Friday, February 04, 2011

I'm Goin' Away Baby, I Won't Be Back Till Fall. If I Find Me A Good Lookin' Woman, Well, I Won't Be Back At All

As previously announced, Doctor Who is taking something of a leaf out of old Cap'n Jack Sparrow's book and going all Pirates of the Caribbean on us for an episode in the upcoming sixth series. Well, the Pirates of Cornwall, anyway. Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill and Matt Smith were spotted this week filming scenes for what's rumoured to be the third episode of the forthcoming series on-board a galleon in Charleston harbour, near St Austell. Wielding swords, swinging on ropes and dodging grizzly old sea dogs with dodgy Robert Newton accents, Karen - who, of course, plays the Doctor's assistant Amy Pond - looked quite the professional privateer as she got her buckled well and truly swashed whilst swinging into action. Like the shocking red tights, by the way Kaz. The Doctor, played by Smith, Amy and Rory appear to have stumbled across a boat full of black-hearted rapscallions with plunder their stock in trade during one of their time-warping adventures, leaving them to fend for themselves with only a couple of cutlasses and a small sonic device for weaponry. An 'onlooker' (ie. a fan) told the Daily Scum Mail: 'It seems that someone - presumably the Doctor or Rory - has just been forced to walk the plank and Amy fights back. The bit where she runs and knocks everyone over is meant to be for a rope swing.' The Daily Scum Mail, as usual, tutted and said 'it shouldn't be allowed.' Last week it was widely reported by everyone and their dog - including From The North - that Hugh Bonneville who starred in the hugely successful Downton Abbey last year (and the far less successful Bonekickers a while before that), will be joining Matt and co. in the news series as a Pirate Captain named Avery. On being cast, Hugh said that he was 'thrilled' and added 'the new adventure is not for the faint-hearted.' Or, indeed, the lily-livered land lubber, for that matter. Shiver m'timbers, me hearties.

Ahem. And now, the news. Newsnight host Jeremy Paxman has delivered a virtual rant to viewers telling them the show's daily e-mail bulletin was being discontinued. For 'being crap.' For several years, devotees of the nightly BBC2 show have been receiving updates of what would feature in that evening's programme. But as he killed off the newsletter with a final message yesterday, Paxman wrote that Monday's e-mail had actually promoted a programme which had gone out the week before. 'A carrier pigeon would have been quicker,' he said. Paxo only returned to the show this week after a period away. On Monday night's show he made a verbal slip-up and said a bad naughty four-letter word. 'Cunt,' just in case you hadn't heard. In his e-mail, he wrote: 'Welcome to positively the last Newsnight daily e-mail. The time has come to put this exercise in fatuousness out of its misery. It gives me no pleasure to say that it should have happened years ago.' Blimey. He's such a grumpy old bugger, Paxo isn't he? Who got out of bed the wrong side this morning?

The new, seventeenth, series of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved Time Team will begin on Sunday 6 February at 5.25 on Channel Four, according to the Radio Times. It also appears that the series will (touch wood) run without interruption for fourteen weeks. Unlike last year which was beset by all manner of discombobulation and malarkey. The opening episode is the series' two hundredth dig and will concentrate on a prehistoric site on Dartmoor. The series will include the one episode left over from the last series (actually filmed in 2009), plus eleven new episodes recorded during last summer and two 'money-saving' episodes with a different format - probably clip-show based, one suspects. One will be geophysics-themed.

Steve and Becky McDonald are to face a new marriage crisis in Coronation Street as the soap revisits December's looting storyline, reports have revealed. Last year, fans saw Becky stealing cash from the corner shop in a moment of desperation amid the carnage of the street's tram crash disaster. According to the Daily Lies, store owners Dev and Sunita Alahan will soon discover fresh evidence indicating who the culprit was. However, events take a new twist when Steve protects Becky by claiming that he was the thief and not her. A Weatherfield 'source' allegedly told the newspaper: 'Dev and Sunita are horrified that Steve was the one who raided their shop while people were dying. They are hell-bent on justice.' However, Becky is expected to eventually come clean over her crime - determined that Steve should not take the fall. It is thought that when she tells Dev and Sunita the full story of how she stole the cash for the sake of her nephew Max, the couple agree not to pursue the matter. Despite the lucky escape, the situation comes as a fresh blow to Steve and Becky's relationship. The newspaper claim that the 'insider' added: 'Steve tells her that, thanks to her, he just seems to lurch from one disaster to another. If she messes up again, their marriage is over.'

Torchwood creator Big Rusty Davies has suggested that he may soon leave the show. The writer told BBC News that he will likely move on to other projects once new ten-part series Miracle Day is complete. 'It's interesting as to how long I can stay in the science fiction world,' he said. 'Personally I think I'm coming to the end of it now and I've saved the world and blown up the world too many times.' Davies added that he hoped to leave the series in 'rude health' for other writers to take over. 'It's time to write something just where people talk in kitchens, at least for me,' he insisted. 'But I hope we literally leave the franchise in a very strong position [so] that other writers come in and take it over.' However, he admitted that it had been 'brilliant' to return to the show for potentially the final time. 'In a way for me, Torchwood never went away because it always lives in my head,' he explained. 'Eve Myles's character Gwen Cooper and obviously Captain Jack, played by John Barrowman, it's their fourth year of stories now. It's kind of like they have become modern legends. I love that.'

Meanwhile, two more actors have been confirmed for roles in the next series of Torchwood. Davies recently confirmed that Sharon Morgan will reprise her role as Mary, the mother of Gwen. The actress previously played the role in 2008 Torchwood episode Something Borrowed and has also appeared in BBC Wales drama Belonging and the sitcom After You've Gone. Last week, it was confirmed that William Thomas will also return to the show as Gwen's father, Geraint. Spotlight also lists Doom star Ian Hughes as playing a character named Ralph Finch. Hughes, who has also played roles in Gavin & Stacey and Foyle's War, appeared alongside David Tennant in Stephen Fry's 2003 movie Bright Young Things.

Dermot O'Dreary has reportedly made the shortlist for the presenting job on the American version of The X Factor. The host is believed to be the only British name on the list of six drawn up by executives at FOX, the Mirror claims. Simon Cowell recently revealed that announcements are to be made within the coming weeks. 'Dermot is still in with a great chance of getting the biggest job of his life, but he is in the dark at the moment,' a 'source' allegedly told the paper. 'He has made the shortlist but there is some pretty stiff competition from a host of big names in America.' They added: 'A decision has not been made yet so Dermot has to wait like any other fan of the show.'

Andy Gray and Richard Keys may have been unceremoniously dumped by Sky Sports after their off-air sexist banter was made public, but women television presenters can still apparently criticise each other with considerable impunity. Kirstie Allsopp, the face of such programmes as Location, Location, Location, has upset a financial commentator after publicly taking her to task over her appearance on a television show. 'Finance woman on BBC Breakfast clearly came directly from a night out,' the horsey baronet's daughter told her ninety thousand followers on Twitter. 'It's debatable whether that's a skirt or not – hard to take her seriously.' The woman in question, Melanie Bien, told the Daily Torygraph that she found Allsopp's remarks 'very disappointing.' She says: 'I was talking about mortgages and Bank of England lending figures, but all that has been lost. All anyone is talking about is the length of my skirt. It's not helpful for women to make these sorts of comments. You wonder if men would be so critical of each other.' Bien, who works for the mortgage brokers Private Finance, says that Allsopp's remark about a 'night out' was particularly annoying because Bien has an eighteen-month-old baby and 'never goes anywhere.' She added: 'Someone told me that Kirstie had complained about a piece a newspaper ran a couple of years ago where they accused her of having a moustache. She said it was unfair to criticise her in that way, but that's what she's done to me.' Typical Tory, I'm afraid Melaine. Do as I say, not as I do.

Former Play School presenter Floella Benjamin has urged ministers and broadcasters to 'wake up' to a 'crisis' in children's programming. The Liberal Democrat peer warned against too much 'passive viewing,' arguing that TV shows should not become a form of 'surrogate parenting.' Which is a bit rich coming from somebody who used to present the show that virtually wrote the rule-book on surrogate parenting. Benjamin told the House of Lords that the BBC's Play School had added to children's well-being. No it didn't - Jemima and, especially, Hamble used to scare the bloody bejesus out of me. The pre-school programme ran from 1964 to 1982. Baroness Benjamin said Play School, also presented by Brian Cant and Johnny Ball among others and featuring characters such as Humpty, Big Ted, Little Ted and Medium Sized Ted (he left after rthe first series - not many fans remember him these days), had engaged children's attention. Too many modern offerings encouraged 'passive viewing and are used as surrogate parents or baby-sitters.' During a debate on parenting, she added: 'Programmes like these should be banned, especially if television sets are in children's bedrooms. In fact, I would ban all television and computers in children's bedrooms.' So, clearly not the reactionary rantings of a deluded old 'it weren't like that in t'maaaaa day' old cynic, then. Oh no. The production of good quality television was 'under threat' and children were becoming more exposed to programmes which 'subtract rather than add to their overall well-being.' Benjamin told peers: 'Appropriate children's television is beneficial to childhood development. It can improve attention, expressive language, comprehension, articulation, general knowledge as well as social interaction and life skills. So I urge the government and broadcasters to wake up to the crisis in the production and quality of public service broadcasting for children. I ask the government to find creative ways of funding to maintain the traditional well-made British pre-school programmes which contain all the necessary and essential elements required for our children's well-being.' Well-made shows could help parents to 'develop educational and stimulating techniques to use when interacting with their children.' Ah, but who decides what are 'well-made shows' and what aren't, Floella? You? Play School was remembered 'fondly', she claimed, because the producer 'put children's well-being at the heart of the programme,' she said, before adding: 'Many parents do not have as much time to spend with their children as they would like. However, high-quality television and radio can be an ally, allowing parents to let their children watch and listen, safe in the knowledge that they are benefiting from the content.' Born in Trinidad, Benjamin's family emigrated to the UK when she was ten. She hosted children's television shows including Play School and Play Away and was awarded an OBE for services to broadcasting in 2001. She has also served as chairman of BAFTA Television and, in 2006, became Chancellor of the University of Exeter. Ennobled last summer, her full title is Baroness Benjamin of Beckenham in Kent.

Filming has begun on Sugartown, a prime-time three-part comedy drama series for BBC1 revolving around a small seaside hamlet in the north of England which once enjoyed a heyday as the 'stick-of-rock' capital of Britain. The series is the story of Burr's rock factory – owner Jason Burr (played by Shaun Dooley) is fighting to stay afloat as the community's last main employer. But then his brother Max (Tom Ellis), the prodigal son returns with big plans for Sugartown's re-development. However Max isn't interested in buckets and spades; he wants frappucino's, boutique hotels and hip bars. The tight-knit community don't want this and soon enough battle lines are drawn. With the good people of Sugartown under siege, a new dance school run by unpredictable newcomer Carmen, hints at a way to revive the town's fortunes while maintaining their proud traditions. Sugartown is created and written by Jodi Reynolds and Sally Dexter and features a high-profile ensemble cast including Sue Johnston, Miranda Raison and Philip Jackson. Commissioning Head of Comedy, Cheryl Taylor says: 'Jodi and Sally have created a loveable and unique seaside comedy which portrays the North East coastal community in an engaging and colourful way.'

The editor of Question Time has resigned, reportedly over a BBC plan to move production of the political programme to Glasgow. Ed Havard, who was hand-picked by presenter David Dimbleby to edit the show, told executives at BBC news of his decision to step down earlier this week. Havard works for Mentorn, the independent production company which makes Question Time, but reports to executives at BBC news. He was regarded as a protege of Dimbleby and his departure could raise questions about the veteran host's own long-term relationship with his BBC bosses. When the plan to move the show from Westminster to Scotland was first mooted three years ago Dimbleby was reportedly 'furious.' The corporation plans to make sure that fifty per cent of all money spent on network programmes is from outside London by 2016. Although each programme is filmed on location at a different town or city every Thursday, the plan has caused internal dissent because Question Time staff believe it is essential to be based in Westminster. Mentorn make the show, but it is currently overseen by the BBC's head of political news Gavin Allen, who is the show's executive producer. That will also change when Question Time relocates to Scotland. It is unclear how many staff will be affected by the move, which is scheduled to take place in the Autumn. The BBC is moving shows to the regions and will soon relocate some services and divisions, including BBC sport and Radio 5Live, to new multimillion pound facilities in Salford. The decision to move some individual shows has been criticised, however. Newsnight Review was last year replaced by The Review Show, a near identical programme to its predecessor filmed in Glasgow rather than London. A BBC spokesman said: 'Ed Havard has decided he does not want to move to Scotland,' he said. 'Mentorn and the BBC are now in the process of recruiting a replacement.'

The BBC reported to be developing a new panel show, fronted by Miranda Hart. The triple British Comedy Award winner is recording a pilot of the 'unashamedly affectionate and upbeat' show Britain's Favourite later in the month. It is described as 'like Top Trumps with celebrities' – as a panel of comedians rate a group of famous people, with absolutely nothing in common but their first name. The trial programme aims to determine the best Steve, considering the likes of Stephen Hawking, Steve Davis, Steve McFadden and Steve Guttenberg. Well, the latter isn't British for a kick off so, surely, he's disqualified? Producers say: 'There'll be plenty of silliness.' Hart, who previously won plaudits as guest host of Have I Got News For You, is soon to start work on the third series of her eponymous sitcom, while she will soon be narrating the Saturday night entertainment show Don't Scare The Hare, featuring a four foot tall animatronic robot hare.

Ray Wise is to make a guest appearance in an upcoming episode of NBC's Chuck. Co-creator Chris Fedak told that the Twin Peaks actor will play an ally of Volkoff (Timothy Dalton). 'He plays Volkoff's lawyer, and he's just wonderful,' claimed Fedak. Wise will make his first appearance in the current run's sixteenth episode, Chuck vs. The Masquerade. It was previously confirmed that both Vampire Diaries actress Lauren Cohan and House of Payne's Robin Givens will also appear in the episode. Wise is known for playing the Devil on the CW series Reaper as well Leland Palmer in Twin Peaks and has also had recurring roles on 24 and Psych. His recent television credits include appearances in The West Wing, Mad Men, How I Met Your Mother and Castle.

Channel Five has brought the rights to the William Shatner-led sitcom $#*! My Dad Says. The company is rebranding its digital channel Fiver as 5* – with the comedy as one of the flagship programmes. It it, Shatner plays a grumpy, thrice-divorced seventy two-year-old whose outbursts are recorded on the microblogging site by his adult, unemployed son who has been forced to move in with him. The show's title – although bleeped out – caused offence among some of the more tight-arsed ultra-conservative groups in America. But, nobody was too bothered about that. As well as eighteen episodes of $#*! My Dad Says – which aired on CBS in the States – 5* has brought the ABC romantic comedy Better With You, and Parenthood, a spin-off from the film of the same name. Channel Five's director of programmes Jeff Ford said: 'In a competitive marketplace, you need strong brands that jump out of the EPG, and the rebranding of Fiver as 5*, combined with exciting new shows, provides us with a distinctive channel.'

And, speaking of shit people say, the Attorney General has accused the Daily Scum Mail and the Sun of contempt of court over photographs published online showing a murder trial defendant 'posing with a gun.' In what are believed to be the first cases of their kind relating to the Internet, Dominic Grieve is asking the high court to punish the publishers of the Daily Scum Mail and the Sun for displaying the pictures on their websites. The cases arise out of the Sheffield crown court trial in 2009 of Ryan Ward, who was eventually convicted of murdering car mechanic Craig Wass by hitting him over the head with a brick. Judge Michael Murphy QC, who presided at the trial, refused to discharge the jury after saying he was 'quite satisfied' none had been influenced by the net. However, this week a QC for the Attorney General argued publication of the pictures nevertheless created a substantial risk that the trial could have been 'seriously impeded or prejudiced' by jurors seeing them. Andrew McCullough QC said both newspapers had breached the strict liability rule under the 1981 Contempt of Court Act, which makes it clear that publishing an article or picture may be contempt, even though there is no actual 'intent' to interfere with the course of justice. Both newspapers argued there was no strict liability breach, and the risk of prejudice was 'insubstantial,' particularly as the trial judge had repeatedly warned jurors not to consult the Internet. High court judges Lord Justice Moses and Mr Justice Owen, sitting in London, reserved judgment after a day-long hearing and will give their decision in the near future. They are expected to use these proceedings to lay down guidelines on how the law of contempt should be applied in online cases in future.

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper and his news crew were attacked on Wednesday by protesters in Cairo. For God sake nobody tell the State Department or they'll probably use it as an excuse to invade. While covering the increasingly violent clashes between by pro- and anti-government demonstrators in Egypt, Cooper and his two associates were the victims of a physical assault by a group which supports the country's president Hosni Sayyid Mubarak, he said. Cooper later tweeted that he was 'punched and kicked repeatedly' until he was able to escape Cairo's Tahrir Square, which has proven to be the centre of the city's protests. You're an American in the Middle East, mate, what did you expect, the red carpet? The Los Angeles Times quotes the TV presenter as saying that he views his own run-in with violent protesters as a representation of the anger that is currently gripping Egypt. 'To me, the story today is not me being attacked - it's the melee that continues,' Cooper said. He continued: 'This is a stunning development, and it's not clear what kind of impact it's going to have. Is it going to enrage people who'd been standing on the sidelines to see these anti-Mubarak protesters attacked in such an organised way, with the Egyptian military standing by not doing anything to intervene? Perhaps. Will it scare people? Maybe it will have that effect. We don't know.'

Broadcasters cannot stop customers from using cheaper foreign satellite TV equipment to watch Premier League football, an EU legal adviser has said. A non-binding opinion from advocate Juliane Kokott of the European Court of Justice said such a ban breached EU laws. Portsmouth pub landlady Karen Murphy, fined for using Greek decoders, had argued the EU single market should let her use any European provider. Sky and ESPN have the broadcast rights to Premier League football in the UK. The satellite broadcaster has pumped billions into top flight English football since the league was founded in 1992, with the money given to clubs allowing them to buy some of the top players in the world. The case at the European Court of Justice has been about whether a rights holder such as the Premier League can license its content on a country-by-country basis. Such a set-up has allowed the league to fully maximise the value of its rights. Although Advocate General Kokott's opinion is not binding, judges usually follow the guidance from the advocate. If they do, selling sport, movies, or any other content, on an exclusive territory-by-territory basis within the EU may no longer be possible. 'The exclusivity agreement relating to transmission of football matches are contrary to European Union law,' she said in her opinion. 'The exclusivity rights in question have the effect of partitioning the internal market into quite separate national markets, something which constitutes a serious impairment of the freedom to provide services.' Murphy had been convicted for using the cheaper Greek satellite receiver to show top flight football in her pub. She used the Nova firm to show matches in the Red, White and Blue pub in Portsmouth as it was less expensive than Sky. Enforcers working on behalf of Football Association Premier League Limited - the private company which represents the broadcasting interests of the twenty English Premier League clubs - brought the prosecution saying only Sky TV had exclusive rights to show its games in the UK. She had to pay nearly eight thousand pounds in fines and costs. The Premier League's current deal with Sky is worth nearly two billion pounds - money the league argues is invested in maintaining the quality of the product. Industry experts say satellite companies face having to reform - leading possibly to the creation of just a handful of pan-European broadcasters. It was pressure from Brussels which forced the Premier League to offer its live matches to more then one broadcaster, rather then just renew the exclusive deals it traditionally had with Sky. Packages were consequently taken up by Setanta, and when they went bust, by ESPN.

French actress Maria Schneider has died at the age of fifty eight after a battle with a cancer, it has been reported. According to People, Schneider was living in Paris at the time of her death. Shewais most widely known for starring in Bernardo Bertolucci's 1972 erotic drama Last Tango In Paris in which her character, infamously, took it up the Gary Glitter (butter-assisted) from Marlon Brando. The movie saw her play a young Parisian who embarks on a sexually charged relationship with a middle-aged American businessman. It was banned in several countries due to its explicit content but is now considered something of a classic, and a massive taboo breaker. Born in 1952 in Paris, Schneider was the daughter of the French actor Daniel Gelin. She began her film career in most uncredited roles before being given her first break in the 1970 film Madly. Last Tango in Paris provoked such controversy that the actress resolved never to do nude scenes again. Yet she was, briefly, seen naked three years later in Michelangelo Antonioni's The Passenger (in which she starred with Jack Nicholson), albeit only in long shot. Despite the fame that Last Tango afforded her, Schneider later told the Daily Scum Mail that she 'felt a little raped' by Bertolucci's insistence that she film the graphic sex scenes with Brando. She described the director as 'a gangster and a pimp' and said that Last Tango in Paris had taught her an important lesson: 'Never take your clothes off for a middle-aged man who claims that it's art.' However, she also added that she and Brando had 'stayed friends until the end' and that 'undoubtedly, my best experience about making the film was my encounter with Marlon.' After spending much of the 1970s battling drug problems, Schneider later revived her career by appearing in a series of acclaimed arthouse films including Mehdi Charef's In the Country of Juliets and Franco Zeffirelli's 1996 adaptation of Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre. Schneider's other films include A Woman Like Eve and the AIDs drama Savage Nights. She last appeared on-screen in the French romantic drama Cliente in 2008.

According to good old reliable Wikipedia (yeah, I know, but it sometimes does get stuff right if you look hard enough), 'See See Rider,' also known as 'CC Rider' or 'See See Rider Blues' or 'Easy Rider' is a popular American twelve-bar blues song. It was first recorded by the legendary Gertrude Rainey in 1924. The song uses mostly traditional blues lyrics to tell the story of an unfaithful lover, commonly called easy riders in the vernacular of the day. Ma Rainey's version became popular in the South during 1925, as 'See See Rider Blues.' It subsequently became one of the most famous of all blues songs, with well over one hundred variants being recorded by - among many others - Big Bill Broonzy, Mississippi John Hurt, Lead Belly, Lightnin' Hopkins and Peggy Lee. However, what concerns us on today's Keith Telly Topping's 45(s) of the Day - in a section I like to call Same Song, Different Names - are three versions recorded in the mid-1960s and early-1970s. Firstly by Eric, Chas, Hilton and the boys. (Interesting little side-point here. There are several quality clips of Eric Burdon performing the song with the New Animals in 1967 on things like Beat Club, but there appears to be just one - rather lo-hi - performance captured on celluloid with the original Animals. From, I think, their 1966 European tour in Paris. And bloody hot stuff it is too, despite being incomplete.)Meanwhile, Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels were doing this to it. We move forward a few years, get out the shoulder pads and the rhinestones and move to Vegas, baby. Here's The King - with the Godlike Genius of James Burton on guitar. Glory, glory hallelujah!Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the building.