Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Keep Them Freaks A-Rollin'

The Doctor and his companion Amy Pond – Matt Smith and Karen Gillan – will be swapping the TARDIS for DJ decks during a special guest slot on Radio 1 over the Christmas period. The duo are among a host of celebrities taking on guest-presenting slots over the festive period, as part of the BBC station's Top Tens of 2010. Smug, unfunny Gavin and Stacey co-creator James Corden will have the first slot at 7am on Christmas Eve, setting the stage for Matt and Karen's slot at 8am. Tinie Tempah will then take over between 9am and 10am. The idea then continues on Boxing Day between 7am and 4pm, with Pixie Lott, Plan B, Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger and N-Dubz all taking turns on da microphone. Regular Radio1 DJs won't be shirking their duties over the Christmas period, with Fearne Cotton set to present a show from her own home on 23 December and Greg James hosting the breakfast show on Christmas Day, before allowing viewers their fifteen minutes on the air during The Tinsel Takeover. In addition to their DJ slot, Doctor Who fans will be able to catch Matt and Karen in character as the timelord stars in his very own take on Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. The Doctor Who Christmas special also features Harry Potter actor Michael Gambon and opera singer Katherine Jenkins in her first acting role.

London commuters got a bit of a nasty shock on their way into the office on Wednesday morning. As a group of Cybermen had invaded the city, marching through St Paul's and the London Underground. The stunt was to celebrate the launch of an interactive themed adventure and exhibition opening in the capital in February 2011. The metal monsters recreated a very familiar scene from the famous 1968 Patrick Troughton story The Invasion, posing on St Peter's Steps in front of St Paul's Cathedral. They later took to the Tube to celebrate the launch of the Doctor Who Experience - a fully interactive themed adventure and exhibition which will open at London's Olympia Two early next year. The show's executive producer The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) said: 'The Doctor Who Experience is a fan's dream come true - a fully interactive adventure that will allow viewers of the show to get as close as possible to some of the scariest monsters from the series. It will also be the first time that Doctor Who artefacts from all the show's forty seven-year history - classic and new - will be on display together, many of them being seen for the first time. And never mind that, this is the day the Doctor teaches you how to fly the TARDIS through time and space, and takes you into battle with all his deadliest enemies in a brand new adventure.'

Stacey Solomon was reduced to tears after a blazing row with Gillian McKeith in the I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity jungle. As if McKeith wasn't the most unpopular woman in the country already, now she's only been and gone and upset our Queen of Hearts. Still, you've got to laugh, haven't you? The former X Factor contestant challenged McKeith over her dramatic reactions to the show's trials and challenges. Solomon asked why the self-professed healthy-eating guru didn't quit if she was really in as much distress as she had previously claimed, saying: 'You are on telly and you are fainting, you're fainting in front of your children, no amount of money is worth that.' McKeith replied: 'I have a television career and if I walk out on my contract I will not work in television again. That's the way it works.' So, your real phobia is 'not being on telly', it would seem, alleged 'doctor' Gillian? Yeah, that sounds about right for the majority of contestants on this particular show. Alison Hammond interjected: 'That's not true Gillian, after what you've been through you'll work for the rest of your life, I'm telling you now.' McKeith defended her decision to stay, and rounded on Solomon. 'You're the classic person who doesn't understand what a fear is versus a phobia. You don't understand phobia, it's like taking a person who can't swim and throwing them in ten feet of water and saying, "Off you go, see if you can swim."' Solomon retorted: 'No, because that's a chance of death. Honestly Gill, if your phobia is that intense and that bad and you're having to get up and deal with it everyday. It's hard for us to hear it as well.' After being told to 'go back over there' by bossy-boots McKeith, Solomon broke down in tears, telling Linford Christie: '[The argument was] my fault, I shouldn't say anything, it's none of my business, I don't understand.' Oh, blimey. Drama queens. The jungle's full of them! Christie said: 'No you have a right, she's not sick. You're an honest person so you told her, don't let it upset you.'

Meanwhile, I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Face On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible, I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want! bosses are said to have become so fed up with McKeith's eccentric behaviour and antics that they have decided to rule her out of all future bushtucker trials, tabloid reports suggest. It comes after the alleged food nutritionist apparently claimed that she was pregnant in order to get out of the jungle jail. And, although show bosses were aware the fifty one-year-old was 'clearly joking' it appears that it may have been the final straw. McKeith has been consistently chosen to take part in the celebrity trials but has repeatedly either refused to even attempt the tasks or fainted while doing them. 'Producers have decided that enough is enough. Gillian is beginning to make a mockery of the whole show,' a 'source' allegedly told the Daily Mirror. Beginning to? What the hell have you been watching for the last fortnight, pal? 'Her refusal to take part is spoiling the trials for fans,' the source allegedly continued. 'Obviously viewers are enjoying watching Gillian squirm because they keep voting for her, but now she has started to completely refuse to try, which ruins the programme. Gillian could throw the whole series into crisis, so we've had to give her a sick note.' McKeith's camp mates have become increasingly frustrated with her and suggested that she is faking her phobias and ailments in order to get herself maximum publicity.

Kate Garraway has admitted that she does not understand why Gillian McKeith signed up for I'm A Celebrity ... Personally, I don't understand why Kate Garraway accepted the humiliation of being replaced by Christine Bleakley and then accepting the 'reduced' role of 'entertainment editor' on Daybreak, but there you go. Garraway, someone never short or an opinion on pretty much anything, claimed that it was 'karma' for the You Are What You Eat host to take part in the bushtucker trials. 'It never ceases to amaze me when people go on reality shows and claim they had no idea what they’d let themselves in for,' Garraway wrote in New magazine. 'Gillian McKeith is a prime example. What on earth did she think she'd be doing on I'm A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!? Having a manicure?' Garraway continued: 'I find it funny that she can't cope with eating all the weird stuff, given that she forced people on her show to eat stuff they found repulsive.'

X Factor judges Louis Walsh and Dannii Minogue have reportedly complained to Simon Cowell over the 'preferential treatment' being given to Cheryl Cole's acts. The pair are said to be annoyed and in outright mutiny by the alleged favouritism shown to Cher Lloyd, Katie Waissel and Rebecca Ferguson, and have told Cowell that things need to change. According to the Daily Lies, Walsh and Minogue were further angered when Cole arrived at rehearsals in a Rolls-Royce - while they use so-called 'ordinary cars.' Other complaints have apparently included that Cole receives the best styling and that her acts receive the best performance slots in the live show's running order. 'It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see Cheryl's acts are getting the best slots,' an 'insider' allegedly told the paper. 'Over the last couple of weeks both Dannii and Louis have been concerned about where their most vulnerable acts - Paije, Wagner and Mary - sit in the Saturday line up. They've been in what everyone calls the "graveyard" slots at the start of the show where viewers are most likely to forget their performances. Louis raised his concerns with Simon but was told to "lump it."' However, an X Factor spokeswoman said: 'The order in which acts perform varies each week. None of the finalists are shown preferential treatment, with each of them getting their chance to shine on the stage.'

Apparently, Wagner Carrilho is to perform Radiohead's 'Creep' on this weekend's X Factor, it has been reported. Interesting lyrical choice given some of his reported antics in da house.

The BBC are to pilot a new Saturday entertainment show fronted by Lee Mack. The stand-up comedian will record a trial episode of Lee Mack's All Star Cast next month, which - if successful - will then be commissioned as a prime-time series for Saturday nights on BBC1 in 2011. The format will see Mack performing stand-up and sketches to a live studio audience with the help of star guests, including Catherine Tate. The show will also feature a guest stand-up slot, and live music. The programme is being billed as 'the new BBC1 Saturday night show where everyone's a star,' as volunteers from the audience will be invited to take part in the big end-of-show sketch alongside the established comedy stars. So, the BBC have tried to make John Bishop into a Saturday night 'all round entertainer,' now it's Lee Mack's turn. Jason, I'm telling you, if only you'd stayed off Twitter for a few weeks, this gig could've been yours, baby. Lee Mack's All Star Cast is being developed by Zeppotron, the production company behind Would I Lie To You?, the panel show on which Mack is a regular team captain - and, very good he is in it too. It has been known for some time that Mack has been looking to produce a mainstream entertainment show. He said earlier in the year: 'I'm trying to get my own variety series off the ground, which I'm doing a pilot for. It's early doors and I don't know what it is yet, but basically it's a variety show with a bit of stand-up and sketches.'

Craig Revel Horwood has claimed that he wasn't amused by Ann Widdecombe's samba routine on last weekend's Strictly Come Dancing. Although, seemingly the vast majority of the rest of the country was. Yer Keith Telly Topping's with Horwood, admittedly, but then, I always ten to back losers. The judge, who gave Widdecombe a mark of but one for her routine, said that the only people who should have found her performance funny were children. Well, that's a great idea, Craig, diss your audience. 'There's nothing at all funny about it, unless you want to see Big Bird slobbering around the dance floor,' he told It Takes Two. 'It might be funny for children. I want to see her dancing a bit more and that just didn't do it for me.' Horwood also revealed that he came close to a big row with head judge Len Goodman on Saturday night over disagreements on Matt Baker and Kara Tointon's routines. He claimed that he 'loved' Baker's acrobatic finale and described Tointon's American Smooth as 'spanking.' Please don't use Kara Tointon and that word in the same sentence, matey, it'll only give people ideas. Discussing Goodman's criticisms of both celebrities, Horwood added: 'If I'd had more time I'd have a massive argument with him.' But, fortunately, he didn't.

Jill Halfpenny has promised to strip naked in public if Ann Widdecombe wins Strictly Come Dancing. The former EastEnders actress, who won the second series of the BBC ballroom show, claimed that viewers would eventually opt for the best dancers rather than Widdecombe's comedy. 'When it comes to the crunch the public will finally go, "Okay, we've had our fun now,"' she told the Sun. 'If Ann Widdecombe wins Strictly Come Dancing I promise I'll pose nude in the High Street.' She added: 'When the key turning point arrives - and the public have to vote for the most gifted contestants - true talent will win through.'

It became famous for Kirsty Young perching on her desk, but Channel Five News looks set for another kind of radical revolution with new channel owner Richard Desmond wanting to stamp his mark on its news programmes. The media mogul behind OK! magazine and adult television programmes such as Wobbling Whoppers 2 is looking at ending current news provider Sky News's nine million pound per year contract early and creating a populist, new-look bulletin. What more populist than Sky News? Seriously? Who the hell do you want reading it, Pixie Lott? Desmond, who also owns the Daily Express and the Daily Lies, wants greater personal control over the Channel Five News bulletins, and has asked a group of news producers to provide a team of journalists to help make the daily programmes. Over the last few weeks executives at Desmond's Northern & Shell have asked ITN, the producer of ITV News, Question Time maker Mentorn, and US news channel CNN to draw up alternatives to the Sky-produced service. Sky has also been asked to submit ideas, but the Rupert Murdoch-controlled satellite broadcaster is not thought likely to retain the contract. Details are sketchy, but sources close to the negotiations said they expected the new-look Five News to shift 'downmarket' with a heavy emphasis on celebrity stories. What, more downmarket than Sky News? Who the hell do you want reading it, Katie Price and the Newsbunny? Desmond bought Channel Five earlier this year and has moved quickly to make his mark. This autumn it is understood he asked, on the advice of his partner Joy, that magazine show Live From Studio Five presenters Kate Walsh and Jayne Middlemiss wear short skirts on air. He wants to exploit the existing relationships that OK! and the Express have with celebrities by giving them regular exposure on the television channel. But full details of his new schedule will not be unveiled until January. Industry sources say another driving force behind the decision is that Desmond is 'not exactly ecstatic' that the news on his channel is made by his rival Rupert Murdoch's operation. Desmond's Northern & Shell company is examining the feasibility of buying Sky out of the deal, although one insider said Channel Five would have to pay a huge amount to end it early. Sky's and Desmond's lawyers have been examining Sky News's contract, which runs until 2012. It is understood Sky is currently paid around nine million quid a year to supply news to Five, plus Live From Studio Five. Desmond wants to cut costs long-term at Channel Five, which last year lost thirty four million pounds. In August he unveiled a twenty million pound cost-cutting drive that led to between sixty and eighty job losses – a quarter of the almost three hundred employees. Despite his pledge to top up the total budget to about one and a half billion pounds over the next five years, including new investment of fifty million to one hundred million pounds a year, more staff have since chosen to leave, including newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky, who announced her departure last month. Since he bought the broadcaster in July for one hundred and three million smackers, Desmond has been keen to cross-promote his media interests, with a number of articles in the Daily Express and the Daily Lies praising Channel Five shows. Including, memorably - and ludicrously - the description of flop talent contest Don't Stop Believing as 'the show everyone's talking about.' But, nobody was actually watching. His newspapers are well-known for running favourable, brown-tongued stories about what a thoroughly great chap Desmond is. (And, what a massive knob he's rumoured to have. Allegedly.) It remains to be seen if Channel Five News will be asked to include similar items in future. Perhaps including the phrase 'Our Great and Nenevolent, Glorious Leader.' Or some such. Commons culture, media and sport committee chairman John Whittingdale said he did not in principle object to Channel Five's news being more celebrity-driven if it meant the channel survived, but said it must keep to its public service obligations, overseen by media regulator Ofcom. Because, of course, the idea of a Conservative MP criticising the owner of the Daily Express, well, that's so likely, isn't it? Whittingdale said: 'Richard Desmond has the freedom to produce a station that's economically viable. If he wants to do something slightly different then that's fine, but there are still some obligations. There's obviously an impartiality obligation on news and if he were to use it to project his other commercial enterprises then that would be a matter of concern and for Ofcom.' Northern & Shell's efficiency drive and business approach has ruffled the feathers of some of Channel Five's programme suppliers. It recently made a payment of nearly one million pounds to Shine, Elisabeth Murdoch's production company, to settle a dispute over an unpaid bill for previously mentioned flop talent show Don't Stop Believing. Because, one can never, in all honesty, used that phrase too much. Stan Myerson, Northern & Shell's joint managing director, recently revealed that it is looking at overhauling payments to independent producers making shows for Channel Five, introducing more of a performance-related element to deals. A Channel Five spokesman confirmed that the broadcaster was talking to other potential suppliers for its news programmes. 'We have put our news out to tender. Sky and other suppliers have been invited to come back with proposals and we will consider each in turn in due course,' he said. However, the spokesman denied Channel Five was looking to end Sky's contract early. 'In the meantime, Sky remains our current news supplier until the end of 2012 when the contract expires.'

Lives will be lost in Emmerdale in the New Year when a massive fire causes terror and tragedy, it has been announced. The storyline will see a blaze rip through a row of cottages in the heart of the village in some of the soap's most spectacular scenes ever. Although, probably not as good as the plane crash. Show bosses have confirmed that at least two characters will die in the inferno, although the identities of the casualties will be kept closely under wraps until transmission. Betty Eagleton (Paula Tilbrook), Chas Dingle (Lucy Pargeter) and Gennie Walker (Sian Reese-Williams) are three of the villagers who have been named as possible victims of the flames in early speculation by the ill-informed. Brenda Walker (Lesley Dunlop) and Terry Woods (Billy Hartman) will also be in danger when the fire spreads to their home, while Viv Hope (Deena Payne) is another show favourite whose life may be left on the line. Or, possibly not. Perhaps we'll never care. In a further twist, the aftermath of the blaze will see the distressing discovery that the fire was no accident. As the survivors mourn the dead, they must deal with the disturbing realisation that an arsonist has struck and could be among them. Speaking of the storyline, Emmerdale's series producer Gavin Blyth commented: 'This is going to be one of the most dramatic and tragic events ever to rock Emmerdale and no-one will be untouched by the fire's devastating consequences. The whole village will be thrown together for these gripping and heart-wrenching episodes which will launch us into an unmissable 2011.'

Dappy has revealed that he will deliver this year's alternative Christmas message on Channel Four. The N-Dubz rapper declared that his speech will be 'real and relevant' to young people, innit, according to the Sun. Since 1993, Channel Four has broadcast a speech from a celebrity or political figure at the same time as the Queen's traditional Christmas message was going out on the BBC and ITV. Previous speakers have included Ali G, Jamie Oliver, Sharon Osbourne and Marge Simpson as well as, more controversially, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Dappy said: 'We thought it would be cool to do a special Christmas message to rival the Queen's speech but I'll be giving a very different take on things to Her Majesty. I'm going to be talking about things that matter to young people today, keeping it real and relevant.' And all that. Innit? Pineapple Dance Studios' Louie Spence will also present his own alternative Queen's speech on Sky1.

Modern television services are creating a generation of 'active' viewers and making people much more social, a landmark new report has claimed. The Joy of Sets study, conducted by satellite TV platform Freesat in association with media psychologist Dr Brian Young, revealed that more than a third of people are spending up to five hours a week talking about their favourite programmes with friends. The research, using a sample of more than two thousand people, also found that TV is changing lives, with eighty per cent of respondents being inspired by TV shows to take up a new hobby, eighty five per cent to travel to different parts of the world and fifty five per cent to consider a career change. Among the men surveyed, one in five said that they had found a new girlfriend due to a shared interest in TV. Under the still tough economic climate in the UK, nearly a third of respondents said that they were watching up to fifty per cent more programming. Some three quarters of people believe that catch-up TV services, such as BBC iPlayer, enable them to live full and active social lives as they are not 'slave[s] to TV schedules.' Catch-up platforms were used by almost two thirds of all respondents to spend more quality time with friends and family without the fear of missing their favourite shows. They claim. A similar number allege that on-demand TV has made them more discerning about what they watch, while forty one per cent used the services to keep track of programmes while away on holiday. Interestingly, more than half of consumers said that emerging TV technologies such as IPTV, mobile and tablet computers would be unlikely to change their physical viewing habits, while seventy three per cent claimed that watching TV on the living room screen would always beat the handheld viewing experience. However, half of viewers wanted more from TV services in the future, including 'cloud technology' to act as automatic schedulers, providing recommendations and creating bespoke schedules. In the next twenty years, eighty one per cent of those surveyed expected to be watching high definition television, compared with just a third for 3D. Dr Young said that there has been a rise of the 'active TV consumer,' with catch-up TV platforms and PVR services enabling users to do other things. He said that active viewers are now talking about TV more than ever on social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, meaning TV is having 'a greater influence' on their everyday lives. 'It's having such a great impact, in fact, that it's now apparent from this research that TV is changing lives in drastic ways - from career changes to embarking on new travels,' he added. 'TV will always have an important role to play in society. The increasing adoption of digital media will continue to shape our relationship with the TV set in the future. Its role and socialising influences will continue to evolve and adapt as channels and TV service providers jostle in the marketplace to introduce new services and innovations.' Emma Scott, the managing director of Freesat, added: 'Freesat now provides subscription free satellite TV to one and a half million customers so it is important that we gain a greater understanding of the power of what people are watching. The influence of TV is greater than ever, and with that brings a greater responsibility on broadcasters and TV services to provide quality programming and choice that viewers don't have to pay a high price for, particularly in these tough economic times.' Last week, a report by Thinkbox revealed that the majority of on-demand viewing is done by people catching up on missed TV shows, casting doubt on the supposed death of the linear schedule.

Whilst his former band mate hangs out in the jungle with that dreadful McKeith woman, ex-Happy Mondays and Black Grape dancer Bez has reportedly been arrested at London's Euston Station. The forty six-year-old, real name Mark Berry, has been wanted by police since 4 November over allegations relating to a former conviction. BBC News reports that Bez was arrested by officers from the British Transport Police and charged with breach of a restraining order and trespass on a railway. When they threatened to 'call the calls' Bez was heard to respond 'I was the dancer, man, it's Shaun you want!' A Transport Police spokesman said: 'Mark Berry has been charged with breach of a restraining order and trespass on a railway. He has also been given a warning under the Harassment Act 1997.' The former Celebrity Big Brother winner is due to appear before Manchester City Magistrates' Court on Wednesday.

BBC local radio is to feel the effect of the corporation-wide budget squeeze with some afternoon programmes to be shared by neighbouring stations in a bid to put more resources into prime time morning shows. Five local stations in Yorkshire and the south-east of England are to take part in the six-month networking trial beginning next month. The BBC's English regions controller, David Holdsworth, said: 'We need more production effort and we know that there simply isn't any more money available to allow us to add extra people onto the payroll.' Money saved from sharing the afternoon programmes will be pumped into the stations' breakfast and mid-morning shows. BBC local radio stations have suffered declining audiences in recent years and the corporation's strategy review published earlier this year called for 'more quality and originality' and better local journalism. The three Yorkshire stations – BBC Radio Leeds, BBC Radio York and BBC Radio Sheffield – will share a drive time show fronted by Liz Green. Two south-east stations – BBC Radio Kent and BBC Sussex and Surrey – will have an afternoon show presented by Dominic King. Holdsworth told staff: 'When the BBC published its strategy review in the spring we said that our main aim was to strengthen content and journalism at breakfast and mid-mornings by spending more on those programmes. We have made good progress but resources are finite and we are looking at the impact of reducing the amount of other local output to free up enough people and time to improve these morning shows where the biggest audiences tune in.' Holdsworth added: 'Rest assured, we are not reducing the budgets of these stations, but we are re-organising in order to re-direct some people effort. The BBC's local and regional radio stations had an average weekly reach of nine million listeners in the third quarter of this year, the latest period for which listening figures are available, a nine per cent share of the audience, up from eight and a half million a year ago but down from almost ten million, a near eleven per cent audience share, five years ago.

EMI has sold more than four hundred and fifty thousand Beatles LPs via Apple's iTunes store in the seven days since the band's entire back catalogue was made available to download digitally. The music company said two million Beatles singles have also been downloaded. An EMI insider described it as 'a pretty amazing achievement.' Despite that success, however, only one song – 'Hey Jude' – reached the British Top Forty on Sunday. Take That's first CD since Robbie Williams rejoined the group, Progress, sold just under five hundred and twenty thousand copies in all formats – digital and CD – to make Number One this week. It was the quickest-selling CD for thirteen years, since Oasis' Be Here Now in 1997. The two best-known Beatles greatest hits compilations – 1962-1966 (The Red Album) and 1967-1970 (The Blue Album) – were the only complete Beatles LPs to chart in the UK. There was an expectation that the group would dominate the charts, particularly after The X Factor dedicated its show on Saturday to Beatles song. Industry observers have said the back catalogue may have fared better in charts terms if they had staggered the digital releases rather than putting the entire Beatles output on iTunes simultaneously. EMI and Apple Corps struck a deal with Apple to finally make Beatles tunes available on iTunes last week.

And, lastly for today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, yet another apocalyptically good single from the early 1970s and from yet another popular beat combo who looked like a bunch of long-haired hippy-drug-hero freak-weirdoes but were, in fact, punk in pretty much everything from their attitude to their politics. A pair of orange crushed velvet Dan Dares, baby, can be easily forgiven when you make singles like this!'I wanna hear it! I wanna hear it! I wanna hear it!' Yeah. What a pity they never released the epic 'There's No Vibrations, But Wait ...' as a single. Otherwise I'd be having that up here tomorrow as well! Apparently the Broughton brothers are still touring to this day and still play this as their set-closer, these days dedicating it to David Cameron and Nick Clegg. Word, brother!