Thursday, January 07, 2010

The Long & The Short & The Tall

The executive producers of Lost have hinted that season six may not, necessarily, mark the end of the franchise. Damon Lindelof told the Hollywood Reporter that while the 'definitive edition' ends in May, he believes that a sequel could happen at some point in the future. 'The definitive edition of Lost ends this May on ABC, and that is the story that we have to tell,' he said. 'It has a beginning, middle and end. That ending will not have cliffhangers, or be set up in such a way that people will be saying, "Clearly they're going to make more of these." We don't have any connection to another TV series or movie, but there's a new A-Team movie coming out, for God's sake.' Carlton Cuse added: 'The Walt Disney Co. owns Lost. It's a franchise that's conservatively worth billions of dollars. It's hard to imagine Lost will rest on the shelves and nothing will ever be made with Lost. Eventually somebody will make something under the moniker of Lost - whether we do it or not. We just made a commitment to this group of characters whose stories are coming to a conclusion this May.'

Details of the BBC1 cookery show Masterchef's sixth series have been confirmed. Judges Gregg Wallace and John Torode will return to test one hundred and thirty two amateur cooks in February, when the show will air in a new primetime slot for eight weeks. New twists include the comeback contestants facing a new palate test, where they have to recognise ingredients cooked by chef John Torode, and some 'brutal skills tests' in the quarter-finals. During the semi-finals, the chefs will be challenged with cooking at the WI HQ, preparing a banquet at the Tower of London and travelling to the Rajasthan desert in India for three days in one hundred degrees heat, where they will make a meal for a Maharajah. One of their final challenges will be to cook a meal for one of the greatest living chefs, Alain Ducasse. The show's executive editor Karen Ross said: 'MasterChef has consistently produced the most successful winners in any UK competition. Two have opened their own acclaimed restaurants, six have gone on to work in top Michelin stared kitchens and over sixty have left their careers to live their foodie dream - changing their lives forever. This series sees only the best cooks survive - there is nowhere to hide!' Masterchef, a particular guilty pleasure of yer Keith Telly Topping dear blog reader, returns on Wednesday 24 February on BBC1.

The Advertising Standards Authority has banned a Sky+ advert for suggesting that the digital switchover would be too complex for some consumers unless they signed up with the satellite firm. Created by advertising agency WCRS, the TV advert featured The Royle Family actress Sue Johnston discussing her experience using the Sky+ service. 'I'm very lucky that I'm an actor and I've managed to make a living out of it, but I've kept very close to my roots. I live a very ordinary life. I am a simple soul as far as technology goes, but I can manage Sky+,' she said in the advert. 'You just press the button and you can record a whole television series. It's just so simple. I say to everybody who's worrying about going digital, don't worry about it, get a Sky box, then it's done. So I will become digital without feeling any pain at all.' The ASA subsequently received two complaints from viewers about the suggestion that the switchover would be too complicated without Sky. The complainants also expressed concern that the advert could cause undue worry among older people about switching to digital television. In response, Sky argued that the advert was merely created to deliver 'a clear and reassuring message to viewers about the simplicity of installing and using Sky+.' The firm said that it wanted to highlight the Sky+ service to consumers who had not yet 'gone digital' and that the advert never claimed Sky+ was the only service available for switchover homes. A testimonial was further supplied by Johnston claiming that the advert merely reflected her own personal experience using Sky+. The ASA noted that Johnston was likely to appeal to an older audience, but judged that her delivery was 'down-to-earth rather than unduly anxiety-inducing.' However, the organisation said that the advert did promote Sky+ as the best way to 'become digital,' when in fact the features it offers are not 'a necessary or an automatic part of switching to receive digital television.' The advert therefore gave a 'misleading impression that digital switchover was likely to be more technologically complicated than it was without Sky. We also considered that the ad implied it was necessary to subscribe to those enhanced services in order to switch over to digital TV when that was not the case,' the ASA concluded. The organisation ruled that the misleading advert must not be broadcast again in its current form.

Lip-wristed dandy fop and notorious Michael Jackson abuser the legend that is Jarvis Cocker - a particular hero of Keith Telly Topping back in the day, as it happens - has revealed that he would definitely consider appearing on Strictly Come Dancing. The former Pulp singer admitted that he has been a huge fan of ballroom dancing since his holidays in Blackpool as a child. Of a potential guest slot on the BBC1 talent series, Cocker told the Mirror: 'I would definitely consider it. I've always found it really moving, especially going to the ballroom below Blackpool Tower - watching all these old couples dancing while a guy played the organ.' Yeah, sounds good but ... didn't the BBC say that they were looking for 'A-List' for the next series of Strictly? With the best will in the world, and no disrespect intended, possibly ten years ago when you were a pop star, Jarvis. But not now. I'd've said I'm A Celebrity ... was more the level you're looking for.

Inbetweeners actress Emily Atack has claimed that she is struggling with motion sickness on Dancing On Ice. The twenty-year-old said that when she performs spins with her partner Fred Palascak, she feels nauseous. 'This is the thing, I get motion sickness,' she told the Digital Spy website. 'When Fred spins me around, I'm like, "woo!" and have to stop. I'll have to sort that out if I get to the final with the [flying on] strings. You could [get some vomiting] on Sunday night. I'll save a special one.' Her Dancing On Ice rival Kieron Richardson joked: 'A special spew!' Atack also confirmed that her Inbetweeners co-stars would be coming to watch her on the ITV show, admitting that their response to her taking part had been 'a mixture of piss-taking and being supportive.'

Over half a million households in the UK have satellite TV dishes installed on their property that they do not actually use, new research has revealed. According to a study by Harvard International, the distributor of Grundig and Goodmans digital television equipment, around six hundred thousand homes currently have an inactive satellite dish. Harvard director of communications John Edwards said that these 'digitally dormant' households can easily re-connect to subscription-free satellite TV via the Freesat service. 'We really want to help digitally dormant homes to get connected to the best TV experience possible. It's particularly simple for homes to enable Freesat or Freesat+ if they already have a satellite TV dish connected to their home,' he said. 'The digital switchover is well under way. Many regions have already had their analogue TV signal switched off. By 2012 everyone will need to access TV via digital equipment. But for households that already have a satellite TV dish connected to their home, there's little reason to remain digitally dormant.' However, any former satellite TV subscribers with equipment still under warranty should contact their original installer to check whether taking a new service affects their warranty terms.

Davina McCall has said that she feels guilty about letting her three children watch television. Particularly video tapes of her disastrous BBC chat show, I'm guessing. Anyone would be thoroughly ashamed to let members of their families see that. The Big Brother host told Psychologies that she limits her kids' viewing but would not forbid them from appearing on reality TV in the future. McCall said: "I only let them watch fifteen minutes in the morning, and an hour after dinner. If I'm honest, I feel bad about that hour. It's not good for kids to watch telly. It definitely affects their behaviour.' When asked what she would do if her children wanted to appear on a show like Big Brother, she added: 'I'd ask them where they thought it would take them. I couldn't tell them not to do it. But being in that house makes you look at how your behaviour affects others, so it can be a very positive journey.'

NCIS star Rena Sofer has admitted that the writers do not keep her informed about what's in store for her character. The forty one-year-old actress, who recently joined the cast as aerospace engineer Victor Tillman's attorney, said that being kept in the dark makes it more exciting when reading scripts. 'She's a high-priced lawyer, and she's not afraid of anybody,' Sofer told TV Guide of her character. 'When I did the episode, I had a lot of questions and no-one really answered anything for me. That's the way they like to do things over there. I don't know what she's after or why. I don't know if she hates Gibbs or what. It actually makes it fun for me that I don't know why I'm saying a line that I'm saying.' Sofer continued: 'There's a clear motion being set by NCIS. We have no idea what that motion is based on what we've done, but it's very mysterious and it's very intriguing. And if it's intriguing to the actors playing the roles, then I can't even imagine how exciting it's going to be for the viewers.'

Former Coronation Street actor Nigel Pivaro has revealed that he was robbed while making a film to help ex-convicts. The actor, best known for his role as Weatherfield bad boy Terry Duckworth, was filming in Salford with producer Julia Berg when the male culprit struck. It is thought that the thief snatched a four hundred pound piece of sound equipment before speeding off on a motorbike. Pivaro, who now works as a journalist, reportedly gave chase but was unsuccessful in recovering the stolen property. The ex-soap star was making a six-minute film which gives information to ex-prisoners on housing, benefits, getting back into work and battling addictions. A new piece of equipment had to be purchased to complete the project, which was funded by the probation service and prisoners' charities. Pivaro told the Manchester Evening News: 'The equipment would be of no use whatsoever to the lad and he would find it impossible to sell it on. It was used for picking up sound from radio microphones. The sad thing is it will probably end up at the bottom of the river. It is ironic that the film that seeks to help offenders go straight was put in jeopardy by a criminal who might possibly be in need of the same advice himself one day.' Greater Manchester Police confirmed that it is investigating the matter.

Charlie Brooker has confirmed the return of Newswipe. The critic and presenter revealed on his Twitter page that the programme will come back 'soon' and will also feature a piece from documentary-maker Adam Curtis. Brooker wrote: 'Am going to set up some kind of Newswipe tips Twitter account I think ... all your tips very useful last time. We have HDD machines "eating" all the twenty four hour news output at Newswipe Towers, so if you spotted something on, say, Sky or News 24, we can tell from the time of the tweet when it was, and retrieve it. 'Tis very useful.'

Gemma Arterton has revealed that she dislikes the media's criticism of successful actresses. The Quantum Of Solace star, who will appear in the upcoming blockbuster Prince Of Persia, told The Times that famous women are unfairly targeted by news outlets. 'When you put yourself in these huge popcorn movies you get out there, in the public arena, more than anyone else. But that also means you're out there to be criticised more than anyone else,' she said. Arterton, who is currently appearing in the play The Little Dog Laughed, praised Keira Knightley for braving the London stage. 'With Keira Knightley, she's brave to do her play, because for some reason, if you're successful in Britain, people tend not to like you,' she added. 'But if you're a successful woman, and beautiful, you're even more disliked.'

David Duchovny has revealed that his obsession with sex started when he was just six years old. Aye. Mine too. Odd that, innit? The Californication and X-Files actor, who was treated for a sex addiction last year, said that he used to misbehave so his first grade teacher would touch him. 'I always ran around extra wildly, so that she had to catch and grab me,' Bang Showbiz quotes him as saying. 'Sex, to me, means I can forget myself. It's just the moment. I heard that skiing is even better than sex. It could be possible - but I'm not a skier.' Duchovny, who is married to actress Téa Leoni, added: 'My family and I have had a very hard year. Today I'm as happy as ever. I'm ultimately grateful for all the difficulties. My wife and I have gone through that together and now we are even stronger.'

Yoko Ono has revealed that she wants to release a book about her life with John Lennon. The seventy six-year-old artist and writer, who married self-confessed alcoholic wife-beating junkie in 1969, said that she would like to pen her memoirs when she can the find the time. Ono told Bang Showbiz: 'I would love to do it. I just have to find the time. It will be my next book, which will be written in the next five years.' Yoko was, of course, was blamed by many Beatles fans for causing the band to split. An expert on the group said: 'Yoko has never really told her side of the Beatles story and ... always maintained she never broke up The Beatles, so this will be her chance to put the record straight.' Ono has previously said that she wouldn't release a book about her and Lennon's relationship for fear of hurting his ex-wife Cynthia. I think that bridge was burned long-since, Yoko, chuck.

The BBC Trust yesterday announced that it will carry out a review to assess the accuracy and impartiality of the BBC's coverage of science. It will be the latest in a series of reviews that assess impartiality in specific areas of BBC output. It is a key priority for the Trust that the BBC covers potentially controversial subjects with due impartiality, as required by the Royal Charter and Agreement. Richard Tait, BBC Trustee and Chair of the Trust's Editorial Standards Committee (ESC), said: 'Science is an area of great importance to licence fee payers, which provokes strong reaction and covers some of the most sensitive editorial issues the BBC faces. Heated debate in recent years around topics like climate change, GM crops and the MMR vaccine reflects this, and BBC reporting has to steer a course through these controversial issues while remaining impartial. The BBC has a well-earned reputation for the quality of its science reporting, but it is also important that we look at it afresh to ensure that it is adhering to the very high standards that licence fee payers expect.' The review will assess news and factual output that refers to scientific findings, particularly science output relating to current public policy and matters of political controversy. For the purposes of the review, 'science' will be defined to include not just the natural sciences but also those aspects of technology, medicine and the environment that entail scientific statements, research findings or other claims made by scientists. The Trust expects to launch this review in the spring and further details about the process will be confirmed at this time. The review findings will be published in 2011. The BBC Executive has indicated that it plans to raise the profile of science on the BBC this year with a focus on the genre across television, radio and online.

Maverick TV has teamed up with Dragons' Den's Theo Paphitis for a BBC2 series in which members of the public will compete to get major retailers to stock products they have designed. The company is inviting submissions for High Street [working title], which will follow the development of household products from prototype to production, with an eye to uncovering the next success story in the mould of Innocent Smoothies or Dyson vacuum cleaners. Next month it will host an open day for amateur product designers to pitch to buyers from high street retailers, with successful candidates then put through their paces for a series that will transmit later this year. Though starting with the pitching process that has characterised Dragon's Den, the series will be more observational in tone and will leave all buying and business decisions to the buyers and the companies involved. Paphitis is on board as a host and will be observing the process rather than offering advice or investment.

GMTV bosses are reportedly planning 'a cull' on the morning show's presenting team. According to a report in the Mirror today, at least one male and one female anchor will be dropped from the programme as part of a drive to slash costs by twenty per cent. It is thought that the hosts - who include Kate Garraway, Andrew Castle, Ben Shephard and Emma Crosby - are now 'anxious beyond belief,' though insiders have already tipped Shephard and Crosby to survive the threatened axing. So, that'd be Castle and, particularly satisfyingly, full-of-her-own-important Ms Garraway for the chop, then? How marvellous. A source told the newspaper: 'Everyone is absolutely dreading the results of the review. There will very likely be some big-name casualties.' Recent changes at GMTV have seen ITV taking full control of the breakfast slot and long-serving editor Martin Frizell announcing that he was to depart. A spokesperson for ITV confirmed that 'all areas' of GMTV are currently being reviewed.

And, finally, Gary Coleman is reportedly 'fine' after being admitted to hospital in Los Angeles earlier today. Which, I'm sure will be a great relief to the short-arsed actor's millions of fans, worldwide. According to TMZ, the Diff'rent Strokes actor was taken to a nearby medical centre from the city's Custom Hotel yesterday morning feeling poorly. Coleman's agent Robert Malcolm has now told People: 'Gary's fine. He wasn't feeling well, so he was taken to a hospital. They're going to run some tests.' The actor was carrying out a number of interviews to promote his new movie when he fell ill.