Sunday, 24 February 2008

New Blog!

Apologies for the massive gap in writing, I've been setting up my new project 'Challenge Charly' on YouTube.

Check out my vlog at

and my accompanying blog at

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Life After Death

So ... my new found dissertation is to be on role models, and there is most definitely one in this week's press.

Kelly Brook is to be applauded for her appearance on Strictly Come Dancing.

The presenter come actress has been a loveable warm addition to the show, and interestingly avoided the fate of other equally attractive, talented contestants such as Gabby Logan and Penny Lancaster, by appearing approachable and warm.

Her presence on the show clearly marked a flawless transition from the pages of mens mags to mainstream children's entertainment.

She has been likeable, approachable and surprisingly un-Hollywood, despite the A-List fiance who sat watching her in the crowd, .... and for that reason she was the season's clear favourite.

However, tragedy struck this week when her father lost his battle with throat cancer.

My heart completely goes out to her - I lost my parents when I was nineteen, and I completely appreciate and understand both her desire to carry on with the show, and her decision to quit after realising she could no longer put her whole heart in to it.

The events of this week, and Kelly's dignity in dealing with them, have only furthered my admiration for the star, and underlined her positivity as a role model to children.

Her attempts to carry on regardless teach an important lesson to children who may find themselves in a similar situation. The only way to ensure life carries on after death is to live, and to live life to the max.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Role Models

Poor old Amy Winehouse hasn't had the best week, month, or probably even year.

However, as all her fans desert her, walking out of concerts, and chastising her very public drug addiction, I for one applaud her!

Not for the drink, drugs and rock and roll! But for her academic help!

Because Amy's behaviour has helped me find my dissertation topic.

Staring at a photograph of her in the weekend's press, white powder visibly clinging to her nose hairs, and seven year old, bee-hive sporting, fan in tow, I decided my MA will be on Role Models in Children's Media.

Those of you who are regulars to my blog will have realised that it's a subject close to my heart, and so hopefully, over the nex six months as I collate my research, I'll be able to share some of my findings and views with you.

Am also hoping to speak some of the media's most famour role models, good and bad, past and present, so keep watching this space!

Friday, 16 November 2007

TV fakery

Is it just me, or has the whole 'lets expose BBC fakery' witchhunt gone a bit too far?

Today's latest scandal involves using a soundbite of babies crying to enhance a clip of footage that arrived at the BBC without sound.

I realise it was used on the news but in reality, does any one really care whether the cries they hear are those of the same baby they are watching?

Obviously lines need to be drawn, and to excuse something as trivial as this isn't to forgive the larger misdemenours of the corporation, however, I do feel that the press need to get some degree of perspective on the issue.

Likewise, where Blue Peter's bloopers are concerned, the show has taken a repeated bashing over recent months.

Whilst I am in full agreement that competitions shouldn't have been fixed, and that people need to be honest with children, the recent scrutiny of every detail of the BBC's broadcasting seems completely ignorant of the fact that TV is entertainment, and not every aspect of entertainment is 100% real - a reality most viewers happily accept.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

One I Plan To Write Later

If this blog has been useful for anything yet, it has crystalised what I want to write my dissertation on.

For those of you new to my blog, I'm a 24 year old MA Broadcast Journalism student at the University of Westminster, and eventually, I hope to pursue a career in children's media.

At present I volunteer at four radio stations, including presenting the children's request at a Hospital Radio Station. Eventually I'm hoping to have my own two hour children's show on one of the hospital radio stations that I work on, but for the moment I'm content just visiting wards, chatting to the kids, and playing their requests.

Anyway, the eventual plan is to pursue a career at CBBC. Despite the recent bashing shows such as Blue Peter have received in the press recently, I'm a firm believer in the fact that the BBC is, and always has been, the best source of good, clean, homegrown children's media.

In spite of this, I must acknowledge the decline in children's media on the whole in recent years. As a child I used to flick between CBBC and CITV, hoping to benefit from the best of both channels, however, nowadays it is as if ITV has surrendered to the competition offered by specialist children's channels, and as a result, the proportion of British-made children's media has been dramatically reduced.

I plan to write my dissertation on the decline of children's media - an issue which has recently attracted the attention of both Ofcom and the Voice of Listeners and Viewers.

In order to research my dissertation, I hope to spend the next six months getting as much children's media work experience.

I hope to speak with Susan Stranks and Baroness Warnock, two of the most prolific figures in the campaign for improved children's media, and two ladies who I was lucky enough to speak with at the House of Lords at a Select Committee on the subject when I was just 17,

I will use this blog to document my findings, and explore the state of children's media today, and in the future.


Hmm ... if there's one thing I disagree with in the media, it's people famous for being famous.

Reality tv contestants whose next step is to become a celebrity tv contestant, sidestepping the celebrity part somewhere along the line.

A classic example of this is Katie Hopkins, the newest addition to the I'm A Celebrity jungle. She's 'famous' for nothing more than appearing on a reality TV show.

Whilst arguably the majority of the other contestants have questionable qulifications, Hopkins is just another reality TV show veteran, following in the footsteps of the likes of Big Brother's Jade Goody and Grace Adams-Short (who appeared, respectively, on Celebrity Big Brother, and Cirque de Celebrite).

Maybe I'm old fashioned in thinking you ought to earn celebrity status ... however, to say this I guess is to be ignorant of the shoals of today's celebrities, famous for nothing more than being rich (Paris Hilton), being related to someone famous (Kelly and Jack Osbourne), or socialising with someone famous (Tara Palmer-Tompkinson).

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Lily Allen and Friends

I'm beginning to get a little cynical about social networking sites, however I do have to admit I quite like the sound of BBC3's new project - a show based around social networking, hosted by Lily Allen, and contributed to by her MySpace friends.

Lily Allen rose to fame as a result of the site, and her revealing blogs have shown her to be an approachable and realistic role model for youngsters.

The straight-laced traditionalist in me does quite like a good role model.

As the Ofcom report into Chilren's TV highlighted a few weeks ago, a worrying number of children aspire to be the people they see on TV.

Whilst we can try to tackle this idolistic trend by better educating children as to who to look to as role models, another way to stem it is at the source.

If producers look more carefully at the role models they are providing for children, then hopefully even if children do continue to idolise tv personalities, they will be aspiring to mimic positive traits.

Lily Allen is independent, talented and real.

She appears to eat like a normal person, is not overly concerned with her appearance, and is not photographed drinking, or smoking.

She doesn't promote drugs, and has remarkably appears to have carved herself a successful career without abusing her father's fame.

She also sings and speaks about things which teenagers can understand and empathise with.

Admittedly my straight-laced nature would perhaps prefer her to be a little more well-spoken, and a little more geeky!, howeve, kids like her, a fact which the popularity of her MySpace page has starkly proven.

To build on this success, and use it to enable children to contribute to a show is a great way to improve the multifaceted nature of today's media, and hopefully the BBC will put this popularity to good use.