Media in the Press 31.3.11

Post-graduate Journalism student, Claudie Qumsieh, casts her eyes over the media stories in today’s press…

BBC’s Top Gear is reportedly being sued by the electric car maker Tesla over claims the programme fixed a race in which the car featured – says the Scottish Sun (page 17) and The Herald (page 3).

The Herald reports that Tesla issued a writ yesterday claiming libel and malicious falsehood. The episode, first shown three years ago, showed a Tesla Roadster racing against a Lotus Elise. The Roadster dropped speed and was pushed into a garage to be recharged.

Says The Herald: “Tesla insist that neither of the Roadsters it lent the programme had fallen below 20 per cent of charge. The firm claims the scenes were not a true representation of the car’s performance.”

Tesla is quoted saying that Top Gear “intentionally and/or recklessly, grossly misled potential purchasers of the Roadsters”. Telsa spokesperson, Myra Pasek, is quoted, saying: “The Telsa Roadster is a ground-breaking electric sports car that – contrary to what Jeremy Clarkson claimed – does work in the real world.” (Jeremy Clarkson had apparently said in the programme: “It’s just a shame that in the real world it doesn’t seem to work.”).

A BBC spokesperson is quoted by The Herald, saying: “The BBC stands by the programme and will be vigorously defending this claim.”

In other news, the BBC is reported planning to rebroadcast every episode of Top of the Pops from the year 1976. Says the Scottish Daily Mail (page 25) 1976 is understood to have been chosen because it was the first year in which episodes were kept after recording. The Mail quotes BBC commissioning editor, Jan Younghusband, saying: “People take it as a chart show but really it is a variety show.”

The shows are expected to be to run the same week of the year as they did back in 1976 and will begin next Thursday.

Elsewhere, BBC Radio 2 presenter, Jeremy Vine, is up for a Sony Radio Academy Awards Best Interview Award. As reported in The Herald (page 3) Vine played Gordon Brown’s 'bigoted woman' back to Brown in an interview moments after the Prime Minister had made the comments whilst still wearing a microphone.

Moving on, a Freedom of Information request is understood to have revealed that the BBC spent £40,000 on 104 iPads last year. As reported in The Scottish Sun, the iPads had not been approved for general use by BBC staff. As well as iPads, the BBC is understood to have given staff £10,000 worth of iPhones. The Sun quotes the BBC as saying they were bought for “testing purpose… to see how they can help us”.

In the Scottish Daily Mail, Stephen Glover examines the “secret justice” of the super injunction in his article (page 17) headlined, 'Why are our judges covering up the sleazy behaviour of public figures?'. Accompanying graphics show ten silhouettes representing public figures, each with a briefing on their own particular super injunction.

Glover concludes: “We need our own Bill of Rights – promised by David Cameron but far from being delivered – to safeguard privacy but also the right of the Press to publish what is true and could be argued by a reasonable man (not necessarily a judge) as being in the public interest.”

Meanwhile, a London-based TV production joint venture has announced it is to open a new office in Edinburgh. One of the companies, Kudos, is responsible for lesbian drama, Lip Service, which is set in Glasgow. As reported in The Scotsman Business section (page1), Jemma Rodgers was “poached” from BBC Scotland to head up the operation.

The production companies, Kudos and Brown Eyed Boy, part of the Shine Group, are to call their Scottish base 'Kudos Brown Eyed Boy Scotland'. One of its first projects is to be a live comedy night which will be similar to Saturday Night Live. As reported in The Scotsman, Rodgers said Edinburgh was chosen over Glasgow because more playwrights, comedians and novelists live in and around Edinburgh.