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  1. Efficiency at the BBC: Delivering quality content for the licence fee payer

    Thursday 27 November 2014, 12:58

    Anne Bulford Anne Bulford Managing Director of Finance and Operations

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    As Managing Director of Finance and Operations at the BBC, my responsibilities extend to looking after finance, legal, technology, and business support services.  I first worked at the BBC in the 1990s, rejoining about 18 months ago. The role I have now is to make it as easy as possible for everybody to do great work. That comes about in two ways: by keeping things simple; and, making sure as much money as possible goes into the content people see and experience.

    Working here we all have a very special responsibility to get best value for the licence fee. That comes with a duty to make the best quality content and keep support costs as efficient as possible. At the same time we've had to face some very tough challenges. The combination of a licence fee 'frozen' at £145.50 for since 2010 and the additional obligations the Government attaches to the fee means that we have in real terms 26% less to spend on public service content than it would have been by 2016/17. So when I came here to work with Tony and the team my job was to put financial rigor and efficiency right at the heart of the corporate agenda.

    In February 2014, Tony Hall gave a speech at the Oxford Media Convention where...

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  2. Footballers United: Online WW1 drama

    Thursday 27 November 2014, 09:01

    Tim Plyming Tim Plyming Executive Producer

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    Footballers United homepage

    Today sees the launch of our online drama for iWonder as part of the BBC’s World One Season. Footballers United is an ambitious project commissioned by BBC Learning and is one of the final pieces of digital content we will launch in this first year of the BBC’s four-year centenary season. This pilot follows BBC Learning’s first experiment with an online drama - an interactive episode of Our World War for BBC Three.

    With Footballers United, we wanted to find a new and interesting way to tell the true story of a community surrounding the Heart of Midlothian football team from 1914-1919 in Scotland. It’s a very moving story that follows both the men and women, in Edinburgh and around the country, whose lives were forever changed by World War One.

    By hosting this drama online, we were able to combine new fictional content, that is the drama itself, with factual archived content; giving our audience the chance to learn more about the history and background of the story they’re watching, as they’re watching it. We’ve done this by having an interactive timeline in the drama that prompts you when there is archived content available for you to see, such as video, audio, images...

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  3. Asking awkward questions: 50 years of WIWO

    Monday 24 November 2014, 12:15

    Tim Rogers Tim Rogers

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    Week in Week out meeting, January 1965, Brian J Ford (left), David Bevan (middle), David Parry-Jones (right) Week in Week out meeting, January 1965,Brian J Ford, David Bevan, David Parry-Jones

    I used to think there was a golden rule about jobs. When you move on, never go back. But that's the thing about rules: Sometimes they have to be broken, especially when an opportunity like this comes up - to present Week In Week Out. It's my second stint … 20 years after doing it the first time, and it’s been a pleasure.

    WIWO as we affectionately call it, is a broadcasting institution. Fifty years old this week it is one of the longest running current affairs programmes on British TV. It is certainly the oldest and one of the most respected in Wales.

    Looking back, when I joined in 1992 it was well established and renowned for its investigations and dogged pursuit of the truth. Uncomfortable facts for some. But that’s always been our mission. Vincent Kane, Bob Humphrys and Phil Parry were predecessors who sharpened their pen and their skill as great interviewers to sometimes devastating effect. Big shoes to fill, those.

    WIWO has always drawn on the best journalistic talent in Wales. There have been scores of awards. And within the business, its producers, (who do not receive the public acclaim...

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  4. BBC at the Children’s BAFTAs 2014

    Monday 24 November 2014, 10:01

    Hannah Khalil Hannah Khalil Digital Content Producer, About The BBC Blog

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    Last night (Sunday 23 November) the British Academy of Film and Television Children's Awards were held at a ceremony at the Roundhouse in London, where Katie Morag star Cherry Campbell (pictured) became the youngest ever BAFTA winner. The nine year old was awarded in the Best Performer category and the CBeebies show was selected as Best Drama.

    Children’s television veteran, Clangers and Bagpuss creator, Peter Firmin took home the special award, and writer Debbie Moon was awarded for CBBC drama Wolfblood.

    BBC programmes took home prizes in 13 of the 25 categories, they’re all listed below...

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  5. What’s on BBC Red Button, 22-28 November

    Friday 21 November 2014, 14:08

    Marc Jones Marc Jones Media Scheduler, Red Button

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    Qawwali legend Rahat Fateh Ali Khan goes back to his roots this week courtesy of the Asian Network, Rutger Hauer is just one of the stars taking us on a revealing journey through Science Fiction and we’re off to York for the UK Snooker Championship.

    Rahat Fateh Ali Khan Rahat Fateh Ali Khan

    My Life In Science Fiction

    Accompanying BBC Two’s landmark history of Science Fiction, we have anecdotes and insights from some of the genre’s brightest stars including Richard Dreyfuss, Rutger Hauer, Nichelle Nichols, Veronica Cartwright and Anthony Daniels.

    Sat 22 November, 10.40am-1.05am
    Sun 23 November, 11.40am...

    Read more about What’s on BBC Red Button, 22-28 November

  6. BBC College of Journalism: Verifying YouTube’s Syrian ‘hero boy’ video

    Wednesday 19 November 2014, 13:22

    Hannah Khalil Hannah Khalil Digital Content Producer, About The BBC Blog

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    Chris Hamilton, social media editor at BBC News has posted on the College of Journalism blog about the online Syrian ‘hero boy’ video phenomenon. The video, which claimed to show a young boy rescuing a girl in a shoot-out in Syria, quickly spread across the internet. Meanwhile the BBC’s User Generated Content Hub (the world’s first newsgathering operation of its kind) and BBC Monitoring struggled to verify that the video was genuine. Here’s an extract from Chris’ blog:

    “Even as we translated the Arabic heard on the video and looked for other clues, the producers working to verify it...

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  7. Transgender representation on the BBC

    Tuesday 18 November 2014, 18:37

    J Tebble J Tebble All About Trans Project assistant and writer

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    BBC Two's Boy Meets Girl BBC Two's Boy Meets Girl

    The Trans Comedy Award-winning script, Boy Meets Girl (pictured), has now been commissioned by BBC Two. Here, J Tebble, a writer who identifies as trans and a former Project Assistant at All About Trans (a project that encourages better understanding between transgender people and the media), takes a look at the history of trans portrayal on BBC television.

    This year the first UK transgender-themed comedy sitcom was commissioned by BBC Two. The series was part of two scripts developed by the partnership between the Trans Comedy Award and BBC Writersroom. The scriptwriter...

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  8. The Young Ones: Future Talent on Birmingham's Doorstep

    Tuesday 18 November 2014, 09:46

    Tommy Nagra Tommy Nagra Head of Business Development, BBC Birmingham

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    Mary J Blige at 1Xtra Live in Birmingham

    The last few weeks have seen a real spotlight on young people and talent at BBC Birmingham.

    On Saturday night I, along with 10,000 people, attended the electrifying 1Xtra Live in Birmingham– a world class lineup of  music talent headlined by global superstar Mary J Blige (pictured).

    I might have been one of the oldies there but you couldn’t help but notice the young and diverse crowd who packed out the arena – it shouldn’t be a surprise really – Birmingham being one of the youngest and most diverse cities in Europe. Here they were, out in force, rubbing shoulders with one another...

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  9. Holding up a mirror

    Monday 17 November 2014, 16:36

    Jon Jacob Jon Jacob Editor, About the BBC Blog

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    Aberdeen Angus bull Aberdeen Angus bull. An imposing beast. I confess. I do sometimes take radio for granted.

    I woke yesterday at 10.30am, donned my dressing-gown and went downstairs to the kitchen. By 10.35am, I'd fed the cats. The coffee had been poured by 10.50am. I switched on Radio 4 in time to catch the last few minutes of the penultimate Archers episode. By 11.00am I was bawling my eyes out. That maybe the earliest I've ever burst into tears.

    If you're not across the latest happenings in Ambridge, or indeed you're not a listener of the Archers, a quick catch-up. Tony Archer, aided and abetted by Ed, is...

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  10. BBC North West Tonight - Emotionally powerful stories

    Monday 17 November 2014, 15:08

    Roger Johnson Roger Johnson

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    When BBC North West Tonight was first alerted to a story at Wigan Hospital, we realised it was the kind of emotionally powerful story which would appeal to our audience. But we could not have imagined the impact the coverage would have across social media and specifically on the NWT Facebook page.

    The story is that of Sheila Marsh and her horse Bronwen. Sheila was a cancer patient at the hospital and her dying wish to be reunited with her favourite horse Bronwen. Hospital staff liaised with her family to arrange it in the hospital grounds just hours before she passed away.

    We posted the story...

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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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External links about the BBC

Sherlock returns: BBC confirms special with picture of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman back filming (Mirror)

The Reith Lectures explain why doctors fail (Telegraph)
"Dr Atul Gawande delivered an excellent first lecture on the fallibility of medicine, says Gillian Reynolds"

Nine-year-old Katie Morag star on winning BAFTA award and juggling TV series with school lessons (Scottish Daily Record)

Strictly Come Dancing 2014: Same-sex couple dance received positively (Metro)

Doctor Who, Andrew Scott and Sir Ian McKellen up for BBC Audio Drama Awards 2015 (Radio Times)
"Maxine Peake, Marcus Brigstocke and Toby Jones also scoop nominations for their work in audio drama"

Kay Benbow named acting director of BBC Children’s (Prolific North)
"CBeebies controller Kay Benbow is to become the acting director of BBC Children’s while the broadcaster searches for a permanent replacement for Joe Godwin."

Six reasons why Desert Island Discs is the perfect radio programme (Guardian)
"The BBC programme this week celebrated its 3,000th episode, so here’s to a great British institution"

Panorama’s ‘fake sheikh’ documentary watched by 2.5 million people (Guardian)
"compelling investigative journalism"

Bernard Cribbins honoured with JM Barrie award (The Stage)
“one of the greats of children’s television...a brilliant storyteller who has inspired millions of people”

Lancashire’s John Gillmore attempts world record (Radio Today)

BBC tackles MPs for Children in Need (Ariel)

BBC gets four gongs at Creative Diversity Network Awards (Ariel)

One Direction to become EastEnders stars (Yahoo news) 
"The chart-topping band will sing from the set of EastEnders for this year’s BBC Children In Need Appeal show."

Detectorists to return to BBC Four for second series (Digital Spy)
"I'm so pleased that we're going to be able to bring the Detectorists back - it was a perfect slice of BBC Four comedy"

'Winkle' becomes 3,000th Desert Island Discs castaway (Western Morning News)
"What is thrilling for me is to see this Radio 4 jewel of a programme take on new life in the digital world"

BBC Worldwide hires Jonathan Green as head of Store ahead of 2015 launch and iPlayer integration (The Drum)

BBC returns to FA Cup after six-year absence promising a great show (Guardian)

‘Dark’ Doctor Who storyline defended by BBC (Guardian)
"We were mindful of the themes explored in Dark Water and are confident that they are appropriate in the context of the heightened sci-fi world of the show"

Melvyn Bragg: Arts are more popular than football and must not be marginalised (Telegraph)
"The BBC is doing very well…but why don’t they do more?"

BBC One's The Missing tops Tuesday with 5.6 million (Digital Spy)

BBC now has more staff outside London than in the capital (Guardian)
“The saving we are making mean more of the licence fee than ever is going on producing the best quality shows,”

Hancock's Half Hour revived 60 years on (Ariel)

Green Party considering legal action against BBC after being left out of election debates (Independent)
"obviously we would wish to settle this by an amicable route and lines of communication are open with the broadcasters"

Last updated Wednesday 26 November 2014

Blogs from across the BBC

Selected by the About the BBC Blog team.

Safe burials will save lives [Media Action]
Mackenzie Crook on writing, performing and creating BBC Four's Detectorists [Writersroom]
Listener Week [Radio 4]
Who said bears can't fly? [CiN]

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