BBC Tour

April 6, 2009 at 7:26 pm | Posted in General, Out and About, Tourism, Travel, UK, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Out at White City you’ll find not only a brand new(ish) shopping centre but the BBC Television Centre. For £9.50 (Adult) you can take a 1.5 – 2hr tour around the complex. Pre-bookings are essential as they won’t allow purchases on the day.

BBC Tour (4)

So the question is do you get enough bang for your buck? On the whole the answer is yes. Once you’ve met your group you’ll walk through security and past the news room for your first major introduction and background on the centre. Next up you’ll exit outside and it is revealed that the complex is in the shape of a giant question mark – the best shape apparently for the plot of land that also allowed speedy access to the studios.

BBC Tour (5)

Moving beyond you’ll see some of the studios and the wonders of green screen technology as it applies to the weather. Some of tour group had seemingly never encountered it as it was met with plenty of exclamations. Now it’s onto one of the dressing rooms and a mock studio for some group participation in front of the ‘cameras’.

BBC Tour (7)

Throughout the tour you’ll get snippets of backstage gossip and things like the excesses or not of various celebrity riders.

The guides we had were great fun, informative and very willing to answer questions. For example I asked who normally Twitters for the BBC’s various feeds. Apparently it’s normally a junior producer (who will also look after the other social web duties in addition to their other tasks). I believe their names were Jamie and Elizabeth (I hope!).

At the end of the tour you’ll get a chance to go to a BBC shop and buy some paraphenalia.

Overall it was a reasonable experience. The tour often references BBC shows (fair enough) and for those of you out there who have an emotional attachment will probably have an even better time!

Sky Player Rant

August 24, 2008 at 9:51 pm | Posted in General, Random, rant, Television, TV | Leave a comment
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Sky is currently advertising the benefits of its Sky Player, a downloadable piece of software that allows you to watch Sky programming without having a connection at home (with a small payment).

I wanted to be a good net citizen so rather than using alternate arrangements to watch a particular show I chose to go through all the steps and hoops in order to access the player. They were advertising the show on the main page so everything should be fine, right?

Not really, Sky Player is almost a front for a phishing scam. To download the player you have to provide a date of birth and place of birth. Then to access the payment system you have to answer the mandatory question of stating your mother’s maiden name.

While concerned about the ultimate fate of my data I provided this information because I wanted to do the right thing. I completed the steps and put some money onto my account. I clicked onto my preferred show only to be told that this program is restricted to Sky subscribers and specifically those with a particular Sky bolt-on package.

I rang them up and was told licensing restrictions meant some shows can only be streamed to certain Sky subscribers. As an aside if you do successfully pay for a program it will be streamed once; you can pay more for additional rental periods. You have to wonder what happens if there is a problem during the streaming.

I can appreciate that there will always be licensing issues but Sky should not be offering a service – promoting that you don’t need to be a subscriber – let alone a specific package if you can’t follow through. At the very least don’t prominently display shows with specific subscription requirements.

I’ve now deleted the player and I tried to cancel the account but there is no delete account function in the profile settings section.

In the end my efforts fell flat and Sky has more details about me than they really should. It’s a good thing that they’re a benevolent corporation right? Then again data security at Sky and it’s parent company can’t be any worse than the British government.  

I wonder if Hulu in the US is as bad?

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