Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Spot Of Bother

William Shatner has said that he would like a part in the sequel to JJ Abrams's Star Trek franchise reboot. Speaking to Howard Stern on the radio host's show on Wednesday of this week, The Shat revealed that he wants to appear in the SF follow-up, reports Trek Movie. When asked if he was lobbying for a role in the film, he responded: 'I wouldn't mind.' So, that'd be a 'yes' then? The seventy eight-year-old also said that he would have loved to star in the 2009 Star Trek film calling it a historical event. 'But how do you bring back to life this dead? I died, my character died,' he said. Good point. Shatner went on to admit that Abrams has invited him to a private screening of Star Trek at the Paramount Theater in Los Angeles.

Ricky Gervais has said that he has stopped using Twitter after less than a month because he found the experience 'undignified.' Eh? 'Pointless', I'd've gone with but undignified? How odd. The Cemetery Junction star opened an account with the micro-blogging service as the Golden Globes had asked him to log a running commentary whilst he hosts the ceremony on 17 January. However, the forty eight-year-old deleted his page last week, insisting that Twitter should only be embraced by teenagers. In a post on his official blog, Gervais wrote: 'As you may know I've stopped with Twitter. I just don't get it I'm afraid. I'm sure it's fun as a networking device for teenagers but there's something a bit undignified about adults using it. Particularly celebrities who seem to be showing off by talking to each other in public. If I want to tell a friend - famous or otherwise - what I had to eat this morning, I'll text them. And since I don't need to make new virtual friends, it seemed a bit pointless to be honest.' Ah, yeah, we got there in the end. As previously noted, Keith Telly Topping doesn't 'get' twatting, or whatever it's called, either. It always seems to me to be the text equivalent of those really annoying - and utterly pointless - mobile phone calls you often overhear on trains as memorably parodied by Dom Joly.

The BBC Trust has fired what seems to be the starting gun for a major review of the iPlayer and all of the BBC's on-demand television services. The eight-week public consultation will examine how well the iPlayer has performed – both over the Internet and through cable providers like Virgin Media – and whether it has met its obligations to be platform neutral. It will also look at the parental controls on the seven-day catch up service and the option for users to 'series stack' and pre-book series ahead of transmission. The iPlayer received one hundred and fourteen million download requests in December alone, led by some quite astonishing figures for Top Gear and Doctor Who, and is now available on mobiles and games consoles as well as computers. The BBC Trust study comes in line with a pledge to assess the on-demand services twenty four months after launch. As well as the iPlayer, it will assess the performance of the Watch Live simulcast function and BBC podcasts. It will not examine radio usage on the iPlayer since this was launched before 2007. The consultation ends on 12 March 2010 and the review will be published later this year.

An ambitious twenty five million pound thirty-episode BBC project has been slashed to just three shows. The BBC controller of drama, Ben Stephenson, has confirmed that a forthcoming mini-season of BBC2 dramas about the 1980s will replace the planned Decades series. Decades was originally envisaged as the BBC's biggest-ever drama project, with thirty separate stories covering three decades of recent British history. Launching the BBC's line-up of dramas for this winter and spring, Stephenson said that three shows will replace Decades. The first will be a two-part adaptation of Martin Amis's novel about 1980s excess, Money, starring Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz actor Nick Frost as dissolute anti-hero John Self. The second will be a ninety-minute drama, Royal Wedding, written by Abi Morgan, the author of Channel 4's acclaimed 2004 film Sex Traffic, which will explore the impact of the Charles and Diana's 1981 wedding on a small Welsh community. This is understood to have been one of the ideas submitted as part of the original Decades commission. The third is expected to be a biopic, also set in the 1980s, that will be announced next week. It is understood that the cost of Decades was only one factor in the decision, with the BBC drama budget falling by about a fifth last year to just over two hundred million pounds.

CBS has greenlit a proposed remake of the classic 1970s cop show Hawaii Five-O. The new version is produced by Star Trek screenwriters Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci along with CSI executive producer Peter Lenkov, says The Hollywood Reporter. The series will follow an elite team of Hawaiian State Police investigators headed by Steve McGarret - played by the legendary Jack Lord in the original series. The first programme aired on CBS from 1968 to 1980. The network had attempted to revive the show last season with Criminal Minds producer Ed Bernero at the helm. Please, dear blog reader, find a small place for Arthur Two-Stroke & The Chart Commandos version of the theme tune in your lives.

Steven Spielberg has signed to produce a documentary about the reconstruction of New York City's former World Trade Center site. The Oscar-winning filmmaker will also act as advisor for the project, titled Rebuilding Ground Zero, according to The Hollywood Reporter. 'The rebuilding effort at Ground Zero is a compelling story of remembrance and renewal,' said New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in a statement. He added: 'The fact that Steven Spielberg - one of the great filmmakers of our time - will produce a documentary on it ensures that the story will be brought to life for people around the world for generations to come.' The six-part series is scheduled to air on Discovery's Science Channel in 2011, two years before the site's Freedom Tower is expected to be completed.

BBC1's Only Fools and Horses prequel will be broadcast on Sunday 24 January, it has been announced. Rock & Chips, which is set in 1960, stars Inbetweeners actor James Buckley as a young Del Boy. Additionally, Kellie Bright and Shaun Dingwall have been confirmed in their roles as Joan and Reg Trotter respectively. Roberts Daws, Nicholas Lyndhurst and Phil Daniels also star. The ninety-minute special, written by John Sullivan, will feature a 'bittersweet love story' and aims to shed new light on the lives of the Trotter family. But the scheduling is, frankly, bizarre. The project was announced in a huge blaze of publicity and now, it's being somewhat hidden away on a Sunday evening in January at 9pm instead of - as most people in the industry initially supposed - being part of the BBC's big Easter Bank Holiday weekend. You have to wonder if this isn't one of those occasions that you sometimes get in TV where, perhaps like Victoria Wood's recent Christmas abomination - and Big Top for that matter - somebody at an executive level appears to have given the go-ahead to an idea on the basis of merely a synopsis and having some 'names' attached to it rather than seeing any proper detail. Let alone a script. Certainly the impression I'm getting from talking to people who've seen Rock & Chips already is that it makes The Green Green Grass look half-way decent.

Coronation Street actor Craig Gazey has admitted that he dreams of one day landing the lead part in Doctor Who. Yeah, so do most other actors pal. Join the queue.

Property experts Phil Spencer and Ms Whiplash Kirstie Allsopp have reportedly been given a pay rise from Channel 4 as part of an exclusive three-year deal. According to the Mirror, the broadcaster upped the wages of the Location, Location, Location pair from three hundred grand to four hundred after the BBC tried to entice them to switch channels. Channel 4 features commissioning editor Andrew Jackson said: 'We are absolutely chuffed to bits to have secured them again after a tussle with the BBC.' An insider claimed that Channel 4 was upset by the BBC's 'aggressive' tactics in trying to hire the pair. They added: 'It is frustrating the BBC is driving up the cost of talent. Perhaps they should try to develop some of their own instead.' Oh, that's good. Would this nameless 'insider' like us to start listening the 'talent' whom Channel 4 has enticed from other broadcasters by waving a wad of pretty green in their faces over the years? That's the really great thing about people in the broadcasting industry, dear blog reader - they've got the memory of a goldfish when it comes to being hypocritical.

And, speaking of exactly those sort of shenanigans, Fern Britton - remember her? She used to work for ITV - is reportedly in talks to take over Paul O'Grady's daytime chat show slot. On Channel 4. Remember them? They're the people that never poach the talents of others. Allegedly. The fifty two-year-old is thought to be close to signing a one million pound, two-year deal with Channel 4 for the popular tea-time programme. I supposed that'll be the BBC's fault as well. A source told the Mirror that the former This Morning presenter is considered to be 'the perfect replacement. The viewers love her because she is so bubbly and charismatic. And, just like her predecessor, she isn't reliant on the autocue,' they said, adding that Britton's debut is likely to be in the spring if the deal goes through.

Kiefer Sutherland has said that he wants 24 to maintain its quality until it eventually ends. The actor, who has played one-man-armour-plated-killing-machine Agent Jack Bauer since the series began in 2001, told Parade that the future of the show would not be dictated by viewer demand. Sutherland said: 'The biggest mistakes I made in my career were when I said, "If I do this movie, I'll be able to do a couple more movies." Those are the times I really got ugly. With the series, I'm a pretty loyal SOB. What's important to me is maintaining the quality of the show. It's not about whether people are going to watch it or not, it's whether we feel the show is about to take a dip. That would be when everybody would want it to end.' He added: 'I would love to do 24 until I was sixty, but I don't think anybody would accept it. Part of what's driving us is that we believe that we're capable of making a perfect season.'

Sky News has announced plans to launch a campaign after the next general election to get the ban lifted on TV cameras being placed in court rooms. In a speech to the Cambridge Union Society, Sky News head, John Ryley, said that the broadcaster will be 'campaigning hard' to secure an end to the refusal. A public petition will be launched on the issue and Sky News will remind its viewers about the campaign 'every time we report from outside a court with no pictures of what has taken place inside.' Ryley has asked the BBC to get involved as well. 'There remains one more branch of our democratic system which broadcasting has still not properly penetrated - the courts,' said Ryley. 'If the legislature is to be subject to far greater scrutiny, so too must the judiciary, so the public can fairly judge the balance of responsibility between them.' Ryley described a fair and coherent judicial system as the 'keystone of a democratic system.' Even though members of the public have the right to sit in any court sitting, he expressed concern that 'few have the time or the means to do so. There can be no logic for excluding the cameras from events which are already held in public. Nor, may I say, any public interest: the decline in public confidence in politics is perhaps only matched by the decline in confidence in the judiciary,' said Ryley. 'The public wants to understand how a householder can be imprisoned for defending his family and his property. They want to know how a man can avoid jail for viewing child abuse on the Internet. They will certainly want to know if the CPS decides to prosecute a Parliamentarian over his expenses. Far from being the downfall of the judicial system, I believe exposure to public scrutiny could be its saviour, enabling the public to understand the constraints under which our judges operate - the complexities of many of the cases before them which are inevitably over-simplified in a thirty-second news piece.' Sky News has previously attempted to circumvent the camera ban with various initiatives, such as using 3D digital graphics for reconstructing the Soham Murder trial of Ian Huntley and Maxine Carr in 2003. The broadcaster hired actors to recreate proceedings in a trial of popstar Michael Jackson and also won the right to carry live transcripts from stenographers during court sessions. However, Ryley pointed to the fact that the Supreme Court now has cameras installed and the Chilcott Inquiry into the Iraq War was televised as 'signs that resistance is weakening. The broadcasters, collectively, have been lobbying for cameras in court, probably for as long as they have lobbied for election debates,' he said. 'But so far it has been fruitless. It's time for a new initiative.'

Actor Michael C Hall, who stars in US TV show Dexter, has announced that he has been battling cancer and is in remission from the disease. The thirty eight-year-old said he had been diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma, which he described as a 'treatable and curable condition.' His spokesman said Hall was in complete remission but would continue treatment. In his award-nominated role, he plays Dexter Morgan, a Miami police analyst who moonlights as a serial killer. In a statement to People magazine, Hall said: 'I feel fortunate to have been diagnosed with an imminently [sic] treatable and curable condition, and I thank my doctors and nurses for their expertise and care.' Hall, who also starred in the long-running US drama Six Feet Under, still plans to attend Sunday's Golden Globes, with his wife Jennifer Carpenter - who plays his sister on the show. He has been nominated for best dramatic actor, while the show is on the shortlist for best drama. A fifth series of Dexter is due to go into production later in the year.

Cricket's governing body has defended Daryl Harper's umpiring in the final Test between South Africa and England. England alleged that third umpire Harper failed to turn up the speaker volume when they referred a caught behind appeal against Graeme Smith on day two of the match. A noise was clearly audible on TV replays but Harper said he could not hear it. The International Cricket Council said Harper 'followed correct protocol,' while the umpire is reported to have explained his actions on Facebook. The update on Harper's page on the social networking site blamed a mix-up from the host broadcasters for the incident. 'The truth about Smith's decision may come out eventually. The host broadcaster didn't provide the appropriate sound to match the picture,' said Harper. 'The commentator, Matthew Hoggard, told the viewers that there was no sound - so Smith would be given not out. Five minutes later, they found a sound and blamed me! Other networks found the sound immediately, but we didn't get their sound feed.' In another update, Harper added: 'Sadly when the technology fails ... and that means that some engineer has failed to do his job ... they must find a scapegoat, and the umpire is an easy target because we can't fight back ... usually.' England were set to lodge an official complaint over the decision review system in Johannesburg. Following the incident, an investigation was conducted in conjunction with Sri Lankan match referee Roshan Mahanama, when it was discovered that Harper had his speaker turned up to level four out of ten. But in an ICC statement, Mahanama said: 'As he did not hear any noise to indicate the ball hitting the bat, he recommended (on-field umpire) Mr Hill to uphold his earlier decision. It must be noted that umpire's decision is final. There have also been suggestions in a section of the press that Mr Harper had turned down the feed volume. It is clarified that the volume on the third umpire's feed, right throughout the series, had been configured to optimise the quality of the audio, by both an SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation) head engineer and the ICC technical advisor.' Smith went on to make one hundred and five as South Africa closed on 215-2, a lead of thirty five in a match they have to win to level the series and retain The Basil D'Oliveira Trophy.

The FA has confirmed that, for the first time since 1966, there will be no official song to mark England's World Cup campaign in South Africa. According to an FA spokesman, the England management 'want to be fully focused on the football.' Yeah, because spending a couple of hours in a recording studio three months before the finals take place is, obviously, such a huge distraction for the players from a tough game against The USA, isn't it? Wankers. Several unofficial anthems have been rumoured, including a reworking of 1990's twenty-four carat classic 'World in Motion' by New Order.

Miss Universe hopeful Lauryn Eagle has pleaded guilty to driving without a licence and giving a false name to police officers. The Australian model and water skiing champion was arrested in December after being stopped by officials, according to the Daily Telegraph. A police spokesperson said at the time of the arrest: 'Police will allege the woman failed to provide a current NSW driver's licence and stated false particulars. She was arrested and charged with stating a false name and driving while suspended.'

Susan Boyle was reportedly asked to 'calm down' by British Airways staff after allegedly 'causing a disturbance' at Heathrow's Terminal Five. The Britain's Got Talent runner-up was said to have upset other passengers by dancing and singing into a mop, before using it to polish their shoes, according to the Sun.

So You Think You Can Dance host Cat Deeley has claimed that she was not popular with the boys at school. The presenter said that her male school friends were not particularly interested in her, despite being one of only sixteen girls to attend the Bishop Vesey Grammar School's Sixth Form. Appearing on Richard Bacon's 5 Live show, when it was suggested to Deeley that she must have been 'popular' with fellow pupils, she joked: 'Remember at the time, I had very, very thin legs and one line over my forehead and that I looked like a Gallagher.' Liam or Noel?

Katy Perry has reportedly signed up as the new 'face' of an acne cream product. The 'Waking Up In Vegas' singer completed a deal which is reportedly worth around four million dollars to endorse Proactiv, following previous campaign models Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Love Hewitt. Perry is to film a series of TV adverts in which she discusses her own acne issues. The commercials will air in over fifty countries. The Sun quotes the twenty five-year-old as saying: 'I got acne at the start of my career. It was stressful. I have acne scars which I'm self-conscious about.' Well, stop licking them lollies then, you silly girl.