It's official: Panorama is the least funny program on iPlayer

Tell iPlayer your mood, and it can now tell you what to watch.

The BBC has mixed TV watching with data. Clearly, this is amazing.

iPlayer now includes a prototype of an experimental "mood chart":


The chart lets you choose what to watch by picking whether you want a slow-paced or fast-paced show, and whether you want something serious or funny. Shows are marked for both qualities on scales of 1-5 and 1-6, and then put on the above chart.

Data journalism! What can we learn from the chart? Sadly, we will have to do this through visual inspection rather than proper analysis, since the BBC haven't yet responded to requests for the data.

Nonetheless, we can see a strong positive correlation between "humour" and how fast paced something is. The fastest paced program – the Graham Norton Show – is also the third most humorous (which, well, casts doubt on the accuracy of their dataset), while the most serious – Panorama's How Safe is Your Hospital – is in the bottom twenty for pacing.

It's also interesting to see that the dataset as a whole errs on the side of slow pacing, and is substantially more serious than it is humorous. All but 36 of the shows in the dataset are less than the midpoint on the humour/serious spectrum.

And, while it's impossible to tell without the full dataset, the median programme seems to be Lilly the Magnificent – a German short film aired at 4am on BBC 2. Which is weird.

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

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David Cameron’s starter homes: poor policy, but good politics

David Cameron's electoral coalition of buy-to-let retirees and dual-earner couples remains intact: for now.

The only working age demographic to do better under the Coalition was dual-earner couples – without children. They were the main beneficiaries of the threshold raise – which may “take the poorest out of tax” in theory but in practice hands a sizeable tax cut to peope earning above average. They will reap the fruits of the government’s Help to Buy ISAs. And, not having children, they were insulated from cuts to child tax credits, reductions in public services, and the rising cost of childcare. (Childcare costs now mean a couple on average income, working full-time, find that the extra earnings from both remaining in work are wiped out by the costs of care)

And they were a vital part of the Conservatives’ electoral coalition. Voters who lived in new housing estates on the edges of seats like Amber Valley and throughout the Midlands overwhelmingly backed the Conservatives.

That’s the political backdrop to David Cameron’s announcement later today to change planning to unlock new housing units – what the government dubs “Starter Homes”. The government will redefine “affordable housing”  to up to £250,000 outside of London and £450,000 and under within it, while reducing the ability of councils to insist on certain types of buildings. He’ll describe it as part of the drive to make the next ten years “the turnaround decade”: years in which people will feel more in control of their lives, more affluent, and more successful.

The end result: a proliferation of one and two bedroom flats and homes, available to the highly-paid: and to that vital component of Cameron’s coalition: the dual-earner, childless couple, particularly in the Midlands, where the housing market is not yet in a state of crisis. (And it's not bad for that other pillar of the Conservative majority: well-heeled pensioners using buy-to-let as a pension plan.)

The policy may well be junk-rated but the politics has a triple A rating: along with affluent retirees, if the Conservatives can keep those dual-earner couples in the Tory column, they will remain in office for the forseeable future.

Just one problem, really: what happens if they decide they want room for kids? Cameron’s “turnaround decade” might end up in entirely the wrong sort of turnaround for Conservative prospects.

Stephen Bush is editor of the Staggers, the New Statesman’s political blog.