News Reel & Blog

Written by Daniel Kirby on 31st May 2016

The new series of Top Gear commenced on Saturday with an average of 4.4 million viewers, more than 2 million down on the average viewing figures of the last series and also well below the figure of 5 million which Chris Evans hoped to achieve.

Nevertheless the show did secure the majority audience of its 8pm with a 23% share, and the viewing figures do not include those who watch the show on catch up. Evans himself was upbeat about the debut when posting on twitter after the episode.

top gear chris evans tweet

In terms of critical reception, many were critical of Chris Evans' performance as host whilst others complained about a lack of originality with the show following the same format as previous seasons, however elsewhere there was praise for Matt LeBlanc and the more conservative approach of this new season.

Written by Daniel Kirby on 23rd May 2016

tilt brush virtual reality

Virtual reality continues to feature frequently in headlines, along with the promise that this 'next big thing' is about to make its way into the mainstream. This, of course, has been the case for several years, but with a recent flurry of activity surrounding the technology it would appear that VR may well be on the verge of its breakthrough.

The latest notable contribution to the virtual reality platform is Google's new Tilt Brush app, a fascinating tool which allows anyone with a VR lens and their console (digital paint brush) to paint in a 3D virtual canvas.

Tilt Brush has had very positive reviews, with many suggesting that it represents 'the first great VR app', and critics have suggested that it gives a better demonstration of the potential of the technology than other apps.

Suggestions for how the app could be used in the future include allowing architects to create virtual models of their designs to send to clients, whilst other futuristic possibilites are already being used, such as virtual reality therapy, a form of pyschotherapy which uses the technology to treat patients with extreme anxiety issues, with a reportedly high level of success.

Elewhere Audi have adopted the technology to create a virtual showroom which allows their prospective customers to view a custom model of their desired car by viewing a 3D model of the car via a VR headset.

Clearly the potential for this technology is huge, and the media industry in particular looks likely to benefit from the new platform. We're expecting to see work opportunities open up as the technology finds its feet, and are looking forward to what the future of VR has in store.

Written by Daniel Kirby on 19th May 2016

radio presenters

RAJAR, the official body responsible for measuring radio audience figures in the UK released their latest figures today.

Nick Grimshaw's Radio 1 show has seen its lowest audience figures since he took over from Chris Moyles in 2012 with an average weekly reach of 5.4 million over the first quarter of the year.

Chris Moyles himself has also seen a major dip in his London audience for his breakfast show on Radio X.

Radio 2 however has seen an increase in its audience figures, and remains by far the most popular station in the country with an impressive 15.5 million listeners. The RAJAR figures also show all-time highs for Jeremy Vine, Dermot O'Leary and Ken Bruce.

Chris Evans has also seen an increase in his listening figures as his highly anticiated Top Gear debut approaches.

Elsewhere The Archers has recorded a drop in its audience, despite a well-publicised domestic abuse storyline that has revived interest in the Radio 4 show.

Written by Daniel Kirby on 18th May 2016

The Cannes film festival has been underway for a week, and here are our highlights of the event so far.

Studio Ghibli make a return after two years

Studio Ghibli have released a trailer for their new film The Red Turtle. They are co-producing the film with the French studio Wild Bunch and the film will be the first release from the acclaimed studio since When Marnie Was There in 2014. The film looks very interesting, you can check out the trailer here.

red turtle studio ghibli

Scorsese secures a major deal for his long-delayed film The Irishman

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, the gangster film had been in process for several years, however Scorsese's deal with STX Entertainment will allow production to finally commence on the film later this year.

the irishman cannes

The BFG premieres to wide acclaim

Steven Spielberg's live action adaptation of the famous Roald Dahl novel recently premiered at the festival, and was extremely well-received. In particular Mark Rylance, who plays the big friendly giant himself, was praised by critics for his perfomance, marking a continuation in the run of success for the British actor who earlier this year won an Oscar for his part in the excellent film Bridge of Spies. Watch the trailer here.

bfg cannes

Written by Daniel Kirby on 12th May 2016

white paper bbc meaning

A big topic in the media lately has been the government review into the BBC, headed by culture secretary John Whittingdale.

Today the proposals have been revealed, and they come with a variety of implications for the broadcaster and its viewers. Here is a summary of the key points:


The licence fee will increase

Whittingdale annunce that the cost of a licence fee should increase in line with inflation for five years beginning in 2017. However there will be more flexible payment options for lower-income families.

You will have to pay to watch content on iPlayer

The paper explained that 'viewing habits [are] shift[ing] away from linear television' and suggested that those who watch content after it was originally broadcast should contribute to the cost.

Complaints will now be dealt with by Ofcom

The government has proposed that Ofcom become the external regulator of the BBC, as opposed to the BBC Trust which previously existed for this purpose. It has also been announced that a new 'unitary board' will be established, which will consist of around a dozen members, at least half of which will be appointed by the BBC.

The focus of BBC's content must change 

The paper announced that the broadcaster must focus on 'innovative and high quality' programming, rather than ratings, and should focus more on under-served audiences such as ethnic minority viewers.

Highest earners will be named

It will now be required for all BBC employees who earn more than £450,000 per year to be named, however their specific salaries will not be revealed, instead they will be shown in 'broad bands'.


In the build up to the release of this paper, it was suggested that more intrusive moves were planned, such as a possible plan to stop the BBC from competing with other broadcasters for prime-time viewers, however such plans were ultimately not included, no doubt to the great relief of BBC supporters.

Written by Daniel Kirby on 10th May 2016

amazon video direct youtube competition

Online giant Amazon has today launched Amazon Prime Direct, a major new online service which will allow anyone with an account to upload their own videos to the site. The service is open to any video creator, and will allow contributing partners to monetise their content in a variety of ways.

They can make their content available to Prime Video subscribers and receive a per-hour royalty fee or they can have it sold as an add-on subscription through the Streaming Partners Program. Alternatively they can offer it for digital rental or purchase, or it can be made available for free with ads, in which case the creators will receive a 55% share of the ad revenue.

The content can be played anywhere where Amazon Video works, such as mobile devices, desktop and on Fire TV, and the service will be available in the UK, US, Germany, Austria and Japan.

Considering that Youtube has been running strongly for over a decade, it will be interesting to see what kind of competition Amazon can put up.

Written by Daniel Kirby on 9th May 2016

bafta awards 2016 bbc government threat

The BAFTA Television Awards recently took place in an event that turned out to have an unusually political edge, with the government coming under fire for their proposed changes to the BBC.

Wolf Hall director Peter Kominsky received the first award of the evening and used the opportunity to suggest that the BBC is 'under threat', before going on to accuse the government of trying to 'eviscerate' the BBC and Channel 4.

kosminsky baftas speech

Later on, when Mark Rylance won the award for best leading actor, also for Wolf Hall, he too joined in the condemnation whilst also praising the 'incredible variety of popular culture' in the UK.

The political speeches were in response to government plans to publish a white paper which will outline the future set up and function of the BBC, including a proposal to replace the majority of the BBC board with government appointees.

In Kosminsky's speech he suggested that these plans would turn the BBC into a state broadcaster like 'those bastions of democracy Russia and North Korea'.

Elsewhere on the evening, Peter Kay saw success after winning two awards for his comedy Car Share, whilst Suranne Jones received the award for best leading actress for her part in hit BBC drama Doctor Foster.

You can find the full list of winners below.


  • Leading actor - Mark Rylance, Wolf Hall
  • Leading actress - Suranne Jones, Doctor Foster
  • Supporting actor - Tom Courtenay, Unforgotten
  • Supporting actress - Chanel Cresswell, This Is England '90
  • Entertainment performance - Leigh Francis, Celebrity Juice
  • Female performance in a comedy programme - Michaela Coel, Chewing Gum
  • Male performance in a comedy - Peter Kay, Peter Kay's Car Share
  • Single drama - Don't Take My Baby
  • Mini-series - This Is England '90
  • Drama series - Wolf Hall
  • Soap and continuing drama - Eastenders
  • International - Transparent
  • Factual series - The Murder Detectives
  • Specialist factual - Britain's Forgotten Slave Owners
  • Single Documentary - My Son The Jihadi
  • Features - The Great British Bake Off
  • Reality and constructed factual - First Dates
  • Current affairs - Outbreak: The Truth About Ebola (This World)
  • News coverage - Channel 4 News: Paris Massacre
  • Sport - The Ashes
  • Live event - Big Blue Live
  • Entertainment programme - Strictly Come Dancing
  • Comedy and comedy entertainment programme - Have I Got News For You
  • Scripted comedy - Peter Kay's Car Share
  • Radio Times audience award - Poldark
  • Special Award in honour of Alan Clarke - Lenny Henry

Written by Daniel Kirby on 6th May 2016

line of duty bbc switch

The BBC has confirmed that Line of Duty will be moving to BBC1 for its fourth series which will air next year.

The hugely popular show has also had a fifth series commissioned, following the conclusion of the third series last Thursday, with the final episode pulling in a remarkable 5.6 million viewers over its 90-minute finale.

BBC's Controller of TV Channels and iPlayer Charlotte Moore said "Jed Mercurio's explosive thriller will find a new home on BBC1 for two more series and create room for new drama to flourish on BBC2."

The third series of Line of Duty has achieved the highest recorded ratings for a BBC2 drama and the fourth series, which is set to begin filming in August, will no doubt be met with a great deal of excitement!