Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Piers Morgan In 'Less Popular Than Stephen Fry' Shock. No, What's The Opposite Of Shock? Obviousness?

David Tennant and Ant and Dec were among the big winners at this year's National Television Awards at London's O2 arena earlier this evening. Tennant marked his exit from the title role by winning the 'Outstanding Drama Performance' award for Doctor Who. The BBC's flagship SF series also won the 'Most Popular Drama' prize for the fifth successive time. Tennant graciously stepped aside to allow his veteran co-star, Bernard Cribbins, to make the acceptance speech. Ant and Dec won the 'Most Popular Entertainment Programme' for Saturday Night Takeaway, before sharing the title of 'Most Popular Entertainment Presenter' for the ninth consecutive year. Meanwhile, Gavin & Stacey was voted the 'Most Popular Comedy Programme' and EastEnders actress Lacey Turner, who plays Stacey Branning, took the award for 'Outstanding Serial Drama Performance.' Coronation Street's Craig Gazey was named as 'Best Newcomer'. The actor - Graham Proctor in the Weatherfield soap - dedicated his award to the late Maggie Jones, who played Blanche Hunt in the ITV show, which also ended the night winning 'Most Popular Serial Drama' ahead of rivals EastEnders. But, for many, the highlight of the night - if not of all television ever - were the two awards won by Stephen Fry: The 'Special Recognition' prize, as well as 'Most Popular Documentary' for Stephen Fry: In America. And, especially, the look on odious arsehole Piers Morgan's face when the latter result was announced. That was worth doubling the licence fee just to see. Collecting his Special Recognition award, Fry said: 'I really am completely staggered by this, I had no idea this was going to happen. I have the highest possible belief in television at its best. I think of it as the nation's fireplace, about which we can gather together and be lit by its light and warmed by its heat. It can make us feel better about each other. And it can make us feel better about ourselves.' The X Factor, not unexpectedly won the popular talent show category.

The BBC has furiously denied reports that two of its most popular long-running dramas, [Spooks] and Waking The Dead, are being considered for cancellation. Earlier today the allegation was made - in an article in the that bastion of truth and accurate reporting, the Daily Mail, admittedly. Which meant it had to be taken with a pinch of salt anyway. This suggested that both shows were likely to return for only one more series - both recently announced - before being dropped. However, a BBC spokesperson told the Digital Spy website that these reports are 'completely false.' Well, there's a surprise for something that comes from the pages of the Daily Mail. And, in other news, The Pope remains a Catholic. 'They are not facing the chop or being cancelled,' the spokesperson said. 'We have no plans to axe either show as they remain hugely popular with our audiences.' And, actually, with yet Keith Telly Topping as it happens dear blog reader. So that is good news. The spokesperson also confirmed that [Spooks] will return for a new series this coming Autumn and that Waking The Dead will be back on BBC1 early in 2011.

Former EastEnders star Natalie Cassidy has revealed why she originally left the soap in 2006. The twenty six-year-old actress, who will reprise her role as Sonia Jackson for a short stint in February alongside her on-screen family, said that she found the lesbian storyline between Sonia and Naomi to be 'shocking.' She told Reveal: 'One of the reasons I left was because of the lesbian storyline I had. I felt that it wasn't right for Sonia - sometimes in soaps people are so keen to get a shocking story that the character gets forgotten.' She continued: 'I'd only do it if I had an exciting storyline. I'd hate to go back and dwindle in the background - I'd like Sonia to cause a stir!' The actress, who appeared on last year's Strictly Come Dancing, also shed light on her return to the EastEnders studios. 'Being on set was lovely. I spent thirteen years of my life there so it was weird to get used to changes, but it felt like putting a pair of old slippers back on.'

Coronation Street's Craig Gazey has claimed that seagulls have scuppered plans to relocate the soap to Salford's MediaCity UK development. Earlier this month, it emerged that talks had reopened with The Peel Group over shifting the show from its current base at Quay Street in Manchester. However, Gazey has suggested that the proposal is off the table because there are too many noisy seagulls around Salford Quays. He told radio station Key 103: 'I heard they were going to take it to Salford Quays but then someone mentioned about the seagulls. Because it's based in Greater Manchester, how can Weatherfield suddenly have seagulls, because obviously we film outside - so how can we have like, "All right, Ken" and then seagull noises?' Gazey added that the programme's bosses would have to find another way to cope with the forthcoming switch to HD filming. Discussing the state of the current set, he said: 'We do need a new Street because as we're going into HD it's going to look absolutely rubbish on there.'

BBC bosses have reportedly 'ordered' Adrian Chiles to shave off his beard. The presenter debuted his new hairy look on The ONE Show earlier this month, but has been suggested that executives believe it is 'inconsistent' with his role on the evening programme. A source told the Sun: 'Adrian's bush has not gone down well with petty-minded BBC execs. They reckon he doesn't look right, a bit scruffy, like he hasn't bothered to get ready properly.' Has anyone else noticed that sources quoted in tabloid newspapers always seem to talk entirely using words of two syllables or less in just the way that normal people don't. Anyway, Chiles has apparently indicated that he would like the beard to stay as he believes it is popular with The ONE Show's fans. He explained: 'I was just about to shave it off in our make-up room when Kirsty Young told me to leave it on. Since then Davina McCall has told me she liked it. And Kate Silverton called me over to tell me I looked hot, though I don't think she had her specs on at the time. Women and many gay men have told me it looks good, so it's staying.'

Love Story author Erich Segal was buried yesterday after suffering a fatal heart attack on Sunday, aged seventy two. Francesca Segal said her father, who also wrote the screenplay for The Beatles' animated masterpiece Yellow Submarine, had battled Parkinson's disease for thirty years. At his funeral in London yesterday, she said: 'He was the most dogged man any of us will ever know.' Segal was a classics professor at Yale University when he wrote the book Love Story. It became a 1970 hit movie starring Ryan O'Neal and Ali MacGraw.

And, finally, some further reflections on the NTA ceremony: Personally, I was flicking backwards and forwards between the ITV coverage of the event, the football and Natural World. But the look of utter contempt mixed with disappointment on Piers Morgan's face when it was announced that he'd lost and Stephen Fry had won was, as previously mentioned, quite possibly the highlight of the TV year. I'm not sure, actually, which was the funnier, Piers Morgan with a face like thunder on ITV or Sam Allardyce over on BBC1 with a face like thunder as Villa's sixth goal went in. Tricky one, innit? Almost, but not quite, as wonderful as Doctor Who winning the drama category in a year in which only three new episodes were broadcast. Take that rest of the world! It was hard not to enjoy the almost Beatlemania-style screams from the audience whenever David Tennant was alluded to. It was just like being in the second row of a Take That concert. And then, note how quiet it all went when John Terry said '... Casualty'! Gosh, isn't that Dec Donnelly looking smaller and smaller with every award he gets? Soon, they'll give him one that's actually bigger than he is. Loose Women is 'factual'? Seriously? Nah. There's no way on earth that Coleen Nolan's breasts are in any way shape or form real. Announcement of the night had to be 'The legend that is ... Miss Arlene Phillips.' They really need to work on their intros. And, did anyone else catch the significantly frosty body language a'tween The Heaton Horror and Dannii Minogue? You could've cut glass with that. I loved Tennant's line '... or even if you just catch the odd repeat on BBC3' that wasn't, in any way, directed squarely at the Daily Scum Mail's sustained hate campaign in which he became a political football over Christmas. Subtext rapidly becoming the text, there. And that was, without doubt, the best Prince Charles impression that Rory Bremner's ever done. As for the show on ITV2 afterwards ... It was presented by Sara Cox. Now, there's a walking advert for the British education system. '... And later, we'll be dressing up some celebrities in school uniforms,' she eagerly informed us. I think Cox interviewing Jedward about how many autographs they'd collected might just have been the single most interesting thing on the entire show. And, I use the word 'interesting' quite wrongly. God, that was a meeting of minds. Joanna Lumley sat meekly next to them waiting for her turn to be asked an inane question by Cox with a sort of 'Help! I'm surrounded by non-entities' look on her face. And, just when you thought you'd reached the very bottom of the barrel, some woman from Heat magazine started interviewing James Corden and we got to an even lower place. I think 'spurtfest' might be the word that best describes the horrorshow that followed; further 'highlights' (and, I also use that word quite wrongly) included some camp old twat wittering on about how 'utterly divine' Amanda Holden looked in a dress, whilst sitting next to two bits of mutton-dressed-as-lamb from Loose Women showing more puffy white flesh than you'd see in an average butcher's shop window. And then, the announcement we'd all been waiting for: 'After the break, we've got - get this - Katie Price!' Thanks for the warning, Danny Wallace. Bye. I did, however, hang around long enough to hear the orange plastic one boast that she had 'the most popular show on ITV2.' Most viewed, possibly, Katie. I'll give you that although people watching you does not, necessarily, equate to 'popularity.' And also, that's a little bit like saying you're the most popular one out of Showaddywaddy. Even if it's true, it still isn't much to be bragging about, is it? Tell me, is ITV2 always like this? And, if it is these people don't actually vote, do they?