Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The future and the history of television

Wasn't it actually, genuinely, thoroughly exciting about Michael Grade going to ITV? Ask anyone to name a British TV executive and they'd name him, he's that well known inside and outside the industry. Okay, they might also name Greg Dyke. Doctor Who fans might name Julie Gardner. Drama nuts like me would point to Jane Tranter.

But even I used to haver if asked who was running ITV these days and I'm a dyed-in-the-polyester anorak.

I read Grade's autobiography a few years ago and was a fan before but admired still him more afterwards. And I just looked on my shelves to tell you the title of the book and I can't find it. Have you borrowed my book?

Anyway, I have worked for ITV but not really so much that it or I noticed, yet it's been despairing watching it become like a cheap digital cast-off and Michael Grade's move is the best news in many years. And speaking of years, he's committed to staying at ITV for three, which means he'll be 66 when he goes. Not sure I see that man ever retiring, but if he does, this could be a pretty good end to an astonishingly interesting career. Or a pretty bad one, depending.

And speaking of the future, the history is back: I don't know the dates but Imagine has been re-scheduled for before Christmas and my feature has been ever-so-slightly cut down from two pages to about 40 words. It'll be the TV Insider piece on whichever day Imagine airs. Please read slowly: it's an expensive 40 words!


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Previously on BBC2's schedules...

I was just after telling you this: "Currently it looks like Imagine... TV Pioneers will be on BBC2 at 22:35 on Tuesday 12 December but it's still subject to change."

It's changed. The show's been pulled from that evening and as yet has not been rescheduled. Consequently, and I suspect you won't be surprised here, that Radio Times feature won't run either.

Doubtlessly Imagine... will be rescheduled but I'll bet you dollars to doughnuts it won't be this year. I almost hope it isn't because I wouldn't rate my chances of there being space in RT for the feature. Then even if it pops up next year, there's always a strong chance there won't be room because of bigger programmes in the same week.

And, um, yes, I do know why Imagine... has been taken out of the schedule but I can't say.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

History of TV on TV and in RT

The episode of Imagine... about the history of television is now due in week 50.

There you go, that tells you everything. Waddya mean, you don't know from BBC week numbers? Have you got a second for a quick story? The BBC numbers weeks so that instead of planning for November 21, you can say Tuesday of week 47. Fine. Makes a lot of sense if you're a TV or radio producer making, I don't know, a six-parter: you can say it's on weeks 10-15 or whatever. And it helps at Radio Times too.

Oooh, want to know a secret? Next time you see an issue of Radio Times, look at the barcode on the front. In the top corner there'll be a two-digit number: it's the BBC week number. You can't believe how handy that is.

And I know I keep calling it a BBC week number when you're thinking it's a week, it's numbered, it's not a BBC invention. But just sometimes, it is. Week 1 is the first week of the year, right? What do you do if the first complete Saturday-Friday week begins on January 4th? I can't remember the dates now but a couple of years ago when I was still doing TV reviews for BBC Ceefax, we had the situation where the BBC made one decision about what week 1 was, and the rest of the TV industry went the other. For an entire year I was lost: when they said a tape was for week 38, did they mean my week 38?

Er, that wasn't the story. The story was this. BBC week numbers go from January to December. But my wife Angela works for the Health and Safety Executive and they also number their weeks.

From May to April.

After the first major holiday scheduling disaster, we've abandoned week numbers in my house.


PS. Week 50 is about three weeks away, we are in 47 now. Currently it looks like Imagine... TV Pioneers will be on BBC2 at 22:35 on Tuesday 12 December but it's still subject to change.

Miked up

I sat in on a recording for a DVD commentary yesterday: can't tell you what the DVD is yet, not because I deliberately try to be awkward to you but I just promised. I'll tell you when the DVD comes out and actually you'll hear some of it, partly because I'm sure I'll nick a few choice moments from the commentary track at that time, but also because the cast and crew answered my questions.

After I'd gone.

I went to this recording for a good dozen reasons, starting with how I wanted to meet the producer after we'd talked a lot, and because I really like the piece he's working on. But there was also that the session was in the BBC's Broadcasting House and I haven't been there for work in a decade. Television Centre and BH, I don't know what it is about them but they're special: they've got that simultaneous feel of being alive now, of working to the future and of being steeped in the past. Er, so maybe I do know what's special about them.

I know I'm an anorak here but I also know I'm not alone. However they did it, the BBC has made BH terribly important and just getting lost in the corridors again was fun.

So that was me, that was all I was after, but this 'ere producer, ably demonstrating why he's a producer, was determined to get me an interview with the writer of the DVD title. I wanted it too, I admire the guy's writing, but there was a lot of work going on there yesterday: if I ended up being just a lemon earwigging the commentary from the control room, I'd be happy.

And in the end things did, inevitably, take longer than expected and typically for the best of reasons: it was a group commentary track and it sounds fantastic. I can't wait to hear the ones for segments that I didn't hear.

But I also can't wait to hear my answers. I left in the afternoon but this producer suggested I leave a couple of questions for the writer and he'd get the answers recorded if there was time. I left there thinking this was a nice bloke who had no chance of getting them recorded: obviously his DVD comes first, there was also a limit on the studio time, and nobody in this world can read my handwriting.

Only, I just got an email from him. He did get the writer to answer my questions and what's more, the whole group chimed in with the answers. Hopefully I'll have the recordings soon and while parts relate solely to the project that was recorded this week, I might be able to steal some of it and get it to you in one of the next couple of UK DVD Review podcasts.

It's just, well, eerie. The way it went, I said hello and goodbye practically simultaneously to most of the group who cannot have had any clue who was looming over them like that. And then while I was forlornly and, for a while, fruitlessly looking for the BBC Shuttle Bus outside BH, they were effectively talking to me.

I wonder if I'm being rash saying I'll play you the bits of the tape I can. I haven't heard it, I wasn't there, maybe I'm going to get some beautifully recorded dialogue full of whispers saying "Who was that guy anyway?","Does his wife let him out looking like that?" "He has a wife?"


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Good food and other stories

One day I'll remember my username and password to get on to this thing.

If I could've remembered it yesterday, I'd have told you that the site I mentioned the other week, BBC Good Food, is up and running in every sense: I've seen the stats for the first few days and it's just boomed into life. Please add to their good fortune by having a look at BBCgoodfood.com, especially if you're a foodie.

There was a launch party for it in London last night, lots of drink, lots of food and - you're already wondering this, I was wondering it, everybody else on the list was wondering it - yes, the food was indeed good.

But I also wanted to talk to you about the Radio Times feature I mentioned without actually saying what it was. I've delivered it and it was one of those that's so much fun you hate handing it over, but I think by not saying what it was about I either looked coy or grandiose. That or rude, I'm havering. But it's habit, sorry, a longterm habit that comes from how you never know what will happen to a piece.

For instance, I was commissioned for a magazine feature in summer 2005, wrote it, got paid quite nicely, and it's never run. I was asked to update it this summer but fortunately it didn't run then either because I completely blew the assignment.

And it happens. You haven't told me what you do: is this the same for you? It's rare that the piece vanishes, it's more often that you get chucked off it - though that's only happened to me twice and I found it much, much rougher when I was an editor and had to fire a writer - but it's routine that something changes. With this latest one, for instance, that's for Radio Times and it's tied to one specific episode of a series so if BBC2 bumps that episode to January, my feature goes with it. (And BBC2 has been making an amazing number of schedule changes lately; the delay for production on Top Gear set cats amongst pigeons.)

Plus, if that show does air in January, it might be up against bigger shows and my feature shrinks to a paragraph. I expect I'll have a byline on this one but there's plenty in RT that I do which doesn't; I think now that I've finished with it but even today there was a call about a detail so I never regard it as really finished until it's on the shelf at WH Smith's.

And I never, ever say what I'm writing about.

Except now. You read this far, how am I at tantalising? The BBC2 programme is an edition of Imagine... celebrating the 70th anniversary of television and I've honestly forgotten when it's supposed to air but it's soon. And RT is currently intending to run a feature about how Radio Times has covered TV since the start. That's it.

But, grief, I had a good time doing it, most especially when I found a little unexpected connection. You think Radio Times came before television, because radio came before television, and, er, you'd be right, but wait till you see what I found.


Saturday, November 04, 2006

The joy of research is...

...what else you find on the way. I'm doing a feature for Radio Times that's involved researching back issues far, far further back than I'm normally supposed to for the On This Day column and it's, well, it's weird. The paper stock they used in the 1920s feels wrong, it's sometimes glossier than you'd expect yet the printing, the actual text on the page, sometimes looks like it was done on a typewriter.

And the attitudes, the assumptions that plainly went without saying then but are mysteries now or hopelessly innocent. There's going to be plenty of this in the final feature but I also kept finding things that are off the brief and though I can't use them, there is one I really want you to see.

The Radio Times: April 18, 1924 issue, p149, col 2
"Amongst Bournmouth’s distinguished listeners is Mr Thomas Hardy, O.M., the great Wessex novelist, who has not hesitated to give helpful advice concerning the station programmes."

Isn't that fantastic? Thomas Hardy alive and being a right pain in the backside to BBC Radio Bournmouth, or whatever it was called then.

What's "O.M."?


Friday, October 20, 2006


Something I think you might like: there's going to be a BBC Good Food website from November and it has everything you might imagine, plus a really nice extra.

You know how the best ideas seem incredibly simple and even obvious in retrospect? The editor of the BBC Good Food website, Vic, has decided to have a glossary of food terms - and to show you how to pronounce them. I think there are some 300 terms, something like that, ranging from ingredient names to wines and grapes, cooking terminology. All or most have a phonetic spelling along with the detailed description.

And then about 70 or 80 of the most difficult or contentious have also got a voiceover: click the button and you'll hear exactly how to say them.

It's my voice.

I just delivered the last recording this afternoon.

And I'm so proud of getting to do it: BBC Good Food looks like a superb website, I'm really chuffed to have been involved.


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Paging Dr Gallagher...

There's this thing going on, perhaps you know about it: a blog called the Red Right Hand suggests we put up online a single page of script. It should be something you wrote in the last year, it should come with no explanation, no context.

Presumably no prize, either, but there you go. The event, if that's the right word, is being called One Page 2006 which suggests there may be a One Page 2007. By then, I may even have written two pages.

Now, I don't know how to embed a nice thumbnail of it, but otherwise, here's mine:
William's one


Friday, August 04, 2006

Not so much a review, more a therapy session


Purely because there are so many nice new people on the list this week, this is an earlier than usual note about an earlier than usual edition of UK DVD Review.

It has nothing to do with how the moment I hit send to you, I'm out the door and driving to the Lake District. I'd ask you to come, you know that, but this is my wedding anniversary, you understand.

But I can take up your entire weekend and well into next week with all the excellent DVDs that are now out, though this does make me wonder why I spend the greatest part of this week's show jabbering on about a film that doesn't work. There's this film, right, and it's actually possible that I am the only man in the UK who's seen it. Not very, very probable, but actually possible. And I want to talk it through with you, less like a review, more like a therapy session.

The week's other releases are much more straightforward: you've got one brilliant TV series that happens to be rubbish too, one comicbook film that doesn't do anything for me but everybody else loves it, and one superb Hollywood star in one blink-and-you'll-wish-you'd-missed-it thriller.

And this week's One Year Ago Today DVD release is a cheat. Total cheat. I could justify it, but it'd be a rationalisation and I feel we're beyond that. So I tell you, I've got an excuse to play you a bit of a film I adore and I'm going to take it.

Have a listen over the iTunes Music Store or nip straight to here:

Gotta go, Angela's revving the engine. Have a good week,

Sunday, July 30, 2006

When DVDs Go Cheap - UK DVD Review

They're the most highly-awaited and, face it, highly-hyped DVDs and what happens to them?

The price drops like a stone.

After you've bought 'em.

It's the new UK DVD Review feature I wish I hadn't started now yet am compelled to continue: what DVDs came out exactly one year ago and how little would it cost to buy them today? That's a rather long name so instead I call it Oh-My-God-It's-Only-£5.99.

But, come on, chin up, you've had a full year's enjoyment out of that disc. You have, haven't you? Or is this like your copy of Lost in Translation which I know is still in its shrinkwrapping since 2004? Still, hey, it's in a nice box, it looks good on your shelf.

And while we're bright-siding here, look at it this way: you can't have bought everything last July. So if it turns out that you're as scared of this week's new Final Destination 3 as I am or you're no more fussed about Rome than I've managed to be, you can still ferret around the bargain shelves and get some great titles. Okay, one great and one all right. July 2005 wasn't a goldmine.


As well as looking at old releases and new ones, it'd be a bit thick not to take a peek ahead to a superb release due in November. Let's just say that it's truly one of the greatest TV comedies ever made.

It's truly one of the greatest TV comedies ever made.

And if you recognise that gag, just you tune in to the new UK DVD Review for more:

Hope you're well - and thanks to Piers, who pointed out that my blog was a sensible place for this weekly rabbit.


Saturday, June 24, 2006

At a Crossroads

Listen to this.

I was at the Birmingham Rep theatre today for a masterclass on writing television and one of the speakers talked about how you get sacked from shows and how it feels like a knife wound but is actually routine. And she gave reasons, explained certain things and it was all interesting but the key thing was that she was precisely, I mean precisely, recounting my own Crossroads experience.

I've always been quite flip about Crossroads before, always being sure to say that I plainly wasn't good enough, always being very fair about what the show did to me. But the first truth is that it was a knife wound. I couldn't keep my first TV writing gig and, yes, 90% or more of the script that aired was word-for-word what I'd delivered but that just means I can't see the improvements. I am blind to how to write television, or at least soaps.

The second truth is that this cut me far, far more than I ever admitted to anyone.

And the third truth is that it cut me far, far more than I ever admitted to myself. I mean, this is five years ago now and yet this afternoon I felt a weight lifting off me.

More, this speaker's subsequent advice about how to handle it was almost precisely how I did: I know we would all hope to be professional about things all the time but this situation warranted a hissy fit yet I was pretty fantastically professional. It's the only thing I've been proud about in the whole exercise. And now I think I know I was right.

But there was more. The day wasn't all about soap but it was an important part and discussing the complex demands of a soap (for instance how you structure five stories, how you handle 30 speaking characters in 28 minutes, how you try to pace and build) I kept on hearing things I had instinctively done on Crossroads.

Now, it was hardly a bill of health: I did lose the gig, after all. But it means I should have been able to move on to another show, it wasn't the arterial slice I'd believed. And of course since I didn't even try to move on then, I did truly blow it all.

It's five years ago now and that's a lot of time to have wasted. But I do know that, whatever one might think of my writing, it genuinely is better now than it was.

So I am invigorated and do you know what my sole remaining regret about this entire issue is?

That I didn't hit delete on this blog posting. Forgive any arrogance about how I plainly think I can write television: you know I'll write again when I've got even the slightest evidence to show you.

William "Unusually Confident of his Writing Ability" Gallagher

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Waitin' on a sunny day

I may have a while, it's half past midnight. But I'm sitting here waiting as this week's items of mine for BBC Hereford & Worcester make their very slow way across the BBC webmail system. (No offence to BBC Webmail, I couldn't do my job without it and I've tried, but this one thing is always very slow.)

It's because I'm uploading a large attachment, it works out at just under 1Mb per item and I send four at a time so you can understand it choking a bit.

But while I wait, how are you? If you're waiting for anything too, have a look at this: http://pavementandstars.blogspot.com/ which contains a description of using cards and corkboard for planning your screenplays. It's thoroughly explained, it's unquestionably the right and sensible, even proper thing to do, yet I cannot. I was going to tell you why, but I'll wait until we know each other better. But just because I can't do it, doesn't mean you can't so do have a look.

Still waiting. Okay, may I tell you how my day's been? This is more for me than for you, though I do suspect you've already thought that, as it's been my idea of bliss.

How do I tell you this without a lot of "And then I..." bits? Hang on, my email's conked. I just to give it a nudge.

There you go. Okay, I won't bore you with the hour-by-hour chronology but overall I've spent today researching in the library, writing a response to a Radio Times reader who was very gratifiyingly full of praise of my On This Day column but had issues he wanted answered. I did a photo shoot for the opening of a studio - and, wow, standing up on a step ladder, directing 12 people who all did everything I asked, who I somehow managed to keep giggling and laughing so that they look fantastic in the shots, and then prepping 40 shots to immediately go to a magazine that was waiting. More than waiting, its pages had gone to press, the editor was just holding one back long enough for these shots. And then I spent the rest of the night until now recording my BBC Hereford and Worcester stuff.

So I've done print journalism, academic research, photography and radio work in one day. I'm a lucky bastard but I know it.

Hope you had a good 'un, too.


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The price of fame

"Fame" may be rather overstating it, but "The price of Not-Being-Absolutely-Entirely-Unknown" doesn't scan so well.

I also realise if you're reading this, you're likely to read the latest first: that does seem reasonable. So because I've done two entries in quick succession, let me say:

Previously on this blog... so many people listen to my podcast UK DVD Review show that my website was shut down. Now, read on.

I've coughed up the cash and - hang on, let me check, Apple said it'd take a mo but yes, www.williamgallagher.com is back. They're dashed clever, these Apple types: the cost of upgrading my .Mac account to 2Gb of storage and therefore some greater amount of data transfer ought to be £35pa but because it's an annual subscription and my renewal date is in July, the nice shiny total at the bottom of the form was just the fee from now until renewal. Who could resist £8.32?

Come July I'll be thinking about it again, but there you go.

And it's funny, I don't think I know many people who pay for their email account anymore. But there was one day, three years ago now, when I badly needed to get a large document off my PowerBook and onto a PC at Radio Times and there was nothing I could do. The BBC email system was croaking, I could hook my PowerBook onto the RT network but only for internet access, I couldn't see any of the same servers the PC could. So I tried a trial version of .Mac which allowed me to send the document immediately.

I thought that would be it, get that document across, forget about .Mac entirely. But it proved so reliable-as-a-rock, so much quicker than the BBC's webmail, that I paid up at the end of the trial. And in those three years or whatever it is, I've received fewer than 30 spam emails. I don't mean my junk filter caught 'em, I mean I didn't get any, they were stopped at Apple's end. It's a bit annoying that I'm getting any at all but then I use my .Mac address a lot, I bandy it about, whereas I have a Google Mail account that I exclusively use for archiving work (at the end of the day I email myself the document) and though I've never given that address to anyone else at all, still I get more spam through it than I do my .Mac address.

So I'm happy for about 360 days a year; I ponder the fee for about five days a year but so far always pay up.

Next time, even more exciting details from my finances,

Closed by popular demand

Now, am I popular or have I just been secretly downloading umpteen Hollywood blockbusters and for some reason parking them on my website?

I'm afraid that if you go to my site now, www.williamgallagher.com, you don't get in. Apple's switched it off because I've exceeded the limits on how much data can be transferred from it. I have to say that makes me feel great: enough people are grabbing my UK DVD Review podcast that I've been shut down.

From a quick look at Apple's finger-wagging email, it looks like there's nothing I can do until May 1st, the next time they check these things. I suspect in fact that if I pay the right people the right amount of money I can get the site back up, though, so I'll look into that and my bank balance.

It's definitely an embarrassing thing that one can't get to my site. I suppose it ought to be cruel, cruel world that I have to pay more because the site's a success.

But I just can't help grinning.

William "Intolerably Smug" Gallagher

Sunday, April 09, 2006

UK DVD Review prices


As I write this I'm still making this week's UK DVD Review podcast but within it I promise to tell you on here the prices for the DVDs I rabbit on about. I tell you this after I've mentioned all the myriad permutations of RRP and online prices, I could at least have mentioned it before and saved you getting out a pencil or telling your local DVD shop "Listen, this geezer, he says you should be selling it for a fiver off", which always works.


Here's the prices for this week. If you'd care to join me over here with the show itself, then I'm on iTunes - er, or I will be when I've finished this episode - at http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=73802571

Or on my own site at http://homepage.mac.com/william.gallagher/pod.htm.

And those prices, at last, go thisaway:

Cheaper by the Dozen 2 is £16 retail, £11ish online
Doom costs £20 RRP, £15 online.
King Kong (2005) is out for £25 in a two-disc special edition –is online at a mere £13
King Kong (1933) came out last year for a tenner, is now online for about six quid

And The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is in three versions. There’s a single-disc film-only DVD for £20.99 (weird price, isn’t it?), which is online for £12.99.

Then there’s a two-disc special edition which has an RRP £24.99 and is online £14.99.

Lastly, Amazon co uk claims a world exclusive with its RRP £50 set and online £35.99 which is the two-disc DVD plus books and the like, all in a wardrobe-style box.


Friday, March 31, 2006


I've been mocked for boasting that I've got nine bylines in this week's Radio Times.

And you have to agree, I boasted. I deserve mockery.

But I was also doubted, can you believe that? There I am, minding my own business, very full of myself and big-headed, when this geezer mocks me and adds "Besides, I could only find eight."

For the record, the new ninth byline is on a feature about BBC4's 1973 season but then there's the usual seven of me for On This Day and one last 'un for the TV Stat on the letters page.

And wow, that Stat is a bugger to do. I've had nightmares about it, quite seriously.

Anyway, hi. How've you been? As I write this it's Friday night, I've just delivered a half-hour sitcom script to that same doubting geezer (he, I and a few others have challenged each other to write a sitcom from scratch in two months), tomorrow I'm dancing and doing more On This Day; Sunday I'm a photographer at the NEC for a Sewing for Pleasure show.

You see? I tell you everything. Now, 'fess up, what's happening with you?


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

In the new Radio Times

Can I tell you about this? I'm particularly pleased with a feature I've just had published in Radio Times. It's the issue that came out today, covering 1-7 April, and with the Coronation Street cast on the front.

Which reminds me: that cover's got RT a lot of attention today and RadioTimes.com has a video of the cover photography shoot. I've only been to a couple of shoots for anyone, just a single time for RT, so I find that video fascinating. If you've been to a million, your mileage may vary.

But could we get back to me? On page 27 there's a piece about BBC4's 1973 week. The week's pegged around a repeat run of the drama Life on Mars and BBC4's done quite brilliantly to cover every angle of this year.

My job was to research a) 1973 and b) BBC4's plans.  The former was easy enough, the latter harder because - as I understand it - plans and schedules were being negotiated for quite a time so in theory anything could drop out or be added.

I had a really good time doing this. But I'd been warned that the feature would be primarily a photographic one; in the initial stage I purely delivered a list of items I recommended we get pictures for. (Did you know the Toy of the Year 1973 was the Mastermind board game? Nor did I, but I do now.)

Later it was changed and I was asked to provide effectively picture captions for a sequence of these shots. I wrote the amount I was asked for but with the expectation that it would be cut down to fit the room left on the page.

It was. But hardly anything was cut at all, I'm amazed how much the production desk squeezed onto this page. 

That's it. I think the piece is funny, though if it is it's because BBC4's schedule is well done and the subs desk at RT added a nice gag for me. But I wanted to tell you while the issue was on sale.

And hang on, I'm in the issue for my usual seven On This Day pieces plus the TV Stat short so this week I get nine bylines in Radio Times. Blimey.

Monday, February 27, 2006

A Dear Diary moment

I just made a mistake on my UK DVD Review podcast, I've put it up with last week's date. But in trying to fix it, I've stumbled across the fact that two people have reviewed me on the iTunes Music Store.

One gives me five stars, the other four. Isn't that just fantastic?

The five-star one has nailed me completely: as well as the praise, there's a funny crack about my Battlestar Galactica obsession.

Do you know, I think I feel taller. If the reviewers should read this, thanks very much.


Saturday, February 25, 2006

Grandeur, real and deluded

So I was back at the library today. I found something else for On This Day that I can't use.

Last time it was because I'd just missed the date (it was an item for late February or early March, I've forgotten now, and this coming Monday morning I'll deliver On This Day for the fortnight up to March 24). This time because the thing I found was just too long.

Do you know of Peggy Ramsay? Literary agent? Not many agents get portrayed on screen by Vanessa Redgrave (in Prick Up Your Ears) and on stage by Maureen Lipman (in Peggy For You) but there generally aren't many agents like this one. I never met her but I know Alan Plater who was one of her clients.

I found an Arena episode from March 17, 1989 which was devoted to her and the billing went into great detail about her most famous clients - yet it didn't mention Alan. Something wrong here, I was thinking, as I turned to the feature on page 11.

Only to find the feature was written by Alan. And here's my problem. Normally I can spot what's known as a pull-quote really easily and since On This Day is about 90 words long, I have to find these nuggets, I can't quote long passages from anything.

But this time I just can't see where I can lift a line from. It's not just that it's all good, that usually means I've got plenty to cherry-pick from, but this feature was quite tight, quite woven. It was one feature rather than a set of staccato paragraphs and though this is what you would strive for when writing it, it's a bugger when you're trying to steal. Tune in on March 17, 2006 to see how I coped.

And as this is all about the On This Day feature in Radio Times magazine, may I correct an impression I might have given you the other day about RT mag? I just noticed that in mentioning how the magazine and the RT website are having a gallery of Hustle pictures that I've come across as thinking I was important in the selection of the shots we used. Nope.

The mag's picture desk staff did everything. I ended up with, I don't know, a couple of dozen shots they weren't using and I chose six. Just wanted to put that right.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Take two blogs into the shower?

Just to update something: RadioTimes.com will now definitely have a photo gallery online with some gorgeous shots from Planet Earth, the new documentary series starting shortly.

It's complicated but I wasn't sure it would all happen in time and I got the call this afternoon to say it would.

By the way, I spent most of this afternoon at the Birmingham Central Library - you'll never guess where that is - researching my On This Day column for Radio Times. Maddeningly, I stumbled across something too late to use. Can I tell you about it instead?

Radio Times 4-10 March 1978. The letters page includes an angry letter from a reader who claims to have been horrified when tuning in to Grandstand to find the commentator on a football match was a woman. Lots of blustery how-dare-you bits follow but the thrust of it is that football is a man's world. And the person who wrote the letter? It was a woman. 

If I'm still doing On This Day next year (which I truly hope I am) and if I spot the note to myself in my rinkydinky FileMaker Pro database, you'll see more details in Radio Times next year.


It's good here, isn't it?

Not sure where everything is yet but I've found the kitchen and the whole place is just more comfy than my old blog page. If I've not met you before, hello. How are you?

This was all meant to be a simple What's New for my site www.williamgallagher.com site which is the home to the UK DVD Review podcast that you can also get through iTunes.

But I think it's become something more, I'm not entirely sure what, and if I'm right that it's developed then it's because of you. Wow, did you freak me out when I discovered how to do a counter and saw how many people were flying by. Ta for that, it was a shock but a great one.

Now, I've been away quite ill - just man-flu, but it seemed bad at the time - and some things have happened. Previously on this blog, or its ancestor anyway, I've boasted that I got a gig presenting DVD reviews on BBC Hereford & Worcester local radio. Their Friday breakfast show focuses on the weekend, it's still a news show but it's got an entertainment side and dotted throughout the show are four DVD reviews. Each is one-minute long, I present them.

And if you just glazed because I've said this before, there is one teeny detail I always left out and it's this: the gig at Hereford & Worcester was a trial.

Whereas what's new is that the trial is over and the station's asked to extend my contract for a further few months.

You know what's supposed to happen, don't you? They ask, I haggle, I play it cool, I haggle some more. But nope, I emailed back instantly saying "Yes, please". I love doing this, though you'd be surprised how much work it is. The total running time is four minutes, four entire whole minutes but the average time it takes me to do is a bit over three hours, not including watching the films.

Also, I used to do the picture editing for the RadioTimes.com website and though someone else has taken that over - and she's markedly better and faster than me, incidentally, so I doubt I'll be getting that gig back - I am now working on the site's photo galleries. It ought to be astonishingly easy: Radio Times magazine has a great picture desk team, the shots they take or get in are truly tremendous, all I have to do is pop them onto the website.

So that's what I do. Just one is up and about now, a selection of photos from RT's famous covers party:

We're hoping to add something to that next week, but I'll tell you what if it works out. Also RT gave the cast of Hustle a compact flash digital camera and I've been looking over the shots they took. The best are going to be in the next issue of Radio Times and should be online shortly.

Otherwise, a script of mine won me a place on a mentoring scheme where a professional full-time script writer. I had a meeting about that right in the middle of my cold; I drove the hour to it with a hot-water bottle up my jumper.


How've you been?