Wednesday, 5 March 2014

BBC Sentences BBC Three to Death

The young adult channel set to be closed by the corporation.

Following a wave of rumours and speculation regarding the future of the digital channel, it is now apparent that BBC Three, a teen and young adult focused channel owned by the BBC, is set to be closed. An announcement is set to be released tomorrow (March 6).

Media correspondent, David Stilito confirmed during an interview with BBC News, revealed that the channel will be axed with all of the programmes currently broadcast set to move to iPlayer.

The shocking move is part of a cost-cutting plans in which Tony Hall said that "tough choices" would have to be addressed, stating. "We are in the final stages of a budget process to find an extra £100m of savings".


What's so important about BBC Three?

BBC Three began broadcasting in February 2003 as a quirky spin-off of parent channel, BBC One. Although it shows reruns of the popular soap opera Eastenders  and cult following sci-fi series Doctor Who, The channel has launched successful, original and unconventional comedies such as Bad Education, Little Britain, Gavin & Stacey, Cuckoo, Pramface and Some Girls. There has also been a slew of original British dramas including Torchwood, Being Human and In the Flesh.

From BBC Three's inception, the channel has produced a range of entertainment programmes as well as many unique reality based programming. Snog, Marry, Avoid and Don't Tell the Bride may be a little 'low-brow' or 'uncouth' sometimes, but everyone needs a little light hearted programming once in a while, right? unless you're a middle-aged, middle class television who only finds joy from Antiques road show and Daily Politics....

The fact that BBC Three has always strayed from the programming norms seemed t have made it an easy target. With the channel's future hanging on a dwindling budget, I fear the loss of a great source of entertainment, recreation and education will be lost from my generation. BBC Three has always been the bawdy little sister of the pack who refuses to conform to the norms of programming, which in turn means it is the first to be kicked out of the house before its time.

Truthfully, BBC Three is operated by officials, executives and politicians who aren't - believe it or not - BBC Three's target audience. Could this be the cause of their failing to notice the channel's worth? Possibly. Although, I highly doubt they would tune in to the educational and eye-opening documentaries about mental health amongst young people, sex and education or drug use; which makes cancelling the channel all that much easier for them.

Yes, documentaries on a channel aimed at teenagers and young adults? How does that work? Throughout the years, BBC Three has managed to draw eyeballs to their screens to watch a wide range of docu-dramas. Who'd have thought a series looking a shady priest in South Africa - presented by Reggie Yates - would cause teenagers to actually want to watch something inspiring.

This raises one of the heart breaking realisations about the oncoming closure. Personally, I have discovered so much about the world, about mental health, education, the consequences of sex and drugs through this eclectic haven. Some may believe that due to the channel catering for young people, this would lead to the award winning, and hugely risky, programmes to be dumbed down. Absolutely not!

I'm proud to have a channel in which young people - like myself - are encouraged to take part in politics such as Young Voters' Question Time.

Some will question why Jack Whitehall, Matt Lucas et al have campaigned for the channel's survival when BBC Three may not be officially cancelled. According to reports, the channel may still exist in online form, although, I'm sure it most definitely won't be the same. A budget cut paired with even less of the population having access to iPlayer.

I hope that my fears are proved wrong. I wish I wrote this whole report for no reason at all and that the BBC are just playing an early April fool's day prank on the beloved fans of a quality channel. Young people have already had to face a flurry of cuts, would cancelling the essence of the BBC be a good decision.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Reasons Why Leonardo DiCaprio Deserved an Oscar

After two decades worth of award worthy performances, Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio has once again failed to receive the prestigious Academy Award. What's up with that?

Following the global tour during Awards season which took the 39 year-old actor to the BAFTA's here in the UK, the 86th Academy awards, which happened yesterday, did not prove as successful as one would have hoped for the former child star.

That's not to say competition was not as tough as ever, other candidates for the Best Male Actor award included Christian Bale, Bruce Dern, Chiwetel Ejiofor - and winner - Matthew McConaughey, whose role in Dallas Buyers Club, in which the actor endured a serious weight loss for the part, scooped the golden stature and dedicated the award to his late father. Furthermore, the character he played is based on a real person, who suffered a life threatening disease and a character regularly seen at these types of awards ceremonies in which characters fight for the greater good of others.

This is not to say DiCaprio's, Wolf of Wall Street  did not share any similarities with McConaughey's character - Jordan Belfort, the protagonist in the Scorsesse directed flick involve a tainted stock broker who is, believe it or not, based on a real person. DiCaprio may not have had to suffer himself to earn the part, unless you include the unorthodox sex scenes as 'suffering'. Would the Academy actually decide not to award an actor - who arguably deserves an Oscar - the award due to his irresponsible actions?

However, when you look back at both actor's portfolios, there's no doubt the former Titanic star's long list of diverse characters has made the actor a somewhat underdog, nominated a total of 4 times and losing them all. From playing a child with autism in What's Eating Gilbert Grape?, to the astounding performance in the similarly Scorsesse directed The Aviator, its astonishing to think the actor has yet to be given the ultimate reward for providing audiences - and critics alike - diverse, unique and complicated characters.

McConaughey on the other hand, began his career as a shirtless rom-com actor. That's not to say shirtless rom-com actors are tasteless and lack integrity. I'm sure McCounauhey's fans have no qualms with his shirtless performance in Magic Mike, two summer's ago; the more serious roles such as the intriguing new HBO dram True Detective have appeared to build the actor's CV with serious, and challenging roles.

Over the last two-decades, DiCaprio has explored each genre, tackling ethically ambiguous characters (Django Unchained) forbidden romance (Titanic) to a celebrated American literature figure (The Great Gatsby), confusing summer blockbusters (Inception) a drug abusing teen basketball player (The Basketball Diaries), and most recently...

Of course, Leonardo is not the only cinematic legend who has seemingly failed to impress the Academy, Johnny Depp (Edward Scissor hands) also lacks the most prestigious award Hollywood can offer its actors.
Is there still hope for Leonardo? As one of the world's most beloved and adored actors of our generation, he is not deficient of loving and dedicated fans - who made #OscarforLeo one of the trending topics on Twitter last night. Whether DiCaprio wins next year, the next, or a decade from now, I have no doubt DiCaprio will have the opportunity to stand on the podium in front of glamorously dressed A-listers and humbly thank his friends and family for their continued support, on what has been a long, long journey. Ultimately, a deserved one.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Phallic Pride in Japan

Annual penis celebration festival in Japan celebrates the male anatomy. 

You have probably heard about Christmas; the religious holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus. Maybe you have had to endure the marketing manifesto that is Valentines day? On the other hand, I'm pretty sure you haven't celebrated Kanamara Matsuri...

 This annual celebration is a religious holiday celebrated and observed by the Kanayama Shrine in Kawasaki, Japan. Ever since 2013, the first Sunday in April has been blessed with illustrations, candy, carved vegetables, decorations and a Mikoshi parade of the penis. 

This male celebrating holiday is not exclusive for anti-feminists, or those who may suffer from a slight case of penis envy. Kanamara Matsuri is centred around a local penis venerating shrine. This holy location was once popular among local prostitutes who would visit the shrine and pray for protection against sexually transmitted diseases. 

It is also believed that the penis blessed shrine can provide married couple harmony, business prosperity and easily delivery. 

Kanamara Matsuri originated from a legend in which a menacing, sharp-toothed demon who hid inside the vagina of a young woman. Unfortunately, the vagina dentata castrated two men on their wedding nights. As a result, the young woman sought help from a blacksmith who constructed an iron penis to break the little vagina devil's teeth. 

However, there is more to this story than a genital demon who castrates young men, the festival has become a tourist attraction; drawing thousands of phallic admiring visitors from all over the globe. 

Money raised from Kanamara Matsuri is donated for HIV research.