Thursday, May 06, 2010

An Election-Free Zone

Simon Cowell was, allegedly, left 'nervous' when his fiancée, Mezhgan Hussainy, visited the Britain's Got Talent set recently. According to School Snitch Stephen Mulhern - who hosts ITV2 spin-off Britain's Got More Talent - the music mogul 'curbed his flirtiness' around female auditionees. Mulhern told Now: 'This week we met Simon's girlfriend Mezhgan and it was funny to see how he behaved. He pretended he hadn't noticed the naked woman painted gold with nipple tassles!' Rumours that Mulhearn's next appointment will be with Job Centre Plus on Monday cannot, entirely, be discounted at this time.

William Shatner is to host a new series of documentaries for the Bio Channel. According to Entertainment Weekly, the Star Trek actor will interview 'memorable newsmakers' and their families on a series called Shatner's Aftermath. No jokes, please. The programme is said to be built around the actor's 'intellect and humour' as he finds out what happened to these people after they made headlines. The six one-hour episodes will feature ex-private Jessica Lynch, some of the DC Sniper Victims, Ted Kaczynski the Unabomber, 'subway vigilante' Bernhard Goetz, Mary Kay Letourneau and the Weaver Family of Ruby Ridge.

Zoo magazine has apologised for an 'agony uncle' column under the actor Danny Dyer's byline which advised a reader to cut his ex-girlfriend's face. Alex, twenty three, from Manchester, wrote to the publication aimed at young men saying he was 'unable to get over' a break-up. Dyer's column's advice was to 'go on the rampage' with the boys or 'cut your ex's face, then no-one will want her.' Zoo blamed the comments on 'a production error', rather than the fact that whoever wrote it was an effing numbskull but anti-violence campaigners have said that the 'advice' was 'inexcusable.' Refuge CEO Sandra Horley said: 'It is all too easy to dismiss comments like these as a joke, but we know that domestic violence takes lives and ruins lives. Two women are killed every week by a current or former partner - and these figures aren't going down. One in eight young men believe it is okay to hit their girlfriend if she is nagging.' A statement issued on behalf of Zoo said: 'Due to an extremely regrettable production error, an inappropriate and indefensible response to a letter has appeared in this week's issue. Zoo editor Tom Etherington apologises unreservedly for any offence the response may have caused and launched an internal inquiry to ensure lessons are learnt. Zoo and Danny Dyer condemn any violence against women.' Dyer is best known for starring in a series of really crappy action films such as The Football Factory, The Business and Dead Man Running. His representative was not immediately available for comment, but the Sun quoted Dyer himself as saying that the remarks were not his. But, hang on, it's supposed to be your column, mate. Are you suggesting that you don't write it? 'This is totally out of order, I am totally devastated,' he told the paper. Totally.

Channel 4 is shaking up its entire religious output by ditching strand Revelations after just one series and moving away from authored historical polemics in favour of finding the 'One Born Every Minute of religion.' Revelations, a series of eight one-off documentaries, launched last year as the successor to long-running strand Witness, which was axed in 2006. Featured film-makers included Anthony Thomas, Jon Ronson and Faris Kermani. At the time, Channel 4's then religion commissioning editor, Aaqil Ahmed, who has since moved to the BBC, said the umbrella would signpost single documentaries that could otherwise get lost in the schedule. But head of specialist factual Ralph Lee was concerned that, without an overarching theme, the strand failed to make an impact. He now plans to focus on 'well-placed one-offs,' in the mould of Thomas' ninety-minute film The Qu'ran. 'Revelations suffered from what strands always suffer from: some films were better than others, some got "pick of the day" and some didn't, some disappeared without trace,' Lee said. 'If we're going to commission one-offs, they have to promise to be the defining doc of the week.' While relishing the column inches that C4's Christianity: A History and The Bible: A History attracted, Lee has no plans to repeat the formula of these series, each of which featured eight polemics from broadcasters and major figures, from Cherie Blair to Anne Widdecombe and Gerry Adams. He is after more contemporary angles on religion and urges indies to look at C4's alternative takes on topics such as birth, in One Born Every Minute, and the wealth divide, in Rich Kid, Poor Kid. 'Just doing clever people on big subjects shouldn't be the sum of what we do,' Lee said. 'Through the scale and success of these series, C4's religious output became quite analytical, quite driven and intellectual, but also quite historical. I'd like to find ways to do projects of scale that feel like they're interesting windows into faith in modern Britain.'

Kathy Reichs has revealed that she is unsure whether Bones characters Temperance Brennan and Seeley Booth should embark on a relationship. The author and forensic anthropologist, whose novels inspired the FOX crime drama, recently told reporters that she thinks the chemistry between Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and Booth (David Borenaz) is good as it currently stands. When asked whether she thought they should be together or apart, she replied: 'I just think once you do that, once you do the deed, you're done. If we look at other shows like X-Files or Moonlighting, to me that speaks the beginning of the end. So, I think it's much better and they play so well at the chemistry.' She continued: 'Just from the very beginning from the day that Emily auditioned, the chemistry between them has been so good that I think it's better to just keep that simmering.'

As mentioned on this blog the other day, Qi have started filming episodes for their eighth series (H). The second episode to be shot will feature Bill Bailey, the divine Sue Perkins and, for the first time in almost seven years, Gyles Brandreth. The theme of the episode is 'Hand Heart and Head.'

ITV has apologised after the Yorkshire village of Haworth was misspelled in an episode of Coronation Street. In Sunday's episode of the Weatherfield soap, viewers saw a direction sign which displayed the way to 'Hawarth.' The shot was featured when regular character Norris Cole made a bid for freedom after growing disturbed by the behaviour of friend Mary Taylor as they shared a holiday in Brontë Country. An ITV spokesman told Keighley News: 'We can only apologise for the error but we would hope the fact that the area was depicted and talked about in such a positive light would more than make up for this small mistake.' The representative also confirmed that, although possible filming locations in Brontë Country had been considered, the scenes were ultimately shot closer to the serial's Manchester base. Matt Stroh, chairman of tourism marketing body Brontë Country Partnership, commented: 'It is sad that Haworth was misspelled but we can't be anything but grateful for the coverage the area has received. The filming location decision is interesting because one of the issues we have is convincing people that we are not that far from Manchester.'

Channel 4 daytime show Cook Yourself Thin is to return to screens after three years away, after securing a sponsorship deal. Weight loss programme Alli will sponsor an extended fifteen-part run, with food writer Gizzi Erskine returning as presenter. The Tiger Aspect format first aired in a six-part series in the summer of 2007. C4 has been looking for more advertiser partnerships to help expand its daytime output, particularly for the pre-Countdown slot, which has typically been home to old films. The deal is the second of its kind to be signed recently, following SpecSavers' backing for The TV Book Club, which is fully ad-funded. Billed as an 'anti-dieting show,' Cook Yourself Thin aims to show how to develop a positive relationship with food through cooking as well as eating, with a demonstration of how to make low-fat and low-calorie versions of popular recipes.

Sky1 has announced the date it will broadcast the series finale of Lost. The final episode of the show, which lasts two and a half hours, will air on the channel at 9pm on Friday 28 May, five days after its broadcast in the US. Sky also revealed that it will celebrate the end of the series with several special programmes. At 7pm on finale night, the channel will air Lost: The Final Journey, a two-hour retrospective of the show. The documentary will also examine what has happened in the sixth season to prepare fans for the last episode. Meanwhile, the finale will be followed by two Sky1 programmes, The End Is Nigh and Top Ten Greatest Scenes.

A woman has sued MTV for five million dollars after her appearance on The Real World. According to Entertainment Weekly, Golzar Amirmotazedi alleges that she was given 'several alcoholic beverages,' then humiliated and thrown out of the house when she refused to have sex with one of the Real World: Washington DC cast members. She is alleging invasion of privacy, disclosure of private facts, and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress in court papers. All those who appear on the MTV reality show must sign a waiver, but Amirmotazedi has claimed that she was 'too intoxicated' to lawfully sign it. The complaint alleges the following: 'Outtakes from The Real World show that the plaintiff in fact was not in a position to provide her consent to the defendant portraying her in a false light or disclosing private facts about her.' Rumours that Big Brother is also to be sued for making most of its contestants 'look like arseholes' cannot, at this time, be confirmed or denied.

Countryfile presenter Matt Baker has become the latest presenter to be tipped for Adrian Chiles's old job on The ONE Show. According to the Daily Scum Mail, the former Blue Peter host will be tested out with a guest stint on the magazine programme within the next few weeks. Sources say that the thirty two-year-old is 'likely' to secure the position if his trial run gets a positive response from viewers. It is thought that bosses believe Baker has a 'light-hearted touch' which would make him well-suited to the job. Richard Hammond and Matt Allwright are among other presenters who are said to be in the running to replace Chiles.

ITV has confirmed rumours that David Dickinson has landed his own afternoon chat show. The David Dickinson Show will feature celebrity guests, topical debates and cookery, Bang Showbiz reports. The daily programme will also include discussions about current affairs, competitions, and a section on antiques. Bet that'll be a meeting of minds. An ITV spokesperson said: 'The David Dickinson Show will give the Duke a real opportunity to do what he does best - interact with the people - whether trying to win an audience member a "nice bit of cash" in the show's daily quiz Seal The Deal or chatting to the owners of interesting and quirky antique selections. Throughout the series viewers can also expect topical views as David and his team of pundits and celebrity commentators give us their take on the day's news and views.' Celebrity guests who will appear during the first week of the show include Denise Welch, Toni Braxton, Brendan Cole and Richard Madely.

Meanwhile, Amanda Holden has reportedly been given a new variety show on ITV. Amanda Holden - funny lines, clowns, acrobats ... what could possibly go wrong? The actress, who is currently a judge on Britain's Got Talent, will be offered a new entertainment format, according to the Mirror. 'Amanda loves America, and when ITV executives heard about the new contract with US network CBS [on The Early Show] they panicked,' a source claimed. ITV's director of television Peter Fincham 'reassured her she had a bright future at ITV and would get her own show in return for her loyalty,' the source added.

Ruby Films is developing an ITV drama series following a feisty female surgeon, adapted by Mistresses co-creator SJ Clarkson from the bestselling surgery memoir Direct Red. Gabriel Weston’s acclaimed non-fiction book is presented as a series of vivid vignettes. However, Clarkson is pulling the story together as a four-part, plot-driven series detailing the gory reality of surgery and the stress that comes from working in a testosterone-fuelled environment. Nicole Taylor, whose writing credits include ITV’s Secret Diary Of A Call Girl and the wretched Harley Street, is penning the first script. The company has also lined up the writer of An Englishman in New York to adapt acclaimed state-of-the-nation novel Crusaders for a potential Channel 4 drama. Brian Fillis, whose credits also include the BBC4 biographical dramas The Curse Of Steptoe and Fear Of Fanny, is developing a script based on the 2008 book, the fiction debut of biographer and screenwriter Richard T Kelly. Crusaders follows a young clergyman who attempts to build a new church in a run-down area of Newcastle upon Tyne. His plans are complicated by battles with an ex-bouncer, an MP and a former classmate at his theological college who questions his faith.

Robin Hood actor Jonas Armstrong has been charged after an early-morning 'booze-fuelled bust-up' outside his mother's house according to the Daily Star. The twenty nine-year-old actor was detained by police after the incident, which erupted as he arrived at the house in a taxi. He was due to appear in court at Blackpool on Tuesday charged with being drunk and disorderly, but sent a letter saying that he had an audition in London. The case was adjourned to a later date. If convicted, Armstrong faces a maximum one thousand pound fine.

According to a report in the Sun, Charlotte Church was 'incapable of walking' after becoming 'smashed' on night last week. Sadly, the report went on to confirm that they actual meant 'drunk' and not, literally, 'smashed.' Because, I'll tell you what, dear blog reader, the latter would've been news rather than mere tittle-tattle. Still, never let it be said that From The North doesn't - occasionally and gleefully - indulge in a good bit of tittle-tattle reportage. According to the newspaper, the Over The Rainbow judge was drinking champagne and 'snogging' female friends during a night out in Shoreditch on Saturday. 'Charlotte arrived at 1.30am with a group of male and female pals - but not [her partner] Gavin [Henson]. She was already incapable of walking. She had to be held up,' said a source. 'Her pals opened a bottle of champagne and Charlotte carried on drinking on the sofa. She was smashed - completely out of it.' Church allegedly took her shoes off and slept on the sofa at the Three Three Three Mother bar later in the night. 'After an hour she got up and wandered off. She was alone on the top of the stairs with her head in her hands as we were leaving,' the insider added. 'One of her friends pulled her downstairs, bundling her in a taxi.'

Rio Ferdinand has reportedly been approached by Duran Duran to record a new version of their 1982 Top Ten hit 'Rio'. Rumours also suggest that Frank Lampard has been approached to record a version of Alexz Johnson's 'Over-Rated.' And that Ashley Cole's been heard humming Michael Jackson's 'She's Out of My Life.'

Kate Garraway has confirmed that she is 'on the road to recovery' after undergoing surgery for appendicitis. Don't hurry back to work on our account, love.

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