Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Cap'n Jack's Back (And, Not Yet Ready For The Sack)

Torchwood: Children Of Earth had an impressive start for BBC1, according to overnight ratings figures. The opening episode of the third series of the Doctor Who spin-off gained just short of six million viewers (with a 25.8% audience share) during the 9pm hour, coming first in its timeslot. Its nearest rival, ITV's Real Crime, which looked at the murder of teenager Hannah Foster, managed 4.15m (18%), while BBC2's The Supersizers Eat... The French Revolution could only get 1.55m. Poor Giles and Sue, if it's not the ruddy tennis, it's Big Johnny Barrowman and his greatcoat of rampant homosexuality. A new series of Alex Polizzi's The Hotel Inspector took 1.57m for Five and the second part of Channel 4's Inside Nature's Giants series got 1.72m. Earlier, Channel 4's Teenagers Fighting Cancer was seen by 830,000 opposite BBC2's University Challenge - 2.43m. Channel 4's Big Brother highlights show - which featured another argument between Rodrigo and Charlie, apparently - managed 1.75m. On multi-channels, One Tree Hill's return to E4 scored 384,000, beating the first part of Dawn Porter's documentary My Breasts Could Kill Me (181,000) on Sky1. So, that's one lot of big tits beating another ...

Okay, okay, it's been a strange day.

The BBC has apologised for an error experienced by some Sky+ users who tried to record Sunday night's edition of Top Gear on their set-top-boxes. The problem was said to have been caused by a scheduling error related to the BBC's coverage of the Wimbledon final between Andy Roddick and Roger Federer. In response to a potential tennis overrun, Top Gear's start time was pushed back on the EPG to 8:30pm instead of the usual 8pm. An earlier finish at the tennis meant that the start time reverted back to normal, but this was not updated on the EPG, resulting in just a portion of the programme being subsequently recorded. A BBC spokesman explained: 'At one point it was thought that our tennis coverage may run past its scheduled time slot. However, this didn't happen and Top Gear began at its original scheduled time. Unfortunately some EPGs displayed an inaccurate start time. We're sorry for any disappointment or inconvenience this may have caused.'

Tabloid reports have claimed that Simon Cowell will quit The X Factor after the forthcoming series. According to the Daily Mirror, Cowell will leave the show to focus on his rumoured new entertainment company with Topshop owner Sir Philip Green. Cheryl Cole, Louis Walsh and Dannii Minogue are said to be remaining on the judging panel. Cowell's contract with ITV ends in December and he is allegedly reviewing his future TV plans. Cowell reportedly wants to keep his post on fellow ITV series Britain's Got Talent. 'He has found X Factor increasingly draining and it leaves him little time for serious business,' said a source. 'Now he's decided this will be his last series and he's moving on.' Is anybody bothered? (I have to also note that, in the interests of a fairness I tried - hard - to find a photo of Cowell looking something other than smug to illustrate this story. But, after two hours of searching the Internet, I couldn't find one - or anything even remotely like it - so I went for the opposite route.)

Channel 4 has announced that Comedy Showcase will return for a second series. The show, which aims to find the UK's best established and up-and-coming comedic talent, was last seen in 2007 and led to the commissioning of The Kevin Bishop Show. Among the potential pilots being unveiled are Pete v Life, from the makers of Peep Show; The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret; Campus; The Amazing Dermot; PhoneShop and Guantanamo Phil, starring Peep Show's Steve Edge. 'I am very excited to announce another series of six new Comedy Showcase films,' said Channel 4's Andrew Newman. 'From the first series we commissioned three full series, so it is great to be able to invest another raft of exciting new ideas from some of Britain's top comedy producers. This year's line-up features a fantastic range of both fresh talent and established stars and will take us into the varied but hopefully hilarious worlds of sports commentary, university campuses, mobile phone shops, stage hypnotism, energy drink sales and political prisoners in Guantanamo Bay.'

Andrew Jackson has today been appointed as the new Head of the BBC Natural History Unit. Currently Managing Director of the independent production company Tigress, Jackson will replace Neil Nightingale, who is standing down after six years in the role to return to programme making. Jana Bennett, Director, BBC Vision, says: 'I am delighted that Andrew is joining the BBC in this important role leading the Natural History Unit, the centre of the best natural history film-making in the world. Andrew's own track record demonstrates his enthusiasm and dedication to programmes about the natural world in delivering ever more ambitious projects which deepen our appreciation of natural history and amaze us with the beauty of the world about us.'

After a successful first series, CBBC's Horrible Histories is back for a second run. Written by some of Britain's finest comedy writers, this series stars Sarah Hadland (That Mitchell And Webb Look), Jim Howick (Peep Show), Simon Farnaby (Jam and Jerusalem, The Mighty Boosh), Ben Ward (Dead Ringers) and voices from Jon Culshaw, who bring to life gruesome events and ghastly characters from British and international history. CBBC Controller Anne Gilchrist has ordered a second thirteen part series of the factual entertainment show from Lion Television which is based on the best-selling books by Terry Deary and illustrated by Martin Brown. 'Horrible Histories was a hideously gruesome and gory success for CBBC,' says Gilchrist. 'It introduced children to the great facts and narratives of history in a hilarious way and featured some of the finest in comedy writing and performances I've seen for a long time.'

Des O'Connor has called for a return of 'light entertainment' and 'big stars' to British television. The former Countdown presenter said that he believed the public were united in favouring old-fashioned broadcasting formats. 'Just ask the public and I think we already know what they will say,' he told Digital Spy. 'They miss the kind of big stars and quality light entertainment productions that the whole family could sit down and watch together.' Speaking about modern TV and the rise of reality shows, he said: 'We have to be realistic in today's economic climate, but I still feel we should be aiming at feel good television that people can watch with a smile on their face.'

Trisha Goddard has blasted Loose Women for only having white presenters. According to Bang Showbiz, the chatshow host criticised producers for failing to employ panellists from different ethnic backgrounds. 'Driven snow means it is very white, middle-class,' she said. 'If your staff come from a predominantly under-privileged area and socio-economic group, you are going to reflect that.' She added: 'There are a lot of people who are from non-Anglo backgrounds who would be fantastic on that show. It would be nice to have more of a representative mixture because we are a hotch-potch society.' Earlier this year, The Trisha Goddard Show was cancelled by Five. Which may, also, have been part of a massive Caucasian conspiracy on the part of the Military-Industrial-Entertainment Complex but, more likely, was because it was rubbish and no one was watching it.

Origin Pictures, the production company of acclaimed film producer David Thompson, and BBC Films have secured the rights to William Boyd’s next thriller before its September publication. Ordinary Thunderstorms is set in London against the backdrop of a huge drug-testing conspiracy and centres on a cat and mouse chase between a man framed for a crime he didn't commit and 'the powers that want him dead.' The screenplay will be written by Boyd himself, who previously adapted his own novels A Good Man In Africa and Armadillo for screen and also penned Chaplin and The Trench. 'I'm absolutely delighted to be working with David, Origin and BBC Films. A completely perfect combination as far as I’m concerned,' Boyd said. Thompson, who is a former head of BBC Films, added: 'It's a hugely exciting proposition and very rare to come across a big London-set thriller that is both sophisticated and unpredictable in equal measure.'

Richard Wilson is to present a new BBC documentary about death. The hour-long show, which will look at how people deal with bereavement, has been been dubbed 'distasteful' by independent watchdog Mediawatch-UK according to the Sun. The watchdog - for which read 'a bunch of interfering know-nothing chebs who wish to dictate matters of artistic concern according to their own narrow, puritanical and outdated values' - also claimed that the One Foot In The Grave comedian was an inappropriate choice as host. However, the BBC has described Two Feet In The Grave as 'a sensitive exploration of attitudes towards death.' As you can no doubt tell from the wholly sensitive title. I don't know which one to side with here, the Mary Whitehouse-lite scum-nutters, or a production team whose idea of sensitivity is, seemingly, smacking viewers in the face with a bit of two-by-four. Toughie.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh, how I love reading your colunm:)

I will probably tune into the Richard Wilson ''Docu''
If only out of morbid curiosity;)