Friday, July 30, 2010

A Sea of Possibility

Rhod Gilbert is being lined-up to replace Graham Norton on his BBC Monday night show, it has been alleged. The Welsh stand-up comedian has apparently impressed producers who are keen to see him take over once Norton fills the Friday night chat show void left by Jonathan Ross. A BBC 'source' told the Sun: 'We think very highly of Rhod. He is one of the comedians we want to grow and that's why he has been given his own show. He has a bright future at the BBC.' The forty one-year-old presented his own show, Rhod Gilbert's Work Experience, on BBC2 earlier this year and has appeared on Mock The Week and Never Mind The Buzzcocks.

Jennifer Grey has signed up to guest star in an episode of House. According to Entertainment Weekly, the actress will appear on the show later this year. She is expected to play the mother of a young girl who is displaying the symptoms of a potentially fatal illness. When doctors at Princeton‑Plainsboro investigate the daughter's condition, Grey's character has to make a difficult decision about her treatment. Grey has already started filming her role and the episode of House is expected to be broadcast in October.

Highlight of last night's TV: The appearance of a particular favourite of yer Keith Telly Topping, the former [Spooks] actress Lisa Faulkner on Celebrity MasterChef. 'I hope she manages to avoid ending up in the deep fat fryer this time,' yer Keith Telly Topping thought as Lisa was introduced. Thankfully, she did do that and qualified for the quarter final along with Chris Walker - who looks to be a real talent. Unfortunately, the lowlight of last night's TV occurred in the self-same episode. When John Tordoe and Gregg Wallace passing up the deliciously naughty opportunity to make a curry for waste-of-space Danielle Lloyd's taste-test. Or, indeed, something that would have required her to eat it with her hands because, 'that's what they do in India, innit? Or, is it China?' This particular licence fee payer was, he's forced to confess, pure-mad-disappointed.

Steven Moffat has revealed details of the upcoming sixth series of Doctor Who. The showrunner told Den of Geek that he would be writing five episodes for Matt Smith's second run. He said: 'I'm doing the [2010] Christmas special plus five, so it's the same. Six again.' Moffat explained that since taking over as showrunner on Who, he had continued to follow the writing schedule of former boss Russell Davies. 'I'm basically following what Russell did,' he confirmed. 'Having worked out the sums and worked out how he does it, I thought that's a perfect way of doing it.' He also admitted that he was struggling to maintain a balance between working on Who and producing new BBC drama Sherlock. 'The last year has been extraordinary,' he claimed. 'I've had about four days off and that includes Christmas Day. I work every weekend, I get up early in the morning, I go to bed late at night. There is no way of balancing it.' He added: 'But, it's great fun too! Great fun, so long as it doesn't kill me!'

Matt LeBlanc has suggested that he used to dye his hair. The grey-haired actor, who played Joey Tribbiani in Friends and Joey, said that he got 'sick' of having to colour his hair to help him achieve his character's youthful look. LeBlanc told Us Magazine: 'I dyed my hair the whole time on Friends. I just was sick of doing it.' The forty three-year-old star is due to return to TV screens soon in new show Episodes, playing a man with the same name as himself. He said: 'It's a character. It's not me. It's the public's perception of me more than really me.' When asked if he would be making a cameo appearance in former co-star Courteney Cox's show Cougar Town, LeBlanc said: 'I haven't been asked!'

John Prescott's wife Pauline has joined The ONE Show. Lady Prescott, who has been married to the former Deputy Prime Minister for forty eight years, will front short reports and features for the BBC show when it returns with new presenters Jason Manford, Chris Evans and Alex Jones. The ONE Show's editor Sandy Smith told Broadcast magazine: 'We hope Pauline will bring her interesting perspective on life to The ONE Show. Coming from the North, and having been in the position she was, makes her a good person for us. We think she is, in a number of ways, typical of our audience.' The seventy four-year-old apparently impressed producers during her husband's recent documentaries The North/South Divide and The Class System and Me.

Rosie O'Donnell has criticised Barack Obama's decision to appear on The View. The former talk show host revealed her disapproval on her Sirius XM radio show on Wednesday, saying that the president should not take part in 'such fluffy programmes. I have mixed feelings about that. I don't really think sitting presidents should go do fluffy daytime TV shows. Maybe an hour on Oprah or something,' she explained. 'I don't really want to see him on The View, although I'm happy for them. That's a good booking, and Barbara [Walters] is going to come back that day after her heart surgery.'

William Shatner has criticised CBS executives for renaming his new sitcom $#*! My Dad Says. The series, which is based on the Twitter feed 'Shit My Dad Says', was given a censored title in order to be 'suitable for television' according to the network but Shatner admitted that he is unhappy with the decision, according to the New York Post. 'I wish they would just call it "Shit,"' he said. What the show? Blimey, that's a ringing endorsement. 'What's wrong with it? I brought up three girls. They've all got kids. Okay? And you say, "Boopy doo-doo, you've got to make poo-poo. Come on. Make poo-poo in the toilet." Eventually, "poo-poo" becomes "shit." "Go take a shit, and you'll feel better." You say that to your kids.' He continued: 'The word "shit" is around us. It isn't a terrible term. It's a natural function. Why are we pussyfooting?' Shatner recently revealed that the show will expand upon the original Twitter feed.

Lost actor Terry O'Quinn is to return to television for the first time since the ABC drama ended in May. E! Online reports that O'Quinn - who played John Locke on the show - will star alongside Oscar-nominated actress Taraji P Henson in the Lifetime television movie Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story. The project will tell the story of Tiffany Rubin, a desperate mother forced to rescue her young son when he is kidnapped and taken to Korea by his father. In the film, O'Quinn will play Mark Miller, the head of charitable organisation The American Association for Lost Children, who helps Rubin travel to Korea to save her son. Production on the film will begin next month in Vancouver.

BBC news coverage of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales has 'significantly improved,' the BBC Trust says. It follows a review published in 2008, in which the BBC was criticised for 'falling short of its own high standards' and failing to meet its core purpose of helping inform democracy. Since then, the number of national news stories about the devolved nations almost doubled, research suggests. But there are still areas that require work, the Trust said. In particular, reporters do not always make it clear that changes to government policy may only affect England, or England and Wales. The trust said it was looking for 'speedy improvement' in this area. However, it praised the increased level of stories from Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, especially at a time when other broadcasters had recorded a fall in such reports.

FX has confirmed that it still owns the UK rights to True Blood. Earlier, it emerged that Sky has signed a deal to buy all of American cable channel HBO's new programming. Sky also secured the rights to 'a number' of HBO's archived shows. However, FX has now announced that it still owns the exclusive pay TV and first-run rights for True Blood. The news means that the show cannot be aired on other pay TV channels until FX's licence expires. Albeit, given that NewsCorp owns FX and has a majority shareholding in Sky, I'm sure Rupert Murdoch could find a way around that if needed. FX also revealed that it still holds the life of series and first-run rights to Eastbound And Down and all of the HBO programmes it currently has in licence, including The Wire. The question of a number of HBO shows co-produced with the BBC - Rome, Band of Brothers, Extras, Little Britain US for example - remains the subject of much media speculation.

James Cracknell has reportedly suffered brain damage after a bike accident last week. The Olympian experienced a head fracture after being knocked off his bike while filming scenes for a Discovery Channel programme in Arizona and was previously thought to be in stable condition. However, his wife Beverly Turner told the Daily Telegraph that Cracknell, who is receiving treatment in a neuro-trauma ward, is only semi-conscious and will need up to six months to recover from his injuries. 'I'd spent years worrying that James would plunge down a crevasse in some remote wilderness, but it was a road traffic accident in the US that has left him with a fractured skull and damage to his brain,' she said. She added that while the accident caused bleeding and swelling of his brain, doctors still expect him to make almost a full recovery. 'Only those closest to him may be able to tell a subtle difference.'

Ofcom has fined Bang Channels and Bang Media over one hundred and fifty thousand pounds for 'extremely serious and repeated breaches' of the Broadcasting Code. Bang Channels and Bang Media, which are under common ownership, were found to have breached broadcasting guidelines in their 'adult sex chat' and 'daytime chat' promotions aired between June and November 2009. Bang Channels operates the Tease Me bouquet of channels on the Sky platform, while Bang Media owns and operates the Tease Me TV service on Freeview. The channels broadcast content promoting adult sex chat services, in which viewers are invited to contact on-screen female presenters via premium rate telephony services. Ofcom ruled that the 'unsuitable' adult material used to promote the services was 'shown for the sole purpose of sexual stimulation.' Some footage contained simulated masturbation and oral sex, including close-ups of genital and anal detail. And I missed it. Knickers. Anyway ... The media regulator said that in some cases the material transmitted should have had mandatory restrictions, such as PIN controls, while other broadcasts contained material deemed equivalent to a BBFC eighteen-rating, which is prohibited from broadcast. Ofcom also found that fourteen breaches had occurred due to Bang Channels and Bang Media operating 'a wholly inadequate compliance system' which amounted 'to manifest recklessness.' A further two breaches were found after both licensees failed to provide recordings to Ofcom after a request had been issued. Bang Channels also continued to broadcast the offending material even after it had been found in breach of the broadcasting code and given full warning by Ofcom. 'Broadcasters who operate in this area should be aware that Ofcom treats the transmission of this sort of sexual content, without suitable protections, with the utmost seriousness and such repeated compliance failures will not be tolerated,' said Ofcom.

Paul McCartney is reportedly a fan of Glee. Speaking to E! Online, the show's creator Ryan Murphy suggested that the musician has asked for a guest role on the series. 'The other day a package arrived at my office and I opened it up and it said "Mixtape from Paul McCartney,"' Murphy explained. 'It was very sweet. It was a CD, I apologise. It was these amazing songs that I grew up with. And I said, "Is this a joke?" It literally said, "Greeting, from Paul." This is a strange, strange world we live in, and it's awesome.'

Silvio Berlusconi has been criticised after posing for photographs in front of Leonardo Da Vinci's The Last Supper in Milan's Santa Maria della Grazie museum. Italy's prime minister stood with his wife in front of the Fifteenth Century mural for several minutes yesterday while members of the press used flash photography, the Daily Telegraph reports. Professor Ulberico Santa Maria, who works at the scientific department of the Vatican Museums, said: 'There is no way I would have allowed flash photography in front of The Last Supper. Flash photography is not recommended at all for works of art because of the intense damage that can be caused - certainly photography is allowed but the conditions have to be strict controlled using filters. The fact that The Last Supper is a mural painting and not a fresco makes it all the more fragile to something like flash photography, because of the organic material in the paint. This pigment is sensitive to flash photography and that's why we do not allow it.' However, superintendent of works in Milan Alberto Artioli said: 'I gave permission for three photographers to enter and take pictures. It was my responsibility, my decision and I authorised them because I did not see a problem. Flash photography can cause damage and ruin works of art, but in this it was just for a few moments. The photographers were quite far back and I really don't see the problem.'

A feature film based on Paul the Psychic Octopus has been completed, according to Sky News. The mollusc successfully predicted the winners of eight games at this year's World Cup in South Africa and is now the subject of a movie titled The Murder Of Paul The Octopus. The film's title may refer to the death threats Paul received from German fans after accurately foretelling a Spain victory over Germany in the final earlier this month. The China Film Group Corporation and Beijing Filmblog Media Company co-production recently wrapped shooting in South Africa using a double for Paul and the film could be released as early as next month. The project is said to be about 'how the octopus acquires the ability' and 'his possible fates.' Paul recently 'retired' from predicting the outcome of football matches.

A couple have launched a luxury hotel for cats in Hertfordshire. Matt and Abi Purser charge between fifteen and nineteen per day for a place at the Longcroft cattery, which is situated in Welwyn Garden City, the Daily Mail reports. Abi said: 'There are some pretty good catteries out there if you look, but no-one has gone quite to the lengths we have in terms of comfort and style. We believe cats deserve this kind of treatment while their owners are hopefully getting the same standards on their trip away. The hotel offers six chalets much larger than the norm, each with their own bedroom and exercise area creating the perfect stress free retreat for much treasured pets whilst they are in our care.' She added: 'Cats can enjoy our Everyday menu, which is included in the cost, or you can opt for something a bit special from the A La Cat menu. Each chalet, like the Bluebell or Poppy suites, are decorated with individual themes and all come with deep, comfortable beds. The music is constantly changed to stop our guests from getting bored. We will shortly be installing a machine which blows out catnip-flavoured bubbles. We want the cats to stay active, happy and entertained while they're here.'

Lindsay Lohan's mother Dina has revealed that she does not get preferential treatment in jail. The twenty-four-year-old Mean Girls actress, who has been in a California lock-up since 20 July after being convicted of violating her probation conditions, apparently does not even have a pillow in her cell. Only rocks. And, but gruel for sustainance. Dina told Radar: 'She doesn't have cell phone privileges, that's absurd.' Err... she's in jail, not in a hotel. 'She doesn't even have a pillow to sleep on. I talk to her through glass. There's a phone and we put her on speaker but I can't even hug my daughter. She's treated like a common criminal. That's because she is a common criminal, love. Get used to it.

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