Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Don't Believe Anyone And Most Of All Don't Believe Me

We start off today's selection of malarkey and shenanigans with a bit of, frankly, thoroughly disgraceful and crass gloating from this blogger. For which yer actual Keith Telly Topping sort-of apologises in advance, dear blog reader. The series finale of Top Gear on Sunday night had an overnight audience of 5.8m. So, stick that in yer cornet and smoke it, Gruniad Morning Star! And, when you've done that, go and find some frigging proper news to report for the next four months instead of manufactured 'outrage exclusives'!

Brian Cox has said that he does not mind being known as a 'pin-up professor.' The scientist, who was this week nominated for Best Presenter at the Royal Television Society Programme Awards, told Metro that he is not bothered by such a label. Cox said: 'If someone talking about science on television doesn't look like an old guy with stupid teeth, then good. It's not embarrassing. I'm not bothered.' Talking about his upcoming BBC2 show Wonders Of The Universe, which starts this coming Sunday, Brian added: 'I'm really proud of it. It's the film I wanted to make. I've got a good relationship with the production team at the BBC. I don't know how to make films but I have a clear view of what I want to have in them. If it was down to me, I'd force the content level up too high but they need to make something accessible and beautiful.'

Some more Ideal gossip now from 'our man on-set' in Manchester (and, apparently, he's cleared all of this with Graham Duff, so we're not revealing any state secrets here): The next series will feature 'at least' three 'extra special guests,' and, although I cannot - on pain of death - reveal any identities, I can give you three suitably enigmatic clues. Firstly, somebody whom Wor Alfie describes as 'a rock God' but who yer actual Keith Telly Topping reckons is far more important than that(!) And, as far as I can remember, I reckon this will be only the second-ever bit of acting work ever done by the individual involved. The first was a long time ago. Secondly, someone who has appeared on Question Time recently and thirdly an actress who has appeared in a film with Peter Sellers. For the identity of those concerned, however, you'll have to wait until the official announcements are made. Sorry, but it's more than my knackers are worth to divulge any more.

Ernie Hudson has reportedly signed up for a guest role in the next series of Torchwood. According to crew member Michael Colbert, the Ghostbusters actor will appear in one episode of the new ten-part run, Miracle Day. In a recent Twitter post, Colbert wrote: 'The one and only Ernie Hudson is guest starring on this ep [sic].' Referring to Hudson's Ghostbusters role, costumer Alana Stone added: 'Who you gonna call?' Hudson, who played Winston Zeddemore in both Ghostbusters films, has also featured in recurring roles on Law & Order, Heroes and Desperate Housewives.

BBC2 has cancelled the kitchen sitcom Whites, its star Alan Davies has revealed. The Qi regular, who played a celebrity chef in the series, Tweeted yesterday afternoon: 'Just heard Whites was cancelled by the BBC last week. Gutted. Worst news I've had in my whole career. Thanks to all who watched the show.' Peep Show's Isy Suttie, who played waitress Kiki in the series, added: 'Just heard our BBC2 series Whites has been cancelled. I am so sad. Thanks so much to everyone who watched and supported the show.' The sitcom, which also starred Katherine Parkinson, attracted fairly typical ratings for BBC2 to begin with. It started in September with an audience of 2.37 million, slipping to around one-and-a-half million by the end of the six-part series. It was written by Matt King, who plays Superhans in Peep Show, with Oliver Lansley. But, it simply wasn't very good. It had some nice ideas in it and good actors, but the thing never quite gelled for me. Or, it would seem, for many other viewers. Earlier this year, BBC comedy commissioner Cheryl Taylor admitted her department would have to cut some successful shows to make way for new ones, given that she had a limited budget. She said: 'BBC2 in particular has had a gobsmacking year, but that leaves us with a problem - albeit a nice one. I'm looking at that list of hits from last year, thinking "Which do you not give a second chance to?" We are in an enviable position in terms of plaudits, but an unenviable position of having to make some tough decisions.'

Former CSI regular Liz Vassey is to appear in an upcoming episode of Castle. TV Line reports that the actress will play a real estate broker who becomes caught up in a murder investigation. Vassey played lab technician Wendy Simms on CSI from 2005 to 2010. She recently featured in a recurring role on Two and a Half Men and has also appeared in episodes of True Calling, Dawson's Creek and ER.

The BBC Trust has given 'a clean bill of health' to the BBC's sports rights team, following a damning report on the corporation's acquisition of FA Cup radio rights in 2009. In October 2009, the Trust 'partially upheld' a complaint from commercial radio station TalkSport about the way in which the BBC Executive secured radio rights to FA Cup coverage. After an investigation, it was found that the BBC had breached its own competition guidelines when acquiring the rights and also failed to properly assess their value. A further probe, conducted by MTM London and commissioned by the Trust, looked at whether the BBC gets value for money when it bids for sports rights. The corporation spent a total of two hundred and sixty million pounds on acquiring such rights in 2009-10. Published this week, the report said that the BBC is 'effectively managing' the bidding process for sports rights, including an experienced team routinely analysing whether rights represent value for money. During the investigation period, the corporation failed to secure three out of eight acquisitions attempted, which the Trust felt was evidence that it is 'operating at market rates.' However, the report called on the BBC to more clearly document its approach to assessing the value of sports rights to competitors. It specifically said that mandatory market impact assessments must be done for all exclusive radio rights bids in excess of five hundred thousand pounds. MTM further noted that investment cases made by the BBC remain 'inconsistent' in their approach to comparing new acquisitions with existing sports rights held by the corporation. BBC trustee Anthony Fry said: 'The BBC's coverage of major sporting events is valued by the millions of people who view or listen to them every week. But sports rights don't come cheap and the Trust needs to ensure that the BBC is doing everything it can to secure best value for licence fee payers, while bringing them the best in sporting events coverage. The Trust welcomes the review. While it essentially gives the BBC's processes a clean bill of health, we note the recommendations for improvement and ask the BBC Executive to set out how they will deliver against them.'

Law & Order: UK's Bradley Walsh has admitted that the eating habits of his character Ronnie Brooks can be 'a major problem.' Speaking ahead of the launch of the new series next week, Walsh recalled one scene in particular which saw him eating four full-size pizzas. 'We were filming a scene where I'd have to eat a slice of an eighteen-inch pizza while walking and talking to Harriet Walter and Jamie Bamber,' he told What's On TV. 'We did fifteen takes! Later I worked out that over two hours I'd eaten about four full-size eighteen-inch pizzas!' He added: 'I couldn't eat for days afterwards!'

For the second year running, the anniversary of the death of reality TV regular and self-confessed racist Jade Goody will be marked by a documentary on Living. For a channel with that particular name, they don't half feature an awful lot of shows about dead people. According to the Sun, a newspaper which, let us remember, once described Goody as 'The Pig' and, on another occasion, 'the most hated woman in Britain,' Jade Changed My Life will feature contributions from her mother Jackiey Budden, her widower the convicted thug Jack Tweed and her ex-husband Jeff Brazier. It will also explore how the twenty seven-year-old's death allegedly raised awareness of cervical cancer. 'We feel Jade would want us to continue to help raise awareness of the disease,' producer Sarah Caplin said. Yeah, it's what she would have wanted. How many time are we going to hear that crass cliche trotted out whenever anything to do with this sad woman's life and untimely death is discussed? Last year, you may remember, Jade: A Year Without Her was broadcast by Living on the anniversary of Goody's death. Living's then head of programming, Claudia Rosencrantz, noted that: 'There hasn't been a day in this year without her that I haven't thought about Jade and her extraordinary courage,' whilst squirting salt water in her eyes. Allegedly. Personally, this blogger prefers to remember Jade Goody as the crass, boorish, ignorant woman who - with her cackling cohorts Danielle Lloyd and Jo O'Meara - gave poor Shilpa Shetty such a hard time in the Celebrity Big Brother house. Did you think we'd all forgotten about that just because the woman had the misfortune to get cancer, Living?

The new BBC legal drama Silk stayed above five million viewers on Tuesday evening, beating ITV's excellent documentary Leah's Dream according to overnight figures. The six-part drama series, starring Maxine Peake and Rupert Penry-Jones, continued with 5.08m on BBC1 in the 9pm hour. Silk easily outperformed Leah's Dream, a documentary about a child suffering with a rare form of dementia, which had just a fraction over two million on ITV and a further one hundred and eighthy three thousand viewers on +1. Such a pity, it's so nice to see ITV trying something that doesn't involve Simon Cowell for once.

BBC Worldwide, the corporation's commercial arm, has announced the first international sales of costume drama Upstairs Downstairs to six countries. The period drama, a revamped version of the series made by LWT in the 1970s, will be broadcast in Australia (ABC), Denmark (DR), Finland (YLE), Israel (IBA), New Zealand (Sky) and Sweden (TV4). Upstairs Downstairs, a co-production with US broadcaster PBS starring Keeley Hawes, Anne Reid and original cast member Jean Marsh, averaged seven million viewers for its three-part run on BBC1 from Boxing Day 2010. The BBC has already commissioned a second series of the drama, this time for six hour-long episodes to broadcast next year. Caroline Torrance, director of investment & content acquisitions at BBC Worldwide, said: 'Upstairs Downstairs is a wonderfully fresh take on a much loved classic, with great production values and a world-class ensemble cast, and we hope it will prove as popular with audiences around the world as it has with UK viewers.' The international sales of Upstairs Downstairs were agreed ahead of Worldwide's BBC Showcase event this week, in which more than five hundred programme buyers convene in Brighton to view the latest British content. Torrance added: 'With shows on the Showcase slate including Doctor Who, Luther, South Riding and Zen, we have a very broad selection of drama that reflects the strength of the BBC Worldwide catalogue.'

On a related note, BBC Showcase started some thirty five years ago in a small pub on Brighton seafront, with just a handful of buyers huddled around a projector watching early editions of Doctor Who. Now, more than five hundred representatives of broadcasters from around the world flock to the cavernous Brighton Centre to browse the best of British television. Worldwide is coy on the costs of staging Showcase, but is quick to state that up to fifty million pounds worth of business will be done by its Sales & Distribution team over the four-day event. Shows such as Top Gear, Life and Planet Earth remain perennial favourites, but this year British drama - buoyed by the all-conquering Sherlock - is building a serious buzz among the world's broadcasters. Showcase is where Worldwide - the BBC's commercial arm - really rolls out the red carpet for international buyers. The opening night saw an event featuring Richard Hammond interviewing the stars of Top Gear USA in a room surrounded by driving simulator games. This was followed by an evening devoted to new natural history series Frozen Planet, including an animatronic polar bear ready to guide guests into the dining room. But it's the packed floor of viewing booths where the majority of business is actually done, with buyers not only assessing the BBC's latest content, but also programming from ITV, Channel Four and Sky. The BBC sells its shows at various events around the world, most notably the annual MipCom event in Cannes, but Steve McAllister, managing director of Worldwide's S&D operation, said that Brighton is really the premiere selling opportunity. Showcase is the largest programme sales exposition in the world run by a single distributor, with more than three hundred shows up for grabs. McAllister described MipCom as being 'like speed dating' with the buyers, compared to the 'long meaningful dinner' of Showcase. The event is such a priority for Worldwide that next year it will shift from Brighton to a much larger venue in Liverpool to accommodate the ever growing interest. Hot shows at this year's Showcase include a raft of dramas, such as Sky1's Mad Dogs, BBC1's Luther and the new series of Channel Four's Misfits. Much of the current upsurge of interest in UK drama is down to Sherlock. Tim Mutimer, Worldwide's senior vice president of S&D in Europe, explained that the three-part mini-series has now been sold to more than eighty countries around the world, and was the fourth highest-rated drama of 2010 in Australia and France. The overseas success was partially down to the high profile appearance of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman at last year's Showcase, including promotional videos from the duo and their attendance at a Q&A session. Mutimer said: 'Drama is probably one of our fastest growing areas for programme sales, and we are now able to really compete with the US producers, but it's about getting the right acting talent to have presence overseas and getting them involved in the process.' Getting buy-in from top talent is a key part of gaining the interest of buyers and making sure homegrown shows are a success overseas. Mutimer gave the example of when the new series of Doctor Who was broadcast in France on the France Four network. To promote the show, Matt Smith and Karen Gillan appeared in a special promotional trailer and posed for a photoshoot for a one thousand poster site run. The two actors even engaged with prospective viewers on social media sites such as Facebook, helping to drive up the ratings when the programme was eventually shown. The process of selling content to overseas broadcasters generally involves knowing the individual markets extremely well. People all over the world have different viewing habits and preferences, meaning what works in the UK may fall flat elsewhere. But sometimes shows that have had limited success in Britain can find a good home overseas. The Deep, for example, was considered a relative ratings failure its five-episode run on BBC1 last year, but the presence of Minnie Driver and James Nesbitt and the undersea science fiction-like storyline helped the programme gain plenty of attention from other broadcasters. Isabelle Helle, who heads up Worldwide's S&D operation in Germany from a base in Cologne, said that German broadcasters generally prefer all imported programming to have a connection with Germany. She gave the example of Wonders Of The Solar System, which was broadcast in the German market with presenter Brian Cox replaced by a range of German psychics experts to increase the show's local appeal. Jorn Rover, head of the Natural History Unit at German broadcaster NDR and a buyer at Showcase, said that even BBC natural history legend Sir David Attenborough is not always a big enough name to make a sure-fire hit on German television. Instead, NDR prefers to bring in German experts on joint natural history expeditions with the BBC and other broadcasters, as a way of always ensuring a homegrown presence in the resulting programmes. Sarah Doole manages Worldwide's relationship with all comedy and drama productions from the independent sector, working with around one hundred and twenty UK independents to help them tap into the possibilities of selling overseas. Doole's remit includes offering guidance at the early stages of development of a TV series as to how it could better appeal to international broadcasters. Often, it's simply a matter of thinking slightly differently, such as shows being made more marketable in the US if they feature a single lead star, or an American actor in the cast. She gave the example of Robert Vaughan in Hustle, whose casting helped to give the programme a much wider potential overseas audience. Doole explained that independent producers have become 'excited' in recent years about the possibilities of marketing their content abroad, especially as it means they don't have to wait for the shows to be picked up by the BBC or ITV. Italian broadcasters have snapped up a range of BBC drama and factual programming, with Rai acquiring three-parter Opera Italia, in which conductor Antonio Pappano delves into the history of the art form in Italy. The Italian pubcaster has also picked up the Rolling Stones documentary Stones in Exile and U2=BBC, a behind-the-scenes look at Irish rock group U2. Rounding off the music-themed programme sales, Cielo Television has gone for BBC4's John Lennon biopic Lennon: Naked. Meanwhile, Rai has also acquired the dramas Misfits, Doctor Who ((seasons one through five), Primeval (series one to three) and Being Erica. Alongside drama, Worldwide has also secured deals for comedy productions, such as Psychoville being picked up by the US cable channel FearNet. Doole warned, though, that British comedy is not always transferable. The Royle Family, for example, with its uniquely British sensibilities is unlikely to work with too many overseas audiences. Other factors are also important, such as creating self-contained stories within episodes so they can be watched individually and avoiding dark, dreary backstreet settings in favour of more colourful backdrops. America used to be the market that all UK producers wanted to break into, but actually Europe is now showing the most growth. Many of the deals currently being done by independents are for co-productions, hooking up with a European broadcaster to pool resources and jointly produce a new series. Doole said that this can generate excellent results, as money and creativity combine to produce a winning formula. However, she cautioned that co-production is not for everyone as there are generally 'strings attached' to any agreement. In the worst case, these relationships can result in a 'Euro pudding' being produced, a programme reduced to the lowest common denominator by the demands of all of the parties involved. Ben MacDonald holds the unique role in Worldwide of an international executive producer, responsible for developing co-production relationships across Europe. He recently brokered a deal with France TV to jointly develop Death In Paradise, a new comedy drama from Tony Jordan at Red Planet Pictures. MacDonald said that 'co-pro' agreements require a shared vision between the two broadcasters, but can ultimately produce 'very expensive' programmes that neither party could afford on their own. Death In Paradise is about an English detective named Richard Gill, who moves to the Caribbean island of Sainte Marie. Under the development programme with France TV it has already been agreed that Gill's sidekick Camille will be played by a French actress and the sense of glamour on the island will be heightened, largely to ensure that the show appeals more to a French audience. MacDonald said that joint productions such as Death In Paradise are all about developing a show which works for both broadcasters, but also crucially retains what made the idea stand out in the first place.

Hawaii Five-0 producer Paul Zbyszewski has promised that viewers will soon see more of the character of Wo Fat. He told TV Guide that the origins of the villain, played by Mark Dacascos, will be explored in new cast member Larisa Oleynik's debut episode. '[Her character Jenna] brings some of that Wo Fat backstory to light and sheds new light on his character,' explained Zbyszewski. 'She sort of reinvigorates McGarrett's interest.' He also confirmed that the Wo Fat character, played by Khigh Dheigh in the original Hawaii Five-0, will likely recur throughout the series. 'We see him in terms of a series-long character, much like the original Five-0,' he said.

Sky1 has started production on its new comedy drama Mount Pleasant. The eight-part series stars former Coronation Street actress Sally Lindsay as Lisa, a married woman living in Manchester. Lisa is unaware that another woman, Kate, is trying to seduce her husband, Dan. She also has to keep her neighbour Bianca away and battles with her feelings for new resident Jack. The show stars Daniel Ryan as Dan, while Liza Tarbuck will play Kate. The cast also includes Bobby Ball, Pauline Collins, Angela Griffin, Paula Wilcox, Sian Reeves, Adrian Bower, Neil Fitzmaurice and Owen McDonnell. Sky1's head of comedy Lucy Lumsden said: 'I'm delighted with the wealth of talent that surrounds Mount Pleasant both on and off screen. What better way to kick off Sky's plans for original British comedy? Our customers are in for a treat.' Production on Mount Pleasant has begun in Manchester and is expected to continue through June. The show is scheduled to broadcast on Sky1 in the Autumn.

Joan Collins has revealed that she was hospitalised after feeling faint at an Oscar party on Sunday night. The former Dynasty actress told the New York Post that her husband, Percy Gibson, called for an ambulance at Hollywood's Sunset Tower Hotel after she suddenly began to feel ill. 'We had been there for seven hours, and I started feeling dizzy. I tried to get some air, but I felt really faint,' she said. The actress added: 'We went to the hospital, and they did all the tests before the doctors told me I was absolutely fine and released me.' Collins further expressed her belief that the health scare might have been caused by her gown, which she claims was too tightly fitted. 'The truth was, I made the wrong decision to wear a very tight dress, and had something rather like a Victorian swoon,' she remarked. 'The good news is, I am in good health and feel fine today.'

Collins' one-time co-star in City on the Edge of Forever, William Shatner has admitted that he did not realise how unique the genre of situation comedy is. The actor, who is current starring in $#*! My Dad Says, told Entertainment Weekly that filming the series has been an education. Shatner explained: 'The situation comedy is a whole entity that I never knew existed. It's an entity unto itself. It's a hybrid that has become a whole being. Doing a situation comedy, a four-camera show in front of an audience, is absolutely like nothing else. It's not like stand-up, it's not like doing a question-and-answer at a convention, it's not like doing the theatre, it's not like doing a film, and it's not like doing a regular television show.' He added: 'I was shocked, the first couple of shows, about the energy, and the intrusion by people who didn't belong there. People are moving around on the floor. It's like you're doing a sketch at a party. People come up, "How are you doing?" I'm in the middle of a scene! It's bizarre.' Shatner added that he hopes CBS will do more to advertise the show, after claiming on Twitter that the network 'doesn't seem to be promoting' the comedy.

Actors David Tennant and Jim Broadbent have been nominated for best actor at this year's Royal Television Society Programme Awards. Tennant, up for his role in Single Father, and Broadbent, recognised for Any Human Heart, will go against Johnny Harris, star of This Is England '86. Julie Walters is niminated for best actress for her role as the late politician Mo Mowlam in the Channel Four drama Mo, which won her a BAFTA award last year. The bipoic is also short listed for best single drama and drama writing. Natalie Press and Vicky McClure are also nominated for their performances in Five Daughters and This Is England '86. Downton Abbey, Sherlock and Misfits are also all shortlisted for best drama series. British Comedy Award winner Miranda Hart is nominated for comedy performance for her BBC series Miranda, while the show is also up for best scripted comedy along with The Inbetweeners and Rev. Channel Four ratings success My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding is among the nominations for best single documentary.

An online archive of hundreds of episodes of BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs is being launched next month. Fans will be able to download more than five hundred episodes from the Radio 4 website. The website will also list the records, books and luxury item chosen for the imaginary desert island stay by every guest in the show's sixty nine-year history. Classic editions will also be rebroadcast on the digital station Radio 4 Extra, which is due to replace Radio 7 in April. Its illustrious guests each choose eight pieces of music to take to a desert island as well as discussing their lives and careers in often revealing interviews. The current presenter Kirsty Young called the archive 'a real treat,' adding: 'Everyone has the chance get their hands on the Desert Island Discs archive and hear the music, book, luxury and lives of hundreds of castaways from programmes gone by.' The presenter will update classic shows for transmission on Radio 4 Extra, while hour-long versions of more recent interviews will also be broadcast with previously unheard material. The revised repeats are set to be heard when the programme is off the air for around ten weeks of the year. The rebranding of digital spoken word network Radio 7 was approved by the BBC Trust last month, aligning it more closely with Radio 4. The essential format of Desert Island Discs is little changed since its first broadcast in 1942. However, castaways were only afforded luxury items from 1951. Since that date, Paul McCartney has chosen a guitar, Neil Kinnock asked for Radio 4, and Jeffrey Archer wanted a plasticine figure of former host Roy Plomley with a supply of pins.

Bedlam fell below two hundred thousand viewers on Monday night, according to overnight audience data. Sky Living's first venture into drama has so far failed to capture the audience's imagination, as the supernatural show was watched by just one hundred and eighty nine thousand viewers for its fourth episode - which guest starred Gavin & Stacey actress Joanna Page.

Katee Sackhoff has revealed that she is in talks to star in new FX project Powers. It was previously reported that the cable network had ordered a pilot episode based on the comic book by writer Brian Michael Bendis. Responding to a fan query on Twitter, former Battlestar Galactica actress Sackhoff wrote: '[I] already met on Powers last year! I love it! I've just been waiting for a green light to go after it!' Powers follows two homicide detectives as they investigate crimes committed by super-powered criminals. Sackhoff is believed to be under consideration for the lead role of Deena Pilgrim, the partner to former costumed hero Christian Walker. The Powers pilot will be scripted by Walking Dead writer Charles Eglee and filmed by Law & Order director Michael Dinner.

Angela Jain, the former boss of E4, has joined ITV as the broadcaster's new director of digital channels and acquisitions. Jain takes on the role previously held by Zai Bennett, who accepted the position of controller of BBC3 late last year. Reporting to ITV's director of programme strategy David Bergg, Jain will be responsible for the broadcaster's suite of digital channels - ITV2, ITV3, ITV4 and CITV. Discussing her appointment, Jain said: 'This is undoubtedly an exciting time to be joining ITV. ITV2, 3 and 4 are already some of the most watched digital channels in the UK and I can't wait to take the helm and work with Peter, David and their hugely talented team to build on this success.' Peter Fincham, ITV's director of television, added: 'Angela has a very impressive background in finding hot new talent, having an eye for acquisitions that create a real buzz and delivering returning favourites time and time again. She is also one of the most talented commissioners in the industry today, nurturing new talent to bring original ideas to screen. I'm delighted that she'll be joining ITV to build on the success of our digital channels.' Jain left Channel Four at the start of the year after helping develop a slate of hit shows for E4, including The Inbetweeners and Misfits, as well as acquiring US musical comedy Glee. Under her guidance, E4 grew its audience share among sixteen to thirty four year-olds by thirty five per cent, helping the network win Channel of the Year at last month's Broadcast Awards. Prior to working at E4, she was commissioning editor for factual entertainment at Channel Four and deputy controller of entertainment at Channel Five.

Lionel Blair and Una Stubbs will reunite in a special edition of Give Us A Clue, as part of David Walliams's Twenty Four Hour Panel People. As part of Comic Relief, Walliams will perform in a panel show marathon, which will see a host of classic programmes resurrected and reinvigorated alongside current favourites. Blair and Stubbs will be joined by Walliams and Christopher Biggins for their segment of the event. Other highlights will see David Frost and Lloyd Grossman return to Through The Keyhole, Nick Hancock hosting a revival of the sports quiz They Think It's All Over, and Clive Anderson, Tony Slattery and Josie Lawrence revisiting Whose Line Is It Anyway? The BBC's first panel show What's My Line will also be given the Comic Relief treatment, when Biggins and Stephen K Amos join Walliams as guests. Contemporary hits Have I Got News For You, Qi, Mock The Week and 8 Out Of 10 Cats will also make an appearance on the roster. Throughout the twenty four-hour period, Walliams will perform as host, team captain and panellist across the range of shows. And drink a lot of coffee to stay awake, one imagines. David Tennant, Jack Dee, Stephen Fry, Miranda Hart, Claudia Winkleman, Jason Manford, David Mitchell, Dara O'Briain, Paul O'Grady, Sue Perkins, Jo Brand, Jimmy Carr, Lee Mack, Richard Bacon, Vernon Kay, Barbara Windsor, Russell Tovey, Charlie Brooker, Ulrika Jonsson, Patricia Hodge and Jedward are just some of those taking part.

The Daily Torygraph's journalists have been provisionally cleared by an internal investigation into the leak of taped recordings of Vince Cable 'declaring war' on Rupert Murdoch. An inquiry by the private investigation firm Kroll for Telegraph Media Group has initially concluded that none of the paper's editorial staff were involved in the leak of the explosive recording to the BBC's Robert Peston. Kroll's inquiries have concentrated instead on trying to explain how the BBC obtained the tape recording of Cable's remarks, and whose broadcast on BBC News forced David Cameron to strip Cable of his responsibility for media mergers. An 'inside source' allegedly said that members of the Telegraph's IT team had been closely questioned about the leak. They included the former technical support manager, Jim Robinson, who was questioned in January. He chose to leave the Torygraph at the end of that month, and has since been appointed to a post at News International. Robinson has not yet started his new job because he is currently serving a three-month period of gardening leave. It is known that Robinson, who had spent seventeen years with the Torygraph group, was particularly incensed by the questioning. A 'friend' told the Gruniad Morning Star that he was upset at what Robinson called 'an interrogation' which called into question his integrity and his loyalty to the company. At another point, it is understood that the questioner offered him amnesty if he confessed. 'We'll forget about you,' he was told, 'if you give us Mr Big.' Robinson, who was strenuous in his denials of any involvement in the leaking of material, is said to have been amazed at the offer which, he told friends, made no sense to him. Kroll's inquiry, which one editorial executive described as 'frighteningly thorough,' is continuing. It follows a bizarre episode in December when Cable told two Torygraph reporters, who posed as constituents, that he had 'declared war' on Murdoch by referring his offer to buy out BSkyB to the media regulator Ofcom. The paper published other comments made by Cable on 20 December, but omitted his quotes about Murdoch from its initial report. Instead, the remarks were published by Peston, the BBC's business editor, on his blog, and the tape was subsequently played on the BBC news. Ever since the incident, the circumstances surrounding the leak have been the subject of intense speculation. Snitchy Peston told the Gruniad that he had received the recording from 'a whistleblower,' who told him at the time that the Torygraph 'had made a commercial decision not to publish those remarks.' It was widely alleged that the Torygraph chose not to publish Cable's comments about Murdoch because it believed it would lead to his sacking as business secretary, removing a potentially serious obstacle to Sky's efforts to buy out BSkyB. And, as it happens, they were mostly correct in that assumption. TMG is a leading member of the alliance of media groups opposed to News Corp's bid to acquire the sixty one per cent of BSkyB which it does not already own. The newspaper vigorously denied pulling the story for commercial reasons, insisting it was an editorial decision. It chose to lead the paper on Cable's assertion that he had the power to bring down the coalition government if he so wished. Senior figures said the Murdoch story was a secondary, media matter and that it had been planning to run that on the following day. Cable has since complained to the Press Complaints Commission about the paper's use of 'subterfuge.' Although, actually, he should be complaing to his constituents that they election a bloody buffoon.

Liam Gallagher has revealed that he is a fan of the children's TV show Rastamouse. The Beady Eye frontman told the Sun that he disagrees with criticism over the character's use of non-standard English. The singer said: 'Come on man, people speak like that. D'ya know what I mean?' Well, precisely. Gallagher added that he often takes the opportunity to rest whilst his sons Lennon and Gene watch television. 'It's an excuse for a kip,' he said. 'I say, "You stay there, here's your popcorn, wake me up at the end."' Style.

Sri Lanka's cricket team vice-captain Mahela Jayawardene is considering legal action in response to commentary which implied that he was guilty of match-fixing. A state television broadcast suggested Jayawardene deliberately played badly for financial gain in Saturday's World Cup defeat by Pakistan. Jayawardene said that his lawyer was drafting a letter to 'get to the bottom' of the accusation. The allegation was also levelled at batsman Thilan Samaraweera. Sri Lanka lost the game against Pakistan by eleven runs, with Jaywardene scoring two runs while Samaraweera scored one. A commentary on Sunday on Sri Lankan state TV network, ITN, written by the editor of a state newspaper, Mahinda Abeysundara, said that a businessman had bet about eighteen thousand dollars on a Pakistan victory and that there had therefore been what he called 'a chorus to change the game.' The commentator then remarked: 'We just think Mahela and Thilan may have changed the game.' The commentary was accompanied by slow-motion extracts from the match, sad music and blurry shots implying financial impropriety. Leaving comments on social networking sites such as Facebook, Sri Lankan fans have expressed outrage at the broadcast. One said: 'How dare you tell that Mahela and Thilan are betrayers? This is so disgusting.' Another called the coverage 'shameless.'

Footballer Luis Moreno has been criticised after kicking an owl during a match in Colombia on Sunday. Video footage showed that the referee had stopped the game after a ball struck the bird, which is used as a mascot by home team Atletico Junior. As the match was paused, Deportivo Pereira defender Luis Moreno kicked the owl off the pitch, The Associated Press reports. 'I want to apologise to the fans,' Moreno explained. Sod the fans, matey, what about apologising to the owl! 'I was not trying to hurt the owl. I did it to see if it would fly.' Be fair, as excuses go, that's a pretty bizarre one. Atletico Junior player Luia Paez said: 'It made me very angry that he kicked the little animal. It was already injured by being struck by the ball. I said a bunch of awful things to him. I was really angry.' The bird was expected to fully recover from a fracture of its right leg after it was treated at a vets in Barranquilla but, subsequently died, apparently of shock. Pereira president Francisco Javier Lopez said that Moreno, who has reportedly received death threats over the incident, will be punished. What, a damned good kicking?

Kerry Katona has declared that she doesn't think Cheryl Cole needs elocution lessons to crack the US market. The reality TV star said that if Cole doesn't talk as fast, the American audience will be able to understand her. She told Now: 'That's one of the reasons we love her. No-one can understand my accent but I'm proud of who I am. I'd never have elocution lessons. She just needs to talk a lot slower.' Is there any subject under the sun that this awful fraction of a non-entity of a woman will not, instantly, form an opinion on to get herself quoted in newspapers and magazines? It appears not.

Lastly, today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. And, it's beautiful. I mean, quite literally! (I've gone for a straight musical presentation rather than the - awful - 'official' video tie-in with the movie Road Trip. As Mark Everett noted at the time: 'They made me be in a humiliating video where I drove a bus full of the film's actors around. I felt like an idiot. The only good part about it was when they shot a scene of me beating the shit out of some of them!' God damn right.)