Saturday, February 10, 2018

When The Routine Bites Hard And Ambitions Are Low

A good and lovely fiend of this blogger - who is involved in the education sector - recently noted: 'I know this is in no way scientific, but seven Year Six girls interviewed me today for The Book Club in the school I was at ... and, at the end I said: "Can I ask you all a question? Does the new Doctor being a woman make you more likely to watch it?" And all, without exception, said: "Yeah, oh Yeah!" very enthusiastically.' It's not the most scientifically accurate piece of market research ever conducted, admittedly. But, arguably, it's no less valid than tabloid newspapers printing the suspiciously agenda-based Twitter whingings of half-a-dozen naysaying malcontent school-bullies in their fifties for their latest Fans Are Not Happy About This Malarkey (Whatever It Is) 'exclusive'. To quote the late Willie Dixon: 'The men don't know but the little girls understand.' And, on that bombshell ...
Olivia Colman her very self has revealed she has 'talked to' Chris Chibnall about a role in the next series of Doctor Who. The Broadchurch writer took over showrunning duties from The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat last year, you might have noticed - although Louise McCreesh at the Digital Spy website appears to believe that Chibnall has actually succeeded one 'Stephen Moffatt'. Whoever he is. The Chib then, of course, cast Jodie Whittaker as The Doctor. You knew all that, yes? It was in the newspapers and everything. Anyway, it now appears that Colman has had discussions about possibly appearing in the series in some form. 'We've already talked about it,' Colly told Radio Times. 'I want to play a really horrible baddie. Whether or not it fits in ...[but] it's a bit much to just ask someone, "Can I be in it?"' Olivia has, of course, already appeared in Doctor Who, as a pretty horrible baddie in Matt Smith's first episode, The Eleventh Hour.
Doctor Who fans can finally get an insight into how the show's fiftieth anniversary special might have appeared if Christopher Eccleston had agreed to return. The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) included Eccleston's Doctor in his first draft of The Day Of The Doctor, but rewrote the script to feature John Hurt's War Doctor when Big Ecc decided not to appear. Now, a script from the earlier draft will be released for the first time. The excerpt will appear in A Second Target For Tommy, a collection of Doctor Who short stories being published by Obverse Books, with all the proceeds going to support writer Tommy Donbavand, who is currently battling cancer. As well as The Moff's exclusive script excerpt, A Second Target For Tommy will feature stories from over two dozen more fan writers. For more on Tommy Donbavand, you can check out his blog Tommy vs Cancer.
Terrific to see both 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' and 'Love Will Keep Us Together' featuring on this week's Only Connect 'missing vowels round'. And, both were answered correctly by the very excellent Julia Hobbs, the captain of the winning team, The Inquisitors. Almost certainly the only occasion that Joy Division and Captain & Tennille have ever actually shared a stage.
Although ... as this blogger's Facebook fiend Andrew Duncan correctly points out, the connection between the two songs runs somewhat deeper than you might think. 'Love Will Keep Us Together' was, of course, originally written and first recorded by yer actual Neil Sedaka for his 1973 LP The Tra-La Days Are Over. Which was produced at 10CC's Strawberry Studios in Stockport. Seven years later, in March 1980, Joy Division and Martin Hannett recorded the second version of 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' - the one that was released as a single by Factory the following month - in the same studio. Spooky.
Things we learned from this week's Qi - Occupations & Officers: The dressing rooms at the original Comedy Store in Leicester Square did not have a lavatory, only a sink! Alan Davies revealed that the first time he played there, he met Arthur Smith and Paul Merton in the dressing rooms who pointed him in the direction of 'the toilet.' 'They weren't really expecting girls,' added Sandi Toksvig. 'Josie Lawrence used to lift me up [to use it].' Now that's an image this blogger is going to be unable to get out of his head, no matter how hard he tries.
After starring as The Doctor in Doctor Who and Prince Philip in The Crown, Matt Smith's next role will be as cult leader and completely psychotic murdering bastard Charles Manson. Smudger will reportedly portray Manson in a film called Charlie Says, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Manson directed his followers to commit a string of brutal murders in Los Angeles in 1969. He died last November. Charlie Says will focus on the three young women who were found guilty of the murders - Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian, and Patricia Krenwinkel. The convicted followers were extremely sentenced to death alongside Manson for the infamous Tate-LaBianca murders. But the death penalty was later abolished in California and they were sentenced to life imprisonment instead. Fellow Briton Suki Waterhouse, Game Of Thrones' Hannah Murray and Merritt Wever are also among the cast. The movie will be made by American Psycho director Mary Harron and filming is due to start in Los Angeles in the spring.
Filming on Game Of Thrones' final series is well under way. We know this because pictures from the set have started popping up online. Like this one, for instance.
Exploring the unexpected ramifications of a shooting death on the streets of London, BBC2's new four-part drama Collateral is a thriller from BAFTA winner Sir David Hare, brought to life by an all-star cast. You've probably seen the trailers - they appear to be on TV about ever five minutes. Carey Mulligan is investigating officer Kip Glaspie, with John Simm playing David Mars - a Corbyn-esque Labour politician – opposite Billie Piper as his troubled wife, Karen.Completing the show's central quartet is From The North favourite Nicola Walker as vicar Jane Oliver, the actress reuniting with Hare after a previous collaboration ten years ago, on the stage satire Gethsemane. 'I'd wanted to work with him again ever since then,' Walker told the Digital Spy website. 'I was interested, just because it's him. Collateral poses lots of questions and does it within the format of a really good, tense thriller. It starts at a real pace and it doesn't let go. It takes place over four days, so that gives it a real dramatic drive through it. It takes you through every strata of society, right to the very top of the institutions in the land.' The murder of a pizza delivery man and the mysterious motives behind it, push the viewer into 'different worlds' – the church, the police and politics. But this splintered approach to the story meant that not all of the cast had the chance to work together. 'I got to meet Carey Mulligan, which was really lovely, at the read through, but I don't meet her in the story,' Nicola added. 'I didn't actually get to act with Carey, which was a great shame. Not everyone meets, because a lot of people are isolated in their particular environments and don't travel between those strata. Interestingly, Jane, because of her position in the community as a vicar and her friendship with John Simm's MP character, she does. Because of her job, she does move a little bit more. She's involved with the community and then with the world of politics, and then – because of the murder – she gets dragged into this world of the police. So she actually moves a little bit more than some others, who are locked in in some ways.' Collateral builds and builds across its four episodes and then, according to Nicola, comes to a very definitive ending. 'Personally, when I read it, I thought that it felt like a complete story. I don't think anybody went into [Walker's 2015 BBC drama] River with an eye on making many, many series. Everyone went into that thinking, "Let's make this as good as we can" and I think that tends to be the attitude of most jobs. You can't guarantee that something is going to take off, so you just try to make the story that you have as good as you possibly can, and you can't really [plan for more]. I think that way madness lies.' Having 'taken a short break' from work, Nicola leaped straight from Collateral into filming new BBC1 legal series The Split. Both projects were the work of by female directors – SJ Clarkson on Collateral, Jessica Hobbs on The Split – while The Split was also written by River's Abi Morgan and comes from BAFTA-winning Jane Featherstone's Sister Pictures. 'From my experience, the jobs I've been doing recently are far more [gender] balanced,' Nicola noted. 'I've been working a lot, the last few years, with female writers and directors and producers. I would like to think that there are more women in positions of power, to actually get these projects off the ground that are more balanced, where the story is about men and women. That's what we all want. We all want really good stories that are not concerned with pushing women up front for the sake of it, but are concerned with making really good telly, and those production companies that I've worked with the last few years – on Last Tango and Unforgotten and The Split – that's what they're interested in doing.' Next up for Nicola is the third series of ITV's cold case drama Unforgotten, which she begins shooting at the end of February, reprising her role of Cassie Stuart. Having previously sworn that she would make 'an absolutely appalling detective,' how does she think she'd fare as a vicar after her Collateral experience? 'Worse. Me, in real life? Worse. Worse. No. That's not a job change there for me, at all. That's not an option. When the acting all dries up, I won't be going there – either to the police force or to the church. I'll have to think of something else!'
Top Gear is about to launch its third post-Jezza Clarkson series. The show's twenty fifth series of the post-2001 format is scheduled to begin on Sunday 25 February at 8pm. A suitable high-octane new trailer shows Matt LeBlanc and ... the other two buying some milk. After stepping outside to a massive field full of vehicles that would give any motor enthusiast a massive chimney on, Matt is in a V8 Aston, Chris jumps into a Skoda rally car and Rory picks a G-Wagen. Speaking to the Press Association, LeBlanc said: 'I think we've tried to broaden the demographic of the show, try to make it not lose the sort of petrolhead nature of it, but maybe open it up to people who aren't so petrolhead-y. Expand the comedy, try to have bigger, broader films, but it will be more of the same in the sense it starts with the car.' Or, in other words, trying to do exactly what Jezza, Hamster and Cap'n Slow used to do so successfully, on a weekly basis.
Jamestown returned this week, eight months since its first series proved a critical and ratings success for Sky One. Sky, it's probably fair to say, had 'some confidence' in the historical drama, ordering this second run of episodes before the first had even been broadcast. It was a decision that Burn Gorman - who plays the sinister Farlow - calls a 'vote of confidence' in the series about the first English settlers to establish a community in the New World. 'We wanted to do something that was very different and perhaps is a story that people aren't familiar with,' the former Torchwood actor told the Digital Spy website. 'So, we were pleased that people seemed to respond to the stories, and the relationships, within this very, very inhospitable environment.' Jamestown comes from award-winning writer Bill Gallagher (the author of The Paradise and Lark Rise to Candleford) and from producers Carnival Films. The first series closed with the brutish Massinger (Tony Pitts) bringing his new slaves to the settlement, a seismic change in the colony that the new episodes will explore. Though Jamestown is a grittier affair than Downton Abbey - made by the same production company - Gorman thinks viewers have responded to the same things in both series. 'Both writers – Julian Fellowes and Bill Gallagher – focus on the relationships and the people and I think that that doesn't change. The intricacies, and the alliances and the intrigue between the different social strata is what draws people in. It's not Upstairs, Downstairs, but there are those divisions and I think that people do respond to that, especially if we see the upper echelon getting it in the neck sometimes!' Gorman reprises his role as the callous secretary of the Virginia Company in the new series, one of a long line of, in his own words, 'compromised individuals' that the actor has played across his twenty-year screen career. 'The honest truth of it is, with a face like this, you get offers that are usually quite interesting and strange and shall we say dastardly! So yeah I've enjoyed playing a lot of jerks.' Nevertheless, Burn says that he always looks 'for the grey areas' in even the most hateful characters. 'Farlow is a very slippery politician type, but obviously I like to find out what makes him tick. Although he doesn't have many redeeming features, in series two of Jamestown, we see a bit more of him at a vulnerable point. Series two starts with a bit of a bang. There are extremes of crime and punishment in this series and Farlow's very much involved in that, in the retribution, and punishment of Jamestown. He also perhaps might be involved in something where he has to work with emotions, where his heart perhaps might be played with a little bit and I think that's a really interesting side of him that Bill and the rest of the creative team brought out. It explores what this guy is like behind closed door. What are his foibles? What are his addictions, and his secrets? I think that's really interesting.'
The X-Files boss Chris Carter has taken some time out from writing slovenly, melodramatic 'real people don't talk like that' scripts for the show to speak about the pay gap between From The North favourite Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny prior to its recent revival. Although Fox Mulder and Dana Scully were co-lead characters on the show, it emerged that Duchovny was paid more than Anderson during the popular SF drama's initial run. Anderson revealed that she had to fight for equal pay when the show returned, which she received. Carter told the Digital Spy website: 'I come to this from a very personal perspective. I believe Gillian should be paid as much as David and she is paid as much as David. But we work in a business where you have agents and you have lawyers and they try to make you the best deal they can. On the other side of that table is a studio who is going to make sure they make themselves the best deal they can. That's as it's ever been.' He added: 'What people don't appreciate is that it's a business and just because we all believe that people should have equal pay, the people on the other side of the table believe that they should be able to make the best deal they possibly can and that's simply how it works. They just don't automatically pay someone equal to someone else because that's what they world is asking for. I'm happy to say that Gillian is paid the same as David now.' Though, not for much longer as she is quitting at the end of the current series.
A much-publicised revival of The Generation Game, to be hosted by Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, has been reduced to just two shows. When the game show's return was announced last year, the BBC said that it would have a four-episode run. 'During the production process it's not unusual for a new series to change length as the format evolves,' said the BBC in a statement. 'We've got a brilliant show for audiences on BBC1 this spring.' Four shows were filmed, though one or more of these may have been a pilot (or pilots) that were not intended for transmission. The Sun has claimed that the 'combined cost of cutting the episodes is around four hundred thousand pounds' a figure that the BBC claimed was 'speculation.' What, something that's untrue printed in the Sun? Surely not? The Generation Game began on BBC1 in 1971, with Sir Bruce Forsyth as its longest-serving host, followed by Larry Grayson. The programme sees pairs of family members across generations take part in performance and task-based games. There have already been two one-off revivals of the show. Graham Norton presented a Christmas 'special' (and, one uses that word quite wrongly) in 2005, while Vernon Kay took charge of a hideous version for Comic Relief in 2011. In 2014, one of the contestants on the Comic Relief special, Miranda Hart, was reported to be 'in talks' to host a revival. Albeit, not reported by anybody that you'd trust as far as you can spit.
Here are the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Ten ITV programmes broadcast in the UK during the week-ending Sunday 4 February 2018:-
1 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 8.42m
2 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 7.26m
3 Endeavour - Sun ITV - 5.97m
4 The Voice - Sat ITV - 5.78m
5 Twatting About On Ice - Sun ITV - 5.42m
6 Girlfriends - Wed ITV - 5.14m
7 Rugby: Six Nations Live - Sun ITV - 4.23m
8 The Martin Lewis Money Show - Mon ITV - 3.90m
9 Death Row 2018 With Trevor McDonald - Thurs ITV - 3.72m
10 ITV News - Tues ITV - 3.69m
These consolidated figures - published weekly by the British Audience Research Bureau - include all viewers who watched programmes live and on various forms of catch-up TV and video-on-demand during the seven days after initial broadcast. They do not, however, include those who watched programmes on ITV Player via their computers. You knew that, right? Figures for ITV, Channel Four and Channel Five do not include viewers who watched programmes on any of the various '+1' channels. Sadly, for the second week running, the BBC did not provide any data to BARB for the period in question. For which lazy and bad uselessness, one trusts, someone at Broadcasting House is currently getting horsewhipped to within an inch of their lives. Kiri remained - by a distance - Channel Four's highest-rated broadcast of the week with 4.31 million viewers. Hunted attracted 2.27 million. SAS: Who Dares Wins (2.15 million), Derry Girls (2.14 million) and First Dates Hotel (2.12 million) came next. Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown had 2.06 million viewers, Twenty Four Hours In A&E, 1.99 million, Kirstie & Phil's Love It Or List It, 1.89 million, The Undateables, 1.82 million, the movie Suffragette, 1.66 million and The Last Leg With Adam Hills, 1.61 million. Channel Five's top performer was, obviously, Z-List Celebrity Big Brother. The top six broadcasts in Channel Five's list of shame were episodes of the sick Victorian freak-show with Wednesday's episode watched by an audience of 1.66 million brain-damaged morons or the victims of cruel medical experiments. Broken Britain in a nutshell, dear blog reader. The Movie Batman Begins (1.40 million), Will & Grace (1.32 million), Police Interceptors (1.20 million) and Bargain-Loving Brits In The Sun (1.11 million) rounded-off Five's most-watched list. On Sky Sports Premier League, Gillette Soccer Saturday was watched by seventy two thousand, whilst four hundred and twenty two thousand punters viewed Jeff, Tiss, Merse, Thommo and Champagne Charlie on Sky Sports News and one hundred and sixty five thousand on Sky Sports Football. Liverpool Albama Yee-Haws's draw with Stottingtot Hotshots was seen by five hundred and thirty seven thousand on SS PL, plus 1.39 million punters thousand on Main Event. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies battling point at Crystal Palace had two hundred and three thousand plus five hundred and fifty five thousand on Main Event. Burnley against Sheikh Yer Man City drew one hundred and ninety thousand on Premier League and four hundred and seventy one thousand on Main Event. Goals On Sunday was watched by eighty seven thousand. Sky Sports News' deadline day Transfer Centre attracted two hundred and eighty two thousand - all of whom were, one trusts, as baffled as this blogger as to how his beloved (though unsellable) Magpies, desperately fighting to stay in the Premier League with all of the attached financial considerations involved in that still managed to go through the entire transfer window spending not a single penny. Mister Ashley, a tip which - as a successful businessman on would have expected you to know already - you've got to speculate to accumulate, baby. Live EFL and Notlob's home win over Bristol City was seen by two hundred and seventy four thousand punters on Sky Sports Football and sixty one thousand on Sky Sports Mix. Wolverhampton Wanderings versus Sheffield United had eighty seven thousand, plus two hundred and thirty seven thousand on Sky Sports Main Event. Johannesburg: Twenty Years One attracted thirty seven thousand on Sky Sports Cricket. Sky 1's weekly top-ten was headed by Hawaii Five-0 with seven hundred and sixty one thousand viewers and Modern Family, with seven hundred and forty five thousand. NCIS: Los Angeles (six hundred and eighty thousand), Strike Back: Retribution (six hundred and two thousand) and From The North favourite The Blacklist (five hundred and eighty three thousand) came next. Rancid puddle of festering spew Trollied had four hundred and seventeen thousand people who should be sodding-well embarrassed to show their faces in public after surrendering their intelligence to such crass phlegm. Sky Arts' Portrait Artists Of The Year was seen by three hundred and sixty five thousand viewers. Johnny Cash's Bitter Tears Revisited had forty six thousand. Sky Atlantic's top ten was dominated topped by Blue Bloods (two hundred and seventy thousand) and the latest episode of Britannia (two hundred and thirty nine thousand). A Game Of Thrones repeat was watched by sixty eight thousand and Gomorrah by sixty three thousand. On Sky Living, Chicago Fire drew five hundred and sixty three thousand whilst Madam Secretary, had four hundred and thirty five thousand. America's Next Model attracted three hundred and thirty one thousand, How To Get Away With Murder, one hundred and ninety thousand and Britain's Most Evil Killers & Their Naughty Wicked Ways, one hundred and seventy five thousand. CHiPS: Law & Disorder was the most-watched film on Sky Cinema Premiere, seen by seven hundred and forty four thousand. King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword drew six hundred and fifty two thousand. Midsomer Murders was ITV3's top-rated drama (nine hundred and twelve thousand viewers). Endeavour was seen by six hundred and ninety seven thousand and Rosemary & Thyme, by five hundred and six thousand. The movie Thunderball was viewed by three hundred and ninety nine thousand punters on ITV4. ITV Racing was seen by three hundred and seventy eight thousand.Keith Telly Topping has to be honest, dear blog reader, he knows that it's hugely well-regarded by the cognoscenti and all that but this blogger has always found Thunderball to be bit ... dull, frankly. It's too long and there's far too many underwater scenes! Anyway, ITV2's list was headed by Ibiza Weekender (eight hundred and thirty eight thousand) and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (five hundred and nine thousand). The shameful, worthless bucket of diarrhoea Celebrity Juice drew four hundred and ninety six hundred thousand and, equally odious conceit The Jeremy Kyle Show attracted four hundred and ninety four thousand. Heartbeat sat a'top ITV Encore's top-ten with sixty one thousand viewers, followed by Whitechappel (fifty five thousand) and Vera (fifty two thousand). Appalling tripe The Real Housewives Of Orange County, was viewed by three hundred and thirty seven thousand of exactly the sort of specimens who enjoy such risible and ugly exercises in z-list-celebrity-by-non-entity on ITVBe. Similarly wretched conceit, Botched By Nature was seen by one hundred and fifty nine thousand. BBC4's top-ten was ... as previously noted, missing in action. 5USA's repeat run of NCIS was viewed by four hundred and thirty eight thousand punters, Chicago Justice by three hundred and thirty three thousand and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit by two hundred and ninety four thousand. On Five Star, Home & Away scored four hundred and fifty four thousand thousand. The movies Where Eagles Dare and The Legend of Hercules drew two hundred and five thousand and two hundred and one thousand on Five-Spike. NCIS: Los Angeles was the most-watched broadcast on CBS Action (one hundred and forty five thousand). Judy Judy attracted sixty six thousand to the horribly mis-named CBS Drama. For FOX's sake, the fifth episode of the newest series of NCIS was seen by eight hundred and ninety two thousand viewers. The Orville had six hundred and twenty four thousand and Bull, four hundred and sixty five thousand. NCIS also continued its - seemingly endless - repeat run on the Universal Channel with ninety thousand viewers in a top ten headed by Major Crimes (two hundred and seventy one thousand). On Dave, an episode of Would I Lie To You? was watched by three hundred and eighty two thousand whilst appalling, laughless bollocks Taskmaster had three hundred and fourteen thousand. Channel staples Red Dwarf, Qi XL and Dave Gorman's Modern Life Is Goodish drew two hundred and ninety seven thousand, two hundred and forty eight thousand and two hundred and forty seven thousand respectively. Drama's Death In Paradise was viewed by five hundred and twenty six thousand whilst The Inspector Lynley Mysteries attracted three hundred and seventy four thousand viewers and Wallander, three hundred and eighteen thousand. A Drama Channel staple also headed the weekly top-ten of Alibi - Murdoch Mysteries with three hundred and thirty one thousand. Frankie Drake Mysteries was watched by three hundred and six thousand, Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries by one hundred and seventeen thousand and Maisie Raine by ninety three thousand. The Sony Crime Channel's most watched broadcast was Stolen Innocence (thirty one thousand). Hustle was seen by twenty thousand. Yesterday's Impossible Railways and Wartime Crime drew four hundred and nine thousand and two hundred and seventy two thousand respectively. On Your TV, Castle brought in one hundred and twelve thousand and Bones, one hundred and eight thousand viewers. The Discovery Channel's Gold Rush was seen by five hundred and thirty five thousand viewers. Wheeler Dealers had three hundred and one thousand, Street Outlaws, ninety thousand and Bitchin' Rides, eighty seven thousand. Former From The North fave Wheeler Dealers also appeared in the weekly top tens of both Discovery Shed (twenty eight thousand) and Discovery Turbo (thirty thousand). Though both of those were from previous series when the programme used to be good. Discovery History's Salvaging The Kursk headed the top-ten with twenty three thousand. Industrial Revelations attracted twenty two thousand whilst Inventions That Shook The World, Ultimate Warfare and Egypt's New Tomb Revealed all had seventeen thousand. On Discovery Science, How It's Made was viewed by sixty four thousand. Salvage Hunters on Quest was watched by four hundred and forty three thousand and Rocky Mountain Railways by three hundred and nineteen thousand. Pick's Babylon Five had an audience of two hundred and forty eight thousand. The Vikings Uncovered and Nova topped PBS America's weekly list, with fifty eight thousand and twenty nine thousand respectively. National Geographic's list was headed by Egypt: Secret Chambers Revealed and Wicked Tuna. They were watched by sixty four thousand and fifty two thousand. National Geographic Wild's Snakes In The City was viewed by thirty four thousand. The History Channel's most-seen programme was The Curse Of Oak Island (two hundred and thirty three thousand thousand), followed by Hunting Hitler (two hundred and five thousand) and Vikings (one hundred and twenty eight thousand). Ancient Aliens on the Military History channel was watched by forty nine thousand. The First Forty Eight, Robbie Coltrane's Critical Evidence, Homicide Hunter and Killing Spree were Crime & Investigation's top-rated programmes with sixty five thousand, fifty five thousand, forty seven thousand and forty seven thousand blood-and-snots-lovers, respectively. It is unlikely - although just about possible - that the same forty seven thousand people watching from The North favourite Homicide Hunter were exactly the same forty seven thousand punters who viewed Killing Spree. Stranger things have happened. That horse becoming Pope, for one. Evil Lives Here, Once Bitten, Grave Secrets, Blood Relatives and The Perfect Suspect headed Investigation Discovery's list (seventy six thousand, fifty six thousand, forty six thousand, forty five and forty four thousand respectively). Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for an episode of Impractical Jokers with two hundred and ninety five thousand. GOLD's repeat run of The Good Life continued with one hundred and eighty nine thousand punters. This blogger is tempted to quote, at length, Vyvyan from The Young Ones and the subject of The Good Life at this juncture. But, mercifully for you, dear blog reader, he won't. On More4, Car SOS was the highest-rated programme with five hundred and thirty two thousand. E4's list was topped by Z-List Celebs Go Dating with 1.05 million. Once again, dear blog reader, broken Britain summed up in a short sentence. Two hundred and twelve thousand punters were trying, in vain it would seem, to be Keeping Up With The Kardashians on E! Escape To The Country was watched by one hundred and twenty two thousand on Home. The Horror Channel's weekly list was topped by several episodes of Seaquest DSV, one of which attracted one hundred and seventy five thousand. ... And Soon The Darkness (one hundred and eighteen thousand), The Land That Time Forgot (ninety seven thousand) and The Serpent & The Rainbow (ninety three thousand) also featured in the channel's top-ten. The Librarians headed Syfy's top-ten with two hundred and forty three thousand, followed by Blackout (one hundred and thirty two thousand). Below Zero, The Thirty Nine Steps, Riddle of The Sands and The Laurel & Hardy Murder Case topped Talking Pictures list, with one hundred and thirty eight thousand, one hundred and five thousand, one hundred and one thousand and one hundred thousand respectively. The Day Of The Triffids had eighty three thousand. TLC's list was headed by Ninety Day Fiance (one hundred and seventy five thousand). True Crime's Forty Eight Hours and Deadly Women were seen by fifty two thousand viewers and forty six thousand viewers. On True Entertainment, M*A*S*H was watched by one hundred and forty three thousand punters. Inside The Ambulance on W attracted an audience of three hundred and forty four thousand. The Nature World was viewed by forty two thousand on Eden. Finding Bigfoot: Further Evidence was the Animal Planet's most-watched programme with thirty four thousand. A Cook Abroad: Rachel Khoo's Malaysia had sixty three thousand people on Good Food. Why, for the love of God why, dear blog reader? Geet worthless pants Geordie Shore on MTV was viewed by five hundred and ninety five thousand glakes. Most Haunted drew two hundred and twenty eight thousand on the woefully mis-named Really. The Wacky Races had fifty five thousand viewers on Boomerang. Cbeebies was yet another BBC channel to have its data unreported. Alvinnn!!! & The Chipmunks had an audience of one hundred and ninety five thousand on the Pop Channel. Horizon: Sugar Versus Fat attracted thirty three thousand on London Live. A Walk In The Woods, was seen by five hundred and sixty nine thousand on Film4. Lucy drew five hundred and twenty five thousand. Fort Massacre attracted one hundred and forty seven thousand on the Movies4Men Channel.

Channel Four's Kiri has already become the most-watched drama in the channel's history. C4 have revealed that the opening episode of Kiri was watched on average by 4.9 million viewers (including on catch-up). It has become the biggest ever drama on All4, taking in half a million views per episode. That beats the previous record-holder, Humans, which took in a consolidated audience of 4.7 million. 'Dramas like Kiri - British, topical, complex and illuminating - are exactly the kind of dramas we want to make at Channel Four and we are thrilled that they're able to find such a huge and engaged audience,' said C4's head of drama, Beth Willis. 'We are honoured that the brilliant Jack Thorne, The Forge and the astonishing cast felt that Channel Four was the right home for this thoughtful and gripping drama.'

And now, dear blog reader ...
Endeavour. That's how you do it, ITV. You replace one quality Sunday night drama - Vera - with another one. It's not rocket science. The Torygraph's review of the opening episode is here.
Britannia. Gloriously mad-as-toast, but utterly compelling and with a cast taking it dead seriously. The Gruniad's review is here. And, there's a very thoughtful and well-written piece on how delighted Sky are with the series consolidated ratings by the Radio Times' Huw Fullerton, here.
Requiem. Not quite as good as the opening episode, but with this cast you can't go far wrong. And, some parts of this are genuinely scary. Radio Times review, here.
The Blacklist. Back to its best after a couple of episodes running-on-the-spot (a regular mid-series Blacklist fault, that). Entertainment Weekly's review, here.
Star Trek: Discovery. Back from The Mirror Universe and with Jason Isaacs mysteriously - I don't think - still on the titles cast list. The Indi's review, here.
Jamestown. A rip-roaring return for the second series. Some Middle Class hippy Communist at the Gruniad's - typically sneery - review, here.
Modus. The second series of the Swedish Scandi-noir thriller started on Saturday evening in BBC4's slot vacated by the end of Spiral. And, it was rather good, actually. The List's review is here.
And, a very odd Skinner-centric episode of The X-Files. The Den Of Geeks website review, here.
Yer actual Mark Gatiss and Steve Pemberton his very self have become the latest names to join the cast of Neil Gaiman's much-anticipated fantasy drama Good Omens, which is currently being filmed in South Africa and is scheduled to debut on Amazon Prime Video next year. The duo will join David Tennant, Jon Hamm, Michael Sheen, Bloody Jack Bloody Whitehall and Miranda Richardson on the series – a co-production between Amazon and the BBC - not to mention their League Of Gentlemen co-star Reece Shearsmith, who will play William Shakespeare in the present-day comic apocalyptic series based on a best-selling novel by Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Gatiss and Pemberton will appear in the roles of book-buyers Harmony and Glozier. 'I'm delighted to be working with David and Michael again and of course with Steve – bringing a little Film Noir menace to such an exciting project,' Gatiss said. 'Being bad never felt so good!' Pemberton added: 'To be asked to fly to Cape Town with Mark and meet up with old friends David and Michael working on a script from the genius mind of Neil Gaiman ...? Well, you had me at Cape Town. Glozier and Harmony are a small piece of the jigsaw but hopefully one which will fit nicely into place.' Jamestown's Niamh Walsh will also join the series in the role of Rose.
Channel Four's much-admired comedy Derry Girls came to an action-packed and rather poignant end in episode six last week, as Clare made the brave decision to come out to her friends and a fatal bombing rocked the Quinn household to its core. Radio Times spoke to the writer, Lisa McGee and actresses Nicola Coughlan (who plays Clare) and Saoirse Jackson (Erin) to get the inside story on the finale. You can read it here.
Doctor Foster creator Mike Bartlett is back with a tense three-parter on ITV. Trauma centres on the lives of two fathers, Dan and Jon, whose lives collide when Dan's teenage son Alex is stabbed and tragically dies in the trauma department while surgeon Jon tries to save his life. Dan becomes obsessed that Jon didn't do enough to save his son's life. It stars Adrian Lester and John Simm and, judging by this trailer, looks rather good.
He may be best-known for writing a BAFTA-winning drama about a GP these days but Mike Bartlett has revealed that a very different kind of doctor actually inspired him to pursue a career in television. 'I loved Doctor Who when I was a kid,' Mike writes in the latest edition of Radio Times. 'When I was nine I found a copy of Doctor Who: The Making Of A Television Series in the school library. It had a picture of Peter Davison on the front and it was a formative book for me. It explained all the different departments like the script, cameras and sets, and explained how a television show is put together.' Bartlett says that the book, written by Alan Road and featuring an introduction by Davison, opened his eyes to the fact that everything he was watching on television was actually being made by people. 'That book started my career so when I eventually wrote an episode of Doctor Who last year, Knock Knock, it was pretty special,' Bartlett added. And, a very good episode it was too. This blogger thought it was great.
It will probably come as no surprise to learn that the BBC's so-called 'super-brands', Planet Earth II, Sherlock, Doctor Foster, Top Gear, Strictly Come Dancing and Doctor Who proved to be immensely popular around the world in 2017. The BBC have, this week, released information revealing which of their programmes sold best to other countries and the big-hitting dramas and documentaries went down a storm in France, Germany and the Netherlands. However, it also seems as though Spaniards can't get enough of Rick Stein, the Swedes love a bit of DCI Banks and the Norwegians are a bit partial to Father Brown. Rick Stein's Mediterranean Escapes was the highest-rating BBC show in Spain according to BBC Worldwide, while documentary Diana: Seven Days was the biggest show in Canada and Top Gear the most popular show in South Africa. Meanwhile, Father Brown the daytime drama starring Mark Williams and the Stephen Tompkinson ITV drama DCI Banks took the top spots in Norway and Sweden respectively, while Death In Paradise was the highest-rated show in Australia. Sherlock was the most-watched BBC show in both the US and Russia and sold to a whopping two hundred and thirty one territories. Not bad considering there are only, actually, one hundred and ninety five countries in the world. Not far behind Sherlock was Doctor Foster which also had global appeal, being distributed in two hundred and twenty six territories and becoming the most watched BBC Worldwide programme in Italy. When it comes to formats that were licensed globally, again it's probably not too much of a surprise that Strictly Come Dancing was the most popular TV show. Versions of Strictly are now produced in fifty four countries around the world - under a variety of titles - the most recent being in Brazil and Ireland.
The BBC has just released its first trailer for the documentary series Civilisations. The six-minute trailer offers an extended look at the show inspired by Kenneth Clark's seminal 1969 series Civilisation, treating viewers to a montage of the most meaningful pieces of art through the ages. The nine-part BBC2 series has been three years in the making and will seek to explore almost the entire span of art history, from marks on cave walls made forty thousand years ago to present day masterpieces. Rather than being fronted by one presenter, three TV historians will work on the new series: Simon Schama, From The North favourite Mary Beard and David Olusoga. According to the BBC, the trio will 'travel far and wide across six continents to find answers to fundamental questions about human creativity. The series will examine what makes a civilisation.' 'We live in a time of raw power, the swagger of money, brutal poverty and hard reckonings; precisely the moment when it can't be bad to contemplate again the most enthralling things that human creativity can achieve, because, for the most part, they are our common possession,' Schama said. 'It's taken three years of thinking, writing, filming and editing, every shoot, every encounter with great art, a daunting challenge and an immense satisfaction. We hope you enjoy the feast.' To accompany Civilisations, the BBC will also be broadcasting several spin-offs. BBC1 will present a series called Civilisations Stories, 'exploring the stories emerging from the art of each region and what they say about the communities in which we live.' BBC2, meanwhile, will broadcast accompanying show Civilisations On Your Doorstep, also featuring Mary Beard, who will look into 'the stories and controversies behind extraordinary works of art from all over the world that are now displayed in museums across Britain.' The BBC will also be launching The Civilisations Podcast, which promises to 'extend, unpick and challenge the themes raised in the programme.'
The Durrells could continue – even when the family leaves Corfu. At least, that's according to Callum Woodhouse in an interview with Radio Times. Whether it will or not only time and - this being ITV - the ratings will tell.
Gareth Malone has said that despite choral singing competition Pitch Battle being extremely axed by the BBC - because it was shit and no one was watching it - it 'could' make a return next year. Speaking to Radio Times, the choirmaster explained that the BBC haven't 'shot [Pitch Battle] in the back of the head' and that they are 'talking about' the show coming back in 2019. He did, however, admit that there were 'some issues' with the talent show which was presented by Mel Giedroyc and featured Kelis as a judge. 'I thought it was good,' Gareth explained. No one else did, though. Particularly this blogger who thought it was rubbish.
Ofcom's list of every swear word in the English language - and, some that aren't - in order of offensiveness has 'gone viral' again, as it periodically does. In 2016, after interviewing over two hundred people in the UK about how offensive they found words like 'bellend' and 'beef curtains', Ofcom ranked the words as either mild, medium, strong or strongest. It also published a series of documents and research papers, including a quick reference guide co-produced with IPSOS Mori called Attitudes to 'potentially offensive language and gestures' on TV and radio, which is now doing the rounds again. Although participants were asked their opinion on one hundred and fifty words in total, listed are the 'general swear words'. Other words people were quizzed on include those linked to race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, body parts and health conditions and religious insults. Mild: 'Arse', 'Bloody', 'Bugger', 'Cow', 'Crap', 'Damn', 'Ginger'(!), 'Git', 'God', 'Goddamn', 'Jesus Christ', 'Minger', 'Sod-off'. Medium: 'Arsehole', 'Balls', 'Bint', 'Bitch', 'Bollocks', 'Bullshit', 'Feck', 'Munter', 'Pissed', 'Pissed off', 'Shit', 'Son of a bitch', 'Tits'. Strong: 'Bastard', 'Beaver', 'Beef curtains', 'Bellend', 'Bloodclaat', 'Clunge', 'Cock', 'Dick', 'Dickhead', 'Fanny', 'Flaps', 'Gash', 'Knob', 'Minge', 'Prick', 'Punani', 'Pussy', 'Snatch', 'Twat'. Strongest: 'Cunt', 'Fuck', 'Motherfucker'. And, 'Semprini'. Probably. So, there are are, dear blog reader - you can say any of those, all right?
Ant McPartlin and Amanda Holden have both hotly denied reports of a 'furious' row after they were pictured together at the Britain's Got Toilets auditions ... seemingly, in the middle of a 'furious' row. The pair were present at The Lowry in Salford on Thursday and there has been tabloid and social media speculation based on a couple of paparazzi photos that they were struggling to get along. But representatives for both Amanda and Ant moved to dismiss the rumours. Which is such a relief, frankly, as we were all so worried. And, once again dear blog reader, let us simply stand up and salute the absolute shite that some people chose to care about.
The BBC and AMC's much-anticipated co-production The Little Drummer Girl has begun filming, with Charles Dance signing up as part of an all-star cast. The Alexander Skarsgård-led drama follows a young actress, played by Florence Pugh, who strikes up an acquaintance with an Israeli intelligence officer called Becker while on holiday in Greece in the 1970s. However, unbeknown to her, she is being entangled in a high-stakes plot orchestrated by the spymaster Kurtz (Michael Shannon). Dance will play the role of Picton, while other cast members include Michael Moshonov, Charif Ghattas, Amir Khoury, Katharina Schüttler, Simona Brown and Max Irons. The six-part series is being adapted by Oldboy's Park Chan-wook from the novel by John le Carré. Park said of the series and Skarsgård: 'To play an enigmatic man who hides his true feelings deep inside, I couldn't think of a more fitting actor. I believe Skarsgård's growing depth as a great character actor and his soaring energy will elevate The Little Drummer Girl to a high place.'
Odious lanky streak of unfunny rancid piss Bloody Jack Bloody Whitehall is reported to be leaving scum-filled puddle of wretched, stinking spew A League Of Their Own after ten - hateful, waste-of-oxygen - series. He is to be replaced by Romesh Ranganathan, who has previously appeared on the series as a guest. Whom this blogger always used to think was a pretty smart bloke - former teacher and all that. Clearly, his IQ's taken a hit of late if he's happy to hitch his wagon up to this worthless conceit. Still, one imagines the money's good. Sky shared the news via a tweet on Friday morning, along with the revelation that series eleven of the show, which is fronted by That Bloody Corden Thing and features Freddy Flintoff (nice lad, bit thick) and Jamie Redknapp (nice lad, extremely thick), will be broadcast 'later this year'.
Huge Grant has settled a phone-hacking damages claim against Mirra Group Newspapers at the High Court. It is understood that the actor will be paid 'a six-figure sum,' which he will then donate to the campaign group Hacked Off. Grant said that the newspaper group had been guilty of phone-hacking 'on an industrial scale' and called for another public inquiry to 'get to the truth.' MGN claimed that it 'deeply regretted' the acts - or, at least, it deeply regretted getting caught - and described them as 'morally wrong.' No shit? Also, legally wrong, too. Important point, that. Grant appeared at the court in London to hear his lawyer give details of the hacking settlement. Anjlee Saigol told Mr Justice Mann that the action against the Mirra Group related to the illegal misuse of Grant's information obtained by hacking his voicemails, masquerading as other people and surveillance. The action related to employees at all three of MGN newspapers - the Daily Mirra, Sunday Mirra and Sunday People. As part of Monday's settlement, MGN grovellingly admitted that 'senior employees including its editors, executives and journalists' had 'condoned, encouraged or actively turned a blind eye' to the culture of phone-hacking, Saigol said. The offences took place between 1998 and 2009 under the editorships of that odious oily twat Piers Morgan and Richard Wallace at the Daily Mirra and Tina Weaver at the Sunday Mirra. The three former editors, along with ex-chief executive of Trinity Mirra, Sly Bailey, had previously given evidence to The Leveson Inquiry and denied any and all knowledge of phone-hacking taking place at MGN. One or two people even believed them. Their statements to the inquiry were later found to be 'wrong, not just disingenuous' in a court ruling in 2015. Speaking outside court after Monday's hearing, Grant said: 'This case was not just about what they did to my phone and those close to me. In this litigation my lawyer and I pressed further because I was determined to uncover the truth about the nature of high-level concealment at the Mirror Group. This litigation has made clear that phone hacking and other unlawful information-gathering took place on an industrial scale at the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People. This newspaper group has misled the public and its shareholders for many years; and it has let down its readers and its hard-working journalists. The public were not told the truth, the victims were not told the truth, the shareholders were not told the truth and The Leveson Inquiry was not told the truth. That is why the second part of The Leveson Inquiry must take place - to get to the truth and discover who broke the law and who lied about it.' Saigol added that one of Grant's main reasons for pursuing the case was to 'establish the truth' about the group's investigations and knowledge of its unlawful activities before it eventually admitted them in September 2014. She also said that the company 'actively sought to conceal its wrongdoing from its many victims of intrusion' and admitted intrusions into people's lives could have been prevented. On Monday, the judge also heard details of settlements against MGN by the actor Ralf Little and Rupert Lowe, who was the executive chairman and joint managing director of Southampton Football Club between 1999 and 2006. Former police officer and Crimewatch presenter Jacqui Hames also settled her action against News Group Newspapers, publishers of the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World. Speaking for MGN, Alex Wilson weaselled: 'MGN accepts that the unlawful interception of voicemail messages and procurement of private information about Mister Grant and others should never have happened. MGN acknowledges that was morally wrong and deeply regrets the wrongful acts of its former employees which caused damage and distress to those affected, including Mister Grant.' The newspaper has been taken to court multiple times over claims of phone-hacking. In October last year, Steve Coogan was the latest in a long list of more than forty celebrities to have settled phone-hacking claims against MGN. They include Lord Archer, Kevin Keegan, Patsy Kensit and Michelle Collins. Grant has been one of the leading voices in the campaign for stricter press regulation. In 2012 he accepted a 'substantial sum' in damages from the Scum of the World. Grant was one of the victims of the paper's widespread phone-hacking, which led to its closure - in shame and ignominy - in 2011.
This blogger is indebted to his Facebook fiend, Nick, for providing him with the following, the first in a new semi-regular From The North series, Gigs That We Wish We'd Been At. This blogger does enjoy a nice, arse-rattling, eye-watering Ruby Murray, let it be noted. Who doesn't? Also, is it just me or does anyone else desperately wish to know exactly what Lorraine 'Wizard of the Brush' actually, you know, did with her brush? And, as for 'BBC personality Jon Perwtee' [sic], Keith Telly Topping wonders whatever happened to he?
And, finally dear blog reader, a short - entirely self-aggrandising - bit about From The North itself. We've already celebrated this blog having had three million page hits (we're currently well on the way to four million, as it happens). This week, however, for the first time a single From The North page had its one hundred thousandth hit. If you're wondering, it was October 2014's I Wasn't There, I Watched It On The Tell (Part One). Keith Telly Topping really must get around to starting work on Part Two sometime.
Next in the most popular From The North pages is December 2008's More Or Less Discovered In A Junkyard: The Not-So-Secret Illustrated History Of BBC Telefantasy (1937-2008). Which, to date, has more than more than eighty five thousand hits.
This blogger does concede the fact that the two - by far - most popular From The North pages both feature almost Asperger's-like lists and deal with British TV, social and political history and nostalgia for the 1960s and 1970s is entirely unsurprising. Those are, at least in part, why From The North exists. And, yer actual Keith Telly Topping is also delighted to note that the recent upwards trend in From The North's daily traffic continues, with an average day seeing between three and three-and-a-half thousand hits (with occasional surges beyond that). Although, this blogger fully realises that most of you simply stumble in here under the mistaken assumption that the blog contains porn, obviously!