Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Off To The Flicks

Matt Smith says he can't leave Doctor Who yet – because his mother is such a fan. Good excuse. The thirty-year-old said that he will stick around for 'at least [another] year', adding: 'All good things come to an end but my mum is aghast at the thought of me ever not being The Doctor. The show is the star and will continue without me, I'm committed to it next year and will sit down with Steven Moffat and see where we go from there. I've no immediate plans to leave. I'm around for a whole year and that's a long time.' He also told the Radio Times that his inspiration for his take on the role came from Edmund Blackadder, Inspector Clouseau and Frank Spencer. 'When I started as The Doctor,' he said, 'I watched loads of Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em, loads of Peter Sellers and loads of Blackadder – and somewhere betwixt the three lies my Doctor. I love how grumpy but brilliant Blackadder can be. Frank Spencer is slightly unaware of how ridiculous he is and I think The Doctor is too. Clouseau and Blackadder have massive egos and The Doctor has a massive ego. Frank Spencer is kinder and gentler.' Smudger will next be seen by fans in this year's Christmas Day episode, The Snowmen, where he will be joined by Jenna-Louise Coleman, who plays new companion Avocado. The actress also spoke to Radio Times this week, describing what it's like to be part of the popular long-running family SF drama. 'Every day has been surprising,' she said. 'You walk into the studio every few weeks and whole new sets have been built. You open the TARDIS doors and you're suddenly in a different era. It's very technical but also fun and adventurous. It's okay to run down a corridor shouting and being as silly and ridiculous as you like. It makes me feel like a big kid. It's like magic.'

Anyway else notice yet another Doctor Who reference in last week's Leverage episode? One of Sophie's aliases in The White Rabbit Job was Sally Sparrow! Seriously, yer man Moffat ought to be paying Dean Devlin and his writers considerable wonga for the amount of free publicity they get from the, excellent, TNT comedy-drama!

BBC2's documentary about life at London's Claridge's Hotel has gone down a storm in the ratings. Broadcast in the 9pm hour, Inside Claridge's was watched by an impressive 4.05m overnight viewers on Monday, gaining nine hundred thousand punters on last week's opener which clashed with The Royal Variety Performance. The three-part series got the better of BBC1's repeat of New Tricks, which mustered 3.29m. However, it could not topple ITV's new psychological drama The Poison Tree, which premiered with a respectable 4.61m. University Challenge (3.06m) and MasterChef: The Professionals (3.19m watching the elimination of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's favourite, James Burton) also performed solidly for BBC2 earlier in the 8pm to 9pm hour. Stephen Fry's Gadget Man climbed to 1.21m at 8.30pm on Channel Four, while an hour-long Gadget Show was watched by nine hundred and eight thousand punters from 8pm on Channel Five. Overall, ITV topped primetime with 23.4 per cent of the audience share ahead of BBC1's 17.6 per cent. BBC2 claimed third place with an impressive 10.9 per cent. On the multichannels, Only Connect (eight hundred and seventy thousand) and Arrow (six hundred and seventy two thousand) retained decent figures for BBC4 and Sky1 respectively.

Cheryl Cole reportedly has 'no plans' to return for next year's series of The X Factor. Unless her next couple of singles flop like a big floppy thing, of course (in a Joe McElderry style, as it were), in which case, all future bets are off.

ABC has rejected a remake of UK comedy Only Fools and Horses for a second time. Which, one supposes, proves that not all Americans are totally frigging stupid. The US pilot - renamed King of Van Nuys - starred John Leguizamo (no, me neither) as streetwise Del Trotter and Dustin Ybarra as his younger (and more naive) brother Rodney. Hmmm ... sounds familiar. A first version of the pilot was passed over earlier this year, but ABC president Paul Lee - reportedly a fan of the original British series - asked for the project to be 'redeveloped.' However, a second revamped pilot has now also been rejected by the network, according to Deadline. King of Van Nuys also featured Back to the Future's Christopher Lloyd as Del and Rodney's grandfather and BJ Bales as Trigger, a 'ghetto-talking con-man'. What a bunch of plonkers. Sir David Jason previously voiced his doubts over an American remake, suggesting that the show is 'so London and so British, [in] its humour. I don't see that it will travel across the pond,' he argued. 'It might work but you've got to change it so much that, in the change, in order to Americanise it, do you lose the whole concept of the piece?'

Christmas has come early for iPad-owning petrolheads. Top Gear Magazine is advertising a new iPad app which will, among other things, allow fans to get full high-definition video of Jeremy Clarkson and friends. And, it'll be the best high-definition video footage .... in the world. This news, incidentally, comes to you via some louse of no importance at the Gruniad Morning Star so, don't be surprised if it includes the pungent whiff of agenda-smeared-in-shit all over it. Just a thought. iPad owners will 'drool over them', according to Top Gear Magazine publisher Immediate Media. The £2.99 app is a major step up from its predecessor, which was a simple magazine-style PDF, with all sorts of natty interactivity such as an 'interactive content wheel' and sneaky digital-only offers. However editor-in-chief Charlie Turner warns fans to rein in any expectations that the video transformation might lead to a change in the tried and tested formula: 'The Stig remains generally uncommunicative,' he noted.

US dramas Hawaii Five-0 and NCIS: Los Angeles will return to Sky1 for their third and fourth seasons respectively early in the new year. Hawaii Five-0 gets its third series outing on Sky1 in January. Mrs McGarrett has got some explaining to do in the season premiere, amid the drama of Steve's nemesis Wo Fat breaking out of prison. We also find Chin Ho in a very dark place. On the plus side, an eclectic gathering of guest stars have booked their tickets to Honalulu, including Oscar nominee Terrence Howard, as a shadowy figure who has history with Danno (Scott Caan). Also returning to British screens is the highly anticipated fourth series of NCIS: Los Angeles. Series four explores the fallout from Callen's decision and how it's affected the team – will his bromance with Agent Hanna (LL Cool J) ever be the same again? Hetty (Linda Hunt), meanwhile, is struggling to adapt to life in retirement. The dramas return to Sky1 on 6 January 2013.

Danny Boyle has dismissed (seemingly, ill-placed) speculation that he could direct a James Bond film after the appearance of 007 in his Olympic opening ceremony. James Bond actor Daniel Craig filmed a segment with The Queen for the ceremony, which Boyle co-ordinated. But, asked on BBC Radio 4's Front Row whether he could direct a Bond movie, Boyle replied: 'No, I'm not very good with huge amounts of money.' He was speaking in Salford as he turned on a neon artwork he had designed. Front Row asked him to choose a word to be lit in neon on top of the BBC's Salford's MediaCityUK complex. Boyle chose the word 'wonder' after Isles of Wonder, the title of the opening ceremony. Boyle told interviewer Mark Lawson that his experience of directing The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, had put him off making movies with big budgets. 'Don't trust me with huge amounts of money, anybody,' he said. 'I did a film, The Beach, which was a proper Hollywood scale budget and it didn't suit me. Certain people can handle that and I love watching those kinds of films, but I'm much better with a smaller amount of money and trying to make it go a long way.' Speculation about a future Bond film surfaced after Boyle pulled off a coup by persuading The Queen to act with Craig in one of the highlights of the opening ceremony. Boyle's previous films include Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire and he is currently editing his next production, Trance, a thriller starring James McAvoy, which is due to be released next spring.

Angus Stickler, the journalist responsible for the Newsnight report which falsely accused a nameless Tory grandee of being a paedophile, has resigned from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Stickler, an award-winning journalist who was the bureau's chief reporter, was seconded to BBC2's Newsnight to investigate child sex abuse at a North Wales care home in the 1970s and 1980s. The BiJ's trustees decided that it had been 'a serious mistake' for the bureau to allow Stickler to work for Newsnight on an investigation over which the BBC had, they claim, sole editorial control. Rachel Oldroyd, the BiJ's deputy editor, confirmed Stickler's resignation in a brief e-mail. She has been holding the fort since the editor, Iain Overton, resigned in the immediate wake of the scandal breaking. Last week, the BiJ's trustees appointed Christopher Hird as the new editor. The BIJ, which is based at City University London, was established in 2010 as a non-profit organisation funded almost entirely by the Elaine & David Potter Foundation.

Producers of Britain's various hidden camera shows say they won't be making any changes to their programmes in the wake of tragic case of the the nurse who took her life following a prank telephone call. The apparent suicide of Jacintha Saldanha on Friday, three days after taking a phone call from two Australian DJs posing as the Queen and Prince Charles, has raised questions about the about the use of real people in comedy stunts. However UK broadcasters – who between them have a raft of prank shows in the pipleline – said 'robust' measures already in place regarding hidden filming, and would not have to be tightened following Mrs Saldanha's death. Objective, who are making the forthcoming Channel Four show Do The Right Thing – which records how members of the public react to witnessing unacceptable situations, such as explicit racism – said they would be making 'no changes', as they 'already abide by broadcasting guidelines.' Ofcom's Broadcasting Code says: 'Material gained by surreptitious filming and recording should only be broadcast when it is warranted. Surreptitious filming or recording, doorstepping or recorded "wind-up" calls to obtain material for entertainment purposes may be warranted if it is intrinsic to the entertainment and does not amount to a significant infringement of privacy such as to cause significant annoyance, distress or embarrassment. The resulting material should not be broadcast without the consent of those involved.' And, it seems, that's the key criteria. The BBC, which is currently airing Impractical Jokers on BBC3, will launch another hidden camera show, Richard Hammond's Secret Service, over Christmas, said they already had 'strong rules' in place, too. 'The BBC has very robust guidelines in place for shows of this nature,' said a spokesman. 'Where hidden camera shows feature members of the public, written permission is sought from the individual before the item is broadcast.' Doyen of the hidden camera show, Dom Joly, said that TV shows were 'a different beast' from prank phone calls – with the key difference being that he would not air anything without having signed consent from those who had been pranked. 'We wouldn't be allowed to show anything we hadn't got consent for,' the Trigger Happy TV creator said on Radio 4's Today programme. He added: 'When I do stuff, a) I have to get consent afterwards and, b) I can see them and make some sort of judgment. With phone calls obviously you've no idea who is on the other end. When I go up to someone, if there's something odd about them, or something that just doesn't feel right, I walk away. It only works when you've got someone on an equal footing. If someone doesn't want to be on telly or take the joke, that's absolutely fine.' And he added that the rest of the media, not just Australian radio station 2Day FM, had its part to play in the tragedy, adding: 'I think the problem was this phone call was played over and over again on every media outlet and because we couldn't listen to the nurse that gave the actual details, what we did hear was poor Mrs Saldanha. I imagine if I was her and I was listening to that being played over and over again on every media outlet and presumably people trying to get hold of her - that, in the end, is what would have stressed her the most.' He added that the incident should not affect the future of hidden-camera shows. 'This sort of humour's gone one for ages,' he said. 'I certainly don’t think this was a cruel joke. It was just a freak thing and no one could have predicted it was going to happen.' He said that his views on which stunts should be broadcast depending on how funny they were – a point of view echoed by broadcaster Mark Lawson. In a Gruniad column, the Front Row presenter said: 'The crucial judgment, though, must surely be whether the stunt is funny or clever enough to justify the discomfort caused. To a surprising degree, most comedians canvassed for their attitude to the Ross/Brand stunt agreed that it was unforgivable because the gag – informing a blameless and respected character actor that a comedian had had sex with his granddaughter – neither makes an interesting point nor triggers a big laugh. In contrast, the tiny theoretical risk that a passerby may suffer physical or psychological trauma when a hand reaches out of a post-box to take a letter – a Dom Joly favourite – can be justified by the classy farce of the idea.' However, radio presenter Steve Penk - who regularly produces hoax phone call stunts - has claimed: 'This will kill it, stop the art of winding people up.' Meanwhile, the Australian media is urging the authorities here not to overreact to Mrs Saldanha’s suicide. 'The tragedy should not be used by the regulators in our midst to introduce even more controls over the media,' Sydney Morning Herald columnist Gerard Henderson wrote. Yeah. Some hope.

The Queen's speech will be broadcast in 3D for the first time in history, according to a report. Sky has filmed the monarch with 3D cameras and has made the footage available to the BBC and ITV to be broadcast on Christmas Day, the Sun claims. The broadcaster has filmed Her Majesty's annual address for the last few years, and has been exploring the possibility of introducing 3D technology to the event for some time. Queen Elizabeth, who already has a presence on Twitter and YouTube, is expected to base this year's speech on the success of the Olympic Games and the Diamond Jubilee. Last year, Prince William and Kate Middleton banned the use of 3D cameras at their wedding. The Queen made her first Christmas address over the radio in 1952, and her live television début five years later.
A waiter in the US has been suspended from his job after referring to three female customers as 'fat girls' on their bill. Christine Duran, Christina Huerta and Isabel Robles were dining at the Chilly D's in Stockton, California, on Thursday when the incident occurred. 'I got the bill, I was looking at the bill [and] I was like, "Why does this receipt say fat girls?"' Duran told ABC News. For any dear blog readers wondering 'I was like' appears to be an Americanism for 'I said' or 'I thought.' Their waiter had apparently typed 'fat girls' into the system as a reference to keep track of their bill. Duran asked the manager for an explanation, but he 'had a smirk on his face, like it was funny but trying not to laugh.' The restaurant demanded that the trio still pay the bill, offering a twenty five per cent, then fifty per cent discount. Jimmy Siemers, co-owner of Chilly D's, said: 'I just want to tell them we're sincerely sorry and we'll do everything in our power to make sure this never happens to anyone again.'

A McDonald's customer took umbrage after receiving a cheeseburger. According to The Smoking Gun website, the man in Pennsylvania ordered a hamburger, but was outraged when he was handed a cheeseburger. And, once again, dear blog reader, let us celebrate the absolute shit some people chose to care about. The punter, incandescent with rage, then began vandalising the fast food restaurant by knocking over a litter bin and throwing a chair about. The man left the McDonald's, but was pursued by an employee who wanted to note his licence plate number. As she was in the process of call the police, however, the irate punter grabbed her phone and threw it away before quickly driving away. Authorities were subsequently able to identify and file charges against a suspect after speaking with eye-witnesses. He's been charged with 'being very silly.'

And so, dear blog reader, we come to today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Which, today, features a right rockin' slab from yer actual Sir Paul McCartney and his various Wings.