Thursday, February 10, 2011

I Don't Want To Spend My Money Like You Do

Channel Four's Big Fat Gypsy Wedding continued to impress on Tuesday night, with a mind-blowing eight million viewers. The documentary series about the lives of gypsies and travellers in Britain had an average audience of 7.48m from 9pm, and then picked up a further seven hundred and ten thousand viewers on C4+1. The total, 8.18m, is the highest Channel Four overnight rating since the Big Brother 5 final in 2004 got 8.3m. The Cutting Edge programme massively outperformed the new BBC1 SF drama Outcasts, which flopped to 3.32m, a fall of 1.13m from the previous night's series premiere. If I was Ben Richards I'd be radically downscaling my ideas for a second series into, I dunno, maybe a five minute extra for the DVD box-set.

Ofcom is to investigate Sky News after receiving a complaint that it broke regulations governing editorial independence and gave 'undue prominence' to the launch of its sister channel Sky Atlantic. Sky News broadcast a news report about the launch of Sky Atlantic in a show called The Live Desk. The piece was shown on Tuesday 1 February, the launch day for Sky Atlantic, which features HBO shows including Boardwalk Empire and was backed with a cross media promotional blitz by BSkyB. The media regulator Ofcom has launched an investigation after receiving a complaint that the Sky News piece was too promotional. Ofcom will be considering whether Sky News broke section 10.1 of its broadcasting code, which states that a broadcaster must maintain the independence of editorial control over programme content, and 10.4, which states that no 'undue prominence' should be given to any product or service. The Ofcom investigation comes at an embarrassing time for Sky and News Corp, which is attempting to buy the sixty one per cent of the satellite broadcaster it does not already own. In order to avoid the deal being referred to the Competition Commission, News Corp has offered the the lack of culture secretary, the vile and odious Hunt, specific undertakings – thought to involve guaranteeing the editorial independence of Sky News. The vile and odious Hunt is considering the undertakings before making a decision on whether to refer the bid to the Competition Commission. 'My main concern is not to work to an arbitrary timetable but to ensure that I reach my decision in a fair and even-handed way which is transparent and ensures that all concerns are properly considered,' said the vile and odious Hunt last month.

A spokesman for Coronation Street has played down an on-set accident involving Vicky Entwistle and Katy Cavanagh. Yesterday, it was reported that Entwistle and Cavanagh were injured during the filming of a fight scene. The incident occurred when Entwistle's character Janice Battersby had to throw a chair at Cavanagh's Julie Carp and pin her to a wall in the Underworld factory. However, a representative for the soap told the Manchester Evening News that the actresses only sustained minor injuries and were able to continue filming shortly after. He explained: 'Vicky got a splinter in her hand and Katy hurt the inside of her mouth slightly. She had an ice pack briefly and both carried on filming.'

Allison Janney has said that she likes variety in her career. The former West Wing actress - who returns to TV this week in the new sitcom Mr Sunshine - told Pop Eater that she prefers to 'keep doing different things' in order to stay artistically fulfilled. 'I just like to shake it up. I'm always "the grass is greener,"' she explained. 'If I'm doing Broadway I think I want to go back to a movie. If I'm doing a movie I think I want to go back to TV because if I'm doing a movie I'm in a hotel somewhere, and I've got three dogs, and I miss them.' She continued: 'I like to do everything. I'm just going to keep doing different things in my career. Also I like the steady paycheque of TV, plus I love [Mr Sunshine co-star] Matthew [Perry], and it's a comedy, and I get to be as silly as I can be, which is pretty silly. I enjoy being encouraged to be as big as I can be because I usually do go big.' Janney also spoke about how her considerable height has affected her career, adding: 'I missed out on being the ingénue, the love interest, and I think because of that it's given me a longer shelf-life, and I'm happier for that. I want to do this for the rest of my life.'

Meanwhile, Matt Perry himself has described Lost as one of his 'favourite things' on television. The former Friends star, told ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live that he had been 'a huge fanatic' of the drama, which wrapped following its sixth season last year. 'I miss it,' he said on Tuesday's show, 'I was just about to say I'm lost without it! I really don't know what to do with myself now that it's not on. That was my favourite thing in the history of entertainment.' He went on to joke about an incident that happened between himself and Mr Sunshine co-star Jorge Garcia. 'I was on a show that he saw, and he was on a show that I saw so there was a mutual respect,' he explained. 'We didn't really talk about it. It was just, "Nice to meet you. You'll stand here." But in the third episode he did something that was really funny and I said, "That was really funny dude!" I realised I'd done his catchphrase to him and was like, "Oh God, I'm so sorry!"' Perry said in 2009 that he was eager to land a role on Lost but acknowledged that his fame from Friends might make a possible appearance unrealistic.

Jeremy Paxman's new deal with the BBC reportedly involves a twenty per cent pay cut. The Newsnight and University Challenge presenter has signed a four-year £3.2 million deal, reports the Daily Scum Mail. It is believed that Paxman was getting one million pounds-per-year under his previous contract. Speculation about Paxman departing the BBC had been rife, with many 'sources' allegedly suggesting to the scum press that he wanted a new challenge following twenty one years on Newsnight.

Chubby film-maker and a man who gives liberals a bad name, Michael Moore, has taken legal action against producers Bob and Harvey Weinstein, claiming that he is owed millions in profits for his 2004 documentary Fahrenheit 9/11. Moore claims the brothers used 'Hollywood accounting tricks' to keep him from receiving $2.7m. According to legal papers, an audit brought several alleged irregularities to light. A lawyer for the Weinsteins described the claims as 'hogwash.' Moore alleges his agreement with the Weinstein brothers was to split all profits equally. But the Oscar-winning director claims 'grossly excessive and unreasonable' expenses were deducted before those profits were calculated. He claims that the audits show money was deducted for advertising costs that was never spent, and that a private jet was hired to fly one of the brothers to Europe. The Weinsteins' lawyer, Bert Fields, said Moore's suit should be dismissed. 'Michael Moore has been paid twenty million dollars and he claims he should get two million more,' Fields said. 'His claims are hogwash. They are totally without merit. He's been paid every dime he's entitled to.' Fahrenheit 9/11, which centred on the Bush administration's actions after the 11 September attacks of 2001, made more than two hundred and twenty million dollars worldwide. The film won the Palme d'Or at the 2004 Cannes film festival.

Philip Glenister has revealed that he refused to appear naked in Mad Dogs. The actor stars in the upcoming Sky1 thriller alongside John Simm, Marc Warren and Max Beesley, but admitted that - unlike Warren and Beesley - he was not willing to bare all in front of the camera because he considers himself too old. He told the Sun: 'They went, "Who wants to go and jump in [the pool] naked?" and Max was like, "Me, kid." And I was like, "There's absolutely no way." I'm of an age now. I'm past all that. I don't do nudity anymore.' Phil - who celebrates his fort eighth birthday this week - said that the idea of ageing and 'getting closer to death' is a key component of Mad Dogs. 'When you're nearer fifty than forty you really start thinking about [death], I can assure you,' he said. 'You become more aware of your health, but you worry less. [Mad Dogs isn't a] four-parter about a group of blokes hitting their forties and having a jolly-up. That would have been boring. We wanted an undercurrent of something a bit darker. It's about reaching a stage in life, looking at what you've achieved and where you go next. It's about how normal people deal with a certain situation and how they can implode.'

Christine Bleakley has signed up to present a new game show for ITV, it has been reported. The Daybreak host will front Control, a general knowledge quiz show pencilled in for a peak-time slot, according to the Sun. An 'insider' allegedly said: 'Details are under wraps, but it's a brand new quiz show which will put Christine firmly into prime time. The questions will appear pretty easy but the person asking them will be making it difficult for them to get them right.' Well yes, I can see how that might work. Everything she says sounds like she's got a mouth full of gobstoppers, it's likely the contestants won't understand a word she's saying. 'Bosses said when they hired her that they wanted her to do stuff other than Daybreak. They're paying her a fortune so they need to get value for money.'

CBS has halted production of NCIS after a security guard was hit and killed by a vehicle on set. E Online reports that the unidentified man was struck by an out-of-control van after its driver fell unconscious due to a medical condition. He later died from his injuries at a local hospital. A joint statement from CBS Television Studios and CBS Entertainment read: 'Everyone at the network, the studio and NCIS is devastated by the news. Our hearts grieve for his family and friends for this tragic loss. We are, of course, co-operating with the local authorities in Santa Clarita to help determine what caused this terrible accident.'

Harry Enfield has started work directing a new sitcom which has allegedly been dubbed 'the female answer to The Inbetweeners.' Sex And The Chippy revolves around three women who meet in a Liverpool chip shop to gossip about their night out in the city. The E4 show will be the first comedy Enfield has directed, although he has been behind the camera on two episodes of the teen drama Skins. He stepped in after previous director Ben Palmer dropped out to work on The Inbetweeners movie. Filming began on location in Liverpool's San Carlo restaurant this week. Neil Jones, who wrote the series with fellow former Brookside scribe Heather Robson, told the Liverpool Echo. 'We pitched it as the older sisters of The Inbetweeners if they were from Liverpool. We thought: if it is hard for the skinny and rich Sex And The City women to find a man in Manhattan, then what is it like for size sixteen women out on the pull in Liverpool. The women have boring jobs and go out every weekend to escape their routines and look for a bit of romance. But every week it turns out to be disastrous and the episode starts at the end of the night with their chips.' Channel Four's head of comedy Shane Allen has called the show 'glossy, raucous, upbeat and excruciating,' and said the script was 'bursting with great banter and some truly jaw-dropping set pieces.' The show is being made by Liverpool-based Lime Pictures, the company behind The Only Way Is Essex – and features a largely unknown cast.

A film allegedly showing Norfolk farm workers being cruel to ducks is being investigated by the RSPCA and police. The footage was secretly filmed at Hall Farm in Hingham and has 'appalled' Waitrose, which has ended its relationship with the supplier. Staff at Hillside Animal Sanctuary, near Norwich, mounted an undercover operation. Police said they had visited the farm. A spokeswoman added: 'Following a site visit officers are satisfied there are no ongoing issues of cruelty and police continue to assist RSPCA colleagues in their investigations.' The RSPCA said it was investigating after being shown the footage by Sky News. A spokesman for Waitrose, which been supplied ducks by the farm, said: 'We are appalled by the footage taken at Hall Farm. Following an immediate and detailed investigation, we have now ended our relationship with the farm. The behaviour seen on the film is totally unacceptable and completely goes against the high welfare standards Waitrose expects of its farmers. We are also reviewing our processes to make sure we do everything we can to ensure nothing like this can ever happen again.'

For the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45(s) of the Day, we've got a couple of right tasty chunks of yer actual Noddy Big-Hat and the boys gettin' down and, indeed, gettin' with it. Firstly, see if you can work out whether it's Nod, Jim or Dave that's wearing the most ridiculous strides as they perform Gudbuy T'Jane. Secondly, a bit of choice cross-dressing on Top of the Pops (and, Sensational Tony Blackburn looking like a reet plonker, which is never a bad thing). And then, the song that accompanies one of the most dazzling moments from their movie, Flame. And, finally, an intimate and serious documentary portrait of the band in their home lives.