Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Trouble Is Your Thoughts A Catching Disease

Once again - in what is becoming an annual Christmas tradition as regular and unmissable as massive family arguments and feeling sick all Boxing Day - BBC1 scored big-style(e) in the Christmas overnight ratings chart, taking seven of the top ten programmes of the day. The hour-long EastEnders episode - with its reet tasty goings-on in the Branning household - was the most watched show, with an overnight audience of 9.37m from 8.45pm. Opposite that, ITV's much-vaunted Downton Abbey Christmas special could only manage 6.83m making it the seventh highest-rated programme of the day. A further four hundred and eighty thousand punters caught the Downton episode later on ITV+1. ITV's zenith was Coronation Street (8:58m from 7.30pm). Other BBC shows to out-perform Downton in the overnights were the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special (7.76m), The Royle Family (7.68m), Doctor Who (7.59m) and Call The Midwife (7.27m). Generally the Christmas Day audience figures were - across the board - considerably lower than in previous years, yet another clear indicator of the way in which many people's viewing habits are - rapidly - changing. For example, just for a bit of context, those figures are the lowest ever overnight audiences for both Downton Abbey and Call The Midwife. Expect, once the final and consolidated ratings figures are released by BARB in about ten days time, that the viewing figures of both of these (and for Doctor Who and EastEnders in particular) to rise by up to two million punters each. The rest of the top ten was made up with the BBC's coverage of the Queen's Christmas message to the people's of the Commonwealth (6.27m), the BBC News (6.09m from 10.45pm) and the second of two Emmerdale episodes (5.98m from 7pm). The earlier Emmerdale episode pulled in 4.70m at 5.30pm opposite Doctor Who. It, You've Been Framed! (3.15m) and Paul O'Grady For The Love Of Dogs (4.12m) were all, very satisfyingly, spanked like disgraced Members of Parliament by the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama. Which was nice. In fact, the only slot of the entire day in which ITV beat its BBC1 opposition was between 7.30 and 8.30pm with Coronation Street pulling in more viewers than Call The Midwife. BBC1's highest peak of the day was for EastEnders 9.77m at 9.35pm. ITV's peak was 9.09m at 8.05pm during Corrie. Channel Four's showing of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring picked up 1.82m between 5.45pm and 9pm, after which 1.28m watched Alan Carr: Chatty Man. Although, Christ only knows why. Blackadder's Christmas Carol ranked as BBC2's best-rated broadcast of the day with 1.43m at 8pm. BBC1 outperformed ITV in primetime with just over thirty one per cent of the audience share versus 26.5 per cent.
Christmas specials from Mrs Brown's Boys and Outnumbered plus the last ever episode of Merlin helped BBC1 to a strong all night performance on Christmas Eve. According to early overnight data, the episode of Mrs Brown's Boys was seen by 8.78m, with a peak of 8.86m in the last fifteen minutes of the show. The second part of the the Christmas special will be shown on Boxing Day at 9.30pm. Elsewhere on BBC1, Outnumbered's Christmas special had an audience of 7.84m from 9.35pm, while the final episode of Merlin was watched by 6.14m between 8.15pm and 9pm. EastEnders was seen by 8.49 million at 9pm, receiving the highest audience of all four soaps being shown on Christmas Eve. On ITV, Coronation Street and Emmerdale's Christmas Eve episodes drew the largest audiences to the channel, with 6.8m and 8.27m respectively between 7pm and 8.30pm. However, Spice Girls' Story: Viva Forever!, a documentary about the girl group's career and the new West End musical featuring their back catalogue, was very definitely the hole where the rain got in for ITV being watched by a mere 2.1m punters between 8.30pm and 10pm. I'll tell you what they want, what they really really want, ladies. Something other that you five, it would appear. BBC2's evening of classic comedy began with an hour-long Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise retrospective seen by 2.35m at 7.30pm. The rest of the evening was dedicated to the late Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett. The channel's highest audience of the evening - 3.21m - tuned in for an episode of Open All Hours at 8.30pm, with 3.01m watching the 1975 Porridge Christmas special at 9pm. Channel Four's highest-rated show of the evening was The Snowman & The Snowdog, which brought in a highly creditable audience of 4.33m between 8pm and 8.30pm. A further five hundred and seventy thousand punters watched the animated sequel to The Snowman later on C4+1. BBC1 had the largest primetime audience share between 7pm and 11pm at 25.3 per cent, followed by ITV with 15.7 per cent.

A first look at the 2013 episodes of Doctor Who has been unveiled. The forty five-second trailer was shown after the premiere of Christmas episode The Snowmen on Christmas Day and previews The Doctor (yer actual Matt Smith) and Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman) in a series of exciting forthcoming adventures in time and space. The clip features The Doctor saying of his companion: 'Right then, Clara Oswald, time to find out who you are' following the events of The Snowmen. Clara and The Doctor are also seen riding a motorbike over London's Westminster Bridge towards the Houses of Parliament, reflecting set photographs taken during a shoot in London in October. Additionally a number of aliens - including The Cybermen - are featured in the preview. And, what could, just, be an Ice Warrior. But, probably isn't.
Yer actual William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, the crap one, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith their very selves are all to feature on a special set of Royal Mail stamps in 2013. The collection marks the forthcoming fiftieth anniversary of the BBC's long-running popular family SF drama Doctor Who, with all eleven Doctors getting their own first class stamp. Four of the show's most notorious villains, including The Daleks and The Cybermen, star on the second class set. There will also be a stamp featuring the TARDIS. The popular long-running family SF drama, just in case you didn't know,  ran from 23 November 1963 to late 1989. And then for about one hundred minutes in 1996. A hugely successful revival returned it to the BBC's Saturday night schedules in 2005 where it has remained ever since. Andrew Hammond of the Royal Mail said the commemorative selection 'pay tribute to the brilliant actors that have played The Doctor over the years, as well as the adversaries that helped make the show so popular.' The time-travelling Time Lord adventurer is currently played by Smudger his very self. You might have noticed, he's rather good. Joining him for the fiftieth anniversary year is new co-star the luscious, pouting Jenna-Louise Coleman, who played Clara in the Christmas Day episode, and will be the Doctor's new companion in the 2013 series. The show's head writer, The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He), has promised 'tremendous surprises' for the golden anniversary, but says that he will be keeping them under wraps. Because, he's like that! 'They wouldn't be surprises if I accidentally said them now, would they?' he said at a preview screening of the Christmas episode. 'But I promise you, we're going to take over television,' he added. The writer has even kept the secrets safe from his leading man. 'We're as much in the dark as the majority of other people,' Smudger told BBC Radio 1. 'I imagine I'll get to read something in January, February time.' However, the actor promised: 'We'll make it the biggest and the best year, hopefully in the show's history.' The Royal Mail stamps will be available in March.
More than thirty thousand Americans have signed a petition calling for British TV host odious oily loathsome horrorshow (and drag) Piers Morgan to be deported. A message to America from Great Britain: we don't fucking want him back, thank you very much! They are, apparently, 'angry' about Morgan's advocacy of gun control, in the wake of the 14 December shootings in Connecticut. The petition followed an interview with one Larry Pratt, director of Gun Owners of America, on CNN - in which Morgan called his guest 'a dangerous man.' Petitions posted on the White House website only require twenty five thousand signatures to get 'a response' from the government. Of course, the response doesn't, necessarily, have to be 'okay, skip, we're on the mother.' It could, just as easily be, 'oh, go away and grow the bollocking-hell up you bunch of red-neck cretin planks.' Or, you know, words to that effect. The response in this particular case is likely to be something along the lines of: 'Listen, everyone knows that Piers Morgan is an odious oily twat and probably should be in jail for phone-hacking and/or insider trading but, for once, we actually agree with what he says. So, you know, tell it to someone who gives a damn.' The campaign was started by a journalist in Texas (oh, the surprise) following Morgan's CNN programme of 19 December. The petition says the talk show host 'is engaged in a hostile attack against the US Constitution by targeting the Second Amendment,' which, it continues, 'protects an individual's right to own guns for the purposes of self-defence.' The US second amendment doesn't, of course, do that or anything even remotely like it unless you leave some words out (the entire 'a well-regulated militia being essential for the security of the state' bit for a kick-off). 'We demand that Mr Morgan be deported immediately for his effort to undermine the Bill of Rights and for exploiting his position as a national network television host to stage attacks against the rights of American citizens.' Ah, America - the land of the free. Unless, of course, your views don't happen to agree with a bunch of red-neck shit scum in the Deep South in which case, they'll run ya outta town. Though, again, just to repeat this is Piers Morgan we're talking about so if any of you guys wish to engage in a bit of ad hoc vigilante justice, that would be wrong. Funny, but wrong. Morgan has responded, repeatedly, on his Twitter account. As is the big-gobbed oily horrorshow's wont. 'If I do get deported from America for wanting fewer gun murders, are there any other countries that will have me?' the forty seven-year-old asked after the twenty five thousand-signature threshold was past. Well, not the UK for a start. We still haven't forgiven you for Britain's Got Talent and sincerely wish that Jeremy Clarkson had smashed your smug mush right in when he had the chance in 2004. Still that, as they say, is an opportunity missed. He added: 'Wanting America to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines isn't anti-constitutional - it's called "common sense."' Later he said, in a reference to the Constitution's guarantee of freedom of speech: 'Ironic US gun rights campaign to deport me for 'attacking Second Amendment rights - is my opinion not protected under first Amendment rights?' Good point. Albeit, more than a touch oily. In the wake of the shooting in Newton, Connecticut, President Obama has vowed to push for immediate and concrete gun safety proposals. But the pro-gun National Rifle Association, which has more than four million members, has rejected the need for tighter gun control. As they would. According to the Small Arms Survey, there were 88.8 firearms for every one hundred Americans in 2007. Morgan's interview, on his nightly chat show, came five days after gunman Adam Lanza killed twenty children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school. Pratt claimed that tighter controls on gun sales would not put an end to similar tragedies. 'The problem occurs in those areas precisely where we have said "no guns,"' he said. 'Where the guns are allowed freely to be carried we have very low murder rates. We only have problems in our cities and, unhappily, in our schools, where people like you have been able to get laws put on the books that keep people from being able to defend themselves.' Morgan responded: 'You're a very stupid man, aren't you? You have absolutely no coherent argument. You don't actually give a damn about the gun murder rate in America.' He ended the combative interview by calling Pratt 'a dangerous man espousing dangerous nonsense' and declared, 'you shame your country.' Which is probably true albeit, coming from someone who once, as editor of the Daily Mirra, published false photographs of British troops allegedly involved in 'torture', that's a bit of a pot-kettle-black-type argument. Y'see, dear blog reader, this is why this blogger so loathes the scummier end of America, because they can actually make me agree with something Piers Morgan says. You bastards!

The actor Jack Klugman, who starred in a number of hit TV series in the 1970s and 80s, has died at the age of ninety. He died in Los Angeles on Monday afternoon, his son Adam said, without giving further details. Klugman played a no-nonsense medical investigator in Quincy ME and a sloppy sports writer in the TV adaptation of The Odd Couple. A heavy smoker, Klugman was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1974. In 1989, he lost a vocal cord to cancer but later trained himself to speak again. He returned to acting in the 1990s. In his later years, he guest-starred on TV series including Third Watch and Crossing Jordan. Klugman was also an avid thoroughbred racing fan. He owned Jaklin Klugman, which finished third in the 1980 Kentucky Derby. 'The only really stupid thing I ever did in my life was to start smoking,' he said in 1996. He added that seeing people smoking on television and films 'disgusts me, it makes me so angry - kids are watching.' Klugman's first wife, the actress-comedian Brett Somers, played his ex-wife, Blanche, in The Odd Couple series. They married in 1953 and had two sons - Adam and David - but had been estranged for several years by the time of her death in 2007. In February 2008, then aged eighty five, Klugman married his long-term partner Peggy Crosby, who was with him when he died Monday. 'He had a great life and he enjoyed every moment of it and he would encourage others to do the same,' Adam Klugman was quoted as saying by the Associated Press. His brother David added: 'His sons loved him very much. We'll carry on in his spirit.' Jack was born in Philadelphia in 1922, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants. He attended Carnegie Institute of Technology where he eventually graduated in 1948. He served in the United States Army during World War II and began acting after returning home from the Army. As a struggling actor in New York City, he roomed with future star Charles Bronson. In 1954, Klugman played Jim Hanson on the soap opera, The Greatest Gift. The same year he made multiple appearances on the NBC legal drama Justice which was based on real-life cases of the The Legal Aid Society in New York City. Jack starred in several classic films, including Twelve Angry Men (1957), Days of Wine and Roses (1962) and Goodbye, Columbus (1969). On television, he won an EMMY Award for his work on the series The Defenders and appeared in four episodes of the The Twilight Zone. Klugman said that his greatest thrill was appearing with Humphrey Bogart and Henry Fonda in a live television broadcast of The Petrified Forest (1955). In 1973, Jack and his Odd Couple co-star Tony Randall recorded an LP titled The Odd Couple Sings for London Records. In 2005, Klugman published Tony And Me: A Story of Friendship, a book about his long friendship with Randall. The pair had first acted together on TV in 1954 an episode of the CBS anthology series, Appointment With Adventure. Jack gave the eulogy at Randall's memorial service in 2004. In 2008, Jack sued NBC Television concerning missing profits from his show Quincy ME. The lawsuit was filed in California Superior Court, with Klugman requesting NBC to show him the original contract. Klugman stated that his production company, Sweater Productions, should have received twenty five per cent of the show's net profits. NBC Universal and Klugman eventually settled the lawsuit on undisclosed terms in August 2010. Jack is survived by his wife, his two sons and two grandchildren.

For Keith Telly Topping's 33 of the Day, dear blog reader, we're still jammin' in large and have now reached 1980. La puissance c'est tout, c'est la puissance dont tu as besoin. It's always important to remember that sound affects.