Monday, December 28, 2009

Time Is Out Of Joint Oh Cursèd Spite That Ever I Was Born To Set It Right

For anyone who is (vaguely) interested, yer Keith Telly Topping was on The Breakfast Show on BBC Newcastle this morning, reading the papers and, generally, talking about various TV-related subjects with the legend that is my oppo Alfie Joey. It was quite good, although listening to it back I sounded far more hyper than I actually felt at 7am when I climbed, unwillingly, out of my pit to make my weary way into the office. If you happened to miss it and are keen to find out what was appertaining in the area, it can be heard on Listen Again for the next few days. Just go here. I'm on from about one hour twenty minutes into the show and thereafter about every five minutes or so. Incidentally, young Razor who was producing took a rather fetching photo of the Alfster and myself (wearing a very silly hat) in the studio which I'll bring to your attention as soon as I have a copy. I look like a turnip, you'll love it! And, in a related radio preview notette, I should also draw your attention, dear blog reader, to the fact that starting tomorrow, for four days, on Simon Logan's Afternoon Show in addition to the usual Top Telly Tips there'll also be a series of short pieces on my favourite - and least favourite - TV show of 2009. They should be on between 2:30 and 3:00 each day with Top Telly Tips being back in its regular slot of 3:45 or thereabouts. Public service announcement ends!

Alexandra Moen has admitted that she will miss David Tennant when he leaves Doctor Who. Moen, who plays The Master's wife Lucy Saxon, added that she is still unsure about his replacement Matt Smith. Speaking to the Mirror, she said: 'I don't know about Matt. For me, it will always be David. Matt's too young. David is definitely my favourite Doctor. The thing about him is he's a genuine Doctor Who fan.' Moen praised Tennant, describing him as 'genuinely interested in people, caring and a hard worker. He also has a geeky charm and dry wit,' she added. 'He has this swoony effect because he is so approachable. He brings out your maternal instinct. Everyone loves him.' I'm presuming 'everyone' includes chaps as well, Alex. Because, I have to lay this one on you, love, none of us feel remotely maternal about Dave. However, Moen also said that Matt Smith could end up making the role his own. 'There have been so many Doctors and there's a lot of pressure, but Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant have shown that you have the licence to do your own thing,' she explained. 'Matt could be amazing. There's a real buzz about him coming in. The good thing for him is he is kicking off with a new production team so everyone's keen to make their mark.'

The official Vatican newspaper has praised The Simpsons. The New York Times reports that an article in L'Osservatore Romano celebrated the popular cartoon's Twentieth anniversary. The piece, called Aristotle's Virtues and Homer's Doughnut, praised the show's 'realistic and intelligent writing' and congratulated it on its handling of the characters' faith. The article claimed that Homer 'finds in God his last refuge' and said that his sometimes problematic relationship with religion is a 'mirror of the indifference and the need that modern man feels toward faith.' However, the article also criticised the programme for 'excessively crude language, the violence of certain episodes or some extreme choices by the scriptwriters.'

With the exclusion of Henry Ian Cusick from the final season's main cast, Lost fans have been murmuring about the possibility of not seeing his character, the great Desmond, again. The character infrequently appeared in the fifth season, and was left in a fairly happy ending with his beloved Penny, leading fans to wonder whether or not his happiness would stick. Well, we now know that Desmond will in fact be returning for at least one episode. Kristin dos Santos of E! Online, as part of her Twelve Days of Lost-Mas celebration, shared the revelation that Dessie would indeed be returning early on in Lost's final season, though she did not say whether he would appear beyond that. 'We will see Desmond again,' she confirmed, 'fairly on in the season. His first appearance will be with one of the Losties and the encounter is very surprising.' This is good news. Keith Telly Topping likes this news greatly.

Jim Shelley in his TV round-up of the year in the Mirror noted that the irritant of the year was, 'obviously, Amanda Holden for Big Top, Wild at Heart but mostly for fighting her way to comfort that crying kid on Britain's Got Talent before her mother could get there.'

Larry Lamb reportedly missed his character's dramatic Christmas Day exit scene in EastEnders, in which Archie Mitchell was murdered. The sixty seven-year-old actor was apparently devastated after he and his family were left watching a blank screen after his TV broke down. A source told the Mirror: 'It was a nightmare. He had been so excited as it was one of the highlights of his career.' Look it up on You Tube, Larry, it's bound to be there. The eventful episode of the BBC1 soap was the most-watched programme on Christmas Day, claiming nearly eleven million viewers, while his other show Gavin & Stacey played to over nine million later in the evening. Lamb, who has praised the decision to kill off his character, recently announced a new travel documentary on ITV.

Michelle Ryan has revealed that she doesn't want to return to EastEnders. Ryan, who played Zoe Slater in the soap, explained that she enjoyed her time on the show but wants to have the freedom to work on different projects. 'I always saw EastEnders as an apprenticeship,' she told the Daily Record. 'I always wanted to go on and do different things. I have some really good friends from that show but the door is closed.' She continued: 'I've always taken chances. I think that's how you progress - by stepping out and doing different things. I really do like my freedom and jumping from job to job. I just want to work with people I admire and respect, wherever that be - big budget, low budget, leading role, supporting role.'

Actress Margi Clarke has returned to filming with Coronation Street as Tyrone Dobbs's loudmouth mother, Jackie. Last week, the legendary fifty five-year-old Liverpudlian walked back onto the cobbles for the first time in a year to film scenes in connection with her son Tyrone's tumultuous marriage to his adulterous wife, Molly.

Mathew Horne has said that he is sorry for his overexposure on Christmas Day, which saw the actor star in Gavin & Stacey and Nan's Christmas Carol. He said on Twitter: 'I can only apologise on behalf of the Beeb for this scheduling. Even I'm bored of me.' You're not the only one, pal, though that didn't start on Christmas Day. Other actors to make numerous festive appearances were Larry Lamb and Tate, herself (Doctor Who, Nan's Christmas Carol). Despite the number of recurring appearances from BBC actors on Christmas Day, the broadcaster still produced fourteen out of the twenty most-watched shows, including all of the programmes above. Familiarity, it would seem, breeds ratings success.

STV chief executive Rob Woodward has publicly admitted for the first time that it was 'a major mistake' to axe popular ITV dramas in favour of more domestic programming. The station had recently stopped airing networked dramas, including ratings-winner Doc Martin and the long-running police drama The Bill, in a drastic cost-cutting operation. However, following a twelve per cent drop in all-day audience share in the last year and a reported profit loss of eighty two per cent, STV have been forced to strategically backtrack. According to Herald Scotland, Woodward said: 'We hope our audience will be pleasantly surprised when we unveil our schedule in the New Year. You can expect to see some more of ITV's drama back on the screens.' The Scottish licence-holder, producer of crime drama Taggart, has become more independent from ITV. In a pledge to broadcast more home-produced programming, STV recently underlined its wishes to become independent from the ITV network, like Irish broadcaster TV3. He added: 'When we schedule high quality, home-produced content it attracts a strong audience. What doesn't work is relying on old repeats or film stock.' However, out of forty nine opt-outs, STV only outperformed the rest of ITV on just five occasions. The Greatest Scot, broadcast over a week in November, could only muster thirteen per cent of the viewing audience. This was much lower than the thirty per cent average of event drama Collision, which launched with seven and a half million viewers on ITV. The decision to stop airing slot-winning drama also caused much controversy, leading to an ongoing financial dispute with ITV over programming debt. In the 2009 autumn season, STV only aired one new ITV drama, Murderland, which was set in Scotland and starred Robbie Coltrane. At the time, Woodward explained that his decision created 'more space in the schedule.' In September, the Scottish broadcaster announced its plans to scrap the ITV Evening News from its schedule, replacing it with a programme with 'a Scottish perspective.' It is unclear whether this move is likely to go forward in light of STV's latest rethink.

Skins will return for its fourth series at the end of January, E4 has announced. The new series, which sees all of the series three cast reprise their roles, will be comprised of eight episodes - two shorter than previously. 'We take great pride in the development of raw young voices in Skins,' said executive producer Bryan Elsley. 'This year, our writers and cast have stepped up and broken through to new levels of boldness. Funny, disrespectful, edgy, but also poignant and heartfelt, these stories try to go to the heart of what it means to be young today.' The new series will feature guest appearances from Chris Addison, Tanya Franks, Paul Kaye, Pauline Quirke, Simon Day, Dudley Sutton, Hugo Speer, Jenny Eclair and Will Young.

Marg Helgenberger's marriage will reportedly be ended by February. The CSI: Crime Scene Investigation star, who met her husband, the actor Alan Rosenberg, while working on Ryan's Hope in 1984, split from him last year after nineteen years of marriage. Helgenberger, who filed to end the marriage in March, cited irreconcilable differences, and is believed to have requested spousal support. According to TMZ, a Los Angeles judge is expected to sign off on the divorce papers by the end of January.

Paul McCartney has revealed that his objections caused the Nowhere Boy script to be changed. The recently released movie examines the relationship between John Lennon and his Aunt, Mimi Smith, who raised him from the age of five. However, McCartney told the movie's director, Sam Taylor-Wood, that he was unhappy with the portrayal of Lennon's aunt, the Daily Mail reports. 'I said, "Sam, this isn't true,"' McCartney explained. 'Aunt Mimi was not cruel. She was mock strict. But she was a good heart who loved John madly.' Taylor-Wood reportedly changed the script to show Mimi in a more positive light. However, she allegedly argued with McCartney about other parts of the film and he is said to have declined her invitation to see the movie thus far.

Katie Price has reportedly put her name forward to make a guest appearance in the next series of The Apprentice. The reality TV regular, who was recently paid three hundred and fifty thousand pounds to reprise her role in ITV's I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!, was allegedly in a conversation with Sir Alan Sugar and Britain's Got Talent judge Amanda Holden. Christ, I'll be that was a meeting of minds. Price is quoted by the Sun as saying: 'I'm not the brightest but I know how money works.' Yes, Jordan, we've noticed. Holden is said to have originally asked Sugar: 'Why don't you hire Katie for one of the tasks next year?' The sixty two-year-old businessman then reportedly responded that he thought the former glamour model could be 'an asset to the show.' Or, indeed, two. In November, the BBC announced that The Apprentice - as well as its first ever spin-off series Junior Apprentice - had been pushed back to summer 2010 because of May's potential general election.

Coleen Nolan has revealed in the Mirror today that she is finally happy with her body naked.

And, moving swiftly on from the very chilling thought of Coleen Nolan's naked body, Frank Lampard spent Christmas Day with his ex-fianceé Elen Rives for the sake of their children, according to press reports. The Chelsea and England footballer, who has been romantically linked with Christine Bleakley, has two children with the thirty four-year-old Rivas. A friend of the star told the Sun: 'Frank and Elen wanted the day to be normal for the children, but she has said the atmosphere was very tense. She still has feelings for Frank but is angry at how he has moved on so quickly. He just wanted to make sure the girls had a wonderful day and they did. He has moved on.' That's one bitchin' Copper's Nark of a 'friend' you've got there, Frankie. I trust he or she - if, indeed, he or she even exists - is off your Christmas card list for next year? The former couple were together for seven years, but reports claimed that Lampard cheated twice on the Spaniard. Despite this, Rives has admitted she still has feelings for the midfielder, saying: 'It wouldn't be fair of me to start a new relationship when I still think about him.' So do most of Moscow Chelski FC's support, Elen chuck, but I don't think many of those want to sleep with him. Although, they're a funny lot down Stamford Bridge what with all that 'one man went to mo' malarkey.

Next, it's time for yet another Kerry Katona story. This has been pretty much the YEAR of the Kerry Katona story, hasn't it, dear blog reader? She has, reportedly, been rejected from the final series of Celebrity Big Brother after failing psychological tests. The former Atomic Kitten and reality TV regular had been in secret talks with producers and was said to have 'sailed through' the show's interview process, reports the News Of The World. A friend (I'm presuming this is a different one to Frank Lampard's cos those two seem to move in somewhat different circles) said that the twenty nine-year-old cocaine snorting lard bucket had been 'banking' on the two hundred and fifty thousand pound cheque for her appearance, with reports suggesting that she faces eviction from her, actual, home in the New Year. 'Kerry is heartbroken,' said the friend. 'It's the first offer of work she's had in months and she's failed it because she isn't mentally well enough. She hasn't got a pot to piss in and she's looking like losing her home. She has bipolar disorder but controls it with medication. When she came back from the interview with the psychiatrist she thought she'd done really well. But when Kerry got the call saying the deal was off, she was horrified.'

And, finally, here's yet another sample of Keith Telly Topping's truly singular artistic pretentions. An installation piece entitled The Queue For The Bus (2003).

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