Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Greatest Comeback Since Lazarus

Wasn't it absolutely great to see Gina McKee back on our screens in Waking the Dead this week? It's been too long since Gina - one of the finest British actresses of her generation - was in something as high profile and meaty as this. Still no news yet on whether the show will be recommissioned (and, to be honest, it may be some time before it is, or isn't) but the ending was far more positive than I'd expected. (Well, if you can call the extraordinary sight of Mad Ruth Gemmell throwing herself off a towerblock positive.) And, as mentioned on Monday's blog, the ratings have been very consistent this year (a regular audience of a tad over six million) so I wouldn't be surprised if Boyd and co. are back next year some time.

Meanwhile, in the most completely unexpected TV news - of not only the year but, possibly, the decade - Primeval has been recommissioned for two series under a new co-production deal between ITV and UKTV. The arrangement, which also involves BBC America and German broadcaster Pro7, is for a seven-episode fourth series and a six-episode fifth. ITV will premiere series four in early 2011, while Watch will have the first run of series five later that year. ITV will then broadcast series five. Stars Andrew Lee Potts, Hannah Spearitt, Ben Miller and Jason Flemyng will all return for the new batch of episodes. Primeval features a group of scientists who battle prehistoric creatures and ran for three series. The most recent run of the popular show attracted average audiences of about five million in its Saturday tea-time ITV slot and received a fair bit of critical acclaim too - not least from Keith Telly Topping himself who really rather liked it. But when ITV was forced to make drastic cuts of forty million pounds in the channel's production budget, it looked like spelling the end of the special-effects laden series. 'I am thrilled that ITV has agreed to this new deal, which will allow us to produce another thirteen episodes of Primeval,' said Tim Haines, creative director of Impossible Pictures. 'The confidence demonstrated in the programme's continued success here and abroad will help us bring more big screen action and a whole host of new creatures roaring back into people's living rooms.' Keith Telly Topping is, for once, both surprised and delighted by this news.

The Lost cast have been discussing the sixth and final season of the hit series. Michael Emerson, who recently won an Emmy for his portrayal of the enigmatic Ben Linus, revealed that the show's fans may 'not be fully satisfied' with its conclusion. Oh. That doesn't sound good. Six years of my life I gave this bloody show. Anyway ... He told TV Guide: 'I don't know if [the fans] will be fully satisfied or not. I don't know if we want to be fully satisfied. I think it's always best to go away wanting a little more.' Terry O'Quinn admitted that he was amazed by the script for the season premiere episode. He said: 'When I read the first script, it's the first time in the whole series that I said, "Wow, that's amazing."' Co-star Jorge Garcia hinted that the bomb that exploded at the end of last year's finale will factor heavily into the sixth season's plotlines. He explained: 'Basically the bomb went off at the end of the last one and all bets are off.' It has been rumoured that cast members from previous instalments, including Ian Somerhalder, will make appearances during the forthcoming season. However, Garcia added that actress Cynthia Watros will not be reprising her role of Libby, saying: 'It looks like we're probably not going to see Libby. They'll probably deal with the story, but [Watros] may not be joining us.' It was reported earlier that Elizabeth Mitchell (Juliet Burke), who was last seen trying to explode the aforementioned bomb with a rock as the credits flashed to white, will return for the programme's final episodes.

Writer Andrew Davies, famed for his adaptations of classic novels such as Pride and Prejudice and Moll Flanders, has said the BBC's period drama is 'going downmarket' and the corporation only wants to undertake 'big, popular warhorses.' Davies, who brought Middlemarch, Bleak House and Little Dorrit to the small screen, said he had been developing Anthony Trollope's The Pallisters and Charles Dickens' Dombey and Son, but that those have both been axed by the BBC in favour of Winifred Holtby's South Riding and Dickens' David Copperfield, although neither is expected to air for several years. 'I think, in terms of doing the classics, their position is somewhere near what ITV's was ten years ago,' Davies said in an interview in Radio Times. 'Which is, "Yes, we'll do them, but only if they're big, popular warhorses." So it's going downmarket, I guess.' Despite the BBC cutting back on the number of 'bonnet and bodice' adaptations in favour of more modern period drama, Davies said there was still room for big classic pieces. 'I don't think we've seen the last of the big Nineteenth-Century adaptations,' he said. 'I'm rather counting on the fact that there is still the BBC charter. The BBC has to justify its licence fee and the cultural value of transmitting the classics is one of the things that makes the BBC unique. That said, they're certainly putting the stress on the Twentieth Century. It's the revenge of the controllers. The new breed don't have anything like the power that, rightly or wrongly, someone like Jane Tranter [former BBC controller of fiction] had. So there's an element of slate-wiping and territory-marking. An adaptation I was working on of Trollope's The Pallisers has been axed by the BBC and instead I'm doing ... South Riding - a Twentieth-Century story with quite a modern feel. I was also going to do Dickens' Dombey and Son, but they've asked me to do David Copperfield instead.' He added: 'I'd love to adapt more contemporary novels. But there isn't really enough story and character to make a really satisfying serial, so they tend to be single dramas. I remain, however, fairly optimistic for the future of period drama because it's just such a popular thing. People like bonnets. I don't think you can underestimate that.' The BBC's latest costume drama, the four-part Emma, adapted by Sandy Welch, launches on 4 October with Romola Garai in the title role. A BBC spokesman confirmed that The Pallisers and Dombey and Son had been in development but had not been commissioned. 'In the case of The Pallisers it had become clear that it would have been cost-prohibitive to bring the drama to the screen in the way we would want.' The BBC plans to rest Dickens for several years before producing David Copperfield, the spokesman said. 'Andrew Davies can rest assured that period drama is not "going downmarket" at the BBC; in fact quite the opposite is true. We are extending our range by delving into new eras with pieces such as Andrea Levy's Small Island and taking a fresh look at classics such as Jane Austen's Emma and Henry James' Turn of the Screw. For BBC audiences there has never been a greater range and breadth of high-quality drama on the BBC.' He then -significantly - failed to add 'all the money we've lavished on Andrew Davies over the years and the bugger still isn't satisfied!' So, there you have it dear blog reader, a week ago Richard Ayre was whinging that the BBC weren't making enough period drama, now Andrew Davies is whinging because they're not making the right sort. They can't do right for doing wrong, it would seem.

And in another example of crass 'biting the hand that feeds you' Criminal Justice star Maxine Peake has claimed that television force-feeds rubbish to viewers. Yes, that's Maxine Peake - someone who makes their living in the glossy, superficial world of television. I don't, actually, think anybody is forced to do anything, love. There is an 'off' button, you know. Speaking during an interview with the Radio Times, the actress - Juliet Miller in the BBC drama - also noted 'Our social structure seems to be collapsing. Why? The government does nothing about it. I'm a bit of a conspiracy theorist because I think they've got us where they want us, gripped in a climate of fear - swine flu, the economy - and dumbed us down so much we're not rebelling.' She concluded: 'We're force-fed so much rubbish on television that we've become comfortably numb.' Still, on the bright side, there's a new series of Doctor Who coming next April.

Ugly Betty will reportedly shoot a forthcoming episode in the Bahamas. According to Entertainment Weekly, the ABC show is to head to the Atlantis Resort and Casino to film on location. It is understood that the episode, which airs in November, will feature most of the cast and centre on a photoshoot for Mode magazine. 'Location shoots can make or break you as an editor, so it's a big deal for Betty,' a source said, adding: 'There's also some drama with a certain love triangle.'

In a short address to the Labour party conference in Brighton, Ben Bradshaw, culture secretary, said the BBC must be more sensitive to the views of licence payers, and vowed to do more to help regional news. Reassuring the conference, he said that Labour would 'never sacrifice the BBC on the altar of free market dogma,' but warned that 'like all successful organisations, the BBC must change in order to survive.' Bradshaw said local news was 'vital for the health of our democracy'. 'We face losing it completely from ITV unless something is done, and many of our local newspapers are also struggling to survive,' he said. And challenging political rivals to set out their aspirations for the media market, reminded the conference of the party's stance: 'Labour is the only party that will guarantee high-quality news on TV in the English regions, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and say how it'll be paid for.'

Monty Python's Flying Circus star Terry Jones has spoken for the first time about becoming a father again at sixty seven. Jones's twenty six-year-old girlfriend Anna Soderstrom gave birth to a daughter Siri earlier this month. Terry told The Radio Times 'I don't think people who have children are acting selfishly or unselfishly.' The star who already has a grown up son and daughter added 'Having a child who'll be loved, to parents who love each other, is the important thing.' He continued: 'I've a reasonable chance of living another twenty years, and hope I do, so Siri will be in her twenties.' Jones left his wife of more than thirty years to set up home with his Swedish girlfriend, who he met at a book signing, but refuses to talk about their relationship publicly because 'it doesn't worry me what anyone says, except when publicity hurts others.' The comedian also told the magazine how he had fully recovered from colon cancer but had been left with slightly frozen feet. He says it was a side effect caused by chemotherapy and is the only lasting effect of the disease after doctors discovered a tumour. He said: 'It never worried me because I wasn't ill. They cut it out and it hasn't spread. To play safe, they gave me chemo and I have slightly frozen feet as a side effect.'

Omar Miller has joined the cast of CSI: Miami as a series regular, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The thirty-year-old actor, who has previously appeared in Eleventh Hour and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, will first appear in the CBS drama on 5 October. Miller will play Walter Simmons, a Louisiana native and art theft specialist who transfers over from the night shift to join Horatio Crane's team.

Robert Carlyle has admitted that he was not a fan of the original Stargate series before landing a role on latest spin-off Stargate Universe. Speaking exclusively to Digital Spy, the forty eight-year-old Scottish actor revealed that he 'hadn't really seen much' of SG-1 or Atlantis. 'It's funny,' he said. 'After I'd agreed to do the show and I got sent all the DVDs - two hundred fucking hours of SG-1 and all the rest of it! I was surprised how much of it I had actually seen. I'd probably seen about twenty episodes of SG-1 over the years and I didn't see anything at all of Stargate Atlantis but that didn't seem to matter. This is a whole new deal, so I didn't have to sit and watch the whole back catalogue - that would have been a bridge too far!' Meanwhile, SG-1 stalwart Richard Dean Anderson may become a recurring cast member on Stargate Universe, according to Carlyle. Earlier this year, co-creator Brad Wright confirmed that Anderson - Jack O'Neill on the original Stargate series - will guest star on the latest spin-off alongside Gary Jones. However, Carlyle, who plays Dr Nicholas Rush on Universe, has hinted that Anderson may appear more often than was previously announced.

Actress Sally Whittaker's daughter, Phoebe Dynevor, is to appear in BBC1 school drama Waterloo Road. The fourteen-year-old will play rich student Siobhan Green, who is forced to attend comprehensive Waterloo Road when it merges with her own nearby school, the Sun reports. A show source said: 'In the end she conquers her snobbery and finds herself getting along with the natives.' Whittaker, who plays Sally Webster in Coronation Street, added: 'I have to stress that she got the part on her own merit. It was nothing to do with me.'

EastEnders star Larry Lamb has hinted that his time on Albert Square is about to 'turn terribly nasty.' Speaking to Digital Spy website at this year's Inside Soap Awards, the sixty five-year-old said: 'It's not good, not good. It's all going very wrong. I think he's involved himself in some deep, dark stuff and I've got the beginnings of an inkling of an idea that it's all about to turn terribly nasty for Archie. I think he's maybe going to end up in hospital or something like that.' He added: '[Janine and Archie] are a terrible, terrible, terrible combination. I think she's certainly likely to be involved in anything that goes wrong with Archie because they're so thick. Everything they're doing is a co-plot at the moment.'

Zöe Lucker has claimed that her Strictly Come Dancing co-star Ricky Whittle was 'mortified' by rumours that they don't get along. Earlier this month, reports suggested that the Hollyoaks actor had described Lucker as 'a stuck-up cow' in a 2005 interview. Whittle later described the speculation as 'upsetting' and insisted that he is enjoying the actress's company on set. Lucker has now told Celebs On Sunday: 'I don't even recall meeting Ricky before Strictly. And when I did meet him, he was lovely. Bless him, he was mortified about that article. He said to the producers, "Oh my God, I have to speak to Zöe. I have to tell her this isn't the case." Then he left me a voicemail saying, "I'm so sorry someone printed this rubbish."'

Ali Bastian has reportedly been performing with a torn ligament on Strictly. The Bill actress told the Sun that she did not initially realise the extent of her injury. Bastian said: 'I sprained my ankle three or four days into training and I have been dancing on it the whole time. I didn't want to make a big deal of it, but now I have found out I have got a little tear in the ligament.' She added: 'But I'm looking after it, icing it, doing all the right things and they have strapped it up for me. I'm trying to pretend it's not there but it's painful.' Bugger. Keith Telly Topping has a lot of money riding of Ali winning the damn thing. I wonder if it's too late to switch bets to Laila Whatsherface?

Alexandra Burke has said that her mother Melissa Bell is proud of her success but still finds it hard to cope with her X Factor win. Bell was a former member of British group Soul-II-Soul and appeared on the group's 1993 single 'Wish'. Burke told Marie Claire: 'I think we're too alike because we clash. We both sing. She had Soul II Soul but it didn't last as long as she wanted it to last. Then I get this big new show, I win it, and it's weird for her to see this. Although she's proud, it's like she wants to rewind time to when she was younger, when she didn't have kids.'

Cheryl Cole has said that she will buy Simon Cowell tooth whitener for his birthday. The Girls Aloud singer that she would buy her fellow X Factor judge the product for his fiftieth next month. She told Hello magazine: 'No, I'm joking, I shall have to think about it.' Cole went on to say that she is 'obsessed' with Beyoncé Knowles, saying: 'When I met her I turned into an absolute gabbling fool, "You are what every woman should aspire to be, you are amazing, I love you!" I was so embarrassed.' The singer also revealed that although she will eventually want children, she is not ready yet, saying: 'This is the most fulfilling time of my life ever. I am in a really positive place and I feel like I need to enjoy every single second of it.'

Graham Norton has taken a fresh swipe at Dannii Minogue, claiming that the Aussie star is no longer relevant on The X Factor. The chatshow host told Radio Times that Minogue has been pointless ever since Cheryl Cole joined the judging panel last year. He commented: 'Cheryl Cole! What a star! Imagine how humiliated Dannii Minogue feels. They don't even go to her for comments anymore.' It is not the first time that Norton has attacked Minogue's credentials. Last year, he suggested that the singer is a poor mentor on the show, saying: 'She's like tying a lump of concrete around your neck.' Fine lookin' lady, though Graham. That's got to be taken into consideration.

La Roux singer Elly Jackson has described The X Factor as 'fucked up,' comparing it to a modern- day freak show. The twenty one-year-old admitted that she disapproves of the audition stages where the judges ridicule contestants in front of millions of people. 'That shouldn't be what we find entertaining. I do have a problem with it, and for that reason I don't really watch it. I just don't really approve of it,' she told Heat. 'I watched it the other night, but that was the first episode I've seen in years. Some of the auditions are funny, but they shouldn't really be; it's only funny because you're taking the piss.'

Reports that a movie version of Friends is being developed have been refuted by three of the show's ex-stars. James Michael Tyler, who played Gunther in the series, recently claimed that the popular sitcom is to be made into a feature film. However, representatives for former castmembers Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow have moved to dismiss the speculation, says Gossip Cop. Each issued statements saying: 'We are not aware of any plans for a Friends movie.' A case of Friend Disunited, it would seem. Oh, never mind.

BSkyB is to offer loyal pub subscribers its new cutting edge 3D TV service before it is released to the domestic market. Speaking to The Publican, Sky Businesses' managing director Iain Holden confirmed that the service will go to pubs first - as early as next year - and that they would enjoy a period of exclusivity ahead of other subscribers. However, he said that given the experimental nature of the technology he was unable to provide an exact launch date. Although existing Sky HD boxes in pubs will not need upgrading to screen 3D content, there is likely there will be an additional charge for the service, and for the screens pubs need to show it. Selected sporting events are to be filmed live in 3D by Sky in 2010 for special pub screenings.

Actress Sara Paxton has been giving her reaction to The CW's abrupt decision on Friday to cancel her series The Beautiful Life after airing just two episodes. 'We're so shocked! I definitely think it's unfair. The CW didn't give our show a chance to succeed or fail. We had some amazing episodes coming up that we were all proud of, and the story lines were about to get really interesting, so we're sad that no one will ever even see those. It's unbelievable the way that they told us — we were all in the middle of work. I was sitting in the hair and make-up chair, and I'm getting my hair done just like a normal Friday. And all of a sudden, they got the call and the producers had to make an announcement on set that we were done—that we were over! And I was sitting there in shock. I couldn't believe that in the middle of work, the rug was pulled out beneath our feet. Immediately, I run over to Corbin's [Bleu] room, and I'm like, "oh my God, oh my God!" I was freaking out! And Corbin was shocked. Everyone was just devastated. It was horrible. Terrible.' So ... not a glass-half-full type situation then, Sara?

David and Victoria Beckham have started taking elocution lessons in a bid to boost their US career prospects, a report claims. According to the Daily Star, ex-Spice Girl Victoria has decided that she wants to sound more like It-girl Tara Palmer-Tomkinson because she believes that her accent is holding her back in the TV industry. Some form of talent - in anything except looking pouty and like you've just smelled manure nearby - might also help, Posh. Meanwhile, it has been suggested that David wants to sound less 'monotone' when he makes his own television appearances. A source told the newspaper: 'David is quite keen to move into TV work when he finally retires, probably after the next World Cup. He's got the looks and the knowledge, but knows his voice needs work.'

Snoop Dogg is a fan of British sitcom Keeping Up Appearances, it has been claimed. Hang on - is this 1 April and Keith Telly Topping's been in hibernation for six months? According to the Sun, the gangsta rapper mo'fugga from da 'hood, with his ho, etc. believes that lead character Hyacinth Bucket, played by Patricia Routledge, may have a number of American followers. Again, some stories just don't need a punchline.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Born To Run - Lavatory Humour For Desperate People

Keith Telly Topping would like to take this opportunity to apologise for a quite unforgivable error that occurred in the selection of one of the photos used to illustrate a story in yesterday's blog. A picture that we published purporting to be of British National Party leader Nick Griffin was, it turned out, a photograph of 'A Nazi.' From The North unreservedly wishes to apologise for this mistake and for any inconvenience or embarrassment caused ... to the Nazi.

Sir David Attenborough yesterday fronted the BBC's first major step in putting its vast archive on the Internet by introducing a service that will permanently offer thousands of the greatest film moments from the corporation's world renowned Natural History Unit. Britain's best-known wildlife filmmaker has contributed some favourite clips from his own work to an initial offering of five hundred short films that are available on Wildlife Finder, a new division of the BBC's website. The service, which is supported by extensive background information on habitats and species, includes clips such as Attenborough's famous forest encounter with the Australian lyrebird as it mimicked the sound of lumberjack chainsaw gangs and the noise of car alarms. Fresh segments are to be uploaded to the site on a daily basis and, by early next year three thousand further clips - all between two and eight minutes long - will be available for viewing, along with audio recordings of the featured animals and birds. It is hoped that Wildlife Finder will reflect not only the diversity of the natural world but the depth of work produced by the Natural History Unit in Bristol, which has been making programmes for the BBC since 1957.

Billie Piper has been confirmed to star in forthcoming BBC1 drama A Passionate Woman. The Doctor Who actress will appear alongside Waking The Dead's Sue Johnston, New Tricks' Alun Armstrong and Frances Barber in the Kay Mellor-penned romance. Piper will play Betty, a young wife who falls in love with Polish neighbour Alex Crazenovski (Theo James) in the 1950s. Two decades later her affair will be exposed on her son Mark's (Andrew Lee Potts) wedding day. Johnston is cast as Betty in the 1980s, while Armstrong will portray her devoted but dull husband Donald. The younger version of Donald will be played by Armstrong's real-life son, Joe, best know as Alan A'Dale in Robin Hood. (It's not the first time that Alun and Joe have worked together, they were also in one of Mellor's previous dramas Between The Sheets.) Rachel Leskovac and Barber will feature as the younger and senior versions of Betty's sister Margaret. 'I am thrilled that we are bringing this beautiful drama by Kay Mellor to BBC1,' said BBC commissioning editor Polly Hill. 'It has its roots in something very personal for Kay, but it's also an epic love story that is played across four decades. We are delighted that the script has attracted such a wonderful cast led by Billie Piper and Sue Johnston and we are sure it will prove a real treat for the audience.'

Freeview users will need to retune their set-top boxes and TVs on 30 September as the service is upgraded. More than eighteen million homes will be affected. The move mainly aims to give more viewers access to Channel Five. However, those who have Channel Five at the moment will be unable to watch it until they have retuned. ITV3, ITV4 and some BBC radio stations will also be affected. About four hundred and sixty thousand households are expected to permanently lose access to ITV3 and ITV4. The technical changes behind the upgrade will eventually enable High Definition (HD) television to be broadcast on Freeview. HD is already available on the free-to-view satellite service Freesat. 'These are significant and necessary changes which will immediately bring Freeview viewers new channels, introduce new homes to exiting channels and prepare the platform for the future availability of Freeview HD,' said Ilse Howling, managing director of Freeview. All Freeview TV sets, set-top boxes and digital recorders, including TopUp TV and BT Vision boxes will need to be retuned from lunchtime on 30 September.

The BBC soap EastEnders took home half of the prizes at this year's Inside Soap Awards, including the night's most prestigious award for Best Soap. The Walford-based serial, which retained the top accolade for the second year running, tallied seven trophies compared to Coronation Street's five. Hollyoaks managed only one, while Emmerdale walked away empty-handed. Not a sausage. Bugger all.

Sacked Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips has criticised the show's panel for scoring contestants too generously. The embittered old battleaxe choreographer admitted that she was surprised to see Hollyoaks actor Ricky Whittle and Footballers' Wives stars Laila Rouass and Zöe Lucker achieving scores of thirty and above on Friday night. Speaking to the Sun, she commented: 'The marks are too high - ridiculously high. I've done an overall mark for everybody and theirs are nowhere near where mine are.' Presumably, nobody has yet had the heart to point out to dear old Arlene that since she was sacked her marks, actually, don't count any longer and that she needn't bother to keep doing them. 'I think Craig [Revel Horwood] is the only one marking what he sees - and he gets booed,' she added, presumably remembering with some fondness the old days when she used to get similarly hostile reactions from audiences. Phillips added that some celebrity dancers have managed to win over the judges by using their acting skills to cover up technical mistakes. 'Natalie Cassidy, Zöe Lucker and Craig Kelly are all actors and they know how to perform,' she explained. 'With Natalie she was telling the story so much with her face, I kept missing her feet. It's a bit like Derren Brown pulling the wool over your eyes. If you believe you can dance, you can act it and maybe that's why they're getting such high scores. If they carry on like this they'll have to start marking them out of twenty.' So ... how's life-post-sacking going for you, then Arl? Getting out, much?

Brendan Cole, meanwhile, is facing a right good dressing down from Strictly bosses after calling Craig Revel Horwood an 'idiot' during a spectacular live on-air rant. The Kiwi dancer lost his rag after Horwood criticised Cole's partner Jo Wood's rumba. Cole was also heard to shout: 'I'll see you outside.' The purpose of this would-be out-the-back liaison is, as yet, unknown dear blog reader. Horwood sparked Brendan's fury by lambasting Wood's technique and claiming that the best bit of her performance was when the fifty four-year-old was 'standing still.' Which, even Keith Telly Topping is forced to admit was pretty damn funny. But Cole fumed: 'That's just rude, arrogant and unnecessary.' And he turned to a tearful Jo and stormed: 'Don't listen to that Australian idiot.' A BBC insider told the Daily Star: 'Everyone knows Brendan is passionate and fiery. But producers will be having a quiet word with him. He must learn to control his temper.' And offering people out live on national TV too, I'd've said.

And he's not the only one gunning for Craig, it would seem. Enzo Calzaghe has claimed that the Strictly judge is 'very snotty and rude.' Joe Calzaghe's dad, himself pretty useful with his fists in his day, blasted Horwood for his critical comments on his son's first two dance routines. Joe and professional partner (and lover, allegedly) Kristina Rihanoff ended up at the bottom of the leaderboard in Week One, with Horwood describing the boxer's performance as similar to 'rigor mortis.' Enzo told WalesOnline: 'If I was there I'd throw a big bag of tomatoes at him! If I put Craig in the boxing ring, I wouldn't be so rude and demanding, he'd have to pick it up at his own pace. None of the dancers there are a Fred Astaire or Ginger Rogers, they are all finding it difficult. They are all really nervous.' Well, at least he didn't threaten to biff him on the conk, unlike some hard-as-nails dancers not a million miles away from TV centre.

Natalie Imbruglia has revealed that she turned down the chance to appear on Strictly some years ago. The Australian pop star and former Neighbours actress, thirty four, said that she had to turn the reality series down because she was too busy working on her music career. 'I have been asked to do Strictly Dome Dancing, but I said no,' she told the BBC. 'I was actually working, I was in the studio songwriting. It was years ago.' She added: 'I'm a dance school kid, so I'd probably be really good, but I would have been terrified.'

Joe Godwin has landed the most powerful job in children's television, after being named the new director of BBC children's. Godwin is currently head of news, factual and entertainment at CBBC but will replace Richard Deverell in November, when he relinquishes his controller of children's post to become chief operating officer of BBC North. Godwin started out as a BBC trainee and is a former producer of Blue Peter, but has also worked in the commercial sector, notably as interactive director and vice president of operations at Nickelodeon UK. His new role will see him leading BBC children's to Salford in 2011, as well as presiding over the CBBC and CBeebies services, which are managed by Damian Kavanagh and Michael Carrington respectively.

Ofcom has backed the producers of Wife Swap over an episode in which a baby was shown living in a dirty flat and eating chips. The regulator received fifty five complaints from viewers concerned about what they saw as neglectful treatment of an eighteen-month-old baby. The complainants argued that Channel 4 and the producers should have intervened when they saw the unhygienic conditions and poor diet endured by the child and also raised doubts about a scene in which the child was left in her cot with a wet nappy until midday. But Ofcom noted that the situation existed prior to filming and was in no way encouraged, condoned or created by the producers. It said the format of Wife Swap loaned itself to a situation in which the child's parents learned from their mistakes and that a sequence filmed six weeks later showed a healthier situation. Furthermore, C4 had ensured that the family was assessed by an accredited psychotherapist, the child's grandmother was to hand, a camera monitored the child's activity in its bedroom and at least one member of the production team was present in the house twenty four hours a day during filming. It rejected concerns about the wet nappy, as she did not appear distressed and was changed when she woke up, and noted that as well as crisps and chips, the child ate healthy food during the show. Ofcom also cleared Channel 4 and Objective Productions over Derren Brown's series of stunts grouped as The Events. The first three shows in the run, which saw Brown appear to predict the lottery and try to trick people into getting stuck on their sofas, attracted thirty one wholly predictable complaints. These pathetically ignorant concerns ranged from the show's deployment of apparent subliminal and hypnosis techniques to mislead viewers, the welfare of a cat that appeared to be a whisker away from being stabbed and a throwaway joke about the Lottery's bonus ball being of interest only 'women and gays.' As From The North has bemoaned on previous occasions, the utter nonsense that some people chose to care about continues to bewilder.

ITV is believed to be in advanced talks with former Reed Elsevier boss the excellently-named Sir Crispin Davis and ex-Channel 4 chairman and BMI founder Sir Michael Bishop about taking the non-executive chairman role. Ex-BT chairman the also excellently-named Sir Christopher Bland and Unilever's former boss Niall Fitzgerald are also considered to be in the frame for the chairman role, following the spectacular collapse of talks with former BSkyB chief executive Tony Ball last Friday, and the revelation that current executive-chairman Michael Grade will soon leave the company too. ITV is hoping to appoint a new non-executive chairman within weeks to stop a prolonged period of instability at the broadcaster. That chairman will first be tasked with leading a new search for a chief executive. The commercial broadcasters has already spent nearly six months searching for a new executive to take over from Grade in a process that has been described by some insiders as 'completely shambolic.' Previous candidates had included chief operating officer John Cresswell and HMV chief Simon Fox, as well as Apple's European head Pascal Cagni. Is it just Keith Telly Topping or does everyone who seems to be up for this job have a name that sounds like a minor Bond villain? I wonder if a thirst for world domination is one of the pre-requisites for the job?

CBBC has signed a co-production deal with Aardman Animations to produce a live-action comedy pilot based on stage show Men in Coats. The thirteen episode show, created by Mick Dow, will be aimed at both boys and girls aged seven to eleven and is currently in development. The story follows Mik and Moe, who have left their homeland of Wursturg to seek their fortune. Dressed in the traditional Wurstburgian costume of snorkel parkas, they swear to uphold their land's ancient decree of never speaking. The series follows their attempts to hold down a job, rent a room and simply have fun. Inspired by the stage show, it combines performance arts with surreal magic and camera trickery. The stage show boasts sell-out tours around the world and has generated thirty three million hits on YouTube, placing it in the top one hundred most-viewed Internet clips ever.

Emmerdale star Deena Payne has revealed more details about her recent work on a live music show. The actress, who plays Viv Hope in the soap, teamed up with her guitarist partner Steve Grant to create Barockestra, which gives classical favourites like Vivaldi's Four Seasons a rock-style twist. She first discussed the project on This Morning in July. Payne, who had a musical theatre career before joining Emmerdale in 1993, choreographed dance sequences and also customised authentic Baroque outfits for the production. She worked on the show during her recent one-year break from the Yorkshire-based drama. She told the Yorkshire Evening Post: 'Emmerdale took me away from all that I knew in the dance world, so I absolutely loved doing Barockestra. The show is a lot of fun and it's got so much energy in it. Steve is incredibly talented and he's worked hard to get this off the ground. A lot of the songs go from classical arrangement into a rock theme, which makes the music appeal to people in a more modern way.'

Gemma Arterton has agreed to star in new West End play The Little Dog Laughed. The Quantum of Solace and St Trinian's star, who last acted on stage in a production of Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost in 2007, will play Ari, a fiery young woman living with a male character played by Robin Hood's Harry Lloyd. The comedy will also star Young Victoria's Rupert Friend and Diary of Anne Frank actress Tamsin Greig. The production is due to premiere in London early next year. Arterton, twenty three, will start rehearsals with the rest of the cast in December.

FlashForward had an impressive debut for Five last night, according to early viewing figures. The series premiere, which pulled in more than decent ratings in the US last Thursday, drew 3.19m for Five at 9pm last night. Despite making a strong start, the Joseph Fiennes-fronted drama failed to beat Five's fellow US import The Mentalist, which opened with 3.69m on Thursday, March 26, 2009, making it the most successful ever launch of any US drama shown on Five. Previous figures for the first episodes of Five's US imports include CSI premiering with 2.41m in 2001, CSI: Miami with 3.09m in 2003 whilst 3.35m tuned in for CSI: New York in 2005. House opened with 1.97m in 2005, NCIS achieved 1.63m in 2006 and the debut of Prison Break was viewed by 1.85m in 2006.

Celebrity Big Brother producers have targeted Lindsay Lohan as a potential contestant for the final series, according to reports. The Sun states that Endemol has been holding talks with the Hollywood actress in Singapore. The Mean Girls star was in the country playing a series of pop concerts, including a gig at the Singapore Grand Prix. However, a representative for Lohan has told Gossip Cop that the star will not be appearing in the reality show. '[Producers] have been calling and e-mailing her whole team and it has been a pass,' added the spokesperson. 'This is a tacky way to get cheap publicity.' Yeah, pretty much. Other celebrities linked to the next celebrity edition include Kerry Katona and snooker star Ronnie O'Sullivan. Meanwhile, former footballer Paul Gascoigne has been tipped to appear. According to the Mirror, the troubled sports star has been offered one hundred thousand smackers by producers to enter the Channel 4 show. Gascoigne, forty two, has fought public battles with alcohol and depression in the past. Last year, he was sectioned twice under the Mental Health Act.

Saturday Night Live newcomer Jenny Slate swore during the show's season premiere. The twenty seven-year-old was recently announced as a new cast-member along with Nasim Pedrad after female comics Casey Wilson and Michaela Watkins were fired from the long-running comedy show. Slate made the on-air mistake in a sketch called Biker Chick Chat, which also featured guest-host Megan Fox, TV Guide has reported. The women in the scene were substituting the word 'fucking' with the usual TV euphemisms 'freaking' and 'fricking', but one minute into the sketch, Slate apparently said: 'You know what? You stood up for yourself, and I fucking love you for that.' The comedienne appeared to realise the gaff she had made as she paused and puffed out her cheeks after she uttered the word. The portion of the episode aired at 12:40am on the East Coast, when the Federal Communications Commission does not heavily regulate the airwaves as it would during prime-time hours. The West Coast broadcast featured an edited version with the naughty removed. Slate's mishap was similar to an incident on the show in 1981, when then cast-member Charles Rocket said 'I'd like to know who the fuck did it' at the end of an episode that featured a running parody of the 'Who shot JR?' storyline from Dallas. He was fired soon afterwards.

The woman who inspired the Beatles song 'Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds' has died of lupus at the aged of forty six. Lucy Vodden passed away at St Thomas' Hospital in London following a long battle with the disease, according to a charity. The housewife was a schoolfriend of John Lennon's son Julian. She became the inspiration for the iconic song after Julian returned home from school with a drawing of her and told his father that it was 'Lucy in the sky with diamonds.' Lennon later took the title for his classic Lewis Caroll-influenced song about plastercine porters and kaleidoscope eyes, which featured on the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band LP in 1967. 'It's so sad that she had finally lost the battle she fought so bravely for so long,' Angie Davidson, the campaign director for the St Thomas' Lupus Trust charity, told Reuters. Davidson added that Julian and his mother Cynthia, Lennon's first wife, were 'shocked and saddened by the loss of Lucy.'

Coronation Street star Michelle Keegan has insisted that she has natural breasts. The twenty two-year-old actress, who plays Tina McIntyre on the ITV drama, admitted that rumours of a secret boob-job started spreading after she was snapped at the beach. Speaking about her soap character, Keegan told the Daily Star Sunday: 'She's always pretty covered up. I think that's why the rumour started that I'd had a boob job. I got pictured in a bikini and people were like, "They're huge - she must have had her boobs done." But I can assure you that they are all mine. I have always been big - I get it from my mum's side of the family. They have all got huge chests. Tina wears a lot of T-shirts and jackets so when you see me on screen they don't look that big. The clothes she wears don't show them off at all. But I'm a Thirty-DD. And trust me, if you saw them in the flesh, you can tell that they are real!' Keegan recently claimed that she was a 'late developer' and didn't feel comfortable with her appearance until she left school.

A viewer of TV illusionist Derren Brown has claimed that he was left immobilised for twelve hours after watching one of his recent shows. Brown attempted to keep viewers stuck to their seats by playing a special video in his Channel 4 programme How To Control The Nation earlier this month. At the end of the stunt, Brown played another tape which was designed to free anybody who was unable to move. Johnathan Whitfeld, twenty six, has now told the Daily Star Sunday that only the first video worked on him, leaving him motionless all night. His partner Katie Dunn, twenty three, was out with friends while the programme was broadcast and reportedly went to bed assuming that Whitfield was joking when she returned home and spotted him sitting transfixed by the screen. Revealing what happened the next morning, Dunn explained: 'He was just saying, "I'm stuck, I need the loo." I didn't have a clue what to do so I texted a friend who I knew had watched it. She said Derren played a video at the end to free people. Luckily, Johnathan had also recorded the show so I found it, played it and he managed to get to his feet.' Whitfield added: 'It was dreadful. I can see the funny side of it now but at the time I wanted to sue him. I needed the toilet and was in agony for hours.' From The North believes you Johnathan. Thousands wouldn't.

X Factor flop Amie Buck has dated eleven footballers, a report has claimed. Presumably, not all of them from the same team because, otherwise, she'd've got herself the full set. The ex-lapdancer, who was joined on stage by another noted football groupie, Cheryl Cole, as she performed 'I'll Stand By You' at her audition, is currently said to be involved in a relationship with Arsenal left-back Kieran Gibbs. Former Hartlepool striker Jack Wilkinson has now told the Sun that he once had sex with Buck, twenty two, in a car at a golf club. He commented: 'It was the wildest sex I have ever had. She knows exactly how to please a man. It went on forever. She loves footballers. Who knows if it's the physique or the wallet that attracts her - but she definitely wants to be a WAG.' Yeah, but you only play in League One, Jack mate, so I'm thinking it probably wasn't the wallet in your particular case. According to the newspaper, Buck has also had romances with ex-Darlington player Clark Keltie, Spurs goalkeeper Ben Alnwick, former Newcastle United striker Obafemi Martins, his ex-Toon team-mate Smudger Smith, Middlesbrough's Matthew Bates, James Morrison of West Brom and David Edgar of Burnley. Her other rumoured flames include Scott Sinclair, who is currently at Wigan and Danny Simpson, currently on loan from Manchester United at Newcastle. Sounds like a fit girl. Viewers saw Buck failing to make it through to The X Factor's judges' houses stage at the weekend.

Heather Mills has again been tipped to perform on reality talent show Dancing On Ice. According to the Sun, Paul McCartney's ex-wife is getting a number of prosthetic limbs manufactured for her appearance and has been practising with a professional skater. A source said: 'Heather has often been linked with Dancing On Ice but this year she's finally decided to do it. She has been speaking to ITV and is really excited about the show. In typical Heather fashion, she is convinced she'll be a huge attraction. She knows she divides people but there's never a dull moment with her.' They added: 'Whatever people say about her, she's certainly entertaining.' And rich. Don't forget rich.

Unlike Kerry Katona, who has fuelled speculation that she is expecting her fifth child. The troubled, disgraced, cocaine-snorting, bankrupt, unemployable reality TV personality and singer was seen patting her stomach in front of desperate, slavvering papperazzi while looking at baby clothes in Mothercare in Wilmslow last weekend. According to the Sun, the former Atomic Kitten 'reckons having another baby will force her to stop taking drugs.' Cold turkey's probably cheaper, chuck. And doesn't ruin your figure either.

And, finally - Lily Allen has revealed that she once almost soiled herself on stage because she had chronic diarrhoea. Insert punchline here.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Is This The End?

Thoroughly brilliant Waking the Dead last night, I thought; a complex Silence of the Lambs-style story with fine guest turns by Our Friends in the North's Gina McKee and Deep Space Nine's Alexander Siddig. And, best of all, a fabulously cold, maniacally evil return for Ruth Gemmell as Boyd's nemesis Linda Cummings. There does seem to be something of an air of finality about this story (and, indeed, the previous three this season). Stella's death, Spence leaving and, last night, the unexpected revelations about Grace's health have all conspired to give a wake-like atmosphere to most of the recent proceedings. Whether tonight's season finale will also be the series finale, Keith Telly Topping doesn't know. The season was originally announced as being five two-part stories and we've only had four. A rumour did circulate a while back that a final two-parter had been filmed and was being held back until Christmas but I haven't been able to find out if there's any truth in that. Or whether another series is likely to be commissioned - I'm sure the BBC would like one, given the six million plus ratings and huge audience appreciation figures the show has been pulling in of late. But, creatively, it is possible that the production is drawing to a close. If it is, then it's been one of the most intelligent, imaginative, sometimes baffling, occasionally infuriating, but always madly entertaining dramas that British TV has produced in years and it will be fondly remembered by millions. Keith Telly Topping not least amongst them.

Joe Calzaghe has told his friends that he and Kristina Rihanoff are 'officially dating,' it has been claimed. According to the Mail On Sunday, the boxer has spent every night this week together with his Strictly Come Dancing partner. A source said: 'Joe has said that he and Kristina are an item and they are very happy. They are meant to be focusing on the show and their dance moves but the truth is they are getting very distracted by each other.' However, a spokesman for Calzaghe said: 'They are two single people who are greatly enjoying each other's company.' Rihanoff previously maintained that she and Calzaghe have a 'strong friendship,' while it is alleged that the BBC had insisted the pair's relationship 'remain platonic' until the end of the series. Keith Telly Topping does rather wonder whom, exactly, the BBC intend to send around to see Joe given that he's, clearly, decided not to comply with their insistence. Cos, he's a bit hard is Smokin' Joe. You know, nails.

Meanwhile, Brendan Cole has described critics of new Strictly judge Alesha Dixon as 'uneducated.' Oh, that's going to get them all on your side, Bren, I'm sure. The professional dancer added that Dixon has been doing well despite being under a lot of pressure. 'She's doing a great job,' he told the News of the World. 'The people who are criticising her are uneducated. They don't necessarily know what they are talking about. Anyone who criticises her needs to get a life.' Cole added that Dixon's critics are 'out of order' and said: 'If she hadn't done well I'd have been the first person to say, "That was bullshit." Alesha was always in a lose-lose situation. People don't like change. And fans loved [previous judge] Arlene so were upset to see her go. But Alesha's just doing the job she was asked to by the BBC. And I thought she was fantastic considering the pressure she's under. She wasn't hired for her technical expertise. She was hired because she is a great performer and knows what it's like to be one of the celebrity dancers.'

Coronation Street's ratings suffered again on Friday evening due to BBC1's coverage of Strictly. The Weatherfield soap's final two episodes of the week, during which Rita decided to sell her half of the Kabin and Michelle scrapped with Rosie, had 7.7m and 6.81m at 7.30pm. EastEnders' Friday instalment - which saw Jane reveal to Ian that she want to have his babies - was the most-watched soap of the day, drawing a smidgen over eight million.

X Factor hopefuls Tru Colourz have made a shock exit from the ITV show – after lying about their age. According to the Mirror, millions of fans watched on Saturday as thrilled trio — Christina, Rachel and Ivette — made it to the final twenty four. Mentor Louis Walsh broke the news to the singers at the end of Boot Camp but their delight was short-lived as it emerged one of the girls is under sixteen, the show's age limit. In tearful scenes - to be screened next Saturday - Louis tells the trio that they've been disqualified and asks them to leave. Remember, dear blog reader, truth is always the victor.

Senior Labour party figures were engaged in an escalating row with the BBC after Gordon Brown was asked live on air whether he has been prescribed medication to help him cope with the pressures of his job. Lord Mandelson criticised the BBC for 'personal intrusiveness' as the Labour party lodged an informal complaint about the 'quite dreadful' questions about the prime minister's health. The row broke out after Andrew Marr, the presenter of the BBC's Sunday morning political discussion show, asked the prime minister about rumours that he has been prescribed painkillers. Rumours which have, so far, been reported mainly on right-wing websites. In the second of his conference interviews with the main party leaders, broadcast live from Brighton, Marr asked Brown whether he was using 'prescription painkillers and pills.' The prime minister immediately dismissed the question. 'No. I think this is the sort of questioning that is,' the prime minister said as he was interrupted by Marr who described it as a 'fair question.' Brown then gave a detailed description of his well known difficulties with his eyesight. He lost the sight of one eye after a teenage rugby accident and has a retinal detachment in his other eye, leaving him with the 'same fear' that he will completely lose his sight. Marr again demanded a response to his original question. 'What about my other question?' he said. Brown replied: 'I answered your other question.' The strong questioning by Marr infuriated Downing Street because the rumours about Brown's health have been categorically denied by No 10 in recent weeks to various media organisations including the BBC.

The reaction of the BBC to Government plans on the future of its funding has led the Culture Secretary to accuse the corporation of bias. Ben Bradshaw levelled the charge after Sir Michael Lyons, chairman of the BBC Trust, strongly criticised Labour plans to force the broadcaster to share the licence fee, while remaining silent on Conservative proposals which, in Bradshaw's words, amounted to 'gross interference.' He questioned why the chairman 'doesn't feel so strongly about the gross interference proposed by the Conservatives, who want to fix the payments of employees,' yet remains 'very sensitive' about Labour plans to force the BBC to share some of the three and a half billion television levy to fund regional news on ITV. Bradshaw hinted that he thought the trust was favouring the Tories because it believed they would win the next election. 'It would not be sensible for any organisation to give the impression that they are presuming the outcome of the next election,' he stated. And that isn't 'gross interference' either, Ben? Cos it rather sounds like a threat to me.

And, speaking of implied threats, Yoko Ono has said that she is planning to make music until she is at least ninety six years old. Oh, come on. Don't we get at least a few years off for good behaviour?

'Predators' - likely to include trade buyers and private equity firms - were circling ITV over the weekend after the broadcaster was left 'rudderless' when it failed to appoint a chief executive and said that chairman Michael Grade would step down shortly according to the Daily Mail. The German RTL Group, which already owns Five, is understood to be looking at making an offer for the company. The group refused to comment beyond saying it looked at all opportunities. Meanwhile a number of major private equity firms have also run the rule over the business. Mediaset, the Italian media giant controlled by prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, has been looking at ITV since earlier this year. Rival pay-TV firm BSkyB has a 17.9 per cent stake in the business which it has been ordered to reduce by competition authorities, though it is appealing, but it is understood that potential acquirers, including RTL, are eyeing that stake as a way into ITV. In my father's house, there are many mansions. You can have one if you like.

Seth Rogen has co-written the premiere of the Twenty First season of The Simpsons. The Funny People star, who is the second celebrity to both write and act on the animated series after Ricky Gervais, has said that it was an honour to work with the cast of The Simpsons. Rogen told the Huffington Post: 'As a writer, it always just seemed like the Holy Grail. I can die a happy man now.' The twenty seven-year-old actor will play a trainer hired to get Homer Simpson into shape in an episode titled Homer The Whopper. He said: 'We wanted to comment on how Hollywood generally ruins these movies. The whole joke is Homer is cast to play a guy who's an everyman and they try to make him into this physically fit guy.' Rogen has also said that recording with the cast was 'one of the highlights of my life.' The episode aired in the US last night and will be shown in the UK on Sky shortly.

Johnny Vegas is to star in a new puppet-based comedy series for CBBC, it has been announced. Dead Puppets Society, airing in 2011, sees Vegas juggle his day-to-day showbiz career with his secret life as a hunter of puppets who have risen from the grave. Vegas said: 'I relish the opportunity to bring my own sense of the anarchic to where I think it may well best be appreciated.' CBBC has also announced Junior MasterChef, a new singing competition fronted by The Choir's Gareth Malone and a new comedy starring Rufus Hound.

Justice Secretary Jack Straw has agreed to take part in a debate alongside the British National Party on the BBC's Question Time. Mr Straw told the BBC he would join a panel which will include the BNP leader Nick Griffin (recently described by Frankie Boyle as someone who looks like 'a plucked owl who looks like he's been fast-tracked into a management position in Greggs'), the Tories and Lib Dems, in London on 22 October. Straw said that the BNP were defeated when Labour 'fought them hard.' Labour has previously refused to debate with the BNP and some activists have branded the policy change 'a disgrace.' The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats had already said they would take part in the programme. Speaking on The Politics Show in the North West, Mr Straw said: 'Wherever we have had BNP problems in my area and when we have fought them hard, we've pulled back and [we have] won the seats back. And that's what we have to do. We've got to make the argument for people and I am delighted to do so.' As ever, in such matters, From The North intends to stay strictly - politically - neutral in this matter. And, thus, is giving both of the protagonists equal picture-space.

The legendary late-TV cook Keith Floyd is to be cremated in a banana leaf coffin, it has emerged. The famous gastronome's funeral will take place in Bristol, the city where he ran a string of restaurants and launched his cooking career. A public memorial service will take place at Ashton Court Mansion at 11.30am on Wednesday before a private service for family at Canford Crematorium. The humanist funeral is being organised by Floyd's partner Celia Martin, whom the marvellous raconteur had been living with as he battled bowel cancer. Ms Martin has chosen a handmade woven coffin made from banana leaves for the eccentric entertainer - because of its environmentally friendly nature, and partly as a humorous nod to his love of cooking with leaves.

Katie Price and Heather Mills will be strapped into rollercoasters and other extreme theme park rides for a new TV gameshow. Is that cruel and unusual? If so, good. The pair will join other famous faces such as Matt Wills for new series, Scream If You Know the Answer!, to be presented by Blue singer Duncan James, which will see celebrities team up with members of the public to take part in games and compete for a five thousand pound prize. Just give me a gun... The teams, who will wear special cameras, will take part on theme park rides at Thorpe Park including Stealth, one of Europe's fastest rollercoasters; Samurai and Slammer, which spin through three hundred and sixty degrees; Detonator, a one hundred and fifteen-foot drop at forty five mph; and Tidal Wave, which plunges eighty five feet, creating a huge wall of water. Keith Telly Topping has been on the latter - at the state fair in Minnesota a couple of years ago - and found it to be quite, quite terrifying. Hope Heather Mills and Jordan get put on that one, then. The ten-part series, which is being made by production company Lion Television, is due to air on UKTV's Watch channel next year. Filming will begin this week.

Danniella Westbrook has said that she is lucky to be alive after her years of drug addiction. The EastEnders actress told the Sunday Mirror that she now avoids temptation and is happy to lead a domesticated life. Westbrook said: 'I'm bloody lucky to be alive. Every day I wake up and think, "Thank God I'm here and in one piece." That feeling doesn't fade. I could be dead now. I just feel lucky to still be here. My life is pretty boring, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I shut the front door and I'm mum. I do the school run, go to Tesco and I walk my dogs. I've been sober for nine years in March.' She added: 'We don't even have a drop of alcohol in the house. Weekends are spent watching Strictly or having a barbecue. There's no temptation with drugs because I'm not in an environment where they are. The closest I come to coke these days is the bottled variety at the kids' birthday parties. There's no chance of slipping up because there's no temptation. I'm thirty five. Can you imagine me in a nightclub?'

Nicola Stapleton has revealed that she would 'love' to land a part in Coronation Street. The thirty five-year-old actress confirmed that she is keen for a stint in Weatherfield because the ITV drama is the only main UK soap that she has not yet appeared in. Stapleton is best known for playing EastEnders' Mandy Salter in the '90s. She also recently had a guest role as Danielle Hutch in Emmerdale and will be seen as maneater Savannah Madeiros in Hollyoaks later this week. She told the Glasgow Sunday Mail: 'I never set out to do so many soaps, they just came my way. All I need is Coronation Street and I've appeared in them all. I'd love to do it. I think Coronation Street is a fantastic show.' So does Keith Telly Topping. Can he have a part as well?

Film director Roman Polanski has been taken into custody on a thirty one-year-old US arrest warrant, Swiss police say. Polanski, seventy six, was detained on Saturday as he travelled from France to collect a lifetime achievement award at the Zurich Film Festival. The Swiss justice ministry said he was being held ahead of a possible extradition to the US for having sex with a thirteen-year-old girl in 1977. Polanski fled the US in 1978 after pleading guilty to the charges. In recent years, he has tried to have the rape case dismissed, but a US judge formally rejected his requests in May. Polanski was initially indicted on six counts and faced up to life in prison. He claims the original judge, who is now dead, arranged a plea bargain but later reneged. Earlier this year, Judge Peter Espinoza agreed there was misconduct by the judge in the original case, but said Polanski must return to the US to apply for dismissal.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Week Forty: The Revolution WILL Be Televised ... Probably On Sky

Keith Telly Topping would like to congratulate to his beloved (though still seemingly unsellable) Magpies for taking part in a thoroughly fitting tribute to Sir Bobby Robson at Ipswich yesterday. And, not least, for winning 4-0. I would, particularly, like to congratulate aal the lads and lasses there, aal with smilin' faces for singing the proper words to 'My Way' when that lovely lass was belting it out at half time rather than the Sid Vicious version. As Keith Telly Topping himself would probably have done if he'd been there. Probably wouldn't have gone down too well pre-watershed on Beeb2, that. So, yeah, big big shout-out to Kevin Nolan for the hat-trick. And wasn't it just beyond brilliant seeing both sets of fans joining in a few choruses of 'Walking in a Robson Wonderland'? Fair restores your faith in humanity, so it does.

Now, dear blog reader, according to the great funk poet Gil Scott-Heron 'The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.' Unless, that is, Channel 4 get really desperate to find something to replace two hundred hours of Big Brother with in 2011. Actually, dangerous rumours that Simon Cowell has tried to create a format for televising the revolution just won't go away. The peasants will be revolting, Simon, mark my words.

Let's have a look at the next batch of Top Telly Tips:

Friday 2 October
Autumnwatch returns tonight at 9:00 on BBC2. And, perhaps inevitably, it's a case of new season, new format. Instead of eight episodes over the course of a fortnight, as previously, this time around the team will present eight weekly editions over the next two months, along with a very handy weekly repeat for families on Saturday afternoons. It will be interesting to see how the whole of autumn affects the UK's wildlife from October right through to the cold snaps that usher in the start of winter in December. And, of course, how the new format will go down with the viewers. Chris Packham established an easy-going, chatty rapport with co-host Katie Humble in Springwatch earlier in the year. As Radio Times notes this week 'threatening to turn Springwatch into Smithswatch with his uncanny ability to shoehorn song titles into every programme.' Charming man. A rush and a push and the land is ... his. So much nicer than the grotty little beardy Communist he replaced. For this series, the pair will be stationed at the Natural History Unit in Bristol, reporting on seven days' worth of field trips each week, beginning with a cider orchard where the harvest is already in full swing. Meanwhile, Simon King's back on the 'halfway-up-a-cliff-in-the-middle-of-a-hurricane' gig he knew so well for many years with a return to the Isle of Rum to catch up on the red deer rut. Gordon Buchanan - who got to do Simon's old job last season - will be chasing down topical stories, while producer-turned-presenter Martin Hughes-Games aims to inspire us all to get up close and personal with Britain's wildlife. Suddenly, the prospect of the evenings drawing in doesn't seem anywhere near so bleak.

As an alternative, Benidorm Derren Litten's Costa-del-Hell comedy returns for a third series also at 9:00 on ITV. It's the same gallery of grotesques who gather once again by the pool of the all-inclusive (including the salmonella) Hotel Solana: There's the fractious, dysfunctional Garvey family, corpulent swingers Donald and Jacqueline and that total plank Martin, who has mislaid his wife and arrives instead with a big brassy blonde called Brandy (guest-star Jonathan Creek's Sheridan Smith) in tow. By now we're used to Benidorm's broad comedy of the absurd. The characters don't just argue, they hurl lumps of abuse at each other. If someone has an out-of-date mobile phone, it's not just a few years old but a big 1980s brick. When a character gets comically sunburned, it's because he or she has been wearing a tin-foil suit. Nothing, in Benidorm, ever happens in small doses. But although the timing is sometimes laboured, many of the jokes obvious and some of the performances contain more ham than a Morrison's meat counter, the re-creation of sheer misery of many Spanish holidays can be uncannily accurate. For example, the scene in the opening episode where The Oracle (the wonderful-as-always Johnny Vegas) is driven literally to the point of despair by his mother's trivia-quiz ignorance is inspired. And Geoffrey Hutchings' inane scooter mogul, Mel, is a brilliant creation, like something out of Abigail's Party. ITV's decision to turn the show from a half-hour sitcom into a hour-long comedy drama has also given as much as it's taken away and when it gets its targets right, Benidorm can still make the viewer squirm and laugh in equal doses.

Saturday 3 October
To commemorate the 'Ruby Jubilee' (that's a fortieth anniversary for those of you who've never been married) of Monty Python this week, Monty Python: Almost The Truth (The BBC Lawyers Cut) - 9:15 BBC2 - takes us on a journey telling the story of the Pythons from start to finish. Beginning with the very humble origins of how the legendary British comedy troupe emerged ('humble' that is, if you consider two of the best universities in the land to be so instead of, I dunno, a North Shields backstreet with an outside netty) we learn how the cast met. Who their early influences were. How the American one ended up in there. And how they went on to create ground-breaking television and their transition into movies that would change the face of comedy forever blah, blah, blah. Yeah, whatever. What a really great shame it is that only two of them are actually remotely funny these days. And they're both called Terry. That's what forty years of angry joke-writing, suffocatingly bland niceness and hanging around with rock stars in LA can do to you. John, Michael and Eric, therefore, are advised to watch this and, hopefully, they might remember where they left their talent.

Sunday 4 October
In the latest episode of Last Chance to See - 8:00 BBC2 - Stephen Fry and Mark Carwardine head to lovely New Zealand in search of animals on the edge of extinction. The travellers make their way through one of the most dramatic landscapes in the world (come on, you've seen The Lord of the Rings, surely?) on a journey to find the some of the last remaining kakapo - a fat, flightless parrot which, when threatened with attack, adopts a strategy of standing very still indeed. Yeah, Keith Telly Topping can see at least one potential reason as to why the kakapo is in trouble. And it isn't the poor bird's silly name either.

A show that we've never really talked about previously on From The North is Deal or No Deal - 4:45 Channel 4. For one, pretty obvious, reason. The horrorshow that is Noel Edmonds. However, Keith Telly Topping's radio producer - The Godlike Scunthorpe Steve - reckons that it's something worth taking about in the next lot of Top Telly Tips, describing it as 'brilliantly done.' And, as game shows go, I kind of know what he means. It's a much more friendly and inclusive beast than other, similar formats (the soon-to-be-cancelled Goldenballs, for one). And, all of the contestants genuinely seem to be having a good time on it. If only it was presented by someone other than the vile and wretched Beard of Despair, it would probably be quite watchable. But, it isn't so ... it isn't.

Emma - 9:00 BBC1 - is the first in a four-part adaptation of the Jane Austen classic novel by BAFTA award-winning writer Sandy Welch. Rich, independent and kind-spirited, Emma Woodhouse delights in matchmaking those around her. Once she has married off her close companions, she alights upon the pretty Harriet Smith to fashion into her new playmate and ally. Against the warnings of family friend Mr Knightley, Emma persuades Harriet that she is too good for her suitor, the farmer Robert Martin, and encourages her to set her sights higher. Romola Garai (Atonement) stars as the 'handsome, clever and rich' titular character whilst the impressive cast also includes Michael Gambon as Emma's affectionate, if somewhat neurotic, father, Trainspotting's Jonny Lee Miller as Mr Knightley Jodhi May as Miss Taylor, Emma's former governess who marries the good-humoured Mr Weston (played by Robert Bathurst) and Tamsin Greig as the incessantly chatty Miss Bates whose poverty draws the pity and goodwill of all of Highbury. Emma was first published in 1815. Set in Regency England, it was the last Jane Austen novel to be published before the author's death in 1817, and is one of her most popular and best-loved books. The BBC's reputation for producing bodice-bursting costume drama like this is, of course, unsurpassed. Expect pretty much everybody in the country to be watching this by about week two. If you don't want to feel left out, get there from the start.

Monday 5 October
Stephen Fry once described the job of professional TV critic as 'the most pointless occupation on the planet.' Keith Telly Topping fully agrees with this assessment. Welcome, therefore, to three more minutes of utter and inherent pointlessness.

The BBC's most-acclaimed drama hit of last year was Peter Moffat's Criminal Justice - 9:00 BBC1 - aided by a superb (very topical) plot, some wonderful performances and the really clever idea of strip-scheduling across an entire week. The latter, as Occupation and Torchwood have subsequently discover, is such an ideal story-telling format because it compresses the viewer's patience threshold to find out 'what happens next' into just five days. As the TV reviewer in the Sunday Times wrote at the time, Criminal Justice '[took] the worn-out formula of the cop show and demonstrates there is something new to be said.' Anyway, the drama returns for a second look at the various cul-de-sacs and inadequacies of the UK legal system. Juliet Miller's life is turned upside down after an incident that leaves her family fighting for life, love and survival. From the outside, Joe and Juliet seem to have perfect lives: designer house, Joe's dazzling career as a top barrister, Juliet's enviable job as stay-at-home mum to thirteen-year-old Ella - but all is not what it seems. A shocking incident occurs and Juliet is plunged into the black and unforgiving heart of the criminal justice system. Maxine Peake, Matthew Macfadyen and Denis Lawson star.

E-mail has revolutionised our lives, quite literally. It's made communication with the other-side of the world unbelievably cheap and virtually instantaneous. But, can you have too much of a good thing? Two million e-mails are sent every second and now companies are hiring consultants to teach their staff how to cope with the daily avalanche in their in-boxes. And what about spam? Things have, apparently, got so bad that some companies have now introduced e-mail-free days. In E-Mail is Ruining My Life - 9:30 BBC4 - Libby Potter investigates whether e-mail helps or hinders workplace performance and shows how to control it rather than letting it control us. Keith Telly Topping will certainly be watching for tips. On whether those business opportunities in Nigeria really are as good as they sound, for one.

In The Graham Norton Show - 10:35 BBC1 - the award-winning camp host brings his anarchic talk show to BBC1. Have the BBC finally found a format to can properly harness Graham's unique (and very watchable) talents this time around, after a series of high-profile flops? Hopefully, because I genuinely think Graham is worth the effort. In this instalment, Graham gets into a bit of trouble and strife with monosyllabic showbiz couple Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne and discovers the truth about lying from alleged comedian Ricky Gervais. Graham also finally meets one of his heroines - the legendary Aussie diva Olivia Newton-John. Hopelessly devoted to her, is our Graham.

Tuesday 6 October
Mention the word 'blitz' to many people in Britain and they will immediately think of the bombing of London during World War II. However, the capitol was merely one of the cities targeted by Hitler's bombers. Plymouth, Liverpool, Glasgow, Newcastle, Hull and Southampton were amongst dozens of other British population centres that suffered the nightly terror of air raid sirens and blackouts. Infamously, on 14 November 1940, the Luftwaffe launched the most devastating bombing raid so far on Britain. In a twelve hour blitz, thousands of tons of bombs were dropped on the midlands city of Coventry, devastating three-quarters of the city centre and destroying the city's centuries-old cathedral. Blitz: The Bombing of Coventry - 9:00 BBC2 - tells the story of how initial panic and hysteria gave way to a renewed sense of purpose and soon local factories were turning out engine parts which were used to avenge the attack, on Köln, Hamburg, Berlin and, devastatingly, Dresden. The RAF, meanwhile, studied the Nazi bombing techniques and used their carpet-bombing tactics against them. it's a horrible story but one in which, quite magnificently, humanity emerges more-or-less unscathed. It is important we know our history because, as Misty once noted, 'without knowledge of your history you cannot determine your destiny.'

In It's Only a Theory - 10:00 BBC4 - two very funny (though very different) comedians, Andy Hamilton and Reginald D Hunter, host a series in which qualified professionals and experts submit their theories about life, the universe and everything. These will be examination by a panel of Hamilton, Hunter and a guest celebrity, who then make a final decision on whether the theory is worth keeping. So, it's kind of Qi meets What's My Line? Sounds rather good, actually and, certainly, worth a punt initially just to see how the show's humour is structured. In this episode, the guest celebrity is popular sports presenter Clare Balding and the experts are Dr Aubrey de Grey and Lucy Beresford.

Now comes, possibly a bit of controversy. In Kids for Sale: Stacey Dooley Investigates - 8:00 BBC3 - Stacey Dooley (one of the stars of last year's Blood, Sweat And T-Shirts), returns with a new series exploring the issue of child labour in Nepal after being exposed to it when working in an Indian fashion industry. Every year thousands of young children are forced to leave their families to work in factories or within a form of domestic slavery. Stacey's mission is to try and find out how and why this can happen and whether she can make a difference. In Kathmandu, she befriends a boy who is beaten by his factory manager and helps him escape to the safety of a children's hostel. Okay, worthwhile subject to tackle. But ... it's such a big and complex one that I have my doubts as to whether this show is going to help, hinder or merely muddy the waters. From the clips I've seen, Stacey appears to be be a bright and reasonably articulate young woman who is genuinely horrified by the idea of any child working in a sweatshop. Yep - with her all the way on that one. But, the big question is what are you going to actually do about it? Get the factory owner to stop employing children? Threaten to stop buying products from that factory if he doesn't? Sounds good in theory. But how, exactly, does that help the children, bearing in mind that most children in Nepal, India, China etc. work because their families are depending on the pittance wages the children earn as being the difference between potential starvation and living? It's a huge subject - there are believed to be over one hundred thousand children under the age of fourteen working in India, for example. Most of them do so because their families are so poor that, without their income they would, quite literally, starve to death. Can anyone wave a magic wand and inject enough capital into the Indian economy to make this situation disappear? Doubtful. So, if that's the case, highlighting one or two examples is a bit like trying to put a sticking plaster on an amputated leg. I wish Stacey well with her show. But, as to whether she's going to actually help anyone, I have my doubts.

Wednesday 7 October
There's something of an American feel to Top Telly Tips night tonight.

House - 9:00 Sky1 - is, of course, a medical drama about a maverick, anti-social New Jersey doctor starring our very own Hughie Laurie. Now into a sixth season, the show is a cunning mixture of high-end human drama with some very, and satisfyingly, low-end comedy. It is also, often, one of the five or so best TV dramas in the world. In this opening episode of the new series (shown in the UK just a couple of weeks after its American debut) Greg House embarks on a detox programme to rid himself of his long-running addiction to the painkiller Vicodin. Inevitably, perhaps, he comes up against a determined psychiatrist who refuses to reinstate his medical licence until further treatment is arranged. When House attempts to bend the rules, devastating events ensue. As noted - when I reviewed the episode last week - essentially, it's a variant on One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest full of witty one-liners and fine performances.

One of the most talked-about US imports of the last year is True Blood - 10:00 Channel 4. This is a fantasy adventure series set in a society where humans and vampires co-exist. It's obviously been hugely influenced by Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Twilight movies. But it's also, on its own terms, a very fine, well-written and beautifully-acted piece - loosely based on the Southern Vampire Mysteries series of novels by Charlaine Harris. It's gained a cult audience already and, again, it's probably worth noting that my producer is a big fan of this one. Hence, Keith Telly Topping is thoroughly happy to recommend it! Clairvoyant waitress Sookie Stackhouse (the brilliant Anna Paquin) may have found the perfect boyfriend - vampire Bill Compton. At least she can't hear what he's thinking, which makes a pleasant change.

Immediately after that, at 11:20 is Channel 4's other high-profile import, Generation Kill - a drama miniseries from The Wire's creator, David Simon. It concerns a Rolling Stone columnist who is embedded with a squad of marines who are preparing to invade Iraq at the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom. It's raw, harsh, visceral and features a huge cast of characters. Like the war itself, it's short, bloody and often disorganised and chaotic. It's also brilliant. On very late and, clearly, not to all tastes - particularly if you're a bit squeamish. But a work of considerable merit and one that deserves consideration as much for the questions it raises as for the actual drama itself, good as it is.

Thursday 8 October
Last night was all America show and we've two more to talk about tonight. Mercifully, they're two of the very best. Bones - 9:00 Sky1 - started five years ago as what seemed at the time to be little more than a basic CSI rip-off and who's only distinguishing feature was that it starred Angel's David Boreanaz, a good-looking lad but whom many thought was a rather limited actor. How very wrong we were. Over the best part of one hundred episodes this show, about a forensic anthropologist, her FBI partner and the team of scientists they work with at the Jeffersonian Institute, has matured into one of the most enjoyable, clever and often amusing dramas on US TV. Or British TV for that matter. It's sharp, has a great ensemble cast and has revealed Boreanaz to be a superb actor (and one with a very well judged ability to dry comedy too) with a great rapport with his co-star, Emily Deschanel. In tonight's opening episode of the new season, nerdy psychologist Sweets finally passes Booth as mentally fit for a return to duty after the agent recovers from the brain surgery he was about to get at the end of last year. Meanwehile, Angela's psychic friend reads Brennan's tarot cards and announces that several bodies are buried under a nearby fountain. Booth and Brennan are sceptical but are surprised by what the investigation reveals. And, if you've never seen Bones before, I think you might be a bit surprised by what a very good little show it is.

Another particular favourite of Keith Telly Topping is Lie to Me which also returns to Sky tonight, at 10:00. This drama series is about a scientist who uses his ability to read facial expressions and body language to solve crimes. A kind of Derren Brown of the investigation world. It stars British actor Tim Roth, who is absolutely fantastic in the part. Again though, it's one of the great traits of American telly, the ensemble cast, which helps to turn Lie To Me from a decent show into a great one. Tonight, Cal and co. are back in action with typically twisty investigation. And again, a necessary congratulations to Sky for managing to get both of these fine shows on air in the UK within just a couple of weeks of their first American broadcast (in the case of Lie To Me, within days).

Just to prove that the American's haven't taken over the world a TV drama entirely and that, when we put our minds to it, we can still produce some good stuff too, Micro Men - 9:00 BBC4 - is an affectionately comic drama about the British home computer boom of the early 1980s. In a climate of exciting innovation, madcap inventor Clive Sinclair battles it out with ex-employee Chris Curry, founder of Acorn Computers, for dominance in the fledgling market. The rivalry comes to a head when the BBC announce their Computer Literacy Project, with the stated aim of putting a computer in every school in Britain. When Acorn wins the contract, Sinclair is furious, and determines to outsell the BBC Micro with his ZX Spectrum computer. Stars Alexander Armstrong and Martin Freeman and looks terrific.

Before Keith Telly Topping goes for a nice lie down today, dear blog reader, here's a few bits and pieces of stray Top Telly News:

X Factor hopeful Curtis Moore has apologised for turning to robbery following the death of his brother. Simon Cowell was accused last week by several tabloids of glorifying knife crime by allowing the sixteen-year-old to participate on the ITV talent show. Moore revealed his criminal history after a series of images which show him wielding a knife leaked online. He told the Sun: 'I was an idiot. I'm sorry. I was so stupid, I was thirteen and trying to be cool. The older kids carried knives so I just wanted to be like them. But I never carried a knife daily. I knew you could get five years. And I know people who have been stabbed.' The contestant, who now lives with foster parents in Walsall, added that he 'lashed out' in the wake of the death of his brother Aaron, who died in a car crash aged twenty.

Lucy Speed has claimed that she does not want to return to EastEnders. The thirty three-year-old big-chested actress, who played Natalie Evans in the soap, explained that she likes working on different projects. 'I don't think I'd like to reprise Natalie,' she told Inside Soap. 'I've been acting for twenty seven years so I'm really just used to moving on. I do speak to Charlie Brooks a lot and she's having a great time being back. And Danniella Westbrook looks like she's enjoying her return too.' Speed added that she is enjoying working on The Bill, where she plays DS Stevie Moss.

V will take an extended break after its first four episodes have aired, ABC has confirmed. The sci-fi remake, which stars Lost's Elizabeth Mitchell and Firefly's divine Morena Baccarin, will premiere in America on 3 November, then air a further three episodes before going on hiatus. The remaining parts of the initial thirteen-episode order will be broadcast from Spring 2010. Production on the series was temporarily shut down last month for 'creative' reasons. Oh dear, that doesn't sound too promising, does it? In recent days, rumours have widely circulated suggesting that V was, effectively, 'dead' and that the episodes produced to date would instead air as a confined miniseries.

Simon Baker has spoken about the moment that he knew he had made it as an actor. The Mentalist star appeared on the Late Show With David Letterman to promote the CBS drama's second season, which started in the US earlier this week. He said: 'When you're working you're so busy that you're sort of living in a hermetically-sealed environment. During my summer break I shot a little film in Oklahoma. We were shooting out in a little tiny town called Cordell. Literally the whole town emptied out into this square and waited 'til 3am for us to come out of the building that we were shooting in. [All because of] the show.' Asked if the series had changed his life, Baker replied: 'Yep. It's big.'

Craig Revel Horwood has claimed that he will slap fellow Strictly Come Dancing judges Alesha Dixon and Bruno Tonioli if they don't stop talking over him. Well, that'd certainly be one way to get the public back on Alesha's side. Take it from one who knows, Craig, nobody likes a woman-slapper. Unless it's behind closed doors and between consenting adults. Speaking to the Mirror, Horwood complained that the pair are rude for talking while he is trying to judge the contestants. 'I would like to slap them both,' he said. 'That's my intention come this weekend. If they start rabbiting on I'm going to put a stop to that. They both try and out-talk me despite the fact I am only given ten seconds to speak. I think it's rude to talk over other people and I can't understand why they do. Are their comments better than mine? They are like little children.' Horwood also admitted that he had been wary about sitting next to Len Goodman during the show. 'I was quite concerned when the producers said to me that I was going to be sitting next to Len,' he said. 'I thought, "Oh no, now he can actually hit me." I think it will be okay. I am trying not to argue with him this year. I don't think we will ever see eye-to-eye but he has every right to say what he says. And I have every right too.'

Richard Dunwoody became the second contestant to be eliminated from Strictly last night. The jockey and his professional dance partner, Lilia Kopylova, found themselves in the bottom two with Craig Kelly and Flavia Cacace. After the dance-off the panel opted to save Craig and Flavia, leaving Richard and Lilia as the second couple to be eliminated. 'It's been an unbelievable experience,' Richard said. 'Lilia's done a tremendous job over the last four weeks.' Lilia praised Richard for his hard work and joked: 'The best thing is he's going to teach me how to ride horses!' At least, we think that's what she said.

Kristin Chenoweth has joked that she is hoping to be offered parts in her favourite television shows. The actress recently won an Emmy for her role in Pushing Daises, but the show was cancelled last year. During her acceptance speech, Chenoweth said: 'I'm unemployed now, so I'd like to be on Mad Men. I also like The Office, 24... Hello [30 Rock star] Alec [Baldwin]... Thank you so much to the Academy for recognising a show that's no longer on the air.' However, OK reports that her appeal for work has been unsuccessful. 'Our show was cancelled so I thought, "Well, better take this time and say what shows you want to be on!"' the former West Wing star said. 'But no, no [I haven't heard from anyone].'

The second season of Dollhouse premiered in the US on Friday with the show's lowest ever audience. The season opener, which guest-starred Jamie Bamber and Alexis Denisof, pulled in just over two and a half million viewers for FOX in the 9pm hour. Pity, it was a good one as well.

Alesha Dixon has said that she would like to host her own chatshow. Speaking to the Mirror, the Strictly judge explained that she has been inspired by Oprah Winfrey. One-step-at-a-time eh, love?!