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  1. 21 Up New Generation: It's like my extended family

    Thursday 28 August 2014, 14:11

    Melanie Archer Melanie Archer Series Producer

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    I am the series producer of 21 Up New Generation, the third instalment of the new series of the famous documentary series Seven Up!, which began in 1964, and has filmed with the same group of contributors every seven years since.

    At the turn of the millennium, the BBC asked us to make 7Up 2000 to follow in Seven Up’s footsteps, with a new generation of children, all turning seven in the year 2000.

    The director Julian Farino and I met thousands of children from different social, ethnic and economic backgrounds living all over the UK and chose a group of them to film with.

    Melanie Archer with contributor Asif and director Julian Farino Melanie Archer with contributor Asif and director Julian Farino


    The idea was to revisit them with the same production team, to take a snapshot of their lives every seven years.

    Here we are already 14 years later. Things have changed so much since we started.

    When we made 7Up 2000, I was 26 years old, and had no idea about children, let alone how to interview them.

    When one boy, Talan, explained to me how we’re all connected in the great circle of life, I thought he was incredibly profound.

    Fourteen years and three kids later, I realise he was just quoting from The Lion King.

    Talan, aged 14, in his Cornwall home Talan: 'Anyone who has seen any...

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  2. Match Of The Day At 50: My iconic theme even has a banjo

    Friday 22 August 2014, 09:16

    Barry Stoller Barry Stoller Composer

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    Match Of The Day celebrates its 50th anniversary on Friday, 22 August 2014. A special documentary, Match Of The Day At 50, looks back on the last five decades, and includes the first ever TV interview with the man who composed the iconic theme tune.

    I am a composer and musician and I composed the music for the BBC’s football programme, Match Of The Day.

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    Barry's tune is synonymous with Match Of The Day - but it wasn't the programme's first theme

    It all began because of my cousin Shirley in the summer of 1970.

    I was 29 years old when she introduced me to Sam Leitch, the new editor on Match Of The Day.

    Sam told me that the programme was going to get a facelift and needed new music too.

    He suggested I ‘do’ something for submission. I eagerly jumped at the opportunity and asked if there was a brief.

    Sam looked at me with that Sam Leitch twinkle in his eye and replied simply, “Something good, Barry.”

    I felt like I had just been asked to find the Holy Grail.

    It had to be a melodic tune, something very simple and easy to remember.

    It had to be lively with a good rhythm and make one want to tap one’s foot to it.

    It had to be able to stir one’s feelings, make one feel happy, and most...

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  3. Siblings: Relationships we love to hate

    Thursday 7 August 2014, 16:49

    Matt Hewitt Matt Hewitt Researcher, TV Blog

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    To celebrate the start of Siblings, a new BBC Three sitcom featuring dysfunctional brother/sister duo Dan and Hannah, we looked back at the highs and lows of sharing your life with a sibling in 10 popular BBC comedies.


    Del and Rodney Trotter in Only Fools and Horses (1981)


    The earliest of our sibling sets is one of the best-loved in British comedy.

    The two shared a close bond, strengthened by their wheeler-dealing scrapes.

    Rodney (Nicholas Lyndhurst) and older brother Del (David Jason) Rodney (Nicholas Lyndhurst) was raised by older brother Del (David Jason)

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    Rodney proves to Del he really is a plonker, when they get caught in a hold-up at the supermarket



    Adrian, Aveline, Billy, Jack and Joey Boswell in Bread (1986)

    The Trotters weren’t the only ones taking dubious measures to make a living in 1980s Britain.

    In Liverpool, Mrs Boswell’s clan used every trick in the book to put money in the pot and food on the table.

    The cast of Bread Peter Howitt as Joey, Jonathan Morris as Adrian, Jean Boht as Mrs Nellie Boswell, Gilly Coman as Aveline, Ronald Forfar as father Freddie Boswell, Nick Conway as young Billy and Victor McGuire as Jack
    There was ringleader Joey with his expensive tastes, Princess Diana hair and gift of the gab at the DHSS; young Billy, who was...

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  4. Great War Diaries: Turning diaries into compelling drama

    Tuesday 5 August 2014, 14:50

    Jan Peter Jan Peter Director and Screenwriter

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    I first got involved in Great War Diaries four years ago, as both director and screenwriter.

    Great War Diaries is a three-part factual drama about how ordinary people from all over Europe and the USA lived through the war, based on their personal diaries and letters.

    I loved the idea of showing history as a kind of chaos or confusion; the way we all live history every day, without knowing the why, how or even the outcome of events.

    It is in the real diaries and letters of ordinary people, those who lived through the Great War, that you can see this so clearly.

    There are, of course, a great many diaries...

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  5. Art Of China: My journey of discovery

    Wednesday 30 July 2014, 08:00

    Andrew Graham-Dixon Andrew Graham-Dixon Presenter

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    As an art historian with a strong interest in all of the different cultures of the world, I have been to some wonderful and fascinating places.

    But never anywhere quite as dramatic and surprising as China, where I spent almost three months last year for BBC Four’s Art Of China.

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    Watch the trail: Nothing quite prepares you for the experience

     
    China's landscapes are spectacular.

    As for the painting, the sculpture, the architecture - well I hope anyone who watches Art Of China will agree that it is thrillingly strange, different from anything they've ever seen, and just breathtakingly beautiful...

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  6. Operation Cloud Lab: Secrets Of The Skies

    Wednesday 16 July 2014, 11:46

    Felicity Aston Felicity Aston Presenter

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    I joined Operation Cloud Lab: Secrets Of The Skies as the expedition leader and also as a meteorologist.

    The plan was to fly from Florida to California, looking at the science of the skies.

    But as well as scientists, there were plenty of other people on the team including three pilots, a ground crew of 14 that followed the airship by road and a full production team including two camera crews.

    Not everyone could be on board at once – the airship would never have got off the ground!

    But I was really fortunate to spend a lot of time on board and flew most of the way across the continent.

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    Operation...

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  7. Talk To The Animals: Witnessing a chimp apology

    Tuesday 15 July 2014, 09:15

    Lucy Cooke Lucy Cooke Presenter

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    Presenter and zoologist Lucy Cooke meets a few engaging animal conversationalists while filming BBC One's Talk To The Animals.

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    Lucy Cooke tries to understand the banded mongoose squeaks that scientists have decoded

    In addition to being hugely chatty creatures, scent also plays a key role in mongoose life. It actually allows them to identify each other.

    They live in tight gangs - extended family units with distinct boundaries between rival territories.

    One of the experiments that didn’t make it into the show tested the importance of scent in maintaining these boundaries and involved me standing...

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  8. The Honourable Woman: Dramatic blood-soaked scenes

    Monday 14 July 2014, 12:45

    Ed Smith Ed Smith Special Effects Supervisor

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    ATTENTION: This post contains spoilers and is intended for viewers who have already seen episode two of The Honourable Woman.

    The Honourable Woman is an epic eight-part BBC Two drama starring Maggie Gyllenhaal as powerful businesswoman and philanthropist Nessa Stein, daughter of the late Israeli arms procurer Eli Stein. Newly enobled into the House of Lords, she is rocked by the mysterious death of a business contact and a kidnapping.

    My role for The Honourable Woman was as special effects supervisor.

    I work as a supervisor for live action special effects, this means that we provide all the special...

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  9. Rik Mayall's cult characters

    Monday 16 June 2014, 08:04

    Tessa Delaunay-Martin Tessa Delaunay-Martin Editor, TV blog

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    Iconic comedian and actor Rik Mayall passed away age 56 on Monday, 9 June 2014. In an interview on The Stephen Nolan Show, television producer Paul Jackson looked back on what it was like working with him on shows like The Young Ones and Filthy Rich & Catflap, and recalled five major comic characters Rik created that have left a lasting impression on audiences:

    Investigative journalist Kevin Turvey in sketch show A Kick Up The Eighties

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    Paul Whitehouse introduces cult character Kevin Turvey

    The sketch show gave exposure to Rik Mayall's Redditch-based reporter and lead to a one-off mockumentary...

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  10. Welcome To Rio: Ten minutes to film the vital shots

    Tuesday 27 May 2014, 06:30

    Edward Watts Edward Watts Director

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    When I announced I was off to Rio de Janeiro to film Welcome To Rio for several months, the reaction of my friends and family was a universal cry: “You lucky b------!”

    Yet after raving about beaches, caipirinhas, mini-bikinis, Carnival and the Christ, all fell into a foreboding whisper.

    “But look out for the favelas. They’re crazily violent.”

    Favelas are the flipside of the Rio legend, the city’s infamous slums whose residents have forever been characterised by the 2002 feature film, City Of God, as a pack of smoked-out teenagers pointing their guns in our faces.

    That's why the favelas...

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