Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Only Shadows Of The Past I See

The BBC 'tried too hard' with its coverage of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee River Pageant, former BBC Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer has said. The broadcaster was derided - even by some of its biggest defenders - for its package during Sunday's celebration in which a thousand boats took to the River Thames. Some viewers aired their disappointment on Twitter - as though, again, Twitter is now the effing Arbiter of All Things - while some of the BBC's own performers and former executives also joined in the criticism. Stephen Fry described the show as 'mind-numbingly tedious' while Kevin Marsh, former Today programme editor, said it was 'lamentable.' And, I've got to say, I'm one of the BBC's biggest defenders but it was pretty poor. The BBC defended its coverage, not very convincingly, claiming that it wanted to offer a 'more informal' presentation rather than the 'Dimbleby treatment.' But former BBC Radio 4 controller Damazer, now Master of St Peter's College, Oxford, admitted it was unlikely to win the corporation any BAFTAs. 'All that went wrong was the very conscious attempt to make the whole event informal and to use the modern idiom,' Damazer, told Radio 4's Today programme. 'The BBC probably tried too hard. If you've got that many presenters around the river, you're not going to like all of them each the same amount. They wanted to say to the nation, "this is an event we're sharing and we're going to share it with you by giving you all kinds of commentary."' The senior BBC executive responsible for the corporation's diamond jubilee coverage has been unable to defend the output amid mounting criticism, because he is now on holiday. BBC Vision director George Entwistle, a leading internal candidate to replace Mark Thompson as director general, went on holiday on Tuesday evening and could not appear on Today on Wednesday to defend the corporation. A 'senior' BBC 'source' allegedly admitted that 'some of the coverage' – especially of the river pageant – did 'not go to plan' and was, in fact effing ruddy abysmal fatuous drivel which gave way too much fuel to the corporation's shit-scum detractors - but cited the 'unprecedented difficulties' of the scale of the outside broadcast and the 'monstrous weather.' The BBC is also keen to point out the average audience of 10.3 million viewers for Sunday's Thames pageant on BBC1, and said it achieved an eighty two audience Appreciation Index rating, signifying a high level of audience appreciation (or, at least, tolerance - any score over seventy five or thereabouts is considered to be 'above average'). Fearne Cotton drew widespread criticism for her witless antics during the broadcast. At one point during Tuesday's BBC1 coverage of the carriage procession, Cotton spoke with the singer Paloma Faith - no, me neither - about bizarre royal memorabilia and showed viewers a diamond jubilee 'sick bag.' BBC obituaries editor Nick Serpell tweeted: 'The bizarre sight of Fearne Cotton examining jubilee sick bags had me reaching for one of my own.' Horrorshow.

Unsurprisingly, the sickeningly odious jackbooted bully-boy thug lice at the Daily Scum Mail devote absolute acres of space to a thoroughly sycophantic arse-rimming of the Queen's diamond jubilee celebrations in Wednesday's paper. Getting their tongue in for a right good lick, so they were. It was something of a sight to see, dear blog reader and I mean a sight to see. Paul Dacre's rag even found a full page to loan to one simple question: Just who is will.i.am? Well, if you really want to know, he's a singer, songwriter and producer who made his name with the American group The Black Eyes Peas. He has produced other artists including Michael Jackson, Justin Bieber, Eazy-E, Britney Spears, U2, Rihanna, Usher, Justin Timberlake, Earth, Wind & Fire, Nicki Minaj, Cheryl Cole, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Daddy Yankee, Wolfgang Gartner, and Juanes and has, to date, sold something in the region of one hundred million records worldwide. Of course, you could've just looked that up on Wikipedia if you'd wanted to but then, that's seemingly too much like hard work for the lice at the Scum Mail. The 'attention-grabbing' pop star seemed ubiquitous at the royal events, the Scum Mail nastily reports - with an anti-BBC agenda and just a wee hint of racism smeared all over it an inch thick - picturing the star of The Voice ('one of the most expensive flops in the corporation's history,' they state, unconvincingly, and indeed, factually inaccurately) alongside Robbie Williams, Sir Paul McCartney and even the virry Queen her actual self. 'The question must have been asked in households up and down the land as American rap star will.i.am "entertained" the royals at the Queen's diamond jubilee concert: why?' the paper wonders. Perhaps they should ask 'official' royal songwriter Gary Barlow whom, of course, they love the mostest, baby.

Final consolidated ratings for week ending 27 May 2012:-
1 Coronation Street - ITV Mon - 8.85m
2 EastEnders - BBC1 Mon - 8.03m
3 The Eurovision Song Contest - BBC1 Sat - 7.59m
4 The Apprentice - BBC1 Wed - 7.23m
5 Emmerdale - ITV Mon - 6.22m*
6 Silk - BBC1 Tues - 6.08m
7 Lewis - ITV Wed - 6.07m
8 The Voice - BBC1 Sat - 5.25m
9 Have I Got News For You - BBC1 Fri - 4.92m
10 England Friendlies - Sat ITV - 4.83m
11 Ten O'Clock News - BBC1 Tues - 4.72m
12 56 Up - ITV Mon - 4.70m
13 BBC News - BBC1 Sun - 4.69m
14 Holby City - BBC1 Tues - 4.64m
15 Soccer Aid 2012 - ITV Sun - 4.60m
16 Long Lost Family - ITV Thurs - 4.13m*
17 Odious Risible Oily Piers Morgan's Life Stories - ITV Fri - 4.11m*
18 Countryfile - BBC1 Sun - 4.10m
19 The ONE Show - BBC1 Mon - 4.04m
20 Chatsworth - BBC1 Mon - 3.92m
21 Six O'Clock News - BBC1 Mon - 3.91m
22 DIY SOS: The Big Build - BBC1 Wed - 3.87m
23 The National Lottery: Saturday Draws - BBC1 Sat - 3.85m
24 The British Academy Television Awards - BBC1 Sun - 3.62m
25 The Graham Norton Show - BBC1 Fri - 3.57m
Those ITV shows marked '*' do not include HD figures.

Sherlock stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Lara Pulver are among the nominees for the 2012 Critics' Choice TV Awards. The pair are up for best actor and actress in a movie or miniseries for their work in the BBC's update of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's detective stories. Other Britons in contention for honours at the US event include Downton Abbey actress Michelle Dockery, Homeland star Damian Lewis and presenter Cat Deeley. The winners will be announced on 18 June in Beverly Hills. The gala ceremony follows last year's inaugural event, which saw Mad Men take home three awards. Organised by the Broadcast Television Journalists Association, the event is intended to act as a forerunner to the more established EMMY awards. NBC comedy Community has the most nominations, having received six citations in four categories. Mad Men comes a close second with five nominations, which include nods for Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Jon Slattery and Christina Hendricks. Deeley, nominated last year for best reality show host for ABC's Dancing with the Stars, is up for the same prize this year for her work on FOX's So You Think You Can Dance. Other awards will be presented to best talk show, best animated series and best movie or miniseries - the third accolade for which Sherlock is in contention. Luther, The Hour and Sir David Hare's political drama Page Eight are also recognised in a category dominated by BBC productions.

Denmark's Mads Mikkelsen has been cast as Hannibal Lecter in a new US TV show based on Thomas Harris's serial killer. The forty six-year-old actor, best known for his villainous role in the James Bond film Casino Royale, will star opposite Hugh Dancy in NBC's Hannibal. Mikkelsen's casting follows his best actor win at this year's Cannes Film Festival for Danish film The Hunt. Sir Anthony Hopkins won an Oscar for portraying Hannibal in 1991's The Silence of the Lambs. Scottish actor Brian Cox and France's Gaspard Ulliel have also played the charismatic mass murderer on-screen. Dancy will play FBI agent Will Graham, a role previously played by CSI's William Petersen in 1986's Manhunter and Edward Norton in 2002's Red Dragon. The series, which will focus on Lecter and Graham in the early stages of their relationship, will be written and executive produced by Bryan Fuller of Pushing Daisies and Heroes.

Inspector John Rebus is to make a return in a new novel by Ian Rankin, the author has revealed. The famous fictional detective was last seen in Exit Music, published in 2007, which featured his retirement. Edinburgh-based Rankin said that there was 'unfinished business' with Inspector Rebus and the latest story was 'the perfect fit' for him. Speaking at the Hay Festival, Rankin said the new story, Standing in Another Man's Grave, is due later this year. Since Rebus first appeared in 1987, the novels have been translated into twenty two languages, becoming international best-sellers. They've also been adapted for television in two series, starring first John Hannah and then Ken Stott. Rankin said: 'I felt there was unfinished business between the two of us. He had never really gone away but was working for Edinburgh's cold case unit. And I knew I had a story that was a perfect fit for him.' The novel, out in November, will see Rebus finding himself in trouble with the author's latest creation, Malcolm Fox, of Edinburgh's internal affairs unit. Rankin said the book's title was inspired by a song from the late Scottish singer-songwriter Jackie Leven and is dedicated to his memory. He said: 'Jackie was a great guitarist and a fine songwriter with a vein of robust romantic imagery and a voice that could melt granite. He was also a terrific storyteller whose life had provided no end of material. He's still much missed by all of us who knew him.' The Inspector Rebus series, which includes Fleshmarket Close, Mortal Causes, Let it Bleed, The Hanging Garden and The Black Book, centre on Rebus, with the books mainly set in and around Edinburgh.

Former MP and professional self-publicist Lembit Opik made his professional wrestling debut at the weekend. The former Liberal Democrat MP had to be taken away by St John's Ambulance paramedics on Saturday after his bout against another wrestler, Kade Callous (probably not his real name) reports the Torygraph. Opik has tried out various new career paths since he lost his seat in the 2010 general election, including stand-up comedy and appearing in a music video. The politician was taking part in a match with Callous in Welshpool on Saturday, wearing a T-shirt, tracksuit trousers and knee pads. Opik was reportedly 'tossed around the ring' from the early moments of the match, with one audience member describing the fight as 'brutal.' He is said to have taken several blows to the face from Callous, whom Opik had previously accused of cheating. Attendee James Collins said: 'He stood no chance, not at all. He looked so small next to his opponents, it was a tag team event but he took a battering, it was brutal to watch. He managed to get a couple of early blows away with the help of his team mate but there was no way the others were going to stand for that. It was obvious Callous was really angry about what happened before.' Fellow audience member Gene Jenkins said: 'He obviously doesn't have a future in wrestling. He's tried so any things since politics, I think this is another failure. He looked in a real state when the paramedics carried him away from the ring.'

Mel B was reportedly booed by X Factor audition audience members during her first day as a guest judge. Still, it's a living, on supposes. The former Spice Girl received a negative reception from the crowd for insulting a contestant in his eighties. Lou, who is an eighty one-year-old widower from Birmingham, is the oldest contestant in the current series and reportedly opened his audition by saying that he was 'available' for regular X Factor panelist Tulisa Contostavlos. Contostavlos claimed, unconvincingly, that Lou's performance 'pulled at my heart strings' but dear old Scary was not won over, saying: 'I wanted to fall asleep.' However, just to show her soft side Mel also comforted a woman who began to cry following her audition during the first session. The woman - her dreams of riches beyond avarice shattered into a thousand tiny fragments - needed a bit of comfort and that's what Mel provided, bless her cotton socks. She then, however, had to be helped down from the stage by Gary Barlow, apparently struggling on the steps because of the large heels on her shoes. Bit of an elementary schoolgirl-type error that, chuck. Barlow was said to be the recipient of teasing from Louis Walsh - who referred to him as 'Sir Gary' during the day's auditions - and received salutes from members of the audience when 'Rule Britannia' was played during the day's second audition session. Well, he is the palace favourite now. of course, we all recall what happened to palace favourites in late Seventeenth Century France come the glorious day ... I'm just saying.

Adele, who has been criticised for being 'fat' by some, no doubt perfect, specimens of society, has revealed that she wore four pairs of the body-shapers during her appearance at the Grammy Awards earlier this year. The twenty four-year-old singer said that she wore the 'control pants' to give her a slimmer look underneath her black Giorgio Armdress. 'I had three or four pairs of Spanx on that night but I loved it,' the Daily Scum Express quoted her as telling the American network NBC on Sunday, about her performance at the awards show in February. 'I actually had another dress made and I ended up passed out in it. It had a corset and I was like, "I can't wear that," so I ended up wearing this instead,' she said. But, she admitted that since she could not have taken to the stage with all four pairs of pants, she removed a couple of them. 'I took a couple of pairs off,' she added.

The world premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will take place in New Zealand on 28 November. The screening at Wellington's Embassy Theatre will be two weeks ahead of the film's worldwide release on 14 December. Oscar-winning The Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson said it was fitting to hold the premiere 'where the journey began.' Based on the novel by JRR Tolkien, The Hobbit is set sixty years prior to the events of The Lord Of The Rings trilogy. In An Unexpected Journey, Bilbo Baggins attempts to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from Smaug, the dragon. This involves him facing up to Foeglandringtide the King's Snotgobbler. Or something. Don't ask me, I was eight when I read it (or, rather, had it read to me). The film's cast includes Sherlock's Martin Freeman, who takes on the lead role of Baggins. Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom, Cate Blanchett and Sir Ian McKellen, who all starred in Jackson's Oscar-winning trilogy, also appear in the movie along with Stephen Fry and the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch. British actor Andy Serkis has reprised his motion-capture animated role of Gollum. The film is split into two parts, with the second instalment - The Hobbit: There And Back Again - due for release in December 2013. The 3D movies were shot at a rate of forty eight frames per second, compared with the industry standard of twenty four frames. Following a preview of unfinished footage at the CinemaCon convention in Las Vegas in April, some critics claimed it 'looked like a made-for-TV movie.' Not a good thing, one imagines. Jackson admitted: 'It does take you a while to get used to,' adding, 'Ten minutes is sort of marginal, it probably needed a little bit more.' He wrote the screenplay with partner Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Mexican director Guillermo del Toro.

Alan Hansen has created a Twitter storm - and, once again, let us just stand back in amazement as the shat that some people chose to care about if it's on Twitter - after making an impossible prediction. Ooo, elementary schoolboy-type error there, young man. The former Liverpool player joined other BBC pundits in predicting which four nations will make the semi-finals of Euro 2012. However, the Match of the Day analyst chose three teams from the same group to make it to the final four. Hansen picked Group B teams Germany, Portugal and the Netherlands to reach the semi-finals of the competition, though only two are able to make it through to the knockout stages. Also choosing Spain, he wrote: 'It is the usual suspects in the final for me. Spain won it last time, and they won the World Cup in 2010. As well as the Germans and the Dutch, I think Portugal are in the mix too.' The post was quickly taken off the BBC Sport website once news of the mistake was spread across Twitter. Unbelievable.
Does rather make one wonder, with regard to those who spotted Hansen's 'mistake', did it make them feel like men to brag about their own massive cleverness in less than one hundred and forty characters?

Meanwhile, Patrice Evra has reportedly angered a number of French publications after appearing to wipe his bottom with a France shirt. And, once again, let us simply marvel at the utter drivel some people chose to care about. The Scum defender was seen removing a shirt from underneath him before giving it a sniff, much to the amusement of his team-mates, during France's match against Serbia earlier this week. A number of French news outlets have condemned the 'disrespectful' Evra for wiping his bottom with the shirt. Paris magazine Le 10 Sport said: 'It was disgusting! But this gesture shows above all a real lack of respect towards the blue of France and all that it stands for. We struggle to imagine Evra doing the same with the Manchester United shirt.' The publication added: 'His popularity has been falling for months, and this unacceptable act will not change the situation at all.' The left-back had caused controversy at the 2010 World Cup after he led a players' revolt against the national management team.

Herb Reed, the last surviving founding member of the US vocal group The Platters, has died in Boston aged eighty three. The singer's manager said that he died after a period of declining health that included chronic heart disease. Founded by Reed in 1953, the group had hits with songs including 'Smoke Gets In Your Eyes', 'Only You' and 'The Great Pretender'. Following the replacement of original band members, Reed was the only singer to appear on all four hundred recordings. Reed continued touring, performing up to two hundred shows per year, until last year. Formed as harmonising street singers in Los Angeles, The Platters were the most popular black singing group of their era. Reed is credited with coming up with the group's name - inspired by disc jockeys who referred to their records as 'platters.' The original line-up included Reed, female vocalist Zola Taylor, David Lynch, Tony Williams and Paul Robi, who went on to have four number one hits in the US between 1955 and 1958. Reed credited his survival in the music industry to the poverty he experienced as a child. Growing up in Kansas City, Missouri, he said in his biography that he was careful with money because he did not want to assume the group's success would continue. The Platters continued to record until the late 1960s and tour in various incarnations, with more than one hundred different members, until the present day. The group were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

The author Ray Bradbury has died in Los Angeles at the age of ninety one. His daughter Alexandra confirmed that her father died on Tuesday night in Southern California. Bradbury wrote hundreds of novels, short stories, plays and television and film scripts in a career dating back to the 1940s. A massive influence over at least three generations of SF, mystery and horror writers, Ray's most famous novels include Fahrenheit 451, The Illustrated Man and Something Wicked This Way Comes. The writer's grandson, Danny Karapetian, said: 'He influenced so many artists, writers, teachers, scientists, and it's always really touching and comforting to hear their stories. His legacy lives on in his monumental body of books, film, television and theatre, but more importantly, in the minds and hearts of anyone who read him, because to read him was to know him.' Bradbury was born in Illinois, and as a teenager moved with his family to Los Angeles. For three years after leaving school he earned a living selling newspapers, writing in his spare time. From the early 1940s, his short stories started to appear in magazines like Weird Tales, Astounding Science Fiction and Captain Future. In 1947, he married Marguerite McClure and published his first book, Dark Carnival. Three years later, Bradbury began to establish his reputation with The Martian Chronicles, a collection of stories about materialistic Earthmen colonising and ruinously exploiting Mars. His most celebrated novel, Fahrenheit 451, published in 1953, depicts a future society in which books are banned and ceremonially burned. The story, which gets its title from the temperature at which paper spontaneously ignites, proved to be uncannily prophetic in all sorts of ways - the characters are addicted to television soap operas, while miniature headphones, known as 'ear thimbles,' provide a constant stream of music and news. A film version, directed by François Truffaut, was released in 1966. For years, Bradbury tried to prevent the publication of Fahrenheit 451 as an e-book. He told the New York Times that electronic books 'smell like burned fuel' and called the Internet 'a big distraction. It's meaningless; it's not real. It's in the air somewhere,' he said. But, he relented in 2011, when his publishing deal was renewed. His agent said: 'We explained the situation to him, that a new contract wouldn't be possible without e-book rights. He understood and gave us the right to go ahead.' Bradbury also wrote several works for film and television. He wrote the screenplay for John Huston's film Moby Dick and scripts for many TV series, including Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Twilight Zone. In the early 1950s, adaptations of Bradbury's stories were televised on a variety of anthology shows, including Tales of Tomorrow, CBS Television Workshop, Jane Wyman's Fireside Theatre and Windows. The Merry-Go-Round, a half-hour film adaptation of Bradbury's The Black Ferris, praised by Variety, was shown on Starlight Summer Theater in 1954 and NBC's Sneak Preview in 1956. During that same period, several stories were adapted for radio drama, notably on the science fiction anthologies Dimension X and its successor X Minus One. Producer William Alland first brought Bradbury to the movies in 1953 with It Came from Outer Space, a Harry Essex screenplay developed from Bradbury's screen treatment Atomic Monster. The same year saw the release of Eugène Lourié's The Beast from Twenty Thousand Fathoms, which featured one scene based on Bradbury's The Fog Horn. Bradbury's close friend Ray Harryhausen produced the stop-motion animation of the creature. Bradbury would later return the favour by writing a short story, Tyrannosaurus Rex, about a stop-motion animator who strongly resembled Harryhausen. Over the next fifty years, more than thirty five features, shorts, and TV movies were based on Bradbury's stories or screenplays. Bradbury's short story I Sing the Body Electric was adapted for the one hundredth episode of The Twilight Zone in 1962. Three years later, three of Ray Bradbury's stories were adapted for the stage, The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit, The Day It Rained Forever and Device Out Of Time (the latter adapted from his 1957 novel Dandelion Wine). Oskar Werner and Julie Christie starred in Truffaut's Fahrenheit 451 (1966). In 1969, The Illustrated Man was brought to the big screen, starring Rod Steiger, Claire Bloom and Robert Drivas. The Martian Chronicles became a three-part TV miniseries starring Rock Hudson which was first broadcast by NBC in 1980. The 1983 horror film Something Wicked This Way Comes, starring Jason Robards and Jonathan Pryce, is based on the Bradbury novel of the same name. Besides his fiction work, Bradbury wrote many short essays on the arts and culture, attracting the attention of critics in the field. Bradbury also hosted The Ray Bradbury Theater which was based on his short stories. Bradbury was a consultant for the American Pavilion at the 1964 New York World's Fair and the original exhibit housed in Epcot's Spaceship Earth geosphere at Walt Disney World. In the 1980s, he concentrated on detective fiction. Bradbury was passionate about literature. In 2008, he told The National Endowment for the Arts: 'If you know how to read, you have a complete education about life, then you know how to vote within a democracy. But if you don't know how to read, you don't know how to decide. That's the great thing about our country - we're a democracy of readers, and we should keep it that way.' The author is survived by four daughters - Susan, Ramona, Bettina and Alexandra. His wife died in 2003.

On Thursday evening, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping will be attending the second Singles Night at Scunny Steve's The Record Player. Because the theme is summer, yer actual Keith Telly Topping will be spinning a song that was recorded in the long hot summer of 1966. It was a hit in the UK in the short, cold and rather wet summer of 1974 and has attached to it the story of party that yer actual Keith Telly Topping attended in the equally short, cold and rather wet summer of 1980. I won't tell you the story though, dear blog reader, though it is a bloody good one; for that you'll have to come along to the gig. But, in the mean time, here's yer actual R Dean Taylor.

1 comment:

Carl said...

I'm liking the Rebus news. If there's one crime novel everyone should read before they die, my choice would be The Hanging Garden.