Sunday, June 20, 2010

Get Ready For The Dawn Chorus, Christine

Jason Manford reportedly had a lucky escape last week when two tyres on the hire car he was being driven in blew out on the motorway. The new host of BBC's The ONE Show lived to tell the tale after his shocking tyres incident - or more precisely tweet the tale to his Twitter followers. 'Bloody hell, just nearly died! Two tyres blown out in the fast lane on the way to Swindon. We were travelling at seventy mph - what a nightmare.' Dad-of-two Jason was unhurt but said the incident near Stafford on Wednesday had left him badly shaken. The comedian was forced to call off the gig at Swindon's Wyvern Theatre and said he had no idea what caused both tyres to blow. One Show host Jason Manford in motorway tyre blow-out terror was the Mirror's somewhat hysterical headline.

But, despite this might well be presenting The ONE Show on his own by the look of things. Early on Sunday the BBC revealed that it had 'regretfully withdrawn' its contract offer to Christine Bleakley, who said last week that she was 'torn' between the BBC and ITV. Bleakley recently told the press that her BBC contract was due to end 'shortly' and she would decide on her future 'very soon.' 'Christine is still unable to make a decision' said the BBC. It said it was putting 'the interests of The ONE Show audience first and the current uncertainty does not allow us to do that.' Bleakley's former co-host Adrian Chiles recently went to ITV and there has been much media speculation over her future. Chiles left The ONE Show in April, saying he was 'disappointed' over changes to the show's format following the addition of Radio2's Chris Evans to the presenting team. Chiles is now fronting ITV's football coverage and is due to begin hosting a revamped breakfast show, in place of GMTV. The BBC said it had been in discussions with Bleakley about her new contract ever since she told the corporation in April she wanted to be part of a relaunched ONE Show following Chiles's departure. 'With that in mind we made a full and final offer to her several weeks ago and made it clear we would not be entering into a bidding war with other channels,' the BBC said. 'Christine is still unable to make a decision and therefore we have regretfully withdrawn our offer as we have to put the interests of The ONE Show audience first and the current uncertainty does not allow us to do that,' it added. Bleakley had explained in an unusual move last week that she was trying to decide whether to accept offers from the BBC or ITV, making it clear she could rejoin Chiles if she chose to. Celebrities do not normally say anything about contract negotiations until a deal is signed. 'We [Bleakley and Chiles] have a brilliant relationship on and off screen, although I can't say I'd particularly relish the idea of dealing with him at 5am every morning,' she said. 'On the other hand the BBC is incredibly good to me and I'm very close to everyone on The ONE Show, which I love presenting. The BBC's plans for The ONE Show are very exciting. I expect to make a decision on my future very soon.' A couple of gobshite MPs also got involved in the story when it was reported that the BBC had offered Bleakley a nine hundred thousand pound contract over two years. The chairman of the Culture Media and Sport committee, John Whittingdale, told the Sun: 'This is public money.' Yes mate. So was all of the public money that lots of your colleagues stole from the people of this country in the form of over claimed expenses. Have you, for instance, paid back your £301.58 yet? If not, I'd like it back, please. I'm a tax payer, you work for me. 'If she feels she can go and earn vast sums in the private sector, then good luck to her.' A very Tory attitude. Just in case you'd forgotten what one sounds like. Expect, some time in the next few months, this wretched non-entity of an individual to be giving further worthless opinions. Probably to the Daily Scum Mail, they seem to share an agenda. Bleakley recently signed a new management deal which means she is now represented by the same company as Chiles.

Of course, within hours, we learned why the BBC had made this unexpected move when it was officially announced that ITV had signed an exclusive three year deal with Bleakley to present GMTV and other prime-time entertainment shows. Where she will earn vast sums of money. And, have to get about at about four o'clock, five days a week. Bet Frank Lampard's going to love that. Meanwhile, Jonathan Ross is also reportedly in talks to take his chat show to ITV, in a deal worth an alleged two million pounds per year. The presenter would still be able to work on other channels as part of the deal. A source told the News Of The World: 'Channel 4 really wants Jonathan. But it can't spend the same amount of money as ITV so any deal would be for smaller shows. ITV boss Peter Fincham also loves Jonathan's work, so he made an initial approach and things developed from there.' Another source added: 'He'll probably still host the BAFTAs for the BBC and wants to host the British Comedy Awards, which are moving to Channel 4.'

Doctor Who averaged just a shade under six million viewers for BBC1 on Saturday evening, according to early overnight data and, for the first time in several weeks, was British TV's highest-watched programme of the day. The Pandorica Opens, the penultimate episode of series five, attracted 5.38m from 6.50pm on BBC1, along with a further five hundred thousand BBBC HD viewers. Doctor Who Confidential followed on BBC3 with six hundred and twenty four thousand at 7.20pm. Big Brother sunk to its lowest rating of its final series so far, with an audience of just 1.65m. Meanwhile, Cameroon v Denmark proved to be one of the more low-profile World Cup clashes, pulling in 4.65m for ITV from 7pm. Which was a shame because it was a really good game. After that, James Corden's World Cup Live continued with just over two and a half million viewers. Overall, 19.7 per cent of the audience chose BBC1 across prime time, narrowly beating the 18.6 per cent which watched ITV. Channel 4 followed in third with a decent 8.2 per cent, whilst Five found itself ahead of BBC2, with 5.6 per cent compared to five per cent.

In two new Hyundai adverts parodying the BBC2 motoring programme Top Gear and its presenters have turned up online. Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond appear as a wildebeest, a tortoise and, rather fittingly given his nickname, a hamster. Top Deer pulls out all the stops, echoing the show's visual aesthetics, theme music and test drives for its Tucson Lx35 commercials. In the first advert's opening scene, the wildebeest - which has a Clarkson-like voice - introduces the show, saying: 'Tonight, I get my hooves on the new Hyundai Tucson Lx35, Captain Cautious installs airbags inside his shell and a hamster gets lost inside an improbably large boot.' The car is then taken for a test drive by the wildebeest, who – placing his hooves on the wheel, adds: 'You get controls at your fingertips, which is great, if you've got fingers.' It concludes: 'Unless you're one hundred per cent human, this SUV is about as appealing as a hamster sandwich.' The second advert also mocks Top Gear's tame racing driver by introducing an animal doppelganger: 'Some say his droppings contain traces of plutonium… all we know is that we call him The Stag.' The videos have attracted more than two hundred thousand viewers on YouTube. You can check 'em out here and here. Good stuff!

EastEnders actress Lacey Turner is to make a guest appearance in the new series of BBC3 supernatural drama Being Human. In her first television role since announcing her decision to quit Walford, the twenty two-year-old - who has played troubled Stacey Branning since 2004 - is to portray a character called Lia who steers Mitchell (Aidan Turner) on his journey to purgatory where he hopes to save his friend Annie (Lenora Crichlow). Speaking of her guest spot, Turner said: 'It was fantastic working on Being Human, I had some great scenes with Aidan Turner, especially when his character is facing up to some of the things he has done in the past.' She added: 'The cast and crew were really welcoming and I can't wait to watch how the story comes together on screen when the series airs.' At the end of series two, Annie was left trapped behind Death's Door and in the wake of her disappearance, her friends decide to move to Wales in the hope of a fresh start. However, when Mitchell hears Annie's desperate cries for help, he sets out on a mission to find her. The third series of Being Human is currently being filmed in Cardiff and will be broadcast later in the year.

A statue of Captain Mainwaring from the BBC sitcom Dad's Army has been unveiled in the Norfolk town where many of the classic sitcom's scenes were filmed. The life-size bronze cast of the character, played by Arthur Lowe, is seated on a bench by the Old Anchor Hotel in Thetford. Bill Pertwee, who played Warden Hodges in the series, was among those who returned to the town for the unveiling. Others cast members and writers were in Norfolk on Sunday for a Dad's Army Day. Many of them stayed at the Old Anchor Hotel during the filming of the series in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s. The statue was funded by the Friends of Dad's Army Museum, also based in Thetford. The widely popular sitcom, about a motley group of men in the Home Guard during World War II, was written by Jimmy Perry and David Croft and ran between 1968 and 1977.

Kristin Chenoweth has revealed that she may return to Glee next season to reprise her role as April Rhodes. The actress told CBS News that the show's writers have expressed interest in the character's future which leaves the door open for an appearance. 'I've gotten to come back twice,' she said. 'They keep talking about what she's gonna do next, so I can only assume I'll be back.' In addition to working on a new television project, she is planning to record a new CD and will go on tour after its release. 'As long as I'm getting paid I'm good. I just keep on keeping on.'

X Factor 'bosses' have been accused of only choosing ‘good-looking’ people to sit behind the judges at auditions so that 'ugly' audience members won't be caught on camera. At least, this is according to the Daily Scum Mail, anyway. Well, yeah. I mean, who wants to watch a big fat ugly wobbly thing on Saturday night telly? You get enough of that on Britain's Got Talent. The allegations came from 'ordinary-looking' fans who claimed that despite booking priority tickets well in advance for the show, they were held back as prettier people were picked to sit behind Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole, Louis Walsh and Natalie Imbruglia. After the disappointed X Factor fans left Birmingham's LG Arena last week week, some of them vented their anger on the Internet. One fan wrote on a forum: 'It's an absolute joke! I went yesterday, they pick attractive people to sit at the front, regardless of priority (ticketing) or where they are in the queue. I was so gutted when I was in my seat, I had tears in my eyes.' You obviously didn't have that X-Factor they were looking for, sweetheart. Take it up with Cowell.

Overhead in the office, from one of my colleagues when told that Wimbledon would be occupying most of BBC2 for the next fortnight: 'But, where's Murder She Wrote going to go?' True story!

ITV is reportedly planning to shift all of its remaining children's programming to digital channel CITV in a move which has disappointed campaigners. According to the Mirror, the broadcaster intends to make children's programmes such as The Sooty Show only available on the CITV channel. ITV management recently told media regulator Ofcom that it has become 'ineffective and inefficient' to air children's content on ITV. The broadcaster also blamed the move on 'acute economic pressures and structural change affecting public sector broadcasters.' An ITV spokesman said: 'ITV's focus is on continuing to prioritise our investment on the popular CITV channel.' However, The Sooty Show host Matthew Corbett said that it was 'a sad day for the country.' Greg Childs, from campaign group Save Kids' TV, added that ITV's approach to children's programming on its main channel was 'disappointing.'

Amanda Holden has reportedly turned down the chance to appear on Piers Morgan's Life Stories. Too much dignity, obviously. Albeit, Big Top ... Anyway, the Britain's Got Talent judge, thirty nine, is allegedly planning to write about her life in an autobiography instead. Oh, I'll bet that'll be a right riveting read. Speaking to the Sun, she said: 'I think I will write a book. Why would I waste that on his show?' Oily twat Piers Morgan responded to her rejection, claiming that he would rather have other guests on the show. He said: 'I want to get Louis Walsh on Life Stories.' because, real celebrities keep turning him down, it would seem.

Katie Price is reported to be 'unhappy' - how sad - after several 'stars' declined invitations to her second wedding to Alex Reid. The model has apparently pulled out of a magazine deal because she can't get enough recognisable celebrities to go to the ceremony. Simon Cowell, Davina McCall and Vinnie Jones are all said to have turned down invitations. A 'friend' told the News Of The World: 'This is Katie's worst nightmare. It's hugely embarrassing for her. She's thinking about booking Sugababes or The Saturdays to perform. It will help because they'll count as well-known guests. Her wedding to Peter was a real star-studded bash, but it's the opposite this time.'

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