Friday, November 12, 2010

Until The Razor Cuts

The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) has revealed that he cast Karen Gillan for the role of Amy Pond in Doctor Who because he wanted The Doctor to have a 'sexy' companion. As that was, clearly, some sort of huge revelation which nobody had so far fathomed out, of course. Speaking to New York Magazine, Moffat revealed that he actively sought to bring a dose of good old fashioned sexual tension back into the family drama series when he replaced Russell Davies as Doctor Who's executive producer. 'I just thought it would be, you know, bad girl in the TARDIS,' he said. 'They've always been so well behaved, those girls!' Moffat added: 'I just thought, I haven't met any girls like that. Most of the girls I know would just jump The Doctor as soon as they look at him. I said, "It's time we have one of those."' He also discussed how far the show would venture into The Doctor's sex life in the future. 'We know that he had a family once,' The Moffster said. 'And we could pretend that he doesn't have an eye for the pretty girl, but you'd be struggling to justify that view, wouldn't you, looking at his choice of travel companions. I think he has at some point in his life indulged. Whether he still does is a secret between him and that big blue box.'

Yesterday, Jimmy McGovern said nothing of any great interest. So, no change there then.

The BBC has announced that BBC Wales director Menna Richards is to step down from her post next year after more than a decade at the corporation. Under Richards' leadership, BBC Cymru has become the home to various hit BBC shows, including Doctor Who, Sherlock, Torchwood, Merlin, Last Chance To See and Tribe. In a message to staff, BBC director general Mark Thompson said that Richards had led 'a creative transformation' at BBC Wales. 'Menna has been an outstanding director of BBC Wales, who has combined strong creative leadership with an excellence in management,' said Thompson. 'I'd like to thank Menna personally for her superb professionalism, dedication and loyalty over the past decade.' Russell Davies, the former Doctor Who showrunner, added: 'When I came back home to work in Wales, it was amazing to meet Menna and to find a creative leader who was truly fearless - and great fun, too! But she's a crusader for talent and has opened up opportunities for so many people, in so many ways, leaving Welsh culture immeasurably better and richer and bolder.' Richards' creative transformation has also seen work start on the new BBC drama production centre at Cardiff Bay, which will be home to Casualty when it opens next summer. Speaking to BBC Wales staff, Richards said that she was 'truly privileged' to have worked alongside a 'talented and committed' team serving the people of Wales. 'I never had any doubt that Wales had the talent to make a real difference both here in Wales and on the UK stage and it's your passion and determination that has taken us on this extraordinary journey together. I'm absolutely certain that that same passion and determination will continue to drive BBC Wales forward,' she said. 'We make a huge contribution to the life of Wales in all its aspects: social, cultural and political. As the national broadcaster, our role in helping define a nation has never been so important or so precious.'

The BBC have, reportedly, received 'more than fifty' complaints from viewers unhappy that an interviewee at Wednesday's student protest was shown with an expletive - 'Fuck fees' - written on his face on the Six O'Clock News. The same interview was also shown on the News at Ten.

Meanwhile, a dear old friend of this blog unexpectedly showed up during the Sky News's coverage of the violent protests on Wednesday. Yes, it's the nation's favourite news-lurker, Fat, Slightly Scary Staring Bloke, Paul Yarrow! Aw, mate - we've all missed you so much.

Interesting to see Big Fat Eamonn Holmes getting quite a bit of ribbing from Paul Merton and Ian Hislop on Thursday's night's Have I Got News For You. For him being so touchy-to-the-point-of-getting-the-lawyers-in about people telling jokes about him being big and fat and eating the sofa. Allegedly.

Former BBC1 controller Jay Hunt said that it had never crossed her mind that four women would lose their jobs as a result of the revamp of the channel's long-running Countryfile programme. Hunt added that she had not paid much attention to the press controversy which followed the decision to axe the four presenters, including fifty three-year-old Miriam O'Reilly, who is currently attempting to sue the corporation claiming ageism and sexism. Hunt said media criticism - or 'incoming fire' as she called it - was part of the 'meat and drink of everyday life' of a BBC1 controller. Asked whether she was not struck by the fact that four women would be leaving the show ahead of a move to a prime time Sunday night slot last year, Hunt said: 'It didn't cross my mind. If I had clocked this number of women of a certain age would be disappearing as a result of the criteria [we had set for the new show], I may well have remarked on it,' Hunt told O'Reilly's legal representative, Heather Williams QC, at an employment tribunal in Holborn on Thursday. 'You may well argue that it was stupid of me not to clock it. You put it to me that I should have realised that it would have impacted on women. Unfortunately I didn't realise that,' she said. Hunt denied that she had only introduced more older women into the schedule, such as Sheila Hancock as a judge on Andrew Lloyd Webber's Saturday night talent show Over the Rainbow, as a result of sexism and ageism allegations levelled against the BBC after Arlene Phillips was axed from Strictly Come Dancing last year. 'Is it significant that one is seeing it happen to a greater degree after you faced all the criticism around Strictly Come Dancing?' asked Williams. 'I find that offensive on a number of levels, that I would for some personal reason distort the way I am spending licence fee payers' money,' replied Hunt. 'Sheila was an extraordinary judge and was taken to the hearts of viewers.' Hunt portrayed the job of controller of BBC1 as someone who faces 'incoming fire from the press on a daily basis. In my time on BBC1 it was pretty rare for a story to break in the way we would have wanted. That type of incoming fire is part of the meat and drink of everyday life,' she said. On the press reaction to the changes to Countryfile, which appeared in the media at the end of 2008, Hunt said she was 'relatively agnostic about it. It was not something I felt particularly strongly about or remarked upon,' she added. Asked about the discrimination she had herself faced in the television industry, Hunt said she had not faced any particular problems in the industry but in the way she was treated by the press. 'I haven't had particular issues in the way I have been treated in television. I think I have been a conspicuous female controller in the press's eyes and my gender has been the cause of some press stories. That has been problematic for me,' she added. 'The fact I am a woman has made me more vulnerable to some types of press coverage than a man might have been.' Hunt and the BBC deny that O'Reilly was dropped because of her age and sex. The case continues.

Sky News has announced that former ITV presenter Lucy Cotter has joined the channel as an entertainment correspondent. In her new role, Cotter will provide arts and entertainment stories from around the world for Sky News on TV and online, including red carpet reports from the Oscars, EMMYs and BAFTAs. She will also report live from the Sky News studio in West London on the latest breaking entertainment stories, offering background expertise and analysis. Cotter joins Sky from ITV, where she was an entertainment correspondent and studio presenter on London Tonight. She also researched and presented ITV2's daily entertainment bulletin and covered the Oscars for the channel. Commenting on her move, Cotter said: 'I am incredibly excited to be joining Sky News in my capacity as entertainment correspondent and I'm really looking forward to all the new challenges ahead.' Mark Evans, Sky's head of home news, added: 'Lucy is a first-rate entertainment correspondent and she will continue Sky News' tradition of delivering the fastest-breaking lines, the biggest guests and the slickest stories in the fields of showbiz and entertainment.' Prior to joining ITV, Cotter worked for Sky Arts on the first Hay-on-Sky series with Mariella Frostrup. She also presented regional documentaries for Granada News. Last week, Sky News appointed Nazaneen Ghaffar as the new weather presenter on its Sunrise breakfast programme.

The Simpsons has been recommissioned by FOX for a twenty third season. The network previously renewed the show in 2009, with the option of an additional season. Executive producer Al Jean said: 'Like many twenty two-year-olds, The Simpsons is extremely happy remaining at home, on FOX, and hopes it doesn't have to go out into the real world for many years to come.' The confirmed commission will keep The Simpsons on air until early 2012 and will ensure that the long-running animated comedy reaches its five hundredth episode. The decision will also see the programme become the third-longest running prime time series in the history of television, after CBS family drama Lassie and Western series Gunsmoke.

Hopes of averting a fresh forty eight-hour strike by BBC journalists rose on Thursday after moves to agree new talks between union leaders and management. Members of the National Union of Journalists staged a forty eight-hour walkout last Friday and Saturday in a row over pensions which disrupted radio and TV programmes, and are due to strike again next Monday and Tuesday. Behind the scenes moves are believed to have been held involving Gerry Morrissey, leader of the broadcasting workers' union BECTU, raising hopes that a breakthrough could be achieved. NUJ leaders are set to meet in the next few days and could consider calling off next week's strike, 'sources' are alleged to have told the Press Association. The union has been pressing the BBC to reconsider changes to its pension scheme if its deficit is found to be less than the currently estimated one and a half billion pounds when it is re-evaluated next year.

For a couple of days earlier this week, Adrian Chiles, Christine Bleakley and Peter Fincham all gave high-profile press interviews bigging up Daybroke's 'increased' average overnight ratings figures, which had reached an high of eight hundred and forty five thousand viewers on Friday of last week. (When, let us remember, the BBC were on strike.) Since then, however, it's been pretty much business as usual for Daybroke with figures in virtual freefall - eight hundred and eleven thousand on Monday; seven hundred and seventy seven thousand on Tuesday; and six hundred and ninety eight thousand on Wednesday when its audience share plunged to just over sixteen per cent of available viewers. So, it would seem that 'turning the corner' thing didn't last too long before they walked straight into a brick wall again. How ironic, therefore, that on Thursday the BBC Breakfast show was reviewing the film Morning Glory about a failing TV breakfast show called Daybreak. It was hard not to sympathise with presenters Bill Turnbull and Sian Williams biting their tongues and looking somewhat uncomfortable as they trailed 'a new film about a grumpy TV presenter on a failing breakfast television show.' Personally, I'd've been twisting the knife in further and asking Harrison Ford if he'd based his character on 'anyone we know'?

Lord Alan Sugar-Sweetie has told TV presenter Kirsty Allsopp that she should considering going on a diet. The Location, Location, Location host posted a Twitter message to Lord Sugar saying: 'Using the two minutes silence to plug your book? That's unforgivable by anyones standards![sic]' A few minutes later Lord Sugar-Sweetie hit back, writing: 'Obviously she did not see my tweet about tech glitch, have to saw [sic] clip of her TV show, she realy [sic] needs to think about a diet.' Burn! The pair have previously clashed on Twitter when Sugar-Sweetie branded Allsopp 'a lying cow' in response comments she made claiming that he was 'shockingly uncharitable.'

Ann Widdecombe has said that the world of politics could learn some lessons from Strictly Come Dancing. The former Conservative MP said that the attitude of her rivals on the BBC1 dancing show should embarrass politicians who displayed 'bitterness' when they lost. Speaking about the differences between the two in her Daily Express column, she said: 'When I was becoming popular with grass roots Conservatives my rivals began a frenzy of negative briefing and when I began to appeal to the public they went into overdrive. By contrast, although I cannot dance for toffee, the other contestants on Strictly line the balcony and weep with mirth when I am performing. There is not an ounce of spite among them.' She continued: 'When Jimi Mistry was eliminated in a shock result he showed none of the bitterness that I have seen exhibited by some politicians when they have, rather more deservedly, lost. There were those in my former occupation who cheered me on when I said I was competing in Strictly and there were others who sneered at the show as "lightweight." All I can say is that if this is how lightweight people behave, then roll on the day when the heavyweights learn from them.'

The comedians appearing on this year's Royal Variety Performance have been announced. John Bishop - who seems to be on TV more often than the news these days, the Goddess that is Wor Sarah Millican, Micky Flanagan and wretched Jack Whitehall will take to the stage at the London Palladium on 7 December. It is to be sincerely hoped that Her Very Majesty's representative takes one look at scruffy, unfunny, smug tosser Whitehall and comes over all 'orf with his head' on his sorry ass. The show used to provide a major boost to the careers of those taking part, if they managed to appeal to the mainstream audience who might not normally watch stand-up shows on TV. But, in all honesty, it hasn't done that since Jimmy Tarbuck in the 1960s. The comedians will perform in front of Prince Charles, and the show will be broadcast on prime-time BBC1 a few days after the event. Flanagan said: 'It's an absolute pleasure to be selected. And if things don't work out with the comedy, I might have a word with Charles to see if I can get the contract for doing the windows at the palace.' See, Mr Whitehall, that's what 'a joke' should sound like. Funny. Fun-nee. As previously announced, Michael McIntryre will host the show, becoming the youngest ever compere in its eighty four-year history at just thirty four. He said: 'I got my big break at the Royal Variety Performance in 2006 and returned in 2008, but now to host it is such an honour and I'm unbelievably excited.' Music - if you can call it that - will come from Take That, N-Dubz and Cheryl Cole, while Danielle Hope, winner of BBC talent show Over The Rainbow will join the cast of Les Miserables. Britain's Got Talent winners Spelbound, tenor Russell Watson, and Dancing On Ice skater Daniel Whiston are also scheduled to appear at the charity event in aid of the Entertainment Artistes' Benevolent Fund.

X Factor producers are reportedly planning to introduce a fifth member onto the judging panel. The move comes after Simon Cowell invited twenty fans to a 'brainstorming' session in London to discuss how the show could be improved, reports the Sun. Two points here - X-Factor fans have brains? Well, that's a shocking revelation which has, quite frankly, rocked my world. But, secondly, since when did TV producers - particularly those as powerful as Simon Cowell - ever take any notice of fans? That way lies the mess that Doctor Who go itself into during the 1980s. The idea to incorporate a fifth judge is said to have been endorsed by the fans at the secret meeting, which was held at the headquarters of businessman Sir Philip Green. A 'source' allegedly told the tabloid: 'The idea is ninety per cent a done deal. Simon is still figuring out exactly how it will work.' The proposal is apparently designed to make contestant eliminations more clear-cut in the wake of Treyc Cohen's controversial exit from the ITV talent contest last weekend. 'On one level it could mean that if one of the judges opted out of voting it could still go to deadlock if the others were split two-two,' the 'source' added. 'But the danger is if they all had voting rights and chose to vote it would never go to deadlock.' According to the insider, one possible idea is that the artist who is due to perform on the Sunday night show could act as a guest judge on the Saturday night. 'Simon has always thought a guest judge on live shows would bring some extra drama to proceedings,' they added. 'And he hopes they will shoot from the hip and put a rocket under the rest of the judges, who often bite their tongues.' Personally, if you're up for taking advice from viewers, Simon, I'd have Jimmy McGovern, dressed as Death, as your fifth judge with orders to use his scythe, harshly (if metaphorically), on anybody whose song didn't reflect the inherent conflict between the workers and The Man. I mean, that I'd watch.

Meanwhile, Cowell has reportedly been left 'seething' by suggestions that The X Factor is fixed. Over nine hundred viewers have complained to TV regulator Ofcom after Cheryl Cole's refusal to vote on Sunday's results show. As a consequence of Cole's abstention, Treyc Cohen was eliminated and Katie Waissel was saved by a two-one majority vote on the panel. After comments from host Dermot O'Dreary to a tabloid newspaper, it was later claimed that producers might have engineered the controversial finale by choosing Cole to cast her vote last, rather than second. O'Dreary subsequently attempted to clarify his remarks and Cole had indicated that she would have intentionally tied the panel in deadlock and thus taken the decision to the earlier public vote. A 'source' allegedly told the Daily Scum Mail: 'Simon is absolutely furious. He denies - one hundred per cent - that The X Factor is fixed. The fact that some viewers believe this has left him seething. He's not particularly happy with Dermot, but to be honest, he thinks the entire thing has been blown out of proportion. He would never want to defraud X Factor fans.'

The sister of axed X Factor contestant Treyc Cohen has 'blasted' Katie Waissel and called for a boycott of the show by viewers. That's tabloid-speak for 'criticised.' Selina Cohen hit out after her sister was eliminated from the series last weekend following the controversial judges' vote, the Sun reports. The twenty eight-year-old branded Waissel 'a useless freak show' and said that viewers should not 'waste their time' voting. 'What's the point of the public voting if their votes are worthless?' she said. 'Fans should boycott the voting if Katie stays in this week.' She added: 'Treyc said she was gutted but could cope because she knew everyone knew she was a better singer than Katie.' Their father, Fitzgerald, previously claimed that the result was a 'fix' and said that Katie should have left the competition.

Stacey Solomon - remember her? - has said that she expects to be given the majority of bushtucker trials on I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here! The twenty one-year-old X Factor loser, who will enter the jungle later this week, has confessed to a fear of bugs and suffering from claustrophobia ahead of the jungle-based reality show. Oh, I don't think you should have said that, Stace, love. 'I am the type of person to squeal and I do think I will be voted for every trial. I can see that happening,' she said. Nor, indeed, that. 'But, I want to see if I can do it and I am definitely going to give it a good go. It is an endurance test and I am sure I will make a fool of myself. But nobody is perfect.' Solomon said that she is dreading any challenge with alligators, bugs or small spaces, claiming that viewers are bound to end up laughing at her. She added: 'I am anxious and nervous too.' Err, those are - essentially - the same thing, Stace. 'I want to know what is in there. I have never been to Australia, let alone go in a rainforest. And, yes, I might have to do some ridiculous things like eat camel toes but I think it's going to be hilarious. I am sure I will go on a real journey.'

Wagner Carrilho has admitted that he was 'disgusted' with himself with his performance of 'Viva Las Vegas' on last Saturday's X Factor. And, so he should be. Next ...

The BBC must reduce the cost of their Red Button content and improve audience appreciation of the interactive TV service, the BBC Trust has said. The corporation's governing body published a review of the Red Button service which is available on Freeview, Virgin Media, Freesat and Sky. The service enables users to access digital text information on TV, as well as sport, music and entertainment coverage. The Trust praised Red Button as the UK's most popular interactive TV service, with an average audience of 12.7 million users every week, peaking at 14.7m this summer during the Glastonbury festival and Wimbledon. However, the Trust criticised the 'substantial' cost of providing Red Button, which stood at £39.3m in 2009-10. That works out at around six pence per week per user, which - to be fair - is low compared to other BBC services. But, the Trust noted, audience appreciation for the Red Button is 'moderate' at best. The Trust is concerned that Red Button does not have the same high standing with users as the BBC's other interactive services, such as BBC Online or iPlayer. More than twenty million pounds of Red Button's budget goes on distribution to different platforms, specifically because the service differs slightly between the platforms. The Trust called on the BBC Executive to explore ways to cut distribution costs by 'offering a service that varies less between digital TV platforms, and so improves the consistency of service for viewers.' That also means focusing on Red Button's strengths, including its digital text service - offering news stories, weather updates and sport results - and live coverage of events such as Formula One and Glastonbury. Interestingly, a submission in the review by the BBC Executive stated that Red Button could become an access point to IPTV and broadcast content in the future. The Trust said that it fully supports the BBC's aim to create an IPTV platform, but warned that it is 'too early to be clear about Red Button's future role in the BBC's IPTV plans.' BBC trustee Diana Coyle, who led the review, said: 'Red Button reaches a large audience and is effective in helping the BBC promote some of its public purposes. It is not as popular as the BBC's other interactive services such as the iPlayer, however, and its overall costs - particularly for distribution - are substantial.' She added: 'The Trust will therefore look to the BBC Executive to reduce costs when and where possible by focussing on the aspects of the service that are most successful to date. The Trust notes the Executive's statements on the future role for Red Button in the delivery of IPTV and will monitor this as the IPTV market develops.'

BBC1 has announced the cast for its new daytime drama Thirty Two Brinkburn Street. The programme, which will air in March to coincide with the 2011 census, focuses on two generations of a family living in a house in Manchester. Waterloo Road actress Eva Pope will appear in the series along with Jam And Jerusalem's Maggie Steed, Shameless actor Jack Deam and Moses Jones's Wunmi Mosaku. The show will centre on one generation in 1931 and another in 2011 and will examine how the characters deal with similar issues. Each episode in the five-part series will cover twenty four hours and topics included are expected to include pregnancy, addiction, infidelity, mental health and ageing. Meanwhile, a mystery involving a human bundle buried behind an attic wall in 1931 will run throughout the series. The show's cast also includes Ciaran McMenamin, David Ross, Rebecca Callard, Tim Dantay, Joe Dixon and Steve Jackson. BBC Daytime controller Liam Keelan said: 'This new warm, accessible, compelling story about a family across the generations, with another high calibre cast, is part of BBC Daytime's ongoing commitment to produce more quality original British drama, which we know our audiences love.'

FOX is reportedly considering a midseason commission for workplace sitcom Breaking In. It was reported in March that Christian Slater had signed up to play the lead role in the comedy pilot, which is set at a digital security firm. Deadline is now reporting that the show could serve as a replacement for under performing sitcom Running Wilde. FOX originally declined to pick up Breaking In in May, but later ordered two additional scripts and extended their options on the pilot's cast, including Slater and former Reaper star Bret Harrison.

Nearly four hundred fans of Strictly Come Dancing came to BBC Television Centre this week to be filmed dancing for a new Strictly-themed BBC1 ident. The fans responded to the BBC's invitation to learn a special routine created by Strictly favourite Karen Hardy, and braved the November cold to dance in the iconic doughnut at the centre of Television Centre. The fans reportedly enjoyed a day of behind-the-scenes experiences, including appearances by series two winner Dazzling Darren Gough, last year's contestant and former EastEnder Ricky Groves, current season evictees balding former TV magician and nasty little Tory Paul Daniels and Peter The Cat Shilton, as well as Strictly dancers Erin Boag, Kristina Rihanoff and Jared Murillo. In an extra special surprise for the fans, Joe Calzaghe came along to dance with Kristina Rihanoff. Badly. As usual. Fans queued from early morning to be among the first to enter BBC Television Centre, where they also enjoyed backstage tours of the studios, currently celebrating their fiftieth anniversary. The routine choreographed for the ident by Karen Hardy was made available on the Strictly Come Dancing website and the Strictly pages on Facebook and YouTube, and hundreds practised the routine in advance to be able to dance in perfect co-ordination for the ident. A giant crane suspended a camera at fifty metres over the centre of Television Centre to capture the public as they danced around the doughnut. The ident will be premiered on Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two with a story about 'the making of' in the next couple of weeks and then premiere on BBC1 on the evening of Saturday 20 November.

The BBC has commissioned two new series of Total Wipeout. The fourth and fifth runs will feature two celebrity specials each and both series will climax with an episode involving previous champions. Meanwhile, the fifth series of the show will introduce a new course to test the contestants in different ways. The BBC's entertainment editor Mirella Breda said: 'Total Wipeout has firmly established itself as part of BBC1's Saturday entertainment family. We are thrilled that it is loved by viewers of all ages and it is a pleasure to have recommissioned the show for a further two series. Be prepared for more comedy moments as the British public take on the mighty red balls one more time.'

Channel Four Education has announced a raft of new commissions and confirmed that an additional one million pounds will be invested next year to reach ten to fourteen year-olds. The division's new slate of projects includes The End, a platform game due to launch in April 2011 which will aim to help teenagers explore themes of death, belief and science. Another project is Walking City - developed by new independent studio Big Robot - which will task players with handling strategic management of a modern urban metropolis. Alternatively, Footfall will task predominantly female players with running a start-up shoe shop and turning it into a multi-chain empire. Education will also release real-world financial game International Racing Squirrels, as well as healthy-eating challenge title Yes Chef!, ethical fashion game Closet Swap and tower defence-style online game Sweatshop, created by Littleloud. Despite the recent closure of Channel Four's digital investment unit 4iP, the Education division has seen its 2011 budget guaranteed to match the 2010 level. Initial projects include avatar-based application Who Am I?, which will help young people explore their identity and Truth Specs (working title), created by the Somethin' Else agency as an extension of its successful Super Me campaign. 'Channel Four Education is utterly committed to providing engaging, exciting material for our target audience, now extended to include ten to fourteen year olds,' said Alice Taylor, Channel Four Education commissioning editor. 'Covering a fantastic range of formats and platforms, the projects are varied and fun whilst still tackling useful and important subject matter. As usual we aim to represent teens - and now tweens - in their best light, and to continue to find new talent and recruit UK independents in the drive to provide public service content of the very highest quality.' In the next few weeks Channel Four Education will also launch a new batch of online videos in the Science Of … series, hosted by Derren Brown. In the Science Of Attraction, Brown will unveil the science behind what makes us appeal to others. Also this autumn, the division will launch browser-based media literacy game Cover Girl and announce the latest campaigner to sign up to Battlefront.

The BBC has no ambitions to take over S4C when it starts funding the channel, the chairman of the BBC Trust has said. In a letter to his counterpart at S4C, Sir Michael Lyons said the BBC was committed to maintaining the channel's creative independence. As part of the UK government's spending review last month, the BBC will take over funding within three years. Legislation has been introduced to break the link between the channel's annual grant and inflation. In his letter to S4C Authority chairman John Walter Jones, Sir Michael said that in 2013-14 the BBC will contribute more than seventy six million pounds to the channel. He said: 'The BBC Trust is the guardian of the licence fee and as a result will need to have oversight of how this money is being spent. The licence fee settlement sets out in broad terms how this might be achieved.'

British Eurosport has confirmed plans to broadcast more live Test cricket with the series between Sri Lanka and the West Indies next week. This week, British Eurosport is broadcasting the Test series between Pakistan and South Africa, marking the Eurosport Group's first foray into Test cricket coverage in the UK. Under a deal with Zee Network Europe, the broadcaster will also offer live coverage of the West Indies' tour of Sri Lanka. The first Test starts on 15 November in Galle, with Colombo the second Test venue from 23 November and the series due to wrap up in Kandy from 1 December. All matches will begin at 4.30am GMT. Throughout November and December, the broadcaster will also air all five one-day internationals between the two sides and a one-off Twenty20 match. David Kerr, the recently-appointed new managing director of Eurosport in the UK, said: 'Cricket is proving to be a real hit on British Eurosport and we are delighted to be able to offer our viewers yet another excellent international series in 2010. In addition, we hope it will bring new sports fans to the channel at the end of what has already been record year for our ratings in the UK.' Govind Shahi, head of business at Zee Network Europe, added: 'I am delighted with British Eurosport and Zee's on-going association and am confident that the coming cricket series will be pivotal in further popularising the appeal of cricket in the UK.

It was the talk of his street when Derek Wills first brought home his colour television in 1968. Since then the hefty Mitsubishi set has provided the family with over four decades of happy viewing – and is still going strong. Bought shortly before BBC1 began broadcasting in colour, Wills's TV set is one of the oldest colour appliances still working. Wills, sixty nine, a retired engineer from Torquay, said: 'It was far, far ahead of its time. It's got a beautiful picture.' While his television does not manage a high definition picture, Wills does get a range of channels thanks to a set top box. He paid three hundred pounds for the twenty two-inch television – a huge sum at the time. 'That model had just come out when I bought it and it was sold to me as "the Rolls-Royce of televisions – built to last,"' he said. 'The telly's still in great order.' Wills's favourite programmes at the time of his purchase included the BBC police dramas Z-Cars and Dixon of Dock Green. The set was the family's only television until he bought an HD flatscreen last year. Wills now keeps the old TV in his bedroom, where he continues to use it. BBC2 broadcast its first colour pictures from Wimbledon in 1967. By mid-1968 nearly all BBC2 programme were going out in colour but it wasn't until late 1969 that BBC1 and ITV began regularly broadcasting in colour. David Attenborough, then the controller of BBC2, was responsible for overseeing the new colour service.

A celebrity make-up artist whose clients include the Duchess of Cornwall and Lily Allen drove into a bus lane with a TV producer hanging on to the bonnet of her car, a court heard. Presumably not because her clients include the Duchess of Cornwall and Lily Allen. Because that would just be weird. Teresa Fairminer, who took care of Camilla's hair and make-up for her wedding to Prince Charles, was 'absolutely possessed,' the jury was told. The fifty nine-year-old had stormed round to the offices of TV producer Dominic Moran after he e-mailed her saying he was disappointed she had pulled out of a consultation for his niece's wedding. 'I received a call from Teresa that staggered me,' he said. 'She said she was coming in to sort me out, her and her boyfriend. She stormed straight through reception and past my twelve employees. It was like listening to a docker. She grabbed my glasses off my face, threw them at a wall and broke them. She started pushing me and punching me. When I told her the police were coming she high-tailed it out.' Moran tried to block her leaving the car park at the offices of Chiswick Life TV in West London. CCTV captured him being carried on the bonnet of her Mini Cooper into Chiswick High Road. 'I was carried into the bus lane and thought I was going to go under one. She could have killed me,' said Moran. Fairminer, whose clients also include Catherine Zeta-Jones, Cherie Blair and Yasmin Le Bon, had cancelled the wedding make-up consultation because her boyfriend was treating her to a surprise birthday weekend in Paris, the court heard. She admitted to police grabbing Moran's glasses but insisted she had dropped them gently on the carpeted floor. She later told police: 'The moral of this is don't stand in front of an angry woman in a car.' Fairminer, of Chiswick, denies dangerous driving on 9 March, and causing criminal damage to Moran's six hundred pounds Prada spectacles. The trial at Isleworth crown court continues.

Jamie Oliver this week met with the health secretary, Andrew Lansley who, earlier this year, criticised the chef's campaign to improve school food. Oliver voiced concern about ending the School Lunch Grant, which has helped schools upgrade menus and dining areas, Lansley's decision to scrap England's NHS primary care trusts, and an alleged lack of incentives for GPs to help obese patients lose weight. Lansley, hopefully, replied that Oliver - seen right, blubbing like a girl - should, frankly, mind his own effing business and, if he was really so concerned about the issue, dig deep into his own pockets for some of that money he gets from all those bloody wretched Asda adverts he makes and pay for the damn initiative himself. But, that's not going to happen, is it dear blog reader?

Kerry Katona has reportedly landed a new ITV2 fly-on-the-wall series. The thirty-year-old reality TV regular's show will replace a series of formats featuring Katie Price, who left the network for an exclusive new deal with Virgin Media Television earlier this year, according to the Sun. 'There will be a special to start it all off, which will bring viewers up to date with everything that's happened in her life,' a source told the paper. I don't think they'll need that, to be honest. if most of them read the tabloids, they'll know it all off by heart. 'Then there will be a full series. Kerry is turning her life around and is gagging to get back on the box. It feels like the right time to bring her back.' One person who will be delighted by this news is Mad Frankie Boyle whose new Channel Four series starts soon. As it means he's just got his main source of material back.

Stephen Fry triumphed over books by Tony Blair and Lord Sugar-Sweetie to win biography of the year at the Galaxy National Book Awards. Stephen won the prize for his second volume of memoirs, The Fry Chronicles, at a ceremony attended by figures from the publishing world. Literary veterans Terry Pratchett and Martin Amis were given awards for outstanding achievement. Popular fiction book of the year went to David Nicholls' One Day. Pratchett - the Discworld novelist who has been battling Alzheimer's - said of his win: 'I'm amazed. You find something that you like doing and do well and keep on doing it and suddenly they give you an award, when all I was really doing was having a lot of fun.' Broadcaster Andrew Marr landed the non-fiction prize for The Making Of Modern Britain, while Hilary Mantel picked up the UK author of the year award, seeing off competition from Maggie O'Farrell and Kate Atkinson. Yotam Ottolenghi beat Jamie Oliver (sadly not with a big hard stick, cos that would have been worth reporting), Nigella Lawson and Nigel Slater to food and drink book prize for Plenty. Best children's book was Zog by the creators of The Gruffalo, Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Their tale about an accident-prone dragon beat comedian David Walliams's book Mr Stink. American author Jonathan Franzen collected the International Author of the Year trophy for Freedom, while New Writer of the Year went to ceramic artist Edmund de Waal, for his collection of family memoirs, The Hare With Amber Eyes. The ceremony, which took place at Television Centre, was hosted by David Baddiel with guests including Claudia Winkleman, Arlene Phillips and Richard E Grant.

The Daily Scum Mail may face prosecution in Spain for invading the privacy of a minor. It follows the paper's publication of pictures of a ten-year-old girl who had a baby with her thirteen-year-old cousin. Elena Chiritescu, a Romanian immigrant to Spain - and described by the Mail as 'a gipsy girl' - gave birth to a daughter on 26 October (co-incidentally, yer Keith Telly Topping's birthday ... all right, it wasn't that interesting, I agree). The father was identified as Gheorghe Mecic. According to a report on an English-language news website in Andalucia, the Seville prosecutors' office has contacted the Spanish attorney general in Madrid to explore whether legal action could, or should, be taken against the paper. Last week María José Segarra, Seville's chief prosecutor, made a request to the media to stop publishing pictures of the family's home. She also announced she was taking legal action against a newspaper in Cádiz that had printed the first photos of the child. The Scum Mail first revealed the birth on 2 November, but had few details. It was its follow-up, five days later, with pictures of the couple, that appears to have upset the Seville legal authorities.

Keith Richards has allegedly hit a Swedish journalist on the head, really hard, following an altercation. The Rolling Stones guitarist was promoting his new book Life in Paris when he began arguing with Aftonbladets reporter Markus Larsson, according to Spinner. 'He stood up and asked if we would put out the lights and settle the disagreement straight away,' Larsson recalled of the incident. 'At first I was just surprised - I thought he was pulling my leg - but then I realised he was serious and then I felt uncomfortable and I just wanted to get out of there pretty fast.' He also claimed that Richards told him: 'You're lucky to get out of here alive.' The two have had a longstanding feud stemming from a 2007 incident in which Larsson gave a Rolling Stones concert something of a bad review.

A woman has been overcharged when buying fruit and vegetables in a supermarket after the cashier's breasts rested on the weighing scales. The problem was discovered when the shopper queried the £1.95 price of a single green pepper at the Co-operative store in Jersey, the Daily Scum Mail reports. Chief executive of Channel Islands Co-operative Jim Hopley said: 'The supervisor was called and it was resolved immediately. The young lady concerned was taken aside and the matter was sorted out. We have now adjusted the chair. We also checked the till receipt to see if anyone else had been overcharged. When the customer asked the supervisor what had caused the problem on the way out of the store, he told her the cashier's boob had been resting on the scale.' Hopley added: 'I won't identify the cashier by giving her name or the branch of the store where it happened because it has been upsetting for her and it has had an effect on her. The HR department is helping her at the moment because it has been very embarrassing for her and she is mortified.'

British space enthusiasts have made history by launching a paper aeroplane into space which captured a series of breathtaking images on its glide back to earth. The team crafted the aeroplane from sheets and straws of paper, fitted it with a camera and attached it to a helium weather balloon to lift it into the atmosphere. After drifting seventeen miles into space, the balloon eventually exploded, allowing the three-foot wingspan aircraft to drift - reasonably gently - back to earth while taking pictures of its descent. Code-named Operation PARIS (Paper Aircraft Released Into Space), the project saw the aeroplane take off from a remote area fifty miles west of Madrid on 28 October. Steve Daniels, Lester Haines and John Oates, who designed the plane, monitored its flight during its ninety-minute ascent to ninety thousand feet using a GPS navigation system. After the expanding helium caused the balloon to burst, they then tracked it as it glided downwards for another ninety minutes. Remarkably, it landed only one hundred miles from its release point in an area of woodland and was intact, except for a small hole in its wing. Daniels, forty two, an IT consultant from Paignton, said that the team of amateur space explorers embarked on the project ''for a laugh'' but ended up spending around eight thousand pounds. The married father-of-two said: ''Somebody launched a bit of cheese out of a balloon, which we thought was bit stupid. 'We thought we could do something more technical than that. It seems really silly but it was brilliant fun. 'Nobody had ever done it before, so we were worried about what could go wrong. It was a little bit stressful.' The three enthusiasts got together after discussing the project on the IT website The Register and were sponsored by Peer One Networking. Oates, thirty nine, from London, added: 'We wanted a daft project but we were amazed by how successful it was. We are absolutely delighted. I never thought we would find the plane at all. It could have ended up anywhere and I thought it would be smashed to pieces. To find it intact in such a wild area was amazing. There was a small hole in the wing, but otherwise it was fine.' Daniels told Sky News Online (where they got his name wrong!): 'We did it because we wanted to see if we could. We expected a few niggles and thought that the plane would come back to earth in bits but it was all in one piece. It's a world first, I believe. I understand the Australians are going to challenge us and we look forward to that. But we did it first!'

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, it's back to the era of sharp clothes and sharp attitude. Never mind the Buzzcocks, here's the quality.A bit of Shelley, just what a chap needs when he's own in dumps.

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