Tuesday, March 26, 2013

It Felt Like A Stage Set

This week sees special Royal Mail stamps going on sale to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Doctor Who. Each of the eleven TV Doctors is represented on his own first-class stamp (price sixty pence), as is the TARDIS, while four enemies – The Dalek, The Cyberman, The Ood, and a Weeping Angel – feature on second-class stamps (fifty pence). The enemies and TARDIS are on a five-stamp miniature sheet, while the stamp design for the Doctors sees the face of each one set against relevant opening title sequences along with a relevant logo. Since the first two Doctors' eras were broadcast in monochrome, the first two stamps are also black and white. As well as the stamps - which are being sold at more than nine thousand Post Office branches in the UK, online, and via the telephone - a wide variety of associated products is also available, ranging from first-day covers and postcards to stamp sets and stamp strips plus a pin badge of the TARDIS stamp. Some of the items on sale include series information penned by Doctor Who writer, director and script editor Gary Russell. Royal Mail - which said it had had 'an unprecedented number' of pre-registrations for the stamps since they were unveiled in December - is also creating unique postmarks in the home towns of the actors to have played the eleven Doctors. All stamped mail sent from those locations will have a special postmark celebrating fifty years of Doctor Who, with the name of the actor who played the Doctor plus the length of time they were in the role. A special public affairs event marking the issue of the anniversary stamps was held by Royal Mail at BAFTA in London earlier this month, with yer actual Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Paul McGann, The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat, Jenna-Louise Coleman, Jon Pertwee's son Sean and William Hartnell's granddaughter and biographer Jessica Carney mingling among the invited guests, who included MPs, stakeholders, and key Royal Mail customers. Speeches in praise of the show and the stamps were given by Moya Greene, Royal Mail's chief executive, and Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He). The showrunner also introduced a video message from Matt Smith his very self, as the actor had been unable to make it to the function, plus an extended trailer for series seven (b).
This week's Radio Times - available from Tuesday - features the now traditional Doctor Who front cover to celebrate the return of the series to television this coming weekend. Amidst several media reports of late speculating about how long he'll remain with in the role of The Doctor, Matt Smith his very self told the Radio Times: 'For ever! I came back and put the costume on for the photoshoot today. At the risk of sounding self-indulgent and cheesy, it really does make you want to go back and start shooting. 'I'm attached to the show for the next year and I take it year-by-year. I think that's the only way you can take it.' Not that yer actual Keith Telly Topping is normally big on conspiracy theories, but he does think 'attached' is a very interesting choice of words at this juncture. I'm just sayin'. I could be wrong, it has been know. Not infrequently, either. Meanwhile, yer actual Jenna-Louise Coleman, playing The Doctor's latest companion, commented on what Smudger is like to work with: 'He demands sweets at certain times of the day and Diet Coke in his trailer.' The full interviews are in the new edition, along with a guide to the eight episodes which comprise this run provided by Steven Moffat, plus a free Monster wall chart. This issue also reveals the title for Neil Gaiman's new episode. The award-winning writer's second script for the popular, long-running family SF drama - which features the return of The Cybermen - will be titled Nightmare In Silver.
Meanwhile, the BBC have released a couple of new publicity posters for the forthcoming The Bells of Saint John, featuring images of The Doctor and his bike (and Clara) together against the backdrop of the London skyline.
Geet cush, I'm sure you'll agree, ladies and gentlemen. And, the bike's quite tasty as well.

As previously noted, the nominations for the 2013 BAFTA Television Craft Awards have been announced, and sees Doctor Who represented in two categories: Composer Murray Gold has been nominated in the Original Television Music section for his work on Asylum of the Daleks; he'll be facing competition from Kevin Sargent for The Hour, Stephen Warbeck for Henry IV (part of The Hollow Crown) and Ilan Eshkeri and Andy Burrows for The Snowmen and the Snowdog. Visual Effects designers The Mill have also been nominated in the Visual Effects and Graphic Design section; they'll be up against Tom Turnbull for Titanic, Rupert Ray and Benuts for Parade's End and Robin Nurse, Julian Gibbs and Richard Gort for The Psychology of Winning.

BBC1's Afghan war drama Our Girl, starring former EastEnders actress Lacey Turner, was watched by more than five million viewers on Sunday evening - a very decent figure for a first run drama these days - but was still no match for the return of ITV's hugely popular Foyle's War. Our Girl had 5.3 million viewers between 9pm and 10.30pm on Sunday. Foyle's War, back for its eighth run on ITV, returned with a fraction over seven million viewers between 8pm and 10pm. It was up on the 5.9 million who watched the last series opener in April last year. The fact that, for two hours on Sunday night over twelve million punters (a fifth of the population, effectively) were watching quality drama on one side or the other is, surely, a reason to celebrate. Perhaps the viewing public aren't, quite, as thick as is sometimes made out by both those inside and outside of the industry. Also on ITV, Life's Too Short star Warwick Davis' storey of the troupe of seven dwarf performers who survived Auschwitz had three million viewers in ITV's Perspectives strand between 10pm and 11pm. The Simpsons was also back for a new series – its twenty fourth – on Sky1, watched by 1.04 million viewers between 6pm and 6.30pm. The season opener, which featured guests including Zooey Deschanel, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Anne Hathaway, Natalie Portman and Sarah Silverman, was up one hundred and twenty one per cent on Sky1's slot average over the last three months. BBC1's highlights of the Malaysian Grand Prix had four million punters between 2.30pm and 4.30pm. Sky's live coverage – it now has all the live rights, with the BBC showing around half of the races live – had 773,000 viewers from 6.30am with a five-minute peak of 1.35 million.

Here's the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty Five shows week-ending 17 March 2013:-
1 Comic Relief: Funny For Money - BBC1 Fri - 10.28m
2 Coronation Street - ITV Mon - 10.09m
3 EastEnders - BBC 1 Mon - 9.12m
4 Broadchurch - ITV Mon - 8.09m
5 Countryfile - BBC1 Sun - 7.71m
6 Rugby Six Nations - BBC1 Sat 7.61m
7 The Lady Vanishes - BBC1 Sun - 7.44m
8 Ant And/Or Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway - ITV Sat - 7.35m
9 Emmerdale - ITV Mon - 7.25m*
10 Antiques Roadshow - ITV Sun - 6.58m
11 Our Queen - ITV Sun - 5.98m*
12 Shetland - BBC1 Mon - 5.68m
13 BBC News - BBC1 Sun - 5.67m
14 Six O'Clock News - BBC1 Mon - 5.66m
15 Casualty - BBC1 Sat - 5.65m
16 The ONE Show - BBC1 Tues - 5.36m
17 Mrs Brown's Boys - BBC1 Sat - 5.30m
18 Ten O'Clock News - BBC1 Wed - 5.12m
19 Comic Relief: Funny For Money - BBC2/BBC HD Fri - 5.07m
20 The National Lottery: In It To Win It - BBC1 Sat - 4.99m
21 MasterChef - BBC1 Wed - 4.97m
22 Comic Relief: Through Hell & High Water - BBC1 Thurs - 4.97m
23 Prisoner's Wives - BBC1 Thurs - 4.94m
24 Holby City - BBC1 Tues - 4.70m
25 UEFA Champions League Live - ITV Tues - 4.61m
Programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures.

And, just to note that Monday night's fourth episode of Broadchurch pulled in another astonishingly impressive overnight audience of seven million plus. Full details in the next blog update.

[spooks] star Peter Firth has revealed that there are plans - at a very stage, admittedly - to take the spy drama to the big screen. Firth, who played MI5 boss Harry Pearce in the show, said that a script by its original writers is currently doing the rounds. 'There is a script in the machine,' the Huffington Post quotes him as saying. 'They should make it. It's not like it's a gamble with this one. But it costs a lot, and there's not a lot of money to go round at the moment.' The actor has starred in dramas World Without End and Mayday since [spooks] ended. The popular espionage drama ran for ten series on BBC1 between May 2002 and October 2011. Firth previously told the website that he would have liked 'a happier outcome' for his character's unspoken love for Ruth Evershed (Nicola Walker), who died, bloodily, in the series finale. As indeed would many viewers. This one in particular!

The great Clive Mantle, former Little John in Robin of Sherwood, has had part of his ear bitten off in Newcastle. Blimey. I know there's some people a bit hard up in the East End, but I didn't think they'd turn to cannibalism just yet. Clive, who also appears in the US series Game of Thrones and was recently the main villain in an episode of Sherlock, was attacked at the Travelodge in Foster Street in the early hours of Sunday, his agent said. The fifty five-year-old had been performing in The Ladykillers at the Theatre Royal. A thirty two-year-old man from Hamilton in South Lanarkshire has been charged with wounding with intent and is due before magistrates next month. Another man has been released on bail and a third man released without charge. Clive - a particular favourite actor of this blogger - played the surgeon Mike Barrett in Casualty and its spin-off series Holby City for more than nine years. He also featured in the first season of Game of Thrones as Lord Greatjon Umber. A spokesman for Clive's agent, London-based Sarahband Associates, said that surgeons at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary had managed to sew the top part of the actor's right ear back on. The spokesman said that he believed Clive was 'pinned to the floor' in the hotel and attacked after asking other guests to keep the noise down. He added that Clive 'is very shaken and shocked by what has happened, you don't expect this kind of thing to happen in a hotel. The part of the ear that was bitten off was found and sewn back on. Mr Mantle said the police, ambulance and hospital staff were amazing.' A Travelodge spokesman confirmed that emergency services were called to the Newcastle Central Travelodge in the early hours of Sunday morning after 'an incident' involving two guests. 'As this is a live police investigation, we cannot offer any further comment at this stage, but we can confirm we are working very closely to assist Northumbria Police with their investigation,' the spokesman added.

Blue Peter has reportedly 'increased its security' after The Jeremy Kyle Show recently started filming nearby. Large X-ray scanners have been purchased amid fears that guests on the risible and odious ITV daytime chat show 'may bring in weapons', reports the Sun. The long-running CBBC show was previously the only other programme being filmed at the studios before Kyle's show began shooting there in February. An alleged 'source' allegedly said: 'It's like the studio has gone on lock-down with everything needing to be bolted to the floor so it's not stolen. It all seems a little ridiculous but I guess they've got to be careful with the guests on Jeremy Kyle. The famous Blue Peter garden is just outside - so you can imagine the atmosphere is now very different.' Kyle's show was previously filmed at ITV's Granada but has recently moved to Blue Tower studios at MediaCity in Salford. An ITV spokesperson said: 'The security measures in place are consistent with the requirements of the show - which centres on conflict resolution.' So, that's Blue Peter dealt with, what about The Jeremy Kyle Show?

Meanwhile, if you think you've hard problems with the cold this week, think about how this poor little chap must be feeling right about now. Frozen nuts are the least of his problems.
And, on that bombshell...
No charges will be brought against a former BBC producer arrested in connection with the inquiry into abuse claims made against alleged dirty old scallywag and rotter Jimmy Savile. Wilfred De'Ath was arrested in Cambridgeshire in November over an allegation of historic indecent assault. But the complainant has since withdrawn her statement, said Alison Saunders, chief crown prosecutor for CPS London. De'Ath has maintained his innocence throughout the investigation. Although he once produced a Savile radio show, De'Ath's arrest was part of the strand of the police investigation looking at complaints unconnected to Savile himself. In a statement on Monday, the CPS said it had 'received a full file of evidence' on 20 March. It added: 'The complainant made a withdrawal statement, which maintained that the allegations were true, but in which she said that she had made a statement to lend support to any other complainants who might come forward in relation to the same suspect. The complainant said that as she would be the only complainant to give evidence if the matter went to trial, she did not want to pursue it. She confirmed to the police that she came to this conclusion of her own free will, and was aware that she, like all complainants of sexual offences, was entitled to anonymity. We looked at the possibilities of bringing a prosecution without the evidence of this complainant, but have concluded that there would be insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction.'

Ford India has apologised for adverts criticised as demeaning to women, including one depicting Italy's former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi with a trio of bound women in the trunk of a car. A spokeswoman said the company was investigating whether any of its staff ever saw or approved the print adverts, which were never used commercially but appeared over the weekend on a website showcasing 'creative advertising.' Featuring Ford's logo, one advert depicted three buxom young women bound and gagged in the trunk of an Indian-made compact, the Ford Figo, with Berlusconi smiling from the driver's seat alongside the slogan 'Leave your worries behind with the Figo's extra-large boot.' Similar adverts featured Paris Hilton apparently kidnapping the Kardashian sisters, with all three sisters tied up and the Formula One driver Michael Schumacher abducting his male racing competition. The adverts, created at the advertising agency JWT India, appeared on the website adsoftheworld.com late on Friday and caused an uproar online. Ford India Needs to Fire Its Advertising Execs, read a headline on Slate. Ford said it 'regretted' the incident, calling the images 'contrary to the standards of professionalism and decency within Ford.' The Ford spokeswoman, Sethi Deepti, said by e-mail: 'We take this very seriously and are reviewing approval and oversight processes, and taking necessary steps to ensure nothing like this ever happens again.' JWT advertising's parent company, the British advertising and public relations giant WPP Group, also condemned the adverts. 'We deeply regret the publishing of posters that were distasteful and contrary to the standards of professionalism and decency within WPP Group,' a statement said. 'These were never intended for paid publication and should never have been created, let alone uploaded to the Internet. This was the result of individuals acting without proper oversight and appropriate actions have been taken within the agency where they work to deal with the situation.' Last week India passed a new law on violence against women following a fatal gang rape of a student on a bus that prompted mass protests and spotlighted the status of women in India.

Five naughty people who pretended to make a Hollywood blockbuster as part of a £2.8m tax scam have been jailed for a total of more than twenty years. As opposed to the people who did make the Hollywood blockbuster John Carter. Who should've been jailed for twenty years. Bashar Al-Issa, from London, who was jailed for six-and-a-half years, claimed that he was making a 'twenty million pound gangster film' in order to claim tax credits and VAT repayments. The group then duped tax inspectors for a year using fake scripts and documents. Passing sentence, the judge said that the team had embarked on an 'entirely bogus film project. This was a sophisticated, detailed fraudulent project involving the deployment of considerable amounts of false documentation,' Judge Juliet May said. Also jailed was the actress Aoife Madden, from London, who was sentenced to four years and eight months for her part in submitting 'a pack of lies' to inspectors about the project. Tariq Hassan, from Essex, and Osama Al Baghdady, from Manchester, both received four-year jail sentences, while a fifth defendant, Ian Sherwood, from Cheshire, was jailed for three-and-a-half years for allowing his offices to be used as part of the fraud. Handing Al-Issa his jail term, the judge said: 'I could not decide whether you were a fantasist who truly believed you were making a £19.6m film, or whether you were laughing up your sleeve at the naivety of a system that encourages UK film-making.' Inspectors had been told that Hollywood A-listers, including Jeremy Irons, would be starring in the production to be shot in the UK. However the film, titled Landscape of Lives, was never made and the only footage shot was seven minutes deemed to be of 'completely unusable quality', filmed in a flat. The gang then attempted to cover their tracks by quickly shooting a low budget thriller, which was given a new version of the original title, Landscape of Lies. It starred Loose Women host Andrea McClean and former EastEnders actor Marc Bannerman. The film was released on DVD in 2011. The gang fraudulently claimed some two million seven hundred and eighty one thousand one hundred and ninety knicker in tax rebates between April 2010 and April 2011 before officials became suspicious. Prosecutor Rebecca Chalkley said the gang's scheme was purposely designed to 'steal money from the public purse.' None of the money has been recovered, although a hearing will take place later this year to discuss whether to confiscate any of the defendants' assets. All four men had denied the fraud charges, claiming the tax credit applications were made in good faith with the aim of making the movie. Madden admitted the fraud charges against her.

England's last-wicket pair held on to secure a stunning draw in a thrilling third Test against New Zealand. Matt Prior made a magnificent unbeaten one hundred and ten and Monty Panesar faced five balls at the death to deny the hosts a series victory at Eden Park in Auckland. Prior and Stuart Broad defended stoutly after coming together at two hundred and thirty seven for seven at tea, but Broad and both James Anderson fell in the fourth over before the close. However, Prior and Panesar clinched the draw with England on three hundred and fifteen for nine at the end. Prior, who successfully overturned an lbw decision and survived the ball hitting his stumps earlier in his innings, faced one hundred and eighty two balls and batted for four hours and twenty nine minutes. It was the thirty one-year-old vice-captain's seventh Test century and the longest innings of his sixty five-Test career. It is only the third time in Test cricket that a team had gone into the final day of a match with four wickets down and avoided defeat. With Ian Bell dismissed in the last over before tea for a battling seventy five, Prior was left with three tail-enders going into the final session. Broad, who has been in horrible form with the bat, also overturned an lbw decision, but batted with admirable discipline. He eventually got off the mark to his sixty second ball faced, after a Test record one hundred and three minutes in the middle. With the tension growing, Prior almost played on but missed his leg stump by the smallest of margins. The wicketkeeper brought up their fifty partnership, having hit all the runs, and moments later reached his century with a muted celebration. Boult thought he had Broad lbw to a ball that jagged back but he survived thanks to another review, while Prior was almost caught six overs from the end. New Zealand looked increasingly desperate as the overs ticked down but Kane Williamson had Broad and Anderson caught at slip in the space of three deliveries. That brought in Monty Panesar and he held his nerve, despite almost being run out in comical fashion after mistiming a dive to make his ground. England went into the series with many experts predicting a comprehensive victory following a historic series triumph in India. But Alastair Cook's side failed to match the high standards set before Christmas and, after two rain-affected draws, were thoroughly outplayed over the first four days after putting the hosts into bat. The draw, however, means England remain above India in second place in the International Cricket Council Test rankings and denies New Zealand what would have been only their fourth series win against them. Starting the day on ninety for four, and with the victory target of four hundred and eighty one no longer relevant, England needed to bat for a minimum of ninety overs. Bell and Joe Root dropped anchor but fell just short of batting through the first session. Left-arm seamer Trent Boult needed just one delivery with the new ball to break a stand of sixty - Root departing leg before for twenty nine pushing forward to an inswinger. Bell and Jonny Bairstow were both dropped in the final over before lunch. The Warwickshire player was dropped at fourth slip by Dean Brownlie on forty and Bairstow was put down at gully by Williamson two balls later as England went into the break on one hundred and fifty eight for five. Bairstow, who has played only two first-class innings since August, was out for six after the interval when he edged Tim Southee to first slip. Prior was given out lbw to Southee but the wicketkeeper had inside-edged the ball and successfully overturned umpire Rod Tucker's decision on review to the third umpire. Prior kept playing his shots but had another close call when he pulled Southee high into the air, only for a diving Neil Wagner to just miss the toughest of overhead chances running back from midwicket. Then, on twenty eight, the Sussex wicketkeeper somehow survived when a short delivery from Wagner ricocheted from his shoulder to his helmet and then onto the stumps, but without dislodging the bails. He survived another huge appeal from the Kiwis for a catch behind before Bell edged to Southee at third slip and departed after two hundred and seventy one balls of resistance. His departure left Prior as the last recognisable batsman in England's rearguard action, but he was more than up to the task.

School dinner staff in Essex have reportedly been banned from serving triangular flapjacks after one was thrown and, allegedly, hurt a pupil. Caterers at Castle View School in Canvey Island have been told instead to cut their flapjacks into squares or rectangles. The incident, in which a year seven boy was hurt, happened last week. The school said the 'isolated accident' had led to a review of 'the texture and shape of the flapjacks' served to students. Flapjacks are chewy biscuits made from rolled oats, golden syrup or honey, fat (usually butter) and sugar. They are baked in a flat tin and cut into squares, rectangles or any other shape while still warm. As an offensive weapon they're about as dangerous a chicken vol au vont. However, Essex County Council claimed that it did not give schools guidance on the shapes of foodstuffs. Health and safety advisor Ray Hurst said he could not understand why triangular flapjacks had been banned, but not those cut into squares or rectangles. 'Anything that is thrown is likely to cause injury if it hits somebody, especially in the face or the eye,' said Hurst, former president of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health. 'It does seem a little over the top to ban triangular flapjacks,' he said.

And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. And, this one sounds like yet another case for health and safety to investigate.

No comments: