Thursday, August 12, 2010

Back To School On Monday

At thirty one, Jennifer Love Hewitt's high school days should be far behind her. But in her checked school skirt, white blouse and long socks, the actress could almost pass for a girl of half her age. Which is exactly what she was attempting yesterday - on the New York set of the TV series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Turing back the clock in this way was part of Jennifer's role in a forthcoming episode as a rape survivor who is too terrified to leave her house. After previously filming chilling scenes showing her beaten and bloodied face, Jennifer had a new challenge in playing the younger role. The Ghost Whisperer actress is appearing as a woman named Vicki who has been raped on multiple occasions. The show's executive producer, Neal Baer, said 'One of the reasons we wanted to do this episode is because it addresses [co-star] Mariska Hargitay's passion for rape kits, which helps gather evidence to convict the rapists.'

TV review of the week: David Quantick on Twitter on the subject of Simon Amstall's new sitcom, Grandma's House: 'Never Mind The Buzzcocks is very odd this week!'

Doctor Who writer Gareth Roberts has revealed that his recent episode The Lodger originally featured the return of an old villain. He told Doctor Who Magazine that earlier drafts of the script featured the villain Meglos. The character previously fought Tom Baker's fourth Doctor in a 1980 story. 'I'd been joking about Meglos 2 for years,' said Gareth. 'But when I sat down to write the first draft [of The Lodger] it suddenly seemed right.' He explained that the villain was eventually dropped from the episode as his cactus-like appearance was too similar to alien race the Vinvocci, who appeared in the final David Tennant adventure, The End of Time. 'Meglos survived in my script for quite a long while, but then we saw the Vinvocci,' he confirmed. 'And as the rest of the story was more comedic, we decided the villain had to be as scary as possible.'

War Crimes Trial Critique of the week: From the great Alfie Joey - also on Twitter: 'I was watching telly the other day and I stumbled across a Woody Allen film that I hadn't seen before. Unusually long for him. It was a courtroom drama about diamond smuggling starring Mia Farrow and some gorgeous model. I didn't see the end but I'll bet Woody got off with the gorgeous model.'

Kate Garraway has revealed that she is nervous about filming in high definition. The television presenter explained that she booked an appointment with a skin specialist after learning that her new show Daybreak will be broadcast in HD. 'I expected my appointment to last about twenty minutes but I was in there for two hours,' she told New. 'So clearly they had their work cut out.' She continued: 'Afterwards I was peering into the mirror to see the difference and joked I didn't look any younger. The beauty therapist replied, "I've got hands, not a wand, Kate."'

Apparently, the reason that dear old Dick Strawbridge missed the Harrow school segment of last night's episode of Celebrity MasterChef was that he had, in his own words, 'eaten a dodgy oyster the night before!' Ironically, at almost the exact moment that he disappeared from the BBC1 show, over on BBC2's Coast he was busy leading a team of radio experts who attempted to recreate the one hundred-year-old technology that Marconi developed to send the first commercial wireless messages across the Atlantic, using steam generators powered by peat and a massive antenna. Clever bit of scheduling, that!

England's first football match since their disastrous World Cup campaign averaged 6.25m on Wednesday evening, according to overnight audience data. Live coverage of England's friendly against Hungary, which they won 2-1, was watched by 5.79m on ITV between 7.30pm and 10.10pm, while an additional five hundred and fifty thousand watched the game in HD. Celebrity MasterChef was barely affected by the match, managing a steady 3.89m for BBC1 in the 8pm hour.

Meanwhile as many of you may have heard, dear blog reader, from this Saturday, 14 August the cult football show, Soccer Saturday will be solely available on Sky Sports News. This is as opposed to previous simultcast arrangements when it could also be seen on, for example, Sky Sports 1 if they weren't covering a major event at the same time. When asked for a comment on the changes, Chris Karama was heard to bellow 'Unbelievable, Jeff!'

Natasha Kaplinsky will leave Five News when her current contract expires in December, according to a report. Kaplinsky is on maternity leave for the rest of the year following the birth of her daughter, Angelica Pearl, in April. This means that, theoretically, the newsreader may not make another on-screen appearance, according to the Daily Scum Mail. 'Before Natasha went on maternity leave in March, she was offered a deal that was less money,' a source is alleged to have claimed. 'But because her contract was not due to expire for quite a bit, she chose to wait. It does leave her with quite a few options when her contract runs out at Christmas,' the 'insider' supposedly continued. 'She has to work out what is best for her as a mother and how she can juggle her workload.' Meanwhile, the newsreader's spokesperson stated: 'We have not entered any discussions about Natasha's contract yet.' Once described by Charlie Brooker as 'a skeleton covered by a skin of ambition,' following her record one million pound move from the BBC in 2007, Kaplinsky headed the 5pm and 7pm news bulletin for six weeks before announcing that she was pregnant. After giving birth to her son, Arlo, in September 2008, she quit the 7pm bulletin and took a three hundred thousand pounds pay cut.

Pro dancer Flavia Cacace has backed the changes to the Strictly Come Dancing line-up. The Italian, who has been on the show since the fourth series, claimed that alterations to the BBC programme's format were necessary. She added that the upcoming run would benefit from the refreshed line-up of professionals. Speaking to Into The Spotlight about the pro line-up for the eighth run, she said: 'Strictly has to evolve to stay fresh and keep people interested, most of the dancers will still be involved in some shape or form and they will always be a part of the show. There are more dancers this year so there will be more amazing group numbers which we know people love to see.'

House star Hugh Laurie has revealed that his character will struggle to maintain his romance with Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) in the show's upcoming seventh season. The actor told Entertainment Tonight that one episode will see the pair visit a go-kart racing track as part of a double date with Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) and his wife Samantha (Cynthia Watros). Laurie explained: '[House] convinces himself that happiness is something that has to be built out of pieces, out of things like this, when in actual fact, happiness comes from within.' His co-star Edelstein added that she was enjoying acting out the couple's difficult relationship. 'It's fun to finally have the relationship and screw it up,' she admitted. Laurie recently received his fifth Emmy nomination for the role of House and joked that he has prepared an unusual acceptance speech for the awards ceremony. 'There's something about mumbling and stuttering that seems to convey a poetic soul, so I think I may take that route,' he joked.

Lisa LoCicero has reportedly signed up to appear in Bones. Fancast says that the General Hospital actress will appear in the upcoming Jersey Shore-themed episode of the show. Previous reports have suggested that Mike The Situation Sorrentino is in talks to star in the programme as a fitness guru who is murdered. LoCicero is expected to play the victim's mother Janine Genaro. A source reportedly described the character as 'Victoria Gotti meets Real Housewives of New Jersey.' LoCicero will appear in the third episode of Bones' upcoming sixth season.

Fearne Cotton apparently broke down in tears after the double act Pepper & Piano auditioned on Sky1's Must Be The Music. That bad, huh? The Radio DJ is said to have wept buckets after the duo 'wowed the judges' with a powerful performance of one of their own songs. Songwriter and pianist Emma told the audience: 'It's a song written about my life when I was a mess. And I tried to put it down on paper that I felt at that time.' Singer Pepper then 'stunned' the judges with her vocals on the song, which an emotional Cotton claimed 'get me every time.' Judge Dizzee Rascal - you know, Paxman's mate - added afterwards: 'When you went out there and blasted it that was outstanding. I had chills.' That could be emotion, Diz, or it might just be the first sign that you've contracted polio. I'd best get it checked out if I were you.

Bryan Fuller has signed a deal with the Syfy network to adapt science-fiction novel The Lotus Caves. Fuller previously created cult ABC drama Pushing Daisies and wrote for the first season of Heroes. Entertainment Weekly reports that he will adapt The Lotus Caves alongside former Daisies writer Jim Grey. The original novel, written by John Christopher, follows two colonists on the Moon who encounter a race of super-intelligent aliens. Christopher also wrote the Tripods trilogy of novels, two of which were adapted for television by the BBC in 1984.

The executive producer of NCIS has revealed that the new season will include some origin episodes. Shane Brennan explained that the series will explore how the group first met, Entertainment Weekly reports. He also suggested that the episodes will include flashbacks to moments in the characters' history. 'You'll find out how certain members of the team first came to NCIS,' he said. 'It'll be hard to do [the episodes] without flashbacks.'

The BBC reportedly received a grand total of no complaints when Christine Bleakley defected to ITV. In June, Bleakley accepted an offer to become one of the new hosts of GMTV when it re-launches as Daybreak next month. The ONE Show's editor Sandy Smith revealed that unhappy viewers had contacted the corporation when it was announced that Bleakley's co-host Adrian Chiles would be leaving. 'When Christine left, there was not a single complaint,' he said. Smith apparently claimed that the presenting duo were not as important to the show as people thought, insisting that research has shown viewers watched for 'eighteen to nineteen minutes of high-quality film-making each evening. It wouldn't be so popular if people didn't want to see Britain, its landmarks, hear its accents,' he added. No complaints? What the Hell is wrong with you people? Has anybody told the Daily Scum Mail about this outrage yet? They'll soon put a stop to any such non-complaining nonsense.

A document detailing Bruce Forsyth's expenses claims was mistakenly used as a prop on the set of A Touch Of Frost, it has been reported. Staff on the ITV drama, who had been told to find more paperwork to use during an office scene, brought in what they thought was a box of old administration, only to discover that the documents contained a list of Forsyth's past expenses, says the Sun. The file, which apparently shows Forsyth's claims during his time as the host on ITV's The Price Is Right in the 1990s, is believed to have been identified by Inspector Frost actor David Jason. A source said: 'Top brass did not see the funny side and went berserk. They demanded an inquiry into how on earth the top-secret details of a top star were seen by another top star.' Jason was reportedly somewhat taken aback by the figures on display in the document. An insider allegedly told the newspaper: 'He did not look too happy because expenses were so much higher years ago. Brucie was certainly on a good deal back then by all accounts. He had a chauffeur drive him in every day and an amazing hotel and food allowance.' The discovery is believed to have prompted producers to destroy all the documents, which were found at a Yorkshire television studio, to avoid similar errors in the future. Forsyth, who presented The Price Is Right on ITV between 1995 and 2001, recently described the job of a game show host as 'money for old rope.' Lots of money for old rope, it would seem. Well, someone had to pay for all of those afternoons of golf with Tarbie and Lynchie and Ronnie Corbett, I suppose. Might as well be the ITV's advertising clients.

And, speaking of ancient relics, an American footballer called Todd Herremans has been forced to grovellingly apologise after criticising the 'homosexuality' in True Blood. The Philadelphia Eagles guard made the comments on his Twitter page which has since removed. According to NBC, he originally wrote: 'So, caught up on True Blood last night. Not a fan of how they get you hooked with the first two seasons then bring on a barrage of homosexuality.' Well, how very dare they. Herremans has now posted on the social networking site to apologise for his removed comments. 'After speaking with Eagles management, I realise that my tweet earlier was offensive and tasteless and for this, I deeply apologise,' he said. Note the 'after speaking to the management' bit. In other words 'They told me to apologise.' Very sincere, mate. 'It was not my intention to offend or hurt anyone,' he added. In which case I can only guess that you are phenomenally stupid, Todd as even a six year old could have probably predicted what was likely to happen of anyone was to make comments like that on a public forum. Goodness me, what a surprise. A meathead football jock displaying possible signs of homophobic tendencies. That's got to be a first. Mind you, given that current statistics suggest approximately one in every seven or eight adult males (approximately twelve per cent) are either gay, bisexual or at least open to a bit of experimentation, I'd imagine that several of Todd's Eagles team mates aren't, exactly, feeling the love over such comments.

Joanna Lumley has said that she is pleasantly surprised by the global popularity of Absolutely Fabulous. The actress, who played Patsy Stone in the BBC comedy, revealed that she enjoyed her experience on the show and had no idea how widespread its appeal would be. 'I just adored Absolutely Fabulous. We loved each other so much and sometimes in rehearsals we would just lay on the ground because we laughed so much, she told Grazia. 'You never imagined that people in truck stations in Ohio would end up watching it.' She added: 'Recently, I went on holiday with my family to a villa in Croatia. We were in the back of beyond and they had a shop with DVDs and there, with Croatian writing on it, was old Patsy!'

Claudia Winkleman has revealed that she is to undergo major eye surgery. The new Film 2010 host said she is so short-sighted that she is unable to read an autocue and has been told not to drive, despite wearing strong lenses and glasses. During Winkleman's operation, which takes place at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London next week, artificial lenses are to be surgically inserted to boost her minus fourteen vision. The presenter will then undergo laser surgery four weeks later to address a stigmatism. The thirty eight-year-old told the Sun: 'I can't even begin to tell you how blind I am. It's embarrassing. I can't read the autocue. My eyes have deteriorated so badly, I'm not meant to drive. So I booked into the doctor and he explained how they are going to do it. I had to ask him a few questions like, "Am I going to die?" - to which he laughed at me - and, "Could my eye pop out and roll?" He replied, "You're quite highly strung yet hilarious." I handed over my credit card. He gave me an enormous thing and said you have to read that. I said I can't.' Winkleman also said that her near-blindness was to blame for her standing so close to co-host Steve Jones when the pair presented Let's Dance For Comic Relief. She said: 'I'm not trying to flirt with him. I can't see. I think I'm in trouble.'

MTV Networks UK & Ireland has announced the launch of its first ever digital-only programme to be broadcast exclusively online. The live action show, titled Being Victor, is a Scottish teen drama about Vinnie Dupe - played by Waterloo Road star Dean Smith - as he struggles through teenage life aided by his online alter ego, blogger Victor Sage. Produced by Shed Media Scotland, the twenty-part series will debut exclusively on on 7 September. Ahead of the series premiere, MTV launched an actual Being Victor blog, with the Victor character making his first post on 5 July. The broadcaster has also used social media sites such as Twitter and MySpace to build a pre-show fan base for Being Victor. MTV and Shed Media plan to evolve certain aspects of the programme after the debut transmission, including a greater blend of 'real-time narratives with the drama. Viewing habits are evolving. Our audiences watch TV online and on mobile devices on the go, therefore we want to provide them with dedicated and ground-breaking content for these platforms,' said MTVN UK director of digital media Dan Patton. 'The elements that make Being Victor special are intrinsic to the fact that it is born online and will grow online to become whatever fans want to make it.' Shed Media Scotland digital development producer Kat Hebden added: 'Being Victor is a phenomenally exciting and ambitious project that treads new ground for drama online. It's so much more than just an entertainment programme as the flexibility and interactivity of the digital platforms enable us to build layers of interest around the series. We're delighted to have partnered with MTV UK to deliver the show. The network is truly engaged with the youth market and is the perfect brand fit for this project.'

Big Brother's long-standing creative director has been hired by ITV Studios to executive produce Loose Women. In September, Sharon Powers will replace Karl Newton, who has been executive producing the flagship daytime show in conjunction with his equivalent role on This Morning. Powers has overseen the creative development of Big Brother for the past six years at Endemol and prior to that was commissioning editor for factual entertainment at Channel 4. In addition, ITVS has appointed Leopard Films' Miles Jarvis as a development executive for daytime programming. Jarvis has executive produced ITV shows including Crash Scene Investigators and Evacuees Reunited. Fiona Keenaghan, creative director, daytime and lifestyle for ITVS, said: 'Securing the creative talents of Sharon Powers and Miles Jarvis is a real coup for Loose Women and ITV Daytime. I look forward to working closely with them both as we continue to develop the success of our daytime brands.'

Castaway's Ron Copsey has criticised the treatment of reality TV contestants. The therapist, who appeared on the BBC social experiment series in 2000, said that often the participants in such shows are unaware of 'what they're letting themselves in for.' Speaking about an incident from his time on the island of Taransay ten years ago, he told the Gruniad Morning Star: 'One of the kids stole some sweets from my room and the camera-woman demanded I be interviewed on camera. I refused, explaining that if the programme branded the child a thief, it could have devastating consequences for them. She told me that on becoming a Castaway we'd agreed that everything could be filmed. "It's contractual," I was informed. Her lack of concern for the child's welfare astounded me.' He continued: 'Sadly, it's far too late to stop the reality TV beast, but I'd like to see much better accountability and responsibility. Producers could start by only recruiting those robust enough for the challenge and by offering appropriate support and aftercare. Why does there always need to have been a fatal train crash before the dodgy rails are fixed?' Talking about his life after the show, he added: 'The biggest legacy is my healthy contempt for reality TV, and my desire to assist those who have also been damaged. Since gaining my degree and working as a therapist, I've decided to specialise in TV aftercare. I certainly feel qualified.' Copsey won a sixteen thousand pound libel case against the BBC about misrepresenting him on the show, but claimed that far worse behaviour was taking place on other shows such as The X Factor and Big Brother. 'I've watched the damage caused by reality TV get progressively worse,' he said. 'The cruel exploitation of young people on shows such as The X Factor; extreme violence erupting on Big Brother; suicides, mental breakdowns and even a murder arising from one American show. Many people who feel their lives have been destroyed by reality TV have contacted me for help and support - some of them suicidal. Their suffering is real - and a high price to pay for entertainment.'

A dead dog in Munich has received a bill for a TV licence. The bill from GEZ licence authorities for the public broadcasting fees was addressed to Bini, a dachshund who died five years ago. Bini's former owner Jennifer Pyka, twenty, told Bild: 'All of my memories came rushing back. I cried and tore up the letter in a rage. At least the GEZ has since apologised and removed Bini from their databank. But I'm still totally angry that something like this can even happen.' A spokesperson for GEZ's fee collection department Andreas Müller admitted that such incidents had happened before. The official explained that errors can occur as owners sometimes register their pets on Internet address books or for mail order contests which are picked up by external companies used to find potential fee-payers. It was a chain of unhappy circumstances,' he added. 'We are infinitely sorry.'