Thursday, January 27, 2011

Swim With Me In Ocean Blue. Like Children Do

The National Television Awards began with a rather amusing and witty little filmed sketch in which Dermot O'Dreary slept in and missed the ceremony and required the help of the Doctor and the TARDIS to get him to stage on time. It included cameo appearances from Ant and Dec, Brucie, Dot Cotton, future prime minister Amanda Holden (no, don't ask!) and others. It was actually quite funny, especially as it meant ITV giving over three minutes of prime time to advertising the concept and lead actor of one of the BBC's biggest shows. And then, Stacey Solomon came out and started singing and it all went hideously pear-shaped. At least until Shaun Ryder blew her off stage with an epic version of 'Step On.' Call the cops. The first award, for Best Comedy Programme, went - perhaps surprisingly to Benidorm. Popular win, mind although I think most of the money had been on TV Burp to win prior to the event. (They used the brilliant 'Downton' sequence to illustrate Harry's show which was much appreciated by this viewer, anyway. You can never have too much of that.) In the - genuinely curious - Best Entertainment Programme category two of the best, most witty and imaginative programmes on British TV - Mock the Week and Qi - went up against two of the most crass and lowest common denominator though, of course, very popular - Big Brother and I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Face On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible, I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want. So, we had to sit through Gillian McKeith fainting, although to be fair, Holly Willoughby's low cut dress took a lot of the attention away from that. And, of course, I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity ... won. So, we got a bit more of Stacey. Talking this time. That was a meeting of minds. Moving quickly on ... After Matt Di Angelo had cracked the night's first Sky sexism scandal joke (after twenty nine minutes of the programme and it wasn't even a good one at that) EastEnders' Ricky Norwood won the Best Newcomer award (second Easties win in a row after Lacey Turner last year). Before the drama award was presented there was a rather poignant and moving little film about the TV coverage of the real-life Chilean mine rescue which seemed to bemuse a portion of the audience who didn't know whether to 'whoop' or 'scream.' So, they did, like, both. Then there was the Drama award itself. Doctor Who was represented by a clip from A Christmas Carol and Sherlock by a brilliant bit from A Study in Pink. Two horse race, it seemed with Doctor Who going for its sixth successive title. That Waterloo Road - fine drama, don't get me wrong - subsequently won the thing wasn't so much as surprise as the shock of the decade. I mean, the last series of the show was probably its worst, overall. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping lost a bit of interest for a few minutes at that point whilst recovering from the shock, although it's important that he report little old E4's The Inbetweeners beat Glee and its hundred-billion-trillion-gazillion fans (allegedly) to win the Best Digital Choice award. And Lacey Turner managed to get a word in edgeways when collecting her Best Serial Drama Performance award from Louis Spence. Just. Oh, and Ant and Dec won Best presenters. Again. I mean, that's just an annual thing, the year it doesn't happen will be the 2013 when the world has ended. The only England cricketer who isn't currently either injured or down under, a clearly nervous Alistair Cook (minus his Letter from America) was up next to present the award for Best Topical Magazine Programme. Those shrieking harridans of Loose Women were going to win this one, of course. No question. This Morning won. (And, Daybreak wasn't even nominated!) So, it would seem this is a God after all. Although this does, of course, suggest that Philip Schofield is actually popular. Which is, in and of itself, a horrifying thought. Recount, please. In the four-way BBC fight for Best Factual Programme, introduced by well-known horrorshow, face ache (and drag) Ann Widdecombe, Top Gear beat off the challenge of Celebrity MasterChef, Who Do You Think You Are? and Junior Apprentice. James May bowed like he was meeting the queen when shaking Widdecombe, warmly, by the throat, Jezza made a very funny little speech in which he noted the irony of them winning the factual award when 'there hasn't been a fact on the show in seven years.' He also revealed, rather charmingly, that MasterChef is his daughter's favourite show. James then cracked the night's second Sky sexism scandal joke (this one was funny) and Jezza retorted with a Countryfile-ageism gag. At last, a bit of proper comedy! Then the least surprising moment of the night, X Factor won Best Talent Show. And, Simon Cowell looked smug. So, no change there, then. Best Drama Performance pitted Matt Smith, Benedict Cumberbatch, Phil Glenister and David Jason against each other and they got a more than decent actor to present it, Jim Carter. David Jason won. Again, perhaps, something of a surprise considering the competition although the gracious speech he gave when accepting the award reminds one of the genuine affection with which David is held by the general public. Stephen Fry, who'd been held up in traffic on the way to the awards and kept his Twitter followers entertained with a running commentary from the inside of the Blackwall Tunnel, finally arrived and presented Bruce Forsyth - 'the guv'nor' with - the Lifetime Achievement Award which Stephen, himself, won last year. Brucie got the biggest standing ovation of the night when saying that 'tonight would be the perfect place to announce my retirement. But, I'm not bloody going to!' Class. There followed yet more Stacey (has she got an ITV2 series coming up by any chance?) and the soap award. Yer Keith Telly Topping thought Corrie was a shoe-in for this. But, given that I was having the worst night a tipster's had since Foinavon won the National, EastEnders of course went and won.

Richard Keys has resigned as a Sky presenter following his disgraceful sexist comments about Sian Massey. Apologising for his remarks, fifty three-year-old hairy-hands Keys accepted they had been 'unacceptable,' adding: 'I've reached the decision it's time to move on.' Before you're pushed on, I'm guessing. Pundit Andy Gray had already been dismissed by the broadcaster after further allegations of sexist behaviour from the former striker came to light. 'Going forward without Andy would have been almost impossible,' Keys stated. Earlier on Wednesday, Keys suggested that 'dark forces' had been at work in preventing him from making amends. Yes, that sounds like as decent a description of Rupert Murdoch's empire as any. 'I apologised on the Sunday,' the presenter told talkSPORT. 'I realised how deeply wrong we were. Having done that I asked "could we make people aware of the fact we had a conversation and that both parties felt it was right to move on?" I was told "no." Then twenty four hours had passed, by which time the world had gone mad. I don't know why I was told "no" and stopped from telling people what I had done.' Maybe it's because some people within Sky don't like you, Richard and thought you deserved being taken down a peg or two. No idea whether that's accurate although if your 'dark forces' assessment is correct, it may well be. Isn't it interesting, though, that Richard chose to use the phrase 'the world had gone mad'? That's uncannily close to his own - widely reported - thoughts on the whole concept of female officials in football as stated on Saturday and published in the Scum Mail on Sunday the next day.

And yet, astonishingly, gobby opinion-on-everything Coleen Nolan has defended Sky Sports presenter Andy Gray, who was sacked on Tuesday after boorish and lewd sexist comments he made became public. 'Oh for Goodness sake, IT WAS A JOKE,' Nolan squealed in the Mirra. Who, as noted on yesterday's blog, seem to be fast becoming - for some odd reason - Gray's number one public apologist. Couldn't have anything to do with the fact that he's currently suing their rivals the News of the World, could it? No, didn't think so. That would be crass in the extreme, wouldn't it? 'When Andy wotsit told that other fella that the lineswoman didn't know the offside rule he was having a laugh. Obviously she knows, but there is a long running joke that women don't know the offside rule and, let's be honest, most of us don't. Why would we want to?' Nice to see that she's so up on the subject she actually knows the names of the people involved. And, the reason why Sian Massey needs to know the offside rule, Coleen is that it's her effing job to. Your job, if I understand Loose Women correctly, is the read an autocue. I daresay if some - male - TV professional were to suggest that you didn't do this very well, you'd probably have plenty to say about that in your newspaper column. You've usually got plenty to say for yourself. About pretty much everything. She continued: 'Of course some women love football but the majority of football players and fans in this country are men. Some of what Andy Gray said in his exchange was a bit unpleasant but he never intended for me to hear it. And we should be careful before we start attacking people for private ­conversations. I've got to break it to you all that when we're not around, men take the mickey out of women. Yes, even your fella. Can you as a woman honestly say you have never cracked a joke about men? About them leaving socks on the floor or whining on about man flu?' Nolan added: 'After what Andy Gray has said I reckon us Loose Women should be sacked for the things that we say about men.' Great. Can we arrange that, please? That would just about cap a perfect week.

The best bit of the opening episode of Charlie Brooker's new How TV Ruined Your Life show was, undoubtedly, his brilliant send up of 'fear' television If Pens Get Hot!

Steve Coogan has won his first legal victory in his action against the News Of The World's alleged phone-hacking. A High Court judge has ordered London's Metropolitan Police to hand over seized documents relating to the case, Sky News reports. Officers took the papers when they raided the premises of private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who has previously been jailed for six months for his part in hacking phones belonging to Royal members of staff. The court order follows similar victories for the lawyers of other public figures taking action over the alleged hacking, including Sienna Miller and recently-sacked football commentator Andy Gray. You know, Coleen Nolan's mate. Coogan's lawyers are expected to return to the High Court next month to try to force Glenn Mulcaire to reveal who asked him to hack phones in the first place, and what he did with the information which he gleaned from the calls. Mulcaire is refusing to disclose any information because he says to do so may incriminate him to do so.

Meanwhile, on the same subject, police have launched a fresh investigation into the phone hacking scandal after receiving what they describe as 'significant new information,' Scotland Yard has said. The information relates to hacking at the News of the World, which led to its royal editor being jailed. The BBC says that it has learned the paper sacked head of news Ian Edmondson on Tuesday following an internal inquiry. A source said that a trawl of his e-mails had found 'highly damaging evidence' which had been passed to the police. A NoW spokeswoman later confirmed the company had sacked Edmondson and said it would take 'swift and decisive action when we have proof of wrongdoing.' Edmondson was suspended from active duties last month after he was identified in court documents as having instructed Mulcaire to access phone messages. Mulcaire was jailed for six months in January 2007 alongside the newspaper's royal editor Clive Goodman (see left), who was sentenced to four months, for hacking into the mobile phones of royal aides. The BBC's business editor Robert Peston said that it was information about Edmondson which is likely to have formed the basis of the fresh police inquiry. He said: 'There can now be no doubt that News International has abandoned its previous position that it had uncovered everything there was to find about possible malpractice in the way the News of the World tried to uncover information about the private lives of celebrities and public figures. 'It now appears to be aggressively investigating the involvement of its employees in a way it didn't do hitherto.' The new inquiry follows the resignation last week of Prime Minister David Cameron's official spokesman Andy Coulson, who said the media storm surrounding ongoing hacking claims had distracted him from doing his job properly. Coulson edited the News of the World from 2003 to 2007 during the period in which Mulcaire and Goodman were up to their naughty and nefarious skulduggery. Coulson, and indeed, Cmaeron, have always insisted the Coulson himself knew nothing about the activities of those staff working for his paper. Cameron's spokeswoman said on Wednesday that the new inquiry had come as 'a complete surprise' to the prime minister. She added that he had not discussed the issue of phone hacking when he'd had a private dinner with News Corp boss James Murdoch and News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks over Christmas. Which, of course, sounds entirely credible. One doesn't imagine they discussed New Corp's proposed buy out of Sky either. Well, you know, there was a lot of snow about at the time, maybe they talked about the weather. And, there was the Christmas episode of EastEnders as well, I'm sure that has a bit of a chat about that. A number of public figures have launched civil legal actions against both the newspaper and the police amid allegations that the practice of phone hacking was widespread. Politicians from both government and opposition have also demanded that the police investigate. Labour MP Chris Bryant - who believes he may have had his own phone hacked and who is seeking a judicial review against the police over their handling of the information gathered during the initial investigation - said that he welcomed the new investigation. 'It just goes to show that the Met never did a full or proper investigation in the first place and that they completely failed to follow every avenue of investigation. It is a scandal that it is only through the civil actions that people are bringing that the Met are being forced to act and we are beginning to see the full scale of what went on.' Meanwhile, former MP Paul Marsden has said that he may take legal action against newspaper group Trinity Mirror over alleged phone hacking of himself in 2003. The group said that its journalists worked within the law. The new inquiry will be moved from the Met Police's counter terrorism command to the specialist crime directorate. It follows an earlier inquiry led by Assistant Met Police Commissioner John Yates which decided there would be no further investigation.

Sir Anthony Hopkins has revealed that he is a fan of American Idol. The actor was appearing on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live promoting his new horror movie, The Rite, when the host played a video of Hopkins in the Fox competition's audience during an Adam Lambert performance some years ago. 'I think it's a great show because it's like the American dream, isn't it? These kids can get up there and do what they want and I think it's fantastic,' he said on Tuesday's show. The Oscar-winning actor went on to say that while he hadn't voted last season, he had been a fan of eventual runner-up Crystal Bowersox. He also said that he liked the new judging team of Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson, before joking: 'I want to go on the show and become a judge [although] I couldn't be tough on them. I see that J-Lo can't be tough on them,' he added. 'She's finding it difficult to say no which is very impressive because it means she has a lot of compassion.'

Rupert Murdoch has reportedly cancelled his visit to the Davos global economic summit in order to personally oversee talks with the government over News Corporation's eight billion pound takeover of Sky. Yesterday, the lack of culture secretary the vile and odious Hunt said that he is minded to refer News Corp's bid to take full control of Sky to the Competition Commission as it might 'operate against the public interest in media plurality.' However, he isn't going to. In a surprise move the vile and odious Hunt said that he will first give Murdoch and News Corp 'more time' to come up with 'alternative proposals to address concerns about the takeover.' According to the Gruniad Morning Star, Murdoch will personally lead the negotiation process with the vile and odious Hunt, who will be advised by Ofcom and the Office of Fair Trading. The 'undertakings' thought to be put forward by News Corp include tighter editorial controls for Sky News, but a possible outright sale of the rolling news broadcaster appears to have been ruled out. In its review of the takeover bid, Ofcom concluded that Sky combined with News Corporation's stable of newspapers - including the Sun and The Times - would give the enlarged company control over twenty two per cent of news consumption in the UK. Only the licence fee-funded BBC, with thirty seven per cent, would have more. Ofcom said that concerns about the takeover specifically refer to the loss of plurality in the choice and provision of news, but the watchdog admitted that there was 'no mechanism' to predict how News Corp and Sky would behave in the future. News Corp rejected this claiming that Ofcom's analysis was 'deficient in a number of ways.' Although, they didn't specify which ones. The firm also accused the regulator of failing to consider the bid 'with an open mind.' Or, in other words, give them exactly what they want and not ask impertinent questions. The vile and odious Hunt's team said that the decision to delay the Competition Commission referral was merely in order to show fairness to all sides and mitigate the chances of a judicial review of the decision. However, shadow lack of culture secretary Ivan Lewis criticised the move, saying: 'The right thing to do is to refer the bid to the Competition Commission. Instead [the vile and odious Hunt] has chosen an unprecedented course of action, which raises further doubts about the integrity of the process.'

Mr Sunshine actor Matthew Perry has insisted that his new role as Ben Donovan is different to his Friends character Chandler Bing. Well, yeah. They're in different shows for a kick-off. Jeez, has everybody taken the stupid pill this week or what? In a recent conference call, the actor acknowledged that many viewers still associate him with the quick-witted Chandler. 'I think it's kind of tough because we obviously look almost exactly alike,' he quipped. 'So that's the first hurdle right there, although I look a little older now.' He added: 'I feel the character I'm doing is a little more beaten-down and the comedy is a little bit smaller.' Perry also claimed that Donovan will often act as the straight-man to Allison Janney's eccentric character Crystal. '[I have] a little bit less nervous energy which is what [makes it] really fun to work with Allison, because Allison's character can tend to be sort of outrageous and I can play along with her.'

Billie Piper has admitted that she wanted Secret Diary Of A Call Girl to come to an end before it became too ridiculous. The final series of the ITV2 show, which sees Piper return to her role as Belle de Jour, begins next week. Piper told the Mirra that she did not want the programme to begin 'scraping the barrel' for plots. 'I think we've pretty much been everywhere with the stories and, as that's at the heart of every episode, you wouldn't want to exhaust it to the point of just complete ridiculousness and seediness,' she said. 'I really like this job but you always want the story to have legs and not be scraping the bottom of the barrel.' She added: 'I think if we go any further then we might be guilty of that.' The actress recently revealed that sex scenes in the new series will be 'funnier' than before.

From the Gruniad Morning Star, the following gem: 'Quote of the Day: "I have worked for Sky Sports loyally for over twenty years and I do not wish to comment further at this time" - in a soundbite that conjures up images of Alan Partridge running through a restaurant holding a giant block of Stilton on a fork, Andy Gray wraps up his apology for comments made about assistant referee Sian Massey by declaring he had no further match analysis to provide anyway. Or something.'

ABC has ordered a new drama pilot focusing on the fictional exploits of author Edgar Allan Poe. Poe will portray the writer as a detective employing unusual methods to solve crimes in 1840s Boston, according to TV Guide. Alias scribe Chris Hollier has written the pilot episode and will also executive produce alongside Dan Lin. The network has also commissioned another period drama piece set in the early 1960s. Pan Am is described as 'a sexy soap' and will focus on the glamourous world of pilots and stewardesses during 'the Jet Age.' The West Wing's Tommy Schlamme will direct the pilot and will also executive produce alongside Nancy Hult Ganis and Jack Orman. Orman, whose previous credits include JAG and ER, has also written the Pan Am pilot.

A coastguard team have succeeded where Top Gear failed - by ruining an 'indestructible' 4x4. Several series ago, Jeremy Clarkson set a Toyota Hilux on fire, hit it with a wrecking ball and dropped a caravan on it but got in and started it afterwards. But when Coastguards in Nairn left their pick-up truck on a beach, they could only watch as it was swamped by the tide, breaking it. A source said: 'It's red faces all round, I'm afraid. The boys are taking a bit of stick over this. There's bound to be a few Top Gear jokes on the go, now the news is out.' The second-hand Hilux, which was refurbished at a cost of twenty thousand pounds got stuck last month at the entrance to Findhorn Bay during a search for missing Inverness man Michael MacLennan. The team were left to watch as the tide came in. It hasn't worked since it was pulled out six hours later. Top Gear's Hilux still started after it was washed out to sea and submerged for several hours in a2003 episode of the BBC show. It is unclear when the coastguard vehicle will be replaced but the team now face a twenty-minute delay getting to emergencies. An internal inquiry called the mishap 'an unfortunate accident.' A Coastguard spokesman said: 'Even people with the best local knowledge can be caught out.'

Glee's executive producer Ryan Murphy has described Kings of Leon as 'self-centred assholes' following their comments about his show. Last summer, Kings of Leon singer Jared Followill revealed that the band had turned down the chance for their songs to appear on Ugly Betty and Glee because they were concerned about 'selling out.' Jeez. Guys, The Clash had one of their songs used to sell jeans, and The Beatles have been used to sell trainers. Nobody gives a flying fek about that stuff anymore! In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Murphy admitted that the remarks had annoyed him. 'Fuck you, Kings of Leon,' he said, sounding rather annoyed it must be admitted. 'They're self-centred assholes, and they missed the big picture. They missed that a seven-year-old kid can see someone close to their age singing a Kings of Leon song, which will maybe make them want to join a glee club or pick up a musical instrument. It's like, okay, hate on arts education. You can make fun of Glee all you want, but at its heart, what we really do is turn kids on to music.' Murphy was also irritated by Slash's recent claim that 'Glee is worse than Grease,' saying: 'Usually I find that people who make those comments, their careers are over - they're uneducated and stupid.' Ouch. However, Caleb Followill admitted that he is surprised the band's refusal to let the show use their songs has annoyed Murphy so much. 'This whole Glee thing is a shock to us,' he said. 'It's gotten out of hand. At the time of the request, we hadn't even seen the show. It came at the end of that record cycle and we were over promoting ['Use Somebody']. This was never meant as a slap in the face to Glee or to music education or to fans of the show. We're not sure where the anger is coming from.' It's coming from Ryan Murphy pal. You've annoyed him. You wouldn't like him when he's annoyed.

The opera singer who appears in those really annoying Go Compare adverts has reportedly signed a four hundred and fifty thousand pound deal to continue the role. Wynne Evans has appeared as tenor Gio Compario in seven commercials for the price-comparison website. However, the Sun claims that the singer only signed the deal after agreeing not to lose weight. 'There is a well-trodden path of big celebs getting famous and being unable to resist the vanity of losing weight,' a 'source' allegedly told the paper. 'It was integral that the ad character, Gio Compario, retained his egg shape, so it was put in his contract.'

Cheryl Cole is hoping to launch a Hollywood movie career, it has been reported. The Girls Aloud singer, who has been linked to a position on the judging panel on the upcoming US version of The X Factor, is said to be looking for the right role. 'Cheryl's people are already looking into film roles for her,' a 'source' allegedly told the Daily Lies. 'There is a belief in Hollywood that if you're not in a movie you're no-one, and she knows that a part in a film could really launch her career over there. They're focusing on an all-action kick-ass role which would show her off in the best light. She'd look fabulous on-screen in a vampish costume. She knows the key to her success probably lies in her killer looks.' They - allegedly - added (and, I say allegedly here because this is all sounding suspiciously 'made-up' to this blogger; ala the Lies infamous 2003 'Holly Valance in discussions to take over on Buffy' malarkey): 'Her people are all too aware an action role is ideal as it won't involve too much acting ability.' And, if they can also get her a singing job where not much singing ability is required, too, that'll be a double bonus.

Moving on, finally, to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45(s) of the Day, this time around we've got a couple of twenty four carat indie classics from the late 1980s. Starting with Spiritualized.And following that little dreamy epic with ... another little dreamy epic, this one from Tracy and The Primitives.Nice!