Thursday, May 16, 2013

You Can Put It Down To Lack Of Sleep

Neil Gaiman has revealed that The Doctor's companion, Clara, was originally intended to remain a Victorian governess. Jenna-Louise Coleman played space-faring Oswin and then the Victorian Clara before débuting as a contemporary version of the character who now travels with Matt Smith's Doctor. 'The original companion was going to be very much the Victorian governess we saw at Christmas,' Yer man Gaiman - who wrote Saturday's episode Nightmare in Silver - told the Radio Times. 'I wrote about the first ten pages and then they said they'd changed the companion from what I was expecting to something else.' Neil explained that he subsequently had to 'reshape' his Cybermen tale to reflect the change. 'We decided they can do more weird stuff if it's now the contemporary third incarnation,' he said.
Eve Myles's new BBC1 medical drama Frankie achieved the highest non-soap ratings on Tuesday evening, overnight data suggests. The former Torchwood actress's new series launched with 4.63 million viewers at 9pm. Ben Elton's wretched The Wright Way climbed, slightly, from last week's overnight figure to 1.67m at 10.45pm. But it's still crapper than a rotten turd stinking in the gutter. BBC2's Auction Hero attracted 1.31m at 8pm, followed by Keeping Britain Alive with 1.55m at 9pm. It was a thoroughly piss-poor night for ITV, soaps aside, with the risible Caroline Quentin's National Parks despite a rise of two hundred thousand desperate punters from last week to, a still very under-par, 2.64m at 8pm. Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? pulled in but 2.07m at 9pm. Channel Four's Embarrassing Bodies attracted 1.16m at 8pm, while Mary Queen of the High Street just about held steady with 1.03m at 9pm. On Channel Five, Murder Files: The Haircut Killer was seen by eight hundred and twenty thousand punters at 8pm. The latest episode of CSI was watched by 1.58m at 9.15pm, followed by Body of Proof with 1.09m at 10pm. BBC3's coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest first semi-final was watched by eight hundred and twenty thousand viewers at 8pm. Nick Grimshaw's mind-numbingly banal Sweat the Small Stuff brought in four hundred and thirty three thousand crushed victims of society at 10pm. But, for all of its faults - and there are many - it's still nowhere near as bad as The Wright Way.

On Wednesday of this week, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping was feeling rather crappy and full of snot thanks to the acquisition - seemingly overnight - of a stinking cold. But, you know, he'll survive. Probably. Hopefully. Thus, he spent much of that particular day in bed. Still, it wasn't a completely lost day as he took this opportunity to catch up on a bunch of preview discs he'd been sent from the US containing the first half-a-dozen episode of Hannibal. If you haven't come across it yet on Sky Living (it started last week), then don't worry, you will soon. It's going to be the next US series to break in Britain ala 24, Homeland et al. An adaptation of Thomas Harris's acclaimed Hannibal Lecter novels (specifically Red Dragon, to a lesser extent the more famous The Silence of the Lambs), the series shows the beginning of the relationship between forensic psychiatrist (and cannibalistic serial killer) Lecter (played, superbly, by Mads Mikkelsen) and FBI profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy). A relationship which will turn yer man Lecter into Good Will's greatest foe. Created by Bryan Fuller, it's a beautifully shot triumph of occasional style-over-content with a fantastic cast (including Larry Fishburne) managing to make some fairly straightforward sub-CSI style scripts into something very special indeed. On the strength of episodes one to seven, this one could be a real, genuine crossover hit. Mind you, yer actual Keith Telly Topping was dosed up to the eyeballs on Beechams when he was watching it so it's possible he hallucinated the entire thing.
ITV has hit a TV advertising slowdown with revenues set to decline by as much as fifteen per cent year-on-year in July. The blistering growth performance at ITV Studios, which makes shows including Loose Women, Come Dine With Me and Coronation Street, has also come to an end with a five per cent fall in revenues year-on-year in the first quarter to just over two hundred million smackers. The year started well for ITV's TV advertising sales across its portfolio of channels, with revenues up six per cent in the first quarter to three hundred and eighty two million knicker. However, after a first half of 2012 – which included the advertiser friendly Euro 2012 tournament – a slowdown has hit ITV with TV revenues down twelve per cent in April, seven per cent in May and as much as twelve per cent in June. Across the first half of the year ITV expects TV advertising revenues to be down three per cent year-on-year. ITV Studios has been the investor-pleasing engine room of growth at the broadcaster, with the slowdown attributed to the 'front-loaded delivery of programmes' in the first quarter last year. ITV said it is 'confident' that across the year ITV Studios will experience double-digit revenue growth, a certainty given the addition of new acquisitions including Duck Dynasty maker Gurney and Cake Boss producer High Noon. 'Given the longer term visibility we have in our Studios revenues we're confident that we will deliver double-digit growth this year,' said the ITV chief executive, Adam Crozier. ITV revealed that it could pay as much as an extra eighty million quid to completely buy out the owners if they achieve performance targets over the next few years. 'We've had a good start to the year with ITV outperforming the TV advertising market in Q1,' said Crozier. 'As we anticipated, the quarterly pattern of demand from advertisers in 2013 is very different to 2012 although we expect it to even out over the course of the year.' ITV said it is 'on track' to make twenty million notes in savings this year. The broadcaster has one hundred and eight million smackers in cash and has a pension deficit of five hundred and twenty five million smackers.

Star Trek Into Darkness has opened at the top of the UK box office chart, knocking last week's top film Iron Man 3 down to second place. JJ Abrams' 3D SF sequel, which yer actual Keith Telly Topping contributed his own hard-earned wonga to on Monday, took £8.4 million between Thursday and Sunday, beating the six million knicker its predecessor earned in its début weekend in 2009. The latest instalment in Marvel's Iron Man series added £3.2m to its earnings in its third weekend in cinemas. Its overall UK takings now stand at just over thirty one million notes.
Now, you'll like this one dear blog reader. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping certain did. A number of Star Wars fans and some Doctor Who fans reportedly 'had to be separated by police' after a brawl threatened to break out at an SF convention. Good job yer actual Keith Telly Topping wasn't there, dear blog reader. Trust me, I'd've picked sides and then shoved a lightsabre so far up some fekker he would have needed a significant dose of The Force to get it out. I'm just sayin' ... More than a dozen fans from the rival groups – including several in fancy dress – were involved in bitter exchanges outside the venue. Bloody hell, it's like the Mods and the Rockers, this. Both sides subsequently admitted that there had been 'a long-running rivalry' between the Norwich Sci-Fi Club and the Norwich Star Wars Club. Big fight, little people. Don't these cats know that, like the man once said, fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering and suffering leads to the Dark Side? Mind you, that was in a pretty dreadful film so, you know ... The dispute erupted after the treasurer of Norwich Sci-Fi Club, Jim Poole, arrived at the event hosted by the rival club at the University of East Anglia. He was asked to leave as he approached Doctor Who and The Bill actor Graham Cole for an autograph – leading to a stand-off which was only resolved by police and university security. Bet that was worth paying good money to see. Police confirmed that they had been called to reports of 'a man being assaulted' and arrived to find 'a dispute between two groups.' A spokesman said: 'After lengthy investigation, talking to witnesses and reviewing good CCTV footage, it was confirmed that there was no assault. The two rival groups were spoken to and advised to keep out of each other's way.' Organiser Richard Walker claimed that the visiting club had been trying to undermine the convention by posting comments on Facebook. But Poole insisted that he had attended 'in good faith' to collect autographs from two actors to be auctioned for charity. More than one thousand people attended the convention, which returned after a three-year absence, and Walker shrugged off the alleged 'fracas.' He told the Norwich Evening News: 'It takes about six or seven months to organise a fair, but it’s been really good. You're going home in a big white spaceship' as it were. Who said SF fans take themselves too seriously when they can produce comedy gold like this. But, remember kids, fighting is for zeroes. Live long a prosper.
Rory McGrath has, reportedly, been arrested for allegedly assaulting a couple in Cornwall. McGrath, who is a writer, television panellist and presenter, grew up and went to school in Redruth. Devon and Cornwall Police said that a man and a woman reported being assaulted on Friday as they tried to assist a man 'heavily in drink.' A statement said that a fifty seven-year-old man 'from the Cambridge area' was arrested for common assault and actual bodily harm and had been released on police bail. It said officers were called to house in the Pool area at about 22:15 on Friday, following a report that a man had assaulted a male and female couple 'who it is understood, were attempting to assist this man who was heavily in drink. A man in his late forties received a bloody nose and scratches to the face,' the statement added.

It was intended as a jokey play on words but when Radio 4 afternoon show Thinking Allowed used the words'"cox sackers' on-air it was deemed too close to the bone by some knobcheese without a sense of humour in their entire body at the BBC Trust. So, no change there then. The discussion programme hosted by Laurie Taylor read out the phrase in a listener's e-mail in response to an item in the previous week's programme about the sacking of a cox from a rowing team. But one listener - with, seemingly, nothing better to do with their time than whinge - described it as a 'grossly offensive play on words' and snitched the show up to the BBC Trust like a dirty, stinking Copper's Nark after their complaint was twice - rightly - rejected by corporation management. The Trust's editorial complaints unit agreed, with this whinging waste-of-space saying the phrase was 'not articulated clearly enough and could easily have been misheard for the offensive word "cocksuckers" by the majority of the audience.' Yes. That was the whole fucking point of the joke, your ruddy tits. That's how play on words work. The Trust said that it was 'highly likely to have been misheard by a significant part of the audience as "cocksuckers"', many of whom might have been children because it was broadcast at 4.15pm when parents were doing the school run. The BBC had originally sought to defend the broadcast on 25 April last year. In it, a listener's e-mail was read out thanking the programme for its 'insight into the social dynamics of the Cambridge boat race crew. Heavens to Betsy, what a bunch of cox sackers.' The corporation's editorial complaints unit described it as 'light-hearted and hilarious' and Radio 4 as an 'essentially adult radio channel' which 'tailored its output accordingly.' It said the joke required 'a degree of sexual knowledge to understand the pun being made' and would have been 'completely lost on any young children.' But the Trust disagreed, which is the best reason that this blogger has heard of yet to throw the entire BBC Trust into the gutter. And, once again, let's just stand back and applaud the utter shite that some people chose to care about.
The Saturdays - who used to be 'a popular beat combo' apparently - have denied reports that their E! series Chasing The Saturdays has been cancelled. The girl group's reality series - which saw them attempt to launch themselves in America - was reportedly 'facing the axe due to poor ratings', according to the Sun. As if anybody actually cares about nonsense like that.

Channel Four's annual fundraiser Stand Up To Cancer will return, it has been confirmed. Davina McCall, Alan Carr and Doctor Christian Jessen hosted the first Stand Up To Cancer event in 2012, which raised eight million quid for Cancer Research UK. Channel Four and Cancer Research UK have signed a five-year deal, which will bring the show back to screens in 2014. 'Last year's launch of Stand Up To Cancer in the UK exceeded all expectations and showed that we could harness the power of Four behind a major event that raised millions. Our new five-year partnership with Cancer Research UK is a terrific opportunity to build on that success and raise even more for a great cause,' said Channel Four controller Jay Hunt. Claire Rowney, the Director of Stand Up To Cancer at Cancer Research UK, said: 'We're thrilled that we have come together with Channel Four in this long term partnership. Although we won't be on-air this year, we'll still be asking the public to get involved and fundraise for us to help us really capitalise on what we achieved with Stand Up To Cancer last year.' Funds from last year's campaign have recently been allocated to researchers and will fund twelve exciting clinical trials across the UK. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping is often rather cynical about charity events of this kind - and of many of those taking part and their reasons for doing so - but, this particular one, he's behind one hundred per cent (to the extent of giving money to them). Cancer destroys lives. Here endeth the lesson.

Channel Five has revealed the details of its highlights coverage for England's upcoming summer of international cricket. Mark Nicholas will lead the commentary team, which also features Michael Vaughan, Simon Hughes and Geoffrey Boycott ('tech-neeeeeek!'), as they cover the summer Ashes series and New Zealand tests. The broadcaster has also got the rights to highlights of the One Day International series and T20 Internationals. All highlights programmes will be broadcast at 7pm. England's first summer game is the first Investec Test against New Zealand starting on 16 May. Ian Dunkley, commissioning editor for Channel Five, said: 'We are delighted to confirm that England's Cricket Internationals will once again be available for viewers to enjoy, free of charge this summer ahead. We have kept together our fantastic presenting team, led by Mark Nicholas, who will entertain viewers with their cricketing knowledge and insightful, if somewhat combative, performance analysis - and we are committed to capturing the very best of the action for everyone to enjoy.'

Queens Park Strangers striker Loic Remy has been arrested on suspicion of rape. The twenty six-year-old French international is being held by Scotland Yard's sex crime squad along with two other men who were arrested in Fulham. They are being questioned over allegations that a thirty four-year-old woman was raped on 6 May by three men. The allegation was passed to the Met from Kent Police two days later. The men are being held at a police station in West London. A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: 'Three men, aged twenty six, twenty three and twenty two, were arrested at an address in Fulham on suspicion of rape.' Remy joined Strangers from Marseille in an eight million smackers deal in January. A spokesperson for QPR said the club was 'aware of the allegations' but could not comment while the police investigation was continuing.

The terrific character actor Aubrey Woods, known for roles in Doctor Who and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, has died at the age of eighty five. Aubrey played the sweet shop owner who sang 'The Candy Man' in the 1971 film based on Roald Dahl's classic children's book. The London-born actor also memorably appeared as The Controller in the 1972 Doctor Who serial The Day of the Daleks. His stage roles included the parts of Jacob and Potiphar in the 1991 West End revival of Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He died in Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, his wife Gaynor told the BBC. Woods' career began at the age of seventeen when he played Smike in the film The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby. In the 1960s he then spent three years on stage as Fagin in another Dickens adaptation, Oliver! His other roles included the theatre musical The Four Musketeers and the radio version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, while he also wrote the play Trelawny, which ran in the West End in the 1970s. His television credits include Z-Cars, Up Pompeii!, Blake's 7, Auf Wiedersehen, Pet and Ever Decreasing Circles. Aubrey was the only child of Harold Victor Woods, who worked for the publishers Macmillan, and his wife, Margery. Raised in Palmers Green, Aubrey was educated at the Latymer school in Edmonton (Bruce Forsyth was a contemporary. He excelled at English and drama and won a Leverhulme scholarship to RADA in 1945. There, he met his future wife, Gaynor Woods. They married in 1952, by which time he was established in the West End. He made his London début in 1947 in Peter Brook's production of Jean-Paul Sartre's Men Without Shadows at the Lyric, Hammersmith. In 1952 he went to Stratford-upon-Avon, where he walked on in Ralph Richardson's Macbeth and was favourably noticed by Harold Hobson in The Sunday Times. He went to Moscow in 1955 with Paul Scofield's Stratford Hamlet, doubling the Player Queen with the Second Gravedigger, and returned to London in Robert Anderson's Tea and Sympathy at the Comedy theatre with Elizabeth Sellars and Keith Baxter. Then came his musical theatre début as Jack Whorwood in Sandy Wilson's Valmouth in 1958. This was followed by The Lord Chamberlain Regrets, a post-censorship revue at the Golders Green Hippodrome co-starring Joan Sims and Millicent Martin, that long stint in Oliver! at the Albery; and a year's engagement at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, in The Four Musketeers (1967), a spoof historical romance written for Harry Secombe as D'Artagnan by Michael Pertwee, Laurie Johnson and the lyricist Herbert Kretzmer, in which Woods played Cardinal Richelieu. 'He was good at the "towering" but very good, too, at the "quiet"', said the veteran BBC radio producer John Tydeman, who counted Subrey among his closest friends, as did the composer Julian Slade, with whom Woods wrote a musical version of Arthur Wing Pinero's Trelawny of the Wells. Trelawny, with additional material by the theatre scholar George Rowell, opened at the Bristol Old Vic in 1972 and was staged in London at Sadler's Wells, and then the Prince of Wales, under the producing auspices of Cameron Mackintosh. There were seasons at Chichester – he played Sir Edward Carson to Tom Baker's Oscar Wilde in Feasting with Panthers – in the 1980s, and countless television appearances down the years in series as diverse as Hazell, Maigret and London's Burning. Aubrey, who divided his domestic life between a house in Barnes and a cottage in the Lake District, is survived by his wife, Gaynor.

So, anyway, dearest dear blog reader, on Thursday evening yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self will be crossing the city to the Tyneside to catch Uncle Scunthorpe's latest Record Player doodah. This one promises to be one of the very bestest of all, two sides of quality eighties pop with London 0, Hull 4 versus Standing On A Beach. Different haircuts, same brilliance.
Thus, for today's Keith Telly Topping's 33 of the Day, you've got a straight choice between this -
And, this -
Good luck sorting out a winner from them two. (Probably The Housies, by a nose, but only if this blogger was to be held against a wall and threatened that if he didn't chose one over the other he'd have his knackers kicked in.)

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