Thursday, July 30, 2009

No Days Off Watching The Telly For You Lot, Even If You Have Got Swine 'Flu!

Just a mad-quick reminder from keith Telly Topping to you, dear blog reader.

Tonight's episode of Mock the Week features the very excellent Aussie comedian Adam Hills - a particular favourite of this blogger - and the pride of Hudderfield Alun Cochrane. Not to mention Dara, Russell, Hugh and Mad Frankie. Don't miss it. Or, if you do, watch it on iPlayer.

Meanwhile, Comedy Central UK's first original commission is to be a hidden camera series fronted by Balls of Steel star Olivia Lee. Olivia Lee: Dirty, Sexy, Funny is an eight part series made by Tiger Aspect inspired by the glamorous and shallow lives of the characters found in shows such as Gossip Girl and Ugly Betty. It is narrated by Lee as the voice of 'anonymous' blogger City Girl, who writes a Belle de Jour-style web diary about London and also features her playing larger-than life pranks on unsuspecting members of the public, who become part of the action. As well as the stunts, the series will feature a number of scripted sketches and various characters from Lee and her crew. Lee's characters will include Miss Single, Ms Technophobe, the Door Bitch and Lady Gatecrasher, who goes around invading a variety of major public events causing maximum embarrassment to both herself and others. Sounds positively hilarious. The series was ordered by Comedy Central director of content Sarah Farrell and the series producer and director is Chris Faith. Piers Torday is the producer, and Tiger Aspect head of entertainment Clive Tulloh will executive produce. Tulloh was also executive produced Olivia Lee's Naughty Bits, a Tiger Aspect Comedy Lab pilot that aired on Channel 4 last summer and promptly sank without trace.

Torchwood and Life on Mars writer Chris Chibnall will not return as showrunner on the second series of ITV's Law & Order: UK and plans to concentrate on other projects. Showrunning is, of course, a common feature in most US drama and comedy but is quite rare in the UK. A Kudos spokeswoman said Chibnall would not be replaced. Three writers from the previous series are already penning three episodes each and Andrew Woodhead, Jane Featherstone and Stephen Garrett will executive produce the second series. Woodhead added that the 'incredible job' Chibnall had done on the first series meant the show's processes and practices were well established, negating the need for a new showrunner. The initial seven episodes, which starred Bradley Walsh, Martha out of Doctor Who and Apollo out of Battlestar Galactica amongst others, were a huge (and deserved) success for ITV, drawing audiences of more than six million. The final six episodes from the first recording block have yet to air. A second thirteen episode series was ordered last month and production will start in seven weeks time.

Sky1's schedule under Stuart Murphy is starting to shape up, with an X Factor-style dancing competition lined-up to replace Don't Forget the Lyrics! which has been cancelled. Just Dance is an eight episode co-production by Shine TV and Princess Productions and is Duncan Gray's first order as Sky1 entertainment editor. Executive producers are Karen Smith and Henrietta Conrad. The series will kick off with nationwide auditions for dancers of all styles, shapes and sizes and a panel of famous names will select performers to take part in 'studio dance extravaganzas' for a place in one of three semi-finals. In the live final, the winner will be selected by the public. So, exactly like X-Factor but for dancers, in other words. How stunningly, jaw-droppingly, mind-numbingly original. The auditions also feature a section called Dancing in the Street, in which the live audience will join the contestants for a professionally choreographed mass-participation routine. The show will go out in January 2010 and will replace RDF Media's karaoke series Don’t Forget the Lyrics!, which comes to an end next month. Just Dance is scheduled to go out in the same month as Outline Productions' Fat Families (working title), a six-part series that will see presenter Steve Miller visiting homes and using shock tactics to encourage families to 'lose the weight, before it's too late.' If he comes round here, keith Telly Topping will show him just how late it is. The show is scheduled to air at 8pm, which Sky1 is keen to establish as a 'factual' slot. It was ordered by Sky1 commissioning editor, factual and features Emma Read and Outline's Laura Mansfield is executive producer. Sky 1's Celia Taylor has also ordered Uppercut Films to produce ninty-minute documentary War Torn (working title), which will chronicle the experiences of injured British service personnel as they embark on an epic journey to the Everest region. Finally, Gray has ordered twenty five episodes of Silver River's camera clip series Oops TV, featuring Justin Lee Collins.

Taggart's executive producer of seven years has been made redundant as speculation about the future of the long-running drama grows within the industry. STV Productions head of drama Eric Coulter has left the broadcaster, as has Taggart series producer Graeme Gordon. Coulter oversaw thirty eight episodes of the popular crime show. His role as STV Productions head of drama will effectively be taken by drama executive Margaret Enefer and director of content Alan Clements. Gordon, who produced more than forty episodes of Taggart, will not be replaced. The departures come as Taggart's future appears to hang in the balance.

Kim Cattrall has revealed that her maternal grandfather was a bigamist. The Sex And The City star, who was born in Liverpool, discovered details about her background during her appearance on a forthcoming Who Do You Think You Are? The fifty two-year-old learned that George Baugh left his family when her mum was eight-years-old and that he was still married to her grandmother when he wed another woman, E! reports. She said: 'The most difficult thing was telling my mother and her sisters the truth of what became of their father. I felt I was ruining their last fantastic hope of what became of him. He was unremarkable except in his selfishness.' She added: 'Ultimately, who am I to judge my grandfather? His story will eventually integrate into our lives and we'll carry on just like we've always done. We are British, after all. In the end, this became a story not about my grandfather's desertion, but about my mother and her two sisters surviving it. For that, I am profoundly proud and grateful.'

An upcoming abortion-themed episode of Family Guy will not air on the FOX network, it has been reported. The broadcaster has refused to screen the 'controversial' instalment but will not halt its distribution onto other platforms such as a DVD release, says The Hollywood Reporter. 'Fox will not air the 'Partial Terms Of Endearment' episode of Family Guy, but we fully support the producers' right to make the episode and distribute it in whatever way they want,' the channel's executives said in a statement. Show creator Seth MacFarlane spoke out about the subject at Comic-Con, saying: '20th Century Fox, as always, allowed us to produce the episode and then said, "You know what? We're scared to f**king death of this."' He later clarified his comments in an e-mail to the publication, adding: 'We were allowed to take a crack at this controversial story and that's enough for me.'

Anna Paquin has revealed that the one thing she doesn't like about her True Blood character is her hair colour. The actress, who plays Sookie Stackhouse on the HBO vampire series, told a Comic-Con audience that she would spend less time in a hair salon having her 'roots retouched' if her role on the series wasn't blonde. She said: 'What do I not like about her? Well if Charlaine [Harris, author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels] and the creators had written her as a non-natural blonde, I would be spending a lot less time in the hair salon getting my roots retouched, and my hair would probably be a little bit longer because it's gradually getting shorter as the ends break off because I'm a fake, fake, fake blonde.'

Suranne Jones (Unforgiven, Coronation Street) leads an impressive ensemble cast in Gwyneth Hughes' (Miss Austen Regrets, Cherished) gripping new drama serial Five Days, which will returns to BBC1 in 2010, it was announced today. Kate Harwood, BBC Controller Drama Series & Serials, says: 'Once again Gwyneth has delivered a tense emotional drama about a rich range of characters which will leave viewers desperate to find out what happens next in a complex story of mystery and moment.' A tiny newborn baby is abandoned in the toilets of a Yorkshire hospital. At the same time, the Trans-Pennine commuter train is halted by a suicidal jumper. Are the two events connected? From this moment on, the lives of those onboard the train and in the hospital will be changed irrevocably, not least for DC Laurie Franklin (Suranne Jones), off-duty that day but travelling on the train with her mum (Anne Reid), who was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Laurie likes tying up loose ends. And if she can prove a connection between the body and the baby she will be happy. But things never turn out quite the way we expect. Five Days is an atmospheric ensemble drama; a mystery which unfolds over the five most significant days of the police investigation into these two mysteries. It is set in the heart of urban Yorkshire – a melting pot of tensions and relationships within a multicultural landscape. The serial will also star David Morrissey, Bernard Hill and Hugh Speer.

The government has made it clear that it would not expect the BBC to clear its schedules to broadcast educational programming if swine flu closes schools after the summer break. Press reports had suggested that the department for children, schools and families was considering invoking an emergency clause in the BBC's operating agreement, to enable it to broadcast lessons directly into pupils' homes. But the DCSF has now said that although ministers are looking at contingency plans to deliver the national curriculum if pupils are unable to attend school, there's no suggestion of using BBC networks to do so. 'We would never force an organisation to assist in delivering education,' a spokesman confirmed. He added: 'Given the current information that we have on the virus, which for most people results in a mild illness, we do not consider that there is a case for - and experts have advised against - mass school closures. We will be monitoring the situation closely over the school holidays.' The BBC says it has a strong role to play in supporting the public through any emergency, including a serious 'flu epidemic, local radio would be well placed to provide health advice and local information. But in the event of a total schools closure, the BBC website – familiar to millions of school pupils through services like BBC Bitesize – would have the most important role with school-age children.

1 comment:

Tarquin said...

This 'dance' thing is nothing new - it's based on 'So you think you can dance', which also has an australian version - they present these shows as new in national papers but invariably they are copies of successful foreign shows - just did it with masterchef too