Friday, October 15, 2010

Cock & Bull Malarkey

The Channel 5 newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky is to leave the broadcaster at the end of the year it has been reported. Kaplinsky, who became the highest-paid newsreader in Britain when she signed a deal in 2007 supposedly worth one million pounds per year, will leave the channel when her current contract expires. The departure of the former BBC Six O'Clock News presenter, who is already thought to be feeling out opportunities elsewhere, is understood to be by mutual agreement. Richard Desmond, the broadcaster's owner, is said to be looking at a wider revamp of Channel 5 News, which is produced by BSkyB's Sky News operation, with more of a focus on entertainment thought to be on the cards. Channel 5 hired Kaplinsky, who fronted her first show in February 2008, to replace Kirsty Young and she made her first broadcast in February 2008. She has since spent two periods off work on maternity leave much to Channel 5's reported chagrin. Before joining the BBC, Kaplinsky - once memorably described by critic Charlie Brooker as 'a skeleton covered by a thin skin of ambition' - was a Sky News' presenter. She's rapidly turning into the Craig Bellamy of newsreaders. As in 'had more clubs than Jack Nicklaus' rather than, 'often found having fights in the lavatories of night clubs.' Allegedly.

It has been confirmed this week that Top Gear's next series will begin in January. However, before that, there will also be a Christmas special this year - probably broadcast on Boxing Day although confirmation on that will be closer to the time.

The producer of Sarah Jane Interferes has claimed that the show will avoid another crossover with Doctor Who in the near future. Matt Smith will appear in the forthcoming two-part adventure Death of the Doctor. However, Phil Ford told Last Broadcast: 'We have to remember that this is The Sarah Jane Adventures and Doctor Who is another show. Crossing the boundary is fun every now and again, but I'm not sure we should do it all the time.' He added that another crossover between the two programmes could begin to 'look like a stunt. This was a great opportunity for Sarah Jane to meet the new Doctor,' he said. 'But I'd be wary of him coming back too much. Schedule-wise for the two shows it can be a logistical nightmare too.' However, Ford insisted that he is not entirely ruling out a future appearance from the Doctor. 'I'm sure he'll be back again some time,' he said.

Former Coronation Street actress Tina O'Brien will sit out this Saturday's Strictly Come Dancing after being diagnosed with chicken pox. O'Brien, twenty seven, and her professional dance partner Jared Murillo will be given a bye through to the following week's edition of the BBC1 show. The other couples will dance as usual with one pair leaving the contest. But the show's rules state that if O'Brien is unable to dance for a second week she will have to leave. DJ and music producer Goldie and his dance partner Kristina Rihanoff became the first couple to be eliminated from this year's show. Whilst Paul Daniels survives. Not justice.

Bruce Forsyth has denied that he is getting 'too tired' to host Strictly Come Dancing and insisted that the show would exhaust any presenter regardless of age. The eighty two-year-old praised the decision to bring in Claudia Winkleman to replace him on the pre-recorded Sunday night results show, since it now takes him less time to recuperate after filming. Commenting on the new arrangement, Forsyth told the Sun: 'It helped me enormously this week, not having to do the results show. Instead of being a twelve-hour day, it's a ten-hour day. I didn't have to take a day to get over it. I normally lay in bed all day on the Sunday, but last weekend I was up and I even felt like heading down the golf course and hitting a few shots.' He continued: 'You can say, "He is getting too tired to do it," but that is not true. I defy anybody else doing that show without having a reaction to the heaviness of the day.' Forsyth also defended himself against accusations that he is getting 'doddery' and criticised the media's tendency to exaggerate errors in his performance. 'You watch newsreaders. You see the mistakes they make. If they get something wrong nothing is said of it,' he claimed. 'If I make a mistake it is headlines - it is ridiculous! Everyone makes mistakes. I am used to live TV and I like things to go wrong, I pray they go wrong. It sets me a puzzle and I love that. How do you get out of it?' The host revealed that he still keeps as active as possible and even implements his pacing regime on the set of Strictly. He said: 'During the breaks on TV I walk around, and after four breaks I have done one thousand yards. It is good for me, better than sitting still.'

Anyone else notice Alex Jones on The ONE Show the other night describing the rescue of the Chilean miners as 'an uplifitng story' without a single trace of irony?!

Simon Pegg believes that he is a hypocrite for writing an autobiography. The Hot Fuzz actor admits he hates all the celebrity autobiographies that come out in the run-up to Christmas. He acknowledges writing Nerd Do Well is 'hypocrisy in the extreme' but says he didn't intend to write one initially. 'I sort of had the opportunity to write a book and I was going to write something to do with the films, like a production diary and fill it with pictures of the movies. But then that kind of felt a bit boring. I started thinking about the past and childhood and all the little things that led to me doing what I'm doing today. That felt more interesting and more engaging. I just think it's more readable and it was more interesting to write.' The actor told BBC's Newsbeat that he still isn't comfortable with people reading it. 'I'm fiercely guarded really and even now I look at the book and think, "Oh my God I've spoken quite a lot about quite personal things' and it makes me sweat a little bit.' The actor, who played Scotty in the last Star Trek film, is having to adjust to people knowing things about him. He said: 'It's a weird experience. I think it's all right if it comes from me. If I say it to a journalist who I don't know they might interpret it or have an agenda to turn it into something else.' Pegg hopes his isn't the same as other celebrity autobiographies. 'They do congest the shelves at Christmas and some people get someone to interview them and then just transcribe it,' he said. 'I wrote every single word of this myself. It was a labour of love in the end.'

The BBC has been forced to issue a statement denying reports that Alan Yentob is to leave the corporation. Yentob, who joined the BBC in 1968, was alleged to be at risk of losing his one hundred and eighty three thousand pounds a year job as creative director of the corporation, according to a spitefully agenda-ridden report in the Grunaid Morning Star. However, a BBC spokesperson said: 'Alan Yentob is not involved in any of the restructuring or changes announced at the BBC this week. Alan remains creative director of the BBC and there is no announcement due to be made about him.' So ... the Gruniad, talking utter baseless crap? Well, that's a turn up for the books, isn't it?

Strictly Come Dancing co-host Tess Daly has revealed that she was once nearly sick on the show. What a genuinely fascinatingly terrifically pointless revelation. Tell you what, Tess love, next time you're nearly something, do us a favour and actually do whatever it is that you're nearly. Then, it might - just - be 'news.' What's On TV their tongue hanging out like a hungry dog at this massive exclusive they've just been given, reports that the 'forty one-year-old mother-of-two' felt 'nauseous' while joining professional Anton Du Beke on the dance floor. Yeah, he has that effect on a lot of people. She said: 'I was pregnant so I felt really nauseous whenever Anton would spin me around. I was just trying not to throw up!' So, in other words, today's non-story, ladies and gentleman. Pregnant woman feels mildly nauseous but doesn't spew up. I blame myself, to be honest. I'm spreading this manure as we speak.

Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar walked off the set of The View this week, following an argument with a guest. FOX News' really unpleasant and odious political commentator and all round right-wing scumbag Bill O'Reilly infuriated Goldberg and Behar with his comments relating to 9/11 and the proposed building of a mosque close to Ground Zero in New York. According to Pop Eater, O'Reilly said: 'The mosque down here on 9/11. That's inappropriate. Sure, they have a right to do it. But it's inappropriate because a lot of the 9/11 families who I know, say, "Look, we don't want that."' O'Reilly then proceeded to suggest that President Barrack Obama's voting numbers had fallen because of the Muslim community centre plans, adding: 'Muslims killed us on 9/11.' Because, of course, there were no Muslim-Americans in the Twin Towers on 9 September when the planes hit whatsoever, were there, Bill? Since you seem to be such an expert of the event. Goldberg and Behar were reportedly furious at such pig-ignorant comments and left the stage, before returning to continue the interview after a few moments.

A judge who extended a man's curfew so that he could attend The X Factor on Sunday night has been criticised. The Daily Scum Mail reports that Recorder Oliver Sells QC varied Valeri Ivanov's bail conditions to allow him to use his ticket to attend the ITV competition's live results show over the weekend. The twenty two-year-old car wash worker was on trial with two other men accused of stabbing a fellow worker six times during a row over who would wash a Porsche. 'The judge had not heard of The X Factor,' a 'source' allegedly said. Lucky man. 'But he allowed the variation for one day because it only involved extending the curfew by two hours.' However, solicitor Max Gold, whoever the hell he is (he 'specialises in criminal law,' apparently) criticised the judge for allowing the change for such a 'trivial' event. Oh, I don't know. Two hours in the company of Simon Cowell - that's like a five stretch for some people. 'I am amazed that a judge has chosen to do this,' he said. 'Bail conditions are put in place for a reason and I don't believe this was a serious enough reason to vary those conditions.' He added: 'It ought only to be varied for something less trivial than The X Factor.' But, if he hadn't been, then you would have been unable to get your name splashed all over the paper, Max. So, ultimately, it's swings and roundabouts, is it not? It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good. Ivanvo reportedly 'grinned sheepishly' when asked if he had enjoyed the show - which saw Nicolo Festa and FYD eliminated - and did not comment further on the advice of his lawyer.

Samuel L Jackson is reportedly developing a new detective drama with The CW network. Variety claims that the Hollywood actor will executive produce Hawkshaw alongside writer David Loughery. The show will focus on a young man who believes himself to be either a descendant of Sherlock Holmes or the great detective himself. Or, Sherlock, in other words. Hawkshaw's psychiatrist diagnoses him with Dissociative Identity Disorder, but her sister, who is a police officer, soon teams up with the deluded patient to solve crimes. Novel. Jackson's previous television work includes executive producing and voicing the lead role in Spike TV's animated series Afro Samurai. He and Loughery also previously collaborated on the 2008 film thriller Lakeview Terrace.

Hayden Panettiere has been refused the opportunity to meet with convicted murderer Amanda Knox. Last month, it was reported that Panettiere had signed up to play Knox in a Lifetime TV movie about the murder of the British exchange student Meredith Kercher in Perugia. Knox and her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, were found guilty of the killing last year, although both maintained their innocence and are currently appealing against their convictions. Speaking about her preparation for playing Knox, Panettiere alluded to the fact that a meeting between the actress and the twenty three-year-old had been denied. Panettiere said: 'I wish [I could meet Knox]. I know the Italian government is being pretty protective of her, her lawyers are being protective of her, which is understandable. It's something I would like to do but I'd be more surprised if it happened than if it didn't.' Knox's lawyer added in a statement: 'There is no way that this actress can meet with Amanda while she is in jail. Amanda knows about the film because she read about it in the newspaper but she is not in agreement with it and she is surprised.' It's hard not to love the use of the words 'this actress' as an obvious - and very pointed - pejorative when coming from the lawyer representing a convicted murderer. There are far worse things to be in the world than a member of the acting professional, matey boy.

Christine Bleakley is 'upset and frustrated' by the poor viewing figures on Daybreak, according to 'sources'. HP or Heinz, I don't know. Which is very odd, frankly, because everybody else in the world of broadcasting - particularly those at the BBC - find the whole situation effing hilarious. The presenter is allegedly 'unhappy' that the ITV morning show is being consistently outperformed, ney, spanked by BBC Breakfast - the gap between the two shows was over one million viewers of Wednesday of this week - but she is not yet considering her future on the programme, according to a 'source.' This person if, indeed, they exist, allegedly told the Daily Scum Mail: 'Christine is extremely frustrated that Daybreak's ratings aren't improving. She is ambitious and her reason for leaving the BBC was that she thought Daybreak would make her career more high profile. Christine is upset - but she knows that she has to stick it out for the time being. The annoying thing is that even though ratings are down, she and Adrian seem to be a lot calmer on the show and not so nervous.' Well, there's hardly anybody watching them so that's, probably understandable. The paper claimed that the 'source' continued: 'The biggest problem is that if she did leave Daybreak, ITV can't exactly conjure a hit prime time show for her out of thin air.' An ITV spokeswoman insisted that the channel was pleased with Daybreak's performance, adding: "'TV has made a long-term investment in new breakfast programming and, after over five years of decline for GMTV, Daybreak is already closing the gap in year-on-year decline after just one month, with housewives and children, male and younger audiences.' Presumably when asked for figures to back this up, she stood with her fingers in her ears saying 'La-la-la-la-la-la-la ... not listening.' All of which proves that there are, indeed, lies, there are damned lies and there are official ITV announcements. It was recently claimed that Simon Cowell wants Bleakley to take over as host of The X Factor if Dermot O'Dreary gets the presenting job on the American version of the talent show. But, having seen that she's now about as popular as The Black Death with TV audiences, he is rumoured to be going cold on the idea. Mind you, he continues to give Amanda Holden gainful employment and she's, also, box office poison so, you know, all is perhaps not yet lost for The Bleak.

Eurosport Television has confirmed plans to broadcast more live cricket in the UK for the upcoming Test series between Pakistan and South Africa. Under a deal with Zee Network Europe, British Eurosport 2 will air live coverage of the two-Test series in November, along with highlights of the two Twenty20 matches and five One Day Internationals between the two nations. Due to the domestic situation in Pakistan, the series will be played in Dubai, starting on 12 November for the opening Test. The second Test will get under way on 20 November. The acquisition follows Eurosport's broadcast of the Airtel Champions League Twenty20 tournament in South Africa last month. Eurosport has signed a three-year deal with ESPN Star to broadcast exclusive live coverage from the Twenty20 finals in the UK and across Europe. David Kerr, director of British Eurosport, said: 'We are delighted to be broadcasting this Test series between Pakistan and South Africa. The Champions League Twenty20 has been a real success on Eurosport and it is a natural progression to secure Test cricket. We know there is a dedicated and enthusiastic audience for quality, international cricket on the channel. The spotlight is on Pakistan at present and they face a real challenge against a strong South African side. It will be a fascinating series.'

Frank Sidebottom's cult ITV show is to be released on DVD for the first time, in posthumous tribute to the papier-mache-headed character and his creator, Chris Sievey. Frank Sidebottom's Fantastic Shed Show broadcast in 1992, and also marked the TV debut of Caroline Aherne as Mrs Merton, Frank's fictional next-door neighbour, alongside fellow regular future radio DJ Mark Radcliffe. Their guests on the six-part show included Phil Cornwell, Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson, Midge Ure, prog-rocker Keith Emerson and Nicholas Parsons. Chris Sievey, died in June this year at the age of fifty four, after a short battle with cancer.

The Welsh National Opera's former conductor has been accused of bullying its principal oboist who was sacked after more than thirty years with the company. Murray Johnston told a Cardiff employment tribunal that Carlo Rizzi had singled him out for criticism. He is claiming wrongful dismissal. WNO's managing director Peter Bellingham said the player's standards were holding the orchestra back. Rizzi will not give evidence to the tribunal which is continuing. The tribunal was told how Johnston, known as Sandy, was sacked in 2008 after playing for thirty four years with the company. During that time, he worked under a number of musical directors, including Rizzi, WNO's musical director between 1992 and 2001 and between 2004 and 2007. The tribunal was told that Rizzi raised concerns about Johnston's ability as principal oboist in 2004. Management then told the player he needed to work on his ensemble playing, improving how he blended the sound of the oboe with the rest of the woodwind section, and then with the wider orchestra. Johnston told the hearing he felt the criticism went too far and at one woodwind rehearsal he was singled out by Rizzi over a period of three hours. He said he was then asked to re-audition for his job. He was told this was part of normal WNO procedure if they felt a musician was not up to the expected standard but it only assessed their solo playing. Johnston told Wednesday's hearing he was 'euphoric' at passing the audition but at a meeting afterwards management told him he still had to work on his ensemble playing. The whole process from the initial complaint to dismissal took three-and-a-half years. Bill Kerr from the Musicians Union told the tribunal Johnston had 'proved himself' after passing the capability test. He said: 'Unless the company had a tangible reason to doubt his ability it appeared to be a witch hunt. It is quite unusual for someone to go through the capability test procedure, and even more unusual for them to pass it. Once someone is under suspicion then that person stays permanently under suspicion and there's no way of clearing their name. If you are not up to the job then you are spotted pretty quickly. It wouldn't take a three-and-a-half year process.' Geraint Talfan Davies, chair of the WNO since 2006 and between 2000 and 2003, was in charge of one of the appeals made by Johnston but did not take the final decision to sack him. He said his job was to see whether the WNO had complied with its own disciplinary procedure. Talfan Davies told the hearing he spoke to a number of WNO musicians who also had concerns about the oboist's playing. WNO managing director Peter Bellingham has denied Johnston was unfairly dismissed. He told the tribunal on Tuesday Rizzi believed the oboe player's standards had dropped to such a level he was 'holding the entire orchestra back.' He added: 'Because of the sensitivity of dealing with an artist, we felt it would be wholly inappropriate to give Mr Johnston a formal warning. That would put him under more pressure than the route we chose to take. We had a process of identifying what issues with his playing needed improvement, and communicating what steps were required to bring him back to acceptable standard. That process took three-and-a-half years.' The tribunal is expected to conclude on Friday.

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