Wednesday, November 29, 2006


BBC - Press Office - Network TV Programme Information Week 49 Tuesday 5 December 2006: Imagine..., BBC One, 10:35pm

Over the last couple of months, I've been occasionally helping out Zoe Silver, a director from the BBC Arts department, as she's been working on the latest edition of the arts show, Imagine...

Skipping to the end first.... Zoe's put together a really excellent programme about the creative culture of the web. It's not hardcore geek - that wouldn't be right for the audience of the show - but it's a great overview of the way the MySpace generation are changing cultural consumption.

The list of heavy hitter interviewees should give you a good flavour of how right she's got it: Tim Berners Lee, David Weinberger, Clay Shirky, Jimmy Wales, Henry Jenkins, Chris Anderson... I hope you'll agree that's a good mix of people, all of whom have really sound insights into the way the web is permeating everyday life, and how media is getting democratised.

There are some real grassroots voices in there too - David Firth, creator of Salad Fingers, was reccomended by m'estimable colleague David Thair, and looks to be in the final cut. There's Dickon Edwards, Girl with a One Track Mind, and some modern beat combo called the Horrors, too.

I'm eagerly awaiting a preview DVD - at the moment I've just read an edit draft of the script.

I got involved with the project back in July; someone somewhere asked someone else if anyone knew about the internet and might be able to find a UK video blogger, and that someone asked someone else, yada yada, and that person put Zoe in touch with me. It turns out I don't know any videobloggers (at least, I didn't at the time) but what I do know about is stuff on the internet, generally.

We sat down a week or so later in the rubbish wine bar under my offices, and I proceeded to empty my head of the history of what, back in my day, we knew as cyberculture. Poor girl; two hours with me after a couple of glasses of wine, talking about the internet... I think I must have terrified her; I wouldn't wish that on anyone. Anyway; I've been acting as an informal 'web native' advisor - every so often being around when the production team has wanted to check the wording on the voiceover is right, or when they've wanted to set up a blog, or register a domain name.

I have to say, though, that the most enjoyable thing about the whole experience happened about a month ago after Alan Yentob, the presenter (and notionally my boss' boss, or possibly my boss' boss' boss), had a chance meeting with the DG in a lift.

According to rumour, they chatted briefly about the show, and as he left the lift, Mark Thompson said 'Oh, have you heard about Second Life?' The next day, I got a phonecall:

Zoe: Hello, me again. Now, do you know about Second Life?
Me: /laughs
Me: Yes, yes I do. I was wondering when you'd ask that.

So - Alan wanted an Avatar, and to visit the world for the show. My attempt was frankly rubbish, but Alan liked it enough to commission Kisa Naumova to create a proper version for him, and to manage the shoot in world. She did a fantastic job (I'm really proud of her!) - even getting K's new band Deathline to put on a gig for the film. Apparently, Kisa gets mentioned by name!

I'll pop a couple of screenshots up on Flickr, and link to them later. But for now, I urge you all to watch BBC One on 5th December at 10:35 pm.

And if you look really closely, you'll see 'me' in the background of one of the shots...

EDIT: 9 Dec

Natalie d'Arbeloff got in touch to point out I'd missed her off; so here she is. Stuart at Feeling Listless has gathered together all of the relevant links from the show in a stirling display of public service spirit, too.


Anonymous said...

Ahh, so that's at least one of the things that Kisa's been itching like mad to talk about for weeks. :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi and hey, you left me out of the bloggers who appeared on this programme! I was the one with the comic strip about Tony Blair. I know my blog (Blaugustine) doesn't get as many visitors (yet) as the other two but, well, you know, like, I mean, one doesn't want to be forgotten, does one? Zoe got in touch because a blogger (who does consulting work for the Beeb)fan of my site told her to check it out. They did and brought me down to TV Centre for the interview. All of which is described in detail,with photo of Zoe & colleagues & me on Blaugustine (see Sept.15 post and later). Anyway, glad I've been led by tortuous paths to your blog and best wishes.

kim said...

Sorry to leave you off, Natalie; I was working from a production script rather than the show! Nothing personal.

Anonymous said...

kim, thanks. I realised it wasn't personal. I'm trying not to be a diva! Will be back to keep in touch with what's happening in your world. I know I should get out more.