Friday, February 19, 2010

No Surprises

Broadcaster Ray Gosling, who said this week in a BBC television programme that he had once killed a terminally ill lover, has been released on police bail. Gosling, seventy, was arrested on Wednesday morning on suspicion of murder after his comments were aired on the BBC's Inside Out programme. In Monday's documentary he said he had smothered the man, whom he said was dying of AIDs. Gosling's solicitor said that his client had not named the individual to police. Speaking after his release solicitor Digby Johnson said: 'He needs some time just to sit and think it all through in the light of everything that's happened. It will be some days before he can say for sure whether he thinks it was a good idea or not. He's very surprised by the attention that it has drawn. Ray thought that this was a fairly short item on a regional TV programme and it really wouldn't cause many ripples. The very magnitude of the attention really has taken him aback and has given him cause for thought. It would appear it will be a complex inquiry, the police are interviewing a number of witnesses and going through a lot of documents. He now has to take time to order his thoughts and emotions.' When previously asked whether his client had made the whole story up Digby added: 'It has been said and it is something about which there has been some speculation.' In the Inside Out documentary Gosling said: 'We had a pact - he said if the pain gets bad and if nothing can be done, don't let him linger on.' Gosling has previously said he would not name his lover or say when the incident took place. He said he was aware of the possible consequences and had no regrets.

Simon Cowell, David Tennant and Julie Walters are amongst the nominees for this year's Broadcasting Press Guild Awards it has been reported. Tennant has been nominated in the 'Best Actor' category for his starring role in Doctor Who and for Hamlet. The Scottish actor is pitched against countryman Peter Capaldi, who plays Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It. Also competing for 'Best Actor' are David Morrissey for Red Riding and James Nesbitt, who is nominated for his performances in both Five Minutes to Heaven and BBC1's Occupation, which received three nominations overall. Walters, meanwhile, has been put forward for A Short Stay in Switzerland and Victoria Wood's Crap Midlife Christmas in the 'Best Actress' category, competing with Helena Bonham-Carter and Maxine Peak. They join Rebecca Front, also for The Thick of It, which is up for four awards on the night. Elsewhere, Cowell has been recognised in the category of 'Best Non-Acting Performer', alongside Fern Britton, Adrian Chiles and Gareth Malone, presenter of The Choir: Unsung Town.

The BBC has revealed the judging panel for its Andrew Lloyd Webber talent show Over The Rainbow. Singer Charlotte Church, EastEnders actor John Partridge and actress Sheila Hancock will join Webber in the search for a Dorothy to star in a new West End production. Over The Rainbow, which will be hosted by Graham Norton, is expected to air next month on BBC1. 'Each member of the panel brings something new and exciting which will take Over The Rainbow even further than the previous shows,' said Webber. 'We have a fantastic wealth of talent within our judges, and I know they're going to be bringing some incredibly valuable expertise and opinions in our search for Dorothy.' Partridge said: 'Musical theatre has been always been my first love - it's where I began my career - so I'm hugely excited to be joining the panel. I can't wait to work with Andrew again and see what talent the country has to offer.' Church described Webber as 'an icon' in the music industry and 'a personal hero.' 'My career started with "Pie Jesu," which was of course written by Andrew, so it feels like I've come full circle,' she said. Hancock added: 'I've had such an interesting and varied career and I'm so looking forward to working with the panel and Andrew to seek out some fantastic new talent.' BBC1 controller Jay Hunt added: 'It is hard to find a team of judges who can match Andrew Lloyd Webber in terms of enthusiasm, knowledge and a love of musical theatre but I think we have got them here - they are going to be a huge asset to the show.'

Coleen Nolan has described footballer Ashley Cole as 'pathetic.' She seemingly forgot to add 'nasty little cheat who's spent most of his career getting fellow professionals sent off by feigning injury and rolling around on the deck clutching his face when nobody's touched him.' Remiss of you, Coleen.

Writers of the political sitcom Yes Prime Minister have reunited after twenty two years to script a play based on the popular show. Jonathan Lynn and Sir Antony Jay said the play follows a tempestuous forty eight hours in politics. Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Lynn said that they had been 'hesitant' until recently to take the TV show to stage. The Chichester Festival production starts in May, the same month the general election is likely to happen. 'People have been asking us for years about writing a play,' said Lynn. 'We were always hesitant.' He revealed that a stage version of the series, which starred Paul Eddington and Nigel Hawthorne, was first discussed when the show was still being broadcast. 'But the actors couldn't commit for long enough and we felt that no one else could really play it while they were around.' A BBC film was also planned, but by then Eddington - who played Jim Hacker - was suffering from cancer. He died in 1995. Jay said that the writers agreed to end the series because 'we felt we'd said all we had to say. We'd done thirty eight episodes on different aspects of government and we were beginning to feel that we were going to start repeating ourselves.' Actors David Haig and Henry Goodman will play the parts of Hacker and Sir Humphrey Appleby in the forthcoming stage version. The production runs from 13 May to 5 June.

The National Trust has confirmed that it may launch a campaign to buy the threatened Abbey Road Studios. The charity said in a statement that 'if there is enough momentum, we may launch a campaign to save the studios.' It said members of the public had got in touch to back the idea after it was discussed on Chris Evans' BBC Radio 2 show and on BBC Radio 5live. The announcement follows reports that EMI has put the famous recording studios up for sale. However, EMI has yet to confirm this. The National Trust - which owns and preserves historic buildings across England, Wales and Northern Ireland - is now asking people to contact it with their thoughts, either via e-mail, or though social networking websites Facebook and Twitter. 'It's not often that the public spontaneously suggests that we should acquire a famous building,' said a National Trust spokesman. 'However, Abbey Road recording studios appear to be very dear to the nation's heart - to the extent that we will take soundings as to whether a campaign is desirable or even feasible.' Abbey Road Studios is best known as the place where the Beatles recorded the majority of their seven year output. The National Trust already has a connection with the band, as it owns the Liverpool childhood homes of both Sir Paul McCartney and the late wife-beating junkie John Lennon. Music industry analysts say cash-strapped EMI is putting Abbey Road Studios up for sale as it needs the money. It recently revealed that it needs to raise more than one hundred million from investors to prevent it from breaching its banking arrangements with US lending giant Citigroup. And earlier this month it also reported a pre-tax loss of one and three-quarter billion pound for the year to 31 March 2009.

Dean Gaffney has admitted that he is keen for Peggy Mitchell to be revealed as Archie's killer in EastEnders this evening. The actor, who is back on screen as Walford's Robbie Jackson this week, told the Press Association that Barbara Windsor 'probably wants it to be her' as it would be 'a legacy' for the character. Viewers will finally discover who killed the Albert Square villain in tomorrow night's live anniversary episode. Gaffney's alter ego, however, will not appear in the special instalment. Discussing the ongoing murder mystery, the star said: 'Personally, I'd like it to be Peggy. I wouldn't want it to be Ronnie because I feel killing your father is quite a serious thing to do.' And killing your husband isn't?! 'I know he hasn't been much of a dad but you still have that bond however nasty he's been. But he's been a git to Peggy and I think it will be well deserved if it's her. Also Phil Mitchell because she's his mum. I don't think he has been nasty enough to anyone else for them to want to kill him.'

NBC are said to have scrapped plans for a Will & Grace spin-off series after Joey flopped in the ratings. The network had intended to launch a new show focused on the character of Karen Walker, played by Megan Mullally, after the parent series finished in 2006. 'I was going to do a spin-off but then they spun off a character from Friends, Joey, that did not go very well,' Mullally told the Digital Spy website. 'They decided they wanted me to host a talk show instead, which also didn't go particularly well. Although it wasn't the show, it just wasn't the right timing.' Mullally also denied rumours that the proposed spin-off included Karen's sidekick Jack, saying: 'I was approached to do a spin-off with just Karen, not Karen and Jack. I don't think Sean [Hayes] wanted to do [it] anyway.'

Gregg Wallace has said that he would like to keep working on Masterchef for another thirty years. The forty five-year-old ingredients expert, who is a judge on the cult BBC cookery show, claimed that he would be happy to continue with the programme into his old age. 'I'm more than happy to keep doing this every day. I hope it's got longevity,' he told Digital Spy. 'We'll have to puree all the food, we'll have it spoon fed. Everything has got a shelf-life. It will probably do what it did before and have a gap. But I really do not know. We are signed up for two more years and I can't believe the popularity of Masterchef Live. We filled the Olympia with fans of the show for three days. It was the maddest thing that I have ever seen. It is absolutely amazing.' He joked: 'I think with every new series, even my old mum can't like us this much, but people are really into it.'

Colin Firth has revealed that he hates being associated with Pride and Prejudice. Firth, who starred as Mr Darcy in the acclaimed and award winning 1995 BBC production, told the Sun that he wants people to recognise his other work. 'I'm not remotely interested in Pride and Prejudice in any way and haven't watched it since doing it,' he said. 'But the word Darcy is like a phantom that won't leave me alone, like a school nickname that sticks with you for years afterwards.' He added: 'It was as if I hadn't existed before Pride and Prejudice. I was hailed as a new arrival even though I'd arrived ten years earlier.' Firth also said that he was surprised to be nominated for a 'Best Actor' Oscar for his role in A Single Man. 'Being nominated for this small but special film is like being in a daze,' he explained. 'I'm probably euphoric about it but I'm too dazed to know how I feel.'

James Corden has revealed his ambition to host next year's Brit Awards. Because he's desperate to get his smug, talentless boat-race back on TV despite the calamity that was Horne & Corden. Some people, it would seem, just never take the hint.

Two Australian sports commentators have been criticised for making a series of apparently homophobic jibes during coverage of the Winter Olympics. Eddie McGuire and Mick Molloy, who were covering the event for the Nine Network, reportedly described male figure skating routines as 'Brokeback Mountain exercises.' According to the Sun, the pair also joked that they were surprised one of the skaters is not gay and mocked their costumes. Discussing a procession of skaters in supposedly flamboyant costumes, Molloy remarked: 'They don't leave anything in the locker room these blokes, do they?' McGuire responded: 'They don't leave anything in the closet either, do they?' A number of viewers have ce complained to the station. Others have created a Facebook page called 'Eddie McGuire is ruining the 2010 Winter Olympics coverage.'

BBC4 has confirmed plans to broadcast a new mini-series celebrating Germany's art history following last year's twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall. Titled The Art Of Germany, the programme will take an in-depth look at the five hundred-year cultural history of Germany's art scene, which rivalled Italy's Renaissance for its creativity. Split over three sixty-minute episodes, The Culture Show presenter Andrew Graham-Dixon will explore the various themes of Germanic art, including landscape, folk lore and national identity. The programme will also look at the work of famed German artists, such as Durer, Holbein, Caspar David Friedrich, Otto Dix, Joseph Beuys and Gerhard Richter. In the first episode, Graham-Dixon will trace the emergence of Germanic culture and identity in the Fourteenth Century Rhine Valley. It will air on BBC4 in the autumn. The programme follows previous specials on BBC4 celebrating the art of Italy, Spain and Russia. 'The Art Of Germany is a vital addition to BBC4's The Art Of strand, helping to bring the world's less familiar artistic and cultural traditions to a wider audience,' said Graham-Dixon. 'Following two World Wars, there is a tendency to deny German culture the equal reverence of Italy or France, and this enlightening new series provides a wonderful opportunity to explore a great, yet often neglected, artistic tradition whose influence has been just as profound.' BBC4 controller Richard Klein added: 'Germany is beautiful and has a rich and luminous cultural heritage, but it is virtually unknown over here, or simply misunderstood. I am delighted that, as part of BBC4's ambition to celebrate art and culture, this new The Art Of series forms the heart of a new season of programmes exploring and revealing the contribution of German art to European cultural history, and is yet another building block in Andrew Graham-Dixon's and BBC4's hugely ambitious project to create the most comprehensive assessment of western visual art ever seen on British television.'

Sir Nicholas Winterton has angrily denounced plans to reduce first-class travel for MPs - telling the BBC that he needs 'quiet' and 'privacy' to work whilst on the move. The veteran Tory MP said that there was 'a totally different type of people' in standard-class train carriages. Well, of course there are. Scum of the earth from council estates not fit to sit next to the likes of you, sir, everyone knows that. On the other hand you might like to consider the fact that these passengers are also tax payers (and voters) who are the very people who, ultimately, pay your sodding expense claims in the first place so it might, just, be an idea for you to shut you whinging trap and try being a bit nicer to them. If that's possible, of course. A Tory spokesman said Sir Nicholas's remarks were 'the out-of-touch views of a soon-to-retire backbench MP.' No shit? 'They do not in any way represent the views of David Cameron or that of the Conservative Party and should be treated as such,' the spokesman added. The Macclesfield MP, who is indeed standing down at the general election - and not a frigging moment too soon, frankly - spoke to the BBC following an interview with Total Politics magazine, in which he claimed that restricting first-class travel left MPs 'below local councillors.' And, the problem with that is, exactly? You're all bastard scum as far the majority of the population are concerned and then you wonder why you're so badly liked when you come out with disgraceful bollocks like this? Sir Nicholas, an MP since 1971, told BBC Radio 5live that MPs worked 'extremely hard' and used the time travelling between London and their constituencies to 'work.' But he said that to do so, they had to have a seat - something you could not always get in standard class. Sir Nicholas and his MP wife, Ann Winterton, who is also standing down at the next election, faced criticism last year when it was revealed that they claimed rent of twenty thousand pounds per year on a flat that they had transferred to a family trust after paying off the mortgage. Both were also included on a list of MPs ordered to repay excessive expense claims. Winterton added: 'If I was in standard class I would not do work because people would be looking over your shoulder the entire time, there would be noise, there would be distraction.' He added: 'They are a totally different type of people.' Hey, listen son. When you're in a hole, it's usually a good idea to stop digging. 'There's lots of children, there's noise, there's activity. I like to have peace and quiet when I'm travelling.' Fine, so do many other people. So, by and large, they pay for it. All that's being asked is that you do to. Sir Nicholas said he was not saying people who used standard class were inferior - because that would be wrong - but that, in general, they were not working while travelling. Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker told the BBC that such comments showed the Conservative Party had not changed: 'They still think they are a class apart, they still think they are privileged, they resent the idea that they should be subject to the same controls as everybody else.'

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