Monday, March 04, 2013

Can Anyone Tell Me Where The Revolution Is?

Psst. Nah, lissun. Wanna see the cover of the latest Doctor Who Magazine, dear blog reader? Of course you do, you're only human after all.
Doctor Who executive producer Caroline Skinner has said that Neil Gaiman will bring 'a new twist' to The Cybermen. Gaiman's second episode for the popular family SF drama will reintroduce the classic monsters, pitting them against Matt Smith's Doctor once again. 'One of the things that Neil was initially really excited about was being given one of the classic Doctor Who monsters and being able to bring a new twist,' Skinner told SFX. The episode - rumoured to be titled The Last Cyberman - will also see The Doctor 'in conflict with The Cybermen in a new way,' Skinner suggested. '[It's] a huge episode for Matt,' she revealed. 'It's a brilliant performance, that one. It's interesting what Neil does - he always delivers such wonderful visual sequences. But, one of his real strengths is that he gets right to the heart of the characters as well.' Warwick Davis, Tamzin Outhwaite and Jason Watkins will also appear in Gaiman's new episode, expected to be shown as the penultimate episode of Doctor Who's next series.

Some ratings news, now. BBC2's Top Gear Africa special, in which Jezza and the boys attempted to find the source of the Nile, got the better of ITV's ailing Twatting About On Ice on Sunday night for the fourth time in the last six weeks with almost six million viewers. The BBC had a good evening all round, with new BBC1 9pm drama Mayday beating ITV's Mr Selfridge and Call The Midwife sailing along serenely with more than nine million punters. The Top Gear special, the first of a two-parter to round-off the current - nineteenth - series of the popular motoring show, averaged 5.7 million viewers in the 8pm hour. This audience included 1.1 million watching the BBC HD simulcast – a huge figure for a channel that has otherwise struggled to establish itself, featuring as it does a mishmash of programming from all the corporation's TV channels other than BBC1 (which has its own dedicated HD channel). No doubt partly in recognition of this, BBC HD is to be replaced with BBC2 HD on 26 March. Top Gear had the better of ITV's All Star Family Fortunes (5.4m) and, most amusing of all, Twatting About On Ice: The Skid Off (5.3m). Earlier in the evening, the main Twatting About On Ice show averaged 6.66 million from 6.15pm, against BBC1's news broadcast (4.8m) and was, once again, well and truly spanked by Countryfile (7.1m). BBC1 took a peaktime ratings lead for the final quarter-hour of Countryfile from 7.45pm, which it held for the rest of the evening. Call The Midwife – again, by a distance, the most watched show of the day – averaged 9.15 million viewers from 8pm. From 9pm new BBC1 crime drama series Mayday – starring Sophie Okonedo, Aidan Gillen and Peter Firth and stripped every night until Thursday – launched with 6.23m viewers. Mayday was up against ITV's Mr Selfridge (5.03m, it's lowest overnight audience so far). BBC2 came out on top in the ratings battle of the fast turnaround meteor documentaries, with the Horizon special The Truth About Meteors fronted by the personable Iain Stewart averaging three million viewers in the 9pm hour. An hour earlier, Channel Four's Meteor Strike: Fireball From Space averaged two million. However, Channel Four had the better of the terrestrial movie premieres with Johnny Depp/Angelina Jolie film The Tourist (1.7m), while Channel Five applied the jump leads with Jason Statham movie Crank 2: High Voltage (eight hundred thousand).

And, moving on to final and consolidated ratings, here's the Top Twenty Five programmes week-ending 24 February 2013:-
1 Call The Midwife - Sun BBC1 - 10.26m
2 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 10.24m
3 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 8.80m
4 Death In Paradise - Tues BBC1 - 7.42m
5 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 7.35m*
6 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 7.15m
7 Ant and/or Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway - Sat ITV - 7.11m
8 Mr Selfridge - Sun ITV - 6.97m
9 The Brit Awards 2013 - Wed ITV - 6.88m
10 Rugby Six Nations - Sat BBC1 - 6.62m
11 Top Gear - Sun BBC2/BBC HD - 6.45m
12 Ripper Street - Sun BBC1 - 6.44m
13 Twatting About On Ice - Sun ITV - 6.12m*
14 Penguins: Spy in the Huddle - Mon BBC1 - 5.83m
15 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.75m
16 Her Majesty's Prison Aylesbury - Mon ITV - 5.50m*
17 Mrs Brown's Boys - Sat BBC1 - 5.22m
18 Six O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 5.18m
19 UEFA Champions League Live - Tues ITV - 5.13m
20 Holby City - Tue BBC1 - 5.08m
21 The National Lottery Saturday Draws - Sat BBC1 - 5.04m
22 Ten O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 5.03m
23 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.90m
24 The ONE Show - Tues BBc1 - 4.87m
25 ITV News - Mon ITV - 4.85m
Those programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures. The second episode of BBC4's wonderful Chivalry & Betrayal: The Hundred Years War pulled in a very impressive final audience of eight hundred and fourteen thousand. On ITV3, Lewis was watched by 1.33m.

Not Going Out is to return to BBC1 for a sixth series this April. Lee Mack, Sally Bretton and Katy Wix will all return for the new episodes, though Tim Vine will not. Wix recently told the Digital Spy website that the other cast members 'did everything' to attempt to persuade Vine to return, but said that the comic 'had his reasons' for moving on. Bobby Ball will make another appearance in the new series as Lee's trouble-making father, while other storylines will include a jealous Lee fighting for Lucy's attention when she reunites with her first love, and Lee, Lucy and Daisy getting stuck in a cable car on an Eastern European skiing trip. Not Going Out was originally cancelled after three years, but was later revived by the BBC, with a fifth and sixth series being ordered together after a fourth run attracted impressive ratings. 'The BBC could not be any more supportive of the show - the current regime,' Lee Mack said last year. 'I mean, Cheryl Taylor and Danny Cohen have totally, unashamedly gone, "We like the show - we're gonna do it", and I love that.'

Adam Hills launched an expletive-filled - but, very funny - rant about Joan Rivers on the latest episode of his Chnnael Four entertainment show The Last Leg. The Australian stand-up criticised Rivers's recent jokes on Adele, branding her an 'enormous, hypocritical, insensitive old dick.' Rivers has recently tweeted spectacularly unfunny 'jokes' about Adele's weight and mocked her size during a chat show appearance on Letterman last week. Responding to Rivers's comments, Hills said: 'How dare you make fun of one of the best female role models on the planet for the way she looks? Adele is one of the very few women in pop music I want my daughter to look up to and you're making jokes about her looks when you're so insecure about your own face that you've spent more money on it than the producers of Life of Pi made on that tiger! Get a plastic surgeon to manufacture you a new soul!' Blimey. Steady, Adam.

Ofcom has rejected a whinge from Zoe Alexander - The X Factor contestant who flew into a violent rage after being rejected by the judges - that she was 'unfairly treated' by the ITV show. When Alexander auditioned on The X Factor on 18 August last year, she revealed that she was 'a tribute act' to American singer-songwriter Pink, but said she wanted to move away from that act. The judges expressed their surprise after she performed 'So What?' by Pink, and allowed her to perform a second song by Emeli Sandé. But it wasn't enough, and she was not put through to the next round, with the judges saying that she should 'find her voice' as an artist. To this, Alexander too something of a total radge attack and angrily responded: 'You told me to sing a Pink song, I didn't want to sing a Pink song. You guys told me to sing a Pink song.' The Welsh singer then reportedly 'shocked' and 'stunned' the show's judges - Louis Walsh, Tulisa Contostavlos, Gary Barlow and Nicole Scherzinger - with an expletive-filled tirade, before heading off stage pushing cameras out of her way and 'attacking' the set. She was eventually escorted away from the backstage area in a flood of stroppy hysterics. Alexander claimed to Ofcom that she had been 'forced' to sing the Pink song by The X Factor programme makers, despite stating that she wanted to move away from that. She also claimed that her contact at The X Factor had ignored her song choice and dictated her outfit and hairstyle, insisting on her appearing as Pink. The singer said that her outburst - which culminated in her slapping the series producer in the face - was because she realised she had been 'set up by the programme makers.' In a rather bizarre submission to Ofcom, Alexander - who is, clearly, not mental or anything - also claimed that ITV had 'used computer generated imagery' and 'clever editing' to 'create an unfair impression of her and her behaviour.' ITV denied that her song choices had been ignored, but did admit to 'advising' Alexander that she should consider including a Pink song as one of her five song selections. The broadcaster said that The X Factor's production team had found that 'many tribute artists who applied to audition were well-versed in singing songs they regularly performed, but may not be so proficient when singing a song with which they were less familiar.' ITV said that Alexander's violent reaction after the rejection was 'unacceptable by any standards, whatever her perceived grievance,' and flatly denied that it had edited or used CGI to portray her in a bad light or anything even remotely like it. Ofcom backed ITV's actions in the situation, and said that it was 'not unreasonable' for the broadcaster to film Alexander's angry reaction to being rejected. The regulator also noted that the programme makers had 'stopped filming Miss Alexander at an earlier stage than when they would ordinarily stop, due to her emotional state. Ofcom did not consider that the programme makers were unfair in their dealings with Miss Alexander,' said the regulator. The media regulator also rejected a similar complaint from Alexander's father, Glenn Smith, who came on stage during the show to remonstrate with the judges over their rejection of his daughter.

Sky has been criticised by Ofcom for airing violent scenes such as a 'bare knuckle fight' in WWE Superstars on a Saturday morning last year. A complainant alerted Ofcom to content in a pre-recorded sequence featuring English WWE wrestler Wade Barrett, broadcast on Sky1 on 10 November 2012 at 9.20am. The sequence depicted Barrett - who was raised 'on the mean streets ... of Preston' - in underground wrestling and bare-knuckle fights, with people betting money on the outcome. Lasting around one-and-a-half minutes, the package included several close-up shots of punches and kicks to the head and chest in slow motion, with one competitor getting a bloody bruise on their chest. The voiceover said: 'Where I come from, the grim realities of life smack you in the face at every turn. An onslaught of fury is the only way to survive. I am Wade Barrett and my barrage has just begun.' After being contacted by Ofcom, UK WWE broadcaster Sky said that the sequence was intended to portray Barrett 'as a dark and dangerous character.' Well, he's from Preston, I'd've said that's a given without any visual evidence. Sky said that WWE wrestling is 'highly dramatic and pantomime' (for which read 'fixed') but accepted that the sequence depicted 'real' fighting outside of the ring, and therefore it may not have been suitable for a Saturday morning, when it was likely that children were watching. Ofcom agreed, saying: 'The scene in question depicted bare-knuckle fighting in an underground setting, clearly distinguishing it from staged competitive wrestling that takes place in a ring with a referee. The dark, aggressive and realistic nature of this scene combined with close-up slow-motion punches and kicks to the head and chest with powerful sound effects to underscore the impacts to make the material, in Ofcom's view, clearly unsuitable for children.' Sky apologised for the 'distress' caused and said that it would 'review' its guidelines for ensuring the compliance of WWE material broadcast on Sky1 in the future. The company has also contacted the makers of WWE and advised them to avoid producing scenes that feature 'real' fighting. Not much chance of that in WWE, one would have thought.
The BBC is launching a talent show to find a new presenter for Blue Peter. CBBC's Dick and Dom will host the search for someone to join the current team of Barney Harwood and Helen Skelton. Contenders will have to win their way through a series of challenges to reach the final, where the winners will be chosen by CBBC's audience. 'Working on Blue Peter is a dream job for any aspiring presenter,' said CBBC controller Cheryl Taylor. 'Our search for a new face to join Helen and Barney will generate a huge level of excitement for CBBC viewers. With the irrepressible Dick and Dom on hand to orchestrate proceedings we anticipate high tension and high jinks.' The series, which has a working title of So You Think You Can Be A Blue Peter Presenter?, starts this summer. The BBC's flagship children's show has launched the careers of many TV presenters like Matt Baker, Konnie Huq and Zoe Salmon. Other famous names to come from the show include Valerie Singleton, Janet Ellis, John Noakes, Anthea Turner and Peter Purves.

Coronation Street character David Platt may have (temporarily) outgrown his wicked past, but the actor who plays him, Jack P Shepherd, has been showing a distinctly devilish streak on the soap recently. The Daily Lies reports that Shepherd has been 'told off' by 'Corrie bosses' (that's tabloid speak for 'Coronation Street producers' only with less syllables) after sporting a T-shirt with the slogan 'Sha-ting!' – based on a sound effect used by Celebrity Juice's Keith Lemon – on-screen. Shepherd tweeted: 'Some "no-lives" have complained about the "Sha-ting" T-shirt on Corrie so it has been taken off-air. But I'm going to auction it off for charity so I will get the T-shirt next week and give you the details if ya want it.' The actor was previously banned from wearing a T-shirt with the slogan 'Turn Me On' – and forced several scenes to be reshot after he wore a top emblazoned 'Schwetty Nuts'.

ITV is to broadcast a documentary marking the tenth anniversary of the death of its journalist Terry Lloyd in the opening days of the Iraq war later this month. Lloyd, fifty, his ITV News cameraman Fred Nerac and local translator Hussein Osman were killed near the Shatt al-Basra bridge outside Basra on 22 March, 2003. Nerac's body was never found. The veteran ITV foreign correspondent was not embedded with the US or UK military and his four-strong ITN team was caught in crossfire between US and Iraqi forces. In October 2006, an inquest recorded a verdict of unlawful killing by US forces, but two years later the Crown Prosecution Service said there was 'insufficient evidence' to bring charges against any individuals. At the time, the CPS said forensic evidence indicated Lloyd was injured by shots from Iraqi forces and then by US fire. Who Killed My Dad? – The Death Of Terry Lloyd, to be broadcast on 21 March, follows the journalist's daughter Chelsey as she retraces his final movements in Iraq, looking for answers her family has been seeking for a decade. She is accompanied by ITV News presenter Mark Austin, who also covered the start of the Iraq war as a reporter. The pair also visited America to try to meet the US Marines involved in the incident which led to Lloyd's death. The ITN Productions documentary was commissioned by Ian Squires, ITV controller of current affairs and news operations. Chris Shaw, ITN Productions editorial director, is executive producing.

After years of seemingly never ending cutbacks, Trinity Mirra's national titles are hiring again. The latest addition to the Daily Mirra is the odious and risible Ian Hyland, the - dreadful - TV columnist formerly of the Scum Mail on Sunday and, before that, the Scum of the World. Hyland is no stranger to Trinity, having started his Fleet Street career as a showbiz hack at the Sunday Mirra in 2000. He returns to the Mirra fold with a weekly TV column in the daily title, starting on Tuesday. The Mirra's previous TV columnist, Jim Shelley (who, when he put his mind to it, was actually quite decent ... on occasions), thumbed his remote for the last time in November. Lloyd Embley, editor-in-chief of the national Mirra papers, described Hyland's appointment as 'a fantastic signing.' He is the latest high-profile addition to the Mirra's ranks since Embley took over in October 2012. His arrival follows the return of Andy Lines as chief reporter, and the introduction of new columns by Lord Prescott in the Daily Mirra and Carole Malone in the Sunday Mirra.

New Zealand fast bowler Doug Bracewell is a doubt for the first Test against England, with media reports suggesting he injured his foot 'at a party.' Team manager Mike Sandle has 'started an investigation' into how Bracewell, who will have a fitness test on Tuesday, suffered a cut foot. 'I am aware of some allegations that have been levelled,' Sandle said. Seam bowler Ian Butler has been called up as cover ahead of the game in Dunedin, which starts on Wednesday. Sandle continued: 'I need to sit down and talk to a number of people and obviously Doug is one of them to ascertain some facts. There is a lot I don't know at the moment - I'll work with Doug and I'll work with Heath [Mills] from the players association to get to the bottom of the story.' When asked about allegations in the media that the injury could be drink-related, Sandle said: 'I'll be very disappointed if it is related to that. It is a distraction. We want to put on a good Test match for our public. This was outside our environment, he wasn't assembled with the New Zealand side - but we have expectations on our players to look after themselves and be fit for New Zealand.' Bracewell was absent from practice at Dunedin's University Oval on Monday and will have to prove his fitness on Tuesday in order to start against England. Butler has not played a Test since facing Bangladesh in 2004.

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self was pleased that From The North received its first ever visitor from the Falkland Islands (or, The Malvinas, if you're that way inclined. Personally I'm not too bothered, it's just a name) on Monday of this week (when someone from Port Stanley arrived via Google on a 2009 page from this blog). Lovely. Probably looking for porn. Most people who visit here are, it would seem. Well, that or Doctor Who references. That now means that since yer actual Keith Telly Topping started keeping records in August 2009, this blog had been visited by computer users from one hundred and ninety six different countries or territories including such unlikely places as the Northern Mariana Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Lichtenstein, Kyrgyzstan, Dijbouti, Bhutan, Belize, the seychelles, New Caledonia, Cameroon, French Polynesia, Guam, Côte d’Ivoire, the Netherlands Antilles, Faroe Islands, Palestinian Territories, China (so, seemingly, we're not banned there after all), Azerbaijan, Papua New Guinea, Liberia, Timor-Leste and Sierra Leone. And Sunderland. Indeed, apart from half-a-dozen territories in sub-Saharan Africa and various tiny island states in the Pacific, most of the world's been in and out of here at one time or another. Still nothing from the Federated States of Micronesia, however. Come on all you Micronesians with access to a computer, you're letting the side down. And, if you haven't got access to a computer, the trick is to keep banging the rocks together, apparently.

A man dressed as the caped crusader Batman has handed over a wanted man at a Bradford police station before disappearing into the night. Like a bat. Police said the costumed crime-fighter marched the twenty seven-year-old man into Trafalgar House Police Station in the early hours of 25 February. The man was charged with handling stolen goods and fraud offences. A police spokesperson said: 'The person who brought the man in was dressed in a full Batman outfit. His identity remains unknown.' The - extremely embarrassed - suspect will appear before Bradford magistrates on Friday, police said.

Bobby Rogers, a founding member of the Motown group The Miracles along with Smokey Robinson, has died aged seventy three. The singer, who had been ill for several years, died at his home in Detroit on Sunday. 'Another soldier in my life has fallen. [He] was my brother and a really good friend,' Smokey said in a statement. Bobby formed The Miracles in 1956 with his cousin Claudette Rogers, Pete Moore, Ronnie White and Robinson. Their hits included 'The Tracks of My Tears', 'Shop Around', 'You've Really Got a Hold on Me', 'More Love', 'Mickey's Monkey', 'Ooo Baby Baby', 'The Tears of A Clown', 'Going To A Go-Go', 'I Gotta Dance To Keep From Crying' and 'I Second That Emotion' an dozens of other pop-soul masterpieces. 'People always commented on the tall one with the glasses,' said Claudette Rogers. 'He was personable, approachable and he loved talking to the women, loved talking to the guys, loved to dance, loved to sing, loved to perform. That was the joy of his life.' Bobby's voice can be heard on Marvin Gaye's hit 'What's Goin' On?', with Rogers saying as the record begins: 'It's just a groovy party, man, I can dig it.' Mary Wilson of The Supremes said that statement captured Bobby's essence. 'If people want to remember him, they should put that record on and listen to Bobby,' she told the Detroit Free Press. 'That's who he was.' The Miracles grew out of an earlier quintet of high school performers called the Five Chimes that formed in the mid-1950s and changed its name to The Matadors after several line-up changes capped by Claudette's admission to the group. Berry Gordy recorded their first recording, 'Got A Job', an answer song to The Silhouettes' 'Get A Job' in January 1958. Gordy thereafter struck a deal with End Records to distribute the single. Before the song was released, the group changed their name to The Miracles. After earning only $3.19 for his production success, Gordy was advised by Smokey to form his own label, which Gordy did, starting Tamla Records in 1959. One of The Miracles' first Tamla singles, the ballad 'Bad Girl', became their first song to chart that October when it was licensed to and issued nationally by Chess Records. The group went on to record Motown's first million-selling hit single, 'Shop Around' in 1960. One of Bobby's most notable vocal contributions with the group was his two-part harmony with Smokey on 'You've Really Got a Hold on Me', which was later covered by The Beatles. He also shared song writing credits with Robinson on The Temptations' 'The Way You Do The Things You Do', as well as on The Contours' 'First I Look At The Purse' and a number of Miracles singles. Referred to as Motown's 'soul supergroup', The Miracles recorded over fifty US chart hits while Robinson was with the group. Following the departure of Smokey and guitarist Marv Tarplin in 1971, the rest of the group continued with singer Billy Griffin and scored two further top forty singles, 'Do It Baby' and the 1974 classic 'Love Machine'. Bobby continued performing with The Miracles until 2011. Smokey added: 'He and I were born on the exact same day in the same hospital in Detroit. I am really going to miss him. I loved him very much.' Bobby and The Miracles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, however he was too ill to attend the ceremony.

So, for today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, here's Bobby, Smokey, Pete and Ron (and, somewhere in The Earl Dyke Six at the back, Marv) along with various assorted Supremes, Vandellas, Temptations, Stevie Wonders and Dusty Springfields live on the legendary Ready Steady Go special The Sound of Motown in 1965. Three minutes and forty five seconds of the most joyous expression of 'music as life-affirmation' you're ever likely to see this side of the celestial choir. One side point however, whose bloody daft idea was it to stick the blind kid up on a ten foot podium at the back? Oi, health and safety! That's an accident waiting to happen, surely?

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