Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Don't Vote For Them, It Only Encourages Them

Great Britain looks set to have its first ever televised election debates after a deal was struck between the three big parties and the main broadcasters. The Prime Minster, Gordon Brown, Conservative leader David Cameron and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg (no, me neither) have agreed to go head-to-head in a series of three debates. The first will be broadcast on ITV, the second on Sky and the third on the BBC. Fabulous. Just when you thought TV couldn't get any more boring along come these jokers to make yer 2010 complete.

Boy George is appealing against a probation service decision barring him from appearing on the next series of reality show Celebrity Big Brother. In May, the singer - real name George O'Dowd - was released on licence from prison four months into a fifteen-month sentence for imprisoning a male escort. London Probation refused his request to appear on Big Brother, as he is still on licence and wears an electronic tag. Presumably on the grounds that he'd served his debt to society and they didn't see why he should be banged up with recidivists for another six weeks. O'Dowd's High Court appeal has been postponed from Monday until Tuesday as his barrister is stuck in Amsterdam because of the weather. The singer was convicted of false imprisonment after admitting handcuffing Norwegian Audun Carlsen to a wall in his London home in April 2007.

Ricky Whittle has called for Strictly Come Dancing's voting figures to be released to the general public. The Hollyoaks actor, who came second in the BBC dancing competition, said that the show should follow the lead of The X Factor, which made all voting statistics public. 'They never tell us and I don't think they ever will, which is a bit of a shame,' the Guardian quotes him as saying. 'At the end of the day it's a public channel. X Factor came out with all the stats and it would be nice to see how the voting was going to see what people were doing right and wrong.' A BBC spokesman said: 'We never reveal exact figures from our shows as we have a relationship of trust with our contestants and it would be unfair to disclose the exact nature of difference in their popularity.' In other words, Ricky, do you really want to be humiliated by them revealing by just how many Chris Hollins beat you? I thought not ... Still, you gave the Daily Mail another nice BBC-bashing headline for a day so, you know, jolly well done on that.

An estimated five million listeners tuned in to Radio1's Top Forty show as the battle for the Christmas number one between Rage Against the Machine and The X Factor winner Joe McElderry breathed new life into the Sunday afternoon chart rundown. Ironically, that's about four million more than the number of people who bought both singles combined. Chart expert Paul Gambaccini described the head-to-head – which was won by the US band after an Internet campaign to stop McElderry and Simon Cowell's record label Syco capturing the top spot – as one of the great chart battles of all time. 'Not only was it the meeting of two incredible forces – Simon Cowell versus Facebook, physical versus digital sales – it was a story you could follow day by day,' said Gambaccini. 'I rarely listen to the chart show these days but I did for the last half hour yesterday. They built up the suspense and milked it for all it was worth.' Mark Goodier, who presented the Top Forty for a decade until 2002, said the battle had captured people's imagination because they could make a difference to the outcome. 'The music business is very good at delivering exactly what the very powerful chairmen of the music companies want, but now and again something different happens,' said Goodier. 'The great democracy of the Internet means you can compete against The X Factor and all of its marketing dollars and make a difference. It could be a sign of similar things to come.'

Tina O'Brien has been offered a role in BBC's Waterloo Road. The ex-Coronation Street actress, who played teenage mother Sarah-Louise Platt in the soap, was reportedly hoping to return to her old part but then changed her mind when she split from former co-star Ryan Thomas. An industry insider told the Mirror: 'They would have had lots of scenes together and the atmosphere would have been unbearable.'

Irish channel TV3 is taking legal action against rival its RTE after the latter mixed up listings in the RTE Christmas Guide. TV3 claimed that inaccuracies in the Boxing Day listings, which were juxtaposed with those of UTV, could have a serious impact on the channel's viewing figures. The commercial station has also complained about the lack of exposure for its film schedule in the TV guide. RTE, which receives over two hundred million Euros a year in licence fee money, confirmed that it has received legal correspondence from its rival and said the mistake was made by an external supplier. The network denied any malice in the errors, insisting that it has promoted TV3 shows on its cover three times this year. 'We have no problem with honest mistakes but when it's this many at such an important time of year, we need them to be fixed and rectified so we can all move on,' Maureen Catterson of TV3 said. Muirne Laffan, executive director of RTE Publishing, responded: 'We have endeavoured to mitigate the errors and have addressed it on our website, where we have published the correct television listings. However, we feel the demands from TV3 are excessive and cannot be met.'

The BBC World Service has revealed that an un-named organisation is unsuccessfully attempting to jam the signal for the BBC Persian TV channel. The World Service said the interference began on Sunday 20 December, soon after BBC Persian began extended coverage of the death of the leading Iranian reformist cleric Grand Ayatollah Hoseyn Ali Montazeri. The coverage included the first airing of an exclusive interview with the ayatollah which was filmed before his death. The senior cleric, who had not been seen on Iranian television screens for twenty years, was one of Shia Islam's most respected figures and a leading critic of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (you know, the one that looks like Roy Keane). BBC World Service director Peter Horrocks said: 'The fact that someone would go to these lengths to jam BBC Persian television's signal is indicative of the impact we make in Iran. The Iranian people want to know the truth about what is happening in their country, and they know they will get impartial and independent news from the BBC. We’ll do everything we can to give them that news.' The jamming affected the Hotbird 6 satellite which carries the BBC’s international television and radio services in various languages as well as services from other broadcasters. BBC Persian television is also carried on other satellite networks including Telstar and Eutelsat W2M. In June this year, BBC Persian television suffered similar deliberate attempts to interfere with its signal when airing extended coverage of the Iranian elections. At that time, the satellite operator traced the interference and confirmed it was coming from inside Iran.

Ofcom has ruled that an ITV Formula 1 competition in which no prize was awarded breached its rules. In July, ITV discovered that no winner had been announced for one of the nineteen viewer competitions held to tie in with its Formula 1 coverage the previous year. The competition, held on 2 November 2008 to mark the Brazilian Grand Prix, attracted one hundred and thirty nine thousand entries, but a further complication in the system meant that eighteen thousand of them could not be recovered. ITV blamed human error and said it was part of the result of deciding to stick with a third party telephony service provider rather than disrupt the series of competitions by taking it in-house. After the issue came to light, ITV offered refunds to all participants and kept the process open for three months, donating the remainder to charity. A second draw was then held to award the prize. Ofcom said it welcomed ITV's 'openness and efficiency' in dealing with the oversight, but said the size of the competition and the length of time it took to uncover the problem were enough to judge that its code had been breached. Separately, Ofcom today cleared Sky1 of any breach of the code in its broadcast of Michael Jackson: The Live Seance, which attracted twenty complaints. It also noted forty one viewer complaints about Pedigree Dogs Exposed on top of the complaints lodged by individuals and the Kennell Club. None of the forty one was upheld. Finally, Ofcom rejected eighty seven complaints about various aspects of I'm a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! Including the fact that it exists in the first place.

LG has unveiled the world's thinnest LCD television panel at just two and a half millimetres thick. The South Korean firm said in a statement that the ultra-slim design was achieved by using proprietary optical film technology and an edge-lit light emitting diode backlight system. The forty two inch TV panel, which weighs in at less than four kilograms and offers a 120Hz refresh rate with full HD resolution, will be officially showcased at next year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. And, if LG would like a world renowned Top Telly Tipster to be a guinea pig for its usage, then this blogger would be delighted to help out.

Amy Winehouse has been questioned by police after kicking a theatre manager in the groin and yelling abuse at a pantomime performance, according to press reports. The 'Rehab' singer, who went to support her actor friend Anthony Kavanagh in Cinderella at a Milton Keynes theatre, allegedly heckled the cast including Anthea Turner (which, to be fair, we've all wanted to do from time to time). She also refused to stay in her seat and kept swearing in front of children. One onlooker, who described Winehouse as being 'like a demonic child,' told the Sun that she yelled: 'Fuck Cinders, Prince Charming, marry me,' before calling the ugly stepsister characters 'bitches.' Winehouse reportedly punched and kicked theatre boss Richard Pound when he tried to escort her to a box after the interval. Two of the singer's minders are said to have carried her out of the venue in the second act.