Thursday, March 18, 2010

Forties, Cromarty, Forth, Tyne, Dogger, Fisher, German Bight, Humber, Thames, Dover, Wight. Expected to Rockall. Good.

BBC Radio 4 has apologised to listeners for broadcasting the incorrect shipping forecast on Tuesday morning. The station accidentally aired Monday morning's forecast in the usual 5.20am slot. In response, a Radio 4 spokesman admitted that the network had failed to meet the usual standards expected from listeners. At least, according to the troublemakers at the Gruniad Morning Star. 'The mistake was acknowledged and highlighted to listeners several times during the morning and we apologise, once again, for the mistake,' he said. 'We take these matters very seriously and are in the process of introducing measures to help prevent such errors occurring in the future.' Broadcast four times a day, the shipping forecast is a vital resource for fishing boat crews to prepare for bad weather whilst in peril on the seas. It also has something of a cult following among non-nautical listeners - many of whom find the litany of the names of the sea areas almost hypnotic and mantra-like. The UK Meteorological Office provides the data, which is broadcast by Radio 4 on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. However, the station had to apologise last month for again reading out the wrong day's early morning forecast for weather conditions around the British Isles. The latest error also follows Radio 4 broadcasting the incorrect edition of topical comedy, The Now Show, due to 'a technical error.'

This week saw, just a matter on a couple of months before its end, one of the finest episode of Lost - ReCon. The main plot was almost the ultimate road-never-taken conceit, Sawyer's life through a poacher-turned-gamekeeper glass, darkly. And it has one of Josh Holloway's most nuanced performances to back it up. Add in some necessary shading to the characters of Not-Locke, Claire and Kate and a canny glimpse at Widmore's tricky schemes and you had an episode that satisfied, near enough to the letter, Lost's smart criteria. Elegant, clever, dangerous, specific, measurable, realistic and, in a quite literal way, time-bound. There has never been a TV show that has given me quite the same feelings of anticipation upon receiving a new episode through the post. A feeling of limitless possibilities and endless fascination. Is it the greatest TV show ever made? No, it isn't. Would it be the one I'd take to a desert island with me? Nope. West Wing and Doctor Who (and possibly Buffy) would all be way ahead of it in such a scenario. Would, however, my life be worse without it? You bet your ass it would.

BBC1 dominated the Royal Television Society 2009 programme awards last night with nine prizes, including best drama series for The Street and both the best actor and best actress awards for Small Island. BBC2 and BBC4 won four awards each, Channel 4 three (with another for E4) and ITV two.

British actor David Oyelowo is to play Martin Luther King in Precious director Lee Daniels' next film, reports say. The former [Spooks] actor will star in civil-rights film Selma, about the historic marches which the activist staged in the Alabama town in the early 1960s. The Hollywood Reporter says Wolverine's Hugh Jackman has already signed to play a racist sheriff in the movie. Selma is due to be released next year despite funding worries after producers Pathe scaled back its involvement. Daniels faced similar financial hurdles when making Precious - it was financed by a wealthy Colorado couple, and won two Oscars earlier this month. Oyelowo, who has a leading role in George Lucas' forthcoming war drama Red Tails, also appeared in The Last King of Scotland and The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. He was named best actor for his role in the BBC drama Small Island at the Royal Television Society awards on Tuesday.

EastEnders' live anniversary episode was seen by a cumulative audience of 18.8m, according to consolidated figures released yesterday. The soap's first ever live broadcast - aired on Friday 19 February - scored BBC1's highest audience since Euro 2004, pulling in 16.4m for its original showing. Repeats on BBC2 and BBC3 accounted for the rest of the episode's reach.

Coronation Street's David Platt, Tina McIntyre and Nick Tilsley are to appear in a special episode of The Jeremy Kyle Show, it has been revealed. Jack P Shepherd, Michelle Keegan and Ben Price - who play the Weatherfield characters - will be seen on the ITV talk show today as the programme - once described by a judge as 'a form of human bear-baiting' - celebrates its one thousandth edition. The unscripted sketch will focus on the relationship between Tina and Nick and see David accusing his half-brother of sleeping with his ex. However, the pair protest by insisting that they have only ever shared a kiss. Meanwhile, fan-favourite Graeme Proctor - played by Craig Gazey - is asked to comment on the matter from the audience. Gazey insisted that the appearance was not rehearsed beforehand, adding: 'My character is quite funny and may come out with silly things but we're not doing it for a laugh. We want it to be as if the characters were on Jeremy Kyle.' Stupid and violent? I have to say, I find this a very curious match up. let's put it this way - The Jeremy Kyle Show needs to be associated with Corrie a hell of a lot more than Corrie needs to be associated with The Jeremy Kyle Show.

Meanwhile, Coronation Street creator Tony Warren received a lifetime achievement prize at the Royal Television Society Programme Awards on Tuesday. The Grosvenor House ceremony saw the veteran scriptwriter rewarded for his services to television as his ITV soap approaches its fiftieth anniversary. Warren was working as a contract writer at Granada when he came up with the idea for Coronation Street. The show was commissioned initially for a short run in late 1960 but went on to become a permanent fixture in the schedules after proving popular with viewers. Paying tribute to Warren's work, the Society judges hailed him as a 'creative genius' and noted the impact that his creation had on future programmes. The panellists said: 'Those first ten episodes of Coronation Street were so fully realised with a company of actors so perfectly cast that they set a powerful template that has endured today. Britain has changed beyond recognition over the past fifty years and Coronation Street has changed too. But watch, closely, an episode today and that unique mix of vividly realised characters, playing high drama effortlessly dovetailed with everyday comedy, links right back to the very beginnings of the programme.' They added: 'This has been our recipient's extraordinary achievement and his influence has extended well beyond the continuing success of Coronation Street. He had unknowingly created a unique style of soap rooted in social realism which was to influence Channel 4's Brookside and the BBC's EastEnders. He had also invented a programme which was to define ITV and underpin its fortunes.' Prior to the launch of Coronation Street, Warren had performed as a child actor and written scripts for Granada shows Shadow Squad and Biggles.

The former Buffy the Vampire Slayer actor Nicholas Brendon has reportedly been tased and arrested by police in Los Angeles. According to E!, authorities were responding to a call about an intoxicated individual on Tuesday night when they came across the actor in a state of some bewilderment. Brendon apparently swung his fists at the officers and then attempted to run away. Which, whilst this a very serious - and not particularly funny - incident to have to report, does sound exactly like the sort of thing his Buffy alter-ego, Xander, would've done. Life occasionally imitates art. Police reportedly used a taser to stop Brendon and arrested him around 12.30am (PST) on a felony charge of defacing property. The thirty eight-year-old is currently being held on twenty thousand dollars bail.

Tonight's The Night has been renewed for a second series, the BBC has announced. The Saturday night show, fronted by Big John Barrowman, will be tied to the National Lottery show and will include the live draws. 'I am just thrilled that Tonight's The Night is coming back to Saturday nights on BBC1,' said Barrowman. 'Once again I can't wait to make the nation's performance dreams come true.' The BBC's Alan Tyler added: 'We're delighted that Tonight's The Night will be produced by BBC Scotland this summer. John has worked in the Pacific Quay studio before and we are confident that his enthusiasm for the show and for a return to Glasgow will light up the screen.'

Over The Rainbow judge Sheila Hancock has admitted that she is nervous about potentially swearing on live TV. Hancock will appear alongside EastEnders actor John Partridge and Charlotte Church on the judging panel for the talent hunt, which is searching for a Dorothy to appear in Andrew Lloyd Webber's latest West End production. Speaking about appearing on a prime time Saturday night show, the veteran actress said: 'The thing I worry about is that I swear a great deal. I do that an awful lot. That will probably be the end of my career. I'll end up saying, "that was fucking dreadful."' Tell it like it is, Sheila baby!

TV bosses in the US have apologised after preview clips of the Playboy channel were accidentally played out on two children's channels. A Time Warner Cable spokesman said 'a technical glitch' was to blame for the mistake, which lasted two hours in parts of North Carolina on Tuesday. The company was made aware of the error after parents called in to report it. TWC said it had procedures in place to catch errors, but it was not picked up as it affected only a small area. 'We're very, very sorry it happened - we know parents are concerned,' spokesman Keith Poston told local news station WRAL. 'It took about an hour or so once we were notified of the problem to actually get it fixed. It was a technical glitch and unfortunately it hit at the worst possible time on the worst possible channels,' he added. The error occurred on the Kids On Demand and Kids Preschool On Demand channels where clips from Playboy TV appeared in the top right hand corner. Although a menu of available children's programming was listed on the left side of the screen, previews showing nude women engaged in explicit conversations were shown where previews of children's shows normally would appear. Mr Poston said the explicit content aired from about 06:15 to 08:15 local time in parts of Cary, Garner, Morrisville, Wilson, Goldsboro, Willow Spring and Johnston County, but added most areas just went black when the equipment failed. Time Warner said it regretted the glitch and had fixed the problem so it would not happen again.

ITV chairman Archie Norman is reportedly considering 'a rethink' on previously announced plans to drop the ITV regional news service, which is due to be taken over by various independent consortia. Norman, who replaced Michael Grade in January, is currently leading a strategic review of all areas of the commercial broadcaster. Amongst ideas being considered, Norman is said to be looking at the possibility of reversing Grade's decision to scrap ITV's local news provision throughout the English regions and Wales. A 'source close to the chairman' told the Gruniad Morning Star: 'Archie thinks ITV should continue to do regional news. His sentiment is that it is not something to walk away from.' The government has received eight tenders from commercial groups wishing to trial independently funded news consortium schemes in Wales, Scotland and the Tyne Tees and Border region. Winning bidders would be tasked with providing all regional news bulletins on ITV in their designated area, along with supporting a range of media such as newspapers, radio and online services. The IFNC proposal is currently being rushed through parliament as part of the Digital Economy Bill, with the trials potentially getting underway before the summer. ITV presently provides a regional news service in Wales and Tyne Tees and Border, with all of the staff working on these service due to transfer to the IFNC consortium. STV currently provides the regional news in Scotland and has submitted a joint bid for the IFNC trial there. Even if Norman opts to forge ahead with the regional news U-turn, he would be unable to halt the IFNC tender process. An independent selection panel led by Richard Hooper will make its recommendation on the bids on 23 March before Ben Bradshaw announces his final decision on 25 March. The three winning bidders will share a forty million pound pot of public money derived from the digital switchover help scheme surplus in the licence fee. They will also sign a contract with ITV, which will directly oversee compliance for their output. However, the Conservatives have long opposed the IFNC plan, with shadow culture secretary Jeremy Hunt recently pledging to block the proposal from getting through parliament. A source close to ITV's strategy review said that executives at the firm are worried about retaining control of advertising time around the regional news slots. The executives are also concerned about the quality of IFNC output and the longer-term implications of losing control of part of the schedule on its flagship channel.

The advertising watchdog has banned a TV commercial for a gambling website for portraying black people as less intelligent than white people and presenting a negative racial stereotype. Bingo website Tombola's TV advert features a white man in a tuxedo and a black man in a casual Hawaiian shirt playing a ukulele. The black man repeats everything the white man said, prompting two complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority that the commercial was likely to cause serious or widespread offence because it presented a negative racial stereotype. In its ruling today the ASA banned the advertising campaign, by agency Euro RSCG, and warned Tombola to take care not to present negative racial stereotypes in future. The regulator said that, while the advert was humorous, the 'relationship between the two characters was defined as the power of a white man over the black man.' The ASA added that the black man was portrayed as 'less intelligent' because he repeated everything that was said – even when the white man said 'Thank you Tito.' 'We noted that he seemed to look to the white man for reassurance or instruction suggesting that he lacked the confidence or intellect to behave otherwise,' said the ASA. 'We considered that the advert could be interpreted as humiliating, stigmatising or undermining the standing of the black character and was therefore likely to cause serious offence.'

Yvette Fielding has admitted that she once wet herself in public. Well, we've all done it. In yer Keith Telly Topping's case, not since he was five, admittedly. And I've got a weak bladder. But, never mind. The Most Haunted presenter made the confession in an interview with Heat magazine. Fielding said: 'When I was sixteen, I wet myself in the street. My friend pulled my big skirt up over my head to show the world my Bridget Jones pants and then held it there so I couldn't get out. I laughed so hard I started peeing myself and I couldn't stop.' When asked what the largest thing she had ever broken was, she replied: 'I smashed a brand-new Mercedes into the front wall on the first day we got it. I broke the car and the wall. I was taking the kids to school in my pyjamas - in case of drowning - and I reversed into the wall.' So, pisses herself, crashes cars and presents Most Haunted. I'm not sure which is the more embarrassing of the three, to be honest.

Former model Emma Willis has decided to, effectively, commit career suicide after been selected as Melinda Messenger's replacement on Live From Studio Five, according to tabloid reports. Earlier this month, ex-Page Three stunna Messenger 'sensationally' quit her job as co-host after less than five months in the position. Since then, several so-called celebrities including Natalie Pinkham and Willis have been guest presenting the show. According to the Sun, Five bosses were 'impressed with Willis's work' and have since offered her the position. She is reported to begin, full-time, after Easter. Willis is quoted as saying: 'I can't wait to be part of the chat and banter on the show.' Chris Shaw, Five's head of news and current affairs - which, astonishingly - Live From Studio Five qualifies as, added that she is 'great fun. She's a young, modern mum and she gets on brilliantly with Ian and Kate.' Wonder how long that will last?

A man who assaulted a female police officer with his penis has been fined. Marium Varinauskas, reportedly tried to strike the officer on the head with his penis when she was called out to his flat but, luckily, she got out of the way before impact. Lithuanian Varinauskas admitted a charge of assault at Aberdeen Sheriff Court and was fined six hundred pounds. The court heard he had been drinking heavily and could not remember committing the offence at his home in Aberdeen. Police were called to his home by his girlfriend, who had complained about him being drunk last November. They arrived to find the self-employed engineer sitting on the sofa wearing a pair of underpants. Fiscal depute Elaine Lynch said: 'The accused got to his feet and was standing over the police officer exposing his penis and thrusting it in her face, forcing her to take evasive action to avoid getting struck.'

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