Monday, August 23, 2010

Surfing Blind In Chaos Theory

The first episode of this year's X Factor was watched by just over eleven million viewers on Saturday night, an increase on last year's opening figure of 9.9m. The ninety-minute opener, which featured the usual mix of genuine talent, deluded hopefuls and egomaniac judging, easily beat every other terrestrial rival. At it's peak, the ITV show was watched by 11.4m, nearly a fifty per cent share of the total Saturday night TV audience. In the same slot, BBC1 variety show Tonight's The Night, which had been doing quite well for the last few weeks, pulled in a meagre 3.3m. Hospital drama Casualty, which was also scheduled against X Factor, was seen by an average audience of 3.8m, overnight figures reveal. However, ITV failed to maintain its lead, losing more than six and a half million viewers as X Factor handed over to game show Magic Numbers. John Bishop's Britain had a respectable 3.68m at 9pm, Live At The Apollo 3.64m at 9.30pm, and Match of the Day pulled in 4.01m at 10.30pm. Overall, ITV beat BBC1 in prime time for the first time since June, with twenty eight per cent to eighteen per cent. Now in its seventh series, The X Factor has had to recruit a series of guest judges as Dannii Minogue was on maternity leave during early stages of filming. Saturday's auditionees were evaluated by former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, alongside regular judges Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole and Louis Walsh. The show opened with Glaswegian Stephen Hunter, who surprised the panel with his camp dance moves and unexpectedly soulful vocals on a version of The Trammps' 'Disco Inferno.' Other highlights included eighteen-year-old student Gamu Nhengu, whose interpretation of 'Walking On Sunshine' defied Cowell's expectations. A trio named Jahm who met online and believed themselves to be the next N-Dubz, were less successful, however. In fact, they were shit. Their mauling of Lady Gaga's 'Bad Romance' was met with a stunned silence from the judges and the audience alike.

Simon Pegg, meanwhile, is one of a number of people with more time on their hands than they know what to do with, who've shared their thoughts on The X Factor over the weekend. The Shaun of the Dead actor told his Twitter followers that Saturday's act G&S should have stood for 'Good & Shit.' He said: 'I only caught a bit of X Factor but I very much enjoyed the story of the double act G-ood and S-hit. Who writes the scripts?'

Torchwood star John Barrowman held a huge clear-out garage sale at his house over the weekend. The Glasgow-born actor was selling clothes and a clutch of memorabilia. He was even flogging off his blue Peugeot 407 outside his house near Cardiff in Wales. Barrowman made sure he got rid of a blue England football T-shirt by giving it away. One fan said: 'It was amazing. He was happy to have a cup of tea and joke with everyone. There were some great bargains too. You could buy his clothes, a Torchwood doll, and he was even selling his wetsuit.' But fans have no need to fear the forty three-year-old is going to leave the area, as earlier this year he said he loves living in Wales as the people 'are so generous.' The main reason for the sale, Barrowman said, is that he is expecting to be out of the country for most of the next few months filming the nest series of Torchwood.

Coronation Street star Antony Cotton has claimed that there is 'no big bad feeling' among the cast about the upcoming tram crash. The actor, who plays Sean Tully in the ITV soap, admitted that he is confident he won't be killed off because he recently signed a new contract. He told OK! magazine: 'The show changes all the time and tongues are wagging but ultimately we're used to it as new producers come in every couple of years. There's no big bad feeling - the majority are excited about the new stories and feel it's a breath of fresh air. Still, it's easy for me to say as I've signed a new contract.' It is known that several major characters will be killed off later this year when a tram crashes into the street as part of the show's fiftieth birthday celebrations.

Linus Roache has revealed that his father, Corrie star Bill Roache, is an inspiration to him. The actor, who joins Coronation Street next week as Ken Barlow's long-lost son, added that fans approach his father everywhere he goes. Speaking to the Sunday Mirror, he said: 'We went for a walk together the other day and these young girls were saying, "Oh, we love Bill Roache, we've always had a thing for him." And they weren't joking, it was for real. 'Dad is an inspiration to me. I don't like talking about his age, but he's seventy eight, which is unbelievable and I literally cannot relate to him like that. He's full of vitality and extremely healthy. He's a sex symbol, for God's sake. I hardly ever get recognised in this country, it's just my dad - and it even happens in New York. We went to the top of the Empire State Building and someone went, "Ooh, look, it's Ken Barlow over there." It was worse when I was younger. I remember once he was judging a beauty contest on the Isle of Man in a big open-air swimming pool that had been emptied out. There were literally thousands of people there and as we arrived and got out of the car, suddenly hordes of people swarmed forward trying to get through the barricades screaming, "Bill! Bill!" I was seven years old and holding his hand, and I remember thinking it was like he was one of The Beatles.'

The draft scripts for The Beatles' films A Hard Day's Night and Help! have been donated to the British Film Institute by director Richard Lester. Simply titled The Beatles and Beatles Two, they form part of Lester's archive, which is all going to the BFI. The treasures include correspondence from Hollywood stars Audrey Hepburn, Raquel Welch and Charlton Heston. The archive also contains a 'begging letter' from Spike Milligan, who offers to do laundry in exchange for a job. The comic, who rose to fame on The Goon Show, wrote to Lester in 1980, saying he was bored with television and 'no matter how small I would like a part, preferably the lead.' Milligan, who died in 2002, reminded the director he had previously worked as a 'straight actor,' adding: 'Have own beard and wig, on site laundry done and secret masses said for Polish Catholics.' In fact, it was Lester's association with Milligan that had launched his film career. He was instrumental in adapting radio comedy programme The Goon Show for television, in the 1956 series The Idiot Weekly, Price 2d. That led to further work with Milligan and fellow Goon Peter Sellers - including a short film, The Running Jumping And Standing Still Film, which caught the eye of The Beatles. Lester's success with the Fab Four made him a mainstay of the Swinging '60s scene. Bawdy sex comedy The Knack... And How To Get It exemplified the era, and went on to win the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. The director later found box office success in Hollywood, directing Christopher Reeve in Superman and Oliver Reed in The Three Muskateers. The American-born filmmaker, now seventy eight, said he had decided to donate his archive to the BFI because of 'a long association' going back over forty years. 'The organisation has always been very helpful to me,' he said. 'It is a pleasure for me to be able to offer them the detritus of my working life.'

Comedian Tim Vine has won a prize for the funniest joke of this year's Edinburgh Fringe. The comedian, who won the Perrier newcomer award in 1995, was presented with his latest prize by digital TV channel Dave. His winning one-liner was: 'I've just been on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday. I'll tell you what, never again.' Heh! The award was judged by eight comedy critics, whose shortlist of twenty four jokes went forward to a public vote.

Jamie Oliver has won an Emmy Award for his US television series Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. The six-part series, which attempted to change the eating habits of America's so-called fattest town, won the Outstanding Reality Programme award at the Creative Arts Emmy ceremony. Oliver later tweeted: 'I can't believe we won the Emmy for Food Revolution!' No, me neither, pal. Then again, I always did wonder about the Americans' taste in such matters.

Abbey Clancy has reportedly been offered a full-time style slot on This Morning. The model had been presenting a regular fashion item on the show, which was due to last all summer, but she cancelled her most recent appearance after claims that fiancé Peter Crouch had cheated on her. According to the Daily Star Sunday, Clancy will take a four-week break from the programme, before returning to front a permanent fashion feature. A source said: 'Everyone thought Abbey did a fantastic job. She's a style icon to many women and she obviously knows her stuff. She's very natural in front of the cameras. It'll be a major coup if we get her but the bosses are pulling out all the stops.'

Did you know, dear blog reader, that at school, Jason Manford was the singer in an indie band called Panic. Their biggest gig was when he was fifteen at the Whalley Range Tennis & Cricket Club, where the band raised four hundred pounds for a cancer hospital.

A toilet alleged to have once belonged to Catcher In The Rye author JD Salinger has been put on eBay for one million dollars. According to the BBC, the seller claims to have acquired the 'used toilet commode' from the owners of a house that Salinger once owned. The toilet is said to be 'uncleaned and in its original condition.' Ew! 'Who knows how many of [his] stories were thought up and written while Salinger sat on this throne!' the listing adds. The item comes with a letter from the owners of the house in Cornish, New Hampshire, confirming that they removed the toilet during renovations.

Olly Murs's twin brother, Ben Murs-Hart, has claimed that The X Factor has ruined their relationship. Talking to the News of the World, Murs-Hart admitted that he hasn't spoken to the singer since he missed his wedding for the semi-final of The X Factor last year. He also suggested that fame has changed his brother. Speaking of his wedding, he said: 'Something was missing and that was Olly. It's clear people like Simon Cowell are more important to him than me. He's a self-absorbed sell-out. Our family was torn apart because of The X Factor. Things have got to the point where if I have children, I don't even want Olly to meet them. I watch my brother - the same person I shared a womb with - on TV now and it's like I don't even know who he is. I understand why Olly wasn't at the wedding. It clashed with the X Factor semi-final and singing has been his dream for years. But what hurt was that he never even told me himself he wasn't going to be able to be my best man. I kept reading how Olly had said he was "gutted" he couldn't make it, but when the wedding came I had my mobile in my pocket all day hoping he would call or even text to say "good luck" or "congratulations." I never heard from him. It was heartbreaking.'