Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Rumble In The Jungle

'I don't want to see plays about rape, sodomy and drug addiction,' Peter Cook once memorably noted. 'I can get all that at home.' Anyway ...

The Top Gear chaps will - as previously announced - be following in the footsteps of The Three Wise Men this Christmas in a festive BBC schedule which also sees another reunion for The Royle Family, a celebration of the eightieth birthday of Ronnie Corbett and a solo show for Gavin & Stacey's hugely over-rated Ruth Jones. Corbett's birthday will be celebrated with a one-off BBC1 sketch show – The One Ronnie – featuring guests Rob Brydon, Miranda Hart, Charlotte Church and, tragically, James Corden. Corbett will also deliver one of his trademark monologues written for the occasion by Ben Elton. Who, like Corbett, used to be funny twenty years ago. The Royle Family, reuniting Caroline Aherne and Craig Cash on BBC1, is likely to be one of the Christmas period's most popular shows after it was just beaten by EastEnders to the top ratings spot last year. BBC2's Top Gear Christmas special will see Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, James May and the new Stig travel to Bethlehem, crossing Iraq, Jordan and Israel on the way. Ruth Jones's Christmas Cracker, which aired in BBC Wales last year, goes nationwide on BBC2 with guests including Ricky Gervais, with four more specials lined up for next year. Lucas and Walliams' new sketch show, Come Fly With Me, is expected to debut on BBC1 over the Christmas period. There will also be special editions of The Impressions Show with Jon Culshaw, Miranda, My Family, Shooting Stars and The Rob Brydon Show. Christmas drama on BBC channels will include The Nativity starring Peter Capaldi, Live Aid drama When Harvey Met Bob, Morecambe and Wise biopic Eric and Ernie starring Vic Reeves and Victoria Wood, Toast with Helena Bonham Carter and an adaptation of Douglas Adams' novel Dirk Gently starring Stephen Mangan. Christmas films on the BBC will include the terrestrial premiere of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Other dramas on BBC1 will include the traditional Christmas Day Doctor Who special – Matt Smith's first as the doctor – guest starring Michael Gambon and Katherine Jenkins, a revival of Upstairs, Downstairs and Only Fools and Horses prequel, Rock & Chips: Five Gold Rings. BBC1 will also show a new adaptation of Just William starring Outnumbered's Daniel Roche, while John Hurt will star in BBC2's Edwardian ghost story Whistle, And I'll Come To You. BBC1's The Apprentice will come to a climax over the festive period for the first time, alongside the Strictly Come Dancing final and the annual Sports Personality of the Year ceremony.

Being Human has been named 'Best Television Drama' at the 2010 Writers' Guild Awards. The show, which is scripted by Toby Whithouse, beat Doctor Who and Ashes To Ashes to take the award. The ceremony was held on Sunday night and also celebrated the BBC4 show Getting On, which triumphed over Peep Show and The Thick Of It to be named 'Best Television Comedy/Light Entertainment.' Peter Bowker's recent programme Occupation won the 'Best Television Short-Form Drama,' beating Small Island and Five Daughters, while Shaun The Sheep won the prize for the 'Best Children's Television Drama/Comedy.' Coronation Street was also celebrated in the awards, triumphing over Casualty and Holby City to win 'Best Television Continuing Drama.'

An trailer for the Doctor Who Christmas special helped BBC1's Children in Need to a peak audience of more than eleven million viewers on Friday evening. And, very good it was too. Christmastime can be rewritten, and all that. The annual fundraising bonanza, hosted by Terry Wogan and featuring performances from Take That and JLS, was watched by an average audience of 9.1m from 7pm to 10pm, according to overnight figures. After breaking for the BBC News, which was watched by a bumper audience of 6.84m viewers, the charitable efforts continued in front of an average audience of 4.52m from 10.35pm to 2.05am. Children in Need's audience, across both halves, peaked at 8.20pm with 11.1m viewers around the time that Doctor Who's Matt Smith and Karen Gillan offered a sneak preview of the family drama's Christmas episode.

And, speaking of ratings, here's the Top Twenty most watched programmes for week ending 15 November 2010:
1 The X Factor - ITV - 15.75 million
2 Coronation Street - ITV - 12.53 million
3 I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here! - ITV - 12.16 million
4 Strictly Come Dancing - BBC1 - 11.74 million
5 EastEnders - BBC1 - 10.46 million
6 Emmerdale - ITV - 8.51 million*
7 Harry Hill's TV Burp - ITV - 8.27 million
8 New Tricks - BBC1 - 7.90 million
=9 Countryfile - BBC1 - 7.56 million
=9 The Apprentice - BBC1 - 7.56 million
11 Merlin - BBC1 - 7.37 million
12 Farewell Jack - ITV - 7.25 million*
13 The Little House - ITV - 6.93 million*
14 Pride Of Britain Awards - ITV - 6.64 million*
15 [spooks] - BBC1 - 6.40 million
16 Holby City - BBC1 - 6.00 million
17 Antiques Roadshow - BBC1 - 5.97 million
18 Have I Got News For You - BBC1 - 5.86 million
19 Formula 1: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - BBC1 - 5.85 million
20 Garrow's Law - BBC1 - 5.68 million
Those programmes marked with an asterisk do not include HD figures. [spooks] finished with a final ratings series average of 6.33 million (approximately one million up on 2009) with an average timeshift of 1.12 million per episodes. By contrast, New Tricks finished with a final ratings series average of 7.85 million (a few thousand down on the 2009 series), with an average timeshift of 0.88 million.

Nigel Havers has quit 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!, it has been confirmed. The actor was seen debating his future in the Australian jungle in Sunday night's episode. A message on the show's official Twitter site confirmed his exit. 'It's official - Nigel Havers has left the jungle,' it read. Speaking in the Bush Telegraph before leaving, Havers said: 'I cannot waste another second of my life in here. It's becoming endless. Every day is like a year. I can't talk any small talk anymore. I just can't do any more of it. I'm up to here with the inane constant conversation.' The former Coronation Street actor departed the camp and was taken to the six-star Palazzo Versarce resort on the Australian Gold Coast, where he was filmed by an ITV camera crew. His exit was screened in Monday night's episode on ITV. Havers is expected to return to the UK soon to start rehearsals for his upcoming pantomime role in Dick Whittington at the Birmingham Hippodrome.

All this happened after alleged doctor Gillian McKeith allegedly - and conveniently - collapsed live on air. The fifty one-year-old fell to the ground on Sunday night's show as hosts Ant and Dec announced that she had been chosen by the public to take part in the Unfairground bushtucker trial. Medics were immediately called in to help while producers decided to cut immediately to an advert break. When the programme returned, McKeith was ruled out of the trial 'for health reasons,' and Linford Christie - as the contestant with the second-highest number of public votes - took on the challenge instead. Explaining the - unprecedented - move to allow the celebrity in second place to take part, an insider told the Sun: 'Bosses were terrified Gillian would ruin the live trial and so hastily decided on the rule change to make sure they had something to fill the air time.' An ITV spokeswoman clarified: 'We have never had to do this before, but this rule only applies for the live trial.' McKeith's melodramatic collapse followed her refusal to tackle the sixth bushtucker trial Dreaded Digger. The nutritionist also appeared to lose consciousness after the Crate Escape trial last week, although some doubt has subsequently been cast on whether she actually did or not. The programme's on-site doctor Bob McCarron said: 'I am treating Gillian. She had an anxiety attack but she is fine.' Christie - who himself pretended to faint when he was told that he would be doing the trial instead - eventually won twelve out of a possible thirteen meals for the camp. ITV was subsequently forced to offer a full refund to all viewers who had voted for McKeith to take part in the trial. Ant and Dec said that viewers who had voted for McKeith should visit itv.com/celebrity to receive a refund. So, now that she's costing them money, I don't think for a second that ITV will be particularly chuffed with alleged doctor McKeith.

Christie, meanwhile, despite stepping into the breach on that occasion, has attracted criticism from some of his fellow jungle-dwellers for being 'self involved' and telling 'tedious' stories. The Olympic gold medallist bore the brunt of a disgruntled Dom Joly, Jenny Eclair and Britt Ekland after they began to tire of his dominance over camp conversation. 'Linford likes talking about himself and nothing else which is beyond tedious now,' Joly grumbled, while Ekland added: 'No one else can ever say anything because he just talks and talks and talks and never stops.' However, it was Eclair who had the most barbed assessment. 'I don't think he's ever asked me one personal question,' she bemoaned. 'I know about how many children he's got, his house, his landscape gardening - I don't think he even knows I do comedy. He just isn't interested in anyone else.' Blimey, somebody on TV who talks, non-stop, about themselves? What are the chances?

The BBC and Discovery Channel US have teamed up to produce a new show about world history. History Of The World, hosted by Andrew Marr, will focus on major turning points from the past. The show will feature dramatic reconstructions and computer graphics to 'freeze time' at specific moments in history. Marr will then explain the significance of the event and how it changed the world. The moments explored are expected to include Cleopatra and the asp, Marco Polo's journey along the Silk Road, the arrest of Marie Antoinette and the assassination of Franz Ferdinand in 1914. The BBC's commissioning editor of history and business Martin Davidson said: 'History Of The World is the perfect fit for BBC1 - it's visually spectacular and it's truly epic in scale. I'm delighted that Andrew Marr is bringing his formidable skills to bear on the most significant story we can ever hope to tell. This is history at its richest and most revelatory.' The eight-part series is expected to be broadcast on BBC1 in 2012.

Brian Friedman has 'blasted' Simon Cowell for his criticism of Cher Lloyd's stage production on the latest X Factor live shows. Actually, I don't believe for a single second that Friedman did that or anything even remotely like it - not if expects to still have his job next week. 'Blasted' is, of course, merely tabloid-speak for 'tried to deflect the question a bit.' Cher performed notorious Scouse junkie wife-beater John Lennon's tedious dirge 'Imagine' on Saturday night while sitting halfway up a staircase. Cowell mocked the staging, claiming that Cheryl Cole has made a mistake with her act. 'The problem was what Cheryl did with the half-staircase,' he said. 'There was nothing you could do on that. Your fans want you to give more of a performance. They're not going to like this.' And, indeed, he would appear to have been correct from the fact that Lloyd finished in the bottom two. Creative director Friedman accepted the blame for the unusual prop on Sunday's Xtra Factor, but argued that Cowell and the viewers should be focusing on the singing rather than the production. Since when has that been a pre-requisite in relation to The X Factor, pal? 'Why are we talking about the stairs?' asked Friedman. Because, your boss brought it up in the first place. Next question. 'I know the production and everything is all part of the package, but I gave her the stairs. We should be talking about her singing. The idea was a stairway to heaven. It was just some stairs - get over it.' So, there you go. He didn't 'blast' Simon Cowell or anything even close to it. Because, if he had, he'd likely be looking for a new job this morning. Friedman also expressed his 'shock' that Lloyd and Paije Richardson were the bottom two acts. 'At this rate it will be Matt and Rebecca next week and they're my two favourites,' he said, 'I don't get it.' And nor, indeed, does anyone else.

Olly Murs, meanwhile, has suggested that Simon Cowell is always right. I think you're getting him confused with God, my friend. Easy mistake to make, I know.

Cheryl Cole has reportedly defended her on-screen exchange with Wagner Carrilho. The pair clashed over comments allegedly made by Carrilho to a national newspaper about Cole's upbringing on a council estate in Newcastle. However, the fifty four-year-old told Cole that he did not know he was speaking to a journalist. So, that makes calling her a Geordie slapper, or whatever it was, all right then, does it? Not that he's, necessarily wrong, like. And yer Keith Telly Topping says that as somebody who's lived his entire life on a council estate two miles down the road from hers! According to the Daily Record, Simon Cowell was 'furious' with Cole for discussing the comments on live television. However, Cole is said to have told 'friends': 'I don't care what people think, I had to answer back.' A production 'source' allegedly commented: 'Simon has made it clear he doesn't think the judges should be attacking the contestants on the show in a personal way. You are supposed to comment on the performance and the singing, so he didn't like that Cheryl got personal.' The newspaper claim that the 'insider' added: 'Things were tense after the show. Simon wasn't happy and let Cheryl know.' Carrilho reportedly wanted to discuss the story with Cole shortly before the live show began. 'Wagner tried to come into her dressing room about twenty minutes before the show started and Cheryl was getting changed,' a 'friend' claimed. 'Luckily Cheryl's door was locked or he could have barged in like with Mary. She was preparing for the show so she couldn't see him and the next time she saw him was on stage so she felt she had to speak out.' They - allegedly - continued: 'She was pissed off and people were talking about it before the show and stirring it up with her. In her dressing room afterwards, she was saying she didn't care what people thought about her speaking out. She had to do it because Wagner made it public. She was just defending herself and answering back, which she has always done in her career.' Yeah. It makes you wonder why she didn't simply take him into the toilets and violently assault him. She's done that before as well. 'She just pointed out a fact, and he should worry about his own luck and not what is going on with other people. She didn't do anything wrong. When Wagner said what he said at the end, he was taking the piss, saying she was the most beautiful person. It was like, "Stop it now,"' the 'friend' allegedly added.

Television dramas too often give frightening and misleading portrayals of mental health and illness, a government-backed study has claimed. The report, commissioned by the Department of Health's Shift campaign, revealed that almost half of fictional characters with mental illness in TV soaps and dramas were portrayed as violent or posing a threat to others. Some sixty three per cent of references to mental health in the shows were also 'pejorative, flippant or unsympathetic,' including use of terms such as 'crackpot,' 'basket case' and 'looney tunes.' The research, done by the Glasgow Media Group, examined three months of drama programmes on the main terrestrial channels between 4pm and 11pm from 1 January. Mental illness-related storylines were contained in seventy four episodes from thirty four different programmes. Of those stories, thirty three featured violence or harm towards others, such as Sally Spode in ITV soap Emmerdale who drugged the village vicar, or a schizophrenic killer in the US show CSI: Miami. BBC1's EastEnders was praised for its realistic portrayal of Stacey Slater's bipolar disorder, but the report noted that she eventually committed a murder. Some fifty three instances of self-harm were also found in the shows. The report accepted that programme makers must carefully balance the accurate depictions of mental illness with the need to entertain, but stressed the need for more 'everyday reality' away from the 'axe-wielding maniac' stereotypes. Professor Greg Philo, who led the research, said: 'Fictional film characters like Hitchcock's Norman Bates in Psycho have long established the idea of the "mentally ill" as crazed and dangerous in the public mind; television has been doing the same thing for decades. Great progress has been made in recent years, but we've some way to go before we see more of the everyday realities of living with a mental health problem properly represented and stereotypes like the axe-wielding maniac take a back seat.' Paul Farmer, the chief executive of Mind, said that mental health portrayals on TV have improved over the past decade, but there was still room for improvement. He added: 'There is still much work to be done until we are at a stage where accurate depictions are the norm rather than the exception. I hope this report will encourage programme makers to follow these examples of good practice to create accurate, well-rounded characters that can improve perceptions of mental health.'

Professor Brian Cox, who scored a huge ratings success with BBC2's Wonders of the Solar System, is to deliver a lecture on making a big bang with science documentaries. Cox will deliver his lecture Science: A Challenge to TV Orthodox at the RTS Huw Wheldon Memorial Lecture 2010. The lecture will cover key issues facing news, current affairs and factual broadcasting. Cox will talk about controversial areas of science including climate change, vaccination policy and religious and cultural issues and how they should be covered by documentary makers. The musician-turned-physicist will also emphasise the importance of accurate information when making programmes using complex scientific detail. The five-part series Wonders of the Solar System was broadcast on BBC2 in March, delivering more than a million more viewers than the slot's average.

The BBC is bolstering its presenting line up with permanently pregnant Property Ladder and Help! My House Is Falling Down host Sarah Beeny joining the corporation for the first time for a new BBC1 programme called Village SOS. Beeny made her name on Channel Four but is to front the six-part lifestyle and business series, which tries to help breathe new life into rural communities. In addition, the actor and comedian Caroline Quentin is to front a spin off of the hit series Restoration for BBC2, called Restoration Home. Village SOS follows six villages which have been awarded grants from the Big Lottery Fund to start new enterprises across a year as they attempt to build up their businesses and help rejuvenate their local community. Unlike Restoration, which was presented by Griff Rhys-Jones and saw viewers vote for the public building they wanted to be brought back to life, Restoration Home is set in private houses and is not a competition. Restoration Home will see Quentin – who admits to being a serial home restorer herself – unravel the secrets of people's homes as they renovate them, with the help of architectural expert Kieran Long and social historian Kate Williams. Both series are due to be broadcast next year, potentially in peak time, although that has not yet been finalised. Alison Kirkham, the BBC commissioning editor of factual formats and features on BBC1 and BBC2, said: 'We're thrilled to have such experienced and knowledgeable talent joining the channels to add to the diverse line up of presenters. Not only are Sarah Beeny and Caroline Quentin popular personalities but their backgrounds and personal experiences lend themselves perfectly to the themes in their respective programmes: Sarah Beeny is a shrewd businesswoman and entrepreneur and Caroline Quentin has a background in restoring homes; both are passionate communicators.' Kirkham also told the Gruniad Morning Star in an interview that the BBC is - sadly - in discussions with Sophie Dahl about more cookery programmes. It had previously been reported that Dahl's BBC2 show The Ridiculous Miss Dahl had been axed, but now it seems that it may return in some new guise. Kirkham said to 'watch this space' regarding an announcement about Dahl. Village SOS is being made by BBC Wales, while Restoration Home is from Endemol UK, the independent producer behind Restoration.

One of the stars of the US TV series Lost, Matthew Fox, is to make his British stage debut in the world premiere of a new play by American writer Neil LaBute. Fox, who played Jack Shephard in the desert-island TV drama, will star alongside British actress Olivia Williams, best known for her role in Dollhouse. In A Forest, Dark And Deep is described as a comedy which 'escalates into a psychological thriller.' It is due to open at London's Vaudeville Theatre in March 2011. Fox stars as Bobby - who helps his sister Betty (played by Williams), clear out her cabin in the forest. The forty four-year-old actor told the BBC that he wanted to return to the theatre partly because of working on a marathon TV series like Lost, which ended after seven series in May. 'I've done two six-year television shows now,' Fox said. 'It's got to be somewhere in the neighbourhood of two hundred and seventy five hours of television, and a handful of films.' He added: 'I never really think of it in terms of theatre, film, TV - what's going to be next for me? I want to get involved in stories that speak to me. This one happened to be a play in the West End of London which has always been a dream of mine.' Writer and director LaBute's plays include The Shape Of Things, Fat Pig, The Mercy Seat and Some Girl(s), which starred former Friends actor David Schwimmer in London in 2005. LaBute said of his new play: 'It was a treat to write. I love the dynamics of family and men and women clashing.' His film work includes In the Company of Men, Nurse Betty, The Wicker Man and Death at a Funeral. The play is also the first time Williams has appeared in the commercial heart of the West End. Her previous theatre roles have been at the National Theatre and the Barbican. Her film credits include The Sixth Sense, An Education and The Ghost.

Former Play School presenter Brian Cant - seen left, with Humpty - is to be honoured with the special award at this year's children's BAFTAs. Cant, a surrogate uncle for an entire generation of young Britons, voiced the characters on numerous children's shows including, memorably, The Trumpton Trilogy of Camberwick Green, Trumpton and Chigley. He said that he was 'delighted, thrilled and above all honoured' by the award. He will pick up his prize from Matt Baker at the ceremony in London on 28 November. Cant, seventy seven, who also appeared in two Doctor Who stories in the 1960s, presented Play School for twenty one years. Cant said that Play School presenters were told by the producers to 'play to the camera as though we were talking to one child, in whatever circumstance. It could be somebody in a tower block, a nice semi-detached somewhere, or a royal palace,' he added. 'You had to phrase everything so, whoever was watching it, they felt you were talking to them.' At his audition for the show he was reportedly asked by programme's editor, Joy Whitby, to get in a cardboard box and mime rowing out to sea. He proceeded to do so, fish from his 'boat' and catch a wellington boot full of custard. He was cast as a presenter and first appeared on the third week of the show in May 1964. He stayed with the programme for over twenty years. BAFTA chief executive Amanda Berry paid tribute to 'one of the best-loved presenters in children's television. Brian Cant's work has touched generations of young people, their parents and grandparents, and his influence on the producers and presenters of the Twenty First Century is arguably second to none,' she said. Cant, whose other children's TV credits include the Play School spin-off Play Away and Bric-a-Brac, appeared as an actor in shows including Z Cars, Manhunt, Girl In A Black Bikini, The Man Outside and Dixon of Dock Green and, more recently, in BBC1's daytime soap Doctors. He also had a brief spell standing in for Eddie Waring as co-host of It's A Knockout. In 2007, readers of BBC magazine Underground Ernie voted his voice the best-loved in the history of UK children's television.

Michael Moorcock has revealed that the BBC did not want him to give Amy Pond her own room in his Doctor Who tie-in novel The Coming of the Terraphiles. The author told The Quietus that the broadcaster did not mind him inserting aspects of his own universe into the book, which was published in October. Moorcock said: 'The only real problem with Cardiff, was, I wanted Amy to have her own room in the TARDIS, so I can describe her getting up in the morning and hearing something going on in the main TARDIS bit, and coming in to breakfast, or whatever it was. They didn't like that, and I think it's because they've got story plans that might not fit. I wanted to have Captain Jack in, but they didn't want me to, again because they kind of save these characters up for a specific purpose. It's not really a strong idea they've got, but they know they might want to use it in a certain way. But that's what you get if you do a job for hire.' He added: 'I've had fun with it. But in a way it enabled me to reclaim stuff that had filtered into Doctor Who from stuff that I'd originally done. That happens when you're my age and working in popular fiction; it spreads through the genre. But Doctor Who is a comedy; it's predominantly comedy, but with a big idea, and that's what I like about Doctor Who. When it's at its best it seems to have both those angles.'

The ashes of the actor Sir Ian Richardson have been buried in the foundations of the new one hundred and twelve million pound Royal Shakespeare theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. Sir Ian and his wife Maroussia were founding members of the RSC in 1961. The Scottish actor spent fifteen years on the stage in Stratford and later found TV fame in dramas like Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and - especially - House of Cards and its sequels. His ashes are buried just in front of the stage in row A. He died at the age of seventy two in February 2007. Sir Ian's son Miles, who is also an actor, got the idea for burying his father's ashes in the theatre's foundations when he was touring the unfinished theatre two years ago with his mother. The new theatre and revamped Swan Theatre will open to the public on Wednesday, following a four-year redevelopment. The Royal Shakespeare Theatre features a one thousand seat stage auditorium, a thirty six-metre high Tower and new exhibition space.

A man shot his TV after becoming angry that Bristol Palin had made the final of Dancing With The Stars, it has been reported. Steven Cowan was watching the show on Monday when politician Sarah Palin's daughter was voted through to the final stage of the dancing competition, while high-scoring Brandy was sent home. According to The Smoking Gun website, Cowan's wife told police that her husband 'jumped up and swore. Steven was upset that a political figure's daughter was on this show when Steven did not think that she was a good dancer.' The sixty seven-year-old then got his shotgun and fired a round at the TV screen, resulting in a fifteen-hour stand-off with police in his home town of Vermont, Reuters reports. He later surrendered and was charged with reckless endangerment and use of a dangerous weapon. The producer of Dancing With The Stars recently defended Bristol's controversial success on the show, brushing off claims that viewers are voting politically because of her mother.

Disneyland has announced that it will no longer invite the Thanksgiving turkey pardoned each year by the US president to the California resort. After John Kennedy famously spared a turkey sent to him in 1963, the president traditional saves one turkey from its intended fate as Thanksgiving dinner. The pardoned turkey has been included in the Disneyland annual show every year since 2005, AFP reports. Spokeswoman Donna Fisk said: 'Originally we brought the turkey here during the fiftieth anniversary of Disneyland, as maybe a one-time thing tying into our anniversary, and calling it "the happiest turkey on earth." We did it for five years, and the decision [to stop] was mostly based on bringing new and different programmes to our guests.' A White House statement confirmed the new plans, stating: 'After the pardoning, the turkeys will be driven to George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens. After the holidays, the National Thanksgiving Turkey and its alternate will live in a custom-made enclosure at Mount Vernon's nationally recognised livestock facility.' Or, as CJ says in The West Wing: 'They sent me two turkeys. The most photo-friendly gets a presidential pardon and a full life at a children's zoo. The runner-up gets eaten.' To which President Bartlet, memorably, replies: 'If the Oscars were like that, I'd watch!'

And, finally, for today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, we're still stuck knee-deep in the very hairy early 1970s, I'm afraid. And, specifically, in Ladbroke Grove. But, by way of a realpolitik gesture, this is just to confirm that amid the plethora of nasty cheesecloth shirts, loon pants, crushed velvet flares, lank greasy hair, love beads, kipper ties, Hai-Karate Aftershave®™ and squatting, there were some top sounds going down. Like, this one for instance.'Let's not talk of love and flower/and things that don't explode/We used up all of our magic powers/trying to do it in the road!' Rite on, Bob! Banned by the BBC because it coincided with an IRA bombing campaign on the mainland, points of interest here include Nik Turner's beserk sax riffs, David Brock's minimalist two-chord solo and Lemmy's apocalyptic bassline. Punk, in all its various forms, starts right here.

Lastly (no, really this time), here's a little thought for you, dear blog reader; forty seven years ago today a new science fiction family drama began on the BBC - the first, and possibly only thing of its kind in the world. It was expected to last about thirteen weeks. In the end, it lasted twenty six years, got put on hiatus, came back as a - not very good - one-off, co-produced, TV movie seven years later, went back on hiatus and then finally came back for good five years ago as one of the genuine television phenomena of the last decade. One day, hopefully many years into the dim and distant future, Doctor Who may go through a period of lessened popularity again, just like it did in the late 1980s. It may, indeed, get cancelled again, like it was in 1989 and we'll go back to it being something fondly remembered by a certain generation - or several - of people who fell under its spell as children. It may spend sixteen years in the wilderness once more (broken only by one hundred minutes of rank American oddness somewhere in the middle). It may, one day, be cancelled and never return. Given the nature of TV, as the business of compromise, that's probably inevitable. One day. All of these things may happen. But not today. And not tomorrow, either. Let us, just for one brief moment, actually take a moment to appreciate what we've got right here, right now on 23 November 2010. What Russell, Chris, David, Julie, Phil, Steven, Matt (and many, many other people who worked so very hard with them) have done for us, the punters. And think 'my God, I'm really glad I'm a Doctor Who fan, today.' Here endeth the lesson.