Thursday, July 19, 2012

Should Have Been A Millionaire

Doctor Who stars Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill have spoken about their upcoming final scenes in the series. Kaz and Arty will both depart the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama midway through the forthcoming seventh series. Darvill explained that their final scenes were inside the TARDIS, and they proved to be emotional. 'The last scene we shot was inside the TARDIS with all three of us,' he is quoted as saying in the Sun. 'We were then in darkness and we had a big group hug. All those feelings kept inside for so long just suddenly came out.' Matt Smith joked: 'We had a hug and Karen fondled me. I called her "Fondling Bottom Gillan."' Karen explained that all three of the main cast cried as they filmed the exit scenes. She said: 'I was in bits. I didn't want to go. There were tears, a lot of tears. But it is the best exit ever.' 'I miss the guys, but all good things must come to an end,' Smith added. 'They go out with a bang and a tear.'

Now, as the legend that was Petula Clark once noted, when you're alone and life is making you lonely you can always go, like, down town. Thus, ITV's period drama Downton Abbey is up for the main prize at the 2012 Primetime EMMYs. The show is nominated for best drama, alongside Mad Men, Homeland, Game Of Thrones, Breaking Bad and Boardwalk Empire. Yer actual Hugh Bonneville and Michelle Dockery are also up for best actor and best actress. The show won best mini-series award last year, but switched to the main category for the 2012 awards. However, it faces stiff competition from Mad Men, which is up for its fifth best drama award. If Mad Men does win, it will have won the award more times than any other show. Currently, the 1960s advertising drama is tied for the title with Hill Street Blues, LA Law and, the greatest TV show in the history of the medium (that doesn't have to words 'Doctor' and 'Who' in the title) The West Wing - all of which won a best drama EMMY four times. Mad Men has seventeen nominations overall, as does American Horror Story, a nightmarish saga about a haunted house. Downton Abbey is just behind, with sixteen nominations. Six of those are in the acting categories, with Dame Maggie Smith, Joanne Froggat, Brendan Coyle and Jim Carter recognised for their roles. There are also multiple nominations for mini-series Hemingway & Gellhorn, about the love affair between Ernest Hemingway and journalist Martha Gellhorn, and for Hatfields & McCoys, which tells the story of a famous feud between two families in Eighteenth Century America. Modern Family, which has been named best comedy series for the past two years, is the sitcom leader with fourteen nominations, including four for its male cast members in the best supporting actor category. Meanwhile, actress Kathryn Joosten, who died last month, is nominated posthumously for her role in the final series of Desperate Housewives. There is a strong showing for British actors across the nominees. As well as the cast of Downton, there are nods for Damian Lewis, for his portrayal of Nicholas Brody in the classy psychological terrorist drama Homeland, and for Archie Panjabi, who plays the scheming, manipulative investigator Kalinda Sharma in legal series The Good Wife. Jared Harris receives a nomination for his role in Mad Men, while yer actual Cat Deeley gets a mention as best host of a reality series, as the mainstay of So You Think You Can Dance. In the mini-series category, Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock), Idris Elba (Luther) and Clive Owen (Hemingway & Gellhorn) were all on the shortlist. They go up against Woody Harrelson (Game Change) and Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton - both of whom are nominated for Hatfields & McCoys. Emma Thompson is nominated for best actress in a mini-series, for her role in The Song Of Lunch. Her competitors are Julianne Moore, who played Sarah Palin in Game Change, Connie Britton (American Horror Story), Nicole Kidman (Hemingway & Gellhorn) and Ashley Judd (Missing). The ceremony will be held in Los Angeles on 23 September, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.

Meanwhile, still on the subject of awards season, the comedian Jason Byrne has been announced as host of the eleventh annual Channel of the Year Awards at the Edinburgh TV Festival. Voting across the various award categories is now open and will remain available until midnight on 23 August. This year's shortlist promises to be a 'clash of the TV titans' as some of the most talked-about television programmes of the past twelve months go head-to-head, including Sherlock, The Voice and Downton Abbey battling it out for the Terrestrial Programme of the Year award. A host of famous faces will give out awards on the night, including the odious, unfunny, full of her own importance Victoria Wood - who has written the film Loving Miss Hatto for BBC1 - presenting the Terrestrial Channel of the Year award, which was - inexplicably - won last year by ITV. Byrne, who will host the ceremony on 24 August in Edinburgh, said: 'I'm delighted to be hosting [the] Channel of the Year Awards in Edinburgh in front of a room full of TV execs. It's not my usual audience - but I'm trying not to feel the pressure! Looks set to be a fab night!' Now into its eleventh year, the Channel of the Year' awards recognise the 'increasingly competitive and often challenging market that today's TV companies operate in, and celebrates the creative, innovative and commercial solutions that both channels and production companies present.' And then, hands out awards to the channel that produces Daybreak, Superstar and Let's Go Gold. Alongside awards celebrating the big shows and channels, there are also accolades honouring cross-platform innovation and talented individuals rising through the TV industry ranks. ITV director of comedy and entertainment Elaine Bedell, who chairs the festival, said: 'We're delighted by the response from broadcasters and indies alike, and the calibre of this year's entrants means we're in for one of the most closely fought awards we have ever seen. The shortlist really showcases the breadth of quality and creativity on television screens over the past twelve months, and I'm looking forward to seeing who triumphs on the night.' Festival delegates will be able to vote on the categories by viewing their showreels and completing an online survey designed by GfK Media.

The Gruniad Morning Star has claimed that a judge prevented the BBC from broadcasting two documentaries about last summer's riots without having actually watched the films in question – and later prevented the media from reporting his injunction. Mr Justice Flaux - who sounds like a right laugh and a half - was presiding over the murder trial of eight men who were acquitted at Birmingham crown court on Thursday. He made the injunction on the grounds that the film 'raised issues' which 'echoed' arguments put before his jury. He used an unusual power under section forty five of the Senior Courts Act 1981, which in some circumstances grants crown court judges the same powers as those used by the high court, to prevent the film from being broadcast. On Wednesday, the BBC sought to challenge the ruling, on the grounds that the films made no reference whatsoever to the case being considered by the jury and did not even mention the rioting which took place in Birmingham. They also argued that under section five of the Contempt Court Act a publication made as or as part of a discussion in good faith of public affairs or other matters of general public interest 'is not to be treated as a contempt of court if the risk of impediment or prejudice to particular legal proceedings is merely incidental to the discussion.' However, the judge apparently rejected the appeal, claiming that the films 'touched on issues' related to his case, and if he were to allow the films to be broadcast, jurors could potentially have 'social contact' with others who watched the programmes. He also issued a second order, under section four of the Contempt of Court Act 1981, which barred any media organisations from reporting the injunction. However, the end of the trial on Thursday, the Gruniad note with some considerable glee, 'rendered both orders redundant.' The first documentary in the series The Riots: In Their Own Words, which had been scheduled for broadcast on Monday at 9pm, was a ver batim drama, based on extracts from anonymous interviews with rioters conducted by the Gruniad and the London School of Economics study, Reading the Riots. The script for the film was produced by the award-winning playwright Alecky Blythe and the rioters were played by actors. The second film, which had been due for broadcast on Wednesday, was a more conventional documentary format, with police officers talking about their experiences policing the riots. The ruling caused a major - and by this we mean Brigadier-General - headache for BBC executives, who had carefully timed the broadcast of the films to coincide with next month's anniversary of the riots, while trying to avoid a clash Olympics coverage. It is not clear when the films will now be shown, although the corporation has said they will be broadcast 'at a later date.' Flaux's ruling initially meant that the media were unable to report details such as his name, his court, or the case he was presiding over, although it was possible to report that an order had been made preventing the BBC films from being broadcast. Later, the media was effectively barred from reporting the issue altogether. The move led to widespread rumour on Twitter, amid concern that a film could be pulled from the BBC's schedule by an unnamed judge without any explanation to viewers. Kirsty Hughes, the chief executive of Index on Censorship, described the ruling as 'disturbing. Censoring television programmes is not in any way helpful to our understanding of the important issues and factors underlying the disturbances,' she said. Justice Flaux initially released his injunction on Monday, without having seen either of the films of having any detailed knowledge of their content. The Gruniad allege that a defence barrister - anonymous, of course, but let's call him, say, Snitchy for want of a better name - 'alerted the judge' to the existence of the films, suggesting that although they may not contain any references to Birmingham, the judge may want to take action out of 'an abundance of caution.' The BBC was told about the injunction just hours before the scheduled broadcast, and tried unsuccessfully to appeal via a telephone conference. On Wednesday, the BBC made a formal challenge to the ruling, which was supported by counsel from the Gruniad Morning Star. Rejecting the arguments brought by the media organisations, the judge said that although he had not watched the films, he had read part of the transcripts and seen a two-minute clip on the BBC website. He added that in the first film, the testimony from rioters in the first programme was similar to allegations raised by prosecution in the trial of the eight men. He gave the examples of actors talking about the 'adrenaline rush' experienced during the riots, taking revenge against police and bricks being thrown at cars – all issues raised during the trial. He said that there were also issues in the second film, such as police officers talking about how rioters used BlackBerry Messenger to communicate. The two-part film was 'literally littered' with potentially prejudicial commentary that could derail the twelve-week trial, Flaux claimed. In a pointed exchange, counsel for the eight defendants said they would have made an application to discharge the jury if the BBC films had been broadcast as planned on Monday and Wednesday. 'These programmes were potentially extremely prejudicial,' Flaux said. 'In my very clear judgment the continuation of the order – which, it has rightly been pointed out, is an injunction – that I made on Monday is the only necessary and proportionate remedy. If the BBC were to broadcast now, when the jury has already gone out, there would be a serious risk that this trial and the course of justice would be prejudiced.' He repeatedly described the BBC as 'irresponsible' for attempting to overturn the order, and described as 'complete and utter nonsense' any suggestion he had issued a 'worldwide gagging order.' Heather Rogers QC, for the BBC, questioned whether a unilateral ban on the films was necessary and proportionate. She suggested a more reasonable measure would be to warn jurors not to watch the films, but allow them to be broadcast as planned. However, Flaux dismissed this as 'completely unreal,' adding that jurors could be alerted to the content of the films through social contact with friends. He said it was 'absolutely staggering' that the BBC sought further clarification on the reasons for the ban. The judge's reasoning behind the ban, the Gruniad added, 'appeared to suggest that any general reporting of the unrest in England, including references to the mood of rioters, their experiences or their use of social network technologies, was likely to be seen as potentially prejudicial to the trial.' Flaux described the trial as 'the most high-profile' since the disorder last August. He said that the interests in ensuring justice 'outweigh' the interests in not broadcasting the programme. Following the announcement of the verdict, Flaux appealed for calm on the streets of Birmingham.

A journalist at the Sun has been arrested in North London by police from Scotland Yard's Operation Tuleta, which is investigating breaches of privacy including computer hacking. He is understood to be Rhodri Phillips, a news reporter at the paper. The Metropolitan police said that the man was 'held' at his home at 6.30am on Thursday, but did not give his age or any detail of offences the man is suspected of committing. Whether or not he was dragged from his bed and clapped in irons before being carted off down the cop shop for a bit of G-B-H on the earhole, we do not know. News International chief executive Tom Mockridge confirmed in an e-mail sent to staff that he was 'afraid that another of our journalists from the Sun has been arrested this morning.' Scotland Yard is expected to provide further detail of the arrest later on Thursday. The force said in a statement: 'For operational reasons we are not providing further details of this arrest at this time but will release more information in due course.' The man is the seventh person to be held by the Metropolitan police under Operation Tuleta, which was launched in July last year as a splinter investigation to the probe into phone-hacking. The Met has nineteen officers working on Operation Tuleta, compared with ninety six officers and civilian personnel on Operation Weeting and seventy on Operation Elveden, the investigation into corrupt payments by journalists to police and public officials. Scotland Yard described the Tuleta probe as 'an investigation into a number of allegations referring to breaches of privacy which fall outside the remit of Operation Weeting. This includes computer hacking.' The Gruniad Morning Star claims that Operation Tuleta is investigating the use of so-called 'trojan' e-mails which allow a hacker to take over a target's computer.

Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator used by the Scum of the World to hack phones has been forced to reveal who ordered him to hack the phone of an assistant to Max Clifford in compliance with a court order. Mulcaire was due to hand over the information in relation to the hacking of the phone of Nicola Phillips phone at 4pm on Wednesday. But a high court judge, Mr Justice Vos ruled that this information should only be handed to Phillips's barrister, her solicitor and to the Metropolitan police and could not be shared by other litigants who are suing News International over alleged phone-hacking. He will hold a separate one-day hearing to determine how widely the Mulcaire witness statement could be shared on 30 July, he said. Lawyers acting for fifty phone-hacking victims argued at a case management conference hearing on Wednesday that this information could be critical to their claims. Vos agreed there was 'some merit' in their argument, but said that he did not want to make 'a knee-jerk decision' as he could 'foresee there are difficult questions that affect his rights, his article six rights.' Quite right too. The very thought of judges making knee-jerk decisions doesn't bear thinking about. Article six of the European Convention on Human Rights relates to an individual's right to a fair trial. Mulcaire, who was slammed up in the pokey in 2007 for charges in relation to hacking of phones of members of the royal household, had argued that disclosure could leave himself open further prosecution.

Meanwhile, the existence of an e-mail of 'enormous significance' written by a News International executive which may refer, or may not, to the phone-hacking of a 'well-known individual' has emerged in the high court, in a hearing to discuss the progress of civil claims against the publisher of the Scum of the World. The e-mail may, or may not, contain, you know, stuff. It might include references to nefarious skulduggery, shenanigans, malarkey and bad naughtiness. Or not, as the case may be. We just don't know at this present time. Mr Justice Vos said that the e-mail was 'sent by an executive whose identity you know' – but the author's name, the precise content of the message, and who it was discussing remain confidential for legal reasons. That did not stop lawyers representing hacking victims from asserting the importance of the communication. But David Sherborne, representing hacking victims in the court on Wednesday, said Vos should 'understand the enormous significance of that e-mail' which referred to a 'well-known individual victim' and the message contained 'an instruction relating to an individual's phone.' The court heard that the e-mail was uncovered in March by News International's lawyers Linklaters in response to a search request by the Met. However, its existence was only disclosed to lawyers acting for hacking victims on Tuesday. Sherborne said that he was 'concerned' the e-mail was not disclosed to victims earlier even though it was 'of obvious significance.' This was underlined when Vos showed Sherborne how Linklaters would have found it using a 'good old-fashioned' manual search. In a light-hearted moment, Vos motioned with his computer mouse and said the law firm would have gone up and down the inbox and outboxes on various accounts and when they came across the e-mail would have stopped and said 'Gosh!' He joked that if Sherborne had had access to the inboxes, he would have put the e-mail at the 'top of the pile' of evidence, while '[Linklaters] would put it somewhere near the bottom.' Vos added that Linklaters failed to tell phone-hacking claimants or the Leveson inquiry about the existence of the e-mail. He understood the the lawyers had 'apologised' and 'said in future they will do better.' Earlier the high court heard that the number of people suing NI over phone-hacking by the Scum of the World is expected to double to one hundred. Hugh Tomlinson QC, for phone-hacking claimants, said four hundred and seventeen people had started civil action and obtained disclosure of information from the publisher and the Met police. About fifty of those were expected to go ahead with a high court action against News International. He said this group was in addition to the fifty who had already lodged, including Cherie Blair, footballers Wayne Rooney, and Peter Crouch, and actor James Nesbitt. Tomlinson said many of those who had started legal action were unhappy with the disclosure of information from NI and would lodge claims by the court's deadline of August. 'At least tens of claimants are proposing to issue claims rather than go through the compensation scheme or engage in direct settlement,' Tomlinson said. NI opened a voluntary compensation scheme for phone-hacking victims last year in an attempt to 'deal with the scandal effectively.' Michael Silverleaf, QC for NI, told the court that the publisher had received two hundred and forty seven inquiries to the initiative, with seventy nine 'acceptances' to the scheme so far.

BBC Comedy has recruited Saurabh Kakkar as an executive producer. Most recently, Kakkar has been creative director of comedy at ITV Studios, where he was involved in shows such as White Van Man, Dirk Gently, FM and Headcases. Mark Freeland, head of comedy, believes Kakkar and the BBC will form 'a great partnership. We've been fortunate to have a great few years,' he says. 'But to continue that and to do things better and always in an original way, it's exciting to have Saurabh coming in with his expertise, new ideas and passion for comedy.' Kakkar was a producer and executive producer of drama and comedy at Granada, having previously produced live tours for the likes of Matt Lucas and David Walliams, The League of Gentlemen, Xander Armstrong and Ben Miller and Barry Humphries. His new London-based role will see him work across all four BBC television channels, as well as radio and online for a department that has scored recent hits with Mrs Brown's Boys, Miranda, Twenty Twelve and The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff. He takes up his post immediately.

West Ham United manager - and odious horroshow (and drag) - obese big head Sam Allardyce is taking legal action against his former club, Blackburn Vindaloos, and his successor as manager Steve Kean. Full details of the high court case have not been made public. Allardyce reportedly instructed solicitors after a video clip was published on the Internet in May which allegedly showed Kean criticising him. Because, of course, you can't do that Sam Allardyce because - in his own mind, at least - he is the greatest manager in the world. Despite him never having managed a club that's finished higher than seventh in the Premiership. A spokesman for Allardyce said: 'He has issued legal proceedings against Steve Kean and Blackburn Rovers but is unable to comment further at this time.' Which, frankly, is most unlike Allardyce who is seldom short of an opinion on pretty much any subject. Often ones that are absolutely nothing to do with him. No-one from Blackburn Vindaloos was available for comment. The case was filed at the High Court in London on 12 July. Kean, who replaced Allardyce as Blackburn boss in December 2010, has stayed on at Ewood Park despite the club's relegation from the Premier League last season and calls from many supporters for him to be sacked. In the video, Kean appears to make unguarded remarks about Allardyce to supporters in a bar during the club's pre-season tour of Hong Kong in 2011.

Former Arsenal player Lee Dixon is to leave the BBC's football coverage team, amid speculation that he is set to join rival broadcasters ITV or BT. The forty eight-year-old revealed via Twitter that his eight-year association with the corporation is coming to an end. 'Sad to be leaving BBC,' he tweeted earlier in the week. 'Nothing lasts forever. New challenges ahead. Loved my time there. Wonderful people. Just time to move on.' The former England defender has been a prominent fixture on the BBC's Match of the Day programme, alongside fellow pundits Alan Hansen, Alan Shearer and Mark Lawrenson. There is speculation - mostly from uninformed glakes on the Internet, admittedly - that Dixon is being lined-up to join ITV's football coverage as a replacement for Gareth Southgate, who is leaving to become technical director of the Football Association. And, because he was a crap pundit. Whilst Dixon would be losing the opportunity to comment on Premier League action because ITV does not hold the rights, he could be swayed by their Champions League coverage and his reported friendship with ITV's lead presenter breakfast TV flop and odious greed bucket Adrian Chiles. However, another possible destination for the pundit could be BT, after the telecoms giant agreed a multi-milllion pound deal to show thirty eight Premier League games live each season, starting in August 2013. Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker has already been rumoured as a target for BT, as the firm looks to put together a presenting team for its forthcoming sports channel.

'Over the years I’ve heard many damning assessments of politicians,' writes the Mirra's Brian Reade. But never one as withering as an assessment from 'a well-known writer,' who has had several meetings with the lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Hunt, continues Reade: 'He is, without doubt, the thickest man in a suit that I’ve ever had a conversation with. There is nothing going on behind the eyes. It's like trying to get through to a mollusc in a coma.' Reade says that he didn't fully grasp what this anonymous 'source' meant until he watched the vile and odious rascal Hunt tour the TV couches during the past week defending the government's handling of the G4S shambles. 'Eyes darting, throat gulping, brow sweating, with nothing coming out of his mouth but soundbites and mealy-mouthed excuses. This was a man who hid behind a tree outside a hall where James Murdoch was giving a speech for fear the press might spot him. A man with a thirteen-year-old's gravitas (and haircut), who has done little of note other than tread water in management consultancy and PR, and support his Oxford chum David Cameron when he stood for Tory leader. Hence the career payback. Hunt is the classic example of why most people feel their lives are run by a talentless, self-promoting, elite who are incapable of sorting out the crooks who flourish in the moral vacuum their incompetence creates.' Yeah. What he said.

A kitten who travelled six and a half thousand miles on a boat with no food or water is currently recovering in California. Ni Hao, an orange and white cat, was trapped in a shipping container for the entirety of the two-week trip, AFP reports. The three-month-old cat was only discovered when the container was opened upon the ship's arrival from Shanghai. Members of the Los Angeles Medical Department of Animal Control are currently looking after the kitten, who is still regaining strength after the ordeal. Head of the department Marcia Mayeda said yesterday: 'Ni Hao greeted the medical team with his first meows this morning and is attempting to stand.' Officials are now looking for a local cat lover to adopt Ni Hao, whose name means 'hello' in Mandarin. Although animals must usually remain in quarantine for sixty days upon arriving in the US, Ni Hao may be looked after by a foster family during this time.

And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping could have been a judge, dear blog reader. But I never had the Latin for the judgin'. So I'd had it, as far as being a judge was concerned. I would much prefer to be a judge than a coal miner because of the absence of falling coal. The Happy Mondays feel the same, clearly. What do you call a Happy Monday in a suit. 'The accused.' Next ...