Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Gypsies, Tramps, Thieves, Time Lords And Snowmen

The US broadcast of David Tennant's final episode of Doctor Who reportedly attracted over one million viewers to BBC America. The initial Saturday evening transmission of The End Of Time, Part Two - which was also the last episode from showrunner Russell Davies and producer the divine Goddess of popular TV that is Julie Gardner - averaged an audience of just over one million viewers, the website TVbytheNumbers reports. A second and third broadcast of the episode later in the evening pushed the figure up to a total of 1.47 million. This exceeded the 1.1 million recorded for the three airings of the previous special, The Waters Of Mars, last month. Great figures for a niché market although it is always worth remembering before anyone gets too excited that those are, approximately, a tenth of the number of people who watched the show overnight in the UK. And, that's before we get into figures for BBC3 repeats and time-shifting and iPlayer etc. And America's a bigger country. Much bigger. You might have noticed this on maps and suchlike. Still, as my old mum always told me, it's not size that's important, it's what you do with it that counts. I've always presumed that she was talking about TV ratings figures - hence my job. The senior vice president of BBC America, Richard De Croce, had previously confirmed that both parts of Tennant's final episodes would be shown one day after their UK premiere to capitalise on the public's anticipation for the regeneration.

Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus from ABBA were in provisional discussions for a musical version of the Doctor Who spin-off show Torchwood, according to a new book. In it, Russell Davies reveals that he was asked - in all seriousness - about the concept and told: 'They have the two chaps from ABBA on board.' Davies said after he had finished laughing he asked for clarification. He was told: 'Björn and Benny love Torchwood.' But the idea never progressed beyond the early stages. Other revelations in The Writer's Tale: The Final Chapter include a conversation between Davies and The Prince of Wales in which the first in line to the throne said he would 'love to' appear in Doctor Who. However the prince said he was unable to because he 'gets too many requests like that.' Davies, who was being made an OBE for services to drama at Buckingham Palace, said he replied by asking the prince: 'Never mind that, are those ears real?' According to the book, which is released later this month, the team behind the show had wanted Prince Charles to make a cameo appearance in the programme's 2007 Christmas Special, Voyage of the Damned, which featured a plotline about a spaceship crashing into Buckingham Palace. The Writer's Tale is made up of over two and a half years of e-mails between Davies and his friend, the journalist Ben Cook. They discuss the process of writing and producing Doctor Who and its associated programmes Torchwood and Sarah Jane Interferes.

According to researcher and writer Justin Polland on Twitter, the BBC have commissioned another sixteen episodes of Qi - the eighth 'H' series. Pre-production starts immediately. The episodes will, likely, be shot during the summer (once Stephen has finished writing his latest book and rejoined the rest of the world) and will be broadcast during the winter of 2010-11. Telly news doesn't get much better than that.

Filming at the northern soaps Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks was disrupted yesterday due to the heavy snowfalls that hit Britain. Only days after production resumed following the annual fortnightly closure for Christmas, severe weather conditions over the past forty eight hours resulted in three of the big four soaps' filming being cancelled completely or ending early. Yeah, we're all havin' it a bit rough oop north, dear blog reader. As the photo to the right will confirm - taken from out of Keith Telly Topping's window at Stately Telly Topping Manor - it's lying deep and crisp and even out there. And, for once, I'm not talking about the dog shite and the lager cans. On a day like today, the estate almost looks pretty. Almost. Anyway, down at Granada Studios in Manchester, shooting for two of Coronation Street's three daily filming units have been suspended, while nearly all of the show's cast due failed to make it in to work. A Corrie spokesperson confirmed: 'We have three directors working at a time, and two can't work today because they were filming outside. Ninety five per cent of cast members didn't make it in. Because it's the beginning of the year, filming can be jigged around.' They added: 'It has to be very extreme for us to stop.' Meanwhile, Emmerdale's purpose-built outdoor village set on the Harewood estate in Leeds is covered in snow, forcing producers to cancel the day's outdoor filming. Indoor filming at Yorkshire Television's Kirkstall Road studios, however, remained unaffected. An Emmerdale spokesperson said: 'The whole village is covered in snow, so the decision was taken to cancel filming this morning. All other filming is ongoing as normal.' Hollyoaks' base at Lime Pictures in Childwall, Liverpool was also badly affected by the adverse weather as four of the day's five shoots were cancelled, while the fifth wrapped early. A spokesperson for Hollyoaks told the Digital Spy website: 'The majority of the cast and crew couldn't get into work this morning, so four of the five filming blocks were cancelled for the day. The one remaining crew finished early due to the worsening weather conditions.' The only soap to remain unaffected by the snow is EastEnders, whose base is at Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire. A Walford source this afternoon said: 'Not one flake of snow has landed on the Square, so filming's continuing as normal. We're keeping our fingers crossed that it stays that way!' Pfft. You bunch of soft Southern jessies!

Meanwhile, heavy snow throughout the UK led to a bumper night for BBC News as more than nine million viewers tuned in to regional reports about the weather. While BBC News at Six commanded six and a half million viewers and BBC News at Ten was watched by almost seven million it was the various regional bulletins that delivered the lions share. The regional 6.30pm news was seen by an astonishing 9.1m whilst the 10.30pm report pulled in another seven million. The BBC News Channel also performed strongly, peaking at 5pm when almost five hundred and fifty thousand viewers watched the News Hour programme. The average audience across the day was almost two hundred thousand. Online, the BBC Weather website recorded more than five times the daily average, informing more than 3 million unique users in the UK, according to provisional figures.

Actress Kate Ford is to reprise her role as Coronation Street completely mad murderess Tracy Barlow in the spring, it has been confirmed. The thirty two-year-old returns to filming in March and will reappear on screen in the middle of the year when she becomes embroiled in another 'much-loved' character's storyline from prison. Following an initial two-month stint, Tracy will return to Weatherfield full-time by the close of the year, in time for the show's fiftieth anniversary. A spokesperson said: '2010 is going to be a very exciting year for Coronation Street and Tracy's return will affect many people on the street - not just the Barlows.' In the soap, Tracy is currently serving a fifteen-year sentence after being found guilty of murdering her boyfriend Charlie Stubbs (Bill Ward). Since her trial and final prison scenes, she has been referenced numerous times in scripts by her parents Ken and Deirdre and by Steve McDonald, the father of her child, Amy. Last month, it was announced that Corrie's leading producer, Kim Crowther, is to step down from her position in the summer ahead of the soap's golden anniversary. Former Doctor Who producer the lovely Phil Collinson will take the reigns following her departure.

Graham Norton has signed an exclusive BBC deal worth four million pounds, according to tabloid reports. The new deal, which apparently sees Norton accept a five hundred thousand pound annual pay cut, keeps the comedian tied to the broadcaster until 2012. The Sun reports that the contract means he will be fronting a series of variety programmes as well as continuing with his BBC1 chat show. Norton has also been lined up to host the TV BAFTA Awards coverage, The Eurovision Song Contest and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Over The Rainbow.

BBC1 drama Inspector George Gently will be shot in the North East for the first time after securing a one hundred and fifty thousand pound injection from NFM's North East Content Fund. The Company Pictures show is set in the Durham area, but its three previous series have all been made in Ireland. The great Peter Flannery (Our Friends In The North, The Devil's Whore), who created the series, of course grew up in the North East and much of his drama is set there. Producer Suzan Harrison said: 'To be able to film the series for the first time where it's always been set brings a greater authenticity, scale and colour to the production. We feel very much that we are bringing Inspector George Gently home.' The series is one of five projects to benefit from a five hundred and fifty thousand pound cash boost from regional screen agency Northern Film and Media and RDA One North East, which also includes Mammoth Screen's previously announced ITV drama Joe Maddison's War. It stars Robson Green and Kevin Whately will begins filming in Newcastle early in the new year. Once the snow clears, anyway. So, that should be around ... March, given the current conditions. It has been awarded sixty thousand pounds form the fund. The North East Content Fund was launched in July 2009 as part of a three and a half million pound investment that aims to ensure film, TV, games, interactive media and music projects are developed and put into production in the North East of England. It is run through funding made available by One North East, the regional development agency for North East England. And, of course, is supported by From The North as a positive endeavour in showing that there is talent and beauty in this region. And, also, Joe McElderry.

Authorities in Iran intensified their campaign to blame the country's political turmoil on foreigners today by banning contact with more than sixty international organisations. The intelligence ministry said the blacklist included thinktanks, universities and broadcasting organisations identified as waging a 'soft war' aimed at toppling Iran's Islamic system. It forbade Iranians from talking to or receiving aid from the proscribed organisations, including the BBC, which last year launched a Farsi satellite television channel, as well as two US government-funded outlets, Voice of America and Radio Farda, both of which broadcast in Farsi. So, there you go - what does Iran have in common with the Daily Mail? They both want to silence the BBC.

BBC Worldwide has unveiled a new youth-orientated spin-off magazine, trading card series and gaming website for the Top Gear motoring franchise. Titled Top Gear Turbo Challenge, each edition of the fifty two-part magazine will include a cover-mounted pack holding nine trading cards. The cards feature Top Trumps-style categories such as 'speed' and 'coolness', along with quotes from presenters Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond. As two hundred and seven six different cards will be available to collect, they will also be sold separately at retail outlets in packs of nine. If anybody gets any swaps, let Keith Telly Topping know and we can sort something out. An 'ultimate sub-zero' card featuring mysterious rally driver The Stig will appear inside one in every one thousand packs. Cor, it's just like Willy Wonka! A dedicated Top Gear Turbo Challenge gaming website will also be launched to offer recreated challenges from the show, such as the North Pole race between a 4X4 and a dog sled team. Which, of course, the car won. See if you can do any better than the Hamster when crying 'Mush!' 'Top Gear Turbo Challenge is tipped to be one of the biggest launches of the year and we're confident boys and girls aged seven to fourteen will be clamouring to be part of this new craze,' said publisher Duncan Gray. Oh, it's just for seven to fourteen year olds? Pity. Anyway ... 'As a business, BBC Magazines is very excited about the opportunity to bring this new product to market and we confidently expect it to drive significant retail sales value through all participating retail channels.' Launching on 6 January, the magazine's first issue will be available at a reduced price of one pound fifty, which will rise to two pounds fifty for subsequent issues. Wouldn't it be great if everyone in the country chipped in and bought a subscription for Bill Oddie?

The executive producers of Lost have admitted that there are some episodes that they wish they'd never written. Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, Damon Lindelof described past episodes of the show as 'shitty.' 'Look, it would be nice to look back and say, "We love every episode of Lost and every episode turned out the way we wanted it to." There are shitty episodes of Lost that we wish we had never written. But had we not written them we would be in a different situation now, because we ran out of ideas, we stalled, then the network realised what we had been saying from early on - that Lost needed an end date. And now here we are six years later on with a show that is - not what it once was [in the ratings] - but still performing, and we're ending it on our own terms.'

Sharon Stone has signed to appear in NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit for a four-episode arc. The Basic Instinct star will play a police officer-turned-attorney on the long-running crime procedural, reports Entertainment Weekly. 'It is obviously a thrill and a delight to have a star of Sharon's wattage and importance joining SVU,' said producer Dick Wolf. It's not Stone's first time of the small screen. The actress, fifty one, won an Emmy for a guest stint on The Practice in 2003.

Sinitta has insisted that Simon Cowell will not be axing The X Factor in the near future. Speaking at the end of the last series, Cowell claimed that no deal was in place with ITV for a show in 2010. Meanwhile, judge Louis Walsh recently argued that ITV must invest more money in the reality series to 'keep it fresh.' However, Cowell's former lover said that she could not foresee Cowell 'taking The X Factor off air. I can see him wanting to throw more money,' Sinitta told the Mirror. 'The show is completely unrecognisable to what it was six years ago as he keeps throwing money at it to make it bigger and better, stronger, and obviously he wants to take it to another level, and maybe he'd feel frustrated if it had to stay put. But I can't imagine him shutting it down. He can't. I want to wear something crazy again next year!'

Davina McCall has admitted that she has a soft spot for Hugh Laurie. Speaking to Radio Times, the Big Brother host also revealed that she is 'addicted' to House, which stars Laurie in the titular role. 'I'm addicted to House,' she said. 'I love the storylines, the plot, but more than anything, I love Hugh Laurie - he's absolutely gorgeous. I'm forever asking myself, "Is it wrong to fancy Hugh Laurie?"' Yes, Davina. It is. You're a married woman and he's a married man and, as a consequence, any love that exists between the two of you is against all laws of God and Man. Sorry, like, but you did ask. McCall went on to praise the Disney show Hannah Montana, which she described as 'really enjoyable' and 'very funny.'

The Premier League will divert Portsmouth FC's latest share of TV monies to settle some of the club's outstanding debts with other teams in the top division, it has emerged. Tottenham Hotspur, Watford and Moscow Chelsea FC will all receive a portion of the seven million pound cash influx from broadcasting rights agreements to pay outstanding player transfer debts with the troubled south coast club. The approach is fully permitted within Premier League rules designed to protect clubs which are owed money from transfer dealings. Portsmouth's financial crisis has been deepening over the past six months, with various changes of ownership causing uncertainty at the club. After non-playing staff were finally paid their December wages on Monday, the players will also receive payment this week after the club's current owners secured a short-term bank loan. Speaking to Press Association Sport, a Portsmouth spokesman said: 'The staff have been paid but there are two separate payrolls and we are still expecting the players to be paid on Tuesday.' However, Portsmouth are still waiting to see if a registration embargo banning them from signing any new players will block efforts to renew Jamie O'Hara's loan deal from Tottenham. Discussing the club's ongoing financial troubles, PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor told BBC Sport: 'We have become used to any number of financial problems at various clubs but you do not expect it at the top level. It is certainly not good for the image of the game or the Premier League, and it's a timely warning that football needs to keep a sense of financial propriety.'

Kym Marsh has said that Nasty Nigel Lythgoe humiliated her when she appeared on Popstars in 2001. The Coronation Street star was a contestant on the reality talent programme and eventually won a place in short-lived pop group Hear'Say. When asked about the media emphasis on being skinny, Marsh told Heat: 'It can be really irresponsible. I haven't felt pressure to be skinny, but when Nigel Lythgoe called me fat on national television I felt humiliated and made an effort with my weight. I had a brush with bulimia when I was fourteen and my weight dropped dramatically to six-and-a-half stone.' On the subject of cosmetic surgery that she has undergone, Marsh added: 'I've had my boobs done and I also had lipo on my belly, which is just sculpting. After three children, I'd lost most of my boobs and had a fat deposit in my tummy that wouldn't shift with any amount of training at the gym. I want people to be aware that surgery isn't something to be taken lightly and is a very personal decision. But I don't think looking slim is all-important. People should be judged on who they are, not what they are.'

Jonathan Ross may lose his contract with the BBC, a number of tabloid reports suggest. According to the Sun, the broadcaster is considering dumping the television host when his current contract expires in July. Despite Ross recently announcing that he is happy to take a pay cut, a source is quoted as saying: 'There is a feeling that the BBC may be better off by just getting rid of him.' Discussing his proposed salary reduction, Ross said: 'It has never been about the money for me. I love doing the talk show, I love doing the radio show and I love doing the film show.'

The series finale of Dollhouse will be set in the year 2020, it has been confirmed. The 22 January episode, entitled Epitaph 2: The Return, follows on from the events in the season one finale and sees Echo and her surviving Dollhouse colleagues attempt to restore order to a devastating near-future before mankind is eliminated. Most of the show's original cast - including Eliza Dushku, Tahmoh Penikett, Olivia Williams, Harry Lennix, Fran Kranz, Enver Gjokaj and Dichen Lachman - are returning for the finale, with several guest stars also confirmed. FOX announced late last year that it would not be renewing the Joss Whedon project due to the fact that, despite its quality and the cleverness of its scripts, no bugger was watching it. The series bows out later this month follow two thirteen-episode series.

Anil Kapoor has had his contract for American series 24 extended by six episodes. The actor, who found fame in the US after starring in Slumdog Millionaire, was contracted for ten episodes of the series' forthcoming eighth year, but the show's bosses have now increased the deal to sixteen. 'Initially I was under contract for just ten episodes. Then seeing the way my role developed, they decided to have me in sixteen,' Kapoor told Real Bollywood. 'I must say I was as happy with the whole experience as I was with Slumdog Millionaire.' Reports suggest that some of Anil's Bollywood peers had advised him not to do American series television, but he claimed that it was the right move for him and that he won't be typecast by playing solely Indian characters. 'I was also advised not to do Slumdog Millionaire. Some Bollywood actors had turned down that part before me. I took it up because my wife and kids were in favour. Can you imagine how I'd feel right now if I had turned it down? If I see 2009 as the best year of my life, it's partly because of Slumdog,' he added. 'But I am very clear that I won't play Indian characters in international projects unless they're really special. I've told my agent to seek out parts that are not culture-specific, but have character.'

Audiences are being left 'cynical and disappointed' by safe programming offered on the main UK channels, a senior BBC Trust representative has claimed. Speaking at a private seminar last month, trustee Diane Coyle told senior programme makers and BBC controllers about her fears for the increasingly mediocre state of British television, reports the Daily Telegraph. Coyle, who is leading the Trust's review of BBC One, Two, Three and Four, revealed that some distinct themes are already emerging from the around seven thousand items of public feedback on the consultation. 'Viewers are becoming increasingly cynical and disappointed by the programmes offered by the BBC and the UK's other main TV channels,' she said. 'Among the negative comments there are complaints about a lack of variety, too much soap or costume drama … disappointment about old series being brought back and a degree of cynicism over "rehashing" and ripping off old ideas.' Also speaking at the private meeting, which was attended by controller of BBC1 Jay Hunt and head of BBC Vision Jana Bennett, fellow BBC trustee David Liddiment said that format shows are now saturating the schedules on BBC channels. He further warned that public service broadcasters should 'resist the lure of the pre-packaged and predictable. Hand on heart, how many of these shows currently on air can we apply the words, "fresh, imaginative, different" to? I think we'd be more likely to describe them as "reliable, predictable, safe,"' said Liddiment. 'What was once fresh, over time becomes reliable and eventually, after much imitation, becomes exhausted - and audiences start to drift away or become disillusioned or feel that television isn't fresh or new enough.' Stephen Garrett, who runs [Spooks] and Life On Mars producer Kudos Films, questioned why the money generated from commercial body BBC Worldwide is not being used more effectively to fund creative programme making. 'There is a big issue about what the hell happens to all the money that BBC Worldwide is making. I think there is a sense that the BBC isn't necessarily deploying its funds properly. And if it is, then make it clearer,' he said. 'There is an opportunity to fund properly the kind of programmes that are at the heart of public service and that are at risk - and not just drama. The crisis is real and present.' Discussing the seminar and its aims, a BBC spokesman said: 'The purpose of the day was for the group, including television industry leaders outside the BBC, to look at what more can be done to achieve even greater success in the arena of distinctiveness in programming. It was a valuable and productive seminar and one that proved extremely constructive for all parties involved.'

And, as if to prove the point about the tiredness of some formula TV, the ratings for Celebrity Big Brother dropped dramatically last night, with the reality format losing over half its audience in just two days. A mere 2.97m tuned in at 10pm last night to see the latest 'amusing' action from the celebrities, compared to the almost six million viewers who watched Sunday's launch night episode.

Skins actress Kathryn Prescott has thanked fans for their acceptance of her recent lesbian storyline. Series three of the E4 teen drama saw Prescott's character, Emily, embark on a gay romance with her school friend, Naomi, and was widely praised by viewers for the sensitive way in which the storyline was handled. Speaking to Diva magazine, Prescott said of gay attitudes: 'I think teenagers now are very accepting of gays and lesbians. When you hear someone say something homophobic it really ages them. It sounds old-fashioned.'

Former EastEnders stars Hannah Waterman and Ricky Groves have split after three years of marriage. The pair, who played Walford's Laura Beale and Garry Hobbs respectively, are believed to have broken up on New Year's Day, prompting Waterman to move out of the home they shared near Huntingdon. In a statement, a spokesperson for the couple said: 'Ricky Groves and Hannah Waterman have announced today that after much consideration they have decided to formally separate. Both their careers have been hugely successful, but for most of last year their work has kept them apart.' Waterman added: 'We would like to remain friends with respect for each other.' According to a report in the Sun, the decision to separate was made by Waterman, who has recently hit the headlines for dropping from a size sixteen to size six after undertaking a diet and exercise regime. A source commented: 'It seems Ricky no longer fits into her life. She's enjoying looking sexy and wants to enjoy life as a single woman. Poor Ricky's absolutely gutted.' So, to sum up then, the Sun appears to be suggesting that if you were to marry a fat lass, make sure that she stays fat otherwise she'll be off like a shot for pastures new. Or something.

Alexander Skarsgård has praised his Straw Dogs co-star Kate Bosworth, describing her as 'amazing.' The True Blood actor and Bosworth are currently filming a remake of the legendary and controversial 1971 thriller, which originally starred Dustin Hoffman and Susan George. Speaking to Extra, he said: 'She's amazing - Kate's really amazing. It's been a couple of tough weeks now, and she's been pretty amazing.' So, that would suggests she's amazing, then. The plot of the movie is believed to revolve around a screenwriter (James Marsden) and his wife (Bosworth) who move back to her hometown and encounter the wife's ex-boyfriend (Skarsgård). Bosworth recently laughed off speculation that she is involved in a relationsahip with Skarsgård after they were seen leaving a cinema in Los Angeles together.

Charlie Sheen's uncle has accused his wife, Brooke Mueller, of being 'a drama queen.' Joe Estevez said that Mueller, who accused Sheen of assault on Christmas Day, probably stretched the truth about what actually happened between them. The actor-producer told E! News: 'It's a sad situation on everybody's part. Everybody wishes it didn't happen. Hopefully everyone can move on positively. There's just as much chance of her being a drama queen as of what she's saying being true. Maybe he was angry - maybe that's true and maybe it was an embellishment. Let's give the couple the benefit of the doubt. I think it's much ado about nothing. If they were any other couple in the world, it would be gone and forgotten. Because it was Charlie and it was Brooke... they're taking it to the max.' Talking about Sheen's reaction to the incident, Estevez said: 'He's not crying to anyone; he's sucking it up. I understand he's back at work today. Doing his job, not complaining, not crying to the press. He's just being a man about it.' Mueller and Sheen are rumoured to be hoping for a reconciliation despite the allegations.

The doctor who helped Nadya Suleman give birth to octuplets has been accused of negligence by the California Medical Board, according to The Times. Fertility expert Dr Michael Kamrava has been accused of acting 'beyond reasonable judgment' when he helped Suleman conceive her children. The thirty three-year-old, who already had six other children, gave birth to octuplets last January. Abd, promptly, got a reality TV show out of it. Such, dear blog reader, is the way of the modern world. A thirteen-page document reportedly accuses the physician of violating board guidelines and failing to refer Suleman to a mental health professional when she repeatedly returned for further IVF treatment. Kamrava has yet to comment although his attorney told the Los Angeles Times that he is 'devastated' by the accusations. 'It's a very traumatic thing for him to go through this very public episode and scrutiny, starting with the public opprobrium and culminating now in the state board action,' he said. The lawyer added that Kamrava had been following Suleman's wishes and that 'guidelines don't necessarily apply to each case.'

X Factor contestant Lucie Jones has criticised Kate Moss for her comments about dieting and weight loss. Moss was also criticised by Denise Van Outen and the founder of the National Centre for Eating Disorders, Deanne Jade, after revealing her dieting motto in an interview last year. Jones, who was signed to modelling agency Select Model Management last month, told Heat: 'I think eating healthily and exercising is so much more important [than dieting] because you can eat anything you want if you exercise. I thought Kate Moss was an idiot when she said, "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels."' Regarding her own body, Jones added: 'I've got quite a good stomach - I do one hundred sit-ups a night. I want big boobs! [But] no, I don't think I'd have surgery. I run three miles a day and go to the gym three times a week. I only go for half-an-hour and focus on my tummy, bum, arms and legs.'

Kathy Griffin will reportedly not be invited to next year's CNN New Year's Eve celebrations after swearing on live television. During last week's New Year's Eve special, the comedian joked that she didn't know how to pronounce 'Balloon Boy' Falcon Heene's name, saying: 'Fucking? Falcon? How do you say it?' According to Popeater, Griffin is now banned from attending the 2010 show. 'She was a total embarrassment to the network that calls themselves "The Most Trusted Name in News." Even Anderson [Cooper, her co-host] thinks it's time to say goodbye to Kathy,' said a CNN insider. However, a publicist for the network stated: 'No decisions have been made yet regarding next year's show.' CNN released a statement apologising for the swear word, adding that it 'regrets that profanity was used during our New Year's Eve coverage.'

Frank Lampard has reportedly been spotted paying a visit to a Poundland store. The Chelsea footballer hunted for bargains at the cheap shop in Newtownards, County Down, according to the Daily Star. Store manager Mark Lucas told the newspaper: 'It just goes to show that no matter how much you earn, Poundland has such great value products that even celebrities can't resist the bargains.' Lampard is believed to have posed for pictures with staff after being recognised as he browsed the shelves. It is thought that the midfielder was in Northern Ireland to meet the parents of his girlfriend The ONE Show's Christine Bleakley.