Monday, January 17, 2011

Turn It Down A Little Bit Or Turn It Down Flat

Hugh Laurie has revealed details about an upcoming House story arc. Last year, it was announced that Candice Bergen and Paula Marshall had signed on to appear as Cuddy's mother and sister in a forthcoming episode. Discussing the family storyline, Laurie told TVLine: 'The mother and the sister, these are things we all have to negotiate in relationships, aren't they? Sometimes these are welcome intrusions and sometimes less so.' However, the actor admitted that he had enjoyed working with the two guest stars. 'They're certainly welcome and entertaining, I can tell you that,' he said. 'Candice Bergen is absolutely excellent.' Laurie also confessed that he had felt some anxiety about House and Cuddy finally getting together. 'In a funny way, I care much less about what we do than how we do it,' he explained. 'What matters is that we get the tone right. Is this true and believable, and will it resonate with people?' He added: 'The audience has invested so much [in the show] over the last seven years, we owe it to them to do something that is true to both of the characters.'

An EastEnders spokesperson has confirmed that changes were made to scenes involving the baby swap storyline. Producers made the decision following the strong viewer response to the plot, but assured fans that the changes did not weaken the overall story. The spokeswoman told the Daily Lies Sunday: 'We can assure you that no complete scenes were cut from this episode. Given the audience response to this storyline, we felt on this occasion that it was appropriate to respond and make some changes. The vast majority of material remains intact and we don't believe that those trims we have made will weaken or detract from the overall storyline for viewers.' An 'insider' allegedly added: 'The scenes showing the little white coffin were a bit much. A lot of people who had already seen the episode felt it was going a little too far. So all the scenes which showed Kat clutching the coffin were left on the cutting room floor. After all the controversy that this storyline has caused, the last thing anyone at the BBC wanted was to make the situation even worse. The corporation's top chiefs got involved and ordered the changes. No scenes were reshot - they were just tweaked slightly.'

Cheryl Cole's mother has reportedly asked Derek Hough to find her daughter a safer Los Angeles home over fears that she could be attacked. For God's sake, she grew up in Heaton, she should be used to that sort of thing!

Miranda Hart and Harry Hill are the front runners for this year's British Comedy Awards, having picked up four nominations each. Hart has been shortlisted for 'Best Comedy Actress', while her popular BBC2 show Miranda receives nods in the 'Best Sitcom' and 'Best New British TV Comedy' categories. Hill, meanwhile, will compete for the 'Best Male Comic' and 'Best Comedy Entertainment Personality' awards, while his TV Burp is in the running for 'Best Comedy Entertainment Programme.' The two will clash with Peep Show's David Mitchell, Britain's Got Talent hosts Ant and Dec and the competition's new judge Michael McIntyre to be crowned 'The King Of Comedy 2010.' Queen, obviously, if it's Miranda who wins. Or, Dec for that matter. Only joking, Dec! The winner will be decided by viewers during the live 22 January ceremony. When asked to comment on her numerous nominations, Hart said: 'I am what I call thrilled to be nominated.' yes, other people call it that was well, chuck. Other notable nominees include CBBC show Horrible Histories, which is the first children's programme ever to be shortlisted for an award, and will compete with The Armstrong & Miller Show and Harry And Paul in the 'Best Sketch Show' category. Meanwhile, South Shields stand-up the divine Goddess that is Sarah Millican achieves the notable feat of being nominated for both the 'Best Female Comic' and 'Best Female Comedy Breakthrough Artist' trophies.

Ronnie Corbett is to front a short ITV series - which is fair enough since he's only short himself - covering the history of British comedy. He will look at the subject in two hour-long episodes of Ronnie Corbett's Comedy Tour Of Britain, to be broadcast in prime time later this year. The documentaries, made by ITV Studios, will feature some of the country's top comics – as well as eighty-year-old Corbett himself musing on his own long career. It follows the success of the One Ronnie sketch show, which attracted seven million plus viewers to BBC1 last month.

Watch out, Humphrys and Paxo, smug-but-quite-funny David Mitchell has announced his arrival in the pantheon of political inquisitors with a swipe at the 'rottweiler' school of interviewing. Every Thursday evening from this week, the Peep Show and That Mitchell And Webb Look star will grill a leading politician live in front of a studio audience during Ten O'Clock Live, a new Channel Four topical comedy show. Downing Street has agreed to help provide ministers after a meeting with the producers of the show, which will clash with Newsnight and Question Time. Channel Four hopes that Ten O'Clock Live could become the British equivalent of The Daily Show, where President Obama and Tony Blair have joined the influential host, Jon Stewart. Mitchell, the award-winning comedy actor and panel show regular, says his interviews will not be an exercise in political point-scoring. 'I think you've got to allow people to talk,' he said. 'I think too much of political journalism is thoughtlessly scrutinising. It's always about contradicting the thing they've just said and crucially finding the difference of opinion they may have had with someone else they work with. Apparently, that's what you get one thousand points for.' Mitchell, who interviewed Grant Shapps, the Housing minister, in a pilot of the show, said: 'We know those disagreements exist. So what have we done by getting them to agree it? It's just like getting someone to admit that they snore. It doesn't really mean anything. That very approach to interviewing them leads them to say less and become more boring and more unwilling to engage. It's a vicious circle.' Politicians who swap Newsnight for a slot on the live Channel Four show, co-presented by Charlie Brooker, Jimmy Carr and Wor Luscious Lovely Lauren Laverne, will feel obliged to be interesting, argues Mitchell. 'There's a live audience so the politicians will be less inclined to be boring,' he said. 'A lot of the pressure of the Paxmanesque approach is, "we just let this guy talk and blather on for ages along the party line. I don't think that will come across well on this show.' The 'ultimate aim' would be to attract David Cameron, or one of the other party leaders, on to the show, during its fifteen-week run, Mitchell said.

ITV has announced a new factual drama based on the story of Fred and Rosemary West. Appropriate Adult will focus on the period between Fred West's arrest and his subsequent suicide and will chart his relationship with Janet Leach, who served as his guardian or 'appropriate adult' during police interviews. The Wire's Dominic West will play the role of Fred (no relation) in the two-part drama, while Cemetery Junction actress Emily Watson will portray Leach. DCI Banks: Aftermath star Monica Dolan will appear as Rose West. 'Our intention is to produce a sober and thought provoking drama based on a true story,' said executive producer Jeff Pope. 'We have developed the script over the past three years and it provides a unique insight to the police investigation which led to the conviction of Fred and Rose West and the crucial role Janet Leach played as the "appropriate adult."' Appropriate Adult has been written by See No Evil: The Moors Murders author Neil McKay and will begin filming for two ninety-minute episodes in Manchester next month.

Neighbours actress Jackie Woodburne has revealed that she would consider relocating to the UK. Because, of course, we haven't got enough of our own out of work soap opera actors over here alrerady. Speaking of the possibility of starring in a British soap, Woodburne - who plays Susan Kennedy - said that she is open to any acting offers. 'I'd love it! I'm not familiar enough with the shows to choose one, but I'd have a crack at any of them that was kind enough to make me an offer,' she told Inside Soap magazine. Yes. I've got two words for you, m'love - Mark. Little. Woodburne added that she probably won't be following in the footsteps of the likes of Guy Pearce, Alan Dale, Julian McMahon and Liam Hemsworth and moving to Los Angeles. 'I'm not a big fan of LA - I've been to visit, but I can't imagine living there,' she said. 'The culture doesn't grab me. If I was going to work somewhere else, it would be the UK - that's a much more comfortable fit for me.'

Coronation Street hairdresser Maria Connor is to feature in a hard-hitting new storyline with Weatherfield newcomer Frank Foster, it has been revealed. The single mum - played by Samia Smith - will be in danger of a sex attack at the hands of Frank while visiting his home in a forthcoming edition of the soap, according to the Sun. Frank is introduced to the cobbles as a new Underworld contact in this week's episodes, and it is thought that Maria is soon given the task of charming him into making a big order after she starts working as factory boss Carla Connor's personal assistant. However, sources say that Frank will turn nasty while spending time alone with Maria at his house, telling her: 'If you want this deal you'll have to be nice to me.' With Frank coming on strongly and making his intentions clear, the episode in question is expected to cut away from the scene and leave viewers to wonder whether he will rape Maria. A show source said: 'Time will tell how bad Frank's character will be - but he's a ladies' man and no Weatherfield woman will be safe from his interest.'

John Cleese has revealed that he turned down an offer to take part in I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here! Because he's got an ounce of frigging dignity left in his bosdy, basically. The Monty Python's Flying Circus comedian said that producers were willing to offer him two hundred thousand smackers to appear on the programme, but he insisted that he would never be tempted by reality TV. Cleese told the Sunday Mercury: 'I was asked to do a reality show a few months ago. I forget which - it might have been the jungle one or perhaps Celebrity Root Canal! I just laughed, then asked how much they were offering out of curiosity. It was two hundred thousand pounds but I would never agree to one of those shows. That would mean the collapse of western civilisation.' The seventy one-year-old went on to admit that he is not a fan of the current state of British television and compared it unfavourably to the TV of his youth. 'When I was growing up, we had the best television in the world,' he said. 'Now it's as bad as it is everywhere else, and I don't particularly want to participate in that. I don't really watch TV these days, except live sport. There's nothing much that appeals to me. I would rather read a book.' Cleese - who is currently fronting a series of adverts for the AA - added: 'There is always a filter when it comes to accepting work. I call it the EQ - the embarrassment quota. I will only do embarrassing things if there is a lot of money involved and people won't really know about it. Some people ask me to do ads and I think, "I don't really want to sell potato crisps," but I am very happy to do the commercials for the AA because I think it's an extraordinarily impressive organisation and has been for decades.'

Robert Wagner has claimed that ABC's new Charlie's Angels series will be very different to the original. It was reported last week that the Hart To Hart star had landed the voice role of Charlie in the series, replacing the late John Forsythe. 'I would imagine [the show] will probably be quite different, because the technology is quite different,' he explained to Entertainment Weekly. '[I will communicate] on cell phones wherever these gals are. I could be tweeting them; I could be doing a lot of things with them.' Wagner revealed that he had been approached for the role by executive producer Leonard Goldberg and admitted that he had not yet read any scripts. It was previously announced that the new Charlie's Angels will be set in Miami and will feature a young, 'savvy' version of Bosley with 'GQ looks' and a 'killer six-pack.'

Danielle Hope has said that she is prepared to receive criticism when she debuts as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz at the London Palladium next month. The singer and dancer was given the role after winning last year's BBC reality talent competition Over The Rainbow. Of the possibility that some punters may not enjoy her performance, Hope told the Observer: 'Yes, of course. It's like Marmite.' What, brown? 'You love it or you hate it.' Oh. Right. 'Everyone's got a different opinion. I wouldn't take it to heart because they're not criticising Danielle Hope, the person. They're criticising Danielle Hope, the actress. I want to be good, I don't want to let anyone down. It's self-pressure more than anything. I just want to be my best.' She continued to explain the challenges of the role, saying of the four dogs playing sidekick Toto: 'I'm eighteen, I'm a leading lady, a singer and a dog trainer. I mean, who'd have thought it? You have to teach a dog set ways to do things and then repeat it over and over again. It's so hard because a dog knows if your emotion is real. Your acting has to be so truthful to the dog. And they're heavy too. I've been free-weight training with bags of sugar in pillowcases. They each weigh about eight kg but one of them weighs ten kg.'

Alex Reid has allegedly told Katie Price that he will only agree to a divorce after a one million pound pay-off. The Celebrity Big Brother winner reportedly rejected a two hundred and fifty thousand confidentiality deal that would ban him from talking about his eleven-month marriage to the glamour model, deciding instead to pursue the six-figure sum as compensation for their relationship. The Mirror quotes Reid as telling an alleged friend: 'I've been used, abused and treated like ­Jordan’s puppet - all ­because she can't get over her last ­husband. I'm now doubting she ever loved me - it's as if the whole ­marriage was a sham and a ­publicity stunt.' Never. I mean, you two kids always seemed so happy together. Meanwhile, a 'source' has allegedly insisted that Price would refuse to let Reid take a chunk of her thirty million pound fortune, as she considers herself to be 'solely responsible' for his rise to fame. 'He's saying that if she wants him to go then he wants a house and a business, which will cost around one million pounds. Katie doesn't want to give him money. She's saying that without her he is nothing. He has a weekly magazine column and has ­appeared on a TV ­reality show, all on the back of her. She says he's done well out of marrying her and made his ­money so he needs to sling his hook and think himself lucky. She just wants rid of him - and quick.' However, other 'insiders' have allegedly claimed that Price still cares for Reid and has been genuinely damaged by their chaotic separation. 'She might come across as as hard as nails but this is ­hurting her,' a 'source' allegedly said. 'The last thing she wants is a messy divorce like the one she's only just put to rest.'

Finally, for today's Keith Telly Topping's 45(s) of the Day, we're back in that golden period of creativity in British pop music between 1976 and 1983. Now, among the various tribes and trends and fashions that - briefly - emerged, flowered withered and died during 1978 was something that, perhaps, Bruce Foxton best articulated during the opening lines of the only Jam A-side that he wrote: 'Punk Rock/Power Pop!' (Although, yes, for the observant it was indeed yer man Weller who actually shouted it on the record.) What, exactly, 'Power Pop' was, and what its creative boundaries were, seemed to change from week to week depending on whether you read NME, Sounds or Record Mirror but, essentially, it was nicely summed up by Elvis Costello when he was asked by a journalist whether he liked 'that punk band' Buzzcocks. 'They're not a punk band, they're a pop band that play fast,' noted Elv, a perfect response to attempted crass pigeonholing. In effect, 'Power Pop' was the point where a bunch of the first division punk bands decided that they could, after all, wear their Who badges and sixties influences with pride and without getting sneered at by a bunch of old hippies. And Johnny Rotten. It only lasted for a few months, but it was rather refreshing at the time. Even an ex-Pistol got in on the act. (If Weller wanted to be a cross between Pete Townshend and Ray Davies, and he did, then Glen Matlock clearly wanted to be a cross between Ray Davies and Dave Davies!) Mind you, he did drag along a faded auld Glam Queen from '75 with him for the ride.'I think the ideal band The Clash should have been, as far as Mick Jones was concerned, was Squeeze,' Keith Levene told NME in 1980. As has been noted elsewhere, this suggestion in nowhere near as strange as it may have seemed at the time. As with many of the first generation of new wave bands, a prime influence on Squeeze's songwriters, Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford, was Ray Davies's bittersweet parochial London songs. Joe Strummer's love of sixties R&B, mod and beat music - The Beatles, The Stones, The Who, The Kinks, The Animals, The Yardbirds - was something that he was quite open about, even in the quasi-Stalinist atmosphere of 'kill yr idols' created around the early punk scene. It was also something he shared in common with his songwriting partner, but Joe's years working the labyrinthine London pub-rock circuit with The 101ers had given him an appreciative, if somewhat eclectic, knowledge of, and fascination with, rock and roll history. He may have worn a Chuck Berry Is Dead T-shirt and sang of there being 'No Elvis, Beatles or The Rolling Stones in 1977,' but Strummer - a huge fan of all three! - never lost his love of rhythm and blues, much to The Clash's ultimate benefit. So, if The Jam were Power Pop's Who and The Clash were its Stones, then Elvis Costello was the new generation's Bob Dylan. A punning wordsmith of articulate brilliance, a social commentator and, let's not beat about the bush here, a genius. And, somebody who could take 'Subterranean Homesick Blues' and do this with it! As noted, Elvis - like Joe - knew his pop history better than most - the Attractions smearing This Year's Model with every Small Faces and Beatles lick they knew. He saw Buzzcocks as - in the nicest possible way - the heirs to Merseybeat. Which, given the fact that they themselves would kick-start an entire city's musical development over the next thirty years, is no mean achievement.Of course, for every twenty four carat Power Pop classic, there were always the odd coat-tail hangers. I mean, who remembers Tonight these days?
Let it be said, however that some of the second division of Power Pop, admittedly, were pretty fantastic little bands. The Jags, for instance.
By early '79, however, it was pretty much all over. The better bands like The Clash, The Jam, and The Attractions developed their own styles and brought in other influences (reggae in the case of The Clash, psychedelia in the case of The Jam) and most of the others fell by the wayside as Two Tone, white reggae and the Mod revival all arrived more or less simultaneously. There was, however, one great Power Pop band left who would survive into the 80s and, indeed, beyond. Have a cigar Jools.