Friday, October 16, 2009

Breaking The Rules

The man who allegedly attacked Leona Lewis at a book-signing in London yesterday had queued to meet her for several hours, press reports suggest. The X Factor winner Lewis was apparently 'slapped' (or 'punched' according to other reports) at a Waterstones store in Piccadilly, where she was signing copies of her new book, Dreams. A spokesman for the singer has now told the Sun: 'It was a totally unprovoked attack. Leona had been patiently signing people's books for a while - this man had been waiting for five hours. Why anyone would hit her I don't know. It's unacceptable.' Meanwhile an on-looker, Steve Caris, commented: 'This bloke looked like a nutcase. He was like a bumpkin, well over six feet tall and with buck teeth. He really walloped Leona. She must have been in agony.' Oh well, if he 'looked like a nutcase,' clearly he should've locked up beforehand, so that he wasn't a danger to himself and, you know, TV talent show winners. It is suggested in most reports that Lewis has told police she wishes to press charges against the man in question. Keith Telly Topping certainly would. On general principle. Mind you, he'd've gotten his dig in first and chinned the wretch. Because, he's a wild and dangerous dude to mess with. As this photo illustrating Ocotbeard - Day 16 clearly proves.

Adapted from Andrea Levy's best-selling novel, BBC1's two-part drama Small Island is an epic love story about the determined pursuit of dreams in the face of seemingly insurmountable barriers. Set against the backdrop of the Second World War in a time when landlords would put up signs that read No Irish, no coloureds, no dogs, Small Island follows the interlocking lives of Queenie (Ruth Wilson), the young Jamaican couple who become her lodgers, Gilbert and Hortense (David Oyelowo and Naomie Harris), Queenie's husband Bernard (Benedict Cumberbatch) and the mysterious and handsome Michael (Ashley Walters). From the heat and hustle of life in Forties Jamaica through to the devastation of London in the Blitz, Small Island is an ambitious yet personal tale, which deftly touches on the weighty themes of empire, prejudice and war with a gentle touch and a warm, uplifting generosity of spirit. Small Island is written by Paula Milne (The Virgin Queen) and Sarah Williams (Becoming Jane, The Secret Life Of Mrs Beeton) and directed by John Alexander (Life On Mars, Survivors).

Jorja Fox has extended her return to CSI, executive producer Carol Mendelsohn has confirmed. The actress, who plays Sara Sidle on the CBS crime drama, originally quit the role in 2007 but announced plans to return to the show earlier this year. Fox was slated to return for around five episodes, but Mendelsohn told Entertainment Weekly that a deal is being worked out which means she will be around on a more permanent basis. 'We will be seeing a lot more of Jorja. The season is about bringing the [CSI] family back together again. Jorja has been the glue that has really helped to reform the bond of our team,' she said. 'From our point of view, the more the better. As many episodes as we can have Jorja for we want her for.' Mendelsohn also revealed that there are no current plans to bring Sara's husband Gil Grissom back to the series. 'We will address the fact that Grissom is somewhere else and Sara is living in Vegas,' she said. 'Everyone on the team is a little interested. They're like, "What's the deal? Grissom's there, you're here, how does that work?" They are a very modern couple and they have a very healthy relationship. They have found a balance in their life that allows them to still feel fulfilled in their marriage and their careers. If it works for them, it works for us.'

Robbie Williams has reportedly agreed to star in a televised Christmas variety show. The - as yet untitled - ITV festive special is being developed by presenters Ant and Dec, who will also host the one-off event. Williams is planned to be among a number of guests to appear on the programme, which will be recorded in front of a live studio audience and include a mixture of comedy sketches, performances and interviews, reports the Sun. A source said: 'Ant and Dec have been given the green light to make a Christmas special which will be ITV's big family entertainment show this Christmas. They came up with the concept and pitched it. Their own company, Gallowgate, will make it. Robbie is really excited to be on board.'

Bagpuss is unlikely to return to TV after all, as creator Oliver Postgate's son does not want a 'heartless' new version that could be 'tarnished' by 'lurid' CGI animation. However, a spin-off based on the mice who play the Marvellous Mechanical Mouse Organ in the children's classic is a possibility. Coolabi, the children's producer, revealed this month that it had signed an 'exclusive new option to develop and produce new content' based on Bagpuss and other properties created by the Postgate and Peter Firmin partnership. Chief executive Jeremy Banks said that the families had 'embraced the concept of developing new content.' However, Daniel Postgate, who took the reins of the family's estate when his father died last year, said he was 'miffed' by Coolabi's statement, because the company does not own the rights, and poured cold water on the notion of a new Bagpuss series. He told Broadcast magazine: 'If we made, say, fifty two episodes of Bagpuss, we would have to bring in writers and couldn't possibly pay them much. They would all be knackered and it would end up like a lot of children's TV tends to be: rather heartless. For people who grew up with Bagpuss, it might tarnish it.' He was also put off by the international demand for CGI, saying it had 'a slightly lurid quality, even at the best of times.' However, Postgate said he would 'firmly consider' the Bagpuss spin-off, called Mouse Tales, and left the door open to reviving Ivor The Engine as a live-action family entertainment show, with 'a Last Of The Summer Wine feel,' and also reanimating classic The Clangers which 'could be sold easily around the world because it is so lightly narrated. It's a real gift [when making] a global brand. I think stop-motion is the way to go as it has a more substantial quality and CGI would not match the [Clangers'] rag-tag feel,' he said.

The Thick Of It will return in a couple of week's time in an unusual slot - 10:10 on Saturday evening, with a subsequent BBC4 repeat.

Filming of a BBC Christmas show featuring The Hairy Bikers was halted after one of the two roving chefs was injured in an accident on Tyneside yesterday afternoon. Si King was thrown off his motorcycle on Thursday as he rode through the city during rush hour followed by his TV partner Dave Myers. Si, forty two, was taken to Newcastle General Hospital for treatment to a knee injury and is now recovering at home. A spokesman for Northumbria Police said no-one else was hurt in the incident. A spokeswoman for The Hairy Bikers said: 'He was taken to hospital and he had some X-rays done. He is fine, but a bit shocked, and will be resting at home with his family.' The two chefs were heading for a location shoot for a festive series inspired by The Twelve Days of Christmas song. A Northumbria force spokesman said: 'Police were called on Thursday morning to a report that a motorcyclist had come off his bike at Salter's Lane, Gosforth. The motorcyclist was riding a red Ducati motorcycle and was taken to Newcastle General Hospital with what have been described as minor leg injuries.'

Phil Tufnell and Katya Virshilas have revealed that they had their 'first fight' during training for Strictly Come Dancing this week. The duo, who will perform a Viennese Waltz on Saturday, admitted that they had clashed on Tuesday. 'We had a tough day today,' the ex-cricketer told It Takes Two. 'She threw a pen at me today, from about twenty yards.' 'We had our first fight,' added Virshilas. 'It's tough those first two days to get on a new dance mentality. The mornings are tough for us. It's hard on him. I really want to impress a lot of people with this Viennese Waltz because Phil's such a ballroom boy. I think he's got the best frame out of all the celebrities.' Tufnell also revealed that they plan to start arriving for rehearsals in the afternoon because they are far better at working together later in the day.

The surviving members of the Bee Gees are to perform on Strictly this Halloween, the BBC has confirmed. Robin and Barry Gibb said last month that they were planning to reform the group as a duo after the sudden death of their brother Maurice forced them to disband in 2003. A spokeswoman for the BBC dance contest confirmed that the pair will appear on the 31 October programmes.

BBC1 is developing a British equivalent of the German television landmark, Heimat, penned by Criminal Justice writer Peter Moffat. Company Pictures is working up an initial eight episode treatment of The Village, which will follow the same principle as the original Heimat epic, but relocate the drama to an anonymous village in Derbyshire. Moffat, who had not seen Heimat when he approached Company with the idea, told Broadcast: 'It is a social history of England told through the point of view of a single village. I want to make as many episodes as possible and tell the story as slowly as possible. It's Catherine Cooksonian in tone, with big stories. I want primary school teachers to say to pupils: "Did you see that? Isn't that interesting?" I am constantly surprised by how many settled wisdoms [about social history] are mistaken. This will help set them straight.' In a bold departure from the current squeeze on scale and budgets, the srries would run from 1913 to around 1926 in the first eight episodes and it is hoped it would return until it has reached the present day. If it is greenlit, Company may build a fictional village to house the shoot, based on a number of real Derbyshire villages. George Faber, who is lined-up to executive produce for Company, said: 'It feels radical and expensive but because of the unique viewpoint, you can actually contain costs, especially if you were able to run for several series.' Polly Hill will produce for the BBC. Moffat also revealed he and Criminal Justice executive producer Hilary Salmon are working together on Silk, a six-part series based around a thirty seven-year-old female barrister. Moffat said it would have more in common with Prime Suspect than with US legal hit Damages and that it would deal with a different case every episode. Silk is being developed in-house at the BBC with Salmon and head of series and serials Kate Harwood, and has 'a fair wind behind it' for broadcast in 2010.

Channel 4 has extended its forthcoming pilots season Comedy Showcase to seven episodes after greenlighting an all-female sketch show from Objective Productions. The as-yet-untitled show will be written and performed by stand-up and Skins writer Josie Long, Sara Pascoe, Kathryn Drysdale, Kerry Howard, Lu Corfield and Nat Luurtsema. The performers have not collaborated as a troupe previously, but were assembled as a cast by Objective. The thirty-minute pilot is produced by Lee Hupfield, who oversaw Objective's Star Stories and The Kevin Bishop Show, which began in 2007 as one of C4's Comedy Showcases. The show was commissioned by Channel 4 comedy commissioner Shane Allen and is the only sketch format in this year's Showcase, which initially featured six sitcoms. Objective already has a sitcom in contention called Pete v Life, in which the lead character, played by Rafe Spall, has his actions described by football commentators. The season also features sitcom pilots from RDF Television, Talkback Thames, Busby, Roughcut and Monicker. It begins next month.

Here's one for your diaries if you're in the North East. Next Tuesday, our Scunthorpe Steve will be featured on Look North doing a film-report preview of that evening's Scunthorpe versus Newcastle United game.

Robbie Coltrane has described his new ITV drama as 'intensely emotional.' The fifty nine-year-old actor stars in Murderland - alongside Lucy Cohu and Sharon Small - as a detective investigating a murder which has remained unsolved for fifteen years. 'It was intensely emotional - and it was designed to be intensely emotional,' he told Radio Times. Describing the three-part series, in which he plays Detective Douglas Hain, he added: 'First of all, it's not a police procedural. Hain is - or was - a policeman, and there are a lot of policemen about. But mainly what policemen do is explain the shortcomings of police procedure. It's not one of those "Get Wilkins round there now and I want every fucking DNA in the whole estate..." shows.'

Gina McKee and Brenda Blethyn have been cast in ITV's new thriller Vera. The one-off drama, which is based on a book by crime writer Ann Cleeves, is currently being filmed in Newcastle and Northumberland. The story follows McKee's Julie Armstrong, who arrives home from a rare night out in Newcastle with her boyfriend Gary Wright - played by Neil Armstrong - to find her son murdered. Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope (Blethyn) is then placed in charge of the case.

Gavin Henderson, head of programmes at RDF Media's Welsh independent Presentable, is poised to leave the company after losing faith in the nations and regions commissioning drive. Henderson, who will instead set up as a 'gun-for-hire' executive, told Broadcast there was no point in producers having senior creative figures in the nations and regions, because broadcasters still hand the majority of big commissions to London executives and then farm them out to beyond the M25. He said: 'Twelve months ago, [RDF creative director] Grant Mansfield and I sat down to do something - to get network commissions out of Wales. That hasn't happened for two reasons: the recession, and a new model that has emerged, whereby large-scale shows are devised and commissioned in London and then moved to the regions later. There is a shortfall in credibility here because everybody rushes down, does one show and then moves out again. The tide comes in and the tide goes out.' Henderson said he agreed with the philosophy of using major shows to build sustainable production bases, but that the reality was different to the theory. He will leave Presentable within the next two months to freelance and will be based in Bristol. Presentable said it was still committed to developing network ideas from its Cardiff base. As well as a raft of BBC Wales commissions, it has just won a third series of its BBC4 gameshow Only Connect and is piloting an entertainment show for a terrestrial broadcaster.

Coronation Street actress Helen Worth has spent five days in Sierra Leone to raise awareness of poverty in the West African country. The soap star, who plays Weatherfield's Gail Platt, teamed up with the charity ActionAid and flew out to the war-torn region last week. She returned to the UK on Monday. Reflecting on her experience, which saw her visiting a number of different villages, Worth told the Yorkshire Post: 'They do their best to help themselves. Everywhere we went we had an amazing welcome - smiling happy people who gave us more than they had. It was very emotional.' During her stay in the country, the fifty eight-year-old was shown areas which had been assisted by ActionAid and communities still in need of help. Discussing a day when she visited a rubbish dump, Worth explained: 'Around it people had built shacks and families were living alongside pigs who were eating the rubbish. They would then sell the pigs. Even in this most horrendous of places they were doing their best to earn a living. It was the one place that I just had to turn away.' She continued: 'There is still a lot of work to do in Sierra Leone, but I feel privileged to have seen it and to bring the message back and ask people, if they can, to help by sponsoring a child through ActionAid, as that is the only way their lives can improve.'

Ridley Scott is in discussions to helm the big screen remake of Channel 4's critically acclaimed miniseries Red Riding. According to Variety, Columbia has acquired the movie rights to the three-part series, which is based on The Damned United author David Peace's crime novels about the Yorkshire Ripper serial killer case and police corruption during the 1970s and 80s. Steve Zallian who worked with Scott on American Gangster is expected to come on board to write the film, which will move the action from Britain to the US. So, that'll be all about the New Yorker Ripper, presumbly? Red Riding, starring Andrew Garfield, Paddy Considine, Sean Bean and David Morrissey, aired this March in the UK. The three telefilms will be released theatrically in the US this autumn as a three hundred and two-minute feature.

Michael Sheen has admitted that he would like to play John Lennon in a film about The Beatles. The actor - who has portrayed a number of British icons on the big screen, including Tony Blair, David Frost and Brian Clough - said that although it is his desire to depict the late music icon, he is convinced that he would instead be cast as Lennon's bandmate Sir Paul McCartney. He explained to Now: 'I'd want to play Lennon, but I probably would be cast as McCartney!' Sheen also revealed that he was too starstruck to strike up a proper conversation with McCartney when they met on a plane recently. He added: 'I met Paul on a flight not long ago. I was sitting there going, "I can't go over there." And then he came over to me. He said, "You're famous, aren't you? I've seen you on the TV." And I thought, "Yeah, I've seen you on the TV a few times as well!"'

Tiger Aspect Productions and Darlow Smithson Productions have been 'orphaned' by parent IMG Media after it backtracked on its strategy to diversify beyond sport and put them up for sale. It was revealed this week that IMG has appointed former Goldman Sachs media supremo Joseph Ravitch to sell the prestigious UK independents through his US advisory firm, The Raine Group. The sports giant bought the companies in early 2006 to build a 'global entertainment entity' but the strategy stalled last year after global media president Chris Albrecht left the business, less than a year into the job. It was also hit by the economic downturn. An IMG UK insider told Broadcast: 'It bought the two companies with great fanfare, as part of a plan to buy producers around the world. Now that has stopped and Tiger and Darlow have been orphaned.' IMG said it was 'assessing various alternatives, including a potential sale' of the companies, but would not explain the reasons for the turnaround. However, a former senior IMG figure said the company had never fully understood the entertainment content business. 'It thought it was like an FMCG industry - something scalable that they could build and build. There was a culture clash at a senior level - its world is all about sports rights. Tiger and Darlow would be better off in a company that understands entertainment,' the source said. The independents will be sold either separately or as a package, estimated at up to forty million pounds, taking into account Tiger’s back catalogue and the potential for cost savings. Former IMG chief operating officer Alastair Waddington, now managing director of Crabtree Associates, said: 'The price may depend on which key personnel are tied into a deal. Take three or four individuals out of the mix and the value may diminish. Don't be surprised if IMG does not sell if it cannot get the right price.' Sony Pictures Entertainment, NBC Universal, Discovery Communications and Vitruvian Partners are being talked about as potential buyers.

Argumental star Rufus Hound is to hold forth on subjects ranging from the Internet to dancing and camping in a series of webonly monologues for comedy multichannel Dave. Hound is fronting The Dave Digests, a twelve part series produced by ChannelFlip, the team behind David Mitchell's SoapBox, an advertising-funded series of online monologues with a similar pitch. Hound's pieces are to be written by Jamie Lennox and Louis Waymouth, who have worked on The Armstrong & Miller Show. Dave has secured funding from Cadbury as part of a broader sponsorship deal. The series is a successor to an earlier series of Dave vodcasts that mixed comedy from the likes of Hound and Lucy Porter with magazine-style items covering popular culture. These were co-produced by Lions Den Films and an inhouse team at UKTV. Dave will host the monologues on its joindave.co.uk website, which it is repositioning as an entertainment portal centred on comedy, motoring, music, movies and gadgets. Mock The Week host Dara O'Briain has committed to at least six blogs and the channel is talking to other talent, including Red Dwarf stars, about joining an online stable of 'Dave's Mates' that will contribute exclusive content. Across ten editorial sections, Dave will be looking for short web-only content and is also posting out-takes from its original commissions, including Argumental, World Rally and Batteries Not Included. The site's broader entertainment proposition includes celebrity interviews, movies, music and motoring reviews and quizzes, plus social media elements.

ITV intends to close its Specialist Factual and Arts department by August next year, in a move that marks yet another serious blow for arts programming on television. The closure plans come soon after ITV's decision in May to axe long-running series The South Bank Show following more than three decades on air. In addition, Channel 4 admits it can no longer guarantee it will fill its vacant arts commissioner post before the end of the year. Employees within ITV Specialist Factual and Arts - which produces The South Bank Show - were called to a meeting last month, at which they were informed of ITV's plans to 'restructure' the department. In a follow-up letter presented to them, the broadcaster said it was clear that 'with the loss of The South Bank Show, the continued employment of a core team of thirteen is unlikely to be viable' and that jobs could be made redundant. It added: 'We are looking at every option but unfortunately it is proposed this department could close by August 2010. If this is the case, we will fulfil all our existing production orders, which would mean that leaving dates would be staggered and could go into 2010.' The ITV letter also stated that there was a chance staff may be found jobs in other departments, but warned that 'employment with the company would end' if this is not possible. An employee within the department, who did not want to be named, said staff were resigned to the fact there would be job losses and complained this was ITV's 'solution to everything. They don't believe in their staff as a way forward to solving a problem. They see them as the problem. It's the same old story,' the source said. The employee criticised ITV for blaming the move on the loss of The South Bank Show and said it would have been impossible for the department to find another show to fill the number of hours it occupied in the schedule. The source questioned ITV's commitment to arts programming in the future and added: 'They are not going to be interested too much, as they have Piers Morgan doing his interview show. Perhaps that is what the future of arts programming for ITV will be.' BECTU supervisory official David Beevers said he was not confident staff would be found alternative employment at ITV, especially since the broadcaster announced six hundred job cuts earlier this year. He added that any decision to close the department would be a 'tragic loss.' A spokesman for ITV said that the arts budget had been set this month based on projects lined up for 2010. He said that closing the department was 'one scenario' being considered, but added: 'At the end of this year, we are proposing to reduce the size of the department to those people working on productions that continue into 2010, plus a small management team. We are now embarking on a three-month consultation process.'

True Blood stars Stephen Moyer and Anna Paquin will appear together in thriller Open House, reports Dread Central. The pair, who are engaged to be married in real life, play a young couple who hold an open house in an attempt to sell their home. Days later, they discover that one potential buyer is still on the property. Tricia Helfer, Rachel Blanchard and Brian Geraghty co-star in the movie, which is written and directed by Paquin's filmmaker brother Andrew.

William H Macy is to play drunkard Frank Gallagher in an American adaptation of Channel 4's Shameless. Subscription channel Showtime has ordered a pilot of the show, which has had a convoluted five-year journey to the small screen. Rival networks HBO and NBC were previously attached to the show, which is being produced by John Wells, whose credits include ER and The West Wing. Wells penned the pilot episode with the creator of the UK series, Paul Abbott. Abbott's original, based around the anarchic, outrageous behaviour of the Gallagher family, was loosely inspired by his own childhood in Burnley. The writer was just eleven years old when his father walked out, leaving him and his seven siblings to fend for themselves, just two years after their mother had also fled the family home. 'To observers we were a chaotic bunch of kids trying to bring ourselves up after both parents had walked. No doubt about it, we were a mess. But how were we to know that?' he told the Lancashire Telegraph earlier this year. The US adaptation will be set in present-day Chicago against the backdrop of the recession. The plot sees eighteen-year-old Fiona tasked with keeping her five younger siblings in line after their mother goes missing and the father turns to alcohol. According to Variety magazine, the pilot will be shot in December. The UK version of Shameless, starring David Threlfall, has been seen in the US on BBC America and at the Sundance Channel.

Fox and Burger King have apologised to Jessica Simpson for a comedy skit about her weight, according to Us magazine. On 11 October, FOX's NFL Sunday aired a sketch featuring animated Dallas Cowboys players mocking Simpson's fluctuating size. The American singer split from her boyfriend, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, in July. In the one-minute clip, an animated version of Cowboys star Marion Barber said: 'Man, I still can't believe Tony [Romo] dated Jessica Simpson, even after she blew up bigger than Flozell Adams!' A cartoon Jason Witten said: 'Unlike Tony, at least Jessica comes up big when it counts!,' while coach Wade Phillips added: 'Say Tony, is Jessica around? We could use a defensive tackle!' A FOX representative said in a statement: 'Burger King Corp. did not have any editorial input in the creation of the animation which ran last Sunday and no-one from Burger King Corp. approved it before it aired. Upon reflection, our poor attempt at humour was insensitive and we deeply apologise to anyone who might have been offended.'

EastEnders actor Charlie G Hawkins has claimed that Walford's Heather Trott would 'rock the boat' if she revealed that his character is the father of her baby. Hawkins's alter ego Darren Miller, who is currently in a relationship with Libby Fox (Belinda Owusu), has emerged as one of the main suspects in the BBC soap's ongoing Who's The Daddy? plot surrounding Heather's pregnancy. Speaking to Inside Soap, Hawkins commented: 'It would change everything. Darren would worry that Libby wouldn't marry him - and what about Libby's parents Denise and Owen? I think he'd be alright as a dad, but he wouldn't want the burden. It'd rock the boat if it was Darren.' On his own experiences with children, the soap star continued: 'My brother's got a three-year-old boy and a one-year-old girl, and I love them to bits. But they're so hyper - after an hour with them, I'm knackered! Everyone says I was mad at that age as well, so they get it from me for sure.' Heather, played by Cheryl Fergison, will finally reveal the identity of the father after giving birth to a baby boy next week.

Former This Life actor Ramon Tikaram has joined the cast of EastEnders. The forty two-year-old actor, who played Ferdy Garcia in the cult 1990s drama, recently signed up to appear in the role of Amira Shah's (Preeya Kalidas) father Qadim on the Walford soap. Though he spoiled Amira as she was growing up, businessman Qadim now has a strained relationship with his daughter, stemming back from the sad loss of her mother Shahana years earlier. The devastating development caused him to change from a devoted family man to a ruthless entrepreneur with a bitter attitude and controlling streak. Viewers will see Qadim for the first time later this year when Amira visits him in prison, where he is serving time for dodgy business dealings. He then goes on to be released in time for her wedding to Syed Masood (Marc Elliott) and becomes determined to share his daughter's big day.

EastEnders villain Archie Mitchell is to be killed off at Christmas, sparking another Walford murder mystery. The Albert Square schemer, played by veteran actor Larry Lamb, will meet a grisly end in the Queen Vic after plotting to take over the pub with Janine Butcher (Charlie Brooks) for months. Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) is expected to emerge as the prime suspect in the case. Fans have already seen the hardman threatening Archie due to his treatment of Mitchell matriarch Peggy (Barbara Windsor). Archie's co-conspirator Janine is also being tipped as a likely perpetrator. She bumped off her husband Barry Evans (Shaun Williamson) in a memorable 2004 plotline. Meanwhile, Mitchell sisters Roxy (Rita Simons) and Ronnie (Samantha Womack) have disowned their father due to his roguish ways. A source told the Sun: 'Since Archie first arrived in Walford he's managed to lie, cheat and manipulate everyone around him. Over the next few months he is set to get even worse - so it's fair to say he's made enemies of enough people who'll be glad to see the back of him.'

Emmerdale actor Lyndon Ogbourne has announced that he plans to take part in a charity swim to the Isle of Wight next year. The soap star, who plays Nathan Wylde in the Yorkshire-based drama, revealed that he will treat himself by attending a music festival on the island after completing his challenge. He told Teletext: 'Next year I'm hoping to swim from Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight. I love going and raving at festivals. There's a festival on the Isle of Wight, and I swim there and go to the festival. Should be full on.'

Michael Jackson's pet chimpanzee Bubbles has not received a penny of money he is entitled to from the singer's will, a report claims. According to the Daily Star, Jackson left the twenty seven-year-old primate one million pounds to ensure that he would have 'a secure long-term future.' The music legend adopted Bubbles from a Texas cancer research centre in 1985. They went on to enjoy a close friendship, but Jackson later struggled to care for his needs and sent the chimp to animal trainer Bob Dunne, who had arranged the adoption. Dunne told the newspaper: 'We've heard nothing. I'm not sure we will either. He's frozen out.' A source said: 'Michael will turn in his grave if Bubbles's future is not financially secure.' If he does, what's the betting Sky will try to film it and play it alongside Derek Acorah's forthcoming Jackson special. 'What's that Sam? He's telling me to ... 'Beat It'?'

Peter Bazalgette has ruled himself out of the running for the Channel 4 chairman job after thinking 'long and hard' about the post. The former Endemol chief creative director has been approached by headhunters but said his involvement in other businesses and organisations led to the decision not to put himself forward. 'I have a large portfolio of very exciting things and I would have to give up a substantial amount to do the Channel 4 job,' he said.

Digital UK has issued an apology to Freeview households in north Devon who have been receiving Welsh television rather than their normal service after the retune. Following the nationwide Freeview retune on 30 September, around three hundred customers in the south west region - which switched off the analogue signal earlier in the year - experienced the disruption to their service. The so-called Welsh problem arose because a mast in Wales transmits at a similar frequency to the Ilfracombe relay in north Devon, but at a much stronger signal, reports BBC News. In response, Digital UK spokesman Bill Taylor said that only viewers receiving their TV signal from a relay rather than a main transmitter were affected by the problem. He added that specialist advice on the issue is now available on the Digital UK website or via the helpline. Taylor stressed that the switchover in the South West region has proceeded without hitch for nearly one million TV viewers, but problems such as this are still 'really frustrating. I'm not trying to hide behind the big number and I do understand people's anger. Sometimes the kit gets confused about where it's getting the signal from,' he said. 'We will have specific advice for viewers on how to get round it and solutions on our website and on our helpline. Again it's frustrating, but the reality is that channels move around, they're not an absolute fixture.' However, Ilfracombe resident Terry Drew was less than impressed with the way the Freeview retune has been handled. 'It's just stupid. Before the last tune everything was perfect and afterwards everything went berserk,' he remarked.

Lawyers acting on behalf of the Sex Pistols have reportedly threatened an ice cream firm with legal action over copyright infringement. London-based company Icecreamists' online advertisements feature a picture of the Queen backed by a Union flag with an ice cream spoon in her mouth and the words 'God save the cream' written across her face. However, the band maintain that the design is too similar to their artwork for single 'God Save The Queen.' Icecreamists is understood to have received a letter from attorneys after the group's holding company Glitterbest initially registered a complaint in August, reports NME. The document requested that Icecreamists stop using The Sex Pistols' image to advertise their products. Speaking about the dispute, Icecreamists' founder Matt O'Connor said: 'We are a bit dumbfounded that a group that made its reputation for being banned is trying to ban one of our ice creams.' The business also offers an absinthe-based ice cream cocktail called the Sex Pistol. Anarchic.

Big Brother contestant Jemma Gawned's make-up range has been closed down after ongoing money problems. Gawned, who formed Jemma Cosmetics after her time on the reality TV show in 2002, has apparently struggled to find financial backers for her company over the past year. The business began as a successful lip gloss line and was expanded and re-named JG Creative in 2008. Sources told the Daily Telegraph that Gawned, who used to date Dancing With The Stars and Neighbours star Daniel MacPherson, is optimistic about the future.

Kerry Katona has announced that she plans to get her life back on track by resurrecting her pop career. Oh. Haven't we suffered enough already?

Katie Price has reportedly blasted fashion labels who refuse to lend her clothes. According to Splash News, the glamour girl complains about the attitude of high-profile brands in her new book Standing Out: My Look, My Style, My Life. Price is quoted as saying: 'You'd think with the amount of coverage I get in magazines and papers each week, designers would be more than happy to lend me an outfit, but, no, I can't get any big names to lend to me - and it really pisses me off. I'm probably more successful than most girls in the public eye. I look at people like Kelly Brook and I just can't understand how she gets to wear all these designer clothes.' She added: 'I'm not slating her, but really, what the hell does she actually do?' Irony? Jordan doesn't know the meaning of the word.

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