Friday, August 06, 2010

Paint A Vulgar Picture

Hot fudge was the order on the day on last night's Celebrity MasterChef as John and Gregg proved that they do have hearts made of something other than stone - or, in Gregg's case, possibly chocolate cake - when they found it impossible to separate Chris Walker, Dick Strawbridge and Lisa Faulkner! And so they sent all three contestants through to the semi-final where they will join Christine Hamilton and Neil Stuke. All three produced two accomplished dishes with big, sweaty Dick from Coast's squid and prawn starter probably the highlight of the entire night. I'dve certainly eaten it. Lisa's duck dish looked pretty nice too, as did Chris' chicken wrapped in bacon. All five survivors will compete in the semi-finals which begins tonight.

Jason Manford has reportedly said that he would like to land a role in Doctor Who. 'It's the best show on the box,' Metro quotes the new ONE Show host as saying. 'A voice-over would be enough.'

Twentieth Century FOX has announced plans to release a repackaged version of its Buffy the Vampire Slayer - The Complete Series DVD boxset. The set will contain all seven seasons and one hundred and forty four episodes of Joss Whedon's cult series starring Sarah Michelle Gellar as a teenager destined to protect the world from 'the vampires, the demons and the forces of darkness.' It was also, quite simply, for most of its seven year run - and The West Wing aside - the single best television show on the planet. Yer Keith Telly Topping should know, he wrote several books on the subject. You might have noticed. One on them is even still available if you look hard enough! Anyway, the new DVD collection will be available in the US on 12 October with a list price of two cents under two hundred dollars (region one, obviously), reports TV Shows on DVD. The packaging will reportedly be 'wider than the previous complete series set released in 2006.' It will also feature new cover art. It is unknown if the set will contain new bonus features or other content not previously released. And, all Keith Telly Topping really wants to know is, if he buys this one, will he get a discount for all of those hardcover individual season sets he bought ten years ago at the cost of about fifty or sixty quid a pop? He very much doubts it, dear blog reader. 'Re-issue! Re-package! Re-package! Re-evaluate the songs. Double-pack with a photograph. Extra Track (and a tacky badge).' Ten out of ten for the show, nothing at all out of ten for the cynicism of trying to get people to buy something they've already probably got.

X Factor producers have 'come under fire' for reportedly signing a deal to guarantee one act safe passage through to the live shows. A member of the girl band Husstle told other contestants at London's Boot Camp round that her group had already been promised a place in the studio finals, according to the Sun. A fight is believed to have broken out after the singer apparently claimed that her band's manager, Spike Dawbarn, who used to be a member of boy band 911, got a guarantee from Simon Cowell and show producers that the group would make it past both Boot Camp and Judges' Houses. A source said: 'This girl was boasting and winding everyone up about it. They had already been swanning around the place acting like top dogs, so when one of them said they were told they'd be in the final line-up it all kicked off. People were screaming and jabbing fingers at each other and some girls even burst into tears. The row got so nasty that producers had to rush in and cool it down.' Cowell's spokeswoman insisted that the claim was 'total rubbish.' Course, the only way anyone's now going to be able to prove that is if Husstle don't make the studio finals. Nowt like a bit of wholly manufactured controversy, is there?

The BBC has unveiled its first promo for new The ONE Show presenters Jason Manford and Alex Jones, who was signed last month to replace Christine Bleakley. Launching on air tomorrow, the twenty-second promo features the duo trying out the ONE Show set. The trailer, which features the song 'Sitting On My Sofa' by The Kinks, highlights the date of their first show, 16 August. Jones was a surprise choice to replace Bleakley, who defected to ITV where she will be reunited with Adrian Chiles on Daybreak, the channel's new-look breakfast show, in September. The ONE Show, meanwhile, will be presented on Fridays from 20 August by Chris Evans, whose appointment, Chiles claims, prompted him to quit the BBC, with Jones and Manford presenting from Monday to Thursday.

David Crellin has confessed that he was disappointed to find out his Coronation Street character was being killed off. Crellin recently appeared as Colin Fishwick, whose identity was stolen by John Stape (Graeme Hawley). Viewers saw Colin die during a confrontation with John and Charlotte Hoyle (Becky Hindley) as he demanded money from the teacher. 'It was disappointing, and quite a shock, to learn that the character was being killed off after just seven episodes,' Crellin told the Star. 'It was a role I secured right at the last minute. Originally they cast someone else but he wasn't bad enough so they called me.' Crellin, who also appeared as Billy Hopwood in Emmerdale, said that he had enjoyed the short stint. 'I enjoyed playing Fishwick - at least there was some good in him. I normally get the part of the totally bad guy,' he said. 'I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because I'm good at shouting and playing people who are, shall we say, unsympathetic.' Colin's body has now been buried under the floor of Underworld and Crellin insisted that he does not know what will happen next. 'I can't see Fishwick chiselling through the concrete and crawling off to some corner of Weatherfield,' he teased.

Whoopi Goldberg has denied that she hit Real Housewives Of DC star Michaele Salahi. Yesterday, ABC released a statement saying that Salahi, best known previously for showing up uninvited to a White House event last year, had claimed that Goldberg struck her during her appearance on day time chat show The View. However, Goldberg dismissed the allegation on that day's episode of the series, adding that she confronted the reality TV regular, and her husband, with 'some choice words' after the accusation. 'Afterward Michaele was very upset about what was said about her on the air. Then I was told she thought I hit her. So I went up to her and I told her that she knew I didn't hit her and yeah, you know how I said it, choice words,' she said. Goldberg added: 'And I make no apology for my choice words. Then her husband got in my face, had his BlackBerry out and started taking pictures of me. And needless to say, I really went off then. And there was even more choicer words. They were so choice you could have cut them with a knife and eaten them.' So these words ... they were pretty choice, I'm guessing? 'You rotter,' that sort of thing?

Amanda Holden says that she is expecting criticism for her stage performance in the musical Shrek. Dear blog readers may remember that Amanda also said that she was expecting criticism before her Christawful BBC sitcom, Big Top. And she got some, too. And that she was expecting criticism before her ITV documentary series Fantasy Lives. And she got plenty there as well. Do we detect a pattern emerging here? 'I know the knives will be out but I am good at what I do,' she simpered. The evidence of Big Top and Fantasy Lives would appear to suggest otherwise, Mandy, hen.

Michael Emerson has revealed details of the extra Lost footage. Emerson told Access Hollywood that the scenes, which will be included in the forthcoming DVD boxset, were added to reward the show's fans. 'The writers, I think, wanted to give our viewers a little dessert at the end of the series,' he said. 'I think that they were also conscious that there was a very intriguing window - a blank space left in the narrative in the finale and that is, "What was it like during all that presumably long time when Hurley and Ben were in charge of things? What was life like in the Dharma world during that period?" And so I think they decided to give us just a little taste.' The epilogue only lasts around twelve minutes but Emerson said: 'We just get a little snack, a little tidbit. We witness events, I would say, that happen in the space of two or three days. It's not necessarily consequent, but yeah, two or three days are explored.' Emerson also revealed that his character is different in the scenes, explaining: '[There's] a sense that there's a new regime, a new way of doing business. A whole new philosophy. I think we see the Ben we've known and loved all these years being himself, but with a little bit of a change of context, a little bit of a change of tone.' He promised that Ben will visit a Dharma factory and teased: 'Those men at the Dharma station, they don't really know who [Ben] is. So the suggestion is that the Dharma network is much vaster and more intricate than was even revealed in the series. That to support what went on on the island, there was a whole global network, there was a whole machinery set up.' Emerson admitted that filming the extra scenes on top of the finale had been challenging. '[But] I was very excited to do it, I have to say,' he added. 'I felt like the work on this thing was as interesting to me as the work on the finale.'

There's a very good interview with Mark Gatiss about forthcoming Sherlock developments by Simon Brew for the Den of Geek! website here.

Labour leadership candidate David Miliband and former culture secretary Tessa Jowell have called for the BBC to be transformed into a co-operative to give licence fee payers 'a democratic voice' and make the corporation more accountable. Oh God, do you people understand nothing? Your government, mainly - but not exclusively - in the shape of Ben Bradshaw, spent nearly a decade kicking the BBC whilst it was down because you thought it was a vote-winner. Harriet Harman seemingly wanted a new job as a TV scheduler and as for Gordon Brown's occasional outbursts of numskull TV critique ... And then, at the last minute when you realised you were about to get the hiding of a lifetime in a general election, you suddenly changed your tune and were, like, the BBC's bestest friend in all the land, that am. This is the same Labour party, isn't it? A message for all politicians - get it into your thick heads, the BBC is above all of you. It's better than you. It is a World Class broadcaster with a peerless international reputation and which is about a million times more impressive than the reputation of any scum politician - of any scum political stripe - because people, all over the world, trust it to tell them the truth. Not to bullshit them with lies and spin like politicians. And it will survive and be here for long after you are gone and forgotten, a mere footnote in the history of whatever it is that you do to justify your crappy existence. Ironically, the only places where it isn't regarded as highly as it should be are in nasty dictatorships like China and Iran and in its own bloody back yard by career politicians the likes of you. And by the hippie Communist part-time workers at the Gruniad Morning Star and the goosestepping ignorant hoity-toity bullyboy thugs of the Daily Scum Mail. Does it make you proud to be in such company? Jowell and Miliband, respectively the shadow minister for the cabinet and shadow foreign secretary, made the case in an article for centre-left pressure group Progress, published online today. The article argued that the corporation, which is funded by the £3.4bn annual licence fee, might benefit from the 'mutual principle [which] could also play a role in strengthening the democratic accountability of the BBC. Owned by the British public and paid for directly through each household's TV licence, it is only right that ordinary members of the public should have a real say in how it is run,' Miliband and Jowell said. They do. They have a choice as to whether to buy the TV licence or not. That's called democracy and it's worked, beautifully, for the eighty odd years that the BBC has been around. 'Under a mutual model, membership of the BBC could be open to everyone who pays the licence fee. This would give licence fee payers a way to democratic voice in the priorities of the BBC.' Under the plan BBC members would have the right to elect representatives to a members' council that in turn would elect a majority of members of the BBC Trust. Oh God. More committees, voting for even more committees. Because, of course, we haven't got far too many of those cluttering up our world already, have we? This idea of 'giving people a say in running things' seems to be all the rage at the moment. And, it's all very well in theory but most people don't want a say in running things - they simply haven't got the time - and they wouldn't know what to do with 'a say in running things' even if they were to be given one. 'The meek sharn't inherit the earth. They wouldn't know what to do with it,' as somebody said in Blood From The Mummy's Tomb. And, those members of the public who do actively want a say in running things, are probably exactly the sort of people that shouldn't be let loose anywhere near a decision-making process because of the - often sinister and one-sided - agenda they carry with them. This blogger very much included. But then, I'm perfectly happy to let paid professionals do the job instead of me. Have a look at the 'comments' sections under most BBC-related articles in, for instance, the Daily Scum Mail or the Gruniad Morning Star. Those are the sort of chancers you'd be giving a sniff of power to with this malarkey if it went the distance. Like the moron on the Gruniad website who, after an article which celebrated the popular success of Sherlock opined thus: 'Sherlock is boring. The usual BBC crap.' Is that the sort of person Miliband and Jowell want making decisions about the sorts of programmes the BBC should be making? Because I know I certainly don't. 'With those running the BBC directly accountable to their members, they would have a clear mandate to canvas licence fee payers on all major policy decisions,' the article said. Miliband - who, actually this blogger does have a bit of time for, usually - and Jowell - whom he very much doesn't - also argued that there is no reason why such ideas should not be considered for the BBC, as one of the 'most treasured and important public institutions. Economic recovery should bring with it different and stronger relationships between the public and organisations that exert influence in their lives,' it said. 'Co-operative banks, building societies and credit unions all embody the best of the mutual tradition, meeting the needs of consumers while also promoting a model of ethical, values-led businesses, behaving responsibly in an industry where too many have not.' Jowell has already floated the idea of introducing more co-operatives and mutualism to Britain when Labour was in power last December in a speech to a Progress conference. The idea has gathered pace under the new coalition government, and it fits with prime minister David Cameron's Big Society manifesto, with John Lewis and Co-operative Group raised as successful examples. Okay, all together now - all politicians are scum. Listen, David and Tessa, I know you mean well but, tell you what, you stick to doing what it is that you do - opposition, mainly. And leave the running of, to repeat, a World Class broadcasting organisation to the professionals. As Marge Simpson once so wisely noted in Itchy, Scratchy and Marge, 'I guess one person can make a difference. But, most of the time, they probably shouldn't.'

Five has agreed an exclusive deal with Warner Bros. International Television Distribution for a raft of new and archive movies and TV shows. Under the agreement, the Richard Desmond-owned broadcaster will have exclusive terrestrial rights to the third season of hit drama The Mentalist. In the autumn and winter schedule, Five USA will air Jerry Bruckheimer Television's undercover police drama Dark Blue, which stars Golden Globe winner Dylan McDermott. The digital channel will also broadcast Blade: The Series, which is based on the comic books and film trilogy about an immortal warrior who battles vampires. Sister channel Fiver will broadcast action drama Human Target, which stars Fringe actor Mark Valley as a mysterious security agent for hire. Five's managing director of digital channels and acquisitions Jeff Ford said: 'I am thrilled to have secured this wide-ranging deal for Channel Five. I am delighted to welcome back the critical and ratings smash The Mentalist for another season. The addition of Dark Blue and Human Target strengthens our burgeoning slate of quality offerings on the digital channels. Plus, the movie line-up is an exciting mix of terrestrial premieres and blockbuster films for all the family.' Warner Bros. International Television president Jeffrey R Schlesinger added: 'We are always looking to place our programming on the right networks where they can thrive and connect with viewers. You don't have to be a mind reader to know the best continuing home for The Mentalist is Channel Five, where they have contributed to this show becoming one of the most popular US series being telecast in the UK today. The commercial appeal of shows like Dark Blue, Human Target, Blade and these selected top feature films also make this programming perfectly suited to be telecast and succeed on Five's family of channels.' Notice, they've started calling it Channel Five again. Five has also secured a raft of film rights, including terrestrial premieres of 300, Beowulf, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The broadcaster will also air a range of archive titles, such as The Matrix trilogy, The Last Samurai and The Perfect Storm.

Shed Media looks set finally to go private after the UK independent television production company agreed to a one hundred million pound takeover bid from its management team, backed by Time Warner. The talks mark the third possible takeover approach for Shed in less than two years, with its management team frequently driving attempts to take the group private. Eileen Gallagher, one of the group’s founders, led an unsuccessful buy-out attempt at 100p-per-share in 2008 while Nick Southgate, her successor as chief executive, was unable to persuade the independent board to back a private equity-backed approach earlier this year. In spite of some notable successes, Shed has spent most of its five years on Aim, London's junior stock exchange, trading below its listing price. The group behind Footballers' Wives, Supernanny and Who Do You Think You Are? was established in 1998 by four executives, including Ms Gallagher, who had previously worked together at Granada Television.

UK radio listening surged to its highest level for more than a decade in the three months to the end of June, with stations including Radio4, Radio 5Live and TalkSport enjoying record audiences over a period that included the general election campaign and the World Cup. According to figures released this week by the radio audience measurement body, Rajar, an average of 46.8 million adults tuned in to their favourite radio stations each week during the period. This equates to just over ninety per cent of the UK population over the age of fifteen. The average weekly radio audience was up by nearly half a million listeners compared with the same period last year and up by nearly three hundred thousand on the previous three months, which had also been a record high. This is the highest weekly reach for UK radio listening since Rajar introduced its current research methodology in January 1999. Radio 5Live reported its biggest audience since its launch in 1990, with a weekly reach of 6.76 million listeners. Radio4 also passed several milestones: it had a record average weekly audience of 10.4 million in the quarter, with its best ever audiences for shows including Today, PM and The Archers. The station's weekly audience was up four per cent year-on-year, with a share of twelve and a half per cent. This was Radio4's best quarterly figure since Rajar's new methodology in 1999. Radio4's Today pulled in a record 6.98 million weekly listeners. The Archers attracted a record 5.05 million audience during a period that featured the death of a long-running character, The Bull's landlord Sid Perks. UTV Media's TalkSport was also a beneficiary of the busy three months of political and sporting action, reporting its most successful second quarter of listening figures in its ten-year history. It recorded an audience of 2.51 million. Radio1 pulled in a record audience of 11.81 million listeners whilst Radio 2 attracted 13.73 million listeners on average each week. And, just a small boast before we're finished with the Beeb, yer Keith Telly Topping's beloved BBC Newcastle remains the - joint - most listened-to BBC station outside London with a weekly average audience of almost exactly three hundred thousand. BBC Radio Merseyside also enjoys a similar figure. The national commercial station Absolute Radio pulled in an average weekly audience of 1.59 million. There were gains for Absolute's digital station, Absolute Radio Classic Rock, while its digital service Absolute 80s reported a rise of two hundred and eighty eight thousand listeners in its audience. There was less positive news at BBC Radio3, which reported an average audience of 1.86 million, down eight per cent year-on-year. Classic FM also suffered a small loss, reporting an audience of 5.68 million. Overall, the BBC's share of the total audience declined slightly from 56.5 per cent to 54.6 per cent, meaning commercial radio increased its share from 41.3 per cent to 43.2 per cent. The commercial radio trade body the Radio Centre said that this represented the highest commercial reach in the past decade, with the number of listeners growing by nine hundred and five thousand.

A couple facing foreclosure on their house may be saved by the discovery of a rare comic in the basement. The copy of Action Comics #1 was discovered when the owners were clearing out the house the family has owned since the 1950s in preparation to leave the property, reports ABC News. They contacted ComicConnect.com, who rated the comic as very good/fine and estimated it could sell for more than two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. The company's co-owner, Stephen Fishler, convinced the family's bank to delay the foreclosure. ComicConnect.com was responsible for the record-breaking sale of another issue of Action Comics #1 for one and a half million earlier in the year. Action Comics #1 - featuring Superman's first ever appearance - originally went on sale for ten cents in June 1938.

Katie Price is reportedly desperate to land a role in a soap opera. She says that she is a big fan of EastEnders. 'But I don't think I can do the accent that well,' she told Metro. Oh, I don't know. A pig-ignorant Cockney, bint? I think Katie could probably pull that off, don't you dear blog reader?

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