Tag Archives: BBC

Gardener sends photo of ‘weed’ to BBC show – which turns out to be cannabis

Patricia Hewitson

Presenters of Radio Devon’s The Potting Shed identify 5ft bush with a ‘sickly sweet pong’, but police decide not to take action

After our earlier report that a US reporter quit live on air to front a pro-cannabis campaign, news reaches Monkey of another incident involving the green weed.

Continue reading Gardener sends photo of ‘weed’ to BBC show – which turns out to be cannabis

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Royal princess named Charlotte Elizabeth Diana

The princess

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have named their daughter Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, Kensington Palace has said.

The fourth in line to the throne will be known as Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte of Cambridge.

There had been speculation that the couple would include the name of Diana in honour of Prince William’s mother.

Charlotte was born on Saturday in the Lindo Wing of London’s St Mary’s Hospital.

The BBC’s royal correspondent Peter Hunt said the Queen and other senior royals were told of the baby’s name before the announcement was made public.

He said that a Kensington Palace official, when asked about the couple’s choice, said: “We’ll let the names speak for themselves.”

Top Gears: Jeremy Clarkson goes on a night-time bike ride after BBC axe

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Jeremy Clarkson wrote that “cycling used to be how you got about when you were poor…now, though, it has evolved into something more. It’s gone beyond a way of life and become a political statement. A movement.”

Whether Clarkson – is now either poor, making a political statement or joining a new movement (of the “disgraced former BBC presenters”), we cannot yet tell, but he decided to make his first appearance since his Top Gear departure on two wheels rather than four.

Earlier on Wednesday, the BBC announced that Clarkson’s contract with Top Gear would not be renewed after an internal investigation by the broadcaster found that he had launched an “unprovoked physical and verbal attack” that left Oisin Tymon, one of the show’s producers, in hospital.

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Jeremy Clarkson wrote that “cycling used to be how you got about when you were poor…now, though, it has evolved into something more. It’s gone beyond a way of life and become a political statement. A movement.”

Whether Clarkson – is now either poor, making a political statement or joining a new movement (of the “disgraced former BBC presenters”), we cannot yet tell, but he decided to make his first appearance since his Top Gear departure on two wheels rather than four.

Earlier on Wednesday, the BBC announced that Clarkson’s contract with Top Gear would not be renewed after an internal investigation by the broadcaster found that he had launched an “unprovoked physical and verbal attack” that left Oisin Tymon, one of the show’s producers, in hospital.

The motoring aficionado emerged from his flat in west London on Wednesday evening to a sea of reporters clamouring for a statement.

When asked about his firing, he simply said: “I’m off out. Sorry.”

Regarding the decision, BBC director general Tony Hall said: “For me a line has been crossed. There cannot be one rule for one and one rule for another dictated by either rank, or public relations and commercial considerations.”

However, it may not be the end of Clarkson’s relationship with the BBC. The corporation’s creative director Alan Yentob said he would not rule out the Top Gear guru making a return.

“Of course I wouldn’t rule that out, but that’s not for now,” he said.

Mr Yentob confirmed that Clarkson would continue to be employed until his contract expires at the end of the month. He urged James May and Richard Hammond – both of whom have expressed doubts about continuing without Clarkson – to continue to work on Top Gear.

BBC suspends ‘Top Gear’ host Jeremy Clarkson and pulls the show from the air

Top Gear Epic Road Trip
Clarkson, right, with “Top Gear” cohost Richard Hammond.

Controversial “Top Gear” host Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended by the BBC following a “fracas with a producer,” the network said.

The BBC announced that Clarkson’s highly popular car show “Top Gear” has been pulled from the network’s lineup and will not air this Sunday.

Clarkson, who is also a highly paid newspaper columnist, has been reprimanded on several occasions by the BBC for his controversial statements. This latest incident is not the first dustup in Clarkson’s illustrious career.

In 2003, the “Top Gear” host famously threw a glass of water at and threatened then Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan with physical harm on board the last flight of the Concorde after the newspaper published photos that showed Clarkson embracing a woman who was not his wife.

A year later, at the British Press Awards, Clarkson and archnemesis Morgan confronted each other once again. This time punches were thrown, with Clarkson swinging at and hitting Morgan in the temple.

Both Clarkson and Morgan would later confirm that the “Top Gear” host broke his finger in the fracas.

In 2014, Clarkson found himself and his show mired in controversy after outtakes from an episode of “Top Gear” showed him using racially insensitive language. Clarkson was reprimanded last year by British government media regulators Ofcom for using another racially insensitive term to describe a person of South Asian origin in an episode of the show.

According to BBC News, Clarkson had been given a “final warning” after his controversial comments in 2014. The network had reportedly threatened to fire the host if there were any further incidents.

“Top Gear,” in its present format, has been on the air since 2002 with the trio of Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May at the helm. The show is in the middle of its 22nd season, with three episodes yet to air.

Over the past decade, “Top Gear” has become a global media phenomenon with 350 million viewers worldwide, and has spawned local spinoffs in Australia, South Korea, Russia, and the US. In total, the “Top Gear” brand is valued at an estimated $1.5 billion.

Here is the BBC’s complete statement:

Following a fracas with a BBC producer, Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended pending an investigation. No one else has been suspended. Top Gear will not be broadcast this Sunday. The BBC will be making no further comment at this time.

Jeremy Clarkson suspended after ‘punching Top Gear producer in row over catering’

clarkson and tymon

Jeremy Clarkson’s suspension from Top Gear followed claims he punched a producer in a row over catering while filming on location in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Clarkson, 54, is reported to have hit Oisin Tymon, 36, after being told no dinner had been laid on for the presenters after they finished filming for the BBC2 show one evening last week.

jeremy_clarkson

The incident was only reported to the Corporation on Monday, resulting in Clarkson’s suspension on Tuesday morning, a decision that was taken with the blessing of Lord Hall, the BBC director-general.

The remaining three episodes of the current series have been pulled from the schedules and the BBC refuses to discuss whether it will ever return.

Jeremy Clarkson has made light of the incident, saying he is waiting for the fuss to blow over

Although the BBC owns the rights to Top Gear, Sky has made repeated attempts to lure Clarkson and his co-presenters James May and Richard Hammond to the channel to make a new motoring show, and there is speculation Clarkson may now decide the time is right to move on.

A source told The Sun: “Jeremy had a massive bust-up with one of the male show producers and he ended up smacking him in the face. Everyone was absolutely stunned.

“It was all over a catering issue. Jeremy just saw red and hit the assistant producer, who he blamed for not having organised the food.”

The Daily Mirror quoted a source saying: “They came to the end of filming after a long day and Jeremy discovered that no food had been laid on. He just saw red and hit the assistant producer, who he blamed for not having organised the food. He snapped.”

A source close to Clarkson insisted he was innocent and that “he didn’t punch anyone”.

Filming for this Sunday’s episode, which should have taken place on Wednesday, was cancelled and no more episodes will be broadcast while an investigation is being carried out.

If the complaint against Clarkson is upheld, the BBC will have little choice but to sack him, as it was made clear to him last year that he was on a final warning after a racism row after claims that he used the n-word during filming.

It was just one among many racist and xenophobic comments over the years, and critics had complained that Clarkson was being given special treatment by the BBC because of the immense profitability of Top Gear, which is sold to 214 territories and is the most popular factual television programme in the world.

Oisin Tymon has been with Top Gear for a decade

A BBC spokeswoman said: “Following a fracas with a BBC producer, Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended pending an investigation.

“No one else has been suspended. Top Gear will not be broadcast this Sunday. The BBC will be making no further comment at this time.”

Clarkson refused to comment on the incident as he arrived at his London home on Tuesday night, but later made light of the incident in a Twitter exchange with his co-presenters James May and Richard Hammond.

Meanwhile Clarkson’s daughter Emily joked that she needed the BBC to give him his job back because he had started cooking.

The BBC is understood to have banned all staff from talking about the incident which, unlike Clarkson’s previous gaffes, involves another member of staff and could result in a grievance procedure.

Although the BBC owns the format of Top Gear after buying the rights in 2012 from Clarkson and his executive producer Andy Wilman, Clarkson is the undoubted star and it is unclear whether Hammond and May would carry on without him if he were to be sacked.

Within minutes of news of his suspension breaking, fans of Clarkson had started an online petition to have him reinstated. More than 130,000 people have so far signed the petition.

This Sunday’s episode of Top Gear should have featured Gary Linkeker as the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car, but Lineker and the studio audience with tickets for filming at Top Gear’s base at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey were told yesterday they would not be needed.

Clarkson has been a fixture on Top Gear since 1988, but it was following the BBC’s decision to relaunch the show in 2002, in a brash new format with Clarkson as the only presenter to survive the reboot, that he transformed himself into a worldwide star.

But controversy has never been far away. Last year alone, he was forced to apologise after mumbling the n-word as he recited a nursery rhyme during filming; he was found to have breached Ofcom guidelines after referring to an Asian man as a “slope”, and caused a riot in Argentina by driving a Porsche with a number-plate that appeared to refer to the Falklands War.

Clarkson had to flee Argentina after driving this car through Patagonia

He said last year: “I’ve been told by the BBC that if I make one more offensive remark, anywhere, at any time, I will be sacked. And even the angel Gabriel would struggle to survive with that hanging over his head.”

Lord Hall, the BBC director-general, was said to have intervened to save Clarkson after the n-word row, but Danny Cohen, the BBC’s head of television, has previously insisted Clarkson was not too valuable to sack, claiming:

“It’s like football clubs: no one is bigger than the club. There’s no one show or person that’s bigger than the BBC, and that’s made clear to anyone who works there.”

As recently as last month Clarkson had a verbal spat with Michael Dugher, the shadow transport minister, who had said he did not like Top Gear. Clarkson replied: “Good. We don’t make it for people who wear pink ties.”

Jeremy Clarkson’s gaffes

July 2008: Drink-driving
BBC bosses told Clarkson off for supping a gin and tonic while behind the wheel of a pick-up truck
November 2008: Lorry drivers
With reference to Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper, Clarkson joked on the show about how lorry drivers “murder prostitutes”
February 2009: Gordon Brown
The then prime minister was dismissed as a “one-eyed Scottish idiot” during a press conference in Australia.
October 2009: Black Muslim Lesbians
Clarkson said that the BBC was obsessed with hiring black, Muslim lesbians to counter the number of white heterosexuals in its ranks.
July 2010: Burkas and lingerie
During a Top Gear discussion on distractions while driving: “Honestly, the burka doesn’t work. I was in a cab in Piccadilly the other day when a woman in a full burka crossing the road in front of me tripped over the pavement, went head over heels and up it came, red g-string and stockings.”
August 2010: Special needs
Clarkson referred to a Ferrari as ‘special needs’ and a ‘simpleton’ as a way of giving it a bad review.
February 2011: Mexico
Clarkson sparked a diplomatic incident, and was forced to apologise to the Mexican ambassador
January 2012: India
Viewers complained about Clarkson’s provocative remarks concerning the country’s clothing, trains, food and history.
May 2014: The ‘N’-word
Clarkson was forced into a apology after appearing to mumble the word as he sang a nursery rhyme on Top Gear.
July 2014: Slope
Ofcom said he had breached their guidelines, when he referred to an Asian person as a ‘slope’,
October 2014: Falklands
Jeremy Clarkson caused offence this time by driving through Argentina using a number plate apparently referring to the Falklands War.

Google workers lived for months at California campus

Matthew Weaver

An ex-Google worker has revealed how he lived at the firm’s campus in Mountain View, California, for 54 weeks between 2005 and 2006, kicking off a trend.

Matthew Weaver told the BBC that he had been dared to spend a year based out of a campervan parked on one of the company’s lots.

He added that while he believed he was the first to do so, several others later followed his lead.

Google and other major tech firms are renowned for the perks they give staff.

“They had three meals a day at the cafeteria and there were showers at the gym that were also on campus, so I would shower at the gym, eat at the office,” Mr Weaver recalled.

Matthew WeaverMr Weaver did not try to hide his presence from Google’s security guards

“There was a free laundromat on campus, so I could wash my clothes.

“There were all sorts of rooms with pianos and foosball tables [table football], and all these kinds of things, so I had plenty to do when I was taking a break from work.

“And we had places in the parking structure where I could work on and maintain my bicycle.”

Security approved

The former Google staff site ecologist explained that rather than try to hide his presence, he placed a white picket fence and astroturf in front of his vehicle for a time.

“Security didn’t mind,” he added. “This was all the way back in 2005 and Google was a much smaller company then. A little bit more closely knit.

“Once security figured out it was me, they knew who I was, and they basically kept an eye on the place for me.

“I’m pretty sure I was the first. Towards the end of those 54 weeks and the two or three years that followed people would come and ask me questions.

“They would be like, ‘I’m thinking about living on campus, do you have any advice?'”

He added that he had been comfortable with the lifestyle, but eventually moved out because it had become “a bit weird” to explain it to women he was dating.

Google CampusGoogle has sports facilities and music rooms on offer to staff at its headquarters

Mr Weaver’s unusual residency came to prominence after he wrote about his time at the firm on a forum on discussion site Quora.

Snack stations

Another ex-worker at the search giant also posted about living on campus for what was a briefer but more recent stay, and also agreed to speak to the BBC.

Brandon Oxendine – who helped design the way Google Profiles work – said that when he lived on site between June and September 2012, he had to do surreptitiously.

“A friend who had been at Google for five or six years told me there’s actually a thing in the Google handbook that says you’re not allowed to be on campus for more than 72 hours, or something like that,” he said.

Brandon OxendineBrandon Oxendine lived at Google between 28 June and 22 September 2012

Mr Oxendine slept on a twin mattress kept in a station wagon parked in the garage below the building he worked in.

“I had told everyone I had moved into San Francisco, but I was always coming up in the same outfit from the parking garage,” he recalls.

Like his predecessor, he said that there was never a need to go hungry.

“I think there’s some sort of policy that Google has that no employee can be too far from a snack station.

“I worked a tonne, so I didn’t really get bored… I loved it. I’d like to do it again.”

Sleeping pods

But the person who may hold the record for the longest stint living at work is Ben Discoe, who was based in a van parked on campus for just over 60 weeks across much of 2011 and 2012.

Ben Discoe's vanMr Discoe moved into a van because he did not have enough money to rent a place near Google’s campus

“I did cheat slightly,” he acknowledged. “I got a girlfriend who had an apartment in Mountain View, so I’d go there sometimes.”

He recalled that by the time he joined the firm, an internal wiki website called Living At Google had been created by another employee.

“He enumerated the many perks they give you – free access to washing machines and this and that,” he told the BBC.

“The only thing they don’t give you was shampoo. He said, ‘Maybe they’ll give you shampoo if the stock price hits $300.’ And then that was crossed out and it said, ‘$400’, and that was crossed out and it said, ‘$500’.”

Sleep podGoogle provides its staff with pods to snooze in, but some workers preferred to nap in their cars

“I believe it’s the equivalent of about $1,200 now, and there’s still no shampoo.”

Mr Discoe added that Google had provided its own rest facilities for workers, but they had proved impractical for deep sleep.

“I did not care for the sleeping pods. They were are much hyped… but I found they were just as noisy as trying to sleep at your desk.

“And they were kind of mocked.”

Google declined to comment.

The BBC understands that the company does not encourage living at work, but it is not something it actively polices against.

Stonehenge is like a sacred ‘prehistoric glockenspiel’, researchers claim

Metallic, gong-like noises made by the monument when struck may explain why the stones were chosen by its builders

The pillars that form Stonehenge may have been chosen because they were like sacred “prehistoric glockenspiels”, according to researchers. 

The sonorous quality of some of the bluestones used for the monument built between 3,000 BC and 1,600 BC may explain why they were transported 200 miles from Pembrokeshire, Wales, when there were plenty of local rocks to use nearby.

Further work to decommission the existing facilities, built in 1968, and returning the car park to grass will commence on the beginning of next year. The transformation is the largest capital project ever undertaken by English Heritage

‘Archeo-acoustic’ expert Paul Devereux, the principal investigator on the Landscape and Perception Project, explained the choice to the BBC.

“There had to be something special about these rocks,” he said.

“Why else would they take them from here [Wales] all the way to Stonehenge?”

“It hasn’t been considered until now that sound might have been a factor,” he said.

The World Heritage Site of Stonehenge near Salisbury in Wiltshire where a 27 million pound project to modernise facilities at Stonehenge will finally open after decades of planning, on the right is part of the A344 road which passed close to the landmark and has been grassed over

The study by researchers from Royal College of Art in London tried to record what “Stone Age eyes and ears” would have heard and seen in a prehistoric landscape.

To make the findings published in the ‘Journal of Time & Mind’, the team was given unprecedented access by English Heritage to the Carn Menyn ridge on Mynydd Preseli, south-west Wales, where many of Stonehenge’s bluestones were quarried.

When the thousands of stones were struck with small hammerstones, researchers found that they gave off metallic sounds like bells, gongs or tin drums.

Stonehenge is not immediately visible from the visitor centre, with tourists able to use a 10-minute shuttle bus or walk down a newly-reconnected ancient processional approach

“There’s lots of different tones, you could play a tune,” Mr Devereux said, adding: “In fact, we have had percussionists who have played proper percussion pieces off the rocks.”

To prove their theory, when researchers tested all the bluestones at Stonehenge, several were found to make distinctive sounds, despite their acoustic potential being dampened by being set deep in the ground.

A number of bluestones at Stonehenge show evidence of having been struck, confirming why so many Neolithic monuments exist in the region, and provides strong evidence that the sounds made the landscape sacred to Stone Age people, the study concluded.

A young visitor to the World Heritage Site of Stonehenge near Salisbury in Wiltshire experiences a virtual sunrise in the new visitor centre

Professor Tim Darvill, an archaeology professor at Bournemouth University who has undertaken hundreds of excavations at Stonehenge, explained to the BBC that “pre-historic attitudes to stone” are likely to have been different to those of today.

“We don’t know of course that they moved them because they rang but ringing rocks are a prominent part of many cultures,” he said.

“You can almost see them as a pre-historic glockenspiel, if you like, and you could knock them and hear these tunes.

“And soundscapes of pre-history are something we’re really just beginning to explore,” he said.

The sun sets on the new visitor centre in Stonehenge

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