Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Always Looking To Create A Scene

Matt Smith his very self has said that kissing his co-star, Jenna-Louise Coleman, was his favourite Doctor Who moment. And, why not? The actor kissed his on-screen companion in the 2012 Christmas special, The Snowmen, and seemed to enjoy it a great dea'. He added that he and Coleman share a passion ... for cartoons. 'My favourite moment? I like our kiss, that was quite fun, even though it was hell to do,' he is quoted as saying in a US magazine. Ah, it's a dirty job, Smudge, but someone's got to do it. 'We actually did a couple of different versions - there might be some outtakes.' He added: 'We have bonded over cartoons. I constantly watch The Simpsons and an English cartoon called The Racoons & Gummi Bears. I was obsessed with ninja films, and the Teenage Mutant Nina Turtles, I used to love that as well.' Yer actual Smudger also spoke of his love for New York, stating that he would enjoy filming more episodes in the city. He said: 'If I could, we'd film every episode of Doctor Who in New York. I have an affinity with the city. It has some wonderful locations and it is devastatingly vast and huge. Central Park looks amazing on camera. We didn't realise how big it was until we filmed there, but the fans have been so supportive. The British are a lot more reserved, and the North Americans have a lot more enthusiasm. I love it when people dress up as The Doctor and Amy. I like all that – that is the spirit of the place and there is a freedom to be enthusiastic there, which is hugely enjoyable. That is what's great about working in science fiction shows.' Speaking about playing The Doctor, he added: 'I won't get many jobs like this, and I'm aware of that. I love playing The Doctor. And I won't get many jobs where the fans are so much into the show. It makes me feel alive. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience and to be part of a show that evokes these responses from people is cool.'
ITV's new, and much-anticipated, crime drama Broadchurch was the big ratings winner on Monday night, overnight figures show. Former national heart-throb David Tennant and Olivia Colman's eagerly-awaited eight-part series - written by Chris Chibnall and also starring Vicky McClure, Arthur Darvill and Pauline Quirke - launched with over six million punters in the 9pm slot. Just over 6.15 million tuned-in for the opening episode of the thriller, filmed in West Bay in Bridport, with an extra seven hundred thousand punters catching the episode later on ITV+1. BBC1's similarly themed abduction drama Mayday dropped almost two million viewers from the previous night's opening episode to 4.3 million in the same time slot. Coincidentally, both dramas are made by Kudos, previously responsible for [spooks], Hustle and Life on Mars. Earlier, the one thousandth episode of A Question of Sport was watched by 4.18 million crushed victims of society on BBC1 at 8.30pm. On BBC2, University Challenge had a steady audience of 2.78 million at 8pm as the very impressive UCL team made it to the semi-finals at the expense of Manchester University, while Food and Drink was consumed by 1.97 million at 8.30pm. The Flying Scotsman: A Rail Romance pulled in a respectable 1.79 million in the competitive 9pm slot.
BBC1's science show Bang Goes the Theory, featuring former Tomorrow's World presenter Maggie Philbin, returned with four million viewers between 7.30pm and 8pm. It was in the toughest of slots, up against ITV's Coronation Street, watched by 9.4 million. The soap returned at 8.30pm for a second helping with 8.7 million viewers. Channel Four's Embarrassing Bodies was watched by 1.57 million at 9pm. Meanwhile, Channel Five picked up eight hundred and fifty three thousand punters for Robson Green's Extreme Fishing Challenge at 9pm, while Manchester United: The Munich Air Crash was watched by eight hundred and fifty six thousand at 10pm. Adrian Edmondson returned to ITV with the first of a thirty-part - yes, that's thirty part - travelogue Ade in Britain, watched by 1.1 million viewers, down twenty four per cent on the slot average over the last three months. So, twenty nine more weeks to put up with that one, then. Horrorshow.

Wondering what The Ice Warriors will look like when they return to Doctor Who next month, dear blog reader? Well, of course you are. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self certainly is. This photo - given to SFX magazine by the show's production team - has been released this week giving us something of a clue. The Martians will feature in the - as yet untitled - third episode of the forthcoming run of eight episodes, which has been written by Mark Gatiss and is scheduled to be shown on BBC1 on Saturday 13 April, co-starring David Warner and Liam Cunningham. Showrunner Steven Moffat recently praised Gatiss's script, calling it 'an absolute cracker' with some 'really stormingly good ideas. It was Mark Gatiss's idea,' said Moffat. 'He'd been pitching [their return] for a while.'
As he and some of his crew pushed a ninety two thousand smackers electric sports car off the Top Gear test track in the autumn of 2008, little did yer actual Jezza Clarkson his very self realise that the incident would be the topic of much - utterly pointless - legal argument for, literally, years to come. Or, that it would provide us all with such a spectacularly, thigh-slappingly hilarious outcome. That episode of the popular BBC2 show (first broadcast in December 2008) has been examined, repeatedly, by some of Britain's most senior media judges in a three-year libel battle brought by the whinging US car maker, Tesla, who seemingly didn't like the fact that yer man Clarkson gave their car a bad review. Ah, overly-litigious Americans! You can always rely on them for a right good laugh. On 19 October 2011, the High Court in London rejected Tesla's libel claim, stating, among other things, that Top Gear is an entertainment programme and not an information programme, which is sort of true but spectacularly misses the point with regard to expressing an opinion on an items worth - or lack of it - in a free society. This week, the court of appeal signalled the end of the road for Tesla's some may argue trivial-to-the-point-of-obscenity legal claims, rejecting - outright - on Tuesday the company's continued assertion that its reputation had, in some way, been 'damaged' by Clarkson's less-than-impressed review of the Tesla Roadster. Sadly, the judges didn't make the observation that it can't have been much of a reputation in the first place if it only took one bad review on a British TV show to, allegedly, shag it up so disastrously. Perhaps, they didn't need to make the point, Telsa having already done that for them with their continued foot-stamping through several levels of the British legal system. Jezza, let's remember, had described the car back in 2008 as 'an astonishing technical achievement,' but added: 'It's just a shame that, in the real world, it doesn't seem to work.' A perfectly valid review for a motoring journalist to make about an electric car, one might argue. And, the court agreed, rejecting the Californian-based company's appeal of an earlier decision to strike out its - frankly, ludicrous - 'libel and malicious falsehood' claimed against the BBC. Tesla claimed that Top Gear 'faked' a scene that appeared to show a Tesla Roadster running out of power, which - Tesla suggested - had 'led to lower sales.' Appeal court judge Lord Justice Moore-Bick said that he had watched the whole of the one-hour Top Gear episode 'a number of times.' In his view, the judge explained, the programme did not libel Tesla or anything even remotely like it. Tesla complained about a passage of Clarkson's commentary in which he said: 'Although Tesla say it will do two hundred miles, we worked out that on our track it would run out after just fifty five miles and if it does run out, it is not a quick job to charge it up again.' Clarkson and several members of the Top Gear crew were then shown pushing the Roadster into the hanger - although, importantly, and despite several agenda-soaked media claims to the contrary, at no time did Clarkson, or anyone else for that matter, say that the car had run out. That, in and of itself, was the source of an earlier claim by Telsa, which was also, satisfyingly, thrown out of court. Moore-Bick questioned whether Top Gear's influence among petrolheads was quite as great as Tesla had claimed. The electric car maker alleged that the scene cost it the 'sale of two hundred Roadsters', caused 'costs of one hundred and seventy one thousand dollars', 'damaged investor confidence' and 'prompted adverse comments on YouTube.' Much of it, presumably, noting that the company can't take criticism of its products. Which, again, some might consider to be 'fair comment.' Comparing sales of its Roadster to a rival top-of-the-range model, Tesla claimed it had sold just seven per cent of what the Lotus Elise had sold in the UK. Could simply be, of course, that the Lotus is a better car. Bit of a wild stab in the dark, there but, hey, anything's possible in this crazy old world we live in. The company said pre-sale orders for its new Model S sedan have also been 'far lower than expected' in the UK which they attributed, entirely, to Clarkson's bad review. And, not because they had wildly over-estimated how many they would sell, of course. Oh no, perish the thought. The court of appeal was, it would seem, unconvinced by these arguments. 'In my view the case pleaded in support of the claim for special damages is, to say the least, very thin on its own terms,' said Moore-Bick, who sat alongside Lord Justice Maurice Kay and Lord Justice Rimer. He added: 'Moreover, on the basis of the material currently before the court I do not think that there is any real prospect of Tesla's being able to demonstrate at trial that it has suffered any quantifiable loss by reason of any of the actionable statements.' There was no immediate comment from yer man Clarkson – the Top Gear host is currently in Australia doing some Top Gear-related stuff. However, Andy Wilman, the executive producer of Top Gear, said: 'I am pleased that the appeal court has upheld the previous rulings and the case has been struck out. I'd also like to apologise to the judges for making them have to watch so much Top Gear!' Last month Tesla also got into a tit-for-tat online spat with New York Times writer John Broder over an unflattering review he wrote about its Model S. It is, also, to be hoped that in their judgment the appeal court judges awarded costs in their entirety to the BBC since, as a licence fee payer, I fail to see why a single penny of licence money should have to be used to defend such an unnecessary - albeit, constantly amusing - legal case.
Meanwhile, good God, what's this? Someone at the Gruniad Morning Star with something vaguely positive to say about Top Gear? Surely not? Truly, we are living in the end of days, dear blog reader.

BBC1 has, apparently, green lit a new three-episode mini-series of Jonathan Creek Alan Davies his very self has revealed. Davies announced the commissioning via Twitter, saying that filming would begin in the autumn. The fourth series of Jonathan Creek ended in 2004. Since then there have been two specials, The Grinning Man in 2009 and The Judas Tree in 2010. A new ninety-minute special, The Clue of the Savant's Thumb, was filmed last year and will be broadcast this Easter. Rik Mayall, Sarah Alexander, Joanna Lumley and Nigel Planer will all guest star in the episode. It is not known yet whether Sheridan Smith will return in the new mini-series as Joey Ross. Speaking about the future of the detective series earlier this year, Davies told the Digital Spy website: 'I don't know about more episodes, but David Renwick's got a twinkle in his eye and I think he's enjoying getting back to it. While BBC1's keen on it, maybe we'll do more.'

Yer actual Keeley Hawes and Tom Hollander his very self will star alongside David Mitchell and Robert Webb in the pair's new BBC2 comedy drama, Our Men. The new series, written by Hollander's Rev co-creator James Wood and Rupert Walters, will be set in the fictional central Asian republic of Tazbekistan (no relation). Mitchell - the whiny and annoying but, usually, quite funny one - will play the new British ambassador, with Webb - the lanky, gormless, not even remotely funny but, still, rather annoying one - his second in command. [spooks], Ashes to Ashes and Upstaris Downstairs actress Hawes, who has previously guest starred in the pair's nowhere-near-as-clever-as-it-thinks-it-is BBC2 sketch show That Mitchell and Webb Look, will play the ambassador's wife. Also starring in Our Men are Yigal Naor, Susan Lynch, Amara Karan and Shivani Ghai. Rev star Hollander will take a guest spot as minor royal-turned-trade-envoy, Prince Mark (an echo of his previous role as Edward VIII in Channel 4's William Boyd adaptation Any Human Heart). Any resemblance to actual living people - who happen to have a name something a little bit like, say, Brince Android - is, of course, entirely coincidental. It says here. Hawes previously appeared in That Mitchell and Webb Look in a sketch as Mitchell's 'dream wife.' That was, however, before he got himself married to everybody else's 'dream wife', Victoria Coren.

Incidentally, for the - literally dozens of - dear blog readers who've been stumbling into this blog over the last couple of days looking for the answer to the question 'what link do Bobby Charlton and Darcey Bussell share?' the answer is that they both have their portraits in the National Portrait Gallery. Anything else yer actual Keith Telly Topping can help you with whilst you're here? How to get from Stan Laurel to Alan Shearer in 'six degrees of separation' perhaps? (It's actually, dead easy - you can do it in two!)

TV drama The Following has generated enough of a following to get a second season, US network FOX has confirmed. Fifteen more episodes have been ordered of the series, which stars Kevin Bacon as a former FBI agent on the trail of a serial killer and his disciples. FOX executive Kevin Reilly described the programme, which is shown in the UK on the Sky Atlantic channel, as 'a high-quality, edge-of-your-seat drama. I'm delighted to have this thrill ride continue on FOX for another season.' James Purefoy co-stars in the show, described by one critic as 'one of the most violent series ever made by a commercial broadcast network.' The show was created by Kevin Williamson, writer of the Scream movies, and is executive produced by Marcos Siega, who previously worked on The Vampire Diaries and Dexter. FOX also confirmed on Monday that Zooey Deschanel sitcom New Girl, shown in the UK on Channel Four, would return for a third season. The network is expected to confirm soon that high school musical show Glee, currently on its fourth season, has also been recommissioned.
The government has again been accused of 'selling out' to newspapers in the process of establishing a new system of regulating the press following The Leveson Report. Hacked Off, the group campaigning for stricter press reforms, claimed it was 'told' by David Cameron's policy adviser, Oliver Letwin, in a meeting on Monday that the government made 'wholesale concessions' to newspapers bosses in order to get them to buy into the Conservative party's draft proposals. 'We told him that this was akin to giving a convicted man a veto on his sentence. The press had the chance to put its views to the inquiry and Leveson's recommendations took those into account. It can't be right that ministers are now prepared to let editors win in private an argument they lost in public,' said Brian Cathcart, director of Hacked Off. He and other members of the campaign group talked to Letwin and the lack of culture secretary, the vile and odious rascal Miller, but insist that the meeting was 'not part of any negotiation' for victims of press intrusion such as Kate and Gerry McCann. 'When we asked Mr Letwin to explain why his draft contained wholesale concessions to the newspaper bosses, he said these were necessary to persuade the press to participate in a regulatory system,' said Cathcart. He added that he had reminded Letwin and the Labour and Liberal Democrat representatives who were at the meeting that the Tory proposals for a regulator underpinned by a royal charter was not acceptable to these victims. 'If this plan were put into action, it would take us straight back to the conditions that made the Leveson inquiry necessary in the first place, with editors able to lie, bully and intrude with impunity. This would be an outright betrayal of all those victims who gave evidence to the inquiry,' said Cathcart. The Tories unveiled their long-awaited and weak-as-piss proposals for a new regulator last month, rejecting calls to reconsider introducing statutory underpinning for the regulator.

BBC Worldwide is reported to be 'in talks' to sell a controlling stake in travel guidebooks publisher Lonely Planet to the US billionaire Brad Kelley. The corporation's commercial arm will retain a minority stake in the publisher if the deal goes ahead, according to US media site Skift.com. BBC Worldwide – which controversially bought Lonely Planet for one hundred and thirty million smackers in two stages in 2007 and 2011 – has been exploring strategic options for the publisher, including seeking an outside investor, it emerged in December. A spokesman for BBC Worldwide said: 'We have been exploring strategic options for Lonely Planet for some time now but no deal has been done and we are not going to comment on speculation about its future.' Skift.com suggested that the deal could be announced next week, meaning the home to hundreds of revered travel titles could soon find itself on the move for only the second time in its four-decade history. Described as a 'deeply private' businessman, Kelley is reportedly worth almost two billion dollars and made his fortune selling discount cigarettes brands. He is rarely photographed in public and shies away from media interviews. Kelley now invests in cattle ranches, energy technology and construction materials and is one of the biggest landowners in America. In a rare interview with the Wall Street Journal last year, Kelley explained that there was no specific pattern to his more recent investments. 'There's never been a grand plan. Life takes you a lot of places. Every day you adjust your compass,' he said. The sale would quickly follow the departure from BBC Worldwide of chief executive John Smith, who championed the Lonely Planet brand in the face of criticism from the corporation's commercial rivals that in buying the travel publisher it had 'strayed away' from its core TV and radio operation. Tim Davie, the acting director general, is due to take up his new job as BBC Worldwide chief executive and director of global after Lord Hall joins the corporation on 2 April. Last year the BBC valued Lonely Planet at eighty five million notes, having written down its value by fifty million quid over five years. The sale price under negotiation is not known. The BBC Trust would have to approve any deal involving the sale, or part sale, of Lonely Planet – as it did with the original acquisition.

A US woman has explained how she believes God saved her from a burglar. The woman, who has not been named - and is, clearly, not mental or anything - was praying in her kitchen on 1 February when she felt somebody tugging at her hair, The Huffington Post reports. She initially thought it was her husband, but when she looked round she saw a stranger standing in the room with her. She explained that she then cried out: 'Lord, help me!' leading to the burglar falling to the ground and hitting his head on the refrigerator. Well, he does move in mysterious ways, his woodwork to perform, they reckon. The burglar fled the scene taking only a twenty dollar note with him which he had found in the kitchen. The Seattle woman decided not to involve police as she felt God had saved her already, although her husband did eventually report the burglary.
A man reportedly faked his own kidnapping after spending a fortnight away from his home in Brooklyn. Rahmell Pettway staged the crime to avoid having to explain the real reason for his two-week absence to his girlfriend. Pettway was found on the street, bound and gagged with duct tape, by a passer-by at 1.10am on Thursday morning. He told the police that he had been abducted by two men in a minivan on 19 February, reports the New York Post. Officers became suspicious of the thirty six-year-old's story when they noticed that the roll of duct tape still hung from his wrists. He eventually admitted that he had staged the crime so that his girlfriend wouldn't be angry that he had been missing for two weeks. Pettway has since been arrested for filing a false report. The real circumstances behind his two-week disappearance remain, at this time, unknown.

Which brings us to yer actual Keith Telly Toppings 45 of the Day. Here's a tasty bit of Blondie their very selves.

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