Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I Was Searching For An Eskimo, Said He Was Hoping For A Fall Of Snow

Deadline is reporting that American actor Mekhi Phifer is to join the cast of Torchwood: The New World playing Rex Matheson, one of the three leads, alongside John Barrowman and Eve Myles. Mekhi Phifer is best known for his role as Dr Gregory Pratt on NBC's long-running medical drama ER. He also appeared more recently as a regular in Lie To Me. Born in New York, his acting career began when he was selected for the leading role in Spike Lee's Clockers a role for which he won critical acclaim for his performance as Strike, a young New Jersey drug dealer involved in a murder cover-up. He later appeared in the comedy spoof High School High, in the Columbia-Tristar thriller I Still Know What You Did Last Summer and in Soul Food. In 2002, Phifer starred as Future, opposite Eminem, in Curtis Hanson's film, 8 Mile. Phifer's other television credits include leading roles in MTV's film Carmen: A Hip Hopera and in A Lesson. Meanwhile, two of the semi-regular cast members from the previous series of Torchwood have tweeted today on their involvement in the next series. As previously confirmed, top geezer Kai Owen (he once bought yer Keith Telly Topping a pint, he did!) who plays Gwen's husband Rhys will be returning to the show. In a tweet on Tuesday afternoon the actor reported: 'In about one month from today I'm gonna be putting on my "Rhys" costume once more!' Meanwhile, the actor and comedian Tom Price, who played Gwen's former police colleague, Andy Davidson, has also hinted that he would be back in the next series.

Yer man Jezza Clarkson did a very entertaining piece on BBC Breakfast the other day.

Matt Smith has revealed details of Doctor Who's forthcoming sixth series. The actor admitted to the Digital Spy website that filming the opening two-part story in the Utah desert had been an experience. 'I think it's going to elevate the show and make it grand, epic and vast,' he promised. 'It's just brilliant to see Doctor Who in a foreign land. I know we see that every week, but there's no mistaking [those locations]. This ain't a set, these are the actual rocks of the Earth, and boy, does it look good for it!' Smith also praised the story's villains, created by The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat. (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He.) 'I think Steven may have discovered the best monster since the Weeping Angels in those episodes,' he suggested. Matt added that future episodes in the series would contain 'a lot of mad twists. I think the forums will be awash with conspiracy theories,' he said. Well, they are anyway. Best to avoid them, frankly! '[The fans] are going to have a lot to talk about.'

ITV has confirmed that Michael McIntyre and David Hasselhoff will join Britain's Got Talent as judges for the next series. The pair will appear on the panel alongside the returning Amanda Holden when the series returns to ITV in 2011. Simon Cowell will not be present for the auditions but will reprise his role for the live stages. Elaine Bedell, ITV Director of Entertainment and Comedy, said: 'Michael has established himself as one of the biggest names in comedy and entertainment in this country and, as someone who made his big breakthrough on the Royal Variety Performance, he knows exactly the pressures facing the acts on Britain's Got Talent.' Of his new role, McIntyre said: 'I'm a massive fan of Britain's Got Talent and am extremely excited to be a judge on the new series. I was so thrilled when Simon Cowell asked me that I immediately wanted to run in to Ant and Dec's arms to celebrate!' Hasselhoff previously served on the judging panel for NBC series America's Got Talent from 2006 to 2009. 'As an actor, singer and producer, David Hasselhoff has been immersed in show business for many years,' said Bedell. 'Alongside Michael, Amanda and of course Simon Cowell, he is a great addition to the judging panel for 2011.'

You might spot a few 'Daybreak recovery' stories cropping up in the press over the next few days since its average audience on Monday of this week was, officially, one million viewers dear blog reader. (It was actually nine hundred and fifty one thousand but, for statistical purposes, that's usually rounded up rather than down). However, it's also worth reporting that last week the ITV breakfast show's audience appreciation index scores were as follows: Sixty seven; sixty nine; sixty six; sixty six and sixty six. Remember, seventy five is considered an 'average' score, anything below that is, frankly, 'piss-poor.' So, more people might've watched one episode (the previous week's average was hovering around the eight hundred thousand mark) but, seemingly, not many of them actually like it.

Matt Cardle has said that he felt 'bad' for accidentally hitting his mentor Dannii Minogue on The X Factor last night. Minogue got smacked in the mush when all the other contestants rushed towards Cardle to congratulate him on winning the show. He said on This Morning: 'I felt so bad watching it back - that's really terrible. I have just tweeted her an apology about that. That was full on, wasn't it?' Oh, I dunno, I'm sure Cheryl Cole had wanted to do it plenty over the last few years. Twenty seven-year-old Cardle described Minogue as 'amazing' and insisted that he is very grateful for the support which she gave him. He added: 'She's been an amazing mentor, I can't thank her enough. She's going to get a great Christmas present from me when I get a chance to shop.' Cheryl's new single? Or, even better, Joe McElderry's? He needs all the sales he can get, frankly.

Cher Lloyd reportedly 'clashed' with Louis Walsh at a party on Sunday night. According to the Mirror, the seventeen-year-old 'hit out' after Walsh branded her 'a brat' and - correctly - predicted that she would be the first act voted out during the final. The newspaper claims that Lloyd told Walsh: 'I don't have to speak to you any more, so fuck off.' Well, to be fair, we've all probably wanted to say that to Louis Walsh at least once in our lives. Probably more than once, come to think about it. Lloyd has subsequently insisted that coming fourth on the show will not end her career. Others, beg to differ.

Rihanna and Christina Aguilera's spots on last weekend's X Factor final have sparked a series of complaints, according to press claims. The pair's performances, which included duets with the talent show's finalists as well as their own solo moments, were said to be 'unsuitable for pre-watershed viewing,' leading to over one thousand complaints from viewers, the Daily Scum Mail reports. Inevitably, they dragged out a few quotes from a source they often use, Vivienne Pattison, director of gobshite-y Godbothering right-wing pressure group Mediawatch UK. She said: 'I don't think it was suitable for a pre-watershed broadcast, I think that's quite clear.' Emphasis on the words, 'I think' there, Vivienne. You don't get to decide on stuff like this for other people, chuck. There's over thirty million licence fee payers in this country, you speak for a maximum of twelve of them. Not twelve million, just twelve. If that. 'It was the simulated sexual stuff, that was the problem. I think Ofcom should look into this. Whether The X Factor like it or not they are commanding audiences of more than nineteen million. They are role models whether they like it or not.' The paper suggests that 'an investigation by the Office of Communications is said to have been launched.' However, an Ofcom spokesman contradicted this by saying: 'We are assessing the complaints but are not currently investigating the show.'

The BBC have reportedly received over six hundred complaints from people who felt that an interview by Ben Brown on the BBC News Channel with Jody McIntyre, the disabled man who took part in last week's student fees protest was rude and aggressive. Many of these claim to be particularly upset about Brown's alleged implication that McIntyre was a potential threat to police.

Lovely Milton Jones is working on a possible panel show for the Dave channel. The Mock The Week regular is hosting a pilot called Milton Jones's College Of Knowledge, which aims, tongue-in-cheek, to teach viewers to become geniuses without leaving their armchairs. The format will involve three guest comedians as lecturers. In a pilot - to be recorded in front of an audience at Ravensbourne College in Greenwich next week - the panel will be Alun Cochrane, Andi Osho and Will Smith. The pilot, which will not be broadcast, is being developed by the production company Pozzitive, whose credits include Dinnerladies and Coogan's Run.

Lark Rise to Candleford actor Matthew McNulty will star in forthcoming BBC4 drama Room At The Top. The two-part adaptation, based on the John Braine novel, will follow the exploits of the ambitious Joe Lampton (played by McNulty) in late 1940s Britain. Former Shameless star Maxine Peake will also appear as Alice Aisgill, an amateur actress who becomes romantically involved with Lampton. Mister Eleven writer Amanda Coe has adapted the 1957 novel and will also executive produce. Room At The Top will be broadcast in the Spring of 2011, as part of BBC4's Love and Sex in Twentieth Century Literature season.

Ben Miller has claimed that he always knew Primeval would return to television. The actor, who plays James Lester in the family fantasy drama, told SFX that the show's continued popularity meant that a revival was inevitable. 'I have to say I never really believed it was the end of it,' he said. 'It's got such a following around the world that someone was going to decide to step in and do something with it.' He suggested that the show's original cancellation was primarily caused by financial issues. 'The problems were so much not to do with the show and just to do with the banking crisis,' he explained. Miller also revealed details about the upcoming fourth series, explaining that new character Philip Burton (played by Alexander Siddig) would be 'a thorn in Lester's side. It's horrible for Lester because before there was a fairly obvious hierarchy,' Ben admitted. 'He reported to a minister and everybody else reported to him, but now he has this slightly shadowy billionaire character to report to.' He continued: 'Philip's agenda is very much to do with the anomalies and scientifically exploiting them. He's not really about protecting the public or worrying about what to do with all these creatures.'

Jason Lee is to play the lead role in new Adult Swim pilot Shredd: The Jon Johnsonsen Story. Deadline reports that the comedy will focus on Johnsonsen (Lee), a seventeen-year-old professional skater who becomes comatose when a risky stunt goes wrong. Waking up twenty five years later, he struggles to cope with his new life. Memphis Beat and Almost Famous actor Lee will also direct the pilot, having created the original concept alongside Luke Watson. Hollywood comedian (allegedly) Jack Black will produce via his company Electric Dynamite. Just so long as he doesn't appear on-screen, that's fine with this blogger. If a series is commissioned, Lee is expected to balance his role in Shredd with his commitment to the second season of Memphis Beat. The former My Name Is Earl star recently admitted that he was keen to return to a half-hour comedy format.

The creator of CBS supernatural drama Medium has promised fans of the show he will end the long-running series properly. Series star Patricia Arquette confirmed that Medium would end last month after running for seven seasons across both NBC and CBS networks. 'It takes place in the present, it takes place seven years after that, and then it takes place forty years after that,' creator Glenn Gordon Caron told EW about the final episode. 'We have to be intelligent, and we have to startle. I know for certain that people will tear up,' Caron added, when asked about how the series ends.

Steve Coogan is reported to suing the News of the World over claims that it illegally hacked into his phone messages. Although the Crown Prosecution Service has said it will bring no more criminal charges in the long-running scandal, Coogan has filed a civil writ seeking damages from the paper's publishers and investigator Glen Mulcaire. Coogan claims that they intercepted his voicemail messages, and misused private information in 'grossly offensive' actions. He says that police told him Mulcaire had his phone number, account number and password among the four thousand three hundred and thirty two files he was discovered to have. The comedian claims in the High Court writ that his voicemails were intercepted between February 2005 and August 2006, but says that he will not know the full extent of the hacking unless the paper discloses its records. In August 2005 the News of the World claimed singer Courtney Love was pregnant with Steve Coogan's child – although both parties denied it and no child was born. The UK Press Gazette reports that Coogan is demanding aggravated and exemplary damages and seeking injunctions banning the paper, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Group Newspapers, and Mulcaire from using information they have already. He also wants to force Mulcaire to reveal who instructed him to hack the phone, so he can sue them, too. Former MP George Galloway has also filed High Court writ for breach of privacy over the case, which stems from the time that Andy Coulson, the prime minister's chief media adviser, was editor of News Of The World.

Sir Michael Lyons, the outgoing chairman of the BBC Trust, has said that commercial rivals such as Sky and ITV should have the right to comment on how well the BBC is performing. The Trust this week published a new strategy which aims to sort out 'the reality from the myth' surrounding perceptions of the BBC, and set out a vision for 'a more open and collaborative' corporation going forward. Writing on the Gruniad Morning Star's Comment Is Free section, Lyons accepted that 'a recent toxic cocktail' of declining advertising revenues and other commercial industry problems has led to 'heightened concern about the BBC's size and scope.' However, he also highlighted that audience perceptions of the BBC remain 'consistently high,' while the corporation is viewed by many as 'an anchor for the creative sector.' Indeed, it should be viewed as this by everyone in this country, sir. And, one of the main reasons that it isn't is the wretched cowardice in the face of right-wing thuggery shown by yourself and your Trust colleagues. Who, instead of standing up to Cameron and Hunt and their cackling gang of scum pals in Fleet Street have instead, again and again, curled up into a little ball in the corner and whimpered 'please don't hit us any more.' Lyons said that the Trust's new strategy would involve the BBC publishing its priorities and budgets for BBC radio and television a year in advance so that commercial broadcasters can plan their own operations. He claimed that the approach is designed to assure commercial rivals that the BBC is not 'encroaching unduly into their territory. [The strategy] will engage better with commercial operators, with, for the first time, an expectation that BBC management will actively seek industry reactions to any initiative in an area of particular market sensitivity that is likely to involve significant change,' said Lyons. 'This will be alongside a formal programme to canvas opinion among the industry about how the BBC has performed over the year, with details published in the annual report and accounts.' The BBC's spending breakdown will not be published for individual channels, such as BBC1 or BBC2, but rather be split between television, radio and online expenditure. Lyons also said that BBC Online - arguably 'the most commercially sensitive area of the BBC's operations' - will commit to hold 'biannual briefings to share strategic plans and consult [with the] industry on forthcoming initiatives.' The division has already committed to a twenty five per cent cut to its around two hundred million pound budget. 'The Trust is clear that the BBC's central purpose is to create and foster a trusted public space for informed debate through the creation of outstanding programmes and services,' said Lyons, who will step down from the Trust next May. And not a single moment too soon, although this blogger is fairly sure the government have another spineless clown lined up to replace him when he goes. 'That public space might otherwise be under threat in a world where media market powers seems to be concentrating in fewer hands at the same time as audiences become more fragmented. The strategy we publish today aims to ensure the BBC continues to fulfil that central purpose. In doing so it will help ensure that the paradox of the external perception of the BBC and the reality of its close relationship with its audiences remains just that, a paradox.' Sick. Absolutely wretched.

ITV has reportedly cancelled Vernon Kay's Saturday night game show The Whole Nineteen Yards. The show, co-hosted with Caroline Flack, was broadcast earlier this year. However, the Sun reports that Kay has informed bosses that he wants to focus on his presenting career in America. The thirty six-year-old recently began hosting Skating With The Stars, the US version of Dancing On Ice, and has been lined up to host ABC's new game show The Six next year. 'Vern loved doing the show but just can't fit a new series into his schedule,' a 'source' allegedly told the paper. 'He loves America and he and Tess are looking to spend some serious time there. Vernon wants to become the next big British TV star after people like Simon Cowell and Cat Deeley.' This is Vernon Kay we're talking about, yes? Ho-kay.... Kay is expected to continue his presenting duties on All Star Family Fortunes for the broadcaster.

Billy Connolly has reportedly said that he will appear on next year's Strictly Come Dancing if his wife Pamela wins this weekend's final. The Big Yen is thought to have been practising with Pam at home over the last few weeks and is strongly considering an offer from the BBC to feature on the 2011 series. A 'source' allegedly told the Sun: 'Billy is amazed at what this has done for Pamela. She's changed in front of his eyes. She's lost two stone and gone from being a professional psychologist to a sizzling salsa sexpot - and he loves it! He is amazed at her transformation and is keen to get in on the action.' Connolly is apparently interested in partnering Ola Jordan, the wife of Pamela's professional partner, James. The 'insider' allegedly added: 'Billy thinks the Jordans are lovely. If he were partners with Ola it would be just great. It would be fun rather than hard work for him.'

The BBC has launched a new scheme to unearth new sitcom writers. Under the Laughing Stock initiative, up to ten writers will go on a week-long residential course to hone their skills and polish up their script. The best entrants will also have their work performed at a sitcom showcase to be held at the BBC's new Media City in Salford. A BBC spokesman said: 'If you can invent characters that make us laugh out loud, tell stories that keep us on the edge of our seats, and tease the audience to come back for more, then we want to hear from you. The challenge is to write an original comedy script with series potential. We're looking for writers that reflect modern Britain, comedy voices that have not yet been heard, and talent that's just bursting to get out.' Entrants – who cannot have a previous network commission – need to send in a pilot script that is between fifteen and thirty minutes long, and a one-page outline of how the series would develop by 21 February. There will then be a one-day masterclass in Manchester on 5 April, for the creators of up to twenty five of the best scripts, followed by the residential course two months later. Entrants will be judged by Cheryl Taylor, the BBC's controller of comedy commissioning, Kate Rowland, the creative director of new writing and Men Behaving Badly creator Simon Nye. Entries, which must not have been previously commissioned, optioned or produced, should be sent to Laughing Stock, BBC Writers' Room, Grafton House, 379 Euston Road, London NW1 3AU.

Joe McElderry has revealed that he is too busy for romance. Although, given the catastrophic sales of his latest single (number sixty eight, with a bullet, fact fans), I don't think it'll be too long before he'll have all the time in the world for lurv. Once his shift stacking shelves at Morrison's has finished, of course.

A judge reportedly swore and stormed out of court after being convicted of failing to keep her dog under control. The dog belonging to Judge Beatrice Bolton - fifty seven, who sits at Newcastle Crown Court - attacked a student as he sunbathed in his parents' garden. Frederick Becker, twenty, was in the garden in Rothbury, in May when the German Shepherd bit his leg. Bolton had denied a single charge under section three and four of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 at Carlisle Crown Court. The judge strode out of court when the verdict of guilty was announced and swore, loudly. She was heard shouting: 'I'll never set foot in a court again' from outside the courtroom. Well, unless your dog gets up to no good again, madam. In which case, that's really not up to you but, rather, to the CPS I'd venture. During the trial, the court heard that the student's parents shared a garden behind their adjoining property with Bolton. Becker, from Newcastle, said the dog's bite tore through his black tracksuit trousers causing a bruise and a cut to his left leg. His wound was checked at hospital but did not require treatment.

Think you've been having problems with snow on your roof? That's nothing to this poor chap. Naj Mohammed, who posted a video of the incident on YouTube, said the weight of the ice and snow was 'causing the pipes to sag. This was us in the process of damage limitation.' There's asking for trouble, aned then there's really asking for trouble!

Sir Paul McCartney is to play his smallest gig for more than ten years at London's legendary 100 Club. The former Beatles legend will play at the three hundred-capacity venue, which is under threat of closure, on Friday lunchtime. 'I'm looking forward to being able to interact with fans on a face-to-face basis, not to mention the smell of sweat and beer,' Paul said. Ah, just like Hamburg and the Cavern all over again. A campaign to save the club has gained support from the likes of Rockin' Ronnie Wood and Liam Gallagher. During its colourful seventy-year history, the intimate venue on Oxford Street has hosted gig by numerous jazz, RnB, rock, punk, northern soul and indie acts including Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Roonie Scott, George Melly, Muddy Waters, Big Joe Turner, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks, Fiarport Convetion, Roxy Music, The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Jam, Buzzcocks, Sonic Youth, Oasis and Metallica. It will be Sir Paul's smallest gig since he played at the - new - Cavern Club in Liverpool in 1999, his representatives said. Tickets go on sale at 10:00 on Wednesday. And, will probably sell out at 10:01! The 'stripped down' show will be a warm-up for two further gigs - in London on Saturday and in his home city of Liverpool on Monday.

Which, in a roundabout way, brings us to today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Wonder if Macca will be playing this tight little bundle of screaming bloody rock 'n' roll excitement from 1974? (Not sure about the mullet, mind, Paul. Or Denny Laine's Oswald Mosley-style 'tache either!)
'Take me down, Jimmy!'