Thursday, February 07, 2013

Ein Zwei Drei Vier!

Yer actual Matt Smith has joined the cast of How To Catch A Monster. The Doctor Who actor will make his US acting début in the project, which is Ryan Gosling's directorial first, reports Variety. Smudger his very self will play the male lead in the project, which also stars Eva Mendes and Christina Hendricks. Marc Platt and Adam Siegel will produce the film along with Gosling, Michel Litvak and David Lancaster. How To Catch A Monster is 'centred around a dream-like landscape of a disappearing city', apparently, and follows a single mother named Billy who finds herself 'in a gloomy fantasy underworld.' Her teenage son discovers a secret path leading to an underwater town, which they must investigate in order to save their family. Shooting on his first directorial venture is set to begin in May in Detroit. Smith recently finished filming the second half of the latest season of Doctor Who, which will begin on BBC1 at the end of March. The actor recently made his own directorial début, shooting the short film Cargese for the Sky Arts series Playhouse Presents that will have its premiere in April.

Smudger's mate Benedict Cumberbatch and Rebecca Hall are among the nominees for the thirty ninth annual Broadcasting Press Guild Awards. The pair are up for best actor and actress for their roles in BBC2 drama Parade's End, which leads the field with five nominations. Parade's End also features in the best drama series category, where it will compete with Last Tango in Halifax, Line of Duty and Sherlock. The awards will be presented at a ceremony in London next month. Benny, whose nomination also recognises his performance in Sherlock, faces competition his from Parade's End co-star Roger Allam, Ben Whishaw for his roles in The Hollow Crown and The Hour and Peter Capaldi, for The Thick Of It and The Hour. Hall is up against Sienna Miller, for The Girl, Anna Chancellor, who starred in Pramface and The Hour, Olivia Colman, for Accused and Twenty Twelve and Maxine Peake, from Silk and Room At The Top. Sir Tom Stoppard completes the Parade's End shortlist with his nomination for the BPG Writer's Award, while Masterchef: The Professionals and The Great British Bake Off go head-to-head in the Best Factual Entertainment category, alongside Paul O'Grady: For The Love of Dogs and Who Do You Think You Are?

ITV's coverage of England's 2-1 friendly win over Brazil peaked with nearly nine million overnight punters on Wednesday evening, beating the final outing for Sir David Attenborough's Africa on BBC1. International Football Live had an average of 6.9 million viewers between 7pm and 9.30pm. Attenborough's Africa finished with 5.2 million viewers between 9pm and 10pm. Africa also lost out to a later than usual edition of Coronation Street, watched by 6.2 million viewers between 9.30pm and 10pm after the fitba was finished.
Billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's News International is making a concerted effort to close down the Scum of the World phone-hacking saga, agreeing out-of-court settlements on one hundred and forty three of one hundred and sixty five outstanding civil damages cases it is facing in the high court ahead of a key hearing before a judge on Friday. However, lawyers acting for alleged phone-hacking victims say that News International will be unable to finally draw a line under the scandal, as police are still in the process of informing potential victims of the alleged crimes committed against them. At least eight new claims are being prepared for Mr Justice Vos's court hearing on Friday, including cases brought by former Crystal Palace owner Simon Jordan, the mobile-phone millionaire who bought the club in 2000 and remained chairman until it went into administration in 2010. Jordan's action has just been lodged in the high court along with a case brought by Nasty Nigel Lythgoe, the British TV producer behind American Idol, and former assistant chief constable at South Yorkshire police Steve Chamberlain. According to the Gruniad Morning Star - who could barely contain their abject glee at such a revelation - one lawyer working on behalf of victims said News International was 'throwing money' at claimants in a hope of persuading victims to drop their lawsuits ahead of Friday's case management conference before Vos and 'clean the slate' for the company. News International is understood to have been notified in total of seven hundred and one claims since the first action was launched by Sienna Miller back in 2010, but not all victims are going through the high court. More than two hundred and fifty have opted to enter into an alternative twenty million smackers compensation scheme set up by News International, but earlier this week the publisher of the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World informed lawyers that it was closing this fund down in April. The decision to close the compensation scheme, which was launched in 2011, has raised concerns with lawyers who are acting for victims who have just been told by police their phones have been hacked. Steven Heffer, solicitor at Collyer Bristow, who is acting for eighty individuals seeking damages through the News International compensation scheme, said: 'It is a very strong signal that News International are trying to close this down very swiftly. This will cause a big problem because there are more claims around from people who have just been told by police their phones had been hacked. They are trying to put a lid on something that is still popping out of the box.' The Gruniad claims that he said News International has also 'changed the rules' on the scheme and is even challenging those who have been informed by the Metropolitan police that their voicemails were hacked by the Scum of the World. 'People who would have expected they had a prima facie case are now finding their cases contested on the grounds of "lack of evidence," but that's because they haven't had disclosure from the police yet and they may not get it before the April deadline. That means their only option is to go to the high court which is more expensive,' he said. Heffer, who acted for Noel Gallagher's ex-missus, Meg Matthews, in the first batch of civil phone-hacking damages claims settled in the high court in early 2012, said he has 'at least another twenty' claims heading for the compensation scheme. Vos has already said he does not want to see a third tranche of claims and is expected to seek an update from News International at the hearing on Friday. A spokesman for News International said: 'We have been keen from the beginning to settle these cases with minimum delay and minimum stress for all involved.' The Gruniad reported that News International had agreed to settle one hundred and thirty of the high court claims in early January, including cases brought by Cherie Blair, David Beckham's father and James Nesbitt. But now it has made thirteen more settlements, including deals struck with former Doctor Who actor Christopher Eccleston and Uri Geller, who suspects that he was hacked because of his 'friendship' with pop star Michael Jackson. One alleged 'source' alleged said that 'at least seven' of the high court claimants, including Tony Woodley, the former joint general secretary of the UNITE union, are 'adamant' that they want their case to go to trial and have their day in court. And, at least one claim, that brought by Mary Ellen Field, the former adviser to model Elle Macpherson, is being contested by News International, which has made an application to have her case struck out. Statements from at least fifteen claimants are expected to be read out in the high court on Friday, but the exact size of the settlements are not expected to be revealed at that stage - if at all. This will be unlike the scenes of pandemonium in the high court last January when dozens of solicitors, claimants and journalist piled into court to hear News International lawyers make thirty seven humiliating and grovelling apologies to individuals including Jude Law, who received a one hundred and thirty thousand smackers settlement, former Labour deputy leader Lord Prescott (forty grand), Labour MPs Chris Bryant (thirty thousand knicker) and Denis MacShane (thirty two thousand five hundred quid), Welsh rugby union international Gavin Henson (forty thousand smackers), designer Sadie Frost (fifty thousand notes) and Prince Harry's 'friend' Guy Pelly (forty thousand wonga). The majority of claimants in the second tranche of actions being managed by Vos have opted for privacy and do not want statements in open court. Among those who do want the settlement and a humbling apology on the public record are Geller, Eccleston (get in there, Big Ecc) and the actor Hugh Grant.

A former Surrey police officer is to be charged with two offences of misconduct in public office over allegations he sold information to the Sun newspaper, the Crown Prosecution Service has said. Alan Tierney is alleged to have provided information twice in 2009 and been paid one thousand seven hundred and fifty quid. The CPS said: 'Both of these incidents were linked to high-profile people.' The former constable will be charged as part of the Metropolitan Police's Operation Elveden investigation. This is the Met's inquiry into allegations of the illegal passing on of information by public officials to journalists. Tierney will appear before Westminster magistrates at a date to be decided. Alison Levitt, QC, principal legal adviser to the Director of Public Prosecutions, said: 'We have concluded, following a careful review of the evidence, that Alan Tierney, a former police constable with Surrey Police, should be charged with two offences of committing misconduct in public office. It is alleged that in 2009 Mr Tierney provided information to the Sun newspaper on two occasions in breach of the terms of his employment with Surrey Police and was paid one thousand seven hundred and fifty pounds. The first charge relates to an allegation that Mr Tierney provided details to the newspaper about a shoplifting incident in which he was the arresting officer. The second charge relates to an occasion on which Mr Tierney took a statement from a witness to a domestic violence incident. It is alleged that Mr Tierney passed the witness' name, address and details of the incident to the newspaper.' The CPS made the announcement after receiving a file of evidence from the Met. The file also related to a member of the public but the CPS said there was 'insufficient evidence' and this person would face no further action.

Like Mrs Brown's Boys, the Radio Times had a proper good Christmas with its overall sale up three per cent on 2011 to two million one hundred and seventy five thousand and fifty six copies, according to the publishers' equivalent of the overnight TV ratings. Such was its success, the listings magazine market, which would have declined a third of a per cent without it, grew by slightly over half a per cent year-on-year over the festive period. Radio Times managing director Kathy Day said it was a 'phenomenal performance.' The magazine, edited by Ben Preston, was helped by its first TV advertising campaign since 2005. Other TV listings magazines are, of course, available. But, they're not as good.
The Monty Python's Flying Circus 'reunion' film, Absolutely Anything, begins shooting in the UK this spring. John Cleese, Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam will join director Terry Jones in voicing a group of aliens who endow a human being with the power to do 'absolutely anything' trade magazine Variety reports. The science fiction comedy mixes live action with CGI effects. Eric Idle, however, is still being sought by the producers but his involvement in the project seems unlikely since he is making far too much coin from Spamalot and having too much fun hanging out in Los Angeles with rock stars, as usual. When asked about his unwillingness to appear alongside his former cast-mates in A Liar's Autobiography, the 3D animated film based on the late Graham Chapman's memoirs, Idle tweeted: 'Not written by Python, just passing off as a Python movie' and later added: 'Python is about writing. Three or four doing a few minutes voiceover doesn't make it Python.' Absolutely Anything also features yer actual Robin Williams, voicing a talking dog named Dennis who seems to understand more about the ensuing mayhem than anyone else. Williams is also being lined-up to play a Frenchman according to producer Mike Medavoy, who also made Monty Python’s Life of Brian. Benedict Cumberbatch and Gemma Arterton have been linked to the film, which is based on a script developed by Jones and Gavin Scott over the past two decades. Stand-up John Oliver was mentioned as the lead when it was first announced in 2010, but reports now suggest that Oliver is no longer involved. Medavoy told Variety: 'Terry and Gavin have crafted a classic farce - something I feel I know a little bit about after all the Pink Panther pictures we did with Blake Edwards at United Artists. In fact, the movie even has a pompous Frenchman reminiscent of Inspector Clouseau - but there the similarity ends. Like all projects originated by any of the Monty Python guys, Absolutely Anything delightfully defies a logline.' Spamalot creator Idle also revealed how he had plans for another Python movie as recently as 1997, a sequel to The Holy Grail, set during The Crusades and featuring Salman Rushdie. Writing on his blog, he outlined several potential scenes, explaining: 'In 1997 I came up with an idea for a Python movie. I went to visit John in Santa Barbara and he seemed genuinely okay with the idea of doing another Python movie, and everyone seemed interested, enough to suggest we get together, but by the time we all assembled at a hotel in Buckinghamshire to discuss it he had changed his mind.' The five remaining Pythons last appeared together in 1998 at the Aspen Comedy Festival along with an urn which, allegedly. contained Chapman's ashes.

BBC3's supernatural drama Being Human's fifth series, which began on Sunday, will be the last, the BBC has announced. Being Human, created by Toby Whithouse and featuring a 'supernatural trinity' of a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost, has been one of the channel's most popular dramas. But, original cast members Russell Tovey, Aidan Turner and Lenora Crichlow have all left for pastures new and the show recently returned for its fifth run with its lowest launch audience since its series début in 2009. Rob Pursey, executive producer and managing director of the show's production company, Touchpaper, said: 'Working on Being Human has been a truly great experience. From the first one-hour pilot, all the way through to this climactic series, we've been given real creative freedom and encouragement. It's a credit to BBC3 that such an unusual idea has been allowed to flourish and evolve in its own unique way. Being Human has also opened the door to new acting talent, including some incredibly exciting younger actors, which is a legacy we all feel proud of. We will miss Being Human, but feel inspired that there is a place for series like this on British television.' The series was developed from a one-hour pilot that was broadcast in 2008. The final series will end with a confrontation with 'the ultimate evil.' Being Human has featured guest stars including Mark Gatiss, Mark Williams, Lacey Turner and Robson Green and currently features Damien Molony, Michael Socha and Kate Bracken in the three leading roles. BBC3 controller Zai Bennett - the numskull who cancelled Ideal - said: 'Being Human has been a fantastic and faithful friend to BBC3. It's featured some truly exceptional actors and storylines through the years and I'd like to thank Toby and the production team for their vision and passion. However, all good things come to an end and at BBC3 we're committed to breaking new shows and new talent and who better to pass that baton on than Toby.'

Channel Five has announced that Dallas is to be moved to a late-night slot. In an embarrassing moment for the network, the much-hyped US drama will broadcast subsequent season two episodes at 11pm from Tuesday 19 February. It was previously shown at 9pm, but has seen some desperately poor ratings figures since it returned in January, even by Channel Five standards. This week's episode attracted only 0.62 million viewers, down from the 0.71m that watched the season premiere in late January. Its first series début was seen by nearly three million punters when it launched in September 2012. A spokesperson at Channel Five said: 'Because Dallas has not performed as well as we wanted we have moved it to a different time slot.' The second season of the show will focus on the fall of JR Ewing, following the death of actor Larry Hagman in November. Its ratings have also dipped in the US on cable channel TNT. Its second season premiere was watched by 2.98m, before dropping twenty five per cent to 2.23m for episode two.

Theo Paphitis has confirmed that he is leaving Dragons' Den. The entrepreneur, investor and former chairman of Millwall Football Club is leaving to spend more time working on his retail chains, including recent acquisition Robert Dyas. 'After nine intense and fun packed series working with the BBC and the Dragons' Den team, sadly it's time for me to say for the final time, "I am out,"' said Paphitis in a statement issued on Thursday morning. 'This has not been an easy decision or one that I have taken lightly, but with the workload involved in growing my exciting, successful new lingerie brand Boux Avenue both in the UK and internationally, along with my recent purchase of the Robert Dyas retail chain and the running of the two hundred and forty Ryman stationery shops, the time felt right to give up my seat, stop breathing fire and allow someone else to enjoy the wonderful experience of being a Dragon on the BBC hit TV show, Dragons' Den. So, it just leaves it for me to say thank you to all past and present Dragons, the brilliant production teams that made the show what it is and of course the BBC for allowing me to participate in the first place. PS: A big "good luck" to the new Dragons!' Paphitis has been with the BBC Manchester-produced show since its second series launched in November 2005. His departure leaves Peter Jones and Duncan Bannatyne as the longest-standing Dragons, and the only two to have served on all ten series of the show. Hilary Devey also left the show recently after two series. Her replacement has not yet been announced.

Peter Gilmore, the star of 1970s drama The Onedin Line, has died at a hospice in London after a long illness. He was eighty one. For ten years from 1971, Gilmore starred in ninety one episodes of the BBC costume drama, which followed the lives of shipping magnate James Onedin and his family. Born in Leipzig in Germany in 1931, Gilmore came to the UK at the age of six and was raised in Yorkshire. His Onedin Line co-star, actress Jessica Benton, called him 'a gentle man and a gentleman.' She said: 'The Onedin Line was a very happy, long-running series to be involved in and that was all credit to Peter because he made it so. We all became very close friends over the years and had a lot of fun. We sorely miss him.' Gilmore's agent, Primie Carey said: 'On behalf of his wife Anne and Peter's family I would like to thank those who have sent their kind thoughts and condolences.' Gilmore left school at fourteen to become an actor and after leaving National Service in the early 1950s, he joined up with a singing group and starred in some musicals with little success. In 1958 he got his first major part as Sir Waldo of Ivanhoe in the TV series, Ivanhoe. He moved on to the stage in London's West End, acting in shows including Lock Up Your Daughters and The Beggar's Opera. In 1971, Gilmore was cast as the shrewd and determined shipping boss James Onedin in the BBC's ambitious drama series. Set in the Nineteenth Century, the show was praised for its locations and use of genuine historical vessels. In 1972, while filming an episode, Gilmore was buzzed by speedboats from the Royal Naval College. Still in character as James Onedin, he yelled irascibly at the sailors: 'Taxpayers' money! Where are your guns? What use would you be if the Russians came?!' On top of the day-to-day drama, romance and business dealings, the series also tackled social and economic issues of the time, such as slavery. Gilmore's film work included roles in several of the Carry On films, the satirical Oh! What a Lovely War (1969) and a memorable lead in the cult film Warlords of the Deep, co-staring Doug McClure. Following TV work, which included episodes of Casualty, Doctor Who and Heartbeat, his final on-screen role was in a made-for-TV film, On Dangerous Ground, with Hollywood star Rob Lowe. He even released a single in 1960 (HMV Pop740), a spin-off from his appearance in the musical Follow That Girl, opposite Susan Hampshire. In 1958 he appeared on the pop programme Cool For Cats, where he met Stubbs, then one of The Dougie Squires Dancers. The couple were married from 1958 until 1969. Subsequently, his second wife was the actress Jan Waters. He is survived by his third wife, Anne Stallybrass, his Onedin Line co-star best known for her performances in the 1970s series The Six Wives of Henry VIII and more recently in Heartbeat and also a son, Jason, from his first marriage.

A Brazilian city has been rocked (and, possibly, rolled) by a wave of dangerous criminals who all share a name with late Beatles legend and notorious alcoholic Scouse wife-beating junkie John Lennon. Police in Belo Horizonte, arrested three men named after the Liverpudlian musician over the past few weeks whilst and another John Lennon was discovered shot dead in a suspected revenge killing. Mark Chapman immediately issued a statement saying this one was nothing to do with him. According to the Sun, John Lennon Ribeiro Siqueira, nineteen, was caught on Friday as he prepared to rob a lottery shop, with police describing him as 'armed and dangerous.' Interestingly, Cynthia Lennon used to describe the real one in very similar terms after he'd had a few in the Abbey Road canteen. Last month, twenty two-year-old John Lennon Fonseca Ferreira, described as 'one of the most wanted criminals in the region,' was apprehended during an attempted robbery. Meanwhile, convicted drug trafficker John Lennon Camargos Gomes, also twenty two, was arrested just before Christmas, accused of five murders and two attempted murders. Authorities put the strange phenomenon down to the popularity of the British beat combo of the 1960s in South America, with thousands of mothers choosing the name after The Beatles star was murdered in New York City in 1980.

If you've been enjoying Danny Baker's excellent Great Album Showdown over the last few nights on BBC4 - and, if you haven't, then what they hell have you been doing instead? - and you happen to be driving home under the influence of, say The Electric Light Orchestra, please do be careful.
Thanks for the advice, Chief Inspector. Whilst you're about it, could you arrange for the imprisonment of this lot.
Sounds like a line I used in a bar once. True story.

Meanwhile ...
Fab, gear. (If a bit pricey!)

German electro pioneers Kraftwerk have played the first of their eight-night retrospective at London's Tate Modern. The quartet played their 1974 LP, Autobahn, to twelve hundred fans in the gallery's Turbine Hall. Fans described the two-hour show, Kraftwerk's first in London since 2004, as 'mesmerising' and 'phenomenal,' and one which 'lived up to the hype.' The sixteen-song set also included the single 'The Robots' from their 1978 LP, The Man Machine. Founded in 1970 by Ralf Hutter and Florian Schneider, Kraftwerk were notoriously secretive, operating out of a Dusseldorf studio - Kling-Klang - which was said to have had no telephone, fax or reception. Their pioneering music reflected upon the relationship between humans and technology and they are credited as influences on everything from hip-hop to chill-out, via drum n bass and acid house. By 1975 they had settled into their 'classic' line-up, with Hutter and Schneider joined by Karl Bartos and Wolfgang Flur, however Bartos and Flur left in 1982 and, following Schneider's departure in 2008, Hutter is now the group's sole remaining founding member. They are best known for their 1981 number one hit 'The Model' and the twenty two-minute 'Autobahn' which, in edited form, was a hit in both the UK and America in 1975. Among the bands inspired by the German group were Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, who were influenced by their experiments with tapes and synthesizers, which later became predominant elements of pop music. OMD's Andy McCluskey, who attended Wednesday's opening night, twenty eight years after he first saw them play live at the Liverpool Empire, said it was 'the best multimedia arts project on the planet. I saw them three-and-a-half years ago at the Manchester Velodrome and now that the whole show is in 3D and with surround sound, it's incredible. It's amazing that forty years into their career, they're still relevant,' he said. During the two-hour set on Wednesday, Kraftwerk played a new version of 'Radioactivity' from the 1975 LP of the same name, updated to include a reference to the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011. With just ten thousand tickets available for the series of eagerly anticipated shows, the Tate website crashed as fans rushed to buy tickets last December. Kraftwerk's retrospective at the Tate, dubbed The Catalogue, is described as a 'chronological exploration' of the reclusive group's 'sonic experiments.' It was first performed at New York's Museum of Modern Art last year. The group will play a series of LPs from their back catalogue over the next seven nights, including Radio-Activity (1975), Trans Europe Express (1977), The Man-Machine (1978), Computer World (1981), Electric Café (now known as Techno Pop, 1986), The Mix (1991) and Tour De France (2003), along with additional compositions from their back catalogue.

And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. This is one that Ralf and co will be playing sometime this evening.

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