Cupid’s darts

The obituaries for the late David Nobbs have all concentrated on the television series that he wrote, The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin (1976-79). This was inevitable. It’s the work of his with which most people in Britain around at the time will be familiar, and it bequeathed to posterity a number of catchphrasesRead More

TV watching

I’ve written before about my website Picturegoing, which is progressively gathering evidence of people viewing pictures. It started off by covering cinemagoing, as recorded in diaries, oral histories, memoirs, news reports, novels, poems. pictures and so on – any form of evidence that records directly, or indirectly, the personal experience of viewing pictures. But whatRead More

The scientific method

Chemistry – well, technically chemistry is the study of matter. But I prefer to see it as the study of change. Now just think about this. Electrons, they change their energy levels. Molecules change their bonds. Elements, they combine and change into compounds. But that’s all of life, right? It’s just the constant, it’s theRead More

What is restoration?

Today I attended What is Restoration?, a one-day conference on the subject of film and video restoration, organised by FOCAL International and hosted by the BFI Southbank. FOCAL International organises an annual set of awards for use of footage in film and television productions. The awards include two for film restorations: one for best singleRead More

A right of access

This month the BFI Southbank has been running a season of Jacobean dramas on television. It’s another output of the Screen Plays: Theatre Plays on British Television project, whose conference I wrote about last year. The project aims to document, revalue and champion the largely lost tradition of theatre plays being presented on TV. TheRead More

Searching the BFI

The British Film Institute has issued a new version of its database, which is a huge improvement on what has been available online before now. The new service, BFI Collections Search, for the first time combines its bibliographic, filmographic and technical databases, something the BFI has been trying to engineer for years (decades even). ThisRead More

Travelling hopefully

Highlights from NRK’s ten-hour Nordlandsbanen train journey programme In December the Norwegian broadcaster NRK put on a ten-hour transmission of a train journey. Filmed from the front of a train cab travelling along the Nordlandsbanen line between Trondheim and Bodø (a distance of 438 miles), the programme gained one million viewers, or a fifth ofRead More