Friday, June 25, 2010

There Is A Light That Never Goes Out

The executive producer of Top Gear has said that the show could have ended two years ago. Echoing comments he made before the previous series when speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Andy Wilman explained that the programme will, eventually, come to a close as all good things must. 'We'll run out of steam,' he said. 'If we'd had the balls, it would have been two years ago, when we were absolutely peaking. But we're going, "No, we've got gainful employment. We'll crack on."' And, in these tough financial times, who can blame 'em? Wilman confirmed that the show has changed slightly but promised that hosts Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond will still be involved in pranks and challenges. He also defended the show's humour, saying: '[It] is a bit end-of-the-pier, but it's done quite charmingly. We know it's sort of crap. Anyone who gets high-minded and says, "This is schoolboy stuff," we're like, "And your point is?"' And, ultimately, that's the main reason why it's important that Top Gear carries on for a while yet. Because of the sheer volume of people that its very existence pisses off and who, exactly those people are and what they represent.

Fearsome, ghastly horrible and fearful old windbag Ann Widdecombe is being lined up to compete on Strictly Come Dancing, a tabloid press report has claimed. Now, this blogger thought that the whole perceived problem with the last series of Strictly was that it was full of too many of just this kind of utter non-entity whom the public couldn't give monkeys about? The former Home Office minister, who retired as a Conservative MP earlier this year to rejoicing throughout the land, has 'entered talks' with the BBC over the possibility of starring in the next series, according to the Daily Scum Mail. Widdecombe refused to discuss the rumours when approached for a comment, saying: 'I'm not able to talk about appearing on it at the moment.' So, that'd be a 'yes,' then? The sixty two-year-old confirmed last August that she was open to the idea of appearing in this year's run, despite turning down an offer from producers in the past. Widdecombe has previously appeared on Celebrity Fit Club and fronted her own wretched and worthless ITV series, Ann Widdecombe Versus...

Lenny Henry apologised after he swore three times during a live broadcast of The 5 O'Clock Show on Wednesday. Henry, who last said something even remotely funny about twenty five years ago and who is guest presenting the tea-time Channel 4 show this week, repeatedly said 'bollocks' during his opening monologue. When the comedian stumbled over the delivery of a joke, he added: 'Let's just go back on the autocue and I'll read the joke one more time.' After failing to reach the punchline for a second time, he said: 'Oh bollocks to it... Hang on, I said bollocks. But it's live so they can't cut that out.' Henry told another joke before asking: 'Did I make up for the bollocks?" He later added: 'Sorry about the swearing everybody. Kids, swearing isn't clever, okay? Just don't do it.'

Simon Cowell has sparked speculation that Cheryl Cole has ditched her married name after introducing her as 'Cheryl Tweedy' at the X Factor auditions. According to the Mirror, the music mogul 'surprised audience members' at London's Excel Centre on Tuesday night by appearing to confirm that Cheryl is now using her maiden name. Cowell reportedly said: 'Who would like to hear from Cheryl Tweedy? It is, now, isn't it?' It is thought that the crowd of fans were 'excited' by Cowell's comment and immediately rose to their feet to applaud Cheryl. One onlooker, twenty one-year-old Kate Gibbs, explained: 'The support for her was immense. When Simon announced her as Cheryl Tweedy the whole place went up. Cheryl was beaming. It was as if a new chapter in her life had just started and she looked happier than ever.' She then added, 'am I really gonna be in the papers?' Allegedly.

Keeley Hawes has revealed that she thinks her new show Identity could return for a second series. Speaking about the crime drama, which begins on ITV next month, Hawes (see left in a very curious pose, seemingly awaiting sodomisation) explained that the theme of identity theft allows for a number of different storylines. 'It's quite amazing that it hasn't come to TV before,' she told the Mirror. 'It's so sort of rich in terms of storylines.' She continued: 'There are all sorts of ways you can take somebody's identity or change your own, and a million things you can do with it once you have. It's quite incredible. It's one of those, you know, "Why didn't we think of that?" Hopefully it will go on and there's a lot more to tell.'

Big Brother will not return to Channel 4 after this final series ends in September, the broadcaster chief has confirmed. New Channel 4 chief executive David Abraham said that it was time to find new shows, despite ratings being up on last series. Asked if he would rule out a Big Brother return, he told the Sun: 'I, personally, would.'

Patrick Kielty has said that he had fun working as the presenter on Love Island despite the short-term damage that it did to his career. The comedian fronted the show, initially called Celebrity Love Island, for two series in 2005 and 2006. Kielty told Metro: 'I had fun and got paid. It was in Fiji and we had a great time. We just had to go in and watch Paul Danan and Sophie Anderton have meltdowns and spent the rest of the day on the beach.' Asked if being in a poorly-received show harmed his career, he said: 'Of course it does. Generally if you're in a bad show you don't get work and if you're in a good show you do. I came home with my tan and wondered why the phone wasn't ringing. Luckily it didn't last too long.' On the subject of his upcoming Channel 4 comedy show Stand Up For The Week, he added: 'It's a topical stand-up show where we can talk about what went on that week. That's normally covered just by panel shows - all the stand-up shows are recorded two months in advance so you can't be topical. It should be fun.'

Colin Morgan has revealed that Harry Potter actor Warwick Davis will be among the guest stars appearing in the next series of Merlin. The actor was quizzed by USA Weekend about any 'big names' who will be seen in the third run of the BBC1 fantasy drama. 'I'll probably get whipped for it later, but I'll be fine. Fans of the Harry Potter films will see a few familiar faces. One of the great people who we just had recently was Miriam Margolyes, and she is just an absolute blast. That's an episode in the third series, the sixth, to look forward to,' he said. 'And one I'm really excited about, and he hasn't been in yet, is Warwick Davis. I'm a huge fan of Willow from growing up, and he's featured in Harry Potter.' The twenty four-year-old also confirmed that Santiago Cabrera is to reprise his role in the upcoming series. 'I do know that Lancelot is coming back as well. We've been so lucky we've had people who want to be a part of the show, and we're always excited about that.'

E4 is reportedly developing a new sitcom. Sex And The Chippy has been described as 'a female version of The Inbetweeners,' according to Broadcast magazine. The series focuses on a group of women in their early thirties talking about their nights out in a Liverpool chip shop. The project will be directed by Inbetweeners' Ben Palmer and has been written by Hollyoaks scriptwriters Heather Robson and Neil Jones. Channel 4's head of comedy Shane Allen described it as 'glossy, raucous, upbeat and entertaining' and added: 'We're delighted with the script. It's bursting with great banter and some truly jaw-dropping set pieces. It's so good to be getting behind something female, funny and young for E4 to complement The Inbetweeners.' Filming for a pilot is expected to begin in September and the show is scheduled to broadcast next year.

Michael Ball has reportedly landed his own ITV chat show. According to the Sun, Ball will take over the 3pm slot previously held by David Dickinson's recently cancelled programme. The Michael Ball Show - imaginative title - is expected to involve a mixture of entertainment, showbiz and chat. Ball is also planning to sing on the series. 'I'm really looking forward to getting started,' he said. The show is currently scheduled to begin later this summer. And, hopefully, be cancelled in the autumn.

ITV2 has commissioned a brand new reality series following Dannii Minogue. Dannii Minogue: Style Queen is to give viewers 'behind-the-scenes access as the X Factor judge juggles impending motherhood, her relationship with Kris Smith and her own busy career.' The three-part series will build up to the launch of the Australian's new fashion range Project D. So, in other words, it's a huge vanity exercise driven primarily by commercial considerations. Much like X Factor, in fact. Should be popular, then. 'Fashion has been a passion of mine since I can remember. I'm thrilled to be working with ITV2,' the less talented of the Minogue sisters said. 'It's an incredibly personal project for me and the cameras have been with me every step of the way. This is a really exciting time in my life and I'm looking forward to sharing this with the viewers.' Lets hope for you sake, Dannii, that the viewers are keen to share it with you. In a statement, ITV2 commissioning editor Claire Zolkwer added: 'We are delighted to be working with Dannii Minogue on this fantastic new series. Dannii truly embodies the essence of the ITV2 audience as she approaches all aspects of her life with her infectious manner.' I'm not sure that if I were Dannii, I'd be overly delighted with being described as embodying 'the essence of the ITV2 audience' given that the channel's most watched 'asset', if that's the right word, is Katie price. But, anyway ... 'As well as providing the viewers an exclusive peek into the lives of one of TV's most talked-about stars, the series will also capture her journey into the intriguing world of fashion.' Sometimes, ladies and gentlemen of the blog, there simply aren't enough vomit bags in the world.

England's World Cup match with Slovenia was seen by an average of ten million people, according to overnight figures. The audience reached a peak of over fourteen million at 16:30, close to the final whistle when England secured qualification for the second round with a 1-0 victory and a much improved performance. The number of people who viewed the match is likely to have been far higher, as many watched on big screens in pubs and public spaces. I know that, for the first time in several years, yer Keith Telly Topping watched the game with someone else as I was actually over at the great Alfie Joey's palatial Gatesheed gaff doing a spot of writing work with the wee man at the time. We broke for pizza and watched the match in something approaching apoplexy. Ratings figures, of course, do not take into account how many viewers saw the game at work or online. The data, provided by the Broadcasters' Audience Research Board, suggest that three out of every four people watching TV on Wednesday afternoon were tuned-in to the football on BBC1. Its nearest competitor was BBC2's Wimbledon coverage, which averaged an audience of 1.7m over a much longer time period. According to BARB's figures, though, more people saw England's last match against Algeria on Friday evening. The goalless draw - broadcast on ITV - was watched by an average of 14.3m, peaking at nineteen million in its closing stages. England's opening match against the US on 12 June, also broadcast in the evening, was seen by an average of 13.2m viewers.

Meanwhile, Declan Donnelly was among hundreds of football fans in London who missed England's all-important World Cup goal after a power cut. The outage, which began at 15:20, affected thousands of homes in the posher parts of West London, said energy firm EDF. 'We were watching the game in a pub in Kew,' Donnelly told the BBC News website. 'One minute before the goal, the power went. We got a text from a mate in Swindon, who told us about the goal,' he added. The thirty four-year-old, who sang England's 2002 World Cup song, the wretched 'We're On The Ball,' said he and his friends 'rushed out into the street and listened to the rest of the first half on car radios.' Jermain Defoe scored England's only goal, twenty two minutes into the game against Slovenia in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. It gave Fabio Capello's side the three points they required to avoid an early exit from the tournament. Although Donnelly - best known for his TV partnership with Ant McPartlin - made it back to his production office in Chiswick in time for the second half, the rest of the match proved lacklustre to the diminutive cheeky chappy doon the Bigg Market. 'It felt like another part of following England in this World Cup,' said the star, philosophically. 'It's just another part of supporting the team against all the odds. I suppose it's par for the course, really.'

Tom Hollander has dismissed comparisons between his new sitcom and The Vicar of Dibley. Even though it is! Hollander plays Reverend Adam Smallbone in Rev but explained that it is more realistic than the Dawn French series. 'I think both shows can exist in the world,' he told the Press Association. 'We had to work out why it wasn't The Vicar of Dibley when we were pitching it.' He continued: 'It's clearly an urban story set in the real world, whereas The Vicar Of Dibley is set in a slightly idealised world of bunny rabbits and tweeting birds.' And Dawn French. Anyway. Hollander also claimed that stories about vicars are 'compelling,' adding: 'I think it's something to do with people whose job it is to be good. They're at the centre of our communities, even if nobody goes to church. Because of births, deaths and marriages, people go to them at the most extreme moments in their lives.'

Steven Moffat has admitted that he would love Russell Davies to return to Doctor Who. Moffat, who became the drama's showrunner this season, explained that he has already asked his predecessor to write a new episode. 'He's pretty adamant that he's not going to,' Moffat told the Digital Spy website. 'I'm in constant touch with him.' Moffat suggested that Davies wants a break from Doctor Who because he was involved with it for so long. 'He did an awful lot of Doctor Who and I think he's finding it in a way hard, because he's done a Doctor Who story in effect for Sarah Jane Adventures. So I think he probably wants to get away from it for a bit. I can understand that, because he did a hell of a lot. But I'd love to get him back, it would be just joyous to get him back because I miss him.' Moffat admitted that he 'would love it' if Davies returned and added: 'I said to him, "Look, I want" and he said, "Don't even ask me for series five because I'm just knackered, I just want to go lie down," and I think I'll find out how that feels. But I did ask him for series six, and I always will.'

Coronation Street star Anne Kirkbride collapsed in tears this week after taking part in a photoshoot, a press report has claimed. The actress, best known for her role as Weatherfield's Deirdre Barlow, 'suddenly required medical attention' following a shoot for the soap's fiftieth anniversary celebrations, according to the Mirror. It is thought that Kirkbride was brought round after staff placed a pillow under her head and dabbed her face with water. She is then said to have been taken away in a wheelchair for further treatment. A show source commented: 'It was a bit of a shock to see her in that way.' A Coronation Street spokeswoman explained that the fifty six-year-old's collapse was caused by heat.

Writer Neil Gaiman has won the prestigious children's fiction prize - the Cilip Carnegie Medal - for his fantasy tale The Graveyard Book. The novel, about an orphaned boy brought up by ghosts, has scored a literary double, having also won the Newbery Medal - the US equivalent of the Carnegie. Gaiman, who grew up in the UK but now lives in America, is best known for his groundbreaking Sandman comic series and his novels Stardust and Coraline - both of which became big-screen hits. He was inspired to write The Graveyard Book when his son rode into a graveyard on his tricycle. The story echoes the plot of Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, in which the orphaned Mowgli who is brought up by animals in the jungle. The Graveyard Book fought off competition from other shortlisted books by authors including Terry Pratchett and Philip Reeve. Gaiman said he had first started writing the book at the age of twenty five. 'And now I'm almost fifty, it was worth the wait,' he said. Margaret Pemberton, chair of the judges, said: 'With great skill Gaiman has created a gripping page-turner, expertly supported by well-developed characters, that is full of humour and humanity.' Gaiman's first children's book was The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish (1997). He has also, of course, written an eagerly-anticipated episode of Doctor Who which is due to be filmed later this year and broadcast in 2011.

Mary Lynn Rajskub has revealed that she would love a role in the new 24 movie. Rajskub, who played cult favourite Chloe on the all-action TV show, explained that she is still getting used to the fact that the series has ended. 'It's been very strange,' she told the New York Post. 'It started out really sad, but I'm OK. It's kind of scary because it was definitely a comfort to have that for eight years. I ran into a guy at Starbucks - "Weren't you on that show 24? That was a great show!" It's like, "It's done, I get it. Thanks for shoving it in my face."' Rajskub added that she was pleased with the finale, saying: 'I thought it was pretty strong. I don't think they copped out. A lot was wrapped up - they did a great job of addressing a lot in the last two episodes - but it left so much open. Perhaps for a movie!' Rajskub explained that she hopes she is in the proposed upcoming films but admitted that she has not yet heard anything. 'I have no idea what's going on with it,' she said. 'I don't see why they wouldn't have Chloe in the movie. That would feel really bad if I paid to see the 24 movie and I wasn't in it.'

Digital channel Babestation Xtreme has announced what it claims is the worldwide premiere of adult 3D TV scheduled broadcasts. The Freeview station will broadcast the movie 3D Sex Fantasies at midnight on Saturday 26 June and promises 'a new era' of live and pre-recorded content on its family of channels. Director of programming Bob James said: 'For our viewers who enjoy the lean-back experience of TV as well as those who want to interact with our bevy of babes, nothing can surpass the magic of 3D in its ability to bring our talent into the home. While our initial broadcasts will be in high quality anaglyph 3D, we will be fully compatible with active 3D technologies in the future.' He added: 'The combination of adult content and 3D will drive consumer adoption of 3D technologies in perhaps an even more dramatic fashion than adult content did with Internet adoption. While the Internet offered a more discrete and diverse platform for existing forms of content, 3D actually enhances the consumer's relationship with the content making for a more personal experience.' Philippe Gerard of film technology company 3Dlized recently claimed that 'when boobs pop out of the screen' in 3D cinema broadcasts of pornography 'people reach out to touch them.' Aren't you just beyond glad, dear blog reader, that you weren't born in the Thirteenth Century and, thus, never got the chance to experience the life-changing power of 3D softcore titty- shows? I know I am.

Sir Terry Wogan has signed up to present a documentary about Ireland. Terry Wogan's Ireland - again, imaginative title - will follow the broadcaster as he travels from the south of the country to the north. During the show, Wogan will speak to old friends and examine the history and future of Ireland. The BBC's commissioning executive Maxine Watson said: 'Terry is the perfect person to take us on this journey. He, like millions of Irish people before him, may have settled elsewhere, yet across the diaspora there remains a strong sense of Irish identity.'

Solicitor Stephen Sugar has lost his long court battle to gain access to an internal BBC report on the corporation’s Middle East coverage. Sugar originally applied to the BBC in January 2005, using the Freedom of Information Act, asking to see a report drawn up by Malcolm Balen which looked at Middle East reporting in the preceding two years. The Journalism Board made a number of recommendations about Middle East coverage, after considering the report. The BBC declined Sugar's request, saying because the report was for journalistic purposes it was exempt from the Freedom of Information Act. Sugar fought that decision all the way to the House of Lords, and won an Information Tribunal ruling that the report was disclosable. That decision was overturned last year, by Mr Justice Irwin, who ruled that that the report was exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act because the corporation held it for 'purposes of journalism, art or literature.' The Court of Appeal - the Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger, Lord Justice Moses and Lord Justice Munby - upheld Irwin's decision and rejected the appeal. The BBC has consistently argued that the report was an internal review of programme content, and that it was important for independent journalism that such debates remained confidential. In his judgement Lord Neuberger said: 'It could well have a chilling effect on BBC journalism, and could well operate unfairly on the BBC against its commercial rivals, if any document held for journalistic purposes and another purpose was liable to be disclosed to the public.'

BBC2 has ordered a new drama from writer Abi Morgan. The Hour is set in a newsroom in 1956, the Gruniad Morning Star reports. The six-part series focuses on a young woman called Bel and her rivals Freddie and Hector. Morgan said: 'The Hour is a challenging new direction for me with the chance to return to characters again and again and see them develop in a series format. I'm excited about the potential of their stories.' Meanwhile, the BBC's drama commissioning controller Ben Stephenson said: 'Abi Morgan is one of this country's leading writing talents and she has created a breathtakingly original and surprising series that will entertain audiences.' The show will be made by [Spooks] and Life on Mars producers Kudos but a director and cast have not yet been announced. Morgan has previously worked on Royal Wedding, Brick Lane and Sex Traffic. She is also penning the screenplay for the upcoming Birdsong movie.

With French and Saunders having - to the relief of pretty much everyone - retired, a new female double act could be about to fill their shoes. Lorna Watson and Ingrid Oliver have landed their first series on BBC2 on the strength of an in-house pilot. The six-parter will be filmed later this year before a studio audience and will combine live and pre-recorded sketches. With what Mark Freeland, head of comedy, calls their 'feelgood, daft humour,' the duo are hoping to translate their success on the live circuit to the small screen. They have enjoyed three sell-out shows at the Edinburgh Festival. They have also written for and appeared in The Wrong Door, The Wall and Watson & Oliver's Funny Cuts, as well as having screen time on Peep Show, The IT Crowd and We Are Klang. But, we shouldn't beat them with sticks too harshly for the latter. 'BBC Comedy in-house have worked hard to bring the pilot to the screen,' says Cheryl Taylor, controller, comedy commissioning, 'the series commission is a fitting testimony to the passion and hard work of everyone involved.' It will be produced by BBC in-house in association with Popper Pictures. Jo Sargent (Miranda, Two Pints of Lager and A Packet of Crisps, Absolutely Fabulous, French and Saunders) is executive producer alongside Robert Popper (Look Around You, Peep Show).

Adrian Chiles 'over-reacted' when he quit the BBC, says Alan Yentob. But the high profile defections of first Childs and now Christine Bleakley to ITV had not been badly handled by the corporation, he told Radio 4's The Media Show. The idea that Chiles had been 'dumped' from The ONE Show, after Chris Evans was given the Friday slot, was 'rubbish. Television isn't a kindergarten where everybody gets to do exactly what they want,' Yentob said. Interviewed by presenter Steve Hewlett, the BBC's creative director was challenged that allowing such a successful pairing to swap sofas from The ONE Show to GMTV looked 'mismanaged' on the part of the BBC. 'When Adrian went, the ratings went up, not down,' Yentob said, adding: 'In a way, I do think he over-reacted.' The crunch decision to replace Chiles with Evans on Fridays had not been his, Yentob said, but argued: 'Editorial judgements are not matters of principle, how you leave the BBC in these circumstances is a matter of principle.' The two departures were 'not the end of the world.' Hewlett also alleged there had been BBC 'spin' over the withdrawal of Bleakley's contract offer. A number of commentators have this applauded the BBC's refusal to enter a bidding war for the presenter. 'There was no spin. That this was an illustration of how, in straitened times, the BBC would no longer be held to ransom by talent,' Yentob said. 'But we did not want to conduct the argument in public [after Bleakely posted on a website that she was 'torn' about whether to stay or go to ITV] because we're on air in three weeks' time.'

Friends of Chris Sievey, the creator of the character Frank Sidebottom, have created an online campaign to pay for his funeral. Sievey, fifty four, who had cancer and died on Monday, was facing a pauper's funeral, after dying virtually penniless, his family have said. A Facebook page, entitled Frank's Fantastic Funeral, which was set up by friends, has raised six thousand five hundred pounds. Friend and journalist Jon Ronson said some cash would go to Sievey's family. Gruniad Morning Star journalist Ronson, who played with the Frank Sidebottom Oh Blimey Big Band in the early 1980s and was collaborating on a screenplay with Sievey, said: 'Nobody wanted Frank Sidebottom to have a pauper's funeral.' Ronson said that entertainers Phil Jupitus, Jason Manford and Mark Radcliffe had all made contact about donating to the fund. Sievey's former manager and friend, Guy Lovelady, said he had been told by Sievey's eldest son, Stirling, that the comedian had died with no money and that he was being forced to consider a pauper's funeral. The comedian, who rented his home in Manchester, also left a daughter, Asher, and son, Harry. Lovelady said that some of the surplus money may be used to create a statue in Sievey's home town of Timperley, 'if that was the family's wish.'

A man who was once struck by lightning in has been mauled by a bear in Wake County, North Carolina. Rick Oliver, fifty one, revealed that he has had trouble sleeping since being hit by lightning in 2006 and often walks around his farm late at night, News&Observer reports. Earlier this month, he went to investigate some distant rustling at his farm between Cary and Raleigh in the early hours of the morning. Oliver said: 'I heard this strange huffing, and the next thing I know I had been run over and stepped on by a bear.' He was gouged by the black bear so badly that when he removed his bandages, his blood spilled from the wound 'like a hose,' prompting him to go to hospital. 'It was like getting struck by lightning,' Oliver said of the attack.

Meanwhile, an Australian man has had his firearms confiscated after he and a friend took turns to shoot each other in the bottom with an air rifle. Victoria Police confirmed that the man would also have his licence revoked after the incident, which left the thirty four-year-old friends in pain and needing surgery. 'The men were sharing a few beers on Sunday evening when they thought it would be interesting to see if they shot one another with an air rifle, if it would penetrate their skin or it would hurt,' police said. Oh well, that explains everything. 'Two days later, both men have been admitted to hospital and require surgery to remove slug pellets from their buttocks and legs.' Horsham police will continue to investigate and will interview both Grampian men when they have sufficiently recovered.

1 comment:

wyldemusick said...

Ah, Australian idiots...not that they're any different than idiots all over the world.

Having been shot in the arse with a high-powered air pistol (close-range in a drive-by in Los Angeles; it was a target they couldn't miss) I can vouch for the damage those things will do....