The weekly round up of audience feedback on BBC TV. BBC science and nature programming comes under the microscope as Jeremy Vine quizzes head of science output Kim Shillinglaw.
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Good afternoon and welcome to a special edition of Points Of View
with the BBC's science and nature commissioner, Kim Shillinglaw. Welcome.
Points Of View has been promised for some time there's going to be
an increase in science programming and the launch
of the new autumn schedule gave us something to look at.
We'll come to that in a moment.
First, let's take a whistle-stop tour of other programmes.
We start with something that caused a lot of comment last year - Young Apprentice.
I've already set up and run three businesses.
I've sold one for profit to a major firm. I'm only 16.
Just because I'm from a working-class background
doesn't mean I don't have high ambitions. It's not where I'm from, it's where I'm going.
And this was highly trailed - the new drama Death In Paradise.
But did it live up to the hype?
Sainte-Marie was colonised by the French,
who lost it to the British, who lost it to the Dutch.
The Dutch lost it back to the French.
So, that was Death In Paradise. And now we turn to marine paradise.
Kim, this is your territory.
One programme we were watching recently
which was very, very popular was Natural World.
I'm so glad to hear that programme was popular with the viewers.
I don't know about Ingrid -
she's obviously a working scientist,
but we'll certainly be returning to marine animals -
Frozen Planet and also Great Barrier Reef, which is coming to BBC Two.
Let's stick with new talent for a moment
because there is another scientist that people want to see more of.
It's the only metal that's liquid at room temperature.
What are you planning for him?
He is going to be doing another series for us
called Order And Disorder on BBC Four.
We'll be seeing that next year.
We're talking to him about a couple of other things beyond that as well.
OK, we've got one for you now that we covered a couple of weeks ago.
It's Bang Goes The Theory's special on nuclear power.
It was praised by some for being succinct, concise,
but not by others.
I think it was legitimate for Bang to seek to set
the number of deaths from Chernobyl in the context of other deaths.
Do you take great care not to mishandle statistics in general?
We would always seek to make sure that the statistics
we use in a broadcast programme are from the most authoritative sources
that we can find at the time of production.
Thanks. We'll come back to you.
Statistics seem to be massaged up and down
according to the person who's giving them.
And the same is true, I guess, of quotes from cowboy builders.
Cowboy builders are the subject of a whole rash of new BBC programmes.
Viewer Lee Tidman
plies a perfectly respectable trade as a building contractor.
But he's aghast at what he sees as shoddy workmanship by the BBC.
Stick with me and I'll help prevent you
from falling into the Cowboy Trap.
Cowboy Trap? What's that all about?
I just couldn't believe that a programme called Cowboy Trap
could so successfully not be a cowboy trap.
From the programme, I expected to see the BBC or whoever makes
the programme sort out the problems with the work that they had done.
But nobody was brought to task or to book.
Nobody could say, "We need to avoid these people
"because they do bad work."
-All they got was their room painted.
-'After a couple of days' hard graft,
'they're well on the way to transforming this room.'
So, with the Cowboy Trap sprung,
it is another expose of the building trade,
Dirty Tricks Of The Tradesmen, that has raised the ire of many viewers.
On Dirty Tricks Of The Tradesmen, there's two aspects.
There's one where they investigate things that have gone wrong.
We lift the lid on some of the UK's most shocking tradesmen rip-offs.
But at the same time, they're showing the consumer what tricks to look out for
and what to do and what not to do when having work done on your home.
Leaking radiator - I obviously get loads of these.
Probably just an O-ring. Take me about quarter of an hour to fix it.
But the water looks pretty murky - I'll try and persuade him
there's corrosion going on in the system.
One of the best things is Roger going into the back of his van.
He keeps going up to these little cameras and going,
"I'm going to get another 400 quid out of her!"
His hands are permanently glued into his pockets.
..to work even harder...
..for thousands of us each year.
I think this programme's better than Cowboy Trap because it actually
does alert the public to the sort of tricks a rogue tradesman might use.
And also, it does make it painfully obvious
that the British public are probably way too trusting.
So, criticism that no real action is taken against the cowboys
who are uncovered in those types of shows. And separately, Kim,
some criticism for you about the Hadron Collider -
this great particle accelerator where particles are banged together
to teach us about the origins of the universe.
It was restarted in CERN. People saying, "Where was the coverage?"
-Did you just forget it was happening?
It's a very interesting comment from the viewer.
It's the sort of comment we're always really grateful to have because it
helps us know what people care about and want to see programmes about.
In this particular case, the restart of the Large Hadron Collider was
very well covered by our news outlets
and Radio 4 as well as Radio 5.
And we do see our science output as a whole across the BBC,
so while I take his comments on board -
and I'll certainly pass them on to the production team -
I think it was probably not Horizon's job in that particular case.
OK, now, here's an interesting one from Tom Leeks.
The worry is that you could use the same kit you use for the dinosaurs
to enhance some baby chicks or something.
The truth is, that's not necessary when it comes to the natural world.
We've just spent four years
in the field, in very difficult conditions, filming Frozen Planet.
Although it's arduous, we don't need
to resort to CG to bring the wonders of the natural world to life.
So, you're not tempted to mix and match without telling the viewer?
It's just not the way we approach filming the natural world.
We think it's very important to bring it as truthfully
to the audience as we possibly can,
not least because the natural world IS spectacular.
OK, right up your street,
some brand-new science series have started this week.
Starting with the much-advertised Frozen Planet.
These are places that feed our imaginations.
Places that seem to be borrowed from fairy tales.
And on BBC Two, Dr Alice Roberts is back
with her new series, The Origins Of Us.
'As an anatomist, I'm fascinated by the way
'our bodies have been sculpted
'by our ancestors' struggle for survival.'
'And what took us out of the forests, leaving other apes behind,
'to spread out across the globe
'was our search for food.'
It's quite juicy.
Let's talk about Horizon - a vital programme in your department.
It's been criticised in the past a lot on Points Of View,
for dumbing down,
but we've got a viewer saying they really like it now. Have a look.
I was absolutely blown away by the latest Horizon programmes,
particularly by Seeing Stars.
The programme was to do with how we are trying to understand
the big questions of where are we from?
The universe itself, how's it forming? Where did it come from?
We have at our disposal tools that have never existed before
in the history of mankind.
We're the first ones that get to look at this.
What was particularly good about that programme
was the amount of sheer effort that had to be undertaken.
That was absolutely stunning.
So, some beautiful visuals.
Surely Paul is about to tell us the content is dumbed down?
It can't do everything.
It can't show everything in a very small timeframe of an hour.
What it does is give people a flavour of what's going on.
'For us, it's quite hard to spot the odd one out.'
OK, can you point one more time towards the different colour?
'But for the Himba, it's easy to see the green which is different.'
The programme to do with how we see colour
and the experiments they did with that were absolutely fascinating.
For us, it's quite clear the one that is different,
but for them, they have to look very hard.
It assumed that the people who were watching weren't dense.
People are quite intelligent
and therefore I felt Horizon
had to strike a balance
between not having too much detail and not making it dumbed down.
For me, it got it right.
Much praise for Horizon's latest reincarnation.
Kim, how do you feel about that feedback?
First of all, can I just say thank you to the viewer
who kindly contributed those comments because after being pummelled
by Jeremy Vine on Points Of View,
it's always nice to get a positive response
and for people to perhaps broadly feel that
we're going in the right direction,
-even if we're not always getting everything right.
-What else can we expect from your department
in the coming months?
We're going to have an audacious experiment
on BBC Four called Afterlife House, which is all about the cycle of life
and decay. It's going to be quite bold viewing,
but I hope that viewers will find it interesting.
-And, of course, more from Brian Cox.
-We certainly are.
-That's all from us this week, back to normal next week.
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BBC Science and Nature programming comes under the microscope in an interview special as Jeremy Vine quizzes head of science output Kim Shillinglaw.
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