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  1. Midlands Today turns 50

    Tuesday 23 September 2014, 10:30

    Robert Thompson Robert Thompson Editor, BBC Midlands Today

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    In the run up to Midlands Today's 50th birthday, editor Robert Thompson explores the archives and tells the story of the BBC's regional news programme. 

    On the 28th September 1964 Barry Lankester welcomed viewers to BBC Midlands Today for the first time. A leaf through the archives shows a cursory mention in that week’s edition of the Radio Times. I understand, albeit grudgingly, that it was more excited about the launch of BBC Two than the beginnings of regional TV news programme that has now been on-air for 50 years. 

    The running order for the first edition of BBC Midlands Today shows a curious mix of features with a mute film from Sweden about orienteering and a talk about ‘Bodies Beautiful’.  A rather genteel start perhaps, but there was drama behind the scenes. 

    BBC Look East, broadcasting from Norwich, was due to launch on the same day but a breakdown forced it off air leaving BBC Midlands Today to broadcast across the East Midlands and West Midlands as well as East Anglia – some might say this first edition of BBC Midlands Today was practically an edition of the national news.

    In 1971 the programme moved from a tiny studio on Broad Street to the glamorous, custom...

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  2. Coventry and Warwickshire go round Coventry ring road (again)

    Tuesday 23 September 2014, 09:11

    Siobhan Harrison Siobhan Harrison Broadcast Journalist, BBC Coventry and Warwickshire

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    To mark the 40th anniversary of Coventry's ring road, BBC Coventry and Warwickshire has produced a short film members from the local community. In this post she shares her experiences making the film culminating in a big-screen premiere last Friday. 

    A few months ago I sat down with my editor and discussed what we would do to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Coventry’s ring road, we wanted to create a celebratory tone that would reflect the upbeat nature of the city. I don’t think we expected all our plans for the anniversary would fully materialise but they did, and it was quite a journey.

    Coventry’s concrete gyratory ring road has wrapped the city centre for 40 years. For most locals it smoothly transports nearly 50,000 vehicles a day around its 2.2 mile-long tarmac. Many may be surprised that BBC Coventry & Warwickshire chose to celebrate a road’s anniversary in a music video. But, the road which literally divides Coventry, represents the beating arteries of the city and this project was about celebrating where we live.

    It started with a poll, everyone has an opinion about the Ring Road, the correct way to drive around it, whether they love it or hate it. Together with...

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  3. TVC past, present and future

    Monday 22 September 2014, 15:05

    Mike Eaton Mike Eaton Project Manager, Television Centre

    TC8 A significant milestone will be reached at the end of this month when the BBC formally hands over the iconic Television Centre site to its new owners, Stanhope plc, six months ahead of schedule.

    Since July 2012, when the BBC sold the site for £200 million, we have been working in partnership with Stanhope to ensure that Television Centre emerges as a great public space for people to live, work and visit, which pays homage to its past, whilst securing its future as a key destination in West London.

    Once described as the Taj Mahal of television, Television Centre stands on what was part of the 1908 Great Exhibition. The BBC acquired the site in 1949, and it became home to the BBC when it opened in 1960. Designed by Graham Dawbarn, it was the world’s first purpose-built centre for television production. In its heyday, half of all BBC television transmitted was made at Television Centre.

    I have spent the past 37 years at the BBC working predominantly as part of the Duty Facilities Management team at Television Centre and as such, have been privy to many of the stories that make up its great past. I remember the time, for instance, when the rapper 50 Cent arrived for his appearance...

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  4. When Chris met Sir Paul Smith

    Sunday 21 September 2014, 16:58

    Chris Hawkins Chris Hawkins

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    chrishawkins_paulsmith_2.jpg 6 Music's Chris Hawkins with Sir Paul Smith.. Sir Paul Smith has no idea why he gets sent so much “stuff” but his office is more like an overstocked thrift store. I’m interviewing the legendary designer for BBC Radio 6 Music’s Sound of Style Season at his Covent Garden HQ.

    The reception area is small and informal, decorated with framed art work and four floors below the 69 year old’s office, come conference room, come treasure trove. The immaculately turned out company PR delivered me to the great man and no sooner had she dutifully introduced us than she disappeared, leaving Sir...

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  5. Our Girl: Recreating Afghanistan in South Africa

    Friday 19 September 2014, 15:11

    Ken Horn Ken Horn Producer, Our Girl

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    Our Girl

    In 2013, Our Girl, a single drama starring Lacey Turner as Molly Dawes, an East End girl who joins the army, was broadcast on BBC One to critical and audience acclaim. Now Molly is back for a five-part series starting this Sunday. In this post, producer Ken Horn talks about some of the challenges the team faced when filming, recreating Afghanistan in the South African countryside.

    I’ve just had to make some clips for The One Show ahead of Lacey Turner’s appearance this week. One of the clips shows Lacey’s character Molly arriving at the FOB (Forward Operating Base) for the first time...

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  6. What’s on BBC Red Button, 20-26 September

    Friday 19 September 2014, 14:04

    Marc Jones Marc Jones Media Scheduler, Red Button

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    What’s on BBC Red Button, 20-26 September

    Join us for more on Red Button this week as we once again step through the doors of the TARDIS to see what Doctor Who’s been up to, get the best seat in the house for the Asian Network Big Comedy Night and get all the latest action from the Rugby Union Live: Pro 12.

      Peter Capaldi as Doctor Who Peter Capaldi as Doctor Who

    Doctor Who Extra

    In this week’s edition, step into the most secure bank in the universe as the Doctor and Clara attempt to break in. Peter Capaldi and guest-star Keeley Hawes are on hand to reveal the secrets of the Time Heist


    Sat 20 September, 6am-7am, 9...

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  7. BBC in the North East

    Friday 19 September 2014, 10:47

    Peter Salmon Peter Salmon Director, England

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    I have spent the morning at BBC Newcastle talking to members of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) about what the BBC has been doing in the North East over the past six months and how can we work together with them and others across the region to continue to champion this vibrant part of the country.

    I will share with you what I told them and what I have written in the Newcastle Journal today, as the BBC has not been standing still – far from it. 

    CBBC Live Blue Peter presenters Radzi Chinyanganya, Lindsey Russell, Barney Harwood at CBBC Live

    It’s been a big year for BBC Children...

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  8. Sole Music: Meeting 'The Rock 'n' Roll Cobbler'

    Friday 19 September 2014, 09:01

    Gemma Cairney Gemma Cairney Presenter, Radio 1

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    Radio 1's Gemma Cairney switches station to 6Music to present a documentary about shoe designer Terry de Havilland as part of The Sound of Style season.

    You might think that bringing ‘fashion to the radio' might be somewhat tricky – how to bring to life the designs, the colours, the looks? But it’s the kind of challenge I love and hope to achieve with my BBC Radio 6 Music documentary, Never Mind the Cobblers, about legendary shoe designer, Terry de Havilland.

    People know me today as a presenter, but I actually had a brief stint working in fashion in my early twenties. I mostly worked as...

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  9. BBC Bristol at 80

    Thursday 18 September 2014, 14:04

    Peter Salmon Peter Salmon Director, England

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    Eighty years ago today, the Lord Mayor of Bristol officially opened the BBC’s Whiteladies Road base in Bristol. Few on that date, 18 September 1934, could have seen how BBC Bristol would grow. It sits not just at the heart of a hugely creative city and the wider West but it is also the envy of the UK production sector and a world-leading brand.

    Anyone like me who has spent a substantial amount of time working and living in the city knows how much Bristol has contributed to the BBC’s success and creativity - from the world famous Natural History Unit to The Antiques Roadshow, Points West to...

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  10. BBC Singers at 90

    Tuesday 16 September 2014, 15:19

    Olivia Robinson Olivia Robinson Soprano, BBC Singers

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    BBC Wireless Singers in 1927

    As the BBC Singers prepare to enter their 90th year, soprano Olivia Robinson reflects on life as a BBC Singer whilst on tour in France.

    I can still feel the effect on my calves of the BBC Singers’ latest trip: a visit to the hilltop village of Vézelay in Burgundy, France, to take part in the annual four-day festival, Rencontres Musicales de Vézelay. Our concert venue was the stunning 11th Century Romanesque Basilique Sainte Marie-Madeleine, perched on the very top of the hill at the end of a steep 10 minute walk from the closest spot that our coach could park.

    Happily we had time...

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About this Blog

This blog explains what the BBC does and how it works. We link to some other blogs and online spaces inside and outside the corporation. The blog is edited by Jon Jacob.

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Ben Whishaw to star as gay spy in new BBC Two drama (Attitude)

BBC journalists attacked and equipment smashed in Russia (Guardian)

Ben Whishaw to star as gay spy in new BBC Two drama (Attitude)

BBC2 mockumentary W1A to return in 2015 (Guardian)
"Hugh Bonneville’s head of values, Ian Fletcher, set to face corporation’s charter renewal in second series"

EastEnders actor John Bardon has died aged 75 (Evening Standard)
"Tonight's episode of EastEnders is dedicated to John, who will be sorely missed by all those who knew and worked with him."

The BBC remains as committed as ever to new music (Gramophone)

The People's Strictly announced by BBC for Red Nose Day (Digital Spy)
"I can't wait to see members of the public having this amazing opportunity. It mixes fun and fundraising in equal measure."

BBC Radio 3 announces the artists joining its New Generation Artists scheme (Gramophone)

CBeebies schools to open in China as part of BBC tie-up with Popular (CITY AM)

Strictly Come Dancing beats The X Factor in ratings battle (Guardian)
"Simon Cowell’s return as judge on ITV talent show could not lift it above return of BBC ballroom dancing series"

'Andy thinks I'll be terrible' Judy Murray on why she's nervous about doing Strictly (Express)

BBC edits Doctor Who beheading scene after Islamic State journalist killings (Guardian)

Ariana Grande and The Vamps to perform at BBC Radio 1 Teen Awards 2014 (Digital Spy)

Will James Harding be allowed to edit fearlessly at the BBC? (Guardian)

Mary Berry dismisses Bake Off controversy: "What absolute rubbish" (Digital Spy)

How the Great British Bake Off went into meltdown (Telegraph)

From YouTube sensation to BBC One: the story behind Doctor Who's new title sequence (Marketing Magazine)

A BBC Show Won The Most Emmys This Year (Business Insider)
"'Sherlock' took home a total of seven Emmy Awards"

Barry Davies to make Match of the Day return for 50th anniversary celebrations, BBC announces (Mirror)

Is a Female Time Lord in the Future for ‘Doctor Who’? (TV Week)

The future of the BBC: you either believe in it or you don't (Guardian)

BBC Licence Fee is a bargain - something for everyone and just 40p a day (Mirror)
"The BBC’s job is to deliver to you. Not to politicians or the powerful. Some 96% of the population watch, listen or use the BBC every week"

Veteran BBC broadcaster Gerry Anderson dies (RTE News)
"he'll be sadly missed by all of us, but also by all his loyal listeners, for whom he often brought light on dark days over the decades"

Last updated Friday 19 September 2014

Blogs from across the BBC

Selected by the About the BBC Blog team.

Our Girl - an interview with the writer, Tony Grounds [Writersroom]
Maybes aye, maybes no! Covering the overnight count at the Scottish independence referendum [CoJo]
Nick Frost to guest star in Doctor Who Christmas Special [Doctor Who]
Reporting talent [Outreach]
Introducing Platform API [Internet]

MatOf ThDay At 50: onic theme even has a banjo [TV]