The NewsDemon Blog

Jonathon Ross, Russel Brand Upsets BBC, British Comedy Awards and Andrew Sachs

October 31st, 2008

f_0_brand_sachs_320.jpgJonathon Ross has already cost BBC TV hundreds of thousand of pounds, leading to a 12-week suspension due to a series of prank calls to Andrew Sachs.Estimates range around £550,000 in cancelled studio costs alone.

Jonathon Ross has since stepped down as the host of the British Comedy Awards, breaking tradition over the last 17 years of the 18 year old award show history.

A spokesman for Ross said of the British Comedy Awards: “It’s a show he very much enjoys being part of but would not want his participation in this year’s event to take away from the awards themselves or the many talented winners of the awards.”

The offensive on-air comments presented by both Johathon Ross and Russell Brand on the Radio Two show against veteran actor Andrew Sachs, famed for his role in the bumbling Spanish waiter Manuel in the 1970’s comedy Fawlty Towers, have unleashed a political storm throughout the UK. Complaints topped 30,000.

The situation was sparked when Ross and Brand aired recordings of multiple explicit voicemail messages of Sachs, 78, in which they told him Brand had sex with his granddaughter, Georgina Baillie, 23, a burlesque performer who is a member of a group called the Satanic Sluts.

Lesley Douglas, the controller of Radio 2, was forced out of her job. Following an emergency meeting of the BBC Trust, Miss Douglas announced that she was resigning her post after four years, admitting that she was ultimately responsible for allowing the offending material to be broadcast.

The BBC Trust has also demanded that the BBC management broadcast an apology to licence fee payers on Radio 2 for what it called “serious and deliberate breaches” of the editorial code. It has also instructed Mr Thompson to write a personal apology to Mr Sachs and his granddaughter for the “deplorable intrusion”.

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Britain Blows Wind Power Forward

October 22nd, 2008

Britain has stepped onto the global energy stage and become the largest producer of power from wind technology, outstripping countries like Denmark (19% wind) and Spain (9% wind). Off the coast of Skegness they have set up a wind array that generates enough energy to power 130,000 homes — quite a feat, considering the vast patches of land that wind power requires in order to be effective (you could fit an airplane between the tips of the blades of these turbines).

The UK has been making major moves to become the leader in world wind production, adding batches of turbines over the last several years. Another set, at the Whitelee farm, brought the UK’s total energy capacity (from wind technologies) up to 3 Gigawatt hours. To put that into perspective, that is enough energy to power 1.5 million homes.

The Skegness array represents another major step, it is the largest off-shore wind array in the world and is a amazing touchstone for alternative energy, and is one of many world wide initiatives to reduce coal-based energy production. Even so, these developments are not without their problems.

The UK wants wind to represent 1/3rd (35 Gigawatts) of their total energy production by 2020. Many analysts say that without major infusions of capital (mostly in the form of tax money), achieving this goal will be impossible. In a world where all economies are feeling increasing pressure to trim the fat, these massive outlays are unlikely. Add this to the fact that there are problems getting these wind farms hooked into the grid, and the task becomes even more uncertain.

If they are unable to meet these targets, they could face energy shortages and heavy fines from Europe as Britain is legally committed to generating at least 15 per cent of its total energy from alternative sources by 2020.

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