Wednesday, June 05, 2013

In The Balmy Sky The Sun Will Shine, On Both The Ridiculous And The Sublime

Greetings, dear blog reader. And, my, wasn't today a simply glorious day? Well, it was round 'ere, anyway. The big news is that Stately Telly Topping Manor is now a fully-functioning 'two TV' home rather than, as previously, a 'one TV and one monitor in the bedroom which only played DVDs but didn't have a telly signal coming into it' home. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping, therefore, will from henceforth be known as yer actual Keith Two Tellies Topping his very self. Let the pronouncement go forth throughout the land. (Mind you, I got charged an arm and a leg for a new aerial. Jeez, why is everything so expensive these days?)
An announcement about who (or, shouldn't that be whom?) will replace Matt Smith as the lead on Doctor Who could be made as early as next month, an alleged BBC 'source' has allegedly suggested. The alleged 'insider' allegedly told the Radio Times that the BBC is 'actively searching' for Smith's replacement, after Smudger announced his decision over the weekend to leave the popular long-running famoly SF drama at Christmas. Filming begins on the eleventh Doctor's final episode later in the summer once he's finished making How To Catch A Monster in the US, before shooting on the eighth series starts, according to the Radio Times article, 'in the autumn.' Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's understanding, as recently as last week, was that filming for the next series was unlikely to begin until the New Year but that situation may well have changed after Smudger's decision to go became public. The new Doctor is expected to make an appearance at the end of the Christmas episode (if he doesn't, it'll be a hell of a downer for lots of people on what's supposed to be the most festive day of the year). 'The search has begun in earnest and is active now,' the alleged 'source' allegedly said, allegedly adding that the BBC has 'not ruled out' the possibility of casting an actress in the role. The alleged 'source' allegedly added that an alleged announcement may well be made 'in July' as it will be 'nearly impossible' to keep the identity of the alleged new Doctor a secret. Allegedly. The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat will make the decision with the help of Danny Cohen, the BBC's new head of television, controller of drama commissioning Ben Stephenson, casting director Andy Pryor and the show's new executive producer Brian Minchin. And, just to confirm that, along with Benedict Cumberbatch and Simon Pegg, yer actual Keith Telly Topping has, officially, taken his very self out of the running. I know, you're all disappointed dear blog reader. But, hey, it's what all the cool kids are doing, it seems.
The Fall regained over three hundred and fifty thousand viewers for its fourth episode on Monday night, according to overnight figures. The BBC2 thriller bounced back after going up against Britain's Got Toilets the previous week, attracting 3.24 million viewers at 9pm. Earlier, the latest episode of Springwatch was seen by 2.44m at 8pm. And Chris Packham was still shovelling numerous Clash references into his pieces to camera ('Jimmy Jazz' and 'Rebel Waltz' being two of his latest). On BBC1, Fake Britain secured 3.43m punters at 7.30pm, while Panorama brought in a very disappointing 1.98m at 8.30pm. David Dimbleby's The People's Coronation was seen by 2.77m at 9pm. ITV's watchword for risible wallpaper television, The Dales, attracted 2.97m crushed victims of society at 8pm. Vicious returned after a week off, dipping to 2.36m at 9pm, followed by The Job Lot with 1.82m at 9.30pm. Remember, just a few weeks ago, dear blog reader, when both began with such promising overnight figures and ITV were strutting around like they'd discovered the secret of how to create perfect cheese? What a difference a few thoroughly rotten episodes make. On Channel Four, Food Unwrapped grabbed 1.27m at 7.30pm. The controversial Skint was watched by 2.36m at 9pm. Channel Five's The Gadget Show returned for a new series with six hundred and forty four thousand at 8pm. The provocatively titled Why Did Oscar Pistorious Kill Our Daughter? was seen by 1.24m at 8pm, followed by Pistorious Trial: Key Questions with 1.09m at 10pm. BBC4's Only Connect was the most-watched show on the multichannels with six hundred and ninety two thousand viewers at 8.30pm. Mechanical Marvels had an audience of five hundred and fifty six thousand at 9pm. Game Of Thrones' much-discussed 'Red Wedding' episode - wherein Glandring the Snot-Gobbler in the court of King Yarbles The Optical Illusion, verily sailed forth against The Nefarious Tharks at the Field of Viggaboomtattyya (or, something) grabbed four hundred and fifty two thousand punters on Sky Atlantic at 9pm.

Meanwhile, here's another disturbingly sexy photo of Gillian Anderson. Just, you know, because ...
And, speaking of gorgeous red-haired SF icons, yer actual Karen Gillan, who starred as The Doctor's companion for three seasons of the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama Doctor Who, is joining the cast of Marvel Studios' Guardians of the Galaxy. The movie is to begin filming in late-June in the UK with James Gunn behind the camera. The movie is in casting mode, with Glenn Close joining the roll-call earlier this week. Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and Dave Bautista lead the cast of Marvel's space adventure movie, which has Lee Pace and Michael Rooker as villains. Details of Kazza's role were not revealed, although it is known she will play the film's lead female villain. And will, as a consequence, be very naughty. Which will, of course, mean lots of chaps with more time on their hands than they know what to do with, getting The Horn in anticipation. The Scottish actress played the popular Amy Pond in Doctor Who. Gillan has several small movie roles in the can, including Oculus, a horror film with Katee Sackhoff.

Strictly Come Dancing professional Aliona Vilani has 'clarified' that her exit from the series was 'not her decision.' So, in other words, she got the tin tack. The BBC announced on Saturday that four of the show's professional dancers 'would not be returning' for the 2013 run. Vilani - who won the competition in 2011 with McFly's Harry Judd - has emphasised that she had 'no say' over the question of her departure. She tweeted: 'I feel I should make it clear that I haven't left, it was definitely not my decision and choice to leave Strictly, lets see what happens.' The twenty nine-year-old was forced to withdraw from last year's series due to injury. 'To those of you who are asking "WHY?" I'm leaving Strictly and asking me to stay and come back, I'll just repeat, it's not up to me.' It was also confirmed that Erin Boag, Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace are departing the show. Boag commented: 'It's been a very hard decision to make, but it's time for a change and to focus my attention on new challenges.'

Shrilled-voiced earache-inducing silly Welsh tart the curiously orange Alex Jones has named Pamela Anderson as 'the worst-ever guest' on The ONE Show. The whiny-voiced presenter explained how the former Baywatch actress was late on set and then stared at herself on the monitor throughout the interview. 'Pamela was tricky. She stared at the monitor the whole time to see how she looked, so wasn't engaging in the conversation,' Jones told the Radio Times. 'She then ran off because we showed a picture of her that she didn't like.' On the subject of reality television in general, Jones added: 'I think there are too many of these reality shows like Keeping Up With The Kardashians which have a very negative effect on impressionable girls. It's a worry. They think that's what they should be aiming for - to be the next Katie Price - and it makes them self-conscious about their bodies at such a young age. I don't think it's healthy, all this emphasis on tanning, whitening teeth and having boob enlargements. If I'm ever a mum I'm going to be careful about what my daughter watches on television.'

The Sopranos has been voted the best written TV series of all time by the Writers Guild of America. The drama about a mob boss who undergoes therapy topped a poll of one hundred and one series. Comedy show Seinfeld came in second place, while Korean war comedy M*A*S*H also made the top five. Mad Men was the only current TV series to make the top ten taking seventh place, but close to half of the list aired within the last decade. The West Wing (the greatest TV drama ever made ... that doesn't have the words 'Doctor' and 'Who' in the title) was tenth. Recent series Breaking Bad and Thirty Rock also made the top twenty. Other popular current shows on the list include Game Of Thrones at forty and Homeland at forty eight. The highest rating British show on the list was Downton Abbey at number forty three. The Office was at fifty, while the US version of the show also made the list at sixty six. Other British shows making the top one hundred were Fawlty Towers, Monty Python's Flying Circus, Upstairs Downstairs and Absolutely Fabulous. The TV One Hundred And One list honours a wide range of TV series from comedies and dramas to variety or talk and children's programming. Sesame Street, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, South Park and Late Night With David Letterman were also on the list. The poll was voted for by members of the Writers Guild of America East and West. 'This list is not only a tribute to great TV, it is a dedication to all writers who devote their hearts and minds to advancing their craft,' said WGAW president Chris Keyser and WGAE president Michael Winship in a joint statement. 'At their core, all of these wonderful series began with the words of the writers who created them and were sustained by the writers who joined their staffs or worked on individual episodes,' they said.
A seventy two-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of committing sexual offences as part of the Operation Yewtree investigation into alleged historical abuse. The man, known as 'Yewtree Thirteen', was arrested on Monday afternoon in East London and taken into custody. Scotland Yard said that the man was later bailed until July. On Monday, an - unnamed - sixty five-year-old man previously arrested under Operation Yewtree was released without charge. He had been arrested in February in South London on suspicion of sexual offences. The Metropolitan Police said there was 'insufficient evidence' to prosecute. Operation Yewtree was set up in the wake of allegations of naughty badness against dirty old rotter and scallywag Jimmy Savile, but the latest man's arrest was said to be unrelated to any Savile allegations. A Metropolitan Police statement said: 'The decision was made by the police that there was insufficient evidence to proceed. There was early investigative consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service but, in accordance with the director of public prosecution's guidance on charging, the police did not submit the case for full CPS advice to decide the outcome.' Some five hundred and eighty nine people have come forward with information relating to the investigation, with four hundred and fifty of those alleging they were sexually abused by Savile.
A retired high court judge is to investigate allegations that self-confessed bad'un Stuart Hall committed sexual assault during his five-decade career at the the BBC. Naughty old rapscallion Hall was described as 'an opportunistic predator' by prosecutors in May after he admitted a string of historic sex offences against young girls. The independent investigation into the It's a Knockout host's conduct during his time at the corporation will be carried out by Dame Linda Dobbs, a retired high court judge and former chair of the Criminal Bar Association. The inquiry will encompass Hall's career at the BBC between 1958 and 2013. Dobbs will report her findings to the wider review by Dame Janet Smith set up in the wake of the Jimmy Savile sex abuse scandal. The Smith review is examining sexual harassment complaints within the culture and practices of the BBC during the Savile era. More than six hundred witnesses have been spoken to since the review began in October. 'Dame Linda Dobbs' investigation will feed into the Dame Janet Smith review into the BBC's culture and practices during the years that Jimmy Savile worked at the corporation. The findings in the Stuart Hall investigation will help form part of Dame Janet Smith's overarching conclusions,' the BBC said in a statement. Dobbs, who became the first black high court judge when she was appointed in 2004, took over the Hall probe after Smith reported 'a potential conflict of interest' as she knows a former BBC executive who was working in Manchester at the same time as the presenter. On Tuesday, solicitors for the Smith review said the Hall investigation and complications in dealing with witnesses involved in potential criminal prosecutions meant the publication of its first findings was likely to be pushed back until late 2013. A second report, which will consider whether the BBC's current child protection and whistleblowing policies are fit for purpose, is due to be published in early 2014. In an update on its website, the Smith review said: 'The Savile investigation is unable to progress certain aspects of its work as a consequence of a need to wait, at the request of the police, before it approaches a number of potential interviewees whose evidence may be relevant to ongoing criminal investigations. It is unclear whether these criminal investigations will lead to prosecutions but, if prosecutions do take place, Dame Janet Smith may need to wait a considerable time before she can approach these potential interviewees.' Solicitors for the review also urged any witnesses of inappropriate behaviour by Hall to come forward.

John McCririck, who lost his job as a presenter on Channel Four Racing at the end of last year, told an employment tribunal on Monday that he had been 'the victim of a vendetta' against him by the 'suits and skirts' in charge of the television company. At a preliminary hearing in London to consider whether his ageism claim should proceed, McCririck, seventy three, also denied he had used 'blackmail' to secure a twenty grand payment from Channel Four when it cut his screen time in 2008. McCririck, who had been a reporter for Channel Four Racing from 1984, was told in October 2012 that he would not be employed by the programme when the contract to produce it moved from Highflyer Productions to IMG from 1 January 2013. However, he told Monday's hearing that his relationship with Channel Four 'started to deteriorate' in 2008, when his presence in the broadcaster's racing coverage was cut from seventy to fifty five days per year. 'Channel Four have been very good to me, and I've been loyal to Channel Four,' McCririck said. 'It's only in the last few years that these suits and skirts came in, producers who wanted change for their own way that they run the programme. So they sacked people to show that "we're in charge now." It was a different atmosphere at Channel Four and at Highflyer.' The hearing, before Judge Snelson, will decide whether McCririck's case has any merit and will go to a full hearing later this year. At issue is McCririck's claim to have been employed by Channel Four when he was contracted to Highflyer Racing and had a number of other sources of income. Thomas Linden QC, representing Channel Four, said that, according to evidence submitted by McCririck's accountants, the presenter's Channel Four salary was one hundred and fifty two thousand five hundred smackers in 2001 and increased in line with inflation until 2006, when it was cut to ninety grand. He also received a one hundred thousand knicker 'signing-on fee' from the satellite broadcaster At The Races when he joined its staff in 2004, in addition to a 'service fee' of one hundred grand per annum. McCririck later reverted to a day rate of tow thousand quid with At The Races, while he also received a number of payments of five thousand smackers for a column in the Sun newspaper, which were paid by the betting exchange Betfair. The case continues.

Agatha Christie's former holiday home in Devon is to play a pivotal role in David Suchet's final Poirot film. Dead Man's Folly will feature scenes filmed at Greenway, which is now owned by the National Trust. The film is the last one starring Suchet, who has played the detective on TV since 1989. When the new ITV series is completed in July, the actor will have appeared in every story Christie wrote for Poirot - more than sixty five films. Suchet told the BBC last year that he felt like he had 'achieved a dream. But I'll also be gutted, because I will be saying a real farewell and a goodbye [to Poirot] and then I will have to bury him,' he said. Dead Man's Folly was first published in 1956. The house at the centre of the mystery was inspired by Greenway. The grounds include a boathouse similar to the one where a body is found in the book. Dead Man's Folly features in the thirteenth and final Poirot TV series, which includes five brand new films.

The former X Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos has been arrested over the supply of Class-A drugs. Which, if true, is extremely naughty. She had been accused over the weekend by a tabloid newspaper, who said that she had introduced their undercover reporter to a drug dealer. It was claimed the drug dealer then sold half-an-ounce of Charlie to them at London's Dorchester Hotel. Asked about reports that Contostavlos had been arrested the Met Police said: 'Officers from Westminster have arrested two people - a thirty five-year-old man and a twenty four-year-old woman - on suspicion of supplying Class-A drugs. They are in custody at a Central London police station.' Constostavlos recently confirmed on her Twitter account that she would no longer sit as a judge on ITV's The X Factor. She added: 'I'd like to thank everyone on The X Factor for two amazing years.' An alleged 'source' at The X Factor allegedly said 'the two stories are unconnected.' Tulisa's private life has made the news in the past, including when the singer took to YouTube to make a statement about a leaked sex tape. At the time, Tulisa described the experience as 'devastating.'

When is the word 'effing' offensive? When it's used emphatically, according to Ofcom - a political quango, elected by no one. Or so the media regulator concluded in ruling on fifty two complaints about The X Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger describing last year's eventual winner as James 'effing' Arthur, ahead of a 'do-or-die' performance to stay in the talent show. Ofcom recognised that effing is not, in itself, a swear word, being a substitute for the fuck bomb, as it were, but ruled that Sherzinger's 'emphatic' use made it offensive. To anyone who was looking to be offended by it. ITV, which previously had to warn the former Pussycat Doll about using the word 'frickin', put it down to 'differing levels of offence that a US and UK audience may attach to this particular term.' So a flipping heck's out of the question, then? Effing ridiculous, innit?

Naturalist Sir David Attenborough has cancelled a tour of Australia that was scheduled to begin next week in order to have heart surgery in London. According to tour organisers Lateral Events, the eighty seven-year-old broadcaster has been advised by his cardiologist that he is in urgent need of a pacemaker. A BBC press officer confirmed that Sir David was having surgery on Tuesday. 'We all wish Sir David a full and strong recovery,' said Danny Cohen, the corporation's director of television. Billed as 'an evening with Sir David Attenborough', the Life on Earth event would have seen the wildlife expert talk about 'his extraordinary experiences, his stories [and] his achievements.' 'Sir David expressed his extreme disappointment,' the Lateral Events statement continued. 'He said he was very much looking forward to coming back to Australia and he hopes to reschedule his tour in the near future.' The tour had been due to begin in Brisbane on 11 June, with additional dates planned in Canberra, Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne.

Parents should not help their children get into jobs, an ex-Dragons' Den entrepreneur has said. James Caan, who is advising the government on social mobility, told the BBC job prospects should not depend on 'who you know rather than what you can do.' Well, that certainly worked for most of the current government, didn't it? This would also create a 'slightly more fair society,' Caan said. Parents should only use their influence if the child had failed to find a job for a year he told the Daily Torygraph. He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme he 'understood' why parents wanted to help. But he said: 'I think allowing children the opportunity to develop and find their own way through life is very good for society and very good for the kids.' He added: 'What I have found myself is when you take people on [who are] not from privileged backgrounds they tend to be more driven, they are more motivated, they have more to prove and generally can be an asset to an organisation.' Caan has been chosen to lead the government's Opening Doors campaign to encourage businesses to have 'open and fair' recruitment processes. Moira McKerracher, assistant director at the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, said: 'Although it's probably unrealistic to expect people to stop helping their children, Mr Caan raises an important point. Our research shows that the most common way for people to get a job is now word of mouth. That might be cheap, but it's got a lot of disadvantages. It relies on people having social and professional networks - a "grapevine" - which young people often don't have. When they do, it's often through their parents. And it narrows down the potential pool of talent for employers, who could be missing out on some fantastic staff.' A UKCES report published in March found the proportion of staff getting jobs through 'word of mouth' had risen from twenty four per cent in 2010 to twenty nine per cent in 2012. The report noted there had been 'a corresponding drop' in the number of employers formally advertising vacancies.

The BBC Trust has upheld a completely bloody risible complaint that the clock on the BBC homepage was 'inaccurate and misleading.' The complaint from a - single - user of the site said that although readers assume the clock is correct, it merely reproduces the time on the user's computer. And, once again, let us just stand up and applaud the utter shite that some numskulls chose to care about. The Trust, who, like the complainant seemingly don't have anything better or more productive to do with their time, said that having a clock which does not state it derives its time from a user's computer is 'not consistent' with BBC guidelines on accuracy. A BBC spokeswoman said the clock would be removed 'in an upcoming update. The BBC takes accuracy very seriously,' the corporation said in a statement. 'Given the technical complexities of implementing an alternative central clock, and the fact that most users already have a clock on their computer screen, the BBC has taken the decision to remove the clock from the Homepage in an upcoming update.' The Trust said the BBC had not 'knowingly' misled users. Especially if users have a watch and had learned down to tell the time when they were at school. The editorial standards committee said that in response to the complaint, the managing editor of BBC Online had said there were 'two reasons' why the site did not offer an accurate, independently generated clock. Firstly, the system required to do this 'would dramatically slow down the loading of the BBC homepage,' something which he said was 'an issue of great importance to the site's users.' Secondly, if the site moved to a format in which users across the world accessed the same homepage, irrespective of whichever country they were in, it would be 'impossible to offer a single zonally-accurate clock.' Plus, it would cost money that the BBC could probably put to better use, you know, making programmes. The BBC had asked its product management team to 'investigate the issue' and it had reported back to the committee that it would take about one hundred staffing days to make the changes involved in switching to an independent clock. This 'could not be justified' given the high level of perceived user satisfaction with the clock and an absence of complaints about it, the BBC said. The committee concluded that the BBC management should, within a reasonable time frame, 'remedy the situation,' ensuring that the corporation complies with its requirement to 'ensure due accuracy in all its output.'
And now, dear blog reader, some really genuinely dreadful and disturbing news, I'm afraid. Sting is to release his first full-length CD of original material since 2003, the New York Times has reported. Oh, that's just great. Haven't we suffered enough already? The Last Ship, due out in September, will feature songs the Tyneside-born balding whiny-voiced singer-songwriter and, in his own mind, world saviour, has written for a stage musical about shipbuilding in the North of England. Whilst living on his four hundred acre home in Tuscany. The bastard.
Bored of the same old stuff on the telly? Repeats, reality shows, Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads? Well, good news everyone, David Icke is planning to set up his own his own TV channel, the Sun reports. The former BBC presenter, Green Party spokesperson, 'Son of the Godhead', author and conspiracy theorist, who once famously claimed Tony Blair was 'the result of human and reptile cross breeding,' has decided enough is enough and 'it's time the people's voices were heard.' Icke is looking for donations and has set a target of one hundred thousand smackers to set up the station, which would feature programmes from around the world, phone-ins and 'global mass meditations.' For twenty five notes, you get a signed poster of the ex-Coventry City and Hereford goalkeeper. But for ten grand, you get to host your own one-off show. Apparently Channel Five works in a remarkably similar way.

Which brings us to today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader. And, what you really need today, I reckon, is a bit of top quality Edwyn Collins.

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