Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Egg And Spoon

Big Top's first episode had an overnight AI score of an alarmingly dreadful fifty six. If you're not familiar with Audience Appreciation Index performance, just take it from me, scores in the mid-seventies are about average. Anything above that is good, anything below it is poor. If you're down in the fifties then that indicates a significant proportion of your audience hates you and everything you stand for and would, in all likelihood, not break if you were to cross the road in front of them. I'm not sure if that's the lowest AI score for a BBC1 show in prime-time ever (excluding political party broadcasts, of course) but, it certainly can't be all that fair off. Yer Keith Telly Topping, who's made something of a career in specialising in AI analysis to bore the pants off people in after-dinner type situations can't think of a worse score for a sitcom - or a drama, for that matter - off the top of his head. And, let's remember, here's what the BBC's Jay Hunt had to say when she commissioned the show: 'Big Top is a heart-warming family comedy with real potential to capture the imagination of the BBC1 audience. I am delighted it will be part of the new raft of comedies on the channel.' And to the right you can see a picture of Jay after the first set of ratings and AI figures rolled in. My, thanks to Andy Parish for providing us all with the yoke in question. Ba-doom. Come on, it's a damn-sight funnier than anything seen in Big Top.

Lily Allen will reportedly sing a 'family-friendly' version of her excruciatingly whiny single 'Not Fair' on this weekend's Strictly Come Dancing semi-final. Wouldn't a truly family-friendly version of any Lily Allen song entail her, you know, not singing at all?

The future of Mathew Horne and James Corden's sketch show is reported to be 'looking shaky' after the BBC suspended pre-production of a proposed second series. Horne and Corden, which was made by Tiger Aspect Productions for BBC3, had already gone into pre-production but has since been put on ice 'because of diary clashes.' So, there clearly is a God after all. The BBC and Tiger said - in a joint statement - 'After exploring making another series of Horne and Corden for BBC3, it has been decided that this would not be feasible at present due to other commitments. So all plans have been put on hold.' Both organisations stressed that the series was 'on hold' rather than axed, but neither one could say whether another series would definitely be made in the future. The first series of Horne and Corden averaged a regular audience of around nine hundred thousand viewers at 10pm on Tuesdays, which ranked as one of the channel's most popular first series of a comedy. However, it was savaged by many critics who lambasted gags about Corden's belly and camp gay characters as 'puerile' with some even doubting the show's right to be called 'a comedy' in the first place. In addition to the lengthy, and very amusing, Stage review quoted the other day in the Best & Worst TV Shows of 2009 blog, Sam Wollaston said in the Guardian: 'Horne and Corden isn't just bad, it actually made me feel a bit depressed,' whilst the Daily Telegraph's reviewer claimed that the show was 'about as funny as credit default swaps.' If the second series of Horne and Corden does not make it to screen, aside from there being rejoicing throughout the land, it would be the second occasion that BBC3 controller, Danny Cohen, has pulled the plug on a high profile series. In November 2008 he cancelled Phoo Action, the in-house produced kung-fu drama, because it was 'struggling to fulfill its creative ambitions.' In other words, 'it was crap and nobody watched it.'

JJ Abrams has praised Lost writers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse. Speaking to the magazine Entertainment Weekly, the creator of the ABC series, credited the duo for its success. 'Frankly, where Damon and Carlton and [producer] Jack Bender have taken the show could only have been hoped for back when we were first brainstorming the world and tone and characters,' he said. 'Whenever anyone says, "I love Lost," I always emphatically say that it's all Damon and Carlton and the work their team has been doing.'

Robson Green has reportedly complained about his pop career being the butt of constant mocking comments on The X Factor. Louis Walsh regularly mentions Robson and Jerome on the ITV1 show's live episodes, teasing co-star Simon Cowell for giving the pair a recording contract in the 1990s. Green is quoted by the Sun as saying: 'I would have no qualms about punching Louis's lights out.' Ah, so, it's not so much 'canny bloke down the Bigg Market' Robson as 'Radjy Gadgy on the Quayside after twelve pints' Robson this week? Excellent. 'He wouldn't see it coming with all the surgery he's had,' Wor Robson continued, stopping just short of offering Walsh ootside, nooo. 'In fact Louis had better get himself a decent cosmetic surgeon because at the moment, Louis, you look like you've been shot. He needs to shut up. He's always slagging us off. I know it's part of the show, but he's been doing it loads of times now.' The Wire In The Blood actor is also said to be disappointed that his old mucker Cowell never sticks up for him in response to Walsh. He said: 'The galling thing is that Simon keeps defending Louis. I want to tell him that if this is how he feels, all the money Jerome and I made for his recording company should be given back, or given to a children's charity.' Leave it, Robson kidda, it's not worth it, man!

Laila Rouass and Anton Du Beke have admitted that they 'deserved to go' on Saturday's Strictly Come Dancing. The couple were voted off the ballroom contest after scoring only fifty nine out of one hundred points for their American smooth and salsa routines. Speaking about their final performances, Rouass told It Takes Two: 'I wobbled a bit at the beginning [of the American smooth] and I don't know what happened on Saturday - it just went terribly wrong. It was a weird, weird night. I was looking forward to the salsa, I loved the salsa all week and I was quite good, believe it or not. But it just went all wrong again.' The Footballers' Wives actress also claimed that it would have been 'embarrassing' if the public had kept them in the competition. 'I knew were not going to get the votes and we deserved to go in all honest on Saturday,' she said. 'The semi-finalists deserve to be there and I think it was the right decision. It would have been embarrassing if we had stayed and another person had gone - it would have been unfair.'

ITV is set to implement a string of new guidelines to I'm a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! in an effort to avoid any hint of animal cruelty on future series. The moves follow a maelstrom of negative publicity over chef Gino D'Acampo killing and eating a rat while on the show. An ITV spokesman apologised for the incident which occurred while D'Acampo and fellow contestant Stuart Manning were held 'in exile' during the three-week challenge, and were only provided with rations of rice and beans. At the time, they asked production staff if they could kill a rat, and were given the all clear. The pair have been summoned to appear in a New South Wales Court on 3 February on the grounds of animal cruelty after D'Acampo killed and chopped up the rat, turning it into a makeshift risotto, which he and Manning ate. Could have been worse, I suppose. He could have made rat au van. That's rat which has been run over by a ... Okay, I'll stop doing Private Baldrick jokes. It is understood that officials from the Australian Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, who usually monitor the show, were not present when the alleged incident took place. An ITV spokesman said the broadcaster had made extensive enquiries regarding the incident separately to the RSPCA investigation. 'The production was asked if a rat could be caught and eaten by the celebrities in exile camp to supplement the basic rations they had been provided with for their evening meal,' he said. 'Having sought health and safety advice, the go-ahead was given purely on this basis, when it became clear that there would not be any harmful effects of eating a properly prepared and cooked rat. The production was unaware that killing a rat could be an offence, criminal or otherwise, in New South Wales and accepts that further enquiries should have been made - this was an oversight. ITV apologises for this error, and to the celebrities concerned, and will put in place procedures for next year's series to ensure that this cannot happen again.' Which is all very well, but it's a bit late for the poor old rat.

The Daily Mail have accused the BBC of 'devaluing' the licence fee after it released the new series of Gavin & Stacey on DVD before the show has finished airing on television. An article which is critical of the BBC published in the Mail? How very unusual, because it's normally such a thoughtful, balanced organ on the media. Despite only two episodes of the sitcom's current series having been screened on BBC1, the whole series is already available to buy at most good retail outlets (and some very bad ones). As the show is funded by public money, some commentators - or, in other words, the Daily Mail - have argued that it should be aired in full on free-to-air television first before becoming a commercial product. The corporation's commercial arm BBC Worldwide has also been accused of using the licence fee to increase DVD sales revenue. The issue was further complicated after the DVD was advertised during The X Factor on ITV1. Speaking to the Mail, Liberal Democrat spokesman for culture, media and sport Don Foster (no, me neither) said: 'It slightly devalues the licence fee if you discover that others who have got perhaps a bit more money can now get something before you as a licence fee payer can see something that has been produced using your money.' In response, a Worldwide spokesman argued that the DVD has been released to take advantage of the key Christmas market and that any profits it makes will actually benefit licence-fee payers since the money will be used to make more programmes for the BBC in the future. They also noted that DVDs of several BBC productions such as Pride and Prejudice and Mistresses have been released in exactly the same way in the past without so much as a single comment. So, once again we've got a bit of a nothing story turned into some "SHOCK! HORROR! PICTURES!" shitehawk 'exclusive' by scum. Nice to see that, in an ever changing world, some things remain reliably consistent.

The line-ups for the Christmas and New Year Top Of The Pops specials have been announced. Radio 1 duo Fearne Cotton (who can read an autocue, dear blog reader) and Reggie Yates will host the shows, which are to be screened on BBC1 on Christmas Day and New Year's Eve. The Christmas Day episode, which is scheduled to broadcast at 2pm, will include performances from Dizzee Rascal, Kasabian, La Roux, Sugababes, Lily Allen, Florence & The Machine, Muse, Britain's Got Talent winners Diversity and X Factor stars JLS and Alexandra Burke. Christ almighty, that's certainly one worth missing in favour of the Queen's speech. Meanwhile, the New Year's Eve show, which begins at 6.30pm, will feature a review of the year with guests including Robbie Williams, Shakira, Tinchy Stryder, N-Dubz and Calvin Harris. 'Top Of The Pops this Christmas and New Year is going to be excellent,' said Cotton. Mmmm ... beg to differ with ya, sister. 'It's my fave show to be part of, especially with the line-up this year! It's going to be huge and massively festive.' Yates added: 'I'm so excited that Top Of The Pops is returning to our screens this Christmas. A silly jumper, too much lunch and TOTP make the perfect Christmas.' Actually, the latter two tend to make you sick than produce a perfect Christmas. Just, you know, for a bit of balance and factual accuracy there.

Coronation Street star Kym Marsh has revealed details of a possible love rivals plot for her character and Carla Connor. The thirty three-year-old actress, who plays barmaid Michelle Connor on the ITV1 soap, said that she expects the pair to end up feuding over Ciaran McCarthy (Keith Duffy) or Peter Barlow (Chris Gascoyne) next year. Marsh is quoted by the Press Association as saying: 'There's a rivalry between them both and there'll be some fella involved somewhere down the line, probably Keith Duffy or Chris Gascoyne.' Asked whether Carla (Alison King) will take a shine to womaniser Ciaran, Kym replied: 'She may do, but I think he's going to have his eye on Carla more likely.' Marsh had previously announced that a romance was likely to develop between Michelle and Weatherfield returnee Ciaran. Meanwhile, the unlucky-in-love character has had a fling with Peter in the past.

Martin Kemp has admitted that he is eager to make a return to EastEnders. By hell, the Spandau Ballet reunion tour must be going really badly. The actor played villain Steve Owen on the Walford drama from 1999 to 2002, before the nightclub boss was killed off in a car explosion.

The fictional Simpsons character Montgomery C Burns reportedly earned close to ten per cent of the write-in votes in the recent New York City Mayoral race. Springfield power plant owner and all round megalomaniac Mr Burns received twenty seven out of two hundred and ninety nine postal votes in the November election, reports Popeater. New Yorkers are also alleged to have cast votes for other fictional characters, including Alfred E Newman of Mad magazine, Mickey Mouse and Sleeping Beauty.

Justin Lee Collins has vowed that Katie Price will never be invited to appear on his new chat show. The former Friday Night Project star claimed that Price would not be a suitable guest because she would only use the programme to criticise others and settle scores. Sounds about standard. Mind you, it sounds about standard for most people appearing on chat shows who aren't flogging their latest movie/book/CD/boob job. Collins is quoted by the Sun as saying: 'I wouldn't have someone like Jordan on my chat show who is going to be too mud raking. They had her on the first series of The Friday Night Project and that was an unmitigated disaster. I don't want controversial people on my show. I want people with broad appeal to everyone - from a sixty five-year-old to a five-year-old.' The hairy presenter's new series is expected to launch on Five early next year. He has reportedly signed a two-year deal with the broadcaster which will see him fronting a number of projects.

Meanwhile, a 'friend' of Alex Reid has suggested that the cage fighter could make public explicit photographs of his ex-partner Katie Price. Nigel Whitear told Closer that the pictures could 'finish' the career of the glamour model. Whitear said: 'I know Alex very well and I know he will have all the proof of their sex life. She dumped him on national TV and now wants the evidence of their sex life back. Jordan used to text him filthy pictures when he was preparing for a fight or when they were apart. It was all very explicit stuff.' He added: 'Jordan has made a lot of money and publicity off Alex. He has been hurt and he has been taken for a ride. She is willing to use people to get what she wants so why shouldn't he use them to get something for himself?' Price has been accused of attempting to engineer a reunion with Reid to prevent him from insulting her on TV should he appear in the final series of Celebrity Big Brother. These people don't vote, do they?