Monday, February 21, 2011

Don't Blame Me Now, Cos I Blame It All On You

The divine Amber Heard has had something of a varied career so far, from being in full undead make-up for Zombieland to wandering around a dark and twisted hospital in John Carpenter's The Ward. She's currently starring opposite Nicolas Cage in Drive Angry, and to promote the full-throttle action movie, this week she visited Top Gear to do a flying lap in their reasonably priced car segment. In a Kia Cee'd. Or, rather a slow lap, actually. Didn't matter, she was very amusing. And, also got say the word 'shit' before the watershed. Twice. Bet the scum lice at Gruniad Morning Star will having something to say about that. We'll find out soon enough, no doubt. That's, if they're not still on the phone to the Norwegian embassy trying to stir up more trouble, of course. 'How much of my licence fee did the BBC spend getting that combine harvester to Norway,' no doubt some up-tight glake will be asking. The answer, of course, is 'virtually none' since most of Top Gear's external budget comes from the vast wedges of moolah that the series makes for the BBC in terms of overseas sales and merchandising. A far better question to ask, any up-tight glakes who also happen to be dear blog readers, would be 'how many BBC programmes do I watch which are paid for by Top Gear's overseas sales and merchandising?' Given that the money earned from the overseas sales and merchandising of, basically, Top Gear, Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing and some wildlife documentaries from BBC Bristol makes up the vast majority of BBC Worldwide's reported one hundred and eighty million pound profit last year. Most of which then gets poured back into programme making. So, that's probably three quarters of the output of BBC4. 'You can drive as fast as you like in Britain, little yellow boxes record it and send you a note of praise!' Don't ever stop, guys. For red lights, or for journalistic Nazis.

And speaking of chaps driving things extremely fast yer actual Keith Telly Topping was very impressed with BBC2's repeat on Sunday night of the documentary on the late Graham Hill, Driven. Graham was the face of British motor-racing in the 1960s – rakish and dashing, he was exactly how the public imagined a racing driver should look. Jim Clark, John Surtees and Jackie Stewart were all, arguably, better drivers, but Graham's perceived playboy lifestyle set him apart. In many ways he seemed a throwback to the 1920s when chaps with excellent moustaches went racing purely for adventure and the thrill of it. Yet Graham, despite his almost-plumby accent, had actually worked his way up from nothing. Unlike Mike Hawthorn or Sterling Moss he didn't come from an affluent background which funded his career. He was a late starter too - his first love was rowing and although he competed in some motorcycle scrambles, he was almost twenty five before he drove a racing car. With contributions from his wife, Bette, his daughters Brigitte and Samantha, son Damon (like his dad, a World Motor Racing Champion) and many friends and colleagues (including Jackie Stewart) this was an affectionate, witty and charming portrait of a man who possessed all of those qualities.

How great was it to see the legend that is Nicola Walker turning up in a guest role as Wendy the social worker on Being Human this week? Well, yer actual Keith Telly Topping liked it, anyway. What with Robson Green's presence on the show this season, it's about time we had a Touching Evil reunion! In fact, it's about time we had a Touching Evil revival. How about it, ITV? Anyway, back to Being Human. it was a very impressive episode too, featuring the long-awaited return of Jason Watkins' Herrick at his eye-rolling best.

Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole have allegedly decided not to return to the next UK series of The X Factor. Or, indeed, hopefully, ever. Oh, did I just say that out loud? The News of the World reports that the pair, who have been tipped to work together on the US show's panel, have made it clear to ITV bosses that they will not have time to appear on both programmes. Which, of course, ITV are, just like, beyond totally delighted about. Cowell is quoted by a 'friend' as allegedly saying: 'I'm committed to the American show and I'm not going to do both.' Meanwhile the newspaper claim than an 'insider' added: 'Simon would have to produce two big shows at the same time and he and Cheryl would have to mentor and judge acts in both countries. It would just be too much for them.'

Let's Dance For Comic Relief returned to boost BBC1's prime time line-up on Saturday night, pulling in over seven and a half million viewers, overnight figures indicate. Hosted by the most Welsh pairing in TV Steve and Alex Jones, there's lovely, isn't it, the opening edition of the charity contest - which saw Katie Price and Russell Kane progress to the final - pulled in a hefty 7.56m, up 1.3m on last year's Let's Dance For Sports Relief premiere.The National Lottery: Secret Fortune, presented by Nick Knowles, whom yer Keith Telly Topping finds a bit tiresome but he seems very popular with normal people, followed with 6.17m at 8.15pm, an increase of two hundred and eighty thousand on last week's first episode. After that, the latest episode of Casualty - Till Death Do Us Part - had an audience of just over six million. Over on ITV, the FA Cup's match between Premier League leaders Manchester United and non-league Crawley Town scored an impressive average of 6.12m from 4.35pm, peaking with over eight million in the game's final moments. How nice it was, also, to see the Sun sponsoring plucky little Crawley's shirts. I do so hope that they'll be doing the same again next week when plucky little Crawley will be playing somebody like Forest Green in the Conference in front of approximately fifteen per cent of those nine thousand 'fans' they took with them to Old Trafford. Sorry. It's just there's nothing quite like an FA Cup weekend in which The Toon have, long since, gone out of the competition to bring out the utter cynic in yer actual Keith Telly Topping. Ant and Dec's Push the Button achieved another woeful audience of four and a half million viewers on a bad night for ITV in which, the football aside, nothing got above five million.

And, speaking of Scumchester United, Mike Summerbee, the former Manchester City and England winger has said he has no regrets over the impassioned outburst on Sky television about the way he believes the broadcaster favours Manchester United over his own club. Oh, it's not just City, pal, it's everybody else an'all. Summerbee admitted to losing his temper after City's 2-1 defeat in the Manchester derby last weekend but said that he stuck by his words and remains angry about the way 'they only see United.' To illustrate his point, the man who formed part of the most successful side in City's history condemned Sky for the frequency with which it has repeated Wayne Rooney's winning goal. 'I am already fed up with seeing and reading about that Rooney goal,' Summerbee wrote in his column in City's match day programme this weekend. 'It was special – any football fan would admit that – but you can have too much of it. The day after the derby I came back from watching my grandson score two goals in his Sunday morning match, switched on the telly and there was that goal again. I gave it the quick change to Antiques Roadshow.' Where, it should be admitted, Fiona Bruce spanked one in from an outrageous distance. Senior sources at Sky have indicated that Summerbee, now a club ambassador, will not be invited onto the network again - and thus perish all those who question Sky in their magnificence - but the sixty eight-year-old said he had been heartened by the comments from City supporters. 'Most of them have been extremely positive,' he said. 'I did lose my temper a little bit and it is a good job for Dwight Yorke [the former Manchester United player was a fellow pundit] that I have mellowed with age. [The media] go on as though we don't exist and that annoys me. I don't mind banter. I don't even mind jokes at our expense but, when I feel the progress we have clearly made – on and off the field – is being ignored, then it gets my goat. I was proud of the way we knocked the ball around at Old Trafford. We played some lovely football and on another day could have got at least a point out of the game. For the first time in a long time I left Old Trafford after a defeat not depressed about the result. One of the biggest compliments was the fact Sir Alex Ferguson left his top scorer [Dimitar Berbatov] on the bench. He knew what a danger we posed. There will be many City fans who will be sick of hearing that United are looking over their shoulder and that we are closing the gap on them but I genuinely believe that the Reds are not hearing us coming up behind them but looking at us right alongside now.' City's lawyers are said to be taking action to remove a spoof account, Simple_as_Mike, which has appeared on Twitter, with the profile 'Embittered Manchester City legend and enemy of statistics & facts.' How many Manchester United fans does it take to set up a Twitter account? Two. One to do it and the other one to drive him back to Essex.

Patsy Palmer has revealed that she was rushed to hospital following botched Botox injections. After undergoing the wrinkle-smoothing procedure, the thirty eight-year-old EastEnders actress was unable to move her head and suffered heart palpitations. 'I was freaking out,' Palmer said. Well, with a face like that, I would be too chuck. 'I got so panicky and I ended up in A&E.' The actress, currently on maternity leave from the soap after giving birth to her fourth child in December, had previously admitted to having collagen injections in her lips, but had said that she would never try Botox treatment. However, after her bad experience, Palmer insisted that she wouldn't be giving it another go, saying, 'That was my relationship with Botox over. I got really scared about it.'

Karen Barber has reportedly been warned by ITV bosses for comments she made to a newspaper. Speaking to the News of the World, Twatting About On Ice judge Jason Gardiner claimed that the head coach has been reprimanded by producers for publicly criticising him in the media following the pair's clash over contestant Johnson Beharry a fortnight ago. He explained: 'My job has never been in question. I adhered to the demands of the bosses not to speak. But Karen did go public. That was a big slap in our faces. It was overstepping the mark for which she was reprimanded. Karen needs to believe I'm a bad person in order to justify her position. That incident made it look like I'm bullying a national war hero because Karen was coming to his defence. All my criticism of him has been very constructive. But I'm not going to patronise him either. He is in this arena because he wants to be treated like everyone else. He doesn't expect special dispensation because of his past.' The choreographer further complained: 'With the current public sensitivity, you can't even have an opinion on television. I think people now have Ofcom on speed dial. We're going to get the blandest TV in the world if we keep going on like this.' Meanwhile, Kerry Katona became the ninth alleged 'celebrity' to leave Twatting About On Ice after failing to impress pretty much anyone in the 'Ultimate Skills Test.'

Paddy Doherty, recently featured in Big Fat Gypsy Weddings, told a court that his wife had attempted to kill herself as the result of him having to give evidence against a traveller. The Mirra reports that Doherty told jurors Roseanne had tried to throw herself off a bridge after Doherty, famous for appearing in the Channel Four documentary, appeared in a case against his cousin, Johnny Joyce, who is accused of grievous bodily harm. Doherty told the court: 'I didn't make a complaint - my wife rang the police. I was subpoenaed here. I didn't want to come. My wife tried to throw herself off a bridge yesterday. I never wanted to speak to the police. Without my wife, I’m nothing. Behind every good man is a good woman.' He then said: 'I don't give a fuck if you let that piece of shit go. Let him go, I don't care. The nearest thing to me in the world is my wife. She is my whole life to me, not that little shit. She is messed-up big time. I have done nothing. You can do what you want.' Doherty reportedly later apologised to the judge.

A tabloid newspaper has claimed that Frank Lampard has 'ordered' ex-partner Elen Rivas to scrap plans for a reality TV show. How extremely 1860s of him. Earlier this week, it was reported that the model was planning to feature alongside new boyfriend, Peter Andre, in a fly-on-the-wall documentary series on ITV2. So, I wouldn't worry too much, Frank, it'll have an audience of about twelve. However, the Chelsea footballer is apparently seeking legal advice as he is concerned that his children would be featured in the show. 'He is concerned about any stress Luna and Isla may be put under by the attention surrounding Elen and Peter's romance,' an 'source' allegedly told the Daily Lies. Which probably gives dear blog readers and idea how much credence to put by this load of old nonsense. 'He doesn't care what Elen gets up to. As a good father he has concerns for his children.' And, what songs he gets sung about him next time he visits Upton Park or Anfield, of course.

For the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day we have, bless 'em, perhaps the ugliest band in the history of the world! But they made one of the great singles, 'Perfume'. Manchester's Paris Angels produced one of the ultimate baggy anthems, a perfect synthesis of sixties-jangly guitars and Balearic-disco topped with Jane Gill's, ahem, angelic (s'cuse the pun) backing vocals. It was 'single of the week' in the NME, played repeatedly on The John Peel Show and stayed in the Top Ten of the UK Indie Chart for most of the glorious party summer of 1990. There are actually two completely different versions of this song - the 'jingle-jangle-morning-mixed-with-Joy-Division' indie-pop original ('Perfume') and the epic, extended six-minute polyrhythmic dance mix ('All On You') both of which can be found on the same twelve inch single. This is the video for the former. See what I mean? Not the prettiest bunch in the world, are they? Albeit, I do love the video. It's like a bunch of scallys got given twenty five quid and camcorder and were told to get a bunch of their mates together in the local youth club and 'make a video!' The cheapness and the energy of the thing are, actually, its absolute salvation. On the other hand, this is a remixed version of the latter. Epic! A heathen shimmering beast of a single. After scraping the bottom of the charts with their debut, the Angles signed to Virgin and released two or three other great singles (the follow-up to 'Perfume', 'Scope' was also a gem) and one fabulous LP (Sundew) but never made it as big as 'Perfume' suggested that they would and they were eventually dropped by the label in 1992. Guitarist Paul Wagstaff would later turn up in Black Grape.

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