Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Should I Cry Like A Baby Or Die Like A Man When All The Planet's Little Wars Start Joining Hands

I know, dear blog reader, that it is very unbecoming to be highly amused by, and to celebrate in, the misfortune of others. Yer Keith Telly Topping would normally never even consider doing such a thing. To anyone. It's not very nice and he's not really like that. Well, not unless they really deserved it, of course. But ... Amanda Holden's Fantasy Lives was the least-watched of all five terrestrial channels during the 9pm slot last night with a pitiful audience of just two million on ITV. It was beaten by Survivors (BBC1 3.8m), One Born Every Minute (C4, 2.8m), CSI (Five, 2.8m) and How The Earth Made Us (2.7m, BBC2).

This week's episode of House - Five To Nine - was a timely reminder to all viewers of what a quite brilliant actress that Lisa Edelstein is. She's certainly come a long way from a time when she was best known as 'Sam's prostitute girlfriend in The West Wing' a decade or more ago. Edelstein has said that she does not know what will happen between her character and Hugh Laurie's titular doctor on the FOX medical drama. The actress revealed at a press conference earlier this week that the writers of House keep her in the dark about her future relationships on the show. Edelstein said: 'The writers don't tell me, so I would hate to guess. I think sometimes you just want to be in the relationship that looks good on paper, like what she has with Lucas. But I'm not sure that really works. So if it doesn't work, I guess what Cuddy would do is really take a shot at the thing that excites her most. But that's going to sound like a spoiler, and it actually isn't because I haven't the faintest idea what's going to happen.' She added, on the subject of her character: 'Life has changed for Cuddy since she became a foster parent. I don't think that anyone can prepare for raising a child. I think it's one of those jobs that is far more overwhelming than you could ever expect and far more satisfying than you can ever expect. As Cuddy, I feel I'm representing single working moms and I feel they're unsung heroines.'

Lost's final series continued with the third episode entitled What Kate Does - or, as it will from henceforth be called in this house, A Tale of Two Claires. It really was terrific to see Claire (the fabulous Emilie De Ravin) back. Twice. And the Sayid story line is getting pretty interesting too. Meanwhile, Nestor Carbonell (who, actually, wasn't featured in last night's episode) has said that he hopes his Lost alter ego is redeemed before the series reaches its conclusion. The actor, who first appeared as Richard Alpert in the show's third season, acknowledged that his character has 'committed some atrocities. At the heart of it, every character wants to be redeemed on some level,' he told TV Guide. 'God knows my character has definitely committed some atrocities. If there's redemption, I think he wants to get it. He wants to feel empowered and a sense of a real identity and to know his place on this island and in the world.' He added: 'I think most of all, Richard just wants answers.' As, indeed, do we all, mate. How long he's been there (and, whether he was on The Black Rock) for a kick-off.

ABC has allegedly cut FlashForward's episode order. The Joseph Fiennes-fronted Telefantasy drama was handed a full-season order of twenty two episode back in October, but a variety of US reports now claim that the show will finish 'earlier than expected.' It's been something of a troubled production for FlashForward which began so promisingly last autumn. Firstly, co-creator Marc Guggenheim stepped down as executive producer on the series. Then, earlier this month, David Goyer - the series' showrunner - announced plans to follow suit.

However, there is some good news floating across the Atlantic on those gulf-streams of icy winter. One of yer Keith Telly Topping's favourite actors, the Rottweiler-like figure of The Shield's Michael Chiklis, has reportedly signed up to star in a new pilot for ABC. The drama is apparently called No Ordinary Family and centres on a US family who have special abilities, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Emmy winner Chiklis will play the father. Dirty Sexy Money writers Greg Berlanti and Jon Feldman have created the script. That sounds like it might be worth a punt.

Gina Bellman has revealed that she would 'drop everything' if offered a part on Doctor Who by Steven Moffat. Speaking to the Digital Spy website, the forty three-year-old actress - currently not being seen in Leverage, much to Keith Telly Topping's annoyance no matter how good a replacement Jeri Ryan is - claimed that she would enjoying working with the writer/producer again. 'I think there was a petition online to get me involved in Doctor Who. I'm not a Doctor Who fanatic but I am a Steven Moffat fanatic. I worked with him on Jekyll and Coupling so if he was to write anything for me - not just Doctor Who - I'd drop everything to go and do that.'

Stephen Fry recently visited the set of House, the show's director has revealed. Writing on his Twitter account, Greg Yaitanes, who has worked on the show since it first began in 2004, told followers that Fry had briefly 'dropped by' the Los Angeles set. 'No better time than when's he [sic] sitting on your set (visiting) to follow @stephenfry,' he wrote. Which, presumably, means that Stephen was on the next door lot filming another episode of Bones. And that is always good news. Then he gets to hang out in Hugh's trailer and they do the crossword together, apparently! Just like the old days.

A last-minute decision by MTV in Mexico not to broadcast an episode of the US cartoon show South Park has caused controversy. The episode portrays Mexico's president as a leader who wastes funds and irritates the international community. MTV Mexico said that they did not get a special permit needed to broadcast an image of Mexico's flag, seen briefly in the same scene as the president. But Mexican South Park fans reacted with scepticism to that explanation. The episode was to have been shown in Spanish on Monday night on MTV's Latin American channel. 'Has it been censored by the Mexican government?' wonders a blogger at the popular MexaBlog, while comments on other websites ridiculed MTV's decision. The episode, called Pinewood Derby, attracted keen interest from Mexican media when it was first shown in the US in early 2009. It features the character of a Mexican president with a somewhat striking resemblance to the incumbent, Felipe Calderon. MTV Mexico had extensively publicised the broadcast of the Spanish-language episode. But at 22:00 local time on Monday night, Mexican viewers instead got another episode of the series. Erick Zermeno, spokesperson for MTV Mexico, said that they had decided to pull the entire episode instead of trying to cover the flag artificially to avoid a possible fine from the government. 'We decided not to alter the image because the reaction would have been worse,' he said.

Twentieth Century Fox has confirmed plans to make a 24 feature film set in Europe. The studio has contracted Billy Ray (State Of Play) to write the movie, which will see Kiefer Sutherland's Big-Hard-Mental Jack Bauer facing 'enemies outside of the US.' Obviously. Since he's in Europe. The Bauer character has previously left Los Angeles to take on missions in Africa (in TV movie 24: Redemption) and in New York (the currently airing season eight). The 24 TV team will be involved in the big screen spin-off, with Sutherland, series creators Robert Cochran and Joel Surnow, and current showrunner Howard Gordon executive producing. The movie is expected to being production when the TV show comes to an end. Sutherland has previously voiced his desire to make a 24 film in Europe, telling Digital Spy website last year: 'It's something that we've always talked about because I think the fantastic thing about Europe, for something like 24, is that it's very feasible to get from Prague to London in the course of a day.' Well, yeah. If you're in a plane for four hours. And then you've got to clear customs. And, trust me Jack, if you think LAX is bad, wait till you experience Heathrow - it's like trying to get out of Spandau.

Channel 4 has ended its deal with Warner Brothers for the rights to broadcast the US comedy Friends. The network has shown the series - which starred Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Courtney Cox and Matt Le Blanc - for over fifteen years. The station's contract with Warners ends in 2011. Comedy Central has picked up the rights to the NBC series, according to Broadcast magazine. Friends ran for ten series between 1994 and 2004 - and it was pretty good for the most part for much of the time. Although the final couple of series were a bit 'blah.' The final episode drew over eight and a half million viewers in the UK. It has remained a daily staple on both Channel 4 and E4 ever since, with average viewing figures of around four hundred thousand for each repeated episode. Even the really good ones like The One Where Everybody Knows. Head of Channel 4 acquisitions Gill Hay said: 'After fifteen years, ten hit series and two hundred and thirty six terrific episodes it's time to say goodbye to old Friends and welcome new ones, in the form of more comedy, drama and entertainment from the US and UK. We are incredibly proud to have been the home of Friends for so long, but at a point when the channel is undergoing a period of creative renewal it felt like the right time to part company.' Friends is the latest of a series of long-running staples to finish airing on Channel 4, following the axing of Big Brother, Wife Swap and How Clean Is Your House? The broadcaster has claimed that the decisions will allow them to 'refresh the schedule.'

Greig Ferguson got a medic's job after claiming that he had qualified as a doctor at the fictional hospital featured in ER, a court heard yesterday. Ferguson told health executives that he had previously worked at Chicago's County General Hospital, famous for launching George Clooney's acting career. He then, according to the Mirror, 'paraded around the corridors' of the NHS treatment centre wearing the badge that described him as Dr Greig Ferguson MD - even though he was working as an emergency nurse practitioner. The court was told that Ferguson had qualified as a nurse at Porstmouth University in 2002 but embellished his CV to improve his job prospects. Defence barrister Robert Bryant told Judge Roger Hetherington: 'I know not whether your honour is, or was, ever a devotee of a certain Channel 4 drama but the hospital on his CV in Chicago was the hospital starring in ER.' Rumours that the judge replied, 'yes, but I've always been more of a Holby City fan, myself' cannot be verified at this time. Bryant said that Ferguson had made the claims to 'seem more impressive.' He added: 'There can be few people who have not inflated or said something to increase their not standing. That's all this man did.' Ferguson, also falsely claimed to have served in Bosnia, Northern Ireland and the Gulf. His lies were finally exposed when a consultant became suspicious and contacted Care UK, Portsmouth Crown Court heard. Ferguson, who is now living in his native Scotland and working as a handyman, admitted two charges of fraud and one of impersonating a superior actor.

Premier League footballer Clarke Carlisle has filmed an episode of the Channel 4 quiz show Countdown. The Burnley defender will appear on the programme, which is hosted by Jeff Stelling and Rachel Riley, later this month. Speaking about his stint on the show, Carlisle told the Sun: 'It was fantastic. It's geeky but it's fulfilled a lifelong ambition. I don't think I disgraced myself - that's all I was concerned about.' Clarke, who got give five A*s and five As at GSCE, had previously won the ITV show Britain's Braniest Footballer. Good on the bloke, it's always nice to see any footballer with a few brain cells to rub together just to disprove the stereotype that they're all moronic-borderline-rapist-psychotic-numbskulls. I mean, sometimes, don't you just wish that whenever one of them gets asked some bloody inane question by a knob-cheese Match of the Day or Soccer Saturday reporter having just left the field like 'you've just scored a hat trick against Manchester United, how do you feel?' that they would reply with something a bit more prosaic than 'I'm over-the-moon, Brian.' Something like 'I feel like a orange that's been ripening in a gentle summer meadow for a season and is now firm and juicy and ready for the plucking.' That'd be good.

The Military History Channel is to screen new ten-part history series Britain at War after picking up the UK TV rights from Simply Media. Simply said the deal with the AETN UK-owned channel marked the first stage of an 'aggressive' release schedule this year from its home entertainment division. The series features new testimonies from surviving service men and women who fought during the second world war, coupled with archive footage. Opening with an episode entitled The Road to Dunkirk, the series takes in key moments of the war including the bombing of Germany, the battles of the Atlantic and El Alamein and concluding with reflections on D-Day.

Coronation Street legend Blanche Hunt is to make one final put-down before her character dies off-screen, it has been revealed. The Weatherfield battleaxe, who is currently enjoying a Portuguese break on the show, writes a note to daughter Deirdre (Anne Kirkbride) and son-in-law Ken (Bill Roache) after hearing that they plan to host an anniversary party at the Rovers Return. The Mirror suggests that Blanche's letter will read: 'I considered surprising you by flying back for your party. But then I remembered some of your previous anniversary parties and couldn't imagine it'd be worth the bother. Besides, it's 83°F here and we have a pool.' Last month, the soap's producers confirmed that Blanche will get an on-screen funeral later in the year. In real life, Maggie Jones - who played the acid-tongued Weatherfield resident from 1974 - died in December following a period of ill-health.

Vernon Kay has reportedly admitted that he sent 'racy' Twitter messages to a Page Three girl in secret. The Family Fortunes host, who is married to Strictly Come Dancing presenter Tess Daly, is said to have flirted with twenty three-year-old model, Rhian Sugden, using his mobile phone and Twitter's private messaging function. Kay's spokesman reportedly confirmed that the presenter - and berk - had sent the messages, but insisted: 'They never at any point had a physical sexual relationship.' The Sun newspaper, which first printed the allegations this week, claimed that Kay swapped details with Sugden after they met at a Bolton club. The tabloid said that it had seen Kay's messages but would not print them as they are 'too explicit.' Kay and Daly have two young daughters together. A source said: 'This is the last thing Tess will want to hear. She is not one to hold back on dishing out a rollicking. It's fair to say this will go down like a lead balloon.' If you want Keith Telly Topping's advice, Tess love, kick him - hard - right in the knackers and see if he's so keen to inflict his world-infamous Mick Jagger impression on us viewers after that.

Ofcom is reported to have received eight hundred and sixty five complaints about Peter Andre's breakdown in a live interview with Sky News presenter Kay Burley. Appearing on Afternoon Live on 3 February, the singer was visibly shaken after Burley posed questions about he would hypothetically feel if his ex-wife, Katie Price's new husband, Alex Reid, wanted to adopt his two children. Burley attempted to continue the interview but Andre became upset and asked to stop the interview. An Ofcom spokesman said it was too early to say whether an official investigation will be launched.

The White Stripes are reported to be taking on the US Air Force, complaining that the service used one of the duo's songs in a TV advert without their permission. In a statement on their website, Jack and Meg said that they took 'strong insult and objection' to the use of the tune in an advert during the Super Bowl on Sunday. Their hit 'Fell In Love With A Girl' was re-recorded for the commercial for the Air Force Reserve, the group claim. They said they will 'take strong action to stop the ad containing this music.' The statement said: 'We believe our song was re-recorded and used without permission of the White Stripes, our publishers, label or management. The White Stripes take strong insult and objection to the Air Force Reserves presenting this advert with the implication that we licensed one of our songs to encourage recruitment during a war that we do not support. The White Stripes support this nation's military, at home and during times when our country needs and depends on them. We simply don't want to be a cog in the wheel of the current conflict, and hope for a safe and speedy return home for our troops.' The advert was part of a recruiting campaign for the Air Force Reserve, whose sixty seven thousand members back up the main Air Force. Its personnel are involved in missions in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as other operations such as supporting the relief effort after the earthquake in Haiti.

The world's most infamous Jimmy Saville impersonator, Mel B, has revealed that she would 'love' to appear as a judge on the upcoming US X Factor. Well, of course you would, Mel. Or, pretty much any other TV show that'll have you. Witness Seven Days On The Breadline. The former Spice Girl praised the reality show's format and said that she is 'eager' to help audition hopefuls on the programme. Yeah. That sounds rather like a desperate 'come and get me' please that probably won't be taken up by the format's big boss, Mr Cowell. Not when he can attract far bigger fish than the likes of you, Melaine.

The actress and icon for a generation of teenage boys, Jenny Agutter, has revealed she has a role in the new John Landis body-snatcher movie Burke and Hare. It is the first time that the pair have worked together on a Landis feature since 1981's cult horror-comedy An American Werewolf in London. 'It's just a tiny appearance,' Agutter told the BBC at the London Evening Standard Film Awards this week. 'I'm playing an actress going for a role, which is rather bizarre in the middle of Burke and Hare.' The film - which stars Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis - marks a return to feature films for Landis after a break of more than ten years. It is based on the true story of Nineteenth Century serial killers William Burke and William Hare, who sold the corpses of their victims for dissection. Agutter said: 'It's a very funny script. Landis manages to make the horror and comedy sit so closely together. There's something fascinating about that story and how they were able to do what they did by being supported by the medical profession at that time.'

Kimberley Walsh has secured a presenting role at the forthcoming Orange British Academy Film Awards later this month. The Girls Aloud singer, who co-hosted the BBC Switch awards in December, said: 'I'm really excited to be presenting from the red carpet at this year's Orange British Academy Film Awards. The girls and I have walked many red carpets but this will be by far the most nerve-racking! I'll be bringing you interviews and gossip from the stars as well as looking behind the scenes at the event.'

Jodie Marsh has accused Jonathan Ross of being a bully. The large-chested model told Heat magazine that Ross's Friday evening BBC1 talk-show is the programme that makes her switch off her TV. Marsh said: 'He's just not funny and he's a bully. He's rude about his own guests. It's embarrassing.' She also revealed that her favourite TV pin-up is the actor Tom Hardy, describing his recent Kleenex advert as 'Jodie porn' and admitting to an 'obsession' with the star. Interestingly, Heat neglected to find out whether Wossy was, like, 'bothered' by this less than ringing endosement from a woman whose only notable achievements in life have been once getting booed at a flower show, having her marriage televised on a reality TV show and then divorcing the groom within two months of it ending and describing - amusingly, it must be said - a Liberal MP as 'a sad, past-it old wannabe trying to get famous off my back.' As opposed, of course, to Ms Marsh herself who, seemingly, got 'famous' off her front.

Meanwhile, Jodie's old bête noire, Katie Price has revealed that she can't wait to get 'impregnated' by her new husband Alex Reid. Ah, the poetry of newlywed lurv. The reality show regular and mother-of-three spoke of her desire to have a child with Reid at the launch of her latest reality series this week. 'I can't wait to be Reid-inated. I want to be impregnated,' she said. 'We're absolutely dying to have a baby and I'm so hoping by the end of the series that I can announce that I'm pregnant. Afterwards, I still want to adopt, one hundred per cent. But I can't wait to get preggy. Watch out for the bump.' What a fabulous world we live in, dear blog reader, where people like Jodie and Katie get paid to open their mouths and deliver incisive, intelligent, witty example of bon mot such as these.

And, speaking of ladies with a world class intellect, the former US vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin has been criticised for having crib notes written on her hand during a speech on Saturday. Palin was shown reading from her hand and displaying the scribbled words at a Q&A session after her address. She had spoken in the speech of a 'charismatic guy with a teleprompter,' apparently meaning President Obama. Palin received a standing ovation for the speech as she called for a 'return to conservative principles.' But a photo taken during the question-and-answer session after the speech showed her left hand with the words 'energy,' 'cuts,' 'tax' and 'lift Americans' spirits.' The word 'budget' had been crossed out. Presumably because it has two syllables and would, likely, have been unfamiliar to Ms Palin herself, and much of her audience. The footage prompted NBC journalist Andrea Mitchell to suggest that the 'cheat sheets' were damaging and could be viewed as a quite obscene example of hypocrisy given Palin's earlier attack on Barack Obama during the speech. 'If Mitt Romney had notes on his hand, wouldn't we take it pretty seriously?' she asked on MSNBC's Daily Rundown show on Monday. There was further controversy at the convention over Palin's appearance fee, reported to be as much as one hundred thousand dollars, although Palin has stated that she would not financially benefit from it.

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