Saturday, October 30, 2010

I Just Keep Hearing Your Footstep On The Stair

Very entertaining Qi last night, yer Keith Telly Topping thought, dear blog reader. I'd be really looking forward to tonight's extended edition. If it was on, that is, and hadn't been replaced by a whole night of Dame Elton!

This week's episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - Cold Blooded - was a real game of two halves, Brian. One of the episode's plots, in which the unusual pairing of Hodges and Langston investigate an apparent case of murder-by-dinosaur was an unusually hilarious conceit which quickly became sinister and really very clever indeed. Good stuff. Unfortunately, the second plot strand, in which the rest of the team (minus Sarah who was the one to be missing in action this week) found themselves investigating an old case, an apparent suicide and a grief-stricken mother was a bit more paint-by-numbers, despite a really good performance form the ever-reliable George Eads. After five solid episodes to kick off the show's eleventh series (particularly the intriguing Sqweegal a fortnight ago), sooner or later we were bound to get one that didn't quite live up to expectations. But, it was a shame it had to be this one because, one sensed that Tom Mularz's script just needed a tiny bit of tweaking and this could have been the best episode in a good long while.

Based on reported overnight ratings figures, my good friend Dave over at Gallifrey Base has produced the following graph showing the decline of Daybreak's average daily audience during the past month. It doesn't make pretty reading if you're Adrian or Christine, it must be said. Or, indeed, for anyone else who works there.

Oh dear, what a calamity. If you're wondering, by the way, the big dip on 14 October appears to have occurred whilst most of the country were watching real news channels elsewhere for what was happening over at the San Jose mine in Chile. From that point, it seems, Daybreak has never really recovered. You know, given that according to RAJAR figures released this week Chris Evans is getting about eight million listeners a week for his breakfast radio show, that means he's being listened to, on average, by a peak of more than twice as many people per day than are watching Chiles on Daybreak, even before you take Friday's ONE Show into consideration for TV viewers. There's a real irony in there somewhere if you look hard for it. Or, indeed, even if you just glance for it and say 'oh yes, there it is.' Irony, Adrian - that's not what your mum does with your shirts after washing.

Sherlock actor Benedict Cumberbatch is to star opposite Jonny Lee Miller as Doctor Frankenstein in a new London stage play directed by Danny Boyle. The actors will alternate roles as the mad scientist and his monstrous creation in the National Theatre production, starting in February. Miller is best known for playing Sick Boy in Boyle's 1996 movie adaptation of Irvine Walsh's Trainspotting. Cumberbatch is currently shooting the film adaptation of War Horse. The movie is being directed by Steven Spielberg and is due for release in 2011. The new play has been adapted by Nick Dear from Mary Shelley's Gothic horror story, which was first published in 1818. Boyle told the BBC: 'I thought it would be really interesting if they could play each other's roles every other night. It is very much a two-hander, that's the engine of the piece, and it's nice because it puts the accent on performance and not on make-up. It's an extraordinary story,' he added.

The Sun is reporting that the long-running detective drama Waking The Dead is to end after its next series. The newspaper states that the 'shock BBC move' is 'a blow' to Trevor Eve, who became Britain's highest paid actor as the show's lead Peter Boyd. Eve was reported to be on a one million pounds a year contract. The next series - the show's ninth - is currently in production and scheduled for broadcast in 2011, but this will, apparently, be the last. The BBC's head of drama Ben Stephenson promised 'a shocking and compelling' final series. He told TV Biz: 'It is always hard bringing successful series to an end, but like Ashes to Ashes and Mistresses we wanted to end on a high. Several months ago we asked the production team to script the last series with this in mind.' The most recent series of the popular cold case drama was pulling in audiences around the seven million mark so it'll be interesting to see what the Beeb comes up with to replace it.

Al Murray is hoping to make a landmark BBC documentary about the writer William Makepeace Thackeray, his great-great-great grandfather. The comic wants to make the film to mark the bicentenary of the birth of the Vanity Fair author in July on next year. He told the Independent his illustrious ancestor was 'a fascinating character, with a love of gambling and prostitutes,' but said that he had only recently taken an interest in his work. 'His life was amazing. He was a journalist really, a Grub Street hack in the finest sense,' said Murray, himself an Oxford history graduate who this week announced a BBC4 documentary series about Nineteenth Century German art and culture. 'I didn't read any of his stuff until quite recently. I read Vanity Fair about ten years ago, but I've read a lot of his journalism, The Yellowplush Papers, The Book of Snobs and a lot of the Punch writing. I prefer it. Things like The Virginians and Pendennis are extremely heavy going.'

Cher Lloyd confidence has, reportedly, 'been rocked' and she is said to be fearing for her X Factor future as fans of Tinie Tempah who mercilessly booed her at a recent London gig continued to mock her on Twitter. Which is, of course, terrible. But, then, there are people starving in Africa and all that so, in the great scheme of things, who gets booted off a talent show this weekend really isn't all that much to get excited about. The X Factor contestant was reportedly 'left in tears' when Tinie's fans at Koko club in Camden, London, turned on her when she made what was described as 'a special appearance' alongside One Direction on Wednesday night. The rapper's fans then took to Twitter afterwards to continue the taunts. One posted: 'Ha, ha, I love the fact that Cher is being booed.' Hardly a 'taunt' is it? More the sort of thing you hear coming from the deputy to the tobaccy-chewin' sheriff in some movie set in the Deep South in the 1970s. Metro, however, reports that the singer is 'plotting' a 'shock performance' that, she hopes, will 'win over the haters.' This, dear blog reader, is 'news' apparently.

FOX's entertainment president Kevin Reilly has admitted that network broadcasting regulations are 'frustrating.' According to Deadline, Reilly suggested that FOX's recently cancelled show Lone Star would have been successful on cable because there are fewer restrictions. Speaking at the Hollywood Radio and TV Society's network chief's luncheon, he said: 'It is frustrating sometimes. On cable, we would've been able to have the guys on Lone Star take off their clothes, the show would have pulled 1.3m viewers, and we would've declared it a hit because that's what Mad Men draws. We would've collected a few trophies, too, and no-one would have questioned it.' Well, you're the boss of the network, mate, you set the rules. Radical suggestion, I know, but don't you think that maybe, just once, you could say about a show 'we've got something here that not a lot of people are watching but, those that are tell us they really like it so, for once, sod the low numbers, we're going to stand up and say we're proud of this thing, we believe in it, and we're commissioning it for another series, instead of cancelling it after two episodes.' Or, something like that. Just a little thought to pop into your toaster and see if you can spread butter on it and serve it to Uncle Rupert.

Alan Partridge is returning with a new online show - and Billie Piper finds herself at the wrong end of one of the radio host's legendary bon mots. The hapless, ABBA-loving, gaffe-prone local radio DJ, played by Steve Coogan, stars in an online series showcasing his antics on his new radio show Mid Morning Matters. In the first of twelve eleven-minute episodes, Alan - who is assisted by younger DJ, Simon (played by the comedian Tim Key), and with whom he claims to have 'great banter' - tells his North Norfolk Digital listeners about Piper: 'I like her face. She has a very round cherubic face, rather like a Victorian doll that's somehow been re-animated. Say what you like about Billie Piper - but she is the most popular prostitute on ITV.' In another episode, Alan hosts a phone-in to find the greatest ever person from Norfolk, with Horatio Nelson challenged by Delia Smith. In one of his typical asides, he says: 'You'll recall that at the top of the show someone phoned in to say that you can avoid Type Two diabetes by injecting yourself with Ribena. That can't be right - but no one as yet has called in to debunk that. If you want to do so, please do.' Other episodes will apparently include Alan confronting an Alan Partridge imposter on Twitter, and in another, Alan - who is waiting for guest Anthea Turner - meets a man campaigning to reduce childhood obesity through cycling. The shows - written by the character's original creator Armando Iannucci - will appear on www.fostersfunny.co.uk from 5 November.

The actor Gerard Kelly, died on Thursday evening at the hospital after a brain aneurysm. He was fifty one. A spokesman for his family said on Friday that Gerard had 'died peacefully' at West Middlesex University Hospital on Thursday evening. His close friends and family were with him when he died, the spokesman said. Kelly, who lived in Isleworth, appeared in many comedy series like City Lights, Rab C Nesbitt and Scotch and Wry. He also played more serious roles, including the villain Callum Finnegan in Brookside. He was a hard man who gave the Mitchell brothers a run for their money in EastEnders and made three appearances in Ricky Gervais's Extras. He remains best known, however, for his starring role in City Lights as the hapless would-be author Willie Melvin. He was very good friends with Coronation Street actress Kate Anthony. Her husband Gary Barak said Gerard was a close family friend and 'one of the kindest people you could ever meet.' He added: 'It was very sudden and the kind of thing that could have happened to anyone. He was a wonderful caring man, one of the most famous people in Scotland, but he was very private and loved his life in Hounslow and Isleworth. Everyone loved him, he was kind and generous and totally unselfish. If someone stopped to talk to him in the street he would give them all the time they wanted and sometimes more. He had no airs and graces, and he had a lot more to give. Gerard will be deeply missed by his friends and family and indeed his huge fan base across his beloved Scotland and further afield.' Gregor Fisher, who plays Rab C Nesbitt, said: 'He was a dear, sweet and funny man, and I shall miss him very much. Too soon as far as I'm concerned. Too, too soon.'

Lastly, not unexpectedly, we move to part the fifth of Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. And, today, it's back again to those swingin' sixties - where the skirts are shorts and the legs are long - for a piece of white-skinned, blue-eyed Canadian soul and a riff that ate the world.

Oh, yer Keith Telly Topping spent many a happy Saturday night dripping with sweat and drop-kick dancing to this baby (just like we'd all seen some cats do in a This England documentary about the Wigan Casino on ITV!) And, then there'd usually be a big argument between the Northern Soul kids and the Mods as to whether it was Northern Soul or Mod music. In actual fact, it was both. And one of the greatest records ever made. 'Where our love used to be/only shadows of the past I see.' Perfection in two minutes and fourteen seconds.

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