Category Archives: Media City UK

The Queen and talent for Her Majesty


This week saw the last episode in the current series of Tracy Beaker returns on CBBC, now here is an amazing example of fantastic script writing developed from a book………so good in fact that I have been watching the series since it began in 2002, and that the main character is now far to old to fit within the story so has returned as an adult carer and has been made to fit within the story. ………. Sadly this really did seem like the end of Tracy Beaker as she has left the dumping ground, we have seen this many times before and she always comes back….but maybe this time it really is the end. But it was good while it latest. For many years now, I have been wondering why it has only been Tracy Beaker that has been made into a long running series, and as Jacqueline Wilson has written so many more books, maybe that’s the future of CBBC drama, (you heard it here first) Me and the rest of the CBBC audience will have to content our need for amazing drama with the 4 o’clock club, which is a great watch the Grange Hill of today with rap.

The much-acclaimed Voice UK started yesterday, the format which has already been hugely successful worldwide…… I was surprised as I thought it was going to be a bit more of a national search, rather than looking at semi professionals and ex professionals but perhaps its filling a gap which these other talent finding shows may have missed. And it sure was great!!!  This yet again starts the rivalry between ITV and BBC for the Saturday night prime time slot as ITV too launched this years Britain’s Got Talent.
These two programs will start again the fabulous talent TV, which does so well because it appeals to virtually the whole of the channels audience range, we shall wait and see who comes out on top, and if the Queen likes the act chosen for her by the Britans Got Tallent Judges Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, and new judges Alisha Dixon and David Walliams.

This week saw the official opening of the BBC North buildings at their new home at Media City UK, Salford Quays, and the Queen was there too. 
It was an exciting day with security on high alert, and barriers and people everywhere, after the Queen had looked around BBC children’s and BBC sport she came out onto the piazza waved her flag for the crowd which signaled the start of the sport relief mile and as I helped to launch the balloons, she stood for some photos before being whisked away to the next stop on her diamond Jubilee tour. 

A few weeks ago I was at conference where Adam Crozier the controller of ITV gave a key note speech, where he explained the up and coming changes to ITV, he of course spoke about the move of Coronation Street…..but also about the great dramas the channel had coming up…..
This weeks progress of the street.

I was dubious at first, a drama about Titanic……we all know that’s been done… and without a Hollywood budget how can ITV compete…..but he sold it well, as did all the other speakers at the conference it was the hot topic….and has before broadcast been sold internationally to 8 different countries….I have since then decided to give it a try and if the early reviews are anything to go by, after transmission every other country is going to be after the broadcast rights.
It has been written by Julian Fellows who wrote Downton Abbey and after Downton’s success I’m sure this will be a huge hit. Definitely worth a try if like I used to be you are a bit undecided.

This week sees the start of 3 great drama series and here are the highlights: 

  1. Titanic- ITV1 9pm Sunday- part 1 /4
  2. The Syndicate- BBC1 9pm Tuesday part 1/5 written by Fat Friends writer Kay Mellor.
  3. One Night- BBC1 10:35 Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday/ Friday BBC new drama taking the story of one night told in each episode by a different character.
  4. don’t forget to watch this amazing episode of My Life before it disappears from Iplayer.- Anytime
  5.  Million Pound Drop- Channel 4, 9pm Friday, Live quiz show with the chance to win 1million pounds Gok Wan and Alan Carr try their hands in this episode. 

ILove IPlayer

This week Channel 4 announced their new channel: 4seven with the aim to provide an alternative way to catch up on TV from the past 7days, rather than watching it on 4od or any other catch up internet sites you can watch a repeat on your real TV.
This announcement got me thinking of the new ways that TV is being watched……last year my laptop was a bit temperamental and more often than not didn’t play audio …….so I never watched things on the internet and if I missed a program it was gone for good…….or until was played on repeat which for channels like ITV is more often than BBC.
However these days I often spend much of each day catching up on the shows I’ve missed online. Usually this is because of the 9pm slots where I want to watch something on each channel.
Its just so easy now to never miss your favorite programs and although its not quite the same, its virtually there……so make way TV for the laptop, computer, Ipad, phone.
Social media is playing a huge part in the feedback on TV at the moment, and the new 4seven channel will be showing the programs that create the most hype on social networking sites. As an alternative to watching the programs online on catch up sites. 
With audiences giving instant feedback on Television, how soon will it be before we are writing the scripts and changing plots from our very own sofas?
A very grey day at Media City UK…but the street seems to be making progress.
My Life is nearly over for series 3…….so soon I will shut up about it!! (and fingers crossed my vision for an episode will be part of series 4) But if you haven’t seen the series yet there is one more this week, Wednesday BBC1 at 4:30 about children who are born on September 11th and the impacts this has on their birthday’s. But as expected Me, My Dad and his Kidney was fantastic even better than I thought and I had high hopes, this is available on Iplayer until, the 4th April. Raphael was great so confident and brave a real inspiration, if you haven’t seen it yet it is so worth a half an hour viewing.
This week saw the first episode on Love Life, and with ITV set to have a great season of Drama this did not disappoint, as the title suggests and it is about peoples love life the advert gave quite a lot of the story away but it didn’t matter, there a pregnant lady, her ex-boyfriend the babies father and of course his wife…we shall wait to see what develops… It was shot using a great technique of flash backs which worked really well in telling the previous story for the audience without using the whole series to get to the action, most certainly worth a catch up lets eagerly wait for Thursday nights installment. 
This weeks highlights…….
1.     Anti Social Network. Monday BBC3 9pm- Documentary made by “Nine Lives Media’ about Richard Bacon, and how he and his family deal with negative comment via social network.
2.     Rita Simons, My Daughter, Deafness and me. Tuesday 10:40 BBC1-Roxy From Eastenders, and her partially deaf daughter and their decisions about her life.
3.     The Apprentice Wednesday BBC1 9pm- The Apprentice is back, start of the new series about Sir Alan Sugar, business and his search for new talent.
4.      Mary’s Bottom Line. Thursday 9pm Channel 4- Mary Portas as she sets up a completely British Knicker making factory and employs young people.
5.     The Voice UK. Saturday BBC1 7pm- New Singing talent show, where the judges don’t see the contestant and are just judged on their voice. 

Kids Television not just for children


A lot of adults TV programs are produced with a child audience in mind, Waterloo Road is a great example of this, as well as much of Saturday evening’s programing…….. If this is the case I am the only one who watches Children’s programs and thinks adults should watch it too?

Whilst checking the times for this weeks recommendations I came across the perfect example to back up these thoughts. Helen Skelton who is a current Blue Peter presenter. Has walked to the South Pole for sport relief her journey has been documented in a series that is shown on CBBC but it also has a prime time Friday night slot……maybe this is the start of a new beginning of cross audience programing.

I have never stopped watching children’s programs and I believe that I have watched Arthur for as long as I can remember and I still love it now as much as I did when I was 12.
I am now studying a masters in Children’s Media Production.  And this has even further developed my knowledge and love for children’s content.
Although I have been banging on about CBBC’s children’s documentary series a lot recently it is so worth it, and I have been waiting in particular for this week’s episode, and it should not be just for children……….. This Wednesdays episode of ‘My Life’ is produced by an amazing Manchester based independent production company Nine Lives and is about a boy who needs a kidney transplant. With Nine Lives behind many amazing programs for several different channels’ including ‘Small teen, big world.’  This is set to be brilliant!!!
There are of course programs that are definitely produced just for children with hilarious sketches and kids only jokes like that very few adults find entertaining, but there are some that just fit on the children’s channels but easily would work anywhere, and ‘My Life’ is most certainly one of them, the mission statement for the series is a ‘Documentary series following the highs and lows of a group of youngsters, providing an insight into the lives of different children across the UK, each with a unique story to tell.’
The 3 series’ so far have covered issues like parents in prison, children taking part in sports stereotypically aimed at the opposite sex than them, and each episode are so thought provoking and the children involved are so inspirational, they are most certainly deserved of viewings.

‘New spot to take weekly Coronation Street photo.’

I will be the first to admit that I am an absolute sucker for both an celebrity headed documentary, and an extraordinary people documentary so BBC1’s Racing with the Hamilton’s: ‘Nic in the driving seat’ was of course going to be a winner in my eyes. But when I did watch it, it was brilliant it featured Lewis Hamilton and his family and in particular focused on his 19-year-old brother who was born with cerebral palsy, but who is driving and competing in competitions just like his brother. This episode is still on Iplayer until 13th march. The episode is part of the BBC’s Beyond Disability’s season, looking at people with disabilities, their families and the challenges they face and I’m sure the whole series will be great.

1.   Letting Go BBC1 Tuesday 10:35- part of the Beyond Disabilities series to which Racing with the Hamilton’s is a part….
2.  ‘My Life’ Me, my dad and his kidney. BBC1 4:30 Wednesday & Saturday BBC1 10am
3.  Pramface. BBC3 9pm- comedy about love and pregnancy
4.  Love Life. ITV 1 Thursday 9pm ITV1’s new Drama!!! (watch on plus an hour so don’t miss Pramface)
5.  Helen Skelton Polar Challenge for Sport relief BBC1 4;30 Monday & 8:30 Friday BBC this is the final episode and seeing  if Helen reaches her final destination of the South Pole?

Why stick to what you know?

       An observation to which I often conform is sticking to what you know………I would say I am a BBC1, BBC3 ITV1, ITV2 and Channel 4 fan, and I tend not to stray to other channels ……….Until recently, there is so much great TV on other channels that only in the past few months I have noticed and so why stick to what you know? The great example of this is Channel 5, I will be the first to admit I steered clear of Channel 5, for no real reason that is until they made the strategic move of buying Big Brother and putting their upcoming great program adverts on in the break…….. Celebrity wedding planner and My Secret Past were huge ratings winners, earlier this week I went to a talk by one of the commissioning editors of Channel 5, where he discussed the wonders of the channel in particular it factual winners. I loved both Celebrity Wedding Planners and I am always a fan of formats like My Secret Past, which if you didn’t see it involved 3 celebrities looking at problems they had when they were teenagers and they met teenagers now struggling with similar problems.  It was very insightful and made me and hopefully everyone else who sticks to their favorite channels think outside the box. 
      Last week I said that working at the BBC was my dream career I have thought about this over the week and I have decided perhaps I was a little hasty with this wish………admittedly the BBC does make some great programs and yes what the children’s department produces is of such a high standard.  But it is not the only great broadcaster there are some amazing independents and other great channels. 
I have always watched and loved Coronation Street, but since moving to Manchester, I have realised just how great it is. The camera angles are believable the characters are great and the scripting often hilarious.
It has always been my favorite soap and I would often find myself watching each episode at least twice a week just to make sure I didn’t miss any of it….  But over the last few weeks I have started to notice the comedy in it! The Steve and Tracey story line has me in stiches, along with Gayle and Audrey power walking into Lewis which was better than any comedy sketch..,. I am eagerly awaiting Franks exit storyline with so much speculation about who did it? Who really did do it?
Coronation Street is moving, and next year it will no longer to filmed from its home at Granada just outside Manchester City Centre they are rebuilding the street at Media City- Salford Quays but this time its bigger.
Due to High Definition filming the street the currently is not full size, will have to be built that little bit bigger as HD holds no prisoners.
The new site of the street and the building progress so far.

I have recently got into, BBC 1’s Prisioner’s Wives, which quite frankly it blew my mind, I had seen the adverts and thought that looks good I must remember to watch that………but I forgot, fortunately the internet saved me and I managed to catch up with episode 1-4 back to back it really was that good. They are online until the 13th of March……. I was at first a bit dubious to watch a drama about a bunch of prisoners wives….. but alas this was the wrong judgment. Each episode focuses on one particular wife, the group meet whilst visiting their beloved, jailed, husbands, boyfriends and children. The scripting is amazing and really captures presumably the fears of the visitors, not only explaining the challenges they face whilst waiting for release day but also how they cope.

This weeks highlights

  1. Coronation Street; Monday 7:30 and 8:30 pm Franks murder.
  2.  My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding- Tuesday 9 pm Channel 4- Following travelers preparing for their wedding and other parties that need the great gypsy outfits.
  3. My Life: Boxing girls. Wednesday 4:30 CBBC on BBC1 documentary series about group of boxing girls told from their point of view.
  4. Gok Wan- Made in China- Wednesday 8pm Channel 4, Gok Travels to China to find out how the country can produce the clothes we rely on buying cheaply. 
  5. Benidorm: Friday 9pm ITV1- brilliant drama series and more holiday antics from Brits abroad.

Radio Times in the new age!

I have often wondered what makes people want to blog, the only publication that will give you a chance. The expressive writing where the wavy red line will check your spelling.  With the advances in technology being so huge I decided in order to not get left behind and to perhaps answer my initial question………..I would start a blog.
            I am a massive fan of TV, from the day Harry Potter scared me and I had no want to read books, I became addicted! An addiction that’s cheaper then most (I won my TV in a raffle I paid a pound, and my TV license I consider a pension scheme for when I achieve my dream and work at the BBC!)  I therefore decided to share my knowledge of the world on the box with the world…….
I decided that many people lead such hectic lives and perhaps the population is deciding against walking to the paper shop and so never buy their newspaper and therefore their copy of the radio times……..which obviously means they are missing such great TV. So why not read my blog, where I hope to highlight the best bits of the weeks TV just in time for you to catch them on Iplayer before they got lost in the vortex of the world wide web, and things to skyplus for the upcoming week.
My TV’s life this past week:
      I spend much of my time at Media CityUK in Salford, the new home of BBC children’s unfortunately I was not there however when they opened the new Blue Peter garden……..But it is said to be in the open space which will be very exciting as the general public we be able to see the garden for themselves.
I am a massive fan of Gok Wan, and was eagerly waiting for him to take his TV persona down a different route and it was worth the wait.  Tuesday saw the last in a three part series of ‘Gok’s teens the naked truth.’ Definitely worth a watch on 4od 11 days left to watch episode 1.
With similar aims as his ‘do I look good naked series’’ he used his incredible feel good personality to boost the lives of teenagers in a build up to a national body confidence class. The teenagers were incredibly brave and inspiring and the series made incredible moving and feel good TV.
CBBC has a target audience of 6-12 years old….this is too young, cbbc produces and co produces make some AMAZING content that should not just be for the under 12’s.  The channel has a documentary series called ‘My Life’ and its fabulous and a must see for every age not just the pre teens. I watch it religiously and I think you will see why…. Its aims are to follow extraordinary children with exceptional story’s to tell. An independent production company produces each episode and this has led to a perfect spread of stories from up and down the country. This week saw another episode in series 3 ‘Home Grown Boys’ ……..and it was great similar to a version on junior apprentice, it looked at a group of 6 boys from the Kings Cross area of London who have a business during the school holidays and grow vegetables in skips then sell them to local businesses. The program is always inspirational but this week especially.
Catch it on CBBC till the end on March, CBBC shouldn’t just be for kids and this is the perfect example.
Things for next week:
1.     Helens polar challenge for sport relief- CBBC on BBC1 4:30 this is the final episode on find out if and how Helen Skelton from Blue Peter will make it to the South Pole.
2.     Prisoners Wives- Episode 5- “amazing drama series following a group of wives that meet visiting a prison. BBC1 Tuesday 9pm
3.     Waterloo Road- The second episode in the new series leading to as you can imagine some brilliant drama between both the students and the teachers. Wednesday 8pm BBC1
4.     Children of the Tsunami – looking at Japans Tsunami last year through the eyes of the children effected.  BBC2 Thursday 9pm
5.     Lets dance for sport relief- this week amongst others is the turn of Scott Mills and Ollie Murs, surely they will be amazing, and all for charity. BBC1 Saturday 7pm