Thursday, January 20, 2011

Coded Messages, Poisoned Letters

Four more actors have announced their involvement in the next series of Doctor Who. Or, at least, had their involvement in the next series of Doctor Who announced for them on the Digital Spy website, to be slightly more accurate. Stand-up comedian Charlie Baker will appear in a forthcoming episode as 'Fat Man', according to his page at Debi Allen Associates. Which is sizeist, admittedly, but we'll let them off just this once. Baker previously appeared in an episode of The IT Crowd and has also featured as a panellist on Never Mind The Buzzcocks. Vic Murray Talent also lists Sold actor Dan Johnston as playing 'Thin Man' in the episode. Also sizeist. He has previously appeared in The Bill and a 2008 episode of the BBC sitcom After You've Gone. In addition, Spotlight claims that child actresses Fern Duncan and Frances Encell have contributed voice work to the next series. Duncan has previously appeared in an episode of Poirot and featured in recent Jack Black alleged comedy Gulliver's Travels, while Encell has appeared in Emmerdale and The Royal. [spooks] and Mistresses director Peter Hoar will also direct an episode of the show's next run, according to his profile with the Curtis Brown Literary and Talent Agency.

Channel Four is said to be 'close' to axing Mad Frankie Boyle's controversial comedy series Tramadol Nights, according to a tabloid report. The show, which is currently under investigation by Ofcom over a joke made about Katie Price's disabled son Harvey, attracted a large number of viewer complaints and drew disappointing ratings after an impressive opening night figure. The thirty eight-year-old stand-up also allegedly 'angered bosses' by refusing to attend the upcoming British Comedy Awards after being told that he would not be involved in any of the on-stage sections of the show. According to the Daily Scum Mail, Channel Four's new Chief Creative Officer Jay Hunt does not want to recommission Tramadol Nights, but Boyle could still be given a place on another future comedy series. 'It is a reality check for Frankie and a sign he is no longer a top priority for Channel Four,' a nameless source allegedly told the alleged paper. 'He threw his toys out of the pram and told bosses he had no intention of going to the awards, which didn't go down well either.' Allegedly.

And, speaking of comedians whose tongue sometimes gets them into a bit of bother, Ricky Gervais has said that he is not interested in hosting the Golden Globes for a third time. Which, to be honest, is a decision that might well have been taken out of his hands anyway after the events of this week. Full-of-his-own-importance Gervais, whose performance at this year's awards received mixed reactions from the audience and was criticised by Globes organiser the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, told the TMZ website that he is not concerned about receiving another hosting invitation. Speaking after HFPA president Philip Berk commented that he had 'crossed the line' at Sunday's awards ceremony, Gervais said that he was 'not going to [present] again anyway,' adding: 'I think twice is enough.' Of the praise he has received from fellow actors and comics, Gervais added: 'Well, it's nice to be loved by your peers. They stick by you.'

Jonathan Ross has revealed that his planned interview with George Michael was scrapped because it was considered 'too inappropriate' for a post-X Factor audience. Last year, Simon Cowell, Ross and Michael came up with the idea for the tell-all interview shortly after the singer was released from jail for driving while under the influence of drugs. However, the show - which was due to be broadcast after an edition of Cowell's ITV talent show - was apparently cancelled amid fears that the topics being discussed were 'too adult' for Saturday night viewing. On his meeting with Michael and Cowell, Ross told Gaydar Radio: 'We were talking about the kind of areas that would be tough in the interview, and the kind of tone of the interview, and would it be right to follow a show like The X Factor with a show that potentially deals with a lot of emotion. Some of the things George has told me about the last few years of his life and his childhood, which we would have covered in this interview, were very moving. At times, quite shocking. I think it would have been, perhaps, inappropriate.' According to Metro, Ross went on to say that Michael played him and Cowell some of his new music, which received an especially warm reception from the music mogul. Ross added: 'One of them, both me and Cowell, our ears went "boing," and Cowell said, "That's a number one." It was very dancy and very electronic.'

Comic Phil Zimmerman has played down suggestions that he 'attacked' Amanda Holden at Britain's Got Talent auditions earlier this month. Zimmerman was among the acts at the London tryouts, but he failed to impress the judges and was buzzed out of the competition. His performance included pretending to be a pigeon and acting out an exploding man routine. Speaking to the Evening Standard about claims that he ran at the pregnant presenter and Big Top flop after being voted off, the comic claimed that he was 'offended' by the allegations and insisted that security didn't have to remove him from the stage. Under the thigh-slappingly funny headline Pigeon Man says he did not attack pregnant Amanda Holden, admittedly. 'They never touched me. It's publicity. I'm not a nutter and everyone who knows me knows that I'm playing a character,' he said. 'Amanda buzzed me off and I thought this would be a good time to go into my last character, "wolf man." I made a gesture towards her and she got up. I think she was milking the moment a bit - she is an actress.' Well ... of sorts, I suppose. If we really stretch a point. Zimmerman added that his act was 'too subtle' for the Got Talent audience.

Richard Herring has claimed that the continuing success of Paddy McGuinness is unfair. Unfair, yer Keith Telly Topping is not entirely sure about. Again all laws of God and Man, I'd agree with. Writing on Twitter, Herring suggested that there are other stand-ups on the circuit who are far more deserving of McGuinness's current career. Herring said: 'If you ever needed reminding that life is not fair then the continuing success of Paddy McGuinness would be all you'd need.' In response to various messages, he continued: 'I will never be jealous of Paddy McGuinness. He has nothing that I want. My maxim is still true. I am just saying. I don't think being a likeable guy is enough when there are a thousand better comedians and a million funnier likeable guys. A lot of comedians deserve the break more than him. I love all comedians (almost) - don't think McGuinness qualifies. [Michael] McIntyre is very good at what he does. McGuinness has been incredibly lucky. Do you not think best people should be rewarded?' Of the suggestion that the Take Me Out host was a presenter and not a comedian, Herring responded: 'So why is he doing a stadium tour as a comedian? He is no good as a presenter either. Many people better at that job. In a business of chancers he's the luckiest. Apart from Piers Morgan.'

The lack of culture secretary, the vile and odious Jeremy Hunt, is to invite companies to run local TV stations and make the proposed new services a reality. Addressing broadcasting executives at the Oxford Media Convention, he is due to say the initial schemes will be focused on 'ten to twelve' major cities. He will ask firms to register an interest by 1 March. Licences for local - rather than regional - television services are to be handed out before the end of 2012. The vile and odious Hunt has long championed the concept of US-style local television, where many cities, rather than wider regions, have their own local news and entertainment coverage. In a speech to the convention, he will say: 'To make this vision a reality I am today inviting existing and new media providers to come forward with suggestions as to how this network channel - or local TV "spine" - could work. For consumers what this will mean is a new channel dedicated to the provision of local news and content. One that will sit alongside other public service broadcasters, offering a new voice for local communities, with local perspectives that are directly relevant to them. We will not be prescriptive. We will wait for the necessary technical assessment to be completed and we will listen to the commercially viable proposals that come forward. Our goal is to be able to award the relevant licences by the end of 2012, and for local TV to be up and running soon after.' A panel set up to examine the idea said local television channels might start by broadcasting in only ten to twelve areas, adding that it would take 'significant effort' to make the plan a success. In an interview at last year's Edinburgh International Television Festival, the vile and odious Hunt described the UK media as 'chronically over-centralised.' He said: 'It is crazy that a city like Sheffield, for example, does not have its own television station like it would have in most other developed countries.'

Meanwhile Ivan Lewis, the shadow lack of culture secretary, today accused the vile and odious Hunt of bias over News Corporation's planned takeover of BSkyB and called for the immediate publication of Ofcom's report into the matter. Yes. And? I mean, have you just sussed that out, you plank? Lewis, speaking at the Oxford Media Convention, also said that Labour intends to launch a policy review investigating whether the BBC could be turned into a 'mutual organisation' with the public having a say over policy and the election of BBC Trust members. Lewis launched a broadside against the vile and odious Hunt, accusing him of failing to act in the public interest by continuing to sit on the media regulator's recommendation on whether the News Corp/Sky deal should be referred to the Competition Commission on media plurality grounds. 'No single voice should dominate and all significant changes of ownership should be subject to a robust public interest test,' he said. Lewis added that the process had been 'further undermined by a secretary of state now charged with this decision who is on record as having a prejudicial view.' He was referring to comments the vile and odious Hunt made last year, before taking over Vince Cable's responsibility for deciding whether to refer the proposed deal to competition regulators, where he said he could not see much difference in News Corp taking full control of Sky. 'Jeremy Hunt could rebuild some confidence by releasing Ofcom's report with immediate effect,' Lewis said. 'This would provide a basic level of transparency and clarify the legitimacy of any meetings he is having with interested parties.' Lewis also had a go at News Corp in relation to the ongoing phone-hacking furore arguing that 'no commercial interest however big or small has a right to make or break the law.' Which coming from an MP whilst several of his former colleagues are currently facing bird for fraud is, I'm sure you'll agree dear blog reader, effing hilarious. All politicians are scum - never forget this. 'On phone hacking it means a proper investigation by the Crown Prosecution Service and the police until the truth is finally established and justice prevails,' he said. Lewis also said the BBC cannot 'count on unconditional public support without reform.' To this end he said that Labour intended to launch a review investigating the possibility of transforming the BBC into a mutual organisation.

The Trinity Mirror chief executive, Sly Bailey, has launched a blistering attack on the vile and odious Hunt, saying he had to be 'educated' about the dangers of allowing News Corporation to take full control of BSkyB. 'Hunt thinks this deal won't change anything,' she said. 'We need to educate him. The deal is bad news for our democracy. This is a deal too far and it is a deal that should not be done. I would say to Jeremy Hunt: "be careful what you wish for,"' Bailey added. 'The irrevocable consequences' of the deal will remain long after today's politicians have been forgotten, she added.

Sir Howard Davies has reportedly withdrawn from the race to become the next chairman of the BBC Trust, leaving Lord Patten as the frontrunning candidate. It is thought that Patten, the former governor of Hong Kong, interviewed in London on Monday for the one hundred and ten thousand pounds 'three to four days a week' job of leading the BBC Trust. Davies, the director of the London School of Economics, was considered to be an outside contender to replace the outgoing Sir Michael Lyons. Some commentators felt that as a former deputy governor of the Bank of England and director-general of the CBI, Davies could usher in the sweeping reforms of the BBC that the vile and odious Hunt wants to see. The corporation is facing a tough period under its newly-agreed licence fee settlement, which will require a cut of twenty per cent to its budget up to 2017. However, a source close to Davies claimed that the publicity surrounding his connection to the Trust chair has made it impossible for him to pursue the opportunity, reports the Financial Times.

House creator David Shore has suggested that the romance between House and Cuddy could be doomed. No shit?! He told Give Me My Remote that the maverick doctor will ultimately sabotage the relationship. 'Is House going to be happy forever? No,' he said. 'But it's about trying. It's about how long we can draw this out for and what we can explore with it.' Shore dismissed the notion that the pair could become an "on-off" couple. 'I can't rule it out [but] I don't think so,' he admitted. 'I don't want to jerk the audience around with that, so we'd have to have a good reason [and] we'd have to have a good way to do it, once [the relationship] does end.' He also confirmed that Olivia Wilde is to reprise her role as Thirteen later in the seventh season, but denied speculation that her predecessor Jennifer Morrison will also return. 'I know people are speculating [about Thirteen] and I want them to speculate,' he said. 'I don't want to rule anything out. I think we're doing something very cool with it.' He added: 'I'm a Jennifer Morrison fan [but] I'm not going to promise anything. We don't have anything in the works for her right now.' Meanwhile, the executive producers of the show have insisted that they are not concerned about its immediate future. An eighth season is yet to be confirmed by FOX. However, Katie Jacobs told TVLine: 'I can't imagine it not coming back.' David Shore, whose own contract with the show expires at the end of the season, added: 'I'm not worried about it.' Jacobs also joked that she had devised plans for a comedic spin-off series if FOX did indeed cancel House. 'I once thought of a Three's Company kind of spin-off with Wilson, Cuddy and House,' she claimed. 'I don't think that will happen. But I have thought about it.'

Larisa Oleynik is to join the cast of CBS drama Hawaii Five-0. TV Line reports that the actress will play ex-CIA analyst Jessica Kaye in multiple episodes, with an option to become a series regular in any potential second season. Kaye will apparently team up with McGarrett (Alex O'Loughlin) and his team to help track down the villainous Wo Fat (Mark Dacascos) and bring him to justice for the murder of her fiancé. Oleynik previously played the title role on Nickelodeon series The Secret World of Alex Mack from 1994 to 1998. More recently, she played the fiancée of Ken Cosgrove on AMC's Mad Men and has also appeared in episodes of Psych and Without A Trace.

Remember all those scandals over TV phone-in competitions in Britain back in 2007, such as the GMTV scam and the Blue Peter cat? Well, Belgian TV is now embroiled in a similar controversy. A reporter, one Maxime De Winne, worked undercover for six months as a presenter of premium rate phone-in game shows on two commercial TV stations, VTM and 2BE, and discovered a variety of dodgy ploys to maximise revenue. De Winne, who works for the public broadcaster VRT, used a hidden camera to film evidence of malpractice, which he revealed on the VRT television programme Basta. He showed that the mathematical puzzles were all but impossible to solve and there were no checks on the age of players. A government minister said tighter rules were essential, but if they did not work then Belgium should follow the example of the Netherlands by banning all TV phone-in games. You can read all about the affair here.

Buckingham Palace has announced that Sky News will produce and distribute the Queen's Christmas message for the first time this year. The BBC and ITN have produced the monarch's annual address for two years at a time since 1997. However, according to The Press Assocation, Sky will join the rota by producing the 2011 and 2012 broadcasts. A palace spokesperson said: 'The proposal for them to join the rota came from Sky News and we are delighted they are joining the Christmas broadcast rota.' Simon Cole, the deputy head of Sky News, described its forthcoming involvement in the royal broadcast as 'a great honour.' The BBC, ITN and Sky will continue to share production duties on a two-yearly basis from 2013.

Stephen Fry, Jimmy Carr, Al Murray and Frank Skinner are to have crisps named after them in a new Comic Relief money-spinner. Walkers will be launching four new flavours: Stephen Fry Up, Jimmy Con Carrne, Steak & Al Pie and Frank's Roast Dinner, with five pence from each packet going to the charity. Ironically, some of the money raised by Comic Relief goes to projects to help tackle obesity, through projects such as the South Cheshire Swimming Development Forum. Berwick upon Tweed Tennis Club and the Merton Cycling Campaign. There is also a competition to see whose flavour sells most – with that comedian escaping a public waxing of their body hair. The winner will be announced on Red Nose Day, 18 March. Walkers' marketing director Miranda Sambles said: 'Our mischievous comedians will be pouring blood, sweat and tears into this campaign.' Fry said: 'My crisps perfectly embody each delicious component of the great British fry up, with layer upon layer of quivering, shivering tastes that keep on giving. It is plain to all that my flavour is infinitely superior to the others.' Carr boasted: 'What motivated my choice of Chilli Con Carne was obviously a really bad pun but as luck would have it they're delicious. I'm pretty confident I won't get waxed. The hair on my legs is safer than the hair in a German ladies armpit.' Murray added: 'What sounds more delicious than steak & ale pie crisps? This is the food of the Brits – I'm going to win on this flavour alone! If Jimmy Carr thinks he can beat me with a bit of chilli then he has another thing coming. This is war!' And Skinner said: 'All my life I've searched for something that was truly worth fighting for — something noble, uplifting and made from potatoes; then came Frank's Roast Dinner crisps. No other comic-championed crisp can be allowed to stand in my way. This is my time. Wake up and smell the gravy!'

Former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr has been offered a 'serious' book deal to write his autobiography. The guitarist, who is now with The Cribs, broke the news to fans on his Twitter page. 'I have been offered a book deal, a serious one. I'd get into it and that would mean less time on songs. It will happen though,' he wrote. 'It will be an autobiography of course, that or my collection of fascinating public bus tickets from the '80's. That would be cool.' Marr formed The Smiths in 1982 with vocalist Steven Morrissey with whom he formed the songwriting partnership which was at the core of the band's output. The band also included Andy Rourke (bass) and Mike Joyce (drums).

George Lucas reportedly believes that the world will end in 2012, as foretold in a Mayan prophecy. Green Hornet actor Seth Rogen revealed that during a meeting with the Star Wars creator and director Steven Spielberg the topic of conversation turned to the potential for Armageddon next year. You have to wonder how it went in that direction in the first place but, you know, never mind that for the moment. 'George Lucas sits down and seriously proceeds to talk for around twenty five minutes about how he thinks the world is going to end in the year 2012,' WENN quotes Rogen as saying. 'He's going on about the tectonic plates and all the time Spielberg is rolling his eyes, like, "My nerdy friend won't shut up, I'm sorry."' Rogen admitted that he initially thought Lucas was joking, adding: 'I totally realised he was serious and then I started thinking, "If you're George Lucas and you actually think the world is going to end in a year, there's no way you haven't built a spaceship for yourself." So I asked him, "Can I have a seat on it?"' Rogan star speculated that Lucas has a 'Millennium Falcon in a garage somewhere with a pilot just waiting to go.' Discussing his chances of surviving on Lucas's ship should the world actually end in 2012, Rogen said: 'It's going be him and Steven Spielberg and I'll be blown up like the rest of us.'

And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. And, for the latest exciting instalment, we're featuring a quite staggeringly brilliant little slab of electro pop from 1980. Bless 'im, that Andy McCluskey, he wrote some lovely songs with Paul Humphreys. But, poor lad, he couldn't bloody dance!