Sunday, April 17, 2011

Went Out For The Weekend It Lasted Forever, High With Our Friends It's Officially Summer

Bonjour, mon petit fromages. There was an awful lot going on during BBC4's two episodes of Spiral this week: As usual, much of it was great. And, even the stuff that wasn't, was often hilarious. For a start mad-as-toast potential skinhead serial-killer Mexican Ronaldo's sister, Gloria Dupré, turns out actually to be his mother and, after some typically harsh questioning from CID, she takes her own life for no adequately explained reason. Didn't see that coming a mile away. Laure Berthaud, meanwhile, takes one for the team and has some big, hot, sweaty in-office sex with vile Crime Squad smoothy Brémont to save Gilou's le bacon. But, she still manages to lose Le Boucher case to Brémont's team. It was also a busy couple of episodes for poor Judge Roban who finally lost his - admittedly nasty old bag of a - mother, then rumbled his proper bad'un frere. As if that wasn't bad enough, he was forced to rob his own office and make it look like a burglary so that he could leak the corruption conspiracy story to the press. Then, he got careless and was secretly recorded by another journalist making unwise comments about Ronaldo which ended up on YouTube. And, finally, at the climax of a couple of pretty shitty days for le renard argenté he only went and got blackmailed by his petit merde of a student (and, potential future stepson). Patricia, Gilou's prostitute snitch also found herself bieng (emotionally) blackmailed - by a far more bitchy than usual Joséphine - to change her witness evidence about Ronaldo. Which she, of course, does. Now out of custody Ronaldo is, however, still very much under suspicion. By Laure if not, actually, by anybody else. Attempting to put Ronaldo under surveillance after his release, Berthaud et al fall for the old stick-somebody-wearing-a-hood-into-a-taxi switcheroony ruse and follow the wrong suspect. Laure ends up getting spanked by her boss for her duo of mistakes; a) not letting it lie when told to and b) having decided not to let it lie, getting caught. 'I've never cocked up an inquiry,' she claims at one point. Before hastily adding, 'not like this,' as the entire pub (and every cop, criminal and examining magistrate in Paris) prepares to collapse in ironic laughter. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose, if you will. As the episode continues, Ronaldo appears to begin stalking an attractive brunette. There's gonna be trouble ahead, one can tell. Nasty ginger Joséphine certainly dishes out the punishment in these episodes to anybody that comes within her radar. By implication, she has Ronaldo beaten to bloody pulp in prison (presumably to soften him up for when approach him to represent him). Then, she nobbles Patricia before she can officially identify Ronaldo, aided by another juvenile schoolboy-type error by Gilou on the line-up which has ice forming on the upper reaches of Roban. But, Madamoiselle Karlsson also has a very awkward moment herself when a client of Szabo's assaults her and threatens her with a particularly harsh gang-rape if she doesn't get his brother out of jail tout de suite. With Pierre's help, she walks away from that one but having already barely escaped assassination earlier in the series you do wonder how long it's going to be before her need to play with lions ends very messily indeed. There's also a great subplot about a new character, Jésus Berrondo, a Basque abattoir worker who has just killed, dismembered, debollocked and beheaded his gay flatmate after some unwanted sexual advances. 'I cut him up and put him in bin bags so I wouldn't be accused,' he tells Tin-Tin and Gilou. 'You lot are quick to judge.' Apparently this chap has seen the first two series of Engrenages. A bloodstained handkerchief with the initials JB found at the scene of Tatiana's murder last episode matches one found in Berrondo's flat. But, does such an intricate murder really seem his style? Ask yourself: what would Jésus do? Back in corruption central, Roban goes to extraordinary lengths to nail the horrible Mayor Courcelles, staging a break-in at his own office so that he can leak details to the press and force a very unwilling Machard to agree to him continuing his investigation. The Fortex paper trail finally leads back to Roban's own slimy brother, Martin. And François is not in a forgiving mood: 'I won't hesitate to destroy you,' he says, indicating that, if push comes to shove, he's perfectly prepared to be his brother's jail keeper. However, he promises to try and keep him out trouble if Martin will give up the mayor. Martin tells him: 'If I talk, I'm dead.' For the first time, Courcelles actually looks more than a touch rattled and when the bungling Dejean messes up a particularly amateurish café sting on François - which the good judge sees coming a mile away - the mayor has one of those 'why am I surrounded by incompetents?' looks on his face. It's another blow for his damage-limitation manoeuvres which are now starting to resemble a house of card in a hurricane. Elsewhere, Laure's face - and angry hand-gesture - when she hears that Joséphine is to be defending Ronaldo tells its own story. Où est la masse de manoeuvre? The pair, of course, have significant history of prior conflict and Laure rarely comes out of such situations well. When Isabella learns that her creepy little shit of a son is blackmailing François, it's all a terrible shock. She reasons that Arnaud is only trying to protect his mother and tells Roban that she needs 'time to think.' The best bit of the two episodes, frankly, is the 'Guns don't kill people, Gilou does,' subplot. Who knew that a tame warning shot into the air at the drug squat in episode three would have such potentially terrible consequences and cause such havoc for so many people? When Gilou's bullet finds its way into someone's lung(!), CID need to replace it with a Blue Peter replica - 'one they made earlier' - to keep their colleague out of prison. Having got a highly reluctant Tin-Tin to help them in their madcap 'switch the evidence' scheme (straight out of an episode of The Shield it must be said), Laure happily takes one for her boys by honey-trapping Brémont in his office, then switching bullets while he nips out to find a decent bottle of plonk. With the bullets safely switched, she could easily make her escape with the - true - excuse that she's already drunk too much. But, that wouldn't be our Laure, would it? So, she hangs around for a good hard shagging on the inspector's desk. Quelle surprise. Meanwhile, in the very curious plot strand about the prostitutes and their wicked pimps, with Tatiana gone, we suddenly discover that Mila is no longer the cowering, beaten victim we saw last time around. Stockholm syndrome (or, possibly a realisation that she can assume Tatiana's role as Niko's Bottom Bitch) has kicked in and she's now an effective enforcer among the girls. She seems to rather enjoy the gig of slapping them about a bit for hoarding money and trying to steal their John's mobile. Speaking of sex, Joséphine loves reminding Pierre Clément about his incestuous client. She revels in burrowing deep into the darkest recesses of the human psyche (on several levels), in places that honest, nice guy Pierre has spent his entire career trying hard to avoid. You've got to give him credit, though – even though Madame Leliévre clearly disgusts him he comes out on top in the custody hearing. He points out that it is the husband, not his client, who is involving the child in their arguments and that the judge is there to award custody not decide on his client's morals. Against all odds, he wins custody for La Madame but the look on his face when he does ... Conflicted doesn't even begin to describe it. The Joséphine and Pierre set-up reminds one rather of when Angel and his friends took over the demonic law firm Wolfram & Hart – fudge, compromise and moral ambiguity all around. Only, you know, without the green-skinned anagogic demon who reads people's souls when they sing karaoke, of course. And Charisma Carpenter. But, hey, we've got Caroline Proust and, to be honest, that'll do nicely.

Et maintenant, still La Franglais continues. The BBC have released the first picture of Primeval star Ben Miller in the forthcoming drama Death In Paradise, a new international co-production for BBC1 and France Télévisions. The eight-part drama series will star Ben alongside French film star Sara Martins (Tell No One) and will begin filming in Guadeloupe next spring. Written by Robert Thorogood, Death In Paradise is described as 'a fish out of water story about a quintessential English cop posted to the Caribbean island of Sainte Marie.'

David Hasselhoff and Michael McIntyre's Britain's Got Talent debut was seen by 10.4m viewers on Saturday night, according to overnight audience data. Airing at 8.25pm, the relaunched talent show - now in its fifth series - had an average audience of 9.94m on ITV, attracting a peak of 10.45m in the final fifteen minutes, and adding a further four hundred and ninety thousand of ITV+1 an hour later. However, last night's premiere was slightly lower than the equivalent launches in 2010 and 2009. It was a shit night all round for the BBC where Eurovision: Your Country Needs You got off to a dismal start, with just two million viewers between 6.10pm and 7.10pm, then 3.63m watched a live So You Think You Can Dance and The National Lottery: Secret Fortune slipped to 3.71m at 8.10pm. They must be thanking any diety available that Doctor Who's back next week.

John Cleese has revealed that his most recent divorce cost him a total of sixty five million dollars. The comedian, actor and writer split from psychotherapist Alyce Faye Eichelberger in 2008 after nineteen years of marriage. Asked how much the divorce had cost him, he told Paul O'Grady Live on Friday: 'Sixty million dollars and I've got to pay another five millionm over the next five years. It's California - I have to tell you this is not America - it's Californian law which is absolutely crazy, and the only thing that worries me now is it's kind of coming to England.' 2009 reports had indicated that Cleese paid far less than his apparent current indication. When O'Grady asked if his former wife was an instrumental part of his success, Cleese quipped: 'She was a very good cook!' He recently admitted that he was 'naive' when it came to his latest divorce. Cleese is about to go round the country with his Alimony Tour, which looks back at his career and the various stars he has worked with.

BBC1's Question Time was interrupted this week when a protester rushed the platform unfurling a banner complaining about budget airline Ryanair. It is the first time in the show's thirty two-year history that it has suffered such an invasion. Unfortunately for the chap involved – or at least for his efforts to make his protest on-air – the programme is actually recorded in advance so viewers were left none the wiser. The chap did kick over a few of the letters spelling 'Liverpool' – the location of this week's show – necessitating a minor tidy-up by production staff. Presenter David Dimbleby told the audience: 'People sometimes ask why we record the programme half an hour before it's broadcast.'

Cat Deeley has admitted that she is 'absolutely awful' on the dancefloor. The So You Think You Can Dance presenter joked that she would not accept an offer to appear on Strictly Come Dancing or the US version Dancing with the Stars. 'I'm not in control of my limbs at all,' she told ITV's love-in sixk-fest This Morning. 'If I danced on TV I think people would bleed from their eyes, they'd just be so offended. I am absolutely awful but I'm normally one of the first on a dancefloor but that depends on how many cocktails I've had!' On being asked to participate as a contestant, she told Gregg's favourite customer Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford: 'I'd slam the door in their faces - I wouldn't inflict myself on the nation!' Speaking about living and working in America, where she presents the FOX version of the dance show, Deeley said: 'I spend a lot of time in America but I've still got my place here, and here is where I call home. My friends and my family are here. Never in my wildest dreams did I think we'd be on season eight out there!' However, Holmes told the thirty eight-year-old: 'Well you want to give all that up and go back to your roots and do what you do best with you, Ant and Dec and Saturday mornings - that's what we need!' What we actually need, fatty, is for you to get your smug face off our TV and not come back. Just a counterview, there. Recalling her time on SMTV Live Ant and Dec, Deeley responded: 'Ahhh. We'd love to! It was so fun.'

A man found dead at a flat in Dorset on Friday is believed to be a former BBC radio presenter, police have said. The man, in his sixties, was discovered in a flat in Ham Meadow, Marnhall, near Sturminster Newton. Dorset Police said that the dead man had not been formally identified but was believed to be Howard Winton Cooper, a former BBC Radio Sheffield presenter. Joseph Cooper, twenty three, from Marnhall, will appear before Weymouth Magistrates on Monday charged with murder. Officers discovered the body on Friday evening following a phone call from a member of the public. A search of the area was carried out and the house remained cordoned off. Police are waiting for the results of a port-mortem examination into how the man died. Winton Cooper, who left BBC Radio Sheffield about fifteen years ago, covered the Hillsborough disaster during his time there. Former fellow presenter Peter Crabtree once described him as 'one of the most memorable people' he had worked with.

Simon Cowell will not appear on a weekly basis on The X Factor, ITV chief Peter Fincham has confirmed. Following a string of tabloid reports claiming that Cowell was quitting the UK show, Fincham - ITV's director of television - told the Sunday Mirra that the full-of-his-own-importance media mogul's role 'will not be as great as previous years. We have been in constant negotiations with Simon about ways in which we can move things forward and help The X Factor evolve,' Fincham said in a statement. 'We have been aware that his on-screen ?involvement in this series will not be as great as ?previous years for months now. It is something that we are ?completely ?comfortable with. We are talking to him about ways he can have an on-screen presence later in the show. He will not be a weekly judge, but he will be an enormous presence backstage as always.' However, Fincham insisted: 'Some of the speculation about us pleading with Simon to be a judge makes me smile. I constantly hear we are in crisis but in reality we have an amazingly ?constructive relationship with Simon and are very much reading from the same page.'

US cable network TLC has confirmed the acquisition of Channel Four series Big Fat Gypsy Weddings. The show, which attracted huge ratings when it was broadcast in the UK, will be screened on the American channel next month. The network has also ordered its own version of the documentary series featuring some of the country's one million travellers, which is expected to be bought in turn by Channel Four. 'TLC prides itself on providing access to worlds that our viewers might not otherwise experience, revealing the relatable in the extraordinary,' stated TLC chief Amy Winter. 'Having the opportunity to explore the hidden and often misunderstood gypsy and traveller culture continues the network's commitment to compelling storytelling and surprising real-life characters.' The Sun reports that Firecracker, the production company behind the show, has asked its UK contributors to contact US relatives and persuade them to take part in the US remake, which will broadcast early next year.

Top Gear's Richard Hammond has just taken delivery of a new Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder, reports the Sun. The one hundred and sixty grand Spyder an LP560-4, is finished in bright green – to contrast, reports the paper, with Hammond’s black helicopter, although both cost about the same. Forty one year old Hammond’s new Lambor produces five hundred and sixty horse power from its 5.2-litre V10 engine. And brings tears to Stewart Lee's eyes and make wax explode in the ears of jhippy Communist lice at the Gruniad Morning Star. Which is, in and of itself, pretty funny I'd've said. It can hit two hundred and one mph and accelerates from nought to sixty in four seconds. It is correspondingly thirsty, though: it averages just over nineteen miles to the gallon. However, to offset this, Hammond has also taken delivery of a Fiat, for his wife Mindy. Apparently, Mrs Hamster's new car is a limited edition Fiat 500 Gucci. Style.

The BBC's Robert Snitchy Peston ruffled more than a few feathers at the Torygraph when he scooped his former employer in December on Vince Cable's Rupert Murdoch comments. So when the former Sunday Torygraph city editor gets it wrong, Buckingham Palace Road is sure to be watching. To Friday's Torygraph City Diary, therefore, where Jessica Johnson gives Peston a trousers-down hiding for this week's premature scoop on Glencore's incoming chairman. 'Mind you, this from a man who back in his FT days said Britain would join the Euro,' snipes Johnson. 'I don't mean to go on about Pesto's pratfall. So I won't. I'll let him say it, in an interview he gave in 2008.'

Broadcasts of Radio 4's Any Questions were cancelled on Friday and Saturday for the first time in the programme's history. Sister show Any Answers was also affected as three guest panellists failed to make their way to the live recording near Durham. Minister for the Department for Work and Pensions Chris Grayling, Labour peer Lord Malloch-Brown and Rita Clifton, UK Chairwoman of Interbrand, were all affected by a 4pm train cancellation at Kings Cross after a man was hit by an earlier train. Chairman Jonathan Dimbleby and one panellist, historian Professor Richard Grayson, were ready to record at the National Rail Museum in Shildon, but the others were hit by further delays and it was ruled that taxis were 'not a viable option to complete the journey', according to the Telegraph. 'Due to unforeseen circumstances some panellists due to appear on Any Questions from Durham this evening were severely held up on their journeys,' a BBC spokesperson said. 'As a consequence there will be no Any Questions on Friday night or Saturday and no edition of Any Answers.'

For this - really nice - Sunday afternoon, yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, is the first big weekend.