Monday, April 12, 2010


Hugh Laurie has revealed that he wants House to 'end with a bang.' The actor explained that he does not want the show to finish just yet but told Parade magazine that, when it does, he wants all of the loose ends to be tied up. 'We don't talk about when we'll pack it in,' he said. 'But when the time comes, I think it would be good to have sort of a clean finish rather than just sort of trailing off. I'd like to go out with a bang, not a whimper.' Ah, a TS Eliot allusion. It's gonna go straight over the Americans heads Hughie. Laurie added that he still enjoys his role on the show, explaining: 'House is a character I still am fascinated by. I think that's part of an actor's job, to love the character you play. I would be foolish not to go the distance playing him, however far that may be. House is tough on his patients and tough on his co-workers but he's pursuing something that I think is rather noble. He is pursuing the truth - scientific truth and emotional truth.' Laurie also joked that he likes representing Greg House's difficult personality. 'I know a lot of people think he's often a jerk,' he said. 'I don't know why I portray that so convincingly. I suppose there's a big jerk inside of me. There must be. That's the only explanation. Although I must say, most people think I'm a pretty nice guy. Anyway, there are all sorts of aspects to House that I feel very sympathetic toward. He's a complicated man so I can't just dismiss him as a jerk.'

The BBC once again dominated the overnight ratings on Saturday with Doctor Who (6.7m), The National Lottery: Who Dares Wins (5.9m) and Casualty (5.7m) shading the best ITV could manage - the terrestrial debut of Harry Potter & The Order Of The Phoenix which also attracted a 5.7m average. Doctor Who's figure, down on last week's opening night episode but, broadly in line with the audience figures for second episodes from most of the show's previous series, was made up of 6.4m watching on BBC1 and three hundred thousand on BBC HD. It claimed a thirty four per cent audience share. Elsewhere, Over The Rainbow continued its steady progress with five and a half million viewers, the same as last week and, despite its 5:15 start, Total Wipeout managed a respectable four million. The highlight of the ratings, however, was the thoroughly rotten two million viewers that Piers Morgan's Life Stories interview with Michael Winner attracted. Just to remind you, dear blog reader, on 16 June 20o9 according to the Evening Standard that slimy oaf Morgan was quoted as saying 'I don't think Jonathan Ross has bounced back from the Andrew Sachs scandal. Three million viewers, when I get over five million? If I were him I'd shoot myself.' I must admit, I'm a simple man when it comes to comedy but I do love it when mouthy glakes says things that later come back to bite them in the ass.

Opposite Doctor Who, coverage of the Chelsea vs Aston Villa FA Cup Semi-Final fared rather poorly with an audience of just 3.2m. The BBC, however, would have been absolutely delighted with the figures for their Grand National programme which average three million across its three hours and peaked with over seven million for the actual race itself. Yer Keith Telly Topping, incidentally, had King John's Castle in the office sweep. Yes, dear blog reader, that's right, the stupid bloody horse that wouldn't even start. That's a pound I'll never seen back. Still, I'll be needing a new pot of glue and, possibly, some dog food in a few days time so, I'm sure the horse will come in handy for something.

Griff Rhys Jones has argued that TV commissioners are overly obsessed by viewing figures. Well, that's kind of their job, Griff. Yours is making TV shows which attract decent ratings figures. Something that you, mostly, do very well. So what's the problem? The comic said that he felt like he was constantly battling to get new programmes greenlit, claiming that bosses did not trust him to create popular shows despite his successful track record. Speaking about a potential follow-up to his upcoming Greatest Cities series, he told the Mirror: 'We haven't discussed it. It got very good figures but nobody in television will trust me to make a television series before they've seen figures for the last one. Since Restoration I have made a string of incredibly successful series but every time I ask, "What would you like me to do next?" they say, "We'll just see how this one goes," and you get the feeling they want to push you off the cliff at any point. But I'm hanging on in there.' I have to say, again, I find whinging like this from TV professionals really annoying. I do like Griff and most of the shows that he makes but you'd think, in this financial climate, he'd be thankful that he's actually got a job that he enjoys doing and that he's pretty handsomely rewarded for. Try working in a call centre mate, see if that's more to your liking. Such a wait-and-see stance is not an unreasonable position for a TV executive to take when we're talking about a multi-million pound budget for a show, surely Griff? I mean, if you make a show and it gets but two viewers then, clearly something is either wrong with the audience's perception of it or of you as the presenter. Making shows which take the audience's tolerance levels for granted helps to explain, for example, Amanda Holden's string of disastrously failed formats over the last year. Because, no matter how much you try, you simply can't polish a turd. Griff also admitted that ratings were to blame for his sketch show Alas Smith and Jones going on too long. 'Trying to write thirteen series of sketch shows is just an exhausting mountain to climb,' he said. 'We did it for that long because every time I said "I've had enough," they'd say "Oh, but the ratings are good, do another one." So you go on until one day they say "The ratings aren't very good, piss off."'

Billie Piper has praised Doctor Who's new assistant. The Secret Diary Of A Call Girl star, who played Rose Tyler on the programme before quitting in 2006, has said that she greatly approves of twenty one-year-old Scottish actress Karen Gillan's casting. Piper told GMTV: 'I think she's great, I love her, she's gorgeous.' Yes, she is. So, get in line, sister, we all love her too!

Holby City actress Amanda Mealing, to whom as regular From The North readers will know yer Keith Telly Topping is particularly partial, has revealed that fans will soon see a more 'vulnerable' side to her feisty alter ego, the deliciously bitchy Connie Beauchamp. Speaking in an interview with the Digital Spy website, Mealing explained that in forthcoming episodes will explore Connie's past and see her become the victim of a physical attack. The actress said: 'A little bit of her past returns to the hospital which she's keen to get rid of. She doesn't want everyone to know her roots. We start to see a little bit of vulnerability about her. I've just been filming a fight scene from which I have massive bruises on my neck! Let's just say that Connie finds herself in a situation where she's attacked - we've not seen her vulnerable side much, so it's great to play.' Mealing added that she wants Connie to become embroiled in more skirmishes at Holby General because she enjoyed filming the dramatic scenes. She said: '[I'd like to see] a hostage situation at the hospital - a lockdown situation or something! Now I've done my fight scene, I'm up for doing more action scenes!'

Ofcom has criticised Sky Arts after a naughty swearword featured on a documentary about the impact of technological advances on copyright legislation. The programme, Good Copy, Bad Copy, showed an extract from a letter on a computer screen, which included the line, 'go fuck yourself.' The line was also read out by a computerised voice. A - single - viewer subsequently complained to Ofcom that the language was inappropriate considering the programme's morning scheduling. In response, Sky said that the documentary was reviewed prior to transmission by its compliance teams, with various instances of offensive language being 'bleeped out.' However, the sequence in question went undetected due to 'human error,' and so was left unedited in the programme's final broadcast version. They added that the human who had erred had now be 'dehumanised' by being made to sit and watch twenty seven episodes of A League Of Their Own back-to-back. The satellite broadcaster apologised for the situation and told its compliance teams to be more vigilant in future. And that it would never, never, never, never do it again. Before adding 'please don't cane me, Miss, I was led astray by elder boys.' Any additional transmissions of the programme will now have the offending phrase masked out. Ofcom acknowledged Sky's efforts to address the situation, but decided that the programme was in breach of broadcasting code rule 1.14 pertaining to the most offensive language being aired before the watershed. 'Ofcom noted Sky's apology and the reminders issued to its compliance staff,' said the watchdog in its ruling. 'In this case, however, Ofcom was concerned that Sky's compliance procedures did not pick up the obvious use of the word "fuck' (broadcast in sound and appearing on screen for approximately three seconds) in this pre-recorded programme. Ofcom has therefore found the broadcast in breach of Rule 1.14.'

The classic documentary series The World at War is to be remastered and re-released later this year. Which is a total pisser for yer Keith Telly Topping who spent over one hundred notes buying the last DVD box set. I don't suppose you've got a part-exchange programme planned, have you? Thought not. The twenty six-part series, narrated by Laurence Olivier and widely considered to be the definitive documentary on the Second World War, will be relaunched in September by FremantleMedia Enterprises. The restoration process involved restoring each frame individually, while the audio has been upgraded to 5.1 DTS Master Audio. It will also be released as an eleven-disc DVD set and a nine-disc Blu Ray pack, in 16:9 ratio for optimised viewing on widescreen televisions. Soho-based Dubbs and its sister company Eyeframe are overseeing the entire project. Originally broadcast in 1973 and 1974, The World At War was produced by Thames Television (now Talkback) over a four-year period under the leadership of Jeremy Isaacs. It features interviews with major members of the Allied and Axis campaigns, civilian eyewitnesses, enlisted men, officers and politicians, making use of rare colour footage to investigate the events surrounding the Second World War. The production costs were, at the time, record-breaking in the UK. If you've never seen it, then you really should. The opening of the first episode, with a helicopter shot of a deserted French village in ruins and Oliver's sonorous words ('Down this road, the soldiers came. No one lives here now') will, I swear to God, change your life.

Strictly Come Dancing producers have reportedly decided to hire professionals from the US for the next series of the show. Queue a Daily Mail 'exclusive' about the BBC employing 'asylum seekers', no doubt. According to the Sun, the show's new executive producer Moira Ross will fly to the States next week to audition possible participants. She is also hoping to persuade some members of Dancing With The Stars, the American version of Strictly, to join the programme. The move would seemingly mean that some of the current professionals will not be returning to the competition. Ross is expected to meet each dancer individually to decide who to axe from the show. A source explained: 'Moira has been brought in to shake up the show after last year and is looking at a number of ideas including bringing in new dancers and creating a Strictly dance troupe. An injection of American stars could also be just what is needed.' However, a BBC spokesperson refused to confirm the claims, saying: 'It is far too early to talk about the new series.'

Coronation Street actress Alison King has revealed that she wants Carla Connor to continue having a complex love life. King's feisty character has recently begun a relationship with binman Trevor Dean, played by Steve Jackson. However, in an interview with the Glasgow Sunday Mail, King claimed that the soap's writers should spice things up by coming up with a twist involving Carla's new Underworld partner Nick Tilsley (Ben Price). She explained: 'There is definitely chemistry to be had. Nick's wrapped up in the business at the moment and he's stressed out. If anything, Carla stresses him out even more at the moment. There's a twinkle and they probably find each other attractive but at the moment, he finds her annoying and she doesn't trust him. But I think there's room for that to change and be more like Moonlighting - a sort of Cybill Shepherd/Bruce Willis type relationship. I don't want her relationship with Trevor to become boring. I think she's better being spicy. I think it has to be complicated by Nick somehow.'

Gordon Ramsay has revealed that he would like to hire Dhruv Baker. Baker won MasterChef last week and Ramsay has now offered to find the chef a job in one of his top London restaurants. 'Dhruv is an outstanding young talent,' Ramsay told the Sunday Mirror. 'It is clear he has great determination, a distinct style of cooking and an exceptional palate - all crucial for the making of a good chef.' He added: 'We will have a discussion with him to see which restaurant will best suit him and then offer him a stage.' Meanwhile, Baker admitted that he is excited about the prospect of meeting Ramsay. 'Growing up, Gordon Ramsay was someone whose recipes I used to hone my skills on,' he said. 'I can't wait to talk to him.'

Ant and Dec have reportedly won a bet with Simon Cowell about the Newcastle Britain's Got Talent auditions. What, that it would be full of radgys, glakes, charvas and gangsters? I trust you got good odds, lads? The reality TV show hosts said that Cowell owes them one hundred smackers after he claimed they would not find any decent acts in the North-East. Define 'decent' please, man who 'discovered' Alexandra Burke. 'We had a competition both on and off camera with Simon about Newcastle. He said the city would have no talent. It started badly, but in the end we won,' Little Dec told the Sun: 'There were some fantastic acts there so we had the moral victory.' Ant added: 'Simon still hasn't said sorry!' I wouldn't hold yer breath on that score, either, bonny lad. The TV double act also backed a 'comedian or a juggler' to win this year's competition.

Channel 4 is lining up 'talent' including Rory Bremner, Charlie Brooker, Jimmy Carr and David Mitchell for its election coverage, which will also include a special edition of Come Dine With Me. So, two proper comedians anyway. The centrepiece of the broadcaster's coverage will be an alternative night of programming fronted by Mitchell and Carr. As the votes are counted on 6 May, the broadcaster will screen Channel 4's Alternative Election Night, a four-hour live show that will react to news as it happens. C4 has promised a 'provocative, cerebral and entertaining' take on the election that will include a range of pundits and analysis from an in-studio bookmaker, plus prank calls from Fonejacker. Brooker will present an election special of his show You Have Been Watching and a one-off edition of Come Dine With Me will feature Edwina Currie, Brian Paddick, Derek Hatton and Rod Liddle. Endemol-owned comedy Zeppotron will produce the main show, which was ordered by comedy commissioning editor Darren Smith. Daytime commissioning editor Helen Warner ordered the Come Dine With Me special from ITV Studios. In the run-up to the election, Bremner will front The Daily Rory Election Show, a series of specials recorded on the day of transmission that will satirise the last stages of the election campaign.

Channel 4 has denied recruiting Peter Andre for a new late-night chat show. Earlier today, a tabloid report claimed that the pop singer had landed a twelve-month deal with the broadcaster which was worth six hundred thousand pounds. The newspaper reported that the contract was for an 'irreverent' Friday night programme which would launch in the summer for the sixteen to thirty market.

Meanwhile, BBC executives are reportedly hoping to offer Charlotte Church her own Saturday night programme. The singer, who is currently starring as a judge on Over The Rainbow, has previously hosted The Charlotte Church Show on Channel 4. However, the News of the World claims that the BBC is now planning to sign her up for three years in a multi-million pound deal. 'She is hot property,' an insider said. 'ITV have got Cheryl Cole but the new star for BBC1 will be Charlotte.' Meanwhile, a source close to Church claimed: 'Charlotte is very excited by the offer. It's a dream job.'

BBC 6 Music could be revived as Radio 2Extra, senior sources at the corporation have apparently revealed. Following a high-profile campaign to save the station, BBC insiders claim that its playlist and DJ lineup could be saved and rebranded as a spin-off to Radio 2. However, a BBC spokesman said that the idea is merely 'speculation.' Last month, BBC director general Mark Thompson's strategy review confirmed the proposed closure of 6 Music, which costs around nine million pounds a year to run and has a weekly reach of under seven hundred thousand listeners.

Hollie Steel's mother has criticised the producers of Britain's Got Talent. Steel, eleven, caused controversy during last year's series of the competition when she broke down in tears during her performance of 'Edelweiss.' Her mother, Nina, has now told the Daily Star that the acts' management company 'dropped [her] like a penny' when the show ended. 'As soon as the show has finished you don't hear a word from them ever again,' she said. 'The 2008 finalists - including Faryl Smith, who's a similar artist to Hollie - did very, very well from it. They got record deals and things like that. Hollie didn't get anything.' And thus, all your hopes for riches beyond the dreams of averice were crushed like a pretty little flower under the heel of a Nazi jackboot eh, Nina? How devastatingly tragic. 'We believed Hollie's talent was good enough to get some sort of recognition but nobody came forward.' Did it ever occur to you that, just maybe, your opinion of Hollie's talent and durability in a industry with a notorious 'chew 'em up and spit 'em out' record might not be something which was shared by people with far more experience on than subject that you? Three businessman agreed to invest in Steel following an online campaign in January and Nina Steel has now decided to take six months off work to support her daughter as she promotes her debut CD Hollie. 'I feel let down because I think Hollie has a really beautiful talent,' she added. 'I'm a mum and now I'm a bloody record producer and manager. It's ridiculous.' Yes, love, it certainly appears to be. Does it occur to you either, Mrs Steel, that perhaps it might be an idea to let Hollie get a little bit older, to carry on with her education and possibly live something approaching of a normal child's life before you start grooming her for a Vegas residency? God save us all from pushy parents.

Amanda Holden has revealed that she is considering releasing a country CD. If you're waiting for a punchline here, dear blog reader, sad to report there isn't one. Unless the record itself counts, of course.

Ice T has 'blasted' Aimee Mann - not literally, of course, cos then she'd be dead and he'd be in pokey - for criticising his acting on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. The singer-guitarist had expressed her thoughts on the NBC police drama through her Twitter account. Mann wrote: 'There is no reason anyone should have cast Ice T in a television show.' According to Mediatakeout, Ice T reportedly responded to Mann's comment by calling her a 'bitch' and advising her to 'eat a hot bowl of dicks.' Hey. Come on, Ice baby, that's no kind of talk for a serving police officer, surely? That's not gonna get you no respec' in da 'hood. My sister is not my enemy. Word. And other clichés.

The Geordie accent has been named 'the sexiest in the UK' in a new poll. The survey of five thousand people from hotel chain Travelodge put the Tyneside dialect in first place, followed by Edinburgh, Belfast, London and Liverpool. Company spokeswoman Shakila Ahmed said: 'It's interesting that for the first time the Geordie accent has topped the poll for the UK's most appealing accents. Although it's considered to be a friendly, honest and attractive accent it normally ranks within the top three favourite regional accents.' Wey aye, man. Gan canny and aal that. Yer keith Telly Topping can confirm that he had never used his accent as a pick-up line, although he did once ask a lady in a bar if she had any Northumbrian in her before asking if she would 'like some?' Yeah, I know, dreadful wasn't it? Shakila added: 'No doubt, the nation's sweetheart Cheryl Cole has certainly helped to place the jolly Geordie accent as top of the UK's regional accents listing as we cannot get enough of her.' Oh. Bugger. Can I claim to be from Manchester instead? The five least-attractive accents were judged to be Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Bradford, Wakefield and Coventry.