Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Hear The Cavemen Singing, Good News They're Bringing

Outcasts creator Ben Richards has revealed details of his plans for a second series of the BBC's new SF drama. Although, given the ratings for the opening episode, he might want to start thinking about tying it all up rather more quickly than that. Richards previously admitted that he has several 'potential new stories' in mind for the drama. He recently told CultBox: 'We're fully aware that we might not get a series two, but we've got a lot of bigger stories to tell. The ideas we've been talking about for series two are really going into the core of the show [and examining] what happens if you start a new world and fuck it up?' Richards added that he would like to focus in more depth on humanity's reaction to other species. '[That idea] sadly wasn't as big in series one as I would've liked,' he admitted. 'Humans have been calamitously cruel, it's a huge moral failing. Also, there's the idea of how we as a species would have a chance to design ourselves for the first time. Moving into space is really the last time that could happen.' He also confirmed that the show's first run, which began on Monday night, will end on a cliffhanger. 'It's always a scary thing doing cliffhanger endings,' Richards noted, 'in case you don't get a second series and you're completely humiliated,' he confessed. 'But it does end on a massive cliffhanger, so we’ll have to see what happens!' The audience for the opening episode - an average of four and a half million across the hour - wasn't the worst news for the production, however. The fact that the episode lost half-a-million viewers during the time it was on, beginning with 4.8m and ending with 4.2m was far worse news.

The former BBC newsreader Anna Ford has reignited the debate about ageism at the BBC, after criticising the contracts awarded to 'charming dinosaurs' like David Dimbleby. Ford's comments come as Dimbleby, the seventy two-year-old host of Question Time, is understood to be considering a new five-year deal, worth three and a half million smackers, to stay at the BBC. What the hell's to 'consider'? Speaking to the Daily Torygraph, Ford, sixty seven, said: 'I wonder how these charming dinosaurs such as Mr Dimbleby and John Simpson continue to procure contracts with the BBC, when, however hard I look, I fail to see any woman of the same age, the same intelligence and the same rather baggy looks.' Ford also expressed concern that any woman who speaks out, or draws attention to issues of ageism is 'demonised as aggressive or strident.' Or bitter, Anna. You forgot bitter. In 2006, Ford left her post as a presenter on the BBC's One O'Clock News and Six O'Clock News bulletins, after discussing fears that she would be dropped due to her age. 'I might have been shovelled off into News 24 to the sort of graveyard shift, and I wouldn't have wanted to do that because it wouldn't have interested me,' she was quoted as saying at the time.

Simon Cowell has admitted that Susan Boyle's audition on Britain's Got Talent taught him an important lesson. The music mogul told reporters on a conference call today to promote X Factor USA that he had been 'guilty' of making assumptions about a hopeful based on their age or appearance. 'You just can't put an age cap on talent,' he explained. 'With Susan Boyle, who would have thought this little lady living on her own in Scotland would go on to sell nearly twenty million records? It's just typical of the record business saying that you have to look this way or whatever. I was guilty of that. She taught me a huge lesson that I have to be more open-minded. I think the American audience know what talent is and I don't think it matters if you're in your forties, fifties, thirties or fourteen years old. If you have it, you have it. You only have to look at Madonna. She's still one of the most influential artists in the world. It doesn't matter how old she is.' The X Factor USA, which premieres on FOX later this year, is open to singers and groups from twelve years old. Cowell added that he thought watching older competitors audition was often 'more interesting' because he was aware it could be their last chance at stardom. As for the decision to open auditions to twelve-year-olds, he told reporters that the record industry is noticing a trend towards talented young performers, pointing out the example of America's Got Talent runner-up Jackie Evancho. 'I went on record years ago saying I think it's wrong to have people around this age doing it and now I think times have changed, you have to make a case-by-case decision based on them as a person and whether they're capable of doing this kind of thing, what their parental support is like,' he said. 'Through my job I've started to see a new wave of how these kids are thinking. It's quite interesting that twelve-year-olds now didn't watch American Idol in the beginning because they would have been about two or three, so they've got their own opinions and they know what they're doing - look at someone like Willow Smith.' He added: 'There’s a trend happening at the minute and I think it would have been wrong to exclude them and I think it makes the competition more exciting.'

Emmerdale star James Sutton is to leave the soap in the spring, it has been announced. The actor has played the role of mechanic Ryan Lamb on the Yorkshire-based serial since 2009 but is now bowing out to 'pursue new projects.' In a statement released on Emmerdale's website, Sutton commented: 'I've massively enjoyed the last two years playing Ryan and been blessed to have worked with a group of such talented and supportive actors. I feel that Ryan's storylines have drawn to a natural conclusion and, although I'll be sad to say goodbye, I'm excited about what the future holds.' He added: 'Having trained in theatre I'm looking forward to getting back to my roots and exploring new opportunities.' Panto? Meanwhile, Emmerdale's executive producer Steve November said: 'James has been a much valued member of the cast and we wish him all the best for the future.' Ryan was introduced to the soap in June 2009 and soon became embroiled in the drama surrounding the Wylde clan, who have all since departed the village.

Gorgeous mega-babe Rose McGowan is to make a guest appearance on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. TV Guide reports that the actress will appear in an upcoming episode called Bombshell. 'Rose McGowan is the ultimate bombshell,' explained executive producer Neal Baer. Yer Keith Telly Topping agrees. Totally. 'Rose plays a grifter named Cassandra who strikes swinging men who frequent sex clubs, and we've very excited to have her.' McGowan previously played Paige Matthews on Charmed from 2001 to 2006 - thus making it, for five years at least, vaguely watchable - and also appeared in a recurring role on Nip/Tuck. Her film credits include appearances in Scream, Planet Terror and the forthcoming Conan The Barbarian. Sons of Anarchy star Ryan Hurst will also appear in Bombshell in an unspecified role. He has also featured in episodes of Medium and House.

Sir Christopher Lee is to receive a BAFTA Fellowship at the Academy's film awards on Sunday. 'It's a very unexpected but very great honour to find myself in such distinguished company to receive the fellowship,' said the actor, eighty eight. He is best known for roles in films including Dracula, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, The Brides of Fu Manchu, The Three Musketeers, The Wicker Man, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Curse of Frankenstein and The Man with the Golden Gun. Previous recipients of the award include Charlie Chaplin and Alfred Hitchcock. Steven Spielberg, Elizabeth Taylor, Sean Connery, John Barry and Stanley Kubrick are also among those who have been honoured with the fellowship. BAFTA chairman Tim Corrie said of Lee: 'He has entertained me over many years and is a bastion of British film-making around the globe.' Sir Christopher has made himself known to a new and younger audience more recently with roles in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Star Wars prequels. He has also worked with director Tim Burton on films including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sleepy Hollow and Alice in Wonderland. Sir Christopher is also starring in Martin Scorsese's latest movie, Hugo Cabret. The annual BAFTA awards, hosted by Jonathan Ross, will be shown on BBC1.

Fantasy novel Good Omens is reportedly being adapted for television as a four-part series. The 1990 book, co-written by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, focuses on the attempts of the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley to avert the end of the world following the birth of Satan's son. Pratchett recently confirmed that a television adaptation is in development but revealed no further details, according to SFX. Fan blog Terry Jones Online also reports that Monty Python star Jones and Small Soldiers scribe Gavin Scott are 'in talks' to write the series. Previous television versions of Pratchett's work include a 2006 BBC adaptation of Johnny and the Bomb and a series of Discworld TV films on Sky1.

An abortion charity is 'targeting children with a risque video that seems to suggest anal sex as a method of birth control.' At least, according to the Metro. Actually, they're not doing that or anything even remotely like it but why let anything annoying like 'facts' get in the way of a good salacious tabloid scum story. Marie Stopes International teamed up with the musical comedy band The Midnight Beast for an online safe sex campaign. The song's lyrics encourage using condoms, but also includes the line: 'One up the bum, and it's no harm done/one up the bum and you won't be a mum.' Well, it's factually accurate, I'll give them that much. Some viewers, allege the Metro, have criticised the charity with one - nameless, of course - 'mother' (I'm not sure why the fact that she's a 'mother' is at all relevant to the subject in hand) complaining: 'It is a silly way for the charity to spend valuable resources.' If I helps to stop just one unwanted teenage pregnancy, I'd've said it was money well spent personally but, hey, what do I know? I'm not a 'mother.' Marie Stopes International defended the video, saying that it raised awareness of condoms and contraception in a 'fun way.' I added: 'This tongue-in-cheek approach leads young people to a website with all the information and contact details they need to make informed lifestyle choices.' Additionally, of course, if they are doing it tongue-in-cheek they're probably not going to get pregnant that way, either. Just an observation.

A New York television executive has been convicted of stabbing his wife to death and beheading her. A jury found Pakistan-born Muzzammil Hassan guilty of second-degree murder in the 2009 death of Aasiya Hassan six days after she filed for divorce. Hassan never denied killing her but said she had abused him and that he had acted in self-defence. He served as his own lawyer during the three-week trial. Hassan, who founded a Muslim-oriented TV network, could face life in prison. Prosecutors argued Hassan abused his wife and planned the attack in a hallway at Bridges TV, a satellite channel he set up in 2004 in an effort to counter negative portrayals of Muslims following the 9/11 terror attacks. He was arrested in 2009 after he walked into a police station in Buffalo, and told officers that his wife was dead. Mrs Hassan, thirty seven, had filed for divorce after enduring domestic violence, her lawyer told the Buffalo News newspaper in 2009. The couple had been married for eight years and had two children.

Free Agents, the Channel Four comedy starring Stephen Mangan and Sharon Horgan, is to be remade by NBC for US viewers. NBC has ordered a pilot of the show from UK independent producer Big Talk, which makes the Channel Four version. The pilot, which will see the theatrical agents of the UK version replaced with PR executives, will be co-produced by US production company Dark Toy and Universal Media Studios. Kenton Allen and Nira Park, executive producers on the UK version, will take the same roles on the US pilot for Big Talk.

Former Sky Sports presenters - and oafs - Andy Gray and Richard Keys have been employed by radio station Talksport. The pair's tenure at the satellite TV sports channel ended after they made controversial off-air remarks about a female assistant referee. Gray was sacked and Keys resigned after the comments were leaked to a national newspaper. They will host a three-hour show from Monday to Friday on the commercial speech station. Where, one imagines, they'll be right at home.

Alex Reid has been accused of stealing his wife Katie Price's underwear. According to Heat magazine, Reid intentionally wore Price's pants as his drag alter-ego Roxanne to annoy her during the final stages of their relationship. A source said: 'When they first got together, she loved that side to him. But Alex used it to annoy her and wore her frilly knickers. To begin with, she thought it was quite funny, but soon it started to grate with her. He stole her pants, which made her see red, but she didn't show Alex she was annoyed - that's exactly what he wanted to happen.' It is also claimed that Price was so tense about the atmosphere in their house that she bought a padlock for her bedroom to stop Reid entering while she was asleep.

So, we had Julian Cope and The Teardrop Explodes on yesterday's Keith Telly Topping's 45(s) of the Day dear blog reader, I suppose it's only right and proper that we follow them with more Second Gen Merseybeat from their labelmates at Zoo - and another band who shared the management of Bill Drummond - Echo and the Bunnymen. Mac and the lads were always, perhaps, a touch more art-school than The Teardrops, their major influences being The Doors and Bowie. But, they had wicked sense of humour, made some fantastic records and ultimately, they had a far longer and much more successful career than just about all of their Liverpool contemporaries. Here's an early example of their oeuvre (co-written with yer man Copie).Early singles like 'Rescue' and 'The Back of Love' merely hinted at what was to come. And then, finally in 1983, they hit the real big time with this one. (Complete with crap U2-inspired video shot in Iceland!)Thereafter they became, along with The Smiths, one of the few bands worth buying their singles throughout the mid-80s. Check out for instance, this one. And, for an apparently serious bunch of artsy buggers, they made some brilliantly wacky videos with Anton Corbijn. Like the classic 'Seven Seas' for instance. (The one with Mac in drag and all the penguins!)And, what yer actual Keith Telly Topping considers to be their twenty-four carat masterpiece, musically and visually, the superb 'Bring on the Dancing Horses'. So, there you have it ladies and gentlemen, that's a potted history of yer actual Mac, Will, Les and the late-much lamented Pete. And that's without even mentioning 'Silver'. And 'The Killing Moon'. And 'Over The Wall' (which wasn't even a single!) And, the greatest comeback since Lazarus. Quite a band. There'll be more Merseybeat tomorrow.