A couple of months ago I put up a notice on my old site encouraging you to visit Alice Bennell’s blog and join her campaign to get the BBC to buy Dae Jang Geum — Jewel in the Palace — for showing on British TV.
Since then Alice has been working hard, and her blog has been going from strength to strength, covering not only DJG but Korean culture in London more widely — she had some great shots of the Korean day at the V&A at the end of May. She’s also been creating DJG trailers — visit her site to see some of them: they’ve proved very popular. And she’s also started up a discussion group at yahoo.
Alice has been aided in her campaign by the mysterious ukfan, a Chinese Brit who lives in rural Lincolnshire. Alice (aka YunYun) and ukfan met in an online K-drama club in Chicago. Ukfan is a tireless champion of Korean culture, and also a bit of a whiz when it comes to things on the PC. He did the rather fun graphic for Alice’s campaign and has now set up a bulletin board called DJG Comic Relief a forum for web artists and cartoonists to be creative with DJG material. His forum has only been up and running for a couple of months, but already it has members from Singapore, the Philippines, S Korea and USA, and has visitors from Spain and Egypt. It’s a multi-cultural, multi-lingual site whose aim is wider than having some fun with DJG: it’s a place to discuss Korea more widely.
And for those of you wanting to watch Korean TV and speak the lingo, ukfan also has a helpful post about how to watch loads of Korean TV channels over the internet once you have purchased a very cheap bit of software.
Alice’s site has had some good publicity in various forums, and she has had over 22,000 visitors to her site. Not bad for a couple of month’s work. Unfortunately this has only translated into 425 signatures on her petition. Maybe getting 22,000 signatures from people sitting somewhere out in East Asia is not going to make the BBC sit up and listen — so please could I encourage UK-based visitors to this site to add your name to the list? My name is already on there (#68). If you’re a cultural studies academic, think of it as a test of the strength of the hallyu. If you’re just a man in the street like me, think of it as an opportunity to get something worth watching onto our TV screens.
Alice has already been in touch with the head of Drama acquisitions at the BBC, and the initial rebuff has not deterred her. She’s going about it in a scientific way: she’s reviewing the BBC guidelines as set out on BBC Commissions website, and documenting why Dae Jang Geum meets all the criteria. She’ll be going back to the BBC armed with her arguments and hopefully with more signatures on her petition. YOUR signatures.