Two whom it may concern

Monday, June 8, 2009 by · Comments Off 

Okay, so there’s finally something new to read on OTT. And it comes courtesy of Dominic Small.

This was the year BBC2 clocked up its 45th birthday. Since the channel celebrated its 40th, the BBC’s attitude to its portfolio has changed hugely. Nonetheless, BBC2 remains at the vanguard of the Corporation’s technological expansion… as it has from the start.

“BBC2 was an innovative channel from the very beginning. While BBC1 and ITV had previously broadcast on the 405-line VHF system, BBC2 was only available on the then-new 625-line UHF format. This meant viewers had to convert to new technology in order to receive the service. The move to 625-line allowed the development of new services such as colour TV, itself previewed on BBC2 before its rollout to the other channels, and switching off of the 405-line service in 1985.” Read the story »

Rouge awakening

Wednesday, April 8, 2009 by · 14 Comments 

To mark Red Dwarf's 21st anniversary, the cast and celebrities arrive for the World Premiere Screening of Red Dwarf: Back to Earth to be shown on Friday at 9pm on Dave.

To mark Red Dwarf's 21st anniversary, the cast and celebrities arrive for the World Premiere Screening of Red Dwarf: Back to Earth to be shown on Friday at 9pm on Dave.

“…Nine years later” is how Red Dwarf: Back to Earth opens. And that’s the only specific detail I’m going to give from the three new RD episodes, which were screened back-to-back to press, celebs and general telly nabobs at London’s May Fair (I know, it doesn’t look right, but it is two words) hotel this evening. Read more

Red alert!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009 by · Comments Off 

Welcome home

Welcome home

Tonight it’s the press launch for Dave’s Red Dwarf: Back to Earth. Expect (a non-spoilery) preview on OTT later on…

The ‘forgotten’ Rainbow presenter

Friday, April 3, 2009 by · 2 Comments 

Cook and co

Cook and co

In 1972, ITV began airing during the daytime, unleashing a flotilla of programmes that – in many cases – would endure for years to come. Shows like Emmerdale Farm, Crown Court, Mr & Mrs… and Rainbow.

Produced by Pamela Lonsdale at Thames Television, the programme originally aired with writer and actor David Cook in the presenting role. To the best of my knowledge, Cook – who went on to enjoy substantial success as a writer – has never been interview about his association with Rainbow before.

Well, until I tracked him down in 2007. Read the interview »

Yesterday today

Monday, March 2, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

'E', things ain't what they used to be

'E', things ain't what they used to be

As the next UKTV channel succumbs to a jaunty rebrand (UKTV History becoming Yesterday), Dominic Small is back with another examination of multichannel fortunes.

This time he’s looking at why networks continually tinker with their onscreen identities – from UK Living, to Living, to LivingTV, back to Living… and beyond. Read the story »

Oh, and does anyone know why the lowercase ‘e’ in YeSTERDAY?

Gimme Five USA

Monday, February 16, 2009 by · Comments Off 

States the obvious

States the obvious

Today’s the day Five rebrands its American themed channel. Formerly named Five US, it’s now called – umm – Five USA.

Okay, a perfunctory tweak at best, but it does now bring the branding into line with the rest of the Five network. To mark the occasion, Dominic Small looks back at Five’s digital fortunes thus far. Read the story »

“To the North…”

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 by · 5 Comments 

Police brutality

Police brutality

“…Where we do what we want”.

It’s hard to remember the last time C4 put so much weight behind one of its dramas. Red Riding, adapted from the novels of David Peace, tells the story of policing in Yorkshire through the 1970s and early ’80s. The trilogy was unveiled to the press tonight via a lowkey press launch in Shoreditch, East London.

C4′s Head of Drama, Liza Marshall, unveiled a selection of clips from each episode (which are set in 1974, 1980 and 1983 respectively), commenting that a production like this is  reason enough the channel should be helped out of its current financial crisis. Read more

Tony Hart, RIP

Sunday, January 18, 2009 by · 5 Comments 

Tony Hart, 1925-2009

Tony Hart, 1925-2009

The month continues to take many TV greats. This morning it was announced Tony Hart had passed away peacefully in his sleep at the age of 83.

A television pioneer, it’s worth remembering how far back his association with the media goes. His first role was as artist in residence on Saturday Special in 1952. Last year, he told the Times how he got the job… Read more

Patrick McGoohan, RIP

Thursday, January 15, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Patrick McGoohan, 1928-2009

Patrick McGoohan, 1928-2009

A man rows with someone very important-looking and storms out of an imposing building, but before he can even get home, unseen hands are setting the wheels in motion for his unplanned ‘retirement’. Easily summarised in one sentence, but perhaps the single most powerful and compelling sequence in television history, and capable of striking a chord with almost anyone anywhere in the world.

There’s no question that The Prisoner has overshadowed the rest of Patrick McGoohan’s long list of television credits (not to mention his extensive film work) – from, notably, his multi-award winning episodes of Columboto, somewhat less notably, interminable daytime drama serial Rafferty – and it will dominate this tribute too. Read more

Indies competition now closed

Monday, January 12, 2009 by · Comments Off 

The Rise and Rise of the Independents

The Rise and Rise of the Independents

Our competition to win Ian Potter’s impressive book: The Rise and Rise of the Independents: A Television History (read more about it here) is now closed.

Thanks to everyone who entered. Our winners are:

Anthony BabajeeDavid McNay and Stuart Adair.

They all got it right, but how did you get on with our question?

It was… What connects BBC1′s Satan-baiting drama Apparitions with C4′s Chester-set soap, Hollyoaks?

The answer is, both shows are Lime Pictures productions. The clue was in the question…


Thursday, January 8, 2009 by · 8 Comments 



Countdown returns on Monday, C4, with its all-new presenting team – Jeff Stelling (“Stelling is the name -  six consonants, two vowels”) at the desk, and the very smiley Rachel Riley wrangling the letters and numbers.

We’ll have a full review from our Countdown correspondent Ian Jones, but – briefly – how’s the relaunched show looking? Read more

Matt Smith is the new Doctor Who!

Saturday, January 3, 2009 by · 11 Comments 

Matt Smith - the new Doctor

Matt Smith - the new Doctor

Matt Smith has been announced as the 11th Doctor.

The Party Animals and Ruby in the Smoke star (set to appear in upcoming BBC2 crime drama Moses Jones) was an outside chance with all pundits, until earlier today, when his name suddenly propelled itself through the ranks of potential Time Lords. 

So how did Doctor Who Confidential announce the casting? Slowly… Read more

2008 in review

Thursday, January 1, 2009 by · Comments Off 

It happens but once a year (thankfully). As 2009 arrives, OTT publishes its review of the last – in this case – 366 days of telly.

When TV pundits of the future look back at 2008 (a process that is sure to start in earnest in just over 12 months time as we begin the second decade of the 21st century), what will they make of the year just gone? Read the story »

Christmas 2008, logged

Thursday, January 1, 2009 by · Comments Off 

A cracking Christmas for BBC1

A cracking Christmas for BBC1

As we wave goodbye to 2008, there’s still one last opportunity to cling on to the magic of the festive season. Yup, we’ve got Christmas 2008 logged.

This was the year Wallace and Gromit returned to the BBC after a 13-year teabreak, and the soaps finally gave ground in their domination of the TV landscape. 

So how exactly did the 25th play out this time around? Read the story »

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008 by · 2 Comments 

Her Maj

Her Maj

It’s long overdue, but OTT’s Christmas Logs have now been added to the site.

What are they? Our guide to Christmas Day telly, from 1970 to the present day (2008′s log will go online January 1 2009).

So find out who said: “I’ve never known a year like it. Talk about hectic … To be honest, the fuss that is sometimes made when we’re playing the theatres scares me. It’s like The Beatles” or “People actually send spies to the rehearsal rooms”.

Oh, and a Merry Christmas to everyone who’s written, commented on or even just read the site in 2008!

Doctor Who’s ‘Next’ generation

Thursday, December 18, 2008 by · 5 Comments 

Dervla Kirwan and her "knight in shining armour"

Dervla Kirwan and her "knight in shining armour"

Thursday 18 December 2008, and a pointedly low key press launch for Doctor Who‘s Christmas episode, ‘The Next Doctor’ held at London’s Soho Hotel.

Jane Tranter, the BBC’s outgoing Head of Drama, warned the assembled: “‘The Next Doctor’ – for the next 60 minutes or so, make of that what you like. And I’m absolutely not going to tell you anything. But by the time you’ve got to the end, you’ve got to promise not to tell anyone else what to make of that. The ability of Doctor Who is to ask big questions and keep everybody guessing. Please enter into the spirit of that, and allow everyone to keep asking questions”. Read more

Up the Creek again

Monday, December 15, 2008 by · Comments Off 

Sheridan Smith and Alan Davies

Sheridan Smith and Alan Davies

After nearly five years off our screens, Jonathan Creek is poised to return for a one-off, two-hour episode scheduled for New Year’s Day.

So why has the duffle coat-sporting sleuth been resurrected now?

OTT asked the series’ creator David Renwick.  “It’s a kind of boring answer,” he said. “I had nothing else to do! I wasn’t bursting with any other bright ideas after we finished Love Soup, which I’ve been doing for the last two or three years. And, erm, it was sort of a safe decision.”
Read the full interview »

Oliver Postgate, RIP

Tuesday, December 9, 2008 by · 8 Comments 

Oliver Postgate, 1925-2008

Oliver Postgate, 1925-2008

It’s probably no exaggeration to say that for a generation, Oliver Postgate’s voice may well have been the first that they came to recognise after those of their immediate family. As creator, writer, narrator and director of some of the best loved and most regularly repeated children’s TV shows of all time – among them Bagpuss, The Clangers, Pogle’s Wood, Noggin The Nog and Ivor The Engine – he became one of the most instantly recognisable figures in television without ever really appearing in person. Read more

Bob Spiers, RIP

Monday, December 8, 2008 by · 1 Comment 

Bob Spiers: 1945-2008

Bob Spiers: 1945-2008

Owing to the sheer volume and quality of his work as a director and a producer, Bob Spiers was one of those people that you always pictured as being a lot older than they actually were. In a career that spanned four decades, he came in on one of the greats – Dad’s Army – and continued to produce popular and top rated shows throughout. Read more

2008 – hate or rate?

Monday, December 1, 2008 by · 2 Comments 

As ever, OTT intends to publish its review of the year’s telly come the end of December.

And we’d really like you to be part of that. Jack Kibble-White will be doing the honours, weaving contributions together – so please send him your thoughts on any aspects of the last 12 months of TV. 

His address:

The deadline for submissions is December 15.

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