Monday, December 13, 2010

She Whispered In My Ear Something Crazy

Highlight of this week's episode of Hawaii Five-0 - a dryly amusing car-scene in which Danno and McGarrett have a discussion about whether 'Sexy Eyes' by Dr Hook really is a record that can be used as a reasonable excuse for murder!

Simon Cowell reportedly banned Take That from performing on The X Factor with a group of backing dancers dressed as riot police. Cowell apparently claimed that the choice of clothing for the band's fifty dancers was 'insensitive and inappropriate' following the recent high-profile clashes between demonstrators and police over the controversial rise in student tuition fees. According to the Sun, Take That were due to sing new single 'Kidz' on Sunday night's X Factor finale before Cowell discovered the details of their performance and intervened. 'When Simon found out about the riot cop gear he was upset,' a show 'insider' said. 'For him, X Factor is an entertainment show pure and simple. It's about people having a good time. It's not about politics. He thought it wasn't on having dancers dressed as riot police. He told Take That it was insensitive and inappropriate and asked them to change things.' Makes sense, I suppose. If anybody was ever going to be a fervent advocate of kettling, it'd be Simon Cowell. The band eventually decided to sing their recent single 'The Flood', instead. The 'source' allegedly added: 'It was touch and go for a minute as they were threatening to walk out but Simon stood firm. He'd rather have filled the three minutes with something else. Take That might be a huge band, but when it comes to The X Factor, Simon calls the shots.' So, there you go, students of Britain. Simon Cowell is very happy to take your money but, when it comes to paying for your education, he's standing firmly behind the men with the big truncheons. Always good to know these things.

Episodes of Strictly Come Dancing and The X Factor helped make Sunday's overnight TV audience the biggest Sunday night audience for nearly twenty years. An average total of twenty eight million people switched on their TV between 18:00 and 22:30. It is the biggest Sunday night audience since 1992, when current research methods began. And the figure is likely to increase further once recorded viewing figures are added this week. The bumper ratings were helped by the 17.2m people who watched the X Factor final on ITV. A peak of 19.44 million tuned in to see Matt Cardle crowned champion. The two-hour finale, averaged 16.08m for ITV from 19.30, with a further one million viewers watching on ITV HD making it the most watched non-sports programme on British TV since Only Fools And Horses at Christmas 2001. The figure is on par with that for the finale of the 2009 series of X Factor, when a peak of 19.7m watched Joe McElderry named as the winner. And, hasn't his career blossomed since? An average of 11.6m viewers also tuned in to watch the Strictly Come Dancing semi-final on BBC1. The overall ratings were boosted by editions of Countryfile, Inspector George Gently and Antiques Roadshow on BBC1. At one point, between 20:45 and 21:00, an average of just under thirty two million people were watching a television programme. 'It's remarkable to get that many people watching TV,' said David Bunker, head of research at BBC Vision. 'It's as much about all channels offering something for all audiences. Antiques Roadshow and The X Factor are at two ends of the spectrum - hence you get massive audiences.' 'An audience of almost twenty million is a phenomenal achievement for any channel in the modern digital age,' said Peter Fincham, ITV's director of television. However, the 'X Factor effect' proved more of a Steve Brookstein flop than a Leona Lewis sensation for ITV's share price on Monday. Despite all the watching million tuning in, investors' eyes lighting up with pound signs at the prospect of the cash haul from the advertising, its shares ticked up a mere 0.05p to 73.05p. The terrestrial broadcaster reportedly sold some of the thirty-second advert slots during the show for over two hundred and fifty thousand pounds. ITV has still had an impressive run: the shares were changing hands for just 18.25p in March of last year.

Matt Cardle has confirmed that Harry Styles made a 'cheeky' comment to him after winning The X Factor. YouTube clips have circulated around the Internet featuring Styles whispering something to Cardle moments after he was named the champion. It has been suggested that the One Direction singer told Cardle: 'Think of how much pussy you're going to get.' Commenting on the incident during an interview on This Morning, Cardle said: 'He's a cheeky boy, he's young.' Meanwhile, Cardle also spoke about his debut single 'When We Collide,' saying that he doesn't want people to dismiss it just because he played it on a TV talent show. 'I think it's beautifully written and I think it's such a great track and I don't want the public to hate on it because it's affiliated with The X Factor,' he said. Bit late for that, pal!

The latest Come Fly With Me trailer is, actually, quite funny. I don't expect the show itself will be, however.

Top Twenty programmes week ending 5 Dec 2010
1 The X Factor - ITV - 15.52 million
2 I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here! - ITV - 13.48 million
3 Strictly Come Dancing - BBC1 - 13.03 million
4 Coronation Street - ITV - 10.80 million
5 EastEnders - BBC1 - 10.47 million
6 Emmerdale - ITV - 8.75 million
7 Merlin - BBC1 - 7.67 million
8 Countryfile - BBC1 - 7.55 million
9 The Apprentice - BBC1 - 7.53 million
10 Antiques Roadshow - BBC1 - 6.40 million
11 Holby City - BBC1 - 6.17 million
12 The ONE Show - BBC1 - 6.14 million
13 Six O'Clock News - BBC1 - 6.03 million
14 Harry Hill's TV Burp - ITV - 5.65 million
15 The Nation's Favourite ABBA Song - ITV - 5.47 million
16 Garrow's Law - BBC1 - 5.37 million
17 Casualty - BBC1 - 5.34 million
=18 Ten O'Clock News - BBC1 - 5.06 million
=18 Turn Back Time - BBC1 - 5.06 million
20 Qi - BBC1 - 5.02 million
Another all-time high for Merlin, which finished its third series with a consolidated average of 6.78 million. That's an average timeshift of over one million viewers each episode. Garrow's Law finished with a consolidated series average of 5.48 million. That's an average timeshift of just over half a million. Every edition of the Six O'Clock News during the week was above 5.5 million. Elsewhere, Miranda pulled in a mind-blowing audience of 4.01 million. It was actually a great week for BBC2 generally, with six ratings of three million or higher (University Challenge, The Apprentice: You're Fired, two episodes of Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two and the documentary Operation Mincemeat were the other five).

The BBC has selected Huw Edwards to lead its coverage of the royal wedding next year, instead of David Dimbleby. Edwards will anchor the BBC's coverage of Prince William and Kate Middleton's union at Westminster Abbey on 29 April. It is estimated that the event could attract a worldwide audience of one billion people. It was initially thought that Dimbleby would be the preferred choice for the event, as he previously handled the funerals of Princess Diana and the Queen Mother, along with the Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations. However, sources within the BBC have indicated that the seventy two-year-old is now viewed as a political anchor, after covering every general election for the BBC since 1979. The role will be the biggest job of Edwards' career to date, dwarfing the forty nine-year-old's recent assignments such as the Trooping the Colour and the State Opening of Parliament. 'Huw has presented so many of the big national moments of recent years and he is the natural choice for the royal wedding,' a BBC source told the Daily Telegraph. Edwards himself said: 'I am delighted with the news and consider it a great honour to play a part in what I am sure will be a huge national celebration. I felt something of an outsider for a long time. These days, the presence of a Welshman on the BBC's main evening news bulletin is not [in] question. In 1984, when I joined the BBC, attitudes were rather different.' Discussing the task of covering major events of public importance, Edwards said: 'It is my firm belief that British viewer expect the BBC to maintain a certain formality when covering these occasions. Our job as broadcasters is to enhance the viewer's experience, not spoil it. Switch on the microphone only if you know exactly what you want to say. Speak if it helps the viewer's understanding. If in doubt, leave it out.'

Check out 10 Unforgettable TV Christmases at the excellent Bachelor's Degree Online. Yer Keith Telly Topping thoroughly agrees with number one.

Huntwatch: The lack of culture secretary, the vile Jeremy Hunt has controversially accused the BBC of having a left-wing bias, arguing that more people at the corporation would vote Labour or Liberal Democrat than Conservative. Which may well be true, although he didn't bother to explain to anyone a) how he knows this about an organisation which employs over thirty thousand people - I'm presuming that he didn't ask all of them individually - and b) even if what he says is true, what the hell it had to do with him anyway. We are not a one party state yet, you oily little man - we have a parliamentary democracy in this country and we can still, legally, vote for whomsoever we want. Particularly if it's not you. To be fair to Mr Hunt, though, it should be noted that, in common with many of the elecorate, those BBC employees who did vote Liberal Democrat at the last general election are highly unlikely to ever do so again. So, you know, that's one part of the equation solved. In an interview with the Observer, Hunt said that the BBC had been 'out of touch' with public opinion in the past and demonstrated a 'clear bias to the left' on issues such as Europe and immigration. He added: 'I think if you were to discover how people vote at the BBC there are probably more who vote Labour or for the Liberal Democrats than the Conservatives.' However, Hunt reluctantly praised the BBC for making excellent programmes and providing comprehensive news coverage. He also stressed that the BBC's journalists always put their commitment to even-handed reporting above their 'political affiliations.' In which case, one has to wonder why - short of crass trouble-making and stirring up a few column inches in the Daily Scum Mail - he even mentioned the subject in the first place. Remember, everyone who voted Liberal Democrat at the last general election, the only reason that this nasty, repulsive little man is the culture secretary of this country at all is because of you. Just something else for you to feel guilty about.

CBBC star Barney Harwood is to become the thirty fifth presenter of BBC children's magazine programme Blue Peter. Harwood, thirty one, who has appeared in shows including Bear Behaving Badly and Totally Doctor Who, will take over from Joel Defries, who leaves this week. Harwood said his ambition was always to be a children's TV presenter, and that Blue Peter was the 'icing on the cake.' Harwood, whose appointment was revealed on Monday's show, joins Helen Skelton and Andy Akinwolere on 17 January. The presenter, from Blackpool in Lancashire, is currently rehearsing for his lead role in Peter Pan in Lichfield. He said that he was looking forward to wearing his Blue Peter badge on screen for the first time and tackling 'some exciting challenges.' Harwood, who started his career in boy band Goal at the age of seventeen, won a children's BAFTA in 2007 for CBBC show Smile. Blue Peter editor Tim Levell said he was 'a versatile presenter with a wealth of passion and experience.'

The Co-operative Group has agreed a seven-figure deal with ITV to become the main sponsor of the broadcaster's national weather updates. The twelve-month agreement will see promotional idents for Co-op Food appear either side of the ITV National Weather updates, which run three times daily. The arrangement, which will officially start from New Year's Day 2011, is understood to be the biggest sponsorship deal in the Co-op's history. The firm will replace the current ITV weather sponsor, Topps Tiles. Tim Hurrell, managing director of Co-operative Food, said: 'This is a great deal for The Co-operative Food and gives us a unique opportunity to encourage consumers to think about the way they shop. We are not looking at this deal as a simple spend but as a partnership that will give us a platform to promote local shops and local suppliers.'

According to Monday's Metro Claudia Winkleman's nickname on the Film 2010 set is Alice because, some of the crew reckon, her vast overuse of eye product makes her look like Alice Cooper!

Broadcaster Jeremy Vine will step down as presenter of BBC1 current affairs show Panorama at the end of the year. The forty five-year-old, who has presented the show since it moved to a Monday evening slot four years ago, said hosting it had been 'an incredible experience.' The programme will continue without an anchor, although Vine will still front reports and special episodes. Vine said the show no longer needed a front person. The BBC, meanwhile, said it would benefit from a 'new look.' Panorama editor Tom Giles praised Vine for the 'dynamism and enthusiasm' he had brought to the flagship factual programme. He said he could be 'be proud of the part he has played' in establishing the show 'with a solid and rising audience.' Vine, a former Newsnight regular, will continue to present his lunchtime show on BBC Radio 2.

The BBC's website is accessible once again in China after being blocked for several days. The blackout coincided with the award ceremony for this year's Noble Peace Prize winner, the Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. The BBC's website was blocked along with other international news sites. China's government regularly blocks websites and censors Internet search results inside the country. Officials declined to comment on the initial blackout, and would not admit they were behind the move. But it is no secret that China operates what has been dubbed 'the Great Firewall,' a series of initiatives that attempt to filter Internet content. Which presumably, explains why From The North has but two readers in China. Some international websites, such as the site run by Human Rights Watch, are permanently inaccessible in China. Others, such as the BBC, are occasionally blocked, often when there is a major news event relating to China. In this latest incident the BBC's English-language website was unavailable from the day before last week's Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. The BBC's World News channel was also disrupted. Chinese officials reacted with fury when it was announced that dissident Liu Xiaobo, currently serving an eleven-year prison sentence for inciting subversion, had won the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Peace Prize committee held a lavish ceremony to honour Mr Liu in Oslo last Friday. China appears to have done what it could to stop unfiltered news of the event reaching its own people.

Stuart Broad, England's injured all-rounder, has agreed to appear on the BBC's Test Match Special as an expert summariser for the third Ashes Test. After playing in the first two matches in the series against Australia, an abdominal injury ruled the twenty four-year-old out of the rest of the tour. Broad will now join the TMS team - including Jonathan Agnew, Michael Vaughan and Geoff Boycott - for the next Test, which gets underway at the WACA in Perth on 16 December at 2.30am, reports BBC News. Speaking about Broad's participation on the show, TMS producer Adam Mountford said: 'I am thrilled. He will be able to bring us a unique perspective.' In a message on his Twitter page, Broad wrote: 'Excited to be part of the TMS team at the WACA come Thursday! Appointed official tea maker.'

For today's sample of yer Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, yer Keith Telly Topping his very self has decided to declare war on your sorry asses, dear blog reader.'I was taken to a place/The hall of the mountain kings/Stood high upon the mountain top/Naked to the world/In front of/Every kind of girl. Listen!' And, here's Eric and his funk soul brothers performing it - in all of its six-and-a-half-minute glory - on Beat Club. Just shows how far a young chap can go from The Club A-Go-Go in six short years!