back to article Beeb sacks teaboy, hires Press Association

The BBC Television Centre stock photo saga has taken a new, dramatic twist this morning, with the news that the Press Association has been called in to provide the definitive snap of Auntie's own building. On Tuesday, this piece by business editor Robert Peston was illustrated with a stock photo from Getty Images, something …


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  1. Russ Tarbox
    Thumb Up

    This is brilliant

    That is all.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Commission it as a BBC4 drama!

      This ongoing saga would make a good programme for BBC3 or 4!

      Half documentary, half soap opera.

      So just to recap, now they've paid staff and fees for a Gerry image, a home made image and a PA image, with the PA image being used for what was by then a dead story from days ago. Who says they couldn't care less how they piss away our money?

      If they didn't like the home made photo and were embarrassed at being seen to change it at even more expense, they should have had the PR brains to simply go back to the old one, not add a new one to the debacle.

      I now imagine BBC executives in the infamous BBC canteen, getting a plate of fish & chips, taking a couple of bites and then deciding they want steak instead. So they throw what they have in the bin and go back for a steak. Then they eat a slice of that and decide they'd rather have a salad. So they throw out the steak and get a salad. But by the time they sit down with that, they go all 'spoilt brat' again and chuck it in favour of a burger, chips and beans.

      It's not like they have to pay for it themselves or anything.

      1. Chad H.


        It can't go on BBC4, its far to entertaining. The only entertainment allowed on BBC4 is repeats of the Adam West Batman TV series.

        Its in the station remit or something that they must have as few viewers as possible.

        On a completely different subject, Any chance we can see a version of the story with a stock photo of Vulture Towers?

        1. Anonymous Coward


          Didn't they also show the Avengers too?

      2. dpg21

        re: BBC4 drama

        Of course what you forgot to mention was that, while they were throwing away all that food, the executives had gathered for lunch to discuss which dinnerlady they were going to have to sack as the running costs for the canteen were too high.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just as everyone predicted the other day

    sending the teaboy outside to take a snap using, seemingly, his cameraphone resulted in a bloody awful picture. And yes, the Beeb has an all-you-can-eat deal with PA as well.

  3. Trevor 3

    For the love of the sky fairy

    Just leave the goddamn pic alone now!

  4. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    Oh be fair

    There is nothing worng with the BBC using stock footage of their own building. They wanted something that looked OK.

    The first picture is a bit modern and trendy.

    The middle picture was taken when someone accidentaly pressed the shutter release putting the camera back in their bag, and looks pants.

    The last picture is very good for the article (you can recognise the building), although the photographer was obviously being chased by the anti-terrorist police with guns, and didn't have time to wait for the pedestrian to get out of the way.


    As for anyone could take the picture; anyone can write (except me; I'm an enigneer), so why employ journalists? Just let the cleaners write the articles...


  5. Alastair McFarlane

    Now *this* is a good use of my license fee

    It's better than their repeats and more entertaining than much of their original programming. I fully endorse this move by the BBC, clearly designed to entertain their viewers.

  6. Dick Head
    Dead Vulture

    `Debacle´ !!??!!

    Does anyone actually care?

    Come on theRegister, get a grip. If you want to publish amusing frothy articles it would be best to find a subject that's actually amusing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Wagging the dog

      The beeb has El Reg readers.

      They are taking the piss out of El Reg.

      El Reg seems not to have realised.

  7. Anonymous Coward


    "BBC has all you can eat deal with Getty Images and the Press Association SHOCKER!"

    piss-poor. How about some journalism, el regerino?

  8. Richy Freeway

    Is this all it seems?

    Do they actually pay per image? Wouldn't they have a contract with Getty and AP that allows them as many photos as they want a year?

  9. Asiren


    On an article about austerity measures, the Beeb shell out not once, but TWICE for a photo for the article.

    Is there any other icon?

  10. GoogleSux
    Thumb Down


    The BBC gets stock imagery at a flat rate regardless of how many images it uses from most of the large photo agencies, these would have cost them nothing, this is a non-article.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Non-Article

      "The BBC gets stock imagery at a flat rate regardless of how many images it uses from most of the large photo agencies, these would have cost them nothing, this is a non-article."

      So that would be like the "flat rate" the Beeb had with music publishers that led to stuff like the radio series of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy having to be re-edited because their agreement didn't allow usage of third-party works in anything other than a single medium?

      Yes, what a non-article! After all, it only affects all you licence fee payers having to dig a bit deeper to pay for the same stuff over and over again as it comes out on a slightly different medium that isn't covered by those "all* you can eat (*limits and restrictions apply)" agreements.

      But hey, let's just ignore the big picture and cut the Beeb some slack, as usual. After all, the gravy train keeps rolling, but "at least some of the people driving it are British".

      1. GoogleSux


        I don't understand your point, a flat rate means that they pay the press association, getty et al a flat rate monthly and can use any number of their images for the stories they are covering. Therefore choosing a stock image of their own building costs them nothing, they have effectively already paid for it, and in no way is that a waste of public funds, they simply chose a more appropriate image for the story.

        Hopefully that has cleared things up.

  11. LuMan
    Paris Hilton

    Yes, but... we get a close-up of the blonde bird talking on her phone?

  12. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Up


    +1 Comedy for the BBC web team :)

  13. Amazon Wageslave
    Thumb Up

    Robert Peston's just fucking with El Reg now, isn't he?

    Still, it made me laugh out loud. Which is more than can be said for most of the Beeb's "comedy" output.

  14. Lionel Baden

    oh dear

    I also think the bbc spend to much time reading the comments on tech website

    They should get back to work !!!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    This is lame

    That is all

  16. Daniel 1

    Stock photos on the BBC website? Never!

    Correspondents of Danny O'Brien's NTK newsletter were notorious, a few years back, for trawling the BBC news website's archives and sending in examples of how the news team would reuse the same stock photographs over and over again (often of marginal relevance to the stories they were attached to). Their pinnacle probably came in 2002, when they ran a story about a powercut in Oxforshire, which simply showed a black rectangle. I can't remember if they used a stock photograph of pitch darkness, or not - or, indeed, whether they reused the black rectangle on other, electricity-shortage-related, news articles, later on.

    I'm still waiting for a version of this picture that shows the front porch of Television Centre, with The Everywhere Girl standing outside it, in grey pullover and a hat like a teacosy.

    1. Chad H.

      Black Rectangle

      Could that one be next? "Bush House at night"?

      1. Daniel 1

        Well, I've often thought they deserved Viz-like captions...

        "A goldfish, last week"

        "A drunk woman, last night"

        "An even drunker woman - still there, while three o'clock, this morning"

        (Maybe she's the Everywhere Girl's mum, in fact: "Never Out Of The Pub Woman"?)

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    NO WAY

    They've changed it again!

    1. teacake

      @AC 09:39

      "They've changed it again!"

      Somebody over at the Beeb clearly reads the Reg and is playing a game of "How many articles can I generate?"

  18. Anonymous Coward

    How long before

    I guess the Daily Fail will be running an article on this. They will say scores of complaints have been made about the abuses of the BBC's monetary waste.

    ElReg, if the Daily Mail writes about this, then you can sue them dry. Finish them off and write off to the MP's that the Press Complaints Commission is run by the Daily Mail and is thus not fit for purpose in its current state.

  19. Bruce Hoult

    it's the time

    GoogleSux: sure they won't have paid anything for the photo, but they just paid for someone to change the article *twice*. For no good reason.

    To change the subject: has anyone seen the everywhere girl recently?

    1. Daniel 1

      She's a redhead, isn't she?

      Haven't they just arrested her for spying - or is that a different Everywhere Girl?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Clearly undercover

        The russian girl in the spiffy red dress? She wasn't a natural redhead. Probably what tipped off the feds too.

        Who's the sidey girl, though?

        1. Daniel 1

          No, we're on about Jennifer Chandra

          Jennifer Chandra is the everywhere girl - the woman who grew up to be a meme:

          She's a redhead, just like the BBC's "Never out of the pub woman"... In fact, maybe it's a redheaded woman thing... since we also have "Nokia woman" - Yvonne Puig:

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Anyone see the similar (wages) story on BBC1 news yesterday?

    ... they illustrated it with some nice aerial footage circling the site. Bet that wasn't cheap to commission. :-)

  21. the spectacularly refined chap

    It's only filler anyway...

    It seems many articles have photos with them that add absolutely nothing to the article. Does a photo of any of the BBC's buildings help the reader understand what the BBC is? Does a reader who has already made it to the BBC's website (presumably for the purposes of accessing journalism) really need any further explanation of the BBC is?

    What then do any of these photos actually acomplish other than filling space, consuming bandwidth and distracting from the actual article? Just because you _can_ (or in this case apparently , _can't_) include a photo in an article doesn't mean that it neccessarily follow that you _should_.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Missed one!

    There was another PA image After your first story and before your second when the iphone image appeared. Shame I didn't screen grab it.

  23. James Thomas 1

    It could be worse!

    Some work experience must have come up with the "image" on this page:

    1. frank ly

      I remember

      I do remember seeing that and thinking it would be a pretty good effort for a 10 year old. It was a 'bring your kids to work' day, must have been.

  24. Peter 39

    everywhere girl?

    When do we get one with the everywhere girl?

  25. Anonymous Coward

    I like the 4th pic best

    Bush House. Home to twats.

  26. Kay Burley ate my hamster


    I reckon they have been reading El Reg, and now they've got Lester on the run, quick Lester they changed it again!!! :D

    Oi Beebwebbys I owe you a pint.

  27. PsYcHoTiC_MaDmAn

    non story, except....

    To show why there is still the need for professional photographers.

    Just because cameras are cheap and just about every one has access to a camera, doesn't mean they produce usable images.

    The first one is the only decent image, the one by the teaboy is just crap, and whilst the others are better quality the framing of the image makes it look like someones holiday shots.

    Ironically, it does point out the futility of the way the terrorism laws are used. Because despite the ability to get all the photos they want discretely, the terrorist is far more likely to be there with tripods, multiple lenses, spend time framing the shot....

    But maybe I'm taking this too seriously

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why do they use a Television Centre photo?

    Most of the Beeb is now decamped just down the road at White City. Which is - as I can personally testify - the most confusing building on Earth - every corridor leads to a coffee shop.

  29. moogyboobles

    I don't mind

    the BBC paying for images, I'm a photographer and I know many are struggling.

    However I was slightly miffed when BBC used a PA image that was actually my photo of my husband. I didn't even get a credit (to add insult to injury they also completely ignored my existence in the article too)!

  30. Anonymous Coward

    Yet another one

    Right now it's showing an "artsy" red filtered image with some railroad tracks and a couple of nondescript buildings in the distance. I assume from the satellite dish that they're BBC buildings. No attribution this time.

  31. Mr Grumblefish

    Next Move

    Image rotation script FTW.

  32. Ben Cwilewicz
    Thumb Up

    now with added link back!

    And yet another new image, this time marked BBC with a link back to this article. Superb!

  33. MJI Silver badge

    I read this as Sackboy


  34. Chris Morrison
    Thumb Up

    Love the Alt data in the html source

    ="The BBC's news and current affairs programmes and news website have annual agreements with AP, PA, AFP, Allsport and Getty Images for image use. This image has been changed six times at a cost to the licence-fee payer of a few pence in terms of man-hours, which will be made up for in overtime."

    1. GrahamT
      Thumb Up


      Yah boo sucks and two fingers to the Reg and its commentards. Good old Beeb; that's why we love you.

      Worth every penny of the license fee.

  35. Mad Hacker
    Thumb Up

    Love it!

    Thanks for suggesting I read the alt text in the page source too. Brilliant!

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