Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Tonight Make It Magnificent

The Doctor Who cast came to a rainy Trafalgar Square on Tuesday. Yer actual Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman her very self, were filming some spectacular scenes for the show’s fiftieth anniversary episode. A large crane hoisted the blue police box high into the air with Smudger hanging beneath it, but the Time Lord made it safely back to earth in front of large watching crowds. The production team remain tight-lipped about the plans for the special episode which is rumoured to be a 3D extravaganza filled with familiar faces from the history of the show. At least one ex-Doctor - David Tennant - will return for the one-off episode. The previous day some location filming had taken place at the Tower of London.
The title for the second episode of the upcoming Sherlock series has been announced. The Sign of Three will be written be Steve Thompson, who also wrote The Blind Banker for series one and The Reichenbach Fall the final episode to series two. The title clearly relates to Arthur Conan Doyle's second full Sherlock Holmes novel The Sign of Four (first published in 1890), wherein John Watson meets his future wife, Mary Morstan. Sherlock co-creator yer actual Mark Gatiss previously announced the first episode of the upcoming series will be called The Empty Hearse. It will be based on the original short story The Adventure of the Empty House, which returned Holmes, seemingly, from the dead and introduced the villain Sebastian Moran. Gatiss previously said of the episode: 'There's certain things about The Adventure of the Empty House which feel set in stone because that's how Sherlock comes back, but at the same time we feel free to invent and to introduce new stuff to it.' Thompson has also worked on Doctor Who's upcoming series seven episode Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS. Benedict Cumberbatch recently confirmed that Sherlock will also return for a fourth series. Which was jolly good news.
Channel Four pledged to help parents win the 'battle of bedtime' with their children in Bedtime Live, but the show has proved far from a ratings dream with fewer than six hundred thousand punters tuning into its latest episode on Tuesday evening. The live show, presented by Jake Humphrey and Professor Tanya Byron, managed just five hundred and ninety seven thousand viewers for its fourth episode between 8pm and 9pm. This figures was down from nearly one million overnight viewers from the previous week's episode. Bedtime Live had just half of the 1.25 million viewers who watched the return of Channel Five's obesity documentary series, Big Body Squad. Bedtime Live also suffered against BBC2's The Great British Sewing Bee, attempting to do for sewing what The Great British Bake Off did for baking. This had 2.57 million viewers also between 8pm and 9pm. With the final outing for Channel Four's Sixteen Kids and Counting watched by 1.7 million viewers between 9pm and 10pm, C4 had a 5.2 per cent share of the peaktime audience between 6pm and 10.30pm, only narrowly ahead of Channel Five. Audiences for ITV's UEFA Champions League coverage have inevitably stuttered with the exit of all the British teams in the competition. The quarter-final second leg between Galatasaray and Real Madrid, which saw the Spaniards go through 5-3 on aggregate despite a spirited 3-2 win for the Turkish team, averaged just three million viewers between 7.30pm and 10pm. BBC1 lottery drama The Syndicate had 5.16 million viewers between 9pm and 10pm. Later on BBC1, The Matt Lucas Awards had two million sad crushed victims of society between 10.35pm and 11.05pm. The new series of Later Live ... with Jools Holland, filmed in studios in Maidstone following the BBC's sale of Television Centre, began with seven hundred and fifty eight thousand viewers between 10pm and 10.30pm. It was up against the first half of Channel Four's Shameless, watched by 1.11 million viewers.

'The curse of bigging yourself up on MasterChef' stuck again on Wednesday night's episode as it has so many times this series. A young chap called Guy clearly had a very high opinion of himself telling Gregg Wallace that he felt he could 'go far' in the competition. He did. As far the door marked exit due to his inability to tell the difference between pork and lamb. Bit of a drawback for someone, in theory, thinking making cookery their career, that.
BBC1 will mark the one hundredth anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War with a drama by former EastEnders writer Tony Jordan about two young men on the frontline, called The Great War. The new series was announced at the Mip TV programming festival in Cannes on Tuesday, at the same time as a new BBC2 drama by bitter old whinging Red Jimmy McGovern about the first convicts transported from Britain to Australia in 1787. Gosh, bet that'll be a right laugh. Jordan, whose other credits include Hustle and Life on Mars, as well as BBC1's superb Nativity adaptation two years ago, said: 'The Great War follows two young men as they struggle to adapt to life on the frontline and fight to survive the terrifying events of war. The sheer magnitude of suffering during this time makes it hard for audiences to understand the very personal pain that was inflicted on countless families and young men.' He added: 'The story looks at all aspects of the war – from the families left behind to the strategic decisions by generals that led to unimaginable bloodshed, and the men fighting in the trenches – no one is unaffected by this global war.' But some people might be surprised at the length of the drama, which will be tackled in five, thirty-minute episodes. Rather longer will be Cracker and Accused misery-guts McGovern's take on the first people sent to Australia at the end of the Eighteenth Century. The, as-yet-untitled, project has been a long time in gestation, mentioned by McGovern in a typically whinging Gruniad Morning Star interview seven years ago. McGovern said: 'In 1787 Britain banished its petty thieves, whores, orphans and highwaymen to Sydney Cove – a place so hot and barren and hostile that very few people had ever set foot there. It was an audacious social experiment, unparalled before or since. Yet these rejects from Britain, accompanied by soldiers, officers, a vicar and a doctor, survived against all the odds. In spite of famine, drought, escapes, hangings and floggings, the colony thrived. This is their story.' Blimey, a Jimmy McGovern feel-good drama for all the family, this I have to see. Presumably the BBC will be supplying all viewers with a razor-blade, just in case. The eight-part fictional drama will begin several months after the arrival of the first fleet of convict ships, and will be told through the eyes of three convicts, James Freeman, Tommy Barrett and Elizabeth Quinn. Their friendship is described as a 'rollercoaster of survival set between the deadly bush and the infinite blue of the mighty Pacific Ocean.' The two new projects were announced on the same day as the BBC's controller of drama commissioning, Ben Stephenson, gave a keynote address at Mip. 'Quality and creative integrity are crucial to achieving international success,' said Stephenson. 'Co-production should be a means of achieving the scale of a writer's vision, not a creative compromise. The best dramas translate internationally because they are driven by an ambition that goes to the heart of the piece.' He added: 'I want to make BBC drama the hallmark of quality and the place where the best talent from all over the world can find a home to work and flourish. Working with BBC drama provides creative talent from all over the world the very best environment in which to flourish. It is so exciting that the world is opening up to British programming and wanting to invest in it.'

MTV has cancelled their top-rating reality TV show Buckwild, days after the death of its twenty one-year old star Shain Gandee. MTV has decided to cancel the show, dubbed the 'Jersey Shore of Appalachia', in the middle of shooting its second season. The decision, which is officially expected to be announced on Wednesday according to US gossip site TMZ, has outraged the show's producer JP Williams. Williams said he plans to continue the show, which follows the lives and antics of a group of young people from a West Virginia town, and criticised MTV for its decision. 'This is a network that has shows about teen pregnancy,' he told The Hollywood Reporter. 'They'll stick by a show that allows you to abandon a child, but a kid dies by accident doing what he does for a living and they cancel the show?' Last week Gandee, his forty eight-year-old uncle David Gandee and Donald Myers died of carbon monoxide poisoning in a Ford Bronco after getting trapped in mud while offroading. Production of the show was suspended following Gandee's death on 1 April – with grief counselling set up for the cast, crew and their families – and it is not thought that MTV will broadcast the four episodes it has already shot. There is, however, a Buckwild special which was filmed before Gandee's death that could still be shown and Williams, who manages a number of the show's cast members, said he intends to 'explore options' to continue to shoot the series – and even a possible movie. Following Gandee's death Danny Jones, the mayor of Charleston, West Virginia, had urged MTV to cancel the show saying that it 'only enhanced the negative stereotype the Kanawha Valley already has.' The first season of Buckwild was a breakout hit for MTV, beginning in January with an audience of 2.49 million viewers, twice Jersey Shore's 2009 opening. However, Buckwild has been dogged by controversy. West Virginia is America's second poorest state after Mississippi, and the show has been criticised for 'exploiting stereotypes' of the Appalachian poor. Salwa Amin, another regular on the show, was taken into custody during a drug raid while another, Michael Burford, was arrested in February for driving under the influence of alcohol.

Thai TV viewers unfamiliar with Margaret Thatcher's face would be forgiven for thinking Meryl Streep had died on Monday. The country's Channel Five had to apologise to viewers after mistakenly showing images of Streep in character as Thatch for 2011 movie The Iron Lady to illustrate the news, report both the Sun and the Daily Torygraph. They weren't the only ones, either. Over in Taiwan a similar mistake was committed, this time featuring pictures of the Queen.

The TV weather presenter Fred Talbot has been arrested by police investigating allegations of historical child sex abuse at a Greater Manchester school. Officers are examining claims of abuse at Altrincham Grammar School for Boys in the 1970s and 80s. Talbot was arrested on suspicion of three counts of indecent assault and four counts of inciting a child to commit acts of gross indecency on Tuesday. The sixty three-year-old was a biology teacher at the school at the time. A police spokesman said: 'The offences relate to his time as a teacher at the school between the early 1970s to early 1980s, while the four victims were pupils.' Police reportedly raided Talbot's home in Bowdon, Trafford, on 11 December. According to his Twitter account Talbot was abroad at the time. A police spokesman said: 'Since allegations were made to police in December we have made good progress with this investigation and with tracing and speaking to former pupils of Altrincham Grammar school. However, as part of our ongoing enquiry I am eager to trace anyone who attended the school between the early 1970s and 1980s, who feel they may have information to assist the police investigation.' Talbot, who worked for ITV's Granada Reports programme, is best known for his work on the ITV programme This Morning when it was hosted by Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan.

An archaeological dig in the heart of London 'will transform our understanding' of Roman Londinium, experts have claimed. About ten thousand finds have been discovered, including writing tablets and good luck charms. The area has been dubbed 'the Pompeii of the North' due to the perfect preservation of organic artefacts such as leather and wood. One expert said: 'This is the site that we have been dreaming of for twenty years.' Archaeologists expect the finds, at the three-acre site, to provide the earliest foundation date for Roman London, currently AD 47. The site will house media corporation Bloomberg's European headquarters. It contains the bed of the Walbrook, one of the 'lost' rivers of London, and features built-up soil waterfronts and timber structures, including a complex Roman drainage system used to discharge waste from industrial buildings. Organic materials such as leather and wood were preserved in an anaerobic environment, due to the bed being waterlogged. Museum of London archaeologists, who led the excavation of the site, say it contains the largest collection of small finds ever recovered on a single site in London, covering a period from just post invasion to the early Fifth Century. Sadie Watson, the site director for MOLA, said: 'We have entire streets of Roman London in front of us.' At forty feet, the site is believed to be one of the deepest archaeological digs in London, and the team have removed three thousand five hundred tonnes of soil in six months. More than one hundred fragments of Roman writing tablets have been discovered. Some are thought to contain names and addresses, while others contain affectionate letters. A wooden door, only the second to be found in London, is another prize find. MOLA's Sophie Jackson said the site contains 'layer upon layer of Roman timber buildings, fences and yards, all beautifully preserved and containing amazing personal items, clothes and even documents.' The site also includes a previously unexcavated section of The Temple of Mithras, a Roman cult, which was first unearthed in 1954. The preserved timber means that tree ring samples will provide dendrochronological dating for Roman London, expected to be earlier than the current dating of AD 47. The artefacts are to be transported back to the Museum of London to be freeze-dried and preserved by record, as the site will eventually become the entrance to the Waterloo and City line at Bank station. Once Bloomberg Place is completed in 2016, the temple and finds from the excavation will become part of a public exhibition within Bloomberg's headquarters.

Nearly seven hundred jobs could be cut at Morrisons as manual cash counting is replaced by machines in the supermarket's back offices. The Bradford-based chain has started a four-week consultation with six hundred and eighty nine cash office managers and supervisors across its four hundred and ninety stores. The company said: 'The new technology will simplify the operation.' Ant and/or Dec's jobs with Morrisons are not thought to be among those affected which, this blogger is sure, will be a great relief to everyone.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, here's the perfect tune to play just in case Kim Jong-Un decides to push the button.

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