Saturday, November 21, 2009

Hurt, Comfort And Criminal Abuses Of The English Language

What are the one hundred most important TV shows of the last decade? It's a good question, innit? And, I dare say, it's one that we're going to be asked quite a few times over the coming weeks as the dawn of 2010 hovers into view and every media commentator worth their salt starts thinking that an 'end of the decade poll' is a rilly good idea. The Telegraph's been hot off the mark in this regard. That's a decent list, actually. No Buffy, which is criminal, frankly. And Life on Mars, Qi and Lost should all have been far higher. But you can't really argue with a top ten that includes The West Wing, The Sopranos and Doctor Who. And, rightly or wrongly, they got the top two absolutely bang nailed on. In years to come when much else of the noughties television output has been long-since forgotten, people will remember it as the era of Big Brother and Pop Idol and its children. Whether that's a good thing or not, I offer no opinion. It is what it is.

Hot Fuzz director Edgar Wright has complained after The Times copied his blogged tribute to Edward Woodward – and published it as if it had been a commissioned article. The Times on Thursday printed what it described as 'a clarification' which read: 'We have been asked to make clear that Edgar Wright's appreciation of Edward Woodward, which appeared in the paper on Tuesday 17 November, was abridged. The full version can be read at' However, it made absolutely no mention whatsoever of the fact the item had been used without the author's prior permission. Which is interesting, in light of Rupert Murdoch's earlier reported - and somewhat holier-than-thou - attitude towards alleged plagiarism from items from his newspapers by other media outlets, is it not? 'Is it appropriate for a national newspaper to reprint my personal tribute to Edward Woodward as if it were an article written for them?' Edgar tweeted. 'They just lifted it from my blog without asking. And cut off the entire end section about my last meeting with him … I'm not talking about quotes. Am talking about the entire article. But with edits they made that make me look ill informed and unfeeling … Perhaps they would like to send the fee they would pay the commissioned writer of such an article to Edward's memorial...' Perhaps they would. But, I wouldn't bet on it.

Eddie Izzard has admitted to being terrified by the 1962 movie adaptation of The Day Of The Triffids. The comedian and actor stars in a new BBC1 version of John Wyndham's 1951 post-apocalyptic masterpiece. Eddie told The Last Broadcast: 'My character, Torrence, spends half his time trying to get off with Joely Richardson's character, which was fun! It's just a great story really, a great sci-fi thriller. The film from way back when really scared me, with the clicking noise that the Triffids made. I think I've done good work on it, I'm still waiting to see, it's like waiting for exam results! I had to wait eighteen months for my 'results' for Valkyrie. I think I was about a B+ in that, in an A+ film.' When asked if he was disappointed at the cancellation of his US series, The Riches, he added: 'I was disappointed, yeah. But we might be coming back for a movie, though nothing's confirmed yet - it's looking hopeful. Just doing the TV show was a great experience, filming forty five minutes of drama in seven days, it's a tough schedule.'

'Whenever I read a blog I do not let my eye drop below half the screen in case I accidentally hit the bit where the comments reside,' noted Stephen Fry at a social networking conference in London this week. 'Of all the stinking, sliding, scuttling, weird, entomological creatures that inhabit the floor of the Internet those comments on blogs are the most unbearable, almost beyond imagining," he added, echoing similar comments made to the Gruniad by his fellow comedian David Mitchell earlier this year about the general standard of online commentary. 'Their resentment, their desire to be heard at the most vituperative level, at the most unpleasant and malevolent, genuinely ill-willed malevolent, level is terrifying and I am very often simply not able to cope with that,' Fry said. 'Twitter is usually not like that... [but] I could see these comments that would just make me upset.' Interesting. And not without a decent basis in truth, let it be said. There's a lot of angry, angry people out there. But, I dunno ... there's something about Stephen complaining about people using technology to post their views (however loopy) on whatever they damn-well like that strikes me as rather hypocritical, particularly coming from someone whose intellect and humanity I so admire who, daily, uses technology to post his thoughts and opinions on all manner of subjects. As we were saying in this blog concerning some particularly ignorant and distasteful reader comments in the Gruniad about Top Gear the other day, freedom of speech is something that cuts both ways. You've got to take the rough with the smooth, Steve, that's the way the world is I'm afraid. Or, you could do a BBC4 documentary on the subject - you've got the power! Anyway, this debate does rather make yer Keith Telly Topping feel the need to clarify exactly what this blog is actually for. It exists, primarily, as television and media industry news, preview, commentary and review site. And an exercise in gross self-aggrandisement. Just like most written texts, in fact. All views presented here are, of course, my own and all readers are welcome to share or violently disagree with them on that basis as they see fit. If I wasn't doing this, dear blog reader, I'd only be walking the streets. And then somebody really might have good cause to be worried!

Veteran presenter Bruce Forsyth is said to now be well enough to host this weekend's Strictly Come Dancing, after missing last week's because of a nasty touch of the 'flu. A BBC spokesman confirmed that the eighty one-year-old would be back on BBC1's Saturday night show. Last weekend, his co-presenter Tess Daly was joined by Claudia Winkleman, who was very good, and comedian Ronnie Corbett. Who was ... Ronnie Corbett, basically. It was the first time that Forsyth has missed a show since Strictly began on BBC1 in 2004.

Carlos Bernard has said that it is highly unlikely that he will return for the next season of 24. The actor, who played Tony Almeida in the FOX drama show, made the comment on his official website. Well, there's only so many times a chap can return from the dead before it starts to stretch credulity. Ask Jesus, for a start.

Paul O'Grady's pet dog, Buster, has sadly died at the age of fourteen. The little shih tzu and bichon frise cross, who appeared regularly on O'Grady's Channel 4 team time chat show, was reportedly 'put to sleep' (God, that's such a sickly, awful phrase, don't you think?) after being diagnosed with cancer. A source told the Sun: 'It all happened suddenly. Buster had been suffering and in a lot of pain. Putting him down was the kind thing to do.' Meanwhile, a spokesman for the comedian confirmed the news by telling the Mirror that O'Grady was 'absolutely gutted.' As well you'd expect him to be. Buster was frequently seen on O'Grady's desk as the host read his postbag messages during his show. However, earlier this month, it was announced that the popular pet had 'retired.'

Producers of I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! are reported to be 'worried' over Katie Price's recent threat to leave the jungle. Earlier this week, the glamour model expressed doubts over whether she wished to remain on the show after the public voted her to do three bushtucker trials in a row. According to the Daily Star, Price's comments left bosses concerned over how the programme would fare without her. A widely reported source said: 'Whether you want her to suffer or you feel sorry for her, people are tuning in. It's vital we keep her in as long as possible.' However, it is believed that the transformation of base camp into a relative luxury has improved Price's mood over the past day.

EastEnders' two Christmas Day scripts have been stolen from the writer's home, according to a press report. Well, I certainly didn't nick them. The confidential documents were contained on the - as-yet-unnamed - author's laptop, which was taken from his (or her) home last week along with various other valuables. BBC bosses are now concerned that the details of the series' two most important episodes of the year - in which one of the soap's biggest characters is murdered - will leak on the Internet and ruin the surprise for fans. Grassed up like a Copper's nark, one could suggest. Executive producer Diederick Santer told the Sun: 'We're keen to get this laptop back as it contains all the twists and turns of our exciting EastEnders Christmas.' The episodes - which are said to feature 'a shock Mitchell storyline twist' - were filmed a number of weeks ago at Elstree in Borehamwood. The casts' shooting scripts were subsequently destroyed. In August 2004, producers were concerned when two months worth of forthcoming scripts - including that year's Christmas Day episodes - were also stolen from an executive's home. So listen, if the naughty tinker who screwed this chap's drum happens to be reading this blog, just give the laptop back, will you. Otherwise, they might have to send a bunch of very pissed-off actors round to give you a severe chastisement.

Coronation Street veteran Maggie Jones is making a 'steady' recovery following her recent health scare, the soap's producer has announced. Kim Crowther updated fans on the seventy five-year-old actresses condition as Crowther took part in a live webchat yesterday on the soap's official website, confirming that she is looking forward to seeing Jones back on set. Crowther commented: 'Maggie is making a slow and steady recovery and we wish her all the best and can't wait till she comes back to work.' She did not offer any hard details on when Jones will return saying only 'Hopefully Maggie will be with us when she can be.' Jones, who plays Blanche Hunt, was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery last month. Coronation Street regained its Thursday evening lead in the soap ratings earlier in the week, with almost 8.9m tuning-in for Tony Gordon's murder confession. The Weatherfield soap's climactic episode, which saw Tony finally confess to having Liam Connor killed last year, pulled in 8.86m between 8.30pm and 9pm on ITV.

Ten Alps has joined forces with the newspaper group Trinity Mirror and the Press Association in a bid to have the North East of England chosen as the third regional TV news pilot scheme area. The consortium, which was publicly revealed yesterday, will see the independent producer behind specialist factual Blakeway, Brook Lapping and Films of Record team up with local newspaper reporters in the Newcastle region. Trinity Mirror chief executive Sly Bailey said: 'The North East region is home to 2.4 million adults meaning it is large enough to host a fully robust pilot of scale, while also being compact enough to launch quickly and cost effectively. The area is highly representative of Britain with its mix of urban centres and rural communities. We are convinced that our plans for the North East are the ideal blueprint and will offer crucial learning experiences to the industry ahead of the full national roll-out of local news consortia.' Ten Alps chief executive Alex Connock added that the partners would work in unison to dovetail together. 'We are all very excited about the potential for creating something original and fresh that isn't just about a TV show but spans a range of online channels as well.'

Chat show veteran Sir Michael Parkinson is returning to screens for a one-off special in Australia. UKTV, BBC Worldwide's entertainment channel in Australia, has commissioned the ninety-minute special entitled An Audience With Michael Parkinson. Inspired by his one-man stage show, currently touring Australia and New Zealand, it will combine clips from his long-running chat show with anecdotes about his life and lengthy TV career. Parkinson will be joined by an audience of Australian celebrities and media personalities, including cricketers Shane Warne and Ricky Ponting. And will, of course, just have to mention that time he interviewed 'the late, great, Gene Kelly.' (My apologies to Alfie Joey for having wholesale nicked his Parkie impression but I can't even hear the bloke's name mentioned these days with the words 'the late, great Gene Kelly' springing from my lips as though they had legs of their own.) The special will be broadcast on 20 December. Parkinson has long been a familiar face on Australian TV screens. From 1979 to1982 he presented Parkinson for ABC and Channel 10 in Australia, and in 2007 UKTV aired a ninety-minute interview with Shane Warne, which remains the highest rated general entertainment programme on Australia subscription TV to date.

Lucie Jones has admitted that she struggled to 'get her style across' when she was singing on The X Factor. The singer, who became the fifth act to be voted off the contest earlier this month, said that Simon Cowell did not understand her as an artist. Jones told Grazia: 'I sort of was me but I wasn't me, I think it was a big problem to get me quite right. Being on the show felt like being a kid in a dressing-up box. You can have any look but I guess the hardest thing is to go beyond that and find a style that's really you.' She added: 'That was my problem. You get your clothes on the Friday. The judges have their own stylists, then three stylists do the acts, dancers and everyone else. There isn't much time.'

Jack Dee and The Thick Of It's Peter Capaldi are to star in a new radio comedy, based around the world of fairytales, co-written by Ian Hislop. The News At Bedtime will take children's stories and nursery rhymes and present them as if they were events breaking on a modern-day news programme. A BBC spokesman described the show as 'the Today Programme on magic beans (should mushrooms not be available).' Dee and Capaldi – best known as the vicious spin doctor Malcolm Tucker – will play newsreaders John Tweedledum and Jim Tweedledee in the seven-part series, which will be broadcast this Christmas. Hislop wrote the Radio 4 series with Nick Newman, based on their Private Eye column which satirises news stories by telling them as nursery fables. The series will co-star Chris Addison, Lucy Montgomery, Vicki Pepperdine, Dan Tetsell, Lewis MacLeodand Alex MacQueen, with cameos by Radio 4 newsreaders Brian Perkins Charlotte Green and Peter Donaldson. It is being produced by Simon Nicholls, who previously worked on the BBC2 comedy shows Genius and Lab Rats.

Motörhead bassist and singer Lemmy was reportedly found sleeping outside a doorway early this morning after performing a show in Glasgow. The former Hawkwind legend was allegedly spotted by a passer-by who said that he was going to work in the Clydeside area of the city. 'I came to work and there was a gentleman by my basic entry door to work. I said to him, "You're cold and wet, would you like a cup of coffee?"' one Tommy told Rock Radio. 'I brought him down a cup of coffee. He said, "Thank you very much," and introduced himself as Lemmy. He drank his coffee and we had a little bit of conversation about this, that and the next thing and gave me a pack of cigars.' He added: 'I would imagine he was just sheltering from the rain. I think there was something going on at the hotel that he didn't want to get involved in.' Tommy went on to describe Lemmy as 'a really nice guy' and revealed that the veteran rocker had helped out one of the delivery men at the workplace.

Sting has claimed that he once saw a ghost in his old house. The balding, lute-playing, silly-voiced singer-songwriter, former milkman and general annoyance, seen here to the right during his - seemingly never ending - Messiah-delusion phase, told Claudia Winkleman on her Radio 2 show that his wife, Trudie Styler, also saw the child-like apparition in their former home. Send for Derek Acorah for heaven's sake. We need an exorcism of that gaff, quick. Those poor bloody ghosts, stuck in there with the Beard of Perpetual Pretentiousness. It must be an absolute living hell for them...

Amy Winehouse has allegedly been hospitalised after her new breast implants 'leaked.' Her father, Mitch Winehouse, was reported to have said: 'It wasn't because she had a cold. She's fine, she just had a little leaky something or other.' Oh, jeez. Too much information, there Mitch mate.


Tarquin said...

Buffy was primarily a 90s show - it had 4 seasons before the millennium and ended in 2003 - from what I can tell they only let in shows that didn't begin in the 00s if they were long running

pretty rubbish list though

Keith Telly Topping said...

I would've agreed with that if Time Team (which started in 1994) hadn't been on the list. You're either doing "all shows that started in the 90s" or you're doing "all shows that broadcast in the 90s". This was neither one thing nor the other. More than half of Buffy was broadcast after 1 January 2000 (sixty six episodes last century, seventy eight this). By any definition of what was an 'important' TV show of the last decade, that was one.

Tarquin said...

hmm you've got me there - sex and the city was there also

maybe they just didn't like Buffy?

and yet they put in RI:SE and 'two pints of lager...'

confirms: rubbish list