Friday, May 07, 2010

Parliamentarians: They Should Be Bloody-Well Hung

If you stayed up all night to watch the general erection, dear blog reader, jolly well done. Yer Keith Telly Topping couldn't match your stamina, I'm afraid. I went to bed with a good book at 10PM and then woke up to ... total bloody chaos, seemingly. So, the obvious question is - who won, then? And, the short answer is, nobody really. Especially not the voters. A chill wind - both literal and metaphorical - is blowing across Great Britain this morning and its bitter sting (again, literal and metaphorical!) is whipping the bones of pretty much everyone. What a ruddy country, this is. We can't even organise a decent transition of power, it would seem. We're British and we're rather indecisive. Makes you proud, does it not? To sum up: Do Labour still have a mandate to run the country? No, probably not - but, then again, they haven't had one of them for four years at least so what's the difference? Constitutionally, they can try. With the help of the Liberals and a few assorted others - if they're all of a mind - they might even manage it. Whether anybody takes any notice of them, is another thing entirely. And, again, that's not exactly an unfamiliar story of late. Do the Tories have a mandate, for that matter? Again, the answer's ultimately no. And, in actual fact, despite winning what's likely to be about forty more seats than Gordon's self-imploding mob, in many ways it was a worse night for Cameron and his mates than for the government. They should have have won this election, easily. They should have walked it, frankly. But, seemingly, the public just don't like them very much or trust them enough and so they appear to be falling tantalisingly short of an overall majority and leaving themselves open to the accusation that they couldn't even beat a limping pathetic dead-dog of an administration when it was crawling in the gutter. It was also a thoroughly rotten night for the Liberals, their anticipated 'breakthrough' stuttering before it had even got going. And yet, ironically, Old Cleggie still might - and probably will - end up as 'Kingmaker' somewhere along the line. The Green's got a seat, which was novel. And, UKIP and the BNP didn't (and, Nick Griffin got the hiding of his life from Margaret Hodge in Barking). Which was funny. The Nationalists did reasonably but, again, it wasn't perhaps the night they'd've been hoping for. So, what we end up with is an almighty fudge and lots of people speculating on deals about to be done (or, indeed, being done right now) in smokey back-rooms somewhere in London. Julia Hartley-Brewer, for instance, has just claimed on the BBC that David Miliband and Vince Cable have already been on the phone to each other this morning. Mind you, they were possibly just having a chat about who they each fancied for the World Cup. Like the BBC's Nick Robinson, if I had to put money on it, I'd still expect David Cameron to be Prime Minister of a minority Tory government by sometime early next week. But whether that's a good thing for anyone (himself and his party very much included) is, at this time, something of a moot point.

So, there you go - proof that democracy doesn't always work! Yer Keith Telly Topping, meanwhile, is looking forward to Sunday when I'll get the chance to sit down and watch about eight hours of the Beeb's erection night coverage. Having left a DVD running overnight. By all accounts old Dimbles and co. did a pretty good job. And, whilst we didn't, seemingly, have a 'were you still up for Portillo?' moment this time around ('Ed Balls hanging on by his finger tips' in Leeds doesn't, quite, have the same ring to it, does it?), at least we did have the sight of Nick Griffin being humiliated live to the nation. Which, I think it's fair to say, all fair-minded people of all parties (well, all the parties that actually matter, anyway) will have found hugely satisfying. It's nice when Tories, Labour supporters, Liberals, Greenies, Nationalists of all stripes and even Monster Raving Loony Green Chicken Alliance geezers and ladies can all come together in lurv, peace and harmony and laugh at the misfortune of Nazi scum, isn't it?

Gosh, this was fun. Let's do it all again, soon.

A Conservative victory in the general election would be 'vital to the fortunes of ITV,' according to 'analysts' quoted in the TV industry magazine Broadcast yesterday. So, one would imagine they'll all feeling a bit narked this morning. The magazine was told that a Tory majority would 'mean regulations such as the Contract Rights Renewal Scheme are relaxed, potentially boosting ITV's advertising revenues by as much as forty five to fifty five million pounds.' However, these analysts also warned that the stock market would 'take fright' if the election resulted in a hung parliament. Although, according to the BBC's Stephanie Flanders this morning, that hasn't, quite, happened. At least not yet. No clear majority could create 'uncertainty over regulatory reform and choke government advertising spend,' they added. Well, that's what we've got, lads, so I'd start getting used to it. 'The best outcome for ITV is a Tory majority. If the result goes against them it might have an impact on [the value of] shares,' said Thomas Singlehurst, analyst at Citigroup. ITV is expected to report a fifteen to twenty per cent increase in advertising revenue for April, as well as set out its forecasts for May and June later today. In a note, financial services firm UBS predicted that advertising revenues will increase twenty five per cent this month as Britain's Got Talent provides a boost and World Cup income begins to filter in. For June, the note forecast revenue growth of twenty two per cent. In an e-mail last month, chief executive Adam Crozier called on staff to highlight the broadcaster's deficiencies and make suggestions for change. The analysts welcomed last month's arrival of Crozier and the appointment of Kevin Lygo as managing director of ITV Studios. 'There is some sense of stability and momentum. It's incredibly encouraging and a sign that the company is getting its mojo back,' said Citigroup’s Singlehurst. ITV's Chairman, for Tory minister Archie Norman, has stated that a regeneration of ITV Studios is key to securing the commercial broadcaster's future.

Meanwhile, ITV reportedly allowed Conservative communications director Andy Coulson to preview a Sir Trevor McDonald interview with David Cameron before it aired. According to the Gruniad Morning Star, Coulson and other Tory party staff were invited to what ITV described as a 'routine viewing' of Trevor McDonald Meets David Cameron before it was broadcast on ITV on 14 March. A spokeswoman for the commercial public service broadcaster claimed that ITV's 'editorial control of the film was absolute,' and the Tories were offered 'no opportunities to make any changes other than factual points.' She added that ITV's compliance representatives were also present at the screening, which was not a condition placed on Cameron's participation in the interview. 'When we decided to make this film, no offer was made to the Conservatives to see the completed programme, nor did they ask to see it. ITV had complete editorial control and at no point was that questioned,' said the spokeswoman. 'The preview was arranged once the edit had got under way and took place during a routine viewing. As we said previously, the producer saw no harm in allowing the Conservative team to see the film given that our editorial control of the film was absolute and there were no opportunities to make any changes other than factual points.' She added: 'As is the case with viewing of programmes ahead of transmission, the production team were present together with a compliance representative. There were also members of the Conservative team who had been involved with arranging filming.' However, a senior television news source from a rival broadcaster - so, that'll be the BBC, then - said that the situation is 'unbelievable' and also 'incredibly depressing.' The source added: 'Independence and due impartiality of TV news and current affairs is one of the things the British public has been able to depend on.' Another source said that previewing interviews is 'unheard of' in the industry and sets a 'very worrying precedent.'

There was one bright spot of the night, however - well, two if you count Nick Griffin's trousers-down spanking - Labour managed to hang on to the former seat of Margaret Moran (Luton South) despite a challenge by former television presenter and irritating glake Esther Rantzen. Labour's Gavin Shuker won fourteen thousand seven hundred and twenty five votes, a majority of over two thousand over the Tory candidate, Nigel Huddleston. Rantzen decided to stand after Moran faced criticism over her expenses claims polled a meagre one thousand eight hundred and seventy two votes. And lost her deposit.

Away from the world of politics, Coronation Street actress Vicky Binns is to bow out of the soap after five years in the role of Molly Dobbs. The twenty seven-year-old - who has played the corner shop worker since May 2005 - yesterday afternoon announced her intention to leave the Weatherfield serial at the end of her current deal. Speaking of her decision, Binns said: 'It's been a joy to be involved in such a fantastic storyline and it is only right that it has the explosive ending viewers are waiting for. I am very excited about playing out the rest of this plot and indeed about what the future holds.' She added: 'I've had an amazing time in the show and feel it's right to leave on such a high.' After enjoying a six-month affair with her husband Tyrone's (Alan Halsall) best friend Kevin (Michael Le Vell), Molly and Kevin planned to end their respective relationships and start a new life together on Christmas Day. Their efforts, however, were thwarted by Kevin's wife Sally (Sally Whittaker) discovering that she had breast cancer. Kevin immediately ended their romance and essentially shut Molly out of his life. Only months after their split, Molly made the shock discovery that she was four months' pregnant to either her husband or lover. Due to give birth in August, Molly now faces the prospect of the baby's true paternity being revealed. The soap's new producer Phil Collinson commented: 'This storyline has been central to the drama of the show for a year now and I hope that the many different twists and turns we have planned will keep the fans on the edge of their seats for months to come.' He went on: 'Vicky is a superb actress who has helped to make the Molly, Kevin, Tyrone love triangle one of the most talked-about soap storylines of the year. We wish her every success for the future.' Bosses are remaining tight-lipped over the next twist in the story, but promise 'more shocks' to come. Binns is due to finish filming and bow out on screen before the end of the year, with a potential tie-in to the show's fiftieth anniversary celebrations in December.

David Boreanaz's wife Jaime Bergman has confessed that she is prepared to fix her marriage to the Bones actor. Earlier this week, Boreanaz revealed that he had 'tainted' their relationship by being unfaithful. It is thought that one of the star's alleged mistresses had been planning to sell her story. Bergman has now told People: 'I'm not saying everything's okay. I'm still angry. I'm still mad. I am still hurt. It took a crisis, it took infidelity to get us off our asses and work for what we want. We do the best we can. That's all we can do.' The pair, who have been married for almost nine years and are parents to Jaden and Bella, are believed to be working through their problems with a therapist. Bergman added: 'What's working for us [is] taking our time, moment to moment, day to day.' So, that's one - possible - happy ending at least.