Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Get Hip To This Kindly Trip

The next series of Doctor Who will, apparently, see one of the regular characters killed off. Series producer The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (the dirty rotten stinker that he is!) has confirmed, via Twitter, that a TARDIS regular will be die in the opening story of the new series and he's claimed 'We're not lying, one of them properly dies.' Previously, the Doctor Who Magazine had suggested that either the Doctor (Matt Smith), Amy (Karen Gillan), Rory (Arthur Darvill) or River Song (Alex Kingston) would be killed off. The news has now been confirmed by showrunner Moffat who posted on Twitter: 'Yep - one of the show's four lead characters is going to get killed in the season opener.' Doctor Who fans are now busy speculating over who will fall victim during the series's opening two-part story - The Impossible Astronaut and Day of the Moon. In which viewers will see the fantastic foursome come up against possessed astronauts and alien enemies The Silence in a story which is set in 1960s America and will feature the Time Lord meeting President Richard Nixon. The character of Rory was already killed off - technically twice - during the course of the fifth season but was resurrected in the season finale. As, indeed, was Amy. So, they're both used to being dead. We've also already (supposedly) seen River Song's demise in Forest of the Dead at a later point in her time-line where she (seemingly) sacrificed herself to save her beloved Doctor. However, a theme of the series so far has been that 'time can be re-written' so perhaps River's ultimate fate is far from sealed. Given that Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill have all been spotted on local filming for several episodes later in the series, however, that would seem to narrow the field down somewhat. The answer may lie in speculation that the opening episode will feature two different versions of The Doctor - making it possible that the series' title character will actually be killed. Death, of course, isn't always permanent in Doctor Who - Rory was 'killed' and deleted from history in the last series when a Silurian warrior shot him, but he returned in the series' two-part finale.

Further to yesterday's Ofcom stories relating to Mad Frankie Boyle, Top Gear and Zac Goldsmith, it should also be noted that the seven hundred and eighty three complaints about Jason Gardiner's row with Karen Barber over Johnson Beharry on Twatting About on Ice were deemed not to raise any code issues. Or, indeed, to be worthy of anybody giving a stuff.

BBC2 has ordered a second series of the comedy Rev. The sitcom, which stars Tom Hollander and Olivia Colman, focuses on the struggles of an inner-city vicar. The BBC has now asked for more episodes and a Christmas special, while Peep Show writer Sam Bain has joined the crew as script editor. 'Rev was my favourite new show of 2010,' Bain said. 'It was a great achievement to carve such a funny show out of such challenging material. I'm excited to be part of the team and contribute my experience of writing about religious extremists and sexually frustrated men.' Meanwhile, the BBC's controller of comedy commissioning Cheryl Taylor said: 'Rev was one of the comedy highlights of last year and we're thrilled to be returning to St Saviour's to see more of the Rev Smallbone and his hilarious and moving pastoral, marital and spiritual challenges.' Rev recently won the award for Best Comedy at the South Bank Awards. The show was also praised by many members of the clergy, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, who described it as 'a noble enterprise.'

Top Twenty programmes week ending 27 March 2011:
1 Coronation Street - ITV - 10.83 million
2 EastEnders - BBC1 - 10.79 million
3 Twatting About On Ice - ITV - 9.35 million
4 Emmerdale - ITV - 8.08 million
5 Waking The Dead - BBC1 - 7.21 million
6 Benidorm - ITV - 6.96 million
7 Casualty - BBC1 - 6.27 million
8 Midsomer Murders - ITV - 6.13 million
9 Holby City - BBC1 - 5.90 million
10 Countryfile - BBC1 - 5.89 million
11 Antiques Roadshow - BBC1 - 5.82 million
12 Silk - BBC1 - 5.74 million
13 BBC News - BBC1 - 5.40 million
14 MasterChef - BBC1 - 5.28 million
15 Waterloo Road - BBC1 - 5.27 million
16 Monroe - ITV - 5.26 million
17 Film: Quantum Of Solace - ITV 5.17 million
18 Ten O'Clock News - BBC1 - 5.08 million
19 Harry Hill's TV Burp - ITV - 5.07 million
20 So You Think You Can Dance? - BBC1 - 5.06 million

Ben Miller has been cast to star alongside French film star Sara Martins in an ambitious eight part drama series Death in Paradise. Authored by new television writer Robert Thorogood, the series is being produced by Red Planet Pictures and Atlantique Productions in association with BBC Worldwide and Kudos Film and Television for BBC1 and France Télévisions. Death in Paradise is a fish out of water story about a quintessential English policeman posted to the Caribbean island of Sainte Marie. To anyone else it would be paradise, but for Detective Inspector Richard Poole (played by Miller) it's hell! Totally unsuited to the Caribbean way of life, Richard hates the sun, sea and sand and isn't used to their style of policing. But he is a brilliant detective whose first case on the island is investigating the murder of another British police officer. Working with the exotic local Camille (Martins), each week Richard goes about solving an intricate and intriguing murder. Ben Miller says: 'Death in Paradise is my dream job: a fascinating character, great scripts, superb cast and shooting in the Caribbean with French catering.' The deal was brokered by BBC Worldwide who secured a co-production agreement with French public broadcaster France Télévisions. The series will be co-developed with both broadcasters for audiences in the UK and France. Tony Jordan, Executive Producer, Red Planet Pictures says: 'Death in Paradise will be a real treat for a BBC1 audience, filmed in the Caribbean and starring Ben Miller alongside sexy French siren Sara Martins, I think our winters are about to get a little hotter.'

The Killing actress Mireille Enos has admitted that she avoided watching the original version of the show. The US adaptation of the crime drama, which premiered this week on AMC, is inspired by Danish series Forbrydelsen which is currently a cult hit in the UK on BBC4. Enos, who plays homicide detective Sarah Linden, told Collider: 'From everything I've heard, the actress that plays Sarah [Sofie Gråbøl] in the original is so wonderful. I didn't want to be comparing myself with her.' The actress added that she learned about the AMC version's own twists and developments only as she received each new script. '[Executive producer] Veena [Sud] and I sat down, during the pilot, and talked about Sarah's past and the things that are going to be revealed,' she explained. '[We discussed] character things that are important while building her. So, I knew some[thing] about her past, but everything else I learn basically at the same time the audience does.' Enos claimed that the first season's murder mystery has some 'very surprising reveals' in store for viewers. 'I think some of [the twists] will come out of left field and I think some of them will be things that the audience will intuitively know,' she suggested. 'There's something so satisfying, as an audience member, about learning that what you were thinking is [actually] true.'

Helen Mirren has declared that she is 'terrified' to make her hosting debut on Saturday Night Live this weekend. In an interview with Extra, the actress admitted that she is nervous to try her hand at sketch comedy. 'I start on Monday,' Mirren said. 'I'm terrified and really excited.' The Oscar winner continued: 'Everybody tells me I'm going to have a blast.' Mirren went on to reveal that she will not parody Queen Elizabeth, who she portrayed in director Stephen Frears's 2006 movie The Queen. 'No, I won't do the queen,' she asserted. 'I hope they know that. They've probably got ten skits for me being the queen.' Despite expressing resistance to reprising her iconic role, Mirren joked that she would be more interested in portraying an older version of Lindsay Lohan.

Did anyone else notice the bit of a balls-up by ITV on Monday evening? At the end of Law & Order: UK they showed a trailer for last week's episode.

Christopher Lloyd has joined the cast of a new NBC pilot. The comedy, which is currently untitled, stars Andrew J West as a doctor called Adam who joins his family's medical practice. According to Deadline, Lloyd has now signed up to play Adam's grandfather Robert Foote. Jere Burns, Jean Smart and Audrey Esparza have already landed roles in the project, which is in contention for NBC's 2011-2012 season. The comedy has been penned by Parks And Recreation writer Dan Goor. Lloyd has previously had guest roles in shows such as Fringe and Chuck and has worked on movies including the Back To The Future trilogy and One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.

Stevie Wonder has revealed his interest in becoming an X Factor judge. Stevie, can't you see what you're letting yourself in for? No, hang on, that came out all wrong. The Grammy Award-winning singer and producer told the Mirra that he would love to hear from Simon Cowell about taking up a position on the show. 'Simon should give me a buzz,' he said. 'I love X Factor and to be a judge would be great.' The sixty-year-old added: 'Seeking out new talent? I have an ear for it.' A number of names have been linked to roles on both the UK and USA versions of the show. To date, though, only Simon Cowell and LA Reid are confirmed to appear on the American edition. Cowell has reportedly stated that he will not quit the ITV show, apparently telling bosses that there 'is no show' without him.

Channel Four has announced details of its programming surrounding the upcoming royal wedding. The broadcaster revealed plans for a mixture of documentaries, news programming and a special edition of Come Dine With Me to mark the marriage between Prince William and Kate Middleton. Meet The Middletons will see members of the bride's family, including cousins, aunts and distant relations, discuss the five generations of their clan. The programme is expected to focus on how Middleton's family history differs from Prince William's and has been described as 'a revealing social history of the last hundred years of British working life and aspiration.' Historian David Starkey will host Kate and William: Romance and the Royals, which will examine how William's marriage to a 'commoner' is not unusual in the history of the monarchy. Meanwhile, The Unofficial Royal Wedding will follow twelve people from across the country on the day before the event, on the day of the ceremony itself, and on the day after. Channel Four Comedy is expected to commission a one-off show, while the Come Dine With Me special will see four royalists attempting to throw the best street party. E4 will broadcast 50 Worst Wedding Shockers, a list show examining celebrity, television and unusual weddings. Channel Four also promised that ;a further very special commission' will be announced at a later date. The broadcaster's chief creative officer Jay Hunt said: 'Channel Four will be joining in the celebrations with its unique take on the royal wedding. From the mayhem of a Come Dine With Me street party to David Starkey's historical perspective on the marriage, we will be using documentary and comedy to offer an alternative perspective on this national event.'

BBC journalists have allegedly been asked if they would be willing to hand over unbroadcast footage of last month's march against government cuts in central London, as part of the Metropolitan police's investigation into violence at the demonstration. The initial approaches to reporters prompted a swift reaction from the NUJ, whose general secretary warned journalists of the risks of handing over any of their material to the police. It is understood that detectives from the Met have contacted a number of people in BBC News about the possibility of obtaining unseen material of the event. A hardcore of militant activists, their sick minds poisoned by anarchist rhetoric (or, you know, more likely alcohol) and bent on 'smashing the state' and all that malarkey caused extensive damage in London's West End at the end of the protest organised by the TUC on 26 March. Officially, a spokesman for the Metropolitan police said it was currently 'considering' requesting media organisations for unbroadcast footage. However, unofficial contact already appears to have been made with some journalists at the BBC, prompting the National Union of Journalists general secretary Jeremy Dear to release a statement. Dear described it as to be a 'fishing trip' and warned of the hazards of journalists being seen as 'information gatherers' for the police. 'The NUJ has a long and proud record in fighting to protect journalists faced with actions over sources or journalistic material,' said Dear in an e-mail to NUJ members. He added: 'It is important we do not allow the police to use journalists as information gatherers for their purposes. Such a move places all journalists at greater risk when covering public order issues and stops sources coming forward. The NUJ stance has been confirmed in various cases before the UK and European courts.' Dear said a number of NUJ members at the BBC had received e-mails regarding police attempts to secure unbroadcast material from the demonstration. He said he had also written to the BBC urging them to make 'strong representations' in defence of the confidentiality of journalists' material and their sources. A Metropolitan police spokeswoman said: 'As part of the investigation into the serious disorder and violence committed in the West End on Saturday 26 March, detectives are considering requesting unbroadcast footage from media organisations. This is regularly a consideration for those responsible for investigating these incidents and is done after careful consideration as to its necessity. Such footage is obtained via an application to the crown court, made under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. As part of this process all parties are able to put forward arguments, should they wish to do so.' The police can use the courts to access journalistic material provided they can show it is in the public interest or of substantial value to an investigation, and that they have taken all reasonable measures to obtain the material but, usually, don't. Police did use court orders to seize TV footage of clashes between protesters and police ahead of the G8 summit in 2005. No official police requests have so far been put into either ITN or Sky. A BBC News spokeswoman said: 'The police have been in touch with us but there has been no formal request for any materials from the BBC.' Detectives from Operation Brontide – the team investigating the disorder – have this week released eighteen images of people they want to identify following the violence around Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly and Oxford Street areas of central London.

A sniper fired on Geraldo Rivera during a news broadcast in Benghazi on Sunday. Rivera was reporting for FOX News when a sniper shot in his direction, so it was clearly somebody with some taste. 'It was the kind of situation where it evolved kind of slowly. It started with a single sniper shot, then we took cover,' the TV veteran said. The sixty seven-year-old called the situation 'a wild exchange. It was like a shoot out between two unruly gangs: the professional [rebel] soldiers and the Gaddafi soldiers. Every time they unleashed their salvos, the rebel irregulars would wildly retreat or fire their weapons,' he added. The broadcaster said that he 'was as worried about getting shot in the back by the "good guys" as getting shot in the front by the Gaddafi forces.' He continued: 'I swear to God, if you give these people weapons more powerful than they have right now, they will be a grave danger to themselves and others.' In 2003, the Pentagon ordered Rivera to leave Iraq after he reportedly 'compromised operational security' following a live report in which he drew a map of Iraq in the desert sand, pinpointing the location of the Army's 101st Airborne Division.

The Football League has signed a three-year deal with Sky Sports, giving the broadcaster exclusive rights to show live matches from the 2012-13 season. The deal, worth one hundred and ninety five million smackers, marks a drop from the current two hundred and sixty four million pound agreement with Sky and the BBC. Football League chairman Greg Clarke said it had been a challenging climate to negotiate in. The BBC said that it had been unable to make a competitive bid for live broadcast rights. Under the new agreement, Sky Sports will broadcast seventy five matches from across the Npower Football League, the play-offs including all three finals, fifteen matches from the Carling Cup including both legs of each semi-final and the final, the final of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy and at least two matches from the preceding rounds. Sky will also show match highlights. The Football League said it was in ongoing discussions with broadcasters regarding free-to-air highlights. The BBC currently has first pick to show ten live Championship matches a season, as well as two legs of the semi-finals and shared live coverage of the Carling Cup Final. But a spokesman said: 'Given the current financial climate and the internal strategic review being carried out through Delivering Quality First, we were not in a position to be able to make a competitive bid for the Football League live TV broadcast rights. We look forward to continuing our coverage of the Football League to the end of the 2011-2012 season when our contract expires.' League chairman Clarke said: 'This has been a challenging climate in which to negotiate television rights, given the state of the economy and the lack of competitive tension in the sports broadcasting market. I am confident that our clubs will take heart from seeing such a significant ongoing investment in their competitions, despite a reduced level of broadcasting income, as it provides financial certainty in uncertain times.'

In The West Wing episode The Stackhouse Filibuster, Sam Seabourne is given task of recommending four hundred obsolete government reports for elimination. One of those suggested is a report on a study of Route 66, condition and traffic flow of America's oldest trans-continental highway. 'Anything in there I don't get from the song?' he asks. He is, of course, referring to '(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66,' a popular jazz and rhythm and blues song, composed in 1946 by the American singer-songwriter Bobby Troup. Troup conceived the idea for the song while driving west across America to LA ('almost two thousand miles all the way'), and the lyrics — which include references to many of the towns and cities the highway passes through — celebrate the romance and freedom of automobile travel. The lyrics read like a mini-travelogue of the major stops along the route, listing St Louis, Joplin, Oklahoma City, Amarillo, Gallup, Flagstaff, Winona, Kingman, Barstow, and San Bernardino. Winona is the only town in the list that's out of sequence. The song was first recorded in the same year that it was written by The Nat King Cole Trio and quickly became something of a standard. It was subsequently covered by many other artists - possibly most importantly by Chuck Berry whose 1961 rock and roll version would the template for dozens of further covers by white R&B bands. Most notably The Rolling Stones. Essex-born singer-songwriter Billy Bragg also recorded an 'anglicised' version of the song called 'A13 (Trunk Road to the Sea)'. In Bragg's song the landmark cities are replaced with English town along the route of the A13, with Bragg inviting listeners to 'Go motoring, on the A-thirteen!'