Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tell Me Are You Receiving Me?

BBC1's Breakfast has made its first broadcast from its new home at Salford Quays in Manchester after moving from London. Presenter Bill Turnbull made the move and has been joined by Susanna Reid following the departure of former co-host Sian Williams. Deputy editor Adam Bullimore, who oversaw the launch, said viewers may see 'subtle differences' over time. 'But we're not making a northern Breakfast, we're just making Breakfast,' he said. Terrific. Can yer actual Keith Telly Topping order a two-egg omelette with two pieces of bacon and lightly buttered toast, please. Oh, and a cup of tea, white no sugar. And an orange juice. Thanks. 'The BBC has a job to report UK-wide and there's a commitment to bringing programmes and news from all parts of the UK, and Breakfast is part of that plan,' he said. 'The tone of voice might change a bit. But it's keeping the fundamental ingredients the same. The things that have made the programme so successful in recent years will still be there.' Breakfast is being broadcast from the MediaCityUK complex, which is also home to Match of the Day, Newsround, Football Focus, Blue Peter and 5Live. Turnbull and Reid have been joined by Louise Minchin and Charlie Stayt on the presenting team. The popular Williams, meanwhile, is rejoining Radio 4 for a revamped Saturday Live programme, as well as presenting BBC1 bulletins and Olympics coverage. Asked whether the show would attract the same calibre of guests to Salford, Bullimore replied: 'We'll see. We've had some researchers booking guests in advance of the move and the indications are that we will get talent on the sofa. In the end, we are Britain's most successful breakfast show, we touch seven million viewers a day and I think that is a big pull for people who are in the news.' So, that's be 'no' then?

Celebrity Deal or No Deal made its debut on Easter Sunday night with two million viewers, overnight figures show. The shallow and hateful game show - presented by the Beard of Despair - pulled in 1.77m in the 8pm hour and a further two hundred and fifty thousand punters - with nothing better to do with their time - on Channel 4+1. Homeland followed with a solid 1.82m and three hundred and thirty six thousand viewers on +1 which slightly restores ones faith in the viewing public as a collective who don't all have their brains dribbling out of their ears. Fellow US drama Once Upon a Time, which launched to a high audience last week, retained a more than decent 1.67m for Channel Five at 8pm. On BBC2, the coverage of Masters Golf (or, you know, 'hours of televised sky' as Jasper Carrott once described it) scored 2.16m between 7pm and 12.45am, with a peak of 2.8m watching at 11.30pm. Elsewhere, Lord Snooty Julian Fellowes's Titanic sank to a disappointing - but, very funny - average of 3.17m for ITV at 9pm. The mini-series, which premiered with nearly seven million punters, has now lost sixty per cent of its audience in just two weeks. In what was a thoroughly rotten night for ITV, Des O'Connor's return to primetime went down without much fanfare, with 3.46m tuning in at 7.30pm, while All Star Family Fortunes had 3.37m at 6.30pm. Meanwhile on BBC1, Countryfile (5.19m), Antiques Roadshow (5.4m) and Silent Witness (5.88m) all posted slot-winning figures. This meant that BBC1 led primetime with 22.6 per cent, ahead of ITV's really very poor indeed 12.5 per cent.

Lord Patten has, according to the Gruniad, told confidantes that he is looking for the attributes of 'the wisdom of Aristotle and the striking power of Wayne Rooney' in the next BBC director general, with advertisements for Mark Thompson's successor set to be published. So, that'll be Jeremy Paxman, then? The role of DG will not be split between two candidates as a job share, as has been speculated in some parts of the media parts that don't know what they're talking about, seemingly), according to 'sources.' Who, as usual, don't have names, it would appear. Patten is understood to have 'ruled out' any such plan after consultation with Egon Zehnder, the headhunting firm which recently delivered the 'job spec' for the next director general to the BBC Trust. It is not known what the salary being offered – although it will be less (possibly quite considerably less) than outgoing director general's six hundred and seventy one thousand smackers, 'sources' say that 'remuneration will still be enough' to attract candidates 'of sufficient calibre.' Yer actual Keith Telly Topping is still mulling over whether to apply for the job, or not. The pay scale is certainly attractive, and the hours are good. Although, as usual in so many jobs, the actual minutes aren't, necessarily. Last week Patten outlined the process for appointing Thompson's successor to the BBC executive board. One alleged 'insider' allegedly claimed the chairman had said whoever got the job would 'have a hard act to follow' and, with what the Gruniad describes as 'characteristic humour' said Thompson's successor would have to have 'the wisdom of Aristotle' as well as the 'striking power of Wayne Rooney.' Oh, be still my sides. At this rate we'll have Patten opening for Michael McIntyre on Live At The Apollo next season. Actually, on reflection, that's not such a bad idea. Even on the evidence of this, he's certainly funnier than McIntyre. As is usual, a long and a short list will be drawn up and an appointment is due to be made by June. Thompson's successor faces a tough time as the BBC will be coming down from the summer high of the London Olympics and coverage of the Queen's diamond jubilee. Although, the next series of Doctor Who is on the horizon so it's not all bad news. The corporation will also be in the midst of delivering its stringent Delivering Quality First cost-cutting programme. Also on the cards is a review of the BBC Charter, which will take place before the current charter finishes in 2016. The internal favourites for the job are thought to be Caroline Thomson, the BBC's chief operating officer who has helped steer the corporation through a previous charter review, director of news Helen Boaden and director of vision George Entwistle. One 'source' claimed that so far the list of external candidates who are the right age and have the right experience has 'fallen short' of expectations. Whether this source is the same as all of the other anonymous sources that the odious Gruniad have chosen to pepper their reportage with, is unknown. Hey, do you like that? Sauce and pepper, see. It's a food thing yer actual Keith Telly Topping has got going on today's update, dear blog reader. Must be time for a snack.

Award-winning CBBC comedy Horrible Histories has been renewed for a fifth series. The BBC has ordered another batch of episodes before the fourth run has even begun, the British Comedy Guide website reports. The live-action show, starring Peep Show's Jim Howick, Ben Willbond and Laurence Rickard, has become a surprise hit with viewers and critics alike. Stephen Fry hosted a BBC1 clip show of the show's best sketches in 2009. Based on Terry Deary's huge-selling children's books of the same name, the programme won a British Comedy Award in December. The cast later claimed that the show's slow development on CBBC was 'crucial' to its success. Horrible Histories returned to CBBC this week, and will continue every Monday.

Elton John called them 'boring, paralysing and brain crippling.' Michael Parkinson said they had 'downgraded' television and were 'doing damage to all of us.' Now it's the Goddamn Modfather his very self Paul Weller's turn at playing grumpy old man by laying into TV talent shows – or rather, 'effing talent shows' – and saying he would be 'embarrassed' to take part in one. The former front man of The Jam told the Radio Times that he would never become a judge on competition shows such as The Voice or The X Factor. Weller, fifty three, derided the current crop of TV talent shows as 'Saturday-night viewing for the masses,' adding: 'Would I be a judge? Would I hell!' Asked whether Wee Shughie McFee the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads should be given some credit after The X Factor alumni One Direction became the first British band to hit No 1 in the US with their debut CD, he said: 'Dunno, I've never heard them.' Ah, that's the Weller-fellah we know and love! He told the magazine: 'I'd be too embarrassed to be on those shows. You get some of these kids who think they're a little bit "edgy", got a bit of a Pete Doherty haircut. You're not edgy, really, mate. Otherwise you wouldn't be on an effing talent show, would you?' The lad's got a point. Pianist and TV presenter Jools Holland, who was also interviewed by the magazine, agreed, saying: 'You'd kick the microphone over, say, "It's a load of old bollocks, see you later."' Holland added: 'Budding artists need a break, I suppose. But music's not like a competition. It's an art form. I wouldn't knock the competition shows if that's what people want to do. But there's a difference between having it like a game show and having it as something that connects with your spirit and moves you. That's what music's supposed to be about.' Weller, who recently notched up the fourth number one LP of his solo career (and seventh in total in a thirty five year musical career), has previously criticised The X Factor, calling it 'very cheap programming and the lowest common denominator stuff.' But despite his criticisms of TV talent shows, Weller does apparently tune in: at least according to his friend Noel Gallagher. The former Oasis guitarist and songwriter outed Weller the last time he got on his anti-X Factor soapbox. Speaking on Sky Arts 1's Jo Whiley Music Show in 2010, Gallagher said: 'Weller watches it. He denies it, but I know for a fact that he does because his daughter is one of my daughter's best friends. I'd go to her: "Did you watch The X Factor?" and she said, "Yeah, watched it with my dad."' Weller later told ShortList: 'Yeah, I do watch it, but I also watch Peppa Pig with my six-year-old boy. And I'm more of a fan of Peppa Pig than I am of The X Factor. If anything, it makes more sense.'

Lorraine Kelly has confirmed she is returning to her breakfast programme next Monday. The Scottish presenter confirmed on Twitter that she will be back on Lorraine on Monday 16 April. Kelly has been off TV screens since her horse-riding accident in February. The current medical status of the horse remains unknown.

Alan Davies is facing a storm of protest – including apparent death threats – after criticising Liverpool FC's insistence that they never play matches on the anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster. Speaking on his regular football podcast, Davies took issue with the club's decision not to play on April 15 in tribute to the ninety six fans who died on that date in 1989 – because it has a knock-on effect on fixtures of other clubs. This year, fr instance, it means that Moscow Chelski FC must play two crunch matches in three days. He complained: 'Liverpool and the 15th - that gets on my tits, that shit. What are you talking about "We won't play on the day"? Why can't they?' Fellow comic Ian Stone, another regular on The Tuesday Club podcast, seemingly saw the oncoming iceberg that Davies was letting himself in for and attempted to argue with the Arsenal fan by saying: 'Because it's too sad a memory.' However, the Jonathan Creek and Qi star was having none of it and replied: 'My mum died on August 22. I don't stay in all day on August 22. Do they play on the date of the Heysel Stadium disaster? How many dates do they not play on? Do Man United play on the date of Munich? Do Rangers play on the date when all their fans died in that disaster whatever year that was - 1971?' He also criticised Liverpool's manager Kenny Dalglish, adding: 'Every interview he's given this season he looks like he wants to headbutt the interviewer. This tight-mouthed, furious, frowning, leaning forward, bitter Glaswegian ranting, "Liverpool FC do not play on April 15th."' His comments, perhaps inevitably, prompted a flurry of comments on Twitter, including one Keiran Humphries, who tweeted: 'Go kill yourself you horrible cunt, disrespecting people who lost their lives, come to Liverpool so you get what you deserve.' Andrew Margrie added: 'Stay out of Liverpool you cunt Davies. God I'd love to be there when you get what you deserve. Sleep with one eye open you cunt.' Davies later took to Twitter himself to try and calm everybody down a bit and apologise for being 'insensitive.' He said that he had made a donation to the Justice For The Ninety Six campaign set up in memory of the fans who lost their lives. He added: 'I'm getting tweets from Liverpool fans who have been given the impression that I was disrespectful to those who lost their lives on 15 April 1989. Many disagree but I feel that the Liverpool vs Everton semi-final could be played on 15 April. Apologies to those upset by that suggestion. I said the Hillsborough disaster was the worst event in modern peacetime history. I was on a terrace listening to a radio as it happened.' He also insisted: 'I have not apologised for "PR purposes." I took the wrong tone. It's an unscripted podcast.'

Yer actual Hatem Ben Arfa's second-half wonder goal lit up a dreary contest with relegation-haunted Notlob Wanderings and set yer Keith Telly Topping's beloved European chasing (though, still unsellable) Newcastle on the way to a fifth successive victory. Which was nice. Ben Arfa turned brilliantly inside his own half after receiving a pass from Yohan Cabaye and then ran seventy yards weaving in an out of hapless Notlob defenders before coolly beating keeper Adam Bogdan at a rain-sodden St James' Park. Well, it was a Bank Holiday, what did you expect, sunshine? Inevitably at the moment, Papiss Demba Cisse subsequently made it 2-0 when he tapped home substitute Shola Ameobi's cross. The Magpies are now level on points with fourth-placed Stottingtot Hotshots who lost at home to Norwich, whilst desperate Notlob stay one point above the drop zone. United remained in fifth place later in the evening after stumbling Moscow Chelski FC could only manage a draw with Fulham in the West London derby. The game with Notlob will, rightly, be remembered for Ben Arfa's stunning seventy third-minute solo effort but it was not in keeping with the rest of a relatively turgid affair which saw Newcastle struggle to find their rhythm. Magpies manager Alan Pardew has regularly played down his side's chances of European qualification this season, but that stance has changed slightly in recent weeks. Four consecutive wins had taken them to the verge of a Champions League spot, and with Tottenham stuttering and Moscow Chelski FC facing an FA Cup semi-final and two demanding games against Barcelona, the expectation levels on Tyneside have, suddenly, risen. Which is never a good thing. A tired first-half display suggested that Pardew's men were finding the pressure of chasing a top-four spot hard going. Newcastle, who switched to a 4-4-2 formation with James Perch moving into midfield to replace the injured Cheick Tiote and Fabricio Coloccini returning at centre-back, looked solid but lacked urgency and much potency in attack. January signing Cisse, who had scored nine goals in eight games before kick-off, including eight in his last five, barely had a sniff of the ball. Notlob, who turned in an abject display in Saturday's 3-0 home humbling at the hands of Fulham, were resolute, organised and grew in confidence the longer the game remained scoreless. They barely threatened before the break but Mark Davies twice went close early in the second half, forcing Tim Krul into a fine low stop and then failing to connect with a Kevin Davies cross when well placed. But Ben Arfa's superb run and cool side foot finish broke their resistance and the prolific Cisse grabbed his tenth goal in nine games from close range from substitute Ameobi's inviting cross. Bolton's only minor reward for a gutsy performance is the fact that they stay out of the relegation zone as none of the sides above them were in action. Meanwhile Newcastle's local rivals, Blunderland, got the hiding of a lifetime at Everton. Which was also nice.

Keith Telly Topping's 33 of the Day returns to young Lee's punishment for dissing yer actual Wings which was temporarily suspended yesterday. But, returns today with a vengeance for the world's first - and, as far as this blogger knows, only - glam-psychedelic sea-shanty. Recorded on a yacht in the Virgin Islands, fact fans. Hell, it was the 70s, people did that sort of thing back then.

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