The Aged P

…just toasting and ruminating….

Archive for the 'TV' Category

08 October
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I Knew Nothing About Allegations Of Abuse Of Underage Girls By BBC Star, Says Former BBC Boss Who Is About To Take Over As CEO Of The New York Times…

hhhhmmmm….former BBC Director General Mark Thompson, soon to take up his new job as CEO of the New York Times has just been asked a rather awkward question – how much did he know about the pulling of a BBC programme that investigated allegations that a top BBC star, Jimmy Savile, who died in 2011, was a serial abuser of underage girls.

Although the BBC pulled the programme their rivals at ITV aired a more extensive exposure a few days ago which has forced the BBC onto the back foot.
Thompson claims he had nothing to do with cancelling the Newsnight piece and was totally unaware of the rumours about Savile that had been circulating around the BBC for many years.

After Savile died on October 29 last year, Newsnight spent six weeks investigating allegations that he abused pupils from Duncroft school in Surrey at the height of his fame in the 1970s.
BBC journalists spoke to ten women who claimed they had been abused or had knowledge of abuse at the school, which shut in 1980.
But the investigation was never aired after Peter Rippon, editor of Newsnight, decided to abandon the broadcast in December, shortly before the BBC broadcast three tributes to Savile over Christmas.
After it was dropped, an angry BBC journalist is said to have cornered Mr Thompson at a Christmas drinks party in London to complain.

Thompson got the job at the NYT because of his reputation as a smooth operator with his finger on the pulse of his organisation – yet he claims to be totally oblivious of the implications for the BBC of the Savile programme being pulled.

That’s OK then…..

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14 May
Comments Off on Britain’s Got Talent 2012 Public Vote – Old Fashioned Values Back In Fashion?

Britain’s Got Talent 2012 Public Vote – Old Fashioned Values Back In Fashion?

For the first time Britain’s Got Talent was not won by a singer or a dancer – but by a schoolgirl and the dog that sleeps under a sink in the family’s utility room – and though we were transfixed by the soaring operatic voices of Jonathan & Charlotte and our spines tingled with the passion of the Welsh boy’s choir we fell in love with Ashleigh and her dog Pudsey.

The public put those three acts top of the poll – a girl and her dog, two young people singing opera and a choir singing Welsh hymns. No rap, no hip hop, no street dancing, no pseudo Beyonces, it was almost revisiting the times of innocence in the 1950s…

The normally curmudgeonly and combative Jan Moir probably summed up the victory of Ashleigh and Pudsey best of all

what I love most about Pudsey and Ashleigh is the innocence. In the end, it is all about a teenage girl, her pet dog and the deep bonds forged between them as they grow up together.

Amen to that, Jan….

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14 March
Comments Off on Downton Abbey Creator Wants To Destroy A Few Myths About “The Titanic”

Downton Abbey Creator Wants To Destroy A Few Myths About “The Titanic”

Good news – Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey is making a four part television drama about the Titanic. It will not be able to match the magnificent special effects of James Cameron’s Hollywood blockbuster but he does hope to avoid Camerons simplistic and hackneyed symbolism of the ship as a microcosm of the class struggle where plucky but poor steerage passengers were left to drown while the rich seized all the lifeboats.

He points out that third class women and children were rescued ahead of first class men, that all the evidence appears to indicate a fairly orderly evacuation and that, above all, there is no guarantee that a similar accident happening today would be handled more effectively.

Indeed he believes that our modern assumption that previous generations were less adept at organising a bold and efficient response to the unexpected merely demonstrates a baseless arrogance and a shallow understanding of the past. We have convinced ourselves that the contemporary tendency to “emote” and sustain the continuous mantra of “caring and sharing” somehow endows us with a higher purpose in life.

The mistake is to imagine the sort of Channel 4 thing that everything was ghastly until 1968 and Woodstock and then it all took a tremendous turn for the better. That’s essentially bogus. Every period has some things to offer that worked well and others that were unjust and wrong and repressive.

Whoops – take care, Julian…in some quarters going public with the view that maybe previous generations made a better fist of things than team 21st century might well be characterised as a “Hate Crime”….

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02 March
Comments Off on Anyone Remember Those TV Westerns From The 50s/60s?

Anyone Remember Those TV Westerns From The 50s/60s?

Anyone remember those TV Westerns that dominated the screens in both the USA and UK during the 50s and 60s? They were evicted wholesale after Fred Silverman of CBS instigated his “rural purge” in 1970.

Why did CBS and the other networks close them down? Who knows, because ratings were certainly not low. The Western on page or screen always had an appeal both inside and outside the USA.

Nothing quite exemplifies this like the American West, which for many people meant freedom, a second chance, a way to start over and make their way in the world.

People traveled west for a variety of reasons, but if you were to distill all those reasons down to the essence, you’re left with “I want to better my lot in life.” The idea that the lives of children and grandchildren should be better than the lives of their parents and grandparents still exists to this day.

Themes of redemption, second chances, and bettering yourself are fairly universal. They’re easy to relate to. We all experience the desire for forgiveness. We all have regrets and want to start over, even if it’s just in a small way.

Maybe the 1960s urban media elite were not too keen on that rather individualistic ethic….

The TV westerns might be long gone from the networks (although still around on specialist channels) but I guarantee that the opening themes will stir up some memories amongst the more mature…

Started in 1955 Wyatt Earp

Also in 1955 Cheyenne

1957 Maverick

1957 Wagon Train (notice a very famous guest star in this clip?)

1959 Rawhide

1959 Laramie

1959 Bonanza

….and, in 1962, The Virginian

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26 January
Comments Off on Why Do We Like These Clips? Maybe Because Most Of Us Regard Criminals As Slimeballs…

Why Do We Like These Clips? Maybe Because Most Of Us Regard Criminals As Slimeballs…

If you read the UK Guardian or watched the BBC you would think that the people of Britain are always very concerned about police brutality and criminals “rights”. In truth most feel the pendulum has swung too far in that direction, particularly in working class areas where thieves and thugs often make life a misery for the law abiding, tax paying majority.

Which is why there are still fond memories of Inspector Regan and Sgt Carter in “The Sweeney”, a 1970s police series based on the Flying Squad, a special detective unit that focussed on London’s violent professional criminal gangs (Sweeney Todd=Flying Squad in cockney rhyming slang)

The Sweeney viewed all criminals as slimeballs leeching off the hard work of the law abiding and their dealings with the underworld could rarely be described as “nuanced”

So popular was that style of policing with the general public that the character of Inspector Gene Hunt in the recent (2008-2010)retro series of “Ashes to Ashes” (set in the 1980s) briefly sparked a Gene Hunt for Prime Minister petition…

This suspicion that we have exorcised the fear of the law from the criminal mind with soft policing and a “caring” judiciary is often reinforced by the actions of the law when an ordinary citizen seeks to defend his or her property or physical safety when confronted by lawbreakers – hence the frisson of delight most of us have in movie scenes where the tables are turned on some criminal who expects his victim to be terrified into meek obedience when faced with the threat of violence by knife….

…or by gun…

Alas, lawyers and judges will probably ensure that those clips remain just….fantasies…

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