Tuesday, April 26, 2011

You Won't Find It Till You've Been And Gone Because You're Living A Hoax! Someone's Got You Sussed

The Big Apple was the latest destination for the globetrotting MasterChef finalists. New York (so good they named it twice) a 'melting pot' according to India, with eighteen thousand restaurants. 'You can get anything you want out there,' said Gregg Wallace. 'Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Indian, French, Italian.' What about food though, Gregg? Tom was sent to the Gramercy Tavern, a 'traditional Yankie taproom combined with modern day sensibilities.' Under the watchful eye of the executive chef Michael Anthony Tom was given the task of cooking hot smoked brook trout with three types of onion - pickled onion rings, port and red wine onion marmalade and sweet onion sauce. 'If there is an epiphany to be had, Tom's about to have it,' predicted John Tordoe. Meanwhile over at Picholine which specialises in Mediterranean cuisine, Riviera Sara Danesin was cooking with acclaimed chef Terrance Brennan. Her dish was wild hare with huckleberry paint and pan friend parsnip pain perdu and looked, frankly, inedible. On the Lower East Side, meanwhile, homeboy Tim Anderson had been given the opportunity to take his mad professor skills to somewhere they were likely to be appreciated, the famed WD~50 where Tim had seemingly found a kindred spirit in Wylie Dufresne. Whilst these two dudes were getting pally ('let's do it!', 'rite on!') almost to the point of homoeroticism, Tim was being shown one of WD~50's trademark dishes, lamb loin and black garlic with dehydrated soy beans. All went well for all three of our chefs with their hosts saying, in each case, that they'd be happy to take them on to work in their kitchens. Back in dear old Blighty, 'still recovering from jet-lag' according to an almost gleeful India, they were whisked off to Cowarth Park Hotel in Ascot, where chef John Campbell oversees the main dining room in the Mansion House. John had devised a massively over complex three course meal to be given for a bunch of superchefs including some old friends of the series like Tom Kitchen, Alexis Gauthier, Yotam Ottolenghi and Andrew Fairlie. Seven hours of sweating in a hot kitchen later, Sara's starter of scorched king crab with ribbons of Jerusalem artichokes, pan-roasted salsify and chervil root, razor clam dressing with apple blossom leaves, powdered Beurre Noisette and a consume of crab arrived, fully formed. Watching poor Sara struggling with live crabs was one of the highlights of the series if not, indeed, all TV ever. Next up was Tim who, when told he was going to be cooking haunch of venison said, cheerfully, 'first time I've never boned a deer.' Too much information, Timbo. The dish was served with parsnip purée, pickled and roasted carrots, braised red cabbage, crunchy malt crumble and bacon vinaigrette. Finally there was Tom's dessert. Hay milk chocolate mousse with dark chocolate sauce, saffron jell and foam and a sour sop sorbet. All three managed these vastly complex dishes with some aplomb which, inevitably saw Sara burst into tears again. (Honestly, it's still quite endearing at the moment!) Quite an entertaining episode all round, then, but the last few minutes were a rather drawn up preview for tomorrow's actual final. After which, as noted, we can all have a few weeks off before Celebrity MasterChef commences!

And now, more of the wit and wisdom of The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He), from his recent interview with SFX magazine: 'The trouble with Doctor Who is that it's so story-specific. There isn't a set way of making Doctor Who. With a lot of shows, like Press Gang or Coupling, you think, "Well, that's how we make it, that's what it looks like and generally speaking there'll be a scene like this." That sounds very reductionist and awful, but my favourite series of all time, The West Wing, falls into that category. Most of them are pretty much the same. You could, pretty much, take various different episodes of The West Wing and stitch them together in a different order, graft the sub-plot of one onto the main plot of another. It's a genius work of art, but you do realise at a certain point you know how to make it. Doctor Who isn't like that. You're doing pirates one week, and then you're doing a spaceship – possibly in the same episode! I think it's the most BBC show in the world. I can't imagine anything more BBC than Doctor Who because I can't imagine anyone else who would make it, and continue to make it, and continue to cherish it. It can look like madness to a tiny mind, as indeed the BBC can look like madness to a tiny mind, but that's just what genius looks like if you're an idiot. It's not madness! It's utter brilliance. This is one of the very few characters entirely created by television and for television and sustained by television, that is a legend alongside James Bond and Sherlock Holmes and Dracula. It is an extraordinary thing. I'm not even trying to be mean about American networks, but can you imagine them doing Doctor Who? It's half Hammer Horror, half Generation Game, a genuinely frightening horror series aimed at young children. It's all those mad conflations of ideas. But at the same time while it is the most wondrous and magical and fairytale thing, it's born out of a scheduling decision. It's born out of them saying, and how clever they were, "We need to join the children's audience here to the adult audience there, and let's have a show that everybody watches." A problem they solved so brilliantly in 1963 that it still works now! Who else and where else would it ever happen? It’s all of the BBC in one barking mad show.'

Ian Hislop has said that it was 'pretty rank' of Andrew Marr to get a super-injunction given his position as an active journalist. Broadcaster Marr this week revealed that he had secured a High Court Injunction in early 2008 banning the press from revealing that he'd had an affair in 2003. As a so-called super-injunction, the order also banned the press from revealing the fact that an injunction had even been secured in the first place. Hislop - who as editor of Private Eye challenged the order - told Radio 4 Today programme: 'I thought that this was a touch hypocritical since he'd written a piece specifically about privacy law in which he said that judges should not determine privacy law, it should be determined by parliament. Therefore he had just done the opposite of what he believed. As a journalist he said, "I did not come into journalism to gag journalists." That's exactly what he did, so I challenged it, and I said to him and his lawyers, "This is outrageous."' When it was suggested that Marr had secured the injunction for the benefit of the woman involved and the child she had, Hislop replied: 'And more importantly you might argue, his own career and the embarrassment that he would face. All of these things have to be taken into account, and as a leading BBC interviewer who's asking politicians about failures of judgement, failures in their private lives and inconsistencies, it was pretty rank of him to have an injunction when acting as an active journalist. I think he knows that and I'm very pleased that he's actually come forward and said that I can no longer do this.' Asked if he would continue to challenge such injunctions, Hislop said: 'A lot of them, as I've said, are largely about slappers and footballers and they make a difficult case for responsible journalism. In his case it seemed absolutely on the nose that here was a case that was quite important and should be challenged, so I wasted the money challenging it.'

Top Twenty programmes week ending 17 April 2011:
1 EastEnders - BBC1 - 11.07 million
2 Coronation Street - ITV - 9.95 million
3 Britain's Got Talent - ITV - 9.74 million
4 Emmerdale - ITV - 7.36 million
5 Waking The Dead - BBC1 - 7.24 million
6 Lewis - ITV - 6.78 million
7 DIY SOS: The Big Build - BBC1 - 6.17 million
8 MasterChef - BBC1 - 5.80 million
9 Countryfile - BBC1 - 5.76 million
10 Holby City - BBC1 - 5.72 million
11 Have I Got News For You - BBC1 - 5.43 million
12 Casualty - BBC1 - 5.32 million
13 FA Cup: Manchester City vs Manchester United - ITV - 5.30 million
14 Antiques Roadshow - BBC1 -5.01 million
15 Monroe - ITV - 4.99m
16 Candy Cabs - BBC1 - 4.93 million
17 Sing If You Can - ITV - 4.85 million
18 BBC News - BBC1 - 4.83 million
19 Champions League: Tottenham vs Real Madrid - ITV - 4.74 million
20 Ten O'Clock News - BBC1 4.74 million

Lord Alan Sugar-Sweetie has confirmed that The Apprentice will return next month on BBC1. The multi-millionaire maker of rather cheap and nasty Hi-Fi systems announced on Twitter the launch details for the seventh series of the business-based reality show. Lord Sugar-Sweetie and his aides Nick Hewer and Karren Brady return to their usual spring TV slot as they search for the country's next great entrepreneur. The winner will land an all-new prize of a two hundred and fifty thousand smackers investment from Sugar-Sweetie in the business of their choice. Episode one will be broadcast on Tuesday 10 May at 9pm on BBC1. The second episode follows a day later on 11 May at the same time. The show will then continue every Wednesday for ten weeks.

Channel Four is to broadcast 'probably the most horrific' footage it has ever shown in an investigation into alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka. A day after UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon announced he is considering whether to investigate 'credible allegations' that Sri Lankan forces committed war crimes in the closing weeks of the civil war in 2009, Channel Four has revealed it will screen what it calls 'harrowing and dramatic footage' which appears to document atrocities being carried out. Because of the horrific nature of the videos, the film, presented by Jon Snow, will be broadcast in a late night slot in May and C4 said that 'distressing images will be preceded by appropriate warnings.' The investigation will examine films which Channel Four said, 'on the face of it, shows: extra judicial executions filmed by Sri Lankan soldiers as war trophies on their phones; the aftermath of shelling in civilian camps and hospitals alleged to have been deliberately targeted by Sri Lankan government forces; dead female Tamil fighters who appear to have been systematically raped and pictures which document Tamil fighters alive in the custody of Sri Lankan government forces and then later dead, apparently having been executed.' The film also acknowledges the atrocities alleged to have been carried out by the separatist Tamil Tigers. According to Channel Four, the footage was captured on mobile phones by victims and by perpetrators keeping the images as so-called 'war trophies.' The film's director, Callum Macrae, said: 'The Sri Lankan government wanted a war without witness – deporting journalists and pressurising UN representatives to leave – but it didn't allow for the extraordinary power of mobile phone and satellite technology. We have trawled through hours of devastating imagery shot by Tamils under attack and Sri Lankan soldiers as war trophies. The claims made by eyewitnesses in the film appear to be illustrated in each case by video footage or still images.' Channel Four's head of news and current affairs, Dorothy Byrne, who commissioned the programme, said: 'The footage is probably the most horrific the channel has ever shown. The decision to show it at length was made only after serious and careful consideration. This dossier of visual evidence of alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by forces of the government of Sri Lanka is of the greatest possible public interest. We believe that screening it is the only way to enable viewers to make their own informed judgments about what happened.' The film is being made by ITN Productions, edited by Gareth Williams and executive produced by ITN Productions editorial director Chris Shaw. Channel Four News has previously reported on the atrocities carried out by the Sri Lankan army on Tamils in the last months of the civil war. In August 2009, it broadcast a video that appeared to show naked, bound men being executed with a shot to the back of the head. The Sri Lankan government attempted to discredit the video and complained to Ofcom, while trying to keep its identity as the complainant from being disclosed.

The Classic Brit Awards will honour James Bond composer John Barry next month, following his death in January. His widow Laurie Barry said: 'John would be so honoured to be receiving the outstanding contribution to music award. We are very grateful.' Barry wrote scores for more than one hundred movies including eleven Bond films, along with Born Free and Midnight Cowboy. Dame Shirley Bassey will perform the song 'Goldfinger' at the ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 12 May. Several of Barry's best-known themes will be performed by the London Chamber Orchestra at the awards. It will be the first time that a posthumous prize has been awarded at the event since its inception in 2000. The Royal Albert Hall will also be host to a John Barry memorial concert in June, featuring performances from Bassey and Rumer, and tributes from Sir George Martin and Sir Michael Caine.

Loud noise from a vibrator has caused German police to break into an empty flat. A neighbour in Berlin contacted officers after complaining of an electric drill in the middle of the night. The vibrator had switched itself on, according to German newspaper Berlin Kurier. 'You could hear the noise out on the street,' claimed another neighbour. The police officers at the scene had tried to get in touch with the flat occupant. Unable to reach the woman, they resorted to breaking down the door and found the sex toy vibrating on the floor. The twenty three-year-old woman will be forced to pay for a new door to the property on her return. And some new batteries. Probably.

From the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, a state of the (thoroughly rotten) nation address from yer actual Killing Joke. Tell 'em all about it, Jaz.