Media News Round-Up

It’s been a busy day in the world of television, let ATV wrap-up the highlights… These include the BBC and SKY uniting for late news anchor Bob Friend, more drama for BBC Four and one of UTV’s most popular presenters leaves as a regular.

U’ve Been Watching


UTV presenter Pamela Ballantine is leaving the company after 27 years. Ballantine who started at the Northern Ireland broadcaster, as a continuity announcer and news reporter has been told her position no longer exists. Cost cutting across many ITV regional outlets has seen a number of favourite faces disappear over the past year.


Pamela however, despite no longer being offered a fixed UTV contract, has been offered an option to work freelance for the company. In recent months the presenter had returned to reporting and continuity announcing after cut-backs in 2009 saw her lifestyle series, UTV Life axed after ten years. She had previously risen to the ranks as one of the main hosts of evening magazine programme UTV Live.


Can You Cut It?


Geoffrey Goodwin, BBC SwitchThe BBC has commissioned another series of its teen-aimed drama, The Cut for its ‘BBC Switch’ branded output online and at weekends on BBC Two. The corporation also are on a hunt for new talent as part of the on-going production of the second series.


Budding actors or actresses between the ages of 16 and 21 can apply to join the soap, with two roles – one male and one female – up for grabs.


The BBC comments the show “features fast-paced storylines packed with plenty of drama, many of which are suggested by the show’s teen audience.”


The Cut was created and developed by Head of BBC Switch, Geoffrey Goodwin [pictured above right] who says:


“BBC Switch is committed to making innovative, relevant and exciting content for British teens and I’m absolutely thrilled to be bringing The Cut back for a second series. Opening the audition process to those seeking their first big break is a fantastic opportunity for us to discover new actors from across the country to join the young talented cast and production team.”


Anyone wanting to audition can find out more at


The series will air once again in five-minute episodes on, and a weekly TV omnibus on BBC Two.

In Brief

Jana Bennett, BBC VisionDavid Brown, the producer behind popular movies including Jaws and The Sting, had died at the age of 93.


BBC Films has enjoyed a total of five Academy Award nominations this year for movies including An Education and In The Loop.


Jana Bennett, Director of BBC Vision [pictured left], said: “It is fantastic to see the BBC’s support and investment in British film has helped to bring such an impressive range of creative work to the attention of the world’s most famous film academy.” 



Sky and BBC Have A Friend


Sky News / Image: Bardo Set DesignersThe BBC and SKY are uniting on Wednesday March 3rd 2010 at the University of Kent.

Mark Thompson, the Director-General of the BBC, will deliver the Bob Friend Memorial Lecture at the University, While Rob Kirk, Editorial Development Manager for Sky News, will present a first-year student from the University’s Centre for Journalism with the Bob Friend Memorial Scholarship.

Both the lecture and scholarship were established in 2009 in a partnership between Sky News, the University of Kent and the Friend family, to provide a lasting memorial to the life and career of Bob Friend. Bob Friend was the original face of Sky News at its launch 21 years ago and quickly became the face of the fledgling channel – the first European 24-hour news channel. In his 14 years with Sky News he won a glowing international reputation for warmth, intelligence and humour. He also won a number of awards for his presenting skills. Friend was also a long-standing BBC News journalist earlier in his career.

Now in its second year, the scholarship is awarded to a student who has demonstrated outstanding academic and professional merit, as well as potential for their future career. The winning student has his or her first-year tuition fees paid, and they are also guaranteed a four-week work placement at Sky News later in the year.

Candidates for the highly sought-after scholarship have to take part in a rigorous three-stage application process, which involves displaying their prowess in multimedia journalism, current affairs, spelling and grammar, and being interviewed by a panel of judges representing Sky News, the University and the Friend family.

Thompson said: “I was fortunate enough to work closely with Bob. He was an exceptional journalist for over fifty years and the best mentor I, as a young producer, could have hoped for. This scholarship is a testament to an outstanding man and a reminder of the important values that quality journalism brings to our society.”

Bob Friend died in October 2008 and is survived by his wife, Marion, and their two daughters.

BBC Two’s Bubbling

The BBC has announced their latest quiz-show creation entitled, The Bubble.


Described by Aunty Beeb as “a new comedy news-quiz for BBC Two which plays on the fact that some news stories are so hard to believe you’d think they’d been made up. In this show some of them have.”


Each week three-celebrity contestants are locked away in a media-free zone, ‘the bubble’ for four days with no phones, no television and no Internet access. When they’re brought out into the studio, they’re shown a series of news reports, headlines and images from TV, newspapers and celebrity gossip magazines. All they have to do is identify the true stories from the fakes.


David Mitchell comments: “It’s a damning indictment of the state of the world and our society that so many prominent and talented people are willing to isolate themselves from it, if only for a few days. But it’s good news for The Bubble. My only worry is: ‘What if they refuse to come out?'”


David Mitchell will present the series, episode one airs on Friday 19th February at 10.00pm, BBC Two. Guests confirmed for the show include Sue Perkins, Clive Anderson and Frank Skinner.

BBC Four Get On With It


Jo Brand, Joanna Scanlan and Vicki Pepperdine Jo Brand, Joanna Scanlan and Vicki Pepperdine are returing to BBC Four for a new series of comedy Getting On.


Set on a female medical ward B4 the second series once again follows the characters as they get on with the endless procedures and minor crises in this overlooked backwater of the health service.


The BBC say: “Some time has passed since we were last on B4. Nurse Kim Wilde [Jo Brand] is ploughing through her training modules while unresolved conflicts simmer. Sister Den Flixter [Joanna Scanlan] is juggling her off-on relationship, Doctor Pippa Moore [Vicki Pepperdine] has to compete for her own job with re-structuring on the agenda, and the prospect of a brand-new wing is dangled in front of the staff as the builders move in.”