Monday, June 28, 2010

Rave On

Motown legend Stevie Wonder helped the Glastonbury Festival celebrate its fortieth anniversary with a crowd-pleasing set to close this year's event. He brought festival founder Michael Eavis to the main Pyramid Stage to help sing a version of 'Happy Birthday.' Thankfully, he did play some good stuff as well. Yer man Stevie's performance brought the curtain down on the first totally dry festival since 2002. A pair of vastly over-rated bands, Muse and Gorillaz, topped the bill on the other nights whilst Orbital - ah, much better - were joined by Doctor Who actor Matt Smith to play their epic version of the show's theme tune. Which you can see here in all its green-laser-glory! The actor introduced the techno duo's version of 'Doctor?' and proceeded to don a pair of the Hartnoll brothers' patented light-glasses and joined Phil and Paul for yet another shimmering Glastonbury performance of the Ron Grainer-written, Delia Derbyshire-arranged tune. 'Yes, Glastonbury,' Smith told the crowd. 'So, 2010. Orbital, you do the theme tune. Cool! Can I have some glasses please? Wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey!' This year's festival will be remembered for the unusually clement weather and the number of surprise guests. U2 guitarist The Edge joined Muse, Kylie Minogue sang with Scissor Sisters, Radiohead's Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood played an unannounced set and Lou Reed was among those on-stage with Gorillaz on Friday. Prince Charles also surprised fans when he went on a walkabout and trod the Pyramid Stage boards during the festival's first royal visit on Thursday. The show on Eavis's dairy farm in Pilton, Somerset, was hailed as a success by fans. 'The vibe has been brilliant,' said Soraya Schofield, a photographer from nearby Axbridge. Malcolm Ruddock, fifty nine, from Street was among the fifteen hundred people at the very first festival in 1970. He was also one of the over one hundred and seventy seven thousand attendees at this year's event. 'For me the anniversary was a special year,' he said, describing Eavis as 'a pioneer.' The event is unrecognisable from its low-key origins, he said, but added: 'To me, the essence of Glastonbury is still here. I go into [dance arena] The Glade or the Healing Fields and it reminds me of how it was then.' Other artists on stage on Sunday included Paloma Faith, ex-Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash and reggae legends Toots and the Maytals. Former Kinks singer Ray Davies performed and paid tribute to the group's former bassist Pete Quaife, who died recently. Earlier, Eavis said he hoped U2 would make it to the event in the future after the band were forced to pull out this year. They withdrew after Bono injured his back but The Edge joined Muse on Saturday to perform 'Where The Streets Have No Name.' Asked whether he would like U2 to appear in the future, Eavis replied: 'This is an ongoing conversation for next year.' He added The Edge 'enjoyed the experience and he's had a taste of playing now so I'm sure the band are really keen to do it when it suits them.' Dehydration and sunburn accounted for most of the three thousand cases seen by medical teams by 11:00 on Sunday. Two people died after suffering heart attacks on site on Friday night. They were a forty six-year-old man from London, who was in the dance tent, and a man in his seventies from East Sussex. Crime was down on last year, with three hundred and forty five reported offences, compared with three hundred and sixty three in 2009. Many festival-goers watched England's calamitous World Cup defeat by Germany on Sunday. Organisers were forced to find a second field to show the game on big screens after discussions with police. An empty field outside the site was earmarked. The two designated football arenas accommodated eighty thousand fans. Opening the new field and providing toilets, screens and water cost fifty thousand pounds, Eavis said.

Ashes To Ashes co-creator Matthew Graham has denied rumours that there are plans for a Gene Hunt spin-off. Last week, a report claimed that Gene, played by Philip Glenister, would appear in a new show set in the modern day. A national newspaper claimed that a nameless (and,  almost certainly entirely fictitious) 'source' had suggested the move would be 'rather interesting' and compared the plans to New Tricks. However, Den Of Geek website claims that Graham has now dismissed the speculation. Thank God for that.

The script for the forthcoming Doctor Who Christmas special has reportedly gone missing. According to the Daily Star, filming for the special 'has been thrown into jeopardy' by the loss. Because, of course, they only had one copy. Jesus, who writes this shite? And, who believes it as well? Executive producer and head writer Steven Moffat is said to be 'facing a race against time to create a new draft before filming commences next month' according to this load of old tripe. Sorry, 'story.' Moffat also allegedly revealed that the episode would be 'a flashback Christmas special.' That's, if it gets made, of course. Because it might not. According to this. Bet it is, though. A new series will follow the Christmas special in the spring of 2011. Earlier today, Digital Spy website claimed that writers Paul Cornell and Tom MacRae would be returning for the show's sixth series along with the previously announced Neil Gaiman. However, Paul dismissed the news as 'rubbish' on his Twitter feed. Yep, that sound like the Paul Cornell I know! Good on ya, mate!

The final episode of Doctor Who scored the highest figure on the Appreciation Index of the entire series. The Appreciation Index - or AI - measures how much the audience enjoyed the programme, with a score of over eighty five considered excellent. The Big Bang scored eighty nine - the best score yet for the show's fifth series. The score was also the highest on any of the four main channels on Saturday.

An average of thirteen and a half million people saw England's football team crash out of the World Cup on Sunday, according to overnight figures. The audience reached a peak of over seventeen million at 16:15, around the time Germany scored their third and fourth goals. Yet the number of people who viewed the match is likely to have been far higher as many fans watched the game - broadcast on BBC1 - on big screens in pubs and public spaces. I mean, eighty thousand watched it at Glasto for a kick-off. England manager Fabio Capello says that he will fight to hang on to his job after his team were humiliated 4-1 by a very good young German side, England's worst ever defeat at a World Cup. Fans reacted with fury and disappointment after watching their team comprehensively beaten in the second round of the competition in Bloemfontein. Some pointed to a blunder by the match officials, who failed to spot that a first-half Frank Lampard drive had crashed down off the crossbar and over the line before bouncing back out. Capello insisted the game 'would have been different' had the goal stood, and even Germany coach Joachim Loew and man of the match Thomas Mueller agreed that the South American officials had made a huge error. But many England fans, including this one, said that Germany had simply been too good, and outclassed an England side which looked static, lacking in heart or belief and devoid of any inspiration.

And, so to Huntwatch: The Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has been forced to issue a grovelling apology after he appeared to suggest that hooliganism played a part in the Hillsborough disaster. Ninety-six Liverpool fans were crushed to death on 15 April 1989 at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium in an incident which was, a subsequent enquiry established, entirely the fault of the South Yorkshire police. Hunt had praised the England fans at the 2010 World Cup saying the 'terrible problems' of 'Heysel and Hillsborough in the 1980s seem now to be behind us.' Hunt was giving an interview following England's exit from the World Cup, where he applauded the behaviour of fans. Apologising afterwards, he said: 'I know that fan unrest played no part in the terrible events of April 1989 and I apologise to Liverpool fans and the families of those killed and injured in the Hillsborough disaster if my comments caused any offence.' The Prime Minister's official spokesman has said that David Cameron has full confidence in Hunt. Yeah, why not? What's disgracefully slurring the memory of ninety six Scousers compared to an unsuppassed ability to give the arse of Rupert Murdoch a good hard lick? As we all know from past experience, dear blog reader, some people are just scum. The ninety six fans died and hundreds more were injured when a crush developed in the Leppings Lane end of the stadium during an FA Cup semi-final match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. Lord Justice Taylor's official inquiry into the disaster, which reported in 1990, criticised senior police officers on duty at the match for a 'failure of control' and recommended the introduction of all-seater stadiums. Margaret Aspinall, chairman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, called for a face-to-face meeting with Hunt. She said: 'After all these years of fighting for justice I am very angry that he has shown such ignorance of the facts. He is an absolute disgrace.' Mrs Aspinall, who lost her eighteen-year-old son James in the disaster, said she would not accept Mr Hunt's apology unless she was allowed to meet him and 'explain the facts. I want him to understand that he has reopened old wounds which should have healed many years ago. The problem we have is that Hunt has influence and people listen to him. We have fought to move forward but now - thanks to him - it feels like we have taken a step backwards.' Speaking in the House of Commons, Derek Twigg - MP for Halton in Cheshire - said Hunt's remarks were 'a disgrace.' He added that he had spoken to relatives of those who had died and they were 'deeply distressed. How can they have trust in the Government that they will see through the proper release of the Hillsborough files given that that's the view held in high parts of the Government?' He asked the Home Secretary, Theresa May, to 'urgently' meet Hunt and the families of those killed to discuss the matter. May said the judicial inquiry into the disaster had been 'absolutely clear' that no Liverpool supporters were to blame and she agreed to meet representatives of the families. The comment has also been criticised by former Culture Secretary Andy Burnham on his Twitter account. He said it was sad to hear a cabinet minister 'echo old slurs' about the disaster referring to long-running campaign by the Sun newspaper who, for reasons best known to themselves, sought to disgracefully lay the blame for the tragedy at the door of Liverpool supporters. Something which remains, even twenty one years later, a very hot topic on Merseyside and one that is unlikely to ever be forgotten or forgiven. Burnham called for 'more than an apology' and for Hunt to give his 'full support' to the new Hillsborough Independent Panel. 'Full truth and nothing less,' he added. Fans heckled the Leigh MP, when he spoke at a memorial service at Anfield on the Twentieth anniversary of the tragedy. The Hillsborough Independent Panel is currently overseeing the release of documents not previously made public. After a two-decade fight, the authorities finally agreed to release more than thirty thousand documents of evidence relating to the tragedy.

GMTV host Emma Crosby will reportedly be 'axed' from the programme within 'a matter of days.' Not literally, of course, because, you know, the blood ... The News of the World claims that Crosby is set to be the latest casualty of the long-running breakfast show's ongoing one and a half million pound revamp, which will see the programme relaunched under a different name and fronted by former ONE Show pairing Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley. The decision also leaves Kate Garraway's future on the programme in doubt, as she and Crosby held joint discussions on their GMTV roles with ITV bosses last week. The paper also claims that both Crosby and Garraway were furious that their positions on the programme were being put in jeopardy by the sudden - and controversial - arrival of Bleakley. Crosby will be the fourth presenter to leave the programme since August, following the departures of Fiona Phillips, Penny Smith and Ben Shephard. Andrew Castle also confirmed recently that he will be leaving the show in the autumn.

Meanwhile, Gaby Roslin is being lined up to front The ONE Show alongside Chris Evans on Friday evenings, a report has claimed. According to the Mirror, BBC bosses are interested in reuniting the pair following their previous screen partnership on The Big Breakfast in the nineties. A source told the newspaper: 'Gaby and Chris together would be amazing. Everyone's trying to make it happen. They used to have really great chemistry.' Evans signed up to host The ONE Show's Friday editions in April. He recently confirmed that he would be happy to team up with Roslin for the BBC magazine programme. Meanwhile, it is thought that Roslin is also hoping to join Jason Manford on the sofa for the show's Monday to Thursday episodes. A BBC spokeswoman said: 'Nothing has been confirmed.'

Fiona Phillips has called for Brendan Cole to be paired up with Ann Widdecombe on Strictly Come Dancing. Oh, that's just ... sick. I mean, don't even joke about it! The TV presenter, who danced with Cole in the 2005 series, spoke following reports that Widdecombe was allegedly being lined up for Strictly's return in the autumn. Writing in her Mirror column, Phillips commented: 'There are rumours that former Tory MP Ann Widdecombe is to take part in this year's Strictly Come Dancing. I'm an X Factor fan, but I can promise you I could be persuaded to foxtrot to the other side if producers created TV magic by pairing Ann with Brendan Cole. He once said to me, after I'd performed a particularly sexless rumba, "Christ, you'd be a crap shag." I wonder how that sort of talk would go down with the virginal Ms Widdecombe?' Patsy Kensit, Matthew Wright, Kimberley Walsh and Richard Madeley are among other celebrities who have been tipped for the new series.

Meanwhile, Phillips - who always has plenty to say for herself on many subject - has warned Christine Bleakley that her entire lifestyle will change when she starts work on the breakfast show. Bleakley signed up for the morning programme earlier this month and will join her former ONE Show colleague Adrian Chiles on the sofa later in the year. Writing in her Mirror column, big-nosed Phillips tipped Bleakley to do well in her new role, but added that she will have to get used to waking up at 3am and going to bed early each night. She explained: 'Managing tiredness is the key to it all - it's all very well having a job that most girls would sell their Louboutins for, but the hours are debilitating. I was getting an average of about four to five hours' kip a night for most of my time on the GMTV sofa and sleep deprivation is not a kind bedfellow. It can make you depressed, lethargic, ill and unable to cope with everyday situations. In the end, if you're not careful, that constantly jet-lagged feeling can dominate your life. Crikey! I'm making it sound hellish, aren't I? It's not. I did fifteen years there. But if Christine is planning on tucking into her early-morning Cheerios for several years to come, she's going to have to get used to saying cheerio to the lifestyle she currently leads.'

The BBC has announced that it will mark Remembrance Day with a week of special programming. According to the Gruniad Morning Star, Crimewatch presenter Rav Wilding will host a series of shows on BBC One daytime in the week before 14 November. The five programmes will include interviews with past and present members of the armed forces along with civilians and families of those who were involved or are currently engaged in conflict. 'Remembrance Week will not only reveal the incredible and emotive stories from individuals who have fought and are still fighting, but also be an uplifting and inspiring series about bravery, camaraderie and companionship,' Wilding said. 'As an ex-soldier myself, supporting our troops is important to me so I'm thrilled to be presenting such an important series.'

[Spooks] actor Richard Armitage has confirmed that Hermione Norris will not return as Ros Myers for the show's upcoming ninth series. Speaking to the Mirror, Armitage revealed that the programme's cast miss the actress while filming on set. 'We really miss Hermione,' he admitted. 'She was a very calming influence and I loved her humour.' The actor, who plays Lucas North, also confessed that he is unsure of his own future with the show. He explained: 'I’ve said to the producers, "Over to you. You decide." If that means sending Lucas to Manchester or severing his head, I don’t know. Or I could end up in the deep fat fryer. They'd owe me a brilliant exit.' Armitage also promised that the true nature of his character will finally be revealed. 'Basically, Lucas isn't who you think he is. It's always been hovering there, whether or not he's a double agent,' he said. The ninth series of [Spooks] is due to be broadcast in the autumn.

The new series of Top Gear debuted to over five million viewers on Sunday evening, according to overnight audience figures. The programme, which featured James May driving a car up an active volcano, took 4.59m for BBC2 in the 8pm hour. A further five hundred and twenty thousand viewers watched the show on BBC HD.

TV has agreed an exclusive licensing deal with NBC Universal Television Distribution for access to a range of new and library TV shows and films. Under the deal, a raft of NBC Universal's new movies will make their TV premiere in the UK on ITV's family of channels - ITV, ITV2, ITV3 and ITV4. Forthcoming movie highlights include Mamma Mia, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, The Boat That Rocked, Hot Fuzz and The Bourne Ultimatum. The deal will also see detective drama Monk joining ITV daytime, and a further run of classic cop series Ironside airing on ITV3. 'This is a landmark deal encompassing hundreds of feature films for the entire ITV family of channels,' said ITV's director digital channels and acquisitions Zai Bennett. 'With titles ranging from the free TV premiere of Mamma Mia to Public Enemies and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, NBC Universal's feature films are a perfect fit with ITV and we're delighted to be continuing our long relationship with the studio.' NBC Universal International Television Distribution president Belinda Menendez added: 'We couldn't be happier to build upon our longstanding and successful relationship with ITV. They have been terrific collaborators in the UK and are masters at promoting NBC Universal titles to a very broad audience.'

A digital television channel aimed at viewers aged fifty and over will launch later this year, it has been announced. Vintage TV will focus on music and popular culture from the 1950s to 1980s and feature some original programming. The station, due to begin broadcasting on Sky and Freesat on 1 September, will also show new music videos for five hundred songs recorded before the video age. Music pundit and broadcaster Paul Gambaccini will be the principal presenter for the new service. 'Quality music lives long after its composition. It does on radio, and it should on television,' he said. The station will also broadcast rare concert and performance footage and revisit news and entertainment shows from numerous TV archives. Among the new programmes will be a show based on The Antiques Roadshow and aimed at music collectors. David Pick, founder and head of Vintage TV, said the station would 'deliver a stream of vintage musical content which isn't available anywhere else on TV. We will also draw on the wisdom and expertise of a wide range of experienced presenters and pundits to infuse yet more life into that music, allowing it to be appreciated by an even wider audience and thus treasured, as it should be, forever,' he added.

Denis Leary has promised that Rescue Me will end with a twist. Leary, who writes, produces and stars in the show, told Popeater that the seventh and final season has already been completed. 'About a year from now is going to be the last season,' he said. 'We worked our asses off.' He continued: 'I'll tell you this - a second before the credits roll on the final episode, there's a sudden dark and funny twist which is the end of the whole series. It's not going to be like The Sopranos. We enjoyed what we came up with.' However, Leary acknowledged that some fans might not like the ending. 'You can never make everybody happy,' he said. 'I'm sure part of the audience will love it and part will hate it, but with that in mind, that's good because if they all love it, we watered it down.'

House executive producer Katie Jacobs has promised that the relationship between House and Cuddy won't be rushed. The couple, played by Hugh Laurie and Lisa Edelstein, kissed at the end of the sixth season and will begin the seventh run on a day trip together. 'Anywhere other than Princeton-Plainsboro is an easier place for them to be together in a relationship,' Jacobs explained. 'That's where we start - "What if we only have each other?"' However, Jacobs added that the couple will struggle to maintain their relationship when they return to work. She added: 'It would be impossible for Cuddy to spend every day as if her child and her professional life don't exist - a little easier for House, since he is somewhat of a child himself. But what's cool about season seven is that House is going to try to stay off drugs and have a meaningful relationship. We don't rush through this. It's taken six years to get there, so this is not a story that's going to be done in three episodes.'

Big Brother bosses have been struggling to sign up 'memorable' housemates (ie. people you might actually have heard of) for the show's forthcoming Ultimate Champion series, according to a - rather sneering - tabloid report. Former winners Brian Dowling, Kate Lawler and Cameron Stout have all rejected approaches from producers. As had Jade Goody. Apparently. Celebrity champions Jack Dee, Mark Owen and Alex Reid have also refused to take part, the Daily Star claims. Show chiefs revealed that they hoped to recruit 'the best of the best' from Big Brother's history when details of the Ultimate Champion run were first announced last month. However, it is thought that bosses now fear the contest could be filled with 'lesser-known' contestants as most of those they wanted to take part realise it's a case of flogging a dead horse and, no matter who much they need the cash, they're not touching this corpse with a bargepole. Big Brother series seven winner Nikki Grahame, series eight's Brian Belo and series nine runner-up Mikey Hughes are among the contestants who have reportedly expressed an interest (for which read absolute desperation) in appearing on the show, which will launch following the conclusion of the the final - eleventh - series of Big Brother on 24 August.

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