Media: The Word on the Street

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The Independent Culture
SEVERAL INTRIGUING issues arise out of Channel 4's Hard News special on The Guardian's investigation into whether the Carlton documentary, The Connection, was in fact a fake (brief summary: the mule may or may not have been a mule, but the producer of The Connection was clearly a complete ass). Hard News broadly agrees with The Guardian that The Connection misled viewers, which is not what programme makers are supposed to do at all. So clearly there will be no welcome mat for them outside Channel 4's glass and chrome revolving door. Er, not exactly. The wonderfully benevolent head of news and current affairs, David Lloyd, says that he would not necessarily banish The Connection producer, Marc de Beaufort, from his threshold. "I'd like to think my door is never closed," Lloyd says. The programme's executive producer, Roger James, has already done rather better out of Lloyd and landed a job. James is filling a similar role on a new Channel 4 series about the EU called Inside Europe, to be made by the team responsible for the landmark Town Hall. "It's strictly observational," says a Channel 4 spokestype. So that's alright then.

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YOU MIGHT have seen a story in the newspapers yesterday about two female college friends in their early twenties who died of carbon monoxide poisoning from a faulty gas boiler at a Shropshire B&B. The headline used by a local press agency to alert the hungry national press on Sunday? "Dead and breakfast."

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AND NOW over to Sue Lawley for the BBC Review of the Year. It is just the sort of programme (in the increasing absence of access to anything live) that the corporation does terribly well - lots of fine archive footage, slickly edited and overlaid with some achingly appropriate soundtrack (we're currently running a sweep on how minutes will elapse before The Verve's "Bitter Sweet Symphony" is pressed into service). This year's theme for the BBC extravaganza? The digital age (as in "we're playing a full and active part in"). The venue? Errm, Sky. "Some of the links, and we stress some, are being filmed at Sky's digital control centre," explains a BBC spokesproducer. "If we were making a film about canning, we'd make it in a canning factory."

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IS THAT yet another story I see before me of marital infidelity involving old Viagra lips himself, Mick Jagger? And is that an upcoming Rolling Stones badly in need of a some advanced publicity? This time it's 29-year- old model Luciana Giminez Morad, who tells pals and The Sun: "I'm having Jagger's baby." If it's true, then it can only mean two things: one, there's still life in the old dog; two, she can bring the kid along to next June's show at Wembley.

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ITV'S RELATIVELY poor track record in comedy has prompted the network to seek help from the US - the producers of The Cosby Show and Roseanne are currently creating a sitcom set in the Seventies, presumably on the basis that that was when ITV last produced a decent sitcom. The transatlantic recruitment drive will not surprise anyone who saw Minding the Baby, but it mystifies Graham Linehan, co-creator of Father Ted and Big Train, who thinks that, what with The Royle Family, Goodness Gracious Me and Alan Partridge (all BBC shows), British comedy writing is going through something of a golden age at the moment. "Bringing in American producers may work but it's an act of desperation when no desperation is called for," says Linehan. "I cannot see it getting much better, unless the Day Today team reform, or Vic and Bob get their fairies out again."

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"BIGGEST EVER poll rejects joining Euro", announces the Sunday Telegraph, which then goes on to tell readers that public support for British entry into the single currency is "in steep decline". Rather like the paper's definition of current affairs. The poll referred to in the piece was carried out before last year's election. In fact, according to a report by Social and Community Planning Research (the body that conducted the original poll) published today, it is opposition to the single currency that is falling. Next week in the Sunday Telegraph: "Massive backing for Britain to send task force to the Falklands."

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