Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Transfer Window

Steven Moffat has upheld a long-standing Doctor Who tradition by changing back the design of the door to the TARDIS. According to Metro, the drama's executive producer and showrunner is the man responsible for the return of the St John Ambulance badge on the front of the iconic police telephone box-cum multidimensional time craft. It had not appeared in around forty two years, dating back to William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton's eras in the title role during the 1960s. 'Steven wanted to stamp his own mark on the exterior as well as the interior, and he's a big fan of the Peter Cushing movie version, so re-added the logo,' a source told the newspaper. Albeit, this was 'news' six months ago to anyone with vague fandom connections! Meanwhile, a spokesman for the show revealed: 'The TARDIS has changed many times throughout Doctor Who's history, and we have been really happy with the great reception that the new TARDIS interior and exterior have received from fans.'

The Fox Network has decided not to continue with plans for a US version of Torchwood. BBC Worldwide have issued a statement saying that 'BBC Worldwide Productions and the FOX Broadcasting Company have mutually agreed not to progress together with a thirteen-episode serialized 'Torchwood' format. We are currently in discussion with several interested networks.' yeah. It's always seemed a very unlikely marriage given some of Torchwood's ... ways, let's put it that way! FOX's involvement in developing an American version of the series was first reported in January. Russell Davies was reported to be writing a pilot script, with Julie Gardner and Jane Tranter acting as executive producers. Tranter said that despite the withdrawal of FOX from the project, it is 'still very much ongoing and very much alive.' Tranter has also dismissed rumours that an American version of Doctor Who was being planned. 'It may well be confusing to have a British Doctor and an American Doctor at the same time' she said, 'there is only one Doctor, so I don't see that happening.'

Friday Night with Jonathan Ross has been forced to change its guest line-up this week. Demi Moore, Robert Downey Jr and Gwyneth Paltrow have all cancelled their scheduled appearances on the chatshow due to the volcano ash disruption of transatlantic flights. According to Broadcast, Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson and living legend, the god damn Modfather himself Paul Weller will instead make up the rest of Ross's guests alongside Pineapple Dance Studios star Louis Spence. 'With flights having resumed, we are still working on the possibility of getting one or more of them over but at the moment it's a domestic line-up,' a source said.

Helen Mirren has called on movie bosses to stop typecasting British actors as villains. But, we're so good at it! The actress insisted that Britons are 'an easy target' for Hollywood stereotypes, and wants the US to know that people from England are not limited to 'just the Royal Family.' No, indeed. We can do The Royle Family as well. Mind you, I think that's a bit rich coming from an actress who's best known for her portrayal of the queen, frankly. 'I think it's rather unfortunate that the villain in every movie is always British, we're such an easy target that they can comfortably make the Brits the villains,' she told the Daily Telegraph. 'It's just nice to say we're not snooty, stuck up, malevolent, malignant creatures as we're so often portrayed. We're actually kind of cool and hip! It's very important to let Americans know that we're not just the Royal Family, there's a lot more to us than that.' You go, girl! Mirren added: 'I love the idiosyncrasy of the British people, I love the eccentric nature of the British people, their boldness in fashion and I think the Brits have a very good eye for taste. They have a very good eye for what's cool and hip and nuts.' Yeah. Spot on. But, hey, don't use the word 'hip,' in this context Helen, that was last fashionable in about 1971.

Ben Shephard's agent has issued a statement confirming his departure from GMTV. The thirty five-year-old presenter, who has worked on the ITV breakfast show for ten years, will not renew his contract and is in discussions about new projects. 'Ben's two-year contract with GMTV is up at the end of April,' reads the statement. 'Earlier this year, his management made it clear that he would not be renewing it, but would be happy to stay on temporarily during this transitional period. Ben is excited about moving on after ten incredible years and will be focusing on a number of new projects with ITV and other channels.' QVC?

Meanwhile, according to the Daily Scum Mail the transfer window is throwing up another major move. Katie Derham is said to be quitting ITN for a two hundred and fifty grand move to the BBC. The thirty nine-year-old newsreader has been a stalwart of ITN for twelve years and has anchored the lunchtime news since 2004. It is understood she has decided to move outside the newsroom and will focus on fresh projects at the BBC, including hosting its coverage of the Proms. Derham was believed to be on a salary of around two hundred thousand smackers a year at ITN and will receive a pay rise as she prepares to front a variety of shows for the corporation.

A Muslim has reportedly warned the creators of South Park that they could face violent retribution for depicting the Prophet Muhammad in a bear suit in a recent episode. A posting on the website of the US-based group, Revolution Muslim, told Matt Stone and Trey Parker they would 'probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh.' The Dutch film-maker Van Gogh was shot and stabbed to death in 2004 by an Islamist angered by his film about Muslim women. The posting gave details about a home Stone and Parker reportedly co-own. It also listed the addresses of their production office in California and the New York office of South Park's broadcaster, Comedy Central. 'We have to warn Matt and Trey that what they are doing is stupid and they will probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh for airing this show,' warned the posting, written in the name of Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee. 'This is not a threat, but a warning of the reality of what will likely happen to them,' it added. Al-Amrikee later told The Associated Press that the posting was not an incitement to violence. It had been published to raise awareness of the issue and to see that it did not happen again, he added. A Comedy Central spokesman said the network had no comment to make. In the two hundredth episode of South Park broadcast last week, Muhammad appears several times inside a bear suit. The prophets of the other main religions are also depicted, including a drug-snorting Buddha. In 2006, Comedy Central banned Stone and Parker from showing an image of Muhammad in an episode that was intended to be part of a comment on the controversy caused by the publication of caricatures of the prophet by a Danish newspaper. Muslims consider any physical representation of their prophet to be blasphemous and the caricatures sparked mass protests worldwide. And, just to confirm, the photo illustrating this item - see right - is not the prophet Muhammad. Rather, it's a bloke in a bear costume. Totally different. Just so we're, you know, absolutely clear about this.

The BBC has denied parents claims that an episode of Panorama misrepresented its participants. Sharon Ball, who appeared in the Spoilt Rotten? investigation with her son Leon, recently alleged that the show had been misleading. Ball, whose six-year-old son weighs ten stone eight pounds, said that she was asked to pick him up from school with a wheelchair and told to give him a large plate of food when he was not hungry. However, a BBC spokesperson refuted Ball's claims, insisting that the show had represented the participants fairly. 'This was a well-researched investigation into child health issues including obesity and we are grateful to Sharon and Leon Ball for helping us to report a health issue that affects a large number of people in the UK,' the spokesman said. 'However, we did not - as your report alleges - mislead the family in any way about the purpose of the film. Neither did we "stage" or set up scenes of her son eating or using a wheelchair. His own doctor's assessment is that Leon is facing issues with his lifestyle and this was clearly reflected in the film. Until we started filming we were not even aware that the family used a wheelchair for him. We simply showed the audience what we observed.' The representative added: 'We hope that viewers would agree that our reporter was clearly sensitive to the feelings of the family - and we wish them well in the future.'

BBC2 has commissioned a new sitcom pilot from Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. Life's Too Short will be an observational comedy which centres around the day-to-day life of British actor Warwick Davies.

Hollyoaks actor Ricky Whittle appeared in court yesterday to deny a charge of dangerous driving. The actor, who recently filmed his final scenes as Calvin Valentine on the Chester-based soap, appeared before Liverpool Crown Court to answer an allegation that he struck a photographer with his car last year. After entering a not guilty plea, Whittle was bailed until 9 August, when his trial will begin. The case is expected to last for up to four days. Whittle was arrested last November after his vehicle allegedly collided with paparazzo Steve Farrell as he left a party in Liverpool. He was officially charged with dangerous driving a month later.

Sony Pictures is reportedly developing a film version of the long-running US sitcom I Dream of Jeannie. The studio has hired United States of Tara writer Sheila Callaghan to script the movie, according to the Los Angeles Times. The original series ran from 1965 to 1970 and featured Barbara Eden as a wish-granting genie, along with Larry Hagman, Bill Daily and Hayden Rorke. A number of filmmakers have been attached to proposed movie projects based on the series throughout the years. The latest attempt at the remake is said to have 'somewhat of a feminist slant.'

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