Friday, April 02, 2010

It's Written In The Stars. Apparently.

Firstly, dear blog reader, yer Keith Telly Topping advises you all to check out this quite brilliant spoof of the opening sequence of Wonders of the Solar System.

That's naughty! (And, probably, against several copyright laws.) But, very very funny.

And, speaking of the excellent Wonders of the Solar System, during the most recent episode, Brian Cox described astrology as 'rubbish.' Not an unreasonable position to hold for an extremely clever scientist, one might suggest. Even astrology's biggest supporters would have to concede that there's no scientific evidence for its existence. Like religion, belief in it largely rests on a question of faith that it does exist. Unsurprisingly, however, the Daily Mail's astrologer - one Jonathan Cainer - didn't like this comment. Oooo, mad-vexed, so he was. Well, it was somebody on the BBC saying something that he disagreed with and he works for the Daily Mail, what did you honestly expect? So, what does he do? Egged on - as he freely admits - by The Astrological Association of Great Britain (for such a body does, indeed, exist dear blog reader) he encourages his readers to complain to the BBC. Well done, fellah. Seriously. I'm sure that your mother is very proud of you. From The North understands that The Flat Earth Society of Great Britain and The Looking At Chickens Entrails For Signs & Wonders Society of Great Britain are, also, considering their next move in this regard.

Nargis became the latest contestant to leave MasterChef during last night's hour-long episode. Following some mildly diverting professional kitchen shenanigans, the five remaining chefs were invited to use any ingredients they liked in a - literal - cook-off. 'Cooking doesn't get any tougher than this,' said Gregg Wallace. Again! Tim and Alex impressed with their dishes (the latter, worryingly, being winked at by Gregg when he tasted his chili-prawns. Oi, cut it out, Wallace, I'm pretty sure husky-voiced India Fisher told us earlier in the series that Alex has a steady girlfriend!) Dhruv and Stacie also went through leaving Nargis to exit, in a flood of tears, stage right whilst they played the Michael Andrews and Gary Jules version of 'Mad World.' Not, perhaps, the most tactful of choices for exit-music. (Particularly as snatch of 'Unfinished Sympathy' had featured earlier on.) Thereafter MasterChef, briefly, turned into a farcical episode of The Krypton Factor as the remaining four semi-finalists faced the daunting prospect of preparing a meal and then negotiating a virtual assault course to deliver it to some hoity-toity diners at The Tower of London. And, it was great stuff and genuinely moving to see all four of them do well in very trying circumstances. Tonight will see these four reduced to the final three as they cook for a trio of sour-faced restaurant critics. I'll tell you what, if that bastard Jay Rayner makes Modette Stacie cry, yer Keith Telly Topping will just have to kill him. Or, if he makes Dhruv cry for that matter. Tim and Alex, I'm sure, can look after themselves.

Alan Davies has said that he 'hates' Qi repeats being frequently shown on TV. The comedian, who is a permanent fixture on the Stephen Fry-presented quiz, said that channels such as Dave (which regularly repeats the series) 'devalue' the brand. 'The thing I really hate is Qi being in a soup of shows on one of these repeat channels,' said the Jonathan Creek star. 'I hate that you can't make an audience wait for a couple of months and then say, "Here's a new series." Because then people would say, "Great," and we'd get loads more viewers. I hate things being repeated night after night. Not least because I don't get paid for it. I hate that as well. We get a very small fee and then they rerun it for twenty years.' So, in other words, 'give me some more money and I'll hate it a bit less.' He added: 'It drives me mad. I would like to be off the telly sometimes. You begin to irritate yourself.'

Johnny Vegas has left Benidorm, it has been confirmed. The thirty eight-year-old comedian told the Sun that he was sad to be leaving the show but that he understands the move by producers. 'Benidorm's happening again but I won't be part of it,' he said. 'Unfortunately, it will be fun in the sun without us.' He added: 'The show moves on. Best of luck to them.' According to reports, a new set of characters will be introduced to fill the gap left by Vegas. An insider is quoted by the newspaper as saying: 'Benidorm is a massive flagship show for ITV and they want to make sure it stays fresh. The new characters are going to make it more outrageous and funny than ever before. It's a shame for Johnny but he'll pop up elsewhere.' An ITV spokesperson added: 'The Oracle will not be returning to Benidorm this year but other new characters will be introduced. It has been a great pleasure working with Johnny and we thank him for his fantastic commitment to the phenomenal success of Benidorm over the past four years. The new series of Benidorm kicks off in 2011. But fans can get a fix later this year when the show returns in a one-off special.' Johnny, meanwhile, will be appearing in the next series of Ideal very soon on BBC3.

The BBC4 drama Canoe Man, in which Bernard Hill played John Darwin, the man who claimed that he had came back from the dead five years after apparently dying in a canoeing accident, was watched by nearly one million viewers on Wednesday night. Writer and director Norman Hull's one-off drama, which co-starred Saskia Reeves as Darwin's wife Anne, averaged eight hundred and thirty nine thousand viewers according to unofficial overnight figures, a huge figure for BBC4.

TV's second favourite doctor is returning, ITV have announced as Doc Martin has been recommissioned for a fifth series. The Martin Clunes-fronted comedy-drama will return in 2011 for eight hour-long episodes. 'Doc Martin is a massive audience pleaser for ITV,' said the channel's controller of drama commissioning Sally Haynes. 'We're thrilled Martin has agreed to play [the character] for another series.' Caroline Catz, Ian McNiece, Joe Absolom and John Marquez are also expected to reprise their roles for the new run.

Jenny McApline has claimed that she made Dean Gaffney 'puke' while filming the ITV game show The Door. The Coronation Street actress and Gaffney are two of the celebrities taking part in the programme, which starts tonight. Hosted by Amanda Holden and Chris Tarrant, the show challenges two teams of celebrities to take on tests which will challenge all their senses. Speaking about the show, McAlpine said: 'I can definitely say that there'll be retching. I actually made Dean physically sick in one of the challenges. Something I do makes him puke. There's definitely some screaming, laughing, every emotion going.' The EastEnders actor, who famously took part in a number of bushtucker trials on I'm A Celebrity ... commented: 'The show is the most horrific thing I have ever done and probably one of the most enjoyable. There is one challenge we do where the smell was nothing like I have ever experienced.' GMTV presenter Michael Underwood, who is also taking part in the programme, added: 'In some of the challenges I couldn't even see Dean and all I could hear was him retching round the corner somewhere.' Sounds great. I'll be watching Ashes To Ashes on the other side, personally.

GMTV hosts Lorraine Kelly and Kate Garraway have both admitted that they fear being axed from the show amid its ongoing revamp. Last month, it was announced that Penny Smith and John Stapleton are to be dropped as regular anchors as part of a drive to cut costs. Further changes have not been ruled out. Speaking to the Mirror, Kelly commented: 'It is very unsettling for everyone. It's a tough time as no-one knows what is going to happen. All we can do is pull together and hope for the best.' Meanwhile, Garraway confessed: 'I'm worried, everyone is. Still, I've been here for ten years and I'm so grateful for that. Anything else will be a bonus. We're just keeping our fingers crossed.' ITV sources told the newspaper that Kelly's LK Today slot is 'likely to be safe' but that more cutbacks could be on the way for the main programme.

The BBC is lining up its first major documentary series about the Queen since the so called Queengate scandal rocked the TV industry two-and-a-half years ago. Andrew Marr will present a three part series for BBC1, which will air in 2012 - the year of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee - and examine the contribution she makes to the running of the country. Marr has already started researching the project and expects it to be 'properly serious and intelligent. This will be about how she reigns, what it means, what we do and don't get out of the royal banquets and visits - and her vast accumulated knowledge of the inside story of every government since Churchill was prime minister,' he said. However, Buckingham Palace has been careful about granting access to BBC cameras following the 2007 Queengate row and Marr told Broadcast magazine that progress has been moving at 'a stately pace. It's early days. I haven't got a single shot in the can yet. There is a delicate balance between securing access that will give us proper insight on the one hand, and being too intrusive on the other,' he said. 'There was quite a sense of being once bitten - but good for [the palace] that they haven't slammed closed the shutters.' Marr said that he is a supporter of the Queen on a personal level and will also use his research for a forthcoming biography of the monarch. The in-house series is being developed under the working title Diamond Queen and was originated by Nick Vaughan-Barratt, who is also executive producer. BBC1 controller Jay Hunt and Martin Davidson ordered the series. Both the BBC and Buckingham Palace declined to comment further. Marr is also working on BBC1 series Metropolis, to air later this year, which will examine the workings of four urban conurbations.

Simon Cowell's proposed movie about Britain's Got Talent winner Paul Potts has reportedly been shelved by Paramount Pictures according to the Sun. Hard to imagine how they could turn down such an obvious winner, is it not?

Liverpool school children will be shown episodes of The Simpsons in order to curb violence in the classroom. Pupils at eight schools will watch clips featuring the show's cartoon characters Itchy and Scratchy trying to kill each other in an attempt to explain the effects of violent behaviour, the Daily Star reports. A group called Support After Murder and Manslaughter Merseyside is running the project, which is aimed at nine to eleven-year-olds, alongside Merseyside police and crime-cutting group Citysafe. SAMM Merseyside chairman Gaynor Bell told the newspaper: 'We are trying to get the message across that any action you take has a consequence.'

A debt firm which had Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell on its board has folded, according to a report. The actor, who plays Weatherfield's Kevin Webster, joined Altrincham-based Ratio Money in April 2009 in a bid to help people who had been 'ripped off' by banks and lenders. Speaking at the time, Le Vell commented: 'Thousands of people are suffering - but help is at hand.' Ratio Money promised to carry out audits of its clients' credit agreements to determine whether they complied with the Consumer Credit Act. If not, the company would attempt to have their debts written off. However, the Mirror reports that the firm failed to recover from a severe setback which occurred in December when a High Court ruling removed many of the loopholes used to write off debts. Le Vell, who reportedly quit as a director last month, could not comment on the newspaper's story as he is currently on holiday.

Sky's chief executive Jeremy Darroch has criticised Ofcom's pay-TV ruling, claiming it has got its decision 'badly wrong' and will 'hit British sport where it hurts.' The Sky boss reacted angrily to Ofcom's intervention in its business, pointing out that no other regulator in the world is setting TV pricing levels. 'I think it's very easy to say it would be nice if everything was cheaper but that is an argument you can apply to pretty much everything from cars to take away coffee,' said Darroch. ' It's not the job of regulators to set prices in free markets unless there's clear evidence of breach of law or consumer harm and that is manifestly not the case here.' He went on to warn that sporting bodies, which have received major funding from selling broadcast TV rights, would suffer. Sky's rivals that have so far opted not to invest significantly in sport, would be even less likely to do so if they know they can simply buy up the rights at a regulated price. 'That risk is undermining the virtuous cycle that's been created in British sport over the last few years with sustained investment, much of it from broadcast TV rights, that's really flowed through at all levels and has had positive effects right through sports,' he said. The governing bodies of cricket and rugby have already spoken out against the Ofcom ruling. Sky have said that will challenge both the decision itself and seek to secure 'a stay of implementation' from the Competition Appeals Tribunal so it is not forced to offer its rivals its channels while a final decision is pending. 'The UK needs companies that are willing to invest, to innovate and to take risks. And ultimately it's that which will deliver good outcomes for consumers, not heavy handed price regulation,' said Darroch.

Ian Wright expressed outrage on Live From Studio Five on Wednesday night after The Libertines spat beer over the show's reporter, Minnie Stephenson. Stephenson was interviewing the band on location at The Boogalo pub in North London, where they had earlier held a press conference to discuss their reunion plans. As the chat began, singer Carl Barat was seen commenting on an earlier incident which had apparently involved his band-mate, Gary Powell. He told Stephenson: 'I have to apologise as our drummer just spat beer over your back.' Viewers then watched as singer Pete Doherty approached Stephenson from behind and spat beer which appeared to land in her hair, prompting her say: 'There it is again. Wow, look at that - I've just been splashed with beer again. It's so rock 'n' roll, guys.' When the show returned to the studio, host Wright was visibly angry and blasted: 'You know what, Pete Doherty does my head in. I hate that geezer. He's spitting on her back. What a complete mug he is. What a fool. I hate that guy.' So, that's Sven-Göran Eriksson, Melinda Messenger and Pete Doherty on Wrighty's shit-list, it would seem.

Sky has recruited Girls Aloud singer Kimberley Walsh to present a documentary about jeans. In the show, titled Jean Evolution, the pop star will travel around the US and Europe to research the history of the denim clothing and investigate how jeans became so popular. Walsh said: 'This programme will reveal the hidden truth behind jeans and will offer lots of advice so we can all find that elusive perfect pair, whatever our shape and size.' This is the singer's first foray into presenting , although she has previously worked as a roving reporter for The X Factor. Filming on Jean Evolution begins this month and the one-off documentary will be shown on Sky 1 later this year. Fellow Girls Aloud member Nicola Roberts presented the BBC3 documentary The Truth About Tanning, which focused on the subject of tanning addiction.

The pin-up girl for yer Keith Telly Topping's generation of lonely teenage boys, Jenny Agutter, has revealed that she would be interested in a return to [Spooks]. The Railway Children legend appeared as the duplicitous Tessa Phillips from the start of the BBC spy drama, with her character leaving the country towards the end of the second season. When asked if she ever considered coming back to the programme, Agutter told the Digital Spy website: 'Absolutely. Tessa's not dead yet! It's just about finding the right story. I think it's been mentioned, but we'd have to find something. It'd be nice to do. I think there's a lot to get sorted out with Harry, don't you? There's the possibility for a good battle there again!' She added of the show, which is currently filming its ninth series: 'I do think it's always had good writers and they do really do keep it moving along and it's riveting.'

Ashley Jones has said that she is happy to show off her bottom for scenes in vampire drama True Blood. The actress joined the cast of the FX show as waitress Daphne Landry in its second season. Jones told FHM of winning the part: 'When we got down to the final auditions I thought I wouldn't get the part as the other two girls I was up against said they were okay with the nudity and I wasn't comfortable in getting everything out. But luckily they went with me, it just meant that I had sign off on the nakedness. I was fine with being shot from the back and showing a bit of butt, but I got to see each shot and could veto anything I didn't like.' She added: 'I can tell you, having sex on the pool table might look fun, but it really isn't. I had a big prosthetic scar on my back which kept sticking to the baize so we kept having to stop, clean it up and then re-shoot it. I've also had to film scenes like this on top of a desk and on the kitchen floor, and it's very awkward and becomes very technical.'

Coleen Nolan has admitted that she will feel lost on Friday nights following the conclusion of Dancing On Ice. The Loose Women presenter hosted spin-off show Dancing On Ice Friday throughout the skating contest's recent run, which ended on Sunday with Hayley Tamaddon voted as the winner. Writing in her column for the Mirror, Nolan asked readers: 'What on earth am I going to do with myself tomorrow night now that Dancing On Ice Friday is over?' I dunno. Get a real job?

Amanda Holden has said that the upcoming series of Britain's Got Talent will be the 'funniest' yet. This, dear blog readers, from the same woman who assured us that Big Top was going to be side-splitting funny - as opposed to merely its disastrous ratings being side-splittingly funny. So, do we trust her? About as far as the Libertines can spit, frankly.

Neighbours bosses have rubbished press claims that Katie Price was to make a cameo appearance in the Australian soap. Earlier this week, a tabloid newspaper claimed that the mostly plastic glamour girl had been approached to film a guest spot when she visits Australia later in the year. However, responding to the rumour, a Neighbours spokeswoman told Holy Soap: 'It's not true.'

Oh, and another quick reminder. Just in case you'd by any chance forgotten, this is back tomorrow at 6:20 on BBC1.And, it's about time.