Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Me Come To Teach Ya Right And Not Me Wrong

Brian Cox was a double winner at the Royal Television Society Awards on Tuesday night. The physicist won best presenter and took the science and natural history prize for Wonders Of The Solar System. Also taking two prizes was comedian Miranda Hart, who has won huge acclaim for her BBC2 sitcom Miranda. Jim Broadbent was named best actor for his role in Channel Four's Any Human Heart, while Vicky McClure got best actress for C4's This Is England '86. The series, which continued the story of characters first seen in Shane Meadows' film This Is England, was also the winner of the best drama writer prize, shared by Meadows and Jack Thorne. The BBC took the lion's share of the awards, on Tuesday evening, with ITV taking two - the best entertainment performance for Ant and Dec and the entertainment title, which went to The X Factor. Cox beat newspaper editor turned CNN talk show host Piers Morgan and BBC Radio 1's Reggie Yates to win best presenter. He thanked the BBC for allowing an academic to become a presenter. Cox has said previously that the inspiration for the series was Carl Sagan's Cosmos: A Personal Journey, which the BBC screened in 1981, and that his hope was that he will inspire a new generation to marvel at Earth's place in the universe. Hart collected the prize for best comedy performance and her show landed the award for best scripted comedy. 'I'm really thrilled because I don't really like writing - I find it really hard work,' she said as she collected her scriptwriting prize. The best soap prize went to EastEnders, beating Coronation Street in its fiftieth year. But BBC4's film looking at how the soap made it to the screen, The Road To Coronation Street, took the prize for best single drama. Following huge critical acclaim and audience numbers, ITV's Downton Abbey was left empty-handed, losing out on the drama series prize to BBC1's Sherlock. The man behind Sherlock and the creative force on Doctor Who, The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat, was also given the judges' award for his outstanding contribution to TV. The Doctor Who spin-off Sarah Jane Investigates was given the best children's drama serial award. BBC1's Five Daughters, which portrayed the real-life stories of a group of women working as prostitutes, who were murdered in Ipswich in 2006, was named best drama serial. The comedy writer prize was awarded for BBC4 series Getting On, starring and co-written by Jo Brand, which follows nurses looking after geriatric and terminally ill patients. Meanwhile, CBBC show Horrible Histories won the children's programme title.

Ian Squires is being promoted to controller of operations and current affairs as part of a 'management restructuring' at ITV News. Squires, currently ITV regions and current affairs controller, will report to Mike Jermey, director of news, current affairs and sport at the network. The restructuring follows Friday's announcement that ITV News editor-in-chief David Mannion is stepping down. Mannion is taking a strategy role advising ITN chief executive John Hardie and is not being directly replaced. ITN produces ITV's national news bulletins. ITV has also hired Sky News head of digital Julian March for the newly created job of head of digital media, ITV News & Sport. Other changes to encourage more integration at ITV News include the abolition of the three regional news director posts and morning show Daybreak being brought more directly in to the management structure. In future heads of news in each regional newsroom will report to Guy Phillips, director of ITV news group projects, who is taking on the role of editor, ITV regional news. Two of the regional news directors are staying with ITV. Mike Blair, director of ITV Wales, Granada and Central, is becoming editor of current affairs and director of ITV Anglia, Yorkshire, Tyne Tees and Border, Neil Thompson, is taking up a project-based role as managing editor of the ITV News 'transformation programme.' The third regional director, Mark Southgate, who oversees ITV Meridian, London, West & West Country, will leave the broadcaster at the end of April. Meanwhile, Daybreak's head of news Alan Rook is joining the ITV News management team. In addition to working for Daybreak's editor Ian Rumsey, Rook will report to Squires. In a letter outlining all the changes to staff, Jermey said: 'We'll be holding regular meetings with the Daybreak news team to discuss the output and to begin the process of developing a more closely co-operative model across the whole of ITV News.' Daybreak has struggled to win more viewers than its predecessor GMTV and last week ITV finally admitted what anybody with a brian in their head could've told them months ago, that it had 'not performed as well as we had hoped.' Yeah. Pretty much. 'Following David Mannion's decision to step down as editor-in-chief, Deborah Turness and Jonathan Munro in the network newsroom at ITN will both become key members of the new leadership team,' Jermey said. 'It's the beginning of a transformation process within News and will be directed by a new team within ITV Broadcasting which I will lead. It will meet on a weekly basis and between meetings will work on a number of work streams aimed at reinvigorating all our programmes and working methods.' Jermey said that he will soon be visiting all newsrooms, in Daybreak, ITN, and in the regions. And, in the case of the former, tell them to get their ruddy fingers out. Probably.

Check out Wor Hannah Bayman BBC North's weather presenter getting up close and personal with the Northern Lights. Mmmm ... green.

The government on Tuesday unveiled 'sweeping changes' to the libel laws aimed at protecting freedom of speech and bringing an end to so-called 'libel tourism' from abroad. Ken Clarke, the justice secretary, published a draft bill which includes a new 'public interest' defence that can be used by defendants in defamation cases and a requirement that claims can demonstrate 'substantial harm' before they can sue. The bill will also signal an end to the use of juries in libel trials apart from 'in exceptional circumstances,' and aims to end libel tourism by making it tougher to bring overseas claims which have little connection to the UK through in the English courts. Clarke, unveiling the draft bill on Tuesday alongside minister of state for justice Lord McNally, said the bill would 'ensure that anyone who makes a statement of fact or expresses an honest opinion can do so with confidence. The right to speak freely and debate issues without fear of censure is a vital cornerstone of a democratic society,' he added. 'In recent years, though, the increased threat of costly libel actions has begun to have a chilling effect on scientific and academic debate and investigative journalism.' The bill includes a new statutory 'defence of truth' which will replace the current common law 'defence of justification.' It also includes a statutory 'defence of honest opinion' replacing the current common law 'defence of fair and honest comment.' In a bid to stamp out libel tourism, a court will not accept jurisdiction unless satisfied that England and Wales is 'clearly' the most appropriate place to bring the action against someone who does not live in the UK or an EU member state. The bill will also remove the presumption in favour of jury trial as part of a series of measures to cut costs and speed up court cases. The government has also begun a consultation on issues not covered by the draft bill, including responsibility for publication on the Internet. It will ask whether the law should be changed to give greater protection to secondary publishers such as Internet service providers and discussion forms. Interestingly, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg used an op ed piece in the Gruniad Morning Star to speak in favour of ending 'this farce' adding that 'In such an age ideas are everything and openness reigns supreme. Power rests, increasingly, on winning the argument, and censorship has no place.' Which is great, particularly as it means that if, for instance, this blogger were ever to describes Nick Clegg as a vile and odious little weasel of a man who has sold the soul of his party for a right good brown-tongued lick of power, under the new proposals which Clegg clearly supports, that would appear to be a classic example of where the 'defence of honest opinion' would be appropriate. That's nice to know.

Yer Keith Telly Topping did enjoy a letter posted in Tuesday's Metro which notes that 'Brian Cox informs us that the universe will cease to exist in a trillion, trillion, trillion years. Does he reckon Arsenal will have won a major trophy by then?'

Bodies writer Jed Mercurio is to put 'the controversial and perverse realities of Twenty First Century policing' under the spotlight in his new BBC2 drama, Line of Duty. The writer claims that the thriller will tackle the issues that police dramas generally avoid and features two characters, DI Steve Andrews and DC Kate Fletcher who lead an investigation into the alleged corruption of a Serious Crime Unit and its popular head, Anthony Tate. So, exactly what Between The Lines did nearly twenty years ago in other words. Not that I'm knocking it sight unseen, you understand dear blog reader, yer Keith Telly Topping just doesn't like claims of huge originality unless it's a crime drama about a special unit who investigate people who poke badgers with spoons. Or the like. In Line of Duty, while Tate manipulates his unit's figures, Andrews questions whether Tate is being made a scapegoat for a culture of institutionalised spin, or is guilty of darker corruption. Line of Duty, which will follow one multi-stranded investigation over five hours, is Mercurio's first BBC series since the BAFTA-nominated Bodies, based on his book. The series began on BBC3 in 2004 and transferred to BBC2 and although it attracted critical acclaim and a cult following, it was cancelled after its second series following declining viewing figures. The new drama was commissioned by the controller BBC drama commissioning Ben Stephenson and BBC2 controller Janice Hadlow and will be produced by World Productions. Stephenson said:'“Continuing in BBC2 drama's new direction, Jed Mercurio's new series is a unique perspective on modern day policing with epic characters, incredible real life detail and a thrilling plot. It's an honour to have Jed back on the BBC.' Line of Duty will film in Birmingham later this year. Executive producers are Simon Heath (United, Outlaws, Hancock & Joan) for World Productions and Stephen Wright for the BBC.

The BBC has issued 'best practice guidance' for programme makers in a bid to address audibility issues, following a year-long research project into the problem. The study, which was conducted last year using a panel of twenty thousand people, found that some sixty per cent had problems hearing what was said in many TV programmes. While this was particularly acute in people over fifty five, hearing was an issue for the general population. The research also found that hearing began to deteriorate in people's forties. As a result, a series of recommendations are being put forward by the corporation in the form of online videos posted on the BBC Academy's College of Production website, for anyone to use. Suggestions include reducing music by four decibels – a level not considered to have editorial impact, but enough to improve audibility – and improved planning around sound. Editorial executive for BBC1 and BBC3 Tanya Motie, who commissioned the research, said: 'What's happened over the years is that the emphasis has been more and more on creating beautiful pictures, and the sound side has become something of a poor relation. We are asking producers to just plan for sound a bit more – the majority of problems you can fix before you shoot anything – for example, the choice of locations, having the right mics, getting the right training for your sound engineer. You shouldn't rely on sorting everything out in the edit.' She added: 'We are not asking for radical changes, we are talking about tweaks – we are not saying music equals bad. We are just asking for more thought in the planning process, which can make things so much better.' BBC1 controller Danny Cohen said: 'The BBC has listened to its audience and worked hard to understand fully the different issues that viewers have with television sound. I am delighted that the BBC has created a series of comprehensive "best practice" films to support our producers and the wider production community to make clear, well-crafted television sound. I am particularly grateful to the support the Voice of the Listener and Viewer and the Royal National Institute for the Deaf and its membership has given us to help make this a reality.'

The Olympic countdown clock in London is working again after suffering a technical glitch on its first day of operation. Engineers were called in to get the four tonne time piece up and running after it suddenly stopped working yesterday afternoon. London 2012 organising committee chairman Lord Coe confirmed that the clock had been fixed. Displaying a wry, fatalist sense of humour that we should probably expect to see much of over the next sixteen months, he noted: 'It's one of those windups sent to test us.' Coe had launched the clock, which is located in Trafalgar Square, with a firework display on Monday evening. A spokesperson for the clock's manufacturer's Omega said that the company was 'very disappointed that the clock has suffered this technical issue.' The company also confirmed that it has flown its chief engineer over from Switzerland to investigate the cause of the glitch. By a curious quirk of fate, the first episode of the new BBC4 comedy Twenty Twelve, which spoofs the run-up to the Olympics, had featured a clock with a countdown that starts on the wrong day.

Sky1 has revealed the details of new two-part documentary series Rooftop Rainforest. Due to be broadcast in April, the show follows ecologist and wildlife expert Dusty Gedge, who is attempting to bring an indoor rainforest to London's Westfield Centre. Speaking about the project, Gedge said: 'This is a unique endeavour for someone who creates habitats at roof level. No-one has attempted to create a rainforest on a roof before. It is certainly an interesting challenge but pretty daunting too.' Sky1 executive producer Mark Aldridge said: 'This programme is a truly unique endeavour, which has drawn upon the expertise of individuals from across Sky and has brought together an array of people from across many different walks of life from outside of Sky. The event is a testament to the power of people pulling together and highlights an environmental issue that affects us all.' Rival Media's Mark Aldridge said: 'This is one of the most challenging projects Rival have ever been involved with. Dusty has only seventy days to build a rainforest on a rooftop. It's an extraordinary experiment and we still don't know if he's going to achieve it or not.' The programme is part of a Rainforest Week, which will include a range of programmes aiming to raise awareness of issues facing our planet. Other shows across Sky's channels include Steve Jones's The Jones Boys' Amazon Adventure, the Donald Sutherland-narrated The Mighty River and and National Geographic Wild's Backyard Zoo, My Lion Family and Swamp Men.

Channel Four's first product placement deal is with high street chain New Look, for a new show in 'youf strand' T4. New Look clothes will feature extensively during a series of catwalk competitions on the live entertainment show. The show is being partly funded by New Look, which will also have sponsorship branding in the title sequences. The programme, which will launch in the summer, will involve a nationwide hunt for fashion-savvy girls, who will then compete to put together catwalk shows. The winner will get a job at New Look. The government relaxed rules on product placement in TV shows last month, but broadcasters have been tentative in tapping in to the market – some believe it could be worth one hundred million pounds a year – with the only confirmed deal to date Nescafé planting a coffee machine in ITV's This Morning. New Look's T4 show is being made by independent producer Twofour, with involvement from the brand's advertising agency Mother. The New Look group chief marketing officer, Nick Cross, said that show was 'a natural next step' and a 'celebration of "real–time" fashion as it's lived on the high street.' The Channel Four head of sponsorship, David Charlesworth, said that product placement is 'integral to squaring the circle of measurable value within the funded content arena.'

Two men found guilty of helping gunman Raoul Moat have been jailed for life, with minimum forty and twenty-year terms. Karl Ness, twenty six, and Qhuram Awan, twenty three, were convicted on Friday of helping Moat carry out his shooting rampage which terrorised Northumberland last year. At Newcastle Crown Court, Ness was given a forty-year minimum term, while Awan must serve at least twenty years. Mr Justice McCombe said: 'The roles played by these two defendants cannot be minimised. [They] willingly joined in a plan to commit random murders.' Ness was convicted of the July 2010 murder of Chris Brown, the partner of Moat's ex-girlfriend Samantha Stobbart. Both were found guilty of the attempted murder of PC David Rathband, conspiracy to murder and robbery. Ness, of Dudley - whose Facebook pace includes the charming opinion that 'all police informers must fuckin [sic] rot, the horrible little kuntz' [sic] - was also convicted of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life. Awan, of Blyth, was cleared of that charge. The judge said: 'The roles played by these two defendants cannot be minimised. While the offences may not have been committed without Moat, it is difficult to see that they could have been committed in the manner they were without Ness and Awan respectively.' He said that Ness and Awan were a danger to the public. 'Each defendant willingly joined in a plan to commit random murders of police officers, knowing precisely what Moat had already done to Mr Brown and Miss Stobbart,' he said. 'The plan resulted in an offence that nearly achieved the aim.' The pair had denied all counts and claimed they had been held hostage by Moat. Ness always admitted that he had travelled with Moat to the scene of the shootings in Birtley, where Brown and Stobbart were shot, but said that he had stayed in the van whilst Moat carried out the grisly deed. Awan helped the pair afterwards by driving a getaway car to a woodland hideout. Awan drove Moat to the junction of the A1 and A69 in Denton where Moat shot Northumbria Police traffic officer PC Rathband and left him for dead. Rathband was blinded when Moat shot him in the face. Stobbart, who had been in a relationship with Brown, whilst Moat was in prison was seriously injured and needed hospital treatment. Rathband was in court and wept as the details of his injuries were outlined. Speaking outside court, he said: 'Both Ness and Awan will be very old people before they are released or considered for release and long may they stay there. These two individuals, along with the other coward who wasn't man enough to stay here, have taken my job from me.' Following the shootings, a manhunt started for Moat. The thirty seven-year-old died a week later after a six-hour stand-off with police in Rothbury, on 10 July. Defending Ness, Paul Sloan QC said: 'Had it not been for Moat, none of these offences would have been committed.' Jeremy Carter-Manning, defending Awan, also referred to Moat saying: 'This trial is Hamlet without the Prince.' He added that psychiatric tests showed his client was 'easily led' and that he remained 'horrified' by the officer's shooting. Detective Supt Jim Napier, of Northumbria Police, said: 'We welcome these sentences, which reflect the severity of the crimes Karl Ness and Qhuram Awan were involved in. Both men now have a long time in which to reflect on their cowardly actions which left one man dead, two people seriously injured and countless others traumatised. Throughout that week last July both men had numerous opportunities to stop these unfolding events and prevent people being killed and injured. However neither took any responsibility for their actions.'

Jamie Oliver has revealed that his children get teased because of his TV shows. So, stop making them, then, it's clearly the only answer. Plank.

A television presenter who fronted news programmes in North-West of England for more than thirty years has died at the age of seventy six. Bob Greaves, a presenter for Granada Television from 1967 to the late 1990s, died on Monday afternoon. He had cancer. The former newspaper journalist, from Sale, was perhaps best known nationally for a clip of an embarrassing encounter with an elephant at Chester Zoo which was a staple of TV out-takes programmes. Greaves once estimated he had presented twelve thousand live programmes for Granada. Sir Michael Parkinson, who began his TV career with Greaves on Granada's Scene at Six Thirty in the early 1960s, said: 'Bob had a great sort of charm and he had what all great communicators have, he understood his audience. He spoke their language, which means he didn't speak down to people at all and he understood what level to pitch it at.' BBC North West Tonight presenter Gordon Burns, who was also a colleague of Greaves on Granada Reports, said: 'He was a fantastic character and had a great rapport with the job. I think people all over the UK and even the world will remember Bob because of that clip which appeared many times of him reporting from Chester Zoo, when an elephant, started - shall we say - "investigating" Bob with its trunk. It was typical of Bob that he was able to keep talking to camera and laugh about it.' In retirement Greaves was a regular customer at Cafe Nero in Sale, where staff said that he would 'hold court' discussing the day's news and local characters with other customers. 'He was just such a nice guy,' said manager Adam Smith. 'He's been coming in nearly every weekday for about five years and people just loved him and even if they didn't end up speaking to him, customers would always ask: "Is that Bob?" He was on the telly for such a long time and he was just a legend - He'll be really missed.'

Lily Allen has defended Peaches Geldof following scathing reviews of the waste-of-space socialite's new TV abomination, insisting that critics should 'give her a break.' She's already had 'a break' in getting to make the show in the first place, Lily m'love, and without any obvious talent that she should acquire such a position other than whom her father is. I think you'll find that's why many viewers and critics alike are complaining. Saint Bob Geldof's daughter made her hosting debut when she launched OMG! It's Peaches Geldof earlier this month. The show has been met with a mixture of reactions, ranging from horrified to the simply appalled and with some critics slating the format as 'shockingly bad.' One unimpressed fan wrote to Allen on Twitter, 'Lets [sic] hope that OMG show becomes 'canned Peaches' very soon.' Witty.

Meanwhile, a North London fashion boutique boss who accused Peaches Geldof of stealing a dress from his store has said: 'I just want my money back.' I thinkthat's pretty much ITV2's opinion after the ratings for the first few episode of OMG! too, mate. The twenty two-year-old TV presenter 'strenuously' denies allegations that she stole a garment from Vintage King in Camden Stables. Police confirmed this week that they were investigating the allegation of theft, believed to involve a seventy pound dress, from the store. Its owners are believed to have reported the incident after trying to contact Geldof when they were unable to find the dress. The shop's manager, who did not want to be identified, said that he was keen to avoid a row over the incident. 'I don't want to get sued - I just want my money back,' he said. The daughter of Saint Bob Geldof and his late wife Paula Yates has been linked to - and exonerated over - a string of shoplifting allegations in the past. A Scotland Yard spokesman said: 'We can confirm police have received an allegation of theft. It is alleged that on 4 March a woman stole a dress from a shop in Camden Road. Officers are investigating the alleged theft.' Geldof's spokeswoman said she was at a TV studio on the day of the alleged incident. 'She's not been contacted by the police and was actually at a TV studios doing a voice-over at the alleged time of the alleged incident,' the spokeswoman added. Geldof was accused in 2008 of leaving the Victim store near Carnaby Street with a five hundred pound dress but later returned it to the shop, saying there had been 'a misunderstanding.' She was also - wrongly - accused of stealing an item of clothing from East London shop Luna & Curious.

Details of Big Brother champion Josie Gibson's forthcoming Channel Five reality show have been revealed. Entitled There's Something About Josie, the three-part series will 'chronicle Gibson's post-Big Brother adventures with boyfriend and fellow ex-housemate John James Parton.' The cameras 'will follow the pair as they set up a home in London and begin their respective aspiring careers as a TV presenter and fashion model'. Parton and Gibson will be filmed working with personal trainers, attending gigs, making personal appearances, going to film premieres and 'squabbling at home.' It will also cover the launches of Gibson's perfume and clothing ranges. Sounds utterly unmissable, dear blog reader. You would have to be a brain damaged moron or the victim of a cruel medical experiment to even consider not watching this potential epic of quality TV.

Cheryl Cole is allegedly suffering from a breakdown in Los Angeles. Reports have suggested that the Girls Aloud singer is struggling with the Los Angeles lifestyle and has resorted to binge eating and contacting ex-husband Ashley Cole for comfort. Bloody hell, it's not that bad, surely Cher?

British reggae toaster Smiley Culture has died during a police raid in Surrey. The Independent Police Complaints Commission has said that it will investigate the death of the musician, whose real name was David Emmanuel. The Metropolitan Police said the force was carrying out an arrest warrant at a house in Warlingham at seven o'clock on Tuesday morning. Emmanuel, forty eight, was due to face trial at Croydon Crown Court next Monday for conspiracy to supply cocaine. His biggest hit was 1984's 'Police Officer.' The record reached number twelve in the UK charts. His other singles included the highly influential 'Cockney Translation' and 'Schooltime Chronicle.' A Met spokesman said that officers from the Serious and Organised Crime Command were carrying out an arrest warrant. He added: 'While they were at the address, an incident occurred during which a forty eight-year-old man died. Officers from Surrey Police attended the incident and it has been formally referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.' Smiley Culture made a cameo appearance in the David Bowie film Absolute Beginners in 1986. He recently featured in the BBC4 documentary Reggae Britannia which explored the rise of UK reggae. Which means, I guess, that there's really on one place we can start today's Keith Telly Topping's 45(s) of the Day. Smiley's finest three minutes. In a rub-a-dub style(e). Until that awful news came through, yer Keith Telly Topping had intended that today's 45(s) of the Day were going to be a couple of top tasty offerings of southern boogie from John Fogerty and the boys. Starting with 'Proud Mary'. And, continuing with the song that always summon up images of vast werewolf carnage in Piccadilly Circus.