Sunday, April 20, 2014

Week Eighteen: There's No Limit To What I Feel

Further photos have turned up online this week from the latest Doctor Who location filming within the grounds of Caerphilly Castle. So, what do we actually know about forthcoming coming series, beside the fact that it's got yer actual Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman her very self in it, dear blog reader? Be advised, if you care such such things then a few - very minor - spoilers follow so, you might want to stop reading at this point and go and look at some pictures of kittens instead. Production on series eight of Doctor Who began on 6 January in Cardiff, with Peter and Jenna shooting their first scenes together the following day. Filming is expected to continue until approximately mid-August. It was suggested in 2013 that the series would be have twelve rather than thirteen episodes. In an October 2013 interview, however, The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat said that there would be 'at least' thirteen episodes in the series. It is still unknown if a 2014 Christmas special will be among them, although it's highly likely that one will. At the final fiftieth anniversary event at the BFI in December 2013, Moffat confirmed that the series would be broadcast during the second half of 2014 and that it would not be split into two parts as the previous two series have been. The opening episode is reported to be set predominantly in Victorian London and features the return of Madame Vastra, Jenny, Strax and, possibly even Matt Smith his very self in a cameo which may or may not have been filmed during the production of The Time Of The Doctor. The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat has said: 'We can push The Doctor a bit further if you’ve got a familiar world around him.' Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) also noted that yer man Capaldi is going to be an older, trickier and fiercer Doctor. 'I think the fun story will be – and we have the opportunity here – is this is what regeneration can do to you. He can be very, very different.' Moffat later added: 'Now it’s time for the old beast to snarl at you for a bit!' Jack the Ripper and Clockwork Droids are rumoured to appear in this - so far unnamed - episode which features guest appearances from Nigel Betts, Paul Hickey, Tony Way and Maggie Service. The second episode, written by Phil Ford and directed by Ben Wheatley, who is also behind the camera on the series opener, is rumoured to be a Dalek story. Phil had stated that the story would involved 'going behind enemy lines.' He later gave a further one word clue: 'Lasagne.' Very helpful, Phil! Two of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's favourite actors, Michael Smiley and Ben Crompton appear in this story as characters called Colonel Blue and Ross respectively. The third episode in broadcast order appears to be the one which is currently in production - it's actually the sixth episode to be filmed. Written by yer actual Mark Gatiss and directed by Paul Murphy the rumoured title is Robots Of Sherwood and its said to be set in the Thirteen Century and feature Robin i'the Hood (played by Tom Riley) and various of his Merrie Men whose number appears to include Ian Hallard, Trevor Cooper, Rusty Goffe, Roger Ashton-Griffiths and Sabrina Barlett. The very excellent Ben Miller plays the episode's villain (whether that's The Sheriff of Nottingham, Guy de Gisborne or someone else entirely isn't, at this stage, known). Yer actual Steven Moffat had written episode four, rumoured to have been filmed under the working title Listen. This one was directed by Douglas Mackinnon. The episode premise is: 'When you talk to yourself, what if the person you’re talking to isn't really you?' A Minotaur-like monster was spotted during location filming whilst Sam Anderson joins the cast as the recurring character Danny Pink, a teacher at Coal Hill School and a colleague of Clara's. Sam had been quoted as saying: 'I can't wait to show people how my character becomes involved with such a fantastic duo!' The actor Robert Goodman is also reported to be appearing in this episode as a character called Reg. MacKinnon is also directing episode five, written by Steve Thompson and supposedly with the working title Time Heist. In this, The Doctor and Clara come face-to-face with the villainous Ms Delphox (played by a particular favourite of all of us here at From The North, Keeley Hawes) when they arrive on an alien planet. Delphox is a powerful character, a banker 'with a dark secret.' Probably the size of her annual bonus. Jonathan Bailey plays a cyborg in the episode which is also reported to feature Pippa Bennett-Warner. Gareth Roberts' episode, number six in broadcast order, is rumoured to be called Kill The Moon and is directed by Paul Murphy. Sam Anderson and Nigel Betts also appear in this one, along with Edward Harrison, Andy Gillies, Ellis George and Jimmy Vee who plays an alien of some description. The location filming for this, which took place in Cardiff, showed Capaldi using the sonic screwdriver in public for the first time (and, also, wearing a rather fetching pink lab coat). Beyond that, we know that the next two episodes due into production will be directed by Paul Wilmshurst one of which may, or may not, be called Mummy on the Orient Express. Flatline is another rumoured episode title for later in the series. Neil Cross has confirmed that he will be writing at least one episode for series eight, whilst Neil Gaiman and Frank Cottrell Boyce have also stated that they were developing scripts though neither were able to confirm whether these would be for series eight or a subsequent series. Mark Gatiss is also rumoured to have another script in development.
Doctor Who dominates the nominations for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form Programme in the 2014 Hugo Awards. Not only are both The Day Of The Doctor and The Name Of The Doctor nominated, but so is the biopic-drama An Adventure in Space and Time and the spoof anniversary comedy The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot. The Lord thy God Steven Moffat, said: 'For Doctor Who to receive three Hugo nominations in its anniversary year is completely thrilling. We are all over the moon. I'm particularly pleased about The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot as that was my acting debut. I remain available for any parts requiring a black jumper and slightly unrealistic hair.' Doctor Who has been nominated for a Hugo in most years since the series returned in 2005. Previous winners include Neil Gaiman for The Doctor's Wife, The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat for The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances, The Girl In The Fireplace, Blink and The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang and Russell Davies and Phil Ford for The Waters Of Mars. Last year, despite being nominated for three episodes, the show lost out to Game Of Thrones when the awards were announced. Also nominated this year is the comic The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who, written by me auld mucker Paul Cornell and illustrated by Jimmy Broxton for Best Graphic Novel. In the Best Fancast category, Verity!, billed as 'Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who' also received a nomination. The 2014 awards will be presented at Loncon 3 - the seventy second World Science Fiction Convention - to be held at the ExCeL in London between Thursday 14 and Monday 18 August, with the awards themselves being presented on Sunday 17 August.

K-9 was supposed to be a Time Lord’s best friend but crazy auld Tom Baker has admitted he was not a fan of the robot dog for most of his Doctor Who tenure. 'I didn't like K-9 at all,' said Mad Tom. 'Every time we had a shot [together] it meant that I had to get on my knees, which reminded me of the days when I was a Catholic, and it was pretty bloody boring being reminded of those days.' Baker revealed that he had suggested the BBC do away with K-9 altogether but that the child-friendly character had already become too big a part of plans for the show. 'The dog couldn't move quickly in the old days,' said Baker, speaking at the launch of the Horror Channel's season of Doctor Who episodes. 'It was retrieved in rehearsal by John Leeson [who voiced K-9], playing the dog, he actually moved around. And I said "Why don't we give him another costume and get him to answer the phone or play chess or something." But by that time, of course, the BBC had calculated that they were marketing K-9 and they didn't want any discussion about that.' Crazy auld Tom's Doctor travelled with two versions of K-9 during his final four series on the show and, despite his initial feelings about the talking dog, he admits 'I finally got used to it. I'm on some very powerful anti-inflammatories and the doctor said there might be some side-effects,' he noted. 'Pne of the side-effects I’ve had recently is I've started calling my dog Poppy K-9.'
Another day, another Benedict Cumberbatch casting rumour. The Sherlock star had been linked to a role in JJ Abrams' new Star Wars movie, but shot down hopes over the weekend when he told fans at the Oz Comic Con: 'I would've liked a part in JJ's new Star Wars but it won't happen, sadly.' He also told the audience that he's unlikely to appear in Doctor Who: 'I'm never gonna play The Doctor and nothing to do with the Whoniverse.' Now Hollywood blog The Tracking Board claims that Benny has been offered the starring role in an Ian Fleming biopic detailing the origin stories of James Bond. One hopes that the rumour turns out to be true – Benny could certainly carry off wearing Fleming's trademark bow tie - though it, too seems to be unlikely. With film work and a role playing Hamlet at London's Barbican already lined-up for next year, it looks like there may be the usual lengthy wait for the next series of Sherlock. Indeed, Benny continues to be coy about whether series four will happen at all, telling the Radio Times: 'I, genuinely don't know. That's not me trying to be mysterious. None of us know if there will be a fourth, fifth or sixth series.'

On a related subject, almost at the same time that Benny was saying all that, Martin Freeman was admitting that the scheduling a potential fourth series of Sherlock is proving 'hard to do.' The actor - soon to play Richard III in the West End - told the Digital Spy website that' initial plans' to work on new episodes following his theatrical run have now been scrapped. 'It's very hard to get together,' he said. 'But it's one of those things where you have to at some point just go, "We're going to do it now" - otherwise we could [still] be having this conversation in three years.' He added: 'There comes a point where you've got to piss or get off the pot.' Indeed. Usually when you're busting for a pee, admittedly. Marty recently stated that he is 'not interested' in the long-term television roles offered up by US TV, but - in relation to Sherlock - he told the website that he is 'happy' to stick with playing John Watson for the foreseeable future. 'I can't countenance doing something for eight months of the year every year – but three months of the year every couple of years is much more attractive. I wouldn't and couldn't put an end point on it – I'm just more open to it.'

MasterChef climbed in the ratings on Thursday evening, according to overnight data. The BBC1 cooking series was seen by 4.6m at 8pm, up three hundred thousand punters from the equivalent episode last week. Later, the new series Parking Mad brought in 4.3m at 9pm. A repeat of the - superb - BBC3 documentary Life And Death Row appealed to 1.9m. On BBC2, Great British Menu attracted 1.9m at 7.30pm, followed by Digby Jones: The New Troubleshooter with eight hundred and ninety six thousand viewers at 8pm and Protecting Our Parents at 9pm with seven hundred and forty nine thousand. ITV's thoroughly wretched Ade At Sea interested but 2.6m at 8.30pm, followed by Walton Sextuplets At Thirty with 2.9m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Posh Pawn was watched by 1.4m at 8pm. Fifteen Thousand Kids And Counting brought in nine hundred and twenty five thousand at 9pm, while Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown had an overnight audience of 1.10m at 10pm. Channel Five's Beware Cowboy Builders was seen by seven hundred and two thousand at 8pm, while Driven to Kill: Harold Shipman gathered eight hundred and ninety seven thousand at 9pm. Person Of Interest was watched by seven hundred and seven thousand at 10pm.

The ONE Show began BBC1's Good Friday evening schedule with an overnight audience of 3.07m. That was followed by A Question Of Sport with 2.82m. The latest episode of EastEnders which climaxed with the apparent murder of Lucy Beale had an audience of 6.41m, a fraction down on the previous evening's episode. MasterChef's half-hour Friday quarter final episode was watched by 3.80m as John and Gregg's love-in with Luke continued. The robotics engineer sailed through to the semi-final along with overly-chirpy-but-likeable Cockney geezer, Theo. As usual, the episode provided a useful reminder to all MasterChef contestants that, when you get interviewed in the back room do not, do not, do not answer the question 'how far do you think you can go in the competition' with what full-of-himself Joe had to say on the subject last night: 'I didn't come here to get to the quarter finals, I've come here to win it. And that's what I'm gonna do.' So, dear blog reader, guess which one of the four contestants presented guest judge Jay Rayner with a dish that provoked the response: 'Sadly, it's not doing it for me.' MasterChef's producers really do seem to take a delight in getting people to big themselves up like there's no tomorrow and then have the camera linger on their devastated boat-race as their dreams of riches beyond avarice are crushed like eggshells under the shoe of unwelcome reality. It's got to be said, though, when that does happens, it is funny. After that, the comedy gold continued with an excellent episode of Have I Got News For You, watched by 4.46m at 9pm, Friday's highest-rated show outside of soaps. Outnumbered had an overnight audience of 2.89m and The Graham Norton Show rounded out the night with 2.74m. A Lewis repeat was the highest-rated show outside of soaps on ITV, being watched by 2.81 million at 9pm, including yer actual Keith Telly Topping who recorded it because he hadn't seen that one before. Elsewhere, Weekend Escapes With Warwick Davis was seen by 2.47 million at 8pm. BBC2's highest-rated show of the evening was yer actual Mastermind with 2.23m at 8pm. It was followed by Gardeners' World with 1.97m. The evening continued with the terrific Natural World documentary Honey Badgers: Masters Of Mayhem and The Trip To Italy, which attracted 1.68m and 1.02m viewers respectively. On Channel Four, Gogglebox pulled in 2.54 million at 9pm, followed by 1.46m for Alan Carr: Chatty Man at 10pm. Nine hundred and fifty thousand watched Marvel's Agents Of SHIELD at 8pm. The latest episode of Ice Road Truckers had an audience of eight hundred and forty three thousand at 8pm on Channel Five, while NCIS: Death Wish was seen by 1.16 million immediately afterwards. The evening continued with six hundred and twenty two thousand watching NCIS: Los Angeles and three hundred and twenty five thousand for Britain's Crime Capitals.
Aisde from thigh-slapping MasterChef moments, the TV comedy line of the week came, as usual, from Have I Got News For You. In a top quality episode (with the excellent Henning Wehn on especially good form) the host, yer actual Jezza Clarkson his very self, noted that he and guest panellist the frightfully posh Camilla Long are 'that rarest of creatures, the only Murdoch journalists not currently in court!' And a close second was the conclusion to the story about the 'hedge-fund manager' from Stonegate who had, reportedly, dodged paying over forty grand in train fares and then, when caught, managed to remain anonymous by paying the sum back. 'By being allowed to settle out of court, he did buy a level on anonymity normally reserved for winners of The Voice,' said Jezza. 'To be fair to the hedge-fund manager he did use his Oyster Card every day. But only to chop up lines of cocaine before blowing them up a prostitute's bottom. Sorry mate, you want to stay anonymous, we can libel you all we like!'
A very close runner-up in the TV comedy line of the week award, came from across the Atlantic and the latest episode of Hannibal. 'Peter, is your social worker in that horse?' Honest, dear blog reader, I'm not making this up! This, as it were, is my design.
Britain's Got Toilets topped Saturday primetime ratings again on Saturday night despite dropping over two million viewers since last week's series opener, according to overnight data. The talent show was watched by 8.28m when it was broadcast on ITV from 7pm. Later on ITV, the wretched Amazing Greys was watched by 3.2m at 8.20pm followed by a Law & Order: UK repeat, which pulled in 1.32m at 9.20pm. On BBC1, Pointless Celebrities kicked off primetime with 3.73m at 7pm, while Casualty brought in 4.22m at 8.40pm. Rob Brydon's The Guess List continued at 9.30pm with 3.58m. On BBC2, University Challenge: The Story So Far gathered 1.24m at 8pm, followed by a special anniversary Champion of Champions edition of the student quiz, which brought in 1.89m at 9pm. The documentary drama Messiah At The Foundling Hospital had an audience of 1.28m at 9.30pm. Channel Four's Grand Designs was seen by three hundred and seventy thousand punters at 7.05pm, while the season finale of US drama Hostages was watched by seven hundred thousand straight afterwards at 8.05pm. A showing of the Liam Neeson movie Taken pulled in 1.48m from 9pm. On Channel Five, a double bill of NCIS attracted four hundred and forty four thousand and six hundred and thirty nine thousand viewers at 7.30pm and 8.25pm respectively, while five hundred and four thousand tuned in to watch the countdown show Britain's Favourite Detectives from 9.25pm. On the multichannels, BBC4's broadcast of the wartime drama Downfall attracted six hundred and forty one thousand at 9pm, while Toy Story 2 had an audience of six hundred and two thousand on BBC3 at 8.20pm.

Channel Four has snapped up former MasterChef: The Professionals host Michel Roux Jnr for a new advertiser-funded Saturday morning cookery show Weekend Kitchen With Waitrose. Roux, who stepped down from the BBC2 series due to 'a commercial conflict of interest' is joining the new series – alongside another MasterChef star, yer actual John Torode, and another BBC chef, Raymond Blanc. They will be joined by Heston Blumenthal, already a Channel Four regular, and Gordon Ramsay's protegé, Angela Hartnett, among others yet to be announced. Each week the chefs will make recipes using ingredients provided by Waitrose. That's a supermarket used to pretentious middle-class Gruniad readers who wouldn't be seen dead in Morrisons of Asda, in case you were wondering. The hour-long show will be fronted by Steve Jones and Lisa Snowden and, in a similar vein to BBC1's rival show Saturday Kitchen, will feature celebrity guests. Weekend Kitchen will be broadcast at 9am on Saturdays from 26 April, just before Saturday Kitchen. Channel Four's head of daytime David Sayer, who commissioned the show from independent production company Spun Gold, said: 'Steve and Lisa are the perfect pairing to present the show's unique combination of celebrity chat, seasonal cooking and tips on how to entertain. It's a great fit for Four's schedule and will help our viewers make the most of their weekends.' Spun Gold managing director Nick Bullen said: 'Spun Gold is excited to embark on this new project with Waitrose, extending our relationship with the brand to produce their first ever television programme.' Waitrose will also run in-store promotions around the show – which is designed 'to reflect its free weekly newspaper' Waitrose Weekend. Channel Four already broadcasts a cookery and chat show on Sunday mornings, Sunday Brunch, hosted by Tim Lovejoy and Simon Rimmer. The broadcaster hired the presenters and production team after their BBC2 Sunday morning show, the similar cookery-and-chat format Something For The Weekend, was axed.

Shooting has begun on a six-part series of Babylon for Channel Four in and around London. The pilot for Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong's show was broadcast in February and the full series will return this autumn. Brit Marling, James Nesbitt, Paterson Joseph, Bertie Carvel, Adam Deacon, Jill Halfpenny, Jonny Sweet and Nicola Walker return as staff in a modern metropolitan police force, having to deal with both criminals and the press.
Lee Mack is reportedly trying to lay his hands on the sign from the Blackburn pub in which he grew up. His parents ran the Centurion pub, which was demolished after an arson attack in 2006. Lee said: 'There was an old sign on the road at the entrance to the pub and I would love to trace it. If anyone knows where it is I would really like to buy it from them.' The Centurion site has been derelict since the fire, but is set to have fourteen homes built on it.

And, so to the latest batch of yer actual Top Telly Tips:-

Saturday 26 April
Generation War - 9:30 BBC2 - is a, rather fine-looking, German drama following the stories of five friends as their lives take different paths during the Second World War. In Berlin in 1941, Wilhelm and his younger brother Friedhelm are heading to fight on the Eastern Front, Charlotte is joining the Wehrmacht as a nurse, whilst Greta's Jewish boyfriend Viktor tries to persuade his parents to leave the country. In German, with subtitles. If you're missing your fix of BBC4 imported Euro-drama, this three-part series might just be what you're looking for.
Drama's very welcome repeat run of Waking The Dead - 9:00 - reaches one of the finest two-part stories in the long-running crime drama's history, The Fall, first shown in 2006. Two long-dead sexually conjoined bodies fall through the ceiling of a former merchant bank after being disturbed by builders. A gold ingot found at the scene suggests a direct connection to another cold case, a man found dead in the Thames in 1992. When Eve links one of the corpses to the Opus Dei organisation, Peter Boyd is warned off pursuing that particular line of investigation. Of course, being Peter Boyd, he takes absolutely no notice of the warning whatsoever. Trevor Eve, Sue Johnston, Tara FitzGerald, Wil Johnson and Felicite Du Jeu star with guest appearances from Catherine Walker, Stanley Townsend, Nick Dunning, Terence Harvey, Alison Doody and Nigel Whitmey. And, most importantly dear blog reader, Keith Telly Topping urges you to watch out for a thoroughly stunning, eye-rolling over-the-top performance from yer actual Peter Capaldi as a former banker with a dangerous obsession. Really good actor, that bloke. Whatever became of him?
One of the most devastating pandemics in human history, the Black Death swept through London in 1348, killing old and young, rich and poor, within days of their first symptoms. Received wisdom has long suggested the culprit was bubonic plague, spread by the fleas of infected rats. The Secret History documentary The Return of The Black Death - 7:55 on More4 - follows experts from a range of disciplines as they pick through the evidence, reveal why the disease killed on such a large scale, and discuss how it still poses a threat today. In 2012, archaeologists uncovered in the City of London twenty five bodies of people carried off by the lethal Black Death outbreak of 1348-49, when it's believed sixty per cent of the capital's population died. And although it is generally been brought under control, outbreaks of plague do still happen – dozens died last year in Madagascar, for example. Bubonic plague, which originated with rats and fleas (and, according to Qi, marmots) in Asia, raced through Europe before finally hitting our shores. But what can modern-day science extract from the London bones to tell us why it proved so fatal, so fast? And documentary evidence brings us up close to the victims themselves. A fascinating story, with an intriguing conclusion, if slightly marred by a doom-laden narration and a pseudo-religious choral soundtrack.

Sunday 27 April
The crime drama Vera, set in yer actual Keith Telly Topping's neck of the woods, returns - 8:00 ITV - with an episode based on Ann Cleeves' recently published novel Harbour Street. DCI Vera Stanhope investigates the death of a pensioner found extremely stabbed on a Metro train at the height of rush hour. The case has a huge impact on Joe's home life as his daughter is a key witness to the murder and he struggles to maintain a professional distance. The trail leads the CID team to a quiet Northumberland coastal town (the episode was mostly filmed in the beautiful Northumberland village of Alnmouth) where clues appear to lead to one particular street; but why are the residents so reluctant to talk to the pollis about the death of old Margaret? Starring the properly terrific Brenda Blethyn (and her curious accent that isn't like any Northumberland twang this blogger's ever come across before) along with David Leon, Sonya Cassidy, Jon Morrison and Eva Birthistle.

Sheriff's deputy Molly begins to suspect that Lester is involved in the murders, but her new boss Bill points her in a different direction in the second episode of Fargo - 9:00 Channel Four. Meanwhile, Malvo investigates the blackmail plot against a man known as The Supermarket King. Black comedy-drama based on the Coen brothers' critically acclaimed film, starring Martin Freeman, Billy Bob Thornton, Allison Tolman and Bob Odenkirk.

Chris Addison and Jo Joyner leave behind The Thick of It and EastEnders respectively and make something of a left turn. They come together in Trying Again - 9:00 Sky Living - a romcom about a young couple in Kendal, who are bearing up after her recent affair and attempting to rebuild their relationship. The premise is meant to make Trying Again edgier and more emotional than other not particularly funny comedy dramas like Stella and Mount Pleasant, which it resembles on the surface. Simon Blackwell's somewhat bittersweet script has Addison and Joyner playing Matt and Meg, a couple who decide to give their relationship another shot following Meg's affair with her boss, Iain. But that's easier said than done in a small Lake District town where there is no such thing as secrets. Money is tight in the first of tonight's two episodes and Meg considers reapplying for her old receptionist role at the local doctor's surgery - working alongside Iain. Co-starring Charles Edwards, Elizabeth Berrington and Alun Cochrane. Average would be a decent description - as usual, Addison is a talent but spends half of his time desperately trying to be likeable and not pulling it off whilst Joyner is ... essentially, playing the same character she played in EastEnders only with slightly less of an accent.

You could, of course, watch a tone-deaf balding ex-milkman from Waalsend in Sting: When The Last Ship Sails - 10:00 BBC4 - which also features an appearance by Big Jimmy Nail. But, I wouldn't, dear blog reader. Trust yer actual Keith Telly Topping on this one, life's too short.

Monday 28 April
Shortarse mega-rich tyrant Bernie Ecclestone has dominated Formula 1 motor racing for over forty years and made billions from the sport. Tonight's Panorama, Lies, Bribes & Formula 1 - 8:30 BBC1 - looks at allegations against the F1 boss, including claims that he has paid a forty four million dollar bribe and avoided a billion smackers in UK taxes. Darragh Macintyre investigates and asks, if it's true (which, of course, has yer to be proved), why is he still in charge of one of the world's biggest sports, and not in jail?

When Detective Sergeant Marcus Farrow is wrongly accused of the murders of his wife and son, he seizes the first opportunity to escape in the opening episode of the much-trailed three part drama Prey - 9:00 ITV. On the run in Manchester, he's thrown into a high-stakes game of cat and mouse across the city and, as a wanted killer, he has few allies. Determined to be reunited with his eldest child and clear his name, the fugitive finds himself doing things he never thought possible as he tries to evade capture. Thriller, starring John Simm, with Rosie Cavaliero, Craig Parkinson, Anastasia Hille and Adrian Edmondson.
Secret History Of UFOs - 9:00 Channel Five - brings together eyewitness testimony, expert opinion and archive film and photos, this documentary investigates some of the most significant UFO sightings in history. From the mystery of the alleged crash in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947, to the V-shaped lights captured on camera over Phoenix in 1997, the film analyses the evidence and considers whether or not the reports are credible. Nothing here that you haven't seen in a hundred Discovery Channel, 'Alien Mystery'-type documentaries.

Hinterland - 9:00 BBC4 - is a truly bilingual seven-part drama, which is trying to do for Aberystwyth what The Killing did for Copenhagen. Ambitious. Welsh-speaking viewers of S4C met the haunted, rule-breaking DCI Tom Mathias (played by Richard Harrington) last year when the series was broadcast in Welsh - because Hinterland was filmed in both English and Welsh (with the actors performing scenes twice). This version is, predominantly, in English, with scenes between Welsh-speaking characters kept in the local tongue and subtitled - a device that, along with handsome filming of Ceredigion's harshly beautiful landscape, gives the drama a strong sense of place and, for non-Welsh viewers, a dash of that grim Scandi-noir-esque drama 'otherness.' Mathias's first investigation involves the disappearance of a sixty four-year-old woman - a former carer at a local children's home - and leads him to an ancient ravine at Devil's Bridge. It's a story of painful local secrets which, in truth, could have been lifted from any number of British detective shows (it's very Wire In The Blood, for instance), but it's well written, beautifully shot and thoughtfully acted by the cast. One worth sticking with, this blogger reckons. With Mali Harries, Alex Harries, Hannah Daniel and Aneirin Hughes.

Adam attempts to find a new career outside the Church following the closure of St Saviour's and sets his sights on becoming a management consultant, but has difficulty leaving his vocation and congregation behind in Rev - 10:00 BBC2. Meanwhile, his not-so-merry former parishioners try to cope without their vicar and their church. Comedy, starring Tom Hollander and Olivia Coleman. Last in the series.

Russell Kane (stupid hair and very popular with students, if not popular with anybody in a position of authority at the BBC these days) hosts the (alleged) comedy show Live At The Electric - 11:00 Dave. This features an ensemble of (alleged) up-and-coming UK 'talent', blending stand-up routines, sketches and music. Amateurish, unfunny crap, for the most part, and with a host who is about as amusing as a nasty rash on the knob-end. But, to be completely fair, if you're looking for one single over-riding reason why kicking BBC3 online, slashing its budget to buggery and telling most of the rancid overpaid 'talent' thereupon and just go away and not come back, dear blog reader, then this is probably it. About as funny as piles.

Tuesday 29 April
Happy Valley - 9:00 BBC1 - is new a crime drama from the pen of Sally Wainwright. Catherine Cawood is the sergeant on duty at the local cop shop when accountant Kevin Weatherill enters the station to report a crime - the kidnapping of his boss's daughter. Kevin confesses that it was he who originally came up with the plan as a way of paying for his own children's private education but, being an accountant, he had a backbone like jelly and eventually backed out of the crazy scheme. However, his would-be partner is dangerous local drug kingpin, Ashley Cowgill - and he has only been and gone ahead with the plot, anyway, hasn't he? What a kerfuffle. The caper hits a nerve for Catherine, who has lost her own daughter and is determined to bring the captors to justice, with a good hard kick in the cobblers for being such planks. Sarah Lancashire headsa properly terrific cast, with Steve Pemberton, the excellent Joe Armstrong, James Norton, Siobhan Finneran and George Costigan. This one might, actually, be worth a shot.

A repeat, but a really good one and highly recommended if you missed it first time around, is the final part of the acclaimed documentary series At Home With The Georgians - 8:00 BBC4. Perky, personable and thoroughly entertaining historian Amanda Vickery reveals how the Eighteenth Century home was constantly under threat from theft, fire, divorce, poverty, illness and death. And man eating rabbits. Probably. Well, all right, not so much the latter but ... Anyway, using intimate diaries and Old Bailey records, Amanda - who, like her fellow Georgian experts, Lucy Worsley and Suzy Klein, has a real way of bringing history to life - explores the chaos of Georgian houses, bursting with extended families and servants and learns how they set about making their dwellings. Last in the series and, as noted, if you missed this delightful series first time around give it a short now, you won't regret it.

Nazi Megastructures - 9:00 National Geographic Channel - investigates how Nazi German scientist Wernher von Braun secretly developed the world's first long-range rockets, the V-2, laying the technological foundations for the space race after the Americans turned a blind eye to war crimes.
Head teacher Stephen Drew, who viewers may recognise from the highly-regarded and award-winning 2011 series Educating Essex, sets out to help eleven difficult pupils by enrolling them - and their parents - in a residential summer school, hoping he and a team of experts can unlock the youngsters' potential before it's too late in the first of a new series, Mr Drew's School For Boys - 9:00 Channel Four. In the opening episode, the boys aren't keen to play by the rules and there's an altercation before they even make it to their first class, before a drama lesson descends into chaos.

Wednesday 30 April
After five weeks of MasterChef heats, sixty hopefuls (some of whom were far more hopeful than others) have been whittled down to the most promising ten - 8:00 BBC1. But, if they thought it was tough getting this far, the knock-out stage will really sort the dishwashers from the chefs as, over the next two nights, the remaining contestants are split into two groups of five and get their first taste of professional cooking. Tonight's group of five head off to London's Caxton Grill, where 2013 MasterChef: The Professionals finalist Adam Handling is now the head chef for a busy lunchtime service. Then it's back to the studio to rustle up a dish from an array of seasonal produce for renowned chef Marcus Wareing and the judges, John Torode and Gregg Wallace, who will then send one of the hopefuls packing.

Still reeling from the death of one of their own, Ronnie and Joe face a new challenge when an innocent young mum is fatally stabbed in a busy marketplace, just as a senior police officer publicly pledges to crack down on knife crime in the series finale of Law & Order: UK - 9:00 ITV. Under pressure from all sides, the pair struggle to gather evidence against the youth they think is responsible, and the suspect's unintentional confession appears to bring the case to a close. However, Ronnie is the only person who hears the admission, and it proves difficult getting anyone to believe him. With the detective's honesty cast into doubt and his effectiveness questioned at every turn, is this the end of his career? Bradley Walsh, Ben Bailey Smith, Dominic Rowan, Georgia Taylor and Peter Davison star, with Tony Gardner, Sharon Small and Colin Salmon.

In the first of two episodes of Castle shown tonight - 190:00 Channel Five - Beckett, Castle and the team investigate when a juror in a murder trial dies in the courtroom during the closing arguments, apparently having been poisoned. As Ryan sifts through CCTV footage from the courthouse, Esposito goes to question the other members of the jury only to find that one of them has disappeared. Away from the case, Castle downloads an app that monitors Alexis's location. Following that, the team investigate when a journalist researching the bitter rivalry between pizzeria owners is found dead in an oven, and an estate agent reveals the victim had been working on a story involving the murder of a drug trafficker. Meanwhile, Alexis is upset when one of her friends kisses Ashley and then posts pictures of it online. Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic and Molly Quinn star.
Thursday 1 May
Mike Read presents an edition of Top of The Pops from 10 May 1979 - 7:30 BBC4 - featuring performances by The Damned, Elkie Brooks, Sparks, Boney M, The Shadows, Eruption, The Monks, Roxy Music and Gary Moore. Plus, dance sequences by Legs & Co.
'What did the Georgians ever do for us?' asks the divine Lucy Worsley in the trailer for the BBC's current Georgian Season before deciding, 'it's the Georgians world, we just live in it.' In The First Georgians: The German Kings Who Made Britain - 9:00 BBC4 - Doctor Lucy her very self marks the three hundredth anniversary of the Hanoverian succession to the British throne as she reveals the history of Britain under the reigns of George I and George II. She is given access to treasure from the Royal Collection prior to the opening of a new exhibition at the Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, to give a personal insight into the monarchs' lives, and begins by charting the story of George I's feuding family.
Gabriel and Riley go undercover as secret service agents to extract two American journalists being held hostage in war-torn Syria, prompting the duo to ask questions that affect the future of the Clockwork initiative in the latest episode of Intelligence - 9:00 Sky1. Things get awkward for Riley, however, when she is forced to work with her ex, so Gabe amuses himself trying to find out what happened between them. Imported US drama starring Josh Holloway, Meghan Ory, John Billingsley and Marg Helgenberger.
Friday 2 May
Jack Dee rules the roost on tonight's episode of Have I Got News For You - 9:00 BBC1 - as regular team captains Ian Hislop and Paul Merton take pot-shots at the week's silliest news stories, with the help of comedienne Bridget Christie.

Comedian and nature-lover Bill Bailey his very self narrates a Natural World documentary, Nature's Misfits - 9:00 BBC2 - examining the lives of an eccentric cast of unconventional and unusual creatures that do things differently, turning this oddness to their advantage.
Cunning and well-connected, The Kingmaker is the man behind the rise of some of the world's most powerful politicians, but one of his operations receives unwanted attention from the FBI when a government official in Prague is framed for murder in the latest episode of The Blacklist - 9:00 - Sky Living. Wise to the strategist's wily and nefarious ways, Red - not a little wily and nefarious himself, of course - helps Harold Copper's team track him down, and with his attention focused on the chase, Lizzy Keen seizes the opportunity to probe in Reddington's closely guarded personal life. Only to discover a shocking secret. With James Spader, Megan Boone, Diego Klattenhoff, Harry Lennix and Parminder Nagra. Guest starring Linus Roache and Alan Alda.

The Be-Atles: The Night That Changed America - A Grammy Salute - 10:35 BBC2 - is an entertainment 'special' it says here, first shown in the US two months ago, and commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the ground-breaking first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show of The Be-Atles (they were a popular beat combo of the 1960s, dear blog reader, you might've heard of them) and 'celebrating their legacy.' Which actually means we get a parade of shitty cover versions of the songs performed on that evening in February 1964, as well as a variety of Be-Atles hits, performed here by 'some of the biggest names in music'. And some of the least suited to destroying 'Yesterday' or 'Here Comes The Sun' into the bargain. These include Maroon 5, Katy Perry, Ed Sheeran, Alicia Keys and John Legend, and, for Christ's sake, Eurythmics - reuniting for one night only. And, after hearing their thoroughly rotten take on 'The Fool On The Hill' let us be jolly thankful for that. At least Stevie Wonder's version of 'We Can Work It Out' is passably tuneful, Dave Grohl, Gary Clark Jr and Joe Walsh doing 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' is, actually, pretty good and after a shot set from Sir Paul McCartney MBE, he is joined by yer actual Ringo Starr his very self for 'Hey Jude' and 'With A Little Help from My Friends'. Various presenters - including Kate Beckinsale, Johnny Depp and Sean Penn - help to 'highlight and contextualise' the musical, cultural and historical impact of the band. Not, quite, as dreadful as you might have heard dear blog reader but, to be honest, if you really want to celebrate what The Be-Atles were all about, find a DVD of that original Ed Sullivan Show set. Because, that's entertainment.

To the news now: Miranda Hart is reported to be in 'early talks' with the BBC about a revival of The Generation Game. Launched by Sir Bruce Forsyth his very self in 1971, the game show attracted audiences of up to twenty million at its peak. It featured couples from four families competing in comedic challenges like pot-throwing and morris dancing and the famed conveyor belt memory game. Hart would be the show's first female host, following Brucie, Larry Grayson and the odious right-wing bag of diarrhoea and filth, Jim Davidson. She previously appeared on a 2011 Comic Relief edition of the show, hosted by braying numskull Vernon Kay. The forty one-year-old is best known for her eponymous sitcom and her role in hit drama Call The Midwife, but she is a self-confessed fan of The Generation Game. Interviewing Sir Bruce for a career retrospective last year, she said: 'Bruce is too modest to say this, so I am going to say it for him: During the 1970s, The Generation Game was getting over twenty  million viewers every single week and my family was one of them. I loved it. It is one of the greatest game shows ever.' When Sir Bruce said the show 'may be a bit old hat now', Hart replied 'but we need to get back to entertainment, Bruce.' Well, thanks for telling us all what we need, Miranda, that's really appreciated. The Generation Game challenged its contestants to learn new skills and take part in slapstick daftness, with the host's irreverent banter a key part of the appeal. It climaxed every week with the conveyor belt game, where one contestant had to memorise a series of tacky household goods as they travelled past. It was the number one game show in the 1970s, with Larry Grayson achieving an estimated audience of twenty five million in 1979 during a period when Forsyth had defected to ITV. A 1990s revival also fared reasonably well, with Forsyth's Christmas Day episode in 1990 watched by more than sixteen million people. However, a new series is not guaranteed. A BBC spokesman said: 'It's in the early ideas stage at the moment. Nothing is confirmed and no series [is] planned.'

The BBC and Sky's video-on-demand TV services are both experiencing problems on iPhones and iPads. The fault appears to be limited to iPlayer, Sky Go and Now TV on Apple's iOS platform and began last night. Neither organisation was able to provide a full explanation ad to what the blithering frig all this malarkey was all about. However, the director of Now TV suggested that altering a device's date setting would act as a temporary workaround. 'It's a Sky-wide issue, so it's both our app and Sky Go,' Gidon Katz told the BBC. 'It appears to be related to a date configuration. So, if you reset your iOS device to yesterday's date it would work. This could indicate that the issue is linked to an expired digital certificate. However, changing the date setting can cause other problems. For example the owner becomes unable to access Apple's App Store. It also fails to fix streams in either the iPlayer app or via the service's website. A message on the BBC's website said: 'We are aware of reports from users encountering an "Insufficient Bandwidth" error message when attempting to play programmes through the iPad app. This is currently under investigation and we will update this FAQ when we obtain further information.' A spokesman for the corporation noted that shows could still be downloaded, rather than streamed. This is the second technical fault that Now TV has experienced this month. Sky's subscription service - which targets people who do not subscribe to its satellite TV channels - crashed during the first episode of the latest Game Of Thrones season. Katz said this was caused by 'a separate problem' created by the challenge of servicing a large audience watching the same content simultaneously. 'Last Monday was exacerbated by the fact that we had a football match on at the same time,' he explained. 'The sheer demand means we have to keep on improving our processes. This is technically challenging. If you have large numbers of people watching Liverpool versus Man City concurrently and Game Of Thrones at the same time it's obviously going to put a much larger strain on our technical capability than people dipping in and out of [Netflix's] House Of Cards, Orange Is The New Black or any of those series.'

Ronnie Corbett has claimed that he was asked to be one of the apes in 2001: A Space Odyssey. He told Graham Norton on Friday's episode of The Graham Norton Show: 'Stanley Kubrick saw me doing a little spot on Sunday Night At The Palladium and said, "He would be ideal for one of my apes." I turned it down!' Ronnie also revealed that he has a habit of getting locked in toilets. 'I have been trapped in some posh toilets including those in Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace, and at Victor Spinetti's memorial at St Paul's Covent Garden I got locked in the loo. I had to scream and shout and eventually someone threw a screwdriver over the door.'
The former BBC presenter Derek Cooper, who founded the long-running radio show The Food Programme, has died, aged eighty eight. The Scottish journalist and writer also worked on shows including Tomorrow's World, PM, Today and You and Yours. On Radio 4's The Food Programme, which first broadcast in 1979, Cooper investigated the culinary world on behalf of consumers. He was appointed OBE in 1997 and honoured at the 2001 Sony Awards for his pioneering work on food. Cooper's broadcasting career began at Radio Malaya in 1950 and he worked at ITN before becoming a familiar voice on BBC radio and television. In the first episode of Tomorrow's World, he voiced a report about kidney dialysis. A tribute posted on The Food Programme's Twitter page said that Cooper had 'reintroduced a nation to its food culture.' He was also the first chairman and president of the Guild of Food Writers, which gives out the Derek Cooper Award for campaigning and investigative food writing and broadcasting. Cooper was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1995.

Gunmen have shot and wounded one of Pakistan's best known television presenters in the city of Karachi. Police said that the attackers opened fire on Hamid Mir's car near the airport. The presenter for Geo TV received three bullets, but was in a stable condition, the officials added. There have been previous attempts on the life of Mir, the first journalist to interview Osama bin Laden after 9/11. The attack has been strongly condemned by Pakistani politicians, including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Pakistan is one of the most dangerous countries for the media and, last month, Sharif pledged to do more to protect journalists in Pakistan. Mir had just landed in Karachi and was on his way to the studios of Geo TV, a private Pakistani news channel, when the unidentified gunmen in a car and on motorcycles reportedly tailed him before opening fire. Police said that Mir sustained three gunshot wounds, but that his life was not in danger. Mir's brother, a leading investigative journalist, has accused the country's intelligence agency, the ISI, of orchestrating the attack, reports to the BBC's Shahzeb Jillani, in Karachi. According to his brother, Mir had recently told family and colleagues that he had received threats from the ISI because of his political views. In 2012, the Pakistani Taliban tried to kill Mir by planting half-a-kilogram of explosives under his car outside his home in Islamabad. But the remote-controlled device failed to go off. The Taliban had threatened Mir and other journalists for their coverage of the militants' shooting of the schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai. Five journalists were killed in Pakistan in 2013 and more than fifty have died since the early 1990s. Most murders remain unresolved.

The demand for bigger buttocks in Venezuela means some women will even have banned injections to achieve them, putting their health at risk, reports the BBC.
For the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, time for a bit of ABBA, I reckon.

1 comment:

fatoldtart said...

I believed the insufficient bandwidth message. Reset the router and everything I could think of, all in aid of hearing Second Holmes!