40 years on. How falling out with Clough helped Peter Taylor reinvent Brighton and Hove Albion forever.

40 years ago today, Brian Clough left for Leeds leaving Peter Taylor behind on the south coast. Many joke that that decision didn’t exactly turn out well..

However in this piece for The Seagull Love Review which i wrote last year I assess his short period at the Albion and argue that Taylor’s decision to stay behind kickstarted the club’s imperial phase and reinvented the club forever. Quite a good move for Brighton then…

There’s a rare colour photo of fans queuing up outside a sunny Goldstone before the first match of the 1974/5 season; all flared jeans, tank tops and collar length hair.  Large billboards advertising Guinness, Esso, and Hamlet cigars overlook about a hundred boys and blokes slouching about. A mustard coloured Ford Cortina drives past. Despite that days’ opponents not having played the Albion for over a decade, the atmosphere as recalled by veteran posters on North Stand Chat was “nothing special”,  and one supporter remembers not much more about the afternoon than the August pitch being “in need of a trim”.

Brighton’s new manager in that day’s programme, “Albion Review” (10p), was even more circumspect, describing the club’s upheaval in the summer and the departure of most of the previous season’s first team squad in a mere two sentences;  “Since the last League match there have been a lot of changes at the Goldstone, my longtime friend and partner Brian Clough left to take over at Leeds. ” But, he concluded prematurely as it turned out, “all that is old news and all in the past”.

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For 46 year old ex goalkeeper, Peter Taylor, who had played with Clough at Middlesborough and then spent over a decade as his No.2 in a successful management spells at Hartlepool and Derby and a torrid last year on the South Coast then it was a shock to most, including Clough and a certain Leeds chairman, that he’d stayed in his post. He’d been offered twice his yearly salary, around £20k, to continue the partnership at Elland Road, but turned it down partly out of loyalty to wealthy chairman Mike Bamber and a reluctance to move his family yet again. It was Clough, alone, who was to endure the 44 days.

Taylor’s attempt to break out on his own, would of course be relatively short lived. He subsequently considered his two seasons solely in charge at Brighton “a failure”, and felt he’d let Bamber down. Most observers agree that when Clough invited Peter to his Majorcan villa in the summer of 1976 with the aim of what was to be a reconciliation, he’d made his best signing for Nottingham Forest. A promotion and then a blur of unlikely League Championships and European cups were only a few years away. “We both knew we were banging our heads against a brick wall on our own”, Taylor had concluded. “Together we could do any job. There was no point delaying”.

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Yet on that August day he was all smiles, his new signing; 6ft plus striker Ian Mellor from Norwich, playing in a unfamiliar all white strip, scored the only goal of the match in the 69th minute. It was Malcolm Allison’s Crystal Palace, who to Albion fans were just another London club in 1974 remember, and with another Peter Taylor on the wing in their 11, who went down to a 1-0 defeat in front of a bumper 26 thousand crowd. Despite the optimism and again despite Taylor’s glorious hubris further down his programme notes “When – and i say when, and not if – we win the Third Division title, we will have got there by playing skilful football. Anyone can annihilate the opposition by brute strength and dirty play, we will annihilate them with pure football.” the reality was only one further win in their first 16 matches. Just as in Taylor’s second season at the club, this time by himself, Brighton again struggled to a disappointing 19th in Division 3. Pure football it wasn’t. Only a home record of two defeats at the Goldstone had prevented relegation.

Clough, Bamber and Taylor - 1974 via Goldstone Wrap.

Clough, Bamber and Taylor – 1974 via Goldstone Wrap.

It was, however Taylor’s reputation as a scout that ultimately secures his reputation. His links with Burton Albion and an offer of £50 a week secured the 19 year Peter Ward a contract at the beginning of 75/76 and he quickly made Brian Horton club captain following his signing from Port Vale later in the season. Most would agree two of the top three Albion signings of all time. But despite 26 goals from Fred Binney, who Taylor dropped in favour of Ward towards the end of 75/75,  Albion trailed in their last few games to only finish fourth. It was the end for Taylor.

Like that old joke about Ringo not being the best drummer in The Beatles, its too harsh on him to suggest that, perhaps, he wasn’t even the best Peter Taylor to manage Brighton. The aforementioned Palace winger; Peter J Taylor, in his brief League 2 championship winning stint, wasn’t here long enough to perhaps decide either way. Unlike the undeniable loyalty of Peter W, however, our ex-Palace friend couldn’t wait to say his farewells. The alternative narrative, though, amongst some Brighton fans of a certain age that it was his signings and team that formed the basis of Alan Mullery’s imperial phase is too generous and ignores the facts. Mullery admitted he’d inherited a “great squad” and accepts that was part of the motivation for taking the job on as an inexperienced 34 year old but in reality it was only Ward and Horton who remained in the team on that legendary day at St James Park in May 1979.

 

40 years on from Taylor’s arrival, it now looks like a classic period of consolidation.  An interim summer appointment after the shock exit of a media friendly TV pundit. A new low key coach who, critics say, struggles to inspire his team.  A poor start to his first season. “He would always be behind his desk, he would try to motivate us but he just couldn’t do it.” one of his signings concluded. The Taylor experiment ultimately failed and he went back home. To glory. Brighton’s ambitious rich young chairman had to look elsewhere, in the end, proving wrong his manager’s belief that the club had, in fact, hit the ceiling.

The welcome signing of Alan Mullery to be the club’s new ambassador, the proud succession of the Bloom family over the last half century illustrate that those that populate the Amex’ boardrooms today are thankfully keen students of the club’s history. The historical parallels are a lot messier , in truth, than I’m perhaps hinting at. But I’d say Peter Taylor’s, now mostly forgotten, three seasons at Brighton and Hove Albion are finally in the post-Poyet era worth some urgent reassessment.

(Thanks  for the pics and research via the articles at the wonderful Albion archive collected at http://thegoldstonewrap.com/ )

The reasons why I love Mark Lawrenson

July 2014 – Its the day after the World Cup Final. Given the rather mixed reaction to Mark Lawrenson’s commentary on the BBC last night I thought i’d dig out this piece i wrote for the Brighton zine;  The Seagull Love Review late last year profiling his first few years at the club. The truth is, as a longstanding Albion fan, I’m rather fond of Mark Lawrenson…

Its just after 1pm on August 6th 2011. Robbie Savage and Dan Walker are unhooking their microphones, as the first Football Focus of the season, live from the Amex, has just come off air. Round the back of the West Stand and proudly posing for photos next to his blue and white silhouette is their colleague; football pundit, commentator and broadcaster; the still imposing, but now going slightly grey around the temples; Mark Lawrenson. The jokey accusation from veteran fans, that has somehow become folklore, that he’s erased those years at the Albion during the club’s imperial phase from his memory, appear completely ill-founded as he signs autographs, laughs and reminisces about a town he had once fondly described as “football daft with gates of 24,000 on a regular basis at the Goldstone..I defy anyone not to like living in Brighton”. 

Lawro’s successful media career, where to put it mildly, he divides opinion, continues to flourish of course following a stab at management which like the boss who played him in Preston’s first team at the age of 17; Bobby Charlton; was short, curtailed and with no second act. But as a player. As a player. No wonder we were football daft.

Thirty five years earlier Mike Bamber, Brighton’s chairman is on a flight to Spain. His young manager Alan Mullery has just charmed the board but especially rich businessman, future Tory MP and Albion director Keith Wickenden to stump up £500K  (the equivalent of £3m today) out of his own pocket to fund a signing of a player they all admitted they’d never heard of.

It’s the summer of 1977, and the 20 year old central defender, Preston North End’s player of the year for the previous season, is on holiday.  Johnny Giles had only recently called up the youngster for the Republic of Ireland squad and he’s in the form of his life. Sporting shoulder length hair, he’s spending his fortnight in the bars of the Costa Del Sol, drinking pint after pint of Guinness laced with blackcurrant because “he likes the taste”.

Mullery, himself, has only seen Lawrenson play three times but as he hadn’t given Peter Ward, then in the middle of his 36 goal promotion winning season, “a kick in two games” he’s convinced. Bamber arrives in Spain late at night . Mark has had a few beers and later cheerfully recalls he signed a “blank contract… I believed everything he said” and had spent half his trip on long distance calls back to a member of Preston’s board asking whether he should sign for the newly promoted second division club. His own stepfather.  Bamber closed the deal there and then. 

When he visits the Goldstone a few days later for a fitness test. He fails. The doctor tells Mullery he’s convinced he’s a diabetic. All that blackcurrant of course. 

He was announced to the press later that month. “He is only 20, big and strong and will make his mark in a big way. The thought of spending that sort of money on an unknown does not frighten me” said the bullish Mullery . Lawrenson made his home debut alongside fellow Preston signing; Gary Williams; against Ron Atkinson’s Cambridge United.

Lawrenson was an ever present in 1977/78 and in 3 further glorious seasons with him at the back, its no coincidence with that Albion progressed to finish in their highest league positions to date. These were also my formative years as an Albion fan which colours my judgement but i remember his 6ft plus presence, his command at the back, the excitement when he effortlessly strode past opponents going forward.  I remember his tache, I remember his hair. 

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(Pic via Goldstone Wrap)

There’s a curious anecdote by a mate of Peter Ward in his biography recalling that late 70s rite of passage for bored players seeking to impress with what today would be a lurid tattoo “Mark was in digs with a chap called “Dinky” Doo and his wife Kay who was a hairdresser. Mark took the plunge and had a perm”

And those of a certain age will debate for hours his merits in the all time Albion player league versus that other contender; his fellow permed rival Ward. I have sadly had these arguments into the night but its hard not to concur with Alan Ware from Albion Roar who argues that Ward left Albion for European Cup winners; Nottingham Forest where ultimately he struggled, didn’t establish himself as a first team regular returning to the Goldstone for a disappointing loan period. Lawrenson conversely left the Albion, with Bamber making a healthy million pound profit, for European Cup winners Liverpool and flourished. His partnership with Hansen brought numerous league titles and silverware. Shall i go on ?

Its 2013; Mark is sporting a grey beard making faces at Mark Chapman, making weak jokes at the expense of Spurs and pouting on Match of the Day 2. I hadn’t really thought about Lawrenson as a player and the Albion for many years. He’s had few if any descendants. Gordon Greer;  a solid central defender who has adapted well to both Gus and Oscar’s play out from the back style so successfully he’s managed to transform of all things a Scottish defence, but he rarely ventures past the half way line with confidence. Danny Cullip ? Guy Butters ? All very solid. Very very solid. 

Last month at Blackburn Rovers, in amidst an unlikely victory, there was one brief moment overlooked by some. A commanding strong tall young holding player won the ball with ease, stood up and strode away from the penalty box. He picked up speed, looked up, past one player, past two and shook off opponents and still kept going . Now over the halfway line …he inevitably lost the ball. Its taken a while, but Albion’s young ex Chelsea No.38 might, just might. Perhaps even Lawro, in his pundrity autumn, would notice and recognise in himself a certain Rohan Ince. 

The 10 Best Films About the BBC via the British Pathe Archive

British Pathe has just uploaded 85,000 films  to a new channel on YouTube.  Here’s the 10 best clips i’ve found so far illustrating work inside Broadcasting House in the 40s, 50s and 60s.

1.French School Teachers visit Broadcasting House in 1939

2.The BBC Symphony Orchestra in 1932

3.The “BBC Effects Girls”

4.BBC Monitoring Service in 1940

5.King Edward VIII’s first broadcast to the Empire

6.A Tale of the BBC (1947)

7.The Queen Visits TV Centre (1961) (silent footage but still fascinating)

8.Lioness Arrives at the BBC (1938)

9.“This is London Calling” (1942)

10.This is actually the “Barnham” Broadcasting Corporation but its an incredible 1957 Childrens Radio Station.

 

 

 

#freeAJStaff – UK Journalists show their support

Today marks 100 days since Al Jazeera journalists; producers Mohamed Fahmy, Baher Mohamed, and correspondent Peter Greste have been detained in Egypt for doing their jobs.

Journalists in the UK for Channel 4, Sky and the BBC today showed solidarity by posting selfies online with their mouths taped up or covered.

Here’s a round up  >>

see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-26918932

 

10 of the best BBC pictures via Getty Images

Last month Getty announced they were making their photo catalogue available for embedding in social media and blogs.

Just testing this out so here’s 10 of the most interesting BBC pictures mostly from the Hulton Archive part of the Getty Collection.

Here goes…

1.A technician at work at the Baird Television Radio transmitter at the BBC’s first high definition television station at Alexandra Palace, London, 23rd August 1936.

2.Its just like a Fridge with a computer! Here’s a radio set with an integrated mirror and electric clock in the shape of a book shelf. On the occasion of the BBC’s 10th anniversary radio exhibition at the London Olympia.  1933.

3.Its 8th July 1971 and Bongo, a west African lowland gorilla, watches the BBC test-card on a colour television in his new luxury enclosure at Twycross Zoo in Warwickshire. Hope he’s coughed up his licence fee.

4.Cybermen making a phone call.  This is from the now partly lost Doctor Who and the Moonbase series for the Second Doctor in 1967.

5.From 16th December 1946, Here’s a picture of Victor O+Brien the maintenance engineer, distributing BBC program’s to the Various regions at Broadcasting House.

6.This isn’t dated. Probably late 40s/50s. Women from the BBC’s Bush House in the Strand, London, have physical training exercise classes on the rooftop.

7.Here. Brian Hodgson tunes the audio generators at the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop, Maida Vale, London. Not dated again but probably 70s.

8.The Gramophone library at Broadcasting House probably in the 50s ?. The description reads “Staff selecting and filing records in the BBC gramophone library. The discs are stored in steel racks.”

9. The “Sound Control Room” at Broadcasting House

10. This is probably 1946 when Mcdonald Hobley, the BBC’s new Continuity Announcer for Television started at the corporation.

Rain Stops Play – Grassroots Football and Pitches in Sussex 2013/14

I wrote this piece last month about grassroots and youth football in my mid Sussex village for the fine zine The Seagull Love Review. 

If you want to support your local club then enter your postcode here and volunteer.

>>

Its midday on a cold but sunny Sunday morning in the first week of December and i’m taking down the football nets on Chailey Common in mid Sussex. Surrounded by trees its normally the home of  dogs joyously chasing and fetching tennis balls all over acres of grass. Today there’s still the smell of bacon sandwiches coming from the fallen down club house as the Common’s four pitches have been home to games featuring nearly 100 boys playing competitive football. All watched by a raft of volunteer coaches, refs and parents who arrived hours ago to mark pitches, place corner flags and clear up the odd tennis ball and anything else left behind after all that daily canine exercise during the week.

A group of lads from the team I coach are joking and shouting and continue to kick the ball about in the penalty area and I’m exchanging my usual banter with several of the unfortunate Palace and Forest supporting dads helping my carry balls and cones back to the carpark. My boys; the Chailey and Newick Colts have won 2-0 in our weekly match and are climbing slowly up the table in the lofty heights of the u11s Division 4 of the Sussex Sunday Youth League. A squad of 15 Kids from the local primaries who play mostly for fun not points, this a rare chance for them to get the experience and support to turn one day into a future Lewes FC first teamer, a new Solly March or Rohan Ince or more realistically spend their teenage years keeping fit and having a laugh.

The dreams however are now on hold. There’s a hidden group of victims who’ve fallen prey to this long long wet winter of gales, storms and rain. For three months now youth football in Sussex and the rest of the UK, where there are still nearly 35,000 youth teams, has come to a virtual standstill . Our Youth League website displays the words “Postponed pages 1-9″ and I send out weekly emails with the subject line “GAME OFF – WATERLOGGED” to increasingly frustrated boys and parents.

In some ways, the FA has transformed youth football in the last decade. Nearly 400,000 volunteers now have the entry Level 1 qualification, me included, ensuring that teams with a qualified coach has risen from less than 1% in 1998 to 76% now. The FA have also in an unheralded move largely transformed how competitive football should be structured from an early age. Perhaps they were influenced by Spanish coaches such as a certain Oscar Garcia who outlined his approach to The Times earlier this month.

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“During a training session in Spain, all the kids have their own ball. When you’re a young player, 5, 6 or 7 – you have to touch the ball as many times as possible because your technique will improve a lot. The kid has to have his own ball. Until 9 or 10, you play on your own the ball, practising technique.”

After 10 you can play small sided games on small pitches and after 12 or 13 you can move to 11 a side. If they play on big pitches, some will only touch the ball two or three times in 80 minutes. When kids are 5 they think they are the centre of the world. There’s no point in teaching them to pass at that age”

Progressive forces in football coaching, like Garcia, the overwhelming success of Spain and Germany in producing homegrown players has led the FA to gradually reduce pitch sizes and goals for younger age groups to encourage development. Changes such as smaller sided games of 7 players versus 7 at an early age, and then 9v9 , and only over 13s allowed to play at a full 11 a side on far smaller pitches should be applauded.

All U10s football in the UK now adopts the sensible Retreat Line Rule where players have to retreat to their half of the pitch  forcing defences to play out from the back. The FA has, through courses and marketing, made some attempt to silence some of the shocking abuse from the side of the pitch targeted at young refs and even at kids from a minority of parents who should know better.

However an FA survey in 2013 found that 84% of people cited “poor facilities” as the most pressing issue for the grassroots game. Its a difficult conclusion to dispute. As my rail replacement bus wound its way through Sussex to Three Bridges last week on my way to the Millwall game I saw empty pitch after pitch strewn with puddles, mud but no players.

We are lucky enough at Chailey to practice once a week on one of the few local 3G or artificial pitches at a local school. Its been largely unaffected by the winter but there are only a handful in the county and under 500 in England. Not surprising perhaps when they cost nearly £500k to install.

The Seagull Love Review

The remainder of the county’s grass pitches are nearly all publicly owned and austerity’s impact on local government budgets combined with the now yearly extreme weather is an obvious constraint in our attempts to catch up with the kids in Barcelona or Madrid.

There is perhaps another place too look if as Greg Dyke insists; the premier league should give Roy Hodgson a greater percentage of English players to choose from. Although Premier League broadcast revenue is now an astonishing £5.5bn, a mere 1% of that goes back to the charity; Football Foundation; to improve facilities. Over time the government and the FA have in fact reduced, in real terms, their share of funding for the foundation.. Something for Dyke’s commission now due after the World Cup to ponder. One things for certain. Garcia’s vision of kids touching the ball many times in a match hasn’t happened much in the UK this winter. Due to the poor playing surfaces they haven’t in fact touched the ball in a competitive match at all.

Its now early March and I’ve just finished an evening coaching. The boys, now mostly adorned in replica Albion kit where a few years back it was all Arsenal, Chelsea and Utd, and they forlornly ask me if there’s a game this Sunday.  The forecast this week says mostly dry.  Promotion from Division 4 could be back on. Dyke’ et al might even deliver in a few months recognising that well funded decent public facilities and coaching is the answer. Who’d have thought it ? Sadly It will mostly come far far too late for those 100 boys at Chailey Common sat at home this winter playing Fifa.

 

A quick history of the BBC and social media

Radio 1 Club 1968

NB: I was asked to pen a quick summary of social media & the BBC as “background reading” for an internal meeting so republishing here. Its inevitably partial as its meant to be a summary not the definitive history. Also apologies for any errors. They are mine. Thanks especially to Martin Belam, Robin Hamman, Lizzie Jackson, Euan Semple, Andrew Bowden , Daniel Bennett, Kevin Anderson, and Peta Haigh for their memories, help over the years and especially for their blogging. Otherwise i’d never have been able to put this together.

(This post was originally written in July 2011 . Its been updated with new links, projects and comments in April 2014).

A History of Social at BBC Online:

It’s now almost a cliche to say that the BBC has always been social. Radio and TV has, of course, for over 80 years been a catalyst for overwhelming responses from listeners and viewers. Its stories, presenters and DJs have provided the social capital around which thousands of real life (and now online) communities have coalesced, normally without any BBC support or ownership. Staff guidance for tweeting and before that blogging is relatively recent but the infrastructure and policies to support interaction from programmes as diverse as Swap Shop, Blue Peter, Family Favourites and Crimewatch is long standing inside the BBC.

We are prone to imagine that, for example,  the 4 year old Radio 1 Facebook page is  a completely new phenomenon forgetting of course that Radio 1 pioneered and hosted in the late 60s the “Radio 1 Club”;  a ” link between the listeners at home and the D.J.’s and stars” , where alongside a weekly live radio show from various venues in the UK, Radio Times featured a  “members magazine”. And like today there were even disruptive listeners; in 1970 a R1 commissionaire was attacked by “rowdy teenagers” at a club event.

So this very quick canter through 15 Years  20 Years of social media

at BBC Online is, in lots of way, as  the baseball player Yogi Berra so memorably put it. “like Deja Vu, all over again”

1994 -1997 – At B-B-C dot co uk…

1994 –  BBC websites for programmes start to appear from 1994 onwards although the formal launch of BBC Online/BBC News Online is still 3 years away. Email addresses and URLs start to be read out on air. Some news/radio programmes experiment with IRC. This continues sporadically into the next decade until Twitter effectively kills it off in 2009/10.

1997 – 2000: Forums, and Live Chats

1997: BBC Online and BBC News Online formally launch in Nov 1997.

1997 – The first BBC message board launches for the old Radio 4 programme; Home Truths closely followed by EastEnders, & Doctor Who (even though it wasn’t to return to the BBC for another 8 years). A fairly crude third party piece of software was used until replaced by an internal system dubbed Howerd 1 (after Frankie’s 70s stage show “A funny thing happened on the way to a forum” – geddit ?). It was replaced by Howerd2, only meant to be a brief temporary upgrade. It lasted 4 years.

1998 – Lizzie Jackson is hired to become the BBC’s first Category Manager for Communities. The BBC’s community team grows until at its peak there are 8 community managers for different BBC depts.  The BBC’s first guidelines for hosting and moderation are established.

2000-2003 iPresenters & iStudio

2000 – Ashley Highfield joins the BBC as its new “New” Media boss and in the midst of the dot.com crash, purchases online forum; H2G2; (HitchHikers Guide to the Galaxy:ie: H2G2), its community , staff and technology (Called DNA after Douglas Noel Adams). Still 5 years before Wikipedia launches and seen by some as a “what if” moment, its technology still effectively powers BBC’s social publishing team 11 years later.

2001: The Joy of Text; a theme night devoted to SMS on BBC One receives the lowest ever ratings share for a prime time BBC One programme in its history although a record 500K texts were received during the evening.

2001: During the 2001 election, Nick Robinson keeps a regularly updated online diary of  quotes, links, photos and text messages, the BBC’s first official formative “blog”. He returns to the BBC in 2005; pronounces “My name is Nick Robinson and I’m a blogger” and is one of the first bloggers on the BBC’s new blog platform. (Developed using Six Aparts’ Movable Type software)

2002: The launch of iPlayer was 6 years away but bbc.co.uk launches, in its Bush House building in Aldwych, a dedicated studio devoted to live chats with celebrities and recruits dubbed iStudio. It recruits a mix of new talent and broadcasters (iPresenters) to host the chats. One of which; Spencer Kelly later goes on to present BBC News’ technology programme BBC Click. The experiment is quietly abandoned when New Media moves to new accommodation in W12 in 2004.

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2002: The  rebranding of BBC Online as BBCi and the redesign of the BBC site gives it a site wide toolbar for the first time. One of the permanent links is  an index page: dubbed “Communicate” (“chat, messageboards and more” ). Listing the BBC’s live chats, forums and ways to discuss BBC programmes and topics, it remained there for another 3 years.

2003 – 2005: User Generated Content and the rise of the Citizen Journalist

2003 Internally called “chat around content”;  a web based instant chat service dubbed “BBC Connector” appears on several sites. Never officially “launched” and closed in 2005 it was used during the 2004 Olympics and on sites for Radio 1 and Strictly Come Dancing.

2003: Following Greg Dyke’s Political review  initiated after the 2001 General Election had the lowest turn out on record,  work starts on the The Action Network project, originally called iCan. It launched in 2003 , widely praised with this (ex BBC) academic rightfully calling it the “most high profile and ambitious attempts by a public service broadcaster to foster participation through an online civic commons”.

Again ahead of its time, it failed though to have impact and the mainstreaming of Facebook, petition software and Twitter following the 2005 election meant it was quietly closed in 2008.

2004: Three years after it purchased H2G2, BBC finally migrates its message board/forum portfolio (outside of BBC News) to the DNA  platform. By now the majority of BBC message boards are reactively moderated. Moderation is handled by a third party company. Strict internal governance is introduced to reduce rising pan BBC moderation costs. This moderation model still exists today.

2004: Chris Kimber, until recently the Managing Editor for BBC Radio/Music interactive, says in an interview with The Independent looking back on the last decade:

“Only 10 years ago, radio was a one-way experience, but digital technology has given the radio ears that provide programme-makers with instant feedback. Before they had to rely on getting letters back but now we have chat rooms, message boards, text messaging and e-mail. Programmes can really connect with audiences in a way that 10 years ago they could not

2004: The wealth of user filmed footage of the Boxing Day Indian Ocean earthquake leads to a proposal to create a pilot UGC hub inside BBC Newsgathering;  flitering, verifying and distributing (to TV, and BBC News online) the thousands of images, video and text sent to BBC News..

2004: Pioneering blogs spring up around the BBC (Kevin Anderson’s US Election diary) or using external platforms  (Paul Mason’s G8 focused blog for Newsnight hosted on Typepad).  This leads (in 2005) and advised by Anderson to  Pete Clifton’s (Head of BBC News interactive) notorious internal, but later published in his weekly online column, email where he pledged to no longer launch blogs that “weren’t blogs” which he defined as having permalinks, RSS & comments. A blogs network, powered by Movable Type, launches in the BBC in late 2005.

2004: BBC News migrates its Have Your Say forums to a platform powered by third party software provider; Jive and uses the BBC’s SSO iD system for the first time.

2005-8 “Use the Web as your canvas”

2005: Island Blogging: A BBC Scotland community site that allowed users to blog via the BBC’s pages launches. One of the first hyper local sites, it closed in 2010.

July 7th 2005: The lessons of 7/7 help formalise the BBC News UGC pilot which leads to the creation of a team which later grows to 20 staff and a 24/7 service.

2006: A blog post from Helen Boaden launches the Editors’ blog inside BBC News. A response to the Hutton inquiry ; it aspires to be a place for senior BBC staff to explain their decisions. Similar blogs are later launched for Radio, TV, and BBC Online itself.

2006: Blogging Guidance: After a consultation process using a wiki and the BBC’s internal staff message boards; The BBC publishes staff guidance on blogging for the first time. It is later copied and forms the basis of guidelines for many other public sector organizations.

2006: The BBC’s strategic rethink becomes dubbed BBC2.0 and the BBC publishes a set of 15 web principles to aspire to.  These include “The web is a conversation. Join in: Adopt a relaxed, conversational tone. Admit your mistakes.” And “Link to discussions on the web, don’t host them: Only host web-based discussions where there is a clear rationale”.

A further principle “Treat the entire web as a creative canvas” is more enthusiastically adopted by the BBC as it starts to establishes presences on Flickr, YouTube, Second Life, MySpace, and eventually Facebook and Twitter.

2006: Ashley Highfield makes a speech about social software and the BBC “we absolutely don’t want to become a MySpace or a Flickr or a Friends Reunited, we want to work with these players, to partner our relevant offerings with theirs.”.  Its later highly criticised by ex BBC staffer Tom Coates in one of the most notorious blog posts of the time “Who’s afraid of Ashley Highfield ?”

 2006: Brainchild of Robin Hamman, the pioneering BBC Manchester blog launches aiming to collaborate with local bloggers and curate local content. The experiment lasts 2 years. It closes in 2008.

Oct 2006 The 606 message board is replaced by a new 606 community/social network powered by the DNA platform. For a brief period it becomes the largest sport specific social network in the UK. It eventually closes as part of DQF announcements in the summer of 2011.

2007: As part of the BBC’s fledgling Developer Network; Backstage; the BBC works with developer Mario Menti to launch automated Twitter accounts for @bbcnews and @bbcbreaking for the first time. Menti now runs Twitterfeed; the automated twitterfeed service.

2007: Radio 4 launch iPM; a weekly 30 minute radio show that aimed to “source what we do through the best blogs, passionate ‘ear catching’ online debate as well as comments and recommendations of others.” It still runs in 2014 although its online experimentation (sharing potential stories ) is now less prominent.

2008 – 2010: Social Media

2008: BBC updates its blogging guidance to incorporate “social networking”. The BBC’s Director for Editorial Policy; David Jordan said “It does not restrict BBC staff from conducting legitimate activities on the Internet. But it does raise awareness of how crucial the BBC’s reputation for impartiality and objectivity is.”

2008 BBC upgrades it blogs (still being powered by Movable Type) but implements a site wide UI, and integrates comments from DNA for the first time enabling blog comments to use the BBC’s back end moderation platform. By now it has 100+ blogs across all its depts.

2009: BBC appoints its first social media editors; Roo Reynolds in BBC TV (now Rowan Kerek Robertson), Alex Gubbay in BBC News (now Chris Hamilton) and Jem Stone in BBC Radio. Its Communications team later appoints a Head of Engagement; Sophie Brendel.

Presenters and programmes start to use Twitter for the first time but it is still very much a niche activity.

2010: iPlayer v3.0 launches which features Twitter/Facebook integration and friends recommendations/comments for the first time. Take up of the social features is mixed, however, and they are again dropped by 2012.

2010: BBC upgrades its Blogging (now Social Media) Guidelines to incorporate advice for microblogging (ie: Tweeting) for the first time. Hashtags start to appear on TV screens.  BBC News launch a social media training programme for all its staff.

Richard Bacon becomes the first regular BBC presenter to have over a 1m followers on Twitter.

2010: “Live” pages form the cornerstone of the BBC’s Election (and post-Election) pages, World Cup site, and Ashes site.  Embedding tweets, blog posts, links and summaries they remain the key platform to do connected storytelling inside Journalism. BBC TV and Radio deploy third party software; Cover It Live to do likewise for large events such as Glastonbury.

2010: The 10th anniversary of “MustardLand”; The Archers (the Radio 4 soap) message board; One of the few remaining forums inside the BBC, it still attracted over 1m posts (a substantial amount of which are off topic) published live to the server by users every year. It eventually closed in Feb 2013.

2010: The BBC launches its first short url (powered by bit.ly) to encourage sharing inside Facebook and Twitter; http://bbc.in/

 2011

- As part of DQF announcements, at the beginning of the year,  BBC announces it will consolidate its forums, blogs and replace with “integrated social tools”. It pledges to “not launch its own social network”

- BBC News  (and later Sport) effectively abandon blogs as a stand alone format and integrates them into new Correspondents Pages aggregating an persons articles, tweets and reports; It introduces a character limit to comments for the first time and closes its destination forum Have Your Say. Most other BBC blogs retain the existing design and comment format.

- Twitter replies and retweets outnumber SMS sent to Radio 1 and 5 Live in a month for the first time. The @bbcbreaking twitter account takes off following a series of unprecendented international news stories. It now (April 2014) has close to 10m followers.

- Sharetools; a BBC version of “tweet this” and a Facebook “share” button is launched on BBC News and iPlayer. It replaced in some areas of the site; a  “share this” “bar” with links to Digg, Del.ici.ous that had been available, with limited take up, since 2006.

-BBC announces the “disposure” of H2G2. It emerges that a consortium of the community and previous H2G2 owners form to buy it back. It still exists via h2g2.com

- One of the first high profile “tweet-alongs” takes place during the 60th anniversary of Radio 4’s The Archers as a double episode sees the death of much loved character Nigel Pargetter. It attracts over 25,000 tweets.  Such events ,either encouraged by the BBC or merely spontaneous activity by fans, listeners and viewers, start become commonplace in the next few years.

2011- 2014  Twitter, Facebook and the mainstream.

By now, although the BBC still publishes tens of thousands of comments per day mostly below the line of news stories; its social media activity is largely focused around sharing content and engaging with viewers and listeners via third party platforms; Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

2011: Radio 1 appoints Ben Cooper as its new Controller and under pressure to maintain engagement with young listeners , embraces social media platforms as part of its strategy. It changes its on air tagline to “Listen,Watch, Share”,and young producers  start to pioneer a raft of on air and online innovations with superfans and communities. Its new Sunday night presenters; Dan and Phil are perhaps better known for their films and interviews on YouTube.

2012: Acknowledging how participating online had been transformed over the last decade the BBC publishes a celebrated piece of research arguing that the long standing 1.9.90 rule was “outmoded” and that  “Participation is now the rule rather than the exception: 77% of the UK online population is now active in some way.”

2013: Use of hashtags in live events, references to tweets in news bulletins , discussing selfies and mentioning the BBC’s and other people’s activity on social media platforms is ubiquitous across nearly every TV and radio network.  BBC issues new guidance about how social media platforms should be referred to on air.

During The Voice in 2013, Will.I.Am reveals the name of his finalist on Twitter first before announcing it on air.

2014: BBC News launches a new short format news bulletin designed for sharing on the photo/video sharing service Instagram now owned by Facebook.

BBC Sport starts to routinely allow viewers to vote on topical questions using Twitter hashtags.

garylineker

The BBC hosts an event celebrating 20 years since its first website in April 1994  As part of the celebrations it posts a clip of 1994 TV programme; The Net which showcased the “BBC Networking Club” a not for profit subscription website offering some early social networking and bulletin board features.” Which i think is where we came in. 

Further reading: