Archive | June, 2013

The Call Centre…Looks like it is real, after all

11 Jun

Last week I wondered if BBC3′s The Call Centre was real or some sort of parody. Well it turns out it is real. The main star of the show is Neville ‘Nev’ Wilshire, is the CEO of the Save Britain Money contact centre and if you have ever received phone calls out of the blue offering to help reclaim your PPI, save money on your electricity bills or home insulation there is a good chance one of Nev’s lads or lasses would be on the other end of the call.

There were more romantic woes and eye brow raising antics. Having said all that as Nev pointed out most of his staff are under 25 and ordinarily the job, cold calling tens of people every day, would be soul destroying,  so the non conventional motivation techniques may not be so strange.

Still the extent to which he goes to set up dates for his staff is still a bit worrying. This week call centre agent George was the man who Nev was out to help but dragging all the girls in the call centre one by one into his office  to ask them if they would date George is not the stuff of modern human resources.

He finally gets a “victim” , Alex, and proceeds to drag George through the call centre to meet his date and promptly embarrasses both of them in front of everyone else.

You almost get the feeling that Nev is trying to recapture his own youth through the lives of the people he employs with some of his more extreme antics, or maybe he is just misunderstood and is an all round good egg.

As for George the lesson learnt was love has to come naturally as Alex decided he was not right for her.

Channel 4…The Returned

9 Jun

Just a quick note to say this is brilliant. Yes it is in French and yes it has subtitles but if you can get past that then you are in for a superb Sunday night thriller.

Snyopsis of episode 1 From Channel 4

In a small mountain community, two local people – Camille, a teenager, and Simon – who both died years earlier, suddenly re-appear at their homes. They have not aged, and they are completely unaware of their own deaths.

Camille and Simon assume they can rejoin the world of the living as though nothing has happened, but their return throws their friends and family into a state of turmoil.

Camille’s sister Léna has continued to grow up without her sibling beside her, and Simon’s wife Adèle is just about to get remarried, to Thomas. Meanwhile, lonely nurse Julie receives a visit from a very strange little boy.

Seven years ago, the town was struck by a series of bloody murders. Now it seems the killings have started up again.

Great episode one, there was one flaw though. A pensioner made an out of hours call to his GP and got a home visit by that night by the GP…now that is just unrealistic….

Channel 4 …Terror in the Skies

9 Jun

Boeing 747-400 takes off from London Heathrow ...

It is safe to say if you are of a nervous disposition, have even the mildest fear of flying or just general more comfortable with your two feet on the ground this new series on Channel 4 is DEFINITELY NOT for you.

Over the years there have been many documentaries on aircraft safety and crashes, but what was really chilling about this series is with the advent of mobile phones and other hand held devices we are now getting footage from inside the plane.  As we found out with the movie the Blair Witch Project there is nothing that freaks you out more than shaky and very grainy footage of impeding doom.

The point the documentary stressed was that flying is very safe and a lot of effort has gone into making it as safe as possible, but there remain rare events or combination of rare events that are almost impossible to predict and when these  occur they can put the plane in a very precarious situation, what some might call the “Unknown Unknowns” – what you don’t know that you don’t know!

Brendan Walker, an aeronautical engineer, took us through us a number of cases including the sticky ice that almost brought a British Airways flight from Beijing to Heathrow almost crashing in to Hounslow a suburb just outside the airport.

A scary but very informative series, if you have the stomach for it one I would recommend.

Britain’s Got Talent Final…Simon Cowell gets egg-ed by woman.

8 Jun

Britian’s Got Talent had an unexpected entrant in the final this evening. Blink and you would have missed it but during the performance by the classical music duo Richard and Adam Johnson a woman who it seemed was part of the orchestra left her position strolled up to the front of the stage with what seemed to be a pack of Sainsbury’s woodrange free range eggs and let fly.

She clearly relished the moment as you can see the huge grin on her face. Possibly she was egg-cited? Or may she just got the Eggs-Factor? [I'll get my coat!]

Pics of the moment

Egg Thrower 1

Egg Thrower 2

and the video

TV Advert…Tango’s new and very surreal “Argh” Orange Intensity adverts

8 Jun

The adverts for the Tango Orange has always had a certain  ”in your face” quality about it. In the 90′s they took it quite literally with the “You know you have been tango-ed” which proved quite controversial with fears of children imitating the face slapping antics.

 

 

Well the good people at Tango are back with a new campaign “ARGH”, less physical than some of their other campaigns but certainly more surreal.

Here are the three premiered during the final of Britain’s Got Talent. I leave you to make up your own minds about these.

 

 

and this.

 

 

and lastly, this.

 

The Call Centre…It can’t be real, can it ?

4 Jun

If you are watching this “fly on the wall” documentary on BBC what’s the first phrase that comes to mind. For me it was employment tribunal!

I am not sure what the collective noun for employment lawyers is but what ever it is I can see a whole mass of them programming their Sat Navs for Swansea.

I worked briefly in  call centre and it was as far removed from this as Torquay is from Tokyo.  The interview techniques of parading would be call centre agents down the hall way and asking the staff to shout yes or no, organising speed dates to get his staff “laid”,  throwing stuff at staff who doze off in particular boring meetings, were all sailing close to the line and would certainly have had the corporate lawyer nervously fiddling with their briefs.

I suspect a lot has been exaggerated for effect. If the boys and girls of TOWIE went to work for David Brent the result would have been exactly this.

I think I will be keeping an eye on this it has the potential to be quite amusing, and has a similar style to The Armstrongs shown back in 2006.

The Americans : ITV shows it has more than reality shows and soaps…

2 Jun

Ok Downton Abbey was a massive worldwide hit for ITV but in recent years the channel seems intent on convincing us that there is nothing “too low brow” for ITV prime time. Granted a lot of the prime time shows are entertaining, but you are often left feeling slightly light-headed at the end of the evening watching ITV as occasionally some of your brain cells lose the will to survive.

So it was a pleasant surprise when after last Saturday’s Britain’s Got Talent ITV decided to go for some radical programme scheduling (for them). No gentle chat show, no light-hearted sitcom instead what we got was a tense, complex political thriller – The Americans.

Take yourself back to the early 80′s and the cold was is still very much alive. Philip and Elizabeth Jennings (Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell) are undercover Soviet intelligence agents from the secretive Directorate S of the KGB sent to the U.S. 15 years ago to work deep cover in Washington, D.C.

Their assumed identities are a married couple who run a travel agency, and even their own children Paige (Holly Taylor) and Henry (Keidrich Sellati) do not know their secret.

Their seemingly serene life together is put into jeopardy when a KGB defector reveals the existence of the programme, and is further complicated when one of the FBI agents charged with finding Russian sleeper spies Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich) moves in a few doors away.

ITV are hoping to recreate the success Channel 4 had with Homeland with this and the opening episode last saturday was very encouraging. We see Philip is struggling to enticement of the American society even as his wife steadfastly remains true to their mission and you feel that rather than any investigative ability of the FBI may be their undoing.

Watch the trailer here

Catch Up with missed episodes of the The Americas on ITV Player