Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Same Thing Every Day Gettin' Up, Goin' To School No Need For Me Complainin' My Objection's Overruled, Aw!

Yer Keith Telly Topping chose to ignore the lure of the nation's heart throb David Tennant on Sunday night and watch, instead, his old Blackpool cast-mate yer man David Morrissey in thorne: sleepyhead on Sky1. And, very good it was too - although it took a while to get going and the drama has a lot of characters in it so the audience had to concentrate from the word go. But, yes, very promising start - reminded me, somewhat, of early Waking The Dead.

Monday's night's episode of good old ever-reliable MasterChef: The Professionals featured stern-faced, grumpy Monica reducing yet another female contestant to tears - in this particular case, amiable Amy. Slightly more worryingly, having survived that encounter with a rabid beast, lovely Michel Roux was also at it later on as his rather mild criticism of her mussel soup brought on another leak at the waterworks. Perhaps mercifully, for the emotional state of the viewers if nothing else, that proved to be Amy's farewell with Lee and Big Peter advancing to the quarter finals.

And now, dear blog reader, because Keith Telly Topping knows how much you all love ratings analysis, here's The Top Twenty Programmes for w/e 3 October 2010:-
1 The X Factor - ITV 15.41 million*
2 Coronation Street - ITV 10.42 million*
3 Eastenders - BBC1 10.13 million
4 Downton Abbey - ITV 9.97 million*
5 Strictly Come Dancing - BBC1 9.96 million*
6 New Tricks - BBC1 8.10 million
7 Emmerdale - ITV 7.16 million
8 Countryfile - BBC1 6.64 million*
9 DCI Banks: Aftermath - ITV 6.44 million
10 Merlin - BBC1 6.42 million
11 Antiques Roadshow - BBC1 6.34 million
12 [spooks] - BBC1 6.27 million
13 The Cube - ITV 5.78 million
14 Casualty - BBC1 5.77 million
15 Holby City - BBC1 5.68 million
16 Inspector George Gently - BBC1 5.52 million
17 When Piers Met Lord Sugar - ITV 5.42 million
18 Waterloo Road - BBC1 5.11 million*
19 BBC News - BBC1 5.03 million
20 Qi - BBC1 5.00 million*
The programmes marked with an asterik include HD audiences. There's some quite remarkable timeshifts in evidence - Downton Abbey becomes ITV's most watched drama of the year, a few thousand ahead of the final episode of Frost. [spooks] for the third week in a row added over a million viewers to its overnight audience through timeshifts and, this week, so did New Tricks. That doesn't happen very often. And, most impressively every programme to make the rop twenty had an audience of above five million for the first time in over eighteen months.

Rupert Penry-Jones says that the new series of Whitechapel will come from a different angle. Obtuse, or acute, he didn't add. The former [spooks] actor, who plays the sensitive detective Joe Chandler in the drama, revealed that there will not be a whodunnit element like the first series which revolved around the cult of Jack The Ripper. He told What's On TV: 'It's not as much of a whodunnit this time, it's more about how we are going to catch them.' Summarising the plot, the star continued: 'There is another set of Kray twins who are dominating London and trying to run a federation of crime and copy everything the original Krays did, apart from their mistakes.' Like, getting caught, presumably? Penry-Jones also confirmed that his character's obsessive compulsive disorder will escalate to alarming levels. 'It gets completely out of control this time. It gets to a point where he can’t leave his office because he is switching all the lights on and off. He starts drinking to numb the desire to keep things under control,' he added.

Highlight of Monday night's superb white-knuckle-ride of an episode was [spooks] was a brilliant, and effective, little dialogue scene between Nicola Walker and Sophia Myles. 'In this job, every day you make it home in one piece, that's a victory,' says Ruth. 'Bloody hell, I can see why they don't let you write the prospectus!' replies Beth.

UK graffiti artist Banksy has created a controversial title sequence for The Simpsons. The latest intro, which was shown in the US on Sunday, opens with the street artist's tag scrawled across the town of Springfield. It closes with a minute-long sequence showing dozens of sweatshop workers in a warehouse painting cartoon cells and making Simpsons merchandise. The episode, called MoneyBart, will be shown in the UK on Sky1 on 21 October. The extended sequence was apparently inspired by long-running reports that the show outsources the bulk of their animation to a company in South Korea. According to the street artist, his storyboard led to delays, disputes over broadcast standards and a threatened walk out by the show's animation department. 'This is what you get when you outsource,' joked The Simpsons executive producer Al Jean. Other famous Britons to have contributed to the long-running US series include Tony Blair, Simon Cowell, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Mick Jagger and Keef Richards, The Who and Ricky Gervais. Terminally unfunny glake Gervais also wrote the episode Homer Simpson, This Is Your Wife in 2006, and is due to make what is widely expected to be another virtually laughless appearance on the show next year.

Louis Walsh has reportedly defended comments which he made to Cheryl Cole on Saturday night's first live X Factor. The judge apparently told Cole: 'I have an opinion - it's not all about you, Cheryl.' It's about time some body reminded the Heaton Horror of this fact, frankly. 'I'm thirty years in the business,' the Mirror quotes Walsh as saying. 'I've seen and done it all and I'm not going to be told anything by anybody.' He added: 'I was defending myself and my acts. I speak my mind.' The fifty eight-year-old jokingly described his fellow judges as divas. Well, we assume he's joking, it's difficult to tell, frankly because the statement does, undeniably, have an element of truth to it. 'I'm not shallow,' he said. That's not something you get to decide on, Louis. That's for other people. 'I'm not like anybody else on the show.' Err... ditto.

Three bidders are reportedly interested in buying Virgin Media's state in UKTV - the network of channels which include Dave and Yesterday - according to the Communists at Media Gruniad Morning Star. Virgin Media owns fifty per cent in UKTV with the remaining stake owned by BBC Worldwide. Worldwide itself is thought to have first refusal on buying Virgin Media's stake and can also, effectively, control who does eventually take over the share. Whilst in the past the commercial arm of the corporation has expressed a desire to take full ownership it is believed to be unlikely to happen in the current financial climate, although Worldwide are understood to be keen to increase their overall share in UKTV. According to the Gruniad, those interested in Virgin's stake in UKTV are ITV, Discovery and Channel 4. ITV are said to be keen to expand into Pay-TV and buying a stake in the UKTV range of channels would be a move in the right direction. While some of the channels are already available on Freeview, such as Dave, most are only on pay platforms like Sky and Virgin. ITV is planning to launch HD versions of ITV2 and ITV3 on these very platforms as part of its plans to move into the Pay-TV market. Discovery and the BBC Worldwide, and the BBC itself in some cases, have worked together for over a decade on a wide range of factual programmes. So the two would appear to be ideally suited to run UKTV together which includes some several channels including Yesterday, Eden and Blighty. Virgin Media recently sold off its own range of channels, which included the Living and Bravo channels, to BSkyB. Sky then re-branded Virgin1 as Channel1 but has subsequently announced the closure of Channel1 and Bravo because they are deemed to be too similar to other pre-existing Sky channels.

The BBC's deputy director general Mark Byford is to leave the corporation in March 2011 and the post will be closed, the BBC has announced. Byford, whose annual salary is four hundred ans seventy five thousand quid, has been in charge of the BBC's journalism and his brief includes planning coverage of the 2012 Olympics. He joined the BBC in 1979, aged twenty, as a 'temporary holiday relief assistant' in the television newsroom in Leeds. He took on his current role in January 2004, but just three weeks later had to step up to acting director general after Greg Dyke resigned following the publication of the Hutton Report.

The actor Martin Shaw has played down an illness which forced him to withdraw from a play earlier this year, saying it was 'just one of those things. These things happen,' he said of the chest infection which afflicted him during a performance of The Country Girl in Shrewsbury in August. 'It would have knocked anyone down,' he added. 'In an ordinary job you wouldn't be working if you felt that ill.' The play is now running in London and has its opening night on Monday. Written by Clifford Odets, the production sees Shaw reunited with his Judge John Deed co-star Jenny Seagrove. Shaw plays an alcoholic actor in 1950s New York who is offered a chance for a career-resurrecting comeback. The former Professionals star previously appeared in an earlier staging of the play which ran at the Apollo Theatre on London's Shaftesbury Avenue in 1983. Yet he refuses to be sentimental about returning to the same venue with the same play almost three decades on. 'There's a nice bit of serendipity involved,' he told the BBC News website. 'But in fact it's no different from any other play. Each time you take a part, it's a completely different experience. If it's a different part, it's a different happening altogether.' Nor will he cite the old adage that the show must go on to explain why he performed at Shrewsbury's Theatre Severn despite having recently cracked his ribs. 'It would be really nice to say it's all to do with dedication and so on,' he said on Friday at a photo call for the West End run. 'But it's more to do with the fact that logistically it's incredibly complicated if you drop out of a show. In this job you carry on until you drop, literally,' he continued, adding that it was the first time he'd had to withdraw from a play mid-performance. 'These things happen on tour because it's extremely demanding and stressful.' Shaw missed five performances in total in Shrewsbury but returned to the production the following week when the play moved to Milton Keynes.

S4C has received another hammer blow, with the revelation the BBC is to cut the amount it spends on programming for the Welsh-language broadcaster by four million quid. The reduction will mean that by the end of 2013 the budget for the BBC Wales-produced and licence fee-funded S4C programming ,which includes long-running soap Pobol y Cwm, will be £19.5m per year. BBC Wales executives informed staff of the planned cuts on Monday. BBC Wales employs about one thousand staff, of which some one hundred and fifty work directly on S4C programmes. A BBC Wales spokesman said it was 'too early' to say what the budget cut would mean in terms of job cuts. 'It's only about finance at the moment,' he added. An S4C spokesman described the BBC move as 'a double whammy.' Under a statutory agreement which dates back to the launch of S4C in 1982, BBC Wales is required to supply a minimum of ten hours of Welsh-language programming a week for the Cardiff-based broadcaster. The programming provided to S4C have grown to six hundred and ninety hours annually, and are expected to be trimmed, but not reduced below the minimum. This is funded by the licence fee on top of S4C's annual direct government grant, which is currently one hundred and one million pounds a year – but facing a cut of between twenty five and forty per cent as part of the coalition's spending review. This S4C output has been protected from the annual efficiency cuts of five per cent being imposed throughout the BBC. However, BBC executives are understood to have decided the current level of Welsh-language programming funding is unsustainable and is outstripping spending on English output for the majority of people in Wales. BBC Wales has said it is looking at broader ways to collaborate with S4C.

A new study has found that Britons officially become grumpy at the age of fifty two. Yer Keith Telly Topping, dear blog reader, would appear to have beaten the national average by, ooo, about four decades. The research, carried out for the TV channel Dave, found that we laugh just three times a day by the age of fifty, compared with three hundred times a day as children. So-called Victor Meldrew Syndrome - named after the One Foot in the Grave character - apparently sets in at fifty two. Britons of this age are more likely to moan and complain, sending an average of 2.9 letters of complaint a year. Like I say, I've been doing that since I was a teenager, do I get a prize? Rows with neighbours also increase for people in their fifties. Over half of those questioned admitted to feuding with their next door neighbours. One in eight people said they were too busy planning for retirement to be laughing. Lead researcher Lesley Harbidge, of Glamorgan University, told the Daily Scum Mail: 'There really is a law of diminishing returns when it comes to laughter. We laugh twice as much in our teens as we do in our fifties. Our findings suggest that it's all downhill from fifty two. It's important to remember how good laughter is for you - it releases endorphins and a little laughter every day goes a long way to reducing stress.' So, there you have it, dear blog reader. Every night when you go to bed, stick on a couple of episodes of Mock The Week on the DVD and you'll live longer!

Veteran broadcaster Des Lynam has expressed concern for the future of sport at the BBC after the corporation recently lost its exclusivity on a number of major events. Writing in a comment piece in the Daily Telegraph, Lynam - who, let's remember, was a traitor who pissed off from the BBC himself when he got a better offer from ITV - said that the golden rule of TV sport is that 'the rights contract comes first, everything else spins off it.' Lynam - who started his TV career at the BBC presenting shows such as Grandstand, Match Of The Day and Sportsnight, before joining ITV in 1999 - said that the BBC has always had to 'defend its range of sports from predators, whether it was ITV cherry-picking certain events or Sky showering them with bucket loads of money.' Last month, Sky agreed a deal with the Augusta National Golf Club to join the BBC as an official UK broadcast partner for the Masters from next year. The pay-TV broadcaster will broadcast all four days of the tournament, with the corporation showing highlights and also covering the final two days, live. 'Sky will get clobbered on audience figures and quality of commentary when it goes up against the BBC on the last two days of the event, but it's the thin-end of the wedge and I wouldn't mind betting the BBC's days are numbered at Augusta,' said Lynam. Earlier in the month, Channel 4 secured broadcast rights to the IAAF World Athletics Championships, breaking the BBC's twenty seven-year hold on the event. Lynam said that the BBC could have avoided the 'big loss' as the 'money wasted on the ridiculous move of the sports department to Manchester would have paid the rights fees many times over.' Despite acknowledging that the BBC still holds a range of top sports rights, including the Olympics, Wimbledon and Formula One, Lynam noted that the standard of production and commentary in TV sport is 'honed by frequency. Once the bedrock of the BBC's summer of sport, cricket now plays no part at all in its portfolio; it didn't even bid for the highlights of this winter's Ashes series,' said Lynam. 'Of course the BBC doesn't just have to compete in the market place for sports rights but within the organisation itself for the resources to be competitive. I promise you, it's like the Ministry of Defence at the Treasury and you have to understand that those frocks in Strictly Come Dancing and offices in Salford Quays don't come cheap.'

Ofcom has cleared a government climate change advert, despite acknowledging that it came close to 'the limits of acceptability' for public service campaigns. The 'bedtime stories' campaign, launched last year by the Department for Energy and Climate Change, featured a father reading his young daughter a story using an illustrated children's book that showed images of floods, droughts and other climate problems. The media regulator received five hundred and thirty seven complaints about the 'political' nature of the advert, with some describing it as 'government propaganda' and 'cynical political manipulation.' Under the Communication Act, the government is permitted to run public service advertising, but is not allowed to broadcast political messages that could 'influence public opinion on a matter of public controversy.' However, the legislation does allow exceptions for adverts of a 'public service nature,' such as recruitment for the armed forces or road safety campaigns. Despite accepting that the 'bedtime stories' advertising campaign came 'close to the limits of acceptability' in crossing from public service message to political advertising, Ofcom opted to dismiss the complaints. The regulator acknowledged the 'ongoing and polarised' debate on climate change, but said that there is a 'broad level of consensus across the major political parties.' Ofcom noted that the nature and extent of information in the advert was 'relatively limited,' such as what action viewers could take, but it offered just enough to be cleared of representing direct political advertising. 'On balance, Ofcom decided that the inclusion of the image of the young girl turning off a light switch, and the message at the end of the advertisement providing viewers with a further source of information about specific actions they could take was adequate to merit the advertisement being classed as of a public service nature,' said Ofcom. In March, the Advertising Standards Authority dismissed around one thousand complaints about the 'bedtime stories' TV advert, but did ban two press adverts from the campaign.

ITV has agreed a new two-year deal with the ERC, organiser of the Heineken Cup and the Amlin Challenge Cup, to broadcast highlights from the rugby union events on ITV4. Under the agreement, the digital channel will broadcast a comprehensive hour-long programme featuring highlights from both club competitions on Mondays, starting yesterday evening at 6pm after the opening weekend. Craig Doyle presents the highlights show with a range of guest analysts. The programme will also be made available after transmission on catch-up service ITV Player. The Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup join ITV4's growing sport portfolio, which includes Aviva Premiership, live UEFA Europa League, the Tour de France, Grand Slam Darts and the upcoming launch of Power Snooker. The digital channel has also extended its broadcast deal with the British Touring Car Championship, and confirmed plans to broadcast the event in high definition for the first time. 'The Heineken Cup is one of the biggest events in world club rugby and we're delighted to have agreed this new deal with the ERC to bring these two tournaments to ITV4 viewers,' said Niall Sloane, ITV's controller of sport.

A translation company has reportedly received over one hundred and fifty applications for its recently-advertised post of Geordie interpreters. Who wants what translatin', like? Because, yer Keith Telly Topping his very self speaks English reasonably fluently. For a Waaker lad, anyway. The company, Today Translations, originally placed the advert for speakers of Geordie English in the Newcastle Evening Chronicle. The company suggested that foreign visitors to the North East of England struggle to understand the dialect and accent. Wey aye, marra, s'reet an'all, man. An' wi canna understand nen a'what them lot there sez neitha, like. 'specly when it's stottin' it doon in the toon an' y'jus wanna gan yerm and git y're feet up the fire and howk some radgy gadjy what's hadit away with ya scran and ya broon. Nails. Kna worra mean, like? The company's managing director Jurga Zilinskiene said: 'We have had around one hundred and fifty applications so far, and they are still coming in thick and fast.' Zilinskiene added that interest in the accent has grown as a result 'of the popularity of Girls Aloud star and X Factor judge Cheryl Cole.' Oh, cushty. Yet one more reason to loathe the charva and everything she stands for. 'She is an unofficial ambassador for Geordies,' Zilinskiene claims. No she isn't, mate. Hadaway an' shite, man! Not even close. Not even a little bit. The Heaton Horror does not represent me or anyone I know, officially or otherwise. 'If she has any trouble being understood by Americans when she appears on the American version of The X Factor, we want to be ready to help,' he continued. Now I know how those poor overseas nationals feel when they're being patronised by ignorant British cheb-ends.