Friday, January 06, 2012

The Fabulous Baker Street Boys

Martin Freeman has revealed that he is keen to star in a third series of Sherlock should one be commissioned by the BBC. The actor took a break from playing Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit to shoot the second series of the BBC detective drama earlier this year. Freeman told talk show host Graham Norton: 'The hope is that we will make a third series. There is certainly more to do and I would like to do it. It's a very nice way to spend your time.' He also admitted to being 'really very pleased' with the reaction to the first series of Sherlock, which was broadcast in mid-2010. 'It's amazing and very flattering,' he said. 'We are aware of the pressure of having a standard to maintain, but we have such a ball doing it, that it didn't really feel like pressure, but a really joyous way to spend a few months.' Freeman's co-star Benedict Cumberbatch recently hinted that making a third series of Sherlock could prove difficult - though, presumably, not impossible - following the conclusion of the second series finale. 'You might see that it's quite hard for me to make it back, after the end of the last episode,' he said.

Karen Gillan has discussed her impending exit from Doctor Who. The actress told Graham Norton that she had known her character Amy Pond would depart the BBC's popular family SF drama 'for ages.' In an appearance to be broadcast on BBC1 on Friday night, Gillan said: 'It's such a massive relief that [the news] is out and I can speak freely about it.' She added: 'I'm back next year for a few episodes but it's not actually confirmed when I go.' Gillan also claimed that she is uncertain how Amy will be written out of the show and did not rule out the possibility of an on-screen death. 'I don't know, it could be possible,' she admitted. Matt Smith also recently appeared on The Graham Norton Show late last year and said that he will miss Gillan. 'She's my best mate,' he said. 'But there comes a time when a story concludes, and the essence of the show is that it constantly reinvents itself.' Doctor Who is expected to return to BBC1 in late 2012. The Graham Norton Show - featuring Gillan, Martin Freeman, Hollywood actor Gerard Butler and musician Noel Gallagher - will be broadcast on Friday at 10.35pm on BBC1.
Meanwhile, Martin's oppo, Benny Cumberbatch, has dismissed criticism of allegedly 'raunchy' scenes featured in Sherlock's second series premiere. A Scandal in Belgravia saw Irene Adler (Lara Pulver) confront Sherlock (Cumberbatch) whilst wearing very little. A blatantly manufactured and sick agenda-driven report in the Daily Scum Mail subsequently criticised the BBC for broadcasting the scenes before the 9pm watershed. 'Won't somebody think of the children?' and all that. However, at the the Television Critics Association winter press tour this week, Cumberbatch said: 'It's great publicity, isn't it? I think there's an awful lot of support for the way that we did it and the taste that we did it with. And if it creates more interest in the programme, thank you very much for that. It's not supposed to be a source of stimulation for the audience,' argued Cumberbatch. 'It's supposed to throw [Holmes'] radar off, which is exactly what it does.'

Outnumbered is likely to return to BBC1 for a full fifth series, it has been announced. Tyger Drew-Honey, who plays Jake in the sitcom, recently suggested that it might only return for one-off special episodes. However, BBC Television's Head of Communications Sam Hodges has refuted the rumours on Twitter. 'Outnumbered fans - contrary to reports, talks are already under way regarding a new series on BBC1,' he said referring to a typically inaccurate report in, where else, the Daily Scum Mail. Hey guys, even a broken clock is right twice a day, which is more than you lot ever manage.

The BBC Trust has approved plans to run advertising on a number of BBC World Service websites as well as in radio broadcasts for the first time in the corporation's history. BBC World Service has been given the green light to run adverts on the Arabic, Russian and Spanish websites, which the Trust says will put it 'on a par with the BBC's international-facing website BBC.com.' The World Service, which has seen its budget slashed by forty six million smackers a year resulting in more than six hundred job losses, has been asked by the government to generate three million wonga from commercial activities by 2013-2014. Helen Boaden, the director of BBC News Group, presented two commercial proposals to the BBC Trust, according to minutes for a meeting on 17 November published on Thursday, that aim to go some way to supplement the grant-in-aid the BBC World Service receives from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Plans to launch advertising on BBC.com faced fierce criticism from some sectors of the media industry, nevertheless adverts have been running on the website since late 2007. The BBC Trust also rubber stamped a plan to launch a year-long pilot to run adverts in World Service English programmes on its Berlin FM station. If successful the pilot could pave the way for widespread advertising on BBC World Service radio services for the first time. 'We are adopting a careful and measured approach, with these proposals deliberately contained so we can assess how they work in practice,' said a spokesman for the BBC World Service. 'While it could make a difference, this would only contribute a small proportion towards our overall funding. The BBC has a track record of managing commercial activity through BBC World News TV and the international BBC.com website, and the BBC's reputation for providing impartial and independent news will always take precedence over wider commercial goals.' The BBC World Service made about £4.6m from activities such as programme co-productions with third parties in the year to the of March 2011.
Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks's long-serving personal assistant, Cheryl Carter, is understood to have been the latest person arrested this morning by police investigating phone-hacking. According to reports, Carter is believed to be the forty seven-year-old woman who was arrested in a dawn raid in Essex on suspicion of perverting the course of justice. She is in custody at an Essex police station. Her identity has not been confirmed, but police said that the woman is not a police officer. Carter was well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks's PA for nineteen years, serving while the latter was editor of the Sun and the Scum of the World, as well as chief executive of News International. The BBC says that Carter also previously worked for ex-Scum of the Word managing editor Stuart Kuttner and the paper's former deputy editor Neil Wallis. She is no longer employed by News International or by Brooks, who quit the newspaper publisher in July at the height of the hacking affair. Scotland Yard did not name Carter, but said in a statement: 'Officers from Operation Weeting have this morning arrested a forty seven year-old woman at an address in Essex. The woman was arrested at approximately 06.55 on suspicion of attempting to pervert the course of justice, and she is currently in custody at an Essex police station.' This marks the seventeenth arrest as part of Operation Weeting, the Metropolitan Police investigation into newspaper phone hacking. Brooks herself was arrested in July under Operation Weeting and the Operation Elveden probe into payments to police. She was bailed, and has not yet been charged with any offence. Carter is the second person to be arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice, after private investigator Glenn Mulcaire was questioned by police in December. He was released on bail until March. Mulcaire was jailed in 2007 alongside Scum of the World royal reporter Clive Goodman after being found guilty of phone-hacking on behalf of the now defunct, disgraced and disgraceful Sunday tabloid.

BBC2's Something for the Weekend has reportedly been cancelled. The Sunday morning magazine show will end at the conclusion of its current run, according to Broadcast. Presented by Tim Lovejoy, Louise Redknapp and chef Simon Rimmer, the series has been made by Princess Productions since 2006. 'We can confirm that the current series of Something for the Weekend will be its last on BBC2,' said a Princess spokesman. 'The show continues to maintain the high ratings and popularity it has enjoyed since its launch in 2006. However we have been informed the decision not to renew is down to the proposed cuts to budgets and in original daytime commissioning.'

The BBC has warned that its London Olympics coverage could see it forced to cut back the length of some editions of BBC1's 6pm and 10pm news bulletins in the summer. Live coverage of the London Games will be broadcast on BBC1 and BBC3, with comprehensive coverage on the corporation's flagship channel due to run from 6am to midnight – close to eighteen hours of daily coverage throughout the two-week event. As a result BBC executives have had to warn the BBC Trust that its heavy commitment to the London Olympics, as well as broadcasting the Euro 2012 football championship, may mean that it could miss hitting its annual quota of hours of its flagship peak-time news programming. The BBC Trust, which published the minutes of a meeting on 17 November on Thursday, said it needed to inform media regulator Ofcom of the 'possibility and circumstances in which BBC1's peak-time news quota might not be met in 2012, due to its coverage of the London Olympics and Euro 2012.' BBC1's flagship 10pm news is most likely to be hit by either football matches or Olympic events over-running, although BBC1 also broadcasts a news bulletin at 6pm. The BBC Trust said that despite the importance of the Olympic Games to the nation, and to a lesser extent Euro 2012, that 'network and regional news should continue to have top priority in scheduling decisions on BBC1. The channel should do all it [can] to meet the quota without harming audience interests,' said the BBC Trust. A spokeswoman for BBC News said: 'Clearly there are major sporting events happening in 2012 which could lead to scheduling changes but our commitment to bringing our audiences all the latest news and current affairs in peak time remains as strong as ever.' According to a BBC report on the performance of its services, BBC1 has a commitment to deliver two hundred and seventy five hours of news during peak time, defined as running from 6pm to 10.30pm, in the year to 31 March 2011. BBC1 over-delivered its quota of peak-time news managing two hundred and seventy eight hours for the period.

Brian Dowling has stated his belief that Big Brother has improved on Channel Five. Which may be true (although, personally, yer actual Keith Telly Topping doubt this) but since its audience is roughly half of what it used to get on Channel Four, I'm not sure whether this improvement has been noticed by any actual viewers. Such as they are.

Eve Arnold, one of the most revered photographers of the last century, died peacefully Wednesday in a London nursing home, a Magnum photo agency spokeswoman has said. She would have turned one hundred in April. She was best known for her intimate and lively collection of photographs of Hollywood film star Marilyn Monroe, as well as for capturing Queen Elizabeth II with her guard down, smiling up at the sky on a particularly grim day. But she was also an intrepid photojournalist, travelling all over the world during the Seventies and Eighties and publishing colourful and influential books on China, Russia and America. Her subjects ranged from bartenders and cowboys to Jacqueline Kennedy and Malcolm X. She was the first female photographer to make images for the Magnum Photography Agency, according to her London gallery Halcyon. Arnold's most famous portraits of Monroe were taken on the set of the last film the star made before she died, The Misfits. Among the images to have come off that set is a romantic shot of Arthur Miller with Monroe the year before they were divorced. Miller, who wrote The Misfits, is said to be describing the way his father used to 'Skip-to-my-lou', a rustic dance from middle America, for a scene in the film. 'What I have tried to do is involve the people I was photographing. If they were willing to give, I was willing to photograph,' Arnold once said. She made many portraits of Monroe throughout the 1950s, and knew her more intimately, perhaps, than any other photographer of the day. Her best photographs are collected in Marilyn Monroe: An Appreciation. Born in Philadelphia in 1912 to Russian immigrant parents, Arnold's interest in photography did not begin until she was in her thirties, working at a photo-finishing plant in New York City. Arnold worked for publications including Life magazine and joined the Magnum collective in the Fifties. She moved to England in the early 1960s, with her son Frank, and begun working for The Sunday Times. Her career spanned more than half a century, but, in 2009, when asked by the actress Angelica Houston if she was still taking photographs, she replied, 'That's over. I can't hold a camera anymore.' In 2010 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Sony World Photography Awards in Cannes.

Bob Holness, who has died at the age of eighty three, was known and loved by millions as the host of popular game show Blockbusters. Yet he was also a member of that exclusive band of actors who have played the part of James Bond. He was given the role by South African Radio's English language service in a 1956 adaptation of Ian Fleming's Moonraker. He later recalled that, at the time, he had never heard of Bond. 'But it became an amazing part to play and the response from listeners was terrific.' Robert Wentworth John Holness was born on 12 November 1928 in Natal. But his parents brought him back to his father's birthplace, Kent. He studied at Ashford Grammar School and Maidstone College of Art before returning to South Africa with his family, at the age of twenty five. He began work as a printer but quickly left to pursue his love of acting with an English repertory company that had begun performing in Durban. Within eighteen months he was a regular performer in radio drama and had begun presenting his own show Calling To Youth which featured visiting British and American artistes. By now he had met and married his wife Mary. Attracted by the increasing potential of television the couple decided to return to the UK. He arrived in 1961 with no job and no prospects. But he approached Granada just as the company was looking for a complete unknown to host a new panel game, Take A Letter. Holness was given a three-year contract with the Manchester-based company, during which time he presented quiz shows and documentaries and read the local news. He also became a regular presenter on the pop station Radio Luxembourg, signing off every night with: 'Whether at home or on the highway, thanks for tuning my way.' Holness joined the BBC Light Programme in 1964 as a freelancer presenting various record programmes including Midday Spin, Housewives Choice, Swingalong and Roundabout. He also continued to present TV programmes, appearing on Out of School and Transworld Top of the Form. In 1967 he began a stint as one of the team of presenters on the radio show Late Night Extra, which went out live and unscripted, initially on Radios 1 and 2, between 10pm and 12am. 'You can't imagine the feeling of freedom we had,' he later recalled. 'There were no scripts at all. It was a major departure for the BBC.' He stayed with the programme until 1975. He moved to the commercial talk station LBC, initially as the airborne traffic reporter, but was soon co-hosting the AM show with Douglas Cameron. It was a massively successful partnership, twice winning Holness the accolade of Joint Independent Radio Personality of the Year. In 1983 he began a ten-year stint as the host of the ITV quiz series Blockbusters and became something of a teenage cult figure. It also gave him financial stability for the first time in his life, after years working as a freelancer. The programme generated a number of catchphrases such as 'Put Yourself on the Hot Spot' as well as the occasional snigger when someone asked 'Can I have a "P" please, Bob?' ITV axed the show in 1993. But it was snapped up for a while by Sky who continued to use Holness as the presenter. Maintaining his radio career, he moved from LBC in 1985 to present the BBC Radio Orchestra's Tuesday night selection of the best in popular music on Radio 2. He also stood in for other presenters and fronted his own shows, including Bob Holness Requests the Pleasure and Bob Holness and Friends. He was presenter of Call My Bluff, the cerebral BBC TV panel game, when it was axed by the Corporation in 2002 after twenty seven years. Holness criticised the decision, attacking what he called the trend towards quiz shows based on avarice rather than education. His health began to decline in the late 1990s after a series of mini-strokes, culminating in a more severe attack in 2002 which induced temporary paralysis. Despite this he continued an exhausting round of public appearances and voice-overs until being diagnosed with coeliac disease in 2005. Bob Holness was also the subject of a much-quoted myth - started, according to legend, by the NME's Stuart Maconie in his spoof 'Believe It Or Not?' column - that Holness had played the saxophone on Gerry Rafferty's worldwide 1978 hit 'Baker Street'. The actual performer was Rafael Ravenscroft. Ever the joker, Holness gleefully played along with the story - claiming, furthermore, that he was also the lead guitarist on the Derek & the Dominoes 'Layla'. He is survived by his wife, Mary, as well as their three children and seven grandchildren.

Blunderland defender Titus Bramble has been charged with a third count of sexual assault. The thirty-year-old alleged footballer appeared at Teesside Magistrates' Court yesterday, over allegations of indecently touching two women in separate incidents in a nightclub in Yarm, in September. The alleged incident took place the evening after Blunderland lost 2-1 away to Norwich City, a league game in which Bramble played the full ninety minutes. At court, the former England Under-21 player, of Wynyard, was told he now faces an another sexual assault charge, which relates to one of the existing complainants. Bramble denied the new charge. He has already pleaded not guilty to the original two allegations. The case was committed to Teesside Crown Court on a date yet to be fixed. The footballer was formally cleared of a charge of urinating in a public place after the prosecution said it was no longer being pursued. Bramble's solicitor, Phil Smith, from Tuckers Solicitors in London, said after his client's committal for trial: 'These false charges, based on poor quality and contradictory evidence, are – and have always been – fervently denied. Titus very much looks forward to the opportunity to clear his name at his trial in the Crown Court.' Also yesterday, it was revealed that fellow SAFC player Nicklas Bendtner had been arrested in connection with an alleged brawl at a hotel. The twenty three-year-old Denmark international was held by police after reports of an incident at the Hilton, in Gateshead. Bendtner was arrested on 13 September, but details have only just come to light. No charges were brought against the on-loan Arsenal player. A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said: 'At 2.18am on Thursday, 13 September, police received a report of a fight at the Hilton Hotel in Gateshead. Officers attended and two men aged twenty three were arrested to prevent continued breach of the peace. After investigations, both men were released without charge.' Blunderland FC declined to comment. Bendtner and club captain Lee Cattermole are currently on bail in connection with an alleged car-wrecking spree in Stowell Street, Newcastle, last month. After that arrest, Bendtner issued a statement in the Danish media saying: 'I am extremely sorry for all of this. I apologise sincerely that I have allowed myself to get involved in things that are interpreted in such dramatic fashion. I fully assume responsibility for not distancing myself from these incidents before they got out of hand. The error is mine alone and I am sorry that I have let so many people down. Basically I am a normal guy with an extraordinary job. I tend to forget this at times but deep down I know these things. And it does not serve as an excuse for me letting myself get caught up in this. I admit my sense of judgement has been less than perfect lately.'

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day it's clearly time for a whole lotta Yoko. Check out Klaus Voorman's neo-funk bassline. Boogie.

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