Saturday, September 05, 2015

Pond Life

Yer actual Alex Kingston is returning to Doctor Who for this year's Christmas Special. The actress will reprise her role as Professor River Song her very self, the time-travelling archaeologist, master criminal and daughter of The Doctor's companions Amy and Rory, whose encounters with her husband, The Doctor, occur out of sequence. With hilarious consequences, obviously. She married The Doctor in 2011, three years after viewers apparently saw her death in her first appearance on the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama. River hasn't been seen in the series since 2013's The Name Of The Doctor - so the Christmas special, which started filming this week in Cardiff, will be her first appearance with the latest Doctor, yer actual Peter Capaldi. 'To be honest, I did not know whether River would ever return,' said Alex. 'But, here she is. Steven Moffat is on glittering form, giving us an episode filled with humour and surprise guest castings. I met Peter for the first time at Monday's read through, we had a laugh. I am now excited and ready to start filming with him and the Doctor Who team. Christmas in September? Why not!'
The BBC have now updated their Programme Information Guide with details for the week commencing 19 September, one of the highlights of which is, of course, the forthcoming première of The Magician's Apprentice, the opening episode of Doctor Who's ninth series. The broadcast time has yet to be confirmed; the early evening is taken up by the Singapore Grand Prix qualifying highlights, which is currently scheduled to finish at 6:45pm.
BBC Worldwide have announced additional guests for the London Doctor Who Festival, taking place in November. Writer and actor Mark Gatiss will be appearing on the Friday of the three day event, which takes place at London's Excel Centre. Also joining the line up is Nick Briggs, voice of The Daleks and Big Finish stalwart, as well as presentations from Real SFX LTD and Millennium FX, the companies that supply the Special Effects and Prosthetics for the series. Already confirmed guests for the event - which, if you're thinking of popping along, will cost you loads - are yer actual Peter Capaldi, Michelle Gomez, Ingrid Oliver, The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) and some other people. The Festival runs from 13 to 15 November in London and from 21 to 22 November in Sydney.
He has impressed much of the world with his beguiling performances in Sherlock, but yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch has revealed that he was 'wary' of stepping into the famous detective's shoes at first. The actor talked about the show during an interview with CNN International, saying that, initially, he was cautious about taking on the populist role. He said: 'I was very wary having done roles which were challenging and terrific and, you know, kept a good career going. I was very wary about stepping into the limelight and the populist role like Sherlock Holmes but the minute I saw who was involved and read the script and the quality of it I thought, "I've got to do this."' He went on to say: 'Hopefully I haven't left being a respected actor behind by playing Sherlock. I was just going from great jobs but they weren't in the limelight. They weren't in the public eye quite to the extent that I knew that character, no matter what we did with it, was going to garner that kind of attention.'
BBC1's coverage of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo brought in an overnight audience of 4.52m at 6.30pm on Bank Holiday Monday. The seven hundred and twelfth showing of Wallace & Gromit: A Close Shave was watched by 3.10m at 7.30pm, Room 101 attracted 2.27m at 8.30pm and Lenny Henry's biographical drama Danny & The Human Zoo interested 3.41m at 9pm. Much like Henry himself, it was funny only briefly and soon wore outs its welcome. BBC2's Great British Menu appealed to 1.62m at 7.30pm, followed by University Challenge with 2.62m at 8pm. Only Connect had an overnight audience of 2.20m at 8.30pm and An Evening With Harry & Paul drew 1.64m at 9pm. On ITV, the clip-show Britain As Seen On ITV was watched by 2.91m at 8pm, while Dinosaur Britain brought in a mere 1.81m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Bear's Wild Weekends With Jonathan Ross - stop that sniggering at the back - attracted six hundred and eighty six thousand at 7.30pm, followed by Food Unwrapped with 1.24m at 8.30pm and the first episode of The Catch with 1.43m at 9pm. Celebrity Big Brother bounced back in the ratings, it's overnight audience being up from Sunday's episode by around four hundred thousand sad crushed victims of society viewers. It was watched by an average audience of 1.43 million at 9pm. Earlier, Beware: The Cops Are Watching attracted seven hundred and ninety three at 8pm, while a Botched Up Bodies 'boobs special' was gawped at by six hundred and forty one thousand sick voyeurs at 10pm.

New Tricks showed there's still life in the old dog, rising by around four hundred thousand viewers week-on-week to top Tuesday's overnight ratings. The veteran BBC1 crime drama - currently in its final series - attracted an average of 5.39 million at 9pm, topping the night across all channels outside soaps. Or, should that be, ahem, 'Telly Topping'? All right, suit yerselves. On BBC2, Hairy Bikers' Northern Exposure appealed to 2.40m at 8pm, followed by India: Nature's Wonderland with 2.01m at 9pm. It was yet another horrific night for ITV outside of their two popular soaps, with Dinosaur Britain watched by but 1.57m at 8pm and Cash In Hand: Payday Loans bringing in a shockingly low 1.28m. It was beaten by all four of the other terrestrial channels in the slot. On Channel Four, Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners attracted 1.42m at 8pm, while Educating Cardiff remained strong for its second episode with 1.50m at 9pm. How The Rich Get Hitched was seen by nine hundred and eighty two thousand at 10pm. Why anybody with so much as a single ounce of brains between their ears would want to watch a television programme called How The Rich Get Hitched is probably a good question to be asking at this juncture. Channel Five's I Want That Wedding interested five hundred and forty one thousand people with nothing better to do with their time at 8pm, followed by the latest Celebrity Big Brother with 1.44m at 9pm. The Hotel Inspector Returns brought in seven hundred and sixteen thousand at 10pm.

The Great British Bake Off showed no signs of cooling down in the overnight ratings on Wednesday evenings. This week's episode of arctic rolls and pitta breads attracted an average audience of 9.83 million at 8pm on BBC1, up from the previous episode by around three hundred thousand viewers. Sue Perkins had a good night all round as her Kolkata documentary followed at 9pm with 4.56m. On BBC2, Great British Menu brought in 1.42m at 7.30pm, followed by Horizon with eight hundred and ninety six thousand at 8pm and Ascent Of Woman with seven hundred and thirty eight thousand at 9pm. ITV's mind-numbingly poor clip-show You Saw Them Here First failed to entertain 2.13m at 8pm, whilst new reality format The Nick managed 2.44m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Posh Pawn appealed to 1.08m at 8pm, followed by One Born Every Minute with 1.23m at 9pm and Katie Piper's Extraordinary Births with nine hundred and twenty three thousand at 10pm. Channel Five's Nightmare Neighbour Next Door was watched by 1.03m at 8pm, while Celebrity Big Brother continued with 1.21m at 9pm. Wentworth Prison was watched by six hundred and twenty one thousand punters at 10pm. On BBC3, Don't Tell the Bride was seen by six hundred and sixty four thousand at 9pm, while Trains That Time Forgot appealed to six hundred and ninety one thousand at the same time on BBC4.

Odious, full-of-his-own-importance smear Jamie Oliver launched his latest self-important health campaign on Thursday night, but he might need more support if the overnight figures are anything to go by. Channel Four's Sugar Rush was watched by an average audience of 1.25 million at 9pm. Earlier, Location, Location, Location appealed to 1.55m at 8pm. On BBC2, Peter Kay's 'Gor-blimey-Mary-Poppins' starring role in the Danny Baker biopic Cradle To Grave launched with 2.15m at 9pm - and, very good it was too - followed by the new transgender sitcom Boy Meets Girl with 1.52m at 9.30pm. At this point, dear blog reader, this blogger needs to report a conversation he overheard the following morning in the sauna at the local pool where one of the punters was enthusiastically extolling the virtues of 'that thing on the telly about trannies with Denis Healey's missus.' Nearly, pal, nearly. Earlier on the channel, World's Weirdest Events was seen by 1.69m at 8pm. BBC1's Eat Well For Less with Gregg Wallace topped the night overall outside soaps with 3.90m punters at 8pm, while Jerry Hall's turn on Who Do You Think You Are? was seen by 3.81m at 9pm. On ITV, sheep-abusing fiasco Flockstars is still limping along with a risible 1.57m audience at 8.30pm, followed by Stephen Fry's Central America with a, not much better, 1.83m at 9pm. Channel Five's latest episode of Celebrity Big Brother entertained 1.34m sad, crushed victims of society at 9pm and Special Needs Hotel brought in seven hundred and twelve thousand viewers at 10pm.
Speaking at a press screening of Cradle To Grave earlier in the week, Danny Baker said that 'authenticity' isn't all that important in terms of how a TV character speaks. 'It's a shock when Peter Kay don't talk like Peter Kay - and it takes a bit to get over that,' he acknowledged. 'But after a while, hopefully, he's that character - that's who he is, that's how he walks, that how he talks. I grew up with Harry Corbett in Steptoe & Son, what part of London was that?' Danny asked. 'James Bolam in The Likely Lads - that ain't Geordie! But that's how that character speaks.' He added that Bolton-born Kay worked closely with a vocal coach to perfect his Cockney tones: 'Peter would sit in his caravan and work and work and work. It was really hard for him. Peter always wanted to be like his hero Ronnie Barker and I think, for the first time, you're seeing him step out and think, "He's a great actor."' Speaking at a press screening, Baker said that "authenticity" isn't all that important in terms of how a TV character speaks.
An average overnight audience of 1.49 million people with nothing better to do with their time tuned in to watch Celebrity Big Brother's first eviction on Friday evening. For the fourth week running, BBC1's The ONE Show was the evening's highest-rated programme outside of soaps, attracting 3.27 million at 7pm. The night continued with 2.83 million for Would I Lie to You? at 8.30pm and 2.68 million for Ripper Street at 9pm. On ITV, Breaking Into Britain: Tonight filled the gap between episodes of Coronation Street with 1.97m at 8pm. Odious Oily Twat Piers Morgan's Worthless Life Stories returned with 2.44 million at 9pm, as the horrible, waste-of-space host interviewed Lionel Richie. The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice continued to pull in strong ratings for BBC Two, playing to 2.57 million at 9pm. BBC2's evening began with six hundred and fifty thousand for The Farmer & The Food Chain at 7pm, followed by 1.58 million for Great British Menu, 1.74 million for Mastermind and 2.16 million for Gardeners' World. The second episode of Rick Stein's From Venice to Istanbul dropped to 1.68 million at 9.30pm. On Channel Four, Celebrity Fifteen To One had an audience of nine hundred and eighty thousand, while Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown entertained 1.63 million at 9pm and The Last Leg followed with 1.27 million at 10pm.

Comedy moment(s) of the week, once again, came from Would I Lie To You?. For there were several. Trevor Noah's claim to have once enjoyed ringing up random people and pretending to be Nelson Mandela, the running joke about Richard Hammond's height (or, you know, lack of it) and David Mitchell suggesting that he had once attended 'a football match' (featuring 'Tottingham Hotspur') were all worthy of this week's instalment on the licence fee for all but the criminally humour-challenged.
There was a very good episode of Ripper Street - The Incontrovertible Truth - on Friday too with a fine guest performance by the excellently-named Laura Haddock. Albeit, the production has been at it again, using anachronistic words and phrases for late Nineteenth Century London. Dear blog readers with longer memories may recall that the drama has some form in this regard, with a previous episode from the last series seeing one of the characters use the term 'reverse engineer' about nine decades before its first recorded usage. In the latest episode, 'slum tourist' was used, a phrase which didn't enter the English language until the 1980s. They could have used the similar 'slumming' which was a genuine Victorian term - an 1884 New York Times article appears to have been the first known published use, with an explanation that, near-as-dammit perfectly described the plot of The Incontrovertible Truth: 'The latest fashionable idiosyncrasy in London is slumming; the visiting of the slums by parties of ladies and gentlemen for sightseeing.'
Strictly Come Dancing comfortably twanked The X Factor's bare arse in the first head-to-head of 2015, as BBC1's hit celebrity dance competition returned to impressive numbers on Saturday. The thirteenth series' launch show was watched by an average of 8.69 million overnight viewers from 7.15pm - and improved year-on-year, beating 2014's opening overnight figure of 8.43 million. It peaked with a fifteen minute average of 9.47 million around 8pm. By contrast, The X Factor lagged well behind on ITV with 7.13 million, although it remained steady with the previous Saturday's live figure of 7.11 million. Between 8.15pm and 8.35pm, when the two shows briefly overlapped by twenty minutes, Strictly enjoyed an audience of 9.04 million compared to The X Factor's average of 5.44 million. Strictly also saw dancer Ola Jordan suffer 'an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction' as the Pole was paired with former Olympic athlete Iwan Thomas, who hoisted her awkwardly into the air in celebration. 'In this one second, he ripped my skirt, broke my nail and my boobs popped out,' Jordan later revealed on Twitter. Round one, very much to the Beeb, one could suggest. Expect the whinging trio of Adam Crozier, Peter Fincham and Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads to be whinging like girls to the Daily Scum Mail about what a right shite state of affairs this all is and how the BBC should be banned from putting anything on opposite The X Factor, by law, very soon indeed. So, no change there, then. Strictly now takes a three-week break as the contestants learn the basics of ballroom. It returns with a double live episode on 25 and 26 September. Earlier on BBC1, Pointless Celebrities had an audience of 3.99 million and The National Lottery: Five Star Family Reunion attracted 3.84 million. Casualty then drew 4.79 million from 9.30pm and the evening closed with a repeat of Mrs Brown's Boys with 3.1 million. On BBC2, Natural World was watched by six hundred and sixty four thousand, repeats of Dad's Army and Goodness Gracious Me pulled in 1.46 million and seven hundred and thirty thousand viewers respectively, before second showings of the opening episodes of Cradle To Grave and Boy Meets Girl had five hundred and thirty four thousand and a fraction over four hundred thousand viewers at 9.40pm and 10.40pm. Before The X Factor, the Bradley Walsh game show Keep It In The Family continued with 2.47 million on ITV. Hideous pile of worthless diarrhoea Through The Keyhole attracted a satisfyingly low 2.88 million from 9.30pm. Earlier, England's qualification for Euro 2016 with a six-nil win in San Marino had an audience of . Channel Four's Great Canal Journeys concluded with eight hundred and fifty three thousand viewers. It Was Alright In The Seventies appealed to 1.39 million in the 9pm hour after Our Guy In India had been watched by eight hundred and ten thousand an hour earlier. On Channel Five, Celebrity Big Brother was watched by nine hundred and fifty nine thousand from 10pm. Football League Tonight was watched by two hundred and seventy two thousand earlier in the evening. Overall, BBC1 comfortably won the primetime battle with a twenty nine per cent share of the available audience, compared to ITV's twenty per cent. Something else for ITV to whinge about. Here's an idea, guys, make some programmes that aren't lowest-common-denominator shite that people actually want to watch and you might attract a few more punters. Just sayin' ...

The X Factor enjoyed a somewhat more successful second Sunday episode in the overnight ratings. The fourth auditions compilation attracted an average audience of 6.68 million viewers at 8pm on ITV. This was lower than its Saturday edition by around five hundred thousand viewers, but up by almost seven hundred thousand from the previous Sunday's episode. Elsewhere, BBC1's new adaptation of Lady Chatterley's Lover give an anticipation of The Horn in the homes of 4.86m people at 9pm. An anticipation which, rather disappointingly, wasn't followed up on to any great degree. It was a bit like doing a remake of James and leaving out the Shark, frankly. Earlier, Countryfile appealed to 5.63m at 7pm, followed by Antiques Roadshow with 5.31m at 8pm. On BBC2, Dragons' Den brought in 1.92m at 8pm, while Special Forces: Ultimate Hell Week was seen by 1.32m at 9pm. Channel Four's Time Crashers continued with five hundred and thirty five thousand punters at 8pm, followed by a screening of the movie Iron Man 2 with 1.68m at 9pm. On Channel Five, Celebrity Big Brother interested 1.17m people who should be sodding well ashamed of themselves at 9pm.

Here's the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty One programmes for week-ending Sunday 30 August 2015:-
1 The Great British Bake Off - Wed BBC1 - 12.36m
2 The X Factor - Sat ITV - 8.97m
3 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 7.89m
4 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 7.03m
5 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 6.62m
6 Casualty - Sun BBC1 - 6.08m
7 New Tricks - Tues BBC1 - 6.02m
8 Britain's Spending Secrets - Wed BBC1 - 5.30m
9 Ten O'Clock News - Wed BBC1 - 5.16m
10 Six O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 4.88m
11 Who Do You Think You Are? - Thurs BBC1 - 4.68m
12 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 4.59m
13= BBC News - Sat BBC1 - 4.43m
13= Big Blue Live - Sun BBC1 - 4.43m
15 The Trails Of Jimmy Rose - Sun ITV - 4.40m*
16 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.35m
17 Mrs Brown's Boys - Sat BBC1 - 4.16m
18 Partners In Crime - Sun BBC1 - 4.05m
19 Match Of The Day - Sat BBC1 - 3.90m
20 Pointless celebrities - Sat BBC1 - 3.79m
21 The ONE Show - Tues BBC1 - 3.67m
These figures, as usual, do not include iPlayer or ITV Player viewers. Once again ITV's latest two 'quality' examples of lowest-common-denominator diarrhoea-on-toast - Flockstars and BBQ Champ - drew consolidated audiences of less than 1.7m punters, neither of the pair of hilarious flops making ITV's top thirty shows of the week. That's what you get for treating the viewing public as idiots, guys. The Sunday night episode of The X Factor drew an audience of 7.50 million. For BBC2, World's Busiest Railways continued to attract impressive numbers (3.19m), whilst the figures brought in by The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice (3.05m), University Challenge (2.88m), Dragons' Den (2.55m), Only Connect (2.39m), Rick Stein from Venice To Istanbul (2.24m) and Gardeners' World (2.23m) were also above-average for their respective slots. As was the Natural World film Super-Powered Owls (2.07m). Several episodes of the BBC's coverage of the Athletics World Championships also made BBC2's top thirty, with Thursday night's audience of 1.69m being the biggest. Channel Four's top-rated broadcasts were Educating Cardiff (2.11m), Location, Location, Location (1.95m), Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown (also 1.95m), The Other Prince William (1.79m) and The Last Leg (1.69m). Channel Five's highest-rated shows were Celebrity Big Brother (a depressing 2.56m), Inside Scientology (1.42m) and Undercover Benefit Cheats (1.29m). Sky Sports 1's Live Ford Monday Night Football - featuring a dull goalless draw between The Arse and Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws - was the most-watched multichannels broadcast of the week with 1.30m, a fraction ahead of Live Ford Super Sunday's coverage of The Scum's victory at Norwich City (1.16m). Midsomer Murders was ITV3's highest-rated programme (eight hundred and eighty six thousand), followed by Endeavour (eight hundred and twenty two thousand) and Lewis (six hundred and seventy seven thousand). On ITV4, Cycling: La Vuelta A Espana Highlights attracted three hundred and eighty two thousand. BBC3's weekly-list was topped by the movie Deep Impact (eight hundred and ninety seven thousand). BBC4's weekly list was headed by Who Were The Greeks? (five hundred and fifty eight thousand) and The Young Montalbano (five hundred and fifty five thousand), followed by Friday Night At The Proms (five hundred and fourteen thousand) and Rich Hall's You Can Go To Hell, I'm Going To Texas (four hundred and sixty thousand) viewers. And, very funny the latter was, too. 5USA's Chicago PD attracted five hundred and twenty thousand. Ray Donovan (two hundred and five thousand) was Sky Atlantic's weekly list-topper, followed by The Brink (one hundred and seventy one thousand) and a repeat episode of Game of Thrones (one hundred and eighteen thousand). Last Week With John Oliver drew one hundred and seven thousand and Aquarius one hundred and five thousand. Sky Living's most-watched dramas were Madam Secretary (four hundred and ninety six thousand viewers), Chicago Fire (four hundred and eighty one thousand) and Unforgettable (four hundred and sixty nine thousand). Hannibal's second-to-last episode had one hundred and sixty four thousand viewers. Sky Arts' The Beatles: from Liverpool To San Francisco drew seventy three thousand punters. A popular beat combo of the 1960s, just in case you were wondering. Next ... Sky 1's most-watched programmes were the third episode of Zoo (eight hundred and thirty eight thousand) and The Last Ship (six hundred and seventy one thousand). On Dave, Taskmaster was the channel's highest-rated programme of the week - four hundred and sixty thousand - followed by Suits (three hundred and sixty six thousand), The Last Man On Earth (three hundred and fifty five thousand) and Top Gear (three hundred and twenty seven thousand). Drama's The Pinkertons attracted six hundred thousand viewers whilst The Inspector Lynley Mysteries was watched by two hundred and ninety six thousand and Jonathan Creek by two hundred and seventy one thousand. Watch's broadcast of The Strain was seen by four hundred and thirty nine thousand. Yesterday's Edward VIII's Murderous Mistress had an audience of two hundred and forty six thousand viewers. The true Story of The Mary Celeste drew two hundred and thirty five thousand. FOX's highest-rated shows were Marvel's Agent Carter (five hundred and ninety six thousand), Falling Skies (four hundred and three thousand), American Dad! (two hundred and thirty five thousand), Murder In The First (two hundred and thirty two thousand) and several episodes of NCIS (Friday's being the most-watched with one hundred and forty two thousand). Another episode of NCIS topped CBS Action's weekly list (one hundred and twenty four thousand). The world's most-watched drama also featured in the top ten lists of both 5USA and the Universal Channel, the latter of which was headed by Rookie Blue (two hundred thousand). On the Discovery Channel, Wheeler Dealers was watched by three hundred and twenty six thousand viewers. An older episode of the popular car series also topped Discovery Turbo's weekly list. Discovery History's Curse of The Axe had twenty four thousand viewers. Time Team and Tanks! were both watched by twenty two thousand. The Discovery Science channel drew thirty thousand viewers for How It's Made. CI's When Life Means Life brought in fifty four thousand and Frankie Fraser's Last Stand - featuring the chirpy, media-darling EastEnd 'character' and, you know, kneecapper - was watched by forty one thousand whilst ID's Australia's Toughest Police was watched by sixty thousand thousand and FBI Case Files by fifty nine thousand. National Geographic's SOS had an audience of seventy eight thousand viewers. GOLD's, seemingly never-ending repeat run of Only Fools & Horses attracted one hundred and eighty one thousand. Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for Impractical Jokers (four hundred and forty seven thousand). On Sky Sports News Gillette Soccer Saturday, was watched by seven hundred and seventy eight thousand. On ITV Encore, Vera attracted ninety four thousand viewers. TLC's weekly-list was topped by The Little Couple which was seen by one hundred and sixty five thousand.
The BBC has pledged to work closely with the UK's arts and science institutions to 'make Britain the greatest cultural force in the world.' Director General Tony Hall has set out plans for the next decade, saying that the corporation will become an 'open BBC for the Internet age.' A children's iPlayer and a pool of local reporters who will share work with local newspapers are also planned. Lord Hall laid out the plans ahead of the BBC's charter renewal in 2016. He said that it would not be 'an expansionist BBC' and warned that funding cuts would mean it would 'inevitably have to either close or reduce some services.' However, he did not specify which services might be under threat. The Daily Torygraph pre-empted Hall's speech with a piece by some Tory smear of no importance citing anonymous - and, therefore, probably fictitious - alleged 'sources' as allegedly claiming 'BBC Four could be closed to fund fifty million pound boost for drama'. New initiatives will include an Ideas Service, which Lord Hall said would be 'an open online platform' featuring material from galleries, museums and universities as well as the corporation itself. He said: 'Our new, open BBC will act as a curator bringing the best from Britain's great cultural institutions and thinkers to everyone. Britain has some of the greatest cultural forces in the world. We want to join with them, working alongside them, to make Britain the greatest cultural force in the world. We are extremely ambitious for this new service. Where Google's mission is to organise the world's information, ours in a smaller way would be to understand it. We will work with anyone who can help us understand this ever more complex world.' As part of that process, other BBC plans include: A pool of reporters to provide 'impartial reporting' on councils and public services which could be used by both the BBC and by other local news outlets; a hub for data journalism, in partnership with a leading university, which would make BBC expertise in data journalism available to local newsgroups; a children's-only iPlayer featuring not just television programmes but blogs, podcasts, games and educational tools; either a satellite TV service for Russian speakers or a bigger digital presence on platforms such as YouTube and its Russian equivalent, Rutube and a daily news programme for North Korea, broadcast on short wave radio. The BBC Arabic Service is to offer more regional content, with increased coverage of North Africa and the Middle East. And there will be a news service for Ethiopia and Eritrea on medium wave and short wave. The Director General also said that he wanted to enable 'producers, directors, writers, artists to have the creative freedom to do things they would find it harder to do elsewhere.' Quality drama will be a priority, he said, and the BBC will make 'bigger and bolder series' that will be made available on the iPlayer in their entirety in order to compete with services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Physicist Professor and BBC presenter Brian Cox (no, the other one) also announced a science strand named The New Age Of Wonder, which will be part of the Ideas Service and will be created in partnership with organisations like the Royal Institution. 'This is not an expansionist BBC' is perhaps the key political line in the announcement. This is a clear response to the ludicrous accusation that the corporation is 'imperial in its ambitions' made by the Chancellor the vile and odious rascal Osborne (along with several scum right-wing thug bullybo7y newspapers). Partnerships with cultural bodies, sharing news with local newspapers, opening up the iPlayer to third party content - the mood music is all about co-operation rather than competition. The second theme can be seen most clearly in the plans for bigger and bolder drama and giving people the chance to 'binge' watch. Lord Hall described the recent agreement by the BBC to cover the six hundred million knicker cost of providing free television licences for over-seventy fives as 'a tough deal' which would require 'some very difficult choices' to be made. He said: 'Having already saved forty per cent of the BBC's revenues in this charter period, we must save close to another twenty per cent over the next five years.' Details of how those savings will be made and which services might be under threat will be announced in the coming months, he added.
Bill Turnbull has announced that he is leaving BBC Breakfast after nearly fifteen years on the sofa. The presenter told the Daily Mirra that his tenure was 'more than enough for me and the audience. So it is a good time to call it a day and do something else. It was a long-term decision. I could see this coming up, and it was always the plan.' He said that he wants to 'spend more time beekeeping,' which he added he had been 'neglecting for far too long.' Earlier on Wednesday, during BBC Breakfast's paper review, Bill commented on the Mirra article. 'It's true, I'm going to leave the programme at the end of January because fifteen years is long enough. I'll be sad to leave you.' The breakfast show later tweeted a picture of the presenter on the sofa with his co-presenters, Louise Minchin, Sally Nugent and Steph McGovern, in tears around him. Sports presenter Nugent tweeted that Bill had earned a lie in: 'But, we will miss him. I know he pretends to be grumpy but he's really not.' Turnbull said that he will not miss his early 3am rises. 'You get hardened to it and I have done it thousands of times and it still never gets any easier.' Breakfast weather presenter Carol Kirkwood, who is currently rehearsing for her forthcoming slot on Strictly Come Dancing, tweeted she was 'really really going to miss' her 'lovely wonderful friend.' The BBC said it will announce any changes to the presenter line-up 'in due course.'
Yer actual Sue Perkins has revealed that she has a non-cancerous tumour in her pituitary gland, which prevents her from having children. Speaking to Good Housekeeping magazine, the broadcaster said that she had discovered the tumour while having medical tests for another BBC show, Supersizers some years ago. 'I'm lucky that it's benign so it's not in itself a worrying thing,' she said. 'Sometimes it's big and makes me mad and sometimes it's small and is in the background,' the forty five-year-old added. 'Sometimes it screws up my hormones. I have various tests now to make sure the side effects aren't too onerous. I don't know if I would have gone on to have children. But as soon as someone says you can't have something, you want it more than anything.' The presenter subsequently thanked fans for their messages of concern. She tweeted: 'Ta for sweet tweets about my prolactinoma. It's benign and non-symptomatic. Let's focus on those less fortunate in the world,' she added.
The author Anthony Horowitz has apologised for saying that he thought Idris Elba was 'too street' to be the next James Bond. Horowitz, who has written a new James Bond novel, made his comments about Elba - best known for his roles in Luther and The Wire - to the Scum Mail On Sunday. He told the scummy, louse right-wing rag that it was 'not a colour issue' - but some whingers didn't seem to believe him and accused him of making a veiled racial remark. Quite how, exactly, they got to that conclusion from the rather innocuous two words the bloke used is unknown. But then, these are people on Twitter so, you know, nothing should really surprise us. Horowitz has now said the word 'street' was 'a poor choice of word' and he was 'mortified to have caused offence.' Albeit, only to professional offence-takers, it would seem. Elba has long been touted as a possible successor to Daniel Craig as the fictional secret service agent and, like as not, he'd be very good in the role - him being, you know, a sodding good actor, and all that. Horowitz is currently promoting Trigger Mortis, a novel featuring Bond, which has been authorised by the estate of original 007 author Ian Fleming. And, one imagines, this completely manufactured story will probably have put a few extra sales on the balance sheet. So, everybody wins. In the interview, the author claimed that he thought Elba was not right for the part, which is an entirely valid opinion to have, albeit not one this blogger necessarily agrees with. 'Idris Elba is a terrific actor, but I can think of other black actors who would do [the role] better,' he said, suggesting Hustle's Adrian Lester as one a possible alternative. 'For me, Idris Elba is a bit too rough to play the part. It's not a colour issue. I think he is probably a bit too "street" for Bond. Is it a question of being suave? Yeah.' Despite his insistence that his opinion had nothing to do with skin colour, some Twitter users accused him of racism. And, of course, as well all know Twitter is now The Sole Arbiter On The Worth Of All Things. At least, it is according to the Gruniad Morning Star and they know everything so ... whatever. 'I'm really sorry my comments about Idris Elba have caused offence,' Horowitz responded in a statement. 'That wasn't my intention. I was asked in my interview if Idris Elba would make a good James Bond. In the article I expressed the opinion that, to my mind, Adrian Lester would be a better choice but I'm a writer not a casting director so what do I know? Clumsily, I chose the word "street" as Elba's gritty portrayal of DCI John Luther was in my mind but I admit it was a poor choice of word. I am mortified to have caused offence.' Don't worry, pal, you didn't. At least, not to anyone that actually matters - except, possibly, Idris Elba himself who'd probably suggest that, as an actor (and a jolly good one, at that), he can play against 'type'.
Helena Bonham Carter her very self is to star in writer Nick Hornby’s first TV drama – Love, Nina – based on the memoirs of a nanny who worked for some of the leading lights of literary London. The mini-series, which will go out over five half-hour episodes on BBC1, is based on Nina Stibbe's award-winning autobiography of the same name. It is the first TV drama outing for Nick, whose books include About A Boy, High Fidelity and Fever Pitch - the latter two of which are particular favourites of yer actual Keith Telly Topping. 'Nina Stibbe's book has already established itself as a much-loved piece of comic writing and I love it,' Hornby said. 'Her observations and worldview were the inspiration for a show that we think captures the same spirit. It's been a joy to write and we're thrilled with the quality of the cast.' Stibbe's book, based around letters home to Leicestershire, recounts her time as nanny to the children of the London Review of Books editor in North London in the 1980s. The BBC describes the drama as 'a laugh-out-loud culture clash that celebrates family and friendship in all its chaotic glory.' The drama reunites Bonham Carter with director SJ Clarkson; they last worked together on the BBC1 drama Toast, based on the autobiographical novel by Nigel Slater. Clarkson has been directing shows in the US, including the opening episodes of AKA Jessica Jones, as well as Martin Scorsese's Vinyl for HBO. Bonham Carter will play Georgia, the mother of boys Joe and Max and Nina's charges as nanny. 'It’s a joy to be working with Helena again and even more so to be collaborating on such wonderful material and with such a talented ensemble,' said Clarkson. Nina is to be played by Faye Marsay, and the boys by Ethan Rouse and Harry Webster. Filming is due to start in London in September, with production by See-Saw Films, which has credits including BBC2's Top Of The Lake.

Jemma Redgrave is joining the cast of BBC1's medical drama Holby City. A member of the Redgrave acting dynasty, the fifty-year-old is the daughter of Corin Redgrave and niece of Dame Vanessa Redgrave and Lynn Redgrave. Her acting cousins include Joely Richardson and the late Natasha Richardson. But, you knew all that already, right? Jemma will play the role of Bernie Wolfe, a general surgeon with battlefield experience. She will first appear as a patient on Darwin Ward, before settling professionally in Keller Ward. Leading roles in the theatre include a 1990 revival of Anton Chekhov's The Three Sisters in the West End with her aunts Vanessa and Lynn and a 1993 production of Alexander Griboyedov's Chatsky with Colin Firth at the Almeida Theatre. Jemma, whose TV appearances include semi-regular stints in Doctor Who, said: 'It will be great to be practising medicine again, on one of the BBC's flagship dramas. I am so happy to be joining the cast.' Oliver Kent, Holby City's executive producer, said: 'When we dreamed up the character of Bernie Wolfe, we immediately thought of Jemma Redgrave and we were utterly thrilled when she agreed to join the Holby company. Bernie Wolfe will be a force to be reckoned with and I can't wait to see her locking horns with our established regulars on the wards.' Jemma will feature in the series for six months, appearing on screens from early next year.

Apple is reportedly considering a move into creating original TV and film and tried to sign up former Top Gear presenters Jezza Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. The move would take the company into competition with Netflix and Amazon, which have both invested heavily in original content to attract subscribers to their streaming platforms. Apple is said to have held 'preliminary talks' with Hollywood executives about helping the company produce long-form content and is considering a live TV service. Variety reports that the company was considering setting up development and production divisions next year and hopes to begin recruiting in the near future. Apple is said to have bid for the services of Clarkson, Hammond and May, but ultimately lost out to Amazon, which paid two hundred and fifty million dollars for thirty six episodes of a new motoring show. Next week the iPhone maker is expected to unveil a new version of its Apple TV set-top box, which was launched in 2007 but has not seen anywhere near the success of its other products. Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, another TV streaming service, are all central offerings on Apple TV. It is unclear whether Apple is looking at films or TV series. Netflix and Amazon began their original content efforts in TV, but have begun commissioning feature films. However, Apple already has a track record of buying independent films to distribute via iTunes.

Alice Eve, the actress who stripped down to her knickers for an, allegedly, 'controversial scene' in Star Trek Into Darkness, has defended the sequence and called it 'a Princess Leia moment.' Talking to IndieWire while promoting her new film. Dirty Weekend, Eve said: 'I worked very hard to achieve that moment, that screen time, to get a six-pack. It's not easy to get a six-pack and I remain very proud of that moment. I don't feel a victim of that situation. I don't feel a victim in many places in my life. I feel I'm a very lucky individual and I made that choice. I'm an educated, independent woman and I decided that would be a fine thing to do and me and JJ [Abrams] did it and there was nothing underhand or awkward. Then it kind of took on a life of its own. But I don’t think that's what will remain of that image. I think what will remain is the movie, the power, the fact that its like a Princess Leia moment. The fact that it’s something that's allowed to be iconic, aside from the male moments being iconic. Yes she's an intelligent, strong, educated woman ... who also has a six-pack.' The sequence caused something of an Internet debate with the film's writer Damon Lindelof apologising for it on Twitter: 'I copped to the fact that we should have done a better job of not being gratuitous in our representation of a barely clothed actress. We also had Kirk shirtless in underpants in both movies. Do not want to make light of something that some construe as misogynistic. What I'm saying is I hear you, I take responsibility and will be more mindful in the future.' Quite why Lindelof felt the need to say this when confronted with the whinging of a few dozen malcontents of no importance on the Interweb is a question probably well worth asking. It also emerged that a similar scene showing a barely clothed Benedict Cumberbatch was cut out of the finished film. Which was, obviously, tragic for the many fans of the popular actor and his gorgeous bod. Allegedly.
President Barack Obama will trek through the wilderness in Alaska this week with adventurer Bear Grylls, the NBC channel has announced. He is due to tape an episode of Running Wild With Bear Grylls to observe the effects of climate change on the area, it said. He is the first president to appear on the show, to be broadcast later this year. President Obama is on a three-day tour of Alaska aimed at highlighting the pace of climate change. It is part of his administration's efforts to build support for new legislation significantly capping carbon dioxide emissions from power plants in the US, as well as raise attention to the ways climate change has damaged Alaska's natural landscape. Obama follows several other high profile figures, including the actresses Kate Winslet ('Bear, I'm dangling') and Kate Hudson, who have tested their survival skills - or, you know, lack of them - on the show. Bear Grylls - a former British special forces soldier - puts celebrities through their paces in remote forests and mountains across the world, 'pushing their minds and bodies to the limit to complete their journeys.' Why anybody would want to have their minds and bodies push to the limit is another question entirely. This week Obama will become the first sitting US president to visit the Alaskan Arctic, where he is due to address foreign ministers from Arctic nations at a conference on climate change. He is also scheduled to visit glaciers and meet fishermen and native leaders to discuss rising sea levels, shrinking glaciers and melting permafrost in the sparsely populated US state.

Clive Edwards, the BBC's head of TV current affairs commissioning, is to step down, bringing an end to a twenty two-year career as a frontline journalist. Edwards, who has also worked at Panorama and edited The Money Programme, will work with the BBC Academy for the next year leading a new factual storytelling initiative. Edwards remit will be taken on by Fiona Campbell, head of current affairs, who will absorb the commissioning role. 'Clive's departure from BBC Television is a great loss,' said Danny Cohen, the BBC's director of television. 'He has championed investigative journalism and innovative programme-making and brought current affairs to a much wider audience.' Edwards has been responsible for commissioning current affairs programmes including Afghanistan: The Lion's Last Roar?, Inside The Commons, Reinventing The Royals and the BBC3 drama Murdered By My Boyfriend. In 2013, Director General Tony Hall split the corporation's most senior current affairs role to put more 'oomph' into programmes such as Panorama. Edwards, who held the role of executive editor and commissioning editor for TV current affairs, retained responsibility for commissioning while a new role of head of TV current affairs was created.

ITV has issued a grovelling - if seemingly, rather insincere - apology after a backlash over an online poll for its Loose Women programme, which asked whether women were ever to blame for being raped. Results of the poll, carried out in light of comments by The Pretenders' singer Chrissie Hynde last week, were overwhelmingly negative but the fact the question was even asked in the first place, not surprisingly, sparked anger and serious questions of taste and decency. One volunteer for a charity which supports rape survivors told the Gruniad Morning Star that the poll had already led to clients contacting her with concerns and warned it could stop others from coming forward to report crimes against them. Rape Crisis called the poll 'ill-considered, insensitive and insulting' and said that responsibility for rape always lay with the perpetrator. The poll was published online before a panel discussion about Hynde's remarks on the daytime programme. Hynde had told The Sunday Times magazine that when she was twenty one a member of an Ohio motorcycle gang promised to take her to a party but instead took her to an empty house where she was sexually assaulted. But, she added, she took 'full responsibility' for what happened and she went on to say that women who dress provocatively while walking down the street drunk were also to blame if they were attacked. 'If I'm walking around in my underwear and I'm drunk? Who else's fault can it be?' she asked. In light of Hynde's comments, the Loose Women poll crassly asked: 'Is it ever a woman's fault if she is raped?' An overwhelming eighty eight per cent of respondents said no. Katie Russell, the national spokeswoman for Rape Crisis England & Wales, called the poll 'completely inappropriate' and said that her organisation was 'disappointed' that the ITV show could think otherwise 'even for a moment. Legally, not to mention morally, rape is always one hundred per cent the responsibility of its perpetrator and no one else,' she said in an e-mailed statement, adding that self-blame and shame were a major reason for many victims not reporting attacks to police. 'A programme like Loose Women could choose to use its high profile to raise awareness and understanding of rape, its impacts and prevalence, and to support and encourage survivors to seek services like those Rape Crisis offers,' she added. 'Instead, they've reinforced myths and stereotypes with this ill-considered, insensitive and insulting poll. We do hope they will apologise to their audience and the wider public, especially the large numbers of rape survivors among both.' Ofcom, the broadcast regulator, said that it had received 'more than a dozen' complaints in the three hours immediately after the poll was published online. 'We will assess these complaints before deciding whether to investigate or not,' a spokesperson said. A spokesperson for Loose Women apologised for 'a misjudgment in the way the poll had been worded.' The spokesperson said: 'Loose Women is a daily talk show centred around topical debate and this discussion, linked to a recent news story, involved a full and frank range of views from the panellists. We always want to know what our viewers think about topical issues, however, we accept that the wording of the online poll was misjudged and we apologise for any offence caused.' So, a non-apology apology, then.

Lord Burns, the chair of Channel Four, is understood to be 'looking at options' for a partial or full sell-off of the broadcaster as the government considers the sale of state assets to help reduce its budget deficit. The former Treasury economist and chair of Santander bank is believed to be 'preparing various proposals' that would allow Channel Four to maintain its remit to provide distinctive public service programming in the event of a sale, according to the Gruniad Morning Star. It is not clear, the paper claims, whether Burns, the author of several landmark government reports on broadcasting and economic issues, was asked by the government to consider these 'various options' or if the review is a pre-emptive measure which could be used to defend the commercially funded, state-owned broadcaster if its sale were to be proposed. The review comes as the Treasury considers the sale of public assets to raise twenty billion smackers in the run-up to this year's autumn spending review. The Treasury and the Department for Culture Media and Sport are, the Gruniad state, 'understood to be receptive' to ideas regarding Channel Four, though alleged - although anonymous, and therefore probably fictitious - 'senior government sources' allegedly stressed that there were 'no active plans being discussed' with the broadcaster's management and no bids tabled. Draft proposals from Burns are understood to have been seen by the vile and odious rascal Whittingdale, the lack of culture secretary, who refused to rule out the future privatisation of Channel Four when speaking to an audience of TV executives in Edinburgh last week. 'The ownership of Channel Four is not currently under debate,' he said. Emphasis on the word 'currently'. 'Do I say there are no circumstances in which I would ever consider it? No, I don’t,' he added, ominously. The vile and odious rascal Whittingdale stressed the importance of maintaining Channel Four's 'scope'. 'What I do say is the remit of Channel Four is a priority and it's not going to change. I would have no intention of changing the remit of Channel Four and I would want Channel Four to serve that remit.' Channel Four's remit includes a commitment to provide 'distinctive, risk-taking programming', support the independent production sector and promote new talent. Any company looking to buy a stake in the broadcaster would have to agree to continue these less profitable commitments. Such commitments make valuations for Channel Four difficult but some estimates have put the figure as high as a billion knicker. One option which could be under consideration is 'a golden share' sell-off, under which the government retains a nominal share with the power to out-vote all others in order to maintain some control, in this case over the remit. Rumours about the possible privatisation of Channel Four have re-emerged since the Shareholder Executive, which manages the government's ownership of the broadcaster as well as the Royal Mint, nuclear fuel company Urenco and various other assets, was moved from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to the Treasury. The chancellor, the vile and odious rascal Osborne, is understood to be considering the value of all such assets, estimated to be worth a total of thirty two billion notes, in order to reduce debt obligations. In July, there were several reports that the government was considering proposals to privatise Channel Four. Burns and Channel Four declined to comment at the time. In recent interviews, the Channel Four chief executive, David Abraham, said that the 'special nature' and value of the broadcaster would be eroded by privatisation. Jay Hunt, Channel Four's chief content officer, also told the Gruniad that her commissioning decisions 'would change' if Channel Four was part of the private sector. Maybe she should try a revival of a couple of her crowning moments when controller of BBC1, Big Top and Totally Saturday. Cos, they were such massive hits with the punters, weren't they?
Public art could be installed in all open spaces and new big buildings to help support the incomes of painters and other creative artists, the Labour leadership contender hippy Communist Jeremy Corbyn has suggested. Which all sounds very nice but in the event of Corbyn being elected leader, which seems likely, the chances of him ever becoming Prime Minister and having the opportunity of putting his highfalutin' vainglorious schemes into practice are less than zero. So, you know, don't get too excited, dear blog reader. The leadership frontrunner, who writes poetry and enjoys abstract paintings, raised the possibility of changes to the planning system to place an obligation on developers and local councils to fund local art as he launched his creative manifesto. In his speech in Dalston, Corbyn's main message was that he wanted Labour to 'promote art for all' and that there was a novel, poem and painting in everyone. He also made proposals about arts funding, including reversing government cuts, ringfencing cash given to local councils to promote culture, and asking developers to contribute cash for public art. Stressing that he was only making proposals, 'not firm policy', Corbyn said: 'You can do things in planning. You can require public art to be placed in all open spaces. You can require it in all new big buildings. You can do what the Dutch do, which is to insist on a contribution to local arts funds by any major developments going on. There are lots of innovative things you can do. That in turn helps to bring an income stream to creative artists, painters and many others.' At the event, Corbyn also vowed to defend the BBC, suggesting it 'could be lost' and UK broadcasting could end up commercialised like in the US, due to cuts made by the Conservative government. No shit? And you've only just worked that out, have you Jezza? Jeez ... once-in-a-generation mind, that one. 'If you look at what's happened in the US, there was once relatively well-funded public service broadcasting but it has been systematically underfunded and almost totally destroyed. The news values in the US are now largely set by FOX News. That is where you end up if you encourage a total free market in commercially led broadcasting,' he said. The Islington North MP did not provide an estimate as to how much money he would like to be restored to the BBC. But, in his arts policy document, Corbyn said that Labour 'must be at the forefront of the campaigning to defend the licence fee as a means of funding the BBC and to reverse the year-on-years cuts, which have severely wounded one of the world's most respected broadcasting organisations.' On the reversal of arts funding cuts, he said that this must be restored 'as the economy recovers' and it must remain separate from lottery cash for the arts. Arts Council funding has been cut by at least eighty three million smackers but the Labour party would not commit to reversing the budget reduction before the last election. The party has, however, vowed to defend the BBC against cuts, with Chris Bryant, the shadow lack of culture secretary, warning that the government's demands for savings from the BBC risk ruining Britain's 'strongest cultural institution.' Corbyn pledged to set up a cabinet committee for the arts, to give performers more protection against low wages and tackle unpaid internships through a 'living waged national creative apprenticeship service.'
     This is, of course, should Jezza become Prime Minister after the next election. Which he won't. So, again, this all sounds really good on paper but there is not the remotest snowball's chance in Hell of it actually needing to be put into practice. Don't get me wrong, this blogger rather likes Corbyn - making him virtually unique in the scum occupation that he finds himself - and yer actual would probably vote for him. He seems to be a genuine and pretty principled chap in an age of grey suits, grey, narrow minds and straw men and women; he will, like as not, be a fine leader of the Labourt Party in much the same way that Neil Kinnock was in the 1980s. He will have them all on their feet at Conference, will re-energise the party base and will likely play very well in Labour's traditional heartlands of the North, the big cities and Wales. He might even help to claw back some of the ground lost by the party over the last year in Scotland as the novelty of the SNP gradually wears off when the torrent who voted SNP at the last election realise that The Revolution isn't going to be happening any time soon. Unfortunately, as this article in the New Statesman rightly points out, the only way that Labour can win the next - or indeed any subsequent - election is by appealing to at least some people who voted Tory in 2015. And, rightly or wrongly, virtually all of those are the sort of people who will not vote Labour if they have any excuse not to; they will take one look at Jezza Corbyn, consider him to be a beardy leftie who wants to re-nationalise everything and set up workers collectives and keep Dangerous Dave and his odious ugly army of ideologues and twats in power for another couple of decades. Horrifyingly sad, but true. The number of elections that Labour have won since 1974 when Tony Blair wasn't their leader? Zero. Anybody who sincerely believes that Labour's electoral chances will be improved by moving to the left needs their head examining. Anyway, politics, eh? 'A successful economy and a healthy, creative, open and vibrant democratic society depend on a flourishing creative sector,' Corbyn claimed. 'Culture and the arts play an essential role in individual and community well-being. If we are to achieve our goal in government of supporting people in leading more enjoyable and fulfilling lives, funding for the arts must be central to that offer.' 'If'. Terrifyingly vague word, that. 'If elected Labour leader, I pledge to work alongside the creative industries to support, develop and collectively achieve a culturally rich, more prosperous future for our country.' Here endeth the future, dear blog reader.

Hannibal, sadly, never got to do The Silence Of The Lambs - but now we have an idea of how such a hypothetical fourth series of the drama might have looked. Bryan Fuller told Crave Online that still hopes to adapt Thomas Harris's most famous novel, adding that there are 'fantastic ways to re-imagine it for thirty years later. I am imagining a parallel structure of Hannibal in the institution, with a severely scarred Chilton, now having returned to his post,' he revealed. 'Juxtaposing that, back in the heyday of Hannibal as a psychiatrist - perhaps even earlier than we met him the first time - when he had Benjamin Raspail as a patient, and [we'd] weave that story in and around the modern-day Silence Of The Lambs tale as we know it.' Fuller even has an actor in mind to play the book's serial killing antagonist, Buffalo Bill. 'I would love to cast Lee Pace as Buffalo Bill,' Fuller said. 'His first, most notable, award-winning career move was playing a transgendered person [in 2003's A Soldier's Girl] and, I think, it would be fascinating to return him to that side of his acting skill.' Fuller has previously revealed that he would have tried to cast Ellen Page to play Clarice Starling in the adaptation, adding: 'I also love the idea of casting somebody who's not white in that role and having race play a factor in Clarice's background.' Hannibal broadcast its third season - and almost certainly series - finale on NBC last Saturday, with the episode The Wrath Of The Lamb tying up the Red Dragon plotline. The Silence Of The Lambs has long evaded Fuller and his team, with MGM retaining the rights to Harris's second Hannibal Lecter novel. Fuller told IGN that Martha De Laurentiis - the series' executive producer - is working on securing funding for a potential movie follow-up. 'Martha is still trying to get financing on a film,' he said. 'They've explored Kickstarter for a film. They've talked about traditional financing. So there are conversations still ongoing.' The film, should it ever come about, would reveal that Will (Hugh Dancy) and Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen) both survived their plunge from the cliff at the end of the third series - and would explore 'something in the novel Hannibal that has not been done in any of the adaptations. I'm hoping that, someday, whether it's a year from now [or] two years from now, that we will continue to get to tell that story,' Fuller told The Hollywood Reporter. 'I feel like if Will Graham did survive that plunge, his most interesting chapter is yet to be told.'
Viewers now have confirmation that Cary Fukunaga's rumoured lack of involvement in True Detective series two is based in fact. Chief among the - many - criticism of HBO's anthology series this year was a perceived change in tone that didn't fit with writer Nic Pizzolatto and Fukunaga's vision of the acclaimed first series. Speaking to Variety, Fukunaga acknowledged that he 'really wasn't involved' in creating series two's - vastly over-complicated - storyline of California political corruption. 'The whole pitch was that in a true anthology, we want to sit it on a shelf and every season we have a new feature director and make this wonderful mini-series,' the filmmaker explained. 'I was going to be the first one. And I'd be there to shepherd as much as I could the following seasons. My departure was always planned.' He added: 'My involvement in the second season was as much or as little as they needed me. It turns out they didn't need me.' Fukunaga also touched on a popular rumour in fan circles that the belligerent movie director played by Philip Moon in an episode of True Detective's second series parodied his real-life working style. 'I have friends on the crew who told me about it. What's there to make of it?' he said. Nic Pizzolatto insisted in a statement to the publication that Moon's out-of-control director character was not a reference to Fukunaga 'in any way. The actor was hired because I was a fan of his from Deadwood and he arrived with the look he had,' Pizzolatto stressed. 'I have the utmost respect for Cary and I look forward to his new picture [Beasts Of No Nation].' The future of True Detective appears to be somewhat up in the air at the moment. HBO is, apparently, 'open' to moving ahead with a third series, but there has yet been no official commission.
Friends will be broadcast on a terrestrial channel in the UK for the first time in four years on Sunday 13 September, between 12pm and 5pm. Ten episodes of the popular US sitcom will be shown on Channel Five in celebration of the show's twenty first birthday.

The news of Sigourney Weaver's guest appearance in Doc Martin took many TV watchers by surprise earlier this year. Now, yer actual Martin Clunes has revealed how the American actress signed up for the popular Cornish drama. Speaking on Good Morning Britain this week, Martin said that he was approached by the actress and asked for a part while he was filming a chat show. 'I met her on The Jonathan Ross Show and she said she was a big fan,' the actor said. Weaver will play an American tourist on the show, visiting Cornwall and encountering Martin and some of Portwenn's other characters. Martin spoke about the part, saying: 'She gets to be insulted by her own friend.' The fifty three-year-old also revealed that he will reunite with Men Behaving Badly co-star Caroline Quentin on the show's upcoming run. Weaver was photographed shooting scenes for the long-running ITV series with Clunes in Cornwall back in July.
Paul Nicholls, Emma Rigby and Poldark's Heida Reed are all heading to the Caribbean for the next series of Death In Paradise. The trio will be among the guest stars in the popular crime drama's upcoming fifth series next year on BBC1. Nicholls, who appeared on The C Word as well as EastEnders, said: 'I'm very excited to have the opportunity to work with the fantastic cast and crew on the upcoming series of Death In Paradise. I play a fashion photographer in my episode which is very different from many of my previous roles so was a great challenge. Filming in Guadeloupe was incredible too. We had so much fun!' Other guest stars announced for series five include Julien Ovenden, Doctor Who's Neve McIntosh, Lloyd Owen, Nigel Lindsay, Hannah Britland, Charlotte Hope and Lucy Cohu. They will join the regular cast - Kris Marshall, Danny John-Jules and Joséphine Jobert - in the drama, which focuses on the criminal investigations taking place on the Caribbean island of Saint-Marie. The show's executive producer Tim Key said: 'We are thrilled to be back in Guadeloupe for the fifth series of Death In Paradise and delighted to have such great talent involved in the show. The new series promises more twists, romances and shocks for viewers with some of our most ambitious stories yet.'

According to the Daily Torygraph, the Queen is 'a big fan' of the ITV show Downton Abbey. Which is hardly surprising since it's full of Tories. '[The Queen] loves watching Downton Abbey and pointing out things they have got wrong, partly because she is familiar with Highclere Castle, where it is filmed,' the author and 'royal chronicler' (whatever that entails) Brian Hoey snitched to the newspaper like a dirty, stinking Copper's Nark. 'She is the same when she is watching anything on television. In one programme she was watching, the Queen noticed that a British officer was wearing medals that were from the wrong era. It was set in the First World War but the medals he was wearing did not come in until the Second World War.' Blimey, we ought to have her in Doctor Who fandom, she'd fit in like a glove. Hoey also grassed that Her Maj 'enjoys watching' Dad's Army, Last Of The Summer Wine and The X Factor. So, nothing - conceptually - made after 1956, then. Sounds about right. It's a time like this, dear blog reader, that this blogger is minded of a lyric in The Smiths' 'Nowhere Fast'. You know the one I mean.
And, speaking of The X Factor, Her Maj's alleged favourite, Wee Shughie McFee the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads reportedly got into 'a heated argument' with a contestant and called him 'an arsehole' during the Six-Chair Challenge this week. Takes one, as they say, to know one. And this constitutes 'news', apparently. Anyway, here's a picture of some kittens ...
The Godlike genius that is Bill Bailey had a not-so-funny encounter when he came face-to-face with a giant spider that was 'as big as a plate.' The comedian spotted the huge spider in a friend's garden last Saturday. The fifty one-year-old then posted two photos of the oversized arachnid to his two million Twitter followers. He tweeted: 'Spotted this fine specimen in a friend's garden.' Despite its size, the spider was snapped in the less-than-tropical surrounding of Willesden in North London. Bill is currently preparing for his upcoming UK tour, Limboland, which starts at the end of the month.
It is one of the most hotly anticipated film remakes of this year. And, Eddie Izzard certainly seemed to be stepping up to the challenge of recreating 1949's Whisky Galore! in style on Friday when he was seen filming for the first time in costume on Ardeer Beach in Ayrshire. In the film, the tiny Scottish island of Todday runs dry of whisky until delighted islanders discover a ship washed up in a heavy fog that is carrying fifty thousand cases of the hard stuff. It's down to officious, but likeable, English commanding officer Captain Waggett to demand the return of the liquor. Waggett was played in the original by Basil Radford, who also starred 1938's The Lady Vanishes and Night Train To Munich two years later. This is the first glimpse of the 2016 remake, which will attempt to recreate the magic of the 1949 original as well as staying true to the 1947 source novel, written by Compton Mackenzie.
NBC is planning an, allegedly, 'steamy' new TV series based on Brides Of Dracula. The network has ordered a pilot for Brides - a Gothic drama from comic book writer and playwright Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. Deadline reports that Aguirre-Sacasa will write the 'raunchy drama', which focuses on the lives of three women maintaining 'an unconventional family' in modern-day New York. Sarah Schechter will serve as executive producer on the Warner Bros production.

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has a new target to aim for following its historic flyby of Pluto. It is called 2014 MU69 and was one of two comet-like objects which were under consideration by scientists working on the mission. The US space agency will now carry out a review of the plan before officially approving the mission's extension. New Horizons carried out its flyby of Pluto in July, approaching to twelve thousand kilometres from the planet's surface. The spacecraft captured detailed images and other data not only of Pluto, but also of its five moons, Charon, Styx, Nix, Kerberos and Hydra. The new target is about one-and-a-half billion kilometres beyond Pluto. It is about forty five kilometres across and is thought to be one of the building blocks from which bigger worlds such as Pluto are formed. Such objects form a region of the outer Solar System called The Kuiper Belt, containing a deep-freeze sample of what our cosmic neighbourhood was like when it formed 4.6 billion years ago. 'Even as the New Horizon's spacecraft speeds away from Pluto out into The Kuiper Belt and the data from the exciting encounter with this new world is being streamed back to Earth, we are looking outward to the next destination for this intrepid explorer,' said John Grunsfeld, head of NASA's Science Mission Directorate. 'We expect it to be much less expensive than the prime mission, while still providing new and exciting science.' The spacecraft carries enough hydrazine fuel for another flyby and scientists say it could continue operating into the late 2020s or even beyond. The mission's principal investigator, Alan Stern, called NASA's selection of 2014 MU69 'a great choice.' He added: 'This KBO costs less fuel to reach [than other candidate targets], leaving more fuel for the flyby, for ancillary science and greater fuel reserves to protect against the unforeseen.' In summer 2014, the Hubble Space Telescope was used to discover five icy objects, later narrowed to two, within New Horizons' scheduled flight path. In late October and early November, the spacecraft will perform a series of engine burns to set its course toward 2014 MU69 ahead of an encounter currently set for 1 January 2019.
Just nine men are registered as donors a year after the opening of Britain's national sperm bank in Birmingham. It is now planning a recruitment drive, with chief executive Laura Witjens saying that appealing to male pride may be an effective way to boost donations. She has suggested a new campaign featuring a cartoon superhero, echoing a successful strategy in Denmark. A change in UK law in 2005, removing anonymity for sperm donors, is thought to have led to a significant drop in volunteers.
It was this blogger's first time back in the pool since the last week of July on Thursday of this week, dear blog reader (due, mainly, to that naggingly persistent back injury which has been causing yer actual some serious gyp for the last six weeks or so). Thursday was, by necessity, something of an experiment to see what he could manage after such a long lay-off. So yer actual Keith Telly Topping was, therefore, rather chuffed to get through fourteen lengths before aching calf muscles in both legs forced this blogger out of the pool to limp off to the sauna for a much-needed twenty minutes of being cooked alive. Had a nice breakfast afterwards as well so, all in all, not a bad start to the day.
Much better, certainly, than the day before. Wednesday was, for this blogger, one of them days a bit like Bob Ferris was having in The Likely Lads movie when he tells Terry: 'In the Chocolate Box of Life, the top layer's already gone and somebody's pinched the Orange Creme from the bottom!'
And now, dear blog reader, here's this week's Headline Of The Week:
... The scoundrels. Next ...

The great Rico Rodriguez, the trombonist in The Specials has died at the age of eighty, the group has announced. Rico was a ska and reggae veteran who played with the band during the late 1970s and early 80s, most notably when giving it some serious trombone on their hit 1979 cover of Danny Livingstone's 'A Message To You Rudy' and its glorious b-side, 'Nite Klub' - on which he got a specific label credit (The Specials Featuring Rico') And, here they are on The Old Grey Whistle Test performing it. Ah, happy days. Rico had also played on Livingstone's original, fifteen years earlier. The Specials announced Rico's death in a tweet on Friday. It said: "Our dear friend Rico passed away today. We offer out deepest condolences to his family. His legacy will go on forever.' Rodriguez was born in Cuba and grew up in Jamaica being taught to play the trombone as a teenager by his friend Don Drummond, before moving to England in the early 1960s, according to the Jamaica Observer. As well as playing with The Specials, Rico performed as a solo artist, recording LPs including Man From Wareika, Blow Your Horn and Brixton Cat with his band Rico & The Rudies. Before he joined The Specials, he was already a veteran, having worked with many different musicians and producers during a lengthy career, including Prince Buster, Karl Pitterson and Jools Holland in his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra. He was made an MBE in 2007 for services to music. Among those paying tribute has been Elvis Costello - who produced Rico and The Specials classic 1979 debut LP - who tweeted: 'What a moment it was to hear him play on 'Rudy'.' Word, Declan, word.

Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson said in a radio interview on Tuesday that he has been given the all-clear after undergoing chemotherapy for stage three tongue cancer. But, it was another statement he made during his chat with Opie Radio which is making news. The rocker, who had a golf gall-size tumour on his tongue and another in the lymph node on the right side of his neck, suggested that it might have been caused by the sexually transmitted HPV virus. Isn't that the equivalent of claiming you can get VD from a toilet seat?
Former Glasgow Rangers owner Craig Whyte and ex-chief executive Charles Green have been extremely charged with conspiracy and involvement in serious organised crime. David Whitehouse, from administrators Duff & Phelps, faces the same charges while Green is also accused of fraud. An angry crowd of red-faced fans shouted abuse as police escorted them from Glasgow Sheriff Court. All three have been granted bail to return to court at a later date. The three men were arrested on Tuesday after a police investigation into the sale of Glasgow Rangers assets in 2012. Another accountant, Paul Clark, who ran the club while it was in administration has also been arrested. Rangers was sold to Whyte by its former owner Sir David Murray in 2011 for a nominal sum of a quid. But it entered administration in February 2012 after very running out of cash. Whitehouse, who worked at Duff & Phelps, was appointed as joint administrator, along with his colleague, Clark. When an agreement with creditors could not be struck to allow the club to exit administration, a sale of Glasgow Rangers' assets to a consortium led by Green was concluded. He was at the helm when Rangers were allowed to join the Scottish Third Division but stepped down in 2013 following allegations that he was nefariously working in conjunction with Whyte. Charles Green was shielded by a phalanx of police officers when he left by the front door of the court at around 3:30pm. A group of around twenty supporters shouted naughty things and tried to jostle the former Sheffield United chief executive and, presumably, if they got close enough, kick his head in. One wonders if any of them were singing Pope Paul & The Romans' 'Why Won't Rangers Sign A Catholic?' whilst they waited for the accused to emerge from court? Probably not, to be fair. They're not really known for their sense of humour, the Bluer side of Glasgow, are they? Whitehouse left the court to equally ugly scenes around twenty minutes later. Whyte then made his exit just before 7pm and was met by yet another angry crowd. The trio have been charged under Section Twenty Eight of the Criminal Justice Licensing Act 2010 which covers serious organised crime offences. They have also been charged with conspiracy. In addition Green has been charged with fraud and also an offence under Section One Hundred and Ninety of the Companies Act 2006.

So, anyway, dear blog reader. Here's today Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. A bit of righteous fury from yer actual Sonic Youth.

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