Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Anything You Say May Be Taken Down & Used In Evidence

Yer Keith Telly Topping is truly indebted to his friend Deborah for pointing him in the direction of a wonderful moment on the Six O'Clock News a few nights ago. Someone was trying to gain entrance to the Iraq Enquiry and was heard to yell, on-camera, 'If we're going to have a police state can't you at least get it properly organised!' There's, literally, no answer to that.

Sophie Okonedo will appear in an episode of the new series of Doctor Who according to the Sun. The actress - who recently played the South African apartheid fighter Winnie Mandela in a BBC4 drama - has already filmed her sequences. She will be in episode two of the new series, which sees the debut of Matt Smith. Producers are keeping details of her role a closely guarded secret, but it is believed that her character is named Liz Ten. Queue frantic fan-speculation as to what that might be short for. Sophie has already been spotted filming scenes in and around Cardiff. A source said: 'Getting Sophie on-board is a huge coup for the BBC. The forthcoming series has been criticised for being a bit light on the big names. But the feeling is less is more. The new boss, Steven Moffat wants his show to be more about the Doctor rather than famous supporting cast members.' I like that phrase. 'Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss. Only, less gay and more Scottish.' Or, 'The Lord Thy God' as the very Mofftser himself is referred to rounds these parts.

Trevor Eve has been named the highest-paid television actor, according, again, to those ever-reliable boys and girls at the Sun. The fifty eight-year-old reportedly earns one million pounds for each series of Waking The Dead. The show was recently alleged to be a target for cancellation - along with [Spooks] - because the BBC 'cannot afford to make it anymore.' The BBC themselves furiously denied this and suggested that neither show were going anywhere soon. 'Trevor is well thought of at the BBC and the show has done well, so his salary has grown,' someone who is described as 'a show insider' said. Sick of using 'sources', are we? Now, they're show insiders. Well, that narrows it down to ... the tea boy. 'But his pay has caused a few jaws to drop and makes you wonder how many others are on massive deals. The BBC had wanted to keep it a secret so licence fee payers don't complain. But the pressure is on to cut salaries and production costs.' Yep, that definitely sounds like the tea boy. A drama producer added: 'A leading man, like Martin Shaw in Judge John Deed, who brings a decent audience will get around four hundred thousand pounds per series. David Tennant would make maybe six hundred thousand pounds-plus on Doctor Who, while David Jason could get eight to nine hundred thousand.' You're sure this bloke is 'a drama producer' and not somebody working in the finance department? A BBC spokesperson claimed that the broadcaster is 'committed to reducing the fees it pays its artists.'

Lost actors Matthew Fox and Evangeline Lilly are both alleged to have said that they are quitting television after the show wraps its current and final season. Speaking to E! at the Lost season premiere party in Honolulu, Fox revealed that he is 'done' with TV and hopes to move on to movie roles or 'something else entirely.' Stacking shelves at Morrisons? It has to be asked? Oh, hang on. They don't have Morrisons in the US. All right, then, stacking shelves at the local 7/11? 'I think this will be the last time you see me on TV,' he said. Now, I wouldn't speak too soon if I were you, matey boy. The history of TV is littered with handsome young square-jawed things with ideas above their station who've been on a moderately successful show for a few years and, as a consequence, thought they'd have film-makers flocking to their doors. So they promptly bit the hand that fed them and then, a few years later, had to come crawling back to the medium where they started when the found that they're not, quite, as in-demand as they'd thought they were. Fox, who plays Boring Jack Shephard on the programme, added: 'I'm either going to do the kind of things I want to do in the film world, or maybe I'll just do something else entirely.' See, that 7/11 vacancy really seems to have taken Matt's fancy. Lilly (who plays Kate The Completely Mad Murderess Austen) hinted that she might quit acting altogether, opting for an off-screen role in film or doing philanthropic work in Rwanda. 'I'm not passionate about acting the way you probably should be to call yourself an actor,' she said. The thoughts of the rest of the cast - you know, the real actors on Lost like Naveen Andrew, Josh Holloway, Michael Emerson, Henry Ian Cusick, et al - are, tragically, not a matter of public record.

The BBC are reported to have received a number of complaints from viewers who were unhappy that Laura Kuenssberg's comments on Twitter were shown on-screen during the BBC News channel's coverage of Tony Blair's appearance at the Iraq Inquiry. Some people claimed that the political correspondent's comments were biased against former Prime Minister Blair, whilst others apparently stated that they found displaying them on-screen to be distracting. To be honest, the only thing that yer Keith Telly Topping has ever found distracting about any of Ms Kuenssberg's genuinely excellent reportage is her name. Which always sounds to me like a particularly painful inflammation of the lower digestive tract. Kuenssberg's Disease. You've got to admit, it's exactly the sort of thing that Thirteen or Chase will usually suggest, out of left-field, when another one of Doctor House's patients is five minutes from meeting their maker. Mind you, if you think that's bad, just pray that you never catch a nasty dose Matthew Amroliwala Syndrome. There's no cure for that one, apparently.

Keith Duffy has revealed that he would love to see Mike Baldwin make a shock return to Coronation Street. He can't, he's dead. Not the actor, obviously, but the character he played. And, unlike Doctor Who dead people don't tend to make the greatest comeback since Lazarus in soap operas. Well, not when you've actually seen then buried, anyway. Duffy, who recently returned to his own role as womaniser Ciaran McCarthy on the ITV soap, explained that he is still friends with seventy four-year-old Johnny Briggs, who played the Weatherfield legend for over thirty years. Mike was killed-off in 2006 after Briggs decided that he wanted to go into semi-retirement. Viewers saw the character suffering a heart attack and, you know, dying. Despite this, Duffy has told the Press Association: 'I'd love Mike Baldwin to come back. I shot a lot of scenes with him before I left the last time and Johnny and I have a pint sometimes in Manchester. I get on very well with him, we play a bit of golf together and he often travels to Dublin for charity golf events with me so he's one person I'd like to work with again.' Last year, Briggs appeared to rule out any chance of a return to Weatherfield by claiming that it would be 'a bit silly' for Mike to come back from the dead. A bit silly? That's got to be the understatement of the Twenty First Century so far.

Barbara Windsor has admitted that she was 'a scared little lady' when she joined EastEnders in 1994. In an interview with Radio Times, the seventy two-year-old actress explained that she had been pessimistic over her career - and the subsequent success of her role as Peggy Mitchell came as a huge surprise to her. If not to anybody else. Before making her Albert Square debut, Windsor had been best known for her work in the Carry On films. She has now revealed: 'This show gave me the opportunity to reinvent myself. When I went in, I was a scared little lady and I really felt that I was in the twilight of my career. I had no idea it was going to carry on and get even better. I worked really hard to discover Peggy and it paid off. She's everything I wouldn't want to be - a pub landlady, permanently on show - but I based her on my mum and I adore playing her.'

Strictly Come Dancing's eighth series may take place at the Blackpool Tower ballroom, according to press reports. The Sun - ah, them again - states that the BBC is currently 'in negotiations' with Leisure Parcs, which owns the Tower, about hosting this year's show there. The famous destination was the original venue for Strictly's popular BBC predecessor Come Dancing. The ballroom dancing competition, which was hosted by presenters including Peter West, Michael Aspel, Judith Chalmers, Rosemarie Ford and Angela Rippon, ran from 1949 to 1998. One special episode midway through Strictly's recently completed seventh series was held at the Tower and was highly praised by both the contestants and the professional dancers. Leisure Parcs boss Michael Williams said: 'We are hoping the whole series could be filmed here. It would be fantastic not just for the Tower but also for the resort.'

A contestant on BBC2's Mastermind recorded the lowest score in the show's history in last night's episode. The general knowledge quiz show, which has aired for thirty seven years, had never had a competitor score less than seven points. London-based software analyst Kajen Thuraaisingham answered his first question on Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, correctly. But he followed that with eleven passes and thirteen incorrect answers ending with a score of five. The twenty eight-year-old said afterwards: 'I tried my best but it wasn't my night.' Ah, bless him. Well, at least he got there, that's something most of us will never achieve. Quizmaster John Humphrys replied: 'It's the "black chair syndrome." The mind can just go blank when you're in the chair.' The previous lowest total was set by Michael Burton of Peckham - whose specialist subject was Angels - two months ago when he scored seven points.

The former Countryfile presenter Miriam O'Reilly is to sue the BBC for age and sex discrimination after she was one of four female presenters dropped as part of a revamp of the BBC1 show, according to a report. O'Reilly, fifty two, who was removed from the show last year, told The Times that ageism was 'endemic' at the BBC, claiming women were reluctant to speak out because they feared putting their career at risk. She lodged papers at the London Central employment tribunal last week claiming the corporation discriminated against her on grounds of sex and age. The presenter is believed to be the first broadcaster to sue the BBC for age discrimination. But, y'see, that's show business for you, Miriam. As Mad Frankie Boyle noted on Mock The Week last year 'when these looks go, I'm out of here as well!'

Billy Connolly ('a well-known Scottish comedian') turned his back on tradition when he opened the salmon season on the River Dee yesterday. Instead of sipping a large dram and pouring the rest into the river, the Big Yin did the honours with Irn-Bru. Classy! Then, the tee-total comedian made waves by criticising the fishermen who frequent Scotland's rivers. Connolly told the two hundred-strong crowd: 'I haven't done a lot of salmon fishing. First I couldn't afford it, then I found I didn't like the people who did it very much.' Connolly, who now owns Candacraig House near Strathdon, added: 'I like doing it in America and Canada where it's more open. In Scotland you're shoulder-to-shoulder with fat businessmen. It's not my idea of a laugh.' At which point, ice formed on the upper reaches of the Dee.

Sandra Bullock's husband, Jesse James (no, really), is continuing to fight for custody of his six-year-old daughter, Sunny, with his ex-wife. Porn star Janine Lindemulder, who is currently living in a halfway house following a parole violation, has been denied visitation rights to see Sunny, who has lived with James and Bullock for most of the past year while Lindemulder was in prison for tax evasion. A Californian judge ruled that Lindemulder is entitled to make daily phone calls to her daughter, but has no rights to see her. Us magazine quotes James as telling the judge that Lindemulder sends text messages 'up to twenty times a day, demanding to talk to Sunny ... But sometimes she'll go a week at a time where she doesn't make a call.' He also accused Lindemulder of having 'no filter' when it comes to discussing her recent stint in prison, saying: 'There's a lot of conversation about prison or jail and things that I don't think a six-year-old can comprehend or process.'

Channel 4's Come Dine With Me has been accused of misleading viewers after the broadcaster admitted that celebrity contestants are being loaned properties to do their cookery in. Producers of the food show have reportedly hired out properties on occasions when stars did not want their real homes to be shown on TV, the Daily Mail reports. Good God. The Daily Mail involved in another 'TV scam' story and, for once, the BBC aren't mentioned at all. There's a first time for everything, I guess. Although, hopefully, nobody's yet had the heart to tell the newspaper that Holby General isn't a genuine hospital, MI5 don't really work out of Thames House and Time Lords with two hearts who can travel through time and space in a dimensionally transcendent machine that looks like a police telephone box aren't, actually, altogether real. I imagine if that happened, the Mail would implode in a fit of righteous indignation. Anyway, back to Come Dine With Me. It is thought that this practice of renting out properties has also occasionally occurred for the convenience of filming schedules. Come Dine With Me follows the progress of various amateur chefs as they take turns in hosting dinner parties for the other contestants. Actor Christopher Biggins is said to have been one of the alleged 'stars' who was seen in a rented home on the programme because he was 'nervous' about showing his real residence on TV. Why, Biggins? Did you think we'd all think it a bit garish and footballers wives? Whilst the property was not - explicitly - stated as being his own, he was, the paper claims, 'seen acting as if it was.' Swanning around like he owned the place, in other words. Hang on, isn't that what Biggins always does? Even in the jungle? Meanwhile, in a recent Christmas special, Loose Women presenter Sherrie Hewson reportedly hosted a dinner party in a rented property because her real home in the North-West was too far away from the other contestants. Who, apparently, didn't realise that life existed north of Watford. Not an uncommon problem in TV-land, that. Responding to the report, Mediawatch director Vivienne Pattinson commented: 'I don't think this does anything for public trust when it is not made clear.' So, you think that all drama should carry a warning to viewers of its fictionality before-hand, Vivienne? A Channel 4 spokesman said: 'Oh, for God sake, go away and grow up.' Actually, they didn't. Though they probably wanted to. They said 'For logistic and security reasons, some of the celebrity dinner parties are filmed at a rented location rather than their own homes. This is only the case for the celebrity spin-offs. Contributors for Come Dine With Me host their dinners at their own homes.' So, there you have it. If you're a common oyik then your own gaff gets used, no matter how horrible the decor and how much the lavatory needs a good clean. If you're a faded ex-soap star, or somebody who once appeared on a reality TV show, you can have a night pretending to live somewhere else to stop the viewing public from finding out where you live and probably burgling the drum. Marvellous. Glad we cleared that one up.

Ricky Gervais has claimed that comedy panel shows have no longevity. Speaking to the Sun the forty eight-year-old comedian ruled out an appearance on Qi or the Jimmy Carr-fronted 8 Out Of 10 Cats. 'I'd love to do things like Qi - but what's the best that can happen? I'm on telly for half-an-hour and they go "Oh, he's funny." Yeah, I'm meant to be funny, thank you!' Emphasis on the 'meant to' there, I'd've said, Rick.

Channel 4 is alleged to be eyeing up a live game show in which contestants compete to hold on to one million pounds in cash and a real-time observational-documentary series filmed in Notting Hill as potential returning shows to fill the gap left by Big Brother. Endemol-owned Remarkable Television, the production company behind Big Brother, has devised The Drop [working title], a week-long game show in which contestants will fight to keep one million pounds in cash, which they are awarded at the start of the programme. Contestants are asked ten questions and if they make one wrong move, they will see all of their money literally fall through a trap door. Remarkable will use social networks, the Internet and even other C4 programmes to cast the show and it will film it in a secret location over six nights. The Drop is the first commission for new head of entertainment Justin Gorman, who recently joined Channel 4 from Objective Productions. 'We are really excited to have big entertainment game show on the channel; the interactive nature, and the stripping across the schedule, will make it feel like real event television,' he said. Meanwhile Stephen Lambert's Studio Lambert has devised Notting Hill [working title], which will follow ten people in the diverse area of West London in real-time. See what I mean about many people in TV not realising that there's life north of Watford. Or, failing to grasp just how much people in many other parts of the country really don't like watching Londoners, full stop. The series will air over eight weeks and each sixty-minute episode will be broadcast in the week of filming. Lambert said of the project: 'C4 encouraged us to dream up something ambitious and risky. Most documentaries are filmed over several weeks and are edited over months. We are doing everything in a single week. This way we'll combine the best of documentary with the best of reality television and give viewers something fresh, insightful and immediate.' The series was commissioned by head of documentaries Simon Dickson, the commissioner behind previous attempts to bring intimate elements of reality TV to documentaries in The Family and forthcoming maternity ward series One Born Every Minute. With the last series of Big Brother due to broadcast in the summer, Channel 4 has said it is looking for a range of shows that keep an element of the live event nature of the reality show to fill the gap in 2011.

The BBC should follow the example set by US pay-per-view channel HBO by taking bigger risks with its drama and comedy output, the British Film Institute has said. The BFI's artistic director, Eddie Berg, made the comments prior to an HBO tribute weekend which will showcase some of the channel's biggest successes, such as Sex & The City and The Sopranos, which he says represented a leap of faith for the private sector firm which appears to display a 'public sector sensibility' by not pandering to viewing figures. Mr Berg said HBO's risk-taking approach to drama and comedy was the basis of its success and questioned why the BBC was reluctant to follow suit considering the scale of its resources. 'Risk drama is part of the problem for the BBC. Could it take that kind of risk? The Wire, for example, which started on HBO, was something so niche. That's the big challenge for the BBC … it's interesting to explore the HBO model. It's doing lots of things you would expect a public broadcaster to do,' Mr Berg told the Independent. 'We have to ask ourselves why can't the BBC seem to be able to do this with all the resources it has?' Ah, everyone's a critic all of a sudden. And, tragically, unlike HBO, the BBC is paid-for by the licence fee payers who - en masse - would rather like it to produce stuff that they'd, actually, like to watch. Bit of a difficult one for many people to wrap their heads around, I know, but Public Service Broadcasting does not, necessarily, equate to 'stuff I want to see them make.' The BBC responded in a statement which cited examples of its 'high risk' drama output which have enjoyed state-side success including Criminal Justice, Small Island and BBC3's Being Human.

The BBC was accused tonight of being 'totally irresponsible' for screening a programme in which fish was described as a 'really disgusting food.' Scottish Nationalist MP Angus MacNeil said Britain's Really Disgusting Food: Fish - first broadcast by BBC3 last year and repeated on BBC1 last week - presented a 'highly misleading and biased view of the fishing industry.' The programme saw investigator Alex Riley set out to find the 'ultimate nasty fish dish.' MacNeil tabled a Commons motion to say it was 'totally irresponsible of the BBC to broadcast a programme telling people not to eat haddock, when it is healthy, nutritious food from well-managed stocks.' He said the reality was that 'fishermen, backed by the Scottish Government, have been leading European efforts to conserve North Sea and West Coast fish stocks.'

Jodie Marsh has advised celebrities who want to be photographed by the paparazzi to flash their breasts and not to wear any knickers. The glamour model gave a tongue-in-cheek guide on being snapped by the press to Heat, including hints for those on shopping trips, the red carpet, leaving a club and getting out of a car. Marsh said: 'Ideally, if you're wearing a skirt you wanna show your bits off - so preferably wear no knickers. Spread your legs as wide as possible when you get out, and put one foot on the pavement, keeping the other leg in the car. As you get out, bend over so they get a full cleavage shot as well. I wouldn't do any of this, but I've seen it!' She added: 'You want to accidentally-on-purpose have a boob or nipple out, as if you didn't realise. You're one of a hundred celebs walking down the carpet and you have to make the biggest impact to get in the papers. If you don't mind how you make an impact, have hairy armpits! It worked for Julia Roberts.' I'll bet your mum is really proud of you, Jodie.

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