Category Archives: Reviews

An Inspector Calls

The other week I watched for the second time the 2015 TV film An Inspector Calls by J B Priestley, based on a play that revolves around the apparent suicide of a young woman called Eva Smith. As was the case when I first saw it, I found it gripping from beginning to end and that’s not just because it was filmed in Yorkshire and featured one of my favourite locations, Salt’s Mill in Saltaire Village, near Bradford.

It is set in 1912 when the unsuspecting and very wealthy Birling family are visited by a mysterious Inspector Goole.  The family is headed by pompous factory owner Arthur Birling, who is hoping to get a knighthood, his snobbish wife Sybil and young son Eric who are celebrating the engagement of daughter Sheila to eligible Gerald Croft (rich, privileged and a member of the aristocracy), when the inspector calls.

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Government finally responds to the Cairncross Review

Almost a year after it was published, the government has finally responded the recommendations of Dame Frances Cairncross’s review into the sustainability of the UK news industry (see my 20 February 2019 blog at: http://thespark.me.uk/?p=1074 ) . Whilst accepting most of the recommendations, it rejected the proposal to create an Institute for Public Interest News as part of proposals to support the news industry. In a statement Culture Secretary Baroness Morgan indicated that the Government was not taking forward the recommendation for the establishment of an Institute for Public Interest News as it did  not wish to have a role in defining what is ‘public interest’ news as this risked interference with the freedom of the press.

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Media reform – are the parties up to the challenge?

The central role the media has played in the General Election Campaign is undeniable. So is the pro Conservative party dominance of much of the national press together with its anti-Labour party bias. Social media has again offered alternative platforms for the parties and people to get their messages across. Since the last election we have seen increasing consolidation of media ownership, the latest takeover being announced at the end of November when JPIMedia sold the i newspaper and website for a reported £49.6m to the billionaire Lord Rothermere’s  Daily Mail and General Trust, which owns the Mail on Sunday and MailOnline. Meanwhile press baron David Montgomery is in talks to buy JPIMedia which owns dozens of major local British newspapers.

So what new policies do the parties offer to counter these concerns and make our media ‘fit for purpose’? Continue reading Media reform – are the parties up to the challenge?