Monday, January 03, 2011

We Just Walk On By, We Just Keep On Dreaming

So, dear blog reader, 'what were the New Year's Day overnight ratings, Keith Telly Topping?' I hear you ask. (What can I say? Yer actual Keith Telly Topping is rather perceptive like that.) Well, as it happens, I can tell you that they were as follows -
BBC1 (including HD)
15:00 - Film: Wall-E: 4.4m
17:35 - Film: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: 7.6m
19:30 - The Magicians: 5.5m
20:30 - EastEnders: 9.0m
21:00 - Come Fly with Me: 7.6m
21:30 - Live at the Apollo: 4.3m
22:30 - Match of the Day: 4.9m
19:55 - The Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show 1976: 4.5m
21:00 - Eric and Ernie: 6.1m
22:30 - Eric and Ernie: Behind the Scenes: 3.73m
ITV (including HD)
17:05 - Film: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: 3.4m
19:30 - Primeval: 4.4m
20:30 - Take Me Out: 3.02m
21:45 - Film: Forgetting Sarah Marshall: 1.9m
All of which means that it was a superb - mind-boggling - night for BBC2 and a not-too-shabby one for BBC1 either. ITV, on the other hand, had a bit of a horrorshow on an evening which - unlike, say, Christmas Day - they, traditionally, do rather well. I doubt anyone at stately ITV Manor can even attempt to spin some positivity out of the majority of their figures and even Primeval's just under four and a half million - which, ordinarily, would be considered a decent figure - was beaten not only by BBC1 but, also, by a thirty four year old repeat on BBC2. Being hammered by BBC2 for three out of the four hours during prime time on one of the handful of biggest TV nights of the year is not something they'll be particularly celebrating down at ITV this morning, one imagines. Elsewhere that was a, quite simply, sensational rating for Eric & Ernie; even on overnights, before timeshifting has been taken into consideration, it's already the sixth most watched BBC2 programme of this century. (The current Top Five, if anybody's wondering, is: Top Gear 2007 8.35m; Comic Relief Does Top Of The Pops 2009 7.09m; Rome 2005 7.02m; Weakest Link Celebrity Special 2000 6.59m; Top Gear Of The Pops 2007 6.4m. It's probable that Eric & Ernie's final figure will go past the latter two of these, at least.) So, overall, a fantastic night for BBC2 - it's one of the few occasions ever that they've beaten ITV in total prime time audience share. Overall, BBC1 won the night with 23.7 per cent, followed by BBC2's seventeen per cent. ITV averaged a poor 12.3per cent in a distant third. The Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show re-runs, to be fair, always tend to do quite well but yesterday's four and a half million audience was even better than usual. It was also, as noted, a very good night for BBC1. The terrestrial debut of the fourth Indiana Jones movie performed way above expectations, The Magicians scored a pretty good debut rating, albeit in a fantastic slot sandwiched between two ratings juggernauts (I'm guessing it will probably drop a decent proportion of that audience next week) and Come Fly with Me's retention of three quarters of its - massive - opening night audience wasn't as much of a loss as some commentators were expecting.

The Doctor Who News Page, meanwhile, notes that 'sources' (nameless, sadly) are reporting A Christmas Carol achieved a final rating of 12.11 million viewers with a 41.8 per cent audience share. The figure - subsequently confirmed later in the day - puts Doctor Who as the third most watched programme on Christmas Day and is the fourth highest rating for an episode of the series since it returned to television in 2005. Only two of the previous Christmas specials - 2007's Voyage of Damned and 2008's The Next Doctor - along with David Tennant's final episode, The End of Time Part Two broadcast on New Year's Day 2010 - have ever rated higher. There is something rather appealing about the circular nature of that last fact - Doctor Who starting 2010 with an audience of around twelve million viewers and finishing the year with near-enough the same figure. It might be a show about time travel, it's true, but some things remain reliably consistent (in a relative fashion). Both Doctor Who and Come Fly With Me appear to have benefited from huge time shifts in addition to their already large overnight audiences. The final - consolidated - ratings for Christmas Day are said to be:
1 EastEnders (20:00, BBC1) - 12.61m
2 Come Fly With Me (22:00, BBC1) - 12.47m
3 Doctor Who (18:00, BBC1) - 12.11m
4 The Royle Family (21:00, BBC1) - 11.29m
5 Strictly Come Dancing (19:00, BBC1) - 10.96m
6 Coronation Street (19:00, ITV) - 10.40m
7 The One Ronnie (17:10, BBC1) - 8.79m
8 Emmerdale (18:00, ITV) - 8.24m
The final audience figures for the whole of the Christmas period will be published later in the week by BARB.

After the transmission of the best Agatha Christie's Poirot in some time on Christmas Day, the New Year also saw the best Marple in, probably, an equally long time. Quite possibly, the best since the Joan Hickson era. Mind you, yer Keith Telly Topping has always been something of a sucker for The Mirror Crack'd From Side To Side which he first read as an eleven year old after Mama Telly Topping bought him the novel when he got bronchitis on a family holiday to the Isle of Wight during the long hot summer of 1976. True story. (She also bought me a couple of Target Doctor Who novelisations which, to be fair, I think I probably read first!) I thought Julia McKenzie's performance was excellent in a strong cast thoughtout. I particularly enjoyed Neil Stuke's little turn as St Mary Mead's gossipy doctor, Martin Jarvis as the vicious Hollywood columnist Vincent Hogg and Joanna Lumley going so far over the top she was down the other side as a deliciously bonkers Dolly Bantry. I must say, however, that most of yer Keith Telly Topping's sympathies lay with poor old Lindsay Duncan. I mean, which among us hasn't wanted to murder Caroline Quentin for being annoying? There really shouldn't be a law against that.

David Tennant has praised the script for his upcoming television film The Busby Babes, claiming that the drama will hit an emotional chord with viewers. This will tell the story of the 1958 Munich air disaster in which a number of Manchester United footballers and journalists were killed during a failed airplane take-off. Tennant will appear as the team's assistant manager the legendary Jimmy Murphy and said that he took on the role due to the strength of the script, despite his lack of interest in the sport. 'I am famously not that much of a football fan at all, so when the script arrived I didn't think that it was going to be for me,' Tennant told the Sunday Scum Mail. 'However, it really knocked me back and the emotional power of the story is what hooked me. The way I saw it was if it was affecting me, then it's one that is going to get to everyone.'

Naughty Gabby Logan. Ending Sunday night's Match of the Day 2 (which included highlights of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved, though still unsellable, Magpies fine 1-0 victory at Wigan Athletic), saucy minx Gabby - wearing a particularly fetching (and very tight) black rollneck sweater incidentally - noted that Test Match Special would be starting on Radio 5Live Xtra in just a few moments. 'So,' Gabby continued, 'if you want to take Jonathan Agnew to bed with you, go for it!' I imagine ice immediately formed on the upper slopes of several member of the MCC.

Shortarse, full-of-his-own-importance TV gardener Alan Titchmarsh - seen left, fondling his hoe - is reportedly being lined-up to appear in the next series of Strictly Come Dancing. According to the News of the World, the presenter and thinking Octogenarian's stud, is now considering taking part in the show after - he claims - turning down offers in previous years. A 'source' allegedly told the newspaper: 'The BBC is desperate to get Alan on board for this year's show, and will be talking to him again. In previous discussions he confessed he can't dance but that didn't stop Ann becoming a very popular contestant. Alan has the credentials to go even further. As well as being a clodhopper on the dance floor, he's suave, funny and handsome - and housewives will vote for him in droves.' I've not doubt that they will although, personally, I challenge the assertion that Titchmarsh is suave, funny or handsome or anything even remotely like any of them. Titchmarsh reportedly said: 'I don't plan on retiring,' (pity) 'but I would like to ease up a bit. I'd love to go on Strictly. I'm planning on becoming the next John Sergeant or Ann Widdecombe.' Well, if it's any consolation, Alan, you don't have to try too hard in the case of the latter because I can't stand her either.

Coronation Street's Tracy Barlow is reportedly being lined-up as the next barmaid at The Rovers Return. Scriptwriters at the ITV soap apparently want the character, played by Kate Ford, to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Liz McDonald and Tina McIntyre by getting a job in the pub. An 'insider' allegedly told the Sunday Mirror: 'Tracy is one of the most popular characters, the one we all love to hate, and so where better to put her than behind the bar at the Rovers?' The job would be Tracy's second stint behind the bar after she was fired on her first day by landlady Shelley Unwin for being lazy back in 2003.

The participants of The Only Way Is Essex have reportedly been warned against making any 'diva demands.' Producers of the ITV2 reality show have apparently told cast members - including Mark Wright and Amy Childs - that they will simply be replaced if they make requests such as being paid for taking part. A 'source' allegedly told the Sun: 'The huge success of The Only Way is Essex has taken everyone by surprise. But none of the stars of it get paid. They get standard filming expenses, but what the show does do is raise their profile so they can earn a lot of money from magazine deals and personal appearances in clubs. Bosses have told them they are committed to the show, but if anyone starts demanding big money they will get the boot. The success of the show is built around the fact that these are regular, everyday people. If their heads start getting too big, they will just get new people in and refresh it like a soap. No one is bigger than the show.' Meanwhile, Kirk Norcross has announced that he is quitting the show after being edited out of the Christmas special. He wrote on Twitter: 'The Only Way Is Essex dropped me because I don't have three girlfriends and ain't a dick! They decided to cut me from the Crimbo one so I quit the rest!'

David Hasselhoff has allegedly been making 'diva demands' (there seems to be a lot of that about currently, have you noticed) prior to filming the Britain's Got Talent auditions. According to the Daily Lies Sunday the 'actor' believes that he is 'the star of the show' and is 'causing problems' for the producers with his 'requests.' A 'source' allegedly said: 'The Hoff has already got a huge list of demands and the auditions don't even start until this week. He's demanded two dressing rooms, even though the other judges will only get one each. All the production staff are joking, saying it's like Mariah Carey's coming to town. Everyone's just happy Simon and Piers aren't around as well, because their three egos wouldn't fit in the same room together.' The 'insider' supposedly added: 'David won't have a clue about some aspects of British humour - especially in the North. But in a way that will make it more interesting. He won't have a clue what is going on half the time.' And, this is different from Amanda Holden how, exactly?

BSkyB is to close Bravo and the general entertainment station Channel One, putting more than fifty jobs at risk, as part of the integration of Living TV Group. BSkyB has decided to focus on the Living TV channel portfolio, which will see a twenty five per cent boost to its programming budget, and the game show and quiz channel Challenge. Living TV Group, which is home to shows including Grey's Anatomy, Britain's Next Top Model and Sons of Anarchy, currently employs one hundred and ten staff. There will be just fifty eight roles after integration, but it is understood that there are a significant number of positions potentially available in other parts of the BSkyB operation. Sky is understood to have decided to jettison Bravo, which launched as a cable channel in 1985, because it reaches a similar demographic to Sky1 but is not believed to have the same brand equity or reach. BSkyB is backing Living TV because, outside of sport, it is second only to Sky1 in popularity among its basic pay-TV channels. BSkyB has failed to target the female market as successfully as Living TV, which has a two-year deal with Katie Price. Sky closed its own attempt to target a female audience, Sky Real Lives, earlier this year. It was decided that Channel One, which was rebranded from Virgin1 in August following BSkyB's acquisition of Living TV Group for one hundred and sixty million quid in July, was too similar to Sky3, which it sits alongside as a free-to-air channel on Freeview. The company intends to 'redeploy' the channels' programming, including such popular imports as Leverage, with pay-TV shows moving to other Sky channels and free-to-air fare mostly moving to Sky3. Bravo is home to shows including Spartacus: Blood and Snots, Dog the Bounty Hunter and Sons of Anarchy. Spin-off channel Bravo2 will also disappear. BSkyB has not said what it intends to do with the channel slot. Challenge will move free-to-air in Channel One's slot, which will effectively double its audience reach, as BSkyB looks to grow its presence in quizzes and game shows. There are longer-term possibilities of tie-ups with Sky Bet. Staff have been informed of the integration plans this afternoon with all staff, including the Living TV Group managing director, Jonathan Webb, under review.

More proof, now, concerning The Press Complaints Commission's new-found determination to publicise its work, following its brokering of an apology by the Sun for their wholly false Coronation Street story which From The North reported last week. Now comes another tweet, pointing to the PCC having negotiated an apology to Simon Cowell by Heat magazine. Not on general principle, sadly, over the diarrhoea that they dribble, wantonly, into the public arena with each issue but, rather, for something specific. 'On 16 November 2010, we suggested that Simon Cowell knows after each show which X Factor contestants get the most votes each week. We now accept that this statement was untrue and apologise to Mr Cowell and Syco Entertainment, the company responsible for the show, for any offence that may have been caused by any suggestion that the competition may be unfair. We accept Mr Cowell's assurance that he did not know the number of votes cast for each act until after the final.'

Johnny Depp has revealed that he finds it very difficult to watch his own movies. According to Now magazine, Depp admitted that he is uncomfortable with seeing his image on the big screen. 'I do my best to try to avoid my films at all costs,' he said. The actor explained that his policy of not viewing his own work helps to make frequent collaborator and acclaimed director Tim Burton's job much easier. 'Tim likes that I'm not one of those actors that runs up to the monitors between takes to see playback. I'd rather swallow a bag of ticks,' he said. Depp also joked that he requires 'a few bottles of wine' whenever he is forced to view any of his movies.

Chloe Madeley has admitted that she is scared of suffering a similar 'scandal' to mother Judy Finnigan when she appears on Dancing On Ice next week. Finnigan famously exposed her bra on live television during the 2000 National TV Awards, and Madeley has said that she is terrified that something similar could happen to her during the live shows. 'I always have wardrobe malfunctions - the Madeley women are famous for it,' Madeley told the Mirror. 'I've got this dread that when I'm doing a dangerous move on the ice nobody's going to be going "Look at how amazing that is!," they're going to be going, "Wow, look at her boobs coming out,"' Madeley continued. 'It was awful when it happened to mum.' Given the amount of FHM photoshoots you've done over the last couple of years, Chloe, is that supposed to be dramatic irony or what?

Beckham has reportedly declined an offer to perform with The Spice Girls at the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics. Apparently, he'll be far too busy playing for LA Galaxy at the time.

And, finally we have today's Keith Telly Topping's 45(s) of the Day. And, if for no other reason that this time of the year always makes me think of the late seventies (dunno why, it just does) let's have some songs about teenage dreams. Starting with quite possibly the greatest single rock and roll performance ever captured on celluloid. The Clash, filmed on 3 January 1979 at the Lyceum for Rude Boy. To the drums, Topper!Next, from later the same year, one of yer Keith Telly Topping's favourite records of all time. Whatever happened to The Regents and why didn't they become as big as this record suggested they should have been? Love the chorus. Nice choice of shirt as well.And, in conclusion, perhaps one day all pop music will be as good as this. Maybe.We can but dream. After all dreaming, as Blondie once noted, is free.Ah, after that, I feel better about 2011 already! That'll never last.