Saturday, July 24, 2010

Week Thirty One: This Is The Story Of The Hurricane

Katheryn Winnick has reportedly signed-up to appear as a recurring character in the next season of Bones. Earlier this week industry reports had suggested that Booth (David Boreanaz) would have a new love interest in future episodes. He will reportedly meet war correspondent Hannah Burley whilst serving in Afghanistan but she follows him back to Washington when he returns to the FBI. Entertainment Weekly has now claimed that Winnick has been cast in the role of Hannah. She is expected to appear in approximately five episodes, including the season premiere. Winnick previously had parts in programmes including Law & Order: Criminal Intent, House, Criminal Minds and CSI.

The upcoming remake of Hawaii Five-0 will keep the series' original theme tune, it has been reported. During the show's Comic-Con panel, executive producer Alex Kurtzman said that he kept the tune as he believed that a re-recorded version felt wrong. 'There was some discussion early on of having an incredibly talented rock star to come in and do a guitar version of it,' he explained. 'We attempted it and we couldn't have been more wrong! So we found the original musicians, brought them back to the studio and did the theme exactly as it was.' Co-executive producer Peter Lenkov added: 'There were some things from the original show that worked, so why not use them?' Ah, I told them that they should've gone with the Arthur 2-Stroke and the Chart Commandos version. That's the definitive one.

Christine Bleakley is, reportedly, being lined up to replace Dermot O'Leary as the host of The X Factor. The presenter, who moved to ITV last month, will apparently take over from O'Leary as he concentrates on his career in the US, according to the Daily Scum Mail. A 'source' allegedly said: 'Dermot has made it clear that he would like to move to America full-time. His girlfriend, Dee Koppang, is already working as a TV producer in Los Angeles, so he would like to try his luck in Hollywood. He is already spending the majority of his time out there with Dee, so it would make sense.' However, speaking of rumours that O'Leary will present the US version of The X Factor, a 'friend' of his - who may, or may not be the 'source' either of whom may, or may not even actually exist - is said to have claimed: 'Dermot loves The X Factor and has no plans to leave. If he did get The X Factor USA job, he would travel between London and LA, just like Simon Cowell, who will appear on both versions.' So, either the 'friend' is lying, or the 'source' is. Or, both. Or, neither. Or, who the hell gives a toss either way? The report went on to suggest that fronting the show could mean Bleakley will stand down as host of new ITV morning show Daybreak. Which, given all the malarkey ITV went through to get her there in the first place would be, frankly, effing hilarious.

Meanwhile, Claudia Winkleman is reportedly being lined-up to replace Bruce Forsyth in a new Strictly Come Dancing results show. The presenter, who also hosts BBC2 spin-off It Takes Two, will front the Sunday night show after Forsyth said he would be too tired to do it, according to the Sun. The extra instalment will apparently be recorded with Tess Daly straight after the Saturday night show. A source said: 'Claudia is the perfect choice as she already has a history with Strictly. It will be all about girl power with Tess at the helm as well.' Does anybody really use the phrase 'girl power' in anything other than a vastly ironic sense? I mean, really? The report also claims that the change is due to viewer complaints that the show had become too long.

And so we arrive at the next lot of Top Telly Tips:

Friday 30 July
In this week's Would I Lie to You? - 10:35 BBC1 - David Mitchell is joined by annoying Ruth Jones and Jason Manford, while Lee Mack's team is Jack Dee and Peter Serafinowicz. I must admit, it's a format yer Keith Telly Topping has somewhat dipped in and out of over the past few series. What I've seen I've really rather enjoyed but it's not something that I've followed actively. However, I did watch the first episode of the new series (the one with Richard E Grant and Martin Clunes in it) and I was very impressed with the show's blizzarding, lightning-sharp wit and warm and inclusive humour. I might just have to start watching every episode if that's the standard!

The Old Guys - 9:30 BBC1 - is, of course, a sitcom about two elderly delinquents. And it's rather good at times, particularly Roger Lloyd-Pack's 'so laid back he's almost horizontal' comedy delivery. Plus, any show which uses an Ivor Cutler song as its theme is doing something right! Tonight, when Sally (Jane Asher) has builders at her house, she temporarily moves in with Tom and Roy (the bone-dry Clive Swift). But will living with their fantasy figure Sally really be the dream the guys always imagined?

Saturday 31 July
John Bishop's Britain - 9:50 BBC1 - sees the titular cheeky-chappy Scouse chancer presenting viewers with a curious mix of stand-up, sketches and real-life stories from various utterly bonkers members of the Great British public. It's a sort of real-life version of Bellamy's People. Only funnier. And, if anything, weirder too. Tonight, wretched little Communist Bill Oddie talks about his first kiss. If it was with a bird of the feathered, rather than the female variety, I'm switching off straight away. I must admit, John hadn't been over well-served by TV formats so far - particularly the truly dreadful A League Of Their Own - but I do like The Bishop of Liverpool a lot. He's got a brilliant dry, laconic delivery - that line from the trailer about 'I know what you're thinking, somebody from Merseyside's got a TV show, they must be on a grant' is a fine example. I hope this is better than the somewhat one-dimensional nature of the pre-publicity would suggest.

A minor cult hit late last year on E4, Misfits - 10:00 Channel 4 - is a live-action superhero comedy-drama about five young outsiders carrying out community service who end up getting caught in a strange storm which leaves them with superpowers. And, it's rather good. it's stars nobody that you'll have heard of previously but the young cast are all pretty good in it and the scripts - by Howard Overman - are witty and intelligent with a nice dose of self-mockery. If you enjoy something like, for instance, Being Human, then you'll probably like this a lot. In this episode, Curtis (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) tries to use his time manipulation powers to go back in time and change what happened on the night when he was first caught by the fuzz. Unfortunately, he discovers that changing history is not as easy as he thought. Good stuff, this. If you haven't caught it so far, check it out.

Sunday 1 August
The second episode of Sherlock - 8:30 BBC1 - sees a plot involving a mysterious cipher being scrawled on a variety of walls around London. But, the first person to see the cipher is dead within hours of reading it. Sherlock Holmes and his partner, John Watson, plunge into a world of codes and symbols, consulting with London's best graffiti artists. Holmes soon learns that the city is in the grip of a gang of international smugglers, a secret society called The Black Lotus. Proper excellent, is Sherlock. Based on the first episodes, anyway, I reckon this might be the best thing Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss have ever been involved in. Well, you know, with one notable exception.

A bit later than normal this week, thanks to the athletics, in tonight's Top Gear - 9:30 BBC2 - which is one I've been looking forward to since it was first announced, Jez, Dick and Jim buy old British roadsters from Jensen-Healey, Lotus and TVR before taking a wistful journey through the remnants of the UK's sports car industry. They start in Norfolk and end up at the mothballed TVR factory in Blackpool. Also, Clarkson takes to the test track in the sensational new Ferrari 458 Italia, and the laid-back Hollywood legend Jeff Goldblum is this week's Star In The New Reasonably Priced Car.

Drama Trails - 10:15 ITV - sounds almost exactly like an ITV version of the BBC show from a few years ago, Drama Connections. In this, good old Mad Jimmy Nesbitt narrates a ten-part series telling the stories behind TV's greatest dramas (or, at least, ITV's greatest dramas), featuring contributions from the stars, cast and crew who worked on them. This first episode is a fascinating journey from Coronation Street - the longest running show in the UK - to the cosy Sunday night comfort of Stephen Fry's Kingdom. Featuring interviews with William Roache and Tony Slattery among others.

Monday 2 August
This week's Who Do You Think You Are? - 9:00 BBC1 - features the Irish actress Dervla Kirwan who traces her family tree to explore the lives of her ancestors. Dervla's great-uncle was Michael Collins, a national figure who changed Irish history and fought to establish the Irish Free State. And, of course, got played by Liam Neeson in the movie which bore his name. Before he went off and piloted Apollo 11 whilst Buzz and Neil were messing around on the moon. Thanks to Eddie Izzard for that joke. Anyway, Dervla wants to find out how her grandfather Finian, Michael's nephew, fits into the events shaped by his famous uncle. Dervla knows little of her paternal side of the family and meets with her father, who tells her that her great-grandfather, Henry Kahn, was actually Jewish. Sounds like another fascinating trip. The series got off to a great start with the Bruce Forsyth episode two weeks ago and some of the forthcoming episodes look equally interesting.

In Mastermind: Champion of Champions - 7:30 BBC2 - John Humphrys presents a series in which four former Mastermind champions compete for a place in the Champion of Champions final. The subjects on tonight's episode are Sir Donald Bradman, the Crimean War, national flags of the world and the poet Edward Thomas.

There's a very welcome return for a series which is popular with all of us on the Top Telly Tips slot tonight, The Gadget Show - 8:00 Five. The consumer technology programme hosted by Jon Bentley, Suzi Perry, Ortis Deley and Jason Bradbury returns as Suzi and Jason are challenged to mount their own promotional campaigns to advertise the show using the latest in cutting-edge technology. Elsewhere, Jon tests the iPhone 4, Ortis goes surfing in Sweden and last season's big competition winners are revealed.

Britain's Park Story - 9:00 BBC4 - is a documentary in which the historian Dan Cruickshank - a particular favourite of yer Keith Telly Topping - reveals the history of Britain's public parks. He travels the country to discover their evolution - a story of Victorian class consciousness, civic pride and changing fashions in sport and recreation which helps re-evaluate the amazing assets they are. From their civic heyday in the late Nineteenth Century to the neglect of the 1980s and their very welcome resurgence over the last two decades, the film is a fascinating and entertaining history of an often-overlooked great British invention.

Tuesday 3 August
Bermuda Triangle: The Mystery Revealed - 8:00 Five - is a revealing documentary following scientists as they embark upon a world-first dangerous expedition beneath the sea to uncover the secrets of the notorious Bermuda Triangle. Laden with sonars and satellite surveys, the divers attempt to investigate the triangle from the bottom up, and they make some startling discoveries along the way.

On a similar theme, a much-anticipated drama, The Deep - 9:00 BBC1 - concerns the Orpheus' team of scientists are on a mission to find a renewable source of energy in the depths of the Arctic Ocean. The last team who went died in mysterious circumstances, so the Orpheus crew are already feeling nervous when a salvage inspector unexpectedly joins their mission. What does he know about the lost crew, and who is he working for? Stars James Nesbitt, Minnie Driver and Sinead Cusack and it looks, from the trailers to be spectacularly claustrophobic. A sort of cheap version of The Abyss. Only without Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. But, you get Minnie Driver instead, which is an acceptable substitution.

The Ugly Face of Beauty - 8:00 Channel 4 - is a series which examines the booming cosmetic surgery industry. This episode investigates fillers, which aim to rejuvenate the face, with one in three patients reporting unsatisfactory results. Also, a woman attempts to repair the damage caused by her botched tummy tuck operation.

Wednesday 4 August
The latest episode of the shamelessly manipulative Penguin Island - 7:30 BBC1 - sees a punishing heatwave hits the island. As bush fires rage around the state, penguins are collapsing from heat, hunger and exhaustion. The penguin study group finds many heat-stressed penguins and rangers work to rehydrate and cool the little penguins in a battle to save their lives. A volunteer arrives with an overheated penguin chick, underweight and close to death, but Mauve proves to be one of the lucky ones as wildlife carer Marg Healy steps in to keep him alive. So long as the episode doesn't end with Rolf Harris sadly shaking his head and saying 'well, sadly the little mite didn't make it,' I shall refrain from kicking my telly to buggery in abject disgust! God only knows why this is so watchable. But it is!

In the first episode of a new three-part series, Professor Robert Bartlett explores how The Normans developed from a band of marauding Vikings into the formidable warriors who conquered England in 1066 at 9:00 on BBC2. His story relates how the Normans first established their new province of Normandy -'the land of The Northmen' - in northern France. They went on to build some of the finest churches and castles in Europe and turned into an unstoppable force of bloodthirsty Christian knights and warriors, whose legacy is all around us to this day.

After filming fifty weddings at the beginning of 2009, the Cutting Edge team re-interview a selection of the couples on their first wedding anniversary in the documentary Newlyweds: The One Year Itch - 9:00 Channel 4. As well as finding out which marriages have survived, the couples reveal how their lives have changed since the big day, and talk about the real trials and tribulations faced by British newlyweds.

Thursday 5 August
Often dismissed as an inferior British knock-off of Desperate Housewives, Mistresses returns at 9:00 on BBC1. Close friendship is meant to be forever. But, two years have passed and the once unbreakable bond between best friends - Katie, Trudi, Jessica and Siobhan - has been shattered. As the girls gather, it's clear things have changed dramatically, there's tension in the room and no happy greetings. But what could have happened to bring them to this?

Getting On - 10:00 BBC2 - is a darkly comic series set in an old people's NHS Trust hospital and starring Jo Brand. Ward B4 is a world of slips, trips and hips, where health care is at its least glamorous. Sister Den Flixter, Nurse Kim Wilde and Dr Pippa Moore assemble for ward round. The daily grind of new admissions and discharges has begun, but Hilary Loftus, the new male modern matron, has just started work and an unsavoury stool sample and a dead patient give him cause for concern. Kim finishes a slice of the dead patient's birthday cake.

Being a teenager is tough, but for sixteen-year-old Jasmine Burkitt it is even harder, because she is just three feet eight inches tall and only fits clothes designed for a seven to eight-year-old, as we discover in Small Teen, Big World - 9:00 BBC3. The twelve months captured in this documentary are the most important of Jasmine's life so far. She goes to New York to meet others with similar genetic conditions, camps out at her first pop festival, celebrates her sixteenth birthday and tries to contact her estranged father who is average size.

And now, the news: Former advertising executive George Lois has criticised AMC drama Mad Men in an article in Playboy magazine. Lois, who worked in the advertising industry during the sixties, claimed that the show ignores the 'creative revolution' occurring at the time. 'Mad Men misrepresents the advertising industry by ignoring the revolution that changed the world of communications forever,' he wrote. 'That mortal sin of omission makes [the show] a lie.' He continued: '[It is] is nothing more than a soap opera set in a glamorous office where stylish fools hump their appreciative, coiffured secretaries, suck up martinis and smoke themselves to death as they produce dumb, lifeless advertising.' Yeah. That's why people watch it, I think! Lois further criticvised the show for being 'oblivious to social issues' such as the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War. He also admitted that he considers the programme's portrayal of the industry 'a personal insult.' He concluded his article with the tirade: 'So fuck you, Mad Men, you phony gray-flannel-suit, male-chauvinist, no-talent, WASP, white-shirted, racist, anti-Semitic Republican SOBs! [sic].' Eloquent! Lois also noted that Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner 'rejects my pinion of his show.' Heh.

Ballroom professionals Matthew Cutler and Lilia Kopylova are to quit Strictly Come Dancing, the BBC has announced. The pair were amongst the dancers asked to perform together in a professional troupe, rather than with celebrities, in a change of format for the show. Cutler, who won with Alesha Dixon in 2007, is to concentrate on running his own dancing school and may choreograph some routines on the programme. Kopylova's husband Darren Bennett will become a member of the new dance group. Ian Waite, who partnered athlete Jade Johnson in the most recent series of the show, has also been confirmed as part of the professional troupe. Four new recruits - one male and three female - will be announced as the new series approaches later this year. Dancer Brian Fortuna announced in June that he would not return to the programme due to format changes. At the time, other professionals said they had yet to come to a decision about their future. Cutler said: 'I've absolutely loved my time on Strictly, and now is a good time to focus on developing new areas of my career. I'm excited about having more time to commit to new projects and, of course, still having a hand in Strictly without all the training!' Russian-born Kopylova, who won the 2005 series with cricketer Darren Gough, said she would miss working on the show, but was 'looking forward to new opportunities ahead. Of course I will be there to support Darren and all of my fellow professionals,' she added.

Five could soon become Channel Five again after Richard Desmond completed his acquisition of the struggling broadcaster. The tycoon, who controls a media empire which includes the Daily Star, Daily Express and OK!, confirmed on Friday that his company Northern & Shell had paid one hundred and three million pounds to buy Five. Its previous owner RTL chose to put the channel up for sale after seeing it struggle to compete for audience share against the BBC, ITV and Channel 4. However, Desmond believes Five can become a success if it has the right financial backing. He told Sky News he plans to launch a major advertising campaign to promote the channel and that he is considering renaming it. Desmond explained he much preferred its previous brand Channel Five and that the broadcaster would soon revert to it, providing chief executive Dawn Airey agreed with him. Speculation has already begun about how the new owner might change a schedule which features Australian soap operas Neighbours and Home and Away, together with much imported US drama like the CSI franchise. It is believed that Desmond is keen to agree a deal with Endemol to revive Big Brother, which is currently in the middle of its final series on Channel 4. While audiences for Big Brother have fallen, there are claims that Desmond believes it can regain viewers with the support of his newspapers.

And now, some very sad - if not enitrely unexpected - news. The former world snooker champion Alex Hurricane Higgins has died aged sixty one after a long and horrifical battle against throat cancer. The two-time world champion, a heavy smoker, was reportedly found dead in his flat in Belfast on Saturday. Recent newspaper pictures had showed a painfully thin Higgins in Spain. Higgins had lost all his teeth during his cancer treatment and his weight had plummeted to a mere seven stone as he had to have all of his food pureed because eating had become excruciating. Friends of the controversial - but, always entertaining - snooker legend had raised around twenty thousand pounds to enable Higgins to have mouth surgery in Spain in an effort to improve his quality of life. However, he was deemed too frail to undergo the operation by the Spanish medics. Higgins was in the news in May after claiming that he had knowledge of at least four top players taking bribes to lose tournament matches. He also alleged that he had turned down several big-money offers to throw games in his career. Higgins, the world champion in 1972 and 1982, and twice a runner-up, claimed that Greek gamblers offered him eighteen thousand pounds in 1979 to lose his Benson & Hedges Masters quarter-final against Perrie Mans and twenty thousand pounds to cheat at the Irish Masters in 1989 but he said that he rejected both offers. Higgins was scheduled to appear in the new World Seniors Championship in November. The Irish-born player clinched his first world title in 1972, at the age of just twenty two, when he defeated John Spencer in the final and then, memorably, repeated that triumph ten years later at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield by beating Ray Reardon and being dubbed 'The People's Champion' by the popular press. Higgins was also a beaten world finalist in 1976 and 1980 - the latter, a well-remembered match with Canadian Cliff Thorburn that went to the final frame and BBC coverage of which was interrupted by the SAS storming the Iranian Embassey - while other triumphs included two Masters titles at Wembley. Two of his most memorable matches came in the world championships, an epic quarter-final victory over a young Steve Davis in 1980 and breath-taking semi-final win against his close friend Jimmy White in the semi-final in 1982. The latter climaxed with a break of sixty nine in the penultimate frame which is still widely regarded as one of the greatest ever seen in the game, given the prize at stake and the degree of difficulty in many of the shot played. Higgins had started playing snooker at the age of eleven, often hustling games against older boys in the Jampot club in his native Sandy Row area of south Belfast and later in the YMCA in the nearby city centre. At fourteen he left for England and a career as a jockey but never really adapted to the lifestyle - he enjoyed drinking and smoking too much - and racing's loss was to be snooker's gain. He compiled his first maximum one hundred and forty seven break in 1965 as sixteen year old. In 1968 he won the All-Ireland and Northern Ireland amateur snooker championships. Higgins' quickness around the table and flamboyant style earned him the nickname The Hurricane and made him something of a hero to many - particularly younger - snooker devotees for his rebellious, volatile, anti-establishment rock and roll attitude. Episodes of Pot Black in which he featured tended to get a much larger audience that those with many of his contemporaries. His highly unusual technique sometimes included a body swerve when cueing, as well as a stance that was far higher than most other professionals (including the player that many saw as his natural heir, Jimmy White). While Higgins was arguably a classic example of how not to cue, he nevertheless managed to pot balls with the best of them - and at a remarkably rapid rate too. He had frequent brushes with snooker's governing body - he once head-butted a tournament director and, on another occasion, punched a referee - and his career suffered a downward spiral after he was banned for an entire season following a (seemingly serious) threat to have his compatriot, the likeable Dennis Taylor, 'shot' in 1990. Higgins also had widely reported problems with cocaine. In Clive Everton's TV documentary The Story of Snooker (2002), Steve Davis said that he considered Higgins to be 'the one true genius that snooker has produced.' Dennis Taylor was among the first of many former players to pay tribute to Higgins, saying: 'There was just something about the way he played the game - there was a little bit of McEnroe in there. I don't think you'll ever see a player in the game of snooker like the great Alex Higgins.' The BBC's snooker commentator Philip Studd described Higgins as 'snooker's original, troubled genius. Charismatic, flash, fast, unpredictable, combustible - you just couldn't take your eyes off The Hurricane,' the BBC commentator told Radio 5Live. 'While he could never match the consistency of Steve Davis or Stephen Hendry, Higgins on his day was the greatest of them all. He touched the heights in 1982 when he won his second world title. He pipped Jimmy White to the final thanks to a break still widely regarded as the finest ever made. His tears of triumph after beating Ray Reardon - wife and baby in arms - remains one of snooker's most iconic moments. Without Hurricane Higgins snooker would never have become one of the most popular television sports in the 1980s and beyond.' Higgins was married twice and had two children with his second wife Lynn, whom he later divorced.

Julia Roberts's brother Eric has reportedly signed up to appear in the cast of Celebrity Rehab With Dr Drew. The actor, who is the father of Emma Roberts, has not confirmed what his addiction issues are despite being arrested in 1987 for cocaine and marijuana possession. The fifty four-year-old's publicist, Chuck Jones, told WENN: 'It's not for anything serious. He's not hooked on prescription meds or hard drugs or anything like that.' Roberts will join Janice Dickinson, Rachel Uchitel, Jeremy London and Jason Wahler on the fourth season of the reality series.

New York police have said that they are looking for a man who allegedly robbed a bank dressed as Darth Vader. Photographs show the man entering the Chase bank in East Setauket while dressed as the Star Wars villain, NBC2-News reports. The gun-wielding man demanded money from the cashier before saying: 'This is not a joke!' Or, you know, 'Ssssss. This is not a joke!' He then punched a customer who tried to stop him as he left with an undetermined amount of money in a New York Yankees drawstring bag. The man is believed to be around six foot tall and was wearing camouflage trousers in addition to the Vader outfit. Police immediately issued an all pants bulletin.

Lindsay Lohan has reportedly been placed in prison 'lockdown' following 'a hysterical fit.' The actress was put in isolation after other inmates began taunting her about her sexuality, reports the Mirror. The Mean Girls actress allegedly began crying and yelling at wardens at Lynwood Correctional Facility in California when other prisoners began chanting 'fire crotch' at her, referencing her relationship with Samantha Ronson. 'Lindsay would lie there shivering all night, crying and trying to cover her face with her hands. Her wailing was keeping everyone awake,' one prisoner allegedly said. She added: 'She is in with the killers and she has only been let out for hour-long breaks, and during those she was locked down to a table. Today, Lindsay got put on lockdown. She had a hysterical fit, crying and yelling so she got put in isolation.' This prisoner seems remarkably well informed, you might have noted. You may also be wondering how the Mirror managed to contact the - nameless - prisoner for these quotes. Short of, you know, turning up for visiting hour with a cake with a file in it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What do you get if you cross a penguin with Bruce Forsyth?
A Teabag!