Wednesday, June 02, 2010

And When They Were Up, They Were Up

Oscar-nominated scriptwriter Richard Curtis has compared Doctor Who to William Shakespeare's Hamlet. Curtis has written the forthcoming tenth episode of the current series, Vincent and the Doctor, in which the Doctor and Amy meet the artist Vincent Van Gogh, played by Tony Curran, and battle a dangerous alien. Speaking to the Radio Times, Curtis compared the role of the Doctor to playing Hamlet, saying: 'It is a pivotal, career-making role, to be reprised over the years with different actors, always the same, and yet metamorphosing radically with each new incarnation.' Curtis also explained that he was not a dedicated fan of the show in his childhood, revealing that he had wanted to write an episode to please his children. 'We all watched the Christmas special two years ago and my children said I had to do one,' he said. 'Scarlett, our eldest, pointed out that while I'd always promised I would write a children's movie, by the time I do, she won't be a child any more. And the great thing about telly is how swift it is by comparison with films.'

Doctor Who actor Arthur Darvill may return to the show, despite his character's dramatic death in last week's episode. In Cold Blood, viewers saw Darvill's character, Rory Williams, gunned down by a Silurian soldier, sacrificing himself to save Matt Smith's Doctor. However, the Daily Star has reported that Rory will definitely return - in some form - in the final two episodes of the series. A source said: 'Viewers saw Rory shot by a Silurian and then sucked through the crack in the universe. It's a science fiction show which means anything can happen. Rest assured this isn't the last you'll see of Rory.' Good. Yer Keith Telly Topping is greatly pleased with this news.Meanwhile the final consolidated ratings figures for week ending 23 May were published by BARB yesterday and show a quite staggering time-shift increase in Doctor Who's audience of over two million viewers. The Hungry Earth's audience rose from an overnight four and a half million to a consolidated figure of six and a half million (just over six million on BBC1 and four hundred and eighty three thousand on BBC HD). This is the second time this season that Doctor Who has time-shifted two million plus (the first was for the opening episode of the series, The Eleventh Hour). So, it seems that some people in this country have worked out how to use their recording devices wisely. Who'd thought it? Further proof, I guess, that the days of overnight ratings being the be-all and end-all of a show's success or failure are, rapidly, becoming a thing of the past. Television viewing habits are changing - with the rise of Sky +, recordable DVD and, particularly, iPlayer. As my mate Tony Jordan noted, 'the end of the world is ... postponed.'

ITV's ratings juggernaut week had an expectedly huge start on Monday night. At 7:30, the night's first Coronation Street got an audience of 7.8m but, thereafter, a solid ten million viewers watched Britain's Got Talent, the night's second Coronation Street and then the Britain's Got Talent results show. The big BBC casualty was EastEnders at 8:00 which had its lowest audience for at least five years, 4.9m (a nineteen per cent audience share). Pretty much everything else was wiped out for the night, including Five's showing on the FlashForward series finale. Albeit, the BBC will be quite happy with the 2.6m that the debut of Springwatch 2010 achieved on BBC2.

Charlie Brooker has revealed that he believes Jeremy Paxman would make a 'great' comedian. Speaking to Radio Times, the acid-tongued TV critic lauded the heavyweight Newsnight presenter and national treasure, whom he has previously mentioned on his BBC4 review show Newswipe. He commented: 'He's funny and angry and that's a great combination. He's just magnetically funny to watch.' On how he first became interested in comedy, Brooker explained: 'When I used to be a kid at primary school, I used to draw comics. I was trying to impress a girl and it didn't work - there were horrific things happening in my strips. God knows what a child psychologist would make of them.'

The new season of Celebrity Rehab has, reportedly, been postponed after the producers were unable to find enough cast members. According to TMZ, the show was due to begin filming on Tuesday but was halted due to the lack of any 'big name stars' associated with the programme. Tila Tequila - who? - and Jason Wahler - I say, again, whom? - recently confirmed their participation, however series executives were reportedly unhappy with the 'limited profiles' of those scheduled to take part. They are said to have offered up to one million dollars to Lindsay Lohan to join the cast, but she turned them down. Heather Locklear, Charlie Sheen and Jenna Jameson are also understood to have refused offers to appear. I wonder why. I mean, surely reaching the very bottom of the barrel and having your disintegrating life and dignity played out like a soap opera on television for the entertainment of sick voyeurs is part of the dream that is showbusiness, isn't it? It certainly helps to explain I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here! Producers at VH1 are currently said to be trying to recruit Sarah Ferguson. Or, anybody else that's desperate for cash and who don't mind being made to look like a fool.

John Prescott has asked his followers on Twitter for advice on his upcoming role as host of Have I Got News For You. The former deputy prime minister is due to host the final episode of the show's current thirty ninth series, alongside regular team captains Paul Merton and Ian Hislop. Having announced the news, Prescott asked: 'So what do we think about me hosting HIGNFY next week? Any tips or words of advice?' He later commented on the responses he had received, posting: 'Thanks for tips for hosting HIGNFY. Six of them were to punch [Ian] Hislop!' Oh, I wouldn't do that, John. That's called assault, you get six months for that shit. Prescott's episode will also feature comedian John Bishop and another Labour MP, Bob Marshall-Andrews, as guest panellists.

Tom Skerritt has signed to guest star on Leverage. According to TV Guide, the veteran seventy six-year-old actor will play the character of Nate Ford's father on the upcoming third season of the popular TNT drama.

Hugh Laurie has admitted that he is unsure how much longer his medical drama House will run. The actor said that his current contract expires at the end of the show's next - seventh - season, but he is 'open' to continuing beyond then. He told Entertainment Weekly: 'I only hope we'll know when the time is right [to end the show]... I think we'll have a sense next year at some point [about whether to continue].' Laurie also claimed that he does not concern himself with worries over the programme's future. 'I have the brain of a hamster and I can't think beyond five o'clock this afternoon,' he joked. 'I really am that stupid.' No you're not, Hugh, don't put yourself down like that. You were smart enough to get to Cambridge, be part of one of the finest comedy double-acts this country has produced since Morecambe and Wise, write a very funny best-selling novel, play several instruments, become an actor of genuine world class and row for your university in the boat race. Some would regard all that as the achievements of a very clever and very talented man.

Kate Garraway has admitted that she does not know the truth of rumours about the planned overhaul of GMTV. Which only goes to prove that she hasn't, yet, been told that she's about to be sacked.

And, speaking of vacuous waste-of-space women, the grand old Duchess of York (she had ten thousand men) has admitted that she had been drinking and was 'in the gutter' when she was caught on film asking for half-a-million quid from an undercover journalist posing as a businessman in return for an introduction to her former husband in London last month. In a puke-inducing, sickly-sweet first interview since the scandal emerged, the disgraced ex-royal revealed to a simpering Winfrey who asked absolutely no questions that an upset five year old would have had difficulty with that she had seen snippets of the video in airports, but had not watched it in its entirety. 'I haven't faced the devil in the face because I was in the gutter at that moment,' Sarah Ferguson said in the interview on The Oprah Winfrey Show, which was taped in Los Angeles on Friday and was broadcast in the US earlier this week. 'I'm aware of the fact that I've been drinking, you know, that I was not in my right place.' The footage, filmed by an undercover reporter from the News of the World, showed the duchess suggesting that half-a-million pounds would 'open doors' before confirming that she was referring to her former husband, who met the 'most amazing people.' After promising the reporter, who was posing as a wealthy businessman, that she would introduce him to Prince Andrew, the duchess is shown accepting forty thousand dollars in cash as a down payment, for services to be rendered. After the publication of the report last week, the duchess issued an apology for her actions and said that Prince Andrew had not been aware of the meetings. The duchess, said that she was 'devastated' at being secretly filmed and blamed financial stresses on her 'serious lapse of judgment.' You mean 'greed,' I think. Still, as previously noted, if there's one good thing that's come out of this whole sorry mess it's that the chances of a third run of The Duchess On The Estate would now seem to be unlikely. Hurrah.

Over The Rainbow's winning Dorothy, Danielle Hope, has admitted that she felt 'sick' upon her victory. Me too. Curious, that is it not?

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