Friday, November 01, 2013

Stately Telly Topping Manor Freeze Out (Postponed)

The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before he) has described the new Doctor Who lead, yer actual Peter Capaldi - just in case you thought someone else had been cast - as 'a national treasure.' Not sure if that's in a) 'should be cherished' or b) 'should be locked up' context. The latter, probably. The long-running popular family SF drama's showrunner called his new leading man 'an incredibly skilled, fine actor' in a new interview with Broadcast. 'Peter's already a bit of a national treasure,' The Mofinator said. 'As most people have realised, the moment you think of him in the part, you find it hard to think of anyone else. 'Every time I was at a TV do and Peter was there, he'd come over to talk about Doctor Who and he was the first to congratulate Matt. I started thinking - what if that genius actor might actually say "yes"?' Just like The Man From Delmonte, as it were. Only, you know, without the oranges. Moffat also acknowledged that the change in lead actor might prove 'difficult' for younger fans, recalling his own 'horrified' reaction when Patrick Troughton was replaced by Jon Pertwee in 1970. 'I sympathise with the kids who've grown up with Matt Smith,' he said. 'It's like when you move home and your mum and dad say, "You'll make new friends." I always resented the intruder but then after a while, I forgot there had been one before him.'

The Moffat has also hinted that Doctor Who's forthcoming fiftieth anniversary episode could 'change the narrative' of the series. 'A big episode can be anything that moves the plot along,' Moffat told Broadcast. 'My main thing was that as much as we celebrate the past, we can change the narrative. You can't tell a story by being frightened about it.' The first footage from the anniversary episode was screened exclusively at the San Diego Comic-Con in July. Though some Doctor Who fans whinged about this like five year olds, Moffat defended his decision not to give the first teaser trailer a wider release. 'Comic-Con has a history of screening exclusive material,' he argued. 'I understand if people are feeling eager, but don't you think it would have been a little bit early for everyone to see it? We were creating a buzz about it among the people who'd slept out all night for it.'

Meanwhile, yer actual Mark Gatiss expects an outcry from Doctor Who fans ahead of the fiftieth anniversary episode and, more specifically, his own An Adventure In Space And Time, but doesn't seem all that bothered about such a situation. Doctor Who fans whinging about something? Must be an 'r' in the month, clearly. The Sun reports Gatiss as saying 'writing Doctor Who, you don't give a monkey's about giving the die-hard fans what they want. You write for your audience, not for the people who will watch it anyway.' Spot-on, Marky. Preparing for a backlash over the contents of An Adventure In Space And Time, he added: 'They'll complain about everything.' Pretty much, yes.

BBC Radio 2 and Radio 4 Xtra will - as previously announced - broadcast a line-up of special programmes to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Doctor Who. Dates and details have been revealed for several of these shows, which will be transmitted between 16 and 22 November. Radio 4 Xtra will mark the cult show's fiftieth year with its 'Doctor Who at Fifty' season, bringing a different adventure each night between 6pm and 6.45pm. The series kicks-off with Doctor Who & The Daleks. Told from the point of view of Ian Chesterton (played by William Russell), the programme addresses The Doctor's first encounter with his extra-terrestrial enemies on Skaro. Sylvester McCoy stars in the second programme Protect and Shelter, while Monday 18 November's evening segment, Fanfare For The Common Men, brings back Lord Peter Davison (you know, Tennant's dad-in-law). McCoy once again appears in Tuesday's Thousand Tiny Wings. Farewell Great Macedon will be broadcast on 20 November, Sheridan Smith stars in Human Resources on 21 November and the series wraps up on 22 November with Dalek Invasion Of Earth, again told by Russell. BBC Radio 2 will broadcast two special programmes back-to-back on Thursday 21 November 21. Between 10pm and 11.30pm, Who Is The Doctor? explores the popularity and longevity of Doctor Who and interviews cast and crew about the reasons for its lasting appeal. The programme will be followed by half-hour segment The Blagger's Guide To Doctor Who, hosted by David Quantick. BBC Worldwide announced the first details of cinema screenings of the Doctor Who fiftieth episode, last week. The Day of the Doctor will be screened in 3D in cinemas across the UK, Ireland, the US, Canada, Germany and Russia on 23 November at the same time as the anniversary episode is broadcast on BBC1. Or, you could just stay in the house and watch in on telly like 'normal' people.

New details of BBC Worldwide's Doctor Who Fiftieth Celebration have been announced. Yer actual Peter Davison his very self is the latest star to be added to the guest-list for the three-day event, which takes place at ExCeL London from Friday 22 November to the following Sunday. The fifth Doctor joins yer actual Matt Smith and former Doctors Tom Baker, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy in attending the celebration.
ITV's Breathless edged out rival BBC1 drama Truckers on a quiet - for which read 'dreadful' Thursday evening, according to overnight data. Although neither of the two shows will be in the slightest bit happy with the figures they garnered. Quite the opposite. The medical drama Breathless held steady with last week at 2.12 million overnight punters at 9pm. In case you're wondering, that's bad. It'd be okay for BBc2 or Channel 4 but for a nine o'clock midweek ITV drama, two million on overnights is appalling. Earlier, Britain's Secret Treasures topped the ratings outside of soaps with 2.52m at 8.30pm which probably gives you a vague clue as to just what an awful night it was, generally. On BBC1, their own drama flop Truckers dipped by around two hundred thousand viewers week-on-week to 2.10m at 9pm. Assuming the timeshifts aren't spectacular (by which one means astounding), presumably that'll be the last we'll see of either of those. BBC2's Autumnwatch interested 2.43m at 8pm, followed by World's Busiest Maternity Ward with 1.75m at 9pm. Mock The Week amused 1.39m at 10pm. On Channel Four, Amazing Spaces attracted 1.36m at 8pm. New documentary series Bedlam opened with 1.45m at 9pm, while Up All Night concluded with eight hundred and eighteen thousand at 10pm. Channel Five's Benidorm ER continued with eight hundred and fifty thousand at 8pm, followed by the latest Countdown To Murder with 1.03m at 9pm. Person Of Interest thrilled seven hundred and fifty nine thousand at 10pm.

ITV's Poirot held steady in the overnight ratings for its second new episode on Wednesday. The crime drama dipped marginally - by around thirty thousand viewers - from last week to 4.37 million at 8pm. On BBC1, Watchdog interested 4.26m at 8pm, while Autumn Supermarket Secrets gathered 3.76m at 9pm. BBC2's Autumnwatch appealed to two million punters at 8pm. The second episode of the dreadful Ambassadors with Mitchell (the funny one) and Webb (the other one) dipped by around two hundred thousand to one million as a fifth of the sitcom's audience seemingly realised what an absolute dog it is. On Channel Four, River Cottage To The Core brought in 1.14m at 8pm. Grand Designs was watched by 2.38m at 9pm, followed by Gogglebox with 1.28m at 10.15pm. Channel Five's documentary I Lost Weight But I Lost My Husband had an audience of nine hundred and ninety thousand punters at 9pm (109k/0.6%). The latest Wentworth pulled in eight hundred and fifty five thousand viewers at 10pm. On Sky Atlantic, The Tunnel dropped to two hundred and six thousand at 9pm.

Yer actual Derren Brown is to stage an art robbery for a one-off special on Channel Four in December. The illusionist and master of mesmerism and prestidigitation will use a crew of pensioners to target a painting owned by art collector Ivan Massow in Derren Brown: The Great Art Robbery. Dazzling Dezza will train his team the basics of pulling off a gallery theft, as well as how to move in perfect synchronicity and deceive security guards. The extra challenge comes from Brown telling Massow in advance exactly which painting will be stolen and what time it will happen. He will also provide Massow with a photograph of the robber. Derren said: 'This has been nerve-wracking for me and my team, leaving such an extraordinary task entirely in the hands of a group of contributors to pull off. The idea was to use the fact that the elderly tend to be treated as invisible as a strength. There's only so much training you can give, so many worst-case scenarios you can try to cover. I'm used to feeling in control with these shows - but not with this one. It's a big caper - fun, edge-of-seat, hopefully taking you to unexpected places.'

Filming has begun on the third series of Rev, the acclaimed BBC2 sitcom about the mishaps of an inner-city vicar. Tom Hollander returns as Reverend Adam Smallbone, who will be seen facing up to the pressures of parenthood with his wife Alex (the wonderful Olivia Colman). Former Press Gang actor and Sunshine On Leith director Dexter Fletcher and Fonejacker's Kayvan Novak will join the cast as an award-winning modern artist and local Imam respectively. Six new episodes of Rev will be made for broadcast next spring. Simon McBurney and Miles Jupp are among other regulars who will be back for the new series, as isl Hugh Bonneville, reprising his role as Adam's arch rival, Roland Wise. Created by Hollander along and James Wood, Rev was crowned best situation comedy at the 2011 BAFTAs. Series two was screened in 2012 but producers had to delay filming another series because of the blossoming careers of its leads, Hollander and Coleman. It was confirmed last year that an American version of the show, to be set in a deprived neighbourhood of Chicago, was in development.

Warwick Davis has reportedly signed up to host a new edition of Celebrity Squares. So, that'll be worth avoiding then.

From that to, it would seem, the only story in town worth reporting this week.
Former Scum of the World editors well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks and the prime minister's former, if you will, 'chum' Andy Coulson were having an affair for at least six years from the late 1990s, the phone-hacking trial has heard. Prosecutor Andrew Edis QC said that he was disclosing the affair because it 'showed how much the pair trusted each other.' And, yes, the irony for the fact that two former editors of the Scum of the World, a newspaper which revelled in revealing the affairs (literal and metaphorical) of others should have their own alleged doings publicly outed will, one is sure, be lost on no one. 'What Mr Coulson knew, Mrs Brooks knew too,' said Edis. 'What Mrs Brooks knew, Mr Coulson knew too. That's the point.' Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks and the prime minister's former, if you will, 'chum', Coulson both deny a variety of charges including conspiracy to phone hack. Jurors heard that their affair, which began around 1998, was discovered by police through a letter saved on a computer belonging to Brooks. The letter was written by well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks in February 2004, when Coulson was trying to end the affair, Edis said. She wrote: 'The fact is you are my very best friend, I tell you everything, I confide in you, I seek your advice, I love you, care about you, worry about you, we laugh and cry together. In fact without our relationship in my life, I am not sure I will cope.' It is not clear whether the prime minister's former, if you will, 'chum' Coulson ever received the letter, which was found on a Word document on a computer hidden in a cupboard. The intimate letter written by well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks about her feelings for Coulson, when she was editing the Sun and he the Scum of the World, also saw her try to reassure him about his relationship with their bosses, Les Hinton – the then chief executive of News International, publisher of the Sun and the Scum of the World – and the title's proprietor, billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch, referred to by his initials, KRM. 'I hope that I've managed to put your mind at rest about Les ... and that you two now have a better relationship,' she wrote. 'On KRM, well he's not bollocking you, [you] must not brood on lack of calls,' she wrote. Edis told the jurors that he was not revealing the affair to 'deliberately intrude' into the pair's privacy - although, again with supreme irony, that's exactly what both of those did when editing their respective scummy odious tabloid rags - or to make a 'moral judgment' - something both the Sun and the Scum of the World indulged in, gleefully, on a daily (and weekly) basis. So, some might argue, this is a case of the biter, as it were, bit. This blogger couldn't possibly speculate on such a belief. But well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks and the prime minister's former, if you will, 'chum' Coulson are 'charged with conspiracy and, when people are charged with conspiracy, the first question a jury has to answer is how well did they know each other? How much did they trust each other?' Edis said. 'And the fact that they were in this relationship, which was a secret, means that they trusted each other quite a lot with at least that secret, and that's why we are telling you about it.' In other evidence, the court heard that Coulson 'confronted' the former Home Secretary David Blunkett over his three-year relationship with Kimberly Quinn, a married woman. So, this is the editor on a Sunday newspaper 'confronting' one of the three or four most powerful politicians in the country over a personal relationship which was, frankly, none of their - or anyone elses - business. And then they wonder why Brian Leveson wanted to chuck the lot of them into the gutter along with all the other turds. Coulson, then editor of the Scum of the World, told Blunkett, who was not married at the time, that the story had come from 'extremely reliable sources', which was, in fact, phone-hacking, Edis said. In a recording played in court of a meeting in August 2004 between the two men, Coulson told Blunkett: 'My job is to sort out the nonsense from the accurate. I believe if I don't do this story at least one of my sources will take this information to another newspaper. People talk.' The court heard a story about the affair was published later that same month. Recordings of voicemails left on the married woman's phone included a message about a pregnancy scan, the court heard. Edis told the jurors: 'We say it is absolutely inconceivable that a newspaper would publish a story of that kind about a serving cabinet minister without knowing it was true. Mr Coulson did know it was true ... because of the voicemails which had been obtained as a result of tasking Glenn Mulcaire, who by August 2004 had been working regularly for the News of the World for four years.' The court also heard that the Scum of the World's then managing editor, Stuart Kuttner, had told police the paper had a tape of a voicemail left on the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, who went missing in Surrey in 2002. Surrey Police took no action at the time, the jurors heard. Edis said: 'It is common ground that Surrey Police could and should have investigated. Perhaps at that time they may have thought that it was really more important to find Milly Dowler.' The court also heard that in the same week that the paper tried to get an interview with Milly Dowler's parents, Mulcaire was being asked to hack their daughter's mobile phone. Edis said the paper's editors had extensive contact with each other and the police over the case, and well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks was even making calls about Milly Dowler while on holiday in Dubai. This, he said, 'proved' that she must have known what was going on. The discovery that the schoolgirl's phone had been hacked by someone at the Scum of the World ultimately led to the closure of the disgraced and disgraceful Sunday tabloid in 2011. The jury was told that well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks did know about the practice of phone hacking. Edis claimed that she told the golfer Colin Montgomerie's then wife, Eimear, in 2005, that all you needed to listen in to people's voicemails was a mobile number and a factory pin. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks gave her an example of an exclusive story that, she claimed, had come from hacking, about Sir Paul McCartney arguing with his then wife, Heather, over an engagement ring, jurors heard. There was a Scum of the World story in 2002 – during well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks's editorship – headlined Macca throws Heather's ring out of hotel window, said Edis. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks, of Churchill in Oxfordshire, and Coulson, from Charing in Kent - among eight people currently on trial - are both accused of conspiring with others to hack phones and two counts of conspiring with others to commit misconduct in public office. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks also faces two allegations of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. All of the defendants deny all of the charges. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks married her first husband, the risible hard-man actor Ross Kemp, in 2002, after a six-year engagement. She married her second, the former racehorse trainer and millionaire Old Etonian Charlie Brooks, in 2009. They have a daughter. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks took the helm at the Scum of the World in 2000, becoming the youngest editor of a British national newspaper and went on to edit the Sun three years later. In 2009, she became chief executive of News International. The prime minister's, if you will, 'chum' Coulson married his wife Eloise in 2000. They have two children. He was well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks' deputy for three years during her editorship at the Scum of the World, then took over as her successor in 2003. He quit in January 2007 and went on to become David Cameron's communications director - and, if you will, 'chum' - until 2011. Kuttner, of Woodford Green, also denies conspiring with others to hack phones between 3 October 2000 and 9 August 2006. On Wednesday, the court was told Mulcaire and three former Scum of the World journalists who are not on trial, had pleaded guilty to phone-hacking charges. On Thursday, the court heard Mulcaire was given a written contract in 2001 and received two hundred and twenty one payments between 2000 and 2007, totalling four hundred and thirteen thousand five hundred and twenty seven smackers which were authorised by Kuttner. Edis also told jurors how e-mails sent by Mulcaire about hacking phones belonging to MP Tessa Jowell and her husband, David Mills, Lord Frederick Windsor and an adviser to John Prescott led the police to launch their investigation in 2011. Mulcaire was, said Edis, a 'quick worker' who knew how to get mobile phone operators to reset voicemail passwords - a method allegedly used to access people's voicemails. Coulson also told a journalist investigating a story on Calum Best, son of the late footballer George Best, to 'do his phone.' Coulson e-mailed the instruction to his head of news, Ian Edmondson, Edis told the Old Bailey. This was because they feared a rival newspaper may get the story first, the prosecutor claimed. Coulson and Edmondson deny charges, including conspiracy to intercept communications. Edis said the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World was investigating Calum Best, who was thought to be the father of a child with a woman who was willing to sell the story. The Scum of the World wanted the story as an 'exclusive' and were paying the woman 'a lot of money', but were worried that Best might 'leak' the story to their competition, the court heard. Following an e-mail discussion on the matter, Coulson sent Edmondson a message which read: 'Do his phone.' 'What does that mean?' Edis asked the jury. The trial continues.

The issue of phone-hacking dominated the second day's proceedings at the Old Bailey trial of Brooks, Coulson and six others, in which the prosecution set out a case of the Scum of the World 'targeting' former Labour cabinet ministers David Blunkett, Tessa Jowell and John Prescott. The prosecution also set out the methods of the phone hacker employed by the newspaper, Glenn Mulcaire, in a day of proceedings which also touched on the wife of a famous golfer, a former Beatle, and journalists on a rival Sunday newspaper. Mulcaire had an 'exceptional' arrangement with the Scum of the World allowing him to earn more than four hundred grand over six years without any questions being asked about his activities, the Old Bailey jury has heard. The jury in the phone-hacking trial was told on Thursday that Mulcaire's first contract with the paper in 2000 earned him about ninety two thousand smackers a year, and was awarded at a time when senior executives were being told to cut back or face 'severe consequences'. Edis told the jury that it would have to consider why this was, and consider whether the editors of the paper during Mulcaire's employment, well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks and the prime minister's, if you will, 'chum' Coulson, and the managing editor Kuttner, knew that he was being asked to hack phones by the paper's news desk. The jury was told that Kuttner authorised two hundred and twenty one payments to Mulcaire totalling over four hundred thousand quid. 'You are going to have to take a view on how much pressure they were [under] at the News of the World to get stories, so they strayed into criminality in order to do it, and also how much the editor was involved in the whole process,' said Edis. The jury heard that the fact Mulcaire worked for the paper's secret investigations team was, itself, no secret. It even appeared in an article about him playing football for AFC Wimbledon in 2002 written by a journalist and billed as The man they called Trigger. 'Yet Mrs Brooks was later to say that she had never heard of Mr Mulcaire until he was arrested,' Edis said. 'This was a paper that came out once a week and you might expect the editor to read it.' The jury heard how Mulcaire was paid one thousand seven hundred knicker a week at a time when the paper was under budgetary pressures. Edis told the jury that well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks 'was actively involved in the financial management' and sent several 'stiff' memos to staff on the news desk to cut their budgets. She questioned one payment of seven thousand five hundred quid authorised by the then-head of news, Greg Miskiw, for a story about the missing toddler James Bulger. Miskiw, the jury heard, had signed one of the contracts with Mulcaire, but the prosecution showed the jury an internal e-mail from well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks suggesting that he would not have had the authority to approve such payments. In the e-mail to Kuttner on 2 June 2001, she wrote: 'Can you send Greg Miskiw a letter? He paid seven thousand five hundred pounds for Bulger – but everyone had it. He paid five thousand pounds for [a story about a] royal rape – when John Ross only asking for straight News of the World page lead fee. It's madness. I think you might have to authorise any agreed payment over two thousand pounds?' The jury was told that Kuttner was also taking 'a firm line' on the paper's finances. In September 2000, in an e-mail to Miskiw, copied to Brooks and Coulson, he said: 'Greg: As you will be aware from the latest figures, your investigations budget approx [sic] one hundred and sixty thousand pounds is around forty three per cent overspent nine weeks into the new financial year. Please take all necessary steps to bring this back on budget.' Kuttner also warned that he was 'going to be unbelievably tough' on those who did not keep within their budgets. 'The palmy days of indulgence are over,' he wrote in an e-mail. Edis said this barrage of warnings to staff was going on 'and all the while this substantial amount of money was going on Mulcaire and nobody questioned him about it.' He added that Mulcaire was treated as 'an exception' by management, suggesting this was because of his activities. 'What was so special about him was he was doing phone hacking,' the prosecutor added. The jury heard there were no details about what Mulcaire did for the paper in written records and that his contract was not with him personally but with a series of companies.

The veteran broadcaster Paul Gambaccini has reportedly been arrested on suspicion of historical sexual offences as part of the Operation Yewtree investigations according to the BBC.

The puppet revival proved short-lived. BBC1's That Puppet Gameshow, from Muppets creators The Jim Henson Company, has been cancelled after just one series along with another flop Saturday night show on BBC1, the risible I Love My Country, which fared little better in the ratings. Their brutal binning was a sign of the ultra competitive nature of Saturday night TV. Over on ITV, the jury is still out on copy-cat dance show Stepping Out, while another risible, celebrity horrorshow on ITV, singing contest Your Face Sounds Familiar, will not return until 2015, if at all. If it is a golden age for television drama then the hunt for the next generation of entertainment hits – the successors to the decade-old Strictly Come Dancing on BBC1 and ITV's The X Factor, still pulling in around 10 million viewers each – is proving far tougher. Tim Hincks, president of Endemol Group, which makes Big Brother (and Your Face Sounds Familiar, another global format), said: 'There's no doubt that in many ways it's become tougher to find the big hit entertainment formats largely because there has been such an explosion of them in the last ten years. Saturday nights are the World Cup finals for people who create TV formats – it's still the most exciting quest there is – and the premium on new ideas and the next big thing is even higher. But probably the worst creative brainstorms start with the words, "what shall we come up with for Saturday night?" There's a dread hush. The better one is to ask, how do we create big events that work both as TV experiences and on other platforms such as social media?' It is a global challenge. The last big non-scripted entertainment hit in the US came two years ago with 'spinning chair' talent show, The Voice. Originally a Dutch format which went global, the BBC was criticised (by the usual suspects if not anybody that actually matters) for spending a reported twenty five million quid on the show which will return for a third series, with Kylie Minogue among the coaches, next year. But its purchase reflected the need for another big Saturday night entertainment show on BBC1 to sit alongside Strictly Come Dancing, which can only run for so many months a year. ITV claims to have had four of the five biggest new entertainment shows in 2013, including Tom's Daley celebrity diving show Pro-Celebrity Drowning. Another Dutch format, it averaged around six million viewers – in case you missed it (well done, by the way) it was won by Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards – and will return for a second series next year. BBC1 will offer its own celebrity take on the Olympics with gymnastics show Let's Get Ready To Tumble, another live Saturday night show. Channel Four, meanwhile, cornered celebrity skiing with its own Olympics spin-off, The Alpine Games. ITV's director of entertainment and comedy Elaine Bedell said: 'I joked when Splash! went out that we would get celebrity rowing and celebrity roller skating. Now there's going to be a whole range of them.' For Bedell, Pro Celebrity Drowning's - otherwise baffling - appeal was down to the 'really gripping dramatic entertainment' of watching amateur (and often not very good) z-list celebrities plunge off the ten metre board. Plus, she added: 'You get to see celebrities in their swimming costumes. They are totally exposed in every sense of the word.' But it is instructive, perhaps, that two of ITV's returning 'new' shows are old formats (albeit with a twist), property show Through The Keyhole, with the late Sir David Frost replaced by Keith Lemon, and Catchphrase. Nostalgia, it appears, is still what it used to be. 'We have a mix,' said Bedell. 'I wouldn't want to commission any of these formats that have been on screen in previous years if we didn't do something different.' Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef from Crossroads, responsible for two of ITV's biggest Saturday night entertainment shows, The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent, is expected to sign a three-year deal with the broadcaster this month. But there is a danger that the success of these mega-budget shows, and the most popular of them all, BBC1's Strictly Come Dancing, may prevent other shows breaking through. 'If you have these big blockbuster shows they take up an enormous amount of time and energy and so much of the schedule that you don't have the space to innovate and develop around that,' claimed Wayne Garvie, a former BBC executive and chief creative officer for international production at Sony Pictures Television. 'There's a lot of stuff that feels very samey at the moment – we don't need another dance show – and when I look at Saturday night there is not enough fun. I miss Harry Hill's TV Burp [on ITV] and [BBC1's] Total Wipeout.' Sony is making a Saturday night pilot for BBC1, In Sync, hosted by Davina McCall, in which pairs of friends and family are challenged to compete a variety of challenges in, as it were, sync. It sounds wretched. And, it probably will be. 'It's a big, silly fun studio show in which hopefully people will make fools of themselves,' claimed Garvie. 'The left-field ideas are the ones that invariably become mainstream. You never start off by trying to design a show that will become a global smash.'

US Secretary of State John Kerry has said that in some cases, US spying has gone too far. No shit?

In the latest of From The North's recurring series, Examples of things that are, like, totally geet cush, and make the world a better place by their very existence, number sixteen: Mister and Mrs Stig on holiday.
That's followed, as usual, by, Great Daft Moments From TV History. Today, number fourteen: The Armstrong and Miller 'Blue Peter apology' sketches.
And, of course, their eulogy for poor Pippin.
Yer actual David Tennant said that he was 'touched and thrilled' to receive a ring which once belonged to the late Ian Richardson to wear on stage as Richard II. Richardson, best known for playing the scheming politician Francis Urquhart in House of Cards, also played the role at the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1973. David has been wearing the amber stone ring since receiving it from Richardson's widow. 'It's lovely to have this as a kind of talisman,' he told the BBC. Tickets to see Tennant's performance are sold out in Stratford-upon-Avon and London. But disappointed fans have a chance to see the actor in the RSC's production when it is broadcast live into cinemas around the world on 13 November. The actor, who has received much attention for the long hair extensions he wears for the part, received the large brass ring on the press night for the play, earlier this month. Richardson's widow, Maroussia, found it while she was tidying up at home. She said that she thought it was 'a good idea' to give it to Tennant, because he went to the same drama school as her husband. Both actors were born in Scotland and she said she was keen to celebrate the 'Scottish connection.' David said that he was 'touched and thrilled' when it arrived. 'I immediately wanted to wear it in the performance. I wanted to have a bit of Ian Richardson on stage with me, giving me a hand,' he said. The actor, who is currently on the small screen in the legal thriller The Escape Artist and will return to his most famous role, as The Doctor in the Doctor Who fiftieth anniversary episode later this month, added he has been wearing it ever since. 'It means an enormous amount to me. I was terribly moved. It felt like a blessing and encouragement from history.' The piece joins a sonic screwdriver David was given after playing The Doctor for four years. But he said that he was committed to passing the ring on one day, 'to make sure that the legacy moves on. This ring needs to find its way down the generations,' he added. Richardson won the BAFTA for best TV actor award for his portrayal of the Machiavellian Tory chief whip Urquhart in House of Cards in 1990. The character was said to have been based on a combination of Richard III and Macbeth, with cunning soliloquies to the camera used as an essential device to pull viewers into the story. Although he gained his highest profile in film and television work, Richardson - who died in 2007 - was also a leading Shakespearean stage actor.

Sir Mick Jagger has issued a statement denying Katy Perry's claims that he made a pass at her when she was eighteen. Perry made the claim during an interview on Australian radio this week, while promoting her new CD, Prism. She alleged that the alleged incident allegedly took place when she sang alleged backing vocals for Sir Mick's 2004 song 'Old Habits Die Hard'. Tragically, that wasn't alleged. It was just arse. But a statement from the seventy-year-old Rolling Stones front man suggested that he 'categorically denies that he has ever made a pass at Katy Perry.' It continued: 'Perhaps she is confusing him with someone else.' Perry told her interviewer, 'I actually went to dinner with him one time and he hit on me one time when I was like eighteen. But that was a long time ago and since then he's been very kind and I got to sing 'Beast Of Burden' on his stage on their tour,' she added. She was one of several singers to make a guest appearance on The Rolling Stones' tour earlier this year. When Perry was asked during the interview how she turned down an advance from a star such as Mick Jagger, she responded: 'Well, you bring a friend and they do them. You sacrifice your friend.'

Horrible, odious, nasty, risible Sky News presenter, horrorshow (and drag) Kay Burley has signed a new five-year deal with the news channel, keeping her at the satellite broadcaster until 2018. The new contract was announced as Burley, who presents the afternoon show on Sky News, celebrated twenty five years of odious horribleness at Sky on Friday. Burley, who will continue in the channel's 2pm to 5pm slot, said she was 'immensely proud' of what the channel had achieved. Sky News head John Ryley said it was an 'extraordinary achievement', adding: 'From the fall of the Berlin Wall to the birth of a future king, Kay has had an eventful quarter of a century.' Meanwhile, the Digital Spy website have provided a handy collection of odious, risible Burley's most 'cringeworthy moments', here. This blogger particularly enjoyed Chris Bryant making her his bee-atch with the legendary 'you seem a bit dim!' Only seem?
ITV's risible breakfast flop Daybreak has said farewell to its third editor in three years with the exit of Karl Newton after less than a year in the job - seemingly the most toxic in television. Newton oversaw a new look for the troubled breakfast programme with presenters Lorraine Kelly and Aled Jones, but it remains an uphill battle in the ratings against BBC1's Breakfast. One edition of Daybreak earlier this week had seven hundred thousand viewers, less than a third of the 2.2 million who watched Breakfast on the same day. Newton, who will be replaced on an interim basis by Neil Thompson, said he had an 'absolute ball' at ITV and was 'pleased to be leaving Daybreak having helped the programme turn a corner and having returned the breakfast format to it's journalistic roots, with politics, exclusives and popular investigative content.' Allegedly. It is exactly a year since it was announced that Newton's predecessor, former Channel Five News editor David Kermode, was leaving. Kermode replaced Ian Rumsey on the show, who in turn lasted less than a year. Daybreak replaced GMTV in September 2010 with odious sour-faced greed bucket (and drag) Adrian Chiles and the Curiously Orange Christine Bleakley on the sofa. But it flopped, spectacularly, on launch and has been playing catch-up since. And, getting nowhere fast.
Kirsty Wark gave viewers a unique ending to Newsnight on Thursday. Coinciding with Hallow'een, the presenter suddenly broke into a 'Thriller' dance routine at the end of the programme. No, honestly, see for yourself. Fucking hilarious, so it was. It's only a pity they didn't drag Paxo along for the routine as well, because that would have been art.
Claire Goose and Peter Firth will lead the cast of the - allegedly - 'exciting' new ITV thriller Undeniable. The two-parter is written by Chris Lang and will also star Felix Scott, Christina Bottomley and Pippa Haywood. The story revolves around Jane Fielding (played by former Waking The Dead actress Goose), who recognises the man who killed her mother twenty three years after the murder took place. Andrew Bolton (Firth) becomes the focus of the reopened murder inquiry and the centre of attention for Fielding. The press release reveals: 'Jane remains defiant. In her heart she believes she's found the man who killed her mother decades earlier. Can she finally learn the truth about who killed her mother, and why?' ITV's Victoria Fea said: 'Undeniable is an original and powerful drama about a women's battle to see the man responsible for her mother's murder brought to justice. Chris Lang's scripts are vivid and compelling, with strong central characters who we really care about. This is a drama that will keep audiences emotionally involved right to the bitter end.' Filming starts later this month in Ireland.

Peter Firth's, seemingly, going to be a very busy man over the next few months. The classic BBC espionage drama [spooks] will make the leap to the big screen with a movie titled [spooks]: The Greater Good. Peter will reprise his role as MI5 spymaster Harry Pearce in the film version, which will begin production in early 2014 with original series director Bharat Nalluri behind the camera. The story revolves around terrorist Adam Qasim escaping MI5 custody during a hand-over to the head of counter-terrorism. When Harry vanishes, his protégé, Will Crombie, is tasked with finding out what happened as the clock ticks down to an attack on London. Crombie eventually uncovers a conspiracy that runs from Viet'nam to the Mediterranean, according to Screen Daily. [spooks]: The Greater Good was written by Jonathan Brackley and Sam Vincent and will be produced by Kudos's Jane Featherstone and Stephen Garrett and Shine's Ollie Madden. [spooks], known as MI-5 in the US, ran for eighty six episodes from 2002 to 2011 and was a particular favourite of yer actual Keith Telly Topping. It also spawned a short-lived (and, pretty dreadful) spin-off, [spooks]: Code 9, in 2008. Matthew Macfadyen, David Oyelowo, Keeley Hawes, Jenny Agutter, Rupert Penry Jones, Richard Armitage, Sophia Myles, Nicola Walker, Hermione Norris and Lara Pulver all featured among the cast over [spooks]' ten series.

Vicious has been picked up by American network PBS. The first series of the - alleged - sitcom, starring Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi as an ageing gay couple, will premiere in the US next year, reports Deadline. The six-part comedy, from Will & Grace executive producer Gary Janetti, premiered in Britain on ITV in April and opened to 5.53 million viewers. By the time the series ended, six weeks later, the numbers watching had fallen below two million. Iwan Rheon and Frances De La Tour also appear in the sitcom, which was renewed for a second series by ITV in August. Vicious has been confirmed to return for a Christmas special later this year, but Jacobi stated in May that the show's second run may not begin filming until 2014, due to his co-star McKellen's busy schedule. He said: 'We've done a Christmas special to remind people that we're still around, because Ian, of course, is a movie star. He goes off and does the movies, and he's not free now - God damn him - 'til [May] next year, so we can't do another one until he's free.'

Sherlock will receive a second manga adaptation. The comic based on the BBC's television series will return to Japan's Young Ace magazine. The new run will adapt The Blind Banker, the second episode of the Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman drama. According to Anime News Network, the series will be announced officially on Saturday 2 November, to debut in the next issue on 4 December. The first run adapted the pilot episode A Study In Pink last year.
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self was struggling with 'connectivity issues' on the laptop all day Thursday. Only the laptop, mind, the desktop was working fine, which suggested that it was either the cable or the bit in the laptop that you plug the cable into which was, as it were, up the Gary Glitter. More investigation required, seemingly, although on Friday, after a bit of fiddling, it seemed to be working all right again. And then, as if that wasn't enough, to cap it all, yer actual Keith Telly Topping could hardly see the screen for the rest of the night because he went for his annual eye exam where they squirted some stingy stuff (I'm not getting too technical here, am I?) into yer actual's eyes which made everything look like The 1970s. Trippy, so it was. Mind you, that was probably A Good Thing as, that very evening, KTT his very self was attending the latest of yer actual Uncle Scunthorpe's Record Player doo-dahs at the Tyneside. Only, this time, for the first occasion this season, it was an LP that yer actual considers to be, well, a bit toss, frankly. Mister Loaf his very self and his Hell-leaving activities, in actual fact. Seriously Steve, if I wanted to listen to forty five minutes of watered down Springsteen-produced-by-Phil-Spector, I'd buy Tunnel of Love and have done with it. Next week, thankfully, we're back to proper music - Talking Heads. Then, on Friday, KTT his very self had the gas men in Stately Telly Topping Manor virtually all day, installing a new boiler (A Logic Combi, if you're taking notes). It started very unpromisingly with a twenty minute hunt to find the stop-cock only to, eventually, discover it (tucked away in a cupboard which I never use). Having found it we also found that it was pure dead rusted in place and wouldn't budge an inch. The lads applied lashings of WD40 in the hope of getting it to co-operate and, eventually (and I do mean eventually), it did. By 4pm, the gas lads and the sparkies had both been and gone and they'd all done a thoroughly excellent job. Stately Telly Topping, yer actual is delighted to report, now has a spanking new boiler - and an internal thermostat (never had one of those before, they've always been attached to every boiler yer actual Keith Telly Topping has had). The only thing left to be done now is the plasterers will need to come in on Monday and tidy up the boiler cupboard floor and the back wall - otherwise, job done. It's nice when, for once, things go - reasonably - smoothly. And that Stately Telly Topping has the heating on full blast. After all, dear blog reader ...
And so to Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day and he did, briefly, consider having some Loaf - 'Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad', for example is a record yer actual KTT has always had something of a soft spot for. But, in the end, he thought better of it.
So, instead, here's rather a more authentic version of Springsteen-produced-by-Phil-Spector. Ah, much better.

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