MEDIAFREAK

THE BITES THAT BITE

Light entertainment

Dawn Airey, Channel 5's aggressive programming supremo, must have given Marcus Plantin, director of the ITV Network Centre, severe indigestion when she addressed a Royal Television Society dinner at the Dorchester Hotel in London's West End last Thursday.

After describing ITV as "television's equivalent of Butlin's", Ms Airey ridiculed its plunging audience figures: "ITV's aim is to reverse this decline by the end of the millennium - they didn't say which millennium."

Plantin could not disguise his displeasure. But he, and other outraged ITV colleagues, swallowed hard until the question-and-answer session.

"It's been great fun," he said, almost convincingly. "But advertisers don't want to see the commercial channels attacking each other to death. They want to see us all stealing (audience) share from the BBC."

Ms Airey later admitted that one of her favourite dramas was Savannah, the tacky American mini-series screened by ITV.

Panic at the photocopier

Having chronicled the horrors of downsizing across the industrial landscape over the past two decades, the BBC's economics staff fear they are about to become its next victims.

A management memo left lying beside a photocopier in Television Centre reveals a plot afoot to cut the number of specialists in the economic/industrial sphere and rely more upon (lower-paid) general reporters.

The document heightens fears in the bi-media newsroom of a brutal restructuring to bring about the corporation's controversial plan for a 24-hour TV news channel. To the alarm of his staff, BBC news supremo Tony Hall has indicated that this dubious enterprise must be funded out of existing resources.

Scotland's right stuff

The Great Moving Right Show gathers pace at Scotsman Publications in Edinburgh. New editor-in-chief Andrew Neil is doing his bit to help the super-secretive Barclay Brothers rescue the Scottish Tories from electoral annihilation and derail Labour's plans for a Scottish Parliament.

Neil has just ordered Brian Groom, "editor" of Scotland on Sunday, to overhaul the paper's commentary section and add Alan Cochrane to its roster of columnists (the SoS already has more columns than the Parthenon). Cochrane, who has been freelancing from a media cottage in the wilds of Perthshire since he was ditched by the Daily Express, can be expected to rub up whoever meets with Neil's disapproval.

Meanwhile, political editor Kenny Farquharson is departing to the pro- Labour and staunchly devolutionist Daily Record, giving Neil an ideal opening to shift the paper further rightwards.

In bad taste

Narrowcasting evidently knows no bounds in this wondrous multi-channel era. The Carlton Food Network has commissioned ITN Productions to make a 26-part series in which foreign correspondents such as Michael Nicholson and Norman Rees wax lyrical on camera about their most memorable meals. The regulators are unlikely to raise any great objections to this idea, but there is plainly some risk of bad taste ....

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Brand Marketing Manager - Essex - £45,000 + £5000 car allowance

£40000 - £45000 per annum + car allowance: Ashdown Group: Senior Brand Manager...

Guru Careers: .NET Developer /.NET Software Developer

£26 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: We are seeking a .NET Developer /.NET Software ...

Guru Careers: Graduate Marketing Analyst / Online Marketing Exec (SEO / PPC)

£18 - 24k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Marketing Analyst / Online Marketing...

Guru Careers: Technical Operations Manager

£Neg. (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Technical Ope...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there