Thursday, April 04, 2013

Here's My Calling Card - Wallop!

Jenna-Louise Coleman has discussed yer actual Dame Diana Rigg's upcoming appearance in Doctor Who. Rigg her very self will appear along with her daughter, Rachael Stirling, in the Mark Gatiss episode The Crimson Horror, which will centre on a mother and daughter harbouring 'a dark secret.' Speaking to Vulture, Jenna offered the first hints on what fans can expect from Mrs Peel's guest appearance. 'She was so funny on set. She's got a lot of banter on her,' Coleman declared. 'I think [Matt Smith] described her role as "an old hag" - but in the best possible way.' Jenna added on the subject of The Crimson Horror's storyline: 'She's our villain and she runs a place in 1800 Yorkshire called Sweetville, which is kind of Stepford Wives-y. She has a big factory and she's up to no good. Her daughter, Rachael Stirling, is also playing her daughter on the show, and they just go at each other.' Jenna also spoke more generally about the secretive nature of Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat's plans for each series. 'He's good with his secrets. But I was quite adamant about not needing to know,' she claimed. 'Matt didn't know [Clara's mystery] either, not until the script came through and then we were both like, "Aaah!" It's also always a work in progress.' She continued: 'We go through a lot of script changes, things are always evolving and being tailored, so I think Steven likes to play things close to the vest until he's sussed them out properly.'

Meanwhile, here's another picture of Smudger and Ten Inch getting all pally at the recent read-through.
Scott & Bailey returned on Wednesday evening, comfortably winning the 9pm slot with 5.81 million viewers. MasterChef (4.87m) on BBC1 in the 8pm hour continued to give Food Glorious Food the trousers-down spanking which the latter risible vanity project so thoroughly deserves, the Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossorads' fiasco pulling in a highly amusing 2.28m punters on ITV. Not only was it filleted and served on a plate of chips by MasterChef it also lost out to the return of Coast (2.57m) on BBC2. The documentary Hillsborough: Never Forgotten was watched by eight hundred and thirty one thousand at 9pm. Rolf's Animal Clinic suffered a big drop on Channel Five to seven hundred and seventy seven thousand at 8pm. Hidden Killers of the Victorian Home won big ratings for BBC4 with seven hundred and seventy two thousand tuning in at 9pm.

The curse of bigging yerself up and bragging about how totally great you think you are on MasterChef struck again on Thursday's episode. Chris, an energy manager, was clearly mad-confident in his own (obviously spectacular) ability to the extent that, when asked by Gregg Wallace how good he was, Chris replied: 'I do believe I've got the competitive edge to win. I've got the skills and I've got the motivation.' But, not the humility, it would seem. 'I'm that serious that I'm gonna win this competition,' he announced, boldly, to raised eyebrows from Wallace. To be fair, Chris did cook a very nice looking chocolate fondant to start off which won praise from both judges but, after that, his food appeared to be nowt particularly out of the ordinary and it certainly didn't wow either Gregg or John Torode. And thus, as with several previous contestants this series who'd been all full of their own alleged brilliance, he was on his way home before the quarter final. Forensic accountant Emma was also pretty full-of-herself in the opening interviews with, in her case, apparently very little cause to be. Cooking, she claimed, had become 'a bit of a way of life.' Not so much of a way of life that she knew how long fondant potatoes take to cook, however. We also had another MasterChef staple over the last couple of years, someone - seemingly borrowed from Location, Location, Location's stock of young home counties professionals - with a 'that's not a real job' type job. In this case, Sarah from Surrey, an 'event planner', apparently. She was also, she confessed, 'a little bit of a control freak.' But, her food wasn't anywhere near good enough to get the judges excited and so she, too, left the competition. Larkin, a twenty eight year old solicitor, proved to be the star of the episode with a couple of gorgeous looking experimental 'east-meets-west' fusion-style dishes. A starter of steak tartare topped with a qauil's egg, a seared scallop and two sauces, hoisin and soy and ginger dressed with some kind of oriental beans and nashi pear cubes, and a main of pan-fried sea bass, with steamed and fried wontons filled with belly pork and shiitake mushrooms, accompanied by mustard greens and a lemon grass consommé. Even if it hasn't been presented that well yer actual Keith Telly Topping would've been licking the plate and going back for seconds and thirds (and possibly fourths) but, in the event, it looked a pretty as Marilyn Monroe reclining on a bowl of John's seafood chowder (seen earlier in the palate test). Gregg and John were almost in tears over its beauty. Apparently, it tasted quite nice too. He was a bit of a cheeky sod as well, was young Larkin, noting that he likes to experiment and sometimes uses a hair-dryer to dry out pork fat for some of his dishes. 'Something I haven't used for a long, long time,' noted baldy Gregg. 'Doesn't look like it,' replied Larkin, laconically. Heh. Like him. He progressed to the quarters along with accountant Tess who had shown flashes of quiet brilliance several times in the episode despite seeming to have a very stressful time in the professional kitchen section. The latest quarter final will be shown on Friday evening.
It's the most widely watched factual TV programme in the world, according to the Guinness Book Of Records - much to the chagrin of hippie Communists at the Gruniad Morning Star and jackbooted bull boy thugs at the Daily Scum Mail, Top Gear is watched in two hundred and fourteen territories, and dubbed into eight languages. One of the latest countries to succumb to its charms is, unexpectedly, Iran. When Mozaffar Shafeie, an Iranian actor living in London, was in Kurdistan a few weeks ago a whisper went round the party he was attending. 'Is it him? Is he really the guy that does Top Gear?' Soon enough a group of Kurdish teenage boys put the question directly. Shafeie, who does indeed have a close connection with the programme, replied: 'Yes, I am Jeremy Clarkson!' They looked sceptical, until he declaimed loudly, 'Emshab!' - Farsi for 'Tonight!', the word with which Jezza frequently opens the programme. Shafeie is the voice actor who dubs Jeremy into Farsi, and this one word sent the boys - and nearby onlookers - into a flurry of excited whoops and screams. 'It was like Beatlemania,' says Shafeie. 'I even signed some autographs.' Iranian viewers have been watching the programme on BBC Persian TV since 2009. The BBC cannot operate freely in Iran, so Top Gear's popularity is hard to measure. But last year, when PTV dropped an episode to broadcast an exclusive interview with then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the audience protested bitterly. Jezza himself was aware of the show's popularity in Iran, but still surprised by the outpouring of support. 'Hillary Clinton has got many things to say about Iran,' he says. 'You'd have thought that the Iranians would have found this relatively interesting - more interesting anyway than three fat old men falling over. I'm delighted to hear that we're more interesting than Hillary Clinton.' When the Top Gear season ended, PTV replaced it with its sister programme Top Gear USA, and this too has prompted complaints, one viewer objecting - with Clarkson-like bluntness - that the presenters were 'not funny.' Can't argue with that, to be fair. Shafeie attributes the success of the programme in large part to Clarkson's colourful language and racy anecdotes, which he faithfully dubs into Farsi. Including phrases like 'gentlemen's sausage', used to describe a shape he drew on the ground by with the tyres of a car, and 'Pharaoh's dried testicles' - in reference to some truffles that Jeremy and his fellow presenters were tasting. 'I try to get the lip synch precise,' he says. 'So when you watch it, it looks as though Jeremy is speaking Persian.' According to the BBC's Darius Bazargan, who made a documentary in 2008 about motor racing in Tehran, it is Jezza's irreverence that endears him to Iranian audiences. 'His humour is so inappropriate and not at all what you hear on state TV - that must account for some of its appeal,' he suggests. 'Jeremy Clarkson is about as opposite to President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad as you can get.' But Iranians - who are allowed to buy sixty litres of petrol every month - that's about thirteen gallons - at the subsidised price of four thousand rials (just over twenty pence) per litre - also love cars. 'There's always been a car culture in Iran,' says Bazargan. 'It's a very status driven society, and this predates the Islamic Revolution of 1979.' The Porsche is the ultimate Iranian high-status car, a commonplace sight in the affluent neighbourhoods of northern Tehran, though the German company stopped selling cars in Iran last year, in response to pressure from campaigners against the country's nuclear programme. Maserati and Lamborghini have also recently cut all links. The former Shah was one Iranian known for his love of classic cars, most of which are now housed in the country's National Car Museum. He was in power when Iran in the late 1960s began manufacturing the Paykan, a car modelled on the British Hillman Hunter. This, according to Bazargan, became feted as 'the car of the people' - akin to Germany's Volkswagen. Jezza, typically, describes it as 'terrible', on the grounds of its similarity to the Ford Cortina in which he learned to drive. 'Iranian nukes can't be very advanced if this is their idea of car technology,' he once said. But Jeremy says that he would welcome the chance to drive one in Iran. 'I'd love to drive through Iran in one of those. It's the sort of thing that Top Gear is all about,' he says. 'I'd love to take the show to Iran. We asked, we begged. And the (Iranian) ambassador in London was very sympathetic. 'At the time he had a son who was fourteen or fifteen years old who loved Top Gear but there is a rule in place that the BBC isn't allowed to go, so we weren't allowed go to, which is very sad - because we're not really very political.' Jeremy Clarkson and Mozaffar Shafeie meet one another on The Fifth Floor, on the BBC World Service at 11:00 on Friday.

ITV has ordered a new three-part crime drama from the producers of Sherlock. The Guilty will star Tamsin Greig, Katherine Kelly and Darren Boyd, reports Broadcast. Set in both 2008 and the present, the thriller will follow DC Maggie Brand (played by Greig) as she hunts for missing boy Callum - the son of Claire (Kelly) and Daniel Reid (Boyd). Written by Law & Order: UK's Debbie O'Malley, The Guilty will explore the aftermath of Callum's disappearance and what happens when his body is discovered five years later. Filming on the drama is currently ongoing under director Ed Bazalgette. The Guilty comes from Hartswood Films, the television production company behind Sherlock, Jekyll and Men Behaving Badly.

Paul O'Grady had a hit for ITV with his show For The Love of Dogs. Now the former chat show host will be back on the channel with the animal Oscars. Woof! The British Animal Honours 2013 – not quite as catchy a title – will reward extra special animals that work in war zones, help people with disabilities and work with the police.

Dave Gorman is to front a 'mischievous' new TV series mixing stand-up with real-life experiments. He is to make six hour-long episodes of Dave Gorman: Modern Life Is Goodish for Dave, which are said to be loosely based on his latest stand-up tour, Powerpoint Presentation. It will be Gorman's first new TV show since the second series of not particularly good Genius was broadcast in 2010, and will focus on the 'aspects on the fringes of modern living' that 'prove irritating.' According to the pre-publicity blurb Gorman is 'endlessly being sold stuff he doesn't need, feeling manipulated by the media and harassed by technology' – and will explore the concepts through 'a blend of stand up, visual storytelling and real-world experimentation.' Richard Watsham, who commissioned the show for Dave, said: 'This is a wonderfully innovative comedy format that takes the best of Dave Gorman's brilliant stand up and adds additional layers that will really bring it to life for TV. I'm very excited that more people will get to see just how good Dave is.'

Disgraced former Sun editor and Daily Scum Mail columnist odious lard bucket, horrorshow (and drag) Kelvin MacKenzie has found a new home at the Daily Torygraph. MacKenzie will write a weekly column for the right-wing newspaper's website and uses his first effort to take aim at the teaching profession ('most teachers seem to think work is something you do between your sick days and your holidays'), reality TV producers, banks and British Gas. Quite why anyone should take any notice of anything this risible individual thinks about anything after the Hillsborough inquiry is another matter entirely. Justice for the ninety six. Also getting his goat in his column are BBC1's MasterChef presenters Gregg Wallace ('he reminds me why I shouldn't go to WeightWatchers') and John Torode. Of course, the main difference between the pair and MacKenzie is that some people, it would seem, quite like Wallace and Torode. Something that can't be said about the alleged journalist. But MacKenzie got his recipe wrong when he suggests that 'Elisabeth Murdoch, the cleverest of the Murdoch dynasty, came up with a global winner when she created the MasterChef TV format.' Except, of course, that she didn't. Not even close. MasterChef is, indeed made by Liz Murdoch's production company, Shine (so was [spooks] but she didn't 'create' that either). The show, of course, dates back in its original - not particularly good - incarnation to 1990 when Loyd Grossman presented it and was revamped, Top Gear-style (initially as Masterchef Goes Large) in 2005, with its new-look widely credited to Franc Roddam, John Silver and produced by Karen Ross. Murdoch was executive producer on the new-look show, a role she retains to this day. The truth, Kevlin? You still, seemingly, don't know the meaning of the word. Perhaps you never will.
A sixty five-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of sexual offences by police investigating abuse claims arising since the death of Jimmy Savile. The man was arrested in Somerset and taken into police custody on Thursday morning, according to police working on Operation Yewtree. His arrest comes under the strand referred to as 'others' by investigating officers, meaning he is unconnected to Savile's disgraceful and terrible alleged doings. The man - unnamed at this time - is the twelfth person to be arrested under Yewtree.

The EU is studying allegations that some top football clubs, including Real Madrid, have received 'state aid' in violation of EU competition rules. A European Commission spokesman said that it was 'still too early to tell' whether the evidence was strong enough to justify a formal investigation. Last month the EU began examining five Dutch clubs, including PSV Eindhoven, over suspected state aid. Now Real Madrid is under scrutiny too. Fines can be levied for rule-breaking. In the 2011-12 season Real Madrid was Europe's richest club in terms of income, the auditors Deloitte's reported in January. A Commission spokesman, Antoine Colombani, told BBC News that 'at this stage we are just analysing information which is available to us,' confirming that Real Madrid was one of the clubs concerned. Accusations have been made about a Real Madrid property deal. In the late 1990s the club bought a prime plot of land in Madrid from the city government. Thirteen years later the value of the land was estimated to be more than fifty times what the club had paid for it. The suspicion has been raised that the sale of the land at an underestimated price constituted illegal aid to the club, reports the BBC's Dejan Radojevic. Real Madrid has denied receiving 'privileged treatment' from the authorities. It suggested the land had gone up in value because of 'urban regeneration' in Madrid and a general rise in the property market during that period. Under new rules football clubs are banned from entering European competitions if they spend more than they earn.

Siouxsie Sioux, Marianne Faithfull and Iggy Pop & The Stooges head a list of acts chosen by yer actual Yoko Ono to perform at this year's Meltdown Festival. Yoko is curating the event which marks the twentieth anniversary of the festival and coincides with her eightieth birthday. The widow of old alcoholic Scouse wife-beating junkie John Lennon will also perform with a new version of The Plastic Ono Band, while other acts will include Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon, Boy George and the comedian Reggie Watts. The festival takes place at London's Southbank Centre from 14 to 23 June. Yoko will dip into her back catalogue to kick-off the event, with the singer also launching an extensive film programme she has put together, including rare footage of her and Lennon. In her role as curator, Yoko will follow in some illustrious footsteps, with previous hosts having included yer actual David Bowie, Scott Walker, Jarvis Cocker, Ray Davies and Morrissey his very self. 'It's not only a great honour to curate Meltdown in its twentieth year, it's also a lot of fun to be able to invite many of my favourite performers, activists and favourite collaborators to join me,' she said. Jude Kelly, artistic director at Southbank Centre, said: 'Yoko Ono is a fascinating artist, as are the collaborators she is bringing from all over the world. She's an energetic and inspiring peace and environmental activist and a champion for women's rights. It's a privilege to have her curating Meltdown's twentieth anniversary.' One of the highlights of the festival will see the first live appearance from punk icon Siouxsie for five years. The Siouxsie & The Banshees singer will appear on 15 June and will be followed on stage by the Southbank Centre début of New York-based Peruvian hip-hop artist Immortal Technique. The Royal Festival Hall will witness the old and the new on 20 June when Iggy & The Stooges are supported by hotly-tipped all-girl punk group Savages, while down the road at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Gordon will be performing with her latest band Body/Head. Elsewhere, 1960s singer Faithfull will team up with leading jazz guitarist Bill Frisell, while there will also be performances from Peaches and Patti Smith. The full line-up is yet to be confirmed. Yoko herself will bring down the curtain down on the festival by joining a group of 'special guests' for the first live performance of Double Fantasy - the last LP recorded by her and Lennon, which was released just three weeks before the former Beatle's death in 1980.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, here's Alexei's Midnight Runners and the world's first, and only, love song about the Ford Cortina. And, you know, goats making messes upon carpets.