Wednesday, March 21, 2012

So Take A Piece, But Not Too Much

The BBC are to announce the new co-star to join Matt Smith in Doctor Who later today at a press conference. Steven Moffat first indicated that a new companion would feature in the new series back at the Q&A session for the BFI preview of The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe late last year, when he noted: 'The final days of the Ponds are coming. It's during the next series – I'm not telling you when and I'm certainly not telling you how - but that story is going to come to a heartbreaking end. We have only so many more adventures with the lovely Amy and the lovely Rory. So that story, next series, during the series, will be over. And then, the Doctor is going to meet a new friend. And I'm not going to tell you anything about he, she or it.' On Tuesday evening Steven Moffat has told reporters that he had got whom he 'wanted' to play Doctor's new companion but stayed tight-lipped about their identity. Speaking backstage at the Royal Television Society Awards in London, he said: 'You're going to get the new companion tomorrow so you've got that. I'm not going to blow the gaff on that the night before.'

Meanwhile, the very Moffster his very self also 'dismissed' tabloid and Internet speculation that Benedict Cumberbatch was to play The Master in a forthcoming episode. Speaking to Radio Times, Moffat said: 'People really do sit in rooms and make that stuff up. Look at the filming schedules for Doctor Who and Sherlock - those two shows tend to shoot at the same time. We'd have a problem and there's only so much I can arrange.' But he then added, as a quick afterthought: 'But who knows what could happen in the future.' Oh, you little tease, Steven. He also told Radio Times about plans for the forthcoming series of Doctor Who. Asked whether there would be a large story arc running through the episodes, or if we could expect self-contained adventures, he said: 'As ever, there's a bit of both. But this time we're moving closer to stand-alone stories. At this point, we're not planning any two-parters. So, every week is going to be like a different mad movie.' He added: 'We went quite "arc" last time and we're going stand-alone this time around. But that doesn't mean that there aren't those things creeping in. You've got to find a way to make the last episode special, and by God that worked ratings-wise last year. We don't want to abandon that idea.' Asked for any teasers he could offer, the ever-elusive Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods A'fore He) replied: 'Watch out for the title of episode two. I think that's a belter. It's one of my favourite titles ever.' As for his other hit BBC1 series, the detective drama Sherlock, Moffat had this to say about series three: 'Mark [Gatiss] and I have planned it out. We haven't started writing it yet because I've got God-knows-how-many-episodes of Doctor Who to get sorted first. But the way it works with Sherlock is that we starve you and then we give you a short burst and then we starve you again. It's worked so far, we're not going to change it.' On the scheduling of future episodes, Moffat said: 'I don't actually know. Given that this is a show that I haven't started writing yet, it's a bit early to suggest scheduling. Once we hand them over, they'll be on television quite quickly.'

More than ten million punters watched ITV's Coronation Street on Monday night as the identity of Frank Foster's killer revealed. This, remember, from a series that just a few months ago was the source of numerous tabloid stories about it being 'a show in crisis.' What's that sound I hear? Oh, it's Phil Collinson laughing. The ITV soap had 10.2 million viewers between 7.30pm and 8pm, and 10.3 million between 8.30pm and 9pm on Monday as Anne Foster was unveiled as the killer of her son. if you hadn't already seen the episode then that was probably a spoiler. Oh well. Might be an idea to watch telly rather than read about it in that case. The double helping of soap predictably had the better of BBC1 science show Bang Goes the Theory and a, really rather good, Panorama about honour killings, which had 3.2 million and 2.5 million at 7.30pm and 8.30pm respectively. They sandwiched BBC1's EastEnders, which had 9.1 million viewers, between 8pm and 8.30pm which is the tabloid's current candidate for a show in crisis, apparently. Episode two of Scott & Bailey helped ITV to their usual Monday night primetime victory, drawing more than 6.3 million viewers. The popular crime drama starring the great double act of Suranne Jones and Lesley Sharp took 6.34m from 9pm, with a further two hundred and eighty thousand on timeshift. The Dales, broadcast between the night's two episodes of Corrie, was watched by 4.08m. Elsewhere, BBC2 broadcast the final of this year's University Challenge and just over three million punters (3.03m) watched Manchester Uni's victory over Pembroke College, Cambridge. Then, BBC2's latest utterly tripe twee cookery vehicle for somebody you've never heard of before, The Little Paris Kitchen: Cooking with Rachel Khoo interested virtually no one (1.69m). It was almost as bad as The Ludicrous Ms Dahl, dear blog reader. Trust me if you didn't watch it (and judging by the ratings, that's probably quite likely) you missed nowt.

A second series of Stephen Tompkinson's crime drama DCI Banks has been commissioned by ITV. The Wild At Heart actor will once again portray the titular character for a six-part series based on Peter Robinson's novels. 'DCI Banks is now established as a firm favourite within ITV's crime drama slate,' said Sally Haynes of the channel's drama commissioning team. 'We're delighted so many viewers are appreciating Robert Murphy's adaptations and how the team at Left Bank Pictures are producing DCI Banks.' It's the best thing Tompkinson's done in year, frankly (possibly since Drop The Dead Donkey, certainly since Ballykissangel) although he does have a strange habit of 'looking a bit mental' as the title character. Still, it's a small price to pay for a reminder that he is a good actor despite spending most of his time on Wild At Heart being acted off screen by giraffes. Doc Martin's Caroline Catz will portray Banks's new partner Helen Morton, a mother-of-four 'whose approach to policing will push Banks to the brink.' Actress Andrea Lowe's pregnancy will be written into DCI Banks as the reason for Annie Cabbot's departure at the start of the series. The character is, however, set to return in the future. DCI Banks was widely tipped to be returning for a second series following the success of its first eight episodes last year.

Eddie Izzard is reportedly 'in talks' to appear in NBC's forthcoming reboot of the 1960s sitcom The Munsters. The pilot is being directed by Bryan Singer who is 're-imaging' the fondly remembered comedy series as a drama renamed Mockingbird Lane - after the road where the Munster family lives. According to various reports Izzard - the world's premiere action transvestite comedian and a very fine actor to boot - is in 'final talks' to join the pilot in the role of Grandpa. It was recently revealed that the pilot had been pushed back to the Summer by NBC in order to allow Singer to smooth out the final details of the project.

The US period drama Mad Men and its creator, Matthew Weiner, are known for fastidious period accuracy – but they've apparently been caught out. Critics in the US who were sent preview copies of the season five premiere, which is broadcast on AMC this coming Sunday and will be shown in the UK on Sky Atlantic two days later, made an observation that will have chilled the meticulous Weiner to the bone: the episode featured Dusty Springfield's 'The Look of Love', a song released in 1967. The Dusty hit, several critics noted, was released several months after the events which feature in the new feature-length episode, which is entitled A Little Kiss. Weiner acted immediately, replacing the song with another, currently unnamed piece of music. Then he wrote back to the critics: 'As you know, one of the things I love best about Mad Men is the passionate response I get from members of the press. Recently a few of you have mentioned that the song 'The Look of Love', used in our season five premiere episode, was not actually released until six months after the episode takes place. Because of this we have replaced this song with one more suited to the time period and you, along with our audience, will hear it for the first time during our 25 March broadcast. Although we take license for artistic purposes with the end-title music,' Weiner added, 'we never want the source music to break from the time period we are trying to recreate. As someone who has a deep appreciation for details, I want to thank you for bringing this to our attention. It's a privilege to work on a show that generates an ongoing dialogue with you and our amazing fans so please – keep those notes and comments coming!'

This blogger is indebted to his good chum Danny Blythe who pointed him in the direction of the following. The Author magazine this month mentions that Faber are keen to get hold of Morrissey's memoirs. The article suggests that Jarvis Cocker, in his new role as editor-at-large, may 'bring home that slice of bacon.' Given that Mozza is one of the world's best known militant vegetarians, that's probably not a metaphor to be used lightly or ill-advisedly at this point.
Now, here's a shock for you, dear blog reader. David Quantick the ex-NME writer who now works on TV Burp has tweeted on Tuesday to confirm that it will be the last ever episode of TV Burp this weekend. He says that the story in the Sun the other day that Harry Hill had had his mind changed about ending the show by Simon Cowell was, essentially, 'made up.' Daniel Maier, another writer who works on the show, has tweeted essentially the same thing. Gosh, the very idea that the Sun would make up a story, it's totally unthinkable. Or, you know, not.
If the Sun told me the Pope's a Catholic I'd want a second opinion.

BSkyB has denied that the decision by its chief executive to order a story to be removed from the Sky News website for forty hours after a complaint from its Formula 1 production team posed a threat to the channel's editorial independence. As reported in a previous blog, Jeremy Darroch stepped in after the article, posted on the Sky News website at 6pm on Saturday, caused F1 teams in Melbourne to voice concern to BSkyB's TV production team, who were in the city covering the inaugural race of the 2012 season. The article, which reported a controversial plan to shake up commercial deals and sell a stake in the sport's parent company, run by Bernie Ecclestone, prompted BSkyB's executive producer for F1, Martin Turner, to contact London to relay the concerns of the teams. Darroch moved to order the article to be removed from the website at midnight, about six hours after it went live and Mark Kleinman, the Sky News business editor who penned the piece, had tweeted selected key details to his ten thousand followers. The article was republished on Monday afternoon mostly unchanged, although some sections that quoted extensively from a leaked document were cut back, following a review of the process that led to the story being launched. A spokesman for BSkyB said he 'did not agree' with claims that the move to pull the story at the behest of F1 teams, as first reported by the Financial Times, 'could be viewed' as a threat to the editorial independence of the Sky News operation, given the article has 'not been found' to be inaccurate. 'The piece was withdrawn for further review,' he said. 'We stand by the story and, following that review, took the decision to republish.' According to the Gruniad, who of course were rolling about on the floor laughing their collective knobs off at this fiasco, a 'source familiar with the review process' (which could be the office cleaner for all we know), which was carried out by the head of Sky News, John Ryley, on Sunday, said the issue was 'not about the editorial content' but that colleagues in the F1 production team it directly affected should have been informed prior to publication. 'The issue is not about the story, it was a strong story then [when it was first published] and it is a strong story now,' said the source. 'It is perfectly legitimate for the chief executive to ask questions and to challenge parts of the business.' However, the question of independence is a highly charged topic when it comes to Sky News. The issue of whether the news operation would be able to remain truly independent from its parent company was a topic of fierce debate when News Corporation, which owns 39.1 per cent of BSkyB, sought to take full control of the UK's most successful commercial broadcaster. As part of the ultimately ill-fated bid, in early 2011 News Corp attempted to appease regulators by offering to spin-off Sky News, claiming that would ensure it 'remained independent' and media plurality in the UK was maintained, although critics argued that the fact Rupert Murdoch would continue to hold a thirty nine per cent stake in the new company would make that unfeasible. 'Sky News is meant to be editorially independent [of BSkyB],' said someone whom the Gruniad identified as 'a second source with knowledge' of the Sky News incident at the weekend. 'Why should BSkyB have to be made aware of stories, could it happen again, what does it say about precedent?' Maybe we should ask odious faceache (and drag) Kay Burley that question. She's usually got plenty to say. About everything.

This year's Montenegrin Eurovision Song Contest entry features a chap with the splendidly alarming name of Rambo Amadeus. Funky. Although it'll have to go some to best last year's Moldovan entry for sheer weirdness. The must be something in the water over there in the Balkans that produces stuff like this.

Headhunters Egon Zehnder will deliver a 'job spec' for the next BBC director general of the BBC before Easter, after which the search for Mark Thompson's successor will begin in earnest. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping is thoroughly available if Egon Zahnder are making a short list. The headhunting firm is 'to outline the key features candidates will need', which are expected to include editorial, managerial and perhaps some technological experience. But not, significantly, a backbone and a set of balls when standing up to crass bullies in parliament and the press. Sad, really. It is also expected that although the role requires what BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten called 'renaissance talents', whatever the hell that means, it will not be split down management and editorial lines, by separating the editor-in-chief role from the director general's other responsibilities. Instead there may be a recommendation that the role is supported by 'a top team' that can fill any gaps in the successful candidate's talents. Right, it's settled them, leave the programme making to them and leave leave telling Cameron, the vile and odious rascal Hunt and the Daily Scum Mail where to go what to do and which horse they rode in on to do it with to yer actual Keith Telly Topping. So, what's the salary? In January Patten announced Egon Zehnder had been appointed to develop the 'initial stages' of a succession plan for Thompson, who, after months of speculation, confirmed on Monday that he will leave after the Olympics. The headhunters were asked to identify the scope and remit of the director general role. Egon Zehnder's 'wishlist' of talents for the BBC's fifteenth director general and their recommendations for what the job entails will have to be approved by the BBC Trust before adverts are placed after Easter. It is not yet known how much pay the role will command. It will not be so low as to put off candidates from outside the corporation but will be substantially less than Thompson's six hundred and seventy smackers annual remuneration – in line with Patten's desire to clamp down on BBC executive pay, which he said had become 'a toxic issue.' Despite the pay cut, as Patten told The Times earlier this year: 'When the time comes some people will crawl over broken glass to get the chance of doing it.' The odds have shortened on the first female director general being appointed, with BBC chief operating officer Caroline Thomson the early joint favourite with vision director George Entwistle. Meanwhile, Thompson has yet to announce what he will do after he leaves the BBC. There have been suggestions he has been considering an academic career. However, after years of forgoing bonuses and having his public service pay scrutinised, he could be forgiven for wanting to reap some commercial rewards. According to alleged 'sources' alluded to in the Gruniad Morning Star, Thommo has already received approaches from media companies around the world, including one in the Middle East and some American ones, including Google TV. He has ties in the US as one of his children is studying there and his wife is American. Interestingly, it is not yet clear if Thompson will be given a payoff when he leaves. The BBC is still working through his contractual details and more may emerge within the next twenty four hours. According to The Times, the Trust has to give Thompson twelve months' notice and he has to give them six months but has not done so. It may depend on whether an internal or external candidate is appointed as his successor as to how long Thompson will remain in the post after the Olympics.

Veteran broadcaster Paul Gambaccini has taken a swipe at the BBC's new reality show The Voice. Radio 2 star Gambaccini described the Saturday night music series as 'karaoke' and claimed that the US version on NBC had only benefited the show's star coaches, rather than the musical acts. 'The Voice is a karaoke competition, full stop,' Gambaccini told the Radio Times. 'Although the American series was fantastic to rejuvenate the careers of two of the judges [Christina Aguilera and Maroon Five's Adam Levine], it didn't give us a viable artist.' Fellow DJ Mark Goodier also questioned the motives of Universal Music, who will sign the winning act and look after three of the show's coaches - will.i.am, Sir Tom Jones and Jessie J. 'Universal have to be doing this because they want market share,' said Goodier. Commenting on the show's potential to become a huge hit in the UK, he added: 'It really depends on whether they find a star or not. I have no idea whether they have.'

David Mitchell and Victoria Coren have announced their engagement. Mitchell, star of Peep Show and Ten O'Clock Live, and Only Connect host Coren - both of whom write columns for the Observer - have been dating for some time but have largely kept the relationship away from the public eye. Fittingly for the demure pair, the announcement came via a very traditional channel: an entry in the Births, Marriages and Deaths column of The Times newspaper. The advert reads: 'MR DJS MITCHELL AND MISS VE COREN. The engagement is announced between David, son of Mr and Mrs Ian Mitchell, of Oxford, and Victoria, daughter of Dr Anne Coren and the late Mr Alan Coren, of London.' Coren, of course is the daughter of Alan Coren, the late television personality and writer. Her brother Giles is a food critic and a TV host, best known for co-presenting series including Supersizers with Sue Perkins. Via Twitter, Victoria said: 'Thank you for your nice tweets this morning. I'm very happy.' Mitchell said: 'Having received so many lovely messages today, I'm finally coming round to the idea of the Internet. Thank you all. I'm incredibly happy.' Ah, bless 'em. From The North is, as long term dear blog readers will know, a big fan of both and wishes the couple the very best for the future.

And, from that happy news, to mass murder. A new BBC drama Ripper Street has begun filming in Dublin. An eight-part thriller, the show - starring Matthew Macfadyen - will focus on the aftermath of the Jack The Ripper murders. Set in 1899 London, it will focus on H Division, the police precinct charged with keeping order in Whitechapel. Jerome Flynn, Adam Rothenberg, MyAnna Buring and David Dawson will star opposite Macfadyen, reports Deadline. BBC America will co-produce the project, written by Mistresses scribe Richard Warlow.

Some Audience Appreciation Index analysis now. On Tuesday 28 February, notorious ITV breakfast flop Daybreak achieved an AI score of seventy four out of one hundred. Nearly, so very nearly, 'average'. But not quite (if you're wondering approximately seventy seven or seventy eight is considered to be the bottom end of average with around eighty at the top end). Still, to be fair, it's only taken Daybreak eighteen months to get that close to 'average.' (To be fair to the production, they did get one, stray, seventy nine in 2011. But, since that was on Royal Wedding day it probably had less to do with the quality of the programme and more to do with other factors.) The Indian Doctor's small, but beautifully formed, audience seem to really like it a lot with AI scores regularly around the ninety mark. Note, also, that the Labour Party, for all its faults and lack of an effective leader, is still more popular than the opening three episodes of Don't Scare The Hare - a Labour Party Political Broadcast on 29 February managed to pick up a score of fifty six, higher than anything Don't Scare The Hare managed until it's fourth episode. However much people may knock 'em for their stereotypical ways, it is noticeable that food shows (MasterChef, The Hungry Frenchman) and countryside shows like Countryfile do remain popular with the punters - with scores of around the mid-to-top eighties. On 2 March Channel Four's dreadful The Mad Bad Ad Show got - rightly - dumped from their schedules. Because no bugger was watching it, basically. But, awful as it was, it actually had a higher AI score (seventy nine) than the show which, the following week, replaced it it the slot, Rude Tube (seventy seven). That probably says something about ... something. For the BBC's 'most popular Saturday night entertainment format apart from Strictly' (copyright, the Gruniad Morning Star) Let's Dance For Sports Relief doesn't, actually, seem to have had that many viewers who actually liked it. On 4 March its AI was a distinctly underwhelming seventy seven. And, also, let us just stand back and marvel that Take Me Out (eighty) got a higher AI score than their broadcast of the movie The Jewel of the Nile (seventy eight). I resigned from the human race in protest but I don't think it did much good. Good old Top Gear, though. They try to ban it, they try to burn it, they try to create utter nonsense scandals around it but it just keeps coming back for more (an AI of eighty four on 4 March). Twatting About on Ice's scores continue to depressing the blithering hell out of this blogger (eighty five) but, at least Homeland's audience seem to know a quality thing when they see it (eighty eight). Which, does rather restore ones faith in the viewing public. Whitechapel was the star of the drama AIs of late (its final episode of the series, on Monday 5 March picked up a ninety). Empire also got a great figure that night (eighty eight), but it'd be nice if a few more people were actually watching it. This blogger seems to be the only person in the word that actually liked The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff (seventy eight). And, it's very gratifying to know that both Keith Allen and Nick Griffin (seventy one) remain about as popular as a dose of the clap. Now, is it just me or does anyone else actually understand the baffling AI popularity of Prisoners' Wives (ninety one, albeit, not a popularity that translated itself, hugely, into audience figures). I mean, Call The Midwife (which also regular got AIs scores in the nineties, as did Sherlock), I fully understood, even if I don't have a functioning uterus. But Prisoners' Wives...? Elsewhere, on 6 March Cash in the Attic (seventy five) got a lower score than The Jeremy Vile Show (seventy eight). Oh, the ignominy. As previously mentioned Watson & Oliver are receiving dreadfully low AI scores although they can console themselves with the fact that, at least, on Wednesday 7 March, they managed to stay ahead of Dyabreak (seventy two to seventy). Just. A very good audience, and broadly superb critical response Sarah Millican's debut show may have had, but the AI was distinctly 'ho-hum' (seventy eight). Dreadful score for the late night Jonathan Ross Show repeat as well (seventy nine). You'd've thought at that time of night (it started at five to midnight), only bona fide fans would've been watching. It's noticeable, is it not, that the rugby suddenly starts to get very popular when England's doing well! (England's victory over France of 11 March achieved a score of eighty seven.) Bones equalled its own record for the highest ever recorded AI score. An episode of Sky Living on 9 March getting ninety seven, the same score that another episode of the same show achieved on Sky 1 on 15 November 2009. For some strange reason White Heat got an eighty from normal viewers on BBC2 but only a seventy seven from viewers on BBC HD. On Monday 12 March Scott & Bailey had a very good eighty seven, but not as good as Whitechapel had been getting in the same slot, one of the few occasions where a show has got an AI that high and it's below slot-average! Plus, poor Daybreak it finished this fortnightly period with a seventy. Will the sun never shine on it? Hang on, this is where we came in, isn't it?

So, first there was Otters Who Look Like Benedict Cumberbatch. Now, Hedgehogs Who Look Like Martin Freeman. Okay, this starting to get silly.
The UK's most senior police officer arrived at Scotland Yard to find the Metropolitan police in an 'unstable state' and 'wary' about its relationship with the media following the phone-hacking scandal and two-high profile departures, the Leveson inquiry has heard. Bernard Hogan-Howe, who was appointed Met commissioner last September, said that he found 'clear concerns' over the force's handling of the phone-hacking affair as he began the job. 'The whole team at the top was in quite a lot of flux,' he said, adding that the departures of his predecessor, Sir Paul Stephenson, and assistant commissioner Champagne John Yates – the man who led the 2009 hacking review – had 'affected the organisation.' Hogan-Howe also admitted that he had been surprised by the extent of the some officers' relationships with the press. 'I was probably unsurprised by the fact that there was some contact and some of it was social – I think probably in many organisations it would have been something that people might have expected. But probably the frequency of it and the extent, I think that's the thing that's been a surprise,' he told Lord Justice Leveson. As a result, he said, the Met had 're-examined its dealings' with the press and 'amended its behaviour accordingly.' And, some might say, about bloody time. He acknowledged that there was now less socialising with members of the Crime Reporters' Association, but said that he did not accept journalists' suggestions that the relationship between Scotland Yard and Fleet Street had become 'more austere' or that 'the flow of informal information' had dried up. He pointed to regular press briefings and the work officers did around court cases and with the local press. 'What I don't want to encourage is leaks,' he said. 'It's about trying to make sure that inappropriate relationships don't develop. That's what we're trying to stop.' For too long, he said, the focus had been on human interest stories rather than stories that served the public interest. Although most journalists knew there was no point in pushing police so hard that it interfered with the criminal justice process, he said, there was 'inevitable tension' between reporters and officers about how much information should be released. While he said a good 'adult debate' over the flow of information was welcome and necessary, he said detectives should never identify suspects or brief about them unless there was a real possibility that such information would help the police catch them and stop them committing further crimes. Hogan-Howe said it was normal for police and journalists to meet and share a coffee or a meal, but he warned that the presence of alcohol on such occasions raised questions. 'The question is around their social interaction and if complicated by alcohol, it seems to me there is a risk that in fact their judgment is clouded and the relationship develops in a different way,' he said. He added that he would never argue for every leak to be investigated – 'I think you can drive yourself barmy, if we did that' – but said 'serious information breaches' had to be dealt with. The commissioner also said that people needed to remember that the police were fallible and had to balance their investigations with their relationships with the organisations – be they newspapers, local authorities, or the security services – that they found themselves compelled to investigate. 'It's not an easy line to draw and we try hard to get that right,' he said. 'I can't sit here and say its an easy line to draw. We have to make our way through it quite carefully.' Hogan-Howe concluded his evidence by saying he hoped the inquiry would help the police and the press find a mutually beneficial way to work together. 'I want a good challenging relationship with the press,' he said. 'But I do not want us to be left in a position where our integrity is perceived to be compromised.'

Some twenty television households in the UK are to be filmed for a two-week period as part of an investigation into 'two-screening', in which people watch the television while using another device such as a smartphone, laptop or tablet. Participants in the 'Screen Life: The View from the Sofa' study will undergo psycho-physiological analysis around their TV viewing habits, particularly when they most use a second screen while watching programmes. Thinkbox, the commercial TV market body that represents Channel Four, Sky Media, ITV and various other broadcasters, has appointed insight specialist COG Research to conduct the ethnographic study, which will aim to help advertisers understand the 'context of two-screening.' The filming will capture real-time evidence of engagement with TV shows and advertising breaks, enabling researchers to test the implicit and explicit feelings about brands that have been shown in commercials. There will be analysis of the interaction elements of second-screening on social networks and mobile messaging platforms, while mobile eye tracking technology will provide a detailed breakdown of how much attention people devote to each screen. Participating homes will self-report during the study using COG's digital ethnography techniques. 'Two-screening makes up a fraction of the time people spend watching TV, but it is a very interesting fraction and one that hasn't yet been examined in enough depth,' said Neil Mortensen, Thinkbox's research and planning director. 'Everyone is talking about it, but very little is actually known about it. We intend to address that with this new study. The TV set remains the most engaging, impactful device as new technologies and behaviours enter the sitting room. Two-screening has enhanced the TV experience for some and it is time to look in more depth at exactly what it means for advertisers.' Thinkbox intends to publish the new research in a series of studies under the 'Screen Life' banner, examining the way people interact with TV across multiple screens. Much attention in the television industry is now focused on harnessing the trend of second-screening, including how online 'buzz' on social networks and online forums can drive consumption of new programmes. A recent study by the BBC's TV Licensing organisation found that one in four adults had commented to others via social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, online forums or SMS about a TV programme they were watching, but this increases to just under half among people under thirty five. Rather than dilute the importance of live TV viewing, this trend of 'chatterboxing' has actually done the opposite, the report claimed. It cited an ICM poll as revealing that twenty four per cent of people aged under thirty five watch a programme live rather than on catch-up because they enjoy the social media discussion, while nineteen per cent do so because they are worried about 'social media spoilers.' I have only one thing to say about the preceding article. Is 'impactful' really a proper word?

Morph and Chas, the stop-motion clay characters who rose to fame in programmes presented by the late Tony Hart, are to return to children's TV. Ricky's Radical Reinventions, a new one-off CBBC programme by Morph and Chas creators Aardman Animations, will be broadcast on 26 March, featuring animator and 'reinventor' Ricky Martin showing viewers how to make household objects. While Ricky attempts to construct a system of loudspeakers from cardboard, magnets and balloons, Morph and Chas are living in the back of his van - indulging, according to the BBC, in 'shenanigans.' And, hopefully, malarkey and discombobulation as well. Burbling, terracotta Morph and his angrier friend, Chas, are known to a generation of viewers as the creations of Tony Hart, whose art programmes Take Hart and Hartbeat were popular on the BBC in the 1970s, 80s and 90s. Hart died in 2009, but the new programme will give the malleable scamps the chance to rekindle their wordless, often tempestuous bromance. Miles Bullough, executive producer for Aardman, said: 'It's so exciting for us to team up Morph and Chas, Aardman's first and original creations by Peter Lord and David Sproxton, with a brand new young and exciting talent like Ricky Martin, who Aardman took on as a graduate from Bristol's UWE.'

Weatherman Peter Byrne is mad as hell and he's not going to take it anymore. The Aussie forecaster was unimpressed with a rival broadcaster's predictions of two hundred kilometre per hour winds for North Queensland. 'Well the southern media are at it again, more unprofessional claptrap on what they portray as breakfast television,' said Byrne, a forecaster for regional network Win TV. 'Imagine the repercussions if on national television I forecast two hundred kpm winds for Sydney or Melbourne. Holy Dooley. Queensland deserves and demands better, give us the factual information not the nonsensical gobbledygook transmitted out of Sydney. What do you think, give us a break. It just makes me so angry – how do they get away with it?' Blimey. Star a blog, mate. That's what I did when things annoy me. Society is safer that way.

Walt Disney has said it expects to lose two hundred million dollars on its movie John Carter, making it one of the biggest flops in cinema history. The film, about a military captain transported to Mars, could result in a loss in the region of one hundred million dollars (possibly more) for Disney's movie business during the current quarter. Disney shares fell one per cent in after hours trading after the announcement meaning that Mickey Mouse was laid off and had to sign on the dole. The firm is still likely to make a substantial quarterly profit, though, thanks largely to its TV businesses. It is estimated that John Carter cost two hundred and fifty million dollars to make and it is likely that Disney spent another one hundred million on marketing it. Reviewing the film on BBC 5Live, yer actual Big Quiffed Mark Kermode went off on one, giving out one of his finest ever rants. 'The story telling is incomprehensible, the characterisation is ludicrous, the story is two and a quarter hours long and it's a boring two and a quarter hours long. It makes Dune sound like Speed! It looks like a film that was made by committee.' Rave on, you crazy diamond! The film's director, Pixar's Andrew Stanton, had previously had great success with films such as Finding Nemo and Wall-E. The John Carter film is based on a fine series of books written by the author of Tarzan, Edgar Rice Burroughs. The series began with A Princess of Mars in 1912 and ended with John Carter of Mars, published after the author's death in 1964. That was supposed to be the title of the movie but, as Kermode notes, apparently Disney discovered (via a ruddy focus group, no less) that films with the word 'Mars' in the title, apparently, 'aren't popular with moviegoers.' The film has taken no more than one hundred and eighty million dollars at box offices worldwide, with cinema owners receiving about half of that total. It is difficult to compare losses on films, as studios reveal little financial detail and allowances have to be made for inflation. The Hollywood Reporter says that last year's biggest flop was Mars Needs Moms, which cost one hundred and fifty million dollars to make and only took thirty nine million at the box office. Disney will be hoping for success from other big budget movies due for release later this year. The list includes Joss Whedon's adaptation of The Avengers, due to be released in May, and Brave, set to be released by Disney Pixar in June.

The private equity group co-founded by Irish rock star and world saviour Mr Bonio out of The U2 Group has approached investors seeking one billion bucks for its second fund, buoyed by its success with investments in Facebook Inc and Yelp Inc, 'a person familiar with the matter' told Reuters on Tuesday. Elevation Partners LP, which shares its name with a hit song released by Mr Bonio out of The U2 Group in 2000 and invests in the media, entertainment and technology industries, is hitting the fundraising trail as Facebook, its most high-profile investment, prepares for a five billion dollars initial public offering. So, if you've got a few quid spare ...

Once upon a time. Or maybe twice ... The Beatles' classic 1968 animated feature film, Yellow Submarine, has been digitally restored for DVD and Blu-ray release on 28 May (one day later in North America). The film's 1999 'songtrack' will be reissued on CD on the same date. Currently out of print, the film has been restored in digital resolution for the first time by Paul Rutan Jr and his team of specialists at Triage Motion Picture Services and Eque Inc. Due to the delicate nature of the hand-drawn original artwork, no automated software was used in the digital clean-up of the film's restored photochemical elements. This was all done by hand, frame-by-frame. Bonus features for the DVD and Blu-ray include a short making-of documentary titled A Mod Odyssey, the film's original theatrical trailer, audio commentary by producer John Coates and art director Heinz Edelmann, several brief interview clips with others involved with the film, storyboard sequences, twenty nine original pencil drawings and thirty behind-the-scenes photos. Or, in other words, all of the extras on the 1999 DVD version and nowt else. Would it have been too much trouble to just lock Paul and Ringo in a studio for a couple of hours to record some thoughts? Seemingly it would. Both Digipak packages will include reproductions of animation cels from the film, collectible stickers, and a sixteen-page booklet with a new essay by Yellow Submarine aficionado John Lasseter. He writes: 'As a fan of animation and as a filmmaker, I tip my hat to the artists of Yellow Submarine, whose revolutionary work helped pave the way for the fantastically diverse world of animation that we all enjoy today.' Well, that's all true, I guess. And it's still a great film. I mean, by any definition of what a great film is, Yellow Submarine is one. Directed by George Dunning, and written by Lee Minoff, Al Brodax, Jack Mendelsohn and Erich Segal (with some uncredited work by Roger McGough according to legend), Yellow Submarine began its voyage to the screen when Brodax, who had previously produced nearly forty episodes of ABC’s animated Beatles TV series, approached The Beatles' manager Brian Epstein with a vision for a full-length animated feature. Yellow Submarine, based upon the song by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, is a fantastic tale brimming with peace, love, hope and, you know, Blue Meanies propelled by astonishing visualisations of some of The Beatles' finest songs: 'Eleanor Rigby', 'Nowhere Man', 'Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds', 'All You Need Is Love', 'Hey Bulldog' and 'It’s All Too Much'. When the film debuted in the summer of 1968, it was instantly recognised as a landmark achievement, revolutionising a genre by integrating the freestyle approach of the era with innovative animation techniques. Inspired by the generation's new trends in art, the film resides with the dazzling Pop Art styles of Andy Warhol, Martin Sharp, Alan Aldridge and Peter Blake. With art direction and production design by Heinz Edelmann, Yellow Submarine was and still is a classic of animated cinema, featuring the creative work of animation directors Robert Balser and Jack Stokes with a team of animators and technical artists. 'I thought from the very beginning that the film should be a series of interconnected shorts' remembers Edelmann. 'The style should vary every five minutes or so to keep the interest going until the end.' These styles included melding live-action photography with animation, three-dimensional sequences and kaleidoscopic 'rotoscoping' where film is traced frame-by-frame into drawings. The entire process took nearly two years, fourteen different scripts, forty animators and one hundred and forty technical artists, ultimately producing a groundbreaking triumph of animation. The Beatles themselves were initially reportedly rather cold on the idea of the film which probably explains why they didn't provide their own voices (John Clive, Geoffrey Hughes, Peter Batten and Paul Angelis filled in for them). Ultimately, however, they recorded four new songs for the film and appeared in a short sequence as themselves right at the end. In The Beatles Anthology, the surviving Beatles all admitted that they grew to love the film. Regarding their initial non-participation, George Harrison, who considered it 'a classic', admitted that he preferred that the group did not provide their own voices, feeling that the professional voice actors captured a certain 'cartoonish' element far more effectively than they might have done themselves. Ringo Starr revealed that for years after the film's initial release he was constantly approached by children and asked 'Why did you press the button?', referring to the sequence where his character out of curiosity presses the panic button ejecting him into the Sea of Monsters before he survives a potentially nasty encounter with a pair of Kinky Boot Beasts. McCartney also loved it and good old wife-beater and alcoholic Scouse junkie Lennon implied that his son, Sean, first realised that his father had been a Beatle because of the film. After seeing Yellow Submarine at a friend's house, Sean reportedly came home asking why his father was a cartoon.

This, therefore, is yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 33 of the Day. George, hit the feedback.

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