Monday, December 20, 2010

Angst In My Pants

Christmas came early for Matt Smith when he got to star in his first Doctor Who festive special. Five months early, to be exact, which is when they filmed the episode. But that didn't dampen Matt's childlike glee in the slightest. 'I even got to come down the chimney!' Matt told the Sunday Mercury. Since the character was successfully revived in 2005, it has become a Time Lord tradition to have a special episode on Christmas Day, and Matt is eagerly awaiting his debut. 'I've always wanted to be part of the Christmas Doctor Who experience,' he confided. 'And I think this is certainly one of the most Christmassy and inventive stories so far. Steven Moffat just keeps getting even more imaginative. The great thing about this episode is that when Doctor Who and Christmas are put together, you combine the spirit of both those things. It feels very Dickensian, though set in a mad futuristic world. It's a fun old yarn which evolves into something more magical than your classic monster episode. And the Doctor simply loves Christmas.' So, too, does Matt, who will be spending the day at home with his family in Northampton. 'Watching Doctor Who, of course!' he adds. 'I imagine we'll have a big lunch first and then we'll watch the episode. Last year was weird, because I watched that Doctor Who Christmas special with my mum and dad and my sister, and I was just sort of going: "Oh dear Lord, I'm going to turn into Doctor Who." It was quite an odd experience. Exciting, though.' The special starts with Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory (Arthur Darvill) on their honeymoon, though being time-travellers they couldn't just go to the Caribbean like a normal couple. They head off on a spaceship which inevitably gets into trouble and needs to make an emergency landing on a nearby planet. Fortunately the Doctor is there to save them – and to take on a horrible monster, in the form of a shark. 'I was very excited about the wonderful shark,' reveals Matt. 'I've always wanted to explore the aquatic. Viewers can expect Jaws with a twist!' Matt says that he loved acting opposite the great Michael Gambon and the singer Katherine Jenkins. 'It was a real privilege to work with Michael,' explains Matt. 'I had a great time with him and he was really naughty! He's so crafty. When I asked him about working with iconic actors such as Olivier and Bates, he said the one thing they all had in common was that they were naughty – and he's exactly the same. He was very mischievous, constantly telling jokes and getting into the spirit of play. He plays a Scrooge-like miser, and to play an old grump there is no-one better than Gambon! But Michael also really makes you feel for this man and he can somehow turn himself into a little boy at times. He's a very impressive actor. With Katherine I was astounded by her professionalism,' he adds. 'Considering it was her first acting experience I thought she handled it with real craft and diligence. She looks like a princess and, boy, can she sing. The way she controls her voice and the grace with which she sings is quite incredible.' Jenkins clearly knows how to disguise her nerves, because she confides to the paper: 'I wasn't sure I could do it. I was very nervous and felt out of my comfort zone, because I hadn't done any acting before. But the team were so welcoming and supportive, they made me feel I could do it.' Katherine didn't just have to pretend to be a young woman frozen in an ice chamber, she also had to pretend to be festive even though the episode was filmed in July. 'It certainly felt very Christmassy, even filming it in summer!' said the opera singer who is selflessly spending her Christmas entertaining the troops in Afghanistan. 'The story is very emotional, which I hope is going to touch people.' So, after nine hundred odd Christmases, what could you possibly get The Doctor as a present? Writer Steven Moffat is amused by the question: 'He's got a TARDIS! He's got all of time and space. You really don't have to give him anything. He just larks about. He's got the ideal life. He's got it sorted.'

Meanwhile, here's a very nice clip from the Doctor Who News website of the TARDIS trio 'singing' (ahem) 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.' Nice touch of piano from Arthur there. But as for Matt and Karen's vocal efforts ... Yer Keith Telly Topping has been to a few parties like that in his time too, kids!

Pamela Connolly will earn around one million smackers from her appearance on Strictly Come Dancing, it has been claimed. According to the Sunday Mirror, the psychologist has been 'bombarded' with television offers after shedding two-and-a-half stone during her time in the competition. Although where, exactly, they claim to have got the figure they're quoting from, they don't say. Connolly allegedly told them: 'I would definitely ­consider doing a fitness DVD.' She added that her husband, Billy, would often check up on her and dance partner James Jordan, saying: 'Billy's on the phone to James every day saying, "How is it going?" and James says, "Where does your wife get all the energy from?" I was trying to make Billy jealous by being all over James!' Speaking of her plans for Christmas, she said: 'We won't be dancing round the living room. I'll be having a lie down, thanks.'

Kara Tointon received hospital treatment after winning Strictly on Saturday night, it has been revealed. The actress was taken to A&E of a major London hospital following her triumph, where she was told she had torn ligaments in her lower arm, reports the Press Association. She originally injured her arm during training for the BBC show and described continuing to dance as 'the most painful thing I've ever done.' What, more painful than some of the storylines in Dream Team? Surely some mistake? Speaking of her dance partner Artem Chigvintsev, to whom she became close whilst on the show, Tointon added: 'I think we are going to literally not go anywhere today. It'll be quite nice. He's going to cook for me in my mum and dad's kitchen. They've met him and they all get on so well.' Asked whether the pair will begin a relationship, she said: 'Fingers crossed. We will see what happens.'

Bruce Forsyth is widely expected to leave Strictly Come Dancing next year, according to 'show sources.' Allegedly. The eighty two-year-old - who stepped down from the Sunday night results show this series to lessen his workload - appeared to be showing signs of fatigue during this weekend's final, claims the Sun. Well, he's eighty two, why not? 'Bruce has had an amazing time, but the strain is starting to show,' a snitchy 'source' is alleged to have said. 'He fell over a few of his autocue lines during the final and was a bit crabby during his half-time song. Everyone expects him to retire now the final is done and nobody would blame him for wanting to put his feet up.' Last month, John Barrowman was tipped as the frontrunner to succeed Forsyth as the host.

The final of Strictly Come Dancing made it a bumper ratings night of the BBC on Saturday. A fraction under thirteen million viewers watched the main show, with a peak of fourteen and a half million at 7:55pm, whilst the results show had an average audience of 13.08m. That moves Strictly ahead of the finals of I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity ... and Britain's Got Talent to become the country's sixth highest rated programme of the year so far. Following this, the BBC News achieved an astounding audience of 9.43m, whilst the National Lottery Saturday Draw between the two episodes of Strictly had 8.24m viewers. Other BBC1 shows to score impressive, higher than usual, ratings include Celebrity Total Wipeout with 5.51m, The Impressions Show with 5.65m and Casualty with its highest audience for some months, 6.76m. After several weeks of blanket dominance on Saturday nights, thanks to The X Factor and I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity ... it was back to earth with a somewhat muffled crunch for the commercial broadcaster with not a single ITV show managing to top five million. Their best-rated show of the night was Take Me Out with 4.66m.

Grand National winner Tony McCoy has been voted the 2010 BBC Sports Personality of the Year. The thirty six-year-old from County Antrim in Northern Ireland has been the champion jockey fifteen times and becomes the first rider to win the BBC award. 'To win this award is surreal, an unbelievable feeling,' said McCoy, who has ridden more than three thousand winners. Darts player Phil Taylor came second, while heptathlete Jessica Ennis finished in third place. McCoy, who has sustained numerous injuries during his stellar career, won the Grand National at Aintree for the first time in 2010 on Don't Push It. He became champion jockey for the first time in the 1995-96 season and beat Sir Gordon Richards' all-time record of two hundred and sixty nine winners in a season in 2002. McCoy has won almost every big race in the National Hunt calendar, including the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle and King George VI Chase. 'My daughter Eve, who is three, was shouting at me when she knew I was going to be on television this evening,' added McCoy as he accepted his Sports Personality award, which was voted for by the public. 'When I started off as a jockey I wanted to be champion jockey in my mind, and I have been lucky enough to be champion jockey for fifteen years. But the Grand National is the biggest horse race in the world and everyone knows I had won all the other races and to finally achieve that. It was just an unbelievable day.' Fellow jockey Ruby Walsh said: 'He's dominated racing like Tiger Woods dominated golf and Roger Federer dominated tennis.' David Beckham received the Lifetime Achievement award, which was presented to him by Sir Bobby Charlton and Ryan Giggs. Presumably because it was too heavy for just one of them to carry it. 'I dedicate my award to the men and the women who are serving our country in Afghanistan,' said a visibly emotional Beckham after receiving a lengthy standing ovation from the crowd at the LG Arena in Birmingham. 'I am very humbled to receive an award for something I love doing and to receive it from Sir Bobby Charlton, who was there when I first started at United, I am truly honoured.' Tom Daley won the Young Sports Personality of the Year award for the third time. The sixteen-year-old diver said: 'It has been a very tough year with injury and I was very happy to go to the Commonwealths and come away with two gold medals.' The victorious European Ryder Cup side won the Team of the Year award. They defeated the US by a single point to retain the trophy after a rain-affected competition at Celtic Manor in Wales. 'It is an honour to be here on behalf of that team,' said captain Colin Montgomerie as he accepted the award. 'We thank you for your support and votes and we want to thank every spectator that turned out to support the team in Wales." Montgomerie was named Coach of the Year but paid generous tribute to the other members of his coaching team - Thomas Bjorn, Darren Clarke, Paul McGinley, Mark Roe and Sergio Garcia. 'They are unsung heroes, the guys you don't hear about but who get our team on form and prepared,' said Montgomerie. 'It is a fantastic year for European golf.' Tennis player Rafael Nadal, who claimed three of the four Grand Slams in 2010, won the Overseas Sports Personality award. 'For me it is an honour to receive this award - thank you very much,' said Nadal. 'I am now on a list of great champions who have received this.' Basketball coach Lance Haggith won the Unsung Hero award after impressing the judges with his dedication to coaching. The fifty-year-old has worked with children and young people of all abilities for the last thirty years. 'It is a great award and a great honour but I would like to say I receive this on behalf of all the volunteers that have helped me over the years,' said Haggith, who comes from Bedford. 'There is not enough recognition to volunteers throughout the UK, without them there would be no backbone to the country.' Formula One team boss Sir Frank Williams won the Helen Rollason award. The Williams team are the third most successful F1 team in history, having won sixteen championship titles. 'It is one I would love to do again if I was younger,' said the sixty eight-year-old of his career in the sport.

Simon Cowell has - allegedly - been 'warned' by FOX executives to avoid broadcasting 'anything provocative' when the US version of The X Factor begins next year. The UK talent show recently attracted thousands of complaints following 'racy' performances by Christina Aguilera and Rihanna during the final. American network bosses are said to be nervous over the amount of controversy stirred up by the incident and have told Cowell to tone down the suggestive content when the show begins Stateside. A FOX 'source' allegedly told the Sunday Express: 'You can probably get away with a lot more on mainstream TV in the UK than the US. We'd have been flooded with complaints if we had broadcast anything as risqué as you saw in Britain last week.'

Most ridiculously over-the-top headline of the week - by about a million miles - was We didn't need sex-crazed nymphs before the watershed from, of course, those lovely people at the Daily Scum Mail. Wasn't that the first line of an old Pink Floyd song? Anyway, what a bunch of hypocritical slime those Scum Mailers are. They're so absolutely and sickeningly disgusted by the goings on at The X-Factor final that they promptly publish large photographs of every single thing that so disgusted them in the first place. In the interests of the public having the right to see Christine Aguilera's knickers for themselves.

Apprentice contestant Stuart Baggs has admitted that he was 'horrified' by the negative reaction that some people had to his appearance on the show. The telecommunications entrepreneur, who was spectacularly fired by Lord Sugar-Sweetie in Wednesday's semi-final, revealed that he has even seen death threats directed at him on the Internet. He told the News of the World: 'I was horrified at what people had written about me on the Internet. Some said, "I want to kill Stuart Baggs." It was terrifying. The majority were very unpleasant. The only saving grace is I imagine these people to be some fat bastard sitting in front of the telly, covered in Jaffa Cake crumbs and eating week-old food out of their belly-buttons.' Well, that neatly describes just about all TV reviewers - including yer Keith Telly Topping - Stu, but what about 'normal' viewers? Oh no, hang on. This is The Apprentice we're talking about. He added: 'I was a twat on the show and it wasn't very flattering to watch. They stifled a twenty one-year-old's enthusiasm by kicking him repeatedly in the face. I wanted that job. I wanted people to think the loudmouth done good. But it didn't transpire that way. It upset me.'

X Factor flops Wagner Carrilho and Chloe Mafia reportedly spent the night together after last weekend's final. According to the Sunday Mirror, the pair 'became close' at the after-show party and returned to the nearby Quality Hotel together. Ian Hough, the father of Mafia's two-year-old daughter, said: 'She said she remembered going to his room and falling on to his bed. She also said she remembered them both stripping and having full sex. It was only when she woke up and saw him next to her that she realised properly what had happened. She rang me on Sunday morning and said, "Oh my God. What have I done?" She woke up and wasn't sure at first who she was in bed with. Then she felt hands on her body. She rolled over and opened her eyes and saw that it was Wagner. He told her he wanted to be her new boyfriend and that they should go public that day. She couldn't get her clothes on and out of his room fast enough. I think it will take her quite a long time to recover from the shock of it.' Well, yeah. Particularly after you grassed the incident up to the entire country, Ian. Jolly well done, there. Hope the snitching money they paid you was worth the effort. Mafia apparently ended her relationship with her last boyfriend, Dymond Allen, just hours earlier after becoming angry with him talking to the X Factor dancers. Oh. Rebound.

Coronation Street actress Katherine Kelly is reportedly planning to quit the soap when her contract runs out next year. The actress, who has played Becky McDonald for nearly five years, apparently wants to 'explore new acting roles' but has been assured by producer Phil Collinson that the door will be left open for her. A 'source', nameless, of course, allegedly told the Daily Lies Sunday: 'It came as a huge blow to everyone but, after nearly five years playing Becky, they understood her decision. She wants to go off and try other roles. Becky is one of the soap's most popular characters and since they teamed her up with Steve they've quickly become one of the soap world's favourite couples. It was a really hard decision for Katherine as she adores Corrie. She was a huge fan of the show before she joined and will always be grateful for everything that Corrie has done for her. She'll be a big loss but her contract doesn't run out until the end of October so she'll be on screen until next Christmas.' A Coronation Street spokesman said: 'Katherine Kelly is committed to Coronation Street to the end of 2011. It would be premature to discuss the departure of any actor when they still have almost twelve months to go on their contract.'

Cocaine-shamed horrorshow Kerry Katona, ex-newsreader Angela Rippon and alleged rapper Vanilla Ice are among the celebrities set to take part in the next series of ITV1's Dancing on Ice. And, as ever, one uses the word 'celebrity' quite wrongly. Actor Steven Arnold, whose Coronation Street character Ashley Peacock was recently killed off, is also among the sixteen 'celebrities' (very much in inverted commas this time around) hoping to compete in the show. Although sixteen prepared for the show, only twelve will reach the competition stage. The series will begin with two shows on 9 and 16 January in which four hopefuls will be axed after votes from viewers. Tragically, not with actual axes. Victoria Cross awardee Lance Corporal Johnson Beharry, the first contestant from outside the worlds of sport and showbusiness, is also in training to compete. Soap actors are well represented in the line-up. Another ex-Coronation Street actress Denise Welch, former EastEnders actor Sam Attwater, Australian Craig McLachlan - best known for his roles in Neighbours and Bugs - and Hollyoaks actress Jennifer Metcalfe are all set to appear in the show. Cricketer Dominic Cork, BBC Radio 1's David Vitty - better known as Chris Moyles's sidekick Comedy Dave - and Chloe Madeley, the daughter of Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan - and, therefore, not a celebrity in her own right in any way shape or form - are also said to be in the running. Nickelodeon presenter Laura Hamilton, Chelsea footballer Frank Lampard's ex-girlfriend Ellen Rives(!) and actress Nadia Sawalha complete the line-up. Blimey. An ex-WAG, now that's barrel scraping! Spice Girl Emma Bunton and nasty choreographer Jason Gardiner will remain on the judging panel, along with former Olympic figure skater Robin Cousins, who is the head judge. The voting panel has been reduced from four to three after a decision was taken not to replace Nicky Slater, who announced he was leaving the show last month.

Katona, meanwhile, has reportedly cracked two ribs during training for the series. Which is, if true, frankly hilarious. According to the Daily Lies, Katona has spent the past few days recovering in bed. Take your time, chuck. No hurry.

Liz Hurley has reportedly ended her relationship with Shane Warne after discovering that he was texting another woman. According to the News of the World, the legendary Australian cricketer sent Melbourne-based businesswoman Adele Angeleri over one hundred text messages at the same time as he was pursuing Hurley. The texts are said to have ended in early December when Angeleri's husband, Denis, found out. An anonymous family friend allegedly told the paper: 'They exchanged numbers then Shane kept coming into Adele's shop, chatting her up and texting her. At one point he asked if she was married and was told the truth. Shane made all the running but Adele was flattered by the attention. Soon the texts were coming daily. Denis thought something was up because Adele seemed worried. He asked what it was and she told him about all the texts from Warne. She confessed she'd found it flattering at first. Warne's a big star, after all. But she refused all his advances and they never slept together. Then when he got more and more persistent, she got worried. Warne's a huge name in Australia and people hero-worship him. He's not the kind of person to get on the wrong side of.' No, indeed. He might bowl you a nasty wrong 'un.

Television channels should be allowed to broadcast opinionated and politically biased news programmes, Sir David Attenborough has said. The veteran broadcaster said that the large number of channels available to the viewer meant the strict rules governing news impartiality on the airwaves were becoming outdated. His opinions echo recent comments by BBC Director General Mark Thompson, who has argued that British broadcasters should be free to launch an equivalent to America's right-wing FOX news channel. Errr... we've already got one, Mark - it's called Sky News, haven't you noticed? Thompson said that the rise of Internet journalism meant it was no longer appropriate for public services broadcasters such as the BBC, ITV and Channel Four to have a monopoly over the news airwaves. Sir David Attenborough, eighty four, who has been broadcasting for the BBC for over fifty years, agreed it was possibly time to relax the rules. Speaking on the BBC's The Andrew Marr Show he said: 'I think that the multiplicity of channels makes a quite totally fundamental difference to the sort of television I went into which was a monopoly. If you are a monopoly, you have to be unbiased. But if you have fifty channels then maybe there should be areas where people should say, not exactly what they like, but at least be biased.' The maggoty and vile FOX News, which broadcasts alleged news with an unashamedly scummish right-wing slant, has become popular - with right wing scum, largely - in the United States, winning a ratings war against its main rival CNN. But in the UK the broadcasting regulator Ofcom, ensures that new channels here are unable to express political opinion in the same way that newspapers are able. Sparking a debate over the issue last week though Thompson said: 'There was logic in allowing impartial broadcasters to have a monopoly over the broadcasting space. But in future, maybe there should be a broad range of choices. Why shouldn't the public be able to see and hear, as well as read a range of opinionated journalism and then make up their own mind what they think about it?' Thompson has insisted that BBC News, which is funded by the licence payer, will remain impartial but said views regarded as 'extreme' should be broadcast on its services. The broadcaster came in for widespread criticism last year when Nick Griffin, the leader of the far-right British National Party, was invited onto the Question Time programme. But the broadcaster defended the decision insisting impartiality rules meant it had a duty to invite him onto the programme after he was elected to the European Parliament. At the time Thompson said: 'If there is a case for censorship, it should be debated and decided in Parliament. Political censorship cannot be outsourced to the BBC or anyone else.'

A Japanese woman is suing Google after images of her underwear appeared on Street View. The unnamed lady is requesting six hundred thousand Yen from the search engine, claiming that she suffered 'psychological distress' from her washing-line being displayed on the Google Maps feature. According to Japan's Mainichi newspaper, she told the court: 'I was overwhelmed with anxiety that I might be the target of a sex crime. It caused me to lose my job and I had to change my residence. I could understand if it was just a picture of the outside of the apartment, but showing a person's underwear hanging outside is absolutely wrong.' The suit claims that the woman's obsessive-compulsive disorder became worse because of the ordeal, as she suspected everything she did was being filmed.

Which brings us to yer Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day dear blog reader. And, after a shocking story of such confounded discombobulation as that last one, there really is nowhere else left to go except to 1975. Oh my God, he chose Kenny.