Sunday, January 30, 2011

How To Hide Behind A Bitter Wall Of Blue

John Torode has revealed that the upcoming series of MasterChef will begin with a never-before-seen twist. At least, in the UK, it's a standard element of the Australian version of the show. In a change to the BBC cooking competition's format, the judging duo will now be involved in the audition process, where approximately two hundred amateurs will attempt to win a place on the show by cooking up a tasty meal from a selection of ingredients they brought along. Torode explained to the Daily Scum Mail: 'Gregg and I are now involved in the previously un-filmed audition process, so we get to taste even more food than ever. We realised that some good cooks were falling by the wayside because they lost their nerve at the first hurdle - the Invention Test, where they have to produce a dish from surprise ingredients in half an hour. Previously, that was the first we got to see of our finalists. Now, we can judge potential from the very outset. If we both like their audition dish, the contestant goes forward to one of the twenty places in the MasterChef knockout competition. But if Gregg and I can't agree, they have to come back with more of their known ingredients to cook another of their best dishes to wow us.' The - much anticipated - new series of MasterChef will begin on BBC1 in February.

Come Fly With Me has been recommissioned for a second series, it has been announced. The airport-based mockumentary, starring Matt Lucas and David Walliams, will return to BBC1 after the success of its first series, which was the best-performing comedy show over the Christmas period, the Independent reports. Mark Freeland, head of in-house comedy at the BBC, said: 'After such a flying start on BBC1, it's great news that Matt Lucas and David Walliams will once again be filling the check-in desks, departure lounges and cockpits with their wonderful and weird characters.' Danny Cohen, BBC1's controller, added: 'Come Fly With Me has been a huge hit with audiences. I can't wait to see what Matt and David will do with the second series.' Personally, yer Keith Telly Topping thinks it's about as funny as a good hard kick in the knackers but, seemingly, I appear to be in a minority of one there so, recommissioned it has been.

The annual Radio Times Covers Party took place at Claridges in London last Tuesday evening, which as usual saw a multitude of actors and presenters gather together to celebrate another year's worth of Radio Times covers. The event was hosted by former Doctor Who star David Tennant, who was also presented with his cover for Single Father (9-15 October). Karen Gillan was there to receive the Doctor Who cover for The Pandorica Opens (19-25 June). Other guests at the party included Steven Moffat, Rob Brydon, Terry Wogan, Aidan Grimshaw, Jean Marsh, Keeley Hawes, Hugh Bonneville and David Morrissey.

Still on Doctor Who news, the casting directory Spotlight have listed Annabel Cleare as appearing in episode seven of the currently filming series. Primarily a theatre actress, Annabel has also appeared on television, mainly in documentary style programmes such as JFK Revealed for Channel Four and The Real Atlantis for BBC2, and also a Home Fries Chips commercial. The actress confirmed the role on Twitter, which also indicated that her young son Henry would also be appearing in the episode, though she described their roles as 'small'! Henry himself has also appeared in a number of commercials and short films. Meanwhile, Hugh Bonneville's character has been named as Avery on his Gordon and French CV, and this also reports the director for this episode as Jeremy Webb (a regular director on Merlin). Next week, it has been reported that the cast and crew on Jeremy and Hugh's episode of Doctor Who - probably the third in transmission order next series - will travel out of Wales for once down to Cornwall, descending on the coastal town of St Austell and filming in the Charlestown area of the town. There has been much speculation that bearing in mind that the character played by Bonneville is a pirate called Avery, the Georgian port location could indicate a historical setting for episode three involving the real-life pirate Henry John Every. Yar.

Geoff Stults has reportedly been cast in the previously announced Bones spin-off The Finder. According to TV Line, Stults will play the central character Walter Sherman, also known as The Locator. Sherman, described as 'a former military policeman who can find anything,' is expected to be introduced in episode nineteen of the current series of Bones. Stults recently made a guest appearance in the current series of How I Met Your Mother. He also played Deputy Tommy Conroy in the short-lived ABC drama Happy Town. Bones producer Stephen Nathan recently said that casting of the character of Sherman was proving to be difficult.

Embarrassing Bodies returned to Channel Four with nearly three and a half million viewers on Friday night, according to overnight data. Finishing second in the 9pm hour, the programme added just under six hundred thousand further viewers on C4+1. Jason Manford's Comedy Rocks continued its dreadfully disappointing run of audience figures with a mere 2.51m watching on ITV. Meanwhile, Hustle easily won the slot with 5.74m.

Jeremy Paxman has defended the BBC World Service following news of six hundred and fifty job losses. Writing in the Gruniad Morning Star, the Newsnight presenter compared the broadcaster to 'an ageing uncle who's seen it all. I have never, ever, anywhere in the world, heard anyone say a bad word about the World Service,' he said. 'How many millions listen to the World Service in some form? A mere two hundred and forty one million people, they say - the figures are so vast as not to mean very much. But it must be many more than will ever clap eyes on William Hague, listen to an ambassadorial speech or attend a Foreign Office leadership conference.' The Foreign & Commonwealth Office has cut the funding that it awards to the BBC World Service by sixteen per cent. Responsibility for funding the World Service will be met exclusively by the BBC from 2015. Last week, the National Union of Journalists said that the cuts were 'a brutal attack on a valued and vital national service.'

2Entertain have announced that the DVD release of the Jon Pertwee Doctor Who story The Ambassadors of Death has been delayed due to ongoing restoration issues. It was hoped that the story, first broadcast in 1970, would be released later this year and it was due to be along with the 1977 Tom Baker story The Sun Makers. However the company confirmed via their Twitter account that Ambassadors will not now be released in 2011. The story only existed in the BBC Archives in a bewildering mixture of broadcast formats. Although the original colour Transmission Master of Episode One exists, the rest of the story was only kept as 16mm black and white film. Some of it with a particularly poor sound quality. A second generation NTSC colour copy exists as an off-air recording from WNED Channel 17 in Buffalo, and this was used to restore episodes five and six to colour for the 2002 Video release. However the quality of the colour recording was not good enough to allow for the restoration of the rest of the story. Earlier this year it was reported that the remaining episodes were being restored to colour using the same technique applied to Episode Three of the 1973 story Planet of the Daleks. However it appears this process has run into problems and the release date has been delayed to give the restoration team more time to work on the project.

Talks to bring Big Brother to Channel Five are said to be 'at an advanced stage,' industry insiders have claimed. Broadcast reports that negotiations between the reality show's production company, Endemol, and Richard Desmond, the owner of Channel Five, have re-opened in recent months and a final deal could be 'just a few weeks away.' The publication claims that the agreement could tie Big Brother to the broadcaster for as long as five years, though this could be reduced if performance targets are missed. Desmond is also believed to be interested in relaunching Celebrity Big Brother and extending the main programme's run past the traditional thirteen-week mark. Desmond had identified Big Brother as an ideal format for the rebranded Channel Five following his one hundred million pound takeover in July 2010. However, talks broke down in September, allegedly over Desmond's determination to pay less than the estimated seven million pounds price tag attached to Channel Four's three-year contract for the programme in 2006. Big Brother concluded its eleventh and final series on Channel Four on 24 August 2010. Its 'final' episode, which saw series two champion Brian Dowling win an Ultimate competition, broadcast seventeen days later and ended with the message 'Big Brother will get back to you.'

An aspiring singer rejected from American Idol has launched a third lawsuit against the show. Ian Benardo, who unsuccessfully auditioned for the 2006 season of the FOX contest, is attempting to sue producers for discrimination after claiming that they 'exploited' his homosexuality by asking him to 'gay it up.' The failed performer originally sought three hundred million dollars from the show, but reduced this demand to one hundred million when he refiled legal papers in September 2010. Although this lawsuit was dismissed, TMZ claims that Benardo submitted yet another legal challenge on Friday, this time asking for just five million in damages. When that's turned down, expect a subsequent claim for 'the price of a cup of tea.' Benardo last appeared on TV screens in American Idol's live season nine finale, when he stormed the stage and snatched a microphone away from comedian Dane Cook in order to hurl abuse at then-judge Simon Cowell. He later claimed that FOX bosses had invited him to the finale and instructed him to perform the stunt, something which FOX has denied.

Blue have been revealed as the act representing the UK at this year's Eurovision Song Contest in Dusseldorf. The reunited boyband were confirmed to have been chosen by the BBC in a statement made on the corporation's official Eurovision Twitter page. They will perform a new self-penned song entitled 'I Can', with the song's promotion and recording also being filmed as part of a BBC documentary to be screened in April. BBC Head of Entertainment and Events Katie Taylor commented: 'We're enormously pleased to have found an act that not only meets but exceeds all the criteria for a great entry. Blue are the perfect choice and we're so proud to have them representing us at this year's Eurovision Song Contest.' Band member Duncan James also revealed his excitement on Twitter, saying: 'Yes the rumour r [sic] true! We r [sic] representing the uk in this yrs [sic] EUROVISION! We r [sic] really excited and cant [sic] wait till u [sic] hear the song! ITS [sic] BIG!' So excited, seemingly, that he's forgotten how to spell 'are' properly. The group have previous links to the contest, as Antony Costa came second in the 2006 edition of Eurovision song selection show Making Your Mind Up with 'It's A Beautiful Thing'. Duncan James was also part of the judging panel on the show's successor Eurovision: Your Country Needs You in 2009.

Big fat enormous tub-of-lard horroshow, and drag, Vanessa Feltz has been accused of 'bullying' a student who was doing what has been described as 'work experience' on Feltz's BBC London show. Beverley Nesbit, nineteen, claims that she was reduced to tears after a series of incidents involving the fulsome presenter in July. Nesbit secured the post after winning a one hundred and twenty pound bid arranged by Feltz's daughter, Saskia Kurer, at a university charity event. 'I basically paid to be abused by Vanessa Feltz for a week,' she told the Daily Scum Mail. Well, you know, there's some people who are into that sort of thing, dear. 'Vanessa was really brash, not like the bubbly person you see on television, but in a rude and arrogant way.' Can I take issue with the idea that Feltz is, in an way, 'a bubbly person' on TV, please? She's, as previously discussed, an annoying horrorshow, and drag, with what appears to be far too high an opinion of her own abilities, same as she is on radio. 'She barely acknowledged me, and when she did she said everything I had done was rubbish.' Recalling one incident, Nesbit said: 'Vanessa turned to me and said, "Beverley, which is your favourite poem by Yeats?" I'm not a stupid person, but I was honest and told her I'd never heard of Yeats and didn't have a favourite.' Oh dear. What are they teaching young people at school these days? The Second Coming? You know, 'things fall apart, the centre cannot hold.' A bit like Vanessa Feltz's wasteline, when you think about it. 'She was really rude and said something like, "That's ridiculous, write me a two thousand word essay on Yeats by tomorrow." I thought she was joking,' Nesbit claimed to the newspaper. Feltz apparently requested the essay to be on her desk the following day. 'I had to admit I hadn't done it,' Nesbit added. Shockingly, alleged big nasty scary schoolma'am Feltz didn't, at this point, administer Nesbit with a damned good caning for 'not doing her homework.' Well, that's just not on if she wants to develop a reputation for being a real bully. 'I couldn't believe it. In the end I went to the toilet and just cried. I just wanted to go home. I couldn't believe how rude and horrible she had been. In the end a producer came and asked me if I was okay.' Feltz didn't respond to the paper's requests for a comment. A BBC spokesman, however, was more forthcoming: 'This was a private visit, arranged by Vanessa, and not part of the BBC work experience scheme.'

It's theme-Sunday on yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45(s) of the Day today, dear blog reader. A laid-back celebration of one of the world's favourite mellow supergroups containing the massive talents of Mssrs CrosbyStills
Youngnot forgetting Gifted and Black.And, if you put them all together in a big sack, this is what they sound like. 'Tin soldiers and Nixon's coming/We're finally on our own...'Sadly, in that particularly clip, big David looks like he's eaten Ohio.