Tuesday, November 15, 2011

There's No Beginning And There Is No End

Great moments of Monday night telly, number one. On MasterChef: The Professionals, Gregg Wallace telling some hapless chap who'd just conjured up a prawn-and-mango-and-chocolate-and-egg thing and then been filleted and served on a bed of rice by the scowling boat-race of hatred that is Monica Galetti: 'Mate, that's like a Chocolate Cream Egg. On acid!'
Great moments of Monday night telly, number two. Saucy minx Victoria Coren on Only Connect's Children in Need celebrity special wearing a pair of 'bright yellow novelty ears' (and a coquettish smile). 'The quiz that's like a tonic ... in so much as I always take it with a lot of gin.'
Things we learned from Metro this week, number one. Alan Carr is a big fan of The West Wing!: 'I'd like to write something that would really blow people away but I don't know if I'm clever enough. I'm halfway through The West Wing box set. I know I could never write something like that in a million years but I'd like to write something that would surprise people.'

David Yates has revealed that he is working on a Doctor Who movie. According to Variety, the Harry Potter director will 'develop' the film with BBC Worldwide's Jane Tranter. 'We're looking at writers now,' Yates confirmed. 'We're going to spend two to three years to get it right. It needs quite a radical transformation to take it into the bigger arena.' Yates explained that the film would not follow on from the TV show, currently starring Matt Smith as the Time Lord, and would instead take an entirely new approach to the BBC's popular family SF drama. 'Russell T Davies and then Steven Moffat have done their own transformations, which were fantastic, but we have to put that aside and start from scratch. We want a British sensibility, but having said that, Steve Kloves wrote the Potter films and captured that British sensibility perfectly, so we are looking at American writers too.' Explaining his reasons behind joining the project, he added: 'The notion of the time-travelling Time Lord is such a strong one, because you can express story and drama in any dimension or time.' A BBC spokesman said: 'A Doctor Who feature film remains in development with BBC Worldwide Productions in Los Angeles. The project is unlikely to reach cinemas for several years and as yet there is no script, cast or production crew in place.' Of course, before you get too excited and/or horrified by this malarkey, dear blog reader, it's worth reflecting that the chances of this thing actually being made at all are slim-to-none.
A one-off special of Jim'll Fix It will be screened on BBC1 this Christmas, it has been announced. The show, presented by the late Sir Jimmy Savile between 1975 and 1994, granted the wishes of young viewers who were then given medallions bearing the words 'Jim fixed it for me.' The special will be hosted by EastEnders star Shane Ritchie who has called it 'compulsive television.' Goodness, gracious. So, shouldn't that be Shane'll Fix It then? Sir Jimmy died earlier this month and was buried last week in Scarborough. BBC1 controller Danny Cohen said: 'I think it will be a great tribute to Jimmy to recreate his famous show as a Christmas treat for audiences.' Some of the famous 'fix its' include the group of cub scouts who were sent to eat a packed lunch on a rollercoaster at Pleasure Beach Blackpool, the Under 14s school football team who got to play against Manchester United and the young viewer who played drums with Adam and the Ants for a performance of their song 'Kings Of The Wild Frontier.' In 2007, the show was revived by broadcaster UKTV Gold and revisited some of the moments from past series, including the grown-up former scouts. Ritchie said: 'It was compulsive television in our house and all my friends would talk about the "fix its."' He added: 'I even wrote in but wasn't one of the lucky ones! I'm honoured to be part of this Christmas Special and salute Sir Jimmy and fix it for a new generation.' Hopefuls who want to take part in the show should be fourteen-years-old and under and can apply by sending their wish to fixit@bbc.co.uk.

Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, Sinitta and Pat Sharp have been added to the I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) line-up, it has been confirmed.

The fictional London borough of Walford, the home of EastEnders, is to be a location on the 2012 Olympic Torch Relay route. The flame will arrive in Albert Square on 23 July 2012 for some brief live footage during the show on BBC1. It will be carried by long-standing character Billy Mitchell, played by Perry Fenwick. The torch will pass through one thousand and eighteen communities across the UK, it was announced last week. London Games organisers Locog revealed that the torch will pass some of the soap's iconic landmarks including the market, the launderette and The Queen Vic pub. The relay runs from 19 May to 27 July 2012, with the torch travelling about eight thousand miles, culminating in the lighting of the cauldron at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford at the Games' opening ceremony. Along the way it will also fly by zip wire from the Tyne Bridge, cross Loch Ness and visit landmarks including the Giant's Causeway and Stonehenge. EastEnders viewers have already seen characters Fat Boy and Billy Mitchell discover they have been nominated as torchbearers. In Tuesday night's episode, regulars in The Queen Vic will find out that the torch will be passing through Walford. But it is not until December that Billy will discover he has been chosen to carry it. The episode next year will see live footage of Billy being cheered on by the residents of Walford as he carries the flame. Although much of it will be filmed in advance, several minutes of the Olympic procession will be broadcast live from the Elstree set. Sebastian Coe, Chair of Locog, said: 'Today's announcement is a great addition to the Olympic Torch Relay Route. I'm sure the people of Walford will now start planning their celebrations to welcome the flame to Albert Square. Along with people right round the UK, the residents of Albert Square will be getting involved to make this their moment to shine.' Fenwick added: 'When we first discussed the storyline, my initial thought was that I'll now have to get fit! While this may be a fictional one-off for Billy Mitchell, it's a real once in a lifetime opportunity for me and I am thrilled that Walford and Albert Square will be part of this amazing event.' The name Walford is a mixture of the place names Walthamstow and Stratford. Tony Holland, one of the creators of the series, was born in Walthamstow in east London, and Walford is also the name of a street in nearby Dalston, where Holland lived. This not the first time the Olympics and EastEnders have crossed paths. The Olympic Park is to get the same postcode as the soap, the Royal Mail revealed in March. The site, in Stratford, will receive an E20 code - which is currently used by Walford in the long-running series. Locog said last week the torch will come within ten miles of ninety five per cent of the population. It will go through every English county and every local authority area in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. People nominated to carry the torch will be contacted with a conditional offer in December and the final eight thousand places will be confirmed from February. Torchbearers were nominated for their contribution to the local community.

Red Dwarf fans have crashed the website of a TV audience company, after tickets were released for the new series. Lost In TV invited applicants for the studio audience of the new Dave series last week, but within minutes the level of demand brought down their servers. The company was instead forced to take applications by e-mail, after the system failed. They tweeted: 'So sorry people, please do bear with us - we had prepared for a busy day but demand is very high. Our IT people are on the case. I expect our servers will only be fit for silicon heaven after today's shenanigans. We're very, very sorry for the inconvenience - we know you've been patient today.' Filming will take place at Shepperton Studios, Middlesex, on 16 and 23 December and 7, 13, 20, 27 January.
The Metropolitan police on Monday admitted the country's most powerful force had become too close to the press and said it would change its relationship with the media.Addressing Lord Justice Leveson's inquiry into press standards, Neil Garnham QC, representing Scotland Yard, said: 'We acknowledge that not all of the MPS's relationships with the press in the past have met the test of being both ethical and transparent.' He said the Met was considering taking steps to ensure senior officers could not work for news organisations after they retired from the force until a suitable period had passed. Andy Hayman, the former assistant commissioner of the Met who conducted the original 2006 police inquiry into phone-hacking at the Scum of the World, subsequently became a columnist at The Times, which is also part of News International, shortly after he retired in December 2007. Hayman used his column to defend the investigation and to claim there was only 'a handful' of hacking victims. The move would mirror similar rules introduced in Whitehall to prevent government ministers from lobbying their former departments after taking jobs in the private sector. John Yates, another former assistant commissioner of the Met, was also criticised for hiring a former deputy editor of the Scum of the World, Neil Wallis, who is now a phone-hacking suspect, and allegedly helping to secure a job for Wallis's daughter. Garnham revealed that Yates had been cleared by the Independent Police Complaints Commission following an inquiry into that claim. Yates reviewed the phone-hacking case in July 2009 after the Gruniad published fresh revelations about the affair and decided there was 'no new evidence' after less than twenty four hours. He has since admitted he was wrong to do so. Garnham acknowledged that the original hacking investigation 'completely failed' to uncover the scale of the wrongdoing. 'It was apparent that there was reference in the Mulcaire papers to many individuals other than those identified in the criminal charges,' he told the inquiry. Former Scum of the World royal editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire were charged with illegally intercepting the voicemail messages of several members of the royal household in 2006. Mulcaire also pleaded guilty to the same charge relating to a further five individuals. Garnham said the Met's hacking probe had been limited by the 'competing operational demands' of the anti-terrorist branch which conducted it, including the threat of further terrorist attacks. He also defended the police's relationship with the media, arguing that it was essential a dialogue was maintained in order to assist in the detection of crime and shore up public confidence in the police force. 'We suggest that a close and transparent working relationship between the police and media is critical and ensures both fair reporting and effective policing,' he told the inquiry. 'A society in which there is no contact between the media and police is unhealthy and potentially undemocratic.' He conceded that some officers had not been 'given guidance' on how best to 'interact' with the media. Like, you know, not accepting payments for providing information, for instance. But, he claimed that many stories in the press were often wrongly attributed to 'police sources' by journalists who were trying to disguise the fact they had come from 'outside sources' who were 'less knowledgeable.' He said there were many cases of on-the-record police briefings being attributed to 'police sources' because it made the reports on which they were based seem more sensational than they actually were. That should be covered as part of the Leveson inquiry's deliberations, Garnham argued. He said the force was 'fully supportive' of the probe and committed to assisting it. 'They will be open and transparent, recognising that progress can only be made by acknowledging the mistakes of the past,' Garnham told the hearing.

Sir Cliff Richard has been 'banned' from new digital oldies station Absolute Radio 60s. The broadcaster launches the channel on 22 November following the success of its Absolute Radio 80s, 90s and 00s brands. It will be followed by the launch of Absolute 70s a week later. Absolute Radio 60s DJ Pete Mitchell said of Richard: 'Yes, he enjoyed chart success, but his songs don't fit the "cool sound" of The Swinging Sixties we're trying to create on our new station. We believe timeless acts of the decade that remain relevant today are The Beatles, The Stones, The Doors and The Who, not Sir Cliff.'

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, let's brighten up a thoroughly miserable, overcast and cold November morning with one of the greatest singles ever made, from The Tom Tom Club.

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