Thursday, June 10, 2010

You Lie, Lie, Lie, Lie, Lie, Tell Me Why, Why, Why, Why, Why?

Konnie Huq and Charlie Brooker have reportedly become engaged after a secret nine-month relationship. Well, secret no longer, it would appear. The ex-Blue Peter presenter and You Have Been Watching host were apparently thinking of getting married in Las Vegas during a month-long road trip across America together. However, they were forced to put the holiday on hold after Huq was chosen to host The Xtra Factor, reports the Daily Scum Mail. A 'source' said: 'Konnie and Charlie are very much in love.' Ah, bless. 'They got engaged some weeks ago, but have been trying to keep the news quiet. They were going to go on holiday this Friday and were thinking of actually getting married in Vegas, but that has all been put on ice after Konnie got The Xtra Factor. It's been a bit of a whirlwind week.' Meanwhile, another 'source' - perhaps the same one, perhaps not, perhaps we'll never care - told the Sun: 'Konnie's really upset as she was looking forward to getting away with Charlie. She kept joking they were going away to have a shotgun wedding. You never know with those two though - that might be why she was so gutted about cancelling it.' Brooker is best known for his acerbic and satirical critiques of the media and for being the man who can most easily use the word 'fucking' on TV and get away with it. He also wrote Dead Set, the classy E4 zombie horror series which took place on the set of Big Brother and is a columnist for the Gruniad Morning Star. But, we don't hold that against him cos he's King Charlie: The Unloser and we all think he's bloody brilliant! Charlie's BBC4 show, Newswipe was recently nominated for best entertainment programme at the BAFTA Awards at the weekend, but lost out to Britain's Got Talent. The relationship is said to have blossomed after Huq appeared in an episode of Brooker's BBC4 show Screenwipe last year. How sweet. Genuinely. From The North really hopes those crazy kids make a real go of it.

And, speaking of celebrity couples, half of one, Brian Fortuna, has quit Strictly Come Dancing reportedly due to changes in the show's format. The dancer was dropped from the celebrity competition in the upcoming series but had been announced as one of the professionals taking part in a new 'dance group' segment. Instead, he will focus on the stage show Burn The Floor, in which he stars with girlfriend and former Strictly partner, Ali Bastian. Fortuna said: 'I really enjoyed working on Strictly over the years - loved the fans and loved all the people I got work with - but there are changes planned for the next season so I've decided not to return to the show. Both Ali and I are looking forward to seeing all our fans at the Shaftesbury Theatre.' Other professional dancers from the last series who will no longer be involved as partners to the celebrities are Darren Bennett, Lilia Kopylova, Ian Waite and Matthew Cutler.

Jorge Garcia has revealed that he was thrilled with the Lost finale. The actor, who played Hurley, explained that he sighed with relief when he read the episode because he was so pleased with it. 'I loved it,' Garcia told E! Online. 'When I first got the finale script, it didn't have the final act in it yet. But I got to the part where Hurley takes over and there was a kind of a sigh of relief. I thought, "OK, this ending is a satisfying ending for me. Everything I invested in this show does pay off. And so I'm good, the ending is good, and I don't have to worry about it."' Garcia also revealed that he had thought he might become the island's protector. 'During the whole season, Matt Fox and I were going back and forth, going, "It's going to be one of us, it's not going to be one of them, it's got to be one of us,"' he said. 'So yeah, I liked it. It was quite heavy.'

Idris Elba has reportedly signed up to appear in The Big C. The Showtime drama follows a mother, played by Laura Linney, whose life changes when she discovers that she has cancer. Sounds like laugh-a-minute stuff but, you never know, it could be good. According to Entertainment Weekly, Elba will feature in at least four episodes of the series. He will reportedly play a love interest for Linney's character. Elba has previously starred in The Wire and The Office and can currently be seen in the BBC's Luther.

And now, as confidently predicted yesterday, here is today's exciting episode of 'Christine Bleakley - Just What The Fek Is Going On?' The BBC has, reportedly, denied rumours that it has offered her a two million pound deal which was reported in, of course, the Daily Scum Mail yesterday. I say reportedly because I'm starting to develop a default setting of disbelief for just about everything to do with this story. Shortly, I may even decide that Christine herself doesn't, actually, exist and is merely a creation of the print media. But, anyway ... it would appear, given this denial that, someone is lying. Hmm ... the BBC or the Daily Scum Mail. I know which one of the two I'd trust as far as I can spit. The broadcaster has recently been trying to persuade Bleakley to stay after speculation that she was planning to move to ITV to join her former ONE Show colleague Adrian Chiles. You might have heard about it in every single national newspaper for, oh, the last two months or so. However, the Daily Star has now claimed that reports about the size Bleakley's pay rise have been exaggerated. 'Christine's good, but she's not that good,' a 'source' supposedly told the paper. BBC 'sources' and the Daily Star. Again, hmm. Given this Doctor Who-related story which appeared in the Daily Star earlier in the week and the quotes in it - which were attributed to 'a source' which, we now discover, seem to have been completely made up - how much trust do we put in their story about Bleakley? I'm thinking not a huge amount. 'We're not in the business of handing out pay rises of twenty times someone's current salary, whoever they are,' their nameless - and quite possibly non-existent - 'source' is alleged to have said. Meanwhile, they claim that another 'insider' suggested Bleakley will stay at the BBC even though she has not been offered the two million quid deal. 'We're confident Christine's going nowhere,' the 'source' explained. 'She is a very important presenter for us. But talk of vast salaries is all PR hype.' Yeah? Whatever. Don't you people have any real news to report? No, of course not, what a bloody stupid question! This is the Daily Scum Mail and the Daily Star we're talking about. I apologise, dear blog reader, I don't know what I was thinking.

So, anyway, we return - briefly - to this quite ludicrous 'Lady GaGa to appear in Doctor Who' story that the Star ran. This originated when scriptwriter Gareth Roberts mentioned during an interview published by the Doctor Who Magazine that he'd once written a story after a meeting with the, then recently-appointed, showrunner Steven Moffat which was subsequently rejected. He joked that the discarded script 'might end up on-screen one day, or as an audio play in 2030, guest starring Lady GaGa, who will have fallen on hard times.' My italics. A paraphrase of this quote appeared soon afterwards on the Digital Spy website, albeit, without the reference to the Big Finish audio series and next thing we know, the Daily Star has run this as a 'serious' article. Or, as close as the Daily Star can get to a 'serious' article, anyway. Not only does this misquote Gareth's original comments it, also, pulls in some additional, apparently supportive, quotes from a nameless, unattributed and, it would now appear, entirely fictitious 'source.' Apparently, the story, or a variant of it anyway, has made the pages of the New York Post! Hey, brilliant. Firstly, congratulations to Gareth for giving fandom its best laugh in months! But, slightly more seriously, there's something deeply disturbing about the way in which a national newspaper - if you can call the Daily Star that, which is probably pushing matters, to be fair - can simply lie about something and make up quotes as they go along to support a story with no substance whatsoever. Of course, this is ultimately a very trivial little matter, roughly equivalent to the Sun's 'exclusive' four years ago that Zoe Lucker was being 'lined-up to play the Rani' in Doctor Who. Or, from a year later, that David Bowie was going to be appearing in the show. (And, we're still waiting...) But it does make you wonder how many other unattributed 'sources' that newspapers so freely quote are, similarly, pure invention on the part of the journalist. Just something for you to wonder about next time you read a sentence which includes the phrase 'sources close to the Prime Minister' or 'an insider at Manchester United', or whatever. Chances are, they don't even exist.

Rap star, and Jezza Paxman's pal Dizzee Rascal is to star as a TV talent judge on a new Sky1 series Must Be The Music. He will be joined on the panel by Texas singer Sharleen Spiteri and jazz artist Jamie Cullum. The auditions, which took place last month, were open to performers of any age or musical style. Dizzee said he wanted to give musicians a break and the winner will win one hundred thousand pounds to help kick-start their music career. The winning act will be chosen during a live final at a major music venue, Sky have said. And, this is different from The X Factor how, exactly? 'I know that some people may feel that their unique approach to music doesn't normally have a voice, but they are exactly who we are looking for - genuine talent in whatever form it takes,' said Cullum. Let's hope his abilities in this area are a bit more impressive than his lady's abilities in presenting alleged cookery programmes.

Jeremy Kyle has admitted that he and his family have received death threats due to the controversy which surrounds his ITV talk show. The outspoken broadcaster made the confession on This Morning while promoting his new book You Couldn't Make It Up. Try telling that to the Daily Star, Jeremy. They can and, indeed, do.

Russell Davies has promised that the new series of Torchwood will have an over-riding storyline. A fourth season of the popular SF drama and Doctor Who spin-off was confirmed earlier this week after the BBC formed a co-production deal with the US network, Starz. 'It's very much the next step,' Davies told The Hollywood Reporter. 'It's not a new version, it's not a reboot. We're simply moving countries.' Davies added: 'The show was previously a format show - monster of the week. The breakthrough was Children of Earth and that it became one long story. It's not going to be Lost and take twenty years to find out what's going on. It's going to have a most remarkable conclusion after ten episodes.'

Ofcom has received thirty five complaints from viewers about an ITV News interview with a nine-year-old boy following the shooting tragedy in Cumbria. The media regulator received an initial ten grievances about the interview after it was aired on ITV News on 4 June, two days after Derrick Bird shot and killed twelve people in the Whitehaven area. A further twenty five viewers objected to the interview when it was repeated during News At Ten later the same day. Ofcom has also reportedly received thirty nine complaints about ITV airing two rescheduled episodes from Coronation Street's Siege Week on Monday 7 June.

A former Britain's Got Talent contestant has launched an employment tribunal claim against the show's creator, Simon Cowell. Emma Amelia Pearl Czikai, who suffers from cervical spine neuritis, sang on the ITV show last year and claims that she was discriminated against. She says producers knew about her condition and made 'a fool' out of her. Err ... isn't that, pretty much, what they do to everybody? Just something to drop into your toaster there, Emma. A pre-hearing review has been scheduled for July. The judge will then decide whether the claims, which also names Mr Cowell's production company Syco and Freemantle Media, have merit and should go to court. Czikai said her condition causes severe neck pain and headaches. D'you know, funnily enough, every time I see the judges on Britain's Got Talent I normally suffer from a pain in the neck too. Odd that. When it comes to performing, she claimed that the sound levels need to be balanced carefully for her. 'I'm very particular about the bass. I feel it in my neck and if I get that vibration, it aggravates the condition.' She first appeared on the show in May 2009, where she was seen singing 'You Raise Me Up' in front of the three judges. 'They put me on at 10 o'clock at night. They had me standing outside in that cold snap immediately before I went on stage. That traps the nerves, so immediately that aggravates the condition. It's almost as if they wanted me to fail,' she said. She said in a fair environment where she can sing 'probably better than anyone else they've ever had on the programme' and she wants this case to help 'protect contestants in the future.' Czikai has insisted that the conditions when she auditioned 'were unfair' and asked producers not to show the footage, which they did not agree to. Instead, they invited her to appear on the ITV2 spin-off show Britain's Got More Talent and said they would make it clear that she had an illness, which Czakai claims hampered her previous performance. Czikai admits to signing a contract with the producers but argues it was 'void the minute they breach the law.' Good luck with that, Emma. Cowell and Freematle Media have, so far, declined to comment.

ITV have reportedly commissioned a second series of The Lakes, narrated by Rory McGrath, which held up rather well in the ratings against EastEnders earlier this year. So, that's good news. However, in a fine example of their usual burst of creativity, Adrian Edmondson has been signed-up to voice a similar format based in Yorkshire. It's called, of course, The Dales. Bit of a lack of imagination in naming department there, ITV.

Alleged comedian and tub of lard James Corden and Sir Patrick Stewart became involved in a bizarre on-stage spat at the Glamour Awards on Tuesday. Stewart criticised Corden - host of the event - for standing with his hands in his pockets, adding: 'From where I was sitting, I could see your belly.' Corden responded: 'You could see my belly? I can see you dying right now.' The pair continued to trade insults, and several prize-winners remarked on the quarrel as they accepted awards. After the show, Corden said: 'I found it quite disappointing. You should ask him about it but I'm certain he's left.' Stewart presented the Film Actress of the Year prize to Avatar's Zoe Saldana. I'm not sure which to be the more disgusted by, Patrick Stewart's singular po-faced lack of anything approaching humour, or James Corden's extremely annoying fat-buffoon act which is, similarly, lacking in anything even remotely approaching humour. A plague on both of their houses, I reckon.

Former Doctor Who actor David Tennant is to star in Hollywood remake of the cult movie Fright Night, according to a US report. Tennant will play a character originally portrayed by Roddy McDowall in the 1985 movie, suggests The Hollywood Reporter. The actor will be making his first major foray into US film. He previously appeared in a TV pilot, Rex Is Not Your Lawyer, which appears not to have been picked up by the network. He will also appear in a forthcoming BBC Drama series, Single Father, opposite Suranne Jones. Fright Night, which is being made by Dreamworks, will also star Toni Collette as the mother of a teenager who harbours suspicions that his new neighbour - played by Colin Farrell - is a vampire. Russian-born actor Anton Yelchin, who appeared in Star Trek and Terminator Salvation, has been cast as Charley Brewster. Tennant will play Peter Vincent, a Las Vegas magician who claims to possess expert knowledge of vampires. The film will be directed by Craig Gillespie, whose other credits include cult hit Lars and The Real Girl.