Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Live Together, Die Alone

'I was meant to die.' After a relatively slow opening sequence, the final season of Lost kicked-off with a two-part whammy of episodes (LA X, parts one and two) in which some questions were answered, but more than a few new ones were raised, a favourite character died whilst at least four others were brought back to life - in the case of one of them, quite literally. In what became, as the episodes progressed, a metaphorical game of two halves, we followed familiar bridal paths plus one circular road never previously travelled, saw how a lifetime of memories often hinge on a single fixed point in time, watched some spellbindingly big conceptual ideas battling for prominence with smaller - yet beautifully human - emotions. And the whole thing ended with a sodding great allegorical punch to the gut, almost the equal of anything that this astonishing series has yet produced. Behold! The Miracle of the Resurrection. Next week, What Kate Does. Cannot wait.

Speaking of which, the producers of Lost have suggested that fans are asking the wrong questions about the show. Not me, guys. I take what I'm given and like it. Except, maybe, that episode about how Boring Jack got his tattoo. That was crap. Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse told People magazine that the primary focus of season six will be to address the purpose and function of the survivors. 'We're going to answer the mysteries that have relevance to the characters that were on Oceanic 815,' Lindelof said. 'If it doesn't have relevance to them, then we're pretty much going to let it lie there and let people theorise about it.' Cuse added: 'The focus should be, "How are the character stories going to resolve? What is the destiny of these people that were brought to this place?"' The pair also confirmed that the Juliet-and-Jack-and-Kate-and-Sawyer bizarre love quadrangle will be resolved before the series ends. Quite permanently, in the case of one of those four characters, if the opening episode is anything to go by.

Meanwhile, Josh Holloway has suggested that Sawyer has regressed in the final season of Lost. The actor told Parade that, nevertheless, the knowledge his character has gained will also play a role before the end of the show. Holloway said of Sawyer: 'He's definitely got his faults again. He's completely emotionally destroyed and does not care about life so much anymore. However, the lessons he's learned on the island and the humanity that he's been forced to acknowledge and grow with has come into play too. That's probably the only thing that will keep him from offing himself or something.' He added: 'For me, the entire journey of Lost has been walking that fine line between discovering Sawyer's humanity and, yet, keeping his edge of anger and destructiveness. He's been through every situation possible, emotionally and physically. Sometimes, it's been scary to get in touch with his growth, especially his relationship with Juliet. I really thought the audience might reject the softer side of Sawyer we saw in that. As for what will happen with him and Kate, all I can say is they have a love that is undeniable, but maybe it must be denied.' Ah, that Sawyer. He's a complicated man, and no one understands him but his woman.

The funniest TV sight of the week - by about a million miles - was Kiefer Sutherland in 24 wearing a pair of Graeme Garden-style glasses and attempting a very dodgy Cherman accent. Achtung, baby.

The titles and writers of the first three episodes of this year's Doctor Who season have been officially confirmed. Doctor Who Magazine revealed that the first episode of the Matt Smith era will be called The Eleventh Hour and will be written by the series' new showrunner Steven Moffat. It will be followed by another Moffat-written script titled The Beast Below. Mark Gatiss has written episode three, Victory Of The Daleks. Wonder what that one's about?!

Simon Cowell has reportedly been forced to pull out of today's Britain's Got Talent auditions in Birmingham after falling ill with a nasty dose of the 'flu. According to the Daily Mail, Cowell has been temporarily replaced by his X Factor colleague Louis Walsh, who joins Amanda Holden and Piers Morgan on the panel. A source said: 'Simon has been terribly sick this week, he has not stopped for months and it has all caught up with him.' Oh dear, the poor chap. Nothing remotely trivial, one hopes.

Whatever it is that Simon's got, it would seems to be contagious. Friday Night With Jonathan Ross and So You Think You Can Dance will both air as normal this weekend, despite their stars also being struck down with 'flu. Jonathan Ross confirmed last week that he had contracted swine flu, while Nigel Lythgoe is said to have cancelled several meetings this week after falling ill. However, a BBC spokesperson confirmed to Digital Spy website that both are 'recovering well' and insisted that neither will miss their shows this weekend.

Ricky Groves has reportedly admitted that he is 'desperate' to know whether estranged wife Hannah Waterman has a new partner. The former EastEnders actors, who played Garry Hobbs and Laura Beale on the soap, split earlier this year. Groves later said that the break-up came after Waterman informed him she had met someone else. In a new interview, the actor has now explained that he would like to know the full circumstances which led to the split. Groves is quoted by BANG Showbiz as saying: 'She hasn't said a thing. I am desperate to know. Everyone is. I think it's time for her to just come out with it and say whether there is someone else, or whether she made it up.' He added: 'All her stuff is in the house. We haven't sorted anything out or moved on at all. She's only just had her mail redirected. It was very difficult. We need to sit down and thrash things out and find out what she wants to do. As with any break-up there is a great deal to organise.'

A BBC1 programme has been reprimanded by the BBC Trust's editorial standards committee. Repossessed contained a moment where a couple gave a 'one-sided view' of a court hearing that had taken place just minutes earlier - and therefore 'the depiction of the judge presented a damaging and unfair representation of the judiciary. As the production team were not there and had not researched what had occurred, the option open to them to achieve fairness was to put the couple's comment to the judge,' explained the committee. 'The committee was concerned that because there was no production team member present in court, an appropriate context had not been given to Mr A's comments. There had been a failure to observe the guidelines on accuracy which require that output must be well-sourced, based on sound evidence, tested and presented in clear precise language. Facts had not been checked and allegations had not been corroborated. The production team had not witnessed events and gathered information at first hand.'

The Conservative Party will scrap the BBC Trust in favour of a new body aimed at better representing licence fee payers should it secure power at the election, it has been claimed. There is reportedly a growing feeling among many political and media figures that the Trust is now incapable of bringing the BBC Executive to account on a range of issues. According to The Times, documents revealed under the Freedom of Information Act demonstrate how BBC management is often able to 'fact check' Trust investigations before they are published. Sources within the BBC also reportedly viewed the Trust's launch of an impartiality review of BBC science coverage just two weeks before its year of science kicked-off as a mark of pettiness from the governing body. When the Tories secure power at the election in May then the Trust would be 'stripped of its BBC branding' and renamed the 'licence fee payers trust,' with a primary function under Section Twenty Three of the Royal Charter to represent the interests of licence fee payers. Doesn't the interests of licence fee payers include a very swift and brutal knee to the groin of any attempted political interference in the BBC by any party? Under the new system, a non-executive chairman would be appointed to work alongside BBC director general Mark Thompson and to stand up for his interests during times of crisis. The approach would not involve a long-rumoured scrapping of the Royal Charter before it expires in 2016, but would see Sir Michael Lyons leave his post before the end of his four-year term in April 2011. Even though the Tories are not publicly calling for the chairman to quit, the party is understood to privately believe that he will leave his post before being pushed. The Tories hope that the new arrangements would usher in a transformation of BBC leadership culture without the need for wholesale changes to legislation. A former BBC director-general told the newspaper: 'They can do that without having to change the law. You could do this on day two in office.'The Manchester-based TV production firm Scarlet Television has been placed into administration by its majority shareholder Motive Television. The business, set up by Paula Trafford in 2004, recorded a loss of three hundred thousand pounds on revenues of nine hundred thousand for the year ending 31 December 2008. Parent company Motive has stated that it is no longer in a position to support the firm given the current state of the industry and economy. It has now appointed administrator David Hughes of Janes Insolvency to control the winding down of the firm. Scarlet, of which Trafford owned a minority share, had enjoyed some success, producing shows such as Delia Through the Decades, Top 50 TV Endings (Sky 1), Diana's Last Day (ITV), What's Eating Victoria Beckham? (Five) and Petrolheads (BBC2).

Former Coronation Street star Bruce Jones has reportedly landed a role in a new sitcom. The project will see Jones playing the manager of a 'useless' boy band called Overdrive who fail in an X Factor-style talent show, according to the Sun. Jones, best known for his role as Weatherfield layabout Les Battersby, is said to have recently filmed a pilot for the comedy programme with ex-Hollyoaks actor Lee Otway and Scott Wright, who played Coronation Street's Sam Kingston for two years. A source said: 'There are a lot of groupies, sex scenes and general bad behaviour - it's like Skins-meets-Phoenix Nights.' So, that'd be Phoenix Skins, then? 'Bruce plays the band's manager trying to keep the boys in check.' It is thought that the show, named That Band, is likely to air on Sky1 or E4.

Coleen Nolan has announced that she is standing down from her role as the face of frozen food retailer Iceland. The Loose Women presenter has appeared in TV advertisements for the supermarket for the past three years and became the chain's main product face after Kerry Katona was sacked from the commercials last August. In a statement, Nolan explained: 'I've really enjoyed the last three years making the Iceland ads and I've loved my time working with all the cast and crew, but now feels like the right time to move on and seek out new challenges. I'm in the mood for a new adventure!' An Iceland spokesperson said: 'We're really sad to see Coleen go, she's been a great asset to Iceland and has always been a delight to work with.' Nolan said that she plans to take part in a 'fantastic final project' with Iceland before her contract expires at the end of next month. Eating Kerry Katona? Just a thought.

House, Fringe, Bones and NCIS: Los Angeles will return to UK screens in March, Sky1 has announced. Sky originally opted to air House six days behind US transmission after securing the rights from Five last Summer. However, the medical drama has been on hiatus since November to make way for 24 in the scheduling. Additionally, Stargate Universe has been given an April return date, after going off air in December.

The Who have confirmed that they will play their 1973 masterpiece Quadrophenia in full at an upcoming London charity show. The band play the Royal Albert hall on 30 March as the closing date in a series of concerts in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust. Singer and charity patron Roger Daltrey said: 'Teenage Cancer Trust has come such a long way since our first gig and I'm extremely proud of this event. I'm forever inspired by the support I have received from the artists and members of the music and comedy industries. This year has been no exception and it's thanks to them that our tenth anniversary shows are set to break all records for Teenage Cancer Trust.'

Jon Beazley, the BBC entertainment production boss behind Strictly Come Dancing, is leaving the corporation to take a 'sizable career break.' Beazley, who also oversees So You Think You Can Dance, has headed the unit since 2006 and was formerly controller of entertainment commissioning. Speaking to Broadcast, Beazley said: 'I've been here a long time, and worked on some fantastic shows going back to Noel's House Party but I've decided it's the right time to leave. To paraphrase a big figure in entertainment, it's a good time for me and it's probably a good time for the BBC.' He reiterated that the decision was his, rather than the corporation's, claiming that the department needs to refresh its long-running brands but that he is seeking a new challenge.

Five edged ahead of ITV in the ratings at 9pm last night, with viewers deciding that the latest CSI case a more attractive prospect than Amanda Holden's stint as a Hollywood stuntwoman. The second part of Amanda Holden's Fantasy Lives drew an average audience of 2.2 million over the hour, an even smaller audience than last week's launch figure of two and a half million, according to overnight figures. In the episode, after falls from a great height, car crashes and some punishing encounters, Holden faced up to her biggest phobia - being set on fire. It would seem, however, that not even the prospect of seeing Amanda in flames could tempt the viewers. After Emmerdale finished, ITV struggled badly to reach three million for any of its shows, with The Krypton Factor the best of a bad bunch with a below-average 2.7m at 7.30pm. From 8pm, Cops with Cameras drew 2.4m. ITV's audience share across prime time was a staggeringly poor figure of just under thirteen per cent.

John Terry's alleged mistress Vanessa Perroncel is said to be feeling 'furious' and 'lonely' following the recent press attention surrounding her love life. Surely not lonely? She must have the entire tabloid press corp camped on her doorstep? According to the Daily Star, the model is struggling to trust her friends because she believes that her secrets have been revealed by someone close to her. Last week, it emerged that England captain Terry had allegedly cheated on his wife, Toni Poole, with the twenty eight-year-old, the former girlfriend of his Chelsea and England team-mate Wayne Bridge. Perroncel has since been linked to other unnamed Premier League players. A source said: 'She's furious. She feels she's been betrayed in the worst possible way by someone close to her. She thinks she knows how the papers found out, and if she's right it's a girlfriend, someone she trusted. She has these friends around her like anyone does, but now every time her mobile rings she's wondering, "Will what I say end up in the papers?." She feels she can't trust anyone at the moment and she's increasingly lonely.'

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