Thursday, March 10, 2011

Out Of The Fire That Burns Inside Of Me A Phoenix Is Rising

As speculated on the last blog, the next series of Doctor Who will premiere over the Easter weekend. The first half of the show's sixth season will begin on BBC1 on Saturday 23 April, according to the Doctor Who Magazine. The first episode, written by showrunner Steven Moffat, will also, as mentioned yesterday, be broadcast on the same date in the US. Supernatural actor Mark Sheppard and Jonathan Creek's Stuart Milligan will both appear in the opening two-parter, which is set in 1960s America. Subsequent episodes will include guest appearances from Hugh Bonneville, David Walliams and James Corden. Writers confirmed for the series include Sherlock's Steve Thompson, Being Human creator Toby Whithouse and fantasy author Neil Gaiman. After an initial run of seven episodes, Doctor Who will take a two-month break and return to BBC1 in September. The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat, meanwhile, told his Facebook followers: 'In Cardiff and just saw the (very nearly) complete episode one of Who. Could be biased, but I think it's a belter.' And, you can bet we're all going to hold you to that, Steven!

Psst! Wanna see a title sequence for Doctor Who series five in the style of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, dear blog reader? You do? Good.

Keith Allen - yeah, 'Lily's dad' - has joined the cast of BBC1's new crime drama The Body Farm. The series stars Tara Fitzgerald as her Waking The Dead character Eve Lockhart. The show follows Eve and her team as they conduct scientific research at a private forensics facility. Allen has signed up to play Detective Inspector Hale, who asks Lockhart and her colleagues to help the police solve crimes. He said: 'I'm delighted that the BBC has given me the chance to delve into the murky world of The Body Farm.' Filming for The Body Farm started earlier this week. Created by Declan Croghan, this is a new six-part series made by BBC Drama Production in association with Trevor Eve's company Projector Pictures for BBC1. The show will also feature Wunmi Mosaku, Mark Bazeley and Finlay Robertson in recurring roles.

Prince Harry is reportedly being lined up to appear on Top Gear. Oh, that'll really piss off the Communists at the Gruniad. And, place the Daily Scum Mail in something of a conflicted and awkward position as well. So, you know, double bonus! The Sun reports that Jeremy Clarkson is keen to sign the twenty-six year-old third in line to the throne up to take part in the 'Star in a Reasonably Priced Car' feature in the next series. The newspaper claims that Harry is determined to beat a lap-time set by Tom Cruise in a Kia Cee'd hatchback. 'The prince is a massive Top Gear fan and is dying to give the Kia a spin,' a 'source' allegedly said. I'm guessing this isn't a 'source' from inside the royal household because, they tend not to talk like that. Mind you, nor do 'real people' either. So, in all likelihood, this had been completely made up. 'He loves driving and ideally he'd like to beat Tom Cruise just for the boasting rights.' However, Harry apparently wants to use the appearance to promote the Armed Forces and could be seen demonstrating military equipment if given approval by the Ministry of Defence. 'He doesn't want it to be all about him. He wants to raise awareness of the Armed Forces,' the 'source' supposedly added. Other notable celebrities with royal connections to have appeared in the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car include James Hewitt. I'm just sayin'.

Ant McPartlin was reportedly punched in the face while watching a football match in his local pub. The Sun reports that the TV presenter was with friends when he was taunted by another drinker at the The Barley Mow in Chiswick, West London. Y'see, this is what happens when Geordie lads gan doon to th'Smoke t'live. They end up gittin inta aal sortsa botha with the glakes. Giedrius Kudzinskas told the paper that the attacker had shouted, 'Where's your girlfriend?' at McPartlin - alleged to be a reference to his co-host Declan Donnelly. 'Ant didn't react and this bloke launched himself at him and punched him in the face,' the eyewitness continued. 'Ant reeled back and then a big fight broke out as his mates came to help him. Other people jumped in and held back the other guy. The bloke was thrown out but when Ant left later, he was waiting for him. There was another lot of shouting and then Ant walked off. It was all totally unprovoked.' Claiming to have spoken to McPartlin following the incident, Kudzinskas added: 'He was furious about what he had said to him.' Declan Donnelly and his girlfriend Georgie Thompson had been at the bar but left prior to the attack. A spokesperson for the Push The Button presenter has apparently confirmed that the attack happened but said that McPartlin would 'not be taking the matter further.'

Broadcasters around the world have snapped up two factual entertainment series presented by Top Gear co-host James May, from Hat Trick International. SBS Australia, Kanal 5 Sweden, Nippon TV Japan and CBC Canada are among broadcasters in one hundred and twenty four countries to have acquired the award-winning six parter series James May's Toy Stories, which explored the engineering behind classic toys. Channel 9 Australia, BBC America and Discovery Europe are among channels in one hundred and thirty eight countries to have taken James May's Man Lab, the three-episode series which challenges celebrities and 'ordinary folk' to see if men are as resourceful and practical as their ancestors. Whether either series has been bought by Mexico, this blog is unable to confirm or deny at this time. Both series are produced by Plum Pictures, the independent production company set up by two former BBC producers, Stuart Cabb and Will Dawes, in 2007 with Hat Trick taking an undisclosed stake.

Lord Patten would give up the Tory whip and the presidency of his local party if confirmed as BBC Trust chairman, he said, although he would still remain a member of the party. Questioned by the culture, media and sport committee MPs, he said that he would quit a BP advisory board only if it came to be seen as a conflict of interest. Patten, the government's preferred candidate for the job, said that the BBC had been wrong to pay executives 'as if they were at Barclays' in the past. He added that he is a big fan of Radio 4 but did not watch EastEnders. Which, isn't a crime, although it possibly should be. Patten, a former Cabinet minister and chairman of the party, rejected a suggestion by MPs that he would be seen as 'a Conservative party stooge.' 'We all have a certain amount of baggage - I'm not ashamed of mine,' he said, adding that he could not put aside forty years as 'an old-fashioned Tory' but that he was now 'beyond all political ambition' and would try to demonstrate 'appropriate impartiality and independence of spirit' if he got the job. Patten, who strongly defended the quality and impartiality of BBC journalism, said: 'I think the BBC should be biased. I think it should be biased in favour of tolerant, civilised pluralism. I get up to BBC Radio 4 and I go to bed to Radio 4.' He said that he listened to Radio 1 'only when trying to get Radio 3 or Radio 4' and that he had watched the BBC1 cookery programme Masterchef on Wednesday night. So, as it happens did yer keith Telly Topping, I wasn't aware that was one of the qualifying criteria for the job, otherwise I'd've applied myself. Patten conceded that it was true he 'hardly watched television.' When asked when he had last watched EastEnders he said that it was 'even longer than when I last had McDonald's.' Later, he added that 'a definition of a celebrity was somebody I'd never heard of' before admitting: 'I watch the programmes that you'd expect somebody of a background to. That's who I am – I'm sixty six, white and well-educated.' And modest, seemingly. Patten also revealed that he will push the BBC to change its inhibiting 'compliance culture' should he be confirmed as chairman of the Trust.

The Leader of the House of Commons, Sir George Young, has paid tribute to the BBC journalists who were detained and beaten in Libya. He told MPs that the BBC team went through a 'horrendous ordeal.' The three men were held for twenty one hours, beaten with fists, knees and rifles, hooded and subjected to mock executions by members of Libya's army and secret police. They have now flown out of Libya following their detention on Monday.

Jennifer Morrison has reportedly landed the lead role in the ABC pilot Once Upon A Time. TV Line says that the former House star will play Anna in the new fantasy series. Anna, who has a difficult past, moves to a small town in Maine where the magic of fairytales appears to be real. Morrison played Allison Cameron in House and has a recurring role as Zoey in How I Met Your Mother. Robert Carlyle, Ginnifer Goodwin and Lana Parilla have also signed up for roles in Once Upon A Time in recent days.

Bones producer Stephen Nathan has revealed that Emily Deschanel's directorial debut has been delayed again. Deschanel originally intended to direct the fourteenth episode of the FOX drama's current sixth season, but the actress later confirmed that her plans had been postponed until episode 'twenty or twenty one.' However, Nathan recently told Give Me My Remote that Deschanel is now unlikely to get behind the camera until early in the seventh season. 'I don't think she's going to direct this season,' he said. 'It became a very complicated issue scheduling-wise and I think we want her to do it when she's fresh. [It will] probably [be] the beginning of next year.' He added that a desire to have Deschanel feature heavily in the sixth season's final episodes had led to the further delay. 'It was a bit unfair to her and also a little bit to the show,' he claimed. 'We would have had to write her out and we really didn't want to end the year with Emily being light in a few shows.'

Keira Knightley has reportedly joined the cast of Syfy and Sky Movies production Neverland. The four-hour drama, which is a prequel to Peter Pan, focuses on how Peter and his friends were gathered together by their mentor, Jimmy Hook, to travel to Neverland. According to Deadline, Knightley has now signed up to provide the voice of Tinker Bell. Other actors who will appear in the drama include Anna Friel, Bob Hoskins, Rhys Ifans, Charles Dance, Raoul Trujillo and Charlie Rowe. Knightley is expected to record her role this spring.

Dermot O'Dreary is apparently out of the running for the US X Factor presenting job. Oh, dear. How desperately sad. That means we're stuck with him. According to the Mirra, Simon Cowell has decided that he wants two hosts for the show, and is looking for a 'non-conventional female superstar and a male pin-up singer.' Speaking about the decision, O'Dreary said that he is 'obviously disappointed,' but claimed that he was proud to be the only British presenter on the final shortlist. Cowell is expected to announce the judging panel and presenters for the FOX series over the next couple of weeks.

The BBC has ordered a fifth series of Would I Lie To You? The panel show, which is hosted by Rob Brydon, sees David Mitchell, Lee Mack and their celebrity guests telling stories about their lives. If you've never seen it, it's basically Call My Bluff with jokes. Good, though. The teams have to work out who is lying and who is telling the truth. Guests taking part in the new series include Sir Terry Wogan, Frank Skinner, Victoria Coren, Mackenzie Crook, Apprentice star Nick Hewer and Louie Spence. Charlie Brooker, Miranda Hart, Dara O'Briain and Robert Webb, who have previously appeared on the show, are among those who will return for the new episodes. Filming for the eight-part series will begin in March and the show is expected to be broadcast on BBC1 in the summer.

Claudia Whatsherface is reportedly being lined-up to host a new Channel Four chat show. The presenter, who currently hosts Film 2011 on BBC1, has apparently filmed a pilot episode of King Of... With Claudia Winkleman for the broadcaster. The Sun reports that Channel Four will now decide if it wants to commission a series, with insiders saying that it looks 'very positive.' However, the paper claims that Winkleman is wanted by BBC1 controller Danny Cohen to host another show for the channel. 'Claudia's really hot right now and Channel Four and BBC1 are fighting over her,' a source said. 'They're both very keen to find her a show and there's a bit of a tug-of-love going on.' It has been suggested that the new Channel Four show could go head-to-head with Graham Norton's chat show on Friday nights if it goes ahead.

Michael Chiklis has signed up to play the lead role in a CBS comedy pilot. Deadline reports that the actor will appear in Vince Uncensored, from Cheers writer Phoef Sutton. The project will focus on a man who experiences a life-changing event and decides to take a more honest approach to life. The pilot is in second position to the actor's current role on ABC series No Ordinary Family. Chiklis previously starred in ABC's The Commish and the NBC sitcom Daddio before taking a much more serious role as corrupt cop Vic Mackey in the acclaimed FX drama The Shield. The Vince Uncensored pilot will be produced by Warner Bros TV and Conan O'Brien's company Conaco.

Rick Springfield will reportedly appear as a guest star in Hawaii Five-0. TV Squad says that the musician will play a fashion photographer called Renny in one episode of the show. Renny is described as 'handsome, artistic and passionate' and is in Hawaii shooting a swimsuit cover with his model fiancée when 'tragedy strikes.' As well as performing as a musician, Springfield has starred in television shows including General Hospital and the first TV adaptation of Human Target.

Parks and Recreation co-creator Mike Schur has dismissed rumours that Rob Lowe will join the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men. Lowe, who currently plays Chris Traeger on Parks and Recreation, was previously mooted as a possible replacement for Charlie Sheen. However, Schur recently told Zap2it: 'Rob is a full-time cast member. He's on the show for a number of more years, and that's the end of the story.' He added that Lowe's character will remain a series regular in a potential fourth season of Parks and Recreation on NBC. Charlie Sheen, who was fired from Two and a Half Men earlier this week, previously suggested that Lowe would be a 'fabulous' replacement, calling Lowe 'a brilliant actor [and] a beautiful man.'

Julianne Moore is to play former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin in a TV film about the 2008 US elections, HBO has announced. Game Change will focus on Republican John McCain's campaign and his choice of Palin, then governor of Alaska, as his running mate. Jay Roach of Meet the Parents fame will direct the film, based on the book by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin. Moore, fifty, is a four-time Academy Award nominee. She was recently seen as a lesbian mother in The Kids are All Right and played a porn star in 1997 film Boogie Nights. No other cast members have been announced and it is not yet known when production on the film will begin. Palin was famously impersonated by comedienne Tina Fey on Saturday Night Live during John McCain's unsuccessful presidential bid. The Game Change announcement comes amid mounting speculation that Palin is to run for president herself in 2012.

Yer Keith Telly Topping very much enjoyed Mark Lawson's take on the Cameron ONE Show appeaance. 'It was, said the prime minister during his appearance on Tuesday's The ONE Show, "no good trying to soft soap people." But go to the L'Oreal stand at the International Luxury Facial Cosmetics Fair and you wouldn't find any softer soap than this encounter. The fundamental problem with politicians going on non-political shows is the mood in the studio. In current affairs, the more important the guest, the more studiedly disdainful the presenter. But magazine programmes treat leaders as celebrities. So Matt Baker and Alex Jones actually began with some shtick about what a tizzy they were in to have such a big-wig with them. The other difference is that political interviews operate largely through follow-ups ("Really?") but soft-soap hosts ask the questions in the order they've been written. So someone had the smart idea of starting with four questions from the impending census document, including "how happy were you yesterday, on a scale of one to ten?" With reckless honesty, the PM answered: "Yesterday? Monday? Four." Monday had featured government fiascos over Libya and Prince Andrew. Bizarrely, though, Jones squawked: "You were in Derby!" Cameron immediately upgraded his day-rating to eight, for the fine people of Derby. Inexplicably, rather than giving over the whole thirty minutes to their special guest, The ONE Show retained the usual running order, so that Cameron had to sit through a report in which a guy wore a mask in order "to get into the mindset of an owl." This at least triggered the PM's single gag, in which he compared the cabinet to the vermin at No 10. That startling metaphor also went unchallenged. Some have seen Matt's final question - "How on earth do you sleep at night?" - as a bold cry on behalf of those suffering from the cuts, but it felt more like sycophantic sympathy about the burdens of high office and the answer - that Cameron slept jolly well - was, again, not pursued. He left the sofa clean and sweet-smelling. Which is what soft soap does.' The comedian Marcus Brigstocke, a guest on Wednesday night's edition of the magazine programme, made a bit of mischief when telling Baker: 'You had a good shot at him in the end and I liked it. You can ask me how I sleep at night if you like. It's easy – I'm not closing libraries.'

Foyle's War could return to UK screens, according to Broadcast, after Greenlit founder Jill Green acquired the development rights for the back catalogue of the now defunct independent production company.

BSkyB and Channel Four have confirmed they have submitted expressions of interest in the proposed national TV network that underpins the vile and odious rascal Hunt's plan to deliver local news. BSkyB said it is interested in assisting local television through broadband distribution, by viewers using the existing yellow button on the electronic programme guide. About a third of BSkyB set-top boxes are ready to handle IPTV. The broadcaster said it has been in discussions with Hunt about how much assistance it could provide as a platform, and is directing its approach and interest through the main company, rather than involving Sky News. It said that its pattern of satellite distribution for main channels was geared towards national coverage. Channel Four put in its proposals three days after the deadline, last Monday 7 March, because the issue had to be debated and agreed by the main board of directors. A spokesman said the bid was a qualified expression of interest, dependent on the new national channel having a prominent slot on the EPG, and was vague about the detail of the service's proposed content. Channel Four believes it cannot afford to stay out of the debate on local TV and deprive itself of up-to-date information about the vile and odious rascal Hunt's project. The new national channel funded by national advertising would be a potential competitor. However, Channel Four said that the concept of the hybrid channel, a national service with local opt-outs, was not a natural fit, either for its brand or for its demographic positioning, as it targets programmes at younger adults and upmarket viewers. Another bidder, TripleSee, has also come forward, formed by a consortium of three independents and media companies: production company TwoFour, based in Plymouth, Maidthorn Partners and New Media Partners. The key executives include former BBC strategist Simon Walker and former Channel Five programme director Lisa Opie. They envisage a national channel on Freeview which celebrates and showcases localness but does not carry the expensive burden of running separate digital terrestrial television stations across the UK. They would then encourage smaller local stations to run broadband distributed programming. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is expected to publish a list of the interested bidders, with a summary of their proposals, and is said to have given details to Ofcom and the BBC. The vile and odious rascal Hunt has said he had thirty one expressions of interest by the deadline, of which five are for services in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

The BBC has announced a new editorial team for Question Time in preparation for the show's move to Glasgow this summer. Nicolai Gentchev, from Radio 4's Today programme, will take over as editor of the programme and Radio 5Live's former head of news Hayley Valentine will come in as executive editor. Gentchev, a graduate of Glasgow University, joined the BBC in 2006 and became a senior producer on Today in 2008. Last year, he was seconded to the Good Morning Scotland programme for its general election coverage. He is already based at the BBC's Pacific Quay building in Glasgow and so will not need to relocate when he takes up the post at Question Time in May. Valentine led 5Live's coverage of the last general election, along with the Cumbria shootings and the World Cup in South Africa. Prior to that, she edited a variety of news programme on the network, including Victoria Derbyshire's show. She started her journalism career in newspapers in Dundee after studying at Edinburgh University, and went on to work at BBC Scotland and Scottish Television. Discussing the appointments, BBC director of news Helen Boaden said: 'Question Time has an outstanding new team to lead it. Nicolai and Hayley have a great depth of experience in the political institutions across the UK. They will ensure that one of the BBC's most important programmes goes from strength to strength.' Steve Anderson, executive producer at Question Time maker Mentorn Media, added: 'I am confident that Question Time will be in good hands with Nicolai and Hayley. Nicolai succeeds Ed Havard who has taken the programme to new heights, generating news stories, boosting ratings and overseeing spin-off series on BBC3.' Question Time is due to relocate to Glasgow in the late summer as part of the BBC's strategy to 'build sustainable production bases' outside of London. However, the move has faced criticism on grounds that it will take the programme away from Westminster and bring huge costs in shuttling staff between Scotland and London. Presenter David Dimbleby has been particularly outspoken with his criticism, arguing that 'it's like trying to report on [the Scottish parliament in] Hollyrood from London. You have to be around the swirl of Westminster life and have access to the highest political levels.'

Eddie Izzard is to make history by becoming the first comedian to perform a one-man show at the Hollywood Bowl. The forty nine-year-old action transvestite and superstar will be following in the footsteps of his comedy heroes, the Monty Python's Flying Circus team, who played the venue in 1980. But never before has a solo comic played the seventeen thousand-capacity venue. He will be performing his Stripped tour there on 20 July.

Bizarre magazine has announced plans for a scratch and sniff front cover featuring the scent of latex underwear. Readers of the April issue of the Dennis Publishing magazine can scratch the picture of model Natalie Blair and sniff for the rubber smell, the Press Gazette reports. The front cover reads: Sniff my knickers! Scratch Natalie's bum... Smell the rubber! Publisher Russell Blackman said: 'The scratch 'n' sniff front cover of Bizarre is a completely unique concept and an industry first. It allows us to offer our readers an exciting and compelling issue, and a product that they will be proud to own.' He added: 'The exclusive scratch 'n' sniff issue will also contain a special feature on smell fetishes to run alongside the theme of the front cover.'

Vacuous waste-of-space Chloe Madeley has revealed that she never wears any underwear when performing on Twatting About on Ice. The model admitted that she always 'goes commando' on the reality show during an interview on BBC Breakfast on Wednesday. Madeley burst into giggles after revealing the information and host Bill Turnbull said that she had 'disgraced herself' with the remark. She claimed that she opted not to bother with knickers because it would be 'really uncomfortable.' Meanwhile, Twatting About on Ice rival Sam Attwater confessed that he had a pair of lucky pants that his parents washed and brought along every week for him. 'That's what happened in the first week. So I have to keep that same routine every week and they have to bring them in for me,' he said.

Simon Bird has revealed that a fan of The Inbetweeners asked him to sign his penis. Rumours that Bird told the individual concerned: 'I'd have a bit of trouble autographing it, but I can initial it for you if you like,' cannot, at this time, be confirmed.

And, so to yer Keith Telly Topping's 45(s) of the Day. As promised in the last blog, here's a couple of little classics from yer actual Kimberley, Nadine, Sarah, Nicola and The Heaton Horror. Starting with one of the most perfectly realised pop songs ever written.And, after that, something kinda dirty.Skill. So, on that note, and with yer actual Keith Telly Topping's street credability now completed cattle trucked, From The North will be back tomorrow with some gloomy shoegazing jingly-jangly shite for the masses.