Friday, February 17, 2012

With Nothing To Lose And No More To Win

The advertising watchdog has received almost one hundred complaints that a Channel Four advertising campaign for hit documentary Big Fat Gypsy Weddings is offensive and racist. Channel Four's billboard campaign – which feature the words 'Bigger. Fatter. Gypsier' printed over images of Gypsy girls and children – led to complaints being lodged by the London Gypsy & Traveller Unit and London assembly members Jennette Arnold and John Biggs. The Advertising Standards Authority said that it has so far received ninety seven complaints about the advertising campaign, with most concerned that it is offensive to Gypsies. Some of the complainants also raised concerns about the use of the word 'gypsier,' which they believe is racist. A spokesman said that the ASA is currently assessing the complaints to see whether there is grounds for launching an investigation into whether Channel Four has broken the advertising code. Christine Cawley, an Irish Traveller who lives in London, criticised Channel Four's campaign in a piece for the Gruniad Morning Star's Comment is Free section on Tuesday, arguing that the broadcaster 'seems to be using who we are against us in a way that feels very hard to take.' The London Gypsy & Traveller Unit delivered a letter of complaint to Channel Four on Tuesday, addressed to the chief creative officer, Jay Hunt, and chief executive, David Abraham, raising concerns over the stereotyping inherent in the campaign. 'We wonder if Channel Four would have been so ready to use the adverts with similarly compromising phrases for other ethnic groups: "Jewisher" or "more Asian" or "blacker,"' said the unit, which also asked Channel Four to remove the campaign and apologise. Arnold and Biggs, the Labour assembly members for North East London and City & East London respectively, wrote to Channel Four earlier this week to express their 'concern and disgust' with the campaign. The assembly members said the adverts were 'totally inappropriate,' offensive and disrespectful. 'We have the pleasure of having many Travellers as constituents in the areas of east London we represent, and we can tell you that even in 2012 they continue to suffer discrimination on all levels,' they said. Sorry, this is a small point but how can travellers be constituents anywhere? Surely, the clue's in the name? Anyway, a Channel Four spokeswoman said: 'The advertising campaign builds on the celebratory nature of the first series of Big Fat Gypsy Weddings. It is a take on the well-established programme title which in itself is a spoof of the title of a well-known Hollywood film [My Big Fat Greek Wedding]. Everyone featured in the series is from the travelling community and refers to themselves as Gypsies. The word "gypsier" refers to the fact that this series offers even greater access and insight to the communities featured, and the terms "Gypsy" or "gypsier" are not being used in a negative context. The advertising features contributors from the series and the images were taken in their own communities. Everyone featured in the campaign has seen the posters and is happy with them. All images were taken with full consent and all aspects of the poster campaign fully comply with advertising guidelines.' This blogger notes that it does seem very odd that, it appears every gypsy or traveller in the country seems to have some complaint about some aspect of My Big Fat Gypsy Weddings and yet, curiously, there never seems to be any shortage of travellers appearing on the show itself.

The fortnightly satirical magazine Private Eye recorded its highest circulation for more than twenty five years as it celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in the second half of 2011, selling an average of nearly two hundred and thirty thousand copies a fortnight during an exceptionally busy period for news. Private Eye remains the biggest-selling UK news and current affairs magazine but it was a good six months for other news and current affairs titles, with The Week, The Oldie, Prospect and BBC History magazine all up on the first half of 2011 and year-on-year, according to the latest Audit Bureau of Circulations figures published on Thursday.
Private Eye averaged two hundred and twenty eight thousand copies a fortnight in the six months to the end of December, up 10.6 per cent on the previous half year and a 10.1 per cent year-on-year rise. This is the biggest circulation figure since editor Ian Hislop's first year in charge, 1986, when sales was the highest ever in the magazine's fifty year history at two hundred and eighty three thousand. Hislop said: 'Ten per cent growth in a year, I feel like the chancellor – in his dreams.' Private Eye has benefited from an eventful year in current affairs, with revelations on phone-hacking and the financial crisis dominating its coverage. The title also benefited from the publicity surrounding its fiftieth birthday in October, with a book by Eye staff member Adam Macqueen making The Sunday Times bestsellers list. The magazine's managing director, Sheila Molnar, said: 'It has been an amazing year for the Eye. The publicity that our fiftieth anniversary generated, the V&A exhibition, publication of The A-Z of Private Eye – The First Fifty Years, has had an enormous impact on sales. The first question I am always asked is "What is the secret of the Eye's success?" Simply, the magazine is entertaining, informative, and very reasonably priced at one pound fifty.' I always thought it was because it was rude about politicians and got away with it that was the big selling point, personally. Swings and roundabouts, innit? The Oldie, the magazine edited by Private Eye's founder and former editor Richard Ingrams, also did well, adding 6.4 per cent year-on-year to record a sale forty one thousand. However, things were less positive for right-wing political weekly The Spectator, which recorded a modest one per cent rise on the period with a sixty three thousand circulation.

Bones fans' long, rumbling winter of rank and bitter discontent may be almost over. A FOX spokesperson declined to comment when asked when the show would resume its seventh series. The last of the six episodes shown so far was on 12 January, the one before that in early December - but TV Line claims that the show is expected to resume on Thursday 5 April. If so, it will replace its own spin-off series The Finder, which will conclude its debut run in March. There are seven remaining episodes from Bones' shortened - thirteen episode - seventh season, which was cut-short due to Emily Deschanel's pregnancy. But as FOX president Kevin Reilly confirmed last month at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour, four 'bonus' episodes are in the process of being filmed which will 'either move into next season,' he said, 'or play in the summer.'

The veteran diminutive comedian Ronnie Corbett said being made a CBE was 'a very lovely honour,' following an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace. The eighty one-year-old exchanged a few words with the Queen as he received a medal which he described as very pretty. 'She told me, "You make people laugh,"' he told reporters afterwards. 'I think she's remarkable for her age.' The Two Ronnies star was recognised in the New Year Honours for services to charity and to the entertainment industry. Corbett, who was accompanied on Thursday by his two daughters, said that his wife, Anne, could not attend as she is currently in hospital with pneumonia.

The BBC has announced that actor Paul Nicholls will be joining the cast of medical drama Holby City. Nicholls, who was last seen in ITV's Law & Order: UK, will play an experienced male nurse, Simon Marshall, in the popular drama series, a character unafraid to stand up to his superiors. In a statement Nicholls said: 'I’m delighted to be joining as a guest on Holby City, it's a programme I've always admired and I'm thrilled to be part of this particular storyline. Simon is a confident guy and is sure to be in his element. I can't wait to get stuck in.' Holby's executive producer, Jonathan Young, expressed his satisfaction with the casting, saying: 'Paul is an actor with a fantastic pedigree and we are delighted he'll be joining Holby City for a few months. I can't give too much away at the moment, but his character is definitely going to have an impact and ruffle a few feathers.' As well as Law & Order: UK, Paul Nicholls has appeared in numerous other series, including Midsomer Murders and Secret Diary of a Call Girl. Nicholls will make his Holby debut in May.

Filming has started on a new series of Mid-Morning Matters with Alan Partridge. The twelve new eleven-minute episodes, again funded by Foster's lager, see Steve Coogan's hapless presenter back on North Norfolk Digital. Armando Iannucci confirmed that work had begun on new scenes, with a tweet, saying: 'Been filming brand new Mid Morning Matters this week. And plotting new Thick of It series. And bought some blueberries.' Nice. This blogger likes blueberries. Writer Rob Gibbons promised on his Twitter feed that: 'Alan tackles gang culture head-on' in the new episodes. In character, Coogan said: 'I've always been more than comfortable in my association with this warmly regarded mid-range lager. I am quietly flabbergasted that the good people at Foster's think that, by associating themselves with my webcast, people will consume more of their product. I don't drink it myself but I'm familiar with it and firmly believe that the twenty to thirty age demographic should have access to affordable lager. Going forward, I look forward to moving forward with Foster's in an atmosphere of bland co-operation. It's a good fit. It feels right. I like it.' Meanwhile, Foster's revival of another hit comedy show of the 1990s continues on Saturday, when new web episodes of The Fast Show return after a Christmas hiatus.

The St James' Park sign has been removed at Newcastle United's football ground to make way for its new name. The name change from St James' Park to ... whatever ludicrous nonsense Ashley's calling it this week was announced in November. The club said that the change was temporary and it hoped to 'showcase' the sponsorship opportunity to 'interested parties.' Derek Llambias, the club's managing director, claimed that it could generate up to ten million smackers a year. But it won't, or anything even remotely like it.
So, there's one hundred and thirty years of history flushed down the crapper in one afternoon, dear blog reader. Makes you proud to be here to see it, does it not?

Is this headline from the Gruniad Morning Star the greatest in newspaper history - How Soft Is Rick Santorum's Surge?

Odious, full-of-his-own-importance celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has reportedly found rare Joy Division and New Order master tapes when digging up the basement of his new restaurant in Manchester according to some - highly suspicious - press reports. The new restaurant, which is being built in a former branch of Midland bank, was being excavated when the tapes were found, alongside with - the report claims - 'guns, gold and jewellery.' The total value of the haul is said to be over a million quid, according to the Holy Moly website which broke the story. It was then picked up by, among others, the NME and the Daily Scum Mail. Must be a pack of lies, then! (It is noticeable that the Scum Mail include the word 'allegedly' in the opening paragraph of their story.) According to the Sun, an alleged 'source' allegedly said: 'There were all sorts in the boxes - even a gun in one.' Allegedly. 'Oliver has since given everything found in the basement to the treasury,' the NME said. HSBC bank, the former occupant of the building, said it 'could not confirm' exactly what was in the boxes due to customer confidentiality. A spokesman said: 'Even if I knew exactly what was in those boxes I would not be able to comment on that for reasons of confidentiality. We cannot reveal the precise contents, but these are safe deposit boxes - there are bound to be valuables in there. If we did find anything illegal in there we would be required to notify police.' A spokesman for the odious Oliver himself said: 'The haul was actually removed before we moved in.' Right. So, a nothing story and colossal waste of everyone's time, then? Thought so.
Rupert Murdoch is expected to visit his Wapping headquarters in East London on Friday morning facing probably the most serious revolt by News International journalists in his forty-plus years as a newspaper proprietor in the UK. Many journalists on Murdoch's three News International titles – the Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times – have been 'shocked and angered' by the activities of US parent company News Corporation's management and standards committee. They have passed information to the Metropolitan police which has led to the arrest and bailing of nine current and former Sun staff in the past three weeks in relation to alleged illegal payments to police and other public servants. Alleged 'Wapping insiders' allegedly say that they allegedly fear there will be further arrests as the MSC trawls through three hundred million internal e-mails going back ten years. 'People are as angry as hell,' said one alleged 'source.' What a pity, eh? I'm sure the nation's heart effing bleeds for you all. 'The management has done nothing to protect us from this appalling invasion of our work,' another 'source' allegedly told Reuters. 'Nobody has said, "You can't do this to journalists." A lot of people are angry.' Some dear blog readers may consider that anyone from the Sun talking about 'appalling invasions' of privacy is a rather delicious example of the old 'now you know how your victims feel' schadenfreude. This blogger couldn't possibly comment on that one. 'Every media organisation has a duty to assist the police in uncovering serious crime. But it also has a fundamental duty to protect the sources that have been cultivated by its journalists under a promise of anonymity,' human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson told the news agency. Murdoch, who arrived at his Mayfair home on Thursday night after flying into Luton airport in a private jet, will be seeking to calm the febrile atmosphere, according to the Gruniad Morning Star. You know it's the Gruniad because they used the word 'febrile' instead of, you know, 'mutinous' or 'tense.' Murdoch is scheduled to make a visit to the Sun newsroom in the early afternoon and will, it is claimed, 'reassure' staff that he remains 'committed' to the paper, despite the arrests. Just like he was committed to the Scum of the World until public revulsion at its activities led to its closure in disgrace. The News International Staff Association is also expecting to hold private talks with Murdoch. Some 'Wapping insiders', the Gruniad claim, have speculated that Murdoch could 'surprise everyone' with the announcement of a launch date for a new Sunday tabloid to replace the defunct, disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World. News International has been preparing to launch a Sun on Sunday ever since the Scum of the World was abruptly closed, in ignominy and shame, last July. Murdoch is understood to have been shown dummies of the new paper on his last visit to London in January. 'This would be vintage Murdoch if he did something like announce the Sun on Sunday,' said one alleged 'Wapping insider' hopefully. 'He has to do something to boost morale, and this would show his commitment to the paper and give staff fresh impetus.' Or, he could just decide to shut the whole rotten louse-scum edifice down like he did with the Scum of the World. That would be far funnier. NISA met with News International management on Tuesday and is said to have 'made its anger clear' over the MSC's activities. Nick Jones, the chairman of NISA, said that morale in the Sun newsroom, and on its sister titles, had never been lower. 'Everyone is looking over their shoulder. The joke is if you get past 7am this Saturday we have jobs for another week,' he said, in reference to the dawn police raids on Sun journalists' homes to make arrests last Saturday. One hopes that no one from the Sun read Philip Stevens superbly argued analysis piece in the FT on Thursday. That would've been enough to finish them all off.

And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Which seems appropriate, somehow.

1 comment:

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