South Central MediaScene

Bournemouth Square palms and Camera Obscura

Film-TV Section:
This being a campaign site to promote the region as a media centre, we have a set of web pages addressing the issues raised in our earlier coverage of the local film-tv production Terence Stamp as Sergeant Troy demonstrating his swordsmanship at Dorset's Maiden Castle, in Far From The Madding Crowd, 1967scene. There's a chronological listing, a production history, a locations map, and full-page separate features covering a film, film-maker, or location of particular local interest.

Meryl Streep on the Lyme Regis Cobb
Meryl Streep on the Lyme Regis Cobb in west Dorset, with the Undercliff wood section of the Jurassic Coast visible in the background.

Peter O'Toole, Petula Clark, and the boys of Sherborne School in the 1969 Goodbye Mr Chips

Peter O'Toole, Petula Clark, and the boys of Sherborne School in the 1969 Goodbye Mr Chips, scripted by Terence Rattigan and filmed at Sherborne in north Dorset

Local-Literature Section  

This section of the website covers writers and works with a strong connection to the south-central region.

Latest feature page updated 8-9-14, a 2-part guide, Setting The Scene In Wessex: The Crime Novel & Drama.)

Thomas Hardy: Behind The Mask, by Poole-based biographer Dr Andrew Norman, is the latest [March 2011] Hardy biography, with new information about his carefully-guarded private life.

Thomas Hardy with his bicycle
Thomas Hardy with his bicycle: when the bicycle first became popular, allowing country folk to travel more easily, Hardy began to assist in the early promotion of Wessex as "Hardy Country," which would become the basis of regional tourism when the automobile arrived.

About Us
South Central MediaScene serves to promote the south-central region's media profile. It's an independent site [no funding etc], and not a business.
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For earlier blog entries, see links opposite.

Broadchurch DVD
West Bay in ITV's Broadchurch, almost the same beach seen in BBC's 1970s The Fall And Rise Of Reginald Perrin.

South Central MediaScene 2014

 Broadchurch Back Again - And Again
Broadchurch 2

The region's most popular screen drama in years (set and part-shot in W. Dorset), ITV's Broadchurch, is back on Jan 5th. Series 1 (see our blog item here) has been getting rerun on ITV's Encore channel, and Broadchurch 2, as it simply seems to be called, begins another ten-part (?) series then. There was some speculation it might be called Broadchurch 2: The End Is Where It Begins, in the manner of sequel titles (as in the recently announced Star Wars: The Force Awakens), since this was the Twitter hashtag shown on the teaser trailers. But this would imply closure of major storylines, and it seems that a "Broadchurch 3" may be in the works before Series 2 has even begun to air. (How the two washed-up cops pictured above are going to carry on has been kept a secret.) ITV is now denying Series 3 has actually been commissioned, but considering Series 1 was not set up as a pilot to be sequelled (with both main characters still alive but emotionally and professionally maimed), this would not be surprising.
Normally, it is the tendency of US television magnates to milk a franchise to death, and run a series into the ground artistically, rather than let it end naturally, but the US remake, called Gracepoint, made with the same writer-producer, co-director and co-star (Chris Chibnall, James Strong, David Tennant), which began on the Fox cable channel in the US in October, has in fact just been cancelled. Reportedly, ratings were not what was hoped for, even though the ending was made slightly different. This may be because Broadchurch S1 had already been shown on US TV, on BBC America, in the summer of 2013, and had been released on DVD and Blu-ray in the US in April 2014. Broadchurch S2 will still be shown on BBC America as soon as the UK run finishes, in March 2015. The 10x 44mins US series Gracepoint will itself now air on an ITV channel here in the UK as soon as the deal is inked (as the trade paper Variety would put it). Next year at this time, we may be looking at the hashtag

The On-Air Airshow
-Bournemouth Air Festival 2014 Media Review
Here at SCMS, we don't cover live events per se, but we cover the annual Bournemouth Air Festival as the region's biggest media event, meaning an event you can watch (live or replay) via media such as tv or video channels like YouTube. Our focus is thus always on the quality of the media access and presentation [read more].

Building Our Cultural Capital
A Midlands documentary filmmaker has achieved national media coverage with his project to overcome his hometown’s negative image. Could the Bournemouth conurbation help overcome its own image problem with a similar project, an inventory of its "cultural capital"? [read more].

South Central MediaScene 2013
@Connecting Up The DotComs
With the growth of electronics-company start-ups, ‘new media’ activity in the area is beginning to develop beyond ‘old’ media structures. Could the Bournemouth conurbation become Britain’s own ‘Silicon Beach’? [read on].
ITV Makes A Killing In Dorset
The big local-interest media event of the year so far has been ITV’s Broadchurch, filmed partly in Dorset, around West Bay and Bridport. ITV's answer to the hit Danish series The Killing, the just finished 8-week drama serial was meant as a one-off, the lead characters ending up dealt a cruel fate of the sort often found in a Thomas Hardy novel. (There are literary-reference clues in the drama to suggest this was no coincidence.) Nevertheless, a 2nd series has already been announced [read on].
Bournemouth AirShow 2013
The area's biggest media event, the 4-day airshow [29/8/13-1/9/13], still has no proper timetable freely available online (see our commentary on this from previous years), but Wave-FM is at least offering a live-feed online video channel, here. (Flying events are usually noon to 430 and evening displays 7.15pm.) The Echo also has a daily as-it-happens 'blog' page with Twitter updates, here and a 'schedule' with no specific timings (just the running order), here.
Update: The above links are of course now dead or out of date, but media coverage can be found on YouTube, here.
Jane Austen Bicentenary
The press is currently running many items on Jane Austen due to its being the 200th anniversary of her Pride And Prejudice, ranked in polls as 'the nation's favourite novel,' which was published this day [28th January] in 1813. We have more info on our Local-Literature homepage, plus a linked dedicated page on local-interest sites (literary locales and filming locations), just updated. [read more].
Setting The Scene In Wessex: The Crime Novel & Drama
Part Two of our 2-part guide to local-interest crime novels and film/tv dramas is now online. This had to be divided into two pages because in terms of sheer output, it is the biggest literary genre of all, with work ranging from novels about old-time smugglers through the Golden Age of the Detective Story, to the latest 'forensic' thrillers. Part One, covering up to 1945, is here, and Part Two, covering up to the present day, is here.

Ken Russell, 1927-2011: British Film's Wild Man In The Woods

The region’s most long-established filmmaker was Ken Russell, “the wild man of British cinema,” who lived in the New Forest and died shortly before Xmas. Ken often shot scenes for his films locally, regardless of where they were set, and as promised earlier in our obit-notice item, we’ve put together a feature web-page on his local links, some of which may surprise you.
[view feature page]

South Central MediaScene 2012

Bournemouth, Arts Town By The Sea?
Locally, the main media event this past month has been Bournemouth's Arts By The Sea Festival, which culminated this week with a focus on the Gothic side, which may have more topical relevance than just a Hallowe'en tie-in. [read more].
Big Sky Bournemouth 2012
This year, the town (and region)'s biggest annual media event, the Bournemouth Air Festival, looks to be more media-friendly [read more].

Crime Time
Last month, the popular press were running stories that crime has replaced romance as the nation's top literary genre. (Previously, to tie in with Valentine's Day, we covered the romance genre with a short-list piece as our last item, here. This press coverage was in the wake of Valentine's Day and National Storytelling Week, an annual national programme to get more people reading. The crime-v-romance genre-trends analysis was based on the royalties authors get from the library system (called Public Lending Right), thus indicating the most-borrowed books. This trend has been remarked upon before, said to be a sign of the times - the result of living in an anxious "post- 9/11" world beset by terrorist threat and economic uncertainty.
At present, we are approaching another official event to promote reading, World Book Night on Monday 23 April, a spinoff from UNESCO’s World Book Day. (While WBD is held elsewhere 23 April, the UK confusingly holds its WBD the first Thursday in March, to deliberately avoid the April date, which is Shakespeare’s birth and death date, and often coincides with Eastertime school hols; thus the UK’s WBD-spinoff event WBN is held on UNESCO’s original WBD date, 23 April.) In terms of local-interest events, there is a tie-in WBN event during the Bournemouth Festival of Words (21-27 April), and libraries around the region may be offering as their giveaway book a local-interest title (from the official WBN list of 25 titles, Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains Of The Day would seem to offer the most local-interest content).
Of course, one way to get people reading is to focus on local-interest examples, where readers (including future writers) can relate more easily to the setting, i.e. see better, through their own familiarity with the setting, how that particular type of novel or story works artistically. Though some works or writers are not well-known, locally we have plenty of examples from the most popular literary genre of all, in fact more than enough for a web-page in our ‘Setting The Scene In Wessex’ series. Thus we are putting up our guide to locally-set crime fiction and drama in several stages, with part one covering the early days of smuggling, Gothic and sensation novels, through the ‘Golden Age’ of detective fiction, up to WWII, here: Setting The Scene In Wessex: The Crime Novel & Drama, Part I

Romantic Fiction & Drama For Valentine's
Since the press as usual at this time of year have been running travel features etc to tie in with the Valentine’s Day weekend (and half-term week), it’s worth considering our own area as a romantic setting for fiction and drama. [read more].
Ken Russell 1927-2011
New Forest resident Ken Russell, the region’s most long-established filmmaker, who began his career with arts documentaries in the 1960s, died at Lymington shortly before the Xmas holidays. BBC2 has done a memorial documentary, A Bit Of A Devil, and BBC4 broadcast his films Women In Love and its sequel The Rainbow, while BBC3 aired his rarely-seen The Boy Friend. BBC4 also showed his (also rarely-seen) 1962 docu-drama Elgar, which changed how arts documentaries were made. The Rex Cinema in Wareham showed his 1977 Valentino, which was part-filmed in Bournemouth (Russell-Cotes Museum as the star's 1920s Hollywood home etc). Ken in fact often shot scenes for his films locally, regardless of where they were set, and rather than attempt another blog item here (we’ve done several previous items on him) as an obit, we’re currently putting together a dedicated web-page on the various local links in his life and work.

South Central MediaScene 2011

Local TV: LGTV or PSTV?:
Last week's 'LGTV' scandal suggests it is time to start our own coverage of the issue of our upcoming local tv/video channel. If you missed it, this is where Poole-based RNLI lifeguards at Sandbanks beach made a 9-minute video, uploaded it to YouTube, which promptly [Oct 28-30] got international media coverage of the sort the RNLI definitely did not want. Typical headlines were "RNLI Issues Apology For Lifeguard Video Featuring Homophobic Slurs, Hitler Impersonation" [Huffington Post], "Lifeguards simulate sex, impersonate Hitler on YouTube" [Telegraph], "Lifeguards in Hitler YouTube clip" [BBC News], "Fury over lifesavers' 'sex' and Hitler vid" [The Sun]. The stories noted the video also included jokey skits about people with ginger hair and practicing violence against women (punching them in the stomach and throwing them down the stairs). Our local Echo has "Poole lifeguards in hot water over video", with Commenting disabled in its online version of the story for reasons we can guess at. Our own interest here is how the video reflects a trend which is bound to impact on an upcoming local tv/video channel. [read more]

Back To The Local Front:
With the spreading phone hacking scandal leading to calls for more media ownership plurarity (i.e less of a monopoly), it may be worthwhile to take stock of our local media situation. [read more]

Interesting Times?
We seem to be living in what a rather sinister old political catchphrase refers to euphemistically as "interesting times," with political and economic crises looming, fighting in the streets against a growing police state, clamors for reform etc. The phrase could also be applied to the 17th century, an era historians sometimes refer to as the moment the modern British state was born. It was a time of shifting political alliances, popular leaders who rose to fame only to fall from grace, repressive laws, civic upheavals, the breakdown of law and order, the creation of a police state, clamors for reform etc. - only settled in the end through constitutional reform. It was certainly a time of lengthy debates about the nature of society and power, of conflicts which split apart family and friends. These debates and conflicts are naturally reflected in novels and dramas about the era, with key events as usual often playing out in Wessex, and this is the subject of our latest "setting the scene in Wessex" series.
Setting The Scene In Wessex: The 17th Century In Literature And Drama
Would You Believe Creative South-Central England?
The south-central region will again have no official recognition in the recent "Creative England" government consultation, but a new Writers Guild Of Great Britain initiative might be the start of something [read more]. [Updated 14-4-11]
World Book Day, Local Style
March 3rd/5th is World Book Day and Night, and the event with the most related press coverage concerns one of our many local-interest authors [read more].
That Was Never Ten Years, Was It?
- Dreamtown Days & Nights, Revisited:
Ten years ago, I wrote a blog-style series of online monthly columns headed 'Bournemouth In The Media' to help a local arts organisation establish more of an artistic 'scene'. With the original organisation website itself now history, I thought it might be of interest to re-post the collected columns to see what, if anything, has changed. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose? [read more]

2010 In Review:
A look back at some of the year's local-interest media developments.

For earlier blog entries, see:
South Central MediaScene 2011
South Central MediaScene 2010
South Central MediaScene 2009
South Central MediaScene 2008
South Central MediaScene 2007
South Central MediaScene 2006
South Central MediaScene 2005

Gemma Arterton in Tamara Drewe

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