Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Go Coxy Go!

TV comedy line of the week - by about a light-year - came from a highly unexpected but, nevertheless impressively qualified, source. Yer actual Professor Brian Cox, on the subject of moon landing conspiracies at the start of episode two of Stargazing Live: 'If you still think we didn't land on the moon then turn over to ITV because I don't want you!' he said. Dara O Briain's next line ('so ... If you're still here ...') was also noteworthy. Coxy later suggested that people who believe in UFOs (or, at least, that UFOs are alien spacecraft rather than, you know, the planet Venus, reflections from space hardware or other perfectly explicable phenomena) might prefer to be watching Celebrity Big Brother instead. Although they'd have to be time travellers if they were to do so because he was an hour out in scheduling. Bit of an elementary schoolboy-type error there, Prof. You're supposed to be a quantum physicist and all that, you surely know what time Celebrity Big Brother starts? If you mastered Einstein's theory of relativity you can manage the Radio Times?
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved MasterChef returned for a new series on Tuesday evening on BBC1. John and Gregg were back (the latter even using his old catchphrase 'cooking doesn't get any tougher than this' for just about the first time in over a year) and so was gorgeous husky-voiced India Fisher as narrator. Hurrah! There was a slight change of format this year, less The X-Factor, more The Voice. But, the opening episode largely concentrated on the invention test which always sorts the men from the boys and the women from the girls as it were. 'You can't practice an invention test,' noted Gregg. 'You've either got it or you ain't.' We'll ignore the grammatical error, Mr Wallace because we know what you're getting at. The contestants this time around included Big Shelina with her Mauritius spicy chicken, Eamonn who was in the qualifiers last year with his sea bream and wild mushrooms with masala sauce and Tom the plasterer who made a goats cheese and garlic thing with sweet potato. John and Gregg looked very doubtful. Then, they tasted it. 'Shouldn't work but it does,' said John. Gregg declared himself 'gobsmacked.' There was also Emma who made a lemon tart which Gregg thought was 'a pretty looking thing' (at least, I think he was talking about the food, with yer man Wallace it's often hard to tell), Ross and his pan friend sea bream with ratatouille and the madly over-enthusiastic quantum physics student Aki (why wasn't she watching Brian Cox on the other side, one wonders?) who left her Japanese roots behind to cook a fig and orange jam trifle with brandy syrup. The judges commented on her messy bench and how messy it was in its messiness. 'You haven't seen my room' she answered back, cheekily. 'And, I'm probably not going to,' confirmed John, to which we all breathed a sigh of relief. All of those made it through - although in Emma's case it was only by the skin of her teeth. Rejected from this round were Alec the engineer who looked so nervous that he appeared in danger of shatting in his own pants at one point. He cooked a nice-looking pan friend rump steak with a port and wild mushroom sauce and then burst into tears when presenting it to John and Gregg. Christine also went. You feared for her when she announced that her dish was to be 'pan fried plaice ... at least, I hope it's plaice.' It wasn't, it was sole. It was also dry and overcooked. So she got sent packing, too.
The six contestants who'd survived that then went off to two professional kitchens. In the case of three of them, who got parcelled off to the Gilgamesh in Camden under the hawk-like eye of the fantastically rude head chef Ian Pengelly, it was to be a very torrid time. Aki had a proper disaster, starting with having to be told to wash her hands ('you're a grown woman!' bellowed Pengelly, instantly making five million viewers think 'Christ, I'm never going to eat there, he might shout at me like that'). She then madly rushed around the gaff like someone with their arse on fire. Big sweaty Eamonn and equally sweaty Ross both also had a bit of a 'mare too and probably felt like crying for their mummy after such treatment. By contrast, the other three had it relatively easy. Then it was back to MasterChef HQ for the one more round. Shelina cooked a pan-fried yellow tail snapper with delicate drops of coconut curry. 'Rich and vibrant,' said John although he then feigned anger because she didn't put enough curry on the plate. Tom - the emerging star of the episode so far - showed a first sign of weakness when presenting spicy salmon fillet with avocado mousse. But, he failed to deliver all of the flavours that he'd promised due to timing issues. Nevertheless, as Gregg noted, 'we don't need safe cooks, we need daring cooks and that's what Tom is.' Aki presented the best dish of the round, a bento box containing tempura fried beef, udon noodles and various very nice-looking side dishes. 'You could sleep in it,' said an impressed Wallace. I dunno though, she's clearly very talented but, as a viewer, I have a feeling her hyperactive bouncing around the studio is going to wear very thin very quickly. Next up was Ross whose dish was a bit overcomplicated. Still Ross was in with a chance of staying in the competition until he said the one line that you don't want to hear from any MasterChef wannabe. 'I want to live the dream.' Oh God. Send him home now, guys. Ideally, whilst chasing him down the road with a meat cleaver. 'I can't go home,' he said. He went home. Eamonn's dish of pan fried Lincolnshire red beef, bone marrow dumpling and red wine sauce seemed okay-but-nothing-amazing whilst Emma's seared scallops with a cumin froth and a caramel dressing split the judges down the middle (Gregg liked it, John didn't). In the end, perhaps fortunately, both were put through with the kind of rule-bending that MasterChef specialises in. And, thank God for that, frankly. It's back and it's still brilliantly entertaining.
The new series of MasterChef helped BBC1 to convincingly dominate the Tuesday overnight primetime ratings on yet another really bad night for ITV. The cooking show was watched by 4.75m in the 9pm hour, beating ITV's watch-word for vile, ignorant, crass, horrible lowest-common-denominator rubbish The Biggest Loser in the same timeslot which got 2.16m. ITV actually finished fourth in the nine o'clock hour beaten not only by BBC1 but also by BBC2's Stargazing Live: Back To Earth (2.53m) and Channel Four's Fifteen Kids and Counting (2.89m). Does the soul a bit of good that statistic, does it not? Will Comical James MacLeod be rushing onto Twitter to big up The Biggest Loser this morning? One rather doubts it. Earlier in the night, BBC1's Holby City was watched by 5.43m. On ITV, River Monster took 2.61m from 7.30pm, odious Matt Awright's game show, The Exit List followed with a risibly poor 2.02m. As my mate Cameron noted on the Gallifrey Base forum on Wednesday morning, 'The Biggest Loser and The Exit List are dream titles for people writing ratings stories. It's Punapalooza!' Stargazing Live continued to perform hugely impressively for BBC2. The 8pm episode averaged a whopping 3.26m. The latest Hairy Bikers' Best of British had 1.97m and 9.30pm's Horizon got 1.62m. Channel Four's Shameless earned 1.63m in the 10pm hour. BBC1 came out as the clear winner in primetime, earning a 23.8 per cent audience share. ITV ended up with a very poor 11.7 per cent only just ahead of BBC2's 9.8 per cent.
A controversial article in The Times which exposed an anonymous police blogger called Nightjack was actually based on material obtained by hacking an e-mail, it emerged yesterday at the Leveson inquiry. James Harding, who was appointed editor of The Times in 2007, told the inquiry into press ethics and standards that the News International paper has 'never used or commissioned anyone who used computer-hacking to source stories.' However, he admitted that a reporter was given a written warning for accessing a Hotmail e-mail account, believed to be for the story on Nightjack. In his written statement, Harding said: 'There was an incident where the newsroom was concerned that a reporter had gained unauthorised access to an e-mail account. When it was brought to my attention, the journalist faced disciplinary action. The reporter believed he was seeking to gain information in the public interest but we took the view he had fallen short of what was expected of a Times journalist. He was issued with a formal written warning for professional misconduct.' According to the Gruniad Morning Star, alleged 'sources' within The Times say that the reporter was graduate trainee Patrick Foster, who had correctly guessed answers to security questions for the anonymous Hotmail account operated by Lancashire police detective Richard Horton. Horton's blog won the prestigious Orwell prize for revealing details of the life of a serving policeman, but was closed down after he was 'outed' by The Times in a June 2009 article. Harding's statement did not disclose the identity of the hacker or confirm that it had led to the publishing of the article, which claimed Foster had 'deduced' the identity of Nightjack. Also at the Leveson inquiry, News International chief executive Tom Mockridge said that Foster had subsequently been 'dismissed following an unrelated incident.' The reporter, who is thought to have denied the unauthorised access, has since written freelance articles for the Gruniad and the Daily Torygraph. Elsewhere at the inquiry, Ian Hislop criticised the cosy relationship between Rupert Murdoch's newspapers and politicians, along with the police, saying: 'There are reasons [the Murdoch-owned] News International thought it could get away with whatever it liked. The Murdoch family was deeply embedded in our political top class.' However, he said that new laws specifically to govern the press were not needed because practices such as phone hacking and bribing police officers already contravene existing laws. Instead, he called on the inquiry to ask why police and senior politicians were reluctant to uphold the law and stop newspapers from acting in such a way.

One final thought on Ian Hislop's impressive performance (and it was a performance) at the Leveson inquiry on Tuesday. Did he really have to turn up to the gig dressed like an extra from The Godfather?
'Don Vito Hislop. You show me no respect...'

Karen Gillan has revealed that her Doctor Who co-star Matt Smith gave her advice on her new role. The actress will play supermodel Jean Shrimpton in one-off BBC4 drama We'll Take Manhattan. 'I did speak to him about it,' she told TV Choice. 'Mainly [we talked] about what it would be like doing something different from Doctor Who, because I'd forgotten what that's like! He just said to really savour the experience, because it would be so different. I want to do jobs that I really care about rather than just going to work for the sake of it.' Gillan added that deciding to play Shrimpton was 'a no-brainer. I am really interested in that period of the sixties, when the whole youth thing was so powerful, and fashion was just lovely,' she explained.
'The whole feel of this drama is that it's all about the mischief that [David] Bailey and Shrimpton got up to, and I hope people will think, "That looks really fun."' We'll Take Manhattan marks Gillan's first TV role since joining Doctor Who as Amy Pond in 2010. Her co-star Smith has appeared in a number of projects outside of the popular long-running family SF drama, including BBC2's Christopher and His Kind and forthcoming Olympic drama Bert and Dickie.

The tweet of the year so far, by is distance, comes from yer actual John Simm, and is on the subject of his - in this blogger's opinion - rather impressive appearances in Doctor Who as The Master. Seems not everyone shares this view and, due to the anonymous nature of social media, aren't shy about telling John this whilst safe at the cowardly distance of their own computer: 'For those grown ups ANGRY about how the Master was written/portrayed, please don't tell me, tell someone who gives a fuck!' wrote John. It is nice to see somebody in the TV industry for once developing a solid backbone and a very low tolerance threshold for arseholes. We need more of that, frankly.
And, still on the subject of Doctor Who, bloody weirdo Noel Fielding has admitted that he is keen to appear in Doctor Who. The comedian, allegedly very popular (with students) although I've yet to meet anyone who finds him funny praised the BBC's long-running SF family drama in an interview with the Radio Times. 'I wouldn't mind being on Doctor Who,' Fielding revealed. 'I like the guy who does it at the moment and I thought David Tennant was amazing.' He joked: 'Next [time] I think we need an androgynous, slightly dippy Doctor who gets everything wrong.' At least, one assumes he was joking. Bill Bailey - Fielding's predecessor on BBC2 panel quiz Never Mind the Buzzcocks - played a minor role in the recent Doctor Who Christmas special. Meanwhile, frumpy waste-of-space daytime TV presenter Fern Britton recently admitted her dislike for Doctor Who while filming an episode of the revamped Room 101 describing the show as 'dreary.' Which, coming from Fern Britton is, frankly, fucking hilarious. Next -

Audience Appreciation Index scores for the three series two episodes of Sherlock were eighty eight for A Scandal in Belgravia, eighty nine for The Hounds of Baskerville and a amazing ninety one for The Reichenbach Fall. 'Average' AI scores are around the top seventies, anything above that is good. Anything above eighty five is very good and above ninety is 'exceptional.'

Meanwhile, Sherlock co-creator The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) has hinted that fans have missed a vital clue from the show's second series finale. The Reichenbach Fall, of course, as we all know saw Sherlock apparently plummet to his very ker-splatty death from the roof of St Bart's, only for the character to later reappear seemingly unharmed in a graveyard. 'I've been online and looked at all the theories,' Moffat told the Radio Times. 'And there's one clue that everyone's missed.' He added: 'It's something that Sherlock did that was very out of character, but which nobody has picked up on.' Which caused five million people to immediately go scurrying onto iPlayer to try and work out what it was! Moffat and series co-creator Mark Gatiss have confirmed that Sherlock will return for a third series, indicating that they - and the BBC - have no plans to end the hit detective drama anytime soon. 'We love doing this, this is brilliant fun so [we'll keep going] as long as we can keep Benedict and Martin coming back,' said the writer.

Sir David Attenborough has said that fellow popular scientist Brian Cox is cleverer than him. The naturalist and broadcaster told The Big Issue that physics is a much more difficult discipline than his own nature broadcasting. 'He's much cleverer than I am,' Attenborough said of Foxy Coxy. 'I stand with my jaw slacking at the imagination that goes into particle physics. What I do is very easy compared to with what he does.' Attenborough and the producers of the BBC's Frozen Planet were last month criticised for inserting images of baby polar bears being born in a zoo in Germany into the programme. 'If you had tried to put a camera in the wild of a polar bear den, mother den, she would have either have killed the cub, or she would have killed the cameraman,' Attenborough later explained on ITV's This Morning. Of criticism the BBC receives, Attenborough added to The Big Issue: 'The BBC is the greatest broadcaster in the world. It's got lots of imperfections; it's got up times and down times, but it is the only really true public service broadcaster in the world. Television is the most powerful medium we have and it ought to be in the service of the public. It can do more than just make money.'

The acclaimed TV historian Simon Schama - yer actual Keith Telly Topping is a big fan - has launched what's been described in the tabloids as 'a scathing attack' on Downton Abbey, accusing it of improbable storylines and historical inaccuracies. Well, he'd certainly know about the latter. Criticising the show's popularity in the US, he accused it of 'cultural necrophilia' and of pandering to 'cliches' about British stately homes. 'Downton serves up a steaming, silvered tureen of snobbery,' he wrote in The New Statesman. Creator Lord Snooty Julian Fellowes has previously defended the drama against such claims. Usually snootily and on at least one occasion accusing those of making such claims of being 'lefties' despite the fact that most of them appeared in the latters pages of those two great bastions of socialism, the Daily Torygraph and the Daily Scum Mail. Responding to people who accused the show of using anachronistic language and etiquette, Fellowes also said 'the programme is pretty accurate. The real problem is with people who are insecure socially, and they think to show how smart they are by picking holes in the programme to promote their own poshness and to show that their knowledge is greater than your knowledge,' he added. Not really something one can accuse Simon Schama of, though, Lord Snooty. Elvis Costello lookalike Simon, who is professor of history at Columbia University, also criticised the show's use of 'stock characters' such as stoic butler Carson and Dame Maggie Smith's overbearing matriarch, Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham. 'The series is fabulously frocked, and acted, and overacted, and hyper-overacted by all the Usual Suspects in keeping with their allotted roles,' he wrote. 'All the main plot lines were anticipated a long time ago by Upstairs, Downstairs.' Schama also took Fellowes to task over his portrayal of World War I in the most recent series. 'The abbey's conversion into convalescent quarters did indeed happen in some of the [stately homes],' he wrote. 'But if Fellowes were really interested in the true drama the story on our TV would be quite different. Instead of being an occasional suffragette, Sibyl would have turned into a full-on militant. Lord Robert, whose income from land and rents would have collapsed with the long agricultural depression, would be unable to service his mortgage.' His criticisms were targeted at the US, where the second series is currently showing. But the historian's description of the 'American craving for the British country house' is reflected in US TV ratings. Producer Gareth Neame defended the programme, saying it was not intended to be an historical documentary. 'Downton is a fictional drama,' he said. 'It is not a history programme, but a drama of social satire about a time when relationships, behaviour and hierarchy were very different from those we enjoy today. As with any popular TV drama series, [it] offers an alternative to our own life experience.'

Miranda Hart has claimed that she is more of a comedy actress than a stand-up. The Miranda star, who made her name in character-based stand-up, hopes that Call The Midwife viewers will appreciate her performance as Chummy. She told the Radio Times: 'It's hard to know whether people will think "oh, it's just me." Because being on panel shows, you are seen as yourself. But I hope people will see that what I have done with Chummy is different, and go with it. And my background is comedy acting. I see myself more as a comedy actress than a stand-up,' Hart added. 'Playing 'Miranda' is playing a role.'
Tracy-Ann Oberman has signed up for a role in the second series of ITV's medical drama Monroe. The show, which stars James Nesbitt and Sarah Parish, was renewed by the broadcaster last July. Oberman has now been contracted to play the new nurse specialist Lizzie Clapham, who looks after the patients' emotional care. Drop the Dead Donkey and Between the Lines star Neil Pearson has also joined the cast as head of Clinical Services and Monroe's manager Alistair Gillespie, while Five Daughters actress Lisa Millet will play 'acerbic' nurse Jill McHeath. The new series of Monroe is expected to pick up approximately eighteen months after the first, with Monroe facing challenges from his ex-wife and son. Bremner and Shepherd (Tom Riley) are dealing with an 'unplanned development' which could affect their careers and their relationship, while Monroe's trainees Daniel (Luke Allen-Gale) and Kitty (Michelle Asante) are fighting for the role of registrar. The first episode will also feature guest appearances from Jody Latham and Julia Haworth as Paul and Julie, who turn to Monroe for help after Paul is refused surgery for a dangerous neurological condition. The show's producers Michele Buck and Damien Timmer said: 'We were thrilled with the success of Monroe series one, and Peter [Bowker]'s scripts for this new run deliver yet more drama, wit and emotion, and we're opening up St Matthew's hospital in all sorts of ways. Our brilliant ensemble is even stronger than before, and at the centre is James Nesbitt's extraordinary performance as Gabriel Monroe.'

Odious gnomish Tory, Andrew Lloyd Webber is, reportedly, searching for Jesus. Which comes as a considerable surprise to those of us who believed the deranged cult-leader and megalomaniac dwarf simply looked in the mirror in his search for divinity. His Lordship, having, seemingly, put The Shoetree of despair into the cupboard never to be seen again after the massive flop of his last BBC show, Over The Rainbow has now taken his dubious talents, such as they are, to ITV and is to search for the lead role for a touring production of Jesus Christ Superstar. Superstar, which was first rumoured earlier this month, will see the composer and a team of judges look for a new talent to play the character of Jesus in an upcoming arena tour of the rock opera which made his name. The public will ultimately decide who takes on the starring role in the musical. Lloyd Webber said: 'Presenting a new 2012 version of Jesus Christ Superstar for arenas is truly exciting. Some of the best performances of this show have been in rock venues and I'm thrilled to see the show return to its roots. ITV is providing the perfect platform for us to find a new British Superstar.' The sixty three-year-old had previously been involved in BBC musical competitions the moderately successful How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? and Any Dream Will Do, the nothing-special I'd Do Anything and the colossal ratings flop Over the Rainbow. 'It is the public who lead the casting process and they've got it absolutely right four times already,' he added. 'It's been wonderful to see the careers of so many of the contestants blossom, so it will be especially fascinating to see who the public chooses as their Superstar.' Auditions will take place between February and March in London, Dublin, Belfast, Manchester, Glasgow and Cardiff, with the most promising applicants going forward to the live shows.

Chris Addison has said that people are 'too old' for Skins once they are in their twenties. The comedian, who plays Professor David Blood in the E4 show, told Metro that fans of the first series may well have moved on from the drama. Asked if the show gives the youth of Britain a bad name, Addison said: 'Not particularly, it's just a drama show. Once you're in your twenties, Skins isn't for you anymore. This is the sixth series, so there must be people who were eighteen when it first came out who are twenty four now, who might feel they're too old for it.' He added: 'If you're older than that you can look at it and feel a mix of jealousy, lust and fear. It's brilliant, though. I love it because it's much more alive than a lot of British TV drama.' Freya Mavor, who plays Mini in the current series, said last year that it was 'amazing' to work with Addison and that he was 'like one of us' on the set of the show.

Scots author Ian Rankin has called for tax incentives to support new writers, it has been reported. The Rebus author told the Gruniad Morning Star that the UK should adopt a scheme similar to one employed in Ireland. Under the Irish scheme, the first forty thousand Euros (about thirty three thousand quid) of annual income earned by writers, composers or visual artists from the sale of their work is exempt from tax. Or, you could just do what this blogger often does, not earn enough to reach the lower earnings threshold. I'm not fishing for sympathy, dear blog reader. Well, no, actually I am but that's not important right now. Rankin argued the tax break would help give new writers a start. He suggested a solution is needed for today's industry, where publishers are less willing to take risks and invest in new talent. 'It's easier than ever to get your stuff seen by people, but it's harder than ever to make a living from it,' he said. Tell me about it. 'Look at the money that publishers are paying for new writers - less than they paid twenty years ago. They know first novels don't sell many copies and, if writers decide to sidestep the traditional publishing route and sell their stuff by themselves online, they're having to sell it for virtually nothing - ninety nine pence.' Rankin was speaking ahead of the First Fictions festival in Sussex, which celebrates and champions first novels, past and present. A spokeswoman for the Treasury told the BBC the author's suggestion would be unworkable at present. 'Any new relief adds complexity to the tax system and could come at considerable cost to the Exchequer at a time when the government's priority is rebalancing the economy,' she said. 'The government is working to make the tax system simpler to understand, and as part of this work has been engaged in an exercise to remove reliefs from the system.' So, that'd be a 'no' then?

Marg Helgenberger has said that the timing is right for her to leave CSI. The actress has played lap-dancer-turned-investigator Catherine Willows for nearly twelve years, but will exit the CBS crime drama later this month. Helgenberger appeared on CBS This Morning on Tuesday and revealed that she wants to pursue new career challenges. 'I felt the need to kind of step back, because I had been playing this character for eleven and a half years, to reassess and regroup and - as scary as that is - I'm also very excited about the great wide open, the future and all the possibilities,' the actress told hosts Gayle King and Charlie Rose. Helgenberger also said that she is planning to watch her character Catherine Willows's CSI farewell when it is broadcast on Wednesday 25 January. 'I will watch the last episode. Whether I want to see it by myself or with a group of people, I'm not really sure because I know there will be some tears,' she commented.

Top Gear producers have responded to the recent criticism over its India special. The programme, which was broadcast on 28 December, was criticised by 'some viewers' for playing on Indian stereotypes, with presenters Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond joking about food, illness and trains. Egged on by a campaign with a thick and insidious agenda smeared all over it from the Gruniad Morning Star, the Indian High Commission later described the episode as 'offensive' and 'tasteless' in an open letter to BBC director general Mark Thompson. Why they didn't bother to buy a stamp and make it a closed letter, only they can answer. Producers have now responded that the special's jokes were at the expense of its presenters rather than India itself, saying that it was 'filled with incidents but none of them were an insult to the Indian people or the culture of the country.' A statement from the BBC read: 'Our film showed the charm, the beauty, the wealth, the poverty and the idiosyncrasies of India, but there's a vast difference between showing a country, warts and all, and insulting it. It's simply not the case that we displayed a hostile or superior attitude to our hosts and that's very clear from the way the presenters can be seen to interact with them along the way. We genuinely loved our time in India and if there were any jokes to be had they were, as ever, reflected back on the presenters rather than the Indian people.'
ITV has partnered with some of Bauer Media's biggest magazine brands for a new ITV2 series which promises to be The Apprentice for journalists. The Exclusives, produced by Educating Essex maker Twofour, is a new reality TV series set in the 'fast-paced and competitive world of magazine publishing.' The show will feature six young journalists competing in a series of challenges to win a twelve-month contract with Bauer Media, working on titles such as Heat, FHM, Closer, More, Kerrang and Empire. Each trainee will refine their skills under the tuition of staff at the magazines, including coaching on how to cover major events, interview stars, organise photoshoots and write articles that connect with readers. Whether the series will include a special phone-hacking challenge or the winner will be the first one to successfully bribe a police officer, the programme-makers don't say. Probably not, I'm guessing. ITV's director of digital channels and acquisitions Angela Jain, who commissioned The Exclusives, said: 'We're very excited about The Exclusives and we're grateful to Bauer Media for allowing unparalleled access to their biggest and best magazines and for providing a fantastic role at the end of the process for one lucky candidate. Twofour have great experience in making engaging and must-watch multi-platform TV shows and we're confident that this seven-part series will prove to be a real hit for our ITV2 audience.'

Sky Sports have signed up ex-Formula 1 World Champion Damon Hill to join its team to cover the motorsport on the new Sky Sports F1 channel. Hill, who competed in F1 between 1992 and 1999, will provide expert analysis on Sky Sports F1 as part of Sky's deal to show the motorsport from 2012 to 2018 along with with the BBC. Hill, who previously appeared on ITV's F1 coverage in 2007 and 2008, said that the chance to join Sky Sports F1 was too good to miss. 'The plans Sky Sports have for Formula 1 are very impressive, particularly the dedicated Formula 1 channel and I couldn't resist becoming involved,' he said.

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle United have completed the signing of striker Papiss Cissé from SC Freiburg on a five-and-a-half-year contract. The Senegal international has signed for an undisclosed fee and will wear the iconic number nine shirt at St James' Park. Cissé, aged twenty six, is currently on duty with his national side ahead of their imminent Africa Cup of Nations campaign, but flew to Tyneside on Tuesday to put pen to paper on the deal. The forward began his career with AS Douanes, in Dakar, and went on to have prolific spells at French clubs Metz, Cherbourg and Chateauroux. In December 2009, he switched to German outfit SC Freiburg, where he struck thirty seven goals in just sixty five appearances. Cissé scored for Senegal in their final Africa Cup of Nations warm-up match on Sunday - a 1-0 win over Kenya - and that was his ninth goal from thirteen internationals caps.
'I would like to thank everybody for their welcome, and for inviting me to sign for the Club,' said Cissé. 'It is an honour to play for such a big club and I am looking forward to it. I want to pay back the confidence the Club have shown in me, and give the supporters something to be proud of. I am aware of the huge importance of the number nine shirt, and when I spoke with the manager he made it very clear how important this shirt is. I will treat it with the respect and I hope to do my very best in this shirt.' Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew said: 'Ever since Andy Carroll left, Papiss was my first choice in the specific role he has at the end of the play. He is a finisher with an already-established CV in the Bundesliga, where we have monitored him for the best part of two years. Unfortunately he was out of reach, financially, for us in the summer, but it recently became apparent that Derek Llambias and Lee Charnley could do the deal in this window. I spoke to Demba [Ba] about Papiss, and he cannot wait to join up with his teammate in Newcastle. In the short-term, of course, he is at the Africa Cup of Nations, but the competition he will bring to our squad when he joins up with us should inspire the players and reassure them of this Club's ambition.'

A cinema in Liverpool has confirmed that it refunded an unspecified number of moviegoers who claimed to be 'disappointed' to discover that The Artist has almost no dialogue. The critically acclaimed silent film, which picked up a number of Golden Globe wins and is tipped to do the same at the Oscars, is set at the end of the silent movie era and is almost entirely dialogue-free. Nicola Shearer told the Daily Torygraph that she was asked on entry to Odeon Liverpool One if she knew that the film was silent. 'Of course I knew it was and I asked the usher why she wanted to know,' Nicola said. 'She then told me some people complained and asked for refunds because there is no sound and the screen is smaller. I thought it was really funny and laughed.' Despite initially denying that any complaints of this nature had been made, an Odeon spokesperson later came clean and confessed: 'Odeon Liverpool One can confirm it has issued a small number of refunds to guests who were unaware that The Artist was a silent film. The cinema is happy to offer guests a refund on their film choice if they raise concern with a member of staff within ten minutes of the film starting.'

And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, which, today features one for all you delinquent Teds out there to slash some cinema seats to. Let it rip, Chuck. And once again, let us marvel at the universally accepted fact that white kids, bless 'em, just can't dance!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Brian Cox. I love this man. He has no patience for ignorance and I dig that. I dig that a lot.