TV Diary: This Morning

Tuesday 22nd October 2013 (10:30am), ITV

This Morning is a two hour daytime programme broadcast every weekday at 10:30am. The content of the show is quite varied, but is all tailored for the target audience. Daytime television is generally aimed at homemakers (women particularly) who have just dropped their children off at school and senior citizens. To appeal to this demographic the programme touches on issues that affect and interest them. An example from this episode is the interview with a headmistress who has banned parents smoking at school gates. Along with the topical items, there was a controversial cooking segment in which a guest on the show cooked road kill, a style piece with celebrity guests and news. At the very start of the show the presenters give a preview of the content coming up throughout the show to engage the viewers.

‘Liveness’ is something that is embraced by ‘This Morning’; there were two notable reminders of the unpredictable nature of live television. The first was right at the start of the show when one of the camera men dropped some change making a noise during the show’s introduction. The presenters, Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby handled the situation well using improvised jokes. The other instance was when Phillip had a coughing fit. This liveness engages the audience making them feel involved with show and the unfolding events.

The presenters also plea for audience participation via the hub. Viewers send their opinions to the show through social networks and the most interesting comments are read on the show. This is a common feature of live television shows. They use direct address throughout the show, which is another technique utilised by other programmes of a similar nature. The programme’s competition was mentioned before every advertisement break to entice the audience to enter for the chance to win prizes.

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TV Diary: Watch With Mother (Picture Book 1963)

Monday 15th April 1963 (aprox 3:45pm) BBC

‘Watch With Mother’ is a children’s programme which was broadcast on the BBC for over 21 years. This episode entitled ‘Picture Book’ was tailored for a pre-school audience. Vera McKechnie presented the 15 minute show, joined by a Sausage, a dachshund puppet shown to be on the front of the picture book in the title sequence.

The episode consists of a mixture of live action, animation and pictures. It is a simple, but effective format as McKechnie sits behind a table engaging the younger audience with craft activities and animated stories. As is often the case with children’s programmes the presenter uses direct address to grab the audience’s attention. An example of this is when Vera introduces the animated segment about a little girl who makes wishes, she says ‘Do you know what her name is?’. The series was intended to become a substitute of a nursemaid and be an example of ‘good mothering’. It was one of the first children’s programmes to be shown on the BBC alongside ‘Andy Pandy’ and ‘Flower Pot Men’.

The use of different techniques keeps its audience engaged and Vera McKechnie sets a moral precedent for mothers in the 1950s with her soft tone and queen’s English. In keeping with the BBC’s ethos to educate, inform and entertain, ‘Watch With Mother’ teaches viewers how to make paper lanterns, informs them about chicks and the consequences of being greedy as well as entertaining them with stories and animations.

I think as a pioneering children’s programme it did a terrific job considering the aesthetic restrictions at the time. It had to stick to mid shots or head shots due to the size of television sets, but this did not detract from the quality of the show. The transitions between each segment appeared to be seamless using McKechnie’s narration to continue the flow from each animation or puppet sequence and it held my attention throughout. Whilst still maintaining an underlying educational theme to the show.

One to watch: Sam Gainsborough

This summer whilst working with the BFI academy and the WEM town hall on a documentary about woolly mammoths, I had the pleasure of meeting Sam Gainsborough. A very talented young filmmaker who has recently graduated from Bournemouth university.

This is his new music video, take a look.

He also informed me that the animation academy I took part in last year is looking for the next round of aspiring filmmakers. If animation is something you’re interested in, I would highly recommend applying. It’s a great way to meet like minded people and develop your skills further.

bfi animation

TV Diary: Gadget Man (Series 2: Episode 6)

Gadget Man Series 2, Episode 6. Channel 4, Monday 7 October 2013, 20:30

Screen Shot 2013-10-09 at 21.49.29Richard Ayoade presents Gadget Man which looks at innovative gadgets from around the world. This episode focuses on tiny devices that can help utilise space better. All of these items were compared with appliances most of us have in our houses, the final challenge was fitting the contents of a home into a tiny box room.

As a lifestyle programme, it showcases cutting edge technologies available to simplify our lives. It captivates audiences with it’s entertaining dialogue between guests, fast paced editing and upbeat music. The prices and names of the gadgets appeared as graphics during the show, so as to not overload audiences with information in the voiceover (and avoid appearing similar to a teleshopping show). The camera would often show closeups of the items and their features as well as more generic cutaways. The close ups shots of Richard and his guest tend to have a short depth of field which makes the programme visually appealing.

Audiences are enticed by the vivid colours, light hearted narration, demonstrations and well known guests, Jimmy Carr in the case of this episode. Richard Ayoade makes the audience feel involved with the issue of wasting space in the home by using direct language, ie. ‘we can’ and ‘solve your problems’. He also uses slang to attract younger audiences.

Screen Shot 2013-10-09 at 21.51.21

The programme’s aim is to encourage viewers to feel amazed by the products and perhaps try some of them out for themselves. I think it does this very effectively, after watching this I would happily buy a microwavable espresso maker whether I need one or not.

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