Friday, March 22, 2013

All The Good Times I've Been Misusing

Yer actual Matt Smith his very self has promised that Doctor Who fans will be 'pleased' with the fiftieth anniversary special. Oh, I can think of a few of them that'll try to prove you very wrong, Smudge. They're The Special People, it's what they do. The 3D Doctor Who anniversary episode will be broadcast in November and is to be directed by Nick Hurran, although little is known about the actual storyline. Smudger was coy on the subject of whether the special will include any of the past Doctors during a recent 'Meet the Actor' panel event, but he did reveal that he was 'incredibly excited' when reading the script. 'What [The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat's] written is just spellbinding,' Smudger claimed, according to the Daily Torygraph. 'It's one of the best [episodes] ever, ever, ever.' The actor continued: 'There are parts of it in mad 3D. But what he's done with the idea is really clever, it's not just throwing things at the screen. He's been wanting to write this script for ever and he's really done it justice. There are elements to it which are different from normal episodes. When you combine all the elements that are different it's not just an episode of Doctor Who, it's something else, something bigger and more exciting.'

Meanwhile, the BBC has played down tabloid reports that Matt Smith will leave Doctor Who at the end of 2013. The actor - who began his tenure as The Doctor in 2010 - is said to be interested in further developing his film career, according to the ever reliable Sun. However, the BBC said in a statement: 'Sorry folks, but even we don't know what's going to happen at Christmas. It's not been written yet! But, Matt loves the show and is to start filming the unmissable fiftieth anniversary, and the new series [is] starting on Easter Saturday.' All of which we knew anyway so, that was a bit of a pointless statement, really. Smudger recently said that he is 'very happy' on Doctor Who and confirmed that he will shoot the 2013 Christmas episode following the fiftieth anniversary 3D special. 'It's one of those jobs that you have to take year-by-year, it's ten months a year, it's all-consuming,' he told Jonathan Ross. 'So I don't think you can plan five or six years ahead, or even two years ahead. It's a year-by-year thing, and at the moment it's 2013 and we'll see what 2014 holds.' Away from Doctor Who, Smith's recent roles have included two BBC biopics. He played novelist Christopher Isherwood in Christopher and His Kind in 2011, and starred as Olympic gold medal-winning rower Bert Bushnell in last summer's Bert and Dickie. And, he was very good in both. He will also appear alongside Ryan Gosling in How to Catch a Monster, which is due for release in 2014. Gosling is also directing the fantasy thriller, which has Eva Mendes, Saoirse Ronan and Mad Men's Christina Hendricks among its cast.

Peter Jackson has once again expressed interest in directing a Doctor Who episode. Needy much? Bloody hell, mate, haven't you got enough on your hands with hairy hobbits and the like. The filmmaker went public with his desire to work on Doctor Who last autumn, revealing at the time that he is a 'huge fan' of the current Doctor, Matt Smith. In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Jackson disclosed that he met with Doctor Who showrunner The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat about overseeing a future episode of the series. 'They don't even have to pay me,' Jackson said. Which, given that the BBC current hasn't got a pot to piss in is, probably, a good thing. He added: 'I have got my eye on one of those nice new gold-coloured Daleks. They must have a spare one!' Moffat himself remained coy on if Jackson could actually be paid by Dalek, but did stress that he is open to working with the Oscar-winning director. 'We're theoretically on board for anything, provided we've got a great story,' Moffat saided. Jackson has spoken openly about his life-long love of Doctor Who throughout his career.

The BBC has revealed several new images from the Jonathan Creek Easter special. The Clue of the Savant's Thumb will see Alan Davies reprising the title role as the amateur investigator for the first time in three years. Sheridan Smith also returns as Jonathan's partner Joey Ross, while the special's guest cast includes Joanna Lumley - playing Rosalind Tartikoff - and Rik Mayall, reprising his role of Detective Inspector Gideon Pryke from the 1998 episode Black Canary. The ninety-minute episodes will see Creek come out of retirement to solve the mystery of a body which has vanished from a locked room. Three more Jonathan Creek episodes are currently in the works and will shoot in the autumn, for a planned 2014 transmission date.
CSI has been renewed for a fourteenth season. All of the show's regular cast will return for the new episodes, including Ted Danson, Elisabeth Shue, George Eads and Jorja Fox. 'CSI is synonymous with CBS, and we are so proud of the series's creative and commercial legacy and its continued success on our network,' said Nina Tassler, President of CBS Entertainment. 'The writers and producers have done an amazing job evolving CSI, reinventing the show around an incredible leading man in Ted Danson, the acclaimed Elisabeth Shue and our beloved and talented core of original cast members.' David Stapf, president of CBS Television Studios, added: 'CSI is one of the top global franchises and is seen in almost every country in the world. It defined feature television and its whodunnit storytelling captured audiences since the day it premiered. The addition of Ted Danson has infused new energy into the series and we couldn't be more thrilled with its continued worldwide success.' Last year, CSI was named the most-watched TV show in the world at the Fifty Second Monte-Carlo Television Festival. Jorja Fox previously told the Digital Spy website that she expects CSI to run for 'a couple more years. Unfortunately in the United States there's no shortage of crimes to tell stories about!' she said. Spin-off series CSI: Miami was dropped by CBS in 2012, while the fate of the franchise's third entry CSI: NY remains up in the air.

And speaking of US crime drama dear blog reader, do you remember that - not particularly good - episode of Bones broadcast in the US a few weeks ago in which Angela went undercover in a roller derby team to unmask a killer (The Doll in the Derby)? Well, what do we find on this week's Hawaii Five-0? An episode (Dolls) in which Catherine goes undercover in a roller derby team to unmask a killer? Who said that American TV was the most original in the world? Admittedly, one of them was wearing green and the other one blue so, you know, clearly totally different.
Hilarious TV sight of the week occurred on Wednesday's MasterChef episode; in which self-confessed 'competitive' mum Helen's attempt at convincing John and Gregg that she was worthy of progressing into the next round came somewhat unstuck which she picked up a horseradish, looked at it like it was a piece of modern architecture and said 'I don't know what that is.' Her subsequent attempt at reproducing John's potato pancakes with smoked trout, horseradish cream and beetroot salad was a sight to see, dear blog readers, and I mean a sight to see. 'It's not the sort of food I cook, it's not the sort of food I eat,' she claimed. Bit silly putting yourself up for MasterChef, in that case, chuck. Did you imagine they were going to let you get away with egg and chips? But, it was the look a pure disgust on Gregg Wallace's face as he found fish bones and a big chunk of eggshell in his gob that really made it art. Tears, inevitably, followed. It was, without doubt, the funniest bit of MasterChef since poor old Matthew's deconstructed Black Forest Gateaux got a bit more deconstructed than expected, last year.
Wednesday's episode of MasterChef, incidentally, pulled in a steady and healthy overnight audience of 4.88m on BBC1. Opposite it, Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads' Food Glorious Food went from bad to worse with its lowest overnight audience yet, 2.35m on ITV. The public, it would seem Wee Shughie McFee, have spoken. Which is strangely comforting.

The BBC has commissioned its first original dramas for its catch-up service iPlayer. Six short films will be broadcast over the next two years by 'up and coming talent' as part of a BBC3 strand. Some comedy pilots and spin-offs from other shows have previously been screened on iPlayer, including the Doctor Who mini-series Pond Life. However this is the first time that original drama programming has been created specifically for the service. Victoria Jaye, BBC's head of TV online content, said it would help to explore 'storytelling outside of a scheduled TV slot or duration.' BBC3 controller Zai Bennett added: 'This new drama strand is exactly the kind of venture BBC3 is all about.' A record two hundred and seventy two million iPlayer requests for TV and radio programmes were made in January - up twenty six per cent on the previous month thanks, mainly, to new mobile and tablet devices unwrapped on Christmas Day. The most popular TV programmes requested include David Attenborough series Africa, Top Gear and Miranda.

Figures from the BBC showed usage of the service has grown some 42% in the 12 months to January 2013. BBC staff are to stage a twelve-hour strike from noon on Thursday 28 March in a continuing row over job cuts. Members of the National Union of Journalists and technical union BECTU voted in favour of the walkouts. The latest industrial action follows a one-day strike by NUJ members on 18 February which affected a number of programmes. The BBC is cutting about two thousand jobs over five years as part of its Delivering Quality First programme. The NUJ vote was sixty one per cent in favour of stoppages, while backing among BECTU members was fifty six per cent. Both unions were also in favour of action short of a strike, with eighty per cent of NUJ members and eighty one per cent of BECTU's supporting it. 'BBC staff have today rejected management's attempts to create a modern-day BBC sweatshop,' said BECTU leader Gerry Morrissey.
The 1995 murder trial of former American football star and actor turned convicted felon OJ Simpson is to be dramatised by the FOX network. The series will recreate the arrest, trial and controversial acquittal of Simpson following the 1994 murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. The TV series will be based on Jeffrey Toobin's 1997 book The Run of His Life: The People Versus OJ Simpson. Simpson is currently serving a thirty three-year jail term for kidnap and armed robbery. The sixty five-year-old was convicted in 2008 for his part in an armed raid on the Las Vegas hotel room of two sports memorabilia dealers. According to FOX, Simpson's murder trial - often described as 'The Trial of the Century' by people who like hyperbole - 'marked the emergence of the twenty four-hour news cycle and the birth of reality television.' A bit of a bold claim, perhaps, but not without some - vague - elements of truth in it. The series, it pledged, would boast 'the non-stop plot of a courtroom thriller' and present 'the story of the trial as it has never been told.' The series will be written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, whose previous collaborations include acclaimed film biopics of the director Ed Wood, the comedian Andy Kaufman and the adult magazine publisher Larry Flynt. FOX is, of course, a division of billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's News Corp empire, which courted controversy in 2006 with plans to publish Simpson's book If I Did It and broadcast an interview with its author. The plans were subsequently scrapped by Murdoch, who apologised to the victims' families for what he described it as 'an ill-considered project.' FOX has also announced plans for another 'event' series based on James Clavell's 1975 novel Shogun, previously adapted for television in 1980 with Richard Chamberlain in the lead role. The new version, said the network, would be both 'a classic for the ages' and 'a star-crossed love story' that would explore feudal Japan through the story of a British sailor who becomes a samurai.

Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell has appeared in court charged with nineteen sexual offences against a child. Le Vell, whose real name is Michael Turner, spoke only to confirm his details at Manchester Crown Court. The alleged offences date between 2001 and 2010 and include six charges of rape, six of indecent assault and seven of 'sexual touching.' The actor, who plays Kevin Webster in the ITV soap, was bailed to reappear at the court on 17 May. Le Vell, of Hale in Trafford, did not enter a plea at this stage.

The man who directed the TV broadcasts of the London 2012 opening and closing ceremonies is to be honoured by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts at its Craft Awards next month. Hamish Hamilton said he was 'thrilled' to receive BAFTA's special award. 'It is great to be recognised for work that surrounds me with so many talented friends,' said the forty six-year-old. Born in Blackpool, the former BBC man is regarded as one of the world's foremost directors of live events. His many credits include Madonna and Beyonce's half-time performances at the 2012 and 2013 Super Bowls, the 2010 Academy Awards and the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2012 Paralympics. Hamilton started his career at the BBC in Scotland. After also working for the corporation in Northern Ireland and Manchester, he eventually moved to London and then to MTV. He has directed the MTV Europe Music Awards, the MTV Video Music Awards and a host of live concert performances by such acts as U2, Robbie Williams, The Spice Girls and The Rolling Stones.

Nick Frost is to star in a new 'romantic period comedy series' as a man driven to attempt suicide by his failed marriage and career. Sky Atlantic has commissioned six episodes of Mr Sloane - an hour-long opener and five subsequent half-hours – which will begin shooting in London next month to be broadcast in 2014. Curb Your Enthusiasm director Bob Weide will direct all the episodes, which he co-wrote with Catherine Tate's co-writer Aschlin Ditta and Whites' Oli Lansley. Frost plays a 'man in crisis', Jeremy Sloane, who has just lost his job when the bittersweet series begins in Watford in 1969. But with new employment on the horizon and the phone number of a prospective new love interest following a chance encounter in his local hardware store, his luck seems to be changing. Frost described the comedy as 'original and offbeat. I loved Bob's idea for Mr Sloane and fell in love with the character straight away so I'm chuffed to be part of the project and can't wait to start filming.' The EMMY-winning producer and director of the first five seasons of Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm, Weide has made several documentaries about US comedians, including Woody Allen, the Marx Brothers, Mort Sahl and WC Fields, earning a 1999 Oscar nomination for Lenny Bruce: Swear To Tell The Truth. He said: 'Nick is not only a very funny guy, but a very talented actor. I had no specific agenda to create a show for him, but out of the blue, an idea came to me that was entirely character-driven, and I immediately saw Nick as that character. I pitched it to him, and he said, "Let's do it."' The comedy is Weide's first UK production, a collaboration between his Whyaduck Productions, named after a Marx Brothers joke, and Big Talk, which made Spaced and the films Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and Paul, all starring Frost and Simon Pegg. Weide previously directed Pegg in the 2008 film How To Lose Friends & Alienate People.

Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon is to seal its place in history at the US Library of Congress as part of its National Recording Registry. Joining it will be Chubby Checker's 1960's dance hit 'The Twist' and 'The Sounds of Silence' by yer actual Simon and Garfunkel. Each year, twenty five 'culturally' or 'historically' significant recordings are added to the registry, established in 2000. Rumours that next years inductees will include Toto Coelo's 'I Eat Cannibals' cannot, at this time, be confirmed or denied. Garfunkel, seventy one, said that he was 'thrilled and flattered' to have his work preserved. 'The Sound of Silence', written by Simon after the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, initially flopped, only becoming a hit after it was re-edited with the addition of electric guitar and drums. Its subsequent success prompted the duo to reunite and record another LP in 1965, which Garfunkel said was 'a life changer' for him and his partner, the talented one. 'When you look at the little mesh, wire microphone and you address people on the other side of the mic, you hope that your performance will be special, and you hope that it will have lasting power."' He added that he remembers thinking in the sixties that 'if we do really good and give a very special performance to these great Paul Simon songs, we might last right into the next century and be appreciated.' The recording that received the highest number of public nominations for this year's registry was The Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd's genuinely ground-breaking 1973 LP which, frankly, sounds far more contemporary now than it did in 1973. The library said that it was an example of 'brilliant, innovative production in service of the music.' The selections, which span from 1918 to 1980 also feature recordings that capture the political climate of the period, including Jimmy Davis' 'You Are My Sunshine '(1940) which became President Herbert Hoover's election campaign song while running for governor in Louisiana. It became one of the most popular country songs of all time and the state song of Louisiana in 1977. Other recordings chosen include the soundtrack to the popular 1977 movie Saturday Night Fever, starring John Travolta and featuring The Bee Gees, which revived the disco craze and the original 1949 cast LP for South Pacific. The classical pianist Van Cliburn's Cold War performance when he won the prestigious Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition at twenty three also was selected. The American musician who performed for every US president since Harry Truman, died in February.
The documentary film which charts the return of Manchester music legends The Stone Roses will receive its premiere at a secret location in the city. The Stone Roses: Made Of Stone features footage from across the band's career and their hugely successful comeback shows in 2012. The event on 30 May, which will be attended by the band and the film-maker Shane Meadows, will be simultaneously broadcast to one hundred cinemas across the UK. The film will be released nationwide on 5 June. Details of the location of the premiere will be announced when tickets for it and the one hundred other screenings go on sale on 17 April. The Stone Roses, whose 1989 eponymous début has been widely regarded as one of the best rock LPs ever (particularly by yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self), returned after a long hiatus for a string of gigs last summer. Their shows at Manchester's Heaton Park in June and July were the first in the UK to feature the band's original line-up for twenty two years. Meadows, who came to prominence with films such as This Is England, Once Upon A Time In The Midlands and Dead Man's Shoes, said that he had 'unprecedented access' to all three Heaton Park shows to make the documentary. He said that making it allowed him to 'be part of something truly remarkable, the double decade awaited resurrection of my all-time favourite band. People say that you can't recapture your youth, it'll never be the same second time round, but that's utter rubbish,' he said. 'The Roses were never allowed to reach their peak first time around so as far as I and millions of fans around the world were concerned, with this comeback the Roses could be even greater.' He said that the film was not 'a history lesson, nor is it a two hour concert film. It is a film about defying the odds, sticking it to the man and telling the cynics to shut their pie-holes.' Sorted.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, in tribute to Thursday night's last Record Player for a few weeks - and because Uncle Scunthorpe played their first LP and reminded me of what a genuinely great little band they were ... in, admittedly, a sort of ironic, post-modernist way - here's Put-Mon, Ed Zeppelin, Carl Jah, Fresh Cheese and Cheese, Jah Paul Jo and the mighty Tortelvis. Sometimes a cheeseburger is just a cheeseburger. 'Thangy'verymuch Charlie!'

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