Friday, November 20, 2009

Hands And Feet

The Football Association of Ireland has lodged an official complaint with FIFA asking for their World Cup play-off match against France to be replayed. Republic of Ireland were beaten two-one on aggregate after France won by a goal which saw their captain, Thierry Henry, blatantly handle the ball during the build up. However, the Republic's manager, Giovanni Trapattoni, does not expect a replay. And, they're not going to get one either. That way lies chaos. 'When a referee decides a game has finished I know it is impossible to replay the game,' said Trapattoni. 'This situation has to give a chance to who is responsible to rethink. It can be repeated in the future and we have to stop it.' Trapattoni's side lost the first leg one-nil at home and were leading one-nil in France before Henry handled the ball and then squared it to William Gallas to head the goal that sent France to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. 'The hand ball, was recognised by the FIFA commissioner, the referee observer and the match officials, as well as by the player himself,' read the FAI statement. 'There is precedent for the invalidation of such results. In 2005, the bureau of the FIFA World Cup organising committee reached a decision to invalidate the result of a World Cup qualification match between Uzbekistan and Bahrain on the basis of a 'technical error by the referee of the match. The Football Association of Ireland is hoping that FIFA and its disciplinary committee will, on behalf of football fans world-wide, act in a similar fashion so that the standards of fair play and integrity can be protected.' It's not going to happen, guys. It's tough luck, it really is but, don't get your hopes up too highly. Personally, I never liked Monsieur Henry. I think he's a great player, don't get me wrong, but he always seems to have a look on his face like he's just smelled some shit nearby. Those twatty, annoying adverts he does with Tiger Woods and Whatshisface the tennis player don't help this perception either, I'm afraid. I'm not sure if it's an in-built arrogance (and, some would argue he's got plenty to be arrogant about, of course) or what but there does seem to be something about him that puts a lot of peoples backs up on a regular basis. Not Arsenal fans, I mean normal people. This is merely the latest such incident. However, despite my own Irish ancestry via my Granny Telly Topping (and, therefore, a potential qualification to actually play for the Republic ... if they should ever need an ageing left-winger with dodgy knees to replace Damien Duff, the one they've already got) I simply can't get too upset about the result. There are more manifest unfairnesses in the world than that. The fact that Jamie Oliver is alive and getting paid as well, for one.

Camilla Dallerup has claimed that the I'm A Celebrity... producers are favouring Katie Price with their coverage of the reality show. The Danish dancer, who walked out of the jungle yesterday, said that none of the other celebrities' activities are being seen by viewers and claimed that several are intimidated by the glamour model. 'I feel sorry for the ten friends I have left behind in there,' the Strictly dancer told the Daily Star. 'We all went into the jungle together and we had bonded during our first two days in there. Then, on Monday, in comes Kate Price. And I am afraid it's now become The Kate Show. I can tell you there have been so many funny moments in there. People like George Hamilton have told us some amazing stories about the people he's met - I mean, he's met Fred Astaire. Everyone in there has had such an interesting life but none of it has been seen by viewers. From what I gather all that's been seen of me is about five minutes of me crying and being ill.' Dallerup added: 'I was scared. I knew she could be a handful and I was always more Team Peter. Some of the celebrities in there are scared to voice their opinions about her.'

Laila Rouass has revealed that she feels 'guilty' about Phil Tufnell's exit from Strictly last Saturday. So she damn well should. Although, seemingly, not guilty enough to offer to retire from the show and allow Phil to return in her place, of course. Oh, no. That'd be too much like hard work, clearly. The Footballers' Wives star, who performed with an injured ankle last weekend, avoided the dance-off even though she finished bottom of the leader board. Rouass and her professional partner, Anton Du Beke, only scored twenty two from the judges, while Tufnell and Katya Virshilas got thirty two, their highest marks of the series, for their American smooth. 'I felt absolutely awful. Phil has been with me all day, looking after me. He is such a gentleman - I just felt so guilty about it,' Rouass told It Takes Two. Speaking about her injury last week, she said: 'I was told by doctors that I could dance and there wasn't going to be any long term damage, but they said it would be extremely painful and tough to get through the whole dance. We just thought, people have voted to keep us in, they have paid to make that phone call, it's only fair that I go out there and give it a shot. I knew it wasn't going to be great, but I thought, at least give it a go.' She also insisted that she would be performing this weekend, despite only having one hour of training so far. 'We've trained one hour, the doctor said that I can dance and it should get better,' she said. 'We'll do it don't worry. I am panicking a bit. But we've got to do our best.' Du Beke added: 'People paid for us to stay in. We'd love to go out there, dance a waltz and say thank you very much.'

Gordon Brown has admitted that he regrets the way in which he worded his recent criticism of X Factor duo John and Edward. Earlier this month, the Prime Minister said that he thought the pair were 'not very good' as he discussed the ITV talent show in a radio interview. That's all right, Gordon mate. They probably don't think you're a very good Prime Minister either. And, if they do, they're not alone. Speaking on This Morning, Brown admitted: 'I got into a bit of a problem because I said I did not think they were very good at singing - but they are very good at other things. I don't know who's going to win, but I rather burned my boats with Jedward.' After confirming that he would like the twins to 'do well,' the politician added that he and his young sons are supporters of the programme's last remaining female act, Stacey Solomon. Stacey's mentor, Dannii Minogue, reportedly committed suicide at that point. Brown also said that his children enjoy Danyl Johnson's performances, but mistakenly referred to the teacher as 'Daryl.' Oh, for God's sake, Gordon, just stick to what you're good at - whatever the Hell that is - and leave TV reviewing to the professionals. You're rubbish at it. Mind you, the other bloke's just as bad (if not worse).

ABC has announced that the premiere of the sixth and final season of Lost will begin with a special all-night event on Tuesday 2 February. A 'recap special' will kick-off the night from 8pm followed by the much-anticipated two-hour premiere - LA: X - from 9pm.

EastEnders star Lacey Turner has admitted that she is feeling very nervous over the soap's forthcoming live episode. The twenty one-year-old actress told the Press Association that she has not yet received official confirmation on whether her character, Stacey Branning, would be appearing in the special instalment. Producers of the drama recently announced that the live episode is being scheduled for 19 February to mark the programme's Twenty Fifth anniversary. Turner commented: 'I hope not, but I think I will be!' She continued: 'I'm not very good at doing things live. I'm awful, in fact.' Err... yeah. Sounds about right. 'I can't even do a speech, but hopefully it will go all right.' The live episode has been rumoured to feature the conclusion of a future murder mystery plot.

The fiancée of EastEnders actor Sid Owen has revealed that her partner is 'thrilled' over his forthcoming wedding plot. Last week, it emerged that Owen's character, Ricky Butcher, will - for a second time - tie the knot with his childhood sweetheart, Bianca Jackson (Patsy Palmer) next year. TV presenter Polly Parsons, who is preparing to marry Owen in real life, has now joked that the actor's screen wedding will be good practice for the real thing later in the year. She told the Daily Star: 'It's funny that Sid's going to have two weddings next year. He really is excited about it and it's a great storyline. It's good for me because he is going to have his own rehearsal before ours.' Parsons added: 'I'm sure our wedding will run smoother than his EastEnders one. Let's hope it means he's not nervous on our big day.' Ricky and Bianca previously married in April 1997. However, they parted two years later after Bianca was unfaithful to Ricky with Dan Sullivan (Craig Fairbrass), the then0-partner of her mum Carol (Lindsey Coulson).

The deeply dark comedy thriller Psychoville, created by League Of Gentlemen actors Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton, is to return for a second series on BBC2 next year. The BBC has confirmed that a one-off special is planned for winter 2010, followed by a series of six further episodes in the spring of 2011. Pemberton and Shearsmith confounded viewers with an unexpected cliffhanger at the end of the series which introduced a mysterious locket and two new characters, whilst leaving the fate of several regular characters uncertain. As the series had been built up to a climactic reveal of its central storyline, the surprise move was understood to have been an attempt to persuade the BBC to recommission the show.

New director of BBC Children's department, Joe Godwin, has vowed to safeguard Blue Peter and to reintroduce Saturday morning magazine programmes as a major feature of the CBBC schedule. Godwin, a former producer of Blue Peter, told Broadcast that he 'couldn't imagine' a world without the magazine programme, adding that it was 'one hundred per cent safe' on his watch. 'It has one of the best presenter line-ups it has ever had and it is doing really well on the CBBC channel and on BBC1. There is no suggestion that Blue Peter has a question mark over it.' Godwin's comments - made fewer than ten days into his new post - comes after much media speculation that the BBC was planning to end the show. Last year, former Blue Peter editor Biddy Baxter said the corporation is deliberately letting the show 'go pear-shaped' so it goes out 'with a whimper, not a bang.'

BBC comedy Yes, Minister is to return to TV - but with a shift from the halls of Westminster to Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada. Inter TV, Ukraine's leading national broadcaster, is to make thirty eight episodes of the political comedy for a prime time slot in 2010 - just in time for the country's presidential elections. It will be the first time that the Eastern European country will produce its own version of a BBC Worldwide format. Ukraine is the fourth country to licence Yes, Minister, which has also been adapted in India, Turkey and the Netherlands. Serhiy Sozanovsky, chairman of Inter TV's board of directors, said: 'Ukraine has a unique political system and history with a lot of scope for humour and drama. Premiering the series around the time of the presidential elections here in Ukraine will undoubtedly give the show even more relevance.' Yes, Minister originally ran in Britain from 1980 to 1984, with the late Paul Eddington in the role of Jim Hacker. A further two series followed as Yes, Prime Minister, after Hacker made the move to Downing Street. It has aired in over eighty countries.

Channel 4 has fast-tracked the Comedy Showcase pilot Pete V Life to a full series - but has cancelled the sitcom Plus One after just one series. Objective Productions' Pete V Life, which stars Rafe Spall as a journalist whose every move is observed by sports commentators, will no longer air as part of the season of comedy pilots. It will, instead, go straight to a five-part series next May, joining The IT Crowd, Peep Show and Kayvan Novak's new series Fonejacker 3D in Channel 4's 2010 comedy slate. The channel's new head of comedy, Shane Allen, said: 'An extra slot opened up and Pete v Life fitted the bill. It's a well-defined concept and, like Peep Show, its central device helps layer in extra jokes and keep it pacey.' The comedy is written by Star Stories authors Bert Tyler-Moore and George Jeffrie. Last week, Channel 4 confirmed that E4 head Angela Jain had picked up another Comedy Showcase pilot, Phone Shop, for a six-episode run for her channel.

ITV director of television, channels and online Peter Fincham has declared that he believes ITV has 'turned a corner' and is calling for more one-hour mainstream comedies and entertainment shows that can play on Fridays as well as weekends. Speaking to Broadcast the week after the stripped drama Collision pulled in an average of six and a half million viewers and The X Factor scored its biggest Saturday night audience to date, Fincham said: 'If I look back six to nine months during the darkest hours of the credit crunch and declining revenue, it was difficult to present a positive front. I've been at ITV a good eighteen months, so this autumn I feel I should take responsibility for it. Next year is going to be a tough time, but I think we all have a clear sense of what we are trying to achieve and we are achieving it.'

The BBC and Ofcom officials moved to distance the organisations from the Pedigree Dogs Exposed furore this week after Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards telephoned the BBC's director general, Mark Thompson, to discuss a series of damaging leaks. Ofcom was alleged to have decided to uphold three of nineteen complaints about the Passionate Productions documentary, but press reports claimed that it had bowed to 'unprecedented' pressure from the BBC and dropped the judgment from its fortnightly bulletin just hours before publication. The BBC had accused the regulator of refusing to accept evidence that would overturn its judgment, and took issue with the fact Ofcom's Kath Worrall, a former dog show judge, oversaw both the initial investigation and a subsequent appeal. The regulator insisted yesterday that Richards' conversation with Thompson was 'amicable and co-operative' but BBC staff further down the organisation claim that there is still 'deep anger' about the regulator's high handed behaviour. They claim Ofcom is undermining its own authority by allowing a single person to oversee the entire process.

Seth Green has criticised 'toxic' bloggers after several websites mocked his performance in a new US TV commercial. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Austin Powers actor was apparently upset to discover a number of cruel comments about his height and acting ability amongst evaluations of the advert for the American sweetie bar Butterfinger. Had one of them last time I was in the US. Not very nice, it should be noted. Contactmusic quotes Green as saying: 'I find [online reviews] to be toxic and poisonous. Really, people who write on the Internet are people who want to be told they're very funny or creative, or be given some sort of job opportunity - so the things that they write are never nice.' Err... yeah. Pretty much. This blogger very much included. Although, to be fair, I've not seen Seth's advert and probably never will so I think yer Keith Telly Topping probably gets off on a technicality this particular time. Besides, I've always considered Seth to be a gifted and highly watchable actor with a superb depth and range, so I'd never be crass enough to mock his height even if I didn't like his advert. His beard, possibly, but not his height.

BBC Three has announced plans to honour Michael Jackson in a new six-part dance series called Move Like Michael Jackson. Hosted by Radio 1's Reggie Yates, the show will embark on a nationwide search to find dancers whose moves can emulate the self-styled King Of Pop in their own unique way and continue his legacy. The programme will begin with highlights of the good, bad and brilliant auditions of the hopefuls, as well as interviews with members of Jackson's friends and family. Oh, God. Just kill me now. The competition will then be whittled down to sixteen finalists, who will dance in front of the show's judging panel: Michael's brother Jermaine, dance agent Mark Summers and pop-star Jamelia (no, me niehter). They will compete to perform at the official Michael Jackson tribute concert, which is due to take place in London next June.

The BBC and commercial radio industry have jointly unveiled a new online radio player to host output from every Ofcom licensed station in the UK. Called the UK Radioplayer, the pop-up console will be able to stream four hundred national, local, community and student radio stations on a specially designed platform. It is due to launch in early 2010. 'This is a really exciting development and a result of focused, collaborative thinking within the radio industry,' said BBC audio and music director Tim Davie. 'The aim of this service is to grow listening across the industry and help preserve radio's unique position.' RadioCentre chief executive Andrew Harrison added: 'The Radioplayer brings together all of the UK's radio output in one online console. This is a breakthrough for listeners and an attractive new proposition for advertisers.' Listeners are able to use search functions to browse every station on the service, as well as track down news programming, sports highlights, music genres and even individual songs. Pre-set buttons are available to lock down favourite stations for ease of access. Aside from the live streams, the Radioplayer will also host on-demand audio, click-to-buy music services, webcams, song listings and adverts. Developed as a partnership between the BBC, RadioCentre, Global Radio and Guardian Media Group, the player will be made available from the websites of every licensed radio station.

There was another very thoughtful piece by one of Keith Telly Topping's favourite media reviewers, the excellent Mark Lawson in the Gruniad. Yes, he can be a bit of an oily prat when he's sycophantically interviewing people on his BBC4 series - his interview with dear old Stephen Fry, for instance, was a grovel-fest of quite obscene proportions - but he, undeniably, knows his onions when it comes to the ins and outs of the industry. And he writes beautifully. 'When the BBC decides to be brave, it can be very, very brave. Shows such as The Thick of It, or a Question Time featuring Nick Griffin, are given the licence to take risks. They go out in carefully roped-off zones of controversy, surrounded by warnings; anyone who complains will be told they were given a good idea of what to expect. The difficulty comes with the very large parts of output that are not flagged up as special cases or experiments in tolerance. Having worked in both newspapers and at the BBC, it's my experience that print journalists are frequently contrarian by nature and will often treat a request from a superior as a reason not to do it, while radio and TV producers are more often rule-abiding and status-respecting. Whatever the cause, compliance has strengthened this tendency.' I agree with all of that. Articles like this - along with Charlie Brooker's more vexed and amusingly cynical world-view - are certainly a far better example of the paper's occasional worth than 'this week's Gruniad Top Gear article,' a depressingly obvious agenda-based non-story from the Champagne Socialists - which you can read here - written by Matthew Weaver ('and agencies' ho hum). It would almost be funny if it wasn't so utterly, tediously predictable. Come on, guys, haven't you got any real reporting to do? Interestingly a lot of the site's readers seem to be getting increasing tired of these regular slag-pieces - which, often as not, bear only a very slim resemblence to the truth - if the comments section below the article is anything to go by. However, I do suggest that all dear blog readers have a brief gander at the, no doubt very sincere, thoughts of one Mr, Mrs or Ms 'Waddle' who commented: 'In my experience, the people who think Top Gear is funny are usually also guffawing buffoons.' That would include one of its most noted fans, Stephen Fry as well, would it? Because, I'll tell you what, I've heard Stephen described as a lot of things over the years but, never that. 'I'd like to get Clarkson off the telly and I'd like to burn all of his books,' he or she concluded. How wonderfully Third Reich of you, sir or madam. That's what I love about many of those on the left, they're always so keen on the concept of freedom of speech. Except when it's not what they want to hear at which point they'd rather like to burn it in the streets. That was also someone else's answer to thought-crime as I remember, wasn't it? I can't quite recall whom, can anyone help?

And, finally, Heather Mills has 'slammed' Walkers for introducing dried milk to the ingredients of its salt and vinegar crisps. The bastards! Hang them, forthwith (if not sooner). The former model confirmed that she is keen to speak to a representative of the snack food company after being 'left angered' by the change. Personally, I'd like a speak to a represenative to see if I can blag a few samples of their extremely fine cheese and onion variety. But, Heather love, as a rival of your former old man once noted, you can't always get what you want. Mills made her complaints on Twitter this week, claiming that Walkers is ignoring the needs of vegan and lactose intolerant consumers. A spokesman later added that she was hopping mad about it.