Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Funk To Funky

Coronation Street producer Phil Collinson has written a new storyline for gay barman Sean Tully. Played by Antony Cotton, Sean will have a civil partnership next year to former lover Marcus Dent, according to the Sun who manage to report this completely straight and yet still, somehow, make you feel that they're tutting in the background and muttering about 'bloody poufs getting themselves everywhere.' Actor Charlie Condou will reportedly return to the serial after three years. The character of Marcus left the Street for London in 2008 following a bust-up with Sean. 'Bringing back Charlie is seen as a big platform for him and in particular Antony who is well liked and admired by the boss. When Marcus turns up in Weatherfield in the spring he is desperate to rekindle his romance,' a 'source' allegedly claimed. 'But having hurt him once, Sean is apprehensive until Marcus offers him commitment, with the future storyline leading to Corrie's first same sex marriage,' the 'insider' suggested. Allegedly. Collinson has previously stated: 'Coronation Street is an amazing platform. You can really make a difference to the way people think - and this show has always had a gay sensibility.'

Katherine Kelly has backed ITV's recent decision to move Coronation Street's studios to MediaCity. The actress, who portrays Becky McDonald in the serial, claimed that the current set is 'bursting at the seams. It's necessary; you've got to keep moving forward - we've long outgrown this site,' What's On TV quotes her as saying. 'I'm glad Corrie's not stuck in its ways and is happy to up sticks and move with the times, yet keep its roots in Manchester. You can't get left behind if you're the number one show on British TV. You've got to be seen to be not just moving with the times but at the front of it.' Kelly added: 'The site began when there were fifteen in the cast, now we are seventy plus three crews. They're doing it for a good reason. You've got to keep the show moving. It's fifty years young!'

The Daily Scum Mail are at it again with their scum mind-bending truth-bending scummish ways, dear blog reader. In an article entitled Viewers protest at Matt Lucas and David Walliams's 'minstrel show': Comedy duo's new BBC spoof accused of being racist the right-wing scum tabloid's opening paragraph states 'Thousands of viewers have complained that the Christmas Day show by comedy duo Matt Lucas and David Walliams on BBC1 was racist.' Really? Thousands? Have you got any actual figures to back that up, Daily Scum Mail? The article then goes on to quote four comments - which they, seemingly, gathered entirely from Twitter feeds. They subsequently note further down the article, 'BBC1 bosses said they had not yet established how many complained to the corporation.' So, that's probably not 'thousands' then, I'm guessing? Or anything even remotely like it. Still, why let a little thing like factual accuracy get in the way of another chance for have a bit of a bash at the Beeb? Scum. A much better take on the show's actual worth is provided by Balaji Ravichandran in the Gruniad Morning Star who notes that the show is clearly not racist although it is 'full of crude racial stereotypes.' And, in yer Keith Telly Topping's opinion, not half as funny as it seems to think it is. But that's an entirely different matter!

Now, yer Keith Telly Topping's sincere thanks go to the lovely Rzt over at Gallifrey Base for the following, excellent, analysis about what sort of year 2010 has been for the various reality and talent shows: What follows are the average weekly audiences for the series broadcast during the year and how they compare with 2009:
1 - 14.13m - The X Factor (+9%)
2 - 11.24m - Strictly Come Dancing (+20%)
3 - 11.05m - Britain's Got Talent (-17%)
4 - 10.37m - I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here! (+11%)
5 - 8.28m - Dancing on Ice (-7%)
6 - 8.03m - The Apprentice (-4%)
7 - 6.93m - Let's Dance (-10%)
8 - 5.68m - So You Think You Can Dance? (NEW)
9 - 5.55m - Over The Rainbow (-7%)
10 - 4.15m - Popstar to Operastar (NEW)
11 - 3.7m - Celebrity Big Brother (+12%)
12 - 3.2m - Ultimate Big Brother (NEW)
13 - 2.9m - Big Brother (+16%)
All of the series averages quoted include HD figures where appropriate. The Channel Four figures also include viewers from C4+1. Over The Rainbow's average is as compared to the previous year's Andrew Lloyd Webber vehicle, I'd Do Anything. Must Be The Music and Don't Stop Believing have not been included. As the figures for both were so inconsequential and, indeed, utterly risible. As most dear blog readers will know, The X Factor tops the list by a considerable distance with its best series average to date. This year the average episode's audience was almost double the figure for The X Factor's first series of 7.40m in 2004, and a nine per cent rise on last year. These figures are especially impressive considering how good last year's ratings were. It has also been a very strong year for Strictly Come Dancing, up a whopping twenty per cent on last year to post its best ever series average. Strictly's previous most watched series was the 2008 one with an average audience of 9.65m. So 2010 was easily its most viewed series and it managed to overtake Britain's Got Talent for the series average which is, in anybody's book, a fantastic achievement. I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity ... achieved its best series average since early 2004 (when it had just over eleven million viewers) and 2010 was the show's second most watched series ever. An excellent turnaround from 2007 when the series that year only averaged 7.34m. Additionally, it was a good year for the final Big Brother series - both editions being up a healthy percentage on the previous series. There was a hefty drop for Britain's Got Talent compared to last year, the biggest year-on-year fall out of all of the genre. BGT was actually holding up quite well for its audition shows (only five per cent down year-on-year) but the big falls happened during the live stages when the ratings were down twenty six per cent with no 'Subo-factor' hype to hang around it. As yer Keith Telly Topping noted earlier in the year, 2010 was the year in which Britain's Got Talent stopped being a phenomena and became, merely, a very popular TV show. There were drops for most of the other returning reality shows in the list. Dancing on Ice really needs to be a hit in January - in 2006 it was ITV's number one reality/talent show, now it's down to number four and has not really built its audience as the other talent shows have over the same period. They've gone with a new set and format changes for next series to keep things fresh - not to mention Kerry Katona whom they seem to believe will be some kind of magical cure-all. Competition on the other channels will be tougher that ever, particularly with Top Gear moving to January at 8pm on BBC2. The Apprentice held up pretty well considering this series had much tougher scheduling competition than the previous ones - 2010 was still it's second best ever rated series. It will be interesting to see how the show does next year when it is rumoured to be returning to the Spring.

Sheila Reid has said that working on Benidorm will be different, after the death of co-star Geoffrey Hutchings. Hutchings died in July, after contracting a viral infection. As a result, this year's Christmas special was hastily rewritten as a tribute to the seventy one-year-old and his character Mel. Reid, who plays Mel's partner Madge, told the Mirror: 'I think Derren Litten has just handled it so well, it's a fantastic tribute. It was jolly tricky during the special. But because of the relationship we all have together and because of our enormous respect and love for Geoffrey we all got through it. He was such a fantastic actor and we did have a lot of laughs. I have lots of amazing memories of Geoffrey but it is tricky.'

Katherine Jenkins has praised Doctor Who star Matt Smith's singing voice. The opera singer, who appeared as a guest star in this year's Christmas special, told the Press Association that Smith kept her entertained on set by singing for her. Jenkins said: 'I had a really good laugh with Matt between takes. He kept mucking around and singing to me but, you know, people should hear him - I think he's got a great bass voice.' She added that the news she had won her role in the show was 'the best birthday present' she could imagine. The singer explained: 'I'd been asked to do things in the past and hadn't done them, but when I got the call to do Doctor Who, it really excited me. I wasn't sure I could do it but after reading for the part, I got a call on my thirtieth birthday to say I'd got it.'

Dancing On Ice has been 'hit' by the extreme winter weather, a report claims. The Mirror has said that the reality show's new Surrey set was dismantled by the local council. Following an outbreak of snow in the UK, the council is thought to have needed equipment to cope with chaotic roads, leaving the show's ice rink in urgent need of treatment. 'There are bumps and ridges all over it,' a source claimed yesterday, suggesting that competitors will be far more likely to suffer injury.

Andrew Lloyd Webber has confirmed the possibility of his BBC1 talent show Over The Rainbow going to America. The musical theatre composer revealed that two US networks have been in talks regarding a new version of the Wizard of Oz search for a new Dorothy. He told the Daily Torygraph: 'A couple of the networks in the US have wanted to build something around what I do on TV, and I think with Oz something is definitely going to happen there. The X Factor juggernaut is going to be huge there next year but other networks are looking for something to go against it. Once we've found a Dorothy in the US, my instinct is to open the show in Kansas.' So, not content with having had his trousers taken down publicly by Simon Cowell once, it seems that his Very Lordish is keen to do so all over again. Hopefully, they'll retain that bit of the format where, at the end of each episode, the gnomish megalomaniac sits like a cross between a cult leader and the character played by Terence Stamp in The Collector whilst young women - dewy-eyed with failure - present him with their pair of sweaty red slippers so he can hang them on his shoetree of despair. Yer Keith Telly Topping was always vastly amused by that bit.

Upstairs, Downstairs lost a sizeable eight hundred and eighty thousand of its premiere audience for episode two on Monday evening, overnight viewing figures suggest. The adaptation's second episode was watched by 6.66m for BBC1 at 9pm, ahead of fellow drama Marple, which got 4.22m for ITV between 9pm and 11pm. Over on BBC2 Griff Rhys Jones, Rory McGrath and Dara O'Brien's fifth annual travelogue, Three Men Go To Scotland, had a more-than-decent audience of three million.

Oprah Winfrey has revealed that she had warned notorious snooty horrorshow and drag Sarah Ferguson away from taking part in various US reality TV shows. What a pity Oprah didn't do the same a couple of years ago before the Duchess of York (she had ten thousand quid) inflicted two series of The Duchess On The Estate on the poor, unfortunate TV viewers of this benighted isle. Ferguson has reportedly considered appearing on shows such as Dancing With The Stars in order to help her severely tarnished image and earn some income. Earlier this year, the former member of the royal family was caught on film offering an undercover reporter access to her ex-husband Prince Andrew. Winfrey has offered Ferguson the opportunity to film a six-part series titled Finding Sarah as she goes through therapy as a substitute to reality shows. The chat show host told Parade: 'She started e-mailing me and at one point asked what did I think of her doing a celebrity chef show. I said, "That's not going to help you. How are you going to rehabilitate yourself on a celebrity chef show? You should be working on yourself." We had a real moment of connection, watching the tape of her trying to get five hundred thousand dollars. She said she didn't want to go into bankruptcy. I said, "But when you look at that tape don't you see a morally bankrupted person? The one thing you were trying to avoid, you already are." She said, "I never thought of it that way."' Clearly not. well, not until you got caught, anyway. 'I remember the last thing I said to her when I left that interview,' Winfrey continued. '"Don't let me see you on Dancing With The Stars."'

US soul singer Bernard Wilson, a member of Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, has died at the age of sixty four. The baritone vocalist died on Boxing Day from undisclosed medical complications in Voorhees, New Jersey. Wilson was part of the classic Blue Note line-up that also included lead singer Teddy Pendergrass - who died in January of this year. The group had a huge international hit with the songs 'If You Don't Know Me By Now' and 'Don't Leave Me This Way.' The dance song 'The Love I Lost' has been credited as one of the first disco records. Wilson left the group in 1977, a year after Pendergrass's departure. The singer's cousin Faith Peace-Mazzccua told the Associated Press that Wilson 'left home at sixteen as a pauper and came back home a millionaire.' She said that her cousin kept performing until recently, adding, 'He didn't take no stuff and he loved people.'

For the next batch of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45(s) of the Day, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping has decided that it's high time that he got, you know, funky wid it. And, there's no finer place to begin gettin' funky wid it than Sly & The Family Stone hoisting their groove on The Dick Cavett Show.Nice threads, guys. Obviously, by natural evolution that takes you to the Goddamn Godfather of Soul (Can I get it on the good foot? Good God! Yeowh!) his very self.Rite on. He's a Baaaad Motha. And, from Soul Brother Number One you have to, swiftly, move to the cat that's a sex machine to all the chicks (can y'dig it?) Errr... And Jesse Jackson with a bad-ass Afro.You're damn right! Then of course, you get the whole question of what, exactly, happens when you marry funk with reggae. All manner of outrageous discombobulation usually ensues. Let Winston Groovey explain.The final word on this matter, of course, must go to former President George Clinton and his secretary of state for funk, Bootsy Collins. If parliament really was like this, dear blog reader, people would be queuing up to vote. Here's a chance to dance our way out of our constrictions.Feet don't fail me now!

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