Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The Evil That Is Chris Martin In 'Entirely Made Of Hummus' Exclusive

Keith Telly Topping got the chance to catch up with the last couple of episodes of Leverage yesterday. He remains, very much, a vocal supporter of this witty, clever and amiable US heist-caper show. If you've never seen it before, imagine an American take on something like Hustle (but, with a far bigger budget) and you'll have roughly the right sort of idea. With maybe a smidgen of Mission: Impossible and Oceans 11 thrown in for good measure. Despite a quality ensemble cast - including Angel's Christian Kane and Oscar-winner Tim Hutton - the real queen of the show is the awesome Gina Bellman (whom we in the UK know so well from series as diverse as Black Eyes, Coupling and Jekyll). Gina can bring any scene that she's in to a dazzling climax with her ability at both articulating venal dramatic moments and really clever visual comedy (which, as Coupling proved, she's a natural at). The lady is an absolute star and it's so nice to see her making a big name for herself in the US.

Alleged funny-girl Katy Brand has said that actress Gwyneth Paltrow and her whiny-singer husband, Chris Martin, are an 'insufferable' couple. And, the next contestent on Mastermind would appear to be Ms Katy Brand with a specialist subject of Stating the Bloody Obvious. You also missed out 'odious', 'self-important' and 'nasty' Katy, but we'll give you the points since you got the general idea. The comedienne confirmed to Heat magazine that she would be satirising the pair on the new series of her sketch show despite, it would seem, some pressure not to. Brand said: 'If I find something funny, I trust myself to think it's fair. Like, I wouldn't do a Kerry Katona sketch, because it's social work. But I've had things cut back on my behalf, like my Gwyneth Paltrow sketches. I didn't think they were [defamatory]. It's a shame.' She added: 'I just don't think anyone with that much money and privilege should be telling people how they should be living their lives. The pair of them are insufferable. We've done Coldplay this series too!' Brand recently described Martin as being 'almost entirely made of hummus.' And, just to confirm, Katy Brand has gone up as a human being by about one thousand per cent in Keith Telly Topping's estimation. Jolly well said.

David Tennant is to star in a BBC Radio4 dramatisation of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. The Doctor Who star will play George Milton opposite Liam Brennan as Lennie Small in the story of two migrant workers in 1930s California whose dream of owning a place of their own is destroyed. Steinbeck's seminal novella has been adapted by writer and dramatist Donna Franceschild, who worked with Tennant on BBC2 drama Takin' Over the Asylum, in which he starred with Ken Stott in 1994. Of Mice and Men will air in Radio4's Classic Serial slot early next year. Tennant's previous radio plays have included The Wooden Overcoat by Pamela Branch in the Saturday Play slot in 2007. A BBC Scotland Radio production, Of Mice and Men will co-star Jude Akuwudike, Christopher Fairbank, Melody Grove, Neil McKinven and Richard Madden. It is produced by Kirsty Williams. Of Mice and Men has been adapted several times for television and cinema, including a TV version in 1981 starring Robert Blake and Randy Quaid and a big screen version in 1992 with John Malkovich and Gary Sinese.

Broadcaster Diddy David Hamilton has accused Anne Robinson of making 'ageist' remarks about him when he appeared on The Weakest Link recently. The former Radio1 presenter, who was seen in a special dee jay edition of the BBC quiz show on Saturday, claimed that Robinson made constant comments about his appearance during filming. Speaking to the Daily Express, the seventy-year-old admitted: 'She was ruder to me than I thought she was going to be. When we recorded it, there were a lot of ageist remarks to me such as, "Who are you broadcasting to now? Care homes?" I said, "Yes, I'm their toyboy," to which Anne replied, "You would be!" I thought it was rather amusing that someone who's had facelifts should pick up on somebody like me, who's about the same age, because of my appearance and my age. I took it on the chin but I think a lot of people will think it a bit hypocritical. The problem with Anne is her face doesn't look natural - I think your best face is the one you're born with.' Meee-ow.

Kerry Katona has been pictured sobbing following a visit to her local bank. Yeah, I often have that sort of reaction whenever I get myself a mini-statement from the Halifax as well, chuck. Best not to think about it, really. The troubled reality TV star is alleged to have broken down in tears in the street after attending a meeting with advisers at the branch in Wilmslow, Cheshire, the Daily Star reports. An onlooker told the newspaper: 'Her hubby Mark [Croft] stayed in the car. It seemed he didn't want to hear the news that the pair of them are now flat broke.'

Former Big Brother contestent Imogen Thomas has revealed that she is hoping to make friends with some fellow WAGs before the year is over. The glamour model has been dating Tottenham Hotspur and England striker Jermain Defoe since July following previous rumoured flings with Cristiano Ronaldo and Dwight Yorke. Speaking to the Daily Star, Thomas explained: 'I haven't met any of the other WAGs yet but we've got a few England games coming up so hopefully I will meet them then.' Isn't that a bit like saying, 'well, I've never actually experienced any of the seven thousand Satanic Horrors of Hell personally. But, you know, there's always next week...'?

Sir Paul McCartney has declared that he wishes to see The Beatles' songs made available for Internet download. The iconic pop group's work has been continually absent from official download services over the years, but McCartney has said that he is keen for the group's back catalogue to be accessible online sooner rather than later. Now, at last, newly re-mastered CDs of the band's entire catalogue are in the shops, with rumours of a legal-download flood to follow (possibly as early as this week). But what took them so long? The simple answer is finance - and a web of tricky legal complications that have kept a generation or two of lawyers busy since the day the band broke up in 1970. These days, there are four key players in this particularly Apple stew: Macca, Ringo and the widows of Lennon and George, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison. Before anything can be done in the Beatles' name, all four have to agree. And all too often over the years, that simply hasn't been possible (ironically, the death of Harrison in 2001 seems to have mended a lot of apparently broken fences and unblocked a lot of blocked drains). 'We were having problems with iTunes – well not iTunes, EMI was the problem – with downloading, which we'd like to do because that's how a lot of people get their music these days,' McCartney told NME. Well, according to several recent surveys, Paul, it seems to be how just about everybody - except old gits like Keith Telly Topping ... and most of his mates - get their music these days. However, the sixty seven-year-old suggested that the group have managed to get around the problem with video game The Beatles: Rock Band. 'We've kind of bypassed [the download problem] because now you can do it in Rock Band,' he said. 'I always liked that, when you're told you can't do something and suddenly there's a little route round the back.' A bit like bootlegging you mean, Paul? McCartney added: 'I haven't tried [the game]. When you go to a demo they play it and I go, "God, that looks hard!"' Admitting that he thought the band would only be briefly popular, McCartney said the Beatles were proud that they were 'inter-generational. Once upon a time there were these four boys who were born in Liverpool and were in a band together. In the 1960s they started making their own records and started writing their own songs,' he added. 'They played concerts in Britain, Germany, and eventually America, where they had huge success. The records became so well known they were sung all over the world. If you had told me that story when I was a kid, I simply would not have believed you. We thought, at best, The Beatles, would last a couple of years. When we got really successful we thought, if we were lucky, we might last ten years. Then things just got out of hand. Now it feels like The Beatles will go on forever.'

In related news, full-blown Beatlemania is set for a return - at least in terms of record sales - with the release of remastered copies of the Fab Four's studio recordings. Today has been dubbed 'Beatles Day' (that really does sound like something Diamond Joe Quimby would declare, doesn't it?), with retailers preparing for the biggest chart invasion ever seen by the band as fans snap up the results of months of painstaking work. Some forty five years after the first wave of Beatlemania began, the CD charts are expected to be swamped with fourteen revamped LPs by the band by this weekend, while the group is also expected to top the video game charts with the newly developed Rock Band. Bookmakers are already predicting that Paul, George, Ringo and ... the other one will top the album charts once again with Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band favourite to be the biggest seller, followed by Revolver, Rubber Soul and Abbey Road. Personally, keith Telly Topping has a couple of record tokens on the way to him and will be nabbing Rubber Soul, Revolver and The White Album as soon as they get here and then picking up the rest as and when finances permit. Online retailer amazon.co.uk said that the stereo box-set version, priced at one hundred and seventy smackers (but, if you shop around you can get it cheaper elsewhere), topped its bestseller list on pre-orders alone. It is thought to be the most expensive item ever to head the chart.

Meanwhile, Yoko Ono has praised Take That after the group picked up the best band gong from her at last night's GQ Men Of The Year Awards. According to the Sun, the widow of the self-confessed alcoholic Scouse wife-beating junkie, Yoko expressed a fondness for Take That's 2006 Mark Owen-sung single 'Shine'. Because, of course, Yoko always had such a great taste in music, didn't she?

Leonard Nimoy has admitted that he is unlikely to return for the proposed Star Trek movie sequel. The seventy eight-year-old came out of retirement for director JJ Abrams to reprise his role as Spock in the SF franchise revival. However, appearing at this year's DragonCon, the actor said that Zachary Quinto would continue in the role as a younger Spock. 'There are no plans for me to return for the second movie,' the website GeeksOfDoom quotes him as saying. Speaking with William Shatner at the event, Nimoy added: 'I think the Spock character is very well-established as portrayed by Zachary Quinto. And I think if you saw the movie, Bill, you'd say the same of Chris Pine.' The Shat's subsequent reply is, pretty much, unquotable on a polite blog like From The North.

Five's new quiz format Word Play is to be jointly distributed by Target Entertainment Group after striking a deal with global media company Group M Entertainment. Word Play, created by Zodiak Entertainment-owned Lucky Day Productions and co-produced in the UK with GME, is a word-based quiz featuring four players who face off over six rounds to test their puzzle-solving skills and compete for a cash prize. The show was financed by GME in the UK for Five who stripped it across its weekday schedule. GME and Target will work together across international markets to drive distribution of the format and explore alternative production financing models for international broadcasters.

Anton Du Beke has argued that Alesha Dixon will bring a 'new frisson' to Strictly Come Dancing. Quit being such a pretentious knob, Anton, you're a hoofer not a flaming restaurant critic. The professional dancer, who will partner actress Laila Rouass on this year's show, claimed that the pop star will create a new challenge for everyone working on the reality series. Speaking about departing judge Arlene Phillips, he said: 'I am going to miss Arlene, but she is still going to be around. Apparently she may be choreographing one of our routines, which will be good because I've never worked with Arlene like that - I'm looking forward to it.' Du Beke, whose former celebrity partners have included Lesley Garrett, Esther Rantzen, Jan Ravens and Kate Garraway, said that he was 'thrilled' to have a younger dancer this year. And, as a consequnce, a chance of actually winning the damn thing.

Chorion, the rights company that owns Noddy and the Mr Men, has unveiled a new preschool series that has already been picked up by CBeebies. Animated action-adventure series The Octonauts will be introduced to the international market at Mipcom next month but has been pre-bought by CBeebies in the UK, TF1 in France and ABC Australia. The series, comprising fifty eleven minute-episodes and a twenty two-minute special, follows a team of heroes who dive into action whenever there is trouble under the sea. In a fleet of aquatic vehicles, they rescue sea creatures, explore new underwater worlds, and often save the day before returning safely home. The three leading characters are Captain Barnacles Bear, Lieutenant Kwazii Kitten and Medic Peso Penguin. Keith Telly Topping was rather surprised by this since he didn't think cats liked water very much. Anyway, the CGI animated series is based on the books by design team Meomi and is being produced by Academy Award-nominated Brown Bag Films, who are also behind Chorion's Olivia and Noddy in Toyland.

The great Australian actor Ray Barrett has died at the age of eighty two. Ray, who voiced John Tracy and The Hood in Thunderbirds, passed away at a hospital on Australia's Gold Coast on Monday after suffering a brain haemorrhage, following a fall at his home, his agent Jane Cameron told reporters. 'He was a wonderful, erudite and funny man,' she said. Born in Brisbane in 1927, Barrett began his acting career in the early 1950s, making his debut in an episode of the Australian-producer Adventures of Long John Silver. He left his homeland for England in 1957, securing his first major role as Doctor Don Nolan in the popular medical drama series Emergency - Ward 10. He subsequently played Peter Thornton in the long-running BBC oil-industry drama The Troubleshooters (1965-1972) as well as doing voice-work for a variety of characters in two of Gerry Anderson's most famous and well-loved supermarionation series - Thunderbirds and Stingray. He also appeared in Doctor Who, The Saint and Dixon of Dock Green. On returning to his Australia in the mid-1970s, Ray immersed himself in the country's rejuvenated film industry and also starred in numerous TV shows, including Burn the Butterflies, Golden Soak and Something in the Air. His most famous movie role was as Constable Farrell in Fred Schepisi's 1978 The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, an independent film tackling racism in Australia, told from the point of view of an Aborigine who explodes with rage after experiencing a catalogue of injustices. He made his final big-screen appearance as Nicole Kidman's father in Baz Luhrmann's Australia last year. Ray was awarded the Australian Film Institute Longford Life Achievement Award in 2005. The actor is survived by his third wife, Gaye, a daughter from his first marriage, Suellen, and two sons from his second marriage, Reg and John.

George Page has filed a lawsuit against Bravo for broadcasting his appearance on a recent episode of The Real Housewives of Atlanta. Page filed the suit in Chicago State Court last week, alleging that he never gave the network permission to use footage he filmed for the reality show. He also claimed that Bravo promised that they would edit out his brief stint, TMZ reports. The episode in question featured Sheree Whitfield going on a series of speed dates, while Page was shown telling the Housewives star a corny joke, though trite sound effects and music were added to the finalised instalment. Page is suing Bravo and its parent company NBC for fifty thousand dollars for causing him 'emotional distress' and infringing on his right of publicity.

Drew Barrymore can be seen straddling fellow actress Ellen Page in a risque new photoshoot for Vs magazine. The Hollywood star donned rollerskates and skimpy gear as she sat on top of the Juno star to promote her directorial debut Whip It. Inspired by the true story of a Texan roller derby league, the film stars Ellen as misfit Bliss Cavender, who resists her mother's attempts to force her onto the beauty pageant scene.

With her heels and knee-length dress, Kelly Brook has clearly hit on a look which works well for her. Unfortunately Christian Louboutin heels don't work so well when you're trying to ride a bicycle. The pin-up, actress and model showed a bit more leg than planned yesterday when she joined London's Mayor Boris Johnson in a photoshoot to promote cycling in the capital. Regular cyclist Boris didn't come out of the fiasco much better - rather than wear something sensible like a helmet and trainers he chose to get on his bike wearing a suit and tie. Kelly was helping Boris launch his September 20 Skyride, a traffic-free ride past landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square and the Tower of London.

Colin Firth says it is 'a disaster' for actors to have Botox injections and plastic surgery. The Mamma Mia! star said it was 'catastrophic' to undergo facial cosmetic surgery if you wanted to able to express yourself as an actor. 'Your face is supposed to move if you're going to act,' the forty eight-year-old told BBC Radio 5 live. 'Why on earth would you take a violin and make the strings so that they don't vibrate?' he added. Nice metaphor! 'Injecting something in to your face so it's paralysed, or cutting bits of it up so that you take any signs of life out of it is catastrophic if you're going to express yourself in any way at all.' Botox injections, which have become increasingly popular in both Hollywood and London, temporarily paralyse muscles in the face, making it virtually impossible to frown or raise your eyebrows. But Firth said he was not totally against people having cosmetic surgery if they could 'afford it and don't mind the pain.' He admitted he would 'do it tomorrow if I thought it would look good - but I haven't seen anything I think really works that well.'

Cheryl Cole has revealed that she would consider buying my beloved Newcastle United football club. However, the X Factor judge, who is married to the notorious Chelsea and England full-back the vile Ashley Cole, admitted that she does not have enough money to do so. Well, thank Christ for that frankly. Don't you think that we've suffered enough already?

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