Category Archives: BBC

Gender equality at work is a matter of respect, not just money | Gaby Hinsliff

Half a century after Dagenham, sexism still shapes salaries. But demanding high earners ‘justify their wage’ is a red herring

Fifty years ago this spring, the sewing machinists at Ford’s Dagenham plant famously downed tools and in doing so changed history. But contrary to popular belief, the strike that nudged Barbara Castle into creating the Equal Pay Act didn’t start over equal pay. It was originally a demand for recognition, for the women who stitched Ford’s car seats to be acknowledged for what they really were. A regrading exercise had classified the men on the factory floor as skilled workers entitled to higher rates, but lumped the women in with janitors as unskilled labour. It was the casual dismissal of what they did that rankled.

Eventually, the women returned to work for 92% of the men’s pay but it took another 16 years, and a second strike, to get what they wanted: recognition that they were just as skilled as the men, that their work should be taken seriously. It was never just about the money.

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Source: gad

Carrie Gracie tells MPs the BBC is in real trouble over equal pay – video

Carrie Gracie, the BBC’s former China editor, made a series of damning claims about the corporation’s management in an extraordinary hearing with MPs, saying they were not living up to the BBC’s values and had briefed against her by claiming she worked part-time. She said women were being made to feel belittled and their work was being marginalised. Her comments will increase the pressure on the BBC over pay equality, which began last summer when the broadcaster’s pay list revealed that two-thirds of its best-paid on-air staff were men. Gracie resigned as China editor in January in protest at the ‘secretive and illegal’ pay culture at the BBC

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Source: gad

The cult of Mary Beard

How a late-blossoming classics don became Britain’s most beloved intellectual. By Charlotte Higgins

The first time I saw Mary Beard, I was 17. It was 1989, and she was speaking at a joint open day for the Oxford and Cambridge classics faculties. She was utterly unlike the other speakers, who, as I recall them, were Oxbridge dons straight from central casting: tweedy, forbidding, male. Instead of standing at a lectern like everyone else, she perched rakishly on the edge of a desk. She was dressed in a vaguely hippyish, embroidered black dress, and a cascade of black hair tumbled around her shoulders. Greg Woolf, now director of the Institute of Classical Studies at the University of London, recalls another one of those open days, in the early 1990s. “I spoke, and then another big hairy bloke like me spoke. And then Mary came on and said: ‘Well, you’ve heard what the boys have got to say.’ And you could see that she’d already won everyone’s hearts.”

Everyone who has met Beard seems to have a story about encountering her for the first time – usually involving her rigorous intellect, her total lack of formality, and her sense of mischief. One of her former students, Emily Kneebone, remembers supervisions – one-to-one or two-to-one teaching sessions – at Newnham, the women-only Cambridge college to which Beard has been attached for most of her adult life, first as a student, then as a don. She would teach from a chaise longue: “At first she’d be in a normal position, but as the hour progressed she would gradually slide further and further down so you could only see her feet.” One junior colleague still remembers Beard introducing herself, at a conference almost 25 years ago, with the overture, “Give us a fag, darlin’.”

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Source: gad

Hobbit director turns first world war footage into film for centenary

Peter Jackson project uses restored archive footage to show human experience of war

Archive footage of the first world war has been restored and colourised for a new Peter Jackson film to be shown on the BBC and distributed to every secondary school in the UK.

The Oscar-winning film-maker admitted even he had been surprised by what was possible using the latest technology. “We can make this grainy, flickery, sped-up footage look like it was shot in the last week or two,” he said. “It looks like it was shot with high-definition cameras … it is so sharp and clear now.”

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Source: gad

Forget Scandi: the natural home of dark drama is Wales now

Otherworldly landscapes, experienced TV crews and state support are giving the country a dramatic leg-up

A haunting BBC One series is being heralded as the latest evidence of a boom in Welsh drama and television.

Requiem, which starts early next month, tells the story of a young cellist (Lydia Wilson) who becomes drawn into a decades-old mystery involving a small Welsh community and a missing child. Its unusual blend of horror, crime drama and supernatural chills could only have been achieved by shooting in Wales, said its Australian creator, Kris Mrksa.

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Source: gad

I admire my old BBC colleagues hugely. But it’s time to cap their pay | Robin Lustig

The row over corporation salaries is actually three scandals in one: radical action is now needed

When I started working for the BBC nearly 30 years ago, what I was going to get paid never even came up for discussion. I was just starting out as a freelance radio news presenter, with nearly 20 years’ experience as a journalist under my belt (including more than a decade on this newspaper), and I was simply paid per programme. The BBC set the rate, I accepted it, and that was that.

It never occurred to me that had I been a woman, they might have offered me less. My earliest records date from 1991, when I was paid £260 for presenting an edition of The World Tonight on Radio 4, and £235 for Newshour on the World Service. So if I had presented three programmes a week for 46 weeks a year, I would have earned between £32,430 and £35,880 per annum, roughly equivalent to between £67,000 and £75,000 today.

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Source: gad

Hypnotic thriller that haunted a nation inspires remakes for a new generation

Half a century after novel depicted tragedy at Hanging Rock, updated film and theatre versions shed new light

In the searing heat of an Australian Valentine’s Day, a small party of schoolgirls set out for a local beauty spot, Hanging Rock. Some were never to return. The shocking incident, whether imagined or real, as some still believe, has haunted the national psyche ever since the publication of Joan Lindsay’s novel Picnic at Hanging Rock in 1967.

Regarded as a key work of modern Australian literature, Lindsay’s hypnotic puzzle soon spawned a classic film version that was to beguile and disturb audiences around the world.

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Source: gad

BBC reports surge in calls to helpline after year of traumatic storylines

Action Line had 431,000 calls and online visits, including 127,000 in response to programmes dealing with sexual abuse

More than 127,000 people contacted the BBC to enquire about support for sexual abuse victims this year after the broadcast of related storylines in high-profile dramas such as Three Girls and Apple Tree Yard.

Viewers were encouraged to get in contact with the BBC’s Action Line service if they needed support or information regarding issues in their own lives. Three Girls was based on the true story of a child sex abuse ring in Rochdale while Apple Tree Yard featured a graphic rape scene.

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Source: gad