Monday, August 02, 2010

Welcome To The Church Of Cyberspace (Worship At The Shrine Of Your Choice)

Sherlock continued its very impressive start on Sunday evening helping BBC1 to dominate prime time, according to initial overnight audience ratings. The Blind Banker, episode two of the detective mini-series, was watched by 6.44m on BBC1 between 8.30pm and 10pm, with an additional two hundred and ten thousand viewers catching the drama on BBC HD. Top Gear, which featured Jurassic Park actor Jeff Goldblum as the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car, was watched by 4.66m in a later-than-usual time slot of 9.30pm to 10.30pm. A further one hundred and seventeen thousand viewers watched the motoring show when it was aired on BBC HD in the 11pm hour. Earlier on BBC1, The Antiques Roadshow had an audience of 3.8m in the 6pm hour, before Last of the Summer Wine achieved a thoroughly undeserved 3.97m between 7pm and 7.30pm, down eight hundred thousand on last week's series premiere. Countryfile was watched by 4.22m. On ITV, Alan Titchmarsh's Walks Of Fame: Twiggy had an audience of 3.21m in the 7pm hour, and was followed by Heartbeat, with 4.27m. Detective drama Taggart brought in 3.84m for the channel in the 9pm hour opposite Sherlock. Cricket On Five, which featured highlights of England's test match win against Pakistan, pulled in just under six hundred thousand viewers for Five between 7.15pm and 8pm. Don't Stop Believing, meanwhile is 'the show that everyone's talking about.' According to some glake in the Daily Express Saturday TV Magazine anyway. Well, everyone might indeed be talking about it but, by contrast, no bugger appears to be actually watching it since it's audience on Five at 8pm was a staggeringly poor five hundred and eighty thousand. Or, less than the cricket. Jimmy Anderson is more popular than Emma Bunton. You heard it here first dear blog reader.

Matthew Cutler has reportedly signed up to compete in Dancing On Ice. The former Strictly Come Dancing professional, who recently quit the BBC show after he was dropped from the main competition, will apparently appear on the show as a celebrity, not as a professional. According to the Sun, TV presenter Jonathan Wilkes has also agreed to take part in the ITV programme's upcoming sixth series. An 'insider' told the paper that signing Cutler was 'two fingers to the BBC after they dropped him,' but another 'insider' added: 'It shows the power of Strictly that you can join as an unknown dancer and by the time you leave you can go on to another show as a celebrity.' The thirty six-year-old dancer, who previously turned down the chance to appear in a special dance troupe on the next series of Strictly, is already thought to have started practising for the competition. Speaking about Cutler's chances in the contest, a source said: 'His dance training will definitely give him an advantage and he could be seen as a front-runner from the off. Other contestants might not be too happy about that.' Wilkes was described as 'a popular choice.' A source added: 'He may even bring Robbie and the Take That boys to the rink to cheer him on.' Yeah. That's going to happen. They've got some bloody dignity.

Coronation Street producer Phil Collinson has signalled that he is axing a number of young stars, a 'source' has claim. According to the People, Collinson believes that the serial is becoming too similar to Channel 4's Hollyoaks. 'Phil feels Corrie has become too much like a teen soap like Hollyoaks,' an 'insider' allegedly claimed. The paper goes on to suggest that Chesney Battersby-Brown (Sam Aston), Ryan Connor (Ben Thompson) and Gary Windass (Mikey North) may be written out of the show.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has praised the BBC sitcom Rev. The series focuses on a vicar, played by Tom Hollander, who works in an inner-city church. According to the Gruniad Morning Star, Doctor Rowan Williams has described the show as 'really rather good. [It reveals] something about the continuing commitment of the church to run down and challenging areas,' he said. 'It also shows us someone who prays honestly.' The Bishop of Buckingham, the Right Reverend Alan Wilson, also congratulated the series on his blog. 'At last the BBC has moved beyond The Vicar of Dibley,' he said. 'It's a noble enterprise. On a personal and emotional level, Rev is remarkably surefooted. It brings back vividly for me memories of ten years' urban ministry.' Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Church of England praised the show's 'edgy insight' and thanked it for not using 'tired old stereotypes.' Rev's co-creator James Wood admitted that he has been 'surprised and delighted' by the ecumenical response to the show and joked: 'We've been getting messages that some vicars find it too painful to watch, which is sort of gratifying.' However, he added that he is unsure whether the show will return for a new series, saying: 'Those discussions take place much higher up, among the bishops and archbishops of my world.' I think the thing that most impresses me about this story is the revelation that the Bishop of Buckingham has a blog! Good on yerself, reverend.

Jimmy Nesbitt has suggested that his new show The Deep is different from other BBC dramas. Well, it's set in a submarine for a kick-off so, yeah, I'd've said that probably qualifies as 'different'! The programme, which also stars Minnie Driver, focuses on a scientific crew as they search for new and unusual organisms. Nesbitt, who plays Clem, told the Daily Record that the five-part series feels like a movie. 'It doesn't feel like a normal BBC drama in some respects,' he said. 'It's a filmic world and there's a lot of computer graphics. It's been interesting for me to deal with the "green screen" thing. I'd never done that.' What, not even in Jekyll? However, Nesbitt added that not all of the images were computer generated, saying: 'You can't have a story like this with wobbly sets and dodgy plywood. It has to be incredibly authentic for the audience. You can see how much they have invested in this. It's also one of the best scripts I've read in a long time which is proved, I think, by the fact that Goran [Visnjic] and Minnie are in it too.'

Matthew Perry claims that he doesn't mind if people compare his acting roles to his Friends character Chandler Bing. The forty-year-old actor, who starred in the popular sitcom for the entirety of its ten-year run, explained during a press conference for new show Mr Sunshine that although he hopes not to be typecast, he doesn't choose to stray too far away from the character that made him famous. He said: 'It's an interesting dilemma. You want to do a lot of some of the old stuff ‘cause that was me too, but we want to expand on it somehow. I don't think people want to see a character that's night and day different than Chandler, but we want to do some different things.' Perry also hoped that his former Friends co-stars will put in a guest appearance in the new comedy. 'In the very beginning we want to convey to people that this is something new,' he told E! 'When we're in the third season and we're all excited then yes, but I don't want to use that as a launching pad.' The actor also commented on former colleague David Schwimmer's decision to move away from Friends and acting in general, saying: 'I have not seen David for a while but I would assume he's doing exactly what he wants to be doing. He loves directing and loves the theatre so he's probably doing a bunch of that lame stuff,' he joked.

Dizzy blonde, Fearne Cotton has praised Dizzee Rascal as 'a true professional.' As opposed to an amateur? The rapper is on the panel of judges on Cotton's new Sky show Must Be The Music. 'He may appear to be crazy but he's one of the loveliest people and also a true professional,' Cotton told the Sun. 'You don't get to his level in the industry by luck. He knows exactly what he's doing.' The twenty eight-year-old added: 'I can't sing but Dizzee's been teaching me to rap.'

Allison Janney has revealed that she loves her role on Mr Sunshine. The new ABC comedy, as previously mentioned, stars Matthew Perry as a sports arena manager who starts to question his life on his fortieth birthday. Janney, who plays Perry's boss Crystal, told TV Guide that the part is completely different from her previous role in The West Wing. 'I spent seven years being politically correct on The West Wing and now I get to be completely wrong, sexually inappropriate, have a prescription pill problem,' she said. 'I'm so happy to get to go this far with a character.'

No Ordinary Family star Michael Chiklis has revealed that he does not think of the new ABC drama as science-fiction. The actor stars in the show as Jim Powell, the head of a family which receives super-powers after a plane crash exposes them to a mysterious substance. He told reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour: 'I don't think of this show as a sci-fi show. What we're trying to do is meld different genres together and make a new thing.' He continued: '[The series] borrows from a lot of stuff we love but then it becomes something different. We're doing something that's really quite ambitious here. The scope of the show is rather large. It is intimate and it is a family show, but the superhero element wrapped around it makes it exciting.' Chiklis previously played the cult role of corrupt cop Vic Mackey on seven seasons of FX drama The Shield. He revealed that unlike his past role, Jim Powell would not use violence to solve problems, despite his new super strength.

NBC's prime time entertainment president Angela Bromstad has dismissed comparisons between FlashForward and new series The Event. Bromstad explained that the team behind The Event have learned from the demise of ABC's FlashForward, which was cancelled after one season earlier this year. According to Entertainment Weekly, Bromstad said: 'We are going to do everything in our power to guard against [what happened with] FlashForward. That show had a great script, a really good pilot and we were afraid of it competitively. I understand it did disappoint the audience. We take those lessons really seriously. The audience and critics will be rightly sceptical.' She added: 'If we can get this show right, even though the risks are tremendous, the rewards are really great.' The Event focuses on a normal man, played by Jason Ritter, who discovers a massive cover-up. It will premiere on 20 September on NBC.

Chris Hollins has reportedly suggested that he is planning to leave BBC Breakfast. The sports presenter is said to be unhappy about the show's upcoming move to Salford, the Sun claims. Hollins, who recently bought a new home in London, allegedly said: 'No man in their right mind is going to buy a house eighteen months before they are due to move to Manchester.' The Strictly Come Dancing winner is reportedly also concerned that the standard of guests on the show will be poorer if it is based in Salford. 'It doesn't take a brain surgeon to say it will be practically impossible to get the Prime Minister on set, as we do now,' he said. Previous reports have claimed that several staff are upset about the move. Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford have been named as possible new hosts for the magazine programme, hovering like vultures in the middle distance on the off-chance that anybody does decide to leave. Although Eamonn, apparently, takes the odd bit of time off to go and visit Gregg's occasionally.

Huntwatch, now: The television licence fee is 'obsolete and unfair' and should be replaced with a voluntary subscription service for certain programming, a report from a group of unelected nobodies suggests. The growing use of the Internet for viewing has made licensing TV sets outdated, according to right-wing 'think tank' The Adam Smith Institute. The pressure group, known for its viral free market views, advocates in its report that the BBC should become 'more ambitious and outward-thinking,' arguing that would be easier without the licence fee. The BBC's current TV services could still exist with more flexible methods of funding, its report adds. The crushing wheels of capitalism, eh? It's a right good laugh, isn't it? A BBC Trust spokeswoman scornfully said that the BBC's funding was a matter for government. And not for a bunch of disgraceful right-wing scumbags with a pretty damned obvious agenda. Actually, they didn't say that last bit. But they should have. because it's true. Meanwhile, there's a very interesting piece in today's Gruniad Morning Star by Steve Hewlett in which the author argues that Jeremy Hunt's recent controversial comments in an interview with the Daily Telegraph that 'extraordinary and outrageous waste' at the BBC would be punished with a significant cut in the licence fee have been 'widely understood within the corporation to mark the start of traditional Tory hostilities.' God save us all from armchair apologists. On the contrary, Hewlett argues 'the BBC is actually facing a rather benign political environment. Not a Labour government determined to top-slice the licence fee, nor a true-blue Tory administration always tempted to throw the BBC to the backbenches for sport, but a coalition with much bigger fish to fry, for whom a big debate about the BBC could even be a potential coalition splitter. Cameron and Clegg might agree about most things BBC but their parties don't. So while Hunt most likely simply wanted to flag up his desire for the BBC to cut its costs, the anti-BBC brigade in the media seized on his words as evidence that the campaign to bash the corporation had started in earnest.' I don't agree with a single word of that. And, frankly, the sooner that Jeremy Hunt is reminded - as forcefully as possible within the boundaries of taste and decency - by other members of the government in which he serves that the only reason he is Culture Secretary at all is because of the support of a party whose manifesto made clear its collective commitment to 'defend the BBC's independence and the licence fee' the better.

ITV's new boss Adam Crozier is reportedly set to unveil plans for a pay-TV strategy this week as part of his 'five-year vision' for the broadcaster. Ah, a glorious five year plan. How wonderfully Stalinist, Adam. Crozier, who joined as chief executive from Royal Mail in April, having previously made a right balls up of the Football Association, is understood to be looking at a pay-TV model for high-definition versions of the ITV2, ITV3 and ITV4 channels. He is also expected to announce improvements to ITV's online offering and a bigger programming budget when he reveals the results of a strategic review alongside interim results on Tuesday. Crozier has been working with chairman Archie Norman on proposals to revive the group as it emerges from one of the worst advertising slumps in living memory. It is thought the strategy overhaul will include a shake-up at its production arm ITV studios, as well as the launch of a stand-alone branded channel, which would be offered with other channels as part of a pay-TV package. The group is reportedly in talks with BSkyB over the rights to carry these channels in a move that could help reduce its reliance on volatile advertising markets. ITV - home to the X Factor and Coronation Street - last year returned to annual profit with a twenty five million pound surplus after plunging into the red by £2.7 billion in 2008, when the recession severely impacted advertising spend. It has seen marked improvements in its advertising markets in recent months, reporting strong results in the first quarter, with revenues up six per cent driven by a improvement in television ad sales. Numis Securities analyst Paul Richards believes the World Cup will have provided a further boost in the second quarter. He is pencilling in half-year pre-tax profits of one hundred and fifteen million pounds - up from losses of fourteen million a year earlier.

Sky is reportedly close to agreeing more exclusive content deals with US studios, following last week's high-profile agreement with HBO. Under the HBO deal, the satellite broadcaster will get exclusive UK rights to all new HBO programmes, along with video on-demand access to archive shows such as The Wire, Sex And The City and Curb Your Enthusiasm. According to the Gruniad Morning Star, sources in Los Angeles claim that Sky is close to agreeing similar deals with other US networks Showtime and AMC. If the deals materialise then shows such as Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Dexter and upcoming zombie epic The Walking Dead would be exclusive to Sky for five years, making them unavailable to terrestrial broadcasters. Sky is thought to be planning to bundle the programming - along with content from the FX channel - into a premium package aimed at attracting more subscribers to its digital TV platform. The strategy is also aimed at weakening Sky's main pay-TV competitors, BT and Virgin Media, by denying them access to premium US shows. An 'insider' said that even viewers unmoved by premium sport or movies could be attracted to Sky at the prospect of high quality entertainment box-sets, which would reduce BT and Virgin Media to 'telephony providers.'

Katie Price has claimed that the police do not help her when she is allegedly harassed by the paparazzi. Yeah, well they've probably got slightly more important things to do with their time like catching murderers and the like. Writing on Twitter, Price said: 'Police dont [sic] help with harassment an [sic] paps [sic] trying to knock me off the road why do i pay taxes when they dont [sic] help when u [sic] need them.' You pay taxes, sweetheart, because if you didn't you'd end up in jail like Lindsay Lohan. Which, admittedly, would be funny.

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