Thursday, June 16, 2011

Now You Fe Line It Up, And You Fe Wine It Up

The themes for the last two episodes of the next - I - series of Qi the recording of which takes place over the next two days will be Invisibility and Intelligence respectively. The former features as its guests three of the series most regular panellists, Rich Hall, Jimmy Carr and Phill Jupitus. The latter will feature Jupitas again, along with David Mitchell and Jo Brand. Earlier this week Qi's producer John Mitchinson announced on Twitter that the popular intelligence game show's tenth - J - series had been commissioned.

Jonathan Ross has claimed that he has 'more freedom' on ITV than he had at the BBC. And more money too. You forgot about that, Jonny.

BBC Worldwide has announced that the global version of BBC iPlayer will launch in Western Europe later this year, with monthly subscriptions expected to cost around ten US dollars. In her first major speech since joining Worldwide as president of networks and global iPlayer, Jana Bennett will reveal that BBC fans living in Western Europe will be able to access a mix of current and archive content on Apple's iPad. Speaking at the Banff World Television Festival in Canada, Bennett will stress that the multi-territory roll-out of global iPlayer later this year will be 'very much a pilot,' and the full launch will be run 'in a careful and measured way.' No date has been set so far for a US launch. Bennett will add: 'We want the global BBC iPlayer to imaginatively engage an on-demand audience with the best classic and contemporary British shows.' She will also explain that the global iPlayer will be 'a different proposition' to the UK version, and claim that it will not cannibalise viewers from the BBC's international channels. 'The freedom from catch-up means that we've got a lot more flexibility in terms of what we put on there and how we present it,' Bennett will say. 'In overseas markets where the whole gamut of the BBC's linear broadcast isn't available then applying the on-demand model we have in the UK doesn't make sense.' According to Bennett, global BBC iPlayer will offer 'editorially-curated collections' across genres such as music, comedy, factual, natural history and children's programmes. She will add: 'Whilst it won't happen overnight, our ambition is to present a timeless mix of classic and contemporary UK creativity, showcasing the best of British content from the 1950s to the present day. Vintage British creativity but fresh and for the future.' Also in the speech, Bennett will outline her vision for Worldwide's network of international channels, including new programming and channel launches. Worldwide's travel guide publisher Lonely Planet is to produce a raft of branded content for the BBC Knowledge channels, which are shown in fourteen countries around the world. Bennett will also discuss the forthcoming launch of a full BBC Earth natural history channel and plans to bring a localised feed of BBC HD to Latin America within the year, following the channel's expansion into Scandinavia, Poland and Turkey.

Twitter comedy moment of the week. The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat noting: 'At a posh do. THIS posh. "Would I have seen anything you've done?" "Doctor Who, Sherlock?" "I'm sure I should've heard of them..."' Makes you wonder why bother, I'll bet Steven! Trust me, your work is appreciated on plenty of council estates up and down the land.

Series two of the excellent Luther opened with 5.6 million viewers on Tuesday evening, while Channel Four's harrowing Sri Lanka documentary was watched by eight hundred thousand viewers, the latest overnight audience data has revealed. Luther, the Idris Elba-starring crime drama, averaged 5.6m for BBC1 in the 9pm hour, almost exactly the same as the opening rating for series one last year. The programme was also too strong for Baby Hospital, which was watched by 2.62m on ITV and a further oen hundred and forty thousand on ITV+1. Sri Lanka's Killing Fields, a Jon Snow-fronted documentary featuring the most shocking footage ever broadcast by Channel Four, had eight hundred and ten thousand viewers from 11.05pm. Earlier, Animal Kingdom achieved 2.39m on ITV from 7.30pm. BBC1's Holby City entertained 5.24m in the 8pm hour, beating Countrywise's 2.46m. Over on BBC2, This World was watched by nine hundred and twenty thousand in the 7pm hour. Springwatch captivated 2.1m from 8pm and one hundred and thirty thousand extra viewers on BBC HD. The Country House Revealed's audience was 1.42m in the 9pm hour and one hundred and sixteen thousand on HD, before Jack Dee's sitcom Lead Balloon amused 1.17m from 10pm and one hundred and forty one thousand on HD.

Emmerdale producer Stuart Blackburn has dismissed media reports claiming that the soap is planning a live episode to mark its fortieth anniversary. The Yorkshire soap will mark its fortieth birthday next year and media reports have claimed that the soap was planning to broadcast a special live episode - possibly with big stunts - to mark the occasion. The move, reports claimed, was prompted by the success of EastEnders and Coronation Street's live anniversary episodes in 2010. Police-drama The Bill, cancelled last year by ITV, also broadcast two live episodes during the mid-2000s. However, Emmerdale's series producer Stuart Blackburn has dismissed the reports as rumours. 'The rumours of the live episode are just that - rumours. Just rumours. We could do it and never say never. There is a little bit of me that's always excited by that. They're just rumours - but the fortieth will be massive.' Blackburn told This Morning. EastEnders marked its twenty fifth anniversary with its first ever live episode which revealed the murderer of Archie Mitchell whilst Coronation Street celebrated its fiftieth anniversary with the aftermath of last December's apocalyptic tram crash. The Manchester soap had previous marked its fortieth anniversary in 2000 with a live episode as well and in its early days in the 1960s episodes were routinely broadcast live. Emmerdale has become known for its big stunts with the trend, to boost ratings, being started in 1993 with the plane-crash storyline which was created by Phil Redmond; creator of Grange Hill, Brookside and Hollyoaks. On the possibility of a big stunt to mark the fortieth anniversary Blackburn told This Morning: 'Again, it's just rumours. I think there is a danger with these big stunts that eventually from the audience's point of view, it's just another stunt.'

Two men have reportedly been arrested for allegedly conspiring to rob and commit grievous bodily harm to the singer Joss Stone. The men, aged thirty three and thirty, were apprehended near the singer's home in east Devon, according to reports. They were initially arrested on Monday on suspicion of planning a burglary and having an offensive weapon. The authorities were alerted when neighbours spotted two men acting suspiciously in the area. Police were said to have found a body bag, rope and two swords when the pair were caught, in addition to maps and aerial photos of Stone's home. Investigation leader Detective Inspector Steve Parker said: 'The two men in custody had in their possession information relating to an individual in the Cullompton area and items which lead us to suspect that they may have intended to commit a criminal offence. Police enquiries continue and the men remain in custody. We're unable to say any more at this time but I would like to thank the local residents for reporting the suspicious car.' Rumours that Stone herself had also been arrested for crimes against music cannot, at this time, be confirmed or denied. The men were later named as Kevin Liverpool and Junior Bradshaw, both from Manchester according to BBC News.

Matt Lucas has unveiled his new BBC1 comedy show. The Matt Lucas Awards sees the Little Britain star present mock trophies - called 'Lucases' - in an assortment of strange and unusual categories. Okay, I'm not exactly loving the idea so far but it might get better. 'Rather than give "Best Actor" or "Best Book," this show presents the awards other shows ignore,' Lucas explained on the BBC Comedy blog. 'So it might be "Smuggest Nation Of People" or "Worst Song By An Otherwise Reputable Artist."' Lucas will be joined by three guests during each show, with the pilot episode featuring Ruby Wax, Dave Gorman and Jack Whitehall. Ah, there you go, the two magic words that confirm it'll be crap. Jack and Whitehall.

Following the success of The Killing, BBC4 has snapped up another Danish drama, a ten-part political drama made by the same production company called Government. In the series, which is made by DR, the in-house production wing of the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, actor Sidse Babett Knudsen plays forty-year-old party leader Birgitte Nyborg who successfully secures a surprise election victory. The film partly dwells on her private life – she has a husband and two children – but focuses mainly on her political struggles and beliefs. Other characters include cynical media adviser, Kasper Juul, and young television political journalist Katrine Fonsmark. The BBC4 controller, Richard Klein, said he hoped the drama, which is expected to broadcast later this year, would attract the same praise as The Killing, which last month won the BAFTA award for best international programme. 'BBC4 always buys with an eye to excellence,' he added. 'Government is dramatic and entertaining, very much in the mould of The Killing, and fits BBC4's brief to bring the best international television to the audience.' The drama's producer, Camilla Hammerich, said: 'I think it is fantastic that the series will be shown on the BBC. I am proud that a series about politics can travel this far and hopefully reach a large audience outside Denmark.'

BBC3's highly acclaimed Junior Doctors: Your Life in Their Hands has been recommissioned for a second series, after it achieved record ratings for the digital channel. The factual entertainment series was ordered by entertainment executive editor Karl Warner, who commissioned the first run, and BBC3 controller Zai Bennett. The second series will comprise six episodes, produced by BBC Vision Productions, and will be executive produced by Rachel Arnold. Bennett said: 'Junior Doctors has been one of the stand-out original programmes on BBC3 this year. I'm delighted that we are bringing it back with a new cast of young doctors in a new location early next year.' Warner added: 'It's clear that the drama and excitement of young doctors' lives has connected with our audience. The first series witnessed the very real challenges they face on a daily basis. We'll follow the struggles of a new cast of junior doctors, capturing their extraordinary commitment in a new hospital location.' The first series averaged 1.44m viewers across the six-part run - holding the record for the highest-rated factual show in the channel's eight-year history - and has been shortlisted for a Broadcast Digital Awards. It charted the progress of seven recently qualified junior doctors as they learned to cope with work on the wards of two of Newcastle's busiest hospitals while juggling their lives outside the job. Last week, BBC1 broadcast highlights from the series in a one-off episode.

Simon Pegg has insisted that Spaced will never return to television. The Channel Four sitcom, which starred Pegg as aspiring comic book artist Tim Bisley, ran for two series between 1999 and 2001 and was one of the great cult hits of the era. The Paul and Hot Fuzz actor told IGN: 'To bring it back would be dangerous, in that we could retroactively hurt the original two series.' He continued: 'Also, the show was very much about being at that age, at that time, in London. You could see those characters again, but I think it would be a shame.' Pegg also expressed his frustration with the fan-demand for new editions of Spaced and his 2004 film Shaun of the Dead. 'I wish people would move on and want to see new things,' he said. 'There's not going to be a Shaun of the Dead 2 either. We'll do something else [instead].' Okay. Good. Any chance of Hot Fuzz 2, Simon? ... Sorry.

Nurse Jackie is the latest US show to be snatched by BSkyB from a rival broadcaster. The dark comedy drama, starring Edie Falco as a nurse with a painkiller addiction, will switch from BBC2 to Sky Atlantic for the launch of the third series on Tuesday 5 July. Made by CSB Television Studios for US cable channel Showtime, Nurse Jackie has won two Emmy awards. Earlier this week Sky confirmed that it had bought the UK rights to all future series of Glee, which will switch from E4 to Sky1 in the autumn.

Three years since it was filmed and over two years after was first shown in America, Britain finally got to see ITV's latest Agatha Christie's Marple episode - featuring David Tennant's missus (and Peter Davison's daughter) Georgia Moffett as Lady Frances Derwent. Julia McKenzie was joined by a top quality cast including Sean Biggerstaff, Samantha Bond, Richard Briers, Rik Mayall, Rafe Spall, The Fast Show's Mark Williams, Warren Clarke, Natalie Dormer and Helen Lederer for Why Didn't They Ask Evans?, the latest two-hour film adapted from the Agatha Christie novel. Admittedly, not an Agatha Christie novel that actually featured Miss Marple in the first place but, hey, it is one of her best and most complex novels so the decision to shoe-horn the sleuth into the story wasn't the worst idea they ever had. And, in fact, in the event it worked quite well. As the sole witness to a dying man's last words - the titular 'Why didn't they ask Evans?' - Bobby Attfield is determined to solve the riddle that they pose. Forming an unlikely alliance with the beautiful, adventurous socialite Frankie Derwent and his visiting family friend Jane Marple, Bobby's resolve is strengthened when someone tries to kill him. Well, your resolve would be, wouldn't it? A trail of clues lead them to Castle Savage and its plethora of strange inhabitants. The trio cleverly charm an invitation to stay at the castle from the decided odd Sylvia Savage and quickly capture the interest of her teenage children by the late, and loathed, Sir Jack Savage. Whilst the provocative and saucy-minxish  Dorothy seems intent on snaring Bobby in his grasp, the brooding Tom haunts Frankie with all of the stealth and cunning that his pet viper displays, even though she, herself, appears far more interested in the handsome, Byronesque music teacher Roger Bassington. Miss Marple, however, quietly observes the retinue of people connected to the castle – the controlling psychiatrist Dr Nicholson and his delicate young wife Moira, the eccentric Claude Evans with his hothouse full of exotic orchids and Wilson, Sylvia's solemn, ever-present butler. Realising that Sir Jack was the victim of a particularly clever murder, the amateur detectives navigates a hotbed of stifled upper-class emotions, treachery and poisonous deceit. But her theories hit a brick wall when Evans himself is murdered and the local police commander Peters makes a decisive arrest. In publicising the film (and proving that she hadn't forgotten filming it despite it being so long ago!) Julia McKenzie said: 'It's very convoluted, slightly crazy and I loved it! I loved the gutsiness of it and the fact that the writer Patrick Barlow made Miss Marple quite brave. She's in a room full of people who are about to kill and she dissolves the whole thing just by being chatty – she chats everybody out of a murder! I enjoyed that very much. The selection of the house used as Savage Castle helped a great deal, especially as it’s full of people unravelling. They were all absolutely eccentric, including the one who takes on the role of police inspector. There is a real sense of danger there, especially when you’re with people who don’t have any conscience. It's probably the most tense episode of all.'

BBC Scotland has appointed award-winning journalist John Boothman as its new head of news and current affairs. Over his twenty six-year career at the BBC, Boothman has worked in various senior roles within news and current affairs, most recently on political programme production at the Scottish Parliament. He won the Royal Television Society's 'Scoop of the Year' award last year as producer of the story detailing the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbasset al-Megrahi. In 2009, Boothman was the executive producer of the BAFTA Scotland-nominated documentary Wasted Nation, along with its debate programme. He has overseen coverage of four Scottish elections, three general elections and two European Parliament elections, along with annual coverage of Scottish party political conferences. Boothman takes over from Atholl Duncan, who left BBC Scotland in April to become executive director UK and global for accountancy body ICAS. 'This is a hugely interesting time for news and current affairs in Scotland and I'm looking forward to ensuring that BBC Scotland continues to deliver it across all our platforms and for all our audiences,' said Boothman. BBC Scotland director Ken MacQuarrie described Boothman as a journalist of integrity and great experience. He added: 'I know under John, BBC Scotland News and Current Affairs will continue to lead the field in the provision of breaking news and analysis.' Also welcoming the appointment, the director of BBC News Helen Boaden said: 'John is a very experienced journalist with a superb track record. He has a deep understanding of audiences in Scotland and will bring great skill and passion to this role.'

The small island in the Western Isles of Scotland which featured in BBC reality TV series Castaway has been bought for an undisclosed sum just two weeks after it went on sale. Taransay, made up of two islands linked by a sand bar in the Outer Hebrides, was put on the market at the start of June with an asking price of two million smackers or above. Ben Fogle, who rose to fame after living on the island in 2000 for Castaway, had previously indicated that he would bid to buy Taransay. Selling agents CKD Galbraith would not disclose the identity of the new owners, but did reveal that they already own property on nearby Harris. The company said that the island's owners knew the purchasers, meaning that Taransay was passing into 'safe hands.' CKD Galbraith's John Bound added: 'There will no doubt be a number of disappointed parties who would have liked to bid but it is fitting that Taransay is now in the new ownership of somebody closely acquainted to the area who will preserve the current management of the island.' Taransay has been inhabited since around 300AD, when it was home to Celtic pagans. At one stage, the island had three villages but its population gradually dwindled, with the last remaining family moving to the mainland in 1974. The three thousand four hundred-acre island includes white sandy beaches, cliffs and moorlands, and its new owner will gain fishing rights and stalking rights for the two hundred deer. After renovation, the original buildings on the island have been used as self-catering holiday cottages since 2002. However, Taransay can only be reached by boat and there are no phone lines, whilst power is supplied by an electricity generator and a wind turbine.

Barbara Broccoli, the producer of the James Bond movies, on Wednesday accepted substantial undisclosed libel damages from the Daily Scum Mail and Scum Mail on Sunday over an entirely false claim that she had misused public funds. Broccoli, who is working on the twenty third Bond film, brought libel proceedings in London's high court over articles in the two Associated Newspapers titles last August. Her solicitor, Michael Skrein, told Mr Justice Tugendhat that these were 'deeply upsetting' and harmful to Ms Broccoli's reputation. Skrein said that Broccoli was the chair of the board of directors of First Light, a registered charity enabling young people, including those who were disadvantaged and disabled, to create digital film and media projects. The articles had suggested that, as a board member of the UK Film Council, she had improperly awarded herself or First Light a huge grant of public money. However, Broccoli did not have any financial or ownership interest in First Light, which Associated now accepted. 'She is chair of this registered charity, and she donates money to it. She has accepted neither remuneration nor expenses from it,' Skrein said. 'So, she did not award herself or her own company any grant whilst a board member of the UK Film Council and she has not misused any public funds.' He added that Associated had made clear that it had no intention to accuse Broccoli of any wrongdoing and had made an offer of amends – which involved payment of substantial damages, which she intended to pass on to First Light, and her legal costs, and the publication of apologies. Broccoli, the daughter of the late Cubby Broccoli, the producer who launched the Bond film franchise in the 1960s, said in a statement afterwards that it was 'very important' for her to get a correction. 'I am very committed to my work with the charity, First Light, and am delighted that all of these damages will assist in funding film-making projects for kids from all backgrounds across the country.'

Bahrain is to sue the Independent newspaper, accusing it of 'orchestrating a defamatory and premeditated media campaign' against the Gulf state and neighbouring Saudi Arabia. It singled out for criticism the newspaper's award-winning Middle East correspondent, Robert Fisk. A UK-based legal firm has been hired, according to a report by the state news agency in Bahrain, where the ruling regime has been suppressing popular uprisings for months. I don't know, what's the world coming to. Once upon a time if somebody wrote something about a repressive regime that they didn't like, they just called round in the middle of the night and shot them. Now, it all ends in a very expensive court case. World's gone mad, dear blog reader. Last week the Bahrain grand prix was cancelled following complaints by Formula 1 teams. 'The Independent has deliberately published a series of unrealistic and provocative articles targeting Bahrain and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,' Bahrain's state news agency was told by Nawaf Mohammed Al-Maawda of the country's information affairs authority. The BNA said he had cited Fisk in particular and accused the newspaper of 'orchestrating a defamatory and premeditated media campaign against both countries, failing to abide by professional impartiality and credibility in its one-sided news-coverage and reports.' The Independent issued no immediate comment in response to the report. 'Has the Khalifa family gone mad?' Fisk wrote in an article on Tuesday, in which he accused the Bahraini royal family of allegedly starting 'an utterly fraudulent trial' of surgeons, doctors, paramedics and nurses who had tended the injured four months ago after security forces opened fire on protesters. He concluded: 'Bahrain is no longer the kingdom of the Khalifas. It has become a Saudi palatinate, a confederated province of Saudi Arabia, a pocket-size weasel-state from which all journalists should in future use the dateline: Manama, Occupied Bahrain.' Okay, yeah, I can see he's not a fan. Bahrain has defied international criticism by continuing military trials against dozens of medical personnel. Twenty doctors pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges ranging from stealing medicines to stockpiling weapons during the unprecedented unrest that erupted in the small Gulf island state in February, between the uprisings that overthrew the presidents of Tunisia and then Egypt. Bahrain's Sunni Al-Khalifa dynasty, which rules over a restive Shia majority, has been attempting to restore calm and repair the government's battered reputation after facing widespread condemnation of its suppression of unrest.

Catalogue retailer Argos is to launch its own shopping channel on satellite as the firm searches for new routes to market amid a 'significant decline' in sales. What, are people no longer drawn, like moths to the flame, to 'the laminated book of dreams'? Argos TV will start broadcasting on Thursday at 7pm on Sky channel 642, enabling customers to 'explore the benefits of products in more depth than traditional print or online channels.' Home Retail Group, owners of Argos and fellow retailer Homebase, has leased the Sky channel slot from shopping network JML for twelve months to trail the channel. The retail company said that Argos TV will 'initially' just be available on Sky, but could extend to other platforms should it prove a success. Announcing the channel in March, Argos managing director Sara Weller said: 'The launch of our new TV channel will see us really delivering on our commitment to offer our customers a whole range of convenient ways to shop with Argos. Our most recent catalogue launch in January was the first to fully integrate our growing Twitter and Facebook communities, where customers can access our products, share ideas and discover lots of engaging content. 'Our ability to connect between channels means that the content we will be producing for Argos TV will also have wider potential applications online and in store, adding further to customer choice, value and convenience.'

The latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day features yer actual cultureclash in a rub-a-dub-style(e). Ragamuffin-style for all dem people dat want. Sh'ure.

No comments: