Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Soy Un Perdedor, I'm A Loser Baby, So Why Don't Y'Kill Me?

The MasterChef duo Gregg Wallace and John Torode have confirmed that they would be interested in taking part in Strictly Come Dancing. The TV duo, who previously hinted at an interest in the BBC1 dance series during an interview with the Digital Spy website, said that they would like to compete on the show if they ever have enough time in their schedules. 'I'd like to do it so you wouldn't have to pay me. I just need the time. I'm a great dancer,' Wallace told the Radio Times. Torode said: 'Gregg's a far better dancer than I am, but I'd love to learn.' Wallace also revealed that his first TV crush was for the Cadbury's Caramel rabbit. Which explains his fondness for those MasterChef contestants who cook him chocolate puddings. And, why he often winks at them! Gregg claimed that the chocolate bar advertising campaigns from the '80s, which were voiced in Britain by Blackadder's Miriam Margolyes, were sexy. 'The Cadbury's Caramel rabbit: those long legs, that pert bum, the way she would lean over and drawl, "Slow down, Mister Beaver" in that seductive West Country accent. She was sexy,' Wallace said. The fruit and veg expert claimed that his guilty pleasure was 'Butterscotch Angel Delight' and that his TV dinner of choice was 'shepherd's pie with peas and brown sauce.' Gregg, mate, that's just sick.

All of the Corrie fans in the office are currently enthusing about the great Stephanie Cole's recent 'waspish' appearances in the soap playing Roy's mother.

Lewis Hamilton's victory in the Shanghai grand prix delivered a peak audience of more than five million viewers to BBC1 despite its breakfast time start. BBC1's coverage of the race averaged 3.28 million viewers, between 7am and 10.15am, peaking with 5.14 million viewers at the climax of the race. Formula One is one of the sports that the BBC is said to be looking at dropping as part of its efforts to save four hundred million quid a year. The motor racing meant the BBC's television coverage of the London Marathon was switched to BBC2 for its early stages, where it averaged 1.434 million viewers between 8.30am and 10.15am. It then transferred to BBC1 at the end of the grand prix, averaging 2.669 million between 10.15pm and 2pm.

And now for the nation's favourite blood sport since bear-baiting, Daybreakwatch:
11 April 694k AI 68
12 April 679k AI 68
13 April 714k AI 66
14 April 719k AI 64
15 April 755k AI 67
18 April 708k
So, still stuck in that big old cul-de-sac after 'turning the corner', I see Adrian and Christine? What a shame.

Speaking of audience appreciation index scores, it's noticeable that the opening episode of Sing If You Can on Saturday had five and a half million viewers but it's AI of sixty five suggests than many of them didn't, actually, like it very much. And with Stacey Solomon regularly screaming 'everybody 'eers goin' mentawwwwl!' that's hardly surprising.

Now, here's a really interesting thing, dear blog reader. As we mentioned in the last blog, on Monday a couple of tabloids were using the ratings figures for Britain's Got Talent - comparing last years final figures with this years overnights, admittedly - as the basis for 'has the bubble burst' type stories. Tuesday saw a further piece in the same vein in Metro (a newspapers which, let's remember, has already made a fool of itself once this year by attempting to use MasterChef's ratings to prove a point, and failed). Allied with Jim Shelley's usual hatchet job of a review of the show in the Mirra and a further article in the Scum Mail by that dreadful Moir woman, do seem to be part of an emerging trend. Without Simon Cowell, Britain's Got Talent is standing at a crossroads. it will continue to be a very popular television show probably for a long time to come but it certainly does appear that, at least some portions of the British media now, actively, want it to fail. Either because that, in and of itself, is a good story or because of a more specific dislike of some aspect of it. Or, at least, they want it to be perceived to have failed which an average audience across the series of, let's say eight million would, undoubtedly, be written up as. It's funny, isn't it? The more successful a TV gets, the easier it is for it to be regarded as having crashed and burned. Strictly Come Dancing two years ago is a good comparison when the BBC decided to try it up against The X Factor. Its ratings were actually higher than they'd been the year before but it was perceived to have failed because X Factor won the head-to-head battle. A year later, Strictly was moved back to an earlier slot and the ratings, which were broadly similar to the 2009 series, were written up as being successful. What BGT has against it at the moment is merely a minor campaign of whispers and some (dodgy) statistics being spun as part of a not-entirely-clear agenda by a handful of second division tabloids. (It still appears to have the Murdoch press firmly in its pocket judging by the Sun's coverage of the opening episode.) But that can very quickly become a torrent if the press scent blood.

If the tabloids are looking for a Saturday night light entertainment show that really is in trouble, they should be concentrating on the other side. According to reports, the BBC could be set to axe its Saturday night show So You Think You Can Dance unless the series pulls in more viewers. The BBC1 show, which is hosted by Cat Deeley, was seen by just 3.63 million viewers in its first live final on Saturday. Just for a bit of context, Britain's Got Talent, which featured a new judging line-up without Simon Cowell, attracted ten million viewers on ITV. So, that would be more. According to a report by the Press Association, 'BBC bosses are hoping that So You Think You Can Dance, which features Louise Redknapp, Arlene Phillips and Nigel Lythgoe on the judging panel, does better this weekend when it is aired immediately after the new series of Doctor Who.' Which, of course, many Doctor Who fans aren't particularly happy about anyway as they see the BBC using their show to prop up a clearly struggling brand as disrespectful. Which it isn't - it actually shows how much faith the Beeb have in Doctor Who as a ratings winner not only on its own but also for the shows around it. But, anyway So You Think You Can Dance has been a success in the US, where it is also hosted by Deeley. It launched in Britain with 6.4 million viewers and the second series, which still has several weeks to go, kicked off with 4.8 million. A 'source' allegedly told the Mirra: 'It looks as though viewers have got bored of So You Think You Can Dance, which has gone into freefall in terms of viewing figures. Producers are struggling to halt the decline, and senior bosses have lost patience with the format. It's unlikely there'll be another series.' A BBC spokesman said: 'So You Think You Can Dance is only four shows into its twelve-week run. No decision has yet been made on the next series.'

Stephen Mulhern has claimed that the treatment of singer Michael Collings is proof that Britain's Got Talent has 'learned nothing' from Susan Boyle's success. Collings shocked the judges in the first audition show, winning high praise for his rendition of Tracy Chapman's 'Fast Car'. However, before he performed, judges Amanda Holden and Michael McIntyre mocked Plymouth-born Collings for his baggy trousers and orange hoody top. Speaking on This Morning, Stephen Mulhern said: 'When will we learn? When we looked at Michael, you look at him and we all made our judgements. We did it with SuBo, we did it with Paul Potts - this year surely we should have learned from our mistake. When he came on, even Amanda and Michael thought he looked like he was from easyJet. But if you closed your eyes and listened to him, he was just unbelievable. I hope he does well.'

Former Tottenham Hotshots chairman Lord Sugar-Sweetie has drawn up a 'business blueprint' to 'save English football.' The Apprentice presenter will unveil the five-point plan in a new BBC2 documentary. He said: 'For the good of the game - a game that entertains so many people - a game that people look forward to, that's part of their lives, there needs to be some very big actions taken. Football needs a dose of hard business reality.' Lord Sugar-Sweetie, who ran the North London club - not particularly successfully, it should be noted - between 1991 and 2001, interviews his Apprentice colleague Karren Brady during the sixty-minute film. Brady, who was managing director of Birmingham from 1993 to 2009, is currently vice chairman at relegation-bound West Ham United. He also speaks to Spurs manager Happy Harry Redknapp, Wigan chairman Dave Whelan and UEFA president and oily twat Michel Platini. The show's commissioning editor Martin Davidson said it shows an industry 'struggling to make ends meet' despite huge financial rewards available at the top. He said: 'It's a fascinating business model to explore and I'm very excited that Lord Sugar will be offering BBC2 viewers his expert business analysis - and I look forward to seeing what surprises he has in store for us.' The show, called Lord Sugar-Sweetie Tackles Football, will be broadcast this spring.

Karen Gillan has claimed that Amy Pond will be different in the new series of Doctor Who. The actress told the Radio Times that Amy has changed following the events of fifth series finale, The Big Bang. 'As The Doctor rebooted the universe at the end of the last series, Pond's been given the life that she should have had,' she explained. '[She now has] the life where she wasn't sat down by psychiatrists telling her she's crazy.' She continued: '[Amy] was obviously a broken person. She's generally a bit more settled now.' Gillan joked that the character will be 'getting a little bit more tomboyish as she becomes more of an action girl' but denied that Amy will grow 'boring' following her marriage to Rory (Arthur Darvill). 'I hate it when people settle down into a rut when they marry and get all subdued,' she said. 'I was determined that that would never happen to her.' She also praised the 'precise' nature of showrunner Steven Moffat's scripts for the new series. 'There are a couple of throwaway lines in the opening two-parter, which I thought were just a couple of funny gags,' she revealed. 'But [they] turn out to be one of the most important things that Amy's ever said.'

There's a very good piece by Neil Smith on the BBC News website concerning Sunday's United including interviews with David Tennant, Dougray Scott and Jack O'Connell. 'We've made every endeavour to be as accurate and truthful as possible in spirit and intention,' says director James Strong.And, on a similar theme, the Gruniad's Amy Raphael has an exclusive on-set piece about Paul Abbott's Exile: 'Exile is heartbreaking – from the moment Tom arrives home to find his father barely recognises him, to the scene in which Sam goes jogging in the snow in his vest, pants and socks, to the one in which he reaches absently for a shirt to dry the dishes. It's also brilliantly acted. John Simm, who I worked with on State of Play and Clocking Off, is easily one of my top five actors ever,' says Abbott. 'He can walk on and look like a walnut and then his eyes suddenly become magnetic. We talked to Pete Postlethwaite about playing the father, but he was too ill. Then we asked Jim. I thought I'd had a stroke when he confirmed. These days you can't afford actors at this level as a matter of course, but with a good script you can get them.'Jim Broadbent has revealed he drew on the pain of his mother's Alzheimer's illness to play a man suffering from the disease. The Oscar-winning actor, who stars as retired journalist Sam in Exile, said he used his own family experience to help him with the role. 'It was upsetting when mother was ill; in a way that was more upsetting than any acting will be,' he told the Gruniad. 'You just use all that. You remember what was painful about it. But it's not a disease-of-the-week drama, it's a thriller with Alzheimer's as the backdrop.' The show, which begins on 1 May, was scripted by Shameless author Paul Abbott. It also stars John Simm as Sam's son Tom, who tries to tackle an investigative piece his father stopped working on years ago. John admitted he was starstruck by his veteran co-star. 'At the read-through, there were moments when I'd look up and see Jim across the table and think "wow." I am in awe of him; he is Godlike. I knew I couldn't wing it in Exile. I've had to make sure I'm really on it.'

For anyone interested in the nuts and bolts of TV screenwriting, former EastEnders' assistant script editor Samantha Psky had done a fascinating article on the BBC blog on her exeriences working on the soap: 'Watching Jo Joyner, Jessie Wallace and the rest of the cast film a hen party scene was one of those surreal "pinch yourself" moments! Reading these scripts for the first time gave me goosebumps, so I can only imagine how they came across on screen. By the time you read this, I'll know! How exciting is that...?'

Visual effects and post-production house The Mill, best known for their work on Doctor Who, has been sold to Barclays Private Equity in a deal that values the company at one hundred and twenty million pounds. The deal, which closed earlier this week, will see the senior management team of chief executive Robin Shenfield and co-founder and chief creative officer Pat Joseph remain with company and continue to have a 'substantial' stake in the business. The Mill said that Barclays Private Equity's funding will be used to support growth in Los Angeles, where it is moving to larger premises in July, together with further expansion into emerging markets including Asia and South America. Shenfield said: 'The rapidly growing demand for creative moving image content across all platforms has been a huge driver for us over the last few years, allowing us to broaden our services into providing video content for the web, mobile and for video games. With the support of Barclays Private Equity we will be able to continue our expansion into these high growth areas and expand geographically into exciting new territories such as China, India and Brazil.'

A jelly bean supposedly bearing the likeness of Kate Middleton is 'expected to fetch five hundred pounds in an auction.' From gullible twats, admittedly but, hey, there's plenty of those about. The Independent reports the story with the link-line 'utter-PR-fiction-but-people-love-this-shit-so-fuck-it-lets-just-print-it' and a picture of the alleged jelly bean in question. Actually, it turns out that the vagaries of the Indy site mean you can type in pretty much whatever you want into a URL and it'll still work. In an interview with the Daily Torygraph, Wesley Hosie, twenty five, claimed that he was tucking into a bag of jelly beans from The Jelly Bean Factory with his girlfriend Jessica White when he 'immediately noticed Kate's face in the candy. "As Jessica opened the jar, I saw her immediately. She was literally lying there staring back at me,"' he told the paper last week. Thinking 'what an effing berk', no doubt.

Dutch electronics giant Philips has confirmed plans to spin-off its loss-making television division into a joint venture with Chinese manufacturer TPV Technology. The new venture will have a licence to market TV sets in Europe under the Philips brand, similar to previous agreements for the company's TV operations in China and North America. The deal also follows an agreement between Philips and Pace Micro in 2007 for the company's set top box division, with British firm Pace continuing to produce Philips-branded consumer products, such as Freeview HD receivers. TPV Technology, based in Hong Kong, was viewed as the logical partner for the joint venture as it is already an outsourcing partner to Philips. TPV hopes that the deal will give it a gateway to markets in Europe and South America. Speaking to the Financial Times, TPV vice president of corporate finance Shan Tyau said: 'We see this as a good opportunity for us to enter the European markets. TV is a consumer electronics product, so we need a strong brand like Philips to introduce us to these consumers.'

Amber Tamblyn has admitted that leaving House was difficult. Tamblyn joined the show as Martha Masters earlier this season, but her final episode broadcast in the US this week. Tamblyn told TV Line that she always planned to leave the series to work on a new project about a teacher with House executive producer Katie Jacobs. 'Thirteen episodes was always what I signed up to do,' she said. 'That was the plan all along. I never had any intention of staying longer than thirteen episodes. That got really emotionally difficult toward the end because I didn't want to go. But Katie and I fell in love with this other project and I knew the time was right.' Tamblyn admitted that she was 'in tears' when she discovered that Hugh Laurie had thrown her a surprise party for her departure, but reiterated her commitment to having a progressive career. 'I like to jump around a lot,' she said. 'I feel this way a lot about projects. I don't like to get comfortable where I am. I think it's dangerous to be too comfortable in what you're doing.'

John de Lancie has been confirmed as a member of the cast of Torchwood: Miracle Day. The actor is best known for his portrayal of Q, a recurring character in the Star Trek franchise. He created the role for the first episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation and was so successful that he had regular appearances in the series throughout its run as well as episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. He has also appeared in numerous television shows including: The Six Million Dollar Man, Hill Street Blues, The Thorn Birds, The West Wing, Sports Night, Judging Amy, The New Twilight Zone, The Closer, Legend, LA Law, MacGyver, Picket Fences, The Practice, Charmed, Stargate SG-1, the original Battlestar Galactica and Touched by an Angel. de Lancie's casting in Torchwood was revealed in a tweet by one of the series' authors, Magic Jane Espenson.

The nation's greatest living broadcaster Danny Baker has returned to his BBC London radio show for the first time since starting treatment for throat cancer. The fifty three-year-old broadcasting legend revealed his diagnosis in early November and has since had chemotherapy and radiotherapy. After the show, Baker used his Twitter account to joke about the effects of the adrenalin rush he got from his return to the airwaves. He wrote: 'Adrenalin from radio deceptive. Ignoring doctor's orders I try a little wine. Now I'm seeing square out of one eye and round out the other. Once I can eat again (a year?) I intend to get as full and fat as a bull's bum. Beer and Beef gives A Man Shape - George III. Yes! [sic]' The Mirra reports that Danny opened his show with 'Get Back' by The Beatles. He also joked on air that he was feeling 'really horrible' when a colleague asked how he was.

'Underwear artist' Anthony Wait reportedly mooned Amanda Holden during his Britain's Got Talent audition. Sharp critical comment, that is, dear blog reader.The eleventh Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu, has opened a sandwich store with his son, Orlando. The shop, which is located in London's financial district will sell thirteen varieties of hot sandwiches. It will also serve fresh soups, salads, desserts and breakfast goods which can be eaten on the premises or taken away. Orlando told the Daily Torygraph: 'When I was growing up, it was always a fun story to tell. Then, I went into business at the same time as the sandwich market exploded in popularity. I said to dad, "We could really do something, if we get the food right."' The fourt Earl of Sandwich, also named John Montagu (1718-1792), is credited with inventing the lunchtime snack in the Eighteenth Century. During long card games, he reportedly asked his servants for meat between two slices of bread. However, the claim is subject to considerable debate due to a lack of any documentary evidence. Orlando, who said that he hopes the brand will eventually be able to compete with established retailers such as Pret-a-Manger and Eat, added that he thought his ancestor would be proud of his endeavours. 'I think the fourth earl would be thrilled; he was always looking at new enterprises,' he said. 'But the name is not nearly as important as the quality of the sandwiches. The food is what matters.' The Montagus already own fourteen sandwich outlets in the US alongside business partner Robert Earl. Who, confusing, isn't an Earl himself. Cos, that'd make him Earl Earl and that would just be stupid.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, we've got the story of my life, dear blog reader. And, I suspect, most of yours too.