Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Disappointment Haunted All My Dreams

Doctor Who showrunner, executive producer and lead writer Steven Moffat has provided some hints for the show's next series in the new Brilliant Book of Doctor Who. In a Meet The Boss interview for the book, Moffat reveals: 'I've got a broad picture of the next fourteen [episodes]. Now I'm thinking, we had more public interest from Let's Kill Hitler - just those three words - than any trailer we've ever done, so let's do a series like that, where we really slut it up. That's what I've been saying in my writers' briefings just this week: "Write it like a movie poster. Let's do big, huge mad ideas."' Slut it up, eh? Bet that'll go down well with the insaner corners of fandom and, especially, with The Special People. Fortunately, nobody vaguely 'normal' gives a flying stuff about them.

Rupert Murdoch's former right-hand man, Les Hinton, will give evidence to MPs on the culture, media and sport select committee for a third time on 24 October, it was announced this week.
Hinton, who chaired the UK newspaper arm of News Corp, Murdoch's media empire, will be interviewed via videolink from the US by MPs investigating phone hacking by the Scum of the World. Hinton was executive chairman of News International from 1995 to 2007. He subsequently became chief executive of Dow Jones, after News Corp bought the company, before resigning in July at the height of the phone-hacking scandal. He had told MPs in March 2007 that he believed that Clive Goodman, the Scum of the World reporter jailed for phone-hacking, had 'acted alone.' In September 2009, after the first allegations that hacking was more widespread, he said he had seen no evidence to suggest that was the case. At the time of his resignation Hinton said he had 'watched with sorrow from New York as the News of the World story has unfolded' but said that although he had seen 'hundreds of news reports of both actual and alleged misconduct during the time I was executive chairman of News International,' he was 'ignorant of what apparently happened.' However, he said he chose to quit because 'in the circumstances I feel it is proper for me to resign from News Corp and apologise to those hurt by the actions of News of the World.' Julian Pike, of News International's solicitors Farrer & Co, will also be questioned by the committee on 19 October, along with Mark Lewis, the solicitor who represents phone-hacking victims, including the family of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler. Pike acted for News International when the company settled a phone-hacking case with the Professional Footballers' Association chief executive, Gordon Taylor, in April 2008. Farrer has defended News International in a number of other phone-hacking cases. The select committee is keen to establish the facts around a settlement with Taylor, which was reached after his legal team discovered an e-mail sent by a Scum of the World journalist, containing a transcript of messages left on Taylor's phone. Marked 'for Neville,' the transcript is understood to have been earmarked for Neville Thurlbeck, the former chief reporter on the title. Mark Lewis meanwhile represented Taylor in a case that was settled with a confidential four hundred and twenty five thousand smackers payout (plus costs) made in 2007. In 2009 details about the settlement first emerged, suggesting for the first time that phone-hacking had gone beyond Clive Goodman. The paper's former editor, Colin Myler, and its legal director, Tom Crone, told the committee earlier this year they had told James Murdoch about the existence of the e-mail and that it was the reason for settling the Taylor case. Murdoch denied this when he appeared before the committee.

The latest episode of House - Transplant - picked up a couple of months after last week's season opener. After two further months in jail, the new Dean of Medicine at Princeton‑Plainsboro, Eric Foreman has Greg House released on parole and into his employ. Things have changed, and not just Cuddy leaving: House has lost his office, his team and, it seems, Wilson's friendship. What he has gained is a new 'team' - Chi Park (Charlyne Yi), a smart but timid resident - and a new case: A set of donor lungs that are failing, threatening the life of Wilson's patient (played by Liza Snyder). Meanwhile, Omar Epps has admitted that he is excited by his character's new role on House. 'It was a great change-up for me,' the actor told TV Guide. 'I was just excited to see how it's going to pan out and how the relationship and banter between Foreman and House is going to take on its new life.' He added that Foreman will be forced to 'battle' House as he attempts to keep his former boss under control. 'Foreman used to work for House, so he knows all of his tricks,' he explained. 'He helped facilitate half the madness. So in that sense, he's sort of a step ahead and he feels confident in being a step ahead.' Epps also suggested that House is 'still going to be himself' despite the lingering threat of a return to jail. 'This is not just about Foreman putting his neck out,' he said. 'House can go back to jail at any given time. So he certainly doesn't want that, but he's still going to be himself. It's one of those things where it's both of [those] guys' last chance. If this guy messes up, you're both out of here.'

For the third time in four weeks ITV's final ratings figures are conspicuous by their absence on the BARB website for the recently released figures for week-ending 2 October. Earlier in the week BARB did release some ITV figures, including what's likely to have been the week's highest consolidated rating, for The X Factor - 11.23m. So, yet again, we'll have to make do with list of the Top Twenty BBC programmes for the week instead of a proper round-up:-
1 EastEnders - Mon - 9.16m
2 Strictly Comes Dancing - Fri - 9.14m
3 Doctor Who - Sat - 7.67m
4 Countryfile - Sun - 6.87m
5 Merlin - Sat - 6.40m
6 Antiques Roadshow - Sun - 5.98m
7 The Body Farm - Tues - 5.61m
8 Casualty - Sat - 5.27m
9 [spooks] - Sun - 5.15m
10 Who Do You Think You Are? - Wed - 5.05m
11= Holby City - Tues - 5.04m
11= Outnumbered - Fri - 50.4m
13 Waterloo Road - Wed - 5.02m
14 BBC News - Sun - 4.78m
15 Ten O'Clock News - Fri - 4.72m
16 The Great British Bake Off - BBC2 Tues - 4.42m
17 Watchdog - Thurs - 4.24m
18 The ONE Show - Tues - 4.16m
19 Match Of The Day - Sat - 4.14m
20 Six O'Clock News - Mon - 4.04m
All programmes are BBC1, except BBC2's The Great British Bake Off.

Well-known faceache (and drag) Edwina Currie has taken a swipe at the Strictly Come Dancing judges, following her elimination from the BBC1 ballroom show at the weekend. The former Conservative MP claimed that the panel - Alesha Dixon, Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood - had been 'unfair' in marking down her foxtrot performance for 'storytelling.' Or, you know, 'not dancing,' as it's also known. 'I thought the judges' comments were very harsh,' said Currie on It Takes Two. 'I think the comments they made about our little turn could have been about all of the others. I don't think we spent too much time on the story. Others did exactly the same and got much higher marks.' When asked whether she had any ideas why the public didn't support her, she added: 'I haven't the foggiest. That's like asking a politician why they've lost a general election. You don't know until a long while afterwards.' Her professional partner Vincent Simone added: 'I'm really, honestly devastated. I can't sleep at night. Maybe I should have done something different. I don't know if it was my fault.' Currie was compared to a 'bendy bus' by Tonioli after her routine at the weekend, while Revel Horwood claimed that the foxtrot was 'dull.'

Jeremy Paxman has stated that - for reasons unknown to him - the BBC have postponed Empire until next year. That, along with Sherlock, Wallander, Garrow's Law, Call The Midwife and Upstairs Downstairs should have the Sunday 9pm slot on BBC1 covered until Easter.

Ofcom has said that ITV's Grimefighters 'unwarrantably infringed' an environmental service worker's privacy, after it failed to obscure his face as he cleaned up rubbish. The edition of Grimefighters was broadcast on ITV on 12 April this year depicted how extra resources were required in Leicester to tackle rubbish dumped around the recycling areas. David Gemmell complained to media regulator Ofcom that his privacy had been infringed after he was shown clearing up the rubbish without his face being obscured. Gemmell said that he had been told that he would not be featured in the show. ITV said that Grimefighters was made by independent programme makers, and claimed it was not made aware of Gemmell's request for his identity to be concealed. The broadcaster said that the situation occurred due to 'human error' on the part of the programme makers, who had failed to pass on an e-mail from Gemmell's employer, Leicester City Council, asking for all environmental service workers to be obscured. You might have noticed there's an awful lot of 'human errors' taking place at ITV there days, what with the Gaddafi and the IRA footage malarkey and all that. Maybe ITV should take the hint and remove there humans from the equation entirely. Then they can blame something else instead. ITV said that the situation occurred 'for a variety of reasons,' including the six-month gap between filming and editing of the footage, along with the departure of key members of the production staff and the 'heavy workload' of those who remained. When ITV was contacted about the error two days after transmission, the programme was withdrawn from catch-up service ITV Player and re-edited. ITV fully accepted that Gemmell should not have appeared unobscured on Grimefighters and the broadcaster apologised for the mistake. However, it noted that he only appeared on the show for around five seconds and was engaged in activities in the public place, meaning he 'did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy.' Ofcom accepted that Gemmell only appeared very briefly and was shown with other workers, but the regulator said that ITV should have honoured his request not to be depicted at all. 'Ofcom concluded that there was no public interest justification for the intrusion into Mr Gemmell's privacy by the inclusion of the unobscured footage of him in the programme as broadcast,' said the watchdog. 'Ofcom therefore found that Mr Gemmell's privacy was unwarrantably infringed in the programme as broadcast.' The regulator noted ITV's actions to apologise for the error and edit the episode of Grimefighters, but it still upheld Gemmell's complaint that his privacy had been violated and was 'unwarrantably infringed in the programme as broadcast.'

Life of Riley, BBC1's remaining crassly middle-class family comedy after the cancellation of My Family has also been axed, the British Comedy Guide has announced. And not before time, either. The sitcom, about a husband and wife on their second marriage and their respective children, ran for three series on BBC1 between January 2009 and June 2011, totalling twenty episodes. Each one as depressingly rubbish as the previous, frankly. Starring the hugely over-rated Caroline Quentin and Neil Dudgeon, the sitcom failed to capture a notable fanbase and was almost universally loathed by critics. However, the programme initially gained respectable (if not spectacular) audiences, opening with 4.5 million viewers for the first episode of deries three in April. The final episode in June was watched by 2.31 million viewers. Hence those responsible getting the tin-tack, one imagines.

Sky Arts has unveiled details of its new celebrity interview series Living The Life. The ten-part series will consist of conversations between two famous faces, instead of being led by an interviewer. Among the celebrities taking part are Stephen Fry, Joanna Lumley, Caitlin Moran and Brigitte Nielsen. Sky Arts' channel director James Hunt said: 'This series is a true who's who of the great and the good in their respective fields. This style of interview is unusual and revealing, largely because each contributor is set at ease by a sense of shared experience, which makes for a very illuminating and unguarded discussion. It's a fascinating series, and we're delighted to have it on Sky Arts.' Fry will converse with former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman, while Lumley will spend her hour with Sir Melvyn Bragg. Moran will talk to novelist Fay Weldon and Nielsen will be involved in a conversation with Britt Ekland . Elsewhere, GQ editor Dylan Jones will talk to George Lamb, actor Leslie Phillips will speak to Bee Gees singer Robin Gibb and musician Sir Tim Rice will have a conversation with cricketer Sir Ian Botham. The remaining three episodes will feature Olympics champion Lord Sebastian Coe talking to sports reporter Gary Newbon, artist Sir Peter Blake in conversation with film director Mad Ken Russell, and actors Paul McGann and Charles Dance having a chat. Sky Arts also recently commissioned a drama about Watergate starring Harry Shearer and the second series of Fame In The Frame is currently airing.

Frank Skinner will front a BBC4 documentary about the life of musician and film star George Formby. Skinner's show will attempt to uncover the secret behind Formby's success and enduring legacy. Formby made the equivalent of three million smackers-a-year in his pomp. He made nineteen movies between 1934 and 1946 and was signed by Columbia Pictures in 1941. He also released more than two hundred records, including his most famous hits 'Leaning on a Lamp Post', 'Chinese Laundry Blues', 'When I'm Cleaning Windows' and 'With My Little Stick of Blackpool Rock'. The latter two were, infamously, banned by the BBC because they was considered to be too adult for general broadcast. When Formby died in 1961, more than one hundred and fifty thousand people lined the streets of his hometown Warrington to celebrate the star's life. Skinner said: 'As long as ukuleles exist people will come to George Formby conventions to watch those solos - every little move of the finger, every little twitch of the wrist. We all want to play like that and that will keep George Formby's memory alive forever.' Frank Skinner on George Formby, which is produced by Avalon, will be broadcast on 27 October at 9pm on BBC4.

David Cameron is poised to announce the launch of a 'whistleblowing' website designed to make it easy for parents and members of the public to whinge about the 'sexualisation' of TV programmes, advertising and products that may be inappropriate for children. Or, any other petty prejudices they happen to have cluttering up what passes for their minds. The launch, on Tuesday, marks the implementation of a proposal from a report published in the summer by Reg Bailey, chief executive of Christian charity Mothers' Union, to crack down on overtly sexual messages in television and advertising. The website will act as a one-stop online 'triage' centre for members of the public with a bug up their chuffing ringpiece about some shit or other that nobody else gives a bugger about to lodge complaints about content, products, services and advertising – by pointing visitors in the direction of appropriate regulators such as Ofcom and the Advertising Standards Authority. The launch will coincide with a summit on Tuesday at Downing Street called by Cameron with between twenty five and thirty senior executives from the media and retail industry, including broadcasters, magazine editors, trade bodies and advertisers. Cameron called the meeting in order to hear updates on industry progress toward tighter rules governing content aimed at or regularly viewed by children. At which, hopefully, one or two of these people will ask the Prime Minister if he doesn't have anything better to do with his time? Like, for instance, going back to ruining the country. Attendees are thought to include senior executives from Vodafone, BT, Primark, the British Retail Consortium, Ofcom, the ASA, Mumsnet and Girlguiding UK. The agenda will include the use of sexual imagery used in outdoor advertising; the employment of young brand ambassadors to market products and services to children, permissible content in pre-watershed television programming, giving parents more control over limiting access to age-restricted material online, age ratings on music videos and a retail code to crack down on sexualised slogans on children's clothing. The Bailey Review has already led bodies such as Ofcom, the BPI - which represents the music industry - and the ASA to make pre-emptive moves to toughen policies. The ASA on Monday launched a code of conduct signed by about twenty of the UK's biggest companies – including Coca-Cola, Unilever and Vodafone. On Friday the ASA published guidance to advertisers and advertising agencies tightening sexual imagery in outdoor advertising campaigns. The four-page document outlines a new 'two-tiered case-by-case' approach to sexualised images that will limit advertising with sexual content appearing near schools as well as the how raunchy the imagery is. Overtly sexual and suggestive adverts are likely to be banned. Ofcom has already hauled music television broadcasters over the Cheryl coals following several incidents of 'highly sexualised' videos by artists such as Rihanna that were broadcast when children were likely to have been watching. Broadcasters have also met the media regulator. The BPI has extended the use of the 'parental advisory' labels found on CDs and videos to songs and music on services such as Spotify and YouTube that contain explicit material. And, once again, let us simply marvel at the utter and total crap than some people chose to care about.

Retail guru and full-of-her-own-importance waste-of-space Mary Portas has dismissed the women in David Cameron's cabinet as a poorly-dressed 'ugly bunch.' Which some might consider a little harsh coming from someone with a face like a bag full of spanners but, there you go. Tact and dignity, it seems, are not something big amongst Tory women. I mean, Kirstie Allsopp. Need I say more. In an interview with that cutting edge political talking shop Heat magazine, Portas, who is described as one of the Prime Minister's high profile advisers, said she could not bear to look at them. 'They do dress up for my meetings, but I just want to go: "Please no, not that necklace, not that skirt,"' she said. Portas, the presenter of the spectacularly awful TV show Mary Queen of Shops, is looking at how to 'halt the decline of the High Street.' Her review, to be presented this autumn, is - in a highly Jamie Oliver 'look at me, I'm saving the world'-type way - inspecting the problem of empty shops and how to prevent the growth of 'clone towns' dominated by chainstores. Portas, described by Cameron in the past as 'straight-talking, no-nonsense,' said she wanted the chance to give his cabinet a makeover. 'If I were PM, I'd restyle all those women, I mean, the female cabinet, what an ugly bunch,' she said. She drew a comparison with French women, saying 'they're like, wow, aren't they? What do we have? I'd say let's just put a bit of sex and glamour in there.' Female cabinet members include Home Secretary Theresa May, known for her love of leopard print and exotic shoes - and for having a face like the back end of a horse, admittedly - and Conservative Party Chairman Baroness Warsi, who on her appointment to cabinet drew attention with a pink and purple shalwar kameez. The other two female members are Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman and Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan. Portas is currently appearing in a new Channel Four series, Mary Queen of Frocks, which follows the launch of her own clothes and shoes store. Which, if there is any justice in the world, will fail totally, utterly and completely. because that would be funny.

Emma Caulfield has revealed that she will guest star in an upcoming episode of Once Upon A Time. The role will reunite her with Once Upon A Time's producers Liz Tigelaar and Jane Espenson, with whom she previously worked on Life Unexpected and Buffy the Vampire Slayer respectively. Writing on her Twitter page, Caulfield said: 'Yes, I will be reuniting with Jane Espenson and Liz Tigelaar on Once Upon A Time. Heading to [Vancouver] next week. Can't wait.' Caulfield is expected to play the Blind Witch from the Hansel and Gretel story in Once Upon A Time's ninth episode, TV Line reports. Caulfield also confirmed on her Twitter page that she will be appearing in Prime Suspect, writing: 'People say I look like Maria Bello. Find out 25 October with a side-by-side comparison on Prime Suspect. Oh, and I play a porn star.' She added that she 'had a blast' filming scenes for the NBC crime drama. As well as starring in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Life Unexpected, Caulfield has had guest roles in shows such as Leverage and Private Practice. She has also worked on Gigantic, Bandwagon: The Series, General Hospital and Beverly Hills, 90210.

The Royle Family's Sue Johnston is to head the ensemble cast for a 'big, heartwarming' BBC1 Christmas comedy. The ninety-minute one-off Lapland is about a large, close-knit but chaotic family from Birkenhead who save up for a big festive trip to Finland, to see Father Christmas complete with huskies, reindeers and maybe the Northern Lights. Johnson plays the matriarch Eileen while the cast also includes Stephen Graham from This Is England, Elizabeth Berrington (Secrets And Lies), William Ash (Waterloo Road), Julie Graham (Survivors), Zawe Ashton (Fresh Meat) and Keith Barron. It has been written by playwright Michael Wynne and will be made in-house by the BBC. Producer Rosemary McGowan said: 'Michael Wynne has skilfully brought to life one ordinary family's chaotic experience of Christmas in a way that will have people all over the country chuckling in recognition. It’s funny, warm but also moving.' Sue Johnston added: 'It's a hopeful, bittersweet comedy and I'm delighted to be a part of it.'

Jeremy Kyle, daytime chat-show host turned game-show presenter, has said that he considers he is probably the most hated man in the country. Yeah, that sounds about right.

Australian and Pakistani cricket stars rigged their games, according to a cricket agent accused of taking bribes, a London court has been told. At the corruption trial of former Pakistan captain Salman Butt and fast bowler Mohammad Asif, covert recordings were played of agent Mazhar Majeed speaking to an undercover journalist. Majeed claimed that match fixing had been happening for years, and named players. The Australians were 'the biggest' when it came to fixing matches, he said. Prosecutors allege that Majeed, from Croydon, conspired with Butt and Asif to fix parts of the Lord's Test between England and Pakistan last August. The pair deny the charges. At the trial, which began in Southwark Crown Court last week, Majeed also boasted to Scum of the World undercover reporter Mazher Mahmood that he knew US and British actors and sportsmen who could lend 'some glamour' to a proposed tournament. Mahmood was posing as a rich Indian businessman seeking major international players for a tournament. He appeared in court behind a screen on Monday. He discussed match-fixing with Majeed on 18 August last year. Majeed said in the recording of that meeting: 'It's been happening for centuries. It's been happening for years. [Pakistani cricketers] Wasim, Waqar, Ijaz Ahmed, Moin Khan - they all did it.' He said Pakistan cricket players were paid 'peanuts,' with 'very big money' to be made from match-fixing. 'I've been doing this with the Pakistani team now for about two-and-a-half years, and we've made masses and masses of money,' he told the reporter. 'You can make absolute millions.' Majeed also said that Australian players would fix 'brackets,' a set period of a match on which punters bet, for example, how many runs will be scored. 'The Australians, they are the biggest. They have ten brackets a game,' he said in the tape played to the court. He told Mahmood it would cost between fifty thousand pounds and eighty thousand pounds for information about a bracket, four hundred thousand pounds to fix the result of a Twenty/20 game, four hundred and fifty thousand pounds for a one-day international and a million quid to rig the outcome of a Test match. And he said it was the Pakistan cricketers who asked him to get involved in match-fixing: 'I was friends with them for four or five years. And then they said this happens and I said "really?" and I was so innocent of it.' At a meeting between Majeed and the reporter on 19 August, he said he would arrange for two deliberate no-balls to be bowled by Pakistan players at the Oval Test match against England in return for twenty thousand smackers. In the end the deliberate no-balls were not bowled during the Oval game, the court heard. At that meeting, Majeed also told the reporter that some of the Pakistani cricketers had agreed they would deliberately lose a forthcoming game, the court heard. 'We've got one result already planned, and that's coming within the next three-and-a-half weeks. Pakistan will lose,' the agent said on the tape. 'You know as a cricket game, it goes backwards and forwards. It's your responsibility to put it on at the right time.' The trial was adjourned until Tuesday.

Now, we've all been there, haven't we? A journalist files a copy only for the editor to 'edit' the piece into something that appears not to resemble anything like what the journalist actually filed. Yep. Recognise that one. The standard operating procedure following such frustration, of course, is to vent anger with trusted fellow hacks in the pub over a pint and packet of pork scratchings. Or, in this blogger's case, to make a big deal out of it. Particularly if there's cash involved! Or, one could opt for the approach taken by Rob Crilly - a freelance foreign correspondent for the Daily Torygraph - who went thermonuclear on Twitter, even dropping a C-word bomb or two. Normally based in Pakistan, Crilly has recently been reporting from Libya, covering developments in the country's civil war. Incensed over the 'twisting' of his latest copy by the paper's deputy news editor, Neville Dean, Crilly unleashed a barrage of abuse to his astonished followers. 'Hate being a freelancer when you've just gotta suck it up,' he lamented in one tweet. 'In reality people like Neville Dean maker [sic] you lie anyway.' To make things worse, Crilly tweeted the Torygraph editor, Tony Gallagher, asking for Dean to be sacked. Things didn't stop there: the stream of tweets was automatically picked up by the Torygraph's own Twitter feed and run on its website for all to see. By the following morning, Crilly had clearly thought better of his diatribe and deleted the tweets from his feed. Although his rant appears to have won the sympathy of many fellow hacks in the meantime. Probably not of the Torygraph's brass, though.

A woman from Gants Hill, Essex has admitted that she requires all of her meals to be spicy. Rochelle Peachey, forty five, particularly enjoys Indian food and has been known to each chillis whole, reports the Metro. She also brings her own hot sauce with her whenever she goes out so she can add it to her meals, including salads. Peachey said: 'I must have done something to my taste buds, because I can't eat a bland meal now. Every dish I eat has to include a degree of heat. I eat three curries a week, and if I've got leftovers I'll eat it for breakfast the next day.' Pfft. Tame. Peachey was declared Britain's curry queen by Patak's. She developed a liking for spicy food when she was a teenager.

The latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, a legendary single and a legendary performance on Top of the Pops. Here's Robert Wyatt (with Andy Summers, Nick Mason et al).

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