Print of "lost" britcom discovered in Nigerian basement and restored with X-rays and laser-cutters

In the early days of TV, it was routine to tape over the recording medium after the initial air-date, which means that no video record exists of many of the pioneering moments in television. Read the rest

Doctor Who theme creator Delia Derbyshire awarded posthumous Ph.D.

Working from a traditional score by Ron Grainer, Delia Derbyshire created one of television and electronica's most distinctive works of music: the theme tune to Doctor Who. For her pioneering work with synthesizers, often in crudely sexist and exclusionary workspaces, she is being posthumously awarded a degree by Coventry University.

Due to BBC policies at the time, Grainer – unwillingly – is still officially credited as the sole writer.

Derbyshire stayed at the workshop for 10 years, recording sound for Inventions for Radio and Cyprian Queen – all in the days before modern synthesisers and machines. She was later approached by Paul McCartney to work on a backing track for the Beatles hit Yesterday.

But despite her talent and credit from her peers, Delia failed to gain widespread recognition during her lifetime, eventually becoming disillusioned with the industry and finding work as a radio operator in Cumbria.

Photo: BBC Read the rest

The BBC has a pidgin service

The BBC's pidgin service is aimed at West African audiences; it is a pure delight. Read the rest

What is the right punishment for blasphemy?

BBC Asian Network raised a few eyebrows after tweeting "What is the right punishment for blasphemy?" While it's clear from watching the video all the way through that BBC's Shazia Awan is not taking a side, BBC Asia later apologized. Read the rest

Planet Earth 2 but the animals have human screams

Simple brilliance from Matt Amys. Read the rest

Watch BBC's Planet Earth II trailer

Ten years after the original series, BBC's widely-acclaimed Planet Earth returns to television in the UK in November and in the US in January 2017.

The first episode, Islands, looks at how animals can become very large or very small in those conditions. This adorable swimming sloth looks worth watching the series all the way through:

Bonus video: extended trailer:

Planet Earth II website Read the rest

HyperNormalisation takes a deep dive into our post-truth world

Adam Curtis' latest mind-blowing project just dropped a trailer, and it's a doozy. HyperNormalisation uses a tale of two cities (New York City and Damascus) to trace how we got to Trump, among other post-truths. He goes in on everybody, with a special focus on bankers. Read the rest

These are radio drama staircases

These unusual "radio drama staircases" are inside the BBC's sound studios. When an actor is recorded walking up or down the stairs, the different surfaces (wood, carpet, cement) give the acoustic impression of unique locations for the radio drama. Samuel West shot the image above at BBC's Maida Vale Studios. Apparently, they are actually functioning staircases that lead somewhere in the building.

(via Neatorama) Read the rest

BBC picks greatest films of the 21st century

"We believe that the new classics on this list are destined to become old classics," writes the BBC. "Whether or not that happens is ultimately up to you, the moviegoers. But one thing is certain: cinema isn’t dying, it’s evolving." Read the rest

BBC will use surveillance powers to sniff Britons' wifi and find license-cheats

If you live in the UK and watch live TV or use the Iplayer video-on-demand service, you have to pay a "license fee" that directly supports public media in the UK (in other countries, public media is funded out of the tax-coffers, but in the UK, it's a direct transfer from viewers to the media, which is meant to make the BBC independent of the whims of government and thus more able to hold it to account). Read the rest

Watch this osprey catch a trout in super slo-mo

From the BBC series The Highlands, narrated by Ewan McGregor. From their site: Read the rest

Debullshitifying the Brexit numbers

On the BBC's More or Less podcast (previously), Tim Harford and his team carefully unpick the numerical claims made by both sides in the UK/EU referendum debate. Read the rest

The time the BBC News reported that "there is no news"

I suppose no news was good news on April 18, 1930. At 6:30pm during the regularly scheduled news bulletin slot, the BBC News announcer turned on the mic and said:

"Good evening. Today is Good Friday. There is no news."

Piano music followed.

(BBC News History via r/todayilearned) Read the rest

Four days in, and the BBC hasn't even mentioned the biggest bribery scandal in history

On Wednesday, Fairfax and Huffington Post broke the Unaoil story, revealing that they had been leaked a trove of email from an obscure Monaco family business that had acted as a global fixer in bribery and bid-rigging that looted the treasuries and oil-fields of some of the world's poorest countries, from Iraq to Yemen, acting on behalf of blue-chip companies like Rolls-Royce and Halliburton. Read the rest

UK government spent a fortune fighting to keep the number 13 a secret

The BBC's Social Affairs Correspondent, Michael Buchanan, wanted to know how often the UK government's new "red tape-busting cabinet panel, the Reducing Regulation Committee" was meeting, because he thought that it was probably "all froth and no action." Read the rest

BBC helps Saudis whitewash arms trade to Syrian jihadis

The BBC quoted an anonymous Saudi source who insisted that the arms the country imports en masse from the UK are only funnelled to the good Syrian rebels and not the Al Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra Front. Read the rest

Listen: Ted Chiang's short story "Understand" as a BBC radio-drama

Ted Chiang (previously) may be the best short story writer in science fiction today; though he produces very infrequently, he wins accolades and awards for every story. Read the rest

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