Tuesday, April 13, 2010

That Which Survives

Survivors has been cancelled by the BBC after just two series, according to reports. A source close to the show is said to have told totalscifionline website that the post-apocalyptic drama, which starred Julie Graham (pictured right in typically cheerful pose) and Max Beesley, will not be returning for a third series due to falling ratings. 'Sadly the BBC aren't going to do any more Survivors,' the source is quoted as saying. 'They expressed genuine affection for the show and a real desire to go again but felt that with the ratings having slipped a little since the first series they couldn't take the risk. The sad truth is that we're somewhat the victims of having gone out on the main channel - in some ways the exposure is wonderful but in other ways it's a mixed blessing.' They continued: 'Shows like Torchwood and Being Human benefitted from growing their audiences on the digital channels where it's easier for this kind of genre show to grow and develop without being judged. With ratings over four million, Survivors would be considered to have a very substantial audience almost anywhere else except BBC1 and perhaps ITV.' Yeah, there is an element of truth in that although, to be fair, if it had been an ITV show with those sort of ratings, it wouldn't have even got a second series, let alone a third. But, yer Keith Telly Topping will be sorry to see it go. It had some good moments.

ITV have announced that they've shifted its dead-as-a-dog police drama The Bill - and the eight viewers who remain watching it - to Tuesday evenings until its final episode transmits in August. Last July, the commercial broadcaster cancelled the programme's two 8pm episodes per week for a single, post-watershed episode broadcast at 9pm on Thursdays in a bid to increase ailing ratings. The new format also allowed for 'darker, grittier and more hard-hitting' storylines. Last month, however, the decision was made to cancel the show entirely after twenty seven years on air following a rethink of the network's drama line-up ... and a bunch of catastrophic ratings following its move.

Ant McPartlin was bitten by a dog at a Britain's Got Talent audition in Wales, it has been claimed. I do like the use of 'it has been claimed' there. That, basically, means that even the journalist who broke the story doesn't believe it. According to the Sun, the dog then 'followed show co-host Dec Donnelly around the studio.' Poor mutt. The dog that is, not Dec. A source said: 'Ant always likes to get up close to the animal acts. He bent down to pat the dog, which promptly went for him. But Dec had the opposite effect. The dog wouldn't leave him alone and followed him about backstage.' Ant reportedly confirmed: 'My lowlight was in Cardiff. On the same day I was bitten by a dog, chased by a pig and shouted at by a contestant.' The source added: 'It was hilarious. The pig came off stage and headed straight for Ant.' Simon Cowell has reportedly suggested that he would like to see a 'talented dog' win this year's Britain's Got Talent. Amanda Holden ... was unavailable for comment.

Meanwhile, Piers Morgan has claimed that Amanda Holden did not cry as much during this year's Britain's Got Talent auditions. Is it too cruel to suggest that after the failures of Big Top and Fantasy Lives and The Door, Amanda simply has no tears left. Morgan said that his co-star, who has become notorious for sobbing her eyes out at every given opportunity during filming, managed to be more composed for the fourth series. 'Amanda didn't cry as much as usual, which surprised me. She normally blubs more water than a two-month-old baby with colic,' he said. Meanwhile, hosts Ant and Dec have claimed that Simon Cowell couldn't stop having fits of giggles while watching this year's acts. 'Simon hasn't been able to control himself at all. It's been hilarious but slightly embarrassing as I have run out of excuses for him,' said Dec. 'I've said everything from he's having a sneezing fit to being overcome with emotion.'

Dancing On Ice champion Hayley Tamaddon has reportedly landed the lead role in a Sheffield pantomime. That's a bit of a comedown after Dancing On Ice, Hayley. Oh no, it isn't. Oh, yes it is. The former Emmerdale actress will play the title role in Peter Pan at the city's Lyceum Theatre in December, according to South Yorkshire's Star newspaper. Tamaddon previously played the Fairy Godmother in a production of Cinderella at the venue in 2007. Hayley love, your career ... look out, it's behind you.

Coronation Street veteran Jack Duckworth may win the lottery in his final storyline, a report has claimed. The soap's producers are currently working on an exit plot for the Weatherfield favourite following Bill Tarmey's decision to leave the role after three decades. According to the Daily Star, one option on the table would see Jack leaving the Street for a new life in the sun following a EuroMillions jackpot win. Insiders have claimed that this idea is most favoured by storyliners as it would leave the door open for Jack to return for one-off specials if Tarmey wanted to. A source said: 'Lots of ideas are in the melting pot, but this is the most exciting. It could mean we won't have seen the last of Jack.'

EastEnders is said to have 'fallen foul' of health and safety regulations and producers have ruled that actors must not hit each other for real during fight sequences. Actor John Partridge yesterday revealed that he and co-star Preeya Kalidas were forced to change their plans for the filming of an explosive row which culminated in a 'slap scene.' At least, according to the Daily Mail. Appearing on ITV show This Morning, host Phillip Schofield said that Partridge had told him, off-camera, that it was the result of health and safety refusing to allow them to do a real slap. Schofield told viewers: 'We were talking during the video clip there about that slap, and it was a staged slap and you [Partridge] were saying that you're not allowed to slap each other anymore because health and safety won't let you.' A spokesman for EastEnders defended the decision. She said: 'As with most action scenes, we always have a stunt director present to make sure that our scenes look realistic but to ensure that no one is injured.'

Paul Merton has suggested that he feels like an outsider in the comedy world because he primarily works through improvisation. The Have I Got News For You panellist begins a two-month national theatre tour titled Paul Merton's Impro Chums at the Basingstoke Anvil on 23 April. Merton told The Times of the attitude towards his style: '"Oh! Improvisation!" they say. They dismiss it because it can be naff in the wrong hands but also because you don't have to do any work. Perhaps the only golden rule is that whatever you do it has got to be entertaining to the audience.' Regarding the poor reception to his ITV impro show Thank God You're Here, he added: 'To the higher-ups at ITV, it made sense to have someone in the programme who couldn't do it but was well known. So we had a couple of people - soap-opera stars, young actresses - who really shouldn't have been in it. You really need to have experience and confidence. And a couple of them didn't, and it wasn't their fault.'

David Suchet has revealed that he would love to shoot the final six Poirot novels. Speaking to the Sun, the actor, who is also an associate producer on the adaptations, explained that he would only agree to work on future episodes if the budget was high enough. 'I only have six more stories to do and that will be the complete works of Hercule Poirot,' he said. 'I'm desperate to do it, while God gives me life.' However, he continued: 'I'd probably say no if they asked me to film the final six on a limited budget. There are people collecting these box sets around the world. I don't want somebody to take out a film and think, "If that's bad quality, I may not watch another." Being an associate producer has allowed me that voice. I have the right to say to a director, "That's not good enough." A lack of money will affect the script. They will tell the writer, "This is the budget we've got. Don't write something that's going to cost us more."' Suchet also hinted that the final six novels could be adapted in the near future. 'The word is, unofficially, some scripts may be in development,' he explained. 'Once the script is developed, ITV has to say, "Have we the money to make it?" I'd like to think that over the next eighteen months we could do six films and then I think he should hang up his spats.' Suchet admitted that he will miss playing the detective, saying: 'When he does I'll have two reactions. Thrilled to have achieved that - a complete works of such an iconic literary figure. Then devastated, as it will be a death.'

Gordon Brown has decided, three weeks before a general election, that he really rather likes the BBC after all. This week has seen him telling the Radio Times that he is backing the campaign to protect the 6 Music digital station, facing closure as part of a shake-up of the corporation intended to divert six hundred million pounds into programme-making. '[I] think, personally, that the BBC should not have succumbed to pressure to cut certain things - but they have,' he told the magazine. Yes, pressure from your sodding government, you bloody moron. Check out some of the comments your own Minister for Culture, Media and Sport has been making about them for the last couple of years. Asked whether he was in favour of the campaign to save 6 Music, he said: 'Yes because it's the next stage you worry about. The Conservatives have said that they'll hive off Radio 1.' And, they're going to get the chance to do exactly that because of your crass mismanagement of the country, Gord. Well done. Jolly well done. 'A lot of things that the BBC does are incredibly creative and quite risky,' the Prime Minister added. 'But this is a necessary means of us being a creative society. I want to safeguard the independence of the BBC and I think the licence fee is the means by which you do it.' He described the licence fee as 'essential' to the BBC, adding: 'Any proposal to massively cut the fee or to strip the BBC of its independence - or alternatively, to remove its ability to make certain programmes - is a huge mistake. I don't think politicians should make that decision about what the BBC produces. I think the BBC should make that decision.' Lovely. I entirely agree with that. Now, kindly remind your colleagues Ben Bradshaw and Hatty Harmen about your views on this matter the next time they feel like opening their big gobs on subjects which are no concern to them. Jeez, politicians. They'll say anything if they think they'll get a few votes by it. Expect, in a few days, yer Eton Rifle Cameron to have suddenly become a massive fan of Ashes To Ashes. God, I hate politicians.

The BBC is reportedly reviewing options for the sale of Radio Times as part of a planned shake-up at its BBC Worldwide commercial division. Worldwide is currently seeking a partnership deal with a rival publisher to enable its 'portfolio of profitable market-leading titles to meet its potential, while still protecting the BBC's editorial standards and brands.' The BBC Magazines division, which includes Top Gear, Gardener's World and Doctor Who titles, reported an eleven and a half million profit last year on sales of one hundred and eighty two million pounds. The unit sells around eighty five million magazines each month. Worldwide believes that a commercial partnership agreement would result in 'a mixed portfolio' of BBC titles, with some being sold and others licensed. In a statement issued yesterday, a Worldwide spokesman said: 'We confirmed to BBC Worldwide staff on Friday that following a review of our magazines business we are seeking a partnership with another company to enable our portfolio of profitable market-leading titles to meet its potential, while still protecting the BBC's editorial standards and brands. BBC Magazines hopes to hold preliminary conversations with interested companies in the coming weeks. But we will only proceed if we can find an appropriate partner who understands the BBC's values and brands, and if we are able to structure a deal that works for both parties and delivers value back to the BBC.' Speaking to The Times, an industry source claimed that a commercial partnership deal will not be straightforward as most of the BBC's magazine are closely linked to its programming brands. 'It can't just be about flogging off the company because a lot of the magazines are BBC-branded and programme-branded and a huge part of their value is their relationship with the BBC,' said the source. 'It's not straightforward and it's not going to be the same structure for all of them. There are some titles that could be sold, some parts need to remain close to the BBC.' Following the deal, it is thought that Top Gear magazine would be licensed to another publisher, while listings title Radio Times would be sold. A shake-up at BBC Magazines first surfaced in the BBC's strategy review, which stated that Worldwide should focus more on its international operations and 'move away from physical media.' However, any proposed partnership deal would first have to be approved by the BBC Trust before it can go into operation.

Hugh Laurie has described directing the latest episode of House as 'fascinating.' Laurie insisted that he was asked to direct the programme. 'It was somebody else's idea,' he told the New York Times. 'As soon as an actor starts directing, it looks like some kind of vanity project, doesn't it?' However, Laurie admitted that he had previously 'made enough of a nuisance' of himself by suggesting ways in which the show could be filmed. 'I have been absolutely fascinated by the process of it,' he said. 'It requires the rarest and most demanding set of skills, from problem solving to engineering and common sense.' Laurie also revealed that he enjoyed the hectic nature of directing. '[I liked] the freneticness of it,' he explained. 'I'm a brooder. If I have too much time to think, I start to complicate things in ways they don't need to be complicated.'

Cat Deeley will host a new treasure hunt show, which has been co-created by Eurythmics star Dave Stewart. The So You Think You Can Dance presenter had filmed a pilot for the series, which has the working title Treasure Tag. The format involves a pair of treasure hunters racing around cities to find hidden objects, before competing in a final studio challenge. Produced by Whizz Kid Entertainment, the idea has been pitched to Channel 4, according to Broadcast. The show has been described as a 'new take' on the popular 1980s enormous arsed Anneka Rice-fronted series Treasure Hunt.

Chris Evans has reportedly signed a deal to replace Adrian Chiles on Friday evening editions of The ONE Show. Evans was first linked to the show in February, but Chiles was later alleged to have threatened to leave the BBC over the decision. However, a ONE Show source has now told the Guardian: 'A deal has been agreed for Chris to do Fridays.' It is unclear how many editions of the show Evans has agreed to host but an insider claimed that producers are discussing whether or not to make Friday night editions more focused on entertainment news. 'There has been a lot of talking about what happens if entertainment is saved for Fridays,' the source said. 'Does it change the show too much? It's still being discussed but the fact is that Adrian will not be required on Fridays.' It is thought that Chiles will continue to host the programme for four nights a week, although he has not yet signed a new contract with the BBC. A spokesperson for the BBC said: 'While we do not discuss contracts, Adrian is part of our plans for the future of The ONE Show.'

A new version of the charades gameshow Give Us A Clue is reportedly in development. Yes, dear blog reader, we are indeed living in Armagiddeon Times.