Friday, April 15, 2011

Just In Case I Might Come To A Conclusion Other Than That Which Is Absolutely Necessary

Gosh, it was popular in here yesterday, dear blog reader. From The North's reporting of the curious case of the mystery actor and the call girl saw the blog achieve some of its highest ever traffic as lots of people scrambled to Google to try and find out the identity of the gentleman concerned. For some reason, lots of them got sent my way! Just to confirm, this blogger doesn't know who he is. Or, if he even exists. And, even if I did, which I don't, I wouldn't say unless it had already been reported by the wider media. And they hadn't been hauled a'fore the courts for contempt. All legal necessities aside, there is such a thing as an individual's right to some privacy. Unless, of course, one goes out of ones way to make ones private life as public as possible. Then, everything's fair game.So, anyway, here's the latest From The North exclusive relating to the forthcoming seventh series of Ideal. It's occurring. Not really an exclusive now I come to think about it, per se. But, still very welcome news. Meanwhile, here's a photo of the legend that is Wor Alfie Joey and the great Ben Crompton recently taken at BBC Newcastle's Studio Two (where yer actual Keith Telly Topping sometimes records his Top Telly Tips - although, usually, we're in studio 1B, as it happens). The chap in the middle, incidentally, is James Boughen a very good young comedy writer who's recently been writing for Shooting Stars. Alfie and Ben this week recorded some voices for a sketch James has written for the BBC's Jesting About initiative.Bones actor John Francis Daley has revealed details about this week's episode of the show. The actor, who plays Lance Sweets, has co-written The Truth in the Myth with $#*! My Dad Says producer Jonathan M Goldstein. 'I don't know what I'm allowed to tease about it, but I can say that it [involves] a myth-buster,' Daley told Give Me My Remote. 'A guy who debunks myths like seeing Jesus in toast, Bigfoot or the Yeti. It looks like he was killed by a creature that he was trying to debunk! Then the question is, does the creature exist?' Daley described the episode as 'goofy' and also praised recurring guest star Ryan Cartwright (Vincent Nigel-Murray). 'It's a really fun, silly episode,' he said. 'Vincent Nigel Murray is in it, and I find him to be very funny.' Bones producer Stephen Nathan previously described the episode as 'terrific' and claimed that Daley and Goldstein's script 'came out really well.'

The political comedy Twenty Twelve has been recommissioned. The BBC4 - if you will - mockmentary, which stars Downton Abbey's Hugh Bonneville as the head of a fictional Olympics Deliverance Team, charts the trials and tribulations of London's Olympic Games organisers. Bonneville, speaking in character as Ian Fletcher, told the BBC's in-house Comedy Blog: 'Obviously I think damage has already been done to the smooth running of our department by allowing the BBC cameras in. Personally, I don't want it to continue. But upstairs says it's going to. So that's all good.' Jon Plowman, the show's executive producer, added: 'We are really delighted that we have been granted permission to follow the Olympic Deliverance team again as they near the climax of their deliverance.'

George Michael has revealed that he considered taking legal action three years ago over comments made by a producer of a documentary Stephen Fry made about HIV. At the time, the documentary's producer, Ross Wilson, claimed that Michael had refused a HIV test, stating that the singer finds 'the wait for results too harrowing' and expected a positive outcome. Michael later asked for footage from the BBC documentary Stephen Fry: HIV and Me to be cut ahead of transmission. Asked by a Twitter follower why he doesn't follow Fry, Michael responded: 'I'm afraid I have my reasons. But you would have to ask Stephen what I might be disappointed about.' He continued: 'Believe me I was a fan, I really liked him. I have to explain, Stephen did nothing directly, but his producer said something publicly that was such a dreadful lie I thought about legal action. And I was shocked that, given the nature of our friendship until then, Stephen never called me to explain or distance himself from the liar. I was just terribly hurt that yet another gay man seemed happy to let me hang out to dry for the entertainment of homophobes.' The forty seven-year-old subsequently added: 'Having said that, I still think Stephen is a lovely man and a huge talent.' However, made aware of the comments, Fry himself later tweeted Michael, saying: 'George, I'm very distressed to think that something when [sic] wrong over the doc. All I knew was that you'd decided not to be included. That's literally all I know. Is there more. So sorry to see you upset about this.' And, yet again, dear blog reader, let's all just stand up and salute Twitter's uncanny ability to turn 'stuff that could be sorted out with a phone call' into major headline news. And then people wonder why yer Keith Telly Topping isn't on it!

ITV has confirmed that Benidorm will return for a fifth series. The popular comedy ended its fourth run last week with an overnight audience of 5.8m viewers. Creator Derren Litten, who previously told fans that he had come to the 'end of my Benidorm journey,' will also return to write more episodes of the show. 'We're pleased to announce that your favourite holidaymakers will return for a fifth series of Benidorm that will start filming later this year,' an ITV spokesperson said in a press release. 'We can also confirm Derren Litten will be back to write some of the new series.' Litten told Twitter followers that his head is 'swimming with storylines' after learning that Joan Collins is reported to be interested in making a cameo appearance in the comedy drama.

Comedy Central UK has announced that it is developing a new show called Threesome. The seven-part series is the channel's first narrative comedy commission and focuses on three friends about to turn thirty. Alice lives with her boyfriend Mitch and their gay friend Richie, but they have a threesome on a night out which ends up with an unplanned pregnancy. We'll have to presume it's Alice that gets pregnant rather than Mitch or Richie, although the initial publicity blur doesn't, actually, confirm this. Anyway, they eventually decide to raise the baby together. Irish actress Amy Huberman has signed up for the role of Alice, while Whites star Stephen Wight will play Mitch. The role of Richie will be taken on by Emun Elliott, who recently appeared in Lip Service and will feature in new drama Game Of Thrones. Tom MacRae, who has previously written episodes of Doctor Who and Casualty, will write the script. Comedy Central UK's Pete Thornton said: 'This new commission represents a big step forward for the channel, and we're very excited to be setting out on this journey with Tom MacRae's distinctive, bold and highly original scripts. We are delighted to be working with the hugely talented team at [production company] Big Talk, one of the brightest and most successful comedy indies in the UK, who have brought to life the UK's most distinctive comedies this year.'

Sky has won a landmark legal battle over customs duty on imports of its Sky+ set-top box, after successfully arguing that the receiver is 'not primarily a recording device.' Even though it, you know, is. Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs had argued that the Sky+ box should be subject to 13.9 per cent import duty because of its 'personal video recorder functionality.' However, the European Court of Justice dismissed the claim after ruling that, despite the built-in recording function, Sky+ boxes are primarily intended to receive TV signals. The ECJ said: 'Decoders with a hard disk drive - such as the Sky+ box - must be classified, for customs purposes, as set-top boxes with a communication function, and not as recording apparatus. As a result, they are exempt from customs duties, instead of being subject to a rate of 13.9 per cent.' HMRC claimed that Sky+ set-top boxes should be eligible for duty on imported goods under EU rules as they could be classified as recording devices. However, Sky claimed that the product was actually 'a set-top box with a communication function.' The dispute was escalated to the ECJ in Luxembourg, which this week ruled that electronic equipment with multiple functions should be classified according to its primary purpose. In its verdict, the ECJ said: 'Consumers subscribe to service providers such as Sky principally to be able to access the television programmes offered and, in order to do so, they need a box such as the Sky+ box. The television programme recording function, which is also available on that model, is merely an additional service. Consumers who choose that product are seeking, primarily, not a recording function, but rather a function of decoding television signals, although their choice may be influenced by the fact it has a recording function or by the number of hours of programming that can be recorded.' No shit! The court also said that its ruling was reached because the Sky+ box cannot record or play video content from any other external source, meaning it is 'principally intended to be used to receive television signals and that function is inherent in that device.' Reacting to the ruling, a HMRC spokesman said: 'HMRC are studying the ECJ judgement carefully, and will respond more fully in due course. In the meantime, the decision will be useful in the future classification of a range of set-top boxes.'

Thomas The Tank Engine and Bob the Builder could reportedly be separated as part of the sale of rights owner HiT Entertainment by private equity firm Apax Partners. Last December, it emerged that Mr Men and Noddy-owner Chorion was preparing an offer for HiT Entertainment after Apax put the company on the market. Thomas & Friends, the current name of the children's franchise, is understood to account for around half of HiT's revenue and so is being marketed as a standalone asset. HiT's other properties, including Bob the Builder, Angelina Ballerina, Fireman Sam and Pingu, are up for sale as another separate entity, reports the Gruniad Morning Star. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping wishes it to be known, dear blog reader that if he had the cash, he'd buy Pingu all for himself! Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which is handling the sale, is reported to have sent a 'confidential memorandum' inviting bids for the whole company, or for its constituent parts. Obviously not that confidential since the Gruniad know about it. And now, thanks to this blog, so do you. Alongside Chorion, other interested parties are thought to include broadcasters Disney and Viacom, toymakers Mattel and Hasbro, and US brand management firm Saban Brands. Apax acquired HiT Entertainment in 2005 for £489.4 million, but the company is expected to fetch a price of more than seven hundred million smackers today.

American Pyscho author Bret Easton Ellis has likened Glee to 'a puddle of HIV.' Charming. Posting on his official Twitter account earlier this week, the writer claimed that he finds watching the FOX sitcom to be uncomfortable. And, yet again, we've got a story about somebody making their mouth go on Twitter and then being surprised to find that more than five people know about it. What a novelty. Ellis wrote: 'I like the idea of Glee but why is it that every time I watch an episode I feel like I've stepped into a puddle of HIV?' Responding to criticism of his comments from Twitter followers on Wednesday night, Ellis suggested that watching Glee star Chris Colfer sing on an episode shown this week prompted him to condemn the series. 'No, I wasn't drunk last night. I was watching Chris Colfer singing, um, 'Le Jazz Hot' and felt like I had suddenly come down with the hivs [sic],' the novelist added.

A twenty-year-old has reportedly written off his father's two hundred and seventy five thousand pound Gumpert Apollo after taking it for a spin in Germany. He lost control of the rear wheel drive supercar on a sharp bend near Brokdorf, just north of Hamburg. After the crash the driver's door ended up one hundred feet away and the car was described as 'a total loss.' The young man was driving with a nineteen-year-old female passenger and both of them walked away from the accident with minor injuries. Although with some major brown staining on their keks which, I'm guessing, will need more than bit of Daz to remove. Police are investigating whether the driver was speeding when he lost control of the car on the 50mph road. The Gumpert Apollo has a top speed of two hundred and twenty five miles per hour and goes from nought to sixty in less than three seconds. If The Stig's driving it. And, as this young chap has just found out, it goes from 'very fast' to 'very bent' almost instantaneously when it impacts with something, you know, hard. His father's views on this matter went, tragically, unreported.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, a reminder that life is full of commotions. Here are several.