Saturday, 4 November 2017

Ford's Blog: My Earnest Review :)

There is a rather annoying twat by the name of Ford Timelord. Here is his blog: But! Before you waste your time clicking on it, read on and save yourself the hassle as most of it will fit on the back of a postage stamp!

His first page of any note just has a couple of JPGs. No dates or nuffink! Noob. So to save you the monotony of having to trawl through this one-armed bandit's break from his latest self-polishing project, here they are:

So what precisely does this research amount to? Bugger all. The guy's a putz.

His next post "TIE Discovery" is just reheated forum quotes from and wherever - so skip that.

After that, his analysis is another equally childlike and pathetic (Hi Ford!) attempt which amounts to another couple of clippings, so here they are:

Sad, isn't it?

God only knows why Ford feels that his next post deserves to be split into two parts (one per clipping now?), but it's about TIE (Productions) Ltd. And here it is:

Did you enjoy that?

Part 2 of the post:

What follow [sic] are some examples of the material produced by TIE (Productions) Ltd.1) ‘Primary School Science – Support for the Teacher (Original)’This educational programme was produced in 1980. It is held in the British Film Archive collection. Details can be found here: ‘Churchill the Man’.A film produced in 1973 by Television International Enterprises. It reviews the life and career of the British politician and statesman Sir Winston Churchill. It was released in the USA by Pyramid Films. Produced by Peter Lambert and narrated by Douglas Fairbanks. Possibly held by the US Library of Congress.3) ‘Everest, Ocean in the Sky’.A documentary about an expedition taken in 1986, mounted by SAS founder Sir David Stirling to retrace the Mallory & Irvine route up the North-East ridge of Mount Everest. The resulting documentary was shot at altitudes over 21,000 feet which to that point had never been filmed with professional camera equipment.Undoubtably further programming was made by TIE (Productions) Ltd. Presumably the mastertapes or films were stored somewhere.TIE hub anyone?
And there you have ladies and gentleman. All that build up for the final sentence, "TIE hub anyone?".

Fuck me...

And for his most recent contribution we have this:

I have elided the beginning because it just wasn't worth repeating. He goes on:

And the following Forbes article is worth a read:
 Specifically, the following paragraph is of interest:
Everyone wanted to know more but it’s here a degree of frustration became apparent, while some of the classic series had made it to Japan during the 70s (dubbed into Japanese on TBS) much of Doctor Who’s lineage was still inaccessible to the fanbase here.

Doctor Who dubbed into Japanese and broadcast in the 1970’s?  Yet no existence of this in BBC records? Maybe someone else provided the film prints.
“Konichiwa. Is that TBS? Do you have any old episodes of British TV series in your vault that you want to get rid of?”
So there we have it. A stranger to punctuation, accreditation of newspaper clippings (what publications were these? What dates where they?) and worthy analysis, who is never in any danger of being relevant or interesting.

Well done, Ford. Once again you have proven yourself to be a monumental putz and waste of time

Cheers, you donkey felching fuckwit. : )

I believe the last clipping came from an edition of Advertisers Weekly in 1968.

You can find his blog here:

Or follow him on twitter here:

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Assessing Whether the BBC were Overcharging the Australian Broadcaster ABC for Television Programmes from 1958-1973

Despite the ABC being the most prolific purchaser of BBC programmes throughout the sixties they received no concessions in the prices that were offered to them. In fact, they paid some of the highest prices in the Commonwealth for access to BBC material (BBC Handbook, 1960-9). This would eventually lead to an air of resentment towards the BBC from within the ABC. This is exemplified by the words of the ABC’s Charles Moses (General Manager [1935-65]) after a visit to the BBC and Moses declaring that the BBC was staffed by “rapacious incompetents” (Potter, 2012). Moses’ comments did not go unnoticed by the ABC Chairman. Who went to seek assurances from the BBC’s Australian representative, Doug Fleming (Potter, 2012). Kenneth Adam (Controller of BBC Television Service [1957-61]) was concerned about what he regarded as neo-colonialism by the TV producers, believing that this partly due to the UK government’s unwillingness to subsidise TV exports (Potter, 2012).         
The primary focus of this paper is to assess through empirical evidence whether the ABC were paying prices higher than they should have been. The secondary focus is to ascertain if the ABC was unfairly subsidising BBC sales to broadcasters in other nations. As the BBC was a business, any profit would be expected to cover operating costs so this issue may be hard to clearly discern. The BBC defines the term overseas as meaning outside of Europe, and therefore, implies that the term foreign would denote sales within Europe (BBC Handbook, 1960 p.90). Consequently, these are the definitions used for this essay. 

The ABC:
First, though, we need to assess the number of sales by the BBC to the ABC in order to judge the value of the ABC as a customer, i.e. now crucial were they to the BBC’s overseas sales. The following figures were extracted from the BBC Handbooks for the sixties and represent the number of programmes purchased by all broadcasters in Australia:

                                                     Year   No of Programmes
1964               693
1965             1000
1967             1100
1968             1225
1969             1342
1970               786
1971               937
Table 1: BBC Programmes Sales to Australia 1964-1971 (minus 1966)

The sales figures for Australia above are for all broadcasters but the BBC offered programs on a first refusal basis to national broadcasters (Potter, 2012). This could only be to the ABC’s advantage and allow them to assert a monopoly over British imports while potentially blocking the BBC getting more lucrative deals from commercial broadcasters who were assisted by advertising money.                                   
The benefits to the ABC deploying a strategy like this were two-fold. The first being that the cost of making programs to the quality offered by the BBC was much than the ABC could reasonably afford, despite the ABC paying more compared broadcasters in other nations. Otherwise, why would the ABC continue to pay prices that by their reckoning were grossly inflated? The idea that the ABC were being overcharged seems to have come from Charles Moses. Yet when we consider the following quote the actions don’t seem to match the attitude displayed by ABC’s General Manger, (TV Policy Promotions File 1961-64, WAC, T16/599/4), under the heading sales prospects: 

The majority of Australian Sales are to the ABC – who have bought approx. 85% of programmes offered. The remaining 15% were either too expensive or rejected. These we hope in future to place with the commercial operators, who are desperate for programmes.”                                                                                 
If the commercial broadcasters were only being left with over-priced scraps and programmes which were rejected or demand heavy cuts from the censors then the only reason that Charles Moses could have thought that the programs were overpriced would either be that he was simply trying to negotiate a more advantageous deal or they saw that poorer nations who bought material near the end of the screening rights allowed by Equity were paying much less.                                                
For example, Ethiopia’s ETV had a yearly income of £80,000 a year, local programming cost them £350 per half hour to make, whereas, an episode of Bonanza cost them £20 to buy with superior production values that anything that could be managed locally (Green, 1972). At the time ETV was the only broadcaster in Ethiopia which was one of the poorest countries in the world, and as such, could not be expected to pay the prices that the ABC were.                                          
It should also be noted that the ABC had not given due care to how much foreign imports would cost. This would lead the commission to go hand in cap to the Australian treasury for additional funding (Potter, 2012). Also, the overspend wasn’t solely on BBC material but foreign programmes in general.                                                                                   
As a public broadcaster, the ABC had a quota for locally produced material that had to be met and because of the shared culture and history between the two nations British programmes were deemed acceptable for that purpose. As well as proving popular with the audience (Potter, 2012). The prevailing attitude at the broadcasters seems to have changed from 1964 when Charles Moses retired to be replaced by his successor, Talbot Duckmanton. It can be seen from the sales figures at the top of the paragraph that once Duckmanton took over the purchases by the ABC from the BBC jumped from around 700 per annum to well over a thousand, indicating that the perceived lack of value was very much the view of Charles Moses.

The BBC:
From the BBC’s perspective, they were suffering problems with potential deals being scuppered by high royalty fees to the Actors’ Guild of Britain, Equity. In the sixties fear of actors being made redundant through cheap and plentiful repeats led to deals that were unsympathetic to repeats and potential foreign sales. Equity received 30% of the original fee from each new transmission (The Guardian, 191 P.3).                                                                 
In a memo from (WAC, T16/599/4) the Manager of Television Enterprises (as BBCWW was then known), it is stated that: 

“For material of what might be called a ‘commercial’ nature i.e. entertainment capable of attracting wide audience, we charge the current market price in that area no matter whether the purchaser is public service or commercial. In this way, we maintain the BBC’s right to be paid, for this type of material, no less than the purchaser would pay to e.g. an American supplier.” 

The memo also goes on to say that art programmes, documentaries, current affairs; etc, are sold at non-commercial rates regardless of who was purchasing the programmes.                                                              
The national broadcaster of New Zealand (the NZBC) received lower prices because there was no competition for the American companies to sell to (Potter, 2012). This meant that the market rates were naturally lower than Australia’s.                                                           
We can see that there hefty royalties and programmes were offered on a first refusal basis to public broadcasters who could rely on financial aid from their governments while the BBC claimed to be asking no more than market prices. America dominated the global market for television programmes accounting for 73% of the world’s output compared to a measly 3% for the whole of the UK ( Consequently, as the same program could be sold multiple times the American producers were in a far better position to make a profit at the prices the BBC claims to have been pretty much breaking even at. So why was the BBC operating in a way that seemed to be averse to fully capitalising the potential of its products and brand name? It’s important to remember that the BBC was also a public broadcaster and not a commercial one.
Commons and Lords Hansard, the Official Report of debates in Parliament for 26 March 1963 [vol 248 cc75] (, states that the BBC sold 3000 television programs overseas with subsidies to Commonwealth countries organised through the Central Office of Information with the BBC receiving £50,000 that year for the teaching of English. The wording is not clear as to whether the distribution of English language program was the reason for the payment of £50,000, but according to ( television teaching programs for the English language began on 28th December 1963.                                                                         
The parliamentary debate suggests that the British government was keen on promoting the English language, especially to “under-developed countries” in the commonwealth and provided some financial aid to the BBC to enable this.                             
The ABC had to fulfil a quota for locally produced television material and the BBC, like all commonwealth countries at the time, had a quote for what percentage of its sales could be made to other Commonwealth countries ( This meant that if the BBC sold a program to one Major Commonwealth country - ie Australia, Canada and others – in order to sell to two Minor countries such as developing third world sub-Saharan nations or Asian countries. This was the result of a Commonwealth Broadcasting conference, as was the right of national broadcasters to first refusal (Potter, 2012).                                                                        
In order to evaluate the BBC’s position, it is necessary to take into consideration a potentially enormous amount of red-tape. Equity had very favourable terms which held back sales. Whereas the ABC had the benefit of first refusal and despite a subsidiary from the British government the BBC were tied to selling to Major commonwealth countries while trying to match US television producers’ prices. The only real perceivable benefit of selling so cheaply to other countries is to avoid a cultural invasion from a flood of cheap American imports or trying to counter the rise of communism in emerging Commonwealth states with positive propaganda.

The ABC was the biggest customer of the BBC during the sixties and may have expected more sympathetic prices as a result. On the other hand, they were offered first refusal and as this was taken up more often than not leading to a monopoly on British programmes. British, and in particular BBC, programs were a highly sought after commodity for their quality and affordability. Britain and Australia also had shared history and cultural values which the USA perhaps lacked. Additionally, the ABC took full advantage of near-exclusivity to push other local broadcasters from the operating table which suggests the deals on offer must have offered good value to them because they were at one point buying 85% of the BBCs output. The ABC’s overspend on foreign programming also seems to indicate a poor grasp of financial affairs from within the organisation. The view that the BBC were overcharging seems to have come mainly from Charles Moses. This could be down to two reasons. He simply wanted a better deal or he saw smaller countries paying cheaper prices.                                                                                                                                                  
The BBC, however, had to meet certain the requirements of certain regulations. They had to hand over a large percentage of their turnover to Equity. They Also had to meet the stipulations of the Commonwealth Broadcasting Conference and couldn’t sell to poorer countries till they a major Commonwealth member made a purchase, putting Australia to the front of the queue. The BBC also had to compete with the US Networks and ITV companies. The BBC may have dominated the domestic market but ITV controlled 75% of Britain’s television exports (

Neither organisation broadcast adverts, leaving them both at a financial disadvantage to competitors. A fairer solution would have been if the BBC had bought some programmes of the BBC. This would have put both parties on level ground, at least. Unfortunately, the Australian-made programs were often of poor quality in terms of production and recording so sales in the other direction were non-existent. 
On balance, the BBC seemed to lack the business acumen to compete with their competition and may possibly have been of a charitable disposition. There is no doubt, the money from Australia was vital for the BBC to be able to sell to other countries, but the BBC only sold to those countries at what they could afford while trying to work within the limits of the Commonwealth quota system. The actions of the ABC do not match up with their words, though. That is what ultimately suggests that the ABC, actually, got a very good deal and the most of it.                                                                        
Therefore, the BBC did sell at reasonable prices whilst having to pay larger fees to Equity. Also, smaller prices offered to broadcasters in other nations were due to local economic factors such as the number of competitors with those markets and relevant Commonwealth agreements. The same agreements which meant that the ABC were classed in a Major Commonwealth country and had to accept higher prices also allowed them first refusal which was a major boost for their acquisition of television material and gave them a significant advantage over other local broadcasters. Presumably, as a member of the Commonwealth Australia would have had to agree to these terms. 
This shows that Charles Moses comments were merely an interpretation of the events and circumstances surrounding the ABC, but not accurate. The ABC were not being asked to pay more than the market prices but could be interpreted as subsidising sales to more impoverished broadcasters.  

Potter, Simon. Broadcasting Empire. Oxford: Oxford Press, 2012
British Broadcasting Corporation. BBC Handbook. London: Microform Academic Publishers, 1960-9
Green, Tim. Universal Eye. London: The Bodley Head Ltd, 1972
BBC Written Archives Caversham. TV Policy Promotions File 1961-64, T16/599/4
Reporter, Our Own. “Keeping the World’s Screens Filled” The Guardian. London: 20, March, 1961, P.3

Friday, 1 April 2016

'No Hiding Place' Foreign Sales

Didn't copy the ep titles but these places bought at least some of No Hiding Place:




Hong Kong







New Zealand

Ethiopia for series 1,2 and 3 not sure about others


Malaysia (So probably no Singapore sale) and Mauritius (both sales to COI)

Jamacia and Gibraltar (Both TIE sales) I believe these stations were sent new prints and were allowed two screenings within a certain period. They were told to destroy the prints afterwards.

Right, my notes are a bit all over the place but Uganda got theirs from SL. SL bought 39 prints as £20 each = £780 and they were sourced from N.Nigeria. I think N.Nigeria got theirs from Rhodesia. Rhodesia also sent some to HK who seemed to purchase late.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

At Last the 1948 Show

The surviving files that make up the Rediffusion library are available to view at the Reuben Library located at the BFI Southbank. Electronic copying of any sort is not allowed, only the use of a notepad and pencil for note taking. For that reason, file numbers only have been quoted in this article. The documents are free to view and no accreditation is required. A complete set of camera scripts for the classic series of Doctor Who is available as are some minor props from the series. I had noticed them before but mistook them for a film library, until Michael Pummell pointed out my error - thanks, Mike

At Last the 1948 Show: Australia bought both series and paid £700 for each episode of the first series and £850 for each episode of the second series. Both series were also sold to Hong Kong via the Rediffusion station there. There were also further sales via GTS (Global Television Services) Ltd to Dublin, Norway, Sweden and New Zealand. All 13 eps of At Last 1948 aired in NZ as one run, regionally from December 1968 to August 1969. The films were all returned to Global in July 1971. 

I am sure there must have been others but there was nothing to indicate further sales, anywhere. Oddly, the Dublin sale appears to have been to a radio station? Although, AIR (All India Radio) owned India’s National Broadcaster and the Out of the Unknown episode Level Seven was found at Radio Bremen, so that may not be unusual.

"Happily, a 16mm film print of the play was discovered in the archives of German television broadcaster Radio Brennen and returned to the BBC in early 2006.":

GTS Ltd was a subsidiary of Rediffusion responsible for foreign sales. Here is a Rediffusion internal memo from TL Donald of GTS to Johnny Johnson of Rediffusion, 4th of July 1975:

“As you know it was agreed some time ago to junk all the drama/comedy material which would have little non-theatric value and kept the educational stuff till last.
The 48 show was junked some time ago, but when the demand for episodes came up, we were able to rescue two from the rubbish. Since then a third has come to light, and this was sent up today. “

This provides a little insight into their values and more can be found from Johhny Johnson here:

Where Chris Perry also mentions, “I have read 90% of the special collections. It’s mainly contracts for artistes so they get paid, mingled with scripts, stills and limited overseas sales stuff.” So like the BBC, the sales paperwork is incomplete at best. Another Johnny Johnson related quote from Chris Perry on the same thread: “John Johnson always hinted that 'shedloads of film' was taken away privately rather than be junked but I don't know how true that was.”

I saw a bit of other stuff and will be going back for further visits to view files for DNAYSHMS Paradise, Murder Bag and No Hiding Place as well as others.


Jon Preddle at

BFI Special Collections files: ITM-8898 and ITM-8899

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Singapore and ...

Singapore is situated at the southern tip of the Malaysian Peninsula and gained independence in 1963. In the same year, television services began on 15 February with Radio Television Singapore (RTS) launching a limited TV service. Regular TV services began on Channel 5 on 2 April 1963. Channel 8 launched on 23 November 1963 – a date with obvious significance.

Singapore became a republic in 1965, and RTS began transmitting Doctor Who 7th April that year. RTS operated two TV channels: Channel 5 (showing English and Malay programmes), and Channel 8 (mainly Chinese and Tamil). Malaysia never bought the same programs as Singapore because TV signals from Singapore could be picked up with clarity in Malaysia and vice versa. Though, Singapore did broadcast fifty-six episodes of Doctor Who that are currently missing from the BBC archives: Nine Hartnells (Marco Polo and the two missing episodes from The Reign of Terror) along with forty-seven Troughton episodes.

RTS bought the first ten seasons of the classic series of Doctor Who except for:

1 - Mission to the Unknown (1)

2 - The Daleks’ Master Plan (11/12 depending on whether you include FoS )

3 - Inferno (7)

4 - The Mind of Evil (6)

5 - The Daemons (5)

6 - The Green Death (6)

The ‘A’ (Adult) rating received from The Australian Film Classification Board prevented screening in Australia. It seems likely that further sales to other countries did not follow because none of these were bought at the much higher rate of $600 AUD that Australia normally paid for Doctor Who. None of these stories were broadcast in New Zealand by the ZNBC who paid closer to £50 (presumably GBP).

Paul Vanezis indicated on the that the archives of Singapore had been checked, turning up nothing. This seems to leave two possibilities, either the prints were disposed of on site, sent back to the BBC or they were sent on to somewhere else, but where? At after Singapore screened the War Machines in 1972 the prints were sent on to Nigeria. The recovered films stilled bared the censor cuts made in New Zealand and were eventually returned to the BBC. Aside from The War Machines, Enemy of the World and Web of Fear, the fate of the prints is still unknown.

Though we can't know for sure, there have been plenty of rumours and supposition over the years, and as always, scepticism is advised but the Facebook comment below is talking about The Celestial Toymaker is interesting nonetheless:

Richard Molesworth, author of Wiped: Doctor Who's Missing Episodes, posted the following on Gallifrey Base Forum:

I wrote to the Singapore Broadcasting Corporation just after 'Tomb' was returned from Hong Kong in early 1992, asking them what episodes of 'Dr Who' they had screeed, and if they still had any copies. (This was waaaay before we knew which countries had screened what and when, as we do now for 95% of the world.)  
They replied with details of sales dates and serial codes which (as later paperwork proved) was pretty comprehensive - not totally, but enough to tell me that someone had actually sat down and done the research to answer my query, perhaps about 90% accurate to what we know now. The letter ended with them saying that they'd checked their archive records, and that they didn't retain any of the programmes. As the answer was pretty damn comprehensive, I have very little reason to doubt that Singapore didn't retain any 'Dr Who' prints. They'd done the research, which was more than could be said of most of the other countries I wrote to in 1992! 
Without actually going there and checking in person, who's to say 100%, but I'm quite satisifed that SBC have no 'Dr Who' films at all, missing or otherwise. 


The clipping below is from Wednesday, July 1975 and provides some insight into the problems facing RTS at the time, the subsection 'Bundles from Britain', is particularly noteworthy:

With thanks to Jon Preddle, and the British Library

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Off Topic: What makes something interesting?

Interest fuels our desire to learn, but what makes something interesting? 

At some point in our lives, most of us have wondered how we to be appear more interesting. Well here is the answer: coherence, complexity, and contrarianism. Interest is the synthesis of these three key ingredients. For something to be interesting it should be conveyed in a simple and easy to understand manner, while also being, complex ie paint a detailed and vivid picture. It should also be contrarian: it should be something that goes against the grain or has the ability to subvert our expectations.

For instance, Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the world. Not from disemboweling Samurai or Kamikaze fighter pilots, but from train commuters. In Tokyo, suicidal citizens were throwing themselves under trains and causing numerous delays. So the stations threatened to fine or sue the families of the felones-de-se if they did it within a certain radius of the stations. This led to the suicidal citizens get off at the first stop outside of Tokyo - and then throw themselves under the train they had just ridden on. [1]

Hopefully, I expressed that elegantly. I suppose you could say that the events in Tokyo are quite complex compared to how you would imagine. The image of Tokyo is contrarian to how we live our own lives and to the image we might have of Japan. What may also surprise you to know is that Japan is not the most suicidal area of Japan and suicide rates have been falling across the country.

Then there is Foxconn, the electronics manufacturer - that assembles iPhone, iPad and MacBooks - whose employees were so suicidal that they put up nets around their factory in Shenzhen because their employees were going up to the roof of the building. And then throwing themselves off. These are things we would baulk at if they happened in the UK. Unfortunately, you can’t always expect interesting to be divorced from morbid and unpleasant, but why are these people choosing to end their own lives en masse? [2]

Tokyo is the epitome of overcrowding. The average commuter spends 67 minutes on a train that carries, many more times the capacity it was designed for. Then there are prices at the entry end of the property market which are rapidly rising. To compound this further, China's social support services are overburdened and there is low awareness of mental health issues. China has equally harsh conditions to the Foxconn factory where employees earned only £1.12 p/h. If the lowest paid workers were to take the full 80 hours per month overtime available they still wouldn’t make enough to have to pay tax. Despite what you might expect, there were up to 3000 unemployed queuing at the factory gates when ABC news arrived to report on the situation.

Human behaviour is often strange, complex and surprising. Yet you regularly hear people suggest that the world is full of unpleasant people. They are wrong. It is easy to do something unpleasant. For example, how many lives did the terrorists take in the 9/11 attacks? 2973 How much money did the hijackers of the 911 flight spend on bullets and plane tickets? Let’s say hypothetically £2,973, a pound per life. How many lives could you save for the same amount of money £2,973? I have honestly no idea, but I bet it’s a hell of a lot less. Right and easy are rarely the same thing but it just goes to show how easy it is to be unkind and how much it is noticed compared to something good. Then there is the issue of how we treat people who have behaved badly?

One way is to put them in prison. After all, if you were surrounded in a room full of murderers, rapists and psychopaths you wouldn’t want to be around them, would you? But what if you still misbehave? Then they put you in solitary. They take you away from the murderers, rapists, and psychopaths. They deprive you of their company as punishment because that is how much we crave human company. Loneliness can be a terrible thing but it’s not the number of people around you that counts: It’s the quality of the relationship you have with them.

What happens, however, when we are nice to people? Here is a quote from Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Dr. Robert B. Cialdini:

"I know of no better illustration of the way reciprocal obligations can reach long and powerfully into the future than the perplexing story of $5,000 of relief aid that was exchanged between Mexico and Ethiopia. In 1985, Ethiopia could justly lay claim to the greatest suffering and privation in the world. Its economy was in ruin. Its food supply had been ravaged by years of drought and internal war. Its inhabitants were dying by the thousands from disease and starvation. Under these circumstances, I would not have been surprised to learn of a $5,000 relief donation from Mexico to that wrenchingly needy country. I remember my feeling of amazement, though, when a brief newspaper item I was reading insisted that the aid had gone in the opposite direction. Native officials of the Ethiopian Red Cross had decided to send the money to help the victims of that year’s earthquakes in Mexico City.

It is both a personal bane and a professional blessing that whenever I am confused by some aspect of human behavior, I feel driven to investigate further. In this instance, I was able to track down a fuller account of the story. Fortunately,  a journalist who had been as bewildered as I, by the Ethiopians’ actions, had asked for an explanation. The answer he received offered eloquent validation of the reciprocity rule: Despite the enormous needs prevailing in Ethiopia, the money was being sent to Mexico because, in 1935, Mexico had sent aid to Ethiopia when it was invaded by Italy (“Ethiopian Red Cross,” 1985). So informed, I remained awed,  but I was no longer puzzled. The need to reciprocate had transcended great cultural differences, long distances, acute famine, many years and immediate self-interest. Quite simply, a half-century later, against all countervailing forces, obligation triumphed." [3]

So, we can see that people respond appropriately to kindness and unpleasantness. No shocker there, but it's the extent that people go to that surprises.

Aside from the coherence, complexity and contrarian rule for making something interesting what have we learned? That when people are faced with what seem like insurmountable problems they may consider ending it all? That when you treat people with kindness they respond appropriately? That’s not much of a surprise, although, it was interesting. So again the question is why? And the answer is simple. There is a fourth ingredient: emotion. This piece of writing has had both negative and positive elements; although the fourth component isn’t essential it can make a big difference. Alternatively, if surprise is so vital then is it any wonder film, TV companies and writers try to stop spoilers getting out? Well then, consider the spoiler paradox. Research published in the journal Psychological Science indicates that knowing the ending of a story before you read it doesn’t hurt the experience of the story. You are more likely to enjoy the story more than you would otherwise. Who knew? [4] [5]

And if neither surprise nor emotion is essential, and my skills as a writer are certainly not great so there goes coherence, then what is left? Well, the most popular name for a boat in 1996 was Serenity. You may have found that simple little detail interesting but most likely not. Perhaps, it is just down to articulacy: The ability to express complex ideas simply. Or perhaps combinations are the key to unlocking the answer to what makes something interesting.


Saturday, 13 February 2016

Why are Ethiopia and India so Innovative?

Philip Morris: "...Probably IndiaandEthiopia because they are very innovative people who find the most amazing ways of doing things with little funding." (Missing Episodes Group Facebook Q&A)


 As I stated in a previous post about Ethiopia  the country had imported 60% of its programmes up until the early to mid-seventies. Then after the Marxist regime came into power in Ethiopia more and more programming became locally produced having a detrimental effect on the quality of programmes being offered by ETV. By the nineties, an incredible 98% of ETV's output was locally sourced material. An achievement of some merit in terms of self-sufficiency, but utterly dire in terms of programme quality.


Compare this with India. TV was introduced in the late-1950s by All India Radio, but on a very small scale. It was only by 1972 that things started to take off and viewing hours were increased to more than the usual five with seven stations broadcasting on a regional basis. There had also been numerous fallouts with the BBC over various issues and ITV reps had started visiting the country.

"A regular service with a daily news bulletin was started in 1965. In 1961, the broadcasts were expanded to include a school educational television project. In time, Indian films and programs consisting of compilation of musicals from Indian films joined the program line-up as the first entertainment programs. A limited number of old U.S. and British shows were also telecast sporadically. The first major expansion of television in India began in 1972, when a second television station was opened in Bombay. This was followed by stations in Srinagar and Amritsar (1973), and Calcutta, Madras and Lucknow in 1975. Relay stations were also set up in a number of cities to extend the coverage of the regional stations." -

In 1970, production of TV sets in India climbed from a mere 16k (with 60k in operation) to 40k in 1972 (with 180k in operation). In 1964, Africa had 490k still amazingly small but well ahead of India a good six years earlier. In 68/69 India had 12k TV sets and Cambodia had 50k; Singapore 131k. Cambodia was a bigger market than India at that time.

"In the decade 1981-90, the number of transmitters increased from 19 to 519. There was also a steady increase of the Television Centres which produced limited hours of local programmes. During other timings all the transmitting stations, including those located in Studio Production centres, were relaying the programmes from New Delhi, and those limited hours of television was also mostly in the language of Hindi, which the southern Indian states did not really understand, leaving a big gap in communication."

We can see here: that India in 63/64 bought 17hrs of COI and 9 hrs of BBC with no ITV purchases listed at all. Totalling a mere 26hrs of UK programming for that year.

So why were India and Ethiopia Mentioned?

Simply because they both had firm commitments to producing locally TV which was immeasurably hard and that is an amazing achievement and qualifies them as places that would most benefit from TIEA's services. Although, I think Ghana was much more organised but never became the massive market that it later did in the eighties and nineties. Also, this quote, from a US film expert, perhaps sheds light on why TIEA's service may be so vital to the country:

With several countries, including India, warming up to the concept of film preservation and restoration, do you see it emerging as a possible career option in future? "Yes, it is. Because young people who will pick up the art of preserving and restoring films today, are going to possess skills that are extremely rare and important. The person who will be able to understand both the analog and the digital part of film preservation, is going to be very much in demand because there will be a need of such people." -

India could eclipse China as a superpower. China has a lead in manufacturing but the great uptake of the Franca Lingua English in India which has drawn in so many call centres means that they are more suitable for banking and financial services.

And here is a clipping from the Times of India 5th of October 1972: