Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Is She Really Going Out With Him?

Yer Keith Telly Topping had one of the best moments of his life today when he got to interview the great Tony Robinson for The Afternoon Show. Hopefully, extracts from it will be going out some time later this week. I'm hoping, also, to get a full audio copy of the interview so that I can transcribe it up, here, because he is a genuinely fascinating and charming bloke, is old Baldrick. Even if he was onto about this twelfth interview of the day and his voice was on the point of packing in! Anyway, more on all that later, but I did get one little nugget which is worth sharing immediately. As far as Tony is aware, Channel 4's damned queer decision to show this year's Time Team in two chunks will not be repeated next year and that, once the current batch of episodes have been broadcast, the eighteenth series - which they've already filmed - will be going out from January straight through till March of next year. So, that's great news.

One would have to be a complete sick, venal Daily Scum Mail reader with a heart composed entirely of cold granite not be moved by the rolling news coverage of the rescue of the Chilean miners after sixty nine days trapped underground. (My mate Daz pointed out that today is Margaret Thatcher's birthday. The irony that the nation has spent it being cheered by good news about miners is rather a telling one, I think.) Yer Keith Telly Topping was particularly impressed by the BBC News channel's coverage. And, especially, by an almost poetic line used by reporter Matt Frei somewhere in the midst of twenty four hours during which virtually every cliché under the sun has been used by the news media. 'There are too many bad news stories in the world,' he noted at one point during the marathon broadcast. 'This is a good news story.' Quite.

Tonight's episode of MasterChef: The Professionals featured yet more tears from Sobbing Stacey and a classic moment when self-confessed 'crazy' Jason presented Gregg Wallace and Michel Roux with, I kid you not, a quail and chocolate cake dish. 'I want to take that chocolate cake and dunk it in a cup of tea,' noted Michel. 'Not dunk it in a chili-flavoured green-cabbage sauce.' And, then he made a really funny face. 'You may be a genius,' said a clearly befuddled Gregg. 'But you are ahead of my time!' After an odd episode in which Lee impressed the notoriously difficult to please restaurant critics but not, seemingly, Gregg and Michel, Lee and Stacey progressed to the the next round.

The UK's critical infrastructure - such as power grids and emergency services - faces a 'real and credible' threat of cyber attack, the head of GCHQ has said. The intelligence agency's director Iain Lobban said that the country's future economic prosperity rested on ensuring a defence against such assaults. The Internet created opportunities for hostile states and criminals, he added. For example, one thousand malicious e-mails a month are already being targeted at government computer networks. Speaking to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Lobban said that he did not want to go into detail about the threat to the UK's 'critical national infrastructure.' But he noted that the threat posed by terrorists, organised criminals and hostile foreign governments was 'real and credible' and he demanded a swifter response to match the speed with which 'cyber events' happened. Critical national infrastructure also includes sectors such as financial services, government, mass communication, health, transport, food and water - all of which are deemed necessary for delivering services upon which normal daily life in the UK depends. With both the Strategic Defence and Security Review and the Comprehensive Spending Review due to be published next week, Lobban said that ministers would be looking at what capabilities the UK needs to develop further. 'Clearly they will also be deciding how they trade off against other spending priorities.' He added: 'Just because I, as a national security official, am giving a speech about cyber, I don't want you to take away the impression that it is solely a national security or defence issue. It goes to the heart of our economic well-being and national interest.' Whilst GCHQ is more usually associated with electronic intelligence-gathering, Lobban stressed that it also had a security role, referred to as 'information assurance.' He said that they had already seen a 'significant disruption' to government computer systems caused by Internet worm viruses - both those which had been deliberately targeted and others picked up accidentally. Each month there were more than twenty thousand 'malicious' e-mails on government networks, of which one thousand were deliberately targeted at them, while intellectual property theft was taking place on 'a massive scale' - some relating to national security. And there was a big challenge with the government wanting to get more and more services online, he said. 'Cyberspace lowers the bar for entry to the espionage game, both for states and for criminal actors,' he said. 'Cyberspace is contested every day, every hour, every minute, every second. I can vouch for that from the displays in our own operations centre of minute-by-minute cyber attempts to penetrate systems around the world.' Whilst eighty per cent of the threat to government systems could be dealt with through good information assurance practice - such as keeping security patches up to date - the remaining twenty per cent was much more complex and could not simply be solved by building higher and higher security walls. Although cyberspace presented a potential security threat to the UK, Lobban said that it also offered an opportunity if the UK could get its defences right. 'Fundamentally, getting cyber right enables the UK's continuing economic prosperity. There's a clear defensive angle. In order to flourish, a knowledge economy needs to protect from exploitation the intellectual property at the heart of the creative and high-tech industry sectors. It needs to maintain the integrity of its financial and commercial services.' But, he added, the implications were far wider than that. 'There is an opportunity which we can seize if government and the telecommunications sector, hardware and software vendors, and managed service providers can come together. It's an opportunity to develop a holistic approach to cyber security that makes UK networks intrinsically resilient in the face of cyber threats. That will lead to a competitive advantage for the UK. We can give enterprises the confidence that by basing themselves here they gain the advantages of access to a modern Internet infrastructure while reducing their risks.' He said developing such expertise would also open up potential export opportunities, with the global market for cyber security products 'growing faster than much of the rest of the global economy.'

England's thoroughly wretched goalless Euro 2012 draw with Montenegro was watched by over six million viewers on Tuesday night, according to overnight audience data. Live coverage of the game averaged 5.44m on ITV between 7.30pm and 10.15pm, while five hundred and sixty thousand unlucky viewers tuned in on ITV HD to watch Fabio's waste-of-space tossers play like a League Two side in HD. As John Lydon once asked, 'ever get the feeling you've been cheated?'

Hostilities between Rupert Murdoch's scummy media empire and the BBC intensified this morning with the publication of a leader in The Times condemning Mark Thompson's decision to sign a letter calling on the business secretary Vince Cable to block News Corp's takeover of BSkyB. The Times, one of four scum British papers owned by News Corp's scum subsidiary News Scum International, ran an editorial accusing the BBC director general of 'seeking to gain commercial advantages in league with News Corp's rivals.' Thompson put his name on the letter to Cable, which said News Corp's bid to buy the sixty one per cent of BSkyB that it does not already own 'could have serious and far-reaching consequences for media plurality.' It was also signed by newspaper groups including Guardian Media Group, owner of the Gruniad Morning Star, Daily Scum Mail-owner Associated Newspapers and the Telegraph Media Group. Trinity Mirror and Channel 4 also put their names to the letter. The Times editorial begins by listing more than seventy BBC services, including its major TV and radio stations, website and local radio services. It argues that it is the BBC rather than News Corporation, which wields too much power. But the necessary difference, pal, is that people by and large like and trust the BBC. Murdoch, they don't like and trust about as far as they can comfortably fart. 'By lending his name to the campaign to prevent News Corp from purchasing those Sky shares that it does not already own, Mr Thompson has made a serious and surprising error,' it says. It's not a serious error at all. On the contrary, what it is, actually, is a case of ABOUT BLOODY TIME. It's long overdue for the media in this country to stop curling itself collective up into a little ball and whimpering 'please don't hurt me' to a bunch of crass, ignorant bullies like Murdoch and his scum spawn. 'He has embroiled his taxpayer-funded organisation in a political and commercial battle that it should have nothing to do with,' continued the Scum Times piece. Written, clearly, by someone with his brown tongue rammed so far up Murdoch's chuff there's no room for anyone else to join him. The leader goes on to accuse the letter's signatories of being 'openly self-interested' and says: 'Any pretence that the BBC is not similarly self-interested is at an end.' It claims that the BBC's journalists will be compromised following Thompson's intervention by having to report on a story in which the corporation is now a key protagonist. 'The BBC has shown the force of the political pressure – party politics, media politics, BBC politics – that will bear upon Vince Cable as he makes his judgment on News Corp's offer,' it concludes. 'The Times does not pretend to be able to judge this matter objectively. It simply expects that Dr Cable will do so, guided by the law rather than pressure group politics.' Scum. Disgraceful agenda-blighted scum. News Corp is expected to seek regulatory approval for the deal from the European Commission in the next ten days. Which, it'll probably get if it splashed enough cash around. Cable will then have twenty five days in which to seek an intervention notice and would then ask media regulator Ofcom to investigate whether the deal could compromise media plurality. News Corp is hoping that an earlier ruling by the Competition Commission, which said that the company effectively already controls BSkyB through its thirty nine per cent shareholding, has provided a legal precedent that makes it likely the deal will be allowed to go ahead. Just remember, everybody who voted Liberal Democrat, this is what you voted for. Even if you don't think you did.

In a, perhaps not entirely unrelated story, Ben Stephenson, the BBC's head of drama commissioning, has for the second time in a fortnight expressed his doubts about Sky's long-term commitment to backing homegrown drama. Writing in this week's Radio Times, Ben repeated comments that he made in a speech when launching the BBC's autumn and winter drama season and claimed it is a 'myth' that American television produces greater drama than their British counterparts. The programming chief said that Sky's spend on UK drama was minuscule compared to the corporation's budget, or Sky's own expenditure on foreign acquisitions for that matter. Stephenson further claimed that the 'commercial model' of US television, which relies on long-running programmes to maximise revenues, would have made recent acclaimed BBC hits such as Sherlock and Dive virtually impossible. Earlier in the month, Sky announced the launch of new channel Sky Atlantic to house content from its expensive HBO deal and the new series of Mad Men, which it had poached from the BBC. Stephenson accused the media of cynicism about the state of British drama, particularly in regards to claims that Sky's recent investment marks another nail in the coffin for free-to-air drama'. Considering that while their investment is welcome, it's only thirty million pounds - a figure dwarfed by the couple of hundred million the BBC spends on original drama and the many hundreds of millions Sky spends on buying foreign shows,' he said. Stephenson said that it is currently a 'fashionable, but naive' view to say that US television is superior at producing great drama, or that British broadcasters lack the courage to commission longer-running programmes. 'Of course they make great television, but with a few exceptions they make just two types: thirteen-part series and twenty four-part series. Why? Because it's the best commercial model for them to recoup their investment,' he said. 'Get out of the room if you want to write anything else. No Five Daughters, no Sherlock, no Dive, no The Silence, no The Song of Lunch.' Although, to be fair, in the case the case of that latter, that would've been a good thing! 'All of those writers would be told - make it thirteen or twenty four parts, or nothing. Steven Moffat would not be able to write Sherlock how he wants to. He'd be replaced by someone who could write twenty four episodes.' Stephenson pledged that BBC drama would not become 'obsessed' by the America model of production, but instead 'serve our audiences by telling our writers' best stories.'

Craig Revel Horwood has claimed that Ann Widdecombe's performance on Saturday's Strictly Come Dancing was 'ghastly.' To be fair, that's giving perfectly reasonable ghastly things a bad name, by association. The judge, who gave Widdecombe and her pro partner the lowest possible score of one point for their salsa routine, defended his harsh marking on spin-off show It Takes Two. 'She didn't really do any dancing - let's be serious about this,' he told host Claudia Whatsherface. 'Lots of finger wagging going on. [The timing] is ghastly. There is a plethora of negative words I could use to describe this dance. It is a complete and utter tip of a dance. It is a mess. It is catastrophic. I mean the last lift with the pigeon-toes and the legs spread. Argh!' Very expressive, young man. Widdecombe avoided the bottom two on Sunday's result show, despite only picking up twelve points for her first Latin routine of the series.

Brendan Cole has criticised the Strictly judges for their constant negativity about Michelle Williams. The pro dancer, who won the first series of the BBC1 reality show, was particularly angry with Bruno Toniolo for his lack of encouragement. 'I don't want to sound like a whiner or anything.' Oh, too late for that, my love. 'Michelle's foxtrot was a proper foxtrot,' he told Claudia Whatsherface who is looking increasingly like a bastard love child of Dusty Springfield and a panda. 'I'm talking lower, drive, rise, fall, swing and sway. Yes, her shoulders came up a little bit, but it was her first ever ballroom dance. You've got to give her a bit of time and a little bit of encouragement. I can't stand any of this negative, negative all the time. It's not fair at all. It takes too long for her to pick herself up afterwards. She has feelings as well.' He added: 'Everyone thinks she's this strong woman, but she's just as insecure as the rest of us.' Cole and Williams picked up twenty four points and twenty six points for their first Latin and ballroom dances. They will perform a rumba on this week's show.

Dusseldorf will host next year's Eurovision Song Contest following Germany's victory in Oslo this year with the song 'Satellite' by Lena Meyer-Landrut. The city beat competition from Berlin, Hamburg and Hanover which all bid to host the event. The contest's three live events - semi-finals on 10 and 12 May and the final on 14 May - will take place at the Esprit Arena. 'Dusseldorf twelve points,' said Lutz Marmor, of German host broadcaster NDR. 'I congratulate Dusseldorf cordially and, just as cordially, I thank the other three cities for going into the race enthusiastically with attractive concepts.' Gosh, they're so civilised, the Germans. Lena's 'Satellite' was a number one hit in a number of European countries, including Germany and Sweden, although it only reached number thirty in the UK.

James Corden and JLS have reportedly teamed up to film a Christmas special for television. And, I use the word 'special' quite wrongly. Anyway, what a bunch of swines - Christmas is supposed to be a happy time. The Mirror claims that Corden will direct the comedy show while the members of JLS will be acting in it. Well, that sounds like my idea of THE WORST CHRISTMAS EVER. Perhaps that's the point. 'James got his team to refine some of the sketches and come up with a few comedy platinum ideas of their own,' a 'source' is alleged to have said. 'Very loosely it'll be Little Britain meets with An Audience With... meets You've Been Framed.' So, over-rated meets rubbish meets cheap rubbish. Hmm. It's not getting any better, this description, is it?

Sir Michael Parkinson has 'blasted' Russell Brand, claiming that he is 'lucky' to be so famous. The veteran broadcaster and grumpy old misery-guts compared Brand's career in Hollywood to that of Rin Tin Tin - the German Shepherd dog who had a string of hit films in the twenties and thirties - and added that he did not 'see the point' of Brand. Parkinson told Radio 5Live: 'He doesn't make me laugh. I don't think his style of talking is particularly beautiful, funny or creative, not at all. I don't see the point of him, frankly. I would say he has been a very lucky man. I mean, Rin Tin Tin had a very big career in Hollywood and he was a dog. You don't have to be particularly talented to have a career in Hollywood.' On Brand's memoirs My Booky Wook, Parkinson commented: 'Would you pick up a book called a Booky Wook? Come on! Booky Wook - what kind of stuff is that?' Irony? Sign of a rubbish education? You tell me, Parky, you seem to be the expert. The seventy five-year-old also insisted that he was not impressed by the Get Him To The Greek actor's way of speaking. '"Dickensian way of speaking" - is that what it is?' he asked, rhetorically. 'Dickens would be spinning in his grave now if you actually compared them. Please, have a care.' In actual fact, if Dickens was around today, he'd be writing for EastEnders so, you know, what the Hell do you know, Parky? However, Parkinson reserved his strongest criticism for Brand's part in the infamous Sachsgate scandal - which he has previously described as indefensible. 'There was nothing funny about it,' Parkinson insisted. 'I don't want to make Mr Brand any more famous than he already is but what he said on radio was undeniably wrong. What he did defines him as being somebody who actually is unthinking and uncaring about people's feelings. If your grandad had been at home and some drunken guy you have never heard of calls him and starts making these obscene, stupid suggestions, would you think that was funny? Would you be angry and cross? Or would you say, "He's alright because fundamentally he's a really good bloke and a funny lad?" He's a lucky man to have survived it. There was a time when he wouldn't have done.' Parkinson's comments follow earlier remarks from the emibttered old whinger in which he criticised the 'foolish ambition' of celebrities who become talkshow hosts without any understanding of the role.

Robert De Niro is reported to have signed a deal for a new police drama at CBS. The Hollywood Reporter claims that De Niro and The Wire writer Richard Price have signed with the network for their latest script Rookies. The drama will follow a group of young, new police officers who begin their careers in a number of heavy crime spots. De Niro and Price will produce the drama through De Niro's company Tribeca Productions alongside CBS TV Studios. The deal comes as part of Tribeca's agreement with CBS to produce at least three new pilots over the course of two years. CBS is well known for its procedural crime dramas, including the various series of CSI and NCIS as well as shows like The Mentalist and Criminal Minds.

BBC director general Mark Thompson has today unveiled a series of changes to the corporation's executive board, including the departure of marketing chief Sharon Baylay. Yesterday, Thompson confirmed that his deputy director general Mark Byford is to leave the BBC in the summer of 2011 after thirty two years of service. Byford's departure is part of the BBC's strategy to streamline its management team towards reducing its senior pay bill by twenty five per cent by the end of 2011. The director general has now confirmed that Sharon Baylay, director of BBC Marketing, Communications and Audiences, will also leave the BBC, and that she will not be replaced in her post. Baylay was appointed in May 2009 after joining the corporation from Microsoft Online Services UK, where she was general manager. She also currently serves as a non-executive director of BBC Worldwide, the corporation's commercial arm. From April next year, BBC North director Peter Salmon and BBC People director Lucy Adams will continue in their roles, but step down from the executive board. They will instead join the new BBC Operating Committee. The BBC's MC&A and People divisions will cease to exist as standalone divisions, but come under an expanded group led by chief operating officer, Caroline Thomson. The move is intended to enable the BBC to 'realise further efficiency savings in support and management costs.' It was announced yesterday that Helen Boaden, director of BBC News, is to join the restructured board to represent BBC journalism, following the closure of the deputy director-general post. All changes to the executive board were approved by the BBC Trust. The Communist scum at the Gruniad Morning Star, meanwhile, were gleefully reporting that what they describe as 'highly placed sources within the BBC' had been talking about 'a night of the long knives' as Thompson prepares to make good on a promise drastically to reduce the number of executives on the BBC payroll. There was also speculation from what can, possibly, be described as the 'newspaper' concerning the role of Jana Bennett, director of BBC Vision, the corporation's TV and video content division. A close ally of Thompson, Bennett has worked at the corporation since she joined as a trainee in 1979. The BBC sought to play down suggestions that Bennett was poised to leave. The alleged newspaper claims Bennett has had discussions with BBC Worldwide, the corporation's commercial arm, about a possible job but, they continue, these have 'so far proved inconclusive.' In his MacTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh Television Festival in August, Thompson pledged to introduce a 'faster and deeper' rate of change and reform at the BBC. 'Simpler structures, fewer layers, fewer management boards. We are committed to reduce senior manager numbers by a fifth by the end of next year. That's a minimum. If we can go further, we will,' said Thompson. He added: 'The BBC does need to compete for the right people - but we also need to recognise how much the external context has changed both in commercial media and across the public sector. By the end of next year, the total senior management pay bill will reduce by at least a quarter.'

Peter Horrocks, the BBC's director of global news, has warned about the potential negative impact of budget cuts at BBC World Service. The BBC's global radio operation is understood to be facing an up to twenty five per cent reduction in its annual two hundred and seventy two million pound grant from the Foreign Office as part of wide-ranging public sector cuts. In a speech to the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association in London, published in-full by the Press Gazette, Horrocks said that 'careful thought must be given before Britain diminishes its voice in the global conversation.' The foreign secretary Billy Fizz Hague recently claimed that the World Service would be protected from the worst of the cuts at the Foreign Office. However, there remains concern that even a small budget cut could lead to a reduction in its operation, which covers thirty two countries. Horrocks said that World Service has implemented a series of efficiency drives that have delivered seventy four million pounds of 'cashable savings' since 1998, while still managing to grow its audience by a third to forty two million people a week. He also highlighted that the National Audit Office has placed World Service 'in a minority of public bodies as having a "good" track record on efficiencies.' Horrocks further pointed to the expansion being conducted by other countries of their global news services, such as China's seven billion dollar overseas media programme and the one hundred million dollars annual budget of the Al Jazeera English network, backed by the emir of Qatar. Faced with the prospect of budget cuts, Horrocks said that he is wondering whether the World Service operation will be diminished 'to a level where our presence is merely symbolic or lacking quality that damages our standing.' He said that he is also questioning whether World Service would be able to continue offering 'lifeline services' during crises such as the Haiti Earthquake and Pakistan floods. 'These and many other questions are on my mind as we enter the final strait of our vigorous discussion about the future funding of the BBC World Service,' he said. 'I can only hope that the answers are positive and that we can continue to deliver for the UK and continue to be the world’s leading broadcaster, a true partner for promoting independent media.' And nation shall speak peace onto nation. Unless it costs too much and the Daily Scum Mail don't like it.

Full-of-his-own-importance Jamie Oliver has reportedly admitted that he does not feel as though anyone understands his motivation for work. He's quite wrong, of course. Yer Keith Telly Topping, for one, fully understands it fully. He just don't like it. Or full-of-his-own-importance Jamie Oliver his very self. They're two very different things, Jamie my son.

The future of television is in a state of flux as traditional manufacturers battle hi-tech companies to control the living room, say analysts. And, they would know. The view comes as Sony prepares to unveil the first Google-powered TV. Connecting the TV to the web has become a focus among manufacturers and set-top-box makers vying for market share. Google's emergence has energised things said commentators as has Apple's renewed bid for domination with its TV converter. 'There are so many variables just now and no one clear winner,' Paul Erickson, senior analyst with IMS Research told BBC News. 'Everybody is trying to own the living room experience. Google has definitely got everyone on their toes and all eyes are on Sony to see how it does with its Google TV offering.' Over five billion people watch TV worldwide which is more than the number of people who use mobile phones or computers. Some in the business believe that in terms of the connected TV, it is a two horse race with Google and Apple pitched against one another. Last Wednesday Logitech launched its Revue set-top-box as part of a partnership with Google to merge the TV and the Internet. A day later Apple's box went on sale aimed at connecting the TV to a wealth of Internet-delivered TV shows, movies, pictures, podcasts and music. 'Everybody is jockeying for position but all eyes are on Google and Apple in this race,' said Andrew Eisner content director for consumer site Retrevo.com. 'Google and Apple will be slugging it out to win consumers and own the TV operating system and put apps in the living room. I am a big believer that software sells hardware.' IMS Research's Erickson disagrees. 'Neither one has proven that they have any strong traction in the TV arena yet. Apple has been on the market for a while with Apple TV and have yet to make it a hit. Despite their strong consumer brand identity and loyalty there is something about the product that is a fundamental miss. Google TV is still a new offering and still has to establish a brand in TV but I think if executed well, it could really change things,' he said. Google unveiled its plans for the living room at its developer conference in San Francisco earlier in the year. At the time the search giant called it an 'adventure where TV meets web, apps, search and the world's creativity. We recognised that the pace of innovation in the TV space was not keeping up with the improvements in desktop and mobile computing,' said Google spokesman Eitan Bencuya. 'Over the past few years consumers have been asking for a better way to find video content and more ways to find and access web video content, while developers have been looking for an open way to develop applications for TVs.' Apple boss Steve Jobs has famously referred to Apple TV as 'a hobby.' Its failure to catch on with consumers is something Jobs acknowledged at a news conference in September. 'We've sold a lot of them, but it's never been a huge hit,' he said. The new version of the product has been reduced from two hundred and ninety nine dollars to just ninety nine but will only allow people to rent content rather than buy it. Initially, it will only offer TV shows from a small handful of providers such as Fox, ABC/Disney and the BBC. 'We think the rest of the studios will see the light and get on board pretty fast with us,' said Jobs. Google also underscored the difficulty in getting content partners onside. While the major networks, ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC will not take part several other internet companies and media outlets will. These included HBO, CNBC, Twitter, Netflix and Amazon. Van Baker, of Gartner, said what Google's offering is something of a half-way house. 'Their vision is a good vision but complete integration between the Internet and TV experience I don't see happening because the partners they need to have lined-up see it as too big a threat. The reality is that it's not about technology. It's about business models and right now the networks get about ninety per cent of their revenue from TV service providers like the Time Warner's, Comcast's and Direct TV's of the world. The best Google can do is deliver what amounts to a side-by-side experience. On one side of the screen you get the standard TV user interface either over the air or from Time Warner or Comcast. In the other part of the screen you get access to the Internet via Google,' he added. For Logitech, best known for producing mouse and remote controls for computers, this presents an opportunity in the market. Its Revue set-top box with Google's software acting as the brains will let users browse the web, stream videos from sites like YouTube or Hulu, play Flash games, connect with friends on social networks and even show off photos on the biggest display in the house. It will go on sale at the end of this month for two hundred and ninety nine dollars. 'We are building the engine for Google TV - the box and the keyboard which will take Google TV to market,' Rajiv Bansal, senior manager with Logitech's digital home group told the BBC. 'For people who have recently bought a new set we are empowering the TV again by bringing all this content to the television set, the best screen in the house, and making it centre stage.' Google is offering its software platform free to manufacturers, as it does with Android, in the hopes of broadening its advertising base from the Web to TVs. While Logitech and Sony are the first to get on board, Google is planning to expand to a number of other manufacturers next year. Other set-top boxes range from sixty dollars for the newly released Roku to two hundred dollars for the Boxee, due to ship next month. Erickson thinks that Sony's Google TV will make at impact at the expense of set-top-box manufacturers. 'The integrated experience is going to be much more powerful to sell to consumers than a separate box. The less steps you have to take to get this working the better - no extra wires, no extra remotes. Google and Apple are not alone in trying to change how people watch TV and grab some market share. A slew of manufacturers from Panasonic to LG and from Sharp to Toshiba are all offering all-in-one Internet TV's. Samsung, the biggest manufacturer in the space said it believed its plans for smart connected televisions will help it maintain its lead.' 'We are in the transitional period where we are witnessing a shift in the TV paradigm and I do believe we are at a starting point of seeing companies try to control the living room,' BK Yoon, the company's president of visual display business unit, told the BBC in September. So far though there are no runaway winners according to Baker. 'We have a lot of experimentation going on by content providers. A lot of experimentation with the consumer electronic manufacturers and Apple and Google trying to be brokers in the mix. There is everything to play for. It's a huge market. Google would naturally love for this to succeed for them because it would give them the TV advertising market and that is a pot full of money that would make what they currently do look small.' For the consumer, the plethora of offerings now and in the future means they can afford to wait a while before deciding where to spend their cash. Forrester research said it expected that the number of web connected TV's to go from about two million this year to forty three million in the US by 2015.

Joe McElderry has defended Cheryl Cole's decision not to put Gamu Nhengu through to the X Factor live shows. Though, what the Hell it has to do with yesterday's man is anybody's guess.

An actor's positive HIV test has caused two of the US adult film industry's largest studios to postpone filming. Wicked Pictures and Vivid Entertainment told the Los Angeles Times that production had stopped as a precaution. The unnamed actor was a member of the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation. Clinic spokeswoman Jennifer Miller said efforts were being made to notify other performers who may have had sexual contact with the actor. This is not the first time the billion dollar industry has faced closures. In 2004, an HIV outbreak spread panic in the industry and briefly shut down productions at several California studios. Up to fourteen people were believed to have been infected during on-camera sex with a male actor. Last year, a woman tested positive for HIV immediately after making an adult film. Officials in Los Angeles have criticised the pornographic film industry for the lack of condom use on porn sets. According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, workers in the adult film industry are ten times more likely to be infected with a sexually-transmitted infection than members of the general public. In August, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation submitted an official complaint in California against adult entertainment mogul Larry Flynt. At the time Mr Flynt said he delivered 'what the consumer wants.' Federal law requires that all porn actors are tested for HIV thirty days before the start of filming.

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