Thursday, August 26, 2010

Down On Rue Morgue Avenue

Matt Smith will continue to star in Doctor Who until at least the show's fiftieth anniversary in 2013, according to tabloid reports. The Daily Express claims that BBC bosses are 'keen to hold on to the actor for as long as possible.' A 'source' allegedly told them: 'The current team believe that Matt is the person to continue taking the show forward over the next few years and want to avoid the prospect of fans having to get used to yet another actor in the role in the near future.' The 'insider' is also said to have confirmed that Smith has no plans to leave the role, despite a suspiciously co-ordinated and sustained campaign of whispers by the Sun to suggest otherwise. 'Matt has made it clear he's keen to commit himself to the series for the long-term,' they claimed. However, a BBC spokeswoman apparently denied that casting had been finalised so far in advance. 'From Matt's point of view he's loving playing the part and has no plans to quit,' she confirmed. 'We aren't in a position to provide a comment as to whether he'll be playing the part in 2013.' Meanwhile, the BBC have announced that they will broadcast the recent Doctor Who Prom next month. An edited version of the event will air on BBC3 on 6 September. The hour-long programme will begin at 8.30pm. The channel will also screen the documentary special Doctor Who's Greatest Moments and a repeat of recent series finale The Big Bang in the lead up to the Prom. The event originally took place on 24 July and was previously broadcast in full on BBC Radio 3. It was hosted by Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill.

The executive producer of House has revealed that she is looking forward to exploring the romances on the show. Katie Jacobs told Entertainment Weekly that she is interested in the group's dynamics now that House (Hugh Laurie) and Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) are dating and Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) is in a relationship with Sam (Cynthia Watros). 'Essentially I've always viewed our guys as a family,' she said. 'And they are a family. And so now this season, with coupling up with others, I wonder if our guys don't try to sneak back and have a beer with just the guys, do you know what I mean?' She continued: 'I mean, how well do our characters who only have last names - Cuddy, House, Wilson, Chase - how do they couple up? So we'll see.'

CSI's executive producer Carol Mendelsohn has revealed that the characters are still struggling to come to terms with the events of the last season finale. In the episode, Ray Langston (Laurence Fishburne) was stabbed by Nate Haskell (Bill Irwin). However, Mendelsohn told TV Guide that Ray will not be the only person affected by the assault. 'All of our characters will be recovering from the events of the finale,' she said. '[Ray] will have lost something in the attack.' Mendelsohn also revealed that she wants Nate to stand trial for the stabbing, saying: 'Our current plan is to have Nate Haskell defend himself, and anything goes - including putting Langston on the stand!'

The boss of Pinewood Studios, where the Bond films are shot, has said that he is 'sure' there will be another instalment in the future. Producers of the twenty third movie in the series had hoped for a release in 2011 or 2012 but the franchise is currently on hold due to uncertainty over the future of MGM. According to WENN, the delay had caused 'fears' - although amongst whom, they did not say - that Daniel Craig's Quantum of Solace would be the final film. However, the studio's chief executive Ivan Dunleavy told Sky News: 'I am sure there will be another Bond movie in future.' He added of the planned closure of the UK Film Council: 'That decision has been made and there are a number of functions that the UK Film Council performs and they will be ongoing.'

Ant and Dec's plans to revive the game show Name That Tune for Channel Five have been abandoned over an issue with the owners of the format. And, because it would have been shite. The duo announced in October that their company would revive the show, which was popular in the 1970s and 80s. Five, which was recently acquired by publishing mogul Richard Desmond, will now produce a new music quiz show called The Beat Goes On. It will test musical knowledge and singing and dancing ability. The programme will be presented by Dave Berry. A statement from Channel Five, Ant and Dec's company Gallowgate and GroupM Entertainment - who are co-producing the new show - said they agreed with the Name That Tune format holders not to pursue a revival. When the return of the quiz was announced last year, Five hailed it as 'peak-time entertainment for a sophisticated Twenty First Century audience.' Which was, of course, bollocks. Name That Tune began life as a segment in 1970s variety show Wednesday At Eight, but it became a show in its own right in the 1980s with comedian Tom O'Connor at the helm. He was eventually replaced by Lionel Blair. It is not the first time Five has attempted to revive the show, as Jools Holland hosted a short-lived version in the late 1990s.

BBC4 has announced that it will broadcast an opera based on the life of Anna Nicole Smith. According to the Gruniad Morning Star, the imaginatively titled Anna Nicole - The Opera is a collaboration between BBC Productions, the Royal Opera House and composer Mark Anthony Turnage. Smith, who died in 2007 after an overdose, will be played by Dutch soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek. The opera is expected to be broadcast on BBC4 early next year. The channel also unveiled plans to adapt the Douglas Adams novel Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency and the DH Lawrence books Women In Love and The Rainbow. Elsewhere, Carry On star Hattie Jacques will be portrayed by big fat Ruth Jones in a biopic, whilst Jessie Wallace will appear as Pat Phoenix in Coronation Street: A Star Is Born. The drama focuses on the soap's creator Tony Warren as he fought to get the first episode on television. In addition to Jones, Hattie also stars Cold Feet's Robert Bathurst as John Le Mesurier with Being Human actor Aidan Turner as Jacques' youthful lover John Schofield. There will also be a film tribute by Billy Connolly to one of Scotland's greatest poets Norman MacCaig, who died in 1996 and an adaptation of Macbeth starring Patrick Stewart alongside documentaries about art in Germany, British sculpture, and artefacts found in one English village. BBC4 controller Richard Klein said: 'BBC4 is the channel that seeks to offer television to those parts of the brain that other television channels don't reach. We always aim to provide context and complexity, and all with a strong flavour of wit and opinion. So I am delighted to be able to offer a host of deliciously inventive, thought-provoking and entertaining programmes over the next six months.' The full range of press packs can be viewed here.

Meanwhile, confirmed air-dates from ITV
U Be Dead - Sunday 5 September at 21:00
Bouquet of Barbed Wire begins Monday 6 September at 21:00
Law & Order: UK returns Thursday 9 September at 21:00
Paul O'Grady Live begins Friday 10 September at 21:00

League Of Gentlemen star and Doctor Who and Sherlock writer Mark Gatiss celebrates the horror film in a new three-part series for BBC4. Mark begins his exploration of the genre by looking at the golden age of Hollywood horror of the Thirties and Forties and examines some iconic pictures directed by Englishman James Whale (Frankenstein, The Old Dark House and Bride Of Frankenstein), who loaned the films a camp sensibility, and populated them with a largely British ex-pat cast. The second episode concentrates on the complete reinterpretation of the genre. In Hammer's 1958 remake of Dracula, the original vampire with heavy face and foul breath was gone and along came the Byronic Count in the shape of Christopher Lee, a bloodsucker of almost gentlemanly proportions. It was at this time that horror films turned from black and white to colour and began to feature an element of sex, tapping into an increasingly permissive society. The last programme in the series explores the gritty and graphic new wave of horror cinema from Night Of The Living Dead in 1968 to the movie Halloween ten years later, the first of the great slew of slasher films which were to dominate the next decade. Mark details the shifts in the horror genre, and meets leading film-makers from the era. Gatiss will also play Professor Cavor in BBC4's forthcoming adaptation of HG Wells' The First Men On The Moon alongside Rory Kinnear. The story is told to a young boy in 1969 as the world waits for news of the Apollo 11 astronauts.

Matthew Fox has admitted that he has never seen an episode of Lost. And, judging by his performance in series three and four, yer Keith Telly Topping can well believe that.

Simon Cowell has admitted that he is 'devastated' to have had to axe Shirlena Johnson from The X Factor. Yesterday, it was claimed that the thirty-year-old would be removed from the competition after a medical report revealed that she had been diagnosed with serious mental health problems. 'It's heartbreaking,' Cowell told the Sun. Johnson, they note, 'stunned' viewers with her bizarre performance of Duffy's 'Mercy' in the first episode of the ITV programme's seventh series. Producers may now be forced to scrap footage of the singer's appearance at Boot Camp. Cowell continued: 'I really feel for her. I'm very upset and disappointed. The advice I'm given is she can't do the show. But there's another argument that we're depriving her of the chance to make some money. Even if she didn't win, she could have picked up money for personal appearances.' He added: 'On the other hand, if we don't take the advice we're irresponsible.' The newspaper revealed that Johnson had performed Lady GaGa's 'Bad Romance' in a leopard print bra and hotpants at Boot Camp - filmed last month in front of Cowell, Louis Walsh and Nicole Scherzinger. 'Nicole and Louis kept giggling and Simon was in disbelief,' a source said. Johnson told the paper that she did not hide her medical problems intentionally. 'I just wasn't sure how much I was supposed to say,' she said. 'I'm very upset. I think people want to hear more of me and they will be disappointed by this.' She added: 'It's not fair. I want another chance.' An X Factor spokesperson said: 'The welfare of contestants is of paramount importance and it has been agreed Shirlena Johnson should not continue.'

Meanwhile Johnson's mother has 'hit out' at The X Factor for the decision. Johnson has been removed from the competition after producers received a medical report which revealed that she suffers from serious mental health problems. However, Carmen Stanley claimed that the show 'bosses' - that's tabloid shorthand for 'producers' only with less syllables - were aware of her daughter's illness and the medication that she uses. 'It's cruel the way they have built up her hopes only to dash them again,' she told the Mirror. X Factor 'insiders' said that the thirty-year-old's medical reports were delayed because her doctor was on holiday. 'We acted as quickly as we could to do the right thing in a responsible way,' they said. Presumably in unison. 'We only received it on Monday, so we took appropriate action as soon as we could. We believe we did the right thing and acted in a responsible way.' Her family denied the claims and insisted that that 'all her medical reports' had been requested a month ago. Stanley said: 'I feel angry. I think it's very unfair. When she was at Boot Camp she had to fill a form in about her medical history and she had to put her doctor's name down. I think it's disgusting, them claiming that they've just found her medical report. I would prefer that she was never on the show if I knew this was going to happen.' She added: 'I think it's appalling the way she has been treated - building up her hopes only to crush them again.' Shirlena's aunt Maxine Stanley also hit out at the programme-makers for not looking after her niece. 'I don't think the show's been supporting her at all,' she said. 'If they thought she was mad she shouldn't have been allowed to go on stage in the first place.' A psychologist was reportedly present as the mother-of-two was informed of the decision by the show's executives in person.

Sir David Jason has revealed that he wants to pay tribute to World War II heroes in his new show. Albert's Memorial, which also stars David Warner, focuses on a pair of war veterans called Harry and Frank who vow to give their friend Albert a battlefield burial. According to the Mirror, Jason explained: 'There was a lot of laughter.' Yeah, because the Second World War was bloody hilarious, wasn't it? 'But a lot of pathos too.' So, that's all right then. He added: 'I suppose that I just grew up knowing, in a very vivid way, that if it hadn't been for the men who fought in the Second World War we'd all be living in a very different world now. I feel that we owe a debt of gratitude to men like Harry, Frank and Albert and Albert's Memorial is a small way of acknowledging it.'

Alicia Coppola will make a guest appearance in the second season of NCIS: Los Angeles. TV Guide reports that she will play FBI agent Amy Rand, an expert on kidnapping cases. Described as 'athletic, determined and authoritative,' the character will team up with the NCIS team to prevent a murder spree. Coppola will make her first appearance on the show in October. It is also possible that her character could return later in the season. The actress previously played IRS agent Mimi Clark on CBS drama Jericho and has also made guest appearances on both the original NCIS and its predecessor JAG.

Richard Desmond is in talks to take Big Brother to Channel Five next year. The show's run on Channel Four is to end next month, with this week's Big Brother series eleven final to be followed by two and a half weeks of Ultimate Big Brother to find the most popular housemate from the past ten years. Talks are now said to be in progress between Channel Five and Big Brother producer Endemol UK. However, it is understood the full details of the deal are still to be finalised and no announcement is imminent. Desmond has publicly declared his interest in buying the series, despite the fact that many observers believe it is a tired format. Channel Four announced last year the current series would be the last. It will end with the Ultimate Big Brother final on Friday, 10 September. Last night's Big Brother winner Josie Gibson has been joined by eleven former housemates, including Ulrika Jonsson, Brian Dowling, Nick Bateman and Nadia Almada, for the show's final fling on Channel Four. Northern & Shell, Desmond's privately owned media group, originally teamed up with Endemol with the intention of mounting a joint bid for the UK's fourth largest terrestrial channel. But Desmond eventually bought Channel Five last month from pan-European broadcaster RTL without the need for a partner. Channel Four signed a three-year contract with Endemol for Big Brother in 2006, which was said at the time to be worth up to seventy million pounds. The first three-year deal Channel Four signed with Endemol for Big Brother in 2002 was understood to have cost the broadcaster up to forty million pounds. Desmond is likely to pay far less than that. One senior TV industry insider allegedly told the Gruniad Morning Star that thirty million might be a more realistic figure now that the show's popularity has waned. Big Brother's ratings peaked in 2002 with series three, won by Kate Lawler. The series averaged 5.3 million viewers, with 9.2 million for the final. Average viewing figures for the main summer series remained over four million for the next four years, before beginning to dip in 2007 after the Shilpa Shetty race row engulfed Celebrity Big Brother. In 2009 Big Brother series ten averaged about 2.2 million. This year's final Big Brother series on Channel Four has seen an improvement in ratings, but it is still nowhere near the show's pre-2007 heyday.

The Advertising Standards Authority has banned a BT advert for making misleading claims about its broadband speeds, after complaints from Virgin Media, TalkTalk and Sky. Last year, BT launched a TV advert, three radio ads and a national press campaign for its BT Total Broadband service as part of the long-running 'Adam and Jane' campaign starring Kris Marshall and Esther Hall. The adverts claimed that BT was 'rolling out up to Twenty Mbps speeds to give you a consistently faster broadband throughout the day even at peak times.' The TV advert featured the Adam character viewing a house while his partner Jane used the Internet at home. The ASA received a total of seventeen complaints about the adverts, including objections from Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media. Some complainants felt that the speed with which Jane was surfing the net was faster than any available connection speed, while others viewed BT's speed claims as misleading. In response, BT argued that the sequence in the TV advert was not intended to give a direct comparison of the faster speeds achievable on its Twenty Mbps service. However, the ASA noted that consumers would expect any on-screen demonstrations to give a fair representation of the 'benefits available to them,' which was 'not the case' in BT's advert. The watchdog also ruled that BT could not substantiate its claim that the Twenty Mbps service was consistently faster than its Eight Mbps connection, even at peak times. It therefore decided that the ad was 'likely to mislead' and must not appear again in its current form.The ASA added: 'We reminded BT to ensure they held robust documentary evidence to prove all claims capable of objective substantiation.'

Police and health and safety officials are investigating after a mother and son were seriously injured by a falling tree at a Pembrokeshire wildlife park. The twenty eight-year-old woman and her four-year-old son from Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, were flown to hospital in Swansea with serious injuries. The accident was at Manor Wildlife Park, St Florence, near Tenby. The park is owned by TV celebrity Anna Ryder Richardson and her husband Colin MacDougall. The couple issued a statement saying they were 'absolutely devastated' by the incident and that their 'only concern is for the little boy and his mother. Our thoughts are with them and their family,' the couple said.

Konnie Huq has claimed that her fiancé Charlie Brooker is 'more of a softie' than people realise. We believe you, chuck, thousands wouldn't. Huq said that fans should not have been surprised to hear about their engagement earlier this year, arguing that their differing public images are not particularly accurate. 'We're not opposites attract as people think,' she told Look magazine. 'We've known each other for years. We met at the Edinburgh Festival and always got on well. I've got more of an evil sense of humour than people realise and although Charlie's job is to be critical, he's more of a softie than you'd think.' The former Blue Peter star also revealed that the couple were initially planning to get married in Las Vegas, but put the plans on hold after she landed the presenting slot on The Xtra Factor.

Laurence Fishburne has reportedly been paying for daughter Montana's legal representation. The nineteen-year-old was recently charged for battery and assault with a deadly weapon after beating her ex-boyfriend's new girlfriend. According to TMZ, Laurence hired Lindsay Lohan's lawyer, Shawn Chapman Holley, to represent Montana in the hope of helping her avoid jail time. A source told the website that the actor continues to pay for Chapman's service and all related court fees. Montana previously revealed that her father would not speak to her until she gave up her new career in porn.

Vintage TV has confirmed plans to support music charity Nordoff Robbins by donating half the revenue from a public vote to choose the first song played for its launch. On 1 September, Vintage TV will officially start broadcasting a schedule of music and popular culture programming aimed at over-fifties on Sky and Freesat. Alongside a raft of commissioned shows, the channel will also air specially-created videos for songs that were in the charts prior to 1976, when promotional music videos did not exist. Using footage and images from some of the world's leading archive collections - including Getty, ITN Source and the BBC - the broadcaster has created videos for songs such as 'Not Fade Away' by The Rolling Stones, 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow' by The Shirelles and 'If I Can Dream' by Elvis Presley. Errr... there already was a video for the latter. It was brilliant. Vintage TV is running a public text vote for people to select the first song to be played on the channel from a list of fifty possible tracks. The broadcaster said that it will donate fifty per cent of the revenue from the vote to the Nordoff Robbins charity, which provides music therapy services. David Pick, the former EMI executive who set up Vintage TV, said: 'We are honoured to be able to support this extremely worthy cause. Nordoff Robbins is renowned worldwide for the great work it has been doing through music since 1959. The results it achieves with no government funding at all are little short of remarkable.' Emily Brett, Nordoff Robbins fundraising manager, added: 'Play, dance or sing - everyone responds to music. It has a unique power. 'Nordoff Robbins harnesses this - with all its emotion, energy, resonance and rhythm - to reach children and adults whose lives are constrained by illness, disability, trauma or exclusion. Nordoff Robbins supporters are behind every life-changing experience in music that we enable. We receive no statutory funding, and are heavily reliant on voluntary donations to deliver forty five thousand sessions every year - in schools, day centres, hospitals and care homes across the UK, and in our centre and units. Every one of these sessions helps to transform someone's life. We are delighted that Vintage TV have chosen to support our unique charity."

Chris Evans has been forced to shut down his pub The Lickfold Inn due to a lack of business, it has been revealed. The ONE Show host blamed the recession for putting customers off coming to the Fifteenth Century gastropub in Petworth, West Sussex, reports the Sun. Camilla Hansen, head of the Evans Pubs firm, said: 'After almost three years I have sadly had to make the decision to close The Lickfold Inn. We have had some great times there but also some less good times and after a period of struggling to hit a consistent high, I feel that we can no longer justify keeping the Lickfold open.' Evans staged the wedding reception for ex-wife Billie Piper and Laurence Fox at the pub in 2007.