Friday, October 01, 2010

Six, Six, Eight - The Neighbour Of The Beast

News presenters - including Jeremy Paxman and Huw Edwards - have said that they are worried about planned BBC strikes during the Conservative party conference. In a letter to the National Union of Journalists, the BBC's political staff said they 'had serious concerns' about holding the forty eight-hour industrial action. They warned the move threatened the impartiality of the corporation. Union members are due to strike on 5-6 October in protest against proposed cuts to the BBC's pension scheme. The thirty six signatories said holding the strike during the party conference, including on the day of the Prime Minister David Cameron's keynote speech, risked 'looking unduly partisan. Impartiality is the watchword for the BBC's political coverage and we would not wish to give a misleading impression that this is no longer something we value highly,' it said. It added the letter was not a disagreement with the principle of strike action, but signatories said they had been unable to attend meetings about the proposed strike because they were working at other party conferences. Other high profile names that signed the letter included Jon Sopel, Emily Maitlis, Today's James Naughtie and political editor Nick Robinson.

Series seven of New Tricks pulled in more than seven million viewers on Thursday night, according to the overnight figures. A new episode of the crime drama, Dark Chocolate, averaged 7.12m on BBC1 from 9pm, up two hundred and fifty thousand viewers on the previous week's episode. The show comprehensively outperformed its ITV opposition, Law & Order: UK, which was watched by just over three million viewers, down a whopping 1.31m week-on-week.

There was a somewhat disappointing episode of Mock The Week on last night, much to the chagrin of yer Keith Telly Topping who normally loves the show. Firstly, smug Jack Whitehall was on it, which is never good news. The bloke is about as funny as a pile-ringed anus. The other thing that rather annoyed me was Andi Osho (whose comedy I do enjoy, normally) beginning at least two of her routines with the words '... as a Nigerian.' You're not, love. Your parents were but you were born in Plaistow. I'm all for diversity in all aspects of life - comedy not least among 'em - but, please don't trowel it on. I think it's really positive that a black woman is a successful stand-up but, just once in a while, I'd like to see her tell jokes that aren't about her being a black woman. Just, you know, for a bit of variety. Although, a couple that she did weren't very promising. Hugh Grant and Jezza Clarkson gags? Not only obvious but, what is this, 1997? Having said that comedy is a broad church and, ultimately, there should be room for everyone and everything. In theory, at least. Even smug Jack Whitehall. At a push. Chris Addison also remains an acquired taste. There's undoubtedly real talent there but sometimes you get the impression he's like the kid in the class that trying that bit too hard. His 'comically' milking the applause during Scenes We'd Like To See, for instance, was funny for all of three seconds but got old very quickly thereafter. The bright spot of the episode was the appearance of first-timer Carl Donnelly who didn't contribute a lot but did get in two or three early funny one-liners. That's two or three more than smug Jack Whitehall and Andi Osho provided, between them.

Strictly Come Dancing contestant - and horrorshow - Ann Widdecombe has accused Arlene Phillips of 'eating too many sour grapes.' The former Tory MP hit out at Phillips after the ex-Strictly judge and professional grumpy old bag branded Widdecombe 'a joke too far' on the talent show in an interview with Hello magazine. During promo interviews for the first live show this weekend, Widdecombe responded to Phillips's comments, suggesting that the choreographer may still be bitter about losing her judging role on the programme last year. May still be? Christ, that's got the be the understatement of the century so far! 'She also said I looked as if I had eaten too many bagels,' said good old Doris Karloff. 'Well I would say to her, maybe Arlene, just maybe you've had too many sour grapes.' Is it so very wrong of yer Keith Telly Topping to hope that this spat can be sorted in the form of some sort of naked-mud-wrestling-type competition? I mean, untelevised, of course. There's only so much the viewing public can take.

Produced by Tiger Aspect, the three-part documentary Caroline Quentin: A Passage Through India will provide a deeply personal insight into one of the world's most remarkable and diverse countries though the eyes of 'one of our best loved stars.' Or, through the eyes of Big Fat Cuddly Caroline Quentin, anyway. She used to be one of our best loved stars until she started doing those adverts for M&S. Now, she's reviled and loathed the length and breadth of the land. Anyway, starting in the far north, and working her way over three thousand five hundred miles to its southernmost tip, Big Fat Cuddly Caroline's eye-opening adventure aims to discover the rich spectrum of modern Indian life as well as challenge preconceptions, including her own, of the subcontinent. And to do that Caroline will plunge headlong into Indian society at every level: from Maharajas to mahouts, staying with local families en route. Caroline will experience India's remarkable contrasts, from expansive, breathtaking landscapes such as Kanha National Park to dense, humid metropolises including Kolkata and Mumbai, which encompass the extremes of wealth and often desperate poverty in close proximity. Taking in everything from ancient treasures to the high tech modernity of this self-styled Twenty First Century Tiger state, the scale of her journey is immense. The series aims to tell a human story as she connects with the lives of the ordinary Indians she meets along the way in order to explore what - in this country of incredible, often incongruous diversity - modern India really is and what its future holds. Quite why Tiger didn't get a real Indian person to front it - you know, Joanna Lumley, for instance. She's usually available for ITV travalogues - is as yet unexplained.

Russell Howard's Good News returns to BBC3 in a new Saturday slot from 16 October. And, Mark Gatiss' much-anticipated First Men In The Moon will be broadcast on BBC4 on Tuesday 19 October between 9pm and 10:30.

A contestant on the new series of The Apprentice is currently on police bail following fraud allegations. Christopher Farrell, a twenty nine-year-old mortgage broker, was arrested on suspicion of fraud over alleged financial irregularities, Devon and Cornwall Police have confirmed. The Press Association reports that the case is understood to relate to making a false representation via cheque or card. Earlier this week, it was revealed that Farrell had failed to disclose a conviction he received for two counts of possession of an offensive weapon to the production. A statement from Talkback Thames, which produces the business competition, said: 'Filming of the upcoming series of The Apprentice commenced on 10 September 2009 and concluded prior to Christmas. Recently police made us aware that Mr Farrell is the subject of a fraud investigation and that he had been arrested and bailed on 4 August. The arrest took place eight months after filming had concluded and no charges have yet been brought in this case.'

Fans of the US drama series Mad Men may have to pay to watch the series from next year, with satellite broadcaster BSkyB understood to have offered significantly more than the BBC currently pays in what the Gruniad Morning Star describes as 'an audacious swoop to snatch the show.' Currently the fictional exploits of Don Draper and his colleagues in the New York advertising world of the 1960s are available on free-to-air digital channel BBC4. But Sky is looking to add Mad Men to its stable of US imports, which will soon include HBO shows such as Martin Scorsese's much-anticipated prohibition era drama Boardwalk Empire. BBC4 is currently broadcasting the fourth series of Mad Men and the corporation has been in negotiations with the show's US producer, Lionsgate, for series five and six. But Sky is understood to have put in a bid worth at least twenty five per cent more than the BBC paid for the last deal, committing to show Mad Men for as long as creator Matthew Weiner continues making the programme. One anonymous 'source' used by the paper claims that Sky was paying four times as much as the BBC had offered. Estimates of the value of the deal range between five and ten million smackers, although the total amount Sky will pay depends on how long the show continues. 'Sky has made a huge bid and the BBC does not want to enter a bidding war so it looks as though Sky will get Mad Men,' a 'source' added, although the Gruniad don't say whether this source was the same source as the source mentioned earlier. Which, it a bit saucy, frankly. Another source added: 'The BBC just can't compete with Sky's deep pockets.' And, of course, the Gruniad Morning Star are bloody devastated by this since all of the nasty little Communists working there, just love Mad Men. Which they all discovered on DVD about three years after everybody else had. Tossers. Negotiations are not yet concluded, the paper claims, but the BBC is said to be a highly unlikely to attempt to top Sky's offer.

Comedy tweet of the week: From the excellent Angelos Epithemiou: 'I ranted on the radio for half-an-hour once when my boss was late paying me and I got sacked. But, it’s different when you’re a taxi driver!'

Simon Cowell has revealed that he is 'fed up' with contestant 'sob stories' on The X Factor. Cowell admitted that previous series of the ITV singing contest had included too many competitors who chose to focus on their outside problems and hardships during interviews with Dermot O'Dreary. Cowell also said that he was tired of 'goody two shoes' contestants, and indicated that he did not care if this year's batch of hopefuls caused trouble. He told the Sun: 'We got too much of this "I'm doing it for my mum who broke her ankle" nonsense. I am just trying to encourage them this year to be their age and do what they like to do if they have a career as a pop star. If people are badly behaved sometimes, so what? I'm fine with that. At least they are having fun.' However, an 'insider' - as opposed to a 'source', or even a 'sauce' for that matter - conceded that the final twelve acts on this year's show would not be allowed to sleep with each other when they move into their shared home for the live shows. The 'source' - hang on, he was an 'insider' a moment ago, what's going on? - said: 'They will be told they must not have sex in the house.' except, possibly, with themselves. It is believed that's still allowed.

FOX has ordered a pilot for a new legal comedy drama. Deadline reports that Lawyers For Less has been created by Danny Comden, who will also star in the project. The show is said to focus on a lawyer who is returning from disbarment and his best friend, who takes him in as a partner. The pair run a small firm which specialises in defending questionable characters and pursuing lawsuits. Comden explained: 'Their goal is to bring reasonable doubt at a reasonable price while making as much filthy lucre as humanly possible.' So, Nip/Tuck with lawyers instead of plastic surgeons in other words. The project is being produced by Anthony and Joe Russo, who currently work on Running Wilde, Happy Endings and Community.

Davina McCall has signed up to appear on Comedy Roast next month. The Channel 4 programme will see the Big Brother host face praise and comedic insults from a wide range of celebrity guests. Comedians who have signed up for the show include Rich Hall, Debra Stephenson, Patrick Kielty, Ed Byrne and, tragically, smug Jack Whitehall. Meanwhile, Chris Moyles, Dermot O'Dreary, Julian Clary and Fearne Cotton will appear at the event alongside former Big Brother contestants Brian Dowling, Nikki Grahame, Sophie Reade, Brian Belo and Sam Pepper. That's a once-in-a-lifetime line-up if ever there was one. To miss. McCall said: 'I'm honoured [and] terrified at the thought of being roasted - I think I'm going to have the night of my life and laugh lots at my own expense. I can't wait!'

Chico has signed up to appear on I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here!, it has been reported. Isn't that something that should be investigated under the Trades Descriptions Act? You know, 'celebrity' mate. Look it up in the dictionary. The former X Factor contestant, who got to number one in the UK singles chart in 2006 with 'It's Chico Time' - which says as much about the depressing nature of the charts these days, as anything about ability or talent - will compete on the next series of the reality show, which is scheduled to begin in November, according to the Sun. A 'source' said: 'Viewers loved Chico's cheeky chappie ways during X Factor and producers are sure they will love him even more in the jungle. His happy charm will also be a big boost for the other celebrities as they deal with the hardships of jungle life.' I'm sorry but I don't not believe that quote for a single second. Real people don't talk like that.

Microsoft has announced Forza Motorsport 3: Ultimate Collection for the Xbox 360, which will feature exclusive content from the BBC's Top Gear. The gaming giant revealed that it has struck a long-term collaboration with Top Gear, leading to a number of tie-ins between the two brands. 'The relationship will also deliver a number of co-promotions that aim to give fans of both Forza Motorsport and Top Gear a unique opportunity to engage in both brands,' read a Microsoft press release. The upcoming game will feature a ninety-minute Top Gear video and an Xbox Live dashboard theme, as well as the code to download Stig's Garage Car Park, which features three exclusive cars selected by The Stig. Presumably, the new Stig, since the previous one left in mysteriously public circumstances.

ITV Studios has today announced a multi-year, exclusive deal with La Plante Productions, the independent producer set up by acclaimed author and screenwriter Lynda La Plante. Under the deal, ITV will get worldwide distribution rights to around one hundred and twenty hours of the firm's 'prestigious content,' as well as first-look options on any new projects. This, presumably, being because the BBC won't have anything to do with La Plante after she made some particularly unfortunate - and some may consider downright provocative - comments last year to the Daily Telegraph about how if she'd been called 'Usafi Iqbadal and I was nineteen, then they'd probably bring me in and talk.' These crass and thoughtless numskull comments, not unexpectedly, caused outrage among Muslim writers and, hopefully, will mean that La Plante will likely never be employed by the BBC again. Established in 1993, La Plante Productions adapts TV shows from La Plante's best-selling novels, including courtroom series Trial & Retribution, The Commander starring Amanda Burton and prison drama The Governor. The agreement with ITV also includes rights to successful crime thriller Above Suspicion, which stars Kelly Reilly as female detective DC Anna Travis. Latest instalment Above Suspicion: The Red Dahlia recently premiered on ITV to an audience of six million viewers. A third series Above Suspicion: Deadly Intent is currently in production. 'La Plante Productions has established an impressive slate of world class drama which continues to prove hugely successful on the international stage,' said Maria Kyriacou, ITV Studios Global Entertainment managing director. 'Content from leading, third party producers forms an important part of our portfolio and this deal is a fantastic example of our continued commitment to acquire first class, long running programmes for international distribution.' Commenting on the deal, La Plante said: 'La Plante Productions is all about quality and talent and I am therefore very happy that ITV Studios Global Entertainment are working alongside us to ensure that our productions continue to find new audiences internationally.'

Matt Smith has described his experience filming a guest appearance on Sarah Jane Interferes and the two-part story Death of the Doctor. In an interview with the BBC, Smith remarked that he especially enjoyed working with Katy Manning, who portrayed the Doctor's companion, Jo Grant, from 1971 to 1973. 'Working with Katy has been wonderful. She's a lovely person, mad as a box of fish, but totally dynamite,' the actor said. I think that's supposed to be a compliment! 'And she is so forthcoming about her time on Doctor Who. She has made me aware of what a privilege it is.' He continued: 'I'm constantly aware of Doctor Who's rich history. There's a line in my Sarah Jane episodes that refers to a ventilation shaft. When Lis [Sladen] was Tom Baker's assistant her character got stuck in a lift shaft so my line is, "Ventilation shaft, that takes me back - or maybe it's forward." So I am aware of the heritage and aware too that I am just another stage in this very brilliant and wonderful show.' Smith added that he was impressed by the episodes' monsters the Shansheeth, and hoped that the villains would one day appear in Doctor Who itself. 'The Shansheeth are prominent in these episodes. They are Galactic coffin bearers of the Cosmos and very impressive! They are brilliant, the best. I definitely think we should get them into an episode of Doctor Who.'

Melvyn Bragg is to present a new history series for BBC2 telling the story of life in Britain through film, it has been announced. The Reel History Of Britain will use collections owned by the British Film Institute and regional film archives, with some unveiled for the first time. Throughout the series, Bragg will tour the country in the UK's only surviving twenty two-seat vintage mobile cinema. Lord Bragg, who of course started his career in the seminal proto-ska-punk band Who Shall Eat Six Hundred Shredded Wheat And Live? with his brother, Billy, before becoming Britain's foremost artsy-type said that viewers will 'glimpse a world long gone' when it is broadcast in 2011. The series will trace descendants of those featured in the movies, which include social documentaries, tourist information films, newsreels, and government propaganda films. 'Most of this unique footage has never been seen before, but now, more than one hundred years later, we can share the many secrets of this forgotten archive,' said Lord Bragg. 'I'm going to explore some of the most remarkable events of British history as captured on camera. Reaching back into the Twentieth Century, this is an absorbing and entertaining insight into how we became who we are,' he added. In July, Lord Bragg announced his South Bank Show awards were to continue on the Sky Arts channel after the long-running arts series was cancelled by ITV last year.

The BBC has lost the TV rights to the IAAF World Athletics Championships after twenty seven years, with Channel 4 sealing a deal to air the event in 2011 and 2013. Channel 4 has secured the exclusive media rights to the IAAF World Athletics Series, the crown jewel of which is the biannual World Championships, breaking the BBC's hold on the TV rights to the event since 1983. Earlier this month the BBC lost the exclusive live TV rights to the Masters golf tournament after twenty four years – from next year it will share the coverage with Sky Sports. The athletics deal was struck between Channel 4 and IEC, the media rights agency responsible for brokering agreements with broadcasters across Europe and Africa. 'This is an exciting opportunity for Channel 4 and will complement perfectly our coverage of the London 2012 Paralympic Games,' said the Channel 4 chief executive, David Abraham. 'The 2011 IAAF World Athletics Championships provides a strong platform to showcase our innovative approach to sport.' Channel 4 has guaranteed to show almost fifty hours of coverage of the next world championships, which are scheduled to take place in South Korea, next August, including all evening sessions and a daily highlights programme scheduled for prime time. In addition the broadcaster has guaranteed a generous marketing and promotional campaign to support the TV coverage as well as 'additional commercial opportunities' for the IAAF's marketing partners. 'The IAAF family will find Channel 4 to be a dynamic and vibrant terrestrial channel,' said the IAAF president, Lamine Diack. 'Not only does it deliver strong ratings but it is particularly popular amongst the younger sixteen to thirty four-year-old age group, which fits in perfectly with the IAAF's current and future development strategy.' Channel 4 is starting to rebuild its live sports rights portfolio after losing its only major contract, for England's home cricket Test matches, to Sky in 2006.

Radio 4 sitcom Old Harry’s Game could be made into an animated sitcom for Sky1. A pilot episode of the show, set in a Hell riddled with bureaucracy and office politics, is to be presented to Sky commissioners next week. The broadcaster has co-funded the development with Northern Ireland Screen, as Belfast-based Flickerpix is creating the animation using a mix of claymation and 2D animation. Producers are currently using existing scrips from the seven radio series but the trade magazine Broadcast reports that the show's creator, Andy Hamilton, is preparing to write new episodes if it is commissioned. Hamilton – who also co-wrote Outnumbered and Drop The Dead Donkey – stars in the series as Satan. It first broadcast on Radio 4 in 1995. The project was said to be inspired by a review of the radio show that concluded: 'What a shame it's so surreal that it will never make it to TV.'

The Porridge and Two Ronnies star Ronnie Barker, who died five years ago, was born in Bedford and began his acting career in Aylesbury more than sixty years ago. Aylesbury Vale District Council commissioned sculptor Martin Jennings to design a statue of the comedian as part of its Waterside development project. The statue was officially unveiled by Barker's widow, Joy yesterday. She was joined at the ceremony by some of her husband's former colleagues including long-time comedy partner Ronnie Corbett and Open All Hours co-star David Jason. Jennings has depicted Barker in his role as prison inmate Norman Fletcher, in the classic 1970s' sitcom Porridge, sitting on a stone bench looking up at the new theatre. The five feet six inch statue was modelled by hand and then cast in bronze at the Pangolin Foundry in Gloucestershire. Jennings, whose work includes the statue of poet Sir John Betjeman at St Pancras station in London, said: 'It's been delightful to make this statue of Ronnie Barker. He was a comic genius and he was a wonderful shape to sculpt. I've depicted him in his Porridge character glancing up approvingly at the new theatre as if looking back happily over a long career to the days when he began it all in Aylesbury.' Barker was born in Bedford in 1929 and worked in a bank before joining the Aylesbury Repertory Company. He made his professional debut in November 1948, at the old County Theatre in Aylesbury's Market Square, with the small role of Lt Spicer in JM Barrie's Quality Street. By 1955 he was in demand in the West End and appeared in a number of productions including Mourning Becomes Electra, Lysistrata and Irma La Douce. During the 1960s, he became well established as a radio performer, leaving his theatrical career behind. He first worked with Ronnie Corbett in the mid-1960s on The Frost Report, and their sketch show, The Two Ronnies, which began in 1971 ran for sixteen years.

A stand-up comedian has finally been allowed to tell jokes about his ex-wife on stage after winning a bitter and lengthy legal dispute in which she tried to prevent him from doing so. Stephen Grant spent two years fighting for a settlement with his wife, Anneliese, before receiving a letter from her lawyers insisting he not refer to their break-up during his routines. Solicitors on his behalf were forced to invoke the Human Rights Act and the right to freedom of speech before the request was withdrawn. More than a year after the divorce was finally resolved, Grant is finally using 'ex-wife related red-mist' as material. Grant, from Brighton said that he was still nervous about using the material, in case he slandered his former wife. 'My solicitor said "if you are going to say anything, make sure it's true because otherwise it is slander." After fourteen years of stand-up, the issue of my divorce is the most honest work I have done. I am quite nervous – if I get this wrong, it is not just unfunny, it might be slanderous.' Grant, who has performed alongside Alan Carr, Jonathan Ross and Harry Hill, met Anneliese Holland in 1999 while out with fellow comedian Steve Coogan in Brighton. The couple married in September 2005 though they separated in April 2007 after Grant claims that he discovered his wife was having a relationship with another man. 'I was gutted that we couldn't work it out,' he said. The couple spent two years involved in divorce proceedings before reaching a settlement. In April 2009, Miss Holland's legal representatives Martin Cray & Co sent Grant's lawyers a letter demanding an undertaking not to disclose any information relating to the divorce. It said: 'Our client is concerned that your client may inadvertently include material in his routine which could cause her professional embarrassment, and this additional protection is therefore reasonably requested.' Grant's lawyers, Griffith Smith Farrington Webb, replied. 'The court has to have regard to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and fundamental freedoms 1950 and the Human Rights Act of 1988. We submit at this very late stage to seek to introduce a potentially complex area of law and an entirely fresh requirement is inappropriate.' The matter was taken no further and the divorce became absolute in June 2009. Grant said: 'I've been dying to talk about the whole divorce on stage for over two years. It's like she took out the Ten Commandments, missed the not and took it as a "to do" list. But I had to wait until a year after our divorce as she came at me with legal action. I think people who go out with comedians are well aware that is where a lot of material can come from. People who see me do stand up know that I talk about stuff that goes on in my private life all the time. The whole divorce procedure she put me through was so ridiculous that you have to see the funny side of it. It makes great material.' Grant, who married his second wife Lucy three weeks ago, is due to include his divorce in his performance at the Brighton Comedy Festival later this month. When contacted by newspapers for a comment, Holland said: 'It appears that this is a publicity stunt used to try to publicise his show and no more.' If so, it's worked.

The BBC has run a historic test of super high definition broadcasts and confirmed plans to use the technology at the London 2012 Olympics. Titled Super Hi-Vision TV, the technology has been developed by Japanese public service broadcaster NHK and is sixteen times sharper than normal HD. OIn Thursday, the BBC broadcast a gig by British band The Charlatans in Super Hi-Vision between London and Tokyo, its first ever live transmission using the technology. A specialist camera, one of just three in the world, was used to film the band's live set, while an audience watched in a different room on a one hundred and three-inch plasma TV, developed by NHK. Another audience in Tokyo watched the gig on an even bigger screen. NHK hopes to start broadcasting in Super Hi-Vision by 2020, although no TV set exists that can fully support the 7680x4320 pixel signal, as current 'full HD' sets only display 1920x1080 pixels. The Japanese broadcaster has worked with the BBC's Research and Development division to compress the massive video signals for Super Hi-Vision. At full resolution, the service transmits at a colossal twenty four Gbs, compared to around sixteen Mbps for normal HD. The BBC wants to use the super high definition technology for a series of giant viewing screens for the 2012 Olympics, as well as for its archive footage of the Games.

Paris Hilton will reportedly appear in a new television show that will attempt to change the public's perception of her. I'm not sure television does miracles, Paris me darlin', but never mind. I'm sure it'll be a brave attempt. The socialite, airhead, convincted drug felon and hairdo apparently aims to lose her 'dizzy blonde' persona and show a 'more serious side' of herself with the programme. Gosh, that should be entertaining. A spokesperson for the project said: 'This isn't The Simple Life, where she played a campy version of herself. This show will give viewers a glimpse of the real Paris and her life, which is sometimes quite amazing.'

Sharon Osbourne has claimed that the press need to 'move on' from her rivalry with Dannii Minogue. Well, stop talking about it, then, you silly bag, and I'm sure they will.

R.E.M.'s 'Everybody Hurts' has been voted the song that is most likely to make men cry. In a survey by PRS for Music, the song from R.E.M.'s 1992 album Automatic For The People was chosen as the song men are most moved by. 'Tears In Heaven' by Eric Clapton, which was written as a tribute for the guitarist's late son Connor, came second in the poll, while Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' came in third place. PRS for Music's chairman Ellis Rich said: 'A well-written tear-jerker is one that people can relate to and empathise with. It is this lyrical connection that can reach deep down emotionally and move even the strongest of men.' Personally, yer Keith Telly Topping has been a huge fan of R.E.M. over many years - saw 'em live at Tiffany's in Newcastle in 1983 just after Reckoning had come out - but finds 'Everybody Hurt's a vastly over-rated, trite and mawkishly sentimental piece of fluff. Give me 'Carnival of Sorts', 'I Believe', 'Feeling Gravity's Pull' or 'Disturbance at the Heron House' any day. I much preferred them when the lyrics Michael sang weren't, actually, recognisable as English!