Thursday, February 03, 2011

Hopelessly Devoted To Them

Matt Smith has revealed that he donned a fake beard to film scenes for an upcoming episode of Doctor Who. Details as to why The Doctor will have his fuzzy facial hair are yet to be revealed, but Smith told the Press Assocation that he would not have been able to grow his own beard for the episode given the timescale. 'It was a glued-on beard,' he admitted. 'I wouldn't be able to grow a full-on beard like that in time.' Smith added that it was particularly difficult to peel away the faux hair at the end of each day's shooting schedule. 'They had to remove it with a substance smelling like white turps,' he said. Meanwhile, two more actors have signed up for roles in the next series of Doctor Who. According to the website of agency, Gordon and French, former EastEnders actor Lee Ross will play the character 'Boatswain' in an upcoming episode. Presumably the Pirates of Cornwall episode starring Hugh Bonneville that's currently being filmed. Ross played Owen Turner on the BBC soap until 2009 and also featured as the slimy, Paco Rabanne-wearing DCI Litton in both Life On Mars and its follow-up Ashes to Ashes. In 2009, he appeared alongside Doctor Who star Matt Smith in BBC crime drama Moses Jones. Gordon and French also lists Ultimate Force star Danny Sapani as being involved in a future episode. The actor, who recently appeared in episodes of Garrow's Law and Misfits, will play a character named Colonel Manton. Whether Danny is in the same episode as Lee is, at this time, unknown.

Aaron Sorkin has revealed details of his new pilot for HBO. The project, which is currently called More As The Story Develops, focuses on the employees at a nightly cable news show. According to TV Guide, Sorkin explained that the show will have a similar style to his previous programmes. 'It'll be a new series for HBO that will take place behind the scenes - for a change - at a nightly news show, where they have made a decision to try to do the news well,' he said. 'I'm loving the idea of coming back to television and taking the same combination of idealism and romanticism and realism that made government sexy on The West Wing and seeing if we can't do the same with the news and journalism, which are held in at least as much contempt.' Sorkin explained that the show will be 'aspirational' and 'wish fulfilment' but added: 'They're going to lose as much as they're going to win. In other words, it's not going to be a fantasy. They're going to be trying to do well in a context where it's very difficult to do well when there are commercial concerns and political concerns and corporate concerns.' As well as The West Wing, teh greatest television show ever made that doesn't have the words 'Doctor' or 'Who in the title, Sorkin previously worked on two other television series about television Sports Night and Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip. He also wrote the movie screenplays for A Few Good Men and The American President and, more recently, The Social Network.

Fern Britton has signed up to host a new teatime chatshow. Fern, which will be broadcast every day, will feature a mixture of celebrities, entertainment and real-life stories. In each episode, Britton will talk to audience members about their experiences and will offer them advice. The celebrity guests appearing on the programme will also be encouraged to interact with the audience. Channel Four's head of daytime Helen Warner said: 'I have long been a fan of Fern and am thrilled that she is joining us at Channel Four. Whether she's interviewing ordinary people, Hollywood stars or prime ministers, there is no-one better than Fern. For me, she is the British answer to Oprah.' A glowing tribute from Helen, there. Personally, I think Fern Britton's about as entertaining as stewed diarrhoea but, you know, swings and roudabouts, innit? Meanwhile, Britton herself revealed that she is 'very excited' about the project, saying: 'I'm working with a great team and together we shall rise to the challenge.'

The producer of Lie To Me has confirmed that any potential fourth season will focus on the relationship between the characters of Cal Lightman and Gillian Foster. In Monday's episode, the season finale, the genius psychologist (played by Tim Roth) finally confessed his true feelings to his long-time partner (Kelli Williams). 'He said he loves Foster,' Alexander Cary told TV Guide. 'What we're doing is opening the door into an avenue of investigation of character.' However, Cary warned fans not to expect an immediate romance between the crime-solving pair. 'What we're not saying is [that] we're going to consummate that [relationship],' he insisted. Williams recently admitted that she is still she is still unsure if Foster and Lightman should get together. Fans of the show - including this blogger - are still eagerly awaiting news from FOX on whether the series has been recommissioned.

Channel Six, the company run by former Trinity Mirror chief executive Richard Horwood, will bid to run the proposed new national TV network that will form the 'spine' for lack of culture secretary the vile and odious Hunt's plan to deliver local news services. Horwood, who since December has indicated that Channel Six was likely to submit a bid, has been one of the few voices offering unqualified support for the vile and odious Hunt's local TV plans. Fair giving it some furious lick, so he was. It was a sight to see. Last month the vile and odious Hunt unveiled proposals for a new national TV network that will initially launch on digital terrestrial TV and called for expressions of interest to run the service by 1 March. Channel Six said that under its plan a network of about nine local affiliates would launch off the back of the national Freeview network – as well as on cable and satellite, if the vile and odious Hunt can hammer out an agreement with Sky and Virgin Media – by 2013. Horwood said that the plan, which has been 'fully costed by industry experts,' will see the network of local TV stations reach thirty nine by 2017. He said that Channel Six believed that it is possible to deliver services to areas that have more than two hundred thousand homes with levels of local programming of 'maybe two hours a day in the largest cities down to around fifteen minutes in less populated areas. Channel Six will be entirely funded by advertising, with the initial investment from our national and local partners – we are not asking the government for a penny of subsidy,' Horwood said. 'The support of a dedicated national network to share costs, maximise advertising revenues, and deliver an attractive schedule outside local service opt-outs is the only way proven to achieve this.' The vile and odious Hunt has said he will investigate whether 'must carry' obligations on BSkyB and Virgin Media are 'an appropriate measure' to ensure the widest reach possible for the new channel. The vile and odious Hunt intends to use legislation to ensure that the new Freeview channel secures a slot high up on digital TV electronic programme guides. In a report to the vile and odious Hunt from a group chaired by Lazard, investment banker Nicholas Shott forecast that a network of ten local TV services would have a combined annual cost base of around twenty million smackers. About five million in revenue would come from local advertising and a further fifteen million pounds from national advertising. In the BBC's licence fee settlement the corporation committed to providing start-up capital costs of up to twenty five million pounds in 2013-14 for up to twenty local TV services and up to five million pounds a year for ongoing funding for three years to acquire local TV content.

Outcasts' Daniel Mays has revealed more details about his character Cass Cromwell in the forthcoming BBC drama. He told SFX that security officer Cromwell is revealed as 'quite a dark character' in the eight-part series. 'He carries around with him a very dark past,' explained Mays. 'As the series unfolds, [you discover that] he's carrying around with him a very dark and quite disturbing secret.' The former Ashes to Ashes star explained that the series will serve as 'a story of redemption' for Cromwell. 'The best thing about playing him was just how layered he was,' he explained. 'More than any other character in the show, it's his second chance. Whereas other characters in the show are connected still to Earth and are longing for relatives to come to the planet.' The series' creator, Ben Richards, previously revealed that he is keen to make a second series of the SF drama.

Denise Van Outen and Matt Johnson have signed up to host Channel 5's entertainment news show OK! TV. The programme, which is replacing the wretched Live From Studio Five, will feature celebrity interviews, features about music and fashion, and gossip.

ABC has reportedly ordered a pilot of a series with the excellent working title Good Christian Bitches. The project landed at the network in September after a bidding war. Deadline says that it has now received a presentation order. The drama, which is based on a book by Kim Gatlin, has been described as 'Desperate Housewives meets Dallas' - so, that'd be Desperate Dallas, then? - and focuses on a recently-divorced mother who moves back to the neighbourhood where she grew up. The script has been penned by Steel Magnolias writer Robert Harling.

Ricky Gervais appears to have been caught out after somewhat presumptuously claiming he had been asked to host The Golden Globes Awards for a third time. Event organisers at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association quickly denied the comic's claim that they had invited him back. 'There is no truth to this rumour,' said president Philip Berk. 'We have not asked him to come back. Nice try, Ricky.' Writing in this week's Heat magazine, Gervais had claimed: 'The ratings went up again, and the organisers asked me to consider a third year. [But] I don't think I should. I don't know what I could do better. I certainly couldn't get more press for them, that's for sure. It was discussed on every news channel and chat show for weeks.' Gervais yesterday tried to square those comments with Berk's denial. On his blog, he said: 'You may have read that I am hosting next year's Golden Globes. This is not true. Not yet anyway' – conveniently ignoring the fact that it was his own article which sparked the rumours in the first place. He added: 'The TV show organisers said they were happy with everything and asked me to not rule out a third gig. However, it is not entirely up to them. The Hollywood Foreign Press and various other committees need to meet and agree. I have no idea if they want me back again. It depends whether they care about fifty delicate egos in the room or the two hundred million people watching at home who want a laugh.' The broadcast actually drew nearly seventeen million viewers to the NBC network, slightly more than the previous year's show. However, Gervais's jibes at the likes of Charlie Sheen, Hugh Hefner, Robert Downey Jr and Tim Allen were supposedly deemed controversial. Gervais later told The Hollywood Reporter that it was NBC's senior vice-president of special programming Doug Vaughan who had suggested he come back.

CBS has renewed NCIS for the 2011-2012 season. The network revealed in a press release on Wednesday that the show will return for its ninth season in the fall.

An advert for Yves Saint Laurent's Opium perfume which featured a woman who appeared to be under the influence of drugs has been banned by the advertising watchdog. The campaign for Belle d'Opium featured a woman who ran her finger along the inside of her forearm and in a second scene her 'body seized upwards while lying on the floor.' The Advertising Standards Authority received complaints from thirteen viewers that the advert was irresponsible and offensive because the woman's action simulated drug use. Trading company YSL Beaute said that the Opium fragrance had been a registered trademark in the UK since 1977 and the spin-off, Belle d'Opium, was about a woman that was 'addictive and seduced the viewer to become this addiction.' The company said that it was a responsible advertiser and did not intend to use drug imagery in the advert and that consumer research had shown that viewers had not interpreted it in that way. The ASA said that the image of the finger running down the woman's arm 'could be seen to simulate the injection of opiates into the body.' In addition the later scene, which included the woman writhing on the floor, could be seen to 'simulate the effect of drugs on the body.' The ASA banned the advert concluding that it was 'irresponsible and unacceptable for broadcast.'

Alan Titchmarsh has signed a new deal with ITV thought to be worth around eleven million pounds. And you thought the money Liverpool were paying for Andy Carroll was obscene, dear blog reader.

The prime minister has chosen a senior executive at BBC News to replace Andy Coulson as Director of Government Communications. Craig Oliver, Controller of English at BBC Global News, and a former editor of the BBC News at Six will take up his new post shortly. His job will be to lead efforts to sell David Cameron, the Coalition and the Conservative Party to the country. Yeah. Good luck with that, matey. Course, if he fails then that'll give the Scum Mail something else to whinge at the BBC about. So, double bonus. Oliver, forty one, was approached late last week by Andy Coulson who resigned from the post last month after pressure over the News of the World phone hacking scandal. The BBC's political editor Nick Robinson said Oliver had no previous political involvement but had been approached by Coulson and had met the prime minister over the weekend. Cameron said he was 'very pleased' at the appointment: 'Craig has formidable experience as a broadcast journalist. He will do an excellent job in explaining and communicating the government's programme.' Oliver said: 'I'm delighted and privileged to be joining David Cameron and his team at such an exciting and challenging time. My background is broadcasting, but I know that newspapers play a crucial role and I look forward to talking with them. It's difficult to leave the BBC after working here for five fascinating years - but this is an opportunity I can't turn down.' In an e-mail to BBC staff, he said he was sad to be leaving the corporation. He added: 'I was approached about the role over the weekend, the first time I had been considered for it, and came to the conclusion that it will be an exciting and challenging opportunity.' BBC director of global news, Peter Horrocks praised Oliver but added: 'Given the crucial editorial independence of the BBC, Craig and I have agreed that he should end his duties at the BBC immediately.' Coulson, who quit as Downing Street's director of communications in January, was editor of the News of the World in 2007 when its royal editor Clive Goodman was jailed for conspiracy to access phone messages. Coulson resigned but has denied any knowledge of Goodman's activities. A Press Complaints Commission investigation in May 2007 found no evidence that Coulson or anyone else at the paper had been aware of Goodman's activities. That month he became Cameron's director of communications. But in recent months his position came under pressure amid renewed newspaper investigations into the scale of phone hacking at the Sunday tabloid.

Miranda Hart and Harry Hill have been confirmed as part of this year's Comc Relief celebrations.

Gavin & Stacey actress Margaret John has died at the age of eighty four, it has been announced. John, who also starred in the BBC Wales comedy High Hopes, died in hospital in Swansea after a short illness. The actress, who received a Bafta Cymru Lifetime Achievement award in 2009, starred as neighbour Doris in the Barry-based BBC comedy. Gavin & Stacey co-star James Corden Tweeted: 'A great actress and an incredible lady. She will be missed.' Rob Brydon, who played Uncle Bryn in the series, also wrote: 'Just heard the terribly sad news that Margaret John has passed away. What a wonderful person she was, everyone on G&S adored her.' Fellow actress Ruth Madoc said: 'It's very sad news. Margaret John was a great Welsh icon - and an era has passed away with her. She had a wonderful sense of humour. We were part of the Taffia in London in the 60s - and I always looked up to her.' John appeared on stage in Calendar Girls in the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff last summer. Paying tribute, the venue hailed her 'a national treasure.' Welsh Heritage Minister Alun Ffred Jones said: 'She was one of our best-loved actresses and there was always a touch of humour or a glint of wickedness about her. It's a sad day but it was a life lived to the full and we are all the richer for having her.' Margaret's last appearance on screen was in the S4C drama Alys on Sunday night. Although known in recent years for her colourful one-liners in Gavin & Stacey, the actress had a long and distinguished career. Last year a special BBC Wales programme called Margaret John - National Treasure charting her career which spanned fifty years was broadcast on St David's Day. Born in Swansea, John left drama school in 1950. Her earlier career included a brief spell in Coronation Street in 1965 as well as a role in many of the classic TV series of the 1960s and 70s - Z Cars, Doctor Who (she was brilliant as Megan Jones in the 1968 six-parter Fury From The Deep), The Troubleshooters, Doomwatch, Dixon of Dock Green, Secret Army and Emmerdale Farm. John also starred in David Schwimmer's film comedy Run Fatboy Run (2007) and enjoyed recent appearances in medical dramas Casualty and Doctors, and the Welsh-set BBC drama Framed with Trevor Eve and Eve Myles. The late 1970s saw John starred for six years as Marian Owen in another soap opera, Crossroads, and from 1984 she was a regular in medical drama The District Nurse as Gwen Harris alongside fellow Welsh actor Nerys Hughes. In the 90s she starred in BBC Wales sit-com Satellite City. She played the part of Elsie Hepplewhite in the BBC Wales comedy High Hopes between 2002 and 2008, starring alongside Robert Blythe and Boyd Clack. John recently had a role in spoof valleys film comedy A Bit Of Tom Jones and an appearance in the second series of BBC3 drama Being Human. Last year the actress loaned her support to a twenty million pound scheme to reduce social loneliness among the elderly people in Wales. Her agent, Gemma McAvoy, said: 'Margaret worked tirelessly for charity; always happy to give her time and boundless energy to help others. She completed "the mile" for Sport Relief; performed with Only Men Aloud and stuffed money into John Barrowman's trousers for Children in Need and played drums for the Gavin & Stacey Comic Relief Barry Islands in the Stream sketch. 'Locally, Margaret worked with the PDSA, the George Thomas Hospice and was the face of the Big Lottery Fund AdvantAGE campaign which aimed to create social opportunities for older people, to name but a few examples. Professionally, Margaret was just as generous; consistently giving her time and expertise to help up and coming filmmakers.'

A twelve-year-old girl has been caught driving in her pyjamas. Most people drive in cars, of course but, hey, whatever. Police in the Schleswig-Holstein town of Neustadt, noticed a car being driven erratically in the early hours of Monday morning, The Local reports. Lübeck police spokesman Stefan Muhtz said: 'At about 1:45 am Monday morning police noticed a Kia sedan weaving through the street and braking intermittently. The officers decided to pull the car over, reckoning it was a drunk driver. This was not the case.' The car was in fact being driven by a pyjama-wearing twelve-year-old girl, who also had her half-sister of the same age in the car with her. The driver reportedly told police that she was visiting a nearby neighbourhood. Both girls were returned to their mother, who was asleep at home at the time.

The latest batch of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45(s) of the Day has its roots back in the early 1970s when movie soundtrack LPs were, like, all the rage. I can still remember Christmas 1972 when my big brother was given three of them as gifts. The ones containing this single.This single.And, indeed, this single. So, it's our Colin that I blame for a life-long love of movie soundtracks in the Telly Topping household, dear blog reader.