Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Horrifying!

Jenna-Louise Coleman her very self has revealed the inspiration behind her performance as Clara (or is it Avocado) in Doctor Who. The actress told SFX that she watched the films of Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy to get a handle on the dynamic between her character and The Doctor. 'When I started on Doctor Who, Matt said to me, "Watch Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy films!" - we were talking about our dynamic and trying to figure it out, realising we were a double act,' she explained. 'It's trying to find each other's rhythm. So watching things like Spencer Tracy films really fed into that.' Coleman claimed that the relationship between 'impossible girl' Clara and Smudger's Time Lord is 'like a dance. Matt always said it's about physically finding our rhythm,' she continued. 'In a way the whole thing is like a dance, and the moment we started dancing together and finding that rhythm is when it worked.'

ITV's horribly presented, miserably one-sided and amusingly deflated-at-the-end live coverage of The Scum being knocked out of the Champions League by yer actual Real Madrid, after an - allegedly - controversial red card left sour-faced Scotsman Sir Alex Ferguson raging, raving and discombobulated, attracted an average of nearly ten million viewers on Tuesday night. Hopefully, they all enjoyed it as much as yer actual Keith Telly Topping did - especially Mad Roy Keane shouting down odious greed bucket (and drag) Adrian Chiles and co over whether it was a red card or not. It was the most-watched Champions League match on ITV since the 2008 final in which The Scum beat Russian side Moscow Chelski FC on penalties. That, rather dour and one-paced final of five years ago, had a live match average of 11.1 million viewers with a five-minute peak of 14.6 million during the penalty shoot-out. Full coverage of The Scum's 2-1 defeat in the last sixteen tie, which saw the Old Trafford side exit 3-2 on aggregate, had an average of nine million viewers between 7.30pm and 10pm. The game had a five-minute peak of 10.96 million viewers, averaging 9.8 million viewers during the course of the match itself, which kicked-off at 7.45pm. Tuesday's hotly anticipated tie between two of the world's biggest football clubs outscored the live match average of 8.2 million viewers (and 10.6 million peak) which watched Moscow Chelski FC's penalty shoot-out win over Barcelona in the final of last year's Champions League on 19 May. Despite the big audience, ITV bosses will be bemoaning the exit of yet another English side from the Champions League with only The Arse left in this year's competition. Their run is unlikely to last much longer, with the North London side facing a 3-1 first leg deficit and an away tie at Bayern Munchen next Wednesday – which will be broadcast live on Sky Sports. There was better news for BBC1's crime drama Mayday, which suffered a big (and, for once it was was big) drop in audience for Monday night's second episode, shown opposite Broadchurch. Tuesday night's third episode was watched by 4.3 million viewers identical to the audience who watched on Monday. But it was still a long way down on the 6.2 million who tuned in to Sunday night's opener. The drama, which is being shown on five consecutive nights on BBC1, will finish on Thursday. Mayday was up against the return of Channel Four's Sixteen Kids and Counting, about some of the UK's biggest families, which had 2.4 million viewers between 9pm and 10pm. The Matt Lucas Awards returned for a second series to BBC1 with 1.87 million viewers between 10.35pm and 11.05pm. It was down twenty per cent on the channel's slot average over the last three months. It was also shite. That was followed by a repeat of the BBC3 alleged comedy Cuckoo, which began a repeat run on BBC1 with nine hundred and eighty three thousand viewers. Bluestone Forty Two, BBC3's new comedy drama about a bomb disposal unit in Afghanistan, began with just a smidgen under eight hundred thousand viewers between 10pm and 10.30pm, up thirty seven per cent on the channel's slot average.

There's a rather affable interview with yer actual Peter Davison in the Independent this week mainly concerning Doctor Who but with a few questions about Law & Order: UK thrown in to keep it vaguely interesting to non-fans.
Arthur Darvill his very self has said he has no regrets about leaving Doctor Who - even though it means he won't be part of the popular long-running family SF drama's fiftieth anniversary episode this year. The Time Lord returns to our screens at Easter, but Arty said that rather than feeling like he is missing out by not being involved any more, he is 'quite excited about watching it and seeing what they've come up with.' He told The Huffinton Post: 'Doctor Who is going to follow me around forever. I think once you're involved with something like that, you're involved for the rest of your life.' Playing Rory has brought him recognition from all corners of the globe, not least Hollywood. 'I'd really love to work there,' Arthur admitted. 'I've received some interesting scripts from America recently. I'd like to do maybe a couple of episodes of something or a film, but I think I'll always come back. London really feels like home.' Arthur said that he was 'open to ideas' when it came to his future career. 'I'm kind of up for anything,' he noted. 'I enjoy what I do and I want to be doing it for a very long time. I get excited by things that are a challenge for me, and I've been very lucky over the last few years to do a range. But, I'm ambitious and I want to do lots of different things.' In his latest role, as a vicar in the new ITV drama Broadchurch, he is part of a star-studded cast, including fellow Doctor Who luminaries Olivia Colman, David Tennant and David Bradley. Olivia appeared in Arthur's very first episode of Doctor Who, and he said: 'It was really good to work with her again, we get on really well.' As for Tennant: 'Working with David was just great. He's brilliant actually. He's very different in this. I think he'll impress.'

Suzi Perry, Allan McNish and Tom Clarkson have all signed up to the BBC's team for coverage of the 2013 Formula 1 season. Former MotoGP presenter and The Gadget Show host Perry takes over as BBC F1 lead anchor from Jake Humphrey, who has left the corporation to join BT Sport. Eddie Jordan remains with the BBC as chief analyst, and Ben Edwards once again leads the television commentary with ex-F1 driver David Coulthard. Lee McKenzie heads the pit lane team for television, but she will now be backed by F1 journalist Tom Clarkson, who joins the BBC as a pit lane reporter. Gary Anderson returns as technical analyst across television, radio and online coverage. On 5Live, James Allen will once more act as correspondent and commentator, with Jennie Gow as pit lane reporter. Former F1 driver Allan McNish will appear on 5Live for at least six Grands Prix this season as an expert analyst, starting in Barcelona. There will be approximately forty extra hours of live Formula 1 coverage on BBC network television this year, with practice sessions to be shown live at weekends on BBC2 and the new BBC2 HD channel. BBC1 and BBC1 HD will show nine live races in 2013 - including Canada, Spain, Britain and Brazil - along with extended highlights of the races shown exclusively live on Sky. 'Everyone on the BBC team is hugely excited about the new season,' said Ben Gallop, the BBC's Head of Formula 1. 'Last year saw us rise to the challenge of bringing the action to fans through the mix of live television and highlights, delivering great programmes which were reflected in impressive audience figures.' He added: '2013 sees new faces, practice on BBC2 and HD on live race weekends and a greater sharing of talent across BBC television, radio and online. With Suzi Perry at the helm, we're aiming to bring even more content, insight and access to audiences throughout the season.' Alongside TV and radio, the BBC is also offering extensive online coverage of F1 via the BBC Sport website and apps. Web users can access live simulcasts of the BBC's live races, including additional options such as the 'driver tracker', on-board cameras and the pit lane stream. Motorsport legend Murray Walker will provide a series of archive-based videos for every race of the season under the Murray's Memories strand.

A winner of The Apprentice was just an 'overpaid lackey' at Lord Alan Sugar-Sweetie's firm, a tribunal heard. Stella English won the BBC show in 2010 and got a job in Sugar-Sweetie's division of IT firm Viglen. However, she told the East London Employment Tribunal Service she had 'no choice' but to resign after being told her contract was not being renewed. English, who earned one hundred thousand smackers-a-year, claims constructive dismissal, saying she had 'no real role' at the firm. She told the hearing that she did not feel like Lord Sugar-Sweetie's 'apprentice', and only saw him five times during her thirteen-month employment. Colleagues did not take English seriously, and she was 'ostracised' after being told she had 'taken another woman's job,' she claimed. She said that she told Sugar-Sweetie: 'I have tried so hard for so long and it's not working. I'm an overpaid lackey at Viglen. My pride would not allow me to continue doing it.' English said: 'No specific duties were allocated to me. I was provided with a desk and a phone but that was pretty much it.' She described her employment as 'a sham.' She told the tribunal that after e-mailing Sugar-Sweetie asking to 'discuss her concerns', her boss Bordan Tkachuk was also invited to the meeting. When Lord Sugar-Sweetie asked Tkachuk what he thought of English, he replied: 'Nice girl. Don't do a lot.' Before competing in the TV show in 2010, English was head of business management at a Japanese bank. She beat Chris Bates in the final of series six, broadcast in December 2010. English said: 'The career-enhancing opportunities that The Apprentice position had been sold as simply failed to materialise.' The hearing continues.

A - very naughty - car thief has been caught and charged after she was spotted on The X Factor. Paige Flaherty auditioned for the 2011 series of the ITV talent show as part of an unsuccessful girlband, Twisted, but a pedestrian whom she hit and bruised with a stolen pink Mini in Newcastle saw her appearance on the TV show and immediately called police. The vehicle belonged to Flaherty's Twisted bandmate Katie Orrock. Though unconfirmed to be the same car, Twisted can be seen getting out of a pink Mini during the episode which was shown on 10 September 2011. Flaherty's incident with the pedestrian happened a couple of weeks earlier on 29 August. Flaherty gave the pedestrian incorrect contact details, reports the Daily Scum Mail. The singer pleaded extremely guilty at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court to stealing a vehicle and driving with no insurance.
A planned TV comedy starring Robert Webb - if that isn't a contradiction in terms - has been cancelled following a row between the writer and ITV executives. David Renwick accused ITV of 'meddling too much' in his idea for a series about a young man living with his mother-in-law after the death of his father. Renwick – who created One Foot In The Grave and Jonathan Creek – walked off the show, called Ergo, after he had written all six hour-long episodes. Which, in and of itself is probably funnier than anything that would, likely, have happened in the six episodes had they been made. He complained that commissioners had become 'too prescriptive' in telling writers what they wanted, as ITV admitted they had 'different views' on what the show should be. Renwick told the trade magazine Broadcast: 'There were interesting possibilities, but ITV came unstuck. They wanted to concentrate more on the old father and the back-story. I believe audiences relate to the characters they see on screen and I didn't want too many flashback elements.' Or, in other words, the TV company which was preparing to give Renwick a lot of money to make the show asked him for a few changes and, instead of doing what most writers would be happy to do, and working with them, he threw a wobbler and stormed off in a huff. How very adult. He said that 'called the bluff' of ITV executives, saying he would be happy to sell them the script so someone else could take over. Instead director of television Peter Fincham decided to pull the series completely. Which, again, is hilariously funny. If you're going to call someone's bluff and they, then, call yours, that's irony. He added: 'It was very frustrating. But I decided to move on.' Webb - the unfunny one out of Mitchell and Webb - was lined-up to play the son, and Sheridan Smith under consideration for the mother-in-law. An ITV spokeswoman said: 'ITV were keen to work with David Renwick on Ergo but when it became clear that we had different views on the direction of the series we agreed to part company.'

The BBC has announced details of two dramas which will dramatise the Great Train Robbery from the perspective of its perpetrators and their pursuers. The first, A Robber's Tale, stars the Welsh actor Luke Evans as Bruce Reynolds, the key planner of the infamous 1963 heist, who died last month at the age of eighty one. The second, A Copper's Tale, will focus on the team of detectives assembled to bring the robbers to justice. Line of Duty star Martin Compston will play one of the great train robbers in the first drama marking the fiftieth anniversary of the Royal Mail heist. Compston will star as getaway driver Roy James alongside Evans (previously best known for roles in Tamara Drewe and The Three Musketeers). Julian Jarrold and James Strong will direct the two ninety-minute programmes. Neil Maskell, from the recent British thriller Kill List and Channel Four drama Utopia, will play Buster Edwards, the robber previously portrayed by balding old Tory hasbeen Phil Collins in the thoroughly wretched 1988 film Buster. Ronnie Biggs will be portrayed by Jack Gordon. The casting for the second drama is yet to be announced. The two-parter follows Mrs Biggs, a - not all that good - ITV series which viewed the robbery and its aftermath from the perspective of Biggs's wife, Charmian. Earlier this month, Sheridan Smith was nominated for a best actress prize by the Royal Television Society for playing the title role. A Robber's Tale will begin with Reynolds' earlier planning and execution of a robbery at Heathrow Airport the preceding year. Also appearing in the drama will be Jack Roth, Del Synnott and Paul Anderson. Doctor Who and Broadchurch's Chris Chibnall, the writer and executive producer of both the films, said that the events of August 1963 had 'passed into modern folklore. How fantastic that such a magnificent bunch of talented young stars have come together for our first film, to tell how one gang planned - and almost got away with - the British Crime of the Century.' Filming begins this month on the films, which will be screened on BBC1 later this year to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the raid. The gang targeted a mail train from Glasgow as it came through Buckinghamshire and escaped with a then-record haul of £2.6m - equivalent to around forty million smackers in today's money. Of the gang of approximately twenty individuals involved, fifteen were given loads of jail (including Reynolds and Edwards who had, initially, fled abroad with their naughty and ill-gotten gains); two of the gangs - Charlie Wilson and, most famously, Ronnie Biggs - hopped over the wall after their incarceration and spent time on the run. In Biggs' case, a very long time indeed. Three of the gang - a shadowy 'inside-man' known only as The Ulsterman, an - apparently incompetent - replacement train driver, 'Old Pete' and - another rather useless - chap called 'Mark the Dustman' who was supposed to clean up the robbers' hideout at Leatherside Farm after they'd left but made such a rotten job of it that he left their dabs all over the gaff, were never caught.
A former senior City of London police officer has been arrested on suspicion of passing information to journalists without payment, the police watchdog has said. The former officer, a fifty two-year-old man, was held at his home in South-West London on Tuesday. The Independent Police Complaints Commission, which carried out the arrest, said there was 'no indication' that the former officer received any money in exchange for the alleged leak. He is one of four former or serving officers arrested over the alleged passing of information to the media, where no money was involved. The IPCC said Tuesday's arrest was prompted by evidence gathered during the investigation into another City of London officer, who was held and released on bail in June last year. The watchdog said the arrest also followed further evidence obtained by Scotland Yard's Operation Elveden, the investigation into alleged payments from journalists to police and other public officials. The IPCC added in a statement: 'He was arrested at his home in London and is being questioned by IPCC investigators at a police station nearby. Investigators have conducted a search of his home and have seized a number of items.' The name and rank of the man, who the IPCC described as a 'former senior City of London police officer,' was not disclosed. His arrest comes shortly after that of Chief Superintendent Andy Rowell, the borough commander in Ealing who was arrested by the Metropolitan police in February over the suspected release of confidential information without alleged payment. The IPCC has launched two independent investigations into alleged misconduct by police officers, linked to Operation Elveden. On Tuesday, the watchdog said it had received eighteen individual referrals from the Metropolitan police and other forces in relation to alleged misconduct by officers.

A US judge has ruled a legal claim by Michael Jackson's mother and children against concert promoter AEG Live over the singer's death can go to trial. Jackson's family claim AEG negligently hired and supervised physician Doctor Conrad Murray, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter last November. They also claim the company 'pushed' Murray into disregarding medical warnings in order to ready the singer for fifty comeback concerts in London. The trial is due to start on 2 April. It will centre on AEG's responsibility of Murray, who was sentenced up to four years in prison for prescribing and administering the drug that killed Jackson. The singer died on 25 June 2009, weeks before his first show. AEG claim Murray was not under its supervision and was working directly for Jackson, who had developed an addiction to strong pain medicine. Katherine Jackson and the singer's eldest son Prince, sixteen, are likely to take the witness stand during the trial to refute the promoter's claim. Court documents show the family's lawyers will refer to a supposed 'smoking gun' e-mail from the co-chief executive of AEG, which said: 'We want to remind [Murray] that it is AEG, not MJ, who is paying his salary. We want to remind him what is expected of him.' The multi-billion dollar lawsuit argues the background check into Murray was a botched job and overlooked his significant debts, which would have made him more likely to succumb to financial pressure. However when tour director Kenny Ortega wrote an e-mail to AEG asking for 'professional guidance' in order to deal with Jackson's 'weakened and troubled state,' company president Randy Phillips replied saying: 'This doctor is extremely successful (we check everyone out) and does not need this gig so he is totally unbiased and ethical.' In her ruling, Los Angeles County Court judge Yvette Palazuelos said from previous tour experiences with the singer, AEG employees would have been been aware that his 'tour doctors' had given him controlled substances. She said: 'There is a triable issue of fact as to whether it was foreseeable that a physician under strong financial pressure [might] compromise his Hippocratic oath and do what was known by AEG Live's executives to be an unfortunate practice in the entertainment industry.' Jacko's family are suing for financial compensation estimated at eight billion dollars - the amount the singer would have earned from the shows had he not died - which is more than the value of AEG's entire company. The Jacksons' lawyer Kevin Boyle told CNN: 'The truth about what happened to Michael, which AEG has tried to keep hidden from the public since the day Michael died, is finally emerging. We look forward to the trial where the rest of the story will come to light.'

John Oliver is to replace Jon Stewart presenting The Daily Show for two months. The British comic will take over the Comedy Central slot while Stewart directs his first feature film. Standing in on the hit show for eight weeks will further boost Oliver's already growing profile in the States, where he moved in 2006 to take up a job as a correspondent on the show. Since then he has hosted three series of his own stand-up show and appeared on the sitcom Community and in the Mike Myers film The Love Guru. Stewart is taking a sabbatical to make Rosewater, a film about Canadian-Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari, who spent one hundred and eighteen days in jail after the Tehran regime accused him of spying. He was arrested shortly after being interviewed by The Daily Show correspondent Jason Jones in 2009. He made a televised confession, which he said was made under duress, and later wrote a book about his ordeal called Then They Came For Me. Stewart – who has hosted The Daily Show for fifteen years – has written the script and is also producing the movie.

Spare a thought, dear blog reader, for dear old Roy Hudd his very self, erstwhile star of Radio 2's The News Huddlines who is simply dying for a decent role on TV. 'Last year, I thought I'd cracked it when I had a terrific part in Call The Midwife,' Roy told the Torygraph. 'Sadly, my character died before the titles went up. I also died in the next four TV parts that I was offered. A fifth offer came in. I asked, "Do I die in this one?"' Yes, it turned out, he did. So Roy turned that one down too. Later it transpired in fact his character didn't shuffle off this mortal coil, but the role had already gone to someone else.

Sour-faced dour old Scotsman and Mister Silly, Sir Alex Ferguson was 'too distraught' to face the media after The Scum's - hilarious - Champions League exit against Real Madrid at Old Trafford on Tuesday night. Ferguson was visibly enraged after Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir sent off Nani for a high challenge on Real's Alvaro Arbeloa after fifty six minutes with United leading through Sergio Ramos's own goal. Indeed, his face was so red he looked like Bad Manners singer Buster Bloodvessel choking on a cough sweet. It was, dear blog reader, a sight to see. Real took advantage of the dismissal with quick goals from Luka Modric and Cristiano Ronaldo on his return to Old Trafford to confirm a 2-1 win on the night and 3-2 aggregate victory to reach the last eight. The Scum's assistant manager, Mike Phelan, replaced Ferguson at the post-match media conference and said: 'It's a distraught dressing room and a distraught manager. That's why I am sitting here now. I don't think the manager is in any fit state to talk to the referee about the decision. It speaks volumes that I am sitting here now rather than the manager of this fantastic football club.' Phelan continued: 'We are extremely disappointed and wondering what has happened and why it has happened. We feel as though we had the tactics right for the game on such a big occasion. We felt we were comfortable at 0-0. It was where we wanted to be, then we scored the goal that put us in a commanding position. We were in reasonable control and then the game totally changed. The decision was amazing but we had to carry on because it is hard enough playing Real Madrid with eleven men. Referees are there to make decisions but there is also an element of doing the right thing. All the media and a television audience watching all over the world will have an opinion on the decision but it was a disappointing one and it spoiled the game.'

Sam Mendes, director of the latest Bond film Skyfall, has revealed that he will not direct the next in the series. He told Empire magazine that it was 'a very difficult decision.' The director, who is currently working on a stage production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, says his current work needs his 'complete focus over the next year and beyond.' But he added he had not ruled out the possibility of returning to the 007 franchise in the future. 'I feel very honoured to have been part of the Bond family,' said Mendes, 'and very much hope I have a chance to work with them again.' The Oscar-winning director picked up the outstanding British film award, for Bond's twenty third outing, alongside producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli at this year's BAFTAs. 'It has been a very difficult decision not to accept Michael and Barbara's very generous offer to direct the next Bond movie,' explained Mendes. 'Directing Skyfall was one of the best experiences of my professional life.' There had been doubts about whether the director would make a second Bond film after he described Skyfall as 'completely exhausting. I felt like everything I wanted to do with a Bond movie, I put into this film,' he was quoted as saying last year. Wilson and Broccoli said in a statement that they hope to work with the director again in the future, adding they 'completely respect his decision to focus on other projects.' Screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who have worked on five instalments of the series, have also revealed they are quitting the franchise. Speaking during an appearance at the Doha Tribeca Film Festival in November 2012, Wade said that screenwriter John Logan had been working with Mendes on a follow-up to Skyfall. Speaking to the BBC News website this week, Logan said the script was 'coming together very well' but would not be drawn into revealing any details. Skyfall became the highest-grossing movie in UK box office history in December. To date, the film has earned £102.8m in the UK and Ireland.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, here's something that's almost as scary as Alex Ferguson with a lip-on. And, I don't mean Whispering Bon Harris either.

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