Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fly So High, I'm Doing My Thing, But I Come Down When You Pull My String!

Downing Street insisted on Monday that any Christmas meeting between David Cameron and James Murdoch which may, or may not, have taken place (but did) would have no impact on the government's handling of News Corp's bid to take full control of BSkyB. The prime minister's spokesman said the vile and odious Hunt, the lack of culture secretary, would decide 'alone' whether to refer to the Competition Commission News Corp's bid to buy the sixty one per cent of BSkyB which it does not already own. Downing Street, which was 'shaken' on Friday by Andy Coulson's resignation according to the Gruniad Morning Star, and faces renewed questions about its links with News Corp after the Independent disclosed on Monday that James Murdoch had met the prime minister, in secret, for dinner over the Christmas period at the Oxfordshire home of the News International chief executive, Rebekah Brooks. The dinner with Murdoch, the Europe and Asia chairman of News Corp, took place just days after Cameron stripped Vince Cable (Lib Dem. Allegedly) of his powers over media takeovers and handed them to the vile and odious Hunt. The Gruniad Morning Star revealed last week that Cameron had been a guest of Brooks over the Christmas period. A Downing Street source denied last week that the meeting had taken place on Christmas Day, but declined to confirm or deny whether the prime minister had met Brooks during this period. On Monday, the prime minister's spokesman also declined to confirm whether Cameron had met James Murdoch or whether he would be speaking to his father, Rupert, the News Corp chairman and chief executive, at the Davos World Economic Forum this coming weekend. The spokesman said: 'Clearly, the prime minister does meet with people from the media from time to time. That is not at all unusual for prime ministers.' Downing Street said the vile and odious Hunt would 'abide by the law,' which says he has to decide on his own, in a quasi-judicial capacity and without reference to any other ministers, whether to refer the BSkyB bid. It is understood that Ofcom has already recommended to the vile and odious Hunt that the bid should be referred. The Downing Street spokesman said: 'On the bid process the culture secretary Jeremy Hunt is considering the report and he makes the decision in a quasi-judicial role. It is his decision alone.' Asked how any meeting with James Murdoch might affect the decision, the spokesman added: 'It would have no bearing on that decision, which is a decision taken by Jeremy Hunt and Jeremy Hunt alone.' Downing Street faced pressure on another front after Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrat climate change secretary, accused the Metropolitan police of failing to investigate a series of phone-hacking allegations properly. Coulson resigned as the Downing Street director of communications on Friday after he said the renewed allegations about hacking during his time as editor of the News of the World were making his job in government impossible. Coulson resigned as News of the World editor in 2007 after the jailing of the paper's former royal editor and a private investigator over illegal phone hacking. Coulson, however, has always denied any knowledge of wrongdoing and blamed a 'rogue reporter,' a claim that he and News Corp collectively have, essentially, stuck to ever since but which recent events have spectacularly undermined. Huhne cast doubt on that 'one rotten apple' defence and accused the Met of reacting to his calls for a full inquiry last year by 'scurrying back to Scotland Yard' and dismissing the idea in an afternoon. 'We know the police were not keen on the subject, because when I called for a very clear review of this, the police scurried back into Scotland Yard, spent less than a day reviewing it, and popped out in time for the Six O'Clock News to say they had discovered no further evidence,' he told BBC1's The Politics Show on Sunday. Asked about Huhne's comments, the prime minister's spokesman said today: 'The position at the present time is that the Crown Prosecution Service are carrying out an assessment of the information that is held by the Metropolitan police. That process is under way and it is up to the CPS to make a decision on their assessment. The prime minister's position is that if there are allegations of illegal behaviour, then those allegations need to be taken very seriously, but in all cases it is a matter for the police and the CPS.' Just as the News Corp decision is someone else's business as well. You may be wondering if this prime minister actually does anything himself, dear blog reader, or whether he delegates everything that crosses his path to one of his underlings. A bit like all of those stories about the bullies at Eton getting their fags to do their homework for them. Allegedly. The spokesman said that any complaints about the Met's handling of allegations should be made to the force's commissioner and to the Metropolitan Police Authority.

It's the media story that just keeps on giving and giving! Sky Sports dumped Andy Gray and Richard Keys from this week's Monday Night Football show over their vile and gitterish sexist comments about Premier League official Sian Massey. The move is being described - by Sky, if not anybody else - as 'a major punishment' for the pair, who were recorded off-camera claiming that female officials 'don't know the offside rule' and making derogatory remarks about West Ham executive Karren Brady. Sky's Monday game saw champions Moscow Chelski FC visiting Bolton Wanderers and Sky's lead pairing would normally have been working at such an important fixture. Instead they were handed a one match ban and a Sky statement later confirmed that any similar actions in future would 'not be tolerated.' What, two match ban next time, then? Sky Sports managing director Barney Francis said the pair had been removed from their duties for the Monday night game. He said: 'I have spoken directly to both Richard Keys and Andy Gray this morning. It has been made clear to each of them that their comments were totally unacceptable. Those views are inexcusable, entirely inconsistent with our ethos as a business and employer and will rightly offend many of our customers, our people and the wider public. They are inexcusable from anyone at Sky, regardless of their role or seniority. We have dealt with this matter by taking immediate disciplinary action.' Gray and Keys, whose taped remarks included a claim that Kenny Dalglish would 'go potty' at Massey's appointment, were ridiculed by the Liverpool manager himself at his press conference on Monday morning. He began by asking Sky Sports' representative at the conference whether he was happy that there were also female journalists present. That's the second time in twenty four hours a member of the Dalglish family has, brilliantly, taken the piss out of Sky! Earlier, Karren Brady had said that the broadcasters' remarks 'made my blood boil,' while former Premier League referee Graham Poll launched an outspoken attack on Keys in his newspaper column. He wrote: 'The last time I had the temerity to criticise Keys and Gray for their puerile and unfair attack on referee Uriah Rennie, Keys phoned me and abused me for doing so. He told me I was punching above my weight and he left me with the impression I wasn't wanted at Sky. That showed the man's true colours. Between the two of them they prevent free speech and thought as any adverse comments are quashed by them.' The comments from Gray and Keys have been widely criticised in football circles. England captain Rio Ferdinand said on Twitter: 'I'm all for women refereeing in football, discrimination should not happen in our game at all prehistoric views if u think otherwise.' Which is fantastic and good on Rio for saying this, loudly and publicly. It might be an idea if he gets somebody to teach him how the word 'you' is spelled, however. There's also a really good piece by Paul Hayward of the Gruniad on Sky's general attitude towards women: 'Gray and Keys, who are unpopular with many viewers, and are often suspected of not understanding the offside rule, if the public reaction to this brouhaha is any guide, are the two main faces of a brilliant service. Sky's football coverage is symbiotically linked to the growth of the Premier League: first in the money Murdoch's empire pitchforks into the top division but also in the breadth and vibrancy of its programming. But, by mistaking a live television show for the clubhouse at an especially backward golf club they have presented their employers with a mighty PR stumer. A light is now cast on the amazing and presumably coincidental prevalence of attractive young women presenters on Sky Sports News, and the presence of Charlotte Jackson, say, to read out the scores on Champions Leagues nights, like one of Bruce Forsyth's assistants from the 1970s. Had Gray and Keys been eager to resign, they might have pointed out some of these anomalies on the way to the car park. Sky on the other hand would spell out the difference between hiring women for their looks (which conversely means NOT hiring other women, for their looks) and Keys saying, to Gray, about Massey: "Well, somebody better get down there and explain offside to her." Both are guilty of risible chauvinism. But the extra sting is that Massey was required to make a highly marginal offside decision for Liverpool's second goal and called it right. Grumbling away as they might in a bar, Gray and Keys appeared to think a man who has not played professional football might make a correct offside call, while a woman who has not played professional football is denied that capability at birth.' Which is all tremendously right-on stuff and impossible to disagree with. But, it will dissolve like so much hot air in the wind the next time that Hayward himself, a frequent guest of Sky's Sunday Supplement programme in which three respected football journalists (and the odious Brian Woolnough of the Daily Lies) discuss the issues of the day, appears on Sky again. If you're that anti-Sky's 'frat house' mentality, mate, then it would be hypocritical of you to appear on the channel again yourself, surely? And, the same goes for Paddy Barclay, Henry Winter, Ollie Holt and Bill Bradshaw, et al. You're either part of the solution, gentlemen, or you're part of the problem. As one of the great philosophers of the age once noted, 'quit being part of the problem.'

Supernatural drama Being Human returned to BBC3 with a monster audience - its best series launch to date. The debut of series three, in which vampire Mitchell and werewolves George and Nina move to Wales after losing their ghostly friend Annie, drew an audience of 1.37m viewers across the 9pm hour and a further one hundred and seventy thousand plus viewers on its BBC HD simulcast - a total audience of 1.54m, according to overnight BARB figures. Elsewhere Top Gear had an overnight audience of over six million (5.5m on BBC and seven hundred and fifty thousand plus on BBC HD) and BBC1's Terry Wogan's Ireland began with 4.81 million viewers, between 9pm and 10pm. It lost out to the second half of ITV drama Wild at Heart, which had seven million viewers, between 8.30pm and 9.30pm and the Dancing on Ice skate-off, which had 7.2 million viewers between 9.30pm and 10pm. On BBC1, Antiques Roadshow's audience was 5.4m, between 6pm and 7pm, and Countryfile had 6.7m between 7pm and 8pm.

Aidan Turner has praised ex-EastEnders actress Lacey Turner for her work on the new series of Being Human. Lacey made her first appearance away from her role as Stacey Branning in the first episode of the BBC3 show's third series. 'She's awesome, she's brilliant,' Aidan, who plays the vampire Mitchell, said. 'It's not enough credit to say she's highly professional but that's what she was. She's such a lovely girl, sort of reserved and quite quiet and I think she's amazing - she's done some fabulous stuff. And she's only ever really done EastEnders, so to come in and do it, she's very fluid. Everyone enjoyed it and we were talking about it for weeks afterwards.' He added: 'The producers say her scenes look great and that the scenes in limbo look great.' Lacey will return as Lia in the final episode of the current series.

Here's the Top Twenty rated programmes, week ending 16 January 2011
1 Coronation Street - ITV - 11.91 million
2 EastEnders - BBC1 - 10.72 million
3 Dancing On Ice - ITV - 9.55 million
4 Emmerdale - ITV - 9.15 million
5 Wild At Heart - ITV - 8.58 million
6 Silent Witness - BBC1 - 8.19 million
7 Come Fly With Me - BBC1 - 7.43 million
8 Lark Rise To Candleford - BBC1 - 7.31 million
9 Hustle - BBC1 - 7.04 million
10 Midsomer Murders - ITV - 6.93 million
11 Countryfile - BBC1 - 6.76 million
12 Casualty - BBC1 - 6.67 million
13 Kidnap & Ransom - ITV - 6.50 million
14 Holby City - BBC1 - 6.48 million
15 Human Planet - BBC1 - 6.34 million
16 National Lottery: In It To Win It - BBC1 - 6.24 million
17 Antiques Roadshow - BBC1 - 6.00 million
18 The Magicians - BBC1 - 5.58 million
19 Six O'Clock News - BBC1 - 5.49 million
20 The ONE Show - BBC1 - 5.45 million

Great news, everyone. As every Qi fan knows, each episode of Qi has a corresponding Qi XL version, which is about fifteen minutes longer, a little more interesting and slightly ruder! Generally the XL episodes are screened post-watershed on the Saturday night immediately following the Friday evening broadcast of the 'standard' episode. Sadly, on several occasions - usually when some silly men poking coloured balls around a table with sticks are in town - the conflicting pressures placed on the poor, overworked BBC schedulers mean that it is impossible to find time to show the XL version of a particular Qi episode. This inevitably causes an outbreak of righteous indignation and lip snarling among Qi fans. Particularly yer actual Keith Telly Topping who gets fair discombobulated by such rank glakery, so he does. Ooo, it makes him vexed. In fact, you can easily tell when this occurs if you listen out for a wailing and gnashing of teeth eminating from Stately Telly Topping Manor. But fear not, dear blog reader. All things - eventually - come to he (or, indeed, she) who waits. Or, indeed, waiteth. Now that the H series has come to an end, the BBC have agreed to alleviate any Qi withdrawal symptoms by broadcasting a collection of previously unseen XL episodes on Saturday nights during the next few weeks. Here is the current schedule (possibly subject to inevitable change if those men with sticks turn up at short notice). The last 'missing' episode of series H, House and Home will, as previously announced by shown on Saturday coming at 9pm. Thereafter the four episodes from last year's G series which weren't shown at the time for one reason or another (usually to do with men with sticks) are scheduled as follows:-
19 March 2011 @ 21:00 - Episode Two: Ganimals
26 March 2011 @ 21:00 - Episode Three: Games
2 April 2011 @ 21:00 - Episode Fifteen: Green
16 April 2011 @ 21:40 - Episode Sixteen: Geometry

There's an excellent review of last night's Top Gear by the Torygraph's Ceri Radford here. 'You might think that after a Christmas special in which Richard Hammond drove a sports car disguised as a nomadic tent across the Syrian desert, some kind of relative sanity would mark the new series of the BBC’s motoring show. Not a bit of it. The sixteenth incarnation of Top Gear was as eye-wateringly bonkers as ever, which means it will continue to appeal to people like me who have no interest whatsoever in cars but enjoy watching Jeremy Clarkson drive through a burning building while eating an ice cream.' Good God, a journalist who actually 'gets' Top Gear? What next, a non-sexist football report on Sky Sports?

Filming on Torchwood: Miracle Day continued last week in Los Angeles. The week saw the main cast joined by Bill Pullman (Oswald Danes), Arlene Tur (Doctor Vera Jaurez) and original cast member Tom Price (Andy Davidson), with scenes filmed within an old prison, a 'haunted' hospital, and the Los Angeles City Hall. As with last week, filming details are compiled from the tantalising tidbits revealed by the cast and crew on Twitter, plus the official production office feed, BBC Torchwood. Next week will see the shoot move across the Atlantic back to Torchwood's spiritual homeland, South Wales; costume designer Shawna Trpcic reported on Tuesday that costumes had been sent over (and that Gwen's new costume had been well received by fans).

HBO is reportedly in discussions with award-winning writer Aaron Sorkin about a new hour-long drama pilot. Deadline reports that the project will focus on events behind the scenes at a nightly cable news show. While no deal is currently in place, HBO is expected to pick up Sorkin's script to pilot, following this year's Academy Awards. The project's long development period is thought to be a result of The West Wing creator's work on the recent film The Social Network. Sorkin's previous CV also includes two cult dramas about the TV industry, the ABC comedy-drama Sports Night and short-lived NBC series Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Other pilots in various stages of development at HBO include psychological thriller Homeland and sitcom Veep. The cable channel recently passed on Steve Coogan pilot Documental, the musical drama The Miraculous Year and True Blood creator Alan Ball's new project All Signs of Death.

As predicted on this blog at the time, the most genuinely stupid and ridiculous collection of individuals on the planet since the Flat Earth Society, the Astrological Association of Great Britain (stop sniggering at the back), has complained about comments made on the BBC's recent programme Stargazing Live. According to the Gruniad Morning Star, the ludicrous organisation is said to be unhappy about remarks made by Dara O'Briain and Brian Cox on the show. During the programme, which was broadcast on 3 January, O'Briain said: 'Let's get this straight once and for all, astrology is rubbish.' Cox replied: 'In the interests of balance on the BBC, yes, astrology is nonsense.' The silly Astrological Association has now set up a petition on their website to complain about the comments, saying: 'The Association will be requesting that the BBC make a public apology and a statement that they do not support the personal views of Professor Brian Cox or Dara O'Briain on the subject. We also request that the BBC will commit to making a fair and balanced representation of astrology when aired in the future.' Gruniad science writer Martin Robbins is now planning to pass on a counter-petition to the BBC in support of O'Briain and Cox. Yer Keith Telly Topping could editorialise at this point about the inherent ludicrousness of believers in a faux pseudoscience with not a single shred of evidence that it exists making such crass and outrageous demands of the world's most respected maker of proper science TV shows. And how the BBC must not, under any circumstances, make any concessions to these people short of telling them to go and shove their astrological star charts right hard where the sun, moon and all the constellations don't shine. But I won't. I'll leave it to Martin, instead: 'I'd love to see the BBC give a fair and balanced representation of astrology. In fact sod it, let's extend that to all newspapers as well. Such a representation would depict astrology as a pseudoscience that was already being ridiculed in the Dark Ages, and note that after thousands of years astrologers still can't produce statistically meaningful results. It would observe that any apparent successes of astrology probably owe more to the use of cold-reading techniques, convenient vagueness, and the exploitation of psychological quirks like confirmation bias or the Forer effect, and express amazement at the continued ability of the astrological industry to lift hundreds of millions of euros, pounds and dollars out of the pockets of customers each year. Finally, it would make the point that intellectually-speaking, the pursuit of meaningful predictions in astrology isn't so much flogging a dead horse as punching a piece of rock and wondering why it won't say anything. Fair and balanced reporting is not the best thing to ask for when your views have about as much credibility as Andy Coulson's future in journalism.' Yes. What he said.

Jonathan Ross has defended controversial comic Frankie Boyle, claiming that he is 'pushing the edges of comedy.' The British Comedy Awards host said that he hadn't watched much of Boyle's Channel Four series Tramadol Nights, but insisted that Boyle should not be censored just because he may offend some viewers. 'I do think that Channel Four are right to be putting on shows that don't appeal to everyone and are seen as pushing the edges of comedy,' he said. 'You know what you are getting when you tune in to Frankie Boyle. If you don't like it, don't watch it. I think perhaps some of the things he said were a little extreme and it's not the sort of stuff that would make me laugh necessarily, but I will defend his right to say it. I would do exactly the same when it comes to anyone's right for free speech on British television.' Ross added: 'Ultimately, the audience will decide. If they don't like something, they will not come back for more. We shouldn't say things that are deliberately inflammatory, but we should encourage and have the space to try out new ideas.'

Tom Ward has revealed details of an upcoming storyline in Silent Witness. In the show, Ward's character Harry will end up being suspected of a murder when his lover Anna is found dead. 'This is a very big storyline for me, all set in Hungary,' Ward told What's On TV. 'It's a real thriller and there's all kinds of things going on for Harry. There's a lot for him to deal with personally - he's not just objectively studying a case.' Ward continued: 'Harry becomes the prime suspect in Anna's murder because he was at the scene covered in blood, which looks suspicious. Harry becomes a fugitive, going on the run in Budapest, while keen to establish his innocence. It's a high stakes episode.'

MasterChef judge Gregg Wallace has married for the third time. Wallace tied the knot with teacher Heidi Brown, who is seventeen years younger than him, at a five-star Berkshire hotel recently. The couple then enjoyed a honeymoon in Mauritius, reports the Sun. It's all right for some, innit? Good on ya, Gregg, now hopefully you'll be back in time for the next series of MasterChef which should be shortly. The TV presenter first met Brown after flirting with her on Twitter and followed it up by inviting her to be his plus one at the BAFTAs in 2009.

Tony Blair's former communications chief Alastair Campbell will appear on the second episode of Ten O'Clock Live. A message on the show's official Twitter feed confirmed that the spin doctor would appear in a segment where he is interviewed by David Mitchell. Last week's first episode of the new Channel Four programme saw Mitchell interview universities and science minister David Willetts about the rise in tuition fees and cuts in education spending. Other guests on last week's show included investment banker Richard Sharp, the High Pay Commission's Zoe Gannon, Conservative MP Kwasi Kwarteng and environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg. Mitchell is joined on the show by his co-presenters Charlie Brooker, Jimmy Carr and Wor Luscious Lovely Lauren Laverne.

Dara O'Briain has said that this year's Apprentice candidates will be different to previous series. The You're Fired host claimed that the 2011 show will feature more 'established business people. I'm told the candidates are different and I've taken that to mean there's no Stuart Baggs,' he told the Sun. 'I think it means they're established business people, not people trying to learn the trade. You'll still find people making an arse of things. No bad thing for it to go in a different direction.'

Kaya Scodelario has revealed that she is unimpressed with the American remake of Skins. Writing on her Twitter page, the actress explained that she had watched the show while on holiday in Jamaica. 'We watched the American Skins,' she said. 'Na mate! Brits did it better.' Scodelario, who admitted that she 'quite liked' the US remake of Shameless, also retweeted comments expressing surprise that Skins has been so controversial in the US. According to Perez Hilton, Scodelario also complained that the swearing in the show had been bleeped out and added that she is unimpressed that her character Effy is now blonde. That message has now been removed from her Twitter page, but Scodelario later wrote: 'Glad Perez Hilton is on the same page as me on the whole Skins USA censorship thing.'

Hollyoaks actress Jorgie Porter has revealed that her character Theresa McQueen will be at the centre of a big week of episodes next month. The actress confirmed that viewers can expect an action-packed time ahead for her troubled alter ego, who is still trying to cover up the fact that she killed Calvin Valentine on his second wedding day last May. Speaking in an interview with the Daily Lies, Porter explained: 'I can't say too much but there's a massive week of episodes coming up in mid-February. There's a big action set-piece we filmed on location. I did some of my own stunts but I had a double as well so I can't brag too much. This week the producers have been talking about long-term storylines for this year, so hopefully I'll know what will happen to Theresa soon.' The twenty three-year-old also praised her recent plotlines, admitting that she is enjoying the ongoing mix between dramatic and comedic scenes. She said: 'It's been a very eventful few months: Theresa got pregnant by Calvin, killed him and then blamed it on another guy that went to prison. There have been some great storylines that have been amazing for me to play. It can be incredibly draining, though. I go home sometimes and just cry. I bawl for no reason and then I realise it's because I've been crying non-stop on set for four months, so that's probably got something to do with it. But it's not all doom and gloom. I'm lucky because I do a lot of comedy too. Not every actress gets to do both.'

Channel Five show The Wright Stuff has landed in trouble with broadcast watchdogs for blatantly plugging Tim Minchin's DVD. Ofcom have ruled that mentioning live on-air that the Ready For This show was available from the channel's website blurred the line between programming and advertising. An unnamed sidekick of host Matthew Wright gave the sales pitch when the Australian comic was a guest on the daytime show in November. Holding up the box she said: 'And, if you fancy a good laugh this Christmas, then may I recommend Tim's brand new live DVD. It's called Ready For This and features such hilarious songs as 'Bears Don't Dig on Dancing' and Matthew's personal favourite, 'Gay.' You can buy your copy from five.tv/wrightstuff for just £12.93 and save a third off the suggested retail price. And no, I'm not joking.' Nobody said you were, love. And, nobody said Tim Minchin was, either because, having seen Ready For This recently, yer Keith Telly Topping can't remember any actual jokes in it. When quizzed by Ofcom, Channel Five said producers had misunderstood rules that allowed on-air promotion of certain 'programme-related material.' In its ruling, Ofcom accepted that neither Channel Five nor the show's producers had received any payment for the plug. But they said: 'For material to qualify as programme-related material, it must be directly derived from a specific programme and must allow viewers to benefit fully from, or interact with, that programme. In this case, it is clear that the reference to Tim Minchin's DVD did not meet the definition of programme-related material. The presenter encouraged the audience to buy the DVD by providing a positive review of its various features, details of a special reduced price and where the audience could purchase it. Ofcom considered the promotion of the DVD was akin to a teleshopping feature. Ofcom concluded that the promotion of the DVD during the programme was clearly in breach [of the broadcasting code].' The transgression came four months after the Daily Express and Daily Lies owner Richard Desmond brought Channel Five. Ofcom also made similar rulings against plugs on The X-Factor. Following a performance by Diana Vickers in October last year, host Dermot O'Dreary told viewers: 'If you want to download Diana's single, details at ITV.com/Xfactor.' Later that month, O'Dreary told viewers that guest Michael Buble's single could also be bought on the X Factor website. Channel TV said 'an unfortunate script error' was to blame on both occasions. It added that contrary to O'Dreary's comments on the reality TV talent show, neither single was available to download via the programme website and no other information regarding the singles was available there. But, Ofcom ruled the show was in breach of its rule relating to product placement after the error occurred on two separate occasions. The X Factor was also criticised by Ofcom for failing to curb the use of flashing lights during a performance by Cheryl Cole on 24 October last year.

Sean Bean has described his new show Game Of Thrones as 'disturbing.' According to What's On TV, the actor explained that children shouldn't watch the programme. 'It's a kind of weird magical mystery world that's not set in a particular world,' he said. 'But it's quite a disturbing piece. It's not for kids really.' He continued: 'It's about seven kingdoms and everyone's vying for power so it's very much a story of corruption and greed and power and sex and violence, but magic at the same time.' However, Bean joked: 'I was quite a good guy in it so I didn't get involved in a lot of brutality. Only when necessary.' Game Of Thrones will launch in the US on 17 April on HBO. The show will be broadcast in April on Sky Atlantic in the UK.

MTV UK has announced the start of production on a Newcastle-based reality TV show named Geordie Shore. The Jersey Shore-inspired programme will follow a group of Geordies in a bid to bring the personality of the North East alive to viewers in the UK and around the world.' Oh God, how embarrassing is this going to be? Every slapper from Wallsend to Scotswood is going to be lining up to get their boat-races on this nonsense. Kerry Taylor, acting SVP and director of television at MTV Networks UK & Ireland, said: 'It's fantastic that the UK is going to be the first international MTV territory to take inspiration from the cultural phenomenon that is Jersey Shore and re-imagine it for a UK audience. Newcastle is an amazing city with a culture and ethos of its own. So while the location and cast will of course be new, viewers will absolutely relate to their trials and tribulations and ultimately welcome them into their homes, every week.' Geordie Shore will be executive produced by Fiona O'Sullivan, head of factual at Lime Pictures, and Steve Regan, editorial director MTV UK. Who should all be sodding well ashamed of themselves.

America's answer to James Corden, fat unfunny berk Jack Black has been nominated for a Razzie Award for 'Worst Actor' in the traditional pre-Oscar nomination night awards that recognise all that is bad in films. The nominations for Golden Raspberry Awards - or Razzie - were announced on Sunday night, with Jennifer Aniston nominated for Worst Actress for her role in The Bounty Hunter and The Switch. The blockbuster supernatural tale The Twilight Saga: Eclipse and the action fantasy The Last Airbender tied for the most nominations with nine each, including worst picture. The Razzies line-up was announced a day before Oscar nominations come out. Razzie winners, chosen by the group's six hundred voters, will be announced on 26 February, the night before the Oscars.

Colin Baker, has revealed on his blog that he is currently filming an episode of the BBC daytime drama Doctors. Baker has appeared in the series three times previously, in 2001, 2006 and 2009. His theatre tour playing Inspector Morse in House of Ghosts has now finished, although Baker notes there are plans to try to get a tour list together either in the Autumn of 2011 or the Spring of 2012.

The government says it is not planning to bring in a cat to deal with a rat spotted running around Downing Street. The prime minister's spokesman said there would not be a replacement for Humphrey, nicknamed Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office, who died in 2006. A rat has been seen scuttling outside the door of Number 10 on two recent TV news bulletins. The number of the creatures living across the UK is estimated to be more than fifty million. The Downing Street rat was spotted during a BBC News broadcast by political correspondent Gary O'Donoghue. It passed behind the railings outside Number 10 during a live report last week. Asked about the rat during a lobby briefing, the prime minister's official spokesman said there were 'no plans' to bring in a cat to deal with it. Humphrey was adopted by Number 10 after wandering into the building as a stray while Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister in 1989. He moved out six months after Labour's 1997 general election win, with Tony Blair's wife Cherie denying press reports her dislike for the animal was to blame. Humphrey died in March 2006 at the home of a civil servant who cared for him during his 'retirement.' Rumours that the rat has been nicknamed Jeremy Hunt by those in the TV industry cannot, at this time be confirmed or denied. Nor, indeed, are the other rumours that yer David Cameron was recently seen skanking down the street muttering 'there's a rat in ma cabinet, what am-ah gonna do.' If I was you, PM, I'd fix da rat, that's what y'gonna do. And 'ting.

Scotland has attempted to overturn America's forty-year ban on haggis by inviting a US delegation to visit. The US food standards agency bans imported haggis because sheep lungs in food products are prohibited, BBC News reports. Rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead discussed the matter with officials last year and confirmed hopes of exploiting the 'potentially lucrative market' across the Atlantic. Lochhead added: 'We want to capitalise on the diaspora of Scots in the US and many of them would enjoy the opportunity to indulge in authentic Scottish haggis to accompany their neeps and tatties on Burns Night. Scotland's produce is amongst the best in the world and I've asked US Department of Agriculture officials to come here to see for themselves the high standards we have in animal health and processing.' He added: 'This will help them realise that our haggis is produced to the highest standards and that it's time to allow imports to resume.'

A dentist and her nurses in Germany have reportedly changed their uniforms to cleavage-maximising 'Alpine lounge'-themed outfits in a supposed bid to ease patients' fears. According to Metro, Dr Marie-Catherine Klarkowski came up with the idea for herself and her ten assistants after visiting an Oktoberfest event featuring barmaids in revealing 'dirndls.' Klarkowski said: 'The most important thing is to take away patients' fear. The sight of cleavages gets patients narcotised and distracted from the pain rather quickly. Some patients' mouths are already wide open on entering the practice. The competition doesn't sleep. I know colleagues who have decorated their whole practice with Mickey Mouse and one even in Star Trek style.' Employee Larisa Hrustic added: 'I much prefer working in a dirndl. I enjoy looking good at work and it's a lot more fun since we had the new outfits.' The Relax & Smile practice in Munich has reportedly seen a rise of a third in its number of clients - all men - since the change.

Meanwhile, a German football club has banned strippers from performing in corporate boxes during football matches. One box at Bundesliga side St Pauli belongs to the Hamburg lapdance club Susis Show Bar, which installed a mirror and pole for dancers, AFP reports. Strippers have also been banned from getting 'fully nude,' even if they are performing when the games are no longer being played. Club president Stefan Orth told Bild: 'We had a discussion with the owner of the box and made it clear there cannot be dances during the matches. There can be performances after the matches, there can be dances, but they must not end up nude. If they dance just once naked, they will be out of here!'

For the latest sample from the hugely popular Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day (no, I don't know why either), we have a little piece of purple crushed velvet loons pants and orange satin shirts from 1977. And, a quite hideous bit of - I'm presuming, probably unconscious - racism from yer actual sensational Tony Blackburn on Top of the Pops. 'And, they are, actual real-life brothers, as well. They come all the way from Mauritus, but they've been over here for fourteen years, now.' Oh, so that's all right then.