Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants

Have you ever had one of them days like yer Keith Telly Topping's just had, dear blog reader?
Anyway. Actress Joanna Lumley claims she has 'never stopped working' in her efforts to help support the rights of Gurkhas after criticism from a government minister that she, you know, had. Her campaign forced ministers to let more Gurkhas settle in the UK but veterans minister Kevan Jones alleged that she had not done enough to help them since. Lumley said claims she had 'lured' Gurkhas to the UK with 'promises of paradise' were completely untrue. No 10 said that Gordon Brown had told Lumley he was sorry that the issue was continuing to provide negative publicity. Shortly before the former Absolutely Fabulous and The New Avengers actress began a press conference in Westminster concerning the allegations, Jones also apologised for claiming Lumley was guilty of a 'deathly silence' over Gurkhas' rights. He said: 'I am sorry if any offence was caused - this was not intended. My sole concern, and that of this government, is to stop unscrupulous middle-men ripping off vulnerable ex-Gurkhas who are entitled to settle in the UK when our free service exists to help them without charge.' Appearing before the Commons home affairs committee earlier this month, Jones had said that Lumley and fellow campaigners had 'not done enough' to explain the new rules - permitting any Gurkhas with more than four years' service to apply for settlement in the UK with their families - to them. Lumley said she had never met Jones and urged Gordon Brown to restate his commitment to the policy agreed last year following a lengthy campaign backed by MPs from all parties. Describing the campaign as 'a just cause,' she said her team had not neglected Gurkhas who had moved to the UK since then, amid reports that many were now living in poverty. 'We have not stopped working solidly for the Gurkhas, as we promised the Prime Minister we would, although we have been doing it in the quiet,' she told a press conference. She said she would look into newspaper reports claiming that Gurkhas looking to move to the UK had been exploited by middle men. However, she rejected claims that Gurkhas had paid for her to visit Nepal or that a law firm processing visa applications had behaved disreputably as 'absolutely untrue' - adding that she believed the 'system was working well.' It is understood that the Prime Minister tried to contact shortly Lumley before the press conference but the actress said she had not spoken to him personally. She said she still believed Mr Brown backed the Gurkha campaign 'to the hilt' and would have been as 'shocked' about the recent reports as she was.

Matt Smith has claimed that he was always aware of Doctor Who, despite being born in a generation that didn't have the show on TV. The Eleventh Doctor told AOL TV that the programme is ingrained in the fabric of the UK. Smith, born in 1982, said: 'I was part of the generation that had the barren spell, where children didn't have Doctor Who. It wasn't on TV when I was growing up, but it is so ingrained in our fibre in this country it's impossible not to know something about it.' When asked who his favourite Doctor was, he added: 'I'm a particular fan of Patrick Troughton, although once you get involved like I have, it all becomes one, I think. I'm constantly in awe of all [of] them. I know it's a cliché, but I can't believe this is work. It never gets dull because each month there are new characters and actors coming in. In terms of emulating any of the past Doctors, I don't think that's something you can try to do or think about.'

The BBC has confirmed plans to show the entire 2010 Grand National in high definition next month. From April 8 to 10, live coverage from all races and events during the three day meeting at Aintree will be broadcast on BBCHD. BBC2 will air five races on the Thursday and Friday, while BBC1 will broadcast Saturday's John Smith's Grand National programme, with coverage starting at 1pm and the big race getting underway at 4.15pm. The first horse is expected to be killed about three minutes later. Clare Balding and Rishi Persad will present the coverage, with former Grand National-winning jockeys Mick Fitzgerald and Richard Dunwoody acting as expert pundits. Jim McGrath will lead the commentary team, joined by Ian Bartlett and Darren Owen. For the 2010 event, the corporation plans to place two new high-speed cameras at The Chair and Becher's Brook to capture the action and provide superior replays. Of any compound fractures which occur. Radio 5Live will also carry coverage from all days at Aintree, with Mark Pougatch presenting the build-up and live action from the main event on Saturday. Live and on-demand video from the Grand National day will be available on the BBC website, along with information on all the runners and riders. Coverage will also remain available on BBC iPlayer for seven days after transmission.

David Jason has admitted that he feels 'sorry' for ITV. I don't. It's their own ruddy fault they employ Piers Morgan. The seventy-year-old actor, who has been exclusively employed by the broadcaster for three years, also said that he would prefer a smaller number of reality shows. He told the Daily Telegraph: 'I feel sorry for ITV, who are finding it difficult because of the recession and lack of advertising and they're in a bit of a spiral. One thing follows the other, of course, and if you don't have advertising revenue, you can't put it into programmes, so you end up with the shows that will generate the most adverts, like The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent.' Jason added: 'Personally, I'm not sure if I like those shows, but other people do, so I suppose, from ITV's point of view, it's good programming. But I'm an actor and so of course I want to see TV companies making good dramas. I want that to be a priority.'

Mark Wingett has claimed that The Bill's move into a post-watershed slot last year was an 'unwise decision.' The actor, who played Jim Carver in the police procedural drama for almost twenty years, also said that the lack of promotion during the revamp may have hurt the ITV show. Come on, pal, it's been on for twenty seven years, if people aren't watching it now, they're never going to be. 'I think moving the slot was an unwise decision. It kind of got lost. Also it wasn't promoted in a very good way - the big soaps get loads and loads of promotion. And I think the audience has changed,' he told the BBC. Wingett, who was the main focus of the programme's pilot Woodentop in 1983 and starred in the series for a further twenty one years, branded the show's recent cancellation as 'dreadful.' He added: 'When we did The Bill back in the '80s we had no meddling by ITV, it was completely isolated making a programme with twelve actors in a small studio - an ex-tobacco warehouse in the East End of London. Certainly when I left five years ago it had a huge hangar-sized warehouse down in Merton, employed about five hundred people and thirty two main cast in it plus a dozen guest actors in each episode. It was an extraordinary operation, the largest set I've ever been on. I can see that its expensive to run. Maybe that's the problem - that it became a factory drama.'

Coronation Street actress Sue Cleaver has been charged with drink driving, according to reports. The actress, who plays Eileen Grimshaw on the ITV soap, is said to have failed a breath test after being stopped by police when her Landrover Freelander clipped a kerb. It is thought that the incident took place in Northenden, Manchester in the early hours of yesterday morning. Reports suggest that Cleaver was granted bail and is due to appear before magistrates on 14 April. A Coronation Street spokesperson said: 'This is private and a police matter.' Well, not once the papers got hold of it, it wasn't. At that point it became very, very public. Meanwhile, a Weatherfield source told the Mirror: 'Despite what has happened there is still a lot of sympathy for her because she is so well liked by just about everyone connected with the show. But she realises the seriousness of the situation she finds herself in and just wants to get it over and done with.'

ABC is reportedly selling thirty-second advert spots for the 23 May three-hour series finale of Lost for nine hundred thousand dollars apiece. According to Advertising Age, the figure is nearly four times the average cost that advertisers spent for similar spots on the show last year. While Lost has seen a steady decline in viewers over recent seasons, the publication observed that the premium prices set by ABC reflect advertisers' growing interest in so-called event programming to core fanbases. Kris Magel, director for national broadcast at media agency Initiative, indicated that ratings are not necessarily the principal concern in determining advertising sales. 'There are many advertisers willing to pay a reasonable premium for inventory in programmes that generate such a highly passionate and rabid fanbase,' he said, adding: 'There is definitely value in that.'

Sinitta has hit back at a Twitter user who accused her of using Simon Cowell to further her career. The 'So Macho' singer get herself involved in the online clash after apparently announcing that she may be about to land a judging role on the US version of The X Factor. Following the reports, one Twitter user addressed Sinitta with the message: 'Please tell me your quotes in the Sun about joining the US X Factor are a joke?! Hanging on Simon's coat tails isn't a career love!' Sinitta reportedly responded by saying: 'Have a sense of humour, which you obviously don't. By the way, any job that pays bills in your chosen profession is a career move.'

1 comment:

Robin Brown said...

I can't wait for The Eleven Doctors