November 2004 Archives

November 29, 2004

Top Of The Pops to move from BBC One....and I get a sense of deja vu

The BBC announced today that it was going to put the weekday editions of Top Of The Pops out of their misery with a move to a Sunday night slot on BBC Two from the spring. I'll probably still watch it as I have my TiVo set to a season pass - after all, how do I know which bland pop to dislike unless I've sat through an episode of TOTP with my finger on the fast-forward button? I couldn't...
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November 23, 2004

Happy Birthday Doctor Who!

Doctor Who is 41 today!...
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The Queen's Speech announces the introduction of ID Cards from 2008

It is a rare day that finds me agreeing with not only the main opinion feature in the Evening Standard, but the editorial itself - as well as agreeing with a spokesman from the Shadow Cabinet during a two-way on Radio Five Live this evening. However, the announcement today that the government intend to push through legislation to allow for biometric ID cards in the UK before the next election makes it such a day. As the Evening Standard editorial...
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November 22, 2004

BBC Radio Five Live's Sporting Year Vote

In the lead-up to Christmas the BBC is running several online votes that my team have produced. The latest one to launch is Radio Five Live's Sporting Year - essentially a poll of the listener's favourite events which will feed into the station's review of the year, broadcast over the Christmas period. It is a little less grandiose than 2003's Sporting Century vote in both scope and execution. This time we are asking users to pick and rate five...
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November 19, 2004

A yellow for Children In Need

There was a time when the colour palette for the homepage changed with every promo, but not since May when we got our new blue brand and logo. Except today, where as a mark of respect for Pudsey's 25th anniversary, the page has taken on a Children In Need yellow colour....
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November 15, 2004

What will the C-Charge extension mean to Londoners?

LBC are running an advert to coincide with Nick Ferrari's Congestion Charge Campaign, asking what the proposed expansion of the Congestion Charge will mean to Londoners. They've redrawn the map of the zone into the shape of a pound symbol. Well I'm a sucker for their slogan "gets London talking", so I thought I'd reiterate what the Congestion Charge means for me. 1: If I emerge from Holborn tube and I am running late for a meeting at Bush House...
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Smoking in pubs - A black mark for the Dog & Duck

So it is being reported that the Government are getting cold feet on imposing a total UK-wide smoking ban in enclosed public spaces by only including pubs if they serve food, despite the introduction of one in Scotland. One of the arguments against such a move is that it would be too much "nanny state" and that, after all, the market will eventually decide. This is despite the fact that giving pubs the ability to operate a non-smoking policy in...
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The worst train stations in London

Tonight the Evening Standard published a feature on the worst train stations in London, naming North Sheen, Hanwell, Clapham High Street and Maryland. They are asking readers to contact them about the dangers of their local stations by emailing They didn't forget to mention Wood Street Station in the text - after all like Walthamstow Central it is practically unmanned in the evening, and the CCTV isn't guaranteed to work if you become a victim of a crime there...
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November 14, 2004

Newstracker presentation at Bush House

On Friday I went to an internal presentation from two great colleagues at BBC News, David Thorpe and Daniel Mermelstein, about the Newstracker feature on BBC News Online. This is the box you sometimes find on the right-hand side of BBC News Online stories which gives links through to how other online news sources are reporting the same story. The first thing that surprised me was that there had been some negative reaction from our audience. I've always tended to...
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Some things are most evocatively conveyed by pictures alone, and that was the case with the homepage this morning for Remembrance Sunday. Earlier this week I was lucky enough to get out of the office early and head down to Waterloo Bridge, where I was able to watch the fly-past of two Douglas Dakota DC3 aircraft down the Thames, dropping millions of poppy petals....
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November 9, 2004

Do not touch the Dalek

Without a doubt the funniest in-production picture the BBC has released so far on the Who Spy feature of the official Doctor Who site. I particularly like the attention to detail - they've used the exterminate font that the Daleks made their own....
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"Mostly good" - Governors response to the review of

Every media site and newspaper supplement will no doubt be examining the minute details of the response by the Board of Governors of the BBC to the Secretary of State's Review of BBC.CO.UK. So I didn't want to be left out... "Mostly good" is a phrase I have been using a lot recently, and I think I can happily apply "Mostly Good" to this document. On initial reading three areas grabbed my attention - understanding the learning curve of interactive...
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November 5, 2004

Reacting to the death of UK Soldiers in Iraq

On Wednesday we did a controlled experiment in using the Breaking News mode on the homepage. Sadly, we hadn't even had a chance to assess the data around it before we had to unexpectedly use it again to announce the deaths of UK soldiers in a suicide bomb attack mounted against the controversial deployment of Black Watch Regiment soldiers in Iraq....
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November 3, 2004

The Big Red Button - Breaking news on the homepage

The events of the last 24 hours have proved to me that even if computers don't possess a malevolent sense of humour, they certainly possess an acutely ironic sense of timing. Last night, during the coverage of the presidential election in the US, we intended to try out a new bit of technology on the homepage, to replace the promotional area of the homepage with content sucked directly from the BBC News feeds. As I've written before, for example...
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DCMS Review of the BBC's Digital Radio services

Over the last couple of weeks or so I have taken the time to read the whole of Tim Gardam's review into the BBC's digital radio services. Unexpectedly it has been an entertaining read, not least because of its lack of formality in his turn of phrase: I was appointed to lead this review, and on April 30th the Secretary of State announced the start of this process, along with Professor Patrick Barwise's parallel review of the BBC's digital television...
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