Sunday, November 08, 2009

Week Forty Six: Mars Probe, Gear Sticks, Jungle Japes

Rockin' Rodney Stewart's splendid performance of 'It's The Same Old Song' on Strictly last night reminds us that some things just get better with age. And then, there are other things that, you know, don't. Like Bruce Forsyth's jokes. Coronation Street actor Craig Kelly became the eighth celebrity to be voted off Strictly. Kelly, who was partnered by the luscious Flavia Cacace, was bottom of the leader board after only scoring seventeen points for his cha cha. Len Goodman said that it was 'the weakest dance of the night' at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom and Craig Revel Horwood rubbed it in, as is his want, by comparing Kelly's dancing to 'a Thunderbird.' I presume he meant one of the puppets rather than the actual crafts themselves. If you're gonna use pop culture references, Craigy, at least get 'em right. Meanwhile, Alesha Dixon twsited the knife even further when she claimed: 'You are not as good as you think you are, Craig.' Kelly was joined in the bottom two by ex-EastEnders actor Ricky Groves and Erin Boag. Earlier in the evening, the duo scored twenty five for their Latin routine, which judge Bruno Tonioli described as 'ridiculous.' After the dance-off, all four judges chose to save Groves and Boag. 'You've been very sweet, Craig, my love, but I'm saving Ricky and Erin,' commented Dixon. After hearing the judges' scores, Kelly had complained: 'That's disgraceful, I can't believe that.' However, speaking after his dismissal from the show, he had changed his tune: 'I feel pretty amazing. It's great that I made it to Blackpool. Any other week after this was a massive Brucie-bonus. It was just great to get to dance with the best dancer in the world.' Keith Telly Topping's tip of the competition right back in week one, Ali Bastian, along with her partner Brian Fortuna, had scored a maximum forty points earlier in the night. 'Last week, I thought Ricky's dance was the dance of the series. I've now changed my mind - that was,' said Len Goodman whilst Craig Revel Horwood added he was 'disappointed. I could not find a single thing wrong with that!'

And on that bombshell, let's have a look at next week's Top Telly Tips:

Friday 13 November
Yer Keith Telly Topping has been very much enjoying The Armstrong & Miller Show - 9:30 BBC1 - this series. A clever, witty pair of talented comedians whose sketch show pokes rib-tickling fun at a lot of highly deserving targets and some very unexpected ones as well. It says something about current British audience tastes that, sadly, it's being mullah'd in the ratings by the - also very good, but sometimes rather crude - Benidorm on ITv opposite. Me, I think I'll stick with Ben and Xander for the rest of the series - they make me laugh. Tonight, a vicar goes to hilarious lengths to boost his congregation's numbers and a time traveller meets Michael Faraday and tells him everything he knows. Plus, of course, many viewers favourite characters, the pilots. Do stuff. And shit. Isn't it?

Saturday 14 November
Saturday's a bit of a dull night this week, Strictly vs X Factor notwithstanding. To such an extent that I'm forced into recommending a repeat of Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow - 10:00 BBC1 as the highlight of the night. In this series, as you'll know if you caught any of the shows earlier in the year, McIntyre - a competent and occasionally very funny stand-up - visits some of the UK's 'most prestigious and iconic stand-up comedy venues.' Or, in other words, 'some comedy clubs.' The purpose is to unearth 'a raft of comedy's brightest new talent and finest comedians en route.' This episodes is one where The Comedy Roadshow headed to the seaside and the Brighton Dome, where Michael introduces Micky Flanagan, Jo Caulfield and Jon Richardson. Headlining is the Pub Landlord himself, Al Murray. Who, despite my reservations about the bone-headedness of some of the audience that he's acquired for himself, is rather good in this. So that's one reason to recommend it - novelty value.

Sunday 15 November
Sunday night this week is one of the rare nights on TV where one is reminded why we bother with the medium in the first place. Not one, not two, but three of the country's biggest shows all return. It's gonna be absolute mayhem! We start with David Tennant's third-to-last Doctor Who - 7:00 BBC1, the much-anticipated, much-trailed, Waters of Mars. It's 2059 and Bowie Base One (oh, sharp!) has sent one last recorded message: 'Don't drink the water. Don't even touch it. Not one drop.' The great Lindsay Duncan co-stars in what looks to be one of a scariest episodes they've done in a long time. I won't even bother trying to sell this one to you, dear blog reader. It's Keith Telly Topping's favourite TV show in the whole wide wide world of Top Telly Tipping and, he suspects, many of those reading this blog will have similar feelings about it. It's David Tennant in Doctor Who. Enough said.

Speaking on particular returning favourites, Top Gear is back - 9:00 BBC2 - with its own unique and pithy brand of motoring news, sitcom-style larking about about and action movie stunting. In the first of this new series, Jeremy, Richard and James take an Aston DBS Volante, a Ferrari California and a Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder to Romania in search of an obscure stretch of tarmac that some hardcore petrolheads claim to be the greatest driving road in the world. Even better than that one in Italy they went to a couple of years ago. Which will mean that we'll get more or less what we always get when they do this sort of travelogue thing - lots of shots of Jezza shouting 'POWER!', Hamster being all enthusiastic and dewy-eyed, Captain Slow bringing up the rear with a pithy quip or several, and about thirty minutes of quite beautiful and stunning cinematography and editing. World class, when it comes to making driving look pretty, is Top Gear. Plus, it pisses of Communists and hippies and, for that, it should be stuffed and mounted. Also, James compares two powerful limos, the BMW 760i and Mercedes S63 AMG. And, Eric Bana is the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car. Let's hope he's a shade more interesting than Mark Walhberg was last year.

Lastly tonight there's I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible, I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want! - 9:00 ITV. Ant and Dec bring you a brand new series of jolly jungle adventures with the eating of insects and the like. A new bunch of (alleged) celebrities must take a terrifying journey into camp - with plenty of surprises along the way. Then one unlucky soul will have to face the first of the dreaded Bushtucker Trials. Will they have the bottle for it? I've got to say, whilst I do enjoy I'm a Celebrity... (often for all the wrong reasons, admittedly) there is a certain desperation to the line-up this year which appears far more 'Z-list' than usual. But, it is what it is and it'll get and audience (and keep it).

Monday 16 November
A show that we've often covered on Top Telly Tips over the last four years is An Island Parish - 7:30 BBC2. This is a rather charming and sweet series which charts a year in the life of the remote Isles of Scilly off the western coast of Cornwall and of the islanders themselves. Just as life begins to look brighter for Heike, the beleaguered island vet, there's a bombshell which throws her personal life into total disarray and stuns family and friends. Meanwhile, a group of fanatical Dutch rowers prepare to make a pilgrimage to Scilly. And for the first time in their long history, the islands echo to the sound of church bells. Again, beautiful to look at if you just want to switch off and watch pretty pictures for half an hour but, if you actually pay attention, there's a near-soap opera of real people living real lives. I think this is great and I highly recommend it to you all.

We like TV shows with daft titles on the blog and they don't come much dafter (or potentially off-putting) than Britain's Really Disgusting Food - 9:00 BBC3. Alex Riley sets out to find the ultimate disgusting fish dish and, amidst the cheap, codless fish fingers and fake prawns, he unearths a whole fishy world of waste. It's a dirty job but somebody's got to do it.

It's been a while since we've given Golden Balls - 5:00 ITV - a damned good, deserved shoeing. Former comedian - and, contrary to common belief, he was really funny once upon a time - Jasper Carrott presents a game show in which four players receive Golden Balls stuffed with life-changing amounts of cash. Hidden amongst them are the dreaded Killer Balls, which have the power to wreak havoc with the jackpot. In a game of truth and bluff, the players try to work out who is holding the big cash and who is hiding killers. Someone is going to be voted off and their balls are out of the game for good, but how far will the players go to keep themselves in? Unlike Deal or No Deal (which is similarly brainless, but at least has a bit of heart to it), Golden Balls works on the principal of 'stab-your-neighbour-in-the-back-to-get-ahead' and, as such is a wonderfully stark metaphor for Britain in the Twenty First Century. Mean-spirited, calculatingly divisive and confrontational, there it squats in its own hole, insidiously getting under people's skin whilst they eat their tea. Rumour has it that it's not long for this world though. So, if you're a fan, you're going to have to find something else to get your vicarious thrills from sooner rather than later.

Tuesday 17 November
There's what looks to be a super Horizon on tonight - 9:00 BBC2. Alan Davies attempts to answer that old proverbial question 'how long is a piece of string?' But what appears to be a simple task soon turns into a mind-bending voyage of discovery where nothing is as it seems. An encounter with leading mathematician Marcus du Sautoy reveals that Alan's short length of string may in fact be infinitely long. When Alan attempts to measure his string at the atomic scale, objects appear in many places at once, and reality itself appears to be an illusion. This is a follow-up to last year's award-winning Alan and Marcus Go Forth & Multiply. When Horizon get it right, they really do produce something very special indeed - bringing science alive and to the masses and fulfilling that old Reithian idea of what public service broadcasting should be: to educate, inform and entertain. The last part of that so often gets forgotten by those indulging in self-interest or having an agenda to push. I'm looking forward to this a great deal.

In Fiddles, Cheats & Scams - 10:35 ITV - Morland Sanders presents the second of two programmes which reveal some of the nation's more colourful, cheeky and sometimes charming fraudsters. No, ITV. There is nothing whatsoever 'charming' about fraud. It's theft pure and simple and there is always a victim. This show 'exposes' bogus benefits claimants making big bucks (yeah, that sounds really 'cheeky and charming'), multi-million pound con-artists, and the cheats who crash for cash - insurance scammers who aim straight for your car. That sounds less 'cheeky and charming' as 'bloody dangerous.'

It's the final leg of Around the World in Eighty Days - 9:00 BBC1 - as actors Shane Richie and Josie Lawrence bring the pan-continental relay to a shattering close. Shane struggles to tame their thirty six foot motor-home and disaster looms in the form of Hurricane Bill. They relieve on-ship boredom by filming a soap opera with the crew of the cargo tanker, but finding themselves two days behind schedule the actors face a hair-raising ship-to-ship transfer in the middle of the Atlantic. As all of the other Around the World globetrotters gather at the Reform Club, will Shane and Josie make it on time? I've rather enjoyed this show over the past few weeks, often in spite of myself - it's a celebration of 'celebrity' as much as of travel in and of itself. But it's had the odd moments of humour and daftness that momentarily lift it out of its occasional self-congratulatory puddle towards something genuinely uplifting.

Wednesday 18 November
It's about time we mentioned the new series of the popular Waterloo Road - 8:00 BBC1. If you haven't seen it before, I won't spoil it for you (that's the writers' job). This is, of course, a contemporary drama series set in a challenging - and recently amalgamated - inner-city comprehensive school. Tonight, Luke has a day from hell when the pupils find out about his family life and Max's tough discipline pushes him to breaking point. As mentioned previously, there are a lot of good actors in it - occasionally struggling with some rather crass and one-dimensional scripts. Although, I have to confess, yer Keith Telly Topping did very much enjoy the 'rape-allegation' episode a couple of weeks back. Strong material, handled well and with dignity and tense drama. Very unexpected, that. Well done to all concerned.

In Celebrating The Carpenters - 7:30 ITV - Amanda Holden and Ronan Keating introduce a programme featuring brand new versions of many of The Carpenters' best-loved songs performed by some of the biggest names in music. These include The Feeling, Chrissie Hynde, The Saturdays, Noisettes, Beverley Knight and the legendary Dionne Warwick. Hang on, I thought you said 'some of the biggest names in music', not a bunch of second division acts and a couple of gnarled veterans. Well, at least that's a potential for ITV to get seriously done under the Trades Description Act, which is a bit of a bonus. Plus, an exclusive duet from Jamie Cullum and Kimberley Walsh (hurrah, at last, somebody one can honestly call a 'big name in music') and Richard Carpenter shares behind-the-scenes stories and archive footage of the group from the 1970s. Think I'll stick with Waterloo Road, for all its faults.

We were talking at some length on this blog about 'stab-yer-neighbour-in-the-back' quiz shows when discussing Golden Balls the other day. And, that leads us nicely on to the Vicious Bitch Queen Evil-Stepmother of all 'stab-yer-neighbour-in-the-back' quiz shows, The Weakest Link - 5:15 BBC1. Black-Spider-Witch Leatherette Anne Robinson presents the quick-fire general knowledge quiz in which contestants must decide, at the end of each round, which of their number should be eliminated from the competition. With some apparent glee. Wretched, loathsome and thoroughly nasty. And, that's just the presenter. Makes you proud to be British, doesn't it?

And finally, a bit of proper class to finish off. [Spooks] - 9:00 BBC1. The pressure is on for Section D when a secret meeting of powerful tycoons is stormed by armed terrorists and eight of the world's richest men are taken captive. But this is no normal hostage situation - undercover at the time, Ros is one the hostages. As events spiral out of control, it looks like no one will make it out alive. Is this the end of the road for Ros? Of bloody course it isn't - anymore than last week's episode was 'the end of the road' for Jo or the episode the week before was 'the end of the road for Harry and/or Ruth.' Although, it was for Malcolm.

Thursday 19 November
In Children in Need Rocks the Royal Albert Hall - 8:00 BBC1 - Gary Barlow shows his unwavering support for Children in Need by bringing together an 'all-star line-up' of 'rock and pop's finest' for a unique night of great British music. Or, in other words, a cast from Hell increasing their public profile by 'doing something for charrideeee.' Hosted by Chris Moyles (oh, this just gets better and better), the star-studded bill includes Lily Allen, Dizzee Rascal, Dame Shirley Bassey, James Corden, Leona Lewis, Paolo Nutini, Snow Patrol, Cheryl Cole, Sir Paul McCartney, Peter Kay, Katherine Jenkins, Muse and Take That. Macca, fer God's sake, what are you doing? All of that sympathy you got from the public over your divorce from The Vile Lady Heather fragmented, in not much more than an instant, by agreeing to appear on the same show as Mika. And Fearne Cotton. He might have been an alcoholic Scouse wife-beating junkie but your former band-mate will be turning in his grave at this.

On Coronation Street - 8:30 ITV - will Roy survive Tony's murderous attack? Tony finally hands himself in to the police - and Maria is left distraught by his confession.

And, finally, we have Confessions of a Traffic Warden - 9:00 Channel 4. In this, the latest fly-on-the-dung documentary show about occupations that most people would do if their life depended on it, cameras follow various rookie traffic wardens on London's streets as they attempt to enforce Westminster Council's parking regulations. And, satisfyingly, incur the considerable wrath of the capital's motorists. Well, whose fault is that? They wanted the job in the first place. It's like somebody working in a sewage plant and then complaining that they stink of shit all the time. There's a very easy way to solve your vocational dilemma, boys and girls. You know eaxctly where the door is.

We move on, now, to some Top Telly News and the revelation that the cast of Gavin & Stacey cried when they filmed the final scenes of the show, according to Ruth Jones. Yeah, Horne and Corden often make me bubble like a girl as well.

BAFTA award-winning writer Alan Plater, who first made his name in the 1960s scripting Z Cars, is set to pen a new one-off period drama for ITV. Joe Maddison’s War will be produced by Mammoth Screen, whose previous credits include Wuthering Heights and Miss Marple, and is set to star two North East icons, Kevin Whately and Robson Green. Set in Newcastle in 1939, the drama revolves around a discontented shipyard worker the eponymous Joe (Whately) who joins the Home Guard with his friend, Harry (Green), after his wife leaves him for a younger naval officer. The project will be filmed in the North East next March. Plater (who also wrote The Beiderbecke Affair) said the drama would be 'a love-letter to a remarkable generation of ordinary folk - the good, the bad and the gorblimey – who proved their amazing ability to be extraordinary and heroic. My family background is strictly Tyneside – the earlier generations worked in and around the shipyards, my favourite uncle was in the Home Guard, and my head is still full of family anecdotes from the period.' I really do like the sound of that one. A talented writer, two of my favourite actors, and some geographic and personal family interest. What more can one ask from a TV show?

Jack Davenport has admitted that he would be 'scared' to experience a FlashForward-type situation in real-life. No shit? I imagine most people would be fairly freaked-out by it, Jack, that's not really a massive revelation. The former This Life and Pirates of the Caribbean star plays Lloyd Simcoe on the show, in which the world populace is thrown into upheaval after they black out for two minutes and seventeen seconds and glimpse forthcoming events in their lives. Davenport revealed that he has no inkling whatsoever to see into his future, the Press Assocation reports. He said: 'Absolutely not - I'm scared enough of the future as it is, ignorance is bliss.' The thirty six-year-old also explained that he is 'pleased' that the US-produced drama has been picked up by Five in the UK. He added: 'A lot of the time when you do stuff over here either it takes a hell of a lot of time to get back home, or doesn't, and there's a certain element of, "What have we been up to for the last however long?" So I'm really pleased that it's being shown on terrestrial television and it's available for everyone to watch.' And so say all of us.

The daughter of Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep is to make her screen debut playing the child of a celebrity couple in a new US TV series. Grace Gummer will appear in Gigantic, a new series for Nickelodeon channel TeenNick due to be broadcast in early 2010. The twenty three-year-old (who will play a teenage girl in the show) appeared on the New York stage last year. Gummer is the third of Streep's four children with her husband, sculptor Don Gummer, whom the star married in 1978. Grace's sister Mamie had a small role in film Taking Woodstock and also appeared in TV series John Adams.

The Cheeky Girls have said that John and Edward Grimes should not win The X Factor because they cannot sing. Which is probably a fair comment since they're experts on that subject. Meanwhile, Gordon Brown has also said he thinks John and Edward are 'not very good.' Ah, yet another pot-kettle-black situation. Listen, don't you have anything more important to do with your time than try to do my job, pal? Like, you know, ruining the country, or something?

Former Coronation Street star Wendi Peters has admitted that she does not want to be known as ill-tempered in real life. The forty one-year-old actress, who played the scheming Cilla Battersby-Brown on the soap, is currently appearing in a touring production of comedy show Grumpy Old Women 2. The project sees her joining forces with Jenny Eclair and her former Corrie co-star Susie Blake to complain about the annoyances of everyday life. Discussing the project in an interview with the Lancaster and Morecambe Citizen, Peters commented: 'This is my second grumpy role.' Well, third if you count Celebrity MasterChef! 'Cilla loved a good whinge too. I hope people don't think I just complain all the time. I'm sure my husband and daughter find that very funny, though!' She continued: 'The show is great fun, it's not just all complaining. While doing this tour, I've seen people laugh so much they cry.'

Ryan Thomas has reportedly been questioned by police in connection with an early morning road collision. The Coronation Street star was interviewed by officers after a Chrysler struck a lamp post in Manchester at about 4am last Saturday. Thomas, twenty five, who plays Jason Grimshaw on the soap, was not charged over the incident. Another man was later arrested for driving under the influence of drink or drugs, reports the Press Association. A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: 'A man was charged with Section Five of the Road Traffic Act. A twenty five-year-old man was interviewed by police on Friday, 6 November.'

The BBC's premier soap EastEnders scored a hat-trick of prizes at The Birmingham Black International Film Festival's Music, Video and Screen Awards. Or 'The BBIFFMVSA', for short. The Walford serial was named Best UK Drama with a black or ethnic cast at the ceremony, which is the festival's flagship event each year. Meanwhile, Tiana Benjamin won the Best UK Actress award for her role as Chelsea Fox on the programme. She beat off competition from Rhea Bailey, who has had roles in Crossroads and Waterloo Road, as well as ex-Doctor Who star Freema Agyeman and Spooks: Code 9's Lorraine Burroughs. Speaking about the accolade, Benjamin told the soap's official website: 'I'm really grateful to get this recognition, and thank you to all those who have voted, it's much appreciated.' Meanwhile, dear old Rudolph Walker picked up the Lifetime Achievement award at the ceremony. As well as his Walford role as Patrick Trueman, the prize was awarded for the seventy-year-old's long-running career in the industry, which has seen him win ground-breaking parts in Love Thy Neighbour, The Thin Blue Line and an award-winning stage production of Othello among many others.

Paul McGann has joined the cast of BBC1's forthcoming thriller Luther. The series, which was created by [Spooks] writer Neil Cross, started filming this week and will be fronted by former The Wire star Idris Elba. Other actors announced as part of the cast include Ruth Wilson, Steven Mackintosh, Indira Varma, Warren Brown and Saskia Reeves. McGann will play Mark North, a rival to Luther (Elba) who is competing for the affections of Zoe (Varma). 'Neil Cross's new series takes a bold new look at the detective show with great characters and intense psychological drama,' said BBC controller of series and serials Kate Harwood. 'I'm delighted we've attracted such a strong cast to bring these characters to life.'

STV, Scotland's ITV licensee, has guaranteed that it will make a new series of Taggart next year and has launched a thirty five million poinds legal action against ITV plc which includes claims of abuses in TV advertising sales and video-on-demand rights. The company also reported that it expects national television ad-revenues to be up two per cent in the fourth quarter. STV said that the failure to secure a recommission of Taggart across the ITV network this year meant that the company will take a two million pounds loss in earnings - external analysts had estimated that the failure to do a deal would cost three million. However STV said that while discussions are ongoing with ITV to secure a commission, or co-commission, next year, it intends to forge ahead with a new series of Taggart even if a deal cannot be struck. 'In the event that ITV do not re-commission Taggart, we can confirm that STV will make Taggart for delivery in 2010,' said STV. 'STV recognises the widespread popularity of the programme and the strong ratings and return on investment the series delivers. This will ensure that this popular brand continues.' I'm not sure if it's just Keith Telly Topping but, does anybody else think there was a certain 'we're taking our ball and going home' in that announcement?

Elliott Gould has reportedly signed on to guest star on a forthcoming episode of Law & Order. The seventy one-year-old actor, who formerly played the father of Monica and Ross Geller (Courteney Cox and David Schwimmer) on Friends, will return to NBC for his appearance on the long-running crime and legal drama, TV Guide reports. Gould will apparently portray an angry Harlem-based business owner who turns to vigilante justice after a crime spree occurs in his neighbourhood in New York City.

Anna Friel has admitted that she struggled to maintain her composure on stage in Breakfast At Tiffany's as a theatre-goer was sick during a recent performance. Not, presumably, at the sight of Anna naked. The former Pushing Daisies actress told Smooth Radio that an audience member was ill over the upper balcony, causing six people below in the stalls to be 'splattered with vomit.' Revealing how the incident happened during a musical number, Friel explained: 'I thought it was latecomers who shouldn't have been allowed in - but it turned out someone had vomited from the balcony over six people and they were being escorted out to be cleaned up. I carried on singing, but almost lost my way as there was such a noise coming from the seats. I almost lost it, but I'm proud I kept my concentration.' According to the Sun, the six theatre-goers who received the nasty surprise were able to return after the interval, while the ill spectator also watched the end of the play. And, hopefully, apologised to those he'd spewed up on and offered to pay for their dry cleaning.

Sky1 has announced a new two-part documentary series fronted by Ross Kemp. Ross Kemp In The Middle East will see the former EastEnders actor travel to Gaza and Israel to offer an insight into life under military occupation and living amid the threat of terrorist attack. 'Like many other people I've grown up with news stories about the Middle East without really understanding the issues,' said Kemp. 'I hope that the two documentaries, one in Israel and one in Gaza, will give people a better understanding of this complex and troubled part of the world.' Commissioning editor Celia Taylor added: 'Once again Ross Kemp promises to take us beyond the headlines and get to the heart of what is really going on.'

Will Ferrell has revealed that he would like to buy a British pub. Allow Keith Telly Topping to heartily recommend The Butchers Arms on Shields Road, Will. It's fantastically violent and 'ethnic', you'll love it.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has criticised South Park for the adult cartoon series use of the word 'fag' in a recent episode. The episode sees the characters use the word to refer to 'annoying and inconsiderate' riders of Harley Davidson motorcycles. Homosexuals in the area take offense at first, but then join in with the 're-branding' of the word. GLAAD wrote: 'Though this seems to represent a well-intentioned effort by the creators of South Park to delegitimise a vulgar anti-gay slur, the fact is that the word is and remains a hateful slur that is often part of the harassment, bullying and violence that gay people, and gay youth in particular, experience on a daily basis in this country. It is an epithet that has real consequences for real people's lives. Just this year, an eleven-year-old Massachusetts student named Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, unable to endure the unrelenting anti-gay bullying and name-calling he experienced at school, committed suicide.' The complaint continued: 'The creators of South Park are right on one important point: more and more people are using the F-word as an all-purpose insult. However, it is irresponsible and wrong to suggest that it is a benign insult or that promoting its use has no consequences for those who are the targets of anti-gay bullying and violence. This is a slur whose meaning remains rooted in homophobia. And while many South Park viewers will understand the sophisticated satire and critique in last night's episode, others won't - and if even a small number of those take from this a message that using the 'F-word' is okay, it worsens the hostile climate that many in our community continue to face.' So, not so much a criticism of the show, as a criticism of some of its audience.

Conan O'Brien has apologised to Levi Johnston after mocking the aspiring model by reading Twitter messages that he had not written. The chat show host had asked his guest, William Shatner, to read a series of messages - in his own, unique style - from an account that O'Brien believed belonged to Johnston during Wednesday's Tonight show. Speaking on Friday's broadcast, he said: 'I'd like to apologise personally to Levi Johnston and his lawyer and publicist for misrepresenting him in any way. Levi is clearly a great American. We wish him the best of luck as he trains for his upcoming naked photo shoot.' O'Brien went on to say that the messages were 'counterfeit' and had been written by a 'clever imposter posing as the witty Levi Johnston.' He added: 'And the real Levi is very angry with us now. So angry in fact that he's taken his case to some of this country's most respected authorities for truth, including' O'Brien then invited Shatner back on stage to recite 'some real, verified quotes from Levi.' Johnston, who rose to infamy as the father of Sarah Palin's grandson, is currently preparing to pose naked for Playgirl. Good career move, man.

Cheryl Cole reportedly spent sixty five thousand pounds on her X Factor performance of debut solo single 'Fight For This Love'. Blimey. That's about two days wages for her husband, isn't it? The singer allegedly paid the sum for her dancers, costumes, extra lighting, lasers and other special effects for the live show. 'The performers have to pay their own production costs and it can be a small fortune,' a source told the Mirror. Meanwhile, performances by Whitney Houston and Alexandra Burke on the ITV programme are reported to have each cost sixty thousand pounds. Which, in the case of the former, is quite disgraceful. I'm sure thousands of British singers would be perfectly happy to get their tits out on live TV for half the price. Bon Jovi are said to have staged the cheapest live performance last Sunday, which allegedly came in at approximately thirty thousand pounds. Twenty thousand of which was spent on hair product, alone.

And lastly, probably the funniest story of the week involved one Tauriq Khalid, who was charged with 'using racially abusive and threatening behaviour and language' towards the BNP leader Nick Griffin. You remember him, he's the 'plucked owl fast-tracked into a management position in Gregg's'? Griffin had claimed that Mr Khalid called him 'a white bastard' in his home town of Burnley in November last year. The defendant insisted that he had not. What he'd actually called Griffin was 'a fucking wanker.' After a three-day trial at Preston Crown Court, the jury took just forty five minutes to agree with Khalid and to, furthermore, conclude that calling Nick Griffin 'a fucking wanker' actually constitued fair comment and, promptly clear Mr Khalid of the charges. Restores ones faith in British justice, somewhat, does it not, dear blog reader? Good on yerself, Tauriq for establishing, in law, that calling the BNP leader 'a fucking wanker' is not illegal.

1 comment:

Pushing Daisies tv show said...

That scene of Pushing Daisies tv show is amazing. And I can not watch it again. I have watched this scene online.....