Sunday, December 20, 2015

How the BBC misled the public about its Sports Personality of the Year shortlist

The BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2015 shortlist was released on 30th November, with this video explaining how the contenders were chosen. You'll see some members of the Panel talk about their experiences:

Dame Mary Peters: That was hard work - it was so difficult to shortlist down because there was so much, so much talent and there were so many to chose from. But I think we got it right in the end.

Jermaine Jenas: It was the first time I've been involved in it, and it was nice to see how the process happens and how in-depth and how much thought goes into it ....

Although the Panel meeting and those interviews took place on Wednesday 18th November, the BBC's shortlist was not actually published until Monday 30th November 2015.

Hazel Irvine on 18th November 2015

Following publication of the shortlist the wording on some BBC web pages was amended to include the following "[Note: On 30 November 2015, the Panel decided to expand the shortlist from 10 to 12 sportspeople]."

BBC Director General, Lord Tony Hall, was asked about the controversial shortlist when he appeared before a Parliamentary Committee on Wednesday 16th December. (video excerpt)

According to Lord Hall, the SPOTY Panel drew up the shortlist and then added two names "after the remarkable weekend" of the Davis Cup and the Tyson Fury victory. When questioned further, he said "the Panel added those two names, the BBC did not." Hall reiterated his position with "Let me assure you that those two names were a decision made by the entire panel." When pressed, and asked about a report in the Belfast Telegraph, he stated that the Belfast Telegraph report was wrong.

Tony Hall: "The Panel decided - and I wasn't present in the Panel discussions - to name him [Tyson Fury] for his extraordinary achievement .. he's been put on that list because of his sporting prowess ."

Since the start of this month Newsround Blog has made its own separate investigation into the circumstances behind the addition of Tyson Fury and Andy Murray.

Contrary to the Note on this web page, there was no Panel meeting on 30th November 2015, or indeed any other meeting of the Panel subsequent to the one on 18th November 2015.

So did Lord Hall set out to consciously mislead the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, or was it simply that he wasn't in possession of the full facts? Unfortunately Tony Hall has form when it comes to telling untruths to Parliament, as is clear from what happened two years ago.

Another serious problem with BBC's Director-General is that, when it comes to diversity, he never seems to show any interest in LGBT equality.

Newsround Blog has been unable to track down any speech by Tony Hall in which he seeks to promote, or even mentions, LGBT inclusion. In contrast he's put considerable effort into helping out black, ethnic minority and disabled people. One of the BBC SPOTY panelists, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, also participates in an Independent Diversity Action Group, chaired by Lord Hall, himself.

The Director-General made clear the importance he gives to free speech. He told the Committee that the BBC "should be a place where people's views can be heard across a range of opinion in all things." However, Andy West, telling the world that he was "ashamed to work for the BBC when it lacks bravery to admit it is making a mistake," soon resulted in him being silenced, silenced and told that he'd be suspended pending an investigation.

Well, Lord Hall, it turns out that you - not Andy West - are the person who, with your falsehoods, has brought discredit upon our national broadcaster. The BBC's plight will be much worse in the event of a Tyson Fury win. But whatever the outcome tonight, Andy West should receive an apology, and be reinstated without further delay.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Lord Tony Hall answers questions from John Nicolson MP on Wednesday 16th December 2015

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

It now seems certain that Tyson Fury will not be removed from the shortlist for this year's BBC Sports Personality of the Year. BBC Complaints replied to an enquiry on Saturday 12th December:-
Your complaint has been passed to us by Barbara Slater for us to respond. This is because it should be handled in accordance with the BBC Complaints procedure as defined in the BBC Trust Complaints framework (

We acknowledge your views on the shortlisting of boxer Tyson Fury for BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2015 in light of comments reportedly made in a recent newspaper interview.

To explain, an independent expert panel decided on the shortlist for BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2015. You can find full details of the panel on our website at The winner will be decided by a public vote during the live programme which will be broadcast on Sunday 20th December.

Whilst we appreciate that you feel he should not have been shortlisted, the panel included Tyson Fury on the 2015 shortlist on the basis of his sporting achievements, as he became the heavyweight boxing champion of the world. The inclusion of sportspeople on the shortlist does not constitute an endorsement by the BBC of any personally-held views.

Thanks again for getting in touch with us. Please be assured that your views have been registered, and we’ll also make sure all feedback is passed on to the BBC Sports Personality team for their information

My response to Ms Slater on Sunday 13th December:-
a) I am not clear whether or not the Panel were aware of the controversy surrounding comments made by Tyson Fury.

b) The BBC has not denied the veracity of the Belfast Telegraph report, so I assume that his name was indeed added without any deliberations, contrary to the claim by Hazel Irvine that there was a well-agreed consensus.

c) The BBC has now argued in its defence that Tyson Fury was shortlisted "on the basis of his sporting achievements." However according to this SPOTY web page, consideration should be given to the 'impact' over and beyond the sport or sporting achievement in question.

d) Your inclusion of Tyson Fury on the shortlist diminishes the status of the Title. Recently, BBC children's TV has only reported on the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year, and has steered clear of news about the main award and its negative associations.

It appears the BBC broke its own rules by shortlisting Tyson Fury. Therefore Belfast journalist Andy West was fully justified in making clear he was ashamed to work for the Corporation. He should be reinstated immediately, and receive an apology for the egregious way he has been treated.

I do not vote in competitions, and don't intend to make an exception merely in the hope that someone other than Tyson Fury will win. To be frank, I believe - and suspect you appreciate - that a win for Mr Fury will be a huge embarrassment for the BBC.

BBC Director General, Lord Tony Hall is due to appear before the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sports Committee tomorrow afternoon, and it's possible he'll be asked more questions about the SPOTY shortlist.

It seems there's a climate of fear at the BBC, exacerbated by the suspension of Andy West. To date BBC journalists appear reluctant to even report news about the treatment of their colleague.

Happier times: Andy reports on the outcome of the gay marriage referendum in Ireland

Andy's mum told MK News that she's proud of him for standing his ground. She said that he's feeling quite stressed and doesn't want to lose his job. BBC Pride has yet to issue a statement.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2015 takes place in Belfast on Sunday 20th December. Hazel Irvine has provided this helpful video guide explaining how the contenders were shortlisted. Ms Irvine says that being crowned Sports Personality of the Year is potentially the pinnacle of a British sportsman or woman's career.

Hazel Irvine: Not only does it affirm and underline your achievements, it also embeds you, if you like, in the public consciousness.

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thomson tells viewers about the diverse sporting backgrounds of the SPOTY selection panel.

Dame Mary Peters: It's been an amazing year and there's been a really strong list of contenders ...

And after the Panel's deliberations --

Dame Mary Peters: .... that was hard work. It was so difficult to shortlist down because there was so much, so much talent, and there were so many to choose from. But I think we got it right in the end.

Jermaine Jenas: It's the first time I've been involved in it, and it was nice to see how the process happens and how in-depth and how much thought goes into these people being nominated ...

Hazel Irvine: Well the panel has met, and there's been a lot of lively discussion about who should, and perhaps should not be on that list. But I think we've come to a consensus - a well agreed consensus ...

About a week later it emerged that there had, in fact, been no discussion of the inclusion of Andy Murray and Tyson Fury on the shortlist. Ms Irvine should have made that clear in her explanation, especially in view of these Terms and conditions which required the Panel to take account of the 'impact' over and beyond the sport or sporting achievement in question.

Many fair-minded people do not think that someone who repeatedly makes homophobic and sexist comments, and who suggested he would murder his sister if she was promiscuous, is the sort of person who deserves to be on the shortlist for an award to embed their 'personality' in the public consciousness.

If the BBC does not remove Tyson Fury from its list of contenders they will be making the biggest mistake since they asked the public to have their say on whether homosexuals should face execution. And now they have the temerity to suspend a member of staff, Andy West, for feeling aggrieved at the way the BBC still treats the concerns of its gay staff and journalists.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

The Next Step being nominated for a BAFTA award, and the shortlist for a BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2015 award, probably says more about the awarding organisations than it does about the award winners themselves.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The so-called "Family Channel" is a Canadian broadcaster responsible for several children's programmes including The Next Step - a mainstay of current CBBC schedules.

Family has been celebrating its 13th Annual Bullying Awareness Week, which coincided with Anti-Bullying week in Britain. Their website (not normally viewable outside Canada) tells people to "tune in all week starting November 16 for bullying-themed episodes and clips of Family stars talking about their experiences with bullying." And amongst the resources on the Family Channel website is a fact sheet to help parents and teachers reduce bullying against LGBTQ kids. The fact sheet is part of what the channel calls its StandUP! campaign.

The interesting thing about this Family Channel anti-bullying campaign resource is that it stresses the importance of 'inclusion' as a main factor in tackling homophobic bullying.

However, as Newsround Blog discovered some time ago, it appears that no shows made by the Family Channel actually portray gay or LGBT characters - Hypocrisy much? I've asked them about LGBT inclusion on Twitter several times, but have yet to receive a reply.

The Next Step is laced with racism and homophobia. And recent episodes (s3 eps25 & 26) have, once again, brought its xenophobic credentials to the fore. In an early episode we saw the characters making fun of British accents, but now we get to see more of the real contempt they have for British people ....

British exchange student Ella had become the best friend of Riley from The Next Step dance studio. Nevertheless Ella is shown in an extremely bad light when she totally betrays her friend in an attempt to win the Internationals trophy for Britain. Riley responds to the betrayal by telling Ella: "Not only is my team going to win, but we're going to do it without stooping to your level."

Notice, above, that Riley's team do not have a national flag on their outfits - they only have the TNS logo. Whereas British dancer Ella sports a large Union Jack on her outfit.

As if the racism, homophobia, xenophobia and other bigotry is not enough reason for CBBC to cancel this appalling children's show, at the end of a dance routine in series 3 episode 4 "Let the Games Begin" we see Eldon make an obscene gesture towards opponents in the 'Elite' dance team.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

For many years topics relating to homophobia, homophobic bullying and sexual orientation were virtually off CBBC's agenda.

There wasn't even an acknowledgement of Alan Turing's centenary in 2012.

However eventually in 2014 Joe Godwin, Director of BBC Children's decided these subjects could be covered. But this year, with a new person in charge, it seems we might almost back to square one as regards LGBT inclusion.

Below is the substantive part of an email sent to Alice Webb on 9th November 2015. -

FAO: Alice Webb - Director, BBC Children's

Dear Alice,

Further to my enquiry on 29th October, as I've not heard back I assume you are unable to divulge the detailed statistics. Please may I therefore merely ask instead about inclusion in forthcoming CBBC shows?

In September you spoke about BBC Children’s vision for the future. You mentioned giving children a beautiful array of distinctive content - and cited CBBC's I Am Leo, which was the first children's documentary dealing with trans issues.

However - and correct me if I'm mistaken - no new BBC children's TV content which included LGBT characters or themes has been broadcast in 2015. Please could you therefore let me know if there are any new relevant programmes I should look out for in the next few months? Many thanks.

Kind regards,

Friday, November 13, 2015

Anti-Bullying Week starts on Monday.

One way the BBC can help reduce bullying is to make programmes which represent all viewers, and, to some extent children's TV has succeeded in that aim. Last year, for example, CBBC tackled homophobia and homophobic bullying on Newsround for the first time. And CBBC's 'Our School' documentary series, included a deputy headteacher from London, Shaun Dellenty, giving a school assembly about the harm caused by homophobic bullying.

However, the Corporation still seems to have an issue with allowing young people to self-identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual, though the same is not true of those who identify as transgender. The 'My Life' documentary I Am Leo, about trans boy Leo Waddell is due to be repeated this Sunday.

Regrettably, no new children's drama portraying LGB young people was broadcast on CBBC in 2015. Rarely a day goes by without children's dramas portraying 'straight' romantic relationships.

A question about the lack of representation of children with disabilities was asked at this year's Children's Media Conference. The questioner, Camilla Arnold, explained that while growing up she saw little, if any, representation of deaf people on television, unless they were elderly - and only a handful of characters had any other form of disability. Camilla asked if more should be done to ensure children's programmes reflect real life.

Anna Home, who worked on BBC children's TV many years ago, agreed, and said there was a need to avoid ghettoisation but that drama is a very good way of bringing in new characters.

Alice Webb, said she was very proud of what BBC Children's is doing in terms of diversity - 26% of representation on CBBC and CBeebies. Alice couldn't remember the individual diversity figures, but said she'd be happy to get them out. However, the BBC has not since responded favourably to requests for the information.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

The theme of this year's Anti-Bullying Week is Make A Noise About Bullying

CBBC Newsround reported, on 23rd October, that a new app is being launched to make it easier for kids to report bullying and receive advice from their teachers. The tootoot app, which will reportedly be available in app stores on 18th November 2015, allows pupils to remain anonymous should they wish to do so.

Anti-Bullying Week starts on 16th November 2015.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The theme of this year's Dyslexia Awareness Week (Oct 5-11) was 'Making Sense of Dyslexia'

To mark the event CBBC published a YouTube video with answers to common questions about the condition. Henry Winkler, author of the Hank Zipzer books, stresses that if you have a learning challenge, it's nothing to do with intelligence. He says just because we are not good in school does not mean that we are not smart human beings.

Henry Winkler talks about dyslexia - CBBC Hank Zipzer

Monday, October 12, 2015

Why did Rocket turn down the chance of dating Bethany Summer in series 2 of Rocket's Island. I speculated the reason might not be solely out of loyalty to his best friend Daniel (Dibber) Sparks. There might be some other reason, but time would tell.

Rocket wants to ask Bethany on a date

Now, in series 3, it seems Rocket does fancy Bethany, and wants to go out with her ....

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

The final of this year's Great British Bake Off is only hours away, and loads of people are speculating who will win.

Newsround at 7.40am this morning -

Ricky: First today, Bake Off fans will know that tonight is the all-important final. Who will be the winner of 2015? It's not just the contestants' baking skills that have got people talking, Ayshah met some Bake Off fans to find out a bit more.

Ayshah: For the past two months we've seen beautiful creations, mouth-watering cakes, and also some baking disasters. And tonight we'll find out whether Nadiya, Ian, or Tamal will be crowned this year's Bake Off champion. The contestants have all got us talking, and for these girls in Manchester it's Nadiya who's become a bit of a role model.

Ayshah's report went on to consider what having Nadiya in the final means to a group of hijab-wearing Muslim girls in a Manchester school.

Ayshah: Nadiya is one of the few hijab-wearing women on TV - what do you think about that?

Girl: It takes a lot of courage, and I think that, to us hijab-wearers, I think it's very inspirational.

Another girl: We get scared wearing a hijab outside that people are going to make fun of us. But when we see somebody on the TV wearing a hijab we feel confident and OK with wearing hijab outside.

Ayshah's full report

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

My blog on 5th September remarked that Daniel is depicted as selfish and a bit of a snake in the grass. A few recent comments on CBBC's website suggest the hatred and negativity that can be engendered by such a portrayal -

Screencapture of comments on CBBC webpage

Monday, September 21, 2015

Newsround Blog is hoping to soon find out more about diversity on BBC children's TV. We understand that 26% of portrayal on CBBC & CBeebies are of diverse characters, but that doesn't help with questions like how many are, for example, black or gay.

Diversity was central to one of CBBC Newsround's reports this morning. A leading African-American ballet dancer, Misty Copeland, says she's worried there aren't more black dancers around the world. Ayshah visited the Royal Ballet in London to talk to Eric Underwood, one of their few black dancers. The programme's researchers contacted some of Britain's top ballet schools. It seems that only about 18 out of 332 dancers are black.

Another excellent Newsround diversity-related report was based on the efforts of a 14-year-old boy called Frankie, who has a disability -

Frankie: I think if we involve disabled people with books, we can raise awareness and it will become the norm to people, and they won't stare, they won't make comments and life would get better - society would get better.

Martin Dougan: What would you want to see in future, in terms of what you've done and what you want to achieve?

Frankie: That the world's a better place, and there's equal rights between people ... yeah.

Martin: Frankie is extremely passionate about this. He really wants to make changes.

Frankie and Martin Dougan visited book publishing company, Bloomsbury, to talk their head of children’s and educational publishing, Emma Hopkin. Ms Hopkin said the publishing industry is working very hard to ensure that everybody is represented in some way in some books.

The Guardian - Schoolboy calls for more disabled characters in children's books

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Racism and homophobia on The Next Step

Don't expect to hear racist or homophobic language on The Next Step - the discrimination and prejudice is more subtle than that.

CBBC Newsround recently reported on the diversity controversy surrounding Taylor Swift's Wildest Dreams video. That video is supposed to depict a story taking place in 1950; But The Next Step is set in current times, and one of the show's principal characters, West, is black.

So how is the show racist?

Well, although there are black and ethnic minorities in The Next Step, if we look at the storylines, we nevertheless perceive thinly-veiled racism. For example, the fleeting 'relationship' between Emily and West which began at the end of series 2 and finished at the start of series 3. We didn't even see anything amounting to a romantic kiss between the two of them. But they do stay friends, "and that's it" as Emily makes clear. Now contrast her sister Riley's relationship with boyfriend James.

Another example, on yesterday's 4.55pm episode, was the way Giselle laid into Shantel for not dancing in the duet -

Giselle and Shantel

Giselle: This might be how you guys do things at Elite - this is not what we do at The Next Step. We actually work as a team!

This brings us neatly to the homophobia. Because, in the preceding, episode Chloe made a similar comment about Daniel: "... he's not a team player, so I really really want Giselle to beat him."

But where is the homophobia? After all, we don't know that Daniel, or indeed anyone else on the show, is actually gay. However it is precisely because there aren't any openly gay characters that we suspect discrimination - just like the fans who've criticised Taylor Swift's video. How many dance studios only have straight dancers? Answer: none.

Daniel has already been depicted as selfish and a bit of a snake in the grass. But he's also a boy who likes ballet and who doesn't have a girlfriend. So viewers, even the younger ones, might start to think he's gay. And, to top it all, we hear he's not a team player.

The Next Step is made for the Family Channel in Canada. The channel will have much to do in terms of inclusion if it's to avoid further accusations of prejudice and bigotry. This is 2015, not 1950.

Friday, September 04, 2015

From CBBC Newsround's TV bulletin at 7.40am this morning -

Leah: Taylor Swift is known for her hit songs and top videos, but her latest offering is facing some huge criticism from fans. It's all because the video for her new single, Wildest Dreams, is set in Africa, but people have complained that there are hardly any black African people in it. Taylor has not responded yet, but the director of the video has defended it saying it's supposed to reflect a certain point in history, and people of all different races were involved in putting it together. You can find out more about that story on the Newsround website ..

Also see this report in USA Today

Another interesting item on this morning's Newsround programme was Martin's report about Wheelchair Rugby.

Newsround Blog is still waiting for the details of diversity portrayal on BBC children's TV.

Monday, August 31, 2015

The top story on this morning's Newsround bulletin at 8.15am -

Ricky: One of Britain's most popular scientists, Professor Brian Cox, says not enough girls are considering a career in science. He wants that to change, and went back to school to urge more girls to experiment with science. Leah was there.

Professor Brian Cox: 'More girls needed in science'

(ITV News London - 24th August 2015) How to be as good at science as Professor Brian Cox

Earlier this year there was a great deal of controversy surrounding the issue of sexism in science. Newsround didn't mention the story which was sparked when leading scientist, Sir Tim Hunt, told an audience in South Korea "Let me tell you about my trouble with girls - three things happen when they are in the lab: you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them they cry."

Sir Tim found himself in hot water over the remarks and had to resign from posts he held. Some thought he was right to go, but others, including Brian Cox, felt he was being treated unfairly.

Monday, August 24, 2015

The third series of The Next Step began on CBBC today in the UK.

Yesterday I pondered on why The Family Channel website is blocked outside Canada. I've now found that CBBC, too, is blocked in other countries.

The lack of diversity is another subject Newsround Blog raised with the Family Channel last year when they invited some of The Next Step stars to answer questions via Twitter. I was mainly concerned about the failure to portray gay characters. And, of course, a recent survey indicates that a lot more young people consider themselves bisexual or gay than had been previously thought.

There is an attitude amongst those involved in children's TV whereby, whenever the subject of lesbian and gay relationships is broached, they just clam up. So my attempts to get answers from anyone at the Family Channel, or working on The Next Step were doomed from the start. But that doesn't mean we should give up trying. After all, it's less than fifty years since an interracial kiss caused outrage in some States when it was broadcast on American TV.

Towards the end of series 2 of The Next Step West told Emily how he had feelings for her, but in the first episode of series 3 we find out that 'Wemily' won't happen; they'll just remain friends:-

Emily and West on The Next Step: Coming Home? (S3E01)

Emily: After my [knee] injury there's been a lot going on, and my mind just isn't on him right now.

West: I realise now, that with all the drama that's happening with her, and with the troupe, I know that there's really no hope for this relationship.

Emily: But I still really want to be friends, so I'm not really sure what to say to him.

West: All I know is that Emily needs a friend, and I'm going to be the best friend that I can be for her.

Emily: I think we both understand what's going on ... we're friends and that's it.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Some in the UK are eagerly awaiting more from The Next Step which begins a first run of series 3 on CBBC tomorrow. The Next Step is made in Canada for the Family Channel, with backing from, amongst others, the Shaw Rocket Fund.

Last year Newsround Blog tweeted the Family Channel asking why people from other countries aren't welcome to visit their website. Unfortunately I didn't get a reply. I've now tweeted CBBC with a similar question, and hopefully they will be able to explain.

Watch this space!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Some broadcasters, including the BBC, have been criticised for breaking Ofcom's rules by screening news films and documentaries funded by foreign governments, charities and non-governmental organisations. Last year Newsround Blog revealed similar concerns over the dubious circumstances surrounding the acquisition of Canadian TV series The Next Step for British audiences. In one episode the characters are seen making fun of British accents. The heteronormative mockumentary forms a mainstay of the CBBC channel, with series 3 starting on Monday 24th August 2015 at 10am.

A CBBC Newsround investigation of vlogging on the internet has led the ASA to add to its earlier advice, so that vloggers are asked to make it clear if they are getting paid to promote a product. Ricky explained it all to Leah on Newsround this morning. He talked about the need to be more honest and more transparent.

According to the new advice "There is nothing wrong with vloggers (or others creating editorial content), marketers or agencies entering into commercial relationships: what’s wrong is if consumers are misled."

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


From time to time Newsround Blog has published emails sent to various individuals, mainly people who work at the BBC. However, following my investigation of whistleblowing procedures, I received an email from the BBC on Friday 14th August 2015 which stated "a human error was made in our email system which caused your emails sent to a wide variety of other addresses around the BBC to be diverted for a number of months and not delivered to their recipients."

I've been told that the mistake has now been corrected.

In fact Newsround Blog had not received replies from anyone at the BBC since late November 2014. I did try to check with some of the intended recipients via other means, for example, via Twitter. The BBC's clarification would account for the lack of a responses to emails mentioned in this blog over the last few months.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

There was a Doctor Who-themed same-sex wedding on this morning's episode of Marrying Mum and Dad.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

An excellent report about gay rights in Uganda on Newsround this afternoon (1.50pm bulletin) -

Ricky Boleto: Next - what rights gay people should have is a big issue around the world, particularly in Africa. In the African country of Uganda, gay people have been holding rallies to try to change the law.

Ricky reports on gay rights in Africa

Ricky: Hundreds of people waved the Ugandan national flag and Rainbow banners. They danced and sang. They say they're fighting for more freedom to admit you're gay across Africa. It's against the law to be openly gay in Uganda and in many other African countries. But there have been some changes recently. Up until last year gay people could be sentenced to life in jail. Now that can't happen any more, and the demonstrators think African governments should be more understanding. They say they want equal human rights for gay people.

Moses Kimbugwe (gay rights supporter): Violence, discrimination, harassment and stigma against all LGBT people is bad. So we are here to send a message to the wider population that we do exist and we do want rights like any other Ugandan.

Ricky: The demonstrators say they're proud to be gay and they want society to respect them. In Africa many people hold traditional beliefs and do not approve of gay people. Some African leaders have said it's not part of their culture. But a few weeks ago President Obama visited East Africa and gave his support for equal rights. The gay rights demonstrators are hoping that President Obama's words and today's marches will begin to change people's minds.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Young dancers (aged 11-15) are being offered the chance to try out for a guest role in The Next Step. CBBC has been advertising this opportunity for a while now, and this morning's Newsround bulletins included a message from Blue Peter's Lindsey Russell asking for kids to take part. It's not clear whether lesbian and gay teens are welcome.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

One of the questions at this year's Children's Media Conference was about the lack of disabled representation on children's TV.

Anna Home agreed with the questioner that more needs to be done. She mentioned that, in the distant past, there was a BBC programme specifically for deaf children, but nowadays it's felt important to avoid ghettoising kids. Anna said that drama is a very good way of bringing in more diversity.

Alice Webb, Director of BBC Children's told the CMC that she was very proud of what the BBC is doing on TV: "26% of portrayal on CBBC & CBeebies are of diverse characters."

Alice Webb: I think it's right that we look at the whole range of diversity, not just disability. I think we cover that with LGBT, and, as I say, we cover 26%. I don't think that we need to do any more in terms of measuring individual elements because we cover it all.

Steve Hewlett: Except that the overall figure hides a multitude of sins, doesn't it potentially? Especially if you're disabled?

Alice Webb: Yeah. And I'll look to the guys across the piece in terms of how we break that down. I don't exactly ... I'm very happy to get those figures out.

More recently, a piece appeared in The Guardian entitled Children's TV pretends disability doesn't exist. The journalist, Tim Smedley, believes that it's mainly the commercial TV channels, rather than the BBC, which are at fault. I did ask Mr Smedley whether he'd also investigated the lack of LGB portrayal on children's TV, but failed to get a response.

Monday, July 27, 2015

BBC: "Watch the new BBC trail celebrating the unique role that the BBC plays in all of our lives"

For All of Us - BBC

The Government's public consultation about renewal of the BBC's Charter briefly refers to a BBC study into LGB portrayal which was carried out a few years ago:-

Despite that government claim, there actually is no specific mention of LGB portrayal in the recently published BBC document Equality and Diversity at the BBC 2014/15. BBC Director-General Lord Tony Hall, who wrote the Foreword, does not appear to consider lesbian and gay portrayal as important as other diversity strands.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Last week was quite an important one for the BBC. The Annual Report and Accounts 2014/15 were published, and Lord Tony Hall even made a rare appearance in front of the cameras, though some were concerned at his reluctance to be interviewed by non-BBC media organisations -

Another development was the publication of GoodCorporation's Report about the BBC's whistleblowing and child protection policies - something I've covered in a few recent blogs. The BBC Executive response suggests they are fairly happy with GoodCorporation's findings (pdf).

But probably the most important media news was publication the Government's public consultation on the future of the BBC (pdf).

BBC Media Centre - Statement in response to Government Green Paper on the future of the BBC

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Doctor Who is a programme made by the British Broadcasting Corporation. Peter Capaldi got a chance to meet some of his fans at Comic Con in San Diego, USA -

Newsround report about Doctor Who (12th July 2015 at 10am)

Peter Capaldi: Doctor Who wouldn't have been around for this length of time if wasn't for its fans....

It seems Peter forgot to mention the help of TV licence payers in the United Kingdom ... yet, two days ago, Newsround reported that a trailer for the new series of Doctor Who was unveiled in America.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Newsround report (24th May 2015 @ 12.05pm) on the same-sex marriage referendum in Ireland : ".... almost 2 million people voted, with 62% saying they wanted to allow two men or two women to be married. But lots of people disagreed ..."

Newsround report (6th July 2015 @ 7.40am) on the economy referendum in Greece : "Yesterday there was a big vote, and the Greek people decided to say 'no' to a deal with the countries that lent them the money. Many Greeks felt it was unfair to keep paying back money in the way they have been doing ..."

Although the percentage of dissenters was marginally higher in the Greek referendum than in the Irish referendum, Newsround only mentioned dissenting views in the report about the same-sex marriage referendum.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Email just sent to BBC Director-General, Tony Hall -

Dear Lord Hall,

You say that you spend a day a week out around the BBC talking to people, but I'd like to know how much time you devote to dealing with the concerns of TV licence payers. Please could you advise how many letters and emails get responded to, and how many get ignored?


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

GoodCorporation "conducts independent and confidential assessments of ethical management practices." They were founded in 2000, and have worked with a diverse range of organisations including BBC Worldwide, the main commercial arm of the BBC.

In March last year GoodCorporation was asked by the BBC to carry determine whether the BBC’s child protection and whistle blowing policies are fit for purpose. The BBC is in possession of that report, but thus far they have declined to make it public.

The substantive part of my email to a senior figure at GoodCorporation (29th June 2015) -

... I did get in touch with the BBC to ask about a publication date. Unfortunately, however, I've not received a reply, despite a reminder last week.

You will recall that I am not alone in having reservations about the BBC's integrity.

It seems to me that something of an ethical dilemma has arisen. The BBC has asked GoodCorporation whether their policies are 'fit for purpose' and now they appear reluctant to publish the results which, as stakeholders, we are surely entitled to know at the earliest opportunity. In fact, according to the BBC, the original terms of reference to the Dame Janet Smith Review were amended, and a separate assessment carried out for the very reason of avoiding further delay.

GoodCorporation has confirmed the report is confidential, and say it can only be made public by the BBC. Presumably the broadcaster will eventually publish. Watch this space.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Introducing his show last Sunday, Andrew Marr mentioned that Lord Hall was a giving a "relatively rare TV interview." Marr said that "both the Tories and the Labour Party, not to mention the SNP, complained loudly about the BBC all the way through the election campaign. After it, Auntie's enemies are circling."

Newsround Blog has previously commented on Lord Hall's reluctance to submit himself to tough questioning but, of course, Andrew Marr is not exactly noted for giving his guests a difficult time.

During the interview Lord Hall was asked about problems the BBC faces -

Andrew Marr: .. there are a series of things, which, if they all happen together, would be quite serious for the BBC. Decriminalisation of the licence fee, so you can pay it or not as you wish - that could cost something like £200 million.

Lord Hall: About two hundred

Andrew Marr: .. but it could be a lot more than that. We don't know how people will behave, so it could be much more than that. Then there's a possibility of a freeze of the licence fee going beyond 2017, and the BBC having to pay the licence fee for OAPs, for instance. If all of those things happened together, a kind of general squeeze, how serious would that be for the BBC?

Lord Hall: Well if all of those things happened together, then of course that would be serious.

Strange as it may seem, nowhere did Andrew Marr mention another issue which could greatly compound the BBC's predicament, namely, the possibility of having to pay very large sums of money by way of compensation to victims of Jimmy Savile & Stuart Hall. Neither did Mr Marr ask about inordinate delays to publication of the Dame Janet Smith Review or the BBC's separate independent assessment of child protection and whistleblowing policies carried out by GoodCorporation.

Topics which were discussed included cuts in staffing, severance payments, and changes to Top Gear.

A telling moment came right near the end of the show, when Andrew Marr asked Lord Hall about the satirical sitcom W1A

Lord Hall doesn't veto the scripts

Saturday, June 06, 2015

In the absence of any response to enquiries about misleading information in the BBC online staff magazine, Ariel, it is probably worthwhile looking at the discrepancy in more detail.

This is the article in question. You should notice the article is currently dated 17th April 2015 at 9.15am. Now if you check this archive, made on 19th April 2015, you will notice exactly the same date/time information on the web page.

The present version is different from the archived version in at least one obvious respect: the photograph captioned "Future leaders? Adeluwoye, Abbey, Tezisler, Moncrieffe-Johnson, Pemberton and Berkeley with DG" was removed some time after 19th April, but that change hasn't been acknowledged by Ariel's editor, Claire Barrett.

Newsround Blog will, at a future date, consider why the page was edited.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Review of 'So Awkward'

CBBC's widely publicised, but only slightly amusing, sitcom series So Awkward began its first run on 21st May. The series follows the lives and mishaps of three teenage girls - Lily Hampton, Jas Salford and Martha Fitzgerald - who attend Cranmede Upper School.

Episode 1 starts with the three girls finding themselves being embarrassed by their parents. Lily has a big crush on Matt Furnish but, in an attempt to avoid embarrassment, Lily tells her mum that her boyfriend is actually the nerdy Ollie Coulton. Mrs Hampton suggests Lily invite Ollie for tea. So Lily has to ask Ollie to pretend to be her boyfriend, and he reluctantly agrees.

Martha, meanwhile, is getting increasingly frustrated by the lack of attention she gets from her mum who, by the way, is played by Carla Mendonça of My Parents Are Aliens fame. Jas tells the normally well-behaved Martha that a few detentions will get her mum to sit up and take notice.

Ollie isn't used to being a boyfriend, so he asks Matt for help. Matt teaches Ollie the basics of romance but Martha walks in and catches them in an embarrassing situation as the romantic music quickly grinds to a halt. It's not yet clear whether Cranmede school has any 'out' lesbian, gay or bisexual pupils. So, in context, the scene perpetuates somewhat old-fashioned homophobic attitudes.

Martha continues to struggle to get noticed by her mum, but follows Jas's advice leading to a meeting in school between the headteacher, Martha's mum and Jasmine's dad (played by Clive Rowe, best known as "Duke" from Tracy Beaker.) The plan works and Mrs Fitzgerald appreciates the need to devote more time to her daughter.

Lily pretends to be upset about breaking up with Ollie, but her mum has worked out the truth - that Lily really likes Matt, not Ollie. She tells Lily that any boy would be lucky to go out with her.

Episode 2 of So Awkward was devoted to fashion statements, and was exceedingly dull.

Jas, Lily & Martha in episode 2

The third episode dealt with the danger of taking studies too seriously at the expense of having fun.

So Awkward is, at best, mildly amusing; less so than Sadie J. And sometimes it has worthwhile points to make.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Part of last night's discussion on Newsnight between Evan Davis and Stephen Dubner, co-author of 'When to Rob a Bank'

Evan Davis: .. why is Britain's productivity - hourly productivity - lower than France's?

Stephen Dubner: Yeah, if I had to take a guess, I would say the one thing we know from this new field of what's called "workforce science" which is where you gather data on your workers on many dimensions - one thing we've learned is that salary, which most economists would say is the most important thing to making people happy and productive, is actually a very distant second, if that. The single most important thing in productivity is whether or not your boss and immediate co-workers are jerks.

Speaking of which, Newsround Blog is awaiting a response to the following email dated 13th May 2015:

FAO: Lord Hall, BBC Director-General

Dear Lord Hall,

I've recently been in touch with your Managing Director of Finance and Operations regarding misappropriation of funds. As I explained to Ms Bulford, whilst a licence fee of £2.80p per week may seem very reasonable, for those on the breadline and forced to rely on foodbanks and handouts, it is a significant sum of money. With that principle in mind, I trust you appreciate why I'm concerned about the wrongful use of licence-payers' money by a senior manager who is paid the better part of £200,000 per year.

Yours sincerely,

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Yesterday, most news channels, including BBC news, devoted tonnes of time to reporting the same-sex marriage referendum count in Ireland - and rightly so. The large majority voting 'Yes' is a hugely significant result, not only for Ireland, but also for gay people around the world, who have been treated as second-class citizens for way too long. Most of the coverage was good and reflected modern-day thinking on the need to treat all people fairly, without discrimination.

TV producers have traditionally sought to include minorities such BAME and disabled people, though virtually no current children's series portray lesbian or gay characters. Hopefully the outcome of the Irish referendum will help to drive things forward.

Making factual programmes inclusive presents more of a challenge than making dramas. The ideal answer is simply to look out for opportunities to report stories, issues and facts relevant to diverse families and children.

Newsround did report the same-sex marriage referendum today. They could have improved their reports by mentioning that many thousands of young people, both gay and straight, returned to Ireland from abroad just in order to vote for equal rights - #HomeToVote
Ayshah Tull reports on the same-sex marriage referendum

Newsround reports at 10.05am ... 12.05pm

Monday, May 04, 2015

There is a discrepancy relating to update information in the BBC's online staff magazine, Ariel. I've contacted the editor, Claire Barrett, to seek clarification. The article in question is about a new mentorship scheme.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Email sent yesterday morning to the BBC's Anne Bulford, Managing Director, Finance and Operations -

Dear Ms Bulford,

One of the findings of the 'Respect at Work' Review, published in May 2013, was evidence of inappropriate behaviour/bullying. Dinah Rose stated that some individuals are seen as being “untouchable” due to their perceived value to the BBC.

The BBC spent over £300,000 on the Review, so it's rather disappointing that there's been no sign of any genuine intention to change. Jeremy Clarkson's attack on Oisin Tymon was clearly unacceptable, and a responsible organisation would not welcome him back. But within hours of a police announcement that no action would be taken, the BBC reported Clarkson would host Have I Got News For You on 24th April.

Clarkson, himself, reflected on the position and realised that an appearance on TV at such an early stage might be seen as a slight against Mr Tymon, and therefore would not be appropriate. It beggars belief that the BBC didn't get that.

I am still awaiting a reply to my email of 30th March 2015 in relation to what amounts to a fraudulent expense claim by one of your senior managers.

Yours sincerely,

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Jeremy Clarkson will not, after all, make an appearance in Have I Got News For You on 24th April.

Jimmy Mulville, managing director of show producers Hat Trick Productions, said "On reflection, Jeremy Clarkson has decided not to host Have I Got News For You." Mulville expects Clarkson to host HIGNFY later in the year.

Clarkson's decision not to take part in the programme so soon after his verbal and physical attack on Oisin Tymon reveals at least a modicum of integrity that is totally lacking in the BBC's own top decision makers - Lord Hall in particular.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

The 'Respect at Work Review' was set up in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal to look at BBC policies and processes relating to sexual harassment as well as what it is like to work at the BBC more broadly with regard to respect and appropriate behaviour for staff and freelancers. It was carried out with the help of Dinah Rose QC.

An important finding of the Review was evidence of inappropriate behaviour/bullying: Some individuals are seen as being “untouchable” due to their perceived value to the BBC. (pdf)

You might think the Respect at Work Review was carried out with the aim of changing the culture which had led to people abusing their status and position within the Corporation. However it's now less than two years since the Review was published, and it seems nothing has really changed.

Within hours of the police confirmation that no action would be taken against Jeremy Clarkson, the BBC announced he would chair an edition of Have I Got News For You on 24th April. What kind of message is that supposed to send out?

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Difficult to decide who's the more pathetic: Lord Hall for agreeing to allow bullying thug Jeremy Clarkson to appear as host on Have I Got News for You (24th April 2015) - or Clarkson for accepting the invitation?

Of course Lord Hall knows full well that Clarkson will use the opportunity to aim loads of digs at the BBC.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Lord Hall was right to fire Jeremy Clarkson, but even that dismissal was carried out in the cack-handed way we've come to expect from this BBC director-general. Clarkson had already been given a 'final warning' last year, following more accusations of inappropriate language and behaviour.

The first of the Corporation's values states: "Trust is the foundation of the BBC: we are independent, impartial and honest."

It emerged, On 10th March 2015, that Clarkson had been involved in what the BBC described as a 'fracas' with a producer. Naturally people who still trust the BBC would have assumed nothing much more than a serious row between the people involved. But the truth is that the producer in question, Oisin Tymon, had to be treated in hospital on account of Clarkson's physical assault.

Tony Hall would have known the all facts, but instead of being honest with the public, he approved this mealy-mouthed press statement to disguise the severity of the attack.

When Lord Hall did eventually decide that Clarkson had to go, his final words of appreciation were out of place. Opera buff Hall's claim to be a fan of Clarkson's work on Top Gear was probably untrue.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Jeremy Clarkson has been sacked by the BBC.

Reports about the story, including this Newsround report by Ayshah, and this one on the BBC's main early evening news programme, played down Clarkson's history of racist, sexist and homophobic remarks.

Tony Hall making a rare appearance in front to the cameras, laid out the BBC's position. Here, frequently looking down at notes, Hall explains his decision. And in another very similar video, presumably using the same notes, he explains himself once again.

Lord Hall appears reluctant to be interviewed on live current affairs programmes such as BBC Two's Newsnight.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Dame Janet Smith Review was set up in October 2012. Much as the BBC would like to delay publication forever, it looks like they're now running out of excuses.

The original terms of reference mention Jimmy Savile only, but in May 2013 BBC Trust chairman, Lord Patten insisted that the inquiry should also address allegations about Stuart Hall. Accordingly the Review added separate terms of reference specifically to look into Hall's crimes. Then allegations about Dave Lee Travis surfaced. Dame Janet said "the possibility does exist that publication of the report may affect the fairness of the trial of Dave Lee Travis."

In a statement:
"For that reason and in the interests of ensuring that the independence and fairness of the criminal process is maintained, Dame Janet has decided that her report should not be delivered until after the conclusion of the trial of Dave Lee Travis.

"The BBC is aware of and agrees with this decision."

Yesterday's update suggests that Dame Janet's Report will not be published before the General Election.

The BBC is not good at dealing with criticism. Quite how bad things have become is summed up in a recent Observer article entitled The sinister treatment of dissent at the BBC. Whether Lord Hall and his cronies will be able to cope after publication of Dame Janet's Report remains to be seen, but no doubt the BBC's own journalists and editors will have a clear understanding that the Corporation is to be given an easy time. And woe betide any who fail to comply.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The BBC, according to Jana Bennett in 2007, helps children understand themselves and their relationships. But things went badly wrong this Valentine's Day.

Most CBBC programmes dealing with romance and love are heteronormative, with very little directly relevant to the significant minority of viewers who are lesbian and gay.

There were signs that BBC children's TV was about to become more inclusive - for example, Benny revealing his sexuality at the end of series 2 of Wizards vs Aliens. And then Newsround, for the first time, directly reported on the issue of homophobic bullying in November last year. Additionally an episode of the documentary "Our School" included a section about how Conyers School dealt with an incident of homophobic bullying. A short clip of Shaun Dellenty's anti-bullying assembly at Conyer's school appeared on CBBC's website along with a chat board asking whether kids had suffered discrimination. For the first time in many years gay kids' messages weren't censored.

But any progress on CBBC appears spasmodic. One step forward - then two backward. Benny was written out of Wizards vs Aliens during series 3, and we never saw him date another boy. We do regularly see gay celebrities on CBBC & Newsround, but no direct support - for instance a gay sportsperson talking about LGBT and equality related issues. The clip of Shaun Dellenty has now been taken off CBBC's website, along with kids' messages about being discriminated against. So far CBBC has shown no obvious interest in LGBT History Month.

There's no excuse for the BBC spending licence payers' money on homophobic children's programmes. But that's exactly what we see in "The Worst Year of My Life, Again" The clip below was from an episode shown on Valentine's Day. -

Monday, February 16, 2015

Remember, in 2011, that morning when Newsround was keen to show off their new iPad. Well today Leah Boleto seemed intent on viewers seeing a customised Newsround tablet -

Leah shows off her tablet this morning

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Most of CBBC's afternoon and evening programmes today were about love or Valentine's Day -

CBBC programmes today

Even though we're now half-way through LGBT History Month, I wan't exactly expecting an LGBT-fest on CBBC. Nevertheless it was unfortunate to come across one quite homophobic joke in the Valentine's Day programme mix.

The Valentine's Day edition of '12 Again' was repeated once again, but with no attempt whatsoever to update viewers on mariage equality legislation in Britain. I might well contact the incoming Director of BBC Children's, Alice Webb, about concerns over this significant discrimination-related issue. But, of course, moral integrity has never been a strong point of the BBC, as is evidenced, amongst other things, by Trust chairperson, Rona Fairhead, and her failure to answer questions about her work at HSBC

Sunday, February 08, 2015

A week into LGBT History Month, but no mention yet on CBBC. To be fair we have seen a few famous gay people on the channel, such as Sir Ian McKellen in a new series called Cinemaniacs.

What would be really good to see is more real recognition of today's stars, as well as some from history, like Alan Turing and Leonardo da Vinci.

Here are a couple of modern-day suggestions:

Lesbian journalist and newsreader, Jane Hill.

Ms Hill came out to all her BBC colleagues in December 2009. Her exemplary journalistic skills can be seen in this excerpt from an interview with Kate and Gerry McCann (May 2007):

Jane Hill: I've spoken to a lot of people over the weeks - local people who'd given up a lot of time - and you've talked about the support they'd given you. I met people who didn't go to work for more than a week because every day they were down on the beach ... searching the streets ... did you, as a mother, Kate, just sometimes think: I've got to be out there with them - I want to go and just physically look as well

Jane Hill interviews the McCanns in Portugal (May 2007)

Another person, who also came out as gay in December 2009, is Welsh rugby legend Gareth Thomas. The BBC gave him loads of publicity at the time, but not on CBBC Newsround. The current editor of Newsround, Lewis James, is a real fan of Welsh rugby, and with the Six Nations Championships underway, there couldn't really be a better time to make up for the past omission.

Kids need to see that being lesbian or gay is no bar to being the best, whatever their career choice might be.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

An open letter to Her Majesty's Government, published in The Guardian yesterday began:-
Alan Turing was one of the greatest heroes of the twentieth century, a man whose work on machines that deciphered the Enigma codes helped win World War II and who was pivotal in the development of modern computers. Winston Churchill said Alan Turing "made the single biggest contribution to the Allied victory in World War II"

The letter went on to mention the appalling treatment meted out to Turing and other gay men after the war.

February is LGBT History Month in the UK - a great opportunity to celebrate all those who, in past times, were silenced and had to live in fear.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Body image and gender stereotyping are topics which receive quite a lot of coverage on Newsround. Here, for instance, Newsround reported on what boys and girls prefer to be when they grow up.

And in this report Natasha Devon talks to Ricky about the importance of self-esteem.

Those topics are also central to some of CBBC's My Life series of documentaries :

"I Am Leo" featured Leo, who was born a female called Lily, but who wants to be recognised as a boy in society. Leo hated looking like a girl.

10-year-old Kai is a friend of Leo's, and they play football together.

Leo: The only difference between our life and er ..

Kai: .. a boy's life

Leo: .. yeah, a born-male boy's life, is we're trapped in this awful body and we have to do loads of medical stuff.

"What's a Girl?" followed Shelby on her quest to find out what it is exactly that makes a girl a girl. Shelby, too, doesn't conform with many people's idea of a typical girl but, unlike Leo, Shelby is happy to have been born female.

Shelby: I'm a girl. But some people think I that I want to be a boy because of the way that I look. I'm really happy being a girl and my life is pretty normal. ... I like being who I am. I wouldn't change it for anything.

Shelby visits a primary school where she finds out how young children respond to gender stereotypes - for example, hair length and clothing. As an experiment the children were asked to dress up in their own choice of costume.

Although CBBC documentaries have covered children growing with in a wide range of situations, we've yet to see a programme about being lesbian, gay or bisexual. However being gay was mentioned briefly as part of an episode of Our School, broadcast last November.

LGBT History Month starts this Sunday.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

If you want news about the BBC, you'd think their press office would be a good place to start looking. And, in fact, that was true until a few years ago. But things got much worse with the launch of a new-look press office, now re-named as BBC Media Centre. The new resource is only a shadow of its former self. Many pre-2011 archived pages have been removed completely, and the keyword archive search engine no longer works.

So much for the BBC Trust promise, in 2010, to set new standards of openness and transparency.

The report below was from Broadcast on 16th January 2015 -
Wizards vs Aliens on hold

The BBC has put Wizards vs Aliens on hold after three series due to cost issues regarding the children’s sci-fi drama.

Russell T Davies, who created the show with Phil Ford, said the BBC had “paused but not axed” the CBBC show after three series, because “there was not enough money” as yet to fund further episodes.

He also expressed his concern that protracted talks could result in cast members accepting offers to appear in other shows.

The BBC Wales/FremantleMedia Enterprises series originally received a two-series order totalling 26 episodes. Last year, it returned for a ten-part run under Ford’s sole stewardship.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Two films about important British scientists received nominations for this year's Oscars. But despite the importance of science and computing, neither of the films - The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything - was mentioned in Newsround's report of the nominations. The films are loosely based on the lives of Alan Turing and Stephen Hawking respectively.

CBBC's Absolute Genius series hasn't, as yet, included a programme about Stephen Hawking.

    Imitation Game     /     Theory of Everything

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

One of this afternoon's questions to the prime minister appears to confirm suspicions that Lord Hall is reluctant to appear in public, and is not up to the job.

Roger Gale MP: Mr Speaker, yesterday the former prime minister, Mr Blair, had to be summoned to the select committee to reluctantly give evidence. We now understand that the director general of the BBC, Lord Hall, is refusing to give evidence to another select committee on the grounds that he's a Member of Parliament. He's also a paid public servant. Isn't it time that we reviewed the matter of parliamentary privilege in this place?

Lord Hall: ".. we should explain ourselves" (November 2013)

Monday, January 05, 2015

LGBT History Month is an excellent opportunity for CBBC Newsround to carry a presspack-style report along similar lines to this Black History Month report by 12-year-old Nyah. Newsround will have to get a move on, though, because LGBT History Month is February - and that's less than a month away.