Sunday, 28 August 2016

Slow TV down on the Farm with NRK Fjos

DC the Cow getting excited as Slow TV
gives its totemic animal a dedicated platform

NRK in Norway is back with another Slow TV on Monday 29th August with #NRKFjos. It's not so much a Slow TV field day, but more of a barn day. Not even a day, but twelve days.

Starting at 10:00 Norwegian time on the last Monday of August, the transmission from four cameras in a barn (Fjos in Norwegian) in southern Norway will relay every bit of bovine action up to and including Friday 9th September with the four cameras able to be selected over the entire period.

The broadcast will be available to watch online at

If Slow TV had an animal of power, a totemic creature to represent its essence it would be the cow - so it'll be interesting to see what fun and games the cows may bring our way, as well as becoming a bit more educated about the life of a dairy farm.


I'm hoping to bring a more on NRKFjos on the blog over the second half of the broadcast period.

Starting on September 8th - Slow Down - a dedicated Slow TV and Slow Radio show. More information HERE.

Also broadcast on Monday 29th August - BBC4 in the UK at 20:00 BST with The Country Bus.

New to The Slow TV Blog? Have a look around...

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Slow Down - a Slow TV and Slow Radio show - on the Radio!

The Slow TV Blogger on RedShift Radio
The Slow TV Blog will be going live on the radio from 8th September with a brand new dedicated slow show, thanks to RedShift Radio in Nantwich, Cheshire!

Thursdays 8pm to 10pm (UK) will be the time for lovers of Slow TV, Slow Radio and just going slow.

The first hour will explore Slow TV and Slow Radio news and reviews, plus analysis and interviews, dedicated features and of course relevant music.

The second hour will be to do what has been talked about: Slow Down! Carefully curated playlists and relevant requests will give that late evening wind-down vibe.

You'll be able to listen anywhere via the RedShift Radio website, there's a dedicated app for smartphone users, interaction via their Twitter and Facebook pages, and shows already broadcast will be available from RedShift Radio's MixCloud page (and embedded here on The Slow TV Blog).

If you're involved in making Slow TV or Slow Radio of any sort, do get in touch - I'll likely be getting around to contacting you in the next few weeks as I begin arranging interviews!

New season, opportunity to get on with all the things the summer has stopped you from doing and a new radio show. Tune in to Slow Down on RedShift Radio from 8th September.

Also keep Saturday 10th September 6:45pm pencilled in... I'll be introducing regular live webchats and video broadcasts. Subject to satisfactory tests, I intend starting these on September 10th.

New to The Slow TV Blog? Have a look around...

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Thursday, 25 August 2016

Talking about Slow TV on Health and Healing Radio Show

My RedShift Radio colleague, Chrisoula Sirigou, invited me on to her Health and Healing show in July. I've now been able to pop the show online for listeners to dip into wherever and whenever they like...

Show playlist:

Tim Prevett - Show Introduction
Renaissance - Northern Lights
Tim Prevett - A little more about Slow TV
Karri Bremnes - Hurtigruta
Chrisoula Sirigou and Tim Prevett- What is Slow TV?
Frederick Rousseau - Serenite
Chrisioula Sirigou and Tim Prevett - Why is Slow TV important?
Tim Prevett sound recording - Cotswold Country Window at Frocester
Neil Diamond - Beautiful Noise
Chrisoula Sirigou and Tim Prevett - Further thoughts on Slow TV
Peter Gabriel - Digging in the Dirt

Slow Television - The Slow TV Blog

Monday, 22 August 2016

All Aboard! The Country Bus on August 29th

Update to original post: All Aboard! The Country Bus arrives on BBC4 on Monday 29th August, 8-10pm British Summer Time (Bank Holiday for England, Wales and Northern Ireland). Trainspotting Live aired in July. Also starting on 29th August from 9am BST - 12 days of cows in a barn in Norway with NRK Fjos. More here.

The next lot of UK Slow TV happens in a right grand county
We've had a canal trip, an amble around the National Gallery, peeps at craft making, three glorious dawn choruses and a reindeer trip into the snowy wilderness of northern Norway. Have we had enough of Slow TV in the UK? Thankfully, no. The BBC have commissioned another two bouts of Slow TV, both transport oriented but different in presentation.

The first will be a pre-recorded bus journey from Richmond, Yorkshire to Ingleton. Unlike the reindeer journey which picked us up somewhere in the wilderness and left us not entirely sure where we were - in order to fit the constraints of a TV schedule, or The Canal Trip which was a few miles of the segment of the Kennet and Avon canal which is 87 miles long, All Aboard! The Country Bus has a sense of completion to it in that it takes in the broadest part of The Yorkshire Dales by road.

All Aboard! The Country Bus at The Market Place, Richmond
This sense of completion is important. Slow TV is another way of telling a story on TV. Would you watch a couple episodes of Game of Thrones to consider you've seen the story of the season? Does following the progress of The Fellowship of the Ring from Rivendell to Lothlorien give a sense of completed journey of The Lord of The Rings? Obviously, no. In the same vein it is my contention that much of what is getting made of Slow TV is not getting the story-telling framing of the format right. It needs to be the whole story.

So, this bus journey looks promising. Leaving The Market Place at Richmond and ending up at Ingleton Community Centre a couple hours later, The Northern Dalesman route takes in some breathtaking natural landscapes and a wonder of Victorian engineering, the Ribblehead Viaduct.

The Ribblehead Viaduct
on the route of The Country Bus Slow TV
One assumes there will be an element of surprise as to who gets on the bus. Depending on the time of day or week will there be hikers looking to rest their feet? Will the bus get stuck behind bicycles on the country lanes? Could we even get "the nutter on the bus" of Jasper Carrot's comedic eulogising? Part of the joy of Slow TV is the unfolding unexpectedness of what might happen. Not that someone getting off the bus has quite the same shock as an important character's elimination in Game of Thrones... but hopefully you get what I mean. Drama is more subtle and microcosmic in Slow TV.

As the BBC continues to build its portfolio of All Aboard! Slow TV transport shows, this is a welcome production and I'm hopeful this framing of its content shows promise of a stronger conceptualisation of telling the whole story. Like previous journey based Slow TV productions, it will be made by ITV owned The Garden Productions for BBC4.

Thacking Lane, Ingleton
It may be Slow TV but there's no need to swear about it
Now, if this were to be like buses (you wait ages for one then three come at the same time), we need another Slow TV show announcement from the BBC (or another UK broadcaster would be welcome). A second Slow TV production with trainspotting as its subject has been announced, and it's live.

This liveness is very important, too. It has that sense of 'now', that we're witnessing something unfold at the same time as we're watching it. Yes, there has to be the expectation of what trains will be coming through and when courtesy of timetables. What if there are delays? Cancellations? What type of locomotives? Which carriage numbers? Diesel - steam - electric?

Based at The Didcot Heritage Railway Centre, veteran broadcaster Peter Snow will be joined by a mathematician, Dr Hannah Fry with a rail-roving reporter, Dick Strawbridge (with probably the most amazing moustache on UK TV) over three (simultaneous?) evenings on BBC4. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, maybe? Would give a very different pattern of train timetable, different types of passenger and reasons for travelling, with more time for the dedicated trainspotter and the Slow TV curious viewer to tune in.

Trainspotting is like a box of chocolates... never know what you're going to get
This extended series of live events will allow greater interaction with the show, online and maybe in person, too. Could Dick Strawbridge's appearing from different locations allow unexpected interactions? (Probably welcome and unwelcome interactions! I am continually delighted at how well behaved the uninvited interactions on the Norwegian format are - even if the last one from Saltstraumen included a group of men and women running in their underwear across a bridge). Unstaged behaviour helps populate a Slow TV production with an added element of surprise for viewer and producer - and in the case it is unsuitable, hopefully cutting to another camera would be an option.

Trainspotting Live obviously is not a journey from A to Z (or F to M), but embraces a good principle or two of Slow TV. It is a surprising thing to put on TV, a novelty - therein lies a hook to attract viewers, besides any core audience attracted to its subject. It also allows a sense of waiting and expecting something interesting to happen. Maybe it will, maybe it won't. If it doesn't, then the viewer will find interest in the picture somehow, if the producer will refrain from cutting from something quickly if they feel 'nothing' might be happening.

All Aboard! The Country Bus Slow TV goes across the broadest
part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park
Scenes need to be allowed to speak for themselves. Think of the slowness in Slow TV like an old friend. You don't need continual chat and information, just being in each others' presence is good enough.There will be moments for saying things, imparting information - when the time's right - but not some nervous chit chat in case that awkward-silence-thing happens. Slow TV is about allowing things to have their time. Not prolonging, not artificially reducing speed but having its own innate speed.

So, these two productions from the BBC should play out in the next few months. Trainspotting Live while we still have light evenings, perhaps The Country Bus as the evenings draw in as a memoir of sunny days past as Christmas twinkles on the temporal horizon and maybe another festive Slow TV offering comes from a UK broadcaster.

Early morning near Ingleton - perfect for Slow TV
Did you hear about the Russian Slow TV? Have a look at What was so right with Russia's War and Peace Slow TV?

Slow Down - a dedicated Slow TV and Slow Radio show starting on RedShift Radio from 8th September.

New to The Slow TV Blog? Have a look around...

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Thursday, 11 August 2016

Rest in Peace, Jack Yost: A Nonagenerian who understood Slow TV

Jack aged 30, in 1954
On July 29th, my father-in-law, Jack Yost, passed away. It had been something we had anticipated for the whole year so far. Much of the spare time of the year had been spent travelling to be with and support my in-laws.

At 92 years old he remained strong despite a series of major illnesses over the last few years. He kept his mental acuteness and perception up to only a week or two before his death.

Always one to ask lots of questions, seeking to understand things and increase his knowledge, Jack had gained a good understanding of Slow TV from his conversations with myself. It will be an enduring memory of watching the Reindeer Slow TV on BBC4 and Jack offering his independent critique of what he was watching.

I sat many times with Jack in his last few days, taking it in shifts to watch and keep him company during the day and the night. The small changes in a larger story you get in Slow TV were parallels I'm sure Jack would have understood as I observed the small changes in his story point to their inevitable conclusion.

The sense of peace following his passing was tangible, touchable. He gave an example of living life to the full - even if not able to get around much in his last few months.

I'll miss watching more Slow TV with Jack. He asked so much about it, watched my documentary I made about Slow TV, and he was very proud to see me interviewed on BBC Breakfast earlier in the year.

His story took 92 years and a couple months to tell. The tale of his will-to-hang-on-to-life started on New Year's Eve last year, and took seven months to have its moments of stasis and moments of drama, with times of subtle changes if you knew where to look along the way. We paid our final respects yesterday, on the 10th August.

Thanks Jack - it was good to have another person who could understand and discuss Slow TV in the family.

Rest in peace.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

On The Radio - This Thursday

I'll be on RedShift Radio between 14:00 and 15:00 BST this Thursday talking about Slow TV. I'll be a guest on Chrisoula Sirigou's show, 'Health and Healing'. Tune in anyway via 'Listen Live' on the RedShift Radio website - also see RedShift's Facebook Page and Twitter Feed.

Photo courtesy of Madgdalena at Dalegraphy

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Three Slow TV shows in this week of July

Can't get enough Slow TV? Three to choose from this week:

Birdwatching in northern Norway up to and including Thursday evening

A Paddle Steamer in southern Norway from Tuesday to Saturday inclusive

Trainspotting Live - the first episode is here to watch in the UK. Two more episodes 8pm BST Tuesday and Wednesday on BBC4. Trainspotting Live arriving on Platform BBC4, 8pm, 11th July.

New to The Slow TV Blog? Have a look around...

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First Thoughts on Trainspotting Live

Courtesy Plum Pictures and BBC Four
From a Slow TV point of view, these are my first thoughts on BBC4's Trainspotting Live, produced by Plum Pictures.

What a marvellous celebration of the rail network and trains, from the Victorian period to now, from urban train stations to iconic lines and landscapes. BBC4's Trainspotting Live is not so much Slow TV but embracing several key principles of Slow TV.

At its heart, Slow TV is about taking your time to see what you can see if and until when something 'big' happens. It's in that waiting where the smaller details assume greater significance and then the mundane evolves into the spectacular. It's about finding the meaning in the meantime.

In terms of the images, the transmission itself is not very 'slow' in that we do not have a picture where not much is happening for a while. It is a steady flow of pictures and cuts from around the country, blended together with pre-recorded packages about rail history and enthusiasts. Even watching the Crewe built Black 5 approach the halt in Scotland, the broadcast was cut to the next piece of information before the experience of watching all of the train could pass. Slow TV is more about the experience than the information.

Yes, information unpacks and explains the experience - but the head-knowledge about something rarely replaces the experience knowledge of it. This is where English is inadequate to convey the nuances of knowledge. Think about the German verbs Wissen with Kennen, or French Savoir with Connaitre. Let's see more of the train as it passes, and hold off the producer's itch to cut to the next stimulating information feed.

27 minutes into the first episode the poet Ian McMillan, commenting on the poem 'Adelstrop' narrated by Richard Burton (what a fantastic voice that man had), he remarks about moments of stasis in a poem being a metaphor for moments of stasis in life - where you sit and wait, then somehow in that waiting, history turns and culture turns. That really is capturing some of the transformative essence of Slow TV.

However, Trainspotting Live is good TV medicine, something we need more of. It's a celebration of the everyday, a celebration of something not usually on TV. Thankfully there are another two one-hour segments of Trainspotting Live. Making special moments of the everyday. The mundane becomes the spectacle, the small things become the big things.

New to The Slow TV Blog? Have a look around...

The enthusiasm of the presenters and the participants in Trainspotting Live was fantastic and endearing. The passion for details and nuances, the celebration of 'nerd' ways. I used to take offence at the word 'nerd' but now I see it as something to be embraced - I too am quite a nerd for ancient sites, and yes, well, Slow TV.

Nice one Plum Pictures and BBC4. A live fest of history, heritage, rail-enthusiast excitement. Even if there's not much actual Slow TV in the production, the presence of several principles of Slow TV is a good thing in a media world where we used to having quick fire stimulation.

The first episode is here to watch in the UK. Two more episodes 8pm BST Tuesday and Wednesday on BBC4.

Trainspotting Live arriving on Platform BBC4, 8pm, 11th July.

Can't get enough Slow TV? More this week  - Birdwatching in northern Norway up to and including Thursday evening, and also a Paddle Steamer in southern Norway from Tuesday to Saturday inclusive, courtesy of NRK.

Slow Television - The Slow TV Blog

Skibladner - Paddle Steamer Slow TV

"Skibladner" is the name of a ship and as a Slow TV show, a week on and around the historic paddle steamer on the big lake Mjøsa not that far north from Oslo Gardermoen airport.

There is minute by minute broadcast daytime from 09.30 to 14.00 local time (08:30 to 13:00 BST), and an evening show as well as on radio, from Tuesday 12th July to Saturday 16th. More details about timings and the route (which includes several stops) in Norwegian HERE (if you don't know Norwegian, in Chrome, right click and set 'translate to...' whichever language is your default language.

You can watch live HERE during the transmission.

Lots of opportunities for interaction.An active Facebook page HERE for Skibladner and another for NRK Hedmark op Oppland, and Instagram feed for NRK Hedmark op Oppland HERE.

Hashtags to watch are #Skibladner, #MinuttForMinutt (Minute by Minute), and #NRKSommer.

There's already been a choir and lots of flag waving, and lots of following boats. A wide array of high quality camera angles of the scenery, people, the boat and the journey. It continues as a celebration of everyday activities and journeys. This will be Norwegian Slow TV as we know (and love) it.

New to The Slow TV Blog? Have a look around...

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Friday, 8 July 2016

Birdwatching with Norwegian Slow TV on Hornøya

Credit: NRK Natur on Flickr.
There's still just under a week left of "NRK Piip", an epic scale birdwatching Slow TV transmitting Tuesday to Sunday over five weeks, up to and including 14th July.
70,000 birds on Hornøya provide a drama of life, death and birth on an island at the top of mainland Norway right on the Russian border.
15 cameras, several streaming live 24/7, some trained on different species; the choice of those available online are shown HERE.
Credit: NRK Natur on Flickr.
A Flickr page with beautiful stills from the show is HERE. Screened episodes are available anywhere retrospectively HERE, without geo-blocking.
NRK also begins transmission from a Paddle Steamer - The Skibladner, Tuesday 12th to Saturday 16th July. More details HERE (post to follow)
If you can't get enough Norwegian Slow TV  Birdwatching, go along to for a choice of four different bird species to follow.

New to The Slow TV Blog? Have a look around...

Slow Televison - The Slow TV Blog

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Trainspotting Live arriving on Platform BBC4, 8pm, 11th July.

Between 8 and 9pm on the 11th, 12th and 13th July, BBC4 will be screening "Trainspotting Live". 

There will be times of waiting to see what happens - live, in real time - a core dynamic of Slow TV. It will be good to see how much it is a mix of a live news event, traditional 'information' film and to what an extent it is an experiential Slow Television celebration of trains and rail network, minute by minute. 

Will they include any delayed services? Even the very first Slow TV from NRK in Norway was lengthened by about 10 minutes due to a signalling problem between Bergen and Oslo!

There will an official live blog on the BBC website (some of it already being coupled together HERE). There's an invitation to get involved via Twitter (#TrainSpottingLive) and on Facebook from the page.

Also keep an eye on tweets from Plum Pictures and Didcot Railway Centre HERE and HERE, respectively.

New to The Slow TV Blog? Have a look around...

The BBC Press release reads:

"Trainspotting Live will bring three nights of spotting, joy and excitement to BBC Four as Peter Snow, mathematician Dr Hannah Fry and engineer Dick Strawbridge along with a team of rail train enthusiasts revel in the tantalising intricacies, trade secrets and true pleasures of trainspotting... live!

Live from the historic Didcot Rail Museum, Peter Snow will be asking the audience to join the spotting by recording the most frequent to the most elusive trains on the tracks all over country during the three days of live broadcast. Our team of expert spotters will also be waiting in anticipation to catch the full range of British rail stock on camera - from classic steam, to diesel locomotives, to high-speed electric and our rarest beauties - explaining how they did it and delving into their importance in our British heritage.

Mathematician Hannah will be breaking down the mind-bending equations that go into keeping the thousands of trains on the network every day, while engineer Dick will explore the historic hidden marvels of rail engineering and surprising, rich history of trainspotting as trains whizz past his trainspotting location in the north of England, live.

As the train spots come in thick and fast from our presenters and the Great British public, Peter will be joined in Didcot by collectors, photographers, record holders and poets.

This is not just a show for the thousands of trainspotters out there; this is a show for anyone with a passion for British history, travel and engineering. This is a love letter to trains told by trainspotters – the custodians of our train history.

Trainspotting Live was produced in partnership with The Open University."

Slow Television - The Slow TV Blog

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Terms and Conditions apply - The Slow TV way

How long does it take to read the terms and conditions on your mobile phone's apps?

The Norwegian Consumer Council has grasped and used a key concept of Slow TV to make the point that these terms and conditions are absurdly long. The average Norwegian with a smartphone has 33 apps on their phone; to read the T's annd C's for these takes - well - approaching 32 hours.

Slow TV - how long does it take to show something? As long as that certain something lasts.

More here.

New to The Slow TV Blog? Have a look around...

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Wednesday, 11 May 2016

The Eurovision Song Contest - A Song for Slow TV?

Watching the first semi final for the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 I was delighted to hear a song which could well be a song for Slow TV. Writing this blog post has caused me to think over Slowness in media, Norway and Eurovision.

Back in 2014, The Common Linnets' song "Calm After the Storm" got my vote - a stand out acoustic country music song - and many others must have felt similar as it came second, behind Conchita Wurst.

Well, this year The Netherlands is back with another fine acoustic number - which on the basis of this first semi final stands out because of that. With a title and chorus of "Slow Down" and a meaning of using a decelerating technique to solve a problem, well, its link to one of the dynamics of Slow Television and Slowness becomes clear.

Relax, take it easy and allow a more organic pace of being enable the way forward to be found.

Eurovision in some respects could be thought of as a form of Slow TV in that it's a long live televised event, but only in that way. If you keep in mind the editing pace - how quickly it's cut between different camera angles - it absolutely is not Slow TV. It is also meticulously planned in camera angles, lighting, stage effects - and everything apart from the voting is worked out in advance.

Now, Norway has a winning formula with NRK's Slow TV - perhaps for a future year someone ought to write a Slow TV song for their Eurovision entry? Norway has so far won three times. The upbeat Eurovision pop of La Det Swinge from Bobbysocks in 1985, Alexander Rybak in 2009 with Fairytale - a little slower - but not as slow as their 1995 winner.

Nocturne from Secret Garden won in 1995. It surely must be the slowest Eurovision winner? Also notable about it, is that it is almost entirely instrumental. Have a look and listen to the below clip; the whole pace of the piece is dreamy - very much at home within the Enya and Clannad school of music. So, you could argue Norway has an antecedent for Slowness in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Remarkably noticeable is the pace of the camera changes, the near static performance of the group and compare the lighting and stage effects with the contest's stimulation-fest of today. You don't have to keep up with the editing - it's relaxed and calming.

Like Slow TV in the mainstream media landscape of today is noticeable with its calmness, Nocturne stands out hugely in the history of Eurovision for its feel. With music writers like Stargate, or A-ha - or someone like Kari Bremnes (not that far from the feel of Nocturne), there are ample world-quality established names who could use Slow TV to inform a Eurovision Song Contest entry. Just a thought.

So, this year, it's The Netherlands to bring something slower to a contest you either love, or love to hate. I don't know which song will get my vote in the end (I loved Armenia and Austria's entries - and haven't heard the other 20 entries yet) - but for the sake of Slowness, this blog celebrates 'Slow Down'. Good luck, Douwe Bob!

Related content: What was so right with Russia's War and Peace Slow TV?

New to The Slow TV Blog? Have a look around...

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Sunday, 8 May 2016

The Morning After - Saltstraumen

Approaching sunset - The Golden Hour at Saltstraumen - NRK
Well, it's the morning after spending 9 hours watching most of the 12 hour broadcast from Norway, from in, around, over and under the water. That was a very pleasing experience.

There's a lot to say about it. In fact, there's been much to say about Slow TV in the last week. So much afoot.

I'll look to get my review of Saltstraumen Minutt for Minutt here within the next few days, hopefully Monday afternoon or evening, but there is a lot of work to do at the moment! Nevertheless I was pleased to see many of my anticipated highlights came to pass.

The 12 hour programme is available in segments here.

Slow Television - The Slow TV Blog