Thursday, May 14, 2009

There's Only One Way To Sort This Out ... FIGHT!

Here is the news (with sarcastic comments): ITV saw its revenues decline fourteen percent in the first three months of this year, it has been widely reported. Keith Telly Topping is, frankly, not surprised by this revelation. The company said that it now intends to cut costs by a further forty million pounds in 2010. ITV, which announced six hundred job cuts two months ago, said revenues for the January to March period totalled £425m, down from £492m a year earlier. ITV's advertising sales declined fiteen percent, although it added that this was not - quite - as bad as the industry-wide average sixteen percent fall.
Sky1, meanwhile, have mounted an audacious bid to swipe one of ITV's best shows Harry Hill's TV Burp as part of a strategy to buy must-see shows established by rival broadcasters. Or 'nicking other people's hard work' in other words. Negotiations for TV Burp are believed to be ongoing with producer Avalon Television. Its loss would come as a major (for which read Brigadier General) blow to ITV, which regards the triple-Bafta-winning series as one of the jewels in its crown. An ITV spokesman said: 'We have secured Harry Hill's TV Burp throughout autumn and winter, and long may it continue. He is very popular with viewers.' Yes, mate. That's why Sky want it. You'll notice they're not trying to lure Al Murray away from you. Other way round, wasn't it? Sky1 also tried to grab the third series of Gavin and Stacey from the BBC, with a bid to Baby Cow Productions estimated at between £400,000 to £750,000 per episode. However, the BBC ultimately secured the series for BBC1. Sky director of programmes Stuart Murphy originally commissioned Gavin and Stacey when he was controller of BBC3. Sources said that Murphy is keen to 'do for Sky1 what Sky Sports has done for sport', by buying in contemporary, premium brands. A Sky spokesman said: 'Sky strives to provide our customers with the best content. We continue to invest in programming and are examining a number of high-profile programmes that have a natural fit with Sky1.' The broadcaster stressed it will also continue to develop original content.

Audiences for Katie Price and Peter Andre's ITV2 reality show grew by forty percent after the couple announced their separation on Monday. A repeat episode of the series, Katie and Peter: Stateside, broadcast on Tuesday night, attracted an average audience of 480,000. An episode in the same time slot last week was watched by 285,000 people. So, it would appear that the couple's heartfelt request for privacy is being ignored. Pity.

Here's today's 'Is it April 1 already?' story: David Tennant has signed up to present Masterpiece Contemporary, a US TV strand which showcases many British drama productions. The Doctor Who star follows past hosts such as Sir Alistair Cooke, Alan Cumming and Laura Linney. Masterpiece, which is broadcast on the Public Broadcasting Service network (PBS), returns in October with the recently-screened-on-C4 drama about the moves towards peace in South Africa, Endgame. Previous programmes include Prime Suspect, Pride and Prejudice, Lewis and House of Cards. The Masterpiece series began as Masterpiece Theatre in 1971 and famously introduced a bit of culture in the form of Upstairs Downstairs and I, Claudius to the colonies. Subsequently it split into three seperate strands - Masterpiece Classic, Masterpiece Contemporary and Masterpiece Mystery. The latter features a mixture of British detective and crime series such as The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Agatha Christie's Miss Marple and Touching Evil.

And finally, later on tonight I'm going to be at a gala premiere at The Live Theatre in Newcastle. My excellent (if occasionally grumpy) producer, Scunthorpe Steve Drayton's one-man comedy show I'm nearly a fifty year old bloke and this is what I know about music opens for a two-night run. When his baby sister Louise gifted four-year-old Steve a toy Beatles guitar she set in motion an obsession that sound-tracked his life. From his first crush on Elton John, via Siouxsie and the Banshees to the Flaming Lips, music was his first love and it will be his last. In I’m nearly a fifty year old bloke… Steve reveals the secrets of this love, explains the speed of sound, berates Dire Straits (hey, I'm with you all the way on that score, Scunthorpe) and brings back to the stage 1980's pop phenomenon Bananarama* He will also dance in a manner that many would find embarrassing. (*Not actual size.) I understand that a few tickets may be still available for tomorrow night's performance (£10). Check here for availability. So, if you're not doing anything on a Friday night in Newcastle - and, let's face it that's perfectly probable - get yerself along.


Scott M said...

re. Endgame: for "the recently-screened-on-BBC2 drama about the moves towards peace in South Africa", read "...recently-screened-on-Channel-4..." :)

Keith Telly Topping said...

Oy vey! So it was. Well spotted, Scott mate that was today's 'deliberate mistake'... allegedly.