Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Poster Child For The Right-To-Party Party

What has been described - in a press release, anyway - as 'two distinctive, intelligent and ambitious news dramas' which reflect 'the strategy and investment' for the form on BBC2 were announced by Janice Hadlow, BBC2's Controller, at the Broadcasting Press Guild lunch on Tuesday. The first is a four-part adaptation of Michel Faber's international best-selling novel, The Crimson Petal & The White. The other, which sounds much more exciting, frankly, is the story of the early career of Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise and their relationship with Eric's mother, which will feature Victoria Wood. These are said to represent 'some of the best new dramas lined-up for the channel over the next year.' The screenplay for the latter is by one of yer Keith Telly Topping's favourite TV dramatists, Peter Bowker, whose other credits include Blackpool, Desperate Romantics and Occupation. In September 2009, Director of Vision, Jana Bennett, committed to extra investment for drama on the channel over the next three years and to making BBC2 the home of BBC Films – the film-making arm of the BBC. This was to help Hadlow and Ben Stephenson re-establish BBC2's reputation as the home of intelligent and ambitious drama. Less snooker - which was also announced as part of the package - will also help. The BBC Strategic Review has proposed extra funding for drama on BBC2 from 2012 to help ensure 'a more consistent presence on the channel.' The actors who will play Morecambe and Wise as children and adults have yet to be announced though the story will begin with their first meeting, as teenagers, when they shares a youth variety bill in the 1930s. Wood who won best actress at the BAFTAs in 2007 for Housewife, 49 - and whose alleged 'comedy' yer Keith Telly Topping, as previously mentioned, simply cannot get away with - will take on the pushy role of Eric Morecambe's mother, Sadie.

Meanwhile, in the same round of announcements, Doctor Who actor Matt Smith is set to appear in a BBC drama about the novelist Christopher Isherwood. Isherwood wrote A Single Man, which was adapted into the 2010 Oscar-nominated film starring Colin Firth. The television play - Christopher And His Kind - will chart how the writer left his domineering mother (played by the great Lindsay Duncan) for the decadent climate of 1930s Berlin. Historians Mary Beard and Amanda Vickery are also to front new series on the channel. Cambridge professor of classics Beard is making a documentary about Pompeii, while Vickery will look at home-making in the Georgian era. Hadlow said: 'I have long wanted to see more women presenting specialist programmes on BBC2.'

Paul Merton has been confirmed as a guest host of The ONE Show after Adrian Chiles leaves on Friday. The Have I Got News For You team captain will anchor the show next Thursday, with Watchdog presenter Matt Allwright confirmed for Monday's programme. Allwright will then return on the Friday as well as each day the following week, except Thursday, for which the BBC have yet to announce a stand-in. However, the search for a permanent replacement for Chiles is still said to be ongoing. So, not Chris Hollins then? Bosses are believed to have lined-up several potential candidates to host the early evening magazine show alongside Christine Bleakley. Those believed to be in the running include Five presenter Matthew Wright as well as ONE Show regular Rav Wilding. Other presenters rumoured to be considered for the position include Jamie Theakston and Dermot O'Leary. Come on, be honest, this is just 'pick a name at random and throw it in the ring' time for the press, isn't it? One BBC source told the Guardian: 'It's really got to be someone who works well with Christine. There's no rush.' Earlier this month, Chiles revealed that it was 'no secret' he was disappointed over plans to replace him with Chris Evans on Friday editions of the show, which he has fronted since 2006.

Stand-up comedian and actor John Bishop is to host a prime time Saturday night show for BBC1. John Bishop's Britain, which will air in August, is billed as taking 'a closer and comical look at all the things that affect our lives in this country.' It will involved real people filmed at home, work or other familiar environment telling their own stories on broad themes such as being a parent, falling in love, going to school or bad holiday experiences. Producers are looking for amateur comedians to contribute their anecdotes, too. Mike Worsley, from programme-makers Objective, said: 'We are looking for genuine true stories, although of course they can be slightly dramatised for comedy effect.' It sounds like utter diarrhoea to yer Keith Telly Topping, to be honest dear blog reader, but I'm prepared to give it a go since I do like Johnny Bishop's dry, cheeky-chappie Scouser act quite a lot. Bishop's career has really taken off in the last year, in which he has been nominated for an Edinburgh Comedy Award and appeared on Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow, Friday Night With Jonathan Ross, Mock The Week and Live At The Apollo. As well as that truly dreadful sports quiz thing on Sky with James Corden. John's first live DVD is also due out this Christmas.

Simon Cowell is yet to decide on his future on Britain's Got Talent, his spokesman has revealed. The legend in his own lunchtime that is Max Clifford announced that 'no decision has been made,' in spite of yesterday's public statement regarding Cowell's likely lack of involvement in next year's series. So, what was a non-story to begin with becomes even more of a non-story and yet, somehow, still gets more column inches this morning than the genocide in Rwanda ever achieved in the British press. It's a sick, sorry and shitty world we all live in, dear blog reader. Just thought you'd like to be advised of that.

Richard Armitage has linked his role in an upcoming drama to his character in [Spooks]. The actor, who stars as Lucas North in the MI5 drama, will appear as SAS soldier John Porter in Sky1's new six-part-adaptation of Chris Ryan's Strike Back. Speaking of his new character, he told TV Times: 'He's sort of like Lucas, only on some kind of go-faster drug.' Armitage continued: 'I thought I was really fit because I've always done training - but nothing like this. I nearly passed out after ten minutes and I was on the verge of vomiting pretty much ever session. [Spooks] is physically demanding, but nowhere near as tough as this.'

NBC will broadcast a programme later in the year tracking Prince Charles's environmental work. The Press Association states that the film, titled Harmony, has been commissioned by the network. It explores his view that people have lost their understanding of how to live in harmony with the natural world. Paul Telegdy, head of alternative programming at NBC, said: 'I always thought of [Prince Charles] as one of the leading environmental activists on the planet.'

And, finally, yer Keith Telly Topping spotted, as he was coming home from work along Walker Road yesterday afternoon, this - pretty funny - example of what I believe those in the know call 'guerrilla art.'I was pure dead disappointed, so I was, not to have a camera about my person at the time to record this work of casual genius for posterity. But, thankfully, somebody else seems to have spotted it and snapped it. And it, along with numerous other examples - of various degrees of cutting-edge social comment and wit (and, in some cases, singular lack of it) - can be found here. Now this blogger does not, I hasten to add, advocate that anyone deface anything. It's naughty and it's wrong. And, I should take the further opportunity to warn any potential defacers that, if you do, and are pinched by The Bobbies whilst doing so, then like as not you'll be up to your neck in very hot water. Which would, of course, be very bad. And possibly very costly. Having said that, looking at examples of other people having done this sort of thing is, I think I'm right in saying, not only perfectly legal but, also, a pretty good way to waste about a quarter of an hour of anyone's free time. Communists and anarchists, ladies and gentlemen, they might be a bunch of nutters but, you've got to admit, they're occasionally quite amusing with it. We've also, in the past, featured several examples of the works of the contributors to the great My David Cameron website on this blog. And, very funny many of them are too. Although, as with the previous site, there's some efforts that don't work as well. But, I thought, what with the General Erection just a week away, a few more examples over the couple of few days - all, of course, with a particular TV-or-movie-related bent - might amuse you. Remember your amusement, dear blog reader is, after all, what I'm here for. That, and to get sarky about Amanda Holden. Let's start with this one - Although, personally, I think my particular favourite has to be this. However, remember kids, in the interests of the balance and impartiality that I always try to show when it comes to party politics, yer Keith Telly Topping truly believes that It's nothing personal, Dave. There'll be some more of this jovial politician-bating tomorrow. Bet you can hardly wait, eh?