Notts TV … a first …

Last Friday Notts TV had a ‘first’. They had four people on the sofa for the 6.30pm show!

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I was one of them. The 6.30 show is the Nottingham equivalent of the ‘One Show’. Topical, fast-moving and relatively light-hearted. I really enjoyed the experience. Becky Shearan was the presenter. We had a dad and son who collected Panini stickers – if only I could find my 1970 Mexico set – they are probably worth £5,000! Then there was a Michelle Obama lookalike – she really was a doppelgänger!

The time flew by – 30 minutes isn’t long!

I was fascinated by the whole process. I have done lots of radio in the past and have had my teeny bit of fame on the Six O’Clock news when the Mayoral debate was going on. But this was different – this was live TV in a new studio – based at Nottingham Trent University. The tech-toys are amazing!

I came away with a number of observations..

1. You need quite a bit of kit – the studio is filled with cameras. auto-cues, wiring and technology…
2. There are lots of people involved in a single show!
3. Presenting is not easy – I always found it hard when someone is talking in your ear! But there are visual cues too…Becky was cool under a lot of pressure!

I thought that the production really was professional and this is a great thing for Nottingham.

I don’t know the viewing figures – most of my friends remind me that I have a face for Radio – and that the figures would have dropped through the floor when I was on. They are just jealous…

Notts TV is on Channel 8 or Virgin 159 – in this neck of the woods.

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Our dispassionate view of the world?

When Hurricane Sandy hit the Eastern seaboard of the USA last October I’m sure we all watched on our TV screens with horror and sadness. Hurricanes and their ilk can wreak havoc and devastation. In the UK, we get bad storms and the occasional fatality – all very sad.

As you may guess from my blog I have been to New York a lot. It is my favourite city and there are some places which form an essential part of a trip.

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One of those places is Seaport and Pier 17. These sit at the lower end of Manhattan island, close to Wall Street and house quirky shops – some independents, some multinationals.

At the moment there are none. Seven months after Sandy the shops are pretty much locked up – a handful have re-opened. They are rebuilding the streets (literally) and the shops are all being refurbished. Seaport was under 11 feet of sea water. The wind reached 80mph – making 600,000 households lose power. 375,000 people were evacuated.

The estimated clean up cost is between $10-20bn.

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The concept of pop-up shop has arrived though. In the shape of shipping container, ply-lined, small shops. A Street cafe and theatre has been formed. In the sunshine the place has life again. Of course, it need to do this to keep people coming to the place. Otherwise it will fall off peoples radar.

When you see this sort of destruction at first hand (and they have cleaned much of it up) you do realise the power of our weather systems. But you also realise that in this age of 24 hour news and ‘twitter’ how detached we can become.This must have been soul-destroying to watch.

If you have time, have a look at their website and the participatory documentary. It’s sobering. It’s here.

Mad Men – playing catch up…

At Christmas I was given the first series of the American hit – Mad Men. I have to confess, at first I found it a bit slow. But as I watched more episodes it has grown on me. I have just finished the boxed set.

The show is about a bygone era. An era where smoking in offices was perfectly normal (I remember that!) and where men ruled the roost and the women-folk typed. Mad men may have some characters whose traits are pushed for TV, but there is an authenticity to it which shows just how much the world has moved on. I’m not sure I have seen a drinks cabinet in an office for many years!

The series has really captured the imagination – you can imagine that a New York ad agency was really like the show it portrays. The excesses and laddish behaviour are a stark contrast to the office of today. There were characters which I am not sure we see so much of now. Our world is sometimes rather sanitised by rules and regulations, of things that you can’t say or do. I’m not advocating that we return to this sort of world!

So, I now need to get onto Series 2,3,4 and 5…

New NHS Miracle Cure?

it seems the NHS have fallen upon a new miracle cure for patients. If you are unfortunate enough to be admitted to hospital, they wheel out a new all-ecompassing fight against all known illnesses and diseases…

We have ways Mr Kubrick of making you watch the handsome Health Secretary

A 3 minute looping video of Health Secretary Andrew Lansley telling you that ‘your care really matters to me’ and then asking you to be nice to hospital staff. Its a 3 minute epic and is looped. As far as I can see it is compulsory too – unless you part with £5 to subscribe to the TV, internet and email – each day you are there.

This is genius – firstly listening to a Politician talking at you whilst you are captive must have the effect of making you way to get out of the bed and away from him as soon as possible – hence the miracle cure. I guess it’s the only way anyone ever listens to an MP – if they can’t get away?

But the alternative thought is that this is a brilliant way of generating cash for the NHS. You actually have to pay to turn him off. I can’t imagine anything worse than listening to an MP lecturing you about how important a (reluctant) customer you are – but reminding you to be pleasant and appreciative to everyone who wanders up to you.

I think this could be taken further. I am wondering if we could persuade Vince to do a slot on Business Finance for those who can’t sleep. Some others could be used for alternative therapies – perhaps Liam Fox on making new friends whilst you are in hospital?

I think I would be in hospital for longer if I saw the film – from injuries sustained whilst (stupidly) punching a TV monitor?

Two screen sofa-lising

Apparently our TV viewing habits are changing. We are becoming a nation of two-screens – a TV on the one hand and a laptop / tablet device in the other. And it seems we are conversing with each other in real time whilst watching TV.

Some research carried out by Thinkbox has suggested:
* 60% concurrently watch TV and go online at least 2-3 times a week; one in three (37%) do so every day;
* 44% have used social networks such as Facebook and Twitter while watching TV;
* 37% have chatted online about TV content – programmes or advertising;
* One in five (19%) have shared TV content on a social network;
* 9% have joined a TV-related Facebook group.

I know that I spend a lot of time on my laptop, working, reading news and blogging. Whether I am actually watching TV is debatable. A lot of the time the TV is simply on in the background.

This is interesting research though because it may well shape our viewing habits. I know that some programmes (like million pound drop) are tapping in to this phenomena – relaying the results of the publics reactions / answers being played on line.

The only worrying thing is that we may have stopped going out and meeting people! The phrase ‘sofa-lising’ has been born!

The Professionals may be back!

One of my favourite TV programmes from the 1970’s (I was only a boy!) may be soon hitting the Silver Screen. According to a number of websites in the week, Lionsgate UK have bought the rights from the original series.

I can’t believe that The Professionals left our screen 28 years ago! The show ran for 57 episodes starting on 30th December 1977 (when it must have been vying with Starsky & Hutch!) The series was originally created by Brian Clemens and starred Bodie and Doyle. George Cowley was the uncompromising boss. These were the days of Whiskeys at lunchtime and fast and loose rules!

The tag line of Cowley was, “Anarchy, acts of terror, crimes against the public. To combat it I’ve got special men – experts from the army, the police, from every service – these are the professionals.” You can feel the grittiness!

I can’t see Lewis Collins and Martin Shaw filling their old roles, but I am not sure that replacements will be quite as authentic as these two playboys! There are rumours that the character names of Brodie, Doyle and Cowley will survive.

I am looking forward to it though – apparently filming starts at the end of the year….