My BBC year

Friday 20 December 2013, 15:43

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

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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.

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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.

  Mishal Husain Mishal Husain

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 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 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.

A picture created on the CBeebies app

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.


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External links about the BBC

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"

Doctor Who gets new online BBC iPlayer series Doctor Who Extra (Independent)
"essential viewing for everyone who’s ever watched Doctor Who and wondered what it’s a like to be a part of the team that brings this global phenomena to our screens"

Judy Murray to appear on Strictly Come Dancing (Scotsman)

James Alexander Gordon, voice of BBC radio's football results, dies at 78 (Guardian)
"Scottish broadcaster ended four-decade stint of announcing classified results in 2013 after being diagnosed with cancer"

New BBC drama Life in Squares to track lives of Bloomsbury Set (Independent)
"Filming is underway for a new drama delving into the intimate lives of the Bloomsbury Set, including tragic literary great Virginia Woolf."

Happy Valley will be back for a second series (Halifax Courier)

Match of the Day at 50: Happy birthday to a football and broadcasting institution (Telegraph)

Jonathan Ross returning to BBC for first time in four years (Digital Spy)

BBC 'Our World War' episode explores future of digital storytelling (Telegraph)
"This opens up a creative pallet that just wasn't available before"

Frankie Bridge first celebrity confirmed for Strictly Come Dancing line-up 2014 (Mirror)

BBC Radio 1 announce 30 Live Lounge acts for Even More Music Month (Digital Spy)

Brits obsessed with the weather? You bet! BBC Weather app is its fastest-growing ever (Tech Radar)
"Most popular checking time? 7am."

Walter, BBC One, Review: 'suspense and laughter' (Telegraph)
"The BBC's new police comedy drama manages to be both profoundly silly and gripping, writes Jake Wallis Simons"

Pointless? It's turned our lives upside down! Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman on what it's like being catapulted to stardom (Daily Mail)

Alex Jones: Why I leapt at the chance to host Tumble (Wales Online)
"Opportunities like a Saturday-night show just don’t come along very often and I was blown away when they asked me to host it"

Did Great British Bake Off survive move to BBC One? (Digital Spy)
"Sensibly the producers have remained firm with their recipe for success"

BBC investigates Top Gear after Jeremy Clarkson gaffes (Guardian)
"Cohen is desperate to stem the tide of controversy which has engulfed the show in recent times"

Phil Neville to help fill the void left by Alan Hansen as Match of the Day analyst for Premier League season (Telegraph)
"Broadcaster has demonstrated its faith in Neville following his nightmare World Cup commentary debut by also confirming him as a co-commentator on Radio Five Live"

Does Mary Berry Cooks mark a breakthrough for older women on TV?Does Mary Berry Cooks mark a breakthrough for older women on TV? (Guardian)"What results is an unapologetically old-fashioned TV show with a presenter who makes no attempt to disguise when she was born"

Last updated Thursday 28 August 2014

Blogs from across the BBC

Selected by the About the BBC Blog team.

Boy Meets Girl: The Story So Far [Writersroom]
Experiencing the BBC [Outreach]
How a LinkedIn jigsaw puzzle can reveal a bigger picture [CoJo]
How BBC Introducing can support your music [BBC Introducing]
A radio drama with youth appeal for Somalia [Media Action]

Match Of The Day At 50: My iconic theme even has a banjo [TV]