Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Two-Become-One Show?

We start this week's first batch of Top Telly News, dear blog reader, with a further rumour (possibly a dodgy one at that) from the US. And, it's one which would appear to offer further circumstantial evidence that brain tumour-afflicted Sealey Booth will be quickly on the mend this fall on the next series of Bones. Because, it is being widely reported that the next FOX character who visits him may be a proper, honest to God flesh-and-blood human. And not an animated talking baby like last time. Sources are said to have confirmed that FOX is currently toying with the idea of staging a crossover next season that would find Booth and Brennan working on a case with Tim Roth's Lie to Me character Tim Lightman. The talkative insider, however, cautions that this plotline in the very early stages and 'may not even happen.' That's called hedging ones bets in the TV industry, dear blog reader. Much as in life.

Richard Hammond was apparently involved on a four-car incident at the Over Roundabout on the A40 near Gloucester over the weekend. The presenter, who was not filming for Top Gear at the time, emerged unharmed but with some damage to his beloved Morgan Aeromax. Poor Richard, he's now destined to go through the rest of his life having every slight bump he receives luridly reported in the national press. Next time he crashes his trolly at Morrison's, expect the Daily Mirror to have a report on it the next day. With pictures. Richard faired better than Steve Pizzati, however. One of the presenting team from Top Gear Australia, Pizzati was taking part in a race weekend at Sydney's Eastern Creek raceway when he was involved in a smash on the last lap of a race for the Aussie Racing Cars super-series. After being hit by other cars, flipping the car on its roof, Pizzati - a former racing driver - escaped without serious injury, though complained about a 'humdinger of a headache and a sore neck.' He later joked via Twitter: 'Just chuck me some sardines and call me "flipper."'

Doctor Who star David Tennant has joined executive producers Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner in Los Angeles to post their regular 'radio postcards' to BBC Radio Wales listeners. In a 'postcard' heard on the Radio Wales, Jamie Owen and Louise Elliott Show (Friday 7 August, from 9.00am), David relived his 'Robbie Williams' experience of being mobbed at a fantasy convention and told how his agent had her photo taken with several of his Doctor lookalikes. On Monday (August 10), in the same programme, David, who has been in San Diego taking part in the massive ComicCon convention with Russell, Julie and Doctor Who and Torchwood director Euros Lyn, told listeners how he fared at his first Hollywood audition.

Meanwhile, The Streets' Mike Skinner has alleged that he has a cameo in the new series of Doctor Who. The singer made the announcement via his Twitter account, in a post which suggested he will be joining the new Doctor Matt Smith in the next series. 'You wouldn't believe the week I've had,' Skinner said. 'I can't talk about it but let's just say I got a part in Doctor Who.' However, Skinner quickly removed the message shortly afterwards, declaring: 'And just like that, the tweet is deleted.' So, we'll mark that one down in the 'I'll believe it when I see it' column.

ITV's reinvention of The Bill continued to lose ground last week, shedding almost a million viewers since its launch in a post-watershed slot. An average of 3.6m (sixteen per cent audience share) tuned in for the fourth instalment of the 9pm police drama, down from 4.2m last week. The night marked a drop of nearly one million viewers since The Bill was re-launched as a darker post-watershed drama on 23 July. About 3.9m tuned in for the first fifteen minutes of the programme, helped by a strong lead in from Coronation Street. But it couldn't keep its viewers and by 9.45pm, the audience had dropped to an average audience of 3.36m. In comparison BBC1's 9pm offering, New Tricks, was up from last week, drawing in 6.9m (30.5%) over the hour.

Executive chairman Michael Grade has lifted the lid on ITV's 'tense' relationship with Scottish franchisee STV, claiming that its decision to opt out of key network dramas is damaging the ITV brand. Speaking at the ITV half year results, Grade said he was 'mystified' by STV's decision to shy away from ITV's content, choosing instead to show Scottish produced shows or US series instead. 'It's a mystery to me, as a viewer, what they've got that's better than what they're not showing,' Grade said. 'Are repeats of South Park, an American show, and Gregory's Girl really better than Lewis or Kingdom?' He added that STV's decision to opt out was 'depriving Scottish viewers of quality shows, like The Bill.'

ITV bosses have declared that they would be open to putting their digital channels ITV2, ITV3 and ITV4 exclusively on Sky and Virgin Media, if a higher carriage fee for the channels could be negotiated. Michael Grade said 'the key lesson of the recession' was diversifying ITV's revenues away from being reliant on spot advertising, and as such, finding other ways to generate revenue was 'high on the agenda.' Chief operating officer John Cresswell added that premium ITV content exclusively on Sky or Virgin would be 'brilliant' for either carrier. But he added that the dependent factor on moving the channels behind the subscription wall was simply 'a question of value,' as the fall in audience levels would see advertising revenues drop considerably. ITV2 is the sixth most popular TV channel in the UK behind the five major terrestrials, and broadcasts a slate of popular programmes including expensive acquisitions like Gossip Girl and original shows including Secret Diary of a Call Girl, Katy Brand's Big Ass Show and Celebrity Juice. ITV3, which mainly broadcasts a mix of popular drama repeats is the seventh most popular channel, behind ITV2.

Kate Walsh, the runner-up in the latest series of The Apprentice, is to front a new 6.30pm nightly magazine show for Channel Five. Walsh, who was beaten by restaurateur Yasmina Siadatan in the recent final will host the new Five show alongside TV pundit and former footballer Ian Wright and Melinda Messenger. The hour-long show, be called Live From Studio Five, starts next month and promises to mix news and showbiz stories. Live From Studio Five will go head to head with The ONE Show, BBC1's similar early evening current affairs magazine format, over its second half hour from 7pm.

Channel 4 has commissioned a second series of animal autopsy show Inside Nature's Giants - with plans to scrap the lecture hall setting and go on location. C4's science commissioning editor David Glover has tasked indie Windfall Films with finding dead animals to dissect in their natural setting, with giant squids and a great white shark top of his list. The first series, which aired last month, featured autopsies on an elephant, a whale, a crocodile and a giraffe. All of these were presented in front of an audience in a lecture hall, with the exception of the whale, which was filmed on a beach. Glover said the whale episode worked best for him because it made the show into a 'natural format.'

Trouble Kerry Katona has been axed by MTV after her last series was 'a massive flop' according to the Sun. Bosses acted after viewing figures for reality show What's The Problem? plunged to just 19,000. Kerry was reported paid one hundred thousand pounds for the show, which dealt with her bi-polar disorder. It featured scenes of her splitting from hubby Mark Croft. At one point she was seen angrily phoning her agent to tell him she was divorcing Mark. Viewers were unimpressed, despite the fire and brimstone of the pair's marriage the story claimed. A show source was reported to have said: 'Viewers are finally fed up of Kerry's antics. She had a good run, but there's only so many "car crash" TV scenes you can be bothered to watch. People already knew half the stuff in the show as it had been in the papers. So when you were watching her split from Mark you knew they were going to get back together.'

Fox TV executive Kevin Reilly has reportedly hinted that the eighth series of 24 could be the show's final season. According to WENN, the US network is seriously considering the programme's future following years of rumours surrounding its demise. Reilly told the New York Post: 'It's our last contractual season of 24. There are a lot of moving parts, so we're not sure what will happen after that. It's going to come down to a business decision. It's not an inexpensive show on the network books and we also want to finish strong. This is not a show we want to prop up.' Star Kiefer Sutherland, who is allegedly paid around three hundred thousand pounds per episode, will be out of contract after season eight - which also lends weight to the current speculation.

Filming has begun on the next - sixth - series of Hustle. All of the main characters from series five are back for the new six-part run, filming for which has just got underway in Birmingham. Heading up the motley crew of grifters is Mickey Bricks (Adrian Lester), ably assisted by Albie Stroller (Robert Vaughn) and Three Socks Morgan (Robert Glenister). Also back are brother-sister duo Emma and Sean Kennedy (Kelly Adams and Matt Di Angelo). Show creator Tony Jordan said of series six: 'I love thinking of new twists and turns for the Hustle crew and fortunately real life continues to provide great inspiration. The rich are getting richer and the greedy only greedier so they make fine pickings for Mickey and his team. This series will see Emma and Sean still finding their feet within the Hustle gang but Mickey, Albert and Ash are there, as always, to watch their backs.'

Victoria Beckham has admitted that she is looking forward to bantering with judge Simon Cowell on American Idol. 'He has a very tongue-in-cheek, British sense of humour, which I have, too,' her Poshness told host Ryan Seacrest's radio show. This will, no doubt, come as a considerable surprise to most dear blog readers who didn't think Posh could tell one end of a joke from another. Having said that her solo recording career was, undeniably, bloody hilarious. So, I suppose anything is possible. 'I'm looking forward to a bit of banter. I hope he does give me a little bit of a hard time,' she concluded. Oh, yes. For once, Simon, Keith Telly Topping demands that you give the Mr Nasty thing all you've got.

Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley have set tongues wagging yet again after being spotted spending time together outside work hours. According to the Mail On Sunday, Chiles arrived at Bleakley's flat in West London at 7.45am on Thursday and drove her to Gatwick Airport, where she jetted off for a holiday in Spain. The TV presenters have been frequently linked in the media since Bleakley joined The ONE Show as Chiles's co-host in 2007, though talk of a romance has been repeatedly denied by the pair. The rumours were fuelled in February this year when Bleakley's ex-fiancé reportedly blamed Chiles after they split following a three-year romance. Responding to the latest speculation, Bleakley's agent insisted: 'Christine has got a long weekend off and has gone on holiday with friends. She has not gone away with Adrian, they are just mates and spend a lot of time together. Her fiancé broke off the engagement, not her. The fact that Christine spends so much time with Adrian could have been a contributing factor. They work from midday to 8pm on The ONE Show and all the production team spend a lot of time socialising together.' Chiles also supported Bleakley throughout her stint on Strictly Come Dancing last year where she lasted ten weeks in the competition before being eliminated with her professional dance partner Matthew Cutler. Adrian, meanwhile, was spotted with fellow celebrity ligger Frank Skinner at the Hawthorns of Saturday. And speaking of which...

The first terrestrial televised game of the new football season made a solid ratings start on an otherwise lacklustre night of repeats on Saturday, with a peak of four million viewers tuning-in to watch Newcastle United draw 1-1 with West Bromwich Albion. Interest in the match had been buoyed by Newcastle's humiliating relegation last season, the farcially comical goings-on at St. James' Park during the summer, and by the connection to both clubs of recently deceased former English coach Sir Bobby Robson. The BBC, obviously hoping that West Brom would give the Magpies a right good fisting to match that which Colchester gave Norwich earlier in the day, therefore rolled up to the Hawthorns with a smug grin plastered all over their collective boat-race. Which was wiped clean off by Damien Duff's unexpected second-half equaliser and string of fine saved by young substitute keeper Tim Krul. Even Shearer looked marginally less miserable than usual come the end. Between 5.20pm and 7.30pm, the match averaged 3.2m viewers and an audience share of 24.2% on BBC1. At 7.15pm, the last fifteen minutes of the match was seen by 4.1m viewers. In a night dominated by repeats, BBC1 kept the sport theme going by following the football with Total Wipeout. The sixth episode of the nine-part series was watched by 4.6m between 7.30pm and 8.30pm.

Channel 4 has ordered a documentary about a boy who has gender dysphoria as part of its documentary strand First Cut. The Boy Who Was Born a Girl is an hour-long programme by Welsh independent Green Bay Media in which director Julia Moon meets a sixteen-year-old teenage boy called Jon, who is a typical boy in all respects except for the fact he was born a girl. Brought up as Natasha for fifteen years, the subject can remember feeling male since he was only five years old. However, having grown up always feeling different to the other girls in school, it was impossible for Natasha to identify as female.

Footballers' Wives star Zoe Lucker is rumoured to be in this year's Strictly Come Dancing line-up. Lucker, whose other TV credits include Bad Girls and Holby Blue, wants to raise her profile by appearing on the BBC1 reality series, according to the Sun. 'Zoe's really keen to sign up for Strictly,' said a source. 'Over the years she's seen how being on the show has raised profiles of the celebrities who've taken part, such as Alesha Dixon and Rachel Stevens. She feels that she's still only really known for her part in Footballers' Wives, which ended more than three years ago.' The Sun, of course, was the newspaper which confidently asserted almost exactly three years ago that Lucker had been signed to play The Rani in a (then) forthcoming two-part Doctor Who adventure. And, we're all still waiting. So, one simply has to ask, was it the same 'source' who gave the newspaper that gem of pure fantasy whot was being so talkative concerning Ms Lucker's conncetion to the popular dance show? Cos, if it was, I'd've been really cautious about printing it, personally. EastEnders stars Kara Tointon and Natalie Cassidy, Coronation Street's Reece Dinsdale and Ideal's Johnny Vegas have also been tipped to appear on this year's show. Johnny? Seriously? Now that, I'd watch!

The creators of Australian TV show Kath and Kim have announced that they are keen to start writing the fifth season of the comedy. Gina Riley and Jane Turner - who both write and star in the series - have said that they are ready to return to the screen after a long break. Riley, who is currently playing Mama Morton in a touring production of Chicago, told the Herald Sun: 'I'm really missing the writing and desperate to really get back into it. After the fourth series we all felt burnt out, as you do, as it takes about a year and a half to get it all done.' She continued: 'We just really wanted to have a break and I think it's been really good for us, because then you come back fresh and raring to go.' When asked if they will be developing Kath and Kim's alter egos Prue and Trude further or even giving them their own spin-off show, Riley added: 'It could be any of those, or a combination of those, it's hard to know.'

BBC America has picked up the US rights to air the upcoming fifth season of Doctor Who, it has been announced. The thirteen-episode fifth season will air on BBC America and BBC America HD in 2010 shortly after its UK premiere. The network also confirmed that its recent screening of Torchwood: Children Of Earth reached a cumulative 3.3 million viewers over its broadcast week at the end of July, making it BBC America's most successful ever series. The subsequent broadcast of Doctor Who: Planet Of The Dead brought in 657,000 viewers.

Amy Nuttall has revealed why she posed for lads' mags. The ex-Emmerdale actress has claimed to have heard that she would get bigger storylines in the soap by getting her kit off for the lads. Nuttall told the People: 'They said that the more attention you got, the bigger the character would grow, therefore there would be more to do. And so I kind of thought, "Oh well... in that case." I wouldn't say there was pressure to do it but I certainly was young and naïve because I was just eighteen when I started in Emmerdale. My dad says, "Look, don't regret it. What's done is done." And so many girls have done it.' She continued: 'I went on GMTV to plug my storyline and all they wanted to talk about was a lads' mag that I was in. I thought, "Hang on a minute, there is more to me than that."' Really? An ITV spokesperson flatly rejected Nuttall's claims: 'The decision to do photoshoots for men's magazines lies with the actress concerned, without any pressure from the company. We would never suggest an actress do a shoot in exchange for additional storylines.' Nuttall also admitted that it was 'a relief' to have landed a 'chaste' receptionist role in Hotel Babylon after a series of storylines as Emmerdale's saucy Chloe Atkinson.

Lenora Crichlow, Dervla Kirwan and Michael Landes star in BBC1's new six-part drama Material Girl, a romantic comedy about a young fashion designer battling an evil ex-boss, a sexy-but-devilish business partner and snobby fashionistas to get her break in work and love. Set in the bustling, creative hot-bed of Brick Lane, Leonora Crichlow (Being Human, Sugar Rush) is Ali Redcliffe who sets out to make a name for herself as a fashion designer, in the only way she knows how, through sheer hard work and talent. Dervla Kirwan is Davina Bailey, the scheming designer of the moment, who isn't about to give up her crown as queen of fashion, and the designer every hot star wants to be dressed by. Alongside Ali is Marco, played by Michael Landes (Love Soup), the mercurial and brilliant business partner who wants to make Ali a star. At the heart of the show is Ali, impetuous, feisty, neurotic, a total mess in her personal life but extraordinarily talented in her professional life as a fashion designer, mid-twenties, single, fiercely loyal to her tightly-knit group of friends, Alex, Mimi and Lydia.

BBC Worldwide has won its court case against the administrator of Woolworths over the value of their joint venture 2Entertain. Before Woolworths went into administration, BBCW was prepared to pay one hundred million pounds for the retailer's forty per cent stake in the company but the High Court entitles BBCW, which holds sixty per cent of the DVD publishing business, to buy it for a knock-down price. However, the administrator, Deloitte, is expected to appeal the decision in a bid to maximise the value of the property on behalf of Woolworths' creditors. The dispute centred on whether the collapse last November ended a licensing agreement between BBCW and 2Entertain, and on BBCW's right to buy Woolworths' stake in the company. BBCW argued that Woolworths' insolvency triggered a contractual clause reverting all rights in 2Entertain's BBC content back to BBCW. And, because only BBCW is able to exploit the rights, the stake is worth little to any other buyer. It also argued that it has first right to buy the shares, with the property valued on this basis. Deloitte claimed that BBCW should have to buy the shares as if the licence had never been terminated or otherwise to invalidate the termination of the licence and BBCW's right to buy the shares. The judge ruled in favour of BBCW on both points. A spokesman said: 'We are pleased, but not surprised, that the court has upheld our contractual rights to acquire the 2Entertain shares held by Woolworth's. Deloitte has challenged the rights which BBCW and Woolworths agreed at the inception of the joint venture. BBCW has successfully defended those rights in court and will continue to take all necessary steps to enforce them in the interests of our stakeholders. We remain determined to get the best deal for licence fee payers by ensuring we pay only a sum that's representative of the true market value of the outstanding stake.'

Former Charlie's Angels star Cheryl Ladd has signed on for a guest appearance in CSI: Miami, according to People. The actress, who starred as Kris Munroe in the iconic 1970s series, will reportedly play a wealthy wife and prominent charity donor who secretly dates younger men. The episode will also feature actress and singer Tia Carrere, who competed on Dancing With The Stars three years ago. And David Caruso's sunglasses. As usual.

And, finally, the most welcome headline of the year as far as Keith Telly Topping is concerned. From BBCi: Radiohead 'to stop making albums'. About bloody time, frankly. There's only so much misery one world can take.

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