Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Another Soldier Down

One of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's favourite actors, the great Edward Woodward, has died at the age of seventy nine, his agent confirmed. The Croydon-born actor had been suffering from pneumonia and died in hospital. Edward's best remembered roles include Sergeant Howie in the cult 1973 British horror film The Wicker Man, the dour eponymous MI5 hit-man in Callan and former secret agent Robert McCall in the popular US action series The Equalizer in the 1980s. Janet Glass, his agent, said that Edward had been ill for several months and died peacefully surrounded by members of his family. The actor, who lived in Hawker's Cove near Padstow, died at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro. 'I knew him a very long time and he was a superb human being,' she said. 'That integrity shone through in the roles he played. I can't ever remember, in all the productions he undertook, anyone having a bad word to say about him and he never had anything bad to say about anyone else either.' Glass added: 'Universally loved and admired through his unforgettable roles in classic productions, he was equally courageous in real life, never losing his brave spirit and wonderful humour throughout his illness. His passing will leave a huge gap in many lives,' she concluded. Edward was last seen in the BBC's EastEnders as Tommy Clifford earlier this year. Diederick Santer, executive producer of the soap, said: 'All of us at EastEnders are very sad to learn that Edward has passed away. We were thrilled when he joined us for a stint of six episodes earlier this year. He was a delight to work with, and delivered a characteristically touching and layered performance. Our thoughts are with his family.' The film critic Barry Norman described Woodward was a 'very fine actor. He made about three-dozen movies but he was rarely given the chance to star,' he told BBC News. 'The two films that do stand out are obviously The Wicker Man and also Breaker Morant, about three soldiers in the Boer War. In both he gave excellent performances.' Simon Pegg, who was a huge fan of Woodward and cast him in his 2007 movie Hot Fuzz, said on Twitter: 'So sorry to hear we have lost the great Edward Woodward. Feel lucky to have worked with him.' Originally one of the great Shakespearean stage actors of his generation (and a Broadway star in the early 1960s), Woodward first came to wider attention in 1967 when he was cast as David Callan in James Mitchell's iconic ITV Armchair Theatre play A Magnum for Schneider, which later became a long-running series in which Edward demonstrated his ability to express controlled rage. His iconic performance as the decidedly unglamorous spy assured the series became a popular hit from 1968 to 1972, with a film adaptation two years later and a one-off revival in the 1980s. He also made a memorable appearance on the BBC's The Morecambe & Wise Show: When asked by Eric Morecambe who would ever appear in one of Ernie Wise's 'plays what he wrote', Ernie replied 'Edward Woodward would.' Edward is survived by his second wife, the actress Michele Dotrice, and his four children - Tim, Peter, Sarah and Emily - all of whom are also actors.

David Tennant has said that he never offered his input into Doctor Who stories because Russell Davies did not need it. The star told BBC Newsbeat that he was not tempted to give advice on which characters would return for his final episodes or what might happen in them. Tennant said: 'I've never done that to be honest, because it's Russell and because Russell T Davies is sort of the best writer in television. Because Russell's writing it it would be foolish of me to start telling him what to do. Maybe if he ran out of inspiration or something, but wait until you see these final stories. They're just incredible.' On the subject of his continuing promotional duties, David added: 'This show gets so much attention and elicits so much enthusiasm from so many people that it lives with you every day really, even when you're off doing other things as I have been. Doctor Who is everywhere and you're constantly reminded of it and that's lovely.'

The BBC is in talks with the award-winning fantasy author Michael Moorcock to write a Doctor Who novel, it has confirmed. Moorcock, who has written dozens of books including the Elric of Melnibone novels, said on his website that the Doctor Who book would appear in 2010. 'Looks like it's official,' he said. 'I'll be doing a new Doctor Who novel (not a tie-in) for appearance, I understand, by next Christmas.' A BBC Worldwide spokesman said that nothing had yet been signed. Moorcock said: 'Still have to have talks etc with producers and publishers, but we should be signing shortly. Should be fun.' The sixty nine-year-old author is also known for his regular collaborations over several decades with the space-rock band Hawkwind and his own musical project The Deep Fix. 'BBC books approached my agent,' Moorcock revealed on his website forum. 'I didn't realise David T[ennant] was, as it were, still the Dr [sic]. I thought the new ones were already showing.' Moorcock also said he had watched the BBC show since it began in 1963. 'Haven't liked all the Doctors and after Peter Davison I stopped watching regularly until the new BBC Wales series. Since the Tom Baker series, a lot of my ideas crept into the stories and so in many ways I'll be writing a story which already echoes my own work.' He added: 'I do have to submit it to editors so they can make sure it fits into the canon and this, of course, is understandable. By saying it wasn't a tie-in I did, of course, mean that it would be an original novel, not one which was linked to previous stories.'

Amanda Tapping will reportedly reprise her role of Colonel Samantha Carter on a forthcoming episode of Syfy's Stargate Universe. The forty four-year-old, who also plays Helen Magnus on the network's Sanctuary, is to return for a second guest spot on Universe at the end of its current season. 'I did their first two-parter and I'm at the very end of their season. And I just shot that a few weeks ago. So I started their season and I'm ending their season, which was very cool,' she told the Huffington Post. She added: 'But I didn't get to play with anyone. If they were ever to have me come back, I'd want to be with people. I'm kind of off on my ship, which I think is awesome.' I have to tell you all, dear blog reader, of a marginally humorous story involving the divine Amanda and myself. Yer Keith Telly Topping was, several years ago, at a convention in Minneapolis with some friends enjoying a chat in the hotel bar when a slightly nervous-looking individual approached our group and asked if I was Keith Topping. What I later realised was that what he actually said was 'Keith Tapping' but his accent had fooled me. He'd obviously heard someone say my name but he hadn't seen it written down. 'Yes,' I replied, 'I have that misfortune.' The chap then asked 'are you, by any chance, any relation of Amanda Tapping from Stargate SG-1?' Ever attempting to be the king of the witty one-liner, I replied 'why, yes I am. She my wife!' At that point, somebody else I was sitting with asked me something, I turned away from the guy and, before I could return my attention to him and reassure him that, no, I wasn't in fact, married to the Goddess-queen for SF, he had wandered off in a daze. I have had visions, ever since, of this poor chap sitting on an evening - perhaps with friends - somewhere in the Mid-West of the US watching the title sequence of SG-1 or Atlantis and, when Amanda's lovely face came on screen muttering 'I've met her husband. He's this fat English bloke. How come he gets a Goddess like that?'

House star Olivia Wilde has suggested that it will not be easy getting the team back together on the medical drama. The actress, who plays Remy Hadley, told TV Guide that House (Hugh Laurie) will have a tough time reuniting his diagnostics group. 'What you have to remember is House wasn't the one who fired Taub and Thirteen. Taub quit and Thirteen was fired by her own boyfriend,' she explained. 'It's up to him to find a way to bring them back, but it's not going to be as easy as he thought. And this next episode reveals just what it is for the doctors that is so addictive to being on the team, what it is about working for House that gets them going, and why it's the only option for them.' Wilde went on to say that her character's relationship with Foreman (Omar Epps) would be 'bumpy for a little while,' adding: 'It would be dishonest for us to come back from breaking up with each other and having a smooth ride. They're both very good at bottling things up, so it's not the most communicative relationship. Things often come out in bursts, and I think we see that because they work in a high stress environment.' Meanwhile, it has been announced that Orlando Jones is to guest on a forthcoming episode of House. The comedic actor will play Marcus, the estranged brother of Foreman, reports Entertainment Weekly.

Former Coronation Street producer Brian Park has been taken seriously ill whilst on holiday in Italy, according to press reports. The fifty four-year-old, who led the Weatherfield soap between March 1997 and August 1998, was apparently rushed to a Perugian hospital yesterday after suffering a suspected brain aneurysm. His parents, Grace and Ronald, are said to have travelled to Italy to be with their son, who is currently in intensive care. During his controversial Coronation Street producership, Brian axed a number of the programme's most popular characters, including Don Brennan, Percy Sugden and Maureen Holsdworth, making way for a younger cast. Adam Rickett was subsequently cast as Nick Tilsley, the Battersby family assumed their residence on the Street and Julie Hesmondhalgh took on the role of Hayley Patteson, British soap's first transsexual character.

Calvin Harris will not be allowed to visit The X Factor studios ever again following his naughty antics on Saturday night's show, a tabloid report has claimed. The musician was thrown out by bosses during the latest performance round after he attempted to get on-stage with a pineapple on his head as John and Edward sang the David Bowie and Queen hit 'Under Pressure'. Perofrmance art. Probably. He was said to be at the event ahead of a planned appearance on the ITV2 spin-off The Xtra Factor later in the evening. A source told the Daily Record: 'Simon Cowell did not see the funny side. He thinks Calvin Harris is an idiot.' The insider added: 'Fortunately, most viewers missed his stunt. It could have ruined the show and made the voting process a complete farce. Calvin will not be appearing on X Factor ever again.' Harris has already denied using John and Edward for publicity. He also recently insisted that he wants the pair to win the contest.

Sting has reportedly declined to take up Simon Cowell's invitation to appear on a future episode of The X Factor. Thank Christ for that. Now, if we can just get him to extend that disinclination to all TV ever (and to making CDs too) then we'll all be happy.

Piers Morgan has criticised Stephen Fry, urging the Qi star to quit his 'mind-numbing' and 'tedious' social networking habits. Fry, who currently has around nine hundred thousand followers on Twitter, recently threatened to quit the service after one user accused his posts of being dull. According to Contactmusic, Britain's Got Talent judge Morgan has stated that he found the story 'infuriating.' He said: 'Fry spends all day posting unutterably tedious messages to the world's "twits" about himself, then bleats like a baby when one of them has the gall to point out what the rest of us can read with our own eyes - he's just bloody boring. This is mind-numbing tedium of almost epic proportions. I look for a glimmer of self-awareness, some slither of humour or irony from Britain's supposedly smartest, funniest man, but there comes none.' Gosh, what a thoroughly likable chap you are, Piers. It's such a surprise that so very many people in this country loathe you and consider you to be a smug, talentless shit. A failed ex-newspaper editor, sacked for disgracefully publishing faked photographs, and whose only real contribution to modern society seems to be a rather pointless slagging match with Jonathan Ross. Personally, I think you're a fine example to us all and I feel genuinely honoured that I was born in an era where I can, weekly, watch you interview Vinnie Jones about 'that time he grabbed Gazza by the testicles.'

Katie Price reportedly argued with I'm A Celebrity... producers about when she would enter the jungle for the reality show. According to the Sun, the model feared that she would go straight on the programme after her arrival in Australia from Los Angeles. Price is said to have told them: 'You're making me go straight in to that jungle, aren't you? Don't lie to me. Do not lie to me. I know I'm going straight in.' She was reportedly then assured that she would not enter the camp until after the other contestants. Writing on her Twitter page, she appears to have recovered her composure, somewhat telling her adoring dozens of readers: 'Never underestimate the [sic] pricey!! Another journey begins.' Ah yes, how very Zen.

1 comment:

Robin Brown said...

Loved Woodward in Common As Muck too - a superb series that seems to vanished into the ether.

Two other observations: Simon Cowell and I agree; and that Piers Morgan - what a total ****.