Thursday, July 22, 2010

From A-List To Z-List

Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz will take part in an upcoming episode of Top Gear, it has been reported. The Knight and Day actors will, apparently, be competing in the motoring show's 'star in a reasonably priced car' segment. This is according to the Sun, anyway. The pair, who are reported to have contacted the BBC to request an appearance on the programme, are expected to record their laps of the race track in Surrey this week which should mean they'll be featured on Sunday's episode. If this was 1 April, I'd swear this was a wind up! But, apparently, it's legit. A 'source' claimed: 'Tom and Cameron are over in Britain for the premiere of their new movie Knight and Day. Tom knew we were filming so asked if he could give the old Kia a whirl. We've had some big names tearing around in our reasonably priced car, but Tom has to be up there as the biggest. And the amazing thing is his people contacted us. Cameron was up for it too so we're getting two A-list stars for one show. Jeremy Clarkson and the boys couldn't be happier.' The celebrity leaderboard for the 'star in a reasonably priced car' challenge is currently topped by Harry Potter actor Rupert Grint. The source added: '[Cruise] will need his best driving skills. It's pretty tough to get to the top of the leaderboard.'

Meanwhile, Top Gear will air later than usual in a fortnight's time, the BBC has confirmed. BBC2 is screening extended Live Athletics from 6pm on Sunday 1 August, which means that the motoring programme's series finale will be shown at 9.30pm. 'Top Gear will move to the later time of 9.30pm to make room for the European Athletics Championships, a major event in the sporting calendar,' a corporation spokeswoman told the Digital Spy website. The episode - hosted as usual by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May - will also be repeated on Tuesday 3 August. In the past, Clarkson in particular has been outspoken in his criticism of BBC2 for shunting Top Gear - easily the station's best performing show, by a country mile - around in the schedules, or sometimes dropping it entirely, usually for sporting events that hardly anybody is interested in. Particularly snooker.

You Have Been Watching host Charlie Brooker has confirmed that the show's postponed 'crime drama special' will be aired by E4. Brooker and Channel 4 originally decided to pull the episode from the schedules after a series of shootings in Cumbria in June. At the time, the presenter explained that the episode 'feels tonally wrong at present.' However, he has now confirmed via his Twitter account that the special will air on 28 July. A repeat of the previously-aired children's TV special was broadcast last night. Brooker wrote that 'the postponed "Crime" episode will be on [next week], in this same slot.'

David Morrissey has claimed that the absence of older women in mainstream TV culture is 'a disgrace.' Speaking to The Stage, the actor - known for State of Play and his 2008 guest role on Doctor Who - revealed that the growing trend of younger female newsreaders and reality show judges is worrying. He said: 'There never have been [enough roles for older women] and it's a disgrace. It's changing, but for every Helen Mirren there are a lot of other actresses who aren't there. If you look at our magazine culture you don't see a lot of women in their forties. Look at news presenters - that needs to change first. Look at our X Factor judges. It has got to change.' However, the forty four-year-old, who is the star of upcoming ITV crime thriller U Be Dead, did praise the quality scripts he had received from UK writers. He added: 'The drama I am seeing on British TV and the scripts I am receiving are really, really good. I would not like us to get too complacent about it, but I think we are in a very healthy place.'

The new series of Celebrity Masterchef opened to 4.6m viewers on Wednesday evening, according to overnight audience figures. The cooking show's first episode, averaged 4.67m on BBC1 in the 8pm hour. Dragons' Den pulled in 2.95m on BBC2 in the 9pm hour, with a further one hundred and thirty six thousand viewers watching on BBC HD. Actor Neil Stuke and Brookside and Hollyoaks actress Alexandra Fletcher have progressed to the second round on Celebrity MasterChef. The duo knocked out Dragons' Den entrepreneur Richard Farleigh, Radio 1 DJ Nihal Arthanayake and athlete Tessa Sanderson after a series of cooking challenges, judged by Gregg Wallace and John Torode. In the final test, Fletcher served up a chicken pot pie with carrots and green beans, followed by apple, cinnamon and pecan nut crumble with homemade vanilla custard. Torode praised her main course, commenting: 'I think that is a really comforting, really warming and it makes you feel good inside.' Wallace added: 'This tastes great. This is a winner.' Stuke dished up monkfish wrapped in pancetta on roasted Jerusalem artichoke with a beurre blanc sauce, followed by a pear tatin and clotted cream. Commenting on the main course, Torode said: 'I love it. We have sweetness from the root vegetables, then suddenly you are hit by the salt of the bacon, then the richness of the monkfish - that is delicious. I don't have a complaint about it.' After Torode and Wallace revealed who had reached the quarter-finals, Stuke said: 'I'm really, really pleased. I think my wife and kids are going to be really proud. And my mum. It's fantastic.' Fletcher added: 'I can't believe that I'm through. I'm in shock.'

Elisabeth Moss has admitted that the critical acclaim surrounding Mad Men is difficult to deal with. In an interview with The AV Club, Moss admitted that the cast and crew work hard to keep the show at a high standard. 'It's a lot of pressure,' she said. 'I think every season is more pressure. It doesn't get easier.' Hell, when you were President Barlet's daughter you got kidnapped and survived an assassination attempt, love, what's more pressurised than that? 'Every single time we get something like seventeen Emmy nominations. We're so happy about it. Because it's not like we're like, "Well of course we're going to get this. We are awesome." We work so hard every season to try to make it better and to live up to the standard that we ourselves have created.' She continued: 'There's a lot of pressure, but at the same time, I feel like things are looking good. Every single season, we have managed to reach that standard - or set a new and higher one. So I have high hopes for this season.' Moss also admitted that she will mark every other project she does against Mad Men. 'I think that, for sure, it will forever be something I will compare things to,' she said. 'But I think there's a lot of good work out there. I hope it won't be a problem.'

Actress Susie Amy has reportedly auditioned for a role in the upcoming fourth series of ITV's SF drama Primeval. According to Herald.ie, the former Footballers' Wives star was trying out for a 'coveted part' on the show, which is currently filming in Ireland. An unnamed source allegedly said: 'Everyone was kind of surprised to see Susie there as she has never worked in Ireland before and has obviously worked on some really big shows like Footballers' Wives and so has a load of TV experience.' Amy would play 'a geeky investigator' in the programme. 'The actresses were all asked to dress down and try to look like real geeks with nerdy clothes, big glasses and minimal make-up for the role,' explained the insider. Fellow Footballers' Wives actress Laila Rouass previously played Egyptologist Sarah Page in the show's third series. And, was very good. However, Rouass recently announced that she will not return for the new episodes.

TV survival expert Ray Mears was brought in to help find Raoul Moat when the fugitive killer went into hiding in the dense countryside according to tabloid reports. The outdoor and bushcraft specialist, forty six, who has his own BBC2 show, advised police after they found the Moat's abandoned camp. Moat evaded capture for a week in moorland around Rothbury despite scores of officers searching for him. Even heat-seeking police helicopters and RAF Tornado jets could not locate him. Northumbria Police said: 'We can confirm Ray Mears did assist in this investigation.' Moat died following a six-hour stand-off with armed officers by the River Coquet.

The Daily Star has conspired to put its tabloid-sized foot squarely in the brown stuff by alleging that a 'sick video game' was to be made concerning the Raoul Moat tragedy. In an article - which has now, curiously, been removed from their website but which dear blog readers can still see by clicking the link - the alleged newspaper claimed that various - unnamed - 'gaming websites' had put up a box shot of the planned forthcoming game Grand Theft Auto: Rothbury. They then went to the trouble of contacting a relative of one of Moat's unfortunate victims and asking for a comment. They got one. 'I can't believe someone would want to make money out of someone who's been killed.' Absolutely. Couldn't agree more. Of course, as anybody with a half-a-brain in their head could have worked out, there's actually no such game in the works or anything even remotely like it. The Daily Star's journalist, had, it would seem, fallen for the crude mocked up box of the game, which had probably been cobbled together by some tasteless teenager in a bedroom somewhere using photoshop. It would be staggering that a journalist could be so stupid. If it was anybody other than the Daily Star we were talking about, of course. What's far more staggering is the fact that the journalist in question - one Jerry Lawton - evidently didn't even bother to check any further than the dubious looking screengrab before he published the story. Didn't bother to find out who was supposed to be producing it, or get any quotes from them. In short, didn't bother to check the veracity of what he was writing. Thus, it would seem that the people who are actually trying to 'make money out of someone who's been killed' are, in fact, the Daily Star themselves. You know, selling newspapers on the back of a shock! horror! pictures! 'exclusive' which, in reality, has no substance to it whatsoever. The Star appears to have made the entire surrounding story up - specifically the references to 'gaming websites' which were allegedly advertising this new game. Unsurprising as, just to repeat, the game itself does not, actually, exist. Still, it makes a change from the Star printing lies about Doctor Who casting, I suppose.

Viewers have reportedly complained to Ofcom after Alan Carr swore on his television show. According to the Sun, eleven people were unhappy with the comedian's use of the word 'cunt' on Alan Carr: Chatty Man. During an interview on Sunday night's show, guest Jared Leto asked if he was allowed to say 'fucking amazing.' Carr replied: 'You can swear - you can even say cunt.' Ofcom has announced that it will not investigate the incident because the show was broadcast after the watershed.

US network SyFy has confirmed that Battlestar Galactica spin-off Caprica will not return until early next year. Set fifty eight years before its parent series, Caprica follows life in Colonial society before the introduction of the robotic Cylons. The show's two-hour pilot aired on 22 January. Eight regular episodes followed, with the last one broadcast on 26 March. Another nine episodes have been commissioned, taking the first season total up to eighteen. However, SyFy has now announced that the new episodes will not air until January 2011. The series features Pulp Fiction's Eric Stoltz and former Jericho actor Esai Morales.

Sky and Top Up TV have agreed a deal that will allow Freeview customers to watch Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2. The service will cost £22.99 a month for one channel, or £31.99 for both. Top Up TV's competitors generally require lengthy contracts or bundles of broadband and fixed-line phone services to sign up for their sports packages. In March, Ofcom ruled that Sky would have to cut the price it charged rivals to show its premium sports channels.

Keith Chegwin has been attacked by comedians who accuse him of stealing jokes and passing them off as his own on Twitter. The fifty three-year-old television presenter, who has built up more than thirty thousand followers on the microblogging site by Tweeting one-liners, insists his jokes are his own or 'remembered from old.' However, comedian Simon Evans complained publicly to Chegwin after he posted a joke which Evans said was the work of Mock The Week star Milton Jones. The joke was: 'My auntie Marge has been ill for so long we changed her name to "I can't believe she's not better."' Yep, that's a Milton Jones one all right. Chegwin is also accused of repeating the work of Jimmy Carr and of 'borrowing' a line from The Simpsons. Evans wrote: 'Cheggars old chap, you are no doubt acting out of good intentions but these jokes are written by professionals. They earn their keep telling them and it's really not on to just distribute them like this, without credit.' Ed Byrne, the Irish stand-up, added a further complaint, Tweeting: 'I think you're wrong not crediting your sources. Of the last four jokes you tweeted one was Milton Jones and one was Lee Mack. Both working comics.' The row, reported on comedy website Chortle, led to 'Keith Chegwin' becoming a top trending topic on Twitter. In response, Chegwin blocked Evans from his account and made a defiant series of posts, including: 'Most of the gags are my very own and original. Others are so old I'm not gonna start crediting dead people?' He also complained of Twitter 'cyberbullies' and 'threats' adding: 'Always been honest about my gags, I'LL SAY IT AGAIN. Most of the gags are my own and some I remember from old. If ya don't like it "UNFOLLOW."' Byrne told The Times that Chegwin was breaking a 'gentleman's agreement' amongst comics not to use each other's work. In an interview last year, Chegwin was asked for what advice he would give to budding comics, and replied: 'If you've not got your own, nick a gag! That’s what all the top comedians do.'

Hypnotist Paul McKenna has reportedly teamed up with the producer and American Idol presenter Ryan Seacrest to make a new show currently called The Incurables. In this delightful format, McKenna will visit people with serious mental or physical disorders and will try to help them with just the power of his mind. The Guardian reports that incurable people include a man with Tourette's Syndrome and a woman who eats her own hair. The Incurables will follow on from McKenna's previous show, I Can Make You Thin, which, staggeringly, became one of the Discovery Channel's highest-rated shows of 2008. McKenna and Seacrest are in talks with British broadcasters to show the programme in the UK. McKenna has already made a similar show for Sky. He told the Sun two years ago: 'I did a show for Sky years ago called The Incurables [retitled as I Can Change Your Life] where they brought a load of people to me - a man with Tourette's, a lady with OCD - and there was improvement with all of them, to a bigger or lesser degree.' Sometimes, dear blog reader, there just isn't any need to editorialise some stories.

The executive producer of Bones has revealed that he would love Eric Millegan to reprise his role as Zack. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Stephen Nathan admitted that he does not expect Millegan to return to the show. 'We love Eric and would like him to return,' he said. 'But we have no immediate plans yet. Of course, it's always about juggling schedules now that Eric is back in NYC and busy entertaining the masses in the Big Apple.' However, he added: 'The season is young and it remains a possibility.'

Dulé Hill has admitted that he does not want his Psych character to find love. Hill, who plays Gus, told Entertainment Weekly that he thinks the show would change too much if he became involved in a serious relationship. 'You know, that is a question that I've been asking for a while,' he said. 'I think if he found true love, a serious relationship, it would change the dynamic too much of the show. My thought is that you probably won't see Gus find true love until the end of the show or never. You may see him date some more, but I don't think he'll find that ongoing, long-term thing for a while.' The former West Wing actor promised that future episodes will see Gus spending time with women, saying: 'We just finished one where he is dating, but it's kind of a cruel way they did it to me. I don't want to ruin it, but he is dating somebody for a while there but we never really get a chance to meet her. She's like this phantom lady that I'm dating for a week.' Hill also laughed off suggestions that Gus could begin a relationship with Shawn (James Roday). 'I know there may be a lot of people who'd like to see that,' he said. 'But I don't think you'll see Shawn and Gus hooking up in the way that I think people are wondering if we will hook up. We're so intertwined already, I don't think you'll see us getting any closer. At least not in this show. We'll see what comes next.'

The executive producer of Spartacus: Blood and Sand has refused to reveal whether actress Lucy Lawless will return for the show's second season. Her character, Lucretia, was stabbed by Crixus (Manu Bennett) in the first season finale. Lucretia's fate was left unclear. When Entertainment Weekly questioned him on the subject, producer Steven S DeKnight said: 'That's a good question that I can't quite answer yet.' However, DeKnight confirmed that Lawless will reprise her role in forthcoming prequel series Spartacus: Gods of the Arena. It was recently confirmed that Australian actor Dustin Clare would play the lead role of gladiator Gannicus in the prequel, while Blood and Sand star Andy Whitfield recovered from a battle with cancer.

Young people rarely see positive portrayals of lesbian and gay people on television, according to Stonewall. A survey for the gay equality charity monitored more than one hundred and twenty hours of programmes watched by the young. It said gay people were mainly portrayed as promiscuous, predatory, or figures of fun. Stonewall said homophobic bullying in schools was unsurprising when gay people were so often depicted on TV in a derogatory or demeaning way. The report, called Unseen on Screen, says ordinary gay people are almost invisible on the twenty programmes most watched by the young. It says just forty six minutes out of one hundred and twenty six hours' output showed gay people positively and realistically. The report also said three-quarters of portrayal was confined to just four Channel 4 and ITV programmes, which were I'm a Celebrity, Hollyoaks, Emmerdale and How to Look Good Naked. BBC1 transmitted forty four seconds of positive and realistic portrayal of gay people in more than thirty nine hours of output, it added. Stonewall chief executive Ben Summerskill said: 'Of course it's welcome that some of the most obnoxious unpleasantness of people such as Jeremy Clarkson is now being edited out before transmission. However, it's hardly surprising that there's still almost endemic homophobic bullying in Britain's secondary schools when, even if gay people do appear on TV shows watched by young people, they're depicted in a derogatory or demeaning way. It's tragic that in 2010 broadcasters are still underserving young people in this way, particularly when young people themselves say they want to see real gay people's lives on TV.' You do wonder, sometimes, if any single complainer about any aspect of television is ever able to get through a sentence without mentioning the nice, comfortable rite-on hate figure of Clarkson? I don't know what the problem is, personally - he's got Tom Cruise on his show this coming weekend, if that isn't proof of his tolerance then nothing is. The report says broadcasters should develop guidelines to ensure more positive portrayals, and share good practice.

John Bishop says that he has time for people who hurl insults at him during live shows. 'I shoot bad hecklers,' he told the Northern Echo. 'Actually, hecklers just want to join in. They're not there to ruin the show because they're part of it. You've just got to manage them. Once, I was doing a gig in Leeds and only a few people turned up and I had a heckler. I put him down so much, he got up to go. Bit I said to him "Look, you can't go. There are only seventeen people here!"' Bishop was also full of praise for John Prescott with whom he appeared on a recent episode of Have I Got News For You? 'Prescott was great. He took some stick off Ian Hislop. Ian and Paul were very accommodating and friendly. It's a pleasure to be there, but you have to remember that it's their show and you can learn from them. Ian Hislop talked me through the show and gave me a few pointers, which was dead nice.' Bishop also revealed that, as the father of three boys - aged sixteen, fourteen and twelve - he uses his domestic observations as part of his act and, as a recent Live At The Apollo audience saw, he admits that his children are sometimes highly embarrassed by his attempts to be funny!

Justin Lee Collins will remain an integral part of Five despite earlier reports that both of his new shows have been axed. Speaking to the Digital Spy website, a spokeswoman for the channel said that Collins' late-night chatshow Good Times had not been cancelled. However, they did confirm that gameshow Heads Or Tails will not be returning for a second series. 'We confirmed earlier in the year that Heads Or Tails was not coming back. As for the chatshow, no decision has yet been made on a second series,' a spokeswoman said. Meanwhile, the broadcaster also revealed that more programmes are being produced for the thirty five-year-old. Bullseye was recently mentioned as a possible vehicle for the star. 'Justin is a key face for Five. He is an extremely versatile professional and can turn his hand to documentary, entertainment, travelogue and human interest. He has just returned from Japan where he has made a three-part documentary series to be shown this autumn and we are developing a range of new shows and formats for him,' the statement added.

Sadie Frost has revealed that she has been in therapy ever since she was sixteen. The actress, seen left receiving a rather different sort of therapy, whose parents split up when she was a three-year-old, said that their break-up had still affected her as a teenager and led to her seeing a therapist. She told Stylist magazine that she has continued to regularly seek help for the past twenty nine years of her life. 'Becoming a mum has made me feel more complete but I’ve also needed therapy to get there,' she said. 'I've been seeing a therapist since I was sixteen. Therapy isn't something you can do overnight. I have wanted to push boundaries and overcome insecurities. I was incredibly strong-willed and quite defensive when I was sixteen or seventeen. I was incredibly needy and dependent on people because my father had left and I was fearful of relationships and being abandoned.'

A person who put up enlarged photographs of male private parts around a town in Sussex is being sought by police. Several large images of a man's penis with a yellow bow tied around it have been taken down from car parks and places close to schools in Lewes. Sussex police have interviewed people at offices close to where the A3 and A4-sized images were found. The posters have also been sent off for fingerprint analysis. The force is also investigating whether it is some sort of protest, as a number of the images included a caption which read: 'Fees set to rise later this year.' A Sussex Police spokesman said: 'We are aware of these posters and a local Police Community Support Officer has removed a few, but we have not received any formal complaints. However, we are concerned that the posters have appeared quite close to local schools and they may well cause offence or distress. From what we've seen, if this is a self-portrait, the artist won't be in a hurry to be identified.' Heh. Good one. I imagine Keith Chegwin will have that up on Twitter any second now.

Cheryl Cole has reportedly increased security at her Surrey mansion. According to the Sun, the twenty seven-year-old singer, who recently returned to the home in order to complete her recovery from malaria, has installed new heat sensors and cameras as well as hiring private guards to patrol the premises. 'Cheryl has made a few changes at home. She is spending more time there than ever while she recuperates,' said a source.

Lindsay Lohan is reportedly finding it difficult to cope in prison. Which is very sad.

1 comment:

Stephen Chapman... said...

By coincidence I posted an article about a gay TV character on my blog just hours before the Stonewall announcement (which I agree with 100%).

You can read it here: http://thestateofthenationuk.blogspot.com/2010/07/gay-corrie.html

Comments appreciated.