Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Was It Really Murder? Were You Just Pretending? Lately I Have Heard You Are The Living End

The Beatles producer Sir George Martin has added his tribute to late composer John Barry, who died from a heart attack on Sunday. Martin told Channel Four News that Barry was 'probably our most famous film score writer.' He added: 'You could always identify John's scores. They were very dramatic. They leant themselves to the film in a way that enhanced everything. He was an extraordinary musician - very, very clever. Without John Barry there would be no James Bond theme, because the whole essence of that was the excitement, the drama, the orchestration.' David Arnold, Simon Le Bon and Mark Ronson are among the other musicians who have paid their respects to the Oscar winner.

Speaking of John Barry, the man with the Midas touch, you may have noticed that most national newspapers and media outlets like the BBC and ITN sought out quotes - as with the George Martin one above - from people who had actually worked with John: Don Black, David Arnold and Lulu were three of the most quoted. However, Britain's most widely-read free newspaper, Metro, went down a somewhat different route. They lazily trawled around the Internet rather than actually ringing up people for a comment. Thus, Metro's Tuesday morning edition - under the headline Music Genius Behind 007 Is Mourned - gave their readers the wisdom of Twittered comments from Stephen Fry and Mylenee Klass on the subject. Seriously. Klass' brief tribute was prefixed by the observation that she was a 'TV presenter and classically trained pianist' as though that were some form of justification for making her opinions on the death of John Barry more worthy than anyone who'd ever actually met him. As a textbook example of lazy journalism it's genuinely hard to beat.

Cult favourite James Marsters has married his long-time girlfriend, Patricia in Los Angeles. The couple were married in a civil ceremony two weeks ago and James recently announced the happy event during a convention appearance in New Orleans. Everyone at From The North sends the couple our best wishes for the future.

Emma Crosby has been announced as the new face of Channel Five News. As was rumoured last month, the former GMTV host will take over the 7pm slot from Natasha Kaplinsky, who left the broadcaster last year. Crosby will present her first bulletin on 14 February and will work alongside current Channel Five newsreader Matt Barbet, who will continue to front the 5pm show. Crosby said: 'I am hugely excited about joining the team. From the outset, Channel Five News have always enjoyed the reputation of offering viewers something a little bit different and I am over the moon to be a part of that. Matt and I studied at university together so I'm looking forward to the reunion too!' Channel Five News editor David Kermode said: 'I'm thrilled we have signed two of the brightest talents in the business to front our news programmes. Matt is already a familiar and trusted face for our viewers, having been Natasha's very successful stand-in for the last three years on our flagship show. Emma is already well-established on network television and will be a huge asset for us as we seek to build the profile of our 7pm programme.'

Big Fat Gypsy Weddings' Cheyenne has described the Channel Four show as 'a bit of a mickey-take.' Cheyenne appeared in an episode of the documentary, where she discussed the gypsy custom of 'grabbing' and was shown pushing off a male who was trying to win her affections by physically pinning her against a wall. Speaking about the incident, she told Star magazine: 'Some of it's a bit of a mickey-take, to be honest. It's been exaggerated. The whole "grabbing" thing, for instance - that was all blown out of proportion. It's not accurate at all. We wouldn't do the show again - afterwards, you get too much aggro. Even our own community said we're making ourselves look like idiots.'

Jeremy Paxman became the latest BBC presenter to utter the word 'cunt' live on air on Monday night, after the Newsnight anchor got in a tangle in a piece to camera on the subject of cuts. Not cunts, cuts. Presenting an item on the campaign group UK Uncut, Paxman added another letter to the word 'cuts', before suppressing a look of discombobulation and continuing with the piece. 'Supposing, though, some of the people who ought to be paying taxes so the cunts, cuts aren't so bad aren't actually doing so,' he said. Quality recovery, Paxo! The mistake follows a similar gaffe - in what could be described as an outbreak of cunts - by James Naughtie, who mangled the lack of culture secretary the vile and odious Hunt's surname on BBC Radio 4's Today programme. The error was repeated less than an hour later by his fellow presenter Andrew Marr. Mind you, in those two particular cases, the use of the word was possibly deliberate. Last month, Olly Foster, host of the BBC's Sportsday programme, also accidentally swapped the beginning of former Manchester United footballer Eric Cantona's surname for 'cunt' live on air. Discussing Paxman's slip, a BBC spokesman said: 'This was an unfortunate slip of the tongue and we apologise for any offence caused.'

Grandma's House, Simon Amstell's semi-autobiographical sitcom, has been commissioned for a second run on BBC2. Amstell and co-writer Dan Swimer are said to be currently working on six new scripts, which will be filmed towards the end of 2011. It is expected that Linda Bassett (Grandma), Rebecca Front (Tanya), Samantha Spiro (Auntie Liz) and James Smith (Clive) will all return for the second series, but the character of Simon's grandfather will be written out due to the death of actor Geoffrey Hutchings.

UKTV has said it will appeal a ruling that could force digital channel Dave to rebrand, after the broadcaster lost a trademark battle with a brand consultancy of the same name. Last week, the European Union's Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market - the body tasked with overseeing all trademarks and designs - sided with London-based communications agency the Engine Group, owners of the Dave brand consultancy, in a legal wrangle with UKTV. The UKTV G2 channel was successfully rebranded as Dave in 2007, but the Engine Group has since waged a battle against UKTV's bid to secure a European trademark for the name. The situation was complicated as both firms operate from offices on London's Great Portland Street, which the Engine Group claims has increased confusion and hindered its ability to trade. OHIM's ruling permits UKTV to use the Dave branding for selected merchandising items, but it will not be able to continue using the title as a channel brand. In a statement, a UKTV spokeswoman confirmed that the broadcaster - jointly owned by Virgin Media and BBC Worldwide - would appeal the verdict. 'UKTV has been operating Dave, TV's "Home of Witty Banter," for four years and at no stage has there ever been any confusion between us and brand consultancy, Dave Soho,' she said. 'We run a very successful channel and they're a brand consultancy agency. We are appealing the decision and are confident of a favourable outcome.'

Michael McIntyre has reportedly reduced a nine-year-old contestant to tears after buzzing him out on Britain's Got Talent. Youngster David Knight was aiming to impress judges McIntyre, Amanda Holden and David Hasselhoff with his stand-up comedy routine in Birmingham, reports the Sun. However, when Knight revealed before he had even started his act that Harry Hill was his favourite comedian, McIntyre chose to hit his buzzer, prompting the child to start crying and insist: 'I was about to say you were my favourite!' McIntyre quickly added: 'It was a joke - but it wasn't one of my best.' Knight went on to impress the panel with his performance, after which McIntyre admitted: 'I'm sorry. You're a star in the making.' Hasselhoff also said: 'You are not only the best nine-year-old comedian I have seen, you are the best comedian. You belong on that stage. I've never seen anyone intimidate Michael like that. I love you for it.' McIntyre later said of Knight's reaction: 'He had bought a one-way ticket to tears. I thought I was going to have to jump on the stage. The buzzer is so loud! I hope they edit that out - I don't want to see him jumping out of his skin.' The thirty four-year-old comic also caused another hopeful to storm off the stage after buzzing him out during his audition. The judge added: 'He's not the father of the young comedian, is he? That family hates me.'

Alex Jones has reportedly agreed to compete on this year's Strictly Come Dancing. BBC 'bosses' are said to have been delighted with The ONE Show presenter since she took over from Christine Bleakley, and plan to raise her profile by booking her on the reality competition. According to a source, Jones's handling of former co-host Jason Manford's recent departure particularly impressed executive. The alleged 'insider' allegedly told the Sun: 'Alex has been a dream come true for The ONE Show. She held the whole thing together and everyone's grateful. Bosses think it's her time to shine.'

Vic Reeves has revealed that he is still hoping to work on a new Smell Of Reeves & Mortimer-style studio show with his comedy partner Bob Mortimer. The duo's TV work in recent years has centred on comedy panel show Shooting Stars, but Reeves told the Digital Spy website that he is keen to work on a show similar to their Smell Of Reeves And Mortimer and Bang, Bang It's Reeves And Mortimer formats. Speaking at the Loaded LAFTAs, he said: 'We want to do another studio show, but if [broadcasters] don't want us to do it, we'll just have to do it on our own somewhere.'

Mexico's ambassador in London has complained to the BBC over 'offensive, xenophobic and humiliating' comments made about his country on Top Gear. You kind of knew that was going to happen, didn't you, dear blog reader? This is a Tuesday after a Top Gear episode, somebody whinging about some aspect of it is as predictable as clockwork. And, of course, some hippy Communists at the Gruniad Morning Star thought this was, like, rilly worth a load of column inches making a fuss over. Expect the goose-stepping lice at the Daily Scum Mail and their ilk to be not far behind in expressing their outrage and discombobulation at this affront to humanity. God, Britain's journalists must absolutely hate it when Top Gear isn't on air; they have, quite literally, nothing to write about. Eduardo Medina Mora has written to the BBC about 'insults' made by Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May. The BBC did not comment but said it would respond directly to Mora. Reviewing the Mastretta on Sunday's show, Hammond said: 'Mexican cars are just going to be lazy, feckless, flatulent, overweight, leaning against a fence asleep looking at a cactus with a blanket with a hole in the middle on as a coat.' Clarkson said he was confident he would not receive any complaints about their comments because the Mexican ambassador 'would be asleep.' However, the ambassador did complain, and demanded an apology from the BBC. 'The presenters of the programme resorted to outrageous, vulgar and inexcusable insults to stir bigoted feelings against the Mexican people, their culture, as well as their official representative in the United Kingdom,' he wrote. 'These offensive, xenophobic and humiliating remarks only serve to reinforce negative stereotypes and perpetuate prejudice against Mexico and its people.'

Speaking of someone with a sense of humour bypass, Karl Pilkington has confirmed plans for a second series of Sky1's risible and irksome An Idiot Abroad. As if life isn't bad enough already. And then, there's people who'll try and convince you that there is a God.

The BBC has successfully fought off a High Court challenge to a broadcast of a documentary about climate change sceptics. Lord Monckton had applied to Mr Justice Tugendhat for an injunction stopping the programme being shown until it included his right of reply. He said that he felt he had been 'unreasonably treated and misled' and complained of breach of contract. He told the judge in London that he wanted the programme, Meet The Climate Sceptics, to include his five hundred words words or three minutes which, he said, was proportionate in the context of a sixty-minute film almost exclusively about him. He said: 'What I'm not trying to do is extinguish the BBC's right to freedom of speech. I was for many years myself a journalist and it is not appropriate to say a programme should not be broadcast. I am merely asking for a right to reply to which I say I am entitled.' Lord Monckton said it was the least remedy that would meet the case as the damage to his reputation would otherwise be 'grave.' Desmond Browne QC, for the BBC, production company Fresh One Productions Ltd and film maker Rupert Murray, said that changes had been made to the film in the light of Lord Monckton's concerns about accuracy and bias. He told the court that the October 2010 contract provided for absolute editorial control by Fresh One and the BBC, there had been advance publicity for the broadcast and it would be problematic to show it at another time. He said that an injunction should not be granted as, though 'dressed up' as a claim in contract, the real complaint was one of defamation. The judge refused the application on the basis that the agreement on which Lord Monckton relied lacked the clarity which he submitted it had. The 'balance of justice' also favoured its refusal, he added. The programme filmed Lord Monckton over past year as he travelled across Australia and the United States challenging the proposition that increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes climate change and global warming.

Former EastEnders actress Louisa Lytton was charged for drink driving on Monday night. According to the Sun, the twenty one-year-old was stopped by police in the early hours of the morning in Belgravia. She was then, apparently, taken to a police station and booked for driving with excess alcohol. Lytton was pictured earlier in the evening on a night out in the West End.

Singer-turned-TV presenter and full-of-her-own-importance gobshite Myleene Klass says that she regrets revealing she was once propositioned by a married Hollywood star - and has vowed never to reveal the man's identity. The former Hear'Say singer claimed in September 2010 that a newlywed actor had asked her to sign 'some kind of sex contract' but she refused. It came just months after she alleged a movie producer offered to pay her for sex, and the revelations sparked a wave of gossip about the identity of the two men. Now Klass has admitted she rues ever making the second incident public - and insists she will never name the married actor involved. Unfortunately, like most people in the TV industry, Ms Klass is, simply, in love with the sound of her own voice and doesn't know when to shut up. She told Buzz magazine, 'That was so stupid of me. I've regretted mentioning it ever since - and before you ask, I will never reveal his name.'

Dire Straits' Mark Knopfler has proved he is still the sultan of swing to fortysomething middle class hippies, entertaining over five hundred thousand viewers with a BBC4 special - doubling the slot average for the broadcaster. Mark Knopfler: A Life in Songs broadcast on Friday examined the career of the guitarist across the 9pm hour, beating the digital channel's three month slot average of two hundred and sixty three thousand according to overnight BARB figures. The documentary was the most watched multichannel programme from 9.30pm to 10pm. BBC4 continued its celebration with Later Presents Mark Knopfler from 10pm to 11.10pm. Jools Holland presented a studio concert of Knopfler's from 1996 and recorded an average audience of five hundred and two thousand - again, double the slot average.

Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie are to leave their BBC Radio 2 evening show to present the weekday afternoon slot on BBC 6 Music. Radcliffe and Maconie's move to 6 Music is an effort by the BBC to further boost the digital station's audience, which has doubled over the last twelve months. Both DJs will retain a presence on Radio 2 – Radcliffe presenting a new late-night slot and Maconie fronting a fifty-part authored history of pop. They will be replaced by the risible Jo Whiley on the Radio 2 evening show. Whiley, who lost her weekday Radio 1 slot in 2009 to move to a weekend show, will leave Radio 1, bringing the curtain down on a seventeen-year career with the station which began brightly but ended wallowing in middle-of-the-road disappointment. 'I've loved working at Radio 1 for the past seventeen years. It's given me opportunities I could only have dreamt of,' said Whiley. 'As well as supporting my love of music, Radio 1 have also supported and accommodated me bringing three further children into the world, something, as a woman, I will always be grateful for.' Bob Shennan, the controller of Radio 2 and 6 Music, described Whiley as 'at the top of her game and a first-rate broadcaster with a great knowledge of music,' which proves that he knows nowt. 'I'm looking forward to her bringing her own brand of presenting to the Radio 2 evening schedule.' He added: 'This is another big moment in the history of 6 Music. Mark and Stuart's arrival will help us build on the phenomenal success of the past twelve months.' Radcliffe and Maconie have presented their Sony gold-winning Radio 2 weekday evening show since 2007, although it was cut back from four to three nights a week last year. The switch to the 1pm to 4pm slot on 6 Music, due to take place on 4 April, will inevitably mean a massive drop in the number of their listeners, Radio 2's audience more than ten times the average weekly reach for 6 Music. Radcliffe, who will present a new Tuesday late-night Radio 2 show, said: 'We feel like we have signed up to the future in a big way. The music policy of 6 is right up our street with its blend of heritage tracks and emerging new talent. We also look forward to stretching its musical remit even further by continuing to make our playlist as all embracing and eclectic as it has been on our evening show.'

A US woman has been arrested - for mooning the police officers who arrested her brother. Rita Zambrano, forty five, of Hamblen County Tennessee, saw police arresting her brother for driving offences. Cheeky. She allegedly turned around, dropped her pants and showed the officers her naked backside, reports the Knox News Sentinal. Ironically, she is still behind bars, charged with indecent exposure, while her brother Ronnie Waddell, forty four, has already been released on bail. Police officer David Gulley said that Waddell was arrested after officers saw him driving a car outside of his sister's apartment. As he and another officer cuffed Waddell, Gulley said that Zambrano stood in her doorway and harassed the officers. 'She was standing at her door and mooned me through the window on her front door,' Gulley said. He added that he was too busy to deal with Zambrano at the time, so he took Waddell to jail, then later issued a warrant for her arrest.

And so, dear blog reader, to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45(s) of the Day. Today, we celebrate the career of one of Britain's finest ever rockers, Dave Edmunds. Starting in the 1960s with a - fast - touch of the classics. Next, a Christmas number one, and an utter masterpiece.Dave also, famously did the second best cover version of 'Baby I Love You' ever. (Don't worry, dear blog reader, we'll get to The Ramones version eventually!) And, finally, with Rockpile, a stunning version of Elvis Costello's 'Girls Talk.'