Friday, July 23, 2010

Denial Is Not A River In Egypt

Being Human creator Toby Whithouse has hinted that he may return to Doctor Who to write a new episode. Whithouse previously wrote the episode School Reunion in 2006 and returned for the most recent series to script sixth instalment The Vampires of Venice. The writer recently attended a panel at this year's San Diego Comic-Con. According to SFX magazine, when asked if he or his fellow panellist, Paul Cornell, would be contributing to the next series, he replied: 'We're contractually not allowed to say.' So, that'll be 'yes' then?! Another panellist, the novelist China Miéville, reportedly replied: 'We can apply a bit of detective work here. If Toby's contractually advised not to say anything, that must mean he's under contract.' Yeah, I think that was the whole point of what he was saying, China, love. Whithouse refused to confirm or deny the speculation. So, to sum up, that'll be a 'yes', then!

Arthur Darvill has revealed that he is hopeful he will become a regular cast member on the next series of Doctor Who. Darvill's character Rory Williams - new husband to companion Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) - was introduced in the show's recent fifth series and appeared in seven of the thirteen episodes. On his chances of becoming a regular, the actor told Doctor Who Magazine: 'Fingers crossed! If that does happen, then I'm really interested to know what happens to Rory and Amy's relationship.' In the final episode of the series, viewers saw Plastic Rory defend Amy for two thousand years while she was trapped in The Pandorica. Darvill explained that the events of the finale will have an impact on Rory's character. '[I want to see] how the relationship between the three of them works,' he explained. 'Because there's obviously been a big change to Rory after waiting two thousand years!' Personally, I kind of hope Rory sticks around too - Arthur plays him very well and I've always preferred a TARDIS crew of three rather than two. The dynamics are more interesting.

Meanwhile, Doctor Who's head writer Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) has insisted that there is 'no vacancy' for the role of The Doctor. Speaking to BBC News, Moffat suggested that Matt Smith will stay as the Time Lord for many years to come. Asked if Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch could take over the role, Moffat said: 'There is no vacancy. Matt Smith is the Doctor and he's been an astonishing success and - who knows - maybe he'll never regenerate again.'

This year's X Factor will not focus on contestants' backstories and hardships, it has been reported. Producers on the ITV show are hoping to change the programme's image in a bid to find artists with greater longevity, according to the Sun. A source said: 'There was a time when people wanted to see someone who has had a difficult life get a number one Christmas hit. But that climate has completely changed. People want an artist that is going to keep producing.' Contestants are apparently being asked to tackle songs by artists like Lady GaGa and Corinne Bailey Rae, and told to take dance classes in order to prove that they could have a 'genuine career.' The source added: 'It's the seventh year and it needed to change. The climate is completely different to when Leon Jackson won it in 2007. JLS have set the standard of what can be achieved. They proved that an X Factor finalist can make the jump to being proper recording artists with a long career ahead of them.'

Highlight of this week's episode of Mock The Week: The great Stewart Franics' one-liner about enjoying going into a book shop and saying to the clerk 'I'm looking for a copy of Dealing With Rejection Without Killing!' Top man, Stewart Franics.

The journalist who wrote the story about Grand Theft Auto: Rothbury in Wednesday's Daily Star says that he is 'baffled' by the uproar this has caused. Which would be a truly shocking indictment of the levels to which journalistic standards in this country have fallen if it wasn't, sadly, so crassly predictable. Jerry Lawton wrote the story - about a new version of the popular Grand Theft Auto video game was to be based on the real-life killer Raoul Moat. He did this without bothering to contact the company who were supposed to be making this item and even extracted an obviously heartfelt quote from the grandmother of Moat's ex-girlfriend, one of his victims about how she felt about this shocking item. The only problem? There is no such game. Lawton had merely found a fake cover of the non-existent game online and proceeded to build a story around it. Internet hilarity that the article was such an - obvious - set of mendacious crud soon led to the piece being pulled from the Star's website, albeit without any form of apology, explanation or even an acknowledgment that it existed at all. Fortunately, screengrabs of it are all over the Internet. Like this one, for instance. The man behind the story, however, appears unrepentant. On his Facebook page, which has since been set to private, Lawton said: 'Baffled by the fury of adult gamers. These are grown (?!?) men who sit around all day playing computer games with one another who've today chosen to enter the real world just long enough to complain about my story slamming a Raoul Moat version of Grand Theft Auto!' Which doesn't exist, Jerry. That's always a good way to prove you're A Man when you've been caught writing nonsense, aggressively attacking the people who caught you. Class. And it's also nice to see a Daily Star journalist casting stones at how people chose to spend their leisure time. So, what's your great contribution to society then, pal? 'You would think I'd denied the Holocaust!!!' (his three exclamation marks) he continued. No, just written lies in a national newspaper that's all. Not as bad as Holocaust denial. Not even close, really. But, worthy of considerable amused comment in and of itself. Still, I'm nothing if not a fair man, Jerry. If you can provide this blogger with the website addresses of the - at least two - 'gaming websites' (plural, please note) which you claimed on Wednesday morning were 'showing the cover' of this game - which, just to repeat again, does not exist - then I'll be happy to amend this story and set the record straight. Over to you.

Christine Hamilton and Colin Jackson won the second Celebrity MasterChef heat on Thursday evening. The duo knocked out whingy Scouse actress Tricia Penrose (whose twisty-faced aversion to chilli and liver seemed, somewhat, at odds to someone who was trying to prove they 'had what it takes' to be a MasterChef), Martin Roberts and the lovely Jenny Powell in the cookery competition and joined Neil Stuke and Alexandra Fletcher in the quarter-final. Alleged 'TV personality' Hamilton - obviously some new use of the word 'celebrity' that I hadn't previously come across - impressed in the final challenge with her mixed fish ragu with rice, samphire and basil, followed by an apple, ginger and Amaretti tart. Gregg Wallace commented on her dessert: 'Sugar, apple and cinnamon are the closest to a cuddle you will ever get on a plate of food.' Bless his cotton socks, he does love his puds, does Gregg! Jackson was successful with his fusion dishes of chicken in a spicy coconut sauce with rice and spinach, followed by fried banana in a coconut caramel sauce with chopped fried peanuts. Wallace, again, praised the pudding, adding: 'It tastes really yummy.' Speaking afterwards, Hamilton - who burst into tears when told she'd got through - said: 'I'm overjoyed, of course I am. But I'm also incredibly nervous because I don't want to fluff it up in the quarter final. My mum would be so proud of me. She wouldn't have thought it possible because she hated cooking.' Jackson commented: 'Getting into the quarter-final you have step it up another level. I think my fighting spirit has been ignited once again.'

An obscure Anglo-Japanese avant-garde musical group is on course to be named the best comedy show to have come out the Edinburgh Fringe in the past thirty years – thanks, seemingly, to protest votes over the corporate trivialisation of the festival. John Peel Show favourites The Frank Chickens are currently leading the poll, run by the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Award in an attempt to impose the beer brand onto the accolades, previously known as The Perriers. The public have been invited to choose their favourite act from all of the previous nominees to be crowned 'Comedy God.' The idea also, of course, provides publicity for the new sponsors and promotes the idea of continuity with earlier years. In an angry e-mail to organisers earlier this week, Stewart Lee called the idea 'the most shameful, inane thing I have seen in all the years I have been doing the Fringe.' He cited 1994 nominees The Frank Chickens as an example of how pointless the exercise was, claiming that few under thirty would have heard of them so how could they be judged against comedy stars still in the limelight? However, some comedy fans appear to have taken his comment as a rallying cry to vote for the now obscure band, who specialised in singing about Japanese social conditions and the experience of Japanese people in England, and now they are number one in the Foster's poll, ahead of the likes of Michael McIntyre, Russell Howard and Ross Noble. Among the supporters of the campaign are Lee's former comedy partner Richard Herring, who tweeted to his thirty thousand followers earlier in the day: 'The Frank Chickens now at number two in the chart. Push them to the top.'

Russell Davies has revealed details of the forthcoming new series of Torchwood. A fourth series of the Doctor Who spin off is currently in pre-production as part of a deal between BBC Worldwide, BBC Wales and US network Starz. Davies told SFX: 'It's too soon to give away the story, but I've always had this story in mind, and the whole existence of season four will make sense once you know what the story is.' The writer compared the tone of the new episodes to that of previous miniseries Torchwood: Children of Earth. 'This story is also very dark,' he revealed. 'I think with [Children of Earth], Torchwood found its feet.' He promised that the fourth series will not disappoint dedicated fans, but will also appeal to new viewers. 'For faithful viewers you'll see the same people in the same world, following on,' he said. 'Though it also starts from scratch, because there's a brand new Starz audience there waiting to be scooped up. But I restarted Doctor Who in 2005 from scratch, so I know what I'm doing.' He added: 'It's still Gwen, it's still Jack, and hopefully more. You'll feel very comfortable with it. And there's great new American characters coming into it.'

As mentioned the other day, filming has begun on the seventh series of the BBC's con drama Hustle. Upcoming episodes will see the Hustle crew tackle a casino heist, become involved in the fashion world and trail a mark's crooked deals to Birmingham. Cast members Adrian Lester (Mickey 'Bricks'), Robert Vaughn (Albert), Robert Glenister (Ash), Kelly Adams (Emma) and Matt Di Angelo (Sean) will all return for the new series. Lester said: 'It's fantastic that this series includes an episode set in my home town of Birmingham. The greedy better hold on tight to their wallets, as the gang is back and the cons are bigger and better than ever!' Producer Karen Wilson praised creator Tony Wilson's scripts for the new series. 'Reading Tony's fantastic scripts, this series looks like it's going to be fabulous,' she said. 'I can't wait for Adrian and co. to bring the action to life! This time around, the guys take a little trip to the Midlands, with the gang trying to give a female mark a new lease of life!' Sarah Brandist, executive producer for the BBC, added: 'Hustle is an extraordinarily special show and we are thrilled to be working on series seven with Kudos and Red Planet.' Guest stars for the series include Joe Armstrong and Anna Chancellor, as well as the previously-announced Angela Griffin.

There's a very good piece by the Gruniad Morning Star's James Kettle on the growing- and very amusing - Keith Chegwin joke-theft row here. I particularly enjoyed his closing thought: 'Comics do come up with similar jokes from time to time, where there's an observable logical absurdity that's struck more than one performer, or a lateral step that more than one act has innocently taken. But that doesn't seem to be what's happened with Cheggers. He looks to have adopted a bunker mentality, refusing to accept criticism online and blocking comics such as Ed Byrne and Simon Evans from his Twitter account. He should count himself lucky that they've been relatively civil, restricting their complaints to one hundred and forty characters. When the US comic Joe Rogan felt fellow stand-up Carlos Mencia was stealing his gags, he gatecrashed a gig and confronted him onstage. At least Chegwin has been spared such public humiliation – hosting Naked Jungle probably gave him enough of that to last a lifetime.' Personally, my advise to Cheggers would be when you're in a hole, stop digging, mate. There's no way you're going to be able to win this one - morally, or comedically. Not least because you're not in the same league as a comic as the majority of those you've chosen to spar with.

And, speaking of the Gruniad and comedy - and for once, this isn't a reference to their latest Top Gear story - Brian Logan has written an impressively passionate article When Did Comedians Get So Middle-Class which is well worth a read.

Emma Caulfield has reportedly landed a role in Life Unexpected. According to Give Me My Remote, the former Buffy The Vampire Slayer actress will appear in the show's upcoming second season. She is expected to play the boss of Baze (Kristoffer Polaha) at his father's investment firm. Her character is said to be a smart career woman who is unhappy about the fact that Baze has been able to join the company because of his father. However, the pair reportedly strike up a friendship.

Martin Scorsese is teaming up with Mick Jagger to work on a new HBO period drama spanning four decades of music, according to various music industry sources. The project, currently called History of Music, charts the forty-year progression of the music industry from early R'n'B to contemporary hip hop, according to Deadline. The show, which was originally Jagger's idea, had been readied by Paramount three years ago. HBO are now in negotiations with Paramount to develop a pilot for the series, which would be directed by Scorsese and written by The Sopranos scriptwriter Terence Winter.

Richard Desmond has reportedly revealed that he wants to revive the legendary music show Top of the Pops. The Daily Express owner is currently in talks to buy and revamp TV channel Five. The Gruniad now reports that if Desmond is successful, he hopes to produce a new version of the cancelled BBC series. He reportedly told colleagues that he wants 'to create a series of landmark shows in peak time and believes a live music programme would win a big audience.' The BBC cancelled the long-running programme in 2006 after a number of attempts to find both a format and a time slot that would claw back its diminishing audience, though a number of Christmas and New Year specials have aired since. The rights to the Top of the Pops format currently reside, firmly, with BBC Worldwide.

Joss Whedon has criticised US television networks for failing to embrace serialised storytelling on their shows. Speaking at a panel at this year's San Diego Comic-Con, Whedon argued that the networks put their own preferences ahead of what viewers really want. 'The networks will never admit that people want serialised shows' he told fans. The Buffy creator claimed that ABC drama Lost was a huge success because of its complex storytelling and long-running character arcs. 'When Lost was huge, the networks still spoke against serialised storytelling. They see an easy cash cow in something like The Mentalist.' He added: 'With TV it's about appealing to the audience and the first audience is the networks.' See, I don't necessarily disagree with a lot of what Joss is syaing there but, I always find it very awkward when people in television start banging on about 'what the public want.' Particularly in the case of Joss himself whose last TV show was - the conceptually brilliant, let it be said - Dollhouse which never managed to get above three million viewers for a single one of its twenty six episodes. So, when it comes to television the public, generally, get exactly what the public want. As Paul Weller once wisely noted. Whether they get what they need, is a slightly different matter

Justin Bieber is to appear in the upcoming season premiere of CBS drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. The network announced that the teenage pop star will play Jason McCann, a 'troubled teen' who meets investigators after an incident with his brother. The storyline will not be fully resolved until later in the season. Executive producers Carol Mendelsohn, Don McGill and Anthony Zuiker said in a joint statement: 'Every twenty years, a phenomenon like Justin Bieber graces our world. We'd like to believe that the phenomenon of CSI has had the same impact on popular culture. The opportunity to bring them together in the premiere is a great treat for our audience and all of its new viewers. This will be true event television. We're looking forward to Justin's dramatic star turn, not only in the premiere, but in a continuing seasonal arc.' Please do remember this potentially ludicrous comment, dear blog reader, if in about three years time Justin Bieber is only remembered in roughly the same breath as Hanson.

Tom Cruise has revealed that he thoroughly enjoyed filming for motoring show Top Gear. The Knight and Day actor, who was has filmed a guest appearance with co-star Cameron Diaz, also mentioned that he was able to perform a lap on the programme's famous track. He is quoted by What's On TV as saying: 'It was fun, very fun. I like fast cars and motorcycles - I've always loved them since I was a kid. We did timed laps. It's very exciting - we know the score and we want to tell everybody, but we can't because we want them to watch the show.' I think they will with or without you, Tom. Cruise added: 'I love speed. What I love about it is that you have to live in the moment, and I love just being in the moment.'

DC Comics character Cat Grant is to join the cast of Smallville for the show's tenth and final season. Entertainment Weekly reports that the role will join the show as Clark Kent's new partner at the Daily Planet. Cat Grant was first introduced to Superman comics in 1987 as a gossip columnist working alongside Clark and Lois Lane. She was originally a potential love interest for Superman. The character was previously portrayed by actress Tracy Scoggins in the 1990s series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.

Walking horrorshow Jamie Oliver is set to rake in nearly twenty million quids worth of moolah after signing up to make forty episodes of his latest show. It's a sick, sorry, wretched world that we live in, dear blog reader.

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