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For a Valuable Second Opinion, Look to England -- and to BBC News and Ricky Gervais
February 25, 2011  | By David Bianculli

With the Oscars arriving Sunday night, and several parts of the world in upheaval from revolutions or earthquakes, there's no better time to look for a different perspective than now, and no better place than England -- with BBC News for the latter, and Ricky Gervais for the former...


All this week, I've been tuned to BBC America to catch BBC World News, which runs in a three-hour weekday block (think of it as a U.K. Today show, only much more global and meaningful) from 5-8 a.m. ET. I've also watched the nightly BBC World News America, a one-hour show running Monday through Fridays at 7 p.m. ET. It emanates from Washington, D.C., but has the same heady mixture of in-depth news, analysis and smart feature stories as its British-born counterpart.

BBC World News is where, this week, you'd have caught live reports from Tunisia, Libya, New Zealand and elsewhere -- The Beeb, bless it, still believes in the value of far-flung news bureaus. Either show is far more comprehensive, in a global sense, than any U.S. daily news show on television -- and these days, global news, and perspective, is what we sorely need.


Speaking of perspective: Another Brit whose point of view is especially valuable these days is that of Ricky Gervais, who hosted the Golden Globes, but definitely will NOT be hosting Sunday's Academy Awards telecast for ABC. James Franco and Anne Hathaway, of course, have that honor instead -- but Gervais, on his blog, has gone ahead and written an opening routine for them, should they care to use it.

It's hilarious. Read it by clicking HERE -- then bookmark Gervais' site as a favorite. After you do the same for TV WORTH WATCHING, that is...




ericg said:

And I quote: (from www.rickygervais.com) "It's going to be a night of the most privileged people in the world being told how brilliant they are and thanking God for loving them more than ugly poor foreigners."

And why are we "spared" from another night of this??

Comment posted on February 25, 2011 10:17 AM

Mara said:

I completely agree--on both counts. we only get half an hour of BBC World News on PBS at 6 pm here (I don't get BBC America), and there is more internationally relevant news packed into that half hour than into the following PBS Newshour and all of the networks combined. And they somehow make it all so enthralling (as it should be), whereas PBS can take the same stories and bore me to tears. And I love their human interest segments at the end--you know the ones about the little old lady in Dorset who collects Victorian era bottle caps or something similar...

And I want to hear anything Ricky Gervais has to say--on any subject--anytime, and his site has been a favorite of mine since it appeared on the scene. But I often forget about his blog. Thanks for reminding me. He seems to be taking over the airwaves these days, and I couldn't be happier!

Comment posted on February 25, 2011 1:00 PM

SharonGS said:

Yes, the BBC is great for international perspective, but don't forget all the other international news outlets now available both on cable and via the internet. France24 is available in English, French, and Arabic. Deutsche Welle and CCTV (from China) are widely available, too, and in multiple languages. Al-Jazeera streams in both English and Arabic. Many PBS stations broadcast MHzWorldvision (international programming either in English or with subtitles) as one of their digital channels. It's wonderful to have all of these available because, as you say, we need to have all the global perspective we can get.

[Thanks for adding to the discussion -- and the must-see global news list! -- DB]

Comment posted on February 25, 2011 1:14 PM

Mara said:

While we're on the subject of alternative global news sources, I would put a word in for Democracy Now. their correspondent had some of the first tweets out of Egypt during the rebellion, and now they are on the ground with the protestors in Wisconsin. I watch them on local community tv live at 8 am EST, but they are on Free Speech TV and Link TV and streaming on the web too.

[Thanks! Any other suggestions out there for reliable out-of-the-way global news sources? Keep 'em coming. -- DB]

Comment posted on February 25, 2011 8:29 PM

Angela said:

Hi, Sorry I don't have any other reliable news sources as I was actually looking for some! So thanks to the ones who have contributed here, along with David B.

I will say that I've been told by people whom I respect that Democracy Now is one of the best. I have a hard time with it though, because it's so in depth with such a wide range of news, as to be well, depressing.

Like Mara I only get 1/2 hour of BBC World News, but maybe there's more and I just didn't know it considering there's a zillion channels on my TV I still don't know about. ;-)

I am able to listen to BBC World news for 3 hours starting at 12 midnight on the radio. But it would be great to see it on the TV instead.

Even though this is not TV related either, there's a site I like to go to for world news, called the World Map, and it looks like one too. Just hover over a block that interests you, (the blocks are larger in size if it's "big" news) and it gives you more detail, takes you to the news source, and gives you a count of how many more news stories are available on that topic and where to find them. Plus there's tons of videos to watch the news with at these same sources.

Here's the link, http://newsmap.jp/

Comment posted on February 26, 2011 7:28 PM

Mac said:

David, I spend a lot of time on a music forum, which is only spoiled by the huge amount of space the Beatles take up. Would love to fit Ricky's Yoko Ono reference in there, even if I would be booted off. Truly evil and laugh out loud funny. Now I can watch TCM during the Oscars without changing channels knowing that nothing will be a good as that line. That is, unless Craig Ferguson's pal, Secretariat, would make an unannounced appearance for presenting the Best Non-human Performance award. Since Arnold Schwarzenegger has intimated a return to films, this would be the last possible time Arnold won't be nominated in that category.

Comment posted on February 27, 2011 8:17 AM
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