Sunday, October 25, 2009

Week Forty Four: Hard Times Call For Funny Men

Octobeard Day Twenty Three to Twenty Four: Growth continues unabated. (I really feel as though I should be scribbling all of this down, long hand, in some sort of Dr Frankenstein-style leather-bound journal). Keith Telly Topping's resemblance to 'The Wild Man of Borneo' is now, truly, uncanny. Just another week of this nonsense, dear blog reader, and the merciful razor will be unleashed in all it's sharp and slicy fury. Can't wait, personally. The pointless things we do in the name of charideee (but, we don't like to talk about).

Anyway, a small personal notette before we get onto next week's Top Telly Tips. Mary Wilson (yes, Mary Wilson of The Supremes) was in Gateshead this week (don't laugh) launching a new exhibition at the Shipley Art Gallery. And, on Thursday yer actual Keith Telly Topping (and his outrageous beard) had the great opportunity to meet one of his musical idols. I'll tell you all something, dear blog reader, in my time I have met some famous people - two Prime Ministers, two Beatles (and stalked a third) and more producers of Doctor Who than you can shake a stick at - and yet, this is just about the first time that I've ever been in a room with someone and almost screamed like a girl. Still a fine lookin' lady, is Mary. The Story of The Supremes from the Mary Wilson Collection exhibition features over fifty stunning performance costumes worn by The Supremes and charts the changing image of the group, from their dresses in their early days as The Primettes, to the glamorous Hollywood designs worn at the height of their fame. In addition to the costumes, the exhibition features the group's music, LP covers and archive performance footage as well as new video interviews with Wilson and Maxine Powell, Motown's in-house artist development director. To celebrate the opening of the exhibition, Mary Wilson was in town for a few days and the gallery offered an opportunity for fans to get up close and personal with the Motown legend. Anyroad, here's one for all you Motown nerds like myself, I asked Mary what her favourite Supremes song was and discovered it was 'You Keep Me Hangin' On'. Connoisseurs choice, that. Although, I've always preferred 'Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart' personally.

Friday 30 October
Tonight sees the first TV broadcast of Bill Bailey: Tinselworm - 10:00 Channel 4. If you haven't already got the DVD and worn a hole in it, this is a 2008 performance by the acclaimed comedian at Wembley Arena at the end of his sold-out UK tour. The show includes loads of examples of Bill's trademark musical comedy - including a brilliant collaboration with a group of Indian musicians towards the end that's worth staying up half the night for on its own. As somebody who first saw Bill back in about 1997 (when he was still doing Insect Nation and 'the Doctor Who theme as Belgian Jazz'), Keith Telly Topping has delighted in the progress and success of this most witty and talented of comedians. And to see him performing before fifteen thousand people is really something else. If you only know the man through Buzzcocks and Qi, check out his stand-up, you'll be amazed.

Saturday 31 October
And, speaking of comedians whom readers will likely best know through quiz shows, Russell Howard's Good News Extra - 9:00 BBC3 - is an extended edition of the topical comedy show hosted by Mock The Week's Russell Howard. He offers his unique perspective on the big stories dominating the media across TV, online and in print, as well as picking up on those sometimes overlooked things that make him smile. So, TV Burp without Harry Hill in other words. I do like Russell a lot - like most of the regulars, he tends to get somewhat dwarfed by the furious whirlwind that is Mad Frankie Boyle on Mock The Week so it's good to see him being given a vehicle of his own. Again, one can get used to a comedian in a particular format on TV and think that's all they do so it's a double bonus to get something a bit different.

Having got off to a great start last week, the latest series of Armando Iannucci's political satire sitcom The Thick of It continues at 10:10 on BBC2. Nicola Murray (the great Rebecca Front from The Day Today) has only been secretary of state for just over a week but, already, there is press speculation on how long she will last in the job. And now, someone at the Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship has completely wiped the immigration records of one hundred and seventy thousand six hundred and seventy two people. Who is going to get the blame for this fiasco? Who will have to break the news to Malcolm and how will Nicola get through lunch with the staff of the Guardian without revealing the full scale of the latest disaster? As ever, discerning viewers are directed to Peter Capaldi's quite superb, world-weary performance and bruising barbs aimed at poor Chris Addison. This is a great TV show by any definition one can come up with of what is 'great' and what isn't. If you're not watching The Thick of It, you should be.

It's all comedy tonight. Well, sort of as we finish off with The Impressions Show With Culshaw and Stephenson - 9:45 BBC1. Which, as you might expect, is a sketch-based vehicle for Dead Ringers' Jon Culshaw and Debra Stephenson. Now, I have to be honest here - as previously discussed (at length), I'm not the world's greatest fan of shows based around impressionists. Even Dead Ringers, which was the best of the genre by about a million miles, used to have its flat moments. The problem is, of course, that some impressionists are better than others and, whilst Culshaw doing his Tom Baker act was astoundingly accurate you used to get some awful conceits like Kevin Connelly 'doing' Bill Oddie by, basically, sticking a false beard on and grunting to the camera 'ello, I'm Bill Oddie.' Thanks for telling me, Kev. I'd assumed you were Lenny Henry-doing-David Bellamy and I'd slipped into a time-warp to the 1980s. Culshaw, however, is a truly gifted comedian and mimic in his own right so I'm quite prepared to give this one a go to see what he comes up with. And, I particularly admire the pairing with the versatile Stephenson (whom you'll probably best known from Bad Girls and Corrie). It's an unusual, and slightly dangerous combination and I hope it works for them. Thomas Nelstrop and Jess Robinson also appear. The BBC have, apparently, commissioned eight episodes so they seem to have some faith in it. Certainly more faith than they've got in Alistair McGowan or Ronni Ancona at the moment.

Sunday 1 November
In the late 18th century, young idealistic barrister William Garrow is given his first criminal defence case at the Old Bailey by his attorney and mentor. Garrow's Law: Tales from the Old Bailey - 9:00 BBC1 tells his story. Garrow loses his first case to his nemesis, Silvester, but his impressive performance in court catches the eye of Lady Sarah Hill, who instructs him to defend a helpless serving girl accused of murdering her newborn baby. Garrow learns a harsh lesson from his first case and vows to defend the life of the serving girl and change the trial forever. Classy, gritty historical drama from the Beeb doing one of the things they do best. Stars Andrew Buchan, Alun Armstrong and Rupert Graves.

Monday 2 November
In Tonight: I'm Paid More than the PM - 8:00 ITV - as politicians debate how severely to cut public services, Jonathan Maitland investigates some of the eye-watering salaries in the public sector. A place where some bosses of public services or publicly owned companies earn up to five times more than the Prime Minister. An opinion poll reveals who the public thinks are Britain's most overpaid. I'm going to go for bankers - without even waiting for the results...

Into the Storm - 8:30 BBC2 - is a drama-documentary sequel to the Emmy award-winning The Gathering Storm, charting Winston Churchill's rise to power, his determination to lead the country to victory in World War II, and his devastating loss of power to Clem Attlee in the 1945 general election. The film also explores Churhcill's changing relationships, including how the intimacy between a man and his wife is sacrificed for the sake of a greater goal. Brendan Gleeson has the unenviable task of trying to better Albert Finney's performance in the first film. Tough one, that - although Gleeson is a very fine actor indeed. Excellent supporting cast, too.

Still on the subject of the war, The Great Escape: The Reckoning - 9:00 Channel 4 - recalls the famous escape of seventy six allied airmen in March 1944 from the notorious prison of war camp at Stalag Luft III. Of course, all but three of them were recaptured (Charles Bronson, John Leyton and James Coburn if you were taking notes during the film). Over fifty of them were rounded-up, put in a field and shot by the Gestapo in a flagrant breach of the Geneva Convention. It was all Nigel Stock's fault, the bloody idiot for making too much noise as they were coming out of the tunnel. Although, Gordon Jackson wasn't blameless either falling for the schoolboy error as he got on the bus. And, have you noticed how Steve McQueen manages to get - on a motorbike (disguised, as Eddie Izzard so memorably put it, as 'an American man') - from Poland to the border of Switzerland faster than Jim Rockford and Donald Pleasance get there IN A PLANE. Anyway, as well as recounting the actual escape, this documentary film tells the lesser-known - but, actually, far more compelling - story of what happened next, including the remorseless hunt throughout Europe for the men who executed the airmen, a quest that lasted well into the 1960s. Looks terrific.

Tuesday 3 November
Chef Gordon Ramsay presents the fast-paced food magazine show celebrating the very best of Britain's independent local restaurants in Gordon Ramsay's F Word - 9:00 Channel 4. In this show, two Italian restaurants go head to head and Gordon finds himself facing Katie Price in the kitchen. Oh, joy. Because, one can never have too much of those two on TV, can one? Clear the night for this, then.

Nature Shock: Death Fog - 8:00 Five - is a documentary series that examines freak occurrences in the natural world. In 1986, a mysterious natural disaster claimed the lives of nearly two thousand people at a lake in Cameroon. Scientists initially believed an underwater volcanic eruption was to blame, until the evidence pointed them towards an astonishing new scientific phenomenon. I love Nature Shock - the episode titles alone are worth their weight in TV gold.

In the autumn of 2008, Al Gentry achieved his goal of twenty two years hard work - he had Betty Neumar arrested for the murder of his brother Harold who was Betty's husband back in 1986. Only then did it emerge that Harold Gentry was just one of Betty's former husbands. She had in fact been married five times in total - and all five husbands appear to have died in suspicious circumstances. Could this sweet old grey-haired seventy six-year-old grandmother really have got away with murder, not just once but five times? In Black Widow Granny? - 10:35 BBC1 - we find out the background. Sounds excellent (daft title, notwithstanding) albeit, it's on a bit late. So if you do watch this, please remember, violent crime is very rare so don't have nightmares.

Wednesday 4 November
Tonight sees the return of Keith Telly Topping's beloved [Spooks] - 9:00 BBC1 - the classy, slick drama series about the British Security Service. With Harry Pearce still missing, there is one question on everyone's mind: is he dead, or alive? Section D discovers that Harry thwarted a clandestine operation to smuggle weapons-grade uranium into Iraq to justify the war. Now the rogue officers who masterminded the operation want their uranium back and they are prepared to go to any lengths to get it. If Harry isn't dead already, is it too late to save him? Stars the great Peter Firth, Hermione Norris, Richard Armitage and Miranda Raison. And, hang out the flags, there's another long overdue return - for fan-favourite, Nicola Walker who was last seen getting on a boat for a new life abroad. Guess that didn't go so well. Ah, it's great to have the divine and sarky Ruth back.

The Family - 9:00 Channel 4 - is an eight-part observational series documenting family life, as a British Indian family opens its doors to viewers. For two months, the Grewals will be followed by cameras as they go about their everyday lives. The family's eldest son Sunny's upcoming marriage to Shay is overshadowed by the disapproval of the bride-to-be's family. Based, of course, on the genuinely groundbreaking fly-on-the-wall documentary series of the 1970s which, ultimately, was the grandparent of Big Brother and every other form of what we now call reality TV. Part of the problem, though, is that the format saturated on TV. Once upon a time, this sort of thing was unique - now it's commonplace.

The wildlife documentary series Natural World - 8:00 BBC2 - tonight tells a tale of life on the Zambezi River, set against the epic backdrop of Victoria Falls. The story is told from the point of view of a local fisherman, Mr White, who has fished these waters for sixty nine years, and whose riverside companions are elephants, baboons, hippos and kingfishers. The film follow the fortunes of these animals through his eyes and we learn how their lives are ruled by the moods of the river and the rains. Epic stuff.

Thursday 5 November
In The Schoolboy That Sailed the World - 9:00 Channel 4 - keen teenage sailor Michael Perham sets off on an epic round-the-world journey in a bid to become the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe solo. On-board cameras track the sixteen-year-old from Potters Bar as he tries to cope with wild seas, failing equipment and loneliness on his nine month quest. Sixteen? Jeez, when Keith Telly Topping was sixteen he could barely get out of bed in the morning much less sail the world. Mind you, now he's forty six, he's still pretty much the same ... so the problem here would appear to be with him rather than the rest of the world.

I seem to be recommending Bones - 9:00 Sky1 - just about every week at the moment but it really has turned into a stonkingly good little crime drama - one with good actors, clever scripts and a real sense of wit and energy. In tonight's episode a charred corpse is discovered to actually be a mummified body from the Jeffersonian museum's Egypt exhibition - the curator of which is then found horribly murdered. Elsewhere, Brennan goes on a date with Booth's FBI supervisor, and Sweet's irritating girlfriend, Daisy, applies for her old job as a lab tech. Much to Cam, Angela, Jack and Brennan's distress.

And, lastly for the latest batch of yer Top Telly Tips on Coronation Street - 8:30 ITV - Roy is utterly determined to expose wicked old naughty big-eyed Tony as a cold-blooded murderer. Ho-ho, mate ... many have tried and failed before, what makes you think you've got a chance? Meanwhile, Gail is concerned for Joe and David's safety as they go off on a fishing trip. So, what else is new? Gail is always concerned about something, that's pretty much her raison d'être so to speak. And, how will Simon get along with his new granddad?

Let's have some ratings news, next: The controversial appearance of BNP leader and 'plucked owl, fast-tracked into a management position in Gregg's', Nick Griffin, on Question Time on Thursday night saw it record the highest viewing figures in the political discussion show's thirty-year run, with a peak audience of over eight million tuning into BBC1. Just to put that into some perspective, that's a larger audience than Strictly Come Dancing achieved the previous Saturday. This staggering figure was more than three times the programme's usual average audience of 2.7m. It averaged 7.8m across the hour from 10.35pm. Interest in the show was driven by huge protests around the appearance of Griffin on the show. Meanwhile, the final of MasterChef: The Professionals performed exceptionally well for BBC2. The last instalment of the series, in which Steve Groves was crowned champion, averaged 3.87m between 8pm and 9.30pm, coming top during its timeslot and setting a new high for the series. MasterChef's previous highest audience had came on Wednesday night, when the 8.15pm show drew 3.53m. The series has managed an average of just a shade under three million right over its six-week run. Is it any wonder BBC1 want to kidnap it and sticfk it on the main channel? Later on BBC2, Never Mind The Buzzcocks achieved 2.51m in its half-hour slot at 9.30pm. On BBC1, 3.57m tuned in for Watchdog at 8pm, then the 9pm New Tricks repeat interested 4.13m viewers. ITV's The Bill managed a relatively poor 3.89m during the 9pm hour and Five's coverage of Fulham's game against AS Roma averaged 1.13m between 7.30pm and 10.20pm.

Meanwhile Nick Griffin has seemingly found himself the victim of an extraordinary attack from his own supporters following his controversial appearance on Question Time. As a public postmortem into one of the most divisive broadcasts in the corporation's history attempted to gauge its impact on the party's fortunes Lee Barnes, the BNP's legal officer, has accused Griffin of 'failing to press the attack' during the televised debate. Others sympathetic to the BNP's views expressed dismay at Griffin's flustered attempts to appeal to the mainstream. The BNP's critics were quick to use such comments as proof of deep divisions within the party's membership over how it should position itself with the electorate. Griffin has claimed that he has dragged the party into the political mainstream. But the resulting backlash from those on his own side suggests many are uncomfortable with the BNP's attempts to cloak itself in more moderate terms. Barnes complained on his personal website that Griffin 'should have stood up to these whining, middle-class hypocrites that use the race card for self-enrichment – and thrown the truth right back into their fat, sanctimonious, hypocritical, self-serving faces.' He accused his party's leader of 'failing to press the attack' on the 'ethnic middle class' for 'taking up the best jobs while still playing the bogus race card for every opportunity.' And, in a move that is likely to reinforce concerns that Griffin's appearance will spark violence, Barnes used his personal website to suggest that 'perhaps there needs to be a few "white riots" around the country a la the Brixton riots of the 1980s before the idiot white liberal middle class and their ethnic middle-class fellow travellers wake up.' Gosh, what a pleasant-sounding chap.

Jo Wood has become the sixth celebrity to be voted off Strictly Come Dancing. Wood and Brendan Cole were joined in the bottom two by Olympic athlete Jade Johnson and Ian Waite. Earlier in the evening, Wood and Cole scored only fourteen points and finished bottom of the leaderboard with their samba. When you only get a three from Alesha Dixon, you know you're in trouble. 'Futile and ineffectual. I thought it was a complete dance disaster,' noted Craig Revel Horwood as ice-formed on the upper reaches of Brendan Cole. Johnson and Waite fared better, finishing joint third with the same dance and a score of thirty two. Like Zöe Lucker last week, nobody could quite work out why the audience had voted the pair so poorly. After the dance-off, all four judges voted to save Waite and Johnson. However, Alesha Dixon praised Wood for being a 'fantastic sport' on the show. Revel Horwood, pointedly, didn't. Speaking about her departure, Rockin' Ronnie's ex said: 'I'm surprised that I lasted this long. I have enjoyed every second. I am going to go and dance with [Brendan] on his tour.'

Strictly producers have reportedly banned hairspray backstage. According to the Sun, the rule has been introduced after Jade Johnson accidentally inhaled some fumes before last week's show and began retching. Although she soon recovered, producers decided to ban the product backstage, meaning that the contestants and professional dancers now have to go outside to have their hair styled. 'Jade nearly choked and health and safety have banned hairspray backstage,' a source said. 'But it's ridiculous making them all troop out into the cold.' Another insider added: 'Things are really tight backstage before the show and sending the dancers outside to do their hair just wastes time.' One of the sources explained that the professional dancers have to change so quickly that last week Ola Jordan almost didn't get her costume on in time. 'Quick dress changes are becoming more difficult this series because the costumes are so elaborate,' the insider said. 'Ola just escaped a wardrobe malfunction after nearly coming on stage half-dressed. Having to muck about doing their hair outside will just make things worse.'

Fearne Cotton has blasted TV critics for suggesting that she is 'famous for doing nothing.' Well, not nothing, per se. I mean, reading an autocue is something. Writing on her Twitter account, the twenty eight-year-old presenter, who recently landed a new ITV2 show titled Fearne And... said that those making negative comments about her are 'bitter' and 'angry.' That's quite possibly true. It doesn't mean they're wrong, of course. 'TV critics are such odd people,' she wrote. Damn straight, sister. Mad, bad and dangerous to know, us critics. 'Apparently im [sic] famous for doing nothing... although ive [sic] been tv presenting for thirteen years. They're famous for slagging people off!' Well, at least that's being famous for something, Fearne, chuck. Which, like the ability to read an autocue, is better than nothing.

Jill Gascoine has withdrawn from the role of EastEnders' Glenda Mitchell, forcing the soap's bosses to recast the character just days after the initial announcement. With such tight filming schedules, the series was forced to hire a replacement, opting for fifty three-year-old ex-Dempsey and Makepeace and Blake's 7 actress Glynis Barber. Earlier this week, producers revealed that seventy two-year-old Gascoine - star of The Gentle Touch and C.A.T.S. Eyes - had signed to play the role of Archie Mitchell's estranged wife Glenda. However, during her first day on set, Gascoine took the decision to withdraw from her filming commitments as she felt that she 'lacked the right experience to film such a big continuing drama.' Speaking of her conclusion to step down, Gascoine said: 'I was so looking forward to playing Glenda but having spent the last fifteen years working in America - largely acting in single drama and writing fiction - I felt, on arrival, I lacked the right experience to film such a big continuing drama. I have tremendous respect for EastEnders and the cast so I didn't want to let the show or my fellow cast members down.' She added: 'I'm really sad that I won't now play a part in EastEnders but I'd like to wish Glynis Barber the best of luck in the role of Glenda.' Barber - who portrayed Harriet Makepeace in the 1980s crime drama and, more recently, Emmerdale's DCI Grace Barraclough - began filming with EastEnders earlier this week and will make her first appearance as Glenda in the New Year.

Lindsey Coulson, Natalie Cassidy and Dean Gaffney are to return to EastEnders in the New Year as the Jackson family reunite ahead of the show's twenty fifth anniversary. Carol, Sonia and Robbie head back to Albert Square in the early part of next year, much to the shock of their Walford-based relatives, who include Bianca (Patsy Palmer) and Branning brothers Max (Jake Wood) and Jack (Scott Maslen). Coulson made her last appearance as Carol on 7 October 1999 when she left to care for her sick mother who subsequently died. Earlier that year, Carol made the shocking discovery that her daughter, Bianca, was having an affair with her then-partner Dan Sullivan (Craig Fairbrass) and a bitter showdown in The Queen Vic resulted in Bianca leaving Walford. Since parting ways, mother and daughter have barely spoken. Speaking of her return, Coulson said: 'I'm thrilled to be returning to EastEnders after all these years. I'm also excited and intrigued to find out what Carol and her family have been up to since we last saw her and where she will be going next.'

Another former EastEnder Martine McCutcheon has defended her - as yet unpublished - first novel from critics. WENN reports that the first chapter of The Mistress was posted online last month but has received largely negative reviews. However, McCutcheon told the Daily Mail: 'I knew people would be critical, because I am a celebrity and known as an actress.' Well yeah but, also, just a vague possibility here Martine, love. They might, actually, be passing a comment based on their feeling of the text's worth as literature. Just a wild stab in the dark, there. As somebody who's received more than his share of bad reviews over the years, I know it's often tempting to seek comfort in the 'they've just got an agenda' route. But, more often than not, that simply isn't true. They just don't think your book is any good, that's all. 'I don't care what they say,' she continued. She seemingly doesn't care so much that she used an interview to tell them this. 'The only thing I worry about is people being put off giving it a chance and buying it.' She added that she is proud that she wrote the book herself. 'I sent the first draft to someone and he said, "It needs some work,"' she explained. 'They offered me a ghostwriter, but I didn't take it. That's the best thing for me - seeing that I created a book and did it by myself. As an actress in my thirties, I know this career won't last forever. So, for me, the idea of being able to write books would be brilliant.' Well yes, the idea of writing a book is tremendous. Actually writing one, however, that's usually the hard part.

Sky has further bucked the economic downturn to secure ninety four thousand new customers during the third quarter of this year, including strong growth of its high definition service. Revenues at the service provider increased by ten per cent over the three-month period to top £1.38 billion, buoyed by a fifteen per cent overall growth in retail subscription revenue. The addition of over ninety thousand new subscribers marked an eight per cent increase year-on-year (factoring customer turnover), with Sky now holding 9.536m customers in total. Sky also posted two hundred and eighty seven thousand net additions for its Sky+ HD service - a three-fold increase on 2008 - to reach 1.6m households. Around one hundred thousand people signed up to Sky's broadband during the quarter, with one hundred and thirty two thousand opting to take its telephone services. Customers choosing bundled packages - TV, broadband and landline - from the firm now stand at seventeen per cent of its base, up by twelve per cent on the previous year. This strong performance triggered an increase in Sky's pre-tax operating profit to one hundred and eighty million pounds. Speaking about the results, Sky chief executive Jeremy Darroch said: 'Our business has made a good start to our 2010 financial year with another quarter of strong results. In what continues to be a tough economic environment, we have increased the number of customers joining Sky. High definition has continued to perform very well and more customers are saving money by choosing Sky for each of TV, broadband and telephony. The strong operational performance is reflected in today's financial results.'

A number of X Factor viewers have complained to Ofcom about Cheryl Cole and Whitney Houston's performances on the show, according to a report. Viewers aired their grievances to the media regulator after last Sunday's episode, the Daily Star claims. It is thought that many of the complaints centre around allegations that Cole and Houston mimed parts of their respective singles 'Fight For This Love' and 'Million Dollar Bill' when their performances had been billed as live. Meanwhile, some viewers are also said to have contacted Ofcom to complain over Houston's allegedly odd behaviour after she finished her song. The superstar was seen staring at the ground and struggling to answer questions as she was interviewed by show host Dermot O'Leary. A representative for the media regulator reportedly told the newspaper that it is so far dealing with thirty two complaints.

Channel 4 is to launch a marketing campaign that includes a TV promo and a graphic novel distributed on university campuses to promote its new Heroes-meets-Shaun of the Dead teen comedy drama Misfits. The show, which will air on E4 from 12 November, features a cast of five teenage 'outsiders' who get caught in a flash storm while on community service and develop superpowers. To promote the show, 4Creative, Channel 4's in-house ad agency, has created a forty-second promo clip that features the orange boilersuit-clad teens running through the hailstorm set to the song 'Clear Island' by The Liars. 'We wanted to create something enigmatic that got across the filmic quality of this excellent new drama and focused on one of the pivotal moments of the show,' said Olivia Browne, business director at 4Creative. The show stars Robert Sheehan from Red Riding, Iwan Rheon from Spring Awakening, The Unloved's Lauren Socha and Nathan Stewart Jarrett of The History Boys.

Vicky Binns has been booed because of her Coronation Street character. In the soap Binns plays Molly, who is married to Tyrone Dobbs but is having an affair with his colleague Kevin Webster. 'Everyone asks me, "How can you do that to poor Tyrone?"' she told Inside Soap. 'I did the Bupa Great North Run recently, and got booed for the full thirteen miles!' However, Binns explained that she understands why fans are so angry with her character. 'I agree with them,' she said. 'Molly's just outrageous. But it's great that people are getting so involved with the storyline and are intrigued to see what's going to happen next with Molly and Kev.'

Sebastian Roché has been cast in FOX's Fringe suggests Digital Spy website. The forty five-year-old French actor, who recently had a recurring role in The CW's The Beautiful Life, has reportedly joined the sci-fi series as a new villain. His character is said to be a half-human, half-machine soldier form another dimension who is trying to gather information for opening a stable door to the other side.

Joss Whedon has claimed that he is 'not as depressed as everyone else' over Dollhouse going on hiatus in November. The remaining episodes of the sci-fi show's second season will now be shown back-to-back in December. FOX previously planned to air the programme's thirteen-episode order in full after it returned with its lowest ratings ever. The show's creator posted on his fansite Whedonesque.com: 'Howzabout that schedule? I'm not as depressed as everyone else. We weren't about to rock sweeps anyway and though there's a chilly November, December is CRAZY.' It's really difficult to spin this one as anything other than a grade-ten disaster, though. The show simply isn't attracting an audience. FOX, who've copped more than their fair share of criticism for killing shows before their time in the past, took the unprecidented step of recommissioning Dollhouse despite its low viewing figures and it promptly got even lower ones. What's a broadcaster to do? Sometimes, despite everybody's best intentions, some shows just don't find an audience. And this would seem to be one of them.

Megan Mullally is planning on taking her Will & Grace character to the stage. The actress revealed that she is working on Karen: The Musical, after securing the rights to the character from the network NBC and the financial backing from Fox Theatricals. Mullally told the Los Angeles Times that she is confident the show will be a hit. She said: 'The main thing is Karen is such a great character and people really want to see her again. Even jaded people in our business are giggling. Also, nobody has taken their sitcom character and done a big Broadway musical.'

The BBC Trust has rubber stamped an extra twenty five and a half million pounds for the BBC’s children’s budget over the next three years - money that will be used to improve online audio services and regain lost audiences on BBC1 and the CBBC website. The pledge follows the BBC Trust’s review into children’s services and BBC Vision director Jana Bennett unveiling plans to allocate cash last month. Bennett said while she was 'incredibly proud of the creative strength of CBeebies and CBBC,' but the Trust had identified 'some areas for improvement. Children are at the vanguard of digital media adoption and consumption and expect to be served in a focused way on digital television as well as by on-demand and internet content,' she said.

Mel B has reportedly been threatened by a group of yobs in a laundrette. The singer was in Leeds filming the ITV programme Seven Days On The Breadline when the incident is said to have occurred, the Mirror reports. A source told the newspaper that a group of fifteen approached the thirty four-year-old and said: 'What are you doing in here? You're a fucking Spice Girl. We're gonna have you.' Mel B replied: 'I'm doing my laundry. What are you doing?' Hey, that's hard. Taking on fifteen of them. Is the source absolutely sure it wasn't just one boy? Who was aged fifteen, perhaps?

Former Smiths singer Morrissey has been taken to hospital after collapsing on stage with breathing difficulties. Eyewitnesses said the fifty-year-old fell to the floor during a performance of his former band's song 'This Charming Man' at the Oasis Leisure Centre in Swindon. Two of his current backing group's members took him off stage and an ambulance rushed him to Great Western Hospital, where his condition was described as 'stable.' All at From The North, of course, wish Mozza a speedy recovery.

US comedian Soupy Sales, who had some twenty thousand pies thrown at him during a career spanning half-a-century, has died at the age of eighty three. Sales died in a hospice in New York after being admitted a week ago, his former manager Dave Usher said. During the 1950s and 60s, Sales was one of the most instantly recognisable faces in the US, Mr Usher said. Having pies hurled at him became his trademark act and he acknowledged it would be his legacy. 'I'll probably be remembered for the pies, and that's all right,' he said in a 1985 interview. Soupy was born Milton Supman on 8 January 1926, in Franklinton, North Carolina. His television career began in 1951 hosting a children's show in Cleveland, before moving to Detroit where he drew large audiences on a local station. In 1964 he debuted The Soupy Sales Show - appealing to both adults and children - with co-star puppets White Fang (the meanest dog in the United States) and Black Tooth (the nicest dog in the United States). Celebrities including Frank Sinatra and Shirley MacLaine appeared on his show to be spattered with a pie while standing next to the comedian, often wearing his trademark black jumper and oversized bow tie. He appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show on several occasions, including once with The Beatles. Soupy signed with Motown Records in the late 1960s, releasing a single, 'Muck-Arty Park' (a splendidly funny parody version of Richard Harris' 1968 hit) as well as the LP A Bag of Soup. He remained a familiar television face, first as a regular from 1968 to 1975 on the game show What's My Line? and later appearing on The Love Boat. He also played himself in the 1998 Eddie Murphy film Holy Man. Soupy is survived by his wife, Trudy, and two sons, Hunt and Tony.

Kelly Osbourne has claimed that Dannii Minogue would not sing live if she ever performed on The X Factor. The reality star made the remark in response to the criticism levelled at Minogue's fellow judge Cheryl Cole for partly miming her song 'Fight For This Love' on the show. Writing in her Closer magazine column, Osbourne commented: 'We all know Dannii Minogue wouldn't be able to sing live, so it'd be a double standard if Cheryl had to.' She added: 'I think everyone knows how I feel about Dannii after the way she treated my mum on The X Factor.' Oh well, at least the agenda there isn't hidden, anyway. Fair play to her for that.

1 comment:

Samantha K said...

Soupy Sales practically invented the immortal pie in the face gag -- they don't make em like that anymore...