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      Michael Ball to host Sunday Love Songs on BBC Radio 2 / TheGuardian · Tuesday, 2 April - 12:13

    Presenter admits he’s ‘more than a little nervous’ to continue the legacy after Steve Wright died in February

    Michael Ball will present a new Sunday Love Songs show on BBC Radio 2 after the death of Steve Wright earlier this year.

    Ball, who presents on Sundays from 11am-1pm, will host Love Songs with Michael Ball from 9-11am from June.

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      Why the Tavistock gender identity clinic was forced to shut ... and what happens next / TheGuardian · Sunday, 31 March - 11:00 · 1 minute

    The clinic at the heart of a heated national debate formally closes this weekend. The journalist who told the inside story of its practice reflects on those it leaves behind

    It was a report in this newspaper that sparked my real interest in Gids – that made me ask “what’s going on?”. It was November 2018 and the article, by Jamie Doward, revealed that the Gender Identity Development Service, to use its full title, was undertaking a review. The details were scarce, but a senior member of staff had claimed that the service was “failing to examine fully the psychological and social reasons behind young people’s desire to change gender”.

    In the week that Gids’s 35-year history has finally ended , I’ve been thinking about that time. How it set the scene of what would unfold over the next few years, and how things could have been so different. What if NHS England had acted when it saw a report of those concerns? It didn’t, and the service remained open for another six years. A service which referred children for puberty-blocking drugs, without robust data to support that this was beneficial, and that shut down the concerns of a growing number of its own staff.

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      The Guardian view on the future of the BBC: uncertain but necessary and all to play for | Editorial / TheGuardian · Thursday, 28 March - 18:21 · 1 minute

    Hearts and minds must be won in the run-up to the renegotiation of a charter that will determine the next decade of public broadcasting

    With just three years to go until the renewal of its charter, after 14 years of political assaults and in a time of convulsive change, the BBC has to prove its fitness for the next 10 years of public broadcasting. Hence a wide-ranging speech this week by its director general, Tim Davie, outlining the way forward. Opinions vary as to whether this was a timely show of mettle or a once great institution gasping its last. What was clear was that the path ahead will involve yet more swingeing cuts on top of the £500m annual reduction already forced on the corporation by a two-year licence fee freeze – which ends next month – compounded by inflation.

    The breadth of the challenge facing the corporation was underscored by a trio of core objectives designed to sprinkle reassurance in all political directions: the pursuit of truth with no agenda; an emphasis on British storytelling; and a mission to bring people together. All three may be admirable, but the latter two were somewhat undermined by a podcast interview with the showrunner of Doctor Who, for decades a standout example of British storytelling that brings people together. Talking about the value of a production partnership struck with Disney two years ago, Russell T Davies said that it was crucial to the show’s survival, because the end of the BBC was “undoubtedly on its way in some shape or form”.

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      ‘Know your audience’: BBC 5 Live chief on the station’s staying power / TheGuardian · Thursday, 28 March - 05:00

    On 5 Live’s 30th birthday, Heidi Dawson says more of the BBC should be based outside London to reflect the national conversation

    More of the BBC needs to be based outside London to reflect the “conversation of the nation” and secure its future, according to the controller of BBC Radio 5 Live.

    As the station celebrates its 30th birthday on Thursday, with a series of shows and tributes, Heidi Dawson says 5 Live is well placed to see off the multiple headwinds buffeting its HQ in London, including a further £200m in annual cuts announced by the BBC’s director general this week.

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      The secret life of Paul O’Grady – by his friends: ‘His number’s still saved in my phone. I can’t delete it’ / TheGuardian · Wednesday, 27 March - 10:00 · 1 minute

    He rose to fame as foul-mouthed drag star, Lily Savage, then abandoned the wig and became a national treasure. Friends including Sandi Toksvig, Amanda Holden and Gaby Roslin remember a true, terrific one-off

    ‘I can’t believe it’s been a year,” says Malcolm Prince, the producer of Paul O’Grady’s long-running Sunday teatime Radio 2 show. “Awful, awful, awful, awful. It’s been such a very difficult year. I’m embarrassed to say how tricky it’s been.”

    O’Grady’s death on 28 March 2023 , from sudden cardiac arrhythmia, came as a shock to the world. For decades, he had achieved the rare feat of presenting himself to the public as he truly was: funny, sharp, outspoken and compassionate in roughly equal measure. To some, he was best known as a comedian, to others a gameshow host, or an animal lover, or a political firebrand, or an LGBTQ+ pioneer. O’Grady’s appeal was so broad that people argued about what his legacy should be after he died; even ITV’s big Good Friday show this year, a documentary entitled The Life and Death of Lily Savage, can’t begin to contain the multitudes in O’Grady’s life, instead choosing to focus on the years he spent in drag.

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      BBC BASIC remains a remarkable learning tool, and now it’s available everywhere / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 29 November - 18:42 · 1 minute

    BBC Micro system, at medium distance, with full keyboard and case showing.

    Enlarge / A vintage 1981 BBC Micro computer. Fun fact: it was rather tricky to determine which version of BBC Basic a Micro was actually running. (credit: Getty Images)

    BBC Basic did a lot of things, and often quite well. During the early 1980s, it extended the BASIC languages with easier loop structures, like IF/THEN/ELSE, and ran faster than Microsoft's version. It taught an entire generation of Brits how to code, both in BASIC and, through an inline interpreter, assembly language. And it's still around to teach newcomers and anybody else—except it's now on far, far more platforms than a mail-order computer from the telly.

    BBCSDL , or BBC Basic for SDL 2.0 , uses Simple DirectMedia Layer's OS abstraction to make itself available on Windows, x86 Linux, macOS, Raspberry Pi's OS, Android, iOS, and inside browsers through WebAssembly. Version 1.38a arrived in mid-November with quite a few fixes and niceties (as first noticed by Hackaday and its readers). On the project's website, you can see BBCSDL running on all these devices, along with a note that on iOS and in browsers, an assembler and a few other functions are not available, due to arbitrary code-execution restrictions.

    BBCSDL, or BBC Basic for SDL 2.0, running on iOS devices, in graphical mode.

    BBCSDL, or BBC Basic for SDL 2.0, running on iOS devices, in graphical mode. (credit: Richard Russell / R.T. Russell )

    Richard Russell has been working on ports, interpreters, and other variations of BBC BASIC since 1983 , starting with interpreters for Z80 and Intel processors. By 2001, BBC BASIC for Windows was available with a graphical interface and was still compatible with the BBC Micro and Acorn computers from whence it came. BBCSDL has been in development since 2015, providing wider platform offerings while still retaining decent compatibility with BBC BASIC for Windows.

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      Egad! 7 key British PCs of the 1980s Americans might have missed / ArsTechnica · Friday, 24 March, 2023 - 11:00

    A modified Sinclair ZX81 advertisement with color added in the background.


    If you grew up in America, the early history of home computers in the UK might not be familiar to you. But Great Britain produced innovative personal computers that were as equally successful and influential as their counterparts from Atari, Commodore, and Radio Shack in the United States.

    To gain insight into the 1980s British PC landscape, we consulted veteran British game developer Kevin Edwards , who helped us identify the top seven most significant platforms.

    Having worked on over 40 games released between 1983 and 2022, Edwards developed titles such as Wolverine for the NES, Ken Griffy Jr. Baseball for the Super Nintendo, and many games in the Lego Star Wars series. In fact, his first game, Atomic Protector , debuted for the BBC Micro 40 years ago.

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      Review: Heartbreaking His Dark Materials S2 finale sets the stage for war

      Jennifer Ouellette · / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 12 January, 2021 - 21:11 · 1 minute

    The second season of <em>His Dark Materials</em>, starring Dafne Keen as Lyra Belacqua, concluded just before the new year.

    Enlarge / The second season of His Dark Materials , starring Dafne Keen as Lyra Belacqua, concluded just before the new year. (credit: BBC/HBO)

    The first season of His Dark Materials , the BBC/HBO adaptation of Philip Pullman's classic fantasy trilogy, had its share of critics, particularly with regard to its sluggish pacing. Fortunately, those shortcomings have been successfully addressed in the riveting second season. Freed from the creative burden of establishing an elaborate fictional world for viewers unfamiliar with the books, S2 was a briskly paced, yet still emotionally resonant experience, despite being one episode short because of pandemic-related production difficulties. Ruth Wilson's fiercely feral portrayal of the complicated Mrs. Coulter remains a highlight, and the heartbreaking season finale perfectly set the stage for the final showdown of S3, which has already been greenlighted by the studios.

    (S1 spoilers below; also some S2 spoilers below the gallery, especially for audiences who haven't read the books.)

    As we've written previously, the three books in Pullman's series are The Golden Compass (published as Northern Lights in the UK), The Subtle Knife , and The Amber Spyglass . They follow the adventures of a 12-year-old girl named Lyra, who lives in a fictional version of Oxford, England, circa the Victorian era. Everyone has a companion daemon in the form of an animal—part of their spirit that resides outside the body—and Lyra's is named Pantalaimon. Lyra uncovers a sinister plot that sends her on a journey to find her father in hopes of foiling said plot. That journey takes her to different dimensions (the fictional world is a multiverse) and ultimately to her own coming of age.

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      Exterminate! BBC drops trailer for Revolution of the Daleks special

      Jennifer Ouellette · / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 1 December, 2020 - 23:18 · 1 minute

    Jodie Whittaker's Doctor is a prisoner of the Judoon in Doctor Who: Revolution of the Daleks , a holiday special that will air on New Year's Day 2021.

    The series 12 finale of Doctor Who back in March ended on a cliffhanger, with Jodie Whittaker's Thirteenth Doctor imprisoned and her loyal companions (or "fam") back on Earth without her. Fortunately, we don't have much longer to wait to find out what happens. The BBC dropped the official trailer for the upcoming holiday special, Revolution of the Daleks , slated to air on New Year's Day.

    (Spoilers for S12 below.)

    As I noted in my review earlier this year, series 12 felt like classic Doctor Who , to the delight of longtime fans disappointed by Whittaker's first outing. (I thought that first outing was solid and showed a lot of promise.) In the episode "Fugitive of the Judoon," the Doctor encountered the intergalactic police force-for-hire, the Judoon (introduced in the series three episode " Smith and Jones "). The Judoon were supposedly hunting a man who lived in Gloucester with his wife, Ruth (Jo Martin). But their true target turned out to be Ruth, who recovered lost memories and declared herself to be the Doctor, with her own buried blue police box TARDIS. Yet neither Doctor had any recollection of the other.

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