Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Random Acts Of An Extraordinary Nature

The second half of Sky1's multi-million quid adaptation of Treasure Island concluded on Monday evening. And, very good it was too. With its once-in-a-lifetime cast it managed to get great performances out of Eddie Izzard, young Toby Regbo (as a spunky, adventurous Jim Hawkins) and Daniel Mays (as a beautifully humane Doctor Livesey) among many others. And, I don't think, in all honesty, that yer actual Keith Telly Topping can ever remember a bad performance from Philip Glenister (great as a 'last-honest-man-left-alive' Captain Smollett). Oh no, hang on, I forgot about Demons.
If the opening half had stuck, pretty much to the plot of the book, the second had a bit more artistic licence too it. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping was rather disappointment to have a few childhood illusions shattered when they decided to make Squire Trelawney the eye-rolling villain of the piece. (Albeit, Rupert Penry-Jones was also great, going all Colonel Kurtz on his shipmates). But the ending, despite the manner (and rationale) for Long John's escape being played with, actually worked really well.

BARB have now released the final, consolidated Christmas Day ratings and they make for jolly interesting reading:-
1 Downton Abbey - 11.60m [+1: 513k]
2 EastEnders - 11.33m
3 Doctor Who - 10.77m
4 Coronation Street - 10.51m [+1: 308k]
5 Absolutely Fabulous - 9.07m
6 Strictly Come Dancing - 8.50m
7 Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow - 8.09m
8 The Gruffalo's Child - 7.64m
9 Emmerdale - 7.11m [+1: 533k]
10 All Star Family Fortunes - 6.36m [+1: 247k]
That's an astounding three and a half million timeshift for Downton Abbey and just under two million for Doctor Who. Once again, it's worth noting that the way in which people consume their TV is changing, and changing rapidly. Doctor Who, by the way, finished with a final yearly average of 7.75 million per episode (across the fourteen episodes broadcast in 2011) and an average timeshift of 1.79 million per episode. It's also worth noting that EastEnders BBC3 repeat on Christmas Day had an additional nine hundred and sixty eight thousand viewers.

The two stars of Sherlock have, according to some berk of no consequence in the Daily Torygraph, 'voiced their exasperation at continued talk of an on-screen romance between the detective and his sidekick Dr Watson, insisting that the two characters are just good friends.' Actually, I don't think they did that or anything even remotely like it, rather I believe they meant that they found such reading rather amusing. But, why say that when you can have a nice little example of bigoted homophobia in your scum Tory rag? The nature of the relationship between Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's duo has, of course, long been a subject of intense speculation, and the latest television adaptation — starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman — has 'again set tongues wagging' according to this clown. From the original books to the current films starring Robert Downey Jr, some people have perceived there to be an underlying tone of homoeroticism. The author himself raised some eyebrows in the 1893 short story The Adventure of the Yellow Face, when he referred to the duo as two men 'who know each other intimately.' And, Billy Wilder, in his classic 1970 movie The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, had a lot of fun with playing with similar ideas with his Holmes and Watson, Robert Stephens and Colin Blakely. (As in the memorable line: 'Doctor Watson? He is your "glass of tea", yes?') As the latest series got under way this week, Cumberbatch noted: 'Much as Sherlock adores John, and he's fond of him, there's no love, there's nothing sexual – all the jokes aside,' he said. 'The problem is, [the jokes] fuel the fantasy of the few into flames for the many. People presume that's what it is, but it's not.' The actor said there was a huge amount of 'weird fan fiction' on the Internet, where people 'write stories and do manga cartoons of what they think you get up to behind closed doors. Some of it's funny. Some of it's full-on sex.' Yes. It's called slash and been around - in one form of another - almost as long as Sherlock Holmes has. Roger Johnson, the editor of the Sherlock Holmes Journal, said that in the original stories the Victorian detective is 'essentially asexual with no erotic interest in women or men' and that Watson is 'something of a ladies' man but a faithful husband to his wife.' Mark Gatiss, co-creator of the BBC series, said: 'We've had lots of fun with the notion that, in the Twenty First Century, people naturally assume they are a couple. The stuff that people really enjoy is the relationship between them. The banter and the rows and the proper feeling between them, which really leaps off the screen.' Freeman said he did not think there was anything sexual in the relationship. 'There are a lot of people hoping that our characters are rampantly at it. If you want to think that they are secretly at it, then you can, but we've never played anything like that.'

Meanwhile, the lovely Lou Breakley, who plays Molly in Sherlock, posted a wonderful photo on Twitter of herself, Benny and Martin taken in the Baker Street set. What on earth is Marty doing with his hand, there?
Benny himself does not have Twitter (very wise!) but last night he posted his first tweet through Lou's account saying: 'Thank you for all the Sherlove. What a great way to start the new year. Good to be back. See you next week.' The public appear to have shared the sentiment with an overnight audience of 8.75m and an AI score of 88.

The Inspector Morse prequel Endeavour could become a regular TV series if it gets a decent viewing audience, according to the screen detective's creator Colin Dexter. Endeavour, starring Liverpudlian actor Shaun Evans as the young Morse, is screened this week on ITV. The drama has been made as a one-off, but Dexter said there could be more episodes if the young version of the famous detective gets a strong reception from viewers. Dexter, who met writer Russell Lewis to discuss the script, and worked as a consultant on the programme, also helped to cast Shaun Evans in the role. He said: 'Shaun gives an excellent performance and the script is good. I think the episode will be successful because it's a good story with very good acting. There could be further episodes but that will depend very much on the figures. If Endeavour gets the blessing of most critics then ITV could say "we have been fairly successful with the first one, so let's make another one." You also have to remember there's a lot of competition from other TV dramas these days, including Sherlock Holmes and James Herriot. Endeavour works well as a 1960s period piece and my only reservation is I'd prefer it to be shown between 8pm and 10pm instead of 9pm and 11pm. But I'm pleased. They have turned this around quickly – they only finished filming in Oxford two months ago.'

Between the first and second episode of David Jason's really-not-very-good-at-all The Royal Bodyguard almost three million viewers appear to have agreed with the general concensus of critics that it's a pretty miserable flop. The sitcom pulled in just four and a half million punters for its second episode on Monday night, down on the 7.1m who watched the series' debut. By contrast, Mrs Brown's Boys continues to flourish with 5.2m for the second episode of its second series. On ITV, Endeavour had an overnight of 6.8m, a decent figure which should see a series follow on the back of it. As expected it was a bumper night for the soaps, with EastEnders again coming top of the pile with 10.3m. Two episodes of Coronation Street were watched by 9.2m and 8.5m respectively whilst Emmerdale's overnight audience was 7.5m. On Sky1, the second part of Treasure Island maintained its audience from the previous night with just over one million viewers.

Alesha Dixon is to leave BBC1's Strictly Come Dancing to join ITV talent show Britain's Got Talent the BBC has announced. They did so about four hours before ITV, which was pretty funny given than it knacked-up a carefully planned midnight press release from the commercial broadcaster. Dixon will join Simon Cowell's team for the programme's sixth series later this year. The thirty three-year-old will appear alongside Cowell, David Walliams and Amanda Holden on the Britain's Got Talent judging panel. A BBC spokesperson said: 'We wish her well for the future. The BBC gave her a fantastic opportunity and she has really grown her career and is now off for a different challenge.' Or, more accurately if somewhat less charitably: 'We wish her just about as much success as the last couple of traitors who walked out on the Beeb for big greedy megbucks on the other side, Grumpy Chiles and The Curiously Orange Bleakley got. We look forward to seeing Alesha getting embarrassingly sacked from whatever half-arsed light entertainment format ITV have dream up for her in about eighteen months time.' Revenge, dear blog reader. It's a dish best served ... anytime. A new Strictly judge will be announced in due course. In a message on her website, Dixon, who won Strictly in 2009, said: 'After three incredible years on the Strictly Come Dancing judging panel, I have decided that it is time to move on,' the sick greed dripping off every single word. 'Strictly Come Dancing will always hold a special place in my heart as it has been such an amazing experience, both as a winning competitor and as a judge. I would like to say a big thank you to everyone involved in the show, the production team, my fellow judges, and a very special thank you to the fans for their support.' Subtext: Lots and lots and lot of lovely wonga.

Sir Terry Wogan has claimed that a bomb parcel was once addressed to him. The veteran broadcaster, best known for presenting Radio 2's breakfast show, said that he was on holiday when the parcel was delivered. Wogan told Kirsty Young on Desert Island Discs: 'My producer carried this parcel to the post room and was roundly castigated by the BBC - nearly lost his job for trying to blow himself up. Whoever sent in the bomb with my name on it couldn't have been much of a fan because I was on holiday.' The seventy three-year-old added: 'It was very difficult. I was very conscious, for instance, that you'd [have to] come up [with] a cheery morning voice after some horrific bomb incident.'

Hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of equipment and personal belongings have been stolen from police stations across Britain, it has been revealed. Thefts in the past five years include handcuffs, uniforms, speed guns, dogs, riot shields, and even patrol cars. The eclectic list was revealed as a result of a series of freedom of information requests by the Press Association. Greater Manchester Police was the worst hit, with thieves taking a ten thousand quid patrol car and a thirty thousand smackers private vehicle. The force's assistant chief officer, Lynne Potts, said that it 'took all such reports seriously' and 'measures were in place' to secure property, equipment and vehicles. The request to every force in the UK revealed that thieves had taken warrant cards, bikes, riot shields, a battering ram and breathalysers. Among the more unusual stolen items were a small fridge from Dunstable police station, CCTV footage and a TV from West Oxfordshire, a packet of crumpets from Priory Road police station in Hull (aw, bless!) and a fern and plastic plant pot from Lancashire Police. A twenty pound mannequin was stolen from Essex Police's kennels at Epping, at Pontefract police station in West Yorkshire a thief made off with a forty eight quid tea float, whilst a twenty-pack of toilet rolls vanished from the West Mercia force. In that particular instance, police said they had nothing to go on. Nah, lissun. The Taxpayers' Alliance, a bunch of tight-arsed wankers beloved by the Daily Scum Mail which campaigns for 'greater efficiency' within publicly-funded organisations and claims to speak for the thirty million plus taxpayers in this country despite not having actually bothered to ask any of us whether we'd like them to, said that security 'seemed to have been compromised' at some stations (no shit?) And, they 'called for an investigation.' One which would, presumably, since criminal activity seems to be involved, be run by the police themselves. But, let's face it, would you trust an organisation that can't even look after its own bog rolls to find the person what nicked them? 'The list of stolen items is truly astonishing and taxpayers will worry that police giving out crime prevention advice can't seem to avoid being robbed themselves,' said director Emma Boon. Will they, Emma? Is that what 'taxpayers' will think? Why, thank you for telling me, a taxpayer, what I should be thinking by the way. And, just so you know, I never did get the memo from you asking for my permission so you could speak for me. 'Thefts from forces cost taxpayers money and all this equipment adds up to a big bill that could be reduced.' Opportunist thieves took advantage of police equipment, mobile phones and unattended computers, the information also revealed. A police patrol car was taken from outside the station at Morpeth, Northumberland in May 2008. A Ford Galaxy patrol car also went from a station in Carnforth, Lancashire, after the keys were left - briefly - unattended. Was I the only one who remembers the Watch Out! There's A Thief About Adverts? The latter car was later recovered. Other forces to be relieved of vehicles included Warwickshire, Strathclyde, Lancashire and Essex. A terrier and a lurcher were taken from a police station in Blackburn and on Merseyside seized pitbulls were spirited out of the gaff. Among the lower-value items to have disappeared were jars of coffee worth two pounds fifty pee from Byker police station in Newcastle, a cap badge from an officer's hat in Widnes and a copy of an antiques guide worth a fiver from Basildon in Essex. Six pints of semi-skimmed milk were stolen from Cambridgeshire Police HQ in Huntington, and a one pound cereal bowl and empty lunchbox worth three quid from Hucknall police station in Nottinghamshire. In Devon and Cornwall, items included a betting slip, a bail sheet, an unwritten parking ticket and a Peter Storm fleece jacket worth sixty smackers.

Some awful news, now. Gary Ablett, the only player to win the FA Cup with both Liverpool and Everton, has died at the age of forty six following a battle against non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The defender played more than one hundred games for both Merseyside clubs and for Birmingham City. He also managed Stockport. 'Respected throughout the game by players, coaches and managers alike Gary will be sadly missed,' the League Managers' Association said. 'Our thoughts and condolences are with Gary's wife Jacqueline and children.' Having joined Liverpool as an apprentice in 1982, Ablett made his debut for the Reds in December 1986. Under manager Kenny Dalglish, he helped a dominant side win the League title in 1988 and 1990 and the FA Cup in 1989. He was sold to arch-rivals Everton for seven hundred and fifty thousand notes in January 1992 and went on to lift the FA Cup with them in 1995. Ex-Liverpool striker Ian Rush paid tribute to his former team-mate. 'Gary was a really versatile player, somebody who would play anywhere the manager asked him,' Rush told BBC Sport. 'The fact he played for both Liverpool and Everton says something about how good he was as a player. He summed up what Liverpool people are all about. He gave one hundred per cent to the team and my favourite memory of him was after the 1989 FA Cup final - he was so proud to win something for the team. Off the pitch, he was the perfect gentleman. He had a lovely family, which he brought up really well, and he was such a respectable person. If he could help you with anything, he would.' After a loan spell at Sheffield United, he joined Birmingham in 1996 and went on to make one hundred and four appearances there. After short spells at Wycombe and Blackpool, Ablett finished his playing career at Long Island Rough Riders in the American A-League in 2001. In 2002, he moved into coaching, working with Everton's youth academy until 2006 when he took over as Liverpool reserve team coach. He became Stockport County's manager in July 2009 but endured a difficult season as the club, crippled by financial administration, were relegated to League Two. Ablett left in June 2010 when the 2015 Group took ownership of the club. Ablett had been fighting non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a form of blood cancer, for sixteen months. He died peacefully on Sunday, the LMA said in a statement. Former Liverpool manager Roy Evans said: 'It's a big shock. Obviously we know Gary's been ill for a while. It's a really sad day.' Recalling Ablett as a player, Evans added: 'He was good at everything he did as a player. He went into coaching and stamped his personality onto that and was doing a very good job, certainly at youth level. I remember he had bit of a difficult first spell at Stockport, but overall he's had a great career in football, he's a big loss to the sport. He made a big contribution to the game.'

The latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day is an old school cracker from the Joe Meek collection. Note the use of a Univox Clavioline (played by Geoff Goddard) and Heinz Burt's epic bassline.

1 comment:

David Alexander McDonald said...

It's tat Bertie Wooster's friends nicking all that stuff from the coppers! It's a game, y'see.

Honestly. though...nicking dogs?! THough it seems, sadly, nobody actually scarpered with the K9 unit.