Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Freedom To Speak

Steven Moffat has revealed that he did not plan to become involved in so many updates and remakes of classic characters. The writer's Sherlock - a revamp of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous detective - is currently airing on BBC1 to great acclaim. The Doctor Who showrunner also wrote Jekyll - an excellent modern-day update of the Jekyll and Hyde story - for the BBC in 2007.'" I know about Jekyll and Sherlock,' The Moffster explained to HeyUGuys. 'It's really weird I've done those two things in a row, but it really wasn't [planned]. I suppose it's just that a good story once is a good story twice, is a good story ten times.' Moffat revealed that he is not currently planning to update any more classic tales, and that he is keen to work on original projects in the future. Maybe one day I'll see something else and think we should do [it] again,' he explained. 'But I think that when I'm done on these, I'll be getting a bit itchy to do something of my own again.'

Neil Gaiman has revealed that he found it difficult to limit his imagination to match the budget while writing his upcoming episode of Doctor Who. The writer is currently working on a script for the sixth series of the show. He previously revealed that his currently untitled instalment would air third in the run. Gaiman wrote on his blog: 'The wonderful thing about books and comics is your budget is infinite: it costs the same to draw one thing as another, to write one thing as another.' He explained that he had initially found it difficult to work around Doctor Who's financial restraints. That’s not true of television, where a budget might stretch to prosthetics or CGI, but not both.' he explained. However, Gaiman insisted that he was enjoying working on the series. 'Truthfully, I’m not grumbling,' he said. 'I'm loving writing Doctor Who, and so far, each draft really has been better than the one before'" He added that the latest draft of his episode 'should be done in the next few days.'

Sarah Parish has claimed that her show Mistresses is escapist. Parish, who plays Katie, told the Radio Times that the drama is fun to watch because it does not try too hard to be realistic. 'Mistresses has got a shine to it, representing four - not fantasy lives, exactly - but quite affluent, shiny lives,' she said. 'It doesn't aspire to gritty realism. It's a programme that you can escape into.' However, she added: 'I think it does have something to say. Any drama that's written around relationships has always got something to say. You can always find something in a character that relates to you.' Parish also revealed that she was drawn to the script because she was impressed with the strong female characters. 'You're always looking for great pieces written for women and this had four very strong female parts,' she said. 'I thought they were all great characters, all very well written. And it's always nice to be in a female-led piece. They are rare.' Parish added that the third series is slightly different, saying: 'There's always "mistressy" behaviour, but it's a different sort of series. It's not quite as "pop," a little bit more serious, so the behaviour you see is slightly more dramatic rather than fun-filled and flashy.'

Meanwhile, Joanna Lumley has revealed details of her character on Mistresses. The actress will star in the new series of the show as Vivienne, the domineering mother of Katie (Sarah Parish). She told What's On TV: 'Vivienne appears to be a bit of a cold fish. She seems to be selfish, critical of Katie and not very motherly - but soon all things are revealed.' The former Absolutely Fabulous star explained that her appearance on the show would shed more light on Katie's past. 'You begin to get the idea that Katie's childhood, while it was happy, had some secrets and strangeness in it, and that they never really got on,' she said. 'It's quite tense and very well written. [The audience will] get a real insight into why Katie is Katie,' Lumley added.

Minnie Driver has criticised US television following the cancellation of her show The Riches. The series, which also starred Eddie Izzard, was axed by FX in 2008 after two seasons. Speaking to the Radio Times, Driver admitted that she became disillusioned when the show was dropped. 'It was shocking the way in which it was dealt with,' she said. 'I didn't want to do television ever again.' Driver suggested that television 'is much more micro-managed in the US' and complained about certain studio executives, claiming that 'you can't imagine they're not working for a Japanese conglomerate that has nothing to do with anything creative.' Driver also revealed that she was often shocked about the way she was treated on set, saying: '[I would hear executives say,] "Unbutton two more buttons on her shirt so we can see more boob."' What a refreshing change from the way that British actors normally tongue-rim US TV and say how much better it is that ours. I not saying either view is entirely right, but it's interesting to get a different perspective from inside the belly of the beast than, for instance, Stephen Fry's recent take on the deficiencies of British TV drama as compared to the US. However, the Good Will Hunting star revealed that she loved the script for her new BBC drama The Deep. 'It's varied, it's complicated, it's weird, it's emotional and physical,' she said. 'It's all those things that you want. I'm interested in pioneering stuff.'

Comments made by Jeremy Clarkson on Sunday night's edition of Top Gear about a Muslim woman have sparked complaints from seven viewers. The fifty-year-old told his co-hosts, Richard Hammond and James May, that he was distracted by women in burkas when driving because he knows what they wear underneath, reports the Daily Star. Clarkson claimed that he had once witnessed a woman in a burka fall 'head over heels' in front of his taxi at a zebra crossing and saw her 'red G-string and stockings.' Hammond laughing suggested that the incident 'did not happen' but Clarkson insisted that it had. 'I promise you. The taxi driver will back me up,' he said. A Mediawatch spokesperson later criticised the comments. 'He should learn to keep quiet - every time he opens his mouth he upsets someone,' they said. No he doesn't. Not someone, Mediawatch, only you. And, once again, can we just make clear to Mediawatch at this point that you do not speak for me or anyone I know just in case you were under the misapprehension that you, actually, did. According to the newspaper the 'controversial Muslim preacher' Omar Bakri Muhammad reportedly told the paper: 'This shows how much hatred he has for Muslims in general, and Muslim women in particular. If he speaks about the honour of Muslim women, it requires Muslim people to respond.' Blimey, is that a call to ji'had, Omar? He added: 'And if he doesn't apologise he could face Muslim youth attacking him physically.' Now, that sounds suspiciously like veiled threat and an incitement to violence. Which I'm pretty sure is, actually, against the law in this country. Possibly you weren't aware of this so we can chalk it down to a misunderstanding. Meanwhile another viewer allegedly complained that Clarkson had gone 'too far this time' with his 'offensive and disrespectful' joke. Although where this alleged - nameless - viewer actually did this complaining, the paper did not elaborate. And, that's always assuming that this was a joke, of course. Where, exactly, is your proof of that, nameless viewers quoted in the Daily Star that the incident in question didn't happen exactly as Clarkson described it? In which case, it's not a 'joke' or anything remotely like it, it's a statement of fact. The BBC later confirmed that it had received seven complaints about the comments. That's seven, dear blog reader. Not seven thousand, or seven hundred, but seven. Out of an audience of six and half million. I must admit, this story brings out the absolute worst hackles in this blogger on all sorts of levels. Firstly, there's the question of freedom of speech. I always thought that concept was one of the things which was supposed to set Europe and the West apart from Third World dictatorships run by thuggish bullyboys. We've been told, for example, that was one of the reasons why we are, supposedly, fighting a war in Afghanistan right now (it isn't, of course, oil is, but never mind). The right to say what you believe, so long as it isn't illegal, no matter whom that annoys. It's interesting that one of the main proponents of the concept of freedom of speech - at least according to their website - is, collectively, Mediawatch. Except when the free speech exercised is from someone other than Christians in search of filth, of course. Then, they appear to be not nearly so keen on the whole deal. Still, if nothing else this proves that Clarkson continues to have a quite remarkable ability to piss off some seemingly very strange bedfellows. Look at it this way, Jezza, if the quality of a man is judged by his enemies then the fact that you now, apparently, number among them not only the Daily Scum Mail and the Gruniad Morning Star but, also, a 'controversial Muslim cleric,' a nasty, bigotted right-wing media scum pressure group and a tabloid newspaper with an extremely questionable record of accurate - and even truthful - reporting suggests you simply not trying hard enough.

Trade bodies Directors UK and the Film Distributors' Association have joined the chorus of criticism for the government's 'catastrophic' decision to axe the Film Council, which appears to have come out of the blue. Director Roger Michell, whose credits include BBC series The Buddha of Suburbia, BBC-backed movie The Mother and Film 4's Enduring Love, said: 'This is an astonishing decision by government – without the merest hint of consultation with either the wider film industry or the UK film council itself. The decision flies in the face of economic sense. This is a catastrophic announcement for the film and the broader creative sector. We should not forget that film is an industry and one in which the UK excels both at home and abroad. We employ thirty six thousand people and contributed over four and a half billion pounds to GDP in 2009.' Directors UK highlighted concern that beyond promising some continuation of Lottery funding, the government made no announcement of any provision for ensuring the Council's work continues. Michell added: 'The UK Film Council forged a coherent and consistent framework for our industry, providing some measure of stability and distributing a vital, if modest, revenue stream via the Production Fund. It is crucial that this fund continues to feed a thriving industry in a challenging economic climate.' Lord Puttnam, president of the Film Distributors' Association, said the 'out of the blue' announcement would 'take some time to digest fully.' He added: 'The Film Council has been a layer of strategic glue that's helped bind the many parts of our disparate industry together. It is sure to be widely missed, not least because the UK cinema industry is in the midst of a fundamental transformation at the heart of which is digital roll-out. On the welcome premise that Government and Lottery support for film will continue, I look forward to discussing ways in which a new, coherent plan for film can be developed and implemented to benefit audiences throughout the UK.' Meanwhile, Channel 4 said in a statement: 'Whilst we are of course acutely aware of the financial circumstances that have led to this decision, Channel 4 is very saddened for its colleagues at the UKFC who have done a tremendous job of supporting and nurturing British Film. For its part Channel 4 remains absolutely committed to fulfilling its remit to invest in British film-making through Film 4.' Jane Wright, Managing Director & Executive Director at BBC Films, told Screen International: 'I found the news deeply shocking. It really did come out of the blue. I don't fully understand, even with the missives that have gone out, what this exactly means for the range of activities which the Film Council did.' Meanwhile, former BBC Films head David Thompson, who now runs film Origin Pictures, described it as 'a chronic blow to the fortunes of filmmakers and film production in this country.' PACT's response was more sympathetic to the government's decision and acknowledged that the Council was created in 2000, when public sector spending was more generous. Chief executive John McVay said: 'We strongly welcome the coalition's commitment to the two most important interventions in the market, namely the National Lottery funding and the film tax credit. These both ensure that we can produce indigenous feature films and also attract inward investment which, combined, sustain our vibrant, dynamic and successful film industry and we look forward to working with the government as they develop their thinking on how this essential public support will be delivered in future.' Among the biggest beneficiaries of the Council's funds in recent times were Film 4 releases Nowhere Boy and The Proposition and the BBC's Bend it Like Beckham. Armando Iannucci, whose BBC film In the Loop benefited from Council money, tweeted: 'Mad move by macho numbercrunchers. It made UK a gargantuan load of money. They're wangpots.'

President Barack Obama is to appear on daytime show The View, broadcaster ABC has announced. The show, in which the Prez will be asked about topics including the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, will be filmed on Wednesday and shown on Thursday. The network said it would be the first appearance by a sitting US president on a daytime TV chat show. The View co-host Barbara Walters will return to the studio for the first time since her open heart surgery in May. 'We are so pleased and honoured that President Obama will be a guest on The View,' said Walters in a statement. 'This shows that both the president and first lady feel that our show is an influential and important source of information and news.' Walters added that she would return to the show full-time in September. Michelle Obama appeared as a co-host on the show in June 2008 while her husband appeared in March of that year during his campaign for the presidency. The View features interviews with star guests by hosts including Walters, Whoopi Goldberg and comedienne Joy Behar. Think Loose Women but with a touch more class. In March last year, Obama became the first sitting president to appear on a late-night talk programme on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Mad Men star John Slattery has revealed that creator Matthew Weiner has banned the show's cast from ad-libbing lines. The actor - who plays Roger Sterling - revealed to New York Magazine that Weiner became furious when he added a line during filming. 'Matt said, "Don't you think I fucking thought of that? That's why I wrote what I wrote!"' laughed Slattery. 'The mistake I've sometimes made is to try to make Roger more human than he is on the page,' he continued. 'Matt really has thought of everything, so if you try to modulate the pace at which a character is revealed, then you’re doing a disservice to what's written.' Slattery also praised the relationship between his character and Jon Hamm's Don Draper, revealing that their on-screen friendship is influenced by their real-life interactions. 'Jon and I do have personal chemistry,' he explained. 'One of the things we tried to show in season three is what happens when that's shaken up. The reconciliation [between the characters] in the final episode made it one of the most rewarding [moments] of the year.'

Marg Helgenberger has announced that she will be leaving CSI after eleven years. The fifty one-year-old actress, who plays Catherine Willows in the long-running police drama, has already cut back on her appearances in the forthcoming season eleven. She told TV Guide: 'I asked to do less episodes, so I am doing only nineteen. CBS wanted me to stay longer, but it was on terms I didn't find agreeable. I wanted to do thirteen [episodes] and be finished by Christmas, but they wouldn't go for it. I'm thinking of this as my last nineteen.' Helgenberger, who considered her future on the series earlier this year, also revealed that she recently accepted a pay cut. 'CBS was also using the poor economy as a way to pull in the reins, so honestly all of us took pay cuts this year,' she said. 'Because I'm doing [fewer episodes], I won't be making as much. Plus, I negotiated to do a few episodes in which I'm only working three days, so the salary was adjusted. Apart from the money, I wasn't quite ready to let go of the character and the people I work with.'

Five chief executive Dawn Airey has reportedly told the broadcaster's senior management team that it is 'business as usual' after Richard Desmond's takeover last week. According to the Gruniad Morning Star, Airey is understood to have informed senior staff at an executive meeting to continue working as normal, despite the change of ownership. Also at the meeting were representatives from Desmond's Northern & Shell company, who are 'getting to know the business' before making decisions on its future strategy. Desmond has already pledged to inject one and a half billion pounds into the broadcaster's budget over the next five years, including an annual investment of up to one hundred million on programming. The OK magazine owner has also promised not take the channel 'downmarket' amid reports that he intends to transform Five into a celebrity-led network. There is also speculation that Desmond will return Five to Project Canvas after the broadcaster quit the IPTV joint venture earlier in the month as part of a review of its digital strategy. Desmond is further considering big-name programme acquisitions to drive up Five's audience share, including a possible deal for Endemol's Big Brother, which is currently in its final year on Channel 4. The billionaire wants to increase the main Five channel's audience share from around six per cent to fourteen per cent, but media sources have expressed doubt at the viability of that aim.

How Not To Live Your Life will air its third series in the autumn, it has been announced. Dan Clark will reprise his role as desperate Don in the BBC3 sitcom, which saw high ratings and critical acclaim for series two last year. During the last series, Don's luck was finally in when he appeared on the brink of a relationship with flatmate Sam. However, his love life returns to being fraught. David Armand, Leila Hoffman, Sinéad Moynihan, Daniel Taylor and Laura Haddock will all reprise their roles as Eddie, Mrs Treacher, Jason and Sam.

James Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson are reportedly 'panicked' about the future of their spy series franchise. The twenty third 007 outing has been put on hold indefinitely due to the financial uncertainty surrounding MGM, the studio which owns the rights to the Bond franchise and is up for sale with four billion pounds worth of debt. An MGM insider told The Hollywood Reporter: 'They're completely panicked that if they go five, six years without a Bond movie, it'll be over. They don't want to kill the golden goose.' Broccoli allegedly wants Sony or Time Warner to buy MGM, but is concerned about a potential Lionsgate takeover because the studio's entire twelve-month production budget is less than the cost of a Bond movie. Star Daniel Craig has insisted that he will return to play Bond a third time when the studio's financial woes have been resolved, with the MGM source adding that executives admired Broccoli and Wilson for making the 'bold strokes' move of casting him. 'Barbara said, "I really like this guy, Daniel Craig,"' the source commented. 'We were horrified. We liked Eric Bana, Hugh Jackman. To her credit, she thought Craig was a great actor, had this magnetism. We wanted to do one more with Pierce Brosnan. [The producers] are generally cautious, but they are capable of doing bold strokes.' Former Bond screenwriter Bruce Feirstein, who penned the latest 007 video game Blood Stone, said that he is certain the character will be back for more movies. 'I'm not worried about 007,' he said. 'There's a line at the end of every movie which we used in the video game: It's that James Bond will return. It's been true for fifty years. A hiccup like what's going on at MGM is not going to change that.'

Rock band the Kings of Leon have been forced to end a concert early after pigeons defecated on them from the rafters of a US venue. The rockers abandoned the gig in St Louis after three songs when bass player Jared Followill was hit in the mouth and face by pigeon droppings. Drummer Nathan Followill later apologised to fans via Twitter, saying 'it was too unsanitary to continue.' Their publicist added the band found it hard to carry on after the incident. 'Jared was hit several times during the first two songs. On the third song, when he was hit in the cheek and some of it landed near his mouth, they couldn't deal [with it] any longer,' said Amy Mendelsohn. 'It's not only disgusting - it's a toxic hazard. They really tried to hang in there.' Opening acts The Postelles and The Stills had also come off stage after their sets were covered in excrement.

No comments: