Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Pushed Around And Kicked Around

The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat has said that it is nearly enough 'impossible' to keep many of Doctor Who's production aspects secrets. The BBC's popular long-running family SF drama's showrunner told Collider that concealing Peter Capaldi's casting as the twelfth Doctor until the actor made his first appearance on the show at Christmas would not have been feasible. 'I wish it were possible,' he said. '[But] it's going to leak, so you have to take command of that story. I'd far rather not tell anybody anything, seriously. If you're telling a joke, you don't want anybody telling the punchline before you get to the end. Sadly, I don't think it's possible now.' Moffat added that it proves 'tough' to hide many of the show's secrets when fans can capture images from exterior scenes on their phones. 'Everybody wanders around with cameras now - a few years ago, no one had a camera on them,' he said. 'It's tough. It can be irritating, but what can you do?' Moffat recently told the press that it did 'not [matter] very much' that Capaldi's casting had been widely rumoured prior to the official announcement on Sunday night. 'It matters that people love the choice, and what we were looking at when we saw that there were some hints out there that it was going to be Peter everyone was rapturous about the idea,' he explained.

Peter Capaldi campaigned to run the Official Doctor Who Fan Club as a teenager, it has been claimed. Keith Miller, who took over the club in January 1971, revealed that Capaldi was eager to take his place in his 2012 book The Official Doctor Who Fan Club: Volume One. '[Peter] haunted my time running the fan club, as he was quite indignant he wasn't considered for the post,' Miller wrote of the future actor, who was then fourteen years old. In further quotes from Starburst magazine, Miller added: 'I was given the fan club to take the strain of dealing with the advent of the super-fans like Peter Capaldi who wanted a running dialogue with the production team.' It was previously revealed that Capaldi had once contributed to a Doctor Who fanzine, writing an in-depth article about the 'wonder' and 'atmosphere' of the BBC drama's opening titles.

Meanwhile, here's the very excellent Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre's take on the casting of the new Doctor. Warning: Contains Malcolm Tucker-style language. Lots and lots and lots of it! As, indeed, does this.

Long Lost Family continued to top the Monday evening ratings, according to overnight data. Davina McCall's documentary series held steady from last week with 5.12 million viewers at 9pm on ITV. Earlier, The Dales bored 3.39m punters titless at 8pm. On BBC1, Rip Off Britain failed to appeal to 3.18m at 7.30pm, while a Panorama special on the Boston bombers was seen by 1.82m at 8.30pm. New health series Long Live Britain attracted 2.73m at 9pm, with a second episode scoring 2.12m at 10.35pm. Channel Four's Dispatches special on fake social media followers could only pull in eight hundred and sixty five thousand viewers despite all of the pre-publicity surrounding ITV's crass bully-boy thug threats to sue the pants off Four. The second episode of Southcliffe dipped by three hundred thousand overnight viewers to 1.54m at 9pm. On Channel Five, The Billion Dollar Wreck Hunt brought in a smidgen over a million punters at 8pm, followed by Botched Up Bodies with nine hundred and twenty two thousand at 9pm. BBC4's Only Connect was, as usual, the most-watched show on the multichannels with 1.03m at 8.30pm.

Louis Walsh has confirmed he will quit The X Factor after the forthcoming series. Which I'm sure might, just, be interesting to someone, somewhere. Possibly. Well ... maybe. A little bit. Next ...

Actor, playwright and full-of-himself gobby arsehole Stephen Berkoff has become the latest whinging bitter old Red drama queen to moan about the fact that it isn't the Swinging Sixities any more and criticse the BBC for broadcasting 'garbage', whinging about the 'decay of art' and saying he watched its output 'almost with tears.' And, once again, we have that wonderfully selfish example of a definition for Public Service Broadcasting, 'stuff I want to watch.' Berkoff made his comments during an interview at the Edinburgh Fringe with BBC Radio 2 broadcaster Johnnie Walker. Berkoff, seventy six, said that the BBC should not be competing with ITV. 'The BBC is meant to represent values - honesty, decency, values - ITV is not,' he told Walker. 'Why should they compete? ITV does that stinking, sodding Coronation Street until you get brained out. Then the BBC comes out with that stinky, slobbing, cliched, mindless moronic EastEnders,' said Berkoff. Not a happy chap, by the sound of it, is he? Berkoff's extensive career has included writing, directing and acting on both stage and screen. He came to public attention in the Stanley Kubrick films A Clockwork Orange and Barry Lyndon (not to mention a small part in UFO) and he became a household name playing villains in big budget Hollywood films - such total quality productions as Octopussy and Rambo: First Blood Part II. And then you've got the cheek to accuse someone else of making shite, Stevie? How very dare you? People in glass houses and all that, matey boy. Interviewed as part of Johnnie Walker's Guest Night, Berkoff recalled how, as a teenager, he was inspired by Saturday night BBC programmes. 'Last year, I was trying to watch the BBC on Saturday night,' he said. 'They had Strictly Come Dancing and Bruce Forsyth. And I watched almost with tears because I remembered when I was seventeen, eighteen I used to see Hamlet and Death Of A Salesman on a Saturday night. That educated me.' Except that, actually, Stephen, you didn't. In actual fact, neither of the productions of Hamlet and Death Of A Salesman that Berkoff is, almost certainly, alluding to were a) made by the BBC (they were both Granada productions - you know, the 'dreadful' people who make 'stinking sodding Coronation Street - for ITV as part of the Play Of The Week strand during the 1956-1957 period) and, b) neither of them were shown on a Saturday. Peter Brook's 1956 Play Of The Week adaptation of Hamlet (with Paul Scofield in the title role) was broadcast on Monday 27 February. George More O'Ferrall had made a two-part 1947 staging of the play for the BBC (when Berkoff would have been ten), which was also not broadcast on a Saturday. The transmission dates were Friday 5 December and Monday 15 December (source Graham Holderness, Bard on the Box, in Visual Shakespeare: Essays in Film and Television, Hertfordshire: University of Hertfordshire Press, 2002). Similarly, the first BBC adaptation of Death Of A Salesman didn't occur until 1966. Berkoff is, given his comments about his own age - he was born in 1937 - seemingly referring to another of Granada's Play Of The Week adaptations, this one with Albert Dekker in the role of Willy Loman. Likewise, that was not broadcast on a Saturday (rather, it went out on Wednesday 27 November 1957). 'That educated me,' Berkoff claimed. Except, seemingly, in regard to what day of the week it was. And, you know, what channel you were watching at the time, pal. Dick. Berkoff attacked the popular BBC drama series Luther and described ITV's period drama Downton Abbey, which is shown in more than one hundred countries, as 'a lot of silly old tarts in costume.' Mind you, this blogger is with him all the way on the latter score. 'It says nothing to us,' he added. The actor did not confine his whinging to the BBC and ITV, also criticising Hollywood actors for their reluctance to take on stage roles, including Johnny Depp, who appeared alongside him in the film The Tourist, in 2010. According to a particularly trouble-making, shite-stirring article in the Daily Torygraph Berkoff claimed that the theatre 'has not produced a single actor of worth' in thirty years, adding that 'there is more talent in street performing.' Berkoff is currently on stage at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in An Actor's Lament about 'the bizarre lives of actors and the many frustrations, complexes and madness they are at times prone to.' Seemingly, he was still in-character when he made these comments. Whinging old sour-faced misery-guts.
Yer actual Richard Hammond, perhaps the most easy-going and laid-back of the Top Gear triumvirate, has criticised the BBC for what one TV critic has labelled 'one of the worst TV scheduling disasters in a long time.' Sunday night's Top Gear, a celebration of some of Britain's finest motors on its most pleasing roads, was immediately followed by the Dominic Sandbrook documentary Das Auto which was a celebration of some of Germany's finest motors and a history of the decline of British motoring. 'We'd spent months planning this show, they must have known,' grumbled The Hamster, at least, according to the Sun. Jezza Clarkson was also pure dead vesed, so he was, and has also been vocal on Twitter about the Beeb's scheduling. He said: 'I am properly cross with BBC2. What on earth were they thinking of? We try our hardest to show British manufacturing and engineering is still astonishing. And then along comes BBC2.'
Pointless Celebrities is returning for a new series on BBC1 later this summer, it has been confirmed. Oh, the joy. Steven Berkoff, where are you when we need you? Radio 1 DJs Scott Mills and Gemma Cairney, England footballing legend Sir Geoff Hurst and comedian Brendan O'Carroll and err ... Christopher Biggins are among the z-listers, hasbeens and non-entities signed up for the latest run.
Channel Four has announced a new property programme titled Best Of Both Worlds to be fronted by nasty, musmy, bossy Tory Kirstie Allsopp. So, that'll definitely be worth avoiding then.
Channel Five has been found in breach of Ofcom rules, after it broadcast a crime documentary depicting violent scenes before the watershed. Murder Files: The Sketchbook Killer, which was broadcast in December at eight o'clock, focused on John Sweeney who was convicted in 2011 of killing two women. The programme featured reconstructions of the attacks, as well as photographic evidence of dismembered body parts. Ofcom said it should not have aired when children might have been watching. It found the broadcaster in breach of the rule stating children must be 'protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them.' During the documentary, actors were used to depict Sweeney attacking his victims, while commentary was provided by a narrator, journalists and police to describe the attacks. Commentary included descriptions of one victim 'subjected to the most awful torture, including trying to rip her tongue out', while another was 'trussed with string, her head and hands sawn off.' Aerial police footage of bags found in London's Regent's Canal - which contained the body parts of one victim - was also shown. Channel Five argued that the title of the show 'made it clear' the programme was 'about a murderer' and was preceded with an announcement indicating it would contain 'descriptions and dramatic reconstructions of real life crimes' and therefore 'did not exceed expectations of viewers.' It said the reconstructions were 'not detailed or graphic' nor showed any blood, while the commentary was explained 'in a factual manner.' The broadcaster added that its viewing figures showed two per cent of the total audience of the programme were children, and claimed that the police footage and commentary given was no worse than could be found in a news bulletin broadcast at that time or, indeed, earlier. In its ruling, Ofcom said the subject matter 'did not necessarily' exceed the boundaries of acceptability for pre-watershed broadcast. However, it said the material shown together with the accompanying commentary resulted in 'the overall impact being increased.' The regulator said that the show would have exceeded audience expectations in its timeslot on a public service channel and the title was 'not enough' to give an idea of the tone of the programme. It said Channel Five's argument that the police footage shown was 'comparable to a news bulletin' was 'not relevant' because the audience expectation of a news bulletin would be different to that of a crime documentary.

Tom Daley is to front a new ITV2 series, Tom Daley Takes On The World. The series will follow the Olympic diving bronze medallist as he 'embarks on a whistle-stop backpacking trip.' Since his diving career appears, to all intents and purposes, to be increasingly a thing of the past these days as he eagerly seeks TV stardom. Take your time, Tom. The longer you're off on your jolly  around the world, the longer we'll have to wait for the second series of your thoroughly rotten star vehicle horrorshow (and drag), Pro-Celebrity Drowning. And that's a good thing.
Charlotte Green will succeed James Alexander Gordon as the voice of the classified football results on BBC radio. Ex-Radio 4 newsreader Green, who supports Stottingtot Hotshots (but, don't that put you off her), will begin reading the classifieds on Radio 5Live and the World Service on 28 September. 'As a six-year-old I used to sit reading the football scores out loud so this is a dream come true,' said Green. Charlotte is the Broadcasting Press Guild's Radio Broadcaster of the Year. 'We are delighted to welcome Charlotte to 5Live and we are really looking forward to hearing her distinctive voice reading the classifieds, made so famous by James Alexander Gordon,' said Richard Burgess, the head of BBC Radio Sport. 'She is a broadcaster of true calibre and I know she will bring clarity and warmth to the role.' Charlotte worked as a newsreader and continuity announcer at BBC Radio 4 for more than thirty years and she described it as 'a huge honour' to take over from Gordon. When asked if she had any more broadcasting ambitions following her retirement from Radio 4 earlier this year, she told Newsnight's Stephen Smith: 'I have always wanted to read out the football results, ever since I was six years old. That is something I would love to do.' Gordon, who retired in July after more than forty years in the job had surgery to remove his larynx after being diagnosed with cancer and his voice is no longer strong enough to broadcast.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, here's a mighty slab of Bronski Bear.

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