Sunday, February 26, 2012

Week Ten: Then I Look At You, And The World's All Right With Me

Doctor Who was singled out for a right good brown-tongued licking when the total lack of culture minister the odious and rancid Vaizey praised the Welsh broadcasting industry's cultural and economic importance. Not quite as odious as his boss, the vile and odious rascal Hunt, is Vaisey. But, on a scale of one to ten with one being not very odious at all and ten being really very odious indeed, he's still and eight, at least. Borderline nine. And, like all scum politicians of all parties, he'll odiously creep up to anything that's popular which he think will get him votes. During a visit to Cardiff, which included a tour round the programme's new home at the BBC Wales Roath Lock drama village, the odious and rancid Vaizey said: 'Global hits like Doctor Who act as a continual reminder of the role the creative industries can play in driving growth through the creation of jobs and attracting inward investment.' Odious sycophant.

Being Human creator Toby Whithouse has described Doctor Who as 'an incredibly difficult show to write for.' Having previously written episodes like School Reunion, The Vampires of Venice and The God Complex, Whithouse will return for series seven with his fourth episode for the popular long-running family SF drama. Speaking to BBC America's Anglophenia blog to promote the new series of Being Human, the writer revealed: 'Doctor Who is always a joy to write. It never gets boring, it never gets dull, it never gets routine.' He continued: 'It's an incredibly difficult show to write because it's remarkably complex, but it also has to have such momentum and pace. And within that there has to be room for character and humour and so on. It's always a huge challenge but always extraordinary fun. That's why I keep going back.' Well, that and the money, obviously.

And, remember, dear blog reader, yer man Smudger is also on Top Gear on Sunday, driving a reasonably priced car, hopefully, really very fast indeed. There are many reasons why this will be worth watching but the fact that it really pisses off the Communists at the Gruniad Morning Star is, of course, chief amongst them, by a distance.
A bit of a weekend treat for all Sherlock fans, now. No, not Benedict Cumberbatch in a thong. Although, if such a picture exists, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping will do his very best to track it down. No, this is your chance to hear what the Fabulous Baker Street Boys sound like dubbed into Italian, Russian, Spanish and French. This clip is of the famous scene in the first episode from 2010, when Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) meets John (Martin Freeman) for the first time and shocks him by deducing enormous amounts of detailed information about him within seconds. But the audio, having started in English, keeps switching languages. The doctored video has been made by BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, for its annual Showcase event, an international TV sales conference held this year in Liverpool between 26 and 29 February. First we hear Sherlock dubbed into Italian - Holmes's voiceover there seems a bit weedy, frankly, although Italian is perhaps the best language for Watson's reaction to being asked whether he's just come back from Afghanistan or Iraq: 'Scusi?!' Prego. Next, Sherlock slips into Russian to greet Molly (Louise Brealey), and he's suddenly much more manly and in control. The language suits Cumberbatch's casually confident way of carrying himself - much better than Spanish, the next translation we hear. We end with Sherlock and Watson dubbed into French, and it's gravelly, expressive French too. Benedict's more enthusiastic female fans might need to have a bit of a lie down.

And so to yer actual Top Telly Tips as like:-

Saturday 3 March
Stephen Fry narrates a history of TV's all-round entertainers in The Story of Light Entertainment - 7:20 BBC2. (A repeat, by a necessary one.) He traces their roots from Victorian music halls to their heyday, when variety programmes dominated the Saturday night schedules, and considers how the same stars reinvented themselves as quiz show hosts or reality TV celebrities. Right from the very first days of film and television, it was light entertainment - or, more specifically, 'variety' as it was known then - that was central to its success. Even in the 1950s, despite everyone always saying they only bought a TV set for the Queen's Coronation, it was the variety programmes, games shows and entertainment that really captured the big audiences and ensured the success of TV. And it has only got bigger and bigger throughout the years. The 1960s saw entertainment become the battleground between the money-making commercial channels on ITV and risk-taking creatives on the BBC. This intensity resulted in the so-called 'Golden Age' of the 1960s and 70s. But, even though Morecambe and Wise, Forsyth, Yarwood, etc, had the massive audiences, by the mid-Seventies, the world of variety was dying off. Contributors include yer actual Sir Bruce Forsyth, Michael Barrymore, Cilla Black, Brian Conley and Les Dennis.

The Bank Job - 9:10 Channel Four - is, of course, a game show based, supposedly, in the vault of a London bank, in which four contestants are tested on their knowledge, judgement and luck in the hope of leaving with a briefcase full of cash. Legally, of course. Well, we assume it's legal, with Channel Four you can never, entirely, tell. The week-long show culminates in Saturday's final when one contender will win a life-changing sum of money. The competitors have been chosen based on their performance in a series of online tournaments held on the Channel Four website. Presented by George Lamb. Nowhere near as brilliant as it seems to think it is.

It’s unbelievable how much stuff Richard Wallace has collected over the past thirty years. His bungalow in the pretty Surrey village of Westcott is so jaw-droppingly full, he has to wriggle over barricades of mess (it takes thirty minutes to crawl from his one useable chair to the front door); he's not had a bath or slept in his bed for years; and he cooks his meagre on a gas stove barely visible under stacks of paper. Even he admits, 'It's getting a bit silly now.' Director Christian Trumble somehow squeezed through the rubbish to make what turns out to be a really heart-warming film, thanks to the saintly efforts of local gardener Andy to help Richard. Obsessive Compulsive Hoarder - 7:15 Channel Four - is a documentary profiling Richard, whose one million quid property in the Surrey village of Westcott is so filled with newspapers and other household items that it takes him forty minutes to get from the front door to the chair he eats and sleeps in. His garden is also filled with tons of refuse so old it has become overgrown, and his hoarding has reached a point where it not only infuriates his neighbours, but also threatens his health and physical safety.

Sunday 4 March
Property magnate Paul Whight has two very expensive hobbies. He collects and drives classic racing cars, which he keeps in the grounds of his second obsession - his beautiful stately home and garden in Essex. Lucky chap. Anyway, Paul invites Tony Robinson and the team to investigate his stately home in Essex to learn more about the De Veres, better known as the Earls of Oxford, who once lived there in the latest episode of Time Team - 5:20 Channel Four. In the Twelfth Century the De Veres founded a grand priory somewhere on this site, and centuries later they may well have built themselves a fine country house. What's more, the most famous and dissolute Earl of Oxford - who some believe wrote Shakespeare's plays - might even be buried here. The team promptly rip up Paul's pristine lawns and subject his house to merciless scrutiny, gradually conjuring up the ghosts of the De Vere family. In an in-depth search of the building and garden, the archaeologists gradually make discoveries that shed light on the history of the home and the aristocratic family.

Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May test the KTM X-Bow, the Morgan Three Wheeler and the Caterham R500 at Donington Park racing circuit in Top Gear - 8:00 BBC2. That really annoying twat from Blur, Alex James, is the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car. Jeremy also creates his own version of the Battle of Britain using an aircraft-engined Bentley and a flame-spitting BMW. Which somebody will complain about, of course.

Right now you're hurtling around the sun at sixty four thousand miles an hour. In the next year you, dear blog reader, will travel five hundred and eighty four million miles, to end up back where you started. Just, you know, for a bit of perspective. Kate Humble and Dr Helen Czerski examine the Earth's annual trip around the sun to show the effect it has on the planet, including its influence on the weather and the tides in Orbit: Earth's Extraordinary Journey - 9:00 BBC2. The first episode covers the period from July to the winter solstice in December, with Helen leaping from an aeroplane and Kate briefly becoming the fastest driver in the world to demonstrate the consequences of the orbit on Earth's inhabitants.

Adam, the forty-year-old vampire trapped in the body of a teenager, returns to Honolulu Heights - bringing along his no-nonsense head-teacher lover Yvonne in Being Human - 9:00 BBC3. The pair's relationship has sparked a media frenzy, but vampires' images cannot be captured on film. If the love-struck lad is photographed, the entire supernatural world might be compromised, so Annie, Hal and Tom work to shelter the couple from the press, but first they must convince Adam to reveal the truth about his condition to his oblivious girlfriend. Guest starring Craig Roberts and Selina Griffiths.

Delighted by the news that ITV have commissioned another series of Foyle's War, dear blog reader? If so, then why not celebrate this by watching a repeat of the very first episode of the drama from 2002 - 9:00 ITV3. Just in case you've never seen it, Michael Kitchen stars as a jaded police superintendent who would rather be fighting the enemy in France than crime on the south coast as the Second World War gathers pace in 1940. However, when a local magistrate's German wife is murdered amid a growing cloud of uncertainty and anti-Nazi feeling, the ensuing investigation is anything but routine. Edward Fox, Robert Hardy, David Horovitch, Anthony Howell and Honeysuckle Weeks co-star.

In Upstairs Downstairs - 9:00 BBC1 - the house is rocked (rocked, I tell ya. But, hopefully, not stoned) by controversy when the publication of a scandalous novel exposes Blanche's unconventional lifestyle, bringing the doctor face-to-face with the author of the book and her former lover, Lady Portia Alresford. Ah, lesbians, dear blog reader. The almighty's greatest gift to mankind. Where would television be without them? But when the passion between the pair reignites, the doctor becomes conflicted. Meanwhile, Persie reveals a shocking secret to Hallam, and Beryl's workload prompts her to take a stand - until a familiar old face appears to offer a few wise words. Emilia Fox guest stars, with Alex Kingston, Jean Marsh, Ed Stoppard and Claire Foy.

Carrie has high hopes that Lynne, her spy in the Saudi prince's entourage, can lead her to a specific al-Qaeda operative in America - perhaps even Brody himself in the third episode of the genuinely extraordinary Homeland - 9:00 Channel Four. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping has spent the last week watching previews from the US of the entire series and can tell you, if you've only just caught on to it, that this is something very special indeed. 24 with brains, basically. Meanwhile, Sergeant Brody himself is preparing for a network TV interview with his wife and kids - but his daughter, the sulky Dana, is not interested in playing happy families for the cameras. Quite brilliant American conspiracy thriller, starring Claire Danes, Damian Lewis, Morena Baccarin, Mandy Patinkin, Brianna Brown and Morgan Saylor.

Monday 5 March
Jedrington Secret-Past is brought back to sobriety by Servegood (the excellent Kevin Eldon) and reunited with Conceptiva in the last episode of The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff - 8:30 BBC2. The couple take the evil Mr Grimstone (Tim McInnerny) to court to demand the return of the business and their daughter from the repressive governess Primly Tightclench (Sarah Hadland). But, a link between the judge and the accused makes their case seemingly hopeless. Meanwhile, Victor's enigmatic friend Smalcolm may hold the key to everyone's happiness. With Robert Webb, Katherine Parkinson and Johnny Vegas.

It's also the final episode of the current series of Whitechapel - 9:00 ITV. With the body count rising, Miles and Chandler clash over the direction of the investigation, and struggle to put aside their differences in the face of their toughest adversary to date. Counsellor Morgan Lamb becomes of particular interest to the team, having already survived the killer's wrath, and Chandler has a vested interest in keeping her alive. Starring Rupert Penry-Jones, Phil Davis, Steve Pemberton and Lydia Leonard.

Tonight sees the return of Dirk Gently - 9:00 BBC4 - the rather appealing comedy drama based on Douglas Adams' novels about a self-styled holistic detective who specialises in discovering improbable solutions to baffling mysteries. In this episode Dirk Gently investigates two cases that are seemingly unrelated - one client claims to be a target for the CIA, while the other believes their horoscopes are coming true. Starring Stephen Mangan, Darren Boyd and silly little Helen Baxendale, with Miranda Raison from [spooks], Friday Night Dinner's Paul Ritter and The Fast Show's Colin McFarlane.

Tuesday 6 March
Bossy-boots, full-of-her-own-importance bully Alex Polizzi visits a family in Norfolk who run a working windmill in the final episode of the current series of Alex Polizzi: The Fixer - 8:00 BBC2. Good riddance to bad rubbish, frankly. But, before she goes, she's got one more bit of bullying to do. Whilst passionate about milling flour, the family seem to have very little grasp of what it takes to run a business - and frayed relationships aren't helping. Which is just the kind of scenario bossy-boots fully-of-her-own-importance bully Alex Polizzi loves the mostest, baby. The company also includes a tea shop, gift shop, function room and rental cottages, and with so many different areas, Alex identifies a lack of focus, so immediately pinpoints where they can make most money, as well as arranging a change of brand identity and helping the family build their confidence so they can continue after she has gone. Last in the series.

The historical documentary strand Revealed returns with the fascinating story of the 1943 Nazi propaganda movie Titanic, which retold the infamous disaster with the British portrayed as cowardly profiteers and the German crew members and passengers as the heroes of the hour - 8:00 Channel Five. Made at the height of the Second World War, the tale of its creation rivals just about anything produced in Hollywood, with military personnel moved from the front line to act as extras and the original director being sacked and thrown into jail - where he was mysteriously found hanged twenty four hours later.

Nineteen-year-old Nic Hamilton sets out to become a racing driver, entering the highly competitive Clio Cup to prove he has what it takes in Racing with the Hamiltons: Nic in the Driving Seat - 10:35 BBC1. Nic is no ordinary would-be speedster however - he suffers from cerebral palsy and his brother is Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton, who is on hand for advice. But Nic's disability and lack of experience behind the wheel means that he is facing tough odds to finish each race in one piece - and when a high-speed accident threatens to end his career before it has really begun, it takes every ounce of courage to get back in the driving seat.

Wednesday 7 March
John Torode and Gregg Wallace challenge the four remaining wannabe superchefs to tackle pastry, one of the hardest culinary disciplines there is (they reckon) in the latest episode of MasterChef - 9:00 BBC1. First they prepare an afternoon tea of savoury and sweet cakes, with a gaggle of 1970s TV sitcom stars - including Alison Steadman, Rodney Bewes and Bill Oddie - on hand to taste the results. Why, no one has the nerve to ask! Maybe the just turned up on the off-chance of some free nosh. But this is, of course, no laughing matter for the contestants (and with joyless Bill Oddie on hand, that's probably just as well), who all hope that their food will put a smile on the comedy veterans' faces. (In Bill Oddie's case, that's really unlikely, dear blog reader.) In the second test the final four make two show-stopping desserts - with three of the world's finest pastry chefs, Jocky Petrie, Damian Allsop and Claire Clark, judging the results. For one hopeful, this will be their final time in the MasterChef kitchen. For the other three, a place in the final week awaits.

With costs of retirement homes rising, more people are choosing to take care of elderly relatives themselves, a subject tackled in rather typical offbeat fashion in the latest Wonderland film Granny's Moving In - 9:00 BBC2. This documentary follows Phil and Sue Caroll as they take in Sue's eighty three year-old mother Peggy, who is in the early stages of dementia, but proves as difficult as any stroppy teenager. Determined to enjoy herself at any cost, Peggy goes out on the town dancing while Sue and Phil are left worrying about her safety. So after a few months under the same roof, they devise what they hope will be the perfect solution - converting the garage into a granny flat to give this fun-loving OAP her independence and them their peace of mind.

In She Wolves: England's Early Queens, the historian Helen Castor explores the role of queens in medieval and Tudor England, analysing how they evolved from being the wives of kings to powerful figures in their own right - but faced great struggles to impose their authority in a male-dominated society. She begins by recalling the life of the quite excellently-named Matricidal, the daughter of Henry I, who waged war against her cousin, Stephen, in the Mid-Twelfth Century in a bid to be recognised as her father's rightful successor. The historian also charts the turbulent life of Eleanor of Aquitaine, the wife of Matricidal's son, Henry II, who played a major role in governing England during the latter half of the Twelfth Century.

That was for the queens, here's one for all of those of the other persuasion. Illuminations: The Private Lives of Medieval Kings - 7:00 on BBC HD. The second part of her trilogy sees Janina Ramirez behold more crumpled manuscripts, the better to define kingship in the Middle Ages with. A[[arently. She visits Winchester Great Hall and Berkeley Castle to trace the story from the Hammer of the Scots, Edward I, to disastrous reign of Henry VI. With her handy tablet, hi-tech Janina touches on epochal events like the battles of Agincourt and Crécy. But the best bit sees illuminator Patricia Lovett showing how to apply gold leaf to vellum. It's like a fiddly edition of Take Hart. Janina explores how illuminated manuscripts contributed to the education of England's medieval princes and kings. She discovers why Edward III's childhood reading helped him prepare for the Battle of Crécy in 1346 - one of the most important conflicts of The Hundred Years War - and learns how texts plundered during foreign campaigns were adapted for use by the younger members of the royal family. She also examines how literature helped reinforce national identity in times of crisis and spread knowledge among the wider population. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

Thursday 8 March
Much anticipated since news of its commission first began to circulate last year, White Heat looks like being the Twenty First Century's Our Friends In The North. Except it's set in London. Whether it will feature a future Doctor and a future James Bond, only time will tell. I wouldn't bet against it, though. It's a drama charting the lives of seven friends from their days as students in the 1960s through to the present day. Charlotte (Juliet Stevenson) arrives at the flat which she used to share with her friends, one of whom has recently died there.
As she begins to sort through the belongings, old memories start flooding back. It is 1965 and the world is rapidly changing as seven undergraduates move in together, full of youthful expectation, and embark upon a journey of discovery, love and betrayal. Claire Foy stars as the young Charlotte, with Lindsay Duncan, Sam Claflin, Tamsin Greig, Inspector George Gently's Lee Ingleby, Hugh Quarshie and MyAnna Buring.

Hugh Dennis and Julia Bradbury visit the Highlands of Scotland to explore the legacy of its geological past in the final episode of The Great British Countryside - 8:00 BBC1. Hugh takes a ride across Loch Ness and uncovers how the lake set the stage for a British sporting hero, and reveals the story of how the ice-carved shape of the Highlands helped win the Battle of Britain.
Julia takes to the air in a seaplane, and also examines the story of an earthquake-shaken village, as she tries to set off an ancient earthquake recorder using gunpowder.

Dominic is under pressure from the foreign secretary to facilitate the safe return of his daughter and takes a big risk to get both Florence and Shaun back in rthe last episode of the current series of Kidnap And Ransom - 9:00 ITV. When he works out who is behind the original kidnapping, he is determined not to let the perpetrator get away. Thriller, starring Trevor Eve, Kimberley Nixon and Sean Gilder.

Friday 9 March
It's the third and final episode of Melvyn Bragg on Class and Culture - 9:00 BBC2 - and the broadcaster explores the past thirty years of culture in Britain. Starting in the Thatcherite 1980s, a decade which saw the emergence of influential voices including dramatist Alan Bleasdale, Adrian Mole creator Sue Townsend, ska band The Specials and Viz founder Chris Donald. He also talks to Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh about the 1990s rave generation, before reflecting on more recent social divisions, with the new class of super-rich bankers and celebrities at one end and so-called 'chavs' at the other.

Mick is horrified when his dim-witted brother Pete arrives for his stag night with their dad Stan in tow, while Gavin thinks Troy has broken up with him and agrees to a date with Emilio in Benidorm - 9:00 ITV. Meanwhile, Trudy hatches a plan to kiss Mateo by pretending to drown in the pool while he is on duty as a lifeguard, but her hopes of some extended mouth-to-mouth resuscitation are ruined by the arrival of Les dressed as Pamela Anderson. Written by and starring Steve Pemberton, with guest appearances by David Bradley and Shaun Dooley.

Following their recent, excellent, documentary on Gerry Rafferty, BBC4 are at it again with another 1970s singer-songwriter, Still Bill: The Bill Withers Story - 9:00. A documentary which presents what is described as 'an intimate portrait' of the classy American soul singer-songwriter. The film follows the performer as he makes a journey to his birthplace, while also featuring interviews with family, friends and fellow musicians, and footage of concert performances of his greatest hits, including 'Ain't No Sunshine', 'Lean on Me' and 'Lovely Day'.

Arty Andrew Graham-Dixon meets Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine, who discusses the influence of Renaissance art on her music in The Culture Show - 7:00 BBC2. Pretentious? Tu? Oui. Italian director Paolo Sorrentino chats to Big-Quiffed Mark Kermode about his film This Must Be the Place, starring Sean Penn, and author Jonathan Safran Foer talks about his new treatment of an ancient Jewish text. Sarfraz Manzoor takes his mother to the Hajj Exhibition at the British Museum, and Hadley Freeman explores the life of street-style guru Bill Cunningham in a new documentary. Alastair Sooke also interviews collaborative art duo Gilbert and George.

And so, to the news: The channel that brought Borgen, The Killing and Mad Men into British homes is facing massive cuts as it reaches its tenth anniversary this week. BBC4, the upmarket digital home of arts, culture and music often seen as the BBC's 'most appreciated' channel, may have less reason to celebrate on Friday as it faces a reduction both of its budget and its scope. Since 2002 the channel has brought viewers some of television's biggest landmarks, from award-winning British comedy such as The Thick of It to imports like Wallander and Spiral, to say nothing of a succession of Britannia 'rockumentaries' and influential Storyville documentaries. Many of the high-profile names who protested last year after rumours that the channel would be axed – including writer Armando Iannucci and the science presenter Jim Al-Khalili – are getting ready to man the barricades again. 'BBC3 and BBC4 combined are where Channel Four was when it started up,' Iannucci has said. 'The Thick of It wouldn't have got on as a BBC2 show.' The comedian, who is about to launch a new American political satire on HBO, added last week: 'I hope BBC4 doesn't turn into just reruns of The Old Grey Whistle Test and the 1970 Isle of Wight festival.' Oh, I dunno, that has some potential! On-screen, the BBC4 birthday will be marked at the end of the week by the The Joy of Disco, an examination of how a style of music defined a decade. Disco at the BBC will also showcase the best archive performances from the genre. Online, however, the tenth anniversary will be acknowledged with growing activity on Twitter and a renewed petition, run by many of those involved in the successful BBC Radio 6Music campaign, to protect its schedules from attack. Original drama, an area in which the channel has been acclaimed, is the biggest victim of the impending squeeze, thought to amount to thirty per cent of the channel's budget. Fictionalised biographies of the private lives of women such as Enid Blyton, Margot Fonteyn and Hattie Jacques, and of iconic performers Tony Hancock, Hughie Green, Kenneth Williams and Eric Morecambe, have earned praise from critics, while the story of the birth of the country's most enduring soap opera, The Road to Coronation Street, also won both awards and widespread acclaim. Original comedy, the platform for shows such as the NHS satire Getting On and political sitcom The Thick of It, will also suffer, but the money saved in these areas is to be used to shore up the documentary and archive programming. BBC4 is the least expensive of the corporation's four main TV channels, costing £54.3m a year, while BBC1 costs £1.1bn, but it is likely to lose its historical documentaries and a third of its science programming, something which has appalled Al-Khalili, who presented the channel's Shock and Awe: The Story of Electricity. 'I think, to try to narrow the remit of BBC4 to be arts and culture to try to compete with Sky Arts. That's ridiculous,' he said. BBC4, while basking in the highest audience appreciation figures of any BBC channel and enjoying its best-ever ratings with 9.8 million viewers a week, also now faces stronger competition from Sky Arts. Last week the two Sky Arts channels were relaunched with the help of stars including Emma Thompson and Sir Tom Jones, who are to appear in its new original drama strand, Playhouse Presents. The channels will also move up their electronic programme guide listings and have had their commissioning budget doubled. 'We have found a really enthusiastic arts audience, just as enthusiastic as the audience for sport or films, and we have the advantage of being able to make decisions very quickly,' said Sky's arts controller, James Hunt. 'We like BBC4 and feel there is plenty of room for both of us, but those things make us different from them.' Traditionally, BBC4 has had strong partnerships with organisations such as the British Library and the Victoria and Albert Museum, and is embarking on one with the Southbank Centre in London for a season about classical music in the Twentieth Century, which is based on Alex Ross's bestselling book The Rest Is Noise. The channel's controller, Richard Klein, said he sees the channel as 'mainstream' because he believes it has much more than niché appeal. He is promising it will remain 'multi-genre' and that he will work hard to keep the feel that viewers like. 'Arts, music and culture in all its guises will become even more of a focus for the channel, and we are committed to maintaining BBC4's unique tone and range of programming, so there will be plenty more gems in store,' a BBC4 spokeswoman said.

After 'conquering' the BBC, John Barrowman may be making his presence felt on ITV next - having guest-hosted This Morning a couple of times, it has been suggested that this may become more regular, with an alleged 'insider' allegedly saying: 'ITV think John is a real talent who shouldn't only be seen on the BBC. They want to work with him on a series of upcoming projects.' The is all according to the Daily Scum Mail, of course, so it's probably shite.

Olly Murs has reportedly been told to choose between hosting The Xtra Factor and his music career. Ooo, tough choice. No, hang on, it really isn't.

Eddie The Eagle Edwards and Miles Jupp have been voted through to the final of Let's Dance for Sport Relief. With the greatest number of public votes, former Olympic ski jumper (he finished last, remember) Edwards was the first celebrity chosen to progress to compete for the Let's Dance award on 17 March. He opened the show with a routine performed to 'Soul Bossa Nova' from Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, dressed as the titular spy in a pinstriped suit, brown wig, black glasses and prominent front teeth. Comedian Jupp was chosen by judges including the least funny man in the world Iain Lee and Vic Reeves (Vic, what are you doing?!) to advance over former The Only Way is Essex contestant Amy Childs and partner Harry Derbidge. Jupp danced to The Prodigy's 'Firestarter', beginning his performance seemingly struggling to get out of a straitjacket. Bloody embarassing, so it was!
Choreographer Karen Bruce has been tipped to become a judge on Strictly Come Dancing. Bruce, who has also worked on the Take That musical Never Forget and So You Think You Can Dance, is reportedly the front runner to replace Alesha Dixon after impressing bosses with two screen tests. She has also reportedly received backing from the show's professional dancers, the Sun claimed. 'Karen has really impressed bosses. She is gutsy and ballsy and not afraid to give her opinion or say what she thinks - which is just what Strictly needs,' an alleged 'insider' allegedly told the paper speaking in that two-syllables-or-less way that real people don't. 'She also comes with an expert knowledge of dance. Alesha had a high profile but she never had that detailed knowledge. But the major concern is that Bruce is far from a household name - and this could still get in the way of her getting the job.'

An anonymous private donor has given one and a half million smackers to Shakespeare's Globe, the theatre has announced. The money will go towards the seven million notes needed to build the Indoor Jacobean Theatre - aimed to be the most complete recreation of an English renaissance indoor theatre. The donor has also pledged to double the donation, providing the Globe manages to raise another one and a half million wonga by itself. Work is scheduled to start in October following the Globe's summer season. 'Our wonderfully generous anonymous donor has given this money to enable us to complete the Indoor Theatre, but also by doubling donations we receive, we hope that this will encourage others to support this important project,' said the Globe's chief executive, Neil Constable. It is hoped the latest addition - which will seat just over three hundred people and will feature two tiers of galleried seating and a pit seating area - will be ready to open from November 2013. Actress Zoe Wanamaker, who is the Globe's honorary president, said: 'It is a wonderful thing in this day and age to build a new theatre, a continuum in our culture, which perpetuates literature and art and performance, and encourages an exploration into the unfolding of British drama.'

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader, let's have a tasty slice of Bill Withers. Because, it's true, you can't be a bit of yer actual Bill.

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