Monday, December 21, 2009

I Won't Do What You Tell Me (Unless You're On Facebook, In Which Case, I Will)

Rage Against The Machine have won the most competitive battle in many years for the Christmas number one in the UK. The band's 1992 single, 'Killing In The Name', sold half a million downloads beating The X Factor winner Joe McElderry's 'The Climb' by fifty thousand copies to clinch the top spot. One retailer said it was a 'truly remarkable outcome - possibly the greatest chart upset ever.' Speaking on the Radio1 chart show, Zack de la Rocha from Rage said: 'We are very, very ecstatic about being number one.' He added it was an 'incredible organic grassroots campaign. It says more about the spontaneous action taken by young people throughout the UK to topple this very sterile pop monopoly,' he said. McElderry, who let us remember had plenty to say for himself just a few days ago about how 'awful' he found the Rage Against The Machine single, was now keeping his own counsel, merely taking the time to praise the campaign and adding: 'It's been exciting to be part of a much-hyped battle and they definitely deserve congratulations.' Despite earlier in the week calling the campaign 'stupid,' X Factor judge Simon Cowell offered his public congratulations to the couple behind it, Jon and Tracy Morter. He said: 'I am gutted for Joe because a number one single meant a lot to him but I have to congratulate Jon and Tracy, who started the Facebook campaign. I called Jon on Saturday to congratulate the two of them that, win or lose, they turned this into a very exciting race for the Christmas number one.' The past four Christmas number ones have all been by X Factor winners - Alexandra Burke's version of 'Hallelujah' last year was one of the biggest selling festive singles ever. Rage Against The Machine guitarist, Tom Morello, said it had 'tapped into the silent majority of the people in the UK who are tired of being spoon-fed one schmaltzy ballad after another.' He added that proceeds from the single would go to homeless charity Shelter tying in with the Morters' Facebook campaign which includes an online link to give to the charity, raising nearly seventy thousand pounds so far.

Anyone who is currently feeling sorry for Little South Shields Joe, however, may like to consider the following story. Simon Cowell has reportedly gifted a luxury ski holiday to Joe and ten of his closest relatives. The X Factor winner will stay in a five-star chalet in the Austrian Alps at a cost to Cowell of twenty big ones, according to the Sunday Mirror. If that's what he's getting for coming second, what would you have given him if he'd actually won? A yacht? Keith Telly Topping's advice - be pure-careful careful when you're on the Piste, Joe, it can get a bit slippy up there.

Friday saw a further two, superb, Dollhouse episodes shown in the US. The second, in particular, Echo, Victor and Sierra's trip into The Attic was an imaginative tour de force combining elements of The Prisoner, The Matrix and The Parallax View. I like the way in which the characters interactions are seldom signposted (Topher's sudden development of a conscience, Adelle's devious games with those around her, Paul's - quite unexpected - resurrection from brain-death). Again, one can only bemoan the sad fact that, because more people in the US chose to watch, seemingly, anything else rather than this, that its days are numbered.

The much awaited Lego®™ episode of James May's Toy Stories got an airing last night. And was, as the pre-publicity had suggested, yet another stirring and life-affirming combination of ambitious daftness, imagination and magnificence in the face of adversity. Tragically, as those who've been following the news on this story will know, Legoland were unable to afford the cost of transporting the construction to what had been hoped would be a permanent site of it and the vineyard in which the house had been built needed the land back. So, a couple of months after the episode was filmed, the whole thing had to be torn down. In a rather sad postscript, however, shortly before this happened, somebody broke in and stole the Lego cat that you can see in the episode. Reportedly, after filming the last scenes, security allowed a few members of the public to have a nose around the house and Fusker – so named because he was a Lego®™ recreation of James' real cat – had disappeared. James later said that Fusker had been a unique addition to the house because he was built by a fan, rather than by one of the team of Lego®™ enthusiasts or members of the public who had worked on the project. So, if you know who's got the cat, please write to James May, I've Found Your Cat, c/o Top Gear, BBC Television Centre, 201 Wood Lane, London.

David Tennant has admitted that he is sad to be leaving Doctor Who. However, the thirty eight-year-old told the Observer that he almost didn't take the job in the first place because he didn't want to be typecast. 'It did take me a few weeks to think it through,' he said. 'But the only other option is you don't do the job. I remember waking up one morning thinking, "I can't turn this down. Even if it's the wrong thing to do."' Tennant described the success of the programme as 'bewildering' and explained that he managed to cope with leaving the show because the final scene he filmed was for an episode of Sarah Jane Interferes. 'It couldn't have been less memorable or less significant,' he said. A pretty accurate description of Sarah Jane Interferes, Keith Telly Topping is forced to conclude. 'It was robbed of any epic quality, but that was probably best. There are a lot of scenes in the final story that are very sad, and were very sad to play. If one of them had coincided with the actual final day, I'd have been a puddle.' Tennant also suggested that his fame is fleeting, claiming that he was only asked to co-present Comic Relief because of his role on Doctor Who. 'I don't imagine I'll be in the frame for things like that anymore,' he said. 'I'm sure in two years' time they'll want Matt Smith to do Comic Relief. I suspect I'm just passing through, really.'

More than eleven million people tuned in to watch the climax of the Strictly Come Dancing final, the BBC said. In a battle of talent versus entertainment, the underdog BBC sports reporter Chris Hollins won the public vote to take the crown. He beat the hot favourite Hollyoaks actor Ricky Whittle. The BBC revealed the show attracted a peak audience of 11.7m viewers, which represented a forty seven per cent audience share. Indeed, after weeks of domination by ITV thanks to The X Factor and I'm A Celebrity ... Saturday was a really bad night for the commercial broadcaster with an all-day audience of just sixteen per cent.

Chris Hollins has revealed that he intends to 'stick to the day job' after his Strictly Come Dancing victory. The BBC Breakfast presenter celebrated his win with 'a few drinks and loads of cuddles' after securing first place in the final of the show. Hollins, who was partnered with professional Ola Jordan, said that he was still trying to come to terms with his win over Ricky Whittle. 'You're just sat there staring at this glitterball - and I'm still looking at it,' he told the Mail On Sunday. The thirty eight-year-old, who had feared that he might be 'humiliated' in the competition's final stage, also said that he doesn't think that he has a future in Lycra. 'I have had no professional dance opportunities and I don't think I ever will, so at the moment I am sticking to the day job,' he added.

Phill Jupitus has revealed that he turned down the chance to compete in Strictly Come Dancing. The comedian, who is currently starring in a West End production of Hairspray, explained that he doesn't like the show's mentality. 'If you have leanings towards dancing then study dancing - don't wait for the BBC to come knocking,' he told the People. 'It seems an odd thing to put yourself through. The look on people's faces doesn't seem to be one of joy. So many people seem not to enjoy it. Strictly is a show built on someone getting fucked off each week. There's something mean about it. I was asked on the first series but I don't like the vote shows. I don't get on with it.' Jupitus also said that he didn't like the way in which John Sergeant was treated on last year's series. 'When they wheeled him on then told everyone how to vote, that's when the whole format collapsed on itself,' he explained. 'They ruined it. You can't tell people how to behave. It's a joke show. If you ask someone like him on the show and expect him to nail a proper dance then you're crazy. When he dragged that woman [Kristina Rihanoff] across the floor I pissed myself.' He added: 'I love to dance and so I thought if I want to dance then why go on a fake dance show? I will go in the West End and be taught by one of the best choreographers. This is better than Strictly.'

Chris Evans and Sir Terry Wogan have paired up to compete on a celebrity Christmas special of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? The presenters took the top prize of one million pounds in a dummy run of the show, but are sworn to secrecy as to how much they eventually won on the real thing. Evans, who is taking over Wogan's Radio2 breakfast show, said that they 'fairly and squarely' made it to the top with one lifeline left. Wogan told ITN: 'That's very sad. You know what they say - good rehearsal, bad show!' The festive special, which was recorded earlier this month, also sees Mike Read and Robin Gibb teamed together.

The actress Brittany Murphy has died, according to the celebrity news website TMZ. The website claimed that someone placed a 911 call from a home belonging to Murphy's husband Simon Monjack early on Sunday morning. Sources then revealed that Murphy, thirty two, was transported to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where she was pronounced dead on arrival. Murphy is perhaps best known for her roles in Sin City, Girl, Interrupted, Clueless, 8 Mile, and voicing a character in the animated penguin tale Happy Feet. Three of her recent movies, including The Expendables starring Sylvester Stallone, are currently in post-production. Despite those films, there had been reports Murphy's career had hit obstacles this year. Earlier this month, a publicist for Murphy denied she was fired from the set of the film The Caller. She was replaced by former Twilight actress Rachelle Lefevre.

Ronnie Wood could reportedly be ditched from a possible Rolling Stones tour next year unless he can beat his widely reported alcohol addiction. The band are rumoured to be planning a series of concerts in 2010 and are the bookies' favourites for closing the fortieth Glastonbury festival. Plans have been marred, however, by Wood's recent domestic problems and alleged alcohol dependency, reports the Daily Mail. Hang on, this is The Rolling Stones, isn't it? The band with Keith Richards in it?! Anyway, a source said that Mick Jagger had always relied on Wood's ex-wife Jo in the past to make sure that Rockin' Ronnie towed the line. 'Without Jo, Ronnie would never have managed to go on tour, you can't do it without insurance, and you won't get insurance without the medical. It's always been up to Jo to get him through all that,' he said. 'All communication has gone through Jo for years, so now Mick has washed his hands of Ronnie. The feeling is that he can't come back after this one. Ronnie has always been a bit lost, and, without Jo, nobody can reach him.'

Jade Ewen has been linked to new EastEnders cast member Ricky Norwood. The Sugababes newcomer has reportedly been dating Norwood for a few weeks, according to the Sunday Mirror, which also alleges that the relationship is 'going swimmingly.'

Celebrity Big Brother producers are so desperate to get Peter Andre on the final series of the show, that they have seemingly told him to 'name his own price' according to the Daily Star. The series' producers are throwing huge amounts of cash at the pop star – one report suggests up to a half a million pounds. They want him in the Big Brother house so that he can 'dish the dirt on his failed marriage to Jordan,' according to the paper. What a marvellously wonderful world we live in, dear blog reader.

Now, for the first in a new series. Keith Telly Topping's Christmas Quiz. This one is for all Sky Sports News addicts. It's a simple, straightforward question of choice. Natalie or Georgie?
... It's a right toughie, innit?! Saucy minxes, the pair of them.

And, finally dear blog reader, due to overwhelming demand (thanks, Brian) another couple of examples of yer Keith Telly Topping's (well) hidden talents as an artist.

This first one is - I must admit - a rather minor work from the canon, entitled The Role Of The Media And Their Relationship With Their Consumers In The First Decade Of The Twenty First Century (2005):
Secondly, however, something more substantial and provocative. This one is a particular favourite of the artist himself. It's called Being Some Concerned Advice For The Benefit Of A Future Generation (2008).