Monday, October 11, 2010

Tank-Fly-Boss-Walk-Jam-Nitty-Gritty, You're Listening To The Boy From The Big Bad City

Gosh, but wasn't yer man Robbie on fine form on Strictly last night? That was such a good version of 'Rock DJ' that I almost thought he was miming at one point. Almost, but not quite, dear blog reader. Mind you, cutting from that to Claudia Whatsherface wearing so much mascara she looked like the bastard love child of Dusty Springfield and a panda was pretty startling. Yer Keith Telly Topping, his very self, was fair startled, so he was. Goldie became the first celebrity to be eliminated from the series. The producer and his professional partner Kristina Rihanoff were sent out after coming bottom of the leader board once the judges' and audience votes for their cha-cha-cha and foxtrot performances were combined. As there is no dance-off this year, host Tess Daly announced the first four pairings to have been saved, before revealing that Peter Shilton and Erin Boag were in the bottom two. They were subsequently joined by Goldie and Rihanoff before, amid scenes of tension that you could probably cut a very soft flan with, the final decision was announced. There were gasps from the audience - probably because no one could quite believe that blading former TV magician and drag, Paul Daniels, had survived - and the partnership received a standing ovation after being sent from the show. Both Daly and Claudia Whatsherface claimed to be 'shocked' by the result. The DJ-turned-actor subsequently told the Mirror that viewers must have 'dozed off on their pizzas' and claimed he and dance partner Kristina Rihanoff did not deserve to go after the public vote. 'It's water off a duck's back. Coming middle of the leader board you think you're safe, but it's a dangerous place to be. To win you have to be either really good, or hilarious. I was a bit shocked, to be honest - Kristina doesn't deserve it.'

His very Lordship Alan Sugar has criticised claims by Kirstie Allsopp that his behaviour to production staff on The Apprentice is 'shockingly uncharitable.' Which, it is, like, but then she's hardly a demure shrinking violet herself on Location, Location, Location. A case of people in class houses should always masturbate in the cellar, this blogger would've said. The frighteningly strict schoolma'amish presenter made the claims on Twitter last week, but the businessman - once the producer of Britain's ninth best-selling Midi Hi-Fi system - subsequently took to the microblogging service to strongly deny the allegations and give out some stick of his own. He also 'slammed' her performance on Sport Relief Does The Apprentice according to several tabloids. Who can't use the word 'criticise' because it's got too many syllables for their readers to understand. Allsopp wrote: 'Being asked whether I follow Alan Sugar. I worked with him on Sport Relief Does The Apprentice. His behaviour was shockingly uncharitable. There r [sic] words I don't use, but when it comes to Sugar and his treatment of the staff and crew involved in any other work place he'd be fired!!' Oh, very witty, Kirsty. I see what you did there. Lord Sugary wrote on his own Twitter page: 'what a lying cow @KirstieMAllsopp was worst contestant in celeb [sic] Apprentice ever having hissy fit all time very rude to Jacki Gold bloody cheek she was useless.' You might want to think about maybe using a bit of punctuation in there, somewhere, your Lordship. Later, he added 'more lies from @KirstieMAllsopp said I was hard on and rude to production people in celeb Apprentice, she is too far up Emma Freud arse.' I'm not actually sure that;'s physically possible, but thanks for putting the image in my head, pal. Seriously, you have to pay good money for that sort of thing down Soho. He then directed a tweet directly at the Location, Location, Location host, saying: '@KirstieMAllsopp you are liar dont [sic] tweet lies about me by the way you were the worst celeb ever in celeb Apprentice.' So, to sum up them ... who bloody cares?

Cheryl Cole has publicly claimed the sole responsibility for the decision to eliminate Gamu Nhengu from The X Factor. In a statement issued on Friday, the singer denied press claims that she had been pressured to axe the popular Nhengu over ongoing visa issues. Instead, Cole insisted, she hadn't even been informed of Nhengu's situation at the time. The Daily Scum Mail quoted Cole as saying: 'The three girls I have chosen to take through to the live shows were chosen by me and [guest judge] Will.I.Am and the final choice [is always] my decision. I was not aware of Gamu's situation outside of the competition and I am incredibly sad for both her and her family.' Cole's claims were echoed in a separate statement issued by Simon Cowell, who denied reports that the two judges have blamed each other for the furore surrounding Nhengu's exit. 'No, Cheryl and I haven't had a fight. Yet!' he said which, I think we're supposed to assume is him being funny. No, I can't see it, either. 'I certainly couldn't tell her what to do even if I wanted to,' he added. However, that might not be the end of the story. despite a public show of love, peace and Harmony be'twixt the pair on Saturday night's show. At least, according to the Mirror. They are claiming that Cole has 'told friends that she had been "stitched up" by X Factor bosses' who, they add, 'pressured her not to pick Gamu Nhengu.' Privately, the newspaper claims, Cole has revealed 'to pals' that she was told by producers to pick Katie Waissel over Zimbabwean-born Gamu at the judges' houses stage because there were 'issues' over her visa. On Saturday, they claim, an - anonymous, of course - friend of Cheryl told them: 'She has been made the fall guy in all this. Her decision came down to a choice between Katie and Gamu. She was struggling to choose between both girls as her third act. But at this point producers stepped in and told Cheryl there were concerns over Gamu's visa and that for that reason Katie was the safer option.'

Miss Nhengu, meanwhile, has claimed that she could 'face a firing squad' if she returns to Zimbabwe. All jokes about 'if they used that method of elimination on the show, I'd be tempted to watch' aside, it's a very serious claim and one that should be seriously investigated. Because on Saturday, according to the Sun, she was merely facing 'squalid living conditions' should she return to her native country rather than a death sentence. Now, seemingly, the stakes have been raised. Nhengu has, of course, been asked to leave the UK by the Home Office. However she insisted that her native country is unsafe now that people know she fled President Mugabe's regime to come to Britain. She told the News of the World: 'I've been in the public eye now and people there know I've fled Mugabe's regime. They will punish us if we go back. They're going to know where we are. We're going to be very unsafe. People have already been approaching our family members. We think they could be working for Mugabe. And we know how brutal he can be. I would be in danger, it's blatantly obvious. My family would be in danger. There's a firing squad waiting for us there and they're putting me in front of it.' The singer also admitted that she was 'absolutely shocked' not to make it to the live shows, and claimed that the Home Office are trying to make an example out of her because of her new found fame. Cowell, meanwhile, has vowed to help Nhengu in her battle against deportation. According to the Sun, the talent show judge has ordered his lawyers to fight the decision by the Home Office for the singer and her family to return to Zimbabwe. He said: 'We are helping Gamu and her family as much as possible and have lawyers working with her lawyers. It's not because we have to but because I really feel for their situation, and that's outside of the show.' A 'source' allegedly added: 'There is no obligation but it is a natural human thing to offer help, even though she is no longer part of the TV show.'

The X Factor's first live show of 2010 was paramount in ITV's domination of prime time on Saturday night, according to overnight viewing figures. Wild Card Week was seen by an average audience of 12.23m between 7.40pm and 10.10pm, peaking at 13.49m between 9.15 and 9.30. This was approximately half a million higher than the previous episode. Meanwhile, Strictly Come Dancing also had a good night, rising three hundred and ten thousand viewers week-on-week to 9.03m despite being broadcast in a much earlier time slot - 5.45pm - to avoid a clash with X Factor. It recorded a peak of 10.27m. Finishing at 7.45pm, the lead-in helped Merlin to continue it respectable run with 5.36m opposite X Factor. Away from the main networks, BBC2 had a steady night with 1.33m for Coast, 1.58m for Dad's Army, 1.38m for Timewatch: The First Blitz and 1.35m for Qi: XL. All of which, sad to report, yer Keith Telly Topping watched. What can I say, dear blog reader? I prefer Neil Oliver, Captain Mainwaring and Stephen Fry to loud people with funny hair. I'm a man of very simple tastes. It was particularly good episode of Qi XL too, it should be noted.

Davina McCall has been named as the new host of The Biggest Loser. According to the Sun, the presenter has already started filming the ITV weight-loss show, which will move to a prime time slot when it returns. Speaking of her new appointment, McCall said: 'I'm so chuffed to be hosting the show as it offers contestants the opportunity to change their lives for the better. I love it.' McCall replaces poor old Kate Garraway on the show, who seems to be getting elbowed aside by just about everybody in the TV industry at the moment - firstly Bleakley, now this. Talk about the real biggest loser. It was also confirmed that trainers Richard Callender and Angie Dowds will return for the new series.

David Tennant has confessed that he doesn't necessarily miss working on Doctor Who. Interesting choice of words! I mean, I don't, necessarily, rule out the possibility that I'll spend one night this week gouging my own eyes out. But, it's not something I'm planning on doing. The Scottish actor, and national heart throb, who played the tenth incarnation of the titular Time Lord, appeared on Paul O'Grady Live and told the host that he was 'perfectly satisfied' with the timing of his departure from the show. 'I wouldn't say I miss it. I mean I had a brilliant, time. It's the most fun you can ever have and call it work, but I had a really good go so I think it was probably time to move on and now I like being able to tune in and watch it back and not know what's happening next.' Tennant also praised his former co-star Billie Piper, and appeared flattered to hear that she had described him as a better kisser than current Doctor, Matt Smith. 'Well, she's just brilliant, she's great,' he said. 'I shan't disabuse you of that fact [that I'm a better kisser]. Not that I've ever kissed Matt Smith, I'd like to point that out now. And not that I wouldn't like to.' After discovering that she had given him the nickname 'David Ten-Inch', Tennant spoke of his favourite scene involving Piper's character. 'The one everyone usually talks about is the scene on the beach [in series two finale Doomsday] where we finally say bye-bye. It was the end of my first year and Billie had been such a huge part of that. It was a brilliantly sad scene and it was very sad to play.' Tennant also praised his successor Matt Smith, saying that he has 'loved every second' of his performance.

Which brings us to ... The sixth series of Doctor Who will open with a two-parter set in the US, the BBC has announced. Scenes will be filmed in the Utah desert for a story set in the late 1960s in which the Doctor, Amy and Rory find themselves on a secret summons to The Oval Office. The episodes have been written by Steven Moffat and co-produced with BBC America. Production starts in Cardiff later this month. Alex Kingston will reprises her role as River Song. Moffat said: 'The Doctor has visited every weird and wonderful planet you can imagine, so he was bound get round to America eventually.' Well, he's been there before. 'And of course every Doctor Who fan will be jumping up and down and saying he's been in America before,' continued The Very Moffster Himself. I reject that assertion. This blogger was not in actual fact jumping up and down at that point. Merely sitting still. 'But not for real, not on location - and not with a story like this one.' Oh. Well, that does explain the anomaly quite nicely. Thanks Steven. You're a brick. A nyway, as has been announced previously, series six will be split into two blocks, with the first being broadcast on BBC1 in the spring of 2011 and the second block showing in the autumn.

Matt Smith himself materialised at the first night of a new live show bringing to life some of the Time Lord's most terrifying foes. Cybermen and Daleks battled it out at the launch of the action spectacular which features stunts, pyrotechnics and laser fire. Smith was in the audience for the show at Wembley Arena, along with his family. The twenty seven-year-old actor took a bow before the show began, to the delight of a full house. Smith appears in the show but not live on stage. Instead he has filmed a series of inserts which appear on screen during the performance. Other creatures appearing in the show from the Doctor's menagerie of monsters - some of them even walking among the audience - included Judoon, Weeping Angel, Scarecrows and Venetian Vampires. The performance - which has been created by Steven Moffat - is the first of a series of arena dates over the next month, taking in nine UK cities. The show revolves around a travelling showman, Vorgenson, who heads around the galaxy spreading tales of the Doctor's exploits, using his 'minimiser' gadget to conjure up the Time Lord's enemies. Moffat created the character - played by Nigel Planer - specially for the live show, which is intended as a sequel to the Jon Pertwee-era Carnival Of Monsters. Composer Murray Gold led the live soundtrack from a sixteen-piece orchestra. Also among the guests for the first night were Catherine Tate, Richard Curtis and Jo Whiley.

Andrew Marr, the BBC's political presenter, has dismissed bloggers as 'inadequate, pimpled and single loners' who rant about the world from the safety of their mothers' basements. In yer Keith Telly Topping's case, that's almost completely true - although I do it from my own gaff, not Mama Telly Topping's. But, when all is said and done, at least my ears are smaller than his. Next ...

Big Fat Cuddly Lorraine Kelly is reportedly being considered for 'an enhanced role' on ITV morning show Daybreak. According to the Sunday Mirror, the presenter could anchor a revamped show next year after research has suggested that she was more popular than Daybreak's main hosts Christine Bleakley and Adrian Chiles. A 'source' allegedly told the newspaper: 'Lorraine was the only one of the main presenters scoring well on audience research. So she is likely to get an enhanced role, or even become one of the main presenters.' ITV bosses are said to be 'tearing their hair out' after ratings for the GMTV replacement fell to just a fraction over seven hundred thousand viewers on Wednesday. Although, it has been lower. One episode of the previous week dipped to under seven hundred thousand. Not only that but, now, the Daily Scum Mail's turned on them right good and proper. Yes, I know. The irony of the BBC's biggest - and most numskull, agenda-soaked and scummy - critic suddenly having a new ITV-created toy to kick around is not lost on this blogger. Trust me, if I had sides, they'd be splitting right about now. The alleged newspaper claims that the 'source' added: 'The whole point of Adrian and Christine's partnership was viewers could speculate whether they were having a relationship in real life, but now they know nothing is going on.' Bleakley and Chiles both moved to ITV earlier this year on multi-million pound contracts. Kelly currently presents Lorraine every weekday morning following Daybreak.

Barbara Windsor has revealed that she once had a brief affair with late footballer George Best. The actress, who played Peggy Mitchell in EastEnders for the last fifteen years, made the revelations in an interview for Piers Morgan's Life Stories. Speaking about a film premiere which they both attended, she said: 'There was this absolute vision. In the Sixties he was so beautiful. Anyway, in the bar afterwards he came over to me and I said, "Look, don't waste your time with me, darling. You've got all these lovely ladies after you." And he said, "When do I ever get to talk to somebody like you?" That did it. A magic moment. It was great, he was fabulous.' Windsor also admitted that she had a fling with the late Bee Gee Maurice Gibb, when the pair were both appearing in a London stage musical in the early 1970s (and, when he was still married to Lulu): 'I said to him, "Where would you like to go?" And he said, "Look Bar, let's get it over and done with, let's go to bed." Because he knew that he wasn't giving it on stage, so we went and had a little moment. It was lovely.' This story, which the tabloids got plenty of mileage out of on Friday and Saturday, got even more surreal when a blundering TV news reporter asked Robin Gibb if his brother Maurice would be watching the show - despite Maurice being dead for seven years. Sky presenter Steve Dixon was interviewing the singer following the press revelations that Maurice had slept with Windsor. Dixon asked: 'Is Maurice watching?' The newsman looked horrified when Robin replied, sadly: 'He's not with us. He died in 2003.' Do some bloody research, mate. Even if - as usual with Sky - that means 'looking it up on Wikipedia.' Windsor, who was married to notorious London gangland figure Ronnie Knight, also revealed that she had slept with Reggie Kray during the sixties. Morgan told Windsor that she had been 'a very, very naughty girl' when she was younger. She replied: 'Yes, but it took a long time to get naughty. I was eighteen. Once I started, I thought, "This is nice, I like this."'

Actress Kristen Bell is being linked - at least on the Internet - to a role in the planned NBC remake of The Munsters. Fans of the actress are said to be keen to get her into the remake and it appears that showrunner Bryan Fuller supports the move. Fuller is remaking the comedy series for NBC and his previous writing credits include Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Wonderfalls, Pushing Daisies and Heroes. Fans of the actress are, reportedly, hoping to secure her the role of Marilyn and Fuller thinks she'd be perfect in the role. 'Are you kidding me? Kristen would be perfect,' he told Entertainment Weekly. Bell's roles include teen-detective series Veronica Mars, Heroes, The Shield, Everwood and the voice of the gossip blogger in Gossip Girl. Her film roles include Forgetting Sarah Marshall and the forthcoming Scream 4 which will re-launch the horror franchise.

Harry Hill has admitted that he wanted to quit his satirical clip show TV Burp last year. Speaking to TV Times, the comedian revealed that the eighth series - which aired from September 2008 to April 2009 - left him wanting to leave the project. He explained: 'One year we did twenty one shows, and by the end I was in a really bad way. It made me want to give it up, whereas if I was doing a shorter run, like this year, I would be happy to do it forever. It has to be fun, otherwise I might as well go back to being a doctor!' Hill added: 'This is a very stressful time of year for me. It would be easy to coast and make the same show every week, and we could probably get away with it, but we are quite hard on ourselves. It's only of interest to me if we can make it different, otherwise it just becomes a money-making scheme, doesn't it?'

David Abraham, the chief executive of Channel 4, has called on media buying agencies not to penalise Channel 4 for not having Big Brother in its schedule for the first time in a decade by cutting their spend with the broadcaster. Abraham, delivering Channel 4's 2011 'upfront' presentation to several hundred media buying agency executives at the Freemasons' Hall in Covent Garden last week, addressed head-on the murmurings in the industry that the broadcaster will face a tough advertising its airtime trading season without the reality show and its associated spin-offs. Despite declining viewing figures the Big Brother franchise has always been massively important to Channel 4's overall audience share and delivering the key sixteen to thirty four-year-old demographic. This is not lost on media buyers, who will look to drive hard bargains on behalf of their clients as deals are struck between now and Christmas that will account for more than eighty per cent of more than the three billion pound UK TV advertising spend for 2011. Abraham said that after 'the emotional burial' of Big Brother, which ended its eleventh - and final - Channel 4 series last month, the broadcaster could finally 'start doing more than talking about creative renewal.' He added that his aim was to reinforce Channel 4's traditional attraction to advertisers by 'continuing to heavily appeal to youth' and make provocative programmes. 'In an increasingly commoditised world, that the world of TV is today, our point of difference shines out even more brightly,' he said. 'In an increasing age of media homogeneity our not for profit status allows us to continue to take creative risks where others don't, or won't dare.' Channel 4 has commissioned a show called Famous and Fearless, which features celebrities taking on extreme sports, to run in the vacant Celebrity Big Brother slot in the new year. Abraham, who backed up his speech with a reel of upcoming shows and support from 'talent' (and I use that word quite wrongly in the case of including if at least one of the following names) Jimmy Carr, Alexa Chung and Derren Brown, pledged that the fifty million pounds boost to the 2010 programming budget announced earlier this year would be sustained next year. He also made the bold statement that he 'expected' Channel 4 to sell more than one billion pounds in advertising airtime for the first time in 2011, thanks to securing the advertising sales contract for pay-TV company UKTV, which will give the broadcaster negotiating power for almost thirty per cent of the UK TV advertising market.

The 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow is facing a major setback after the BBC turned down the chance to become host broadcaster for the event. According to the Daily Telegraph, a report by the Scottish government's public audit committee warned of lukewarm interest from the BBC in showing the event, while there was limited demand from other broadcasters. When Glasgow won the Games, the estimated cost of staging the event was three hundred and seventy three million pounds, but that has since increased to more than five hundred and twenty million quid. The organisers initially felt that there would be 'an increased appetite' for the Games after the London 2012 Olympics, but they have since revised their expectations and now reckon that most people, probably, won't give a sodding monkeys. During an inquiry by the committee, Glasgow 2014 chief executive John Scott admitted to MSPs that revenue projection from ticket sales had been downgraded. The organisers have also been forced to downgrade their entire revenue forecasts from the sale of broadcast rights after initially assuming that the BBC would be interested. As host broadcaster, the BBC would have supplied all the cameras, cabling and television infrastructure for the Games in return for comprehensive broadcast rights. The corporation acted as host broadcaster when Manchester held the event in 2002, but it appears to have baulked at the cost of doing the same in Glasgow. Speaking to MSPs, Scott said that he will continue talks with the BBC to try to 'persuade them of the value of the product.' However, he also admitted 'there would be little competition for the rights.' If the BBC does decline to become host broadcaster, then the Glasgow organisers would have to bear the costs of hiring private firms to provide the broadcast infrastructure. The corporation is still expected to bid for broadcast rights to cover the event, as it is currently doing for this year's Commonwealth Games in Delhi. A Glasgow 2014 spokesman said: 'We are confident that our ticketing strategy will ensure that we meet our revenue and spectator targets. It is important to remember that Glasgow 2014 will come shortly after what will be a hugely successful Olympic Games in London.'

The BBC-produced series Five Daughters, about the murder of five women in Ipswich in 2006, has won a film award at the Raindance festival in London. It was named best UK feature by a panel of judges including Charles Saatchi and Motörhead singer Lemmy. New York-based feature I Am A Fat Cat was named the film of the festival. Best international feature went to Son Of Babylon about an Iraqi boy searching for his father after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Directed by Mohamed Al Daradji, the film previously won two awards at the Berlin International Film Festival and one at Sundance Film Festival. Five Daughters, which starred Ian Hart, Sarah Lancashire and Jamie Winstone, was shown as three hour-long episodes on BBC1 in April. Steve Wright was convicted of murdering the women, who worked as prostitutes, in 2008.

The teenage actress who provided the voice of cartoon heroine Dora the Explorer between 2008 and 2010 is taking legal action against the Nickelodeon network. Caitlin Sanchez, fourteen, claims she has not been paid fees due from reruns, DVDs, other products and promotional work. Bilingual Dora has taught millions of US children basic Spanish phrases on her popular TV show. In a statement, Nickelodeon said the claims were 'baseless' and that the New Jersey teen had been 'well compensated' for her work. 'Unfortunately Caitlin's voice changed and she was no longer able to portray the Dora character, as happened with the actress who originated the role,' the statement continued. 'Caitlin's contract was extensively negotiated through her agent and in compliance with her union.' According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sanchez's action alleges that she was given just twenty two minutes to sign an 'unconscionable' contract without the advice of an attorney. The action - which names Nickelodeon, MTV Networks and Viacom as co-defendants - claims that she is owed 'many million dollars.' Kathleen Herles was the original voice of Dora, playing the part between 2000 and 2004 before being replaced. Since 2000 the character has been one of the most prominent Hispanic characters on US children's TV.

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