Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mommy Was A Bank Robber

For those dear blog readers who've asked about the alleged 'mistake' on yesterday's Top Telly Tips that Simon pulled yer keith Telly Topping up on - hello, Roy! - yes, most of the Midsomer Murders location filming is, indeed, done in Oxfordshire and, even more regularly, in Buckinghamshire. A full list of the location sites used can be found here. The Six Bells pub in Warborough, for instance, repeatedly features as the Black Swan pub in the Midsomer village of Badger's Drift. The fictional village and its surrounding area in the series, however, is very definitely supposed to be in Somerset (Barnaby usually introduces himself as being from the 'Avon and Somerset constabulary'). So, there you have it.

The Event has been described in pre-publicity as a kind of 'new Lost.' By my calculations that's the fourth time in six years that we've had a new US drama series which has been described by somebody as a 'new Lost' foisted on us by one US TV network or another. The fact that none of the previous three - The Nine, Life On Mars and FlashForward - have lasted longer than one series (Life On Mars and FlashForward actually being half-way decent notwithstanding) should give you some idea of yer Keith Telly Topping's expectations for this one. The opening episode of The Event uses the same kind of non-linear, multi-character viewpoint approach that worked so well for Lost but, it ended up possibly confusing the viewer as much as it did intriguing them. I must admit, I quite liked parts of it, it's certainly got some very good actors involved in the series (Željko Ivanek, Jason Ritter, Laura Innes, Blair Underwood and Scott Patterson) and, it's produced by 24 writer Evan Katz so it's got some pedigree behind it. Sadly, it was also, as the reviewer in Vanity Fair noted so perceptively, 'clunky, overstuffed, and needlessly confusing.' Indeed, on the evidence of the first episode it seems far too up its own arse to deliver anything like enough of an audience to survive. Time, I suppose, will tell if this one has any longevity to it; the series had a very good opening night with an audience of over eleven million. Till then, we'll have to wait and see although I have a feeling we may be doing so in ever decreasing number. I hope I'm wrong, I like a decent bit of Telefantasy that makes me think as much as the next fanboy. The early signs, however, aren't promising. You usually start worrying whenever anybody describes a new TV show as 'the next ... whatever.' That normally means that the producers aren't confident in what they've got and are desperate to import an audience from someplace else. Let's put it this way, I much preferred FlashForward's pilot last year.

The Beatles' record label has reportedly banned Harry Hill from naming his new comedy CD Sgt Pepper's Vol 2. The comic had also wanted to recreate the famous Sir Peter Blake cover of the seminal, if somewhat over-rated, 1967 LP – but with knitted characters taking the place of all the stars. But Apple Records has - allegedly - put the kybosh on that idea, refusing to grant Hill the right to borrow the title for his imminent collection of comic songs. As for a CD cover which parodies the Sgt Pepper's sleeve, that's been done so many times previously I'm very surprised Harry can't come up with anything more original. See right, for merely one famous example. If you go to Google Images and type in 'Sgt Pepper's cover parody' you'll find dozens of others! Hill's CD is due to be released in around six weeks' time, ready for the Christmas market, but leaving little time for a new title to be found or sleeve to be designed. Apparently, Hill's label, Island, are in discussions with Pink Floyd's management over the possibility of calling it Bright Side Of The Moo. A 'source' allegedly told the Sun: 'Island are now in meltdown because they have no name or artwork. They need to get the CDs manufactured and sent to the likes of HMV and Tesco as soon as possible. There has never been a case where they have had a record on Amazon with Name TBC as it is now.' Hill this week shot the video for his first single off the CD, 'I Want A Baby,' about a teenage would-be mum.

Paul Danan has pleaded extremely guilty to drugs and public order offences after being caught with cocaine and cannabis. The thirty two-year-old was arrested two days in a row last month after being found wandering around a street in Royston, Hertfordshire, in a drunken state. At Stevenage Magistrates' Court on Tuesday morning, he confessed to occasionally 'medicating myself' for anxiety and depression. The former Hollyoaks actor admitted possession and a public order offence for swearing at police officers. He was fined a total of three hundred and fifty smackers and referred to a drugs agency for support. David Stott, defending, told the court that Danan was going through a difficult time. Stott said: 'He works as an actor and he's appeared in relatively well-known parts in the past but recently he's not been in regular work. That's of concern to him and as a result he's been suffering from depression and anxiety and is taking prescribed anti-depressants.' Speaking outside court afterwards, Danan said he felt he happy that he had only received a fine but said he never wanted to repeat his actions. He added: 'I apologise to anyone out there that sees me as a role model.' Blimey, I wouldn't, mate. If anybody's sad enough to regard you as a role model, they've got more urgent thing to worry, frankly. 'That's not me and I don't believe taking drugs is a good thing at all. I think it's terrible, but you do have to realise sometimes people make mistakes and turn to that to help them. It's never going to help, it's going to make things worse. I'm sorry for what I've done.' Work was slowly coming back, he said - but he refused to be drawn on what was in the pipeline for him. The former Celebrity Love Island contestant added: 'I have to be patient and realise I am good at what I do and I can make a comeback.'

Chris Evans has reportedly criticised Daybreak, claiming that he cannot understand why ITV chose to change GMTV's successful format. Because, it wasn't successful, Chris, it was awful. Albeit, it was less unsuccessful than Daybreak's been to date. The DJ - who hosts his own breakfast show on Radio 2 - accused bosses of not understanding their target audience, and 'blasted' the programme's name and design, according to the Sun. He told BBC staff: 'I don't understand what they were thinking when they came up with it. Just look at the set, the programme - look at the name. It's not gone well. They had a million viewers and it's gone down. It doesn't surprise me. You only get one chance to open a show and it's not worked.' Evans, whose appointment on Friday editions of The ONE Show was widely suggested to have catalysed Chiles and Bleakley's defection to ITV in the first place, also suggested that the show should not be targeting an ABC1 audience - the supposedly upper-to-middle class professional demographic so beloved by TV executives and advertisers. 'What was there was fine. The audience is not an ABC1 audience,' he insisted. 'They're not high-brow, news-hungry viewers.'

Yer actual Huge Laurie his very self has 'revealed' that he has done some embarrassing naked scenes during his career. Which anyone who has followed his career in any sort of depth will know aobut anyway so it's not really a revelation, per se, is it? The actor, who recently shot a very naughty bare-naked nuddy sex scene with his co-star, luscious, pouting Lisa Edelstein for an episode of House, said that the experience was 'not as bad' as when he shot a nude scene for the - really sodding awful - 2000 movie Maybe Baby. WENN quotes Huge his very self as saying: 'I had to be outside in a London street and we cleverly scheduled the scene at six o'clock in the morning [when there was] nobody about. Filming is filming and of course it was 8.45 when we finally came to shoot it. The local paparazzi had a nice leisurely breakfast and also there was a nearby girls school. I was wearing my cupped hands and I had a towel but in the scene a dog is supposed to snatch the towel in a comical fashion.' Which it does. Although using the word 'comical' and Maybe Baby in the same sentence is probably stretching it a bit.

X Factor contestant Chloe Victoria reportedly broke the law 'continuously' when she was growing up. The little tinker. Aged thirteen, she and her then-boyfriend Ian Hough were apparently involved in a serious accident after the pair stole a car and crashed it. A 'friend' of Victoria told allegedly the Mirror: 'They caused mayhem wherever they went and whenever they wanted.' That's some great 'friend', you've got there, Clo. 'She and her boyfriend were really wild and forever in trouble when they were younger.' Hough's 'friend' added: 'They were arrested more than one hundred and forty times together. They were even on tag together.' The former couple were allegedly banned from entering Wakefield city centre in order to try and stop their criminal activity. However, another 'insider' claimed that the pair have become more responsible since having their daughter Destiny. They said: 'Things changed when they had a kid together. Since Destiny was born two years ago they've turned over a relative new leaf. They've split but are still really good friends.' Victoria reportedly cried over newspaper claims over the weekend that she was a prostitute.

The future of Spartacus: Blood and Snots has been thrown into doubt following Andy Whitfield's decision to depart the series. Whitfield was originally expected to return to the Starz drama after overcoming a battle with cancer. However, it was recently announced that the actor had reluctantly decided to leave the show when his illness returned. Carmi Zlotnik, managing director of Starz Media, has now admitted in a press release that no decision has yet been made on the show's future. 'Right now, we just want to extend our concern and support to Andy and his family,' he said. 'We will address our programming plans at some later date.' Production on the show's second season was expected to commence this month.

Keith Lemon will reportedly become an agony uncle on This Morning. The Sun says that the character, played by Leigh Francis, will answer viewers' questions about embarrassing problems and sexual issues. 'It sounds crazy but we think it will work,' a 'source' is alleged to have said. 'Through humour, Keith can help people smile again. We'll deal with issues but also make the public laugh along - without laughing at the people with problems. It's a great idea and we hope it will be popular with viewers.' Francis already performs as Keith Lemon alongside This Morning host Holly Willoughby on the ITV2 series Celebrity Juice. The 'insider' went on to explain that: 'Leigh and Holly are great mates, but he won't be nicknaming her "Holly Willoughbooby" on This Morning, that's for sure.' Tragedy. This Morning's current agony auntie, Denise Robertson, is expected to remain on the programme to deal with the more sensitive issues in a non-humorous way.

The BBC has renewed its deal with the Augusta National Golf Club to broadcast live coverage of the Masters tournament on terrestrial television. From April 7 to 10 next year, the corporation will broadcast action from the final two rounds of the event live on TV, backed up by coverage on Radio 5Live and the BBC Sport website. 'The BBC is very proud we have broadcast the Masters every year since 1986 and we are delighted that this new deal enables us to continue this relationship,' said BBC Sport director Barbara Slater. 'It means terrestrial audiences can continue to enjoy live coverage of the concluding rounds of this hugely prestigious tournament on BBC TV, alongside our comprehensive coverage on radio and online.' In April, Phil Mickelson won the famed Green Jacket for the third time after finishing three shots clear of Lee Westwood. The BBC has covered the last twenty four Masters events from Augusta in a relationship stretching back decades, but its latest three-year rights contract expired after the 2010 tournament. It had been feared that the corporation could lose the tournament rights entirely to Sky, but the satellite broadcaster has instead joined as an additional broadcast partner. Sky will carry live coverage of all four rounds of the tournament, as well as Wednesday's Par Three contest in SD, HD and 3D on its pay-TV platform. 'We consider ourselves fortunate to have two committed television partners who are able to reach both new and established audiences throughout the United Kingdom,' said Billy Payne, chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament. 'This agreement was successful in both preserving a long-term partnership and adding a new dimension to our coverage in the UK.'

Coronation Street bosses are reportedly planning to remove Betty's hot pot from the Rovers Return menu. According to the Sun, they are worried that Betty Driver could decide to retire from the ITV soap soon. The show will now begin to introduce a replacement dish in the coming months, after deciding that the hot pot would not remain if Betty does leave. Sally Webster's herby lamb cobbler could replace it on the menu. 'It's been discussed at a very high level what will happen to the hot pots once Betty has quit the show,' a 'source' told the paper like this was effing proper news, or something. 'The consensus is that it would be a fitting tribute to Betty to let the hot pots leave with her.' They continued: 'Having Betty's hot pots in the show without having Betty there wouldn't be totally comfortable. Herby lamb cobbler could well be the new Rovers signature dish for the next fifty years.'

Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat has revealed more details about the cliffhanger ending to the first half of the next series. It was previously announced that the show's sixth run will be split in half, starting in spring 2011 and returning in the autumn. 'There will be a huge cliffhanger that we wouldn't normally do at the end of a series of Doctor Who because it would be too long before it came back,' the very Moffster himself told Doctor Who Magazine. '[It's] an enormous, game-changing cliffhanger for the Doctor, Amy and Rory. It will change everything for them.' Moffat promised that forthcoming episodes will contain revelations involving the Doctor's friendship with Amy Pond. He added: 'You will see the Doctor's life change forever, you will gasp in astonishment at the true nature of his relationship with Amy and you will cry out in horror as Rory Williams stumbles to the brink of a tragic mistake.' Ooo ... exciting.

A number of news outlets have picked up from the Radio Times that Martin Shaw (The Professionals, Inspector George Gently) turned down the chance to play James Bond in the late 1970s. Digital Journal, however, leads on the fact that Shaw would consider playing the Doctor, albeit if the commitment was a lot less than is currently expected of Doctor Who's leading actor. 'Who knows, in a couple of years I might go down on my knees and play the Doctor. If I could do it for three months and do other stuff the rest of the year, I'd do it.' Elsewhere in Radio Times, Phil Collinson is interviewed about his plans for Coronation Street as it approaches its fiftieth anniversary. The magazine attributes Collinson's savviness on Doctor Who under Russell Davies as being part of the reason that ITV Studios have entrusted him with Corrie's birthday celebrations. That, and the fact that he's a bloody fabulous producer.

A US judge has dismissed a claim that Shia LaBeouf's thriller Disturbia plagiarised the plot of the story Rear Window. Lawyers for a trust which owns the rights to Cornell Woolrich's novella, had claimed film company DreamWorks did not get permission to turn it into a film. In both plots, a man spies on a neighbour from his window and becomes convinced the neighbour has committed murder. But a New York District Court judge said the similarities were not enough to constitute copyright infringement. 'The main plots are similar only at a high, unprotectible level of generality,' judge Laura Taylor Swan wrote in her ruling dismissing the complaint. Where Disturbia is rife with sub-plots, the short story has none. The setting and mood of the short story are static and tense, whereas the setting and mood of Disturbia are more dynamic and peppered with humour and teen romance,' she added. Disturbia made one hundred and seventeen million dollars at the box office worldwide in 2007. Alfred Hitchcock, of course, made an Oscar-nominated 1954 movie version of Rear Window with Grace Kelly, James Stewart and Raymond Burr. It was a bit good. Far better than Disturbia.

Jon Stewart has vowed that he will never seek public office. The Daily Show host appeared Orpah on Tuesday and told Oprah Winfrey that he does not believe he could handle mounting an election campaign. 'I would lose my mind almost immediately. My job is I make jokes,' he said. 'I don't solve problems. If my job became solving problems, I would suddenly become a lot less good at what I do, unless the problem being had by the country was a lack of jokes.' Stewart also insisted that critical acclaim for his talk show does not make him a powerful political figure. 'I deny that I am powerful. Power implies an agenda that's being acted on,' he said. 'Every generation has had its people who stand at the back and make fun of those in charge. When the Nazis came to power in the thirties, it created an incredible underground scene of satirical comedy. Peter Cook once said with a straight face, "Yes, they really showed Hitler." That's how I see it. I'm not saying I'm powerless and in a vacuum. But if I really wanted to change things, I'd run for office. I haven't considered that, and I wouldn't - because this is what I do well. The more I move away from comedy, the less competent I become.' Stewart and fellow Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert are planning dual rallies in Washington DC on 30 October to protest at the current political climate in the US.

FOX is reportedly thinking about cancelling its new show Lone Star after just one episode has been broadcast. The series stars James Wolk as a Texas man living a double life with two different families. Adrianne Palicki and Jon Voight also appear in the drama. The show's premiere aired on Monday night but The Hollywood Reporter says that it received average ratings of just 4.1m viewers despite a slot immediately after House and receiving, broadly, good reviews from critics. Some reports have suggested that the show struggled to compete against Dancing With The Stars, Two and a Half Men and NBC's new series The Event (see above). Rumours have now claimed that FOX is considering either axing the show completely, temporarily pulling it from the schedules or finding a different timeslot for it. One anonymous agent, who represents a Lone Star writer, allegedly told the magazine: 'No-one in TV should be happy about this. This is going to have a chilling effect on networks taking chances on anything but cookie-cutter shows.' And, this is news how, exactly? FOX themselves declined to comment on the rumours.

Katy Perry has sung a spoof version of her hit single 'Hot & Cold' for Sesame Street. The singer reworked the song for the long-running children's programme in a bid to teach kids about opposites. The clip, which has clocked up almost one million YouTube hits in two days, sees Perry dressed up in a wedding veil similar to her outfit in the original music video. In a conversation with Elmo, she says: 'You said you wanted to play dress up, don't you? Come on Elmo, don't you want to play?' The altered lyrics to the song include: 'You're up and you're down/You're running around/You're fast and you're slow, you stop then you go.'

Stephen Fry's much-anticipated second memoir, The Fry Chronicles (Michael Joseph), has débuted at number one in the bestseller lists. Fry's follow-up to 1997's Moab Is My Washpot (Hutchinson), sold over thirty seven thousand copies at UK booksellers last week, more than eight thousand more than the next most popular title - Lee Child's 61 Hours. Fry's sale, achieved in just five days, is one of the strongest opening week sales from a memoir since records began - and is almost twice the figure the bestselling celebrity memoir of all time, comedian Peter Kay's Saturday Night Peter, sold in its first week in UK bookshops.

Michael Wood's Story of England, which began on BBC4 last night, had a very simple idea at its core: to tell the story of one place as a metaphor for the story of the whole of English history, from Anglo-Saxons and Vikings to the Somme and D-Day – and from the point of view of the ordinary people, not the rulers. So simple an idea, in fact, that Time Team have been doing it for ther last twenty years! But, never mind that, immitation is the sincerest form a flattery, they reckon. The programme, presented by the very likeable historian Michael Wood tries to show the slow organic process through which all of our communities have grown over time; how citizens rights and duties have developed, how waves of newcomers have changed us – and how much the people themselves have been the creators of their own story. But why Kibworth, the little Leicestershire village in which Michael has chosen to make his ground zero? It's an ordinary place on the A6 with Chinese and Indian takeaways, an Italian restaurant, a Co-op and housing estates. You might drive through it without a second look. But, a few miles south-east of Leicester, Kibworth is essentially today's England in miniature. Aided by a couple of Time Team regulars, Carenza Lewis and Paul Blinkhorn, Michael sets the villagers to work at finding what's under their feet and, over the course of the opening episode, we get a whilstle-stop tour of the thousand years between the Romans and the Normans. And, it's great stuff. There's another little gem from BBC4 that yer Keith Telly Topping is going to be enthusing about from the next few weeks!

Channel 4 has confirmed that quiz show The Million Pound Drop will return for a second series. It was previously reported that the channel was considering renewing the programme after the success of the first series. The second run will be broadcast on five consecutive days from 25 October. One of which will be this blogger's birthday. Fabulous. is if getting a year older isn't hard enough. Anyway, four further episodes will then be broadcast on Friday and Saturday for the following two weeks. The show, hosted by Davina McCall, sees contestants starting with a one million pound prize, then attempting to keep the money as they answer eight mulitple choice questions.

Meanwhile, Andrew Marr's latest book is 'a fascinating portrait of life in Britain during the first half of the Twentieth Century' – and it's currently lying all over a road in Berkshire. Copies weighing almost fifteen tonnes of Marr's The Making of Modern Britain, which sees the journalist trace the country's recovery from 'the grand wreckage of the British Empire,' were spilt from an overturned lorry on the A4 Bath Road in Theale, according to a local BBC report. The accident happened late on Tuesday night and the driver was unhurt, but the boxes of books covering the road forced its closure throughout the night, said the BBC. A clean-up operation was still under way at lunchtime on Wednesday, but police said that the road could remain closed until late afternoon, causing delays to drivers. Whether any were amusing themselves by dipping into Marr's bestselling title was not revealed. Andrew himself noted: 'Firstly, apologies to anyone who has been inconvenienced on the roads. But I can't decide whether it is a complete disastrous story for me or a triumphant one. Is it Marr's latest rotten book has been taken off to be pulped and the British transport system can't cope? Or whether public demand is so extreme that the road system has given way under the pressure, who knows? The publishers do tend to keep lorry-loads of books pretty much on the roads for twenty four-hours-a-day in case of emergencies. I just hope none have been lost in battle today and will eventually go to grateful owners.' The Making of Modern Britain, which was based on the journalist's BBC2 television series of the same name, looks at life in Britain during the first half of the Twentieth Century.

A woman in southern Oregon has been accused of robbing a bank before picking up her daughters from school. Erica Anderson, thirty seven, allegedly robbed the Midland Avenue branch of Umpqua Bank on Monday before being arrested at home a short time later, the Daily Courier reports. The Grants Pass Department of Public Safety claims that Anderson handed a cashier a note demanding money before riding off. According to the Associated Press, Anderson and suspected getaway driver Joshua K Deeter Tseu, nineteen, were both arrested on charges of robbery and theft.