Thursday, February 23, 2012

When It Rains And Shines, It's Just A State Of Mind

In the spurt of publicity over the start of filming for the new series of Doctor Who, one tiny point that seemed worth highlighting; the BBC's official webpage announcement mentions 'Fourteen big, blockbuster-movie episodes - each a brand new epic adventure featuring new monsters and some familiar foes as you've never seen them before.' Yer actual Keith Telly Topping thought, in his kefufflement, that this was the first time it had actually been confirmed that there would be, I presume, a Christmas 2012 episode in addition to the thirteen standard episodes for series seven which were commissioned last year. (Not that any of us doubted for a second that there wouldn't be one, of course, but it's always nice to see it officially confirmed.) However, it turns out that when the announcement was made on the commissioning of series seven back in May last year, that a Christmas special was mentioned then. There was some confusion at the time over whether this was a reference to the 2011 Christmas special which, at that time, hadn't been filmed, but The Doctor Who Magazine's editor, the very lovely Tom Spilsbury, has confirmed that they did get confirmation from the BBC last June that it would be thirteen episodes plus Christmas 2012. And, indeed, they printed it (on page seven of the June 2011 issue, as it happens!) Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's only excuse is that he is a dozy bugger and he'd missed that announcement completely. Still, bright side, fourteen new episodes of Doctor Who over the next year and a bit. Lovely.
The latest episode of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved MasterChef averaged nearly 4.8m on BBC1 last night, according to overnight data. The cooking game show was watched by 4.76m in the 9pm hour a couple of hundred thousand up on last week's episode and comfortably beating ITV's Champions League football coverage which took just 2.46m. Channel Four's popular One Born Every Minute attracted 3.26m from 9pm (with a further five hundred thousand catching the episode on C4+1 an hour later). Daddy Daycare had just a fraction over one million viewers on Channel Four earlier. NCIS, as usual, produced strong numbers for Channel Five averaging 1.89m, with Law and Order: Criminal Intent taking 1.18m from 10:00pm. BBC2 showed Bees, Butterflies and Blooms (1.61m) from 8pm, Winterwatch (2.01m) from 9pm and the awful Roger and Val Have Just Got In (eight hundred and seventy five thousand, which suggests that it is, very satisfyingly, tanking) from 10pm. Waterloo Road was watched by 4.9m on BBC1. Overall, BBC1 somewhat coasted to primetime victory with 21.2 per cent of the audience share across the three hours, well ahead of ITV's thirteen per cent.

And, speaking of ratings, this year's Brit Awards posted good numbers on ITV on Tuesday night, attracting nearly six million overnight viewers. Across the two-hour transmission, the ceremony averaged 5.92m. An additional three hundred thousand caught it on timeshift which boosted the ceremony's numbers to their highest since 2005. It was a vast improvement over the 2011 awards when it took 4.8m and was beaten comprehensively by Big Fat Gypsy Weddings. By contrast, this year the Channel Four documentary - much in the news over the last couple of weeks - could only respond with 3.47m from 9pm, down by more than one million compared to the previous week's episode. However, it did grab a further nine hundred and fifty thousand viewers on C4+1 and became the most-watched multichannel programme of the night. Rumours of its demise having, perhaps, been greatly exaggerated. Prisoners' Wives also suffered somewhat on BBC1 from the competition of the Brits, but did beat Gypsy Weddings in the 9pm timeslot with 3.7m viewers. BBC1 also had the most watched programme of the night, EastEnders (eight million). The latest episode of Holby City was watched by 4.7m. Channel Five's Body of Proof remained impressively steady with 1.36m from 9pm. The US drama was followed by Whitney's Addictions: Death of a Diva (1.32m). Overall, ITV fractionally won Tuesday primetime with 21.3 per cent ahead of BBC1's 19.9 per cent.

ITV has released a statement apologising for cutting Adele off during her acceptance speech at the Brit Awards on Tuesday night. A spokesperson for the network said that they had 'no choice' but to ask host James Corden to stop the singer's acceptance speech short because they were 'over-running', leading her to vent her pompous fury by raising her middle finger to the camera. The Brit Awards published an official TV statement on their Twitter page, saying: 'We would like to say a few words about Adele's British Album acceptance speech tonight. We regret this happened and we send deepest apologies to Adele that her big moment was cut short tonight due to the live show over-running. We don't want this to undermine her incredible achievement in winning her incredible award. It tops off what's been an incredible year for her.' The ITV statement read: 'The Brits is a live event, sadly the programme was over-running and we had to move on. We would like to apologise to Adele for the interruption.' Unfunny lard bucket Corden said after the awards ceremony: 'I just feel bad about having to cut Adele off. I really don't understand quite why I was made to, but it's not a very nice way to end. I was having the best night of my life but then I had to cut Adele off before she had a chance to say thank you - she's the biggest star in the world.' Adele herself later defended the middle finger gesture, saying: 'That was for the suits at the Brit Awards, not my fans. I'm sorry if I offended anyone but the suits offended me.'

Being Human's Russell Tovey is making a sitcom pilot for ITV set in an unemployment office. And, as somebody who worked in a Job Centre for nearly nineteen years, this blogger would like all dear blog readers to know, there really is a lot of comedy potential in this! The Job Lot - for it is called thus - is being made by Big Talk Productions, which also worked with Tovey on Him & Her. Trade magazine Broadcast suggests that, if it is picked up, the show could 'target a similar blue collar audience to Benidorm' - whatever the hell that horribly loaded snooty phrase is supposed to mean. Probably that they believed it'll be popular with 'oiykish common people' who 'live on council estates' and 'eat Pot Noodles' no doubt. ITV, they claimed, are looking to 'boost its comedy output.' Well, one show would do that since their current comedy output is, essentially, zero. And has been since Rising Damp finished in the 1970s. Last year, the broadcaster’s director of television Peter Fincham said ITV had 'lost its nerve' on comedy. Yes, mate. We've noticed. The magazine reports that The Job Lot will also star former Hollyoaks actress Emma Rigby and Miranda's Sarah Hadland, currently appearing as the cane-wielding, posture-obsessed governess Miss Primly Tightclench in The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff. Tovey is currently starring in the West End play Sex with a Stranger, written by Cowards sketch team member Stefan Golaszewski. He tweeted: 'Filming on The Job Lot going along nicely, getting biked to the theatre each night after wrap. Which feels both incredibly masculine and feminine at the same time.' A bit like Miss Primly Tightclench, in fact.

Some proper excellent news now, Foyle's War starring Michael Kitchen and created by celebrated novelist and screenwriter Anthony Horowitz is to return to ITV the broadcaster has confirmed. Set during the period immediately after World War Two, Christopher Foyle will focus his attention on the world of espionage as he gathers secret intelligence in support of Britain's security, defence and the Government's foreign and economic policies. 'It's great to be wanted and a pleasure to be back,' said Michael Kitchen on the announcement. The stories will range from Foyle identifying highly placed atomic spies to a true story about government corruption. A world of transition where the values and certainties of the war have given way to austerity, exhaustion and doubts about the direction the new Labour government is taking. In his new role as a Senior Intelligence Officer, Foyle discovers that the British establishment is rife with Communist sympathisers and traitors. In this delicately balanced period in history, 1946 to 1947, Foyle will use all his intelligence, guile and intuition to keep the country safe. Three two hour TV movies have been ordered from Eleventh Hour Films, the production company founded by producer Jill Green. Eleventh Hour takes pride in the research work undertaken for each story as all three episodes will be firmly based on genuine stories from the period. 'It is great that both Anthony and Michael wanted to continue with this jewel in the crown and create a new role for Foyle in a part of history less familiar on TV,' said Green. Foyle's War will go into production in London in September and the new episodes will broadcast on ITV in 2013. Horowitz will write two of the new stories with David Kane responsible for the third. Speaking about Foyle's new role, the creator said: 'I have returned to Foyle's War because there are still some amazing stories I want to tell. The war may be over but Foyle's career goes on.' Honeysuckle Weeks is to return to the drama playing Foyle's driver and secretary Samantha Stewart, a role she has portrayed since 2002. Post-war, Sam is now married and relishing domesticity. Her character also enters a fresh era as she delights in a surprising new working role. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping proper likes this news, dear blog reader.

ITV News has apologised after it used the word 'coloured' in a report on racism in football. The highly offensive term (largely due to its use by South African authorities during the Apartheid era when it was, very definitely used as a pejorative and extremely derogatory term for black people) was used during a report by ITV News reporter Richard Pallot on the racism in football summit at Downing Street on Wednesday. ITV News apologised shortly after the broadcast on its Twitter page and the word has been removed from all future catchup editions of the broadcast, including an edited clip on the ITV News website. The ITN-produced programme is now investigating how the pre-recorded report that included the word was allowed to be broadcast. An ITV News spokesman said: 'ITV News apologises for the inappropriate use of the word "coloured" in a report on racism and football in today's News At 1.30. We take this error very seriously and we regret any offence caused.' The Red Dwarf actor Danny John-Jules highlighted the use of the word on his Twitter page shortly after it was broadcast on the ITV News bulletin. He tweeted: 'An ITV news report on David Cameron's "Race Pow-Wow" at No 10 and the DINOSAURS referred to Black players as 'COLORED' [sic]. WTF? Dumb Fuckwits!' Yes. Agreed, totally. Although, I think you'll find there's a 'u' in the word, Dan. The former Channel Four News presenter Samira Ahmed tweeted that use of the term was 'gobsmacking'. She added: 'The politically correct response to this is WTF.' It is understood that the pre-recorded report was checked by editors before it was broadcast. Not 'checked' very well, it would seem. ITV News executives are reviewing how the report was given the green light for broadcast.
Singer Charlotte Church is reported to have settled her claim against News Group Newspapers over the hacking of her mobile phone, the BBC has claimed. The details of the settlement are expected to be revealed at a court hearing on Monday. Church recently spoke of press intrusion into her private life at the Leveson Inquiry into media ethics. She said that her mother attempted suicide after the Scum of the World was about to run a story on her husband's affair. The mother-of-two also spoke of her distress after the Sun revealed her first pregnancy before she had told her family.

Cherie Blair, the wife of the former prime minister, is suing News International and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire over the alleged hacking of her phone by the Scum of the World. Blair's lawyer, Graham Atkins, said on Wednesday that he had issued a claim against Mulcaire and News Group Newspapers, the News International subsidiary which published the now defunct, disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World, 'in relation to the unlawful interception of her voicemails.' Mrs Blair was at the heart of the British government for ten years – from May 1997 to June 2007 – as the wife of the then prime minister, Tony Blair. It is not known when Cherie Blair is alleged to have been targeted but, given that Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for some of his phone-hacking activities in January 2007 and, to the best of anyone's knowledged, hasn't worked for the scum of the World since, at some stage before that date would appear to be a reasonable guess. The fresh legal action comes as Rupert Murdoch's UK newspaper group attempts to settle a mounting number of civil claims over alleged voicemail interception by the Scum of the World, which closed in disgrace in July 2011. Mulcaire's lawyer said that she was 'not yet aware' of the legal action. Well, obviously, she is now that the Gruniad told her about it. A statement from Atkins, Cherie Blair's lawyer, said: 'I can confirm that we have issued a claim on behalf of Cherie Blair in relation to the unlawful interception of her voicemails. I will not be commenting any further at this time.' News International settled thirty seven civil actions in January – including high-profile actions brought by the actor Jude Law and the son of the serial killer Harold Shipman – in a bid to prevent them from going to trial, and paid out to another twenty one victims of phone-hacking earlier this month. However, News International faces at least fifty fresh civil actions, with figures including footballer Peter Crouch, the singer James Blunt and Ukip leader Nigel Farage having already filed claims and others being prepared. The news of Cherie Blair's legal action comes at an embarrassing time for Rupert Murdoch, who arrived in London last week to lift the spirits of his newspaper group. Alastair Campbell, the former Downing Street communications director, told the Leveson inquiry in November that he believed it was 'possible' some stories about the Blairs were obtained by phone-hacking. Campbell admitted that he had no evidence for the claim, but said in his witness statement: 'I do not know if [Carole Caplin's] phone was hacked, or if Cherie's was, but knowing what we do now about hacking and the extent of it, I think it is at least possible this is how the stories got out. They often involved details of where Cherie was going, the kind of thing routinely discussed on phones when planning visits, private as well as public.' Caplin, a former lifestyle guru to Mrs Blair, said in November that she had been told by Scotland Yard that her name appears on a list of victims targeted by Mulcaire. Separately, the former deputy prime minister in Blair's government, John Prescott, said in a tweet on Wednesday that he was due to give evidence to the Leveson inquiry on Monday. The inquiry into press standards is due to begin hearing evidence on the relationship between the press and police from next week. However, some witnesses will appear to give testimony from the previous module on the press and public. Tom Watson, the Labour MP who has been one of the most vocal critics of News International over phone-hacking, said the legal action was a 'very significant' development. 'Just when the hacking scandal was disappearing from view we now know that Rupert Murdoch's hackers targeted family members of a sitting prime minister,' he told the Gruniad. 'The lesson for all politicians, including David Cameron, is that Rupert Murdoch is only a fair-weather friend. I trust that Tony Blair will condemn Murdoch's failure to deal with long-term criminal wrongdoing at News International.' He added: 'I hope that the replacement to the News of the World – the newly titled Sun on Sunday – will take the opportunity to apologise to all the people who suffered illegal invasions of privacy at the hands of the hackers and they come clean about other forms of illicit surveillance.'

Honda has vowed to continue sponsoring Channel Four despite the controversy surrounding Big Fat Gypsy Weddings. The company confirmed this week that it has received 'some' complaints from the public following the show's advertising campaign, which included the slogan: 'Bigger. Fatter. Gypsier.' However, Honda has now released a statement clarifying that 'both Honda and C4 approved the poster campaign which uses the word "Gypsier" - the focus of complaints. The word "gypsier" refers to the fact that the series provides greater insight into the communities featured,' the company continued. 'It was never intended to be offensive.' Which is, probably, true. it doesn't mean to say that it wasn't offensive, though. Lots of things aren't intended to be something but end up being exactly that - not, necessarily, through anyone's fault, per se, they just are. The company also vowed to keep sponsoring the broadcaster's documentaries, saying: 'Honda has a great long-term partnership with C4, doing things differently, challenging the norm, creating debate. Honda's sponsorship of the C4 documentary series has been running for more than four years and will continue.' Honda continued: 'We at Honda like the way C4 documentaries bring public interest issues to the fore whether they be one person's life challenge or ethical questions on health research. In fact, we would challenge anyone who watches a C4 documentary on any subject not to come away better informed. This is why we created the partnership - it's also the thread which we have tried to bring to the screen in our advertising campaigns in recent times.' The statement concluded: 'Honda will continue to work with C4, sponsoring this great series of documentaries which gets under the skin of contemporary Britain, offering a platform to voices not heard elsewhere.'

The anti-monarchy group Republic has accused the BBC of bias in its documentary series The Diamond Queen. Chief executive Graham Smith said that he had written to BBC Trust chairman Chris Patten listing 'distortions, half-truths and fabrications' in the series. 'What was presented as a piece of biographical journalism was in fact pro-monarchy polemic,' he said. This blogger, who is marginally republican in so much as he doesn't see why in the Twenty First Century such an outdated concept as royalty still exists, nevertheless, reckons these clowns are talking total cock. The programme wasn't any of those things. Rather, it was an attempt by Andrew Marr to earn himself an OBE. And, possibly, be made an earl as well. Because, if they give him both, he'll be an earlobe. Which is fitting considering the state of Andrew Marr's lugs. Now some people might consider that to be odious and slavvering. Personally, I wasn't particularly keen on the presentation or, especially, the subject matter. So, I used my remote control and watched Whitechapel on ITV instead. That's what you do living in a democracy, turn over and watch the other side. A BBC spokeswoman said: 'The BBC abides by its requirement to be duly impartial across its output.' Smith, who sounds like the sort of bloke you avoid at parties, said Republic had 'called for an investigation' into the programme broadcast earlier this month and challenged presenter Andrew Marr to an on-air debate about its content. His letter accused the BBC of 'misleading viewers, silencing dissenting voices and shielding our head of state from any genuine scrutiny.' Smith said that the documentary was the 'latest and most provocative example of a long-standing pattern of behaviour at the BBC in reporting on the monarchy.' He said the 'very obvious bias' could be seen across all its output, including TV, radio and online. The bias, he said, had been 'exacerbated' by this year's Diamond Jubilee. This, of course, now poses a massive problem for the Daily Scum Mail since its wants to be, by every instinct in its collective being, critical of the BBC. But, in doing so in this particular instance, would see it hopping into bed with a bunch of quite obvious left-wing nutter. And, as we all know, it only does that when the Gruniad Morning Star are their bedfellows and Jeremy Clarkson is their target. What, therefore, are they to do? 'We'll do all we can to ensure the corporation adheres to its legal duty of impartiality, and stops silencing the quarter of the population who believe we'd be better off without the monarchy,' Smith said in a statement. He added that Republic would hold 'protests' at BBC locations to highlight the issue. Oh, that should be good. Four spotty anarchists turning up outside BC Radio Rutland with banners saying 'Cobblers to the Queen.' The BBC's agreement with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport states that it must do 'all it can to ensure that controversial subjects are treated with due accuracy and impartiality in all relevant output.' The BBC Trust, which represents licence fee-payers' interests, said: 'Editorial decisions are a matter for the BBC Executive and it would not be appropriate to comment on an individual complaint as it could later come to the Trust on appeal.' Once again, a word of casual advice to the BBC. If they're shooting at you, you must be doing something right.

American comedian and actor Rob Riggle will star in a new BBC3 comedy that turns dating into a US-style TV sports show. World Series of Dating will 'combine reality with scripted comedy' as a series of male contestants attempt to impress a panel of women in 'the date zone.' The show will feature a US-style sports referee, played by newcomer Bentley Kalu, and Riggle as American correspondent Doyle MacManus. Contestants are members of the public on first dates, but the set-up is anything but real, with Torchwood's Tom Price playing the role of UK correspondent James Chetwynd-Talbot and Thaila Zucchi as a touchline reporter. Riggle is a veteran of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Saturday Night Live, and has appeared on the big screen in The Hangover, Step Brothers, The Other Guys and the upcoming 21 Jump Street. The show will feature super slow motion action replays, overblown graphics, music and scripted comedy analysis. The eight-part series will culminate with the crowning of 'Britain's Greatest Living Dater.' World Series of Dating will be made by Lion TV, the independent producer of Playing it Straight and Horrible Histories, and was commissioned by BBC3 controller Zai Bennett - the man who cancelled Ideal - and Alan Tyler, executive editor of entertainment commissioning. Tyler said: 'It's dating, it's sport, it's comedy and we are delighted to have such a "prestigious" tournament showcased on BBC3. It's a huge bonus to have Doyle MacManus and James Chetwynd Talbot on board to provide the kind of sensitive commentary that is a perfect companion to that tricky and unforgiving first date moment.' The series is being filmed at Pacific Quay in Glasgow and will be broadcast on BBC3 next month.

Channel Four's Dispatches programme has defeated an injunction in the High Court this week and is to broadcast what it describes as 'an important public interest investigation' into how fans are paying the price for hidden practices used by live event promoters and a major 'fan-to-fan ticket exchange.' A Channel Four spokesperson said: 'We are pleased that we can now broadcast in full a programme of important public interest. It is disappointing that having provided Viagogo with a fair opportunity to respond to the allegations uncovered by our investigation several weeks ago, they chose instead to seek an injunction which would have effectively stopped the broadcast of our programme.' Dispatches, which will broadcast the episode on Friday evening, went undercover inside one of the UK's biggest ticket reselling websites - Viagogo - and found that major promoters allocate hundreds or even thousands of tickets to be sold through their website at well above the face value. Tickets for recent gigs and tours by Coldplay, Rihanna, Westlife, Take That, and V Festival have been allocated by the promoters in this way. The application for an injunction was brought by Viagogo on the grounds of 'breach of confidence' - in other words, 'being caught' - and it was dismissed on all counts at the High Court earlier this week.

David Boreanaz has revealed that he would like a role in Downton Abbey. I dunno, these Americans, they come over here, they take our history ... The Bones star wrote on Twitter that he wants to play a love interest for Mary (Michelle Dockery) in the show. In the Christmas special, which was broadcast in the US on Sunday, the Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) suggests that Mary travels to America to avoid a scandal and meet an 'American cowboy.' 'I'd like to be that American cowboy who shakes things up at Downton Abbey,' Boreanaz tweeted. 'I'm open for a visit Mr Fellowes.' Blimey, the thought of Lord Snooty writing for Angel. It doesn't bear thinking about!

World War II sitcom Chickens - created by The Inbetweeners Joe Thomas and Simon Bird, as well as comedian Jonny Sweet - has been picked up by Sky1 HD. All three actors in the six-part series as hapless conscientious objectors left behind in a sleepy village whilst their contemporaries fight on the front line. A pilot for the show appeared on Channel Four last year. It wasn't very funny, but Sky seemed to quite like it. Thomas, who played Simon Cooper in The Inbetweeners, said the three had a 'rich setting' to work with. Sky said that it had picked up the series, which will be shown next year, because it had 'fallen in love with those naughty chickens.' A comment which, in any other context, would've been a prelude to court case and, possibly, up to five years in prison. Thomas and Bird's collaborator, Sweet, was named best newcomer at the 2009 Edinburgh Comedy Awards. The three met while studying at Cambridge. Sweet's TV appearances include More4's When Boris Met Dave and BBC2's Pete & Dud: The Lost Sketches. Thomas and Bird have enjoyed huge success with The Inbetweeners TV series and subsequent movie, which took forty five million quid at the box office. Mostly from students.

FOX is casting for a remake of UK game show Take Me Out, it has been revealed. Well, the Americans have spent decades sending us their crap (as well, admittedly, as much of their good stuff), so it's about high time that we sent something awesomely dreadful in their direction for once. That's payback for The Dukes of Hazzard, you guys.

Scottish broadcaster STV has gone into the red, reporting a pre-tax loss of nine hundred thousand quid in 2011. The loss was due to several factors including the settlement a long-running legal battle with ITV and the failure to produce a new series of hit show Taggart. The broadcaster, which owns the STV and Grampian ITV licences, also warned on the uncertain outlook for 2012 with first quarter TV advertising revenues forecast to be down four per cent year-on-year. National TV advertising revenues are expected to fall eight per cent in the first quarter, while regional TV revenues are on track to grow by fourteen per cent. STV reported a pre-tax loss of nine hundred grand in 2011 – compared to a £3.9m profit in 2010 – as the business took an exceptional net charge of £13.4m. Costs included £13.5m relating to the settlement of its long-running (and, seemingly, ill-advised) litigation with ITV and £1.4m for redundancy costs mainly from cuts in STV's news operation. Post-tax profits for the year slumped to just six hundred thousand knicker, down from £5.3m in 2010. However, on an underlying basis, when exceptional one-off items are stripped out, STV reported a healthy year with pre-tax profits up twelve per cent to fourteen million wonga. 'STV has delivered a robust set of results for 2011 against challenging economic conditions from which no consumer business is immune,' was the spin put on it by chairman Richard Findlay. Total revenues fell by 8.6 per cent, partly due to the loss of revenues from the sale of loss-making cinema business Pearl & Dean, which completed on 14 May 2010. Total revenues fell three per cent as TV advertising sales and programme production revenues dipped. STV said that production revenues fell fourteen per cent as the impact of Taggart not being delivered could not be offset by higher production hours. Rob Woodward, chief executive of STV, said that the production business was in healthy shape, pointing to a new two-year deal with the BBC to make one hundred and twenty episodes of Antiques Road Trip which it announced on Wednesday. In addition, Woodward said that he expects significant prospects for growth from a deal with Group M, the media buying business owned by Sir Martin Sorrell's WPP, which has already resulted in the production of ITV2's Perez Hilton Super Fan.

A television advert for a brand of pistachio nuts featuring a dominatrix has been cleared by the UK advertising regulator, despite complaints that it was 'inappropriate' and 'offensive.' The advert, for the Wonderful Pistachios brand, featured a woman dressed in a black PVC corset, underwear and thigh high boots placing a pistachio on a chair and then cracking it open with a whip. The voiceover then said: 'Dominatrix do it. On command. Wonderful Pistachios. Get crackin'.' The Advertising Standards Authority received ten complaints - from glakes - that the advert was 'offensive' and 'unsuitable to be seen by children due to the dominatrix theme.' However, the ASA noted that the Paramount Farms International, owner of the Wonderful Pistachios brand, had given the advert an ex-kids scheduling restriction, meaning it would not have been shown before the 9pm watershed. They also added that any parents who happened to get questioned by their child about the nature of theme could easily explain that 'sometimes, when a mommy and daddy love each other very much, they like to dress up in leather and spank each other before having it off.' See, what's the problem? Clearcast, which approves all timing restrictions of advertising, also said that the absence of any sexual activity or nudity, along with its 'light-hearted approach,' meant that it was unlikely to offend anyone but the most tight-arsed professional offence takers. Gruniad Morning Star readers, basically. In its ruling, the ASA acknowledged that the term 'dominatrix' could be a reference to sexual activity, but said that the tone of the advert and its scheduling meant that it was unlikely to cause offence to anyone with a reasonably developed sense of humour. 'We noted that the ad featured a woman dressed in a black PVC corset, underwear and thigh high boots, using a whip, and who was referred to as a dominatrix,' said the regulator. 'We considered that the woman's outfit and the use of the term "dominatrix" did make reference to a sexual practice, but also noted that the woman then used her whip to crack a pistachio nut, and the ad did not include any explicit or sexualised behaviour. We therefore considered that most viewers would understand that the action was intended to be humourous and surreal, and would not find it overtly sexual. Whilst we also considered that the lines, "Dominatrix do it. On command" and the on-screen text "Big Nut" and "Get Crackin'" would be understood by adult viewers to be suggestive and recognised that that approach would not be to everyone's taste, we considered that most viewers would nonetheless understand that those lines were intended to be playful and humourous and considered that they were therefore unlikely to provoke serious or widespread offence. We considered therefore that the scheduling restriction applied by Clearcast was sufficient and that the ad had been appropriately scheduled to minimise the risk of children seeing it. We concluded that, in light of that, the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.'

BBC2 current affairs show Newsnight, which is hosted by Jeremy Paxman, has been named news programme of the year at the Royal Television Society awards. The BBC picked up a further four awards, including three prizes for current affairs programme Panorama. The news channel of the year trophy went to Al Jazeera English, while ITN's Sir David Nicholas was presented with the lifetime achievement award. Sky News received four awards, including best news coverage for the UK riots. The channel's reporting on Libya was named best international coverage and Anna Botting was named presenter of the year. Sky's Alex Crawford took home the prize for best television journalist for the third consecutive year. Last year she covered the Libyan conflict and the downfall of Colonel Gaddafi, and she was the only journalist to get inside the town of Zawiyah as it was being attacked by pro-Gaddafi forces. The BBC's Panorama programme Undercover Care, which investigated the abuse of patients in a Bristol care home, won best UK current affairs coverage and scoop of the year. Eleven people were charged in connection with ill treatment and neglect of patients following secret filming by the Panorama team at Winterbourne View, which is now closed. Joe Casey, who went undercover at the care home to shoot the footage, was named young journalist of the year; while Newsnight's economics editor Paul Mason walked away with the specialist journalist of the year award. ITN for Channel Four scooped the trophy for best international coverage for the documentary Sri Lanka's Killing Fields.

Dominic Monaghan is to make his own wildlife series, it has been announced. The actor, who best known for the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy and JJ Abrams drama Lost, will travel to locations in South America, Africa and Asia to film some of the planet's most unusual insects in an eight-episode series titled Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan. Monaghan said in a statement: 'I have been obsessed and interested in nature all my life. This show brings together years of excited preparation by finally creating a series that demonstrates my love for travel, animals, adventure and people.' Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan will film in Ecuador, Venezuela, Cameroon, Namibia, Thailand and Borneo. Produced by Cream Productions and Wildfire Television, the show is a joint commission from Channel Five in the UK, Canada's OLN and BBC America. Channel Five's head of factual Andrew O'Connell welcomed Monaghan to the channel, adding: 'We know he'll leave no stone unturned in his quest to unearth the world's deadliest bugs on this exciting expedition, which should prove irresistible with viewers.' Monaghan has also appeared in ABC SF drama FlashForward and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. He will soon be seen in action adventure Soldiers of Fortune, which also features his Lord of the Rings co-star Sean Bean. Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan will premiere on Channel Five in the UK later this year. International transmission dates are to be confirmed, with international distribution handled by ITV Studios Global Entertainment.

The BBC should have been free to drop Miriam O'Reilly from Countryfile without attracting any accusations of age discrimination, according to the comedian Rowan Atkinson, in a controversial intervention into the debate about the lack of older women on television. The fifty seven-year-old Blackadder, Mr Bean and Johnny English star said – in a letter to Radio 4's The Media Show – that O'Reilly's successful age discrimination case against the BBC amounted to an 'attack on creative free expression' and that television was the wrong place to deal with anti-discrimination issues. Atkinson wrote that he did not blame O'Reilly for taking legal action, but added that his argument 'would be that the creative industries are completely inappropriate environments for anti-discrimination legislation and that the legal tools she used should never have been available to her.' In January 2011, O'Reilly won a landmark age discrimination case against the BBC after she was one of four women in their forties or fifties who were dropped from a peak time revamp of BBC1's Countryfile. She never returned to the programme, but has since hosted a daytime spin-off of Crimewatch. Badly. O'Reilly quit the BBC in January, twelve months into a three-year BBC contract, to set up the Women's Equality Network with the lawyer who secured her tribunal victory, Camilla Palmer. Atkinson said that O'Reily's complaint was no more sensible than 'Pierce Brosnan complaining that he was sacked from the role of James Bond for being too old' and that 'true creative freedom' for both Bond films and Countryfile could only mean that producers should have complete artistic latitude. 'If either at the outset of a TV programme, or at any time during its screen life, you want to replace an old person with a young person, or a white person with a black person, or a disabled straight with an able-bodied gay, you should have as much creative freedom to do so as you have to change the colour of John Craven's anorak,' Atkinson wrote. O'Reilly, who was not invited to take part in the programme, told her friends at the Gruniad: 'I think very few people will agree with Mr Atkinson.' And, once again - as with our anti-royalist chum above - we have someone who, seemingly, believes they have the not only right but also the need to speak for other people. Maybe that's the reason why you're such a massively popular figure within the industry, Mir.

Recruitment adverts you are unlikely to see. The Sun reports that a hospital in Sweden 'sparked outrage' by advertising for nurses who look 'TV-series hot.' The advert reportedly said: 'Throw in a nurse's education and you are welcome to seek a summer job.' A manager at the Stockholm hospital said that the advert was supposed to be tongue-in-cheek. 'It was written to catch people's attention. We got a great response.' Ooo, matron.

Northern Irish comedian Frank Carson best known for the catchphrases 'It's a cracker' and 'It's the way I tell 'em', has died aged eighty five. Carson had suffered from poor health for several years and his family said that he died at his home in Blackpool. The comic first rose to fame in the 1960s after winning the talent show Opportunity Knocks three times. He went on to appear in The Comedians. Plans are being made for a funeral in his home town of Belfast. Carson had a successful operation for stomach cancer last year, but told the BBC that his health had been a problem for some time. 'I have had a bad five years,' he added. 'First it was the pacemaker, then it was a new knee, then I had a hernia and then of course I had this problem.' The family statement said Carson 'husband, father, Gaga and comedian set off for his final gig today. He went peacefully at his home in Blackpool surrounded by his greatest fans - his extended family. We will be taking him home to Belfast to lay him to rest and celebrate his joyful life. It's quieter down here now. God help them up there!' Born in Belfast in November 1926 to a family of Italian descent, Carson was the son of a binman. He grew up in the Little Italy area of the city and worked as a plasterer and electrician, and then joined the Parachute Regiment. He served three years in the Middle East in the 1950s, before his attention turned to showbusiness. Spotted for his stand-up work, he was a popular performer on Irish television before moving to England. There, the comedian appeared in the TV music hall revival show The Good Old Days, before his appearances on Opportunity Knocks propelled him into the mainstream. He went on to appear alongside fellow comics Charlie Williams, Bernard Manning, Mike Reid, Jim Bowen and others in the 1970s TV stand-up series, The Comedians. A familiar face on British TV for the next two decades, Carson's other shows included Who Do You Do? and the variety show The Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club. He became known for his self-deprecating sense of humour and cunning wit which belied the occasional 'begorrah, me mammy' nature of his jokes. In 1975, Carson signed up to play Paddy O'Brien in the Spike Milligan sitcom The Melting Pot, but the show was cancelled after the first episode was broadcast. Carson later claimed Milligan had mocked his constant stream of wisecracks - by writing a joke of his own: 'What's the difference between Frank Carson and the M1? You can turn off the M1.' Carson continued to work following a heart operation in 1976, and was a frequent guest on the cult children's series Tiswas. He was also at home on radio, appearing alongside David Frost and Leslie Crowther on 1980s BBC Radio 2 show Pull The Other One. In 1987, Pope John Paul II knighted Carson into the order of St Gregory at a private audience in Rome, in recognition of his charity work in Northern Ireland. 'He kissed me and said I was a wonderful man,' Carson later told the Daily Scum Mail. 'I was in there for seventeen minutes - the priests time it. President Reagan only got eleven, so that was nice!' Despite his showbusiness career, the comedian also served as Mayor of Balbriggan in North Dublin twice. 'It is my favourite place in the world,' said Carson, who spent his honeymoon in the area, 'it always brings back happy memories.' Following the ascent of alternative comedy in the late 1980s, the performer largely returned to his roots in stand-up, and was performing hundreds of shows a year as recently as 2008. He moved to Blackpool in later life, where he became involved with the Eurosceptic UK Independence Party. Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph last year, Carson said he wanted to be cremated and his ashes scattered around the Corporation Street in Belfast, where he grew up. He leaves a wife, Ruth, daughter Majella and sons Tony and Aidan, as well as ten grandchildren.

Fans of Keith Harris and Orville – we know you're out there (at least one member of this blogger's family, for one, as this photo proves) – are in for something a treat. The pair have reunited as a rap act with a video highlighting the plight of battery chickens, reports the Sun. They have suitably rebranded for the new venture with a brand new moniker, K-Orville.
The Ongoing List of The Silliest Names In Television. Number three: Damian Grammaticas.

Now, somebody asked this blogger the other day when was the last time yer actual Keith Telly Topping watched a band on TV and, on the strength of one song, went out the next day and bought a CD (and, important, didn't regret it later). After much thinking, yer actual Keith Telly Topping is pretty sure it was this. Admittedly, Cornershop did do 'Brimful of Asha' as well on that Later With Jools Holland appearance, so that proved in advance that they had, at least, two songs worth paying for. In the event, I Was Born For The Seventh Time was then, and remains now one of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's favourite CDs ever. 'IBM and Coca-cola, muthafucka!' Play that funky tambura, kidda!

Which brings us very nicely to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Here's another song with a bit of Indian influence in it.

No comments: