Monday, January 10, 2011

Playing The Part Of A Real Troublemaker, But I Didn't Care. It Really Moved Me

Stephen Mangan has admitted that he would be heartbroken if Dirk Gently were cancelled. Which, given that it's only been commissioned for a one-off pilot so far is, perhaps, putting the cart before the horse. The Green Wing actor last year played the title character in a - rather fine - BBC4 adaptation of Douglas Adams's novel and suggested that a full-length series could be developed. Emphasis on the word 'could' there, Stephen. Mangan told Metro: 'If they axe BBC4 and Dirk Gently, the Douglas Adams detective show I recently did for them, goes with it, I’'l go round there and smash the place up with my bare hands. I'd be heartbroken if that got in the way of Dirk getting a series in the future.'

Hustle has been renewed for 'at least' one more series according to Kelly Adams in this week's Celebs magazine (free with your wonderful Sunday Mirra).

Angela Rippon and Nadia Sawalha have become the first celebrities to be eliminated from the new series of Dancing On Ice. The newsreader and presenter were denied the chance to progress to the next stage of the competition after finishing in the bottom three of the initial public vote along with Laura Hamilton. They were ultimately sent home after the Nickelodeon host was judged by viewers to have performed best in the final skate-off. Following the elimination announcement, Rippon confessed to hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby that she felt like she had failed her professional partner Sean Rice. Yeah, that sounds about right. Cos, let's face it, it certainly wasn't his fault. 'I am gutted, I've had a wonderful time,' she said. 'I think it's been absolutely tremendous learning to skate with world-class teachers like we have.' Meanwhile, Sawalha - who had previously joked that she would give up her house to stay on the programme - said: 'This has been the most incredible experience. What I'm most gutted about is Mark Hanretty is the most beautiful skater, and [because] he's been holding me up nobody got to see how beautiful he is.'

Kate Winslet has admitted that she finds working on a television series more challenging than shooting a movie. Winslet, who will appear in HBO's mini-series Mildred Pierce, told reporters at the Television Critics Association tour that she did not expect filming to be much different. According to TV Guide, she said: 'It never occurred to me, beyond the moment of reading those scripts, "Wow, this is television, therefore it's going to be different somehow." Sure, we have more to shoot but the level of determination and level of focus was so much more intense than certainly any film I've ever been a part [of].' She continued: 'Film, schmilm - I'm telling you television is so much harder. It didn't affect the work ethic in any way other than we had more story to tell, which was a luxury, and less time to work to that goal. But that just meant we were hyper-focused.' Winslet also praised HBO for being so supportive of the project, saying: 'I really felt the incredible support of HBO constantly and daily and that really did help us. It was incredibly intense for all of us. But I felt we had this glorious cushion. They were really there for us.'

EastEnders 'bosses' (or, you know, 'producers' as normal people call them) have insisted that there is 'no truth' in a series of tabloid-spread rumours that the soap's baby-swap storyline has 'sparked a revolt' from the programme's cast. Reports over the weekend suggested that the controversy surrounding the plot had 'affected morale' on the set of the BBC show and led to ill-feeling between cast members and producers. Over eight thousand people are known to have complained over the New Year story, which saw Ronnie Branning (Samantha Womack) switch her dead son James with Kat Moon's (Jessie Wallace) child after losing her baby to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. However, a show spokesperson told the Digital Spy website: 'There is no truth whatsoever in claims that there is unrest at EastEnders. Although, as we've said, some changes are being made to the current storyline. This means cast and crew working to tighter deadlines, but this is not out of the ordinary on a big production like EastEnders. The show does go on and everyone will be working together to bring this storyline to its rightful conclusion.' Earlier, Shane Richie - who plays Kat's husband Alfie - confirmed that he has no plans to quit EastEnders following Internet rumours that he had been 'considering his future' at the show amid the controversy. He also insisted that talk of an imminent cast walkout was 'nonsense.' Or, to be slightly more accurate, rank tabloid troublemaking.

Showtime are said to be considering picking up troubled mini-series The Kennedys for their network. The news comes following the History Channel's decision to drop the series only months ahead of its scheduled premiere date. The network issued a statement over the weekend explaining that their decision was down to believing that The Kennedys was simply not the right fit for the History Channel. According to Yahoo News, Showtime have now been approached about taking on the show, and will wait until their executive board have viewed the series before making a decision. The eight-part mini-series features Katie Holmes and Greg Kinnear as presidential couple Jackie and John Kennedy, and is still currently scheduled to air in a number of other countries internationally.

Deal Or No Deal executives have denied claims that the show is fixed. The Channel Four show, presented by the beard of despair Noel Edmonds, came under question when sharp-eyed viewers spotted that one of the cash amounts vanish from the on-screen graphics board - before the box containing it had been opened. Edmonds regularly insists that only an 'independent adjudicator' is aware of which figures are in the sealed red boxes. The Sun reports that on last Friday's show, prior to the contestant's chosen box being opened, the one hundred thousand pounds graphic disappeared - only to reappear seconds later. However, it vanished for a second time when it was revealed to be the amount in the chosen box. 'The whole point of the show is that no-one knows what is in the boxes,' one - nameless - viewer told the paper. 'But by the look of this, it seems that the production team knows exactly what is in them before they are opened. Someone gave the game away by being a bit too quick off the mark with the graphics.' However, the show's producers blamed the slip-up as 'a post-production error,' claiming that the graphics had been added following filming of the episode. A spokeswoman commented: 'The on-screen money amounts are added after the show has been filmed as part of the post-production process. Occasionally, an error is made in the overlay and this is quite simply down to human error.'

An unkindness of ratings, now. The top series timeshifters of 2010 (by average) were:
1 Doctor Who - BBC1 - 1.71 million
2 Sherlock - BBC1 - 1.66 million
3 A Touch Of Frost - ITV - 1.62 million
4 Silent Witness - BBC1 - 1.50 million
5 Upstairs Downstairs - BBC1 - 1.36 million
6 Whitechapel - ITV - 1.29 million
7 Five Days - BBC1 - 1.26 million
8 Jonathan Creek - BBC1 - 1.17 million
9 The Little House - ITV - 1.13 million
=10 [spooks] - BBC1 - 1.12 million
=10 Ashes To Ashes - BBC1 - 1.12 million
Whither Downton Abbey I hear you bewail, dear blog reader? Perhaps surprisingly, its average timeshift across six episodes was only 0.94 million, placing it seventeenth. I say, 'only', it's still pretty good.

Also, we have the consolidated New Year's Day ratings top ten which was as follows:
1 EastEnders - BBC1 - 9.94m
2 Come Fly With Me - BBC1 - 8.80m
3 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - BBC1 - 7.91m
4 Eric and Ernie - BBC2 - 6.65m
5 The Magicians - BBC1 - 5.83m
6 BBC News (17:15) - BBC1 - 5.41m
7 Primeval - ITV - 5.33m
8 Match of the Day - BBC1 - 5.01m
9 Wall-E - BBC1 - 4.79m
10 Morecambe and Wise 1977 Christmas Show - BBC2 - 4.59m.
All of a sudden, thanks to a major timeshift, Primeval's rating (for that episode at least) isn't looking anywhere near as bad. But, the really astonishing figure is Eric and Ernie. 6.65m on BBC2?!

Some other consolidated ratings for the Christmas and New Year period announced this weekend include:
Upstairs Downstairs - BBC1: Sunday - 8.845m, Monday - 8.132m, Tuesday - 8.1785m
Toast - BBC1: 6.668m
Rock & Chips - BBC1: 5.8327m
The Nativity - BBC1: Mon - 5.64m, Tue - 5.13m, Wed - 5.77m, Thu - 5.70m
Marple - ITV (inc. HD): Mon - 5.062m, Wed - 5.954m

Michelle Mone has admitted that she would like a role in Dragon's Den. The businesswoman, who appeared on reality show 71 Degrees North last year, used her Twitter page to suggest that she is interested in a job on the BBC series. She retweeted a message from one poster which read: 'Please retweet, support Michelle Mone for Dragon's Den. Truly inspirational woman.' Mone later thanked her fans for their responses, saying: 'Thanks for all your messages and support, I'm blown away! If I commit to something my heart has to be one hundred per cent in it. Let's see if it's meant to be.' A spot on the Dragon's Den panel opened up last week when James Caan announced that he has decided to leave the show. In September, Mone claimed that she was 'getting really bored' with the programme.

Adrian Chiles has 'blasted' critics of his Daybreak co-host Christine Bleakley. He called the treatment of his on-screen partner 'a disgrace' and insisted that Bleakley is a much more genuine person than her detractors seem to think. And far oranger too. Chiles told Live magazine: 'It's a disgrace. She's been treated as a scheming, vindictive social climber. But she hasn't got it in her.' No. But, she's got Frank Lampard in her and that, in and of itself, is a jolly good reason to loathe the pair of them and everything they stand for. The forty three-year-old Chiles also revealed that people's reactions upon seeing him in public have changed since he started hosting the much-maligned - and Christawful - ITV breakfast show. 'People used to stop me on the street and say how much they liked a programme,' he said. 'Now they stop me and say, "We watch it anyway," with a look of pity on their faces.' I'm guessing not many of them do that, though, Adie. Chiles has also revealed that he was once in the running to become a secret agent for the British government. The Daybreak presenter claimed that he had been chosen as a potential candidate when he applied for a diplomat job with the civil service, the Daily Lies reports. 'A woman gave me a four-hour interview in a room above a hi-fi shop on Tottenham Court Road,' he said. 'At the end she said,"Well you must be wondering what the job is. As you have suspected, I work for British intelligence."' He continued: 'I looked blankly at her, so she said, "That's MI5." She told me I'd be listening to bugged telephone calls, that I wasn't allowed to tell anybody, and made me sign the Official Secrets Act.' However, Chiles added: 'I got a note saying I wasn't suitable. Within a matter of weeks I told everyone I knew.'

Avon and Somerset police has dropped a complaint to Ofcom over a critical ITV News report on its handling of the murder of Joanna Yeates. Last Friday, the chief constable Colin Port and the editor-in-chief of ITV News David Mannion held talks to resolve the dispute, which led to ITV being banned from attending a press conference on the Bristol architect's murder earlier in the week. The constabulary had also submitted a formal complaint to Ofcom over what it viewed as 'unfair, naive and irresponsible' reporting of the story on ITV's News At Ten. The boycott on ITV News was later lifted due to the broadcaster's 'accurate and counterbalanced' reporting of the case in subsequent bulletins. After top-level negotiations between Port and Mannion, the two parties have also now agreed for the complaint to Ofcom to be dropped. In a joint statement, Avon and Somerset police and ITV News said: 'ITV News has made careful note of the concerns raised by the chief constable. The chief constable has made it clear that ITV News is welcome to attend future Force press conferences. Both parties now regard the matter as closed and will not be making any further comment. The complaint made by Avon and Somerset Police to Ofcom is no longer being pursued.'

Pubs will be allowed to stay open until 1am on two consecutive nights to celebrate Prince William's marriage to Kate Middleton, it emerged over the weekend. Drinkers will now be able to stay out late on both the night of the wedding, Friday 29 April and the following night. Perhaps to drink so much alcohol that they briefly forget just how much this whole fiasco is costing them, as tax payers.

Katie Price has claimed that she looks her best when she is 'natural.' So, in about 1993, then? Earlier?

And, finally, today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Yer Keith Telly Topping has always loved the trademark echo-laden arpeggioed guitars at the start of this trance-like song, The Passions only hit. The record itself can - if you're being uncharitable - be an easy one to file away as rather pretentious early 1980s New Romantic crap. (I believe it was one of the specific templates for Not The Nine O'Clock News' 'Nice Video, Shame About the Song', for example.) But The Passions themselves were a fantastic - very under-rated - band. I saw them supporting The Clash in 1980 a few months before this was a hit. (Clive Timperley, their guitarist and the song's author, was one of Joe Strummer's best mates from his days in The 101ers.) Their singer, Barbara Gogan had a beautiful - marblesque - voice, best exemplified by the chorus and the repeated 'I'm in love' refrain towards the end. Cool, cynical, a perfect metaphor for the early years of that particular decade where style was in danger of suffocating substance. The song, often said to concern the actor Klaus Kinski, was actually written, reportedly, about Steve Connelly, also known as Roadent, who was a one-time roadie for both The Sex Pistols and The Clash. After a memorably cocky interview appearance in Wolfgang Büld's documentary Punk in London (1977), Connelly became something of a minor celebrity in West Germany and secured roles in several German art-house movies as a consequence. The single was produced by Pete Wilson (who, before the year was out would have replaced Vic Coppersmith-Heaven as The Jam's producer). According to Wilson 'It was a song that almost seemed to write itself.' It's undergone something of a renaissance in the last couple of years after its use in a memorable scene in the first episode of the BBC's Ashes to Ashes. Watch it, in all its 1981 dry-ice and big hair glory here.

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