Monday, June 07, 2010

Britain's Got Bored?

Gymnastics troupe Spelbound [sic] won ITV's Britain's Got Talent on Saturday night, earning an appearance at the Royal Variety Performance later this year. The group, of Ashford in Surrey, also picked up one hundred thousand notes after winning the final with an act that saw one member thrown over the heads of the judges. 'Street dance' duo Twist & Pulse were the runners-up in the public vote (no, I don't know how either) and teenage drummer Kieran Gaffney came third. Judge Simon Cowell said 'the right boys and girls won on the night.' He likened Spelbound's routine to an Olympic gold medal-winning performance and said it was one of the most astonishing things he had ever seen on live TV. Fellow judge Big Top's Amanda Holden added: 'We are hosting the Olympics Games and I can only think "what a brilliant opening act."' Oily twat Piers Morgan also said some stuff but nobody was particularly interested in that. Spelbound said that their victory was 'unbelievable' and they would now be focusing on the world acrobatic championships. There are thirteen members of the group in total, with ages ranging from twelve to twenty four. Other acts to make the final included singing grandmother Janey Cutler, boy band Connected, warbling accountant Christopher Stone and impressionist Paul Burling. Street dancer Tobias Mead, the dancing dog Chandi and her owner Tina Humphrey, and boy singer Liam McNally made up the final ten. The dance acts had been hoping to repeat the success of former winners Diversity, who won the talent show last year, and 2008 winner George Sampson. Twist & Pulse had coined the ludicrous phrase 'street-omedy' to describe their act, a fusion of street dance and comedy. Actually, it was fusion of crap and more crap. They should do very well for themselves for, ooo, the next six months or so before they find themselves back stacking shelves at Tesco. Previous winners, such as mobile phone salesman turned opera singer Paul Potts, who won in 2007, have turned their talent show victory into a lucrative career, whilst others, like Sampson, have pretty much disappeared without trace once Simon Cowell realised that there's not much money to be made out of a talent show winner that doesn't make records. No previous act, for instance, had matched the success of last year's runner-up, Susan Boyle. The singer recorded the UK's biggest-selling CD of 2009 - and was narrowly beaten to the same accolade in the US by Taylor Swift.

Meanwhile, on Sunday Sky News were reporting, hilariously, that the Observer had suggested the BGT final was 'expected to give ITV's highest rating in five years.' Quite why the newspaper would believe that when the overnight ratings for all of this year's series have been considerably down on last year - and the two semi-finals pulled in only nine million viewers - is, as yet, unknown. Because they're idiots, probably. Or, more likely, because some eager ITV PR person fed them a line and they actually believed it. In the event, overnight ratings for the Britain's Got Talent final were 12.3 million. Still an astonishingly good audience at any time and close to remarkable on a hot Saturday in June, of course, but something of - relative - disappointment for ITV given that a peak of over nineteen million watched last year's final. As previously noted, there was a crucial difference between this year and last. Susan Boyle. Last year, Britain's Got Talent was a, genuine, cross-media phenomena. This year, by contrast, it has merely been a very successful and popular television show. And all the hype in the world, and all of Piers Morgan's crowing in the Daily Mail won't change that.

And, at least one person seems to have realised this. Simon Cowell has reportedly admitted that Britain's Got Talent is in need of a revamp. According to the Sunday Mirror, the music mogul was left discontented with the semi-finalists this year, and has confronted producers about ensuring better acts for the show's fifth series next year. He is quoted as telling show executives: 'It's gone backwards. Some of the acts in the semi shouldn't have even got to that stage. Sometimes I feel like I am in the wrong show with what is before me.' A source added: 'He said they couldn't rest on their laurels. Simon wants the very best. He knows what the public likes and he works tirelessly to give it to them. None of the acts has really captured the public's imagination like in previous years. It's something that should have been flagged up beforehand during the early auditions. There is a feeling the show is maintaining a good rating on the back of its previous series. And, that's a recipe for disaster. Everyone knows each show is only as good as the next.' Meanwhile, an 'insider' told the People: 'Simon hasn't been happy with the show at all, this time around. He wants projects he's associated with to be tip-top. He believes Britain's Got Talent is now in need of some serious reinvestment. Last year Susan Boyle summed up the very best of what BGT is all about. There was nothing like that in this latest series. Simon feels the audition stages need to be more tightly controlled. He wants more variety than this year and an improved standard.'

Britain's Got Talent and The Thick Of It were among the victors at last night's British Academy Television Awards. The ITV talent show won its first ever BAFTA in the 'Entertainment Programme' category, while judge Simon Cowell took home the Academy's Special Award in recognition for his 'outstanding contribution to the entertainment industry.' The Thick Of It received the 'Situation Comedy' award, with Peter Capaldi winning 'Male Performance In A Comedy Role' for his portrayal of spin-doctor Malcolm Tucker in the BBC political satire. Co-star Rebecca Front also won the accolade of best 'Female Performance In A Comedy Role.' Other winners included Julie Walters, who received her sixth BAFTA for her performance in Channel 4's Mo, while Kenneth Branagh took home the 'Leading Actor' prize for playing the title role in Wallander. Matthew Macfadyen and Rebecca Hall each claimed their first awards as 'Supporting Actor' and 'Supporting Actress' respectively, with Macfadyen winning for Criminal Justice and Hall for her performance in serial killer drama Red Riding 1974. Ant and Dec also won in the 'Entertainment Performance' category as hosts of I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!, while EastEnders was the best 'Continuing Drama', the soap's first BAFTA in four years.

A huge exclusive seemed to have been gained on Sunday by the News of the World. They claimed that Christine Bleakley has signed a six million pound deal with ITV. The ONE Show host's new deal would, claimed the newspaper, see her presenting GMTV alongside former co-host Adrian Chiles. The deal, which would also see the presenter fronting other ITV shows, was said to have 'scuppered' BBC plans to make Bleakley the main female face of the 2012 London Olympics coverage. A - seemingly rather bitter - 'TV insider' had told the paper: 'This shows how ruthlessly ambitious Christine is. She went to ITV for the money but could have earned a fortune at the BBC in the next few years. She'll now be getting up at 3am, five times a week for GMTV. She could end up looking like Dot Cotton in a year! If she had stayed, she would still have been very rich and she would have been the face of the Olympics. I'm amazed she's been so short-sighted.' However, within just a few hours, these claimed were branded as 'speculation.' Although an ITV spokesman would not comment on whether the broadcaster was holding talks with Bleakley. Last month Chiles had hinted that the pair might be reunited on screen and said he 'loved' working with Bleakley. Speaking at the launch of ITV's World Cup coverage, which he will front, he said: 'Obviously, there's no doubt, sooner or later, Christine and I will work together in the future. Whether that's going to be in September on GMTV or some time in the future in a far off time or place, I don't know.'

A 'carnival atmosphere' will greet the contestants for the final series the of Channel 4 reality show Big Brother when they enter the house later this week - but they can expect little privacy. As usual. The house has garish walls decorated with clowns and strongmen and the smoking area is a fairground carousel. But many interior walls and doors are transparent glass - even the bathroom. 'There are circus things and it's all slightly Alice in Wonderland,' said commissioning editor David Williams. The dozen or so housemates who enter the house on Wednesday will have few opportunities to avoid each other. 'All the glass makes it feel lighter, but on the other hand you can never get away from anyone,' Williams told the BBC during a tour of the property at Elstree studios in Hertfordshire. 'You can kind of see from one end of the house to the other - which is a first.' The colourful decor is a marked contrast to previous themes in the house which have included 'hell' and 'prison.' In the luxury bathroom, the densely-illustrated wallpaper features the pictures of host Davina McCall, past housemates, paparazzi photographers - and even a UFO. There is also a mystery alcove behind the circular tub - with grass underfoot and a glass door. Launch night will see eighty-to-ninety hopefuls whittled down to the final twelve housemates. Creative director Phil Edgar-Jones said there might be some 'familiar faces' in the house on launch night, but he denied there were plans to put in housemates from previous series. 'We've got some mad twists and turns because it's the last series,' he said. 'I want it to be a really funny series.'

Lulu will host a season of shows for BBC1 looking back at the 1960s. The singer will front a week-long series of programmes called Rewind The 60s, which will examine the era that saw huge social and cultural changes, according to the Press Association. 'In the sixties, my life was a whirl of touring, recording and acting, so, as the host of Rewind The 60s, it's a great luxury to be given the chance to relive the highlights and share other people's recollections of this memorable decade,' the sixty one-year-old said. Liam Keelan, controller of BBC daytime said Lulu would make the series a 'popular and entertaining watch for our viewers. Her name is synonymous with the glamour and excitement of the decade.' So long as they dig out that clip of her singing 'The Boat That I Row' on Beat Club, I can guarantee them at least one viewer.

And, in this week's 'the Daily Star will believe anything you tell them, even if only in jest' the tabloid is alleging that Lady Gaga is being lined up to 'star in Doctor Who.' Yes, of course she is, mate. Meanwhile, back in the real world ... According to the Star, the BBC 'wants to sign up the singer, to play a villain in the series.' This revelation comes after writer Gareth Roberts happened to casually say, concerning a storyline he's currently pitching: 'The script might end up on screen one day with Lady GaGa, who will have fallen on hard times.' And somehow, out of that throwaway one-line joke, another bunch of jokes at the Star have managed to construct an 'exclusive.' A 'source' - who, of course, doesn't exist - added: 'She is no stranger to dressing up and would be more than a match for the Doctor. It would be a great coup to get her.' Tomorrow on 'the Daily Star will believe anything you tell them, even if only in jest,' participants in the final series of Big Brother are likely to include Lord Lucan, Mrs Thatcher, Elvis and the Honey Monster. Straight up. I heard it off this bloke in the pub, right ...

Rob Brydon has ruled out a full-time return to Gavin & Stacey if the show were to continue. Which, hopefully, it won't. The forty five-year-old comic, who played Uncle Bryn in the sitcom, did reveal that he would be prepared to take part in a one-off special. He told the News of the World: 'I think it is good that it has finished when it has. It has gone out on a high. I think they have been very clever doing that. It would have been very tempting to carry on and go out on a low. But I would like to do a special sometime. It was a lovely show and everyone working on it got on.'

Sir Paul McCartney has been ordered to apologise for a joke that he made about former US president George W Bush. Whilst collecting the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song from Barack Obama, the sixty seven-year-old reportedly quipped: 'After the last eight years, it's great to have a president who knows where the library is.' According to the Daily Telegraph, Republican congressman John Boehner has now demanded an apology from the singer, who Boehner claims he had previously respected. '[I] thought of him as a classy guy, but I was surprised and disappointed by the lack of grace and respect he displayed at the White House. I hope he'll apologise to the American people for his conduct which demeaned him, the White House and President Obama,' he said. Quite right. Although, in the interests of balance, we wonder if Congressman Boehner would like to get the former president himself to apologise to the rest of the world. For, you know, starting a war over weapons of mass destruction that didn't even exist. And stuff. I'm sure we'd all appreciate it.

Plans for Sarah Ferguson to host a US chat show have reportedly been scrapped after she was recently caught attempting to sell access to her ex-husband Prince Andrew. The Duchess of York who had - allegedly - been relying on the forthcoming project to clear her massive debts, had hoped that an appearance on the The Oprah Winfrey Show could put the series back on track. A source told the News Of The World: 'There's no way Fergie's chat show is going ahead now. The cash-for-access scandal destroyed her commercial viability and the Oprah interview was the only way to save that. But people couldn't believe she blamed her actions on having too much to drink, claiming the money was for a "friend in need." That didn't go down well at all. It's not the American way and provoked a bigger backlash.' The insider added: 'In the past Sarah's made a good impression here with her royal connections and her chat show project was about to take off. It would have earned her about one million dollars for the first series alone. But she's blown it now - she's damaged goods.' So, you see, the Americans do have some concept of honesty, it would seem.

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