Wednesday, February 29, 2012

It's Sheep We're Up Against

Wednesday morning's episode of the notorious ITV breakfast flop Daybreak featured an interview with yer actual Matt Smith. The actor discussed topics as diverse as the departure of his Doctor Who co-star Karen Gillan, rumours that he may himself step down as his own role next year, ridiculous tabloid nonsense that Benedict Cumberbatch is to play The Master and his forthcoming appearance at the official Doctor Who convention in March. On the subject of Kazza's exit from the series, Smudger said: 'It is sad for me, she's a great friend, and creatively I have a really interesting relationship with her and Arthur [Darvill], but the show is bigger than any of us. It's been going in 2013 for fifty years and it will continue way after me and so much of it is about change, and also you have to celebrate that and it's about reinvention. And how wonderful that someone invented a concept where a show can change so much.' But what of Smith's own future in the role? 'It's a thrill playing the part I don't want to give it up anytime soon. We have a whole season to make and a Christmas special as well, so I won't be leaving anytime soon. We'll get this season out the way and see where I'm at. I take it season-by-season and I take the job day-by-day because there's no other way you can do it.' Of course, next year sees the show's fiftieth anniversary and this week reports surfaced, firstly on the Internet and then in the Daily Scum Express, that Sherlock's Benedict Cumberbatch was supposedly going to play The Doctor's arch-enemy The Master. 'I know Ben and I've not heard anything about it,' admitted Matt. 'But he's a wonderful actor and a mate. I think he's a bit busy being a Star Trek villain, and he's Sherlock Holmes of course, so he's a busy man.' As well as filming this latest series of Doctor Who, Smudger is also set to attend the - hugely overpriced - official Doctor Who convention in March at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff. Is it an experience that he's looking forward to? 'It's going to be exciting, it's really important as the fans are so passionate, so it's a nice day out. Their detail is actually more detailed that my detail! The fans have very clear opinions. I drove past a line of fans and I wound the window down and waved, and there was a little guy dressed as me in the tweed and bow-tie. It's bizarre, but they're not dressed as me, they're dressed as The Doctor. He's the one they like, I'm just his vessel.'

Doctor Who and Luther are among the shows nominated in this year's RTS Programme Awards. The second series of Idris Elba crime drama Luther will compete against ITV's Scott & Bailey and BBC3's The Fades in the Drama Series category. Meanwhile, Doctor Who's showrunner Steven Moffat will face Eric & Ernie's Peter Bowker and Appropriate Adult's Neil McKay for the Drama Writer award. Doctor Who spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures and CBBC's Tracy Beaker have also been nominated as best Children's Drama, while Eric & Ernie is up against Channel Four's Random and BBC2's David Tennant-fronted United for the title of best Single Drama. The Crimson Petal & The White, The Promise and Top Boy will fight it out for the Drama Serial award, while acting nominations include Daniel Rigby (Eric & Ernie), John Simm (Exile) and Dominic West (Appropriate Adult) and Vicky McClure (This Is England '88), Ruth Negga (Shirley) and Emily Watson (Appropriate Adult) respectively. Him & Her's Russell Tovey and Sarah Solemani have been jointly nominated in the Comedy Performance category, alongside Spy's Darren Boyd and Rev's Tom Hollander. Rev has also received a, deserved, RTS nod for best Scripted Comedy, competing against Channel Four's Fresh Meat and E4's Phoneshop. Fresh Meat and Rev will also compete for the Comedy Writer award, with the former's Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong and the latter's James Wood and Tom Hollander facing Friday Night Dinner creator Robert Popper. In the entertainment categories, Ant and Dec have been recognised for their work on I'm a Z-List Former Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!, flop Red or Black?, another flop Push The Button and Britain's Got Talent. The Entertainment Performance nominees also include odious James Corden for Sky1's risible A League Of Their Own and Celebrity Juice host Leigh Francis. Derren Brown's The Experiments will compete against Million Pound Drop and The Graham Norton Show for best Entertainment Programme. Frozen Planet, Stargazing Live and Channel Four's Mummifying Alan: Egypt's Last Secret compete for the Science & Nature award.

Famous People in Unexpected Roles on US TV This Week: Number one. Billy Connolly playing Hugh Laurie's new stepfather in the latest episode of House. And, playing him as Billy Connolly as well - not even a slight concession to an American accent! That's the way to do it, none of this poncey 'acting' lark for Big Bill!
The Wire's Dominic West has admitted to reading about himself online and joining discussions about his work on Internet forums. Oh, no. Dom, baby, that way lies madness and sweaty palms. West, who is currently working on the second series of the BBC2 drama The Hour, claimed that no-one ever believes it is him when he confronts them online about derogatory remarks. 'I like to have chats about myself with people - mainly putting forward the case for the defence in forums. I use my own name but nobody ever believes me,' he told the Radio Times. West also confessed to watching back his own work when it is shown on TV. 'I don't particularly like watching myself on the TV but I do like to check that none of my lines have been cut,' he said. 'One or two ended up on the cutting-room floor [in The Hour] but that was mostly due to my occasional bad acting.' The six new episodes of The Hour will feature the broadcast team 'deeply embroiled in cover-ups, sexual intrigues and the resurgence of Mosley's fascism' and will have the 'looming spectre of the Cold War' as its backdrop. The Thick of It's Peter Capaldi, Hannah Tointon and Tom Burke have joined the cast for the second series.

Famous People in Unexpected Roles on US TV This Week: Number two. James Caan turning up as a guest star opposite his son, Scott, on the latest Hawaii Five-0.
Pfft. Nepotism!

ITV has reported a fourteen per cent increase in pre-tax profits to three hundred and twenty seven million quid in 2011 as chief executive Adam Crozier hailed a turnaround in its TV production business but admitted that The X Factor and I'm a Z-List Former Celebrity … had 'underperformed.' ITV, which reported adjusted pre-tax profits up twenty four per cent said that total revenues increased four per cent to £2.1bn in 2011. The broadcaster said that it managed to increase TV advertising revenue by one per cent to £1.5bn while online income, from digital advertising and services provided via the ITV Player, grew twenty one per cent. Crozier said that ITV's strategy of moving away from its almost complete dependence on TV advertising is 'starting to pay dividends.' He pointed to a ninety three million smackers year-on-year increase in non-advertising revenue – an eleven per cent year-on-year boost – which he attributed mainly to growth from its UK and international studio businesses. 'The increase in non-advertising revenues of ninety three million pounds, driven by our studios and online businesses, is clear evidence of progress in rebalancing the company and our ability to grow new revenue streams,' said Crozier. Total revenues at ITV Studios grew ten per cent, fuelled by international production which included forty five new commissions and twenty six recommissions. External revenues were up up nine per cent. ITV Studios' work in 2011 included the UK-Hungarian-Canadian co-production of Downton Abbey writer Lord Snooty's mini-series about the sinking of the Titanic. UK commissions for ITV include SWAGS, a six-part drama series about service wives and girlfriends, and historical drama Mr Selfridge. Crozier said that 'in time' ITV might look to grow its studio operation by making acquisitions. However he made it clear organic growth is the focus and he scotched any suggestion of a move for Big Brother producer Endemol, or that ITV might have received any potential takeover approach. Crozier admitted that key shows such as The X Factor and I'm a Z-List Former Celebrity … 'did not perform as well' as they had in 2010, despite the Simon Cowell show being the biggest entertainment ratings performer of 2011. 'They remain very important brands for us as they still drive large, diverse audiences, which appeal greatly to advertisers,' said Crozier. 'We remain committed to these programmes and continually look at ways of refreshing them to improve their on-screen performance.'

And, speaking of ITV shows which didn't perform Simon Cowell's flop Red or Black? could return in a scaled-down, pre-recorded format as ITV looks to overhaul the game show and strike a deal to bring back the gambling series for a second run. According to one alleged 'source' quoted in the Gruniad a decision could be due on the show's recommission as early as this week, but it looks as though it will return, depending on 'how the talks go over budgets.' When it launched last year on ITV Red or Black? was billed as one of the most expensive entertainment shows on television featuring a one million smackers nightly prize, live filming at Wembley Arena, big-budget challenges for contestants and plenty of celebrity firepower. ITV hoped it might have the Cowell magic and be a massive hit and successful international format, but the ITV ratings did not live up anywhere near to expectations. Protracted discussions have taken place between Cowell's company, Syco, and ITV about changes to make the format viable for a second series. Proposals understood to have been discussed include changing the end of the programme to require more of a skill-based finish rather than contestants simply choosing red or black, potentially reducing the amount of prize money on offer, making it a weekly show, and scaling back the stunts. One alleged 'source' with alleged 'knowledge of the discussions' allegedly said that the aim, at least from ITV's perspective, is to make the show more entertaining by giving it 'much more of a Noel's House Party' atmosphere. 'No decisions have yet been taken about a second series of Red or Black?,' said a spokesman for ITV. The first series of the show, fronted by Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, attracted about four million viewers a night on average when it ran last summer. Roughly half of what ITV had confidently expected before the series began. Red or Black? also hit the headlines for the wrong reasons after former criminal Nathan Hageman scooped the first jackpot. After his win caused a tabloid storm, two other contestants were removed from the show following further criminal checks on their backgrounds and contestant selection was tightened up. Two weeks ago the Gaming Commission held talks with ITV about the show and proposed changes. It is understood that the commission does not have any outstanding issues with the programme. One of the biggest changes understood to be under discussion between ITV and Cowell's company Syco is to record the show before transmission, rather than broadcast it live. Pre-recording multiple shows could help reduce costs, but more importantly avoid some of the problems encountered with Hageman's win. The first series was broadcast live strip-scheduled across a week, which made it difficult for the producers to do extensive background checks on contestants who made it though to the final stages of the competition. The alleged 'source' allegedly added that by making Red or Black? weekly, ITV will also give itself more commercial opportunities around the show. The expensive stunts, which included transporting contestants to a castle to guess if a red or black parachutist would land closer to a target, and elaborate arena sets for challenges such as Twinball – a giant pinball-style game – look set to be scaled back to reduce the budget. The prize money may also be reduced. To some people's surprise there were four one million quid winners, which alleged 'insiders' allegedly claim may have made it more difficult or expensive for the series to be underwritten again. The ending of Red or Black?, where in some instances people could not choose the colour they wanted, also raised eyebrows and ITV and Syco are looking at how it could be changed. 'It was something like the price of a Champion's League match for each show,' said another alleged source. 'Incredibly expensive. Don't forget this was central to ITV's rights growth strategy and it bombed.' Speaking at an ITV event last year, when asked if Red or Black? would return, ITV director of television Peter Fincham said 'I haven't made that decision yet. It is a big show. The sort of thing ITV should be doing on a Saturday night. [It's a show I] want to make some changes to. I'm nearly there, but not quite ready yet,' he added.

New research has shown that BBC Persian TV's audience in Iran almost doubled between 2009 and 2011. The figures show the channel's audience had grown to six million, up from just over three million. The BBC says the channel is subject to 'persistent and repeated blocking' in Iran. Earlier this month, the BBC accused Iranian authorities of intimidating its journalists. The research is published as the BBC World Service celebrates its eightieth anniversary. The research indicated that the number of Iranians using the BBC's international news services as a whole (including TV and radio) had risen by eighty five per cent from 3.9m in 2009 to 7.2m. The research was carried out in February 2011 as part of the US Broadcasting Board of Governors' International Audience Research Program. The research excludes those using the Internet in Iran to access BBC Persian because those figures are difficult to measure owing to censorship. 'These figures are a tremendous tribute to the courage and dedication of BBC Persian journalists in the face of appalling bullying and intimidation by the Iranian authorities,' the BBC's Director of Global News Peter Horrocks said. Earlier this month, the BBC's Director General Mark Thompson wrote in a blog that the BBC had seen 'disturbing new tactics' in intimidating journalists, including the targeting of family members of those working outside Iran. Iran accused the BBC of 'inciting unrest' after the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009. BBC Persian broadcast online videos and interviewed protesters, who described deaths, injuries and arbitrary arrests carried out by security forces.
Six journalists at the very Scum of the World its very self were 'involved in instructing private investigator Glenn Mulcaire to hack phones of celebrities and others,' it has been alleged in documents released by the high court to the Gruniad Morning Star. Who gleefully printed details of it in a kind of we-told-you-so way. And, to be fair to them, after some of the shit that got flung their way by other organs of the press over the last couple of years for daring to suggest other journalists were scum-sucking weasels with the moral compass of a rattlesnake, who, honestly, can blame them? Paperwork submitted on behalf of phone-hacking victims by lawyers shed new light on the alleged extent of knowledge within the newspaper about the activities of Mulcaire, the two thousand quid-a-week private investigator at the centre of the scandal. It has been alleged in these court documents that there was 'a conspiracy' between Mulcaire and 'senior executives' including 'Clive Goodman' and five other journalists, known as A, B, C, D, and E, whereby he would obtain information on their behalf using 'electronic intelligence and eavesdropping.' Up until now only one Scum of the World journalist, the former royal editor Goodman, has been charged and sentenced to pokey in relation to phone-hacking offences. In the latest Operation Weeting investigation other journalists from the Scum of the World have since been arrested on suspicion of phone-hacking. The claim, submitted on behalf of phone-hacking victims, also alleges that Mulcaire was 'on a contract' with the paper between 2001 and 2006 worth up to one hundred and five thousand smackers a year. Under the initial contract, signed on September 2001, the victims allege, Mulcaire was paid one thousand seven hundred and seventy knicker a week, or ninety two grand a year, for 'services' provided by a company which he controlled, called Euro Research and Information Services. His fees were, allegedly, increased in 2003 when Mulcaire asked for an extra two hundred and fifty notes per week to extend his services beyond 9am to 5pm and to cover 'emergency calls outside these hours.' In February 2005, a separate contract was, allegedly, signed to pay Mulcaire (in the name of Paul Williams) seven grand for a story about the Professional Footballers' Association boss Gordon Taylor, who subsequently won a four hundred and twenty five thousand smackers claim for phone-hacking from News International. In July of that year, a fresh contract between Mulcaire and the Scum of the World was drawn up, this time in the name of Nine Consultancy Limited. Under this agreement it is claimed the private investigator was paid just over two thousand smackers a week, or a fraction under one hundred and five thousand quid per annum. The documents detailing the alleged contracts were 'obtained by the Gruniad and were released in redacted form last week.' They go on to state that some of these redactions have now been removed following a further hearing at the high court on Monday. The unredacted passages in the documents submitted in the name of 'voicemail claimant' for the purpose of a generic trial, allege that Mulcaire also agreed to 'provide daily transcripts of voicemail messages' to Scum of the World journalists. Last week, the Gruniad state, it emerged that News International 'took active steps' to delete and prepare to delete the publisher's e-mail archives as phone-hacking allegations and lawsuits against the owner of the Scum of the World mounted in 2009 and developed in 2010. According to court documents filed by victims of hacking, the publisher allegedly produced an 'e-mail deletion policy' in November 2009 whose aim was to 'eliminate in a consistent manner' e-mails which 'could be unhelpful in the context of future litigation.' Which, if proved, dear blog reader, I'm sure you'll agree is a bit naughty.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrat deputy leader Simon Hughes has told the Leveson Inquiry that media reports of his sexual orientation damaged his chance to lead the party in 2006. Hughes told the inquiry into media standards and ethics that he had been contacted by the Sun who told him they had 'obtained his phone call records.' He said that subsequent press coverage, which was about his relationships, hurt his 'chance of winning the election.' He also spoke of how his phone had been hacked by the Scum of the World. He went on to say that he was unhappy the police had initially failed to explore the possibility of bringing charges against others potentially involved in hacking. In other evidence on Tuesday, ex-police detective Jacqui Hames claimed that the Scum of the World had placed her and her police officer husband under surveillance in 2002. She suggested this was because the paper had links to suspects in a murder case that her husband was investigating. Hughes, the MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, was named as a hacking victim in the 2007 trial of Clive Goodman, the Scum of the World's then royal editor, and Glenn Mulcaire. Hughes received forty five thousand smackers in damages, plus costs, after settling with News Group Newspapers - the publishers of the Scum of the World - out of court recently. He told the inquiry that he had had 'some concerns' about his phone messages in 2005 and 2006 following 'mysterious' and 'systematic failures.' Hughes, a man who - by his own admission - is not given to venting his spleen, used words like 'unforgivable', 'unacceptable' and 'serious failure.' His ire was directed at the initial police response to phone-hacking at the Scum of the World, which the Lib Dem politician believed was considered an 'acceptable practice' at the disgraced and disgraceful tabloid. As far as Hughes is concerned, the Metropolitan Police ignored evidence of 'widespread criminality' and chose instead to arrest just two people in 2006. This failure to investigate properly had left Hughes 'extremely suspicious.' The police and News International had become too close; officers had lost their way badly and were 'tainted.' It was time, Hughes declared, to 'clear out that stable.' The nature of the relationship between the Metropolitan Police and Rupert Murdoch's company will be the focus of this inquiry for days to come. Hughes said that he was then contacted by the Sun in 2006 whilst the Lib Dem Party leadership contest was ongoing and they told him that they had 'obtained' his phone call records and wished to speak to him about 'a private matter.' Hughes said that he agreed to speak to the paper after confirming the content of the phone calls referred to. In the January 2006 article, Hughes told the Sun that he'd had relationships with both men and women but did not feel that should stop his leadership bid. Before the revelations, Hughes had been one of the favourites to take over the leadership role but he said subsequent negative press coverage 'hurt his chance of winning the election.' He told the inquiry that he it was only in October 2006 that the Metropolitan Police told him private investigator Mulcaire had hacked his voicemails. He added: 'What they didn't tell me was that Mulcaire not only had that phone number but he had every other phone number, address, and other things. They did not tell me that he had, for example, the hotline in the office, which only a few people knew [or] my private phone number at home.' Hughes said that he believed 'more than one' Scum of the World reporter was also involved in the hacking and that he had not known the narrow nature of the charges brought against Mulcaire. It was a lost 'window of opportunity' and could have saved subsequent pain. 'We lost three or four years in which illegal activity continued,' Hughes said. But, Hughes added, when he had asked police at that time if they were investigating anyone else, he was told 'no.' He said: 'What I am very unhappy about - and it seems to me was a complete failure - was to explore whether it would be appropriate to bring charges against other defendants at the same time as part of the same inter-related set of activities.' In a statement, he added: 'I suspect that the police had shut down this investigation, much to the delight of News Group and ignored evidence of long-standing and widespread criminality.' Hughes said police returned to see him in 2011 and 'opened the books' Mulcaire had kept his notes in. He said: 'It looked to me that there was a pretty general trawl to look at anything that might lead anywhere that might lead to a story.' Former Met Police detective Jacqui Hames told the inquiry how working as a presenter on Crimewatch and dealing with the press was 'a baptism of fire.' She told the inquiry that she needed counselling after the Scum of the World placed her and her husband, Det Chief Supt Dave Cook, under surveillance and she wanted to know why the police had not investigated why this happened. Cook had appeared on Crimewatch seeking information about the 1987 murder of the private investigator Daniel Morgan. But Hames said that Morgan's company - Southern Investigations - whose members included suspects in the case - had 'close links' to Alex Marunchak - a news editor at the paper. In a statement, she said: 'I believe that the real reason for the News of the World placing us under surveillance was that suspects in the Daniel Morgan murder inquiry were using their association with a powerful and well-resourced newspaper to try to intimidate us and so attempt to subvert the investigation. These events left me distressed, anxious and needing counselling, and contributed to the breakdown of my marriage to David in 2010.' She told the inquiry that former Scum of the World editor Rebekah Brook's defence that the paper had been investigating if the two had been 'having an affair' with each other was 'absolutely pathetic' as the couple's marriage was 'common knowledge.'

Meanwhile, it has been revealed that well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks was 'loaned' a police horse by officers from Scotland Yard for use on her Oxfordshire farm. The Evening Standard has reported that the former Sun and Scum of the World editor was allowed to keep the retired horse for over a year. The loan was made in 2008, the year after former Scum of the World royal editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire were jailed for illegal interception of voicemails. It was also offered while Lord Blair was the Metropolitan Police commissioner, although he claims that he was 'not aware' of the situation. The horse was subsequently re-housed with a police officer in Norfolk in 2010. Speaking to the newspaper, an alleged 'friend' of well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks and her horse trainer husband, Charlie, said: 'Rebekah acted as a foster carer for the horse. Anybody can agree to do this with the Met if they have the land and facilities to pay for its upkeep.' Brooks's spokesman added: 'It's well-known by people in the horse world that the Met looks for homes for horses once they retire. Rebekah took on a horse and effectively acted as a foster parent for it for a year or so. The Met horse team comes out to make sure your facilities are right and proper. It's just a way of giving a temporary home to a horse that has had a distinguished service in the Met. It went off to a retirement paddock in Norfolk once it couldn't be ridden anymore.' The Met Police said that it was 'routine procedure' for retired police horses to be loaned to members of the public (or, indeed, tabloid editors) after their working lives, but the arrangement with Brooks is likely to raise fresh questions over the closeness of well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks' relationship with officers. A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said: 'When a police horse reaches the end of its working life, Mounted Branch officers find it a suitable retirement home. Whilst responsibility for feeding the animal and paying vet bills passes to the person entrusted to its care at its new home, the horse remains the property of the Metropolitan Police Service. Retired police horses are not sold on and can be returned to the care of the MPS at any time. In 2008 a retired MPS horse was loaned to Rebekah Brooks. The horse was subsequently re-housed with a police officer in 2010.'
The revelation comes a day after the Leveson inquiry into press ethics and standards heard that the relationship between News International and the Met was 'at best inappropriately close and at worst corrupt.' It was revealed that Brooks was briefed by a senior Met officer on the progress of the original inquiry into phone-hacking at the newspaper she used to edit, and even asked - and was told - how far the investigation was likely to go within the Scum of the World. And, by one of those co-incidences that the phone-hacking scandal regular throws up to make it even funnier than it already is, the BBC's One O'Clock News' coverage of this story was fronted by, wait for it, Fiona Trott. You, literally, couldn't make it up.

And speaking of women with well-known relationships with horses, Clare Balding and TV presenter and former Paralympic basketball medallist Ade Adepitan will host Channel Four's coverage of the London Paralympic games in August and September. The schedule will be cleared for a full eleven days to make room for one hundred and fifty hours' worth of coverage; this amounting to the biggest broadcasting event in Channel Four's thirty-year history. It will also be the most time ever dedicated to the Paralympics on British television in the history of the games. Balding and Adepitan will host peak-time coverage and will be joined by disabled Australian comedian Adam Hills - a particular favourite of yer actual Keith Telly Topping, as it happens - who presented ABC's live coverage of the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing. T4 presenter Rick Edwards (who hosted four series of That Paralympic Show on Channel Four) and Olympic triple-jump legend and BBC athletics commentary regular Jonathan Edwards will provide comment and analysis throughout the games. Channel Four News anchor full-of-his-own-importance Jon Snow will front coverage of the opening and closing ceremonies. As Channel Four promised when they bid for the broadcast rights, fifty per cent of the presenting team will, themselves, be disabled. Irish presenter Daráine Mulvihill and former Royal Marine Arthur Williams will also perform studio anchoring duties and are amongst seven new faces to come out of the broadcaster's star search for disabled talent in 2010. They will be joined by former Paralympic swimmer Rachael Latham, sports reporter and wheelchair basketball player Jordan Jarrett-Bryan, former carpenter Martin Dougan, researcher Liam Holt and sports journalist Alex Brooker. A number of renowned athletes will also take part in the 'all day everyday' coverage on Channel Four, including runners Iwan Thomas and Danny Crates, and swimmer Giles Long. Special breakfast and tea-time shows will provide highlights of the coverage that is being produced by Sunset & Vine and IMG Sports Media. In addition, a new dedicated website will provide in-depth analysis and highlights throughout the Paralympics. Jay Hunt, the Chief Creative Officer at Channel Four, said: 'Being the broadcaster of the London 2012 Paralympic Games is a huge privilege and an opportunity for us to really make a difference to the perception of disability and disability sport in this country. I'm thrilled to announce this brilliant and carefully selected team of presenters and reporters; a mix of broadcasting heavyweights and new faces including disabled talent. Our coverage will contain in-depth analysis and intelligent, frank and thought-provoking insight from people who are equipped to bring these incredible but little-understood sports to a broad mainstream audience and help us to make this the biggest Paralympic Games ever. We will be on air before the sport of the day begins and until the last flag has been rolled up and put away with all the action, expert comment and analysis and specially commissioned breakfast and tea time shows. This is a four hundred per cent increase on the coverage The Paralympics has ever received in this country and will make it impossible to ignore.'

Grainy unofficial video has been leaked onto the Internet from the set of the Star Trek sequel in which Spock actor Zachary Quinto is shown fighting the film's villain, played by Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch. The footage, which you can see here (complete with pretentious dramatic music over it!), follows images which emerged at the weekend showing the pair tussling on location in Los Angeles. Speaking on Sunday at the Academy Awards, Quinto commented of the photos: 'The cameras weren't even rolling, so imagine what it'll look like when we're actually doing it! That happens, I guess. We're on incredibly big set pieces in the middle of somewhere and people sort of got wind of it.' The as-yet untitled Star Trek sequel, directed by JJ Abrams, has a scheduled release date of 17 May 2013.

Actress Lucy Liu has joined the cast of the CBS show Elementary, which is yet another Sherlock Holmes TV remake, but this time in America. And so, will stink like shat. The forty three-year-old will appear in the pilot as Joan Watson, Sherlock's side-kick, which has been traditionally played by men. Oh, this just gets better and better! If the pilot is picked up, a series will be made and broadcast in the autumn. British actor Jonny Lee Miller has taken the lead role. The detective series will be based in a modern day New York, and there is no more information about which of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories the drama will tackle. The show is being written and executive produced by Robert Doherty. Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly will also be executive producers. Last year, Miller appeared on stage with Benedict Cumberbatch, in Danny Boyle's National Theatre adaptation of Frankenstein. The BBC are said to be 'furious' about the clear influence of their own Sherlock on this proposed production and have made it clear that they will be watching developments very closely to see if there is anything they can sue over!

BBC Worldwide did not follow 'proper protocol' when it reached an advanced stage of production on a Top Gear branded sat nav, says the BBC Trust. And, it failed to adhere to the BBC Editorial Policy Conflicts of Interest Guidance. A review by the Trust's Editorial Standards Committee found that Worldwide had gone ahead with a deal with TomTom to produce a portable sat nav featuring The Stig and a Jeremy Clarkson voiceover without consulting the BBC Public Service team. This represented a breach of the protocol established in 2007. The Committee says it was 'concerned that public trust in the BBC could potentially have been undermined' as a result. And it was concerned too about the 'apparent lack of sensitivity to the potential of the deal to undermine the integrity and values of the Top Gear brand'. It pointed to 'some confusion' at Worldwide about the nature of the 'commercial boundaries' for Top Gear branded products. And it highlighted the fact that BBC Worldwide had 'not considered whether a Top Gear branded satellite navigation system would place any editorial limitations or restrictions on the Top Gear programme or magazine when it came to reviewing this category of information.' The commercial deal was halted by the director general just before the first products reached the shops. This was after BBC Public Service and Editorial Policy were alerted to it at the start of September 2011 and identified potential conflict of interest issues. As production was at an advanced stage, it was decided to let those products already created to be sold in Halfords, with the profits going to Children in Need.

Big fat cuddly Lorraine Kelly is reportedly in talks to present a revamped edition of notorious ITV breakfast flop Daybreak. The fifty two-year-old host will be joined on the struggling ITV breakfast programme by Matt Barbet of Five News, according to the Sun. So, this is almost certainly lies, obtained by dubious means involving the corrupt payment of officials, no doubt. The 'top secret' proposal - except, it's not secret now, is it? - for Kelly will reportedly see her come on air about an hour after Daybreak's current start time of 6am, and stay to front her regular show Lorraine immediately after. 'It doesn't take a genius to realise the answer to ITV's breakfast problems is staring them in the face,' an alleged 'source' allegedly said. Yes. It's crap, basically. Next ... 'The audiences go up for Lorraine's slot and the reason for that is Lorraine. She is down to earth and someone British women can relate to. Everyone agrees this is something that could work. She was getting well over a million for her show even when [former Daybreak hosts] Christine Bleakley and Adrian Chiles were getting just a few hundred thousand for theirs.' The alleged 'insider' allegedly added that 'no deal has been done' as of yet, while the Sun claims that Kate Garraway or Natasha Kaplinsky could still take on hosting duties. Despite the shake-up, ITV producers are still believed to be axing Daybreak in the future. The development comes as Kelly announced on Twitter that she has been discharged from hospital after undergoing surgery in the wake of a horse riding accident last week. 'Finally out of hospital,' she wrote on Wednesday morning. 'Thanks for all your lovely tweets - really means a lot to know you are thinking of me. It was a bad accident but could have been so much worse.' She went on to praise the medical staff who treated her as 'kind, caring and professional.'

Award-winning US director and producer Theodore Mann has died, aged eighty seven. Mann, who co-founded New York's Circle in the Square Theatre and its school, died last Friday of complications from pneumonia. Charlotte St Martin from The Broadway League said that his contributions to theatre were 'immeasurable.' Mann, who directed more than two hundred productions, received his first Tony award in 1957 for Long Day's Journey Into Night. In 1976 he was presented with a special Tony for twenty five years of work with the Circle in the Square and its school for young actors, which he co-founded in 1951. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kevin Bacon, Lady Gaga and Benicio Del Toro were all students at the school. 'His contributions to Broadway and off-Broadway are immeasurable, both in the productions he created and the talent that he nurtured,' said St Martin. Together with Paul Libin, president of the Circle, Mann presented many new and classic works at the theatre. Notable productions they include The Lady from the Sea, which marked Vanessa Redgrave's first Broadway appearance, and Oscar Wilde's Salome, which starred Al Pacino. Mann, who married the late soprano singer Patricia Brooks in 1953, is survived by two sons and five grandchildren.

And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, like. Here's The Fourth Best Band In Hull. Tell 'em what it's all about, Norman.

No comments: