Friday, May 21, 2010

Stop The World, I Want To Get Off

Good Food has ordered a pilot featuring Ronnie Corbett and Rob Brydon that will reportedly tap into the comedians' passion for food. Ronnie Corbett's Supper Club (working title) is being made by Talkback Thames and will air in August. It will see Corbett interview Brydon about his gastronomic memories and meals, before preparing dishes using his favourite ingredients. Brydon will also reveal what he would eat for his last meal, and the five guests he would invite. If picked up for a full series, Ronnie Corbett's Supper Club will see its diminutive host entertain and cook for a different guest each week. The executive producers are Talkback Thames' John Comerford and Camilla Lewis, and the show was ordered by UKTV's commissioning editor Jane Rogerson. Comerford said the show would offer a unique insight into the tastes of its guests and that he was delighted to have secured 'national treasure' Ronnie Corbett. The show will form a staple of Good Food's summer schedule along with the second series of Man v Food and The Hairy Bikers’ Food Tour Of Britain.

Sky1 has announced that it will simulcast the series finale of Lost. The network has revealed that it will air the ending to the cult US show at exactly the same time as it is broadcast on the West Coast of America. The move, which follows news that a number of other countries will receive a simulcast, means that the episode will be broadcast at 5am on Monday 24 May. Sky1's director of programmes Stuart Murphy said: 'We are proud of the fact that at Sky1 HD we have a long tradition of running all of our US shows as close as possible to their US transmission date. With something as hotly anticipated as the Lost finale, it makes sense to show it at exactly the same time as millions across America will see it.' The finale will be repeated on Tuesday 25 May at 9pm. Meanwhile, Sky1 will air an evening of Lost programming on Friday 28 May beginning with Lost: The Final Journey at 7pm. The two and a half hour finale will be shown again at 9pm, followed by the Sky1 specials The End Is Nigh and Top 10 Greatest Scenes.

Prince Charles has agreed to present a new BBC4 documentary. The programme will examine the life and work of 'Jerusalem' composer Hubert Parry, whom the BBC have described as 'a particular favourite of Prince Charles.' The controller of BBC4 Richard Klein said: 'I am delighted that the Prince of Wales has decided to share his enthusiasm by telling the full story of this extraordinary and too-often overlooked British composer. This film will seek to go some way to try and open up that legacy.'

The creator of a graphic novel is reported to be suing NBC Universal for fifty million dollars claiming the final series of Heroes plagiarised his storyline. Jason Barnes says that NBC used a carnival 'virtually identical' to the ones depicted in his digital book series Carnival of Souls. By doing so the network 'knowingly, wilfully, recklessly and maliciously infringed' on his copyright, he claims. Hollywood Reporter says that Barnes has filed the complaint in Los Angeles. Court documents list alleged similarities including a travelling carnival that can magically appear and disappear, a hero amassing followers with special powers and a circle of mirrors tied to the key plot. 'Indeed, some of the scenes in Heroes appear as if the books were used as storyboards by the defendants,' the complaint states. Barnes also claims that the ending of season four was changed in an attempt to minimise obvious similarities. As well as substantial damages, he is seeking an injunction against further distribution of season four of Heroes. An NBC spokesperson said: 'We believe this lawsuit is meritless and expect to prevail in the litigation.'

The Archers may be the oldest soap opera in the world - but it could also be the BBC's secret weapon in converting radio listeners to digital. The corporation is considering broadcasting new episodes of the drama on the digital station Radio 7 (expected to soon be rebranded Radio 4 Extra) twenty four hours ahead of their analogue broadcast on Radio 4, as part of a new strategy for migrating listeners. The BBC and Digital Radio UK are planning to use major existing brands to drive uptake rather than a wide range of niche stations, and are also said to be mulling opportunities around Desert Island Discs. Digital Radio UK chief executive Ford Ennals said: 'You could have an interview on Radio 1 that is continued on Radio 1Xtra, or air the next episode of a well-loved radio serial on digital first.' The BBC said it was too early to comment on the content of Radio 4 Extra, which has yet to be approved.

ITV has reportedly earmarked an in-house detective drama as a successor to A Touch of Frost and is taking the format to a full eight-hour series before the pilot has even aired. ITV Studios completed the pilot of Vera, starring Brenda Blethyn, earlier this year. Director of television Peter Fincham and director of drama commissioning Laura Mackie are said to be sufficiently impressed to order three additional instalments before scheduling the test episode. The one hundred and twenty-minute pilot episode will now form part of a four part series of self-contained stories, which will broadcast in a prime time slot on ITV next year. The pilot is based on crime writer Ann Cleeves' novel Hidden Depths, and the new instalments will be adapted from her other novels, Telling Tales and The Crow Trap, while a third episode will be originally scripted. Blethyn stars as Cleeves' central character: an obsessive, workaholic detective called Vera Stanhope. Each instalment will see her fight personal demons and tackle a new crime in modern-day Northumberland and Newcastle. 'With the demise of A Touch of Frost we are keen to introduce new crime dramas into the mix and to create the iconic detectives of the future,' said Mackie. 'Brenda's portrayal of the sharp but shambolic Vera Stanhope is a wonderful addition to our slate.' The drama will be produced by Elaine Collins - who developed the pilot as a script executive.

Jeremy Clarkson tweeted yesterday that the next series of Top Gear will start at the end of July this year. Hang on, run that one by me again? Jezza Clarkson is on Twitter? Has the world gone quite mad?

ITV2 is to take viewers inside the nail bars and nightclubs of Essex for what it hopes will be Britain's answer to MTV's The Hills. And, this is a good thing how, exactly? Liverpool-based Lime Pictures is to head south to film the ten-part documentary-soap-reality show hybrid, which has the working title Project Essex. Oh God. I mean, in that one line it just sounds like the kind of thing some twentysomething production assistant has dreamed up using a variety of lowest common denominator formats. Come on, people, we're better than this, surely? Lime is now said to be casting about for a group of twentysomethings, who will be filmed as they go about their lives. And, they'll get them, of that I have no doubt. The show will be filmed right up to transmission and any press attention or reaction from its emerging fan base (if it gets any) will be fed back into the show itself. The cast will be able to watch the show as it airs and will learn things about their friends and loved ones, which the producers hope will steer the course of the following episodes. The cast's stories will also unfold daily online with extra material.

A new investigation into the assassination of John Kennedy and a film about 'the art of 9/11' have taken a step closer to production following a major first-look deal between Outright Distribution and Trilby Films. The Shed Media-owned distributor has signed a two-year exclusive agreement for all newly commissioned content from Trilby, which launched in October last year with a focus on documentaries, factual entertainment and comedy drama. As well as distribution, Outright will assist in raising deficit finance and co-production funds, to help secure commissions from the US. Trilby was set up by managing director Sara Langton and creative director Jeremy Daldry, a former commissioner for UKTV. The company won its first commission at the beginning of the year from the NBC-owned Hallmark Channel to coincide with the twentieth anniversary of US drama Law & Order. Trilby filmed with cast members in New York to highlight viewers' favourite ten detectives from the franchise. It is now in development on a slate of projects and has established a creative partnership with Debbie Young and Stefan Stuckert, the producer/director team behind Channel 4's Derren Brown: Trick Of The Mind. One film in the works is 9/11: The Greatest Work Of Art. Art critic Andrew Graham-Dixon will front the ninety-minute film, which will examine how the Twin Towers tragedy has manifested itself into both high and low culture. Another project is two-part investigation JFK: The Assassination Event, which promises 'the largest-ever forensic reconstruction' to answer whether Lee Oswald was a lone gunman.

The executive producer of House has promised that Cynthia Watros will return next season. Katie Jacobs told Entertainment Weekly that Watros will reprise her role as Wilson's former wife, Sam, in the new episodes. 'She absolutely factors into the beginning of the season,' Jacobs said. 'Where that relationship ultimately goes, I don't know.' Jacobs added that the series will focus on the dynamics of the changing relationships in the hospital now that House and Cuddy have kissed. 'Wilson will be with Sam and House will be with Cuddy,' she said. 'What does it look like for Princeton Plainsboro thematically? Does it work? We're going to look at that next season.'

The BBC has announced plans for an adaptation of cook Nigel Slater's memoir Toast. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory actor Freddie Highmore will play Slater, while Helena Bonham Carter will star as his step-mother. Speaking at the Cannes Film Festival, BBC1 controller Jay Hunt said: 'Toast is a wonderfully nostalgic drama that will be a real treat for BBC1 viewers. This remarkable cast is sure to really bring Nigel Slater's story alive.' Toast, which has sold over a quarter of a million copies, follows Slater's childhood, the death of his mother and his relationship with food. SJ Clarkson, whose credits include Life On Mars, Heroes and Mistresses, will direct from a script by Lee Hall who wrote Billy Elliot.

The arrival of Internet-connected televisions could provide a timely boost to advertising revenues for commercial broadcasters, according to research. A study by Dr David Lewis at the Sussex Innovation Centre found use of hybrid televisions - which combine Internet functionality with broadcast TV - increased an audience's ability to remember an advert by three hundred per cent. Or, four hundred per cent if it had a meerkat in it. Interactive adverts on the televisions had a recall rate of seventy three per cent compared with eighteen per cent for standard commercials. Brain pattern analysis of viewers using the platform showed they had a 'simple and enjoyable experience,' while standard commercials were 'mentally straining.' The survey was commissioned by Astra GB to examine how British consumers will respond following a UK launch, and the results were revealed at the Broadcast and Beyond conference on 19 May.

Strictly Come Dancing bosses are allegedly hoping to recruit Victoria Beckham and a number of other 'big-name stars' for the next series, a tabloid report has claimed. Show producers are keen to unveil an impressive line-up of celebrities this year and have been granted a bigger budget to do so, according to the Sun. It is thought that Amy Winehouse, Girls Aloud singer Kimberley Walsh and actress Patsy Kensit are among others who will be invited to become contestants. Bill Clinton's daughter Chelsea and his ex-lover Monica Lewinsky are also expected to be approached to compete on the programme. A Strictly insider said: 'It's no secret last year's line-up was pretty rubbish and viewers weren't happy. This year we're going for much bigger names. We've got more money to spend as things like Jonathan Ross's expensive contract have come to an end.' Meanwhile, the Daily Mail reports that Gary Lineker and wife Danielle Bux are already in talks with producers over the possibility of signing up as contestants.

Paul Gascoigne will talk about the time he burst into tears during England's Italia '90 semi-final defeat in one of two ITV1 documentaries to air during the World Cup. The sixty-minute Gazza's Tears - The Night That Changed Football tells the story of how Gascoigne broke down during the match against West Germany after he received his second yellow card of the tournament, meaning he would have been suspended for the final had England not subsequently lost on penalties. The documentary, made by ITV Studios-owned Shiver Productions, will also feature interviews with former England players Terry Butcher and David Platt, and manager Sir Bobby Robson's son, Mark. Shiver will also produce a four part series about the highs and lows of four previous tournaments. World Cup Rock 'n' Goal Years will air football footage dating back to 1986, when England lost out to Diego Maradona's 'Hand of God' goal. So, just like the BBC's 2002 Match Of The World Cup, only missing out all the good ones (1970, 1974, 1978). Talking heads will including David Seaman, Michael Owen and Gordon Strachan who look back and give their views on wider themes, such as the prominence of WAGs at Germany 2006.

The crash that ended supersonic air travel is to be explored in a ninety-minute documentary charting the history of Concorde. Channel 4, Discovery UK and the Smithsonian Channel are co-funding Concorde: The Supersonic Age (working title). The film's executive producers include Darlow's Julian Ware and Tom Brisley and Discovery UK senior vice-president, programming, Dan Korn. Not likely broadcast date has yet been given.

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