Monday, March 04, 2013

Week Eleven: Standing In The Dark, Watching You Glow

The first teaser trailer for Doctor Who's return to television was broadcast on Saturday, confirming that the series will be back on 30 March. BBC1 viewers on Saturday morning were informed just after Saturday Kitchen whilst the trailer was repeated in the late afternoon before Pointless Celebrities.
After some four weeks of recreating the 1960s, this week finally saw the completion of principal photography for An Adventure in Space and Time, with producer Matt Strevens saying: 'That's a wrap. It's off down the pub if someone will let me out of this box.' Meanwhile, writer and executive producer Mark Gatiss reflected: 'Sadly, the end of the adventure. But it's far from being all over.'
Virgin Media 'deleted' Coronation Street, but then miraculously 'restored' the show as part of an advertising campaign for the TiVo service. Virgin's 'take-over' campaign saw some of the UK's favourite shows disappear before viewers' eyes, before TiVo 'comes to the rescue.' It was launched on Friday on Coronation Street on ITV. The soap's opening credits started before the picture briefly disappeared and a voiceover said that the show had, accidentally, been deleted. However, Virgin's TiVo service has an 'undelete' feature which stores all recently-deleted shows for a period. The voiceover therefore said that Virgin has 'undeleted' Coronation Street and everyone could continue watching the show. ITV's Twatting About On Ice and Channel Four's One Born Every Minute will also be 'accidentally deleted' as part of the campaign. 'Our customers love how TiVo helps them watch their favourite telly and our incredible service has a whole host of impressive features that mean you never have to miss a moment - even if you accidentally delete it, TiVo can bring it back in a jiffy,' said Richard Larcombe, the director of advertising and sponsorship at Virgin Media. 'This innovative campaign brings home the message that TiVo gives you amazing control over your TV and I'm delighted to launch another groundbreaking takeover from Virgin Media that will capture the imagination of viewers.' The adverts were created by BBH with media planning by Fifty6. This is not the first time that Virgin Media advertising has interrupted live television. Last year, the cable operator deliberately 'buffered' adverts for Yeo Valley, Citroën and Magners to support its call for better broadband.

So, here's yer next batch of Top Telly Tips:-

Saturday 9 March
After learning of Cetin's release from custody, the Ozbeks suspect him of snitching on them like a dirty, stinking Copper's Nark and Rodi is ordered to eliminate him, while Josephine Karlsson is called to the police station to answer a traffic offence in the first of tonight's two episodes of Spiral - 9:00 BBC4. Elsewhere, Judge Roban chases a further lead in the case against the odious Garnier but time is quickly running out for the silver fox. Then, an online clue leads Laure and her team to the hippie anarchists' squat, but Thomas Riffaut manages to escape during the raid, just as Roban is given the results of his disciplinary hearing. Meanwhile, a plastic bag found at the scene of Cetin's execution provides a vital DNA clue to the identity of his murderer. Or, does it?

Apart from a couple of episodes of superior French crime drama, it's, frankly, a bit of a right shite state of affairs on TV tonight. Saturday night is a vast wasteland of generic tosh and lame light entertainment conceits. A wilderness from which only apathy and boredom emerges. Still, cheer up, it's only three weeks till Doctor Who's back, that's something to look forward to. Meanwhile, in the latest Ant and/or Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway - 7:00 ITV - the cheeky-chappie Geordie duo doon the Bigg Market, like, go head-to-head in their latest challenge. Also, Little Ant and Little Dec interview global superstar Justin Bieber and another famous face takes part in hidden-camera sketch I'm a Celebrity Get Out of Me Ear. Britain's Got Toilets 2010 champions Spelbound perform at the end of the show and, as usual, one member of the studio audience plays to take home the contents of a commercial break in Win the Ads. Will the entertainment never cease? Mercifully, after an hour, it does.

Sunday 10 March
The start times for Time Team appears to be getting earlier and earlier - it's 3:55 this week. It's almost as though Channel Four are so embarrassed that a show which has served them well for the last twenty years is still hanging around cluttering up their schedules that they just can't wait to get this series over and forget it ever existed. What an utter tragedy. Anyway, the team investigates acres of overgrown gardens surrounding Upton Castle in Pembrokeshire, the centre of a romantic mystery for owners Steve and Pru Barlow. The pair bought what looked like a medieval castle at the front and a Victorian mansion at the back, leaving the origins of the complex unclear. The archaeologists digs trenches to look for a courtyard, while building specialists crawl through the roof and an excavation for the remains of a drawbridge takes place. Presented by Tony Robinson. Just a couple more episodes to go, Channel Four, then you're shot of it and you can get back to the really important stuff. Like worrying where to place Deal Or No Deal for maximum effect.

In the second part of the Top Gear Africa special - 8:00 BBC2 - after conquering traffic, dangerous mud slides and dubious map reading, Jezza Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May conclude their quest to find the definitive source of the River Nile. Allegedly. The trio use a small raft to cross crocodile-infested waters and progress to Lake Victoria, where they hope to find a boat that will take them to the vast plains of the Serengeti. Then, after hundreds of punishing miles in their tired estate cars, the petrolheads make one final push to home in on their target. Last in the current series. Which will, of course, be a tragedy for some whinging tosspot bullies at the Gruniad Morning Star and the Daily Scum Mail. What are they going to write about now for the next six months?

The excellent Douglas Henshall stars in the first of a two-part drama about a Shetlands detective leading a murder investigation which uncovers dark secrets and lies from the past in the not-very-imaginatively titled Shetland - 9:00 BBC1. An archaeologist discovers a set of human remains, but before it can be proven whether the find is ancient or contemporary, local woman Mima Wilson is shot dead on the same site. The police investigation uncovers a deep division between the victim's family and local clan the Haldanes, so members of the latter fall under immediate suspicion - especially when it transpires that one of them was out shooting on the night of the murder and another lacks a convincing alibi for the time of the appalling crime. Alison O'Donnell, Gemma Chan and Steven Robertson co-star. Concludes tomorrow. Looks rather decent, blindingly obvious title notwithstanding.

Secrets of the Stonehenge Skeletons - 8:00 Channel Four - is, as you might expect from the title, a documentary following archaeologist Mike Parker Pearson and a research crew as they make a series of discoveries which rewrite the history of the famed prehistoric monument in Wiltshire. Buried beneath the stones are ancient bodies and the team has been granted special permission - by ... the people who grant special permission on such occasions - to analyse these bones for the first time. The results of the investigation overturn the accepted view on when - and for what purpose - Stonehenge was built.
Monday 11 March
The detectives have their work cut out identifying key suspects, especially as the location of Danny's murder is still a mystery, in the second episode of Broadchurch - 9:00 ITV. But Miller discovers some suspicious items taped under the victim's bed and in his sister Chloe's room, which could help them get closer to the truth. Not that close, though, because there's still six episodes to go after this one. Meanwhile, Hardy finds an isolated cliff-top hut which arouses his curiosity, the Latimers struggle to cope with their grief and the Reverend Paul Coates decides to address the local media. Crime drama, starring David Tennant, Olivia Colman, Arthur Darvill, Andrew Buchan and Jodie Whittaker among many others in a, genuine, once-in-a-lifetime cast.

Author Charlie Higson, TV producer Daisy Goodwin and writer Matthew Parris compete against journalist Rosie Boycott, Pointless presenter Richard Osman and our one captive 'intelligent footballer' Clarke Carlisle in a Comic Relief charity edition of Only Connect the lateral thinking quiz, presented by Victoria Coren - 8:30 BBC4. During which, of course, the divine Victoria will be saucy and just a bit dangerous. As usual. So, definitely one to watch with a nice glass of wine, a takeaway and a few mates, then.
The latest episode of This World - 9:00 BBC2 - is entitled A History of Syria with Dan Snow. If you want to know what's in it, check the label. In this, the broadcaster travels to the titular Middle East country to see what impact its tumultuous history is having on the current civil war. For thousands of years empires and despots have fought for control of the strategically vital region, leaving behind temples, castles and mosques, as well as a diverse cultural heritage. Dan also investigates the historic divisions between Sunnis and Alawites, Islamists and secularists, and east and west. Gosh, Dan Snow's going to sort out the Syrian situation. Is there anything television can't achieve?

Tuesday 12 March
Yer actual John Torode and Gregg Wallace his very self return to put more keen amateur cooks to the ultimate test in the opening episode of a very welcome new series of MasterChef - 9:00 BBC1. As regular dear blog readers will know, this one is, tragically, one of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's real guilty pleasures. The first five contestants undergo the Invention Test, where they are given one hour to create a dish to impress the judges, followed by the extremely tricky Palate Test, a new challenge in which they re-create a dish made by John - without a recipe or seeing how he made it, simply using their tatsebuds as guide. After that, two will be immediately knocked out and the remaining three are thrown into a busy lunch service at London's Chelsea Riverside Brasserie - and after one final dish for John and Gregg, the judges decide who will be making it through to the next round.

In CSI - 9:00 Channel Five - Russell is called to a murder scene at the site of a rave in the desert and concludes from how the victim's hand seems to have been held tightly that she was not alone and that whoever she was with may be the only reliable witness to the crime. And possibly the next target. He's a smart one that Russell. At the post-mortem, Doc Robbins finds evidence which show that the victim had been restrained and was being kept as a sex slave.

Wednesday 13 March
In 1944, Vivien finds a letter Eve wrote to Lucy on the day of her death and its hurtful contents shock Harry in the latest episode of Ligthtfields - 9:00 ITV. Meanwhile, in 1975, as the return of Vivien's memories gives her nightmares, Vivien discovers a mysterious message tapped out on her typewriter by an unknown hand. Who has been at the keyboard? Did they wash their hands before using it? What's that switch over there for? Who won the 1934 FA Cup and was the winning goal offside? All these questions, and more, probably won't be answered. But, it'd be a right good laugh if they were. Meanwhile in 2012, Luke puts himself in danger by starting a fire. A big fire. A really big fire. Supernatural drama, starring Lucy Cohu and Dakota Blue Richards.

A dancer who was taking part in a televised talent show is murdered and her body is discovered, encrusted with diamonds, by a TV ghost hunter during a live broadcast in the latest episode of Bones - 9:00 Sky Living. Brennan and Booth go undercover as a professional ballroom duo to investigate the crime.

David Malone explores the processes involved in metamorphosis, the means through which one being transforms into another, and investigates why this distinctive change seems to have such a powerful grasp on the human imagination in Metamorphosis: The Science of Change - 9:00 BBC4. Along the way, he highlights examples throughout the scope of historical fiction, from the epics of Ovid to the surreal short stories of Franz Kafka and the fantasy heroics of Marvel's X-Men characters. Part of the Alien Nation season.

The second heat of MasterChef - 8:30 BBC1 - is a longer-than-usual edition (all of ninety minutes, believe it or not) which sees another group of hopeful cooks taking on the Invention Test - creating what the contestants hope will be an amazing plate of food in just one hour - followed by the Palate Test. This challenge, as previously mentioned, sees them use their sense of taste and smell to determine the ingredients in a pigeon Wellington with glazed shallots and then attempt to recreate it without the aid of a recipe. Those lucky enough not to be sent home after all that malarkey will then get their first experience of a professional kitchen - London's Caxton Grill - where the heat is really on. Will it stand any of them in good stead for the final round, after which judges John (the Aussie one) and Gregg (the baldy one) decide who stays and who goes? More addictive than heroin.

Thursday 14 March
Tonight see's the start of second series of Prisoners' Wives - 9:00 BBC1 - the return of the drama about women struggling to cope while the men in their lives are on the inside which was something of a surprise drama hit last year. Career criminal's wife Francesca finds herself at the heart of an escalating gangland war, while Harriet is delighted that her son, Gavin, appears to have forged a friendship with a group of Muslims. But it seems they are not all they appear to be. There are also two new characters - Kim, whose perfect world is turned upside down when her loving husband and the father of her three boys is accused of a terrible crime - and bride-to-be Aisling, exasperated that her repeat offender father is back in jail. Sally Carman, Karla Crome and Anne Reid join the cast, with Polly Walker, Pippa Haywood, Iain Glen and Nicola Walker.

Horizon - 9:00 BBC2 - this week investigates the work of scientists who are adopting unusual techniques to try to determine how flashes of inspiration come about, developing a series of puzzles and brainteasers to spark creative behaviour. The latest neuro-imaging technology means researchers can witness the birth of an idea as it happens and what they are learning has the power to make everyone more creative.

On the second part of his journey through Hungary and Austria, yer actual Michael Portillo heads from Vienna to Salzburg in Great Continental Railway Journeys - 7:00 BBC2. Old Portaloo then goes on to the Salzkammergut region to visit the emperor's Austrian summer residence at Bad Ischl, where in 1914 Franz Joseph I signed a declaration which changed the course of European history.
Friday 15 March
Red Nose Day returns with an evening of alleged entertainment to, let's be fair, raise money for a series of very worthy causes involving disadvantaged people in both the UK and Africa. Starting at 7pm on BBC1, Comic Relief kicks-off with Lenny Henry (Last funny, briefly, in about 1983), Dermot O'Dreary (never even remotely funny) and Claudia Winkleman (ditto) presenting the first 'hour of fun' (it says here). This features Rowan Atkinson as the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Jessie J shaving off her glossy locks live in the studio, One Direction performing the official Comic Relief single, a cover version of Blondie's 'One Way or Another' so vacuous it's in danger of evaporating on contact with the ear and Miranda Hart starring in a not-entirely-serious mini-episode of Call The Midwife. Plus, there's an appearance from Miss Piggy. Michael McIntyre and Rob Brydon take over the reins an hour later. Highlights include a MasterChef cook-off between odious, risible, unfunny lanky berk Jack Whitehall and occasionally-funny-but-mostly-very-annoying Micky Flanagan - with Dame Edna Everage judging their efforts. Be still my sides. There's also an appearance from Peter Kay - so that's one very good reason to give this part of the show a miss - and a look back at the Zambezi River challenge with some of the z-list celebrities who took part. Plus, a mini EastEnders episode continuing the Bianca and Liam storyline. Later, cheeky-chappie gap-toothed Scouse funster John Bishop and Davina McCall present Mrs Brown's first Comic Relief appearance, and Miranda Hart is back again, this time to complete Miranda's Meander around the country, with the help of Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders. Allegedly the most eagerly awaited highlight of the night - mainly by people who wouldn't know a joke if it got up and gave them a haircut - will be the return of Ricky Gervais as self-deluded office manager David Brent. At ten o'clock, which the news is one, the action briefly switches to BBC2 where the cast members of Fresh Meat go back to their roots in a university-based challenge and there are highlights from The Great Comic Relief Bake Off. Back on BBc1 Jonathan Ross and odious, risible, unfunny lanky streak of piss Jack Whitehall are at the helm, joined by former Doctor Who actor and national heart-throb David Tennant, while Citizen Khan travels down from Birmingham. Also, David Walliams reveals the identities of all the celebrities he has been 'intimate with' over the past twelve months. The Alan Carr and Walliams host the midnight hour, featuring a new music video from Peter Kay, a 'hugely ambitious' illusion by street magician Dynamo, some good news from Russell Howard and highlights of Graham Norton's marathon BBC3 chat show from last Thursday. Finally, in the wee small hours, Russell Brand takes over the presenting baton to steer things through to the end, presenting clips from - among other things - his own Give It Up for Comic Relief gig. Listen, don't bother watching this crap, just give - very - generously to the charity and then go out for the night and get lathered. You'll respect yourself more in the morning that way, trust me.

Graham Parker: Don't Ask Me Questions - 10:00 BBC4 - is a documentary exploring the life and career of singer-songwriter Graham Parker, including his decision in 2011 to re-form his old band The Rumour to record a CD of new songs. The musicians have seen acts they inspired eclipse their moderate success in the 1970s, and the film examines their feelings now they are back together making music. With contributions by Bruce Springsteen and Nick Lowe.

To the news, now: Sue Perkins is to front a BBC1 panel show pilot, based around people who share the same name. Name Dropping involves teams of comics and other z-list celebrities answering trivia questions about various allegedly famous people. The idea has been in development for a couple of years, with various presenters attached to the project at one time or another. Last year, Miranda Hart hosted a pilot called And You Are ... ? about 'a group of famous people, with absolutely nothing in common but their first name.' Sounds rib-tickling. Name Dropping will be recorded in front of a studio audience at BBC Television Centre later this month. Perkins is finding lots of favour with the Beeb at the moment following the success of The Great British Bake Off, which she co-hosts. Her sitcom Heading Out started last week, and she continues to host Radio 4 panel show Dilemma.

Tom Cullen has joined the cast of the fourth series of Downton Abbey. According to TV Line, the Welsh actor will act as a new love interest for Lady Mary, after her husband Matthew Crawley was messily killed during the series's 2012 Christmas special. Which, apparently, put something of a downer of many people's entire festive season but which this blogger thought was rather funny. Cullen will play Lord Gillingham, an old friend of the Crawley family. Dame Harriet Walters will also appear during the new run playing an old friend of Maggie Smith's Dowager Countess, while former EastEnders actor Nigel Harman will also join as a visiting valet named Green.

Sky 1 has cancelled its comedy series Spy after two series. The news was broken by Darren Boyd, who told his Twitter followers: 'I've handed in my badge and gun.' Boyd won a BAFTA and a British Comedy Award for his role as Tim Eliott, who becomes a secret agent in an effort to impress his son. When the second series was commissioned for last autumn, Sky’s head of comedy Lucy Lumsden praised the 'smart yet accessible pre-watershed comedy for adults and kids to watch together' and said: 'We couldn't have asked for a better start.' Spy has been an international hit, having been sold to one hundred and five countries, including the US on-demand service Hulu. It is also being remade in the States after ABC ordered a pilot, to be written by creator Simeon Goulden and co-produced by Hat Trick – who made the British original – and ABC Studios. In a statement, Sky said: 'W'’d like to thank Hat Trick, Simeon Goulden, Darren Boyd and the entire cast for two stellar series of Spy. Whilst the show will not be returning, we would love to work with everyone involved again on new projects.' One, somewhat idly, wonders if co-star Robert Lindsey will be quite so keen to appear in those offensively, odious arse-licking 'Hey, aren't Sky, like, rilly totally great' adverts with Ruth Jones now that Sky have given Spy the old heave-ho? One suspects not, somehow. For what it's worth, this blogger rather enjoyed Spy but, as usual in commercial TV, if you're not pulling in the numbers, your days are numbered. That's the - necessary - difference between Sky and the BBC, Robert.

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar could be moved to winter months if medical reports show summer temperatures in Qatar would be dangerously high, a senior FIFA official has admitted. Football's world governing body has always maintained that Qatar would have to make the request to move the tournament. But speaking at the meeting of the International Football Association Board - the body that governs the laws of football - in Edinburgh, general secretary Jerome Valcke became the first senior FIFA official to say the event could be moved if they receive 'strong medical advice' that it needs to do so. He said: 'Maybe the FIFA [executive committee] will say based on medical reports or whatever: "We really have to look at playing the World Cup not in summer but in winter."' FIFA president Sepp Blatter's position has given varying views on the issue. In January 2011 he said he expected the competition to begin in the winter, but he then backtracked on that comment a month later. To allay possible health fears, officials from the emirate have also said that they intend to use air-conditioned stadiums and are researching the potential to create 'artificial clouds.' It has previously been argued that any decision on moving to a winter date would have to be made by 2014 in order to give national leagues and competitions sufficient time to reorganise their calendars. However, Valcke believes that the time-frame for any decision could be extended to 2015. 'I am not saying that the case is closed but what I'm saying is as long as we have not fixed the international calendar all alternatives are open,' he continued. 'I can tell you there is no working group within FIFA thinking and working on what it means to move the World Cup from summer to winter for the time being. The international calendar has been agreed for 2015 to 2018, meaning that we kept open all potential for the period 2019 to 2022. We have time. I think it would be good to have a final decision about when this World Cup will be played and have an agreement between all the football family, but it's in 2022, nine years, and we have two World Cups to organise in Brazil and Russia, so there is some time.'

A former inmate has been accused of sneaking back into prison. Matthew Matagrano allegedly disguised himself as a Department of Corrections officer and broke into New York's Rikers Island prison. According to Sky News, Matagrano has been charged with impersonating an officer, as officials claim he used a badge and an ID card to get into the notorious jail and roamed around for a week. The thirty six-year-old's previous convictions include sexual abuse, which means that he is on New York state's sex offender register. Mantagrano raised suspicions when he was found to be moving inmates from one cell to another. He has previously been caught posing as a Board of Education worker to enter schools, the terrible man.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, here's a little class for John Foxx.

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