Category Archives: BBC

The Split: Abi Morgan on how she blew the wig off the British legal drama

They wear sharp suits and power-walk to meetings with scandalous celebrity clients. But the solicitor sisters in this glamorous new divorce drama are not what they seem

‘The idea for the show came from three things,” says Abi Morgan. “I was coming up to 50 and, having spent two decades with the same man, was starting to think about 21st-century marriage and relationships. Then I met a mother who was a divorce lawyer and got talking to her about family law.”

The third angle derives from the fact that Morgan, the acclaimed writer behind The Hour and River, is herself a child of divorce, her parents having split when she was 11. “I was really interested in that legacy, how it can affect people in different ways.”

Continue reading…
Source: gad

BBC journalist accuses Russian politician of sexual harassment

Farida Rustamova is third journalist to make harassment claims against Leonid Slutsky

A BBC journalist has accused a senior Russian politician of sexually harassing her during an interview in his parliamentary office.

Farida Rustamova, who works for the BBC’s Russian service, is the third female journalist to make allegations of a sexual nature against Leonid Slutsky, a pro-Kremlin MP who heads the State Duma’s foreign affairs committee.

Continue reading…
Source: gad

It’s nice to win but Britain is choking on a toxic obsession with medals | Barney Ronay

The fetishising of Team GB feeds into the notion of medal hunting, of glossy PR at the expense of sport for all

In medical practice the phrase “the dose is the poison” is sometimes used to describe the principle that an excess of anything can be deadly. Take enough of it and it will kill you, from kitten tears to unicorn laughter to everyday ingestion of diesel residue from your own family car.

At times during the BBC’s coverage of the Winter Olympics it has been tempting to wonder if this rule also applies to extreme, nauseating doses of public niceness; if it is possible, given sufficient exposure, to die of niceness.

Continue reading…
Source: gad

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.

Continue reading…
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

Continue reading…
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’.”

Continue reading…
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.”

Continue reading…
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.

Continue reading…
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.

Continue reading…
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.

Continue reading…
Source: gad