Monday, October 22, 2012

News At Ten And Tina Heard, Bobby Could Be Doin' Bird

The first part of Doctor Who's seventh series is due to be released in the UK on DVD and Blu-ray on the 29 October, and will come in two flavours. Both versions feature the five episodes shown so far (Asylum of the Daleks to The Angels Take Manhattan, just in case you were asleep during those five weeks, dear blog reader), the UK mini-episode Pond Life, and also the two special 'prequel' shorts which were originally exclusive to iTunes: In addition, a limited edition 'Weeping Angels' release also contains the documentary The Science of Doctor Who, which delves into the vastly unimportant question of whether the scientific concepts of the series live up to reality. They don't, just in case you were wondering, dear blog reader. Don't worry about it, we've managed to get forty nine years into the show without time travel and dimensional transcendence being actually possible, at this late stage I don't really think it matters too much. Both the standard and limited edition versions are available for pre-order.

Yer actual Arthur Darvill has admitted that he 'got quite emotional' watching his Doctor Who exit. The actor told the Digital Spy website that it had been 'a strange feeling' leaving the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama and his role as Rory Williams. 'It was in the back of our minds for a while that it was going to be on, but yeah, I got quite emotional actually,' said Darvill. 'I didn't think I would - I thought I would have been like, "Okay, that was good" and that would be that!' He continued: 'I saw Steven Moffat and Matt Smith the other night and we had a chat about it, which was good. It's a strange really strange feeling. I think it's gone down really well.' Darvill also revealed that he is looking forward to watching future episodes of Doctor Who with new companion actress Jenna-Louise Coleman. 'I'm excited to see the next series coming up and not know what's happening,' he admitted. 'I can actually watch it as a viewer.' I've done that for over forty years, Art, it's really not too bad. Honest.

And, speaking of young Art, isn't his Geordie accent in this week's episode of The Paradise really rather ... Err. Yes. Let's leave it at that, eh? At least it wasn't as woeful as Brenda Blethyn's in Vera.
Yer actual Mad Frankie Boyle has - very satisfyingly - won fifty four thousand nine hundred smackers in punitive damages after a High Court jury concluded that the Daily Mirra had, disgracefully, libelled him by describing him as a 'racist comedian.' Yer man Frankie claimed that the paper had defamed him with an scummishly nasty and spiteful article published on 19 July 2011. Daily Mirra publisher Mirra Group Newspapers defended the piece on the - frankly laughable - basis of 'truth and fair comment.' Oh, d'ya bloody think so! However jurors, rightly, ruled in favour of Mad Frankie and against the trashy tabloid newspaper. The comedian said that he was 'very happy' as he left court. One imagines he would be, not only has a stain on his character now been removed but, also, he's go a pocket full of lovely wonga into the bargain. Double bonus. Jurors awarded Frankie fifty thousand six hundred and fifty quid after concluding that the racist description was defamatory. Jurors had been shown footage from the BBC satirical show Mock The Week, in which Frankie and other comedians discussed immigration. He was given further damages of four thousand two hundred and fifty quid - a small pools win, if you like - after the jury found the Mirra's report saying Frankie had been 'forced to quit' Mock the Week - when, actually, he left to start work on his own show for Channel Four - was also defamatory. The comedian said the Daily Mirra newspaper had 'misunderstood' the context of his use of language in jokes, adding the accusation of racism 'goes against everything I've tried to do in my work, to do in my life.' Frankie said he had been 'pretending' to be someone with racist views during the episode in question. He said he had 'actively campaigned' against racism and he thought it was 'important' to highlight the issue in his routines by mocking the attitudes of racists, whom he 'despised.' Lawyers representing Boyle claimed that the comic's reputation had been damaged by the article. David Sherborne said: 'Calling him vile and offensive is one thing. It goes with the territory. But accusing him of being a racist is an entirely different matter. His complaint is that he has been very seriously libelled by being called a racist, which is completely untrue. There is no ambiguity here. Mr Boyle is no racist.' The Mirra had attempted to use examples of Boyle's material, including his controversial Channel Four show Tramadol Nights, in its failed - and, as the case continued, increasingly desperate - attempt to prove its untrue allegations. And now, it must pay the price.

An X Factor security guard has allegedly been arrested after an 'incident' involving fans outside the Corinthia Hotel on Friday night. The unnamed guard is reported to have 'manhandled and verbally abused' fans while trying to control crowds, the Daily Scum Mail reports. The incident occurred when fans tried to meet contestants when they returned from rehearsals. The crowd was said to have tried to get into the hotel to talk to the contestants. The security guard in question was photographed attempting to stop two teenage girls from entering the hotel, and is alleged to have shouted 'fucking cunts' at the crowd. A spokesperson for The X Factor confirmed reports of the arrest, but denied that there was any verbal abuse directed towards fans. You know, just like Andrew Mitchell and all his Tory pals denied, for weeks, that he had called a police officer a 'fucking pleb.' And then, he resigned. 'A member of the team was arrested but no charges were brought and he was let off with a caution,' the spokesperson said. 'Young fans were present but it was a photographer who called the police and complained about abusive language, not one of the fans,' they added.

Jerry Hall became the second celebrity to leave Strictly Come Dancing on Sunday. The model and her professional partner Anton Du Beke left the competition after falling into the bottom two along with ex-cricketer Michael Vaughan and Natalie Lowe. The couples performed their routines for a second time in the dance-off, with Hall and Du Beke doing the quickstep to Simon and yer actual Garfunkel's 'Mrs Robinson'. Vaughan and Lowe performed the cha-cha-cha to Donna Summer's 'Hot Stuff'. And, seemingly, it was - or, mildly warm stuff, anyway - because Jerry was the one that got the boot. Just like when she was with Bryan Ferry. Almost. Meanwhile, Dionne Warwick was taken to hospital after recording her Strictly Come Dancing performance over the weekend. The singer was forced to perform sitting down after twisting her ankle in a hotel bathroom on Friday night. She was brought into the studio in a wheelchair to pre-record her performance of '(There's) Always Something There To Remind Me' on Saturday. 'Dionne had an accident at the hotel and really hurt her ankle. She came to the studio in a wheelchair and everyone was really worried for her,' an alleged 'source' allegedly told the Sun. 'She should have probably been in hospital getting it checked out. But she has not been in the business for decades because she flakes on people. She's a genuine pro and just grabbed the floor manager's arm, hobbled on to the stage, sat down and got on with it. She even joked that when her ankle gets better she's going to come back on and give us all a dance.'

Strictly Come Dancing has recorded its first ever Sunday night victory over The X Factor when comparing the shows' first broadcasts according to overnight data. Jerry Hall's departure from Strictly on 21 October was watched by 9.39m punters on BBC1, while an average of 9.33m watched Louis Walsh's group MK1 leave The X Factor on ITV. Strictly peaked with just over ten million in its 7.30pm to 8pm slot, while The X Factor reached a high of just under eleven million for its climax. This means Strictly has done the double over The X Factor this weekend, after retaining a lead over its rival on Saturday. But, the night really belonged to Downton Abbey, which had a huger overnight audience of 9.69m in the 9pm hour. Meanwhile, the return of Surprise, Surprise to the ITV schedules after eleven years off, with Holly Willoughby replacing Cilla Black as the host, was watched by 4.28m in the 7pm junction, slightly below the channel's usual slot average. On BBC1, Countryfile climbed to an impressive 6.94m at 6.30pm, while Antiques Roadshow maintained a steady 5.62m at 8pm. The hole where the rain got in, sadly, again was Andrew Marr's History of the World which interested a mere 2.33m in the 9pm hour. Elsewhere at 9pm, Dragons' Den rose to 2.1m on BBC2 and Homeland drew 1.86m on Channel Four.

Melissa George has spoken about a potential second series of her spy thriller Hunted. The drama - created by Frank Spotnitz - is currently showing on BBC1 in the UK and on Cinemax in the US. '[Frank has] given me a pretty good idea [of where series two would go],' George told IGN. 'It's all going to be about Sam's journey, finding out and putting the pieces together. She won't be the nanny anymore.' The actress - who plays Sam Hunter - added that a second series of Hunted would be set in Berlin. 'Next year it's in Berlin, and there's a whole link to Hourglass, which is the covenant group that killed her mother,' said George. 'So there will be a lot of accents and things like that.' The Australian actress previously stated that her Hunted role 'could, potentially, be long-term,' adding that she may be playing Sam 'for the next five years.' Emphasis on the word 'may' however, because, given the ratings it's currently getting on BBC1 (average, at best), this blogger wouldn't put too much money on that happening, personally.

Doc Martin has been commissioned for a sixth series by ITV, it has been announced. Martin Clunes will return for another batch of eight episodes as Martin Ellingham, with the comedy drama expected to anchor ITV's autumn schedule of 2013. Filming will begin next spring on location in Port Isaac with all regular members of the cast returning to the drama. At the end of the last season, Clunes's alter ego reconciled with long-time love interest Louisa Glasson (Caroline Catz) after rescuing their son James from a narcotised pharmacist Sally Tishell. Clunes said in a statement: 'I'm thrilled to be going back to the beautiful North Cornish coast to shoot series six of Doc Martin. Our challenge this season will be to force Louisa and the doctor to live together with Baby James which as far as I can see has disaster written all over it. And then there's the dog and Dame Eileen but not necessarily in that order!'

Armando Iannucci has admitted on Twitter that he accidentally linked his followers to a full episode of The Thick of It. The writer made the confession after thanking fans for their positive feedback when the latest episode - which satirised the Leveson inquiry - was screened on Sunday night. 'Uber-thanks for your outpouring of positivity after last night's The Thick Of It Inquiry special. Here's where I have a confession to make,' began Iannucci. 'Three weeks ago, while in LA, I did a weak and foolish thing. I accidentally tweeted a link to what I thought was a trail but which was actually a link to a cut of the whole sixty minute Inquiry episode.' He continued: 'We got the link down after five minutes but some of you managed to download it. To those who did, thank for keeping quiet and not spilling any spoilers. I appreciate it hugely.' Iannucci then joked: 'Needless to say, if I were a Junior Minister, I would by now have stayed in my post for another week then resigned.'
The BBC has pulled an episode of their popular crime drama New Tricks about an under-age sex ring in a care home in the light of various allegations about Jimmy Savile. The programme was due to be screened on Monday night. A BBC spokeswoman said: 'In light of current news events, this week's billed episode of New Tricks will be replaced by next week's scheduled episode.' New Tricks, of course, features a group of former police officers brought out of retirement to solve cold cases. Maybe they should put them on the Savile case and, if they find enough evidence, they can dig him up and arrest him for being such a terrible old scallywag. Episode nine in the current series of the show, which stars Alun Armstrong, Dennis Waterman, Denis Lawson and Amanda Redman, was about a child abuse scandal spanning two decades. The BBC will, instead, show episode ten. A new date for transmission for the dropped episode has not been confirmed but, I wouldn't hold your breath on it being any time soon. Last month, the BBC postponed the final episode of Good Cop after the deaths of policewomen Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes in Greater Manchester. The drama, starring former Luther actor Warren Brown, had featured a violent attack on a female police officer. It was eventually screened on 13 October.

Channel Four's boss, David Abraham, was commended by the Labour MP Paul Farrelly for the quality of his channel's Paralympics coverage when he appeared before the culture select committee last week. Farrelly, no doubt aware of the issue of female presenters on TV, was particularly impressed by Clare Balding. 'When I first tuned-in I thought, "That's the lady from the BBC." Did the BBC loan her like a national treasure, as the National Gallery would loan you a painting?' he asked. No, explained Abraham, Clare is, in fact, a freelance presenter.

In what could be the boldest move ever made by a TV channel, BBC2 has announced that it is 'shortening' autumn. Impressive. Seemingly out of love with her once ever-expanding nature franchises now Kate Humble has followed Bill Oddie into the exit lounge, BBC2's controller, Janice Hadlow, has dramatically put a stop to Autumnwatch's customary eight-week runs. Autumn this year will last for just four days, from 30 October to 2 November. Standard fixtures of the season hitherto – early leaf-yellowing, Bonfire Night, Armistice Day, Children in Need, the home nations losing at rugby – will no longer be part of it, and Keats's To Autumn (written in September) will have to be retitled To Late - Thou Very Wet - Summer. But at least Hadlow's chosen time-frame allows Hallow'een to stay.

Sunday Brunch, the Channel Four lifestyle magazine show, has been criticised by Ofcom for 'overly promoting' a military fitness service. The show, which is broadcast live for two and a half hours every Sunday (no, me neither, I'm usually watching Goals on Sunday on Sky Sports as well), is presented by yer actual Tim Lovejoy and Simon Rimmer. The episode on 12 August featured an interview with three British Military Fitness representatives on the project, which provides outdoor fitness classes led by former members of the armed forces. Rimmer and Lovejoy wore T-shirts bearing the BMF logo during the item, and also engaged in some of the exercises. But a - single - viewer, obviously with nothing better to do with his or her time, complained that the item 'appeared to be an advertisement' for BMF as it contained details on pricing and membership packages, a free trial and a special offer for Sunday Brunch viewers. Channel Four told Ofcom that neither it nor the programme makers had received any payment from BMF for featuring on Sunday Brunch. The broadcaster said that there was 'editorial justification' in featuring the item on the BMF service, but accepted that mention of a special offer for viewers 'could be construed as promotional.' Channel Four also acknowledged that Lovejoy and Rimmer wearing BMF T-shirts during the segment gave 'undue prominence beyond what may be editorially justified.' In its judgment, Ofcom said that there was 'insufficient editorial justification' for the extent and number of references to BMF in the item. 'We were concerned, in particular, by the way in which the discussion gave the BMF representatives the opportunity to convey in a positive light details about their company's growth, success, and the prices charged to consumers, with relatively less focus on the exercises involved,' Ofcom said. It added: 'Ofcom also considered that the overall effect of the item was to promote BMF. The specific references to the success of BMF, the cost of its classes, the no-obligation free trial and the special offer on the Sunday Brunch programme website, clearly promoted the company, in breach of Rule 9.4 of the Code.' Ofcom noted Channel Four's efforts to improve its compliance procedures, but warned the broadcaster to take a 'more thorough approach' to clearing items appearing on Sunday Brunch in the future.

It was a sometimes gruelling night at the Grosvenor House hotel on Thursday for Bradley Walsh, host of The Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards (viewable on ITV3 this week, if you're interested. Mama Telly Topping, a regular iTV3 viewer, will be, no doubt). While Benedict Cumberbatch was triumphing, picking up three prizes, the game show compère was floundering, stringing together a sequence of autocue fluffs, misguided stunts (Sykes, the dog from Midsomer Murders, was never going to work as an award presenter) and jokes that just didn't come off – 'Start the car!', said Walsh ruefully, in an impression of David Lloyd, when another gag fell flat. After one especially awkward attempt at banter with Rebecca Front, with tumbleweeds blowing through the hall Front drily said, 'I don't know about you, but I'm feeling very relaxed after that.' But she was to be the victim of wit herself when her Lewis co-star, Laurence Fox, accepting his best supporting actor award on video, said Front was looking 'remarkably good for sixty three.' You heard it here first, dear blog reader, Mister Billie Piper can be funny.

Channel Five director of programmes Jeff Ford is leaving the Richard Desmond-owned broadcaster. Ford was one of the few senior Channel Five executives who stayed after it was bought by Desmond, the owner of the Daily Lies and the Daily Scum Express, for just over one hundred million smackers in July 2010. He was director of digital channels at the time and was promoted to director of programmes in August 2010 following Richard Woolfe's departure. Ford has spent more than a decade at Channel Five in two separate stints, the second beginning in 2009 after he returned from Channel Four. As Channel Five's director of programmes, Ford oversaw the return of Big Brother to UK television after it was dropped by Channel Four. Under Desmond's ownership, Channel Five became the home of Big Brother and its celebrity offshoot. The show will stay with the broadcaster until 2014. The reality show helped boost Channel Five ratings, but predictably failed to hit anywhere even close to the highs of when it was shown on Channel Five. In an interview earlier this year, Ford said people 'looked down their noses' at Channel Five. Sounds about right. Still, what do you expect concerning a TV network owned by a soft-core pornographer? 'Yes, I think there is snobbery,' he told Broadcast. 'C5 is an easy target, but Royal Marines: Mission Afghanistan or Cowboy Builders could be on any other channel, and Alex Polizzi is doing a show for BBC2 that's not a million miles away from what she does for us. There is snobbery, but when you talk to people one-to-one in the industry, they are more supportive.' One of the more quotable TV executives, Ford said of his loyalty to Channel Five: 'Mary Tudor said that when she died, the word Calais would be inscribed on her heart. If you cut my heart it would say Channel Five – though I'm not sure whether it would be the words or the numeral.' Ford previously worked as Channel Five's director of acquisitions from its launch in 1997, leaving to join Channel Four in 2005. He previously worked in acquisitions at ITV and the BBC, where he began his TV career in 1985.

Ofcom has ruled that Channel Four did not breach broadcasting rules when its chief news correspondent doorstepped former Sun editor odious horrorshow (and drag) Kelvin MacKenzie about his infamous The Truth front-page splash on the Hillsborough football disaster. Alex Thomson, amusingly, turned up at the former tabloid editor's house in September, following the publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel's report into the tragedy which claimed the lives of ninety six Liverpool fans due to catastrophic police blunders followed by twenty three years of lying to cover it all up. Channel Four News captured an increasingly testy exchange with Thomson catching MacKenzie at his front door and progressing to his car, where he briefly blocked from leaving by jamming his body between the driver's door and the vehicle as he continued to pursue an answer. The broadcasting regulator received nine complaints that the tactic was 'a breach of privacy', which it may have been but, given the fact that odious Kelvin MacKenize was the one having his privacy allegedly breached, it was also funny. Now you know how many people who've been doorstepped by the newspapers you've edited over the years feel, Kelvin. It is not known if MacKenzie was one of the complainants. Ofcom assessed the complaints but found that Channel Four did not breach the privacy and fairness rules set out in the broadcasting code. MacKenzie was responsible for the Sun's infamous front-page story about the 1989 disaster at an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. The article, which he finally apologised for - twenty three years too late, admittedly - after the Hillsborough panel's report, was headlined The Truth and falsely alleged that drunken fans had urinated on police and pickpocketed dead and injured supporters.

It may feel as if you have already said your farewells to Ceefax – the BBC information service was switched off across most of the country earlier this year. This week it really is goodbye, once the analogue TV signal is switched off in Northern Ireland, completing the process of UK digital TV switchover. There is no better place to indulge in a little Ceefax nostalgia than with a BBC retrospective featuring some music viewers of a certain age and above will remember. There's also this clever spoof farewell page from a decidedly grumpy Ceefax, moaning about struggling to get up for the nightshift and being 'yet another victim of BBC ageism.' Quick, turn to page 302 for the footie!
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew said that Fabricio Coloccini's performance during Sunday's 1-1 draw in the Tyne-Wear Derby with The Great Unwashed from T'Dark Place was 'like watching Bobby Moore.' Presumably, not in this advert. And, presumably, not now, obviously, since yer actual legend that is Mooro has been - sadly - dead for some years. Coloccini putting in a magnificent performance at centre-half as The Magpies - reduced to ten men in the first-half - earned a well deserved point at the Stadium of Shite. And Pardew decided the display was worthy of comparison with Moore, the gifted centre-back who captained England to World Cup success in 1966. 'He was absolutely phenomenal,' said Pardew of his Argentine international captain. 'If you want a defensive example of how to head it, kick it, cover people and have the calmness to play, then this was it. That was like watching Bobby Moore. It was that good.' United held onto a third-minute lead given to them by Yohan Cabaye until just four minutes from time, with Coloccini, who had missed six of his side's last seven games because off a hamstring injury, leading the resistance. It was only after losing his South American centre-back to cramp that Blunderland - somewhat luckily - equalised, a John O'Shea header that was going miles wide hitting Demba Ba and deflecting beyond Tim Krul who'd barely had a save to make all game, thus denying the Magpies what would have been a famous victory. Though they could not hold on with ten men, Pardew had no complaints about midfielder Cheick Tiote's dismissal for a - frankly mental -studs-up tackle on Steven Fletcher after the referee had already blown for a foul on him. 'I know Cheick and he's not tried to do the player,' said Pardew in mitigation. 'He has just caught him and Martin Atkinson has deemed it a red card. I thought the fourth official had a part to play in it because I don't think Martin could have seen it.' Pardew was delighted with the nature of his team's display, adding: 'It would have been one of the greatest victories had we managed to hang on but sixty five minutes is a long time with ten men. We talked before-hand about showing the fans how much this means to us and I thought we did that, particularly when we were down to ten men. It was an unbelievable effort and I'm so proud. I'm just disappointed we haven't taken all three points when we have played for more than an hour with ten men. That's saying something.'

Which brings us, dear blog reader, to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 33 of the Day. Here's a righteous  slab of Serious Drinking featuring yer actual Bobby Moore his very self. 'Lost three-two we know for sure/ couldn't be blamed on Bobby Moore!'
And, from the same LP (and, indeed, the same John Peel session), check out their version of Wire's 12XU, dear blog readers. Quality!

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