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'Racing Legends' - BBC2 - starting 27th December


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#251 f1steveuk

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 11:08

Ot I know, but, as someone whose whole career has been either motor racing (driver, engineer/mechanic, curator, demonstrator, builder or researcher), or television, (writer, researcher, presenter, interviewer, editor, producer or director), while also writing books as a paid hobby, I can say with a degree of certainty, you can have the best idea, the best pitch, the right faces, even the full budget, but you will still have to get past "people". People with their own agendas, with no understanding of the subject, no knowledge of the subject, no interest in the subject, but people who have managed to get in a position, that if they say so, you get no further. Either out of ignorance, on pressure from above, pressure to succeed, or even just on a whim because they have having a bad day.


Sometimes it's down to luck!!

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#252 Vitesse2

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 11:51

Mostly agree, though I found the repeated graphic device of a rocketing Rocket in the first episode a bit tedious - and he did suggest Gresley's A4 was shaped by the Italian Bugatti sports car ...

Just checked back on iPlayer and what he actually said was "Gresley was very influenced in his designs by the Italian Bugatti". Sports cars were not mentioned and what Dan was trying to refer to was the Bugatti railcars - although he didn't make that clear. I did make the connection after a moment's thought, but it wasn't very well put! See here:

The wedge-shaped streamlining on the A4 was inspired by a Bugatti rail-car which Gresley had observed in France.

http://www.lner.info/locos/A/a4.shtml

http://www.bugatti-t...ti-trains.shtml

And Ettore Bugatti was only French by dint of naturalization, in which respect he was just as French as Tony Lago and Amédée Gordini ... ;)

#253 Allan Lupton

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 12:08

Nice to see that one of our younger members approves of Dan Snow as we are often told that the Tigger approach is what the young like.
I channel-chopped past something last night where a truly hyper-Tiggerish young woman was trying to explain how a gas turbine worked. I found it impossible to follow, even knowing what it was that she was trying to explain - not least because she did not deign to use established nomenclature for some of the parts but used the waved-arms system instead.

Whilst I'm tryping, the normal device credited as inspiration for the Gresley A4 shape is of course Bugatti's railcar (well-known as a good use for several Royale engines!).

ETA should trype faster!

Edited by Allan Lupton, 01 February 2013 - 12:09.


#254 mfd

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 12:25

Just checked back on iPlayer and what he actually said was "Gresley was very influenced in his designs by the Italian Bugatti". Sports cars were not mentioned and what Dan was trying to refer to was the Bugatti railcars - although he didn't make that clear. I did make the connection after a moment's thought, but it wasn't very well put! See here:


A few additional words would have helped. I'm chuffed they showed the Stoke bank piece as that very stretch of track runs by & in sight less than half a mile away :up:

#255 kayemod

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 12:41

Nice to see that one of our younger members approves of Dan Snow as we are often told that the Tigger approach is what the young like.
I channel-chopped past something last night where a truly hyper-Tiggerish young woman was trying to explain how a gas turbine worked. I found it impossible to follow, even knowing what it was that she was trying to explain - not least because she did not deign to use established nomenclature for some of the parts but used the waved-arms system instead.


Bluepeterisation.


#256 D-Type

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 13:29

As an engineer 'of certain age', I have encountered various forms of communication. I worked with an [excellent] engineer who was extremely difficult to understand in conversation, but his written work was some of the clearest and most logically written I have come across.

The ability to explain complex subjects in a way that a layman can understand is a real skill. It can be taught, but some people do it naturally. It is not the same as 'dumbing it down'.

Sometimes it is possible to follow something technically complex that's written but impossible to understand the same thing if it is read out or spoken. This is the problem with a lot of TV presenters - they fail to deliver what has been written clearly (but in many cases that is the fault of the script writer).



#257 f1steveuk

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 14:02

As an engineer 'of certain age', I have encountered various forms of communication. I worked with an [excellent] engineer who was extremely difficult to understand in conversation, but his written work was some of the clearest and most logically written I have come across.

The ability to explain complex subjects in a way that a layman can understand is a real skill. It can be taught, but some people do it naturally. It is not the same as 'dumbing it down'.

Sometimes it is possible to follow something technically complex that's written but impossible to understand the same thing if it is read out or spoken. This is the problem with a lot of TV presenters - they fail to deliver what has been written clearly (but in many cases that is the fault of the script writer).


Sort of agree, sort of disagree. I always wrote documentary scripts with Ray Baxter's voice in my head. His voice had gravitas, trouble is, I only got to work with him a few times. I wrote a script about a quite complex suspension system, and when I read it to my other half, she grasped the whole concept. For the programme, it was narrated by a "face of the moment". He had no knowledge of the subject, and no enthusiasm for it either. He read the script in the voice over booth, and no one could grasp it, it was all lost in the delivery, he could have been describing anything. Maybe if I had known who I was writing for, but I doubt it. On the other hand (and not blowing my own trumpet) but I have worked to camera, explaining complex car systems, and never had a problem, because I understand them, and I am interested. The delivery, and the deliverer, can make a big difference, although as you say, so can a good script!!

#258 ensign14

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 14:15

Nice to see that one of our younger members approves of Dan Snow as we are often told that the Tigger approach is what the young like.

In Dan Snow's case, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. :)

#259 kayemod

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 14:23

In Dan Snow's case, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. :)


True, he's obviously paying arm-waving homage to his dad's notorious swingometer.


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#260 Odseybod

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 14:24

Just checked back on iPlayer and what he actually said was "Gresley was very influenced in his designs by the Italian Bugatti". Sports cars were not mentioned and what Dan was trying to refer to was the Bugatti railcars - although he didn't make that clear. I did make the connection after a moment's thought, but it wasn't very well put! See here:

http://www.lner.info/locos/A/a4.shtml

http://www.bugatti-t...ti-trains.shtml

And Ettore Bugatti was only French by dint of naturalization, in which respect he was just as French as Tony Lago and Amédée Gordini ...;)


I imagine that the majority of casual viewers the programme's presumably intended to reach (sorry, "be accessible to") would automatically think 'sleek blue car' (as echoed by the loco in the background) rather than le patron on hearing the Bugatti name, if they made any association at all - the idea that they also 'made trains' (not to mention furniture) would be a leap too far for most.

Of course, Molsheim is in a complicated location but I don't think the Italians ever laid claim to it, so I think it's a more case of careless script writing/no need to check facts 'cos it obviously sounds an Italian name, rather than actually delving into origins ...


#261 E.B.

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 15:00

Just for the sake of balance, as a bit of a railway nut as well as motorsport, I enjoyed the Dan Snow programmes on the history of Britain's railways and don't find him annoying at all. I'd rather watch someone with obvious enthusiasm than a better-qualified "stuffed shirt" who speaks with a drab monotonous voice.


What's your view on Pete Waterman? I was initially dismissive, but have changed my mind - the obvious enthusiasm and love for trains is there, as well as a surprising amount of knowledge (I hadn't realised his involvement was so deep). Doubtless he is only chosen to feature on such programmes because of his fame in another field though.


#262 Doug Nye

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 15:23

I quite enjoy watching and listening to both Messrs Waterman and Snow.

Steve is spot on in his evaluation of TV-world commissioning editors - in my limited experience a commonly ignorant, self-serving, crowd-following, empire-building, duplicitous and lying bunch of untrustworthy idea thieves...with one or two very rare, and itinerant, exceptions...

A Fan - can you tell?

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#263 Tony Matthews

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 15:47

Doubtless he is only chosen to feature on such programmes because of his fame in another field though.

Not only, I think. Obviously it helps that his name is well known, but not as a producer of pop records, I would have thought, to rail buffs. His enthusiasm for steam is immense and he owns several locomotives.

#264 RS2000

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 16:25

I'd never really thought much either way about Waterman until his TV programme bebunking the myth, still widely held in his native Coventry, that the city was deliberately sacrificed to the Luftwaffe to protect intelligence sources or provide propaganda. Going against the flow in that way took guts. (although we could no doubt deploy the argument that a lesser known person would never have been allowed to malke the programme in the first place...)

Edited by RS2000, 01 February 2013 - 16:26.


#265 Allan Lupton

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 16:35

The ability to explain complex subjects in a way that a layman can understand is a real skill. It can be taught, but some people do it naturally. It is not the same as 'dumbing it down'.

Yes and recognising who can do that is the art. At work in the 1980s we had the late Bob Grigg as Type Designer of our aeroplane and we found that he could present our way of doing something to our airline customers so well that not only did they understand what we did, but they couldn't understand why anyone had ever done it differently! What's more Bob could talk learnédly about any aspect of the aeroplane, whether it was his area of expertise or not, because he had the ability to understand what the specialists told him.


Of course, Molsheim is in a complicated location but I don't think the Italians ever laid claim to it,

Yes quite, and as one who had a pair of great grandparents who lived in Straßburg I am still inclined to think of Elsaß as German, even 94 years after said relatives were thrown out by the French!
ETA the wine and beer are still more German than French in character.

Edited by Allan Lupton, 01 February 2013 - 16:38.


#266 Vitesse2

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 18:17

I'd never really thought much either way about Waterman until his TV programme bebunking the myth, still widely held in his native Coventry, that the city was deliberately sacrificed to the Luftwaffe to protect intelligence sources or provide propaganda. Going against the flow in that way took guts. (although we could no doubt deploy the argument that a lesser known person would never have been allowed to malke the programme in the first place...)

Never saw that - something regional? - but the myth was propagated by three books in the 70s and although it was debunked as early as 1979 the conspiracy theory was never going to go away. Good overview of all the research here:

http://www.winstonch...t-coventry-burn

More readable version: http://www.historicc...blitz/myths.php

Edited by Vitesse2, 01 February 2013 - 18:49.


#267 cpbell

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 18:23

Could I possibly ask those who despise the style of "Snow the Younger" what their opinion of the late Fred Dibnah was? In latter years, he was less animated, but, if you watch his early appearances, he was quite animated, yet became a well-loved expert who could explain engineering to the masses.

#268 ensign14

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 18:25

The ability to explain complex subjects in a way that a layman can understand is a real skill. It can be taught, but some people do it naturally. It is not the same as 'dumbing it down'.

QED.

(actually, Horizon)

#269 kayemod

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 18:27

I quite enjoy watching and listening to both Messrs Waterman and Snow.


I'm with you on the first one at least Doug, Pete Waterman is a really good bloke, and very knowledgeable on all kinds of things. I was a frequent visitor to a now defunct West Country manufacturer of model steam engines and locos, they had a boating lake and outdoor rail track at the side of their factory. I met Pete there several times at their events, as there was hardly anyone under 50 present, none of us knew who he was, until Claire the young secretary pointed him out.


#270 Tim Murray

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 18:39

Never saw that - something regional?

Yes indeed - shown in the BBC's regional Inside Out series in October 2009:

http://www.coventryt...92746-24894144/

#271 Vitesse2

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 18:55

Yes indeed - shown in the BBC's regional Inside Out series in October 2009:

http://www.coventryt...92746-24894144/

Thanks, Tim. Interesting to note this:

The myth Coventry people grew up with then was that the city would never be bombed because it was in a hollow and the foggy weather would protect it, but they were wrong.

I've heard the same said about Bath - that was wrong too.

Not that it makes any sense anyway.

#272 Vitesse2

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 19:03

Al Murray is a very clever guy, Oxford history grad, and in real life couldn't be further away from the Pub Landlord character. His 'Road to Berlin' series on WWII is also very much worth watching (he's a WWII military history nut).

Indeed - and I notice it's going out again from today on History Channel: ten-part series, two episodes a day over the next five days.

#273 kayemod

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 19:46

Could I possibly ask those who despise the style of "Snow the Younger" what their opinion of the late Fred Dibnah was? In latter years, he was less animated, but, if you watch his early appearances, he was quite animated, yet became a well-loved expert who could explain engineering to the masses.


I really liked Fred, I think most of us did, he was just an ordinary northern bloke being himself, I'm sure he never went through any media or presentation training, and if you've read his biography, I think we can be certain about that. A deep knowledge and love of his subjects, what more could we ask? The think I dislike about many presenters, Dan Snow is a good example but not the worst, is that they seem to have been trained in over dramatic presentation and over emphasis in their speech patterns, I'm sure they don't behave like that normally. I rather think we're back to Doug's description of the BBC (and others) mentality and ideas on what 'the viewers' want. They may be right in some cases, but I'm sure a lot of us feel the same about the products of what seems to be some kind of modern 'TV presenters school'.


#274 ryan86

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 19:56

Indeed - and I notice it's going out again from today on History Channel: ten-part series, two episodes a day over the next five days.


Talking of channels with adverts, one of my pet hates is documentaries that are specifically made for these stations and who every 10 minutes try and finish with some sort of cliffhanger and then spent the first minute back from the break recapping the previous part of the documentary.

#275 h4887

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 20:44

Talking of channels with adverts, one of my pet hates is documentaries that are specifically made for these stations and who every 10 minutes try and finish with some sort of cliffhanger and then spent the first minute back from the break recapping the previous part of the documentary.


You are clearly one of those with an attention span of more than three minutes! :wave:

#276 Tony Matthews

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 00:08

Could I possibly ask those who despise the style of "Snow the Younger" what their opinion of the late Fred Dibnah was?

The rail series is not about Dan Snow. The Fred Dibnah series was about Fred.

#277 Peter Morley

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 00:22

Could I possibly ask those who despise the style of "Snow the Younger" what their opinion of the late Fred Dibnah was? In latter years, he was less animated, but, if you watch his early appearances, he was quite animated, yet became a well-loved expert who could explain engineering to the masses.


I don't despise Snow the Younger, I have enjoyed some of his previous programmes but I disliked this train programme.
I did like Fred Dibnah's programmes and enjoyed seeing him in real life when I was studying in Manchester.
Recently I've thought that Guy Martin seems to be doing a good job of filling Fred's tv shoes.

#278 AAGR

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 08:03

I quite enjoy watching and listening to both Messrs Waterman and Snow.

Steve is spot on in his evaluation of TV-world commissioning editors - in my limited experience a commonly ignorant, self-serving, crowd-following, empire-building, duplicitous and lying bunch of untrustworthy idea thieves...with one or two very rare, and itinerant, exceptions...

A Fan - can you tell?

DCN


And I thought it was only me who thought that ....

AAGR

#279 LittleChris

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 22:18

Recently I've thought that Guy Martin seems to be doing a good job of filling Fred's tv shoes.


Blimey
I didn't realise that Fred had taken on the Irish National road races let alone the IOMTT !!

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#280 cpbell

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 23:03

The rail series is not about Dan Snow. The Fred Dibnah series was about Fred.


Hmm, the original one was, but not his subsequent work. Then again, in response to kayemod, I see the point, though I suspect, as Dan's style is similar to, though less frenetic than, his fathers, maybe he isn't a product of that way of training presenters?

#281 Tony Matthews

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 01:31

Oh, I'm sure that has a lot to do with it. There is a similarity, not surprisingly, between the Snows, but the fact that the same infuriating (to me) presentation style appears over and over means that it is a formula devised by the production staff. It is the same infantile approach that ensures that any successful programme spawns numerous clones. Fine if you like antiques, cooking, moving to Australia, and quizes.

#282 Gary C

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 03:05

Blimey Tony, you've just described the WHOLE of the Discovery Channel's output!!

#283 Peter Morley

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 17:17

Blimey
I didn't realise that Fred had taken on the Irish National road races let alone the IOMTT !!


In case you weren't aware! Guy has recently presented a couple of series on industrial history.

But Fred's activities in Ireland and other places weren't entirely without peril either.

#284 Doug Nye

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 20:07

And I thought it was only me who thought that ....

AAGR



Thank you Graham. I thought it was only me...

DCN

#285 Alan Cox

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 22:22

I channel-chopped past something last night where a truly hyper-Tiggerish young woman was trying to explain how a gas turbine worked. I found it impossible to follow, even knowing what it was that she was trying to explain - not least because she did not deign to use established nomenclature for some of the parts but used the waved-arms system instead.

I think you are describing the BBC series "The Genius of Invention", Allan, with a presenter called Dr Cassie Newland who I, too, found impossible to follow. I understand that she is an industrial archaeologist but just because you are a PhD, and are reasonably pleasing to the eye, doesn't mean you are any good as a TV pundit.

#286 Vitesse2

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 22:48

I think you are describing the BBC series "The Genius of Invention", Allan, with a presenter called Dr Cassie Newland who I, too, found impossible to follow. I understand that she is an industrial archaeologist but just because you are a PhD, and are reasonably pleasing to the eye, doesn't mean you are any good as a TV pundit.

I have to say that in the second programme I found myself wishing that she might fall off the back of the Benz and be sliced in half by the flywheel. :p

#287 Tony Matthews

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 23:25

Ah, yes, the attractive bird who I only saw in the trailer for the programme. I didn't realise she isn't an engineer, but I was certainly put off watching the programme by her daft, brief gobldygook about the gas turbine. She made it sound likea perpetual motion machine. "It drives itself!" I think...

And while I'm here, what about "A Night with the Stars"? Proff. Cox again, this time with an audience of every comic in the UK, as far as I could see in the 20 seconds of my life that I wasted on it. Jonathan 'Unpleasant' Ross - "Is that a kilogram? I don't even know what a kilogram IS!" Well, that's helpful. A lot of giggling seemed the only purpose of the show.

#288 Allan Lupton

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 08:47

Ah, yes, the attractive bird who I only saw in the trailer for the programme. I didn't realise she isn't an engineer, but I was certainly put off watching the programme by her daft, brief gobldygook about the gas turbine. She made it sound likea perpetual motion machine. "It drives itself!" I think...

Yes that's the one! She even used the "suck-squeeze-bang-blow" expression which is the piston engine's Otto cycle not the continuous cycle of a gas turbine, and seemed mesmerised by the idea that a combustion temperature could be expressed as a proportion of that of the surface of the sun - as if that helped anyone to understand.
I couldn't see if she was attractive or not (and why is that important in a technical programme?) as she seemed to have voluminous clothing that accentuated the arm-waving.

#289 ensign14

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 09:19

attractive bird



She even used the "suck-squeeze-bang-blow"

When is this programme on then? (Out of scholarly interest.)

#290 Allan Lupton

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 09:48

When is this programme on then? (Out of scholarly interest.)

Last week, but it's on BBC iplayer - the horrible tour of the jet engine begins around 46 minutes in.

#291 f1steveuk

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 12:27

The trailer was more than enough to convince me not to bother.

#292 mfd

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 12:54

The trailer was more than enough to convince me not to bother.

I wonder, somewhat cynically, if the presenters go through the same hoops to get on, as you, Steve mentioned to get a programme made?

Edited by mfd, 04 February 2013 - 12:54.


#293 chdphd

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 13:13

I gave it about 5 minutes. It was like something knocked up by a random University's visual communications department, not the BBC.

#294 Tony Matthews

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 19:24

the attractive bird



"suck-squeeze-bang-blow"



When is this programme on then? (Out of scholarly interest.)


Last week, but it's on BBC iplayer - the horrible tour of the jet engine begins around 46 minutes in.


Allan, I think Ensign was being smutty.


#295 kayemod

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 19:35

Allan, I think Ensign was being smutty.


He's from Birmingham you know...


#296 mfd

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 19:41

He's from Birmingham you know...

Shouldn't that be sooty then?

#297 kayemod

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 21:32

Shouldn't that be sooty then?


Ooh, I love it when you talk dirty!


#298 Stephen W

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 09:29

Allan, I think Ensign was being smutty.



He's from Birmingham you know...



Shouldn't that be sooty then?


Surely if soot is involved he should be Sweep?

#299 LotusElise

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 11:37

"Industrial archaeology" is a weird field. There are quite a lot of "industrial archaeologists" floating around who are neither trained archaeologists, nor people from an engineering/building/technology background. Mostly, they seem to have come from Modern History or Heritage Studies, which is a strange hybrid subject dominated by theory and legal stuff anyway.

Sadly, being able to impress various funding bodies with theoretical bolleaux seems to be the main skill required for this sort of thing, rather than actually having decent ideas or knowing what you are actually doing. The people who end up as mouthpieces are the ones who haven't had to work to support themselves and consequently have lots of time for BS and bum-licking.

Can you tell I'm trying to get out of academia at the moment?

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#300 kayemod

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 11:59

She was mentioned earlier in this thread, and it seems that our views on the ways of the BBC and others have a supporter in the blessed Delia.

http://www.telegraph...-programme.html