Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Top Telly News

Here are a few odds and ends of top quality industry gossip to drop into your toaster, dear blog reader, and see if they pop up brown.

God bless Peter Fincham! ITV have recommissioned Poirot and Doc Martin (neither of which I'm all that a big fan of but I'd sooner they made stuff like those than some of the wretched nonsense their drama department have been forcing on us of late). And, most importantly from this blogger's point of view, also they've also recommissioned the excellent Foyle's War. Keith Telly Topping was always rather baffled by Fincham's predecessor Simon Shaps' decision to ditch Foyle in the first place - it was one of the few ITV dramas that was both widely popular - and with quite a diverse audience too - and had a certain critical standing. Yet, for at least a couple of years prior to the actual decision to scrap it they seemed to be constantly sending out signals that the current series 'could be the last.' So, it'll be nice to have that one back.

In more or less the same breath, however, ITV have cancelled the excellent Wire in the Blood. Innit marvellous? As if the North East isn't having it hard enough at the moment, now Wor geet canny Robson's on the Nat King Cole.
Oh, and Heartbeat and The Royal are not being cancelled, as you may have read, they are, instead, being "rested". Yeah ... I've heard that one before. Unlike Doctor Who fans, however, I don't think most of Heartbeat's audience can afford to wait around for sixteen years for a revival.

Meanwhile, the BBC Trust have issued a report saying that the decision to move The Weakest Link to BBC1 and into the 5:30 slot has harmed ratings for Newsround and Blue Peter. Expect further extracts from this to reveal that the Pope is, indeed, Catholic and that bears do, as you may have suspected, shit in the woods. Do you ever feel like yelling "I TOLD YOU SO" very loudly? You too, eh?

Who Do You Think You Are? has been excellent so far this season but has seen its audience somewhat squeezed by being placed in the same slot as Moses Jones and, especially, Whitechapel (which has been a big hit with viewers - seven million plus for episode two). It'll be interesting to see what the BBC show does for the last two episodes of the series - Zoë Wanamaker and Kevin Whately, two very popular actors anyway - which unlike the last three episodes, won't have two cracking crime dramas on opposite them. It will, however, be facing the debut (quite highly anticipated by me, at any rate) of Law & Order: UK.

And, poor old Ant and Dec have said they may not sign a new golden handcuffs deal with ITV so that they can work for other broadcasters again. Of course, they've done this at the very time when their most likely next port of call, the Beeb, are suffering more financial cutbacks than the average HBoS customer.

Richard and Judy, too, are having their woes.

Hustle has, as I suspected last week, been recommissioned.

John Nettles is leaving Midsomer Murders.

And, there are some very dark rumours doing the rounds in the industry that, almost entirely due to Demons truly disastrous performance, ITV have suddenly gone rather cold on Primeval and, despite its impressive performance last year, if the ratings show even the slightest sign of dipping, the forthcoming third season (which has already been pushed back, seemingly to put some distance between it and Demons in the viewers' minds) could be the show's last. Which would be criminal, frankly.