Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Returning Favourites

BBC Cymru Wales, BBC Worldwide and Starz Entertainment yesterday announced a three way co-production partnership that will develop a new series of the hit BBC SF drama Torchwood. BBC Worldwide will distribute the series to broadcasters globally. The ten-episode series will be written by a team led by Torchwood creator, Russell Tavies, and produced by BBC Worldwide Productions. Davies and Julie Gardner, return as executive producers along with Jane Tranter. The series has been commissioned by Jay Hunt and Ben Stephenson at the Beeb. While previous series were based in Cardiff, the new series will see storylines widen to include locations in the US and around the world. John Barrowman and Eve Myles will return in their roles as Captain Jack and Gwen Cooper respectively, along with several new characters. Announcing the commission, Ben Stephenson said: 'We have a long history of working with many US networks but it is incredibly exciting to be working with Starz for the first time, as well as to be reunited with the best of British in Russell, Jane and Julie. Torchwood will burst back onto the screen with a shocking and moving story with global stakes and locations that will make it feel bigger and bolder than ever.' Tranter added: 'Torchwood has attracted remarkable attention and loyalty in both the UK and US, and in this new partnership with Starz, the next chapter will not only reward our current fans, but also introduce new viewers to the most impressive instalment yet. We're committed to programming exceptional television that is entertaining, imaginative and provides a premium TV experience, and by any measure the new concept for Torchwood fits that mandate.' And, about bloody time, too! Nice, one. This news pleases yer Keith Telly Topping greatly.

Tim Roth has claimed that his show Lie To Me gets 'wilder.' The programme returned for the first in a run of new episodes in the US last night and Roth, who plays Cal, hinted that some of the relationships will be explored in more depth. 'It gets wilder and wilder, really,' he told zap2it.com. 'It gets more and more eccentric, which I enjoy.' He continued: 'We look into his relationship with his daughter. We look at his relationship with Foster and how that came about. And we go into his background as well, just independently of that. So we open up another new territory.' Roth also revealed that the show will examine the difficulties Cal faces in life. 'The aim of the character is someone that dances around in sort of the edge of the law, and even in his relationships with women,' he said. 'It's a very hard thing for a man that has that scientific kind of ability to have a relationship, and so we're exploring that - what it's like for him, and what it's like for the women around him.'

Usher has claimed that the planned American version of The X Factor will help Cheryl Cole boost her international profile. The singer suggested to Metro that the reality talent show would help break Cole as an artist in the US. Where she, and Girls Aloud, mean little or nothing. Usher said: 'You have an artist like Cheryl who's had an incredible amount of recognition, who has an incredible amount of talent. It only allows her to spread her recognition across the world.' Of, Simon Cowell, he added: 'I can only expect the greatest for him. He definitely understands the importance of entertainment.'

SF sitcom Red Dwarf will return for two new series, it has been confirmed. While standing in for Janice Long on BBC Radio 2, Craig Charles revealed that he will return as David Lister. He said: 'I can now announce we are going to be doing two more series of it starting in January next year. I got the call today. They said "Craig, can you do it?," I said "I'll sort it out."' Which is a very Listy line of dialogue, actually, when you think about it. 'So I will be able to do it in January.' Meanwhile, Chris Barrie, who plays Arnold Rimmer, told the Coventry Telegraph: 'There are plans afoot to have a tenth series. I find it very hard to call it a tenth series, because that obviously means we're calling the Easter special from last year the ninth series. But yes, certainly, I would say some more new Red Dwarf product. There are plans afoot to get that into gear.' He added: 'I think of Back To Earth as a sort of twenty one-year celebration, really, as a proper three-part special. But yes, it would be nice to do, and hopefully we will, another six half hours. I don't really know anything more than I'm saying, believe me. In terms of the direction of the show, I don't really want to see it change that much. I just want more strong storylines, probably in a half-hour format.'

Charity football match Soccer Aid 2010 pulled in over five million viewers on Sunday night. The programme, which was organised by Robbie Williams and featured an England team of celebrities and sportsmen taking on a Rest of the World side of similar old fat blokes having a kick-aboot, averaged 5.21m for ITV between 6pm and 10.15pm. England lost on penalties. Yeah, yeah, I know, England always lose on penalties. Mind you, Shearer and Sheringham still look good together up front!

Channel 4 has signed a three-year deal to host the British Comedy Awards. The ceremony has been aired on ITV for the past twenty years but will now be broadcast exclusively on Channel 4. The channel has already decided to return to a live broadcast of the event and is planning to create initiatives to support new comedians. Julian Bellamy, the head of Channel 4, said: 'From The Inbetweeners and Peep Show to our Comedy Labs and Showcases, we're passionate about comedy at Channel 4 and have a long heritage of supporting and developing new talent in this arena. After the success of our Comedy Gala and our Alternative Election Night, we're excited about bringing the event of the comedy calendar to viewers this winter.' Meanwhile, the channel's head of comedy Shane Allen added: 'The British Comedy Awards are crucial in recognising the excellence, originality and rude health of the comedy industry. At their best, the awards have a spirit of mischief, hilarity, surprise and danger about them, so C4 feels like a natural fit.'

Pauley Perrette has reportedly signed a new deal to stay on NCIS. Earlier this year, it emerged that some of the show's cast members were in negotiations about returning to the series for future seasons. Entertainment Weekly says that Perrette, who plays Abby, has now signed a new multi-year deal. Mark Harmon and Cote de Pablo already had deals for the next season, while Rocky Carroll and David McCallum have also agreed reportedly to return to the show. Michael Weatherly and Sean Murray are still thought to be in talks about the next season but are rumoured to be close to a deal.

John Barrowman has revealed that he doesn't want to be typecast. The actor, who recently joined Desperate Housewives as villain Patrick Logan, explained that he likes playing a wide range of characters. 'I'm an actor and an entertainer,' he told Hello. 'You wouldn't tell a plumber he's only allowed to do sinks.' Barrowman continued: 'I can do theatre, telly, singing - it's all part of my business. I think people will be able to separate what I do. They've seen me play heroic Captain Jack [in Torchwood and Doctor Who] and a very camp Nazi in The Producers. The baddie is just another rung on the ladder.'

Christopher Eccleston has admitted that playing John Lennon was 'intense.' The former Doctor Who star appears as the musician in new BBC4 drama Lennon Naked and admitted that he already knew a lot about the alcoholic wife-beating Scouse junkie. 'Whenever anything came out [about Lennon] I bought it, read it, even the shit stuff like the [Albert] Goldman book,' Eccleston told Mojo. 'I identified with [Lennon] because I think he's so flawed, with his compulsion to show the dark side of himself. It was an incredibly intense experience playing him.' Eccleston added that he is thrilled he was given the opportunity to play Lennon, saying: 'What a gift, to have tried to be him. It's like a piece of performance art.'

The BBC has reportedly offered Christine Bleakley a new deal in a bid to keep her on the channel. Speculation that Bleakley is planning a move to ITV emerged after her former ONE Show co-host Adrian Chiles transferred earlier this year. The reports escalated last week when Bleakley fired her agent John Noel. Her current BBC deal expires in September. The Gruniad Morning Star claims that the broadcaster has now offered Bleakley a new two-year contract, including the chance to front their coverage of the 2012 Olympics, in an attempt to persuade her to stay. However, ITV is reportedly desperate to secure the presenter as part of its revamp of GMTV. 'Signing Christine would damage The ONE Show and give ITV a big start with GMTV,' a source said. 'It ticks two boxes. But is following Adrian the best long-term thing for Christine? Only time will tell.'

Miranda Hart has revealed that she is including a love story in the second series of Miranda. According to the Press Association, Hart explained that her alter ego will have a romantic storyline but refused to say whether it will involve Gary (Tom Ellis). 'There might be a little bit of a dalliance, yes,' Hart said. 'Whether it's with Gary or not I can't possibly divulge.' Hart also revealed that she is thrilled with the response to her sitcom, saying: 'You write what you think is funny and I think people within the industry liking it is an amazing affirmation. I thought people would think it was a bit of silly, falling over nonsense.'

And, finally, to the soap opera that is GMTV. Penny Smith has revealed that Eammon Holmes was often temperamental on the GMTV sofa. Smith, who made her emotional farewell to the breakfast programme after seventeen years last week, claimed that her fellow presenter came across as dour after his favourite football team lost a match. 'I'm not sure Eamonn is a huge fan of early starts. I've got friends who one approaches with caution when they have PMT, but they are nothing compared to Eamonn when he was in a mood,' she told the Daily Scum Mail. 'I learned to keep a low profile when Manchester United lost a game.' However, the fifty one-year-old praised Holmes's broadcasting qualities, saying: 'And yet, he makes me laugh out loud and is a brilliant presenter who simply has a knack of knowing what will work on television. When Fiona [Phillips] joined him on the sofa [in 1997], things calmed down.' Smith also admitted that Holmes's high-profile row with co-host Anthea Turner in the mid-1990s was 'possibly the most uncomfortable period of [her] time' on the programme.

And, really, genuinely, finally this time, Katy Perry has revealed that her parents banned her from watching The Smurfs as a child. That explain's so much. 'I've never seen an episode, because my parents wouldn't let me,' she told MTV. 'My mother thought that Smurfette was a little bit slutty, being the only female in the village. And now I've shown her. I called her up and said, "Guess what, ma? I'm Smurfette!"'

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