Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Turn Again And Turn Towards This Time

The latest episode of House - You Must Remember This - balanced several very witty subplots, notably House's attempts to get Wilson dating women again after he discovers his friend has acquired a cat, with the much more serious - and very well played - central conceit. A woman with an extraordinary memory experiences temporary paralysis, and a visit from her estranged sister triggers more health complications that, frankly, baffles even House and his team. Meanwhile, in what was one of the season's best episodes - particularly the Foreman and Taub subplot (loved the casual Usual Suspects spoiler) the dialogue sang. 'Bartender, champagne for everyone!' Hawaii Five-0's weekly offering - Powa Maka Moana - by contrast was a rather brutal and nasty story about kidnap and ransom enlivened by an excellent guest turn from the great Ray Wise.

Three stand-ups are to perform a gig at thirty five thousand feet in an attempt to set a record for the world's highest comedy gig. Dara O'Briain, Jon Richardson and the thoroughly wretched and unfunny Jack Whitehall will be entertaining - or, in Whitehall's case, annoying, probably - one hundred and eighty passengers on a special BA flight leaving Heathrow on 12 March. The Airbus A321, will fly over the UK for two and a half hours before returning to London. O'Briain said: 'I've performed in some unusual places, but never at thirty five thousand feet. I'm really excited to be involved in this unique event.' The stunt will raise money for Comic Relief. To be in with a chance of winning one of seventy five pairs of tickets, text Fly1 to 70300. Entry to the draw costs fifty pence, plus your standard network rate, and a three pound charity donation will be deducted unless you choose to opt out. British Airways' chief executive, Keith Williams, said: 'The comedy gig in the sky is just one of several fundraising initiatives we're involved in – and we hope it raises smiles and money at the same time.'

Anyone who watched Tuesday night's Brit Awards will know there weren't a lot of laughs to be had. Apart, possibly, from Take That's riot police routine. James Corden was so scared one of the rapper would put a cap in his fat ass if he dissed their 'hood that we was insufferably nice to just about everybody. And, apart from Rihanna's big pants and Plan B's man on fire, the ceremony all went down without any major incident. On the red carpet though, it was a different matter. Though the expected showdown with Katie Price failed to materialise, Peter Andre still managed to snatch the 'most awkward moment of the night' award. The Aussie singer was hosting ITV2's external coverage and was keen to make the most of his few minutes with teen idol Justin Bieber. There's not much to say about it, really, apart from the fact that it was fawningly, buttock-clenchingly embarrassing. Suffice to say, you know things haven't gone well for you in your career choices when you're made to look foolish by a mop-topped sixteen-year-old.

Adrian Chiles has admitted that he did not like the amount of attention given to Daybreak's debut. ITV launched the new show to replace GMTV last September in a blaze of publicity. However, Chiles has claimed that the efforts to promote the programme would have put people off watching. 'It was a very big launch and that is the main thing that I would have changed,' he told the Mirra. 'It was embarrassing seeing myself on a big billboard. I wanted to keep it quiet. I don't think the British public wants to be told what to watch. I wish that we hadn't done that and had let people discover it for themselves - more low key with less fanfare. We set ourselves up for a kicking, which we duly got.' However, Chiles once again insisted that the show has improved and admitted that it had taken the show's new team longer to settle in. 'It's been a stressful time but we feel that things are moving in the right direction. The scars and bruises are now starting to heal,' he said. 'I think we have turned the corner.' He continued: 'After The ONE Show you could go for a beer afterwards or just chat in the green room. It just doesn't work here. It's a twenty four-hour operation. Someone is always working. Occasionally we go for a pint after the show on a Friday at 9.30am. Sometimes I have more than one - but then I feel quite poorly by lunchtime. So team-building has taken longer. Now, when we walk in it has a nicer feel. In the beginning you get impatient and want everything sorted out all at once. It is a big programme and change is frustratingly slow,' he added. 'But it was great to come back from Christmas and every week I look back and I think, "This is a better week."' Well, if it is, chum, the public don't seem to have noticed yet. Daybreak's average daily audience remains rooted around the seven hundred thousand mark.

The BBC is being 'destroyed by a thousand cuts,' union leaders have claimed after a fresh announcement of job losses at the corporation in London and Manchester. A restructuring of the TV current affairs department will lead to thirty one reporting, production and support posts being axed in London and Manchester. The BBC said the aim was to increase flexibility by allowing programme makers to vary staff levels to manage peaks and troughs in production. Clive Edwards, executive editor and commissioning editor of BBC TV current affairs said: 'For the brilliant staff in current affairs this is going to be a very tough time and I want to emphasise that the work they have been doing has been outstanding. We are committed to keeping on producing the very best programmes but to do that it's crucial we implement this restructure.' The National Union of Journalists condemned the news, which follows announcements of the loss of hundreds of jobs at BBC Online and the World Service. Deputy general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: 'The proposed cuts to BBC current affairs are a further legacy of the supine approach of one of the world's leading broadcasters to the coalition Government. Slate by slate and floor by floor, an outstanding broadcasting service which took more than ninety years to build is being destroyed in an onslaught of a thousand cuts.'

Alec Baldwin has said that he enjoys performing on the hit series 30 Rock. Baldwin was present at his Hollywood Walk of Fame star induction ceremony on Monday. Speaking to E!, the Emmy winner said that his guest stint on NBC sitcom Will & Grace inspired him to join 30 Rock. 'I didn't think this was something I wanted to do, to commit to a show, to sign a contract for years on end,' the Oscar nominee said. He added: 'I made films and worked in the theatre and there's a lot of diversity there that's kind of an advantage. But then I did Will & Grace and had the best time of my life. Working with Megan [Mullally] on that show I realised it was a lot of fun. It inspired me to do this.'

CBS News journalist Lara Logan is recovering in hospital this week after being violently attacked and sexually assaulted by a mob in Egypt's Tahrir Square on Friday, according to a statement by CBS. Amid the celebrations on the night of Hosni Mubarak's resignation, Logan was reporting on the scenes in Tahrir Square for the news programme 60 Minutes when the South African-born journalist, her camera crew and security staff were overwhelmed by what the US television network described as 'a dangerous element, a mob of more than two hundred people whipped into frenzy.' In the crush of the mob, she was separated from her crew. She was surrounded and suffered what was described as 'a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating' before being saved by a group of women and an estimated twenty Egyptian soldiers. CBS said in its statement released on Tuesday evening: 'She reconnected with the CBS team, returned to her hotel and returned to the United States on the first flight the next morning. She is currently in the hospital recovering.' Logan joined CBS in 2002, after a television news career that included a spell at GMTV covering the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, and is a veteran of reporting from war zones including Iraq and Kosovo. CBS's chief foreign affairs correspondent, Logan had previously been detained by the Egyptian military for a day, as part of the Mubarak regime's crackdown on foreign journalists. Logan serves on the board of the Committee to Protect Journalists, which documented one hundred and forty attacks on journalists in Egypt during the protests this month. 'We have seen Lara's compassion at work while helping journalists who have faced brutal aggression while doing their jobs. She is a brilliant, courageous and committed reporter. Our thoughts are with Lara as she recovers,' said Paul Steiger, chairman of the committee. CBS said it will make no further comment.

Jason Gardiner has insisted that he is not a bully on Dancing On Ice, saying that he finds the accusation to be 'offensive.' Pot, kettle, black, as t'were.

David Walliams is to host a twenty four-hour-long panel show for Comic Relief. The challenge will be broadcast live online over the weekend of 5 and 6 March, then edited down for a BBC3 special. It will include episodes of Have I Got News for You, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, 8 Out of 10 Cats, Just A Minute and Celebrity Juice as well as some specially commissioned rounds. Other comics taking part in the Twenty Four Hour Panel People marathon will include Jason Manford, Sean Lock and Leigh Francis. 'This is an amazing challenge,' said Walliams 'I just hope I don't fall asleep or burst into tears.' The Come Fly With Me star previously swam the English Channel and the Strait of Gibraltar and cycled the length of Britain to raise money for Sport Relief. Meanwhile his and Matt Lucas's Little Britain characters Lou and Andy will meet Dennis the Menace in a special Comic Relief edition of the Beano comic. Walliams said: 'I've said yes to a lot of things in the name of Red Nose Day but this was by far the least painful.'

Eddie Izzard is to voice one of the characters in the sequel to the animated hit Cars. He will portray Miles Axlerod, a former oil baron who now spends his life both researching alternative fuels and hosting the Grand Prix race. The character will be a green Army Jeep in the film, due out in June, director John Lasseter has announced. Also in the cast are John Turturro as Italian race car Francesco Bernoulli, and Emily Mortimer as spy Holley Shiftwell.

The US has defended its request for the personal details of three Twitter users, as part of its inquiry into Wikileaks. At a court in Virginia, the justice department said it was seeking the account information of three associates of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. The trio are fighting the request, arguing that it is an invasion of privacy. A justice department lawyer told the court the request was a standard investigative measure. US prosecutors say the request forms part of their ongoing investigation into the Wikileaks site, which released thousands of confidential diplomatic cables online. The trio appealing against the request - Icelandic MP Birgitta Jonsdottir, Dutch hacker Rop Gonggrijp and US computer programmer Jacob Appelbaum - all know, or have worked with, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Lawyers representing the trio appeared before the US district court in Alexandria on Tuesday to argue against the release of their private information. 'What's at stake here is the ability to use the Internet freely and privately, without the government looking over their shoulder,' said Aden Fine, of the American Civil Liberties Union. Fine, who is representing Jonsdottir, spoke on behalf of all three plaintiffs in court. The trio say the demand for this information 'intrudes upon important First Amendment rights' and 'will not directly further the government's purported interests.' Fine said he had also asked the judge to reveal whether similar orders for information had been issued to other websites, such as Facebook and Google. On Monday, Assange said the order was 'an outrageous attack by the Obama administration on the privacy and free speech rights of Twitter's customers.' The order calling on Twitter to release account details, IP addresses, user names and sign-up information was made by District Judge Theresa Buchanan in December 2010. The order, only made public earlier this month, also requested details of the general Wikileaks Twitter account, thought to be run by Assange, and that of Bradley Manning, the army intelligence analyst suspected of leaking the documents to Wikileaks. Manning is almost certain to face trial in the US later this year but so far the US justice department has failed to find any grounds for a criminal case against Assange. A justice department spokesman said the terms of the request had since been narrowed to data from 15 November, 2009 to 1 June, 2010, and to four accounts - those belonging to Appelbaum, Gonggrijp and Jonsdottir and the official Wikileaks account. The US government is allowed to ask for the communication records of service providers up to one hundred and eighty days in the past. Appearing at the hearing on Tuesday, Assistant US Attorney John Davis said the government was seeking routine data, no different to phone records or credit card bills. 'This is an investigative measure used in criminal investigations all over the country, every day,' Davis said. A justice department spokesman stressed the government was 'not seeking any content' and that this was a routine part of its investigation. The judge did not rule on the appeal made by the three, and will issue a written ruling at a later date. The hearing took place, ironically on the same day that US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton praised the role of social networks such as Twitter in 'promoting freedom.' Except for anyone they disapprove of, it would seem. One of the lawyers, John Keker, told the court it was 'ironic' that the case was being heard against the backdrop of the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings. He argued that if the government request was successful it would allow the government to intrude into the lives of individuals previously protected by constitutional rights. 'This is something brand new,' he said. Clinton apparently tried to reconcile the US administration's support for the Internet as a motor for change in the Middle East, China and elsewhere with its fury over WikiLeaks. She said: 'Liberty and security. Transparency and confidentiality. Freedom of expression and tolerance. There are times when these principles will raise tensions and pose challenges, but we do not have to choose among them. And we shouldn't. Together they comprise the foundation of a free and open Internet.' There was probably something about cupcakes and mom's apple pie in there as well, but most people in the rest of the world had nodded off by that point.

An assault case involving a flying sausage has been dropped by Chelmsford crown court. The Metro reports that twenty two-year-old Ashly Brearey, from Harlow, was charged with assault causing actual bodily harm after twenty four-year-old Candice Whybrow was hit in the face during a food fight at his home. Whybrow suffered permanent damage to her left eye as a result of the incident. Judge Anthony Goldstaub QC told the court: 'I have concerns on four points: public interest, the prospect of conviction, the dignity of the court and the prosecution process. The case is stale, if not the sausage.' The CPS formally offered no evidence and Brearey, who had denied the offence, was found not guilty.

Today's Keith Telly Topping's 45(s) of the Day seeks to bring a little bit of joy into your worthless existence, dear blog reader. Specifically, this little bit. A legendary performance from Something Else. Or, if you prefer, here's the logo version. After that, I suppose we'd been have The Hit.
And then, their masterpiece. Wonder what ever became of them?