Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I Took One Look But I Was Fractured, I Tried To Walk But I Was Lame

Jack Dee, Horrible Kate Garraway, Tamara Ecclestone (no, me neither) and Andrew Maxwell will be series regulars on David Walliams's Sky1 panel show Wall of Fame. X Factor's new face Tulisa Contostavlos and stand-up comedian Micky Flanagan will be the guests in the first episode on Friday. Each week, the show regulars and guests will answer questions posed by host Walliams on pop culture and current affairs based around a wall with the twenty five most talked-about faces of the week on it. 'In my day job I spend my life interviewing all the people who have made the headlines so I keep a keen eye on the news,' said full-of-her-own-importance Garraway. 'David is going to be a great host and I am looking forward to joining my other panellists to talk about all the faces who have made the stories that week.' Dee, who should - frankly - be sodding-well ashamed of himself, added: 'I shall be bringing my usual blend of warmth and fun to the show and I can scotch the rumour here and now that I am David Walliams's new bitch. I think Wall of Fame will be must-see television and for once in my life for the right reasons.' Model and presenter Ecclestone said: 'I'm so thrilled to have been asked to be a regular panellist on Wall of Fame. I'm a huge fan of David Walliams and working with him on the show is so exciting. Everyone needs to laugh so tune in every Friday!' No.

Stephen Mangan and Jennifer Saunders are among the stars who have signed up to appear in a new Comic Strip Presents ... film for Channel Four, the first in six years. The Hunt for Tony Blair, which has been described as 'a spoof of 1950s film noir,' imagines that the former prime minister is wanted for murder. Blair, who will be played by Mangan, is hoping to clear his name but after escaping from Number 10 he is forced to go on the run as no-one will hide him, ala The Thirty Nine Steps. Saunders will star as Margaret Thatcher, while Robbie Coltrane and Inbetweeners' James Buckley will appear as the police officers hunting down Blair. The cast also includes Nigel Planer as Peter Mandelson, Ford Kiernan as Gordon Brown, Harry Enfield as Alistair Campbell and Catherine Shepherd as Cherie Blair along with Rik Mayall, Morgana Robinson, John Sessions and Ross Noble. Channel Four's head of comedy Shane Allen described the one-hour film as 'an irresistibly hilarious script from the Godfathers of British comedy. Brilliantly conceived, we race through Blair's past as he's the wronged man (in his own head) on the run for mass murder,' Allen continued. 'So many juicy parts for the big comedy hitters of the Comic Strip team alongside some newer C4 comedy talents, it promises to be a very daring and utterly irreverent romp.' A staple of Channel Four comedy since Five Go Mad In Dorset was shown on the network's opening night in November 1982, the last Comic Strip Presents ... film (Sex Actually) was show in 2005.

One of the Qi elves has mentioned on Twitter that a tenth series (on subjects beginning wit the letter 'J') has been commissioned by the Beeb.

There was a top quality return for the second series of Luther on Tuesday night. I mean, any drama including the talents of the likes of Idris Elba, Paul McGann, Dermot Crowley et al is usually going to be watchable, but this was something very special indeed. Still plagued by the death of his ex-wife, Luther returns to work to face a surreal and nightmarish case of a masked murderer determined to enter into folklore. Like his protestant theologian namesake, John Luther believes that a persons good deeds alone are no guarantee of ultimate salvation, and so he sets out to help those whom he considers he has wronged in the hope of some kind of cosmic redemption. Trusting his moral compass rather than anything as banally one-dimensional as the law, Luther does his best to aid mad-as-toast Alice Morgan (Ruth Wilson), the laconic, homicidal 'simpatico' physicist from series one, now in a (hopefully very) secure mental hospital - 'It's all just breathtakingly unerotic,' she remarks of the subject of all of the other woman that she's locked up with for one form of 'abuse' or another. He's also trying to push unhappy junkie teenage 'star' of some decidedly unpleasant pornogrpahic movies Jenny Jones (a brilliantly angry performance by Skins' Aimee Ffion Edwards who was so good in Kathy Burke's Little Crackers last Christmas) in the right direction. Jenny's mother Caroline (Kierston Wareing) considers Luther complicit in the death of her husband fifteen years earlier. So, he clearly owes the family a favour or two. Smart, sassy and just a little bit dangerous with a dash of teenage petulance, Jenny lost her way after her father was hauled off to pokey for butchering up a prostitute. Luther, who has spent the gap between the last series and this working cold cases and, for laughs, playing Russian Roulette each morning and Ripley (the terrific Warren Brown), who has been back in uniform for the period, are recruited to a newly formed Serious and Serial Unit - where they are immediately confronted with a failed art student-turned-very mad-indeed-serial-killer who wears a Mr Punch mask and has a comparable interest in bringing theatricality to the brutal crimes he commits, inspired by Victorian bogeyman Springheel Jack. He's called Cameron and is played by George Gently's Lee Ingleby in a real case of gamekeeper-turned-poacher. Add in the great Michael Smiley (Tyres from Spaced), a couple of really chillingly staged murders and one of the most dramatically perfect cliffhangers seen in these parts in a long time, and you've got a great start to the new series.

The controller of BBC1 has described the chain-smoking EastEnders stalwart Dot Branning as an example of a Christian living out her faith in a 'day-to-day way.' Cohen made the remarks after being challenged to provide instances of ordinary believers on television who were not 'freaks, geeks or antiques.' Branning, played by June Brown, is one of the few remaining characters to have been with the BBC1 soap since its launch in 1985, although the actor took a break from the show in the 1990s. The character is in her seventies and known for her devout Christian faith, gossiping and hypochondria. Cohen told delegates attending this year's Church and Media conference on Tuesday: 'She is a single example of someone who lives out her faith on television in a charitable way.' But the controller's case study failed to impress the gathering of faith leaders and broadcasters, eliciting barely concealed grumbles from the audience at the event, held at the Hayes conference centre in Swanwick, Derbyshire. Afterwards the Rev Hayley Matthews, chaplain for MediaCity UK, the new Salford base for BBC North, said: 'I don't think Dot Cotton is very representative of Christians. I think a lot of people would be offended by that.' Matthew Adcock, from the London School of Theology, said although Cotton was portrayed as a Christian she did not represent the country's 'growing, younger demographic.' There was even greater displeasure when Cohen pointed a young woman in the direction of The Big Questions as an example of BBC religious programming that was not worship-based. Event director Andrew Graystone, who was interviewing the BBC1 controller, said the Sunday morning debate show was 'a bit of a bear pit,' while the female delegate told Cohen her opinions had not proved polarised enough for the programme-makers. The wide-ranging discussion also touched on lighter yet equally pressing issues such as The Only Way is Essex, Saturday night entertainment in general and Doctor Who in particular. Cohen confirmed that the recently commissioned seventh series of the popular family SF drama was likely to be split in two (as the current, sixth, series has been) but this time with an autumn start and further episodes to be shown into the following year citing Steven Moffat's work on Sherlock and 'need to sleep' as reasons for the change in schedule although the Beeb's Lizo Mzimba later suggested that this made been 'a joke.' Cohen also promised 'something special' for the show's fiftieth anniversary year in 2013. He spoke about Songs of Praise, which celebrates its own fiftieth anniversary this year. 'That's a wow factor in its own right.' When asked who he thought watched the programme, which is broadcast early evening on Sundays, he replied: 'I think it must be people who live their faith on a weekly or daily basis.' At the back of the room a woman called out: 'They're all in church.' A hugely Christian example of heckling following, to the letter, Matthew 5:38 there. 'If thine enemy offend thee, give him both barrels from the back of the hall then run away.' Coward. Cohen, who did not appear to hear the - very rude - heckle, persisted: 'I'm very conscious of that anniversary, I think it's the longest-running religious programme in the world. We have three special programmes that we have got extra money to make.' He said there was 'no doubt' Songs of Praise would celebrate its sixtieth birthday. 'It would not occur to me to question it. It won't be on my agenda.'

A bus shelter modelled after the TARDIS seen on the television series Doctor Who has been stolen from a teenager's backyard. The six-foot tall TARDIS belonged to Kaitlyn Iadevaia in Oklahoma, who built it with her father Tom. Both are fans of Doctor Who, reports KFOR. Well, it'd be a pretty strange thing to build if they weren't. 'It didn't have property value,' the girl said. 'But it did have sentimental value. I'd just really like it back.' Kaitlyn's father called the thieves 'big gonads,' adding: 'I can't see why anyone would take the darn thing, unless they're a big Doctor Who fan and want to put it in their bedroom'" Police are currently investigating the theft of the bus shelter, which weighs three hundred pounds.

David Boreanaz has revealed that he is keen to direct an episode of HBO's True Blood. The actor currently appears in FOX's Bones and has helmed four episodes of the crime drama. Boreanaz wrote on Twitter: 'When does True Blood start up? I'd like to direct an epp of that [sic].' Boreanaz previously played the vampire Angel on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel between 1997 and 2004. He also directed an episode of the latter. He admitted that he still finds it 'challenging' to direct episodes of Bones. 'You want to make this show as dynamic as possible,' he explained. 'It doesn't get any easier - which is a good thing, because you want to keep pushing the bar.'

Lee Mack has admitted that he struggles to watch early episodes of his sitcom Not Going Out. And, so did a lot of other people, that was why it was almost cancelled a couple of years back before a last minute reprieve. The comedian told What's On TV that he 'didn't have a clue what [he] was doing' when the BBC series began in 2006. Mack confessed: 'I think, "I'd never write a joke like that now." It was all about getting as many gags into the script as we could, whereas now we concentrate more on the story and character development.' However, Mack revealed that he is still able to enjoy older episodes of the series, which also stars stand-up comic Tim Vine. 'There was an episode on the other night that was so old I couldn't remember the jokes,' he explained. 'I watched it like an audience member and actually laughed.' Mack previously admitted to Digital Spy that he 'was crowbarring in a lot of jokes' while writing the first series of Not Going Out. 'I'm very proud of the fact that it's story-led now,' he said. 'Though sometimes there will be a gag that I'm very proud of and I'll sneak it into my stand-up until it's on telly! But it's very rare that it happens now.' And, by and large, the show is much better off for it.

Four senior peers have accused the BBC of running an 'orchestrated campaign' to change the law on assisted death according to the Daily Scum Mail. The Daily Scum Mail, of course, know all about 'orchestrated campaigns.'

The lack of culture secretary, the vile and odious rascal Hunt, will not attend Rupert Murdoch's annual summer party in London on Thursday night, as he is days away from announcing that he will give the media mogul approval to go ahead with the eight billion quid-plus purchase of the sixty one per cent of BSkyB his company News Corp does not own. Officially the vile and odious rascal Hunt has turned down his invitation to the event citing other engagements that evening, but colleagues indicated that he could hardly be seen in the company of Rupert and James Murdoch at a very time when he is expecting Ofcom and the OFT to give their final verdict on the bid. A 'friend' of the vile and odious rascal Hunt said: 'I don't think he can go – after all, it would be exactly what the Guardian would want, a photograph of Jeremy having a glass of champagne with Rupert Murdoch just before making the final decision.' Which is hugely surprising. I didn't know the vile and odious rascal Hunt had any 'friends.' In addition to the Gruniad Morning Star, it should be noted, it would also be exactly what the Daily Torygraph, the Daily Scum Mail, the Daily Scum Express and all of the other newspapers on the right violently opposed to Murdoch and his schemes would like to see, and publish, too. The decision on whether to let the proposed merger through is the vile and odious rascal Hunt's alone, acting in a quasi-judicial manner. He is not the only cabinet member to be cautious – Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister and national embarrassment, came to the annual party in 2010, but has signalled that he will not be able to attend this year. However, there was no answer from No 10 as to whether David Cameron planned to go to a busy function which is usually attended by politicians from all parties. After all, one is sure he'd like to get his tongue into Uncle Rupert's chuff for a right good lick.
Murdoch is in London this week with the rest of News Corp's board. The company holds one board meeting a year in the UK capital, but it is not clear whether the progress of the Sky bid or the ongoing phone-hacking scandal will be on the agenda. Though if they're not, you'd probably have good reason to wonder why. Non-executive directors at the FOX to News of the World giant include former Spanish PM José María Aznar, and former BA chief executive Rod Eddington. Meanwhile, Ofcom and the OFT are putting the final touches to the undertaking agreement reached with News Corporation in the event that it completes the full purchase of BSkyB. No substantiative change is expected from the interim agreement – which saw News Corp agree to spin-off Sky News in return for winning regulatory approval to buy the rest of BSkyB. The paperwork from the two regulatory bodies is due on the vile and odious rascal Hunt's desk any day, and could come as soon as this week, as both regulators have worked hard to try and ensure any agreement is 'watertight,' amid concerns that News Corp could exploit a loophole not anticipated by the original agreement. Once the documentation lands on the minister's desk, he will decide how quickly to proceed. If the vile and odious rascal Hunt views Ofcom and the OFT recommendations as straightforward, he is likely to make a formal announcement at 7am the following morning – although the minister may delay for a day or two if there are further matters to consider. A short consultation period of about one week is expected to follow to allow for any last objections.

Sean Bean, was reportedly stabbed in the arm outside a London Pub on Sunday. The actor was allegedly attacked outside the Hill Bar and Brasserie in Camden following a row over a young model, reports the Daily Scum Mail. Bean was said to have a cut arm and bruised face following the attack, but he declined to attend hospital and instead walked back into the bar and ordered another drink. Christ, that's hard! See, you shouldn't mess with Richard Sharpe, he's nails, so he is. A member of staff said, 'Sean is a regular here and we've never had any problems before. He was with a very attractive woman and an incident occurred outside the bar,' adding, 'He came in with a cut on his arm and a bruise on his eyebrow. We saw to his injuries with the first aid kit. He seemed okay and wanted to have another drink.' The row reportedly began when Bean and the model April Summers were standing outside, having a cigarette. A passer-by made a lewd comment about Ms Summers, leading Bean to follow the man down the road and challenge him to a fight. Class. Later in the evening, the actor left the pub for another cigarette and was apparently stabbed with a shard of broken glass. The police had no comment on the alleged fracas and Sean Bean was unavailable for comment. Summer told the Scum Mail, 'I'm fine, it is a private matter. I don't want to make any comment.'

The great Curtis Armstrong has signed up for a recurring role in the upcoming seventh season of The Closer. The Moonlighting actor - most recently seen in a two-episode run on House - will play cunning attorney Peter Goldman in the TNT drama's final series, according to TV Guide. When her gangster son is killed, a distraught mother will hire Goldman to sue Brenda Leight Johnson (Kyra Segdwick) and her colleagues at the LAPD. 'He's going after her, the city and the department,' explained series creator James Duff. 'He is a wily attorney who's made a profession of suing the police. He would say he's a necessary part of the justice system. He's making the police justify their tactics and holding them to the standards our constitution demands.' Lost star Mark Pellegrino will also appear in the new season of The Closer as a defence attorney hired to combat Goldman in court. Pellegrino recently played the role of Bishop in the first season of Syfy's Being Human and has played recurring roles on Supernatural and Dexter.

The Coasters lead singer Carl Gardner has died aged eighty three, it has been announced on the band's website. He died at a hospice in Florida and had been suffering from congestive heart failure and dementia his wife, Vet, said. 'He loved his singing. That was his whole life,' she told The Associated Press. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, The Coasters had hits including 'Yakety Yak', 'Searchin', 'Poison Ivy', 'Besame Mucho', 'Charlie Brown', 'I'm A Hog For You', 'Three Cool Cats', 'Along Came Jones' and 'Young Blood'. The Coasters were the prototype doo-wop group which started in October 1955. The original members were Gardner, Billy Guy, Bobby Nunn, Leon Hughes (who was replaced by Young Jessie on some of their early Los Angeles recordings) and guitarist Adolph Jacobs. Jacobs left the group in 1959. They were formed out of The Robins, a Los Angeles-based rhythm and blues group, which included Gardner and Nunn. Having formed The Coasters, the group's partnership with songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller was an immediate success. Together they created a string of good-humoured 'short story' songs which were some of the most entertaining from the era. Their first single, 'Down in Mexico,' was an R&B hit in 1956. The following year, The Coasters crossed over to the national charts with the double-sided 'Young Blood'/'Searchin'. 'Searchin' was the group's first US Top hit. The band were hugely popular in the UK and their fanbase included The Beatles who included several Coasters songs in their stage act during the early 1960s. The Hollies first hit was a cover of 'Searchin'. 'He was such a humble person. If you met Carl, you would never know he was famous,' Gardner's wife added. Gardner, who founded the band in 1955, retired in 2005 and was succeeded as lead singer by his son Carl Gardner Jr. The singer was also fought for legislation, which was passed in 2007, which prevented bogus groups from using the names of famous acts including The Coasters.

So, with that in mind, today's Keith Telly Topping's 45(s) of the Day are all for Carl Gardner. Sleep well, brother. Here's four slices of the Coasters at their best, starting with my own particular favourite.
There's remarkably little footage of the group at their peak, but we do have this, at least.
Here's another one The Beatles covered.
And, finally, probably their best known song.

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