Friday, May 24, 2013

War Is Not The Answer, Only Love Can Conquer Hate

Sherlock's third series has not yet been scheduled by BBC1, despite widespread - but, wholly ill-informed - online rumours to the contrary. The show's co-creator Mark Gatiss spoke on Twitter to deny claims that the hit crime drama would début its third series in mid-September. Gatiss - who also plays Mycroft Holmes on the show - revealed that Sherlock will take a mid-series filming break following completion of its first two episodes, with the series three finale to shoot 'later in the summer.' Sherlock producer Sue Vertue later reiterated the statement, shooting down the September transmission rumours for a second time with a machine gun.
Yer actual David Threlfall will play Tommy Cooper in an ITV drama based on the much-loved comedian's life. The two-hour film is a Left Bank Pictures production written by Simon Nye and will also star Amanda Redman as Cooper's wife, Gwen. Left Bank Pictures' Andy Harries said: 'Few comics have had such a lasting influence on UK culture as Tommy Cooper. The man was a comedy giant who spent his final years juggling his hugely successful public persona with a private passion for two women. Just like that.' ITV's director of drama commissioning Steve November added: 'Tommy Cooper was an ITV legend and so it feels very fitting to be telling his story on ITV. Left Bank have brought together wonderful talent in Simon Nye, David Threlfall and Amanda Redman to tell the story.' The - as yet untitled - film will focus on Cooper's seventeen-year affair with his assistant, Mary Kay, as he stayed on the road while his wife looked after their children. The film will also explore Cooper's working relationship with his agent, Miff Ferrie, up to the comedian's death, from a heart attack on TV, during Live From Her Majesty's on 15 April 1984. Filming begins in London this June with producer, magician and Always Leave Them Laughing Cooper biographer John Fisher acting as consultant. Hopefully, they'll include the wooden duck card trick, a particular favourite of yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self.

Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall has signed an exclusive 'first-look' deal with Kudos. Chibnall's company Imaginary Friends Productions has partnered with Kudos - the company behind [spooks], Hustle, Life on Mars and Ashes To Ashes - on a new two-year contract. Under the deal, Kudos will have first refusal on all of Chibnall's new scripted projects, Deadline reports. The writer's next project is two-part BBC drama The Great Train Robbery starring Luke Evans and Jim Broadbent. Broadchurch will also return for a second series in 2014. Chibnall recently confirmed that he has been approached to write for the upcoming eighth series of Doctor Who. However, he added that 'scheduling' could prevent him from writing his sixth script for the BBC's long-running popular family SF drama.

The third series of yer actual Luther is to receive its US premiere in September. Idris Elba's dark crime drama will return for a new four-part run on BBC America, stripped across the week 3 to 6 September. The new Luther series will see Elba's title character with two conflicting crimes to investigate and a ruthless ex-cop determined to bring him down. BBC1 is yet to announce a broadcast date for the new series in the UK, though it has been confirmed that the show will return 'in the summer.' BBC America will also début ITV's hit crime drama Broadchurch starring David Tennant and Olivia Colman in the US on Wednesday 7 August at 10pm.
There are no shortage of scares to be found in new Channel Four drama The Returned. Zombies, for a kick-off, along with a series of gruesome murders and a cannibalistic serial killer. But the real shock, which once would have had viewers of a sensitive disposition hiding behind the sofa, is that The Returned is a subtitled French television series – the first foreign-language drama on Channel Four since German epic Heimat twenty years ago. Expected to be given a primetime slot when it launches next month, it is evidence of the changing attitudes towards subtitled drama which can be traced to the success of Danish murder mystery The Killing and other imported dramas on BBC4, which has just announced its latest acquisition, the Belgian thriller Salamander. Channel Four's chief creative officer, Jay Hunt, said that subtitles were 'no longer the turn-off they were' and described The Returned as 'completely new, a back-from-the-dead crime thriller unlike anything else on British TV.' She added: 'It's a risk putting a foreign language drama on Channel Four, because it is inevitably more niche in appeal. But Homeland was a big risk when we bought it and played it prominently against home-grown drama. The audience will often go with you on a show if they can see the quality.' But Homeland had Damian Lewis. Les Revenants, as it was known in France, has no household names (or, indeed, English dialogue). Overseas drama has a dual advantage: it is cheaper than starting from scratch and it has a proven track record with audiences: Les Revenants was the biggest-rating drama on Canal+, where it was broadcast last year. Subtitled dramas had been out of fashion on British TV for the best part of two decades before The Killing helped to change the attitude of viewers and commissioning editors in 2011. Its third series last year was watched by more than one million viewers per episode. The BBC's head of programme acquisition, Sue Deeks, traces the phenomenon back further to another French drama Spiral, which began on BBC4 in 2006 and has recently concluded its fourth series. 'That was really the first [subtitled] contemporary crime drama,' said Deeks. 'Then we bought the Swedish version of Wallander. It coincided with the BBC making its own version [starring Kenneth Branagh] and an explosion in Nordic noir fiction. It went mainstream with The Killing.' The trend subsequently expanded to cover political drama with another acclaimed Danish production, Borgen, another sizable hit for BBC4. Deeks's latest acquisition for BBC4, Salamander, is a conspiracy thriller which feels closer in tone to the Swedish-Danish crime drama The Bridge, which will also return for a second series on BBC4. The Bridge itself is being remade as The Tunnel by Sky Atlantic in collaboration with Canal+, with English and French dialogue. Sky's head of drama, Anne Mensah, said: 'The point of The Tunnel is about the differences in language and culture [between the UK and continental Europe], so not to play it in French would completely undermine the point. It's part of the drama that, in an interview scene, one character won't understand what the other is saying.' There is alleged to be some 'snob value' to subtitled drama, according to odious faceache Radio Times TV editor - and ugg - Alison Graham. 'It used to be that people would say they don't watch TV but they love The Wire or The West Wing. Now it's all about the Swedish Wallander, The Bridge and Borgen,' claimed this risible fraction of a woman with no supporting evidence other than her own prejudices (and a face like a bag full of spanners). 'It's the new snobbery for people who claim they don't watch television.' Yeah. Whatever. Don't you have some children to go and frighten with your boat-race, hen? With UK broadcasters looking beyond Scandinavia, which has filled BBC4's Saturday night drama slot much of the time for several years, Turkey has been tipped as the newest hotbed of international hits. 'They are very big on epic mini-series and I would be surprised if something like that didn't turn up on a UK channel,' said Donna Wiffen, head of worldwide drama at Fremantle Media. 'We are also seeing some lighter stuff being developed as well, comedy drama, coming out of Europe, but crime will always sell.' Fremantle itself bought the rights to make the English-language version of Les Revenants, with Shameless creator Paul Abbott. But, as US network FOX discovered with its adaptation of The Killing, improving on the original, subtitles and all, is no easy task.

ITV's latest US import The Americans will be broadcast next month, it has been confirmed. The acclaimed Cold War era espionage drama, which is shown on FX in the US, will premiere on Saturday 1 June at 10pm. The show will launch after the last Britain's Got Toilets semi-final. The Americans is based in suburban Washington DC shortly after Ronald Regan is elected President. Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell star as Soviet spies Philip and Elizabeth Jennings, who are posing as a married couple with two children. The duo are tested by their affinity for American values and their own complicated relationship as well as their new neighbour, Noah Emmerich, an FBI agent.
Check out, if you dare dear blog reader, Steve Drayton's magnificently angry take of Channel Four's Skint at Giggle Beats: 'Scunthorpe has been on the telly. There's a show on C4 called Skint. It purports to take an in depth look at life for those who have no money, either through their own feckless natures or due to their own feckless natures. Of course it's not. It's rubber necking. With Finchy from The Office doing the voice over.' More, much more, of this at the above link.

BBC political editor old baldy Nick Robinson has apologised for quoting a - nameless - 'source' who allegedly described those who attacked and murdered a man in Woolwich on Wednesday as being 'of Muslim appearance.' Whatever the hell that horribly prejudicial phrase is supposed to mean. On Thursday, Robinson said that he 'regretted' his choice of words, writing on his official BBC blog: 'With minutes to go before the BBC News at Six I was told by a senior Whitehall "source" that the incident was being treated as a suspected terrorist incident and being "taken very seriously indeed." This information changed the news from a crime story to something of more significance. The police had, I was told, described the attackers as being "of Muslim appearance" and shouting "Allahu Akbar." On air I directly quoted a senior Whitehall "source" saying that the police had used that description.' He added: 'That phrase "of Muslim appearance" clearly offended some who demanded to know what it could possibly mean. Others were concerned that it was a racist generalisation.' Robinson continued: 'The reports of eye witnesses and the video of the attacker demonstrated that the attack had been carried out by those claiming to be retaliating because "Muslims are dying daily by British soldiers." Despite this - and the fact that I was directly quoting a source - I'm sorry for using a phrase that, on reflection, was both liable to be misinterpreted and to cause offence. Many Muslims were quick to condemn the attack and to distance themselves and their religion from the brutal savagery seen on the streets of Woolwich.' Robinson added that attacks on mosques and the protests of people who claimed to be members of the English Defence League showed that people were 'understandably sensitive' about comments which could be used to justify hostility to people based on their religion or appearance. As anybody with half a brain in their skull could probably have predicted before he opened his mouth on national telly and, effectively, damned an entire section of society by appearance alone. Think next time, Nick. It usually helps in situations like this.

Footage showing the suspects carrying bloodied knives and cleavers in the aftermath of the murder of a soldier in Woolwich on Wednesday has so far prompted relatively few complaints to broadcasters, despite attracting millions of viewers around the world. The chilling video, which was first broadcast by ITN-produced ITV News on its 6.30pm bulletin on Wednesday, had prompted about eight hundred complaints to ITV, the BBC and media regulator Ofcom by lunchtime on Thursday. The bulk of the complaints – five hundred – were directly to ITV, with Ofcom receiving about one hundred separate complaints about the channel's decision to show the footage. The BBC, which also broadcast some of the Woolwich footage, said it had recorded approximately two hundred complaints. The footage, filmed by a member of the public on his mobile phone, showed a man with bloodied hands holding a machete and saying: 'We swear by the almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone.' It was rebroadcast around the world within hours of being shown on the ITV News bulletin and on the broadcaster's website. Ed Campbell, the news editor for ITV News, was the first journalist to speak to the man who filmed the footage, who has 'declined to be identified' for 'fear of reprisals.' The witness showed Campbell what he had filmed on his BlackBerry shortly after the attack at 2.20pm on John Wilson Street in Woolwich. Campbell jumped into a taxi with the film-maker and raced back to the ITN newsroom at Gray's Inn Road, about eleven miles away through dense traffic. The pair arrived back in the office shortly before 6pm, as reports that the incident was a terrorist attack began to gain traction - at least partly thanks to some numskull glakery from yer actual Nick Robinson (see above). The footage was 'ingested' into the ITV News production system by 6.04pm and twenty six minutes later shown on its evening news bulletin, strengthening the perception of the incident as a possible terrorist attack. The decision to show the footage - with the words 'ITV exclusive' plastered all over it - was taken by senior ITV News executives who weighed the 'editorial, taste and legal' implications. 'We carefully considered showing this footage ahead of broadcast and made the decision to do so on a public interest basis as the material is integral to understanding the horrific incident that took place yesterday,' said an ITV News spokesman. 'It was editorially justified to show such footage in the aftermath of such a shocking attack, and we prefaced it on ITV News at 6.30pm and News at Ten with appropriate warnings to make viewers aware in advance of the graphic images about to be shown.' After midnight on Wednesday, ITV edited the video on its website to obscure the body of the soldier and the face of the second suspect. It is understood that this was after editors decided there was 'less public interest justification' in showing the unedited footage to a Thursday lunchtime audience. ITV News 'declined to confirm or deny' whether it had paid the filmer lots of lovely wonga for his footage. The decision to broadcast the film at all divided broadcasters. Sky News executives opted not to show it on the grounds of taste and that it could be a potential platform for terrorists. Sky News received a handful of complaints after showing a still of the man with bloodied hands addressing the camera.
Some of the most prominent victims of phone-hacking have written to the lack of culture secretary, the vile and odious rascal Miller, urging her to reject outright the royal charter proposed by the press industry, saying that it is 'unacceptable' for 'those responsible for the damage to our lives and the lives of others [to] seek to shrug off responsibility and once again write their own rulebook.' The vile and odious rascal Miller is holding a consultation on whether the press industry's royal charter should be considered formally first by the Privy Council as opposed to one initially drawn up by the government with the support of Labour. The consultation ends this week, and government departments, as well as the Privy Council secretariat, will now take a further two weeks to decide its next step. The vile and odious rascal Miller now has to decide if the industry's royal charter meets the criteria. The Press Standards Board of Finance petitioned the Privy Council with its version of the charter on 30 April, and has made some adjustments to its proposals partly in a bid to win over the Financial Times, Independent and Gruniad Morning Star. In their letter, some of the most prominent victims of press misconduct including J K Rowling, Gerry and Kate McCann, and Sheryl Gascoigne - all of whom, let us remember, were the victims of crimes perpetrated by at least one national newspaper - say they object to the draft Royal Charter drawn up by the PressBof on behalf of the newspapers, saying 'it demonstrates once again the press industry thinks it is above the law.' They also claim that it lacks any 'democratic legitimacy,' pointing out the Leveson-compliant royal charter for self-regulation by the press has the backing of the main political parties. 'We were subject to intrusion, bullying, harassment, intimidation, libel and other forms of abuse by some newspapers, and they were allowed to get away with it for a very long time because of the lax, self-regulatory system in place.' They add that the prime minister had said he wanted the new system of regulation to 'enjoy the support' of the victims, citing David Cameron's evidence to Leveson on 14 June that 'the test of the system is: is it going to provide proper protection to ordinary families who get caught up in these media maelstroms and get completely mistreated?' In their letter, the victims claim: 'There is no legitimate reason for the industry to be given a veto on a system which the public so urgently needs and which has been fairly and reasonably designed.' They add the initiative is 'an attempt by a small number of newspaper proprietors to continue to run the system for their own ends, claiming it has been led by Associated Newspapers, News International and the Torygraph Group, who have for many years dominated the discredited system of regulation run by the PCC.' The victims also claim that the PressBoF Charter 'dilutes one of Leveson's core recommendations, the creation of a cheap arbitration panel to resolve disputes and save parties the burden of legal costs.' The letter states the 'PressBof charter does not make any provision for directing (or even requiring) apologies at all this would enable newspapers to continue burying apologies in the back of a newspaper, having defamed an innocent person on the front page.'

Emmerdale actor Richard Thorp has died aged eighty one. Richard played the popular character and former Woolpack landlord Alan Turner for over thirty years, and was the soap's longest serving cast member. The news was revealed on the show's official website, where a tribute to the actor was posted, honouring the 'true professional' and 'complete gentleman.' 'On behalf of the cast, crew and production team at Emmerdale we are extremely sad to hear of Richard's death. A pillar of the show, he will be greatly missed around the Emmerdale studios, but will forever live on in all the wonderful memories we all have of him. Richard was a true professional and a complete gentleman. His charm, wit and effortless grace will be sorely missed,' read the message. Emmerdale series producer Kate Oates also added: 'Richard's death is a sad loss to Emmerdale, of which he was at the heart for so many wonderful years. Richard had a brilliant sense of humour and he will be missed by every single member of our production whose lives he touched.' Richard previously took a year's break from the soap in 2009 due to ill health, after having his right knee replaced.

The Beatles biographer Hunter Davies has donated letters and lyrics by alcoholic wife-beating Scouse junkie John Lennon to the British Library as part of a new tax relief scheme. Hunter's collection, which includes handwritten lyrics to 'Strawberry Fields Forever', is the first donation through the new Cultural Gifts Scheme. The initiative, which was introduced in March, encourages people to give gifts to the nation for a tax reduction. Hunter said that the British Library was 'the perfect home' for his memorabilia. The lack of culture minister the vile and odious rascal Vaizey said the 'incredibly generous' donation was a 'testament to the strong culture of philanthropy' in the UK. A total funding of thirty million smackers is available annually for the Cultural Gifts Scheme, which will allow recipients to reduce their tax by thirty per cent of the value of the object over five years. It is estimated that Hunter, who wrote the only official biography of The Beatles, first published in 1968, will reduce his tax by almost three hundred and twenty grand. 'I want my Beatles collection to be kept together, in one place, and on public display, and the British Library is the perfect home for it,' the seventy seven-year-old said. 'I'm really pleased the cultural gifts scheme has helped me make this a reality.' The British Library's Roly Keating said he was 'delighted' to receive the 'iconic items on behalf of the nation.' The collection also includes an early draft of lyrics from 'In My Life', which featured on 1965 LP Rubber Soul, with a line including a reference to Penny Lane crossed out. Davies received letters from Lennon, whom he befriended in the 1960s, and has collecting other correspondence from the legendary musician. Albeit, being a typically contrary sod, as usual, Lennon was never particularly complimentary about Hunter's biography, once memorably describing it as 'a whitewash.' Nevertheless, it remains the most intimate of Beatles' studies. After all, there aren't that many people who can claim to have been in the same room as John and Paul when they composed 'With a Little Help From My Friends' or in Abbey Road the night Lennon had his acid-trip when recording 'Getting Better.'

So anyway, dear blog reader, despite having spent most of the previous forty eight hours suffering from a very nasty and painful bout of sciatica (which, frankly, hurt like jim-buggery), Thursday ended on a properly decent note for yer actual Keith Telly Topping at The Record Player. Where, along with Vicky and Christian, yer actual Keith Telly Topping yet again won the quiz. Really decent prizes, this week - none of yer 'five English pounds' malarkey (a Sly Stone biography, which Chris immediately nabbed, and two free tickets to a showing of the Ginger Baker documentary Beware Of Mr Baker on Saturday, which yer actual Keith Telly Topping will be going to). So, thanks, as always, to all of the regulars for being such good company on a night when this blogger needed some (metaphorical) pain relief(!) and to Uncle Scunthorpe - as usual - for producing the sounds. Despite starting off feeling like shite, yer actual Keith Telly Topping managed to end the night wholly spiritually uplifted. Because, frankly, there's nothing that Marvin can't fix. Rite on, brothers and sisters. This week, of all weeks, remember a simple truism for the prophet of soul.
Here's Marvin and James Jamerson with a unique take on today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Every bit as applicable in 2013 as it was in 1971. And, simply, beautiful.

No comments: