Monday, November 29, 2010

What You Don't Know Doesn't Hurt You!

Actress Patsy Kensit has become the latest celebrity to leave the Strictly dance floor, following a tango that fell flat. Her performance received a mixed review from the judging panel, with Bruno Tonioli complaining that it 'lacked spunk.' And, the viewing public seemed to agree. After all the votes were in, the Holby City actress found herself in last place. Kensit took her exit in good spirits. 'You know what, I've had the most incredible time,' she said, adding: 'Firstly I have to thank all those who voted because it's been nine weeks, which was incredible. It's been the most beautiful experience.' Her departure means that Ann Widdecombe survived yet again, despite another barrage of criticism from the judges.

And, if you're not bothered about that then this might get yer blood a-pumpin': Katie Waissel and Wagner Carrilho have become the latest two acts to be voted off The X Factor. The twenty four-year-old Waissel was eliminated from the competition after receiving the least votes from the public, while the Brazilian was voted off the show after competing in a reet-proper Harry Hill-style Wagbo sing-off with Mary Byrne.

Emmerdale's series producer Gavin Blyth has died at the age of forty one, ITV has confirmed. Blyth - who took office at the Yorkshire-based soap in January 2009 - died last week following a short period of ill health. An Emmerdale spokesperson said: 'It is with great sadness that we confirm our series producer Gavin Blyth passed away after a short illness. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues at this terrible time. He will be greatly missed by us all. Gavin leaves his wife Suzy and children Tom, fifteen, Anya, eleven and Carter, aged one.' Blyth first joined the world of soap in 2002, when he got the job of senior publicist at Emmerdale. He later secured a position of script editor on the programme. In 2005, Blyth became a story associate at Coronation Street before moving onto the role of assistant producer. After returning to Emmerdale in the position of series producer last year, he began steering a major revamp of the rural soap. His decisions included introducing the Sharma and Barton families, bringing back the characters of Cain and Charity and signing up a number of new cast members, including Kim Thomson, James Sutton, Suzanne Shaw and Pauline Quirke. Sally Spode's evil revenge on village vicar Ashley Thomas, the tale of Mark Wylde's murder and Aaron Livesy's sexuality struggle were among the successful storylines which appeared on screens during his time with the soap. Paying tribute to Blyth, Emmerdale's executive producer Steve November said: 'Gavin has made an immense contribution to Emmerdale since taking over as series producer in January 2009 and during many hugely successful years at ITV. As a friend and colleague, he will be missed an incredible amount by us all. It is a very sad day for everyone at Emmerdale. Our thoughts are with Gavin's family and those closest to him at this difficult time.'

In what was, comfortably, the worst-kept secret in the TV industry, Matt Baker has reportedly been chosen as Jason Manford's permanent replacement to host The ONE Show. According to the People, the Strictly Come Dancing contestant and Countryfile presenter, who stood in for Manford for three editions of the BBC1 magazine show last week (and several times previously), beat Chris Hollins and Matt Allwright to the 'coveted position.' A BBC 'source' said: 'Matt's been a big hit with the viewers. He deserved the big break.' Baker has subsequently resigned from his Countryfile job, and will be unveiled as Alex Jones's regular Monday to Thursday co-host next week. Chris Evans will retain his role as host on the show's Friday editions.

Holby City actress Amanda Mealing has revealed the reasons behind her decision to leave the show after six years. Mealing's final scenes as viewer's favourite Connie Beauchamp will be broadcast at Christmas, while details surrounding her exit storyline are currently unknown. 'I love her so much I'd rather leave on a high than see her diminish,' Mealing said of leaving the role. 'I honestly cried every day for the last three weeks and the final week was just impossible,' Mealing told the Mirror. 'I was kind of heartbroken because leaving Holby is like leaving a long-term relationship.' The actress cited a desire to spend more time with her family as the main factor in her decision to leave the show, as well as the recent death of a close friend from breast cancer. 'Her death hit me really hard and gave me the courage to leave,' Mealing explained, being a survivor of the disease herself. 'I felt guilty for being alive, and then you have the paranoia that maybe it's still raging through you and they've missed it.' The actress recently announced plans to run the London Marathon in 2012 to honour her friend.

Tony Warren has revealed that he turned to drink and drugs in order to deal with his success after creating Coronation Street. Next month the ITV soap marks its fiftieth anniversary with its first live episode in ten years, but Warren has admitted that the Weatherfield show once made him miserable. 'It became inescapable,' the seventy four-year-old told the Radio Times. 'Once I went to Amsterdam to get away from it, put on the television and there was Ena Sharples with Dutch subtitles. I put my foot through the screen. After Coronation Street, what do you do for an encore? I had a drink while I thought about it - and that one turned into a million.' However, Warren continued to say that he required something stronger than alcohol in order to fill an apparent void. 'I used to have hugely upset tummies and in those days you could buy preparations with a quantity of morphine in them,' he said. 'I soon discovered it settled not just my tummy but the cold, lonely, aching place inside, too.'

Peep Show has returned to really dismal ratings – attracting just half of the audience of the previous series. The seventh season of the sitcom kicked off on Friday night with viewing figures of just eight hundred and eighty five thousand on Channel Four, compared to the 1.8million who tuned in for the opening episode of the previous series. Another one hundred and fifty thousand watched on the C4+1 timeshift channel an hour later, again down on a figure of just over two hundred thousand viewers who watched on +1 last year. In 2006, the sitcom looked set to be cancelled when the series three ratings hovered around the 1.3million mark, so this weekend's figures look particularly troubling. David Mitchell previously expressed his concern at how Channel Four's decision to premiere the show online a week before the broadcast could affect the ratings. He said: 'I suppose I'm just old-fashioned. I just worry that, if TV dies, Internet revenues will not sustain proper programme-making. It'll all be skateboarding kittens.' It already is on ITV, mate. Figures for 4oD viewing are not available, but just seven thousand seven hundred people have watched the full episode on YouTube so far. The Stephen K Amos Show on BBC2 also performed badly on Friday. Four weeks ago the series launched with just under a million viewers but this week's episode attracted a merely five hundred and fifty thousand to BBC Two.

Critically acclaimed television series The Wire has become the subject of a new media studies class at the Johns Hopkins University. The college, based in Baltimore where the majority of the series is set, introduced the new class this term and also invited a number of guest speakers to lecture on the programme, including the show's creator David Simon. According to Yahoo News, the class uses the series to illustrate the myriad of issues faced by big cities in the US, including drug use and crime. Last year, the University of York added a module to its sociology degree exclusively studying The Wire as a means to look at the political system in a new and exciting way.

Dexter actress Jennifer Carpenter has claimed that she is still fascinated by her role of Deb Morgan. The character, the sister of covert serial killer Dexter (Michael C Hall), has been part of the regular cast since the Showtime drama began in 2006. 'Deb has a resilience unmatched by any superhero,' Carpenter insisted, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. 'She just keeps coming back again and again. There's so much to be admired with her. She walks into every scene with Dexter with her heart fully exposed.' The actress confirmed that she was keen to remain part of the show for the foreseeable future. 'I am fascinated by [Deb],' she said. 'I love her, I need her and I'm not finished with her yet.' However, Carpenter admitted that the dark nature of the series left little room for humour in her performance. 'I do feel like I've been denied the pleasure of making people laugh,' she confessed. 'I just really want to do a comedy, even a dark comedy. My dream would be a Woody Allen comedy where I could sing.'

Kiefer Sutherland has revealed how watching back previous seasons of 24 has been an 'eye-opener' for him, and how it has made him feel nostalgic about the last ten years. The actor - who played counter-terrorist agent and one man armour-plated killing machine Jack Bauer - is currently filming a documentary about the series. He explained that he was shocked by how much he had changed over the course of the show. Speaking to Empire about his time on the series, he said: 'Our ageing is documented through the show - it's a bit of an eye-opener. Though if you actually do the math, Jack Bauer is now about eighty five years old!' He added: 'We're putting a documentary together, so I sat down with Rodney Charters, the cinematographer, to look at behind-the-scenes footage from the last eight years. We were laughing, then it got to stuff from the later seasons and it wasn't funny anymore.' A pretty accurate summation of the decline of a once very good series, that.

The former chief executive of S4C has filed notice to take the Welsh-language television channel to an employment tribunal over her sudden departure. Iona Jones left the channel in July, shortly after a meeting of the S4C authority, which oversees the channel. Neither she nor the authority have explained why she left immediately, despite calls for clarity on the issue. BBC Wales website says that it understands Jones is alleging unfair dismissal for her departure. The Employment Tribunal Service has confirmed that Jones has sent documents to their offices in Cardiff outlining her version of the circumstances surrounding her exit. The matter is at an early stage, and a date for a possible hearing has not been set, but it is unlikely to be until the new year. Under tribunal rules, S4C will be contacted to respond to the allegations, and then documents from both sides will be reviewed by a judge. At the time of her departure, Jones made no public comment, and S4C put out a statement saying: 'The authority's members would like to thank Iona Jones for her service to S4C. There will be no further comment.' Jones was the first woman to become the chief executive of S4C and the fourth chief executive in the history of the channel which was set up in 1982. She began her career in broadcasting as a journalist with BBC Wales, before becoming editor of the Welsh language news programme Newyddion. The S4C Authority this week faced fresh turmoil after it announced its chairman had resigned, only for John Walter Jones to say that he was staying until next spring. The authority said Mr Jones told fellow members on Tuesday night that he had tendered his resignation to the lack of culture secretary the vile Jeremy Hunt. The Department for Media, Culture and Sport, which is responsible for appointing the chairman, had said it had not received a resignation letter so, it would appear that Mr Jones sent it by carrier tortoise. Jones has told BBC Wales that he had an understanding with Hunt that he would remain as chairman until next March. The authority has now appointed a vice-chairman, Rheon Tomos, who has appealed to Jones to honour what he called his 'decision to resign.'

FIFA vice-president the odious Jack Warner has renewed his attack on BBC Panorama's investigation into World Cup bidding by claiming the programme will have 'negative fall-out' for England's World Cup bid. In what sounds like a not so veiled threat to the independence of a broadcaster, Warner has suggested that the British media's investigations into the murky world of FIFA's financial transactions is likely to kill England's chances of winning the 2018 bid. Panorama are planning to broadcast the documentary on Monday, three days before the vote, and have written to Warner - as well as FIFA president Sepp Blatter - asking for responses to a number of allegations made against them. But Warner insisted he was not worried about the contents of the investigation. Warner told the Trinidad newspaper Newsday: 'I leave here on Sunday to go to vote on the bid. I haven't yet made up my mind how I'm voting, but the BBC, I'm totally dismissive of the BBC.' Asked whether Panorama could negatively affect the vote for England, he said: 'I believe it might. I don't know really how much it would do that but I would imagine there must be some negative fall-out.' Warner added: 'I don't want to dignify the foolishness by the BBC and what they want to show. If the BBC want to show anything, they could show it, what more could the BBC say about Jack Warner? And, while the BBC is doing its nonsense, I am doing my work, so I'm not worried about that.' As Jonathan Liew notes in the Torygraph: 'When did it become a condition of hosting a World Cup that all criticism of FIFA be suppressed? There's a term for that. It's called "bending over." Whatever happened to the idea of World Cup hosts being decided on the basis of stadiums and transport and Nelson Mandela?'

Market traders in Ghana will be banned from selling second-hand underwear from next February, trade regulators say. According to the Ghana Standards Board, used pants - and other second-hand goods like handkerchiefs and mattresses - are unhygienic and could pose a health hazard. The importation of these items was banned in 1994 but never implemented. Some traders in a market in the capital, Accra, told the BBC they were unhappy the move might affect business. The BBC's David Amanor in the city says there is a lot of consumer demand for second-hand clothing, often imported from Europe, as it is cheaper than locally produced items. 'Ghana is a third world country; we've been doing this all along, so why are they talking about a ban now?' Millicent, a trader in Kantamanto Market in central Accra, told the BBC's Network Africa programme. 'The authorities should think again because our livelihoods are at stake.' She admitted that some of the imported underwear was stained but said customers rummage through the piles and inspect goods before buying. Some customers also seemed dismayed by the news of the forthcoming ban, he says. 'I've been wearing "obroni wewu" all my life from infancy - all the clothes you see on me today from up to down are "obroni wewu" - and I never fell sick because of used clothes,' adds Doris, a shopper at Kantamanto Market.

So to Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. And, this time around, it's time for a bit of good old fashioned Godlike Genius, I reckon. From the voice that launched a thousand imitators from Bowie, to Marc Almond, to Jarvis Cocker. 'Authentic queers and phony virgins,' indeed!