Tuesday, May 03, 2016

The Whole Of The Law

Yer actual Peter Capaldi has revealed how a theatre trip to see the new Doctor Who companion turned into a test of his own acting skills. The actor went to see The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time in early April - before Pearl Mackie was officially announced as his new co-star. When he was invited to meet the cast after the show, Peter and Pearl had to pretend that they had never previously met. In reality they had already filmed a secret introductory scene together featuring The Daleks. 'I wanted to see the show but I didn't expect to be asked backstage to meet everyone,' Peter told the BBC News website at this week's launch of a Doctor Who artwork exhibition at London's Cartoon Museum. A picture posted on Twitter on 7 April shows Peter his very self posing with the cast of the West End hit at the Gielgud Theatre. 'I knew Pearl had the job, but I couldn't tell anyone and she couldn't tell anyone,' he added. 'It was only because I had worked in that theatre previously and all the front of house staff knew me, so they said "Peter, you must go backstage." So, that was a great performance of mine pretending that I didn't know Pearl!' Mackie's role as new companion, Bill, was revealed on BBC1 last Saturday, during the FA Cup semi-final in a special scene showing Peter's Time Lord and Bill being chased by a group of Daleks. The twenty eight-year-old actress replaces Jenna Coleman, who left the show at the end of 2015. Filming for the tenth series of the BBC's popular long-running family science fiction drama starts next month. Speaking about his new co-star, Peter said: 'The nice thing is that she is not part of the Doctor Who world - so the whole idea of travelling in time and space will be new to her. It's a while since we've had a companion like that.' Doctor Who executive producer The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE), who was also at the exhibition launch on Thursday, said that he was 'confident' Mackie would cope with her new-found fame. 'There is nothing you can say to prepare people for being suddenly terribly famous,' he said. 'She is a very level-headed, clever girl. She'll be absolutely fine.' He added that Mackie had been the obvious choice at the auditions. 'We saw some fantastic actresses for that part, they were all amazing, genuinely - it's not often you can say that. But she was the first one through the door and she was just extraordinary.' And, how difficult had it been keeping the casting secret? 'No one got it until some insider dealer went and placed a bet,' The Moffat said. 'It wasn't me - I wouldn't do that - but I'm sure we'll find out who it was.'
Meanwhile, Peter says that he has accrued a 'vast' collection of old Doctor Who novels sent into him by young fans. The actor was speaking to me at the launch of the new exhibition of original artwork from the covers of the classic Target range. 'Very sweetly, children will send me copies they find lying around in second-hand bookshops and jumble sales - and so I have a vast collection of yellowing Target books. They're absolutely lovely, because you've got to remember that when these books first began there was very little in the way of merchandise on the shelves. If you were interested in the show any new image would be exciting.' Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) pointed out that the Target novels were the only way that fans could re-live the show in the days before VHS recorders. 'Back in the day you didn't have the video recording at all, the BBC showed them once and then chucked them in the skip. So when the book came along it replaced the TV show. It wasn't just a novelisation - it was the only version of the programme around. The visuals on the cover often matched the ambition of the script better than was possible at the time on television.'
At the same event, Mark Gatiss, the writer, actor and Doctor Who fan, gives his response to the re-issue of seven Doctor Who Target novelisations and visited the Cartoon Museum's display of original artwork for the books' covers in an episode of BBC Radio 4's Front Row this week. Which you can check-out here.
The Qi online podcast No Such Thing As A Fish has been given its own TV spin-off. No Such Thing As The News will debut this May on BBC2 and has been scheduled for Fridays at 11pm for five weeks. The series will see four Qi researchers tell each other the most interesting things they've discovered in the news that week; it will feature James Harkin, Andrew Hunter Murray, Anna Ptaszynski and Dan Schreiber. 'The last time I started a topical TV comedy show with four exceptionally talented, but completely unknown, stars was Not The Nine O'Clock in 1979,' Qi creator John Lloyd said. 'No Such Thing As The News is radically different but equally exciting - and thirty seven years younger.' BBC News director James Harding added: 'This is news for people who don't watch the news - as well as those who do. We'll give viewers a sideways look at the big stories of the week. John Lloyd is a comic talent second to none, and we're delighted to have him on board.'
Further filming has taken place this week in Cardiff on the forthcoming fourth series of Sherlock. Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch has been spotted filming for a new series wearing what looked to be a curly brunette syrup. The new look was revealed as the new series began filming in the Cyncoed area of the capital recently.
Meanwhile, Benny's co-star Martin Freeman's infamous Love Actually sex scene was never meant to be sexy, the actor has claimed; and he's utterly ashamed of you, dear blog reader, if it turned you on. Martin and Joanna Page memorably starred as porn movie stand-ins in one of Love Actually's subplots, for which they re-created all sorts of weird sexual positions. Reflecting on the movie during an appearance on The Graham Norton Show on Friday, Martin explained that the scenes were not meant to be erotic. 'I guess the point with Love Actually is that it was not meant to be sexy,' he said. 'It was meant to be fun and innocent. When you do sex scenes where you are acting [an actual sex act], it's a bit more vulnerable! Inevitably, you're giving away some of your own state secrets there. Whereas in Love Actually, there was dialogue. The funny thing about it is that it was two very ordinary people. It wasn't meant to be turning anyone on. So, if it did, shame on you!'
Similarly, one presumes, Richard III wasn't meant to be be sexy either?
Here are the final and consolidated ratings figures for the Top Twenty Six programmes, for week-ending Sunday 24 April 2016 were as follows:-
1 Britain's Got Toilets - Sat ITV - 12.32m
2 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 7.72m
3 Elizabeth At Ninety: A Family Tribute - Thurs BBC1 - 7.46m
4 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 7.34m
5 The Durrells - Sun ITV - 6.56m
6 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 6.39m
7 Emmerdale - Thurs ITV - 6.26m
8 Scott & Bailey - Wed ITV - 5.87m
9 Ten O'Clock News - Thurs BBC1 - 5.80m
10 Michael McIntyre's Big Show - Sat BBC1 - 5.70m
11 Home Fires - Sun ITV - 5.65m
12 Peter Kay's Comedy Shuffle - Mon BBC1 - 5.61m
13= Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 5.29m
13= Match Of The Day Live - Sat BBC1 - 5.29m
15 The A Word - Tues BBC1 - 5.28m
17 Have I Got News For You - Fri BBC1 - 5.24m
18 Line Of Duty - Thurs BBC2 - 5.09m
19 MasterChef - Wed BBC1 - 5.06m
20 Undercover - Sun BBC1 - 5.00m
21 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 4.82m
22 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 4.83m
23 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.60m
24 Gogglebox - Fri C4 - 4.50m
25 I Want My Wife Back - Mon BBC1 - 4.37m
26 Holby City - Tues BBC1- 4.21m
These consolidated figures include viewers who watched the programmes live and on catch-up, but does not include those who watched on BBC's iPlayer or ITV Player via their computers. Why? I dunno, they just don't. ITV did not report a full list to BARB this week. However, this blogger has managed to piece together totals for most of their top performing programmes. Because he's Asperger's-like and worships consistency. On BBC2, apart from the successes of Line Of Duty and Bake Off: Crème De La Crème (which was watched by 3.74 million viewers), Victoria Wood: Seen On TV attracted 3.53 million, followed by the final of University Challenge (2.98 million), Louis Thereoux: Drinking To Oblivion (2.90m), Gardeners' World (2.59m), Five Star Babies: Inside The Portland Hospital (two million viewers), Rick Stein's Long Weekends (1.87m), Europe: Them Or Us (1.86m) and The People Versus OJ Simpson: American Crime Story (1.85m). Shakespeare Live! From The RSC was watched by 1.47 million. Aside from Googlebox, The Island With Bear Grylls was Channel Four's next highest-rated broadcast of the week (2.72 million), followed by The Supervet (1.99m) and Twenty Four Hours In Police Custody (1.82m). The excellent forensic archaeology documentary Mystery Of The Crossrail Skulls drew 1.39 million. Channel Five's top performer was The Yorkshire Vet with 1.48 million. Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away had 1.40m. The latest episode of Gotham attracted 1.16 million whilst the really rather good Henry VIII & His Six Wives was seen by 1.07 million. Sky Sports 1's most-watched programme was Live Ford Super Sunday with Leicester City taking a step closer to the Premier League title by giving Swansea a damned good shellacking, watched by 1.40 million viewers. The preceding coverage of The Arse's goalless draw with Blunderland had 1.01 million. Wednesday's Live Ford Football Special - the Merseyside derby and Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws giving The Everton Soft-Centred Toffees a right chewing - drew 1.24 million. Tuesday evening's coverage of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable and, despite finally showing a bit of fight, still probably relegation-bound) Magpies one-all draw with Sheikh Yer Man City was seen by eight hundred and sixty one thousand. Sky Sport 2's top-rated broadcast was coverage of Live Premier League Darts attracting two hundred and twenty five thousand punters. Never mind, guys, the cricket's due to start soon. Gillette Soccer Special was, as usual, Sky Sports News's highest-rated broadcast with four hundred and seventy nine thousand punters. On Sky Sports F1, a repeat of the Chinese Grand Prix had an audience of fifteen thousand. Midsomer Murders was ITV3's top-rated drama (nine hundred and twenty seven thousand). Foyle's War drew five hundred and twenty four thousand. A broadcast of Thunderball headed ITV4's top ten, with three hundred and sixty five thousand punters followed by another movie - albeit, a rotten one - the 2000 remake of Get Carter with two hundred and eighty nine thousand viewers. Two hundred and eighty nine thousand too many, frankly. Worthless steaming pile of rank and disgraceful diarrhoea, Celebrity Juice was ITV2's most-watched performer with 1.11 million viewers. Every single one of whom need their heads examined. The not-much-more-intellectually-stimulating Britain's Got More Toilets had 1.08 million whilst spectacularly laughless, Plebs drew 1.11 million. The seventh episode of Houdini & Doyle headed ITV Encore's top ten with but ninety six thousand viewers. For context, a Vera repeat was watched by a mere fifteen thousand less viewers than Houdini & Doyle. BBC4's Prince: A Purple Reign had an audience of nine hundred and fifty five thousand in a top-ten list which also included the return of the cult favourite Hinterland (eight hundred and eighty nine thousand), Britain's Treasure Islands (six hundred and ninety seven thousand) and Scottish Neil Oliver (and his lovely hair)'s excellent A History Of Ancient Britain (six hundred and eighty eight thousand). The Everly Brothers: Harmonies From Heaven attracted six hundred and sixty five thousand. Timeshift: The Engine That Powers The World drew four hundred and ninety one thousand, The Natural World, four hundred and seventy nine thousand and Antiques Uncovered, four hundred and fifty two thousand. Billy Fury: The Sound Of Fury attracted four hundred and forty thousand. Sky1's weekly top-ten was headed by The Flash (nine hundred and seventeen thousand), Hawaii Five-0 (eight hundred and eighty thousand), Modern Family (eight hundred and six thousand) and NCIS: Los Angeles (eight hundred thousand). The Five had seven hundred and sixty one thousand. Sky Atlantic's list was, easily, topped by the return for a sixth series of Game Of Thrones (2.29 million. Which was almost, but not quite, the highest multichannels audience of the week). The Tunnel continued with four hundred and sixty six thousand. On Sky Living, Elementary drew eight hundred and eight thousand, Blindspot had seven hundred and sixty four thousand, Criminal Minds, six hundred and ninety eight thousand, Bones, six hundred and eighty six thousand and The Blacklist, six hundred and seventy four thousand. Sky Arts' Dolly Parton: Song By Song had an audience of seventy three thousand. 5USA's The Mysteries Of Laura was watched by five hundred and seventy four thousand viewers. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit brought in three hundred and forty thousand and NCIS drew three hundred and thirty two thousand. NCIS also topped the weekly top tens of FOX - the latest episode of series thirteen attracting nine hundred and ninety thousand punters, the largest weekly audience on the channel - and CBS Action (one hundred and twenty three) and featured in the Universal Channel's list too (seventy three thousand). And, all with different episodes! Aside, from NCIS, FOX's list also included the third episode of 11.22.63 (three hundred and seventeen thousand) and American Dad! (two hundred and thirty thousand). On CBS Action, Walker, Texas Ranger was seen by one hundred and one thousand. The Universal Channel's top ten was headed by Chicago Med (two hundred and forty two thousand), Sleepy Hollow (one hundred and fifty four thousand) and Bates Motel (one hundred and ten thousand). On Dave, the classic movie The Blues Brothers was the highest-rated broadcast with three hundred and forty eight thousand punters. That was followed by Room 101 (three hundred and twenty one thousand), Mock The Week (three hundred and fourteen thousand), Storage Hunters UK (three hundred and four thousand) and Qi XL (two hundred and ninety five thousand). Drama's Hetty Wainthropp Investigates was watched by three hundred and sixty six thousand viewers. Silent Witness had two hundred and eighty five thousand, Shetland and PD James: The Murder Room both drew two hundred and eighty four thousand and Jonathan Creek, two hundred and sixty three thousand. Alibi's highest-rated programme was Castle (three hundred and ninety six thousand), followed by Quantico (two hundred and fifty five thousand), Death In Paradise (two hundred and thirty four thousand), Murdoch Mysteries (two hundred and twenty five thousand) and Lie To Me (eighty thousand). Yesterday's repeat of Open All Hours was watched by one hundred and ninety nine thousand and Impossible Engineering by one hundred and ninety two thousand. On the Discovery Channel, Deadliest Catch was seen by an audience of one hundred and eighty nine thousand punters and Alaskan Bush People by one hundred and fifty thousand. Discovery History's Vic Reeves' Rogues Gallery topped the weekly-list with seventeen thousand viewers, a total also achieved by Off The Rails and Curse Of The Axe. Vulcans, Victors & Cuba was watched by sixteen thousand. On Discovery Science, Food Factory attracted thirty two thousand viewers. Discovery Turbo's most-watched programme was Wheeler Dealers (sixty nine thousand). Indeed, nine of the slots in the channel's top-ten were filled by episodes of the popular car restoration show featuring Mike and Ed, the sole exception being an episode of Extreme Car Hoarders. National Geographic's top ten was headed by Car SOS which had one hundred and twenty one thousand viewers. Supercar Megabuild was seen by fifty seven thousand. On The History Channel, Black Sails attracted one hundred and nine thousand. WWI: Tunnels Of Death had an audience of thirty eight thousand on Military History. Ghost Asylum and Deadly Women were ID's top programmes of the week (fifty six thousand and fifty five thousand viewers respectively). The Jail: Sixty Days In headed CI's list (one hundred and fifty one thousand). The latest episode of GOLD's repeat run of Mrs Brown's Boys attracted one hundred and seventy nine thousand. Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for Impractical Jokers (two hundred and forty one thousand). Your TV's Killer Kids had one hundred and thirty one thousand viewers. On More4, The Good Wife was viewed by seven hundred and sixty eight thousand whilst E4's latest episode of The Big Bang Theory drew 2.41 million punters (beating Game Of Thrones as the largest multichannels audience of the week). The Horror Channel's broadcast of the movie 5ive Girls attracted one hundred and eighteen thousand viewers.  Jennifer Miller in a schoolgirl outfit, what's not to love? The 1967 Hammer classic The Witches drew ninety eight thousand. Lost Land Of The Volcano had thirty one thousand on Eden. Tanked was the Animal Planet's most watched programme with fifty eight thousand.
Labour has accused the lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Whittingdale of 'meddling' after press reports at the weekend claimed he would allow commercial broadcasters to 'challenge' the BBC over peak-time scheduling. Shadow lack of culture secretary Maria Eagle called the rumoured plans 'unacceptable interference.' A BBC 'source' said that it would be 'odd' to make it harder for people to watch programmes they had paid for. The government denied it intended to determine the scheduling of programmes. Details are expected in this month's White Paper on BBC Charter renewal. A number of Sunday newspaper - mostly ones that have no love whatsoever for the BBC, like this one and this one - carry reports suggesting the BBC will be 'called upon to defend' its scheduling where rivals are 'unfavourably impacted.' Whatever that means. An alleged government 'source' allegedly told The Sunday Times the White Paper was intended to 'set a broad set of principles and guidelines. How that is applied to individual programmes and scheduling is a matter for them. But they will be subject to external regulation.' In the past, ITV has whinged about the scheduling overlap between Strictly Come Dancing and its own hit, The X Factor. It could see the BBC forced to move popular shows such as Strictly Come Dancing, or the recent BBC1 hit The Night Manager, from peak-time slots on a Saturday or Sunday night - ending the traditional ratings wars. The vile and odious rascal Whittingdale has previously 'expressed concerns' about the BBC's flagship News At Ten bulletin being broadcast at the same time as ITV's. Although why the Hell he thinks that has anything to do with him, or any other politician, is probably question worth asking at this point. Eagle said: 'John Whittingdale is behaving as if he were running the BBC - he is not. This kind of meddling in day-to-day scheduling decisions would be a completely unacceptable interference in the independence of the BBC. The public will wonder why the government is interfering with the BBC, and why they are trying to dictate when they can schedule hugely popular programmes like Strictly Come Dancing.' The Department for Culture, Media and Sport said that 'no final decisions' had been taken, but added: 'The Secretary of State has made it clear on a number of occasions that the government cannot, and indeed should not, determine either the content or scheduling of programmes.' So, therefore, either The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is lying or the alleged government 'source' who snitched to The Sunday Times like a filthy stinking Copper's Nark is. This blogger will leave the decision of which to believe up to you, dear blog reader. Media commentator Steve Hewlett said that he thought there would be 'something' in the charter 'more general' about the BBC's approach to its impact. 'In other words, increasing the BBC's sensitivity to its impact on commercial competitors. Not just in TV and radio but also online and amongst the newspaper publishers. I'd be very, very surprised if there is a specific injunction not to schedule any particular programme anywhere because it's far too detailed, it's exactly what the government or the regulators shouldn't be doing.' The BBC 'source' denied 'aggressively scheduling' but added: 'We do show programmes at the times people want to watch them. Research has shown that an element of competition drives up quality across the industry and the public would be deeply concerned if the BBC's ability to show programmes such as Strictly, Doctor Who and Sherlock, at the times convenient to them were taken away. It would be odd to make it harder for people to find and watch the programmes they have already paid for.' A recent independent report into the BBC, commissioned by the government, researched the impact of scheduling similar shows at the same time. The report, published in February, concluded that the impact was 'not statistically significant,' calculating a dip of no more than one per cent in viewing figures, irrespective of whether it was a drama or a light entertainment show. The only noticeable impact it found was where the BBC and ITV schedule the same type of dramas - such as crime drama - at the same time.

The White House press corp got a genuinely jaw-dropping surprise on Friday when The West Wing's Allison Janney dropped by for a visit. When the President's press spokesman, Josh Earnest, ran a little late at the dentist, Janney stepped up to the podium to address reporters in a real-life scene reminiscent of her seven years playing CJ Cregg on The West Wing, the best TV drama in the history of the medium (that doesn't have the words 'Doctor' and 'Who' in the title). 'Let's be honest, I'm better at this than [Josh] is, anyway,' Janney joked. The real reason for Janney's visit emerged moments later when Earnest arrived from his dental appointment in time for the two to raise awareness for those battling substance abuse. Janney famously won four EMMYs for her role as White House press secretary (and, later, chief-of-staff) CJ on The West Wing. Since the popular series ended in 2006, Allison added three further EMMY Awards to her, by now groaning in agony, sideboard for playing a recovering addict on Mom and for a guest turn in Masters Of Sex. Now, if only someone could get Richard Schiff to write President Obama's speeches all really would be right with the world.
​Hulu has ordered a straight-to-series adaptation of Margaret Atwood's acclaimed 1985 novel ​The Handmaid's Tale​. And, another former The West Wing alumni, Elisabeth Moss is the plat the lead. I know she's done other stuff like Mad Men and Top Of The Lake since, dear blog reader, but she'll always be Zoey Bartlet to me. Moss will appear as the handmaid Offred, who is struggling to live in the male-dominated Gilead. In this dystopian world, women are only valued for their fertility, as the regime looks to repopulate the world. The novel was previously adapted (by Harold Pinter) as a movie in 1990 starring the late Natasha Richardson. The One Hundred​'s Bruce Miller will write the script for the TV version, whilst Atwood has been hired as a consultant. Atwood said: ​'I am thrilled that MGM and Hulu are developing The Handmaid's Tale as a series, and extra thrilled that the very talented Elisabeth Moss will be playing the central character. The Handmaid's Tale is more relevant now than when it was written and I am sure the series will be watched with great interest. I have read the first two scripts and they are excellent; I can hardly wait to see the finished episodes.' The drama will enter production later this year, before being broadcast on Hulu in 2017.
Interesting uses of pop music in TV drama during the last week, number one: The Faces' 'Ooh La La' to accompany Liz Keen's funeral in the latest episode of The Blacklist.
It's that time of the year, dear blog reader, were the annual cull of under performing America TV shows begins; so, just to confirm, among those exciting US dramas which you may be watching, somewhere, on British telly, the following well be back in the autumn for another series, in no particular order: The Big Bang Theory, House Of Cards, Grimm, Aquarius, Madam Secretary, Blue Bloods, Arrow, Marvel's Jessica Jones, The Flash, DC's Legends Of Tomorrow, Fargo, The Walking Dead, Elementary, Veep, Homeland, NCIS (plus both of its spin-offs), Wayward Pines, Orange Is The New Black, Scandal, Ray Donovan, Suits, The Affair, Vinyl and three of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's favourites, Game Of Thrones (not that there was any danger whatsoever of that being cancelled), The Blacklist and Gotham. Although no official announcement has yet been made, it is thought likely that Supergirl will also be renewed. Those that have joined the great cancelled Firefly in the sky include: Community, Dominion, Minority Report, Of Kings & Prophets, The Bastard Executioner, The Good Wife and Under The Dome. Despite rumours of a renewal, there's still no news of the fate of Marvel's Agent Carter although the fact that Hayley Atwell has been cast to star in an upcoming legal drama pilot for ABC, Conviction, suggests we may have seen the last of Peggy.
​If you're still reeling from the stunning feature-length Line Of Duty finale, dear blog reader, rest assured that a fourth series of the popular crime drama is filming later this year. World Productions, the company behind the hit BBC2 series, confirmed on Twitter that shooting - filming and with guns - will begin on new episodes 'at the end of August.' This was no surprise, of course, given that Line Of Duty is reported to be BBC2's best performing drama series since, at least, 2002 based on the consolidated ratings for the first four episodes of the current, third, series. Creator and writer Jed Mercurio told the Digital Spy website that four alternative storylines for the climax of the third series that were considered.
Meanwhile, in the least unexpected bit of media news of the year so far, The Interceptor will not be returning to BBC1.​ The dreary eight-part 'action' thriller was broadcast in the summer of 2015 to no great fanfare and will be back, according to OT Fagbenle. 'There won't be any more Interceptor,' he told the Digital Spy website. 'I think there was a changing of the guard at the top of the BBC just when those kind of decisions were being made. I get people all the time on the Internet –​ Twitter and all that –​ asking me about this very question, wanting some more. But you'll have to get the DVD and watch that again and again, I'm afraid.​' The Interceptor ​starred Fagbenle as Ash, a special agent recruited by a top-secret organisation to take down a criminal force. As previously noted, you kind of knew The Interceptor was in trouble when, during the pre-publicity, the drama's creator, Tony Saint, said that it was going to be 'the BBC's attempt to emulate classic shows like The Professionals.' Eh? Were you taking the piss, Tony? Another routine gritty inner-city police drama, no better though, admittedly, not especially worse, than dozens of other examples of the genre, The Interceptor was helped by some decent acting (Trevor Eve in his newly patented stock gangster businessman role, Paul Kaye, Dexter Fletcher and ... Jo Joyner. Okay, they weren't all decent). Sam McCurdy's twitchy, fast-cutting cinematography worked well too. But the scripts, from the man who, remember, wrote the terrific The Long Walk To Finchley, stank. I mean, they were leaden, overburdened with trite melodrama and full of some of the most horribly unrealistic, 'real-people-don't-talk-like-that' dialogue exchanges heard on TV anywhere last year. Hated by the critics, the series received an almost universal, and well-deserved, damned good kicking. 'The Interceptor thinks it's The Wire, but let's call it The Dire,' wrote the Daily Mirra's critic. 'Dire car chases, dire fights, dire villains, dire plots. This attempt at a gritty crime drama is a clichéd mess with appalling dialogue.' Uh-huh. Pretty much. 'It is insanely dull,' added the Gruniad. 'Good actors flinging their all at a thing that is stubbornly refusing to take flight.' 'It was crammed with TV drama clichés – the sort of low-grade guff that drives viewers away from terrestrial TV and into the arms of Sky and Netflix,' noted the Torygraph Michael Hogan rather snootily in his one-out-of-five review - because not everything produced by Sky or Netflix is an unsurpassed masterpiece or anything remotely like it. But, in the case of The Interceptor's deficiencies, Hogan was being entirely accurately. 'The show so bad it makes the rest of the Beeb look good,' sneered some waste-of-space of no importance at the Daily Scum Mail, whilst Sally Newell of the Independent wrote that The Interceptor was 'like EastEnders on an adrenalin rush,' and was a 'contrived cop show [which] lacks heart.' It did. It lacked a brain as well - much like The Professionals, the series it was supposed to be so like. Also like The Professionals, however, it was saved from complete and total disaster, as the Gruniad noted, by the actors giving their all for the cause. Not very good, then, but a bit more watchable than you'd suspect. Just like The Professionals, in fact.

FOX has confirmed that 24: Legacy is on, after picking up the revival series for the 2016-17 season. Legacy will retain the real-time format which helped to make the original series such a hit but, significantly, it won't feature Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer. Which is a bit like somebody remaking Jaws without the shark. Instead, the likes of The Walking Dead's Corey Hawkins, Homeland's Miranda Otto and former President Jimmy Smits will feature in the cast. The drama follows military hero Eric (played by Hawkins) upon his return to the US and the trouble that comes with him. He soon turns to CTU for help and must stop 'a huge terror attack' on America. Teddy Sears, Dan Bucatinsky, Anna Diop, Ashley Thomas and Sheila Vand are also among the cast. Sutherland, meanwhile, has refused to rule out a return to the 24 universe, commenting: 'I've said [I'm done with 24] twice and have been wrong, so I won't say that again.'
The actor Alec Baldwin is to host a revival of US quiz show Match Game, the inspiration for the UK game show Blankety Blank. The panel show features six celebrities who 'help' contestants match phrases by filling in missing blanked out words. Match Game premiered in the US in the 1960s and ran in various different incarnations until the 1990s. Baldwin will reportedly donate his fee to the foundation he runs with his wife, which supports arts charities. Baldwin tweeted the news: 'Get ready to match the stars and laugh your BLANK off, because I'm hosting Match Game. This secret nearly made me BLANK!' He said that he and his wife, Hilaria, were 'beyond grateful' to the US network ABC 'for the chance to support the arts. Hilaria and I are thrilled to donate this fee to arts-related charities. And we look forward to having a lot of fun,' he said. The show, which will also be produced by Baldwin, will be be shown on ABC on 26 June. The UK version of the show was a huge hit in the 1980s when it was broadcast on BBC1, first hosted by Sir Terry Wogan and then by the late comic Les Dawson. Paul O'Grady also hosted a revival from 1998 to 2002, broadcast initially on BBC1 and then ITV. But, it wasn't very good.
Dame Barbara Windsor's final scenes on EastEnders will be broadcast in the coming weeks. Bab's character, Peggy Mitchell - who has terminal cancer - will be joined by her on-screen sons, Phil and Grant, as the Mitchell family reunite to say their final goodbyes. The actress, who joined the soap in 1994, revealed that she would be leaving for good in January. Viewers will see Peggy make a typically flamboyant return to Albert Square, for one last hurrah, on 9 May. Grant Mitchell - played by Ross Kemp - will also be returning to the show after a ten-year absence making risible documentaries about street gangs, the Taliban and, you know, how hard he is. 'I owe the show and I owe The Mitchells quite a lot,' Kemp told BBC Radio 1 last month. 'I wouldn't be doing this if I hadn't had those ten years at EastEnders. So that was a big springboard for me in terms of moving on in my life, so I see no reason not to be able to go back and do it.' Dame Barbara played the character full-time until 2010, and has since made a number of brief appearances in Walford - her last being earlier this year, when she told her son Phil (Steve McFadden) that her cancer, previously in remission, had returned.
Rolling Stone Rockin' Ronnie Wood is selling some of his artwork. The exhibition sees the guitarist, a former art student, document his life as a Stone on stage and in the studio, alongside abstract portraits of landscapes and horses. A selection of the exhibits will be for sale to those with jolly deep pockets, hand-signed by Wood and embossed with the Private Collection seal. The collection can be viewed at the five Castle Fine Art galleries across London. Prices start at two thousand two hundred and fifty smackers.
A small mammal has reportedly sabotaged the world's most powerful scientific instrument. The Large Hardon Collider, the seventeen-mile superconducting Black Hole Machine (according to Mad Frankie Boyle) designed to smash protons together at close to the speed of light, went offline overnight earlier in the week. Engineers investigating the mishap found the charred remains of what was described as 'a furry creature' (or, now, a crispy fried furry creature') near a gnawed-through power cable. 'We had electrical problems and we are pretty sure this was caused by a small animal,' said Arnaud Marsollier, head of press for CERN, the organisation which runs the five billion quid particle collider in Switzerland. Although they had not conducted a thorough analysis of the remains, Marsollier said that they believed the creature was 'a weasel, probably.' An official briefing document from CERN indicates the creature may, in fact, have been a marten. The shut down comes as the LHC was preparing to collect new data on The Higgs Boson, a fundamental particle which it discovered in 2012. The Higgs is believed to endow other particles with mass and it is considered to be a cornerstone of the modern theory of particle physics. Researchers have seen 'some hints' in recent data that other, yet-undiscovered, particles might also be generated inside the LHC. If those other particles exist, they could revolutionise researchers understanding of everything from the laws of gravity, to quantum mechanics. Unfortunately, Marsollier said, scientists would have to wait while workers brought the machine back online. Repairs would take 'a few days,' he added, but getting the machine fully ready to smash might take another week or two. 'It may be mid-May,' he said. These sorts of mishaps are not unheard of, Marsollier noted. 'We are in the countryside and, of course, we have wild animals everywhere.' There have been previous incidents, including one in 2009, when a bird is believed to have dropped a baguette onto critical electrical systems. Nor are the problems exclusive to the LHC: In 2006, raccoons conducted a 'coordinated' attack on a particle accelerator in Illinois. It is unclear whether the animals are trying to stop humanity from unlocking the secrets of the universe or, they were just after some nuts.
A man wearing an animal jumpsuit was shot by police investigating a bomb scare at a Baltimore TV station on Thursday. The injured male is reportedly still alive but was shot while holding a wire that police feared could be rigged to an explosive device outside the FOX45 headquarters, the Baltimore Sun reports. The man walked into Baltimore television station WBFF-TV on Thursday, claiming that he had a bomb and would detonate it in the station if a video he was carrying on his flash drive wasn't broadcast. Witnesses reported hearing 'three loud shots' before seeing the man – described only 'as an unnamed white man' – lying in the street. Baltimore police spokesman TJ Smith said that police opened fire when the man refused to take his hands out of his pockets when ordered to do so. The man broke into the Sinclair-owned FOX affiliate around 1:20pm on Thursday afternoon, demanding that the station show his video on 'government conspiracy.' The building was immediately evacuated and 'appropriate security measures were taken.' It is believed that the man was responsible for a fire coming from a dark-coloured sedan in the parking lot as well. 'Someone came into the front of the building and they apparently said that they had some information they wanted to get on the air,' said FOX45 News Director Mike Tomko. 'I came down at one point not knowing the person was in the lobby, near the vestibule area. He talked to me and was wearing what appears to be a full-body white panda suit, surgical mask and sunglasses,' Tomko continued. 'He had a flash drive, said he had information he wanted to get on the air. He compared it to the information found in The Panama Papers. I told him, "I can't let you in, you're going to have to leave the flash drive here and slide it through the opening." He wouldn't do that.' Tomko additionally noted that the man had 'made threats' to the station in the past, though this was the first time that he had directly stated he was armed with explosives. Police attempted to disarm the Panda Bomber initially with a robot, but when he failed to comply, they said that they had no choice but to 'use physical force.' And extremely shoot him.
Buenos Aires-based football team, Club Atletico Tigre, has taken an unusual step in managing access to its stadium. The club is considering offering its fans an implantable microchip which would grant them faster access through the gate turnstiles. The team's director, Ezequiel Rosino, recently acted as a Guinea pig for the experimental programme by having a chip injected under his club tattoo. But, he added, you couldn't see it because of his shirt. When asked if it was painful he replied 'no, it's polyester and cotton.' I'm here all week, dear blog reader. He assured the Associated Press that the chips will not be able to track fans, but rather will only carry basic information about them. The programme still has a long way to go before it actually debuts and will need to, first, be cleared by health and security agencies - not to mention the Argentine Football Association itself. This isn't the first time technology has been leveraged by the beautiful game. Last year Adidas rolled out self-lacing boots, the Champions League instituted new goal-line scoring system, Univision boosted its video quality to 4K and start-up Virtual Live introduced its gameday VR experience.
Here's a Daily Scum Mail 'news' story about a woman who can crush watermelons between her 'muscular thighs'. Aren't you just beyond glad, dear blog reader, that you weren't born in the Eighteenth Century and, thus, never got to read that?
A teacher in Tennessee has been very suspended after showing the notorious horror movie The Human Centipede 2 to his class. A press release from the school reveals that 'an internal investigation regarding the alleged viewing of an inappropriate film' was under way. It added that the teacher 'was immediately suspended and remains suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.' The Superintendent of Jackson Central-Merry High School, Verna Ruffin told the Jackson Sun: 'The matter has been addressed,' adding, 'it's inappropriate and unacceptable.' It is also unclear exactly why the teacher showed the film.​ However, the movie's director Tom Six posted on Twitter to defend the teacher, writing: 'It should be mandatory to watch THC2 in school classes. It deals with a character that is bullied and what to do!' He also said that he would be sending the teacher a signed copy of the DVD.
In what was described as 'a bizarre turn of events,' an Illinois community college instructor who claimed to have found a puppy inside a pillowcase on the highway has being charged with a felony, the Chicago Tribune reports. Earlier this month, thirty eight-year-old Hope Sanchez brought the puppy to show her psychology class at McHenry County College. She allegedly told her students that she had found it in a pillowcase sealed with duct tape while riding her motorcycle to school. According to CBS Chicago, the students called an animal shelter, which took the puppy. The animal shelter filed a police report regarding what it believed to have been a case of animal abuse. But when the puppy's rescue made the local news, Sanchez's neighbours informed police that they had given the puppy to Sanchez as a gift. Police confronted Sanchez who, allegedly, admitted to making up the story about rescuing the puppy in the hope that someone would adopt it. She told police that her partner didn't want a dog. She has now been charged with felony disorderly conduct in connection with the filing of a false police report. And, lying to kids. 'Why she chose to concoct a story, I don't know,' police chief Robert Lowen told the Tribune.
America has its problems - you might have noticed, dear blog reader. But, a cheese shortage definitely isn't one of them, according to the latest USDA figures. The stockpile of unsold American cheeses has swelled to more than 1.2 billion pounds, its highest level in records going back to at least 1984, Bloomberg reports. The cheese glut in American freezers is said to be due to 'soaring European Union production' (so, it's our fault. As usual where American is concerned) and the strong US dollar, which has led US importers to snap up huge amounts of European dairy products, even though American farms are already producing more milk than they can sell. More than half of the cheese mountain is US-made, with two per cent Swiss and the rest, mostly from the EU, classed as 'other.' Europe has also been selling huge amounts of cheap butter and cheese to the Middle East and Asia, making life harder for American producers. 'It's been difficult for them to export, given the strong dollar and they're sucking in imports,' an anonymous 'global dairy market strategist' explains. 'Where the US has lost out on business, Europe has gained.' Yeah well, that's Capitalism, guys, deal with it. Despite the export boom, European dairy farmers are currently struggling because the price of milk is so low and EU authorities are working on a deal to compensate them in return for producing less, Forbes reports.
A man wearing a t-shirt bearing the message This guy needs a beer was reportedly arrested for driving while intoxicated in New Hampshire on Friday, according to a statement from the Kensington Police Department. Joshua Tackett, twenty nine, of Seabrook, was travelling in a Southbound direction on Amesbury Road when his car crossed into the Northbound lane of travel and left the roadway, driving through a stone wall and a granite post, before finally coming to rest after striking a utility pole, according to a police statement. After an investigation, Tackett was extremely arrested and charged with 'driving while intoxicated' and released on seven hundred and fifty dollars bail. According to police, 'both speed and alcohol' appear to have been 'contributing factors to the crash.'
A New York City pizzeria is ditching the cardboard container for a pizza box which is made of 'one hundred per cent pizza.' Only in America, dear blog reader. Vinnie's Pizzeria in Brooklyn revealed 'the pizza box pizza' on Wednesday via Twitter and it has been sending hungry pizza lovers into a tailspin. The pizza box pizza starts with a pepperoni pie that comes enveloped in a square pizza, replacing those boring non-edible boxes. 'It's a Sicilian pizza underneath—like a fluffy Sicilian pizza that forms the pizza box,' Vinnie's owner Sean Berthiaume explained to PIX 11. He says that the idea came to him during slower business hours while he was thinking about customers coming in for a slice or two, then discarding their greasy boxes in the shop. 'Sometimes I get a little upset when customers ask for a box and then they sit down and eat the pizza and they throw away the box right away. So that kinda clicked something in my brain.'
A Sudanese high school student faces possible deportation from Canada after lying about his age. Jonathan Nicola claimed that he was sixteen years old when he came to Canada late last year on a student visa. But, the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board say that he is, in fact, twenty nine. Nicola's real age was only discovered when he applied for a US visa. A fingerprint scan found that he had given 1986 as his year of birth in a previous application. He was extremely taken into custody on 15 April after the immigration board deemed him to be a flight risk. It is not clear if a date has been set for a hearing to decide whether he should be allowed to remain in Canada. Nicola is a student at Catholic Central High School in Windsor, Ontario. A spokesman for the school declined to comment but Jonathan features on the school's website as a member of the basketball team. A YouTube video reveals that Jonathan is six feet nine inches tall and shows him being coached and practising shooting. In January, an article in the Windsor Star suggested that Nicola came to Canada to escape the violence in his war-torn country. It proved to be a season of deception masterfully carried out by Nicola's complete comfort in his new life. 'Even in retrospect, my wife, daughter and myself never saw anything obvious (about his behaviour),' said his basketball coach Peter Cusumano, who hosted Nicola in his home. 'He watched TV and listened to music that kids listen to. He talked like them. It wasn't like he sounded older. He watched Supernatural on TV. He liked watching NBA and college basketball games. He listened to the same (music) my kids listen to. It was rap and hip hop. It certainly wasn't The Who or Led Zeppelin, trust me.' Not that Cusumano didn't have some suspicions, starting with when he picked Nicola up at Toronto's Pearson International Airport last November. 'We all had that feeling,' Cusumano said. 'When we got to know him, he didn't act that old. In my wildest dreams, I never thought he'd be that old. He acted like a kid. He didn't act like a man.'
Our SF dreams of Martian colonies may still be some way off, but three earth-like planets discovered orbiting a - relatively - nearby star have potential life and water, astronomers announced on Monday. The sizes and temperatures of these worlds are similar to those of Earth, Venus and Mars and hold the best promise yet for the search for life outside our solar system. All three planets may have regions with temperatures that are within a range suitable for sustaining liquid water and life, according to the report published in the journal Nature. The three planets orbit around an 'ultracool' (ie. A David Boiwe-like) dwarf star just forty light-years from Earth, or some two hundred and forty trillion miles away. Which sounds a lot but, in intergalactic terms, it's, like, three doors down the road considering our the Milky Way galaxy spans one hundred thousand light years. Since the planets are outside our solar system, they're technically known as as exoplanets. 'This really is a paradigm shift with regards to the planet population and the path towards finding life in the Universe,' said Emmanuël Jehin, a co-author of the new study and an astronomer at the University of Liège in Belgium. 'So far, the existence of such "red worlds" orbiting ultra-cool dwarf stars was purely theoretical, but now we have not just one lonely planet around such a faint red star but a complete system of three planets,' he said. The group of international astronomers from MIT, NASA, the University California at San Diego, the University of Liège and other institutions made the discovery. Astronomers focused the Belgian TRAPPIST telescope on the star now known as TRAPPIST-1, a Jupiter-sized star in the constellation Aquarius that is one-eighth the size of our sun and significantly cooler. The new planets were detected by the faint dimming of the star as the planets orbited, blocking some of its light. Despite being so close to the Earth, the star is too dim and too red to be seen with the naked eye, or even visually with a large amateur telescope.

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