Monday, November 08, 2010

Common Ground

Watching Match of the Day 2 last night, and his beloved - though still unsellable - Magpies' shock third league victory in a row at Highbury against The Mighty Arse, a sudden thought struck yer Keith Telly Topping? Does anybody else reckon Colin Murray is a vastly over-rated gibbering moron? No? Just me then? Fair enough.

Billy Connolly - 'a well-known Scottish comedian' - has revealed that he was considered by American Doctor Who producers to play the Time Lord in the mid-1990s. The Sun reports that the well-known Scottish comedian was on the shortlist for the Doctor Who TV movie in 1996, but 'show bosses' rejected the idea after holding an initial meeting. As, indeed, anybody who bought Gary Russell's excellent book about the making of the movie, Regenerations, first published ten years ago, would have already known. Nice to see the Sun being so bang up to date. For the record, Philip Segal the producer of the television movie compiled several lists of actors to consider for the part of the Doctor. Among those considered along with Connolly were Tim Curry, Michael Crawford, Eric Idle, Trevor Eve, Michael Palin, Robert Lindsay and Jonathan Pryce. Not all were interested in the project, or available for the intended filming dates. Casting sessions took place in March 1994; actors who actually auditioned for the role included Lindsay, Liam Cunningham, Mark McGann, Tim McInnerny, John Sessions, Anthony Stewart Head, and Tony Slattery. Paul McGann was first considered around the time of these auditions, but did not formally audition for the part until later. 'It was brought up in a meeting, apparently, but nobody told me until after they decided against it,' noted Connolly. 'I would have loved it. I'd have taken it.'

Former Footballers' Wives and Primeval actress Laila Rouass is to join the cast of BBC1's medical drama Holby City. The actress will take on the role of new regular character Sahira Shah. Rouass will make her debut on the show in February. The actress can currently be seen as Maya in the ninth season of [spooks]. She also guest starred in a recent two-part The Sarah Jane Adventures story as the corrupt UNIT officer.

Jimi Mistry has become the fifth celebrity to be eliminated from Strictly Come Dancing. The 2012 actor and his professional partner Flavia Cacace made a tearful exit from the competition after finding themselves in the bottom two alongside Michelle Williams and Brendan Cole. Mistry appeared to be stunned as Tess Daly revealed that he had failed to attract viewer votes with his cheeky quickstep, which had in fact given him his best score yet from the judges. When asked to comment on the result, Bruno Tonioli declared that viewers had experienced 'a moment of madness. The fact is that he had his highest score since the series started, his performance was beautiful, very entertaining. I don't see it as him deserving to be in the bottom two.' Surviving contestant Felicity Kendal echoed Tonioli's reaction, stating: 'I'm completely shocked about Jimi, I thought he was wonderful. I can't believe it, it must have been a mistake.' Upon hearing that he had finished in the final two, Mistry declared: 'It is what it is I suppose. We've done the best we've done and I've had a fantastic time whatever happens, so it's fine.' However, the thirty seven-year-old appeared too emotional to speak and instead stepped out for a final dance with Cacace, which was accompanied by a standing ovation from the judges and ballroom audience.

Meanwhile, Liam Gallagher has apparently become an ardent fan of Strictly Come Dancing's Ann Widdecombe. The former Oasis frontman is said to have grudgingly tuned-in to the BBC dance competition to support his ex-wife, Patsy Kensit, but is now reported to be hooked - largely thanks to the performances of Widdecombe and professional partner Anton Du Beke. This is all according to the Sun, however, so it's probably bollocks. The tabloid claims that Gallagher's 'ideal Saturday night' includes watching Strictly, The X Factor and Piers Morgan's Life Stories. This, dear blog reader, is a warning as to what spending your twenties in a cocaine stupor can do to you. A 'friend' allegedly said: 'Liam's wild days are behind him - he likes the TV on a Saturday night. It suits him to stay in with the missus. Sometimes they have pals round, sometimes it's just the family, but they always watch Strictly.' However, the 'source' allegedly claims that despite his new found love of reality TV, Gallagher still cannot bring himself to phone in and vote for his favourites.

Cheryl Cole's decision to fly out of the country last week reportedly upset her female X Factor contestants. According to the Sun, the singer came 'under fire' from all her acts - Cher Lloyd, Katie Waissel, Treyc Cohen and Rebecca Ferguson - for 'abandoning' them. 'It all got very nasty. The girls were at each other's throats - and Cheryl's. She couldn't believe what was going on. She'd only been gone a few days,' a 'source' allegedly claimed. 'Cheryl's been texting Katie a lot as she's been on the edge this week and Cher is quite needy too. But the other two interpreted this as favouritism and there were some really ugly scenes. At one point Cheryl threw her hands in the air and screamed, "Enough!"' Oh, if it only it were, dear blog reader. Simon Cowell is thought to have ordered the producers to give the contestants a day at home in attempt to clear the air. In the end, it was Cohen who was voted out of the competition by the public on Sunday after ending in the bottom two with Waissel. Cole refused to pick between the two - a piece of rank cowardice that probably went down very badly on Chillingham Road. Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh showed a touch more balls - if not actual taste - by picking Waissel to stay.

Dawn French has 'slammed' the BBC for axing her sitcom Jam & Jerusalem last year. Speaking to Nick Ferrari on Classic FM, the Vicar of Dibley star insisted that the corporation was insane. 'It was a bit of madness from the BBC because it was the most extraordinary group of mainly women,' she said of the show, which ran for three series. Yes, it was also rubbish and lasted three series too long, frankly.

With its portrait of upstairs-downstairs life in the last golden years of Edwardian splendour, Downton Abbey has been easily ITV's most popular period drama since the days of Upstairs Downstairs. The series came to a typically dramatic end last night, culminating with Cora's miscarriage, John Bates' survival in his job and, ominously, the announcement that the First World War had begun. But having picked up regular audiences of more than nine million - and prime advertisement sales with it – ITV has signed up Oscar-winning screenwriter and snob Julian Fellowes for a second series. It is not just the broadcaster who is benefiting from this unexpected runaway success, however. The drama is lined-up for a lucrative slot on the US network NBC, potentially making it one of the most prominent shop windows for a new wave of British acting talent in years. So could Brendan Coyle become the next Colin Firth?

Jason Manford addressed the controversy surrounding his allegedly racy Twitter messages during a bonfire night gig. The comedian appeared on stage at the Cambridge Corn Exchange hours after a female fan revealed to a tabloid newspaper that he had sent her 'sleazy' tweets over the social networking site, which included a request for topless photographs. According to the Sun, Manford opened the gig by asking the audience: 'How's your day been? I've had a bad day. I'm sorry, I can't go into it too much. I was thinking of not turning up - but you're all Guardian readers so you wouldn't know anyway.' The newspaper also reports that during a joke about swearing, the BBC presenter said: 'I can't say the c-word, I'm on The ONE Show. Well, for now, anyway.' Manford then closed his set by quipping: 'I'm going home now. There will be fireworks at my house.' The newspaper also claimed that a BBC 'source' had told them ONE Show 'bosses' have already spoken to the twenty nine-year-old about the scandal, warning: 'Any more sex tweets and you're sacked.' The 'insider' allegedly added: 'The ONE Show is a family show. We can't have this sort of smutty behaviour.' Not that yer Keith Telly Topping believes for a single second that anybody within the BBC (unless they were employed in a photocopying capacity in BBC Rutland) would say this or anything even remotely like it to the likes of the Sun, of all people.

Yer Keith Telly Topping very much enjoyed watching the trailer for the forthcoming second series of Miranda on BBC2 over the weekend. Particularly the bit where Miranda Hart gets her dress ripped off when it becomes caught in the door of a taxi. I'm a man of very simple tastes, dear blog reader.

Troubled breakfast show Daybreak has been criticised again, in the Mirror - this time by one of its own presenters. Sports editor Dan Lobb made a mock gun threat about the ITV breakfast programme, which has seen viewing numbers slump since its launch in September. Lobb reportedly ranted: 'I'm so tired that if I don't get a break soon I might take a Kalashnikov to some colleagues.' The former tennis professional, thirty eight, posted the message on his Facebook page on Monday, but deleted it, the newspaper claims, after 'bosses' ticked him off. But colleagues, including co-hosts Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley, are said to be 'fuming' at his post. One, anonymous, source told the newspaper: 'Morale is bad enough at Daybreak without Lobb going around saying he's going to shoot us all.' Lobb's comments are in marked contrast to the show's website, where he gushes: 'Daybreak offers a great opportunity for all of us.' He added: 'I made a tongue-in-cheek comment on Facebook which I accept was inappropriate and I have since removed it. I apologise if it caused any offence.'

Meanwhile, Christine Bleakley has denied that her decision to quit The ONE Show and move to ITV to front Daybreak was motivated by money. And, one or two people even believe her. The presenter became the subject of a bidding war between the BBC and ITV during the summer as both broadcasters tried to tempt Bleakley with a contact. In the end, though, Bleakley made the decision to quit the BBC and join her ONE Show co-host Adrian Chiles at ITV as part of the Daybreak team after the BBC became tired of her procrastination. 'Once money's mentioned everything changes,' Bleakley told the News of the World. 'But I can honestly put my hand on my heart and tell you it was nothing to do with money. I come from a very modest background. I don't come from a wealthy family. My sister worked in a bank, my brother-in-law is a firefighter, my mum's retired. I worked a long time without getting paid and money never came into it.'

More than a thousand people turned out in Cardiff to support a rally over the future of S4C. The government wants the Welsh-language channel to be funded in future almost entirely through the BBC, and with a reduced budget, a move supporters see as a blow to its independence and its future. Protesters at the rally in Cathays Park organised by Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, the Welsh Language Society, heard calls for an independent review of the channel. Deputy first minister for Wales, Ieuan Wyn Jones, was greeted with applause as he claimed S4C had been 'a pain' to successive UK governments. He said he had a message for David Cameron to transfer the powers and the money to run S4C to the Welsh people. A spokesperson for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport said: 'We are committed to a strong and independent Welsh language TV service, but have concluded that the S4C model is not sustainable in its present form. We believe a new partnership model with the BBC is the best way of securing the long-term future of the service.' The establishment of S4C in 1982 was a landmark in the long-running campaign to safeguard the Welsh language, spoken by over half a million people in Wales. For years, protesters had been pressing for more Welsh TV programmes, and a dedicated channel. The new Conservative government of 1979 promised to establish one. When, in 1980, the government made a U-turn, there were passionate protests, and veteran Plaid Cymru politician Gwynfor Evans threatened to fast to death. The government gave in, and S4C began broadcasting in 1982. Since then, the channel, funded directly by the UK government, has had many successes, but in recent years, particularly following digital switchover, has been hit by falling viewing figures, and most recently by the proposed changes to its funding and governance, prompting today's protest.

EastEnders actor Steve McFadden has been arrested following claims that he harassed the mother of his child. The actor, who plays Phil Mitchell in the BBC1 soap, was questioned by police after a complaint was made by Dr Rachel Sidwell. He was released on bail and is due to report to a police station early next year. A Scotland Yard spokesman told the Press Association: 'On Wednesday 3 November officers from Haringey arrested a fifty one-year-old man in connection with alleged harassment to cause violence against a female. He has since been bailed until a date in 11 January.' The couple's daughter, Amelie Tinkerbell, is seventeen months old.

Thus, dear blog reader, we come to the latest outbreak of yer Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. And, there's just a shade of hollow geographical relevance, here. And, why not? This one is a celebration of where yer Keith Telly Topping comes from, dear blog reader. From, frankly, just about the only famous person ever to emerge from Wharrier Street Juniors. Beside yer Keith Telly Topping his very self, of course. And, it's hard not to love the way Eric manages to fashion a song about Georgia into a howl of disapproval over what a right shitehole parts of East Newcastle can sometimes appear! Highlights include Hilton and Pricey's little guitar/organ duel during the middle eight. A favourite at many a sweaty night at the Club A Go-Go on Percy Street. Not that yer Keith Telly Topping would know, personally. Being, you know, rather young for clubbing at the time! Mind you, I was always precocious. Top bit of archive footage from the Tyne/Tees vaults to illustrates it too!