Thursday, April 12, 2012

They Meant Let's Make Lots Of Money And Worry About It Later

A casting call for the final episode of Amy Pond and Rory Williams on Doctor Who has revealed the appearance of an important character. Their daughter. According to the Zap2it website, River Song will be part of the departure episode of the characters of her parents - played by Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill. Makers of the long-running popular family SF drama have confirmed that the episode, which will be the fifth episode in the upcoming series, will also feature the return of The Weeping Angels. Alex Kingston will purportedly reprise her role as River Song in a 1940s version of New York City, where the show is currently filming. News of the ER actress's role in the highly anticipated episode was cemented when a casting call went out in the New York area seeking a photo double for Kingston who must be able to drive. Must look great in jodphurs, too.
Meanwhile, the first on location photos from Doctor Who's New York shoot have started to emerge online. On Wednesday, Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill were spotted filming a scene in Central Park. Nice glasses, Kaz!
Eddie Marsan and Rob Brydon will co-star in a BBC2 drama to coincide with this autumn's London Paralympic Games, about a neurological doctor whose work with disabled second world war soldiers led to the first such games being held in Rome in 1960. Best of Men tells the story of Ludwig Guttmann, a Jew who fled Germany in 1939. His treatments at the Stoke Mandeville spinal injuries unit used sport as a therapy to rebuild strength and self-respect amongst the disabled. The first ever games for disabled people opened at Stoke Mandeville on the same day as the 1948 Olympics in London. Best of Men writer Lucy Gannon told the Gruniad Morning Star: 'It is very appropriate that this story is marked because the Olympics are coming back to the UK for the first time since 1948 – but now, thanks to Dr Guttmann, there is a fully fledged Paralympics in existence. For me the Paralympics are more exciting than the main Olympics because there is more scope for surprise the strength and physicality of these athletes is astonishing. In the 1940s, the life expectancy for people who broke their backs was two years and Dr Guttmann did so much to change that through improved treatment. Dr Guttmann had immense energy and resilience and drive. His really is the most uplifting story which cries out to be written. He was a very funny and lively and extraordinary man who had lost many members of his family to the Nazis and came to England with very little and was trying to succeed in a medical profession in Britain in the 1940s which was still quite closed off to outsiders.' Guttmann was so beloved by his patients that he was called Poppa – an affectionate nod to the fact that he was always heavily accented until his death from a heart attack in 1980. According to the Gannon, the story will have 'epic elements' as well as 'black humour' from the patients who are struggling to come to terms with their disability. As well as his other work, Guttmann founded the British Sports Association for the Disabled in 1961, the same year he was made the inaugural President of the International Medical Society of Paraplegia. A statue of him is due to be erected at Stoke Mandeville later this summer.

After three weeks of losing head-to-head battles, Britain's Got Talent will no longer overlap with its BBC rival, The Voice. ITV appear to have blinked first in the ongoing Saturday-night ratings battle with the BBC, moving Britain’s Got Talent out of the way of The Voice completely on Saturday 21 April, avoiding a head-to-head for the first time. According to early schedule exchanges, the shows were due to overlap by thirty minutes on 21 April – with a ninety-minute edition of The Voice beginning at 7pm and BGT starting at 8pm. However, the final ITV schedule now shows Britain's Got Talent starting at 8:30pm, with an extended audition show that will run to 9:45pm. The Voice remains in its 7pm slot on Saturday for the first of two 'Battle Round' specials, the second of which will be broadcast 7:30pm the following evening. An ITV spokesman said the move ensured 'as many people as possible have the opportunity to watch the show in full.' The Voice has consistently attracted bigger audiences during the overlap between the two shows (and, last Saturday, a higher total overnight audience for the first time). The new time slot means Britain's Got Talent will start just as The Voice is drawing to a close. At the weekend Britain's Got Talent creator, Wee Shughie McFee the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads, congratulated the BBC, after it emerged that The Voice had attracted a higher overall audience for the first time. According to overnight figures, an average audience of 9.5 million tuned in to watch The Voice, compared with BGT's 9.4 million (excluding ITV+1 viewers). McFee, grudgingly, praised BBC1 controller Danny Cohen via Twitter, saying: 'A slightly irritated congrats to Danny and the BBC.' What a class act, eh? During the overlap of the two programmes, only 6.2 million people were watching ITV, compared with the BBC's ten million. An ITV spokesman said: 'At its peak, 11.9 million people watched Britain's Got Talent this weekend; the highest recorded audience figure on any channel so far this month. Viewing figures for BGT are up year-on-year. By moving to 20:30, we are ensuring that as many people as possible have the opportunity to watch the show in full.' Last month it was announced that ITV was bringing forward the launch date of Britain's Got Talent to the same night as the first episode of The Voice which was widely seen, both within the industry and outside as being a deliberately provocative act and an obvious attempt to kill at birth the BBC show. The BBC said that it was 'disappointed' by the move. What's even more interesting to note is how news of BGT's start time move is being portrayed in the press (see here, for instance, and here). As an outright - and humiliating - slap in the mush for Wee Shughie McFee the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads. According to the latter, an alleged 'ITV source' allegedly admitted: 'Simon and ITV boss Peter Fincham hoped to ruin the start of The Voice but the clash has backfired ­ spectacularly. By going to a later slot they are waving the white flag. Cowell will not be happy and hates to be second best. He has never moved The X Factor for Strictly Come Dancing and is used to calling the shots. This is very much a first – and a humiliating one at that.' This blogger now wonders if an 'ITV source' really did say that, what's the betting they won't be an 'ITV source' for very much longer but, rather, a 'Job Centre source'?

Sarah Alexander and Neil Morrissey are to star in a new BBC1 sitcom. Mr And Mrs Jones revolves around a divorcee called Gemma, who has a grown-up son and two young daughters. Six half-hour episodes are being made by Hartswood Films, the production company behind Men Behaving Badly. It begins shooting in May, to be broadcast later this year. The series was created by comedy writing duo Oriane Messina and Fay Rusling, whose credits include Green Wing, Smack The Pony and Campus. So, nothing actually funny, then? It follows a successful pilot filmed in Teddington late last year, which also featured Tupele Dorgu, who played Kelly Crabtree in Coronation Street.

BBC1's Breakfast programme is cooking up a storm at its new home in Salford. Staff working overnight on the programme are able to order hot food from the swish new canteen at BBC North at MediaCity. But it is a perk which appears not to be available to hacks working the graveyard shift in other BBC departments at the new North West base, such as BBC Radio 5Live. Order forms allegedly state: 'Overnight catering for Breakfast TV staff,' leaving their less fortunate colleagues going hungry – or staring at a cold cheese and pickle sandwich. Sounds like time for a spin-off from MasterChef for these poor sods.

Mark Lewis, the lawyer who has been at the forefront of efforts to expose the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World phone-hacking scandal, is poised to bring the battle for legal redress across the Atlantic and to the very doorstep of yer actual Rupert Murdoch's media empire. Lewis will arrive in the US on Saturday and next week will begin legal discussions in New York, just a stone's throw away from News Corporation's global headquarters on Sixth Avenue. His arrival constitutes a major escalation in the legal ramifications of the hacking scandal for Murdoch, who has tried, desperately, to keep it away from the American core of his multi-billion-dollar media holdings.
Details remain sketchy about precisely what Lewis intends to do in the US, but the Gruniad Morning Star claimed to have 'learned' (or, in other words, been told) that 'he will be having legal discussions that could lead to several lawsuits being lodged with the New York courts.' The direct involvement of the US judicial system in allegations of illegal activity by News Corp employees would bring the scandal dramatically closer to Murdoch's adopted home. It is not yet known how many lawsuits could result but even one would be one too many for the FOX News owner. Lewis will be in discussions with his New York-based legal partner, Norman Siegel, former director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, over the details of US law as it applies to phone-hacking. The cases they will be exploring are understood to relate mainly to celebrities who have come to the US and had their phones hacked while they were in the country. That could constitute a violation of US telecommunications and privacy laws in and of itself. It is also understood, the Gruniad claim, that 'a US citizen had his or her phone hacked while in America as a result of hacking into the transatlantic conversation of a foreign-based celebrity who was a friend of the victim.' Jude Law has been one of the celebrities believed to have their phones hacked whilst on US soil, in his case while he was at JFK airport in New York. However, the Gruniad says that it understands Law is not one of the cases which is currently being explored by Lewis and Siegel. So far, the US component of the hacking scandal has been confined to an FBI and department of justice investigation under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act which forbids corporations headquartered in the US, as News Corporation is, from indulging in 'acts of bribery or corruption abroad.' Any lawsuit which comes from Lewis's US activities would take the scandal to another level entirely by becoming the first legal action to arise domestically within the US. Lewis has been a crucial figure in the exposure of the billowing phone-hacking saga. He represents the family of Milly Dowler, the murdered teenager whose phone was hacked by the Scum of the World who then lied about having done so for four years. He also represented Gordon Taylor, head of the Professional Footballers' Association, who received more than half a million smackers from News International, the UK newspaper arm of News Corporation, in a settlement over the hacking of his phone by the Scum of the World-employed private detective Glenn Mulcaire. Lewis's involvement with the scandal has also been deeply personal: it has been alleged that he was himself put under surveillance by the Scum of the World before it was shut down in disgrace and ignominy by Murdoch last year. The paper, it is claimed, hired a specialist private investigator to covertly surveil Lewis and his family. Lewis will be attending a symposium on investigative journalism at UC Berkeley this weekend where he will be speaking on a panel titled: The Murdoch Effect: The News At Any Price? An irony of the arrival of Lewis in the US is that it comes soon after James Murdoch, Rupert's youngest son, relocated from the UK to New York partially, it is thought, in a move to try and distance him from the phone-hacking scandal. James Murdoch announced that he was stepping down as non-executive chairman of the broadcaster BSkyB last week, but Lewis's deliberations over possible legal action in the New York courts brings the nightmare back to haunt him. And the thing that must really upset and, frankly, worry Rupert Murdoch his very self is that, after years of bullying and cajoling politicians on both sides of the Atlantic to let him and his organisation get away with increasingly outrageous malarkey and shenanigans, nobody's actually scared of him anymore. Which must be something of a total mind-fuck for the nasty auld rotter after fifty years of ULTIMATE POWER, but there you go. It's a crazy world we live in, Rupe.

Sky Movies has agreed a deal with MGM to make the entire James Bond film back catalogue available on television and video on-demand later in the year. All of which is a bit pointless to those of us who've got them all on DVD. But, it's a hell of a smack in the face for ITV as it completely buggers up their constant Saturday afternoon reshowing of the movies. From October, Sky subscribers will be able to watch all twenty two official Bond titles from EON Productions on Sky Movies Showcase, from Dr No to the last Bond film, Quantum of Solace. The two non-EON titles, 1967's spoof Bond Casino Royale and 1983's Never Say Never Again, will also be available to Sky Movies customers. All the movies will also be shown 'side-by-side' on Sky Movies Showcase in standard and high definition. They will also be offered in the Sky Movies section of video on-demand service Sky Anytime, and on the Sky Go multiplatform service available to all Sky customers. The rights deal marks the first time that the complete catalogue of Bond movies has been made available uninterrupted and in high definition in the UK. Sky stressed that the movies will be available 'without commercial reference' - just like on DVD - following the previous deal in which ITV aired all the Bond films in both SD and HD in 2010 and 2011. 'It offers Bond fans an unrivalled opportunity to experience the films via Sky Movies' comprehensive movies service - on the linear channels, on demand and on the go,' said Sky. Or, you can just buy the DVDs instead. The licensing deal also coincides with the fiftieth anniversary of the first film, Dr No, being released on 5 October 1962. Ian Lewis, the director of Sky Movies, said that everything about the Bond films is 'iconic', from the cars to the gadgets to the catchphrases. 'They've become hugely significant culturally; demonstrating the best of British film. It's an honour for us to have all of them for our customers, and we will ensure that we do them justice across Sky Movies, giving our customers the best possible experience in watching them,' he said. Or, you could just buy the DVDs. 'It's an exciting time for Sky Movies and this is just one of many exciting plans we have coming up in the months ahead.' MGM president of international television distribution & acquisition Chris Ottinge added: 'It is the first time that the entire Bond collection will be shown side-by-side on one channel and we are really pleased to be able to showcase all of the British classics on Sky Movies.' The upcoming twenty third Bond film, Skyfall, will be released theatrically on 26 October 2012 in the UK, and then arrive on Sky Movies Box Office and in the new Sky Store on Sky Anytime+ in the spring of 2013. Sky's review programme 35mm will broadcast behind-the-scenes footage and exclusive interviews from Skyfall to coincide with the arrival of the James Bond collection on Sky Movies in October. Which, frankly, is as good an excuse as any to dig out this. De Killa!

Krissi Murison has resigned as editor of British music magazine NME and accepted a post at The Sunday Times. Murison joined NME in 2003 as a staff writer, but became the first female editor of the music weekly in July 2009 after Conor McNicholas left to join Top Gear Magazine. Before rejoining NME, Murison worked for almost a year at Nylon magazine in New York. Her return was widely acknowledged within the music industry as a successful move that revitalised the weekly title. It is unclear at present who will take over as the iconic music brand's editor, while it celebrates its sixtieth year in publishing in 2012.

Notorious mass murderer and nutter Charles Manson has been denied parole in California, for the twelfth - and possibly last - time. He did not appear at the hearing. The parole board ruled that the seventy seven-year-old did not seem 'to have made any efforts to rehabilitate himself.' The panel said that they 'can find nothing good as far as suitability factors go,' according to a member of the bench, John Peck. Manson, convicted in 1971 and serving life for seven murders, has not appeared before the board since 1997. Debra Tate, the sister of one of Manson's victims, said earlier that she would attend to argue against his release. 'I've tried to take this thing that I do, that has become my lot in life, and make it have purpose,' Tate, whose sister was the actress Sharon Tate, told the Associated Press. 'I've been doing it for Sharon and the other victims of him for the last forty years.' The wife of film director Roman Polanski, Sharon Tate was eight-and-a-half months pregnant when she was murdered by the Manson gang. The cult leader and his followers, known as The Family, stabbed and shot seven people in Los Angeles over two nights in 1969 in an crazed attempt to start a race war. Or something. it was all a bit fruitcake, frankly. Manson believed in what he called Helter Skelter, a term he took from the song of the same name by The Beatles. Manson believed Helter Skelter to be an impending apocalyptic event and that the murders which he ordered his followers to carry out would help precipitate the war. From the beginning of his notoriety, a pop culture arose around him in which he ultimately became an emblem of insanity, violence and the macabre and, bizarrely, a hero to some of the fringes of society. Other nutters, in other words. Manson and three women accomplices - Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian and Patricia Krenwinkel - were sentenced to death in 1969, but that was commuted in 1972 when California outlawed the death penalty. Since his last parole hearing, Manson has been caught in possession of a weapon, twice with contraband mobile phones, and has threatened an official, according to the California Department of Corrections. Prison officials found he had been talking with people in California, New Jersey, Florida, British Columbia, Arkansas, Massachusetts and Indiana. Debra Tate said earlier that she doubted Manson would ever be freed but hopes that she can confront any perception of him as a cult figure. She said: 'It's important to me that I try to diminish and tarnish their status as urban legends. It's wrong.'

Tonight, yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self is attending Scunny Steve Drayton's latest Record Player event at the Tyneside. This week, it's a bit different from usual, it's The Singles Club where ten of us get to chose our favourite 45, tell the room why it's great and then, you know, play the mother. So, today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day is, by necessity (and, because he feels like it), Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the last forty eight years, dear blog reader. If you've only got three minutes and ten seconds to say everything you've ever wanted to say (to your record company as well as the world), make it worth listening to. This is Joe Public Speaking.

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