Wrinkly women in the media

Yet there is a basic injustice that we have allowed to take hold in our public life and that is the removal of older women from it regardless of whether they have relevant life experience or expertise.

Sigh.

It is necessary, as the phrase goes, to look at this in the whole.

A pleasant looking young bird has more chance to get on the TV than a not pleasant looking young bird or a young man of any degree of pleasantness. Attributes such as big tits, nice bum, long legs, shiny hair, all help.

Perhaps this should not be so but it is.

It\’s therefore not a surprise that when some of those attributes which created the job opportunity in the first place fade away then so does the job opportunity.

As and when being young, pert and good looking is not an aid in getting into TV in the first place then we might indeed reasonably complain about the absence of those factors being a reason for not being on TV.

It\’s a fact that young and pretty whores get more punters than old and ugly ones. Why should anyone think it different for media tarts?

There\’s models and then there\’s models

My word!

Mick Aston quits Time Team after producers hire former model co-presenter
Mick Aston, the archeologist, has quit Time Team after producers hired a former model as the programme’s co-presenter.

So, toothsome bimbo to get her nipples out for the lads. Kown as the Dimmock Strategy. Woo Hoo! And I can see why a serious scientists like Professor Mick Aston would be upset.

An email to archaeologists last year from Wildfire Television, which makes the programme, said it was seeking a female co-presenter who “does not have to be overly experienced or knowledgeable as we have plenty of expertise within the existing team”.

I get it now, this is Sam Fox\’s comeback attempt, isn\’t it?

So, who did they hire?

Miss Ochota, 30, holds a master’s degree in archaeology and anthropology from Cambridge University and has previsouly done modelling work, including shoots for Special K.

See! See! Nothing but a smile above a nice pair.

And over in a parallel universe it is noted that the art of modelling for Special K is the ability to look happy about the way in which your breakfast cereal has allowed to you to have a really good shit. But in a delightfully feminine manner.

A suitable skill for someone who is to work with that emetic Tony Robinson I would have thought.

Polly\’s gargantuan, massive, huge, fail

Re the BBC and Sky, here.

But here\’s a tidy sum the BBC could recoup for us all. The Murdoch press has relentlessly lobbied to cut the BBC back to a US-style small subscription service for unprofitable programmes. Now, while Murdoch is weakened, is the chance for the BBC to regain lost ground. Here\’s the big issue: when Margaret Thatcher helped Murdoch launch Sky with exemptions from EU broadcasting rules, she added another bonus. She made the BBC pay £10m a year to be transmitted on the Sky platform, although across the rest of Europe commercial broadcasters pay public broadcasters for the privilege of using their content. By rights Sky should pay many hundreds of millions. If the BBC withdrew, Sky would totter since BBC channels are by far the most watched by Sky subscribers, yet Sky charges an average £500 per customer, compared with the BBC\’s £145.50 licence fee –and yet the BBC massively outproduces Sky content. It\’s time Sky paid full value.

It\’s worth going through the comments to get the full, rampant, stupidity of this statement.

The first and most obvious point is that you must already have paid a TV licence fee in order to be able to watch Sky. Even if you don\’t in fact watch any of the BBC programmes at all. So the direction of subsidy seems wrong in the first place.

Then there\’s this:

I\’m sorry but this is just plain wrong.

Sky does not transmit BBC programmes or channels. The BBC rents transmitter (strictly transponder) space on satellites which are for the most part run by a Luxembourg based company called SES Astra. Those channels are what is called \”free to air\” which means that they can be picked up by any suitable satellite receiver. There are currently three kinds of receiver in the UK: Sky, Freesat and Generic.

Sky and Freesat both run Electronic Programme Guide systems. While these are seen by the user as a means of telling what\’s on, behind the scenes they give the receiver the information to tune in to the appropriate transmission. It is possible, but awkward, to receive channels that are not listed in the Sky EPG on a Sky receiver.

Sky\’s EPG is open in principle to all broadcasters at rates approved by Ofcom.

The BBC wants to be on Sky\’s EPG, at least for the time being, because it is afraid that if it were not then those households that take Sky would simply not watch BBC.

Or this:

I\’m sorry Polly, but you\’re wrong on several counts.
Firstly, the BBC DOES NOT pay Sky £10million to be \”transmitted on the Sky platform\”, they pay that sum for regional variations to be supplied to the correct area\’s set-top boxes. Nobody forces the BBC to request that service, it\’s the BBC\’s choice.
The BBC actually pays SES (the owner of the Astra satellites) to be broadcast to the same homes Sky broadcast to. Do you therefore think that SES, a foreign company that spends not short of a fortune providing broadcast satellites, should also be giving free access to the BBC?
Seccondly, I\’m not entirely sure you\’re pointing the finger at the right person as to whom \”made the BBC pay […] to be transmitted on the Sky platform\” (although I like your attempt to put the blame on the Guardian\’s favourite devil, Margret Thatcher). If you actually look at the facts, the BBC wasn\’t broadcast over the Astra satellite system until the launch of Sky Digital in 1998, by which time, I\’m sure you know, Thatcher was well gone from N°10.
As for your argument about the placing of the BBC\’s childrens channels; is it not reasonable and fair that a first come, first served case is applied, or do you think Sky (and Virgin and BT and anyone else providing a platform) should reserve great swathes of higher channel number just in case the BBC decides they want to go into a channel area that others have been providing for longer?
The reason the BBC\’s childrens channels are at the numbers they are is simply because the other channels in that category were there first, it\’s not an anti-BBC conspiracy.
Out of interest, do you think the BBC should get a free service when other\’s have to pay for the same? In which case, do you also think they should (for example) get free electricity, or free taxi rides?

And the number of people who both claim that Sky is a monopoly and then refer to the BBC, Freeview, Virgin etc. *Bangs head on table*. If there\’s competition it\’s not a monopoly is it?

Finally.

It\’s true that Sky pays many people for content that it then broadcasts. It\’s even possible that it could pay the BBC for content that it then broadcasts. But, you see, the quid pro quo in such arrangements is that, in common with cable systems, satellite systems, free to air systems, the world over, the broadcaster gets to stick ads around the content that it has just expensively acquired.

I\’ve no idea what the Murdochs or anyone else would think of this but I\’m absolutely fine with Sky being encouraged to reach an entirely normal, commercial, contract with the BBC. Just fine with their reaching a deal whereby they cough up anything from thruppence to hundreds of millions to broadcast the content. As long as they\’re allowed to sell that ad space at what they can to go with it.

I\’m even happy for the other variation of such contracts to be used. The BBC sells the adspace and then splits the cash with Sky.

Only that if you\’re going to force them into a commercial rather than privileged contract then you\’ve got to go to a fully commercial contract, don\’t you?

Update, this gets even better:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/speeches/stories/dyke_londonbusinessschool.shtml

Greg Dyke\’s speech about the BBC and Sky:

Speech given to the London Business School – Media Alumni Dinner
12 March 2003

From June this year, we will broadcast BBC channels free from encryption. This brings us into line with the way most other public service channels are broadcast in Europe – and we will consequently be paying very little to Sky.
By no longer using the Sky conditional access system we will be able to use some of the money saved to offer all of our different services for the nations and English regions to satellite viewers anywhere in the UK.
That means wherever you are from and wherever you live now, you will be able to choose the local news and other programming you want from anywhere in the UK. If you are a Welshman living in Yorkshire you can still watch BBC Wales. If you are a Londoner living in Orkney you will be able to watch BBC London.
Just think what a benefit that is for the huge numbers of people who have moved away from the place they were brought up but want to stay in touch with their home area. It\’s a great example of using technology to extend the choice we offer our viewers.
To sum up I\’d like to make clear what our decisions on Freeview and digital satellite have in common. For me, they go to the heart of what the BBC is here for.
This move has great advantages for the BBC and for audiences in general.
this is a great chance for us to deliver significant long-term benefits to UK audiences and to help drive digital so that more homes will be able to receive all our services. It allows digital satellite to break free from the straight-jacket of subscription. It will increase its appeal to a wider cross section of people, many of whom are put off satellite by the need for a contract.
Third it offers a subscription-free alternative for the four million people outside the transmission range of Freeview.
Fourth it makes the likelihood of analogue switch off by the end of this decade more likely, and that\’s a policy supported by all the main political parties. When this happens it will mean everyone will be able to receive all our digital television services and true universality will once again exist for the BBC.

Finally the move also means we can make major improvements to the BBC regional services we offer via satellite to our audiences all over the UK.

…our decision today to offer our services free to air on satellite are borne of our continuing commitment to those aims.
We are making all of our services available to more people. We are improving the quality and range of what we offer and we are providing better value for money from the licence fee.
Our decision to get involved in Freeview helped rewrite the rules of digital television and has demonstrated the benefits of providing people with an alternative to subscription television.
Our decision to broadcast our services over satellite, bypassing Sky, is no less significant.
It too will help us follow Reith\’s principle of bringing the best of everything to the greatest number of homes.
Thank you.

How times have changed

Leone, whose real name is Karen Malhotra, has been appearing in Bigg Boss, the Indian version of Big Brother, where a group of minor celebrities spend months in a house cut off from the world, vying for publicity and a cash prize.

It\’s now necessary to explain what Big Brother is.

O Tempora, O Mores etc.

Ah no Mr. Cohen, no

I should make a declaration of interest here: I have taken Press TV\’s shilling. Did a few pieces with them when I was working in London.

So, that said:

If the clerical state bought British newspapers or set up websites, I would not call for regulators to compel them to be accurate and impartial, and ban them if they refused. I would argue against the clerics\’ doctrines and conspiracy theories, but accept that they had a right to put their views. They deny that same free speech to the subject population of Iran, but no matter: liberty means allowing freedom to people who have done nothing to deserve it.

Enforced impartiality in broadcasting, however, is still a cause that is worth defending from the attacks by corporations and governments which are aching for the right to propagandise and the betrayals of Ofcom officials who subvert fairness in the name of \”diversity\”. Society is entitled to say that there should be a corner in the marketplace of ideas where journalists and their managers and owners must respect notions of fairness and balance, particularly when radio and television stations continue to be controlled by the state or by wealthy individuals and corporations.

No, I\’m afraid not.

You could, just about, make a case for insisting upon impartiality and balance (something which sadly all too often becomes just spouting the coventional wisdom, see BBC over euro for example) when the number of TV stations was limited.

As it indeed it was at one point. Not just through government licencing but through the basics of the technology. The limits to spectrum. It was only possible to have four stations, perhaps five the last with slightly spotty coverage. Now we have cable and or satellite. We simply do not have that technical limit to the number of nutters and ranters who can broadcast their views at us.

The technical limitations are now almost the same as the number of blogs there can be: pretty much none.

In fat, I think it would be true to say that it is now cheaper to set up a TV station looking for national distribution than it would be to try and set up a newspaper with such.

Yes, the newspaper might still be cheaper to produce but the TV station distribution would be cheaper I hazard.

At which point no, the argument that we must preserve a scarce and precious resource from being overwhelmed by nutters fails I\’m afraid. Press TV, the BNP, the CPGB, GBCP, SWP, Judean Peoples\’ and Peoples\’ Judean, all should be allowed on the airwaves.

Quite apart from anything else we want to know what the nutters are saying so that we can reject them.

Fascinating business tidbit

Traditionally, kids entertainment groups have made just 10% of their income from broadcast commissions, with the balance generated by DVD and merchandise sales. Many companies have been squeezed by the global decline in DVD sales, while increasingly broadcasters expect to pay nothing for children\’s television shows commissioned from outside rights holders.

While Entertainment One has turned in a sparkling performance in recent years, it too has had to make concessions to broadcasters. In order to secure Peppa Pig its slot on the Nick Jr channel in the US, it is thought to have paid all production costs and agreed to share income from merchandising.

\”If you can\’t broadcast these things on television then you can\’t sell any merchandise, so you do have to get the product aired,\” says analyst Ian Berry at Cenkos, broker to Entertainment One. \”But the potential royalty income from merchandise is almost 100% margin.\”

OK, so we all know that the TV shows lead to pester power for the Peppa Pig lunch box, the Peppa Pig waterproof nappy (no child would be seen dead at the beach without it) and the Peppa Pig doll, poster, DVD.

But it\’s a fascinating little detail of capitalism the way the money moves around, isn\’t it? The TV stations aren\’t paying the people who make the programs any more. In fact, the people who own the rights to sell the lunch boxes are in fact paying the TV stations (that\’s the \”sharing of merchandising revenues\”) to show the programs.

The scarce resource here isn\’t in fact the character or the TV program. The scarce resource is the audience and thus the money flows to whoever it is who has access to that audience, that is, the TV station.

Al Gore and Sky Italia

Al says his Current TV is being forced off Sky Italia because he\’s hiring Keith Olbermann in the US.

Sly says that Current TV wanted more money for the fewer viewers it was delivering.

A News Corp spokesman said: \”The non-renewal of Current TV\’s carriage agreement with Sky Italia is purely commercial. Current TV asked Sky Italia for double the carriage fee when prime-time viewing had fallen by 40% in the past year. Sky Italia\’s offer was in line with the market and reflected the performance of the channel. It had nothing to do with politics.\”

No, I dunno either, make up your own mind.

Honestly, some people

So there\’s this bird who reads the local news and she\’s about to get married:

Yankee announcer Michael Kay is a real meathead.

And now that local TV anchor Jodi Applegate is about to marry him, she\’s desperately trying to figure out how to please a man wedded to only three foods: steak, bacon, and chicken parmesan.

Err, you give him a blow job while his bacon wrapped steak and chicken parmesan is cooking.

Honestly, and some people say the bimbos on TV aren\’t thick.

Anti-female ageism at the BBC

Selina Scott: Why I believe the BBC is guilty of blatant ageism and sexism

Well, yes. OK.

It exists.

However, such complaints would work rather better if they weren\’t coming from women who were clearly and obviously swiftly promoted in the first place because they were appealing eye candy.

Yes, the totty gets on camera and the not totty does not. Perhaps this is all vile and horrible discrimination. But those who were totty and are now aged totty might be seen as trying to have that cake and eat it too.

Where\’s the campaign to put munts on the box?

Eh?

Jurors were told Pritchard presented and starred in a show called Dirty Sanchez.

There\’s a TV show called \”Dirty Sanchez\”?

I assume that means something different in the UK than it does the US?

WTF?

A terminally-ill volunteer is being sought to donate their body for a reality television show backed by Channel 4 that would see them mummified and possibly placed on display in a museum.

No, not that, I\’m sure there are weirder shows in development.

This:

Fulcrum is not offering any payment for the project, other than to meet costs. \”The advice from our compliance lawyers is that it would be wrong to offer payment,\” Mr Belfield said.

Why is something all fine and dandy as long as filthy lucre doesn\’t come into it but offering a bit of cash so somebody can die in a sea of champagne makes it evil?

Quite bleedin\’ obviously

Teenagers are being ignored by television programme makers, according to Phil Redmond, the creator of Grange Hill.

Statements of the bloody obvious.

As you\’re now not allowed to advertise anything interesting (KFC, McDonalds, the sorts of things that teenagers might indeed spend their own discretionary money upon) to teenagers then there\’s no money to make programmes aimed at teenagers.

Exactly the same reason there\’s so little new programming for the ickle kiddies.

The law insists that there\’s no money to be made in doing so so people don\’t do so.

Simples.

On the boycott of Glenn Beck

Hey, lefties, boycott away.

You are, after all, only making your preferences known by the way that you spend your money. You know, that market shtick thing, the thing which we froth-mouthed righties insist we should all enjoy all the time.

Maybe you\’d like to return the favour sometime? You know, let us make our preferences known in the way that we spend our money in a free market?

However:

Beck\’s grotesque description of Obama is hardly out of character. We\’ve all seen the YouTube video of Beck talking about the president against a backdrop of goose-stepping Nazis. Earlier this year, in a too-nice New York Times profile, those of us who are not regular viewers (that is, just about everyone who is reading this commentary) learned Beck was passing along rumours that Obama was building concentration camps. Then, too, the liberal watchdog group Media Matters for America has been documenting Beck\’s outrages for years, going back to his days of denying global warming on CNN Headline News.

A tad over the top don\’t you think?

Climate change denialism is the same as accusing the President of being a Nazi?

Eh?

And?

Clarkson, who previously had to apologise to Gordon Brown in February after calling him \”a one-eyed Scottish idiot\”, described him as a \”cunt\” in not-for-broadcast comments during the recording of this week\’s Top Gear programme on Wednesday night.

Isn\’t the BBC supposed to be a reflection of the myriad opinions and communities of Britain? Clarkson was communing there with one of the larger such groups wasn\’t he?

Age discrimination

I dunno, dunno:

It was courageous of Selina Scott to sue Five for age discrimination last year: they asked her to cover Natasha Kaplinsky\’s maternity leave and then picked a younger model. Scott won, hurrah for her, and this week she delivered an angry diatribe about the \”ageist BBC\”, which had given Arlene Phillips the boot from Strictly Come Dancing.

Do I think there is age discrimination against women in presenting on TV? Sure.

But I think it\’s a bit rich some of these women complaining about it. For most (many? some? all?) were chosen for the job at least partly on the basis of their looks. Yes, that\’s also sexist and discriminatory but it strikes me that there are those who are entirely happy to accept the benefits of a high salary for being good looking but then complain when the looks are gone and they don\’t get that salary.

I\’d have rather more sympathy for their argument if they were fighting to make sure that some bird of 30, who also looks like the back of a bus, got one of those high paid jobs rather than whining that they only had 20 years doing it themselves as a result of the shape of their cheekbones.

Stephen King\’s idea for a new TV channel

Surprisingly good actually:

Last, and possibly best, the ultimate reality channel: TONTINE TV (not to be confused with the reality show that has drifted in and out of development over the last couple of years). As originally conceived over 300 years ago, a tontine was an investment scheme, but I see it as a supercontest. Tontine TV would pick two dozen newborn babies and put $250,000 for each one into a nice safe money market fund. Over the years, the seed money would grow to a staggering sum. Generations of avid TV viewers would watch as babies become children, then teenagers, young adults, and finally senior citizens. The last survivor gets all the dough, which by then might total a billion dollars. Makes Who Wants to be a Millionaire look like a candy store, doesn\’t it? Imagine the excitement when we get down to the final three or four survivors! You could argue that the winner — who\’s maybe 104 or so at that point, and not all that spiffy in the cognition department — wouldn\’t enjoy the money much. Maybe not…but think of his or her inheritors! Sports cars all around! For me, this one can\’t come too soon.

Abolish the BBC

And make the country happier.

Academics found happy people socialise more, read more newspapers and have more sex – but watch less television.

Those who are unhappy watch up to 30 per cent more television than happy people, John Robinson and Steven Martin of the University of Maryland discovered.

There\’s the usual academic quibbling about correlation and causation, of course, but we don\’t need to worry about that too much. A simple overview of the dreck that is pumped out is enough to nail it, it\’s the TV watching that makes you unhappy.

Thus the abolition of the BBC will make people happier. QED.

If only

The research found that the new channel pulled in more than double the projected audience of 250,000, finding that 15 per cent of the Scottish population tuned into the station in the week following its launch on September 19.

One in four Highlands and Islands viewers tuned on over the first week.

The figures were seen as particularly encouraging as the channel only broadcasts between 5pm and 11pm each day and only boasts a budget of £14.

Should be able to cut the licence fee if that\’s all a TV station costs….

Butt Lifting Underwear

One of those strange PR spam attempts that arrive in email boxes every day. About some reality TV show. 

After successfully working with Janice last season, Andrew Christian goes to meet with Janice as he is looking for the perfect model, or more importantly the "best butt" to represent his recently released butt-lifting underwear Flashback in a new Fall advertising campaign.

Umm, if the butt lifting underwear really works, why would you want to find the " best butt" to model them? Wouldn\’t the lift and separate performance of the item in question mean that any old butt could be used to show them off?