Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Zed-List Or The Dead-List

Popular BBC1 drama Sherlock has been nominated for five awards at this year's Royal Television Society Craft and Design ceremony. The series - which starred Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman - received nominations in categories including best original score and best photography in a drama. The awards celebrate the creative design used on television in the past year. Hosted by Dominic Wood and Richard McCourt, the ceremony will take place on 24 November in London. ITV's Dancing On Ice received two nominations for best lighting and multi-camera use plus best costume design in entertainment and non-drama shows. In the best make-up category for drama, Mo, The Fattest Man in Britain and Worried About the Boy were all nominated. Terry Pratchett's Going Postal for Sky 1, Channel Four's Misfits and BBC2's Worried About the Boy, the drama about Boy George's teenage years, all picked up more than one nomination.

The great Bill Bailey is to host a new comedy-based chat show to tie in with the British Comedy Awards. In each episode of Comic’s Choice, Bailey will interview a British A-list comedian about which comedy performers and shows they consider to be the greatest. They will pick favourites in categories mirroring the various awards, such as best sitcom and best TV comic. Producers say: 'With other smaller, alternative categories and audience interaction thrown in, the show will be not just informative and entertaining – but fun, funny and memorable.' The series, to be recorded next month, is part of Channel Four's plans to revitalise the comedy awards, having poached the ceremony from ITV after twenty years. Jonathan Ross will continue to host the main awards, which will be moving from their traditional December home into January. The ceremony will also revert to a live broadcast. So, best behaviour, Jonny.

This year's alleged I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here! line-up has, allegedly, been leaked by an, alleged, tabloid newspaper. There will be twelve famous faces heading into the jungle this Sunday to battle it out for the title, according to the Sun. And they use the term 'famous' quite wrongly in several cases. Heading up the line-up are former Happy Mondays and Black Grape singer Shaun Ryder, sixty one-year-old actor Nigel Havers (somebody that yer Keith Telly Topping actually has a modicum of respect for, so this is a right blow in the knackers, frankly), TV presenter Gail Porter, former Bond girl and Wicker Man actress Britt Ekland and Olympic sprinting legend Linford Christie. So far, so 'actually famous.' However, also said to be taking part are former Big Brother's Alison Hammond, TV nutritionist and hate figure for everybody who's ever enjoyed a cream-cake or a plate of chips Gillian McKeith (notice, she's stopped calling herself 'Doctor' now), ex-MP and desperate self-publicist Lembit Opik, X Factor loser Stacey Solomon, supposed comic - although I've never met anybody who finds him in the least bit funny - Dom Joly, Paul Gascoigne's ex-wife Sheryl and rapper Aggro Santos. 'Famous'? Err ... recount?

The saga of Daybreak's many woes continues. Last Wednesday the show pulled in a record low audience Appreciation Index figure of just fifty seven out of one hundred. That means, in layman's terms, it was pretty much loathed by the majority of the show's seven hundred thousand audience. On Thursday, in a seemingly desperate attempt to get some more viewers in, one of the show's production team, Erron Gordon, helpfully posted on Twitter: 'Your normal breakfast show on strike [tomorrow]? Watch @Daybreak on ITV & ITV1HD tomorrow from 6am with all the news, sport, entertainment and weather.' In the event, Daybreak's audience did rise, marginally, to an average of eight hundred thousand on Friday - fifty thousand up on the day before - with an audience peak of 1.3m at 8:00. Whilst this was happening, however, even though their regular presenters were on strike the Beeb's cobbled-together Breakfast was still getting an average audience of 1.3m with a peak, at 7:45 of 1.8m. The AI scores for the day were Breakfast, seventy one and Daybreak, sixty one. So, to sum up, even on their - potential - best day ever, with little opposition to speak of, Daybreak still couldn't top a million viewers or get an even average AI score into the seventies. On Monday, with the BBC strike over, Breakfast's average audience was back up to its usual 1.6m with Daybreak still stuck on half of that. Is it really so very wrong to find that utterly hilarious?

Speaking of AI scores, the series finale of Downton Abbey's score of ninety three of Sunday night is worth a momentary pause of respect. And, now we're done.

The last scenes of veteran Coronation Street actor Bill Tarmey were watched by an audience of eleven million viewers, according to overnight figures. Jack Duckworth's final, poignant, moments, which saw him reunited in the afterlife with his wife Big Vera (Liz Dawn), who died two years ago. Her exit was watched by an estimated twelve and a half million viewers, although that's a consolidated total with timeshifts taking into account so we might find, in a week's time, that last night's episode had a similar audience figure. Both long-standing characters were hugely popular with fans of the show - and with yer Keith Telly Topping. The Daily Mirror's Jim Shelley called Tarmey's exit 'one of the most moving scenes ever seen in soap.' Brian Viner wrote in the Independent, that 'Jack's passing was a celebration of everything that has made Coronation Street great.' The character of Jack first appeared in the show in 1979 but became a regular four years later, when he and Vera moved into a house on Coronation Street. The actor had originally wanted to retire from the ITV show last year, but producers persuaded him to stay for the soap's fiftieth anniversary, which will be marked next month.

The Metro's excellent TV reviewer, Keith Watson, isn't a big fan of Giles and Sue Live The Good Life: 'Some would say that Giles Coren and Sue Perkins are the very definition of Marmite in TV presenting terms. But as I love Marmite that seems rather unfair on the tasty yeast-based spread. So let’s just say I fall on the loathe side of this particular debate. With the right presenters, this could be an interesting experiment, tapping into the current interest in escaping tasteless supermarket fodder. But these two exist purely to show how superior they think they are, pouring scorn on contemporary "liberal do-gooders having a go at growing their own" and the quaint 1970s because, of course, everything’s so much better now. But maybe Giles And Sue Take The Piss Out Of The Good Life didn't sing as a title with the BBC.' Ouch! Yer Keith Telly Topping his very self caught up with the episode oniPlayer, since he was knee-deep in [spooks] at the time and found it to be none of the things that yer Keith Telly Watson ascribes to it, as it were. On the contrary, I think Giles and Sue have a very pleasant and personable way about them that makes their programmes at least watchable and, usually, quite wryly amusing.

The remaining X Factor girls have reportedly complained that their mentor, Cheryl Cole, does not give them enough attention. Because, they're in need of all the attention they can get, the X Factor girls, so they are. According to the Daily Scum Mail, Cher Lloyd, Rebecca Ferguson and Katie Waissel have 'raised their concerns' with Simon Cowell. An alleged 'insider' told the alleged newspaper: 'The girls did speak to Simon and complained that Cheryl spends barely any time with them. "Cheryl went to Los Angeles last week, but it didn't even matter really as she only ever really sees the girls on Fridays for a final run-through, when other judges like Dannii and Louis are working so hard - and Simon, of course, is spending all his time with One Direction. Cheryl did have the girls in for a glass of champagne on Sunday night, but they are all a little peeved, to say the least, and tensions are running high.' At the weekend, it was suggested that the female contestants were 'at each other's throats - and Cheryl's' after The Heaton Horror's recent visit to Los Angeles where she reportedly signed a six million pound contract with Universal. To star in a remake of The Bridge of Frankenstein. Or, maybe that was just a dodgy rumour. Anyway ... Minogue and Walsh were also said to be 'absolutely outraged' with Cole after she was allowed to make the trip abroad during the live show phase of the reality talent show.

In related news, Katie Waissel has claimed that she was not giving up when she exclaimed 'sod it' during her X Factor sing-off performance on Sunday night. The singer survived the vote despite appearing to stumble over the lyrics and sitting down towards the end of her rendition of 'Don't Give Up On Me.' Waissel told Metro: 'I am in total shock about it. When I said "sod it" that wasn't me giving up. That was me just trying so hard to get across the meaning of the lyrics as they meant so much to me. It was more frustration.'

You wouldn't normally see her looking quite so grown up, but Cheryl Cole certainly did look chic at the Pride of Britain Awards 2010 on Tuesday night. Turning up in a black Helmut Lang floor-sweeping dress and lattice detail shoes she looked all ladylike and elegant. Also at the event was Girls Aloud band mate Nicola Roberts - you know, The Ginger One That Can Actually Sing - who wore a gorgeous pink William Tempest gown and perspex heels. Mercy.

This week on From The North's semi-regular series Where Have I Seen His or her Boat-Race Before?, the latest episode of House - Office Politics - alongside the debut of Joan of Arcadia's Amber Tamlyn as the series' latest short-term Thirteen-replacement also featured a fine guest turn from Jack Coleman. Fans of American Telefantasy will remember him as Noah Bennet in Heroes. (Speaking of Tamlyn, who was really very good in the episode indeed, keep your ears open for rather amusing 'Pippi Longstocking' in-joke from Taub.) On a similar theme, this week's Hawaii Five-0 had a particularly strong plot. A Hawaiian luau turns into a horrorshow when the body of a dead cop, who happens to be Danno's ex-partner, is found in the barbecue pit. (That bit they got directly from an episode of Bones from two years ago, admittedly!) Five-0's dogged investigation into the murder matches them against Internal Affairs, dirty cops and Hawaii's most powerful cocaine cartel. In the role of the dead cop's widow was Dichen Lachman who made such an impression as Sierra on two season's of the excellent - if under-achieving - Dollhouse. Monday also saw a very fine episode of Lie To Me featuring, perhaps, the first steps in a change in Cal and Gillian's mutating relationship with each other. Top drawer.

Meanwhile, Amber Tamblyn has dismissed rumours that her character will develop a romance with Chase (Jesse Spencer) on House. Spencer previously joked that the medical drama's male characters would 'jostle for position' to get inside Tamblyn's character Martha Masters's pants. However, the actress told Fancast: '[Jesse] likes to think that Chase is a mac daddy, maybe. But I doubt anything [romantic] is going to materialise because Martha is like the kid sister. She's not a sex symbol. She's intellectually out of their league, and that's not attractive to them.' Tamblyn added that she had enjoyed playing the character's 'social awkwardness. I love her inability to connect with the other team-mates,' she explained. 'She's not really one of the guys, she's an outcast. I know that's strange to like, but it somehow comes off funny and endearing, because she is trying. She's a cute little nerd.' The former Joan of Arcadia star also revealed that the naive Masters would eventually attempt to mimic House's maverick tactics. 'She's going to try and that's going to screw her up,' the actress said. 'And then he's going to try [to understand her], and that's going to screw him up. It's an interesting give-and-take.'

Jo Brand has revealed that she is writing a new drama for the BBC. Brand told the Radio Times that she is currently working on the one-off programme. 'Rather fantastically, the BBC has commissioned me to write a ninety-minute drama, which I'm really pleased about,' she said. 'It's based on my novel The More You Ignore Me.' Brand added that she wants the show to be as dark as her series Getting On, saying: 'It's set in the countryside and it's about being obsessed with somebody.'

Good old whinging gobshite Jimmy McGovern is at it again. Just a day after he got right on Steven Moffat and Matty Graham's tit-end, he's now claimed that the BBC expressed concern about his acclaimed drama The Street because a character displayed an anti-Manchester United bias. The BBC have denied the suggestion. McGovern claimed that the BBC's compliance unit asked for scenes from the BBC1 drama to be removed as they could cause potential offence to fans of the football club. Speaking to the Radio Times, the Cracker creator said: 'I ask, "What is the point of this unit?" The response is, "It's in case you cause offence." They've asked questions, particularly about the anti-Manchester United bias in The Street. There was this big spiel about a character wanting to shoot Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand. I told them every chance I get I write with anti-Manchester United bias.' The Liverpool-born writer added: 'I'm a dramatist. Imagine on my tombstone if it read, "Jimmy McGovern, writer - never offended anybody." How would I feel? That's my job.' However, a BBC spokesman disputed that McGovern had ever been told he 'can't write with an anti-Manchester United bias.' He said: 'In fact, no-one at the BBC has ever told Jimmy what he can and cannot write at all. Occasionally people will ask questions about why he has chosen a particular theme or subject, but that's all.' Despite his earlier comments about the BBC's compliance procedures, later in the Radio Times interview McGovern admitted that the corporation largely respects his creative freedom. Which appears to suggest that his earlier comments were, let's be charitable and call them somewhat exaggerated. 'I don't think anyone [at the BBC] has ever come back to us about a story. We ask questions ourselves - and the question we ask is, "Is this real?"' he said. 'There are no black people in my dramas, or very, very few. But, that's because I understand the white working class and I write about that. I don't think that's ever been put to us by the BBC. We did three series of The Street and the three of them were good. So I think the BBC respect us.' Well, they did until you started having a go at Doctor Who. Now you're deep down on their shit-list, pal. They view that sort of thing very dimly.

Matt Smith has admitted that he thought his Doctor Who co-star Karen Gillan was 'mad' when they first met. 'A bit wacky' or 'clinically mentally ill', he didn't elaborate. According to the Daily Record, Smith explained that he was surprised by Gillan's appearance when they were introduced. 'She came in wearing a red coat and I thought she was mad,' he said. What, just for wearing a red coat? Blimey, it's to be hoped Matt's never been to Butlin's, he'd likely think he was in an asylum. Although, actually ... 'She had this red coat on with all this red hair, which then was down to beyond her nether-regions. I thought it was quite odd.' However, Smith explained that he gets on well with Gillan, saying: 'I think we evolved in the first couple of months and now we're really cooking. It's fun. We have a right laugh at work.' Matt has also revealed more details about the show's upcoming Christmas special. He told USA Today: 'I had great fun making it because obviously it was the middle of July and there's loads of fake snow. There's lots of snow, crackers and turkey, and that goes hand-in-hand with the spirit of The Doctor and Doctor Who.' He added that the special would focus heavily on The Doctor's own festive spirit. 'It's showcasing humans at their most open and giving and kind,' he said. 'It's everything The Doctor's about.' Smith also referred to his role on the SF drama as 'the greatest part I've ever played. What's so wonderful about playing The Doctor is it's all based on invention,' he explained. 'You're given this white canvas to invent and paint on, and he can be any colour. I really want to push the boundaries of this part into next year now and keep raising the bar.' Somewhere, Jimmy McGovern is muttering 'Bah! Humbug!'

Meanwhile, somebody else who got it wrong about Doctor Who were Channel Four. They've had to hand another chance over to a couple who lost three hundred and twenty five thousand pounds on The Million Pound Drop after some people described as 'fact checkers' didn't do their job very well and gave the wrong answer to a question about the long-running BBC family science fiction drama. Last Friday, as previously reported on this blog, husband and wife team Johnny and Dee were asked to name the longest-serving actor to play Doctor Who from a choice of Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, David Tennant and Christopher Eccleston. After splitting their remaining six hundred and fifty thousand pounds between McCoy and McGann, the couple lost everything when the answer was revealed to be Tennant. However, 'eagle-eyed' (and, bless 'em, sad ... but we've love 'em for it) viewers contacted the Million Pound Drop production team to point out that the question was in fact misleading. Tennant portrayed the Doctor for the longest uninterrupted stint between 2005 and 2009, but McCoy played the Time Lord for three years between 1987 and 1989, and also appeared in the 1996 TV movie. As no other actor played the character between those two points, McCoy takes the title as the longest-reigning Doctor. Channel Four has now accepted the error and confirmed that Johnny and Dee will get a second chance on this weekend's Million Pound Drop Live. 'Having spoken to the Doctor Who production team at the BBC, the Million Pound Drop producers have confirmed that the correct answer to this question was Sylvester McCoy and not David Tennant as shown on the broadcast on 5 November. This is due to Sylvester McCoy's final appearance in a 1996 TV movie,' said a Channel Four spokesperson. 'We apologise for this oversight and as a result, the contestants, Johnny and Dee, will return to the show to finish the game this Friday or Saturday at 10pm on Channel Four with the three hundred and twenty five thousand pounds they placed on McCoy.'

Gillian Anderson has revealed that she was bullied over her US roots during her childhood in London. 'I was pasty, pudgy and all the kids referred to my parents as Yanks,' The X-Files actress told Psychologies magazine. 'We'd visit family in the US and it was all sunshine and candy, so it had a magical tinge to it.' The forty two-year-old goes on to say: 'I wanted to move back to the US but, when we did, we moved to Michigan, nowhere near family and that had an impact. I didn't know where I belonged. It wasn't until my twenties that I fell in love with London again.' According to Anderson’s one-time co-star, Mulder and Scully could soon be set for another big-screen reunion. Chatting to French magazine TVMag, David Duchovny said that another film based on the cult series is currently being written. 'One awaits just the green light from FOX. [They were] a little disappointed from the relatively poor reception of the second film,' he remarked. 'The error comes, in my opinion, that the authors strayed too far from the roots of the series. Moreover, the film was released in the summer. The third will be much closer to what the public expects, with government conspiracies, et cetera.'

The cast and crew of ITV drama Wild At Heart are said to be 'devastated' following the death of Hamley the giraffe. Especially as it was one of the best actors on the show. Hamley was described as one of the most-loved animals on the reserve at Glen Afric, where cast including Stephen Tompkinson and Dawn Steele have worked with him for the past five years. The seven-year-old giraffe died after being struck by lightning during a thunderstorm earlier this week. 'We are all desperately upset about the passing of Hamley, who has been part of the Wild At Heart family for five years,' producer Nick Goding said. 'It was a natural disaster, but nevertheless heartbreaking for everyone who has been involved with him - he was a real character. Our wildlife is very much at the heart of the series - Hamley was a gentle, playful and charming animal. He will be greatly missed by everybody.'

An Absolutely Fabulous reunion could be in the works, star Joanna Lumley has revealed. The actress said that Jennifer Saunders has already contacted her with an eye to reviving the show. The comeback is apparently the idea of executive producer Jon Plowman, who wrote to Saunders asking if she would be interested in returning to the sitcom. Lumley – who is currently making her Broadway debut in New York said: 'Jen wrote to me before I left and said, "Let's talk through it. What do you think?" And I said, "Bring it on!" Because we're all still here. Mother's still alive – the wonderful June Whitfield. Julia Sawalha, Jane Horrocks. We're all still alive and available (ish) to do it, and I think we just have to do it.' In her interview with Broadway magazine Playbill, Lumley said the fact the show has already 'fast-forwarded to where they're very old and nearly dead and practically plugged into vodka machines' means they have the freedom to keep returning to the characters. The series debuted in 1992 and ran its supposed last episode in 1995. However it proved a hard show to keep down, returning for another two 'final' episodes in 1996, before making another, more substantial comeback, in 2001 for two more series and three specials, the last of which was broadcast on Christmas Day 2004.

Jimmy Carr has claimed that his new stand-up DVD would not be passed by Ofcom for TV broadcast. We never knew that Ofcom had such good taste. The stand-up comedian, whose Making People Laugh disc is out now, was asked by Metro why the release was billed as 'too rude and offensive for TV.' Carr said: 'It certainly wouldn't make it past Ofcom. When you make a TV show, you're a guest in someone's house. With live shows, you can do what your sense of humour is. It's the sort of jokes I'd tell my friends. My jokes can be offensive and cruel on a surface level but I'm just trying to make people laugh - there's nothing more to it.' Asked if he was 'overexposed' on TV, Carr said: 'I did a few of those 'One Hundred Greatest' shows about seven years ago and four of them were on over Christmas at the same time. '"Overexposed" is a media term. For me, it meant I went on holiday over Christmas and before I went people said, "You're that bloke off Your Face Or Mine.' When I came back it was, "You're Jimmy Carr." Everyone needs to do it once. There'll be someone this year who'll become a household name like that. I just say yes to things that look fun.'

Production on the upcoming Bones spin-off has reportedly been delayed. The show is expected to focus on a new character called Walter Sherman - a former military policeman who knows Booth (David Boreanaz). Walter was originally expected to be introduced in the main Bones series in December. However, Movieline reports that production on his episode has been postponed until February or March. It is now scheduled to be broadcast in the spring. Sources claimed that the decision was made for creative reasons, although a spokesperson for FOX declined to comment.

Rebecca Mader is to make a guest appearance on ABC drama No Ordinary Family. TV Guide reports that the actress will play a colleague of Stephanie Powell (Julie Benz) in a forthcoming episode. The character is expected to debut in January and will apparently use her position at Global Tech to hide a secret past. Mader previously played Charlotte Lewis on Lost and featured in a recent episode of NBC's Law & Order: Los Angeles.

Countryfile needed 'a drastic shake-up' to make otherwise 'pretty dull' rural issues more interesting to BBC viewers, an employment tribunal hearing an age-discrimination complaint from the show's former presenter Miriam O'Reilly heard this week. Andrew Thorman, the BBC's head of rural affairs, told the hearing in Holborn that the programme had to be given a new look after it was moved last year from its traditional Sunday-morning slot to a new peak time position on Sunday nights. 'We needed to find a way of grabbing viewers' attention at a busy time of day,' added Thorman, and to make issues such as bovine TB and European Union subsidies for farmers – which might 'on the face of it seem pretty dull' – more entertaining. Miriam O'Reilly, fifty three, lost her job in a shake-up that Thorman said was enthusiastically supported by Jay Hunt, the then-controller of BBC1, who wanted better-known presenters for the show – which is now fronted by Julia Bradbury and Matt Baker. (And not, as the Gruniad Morning Star claims, Matt Smith.) 'We discussed in broad terms what needed to be done to make sure it worked in audience terms,' said Thorman. 'It would not be an option to move it back again. We needed to make sure it would be a success. It would face much stiffer competition and we needed to up our game.' Thorman said the show needed presenters who had credibility when it came to rural affairs but who also had the capacity to appeal to peak time viewers of soaps or big-budget dramas. The new format of the show was more personality-led, with the presenters John Craven and Adam Henson surviving to continue in a format that took a more hands-on approach, with more pacey and ambitious camerawork. Viewing figures, Thorman said, have since soared to an average of five million compared with one and a half million in the morning slot. Indeed, the most recent episodes of the show have been pulling in extraordinary audiences of over seven million on BBC1. O'Reilly was one of several presenters who were dropped from the show, along with Michaela Strachan, Juliet Morris and Charlotte Smith. But Thorman said none of the four women were dropped because of either their age or their sex. Another long-running Countryfile presenter, Ben Fogle, was also dropped, but now fronts a spin-off show, Country Tracks, which took over the Sunday-morning slot. Thorman was not responsible for hiring Fogle for the new show, but said he had mentioned to the presenter's agent that he would be 'a strong contender.' Thorman said Hunt had wanted presenters who were better known to the prime time audience and were 'engaging and compelling storytellers' who could appeal to a broad audience. New hirings included the former Blue Peter presenter Matt Baker and the ex-Watchdog host Julia Bradbury. He said he 'had not specifically' discussed O'Reilly with Hunt, but said that O'Reilly 'did not have the presenting experience or peak-time profile to carry off what we were looking for in the new show.' Of the other female presenters, Thorman said Smith also did not have the necessary experience or profile, while Morris was also not well known to a peak time audience. He said he would have welcomed the former Really Wild Show presenter Strachan on the new show, but said her availability had become limited after she moved to South Africa. He said her availability was limited further because as a vegetarian, Strachan refused to present reports about the meat production process. Thorman, who also has responsibility for shows such as BBC Radio 4's Farming Today and The Archers, told the tribunal he had first met O'Reilly twenty five years ago and that he had worked with her on numerous programmes and recommended her for a number of jobs. He said they had 'an excellent working relationship' and were 'good friends.' However, that changed in the wake of the Countryfile revamp, and the pair had not spoken when they later encountered each other at the BBC's Birmingham base, where O'Reilly was working on an edition of Radio 4's File on Four. However, Thorman denied O'Reilly's claim that he had 'glowered' at her. The tribunal case continues.

Actor John Nettles, best-known for playing detectives in the TV dramas Bergerac and Midsomer Murders, has received an OBE. The two long-running series helped make him a household name and earned him the honour for services to drama. The sixty seven-year-old said: 'I don't really deserve it. People who get OBEs are people like fire-fighters and lifesavers - these are real-life heroes.' He is leaving Midsomer Murders next year after starring it in for fifteen years. 'I think it's absolutely wonderful, I cannot be more pleased. For an actor to get an award like this is lovely and very kind,' he said. The actor revealed that he thought the Queen was a fan of DCI Barnaby - the character he plays in Midsomer. 'The story is that she is, and I hope that's true. I'm told on good authority - back in the days of Princess Margaret - the Queen Mum and Princess Margaret used to have discussions about the pronunciation of Midsomer - I don't know the answer,' he said.

Miranda Hart has admitted that she is nervous about the new series of her sitcom Miranda. Speaking to What's On TV, the comedian admitted that she is pleased the show was renewed by the BBC. 'I'm thrilled we've got a second series as there's not much money in television at the moment,' she said. 'I think Simon Cowell's got it all.' However, she added: 'I'm nervous, as we're about to record the show and I haven't heard an audience laugh for over a year now. I need to be reminded that it's funny!' Hart also revealed that there will be more romantic storylines in the second series, saying: 'I can certainly say that there are some boy troubles ahead.'

Ann Widdecombe has insisted that she will not quit Strictly Come Dancing. The ex-Conservative MP has consistently finished in the bottom two on the judges' leaderboard but has never finished in the bottom two after the public vote. Widdecombe has now promised that she will not follow the example of former contestant John Sergeant, who withdrew from the competition after viewers kept voting to save him at the expense of better dancers to piss off the judges. Widdecombe told BBC Radio Devon that leaving 'would be a slap in the face for the public.' She said: 'The public are deciding who goes through and who does not go through. If the public say we want to see you again next week and you say, "I've got better things to do," that seems incredibly rude.' The sixty three-year-old also said that critics of her popularity on the show are forgetting that the programme is meant to be 'entertainment,' not 'sport.' According to the BBBC press office, the corporation have received over one hundred and sixty comments ('of which eighty five are complaints') from viewers who said that they were unhappy that Widdecombe is still in the competition at the expense of better dancers, like Jimi Minsty who was eliminated at the weekend. Tragically, the other ten million viewers don't seem over bothered.

A verdict of death by misadventure has been recorded at the inquest of BBC property show presenter Kristian Digby. The thirty-year-old was found dead at his flat in Richford Road, Newham, on 1 March. Digby was raised in Torquay, and had gone on to present on a number of property shows, including BBC1's To Buy or Not To Buy. His agent and friend Jo Wander described him as 'a lovely guy and a very talented presenter and director.' An inquest into his death was held at Walthamstow Coroners' Court in east London on Monday. The property expert, who was born into a family of property developers, worked on a number of other shows including Double Agents, Living In The Sun, House Swap and Buy It, Sell It, Bank It. His short film, Last Train to Demise, won the Melbourne Film Festival Best Student Film in 1998 and Words of Deception won him a junior BAFTA in 1997.

Katie Price has been tipped to take on a presenting role on Channel Five's Live From Studio Five. Jesus, they must be desperate. According to that bastion of truth and honesty Heat, the model and reality TV regular 'could' replace Kate Walsh and Jayne Middlemiss on the show. Despite Price reportedly signing an exclusive two-year deal with Virgin Media Television, it has been claimed that she has since signed a contract with Channel Five. A source told the magazine: 'Jordan is going to be a massive part of that channel from next year and will be taking presenting lessons to ensure her success.' I doubt you'll need them on that show, Jordan love. It was also suggested that Price will not feature her husband Alex Reid on the show, with the alleged 'insider' adding: 'She's banned Alex from being part of it, insisting that she doesn't want to mix business with her private life - although she will find a way to involve her three kids in the show.'

A TV make-up artist who worked on BBC's Casualty used her skills to fake an attack on her by husband, a court heard this week. Kirstie Stanway, thirty six, claimed that Michael Gwilliam kicked her twice in the stomach and later pushed her so that she banged her head on a door frame after a row over another woman. As well as bruising on her stomach, she also had a large bruise on her right breast and a lump on her head, she told Gloucester crown court. But her husband's lawyer, Lloyd Jenkins, said Stanway had used her professional skills as a make-up artist to fake or 'embellish' her injuries and that they were 'samples' of her work. Showing her photos of actors she had made up to look badly injured in films and TV programmes, Jenkins reminded her she had worked on Casualty from 1999 to 2004 as well as films like Sleepy Hollow. Jenkins told the court: 'She is an expert make-up artist. She can come up with pretty damned convincing injuries if she wants. She has the skill and the knowledge - it is what she does for a living. If you see Casualty and Holby City, she does all those cuts and bruises and whatnot. She has done some fantastic things.' Stanway denied Jenkins' suggestion that she was 'a woman scorned' who had made up the assault claim to get revenge on her husband for cheating on her with his mistress, referred to only as Antonia. She insisted that the thirty seven-year-old construction company boss attacked her after she confronted him about a picture of his scantily clad mistress which she had found on his phone. The courts initially believed Stanway's version of events and managing director Gwilliam was convicted in May of assaulting his wife and was sentenced to a six-month suspended jail term. He appealed against his conviction to the Crown Court claiming it was she who had attacked him after finding the incriminating picture on his phone. Judge William Hart, sitting with two magistrates, upheld the appeal and quashed Gwilliam's conviction. The judge said there were no witnesses to the alleged assault and the court felt unable to be sure that Stanway was giving a truthful account of what happened. The judge described Stanway as 'a successful career woman who knows her own mind and is capable of standing up for herself.' He added: 'None of the extraneous evidence has sufficient impact to show that the complainant is a witness of truth who can be safely relied upon.'

A woman's breach of bail allegation has been overturned after she used her knowledge of Emmerdale's scheduling as evidence in court. Jacqueline Keam, from Bermondsey, stood accused of ignoring an order for her to have no contact with one of her neighbours. It was alleged that she had interacted with the person in question on 27 October, when a commotion outside her home led to a man being taken to hospital. According to the Southwark News, Keam was accused of popping her head out of her front door after hearing the events unfolding outside. She was then alleged to have shouted 'Fucking good!,' in violation of the strict bail clause forbidding her from speaking to her neighbour. However, appearing in court to defend herself against the charge, Keam insisted that she merely looked out of the front door before returning inside to watch Emmerdale. After she took the stand, the woman's version of events was called into question, as she had previously told police that she was watching Fiver's first look screening of Home and Away at the time. However, she insisted: 'I was watching Emmerdale Farm straight after Home and Away. I looked outside, saw the police and ambulance, and went straight back to watch my programme.' Tragically, the prosecution did not put it to Keam that the programme hasn't been Emmerdale Farm for twenty one years and that this was clear proof of her duplicity. District Judge Black ultimately decided to dismiss the matter, but Keam will appear in court again later this week to answer the charges of harassment and assault which sparked the no-contact order in the first place.

Dick Van Dyke was reportedly rescued by a school of porpoises after he floated out to sea on a surfboard. if you're waiting for a punchline, dear blog reader, tragically, there isn't one. According to WENN, the Mary Poppins and Diagnosis Murder actor fell asleep on his board while at the beach. Van Dyke reportedly explained: 'I woke up out of sight of land and I started paddling with the swells and I started seeing fins swimming around me and I thought, "I'm dead!" They turned out to be porpoises [and] they pushed me all the way to shore. I'm not kidding.' God bless the noble porpoise.

Newcastle has been picked as one of two locations in the country to host a 'secret' charity concert by Coldplay. Quite why they've chosen to inflict themselves and their bland, insipid, pretentious turd-like music for chartered accountants on a city already hit by hard times is, tragically, unknown.

Which brings us to today's veritable Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. And, it's a classic; a righteous slice of pub-rockin', plank-spankin', gob-iron-blowing Canvey Island rhythm and blues, baby.You know what they say, if you're feelin' a bit poorly and you wanna feel better, get yourselves down to the doctors. Sort 'em out, Wilko! And here's that classic clip from The Old Grey Whistle Test in 1975.