Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Partly Politicial Broadcast

So, the election is finally over - several days after the final votes were counted! It's a beautifully convoluted system which only the British could come up with. If you're from anywhere else on the globe, you have to admire us for that if nothing else! I'm rather proud of it, myself. As mentioned in a previous blog posting yer Keith Telly Topping has quite a few reservations about the majority party in the coalition that's now going to be running my country - and some minor ones about the other lot, frankly. That's quite apart from the fact that they, and my lot, and everybody else in the business are all scum, of course. Nevertheless, democracy dictates that they both be given a fair crack of the whip. However, as mentioned in the piece linked to above, my main interest in the doings of any future government - of any persuasion - remains not their economic policy or their plans for education but, rather, their attitude towards the BBC and broadcasting in this country policy in general. And, I suspect, if you're reading this blog then that is likely to be one of your main priorities too. David Cameron has publicly stated that he is 'the most pro-BBC Conservative leader there's ever been' and that he respects 'the incredibly important role the BBC plays ... I would never do anything to put the BBC at risk. Conservatives should be as proud of establishing the BBC as Labour are of establishing the NHS.' His party has also made a manifesto commitment to 'promote and protect a strong and independent BBC.' My italics. In addition, the Liberal Democrats manifesto says that party also wishes to keep the BBC 'strong, free from interference and securely funded.' Again, my italics. All of these statements are encouraging. If you believe them. As a consequence, they will be taken at face value by this blog. Unless the government gives us any reason to believe that they lied. None of the manifestos of the two parties mentioned any plan to either freeze the BBC's licence fee, abolish or fiddle with it in any way or to 'top-slice' it for any other purposes. If that situation remains the case then From The North will acknowledge this where appropriate with considerable praise. However this blog - and, I trust, plenty of others elsewhere - will also be here to point out (loudly) any instances when these principles are not adhered to and such promises not kept. That's democracy for you. As this floating voter so wisely notes - Thus, with all of that malarkey out of the way let's start today with some necessary facts and figures. Because yer Keith Telly Topping knows how much you always enjoy those, dear blog reader.

Top Twenty TV programmes, 26 April 2010 - 2 May 2010
1. Britain's Got Talent - 11.72 million
2. Coronation Street - 9.89 million (8.74 average)
3. EastEnders - 9.67 million (9.15 average)
4. Doctor Who - 8.50 million*
5. Lewis - 8.46 million
6. BBC Election Debate - 7.64 million*
7. Emmerdale - 7.18 million (6.89 average)
8. Casualty - 6.86 million
9. Ashes To Ashes - 6.20 million*
10. Five Daughters - 6.20 million (6.08 average)*
11. Holby City - 5.92 million
12. Over The Rainbow - 5.77 million (5.72 average)*
13. Ten O'Clock News - 5.56 million
14. Champions League: Barcelona vs Inter Milan - 5.51 million
15. Waterloo Road - 5.33 million
16. BBC News - 5.23 million
17. The One Show - 5.18 million (4.67 average)
18. Countryfile - 4.85 million
19. Antiques Roadshow - 4.77 million*
20. DIY SOS - 4.75 million
All those programmes marked * include BBC HD audiences. Fifteen of the Top Twenty for BBC1, and just five for ITV. As previously noted it seems that ITV are still having problems attracting viewers except for their half-a-dozen-or-so runaway ratings blockbusters.

As one Tory enters Downing Street, we have a reminder of a time when such a thing wasn't all that novel. A puppet of John Major used in the satirical series Spitting Image is to be sold by auctioneers Bonhams next month. The caricature, made entirely from shades of grey, is to be auctioned alongside the puppet of the former PM's wife Norma. The pair are expected to raise around three thousand five hundred notes at a sale of entertainment memorabilia next month. Stephanie Connell of Bonhams said: 'These items are a great piece of British television and political memorabilia and the popularity of Spitting Image puppets continues - they are much loved by politicians and the public alike.' The puppet poked fun at Major's perceived 'boring' persona, often showing him being mocked by the Downing Street cat. They were used on the show, which ran until 1996, during his final term in office. Tony and Cherie Blair's puppets were recently sold for twelve thousand six hundred quid. Plans for a new series of Spitting Image were scrapped in 2006 reportedly after a dispute over Ant and Dec puppets. True story.

The changing state of play in British politics last night led to last-minute schedule changes on BBC1. As Gordon Brown officially tendered his resignation and David Cameron became prime minister, the network switched to breaking news coverage and the planned line-up was abandoned. Which is what you'd expected from an experienced broadcaster covering a major breaking-story. The BBC began transmitting a news channel simulcast fronted by David Dimbleby as Brown announced his decision to stand down. The special coverage took the place of scheduled episodes of EastEnders and Holby City before drawing to a close at 9pm, allowing crime drama Luther to air as intended. ITV, meanwhile, chose not to run with a news special and instead aired Children's Hospital and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? as planned at 7.30pm and 8pm. However, a short update hosted by Mark Austin aired just before The Bill at 9pm. Additionally, earlier in the evening, ITV's 6pm regional news update was scrapped to provide extended coverage as Brown's resignation looked likely. BBC2, Channel 4 and Five all stuck with regularly scheduled programming. EastEnders will now be shown tonight instead.

A former national newspaper editor has been fined two hundred and sixty two pounds for withholding his BBC licence fee in, he claimed, a protest at the Manuelgate scandal involving Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand. Charles Moore, who previously edited the Daily Telegraph, refused to pay his one hundred and forty two pounds fee, he said, in reaction to Brand's BBC Radio 2 show in 2008, in which he and Ross left an obscene message on the answerphone of former Fawlty Towers star Andrew Sachs. Writing in the newspaper, Moore confirmed that he was fined yesterday at Hastings magistrates' court after being found guilty of 'using a colour television receiver without a licence.' His 'protest' was dismissed by the judge as having 'no mental element' on the case. Over twenty five thousand complaints were submitted to the BBC following transmission of The Russell Brand Show in October 2008. Not a single one of whom, it would appear, did what Mr Moore did and broke the law having once registered their complaint. The corporation subsequently apologised for the programme's 'unacceptable and offensive' nature. However, Moore said that he considered licence fee 'disobedience' as the only way to truly register his protest against the situation. Thankfully, the judge did not agree with this. Personally, I'd've banged him up in jail with all the murderers and rapists and people who nick stuff from Kwik-Save to teach him a lesson he'd never forget. Which, I'm sure he'd agree with since the Daily Telegraph has always been such a strong advocate of being tough on crime.

Sandra Oh has signed up for a role in a new Sky1 crime drama. The Grey's Anatomy actress will team up with David Morrissey for a previously announced adaptation of a Mark Billingham novel. Oh will play Sarah Chen in thorne: scaredy cat, which follows the Metropolitan police as they investigate a number of murders in London. The drama is part of a six-episode series which begins with thorne: sleepyhead. Other cast members include Sherlock Holmes star Eddie Marsan and Queer As Folk's Aidan Gillen. Sky1's commissioning editor for drama Huw Kennair-Jones said: 'We're thrilled to have an actress of Sandra Oh's calibre join David Morrissey, Aidan Gillen, Eddie Marsan and the rest of the amazing cast for the thorne adaptations as they bring Mark Billingham's iconic characters to life on Sky1. thorne: scaredy cat promises to be a gripping, multi-faceted drama that'll complement thorne: sleepyhead perfectly, promising to make the thorne series an unmissable addition to Sky1's ambitious drama line-up.'

Sir Alan Sugar has said that he will not be as harsh on contestants during the upcoming Junior Apprentice that he normally is on its adult counterpart. The sixty three-year-old businessman and overgrown school bully, who announced the spin-off for sixteen and seventeen-year-olds last year, also likened himself to a headmaster whom the candidates will 'love to hate.' Or, you know, just hate. He told ITN: 'The knack of talking to youngsters is not to be too condescending but also to have a firmness about what you're saying. But at the same time recognising that you shouldn't kind of vilify them individually.' Bully.

The team behind Ashes To Ashes have revealed that the show's fans have been collecting parts of the Audi Quattro. Speaking to the Radio Times, the programme's mechanic Guy Bostock explained that he has struggled to find the spares he needs because viewers have bought them. He also revealed that he tried to buy a second car at the start of the season and discovered that the price had doubled. An source said: 'Supplying an Audi Quattro should have been easy, yet Bostock has found replacement parts difficult to source.'

Eamonn Holmes has criticised GMTV for its supposed pro-Labour stance. The presenter, who currently anchors Sunrise on Sky News, formerly hosted GMTV between 1993 and 2001. 'Sorry my friend - GMTV and impartial interviews? The Labour Party's station of choice for the last five years,' he tweeted. I thought that was supposed to be the BBC? At least, according to every scum right-wing newspaper in the country. The fifty-year-old lard-bucket was responding to a suggestion that he 'misses' ITV's early morning breakfast show due to the 'biased' nature of Sky News.

FlashForward is reportedly close to cancellation. No great surprise there, sad to report. Last month, reports suggested that the show could be saved because it is successful overseas and has relatively low production costs. However, the programme's ratings in the US recently slipped to a series-low and ABC is now said to be thinking of axing it. According to E! Online, the series' chances of renewal are 'now less than fifty-fifty.'

Nick Knowles has claimed that BBC bosses 'hated' DIY SOS when they watched its first series. The host, who has fronted the show since 1999, told This Morning that the corporation's chiefs were reluctant to broadcast the programme after seeing its six-episode debut run. Speaking of the show's early days, Knowles explained: 'We first started eleven years ago and I had a chat with the boys and I said, "We're not going to get another series out of this." I'd worked on building sites [so] I said, "Let's just do building site humour." So every night they got drunk, and every day they came in with a hangover and basically had a go at each other. It was like Auf Wiedersehen, Pet come to life. The BBC hated the first series but put it out because they had to because they'd paid for it. But the audience loved it and we then continued down that weird building site route and it's been going all these years.'

Christopher Eccleston and Mackenzie Crook have signed up for new BBC crime drama Accused. The six-part series, which is being written by Jimmy McGovern, focuses on how six men came to be in court, the Gruniad Morning Star reports. In Willy's Story, Eccleston stars as a lapsed Catholic plumber who commits adultery, while The Soldier Story sees Crook play a soldier called Buckley. Production has already begun on Crook's episode, with Eccleston expected to start filming later this month. The four other leads have not yet been cast. 'In the time it takes to climb the steps to the court we tell the story of how the accused came to be here,' McGovern explained. 'We see the crime and we see the punishment. Nothing else. No police procedure, thanks very much, no coppers striding along corridors with coats flapping. Just crime and punishment - the two things that matter most in any crime drama.' The show is being produced by the same team that worked on The Street.

The executive producer of 24 has admitted that he is unhappy with the sixth season of the show. Speaking to Zap2It.com, Howard Gordon explained that he would like to retrospectively change the way Jack Bauer's family was explored. 'I feel as though the story made a very wrong turn in season six,' he said. 'I don't think the idea of Jack's family was a wrong turn, but I think the way we accelerated the story was wrong, and we paid for it the balance of the year.' He added: 'That, to me, is one of the narrative gaps I don't think we ever quite recovered from. We did on an episode-by-episode basis, or on a certain arc-by-arc basis, but the DNA of the season never really recovered from it.' However, Gordon insisted that 'other than that,' he is pleased with 24. He said: 'I'm remarkably free of regrets, because even the moments that one would imagine we'd regret - like the cougar or amnesia or shooting JoBeth Williams [Miriam Henderson] in the leg, the moments that people would point to as being gaffes - I have to say, they occurred in moments when the story needed them to happen. They were really just collateral damage of the real-time conceit.'

John Barrowman has revealed that he 'loved' working on Desperate Housewives. The actor joined the cast as Patrick Logan during the current season of the popular US show. According to the Mirror, he has now admitted that he felt honoured to be on the series. He explained: 'As a kid I went down that way for the Universal Studios tour not knowing that as an adult I would actually be filming with some of the biggest TV stars in America, and also not knowing that I would be on Desperate Housewives which is ranked as one of the top three shows in the history of television around the world.' Is it? In what way? I mean, I like it and all that but who, exactly, voted it 'one of the top three shows in the history of television,' John? I think I missed that memo. 'So that was kind of a humbling moment when I walked down that street for the first time to film,' he continued. 'It was good.' Barrowman also said that he had fun on the programme, saying: 'I really enjoyed it. It's going to air in June here [in the UK]. That's why my hair is so dark at the moment because they gave me what I call Bad Guy, Black Hair. I'm not a very nice guy in it.'

From Desperate Housewives to someone who is really desperate not to go back to being a housewife, Kate Garraway. She has revealed that she is 'keen' to work alongside Adrian Chiles on GMTV. Or, indeed, anybody on anything. Garraway's future with the breakfast show is currently uncertain as producers continue to make plans for a forthcoming revamp. Writing in her New magazine column in response to the news, Garraway commented, with disgraceful brown-tongued slavver: 'I've always thought he was brilliant on The ONE Show and I think it will be great when he joins the team at GMTV. Everyone keeps asking me about whether I'll be staying on at GMTV, but the truth is I really don't know. I feel lucky to have worked on the show for ten years, and I would love to stay on and work with Adrian, as I know ITV has some very exciting plans for the programme. But everything is undecided at the moment, so I'm just going with the flow and enjoying every day.' For God's sake will somebody just put this poor woman out of her misery and just sack her, already.

And, speaking of poor deluded women, Kerry Katona has reportedly put herself forward to replace Dannii Minogue on The X Factor judging panel. No, wait, it's gets better. The former Atomic Kitten singer and disgraced and insolvent reality TV regular has claimed that she is currently planning a pop comeback and argued that the ITV talent show would be 'the perfect stage' for her to relaunch her career. 'I'm waiting for Simon to ask me to join The X Factor,' she told the Daily Star. So, you see, it's not just politicians that are living in a strange parallel universe it would seem, dear blog reader.

Karen Brady has warned the Junior Apprentice candidates not to 'underestimate' her. And, as Gianfranco Zola can confirm from events of yesterday, that's probably a fair bit of advice.

1 comment:

Matthew McIntyre said...

I'm looking forward to thorne: lowercasenospace