Wednesday, September 22, 2010

And, For My Next Trick ...

The BBC is reportedly planning to introduce a new magic show on Saturday nights. A bit like The Paul Daniels Magic Show. Only, without Paul Daniels. Which is good. The Mirror claims that The Magicians will see three conjurers going head-to-head to win audience votes for illusions, card tricks and escapology. Producers are said to want comedian Lenny Henry to host the series. Oh, Christ. It was looking promising until they said that. 'Bosses are hopeful that Lenny will agree to front it,' a 'source' - who seemingly talks in typical tabloidese only using words with two syllables or less - allegedly said. 'He has been in talks and seems keen, so he can add his own brand of magic to proceedings.' The Magicians is expected to be broadcast early next year.

Alas, poor Seymour Mace in Ideal. To play a character that gets killed once in a series is bad enough. To play characters that get killed twice, that's tough!

Now, here's a funny thing dear blog reader. According to a very nice lady at the BBC press office just over one hundred and eighty people have contacted the BBC - one hundred and sixty nine of them to complain, the other thirteen, presumably, just to whinge without actually complaining) claiming that the BBC's coverage of the Pope's recent visit to the UK was biased in favour of Pope Benedict XVI and/or the Catholic Church. There have also been two hundred and forty 'contacts' (of which, this time just under two hundred were complaints) which claims the opposite, that coverage had been biased against Pope Benedict XVI and/or the Catholic Church. In addition, there have been one hundred and twenty contacts from people who thought the coverage, overall, was excellent. So, there you have it, dear blog reader. When it comes to the Catholics, you can please some of the people some of the time ... An additional three hundred and eighty four complainants felt that the BBC gave too much airtime to the Pope's visit. A BBC spokeswoman said that the complaints 'reflect some of the public's opposing views' on the Pope's historic visit to the UK. 'In the context of the millions of viewers who enjoyed our live events coverage of the five major ceremonies, the live news coverage on the BBC News Channel, the news bulletins, and the various documentaries, the complaints reflect some of the public's opposing views about the visit,' she said. 'The Pope's visit was of historic significance for millions of Catholics and to the wider population of the UK and it has provoked a range of public reactions. BBC News coverage of any subject is always approached in an impartial and accurate way, reflecting the different sides of any debate.'

Another excellent review of Monday night's [Spooks], to go with the one yer Keith Telly Topping himself wrote in the aftermath of the episode. This time it's from Metro's Keith Watson here. 'Had [Spooks] abandoned the chasing-through-tunnels-and-staring-at-computers stuff in favour of an existential mid-life crisis? Not entirely, though Harry's world-weary mien loomed over proceedings. But the drugs theme, the need for a world to get clean, coursed through the veins of [Spooks], even when it got down to its basic race-against-time or London-gets-blown-up business.' Yep, I go along with that.

Some of yer actual proper bare-naked naughtiness was in evidence as House return to US TV screens in Monday evening. Set in the immediate aftermath of the sixth season finale, What Now? spends a day with a newly-ensconced Greg House and Lisa Cuddy gleefully shagging each other senseless in his apartment whilst, around them, the world of Princeton‑Plainsboro is busy falling apart at the seams. Cleverly constructed and beautifully acted by all of the regulars and by guest star George Wyner, the episode serves as a neat little bit of reformatting. A virtual pilot for the direction in which the series may go if the producers stick to their guns and let House have a relationship. Which I think I, and a lot of other viewers, would rather enjoy. Not because it's the easy things to do, but because it's the hard thing to do. For a show that's never been afraid to take risks now is, perhaps, time for House to take the biggest risk of all.

Also this week, baby, yer Keith Telly Topping was really rather taken with the pilot of CBS's remake of seventies standard Hawaii Five-0. It's an age-old truism in TV circles that it's virtually impossible to remake, remodel, reformat or reimagine something effectively. But, of course, as we all know for recent experience, that's utter crap. There's been dozens of examples over the years which prove to the contrary. However, all of the successful ones - from Doctor Who to Battlestar Galactica via Sherlock - have had one over-riding thing in common. That the new versions are made, with a lot of love and a shitload of respect, by fans. People who adored the original text and don't want to cheapen it by producing something substandard that's been retooled for the Twenty First Century just for the sake of it. They also, if they're smart, remember to keep in all of the things that made the original so well-remembered in the first place. In Hawaii Five-0's case that, essentially, boils down to four things: One of the best theme tunes and accompanying title sequences in TV history; some great characters; one very well-remembered catch-phrase and a series of stunning locales. The new version has all of those (though the 'book 'em, Danno' moment is rather thrown away in a postmodern style. It's funny though, which is a bonus). The remake's cast - Alex O'Loughlin, Scott Caan, Danial Dae Kim and Grace Park - seems decent enough in their roles and the pilot also had the major boost of a terrific guest villain turn by the great James Marsters. Will it run for twelve years like the original? Probably not. But, it'll hopefully be entertaining enough to find an audience that might keep it going for a decent slice of that.

Scottish singer-songwriter Emma Gillespie has been voted the winner of Sky1 talent show Must Be The Music. The twenty seven-year-old street busker, who performs as Emma's Imagination, beat five other finalists to win the one hundred thousand pound prize. Judges Dizzee Rascal, Jamie Cullum and Sharleen Spiteri praised the singer, calling her 'a star already.' Gillespie told the ten thousand-strong live audience at London's Wembley Arena she was 'totally shocked' by her win. The singer has already scored a top ten single with her song, 'This Day,' after being released on download last week. After performing another original song 'Focus' during the show, the judges tipped Gillespie to win with Cullum calling her the 'most complete artist' in the competition. She beat Essex group Missing Andy and London band The Pictures in the final three to win the title. But despite winning the first prize, Gillespie said she had not thought about what she would spend it on yet. 'I'm so overwhelmed I actually got to play at Wembley, so I'll probably have to take a couple of days for it to sink it,' she said. Unlike other TV talent shows, contestants on Must Be The Music mostly sang their own material and semi-final acts had their songs released on download - many reaching the top ten - and received one hundred per cent of the profits. 'I'm singing my own songs and there's no gimmicks or anything - it's just me and my guitar and that's what makes me different,' Gillespie said. Spiteri added: 'I think there's going to be a lot of young people who might have sniffed at the idea of doing this sort of programme, who might see this as a different opportunity as musicians. I think that's going to change everything.' Gillespie admitted she would not be rushing into signing a record deal. 'I've had some meetings and some interest but I've not signed anything yet. I'm just going to take my time and see what my options are and let it all sink in.' Dizzee Rascal - who was terrific as judge, frankly - said he would return to the show next year, if asked, as this series has produced 'real artists.' However, he did say there was something he would like to see more of during the next round of auditions: 'Rappers. Good ones.' Manchester duo Pepper and Piano, Irish teenager Daithi and eleven-year-old harpist Hero also competed in the final.

BBC3 has announced that it will air more episodes of Young Voters' Question Time over the next year. The show began as First Time Voters' Question Time, which was hosted by Dermot O'Dreary and aired in the build-up to the General Election. BBC3 has now revealed that it will broadcast four more episodes of the programme. The channel's controller Danny Cohen said: 'There was a great vibrancy and energy to First Time Voters' Question Time in the run-up to the General Election, and we want to build on this and make political coverage - and young people's views on politics - a regular feature on BBC3.' The first edition of Young Voters' Question Time will air in October to coincide with the government's spending review. The panel will be announced nearer the time.

The wreckage of the forthcoming Coronation Street tram crash could reportedly be used by John Stape to hide the body of Charlotte Hoyle. Earlier this month, it was reported that Charlotte, played by Becky Hindley, would be killed off after she begins blackmailing Stape. The pair previously hid the body of Colin Fishwick after he died during a confrontation. The Daily Star now claims that scriptwriters are now 'discussing a possible murder,' which could see John (Graeme Hawley) hide her body in the carnage caused by the December crash. 'There is so much secrecy surrounding the tram crash and who dies in it that some of the actors are really jittery about what happens,' a 'source' allegedly told the paper. Although, as we always note whenever the Daily Star report pretty much anything, they've got a history of making stuff up that would rival Airfix. 'There are all kinds of rumours flying about but the Stape murder plot has got people really talking.' They allegedly continued: 'It would be a brilliant piece of writing and would make fantastic TV, a terrific twist among all the carnage of the tram crash, with the question on everyone's lips: "Will Stape get away with it?" It's a brilliant plan to bring in record ratings.'

ITV's new, and vastly wretched, breakfast show Daybreak has been nominated for a National TV award just a fortnight after its launch. Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley are, therefore, set to go head-to-head with their replacements on The ONE Show. Both shows, along with This Morning and Loose Women are up for the Topical Magazine Programme Of The Year award. Quite how Daybreak, which has been going for a total of twelve episodes to date, not a single one of which has had any worth to it whatsoever, has shed over half of its - already small - audience since the first episode, and hasn't had an audience appreciation score higher than 'very poor' has been considered worthy of a nomination for near-enough any award is, frankly, beyond this blogger. Unless its the Most Overhyped Waste Of Time And Talent award, that is. I suppose we should simply be grateful that they haven't nominated Live From Studio Five as well. The sixteenth annual National Television Awards, hosted by Dermot O'Dreary at the O2 Arena, will also pit Doctor Who's Matt Smith and Sherlock's Benedict Cumberbatch who are both up for Drama Performance. Doctor Who and Sherlock are also both nominated for Best Drama at the awards, taking place on 26 January.

An episode of the Australian soap opera Home and Away has been deemed 'too raunchy' for New Zealand television. The country's Broadcasting Standards Authority upheld a complaint that a scene between the characters of Liam and Martha, which showed them kissing passionately before she removed her bathrobe and showed her bra, was 'too sexually charged' for its TV rating. According to NewsCorp, the scene 'went well beyond what should be included in a G-rated programme.' The report also said that the episode 'did not consider interests of child viewers' and 'did not observe standards of good taste and decency.' Although no penalty was given, it is the first time that a complaint about sexual content on the show has been upheld.

EastEnders Stacey Branning will react furiously when she discovers who contacted social services about her. The Sun reports that Stacey, played by Lacey Turner, receives a visit after Janine (Charlie Brooks) phones them, following the revelation that her husband Ryan is baby Lily's father. 'Stacey gets a visit from social services and realises it was Janine who reported her,' a nameless 'source' allegedly told the paper. 'She drags her out of the house and knocks her to the floor. It's one of the top soap brawls ever,' the newspaper claims that they added. And, you can guarantee that Channel Four will have an executive somewhere thinking that The Best Soap Brawls In The World. Ever would be a sure-fire ratings smash.

Sky has apologised for the major technical problems over the weekend which caused the Anytime video on-demand service to crash thousands of Sky+ HD boxes. Users reported the problems on a wide variety of different model set-top boxes and the issues happened repeatedly when trying to access Anytime over the weekend and into Monday. In a statement, Sky said that 'a technical issue' had caused some HD boxes to freeze or go into stand-by while accessing the Anytime service. After investigating the problem, the satellite broadcaster believes that it has now 'identified the root cause' of the failure, meaning users no longer need to manually disable Anytime to continue using their Sky+ HD box. And that the 'technical issue' responsible has been sacked. Despite being confident of resolving all the technical issues, Sky has taken the precaution of not introducing any new content to the on-demand service until everything is fixed. 'While our final checks are continuing, we're taking the precaution of not adding new programmes to Anytime for Sky+ HD customers,' said the firm. 'This is a purely temporary measure and we hope to be able to reinstate the full service as soon as possible. We're sorry for any inconvenience caused in the meantime.' Sky said that the technical problems only affected Sky+ HD boxes rather than standard definition receivers. Anyone with a HD box that has frozen is advised to press and hold the standby button on the Sky remote control or Sky box until the green power light turns red. After waiting fifteen seconds, users need to press the Sky button and the power light should turn from red to amber to eventually green as the box restarts. Or, 'turn it off and turn in on again.' That usually works. Or, is that with toasters? Always get them mixed up.

ITV has acknowledged an 'embarrassing' on-air error after a reporter claimed that a polar bear had washed up on a Cornish beach, but the animal later turned out to be a cow. Easy mistake to make, I suppose. Naomi Lloyd, presenter of ITV's West Country breakfast bulletin, told viewers that the large, white beast had been brought in on the tide close to the seaside town of Bude. 'A walker in Cornwall has caught an extraordinary sight on camera. A polar bear has washed up on a beach near Bude,' said Lloyd. 'The bear comes from the Arctic Circle and an investigation is under way as to how it could have ended up there.' However, the animal was subsequently identified as a cow that had been bleached white by the sea water, according to the Daily Telegraph. ITV dropped the story from later bulletins and acknowledged the embarrassing mistake, but insisted that it was an easy one to make. 'The animal caused quite a stir in Bude. Several people has seen the animal from a cliff top and thought it was a polar bear,' a spokesman said. 'Its size and colour and its lying position on the beach did make it look like a polar bear and we had several calls. But on closer inspection we discovered it was a cow. The tide was very strong and it did bring several dead animals in along that stretch of coast.' The animal was first spotted by dog walkers early on Tuesday morning, who immediately contacted the television stations. The British Divers Marine Life Rescue service, which also received calls about the incident, said: 'Mostly we deal with stranded seals, whales, dolphins and porpoises. We don't get calls about polar bears in Cornwall all that often. Or cows, for that matter.' It's Cornwall, mate. Just be thankful they didn't take it home and eat it.

BBC Scotland is to adapt Denise Mina novel The Field of Blood, with Taggart and Rebus screenwriter David Kane writing and directing. Commissioned by Ewan Angus, commissioning editor for Scotland, filming is due to start in October, and will transmit on BBC1 Scotland next year. The two part drama will be produced by Willy Wands – which also made Rebus – while executive producers are Slate North's Andrea Calderwood, who worked on The Last King Of Scotland and Generation Kill, Gaynor Holmes for BBC Scotland and Leslie Finley for Creative Scotland. Calderwood said: 'Denise Mina is a fantastic crime writer and David Kane is one of Scotland's most talented writer-directors – the combination of them and the great team we're working with is shaping up to make The Field of Blood a really attention-grabbing and entertaining show.' Set in Glasgow in 1982, The Field Of Blood centres around a young copy girl working in a newspaper office named Paddy Meehan, who becomes embroiled in a murder case. Holmes said: 'Andrea, David and Willie are a stellar team and it's wonderful working with them again. In Paddy, Denise Mina has created a captivating, warm and funny character whom David Kane has beautifully brought to life in this TV adaptation. I'm certain the audience will fall in love with her.'

The ITV drama Joe Maddison's War, written by the late Alan Plater, raised something of an army - certainly a Home Guard, anyway - of viewers that broke the six million barrier on Sunday night. The two-hour drama, made by Bouquet of Barbed Wire producer Mammoth Screen, was set in South Shields in 1939 and starred Kevin Whately and Robson Green. And very good it was too. It was always, as the Metro's reviewer noted on Monday, 'going to be more Dad's Army than Schindler’s List and, though a touch more bite wouldn't have gone amiss, Plater's eye for the minutiae of ordinary lives was as sharp as ever.' With the help of a bunch of nostalgic and geographically accurate songs, the tone was mostly comic and highly affectionate, but with, as The Art Desk's critic also observed, 'an undimmed glint of good old socialist indignation. They don't make dramas like this any more. But whenever they do, the more senior couch potatoes are entitled to lament once more the passing of Play for Today.' Damn straight. And, that's two critics quoted in four lines, that's the last I'll be doing of that for a few weeks. I have a reputation of my own to uphold. Such as it is. One of the most poignant scripts of Plater's long career, the story dealt with one of the writer's most common themes in his work: the nature of integrity in the face of class snobbery and identity. In the closing overs of peace before the Second World War, honest-if-a-bit-boring shipyard worker Joe Maddison (Whately) finds himself at a real crossroads in his life. Just days after his daughter Sheila's wedding, his wife Polly (Angela Lonsdale) leaves him for a young naval officer and for the first time in his life he finds himself alone. Whately, a great actor of course, is both believable and suitably emotive as he deals with his feelings of emasculation and numbness, whilst his son, Alan, is off in the RAF, risking his life in the way that Joe himself did in the trenches of France two decades earlier. Joe's sarcastic best mate Harry (Robson Green at his very best) tries to lighten the mood even if his own experiences in the first war have left deep and lasting scars - physical and emotional. The cast is saturated with fine actors: The understated Derek Jacobi is an excellent, slightly pompous Captain Mainwaring-type commander of the funny, yet fundamentally brave, Home Guard platoon. That great North East veteran actor John Woodvine is also on good form as a Catholic priest whose unbending loyalty to his faith is at odds with a world gone, quite literally, mad. Wallsend's Melanie Hill displays her signature solid character, as Joe's new love, the war widow, Selina who helps Joe through his darkest hours - she's the one to comfort him when he cries in the night at the memories he has of the Somme. And Trevor Fox is terrific as Joe and Harry's committed Marx-loving pal, Red Eddie. Joe Maddison's War can be regarded as being comfortingly predictable in that, as usual in Plater, lessons are learned about class and ambition, friendships are tested and ultimately triumph, and as the boys join the Home Guard, the angry yet admirably gentle Joe comes out with his best line of the script: 'This war's done the best to ruin my life – I want to kill someone – the Nazis will do to be going on with.' Plater at his finest. There are a few twists, a bit of working class solidarity (to counterbalance more than a smidgen of working class sentiment, some of which works to be fair, and some of which really doesn't). But, overall, the play highlights all of the good things about Alan Plater's work. As the war ends, young Alan comes home safely and the story climaxes with Joe and Selina's wedding. Being set in a Tyneside shipyard it was always going to have some resonance for this blogger - whose dad was rivetter at Swan Hunters in 1939 and left to fight in the great war against Fascism in France. But, its themes were broadly universal and, in some ways, timeless. If you stand up, proudly, for what you believe in, nothing can hurt you. Not bullies, not bombs, not love gone sour. A fittingly moralistic note to draw the line under the career of one of the greatest playwrights that British television had ever produced.

And, speaking of the Home Guard, you'll like this one, dear blog reader. A family board game based on Dad's Army has been banned from being sold on eBay – because it could incite racial hatred. No, really. The game – originally released in the 1970s – was branded 'offensive material' which could 'promote hatred, racial or religious intolerance' because it had a swastika on its cover. And, because 'they don't like it up 'em,' perhaps? Seller Dave Davidson, who picked the game up recently at a car boot sale, was stunned to receive an e-mail from eBay saying: '"We don't allow the sale of memorabilia associated with the Nazi Party." It's annoying because any human being with an ounce of common sense can see Dad's Army is the most harmless TV show in the world,' said Mr Davidson, from Droitwich, Worcestershire. 'There's no swearing, sex or violence – its not like I'm trying to flog Nazi memorabilia.' One Jenny Thomas, a spokesperson for eBay, said: 'We will remove listings that bear the marks of organisations that promote hatred and racial intolerance and we are strict and unapologetic in adhering to this policy.' You stupid bay.

The BBC1 property show To Buy Or Not To Buy has been axed and the channel is also to phase out US imports such as Diagnosis Murder and Murder, She Wrote from daytime. And, about effing time too. Although at least one member of the telly Topping will be devastated without her daily fix of jessica Fletcher. Tough. After seven years on air To Buy Or Not To By, which gives prospective home-owners the chance to 'try before they buy' is being dropped. The decision was announced this week by BBC Vision director Jana Bennett. Earlier this year, the BBC Trust said public consultation showed that some viewers felt BBC daytime had too many of the type of shows characterised by the Trust as 'collectible hunting and property'. The BBC daytime controller, Liam Keelan, is keen to change daytime by putting on more current affairs, original dramas and consumer affairs shows. Bennett said she also wants to 'see daytime phase out all US drama acquisitions from the schedule over time. As a result of these changes, we shan't be recommissioning To Buy Or Not To Buy. BBC Birmingham, which makes the show, has a very strong track record in daytime and will be working on three pilot shows for the future,' she added. Around one hundred episodes are still to be aired or made so viewers will continue to see To Buy Or Not To Buy well into next year. Keelan said: 'BBC Daytime has seen a significant shift in terms of programming over the last two years and we've made successful inroads into original drama, current and consumer affairs, with titles including Land Girls, Rip Off Britain and Jimmy McGovern's award-winning series, Moving On. This means there is less of a need for traditional formats such as property. The series has been running since 2003 and although we're proud of it, there is always a time when a run naturally comes to its end.' Speaking at an in-house staff meeting, Bennett said that '[BBC] Vision is in terrific shape to address the challenges I've set out today' but added that she wanted to 'ramp up our creative ambition.' She saod that the new controller of BBC Learning, Saul Nasse, who 'has spent the past few months consulting staff, partners and education specialists,' will be unveiling the plans for the department next Monday that 'puts it right at the heart of the BBC and gives a fresh mandate to the Learning department.' She aded: 'Central to Saul's approach is a radical new commissioning model for Learning across the BBC. We're also looking to make more money available to support learning for young people on BBC3 and to promote adult skills in daytime.'

To mark the sixtieth anniversary of the day the nation crowded around television sets to watch the Queen's coronation and commemorate the final year broadcasting from Television Centre in London, BBC1 is to go live for an entire night. One evening in 2013 will be chosen for all the shows on the BBC's main channel to be aired live – taking viewers back to the days when the BBC transmitted live from Alexandra Palace and broadcast television's first 'watercooler' moment, the coronation. Earlier this year the BBC experimented with live broadcasting by screening an episode of EastEnders from the soap's set in Elstree in Hertfordshire. The event, which marked the twenty fifth anniversary of the soap, was a hit, drawing around fifteen and a half million viewers. Jana Bennett, said: 'To commemorate both the day the nation tuned into the BBC for the Queen's coronation – and our final year broadcasting from Television Centre – we'll go live for a night on BBC1. Every programme in the schedule will have the vitality and ambition I witnessed at Elstree earlier this year.' The event will also be part of the commemorations of the BBC's move out of Television Centre, which has been the home of some of the corporation's biggest programmes, including Blue Peter and Newsnight. In June it celebrated fifty years in its West London home, but the BBC is planning to sell off the building. It hopes it will be redeveloped as a cultural quarter as several thousand staff from the news, children's, sport, learning, future media and technology departments and Radio 5Live move to new homes at the refurbished Broadcasting House in central London and Salford Quays in Greater Manchester by 2012. Television Centre was the home of live broadcasting for the BBC and it is understood that Bennett wants to recreate some of the magic of those days. The BBC said it is still too early to say which programmes will be broadcast live but said they will be across different types of genres, such as drama and entertainment. In addition, today Bennett also announced that in 2012 the BBC is, 'planning a major landmark series about London – a people's history of the capital that gets under the skin of this great city and provides vivid slices of life from past centuries.'

Kylie Minogue - the more famous of the Minogue sisters - once attempted to block broadcasts of episodes of Neighbours which she appeared in, it has been claimed. The singer first rose to fame playing Charlene in the Australian soap. According to the Daily Scum Mail, Reg Grundy - one of the programme makers - has claimed that Minogue tried to ban repeats of her on-screen wedding to Jason Donovan's Scott Robinson. 'That marriage probably got the highest ratings of any marriage in Australia,' he said. 'She went on to great success and I applaud that.' Well, you'd be a bit of bastard if you didn't, frankly, Reg. He continued: 'She said we couldn't use the tapes because she didn't want us to use them. And we said, "No, we own the tapes." And she had to accept it. It was like, our lawyers versus their lawyers,' he said. 'But I think she felt as her career grew, she didn't want to be remembered for being on a soap.' He added: 'That's understandable I think. But it did give her the break and I think now she does acknowledge that.'

Jay Karnes will play a recurring role in the upcoming second season of V. TV Guide reports that the actor - a particular favourite of yer Keith Telly Topping - will appear as FBI agent Chris Bolling in multiple episodes. The character will be assigned to Erica Evans (Elizabeth Mitchell) as a new partner and will question her divided loyalties and her dedication to the Fifth Column. Karnes previously starred as Dutch Wagenbach on the seminal FX police drama The Shield from 2002 to 2008. He has also played recurring roles on Sons of Anarchy and Brothers & Sisters. His new role will see him reunited with former Shield producer and V showrunner Scott Rosenbaum.

Cheryl Cole was reportedly left furious after her X Factor judges' houses round was plagued by troubles. Cole, who was filming her portion of the round at a country house in Ascot, was apparently shocked to find that the property was surrounded by scaffolding as builders carried out extensive work on the mansion. Filming took place while the construction work was still being finished, and Cole was then angered further when a builder dropped scaffolding while one of her acts was performing, reports the Sun. Recording was stopped again later on in the day as someone started using a loud vacuum cleaner. The singer - making her return to the ITV show for the first time since she was diagnosed with malaria - is said to have 'fumed' at executive producer Richard Holloway, and was then supposedly 'comforted' by, who was acting as Cole's guest adviser during the round. What form this 'comforting' took, the paper does not elaborate upon. A 'source' allegedly said: 'It was a letdown. The builders had to be told to stop work. All the acts were clearly affected.'

The BBC is reportedly planning to spend ten million pounds on a William Shakespeare season. According to the Daily Telegraph, programming will include a series of documentaries examining the writer's life and work. Meanwhile, five plays will be adapted for the screen and one will be performed live over three hours. High-profile actors are expected to take part in the productions. The BBC's head of television Jana Bennett is announced the season in a speech this week, saying: 'The BBC will be celebrating Shakespeare's work and living legacy as part of 2012, one of the biggest cultural festivals the world has ever staged. Part of the BBC's remit is to celebrate the best of all that is British and that is what uniquely allows us to create such a culturally important and rewarding season.' Meanwhile, a BBC 'source' reportedly said: 'Everyone is incredibly excited about this. Although the BBC has screened Shakespeare plays over the years, there has never been an entire season devoted to his work. The live broadcast has the potential to be one of the biggest things on television in 2012.' No, dear blog reader, I don't think that sounds like the kind of thing a BBC 'source' would say either. The Shakespeare season will take place in 2012 across BBC1, BBC2 and online.

Yoko Ono has revealed that John Lennon would have approved of the Internet. Well, indeed. I mean, there's bound to be a whole bunch of websites that self-confessed wife-beaters would really appreciate. The seventy seven-year-old performance artist, musician and professional wdiwo, who was married to the Beatle from 1969 until he was shot outside his New York home in 1980, said that Good Old Peace-Lurvin' John had always showed an interest in modern technology. Ono said on The Andrew Marr Show: 'I think he would have been going very strong and creative still. I think he would have been very interested in playing [on] the computer because he always jumped on some new media and that is a very interesting new media.'