Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Travis dropped from Top of the Pops repeats

The BBC will not show repeats of Top of the Pops featuring former Radio 1 DJ Dave Lee Travis, who was found guilty of indecent assault last month.
The BBC pulled episodes hosted by Travis from its schedule of weekly repeats on BBC Four following the broadcaster's arrest in November 2012.

On Wednesday, a spokeswoman confirmed "the BBC will not show Top of the Pops repeats fronted by Dave Lee Travis".

Travis was given a three-month suspended sentence last month.

The spokeswoman added: "We will consider any other archive appearances on a case by case basis."

It follows the BBC's decision to allow Jonathan King to appear in a BBC Two documentary about Genesis last week.

King was convicted of child sex offences in 2001. He was sentenced for seven years and released from prison in 2005.

The BBC said his inclusion in the film, Genesis Together and Apart, reflected the "significant role" King played in the history of Genesis, whom he discovered.

His appearance has led to 20 complaints to the BBC, while broadcasting regulator Ofcom is assessing three complaints.

Edited out

In September, Travis was convicted of indecently assaulting a researcher working on TV's Mrs Merton Show in 1995. He was acquitted of 14 further charges during a trial and a later retrial.

The 69-year-old, who was tried under his real name David Griffin, appeared on Radio 1 for more than 25 years until 1993 and was a regular host of Top of the Pops.

Last year, the BBC apologised for airing an excerpt from a 1971 edition of Top of the Pops in which disgraced DJ Jimmy Savile was briefly shown.

Programmes featuring Savile were supposed to have been pulled following revelations of his history of abuse, while archive footage showing convicted sex offender Gary Glitter has also been removed from editions of the show.

King's appearance in a 2011 re-run of Top of the Tops was edited out, prompting him to complain to the BBC.

He called it a "Stalinist revision of history" and was assured by the then BBC director general Mark Thompson that this would not happen again.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

BBC unveils all-star version of God Only Knows, 17 years after Perfect Day

Seventeen years ago, when the BBC first unveiled a megastar-laden lineup performing a beloved rock classic of a certain vintage, this paper had a withering take on matters. The performance of Lou Reed’s Perfect Day, this paper said, offered “a none too subtle message: keep writing the cheque”.
Now, with the corporation’s battle to retain the television licence fee getting almost tougher by the week, it has unveiled a new take on a beloved song with a new cast of performers, and its message is, if anything, even less subtle, given its chorus runs: “God only knows what I’d be without you.” The new version of God Only Knows was given its first airing across all BBC platforms at 8pm on Tuesday evening, with slightly delayed airings on Radio 3, and the BBC News and World News channels.

BBC’s God Only Knows

The official reason for the new recording of the classic 1966 Beach Boys song is to mark the launch of BBC Music, which the corporation describes as “an ambitious wave of new programmes, innovative partnerships and ground-breaking music initiatives that amount to the BBC’s strongest commitment to music in 30 years”. As with Perfect Day, the song will be released as a single to raise money for the BBC’s Children in Need appeal.

As in 1997, the BBC has succeeded in gathering together a fairly staggering array of stars. Joining Brian Wilson, the song’s writer, are Sir Elton John, One Direction, Stevie Wonder, Pharrell Williams. Jake Bugg, Lorde, Emeli Sandé, Chris Martin, Kylie Minogue, Paloma Faith, Sam Smith, Florence Welch, Chrissie Hynde, Brian May, Dave Grohl, Alison Balsom, Martin James Bartlett, Danielle de Niese, Nicola Benedetti, Eliza Carthy, Baaba Maal, Jamie Cullum, Jaz Dhami, as well as the BBC’s Zane Lowe, Lauren Laverne, Katie Derham, Gareth Malone and Jools Holland. They are joined by the Tees Valley Youth Choir and the BBC Concert Orchestra. Sir Elton John is the only survivor from Perfect Day. The song is accompanied by a lavish video filmed at the disused Alexandra Palace theatre in London, which hosted the first BBC broadcast more than 90 years ago.

Wilson, unsurprisingly, pronounced himself delighted with the results. “All of the artists did such a beautiful job I can’t thank them enough,” he said. “I’m just honoured that God Only Knows was chosen. God Only Knows is a very special song. An extremely spiritual song and one of the best I’ve ever written.”
BBC’s Perfect Day

The BBC will be hoping God Only Know can replicate the success of its predecessor. Perfect Day was originally just a televised advert for the BBC, but became so popular it was released as a single, reaching No 1 in the UK, and selling more than 1.5m copies since its release. Single sales alone raised more than £2m for Children in Need. It was so successful, in fact, that the BBC tried to do it again in 2000, when Lou Reed led a second performance of Perfect Day with a new cast across all BBC networks simultaneously as part of the BBC Music Live event. Lightning did not strike twice, however: when released as a single, that version reached only No 69. And, given it featured Rolf Harris, the BBC is doubly unlikely to want to remind viewers of it.

God Only Knows, even leaving aside the not-all-that-subliminal message about treasuring the BBC, is a perfectly suitable choice for this latest attempt at a genre-straddling, globe-bestriding pop phenomenon. Though never released as the A-side of a single – it appeared on the Pet Sounds album, and as the B-side to Wouldn’t It Be Nice – it has become one of the best-loved songs in pop history, frequently appearing in the upper reaches of best-song-ever polls.
Cast of BBC's God Only Knows Photograph: Steve Brown/BBC

Who’s who of God Only Knows. See the larger version of the image here. Full list of names below.

1 Dave Grohl; 2 Alison Balsom; 3 Lorde; 4 Pharrell Williams; 5 Zane Lowe; 6 Sam Smith; 7 Paloma Faith; 8 Eliza Carthy; 9 Nicola Benedetti; 10 Chris Martin; 11 Jaz Dhami; 12 Martin James Bartlett; 13 Danielle de Niese; 14 Stevie Wonder; 15 Florence Welch; 16 Lauren Laverne; 17 Brian Wilson; 18 Jake Bugg; 19 Katie Derham; 20 Gareth Malone; 21 Kylie Minogue; 22 Chrissie Hyde; 23 One Direction; 24 Emeli Sande; 25 Elton John; 26 Baaba Maal; 27 Ethan Johns; 28 Jools Holland; 29 Jamie Cullum; 30 Brian May; 31 Tees Valley Youth Choir; 32 BBC Concert Orchestra
Sleeve notes
Get the Guardian's Sleeve notes email

Everything you need to know from the Guardian's music site, squeezed into one handy email.