Saturday 13 December 2008

New BBC Radio homepage

This week we launched a brand new homepage for BBC Radio on the web. Apart from looking pretty good in the new wide template, and giving quick access to the full radio offer - national, nations, local and world service - the main reason to celebrate is that it manages to expose so much more of our content than the previous version, and almost totally in an automated feed-driven manner.

The top half of the page is driven by data feeds from /programmes, which provides "now on air" information including a short description of the current and upcoming programme (more here). We also allow users to access lists of programmes by music genre, speech genre, or alphabetically, all via /programmes. Then we have some space for some editorially chosen links to key programmes or events.

Lower down we've pulled together feeds of latest published podcasts from across our national radio networks, then most recent blog posts, and lastly a marketing driven "recommended" iPlayer feed pulled in from the main iplayer site.

None of this is rocket science or particularly innovative, but it's a nice development which is updated 24x7 by existing data feeds. Thanks to DUK for design work, and a great team including Sarah Dain, Richard Moreland and Paul Duncan for getting it live so quickly.

Any comments or thoughts on it appreciated.

Saturday 6 December 2008

TV of 2008

Lots of good things this year. Here's what mostly got me setting the PVR:

1. Entourage
Probably the funniest US import on TV, with proper characters, proper stories and proper laughs. Ari Gold is a genius invention.

2. Mad Men
Excellent period ('60's) drama with nice dark elements. Try and keep up with their drinking!

3. Little Dorrit
The BBC doing what the BBC does well.

4. Spooks
The most recent 7th series has been a real step up. They pack a huge amount into 60 minutes. Characters you love get killed. Inconceivable that this kind of drama would have been made 10 years ago. Topical, tense and of course completely unrealistic.

5. Heroes
Can anyone actually follow the story lines in series 3? Still good, but needs to be a little more, err, understandable.

6. Later with Jools
Let's not forget that 2008 saw the new live 30 minute format. It works a treat and leaves you wanting more, which is not always true of the full 60 minute version.

7. Never Mind The Buzzcocks
OMG. The funniest thing on TV made in the UK. Simon Amstell, I salute you: you have given me more TV laughs in 08 than anything else.

What have I missed?