Sunday, October 20, 2013

Week Forty Four: Trailing The Doctor

On Saturday evening, the BBC broadcast a new trailer to celebrate fifty years of Doctor Who. Yeah, okay, that got yer actual Keith Telly Topping somewhat interested, dear blog reader. The trailer was shown on BBC1 at 8.20pm just after Strictly Come Dancing and before Atlantis. The announcement of the trailer's appearance was made on Friday along with artwork featuring all eleven Doctors. According to the BBC press release: 'A specially-created trailer celebrating the last fifty years of Doctor Who will air ... on BBC1, as an exclusive image is revealed today featuring the eleven Doctors. Travelling through time, fans will be taken on a journey from the very beginning using state-of- the-art technology. The special trailer is set to show all of The Doctors as they first appeared on screen, including William Hartnell in high-res colour for the very first time, as celebrations ramp up to 23 November. A huge moment for the BBC, the fiftieth celebrations will culminate with the special episode The Day of the Doctor, starring Matt Smith, David Tennant and Jenna Coleman with Billie Piper and John Hurt. A whole range of shows has also been commissioned across TV and radio to mark the anniversary.' All of which we knew, anyway, so, you know, it's not really 'news', per se. The trailer, incidentally, was on You Tube within five minutes of it being broadcast on telly.
Incidentally, if anyone's wondering what, exactly, the relevance was to the number '17162311' which appears - for the briefest fraction of a second - on an LCD display during the trailer, yer actual keith Telly Topping can inform you that it was the time and date of the transmission of that very first episode - sixteen minutes past five, 23 November 1963. Yeah. You knew that, right?
Yer actual Karen Gillan has praised the casting of Peter Capaldi as The Doctor. The actress said that Peter will take the show in a 'cool direction.' However, she admitted that former co-star Matt Smith will 'always' be The Doctor in her eyes. She told the Press Association: 'It's weird that he's leaving, because to me he is the Doctor and he always will be. But I'm biased, I guess. I think Peter Capaldi is an amazing choice and a really cool direction to take the character - he's older, he's different to Matt and he's Scottish.' She also suggested that a moodier Doctor could work well on the long-running BBC series. 'A lot of people associate him with Malcolm Tucker who's very grumpy, but that could work for The Doctor,' Kazza added.
Now, sadly, we start this latest batch of yer actual bloggerisations with some properly sad news, dear blog reader. Friends have paid tribute to the late Felix Dexter, who died on Friday. he was fifty two. The comedian and actor had suffered from myeloma, a type of bone marrow cancer. Colleagues and peers used Twitter to praise the St Kitts-born writer and broadcaster, with David Baddiel mourning a 'real loss to comedy.' Felix came to prominence in the flagship black comedy The Real McCoy designed as a springboard for young Afro-Caribbean and Asian talent, and later performed for a season with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Fellow comedian Sean Hughes wrote on Twitter: "So sad to hear about the truly wonderful Felix Dexter passing away. I hope you can feel the love in the comedy community fella.' Bill Bailey added: 'Very sad news about my old friend Felix Dexter. A brilliant comedian, a superb comic actor, a lovely man I feel privileged to have known.' Once named as Time Out's comedian of the year, Dexter also featured in iconic BBC comedies The Fast Show and Absolutely Fabulous. More recently, he played three of the main roles in BBC2's sketch show Bellamy's People and is currently appearing in BBC1's Citizen Khan. His close friend, BBC Radio London presenter Eddie Nestor - who acted alongside Dexter for three years in The Real McCoy - told 5Live: 'It's a sad day. It's a really sad day. I went to see him and we talked and we laughed, and we laughed really hard. This is somebody who's been diagnosed with a terminal illness and you find yourself laughing really hard, belly laughs.' He added: 'We've lost a talented, intelligent, articulate performer who could touch - who could reach out.' Felix's family arrived in the UK from the Caribbean when Felix wax seven and he was educated in London. Before entering comedy, Felix studied law - something which, he often claimed, helped him to deal with hecklers. He named Billy Connolly and the late American comics Richard Pryor and Bill Hicks among his influences and remained on the stand-up circuit throughout his career. Later, he featured in long-running staples Have I Got News You and Grumpy Old Men, as well as Knowing Me Knowing You with Alan Partridge. As an actor, he had parts in Casualty and The Bill and appeared in the West End alongside Christian Slater in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. The Real McCoy, which ran from 1991 to 1996, gave Felix a platform for his array of the larger-than-life characters familiar from the lives of the show's black audience, such as two of the comedy's most popular regulars, Nathaniel the Nigerian accountant and the outspoken pastor, Brother Jeffers. Meera Syal, who performed alongside Felix in The Real McCoy, said: 'It's such a huge tragedy for a hugely talented man.' BBC's comedy production controller Mark Freeland said that the comedy community had lost 'a hugely popular, pioneering, naturally funny and thoroughly modest actor and comedian. The outpouring of affection today is testament to a lovely, gracious man, seemingly happy to be in the background, but effortlessly and deservedly very much in the comedy foreground. Many performers will feel today as if they've lost a part of the family.'

And so, for today's Great Daft Moments From TV History, we have number seven - one of Felix's contributions to The Fast Show - opposite Colin McFarlane - and one of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's favourite fifty seconds of comedy TV, ever. Raaak stow'n!
Meanwhile, in From The North's other recurring segment, Examples of things that are, like, totally geet cush, and make the world a better place by their very existence. Number nine. Lara Pulver with no clothes on. 'nuff said, really.
Is it just yer actual Keith Telly Topping, dear blog reader, or does anyone else think that Stephen Merchant - this week's guest host on Have I Got News For You - comes over (possibly unintentionally, I'll willingly admit) as a really smug git and is, in any case, about as funny as a very nasty rash on the knob? Answers on a postcard.
Thankfully, a very good episode of Qi was but half-an-hour away. This blogger particularly enjoyed the section on 'facts' that the programme had - in all good faith - stated over the years which had, subsequently, been disproved (the, so-called 'half-life of facts'). Thus Jimmy Carr, Jo Brand and, especially, Alan Davies were awarded back a number of the points that they'd forfeited over the years; which in Alan's case, was over seven hundred! 'Can I use them in Sainsburys?' asked Jo. Jimmy wanted to know if they were transferable onto other shows like Have I Got News For You. Poor old Graham Linehan, however, as a first time guest, received even less points than the audience having, clearly, picked the wrong week to make his début.
Have I Got News For You - despite the wretched Merchant's full-of-his-own-importance strutting - led Friday night's overnight ratings outside of soaps, drawing in 4.67m viewers. The BBC1 panel show, which also featuring guest panellists Hal Cruttenden and Gabby Logan alongside regulars Paul Merton and Ian Hislop, took twenty two per cent of the available audience share at 9pm. Odious slimy snake Piers Morgan's Life Stories, with Julian Clary, secured 3.7m in the same timeslot for ITV and was soundly thrashed by HIGNFY. Which is always a good laugh. Channel Four's Eight Out Of Ten Cats attracted 1.19m viewers. At 8pm, Marvel's Agents of SHIELD pulled in 1.37m. Britney Spears's appearance on Alan Carr: Chatty Man secured 1.22m viewers on Channel Four at 10pm. However, it was easily outperformed by Qi on BBC2 at the same time, which had two million punters watching. BBC2 also saw a strong performance from Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two in a pre-primetime 6.30pm slot, attracting 1.91 million. Caught On Camera was Channel Five's strongest performance, with eight hundred and fifty eight thousand punters watching at 8pm, closely followed by Hens Behaving Badly, which had an audience of seven hundred and thirteen thousand at 9pm.

Strictly Come Dancing continued to win the overnight ratings war with The X Factor on Saturdays. The BBC's dance competition brought 9.69m to BBC1 from 6.30pm - an audience share of forty four per cent - although it was down just over one hundred thousand viewers from last week's episode, overnight data reveals. The X Factor, meanwhile, trailed by over two million overnight viewers, with 7.57 million tuning-in to ITV from 8pm - down nearly three hundred thousand week-on-week. Atlantis remained stable on BBC1 with 4.70m at 8.20pm. At 9.15pm, Casualty pulled in an audience of four million, while Match Of The Day had 3.85m at 10.25pm. BBC2's Sir David Frost tribute That Was The Life That Was brought in 1.17m at 8.20pm. It was followed by a repeat of Frost On Satire, which had nine hundred and seventy three thousand viewers, while the 2008 film Frost/Nixon appealed to three hundred and sixteen thousand viewers who haven't already got it on DVD from 11pm. On ITV, The Chase: Celebrity Special attracted 2.95m from 7pm. At 10pm, The Jonathan Ross Show attracted 3.17m. On Channel Four, a 9pm showing of Die Hard was watched by just under one million viewers watching hard as nails John McClane running around Nakatomi Plaza in his vest like a big mean terrorist-killing bastard. The Clint Eastwood western Pale Rider brought in six hundred and ten thousand for Channel Five in the same timeslot. An ITV3 Foyle's War repeat attracted seven hundred and ninety thousand viewers from 8pm.

Amanda Abbington has confirmed that she is to play Mary Morstan in the third series of Sherlock. Martin Freeman's partner had long been rumoured to be portraying Morstan - John Watson's love interest, and eventual wife, in the Arthur Conan Doyle stories. Amanda revealed to The Scotsman that her character has 'fantastic secrets' and 'comes between Watson and Sherlock Holmes' as a 'kind of third wheel. I remember doing a scene very early on with Martin and Ben, and I was standing in between them and I thought, "I really have to up my game, this is proper,"' she said. 'They really bounce off each other. When I was at the read-through, I remember watching them, and the chemistry between them is just amazing. They do have this beautiful relationship, so getting in between that - which is what Mary does, she becomes this kind of third wheel - was scary. Also, the fans love these two together, so I'm sure Mary won't be particularly liked by them, but I hope that on the whole people really like her, because she's a great character and she has some fantastic secrets.' Amanda went on to reveal that co-creators The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss his very self had 'always' had her in mind for the character. Speaking of how she acquired the part, Amanda recalled: 'We were at Mark Gatiss's house when The Hounds of Baskerville first came on the telly. Afterwards they went into the kitchen and were sitting talking about the next series. I went in and sat with them. 'It had been mooted that I would be in it, might have a little part in it. They were talking about who might play Mary and I was like, "So, who are you thinking of?" and they said "You". I got very emotional because it just seemed so amazing, just such a gift.'
Only Connect is to move from BBC4 to BBC2, it has been announced. Victoria Mitchell-Coren's popular intelligence quiz is currently in its seventh series, and is regularly one of the most-watched shows on the multichannels drawing audiences around the million mark. The show features teams attempting to find connections between seemingly unrelated clues. It launched in September 2008, and has also spawned fourteen celebrity specials. An eighth series will be broadcast on BBC4 in spring 2014, before its ninth series launches on BBC2 later in the year. BBC2 and BBC4 controller Janice Hadlow said: 'BBC4 has a proud tradition of growing successful shows and I'm delighted Only Connect is making the move to BBC2 where I hope it will connect with an even broader audience.' The divine Victoria her very self said: 'I and the rest of the Only Connect team are hugely excited about our Icarus-like flight towards the sun of mainstream broadcasting. If our wings start melting, I'll just flap harder.' BBC4 has, reportedly, shortlisted three quiz shows to replace Only Connect, titled The Knowledge, Enigma and Eliminate The Impossible.

BBC1 has released its first action shot from the set of The Musketeers. Billed as 'a fresh and contemporary take' on Alexandre Dumas's classic novel, the drama stars Skins actor Luke Pasqualino as D'Artagnan. The twenty three-year-old is seen at the forefront of the newly released image, alongside Merlin's Santiago Cabrera (who plays Aramis), The Hour's Tom Burke (Athos) and Howard Charles (Porthos). Filming has recently wrapped on the ten-part series from Primeval co-creator Adrian Hodges, which is set to launch in early 2014. Hodges said: 'I'm thrilled we can finally release the first image since wrapping filming on The Musketeers. I hope the picture gives a good idea of the look and intensity of the Musketeers themselves, and a hint of the excitement of each powerful, dramatic and action-filled episode.' Yer actual Peter Capaldi will also feature in the series as the shadowy Cardinal Richelieu. Hodges has admitted that he was 'shocked' by Capaldi's casting as The Doctor and appeared to confirm that the actor's commitments to the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama show would rule him out of appearing in any potential second series of The Musketeers. The series was featured in a recent preview trailer of the BBC's upcoming dramas, alongside Sherlock, Quirke, What Remains, Ripper Street and By Any Means.
A question, dear blog reader, do you reckon the lass in the Broadband Choices advert (Rachel Barker) really wants to get home before 10pm to record 'the programme' or, is it, rather, that she's utterly bored titless with her bloke constantly wittering on about how dead total mad-brilliant he is for switching their broadband provider all night? And, that's even before everybody else in the pub starts singing that sodding annoying song.
And, on a somewhat related theme, dear blog reader, does anyone else really wish that Camilla Arfwedson's unseen - but, occasionally, heard - screen-husband would walk into the room and catch her in the very act of revealing all those cheap hotel prices in the Secret Escape advert? So she'd, you know, shut the fuck up about it, basically. Just a thought. (Camilla, incidentally, if you don't know her work, as very good in that episode of Lewis where she played Hathaway's posh ex-girlfriend.)
And, on that bombshell, dear blog reader, here's your next batch of Top Telly Tips:-

Saturday 26 October
A night-time messenger brings news from outside the city for Ariadne, who calls on Jason and his friends to help guide her to its source in the fifth episode of Atlantis - 8:15 BBC1. But leaving without raising the Queen's suspicions seems like an impossible task - especially when it turns out the one who has written is Therus, Ariadne's exiled brother. As Heptarian and the King's guards close in on his hiding place, Ariadne must decide where her loyalties lie - in Atlantis or with her royal sibling. Mark Addy, Jack Donnelly and Aiysha Hart star.

In the latest Casualty - 9:10 BBC1 - plumber Graham and his son Jake are struggling to sort out a leaky water tank when they discover a hidden stash of cash - but the next thing they know they've crashed through the rotten floorboards into the bathroom below. And when they turn up at the ED, they are closely followed by home-owner Paul - who wants his money back. Meanwhile, Sam treats a bride on her wedding day, unaware Tom is intending to propose to her. The only problem is, he's let slip to Robyn, and the gossip is spreading round the department. Can he get down on one knee before she hears it from someone else? With guest appearances from former EastEnders actors Charlie Clements and Glynis Barber, plus Billy Hartman, who played Emmerdale's Terry Woods.

Sunday 27 October
A young boy is murdered in broad daylight by gangland thug Jamie Caine, who walks free when the key witness suspiciously withdraws his statement in the last episode of the current - and, possibly only - series of By Any Means - 9:00 BBC1. Helen is outraged - I mean, incandescent with impotent fury, so she is - and acting against direct orders she calls in Jack and the team to do the dirty on the damn bad bastard. The word on the street is that Caine has been marketing a hallucinogenic drug to children, and is on the verge of making a multi-million-pound deal to sell the product, so the sooner they nail the twat, the better, frankly. However, their only option is to persuade the gangster's much younger girlfriend to turn informant - but as she is an old friend of Charlie, things soon become a little more personal than the team would like. Nick Moran guest stars. Last in the series, as noted and, despite the rather attractive, Hustle-like nature of the action, and a very good cast, this really hasn't caught on with the public. Chances on a second series? At this stage, possible, but unlikely, I'd've said.

In 1979, the BBC made Public School, an acclaimed documentary series about life at Radley College. In a follow-up, A Very British Education - 9:00 BBC2 - director Hannah Berryman catches up with some of the former pupils who featured in the programme thirty years ago to find out how their lives panned out after they left, discovering whether they turned out to be as successful as their parents had hoped and what kind of men they became.

Peep Show's Isy Suttie and musical comedian Tim Minchin makes their débuts on Qi XL - 10:30 BBC2 - joining the great Bill Bailey and regular panellist Alan Davies. Host Stephen Fry asks a range of fiendish questions on the topic of Keys, with points being awarded for interesting answers as well as correct ones.
Monday 28 October
The memory of Saucy Jack is slowly fading but the streets of East London - where the horseshit lies thick - are still as lawless as ever, as we discover in the opening episode of the second series of Ripper Street - 9:00 BBC1. When a sergeant from Limehouse's neighbouring district is hurled from a tenement window onto the iron railings below, Detective Inspector Reid is quick to act - if the police are to be so publicly assaulted, how can they hope to keep order among the populace? Investigations lead to the newly emergent Chinatown, where Jackson discovers evidence of a devastatingly powerful opiate which could create havoc and all manner of discombobulation and shit if released onto the streets. Victorian police thriller, starring Matthew Macfadyen, Jerome Flynn and Adam Rothenberg.
OCD Ward - 9:00 ITV - provides an insight into four of the nation's most severe cases of obsessive compulsive disorder. At Springfield University Hospital in South London, therapists help thirty two-year-old IT consultant Edward and twenty four-year-old Enis overcome their conditions, while two women battle OCD at home with the support of their families. Former care worker Hayley talks about spending up to twenty hours a day checking on her dogs, and mother-of-two Tricia makes a rare trip outside to see her mum - for the first time in four years.

As election night 2012 draws to a close, Will receives a lesson in loyalty when he discovers News Night's senior staff are planning to resign in The Newsroom - 9:00 Sky Atlantic. Sloan discovers the identity of the winning bidder on her book, while Jim encourages Maggie to make amends with Lisa. Will and Mac come to a life-changing decision following an examination of their relationship. Drama, starring Jeff Daniels and Emily Mortimer. Last in the series.
Tuesday 29 October
Currently in hotter demand than a cup of coffee on a cold day, yer actual David Tennant heads the cast of The Escape Artist - 9:00 BBC1. In this much-trailed legal drama - which looks like a straight cross between Silk and The Fall - David plays Will Burton, a highly talented barrister who - like David himself in real life - is in great demand, having never lost a case, much to the frustration of his courtroom rival, Maggie Gardner. But when Will's tricky talents lead to the acquittal of Liam Foyle, who was standing trial for a high-profile murder, Will has reason to regret his peerless legal skills. Because Foyle is a serial killer - and before long he is on the hunt for his next victim. Ashley Jensen, Sophie Okonedo and Toby Kebbell co-star.
Sherlock Holmes investigates the murder of a mathematician and the significance of a top-secret equation he was trying to decipher, while her past comes back to haunt Joan Watson when she receives an unexpected request from the son of a former patient, shedding light on why she turned her back on a surgical career in the latest episode of Elementary - 9:00 Sky Living. If you've never seen it before, dear blog reader, it's worth a punt for an episode or two, it's quite funny and Johnny Lee Miller is properly terrific in it. But, it's not a patch on Sherlock and the fact that it even exists when it's so obviously modelled on the BBC adaptation still, sadly, leaves something of a bitter taste in the mouth. Others may disagree, that's their right in a free society. But, they're wrong.
Alan Yentob begins another run of the arts documentary strand Imagine - 10:35 BBC1 - with Hear My Train A Comin', a profile of the American guitarist Jimi Hendrix who enjoyed just four years of mainstream exposure in the late 1960s before his untimely death but who lives on thanks to his influential music. Jimi was a true original, a former private in the One Hundred and First Airbourne who famously found an audience when former Animals bass player Chas Chandler discovered him playing clubs in New York and brought him to the UK. Jimi revolutionised the music scene and pushed his musical gifts to their extremes to become arguably the greatest rock guitarist of all time. Wor geet canny Bob Smeaton's film features never-before-seen performance footage, home movies and family letters, as well as contributions from the Hendrix family, yer actual Paul McCartney and former band mates in The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell.
Wednesday 30 October
The sleuth is reunited with old friend Ariadne Oliver, who has been commissioned to stage a game of murder hunt at a summer fete in the grounds of Nasse House, the recently purchased home of wealthy financier Sir George Stubbs in Dead Man's Folly the latest Agatha Christie's Poirot - 8:00 ITV. However, the novelist's instincts tell her she's getting involved in something much darker - and she's proved correct when the girl volunteering to play the part of the victim really does turn out to be dead as a very dead thing. Classic whodunnit, starring David Suchet, with Zoe Wanamaker, Sean Pertwee, Martin Jarvis, Sam Kelly, Sinead Cusack, Rosalind Ayres and Tom Ellis.

In the latest phase of his one-man moral crusade, the killer holds a pensioner hostage in a dark industrial room and sends a message to journalist Danny revealing the identities of the people who can save him in episode three of The Tunnel - 9:00 Sky Atlantic. Chuks, Karl and Elise all reach dead ends with their investigations, and back in the UK runaway teenager Sophie is taken in by a seemingly trustworthy man. Stephen Dillane and Clemence Poesy star. In English and French.
The latest episode of The Culture Show - 10:00 BBC2 - features a look at the shortlist for the annual non-fiction award, The Samuel Johnson Prize, which features biographies of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher, Italian poet Gabriele d'Annunzio and Fabian Ware, who founded the Imperial War Graves Commission, as well as an account of the first Anglo-Afghan war and books on Roman Britain and bumblebees. Publisher Jamie Byng is joined by author Diana Athill and journalist James Naughtie as he explains why it has never been a more exciting time for the genre and gives his verdict on which one deserves to win.

Thursday 31 October
Bedlam - 9:00 Channel Four - is a documentary following the lives of patients at the South London and Maudsley psychiatric institution, exploring different aspects of mental health. A specialist unit at the Bethlem Royal Hospital treats some of the nation's most extreme cases of anxiety, including British Museum librarian Helen, who has an irrational fear of harming strangers, and university student James, who is terrified of losing control of his bowels in public.

Former directors of the National Theatre Peter Hall, Richard Eyre and Trevor Nunn, and present incumbent Nicholas Hytner speak about their experiences of running the company in Arena - 9:00 BBC4. They discuss its opening by the Queen in 1976, the strikes that nearly saw it close in the same decade and the clashes with the government. They also remark on the success of shows such as Amadeus, Guys and Dolls, War Horse and One Man, Two Guvnors. With contributions by actors and actresses including Ian McKellen and Judi Dench. And, if you're looking for a good reason not to watch what sounds like a very worthwhile programme, wretched odious unfunny buffoon James Corden also manages to crop up.
Dracula - 9:00 Sky Living - is, as you can probably guess, a 'reimagining' of the Bram Stoker classic, starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Pretty boy, can't act. Count Dracula arrives in late Nineteenth-Century London (no pissing around in Whitby this time) posing as an American entrepreneur who wants to 'bring modern science to Victorian society' and throws a lavish party to win over the city's rich and powerful nobs. However, in reality he's seeking revenge on those who betrayed him centuries earlier and wants to suck their necks, big-style and that. With Jessica De Gouw, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Katie McGrath, Thomas Kretschmann, Ben Miles and Nonso Anozie. Sounds wretched.
Friday 1 November
It's comedy night, as usual, on the BBC. Kirsty Young hosts Have I Got News For You - 9:00 BBC1 - with regulars Paul Merton and Ian Hislop joined by a couple of well-known panellists to take a wry look at the week's headline stories. That's followed on BBC2 at 10:00 by Qi in which broadcaster and national treasure Danny Baker, Jo Brand and Marcus Brigstocke join regular panellist Alan Davies on the comedy quiz. Stephen Fry asks a range of fiendish questions on all things Kinetic. In Orphan Black - 9:00 BBC3 - Leekie gives Sarah pause for thought about seeking revenge after Kira's life is threatened. Meanwhile, Cosima must choose sides when she learns the truth about Delphine, and the facts about Sarah's past change everything. And, in The Blacklist - 9:00 Sky Living - the team receives a tip-off that a criminal known as The Courier is about to deliver a high-value package to an Iranian spy. However, despite the lead, the hunt for the culprit proves challenging as nobody, including Red, knows what he looks like. During the investigation, Ressler finally starts to recognise Liz's abilities, but before the pair can work together effectively, she becomes entwined in a kidnapping plot. Guest starring Robert Knepper.

He has been the host of the BBC's general election results since 1979 but now 'a question mark hangs over whether David Dimbleby will be the corporation's main anchor the next time the nation goes to the polls.' At least, according to a typically shit-stirring article in the Gruniad Morning Star seemingly designed to cause trouble. So, no change there, then. BBC 'bosses' (that's tabloidese for 'executives', obviously, despite the fact that this story appeared in the Gruniad Morning Star; dumbing down, Runtbudgie? The frappachino-drinking masses in Islington won't be pleased with that malarkey - they so enjoy feeling superior to the scum of the council estates) have started to consider in earnest 'the thorny question' of who will host the corporation's coverage of the next general election in 2015. Despite the seventy four-year-old Dimbleby doing an eighteen-hour stint during the last election night, as well as being a formidable chairman on the BBC's flagship political show Question Time, the BBC is understood to be looking at potential alternative hosts. 'The arrival of a new director general Tony Hall and James Harding, the director of news, earlier this year has sparked a drive to modernise the BBC, looking to its future and putting the next generation of presenters,' the Gruniad claim. There has also been drive to feature more women on air, under Hall's tenure the BBC has installed Mishal Husain as a presenter on the Today programme. And in May, Huw Edwards, took over presenting the BBC's coverage of the local elections from Dimbleby. BBC News is already planning its 2015 general election coverage, discussing details such as how it could broadcast from BBC studios in Salford, Elstree and Glasgow. In the past, particularly under former director general Mark Thompson, an admirer of Dimbleby, the BBC has been quick to confirm the broadcasting veteran as its general election anchor. But this time executives have been unusually reticent about Dimbleby and his role as they wrestle with the issue of who might follow in the footsteps of a broadcasting legend. According to alleged 'sources', Edwards is allegedly the internal favourite to succeed Dimbleby in the general election chair, along with Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman. Another Newsnight host, Emily Maitlis, could also play a bigger role, having been part of the team during previous election results, as has Jeremy Vine. According to alleged BBC 'sources' it 'would not take a genius' to work out that having done the recent local elections and being the BBC's 'go-to' man in the event of a big crisis news story, that Edwards would be a leading contender to succeed Dimbleby. Edwards is being seen as the 'heir apparent' for commentating on big national occasions, having been given some of the events that may have perhaps traditionally been seen as Dimbleby's, such as the Royal Wedding in 2011. An alleged 'insider' allegedly claimed that one option could be that Dimbles would continue to be part of the BBC's general election team but share duties or move into a different role. 'Why will the corporation not commit publicly to David Dimbleby doing the next general election?' one alleged 'source' allegedly asked. There is also the question of who will front the BBC's edition of the televised leadership debates. Last time it was Dimbleby and the lack of education secretary rat-faced loathsome wretched odious nasty slavver-merchant and George Formby lookalike Gove said on Question Time recently: 'There's only one thing about the debates that I would insist on, that you chair them David.' Sycophantic cocksplash. Dimbles will be seventy six by the time the nation decides the next government but it is unlikely he would give up his anchor role without a fight. In 2010 he told The Times: 'I am not going to retire voluntarily.' When asked if he would give Edwards a chance to do election night, he replied: 'No, I don't have any instinct to make way gracefully. I shall be dragged kicking and screaming from my chair.' A BBC spokesman told the Gruniad: 'The next general election is expected to take place in two years' time, in 2015, and it is far too early to comment on plans for the BBC's election night programming.'
Wall Street Journal reporters were 'frustrated' in their attempts to tell the story of the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World phone-hacking scandal, according to a new book by David Folkenflik. He implies that one part of billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's News Corp media empire in the United States was 'not allowed' to 'report freely' on another part in Britain. Capital New York's Joe Pompeo, has 'read substantial sections of the book' Murdoch's World: The Last Of The Old Media Empires (published next week by Perseus Books). According to the Gruniad Morning Star, he describes how Folkenflik reveals that WSJ journalists 'told colleagues of stories that were blocked, stripped of damning detail or context, or just held up in bureaucratic purgatory.' He cites an instance when Robert Thomson, who was then the Journal's managing editor, tried to prevent the publication of a 'supposedly damaging article.' In July 2011, after the Gruniad exposed the accessing of Milly Dowler's voicemails by the Scum of the World, an incident which quickly led to the shutting of the rotten Sunday tabloid in shame and ignominy, a team of Journal reporters 'discovered discrepancies' between different versions of the paper's article about the thirteen-year-old murdered girl published earlier that year. Folkenflik tells how the Journal team found 'an early version' which included 'detailed quotes from voicemail messages.' They also learned that a Scum of the World editor had 'deployed a team of nine journalists' based on a voicemail obtained from Dowler's mobile phone. This appeared to contradict the company's constant claims over a number of years that phone-hacking at the paper was limited to a single - rogue - reporter and the private detective he was working with. Thomson, the former Times editor who is now News Corp's chief executive, 'tried to kill the story several different times,' reports Folkenflik. 'As a fall-back strategy, several reporters and editors believed, Thomson was intentionally trying to set impossible standards so the story would not see the light of day.' The story was, eventually, published on 20 August 2011, but the revelations about the altered Scum of the World article were buried in paragraph nine. 'The process was so painful,' one of the journalists who worked on the report told Folkenflik. 'If we hadn't fought, Robert would have been happy for us not to run it at all.' As Pompeo points out, the anecdote appears to show a senior News Corp executive influencing news judgment. Folkenflik writes of Thomson: 'He intervened in a very telling way at a very telling moment.' Folkenflik, who works for NPR and has been covering the media industry since 2000, did not receive any cooperation from billionaire tyrant Murdoch or News Corp. No shit. A WSJ spokesperson issued a statement claiming: 'The Wall Street Journal covered phone-hacking extensively and aggressively, both when Robert Thomson was editor and to this day. The very existence of scores of forceful and in-depth stories attests to the fact that editors did not stymie the assignment of coverage, investigative reporting, or publishing on this topic.'

ITV News assistant editor Cristina Nicolotti Squires has been appointed the editor of Channel Five News. Nicolotti Squires, who has the official title of ITV News head of output and assistant editor, replaces Geoff Hill, who was appointed editor of ITV News last month. A twenty-year veteran of news operations at ITN, which produces the news for broadcasters including ITV and Channel Four, Nicolotti Squires is currently responsible for all production staff at ITV News and executive produced the channel's coverage of the royal wedding and the diamond jubilee. Following her appointment, announced to staff at ITV News and Channel Five News on Friday, Nicolotti Squires is expected to join Channel Five News in the coming weeks. 'I am honoured to be trusted with the editorship of Channel Five News,' she said. 'I'm really excited about leading such a vibrant, energetic team, who punch well above their weight on a daily basis, and who make great news programmes. It will be my mission to lead this group with the passion and ambition that's already there.' After stints with Thames Television News and then London Weekend Television, she joined ITN in 1994. Her roles have included national news editor for ITV News, head of home news and a range of production roles, rising to head of output and assistant editor. She has worked on coverage of every major British and US election since joining ITN in 1994. 'Cristina is an incredible programme-maker behind some of the most acclaimed ITN-produced output in recent years,' said John Hardie, chief executive of ITN. 'Having already clocked up almost twenty years at ITN, Cristina will bring a wealth of experience to this role and build on the fantastic work done by Geoff and his team since we began producing Channel Five News again last year.' Ben Frow, director of programmes at Channel Five, said: 'We are delighted that Cristina is joining our team at Channel Five News. She is a major player in TV journalism and has the drive, talent and infectious energy to take our news programmes to the next level.'

Are you looking for a Christmas or birthday gift for that special someone ... that you really dislike? How about a Jack Whitehall pillowcase, dear blog reader?
Horrorshow. And, indeed, drag.

Yer actual Match Of The Day and Question Time are among TV shows which 'send viewers to sleep', according to a new - and, as usual, utterly frigging pointless - survey. The study by hotel chain Premier Inn found that the football highlights show, which is broadcast on Saturdays at 10.30pm, is the programme most Brits doze off in front of. The Ten O'Clock News came second in the poll of two thousand planks, ahead of Question Time and The X Factor. And this constitutes 'news', seemingly. A spokesman for Premier Inn said: 'Falling asleep in front of the TV is something we are all guilty of, even if it is our favourite TV show. At Premier Inn we are committed to ensuring our guests experience a good night's sleep guaranteed – so if Match Of The Day or Question Time are tired Brits' TV night caps, guests can tune in and nod off peacefully to enjoy a good night's sleep.' Yeah. So, what this survey actually says is, if you don't want to fall asleep during Match Of The Day stay anywhere but a premier Inn, it would seem.
The BBC is 'on the brink' of renewing unfunny buffoon, horrorshow (and drag) James Corden's wretched, laughless alleged 'comedy' The Wrong Mans for a second series, the trade magazine Broadcast reports. This, of course, proves that THERE IS NO GOD.
Earlier this year, dear blog reader, yer actual Nigella Lawson (she has her knockers) revealed that in order to keep her weight under control, she runs on her treadmill dressed only in a bra and trainers. This blogger would like you all to know that he has spent several months trying to get that imagine out of his head. Without anything approaching success.
Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws twice came back from a goal down as they had to settle for a point against yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) ten-man Newcastle. Yohan Cabaye's thirty-yard strike put the hosts ahead, but Steven Gerrard levelled with a penalty at the end of the first half after Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa was sent off for a foul on Luis Suarez. Paul Dummett's far-post shot restored the Magpies's lead only for Daniel Sturridge to head the Reds level again. A Suarez shot skimmed the crossbar as Newcastle held on for a draw. A point was enough to move Liverpool top of the Premier League before Saturday's 3pm kick-offs. But Brendan Rodgers's side will be disappointed not to have made more of having an extra man for so much of the game. The Magpies were thrashed 6-0 in the same fixture last season, but showed defensive determination and organisation this time around to nullify the Alabama Yee-Haws early on. And the home side built on their promising start when the Thieving Scouse Schleps defence stood off Cabaye, allowing the France international to send a dipping shot past Simon Mignolet and send St james' Park pure dead mental. The visitors's best chances were coming from set-pieces and Newcastle left-back Davide Santon, guarding the far post, had to clear a Suarez header before Martin Skrtel and Aly Cissokho both headed over when well-placed. But, after Magpies midfielder Moussa Sissoko stung Mignolet's hands with a powerful twenty-yard strike, Yanga-Mbiwa's tug on Suarez gave Liverpool the chance to equalise. The centre-back was the last man when he fouled the Uruguayan and was shown a red card before Gerrard confidently dispatched the spot-kick for his one hundredth league goal. The Reds looked to take advantage of their numerical advantage and right-back Glen Johnson forced Tim Krul into a scrambling save. However, defender Dummett - who had come on after Yanga-Mbiwa's dismissal for only his second Premier League appearance - shocked the visitors by steering in Cabaye's free-kick to restore the Magpies's lead. This was the signal for Liverpool to pile the pressure on the home side and a Suarez shot was parried by Krul before being cleared. Liverpool finally breached Newcastle's stubborn defence with twenty minutes left when Suarez got to the by-line and crossed for Sturridge to head in from close range. The visitors continued to dominate thanks to their numerical advantage and Suarez clipped the bar with a shot before seeing his injury-time free-kick saved - but they failed to force a winner as Newcastle, who face local rivals Blunderland at the Stadium of Plight next Sunday, greeted the final whistle with some considerable relief. 'Having played from just before half-time with ten-men, the point will do Newcastle very nicely. This fixture rarely disappoints and it was full of action and incident,' noted Match Of The Day's Guy Mowbray. Newcastle boss Alan Pardew added: 'I thought it was great advertisement for the Premier League. In the opening period of the game, when we had eleven players, we were matching them. Then we had the guy sent off - and I have no qualms about that, he had to go. So we had to show our other side - the resilience. We showed it before against Cardiff and we showed it against Liverpool. It was a great game on the pitch there as real quality.'

BT Sport has grovellingly apologised after David Ginola was captured making an offensive 'wanker' hand gesture during the build-up to Liverpool's visit to St James'. The former France winger, working as a studio pundit for the Premier League game, was teased over his choice of attire – jeans and trainers – by the presenter Jake Humphries and responded moments later by making the gesture once Humphries had turned back to face the cameras. 'BT Sport would like to apologise for any offence that was caused during this morning's broadcast,' BT tweeted. 'David Ginola apologised straight afterwards as he realised this was an inappropriate action.' I wouldn't worry about it, frankly, given the fact that it was on BT Sport there only likely to be about four people watching.
Yer actual Sir Paul McCartney MBE his very self gave an impromptu gig in Covent Garden during the lunchtime rush on Friday. 'Good afternoon,' he told an assembled crowd of more than two thousand fans. 'We're just going to do some songs from our new album so get your phones out ... As if they weren't already.' The seventy one-year-old legend sang four songs from his latest CD, New, from a truck parked on the piazza. It follows a similar stunt in New York last week. The London gig began at half-past-one about an hour after Sir Paul had announced it on Twitter. 'I'm getting ready to pop up in Covent Garden,' the former Beatle tweeted. 'Busking!' he joked after taking to the stage, watched by his daughter, Stella. 'This is a change from the sixties because we would just have been coming in from the clubs right now.' The legendary singer and songwriter opened with his current single, also called 'New', and closed with the same song approximately twenty minutes later, telling the audience: 'Thank you very much. Now, back to work!' 'It was very exciting,' Sir Paul told the BBC afterwards. 'It felt little bit like I was in a dream - sort of a little bit spacey.' The gig was an unexpected bonus for many tourists. 'We were actually just looking around Covent Garden and we had this big surprise,' said Flavia, a visitor from Paraguay. 'I'm so happy, I can't believe!' However, Covent Garden employee Harel, whinged he was 'disappointed, but not surprised,' that Sir Paul only played five songs. You just can't please some people, can you? The gig came exactly a week after Sir Paul was mobbed by fans, following a similar impromptu show in Times Square. He said the shows had been suggested by Stella. 'She said, "what you should do is just pop up somewhere and do a gig, and everyone will just get their phones out and they'll tweet it,"' Macca told the BBC. 'I said, "that's not a bad idea - however, I've now got to go and do it!"' The hit-and-run concerts echo The Beatles' final live performance, a mile down the road from Covent Garden, on the roof of the Apple offices. That show, in January 1969, brought traffic on Savile Row to a standstill and was eventually shut down by polis who ordered the band's roadie, Big Mal Evans, to turn off their amplifiers. 'It started to filter up from Mal that the police were complaining,' Paul later recalled in The Beatles Anthology. 'We said, "We're not stopping." He said, "The police are going to arrest you."' McCartney remembered replying: 'Good end to the film: Beatles Busted on Rooftop Gig!' McCartney's latest solo CD was released on Monday. Early sales data suggests the record, which was produced by Mark Ronson and Paul Epworth, amongst others, is likely to chart at number three this weekend.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader, we have this.

No comments: