Thursday, August 12, 2010


X-Files actress Gillian Anderson has been announced to appear in a new BBC2 drama The Crimson Petal & White. Earlier this year, the channel's controller Janice Hadlow revealed plans to air the four-part piece, 'a sexually-charged story' about Victorian prostitution. Sherlock and Doctor Who writer Mark Gatiss will also appear, alongside Atonement's Romala Garai, Chris O'Dowd from The IT Crowd, Richard E Grant and Shirley Henderson. The Crimson Petal & White, which will be broadcast later this year, is said to be BBC2's 'most ambitious commission.'

Former-Hollyoaks actor Ricky Whittle has been cleared of dangerous driving charges at Liverpool Crown Court. After a three-day trial, a jury of five men and seven women took just over an hour to clear the soap actor and Strictly Come Dancing runner-up of charges relating to an incident in Liverpool city centre in the early hours of 27 November last year. He was accused of deliberately driving his American Dodge truck at paparazzo Stephen Farrell. Earlier, the actor's Hollyoaks co-star and ex-girlfriend Carley Stenson had given evidence in the case. Whittle was picking up Stenson and a friend from a party at Parr Studios when the incident occurred. Stenson told the court that Whittle had asked photographers to back off, claiming that she heard him say: 'Come on, fellas, please stop.' Whittle's barrister Stuart Driver QC claimed that his client was 'ashamed' of the footage of him hitting Farrell on CCTV, but insisted that it was not intentional. In a closing statement, Driver said: 'What happened was the accidental product of complicated and difficult motoring conditions that were created by somebody else.' After the verdict was announced, Whittle smiled and cleared his throat, while Stenson gasped 'yes' and began to cry. Speaking afterwards, the thirty-year-old said: 'It's been nine months of hell. I'm so glad it's over.' He also kissed the female dock officer on the cheek as he left the court.

TV quote of the night: Lisa Faulkner on Celebrity MasterChef just after serving her souffle to the headmaster of Harrow school and waiting to hear the result: 'I feel like a very naughty girl.' Oh, stop it, you little minx! I must admit, yer Keith Telly Topping was rather disturbed by the headmaster himself. Never trust a man who insists on being addressed by his job title - that way lies the invasion of Poland. Mind you, let's face it you're a fifteen year old public schoolboy with rampaging hormones, whose food are you going to go for? Christine Hamilton who looks like your auntie, Neil Stuke who looks, alarmingly, like your - very nervous - drug dealer or Lisa Faulkner?! Good to see, from the trailer for the next episode that Dick Strawbridge survived whatever illness it was that prevented him from the Harrow horrors (it was probably all that cheese he put in his apple pie in the first part). God, this show is astonishingly addictive!

The late-night topical comedy show Stand Up For The Week has been commissioned for a second series by Channel 4. Created by the producers of Live At The Apollo and filmed at the KoKo club in London, the first series of the topical satirical stand-up show was broadcast recently on Friday nights. The show is hosted by Patrick Kielty and featured a regular team of stand-ups including of some very good comedians - Kevin Bridges and Rich Hall - some average ones - Andi Osho - and the waste-of-space Jack Whitehall. Series two will be broadcast in the Spring of 2011 with all the regulars appearing again, alongside a number of new comedians.

Jason Manford has said that he and Alex Jones's presenting style on The ONE Show will be the same as their predecessors. Manford and Jones told What's On TV that they share similarities with ex-hosts Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley. 'I think it will be the same,' Manford said. Jones added: 'Jason obviously has all the jokes, and hopefully I have got the experience, so I think we will make a good duo. We both like a laugh, but know that sometimes we'll have to pull it back when we're dealing with serious subjects.' Manford revealed that he has been studying how Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan used to make the change from funny to serious stories. 'We're practising those handbrake turns that we'll have to do on the show,' he said. 'Going from something jovial to something serious and vice versa. I've watched a lot of the old shows, but also watching a lot of Richard & Judy - they are the best at that kind of, "Ho ho ho, yes, anyway..." thing. It's strange, but it is like when Holly Willoughby took over from Fern Britton - it has been done before!' Jones continued: 'There are bound to be comparisons. Adrian and Christine did a great job, if we can do as good a job as them, then fab!'

Long-running ITV police drama The Bill will end later this month with a 'compelling' storyline about a teenage girl involved in a suspected gang member's murder. Executive producer Johnathan Young said he hoped the final episodes would 'respect the heritage of the show.' ITV decided to drop the long-running police drama after twenty seven years earlier this year after a major revamp had failed to win back viewers. The climactic episode is expected to be broadcast on ITV on 31 August. In an attempt to reverse declining viewing figures, The Bill was relaunched last year as a weekly drama in a post-watershed slot. Young said the show would conclude with a two-part story that 'tests our cops both physically and emotionally for one final time.'

Funk guitarist Phelps Catfish Collins has died aged sixty six after a long battle with cancer. The Cincinnati-based musician was part of the funk scene in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He played with James Brown before joining former President George Clinton's Parliament and Funkadelic. The older brother of bassist Bootsy Collins, the guitarist's death on Friday was reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer. The report described him as 'a jovial guitar player with a huge smile.' Catfish played on James Brown's classic singles 'Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine' and 'Soul Power.' 'My world will never be the same without him,' Bootsy Collins told Rolling Stone. 'Be happy for him, he certainly is now and always has been the happiest young fellow I ever met on this planet.' Collins' death comes less than two months after that of fellow Funkadelic guitarist Gary Shider.

Channel Five - newly rebranded - is to become the first UK terrestrial broadcaster to bring its video on-demand content to social networking website Facebook. The broadcaster, which yesterday announced a major shake-up of its operation, reportedly plans to embed its Demand Five service on Facebook, allowing the site's twenty six million UK users to watch on-demand programmes such as The Gadget Show, Neighbours and Home and Away. According to New Media Age, a 'source close to the situation' has claimed that a deal is 'all systems go,' with the Demand Five player already being embedded on the site. 'It will launch within the next week to ten days,' the 'insider' is alleged to have said. Last December, Five agreed a deal with YouTube to bring Demand Five to the video-sharing site under an ad-supported model on a dedicated channel. The broadcaster also recently signed a similar arrangement with the CBS-owned online VOD service The Facebook deal is likely to involve Demand Five simply being embedded straight onto the site, meaning Channel Five could potentially keep a bigger chunk of the advertising revenues. It would also bring the broadcaster's catch-up content to another large audience of web users. In April, Facebook was named the UK's fastest-growing online video site after recording a massive two hundred and five per cent year-on-year increase in usage. Analyst Ian Maude said that the deal would be a 'win-win situation' for both Five and Facebook. 'If your business is about reaching as many eyeballs as possible, it makes absolute sense to do so on Facebook, especially for a broadcaster like Channel Five that has a relatively small reach online,' he said. Maude also noted that Channel Five already has a 'syndication template' developed from the YouTube deal, making the Facebook expansion 'relatively painless.'

A number of strippers in Warsaw, Ohio have protested outside a local church which regularly pickets them. Tommy George, who runs the Foxhole club, launched the protest against the actions of Pastor Bill Dunfee of the New Beginnings Ministries church located seven miles away, the Columbus Dispatch reports. Dunfee and members of his ministry have picketed the Foxhole every weekend for the last four years, waiting in the car park with signs, horns and video cameras. The church later posts video clips of patrons' number plates online. Dunfee said: 'Tom George is a parasite, a man without judgement. The word of Jesus Christ says you cannot share territory with the devil.' The word of Jesus Christ, sir, is 'Let he that is without sin cast the first stone.' One of the wisest and most beautifully balanced things that any man has ever said. Would a few more people took a bit of notice of it and tried to live up to its premise. Mr George has responded in recent weeks by taking strippers armed with water pistols and dressed in see-through shorts along to the church. Heh! Good on ya, mate, I like the sound of you! The dancers waved signs bearing biblical quotes at passing cars, including 'Matthew 7:15: Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing' and 'Revelations [sic] 22:11: He that is unjust, let him be unjust still.' For God's sake, minus several marks for that. The last book of the bible is called Revelation, not Revelations! George said: 'When these morons go away, we'll go away. The great thing about this country is that everyone has a right to believe what they want.' Gina Hughes, a thirty-year-old married mother of six who has worked at the Foxhole for a decade, added: 'These church people say horrible things about us. They say we're homewreckers and whores. The fact of the matter is, we're working to keep our own homes together, to give our kids what they need.'