Tag Archives | BBC

Shelling UN schools and media soundbites in #Gaza


Last night yet another UN school was hit by Israeli shells, reportedly adding a further 16 dead to the ever growing number of fatalities in Gaza. That death toll has now more or less doubled since the Irish and UK governments abstained from the UN vote on Gaza last week. In the absurd media war that more…

#GazaUnderAttack and the myth of proportionality


Spare a thought for the 1.8m people who live in the Gaza strip and are currently being subjected to air strikes by the Israeli Defence Forces (e.g. see Haaretz for regular updates). If you want an idea of what conditions in Gaza are like, you can get a grasp of population density if you can imagine more…

The power of Nolan – too much of a good thing?


It was interesting to see that there was as much comment on Nolan personally as about Pastor McConnell. I don’t see or hear Nolan that often but I thought he played a pretty straight bat on this one. I’m told he divides an already divided community, not on sectarian lines but between pro- and anti- more…

Eurovision 2014: “I felt like tonight Europe showed that we are a community of respect and tolerance…”


Well, perhaps…  A bearded Austrian man in a dress, Conchita Wurst, won the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 in Copenhagen on Saturday night with “Rise Like a Phoenix” – the title quote was his line from the winner’s press conference.  The 25-year-old singer also told reporters in Vienna On the theme of tolerance, Wurst told reporters in the more…

Proposal to decriminalise TV licence fee avoidance


The BBC is often accused of a liberal bias most recently by the Today programme’s own John Humphrys. Currently the BBC is paid for by the television licence fee, non payment of which can result in a fine of £1000. Up to 10% of magistrates court appearances are for non payment and if this is more…

Jimmy Ellis RIP


  Is  it nearly a year  since I joined  James Ellis and a bunch of oldies for a London revival of Sam Thompson’s seminal Belfast play Over the Bridge? That night he was in fine form as he congratulated the cast for their performance and reminisced about his own experience as director  in resisting  attempts more…

Paisley: Genesis to Revelation (New Testament) – betrayal, hurt and a lack of grace and forgiveness

Paisley 9x9

After last week’s warm-up, the second programme featuring Eamonn Mallie’s extended interviews with Ian Paisley (recorded between October 2012 and March 2013) began with an introduction to Ian Paisley’s strong relationship with his wife Eileen. It went on to cover: The Leeds Castle talks. Tony Blair’s admission that he was converting to Catholicism. You can more…

Paisley: Genesis to Revelation (Old Testament)

still from BBC eamonn mallie ian paisley interview

Last week’s papers and news bulletins spoiled many of the story lines in last night’s first part of Eamonn Mallie’s conversations with Ian Paisley on BBC One NI. (Available to watch on-demand.) Forty hours of interviews were conducted between October 2012 and March 2013, so we’re only scraping the surface of their discussions and there more…

“must at the very least include a mechanism that makes the broadcasting companies accountable and answerable to this Assembly…”


Speaking of making the media accountable…  The Northern Ireland Minister for Culture, Sinn Fein’s Carál Ní Chuilín, has declared that she is “considering options such as appointing a panel of experts to review broadcasting in the North and devolution of responsibility locally with a view to bringing proposals forward for cross-party support”.  Here’s a couple more…

John Cole, a personal view


I was in Tesco this morning when I saw my friend the Guardian veteran Mike White talking on a  Sky screen with the sound turned down low. I read the captions. John Cole had died. I’d heard John was failing. I’d last met him a couple of years ago at a Lords reception for John Laird’s extraordinary more…

BBC NI’s “The Twelfth” live coverage in 2012 complied with impartiality guidelines, but questions must remain about how the Twelfth is covered

twelfth parade belfast 4

The BBC’s live coverage of The Twelfth of July parade through Belfast city centre becomes more anachronistic with every passing year. Last year, a complaint was made to the BBC and later in the post I’ll refer to the finding. While the capital city’s parade remains the longest across Northern Ireland (Armagh is the largest), more…

UK City of Culture rocks for Radio 1 Big Weekend


  I’ve  just been watching the video stream of Day Two of the Radio 1 Big Weekend in Derry for a few hours, on and off. (I fess up. My daughter is an executive producer of the event.  For variety during the cultural initiation I opened up other windows to sound off in Slugger about political reform; more…

According to Question Time, SF=IRA, DUP=Goodies


Great bit of on the spot photojournalism from Simon Whittaker. During the filming of last nights Question Time by Mentorn Media for the BBC, he captured the notes attached to the television camera. It gives affiliations for four of the six panellists with an additional note below two, IRA below ‘Sinn Féin’ for the party’s more…

Drama shows best how much Northern Ireland has changed


The distinguished  Arts commentator Mark Lawson has an interesting blog post in the Guardian pegged to the new BBC2 thriller series “The Fall,” set in Belfast and launched on Monday night.  He uses it to discuss the impact of  “British ” in  the  BBC. He rightly observes the big change, that it’s now  Scotland with its independence  debate where the  “British” more…

Why is the BBC ghettoising NI regional outputs?


I almost missed 14 Days, a documentary on one of several traumatic weeks in the history of the Troubles. Paul Canning, who’s based in Cambridge didn’t, and writes an impressively well researched blog asking (amongst several other things), why don’t the BBC mainstream more locally produced work? The ‘BBC NI only’ shows are (or were) all also more…