Tuesday, September 04, 2012

I Had To Earn My Dough

Doctor Who's showrunner The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat has revealed details about how Jenna-Louise Coleman's new companion will affect The Doctor. Speaking to SFX following Coleman's surprise early appearance in Saturday night's series premiere, Moffat said that the character will 'transform' The Doctor's personality. The Moffinator said: 'We are going to do the story properly of The Doctor having lost a friend and making a new one. We're not taking that lightly. It's not in one door out the other. It's the story of how all that affects him, why he engages with somebody else and what's going on with that - that's all important. The Doctor is quite different with her, and the way you watch them is quite different. You watched the Eleventh Doctor and Amy arrive together. It's like they grew up in the same sandpit, playing. They felt not quite like equals - The Doctor never feels like an equal to his companion - but you knew them equally well and they were equally important to each other. They formed around each other. And one of the interesting things about writing The Doctor is that he's so responsive to the people around him. It's almost like left on his own his personality would slowly disintegrate. He becomes what people want him to be, a little bit. So he's Amy's Raggedy Doctor. With a different companion he becomes a slightly different man. He dresses differently. The mere fact that he's so much taller than her suddenly reveals that Matt Smith is very tall, not, as people assume, about average height, because he was about the same height as Karen [Gillan].' The writer added: 'He's the senior man, not in the sense that he's more important but he's the one you know already, and he's training up a new one, as it were. In these five episodes The Doctor is practically the adopted son of Amy and Rory. He's gone from being the wonderful man from space - Space Gandalf, as he wants to be - to being that troublesome kid that they try and keep under control. They even talked about getting babysitters for him in one unfortunately cut scene. They love him, but they know he's a big kid, they know they have to look out for him, check he eats and all that. Whereas with the new companion he's back to being the mysterious spacefarer.'

Asylum of the Daleks had an Audience Appreciation Index score of eighty nine - the highest score by far on either of the main two channels on Saturday night. The result is the highest achieved by a Doctor Who episode since The Big Bang in 2010. It is also the highest ever AI score for a season opener since the show returned in 2005.
Martin Clunes's new ITV drama and Channel Four's Paralympics coverage appeared to dent New Tricks's ratings somewhat on Monday night. The Clunes vehicle, two-part thriller A Mother's Son also starring Hermoine Norris, premiered with 4.54m in the 9pm hour and added an impressive four hundred and sixty thousand punters on ITV+1. Meanwhile, Channel Four's Paralympics coverage scored 2.29m between 7.30pm and 10pm. BBC1's New Tricks, which last week launched with an overnight audience of 7.8m, dipped over eight hundred thousand to average 6.94m in its usual 9pm slot. However, the veteran crime drama remained the day's most-watched programme excluding soaps. Late-night family sitcom Citizen Khan drew 2.78m for its second episode at 10.35pm. Paul O'Grady's new documentary, For The Love of Dogs, begun with a decent 4.03m on ITV at 8pm while Panorama was watched by 2.76m at 8.30pm. On BBC2, University Challenge logged 2.45m at 8pm. Overall, BBC1 and ITV tied in pole position of primetime with twenty two per cent. Daybreak relaunched on Monday morning with an average audience of just over six hundred thousand. The ITV breakfast show, now fronted by Lorraine Kelly and Aled Jones with a new look and logo, held a seventeen per cent audience share between 6am and 8am. Some 1.43m watched BBC Breakfast on the other side from 6am until 9.15am. Daybreak's figures are around one hundred thousand down compared to the equivalent Monday last year, and nearly four hundred thousand short of the programme's launch in 2010. Compared to last Friday however, the show has increased its audience slightly. Regarding the revamp, an ITV spokesperson told the Digital Spy website: 'We were very pleased with how the the first day of the new Daybreak went and we look forward to building on this with more from Ranvir and Matt, and Lorraine and Aled.' ITV's director of television Peter Fincham said last week that he wasn't expecting success to 'happen overnight.' Which is probably just as well because it's on in the morning. Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley, Daybreak's original hosts, presented their final edition on 5 December 2011 before they were, very amusingly, sacked. The Daily Torygraph's critic complained that 'everything was orange,' on the new Daybreak. 'The on-screen graphics were orange,' wrote Neil Midgley. 'The walls were orange. The cushions were orange. The newsreader had an orange mug.' That, at least might be regarded as continuity from the previous era as Bleakley was also, frequently, orange.

And now, the best news of the year so far, the vile and odious rascal Hunt will no longer have the chance to bugger up the BBC any more than he already has having been shifted sideways from lack of culture secretary to health secretary in Tuesday's cabinet reshuffle. Now, presumably, he'll be seeing what he can do about buggering up another British institution, the NHS. The vile and odious rascal Hunt said his new job is 'the biggest privilege of my life' and he is looking forward to getting on with the job. Just one more reason, dear blog reader, to get Mama Telly Topping out of the hospital as soon as humanly possible. The vile and odious rascal Hunt was reported to have been 'keen' to remain in his previous post. Just over a week ago, the vile and odious rascal Hunt gave an interview to the Scum Mail on Sunday, in which he claimed that he had 'learned my lesson' from his woeful handling of the Sky bid, which saw special adviser Adam Smith resign over the 'volume and tone' of his email contact with Murdoch's chief lobbyist Frédéric Michel. The vile and odious rascal Hunt's difficulties had held up some policy making. His former department scrapped a planned communications green paper in June, opting instead for policy seminars leading straight to a white paper. Justifying the U-turn on the green paper, the DCMS said it did not believe that a 'root-and-branch' reform of communications regulation is required. The vile and odious rascal Hunt had originally planned to publish the communications green paper in the spring, setting out the government's initial policy thinking in areas as diverse as Internet piracy, public service broadcasting and spectrum allocation. However, publication of the green paper was delayed as the vile and odious rascal Hunt faced criticism and calls for his resignation over his close relationship with News Corporation during the BSkyB bid. Even from his time in opposition, the vile and odious rascal Hunt has been making worrying statements about the BBC whilst simultaneously sticking his tongue so far up billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's chuff there was no room for anyone else. Once in government, the vile and odious rascal Hunt was reported to be instrumental in pushing through the licence fee cap agreement which, effectively, cut the BBC's operating budget by twenty per cent. So, frankly, it's good riddance to bad rubbish. Maria Miller is the new lack of culture secretary. She will also take over the women and equalities portfolio, which was held by Lib Dem Lynne Featherstone at the Home Office.

Miller, previously a junior minister in the Department for Work and Pensions, is the surprise choice to replace the outgoing vile and odious rascal Hunt. Alongside succeeding the much-criticised vile and odious rascal Hunt at DCMS, she will also act as minister for women and equalities. 'I am delighted to have been appointed as the culture secretary by the prime minister and am very much looking forward to tackling the many challenges that the role will bring,' she said. Born in 1964, Miller studied economics at the London School of Economics and then worked as an advertising executive at the Grey Advertising agency from 1985 until 1990. She served as marketing manager at Texaco between 1990 and 1994, before rejoining Greys as a company director from 1994 to 1999. After a four-year stint as a director at Rowland Group from 1999, she became the Conservative MP for Basingstoke at the 2005 general election.

Recordings by Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, Ringo Starr's first band and one of the most popular live groups of the early Merseybeat era, have been unearthed after more than fifty years. The band were at the forefront of the Liverpool scene before The Beatles broke nationally but never made it big themselves. The tapes were recorded in March 1960, two years before Starr was poached by Brian Epstein to join The Beatles to replace yer actual Pete Best. Found in Storm's sister's cellar, the tapes will form the group's first and only CD release later this month. Starr joined the group at the age of eighteen in 1959, but the band got left behind during the Merseybeat boom in the wake of The Beatles' success despite having played on the same bill as The Beatles in both Liverpool and Hamburg. They only released a couple of singles, including one - a version of Leonard Bernstein's 'America' - produced by Epstein himself in 1964, but they failed to chart. Frontman Storm, born Alan Caldwell, was known for his gold lame costumes and his on-stage charisma. He tragically died in 1972 aged just thirty four. 'Rory was a performer,' his sister Iris Caldwell said. 'He wasn't, like The Beatles, a brilliant songwriter. They called him The Golden Boy and Mr Showbusiness. Rory was so far ahead of his time. He was doing glam rock then.' Rod Stewart is among the artists whom Caldwell suggests were influenced by Storm's style. Epstein did not give Storm a real shot at the big time because he 'didn't want any major competition' for The Beatles, Caldwell believes. The tapes include songs recorded at the Jive Hive club in Crosby, and at Storm's home, known as Stormsville, where many Liverpool bands including The Beatles would often get together once clubs like The Cavern and The Iron Door - where The Searchers were the resident band - had shut at night. 'I suppose these tapes have been in an old sealed box ever since [they were recorded],' Caldwell said. Author and Radio Merseyside presenter Spencer Leigh said the group were 'crucial to the early years of Merseybeat. Even though the playing is very rough and ready, they have tremendous presence and were probably considerably better than The Beatles were in March 1960,' he said. Iris Caldwell's son Adam, a Mobo Award-winning drum and bass DJ, said the recordings allowed a new generation to hear his uncle's style and personality for the first time. 'The quality of the tape left a bit to be desired - it was over half a century ago - but the spirit and rawness suggest a whole scene waiting to happen,' he said. 'I am so proud that my uncle was, as has been suggested to me often, the father of the Liverpool sound.' Storm's on-stage antics included climbing up to the high diving board during one gig at New Brighton swimming pool. 'He had a cloak on and stripped right off to his little gold Speedos,' Caldwell recalled. 'He dived into the water, came up and carried on singing the song. Another time, they had a box on the side of the stage. He made his entrance by jumping from the box onto the stage. He did manage to break a couple of ribs but he still finished the spot and then went off to hospital.' Other than Starr and bassist Lu Walters, whose whereabouts are unknown, the original members of Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, including their legendary guitarist Johnny Guitar Byrne, described by Ringo as 'the Jimi Hendrix of Liverpool', have all died.

Meanwhile, another bassist yer actual Ringo played with, Sir Paul McCartney his very self is to be presented with France's highest public award, the Legion of Honour. It will be bestowed by French President Francois Hollande at a special ceremony on 8 September. The former Beatle will be made an officer of the Legion of Honour, joining the likes of actor Clint Eastwood and singer Liza Minnelli. McCartney recently performed to a global audience at the Opening Ceremony of the London Olympics. The Legion of Honour was created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 and comes in five grades - Knight, Officer, Commander, Grand Officer and Grand Cross. French constitutional expert Edward Berenson called the medal Sir Paul will receive at Saturday's ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris 'a very prestigious decoration that represents extraordinary public service.' Other musicians who have received the award include Ravi Shankar in 2000, Quincy Jones in 2001 and Dame Shirley Bassey in 2003. British designer John Galliano was given the Legion d'Honneur in January 2009 by former president Nicolas Sarkozy for his services to the French fashion industry. He was stripped of the award last month by President Hollande following his 2011 conviction for making anti-Semitic insults at a Paris restaurant.

We end today with another story involving the vile and odious rascal Hunt from the Gruniad's diarist Hugh Muir. 'Bliss to be alive for this glorious summer of the Olympics and Paralympics,' writes Hugh, who asks what we have gained: 'a regeneration of the can-do spirit, the creation of new heroes, community engagement on a level not seen for a generation. Many people made this happen. All should have prizes. Some already have.' There was, for instance, rejoicing in June, when Tessa Jowell was made a dame. As lack of culture secretary, she, with Ken Livingstone and the Olympic authorities, persuaded Tony Blair to back a British bid in the first place. Just deserts, many people said. And the enthusiasm extended across party lines and to all who made that leap of faith. There was, however, one sceptic, according to Muir. The vile and odious rascal currently occupying Tessa's old office. 'We're not going to honour her just for being part of the last Labour government,' was - claims Muir - the gist of the noise coming from some orifice of the vile and odious rascal Hunt. 'No, we're not, supporters explained.' We're doing it because without her, we would not have got the Olympics at all. Anyway, apparently representations were made at a level above the vile and odious rascal's ministerial head - so, that could be the tea boy, frankly. 'The rest is history. Good old Dame Tessa. Why would anyone listen to Jeremy?' Why indeed.

Taking a night off from his many, many troubles, tonight yer actual Keith Telly Topping is off to the O2 Academy (it's still is, and will always be, The Majestic Ballroom to me) to see Patti Smith. 2012 seems to be the year in which yer actual Keith Telly Topping attends gigs to see artists he last saw live in around 1980 (Public Image Limited a month ago, Patti tonight). So, in the meanwhile, for today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, here's one of Ms Smudger's masterpieces.