Sunday, March 06, 2011

Use Your Mentality, Wake Up To Reality

On The ONE Show on Thursday and, again, in Wonders of the Universe, Professor Brian Cox, rather wonderfully reminds us that according to the theory presented by Rudolf Clausius in The Second Law Of Thermodynamics over any period of time differences in temperature, pressure of chemical potential in a physical system will reach an equilibrium. Or, in other words, if you have both heat and cold in the same environment, both will eventually move towards the same temperature. Which is, of course, fascinating. Slightly more menacingly, the same law also states that the entropy of a closed system always increases - or, at best, remains constant. And, if the entropy of the universe has a maximum upper limit then when this limit is reached, as it inevitably must, the universe will have no thermodynamic free energy to sustain either motion or life. At this point, as all of those who watched the Doctor Who story Logopolis will know, heat death is reached. 'The more you put things together, the more they keep falling apart.' In other words, as the great Bill Bailey once noted, 'the universe is gradually slowing down and will, eventually, collapse inwardly upon itself, according to the laws of entropy when all of its thermal and mechanical functions fail. Thus rendering all human endeavours, ultimately, pointless. Just to put this gig into some context.' And, on that cheery thought, dear blog reader, let's have the latest Top Telly News.

In April 1957, a thirty four-year-old amateur astronomer presented the first of what was expected to be a series of three programmes for the BBC on the subject of the night sky. With the exception of one episode in 2004, Sir Patrick Moore has presented every subsequent edition of The Sky At Night, making it - at fifty four years - one of the longest running television programmes ever. The programme has shown the first pictures of the far side of the Moon, eclipses - sunny and otherwise - and Venus's transit of the Sun in 2004. The Sky at Night reached a broadcasting milestone on Sunday when the seven hundredth episode was broadcast. The programme's mainstay, Moore, was joined by a panel of experts including Brian Cox and the impressionist and amateur astronomer Jon Culshaw to answer viewers questions. Sir Patrick's co-host, Dr Chris Lintott, said that filming the special was 'a real highlight.' Writing on his BBC blog, he added: 'I think everyone involved - except possibly Patrick, who knows everything already - learned something along the way.' Astrophysicist Lintott paid tribute to Moore. 'When he speaks, people listen because they're confident they will understand his explanations, whether he's talking about the moon or black holes.' Moore's trademark monocle, unique delivery and occasional performances on the xylophone have made him a familiar target for satirists and impressionists, but his scientific credentials have never been in doubt. The show's guests over the years have included many prominent scientists as well as The Goon Show's Michael Bentine and astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. But the demands of live television have led to the occasional blooper, as on the infamous occasion when Moore once swallowed a fly live on-air. The young Cox did science and maths at A level, and at home in Oldham he loved watching The Sky At Night. 'That show was really big for me. Patrick Moore influenced a lot of people of my generation,' he told the Daily Scum Mail. 'I filmed the seven hundredth Sky At Night this week with Patrick. I took a book down with me, a school prize I won in 1979, Patrick Moore Observer's Book Of Astronomy. I got him to sign it. That was brilliant.'

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow rebuked the lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Hunt after comments about the BSkyB deal were broadcast before he outlined the details to MPs. Bercow said that he had been 'led to expect' no media interviews would be carried out before the statement was made to the House and that it was 'a notable disappointment' that an exchange with the vile and odious rascal Hunt had been broadcast. The vile and odious rascal Hunt said that he had recorded a short clip which was only supposed to have gone out after he had addressed the Commons. In a point of order, Labour's Tom Watson said it was 'intolerable' that the vile and odious rascal Hunt 'saw fit to parade around TV studios before making the statement.' Bercow said: 'I had rather expected, and had indeed been led to expect, that although announcements to the Stock Exchange would be made, no media interviews would be undertaken before a statement to this House was made. I was led to expect that, and the Secretary of State of course himself knows very well that I was led to expect that. Therefore the fact of interviews having taken place is a notable disappointment and it might be regarded by some as a discourtesy to the House.' The vile and odious rascal Hunt said: 'I am, of course, prepared to apologise if there's any element of procedure that I have not followed correctly.' He said that he had recorded one clip 'and the deal that I made with media organisations was that they should not use that clip until after this statement had been made. Because this issue was referred to in oral questions that we had earlier this morning, some of those media organisations took that to mean that the issue had been addressed in the House and they went ahead and broke that embargo.' Earlier, Commons Leader Sir George Young has denied that democracy has been 'undermined' by the Government's approval of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation takeover bid for BSkyB. Veteran Labour MP Barry Sheerman raised concerns in the Commons that the vile and odious rascal Hunt's decision would allow the 'Murdoch empire' to 'expand its monopoly.' The vile and odious rascal Hunt has announced that he is set to approve the proposed takeover after News Corp revealed its intention to hive off Sky News into an - allegedly - independent company. During exchanges on upcoming parliamentary business, Sheerman (the MP for Huddersfield) called for a debate on the relationship between democracy and the media. He asked Young: 'Are you not worried that the Murdoch empire and its ambition to run down the BBC and expand its monopoly is on course and doing very well?' Of course he's not worried about that, you moron, he's a former cabinet minister under Mrs Thatcher, he thinks it's The Greatest Thing Ever. Jesus, what a stupid question. 'Is that good for democracy?' he continued. Which is a much better question, albeit, a completely separate one. Sir George replied: 'You might have an opportunity later on today to ask questions about the Secretary of State;s decision. But I reject your accusation that democracy is in any way undermined by the decision that was taken today.' The vile and odious rascal Hunt's statement came after an Opposition Day debate led by the Democratic Unionist Party in support of UK armed forces and veterans. In a point of order, Labour former minister Kevin Brennan complained that the statement should come before the debate so it could be heard in 'prime time.' Speaker Bercow admitted the situation was 'not ideal' but a 'pragmatic approach' had been taken. 'I hope you and the House will understand that there is a balance of consideration in these matters,' he said. 'It was felt to be important, including by me, in the situation that we faced and encountered this morning, to protect the time for a half-day Opposition Day debate in the name of the DUP. It is also important that the House, at the earliest practicable opportunity without doing violence to that minority party entitlement, should hear the statement from the Secretary of State and have the opportunity to question him on it.' At which point they all went 'Hear! Hear!' and then fell asleep again.

Jack P Shepherd has reportedly signed a six-figure one-year deal to continue playing David Platt in Coronation Street. The twenty three-year-old actor will reportedly pocket one hundred thousand pounds for continuing with his character's 'bad boy antics' in the ITV soap. An 'insider' allegedly told the News of the World: 'He's one of the stalwarts of the show now.' That's if they didn't get this information by hacking his phone, of course. Which they almost certainly didn't. Because the only people connected to the News of the World who do shit like that are 'lone rogue reporters' and 'the one bad apple in every barrel.' Of course. Shepherd, who first joined the show in 2000, admitted last year that he wanted to stay on the soap for the foreseeable future. 'I don't see why I couldn't be here in another ten years,' he said. 'By then he could own the Rovers or Underworld, or be an out-and-out thug. He could go either way.'

The final episode of Sky1's thriller Mad Dogs drew an audience of over nine hundred thousand viewers on Thursday. The conclusion of the four-part series, starring Philip Glenister and John Simm, drew an average audience of nine hundred and thirty eight thousand across the 9pm hour, according to overnight BARB figures. It was the second best performance of the drama after its debut, which drew nine hundred and sixty seven thousand on 10 February. It helped to lift the series average to just a fraction under eight hindered and fifty thousand for the four episodes and resoundingly spanked the three-month slot average of just below three hundred and thirty thousand viewers.

Lily Allen has reportedly been offered five hundred and fifty thousand pounds to become a judge on The X Factor. And then, people wonder why it is that this world has its priorities so sick and wrong. The singer, who was linked to the role earlier this week, is said to be the producers' 'number one choice' to replace Simon Cowell when he launches the singing competition in the US. 'Bosses' are reported to have been 'wooing' Allen for the past six months and offered her the six-figure deal just before Christmas.At least, this is according to the Daily Lies Sunday. And, given some of the allegations that have been made about that particular organ of the media over the past few days, and this blog's own long-standing mistrust of pretty much anything they say, we might want to take this with a sizeable vat of salt. Allen has also been told, the paper claims, that she can miss half the show's auditions to match her schedule. A 'source' allegedly said: 'Both Syco and ITV are massive Lily Allen fans and the amount of money they're offering her makes it clear they think she will be the biggest draw on the show. She's known to have strong opinions and has huge credibility. There was a fear her hectic schedule may interfere with filming, so they've offered to divide the auditions between the judges.' Meanwhile, Louis Walsh is said to be considering a four hundred and fifty thousand pound offer to return to the panel and Dannii Minogue is "highly likely" to be offered a new deal too.

Comedian David Walliams has finished the UK's first live twenty four-hour panel show, in aid of Comic Relief. Walliams was joined by numerous celebrity guests during the online streamed show, including David Tennant, Barbara Windsor and Stephen Fry. Twenty Four Hour Panel People saw Walliams participate in some of TV's most iconic panel shows. 'It was tough, yes, but it was the right side of tough,' the thirty nine-year-old Little Britain actor said. Speaking afterwards, he added: 'It does take its toll on you physically with things like your eyes not being able to focus so well anymore on the autocue. I mean if I was slumped on the desk not saying anything I think it really wouldn't have been very entertaining but you could see I was a little bit delirious towards the end.' The comic added that the first thing he was going to do was have a shower as he had not had time to wash during his brief five minute breaks. In 2006 Walliams swam the English Channel for the Sport Relief charity, eventually raising more than one million pounds after training for nine months. Comparing the two events, he said: 'I trained for a long time to swim the Channel so I was kind of ready to do that. With this I had a lot less sense of how it was going to work out because I really didn't know how I would be after staying awake for so long and also being on TV and trying to be entertaining - it is so different.' Walliams switched between the roles of team captain, panellist and host across the day, participating in shows such as Never Mind The Buzzcocks, Have I Got News For You, Qi, Mock The Week and Would I Lie To You?

Doctor Who is to appear on Italian TV as part of raft of deals between BBC Worldwide and the country's public broadcaster Rai. The agreement also sees the Italian broadcaster buy the rights to SF drama series Misfits and Primeval. The pay-TV rights for the BBC drama Luther were snapped up by FOX Italy, which also bought the Sky1 action thriller Strike Back. Francesca Dorie, BBCW's territory manager for Northern Mediterranean, said: 'We are seeing real growth in the amount of drama sold into the territory.'

Kerry Katona is reportedly 'worried' that her past will be brought up in a new Channel Five documentary. Well, of course, if there's nothing in her past that she has to be ashamed of then, surely there's nothing to worry ... Oh, hang. This is Kerry Katona we're talking about isn't it? I see what she's worried about, now. What's Eating Kerry Katona? will, apparently, 'examine how the reality star's weight changes according to her successes and failures' and is rumoured to feature interviews with her stepsister and former nanny Pat Ferrier. The ex-Dancing On Ice contestant is also said to be concerned that the show may 'harm her comeback.' So, definitely worth watching, then. It is rumoured that Gary Nelson will discuss Katona's employment at his Liverpool strip club in the documentary. A 'source' allegedly told the Daily Lies: 'This is the last thing she needs. She desperately wants to forget her past.' Most people who want to do that join the Foreign Legion or become a recluse. But, you've chosen, what? To parade yourself across my television screen like one of those chicken drumsticks you used to flog for Iceland? There's asking for trouble and then there's really asking for trouble. 'To have people from her background spilling the beans on TV won't help,' the 'source' allegedly continued. Someone whom the newspaper describe as 'a TV insider' allegedly added: 'Documentaries about her private life have really hurt Kerry in the past and she has admitted they're hard to watch. More details about her troubled times will be tough for her to stomach. And this couldn't have come at a worse time after she was voted off Dancing On Ice.' Well, don't watch it then. Nobody with any common sense or a single shred of self-dignity was going to anyway, so you'll be in good company.

For the next Keith Telly Topping's 45(s) of the Day, and as a special (if, somewhat very belated) treat for the broadcasting legend that is Alfie Joey, we've got a decent-sized dose of Frankie. Starting, dear blog reader, with a song for swingin' lovers from a time when smoking on television was not only legal, it was actually the height of cool! 'When I'm out on a quiet spree/ fighting vainly the old ennui.' Smooth! Not quite as smooth as when he sang for only the lonely of course, but still pretty damn smooth. Cos, yer actual Francis Albert, just in case you didn't know, was the king of smooth. As this proves. I remember hearing somebody once describing Johnny Mathis as 'a great interpreter of some pretty average songs.' That I think was the, necessary, difference between Johnny, Perry, Deano, all of them cats and Frank. When he took on a song, even if it was a product of hack-work, he owned it. Take this one for instance. As he got old, the voice matured, mellowed, like a fine wine in a cask until, by the time he hit his fifties, in the September of his years, he sounded like the wisest, purest prophet and philosopher the world had ever seen. 'How did all these people get in my room?!' I must say, I've always thought there was something a bit odd about 'Somethin' Stupid' mind. Not just the Robbie Williams/Nicole Kidman cover version either. I mean, it's a great song, don't get me wrong, but ... she's his bloody daughter for God's sake! (Which reminds me, we're really going to have to feature a bit of Nancy with the laughing face on this slot one of these days.) In the early 70s, Frankie retired. Sort of. But that didn't last long. And the comeback was something special. Remember, like a slogan said, 'It's Frank's world, we just live in it!'Whether it was doing 'Come Fly With Me' with Count Baise at The Sands in Vegas, 'The Girl From Ipanema' with Antonio Carlos Jobim, or 'Moon River' with Johnny Mercer, he had an uncanny ability to cover some of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's favourite songs. And even if they were the definitive versions, they were usually pretty damn close. Like this one, for example. Even at the age of sixty four he was still capable of this slab of mythology-making theatre. Frank Sinatra. 1915-1998. The Voice. The Guv'nor. He made it there, and everywhere. And, did it his way.