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Ofcom Dismisses Ice Sculpture Complaint











Ofcom will not to investigate a Conservative Party impartiality complaint about a Channel 4 special. 

The party complained ahead of the Climate Debate on 28 November about C4's intention to "empty chair" the Conservatives with an ice sculpture. 

It criticised the channel's refusal to accept Cabinet Minister Michael Gove as the Tory representative if the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, didn't attend. 

But Ofcom concluded the Conservative viewpoint had been given due weight. 

The one-hour programme went on to "empty chair" both Mr Johnson and Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, who was also replaced with an ice sculpture.   

In a statement, the media watchdog said: "Ofcom's election committee concluded that, across the one-hour debate and a subsequent news programme, Channel 4's use of editorial techniques ensured that the Conservative's viewpoint on climate and environmental issues was adequately reflected and given due weight." 

The Conservative complaint had described the use of the ice sculpture to replace Mr Johnson as "a provocative partisan stunt". 

3 December 2019

Sky Plans Major Studio At Elstree










Sky is planning to build a 32-acre TV and film studio in Elstree, Hertfordshire. 

Sky Studios Elstree is being built with the backing of the pay-TV giant’s owner Comcast and in partnership with sister company NBC Universal. Legal & General will develop the site and provide financing. 

Sky said the studios will house 14 sound stages, leading to the creation of more than 2000 jobs and helping generate an additional £3bn of production investment in the UK’s creative economy during the first five years of operation. 

Subject to planning consent, the 32-acre development is expected to open in 2022 and will be able to host the production of several films and TV shows simultaneously, with each of the 14 sound stages covering over 20,000 sq ft. 

The site will include production offices, a set construction workshop, a screening cinema and post-production and digital facilities. 

The creation of Sky Studios Elstree will provide much needed space at a time when producers are struggling to find studios in the UK for high end TV and film productions. 

It will allow Sky Studios to produce more original content in-house, as it pushes towards a £1bn-per-year content target within five years. 

The new studio space will also play host to film productions from Universal Pictures, Focus Features and Working Title, and television series from NBC Universal Content Studios. It will have capacity to host productions from third party producers. 

Sky Studios Elstree will be located in the borough of Hertsmere. Legal & General is in the process of finalising a design of the scheme and expect to submit a formal planning application early next year. 

Chief executive Jeremy Darroch said: “Sky Studios Elstree will play a pivotal role in bringing the wealth of UK and European talent and creativity to the world. We know our customers love our award-winning Sky Originals like Chernobyl and our investment in Sky Studios Elstree will enable us to bring more unique stories to more viewers. 

“We are proud to be working with our colleagues at NBC Universal and Comcast, and our partners Hertsmere Borough Council and L&G to bring this project to life. Together we share a joint vision to create a world-leading production capability that will support the creation of thousands of jobs in the creative sector. We can’t wait to get started.”

3 December 2019

BBC – New Opportunities For Disabled People.











The BBC has today unveiled a three-part plan designed to significantly improve representation of - and opportunities for - disabled people on and off air.

Today’s measures will create new opportunities, see more disabled people working on some of the BBC’s biggest programmes, and help disabled staff to move around and up the BBC more easily.

The BBC will be:

Creating job opportunities with BBC Elevate, an initiative to give disabled people with some industry experience the chance to work and gain further experience on flagship BBC shows, including Strictly Come Dancing, The Apprentice EastEnders, Holby, Call The Midwife, The One Show, Who Do You Think You Are?, Ready Steady Cook and Pointless.

Permanently shifting the dial on what audiences can expect in terms of authentic and distinctive disabled representation on screen, with a range of new programmes as well as enhanced portrayal in existing programmes and core brands.

Introducing a ‘BBC passport’ for staff with disabilities which records their needs and helps to ensure they get the right support and can move smoothly between different jobs.

The announcement comes as the BBC hosts an event with ITV to mark International Day Of People With Disabilities, focused on disability and the media through bringing together contributors from all the major UK broadcasters for the first time.

The work follows a major report carried out last year involving hundreds of staff which made recommendations on how the BBC can go further to ensure staff can progress at the corporation.

New programmes unveiled include BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner confronting the challenges of suddenly becoming disabled; comedian and presenter Alex Brooker exploring what disability means to him; captivating new drama, But When We Dance about two people who both have Parkinson’s and share a love of dance; actor Mat Fraser curating a series of ambitious and challenging monologues on the theme of disability; and the return of acclaimed comedy series, Jerk.

Alison Kirkham, Controller Factual Commissioning, said: "We want to set the bar forever higher for the entire industry, both with off-screen talent and on-screen representation. In the past the industry hasn’t always done enough to offer opportunities for disabled people and so has missed out on their talent.

"With BBC Elevate we want to ensure the BBC leads the way in enabling disabled people in TV to progress. By working with some of the UK’s biggest shows we are giving applicants a chance to develop their careers and enabling our flagship brands to benefit from their experience and talent. I hope that the legacy of this initiative is sustained, enduring change which creates a greater pool of disabled people working across the industry, complemented by a richer portrayal of the lives and stories of disabled people on screen."

3 December 2019 

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