Monday, February 10, 2014

Week Eight: F Is For Fragments (And, Also, For Fiasco)

In the long years between series of Sherlock, fans would probably like something to tide them over. Perhaps a Molly & Mary spin-off where they sit around drinking wine doing various girly stuff, suggested one (presumably teenage girl) fan, hopefully, at a recent launch event in London involving The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat and the Sherlock cast. Amanda Abbington, who plays John Watson's wife, seemed quite keen on that notion. 'I'd love to work with Lou' she said. 'Maybe a sitcom.' Or, possibly a chat show. The possibilities are literally ... one of those two. 'There's a crime and they don't have a clue what to do about it,' added yer man Moffat, pithily. 'Pity Sherlock's not here.' As it is, the Sherlock co-creator has his own ideas about what could make for entertaining extra-curricular viewing and it involves the best of the Scotland Yarders, played by Rupert Graves, who has been known to avail himself of Sherlock's expertise from time-to-time. 'I want the Lestrade spin-off – where he solves nothing,' said Moffat. 'Lestrade Investigates: Not A Fucking Clue." Well, I'd watch it.

The New Zealand mint has released a new coin featuring a Dalek, the first in a five coin series featuring classic Doctor Who Monsters. The Doctor Who Monsters series is a limited mintage of five thousand coins per release, and is crafted from one half-ounce of fine silver. Each coin is sold with an individual presentation case, along with an equally individually numbered certificate of authenticity. Like recent New Zealand releases, the coins will be issued under the licensing authority of Niue. The coin, with a face value of one (New Zealand) dollar, depicts a relief engraved Dalek, set against a colour background. This is surrounded by a finely engraved border design. The obverse features the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Her Majesty. The remaining coins will be issued over the course of the next four months.

The Musketeers will return for a second series on BBC1. The channel's controller, Charlotte Moore, said: 'Drama in 2014 has got off to a great start on BBC1 and The Musketeers has really brought something fresh and new to the channel. I can't wait to see how things will develop in the next series.' Adrian Hodges - who adapted the show from the Alexandre Dumas stories - added that he is 'completely thrilled' by the renewal news.

Panel shows such as Mock the Week will no longer have all-male line-ups, the BBC's Director of TV has said. 'We're not going to have panel shows on any more with no women on them,' Danny Cohen told the Observer. 'You can't do that. It's not acceptable.' So, instead, we're going to have tokenism which, seeming, is acceptable. His comments come two months after the BBC Trust was reported to have told executives there was 'no excuse' for not having more female panellists. Cohen also said the BBC needed to get more older women on screen. 'We're getting better,' he told the Observer, citing the example of historian Mary Beard. 'But we need to get better.' In the past, comedy panel shows like Mock The Week, Have I Got News For You and Qi have been criticised for their male-dominated line-ups although in the case of Qi people making such criticisms don't seem to have actually watched it since the show regularly features female guests. (The most recent series included guest appearances by Sara Pascoe, Katherine Ryan, Sue Perkins, Sandi Toksvig, Jo Brand, Isy Suttie, Sarah Millican, Janet Street-Porter, Victoria Wood, Victoria Coren-Mitchell, Susan Calman and Lisa Tarbuck. Brand, Toksvig and Perkins all appeared on three separate occasions.) The Observer said that all the regular comedians on the most recent series of Mock The Week were men and only five of the thirty eight guest panellists were women. And you know they were right because they've obviously been counting. A BBC spokesman said some panel shows which had been recorded but not yet been broadcast may feature all-male teams, but that all those filmed in the future would include at least one female participant. Again, tokenism in other words. 'There may be very rare occasions where shows that were already recorded - or whose panels were already booked ahead of the order - still have all-male line-ups, but hopefully the change should really become apparent,' the spokesman said. The move follows criticism Jo Brand, who said she no longer considered appearing on Mock The Week. Although she is, seemingly, happy to appear regularly on Qi which has found itself somehow folded into this story. In 2012, the writer and critic Caitlin Moran said that she had been asked to appear on 'all the big panel shows' but turned them down because 'I refuse to be the token woman. I think that's a boys' game that works for boys,' she said. 'It's not like they built it to screw women over, it's just that boys built it so they made it to work for boys. If I go on there as a token woman, it's not going to work for me,' she said.
The Voice topped Saturday night's overnight ratings once again, pulling in 8.44 million viewers during its latest episode. The BBC1 singing show attracted thirty six per cent of the audience share when its fifth episode of the series was shown at 7.10pm. In the same timeslot on ITV, Tom Daley's laughably risible Pro-Celebrity Drowning continued to go down the plughole faster than bathwater with a mere 2.61m tuning in. Boy, did that format ever get very old very quickly? Chances of a third series? This blogger wouldn't put money on it, personally. Back on BBC1, National Lottery: Who Dares Wins drew an audience of 5.38m at 8.35pm, while the latest episode of Casualty was watched by 5.31m at 9.25pm. On BBC2, 2.76m watched the channel's coverage from Sochi with Winter Olympics: Today At The Games at 7pm. A repeat of the previous evening's Torvill & Dean: The Perfect Day attracted 2.13m punters at 8pm, with Dad's Army pulling in 1.73m at 9pm. Back on ITV, their horrible night continued with professional Northern buffoon Paddy McGuinness's crass and ignorant dating show Take Me Out getting 3.24m at 8.40pm, while 2.1m tuned in to The Jonathan Ross Show for interviews with Kiefer Sutherland, Chris O'Dowd, Emily Mortimer and Kevin Bridges. Channel Four's biggest primetime overnight ratings came from Tony Robinson's Walking Through History. The first episode of the new series had an audience of 1.21m at 8pm. The US drama Hostages continued to limp along like a wounded dog with just six hundred and eighty thousand punters at 9pm. Channel Five showed three back-to-back episodes of NCIS from 6.40pm, with the second instalment pulling in the biggest audience - eight hundred and eighteen thousand at 7.30pm. The thriller Willed To Kill was watched by five hundred and fifty three thousand at 10.15pm. On the multichannels, BBC4's new Belgian crime thriller Salamander got off to a good start. A fraction over one million viewers watched the premiere at 9pm, while nine hundred and twenty eight thousand stuck around for the second episode at 9.45pm. ITV3 attracted seven hundred and ninety four thousand at 8pm with Doc Martin and BBC3's showing of the Will Smith vehicle Enemy of the State was watched by seven hundred and seventy eight thousand at 9pm.

BBC2's Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony coverage attracted an average of 2.47 overnight million viewers on Friday. Running from 3.30pm to 7.30pm, the ceremony peaked with an audience of 3.2 million at 6.45pm. Continuing the games theme, BBC2 pulled in a further 2.74m for Torvill & Dean: The Perfect Day at 9pm. Earlier in the evening, Mastermind was seen by an average of 2.56m, while An Island Parish was watched by 2.1m. BBC1's highest-rated primetime show was a tie between Room 101 at 8.30pm and The Graham Norton Show at 10.35pm. Both attracted an average audience of 3.46m for their respective time slots. A repeat episode of New Tricks was watched by 3.31 million viewers at 9pm. The Martin Lewis Money Show was ITV's highest-rated show outside of soaps. Nestled between two episodes of Coronation Street, it was seen by an average of 2.84 million people. Oily Twat Piers Morgan's Risible Life Stories - with guest 'sensational' Tony Blackburn telling the nation that he had no idea what naughty old scallywag and rotten rotter Jimmy Savile was up to, no siree, Bob - was viewed by but 2.54 million at 9pm and was beaten, not only by BBC1's New Tricks repeat but, also, BBC2's Torvill and Dean documentary. Now, that's funny. Peter Kay: Live & Back on Nights! was Channel Four's biggest success, drawing in 2.38m at 9pm despite being about as funny as a big nasty wart on the scrotum. Jamie and Jimmy's Friday Night Feast was seen by 1.26m, while 1.07m tuned in to watch The Last Leg at 10pm. Ben Fogle: New Lives In The Wild attracted 1.12m to Channel Five at 9pm, while Ice Road Truckers was seen by 1.02m at 8pm.

Despite a rather stilted format - plus, the host's apparent inability to ask questions of his guests without reading them off a card - Alan Davies's new Winter Olympic comedy chat show Après Ski managed to include the TV comedy line of the week: 'Often at these things, the trouble is knowing who to support when your country isn't represented. But I can help you there. For example, I think we're all looking forward to seeing Andreas Wank in the ski jump. Luca Cunte in the ice hockey. And, let's not forget Daniel Pfister in the luge. Sadly, there's no Fanny Chmelar this time.' Yeah, okay, that was funny, Al.
And, speaking of the Winter Olympics, yer actual Keith telly Topping would like to congratulate whichever scallywag it was in the BBC Sport's deportment who chose to celebrate young Jenny Jones's very impressive bronze medal in the women's snowboard slopestyle at the end of Sunday evening's Today At The Games, by playing The Clash's almost similarly named 'Janie Jones'. Yeah. Only three letters difference. They could've played The Vapours' 'Jimmie Jones' and had the same effect. Mind you, the former is a song about a notorious shady lady convicted of running a house of ill-repute after being stitched up by the Scum of the World whilst the latter is about a mass murderer and cult leader. So, it's difficult to know which poor Jenny herself would've been most happy with. Probably neither, I'm guessing.

Susanna Reid has reportedly been offered 'a big money deal' to join ITV. You know, just as spectacular, odious greed-buckets (and drags) Chiles, Bleakley and Dixon previously were. And, my didn't the change of channel work out so well for all of those? The BBC Breakfast presenter is thought to have been offered up to a million smackers to join the rival channel. Reid, who is thought to earn around two hundred and fifty grand a year at the BBC, has been working for the corporation for the last decade. ITV 'bosses' - allegedly - want Reid to host their new breakfast show in the summer, according to the Mirra. The show, thought to be called Good Morning Britain, will replace notorious flop Daybreak, created to accommodate odious greed-buckets (and drags) Chiles and Bleakley when they defected from the Beeb in a blaze of in 2010. The pair were extremely - and very satisfyingly - sacked due to rock-bottom ratings and AI scores that made Big Top look like I, Claudius just over a year after the format began. A succession of replacements have failed to raise Daybreak from its current position of national joke. Ben Shephard has been tipped to co-host the new show - ironic, really, since he was one of the presenters of GMTV, ITV's reasonably successful previous breakfast elbowed aside by ITV's greed to create Daybreak. Reid recently denied rumours that she would leave the BBC following her success on Strictly Come Dancing. She said: 'If you cut me open I would bleed BBC,' she claimed. 'I said when BBC Breakfast moved to Salford that the BBC runs through me like a stick of rock - and nothing has changed.'

Following Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads' decision to return to the UK version of his talent show, FOX have confirmed The X Factor USA will end after three seasons. To no great public disappointment. Confirming his departure from the American format - which has struggled to attract viewers during its all of its three series - Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads said, 'I've had a fantastic time over the last twelve years, both on The X Factor and American Idol. And apart from being lucky enough to find some amazing talent on the shows, I have always had an incredible welcome from the American public. Last year, for a number of reasons, I had to make a decision to return to the UK version of The X Factor in 2014. So for now, I'm back to the UK and I want to thank FOX for being an incredible partner and I also want to thank everybody who has supported my shows. America, I'll see you soon.' Kevin Reilly - FOX's chairman of entertainment - confirmed the show's cancellation, stating, 'To all of us at FOX, Simon is more than one of the most prolific TV personalities of our time - he's part of our family. A consummate showman and partner, there's no-one more passionate or creative than Simon, and we feel so fortunate to have enjoyed such a wonderful, collaborative relationship with him over the past twelve years. Unfortunately, there is no X Factor USA without Simon Cowell, but we understand and support his decision to focus on the international formats and on the next phase of his personal life. We wish him the very best, and it's our sincere hope that we work together again soon.'

And, here's yer next Top Telly Tips and that:-

Saturday 15 February
In episode three of BBC4's new Belgian import, Salamander - 9:00 - on the run and pursued by unknown forces, grizzled old detective Paul Gerardi takes shelter in the monastery where his former boss Carl Cassimon has retreated, and asks him for help. Meanwhile, his wife and daughter are at breaking point from the constant surveillance and mysterious phone calls depriving them of sleep. Then, Paul flees the monastery when he realises that his daughter will be targeted by the government agents. He rushes to her school, only to discover that she has already been taken. Meanwhile Persigal, unsure of whom to trust, meets with sinister angry balding banker Jonkhere, who demands results in identifying the perpetrators of the raid on his vaults. Belgian thriller - closer to a kind of European 24 rather than The Bridge or Spiral but, on the strength of the opening episodes, really rather impressive nonetheless - starring Filip Peeters, Mike Verdrengh and Koen De Bouw. In Flemish and French with English subtitles.

The Drama channel's repeat run of Waking The Dead's award-winning fourth series reaches its conclusion tonight with the Ed Whitmore's epic Shadowplay - 9:00. A psychiatrist treating a disturbed woman about to go on trial for killing her family in an arson attack asks the team to investigate possible links to a double murder committed three years earlier by a similarly disturbed woman who claims that she was driven to kill by voices. The Unit's inquiries soon turn up a number of startling similarities. Were these women really driven to commit their crimes by mysterious voices or is there something even more sinister and nefarious going on? Paul Kaye, Laurence Penry-Jones, Eve Best, Kenneth Cope and Lucy Gaskell guest star, with Trevor Eve, Sue Johnston, Holly Aird, Wil Johnson and - about to meet a very grisly end indeed ... from the top of an apartment block - Claire Goose.
The Who: The Vegas Job - 9:00 Sky Arts 1 - features the greatest rock band in the history of the world, bar none and their 1999 concert at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, which saw original members Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend and John Entwistle joined by keyboardist John Bundrick and drummer Zak Starkey for performances of songs including 'I Can't Explain', 'Substitute', 'Pinball Wizard', '5:15', 'Who Are You?', 'Magic Bus', 'Won't Get Fooled Again', 'The Kids Are Alright' and 'My Generation'. Skill.
John Entwhistle, incidentally, died in a hotel room in the same city three years later, reportedly in bed with a nose full of Charlie, a bottle of brandy and two hookers. Now that's rock and roll.

Sunday 16 February
In the latest episode of Top Gear - 8:00 BBC2 - the three petrolheads, much to the chagrin of various sneering middle-class hippy Communist lice at the Gruniad Morning Star - demonstrate their love of small cars with a trip to Ukraine. Jezza Clarkson chooses a Volkswagen Up for the journey, while Richard Hammond takes a Ford Fiesta and - good news, everyone! - James May opts for a Dacia Sandero. Of course he does. On their adventure, the trio absorb the history of the Crimean Peninsula, including a visit to an old submarine - but the carefree exploration looks likely to become something of a chore when Jeremy, Richard and Mister Slowly are challenged to 'a long drive north' through the expansive country, during which they must combat a serious attack of boredom. And as if that wasn't arduous enough, a new task is set when they arrive in Kiev - a trip into the wastelands near Chernobyl. This episode also features a track test of the Danish Zenvo ST1 supercar and James Blunt returns for another drive in the new Reasonably Priced Car.
Yer actual Stephen Fry hosts the annual celebration of cinema The British Academy Film Awards - 9:00 BBC1 - live from the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. This has been a year that has seen movie-goers get stranded in space with Sandra Bullock in Gravity, become engrossed by the excitement of Formula 1 in Ron Howard's Rush and tinkle the ivories with Michael Douglas in Behind the Candelabra - among many other big-screen treats. Now the academy pays tribute to the very best, with American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Gravity, Philomena and Twelve Years A Slave competing for best film. British actors and actresses up for awards in the lead categories are Chiwetel Ejiofor, Christian Bale, Emma Thompson and Judi Dench, but they face stiff competition from Bruce Dern, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Amy Adams, Cate Blanchett and Sandra Bullock. One person certain of going home with a trophy, however, is Helen Mirren, the winner of this year's BAFTA Fellowship. Susequent programmes may - and, indeed, probably will - run late.
A seemingly routine surveillance job takes a deadly turn for Catherine and her ex-boyfriend, Billy, leading the team to a hit man in Hawaii Five-0 - 9:00 Sky1. Steve McGarrett is desperate to find Doris, so he turns to retired Navy Seal Joe White (the terrific Terry O'Quinn) for help in locating his elusive mother, while Adam considers giving himself up to the Yakuza to save Kono. Amd, Scott Caan gets all the best lines, as usual.

Monday 17 February
Jeremy Paxman concludes his history of the First World War, focusing on the final twelve months of the conflict, when the country came close to defeat in Britain's Great War - 9:00 BBC1. Paxo reveals how grieving parents held seances in the hope of contacting their dead sons and surgeons battled to rebuild the faces of the wounded and tells the story of a maverick MP who tried to blame the crisis on a conspiracy of sexual deviants in government. Eventually, the tide of battle turned and the armistice was signed, leaving an exhausted nation counting the cost of four years of war.
As they contain no active ingredient, placebo medicines and pills should not really work, but they are now being shown to be effective in helping treat pain and depression and even alleviating some of the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Tonight's Horizon, The Power Of The Placebo - 9:00 BBC2 - explores why they work and how everyone could benefit from them.
Having already, they clearly believe, solved 'the benefits question' with the sight of that odious Hopkins woman bellowing about 'left-wing loons' recently, Channel Five are back on the case tonight with another trashy tabloid-style debate about 'a topic of public concern.' Which is another way of saying two hours of people shouting at each other which  is likely to end in a massive punch-up. In The Big British Immigration Row - 8:00 - there's another studio slanging match 'exploring the emotive and controversial topic of immigration, examining how it is affecting the United Kingdom and its citizens.' Subjects covered include national identity and racial and cultural integration, with contributions by MPs, 'decision-makers', 'opinion-formers' (so, that'll be Katie Hopkins again, presumably) and immigrants themselves. Although not if they've got any sense and dignity. And, one imagines, we'll have lots of stout men from South London with not much hair and plenty of tattoos singing several choruses of 'send 'em back, send 'em back, they're nasty and smelly and black' and no one will give a single thought to Benjamin Zephaniah's wise words: 'Me come from afar but me live here, and aal me want is an equal share.' Hateful, dear blog reader, utterly and completely without any merit whatsoever. Television made by provocative morons for the easily led and hard of thinking. It would, actually, be funny if it wasn't so sodding dangerous.

Meanwhile, still on the subject of telly believing that its job is to put the world to rights, BBC3 asks the question which is, apparently, on everyone's lips, Is Amanda Knox Guilty? - 9:00. Yes, she is. An Italian court has said so. Twice. Next ... Having last month been found extremely guilty for a second time of the grisly murder of the British student Meredith Kercher, Amanda Knox - who now resides in her native America and, seemingly, has no intention of leaving there any time soon unless dragged kicking and screaming onto a plane bound for Rome - faces the prospect of extradition to serve her twenty eight-year sentence for naughty badness and that. This documentary 'charts the evolution of the case - from Knox's original conviction and four years in porridge, to her successful appeal in 2011 - and outlines the evidence which supports and contradicts her claims of innocence.' Concerned, worthy ... and every bit as utterly pointless as Channel Five's offering.
Tuesday 18 February
A birdwatcher is stabbed to death with his own knife, a case that holds a certain fascination for Humphrey, who was a keen twitcher in his youth in the latest episode of Death In Paradise - 9:00 BBC1. Was the victim, one of a group of enthusiasts who had visited the island for a glimpse of a famous parrot, simply mistaken for Bill Oddie and killed on general principle? The Saint-Marie police team soon faces something of a conundrum as all the suspects were in full sight of one another when the ghastly crime was committed. As the officers search for answers, they uncover evidence of long-standing rivalries, secret jealousies and romantic entanglements. But would any of it justify killing a harmless ornithologist?
China has the second largest economy in the world (which, given that it's the most populated country in the world might seem to be a reasonable state of affairs, frankly) and has been growing at an astonishing rate for the past thirty years. In a documentary for the This World strand, the BBC's new economics editor Robert Pestinfestation reveals that the vast majority of China's enormous investments in industry and infrastructure has been built on credit, leaving huge debts and questions over how much of the money can ever be paid back. Featuring interviews with ex-US treasury secretary Hank Paulson, former Financial Services Authority chairman Jonathan Adair Turner and banking analyst Charlene Chu.

The detective drama Elementary returns after a mid-season break - 9:00 Sky Living. Sherlock Holmes makes an error of judgement during the arrest of a gunman and ends up testifying in a police inquiry to defend his behaviour. His unusual methods come under scrutiny in the dock, landing him in even deeper trouble and putting his collaboration with the NYPD in jeopardy. Undemanding and quite fun adaptation of the Conan Doyle stories with Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu. If you haven't seen it before, give it a god but, be advised in advance, it's not a patch on Sherlock.
Sexting Teacher - 10:00 Channel Four - is a documentary telling the stories of three teacher-pupil relationships in the age of social media and smartphones, starting with a dramatic reconstruction of the most recent case to hit the headlines - maths teacher Jeremy Forrest, who ran away to France with a fifteen-year-old girl. All three cases in the programme led to the conviction of the adult and had a tumultuous effect on the lives of those involved.
Doll & Em - 10:00 Sky Living - is a semi-improvised comedy written by and starring Dolly Wells and Emily Mortimer. A Hollywood actress hires her childhood friend as her personal assistant while making a film in Los Angeles. In the first episode, Londoner Doll is unhappy in her relationship and takes a big silver bird across the mighty blue ocean to meet her friend Em, in California.

Wednesday 19 February
Following the tragedy at the hospital, Fleming continues to work under cover in missing persons and looks into the disappearance of fifteen-year-old Carly Kirk, a case in which Denton appears to have a personal interest in the second episode of Line Of Duty - 9:00 BBC2. The under-suspicion detective also starts to scrutinise the background of the AC-12 officers and gathers compromising evidence to use against the anti-corruption team. The cast includes Keeley Hawes, Martin Compston, Vicky McClure, Adrian Dunbar, Mark Bonnar, Tony Pitts and Liz White.
Infested: Living with Parasites - 9:00 BBC4 - is the much talked about documentary in which the excellent Michael Mosley attempts to gain a greater understanding of people's relationship with parasites, which exist in almost every animal on earth. He discovers that while some of them are dangerous to human health, there is growing scientific evidence that a selection of parasites may actually be beneficial. Mosley's previous BBC4 series, Pain, Pus and Poison: The Search for Modern Medicines was one of the TV highlights of 2013, an effortlessly fascinating journey accompanying a gifted, likeable, enthusiastic expert host. This is what I pay my licence fee for.

In 1940 France looks as if it's about to crumble against the Axis advance, and Godfrey grants Ian's request to be sent across the Channel to oversee the destruction of top-secret files at one of their bureaus in the second episode of Fleming - 9:00 Sky Atlantic. In his absence, Muriel tells Ann that she may be in love with Ian. Drama, starring Dominic Cooper, Lara Pulver, Samuel West, Annabelle Wallis, Anna Chancellor and Lesley Manville.
It looks like Brennan and Booth's problems may finally be over when the FBI plans to take completely mad murdering bastard Christopher Pelant down once and for all in Bones - 9:00 Sky Living. Sweets creates a fake murder scene in the serial killer's elaborate style, hoping the media coverage will bring him out of hiding, but it's not long before the mind game backfires. Imported crime drama starring Emily Deschanel, David Boreanaz, TJ Thyne, Michaela Conlin, Tamara Taylor and John Francis Daley.

Thursday 20 February
A murder at a Turkish baths seems like an open-and-shut case, as witnesses put an ex-serviceman at the scene of the crime and the suspect has left his ID in a locker in this week's Inspector George Gently - 8:30 BBC1. But as Gently and Bacchus begin their search for the man, things soon become complicated. His psychiatrist reveals he was showing signs of schizophrenia, while his brother claims he was far too soft to have killed a man - and when a second body turns up, the duo are led into a world of medical secrets at an Army testing facility. Crime drama, starring Martin Shaw and Lee Ingleby, with William Ash and Jemma Redgrave.

In The Hairy Bikers' Asian Adventure - 9:00 BBc2 - Wor geet canny Davy Myers and Si King continue their culinary journey around Asia by heading to Thailand, where they discover why Bangkok has a reputation as the street food capital of the world, and help serve up school dinners. Heading out into the country's central plains, the duo join paddy-field workers and find out how rice is grown.
Peter Powell presents an edition of Top Of The Pops - 7:30 BBC4 - first broadcast on 15 February 1979. Includes performances by The Dooleys, Generation X, Alan Price, The Pretenders, Lene Lovich, The Three Degrees, The Skids and Blondie. Plus, dance sequences by Legs & Co for lots of fortysomethings to get slightly hot and sweaty over.

The Smoke - 9:00 Sky1 - is a new drama from the makers of Broadchurch and The Tunnel (but, don't let the latter put you off) about a team of London firefighters. So, it's London's Burning: The Next Generation, essentially. Jamie Bamber heads the cast as White Watch leader Kev, who is happy with his lot in life, with a great job and girlfriend - until a traumatic call-out ends with him spending nine months in recovery. His return to work seems to go fine but he is brought crashing back down by a stark reminder of the incident that put him in hospital, and he becomes obsessed with finding out the truth about what happened that night. Jodie Whittaker, Gerard Kearns and Elizabeth Berrington co-star. Not the most original drama conceit in the world but the cast looks very good so probably worth a punt.
Friday 21 February
Edge Of Heaven - 9:00 ITV - is a comedy drama set in a 1980s-themed B&B in Margate. Run by Wham! fan Judy Taylor-Chatterjee, the guest house is also home to her husband - the chef, Tandeep - and her two grown-up children, sofa salesman Alfie and ex-soldier Ann-Marie. Alfie has his life in the Kent resort planned out ahead of him, until his fiancée Carly leaves him at the altar. Starring Blake Harrison, Camille Coduri, Nitin Kundra, Laura Checkley and Justine Cain.
Great British Bake Off presenter Sue Perkins, comedian Bob Mortimer and former JLS singer Aston Merrygold join in the fun on the comedy panel game Duck Quacks Don't Echo - 9:00 Sky1. Host Lee Mack and his guests attempt to find the answers to all manner of questions, from random trivia to the downright daft.

And, so to the news: Independent comedy and music venue The Glee Club has won a long-running legal battle against FOX in relation to its hit show Glee. The British chain, which was established in 1994 and has branches in Birmingham, Cardiff, Nottingham and Oxford, successfully claimed that the multi-national had infringed its UK trademark. The High Court's ruling could mean that the America show - first broadcast in 2009 and renewed last year for a sixth and final season - will no longer be able to be broadcast on British television. Which it almost certainly will be, though the threat that it might not has produced much wailing and threats of kicking-teeth from annoyed thirteen year olds all across the land. And that, in and of itself, has made the entire court case extremely worthwhile. DVDs, songs and merchandise featuring the fictional high-school singing club could also be taken off sale. Though, again, it probably won't be. 'It's a relief because you can't get any more David and Goliath than this,' gloated The Glee Club owner Mark Tughan following the victory. 'I always knew it would be a career-defining situation but I did not take it on for the fun of it - I took it on to win.' Explaining why he brought the case in the first place, Tugham claimed: 'When Glee was first broadcast on national TV in the UK in early 2010, we knew that we had a problem. As a small independent company we had no way of competing against the advertising and marketing might of the FOX Corporation and knew that our brand and reputation for original and credible comedy and live music would be damaged. The confusion caused by the similarity of the names and branding in the same field of entertainment services has led to us losing custom and hampered our ability to establish our brand of cutting edge live comedy and music performances, particularly in relation to some of our newer venues in Oxford and Nottingham. Smaller independent businesses should take heart from today's decision.' He added: 'As it clearly shows that trademark infringements by large multinational companies can be effectively challenged in British courts.' A FOX Television spokesperson said: 'We intend to appeal and are confident that, as the case plays out, we will ultimately prevail.'

Countries found to be vote-rigging at The Eurovision Song Contest will face bans of up to three years, organisers have said. The announcement follows an investigation into attempts to influence the voting in favour of Azerbaijan during last year's contest. Organisers confirmed rigging attempts 'were detected' by its security systems, but the votes were declared invalid. It added that there was 'no evidence' to link Azeri broadcasters to the activity. The European Broadcasting Union said that as there was also no evidence to suggest Ictimai TV was aware of the attempt, no sanctions would be imposed this time. Allegations of vote-fixing arose after Azerbaijan failed to award any points to neighbouring Russia. It prompted Azeri President Ilham Aliyev to order an inquiry, as traditionally ex-Soviet republics have regularly given each other top marks. There were also claims of attempts in Lithuania to buy votes for Azerbaijan's entry. It is hoped tightening rules will 'strengthen the credibility of the voting and protect the Eurovision Song Contest brand.' The contest's governing body, known as The Reference Group, said that if voting irregularities are detected before, during or after the contest in favour of any particular country, it would automatically initiate procedures against the country's broadcaster. 'Just as football clubs are, in principle, accountable for the behaviour of their fans, we will hold - on a case-by-case basis - participating broadcasters accountable and make them responsible to prevent voting irregularities in favour of their entry,' said Dr Frank Dieter Freiling, chairman of The Reference Group. EBU executor Jon Ola Sand added: 'It's our goal to do the best we can to assure a fair and correct result. We know that audiences in Europe want a fair result and vote with their best intentions, but in nearly every competition, there are attempts to cheat. It's our job to spot and stop these attempts.' The new rule follows the announcement last September that each country's jury will now be revealed ahead of each year's contest in an effort to increase 'openness and accountability.' Similarly, whatever prick it is that keeps on selecting British acts that come last will, also, be named and shamed so that everyone can have a good laugh at him or her. Previously, the identity of jury members - whose votes account for fifty per cent of the total score awarded to competing countries - was not disclosed until after the final. This year's contest will take place in Copenhagen on 10 May. It will be won by anyone but Britain. as usual.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's A To Z Of Groovy Tunes, F is for Frankie Goes To Hollywood. 'Possibly the most important thing this side of the world.'

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