Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Bad News: You're Losing Primeval. The Worse News: You're Getting More Katie & Peter Instead

In the year's (possibly even the decade's) worst-kept TV secret ITV have finally axed Impossible Pictures' dinosaur drama Primeval after months of speculation to focus instead, they claim, on drama aired after 9pm. An ITV spokesman confirmed there were no plans for a fourth series as the broadcaster looked to extract 'maximum value' from its programming budget. For which, read 'pay more money to Simon Cowell cos he's the only person who makes programmes for us that anybody watches.' 'Our current focus is on post-watershed dramas,' he added, although it is understood that ITV will not rule out commissioning or airing pre-watershed dramas entirely. Just better ones than Demons and less expensive ones than Primeval, it would seem. A source close to the production team told website Total Sci-Fi: 'At the point where we finished the third series, we had every reason to believe we would be doing a fourth. Had we known there was any likelihood of cancellation, clearly we wouldn't have left half the cast marooned up a tree in the distant past.'

Sex and the City star Kim Cattrall, Big Brother presenter Davina McCall and rude and obnoxious Radio1 DJ Chris Moyles are to all feature in the new run of BBC1's genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are? which starts next month. The show, produced by Wall to Wall, returns for a six episode run which will also see Peep Show comedian David Mitchell, wildlife presenter Kate Humble and The Office star Martin Freeman researching their personal ancestry. Well, I'm definitely looking forward to the Davey Mitchell and Martin Freeman ones, anyway. Actually, the Kim Cattrall one could be rather decent too. McCall's show, which opens the season, sees the presenter trace her past back through both French and English ancestors. Moyles examines his Irish roots, which takes him from the slums of Dublin to the First World War battle at Ypres.

And now, it's time for our occasional series TV Moment Of The Week: And, undoubtedly, last week it was Jezza Clarkson's 'how could one ever, possibly, get tired of hitting Cristiano Ronaldo, in the face, with a hammer?' rant on 8 Out Of Ten Cats. God bless yer cotton socks, Mr Clarkson, sir. Once again you are on the button in an area of public concern. And Top Gear's back on Sunday. Several stories to follow notwithstanding, for just a moment the sun is shining and all is right in the world.

But, that's not going to last for long, you can tell/ Endemol could be about to kick-start its Endemol Sport division after it emerged as part of an investment consortium working towards a rescue deal for debt-stricken Setanta. Endemol is understood to be part of a refinancing package being pieced together by Access Industries, a private vehicle for Russian-born billionaire Len Blavatnik. Reports suggest Access Industries is looking to pay around twenty million pounds for a fifty one percent controlling stake in Setanta. Access is thought to be carrying out due diligence on Setanta, which has bought itself some breathing space by paying part of the thirty five million pounds it owes the Premier League and scheduling two further payments. Endemol created a London-based sports division in September 2008.

Celebrities 'take time out from fame to play tricks on their fans and famous friends by donning cunning disguises' in a new ITV show which sounds remarkably like a barrel, somewhere, is being scraped. Harshly. In Anonymous, presented by Stephen Mulhern, three celebrities will wear prosthetic disguises to carry out gags on unsuspecting members of the public. Their new 'characters' will then perform 'an elaborate prank' on one of their celebrity friends - hopefully fololowed by them being punched, very hard, in their prosthetic disguise when their duplicity is revealed. The one-off special is made by Tiger Aspect Productions. In it, a sporting legend transforms into a well-to-do theatre luvvie to stitch up his England team-mate; a soap star goes on set of the drama she works on disguised as an Essex WAG to fool her cast-mates and a music mogul and talent show judge ages twenty years to fool his music acts. Stephen Mulhern will take them through the transformation process and will also guide them through the mischievous pranks every step of the way with the help of an earpiece and a microphone. John Kaye Cooper, controller of entertainment for ITV, said: 'It's fascinating to see how some of our best known celebrities are rendered unrecognisable by their disguises and just how they are treated when they are anonymous. Fame counts for nothing if nobody knows who you are and this show provides great comedy moments and an insight into the lives of some of TV's most famous faces.' Yet another glorious moment in ITV's history, it would seem as we're given what is, in effect, Pro-Celebrity Beadle's About by a desperate network trying to pass this donkey off as something new. This, ladies and gentlemen, let's remember, was the network that once produced The Avengers and Rising Damp. World in Action and The South Bank Show. But, no more ... And then they wonder why they're going broke?

Further to this, the Telegraph reports that ITV is clearly finding it increasingly difficult to shield its remaining viewers from its dire financial problems. Afer the disclosure that the Queen will be subjected to a cut-price Royal Variety Performance by the broadcaster this year, Fay Ripley told an interviewer that viewers will notice an omission to Monday, Monday, her forthcoming comedy drama which is named after the 1960s hit by The Mamas & The Papas (and which also stars Jenny Agutter and Holly Aird). The song itself will not be played over the opening and closing credits. 'They said they simply couldn't afford it,' noted Fay. 'It's a terrible shame.'

And, there's more bad news coming from ITVland. Pissed off that they've cancelled Primeval? Well, guess what they've got lined-up to replace it? Katie Price and Peter Andre are reported to have signed up for rival reality shows, according to the Daily Mail. The couple, whose acrimonious split last month after nearly four years of marriage, have both agreed deals with ITV that will - individually - document their newly single lives. 'We're already filming the show. I've just followed Peter to Macau in China, which was absolutely amazing,' said Andre's representative Claire Powell. 'Absolutely amazing' obviously being ITV-speak for total and utter ruddy drivel that only a moron would want to watch, clearly. 'It did him the world of good, and it was so nice to see him smile again.' Ah. Bless. A spokesperson for Price, who parted ways with Powell's management in May, added: 'Katie has signed a separate deal and will be filming her own show.' So, there you have it, ladies and gentlemen, messy public divorces can be good for the bank balance. It's a sick, sordid, crappy world we live in, dear blog reader. Of course to suggest - as some commentators have - that the entire marriage was nothing more than a sham and a massive publicity stunt at the public's expenses is probably a bit over-the-top and I certainly don't support it. On the other hand, saying that this pair are a complete joke, both of whom could do with having a good hard dose of harsh reality shoved, forcefully, down their smug throats until they choke on it falls under the legal definition of 'fair and honest comment,' and they can't touch you for it. So, if anybody wants to do that, feel free...

Lastly, dear blog readers, some very good news amid the rank detritus of modern 'celebrity' media: Captain Jack Harkness, Gwen Cooper and Ianto Jones return for a brand-new adventure in Torchwood – Children Of Earth, a new five-part drama seriel for BBC1 in July. An ordinary day becomes a world of terror, as every single child in the world stops. A message is sent to the governments of Earth: 'We are coming.' But as a trap closes around Captain Jack, sins of the past are returning, as long-forgotten events from 1965 threaten to reveal an awful truth. Torchwood are forced underground and, with members of the team being hunted down, Britain risks becoming a rogue state. Jack (John Barrowman), Gwen (Eve Myles) and Ianto (Gareth David-Lloyd) are helpless, as events escalate until humankind faces the end of civilisation itself. Due to the popularity of the series, Torchwood has made a swift move from BBC3 to BBC2, with the new instalment, Torchwood – Children Of Earth, finding itself on BBC1. Two promotions in two years - the sort of thing Leeds United still dream about. In one epic story, told over five episodes, the new series promises to be Torchwood's greatest adrenalin-fuelled, high-octane adventure to date. Ah, good. Something John Barrowman's in that doesn't leave me cringing and reaching for the sick bucket.


Ronnie B. said...

I honestly cannot believe ITV have cancelled Primeval.

Are they insane?!?

Ok, if they want to "save money", cut back on the Soaps. get rid of Britian's Got Talent and X-Factor, and all that kind of rubbish.

Keith Telly Topping said...

Three times as many people watch an episode of Britain's Got Talent or The X-Factor was watch Primeval - and they cost far less to produce. Now, you* try justifying the decision to make more Primeval at the expense of either of the other two to your shareholders and see how far you get!