Monday, August 16, 2010

What Are Those Buggers Listening To?

Contestants on this year's Strictly Come Dancing will be revealed in a launch show filmed in front of an audience at the BBC Television Centre. They will also be introduced to their dance partners during the one-hour show, to be broadcast on 11 September - three weeks before the start of this year's contest. Press reports have speculated that the contestants will be paid on a per-show basis this year, rather than being given a flat fee for the entire series. And it has been widely reported that Bruce Forsyth will no longer present the results show. The eighty two-year-old - who missed an episode of Strictly last year after catching influenza - has already revealed that will be taking a pay cut for the 2010 series. In the newly-announced launch show, dancers and contestants will be filmed arriving on a red carpet and performing a group dance together. The programme will be shot on 8 September for broadcast three days later. First meetings between dancers and celebrities in previous series were filmed in dance studios or workplaces and shown in video inserts during the opening episode. The BBC's Mark Linsey called the 'red carpet event' the ideal way to launch 'a series that features more excitement and glamour than ever before.'

Just to repeat, dear blog reader, in a shock development Ian Wright has been axed from Live From Studio Five. That's not, actually, news any more, per se. But, it is still funny.

Coronation Street producer Phil Collinson is alleged to be getting the set of the show swept for bugging devices. Collinson, who joined the ITV soap in March, is said to be determined to discover the source, or sources, of several script leaks which have been reported in the press and has hired 'a specialist team' to uncover the root cause of the problem. According to the News of the World, one of the very organs of the media that have been the beneficiary of just such leaks. The producer, apparently, wants to prevent any storylines from leaking to the press in the build-up to the show's fiftieth anniversary. He has reportedly implemented what the paper describes as 'on-the-spot checks and questioning' - sort of 'have you, by any chance, told the tabloids about any upcoming plots?' 'Why, yes I did as it happens.' 'Okay. By the way, you know this tram crash we're having? Well, you'll be dying in it' thing, perhaps - and is making plans for scripts to only be accessible through a locked door. Collinson said: 'I'm determined to discover who is leaking scripts. We're deploying unprecedented security measures to clamp down on these breaches.' So, all buggers beware, your reign of buggerisation may be at an end.

Rumour reaches From The North that Billy Connolly's next travelogue series will see the Big Yin hitting the road on Route 66. You know, the one that 'winds from Chicago to LA.' Whether we'll learn more from this about the freeway than we do from the song remains to be seen. Although, as a big fan of Billy Connolly's Tour of Australia, I'm prepared to say 'probably.'

And, in somewhat-related Corrie news, the Kabin and the Corner Shop will reportedly be destroyed in Coronation Street's upcoming tram crash. The new bar, The Joinery, will also be damaged after a tram plunges off the viaduct in scenes planned by special-effects experts, according to the Sunday Mirror. Err ... You might want to ask them exactly where they got this information from, Phil? Seems some of your buggers have slipped the net. A 'source' allegedly told the paper: 'It will be total carnage and the scenes will make incredible viewing. The producers want to make it the most dramatic episode Coronation Street has ever shown and they are pulling out all the stops.' At least, they were until you gave details of the storyline to the tabloids and ruined the surprise, Mr or Ms 'source.' The Kabin and the Corner Shop, our 'source' continued 'will both be destroyed along with the bar. The producers haven't yet decided which characters will be inside so everyone feels like an axe is dangling over their head.' Or, if they have, they've managed not to blurt it out on-set where walls have ears, apparently. 'There are rumours that up to a dozen stars could be killed off. It's going to be a bloodbath.' Collinson will also apparently use the crash to introduce new characters to the soap, the 'source' added: 'There is a feeling among the top brass that Coronation Street needs to come into the Twenty First Century a bit more. They want the show to look a lot different next year.' So, they're crashing a very Twentieth Century form a transport - a tram - into the street. There's an irony in there somewhere.

Simon Cowell has reportedly ordered his fellow X Factor judges, Cheryl Cole and Dannii Minogue, to 'be tougher' on the show's contestants this year. According to the News of the World, Cowell has warned the pair to stop treating the show 'like a beauty contest' and to focus, instead, on their acts rather than their so-called 'style war'. A 'source' - and here, we have to presume it's a different one to the potential Coronation Street bugger - said: 'Simon felt that last year Cheryl and Dannii went too easy on their own acts. He believes they are nervous to say what they really think in case fans think they are being too mean. They hate being booed but Simon reckons they need to grow thicker skins. He's never scared to criticise his own acts. He wants the other judges to do the same and stop holding back. The music industry is unforgiving and he wants the panel to reflect that this year - even if that's brutal. Cheryl can be feisty so Simon's told her to let go and say what she's thinking and Dannii can be sharp-tongued. Simon's advice is if people don't like what they say, it's tough.'

David Gray, meanwhile, has criticised The X Factor, calling it 'meaningless tripe.' Which, might well be true. In fact, it probably is true. But, I've got to say, dear blog reader, coming from David Gray that's a bit rich, frankly. The singer, who sold over seven million copies of his CD White Ladder, and then pretty much bugger-all since, admitted that he doesn't like the show because it is designed 'purely to entertain the masses.' So was The Morecambe and Wise Show, David, what's your point? After being asked for his opinion on Jedward, he told the Observer: 'I wasn't even going to dignify that with a response. It's just meaningless tripe that's entertaining everyone royally.' Speaking of the mainstream music industry, he added: 'It's hostile terrain. I couldn't tell you a song that's been in the charts recently. Apart from 'Empire State of Mind,' which my children play relentlessly.' On the subject of finding fame, he added: '[It was] a bit overwhelming. Fame is not something you can do a course on at City Lit and, yes, for a moment, it was all a bit too much for me. I realised instantly that I like my privacy.' Well, David, at least look at it this way, being famous isn't really something you have to worry about much these days, since your records stopped selling. Thankfully.

The BBC is reportedly planning a major revamp of Dragons' Den which could see James Caan, Theo Paphitis and Deborah Meaden all 'axed from the panel.' According to the News of the World, and so therefore probably a load of lies, producers of the show are already looking for potential replacements for next year's show. Peter Jones and Duncan Bannatyne however will, allegedly, remain on the panel. At least, according to a 'source.' Now, whether this 'source' knows the X Factor 'source' or the Corrie 'sourse' - bibilically, or otherwise - or, indeed, is in any way related to HP sauce, I cannot say. And, even if I could, I probably wouldn't. Because the buggers might be listening. Anyway, the 'source' said: 'The producers are planning a big overhaul of the show. They're approaching a lot of new businessmen and women - they'd like some younger millionaires and more women on the panel too.' Internet entrepreneur James Simpson, twenty eight, has apparently been approached to join the show. The 'source' added: 'He's exactly the sort of dragon they want. He's young, self-made and would bring glamour to the panel.' A spokesman for the BBC, however, said: 'It is far too early to talk about the next series and any comment on who the dragons may be is nothing more than pure speculation.' Before adding, and 'how do you know about this, have you been buggering us? Well, stop it. And, don't listen to any of the fifty seven varieties of the Heinz family, either.' Allegedly.

I must say, yer Keith Telly Topping loved Keith Watson's review of Must Be The Music in the Metro: 'It goes to show how low our expectations have dipped on the TV talent front that Must Be The Music (Sky1) could trumpet itself as 'a brand new type of music talent show' without a hint of irony. So what exactly is new? 'It's about acts who can sing, play ... or do both!' trilled Fearne Cotton, taking time out from dribbling over Paris Hilton and Peaches Geldof. Now that's what I call groundbreaking.' Nice bit of sark there, Mr Watson, sir!

Alleged comedian - although personally I find her about as funny and a kick in the stones - Holly Walsh has been injured after leaping from a pier during the annual Worthing International Birdman festival. Walsh, whose regular appearances on Mock The Week are pretty much always something of a turn-off, had to be rescued from the water by a lifeboat crew. She was placed on a spinal board before being taken to hospital with a suspected dislocated shoulder and fractured arm. In the event, competitors try to 'fly' the furthest off the end of the West Sussex town's pier. Some ten thousand spectators were thought to have attended the second day of the weekend event, which was suspended for about twenty minutes as Walsh was rescued from the drink. Walsh, who was trying to raise money for Rainbows Children's Hospice, had leapt from the pier in a mock helicopter. Shoreham lifeboat spokesman Dave Cassan said: 'We can confirm we were tasked to get a person out of the water. It appears she entered the water wrong.' Competitors - or so-called 'fun flyers' - often dress in elaborate costumes as part of the event. Entrants this year included a pair dressed as The Owl and The Pussycat, complete with rowing boat, and Batman and Robin. On Saturday, Eddie the Eagle Edwards took part in a more seriously-taken competition, where entrants launch themselves off the pier in gliders and other makeshift flying contraptions. The former Olympic ski jumper, who was attempting to soar like an eagle complete with skis and ski poles, only managed to fly 7.52m before ending in the sea. Not so much flying, then, as plummeting. Speaking about Walsh's mishap, Mr Cassan added: 'It is thought she has a serious fracture above her elbow and a dislocated shoulder. The inshore lifeboat brought her to the shore at Worthing and she was transferred to hospital by ambulance.'

Kerry Katona is reportedly looking to date a millionaire from her home town of Warrington. The reality TV regular and failure, who split from her latest boyfriend last month, is said to be hoping to 'secure' an older man who won't depend on her financially, according to the News of the World. A 'source' - that family get everywhere - said: 'Kerry's done with working class lads who can't look after her. She now wants someone financially independent, older, decent-looking with no ties. And if he came from Warrington that would be a bonus.' Aw, crap. That's this blogger's chances with her cream-crackered then. What a tragedy.