Saturday, July 10, 2010

Get Your Mind Off Wintertime You Ain't Goin' Nowhere

We start off today's Top Telly News with a snippet that will truly rock the very world of at least one member of the Telly Topping family and leave her bereft and shaking her first at the sky shouting 'BARROWMAN!' at the delicious whims and caprices of outrageous fate. Or, a bit annoyed, anyway.
The BBC will reportedly scrap the daily repeats of Murder She Wrote from its afternoon schedule. The move follows BBC Trust criticism about the amount of repeats shown on the network, the Mirror reports. Money will instead be spent on new dramas and current affairs programming. 'The obvious slot is after the Doctors soap,' a 'source' said. 'Murder She Wrote will be replaced by something fresh that will appeal to the Trust and hopefully to lots of our viewers.' My italics. Now, I like that bit about appealing to viewers very much. But, frankly, I couldn't give a frigging stuff if anything appeals, or doesn't appeal to the BBC Trust and I don't believe the BBC should either. That's, of course, if this quote from what the Mirror describes as a 'source' is remotely accurate or, even, true - which it probably isn't. But on a wider point, what the BBC Trust thinks about the BBC's output should about ninety fifth on a list of ninety six priorities that the BBC are bothered about. If they have to keep looking over their shoulders to see what a collection of unelected nobodies think about what they're producing then we might as well go the whole hog and place the BBC schedules in the hands of the cabinet. Best of luck, David and Nicky, and make sure the next season of Doctor Who doesn't get an agenda-soaked shit-sticking from your pals at the Daily Scum Mail or it'll be you fandom will be after with pitchforks. A BBC spokesperson, meanwhile, commented: 'Recent daytime dramas including Land Girls and Jimmy McGovern's Moving On, which both return this autumn for second series, have proved hugely popular with viewers.'

And speaking of the latter, you may remember the Daily Scum Mail running one of their - regular - shitehawk 'exclusives' a couple of weeks back about Doctor Who's rating figures for the current series. From The North was, of course, not slow to call it what it was, another example of the Scum Mail's sick and crass obsessive anti-BBC agenda. The article itself - by Paul Revior - was, as was mentioned by many of those who commented upon it on the Scum Mail's own website - full of factual inaccuracies, particularly the line which suggested that the series had 'managed an average of six million viewers, according to latest TV ratings. This compares with Tennant's last full series, in 2008, which averaged 7.2 million.' Well, this week BARB have - after a short delay - finally announced the consolidated figures for the final episode, The Big Bang. It's total audience, after time-shifting (but excluding BBC iPlayer usage which is not yet part of the ratings calculations) was 6.7 million, a time-shift of over one and a half million viewers. This means that, across all thirteen episodes of Matt Smith's first series, Doctor Who averaged 7.73 million viewers per episode. Not six million. The average audience for Doctor Who over its five series since it returned to the BBC in 2005 have been as follows: 7.95m (2005), 7.72m (2006), 7.55m (2007), 8.05m (2008) and 7.73m (2010). A remarkably consistent audience, one might argue, and easily British TV's most consistently popular non-soap drama over this period. Taking into account the show's 'reach' audience (which also includes ninety per cent of those viewers who watched the first two BBC3 repeats of episodes following its initial BBC1 broadcast), the audience of the current series has been 8.65m, almost exactly the same as the reach for Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant's first series on the show. And, the audience Appreciation Index score across the year has averaged eighty six, marginally down on season four's mind-bending average of eighty eight, but equal to or higher than all of the previous three series. So, the question for the Daily Scum Mail and for yer man Paul is can we expect to see a shitehawk exclusive about that anytime soon? We're all eager to see your positive take on things.

The BBC has confirmed that Christine Bleakley will not return to host The ONE Show. A statement said: 'Following the BBC's decision to withdraw its offer of an extended contract to Christine Bleakley, we have agreed she will not be returning to The ONE Show. The BBC would like to take this opportunity to thank Christine for her contribution to the show and to wish her well.' Said through gritted teeth, no doubt. The thirty one-year-old presented her final show on 10 June with Matthew Allright. Sources at the corporation told a tabloid newspaper that BBC chiefs were 'furious' at the presenter over her relationship with England footballer Frank Lampard. An insider claimed that they were annoyed by photographs and articles relating to her new 'WAG lifestyle.' The 'source' told the Daily Star - oh, great. This should be really believable - that BBC executives were angered when Christine flew off to South Africa to join her boyfriend and then by her decision to go on holiday with the footballer. The 'insider' allegedly said (but, probably didn't): 'At the end of the day the BBC, which is paid for by the public, doesn't do WAGs. It's not appropriate to have one of our biggest stars splashed across the national press wearing nothing but skimpy bikinis or being pictured snogging her fella in the sea. Christine made the decision to go on holiday at the time we were implementing big changes on the show, making things difficult.'

Meanwhile, TV's new breakfast show, to be hosted by Bleakley and Adrian Chiles, will be called Daybreak. The new-look programme, which is due to replace GMTV in September, will come from brand new studios. ITV daytime director Alison Sharman said the revamped programme is 'our bid to reclaim the top breakfast show spot.' Lorraine Kelly will continue to host a magazine show which will form part of the early morning schedule. The Scottish presenter, who helped to launch GMTV in 1993, said: 'I love breakfast TV and I am absolutely delighted to be continuing with my own show.' Chiles and Bleakley, 'will be the lynchpins of Daybreak with their unique and brilliant partnership,' said Ms Sharman. The pair will be joined by a team of special correspondents who will shape the news agenda on the programme. Entertainment content, interviews and lifestyle features are also expected to form part of the show. Sharman also admitted that GMTV 'has been lagging behind its competitors in recent years. We want to ensure that the core audience of housewives with children keep watching, but are also determined to attract new viewers to our revitalised breakfast show,' she added. Plans to overhaul GMTV have prompted a number of its current presenters to leave the programme, including Ben Shephard and Andrew Castle.

ITV’s Drama commissioning team yesterday confirmed a new series of the hit drama Lewis starring Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox. Following the success of series four of the detective drama this spring, four new episodes will go into production in July.

Julianna Margulies has admitted that she is thrilled The Good Wife has picked up Emmy nominations. The show took a total of nine nominations, including Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series for Margulies herself. 'If Josh Charles, Chris Noth and Matt Czuchry had been nominated then my feet wouldn't be touching the ground,' she told Entertainment Weekly. 'But I'll take what I can get. And I have to tell you that I am so over the moon that Archie [Panjabi], Christine [Baranski], Alan Cumming and Dylan Baker all got nominated. Over the moon. But the biggest feat was the fact that [executive producers] Robert and Michelle King got nominated and the show got nominated.' She added: 'It's a little dream come true for us because I think with a network show, a freshman show, a show that none of us thought would get picked up, it's just a beautiful moment for all of us.'

Benedict Cumberbatch has admitted that he felt threatened by the success of Guy Ritchie's Hollywood film version of Sherlock Holmes. The actor plays the famous detective in the BBC's forthcoming modern update Sherlock, alongside Martin Freeman as Watson. 'When the film came out, I did feel very threatened by its success,' he told the Scotsman. 'My friends were saying, "It's really good!" And I went to see it, and Robert Downey Jr is amazing.' However, he revealed that he felt 'horribly, schoolboyishly relieved' when reviews of the film 'gave it a bit of a kicking.' A sequel to the movie is currently in development, but Cumberbatch insisted that he does not intend to compete with the big screen version of the character. 'Really, he's the most-played fictional character, so who am I to be precious about it?' he said. 'I don't think we're in competition with it. The interest helps us, and we have great writers and this modern context. This Holmes is great – it's rip-roaringly funny, and yet utterly loyal to the spirit of the slightly bipolar, intellectual superhero.' Cumberbatch also explained that he had enjoyed playing the more physical aspects of Holmes in the show. 'Holmes was a good shot and a martial arts expert, and although he's very much of the thinking school rather than an action school, he is also supposed to be an athlete – which I enjoyed quite a bit.'

The executive producers of Lost Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof have admitted that they are thrilled the show picked up nominations for the Emmys. The ABC series, which ended this year, was shortlisted for twelve awards. The pair explained that they were emotional when they heard the news. 'We never for a minute take for granted that we're entitled to an Emmy nomination,' Cuse told E! Online. 'We recognise that pleasing the fans at the end of Lost was a very tall order, so we were extremely happy and gratified to the Academy's recognition for the work of everyone on the Lost team.' Meanwhile, Lindelof admitted that the nominations reminded him that the show has come to an end. 'This is one of the days when you really realise the fact that we're no longer making the show,' he said. 'It's one thing to write the final episode and to see the final episode, but now that sense of really looking back on it and it's really over - that cold, hard reality. In the stages of grieving, we're now moving into the acceptance stage, and that is a wonderful thing, but there is a certain degree of sadness to it, too.' The pair also dismissed claims that the nominations were based on 'nostalgia or longevity' and explained that they were happy to break their 'radio silence' to talk about the Emmys. 'The idea of looking back on the show is not something we were particularly interested in, looking back at ourselves,' Lindelof explained. '[But] if the show gets recognised, it feels totally appropriate for us to express our feelings about how awesome that is.'

Katie Piper has reportedly landed her own television show. The former model previously appeared in the documentary Katie: My Beautiful Face, which followed her recovery after a man threw sulphuric acid in her face on the orders of her ex-boyfriend. The Sun reports that Piper will now host the four-part series Katie: My Beautiful Friends. The programme is expected to follow Piper as she helps other people with facial disfigurements to feel confident again. 'Millions were touched by Katie's extraordinary determination and strength of character,' executive producer Dan Goldsack said. 'This series sees her readjust to the challenges of a new life with her infectious sense of humour and humility.' Sounds a really interesting and worthwhile project but a tip to the producers; for God's sake, change the title, it's horse diarrhoea.

David Tennant has warned fans to be careful of what they buy on eBay. Fans have been offered the chance to bid on items apparently signed by the former Doctor Who star. In a message on his official site, the actor's management said: 'It has come to our attention that a few fake items supposedly signed and or having belonged to David or have been worn by David are currently up for sale on the auction site eBay, some even have a "genuine" letter from David with them. David has checked them out and we can confirm that they are nothing to do with him.' They asked fans to use official methods of receiving a signed picture from Tennant. 'Please be very careful what you are bidding for on eBay and think before you part with your hard-earned cash.'

Paul the Psychic Octopus has predicted that Spain will defeat the Netherlands in the World Cup final tomorrow. He also predicted a win for Germany against Uruguay in today's the third place match. He has so far correctly forecast every World Cup game involving the German national team. He predicts by choosing a mussel from one of two boxes bearing the flags of the competing nations. The two-year-old cephalopod has become an international celebrity on the back of his top footie tipping. His prognosis of South Africa's World Cup final, made from his tank in the Sea Life Aquarium in the western German city of Oberhausen, has been relayed on satellite TV around the world. He correctly predicted all of Germany's World Cup games, including a shock defeat by Serbia in the group stages and the ousting by Spain on Wednesday. After that defeat, there were calls in Germany for Paul to be roasted with lemon juice and olive oil or turned into a plate of paella. But his owners said on Thursday that he is safe with them. 'If Paul gets it wrong tomorrow, nothing is going to happen to him, to him,' said Sea Life's Tanja Munzig. 'Paul has proven his mettle so far and there is nothing bad waiting for him round the corner if he gets it wrong. It could happen to anyone. Even an octopus can get it wrong!' His record is not perfect, anyway, say his owners. Paul got it wrong in about thirty per cent of Germany's games during the 2008 European Championship, including their loss to Spain in the final. However, Paul's might not have the final say. Pauline, a female octopus in Dutch captivity, has predicted victory for the Netherlands in Sunday's final. Maaike Schroeder, spokeswoman for the Sea Life aquarium in Scheveningen in The Hague, said: 'She chose the Netherlands.' However, Schroeder also conceded that this was four-year-old Pauline's first attempt at divination.

Al Murray is dropping his famous Pub Landlord character to record a new pilot for ITV. It's The End Of The Week As We Know It, will look at topics including celebrity gossip, sport and politics. Comedian Karen Taylor and TalkSport's Paul Hawksbee are said to be involved. Oh God, that's gonna really be worth watching, isn't it?

Fast food restaurants in Taiwan have been urged to drop big burgers from their menus amid a growing number of jaw injuries, according to a report. Patients have had difficulty opening their mouths after munching giant burgers, said Professor Hsu Ming-lung, of National Yang-Ming University. Problems can arise when tucking into burgers higher than eight centimetres, Hsu was quoted as saying by the China Post. Hamburger-related injuries are on the rise, he warned. He called on fast food restaurants to limit the size of their hamburgers to prevent the public from quite literally biting off more than they can chew.

Jedward are reportedly finding it difficult to get celebrities to appear on their new ITV2 show. According to the Sun, ITV2 has offered to pay stars to appear as 'friends' on the programme because 'the pair don't have any of their own.' Aw, bless 'em. A show 'source' is alleged to have said: 'The idea is to show how they are living the celeb lifestyle so obviously we need a few celebs in there. I'm not sure we can afford to get Bono or any of the U2 boys but maybe there's a spare member of the Corrs twiddling their thumbs this weekend.' Producers have apparently planned to organise a house-warming party to encourage celebrities along. Meanwhile, Edward is reportedly waiting for surgery after a knee accident at T4 On The Beach which could cause an inconvenience to the show. As indeed could any decision for them to start singing.

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