Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Changing Their Tune

Peter Capaldi's unveiling as the new Doctor was the most-watched programme on Sunday evening, according to overnight figures. The Doctor Who Live special attracted an average of 6.27 million viewers, just over thirty per cent of the available audience, at 7pm on BBC1. Countryfile continued its impressive Sunday ratings with 5.62m at 8pm, while The White Queen dipped to 3.40m at 9pm. On BBC2, the final Top Gear of the current series was watched by 4.68m overnight punters at 8pm. The Dominic Sandbrook documentary Das Auto: Germans, Their Cars & Us had an audience of 2.22m at 9pm. ITV's Tipping Point, on opposite Doctor Who Live, was watched by 3.82m at 7pm. All Star Mr & Mrs followed with 3.36m at 8pm. Law & Order: UK's latest episode lost just under four hundred thousand viewers week-on-week to 3.91m at 9pm. On Channel Four, the second episode of The Mill dropped around half-a-million punters from last week to 1.98m at 8pm. The Rory Kinnear drama Southcliffe premiered to 1.88m at 9pm. Channel Five's Once Upon a Time continued with seven hundred and eleven thousand viewers at 8pm, followed by the latest Big Brother with 1.21m at 9pm.
The first pictures of Jenna Coleman shooting new BBC period drama Death Come To Pemberley have been revealed. Jenna stars as Lydia Wickham in Juliette Towhidi's PD James adaptation, which is a follow-up to the events in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
Here are the final and consolidated figures for the Top Twenty programmes for week-ending 28 July 2013:-
1 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 8.66m
2 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 7.53m
3 Emmerdale - Thurs ITV - 7.31m
4 Luther - Tues BBC1 - 5.96m
5 Countryfile - Sat BBC1 - 5.64m
6 Top Gear - Sun BBC2 - 5.29m
7 Ten O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 5.27m
8 Who Do You Think You Are? - Wed BBC1 - 5.24m
9 Law & Order: UK - Sun ITV - 4.90*
10 Six O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 4.88m
11 ITV News - Tues ITV - 4.86*
12 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.60m
13 The White Queen - Sun BBC1 - 4.58m
14 Mrs Brown's Boys - Sat BBC1 - 4.47m
15 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 4.42m
16 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.19m
17 The National Lottery: In It To Win It - Sat BBC1 - 4.07m
18 Your Money, Their Tricks - Mon BBC1 - 3.97m
19 Film: Indiana Jones & The Temple Of Doom - Sat BBC1 - 3.91m
20 The Sheriffs Are Coming - Wed BBC1 - 3.81m
Programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures.

The Illusionist Derren Brown has described his 'terror' after a man fell from a balcony during one of his shows. The man was reportedly in the upper tier of the Palace Theatre in London's West End on Saturday night, when his wife pushed him. As a joke. Allegedly. 'He fell and caught the upper circle on the way down, and was hanging from it,' Derren tweeted after the show. 'He's fine, but what a finale,' he added. 'Sending best thoughts to him and [his] wife, terrifying.' Audience members who described the incident on Twitter said that the man caught a lighting rig as he fell, and was rescued by 'a couple of guys' who 'pulled him back from the second balcony.' Another Twitter user, said the man's wife had 'not intended' for him to fall, although quite how this Twitter user knew what the women did or didn't intend they don't elaborate. 'The balcony is sloped so I'm assuming she didn't push him very hard and he just lost his balance,' they wrote. The Palace Theatre warns guests on its website not to sit in the highest tier if they are scared of heights or have limited mobility. The balcony is about forty five feet above the stage. Brown's Infamous show runs until 17 August. On his website, the master of mesmerism and prestidigitation warns that the performance is 'not for the faint-hearted.'

The BBC medical drama Holby City has been accused of 'scaring off' organ donors. Last week's episode depicted a mother's struggle to decide whether her brain-dead daughter should donate her heart. In one scene, she saw the operation in progress, despite withdrawing consent. NHS Blood and Transplant claimed that 'several' potential donors had asked to be removed from the register as a result. Although despite being asked, they provided no actual numbers or, indeed, any further details. The BBC said the plot was meant to show what happened if rules were ignored. And, tragically, didn't say 'don't you guys have anything more important to do with your time than play TV critics?' They didn't say that because the BBC is far to nice to suggest such a thing. But, I'm not. In a whinging letter of complaint, NHS Blood and Transplant claimed that the episode was 'misleading' and 'wholly inaccurate.' They forgot to add 'drama'. You know, made up stuff? It said that the producers had 'ignored' the 'concerns' of a senior transplant nurse who had been consulted on the script. 'Despite her sharing her professional concerns about the proposed storyline, these scenes were nevertheless retained, presumably for the purpose of creating a more controversial storyline in which the bodies of recently dead were portrayed as commodities and the wishes of grieving relatives treated with callous disregard,' they whinged. 'It was in our view both inexcusable and reckless that her in-depth knowledge of the organ donation system was ignored.' The letter continued: 'We have already been contacted by people asking to be taken off the Organ Donor Register as a direct result of having seen this programme.' Professor James Neuberger, associate medical director at the authority, and his colleague Doctor Paul Murphy said a 'potential outcome' of the episode was that 'fewer people will become donors and fewer people will get life saving transplants, all for the sake of 'a good story.' These, ladies and gentlemen, both being men whom, we must presume, spent years going through medical school to achieve their current positions. And yet still, seemingly, they want my job. Last week's episode of Holby City was seen by 4.75 million overnight viewers. The final, consolidated, including those who recorded the episode to watch later, ratings will be available early next week. The episode followed the mother of a girl, who had been left brain-dead in a car accident, as she came to terms with her daughter's condition. Visibly distressed, she sought out the transplant team and accidentally met the family of a potential organ recipient. Transplant specialist Mo Effanga, played by Chizzy Akudolu, subsequently told the mother the meeting 'shouldn't have' happened. 'Donor and recipient families are never allowed to meet until after the procedure,' she explained. 'And even then, I'm talking months. A year in most cases.' Effanga later relented, suggesting the mother could meet the recipient face-to-face, hoping that such an encounter would encourage her to press ahead with the heart transplant. When her colleague Jonny Maconie (Michael Thompson) warned she could lose her job over the matter, the meeting was called off. Later, the mother saw her daughter being wheeled into theatre and tried to put a stop to the transplant. Effanga effectively ignored her wishes and said it was 'too late' to reverse the procedure. After the operation, Maconie accused his colleague of 'lying to a bereaved mother.' Effanga countered she could 'justify a tiny lie if it means giving a young girl a second chance at life.' NHS Blood and Transplant whinged that the storyline 'flies in the face of the three cornerstones of organ donation in the UK - anonymity, trust and altruism - and instead presents donation as a callous utilitarian process in which donors are commodified.' It could not, however, supply a specific figure for the number of people whom they claim to have asked to be removed from the organ donation register as a result of the programme, but claimed that staff had 'reported several calls.' In response, the BBC said: 'Holby City has the utmost respect for real life medical professionals and in no way was it our intention to suggest that our portrayal of a heart transplant was an accurate reflection of how such a scenario would typically be handled within the NHS. As with all storylines we worked closely with medical experts who advised on transplant protocols but the purpose of this storyline is to dramatise the consequences that could arise should the correct protocols be wilfully ignored. This is an ongoing story and in the weeks to come viewers will see the main character Mo face up to the fallout of her actions.'
Rolf Harris has been rearrested by police over further allegations of sexual offences. Allegation which, if is important to note, he denies. The popular entertainer was first arrested in March by officers from Operation Yewtree, which was set up after claims of sexual abuse were made against naughty old scallywag and rotter Jimmy Savile. Rolf's arrest was unrelated to the former DJ and TV presenter. The Metropolitan Police said an eighty three-year-old had been 'further arrested in connection with further allegations', and rebailed until later in August. Operation Yewtree was set up following the death of Savile in 2011, when hundreds of sex abuse allegations came to light. The Met Police have not named Rolf, instead describing him as Yewtree 5. Rolf has been a fixture on British TV screens for more than forty years with his mixture of art, singing and comedy, having arrived in the UK from his native Australia in 1952. In May, Rolf, who lives in Berkshire, made his first public appearance since his arrest at a live show in Bristol. He received multiple standing ovations and thanked fans for their support.

The Man with the Ten-Stone Testicles achieved two things for Channel Four: spectacular viewing figures (four and half million consolidated figures) and the possibly unique experience of being berated by a Channel Five executive for 'going too far downmarket' - 'there's a line we wouldn't cross', primly tut-tutted C5's programme supremo Ben Frow, who works for soft-core pornographer Richard Desmond, remember and who also slated the rival network's documentary on dogging. This, dear blog reader, from the man in charge of Big Brother. Irony is, officially, dead. Now the issue of Channel Four's continuing duty of care to its latest 'star' has arisen again with the programme's sale to the US. There TLC will rename the documentary The Man with One One Hundred And Thirty Two-Pound Scrotum, which if this blogger's calculations are correct (and, I did get a CSE Grade 2 in Maths) will leave Wesley Warren Junior a little underweight in the knackers department.

The BBC's political editor Nick Robinson ruffled a few feathers after he took to Twitter with a threat to kill a cockerel. Slaphead Robbo was, he claims, kept up at night by the neighbour's bird at his cottage in Suffolk and tweeted 'Awoke contemplating murder' before retweeting a colleague's suggestion that he turn the bird into lunch. 'Interesting,' added the BBC's man at Westminster. The bird's owner was less impressed, reported some odious louse of no importance at the Daily Scum Mail. Robinson was subsequently keen to point out that he wasn't really about to wring his feathered friend's neck. 'My tweet was a one-off cry of frustration – a sort of anti-cockerel troll if you like – from a grumpy middle aged man who had not had enough sleep,' claimed Robinson. What a load of old cock.

The Coen Brothers are turning their Oscar-winning movie Fargo into a TV series, with long-term collaborator Billy Bob Thornton in the lead role. The 1996 film starred Frances McDormand as a determined, pregnant police chief on the trail of two bumbling criminals. She won an Oscar for the role, while Joel and Ethan Coen took home the best original screenplay award. The ten-part TV series, for US channel FX, will involve brand new characters and a new scenario. Thornton will play Lorne Malvo, described as 'a rootless, manipulative man who meets a small town insurance salesman and sets him on a path of destruction.' The actor previously starred in the Coen Brothers' films The Man Who Wasn't There and Intolerable Cruelty. His other screen credits include Bad Santa and Monster's Ball. FX network boss John Landgraf said that, although there was no cross-over with the original, the Fargo TV show would be 'remarkably true to the film.' Shooting will take place in Canada, and the drama is expected to be shown in the US next spring. The Coen Brothers are executive producers, marking their first venture into television after a film career that his produced cult classics such as The Big Lebowski and box office hits like No Country For Old Men. Fargo, regarded as their mainstream breakthrough, was included in the American Film Institute's One Hundred Greatest American Movies list, and inducted into the US National Film Registry in 2006. It opens with a caption saying 'this is a true story' but Joel Coen later admitted 'it was actually all made up. We thought that if we did something where we told the audience up front was a true story, that they'd allow you to do things they wouldn't normally allow you to do, if they thought it was fiction,' he told Venice magazine in 1998. The Coen brother premiered their latest film Inside Llewyn Davis at the Cannes Film Festival in May.

It may not, quite, have had the drama of The Oval in 2005 or 2009, but England have retained the Ashes by drawing the third Test as rain ended Australia's final-day victory push at Old Trafford. The tourists were in a very good position, having removed Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen to reduce England to thirty seven for three in pursuit of an unlikely target of three hundred and thirty two. But, recurring showers throughout the afternoon prevented any resumption of a compelling contest shortly after lunch, and the captains shook hands on a draw at 16:40. The result gave England an unassailable two-nil lead with two tests to play in the five-match series and ensures they will keep hold of the urn, having triumphed in the past two series, and now four out of the last five (we're all trying hard to forget about 2006-07 and pretend it never happened). Cook's team need draw only one of the remaining two tests to win the series outright and underline their recent domination of one of sport's oldest contests. Australia, who won eight consecutive Ashes series between 1989 and 2002-03, will hope to salvage a draw from the series before the return contest down under, starting in November. The intervention of the weather was a bitter blow to Michael Clarke's men, who rebounded strongly at Old Trafford after their defeats, narrowly at Trent Bridge and Lord's. heavily at Lord's. Bolstered by Clarke's masterful one hundred and eighty seven, the tourists piled up five hundred and twenty seven for seven before declaring in their first innings on a wicket that heavily favoured the side batting first. They then bowled England out for three hundred and eighty six, despite Kevin Pietersen's fine century. Scoring quickly to push for a declaration and set England a target, Australia reached one hundred and seventy two for seven in their second innings on Sunday when bad light and rain ended play two hours early. Despite most weather forecasters predicting rain until at least tea on Monday, a dry spell allowed play to begin only thirty minutes behind schedule at 11:30, with Clarke declaring on their overnight score. In overcast conditions ideal for swing bowling, Australia made the perfect start as Ryan Harris swung one back to trap Cook LBW after a failed review - his first duck in twenty six innings as skipper. With the ground starting to fill up as word spread of the unexpected resumption, Trott survived an LBW shout before tickling Harris down the leg side. The Australia assault continued as Peter Siddle, in his first over, drew a thick edge from Root which Clarke failed to grasp at second slip. Pietersen signalled his intention to counter-attack with a pulled four, only to be caught behind playing away from his body for eight in Siddle's next over. Pietersen referred the decision but when the television umpire confirmed that he had heard an edge, England had lost their most destructive batsman and, with it, their final review. Just three balls were possible after a lunch interval extended by twenty minutes because of rain, with a heavy downpour forcing the players off. Although there were periodic breaks in the cloud, they never lasted long enough for the match to resume. Despite securing the Ashes in somewhat underwhelming circumstances, England will reflect with considerable pride on their victories in the first two tests that left Australia needing to win the three remaining matches to regain the urn. The first test at Trent Bridge served up a nerve-shredding conclusion as Australia's final pair took them to the brink of victory before James Anderson removed Brad Haddin to clinch a fourteen-run victory. The second test was an altogether more one-sided affair, with England winning by three hundred and forty seven runs after skittling the tourists for one hundred and twenty eight in their first innings. Although a first England whitewash is now impossible, the hosts can target winning three Ashes series in a row for the first time since 1977 to 1981. Victories in the final two tests - at Chester-le-Street starting on Friday - and The Oval would equal their largest margin of victory over Australia - in 1978-79 when they won a six test series by five to one.

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle United have agreed a season-long loan deal with Championship side Queens Park Strangers for the French striker Loic Remy. The twenty six-year-old is set to have a medical at St James' Park this week. The France international was linked with a move to the Magpies last January but opted, instead, for go for mucho dirty wonga and join relegation-haunted Strangers instead for a club-record fee of eight million smackers. And, my didn't that work out well for both of them? He scored six times for Hapless Harry Redknapp's side last season but his goals could not save them from Premier League relegation. Newcastle are also hopeful of completing a deal this week to sign Remy's compatriot Bafetimbi Gomis after agreeing an eight million fee with Lyon. Allez les noirs et blancs.

Switzerland will launch a new competition to find a new national anthem. The current bangin' tune 'Swiss Psalm' has been branded 'too old-fashioned' and not 'down wid da kidz' and will be replaced in 2015, BBC News reports. The competition is aiming to find new lyrics to the anthem but contestants can also compose a new song if they want to. The current national anthem - which has been in place since 1841 - references God, mountains and sunshine. However, the Swiss government wants the new anthem to present values such as democracy and solidarity. And cuckoo clocks. And chocolate. And the Large Hadron Collider. The winning entry will have to be approved by the government before it is confirmed as the country's new anthem. 'Officially the anthem is a psalm, a prayer, but of course we have an open society, religiously neutral. We have atheists, no single god, so this anthem is a difficulty,' project leader Lukas Niederberger explained.

Perhaps the Swiss government would like to try today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day for their anthem. A little part of yer actual Peter Capaldi's shady past dredged up for comic purposes. And that.

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