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1   / Notices, obituaries and tributes / Re: Roger Keech
 on: Yesterday at 1:34pm 
Started by JakeF | Post by Administrator  
Here is the Guardian obituary, written by Ken Cooper.

2   / Notices, obituaries and tributes / Liz MacKean
 on: Aug 18th, 2017, 6:50pm 
Started by Administrator | Post by Administrator  
Liz MacKean died after suffering a stroke.

Liz worked for the BBC for over 20 years, but left to join Channel 4's "Dispatches" programme.

Liz started at BBC Hereford and Worcester, before moving to present on Breakfast TV and reporting from Northern Ireland and Scotland.

One of her last BBC programmes was "Newsnight". It was during her time on "Newsnight" that she decided to leave the BBC. She took Voluntary Redundancy in May 2013.

Her story about the child abuse committed by Jimmy Saville was dropped.

She won several awards during her career at both the BBC and Channel 4.

The BBC tribute to Liz is here.

Some of Liz's colleagues have taken to social media to express their shock.

"BBC Newsnight:- We're devastated by the loss of our former colleague. We'll remember her for her warmth, humour and tremendous journalistic talent."

"Karen Allen:- Devastated to hear of the death of my dear friend and colleague. Brilliant reporter, wonderful woman, amazing mum, and witty, so witty..."

This (archived) BBC page from May 2013 covered the Newsnight / Saville event in greater detail, and includes an interview with Liz.

3   / Notices, obituaries and tributes / Luke Gertler
 on: Aug 17th, 2017, 5:57pm 
Started by AdrianHB | Post by AdrianHB  
Luke Gertler died on August 7th at the age of 84.  He worked in BBC Gramophone Library as Assistant Head of Cataloguing for many years.  His partner Francis has asked me to tell all who knew him.  They had managed in spite of heath and logistics problems to go to their house in France in the village where Luke spent much of his childhood, and Luke died there peacefully with friends and loved ones present.  The body was cremated in France and a celebration of Luke's life will be arranged.

4   / News and Comment / AM Switch-off commences..
 on: Aug 12th, 2017, 2:59pm 
Started by Administrator | Post by Administrator  
According to this site.... (a516Digital)
"A number of BBC local radio stations will cease broadcasting on Medium Wave."

The piece goes on to say that several stations- where there is sufficient FM or DAB coverage -will loose their AM service from January 2018.

This follows a successful trial when there was little public reaction to the closure of their local station's AM service.

The BBC Local Radio Stations involved are:-
Sussex, Surrey, Humberside, Wiltshire, Nottingham, Kent, and Lincolnshire which will no longer broadcast on AM, and  BBC Devon, Lancashire and Essex will have reduced AM coverage.

In his BBC blog, here, Kieran Clifton (Director, BBC Ditribution & Business Development) says that 13 Medium Wave transmitters will be closed in 2018.

5   / Nations, Regions, and Local Radio. / Re: Local Radio History
 on: Aug 11th, 2017, 8:41pm 
Started by Administrator | Post by Administrator  
Paul Hayes, the producer of the documentary “The Network That Never Was”, has written to us, thanking all contributors for their help, and to let us know that  ….

“my documentary The Network That Never Was is going out at 12 midday on Bank Holiday Monday, the 28th of August, on BBC Radio Norfolk.
It has ended up telling two separate-but-linked stories. It’s the story of the birth of the BBC in Norwich as a VHF opt-out of the Midland Home Service in the 1950s, and of the “Radio Norwich” pilot of June 1961.
It will be available live online, or for 30 days afterwards, via this page on the BBC website:
But I would be very happy, of course, to provide all contributors with a CD or MP3 version after the broadcast, should you wish to have a copy to keep.
Once again, thank you so much to all of you for your assistance. And my apologies to those of you who were interviewees for having been able to include comparatively little of each of you. I was able to gather more interviewees and material than I had ever expected, and it was a bit of a job to squeeze it all in! But I am incredibly grateful for all of your time and patience.
I hope you enjoy the programme if you have the opportunity to listen, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts should you wish to share them!

Whether you’ve been an interviewee, have helped me with research or simply pointed me in the direction of someone who could help, or even just expressed an interest along the way – thank you. I’m deeply grateful. 

All good wishes,

6   / Where are they now? / Re: Bill Chesneau
 on: Aug 11th, 2017, 5:20pm 
Started by Administrator | Post by Karen_M  

Hello, this is another update about Bill Chesneau for both the NewBlueBook and the ex-BBC Staff Forum, mainly about his 80th birthday ‘do’ on Monday 07 August.  

We ended up with a total of seven party-goers on Monday, including Jim and myself.  The nursing team obviously realised we were not causing any trouble to Bill or the other patients so they did allow us all to squeeze into Bill’s room for the duration.  We drank all the non-alcoholic champagne, which didn’t actually taste too bad considering it lacked that all important ingredient, but nobody wanted the cake for some reason (probably connected to an enormous pre-party pub lunch) so the nurses did well that evening.  We all sang that song – you know the one – and even managed to persuade the two very nice Speech Therapists to join us for a while and add their voices to the song.

There was a lot of BBC talk going on and Bill really enjoyed it.  He seemed touched at the fact people visited him and made a fuss of him for a while.  He had also received numerous birthday cards, plus numerous messages and emails that I was able to print for him so he was well chuffed!  I took along email messages (complete with several anecdotes) from Richard Boulter, Allan Haynes, Brian Watkins and Ed Dougall and Arthur Chesterman that day and there had been others over last weekend.

He did get tired though.  For him, it was a happy but long afternoon with lots of people so no wonder he drooped somewhat by about 5pm.  I hope I wasn’t rude to visitors, but I did rather engineer everyone’s departure  at that time, as I knew Bill’s  evening meal was about to served (and it was) and Jim and I know from experience that he wants to eat alone and gets very distressed if anyone is there at mealtimes.

Who visited?  Well, Jim and me.  Simon Simpson, Martin Patmore, Tim Humphries and towards the end we were joined by John and Linda Hills-Harrop.  Poor John wasn’t looking too good but Monday is always the day of his injection and that does always ‘knock him out’ somewhat.  

It is, of course, quite possible that Bill had more visitors during the evening session.

And, I know that today Steve Wright will have visited Bill, Les Honess plans to visit when he can next week and Arthur Chesterman will visit ASAP (probably October).

Martin Patmore had brought along his camera and tripod and he did take several group photos but we have yet to see how they’ve turned out as Martin is away at the moment.

Linda H-H did prompt me to organise a Visitors’ Book so that people can sign it when they visit and make a suitable comment (yes, even rude ones!) so that Bill can look back on it and also so that we can see who has been, as Bill obviously can’t tell us himself.  So all of us did sign it and I’d like to prompt future visitors to do so too.  Mind you, when we saw Bill yesterday we couldn’t actually find this VB, but it must be there somewhere.  It’s bound to turn up, please do hunt it down and add your name when you visit.

So, how is he doing?  Bill is doing really well.  He now has lots of movement with both right limbs, which had initially been paralysed.  There doesn’t seem to be a lot of strength in them, but at least he has movement back and that’s good.  His major problem remains his speech;  he still cannot articulate what he is trying to say, but he continues to make lots of gestures to act it out.  I remember in my last update I mentioned that this is like a game of charades and would you believe it, a game of Charades has appeared – obviously a birthday present from someone but we don’t know from whom.  Whoever sent it, what a splendid idea and thank you.  

Between Bill’s birthday on Monday and our next visit, which was Wednesday, Bill had been moved to another room.  So for future reference, he is no longer in the Independence Suite – visitors need to search him out in Bed Room 3.  This is such a shame as the original room was nice and big and airy, but this room is much smaller and a bit grim, to be honest.  The worst of it is that this room doesn’t have an aerial socket so he can’t plug his TV in, and tonight The Proms concert is Oklahama conducted by John Wilson and we know Bill really wanted to watch this.  Hopefully he’ll be able to catch it in the Day Room.

We understand that the Consultant/Nursing Team/Therapists, etc, held a Case Conference on Wednesday to talk abut Bill’s progress and future.  We have asked for information about the outcome of this Case Conference and it is so frustrating that we received the usual answer that we weren’t really surprised at – they couldn’t tell us anything at all because we are not relatives.  I have emailed Bill’s son but my email bounced back so will have to wait until I can talk to his wife, Lidia, and hopefully she can tell us what happened.  I worry that moving Bill out of the Independence Suite may be as a result of the Case Conference – maybe they feel he has reached a point of independence that will not improve further, who knows and I am just guessing/assuming.  If that is the case, we wonder what will happen next.  Bill has been in the Rehab Unit since 11 July, which is four weeks – maybe that’s the sort of timescale they have in mind for keeping patients (guessing again).

We’ll be sure to let you know as soon as we hear/know anything.

Finally, my apologies for taking so long to send this update about Bill’s birthday, it has been one of those weeks!  Sorry, too, that this got rather lengthy!

Best wishes to everyone, and thanks again to all of you who sent Bill all those lovely cards and messages.

Have a good weekend.  Regards

7   / News and Comment / US Trusted News
 on: Aug 8th, 2017, 2:10pm 
Started by Administrator | Post by Administrator  
According to this survey done by The University Of Missouri Reynold's Journalism Course, the BBC was the fourth most trusted source of news.

1st The Economist
2nd 'Public TV'
3rd Reuters
4th BBC
5th US NPR
6th US PBS

This is from the Marketwatch web-site, here:-

"The results were based on a survey of more than 8,000 people conducted by 28 media organizations in the U.S. Participation was voluntary but respondents tended to reside near the news outlets that made the questionnaire available on their websites, and leaned toward the liberal side of the political spectrum."

8   / News and Comment / Re: Prospero
 on: Aug 4th, 2017, 8:24am 
Started by Mikej | Post by Delboy  
Mikej wrote on Aug 2nd, 2017, 2:22pm:
A surprise dropped through my door this morning!
It was the "New Look Prospero" - that sort of language is always a bad sign.
Previously it was entitled "The newspaper for BBC pensioners" but now it is called "The newspaper for retired BBC Pension Scheme members"
So presumably those staff who were never actual BBC scheme members but sorted themselves out, will not see it any more.
Not that there is that much in it but the Obits are always very sad.


Anyone who doesn't get the paper version (like me - I never bothered to apply) can read August's edition, along with back issues, here:

9   / Where are they now? / Re: Bill Chesneau
 on: Aug 3rd, 2017, 12:25pm 
Started by Administrator | Post by Karen_M  
Here is an update for both the NewBlueBook and the ex-BBC Staff Forum.  

We have some good news, as Bill is doing incredibly well in this Rehab Unit at Amersham Hospital.  

Apparently he can now take a couple of steps using a rollator/walking frame.  

On Friday 25th July when we saw him he had us almost ROFL because he came out with a new word – it surprised him too.  As he is so determinedly independent he wouldn’t let us help him find something on his table that he wanted to show but had got buried under “stuff”, but that just resulted in him tipping a load of it onto the floor.  Our of his mouth came the words “Oh shit!”.  He looked not only surprised but held his hand over his mouth as if to say “oooooops” and he looked like a guilty, naughty little boy!  It made all three of us guffaw and it was lovely to hear his laughter again.  So now we have “one two, one two, oh shit, oh shit, one two”.

But his speech, that is still a major problem.  Yet is is somehow learning to make himself understood, even though it is all a bit of a game of charades for him to express himself.  Perhaps we are more used to his way of communicating now, but he really is making great progress all round.

When we visited a couple of days later he was very proud to tell us that he now washes himself without help.  In fact he asked us to bring him some more deodorant.  I’ve made up a nice toilet bag with shampoo, deodorant, soap, toothpaste and some EDT and I hope that will make him feel much better, especially now that he has finally had a haircut.

He has been watching The Proms on his telly whenever it’s shown on BBC4 and he’s been enjoying that.  Bill especially enjoyed the John Williams and the Malcolm Sargent concerts.  He is also keeping up with the news on his TV so that’s good too.  I must take him in a current copy of the Radio Times each week...

On one of our visits last week we met up with Martin Patmore and Dick Manton and Bill enjoyed that.  He does like it when he has two or three plus people at a time so that the conversation is easier to bounce around.

I’m all set for his Birthday next week, on Monday 7th.  He has already received one card (thank you Mary Routh!) and was well chuffed with it. However, he was a bit peeved with me for revealing his age as that had always been a well-kept secret.  Oh well, it’s public knowledge now – my fault!  

I’ve no idea who or how many people may turn up for the Birthday, other than Martin Patmore, Simon Simpson and ourselves, but I have got some cakes and non-alcoholic champagne organised so that we can have a little celebratory soiree.  I’ve bought him a new shirt and a new pair of trousers to wear on the day, too.  If you’d like to come along would you kindly let me know so that we can try and stagger the times, since Bill should only have 3 visitors at a time.  He also does still tire quickly and finds it all a bit overwhelming if there are too many people at once.

So it’s all beginning to look really good.  I’ll report back after the Birthday event!

Jim and I are still visiting Bill at least four times a week, but sadly we did have to cut down and we just couldn't manage daily visits anymore.  We were probably boring Bill too much, anyway!

Best regards


10   / News and Comment / Re: Prospero
 on: Aug 3rd, 2017, 10:34am 
Started by Mikej | Post by Burstner55  
The further Old Father Time distances me from my working life at The Beeb the further I feel from it spatially, a feeling enhanced by the nature of the changes taking place every day at the Corporation and especially by the changes in its output. The all-new Prospero is just another sign of the phenomenon and as WG suggests its life looks to be limited anyway. Best perhaps if we just do our best to forget we were ever involved? Many of us already feel that "we had the best years" so maybe we should keep quiet about that for fear of upsetting the generations that followed us? Not sure whether I am being tongue-in-cheek or simply realistic.