Monday, December 07, 2009

Credit Where Credit Crunches

Let us start off this latest batch of Top Telly News with a totally excellent photo of the great John Simm - looking completely mental - from the forthcoming Christmas Doctor Who special. Fab, eh? Can't ever get too much of that, dear blog reader. Right, ever onward with the rest of the news ...

Strictly Come Dancing producers fear that Tricky Ricky Whittle's recent highly publicised arrest may have threatened his chances of victory, a tabloid report has claimed. The Hollyoaks actor found himself in the bottom two of the public vote on Saturday despite finishing top of the judges' leader board with a score of ninety five out of one hundred. He had also faced the dance-off a week earlier when, similarly, clearly a favourite of the judges. Whittle's setbacks in the recent public votes came after he was arrested on suspicion of assaulting a photographer in Liverpool city centre. Police are believed to be continuing their investigations concerning the matter after releasing the actor on bail. A Strictly source told the Sun: 'Ricky was seen as one of the favourites to win the show before the incident occurred and then suddenly he was in the bottom two. Now this week, despite impressing the judges he was again voted into the bottom two. We are convinced it is because of what happened. Strictly viewers are a bit older and more conservative in their views and don't take lightly to what happened.' Thank you for stereotyping over eight million people - including this blogger - as old duffers, you cheb-end. Maybe, they just prefer Ali and Chris Hollins? Had you even considered the vague possibility of that? No, of course you hadn't. And, do you know why? Because you're a tabloid 'source' and, therefore, talk in utterly ludicrous, probably made-up, soundbites that seek crassly simplistic answers to often highly complex questions.

Bruce Forsyth and Alesha Dixon are both expected to return for Strictly in 2010. According, again, to the Sun, the BBC has already begun talks with the duo about them returning for the eighth series of the popular dance show next year. Forsyth, eighty one, will reportedly not be replaced as host because of fears of a backlash from the public, whilst Dixon has apparently impressed the show's producers during her first series as a judge after a shaky start. Personally, I think she's crap but she's undeniably face nicer to look at than the wizened old prune she replaced so, hey ho. It's an ill wind that blows nobody much good. 'Brucie is so linked with the show that the bosses would never get rid of him,' said a source. Possibly the same source that was wittering on to the paper about Ricky Whittle earlier. Perhaps, we'll never care. 'Despite some criticism from viewers that he is too old, there would be a huge backlash if he was sacked. No executive would want to be the one who got rid of Brucie.' Len Goodman also backed Forsyth to remain on the show, describing the presenter as an 'integral part of the show. He gets criticised because some of his jokes are corny but he's got to entertain six to eighty-year-olds,' said the source. 'It's difficult to think of someone else who could do that.' Dixon has previously claimed that she would love to return for second stint as a judge. However, she also revealed that her record label is planning to promote her music in America next year, which may prevent her from working on the show. Earlier this year, it was reported that Forsyth's co-host Tess Daly had recently signed a two-year deal to stay on Strictly until at least 2010.

Danyl Johnson has suggested that he was 'over hyped' when he first auditioned for The X Factor. Simon Cowell described Johnson's first televised performance of 'With A Little Help From My Friends' as 'single-handedly the best first audition I have ever heard.' Speaking to Metro before the weekend's semi-final, in which he lost, Johnson said: 'When I first auditioned, it was a bit over hyped and stuff. And it has just balanced itself out because I had some negative press. It's sort of back in the middle now.' Of reported arguments in the X Factor house, Johnson joked: 'I shared a room with Olly [Murs] but I moved out. That's fine. I'm just carrying on what I'm doing.' Johnson - seen right looking like he's just been slapped in the mush with a wet haddock - was voted off the show on Sunday, leaving Murs, Stacey Solomon and Joe McElderry to fight out next week's final. Little Joe's gonna win that, trust me. And, all of this means that that our Graeme, who had money on Danyl to win, will presumably be a bit sore at the moment. Is now the time, I wonder, to ask him if I can have my Buffy season three box set back? Advice on this matter, dear blog reader, would be vastly appreciated.

John and Edward Grimes have reportedly cancelled two club dates after being pelted with bottles at an appearance late last week. The X Factor contestants were forced to flee a from nightclub stage halfway through their act after being targeted by a number of crowd members. Music lovers, probably. The twins had been due to earn forty thousand smackers for the two appearances but were, instead, 'given some time off,' reported the Daily Mail. A spokesman for manager Louis Walsh confirmed that the teenagers were being given 'a short break.' Which, hopefully, they'll use to look up the definition of the phrase 'nine day wonder' in a dictionary. And, ponder on its significance, or otherwise, to their plight.

Primeval actor Andrew-Lee Potts has claimed that producers have 'shocking' plots planned for the new series. The thirty-year-old will soon reprise his role of Connor Temple on the ITV show, which was recently given a surprise recommission for thirteen more episodes. In an interview with IESB, Potts commented: 'It's great coming back to play him. And then, also, I get to work with my fiancée Hannah Spearritt.' Just thought he'd throw that into the conversation in case anyone didn't already know that he was going out with the little blonde one with the nice arse in Primeval that everybody fancies. 'When it was cancelled, it was such a shame because we enjoyed working with each other so much and we thought, "We might never do that again,"' he continued. 'That made us sad. But, we're going to be able to do that again. We actually went out for dinner with all the producers the other day and the storylines they've got and the stuff that's going to happen this time is going to be really good. It's very shocking as well.' Potts also said that he always had 'a gut feeling' the show would come back and is 'really pleased' that he turned out to be correct. And then, just in case you missed it earlier, he was heard hollering 'I'M GOING OUT WITH HANNAH SPEARITT, ME!' as he nipped off for the bus. At least, that's what I was told. By some bloke. Might be a dodgy rumour, of course.

Michael McIntyre cancelled his appearance a comedy gig at the eleventh hour after reportedly realising that he was about to play to an audience of debt collectors. The stand-up comic had been due to pocket a reported twenty eight thousand pounds at the private party for the Kent-based Cabot Financial Limited at London's O2 arena. McIntyre allegedly only discovered who the party was for about an hour before he was due on stage and pulled out immediately as performing would have been against his principles, reported the Sunday Mirror. The thirty three-year-old had reportedly faced debt problems of his own in the past, and said that he would never have agreed to participate in the event had he known what the firm actually did. His spokesman added: 'Michael was in debt himself and has a conscience, especially at this time of year.' Now, I'm all for principles but wouldn't it, perhaps, have been better to do the gig, and then give the twenty eight grand to a debt charity? Cabot Financial were unavailable for comment, although a source said that organisers of the event were left furious by McIntyre's decision and had to find a last-minute stand-in. What a shame, eh? Mind you, if they'd just gone out onto the streets and asked anybody passing if they wanted to say something to a room full of debt collectors, I'm guessing they would probably have gotten a few volunteers.

The BBC's Andrew Marr has apparently been told that he is to take over covering some of the big state and ceremonial occasions from David Dimbleby in 2012. Marr confirmed to the Daily Telegraph: 'It's obviously early days but, yes, I will be doing a programme or, possibly, a series of programmes. I don't want to look at all the old soap-opera stuff about the Royal family, which we all now know so well, but to focus specifically on the job that the Queen does. I hope we will be able to talk to members of the family and we will, of course, be putting in a request to talk to Her Majesty herself. But I know that she has views on these things.' Dimbles himself was not available for comment.

Stewart Lee has explained the reasoning behind his recent joke about Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond's car crash. The comedian suggested to the Observer that the media outcry over the material was hypocritical. Lee said: 'The idea of what's acceptable and what's shocking, that's where I investigate. I mean, you can't be on Top Gear, where your only argument is that it's all just a joke and anyone who takes offence is an example of political correctness gone mad, and then not accept the counterbalance to that. Put simply, if [Jeremy] Clarkson can say the Prime Minister is a one-eyed Scottish idiot, then I can say that I hope his children go blind.' Lee claimed that he would still use the material if the Top Gear team turned up to one of his shows and added: 'Clarkson is a right-wing libertarian so he'd probably be all right with it. I'd happily debate the routine with Hammond and I think he'd get what it's about, that he's being used as a symbol of the sort of debased crassness that passes for controversial humour these days.'

Meanwhile, the Mirror published a laughable story last week about a purported 'ban on gay couples' attending Top Gear recordings. Except that it turned out that it's actually a ban on male-only groups. In an attempt to maintain a decent proportion of women in the audience and to prevent the show from becoming an all-boys club, applications for tickets are reportedly only accepted from parties made up equally of men and women. In Sunday night's episode, the show sent up this quite ridiculous claim by having a series of Village People-lookalikes strategically placed around the studio in various shots. Of course, that didn't stop some snooty bastard of a blogger working for the good old Gruniad Morning Star from opining '[it's] still unclear why anyone, gay or straight, would want to spend five hours in an aircraft hangar listening to Jeremy Clarkson telling "jokes."' Errr... because they enjoy them, or is that too simplistic an answer, you anonymous Communist hippie scum?

Davina McCall has recreated the iconic Flashdance audition routine as part of a preview for the forthcoming Sky1 show Just Dance. The presenter was announced as the talent competition's host in August, and thousands of dancing hopefuls have since auditioned in front of the judges - the brilliantly-named Ashley Banjo, Kimberly Wyatt and Adam Garcia. McCall did most of her own dancing in the ambitious routine, although the Daily Mail reports that a stunt double was used for the final flip off the judges' table. The forty two-year-old will also be recreating Beyonce's 'Single Ladies' video, and routines using Bollywood, hip-hop and Lindy Hop styles.

The Cartoon Network has reportedly fallen foul of UK junk food advertising laws – over adverts broadcast in Spain. The Spanish-language version of the Cartoon Network and Boomerang Spain both showed programmes sponsored by food products like Haribo sweets, Nesquik chocolate flavouring and Choco Krispies cereal. These sorts of products are allowed to be advertised on children's programmes on the continent, but – because they are classified as high in fat, salt or sugar – they are banned from children's television in the UK, where the channels are licensed by Ofcom to Turner Entertainment Network and where the broadcaster undertakes its compliance. Ofcom said the breaches between 27 May and 4 August on the Cartoon Network and 6 June and 12 July on Boomerang Spain were discovered during a 'routine monitoring exercise.' They show that Turner had 'insufficient procedures in place to ensure compliance' with rules which are designed to protect all children, not just those in the UK, the regulator said. 'As Turner has chosen to establish itself in the UK… it must comply with all of the UK's relevant codes and rules. Ofcom's obligations are not limited to protecting children in the UK.' No, indeed. These interfering - unelected - busybodies reckon they can save the planet. Just like Sting ... only, you know, with marginally less lute playing. 'Ofcom has responsibilities with regard to advertising transmitted by all Ofcom licensees regardless of the territory in which they choose to broadcast,' it said. The regulator has summoned the broadcaster to a meeting to go over its compliance procedures and has warned Turner that it will take any more breaches of this kind 'extremely seriously' and may consider further punishment. We'd love to tell you what Turner's response to all that was, but they were so busy laughing it was hard to make out.

David Tennant has spoken about his plans to break Hollywood. The Doctor Who star told Radio Times that if his new NBC series Rex Is Not Your Lawyer is a success, he will move over to Los Angeles. 'It seems British actors are more and more in vogue there - look at Hugh Laurie,' he said. 'He's just about as big a star as you get in the States and he's made it in a role he would never have been given here. But I'm not really thinking, "Well, they all did it, so I'll do it." There's no great plan. You just muddle along, and if an opportunity comes up, it would be silly not to take it.'

BBC2 has commissioned a comedy pilot with the female comedy duo of Lorna Watson and Ingrid Oliver. The show, which will take place in front of a live studio audience, will also feature a host of other comedy talent. Watson and Oliver have previously had three sell-out Edinburgh events and have also appeared in comedy series including Peep Show, The IT Crowd and We Are Klang. Head of comedy Mark Freeland said of the commission: 'It's brilliant that Watson and Oliver have the chance to show how talented and funny they are and I'm proud that they are going to be doing this with us, in-house.'

Sir Paul McCartney has revealed that he was 'booed off stage' playing his own songs on Rock Band. He enlisted the help of his assistant to get the game going and then failed to complete any of the songs that he, himself, had written. McCartney, who earlier praised Beatles: Rock Band as an exciting venture, told The Times: 'My assistant showed me how to set it up 'cos I'm not Mr Tech. I lost. Twice. On Easy... And I was playing bass, I'm ashamed to say. It's all red and green and yellow buttons. I said, "Can we start this again?"'

Little Britain stars David Walliams and Matt Lucas and ITV presenters Ant and Dec are among the new entries in the latest edition of Who's Who. Actors Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman have also been added to the society guide, which recognises 'noteworthy and influential' people. Details for comedian Ricky Gervais, actress Anna Friel and the writer Mariella Frostrup are also new for 2010. Tragically, Keith Telly Topping is still waiting for the call. I'll let you know when it arrives. Don't hold your breath.

Amanda Holden has claimed that she has received an apology from JLS after they reportedly branded her as 'insincere.' Band member JB Gill was accused of making the jibe as he discussed his favourite talent show judges in an interview in September. Gill was quoted as saying: 'I'd snog Dannii [Minogue] and marry Cheryl [Cole]. I'd avoid Amanda Holden, though - she's not genuine, is she? Everything she does comes across as a facade.' Reflecting on the alleged comment, Holden told the News Of The World: 'I was sad to hear that JLS described me as insincere in an interview recently. I adored them on The X Factor, and while I can't expect everyone to like me, they haven't met me!' To be perfectly honest, this is a bit of a nothing story and, under normal circumstances, yer Keith Telly Topping wouldn't even be bothering with it. But, let's face it, it's our third chance in a week to publish a photo of Amanda Holden's arse. And, one can never get tired of that.

The US comedy show Saturday Night Live has poked fun at the recent media speculation surrounding the private life of Tiger Woods. The golf superstar was taken to hospital following his crashing his own crash during the early hours of the morning over the Thanksgiving weekend, prompting tabloid allegations that he had been cheating on his wife. The SNL sketch featured Keenan Thompson playing Woods and Gossip Girl actress Blake Lively portraying his wife. CNN's anchorman Wolf Blitzer (played by Jason Sudeikis) explained that the pair were holding a press conference, where Woods admitted to 'multiple transgressions,' prompting his wife to reply: 'Multiple? There was more than one?' Blitzer then cut to breaking news, saying: 'Tiger Woods is back in hospital. Apparently, just hours after a press conference ... Woods had an accident in his home where he fell down a flight of stairs and then inadvertently threw himself through a plate glass window.' Woods then appeared for another press conference with his wife, who was holding a golf club. He claimed that he had been 'really clumsy this week' before making another blunder, prompting a further breaking news report that he was back in hospital yet again. In Woods's final appearance, the golf club was bent across his head. He explained that he had prepared a written statement to avoid making any more mistakes and held up his pre-prepared notes which had 'Help Me... I'm Scared... She Is So Strong' written on the back. The sketch ended with Woods' wife demanding to see the notes as he ran away.

Louisa Lytton has revealed that she would have liked her EastEnders exit to be more dramatic. The twenty-year-old actress said that Ruby Allen was given a low-key departure because the character's father Johnny (Billy Murray) had just been killed off. Lytton told FHM: 'I left EastEnders in the back of a taxi with my dad's ashes on my lap, but something massive and dramatic would have been pretty cool.' Yes. But that might've required a bit of acting talent, Louisa, love. She continued: 'My dad had just died, so I couldn't go with him unless I died at the same time, which would have been a bit heavy, even for EastEnders.' Oh, I dunno - I've seen worse. Ian Beale smiling, for one.

Lacey Turner has admitted that she cried after reading articles which described her as fat. The comments came after she was photographed wearing a bikini during a holiday to Dubai last year. Speaking to the News of the World, the EastEnders actress said: 'The only thing [in the press] that hurt me was being called fat. I'm not toned because I don't go to the gym, but I'm not fat. I cried when I saw the article. I can see how easy it is to get obsessed with weight, but I won't go down that road. I'm happy with myself. I've just got to stop worrying about what everyone else thinks of me.' Turner also said that she is happier with her body since having a breast enlargement at the age of eighteen. 'I didn't do it to look sexy,' she explained. 'I felt odd and out of proportion. My body looked wrong. In my family, all the women have tiny chests. I know I was just eighteen, but I knew my shape wouldn't change because it's in my genes.'

Kim Woodburn has admitted that she does not regret ranting at Katie Price in the I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! jungle. She branded Price a 'publicity seeker' during the first week of the show. Her comments came after the thirty one-year-old had asked the group how she compared to their preconceptions. Reflecting on her outburst, Woodburn - seen right apparently after sticking her head in a pineapple-shaping machine - told the Daily Mail: 'It wasn't blunt at all. It was honest. The thing with Katie is that I can't stand bull. She's not twenty. She's thirty-odd and she needs to grow up. She was doing all this, "The minute I get out, I'll be plagued with photographers." Well, I can't take that nonsense. She lives and breathes publicity. It's what drives her, so she should stop bleating on about it, because we know it's false.' The sixty seven-year-old cleaner added: 'She has an extremely good career, but it won't last forever. I reckon she's got, at most, another four or five years. When she is thirty seven or so, it will be over, and that girl knows it. I can't blame her for it. I'd do it myself if I had her assets.' I dunno, though. Having a head shaped like a pineapple, it's certainly a talking point.

Russell Brand has accused Daily Mail journalist Nathan Kay of 'writing lies' about him. Insert your own punchline here, dear blog reader. I have. Writing on Twitter about the article, Brand said: 'The Daily Mail tell lies. 'Nathan Kay' is a pustule of untruth. I suppose we ought be grateful that they've stopped supporting Hitler.' They have? When did that happen? I must've missed that memo.