Sunday, November 01, 2009

Week Forty Five: If We All Spit Together We'll Drown Simon and Len

Friday 6 November
It's been a while, dear blog reader, since yer Keith Telly Topping gave Eggheads - 6:00 BBC2 - a jolly good and righteous kicking. If you're very lucky, and you've never seen it before, Jeremy Vine hosts this curiously addictive programme in which each day a new team of challengers take on probably the smuggest quiz team in Great Britain. This is made up of some of the country's quiz champions, including Who Wants To be A Millionaire winner Judith Keppel, Mastermind winner Chris Hughes, three-time World Quiz Champion Kevin Ashman, Fifteen To One winner Daphne Fowler and, gloriously smuggest of the lot, Weakest Link winner CJ de Mooi. A man who comes over on TV as being so smug he's in danger of dying from a smug overdose. This is, of course, always an awkward area to stumble into. In short, criticising clever people simply for being clever can - and frequently does - say more about the person making the claim than about whoever they're criticising. Witness all of those numpties who had a go at Gail Trimble on University Challenge last year for committing the crime of, simply, being bright. My only defence, in this particular case, is that the team of Eggheads are all, undoubtedly, very clever people. But, they seem to want you to know that they're clever people. Can the challengers triumph over the general knowledge giants and walk off with the big cash prize? And, if they do, will that make them as smug as the people they've beaten? Perhaps we'll never care.

Saturday 7 November
We return, after a few weeks relative peace and quiet, to madness that is the Strictly vs X Factor battle. Strictly starts earlier this week - 6:25 BBC1 - due to the BBC's coverage of the Festival of Remembrance and comes from the world renowned Blackpool Tower ballroom. The nine remaining couples will perform either a ballroom routine or a Latin number. Who will be performing their last dance? While the celebrities nervously wait to find out their sorry fate at the hands of the punters, the professional dancers perform a stunning Viennese waltz and Rod Stewart sings. There was big controversy in the last episode over the weekend, of course, with poor Zoë Lucker getting the heave-ho following a dance-off that the judges unanimously branded as 'ludicrous.' The actress - and her partner James Jordan - who danced the samba, were joined in the bottom two by Hollyoaks star Ali Bastian and Brian Fortuna. Bastian and Fortuna's paso doble won the judges' favour, although Bruno Tonioli howled that neither of the two couples should have been facing the chop when there were at least five 'worse' dancing couples than either in the competition. Lucker and Jordan had earlier scored thirty two out of forty for their samba, while Bastian and Fortuna gained one more point for their paso doble. Craig Revel Horwood described the decision as 'a heinous dilemma,' while head judge Len Goodman said that he was dismayed. 'I'm sorry, I know that the viewers can do what they like and it is a popularity contest and all that but this is ludicrous. It is nonsensical,' he said. That's a really good move, Len. Describing your audience as idiots. Maybe you should do something stroppy and dramatic in protest. Like resign. But you won't though, will you? Because there's too much coin at stake. Principles? Yeah ... we've all got plenty of principles, mate. Speaking after the results, Lucker showed considerable more grace and tact than the judges, refusing to pull a bottom lip, like Ray Wilding did a few weeks back, saying that she'd had an 'amazing experience' and praising her dancing partner as 'the best teacher.' This fiasco does nicely illustrate something that many media watchers have realised about these kind of 'audience-participation' shows for a couple of years. Audience reaction simply cannot be predicted. And, in many cases, it is deliberately perverse. Put simply, they seem to really like putting the boot into the judges when they get the chance and giving them a pointed reminder, every now and then, who the real bosses are. Last year on Strictly, memorably, it became a battle of wills between the viewers and Arlene Phillips over the subject of John Sergeant. Guess who won that one in the long term?

Which brings us to The X Factor - 8:00 ITV - and Simon Cowell going public earlier in the week over his 'hope' that the twins don't win the competition because it would 'destroy the show.' This was followed by a new story just about every day up to the weekend where one after another of the show's lackeys got themselves interviewed by one of the tabloids and used the opportunity to pour further scorn on the abilities of these young men. This culminated, on Saturday, with choreographer Brian Friedman comparing listening to John and Edward to 'entering the gates of hell.' In an interview with the News of the World, Friedman claimed that if the twins won X Factor it would make 'a mockery' of the show. You mean, it isn't a mockery, already, Brian? 'They don't deserve to win,' he said. 'I have one word to describe listening to John and Edward's singing - painful. When I think of the twins I think, "I need paracetamol."' Is anybody else expecting this rant to become 'if you vote for them in I'll hold my breath until I turn blue' anytime soon? 'They are such a handful,' continued Friedman, sounding like their mum. 'It would be bad for The X Factor if they won. It's a singing contest, and while they can sort of dance, they are the worst singers.' Friedman explained that working with the brothers is difficult because they lack concentration. 'They live on Planet Jedward,' he said. 'They're so hyperactive it's hard for them to focus. I'm constantly having to "shush" them. I've had to assign them each an assistant to keep them on track - like they're little kids. The worst is when we are doing group rehearsals. I'll be saying, "Lucie, you do this, Olly, you're here"... and then I go to tell John and Edward what to do and they are off talking to the girl dancers in the corner.' Friedman added that he hoped viewers would stop supporting the twins, saying: 'I don't know what the public are voting for. I hope viewers got the wake-up call they needed with Danyl and Miss Frank being bottom two last week - they have to get voting for people who can sing. John and Edward's singing is basically unbearable. Every week I listen to their track for the first time and it's like entering the gates of hell. By the time they get on stage they can pull it off because there is loud music, dancing and backing vocals.' Now, all of that might well be true but those are damned curious comments to come from someone working on the show who is, essentially, dissing his own product. That's normally the job of people like me, surely? Also essentially he's telling the viewers whom they should be voting for. Isn't that rather against the spirit of the competition which is that the public get to decide who stays and who goes. Just like on Big Brother. Just like on Strictly. No matter how insane their choices may be. But then, it's perfectly clear that since Simon Cowell's initiated this campaign of back-stage not-so-much-whispers-but-bellowing, everybody else working on X Factor feels morally in the clear about insulting not only two of their own (very young) contestants but, also, that portion of their audience who disagrees with them and vote for the twins. Is now the moment for a timely reminder to the production of who - exactly - pays whose wages? Which is pretty much exactly what happened on Sunday when, even after a week of being told how 'awful' they are, the public again voted for the twins to stay in the competition. Anyway, Saturday's battle for the crown continues as the eight remaining acts step onto Britain's biggest stage for the fifth live show. Each of the performers will be hoping to impress the voting audience at home as well as the judges. Keith Telly Topping, in the odd moments that he actually switches over from Strictly to find out what's going on, still found a soft spot for Jamie Afro. Mainly on the strength of the fact that he looks - and sounds - a bit different to all of the other rather paint-by-numbers contestants.

A show that Keith Telly Topping will be featuring on his slot on this week's Alfie Joey's Comic Cuts is The Noughties... Was That It? - 9:15 BBC3. This poses the following question: 'Why would civil partnerships, jukebox musicals, fake tans, CCTV, David Cameron, kabbalah and celebrity baby names feature among the top one hundred phenomena to have made their mark in the century so far?' Various talking heads - including Germaine Greer, Will Self and a bunch of people you've either never heard of, or have but want to smash their face in with a bit of two-by-four because they think they're really funny when they, in fact, aren't - explain why in the first slice of this four-part list show. They do the thinking, it would seem, so you don't have to, dear blog reader. Ah, if only it were that simple for Simon Cowell and Len Goodman.

Sunday 8 November
There's a fabulous episode of House on Sky1 at 9:00. Grumpy Greg and his talented team try to help a reckless police detective who believes that he is cursed to die from heart failure at the age of forty just like his father, grandfather and great-grandfather did. Hereditary disease or coincidence? Only Hugh Laurie can save him now.

It's Plasticine™ week on James May's Toy Stories - 7:00 BBC2. This episode is considerably less educational than last week's joyous look at Airfix™, but it's just as much fun. Sporting a dazzling array of truly ghastly floral shirts, James (whom all the ladies want to mother) sets out to explore what he describes as 'the latent love of Plasticine™ that is deep in the soul of the British people' by making an entire show-garden out of the stuff for the Chelsea Flower Show. He doesn't do it on his own, of course. As with all of these episodes he enlists help. From art students, Jane Asher, Chelsea pensioners and a sculptress he nicknames Mad Jane Freud, getting them to 'unleash their creativity' and make thousands of Plasticine blooms as well as Plasticine vegetables, a grapevine and a tree. It's a controversial idea and a few members of the RHS, not to mention several gardening experts, are a bit sniffy about the project at first. But, of course, the public loved it. As with most things James does.

Monday 9 November
Collision - 9:00 ITV - is a much-trailed new drama that shows when ITV put their mind to it they still can come up with the goods. Troubled police detective John Tolin returns to work after an extended period of leave, but his first day back throws up a complicated case involving a shocking road traffic accident involving dozens of vehicles. The victims include a multimillionaire with a pack of lawyers, a young black woman whose over-protective father is crying racism and a PA with a dangerous secret. Can Tolin untangle the events and discover the twists of fate that led these strangers to the accident? Collision has a quite amazing cast featuring just about everybody you've ever heard of in British drama! ITV are strip-scheduling it across the week just the BBC did with Criminal Justice and Torchwood earlier in the year. it's a good way of hooking in audience into something by only making them wait twenty three hours for the next episode rather than seven days. And, the show itself looks effortlessly worthwhile.

Probably the most controversial TV show of the year looks set to be The Execution of Gary Glitter - 9:00 Channel 4. This is pseudo-docudrama set in a parallel world where the death penalty has been reintroduced to the UK. That's been a staple of British TV drama going right back to the 1970s and the excellent - though, now largely forgotten - serial State of Emergency. But, this is where it starts to get controversial. The first person to be tried under the new Capital Crimes Against Children legislation is Paul Gadd, former 1970s glam rock star and convicted child molester. The films producers say that they wish to explore how society deals with its most reviled offenders and whether capital punishment has a place in modern society. As discussed - at length - last week when the press release first crossed my e-mail in-box, Keith Telly Topping really doesn't know what the hell to make of this. On the one hand, it's tackling issues that deserve to be talked about - capital punishment, paedophilia, how we deal with those whose crimes we find not only serious but also morally abhorrent etc. But, there's also something really troubling (actually quite disturbing) about the idea of using a fictional performance of a real person in the central role. It's a tricky one, this because whichever side you come down on it's still hard not to feel rather worried by being part of a society in which a film such of this can be considered as 'entertainment.' The individual around whom this drama is centred once sang a song called 'Remember Me This Way.' I'm pretty sure this wasn't the kind of thing he had in mind. Then again, there's an argument that says if you nonce kids, you deserve everything you get. But, does 'everything you get' include humiliation as well as revilement? Complex issues. From the above, you'll probably already have decided whether you intend to watch this so, to be honest there's little I can add. I'm still undecided myself.

Miranda isn't your average girly-girl. At six feet one, she gets called 'Sir' more often than she'd like, much to the vast amusement of her friend Stevie, who manages Miranda's joke shop. Bumping into another old friend, Gary, who is working in the restaurant next door as the new chef, she is surprised when he asks her out for a drink. But, she gets overexcited by the prospect of her first real date and decides it's time to try to be more feminine. Unfortunately her makeover doesn't go quite to plan. So, this is Miranda - 8:30 BBC2 - the new vehicle for comedy actress Miranda Hart whom Keith Telly Topping's been rather underwhelmed by in the past in things like Smack the Pony, Hyperdrive and Not Going Out. This is, essentially, a remake of Hart's radio series. Worth a punt for an episode to see what it's like, I'd've thought.

Tuesday 10 November
In Mad About the House - 8:00 BBC3 - couples who can't afford to transform their house into a dream living space are given the cash to do so with the proviso that one half must make every design, decorating and DIY decision by themselves. So, this is the housing show for those too poor to go house hunting on Location, Location, Location and too proud to let Sarah Beeney or Kevin McCloud into their gaff. Sheri and Del have shared their Croydon home for six years, but with little spare money and rather clashing tastes they haven't managed to do much to it. They are given the cash as long as Sheri entrusts the whole job to her husband. Can he do up the house in just three weeks, despite only ever putting up one shelf in his life?

National treasure and Strictly Come Dancing icon John Sergeant takes a journey around Britain and meets tourists of all nationalities in John Sergeant on the Tourist Trail - 8:00 ITV. In this episode John joins some Californian gardening enthusiasts at RHS Wisley in Surrey. Then he is off to the Isle of Man to meet ten thousand Germans there for the annual TT motor race, followed by a bit of monster-hunting on Loch Ness, visiting the Lake District with some Japanese Beatrix Potter fans and enjoying the Welsh Eisteddfod with a group of visitors from Java. Finally he revisits his childhood home at Great Tew in the Cotswolds. Nice idea - showing how some of the eccentricities that we British take for granted also find an audience for themselves in other parts of the world. Not the most original of TV concepts, but with a presenter as personable as John, it should at least be watchable.

Tonight's episode of Around the World in 80 Days - 9:00 BBC1 is the one we've all been waiting for. If only for the delicious opportunity of watching two of television's most omni-present people, Torchwood star John Barrowman and presenter Myleene Klass, roughing it - road trip-style - across America in their leg of the epic eighty Days odyssey. A UFO meditation in Sedona has surprising results for Captain Jack, whilst Myleene encounters the harsh realities of life on the US Mexico border. And a debut jazz performance in New Orleans leaves them racing to the finishing line on the East Coast. Two points for all potential viewers to consider if you're wondering whether to give this one a go or not. One: It is possibly the single gayest hour of TV in the history of the medium - particularly Barrowman mincing around in his Big Gay Leather Boots. Which is, of course, hugely fun, entertaining and enjoyable. Two: Myleene bursts into tears and blubs like a girl, literally at every given opportunity about any old crap that nobody gives a damn about. Especially how much she's missing her 'lil baby (I'm sure the amount the BBC are paying you will ease the pain, chuck). Which isn't even remotely enjoyable in the slightest.

Wednesday 11 November
[Spooks] - 9:00 BBC1 - got off to right-rollicking start last week. As last year's astonishing series proved, when it's on form this genuinely is a world-class drama. In tonight's episode, the country reaches crisis point when energy supplies are threatened by an explosion at a gas processing plant. Horribly plausible plotline, that. With reserves on the verge of running out, Britain is forced to turn to Tazbekstan for help. That's not a real country, of course. It's like the writer - Ben Richards - was stuck one night, looked at a globe, saw Tajikistan and Uzbekistan next to each other in the Urals and, hey presto ... Anyway, in return for energy, the Tazbek Trade and Industry Secretary, Meeza Urazov, wants carte blanche to wipe out any of his country's enemies that are currently on British soil. Is this a price worth paying or can Section D get rid of Urazov in order to secure the deal without state sanctioned murder? Or, at least, only one state sanctioned murder. His. Sounds like a price worth paying to Keith Telly Topping so, it's probably a good job that he isn't the Home Secretary responsible for such a decision. Instead, Robert Glenister's got that job. Bet he wishes he was back in Hustle, grifting off naughty and ruthless rich people. Or, in Sink or Swim grifting off his brother, Peter Davison. Where were we? Oh yes, [Spooks]. It's good, trust me. Despite the dodgy geography.

In Coronation Street - 7:30 ITV - Sally goes utterly ballistic when convicted kidnapper John Stape returns to the Street after his release from pokey. Tony continues to be distressed and haunted by his confession. Joe buys Gail a ring - but will she like it? Corrie's having something of a good time of it of late - just over nine million viewers saw Tony confess to Roy that he killed Liam last Friday night. The Weatherfield soap's final two episodes of the week, in which the hospital-bound Tony made his shock (not quite) death-bed revelation drew huge audiences around the nine million mark at 7.30pm and 8.30pm respectively.

Donny and Marie Osmond bring us a taste of their hugely successful Las Vegas show. They'll also be answering questions from a celebrity audience about over three decades in show business in An Audience with Donny and Marie - 8:00 ITV. It is well over twenty years since the famous siblings last performed together in Britain. Cos, you know, he's a little bit country and she's a little bit rock and ... Anyway, tonight they will sing some of their greatest hits as well as songs from their Vegas show. Highlights include a frenzied version of 'Crazy Horses' by Donny, and Marie's huge hit 'Paper Roses.'

Thursday 12 November
In River Monsters - 7:30 ITV - 'extreme angler' Jeremy Wade goes to extraordinary lengths in his mission to find out whether the piranha of the Amazon basin is truly the ravenous flesh-stripping beast of a thousand nightmares and a couple of really bad movies of the 1970s. In Brazil, he swims with them, inciting the piranhas into a feeding frenzy and also tracks down survivors and eyewitnesses of piranha attacks of the past. In one incident from 1976, thirty nine people died when a coach crashed into the river. Some bodies were so badly mutilated they could only be identified by their clothes. Is this proof that piranhas do live up to their evil reputation? Well, it's got be said, they're not the most handsome of fish. Maybe that's the problem, they've got a chip of their shoulder. Heh. Do you see, chip on their ... oh, never mind.

Wonderland - 9:45 BBC2 - was a huge favourite with all of us on the Top Telly Tips slot last year. The format's been changed for the second series and, with it, some of the show's eccentric heart seems to have been lost. But, tonight's film looks like it could be worthwhile. Seven puppies are born to a first-time mother bitch called Uggs in a cramped front room in East London. These aren't cute and cuddly puppies, however - they are Staffordshire Bull Terrier crosses, the dogs the tabloids sometimes call 'devil dogs.' They are both one of the most sought after breeds in the country and also, perversely, the most frequently abandoned by their owners. This film follows the fate of Uggs' puppies as her owner tries to find new homes for them at three hundred pounds per pup.

Lie to Me - 10:00 Sky1 - has rapidly become one of Keith Telly Topping's favourite imported dramas over the last few months. If you haven't seen it before, it's about a scientist who uses his uncanny ability to read facial expressions and body language to help the FBI solve crimes and stars the truly excellent Tim Roth. In tonight's episode, Cal heads to Vegas to help find a missing finalist in the World Series of Poker, while sparks fly between Loker and Torres when they find themselves working on a far more personal case that usual.

Onto some Top Telly News: Jade Johnson and Ian Waite were reportedly involved in a minor car crash early last week. The Strictly Come Dancing couple were driving to rehearsals when they were involved in a collision with another car, the Sun claims. 'Ian and Jade were quite shaken up,' an insider told the paper. 'They were saying, "Oh my God, we've just crashed." But once they realised it wasn't too serious they were fine and got on with training when they reached the BBC's Television Centre in West London.' So, did the insider give the Sun this short geography lesson, we wonder, or did they just make that bit up? No-one was injured in the accident, seemingly, which was thought to have been caused when the car drove over a boulder in the road. And, it didn't seem to affect the couple's performance on Saturday night when they came through the latest round with somewhat flying colours.

The new Doctor, Matt Smith is 'the best,' according to Lord Thy God Steven Moffat, the show-runner of the 2010 series of Doctor Who. Smith will take over from David Tennant in the role of the Time Lord next year. 'What if I broke Doctor Who?' Moffat asked, rhetorically. 'That would be a tragedy,' he said at the 2009 Screenwriters' Festival in Cheltenham. 'Yes, you do feel pressure,' he added. Ah, bless him. If you 'broke' Doctor Who, Steven we would all forgive you. No, actually, thinking about it, we wouldn't. Rather, we'd kill you with pitchforks. So, you know, make sure you don't break it, eh? Filming began in July on the new - fifth - series of the time travel saga since its triumphant return from oblivion in 2005. Steven, who is writing six of the thirteen episodes and overseeing the other seven, promised fans 'great stories' and said there would be 'joyous moments' as well as 'some heartbreak.' The BAFTA award-winning screenwriter is currently working on the script for the climax to the series for which expectations will be huge. '[My] biggest challenge right now is the writing of Episode Thirteen,' he confessed to the audience. But Moffat had nothing but praise for Matt Smith - at twenty seven years of age the youngest actor ever to play the nine hundred year-old Time Lord. 'He's all the things you'd expect, including ancient,' Moffat revealed, describing the new Doctor as 'someone you can't take your eyes off.'

Tina O'Brien will reportedly play a love interest to the woman named as 'the first modern lesbian' in a new period drama for the BBC. The former Coronation Street actress said that she was looking forward to playing the role of one of Anne Lister's lovers in the BBC2 biopic. Lister, played by Maxine Peake, was born in 1791 and was a wealthy Yorkshire landowner and renowned diarist who was open about her sexuality. According to the Press Association, O'Brien said: 'It's based on a true story about a woman who wrote all these diaries in code - they decoded them and found out she was a bit of a saucy lesbian and I play one of her love interests.'

Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow are to reunite on television for the first time since Friends ended. Kudrow has been asked to guest star on Cox's new comedy series Cougar Town. Cox told TV Guide: 'If it all works out, she'll play a dermatologist that my character can't stop going to even though the doctor is mean to me. She's the best in town at what she does and I become addicted.' Cox has also said that she hopes others of her Friends co-stars would consider making an appearance on the ABC show.

Stephen Fry has made public online peace with another user of the micro-blogging site Twitter who had called his posts 'boring.' The actor and presenter, who has more than nine hundred thousand followers of his frequent twittering or twatter or whatever it is that they call it, had thrown a rather girly strop earlier and threatened to leave the site, saying there was 'too much aggression and unkindness.' But fans rallied round, attacking his critic and begging him to stay. Fry and the user later apologised to each other, with Stephen saying that his reaction had been 'a mood thing' and he now felt 'more sheepish than a sheep.' Stephen is, of course, one of the most prolific celebrity tweeterers and has vocally supported the social networking site in numerous interviews. The disagreement began when the other tweeterer said that whilst he 'admired and adored' Fry, he found his tweets to be 'a bit... boring... (sorry Stephen).' Which seems reasonably fair comment to me. Stephen, however. promptly took the hump and sent a message to the user, saying: 'You've convinced me. I'm obviously not good enough. I retire from Twitter henceforward. Bye everyone.' Over-reaction, much? He later said that he was feeling 'very low and depressed at the moment.' Almost immediately, the user began to receive angry messages from what he called a 'baying mob' of other tweeterers. Alan Davies, who stars with Fry in the television quiz Qi, also waded in, calling the criticism of his friend 'moronic.' What criticism? The guy just said he found some of Stephen's tweeties boring, it's hardly attacking his sexuality or making ignorant comments about his ethnicity, is it? See, without wishing to fan the flames here, I loathe sycophancy. Even when it's directed towards someone to whom I've been more than a little sycophantic to myself in the past - and probably will be again. Frequently. The user later said there had been an 'over-reaction' and he was 'aghast at how far this has gone.' He also apologised to Fry, repeating that he greatly admired him. The actor, who had been on a flight to Los Angeles, picked up on what had happened when he landed. He wrote: 'Arrived in LA feeling very foolish. Wasn't the fault of the fellow who called me "boring," BTW. A mood thing. Sunshine will help. So sorry. Feeling terrible for that poor guy. He had every right to call me boring. Not his fault it caught me at a vulnerable time. Pls be nice to him.' Classy. I mean, genuinely. As this blog noted a few weeks ago when Stephen made another apology for some rather crass comments about the Poles, there is nothing that becomes a person so much as the eloquence and dignity they show whenever they feel the need to say sorry for something they've done. Something that Jan Moir and Daily Mail would do well to consider the next time they upset people, even if they didn't mean to. Or claim that they didn't mean to. Stephen then sent several messages directly to his critic, saying he was 'so sorry to hear people have been abusing you' and calling the situation 'awful.' The other user said that Stephen owed him no apologies, to which Fry replied, 'Thank you for being so understanding.' Stephen, of course, suffers from bipolar disorder and has talked openly about his condition in the past. In 2006, he made a shockingly beautiful two-part BBC documentary called Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive, which investigated the reality of living with the disorder. All of this, somewhat, demonstrates one of the main reasons why Keith Telly Topping hasn't got into tweetering himself. With e-mail, blogging, even Facebook messages, one has the opportunity to input a smidgen of personality into what one is saying. But Twitter, like mobile phone texting (something else I don't do) has always seemed rather impersonal to me and almost sits up and begs for this sort of misunderstanding to create sticky situations where there don't need to be any. Plus, of course, the whole idea of compressing a thought into a fixed number of characters is a complete anathema to a gobshite like me. And, from the few tweets I've seen, most of it seems to be the text equivalent of those dreadful mobile phone conversations that Dom Jolly so memorably parodied. 'I'M ON THE TUBE!' Yeah, okay. Not really interested to be honest, pal. Even if you are Stephen Fry or someone else famous. Anyway, if you happen to be one of those twatters who rounded on this poor chap for merely voicing an opinion (and I'm looking straight at you, Alan Davies, for a kick-off), then you might like to consider whether a short apology might be in order. As Stephen himself has shown, it's not only the polite thing to do it's also the right thing to do.

Kiefer Sutherland has told Sky News that 24 could carry on, even if his character Jack Bauer is killed off. The actor is currently busy filming Day 8 of the hit action series, which reaches UK screens in January, amid huge speculation it may be the last. 'I've always said its certainly possible,' said Kiefer, when asked if someone else - like new cast member Freddie Prinze Junior - might take over if Bauer bows out. 'All the actors have always understood there's a strong chance they will die in the context of the show. But the real star is the time format.' Sutherland says fans will see a different side of Bauer in the new season, which is set in New York. 'The start is very different from any show that we've done,' the actor told Sky News. 'At least for Jack it is very quiet. When the day does start to go bad he really does get involved and not because he's a part of it but because he's being pulled into it. That resistance is something you're not used to seeing, and it's interesting to see what pushes him towards actually taking care of the responsibilities of that day.' All of the cast are sworn to secrecy over the plot details, but forty two-year-old Sutherland insists they are as much in the dark as the fans. 'To be honest once we get started on a season we focus solely on that scene,' he said.

Barbara Windsor apparently wants to make a return to the West End stage when she leaves EastEnders next year. The seventy two-year-old announced her forthcoming departure from the BBC1 soap earlier this week, adding that she will be 'so sad' to leave the character of Walford's landlady Peggy Mitchell after fifteen years. Windsor told the Sunday Mirror that she misses the theatre and hopes to tread the boards once more, having already stepped into the limelight for parts in Entertaining Mr Sloane and Guys And Dolls. 'I'd like to feel I could do theatre one more time,' she said. 'I reckon I've got one more pantomime in me!' Oh no, you haven't ...

Alexa Chung has admitted that she finds living in America difficult. The television presenter, who hosts show It's On With Alexa Chung, explained that she struggles to connect with people in the US. 'I don't really have any friends in America,' she told OK! 'I just don't tolerate douchebags.' And then you wonder why you've got no friends, lady? Jeez. Try being nice to people, you might find it works. Chung added that she worries she will insult her celebrity guests with her British sense of humour. 'I'm worried my guests won't like me,' she said. Well, make sure you don't call them douchebags for a kick-off, I'm thinking. 'To be honest, it's usually the publicists who are the dickheads. They get paid to do the dirty work.' Chung also said that she misses her lifestyle in London and her old flat, claiming that her new apartment is 'too shiny.' oh, for Christ's sake, somebody give this lass a gun and let her put herself out of her misery, she's obviously got one rotten bad-bitch of a life. What with all that money and the nice 'shiny' house and so on. My heart bleeds for her.

TV chef John Burton Race has been arrested and charged with drink driving and resisting arrest. The fifty two-year-old was stopped by police in a routine check in Strete, near his New Angel restaurant in Dartmouth, Devon, in the early hours of Friday morning. The cook, who appeared on I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here, was breathalysed and then arrested. A spokeswoman for Devon and Cornwall Police told Sky News Online: 'John Burton Race, was arrested on 30 October at about 1am. He has been charged with driving or attempting to drive with excess alcohol and resisting or obstructing a constable in the execution of their duty.' He was released on unconditional bail and is due to appear before magistrates in Newton Abbot on 17 November. Burton Race has appeared on a number of TV shows including French Leave and Return of the Chef, which focused on him and his family setting up home in France and South Devon.

Kerry Katona is reportedly in talks to appear on ITV comedy Benidorm. The Mirror claims that Katona is ready to sign a deal with the show's producers. A source said: 'They see Kerry as perfect to star in the show and she's told her reps to make it happen. Kerry knows it may only be a small part but she's hoping it could lead to bigger things, maybe becoming one of the main roles. Acting is something she's always wanted to do.' Katona, who once said that she can relate to the sitcom, is reportedly hoping that her appearance on the programme will help her to rebuild her image after she was allegedly filmed taking cocaine. 'She's been through a lot in the last twelve months and she thinks being an actress will be a new beginning for her,' the mysterious 'insider' said. However, when Benidorm writer Derren Litten was asked about the rumours on his Twitter page, he replied: 'No. Not true.' So, here's the question: Do we file this one away with the previous fifty seven 'Kerry Katona lined-up to do something' stories that all seem to come from sources suspiciously close to Kerry herself (remember that one where she was going to be in Coronation Street a few months back)? Or, do we disbelieve, on general principle every single story that any newspaper prints which claims that Kerry Katona is going to do anything other that carry on being a has-been? Hmm ... let me think. Oddly all this happened on the very same day that another newspaper, the People was busy claiming that Ms Katona was planning on opening a sunbed studio in Warrington. 'Everyone loves having a tan and Kerry and Mark think they will have people flocking to go on their beds in the winter months,' a source said. 'Kerry reckons people will go to their studio because she's famous.' Presumably this is the same source who'd been feeding the Mirror the crap Benidorm story?

Michael Jackson's father has reportedly admitted that his son is worth more now that he is dead. Joe Jackson revealed on US TV show Extra that he is still learning to cope following the loss of the King of Pop at the age of fifty). The eighty-year-old said that his son was 'worth more dead than alive,' before quickly adding: 'But I'd rather have him alive. I cry when I'm off to myself and I start thinking about things we went through.' Pity you didn't do some of that when you were regularly beating the crap out of him when he was just a little boy, Joe.

No comments: