Monday, June 21, 2010

Farewell Frank

The creator of Being Human has dropped hints about the upcoming third series. Following the news that Lacey Turner will appear in an episode of the show, Toby Whithouse told SFX magazine that there will be some 'jaw-droppingly pant-wettingly exciting casting for a couple of guest characters.' Whithouse added that filming is currently underway and also revealed that a new creature will appear in the show. 'There are some new werewolves,' he said. 'There are some new vampires. And there's a something else. For years I've heard people saying to me, "You should put a witch-zombie-demon-banshee-warlock-goblin-fairy-pixie-angel in your show." I think they've got Being Human mixed up with Dungeons and fucking Dragons. Anyway, I've always secretly planned to pop one of them into an episode and it finally happens in season three.' Whithouse hinted that the vampires have been doing something 'secret and staggeringly cruel' to werewolves and added: 'Three have become four now, and in the next season they briefly become five.' He added: 'As I might have said before, in season one the threat was supernatural. In season two, the threat was human. In season three, the threat comes from within.'

Karen Gillan has revealed that she used to read what people were saying about her on the Internet. Oooo. Unwise. You do not wanna do that, Karen, love. That way, trust me, lies madness and sweaty palms. Including this blog. If you're reading this now, run away, it's not healthy! The Doctor Who star explained that she is still getting used to her new found fame. 'Being in Doctor Who has completely changed my life,' she said. 'There is no other show that brings the same level of interest and hype or frenzy around it. People call me Amy all the time now and I actually respond to it.' Gillan also admitted that she stopped looking at people's comments online because she found it 'strange. I couldn't resist having a look online to see what people thought of me as Amy,' she said. 'Although after a while it all got a bit strange seeing people talk about me. So I had to stop and I haven't looked since.' However, she added: 'It's just great to know there are loads of people that are interested in the show and care about it.'

Christopher Eccleston has said that he does not have heroes. The former Doctor Who actor plays the alcoholic wife-beating Scouse junkie John Winston O'Boogie Lennon in BBC4's upcoming biopic drama Lennon Naked but told Metro that the ex-Beatle was a far from perfect human being. Well, yeah. I mean, there was the wife-beating for a kick-off. Not very saintly, that. Not very Saint John of Strawberry Fields. Not that Lennon's arse-licking fandom will have a word said against him, of course. Which, ironically, the man himself would probably have found really quite offensive given that he professed himself to be such an anti-iconoclast. Eccleston said: 'I don't really do heroes. Heroes are dangerous because it's very unrealistic to elevate people to heroic status. Lennon was somebody I admired but I came to him late. And there was no doubt he was somebody who could be quite difficult to love.' Of his portrayal of Lennon's difficult interaction with his son Julian, he added: 'I did find that the most difficult part. There's a scene where John kicks a football away from Julian and it hurts. I don't have children but I couldn't imagine how he could have done that. You hope that when you are playing it, that people see an uncomfortable truth in it.' Eccleston continued: 'You could tell that he was insecure, which is part of what generated my sympathy for him. There was this contradiction fighting within him all the time. He became so famous so young and it was all about the music, then all the other stuff came piling in.'

Alan Yentob has defended the BBC's decision to withdraw its pay offer to Christine Bleakley. The move, which resulted in Bleakley joining ITV with haste so indecent as to be almost obscene, followed weeks of speculation about the presenter's future at the BBC. Bleakley had fuelled the rumours herself when she admitted that she was 'torn' between the BBC and ITV. Yentob, who is the BBC's creative director, has now claimed that Bleakley's public comments had influenced the organisation's decision. 'Having all these negotiations in the public eye in this way clearly was not helpful,' he said on 5Live. 'We decided she'd had a very long time to say yes and if she couldn't make up her mind, she didn't want to come.' He continued: 'If you're negotiating with someone else as well you feel a bit of a patsy if you're sitting down so we stopped and said, "Do you want to come?" and we didn't hear so we felt that was the right decision. People were waiting, including Chris Evans, talented people. In the end the most important thing was her commitment.'

X Factor fans have been asked to ignore England's World Cup moment of truth to watch the latest round of auditions. The third day of London try-outs will take place at the Excel Centre on Wednesday, between 2pm and 5pm. England's third crucial group game against Slovenia kicks off at 3pm. In a letter sent to fans with tickets, organisers Applause Store said: 'The X Factor auditions will continue as planned. Choose Dermot and Simon over our boys in South Africa. The judges and contestants are ready. All we wait for now are you, the audience.' A show 'source' allegedly told the Sun that fans attending the auditions would be given updates on the latest events in the football match during the afternoon. 'The updates are unlikely to come from the judges - imagine if Ashley Cole scored. It would be a bit awkward,' said the insider. 'But the audience will be kept up to date in the breaks between filming.'

Chris Sievey, the man behind the comedian, musician and North West showbiz icon Frank Sidebottom has died. The singer/songwriter collapsed at his home in Hale, Greater Manchester, in the early hours of Monday morning. The fifty four-year-old was pronounced dead at Wythenshawe Hospital, a spokeswoman confirmed. Known for his over-sized, papier-mâché head, Sievey found fame through a series of TV appearances in the 1980s and Frank Sidebottom remained a popular cult comedy figure. Often accompanied by his sidekick, Little Frank - a glove puppet made in his own image - Frank became a regular face on TV, his fame peaking in the early 1990s with his own series, Frank Sidebottom's Fantastic Shed Show. Sievey had been recovering from treatment to a tumour on his chest, his agent Nigel Round told the press. 'He said to me everything was going to be okay. It was obviously worse than what he was telling people. I think he wanted to protect everyone. He was such a talented man to dream up something like that. I don't think there will be another one like him.' In his pre-Sidebottom days. Chris had been an aspiring pop star with the Manchester new wave band The Freshies whose fame peaked with their power pop classic 'I'm In Love With The Girl On The Manchester Virgin Megastore Checkout Desk,' a minor hit single in 1981. Sievey's songs were sharp and witty and often based on topical pop culture subjects, such as 1980's 'I Can't Get 'Bouncing Babies' By The Teardrop Explodes.' One of Chris' major accomplishments in The Freshies was to produce the world's first multimedia single, when he included a Sinclair Spectrum game, The Biz, on the B-side of a single and it was out of this that the character of Frank Sidebottom first emerged. Caroline Ahearn's character Mrs Merton started out as Frank's sidekick on his Piccadilly radio show Radio Timperley, and the similarity of the characters is evident. Elsewhere, Frank appeared alongside fellow Mancunian icon Anthony Wilson on his Channel 4 show, Remote Control, and made regular - and much-loved - guest appearances on the children's Saturday morning show No. 73 on ITV. He also often cropped up on Radio 1 and Radio 5Live alongside his friends Mark Radcliffe and Marc Riley. Speaking to BBC Radio Manchester, Radcliffe described Chris as 'one of the very few people I have ever met in my life who I would call a genius. He was so creative, so brimming full of ideas, and it wasn't just his act, he lived his life as an elaborate extended act.' Frank's popularity faded somewhat towards the end of the Twentieth Century and Chris essentially 'retired' his creation and went to work with Altrincham-based Hot Animation, where he wrote an award-winning episode of the childrens' show, Pingu. But following a live appearance in 2005, Chris was offered the chance to return Frank to television on local Manchester station, Channel M, fronting the Frank Sidebottom's Proper Telly Show. In 2007, he staged an exhibition of his drawings and animations at the Chelsea Space Gallery in London and as recently as February this year, he was touring alongside punk poet, John Cooper Clarke. His last public appearance came on the opening day of the 2010 World Cup, when he staged a show at The Salutation in Manchester city centre to launch his new single, 'Three Shirts On My Line.'
     Yer Keith Telly Topping was a huge fan, dear blog reader, and will be playing 'Estudiantes (Striped Shirts, Black Panties)' and Frank's cover of 'I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday' ('... then I'd get lots of lovely Christmas presents everyday!') several times today in tribute. If you've never heard the man's work get yourself a copy of his compilation, ABC & D. If only for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of hearing his cover version of Kylie's 'I Should Be So Lucky.' Chris Sievey. A true legend. He really was. Thangyou.

Richard Dean Anderson has signed up to star in new series Facing Kate. The USA drama focuses on the titular character - played by Sarah Shahi - who decides to leave her job at a top law firm after the death of her father. Fancast reports that former MacGyver and Stargate SG-1 star Anderson has now agreed to appear in at least five episodes of the show. He is expected to play David Smith, a man who meets Kate shortly after her father's death. David is later found to have connections to Kate's family. Production on Facing Kate began in Vancouver earlier this month.

Bullseye has been revived for a new series on Five, according to reports. Jim Bowen's amateurishly arse darts game show, which was a baffling huge hit on ITV during the 1980s, will apparently return with Justin Lee Collins as host. Creator Andrew Wood told the Sun: 'There is plenty of quantity on TV but not much quality.' So, you're bringing back Bullseye? Are you on glue, mate? 'So many formats are awful. Bullseye could be Five's flagship show.' Challenge TV originally brought back the format in 2006 with the comedian Dave Spikey as presenter. It was crap, just like the original. Well, that's what's left of your career flushed down the netty, Justin. We'll call that Bully's special prize, eh?

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