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Friday 20 December 2013, 15:43
To finish 2013, members of the About the BBC team offer up their personal reviews of the year, revisiting blog posts, events and output from across the organisation.
What started as a daunting task, “Write a blog about your BBC year”, ended as a rather enjoyable one. Sitting down and looking back over all the events of the last 12 months proved therapeutic in helping me to come to terms with how quickly 2013 has flown by.
These are very much my abiding memories of the year – and as you will see from my colleague’s companion blogs, anyone tasked with this job would come up with a different list.
This has been a year of much change for the BBC with TVC and White City closing and New Broadcasting House becoming home to a huge portion of the BBC. There was a real sense of nostalgia with the closure of TVC which was marked on BBC television (and by our own editor Jon Jacob in a fantastic tap dancing tribute – but I mustn’t tread on his toes – I’m sure he will talk about that in his review of the year).
White City’s closure was a quieter affair, but for me felt quite momentous as it was the first BBC building I ever worked in. Some days when I get off the tube and approach Media Village in West London I can recall the excitement, nerves and pride I felt walking up the road in my first week as a BBCer. So I enjoyed this blog about the closure of White City very much.
It’s felt like a very woman-centric year in the best possible way. There was the 100 Women season across BBC TV, radio and online, which culminated in a conference at New Broadcasting House on 25 October. I wasn’t there but could almost feel I was thanks to the wealth of videos on the site. Fiona Crack, the season editor wrote a blog for us, 100 Women who reflect the world and our audiences and then I saw this inspiring video (below), it’s a series of interviews with women who attended the conference, giving a message to their granddaughter (real or imagined) for the future. I needed a tissue when I watched it and I expect you will too.
As an avid Today listener, I was thrilled that another woman, Mishal Husain (pictured below) joined the team, and impressed that from day one she took to the role like a duck to water and held her own with Today veterans like John Humphries.
Strong women also feature in all of my on-screen highlights too. First there was The Fall, BBC Two’s runaway hit drama by Alan Cubitt, about a seemingly normal (and – shock horror – good looking) family man who is a serial killer. It starred Gillian Anderson as the steely DCI in charge, and was set in the beautiful city of Belfast. I loved it - though my nails suffered - and was thrilled that it was recommissioned. In the kitchen here at Broadcast Centre yesterday I overheard someone say Season Two starts filming in January – roll on 2014, I can’t wait to see if dashing but deadly Paul Spector (actor Jamie Dornan) manages to stay one step ahead of the law.
Jamie Dornan and Gillian Anderson
My drama fix more recently has come from the fantastic Borgen (pictured below), another show with strong female characters at its heart. At time of writing I’m grieving the fact the last two episodes ever air this Saturday, and trying to take heart from Sue Deeks’ blog that reassures there will be Life After Borgen with other great Scandi drama to come on the BBC next year.Sidse Babett Knudsen as Birgitte Nyborg in Borgen
BBC Films Saving Mr Banks was my film of the year, with another woman at its centre, the fiesty PL Travers (author of Mary Poppins) played by national treasure Emma Thompson. Her battle with Walt Disney (played by Tom Hanks) over making the book into a film proves a funny and moving tale, and is such an homage to Disney’s screen version it prompted me to dig out my VCR and dust off an ancient copy of Mary Poppins. Super…
This year, however, I’ve enjoyed listening to drama as much as I have watching it. In the year when Radio Drama celebrated its 90th birthday it showed itself to be in rude health with offerings like Dan Reballato’s witty and engrossing trilogy about Syria, Negative Signs of Progress and Katie Hims’ poignant family play for Radio 3, Kind David that had me sobbing in the aisles in Tesco.
Thinking about drama it’s impossible not to talk about BBC Writersroom and the impressive work they’ve done this year to keep the BBC’s intake of new writers healthy. Sitting in on the sift for the Trans Comedy Award, where readers selected scripts to put forward for the prize, was a real honour and an insight into the care and reverence with which new writing is treated at the BBC.
Personally another important discovery this year was CBeebies, my toddler won’t allow us to watch anything else. I spend most days humming the ditties from Everything’s Rosie, or Mr Bloom’s Nursery and was thrilled the channel deservedly took home Children’s Channel of the Year at the BAFTAs.
They also launched the CBeebies App which has improved my quality of life greatly by giving me another 10 minutes in bed every morning while my daughter pops bubbles on the Mr Tumble game, or, thanks to the brilliant recent update, creates pictures on screen using the camera and digital paint pot. She’s not yet two and I’ve never taught her how to use it, yet it’s so intuitively designed she finds it a doddle. This morning’s effort is included above. I was so impressed I’m considering using it for next year’s Christmas cards.
Hannah Khalil is Digital Content Producer, About the BBC Website and Blog.