Tv treats

Been struggling to find something to blog about since my last post in January. I haven’t felt compelled to write about anything in particular and when an interesting topic has risen I have shied away from writing because I don’t have a clear view on the topic and don’t want my post to be a long, rambling list of contradictions!

I have had a few things that I’ve been watching on television over the last few months which don’t warrant their own individual posts but to make up for my lack of posting in the last 2 months I am combining for this sort of master post. (Also helps that I have time to write – yay 4 day weekend!)

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BAFTAS (Television) 2015

My favourite awards show of the year takes place this Sunday (10th May): the BAFTA television awards. As a self confessed television nerd, so much so that I took every opportunity in university to specialise in the medium in essays and projects that I could, I am looking forward to the awards.

The BAFTA Craft awards for television took place about a fortnight ago which I usually also get quite excited for as it rewards the creators and people behind the scenes. However, this year I wasn’t that enthused over the nominees for the craft awards so I only caught up on the results after the ceremony instead of following it religiously on Twitter in real time. Continue reading

Have our viewing habits changed already?

As I mentioned in my previous blog post about BBC3, the way we are viewing television is changing. We are no longer confined to the small screen and a limited amount of programming. Television can be accessed on mobiles, tablets and computers. Television can be consumed online whether live or catchup. Some channels such as E4 and BBC3 have even used their websites to premiere episodes up to a week before they are broadcast on television and the websites also contain additional interactive content. Apps and social media transform viewing into a second-screen experience (although there are some doubts as to how much this is actually happening) so audiences can interact with the programme itself and other viewers simultaneously. One of the biggest changes has been the introduction of services like Netflix. Netflix is an on-demand streaming service which has films, television box-sets, American programmes that aren’t broadcast in the UK and exclusive content available to subscribers.

I predicted, in my BBC3 blog post, that these new methods were bound to have an impact on our viewing habits. I agreed with the plan for BBC3 to go online as that seems to be the future of television for young people although I also acknowledge that maybe the BBC’s announcement was a little premature. My conclusion were that viewing habits were changing and that television was not simply television anymore.

Yesterday I came across an article written by one of my lecturers which partly suggests that viewing habits have already changed and that some people only a few years younger than me do not value public service broadcasting like the BBC as much as we do.

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Quick quotes

In the run up to series 8 of Doctor Who, the official BBC website has been updating its blog feature to introduce new characters that will appear in the new series. These characters are usually played by well known British actors and actresses such as Michelle Gomez, Frank Skinner, Tom Riley and Hermione Norris. The announcements made via the BBC’s Doctor Who blog break the news about their casting days or just hours before they begin filming so as to release the news before photos are taken by journalists.

The posts vary in the amount of information given. Some just announce the actor’s casting and background whilst others also add the character’s name or an image of the actor in costume. Without fail, there is a short quote from both the actor and Steven Moffat in every article. The quick quotes are usually about how excited the actor is to join the programme. However, the quotes seem to be more zany and superficial as each post is published. It seems that they are acting as the equivalent of soundbites  – short (sometimes edited) quotes to summarise the position of the speaker and usually contain “buzzwords”. Soundbites can sometimes be misleading and manipulated to create the initial interest from the listener before the wider context is examined. The quotes in the posts on the official website seem to be full of buzzwords and of a certain style.

Do these quick quotes excite the reader by the overly positive announcements for the series (and subsequently building expectation)? Or do they fill the fan with dread as they seem edited, misleading and a little bit fake?

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BBC Wales on the move

On the 10th June, BBC Wales unveiled the design and plans for their new broadcasting house. Apart from drama which is based in the specially constructed village Roath Lock in Cardiff Bay, the rest of BBC Wales (online, tv and radio) are based in broadcasting house in Llandaff. The building in Llandaff has been the BBC’s home in Wales for the past 50 years.

All the broadcasters in Wales have made decisions recently about moving their headquarters and buildings to new sites. However, the BBC’s plan has been deemed controversial and the corporation has been accused of a “breach of faith” by some former politicians. Here I will discuss the BBC’s plans in more detail and the pros and cons to their move.

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The Doctor travels

I have to admit I was a bit sceptical when I first saw the video about the Doctor Who World Tour appear on my Facebook newsfeed. One, because I’ve been tricked into watching fan made trailers/videos before which were billed as official and two, because there are a lot of people on Facebook who seem to share anything (videos, “news” stories, quizzes, images) without any thought to the shared item’s validity, source or agenda.

However, confirmation via BBC Wales’ tweet about it and an article on the BBC’s website for the programme about the World Tour has removed any doubt I had.

Peter Capaldi and Jenna Louise Coleman will travel to 7 cities across the world to meet fans in the space of 12 days.

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Fan vs researcher

I was casually browsing through a forum for Doctor Who as I do every couple of days. I usually just see what the most recent threads are, occasionally look at a few filming spoilers and then carry on with the rest of my internet browsing. Yesterday I noticed a thread about a ‘University Study on Sexism in Doctor Who‘ and clicked on it to read the posts and the original article itself. As someone who has studied Doctor Who academically and written essays/a dissertation on the programme, I was interested in reading another young researcher’s work and to see how they approached it. After reading the research project, I read some of the posts on the thread and was appalled by some fans’ responses. Some questioned the topic, others targeted the researcher. I’m not going to specifically address my ideas about whether Doctor Who is sexist or not as a lot of others already have (including The Guardian). This post is more about fan responses to research.

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How I…

…accepted the How I Met Your Mother finale.

How I Met Your Mother is a sitcom which started in 2005 and finished in 2014. Set in New York, the sitcom followed the adventures of Ted Mosby (and his friends) as he searched for love. These stories are told by an older Ted to his children in 2030. Over the last 9 years, we have watched Ted’s quest to find “the one“. We have witnessed the ups and downs of his dating experiences amongst stories of his friends and their lives. At the end of series 8, the Mother is introduced to the audience as she buys a train ticket. We learn more about her as series 9 progresses and in the finale, Ted meets her.

A still from the opening credits

A still from the opening credits

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BBC3 – The future of tv?

At the start of March this year, it was announced that BBC3 may cease to exist as a television channel. The channel is currently a 9 hour broadcaster (it is on air from 7pm until about 4am) and is aimed at an audience aged between 16 and 34.

b3

The plans to move the channel’s content online come as the BBC must reduce its spending amongst nationwide cuts. The BBC decided to prioritise its other television channels: BBC One as it is the channel that appeals to a mass audience and BBC Two/Four as part of  a plan to increase arts programming. This suggests that by prioritising these channels the BBC as a public service broadcaster is fulfilling its ideals of entertainment (BBC One), education (BBC Two/Four) and information (BBC One/Two/Four).On a basic level, this move seems logical: BBC Three’s programming is not beneficial to audiences with regards to the Reithian ideals. There are examples of programmes that are counterarguments to the statement I have just made but then again, what does Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents really contribute to society apart from a voyeuristic insight into teenage hedonism?

The move has to be approved by the BBC Trust and will not happen until at least Autumn 2015. However, the announcement provoked an outcry on Twitter (mostly from those stars who’d benefitted from the channel) and a petition has been created to #savebbc3.

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The curse of the fan

Whilst watching youtube videos post-2014 Television BAFTAS, I came across the Radio Times Audience Award Winners one. Doctor Who won for the 50th Anniversary special The Day of the Doctor. In the video, producer Marcus Wilson states “The show is now being made by fans”.

This sits awkwardly with me. I do consider myself a fan of the programme. I’ve watched every episode since the programme was brought back in 2005 except for the Series 6 episode Closing Time which I missed and never caught up on (mainly due to my dislike of James Corden and Matt Smith being my least favourite “new” Doctor). I’ve started watching episodes from the classic era of Doctor Who. I read threads on the Doctor Who forum on Digital Spy, I reblog Doctor Who related things on tumblr, I buy Doctor Who merchandise whilst meeting the actors at Cardiff Comic Con and so on.

Me dressed as Rose from 'Tooth and Claw' with a Dalek at Cardiff Comic Con

Me dressed as Rose from Series 2 Episode ‘Tooth and Claw’ with a Dalek at Cardiff Comic Con

However, through my university course, I have also approached the programme as a researcher. I have written assignments on the representation and production of the programme as well as dedicating my dissertation to it! Assuming an unbiased, academic perspective towards my work has made me realise the extent to which the fan is involved. I have been able to view the fandom from a distance and have felt that, at times, the fandom can be understood as a problematic concept.

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