Thursday, December 02, 2010

There's No Point In Asking You'll Get No Reply

The BBC has confirmed that this year's Doctor Who Christmas special will air on Christmas Day at 6pm. As this blog predicted a week ago. The festive episode, titled A Christmas Carol, will be broadcast simultaneously on BBC1 and BBC1 HD. The show took the same slot in both 2008 and 2009. A Christmas Carol, which features Michael Gambon and Katherine Jenkins, will be preceded by the variety show The One Ronnie and will be followed by a special Christmas edition of Strictly Come Dancing, featuring Doctor Who and Torchwood John Barrowman. In the US, BBC America will also broadcast A Christmas Carol on Christmas Day at nine o'clock (eight Central). Australian viewers will be able to watch the episode on Boxing Day at 7.30pm on ABC1, while cable channel SPACE will also broadcast the special later that day in Canada.

BBC1's full Christmas Day schedule is:
6:00 Breakfast
9:00 The Sarah Jane Adventures
9:50 Shaun the Sheep
10:00 Christmas Day Eucharist from Tewkesbury Abbey
11:00 The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause
12:25 Madagascar
13:45 BBC News and Weather
14:00 Top Of The Pops Christmas 2010
15:00 The Queen's Speech
15:10 Shrek The Third
16:30 The Gruffalo
17:00 BBC News and Weather
17:10 The One Ronnie
18:00 Doctor Who
19:00 Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special
20:00 EastEnders
21:00 The Royle Family
22:00 Come Fly With Me
22:30 BBC News and Weather
22:40 On Christmas Night
22:45 Starsky and Hutch
00:20 A Fish Called Wanda

ITV's schedule for the evening will be:-
15:10 The Grinch
17:00 ITV News
17:15 You've Been Framed! Christmas Special
18:00 Emmerdale
19:00 Coronation Street
20:00 All Star Family Fortunes Christmas Special
21:00 Poirot: Murder on the Orient Express
23:00 ITV News
23:15 You, Me & Dupree

A quarter of all Britons spend Christmas Day arguing over what to watch on television, according to a new study. Most rows break out between between 7pm and 9pm on Christmas Day, researchers found. So, nothing to do with Doctor Who, then. The average family watches four and a half hours of TV per day over Christmas, the survey of two thousand adults revealed. Over half of those who replied think that Christmas television schedules were better in the past. More than one in five – twenty three per cent – have the TV on as they tuck into their Christmas dinner. Geordies emerged as the most quarrelsome with thirty one per cent admitting to arguments over what programmes were watched. Based, presumably, on a sample survey of about ten glakes from the rougher parts of Gateshead who'll just, like, die if they don't get their daily fix of Emmerdale. Most families sit down to watch television between 3pm to 4pm on Christmas Day. Residents of the East Midlands and Northern Ireland are the biggest telly addicts, averaging five hours of viewing per day during Christmas week. Those in the South West are apparently the least argumentative with only twenty per cent admitting to rows. And yes, dear blog reader, somebody did actually get paid to come up with all this pompous, self-important shite. The survey was commissioned by TV channel G.O.L.D to mark the launch of its December Christmas viewing schedule.

As rumoured earlier, so it is now confirmed: BBC3 has commissioned a seventh series of Ideal, Graham Duff's darkly brilliant comedy about a small-time drug dealer who lives in a run-down flat in Manchester. Johnny Vegas will, of course, return as Moz. Due to the harsh economic climate, the series will see his character forced to resume his job as a hash dealer - one thing we have got to thank David Cameron and George Osbourne for, it would seem. The new episodes will also see inept gangsters Psycho Paul and Cartoon Head under threat from The Red Mist, who are described as 'a gang of deadly gingers.' Aw, bless 'em! Meanwhile, pretentious electro-rock duo Lee and Jason will split up the Silicon Valets to embark on solo careers. The BBC say: 'Ideal 7 will continue to push the envelope, mixing hilarious character comedy with horror, pathos and the bizarre.' The new series, which will see the show reaching its fiftieth episode, is set to premiere on BBC3 in mid 2011. If the schedules are like last year, it'll be filmed in February. More news, as ever, once yer Keith Telly Topping can find an excuse to thoroughly pump the one member of the cast that he writes comedy with for further details! I do it for you, dear blog reader.

Former Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel producer Kelly Manners has joined the production team for Torchwood: The New World. The Hollywood Reporter claims that Manners will begin work on the show next month, when production is expected to commence. Life On Mars and Outcasts director Bharat Nalluri will join Manners on the fourth series of the Doctor Who spin-off, as will The Walking Dead production designer Gregory Melton and Dollhouse costume designer Shawn Trpcic. The report also suggests that the ten-episode run could premiere in July in the US, though an official broadcast schedule is yet to be confirmed.

The director of Coronation Street's forthcoming tram crash has revealed that he wants the disastrous moment to shock viewers when it takes place on screen. Graeme Harper - best-known for his long career on Doctor Who - was recruited by the soap's producer Phil Collinson to take charge of the spectacular scenes, which broadcast in a double bill next week. As announced earlier in the year, a huge explosion at The Joinery Bar will cause a tram to fall from the viaduct above, resulting in devastation and deaths on the cobbles for the first time since exactly the same thing happened in 1967. Speaking to Inside Soap, Harper commented: 'I hope I'll have succeeded in surprising the audience when the crash actually happens. They'll be expecting it - they know it's going to happen - but they don't know exactly when. I hope I give people that shock. When I watched it back, my mouth was hanging open for the rest of the episode - and I made it! At the end of it, I was crying - I was in tears from the shock of what I'd just seen. I think it's absolutely fabulous, and I hope people like it as much as I do.'

EastEnders, meanwhile, is to pay tribute to Coronation Street by mentioning the rival soap on its fiftieth anniversary according to reports. The ITV show reaches its milestone next Thursday, 9 December, when an hour-long live episode will show the immediate aftermath of the tram crash. In an EastEnders episode broadcasting earlier the same night, Albert Square's Dot Branning (June Brown) will allude to the show during a conversation with Kat Moon (Jessie Wallace) in the launderette. After Kat asks Dot whether she will be attending choir rehearsals that night, the Walford favourite replies: 'Oh no, not tonight. I'm going to open a bag of marshmallows, share them with Jim and watch Corrie!' She adds: 'I love it, it's my favourite. Never miss it.' Someone ludicrously described as 'a Walford source' allegedly told the Sun: 'We did it as a tribute. Hopefully they will return the favour when we turn fifty!'

What is described, rather sickly I think, as 'Cheryl Cole's American dream' may be scuppered – as a result of her assault conviction seven years ago according to the Daily Scum Mail. US law states that all convictions - indeed, all arrests - have to be disclosed on visa application forms prior to entry into the country. Some less serious offences may not affect work visas. However, according to Susan McFadden - a partner with Gudeon and McFadden, a law firm who specialise in US visa and immigration - in more serious cases an appeal to the US authorities may be necessary. 'If the conviction is for something that triggers ineligibility the person would have to appeal for a waive,' she told the newspaper. McFadden added that her firm had been instructed by the US embassy that, with regards to more serious crimes, it would depend on 'facts regarding the conviction' before a decision is made. However, she said that this can lead to 'permanently ineligibility' from being allowed a US work visa in certain cases. Cole - then known as Cheryl Tweedy - viciously attacked Sophie Amogbokpa, a toilet attendant, at Drink nightclub in Guildford in January 2003. In October that year, Cole was found massively guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm. At the time, Cole – who had been catapulted to arrogance the previous December after her band, Girls Aloud, emerged from TV show Popstars: The Rivals - was sentenced to one hundred and twenty hours unpaid community service. She was also ordered to pay Miss Amogbokpa five hundred pounds compensation and prosecution costs of three thousand pounds. During her trial, Cole claimed she acted in self-defence (claiming she had been punched first) but the jury did not believe her.

International DVD distributor Acorn Media Group has acquired the rights to British World War II drama Foyle's War, after the previous owner, Greenlit, went into administration. In August, independent production firm Greenlit, maker of shows such as Collision and the BBC2 comedy Vexed, went bust after it was excluded from the sale of parent company Target Entertainment to Metrodome. Acorn this week confirmed that it had reached an agreement with Greenlit's administrator BDO for rights to hit ITV detective series Foyle's War, along with other shows, such as Vexed, psychological thriller The Swap, Amanda Redman-fronted Honest, Martin Clunes' The Man Who Lost His Head and the Channel Five drama Menace. The deal includes all intellectual property rights for distribution of the programmes on TV, home video, DVD, download-to-own and web streaming. Acorn has distributed Foyle's War on DVD for many years, but the deal marks its first foray into ownership of rights to British shows. 'We see this acquisition as a key step forward in the company's vision of becoming a comprehensive media company for discerning audiences,' said Acorn Media chief executive Miguel Penella. 'Foyle's War has been one of our top-selling franchises on DVD for many years, and we look forward to its strong future as we continue that DVD distribution and expand it across other platforms.' Jill Green, founder of Greenlit, sold the firm to Target Entertainment in February 2008, but remained with the company as managing director. However, she quit Greenlit in July after Target had allegedly failed 'to comply with the original terms of our agreement relating to the sale of the business.' It was initially thought that Green would try to buy back the rights to shows produced by Greenlit, including Foyle's War, but Acorn has now stepped in to seal the deal. However, Acorn said that it was in early talks with Green to discuss 'the possibility of working together in the future on some of the former Greenlit catalogue.'

BBC Films must take more creative risks and increase the impact of its work among licence fee payers, the BBC Trust has ordered. The BBC's film financing division, part of BBC Vision, has an annual budget of twelve million smackers for backing around eight feature films every year. Previous hits have included The Damned United, In The Loop and An Education. The BBC Trust, which approves the strategy for BBC Films, said that the division does a good job of supporting the UK film industry, but that more work needs to be done. In a report published this week, the Trust said that BBC Films must invest in more distinctive and creative films, while also backing the risky projects that the commercial sector may avoid. The Trust also said that the awareness of BBC Films is 'very low' among licence fee payers, and so the division must do more to increase its 'audience recognition and impact.' Part of that will involve attracting bigger TV audiences for screenings of BBC-backed films, particularly on BBC2, which has been earmarked as 'the home of BBC Films.' BBC Films must also foster more partnerships with the British film industry and help develop new creative talent, including suitable TV talent within BBC Vision. BBC Trustee David Liddiment, who led the review, said: 'BBC Films has a key role to play in supporting a healthy UK film industry and delivers real benefits to licence fee payers. The Trust would like to see BBC Films continue to take creative risks and developing UK film projects that the commercial sector might not.' Reacting to the report, the BBC Films creative director Christine Langan said: 'From Street Dance 3D to Made In Dagenham and Tamara Drewe, BBC Films has had a successful year and I'm pleased that that Trust has endorsed our strategy, including plans to increase the impact of our films and to keep developing UK creative talent.' BBC Films' annual budget will be protected at an average of twelve million pounds for the remainder of the current licence fee settlement, which finishes in 2013. The budget was increased by two million quid from the 2008-09 financial year, but the Trust has decided that it 'would not be appropriate' to pursue a further increase at a time when the BBC is facing a sixteen per cent overall budget cut as part of its new licence fee settlement.

Linford Christie has said that Gillian McKeith achieved what she wanted with her melodramatic antics in the jungle. The Olympic gold medal winner, who was eliminated from I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity ... on Tuesday night, said that McKeith wanted to earn newspaper headlines during her stint on the show. 'She achieved what she wanted to achieve because we are talking about her now. She was the most talked about person for the first week or so but I just had to do my bit for the team, I wasn't worrying about how she performed,' he told Daybreak. 'There were times when she didn't get us enough food to eat but I was always willing to step in and try my best for the team.' Christie singled out camp-mates Stacey Solomon and Kayla Collins for praise, claiming that the former X Factor finalist is his tip for victory. 'Stacey is a really nice, down to earth girl and totally underestimated,' he said. 'I think she will be the one to come out on top. I am this big strong lad and there were times when I felt down and Stacey was the person I went to and she consoled me. She's always happy and that's the good thing about her, being in there can be an emotional rollercoaster but Stacey was always there to cheer you up and to put you back on the right track.' Speaking about Collins, he added: 'We got on really well, there's a certain feistiness about Kayla and she's very determined and I think she's got a good outside chance.'

ITV has confirmed that Peaches Geldof - the daughter of Saint Bob - will host a new show in which she will aim to solve viewers' problems. Yeah, I'm presuming it's a comedy as well. Geldof will present OMG! Totally Peaches in front of a live studio audience. Supported by a team of 'resident experts,' she will tackle a variety of issues faced by guests. 'Relationships, sex, and all manner of behavioural issues will be on the agenda in each episode,' the broadcaster said. 'Guests will tell their stories in full OMG! detail in individual VTs to be shown in studio, before sharing their experiences with Peaches and her panel, who, along with the audience, discuss the problems and how to find a solution.' And, just when you think it can't possibly get any worse... 'Celebrity guests will also contribute to the discussions and share their own personal experiences on various topics.' Speaking about the six-episode series, the twenty one-year-old vacuous airhead who has never had a real job in her life and yet reckons she can solve people's problems said: 'I'm so excited to be presenting this show and getting to meet and interact with the ITV2 audience and the guests. I can't wait to find out what's really on the minds of young people in Britain today.' More than whatever it is that filled the gap between your ears, darlin', I'll bet. Diana Howie, ITV's Factual Commissioning Editor, commented: 'We're really excited about this fresh, original new series. Peaches is a perfect fit for our young, celebrity-loving ITV2 audience and we're delighted to be working with her on shows that will entertain, inform and surprise.' She forgot to add 'and who will, we believe, watcgh any old shit we present to them so long as it's got a 'celebrity' in it. We hate ourselves and everything else in the world.' Apparently. In September, Geldof revealed that she had been on a dinner date with Jeremy Kyle. As though anybody actually gave a frigging stuff about that. Also this year, Geldof has been involved in a sex and drug scandal. Which was funny. Also, did you know, dear blog reader, that in her televised interview with Fearne Cotton, the celebrity airhead non-entity (Peaches Geldof this is not the presenter) used the word 'like' (as in 'like, you know, like, it's totally awesome, like') three hundred and four times? That's, like, unbelievable. Totally.

Publishers are reportedly 'locked in a one million pound bidding war' for X Factor's Wagner Carrilho's autobiography. The Brazilian singer - who exited the show on Sunday night - has allegedly been banned from doing any interviews with the press due to fears over what he would actually say about the show and the goings-on back stage. According to the Daily Lies, publishers now want to sign the 'unpredictable' fifty four-year-old so that he can 'reveal all' - once he is released from his non-disclosure contract following next year's X Factor tour. 'There is a lot of interest in exactly what Wagner would say,' one publisher allegedly told the paper. 'Especially as he's been effectively gagged from talking about the show this week. What does he know that's making people so nervous? He lived and breathed that show for months. He's bound to know a lot about the other contestants.' They added: 'And he spent a lot of time with people like Cheryl Cole and Simon Cowell, so who knows what else he could reveal?' Despite fears of legal problems which could be caused by any possible revelations by Carrilho, one publishing expert believes that the recent case involving Top Gear's The Stig has 'emboldened' publishers. Danuta Kean, from Brunel University said: 'Publishers will throw money at this. But it all depends on what Wagner can say. The recent Stig book and court case has changed the playing field.' She continued: 'Publishers now feel emboldened that they can take on these confidentiality agreement contracts people are forced to sign so they can't speak out. If he can really reveal new things, and the publisher's legal team thinks it can be dealt with, it could go for big money. We're talking seven figures potentially.'

Kevin Costner has dismissed speculation that he will take on a regular role in a forthcoming television series. The Dances with Wolves and JFK actor told Entertainment Weekly that he was not interested in reuniting with Bull Durham writer and director Ron Shelton on new TBS pilot Hound Dogs. 'I would work with Ron again in a second,' he said. 'Being able to go off to make a movie with him would be one thing [but] being attached to a series is not something I would want to do at this point. The workload of being involved with something like [that] would probably overshadow some of the things that I'm doing myself.' However, Costner confirmed that he is currently developing a 'literate' animated series for television. 'I've developed a cartoon with a group of guys that I hope will see the light of day,' he confirmed. 'I'm trying to find the right financing to put it forward. It probably represents about fifty hours of content.' He continued: 'It's swashbuckling, it's violent, it's acidic, it's really cool. It's high adventure and it's not based on any source material.'

The creation of classic LP London Calling by The Clash is to form the basis of a new music biopic. Former Clash members Paul Simonon and Mick Jones will executive produce the film, named after the 1979 record. Playwright Jez Butterworth is writing the script, which will tell how producer Guy Stevens worked with the band to create their most celebrated disc. It will be produced by Alison Owen - mother of singer Lily Allen - and Paul Trijbits of Ruby Film and Television. 'Fans of The Clash all over the world have been waiting a long time to see their extraordinary story played out properly and accurately on the big screen,' said Owen. 'We're happy that Mick and Paul have given the project their blessing and are on board to help steer the ship.' Butterworth - author of award-winning play Jerusalem - is writing his script with the support of the recently axed UK Film Council. The cast of the film - which will begin shooting next year - has yet to be announced. After The Clash disbanded in the mid-1980s, front man Joe Strummer appeared in a number of movies before dying from a heart attack in 2002. Jones and Simonon currently perform together as part of Damon Albarn's virtual pop band Gorillaz.

Heavyweight Audley Harrison has decided to continue boxing despite his heavy defeat by David Haye in the world-title fight in Manchester on 13 November. This will, presumably, come as something of a surprise to all of those who never realised that Harrison was a boxer in the first place.

Lastly, we've got today's tasty slice of yer Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. And, given the state of the weather we've had this last week, what with all the shivering and the coughing and barking and scratching, I reckon it's time for some hot sex, dear blog reader. And, when Chris Thomas got Johnny and the boys into the studio, they didn't come much hotter than this. Just imagine if you only had three minutes and ten seconds of your life to say everything that you were ever likely to want to say:And we don't caaaaare!