Monday, July 26, 2010

How To Solve A Three-Patch Problem!

Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch and writer Steven Moffat have denied that the detective and Dr Watson are gay. Cumberbatch, who plays Holmes in the modern-day BBC adaptation, told the Sun that he sees his character's bond with Martin Freeman's Watson as something of a 'bromance. To be honest, he is very well-dressed, very ethereal, camp, theatrical at times but he is also very vicious, very male and predatory,' he said. 'It is of course the Twenty First Century. Two men looking for a flat-share is going to raise questions - or in this case have them answered by other people making suppositions. The ambiguity is fine. It's probably the first ever bromance. It's a very mature relationship by the end of the story. It's a beautiful thing.' The writer of the series, Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat, agreed that he always wanted to play on the confusion of Holmes and Watson's relationship and never intended to confirm either character's sexuality. 'I don't think there is anything that suggests Sherlock is gay but if he was he wouldn't fancy John [Watson]. It's just that thing of two blokes hanging around together living together - in this nice modern world it leads to people saying, "Oh, are they a couple?" And that's nice. I thought how the world has changed, there is no disapproval. How much more civilised the world has become.' Of course, the idea of people questioning Holmes and Watson's sexuality is not a new idea - Billy Wilder did it, brilliantly, forty years ago in The Private Lives of Sherlock Holmes. 'Doctor Watson? He is your glass of tea, yes?!' Always been a particular favourite of mine, that movie. Anyway, the opening episode of Sherlock last night certainly seems to have gone down very well across the board - with fandom, the public (see below for the impressive ratings) and the critics alike. The Observer said that the show resembled 'a cross between Withnail and I and The Bourne Ultimatum,' and that there is 'also a hint of Doctor Who about the drama; hardly surprising, since it has been written and created by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat.' The Gruniad's Dan Martin added, 'It's early days, but the first of three ninety-minute movies, A Study In Pink, is brilliantly promising. It has the finesse of [Spooks] but is indisputably Sherlock Holmes. The deduction sequences are ingenious and the plot is classic Moffat intricacy. Purists will take umbrage, as purists always do. But Sherlock has already done something quite remarkable; it's taken television's Sunday night and made it sexy.' Jim Shelley in the Mirror noted 'Somewhere between Guy Ritchie's super-slick blockbuster and Steven Moffat's new Doctor Who, Sherlock was good fun. Moffat and Mark Gatiss from The League of Gentlemen gave a judicious sprinkling of text messages, snazzy visual trickery and talk of serial killers to the classic Conan Doyle novels. It was, basically, CSI: Baker Street.' In Metro, the excellent Keith Watson observed the influence of 'old-school classics Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) and Adam Adamant Lives!' and said that 'this was a Sherlock for all ages, full of off-key banter that caught you on the hop.' Personally, yer Keith Telly Topping thought that it was absolutely bloody fantastic. Funny, inventive, respectful of the source material, but daring to be a bit different. It had good supporting performances (Rupert Graves as an overworked, fatalistic Lestrade, Gatiss himself as a dryly sinister Mycroft), a terrific villain in the always impressive Phil Davis and top quality performances from the two leads. And some absolutely sparkling dialogue ('That is the most ridiculous thing I've ever done.' 'You invaded Afghanistan!' And, my particular favourite, Sherlock telling his brother 'Try not to start a war before I get home, Mycroft. You know how it affects the traffic!') I'm really looking forward to where they go with it next. All this, and a really funny blog too!

Sherlock's overnight audience - seven million viewers - kind of restores ones faith in the viewing public a bit. The figures made it the channel's third biggest Sunday night drama in the past year. A Study in Pink, the first of three ninety-minute cases, delivered a thirty per cent share for the channel from 9pm, according to overnight figures and, of course, not yet taking into account time shifts, iPlayer viewings etc. The only BBC1 Sunday night dramas to have performed better since last July were the Doctor Who special The Waters of Mars, which was watched by a fraction under ten million in November 2009 and last September's series of Waking the Dead, which averaged 7.2m. So, Sherlock's in pretty good company. A high-profile launch for Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss' drama helped BBC1 - and an additional five hundred thousand viewers of BBC HD taking its total audience up to seven and a half million - to reach over twice as many viewers as ITV, where Taggart's latest case limped in 3.7m. The return of BBC2's Coast gave ITV a run for its money, with 3.2m viewers tuning in over the hour from 9pm, just shy of the previous series debut of 3.5m. I imagine that the time shift for Coast will be pretty sizeable too as I'm guessing many people followed yer Keith Telly Topping's chosen course of watching Sherlock whilst recording the latest adventures of Scottish Neil (and his lovely hair) and co. to watch later. Elsewhere at 9pm, Big Brother ploughed on with 2.2m. At 8pm, the combined star power of Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz lifted Top Gear to its best ratings of its current run, with 6.4 tuning in (including six hundred thousand on BBC HD). It comfortably won the slot ahead of ITV's Heartbeat, with 4.7m and BBC1's Countryfile with 4.2m. So, a pretty good night all round for the Beeb there.

The BBC has confirmed that Welsh presenter Alex Jones will become the new permanent host of The ONE Show. Jones, who has over ten years' experience fronting various television and radio programmes in Wales, will join Jason Manford and Chris Evans when the revamped version of the show is launched on 16 August. 'I'm absolutely thrilled to bits to be joining The ONE Show,' said Jones. 'I watch the show at home every night on my sofa and can't believe I'm now swapping it for the ONE Show sofa! It is the break I have only ever dreamed of and can't believe I'm getting to work with Jason Manford, who I think is just fantastic - it truly is the icing on the cake.' Jones has already received praise from the corporation ahead of her debut, with Controller of Daytime Liam Keelan describing her screen test with Manford as 'outstanding,' while ONE Show editor Sandy Smith predicted that viewers will easily warm to the new arrival. 'Alex is warm, funny and very experienced despite being almost unknown outside Wales,' Smith said. 'It feels right for many reasons to be developing someone new at this time and I hope ONE Show viewers enjoy seeing her relationship with Jason develop on screen and take her to their heart.' Alex also looks more than a little bit like Christine Bleakley. I mean, I just ought to mention that! I thought such a suggestion was just tabloid bollocks when I first saw the headlines this morning but, having had a close look at her photo, my God, she's a spitting double. That's Dead Wife Syndrome if ever I saw it!

Several X Factor contestants through to the Boot Camp stage of the competition reportedly went on the rampage in the hotel they were staying at, leading to the police being called. The hopefuls destroyed property, stripped naked in public and consumed large quantities of alcohol, according to the News of the World. A hotel 'source' said: 'They were like wild animals. The police arrived in full riot gear because things were so extreme. It's hard to believe these people are serious about becoming the next Leona Lewis or Alexandra Burke.' A hotel source who seems remarkably 'up' on X Factor, it would seem. A 'guest' allegedly added: 'They kept the entire hotel awake and scared us. Some of them were dancing around naked in the car park. If they are the stars of tomorrow then I am disgusted.' An X Factor spokesman said: 'Contestants had an opportunity to relax after a week of intense rehearsal and performance. We've spoken to the individuals concerned, who have apologised.'

Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz both broke the record for the fastest celebrity lap times during their appearance on Top Gear. The Knight and Day actors took part in the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car challenge on the BBC motoring show last night, which saw each of them drive round a racing track in a small hatchback. Diaz posted the series's quickest time of one minute, 45.2 seconds, which was then eclipsed by Cruise's time of one minute, 44.2 seconds. They both beat the existing record of one minute, 45.5 seconds set by Harry Potter actor Rupert Grint. Cruise, who drove round Gambon Corner of the track on two wheels as his car tilted sideways, said: 'This is the best day. This was like a vacation. When I was on two wheels I thought, "I don't know what's going to happen. If I go through on the side does the time still count?"'

John Barrowman claims to be on the verge of securing a part in the new season of Glee after a recent meeting with show bosses. The Torchwood star, who recently announced his dream of playing one of Rachel Berry's gay dads, revealed that he is currently in talks to take on an unspecified role. 'I met with their casting people and I said I'd love to be in it,' Barrowman told Now. 'The ball's in their court, though.' Barrowman claimed to be discussing a possible role in the show back in March, but this was swiftly denied by executive producer Ian Brennan.

Halle Berry and Paul Rudd are to appear in upcoming episodes of The Simpsons. The show's executive producer Al Jean revealed to Entertainment Weekly that the Monster's Ball and Role Models actors will guest star in two future episodes when the long-running comedy returns for its twenty second season in September. Oscar-winning Berry will appear as herself in an episode where Homer and Bart win an Academy Award of their own, while Rudd's episode will see him take on the role of a therapist that tries to break Homer of his long-standing strangling habit. Jean explains: 'For twenty years we've shown Homer strangling Bart and we've never had anybody go, "Oh, that's horrible!" So Paul Rudd goes, "That's terrible!" and he tries to cure him.' Other upcoming Simpsons guest stars include Flight Of The Conchords duo Jermaine Clement and Bret McKenzie, Mad Men star Jon Hamm and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Anna Paquin has revealed that her favourite moment on True Blood is when she gets to 'kick someone's ass.' According to People, the actress said at Comic-Con in San Diego that she finds it enjoyable to film fight sequences on the HBO series. When asked what she most likes to do on the show, the twenty eight-year-old said: 'I get to kick someone's ass. It was quite possibly the most fun I've had. Ever. I don't know what that says about me.' HBO recently announced that it has renewed True Blood for a fourth season.

Comedian Vic Reeves reportedly appeared to be drunk on Alan Carr: Chatty Man over the weekend. According to the News of the World, the fifty one-year-old appeared as a guest on the programme alongside Bob Mortimer and Ulrika Jonsson to promote Shooting Stars. 'Ulrika and Bob tried to talk over him whenever possible but there was just no stopping him. Alan even asked Vic how many drinks he'd had,' an 'insider' seemingly claimed. It is also understood that Reeves asked Carr during the interview: 'Do they pay you well enough to do this show?'

Huntwatch: Oily Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has called on the BBC to be more open about how much it pays its top stars. Speaking on BBC1's Andrew Marr Show, Hunt said that the corporation should be clear about how it spends the public's money. Earlier this month the BBC Trust said details of star pay would be revealed in bands, but not individual salaries. Hunt said the public was 'genuinely divided' over the issue and needed to make up their own minds. 'The difficulty here is that the public is genuinely divided - some people say "why should we pay huge salaries for stars on the BBC when we can see them on ITV?"' he said. 'Other people say "look, one of the reasons I pay my licence fee is I want to see people like Brucie doing Strictly Come Dancing." There is a genuine division there and I think the best way to resolve that is for the BBC to be open about the packages that it pays to celebrities. We have learned in government that transparency is the best way to solve a lot of these issues because you are saying to the public "look, you're grown up, you make up your own mind."' Hunt said he also wanted to meet BBC director general, Mark Thompson, to discuss the salaries the corporation pays its top executives. He said while the BBC had made 'some steps in the right direction' it needed to show it was on 'the same planet as everyone else' when it came to pay for top executives. The BBC recently announced it would reduce the pay of its top executives and slim down its senior management. Hunt said: 'We will be having discussions over the future of the next licence fee settlement next year in which I will be talking to Mark and the BBC management in a lot of detail. I do want the BBC to demonstrate that when it comes to their management pay they are on the same planet as everyone else. Because of the economic inheritance that we are facing, government ministers have been careful with every single penny of taxpayers' money and the BBC does need to show it is careful with every penny of licence fee payers' money as well.' Hunt also said the way that the licence fee is collected may have to change to keep up with changes in technology. He said while the government 'accepts the principle of the licence fee, the way we collect it may have to be rethought.' And he also signalled that the BBC should consider reducing its online activity. 'The web is a very good area where the BBC needs to have clearer red lines on what it will and won't do.'

Cricketer Andrew Flintoff has expressed his desire to make a guest appearance on Coronation Street. According to the People, Flintoff also revealed that his favourite characters on the serial are Norris Cole (Malcolm Hebden), Deirdre Barlow and Emily Bishop. He explained: 'Corrie's got everything. I could easily fit it in and I'd love to have a go. I could be in The Kabin, marking up the papers with Norris and Rita. I heard Snoop Dogg is also interested in making an appearance. If he's a fan I'm in good company.' Meanwhile, the thirty two-year-old admitted that - due to currently living in Dubai - he watches the show on delay: 'They're a few weeks behind, so at the moment Tina is still in her flat and not coming out!' Flintoff said of his favourite characters: 'I know all the characters. I think Anne Kirkbride and Eileen Derbyshire, who play Deirdre and Emily, are two of the best on TV.' Speaking about his affection for shop owner Norris, he added: 'He's a nosy parker. Every scene he's in makes me laugh.'

A man has claimed to be a victim of alien attacks after his home was repeatedly hit by meteorites over a three-year period. Radivoje Lajic, fifty, of the northern Bosnian village of Gornji Lajici, said that his home has been hit by meteorites six times during rainy weather since 2007, Metro reports. Lajic said: 'I am obviously being targeted by extraterrestrials. I don't know what I have done to annoy them but there is no other explanation that makes sense. The chance of being hit by a meteorite is so small that getting hit six times has to be deliberate. I have no doubt I am being targeted by aliens. They are playing games with me. I don't know why they are doing this. When it rains I can't sleep for worrying about another strike.' Lajic has reinforced his roof with a steel girder funded by selling one of the meteorites to a university in the Netherlands. Experts at Belgrade University have reportedly confirmed that the rocks submitted by Lajic are extraterrestrial in origin.

Hugh Laurie has signed a record deal for a blues CD. The actor - who is regularly seen playing guitar and piano on his TV show House - is to release an LP with major music group Warner. Laurie, fifty two, will team up with a range of guest musicians for the New Orleans blues CD which he will record this summer working with musician and producer Joe Henry, in the autumn. Laurie said: 'I am drunk with excitement at this opportunity. I know the history of actors making music is a chequered one, but I promise no one will get hurt. I am particularly thrilled to be working with Joe Henry, who has produced some of my favourite records of all time, and I can't wait to get started.' Golden Globe-winner Laurie has sung and performed music throughout his acting career, often singing his own compositions in his legendary BBC sketch show A Bit of Fry & Laurie (remember his twenty-four carat masterpiece, 'Mystery'?!) and he was also seen playing piano in Jeeves And Wooster. In what little spare time he has, Hugh plays keyboards in the charity group Band From TV. Henry has worked with artists including Elvis Costello, Teddy Thompson, Solomon Burke and Loudon Wainwright III. Henry said: ''All musicians are actors to begin with - our jobs being to embody characters and articulate stories for three and four minutes at a time. I've been a great fan of Hugh's work on-screen, and believe purely that he is investing the same wit, intelligence and emotional generosity into his music.' President of Warner Music Conrad Withey said: ''The world already knows how wonderfully versatile and talented Hugh is, so this first album is an exciting opportunity to put the spotlight on his passion for New Orleans blues.''

The Rolling Stones are close to announcing their retirement, according to a press report. Rumours suggesting the veteran rockers were going to call it a day have circulated intermittently for the past few years, but they have carried on playing to vast audiences around the world. However, the Sun reports that the end is finally approaching for original members Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts and for Rockin' Ronnie Wood, who joined the band in 1975. They have apparently decided the fiftieth anniversary of the band's formation is the right time to retire and are now planning a mammoth farewell tour for 2011 and 2012. A 'source' close to the band allegedly revealed that negotiations with promoters for the tour are already underway. 'They're likely to perform in stadiums. It's almost certainly the last full-scale world tour,' they said. 'The band realise that age is creeping up on them. They want to bow out on top of their game and not short change their fans.' A major tour would allow the band to sign off with a very healthy retirement package, as their A Bigger Bang tour grossed more than five hundred million dollars, making it the most lucrative ever.

Katie Price has claimed that her music career failed because she cannot sing and dance. That never stopped Victoria Beckham, love.

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