Robert Hampton

Another visitor! Stay a while… stay forever!

31st December 2010

Twenty Ten – again. Again

July brought big changes to the newspaper industry, as The Times started charging for access to its web site. This was supposed to ensure a steady income stream for the newspaper, putting it on a secure financial footing for the future. However, it also resulted in the Times being completely removed from the online chatter of the blogosphere, as its news coverage and columnists were no longer accessible to the internet hoi-polloi. Still, I’m sure this decision made sense to someone somewhere.

The Supreme Court ruled that gay people facing persecution are entitled to claim asylum in the UK. I welcomed the decision, although my blog post is curiously vague about precisely why I welcomed it. Hmm…

In other gay-related news, I reviewed, with sadness, a booklet from the US Military discussing its anti-gay don’t ask, don’t tell policy.

Elsewhere, health and safety went mad as one person suggested banning rugby scrums. I felt uncomfortable on a train full of Orange Lodge marchers and I defended the traditional sitcom from an onslaught of criticism from trendy TV reviewers.

Read the rest of this post »

4th August 2010

It’s Not Grim Up North
Posted by at 8.27pm | Television | No responses

In 2007 the BBC announced plans to up sticks and move a large number of departments and staff to MediaCityUK in Salford. The Sport and Children’s departments are moving en masse, along with Radio 5 Live. It was recently announced that BBC Breakfast will follow suit.

I think it’s a great idea. I love the BBC but the corporation does have a bit of a blind spot with the north of England, and relocating to Salford could go a long way towards redressing the balance and ensuring that the corporation better reflects all of Britain. Also, I went past MediaCity last year and even in its half-completed state it looked absolutely incredible. I can tell it’s going to be a great place to work.

The move has not been without its critics and the corporation has been accused of wasting money. The Daily Mail — with their long-standing antipathy for the BBC and scorn for anywhere outside the Home Counties — have delighted in stories about presenters who dislike the move and executives who won’t relocate.

The latest person who is reportedly not moving is Breakfast‘s Sian Williams, although she told the Manchester Evening News that for her it is because she does not want to uproot her family, rather than any perceived problems with working in the North (in fact she worked on North West Tonight for five years).

I’m not too upset about Londoners refusing to relocate: it would be preferable for there to be a real infusion of local talent. What’s the point in spending millions building expensive new facilities in Salford, only to fill them with people from down South?

I appreciate that people do not want to uproot their families, but it appears that some people are genuinely concerned about lack of quality of life. Well, it’s their loss — “The North” is not some depressing hellhole of flat caps and whippets. There is no sign across the M6 as you head up from Birmingham, reading “Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here” (although if you have to go as far as Morecambe you may see one). Our cities are smaller than London, but they are every bit as civilised and cosmopolitan. We have sushi bars and gay people up here too, you know!

Also, the wonderful Gordon Burns should be main presenter on Breakfast after the move.

1st January 2010

2009? More like Two Thousand and Fine!

July saw Merseyrail’s run of bad luck continue, as a train rolled out of the depot and derailed. To atone for their sins, they introduced a new day ranger ticket, but I wasn’t convinced. This was something of a train-y month for me, as I did my bit to help out the previous generation of Merseyrail trains. Trains were also on the Government’s mind, as they announced that the Liverpool to Manchester line would be electrified.

In London, the Police proved once again what a wonderful organisation they are. In Rome, a swimmer suffered an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction.

Read the rest of this post »