Friday, October 29, 2010

Week Forty Five: All Over The Country The Lights Are Going Out In Millions Of Homes And Thousands Of Flats

Top Gear's new Stig will make their first appearance at a live event next week – be he'll be just one of a whole herd of tame racing drivers at the show's super secret 'Stig farm.' Still publicity images from the BBC show a group of drivers milling around a farmyard, sporting a variety of brightly coloured overalls. Top Gear personnel have always jealously concealed the identity of the show's stunt driver, and replaced the previous two men to hold the role – 'Black Stig' Perry McCarthy and 'White Stig' Ben Collins – after they both publicly 'outed' themselves by publishing autobiographies. But rather than hiring another professional driver such as Collins, a Formula 3 competitor, the latest pictures suggest that Top Gear have decided to breed their latest recruit themselves in an attempt to guarantee more secrecy. Fans are eagerly waiting to discover what colour the new Stig will be after seeing the images of the group, which included red, blue, green, yellow and - yer Keith Telly Topping's own personal favourite - the bright pink Stig. Presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May will, reportedly, visit the farm to choose which one will become the third Stig. A 'source' told the Sun: 'Fans probably don't know there is actually a secret farm where we breed lots of different Stigs.' No shit?! Their chosen driver will be presented to fans at the Top Gear Live! show at Earl's Court next week before assuming their role in the new series of the show which will begin early next year. Meanwhile, as reported on this blog a few days ago, the motor show's presenters appeared on the US news programme 60 Minutes on Sunday night and stole the crown for the highest ratings it has had in 2010. Top Gear - much to the chagrin of the Communists at the Gruniad Morning Star, and the goose-stepping bullyboy thugs at the Daily Scum Mail - is a global phenomenon and these high viewing figures clearly demonstrate just how well the format are doing across the pond where it is a genuine cult hit. Being interviewed on the success of Top Gear by reporter Steve Croft, a dedicated and long-term Top Gear fan, Clarkson credited its success to the 'chemistry' which he believes connects the three presenters. 'The chemistry that exists between Richard, James and I has rather taken over. You can't really engineer chemistry, that just happens, we really genuinely loathe each other!' he joked. But, to answer the question more sincerely, Hammond added: 'It's three middle aged-ish men exploring their passion for cars and how cars matter to people.' Kroft - who brilliantly described Top Gear as 'part reality show, part buddy movie and part Monty Python' - also got to meet the elusive and anonymous - and now, former - Stig. 'We tried to get him to utter some syllables when he took us on a test drive in the new Camero,' Kroft revealed. 'It didn't work. Driving at one hundred and thirty-miles per hour and screeching around hair-pin turns we didn't even hear a grunt.' Top Gear broadcasts in over one hundred and twenty countries with has an estimated worldwide audience of three hundred and fifty million viewers. Although, thanks to the Internet, that figure might be much higher. Despite its success, it's no stranger to hitting headlines for often controversial reasons. Whether it's disregarding speed cameras, popping inappropriate jokes, pissing off classic car drivers to the more recent drama surrounding The Stig, they always manage to rake in huge viewing figures and a handful of complaints from viewers. Most of whom, in all honestly, appear to be watching each episode specifically to find something to complain about. Certainly, the tabloids - whether they'll admit it or not - love the show since every single week it gives them a Monday morning story to write about the latest group of people (usually, about ten of them) who've been offended by something the show - and specifically Clarkson - had said or done. But Clarkson stoutly defends his show saying: 'It's a weekly occurrence that somebody will complain about Top Gear. If you start paying attention to everybody's concerns you end up bland and boring, so have to sort of ignore everybody to do the show how we want to do it.' And, thank God for that.

And, on that very bombshell itself, dear blog reader, let's have a look at the next old batch of yer Top Telly Tips, and all that malarkey.

Friday 5 November
In the first of a new two-part documentary, David Attenborough's First Life - 9:00 BBC2 - the acclaimed naturalist explores the origins of life on Earth. Which will, I'm better, annoy a bunch of creationists - in a Top Gear style(e). Await Monday morning's 'David Attenborough will BURN IN HELL' rant in a tabloid of your choice, dear blog reader. Beginning the journey near his childhood home in Charnwood Forest, Leicestershire, David learns how a fossil discovery transformed scientists' understanding of the evolution of complex organisms and gave the book of Genesis a good poke in the eye as well. And, in Newfoundland and Australia he reveals the earliest kinds of animal to exist on the planet. With the help of cutting-edge technology and visual effects, the programme brings to life the creatures, demonstrating how they survived. Terrific stuff, of course. A proper, decent, relevant use of licence fee resources at a time when the BBC's public service broadcasting commitments are being hammered by self-interest groups and tabloid scum. To, once again, quote Mitch Benn - 'we're not just listeners and viewers, it belongs to us.' Power to the people. David Attenborough, an unlikely figure to lead Week Forty Five's revolution-per-minute, but actually I can't think of a more fitting one. If you lose the BBC, you lose stuff like this. Probably forever. Here endeth the lesson.

White Van Man - 8:00 Channel Five - is a new documentary series following (not entirely unexpectedly, given the show's title) the lives and work of some of Britain's independent tradesmen. The programme shows how, in response to difficult economic times, some shrewd businessmen are using their van-based operations to explore new moneymaking opportunities, often with surprising results. For example, an east Londoner talks about his project to make a gibbet for one of his - hopefully anonymous - client's bondage dungeon, and a duo from Worthing discuss their idea to perform a variety of building jobs topless. Typical Channel Five, really - a potentially very serious show about the tough economic climate is highlighted in the pre-publicity by the promise of tits and spanking. You'd never believe the owner of the Daily Lies runs the gaff now, would you?

In House - 9:00 Sky1 - Jennifer Grey took a break from her hoofing stint on Dancing With The Stars to play a middle-aged mother whose medical history could be linked to the ill health of her newborn baby. She's not the only one with concerns about a young one, however. When House and Wilson get lumbered with the job of looking after Cuddy's child, the two-year-old proceeds to wreck the living room and swallow a coin while the pair are distracted. As mentioned when yer Keith Telly Topping got his review copy of this episode through a couple of weeks ago, the A plot itself is not all that interesting but the series recovers its momentum and kind-of justifies its recent reformatting via the hugely entertaining babysitting shenanigans. There's something hugely satisfying about seeing that arch manipulator of people Greg House being, himself, archly manipulated by a mere toddler.

Qi - 8:30 BBC1 - this week is all about hypotheticals. Stephen Fry is joined by guests who include the show's creator and former producer John Lloyd, along with Sandi Toksvig, Johnny Vegas and regular panellist Alan Davies for the quiz with a difference. Again, this week, there's no XL edition tomorrow because BBC2 are, once again, devoting the entire night to some wrinkly old rocker who should've had his hair cut years ago! (Robert Plant in this case, after Elton John last.) Boo! Bring back Qi: XL you hippies!

Saturday 6 November
In The Armstrong & Miller Show - 9:30 BBC1 - yer Keith Telly Topping's current favourite comedy double-act, Alexander and Ben, reunite for more sketches demonstrating their distinct, quirky, often rather old-fashioned but always sharp and witty brand of humour. New characters include two prudish saleswomen, Yvonne and Lisa, who run an underwear shop and a frustrated astronaut whose jealous computer will not leave him alone. But, we've also got the return of many favourites like the bawdy singing duo Brabbins and Fyffe and, of course, the pilots. You couldn't have a series of Armstrong & Miller without them. That'd be bogus.

Timewatch: The Last Day of World War One - 8:30 BBC2 - see broadcaster, writer, diarist, film-maker, general grump and one-time comedian Michael Palin telling the story of how the First World War ended on 11 November 1918. And, revealing that - contrary to long-standing myths - soldiers continued to be killed in battle for many hours after the armistice had been signed. Recounting the events of the days and hours leading up to the eleven o'clock ceasefire, Palin tells the personal stories of some of the last troops to die in that war which was supposed to end all wars. It didn't, of course. It ultimately turned out to be as futile and pointless as most conflicts conceived, in smokey back rooms, by old men who love the idea of killing for peace, freedom and truth but who, as Paul Weller once noted, are 'too old to go, so they send the youth.' I'm constantly reminded of a line of dialogue in one of the best episodes of The West Wing, War Crimes, where the Vietnam veteran Leo is arguing with an old friend, now an Air Force general, about his own - unknowing - actions in bombing a civilian village in the sixties conflict. Leo acknowledges that he could have been charged with war crimes, and demands to know why he wasn't told at the time what he had done. 'All wars are crimes,' replies the general with a sadness that is genuine. To me, that sums the subject up perfectly.

Sunday 7 November
We were deprived of our Saturday night dose of Stephen Fry thanks to old Stairway To heaven himself, but we get a Sunday night bonus instead. In The Great American Oil Slick - 8:00 BBC2 - Stephen visits Louisiana four months after an explosion aboard a BP oil rig caused millions of gallons of crude oil to spill into the Gulf of Mexico. Alongside his friend and Last Chance To See co-presenter, the zoologist Mark Carwardine, he assesses the impact of the disaster on the region's wetlands, wildlife and, just as importantly, people. But, the pair are both surprised and divided in their opinions by what they find. The second of two Last Chance To See sequels and, as with the show that spawned them, hugely recommended on all sorts of levels.

We're finally getting towards the end of the seventeenth series of Time Team - 5:30 Channel 4 - filming in the spring and summer of 2009 and broadcast in the most haphazard manner imaginable by Channel 4. The last episode is next week but, tonight, Tony Robinson and the team search for the remains of an Iron Age fort at Dinmore Hill in Herefordshire. However, their investigation is hampered when the geophysicists struggle to find target sites for excavating - and heavy rain causes further difficulties. With digging temporarily suspended, the experts discuss the purpose and date of the archaeology, but disagreements soon arise. So, it's off to the pub to sort it out, I guess!

In The First World War From Above - 9:00 BBC1 - Fergal Keane examines a cache of recently discovered aerial footage and photographs of the conflict. A forty eight-minute film taken by a French airship in the summer of 1919, following the route of the Western Front, reveals the devastating impact of the war on the land, while a collection of one hundred and fifty thousand photographs taken by First World War pilots, intended to provide commanders with a revolutionary view of the battlefield, tells a series of human stories that were visible only from above.

Monday 8 November
For two years the food critic and wit Giles Coren and his buddy the comedian and presenter Sue Perkins presented Supersizers, a show about how we lived and ate in times gone by that, despite being shunted about the schedules to make way for anything BBC2 felt like somehow managed to acquire a dedicated and quite fanatical audience. It was funny and warm and inclusive and educational and the presenters themselves had a rapport that was instantly likeable. When it was announced that there would be now more Supersizers, fans everywhere were heartbroken. But, fear not because they're back! Giles and Sue Live The Good Life - 9:00 BBC2 - is a celebration of the thirty fifth anniversary of The Good Life, the British sitcom in which a couple escaped from the rat race to pursue a life of self-sufficiency. In this three-part show, Giles and Sue try it out for themselves by learning some of the skills and techniques employed by Tom and Barbara Good (Richard Briers and Felicity Kendal) in the sitcom. Stepping back in time to 1975, Giles and Sue begin by finding out how to light a solid fuel range, sow seeds and receive a crash-course in milking and bread-making. But, as the series progresses, it won't all be wellies and manure. Just as Margo and Jerry's affluent consumerism next door provided the perfect foil to their neighbours' earnest experiment in self-sufficiency, Sue and Giles get the opportunity to try out a more mainstream Seventies lifestyle in an attempt to understand just what the Goods were kicking against back in the day. Aw, it's great to have them back.

Careering towards its - hopefully dramatic - climax, [spooks] - 9:00 BBC1 - reaches the end of the road tonight. Following Lucas's shocking revelations about his former life and double identity, Harry instructs the team to find him at any cost. He enlists the help of a former internal affairs specialist to track down the fugitive, who is becoming increasingly desperate to locate the Albany file and flee the country with Maya. But, when Harry discovers that Ruth has been placed in grave danger, he faces a tough decision which culminates in a showdown with Lucas. And, I'll tell you what dear blog reader, if Ruth dies, I'll kill the bugger myself! Last in the current series. As noted, another series appears to have been greenlit although the BBC haven't actually officially confirm that yet. First news when they do, as ever, will probably be found somewhere else, but From The North will have it not long afterwards!

Over the course of eight months, director Penny Woolcock explored the often unseen world of homeless people in On The Streets - 9:00 BBC4. She discovered the problems they face sometimes have little to do with a lack of shelter, but stem more from their past lives, and finds out that despite the best efforts of different charities to move individuals into accommodation, the streets are often where they feel safe.

It's a momentous night on Coronation Street - 8:30 ITV. After Jack implores Molly to leave Weatherfield with Tyrone and start afresh, he then quiet slips away from the party unnoticed and returns home - where the evening has a poignant ending. And, if you've been reading the spoilers for the last few months, you'll know exactly what that entails. Meanwhile, Leanne tracks down Nick after being abandoned at the bridal shop and the pair have a heart-to-heart. Also, Charlotte tries to get closer to John, and Peter quashes gossip about Carla.

Tuesday 9 November
The Zoo - 8:00 ITV - is a new series in which we are promised an insight into the daily life for the staff and animals at London Zoo in Regent's Park and its country home at Whipsnade. Across the two sites, eight hundred keepers look after more than twenty one thousand creatures, many of them completely wild. Some are livid. After a cold and financially grim winter, there are big plans to breed gorillas and vultures. Not with each other, obviously. That would against all laws of God and man. However, complications set in when the birds prove to be murderous parents and the prize male gorilla falls ill. Narrated by Richard Denton.

There's also another new series of Mad About the House starting at 9:00 on BBC3. Adam, a DJ, is given ten grand to revamp the home which he shares with his 'traditionalist' girlfriend, Hannah. Presumably, this means that Hannah is violently opposed to all aspects of modernism. A bit like the population of the South West, in fact. Anyway, Adam proceeds to buy a sunken fish tank and a five-foot gorilla and cover one wall of the gaff in vinyl LPs. Because he's a bloke and he's clearly a bit of a nutter. It's to be hoped that Hannah then gave his meat-and-two-veg a damned good hoofing and flounced off back to her mother's gaff snivelling about how he's 'such a thoughtless beast.' Sounds vastly entertaining, I may watch.

In the latest episode of Turn Back Time: The High Street - 9:00 BBC1 - the traders are propelled headlong into the golden age of commerce, re-creating an Edwardian era shopping district in Shepton Mallet, Somerset. The butcher, baker, grocer and ironmonger (but, tragically, not the candlestick maker) are joined by a dressmaker and with customer service firmly at the top of the agenda, Gregg Wallace must make sure the participants stick to the rules, regulations and technology of the day.

Tonight's EastEnders - 7:30 BBC1 - begins with Max and Jack meeting at R&R to discuss what to do about Harry. They then set out to lure him to the club. Meanwhile, Roxy comes up with a drastic plan to raise the cash for Ronnie's wedding, Carol visits Connor to demand an apology for his recent behaviour, and Tamwar inadvertently upsets Stacey while trying to flirt with her.

Wednesday 10 November
Ancient Worlds - 9:00 BBC2 - is a vehicle for the archaeologist and historian Richard Miles. He explores the roots of civilisation in a series that runs from the creation of the first cities in Mesopotamia some six thousand years ago, to the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. He travels to Syria, Egypt, Anatolia and southern Greece to examine how the first societies were created and organised, with agriculture, city-building, religion, art and trade the basic pillars from which these complex social systems rose to power.

Carol Vorderman hosts the annual awards show The Pride of Britain Awards 2010 - 8:00 ITV - from London's Grosvenor House. Prince Charles and Prime Minister David Cameron join more than one hundred stars from TV, showbusiness and sport, including Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole, Julie Walters, Alan Sugar-Sweetie, Michael McIntyre and Gary Lineker, to celebrate the nation's unsung heroes. Oh God. With a line-up like that there's something for everyone ... to take a real dislike to! Anyway, there are at least some proper heart-warming stories to come out of the thing, including a schoolgirl who saved the lives of three other children, and a woman who raised eight million pounds for charity, while former pilots who fought in the Battle of Britain receive recognition for their valour. Ant and Dec, Russell Brand and Matt Smith surprise some of the recipients - and hopefully Russell's surprise will involve him keeping his pants on for a change - and David Jason meets members of the armed forces including bomb disposal officers in Afghanistan. The evening's music comes from the X Factor finalists and Susan Boyle. So it'll include one person who can actually hold a tune, if nothing else. Seriously, I'm all for good causes and I'm sure that every single person nominated for one of these deserves every accolade that they get and more beside. But, I really have to question whether I - or anybody else for that matter - needs a two hour TV show full of back-slapping celebrities to tell me that there are some good people in the world. If you want to watch this you may get something out of it besides another chance for Simon Cowell to promote his act by wrapping them up in a charity flag and saluting the camera with a cheesy smile. Call me cynical if you like - and, you're probably not wrong if you do - but I'd much rather see this kind of thing presented with a bit more dignity, a bit less shouting and glitter and a lot less Cher Lloyd and Katie Waissel. But then, would anybody watch the thing if it was? These are all good questions. And, they'll probably all to be answered at another time. But, not today.

Bones - 9:00 Sky1 - is an episode that was shown in the US a few weeks ago. The team investigates when a skull and decomposing hands are found in a wheelie bin, and identify the victim as a bounty hunter who vanished while searching for a suspected murderer. A reluctant Brennan, meanwhile, is asked to appear on a children's TV show which encourages youngster to get involved in science. She's hugely reluctant, but changes her mind when she receives an offer she cannot refuse. No, not a horse's head in her bed, something else.

Edwardian Farm - 8:00 BBC2 - is a new series from the team that brought you Victorian Farm, Victorian Pharmacy et al. Archaeologists Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn team up with historian Ruth Goodman as they move to Morwellham Quay in Devon and try to take the port - once one of Britain's busiest - back to life as it was during its Edwardian heyday. They begin by setting up home in a cottage as they wait for the arrival of their first livestock, and start to prepare the ground for cropping by making tonnes of quicklime fertiliser to neutralise the acidity of the soil.

Thursday 11 November
Kara Tointon has a plea. Don't Call Me Stupid - 9:00 BBC3. Okay, yer Keith Telly Topping would never dream of such a thing. Not a very actress, I could go with, but certainly not stupid. Anyway, the Strictly Come Dancing contestant discusses her personal battle with dyslexia, assessing how the condition defines her and shapes her day-to-day life. As she sets out to undergo tests and receive specialist help, Kara asks whether she can ever stop it from holding her back, and meets other dyslexics, who reveal the impact of the much-misunderstood condition.

Yer Keith Telly Topping has often in the past told his dear blog readers about how good the American caper-show Leverage is. Well, it's currently into a third season on Channel One at 9:00. That's freeview channel number twenty if you're not sure. If you haven't seen this before it a bit like an American version of the Kudos series Hustle. it's about a team of con-artists who con bad people out of their ill gotten gains and return the money to its rightful owners. So, not that much like Hustle then, as Mickey Bricks and his boys and girl usually rob from the rich and, you know, keep it! The show features several very good actors including Oscar-winner Tim Hutton, Coupling's Gina Bellman (who is fantastic in it) and Angel's Christine Kane. if you're a fan of caper-movies like Ocean's 11 then this'll be right up your straße. In this episode, the team investigates the death of a girl who was killed by a company's toxic fertiliser.

One of yer Keith Telly Topping's particular favourites is, of course, The Culture Show - 7:00 BBC2. In tonight's episode, arty Andrew Graham-Dixon - whose interview with Keef Richards last week was so good - explores the output of First World War artist Henry Tonks, while Big-quiffed Marky Kermode celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of Michael Powell's psychological thriller Peeping Tom. A quite literal cinema masterpiece which was so badly misunderstood in its day that it virtually ended Powell's career. Alan Moore, the 'graphic novel author' - or 'writer of comics' as we who aren't too ashamed to called them what they are and still find them to be a true art form - and the man whom, according to Pop Will eat Itself, 'knows the score' visits the new exhibition of artwork by Austin Osman Spare. The journalist Sarfraz Manzoor showcases the winning images in this year's World Press Photo competition and writer Michael Smith visits the British Library's exhibition on the evolution of English language and identity. This week's trawl through the BBC archive sees singer KT Tunstall selecting clips of David Bowie, Patti Smith and Freddie Mercury. Wow. Packed show. Something for everyone.

And, so to the news: And we begin with some sadness with the announcement that Hawaii Five-0 actor James MacArthur has died at the age of seventy two. MacArthur played Detective Danno Williams for eleven seasons on the original CBS series, which ran from 1968 to 1980. A cause of death has not yet been reported, according to Gossip Cop. The actor also appeared in the films Swiss Family Robinson and Spencer's Mountain. He was the son of actress Helen Hayes. His final TV role was in a 1998 TV movie called Storm Chasers: Revenge of the Twister. The producers of the new Hawaii Five-0 series, which stars Scott Caan in the role that MacArthur made famous, had reportedly expressed interest in hiring MacArthur to appear on the show.

The dreadfully unfunny Noel Fielding and Chris Addison have been given new shows by Channel Four. They are both benefiting from an extra five million pounds being pumped into the broadcaster's comedy budget next year to help fill the gap left by Big Brother. Head of comedy Shane Allen this week revealed some of the projects, including a new E4 comedy from Fielding provisionally called Boopus. A video shown to a select audience of Channel Four staff, writers, producers, performers and journalists showed the Mighty Boosh comedian (I say comedian, I really should add and 'allegedly' there) as a stingray, discussing the recording of his new CD. Be still my sides. Meanwhile Chris Addison is to host a new panel game called Show And Tell. The programme, to be produced by Avalon, mixes topical news highlights from the week with personal experience stories from both the audience and comedian guests, who are asked to bring along items to accompany their stories. Allen billed the show as 'an antidote' to Mock The Week, with a more 'supportive' atmosphere in contrast to the competitive spirit of the BBC2 show. So, 'not as funny' in other words. Channel Four's upcoming schedule also includes Mad Frankie Boyle's Tramadol Nights, mixing controversial stand-up with sketches. Also, newcomer Morgana Robinson's prime-time sketch comedy The Morgana Show, the university-set ensemble piece Campus, Jewish, a 'sitcom of embarrassment,' starring Tamsin Greig, Simon Bird and Tom Rosenthal and Robert's Web, in which Robert Webb looks at the Internet. Meanwhile IT Crowd, Peep Show and Fonejacker will all return – Peep Show becoming the longest-running Channel Four sitcom ever – alongside Pete versus Life and PhoneShop. Allen said: 'Channel Four continues to lead the way in comedy by backing new talent and giving established names the creative freedom to take risks. We are able to give Frankie, Noel and Chris the space to try out new things and want talent to bring their passion projects to us.'

Lie To Me producer Alexander Carey has admitted that the show's central character Cal Lightman could be proven wrong in a future episode. In an official FOX interview, Carey suggested that minor mistakes made by the psychologist (played by Tim Roth) could expand into something more significant. 'Right now, he's wrong [but] sort of incidentally along the way,' he explained. 'I think we're building to an episode [where he makes a big mistake] but it has to come out of the story and a character flaw. It's not so much about the science being fallible, it's about the character being fallible.' Tim Roth recently revealed that Lightman's relationship with women will become a major aspect of the current, third, season of the drama.

There's a very good piece on the subject of Daybreak's continuing troubles by Ben Dowell of the Gruniad. '"Whenever I read that a star presenter is going to join breakfast television, I picture a couple of million pounds going down the Swanee. Viewers, not the executives, make the stars at breakfast time," says Paul Gambaccini, who was "there at TV-am even before the first broadcast" – and who makes a particularly interesting observation about [Chiles and Bleakley's] celebrity. "Ever since Day One of TV-am, the public has resisted watching established television stars at breakfast. Stars have instead emerged from breakfast. The classic example is of early TV-am itself: the Famous Five crashed and burned." When the audience selected its own favourites, Gambaccini says, they were famously Anne Diamond and Nick Owen. "TV-am once did a shocking survey. Which presenters did the audience want to see more of? The top two were Jimmy Greaves and myself. Huh? The viewers didn't expect us to sing, dance, tell jokes and read the news. They simply liked the features we did and related to us as more or less normal people."' Meanwhile, the latest Shropshire Star's excellent Daybreakwatch feature includes my favourite TV-related headline of the week: All's not well at Daybreak? Blimey, well spotted, Sherlock. Heh!

Simon Bird and Joe Thomas are to co-write and star in new Channel Four sitcom Chickens. The Inbetweeners actors will play two young men who stay at home during World War I while the rest of their generation goes off to fight on the Western Front, prompting accusations of cowardice from their neighbours. Sounds hilarious. Bird said: 'We're really excited to be working with Channel Four on our first sitcom. It's a dream come true for us and we can't wait to get started.' Jonny Sweet - who performs with Bird and Thomas in the trio's sketch comedy group The House Of Windsor - will also take on writing and acting duties in the new show, reports the Press Association.

E4 has picked up the UK rights to the new American comedy Glory Daze. The ensemble show, set in the 1980s, focuses on a group of friends as they try to get used to college life. The cast includes former Saturday Night Live regular Tim Meadows and Sons of Anarchy actor Callard Harris. E4's acting head of acquisitions Penny Harris said: 'We're incredibly excited that Glory Daze is joining E4's fresh slate of comedy-drama offerings. It highlights the channel's commitment to delivering the best the US has to offer for our very discerning audiences. Glory Daze is warm, uproariously funny with universally recognisable characters at its heart - think the Inbetweeners boys and what they would have been doing at an American college in the 80s and you're pretty much there.'

The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show creator and animation artist Alexander Anderson has died at the age of ninety. The pioneering cartoonist, who had been suffering from Alzheimer's, died at an assisted living facility in California last week. The show spawned movie spin-offs including The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (2000) which starred Robert De Niro as Fearless Leader and Jason Alexander as the villainous Boris Badenov. Before Rocky and Bullwinkle, Anderson worked on Mighty Mouse. Anderson's wife, Patricia, told the Associated Press news agency that the inspiration for Bullwinkle came from a dream he had where he was playing poker with some friends and a moose. The character's name came from a car dealership in Berkeley called Bullwinkel Motors, which Anderson had found funny. Anderson began his own company with his college friend Jay Ward. The duo worked out of a garage behind Anderson's family home in Berkeley where they created characters like Crusader Rabbit and his friend Rags the Tiger along with the melodramatic Dudley Do-Right of the Mounties and Rocky and Bullwinkle themselves. Crusader Rabbit was among the first animated series produced for television and aired on NBC from 1949. Rocky and His Friends and the subsequent Bullwinkle Show were huge hits with American children in the late 1950s and throughout the 60s.

A filmmaker has posted a video online which claims to show 'evidence' of time travel. The clip is from a DVD extra of the Charlie Chaplin's 1928 film The Circus. In the clip, a large woman is seen in the background, holding to her ear what appears to be a mobile phone. Speaking to the BBC, George Clarke said: 'As I sat back to watch it I realised in the first thirty seconds there's a lady strolling by with her hand up to her ear which looked quite familiar in today's society. So I wound it back and watched it again, zoomed it in and slowed it down and got other people in to check it out. Everybody had the same reaction - it looks like she's talking on a mobile phone.' Since the video was posted on YouTube, it has received one and a half million views and more than ten thousand comments. Mostly, from people who haven't got anything better to do with their time, it would seem. Clarke added: 'My initial reaction was, "That's a mobile phone - they weren't around then." My only explanation - and I'm pretty open-minded about the sci-fi element of things - it was kind of like, "Wow, that's somebody that's went back in time."' And, that was your only explanation, was it, George? Or, it could just be that she had a loose ear-ring? Check it out and see if you can spot a blue police telephone box lurking in the background, dear blog reader.

And lastly, the very fourth instalment in yer Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. And, it's a really personal highlight for me this one. A record that, with almost obsessive detail, captured a specific moment in my life that, try as I might, I'll never get back. Queue the video!'Life is timeless/days are long/when you're young.' Yes, they are. Hold on to them while you can, kids, because they won't be with you for very long.

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