Tuesday, December 07, 2010

There Must Be Light In The Darkness Somewhere

Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat has revealed that he had to play festive songs and keep his room cool to get in the mood to write the forthcoming Christmas special. Moffat - who is also the series' executive producer - has revealed that he was stranded in a hot Los Angeles hotel room as a result of the Icelandic ash cloud earlier this year when he came up with the story. And, he had admitted he was having something of a mental block at the time until he took measures to change the atmosphere in the room by turning up the air conditioning. 'Two days of writing nothing, and I took emergency measures,' he said. 'I downloaded every Christmas song I could find, closed all the curtains and turned up the air conditioning to Dr Zhivago, and sat at my desk in a big coat and mittens. And I thought about the rules of Christmas movies.'

Russell Davies has revealed that Steven Moffat would like to feature Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) in Doctor Who at some point in the future. Davies made the comments in an interview with IGN where he also discussed how he and Moffat exchange storyline details on future plots on Doctor Who and its spin-off shows The Sarah Jane Adventures and Torchwood so that nothing clashes between the three shows. 'Steven said he'd love to see Jack in Doctor Who.' noted Rusty. 'If Steven says that, Steven will make it happen, I would think. That's not inside information, but I bet one day it will happen. I'd love to see it. It would be marvellous.' The character of Jack Harkness was originally created by Moffat and first introduced in the two-part Doctor Who story The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances. The character subsequently appeared in five episodes of series one and was subsequently given his own spin-off series, Torchwood. Barrowman returned to Doctor Who for the three-part series three finale and the two-part series four finale. He also had a cameo appearance in David Tennant's final story, The End of Time.

Martin Freeman has revealed that he was surprised by the reception of his TV series Sherlock. Freeman, who plays John Watson in the latest version of Arthur Conan Doyle's detective, spoke to What's On TV about the success of the series, claiming that he found its extensive popularity astounding. 'I always thought it was good,' Freeman said, 'and I always think we believed in it but the extent of its success was a surprise.' Freeman also revealed that he will be filming the second series in between shooting The Hobbit in New Zealand. The actor was recently cast as Bilbo Baggins in the two-part prequel to the highly successful Lord Of The Rings movies. 'January I go out and I'm out there until May. Then I come back and do Sherlock and then I go back until December and make the second part of The Hobbit,' he said.

And, so to the ratings. Here's the top twenty programmes week ending 28 November 2010
1 The X Factor - ITV - 15.47 million
2 Strictly Come Dancing - BBC1 - 12.43 million
3 I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here! - ITV - 11.36 million
4 EastEnders - BBC1 - 10.60 million
5 Coronation Street - ITV - 10.14 million
6 Emmerdale - ITV - 8.14 million
7 The Apprentice - BBC1 - 8.07 million
8 Countryfile - BBC1 - 7.62 million
9 Merlin -BBC1 - 7.12 million
10 Antiques Roadshow - BBC1 - 6.51 million
11 Harry Hill's TV Burp - ITV - 6.17 million
12 Holby City - BBC1 - 5.88 million
13 Casualty - BBC1 - 5.64 million
14 Garrow's Law - BBC1 - 5.52 million
15 Six O'Clock News - BBC1 - 5.27 million
16 The ONE Show - BBC1 - 5.25 million
17 BBC News - BBC1 - 5.18 million
18 All Star Family Fortunes - ITV - 5.04 million
=19 Have I Got News For You - BBC1 - 4.92 million
=19 Champions League: Rangers vs The Scum - ITV - 4.92 million

Bruce Forsyth has continued his long-running feud with The X Factor's Louis Walsh, claiming Walsh is nothing more than 'a jumped-up karaoke judge.' The eighty two-year-old presenter is believed to have made the comments during filming of the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special on Monday, where he regaled the studio audience with his thoughts on Walsh's previous comments that Forsyth 'shouldn't even be alive.' According to the Scum Mail On Sunday, Forsyth declared: 'Louis Walsh said I should be dead. He said in print that I should be dead by now. Can you believe that from a jumped-up karaoke judge?' Forsyth proceeded to mock Walsh's colleague Simon Cowell, as well as The X Factor itself, by branding the show as 'style-over-substance. It looks like a fireworks display with singers. It's not my kind of thing. If I was still doing Play Your Cards Right I would love to have done the question, "We asked one hundred people if Simon Cowell turned up with lovebites all over his body would, they be self-inflicted? Ninety nine people answered yes and the odd one out was Dale Winton - but only because he didn't understand the question."' Walsh reportedly responded to Forsyth's remarks by saying: 'Bruce should just retire. His comments are the sign of old age. He's too old to be on TV. He should just bow out gracefully now at the top of his game and go home to sit on his sofa and drink Horlicks.'

Shaun Ryder has revealed that he was planning to appear on Strictly Come Dancing before I'm A Celebrity ... The Happy Mondays front man, who finished runner-up in the jungle on Saturday, said that the BBC decided at the last minute to rule him out of the show because of his reputation for bad language. 'Producers wanted me to do Strictly and I said yes, but the head of the BBC ruled that I couldn't be trusted live on Saturday prime time,' he told the Sun. 'I have got a naughty mouth but I wouldn't have sworn on the live shows.' Meanwhile, Ryder also claimed that he is planning a reunion with his jungle campmate Nigel Havers when he gets back to the UK. 'Nigel is a great bloke,' he said. 'All this class bollocks means dick to me. I have some ridiculous nights planned with Nigel. He is a rocker.'

Former X Factor star Wagner Carrilho has blasted the remaining acts in the show for lacking charisma. The Brazilian, who reportedly clashed with several other performers on the programme and received numerous warnings for his inappropriate behaviour, questioned whether any of the final five had sufficient talent or personality to remain in the limelight after the final. 'The winner might win, but that doesn't mean you will have a career,' he told the Mirror. 'I don't think any of them have any charisma. I am ­wondering if they will get a career out of that. And, I think I might.' When asked for his thoughts on each contestant, Carrilho stated: 'Rebecca, I love her voice. ­[She] will probably last but she's not very excitable. Mary - well, she's gone. And One Direction - my God, they're just five ­teenagers. They don't know what life is. I wouldn't go to a concert by One Direction. And Cher Lloyd is just a rap thing.' I think you missed a letter out there, pal.

A live TV game show in Dusseldorf, Germany was halted on Saturday mid-broadcast after a contestant was severely injured in a stunt. Samuel Koch was hurt when he tried to jump over a moving car driven by his father on Wetten, Dass? (Wanna Bet?) Canadian singer Justin Bieber was due to appear on the show after the stunt. 'Please pray for Samuel Koch and his family as we wait and hope for his health and safety,' he told his followers on Twitter. Robbie Williams and Phil Collins had also been due to appear on the show, according to its website. So, at least some tiny bit of good came out of this sad incident as at least Germans viewers were spared the torture of balding, tone-deaf Collins and his turgid music which evaporate on contact with the ear. Koch, twenty three, underwent surgery on Sunday after he suffered multiple back injuries and fractures the previous night. Dr Wolfgang Raab of Dusseldorf Hospital told German news agency DPAD that Koch was 'in an extremely critical stage.' Bieber added on Twitter that he was sorry he could not perform in Germany but 'some things are more important than putting on a show.' Wetten, Dass? has been running for nearly thirty years and regularly draws audiences of about ten million.

Oprah Winfrey has caused controversy by allegedly plugging McDonald's fast food in Australia. The US chat show host, who is due to arrive in Sydney tomorrow to host two special episodes of her series, recently screened an Aussie Countdown trail which said that most Australians love to meet up at 'hip joints' called McCafes. Winfrey's guest reporter and 7pm Project star Carrie Bickmore gave the fast food chain further advertising by using their slogan 'it's all just a little bit fancy.' According to news.com.au, viewers are now unhappy about the incident, while the president of the Speciality Coffee Association described it as 'unfortunate and disappointing that people are led to believe that this is what the Australian market likes. '

Broadcaster James Naughtie accidentally suggested that Radio 4's Today programme would be in conversation with 'Jeremy Cunt' on Monday morning. Well, someone had to say it. I'm glad, frankly, that it wasn't me - because I've wanted to so many times. Speaking on the show, the presenter slipped up when trailing a later interview with Jeremy Hunt, the lack of culture secretary and Tory MP for South West Surrey. His BBC colleague Andrew Marr then repeated the slip when discussing the incident later this morning. Naughtie said: 'What's happening in the course of the next hour? Well next up after the news, I'm going to be talking to Jeremy Cunt... er... Hunt, the culture secretary about broadband.' He latter added that he had 'got into an awful tangle just before the 8am news, courtesy of Dr Spooner,' in reference to the Warden of New College, Oxford, who was famous for mixing his words. According to the Gruniad, Naughtie said: 'We know from e-mails that some of you thought it was funny, and others were very offended. I'm very sorry to those of you who thought it wasn't what you wanted to hear over your breakfast. Neither did I.' A message on the official Twitter page for the Today programme read: 'Yes, your ears deceived you. Move along now, nothing to see here.' On his own Twitter page, Hunt seemed to being in the 'found it funny' column, said: 'They say prepare for anything before going on Today but that took the biscuit. I was laughing as much as u Jim or shld I say Dr Spooner [sic].' When discussing the incident on the same station's Start The Week soon afterwards, political commentator Marr said: 'We're not going to repeat in quite the terms it happened. Jeremy Cunt. Hunt, the culture secretary, had his name, Freudianly transposed.' He quickly added: 'I should really apologise for saying it again, but it's very hard to talk about it without saying it.'

Keeley Hawes has revealed details of her role in the BBC's new series of Upstairs Downstairs. Hawes has signed up to play Lady Agnes Holland in the upcoming revival of the show. 'Agnes is a good egg,' she told the Daily Telegraph. 'She's a politician's wife so she has to be seen to be fashionable and respectable in the same way that Sam Cam does now. She and her husband [played by Ed Stoppard] are very much in love. When we meet them everything's good with the world, then [Agnes's mother-in-law] Maud appears and that's the first of many spanners in the works.' Hawes also insisted that she is not worried about suggestions that the recent series Downton Abbey cornered the period drama market. 'I'm really thrilled about Downton Abbey,' she said. 'For so long everybody's been saying, "Where's the quality drama?" If there's room for thirty reality shows, surely there's room for two amazing costume dramas. From the tiny amount of Downton I saw it was gorgeous, but as far as I can make out it has a very different feeling to Upstairs. One is town, one is country, and they're set in different eras. But hopefully they're not too different, because it was so brilliant and that's what people like.' However, Hawes admitted that she is nervous about starring in a reimagining of such a popular show, saying: 'I became more aware of the pressure throughout. People say, "Oh my God! Upstairs Downstairs! And you say, "Oh crap!"'

John Ryley, the head of Sky News, has called for TV cameras to be allowed in courtrooms to help tackle the 'growing public dissatisfaction with the judicial process.' And, additionally, to provide some juicy telly into the bargain. Which is, one suspects, Riley's real agenda. Ryley used the trials of six parliamentarians accused of fiddling their expenses as an opportunity to push the case for courtroom cameras which, he believes, would stop the suspicion that 'something is rotten behind those closed doors.' Writing in the Gruniad Morning Star's Comment Is Free section, Ryley claimed that the UK was now 'at a crossroads' on the issue of courtroom cameras, especially in regards to cases of important public interest. 'We call on our political parties to support the introduction of cameras into courtrooms before the next cases of similarly compelling public interest reach the courts,' he said. 'Parliament says it wants transparency and honesty - justice must be done. We wait to see whether it will also be seen to be done.' In January, Sky News confirmed plans to launch a campaign to get the ban lifted on TV cameras being placed in courtrooms. The broadcaster has previously tried to circumvent the ban with various initiatives, such as using 3D digital graphics to reconstruct 2003's Soham Murders trial of Ian Huntley and Maxine Carr. Ryley believes that it is essential for broadcasters to get full access to courtrooms so that the judicial process comes under the same scrutiny as the legislature. In the editorial, he said: 'By banishing cameras from the courtrooms the public suspects, probably wrongly, that something is rotten behind those closed doors. As for the parliamentary defendants, what may happen as the cameras are excluded from these cases? The public might understandably feel that, yet again, the politicians have closed ranks, relying on secrecy. In contrast, by welcoming the cameras in, parliamentarians would be illustrating very directly their new commitment to openness and transparency. As a starting point, there is no reason why sentencing remarks in criminal cases and judgments in civil cases could not be televised. This would have allow judges to explain their decisions direct to a sceptical public.'

Bauer Media, the publisher of magazines such as Closer and Heat, has reportedly been shortlisted to buy the BBC's magazines portfolio. According to The Sunday Times, Bauer is among four bidders still in the running to acquire all or part of BBC Magazines, publisher of Radio Times, Top Gear and Good Food. BBC Worldwide, the BBC's commercial arm, confirmed plans in September to sell off its magazines division, which is the UK's fourth largest magazine publisher in terms of circulation. The proposed move was part of the BBC's strategy review, which called on Worldwide to focus on its international operations and 'move away from physical media.' The structure of any sale deal has not yet been determined, but could involve a bidder buying a majority equity stake in the business of up to eighty five per cent. Around thirty parties initially expressed an interest in BBC Magazines, but the field is now down to just four parties, including Bauer Media. National Magazines, publisher of Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping and Men's Health, is understood to have dropped out of the auction. BBC Magazines, which is valued at around one hundred and eighty million pounds, made a pre-tax profit of £18.4m in 2009-10 on turnover of £168.3m. In July, Worldwide sold eighty five per cent of its BBC Audiobooks division - publisher of bestsellers such as Under Milkwood and Winnie the Pooh - to AudioGo for around ten million pounds.

Alexandra Burke has dismissed Elton John's claims that she will be dropped from Simon Cowell's record label when her usefulness to the square-headed one is over. She forgot to add she hopes.

And, finally for today, there's yer Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. And, again, because I'm feel strangely patriotic today for some madly obscure reason, please be upstanding, dear blog reader, for the national anthem and the dear queen. And, the only way to follow that, of course, is God save The King.I would've followed that one up with a bit of Prince. But, to be honest, I can't be bothered.