Monday, May 27, 2013

Week Twenty Three: The Tiny Purple Fishes Run Laughing Through Your Fingers

Deprived of its usual Doctor Who-sized lead-in, The Voice scored a series low overnight audience of 5.89 million from 7.15pm on Saturday. The BBC1 talent show was down 1.48m on the previous episode, but was still the most-watched broadcast of the night - by a distance - in the absence of ITV's Britain's Got Toilets. The two-hour episode, which featured the last of The Voice battle rounds, peaked at 6.7m. ITV's woefully piss-poor coverage of the UEFA Champions League Final between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund between 7pm and 10.15pm, attracted 3.5m. On BBC1, Casualty had 4.23m at 9.15pm and Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow pulled in 2.11m at 10.30pm. BBC2 aired coverage of The Chelsea Flower Show between 7pm and 8.15pm, picking up 1.65m. Dad's Army followed with 1.47m and the documentary David Bowie: Five Years has an audience of 1.33m at 9.30pm. Elsewhere, a double bill of NCIS took seven hundred and thirty nine thousand and eight hundred and ninety thousand punters respectively from 8.15pm on Channel Five.

The Voice, meanwhile, will return for a third series, the BBC has confirmed. It was widely rumoured over the weekend that a third run of the singing competition would be 'confirmed soon.' The Sun, citing an alleged 'source' claimed that the alleged 'source' had allegedly alleged that the show 'would be back for a third series.' They added: 'The Beeb feels it's a great show and you need to pay the big bucks for programmes like that.' The BBC subsequently confirmed via Twitter that the The Voice will return in 2014.

Matthew Macfadyen has spoken about beginning filming on the second series of Ripper Street. Filming for the next run of episodes of the BBC1 historical crime drama has commenced in Dublin and the thirty eight-year-old actor has described the new episodes as 'wonderful.' He told the Press Association: 'It's fantastic to begin shooting in Dublin again for the second series of Ripper Street - and to be reunited with much of the wonderful cast and crew from last year. Also to be reunited with my bowler hat - I'd missed it. The show's creator Richard Warlow has given us two wonderful, strange and unsettling opening episodes, teeming with the fierce and fragile life of Victorian Whitechapel.' The second series of the drama will see events taking place in 1890, where the crime-fighting team will struggle against corruption within their own police force. Macfadyen's co-stars Jerome Flynn and Adam Rothenberg return to their roles for the new series and will be joined by Joseph Mawle, who will play corrupt Inspector Jebediah Shine.

Which brings us to your next batch of yer actual Top Telly Tips:-

Saturday 1 June
We start off with Les Dawson: An Audience With That Never Was - 8:30 ITV. When the Manchester-born comedian died in June 1993, he was just weeks away from recording An Audience with Les Dawson. Twenty years on, this tribute tells the story of the TV special that never was, revisits the original content planned for that show and presents it for a celebrity audience, featuring the comedian in the form of a hologram. The programme also hears from a host of those who worked with him, including Bruce Forsyth, Cilla Black, Terry Wogan and Ken Dodd.

The concluding part of the documentary Eddie Izzard's Mandela Marathons - 9:00 Sky 1 - in which comedian Eddie Izzard attempted to run twenty seven marathons across South Africa in as many days - one for each year that Nelson Mandela spent in prison. Having put his near-collapse at the end of last week's episode down to 'teething problems', things are back on track and for the first time Eddie gets to run on smooth tarmac as opposed to the rocky terrain at the start of his journey. However, his good fortune is fleeting and returning pains mean a planned visit to Mandela's university Fort Hale is replaced with a trip to hospital. Will he ever finish his marathon mission? Of course, as we know, Ed wasn't able to continue his marathon-a-thon and this turns into a straightforward, albeit inspirational documentary about Mandela, though Eddie proves a fine interviewer, speaking to FW De Klerk, Mandela's guard at Robben Island Christo Brand and fellow prisoner Ahmed Kathrada.

Disco at the BBC - 10:30 BBC4 - is a repeat, albeit a boogietastic one, featuring archive performances of disco classics by acts including Chic, Rose Royce, Labelle, Gladys Knight and Village People, from shows such as Top of the Pops, The Old Grey Whistle Test and Later with Jools Holland.

Sunday 2 June
Brazil versus England (kick-off 8.00pm) brings down the curtain on the 2012-13 football season. ITV, as usual, provided shockingly awful coverage of the friendly at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, as Roy Hodgson's men face Brazil for the second time in five months. The previous encounter took place at Wembley in February as part of the Football Association's one hundred and fiftieth anniversary celebrations, and saw England claim their first victory over the South Americans in twenty three years. A Wayne Rooney goal gave the home side a 1-0 lead at half-time, which was subsequently cancelled out when Fred punished a defensive error just three minutes into the second period. However, Frank Lampard continued his goalscoring exploits after coming on from the substitutes' bench, netting from the edge of the box on the hour mark to restore the lead that they never relinquished. Presented by odious greed bucket, horrorshow (and drag) Adrian Chiles, with grumpy monosyllabic interjections from Roy Keane and the world's most boring man, Gareth Southgate, and commentary by Clive Tyldesley. Andy Townsend is there although what, exactly, that clown does to justify his existence is a matter of some debate.

Broadcast in the US in the same week that the, horribly similar, case of the Ohio kidnapping case came to light, tonight's Hawaii Five-0 - 9:00 Sky 1 - is not for the squeamish. It's a properly terrific episode, though. The body of a teenage girl who was kidnapped ten years previously is discovered in the woods - just as, apparently, the same perpetrator strikes again and takes another pre-teen girl from her home. Meanwhile, Kono asks Catherine a favour, aware that it could damage her relationship with Adam. Crime drama, starring Alex O'Loughlin, Scott Caan, Grace Park, Daniel Dae Kim, Henry Rollins (he's hard) and Don Swayze.

Edmund is appointed Lord High Executioner in a classic episode of Blackadder II - 10:00 BBC2 - and moves a beheading forward from Wednesday to Monday so he and his staff can enjoy some time off. Unfortunately, he didn't take into account the Queen's tendency to change her mind on a whim. With hilarious consequences. Comedy, starring Rowan Atkinson, Tony Robinson, Stephen Fry and Miranda Richardson.

Monday 3 June
Eastwood's investigation into Olson's murder throws up some uncomfortable truths for Burns in The Fall - 9:00 BBC2. Meanwhile Gibson, feeling under increasing pressure, revisits the Sarah Kay crime scene with Reed Smith, where they discover a potential new lead. Spector comes under scrutiny from another source when his boss questions him about his visit to Liz Tyler. Thriller, starring Gillian Anderson.
In Platoon: The True Story - 8:00 Channel Five - Oliver Stone reveals the real-life events that inspired his Oscar-winning film and talks about the soldiers who he fought alongside in the Vietnam War, and who he immortalised on the big screen. This documentary examines how much of Platoon was based on Stone's personal recollections of the conflict and what was Hollywood fiction. The programme also features contributions by star Willem Dafoe and Dale Dye, the Vietnam veteran and former Marine who worked as the military adviser on the movie.

With access to the parents of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the two brothers accused of carrying out the Boston Marathon bombings on 15 April, the latest episode of the Dispatches strand - Channel Four 8:00 - aims to tell The Secret Lives Of The Boston Bombers. This documentary plots their lives in the years leading up to the incident and examines what could have led them to become killers. Including interviews with friends and neighbours of the suspects, and survivors of the attack.

Tuesday 4 June
In the latest series of CSI's big Sara-solo episode, Sara celebrates her birthday in a hotel with recent acquaintance Taylor Wynard. Who, somewhat inevitably, is found dead the next morning having been stabbed with a steak knife. A lot. After Finn sends Sara home to get some rest, Mrs Grissom gets the shock of her life when she opens her dishwasher and finds the murder weapon inside, while the team discovers a necklace belonging to her behind the victim's bed. And records from her key card indicate she didn't return to her room when she said she did. It's all looking a bit awkward. But, of course, there's a rational - if massively complex - reason behind it. Revenge. Imported crime drama, starring Jorja Fox.

How fitting that the Voyager probes should have launched in 1977, the year of Star Wars. But the findings beamed back from both spacecraft surpassed even George Lucas's wildest imaginings. Even at an early stage mission spokesman and storytelling genius Carl Sagan summed up how astronomers and laymen alike became inspired by what they were seeing: 'It's impossible to look at these pictures with only a scientific cast of mind because they are simply exquisite.' The probes were launched and became the first man-made objects to visit Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus. Having travelled eleven billion miles to date, the pair now journey beyond the influence of Earth's sun, bearing a record of human civilisation in case of discovery by other species. Marking thirty five years since Voyagers 1 and 2 blasted off, Voyager - 9:00 BBC4 - sees the story of their dazzling discoveries retold with passion and joy: from the churning storms of Jupiter and the bulge behind one of its moons, Io, which turned out to be a volcano to the vast nitrogen geysers of Triton. But first, presenter Dallas Campbell takes us way back to Sputnik, and the 'three-body problem' which needed cracking before a single blueprint could be drawn. It's a thrilling tale of machine exploration and human endeavour. If you see nothing else, tune in for the last five minutes as the words of Carl Sagan play out over images of mankind. It's spine-tingling.
John Simm, Max Beesley, Philip Glenister and Marc Warren return in the third series of Mad Dogs - 9:00 Sky 1 - the drama about four friends enduring the foreign holiday from hell. Having been pinched by the bobbies (steady) at the end of the last series, the new run begins with the unlucky quartet banged up in a dilapidated prison in Morocco, where they face various forms of interrogation. Jaime Winstone joins the cast as their feisty fellow prisoner Mercedes.
Wednesday 5 June
It's the day of Pauline Paradise's retirement from her job as a lollipop lady, but she's disappointed to learn hardly anyone cares - least of all her husband Ken in the opening episode of Stewart Harcourt's Love & Marriage - ITV 9:00. Feeling increasingly discombobulated and put upon by her family, as you do, the pressure builds when Pauline's father has an accident and she seeks comfort from Ken, who cruelly dismisses her. It's the last straw and she decides the time has come to pursue a new life. Comedy drama, starring Alison Steadman and Duncan Preston, with Ashley Jensen, Graeme Hawley, Zoe Telford, Celia Imrie, Larry Lamb, Niky Wardley and Bruce Alexander.

D-Day: As It Happens is a two-part documentary, a twenty four-hour event chronicling the Normandy landings on 1944, playing out in real time across TV, mobile devices and the web, bringing to life the experiences of seven people who were there during the invasion, through a series of moment-by-moment updates. The first programme tells the back stories of the participants, among them a paratrooper, a submariner, a nurse and a cameraman, and sets out their missions over the hours to come. Presented by Peter Snow with former Marine Arthur Williams and expert insights from former British Army officer Colonel Tim Collins and frontline journalist Lorna Ward. Concludes tomorrow at 9pm.

Booth is reunited with his mother after twenty four years apart in the latest episode of Bones - 9:00 Sky Living. But, how will he take the news she has been away all this time raising another family? Meanwhile, the team investigates the death of a high-flying stockbroker who moonlighted as a male stripper, and figuring out why the wealthy victim dabbled in exotic dancing could prove key to solving the crime. With Body of Proof's Joanna Cassidy.
Thursday 6 June
Lucie Green and Chris Lintott discuss the lives of stars, which can range massively in size and brightness, and what happens when they die in the latest episode of The Sky At Night - 7:30 BBC4. They also consider how the sun will eventually grow old and become a red giant, possibly consuming the inner planets - including Earth. Bummer.

Life Savers - 9:00 BBC1 - is a documentary capturing the real-life drama of frontline emergency medicine, following patients from the roadside to life-saving treatment and recovery at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, the first regional major trauma centre to become fully operational. The team is called out when a head-on collision traps a family of three in one car and a single driver in the other - while at the hospital, hi-tech equipment used by the paramedics allows consultant Rod Mackenzie to determine that the mother needs a life-saving operation at the scene of the crash, putting his colleagues' skills to the test.

In The Alps Murders - 10:00 Channel Four - we're presented with a documentary looking 'behind the headlines' of last year's shootings near Annecy in the French Alps, which claimed the lives of three members of a British family and French cyclist Sylvain Mollier. The investigation into the mysterious killings involved agencies from several countries, but with no obvious motives or suspects identified, conspiracy theories and speculation have seen the victims linked with both religious extremism and espionage. The programme features interviews with a close friend of the al-Hillis and the hiker who found the crime scene.

Friday 7 June
World's Most Extreme Airports - 10:00 Channel Five - is a feature-length documentary highlighting the treacherous conditions at 10 of the world's most dangerous airports. Airline pilots and staff face a constant battle to ensure a smooth and safe operation as they deal with a number of challenging obstacles, including unpredictable weather, tough terrain, high-rise buildings and short runways.

Ian Mortimer explores the world of the era's rich and privileged, revealing that money alone was not enough to allow someone to blend in with the royal court in The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England - 9:00 BBC2. He examines the secret codes of manners, dress, hygiene and dancing that existed among the elite, with even something as simple as the size of a ruff enough to betray an out-of-date outfit and lead to exclusion from the upper levels of society. So, you see, dear blog reader, what your mother told you was a load of old codpiece - size really is important.
And so, to the news: Matthew Rhys has been cast as Mr Darcy in BBC1's upcoming adaptation of Death Comes to Pemberley. The Brothers & Sisters actor joins pouty-faced Anna Maxwell Martin and Matthew Goode, who will play Elizabeth Bennett and George Wickham respectively, in the drama based on PD James's novel. Adapted by Calendar Girls writer Juliette Towhidi, the three-part series is set six years after the events in Pride and Prejudice and centres around a murder mystery plot. Rhys said: 'Exciting as it is, one of the challenges of a part such as Darcy are the comparisons that will be drawn to those who've institutionalised him in the past. The beauty of Pemberley is that it is an entirely new and different Darcy six years on. And also, I don't have to appear from a lake in a white shirt and breeches!' Goode added: 'I'm thrilled to be involved in this adaptation of Death Comes to Pemberley. I have long been an admirer of Jane Austen and in particular of Pride and Prejudice. More exciting still is the chance to work with Matthew Rhys who is not only one of the most talented actors of my generation but also the most fun.' Filming will begin on location in Yorkshire next month, with support and investment from Screen Yorkshire.

The actress Amanda Bynes has claimed that she was 'sexually harassed' by police when she was charged with throwing a marijuana bong out of the window of her thirty sixth-floor Manhattan apartment. The twenty seven-year-old former child star first alleged during a court appearance on Friday that police illegally entered her apartment after being called to her building. But in a Twitter message believed to be from Bynes posted on Saturday, the allegation was made that her arresting officer also sexually harassed her. New York City Police Department is said to be 'looking into' the allegations. 'As it would with any such allegation, regardless of its credibility, IAB is investigating it,' said the NYPD's chief spokesman, Paul Browne. The Twitter handle used to make the allegations does not appear to be verified by the social network - but Bynes' friend, former Hollywood publicist Jonathan Jaxson, said the tweet was made from the actress's account. Meanwhile, the Hairspray actress has defended herself after she appeared in court in a messy blonde wig to deny charges of marijuana possession. She also took to Twitter to say she doesn't 'drink or do drugs.' Bynes was arrested on Thursday. She was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, reckless endangerment and attempted tampering with physical evidence after she allegedly threw a bong out of her apartment window in front of police. 'I only smoke tobacco I don't drink or do drugs. I've never had a bong in my life!' she tweeted. 'I need to get another nose job after seeing my mugshot!' Bynes wore grey sweatpants and a long-sleeved black shirt as she was released after spending a night in the cells. Her lawyer denied the charges and accused police of entering the actress's apartment illegally. New York police were called to Bynes' Forty Seventh Street Manhattan building after an employee there reported that someone was smoking marijuana in the building's lobby. Police said they were then directed to Bynes' apartment, where the actress invited them in. Officers said they detected 'a strong smell of marijuana' in the apartment and observed the bong in the apartment. Bynes then, allegedly, grabbed the bong and threw it out of the window and she was taken into custody, police said. The actress, who has had several brushes with the law in the past year and is on probation for driving on a suspended licence in California, was ordered to return to court on 9 July to face the music.

The American actor Steve Forrest, best known in Britain for the 1960s action series The Baron, in which he played the lead role, has died at his home in America aged eighty seven. He was lured to the UK in 1964 by ATV boss Lord Lew Grade to star as John Mannering, an antiques dealer and sometime undercover agent working in an informal capacity for the head of British Diplomatic Intelligence. Produced by ATV's sister company ITC – which produced big budget dramas on film – The Baron became the first full colour series to be made for the network. Back in America, Forrest also became well known for his lead role in Aaron Spelling's short-lived ABC TV drama S.W.A.T in the mid-1970s where he played Lieutenant Hondo Harrelson. Steve made a cameo appearance in the 2003 film version of S.W.A.T and is also remembered for his roles in Dallas, Bonanza and A Man Called Ironside. Before television Steve had also appeared in a number of movies including co-starring with the likes of Ronald Reagan, Elvis Presley and Barbara Eden. He was born in Huntsville, Texas in 1925, the youngest of thirteen children of a baptist minister. One of his older brothers was the film actor Dana Andrews. Steve enlisted into the army at age eighteen and fought at the Battle of the Bulge during World War II. In 1950 he earned a bachelor's degree, with honours, from UCLA, majoring in theatre with a minor in psychology. He worked as a stagehand at the La Jolla Playhouse near San Diego. There, Gregory Peck discovered him, cast him in La Jolla's production of Goodbye Again, and then arranged for Forrest's first screen test with MGM, which signed him to a contract. Among Steve's notable films are So Big, for which he won the Golden Globe Award, The Longest Day, North Dallas Forty and Mommie Dearest. He had cameo roles in the comedies Spies Like Us and Amazon Women on the Moon. Steve was also a trained vocalist, and he made his debut on Broadway as prizefighter Bob Stanton in the 1958 production of The Body Beautiful opposite Mindy Carson, Jack Warden and Brock Peters. Steve married Christine Carilas on 23 December 1948. They had three sons: Michael, Forrest and Stephen Andrews.

Which brings us to today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. as a hangover from watching Beware of Mr Baker on Saturday, yer actual Keith Telly Topping has spent much of the weekend listening to Disraeli Gears. Not that you actually need a reason for such a conceit, of course, but having one certainly helps. So, without further ado, take it away, you three. (I'm not sure which is the funnier about this particular clip, Jack Bruce's furry hat or Clapton's nasty 'tasche.)

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