second is by foreign affairs correspondent Jonathan Miller.