Click this link to download a PDF copy - Eamonn O'Neill

Click this link to download a PDF copy - Eamonn O'Neill

  • No tags were found...

Create successful ePaper yourself

Turn your PDF publications into a flip-book with our unique Google optimized e-Paper software.

03.08.10 Week 31



The BBC Newspaper

Ways to

entertain the

the kids in

the holidays

Page 7


cymru culture

Welsh druid Angharad

Lisabeth Rees shares a joke

with Radio Cymru’s Nia Lloyd

Jones at the Eisteddfod. Full

story on the coverage of a

very special cultural event

Page 4

Trust finds improved

reporting of devolution

across News Page 2

Salmon will live ‘above

shop’ before full move

to Salford Page 3

Teams behind top

investigations explain

how it’s done Pages 8-9


16 2 News

a 00·00·08 03·08·10

aRoom 2316, White City

201 Wood Lane, London W12 7TS

020 8008 4228


Candida Watson 02-84222

Deputy Editor

Cathy Loughran 02-27360

Chief Writer

Sally Hillier 02-26877

Planning Manager

Clare Bolt 02-24622

Broadcast Journalists

Claire Barrett 02-27368

Adam Bambury 02-27410

Lisette Johnston 02-27630

Rumeana Jahangir 01 -43756

Carla Parks 02-84228

AV Manager

Peter Roach 02-24622

Digital Design Executives

David Murray 02-27380

Gary Lonergan 02-84229

Team Assistant

Harriet Roche 02-81038

Guest contributors this week

Jo Kim, pronunciation linguist, on

the thorny questions about correct

ways of saying things which make up

her day Page 14

Ariel mail

Candida. Watson@bbc.co.uk

Ariel online explore.gateway.bbc.uk/ariel

BBC Jobs 0370 333 1330

Jobs textphone 028 9032 8478

BBC Jobs John Clarke 02-27143

Room 2120, White City, London W12 7TS

Advertise in Ariel

Ten Alps Media 020 7878 2313



Garnett Dickinson Group

Rotherham 01709 768000

Subscribe to Ariel

Six months: £26, £36, £40

Twelve months: £50, £60, £68

(prices for UK, Europe, rest of world


Cheques to: Garnett Dickinson Print,

Brookfields Way, Manvers,

Wath Upon Dearne, Rotherham S63 5DL

Tel 0161 485 6540


Telephone 0800 0688 159

Ceefax Page 159 www.bbc.co.uk/159

Ariel is produced by Internal

Communications for people at the BBC


Better reporting of

devolved nations

by Candida Watson

The BBC Trust says ‘real progress has been

made’ in news coverage of the politics of devolution

across network output.

The trust commissioned a follow-up survey

two years after Anthony King’s critical report

on network reporting of devolution issues.

King said BBC News was too ‘London-centric’,

with coverage of politics in Scotland, Wales and

Northern Ireland too often seen through Westminster

eyes, and a general tendency to use ‘the

UK’, ‘Britain’ and ‘England’ interchangeably.

Cardiff University monitored news output

last October and November. Their study found:

• significant increase in the proportion of news

items about the devolved nations on BBC tv and

in BBC tv reporting from the devolved nations;

• the proportion of news stories referring to devolved

powers almost doubled in BBC output;

• the number of references to devolved powers

increased almost sevenfold from 71 to 480;

• double the number of news stories comparing

devolved powers of the different nations.

It found that other broadcasters are doing

much less than the BBC, and in some cases coverage

of devolved issues is actually down on 2007.

Nonetheless the trust said some network news

journalists still aren’t making it absolutely clear

which devolved issues affect which parts of the

UK. It said it was ‘looking to the executive for

speedy improvement here’.

The survey also found that in some subject areas

there is still a preponderance of stories about

England. Over the survey period every story about

business, the arts and policing on network output

related only to England. Researchers also

found that the problem of reporting issues that

applied only to England, or England and Wales,

was made more difficult because English institutions

and Westminster-based political parties often

announced things without making it clear

which areas of the UK they would apply to.

Helen Boaden, director of News, said: ‘People

across News have worked very hard to improve

our journalism in this area. We have had

generous help and advice along the way from

colleagues in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

and although I think there is still work to be

done, it’s great to get this positive feedback.’

From now on new editorial leaders in news and

current affairs will all attend a special workshop

on devolution matters, and all new network editors

will spend at least one week in a newsroom

in one of the devolved nations and in an English

region, within 12 months of starting their jobs.

Other changes include adding a daily ‘devolution

reminder’ to programme running orders

Holyrood – home of Scottish politics

in the newsroom computer system, and building

on the links developed with nations and regions

during the election campaign.

The BBC executive expressed reservations

about one aspect of the analysis, saying it ‘gives

more weight to quantity than quality’, adding:

‘UK-wide programmes .. have to judge the

strength of a devolution story relative to events

elsewhere in the world. It is important that

content analysis takes account of this.’

Tait leaves trust on a high

by Cathy Loughran


and former governor Richard

Tait, the progress made

on reporting the nations is a

positive note on which to bow

out, after a torrid few years in

charge of editorial standards.

Queengate, bogus competitions,

quickly followed by the

Ross/Brand debacle, took him

away from his other life as

chair of journalism at Cardiff

University more than he’d bargained


Last week’s findings reflected

the work BBC managers

had put into addressing an

industry-wide problem, Tait

said: ‘I’m pleased to be able to

leave, saying how well I think

BBC journalism is doing.

‘What I’ve enjoyed most has

been working with the broader

community of BBC journalists.

I’ve great admiration for

the vast majority of their output.

It’s in very good shape.’

A former BBC Newsnight editor

and ITN editor-in-chief,

Tait was a respected leader of

the trust’s post mortems into

the fakery scandals of 2007

and Ross/Brand a year later. He

says there is merit in ‘never

wasting a good crisis’.

‘The organisation is immensely

stronger for its capacity

to learn, instead of being

in corporate denial, and you

can see that reflected in public

trust ratings.’

Had the BBC put those

breaches behind it? Tait, who

became a BBC governor in the

aftermath of the Hutton inquiry,

has no doubt: ‘Look at

where the BBC was after Hutton

and where it is now. Ross/

Brand was a bad affair, but it

was rapidly dealt with.’

He stands by his committee’s

controversial censuring

last year of Middle East editor

Jeremy Bowen over two reports

on Israel: ‘I make no apology

for what I said about those

two pieces – they were judged

on the same criteria as all BBC

journalism. But there is no

suggestion that the BBC is reporting

the Middle East without

impartiality…and I have

every confidence in Jeremy as

a fine Middle East editor.’

He was confident that the

under-pressure trust would

survive at least until the end

of the current charter period

and, despite its critics, was a

better system than most: ‘I’ve

worked under all sorts of regulators

and I don’t think I ever

felt they really got my concerns,

as a programme maker.

At trust meetings with

the executive, there were, of

course, differences of opinion,

but common commitment to

what the BBC stands for. I’ll

miss that,’ says Tait, who will

be returning full time to his

academic role.

He is replaced on the trust by

Richard Ayre, a former deputy

chief executive of BBC News.

The former Home Secretary

Jacqui Smith is also hoping

to find a place on the

trust. Smith, who lost her parliamentary

seat in the recent

election, has applied for the

job of vice-chairman. The position

pays £77,000 a year for

a two-and-a-half-day week. The

present incumbent, Chitra

Bharucha, is stepping down at

the end of October.

News bites

TOM STOPPARD returns to British tv

after 20 years with his five-hour adaptation

for BBC Two of Ford Maddox

Ford’s Edwardian saga Parade’s

End. Directed by Bafta winning Susanna

White, the series will be made

by Mammoth Screen through BBC

Wales Drama.

MICHAEL HILL has been appointed

managing director of Radioplayer,

the joint project between the BBC

and commercial radio to develop an

online radio console. Hill, who has

been managing editor at 5 live and

interactive editor at BBC Audio and

Music, has led the project since last


THE VISION FORUM in September will

be showcasing short-form online content

and exceptional multiplatform

work. Nominations are invited for

the best short-form clips published

on bbc.co.uk since January 2010.

Closing date for entries is Friday August

27. Find more details at


BBC TWO DAYTIME has commissioned

a new factual series, Royal Upstairs

Downstairs, which looks at the

many different homes Queen Victoria

visited during her long reign.

Presenters Tim Wonnacott and Rosemary

Shrager will examine every aspect

of the visit, from the entertainment

to the vast amounts of food.

PROMS IN THE PARK tickets are now

available from the BBC shop in TV

Centre. The price to staff is £25 each,

a reduction of £5, and anyone buying

seven tickets will get an eighth free.

Proms in the Park is on September 11,

the Last Night of the Proms.


accountant Ian Loxley has scored

one of the top ten professional exam

results worldwide. Revising on holiday

and fitting in study around work

commitments clearly paid off in the

CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management

Accountants) examinations.

Radio 3 is ‘reviewing the situation’

after a Russian pianist who is due to

conduct a Prom concert was charged

in Thailand with raping a boy. Mikhail

Pletnev is scheduled to conduct the

Russian National Orchestra at the

Royal Albert Hall on August 18.

THE HOUSE of Lords communications

committee is looking into the regulation

of tv advertising. The committee

will look at proposed regulatory

changes, and examine how much the

recent decline in advertising was due

to the recession, and how much to

competition from the internet.

The chief executive of Welsh-language

television channel S4C, Iona

Jones, has left her post after a meeting

of the S4C authority. Jones was

the first woman in the role.

Next Monday cyclists can get assistance

and advice on maintenance and

security from a Bike Doctor and the

Police at the White City Media Village,

between 9-4.30.


a 03·08·10 News 3

Salmon ‘more committed to north than ever’

by Cathy Loughran

Peter Salmon has defended his decision

to delay a full move to Salford,

in the face of external and internal


A barrage of press reports over

the last week have painted as hypocritical

his decision to initially rent a

second home in Salford Quays rather

than move his entire family from

south west London, at what is a critical

educational stage for some of his

six children.

From the start, Salmon brought

his trademark enthusiasm to the

BBC North project, as its director

and most passionate champion. So

for some Salford movers, the news

that he was taking up the option to

rent in the North West, while keeping

a main home in London was evidence

of a ‘disconnect’ between

management and staff.

Salmon insists his choice does

not mean he is any less dedicated,

he told Ariel: ‘If anything, I’m more

committed than ever.’

He would make the move at some

time, he said, and at his own expense,

waiving the £8000 relocation

support to which he would be

entitled. Under the BBC’s three optional

relocation packages, anyone

choosing to rent first in Salford can

claim an allowance of up to £1900 a

month, for a maximum of two years


Was he worried about the message

he was sending to BBC North

colleagues? Salmon was ‘sanguine’

about that: ‘Whatever I did would

have gone down badly with some


‘Imagine if I’d moved to a leafy estate

in the north of England, with

help from the licence fee towards the

cost of the move…In the current climate

and mischief making around

the BBC, that would have gone down

badly, especially given whom I’m

married to.’ Salmon’s wife is actress

Sarah Lancashire.

Salmon admits he has his ‘detractors’,

both inside and outside the organisation,

but said he’d also had

‘supportive and insightful’ messages

from colleagues who also work flexibly.

Radio 5 live sbj Adam Cumiskey,

who has decided not to move north

with the station, agrees that ‘everyone

has to make their own decision.

But there is a danger that the BBC

comes across as an organisation that

demands more of its staff than of its

managers’, he told Ariel.

‘There seems to be a growing disconnect

between management and

staff, which is unfortunate in any

organisation, but especially one in

which people are being asked to relocate,

there’s a pay freeze and an attack

on pensions.’

A colleague from FM&T, whose

job is also moving to MediaCity UK,

thought the wrong message was being

sent out: ‘It should so clearly

have been a prerequisite of the post

that the director of BBC North relocate.

You either lead from the front

and by example, or you don’t,’ he


Of other BBC execs whose divisions

are moving, Radio 5 live controller

Adrian van Klaveren has said

he too will rent accommodation for

the first two years, to avoid disrupting

his children’s education, and review

the situation after that time,

making any new arrangements at

his own cost.

As both commissioner and head

of religion and ethics, Aaqil Ahmed

will split his time between Manchester

and London. Joe Godwin, director

of Children’s, and Saul Nasse, controller

of Learning, will both be moving

to Salford and purchasing properties.

Richard Deverell, BBC North’s

chief operating officer, and head of

BBC Sport Barbara Slater have still to

make a final decision on whether to

rent or buy.

People due to move in 2011 will

start learning of their relocation

dates this autumn and must choose

their relocation support package six

months before the move.

Breakfast stars and staff still deciding whether they will move north

Reports of his early retirement,

prompted by news of BBC Breakfast’s

move to Salford, are ‘greatly

exaggerated’, says the programme’s

long-serving presenter Bill Turnbull.

In response to weekend press

speculation along those lines, he

tweeted: ‘Not so. I’m just a bit shy,

that’s all.’

Along with more than 80 Breakfast

colleagues, he has a minimum of six

months – the deadline could be extended

– to decide whether to relocate.

With children at university, he

says his decision will personally concern

only his wife and himself.

But Turnbull also has concerns

about the inevitable loss of some

of the current team, and ‘the very

big question’ of getting ‘bottoms on

the sofa’, so far from London: ‘We’d

just have to design a different programme,’

he told Ariel.

‘What concerns me is that there

is a Breakfast mindset, where people

understand what resonates with

the audience – why we’ve been so

successful over the last few years.’

He added: ‘No one on the shop

floor is under any illusion about

how difficult this is going to be. And

interesting too. Can it be done?’

He shares the view of co-presenter

Sian Williams that people’s uncertainty

about moving is not – as

some papers make out – due to any

aversion to the north.

A mother of four, with one child

mid-A levels and a widowed father in

the South East, Williams has still to

make her decision.

‘If I had no ties it would be a

much easier decision to make,’ she

said. ‘I love the North West, I trained

in Liverpool and Manchester, worked

on North West Tonight and spent five

very happy years in the region. There

are lots of people to consult before I

make up my mind.’

Melas heading for big finale

Presenter loses

Bee2 wowing the crowd in Leeds

The London Mela is to have

its own Introducing stage

for the first time, giving new

Asian artists exposure to festival

crowds at the biggest

Asian live music event in the


After the success of the

Leeds Asian Festival and the

East London Mela over the

weekend, the Cardiff and

London events this month

are the last of the 11 Melas

that the Asian Network has

covered since June. Taking

place on August 8 in Gunnersbury

Park, the London

Mela is a key point in the UK

Asian music calendar.

‘It’s the nearest thing the

Asian music scene in Britain

has to a Glastonbury or Notting

Hill Carnival,’ says Asian

Network presenter Bobby

Friction, who presents the

station’s Introducing show.

He will be compering the

stage and has picked a suitably

eclectic but crowd-pleasing

line-up, like upcoming

dance producer and rapper


Introducing has had a

growing presence at festivals

since its first stage at Glastonbury

in 2007. Editor Jason

Carter says it is ‘part of the

evolution’ of the brand, and

will also extend its reach.

‘We have over 35 Introducing

local radio shows. They

are, on the whole, leaning

towards guitar and rock music.

That’s great, but we want

to make sure we’re as broad

as we can be.’

tribunal case

A former sports presenter for

BBC Northern Ireland has lost

an industrial tribunal against

the BBC.

Jerome Quinn specialised in

Gaelic sports coverage on BBC

NI for 17 years, but was sacked

for gross misconduct last year.

He had been posting anonymously

on an internet forum,

criticising colleagues, Northern

Irish sports people and the

BBC’s coverage of Gaelic football

and hurling.

Quinn took the BBC to a tribunal,

alleging unfair dismissal

and race and religious discrimination,

on the grounds

that he is an Irish Catholic.

His case was heard in May,

when he told the tribunal he

received ‘less favourable treatment

than if I was a Protestant,

British and not associated with

the GAA’ [Gaelic Athletics Association].

The BBC denied the allegations,

and said Quinn had

been using his work computer

to criticise his employers

and colleagues for more than

two years. The BBC said the decision

to sack Quinn was ‘not

taken lightly’.

Last week the tribunal in

Belfast dismissed his claims

‘in their entirety.’ The tribunal

said it found Quinn a ‘less

than satisfactory witness’ who

had been ‘disingenuous’ in his

evidence. Since Quinn accepted

that his internet comments

were ‘a serious error’, the tribunal

felt the BBC had very little

option other than to dismiss


4 News


complains to

PCC about

name calling

Clare Balding has complained to

the Press Complaints Commission

about a letter she received from

the editor of the Sunday Times

after she wrote to him over being

called a ‘dyke’ in an article by critic

AA Gill.

Balding initially complained to

John Witherow after Gill reviewed

her new BBC Four programme

Britain by Bike. In his reply to her

Witherow wrote: ‘In my view some

members of the gay community

need to stop regarding themselves

as having a special victim status...’

and went on to equate Gill’s remarks

with people making fun of

Jeremy Clarkson’s dress sense and

behaviour. Clarkson is also a Sunday

Times columnist.

Balding told Ariel: ‘I expect a

certain level of responsibility from

the Sunday Times and I don’t expect

even the Sun to use the word

dyke. I object to the use of a person’s

sexuality in a story that is

nothing to do with it.’

She added: ‘I have nothing

against Jeremy Clarkson, I like

him – but I do resent the comparison.

This is not the same. It makes

it seem that it’s ok to call people

names based on their sexuality.’

In fact, Balding is most upset for

those with a lower public profile

than herself, who don’t feel able to

complain about being abused for

their sexuality. She said: ‘I’m not

saying there should be one rule for

me, I think it should be the same for


She hopes the PCC will rule on

her complaint within the month.

Let the valleys ring with

the celebration of Wales

by Lisette Johnston

It is the biggest festival in Wales,

and during its eight day run at Ebbw

Vale the National Eisteddfod will be

appearing across all platforms of

BBC Wales as it celebrates all that is


A travelling festival, the Eisteddfod

visits areas in north and south

Wales alternately. It attracts around

160,000 visitors and has a history going

back almost 1000 years. The 2010

event is being held in Ebbw Vale in

south Wales, which is a predominantly

English speaking area.

The festival is taking place on the

site of the town’s former steelworks.

The area has been transformed, with

a huge pavilion, stages, stalls, a food

court and even a beach area for visitors

to enjoy. But the sense of history

is still there, with the festival’s arts

and crafts chamber set up in underground

chambers which once housed

the steel smelting pits.

As a place where Welsh culture

and language are celebrated across

many different genres, from literature,

music, dance, poetry, theatre

to visual arts, technology and even a

foam party, it is a challenging event

for the BBC to cover. And while the

festival only lasts a week, the preparatory

work has taken three months

with many crew working onsite for

up to four weeks beforehand.

Onsite there are four editing

suites, three radio studios and the

crew has 19 cameras.

BBC Cymru Wales’ coverage includes

all the main Eisteddfod programmes

on S4C and S4C2, extensive

Radio Cymru and Radio Wales

programming and dedicated online


‘Because of our cultural remit it is

hugely important that the BBC gives

Eisteddfod due respect. It is a manifestation

of everything that is important

about Wales and its culture and

language,’ explains Ynyr Williams,

executive producer, BBC Wales.

‘There is huge excitement, because

this is a major operation and there is

so much output, but it is fantastic to

see everything coming together and

everyone gets stuck in.’

Among the team working on site

is BBC Wales’ Jason Mohammad, who

will be presenting in Welsh for the

first time.

The Eisteddfod is a clarion call for Welsh culture

He will work alongside presenter

Rhun ap Iorwerth on the main

evening highlights programme going

out nightly on S4C until next


Mohammad, who went to an English

speaking school, studied Welsh

at university, and will introduce

items recorded on the festival Maes

a 03·08·10

during the day.

‘I’ve visited the Eisteddfod numerous

times,’ he says ‘And I’ve presented

from previous ones in English,

but this will be my first time presenting

in Welsh. I’m very honoured to

have been asked and I do see it as an

achievement. To be part of the Welsh

language coverage is very exciting.’

BBC Worldwide sets out to raise its game in India

by Cathy Loughran

India is featuring larger on BBC

Worldwide’s international radar than

ever before, with new investment

into BBC channels in the country

and the high profile appointment of

a director of channels for the region.

Darren Childs, MD of the company’s

channels business, used

an event BBCW hosted for David

Cameron’s delegation to India last

week to announce ‘significant’ extra

investment into CBeebies and BBC

Entertainment – available in India

since 2007.

The new money would enhance

content on the two channels and

also allow BBC Worldwide to explore

the feasibility of bringing other

channels to India. BBC World News

is already in 22m homes in India and

26m across South Asia.

‘India is a country which we believe

is a great fit for our channels,

with a large English speaking population,

good brand recognition and

a strong affinity with the UK,’ Childs


‘We have identified India as a

tier one priority market and will be

actively investing to bring more

quality content and increasing distribution.

The Indian pay-tv market

already has significant scale and its

future potential for subscription and

advertising is exciting.’

With Worldwide’s mandate to focus

more of its business outside the

UK, the channels division – which

Deepak Shourie: high profile role

has launched 41 channels since

2006 – is key to the company’s target

of generating two thirds of its

sales from overseas business by

2012 (currently 55 percent), and India

is clearly prime territory.

The appointment as channels

director for South Asia of New Delhibased

Deepak Shourie – a former

executive president of the Hindustan

Times and CEO at Zee TV – signals

just that, Childs said.

Shourie comes to BBCW from

Discovery Communications India,

where he was executive vice president

and MD, and launched Discovery

Travel and Living in India and

brought the company into profit.

He would bring experience, but

also personal relationships to the

newly created role and enable

BBCW to ‘shift to the next stage of

growth for the channels business in

the region’.


Trainees Step Up to the challenge of making the news

by Lisette Johnston

It can be daunting to go out in East

London and find a story, even more

so with little or no journalistic experience.

But that is what 30 Step Up trainees

were tasked with on their 12-week


The scheme, run by the Academy

and BBC London, gives young people

access to the broadcasting industry

and radio, online and television journalism


It has been running in London for

20 years, but this year was introduced

in Scotland and is set to roll out in


Trainees developed their skills in

workshops one day a week, ending with

a production week where they created

content for BBC London. They were

each mentored by a BBC employee.

Glynn Ryland of the BBC Academy

said: ‘Step Up is a wonderful chance

for the BBC to share its multi-platform

training with a talented and diverse

group of people who are all passionate

about journalism.’

The trainees’ ‘brief’ was ‘Olympics

2012’, and their pitches were whittled

down to three stories which were made

for all platforms.

At a special showcase last week the

trainees ‘passed out’, with all the ‘graduates’

agreeing they felt the course

would help them progress in the industry.

‘I had not thought about journalism

though I wrote a blog, but I was

always on the BBC website looking at

sports stories and am very passionate

about sport,’ said Arun Mahey from


‘I learned radio and tv skills as well

as working online. And I worked on

radio for BBC Essex and BBC London

so it’s been a great opportunity. If it

hadn’t been for this course I would still

be working with my dad in his shop.’

Single mum Makeda Wilson juggled

taking part in the radio scheme with

an already busy schedule managing an

online magazine and presenting and

producing an online radio show.

‘This course has definitely brought

me more confidence. I know now that

I have all that I need to get a break in

the industry. It may take some time

and hard work but I’ll get there,’ she


a 03·08·10

Features 5

Art, film, literature, theatre -

must be The Culture Show

New editor of


programme tells

Ariel she has the

best job in arts


by Carla Parks

I’m one of those people who

thinks the shop window of Selfridges

qualifies as popular art, so you

can understand why I was a little

apprehensive about speaking to

the new editor of The Culture Show, a

woman I imagined was as comfortable

in the refined art world as I was

in Primark. But whatever I expected

of Janet Lee, she turned out to be

forthright, relaxed, chatty and unpretentious.

Yes, she knows a great

deal about galleries and what qualifies

as popular culture these days,

but she also values a good pedicure

on her day off.

Seven months into her job, Janet

declares unashamedly that it’s ‘the

best job in arts television’. The fortysomething

television executive took

over from Edward Morgan, who left

the weekly BBC Two arts programme

to head up the in-house college of

production. Her highlight so far is

the sheer amount of work her team

of 40 – split between its production

bases in London and Glasgow –

has delivered. They’ve managed to

make 49 films in one run of the series,

averaging seven items per show.

‘It’s great fun, but it’s relentless,’

she laughs. ‘It’s coming at you every

week and there is no respite.’

Despite cramming each show, inevitably

a great deal gets left out.

So how does she decide what makes

the cut? Janet humbly says that her

years of working in the arts – she

was previously commissioning editor

for arts at Channel 4 and, more

recently, executive editor of Imagine

– means that she has ‘a hunch’

about what’s going to create a stir.

These big things – whether an art

opening, theatre, books or even

films – are what Janet nicknames

her ‘blue-chip’ items and she likes to

have one in each programme. With

a proactive forward-planning team

to help, Janet thinks she fulfils her

brief – for The Culture Show ‘to set the

agenda as well as to follow it’.

But this doesn’t mean she always

gets what she wants. The editor’s

dream line-up is Apple’s CEO Steve

Jobs and senior vice president and

designer Jonathan Ive, who never

gives interviews. ‘There is no way

of infiltrating Apple. I’ve tried,’ she

explains ruefully. Lee believes that

The Culture Show is in a good place to

take advantage of new technology –

the average length of each segment

is seven minutes, perfect for mobiles

or YouTube – although she admits

that she is not a technological expert

but is ‘willing to learn’.

On the subject of learning, Janet

returns time and again to her belief

that The Culture Show under her

editorship needs to teach you something

you don’t already know. It’s

why she has gone for a team of experts

to present the programmes;

art historian and writer Andrew Graham-Dixon

is the main anchor.

(Lauren Laverne, who appeared regularly

under Morgan, has left to focus

on her radio show and new book.) In

the autumn Janet will be trying out

some new reporters, but she refuses

to name them.

Looking ahead to the Edinburgh

Festival, to which The Culture Show

traditionally decamps each August,

she has picked Edinburgh veteran

Sue Perkins to front three, onehour

specials. The comedian will

invite her contemporaries to recall

their comic debut at the Edinburgh

Fringe. Martin Creed’s retrospective

at The Fruitmarket Gallery,

called Down Over Up, will feature in

the first show; there will be something

on the National Theatre of

Scotland’s production of Caledonia;

and coverage of cabaret from the


Of course, it’s hard to talk about

arts television without touching on

criticism from some quarters of the

press – The Culture Show, first shown

in November 2004, has in the past

been labelled shallow. ‘There is a

sense that everything was better in

the past, a kind of unthinking nostalgia,

but it’s not true,’ reflects Janet.

‘There have been some great arts

documentaries recently.’ She names

Andrew Graham-Dixon’s series for

BBC Four, The Art of Russia; Julian

Temple’s Requiem for Detroit; and Alan

Yentob’s profile of Diana Athill for

Imagine. She also adds that if there is

another wave of criticism she would

like to invite the detractors onto

The Culture Show and get them to debate


Janet Lee

Born: St Mary’s Hospital, Manchester;

moved to London at 16.

Education: Went to night school in her

twenties and got two A levels. Degree in

Contemporary Culture Studies, Middlesex


First job: receptionist at Vidal Sassoon

(‘I had to quickly get rid of my northern


What got her hooked on art:

Henri Matisse’s ‘The Snail’. ‘I was very

literal and I couldn’t understand why

this thing that looked like a collage of

different colours represented a snail.’

Also likes: Photography, particularly

William Eggleston, and Andreas Gursky.

A favourite artwork is a sculpture

called The Chapman Family Collection

(by the Chapman brothers), which is

‘an ironic take on primitive art’.

Unwinds with: yoga

Reading: A Kind of Intimacy by Jen

Ashworth, and she highly recommends

Barbara Demick’s non-fictional

account of North Korean immigrants,

Nothing to Envy.

What she wishes she’d known

growing up: ‘Children usually want

to fit in, to be like everyone else,

and I was the same. What you realise

as you get older is that many

of the most successful people are

not like everyone else and it’s their

bravery in daring to stand out that

has led to their success.’

On Alan Yentob: ‘I have the best

show in arts television, but don’t

tell Alan. I tell him what he should

be doing.’

If this criticism is a downside

to her job, she doesn’t dwell

on many others. I mention

never getting to see her children

(aged 12 and 17) because

of evening commitments,

but she brushes this aside. ‘I

take them with me. I’ve dragged babies

around exhibitions, so they are

used to it.’ She admits they don’t always

like it, but neither does she.

And the job has its perks. ‘I can get

preview tickets to Twilight, so there

are some advantages in having a

full-time working mother dragging

them off to culture.’ Not surprisingly,

the exec’s perfect day – lunch at

El Viajante in Bethnal Green, a pedicure,

galleries along the South Bank

– would include seeing an evening

concert. But don’t expect it to be a

sedate prom; she wants to see Florence

and the Machine. Janet says

she’d like her shows to be highly

original but not exclusive. You get

the feeling she likes her personal life

the same way.

Edinburgh Culture Show specials

start August 12, BBC Two

6 Features


a 03·08·10

Calling all budding photographers: Ariel is on

the hunt for creative and beautifully framed pictures

A CBeebies production

team were taking no

chances when they filmed

a sequence at a beehive

for the channel’s new

programme Nina and The

Neurons: In the Lab, which

is being produced by

CBeebies Scotland.

Getting buzzy with it were

fictional scientist Nina

(Katrina Bryan) and three

young experimenters

from Glasgow who went

to an Ayrshire garden to

investigate the process of

honey making.

Other questions that Nina

and her five animated

sense Neurons will answer

include why do our fingers

go wrinkly in the bath?

Why does chocolate melt

in our hands? And why

do flowers smell so nice?

Which brings us right back

to the scents and sounds

of a summer garden,

drowsy with warmth and

the humming of bees.....

Affordable healthcare for only 1.50 a week.

Think of it as a perk of your job.

As you work for the BBC, you can take control of your healthcare for just

1.50 a week by joining Benenden Healthcare. With no medical required

and no exclusions due to age or pre-existing conditions. You’ll have access to

a range of valued discretionary services including our 24/7 GP Advice Line, 300

towards physiotherapy costs, and treatment at specially selected hospitals across

the UK with excellent infection control rates.

As a mutual, not-for-profit society, our members are at the heart of everything

we do. That’s probably why we already look after the healthcare needs of over

935,000 people.

We’ll welcome you, your partner, family, friends

and anyone else that you’d like to benefit.

If you think this sounds too good

to be true visit


or call us on

0845 052 5757 *

Please quote ref: ARIEL

For just


per person

per week

* Calls cost a maximum of 4p per minute for BT customers. The price of calls from non-BT lines will vary. Lines open

8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Calls may be recorded. Benenden Healthcare membership is initially only available

for current or former employees of the Post Office, Civil Service, BT, registered charities, public sector bodies and

other approved organisations whose aims and objectives are deemed compatible with those of the Society.

Some services have a six month qualifying period. The Benenden Healthcare Society Limited is an incorporated friendly

society, registered under the Friendly Societies Act 1992, registered number 480F. The Society’s contractual business

(the provision of tuberculosis benefit) is authorised by the FSA. The remainder of the Society’s business is undertaken

on a discretionary basis. The Society is subject to FSA requirement for prudential management. Registered Office: The

Benenden Healthcare Society Limited, Holgate Park Drive, York, YO26 4GG.


6355 You're Unique_HP_Ad_Ariel_AW.indd 1 16/7/10 11:53:13

a 03·08·10 Features 7

Your child could

be a superhero

this holiday

BBC themed ideas to beat the familiar cry of

‘I’m bored’ as the long summer break begins

by Claire Barrett

Sums and spellings might not be top of your

child’s wish list when it comes to summer holiday

entertainment, but give a bit of learning a

playful guise, an imaginative twist or some shiny

reward stickers and the little ones won’t be able

to resist it. Better still, get their favourite tv characters

on board to make the curriculum fun.

It’s what BBC Magazines’ raft of children’s

titles do all year round, of course, but it’s during

the gaping, six week break that parents particularly

welcome some new ideas, diversions

and activities.

‘Our research tells us that parents want to

entertain their children at key holiday times,

but they also want educational content,’ says

Steph Cooper, educational advisor and editor of

several BBC children’s magazines. ‘They are absolutely

asking for it. So when we’re planning

our summer issues, we have to work out how

to engage and educate readers in a really playful


Summer cover mounts, from Igglepiggle’s

xylophone to an animal charm bracelet, may

grab their attention, but inside features inviting

readers to puzzle it out in Opposites World,

star in their own Upsy Daisy story or join Bob

the Builder in his busy workshop about numbers

will keep them interested.

Covering the whole curriculum, the mags encourage

children to use the summer break to get

creative – without alienating some adults. ‘We

know that there are different types of parents,’

admits Cooper. ‘Some are comfortable doing

arty stuff, others dread it. Our ‘makes’ are easy,

quick and accessible to all kinds of parents.’

Rather than specialist materials, they draw

on household gear – such as a sock to make an

elephant puppet like Lola’s – or the magazines

provide the equipment. The bumper holiday

edition of CBeebies Art comes with all you need

to create a 3D seaside collage. ‘We give the glue,

Win a goody bag

Keep the kids happy this summer with this

prize courtesy of BBC Worldwide. Ariel has

25 goody bags, including magazine and preschool

toy, up for grabs. To enter to win one,

tell us the name of the train in the CBeebies

show In the Night Garden.

Email ariel.competitions by August 10.

the bit of straw for the sail, the pieces of elastic...

whether the children are at the airport or

on a long journey, they’ll still have lots to do.’

The ‘makes’ are best fired up by imagination,

and the children are urged to put them to good

use – make a simple superhero costume, stuff

tights up the sleeves for muscles, attach ‘rocket

boosters’ to the ankles and see where your

superpowers take you. ‘It’s what you do with

the ‘makes’ that makes them exciting,’ reasons

Cooper, whose titles also inspire readers to get

out and about this summer – for walks, bike

rides or sandcastle building. ‘Finding bugs is always

popular,’ she says. ‘Children love discovering

things for the first time.’

If the CBeebies section on iPlayer is an invaluable

rainy day resource, Cooper’s top tip for

this holiday is to take the children to see In the

Night Garden Live. A new, musical, stage production,

featuring costumed characters, puppets

and projections and performed in a purpose

built dome, it will be visiting London,

Birmingham and Glasgow in the coming weeks


‘All our magazine content is totally connected

with the CBeebies channel, website and live

events; we join all the dots,’ says Cooper. ‘In the

Night Garden Live is a fantastic opportunity for

pre-schoolers to recognise and engage with the

characters they see on tv or in print in a theatrical


Just don’t try taking your teenagers.

You work full-time, but

the children are off for six

weeks. Ariel asked BBC

parents how they cope

Sarah Taylor, senior producer, radio

documentaries (Two boys, aged nine

and five)

March ‘10: Think what the F**** am I

going to do.

April 10: Realise there are no full

time playschemes available locally

(except for the two weeks when we

are away on our family holiday).

April 10: Discuss with partner how

on earth we are going to get the children

looked after for the other four


May 10: I am exhausted after extensive

research reveals I’m buggered.

Partner seems to have forgotten he

has two children who need looking


May 10: Take ‘grace leave’ for the

summer so social services don’t prosecute


July 10: Rescind part of summer holidays

as programme commitments

mean very idea of a long break is impossible.

Boys will go to mother in

law for a week (they will put on half

a stone each and come back in sugar

induced diabetic coma).

July 10: Partner dares to ask – how

are we going to manage childcare

for the summer?

Aug 10: Me and boys go on holiday

after burying husband under the


Fiona Steggles

assistant news editor, tv news,

BBC North West

Beg, steal and borrow. Every year I

panic I won’t fill the days, every year

we just about make it.

Cathy Farmer producer,

world affairs unit

Several years ago we had the use of

a shared BBC playscheme with the

Inland Revenue in Somerset House.

This was great as it was over the

road from Bush House and the organisers

took the children to different

places around London. They also

had a great time playing in the fountains

in the courtyard. Sadly, the

BBC stopped the scheme.

The problem with privately funded

holiday playschemes is the expense.

We have three young children

and the only scheme near our home

is a Beaumont Holiday Camp. This is

£227 per child per week. Potentially

in the future we will need to cover

four weeks out of the six. That

amounts to £2724, more than I take

home each month.

This year my husband, also BBC

staff, and I are keeping our heads

above water by taking some long

service leave, a week’s bought holiday

and some annual.

In the past I have taken chunks of

unpaid parental leave. Now that my

third child is about to be five, it no

longer applies. My parents are not

well enough to look after three children.

Childcare is no joking matter.

Steve Beech

sbj, BBC Nottingham

Marry a teacher as I did. Problem


Nina Robinson

sbj, World Service News

This year I am flying my mother in

law over from the Caribbean so that

she can look after my son (who is

four years old) while I am at work.

His nursery school is closed for two

weeks and she is staying for six

weeks. It is also a chance to see her

and for her to spend some time with

us and give her a break also. I think

it should work out all round.

Pippa Baddeley

production accountant, Elstree

The childminder gets us through the

summer; she’s looked after the boys

since they were toddlers and they’ve

grown up with her kids. The downside

is that it’s very expensive. Even

if I put the boys into PGL or similar,

I’d still have to pay the childminder

something to keep their places

open. And, unless our holidays coincide

with hers, we end up paying for

six weeks’ care. Financially speaking,

I can’t wait for them to go back

to school.

Amina Wehelie

producer, Somali service,

Bush House

During the summer I arrange new

things for my family such as quizzes

about anything from the names

of presidents, actors and singers to

the capitals of the world’s nations.

I give them more time to play on

their toys, watch tv, go to the parks

with their older siblings. My mother

(their granny is living with us) plays

her role too, telling her stories and

her jokes. But you know the main

role of the kids? They have cookery

lessons from my mother and

me. All seven of my children know

how to cook – the little ones learns

how to make sandwiches, the older

ones can invite you for three course

meals. I am happy for them and

me. On my rest days I am in a good

mood, because my children will

cook for me now and then, something

that will also help them in the


8 9

the need to know

It can take months, involve trawling

through masses of paperwork and

confronting unpleasant people, but

in-depth investigative journalism

also delivers the stories other news

doesn’t reach, and some of its best

practitioners work at the BBC


It all started when an attendant tried to

stop Dr Eamonn O’Neil taking pictures of his

twin boys – then aged just a few weeks old – on

a trip to the local swimming pool. ‘Not only was

I mad, but I wanted to find out what my rights

were,’ recalls the investigative journalist, who

lectures at Strathclyde University and directs a

bespoke course on investigative journalism.

When he discovered that every local authority

in Scotland had different rules, he set about

‘stirring up a hornet’s nest’ which he hopes will

prompt reform.

Personal experience often sparks the most

elaborate and painstaking investigations which

end up on our screen – and on the news.

Despite popular mythology, investigative

journalists rarely find themselves in moonlit

meetings with Deep Throats or unearthing

inter-governmental cover ups: the reality is less

filled with drama and more with hard work.

Investigations are not for journalists looking

for quick results, as they can involve a lot more

digging than a traditional news story and sifting

through stacks of information – so how do you

go about finding a story within this particular

strand of journalism?

‘Often I pick something that interests me,’

explains O’Neill, who has been an investigative

journalist for more than 20 years, and

currently works with BBC Scotland on radio


‘I try and find something that everyone has

an idea about, but knows little about. I go to

the top of the tree and ask the hardest questions

and provoke debate. And they are very

personal [in radio] because you are using your

own voice,’ he says.

O’Neill says there is no great secret to his

methods, which he describes as ‘totally transparent’.

‘I just happen to make more phone calls or

go out of my way to meet people. Even if it’s

11pm on a Friday night, I am always willing to

go the extra mile.’

That extra mile saw one investigation last

11 years, ending in 2002 with the 25 year murder

conviction of Scotsman Robert Brown being

overturned by the Court of Appeal, after O’Neill

uncovered previously unseen evidence.

‘Often these stories are right under your

nose,’ he says. ‘It’s just that for various reasons

they have been left alone.’

Can you handle the truth?

Jeremy Adams, head of tv current affairs, BBC

Northern Ireland, says the first and last question

in any investigation has to be ‘is it true’.

‘You have to ask yourself why a person is

telling you something. Can you corroborate it,

verify it through other sources of information

– and is it in the public interest for us to broadcast

it?’ Adams says.

Whether your investigation is only for a few

days or weeks, patience is clearly important.

But there are other useful attributes for an

investigative journalist.

‘I would say the qualities you require are

an inherent curiosity, a determination not to

be fobbed off and an ability to recognise when

you have the proof of something and when you

have not,’ says Gerry Northam, who runs several

Cojo courses into investigations and reports

for File on 4.

The experts

behind File on

Four; David Ross,

editor, reporter

Gerry Northam and

producer Samantha


Clockwise from

left; Jeremy Adams,

Iris Robinson,

undercover footage

of fighting dogs

from the Spotlight/


programme made

by BBC Northern


‘And also, the determination to get as far as

you can in establishing what has happened. You

need a certain amount of pluck to confront people

because those interviews can turn nasty.’

He reminds students in his Anatomy of an Investigation

class, which is based on a real story,

to consider one important factor before confronting

a member of the public – it’s their life’s work

you are investigating.

In other words, they will know a great deal

more about it than you do, and they will have

all kinds of ways of evading questions.

‘Being thorough in your research helps, but

try to build up a paper trail as well – it’s harder

to deny something when there’s documentary

evidence to prove it,’ he says.

Northam firmly believes people should have

tenacity, but they also need to know about the

legal framework, so his courses cover points connected

with libel, contempt of court and the risk

of injunctions. And he says journalists also need

to think about their editorial responsibilities.

Whistleblower walked in

Jeremy Adams agrees. As head of current affairs

in Northern Ireland the major investigations

he has dealt with include breaking the story of

alleged irregular financial dealings involving

Iris Robinson, wife of the First Minister of

Northern Ireland.

‘The Robinson story is one where a whistleblower

walks in, and then you have to make a

decision on whether you should investigate it,’

Adams says.

‘Legal, private behaviour

is not something the

BBC investigates, so we

referred the case to Peter

Jordan and Mark Byford to

see if we should investigate.

We made it clear from the

start we were investigating

alleged financial impropriety

and abuse of power.’

Another huge project for

his team was the Spotlight

and Panorama special on

‘Legal, private

behaviour is

not something

the BBC


dog fighting, for which an undercover journalist

infiltrated a gang over a period of 18 months.

Evidence from the programme was later used in

court to help secure several convictions.

Journalists had known for years that dog

fighting was a serious problem in Northern

Ireland, with links to paramilitary organisations.

Spotlight were able to pursue it because they

found someone with specialist training who

could infiltrate the dog fighting world.

The footage and information attracted network

attention and Panorama came on board,

with both programmes airing the same night.

‘But before then the level of discussion we

had to do was enormous,’ Adams stresses.

And that’s another key piece of advice – if

you are thinking of doing an investigation, refer

up. He believes that if senior management

know about an investigation from the start

they are generally very supportive.

So investigations take a long time, you need

tenacity, and your must consider whether the

story should be told. But at a time when finances

are scrutinised and many outlets cannot

afford long running investigations, does this

type of journalism still have a place at the BBC?

‘It’s the only place really where proper

investigative current affairs journalism

is being conducted,’ enthuses Adams.

‘And the fantastic thing about Northern

Ireland, which has for some time

been a centre of excellence for current

affairs, is that it has made a conscious

decision to give its regional programmes

the resources to do proper investigative


To find out about the Anatomy of an Investigation

course, go to: http://learn.gateway.bbc.co.uk/



A few tips for investigative

journalists... look for tiny loopholes

and work from the outside in

Gerry’s tips:

n Find out why a source is talking to you. Know the worst. Even if they have

a bad motive, what they tell you may prove to be true. So check.

n Before you pick up the phone, spend a moment thinking what the person

you are calling is going to feel when you contact them. You never get a

second chance to make a first impression.

n Before you end a call, ask ‘Is there anything else you think is important?’.

You may be pleasantly surprised.

n Look for tiny loopholes in what anyone tells you. They often lead to big


n Don’t be put off if events don’t fit your preconceptions. The truth is

usually more interesting than what you had imagined.

n Prepare for big interviews by gaming out questions and alternative

answers. Like scouts and guides, Be Prepared.

n In a confrontational interview, listen carefully to what an interviewee

denies. Evasion is more common than outright lying.

n Be courageous, but contact Legal and Editorial Policy advisers early.

Eamonn’s tips:

n Always work from the facts outwards: never from a thesis inwards. Or to

put it another way: ‘Don’t write the headline first and then try to make the

facts fit’. Allow yourself to be guided by what you uncover and not let

preconceived ideas warp your findings. Even the great Woodward and

Bernstein of Watergate fame didn’t set out to bring down President Nixon.

n Go beyond the documents. I’ve often made the mistake of rushing into

print or broadcast once I have got my hands on documents (eg minutes of

a meeting) that I think conclusively nail a story. I’ve learned from mistakes

I’ve made that it’s worth taking a little more time to track down and meet

people who attended, for example, the meeting you’re interested in.

n The internet is a great tool. Learn how to use it properly. Reverse phone

books, background reports, company investigations... are all a click or two

away. But don’t think any great secrets

are on the net. The really hard stuff is

still locked in files and the really,

really great stuff, is locked in

people’s heads.

n Meet people face to face. It’s

massively important to get out

and speak to people because only

then can you size each other up.

People will always tell you more,

remember more and trust you more,

if you take the time to turn up and

share a coffee and listen to them.

n Use what I dub the ‘Circle

Technique’. Most news

reporters I know have to

watch the clock and that

means always going to

the heart-of-the-matter

and straight to the

highest source

possible for

‘comment’. This

helps file a story fast

but it rarely uncovers

the truth. I speak to

lowly sources first and

gently work my way

towards the centre.




towards the


a 03.08.10 11

This is the page that everybody reads. Please email candida.watson@bbc.co.uk

You can also contribute to the mail page directly from the Ariel Online home page


Shift the boundaries

With all this talk of allowances for

senior executives to rent accommodation

in t’North, rather than moving

lock stock and barrel, it got me


Moving around the country has

always been a regular occurrence in

Nations and Regions, if you want to

progress your career, and gone are

the days when absolutely everything

was paid for.

But just what is the BBC’s allowances

policy? It’s obviously extremely


So how do you square these two

different equations?

1. Senior executives renting accommodation

and spending up to

£1900 per month in doing so, for up

to two years.

2. A colleague who moved from

one local radio station to another

and was told that he was lucky to get

£4000 in moving allowances. This

was to cover B&B accommodation in

the interim period while selling his

property, AND estate agents/surveyor/moving

and solicitors’ fees for the

whole move.

Needless to say, in this flat property

market, two years on the property

hasn’t sold, and his allowance has

run out. No more money available –

just get on with it and take the hit.

Eric Smith

breakfast presenter, Radio Shropshire

Ken Lee, HR director, BBC North,

replies: The £1900 per month quoted

in the press can be misleading as

this is a maximum allowance and

is subject to tax – hence the actual

maximum spend will generally be

around £1100. This has to fund return

travel, bills and council tax, in

addition to monthly rental.

It is designed to provide reasonable

accommodation but not luxury

penthouses. It is also important to

note that this arrangement is available

to all migrating staff who own

properties, rather than an exclusive

deal for senior executives.

Only staff whose existing roles are

‘in scope’ for Salford are entitled to

this support – it reflects the fact that

the move is not of their choice.

Staff who apply for roles in Salford

to develop their careers have

lower levels of relocation support, as

is the usual practice within the corporation.

Will the Regions get a share of the new deal?

Pensions plan

could give new

purpose to TVC

n As a younger member of staff

with six years’ pensionable service,

I’m one of those that faces a very

grim future as a pensioner.

In 27 years time when I, hopefully,

retire both pension options will

be pathetic in comparison to what I

was working towards. Inflation over

this time will put paid to me being

able to afford a retirement.

Ignoring the implications on retirement,

there is a massive implication

while still employed. Those

above me will have to work longer

preventing me from being able to

work my way up the ladder. Simply

put, older staff will be blocking

younger staff from getting promoted.

Thinking out of the box, if BBC

Management refuses to amend the

pension to ensure we are adequately

provided for in our retirement,

might they consider converting

TVC into a free retirement home

for former BBC staff? BBC buildings

will end up looking like retirement

homes anyway, filled with aged

staff unable to afford to retire.

Marcus Gaines

operator, South TV News

n When it comes to pensions the

devil is, no doubt, somewhere in

the detail. The BBC’s slick presentations,

glossy brochures and ‘consultation’

are geared to justify the


However, my understanding is

that all of the proposals are based

‘Nations and Regions to get better deal from

BBC tv, says Bennett’ screamed the front page of

Ariel Online last week.

Interesting, I thought, considering the recently

announced plan to pre-record the regional

elements of the BBC Politics Show.

The only programme on BBC TV, I might add,

that covers local politics. And at a very interesting

time for politics generally.

Almost all of the ‘better deals’ suggested by the

article seem to be happening in the Nations.

I look forward to the follow up report on how

we, in the Regions, might expect something to

look forward to, too.

I won’t hold my breath though.

Jo Babbage Politics Show South

on a report by consultants KPMG.

So let’s see it.

The BBC should reveal the full

consultants’ documents on which

the proposals are based. Only then

would the consultation be truly

full open and honest.

Rob Sissons

health correspondent, BBC East


n Could you fill the pensions shortfall

by selling off Lonely Planet? Or

any of the BBC’s other profitable


Seeing as I am subsidising the

pensions of the Executive Board, it

only seems fair.

Iain Haddow

World News TV

n Can Mark Thompson explain,

given the latest senior management

private pension pot revelation,

what probability he sees of being

able to avert industrial action and

how he intends to achieve that.

Kevin Doig

lecturer, BBC People

n The pension problem can be

solved as follows:

Ask to withdraw your BBC pension

in cash.

Take your swag bag(s) (big cheeses

might need a porter) to the local

bookmakers office.

Tell the fat cat that you would

like to place this on the jolly (the

favourite) for the first race of the

day. Might also be worth telling the

person behind the counter as well.

Watch the race – if it wins, great

return on your investment.

If it fails eg by falling at the first

– wow think what a buzz you are

going to have, and a totally natural

one at that, and you should be able

to sell your story many times over.

Weighed in.

Mike Hughes

business manager, BBC Academy

n In the wake of the government’s

new retirement age policy, may I

suggest the BBC considers a way of

saving money and offering promotion


I will agree not to carry on working

and drawing my salary until

I’m 80 in return for the BBC agreeing

a redundancy deal which includes

24 months salary and no

early retirement deduction in my

pension. Sound familiar?

Andy Farrant

assistant editor, BBC Lincolnshire

n The BBC says: ‘We are reviewing

all aspects of pension provision...

and will announce these ....after

the consultation closes.’

Why? We know now of the proposals

for most of the BBC – why

not also for the senior managers?

Something to hide?

Jan Killick responds to the question

as to why the BBC has to act

now by telling us that the current

actuarial valuation has to be finished

before June 30 2011.

Perhaps we could have a Newsnight

session and Mr Paxman might

put the question to Ms Killick again

(and again, and again........)

Daniel Meyer, BBC Symphony, Musicians’

Union Steward

Any letters with questions about the

proposed changes will be answered

online by the BBC Pensions team.

Q&As can be seen at http://tinyurl.


Over the Edge

A small but important correction to

your story about Geoff Watt’s ABSW

lifetime achievement award in the

News section (Ariel, July 27). Geoff

no longer presents Leading Edge on

Radio 4. That series was ‘decommissioned’

in late 2009.

Geoff will, we hope, continue to

present programmes for the BBC

as he is, without doubt, one of the

finest journalists that we have ever

worked with, as well as one of the


Rami Tzabar

exec producer, Radio Science Unit , Bush

Part of a bigger Tory

I’m sure I’m not the only person concerned

by the nature of the cuts to the

licence fee being suggested by the new

government. I signed up to an online

campaign run by www.38degrees.org.

uk that forwards my concerns to my

local MP with the request that they

should protect the BBC from cuts being

made on ideological grounds or to

sweeten Rupert Murdoch.

I duly received a response from

my MP, Roger Gale (Conservative

Thanet North) and wanted to share

his response. He claims to have ‘considerable

affection for what is probably

still, just, the least worst broadcasting

organisation in the world’

and wants to see the public service it

provides preserved. He goes on to say

that he is, ‘from close personal experience,

more aware than many of the

wholly unacceptable level of waste,

gross extravagance and inflated salaries

that are prevalent within a corporation

that has grown like Topsy,

invested vast amounts wholly unnecessarily

in buildings that are now

redundant and, while still capable

of making excellent programmes,

also generates a very considerable

amount of material that is at best infantile

and banal and at worst downright


He used to work for the BBC as a

radio reporter, producer, editor and

television director.

I hope these are the words of a

man who has been an MP in a safe

seat for a long time. If his views are

also held by those at the top of the coalition

government then I think the

BBC is in big trouble.

Trevor Ellis

senior media asst, I&A cataloguing



I met Robert Sandall in 1990. I had

been talking to my friend, the musician

Mark Russell, about the idea of

a live, late night music programme

for Radio 3 where two presenters

from different ends of the musical

spectrum, could play their choices,

discuss them, agree or disagree, providing

a mix which crossed genres.

Mark was classically trained and

into contemporary music. He suggested

Robert, then rock critic on

the Sunday Times, as co presenter.

Mixing It was born.

Robert easily and quickly established

an authoritative, attractive on

air persona.

His conversations with Mark,

their joint enthusiasm and sense of

enquiry about music sparked with

an audience, many of whom were

new listeners to the network. Early

guests included David Sylvian, Steve

Reich, Laurie Anderson and Robert


We would never have guessed the

show would run to 2007.

Robert occasionally presented

R3’s Late Junction and his final programmes

were only last month.

Robert was a true broadcaster and

a great guy and we’ll all miss him.

Tony Cheevers

Philip Tagney writes: I was a producer on

Mixing It with Robert for much of its

17 year run. Robert would sometimes

say joshingly to Mark Russell, after a

particularly abstract piece of free improvisation,

‘Where’s the skill in that

then, Mark?’

He knew, of course, that there was

great skill involved. This now seems to

me pertinent to his radio work, which

was highly accomplished yet seemed

effortless to the listener. Though he

was a rock journalist when he started

on Mixing It, he fearlessly explored

with great enthusiasm all the remoter

edges of the avant garde, from German

improv to Japanese noise.

He had a sharp ear for a good lyric,

an aspect of popular music not

much discussed by radio djs. His understanding

of the art of good music

meant he conducted more in-depth

interviews than the usual fare, and

I remember particularly rewarding

ones with Ry Cooder, Björk, Scott

Walker, PJ Harvey and Radiohead, to

name but a few.

14 Jobs


A snapshot of

working life

Jo Kim, Pronunciation Linguist

and Unit Co-ordinator

How does your day start?

I turn on the radio. I usually listen to the Today Programme

while I’m getting ready for work so I can

catch up with the news and mentally list the day’s

potential pronunciation problems. I do the ‘early’

shift so I’m in at half past nine, email/answering machine

fire fighting before my colleagues get in at ten.

What are the key points in your day?

We’re a very small unit so my daily work can be extremely

varied. I’m constantly on the phone, either

answering pronunciation queries, which can be

challenging, or researching pronunciations. When

I’m compiling the daily news pronunciations, I scan

the news, research potentially difficult words and

get the list on the website before the One o’clock

news. I also have a to-do list of requests, which can

be from quiz shows to radio drama, but when we get

urgent requests from broadcasters about to go live

– or even on air – I have to react at once.

How did you get here?

I grew up in London, did a PhD and was a part-time

interpreter and translator. I did a B.Ed. in French and

Linguistics in Seoul and taught English and French

in Korea. I became interested in phonetics and returned

to London to do a post-grad in the subject. I

was invited to give a seminar on Korean phonetics

to the Pronunciation Unit. I enjoyed it so much, and

was so impressed by the unit’s work, that when I saw

they were recruiting, I applied for the job.

Sandwich as you work or proper break?

I always try to get away from my desk at lunch. The

only physical activity I really get at work is what I call

the ‘dictionary workout’, standing up, turning round

and picking up reference books. (In my defence,

some do weigh a few kilos.) By lunch, I really need a

walk and a breath of fresh air to reset my brain.

Memorable moment at work?

After many hours of research, much controversy

and six months of non-BBC people insisting we were

recommending an incorrect pronunciation, Kai Eide

emailed us to say that he preferred his name to be

said the way we suggested. All three of us had put

a lot of work into that pronunciation – at one point I

even looked into Norwegian sociolinguistics – it was

such a relief to get vindication from the man himself.

How and when does your day end?

I go home, or to my yoga class, and switch off from

listening or speaking for at least an hour!

Tell us about your day’s work;

email Lisette Johnston


a 03·08·10



This week’s

Showcase is

shivering with

Minnie Driver

and sweeping

up sawdust in a

Norman castle. If

you’re working on

a programme or an

event you’d like to

shout about, email

Vanessa Scott

Come on, if you

think you are hard

enough; Professor

Robert Bartlett

explains what made

the Normans



Symphony in 3

Aspiring Mozarts, Bachs and Beethovens

have been penning their greatest works

in preparation for the BBC Proms Inspire

Young Composers competition. Winning

entries from this year’s competition will

be played by the Aurora Orchestra and

conducted by Nicholas Collon at the Royal

College of Music, as part of a special celebration

on Radio 3.

Friday August 6, 9.15pm, Radio 3



Find holy days and festivals by religion,

date or year on the BBC Religion website.

You can also explore different religions

with detailed information about beliefs,

ethics and customs as well as listening

online or downloading podcasts of your

favourite shows.


n bbc two

Beer and hawking for breakfast

Being a ten year old in 1066 was tricky

stuff, a whirl of archery and hawking

classes, fuelled by beer for breakfast.

And by all accounts it was pretty horrid

living in a Norman Castle, carpeted in

stinking straw, shrouded in eye watering

smoke and under siege from a steady

stream of enemy Anglo Saxons.

We know all this thanks to BBC Learning’s

new campaign, Hands on History, which

accompanies the BBC’s Norman Season.

Starting this week on BBC Two with

The Normans, Professor Robert Bartlett

reveals how the Normans evolved from a

band of marauding Vikings into the formidable

warriors who conquered England

in 1066.

The Hands on History team will also

be setting up Norman Walks near you,

teaching you how to make a DIY Bayeaux

Tapestry and create a medieval banquet

(instructions on the BBC History website).

For more on the Normans throughout the

season, go to the Showcase intranet page

– http://tinyurl.com/ShoCo

The Normans, Wednesday August 4,

9pm, BBC Two



Toby Jones and Anna Maxwell Martin star

in Linda Marshall Griffiths’ adaptation of

The Wings of a Dove on Radio 4. As Henry

James aficionados will recall, Kate is in love

with Merton, a poor writer, but her rich

aunt disapproves. Will our protagonist risk

losing her luxurious

lifestyle for her

beau? Episode one

is available now on

iPlayer and you can

go to the Showcase

intranet page for a

preview of episode


Sunday August 8,

3pm, Radio 4



The world’s most famous elephant, Echo,

is remembered in this new episode of

Natural World. David Attenborough pays

tribute to the wise old matriarch who

died in 2009, while the NHU team who

followed her for the last 20 years look at

how her death has affected not only her

herd, but the Amboseli elephant research

project in Kenya.

Echo the





August 5,

8pm, BBC



Dinner ladies

and takeaways

Last year’s winner of the best

dinner ‘lady’ gong at the Radio

4 Food and Farming Awards was

chef John Rankin, who cooks for

his ‘customers’ at Penair

secondary school in

Cornwall. Now in its

11th year, the awards

are inviting nominations

in ten categories,


best dinner lady (or

man), farmer of the

year and best takeaway.

Full details are

on the Radio 4 website

– winners will be

announced in





Korea’s Lost


Every year,


1000 South

Korean children



up for




countries. BBC journalist

Ellen Otzen meets Jane Trenka

(pictured) and Suki Leith, both of

whom were adopted by American

families, to explore the impact that

foreign adoption has had on them.

Friday August 6, 8pm,

World Service

n BBC one


Crushing pressure, boiling vent gases,

freezing temperatures and total darkness

await James Nesbitt and Minnie

Driver as they descend into BBC One

drama The Deep. Boarding oceanographic

submarine the Orpheus, the

team don parkas and travel thousands of

feet below the Arctic ice, searching for a

solution to the energy crisis in a new five

part thriller. Visit the Showcase intranet

page for a clip from the first episode.

Tuesday August 3, 9pm,

BBC One and HD


a 03·08·10

green room

fat dogs finish firsT

With Mad Men star Christina

Hendricks being an ideal shape for

women rather than size 0 models

and the public health minister’s

commandment that obese people

should be called ‘fat’ by their doctors,

issues of the body beautiful

were very much in the public eye

last week.

But no story caught our eye

more than the PDSA’s announcement

that more than a third of UK

dogs are overweight. The team behind

the World Service’s Newshour

programme were so inspired by the

news they issued an internal request

for a ‘fat dog and its owner’ to come

on the programme. ‘The dog might

be on a diet which would be even

better,’ wrote bj James Cowling.

‘Ideally, we would like to do a little

walk about around Bush House at

1900bst. We can provide a cab to

and from Bush House.’

Sadly they never found their

cuddly canine, but the request did

prompt many an amused email wondering

if the proffered cab was because

the dog would be too, ahem,

big-boned to walk there…


...overheard at the BBC

...The soloist hasn’t got any trousers on

and he can’t find BBC Four...

… My finger is the pulse…

…So, was the upshot of that general

mockery that I should start working on

the fat dogs story?...

…A lion would eat me. I have no

pretensions to being harder than a


…Do you think this uni prospectus

would do much damage, full on, in

your face?...

…Of course they don’t really have

problems with mice in America

because they don’t have good

cheese, do they?...


swim to win

The closest some families

get to competition is a tense

game of Scrabble played on

holiday after too much wine.

Jude Pratt’s family, however,

are not the sedentary types.

Jude, who works as a touring

facilitator for BBC Blast at

White City, will be entering an

international swimming competition

this week with her parents and 90-year-old grandfather, who

come from Penwortham in Lancashire.

With a combined age of 245, team Pratt hopes to take home a medal

in a mixed relay race at the 13th FINA World Masters Championships

in Sweden, although 28-year-old Jude is sceptical of their chances:

‘We’re entering the mixed relay so that my grandfather can fulfil his

dream of competing with his family. We’re unlikely to appear on the

winner’s podium, but you never know.’

Grandfather Jim, a WWII veteran, has even bought new swimming

trunks for the special occasion: ‘I’d had the same pair of Speedos for

over 30 years and they served me well, but since I’ll be on the international

stage, I thought it was right to invest in a new pair. I want to look

like I mean business.’ We hope they make a big splash.


a DAB + radio

Stay ahead of the digital radio game with the

new Nevada Sinfonie II digital radio. Not only can

it receive DAB digital radio, which is still scheduled to

replace FM in the UK in 2015, it also works with DAB+ and

DMB-A – two other DAB systems currently in use around the

world. It also includes a multi national UK/European mains

adaptor as well as optional battery power, so is perfect for


We have two Nevada Sinfonie IIs to give away.

To enter to win one, tell us what DAB stands for. Email ariel.

competitions by August 10.

No offence to Austin Reed: men’s office attire is

generally pretty dull. But there is always someone

who dares to be different and so it is with John

Shield. The head of comms for journalism is off to

a new job, but it seems that his colleagues will remember

him most for his outrageous footwear. In a

farewell email, Ed Williams (head of MC&A comms)

mourns the departure of his rather original purple

pointy shoes (above). ‘They’re a marvel’, John tells

us. We think David Brent would have approved.

Out of office of the summer goes to head of safety

Paul Greeves for his charming piece of travel writing.

‘I’m away for two weeks,’ reads his automated

response, ‘getting some sun, swimming, playing

tennis, sailing small boats and otherwise mucking

about in the sea, reading a book or two, perhaps

seeing the odd sight, playing with my kids, talking

to my wife, eating some nice food, drinking a little,

possibly even dancing.’ Sounds divine. Seen better?

Let us know.


neilhimself Sent 7th draft of Dr Who ep off

to BBC. It’s 2:30am. I hope they like it. Pray for me.

Or sacrifice to strange gods. Or just hope..

Neil Gaiman, author

JemStone Favourite BBC acronyms or related:


4.GLOW 5.OMG 6.SMEF. I’ve also just heard of

PROJECT CRUYFF.Jem Stone, social media exec

richardpbacon Greg Wallace from

Masterchef today. I’ll be honest, it really would

help me out if you had some questions...

Richard Bacon, 5 live presenter


Hooray! Your file is uploaded and ready to be published.

Saved successfully!

Ooh no, something went wrong!