Friday, January 18, 2013

Be Careful Of What You Do, Cos The Lie Becomes The Truth

As announced earlier in the week, yer actual Matt Smith his very self is to make his directorial début on an episode of Sky Arts's Playhouse Presents. Smudger's episode is entitled Cargese and is described as 'a unique piece of poetic realism which mines the tragic seam of adolescent love and loss.' Talking about his new challenge, Smith said: 'Sky Arts offers creative opportunities that many other channels don't. To collaborate with [writer] Simon Stephens in this capacity was a thrilling and rare opportunity and one we both were keen to embrace.' The episode is due to be broadcast on Thursday 25 April. Hustle, State of Play and Mad Dogs actor Marc Warren has also written and directed for the series with Hey Diddly Dee, which will feature yer actual Kylie Minogue. Warren said: 'Writing and directing for Playhouse Presents has been one of the most magical experiences of my career. To give myself the best chance I called in every favour to surround myself with a dream cast and an incredible crew. And then by some miracle, Kylie appeared, and the fate of our film was sealed.' As for Kylie, Kylie sweet and smiley her very self, she added: 'When the script was sent to me, I read it and knew instinctively I wanted to be part of this project. In Hey Diddly Dee, Marc has created a beautiful and quirky story.' The episode launches the season on Thursday 14 March.

David Morrissey isn't averse to a return to Doctor Who, should he be asked.'"I would absolutely love to do it again. I had such a ball doing it,' he said in a recent interview. 'Mark Gatiss says, you know, there's nothing more blissful for him to write than "Interior TARDIS: Day" or whatever on the top of one of his scripts, it's living the dream. And for me, when I went down and worked on it, I thought "This is great," it's a really well-run show, people take it very seriously but you have fun on it. And l loved that character, I really loved Jackson Lake, I thought he was a really interesting man, he was in some sort of trauma himself and The Doctor liberates him from that.'

Mark Williams - currently starring as the eponymous crime-solving priest Father Brown in the BBC1 daytime drama - has spoken of his fondness for GK Chesterton's clerical detective. 'He has a huge appetite for the detail of life and for humanity, and he cares very much about people's souls. That's the most interesting thing about him as a sleuth: it's not him solving a conundrum or a crossword, he's dealing with what he sees as people's eternal damnation. And when he works it out, the sky turns black and is full of harpies; he's desperately committed to his morality.'
As was widely reported last year, a new series starring Bernard Cribbins with Freema Agyeman is to feature on CBeebies. Old Jack's Boat starts its twenty five-episode daily weekday run on Monday 21 January at 5.40pm, and sees Cribbins as the retired, story-telling crusty old sea dog of the title, with Agyeman featuring as café-owning character called Shelly Periwinkle. Poor girl. The episode to be broadcast on Friday 25 January is written by yer actual Russell Davies and involves the Moon. 'Sitting watching Bernard Cribbins reading out some lines that you've written, I can't tell you how good it was, it was a joy,' said Davies.
The great Olivia Colman joins her Hot Fuzz co-star Paddy Considine, along with the likes of Tim Pigott-Smith and Shaun Dingwall in the cast of the ITV drama The Suspicions of Mr Whicher II: The Murder In Angel Lane. Olivia will play Susan Spencer, who employs Whicher as a private inquiry agent to investigate the murder of her niece. Pigott-Smith reprises his role as Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Richard Mayne, while Dingwall will play Inspector George Lock. The two-hour story is being filmed in Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire, and Central London over the next four weeks. Olivia also, of course, starred in Paddy's directional début, the gritty Tyrannosuar.

One Born Every Minute overtook Celebrity Big Brother in the overnight ratings on Wednesday, initial data suggests. The BAFTA-winning documentary series climbed to 2.16 million punters in the 9pm hour, slightly edging Big Brother by a hundred thousand viewers. However, the Channel Five reality show averaged 2.1m in its full ninety-minute slot between 9pm and 10.30pm. One Born Every Minute appealed to a further two hundred and forty seven thousand viewers on C4+1. Gok's Fashion Secrets pulled in 1.34m in the 8pm slot, helping Channel Four to achieve another victory over soft-core pornographer Richard Desmond's network, which had but eight hundred and ninety nine thousand viewers for Charlie Boorman's South African Adventure. Meanwhile, BBC2's Winterwatch continued to impress with 2.69m for its third episode, but the channel's audience then nosedived to seven hundred and sixty five thousand for 9pm's stand-up documentary Funny Business. Meanwhile David Attenborough's Africa also pulled in the numbers with 5.95m for BBC1 at 9pm, prior to which The Food Inspectors interested 3.93m. Over on ITV, football coverage of The Scum's FA Cup replay win over The Hamsters averaged 5.14m between 8pm and 10.15pm. Thanks in large part to its soaps, ITV led primetime with twenty three per cent of the audience share above BBC1's 20.6 per cent.

Sir Trevor McDonald's new ITV series Inside Death Row appeared to at least partially dent BBC1's popular Silent Witness on Thursday night. The documentary two-parter exploring Americas love of killing people interested 4.46m punters in the 9pm hour, adding an additional, and impressive, five hundred and seven thousand on ITV+1. Meanwhile, Silent Witness maintained a strong audience of 5.78m to lead the 9pm hour, despite losing about three hundred thousand viewers on last week's series opener. Celebrity Big Brother pulled in 1.89m crushed victims of society for Channel Five at 9pm, staying ahead of rival Restoration Man which mustered 1.69m on Channel Four. BBC2's Winterwatch ended with a decent audience of 2.84m in the 8pm slot, while Channel Four's Location, Location, Location held 2.32m. Overall, BBC1 topped primetime with 23.5 per cent, ahead of ITV's 18.7 per cent of the audience share.

A former Coronation Street actor has appeared in court charged with historical child sex offences. Andrew Lancel, from Gateacre in Liverpool, is accused of five counts of indecent assault on a child under sixteen. The actor, who played Frank Foster in the ITV soap, appeared at a preliminary hearing at Liverpool Crown Court under his real name, Andrew Watkinson. His next hearing will be 15 April when he will be expected to enter a plea with a trial date set for 3 June. Watkinson, who spoke only to confirm his name, was granted bail. The offences are alleged to have happened during his trainee acting days in the 1990s in Southport. The actor appeared in Coronation Street from January 2011 until March 2012.

Former BBC director general Greg Dyke promised in 2002 to 'cut the crap,' handing out yellow cards for staff to wave at meetings. But as the BBC awaits the arrival of the latest man in charge, Lord Hall, its staff have been asked to go one step further in a new 'Give red tape the red card' campaign. The BBC is holding a Simplicity Week at its Salford base, BBC North, home to Radio 5Live, BBC Children's and BBC Sport, culminating in a simplicity 'brainstorm' on Friday as the broadcaster seeks to identify 'sixty fixes' in the next six months. Staff have also been invited to make suggestions to a 'simplicity hotline' with an as-yet unidentified prize on offer for the best suggestion. An e-mail address is complemented by a more old-fashioned alternative – a suggestion box in the 5Live kitchen – with business cards left on people's desks to encourage their most creative thinking. Examples include making all the buildings on the BBC North site accessible to staff with a single pass, rather than requiring a different pass for each. 'It's not rocket science. It's about making everything a bit easier, and people a bit less grumpy,' one alleged BBC 'source' allegedly told the Gruniad Morning Star who, of course, thought all this bollocks was hilarious as BBC management give their detractors yet another open goal to score against them. Various BBC director generals have tried to rein in bureaucracy, but it was Dyke's yellow card scheme in 2002 that was most memorable. Employees were handed the cards, saying 'cut the crap and make it happen,' which were meant to be brandished at meetings to prevent ideas being stifled. The latest efficiency drive – begun by former director general Mark Thompson under the title Delivering Quality First – is part of the BBC's ongoing effort to save seven hundred million quid across the corporation after the licence fee was frozen until 2016, in which the publicly funded broadcaster has promised to reduce the number of tiers of management from nine to seven. The BBC, which employs nearly twenty two thousand people and spent £4.3bn in the UK in 2011-12, has become renowned for its multi-layered, colourfully titled hierarchy, with job titles such as 'thematic adviser, governance' and 'client solutions executive' providing meat and drink to the corporation's critics. Like the hippy Communist lice at the Gruniad Morning Star and the jackbooted bully-boy thugs at the Daily Scum Mail and the Daily Torygraph, for instance. A BBC spokesperson said: 'When we announced our Delivering Quality First plans we said we would look at ways to make the BBC simpler in order to ensure it is as efficient as possible, and make the best use of the licence fee. We routinely meet with staff who are best placed to tell us what changes can make the biggest difference in their part of the organisation.' Cynics who question the BBC's ability to simplify itself - usually twats of no importance writing for the Gruniad Morning Star or the Daily Scum Mail or the Daily Torpygraph - might seize on the job title given to Jane McCloskey who was put in charge of the 'DGF Simplicity agenda' - BBC transformation engagement and simplicity project lead. She has since been made director, organisational change. The simplifying, it would appear, has already begun.

A German man has been hospitalised after his grandson locked him outside for five hours in sub-zero temperatures. The seventy two-year-old was trapped outside on a balcony after his grandson locked the door. The man, who hails from Munich, did exercises whilst stuck on the second floor balcony on Wednesday in a bid to keep himself warm when he couldn't convince his two-year-old grandson to let him back inside, reports The Local. The man was babysitting the boy and eventually managed to get the toddler to pass him a phone through a window so he could call the child's parents. When the boy's parents arrived to rescue the man, they found the key was stuck in the lock from the inside and had to call the fire brigade to let them back in. A fire department spokesman said: 'I don't understand why he didn't shout for help, into the street or courtyard or something. I'm sure I would be shouting a lot if I were stuck out in the cold for that long. He was on the second floor, six or seven metres up off the ground, so jumping was not an option.' The man was later taken to hospital where he was treated for hypothermia.

The Beatles' début LP, Please Please Me, is to be re-recorded (no doubt, badly) by a number of artists for a special BBC project. Stereophonics and - get this - utterly ridiculous Mick Hucknall out of Simply Red will be among the acts involved in the recording at Abbey Road to mark the LP's fiftieth anniversary. The artists will have twelve hours to complete the project, in the same manner as The Beatles - a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might have heard of them - in February 1963. They will be using the same studio, with each song recorded in the order it appears on the original LP. The project will take place on Monday 11 February, and will be broadcast live on Radio 2. It will also be filmed for a special documentary titled Twelve Hours to Please Me for BBC4, to be broadcast on 15 February. Stuart Maconie and horrible Jo Whiley will host the event, while other guests from the original session will appear, including recording engineer Richard Langham and Beatles press officer Tony Barrow. It will be the main focus of a series titled The Golden Age of the Album, a two-week celebration across BBC4, Radio 2 and 6 Music. Richard Klein, controller of BBC4, said: 'I'm thrilled to be celebrating The Golden Age of the Album across both television and radio. We're taking a look behind the scenes of a really exciting moment in popular music history when some of our most iconic albums were recorded, and trying to discover what are the essential ingredients that make an album great.'

Actor Robert Wagner has 'declined to be interviewed' by police reinvestigating the death of his former wife, Natalie Wood. The Hart to Hart actor was quizzed after Wood's drowning in 1981 but has refused to co-operate since the case was reopened, detectives said. The body of the actress was found a mile away from the yacht she had been aboard with her husband and fellow-actor Christopher Walken in California. It is claimed that she had 'a fight' with Wagner before her disappearance. Wagner's solicitor, Blair Berk, insisted the actor had 'nothing to hide.' In a prepared statement, Berk said: 'Mr Wagner has fully co-operated over the last thirty years in the investigation of the accidental drowning of his wife in 1981. He has been interviewed on multiple occasions by the Los Angeles sheriff's department and answered every single question asked of him by detectives during those interviews.' Wood's death was always presumed to have been a tragic accident, but the case was reopened in November 2011 when the yacht's captain, Dennis Davern, told an American television show that he heard the Hollywood couple arguing on the night of her disappearance, suggesting Wagner may have been to blame for her death. Berk dismissed the claims as 'sensationalist,' but earlier this week coroner's officials released an updated autopsy report which reclassified the death from accidental drowning to drowning caused by 'undetermined factors.' The report said part of the reason for the change was because investigators could not rule out that some of the bruises and marks found on Wood's body happened before she went into the water. Lieutenant John Corina of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's office claimed detectives have tried to interview Wagner on more than ten occasions, but had been turned down each time. He said: 'Most of the people we've talked to were never talked to thirty years ago. We've got a lot of new information.' But, when pressed on whether criminal charges could be brought, Corina claimed that would be up to prosecutors, adding: 'All we can do is collect the facts. We're still trying to collect all the facts.' Wood, who was forty three when she died, was a Hollywood superstar best known for her roles in Miracle on Thirty Fourth Street, West Side Story and Rebel Without A Cause. On the night of her death she had been drinking with her husband and Walken on the yacht. Her body was found near an inflatable dinghy which had been attached to the craft. In 2008, Wagner, eighty two, wrote in a memoir that he had argued with Walken and when he went to bed, he noticed his wife and the dinghy were missing. 'Nobody knows,' he wrote. 'There are only two possibilities; either she was trying to get away from the argument, or she was trying to tie the dinghy. But the bottom line is that nobody knows exactly what happened.'

On Thursday evening, dear blog reader, The Record Player kicked back off for its (impressive looking) 2013 season and yer actual Uncle Scunthorpe (in the - as it turned out, entirely successful - hope of 'getting some girls along') has chosen Thriller for the opening night. Awgh! Hehehe, and all that. Anyway, it was great night and yer actual Keith Telly Topping was glad to see Jeff, Chris, Billy and Steph, Christian and Vicky, Ewan and other Vicky, Bruce, Brad and Uncle Scunthorpe again after a few weeks of having to sit in his gaff on a Thursday evening wondering what to watch on telly. Highlight of the evening (apart from being reminded what a genuinely proper decent LP Thriller is ... and Steve buying yer actual Keith Telly Topping a pint, it should be noted) was a part of the slide show to accompany the playing of the LP. Midway through the first song, in the middle of a batch of photos of the young Michael and his brothers was one publicity shot of The Jackson Five circa 1975(ish) wearing some extraordinarily garish threads. That, however, wasn't what was so special about it. Oh, no dear blog reader. Not even close. Rather it was the fact that the two Jacksons nearest the camera (General Tito, in canary yellow, and Jackie, in lime green) were sporting massive chimneys which their extremely tight pants did little to hide. We were three choruses into 'The Doggone Girl is Mine' and yer actual Keith Telly Topping's mind was still totally boggled by this outrageous sight.
They really weren't joking when they asked 'Can You Feel It?' some years later, were they? Groins clearly run in that family, dear blog reader. Noses run in ours. Which, of course, brings us to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. And, it's a masterpiece of angry denial from The King of Pop.

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