Monday, May 03, 2010

Without Knowledge Of Your History You Cannot Determine Your Destiny

Last night's Time Team episode was a fun exploration of the site around the major Roman Fort at Piercebridge in the Tees Valley. For twenty years local divers Bob Middlemass and Rolfe Mitchinson had been making discoveries in the river - silver rings dedicated to Mercury, figurines of Cupid and even what they believed to be the remains of two wooden bridges. But the invitation to investigate at Piercebridge actually came from one of the British Museum's coin experts Philippa Walton, who was fascinated by the wealth of Roman objects found on the river bed. It was a rather unusual episode in that it featured a chance for Phil and Tony to go diving (or, rather, paddling) in the river and for the extraordinary moment when Mick The Twig Worthington absolutely refused to show Tony a potential dendrochronology date, much to Old Baldrick's snarky displeasure. Plus, we got lots of show staples - Mick Aston's casual disdain for the Romans despite their significant achievements (the aquaduct, for one), poor old put-upon John Gater with a face like a smacked arse when his thirty grands worth of Geophys equipment was put in a decidedly unstable-looking rubber dinghy, Guy de la Bédoyère up to his waist in water describing how the Roman army attracted a following of ladies of, shall we say 'easy virtue' and Stewart Ainsworth and Ben Shepherd arguing over whether the Romans were particularly bothered about occupying the high ground. Fascinating stuff, as always. As I've said before, there's a real danger when watching Time Team that the viewer might just learn something. And that would never do in today's media of seven second attention spans and Pavlov's Dogs-style reaction to basic stimuli. Sod it, I'd sooner watch Time Team any day.

Graham Norton has reportedly 'poked fun' at the BBC after its 'mistake' at the climax of last week's Doctor Who. It was widely reported last week that over six thousand viewers of the SF drama were so furious at the appearance of an animated Graham Norton dancing on the screen during the final moments of the Time of Angels episode, to plug Over The Rainbow that they complained to the BBC. According to the Sun, the flamboyant presenter makes a 'hilarious' parody of the situation on tonight's edition of The Graham Norton Show by having a Dalek blowing his animated face off. Glad we could provide you with a useful comedy idea, Graham - particularly after some of the borderline homophobic garbage that got thrown your way for something that wasn't in any way your fault. Respect.

Eliminated Over The Rainbow contestant Stephanie Davis has heavily criticised the song choices that she was given during her time on the show. The seventeen-year-old wannabe singer, who was voted off the Andrew Lloyd Webber talent contest yesterday, claimed that she had been given too many 'big ballads' during the competition and argued that she had not been allowed to show off her versatility. 'It was just too soon. I felt like I had so much more to give. I just felt like with the song choices, that I didn't get to show, what I could do,' she told the Digital Spy website. 'I had so much more to give. But it has happened now. It all happens for a reason. It was fate.' Ah well, never mind Steph eh. Fate dictates that it's back to the tills at Kwiksave for you, m'love. Your dreams of achieving riches beyond all thoughts of avarice crushed to a million fragments beneath the jack-booted heal of Y'lordship's whims and caprices. Just like the Eighteenth Century, in fact. Only, marginally less public hanging and transportation to the colonies.

Doctor Who again pulled in the BBC's highest overnight audience on Saturday with just a sliver under seven million viewers on BBC1 and BBC HD. Opposite it, ITV's game show The Whole Nineteen Yards got a steady 4.2m. Britain's Got Talent again, inevitably, won the night with just over ten million viewers although the BBC will have been pleased that Casualty managed to pull in six million punters. Over The Rainbow, too, broadly held its audience from last week, with 5.2m. It seems from the evidence of the last five weeks that the BBC's decision to schedule Doctor Who early as 'a gateway to the evening' is - to an extent - working and pulling in additional viewers for subsequent shows. And, BGT as a notable centre-piece exception, ITV's Saturday prime time schedule has, quite simply, fallen apart. The Prisoner was down to 1.8m at 9:00 not only being mauled by Casualty but surrendering a lead-in audience of over ten million from BGT and, being watched by an audience the same size as that achieved by a repeat of an episode of CSI: New York on Five. Now that's embarrassing. Even worse from the point of view of the ITV drama, it was beaten by ITV2's Britain's Got Talent spin-off. The Prisoner - now in its third week of six - lost a staggering eighty five per cent of the lead-in audience from Britain's Got Talent. Over twice as many viewers (3.8m) were watching Match of the Day on BBC1 fifteen minutes after The Prisoner finished. Yer Keith Telly Topping did - broadly - enjoy the series when it was shown in the US last year. But, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, I had a horrible feeling that The Prisoner was going to floppy-flop big-style in this particular slot. Sad to say, it probably requires that bit too much 'thinking' for yer traditional ITV Saturday night viewer. That's crass stereotyping, I know, but ratings figures would appear to bear it out.

BBC bosses are said to be so 'desperate' to keep Christine Bleakley that they have offered her a solo show, according to the ever reliable Daily Mail. The plan comes after Adrian Chiles quit the corporation - supposedly over its decision to let Chris Evans host the Friday night edition of The ONE Show in his place - although evidence now suggests that was only part of the reason. Chiles, has moved to ITV in a reported six million pounds deal - that was the other part of the reason! - which will see him present GMTV and sports programming. And doing to Steve Rider and Andrew Castle exactly what Chris Evans is doing to him. A BBC 'source', too cowardly to give his or her own name, it would seem, told the newspaper: 'There has been interest from ITV for Christine. Last year, she was approached for talks about This Morning, and now they are definitely keen on her. Christine has become a star here and there is no way we want her to go. There are various Saturday night shows that are being discussed.' The thirty one-year-old's two-year contract with The ONE Show comes to an end at the end of the year. Bleakley - seen right, modelling the brightest teeth in show business since Donny Osmond got dentures - is rumoured to have been lined-up to replace Tess Daly as host on Strictly Come Dancing. The move would come under a major revamp of the show, while also forming part of the deal designed to stop Bleakley leaving the channel. Daly, forty one, has presented with Bruce Forsyth since Strictly's launch six years ago. A BBC 'source' - possibly at difference one - said: 'Big changes are afoot. Tess and Bruce are at the heart of the Strictly family and are dearly loved by fans and staff alike. But they've fronted the show for over half a decade now and no one can go on forever. So plans are being drawn up for when that day comes.' According to the Sunday Mirror, Daly's contract runs out after the next Strictly series in December, when co-host Bruce Forysth is also widely expected to stand down.

Richard Madeley, in the mean time, has 'confirmed' that he would not be interested in hosting The ONE Show on a full time basis. This, despite the fact that nobody from the BBC had actually asked him if he wants to do it. That's a bit putting-the-cart-before-the-horse Richard.

Little Declan Donnelly has praised the quality of the acts showcased on Saturday night's Britain's Got Talent. The thirty four-year-old dwarf said the that turns from his - and yer Keith Telly Topping's - hometown of Newcastle upon Tyne were 'fantastic,' disagreeing with show judge Piers Morgan. That's not, actually a crime, Dec. In fact, in polite society it's a bloody requirement. Dec claimed: 'There were some fantastic acts there, so we had the moral victory!' Please tell me Geordie Pantsman wasn't one of them. However, oily twat Morgan quipped: 'I'd like to think Newcastle can produce better talent than Ant and Dec!' It can, mate, have you seen any of The Championship this year?

Simon Cowell is apparently 'scaling back' his involvement in Britain's Got Talent because he is becoming 'increasingly annoyed' at Piers Morgan and Amanda Holden's choice of acts according to a press report. Cowell has told 'friends' that he believes his fellow judges are backing poor quality performances to simply 'wind him up.' And, why not? Morgan and Holden have endorsed five performers in the past three auditions against Cowell's wishes and the News Of The World suggests that the fifty-year-old has 'had enough.' A source said: 'Piers and Amanda take great joy in saying "yes" to performers they know Simon will hate but it hasn't gone down well. He's annoyed they're putting through acts that shouldn't even be on TV, let alone in the final stages of the world's leading talent contest. Simon has just had enough of them messing about and not seeming to take it seriously - that's why he's off.' Cowell confirmed last week that he will not be appearing at the auditions in next year's show, but will join the panel at the semi-final stage. He cited the US launch of The X Factor as playing a role in his decision, describing it as a 'huge challenge.' But the 'insider' said Cowell is becoming increasingly confused as to why some acts are being put through to the later stages of the ITV talent contest. 'They're not good enough to win and Simon knows it. He feels he has more important things to do in life,' the 'source' said. Don't let us detain you, Si.

Meanwhile, Cowell is alleged to be preparing to sign Dermot O'Leary and Cat Deeley for his US version of The X Factor, according to another report. Oh good. Hopefully that'll mean all three of them will be far too busy to do any British telly for a while. O'Leary will host the main show while Deeley will front its spin-off The Xtra Factor, claims the Sunday Mirror. A source said that the posts were two of the most 'fought-over' jobs in TV at the moment, adding that the British presenters' fame is about to go 'stratospheric. Dermot and Cat must be laughing about how all those years of being gunked on kids' TV have finally paid off,' the 'insider' said. Cheryl Cole is also being hotly tipped for a job on the show's judging panel after Cowell said he was keen to launch her Stateside career. It's worth remembering, of course, that whilst she might be a huge name in this country, Cheryl - and Girls Aloud generally - mean absolutely nothing in the US. The two remaining judges' slots are likely to be given to established American names.

Geoffrey Hughes has revealed that he turned down the opportunity to return to Coronation Street. The sixty six-year-old actor, who played cult heroes the binman Eddie Yeats on the programme between 1974 and 1987, claims that his life on the Isle of Wight would stop him returning to full-time work. He told the Southern Daily Echo: 'Living on the island, I am totally content. I'm very, very happy here.' Following his stint on the ITV soap, Hughes has starred in Heartbeat, Keeping Up Appearances, Doctor Who and The Royle Family.

Denise Welsh is still having an affair with her ex-lover Steve Murray, a report has claimed. According to the People, the Loose Women presenter continued the affair which she claims stopped six years ago in her newly-released autobiography. Murray recounted to the newspaper a reunion they had two months ago, saying: 'She was amazing. She turned up wearing a gorgeous black dress. It was seconds before her dress was off. We couldn't keep our hands off each other. It felt so good to be back with her again and she told me she loved being with me. All our old feelings for each other came rushing back. But funnily enough she doesn't mention that in her book.' Responding to the speculation, the former Coronation Street actress said: 'I'm away. I've got no comment to make.' Welsh has been married to actor Tim Healy since 1988.

Christiane Amanpour has left CNN after twenty seven years of broadcasting for the cable network. Amanpour, who will replace George Stephanopoulos as anchor on ABC's Sunday morning political show This Week, took a nostalgic look back with classic moments of the past three decades on her last CNN show. She said: 'This is our final broadcast, and I want to say what a privilege it has been to be at CNN for the past twenty seven years, to have had the opportunity to report the news to you all over the world, from all over the world. I have tried to be your eyes and ears in pursuit of the truth and the stories that beg to be told. That's been my mission in the field and here in the studio.'

Louie Spence has vowed to 'race round' the Top Gear track after being invited to appear on the BBC show by Jeremy Clarkson. The Pineapple Dance Studios star met Jezza on Jonathan Ross's chat show last week when, he was asked to take the programme's 'Star In A Reasonably Priced Car' challenge, the Sun reports. Spence later revealed: 'I told Jeremy I want to race around the track. Simon Cowell came second, didn't he? I could knock him out of the way for first place. I'd give it a bloody good try.' Spence was due to appear on Friday Night With Jonathan Ross alongside Demi Moore, Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert Downey Jr. However, flight disruptions due to the volcanic ash cloud saw Clarkson and Paul Weller drafted onto the show the last minute. 'My supporting cast on the night ended up being less glamorous,' noted Louie, before adding 'Paul looked immaculate and didn't have a hair out of place, but Jeremy did look as if he had just come from a day at the bank.'

Bear Grylls has said that he thinks Ray Mears is always being rude about him and calling him a boy scout. When the Grunaid Morning Star asked if he would like to cuddle Mears, Grylls said that he had never met the Extreme Survival presenter. However, he added: 'He's always so rude about me. I say what a great guy he is, what a hero he is and think, "I'm sure he'll be nice about me." The next day he's going, "That Bear Grylls - he's a boy scout, his advice is going to get people killed." I'm like, "Ray!"' Grylls was also surprised to hear that Mears had recently said that he 'didn't have a problem' with Grylls himself. 'He didn't roar with laughter?' Grylls asked. 'Well, that's good to know.' In 2009, Grylls was appointed the youngest ever Chief Scout at the age of thirty five.

A report released by the polling organisation YouGov on their website has claimed that their survey group found the recent leaders' television debates in the UK general election campaign to have been 'the most interesting things broadcast on television' over the past two weeks - and specifically highlighted that they are regarded as having been 'more interesting' than Doctor Who. The sad bastards! The debates, between the leaders of the UK's three main political parties, have been shown on ITV, Sky News and BBC1. They are the first of their kind ever to have been held during a UK general election campaign. Twenty nine per cent of those asked by YouGov declared that they found the confrontations between Nick Clegg, Gordon Brown and David Cameron to have been the most interesting programmes of the past fortnight. That compares to seventeen per cent saying Doctor Who was the most interesting. Though this does place the beloved Time Lord comfortably ahead of ITV's ratings heavyweight Britain's Got Talent, which only ten per cent regarded as the most interesting programme.

And finally, you maybe remember how, on the first episode of the current series of You Have Been Watching, King Charlie Brooker noted that the thing he thought would most improve The Ludicrous Ms Dahl would be if 'a man with a cricket bat, covered in shit,' came in and 'smashed the whole fucking place up.' This set yer Keith Telly Topping fair thinking, dear blog reader. And this is what he came up with.

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