Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Turn Towards A World So Sweet Like Children Do

Yer actual Jemma Redgrave has been confirmed by the BBC as appearing in Doctor Who's fiftieth anniversary special. The forty eight-year-old actress will reprise her role of Kate Stewart, introduced in 2012 episode The Power of Three. The character is the daughter of Doctor Who icon Brigadier Alistair Lethbridge Stewart, played in a recurring capacity by the late Nicholas Courtney in numerous episodes and more than a few spin-offs between 1968 and 2008. Jemma will join yer actual Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman in the special, plus the returning David Tennant his very self and Billie Piper. And some other people, including John Hurt and that woman that can't act out of Gavin & Stacey. But, not Chris Eccleston though. Oh no, very hot water. Anyway ...

The Rings of Akhaten - which, according to some of the more loud-mouthed members of Doctor Who fandom was, like, Worst! Episode! Ever! Bar none, and all that bollocks - had an AI score of eighty four. The audience Appreciation Index, as previously mentioned on this blog on many occasions - is a measure of how much the audience enjoyed a particular programme. GFK NOP Media supply the BBC Audience Research Unit with data measuring audience responses as to how much they enjoyed a programme based on scores out of ten. With ten being 'a lot' and one being 'not very much'. Zero, is not an option. The panel consists of approximately fifteen thousand adults and one thousand five hundred children who go online to complete the questionnaire each day concerning their viewing habits. Most programmes return an AI score of somewhere around the eighty mark. A score in excess of eighty five is excellent, in excess of ninety is exceptional. Any programme which falls below sixty has received a poor AI. Doctor Who scored higher than most of Saturday's output. The highest scoring programmes of the day were Casualty and Dad's Army with eighty seven and Ant and/or Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway with eighty eight.
BBC1 cleared its schedules to broadcast a ninety-minute obituary for Margaret Thatcher on Monday night at 8.30pm. It was watched by an audience of 2.48m. Bang Goes The Theory, which preceded it, had more viewers - 2.84m - at 7.30pm. Doesn't, exactly, suggest a nation in mourning, does it? The broadcast replaced Panorama's Britain's Sharia Councils and first episode of three-part documentary The Prisoners in the schedules. There was also an extended edition of Newsnight at 10.30pm on BBC2. ITV decided not to muck around with their primetime schedules - almost certainly because Broadchurch was on and, given the opposition of wall-to-wall Thatcher, it had a predictably massive audience of 6.29m. However, ITV did broadcast a documentary at 10.35pm, Margaret Thatcher: The Woman Who Changed Britain, presented by Alastair Stewart which was watched by eight hundred and forty thousand punters. It was comprehensively thrashed by an extended repeat of Have I Got News For You on BBC1, which drew 1.82 million viewers between 10.35pm and 11.20pm. There did not appear to be any significant uplift for the main evening news bulletins either. The BBC News at 6pm attracted 5.11 million viewers while its 10pm bulletin was watched by 4.05 million viewers - both are reasonably average figures for the slot. The BBC's Ten O'Clock News was, as usual, ahead of ITV's News at Ten, but not as much as normal - probably because the ITV News inherited a bigger audience from Broadchurch. It was watched by 2.45 million viewers (about two hundred thousand up on the figure for the corresponding broadcast last week). On BBC2, University Challenge had an overnight audience of 2.76m at 8pm whilst Paul Hollywood's Bread was seen by 2.31m at 8.30pm and the documentary Fit To Rule: How Royal Illness Changed Britain attracted 1.76m at 9pm.

He was a little known fourteen-year-old sailor whose brutal ordeal aboard a whaling ship in the early part of the Nineteenth Century helped inspire Herman Melville's classic novel Moby Dick. But now the experiences of the Nantucket seafarer Thomas Nickerson are to receive the recognition they deserve with a ninety-minute drama called The Whale, which begins filming in Malta this week. Charles Furness takes on the role of Nickerson in his first major part, with Robin Hood actor Jonas Armstrong playing first mate Owen Chase. It was Chase's written account of the sinking of their ship, the Essex, that is widely acknowledged to have been the inspiration for Herman Melville's 1851 classic Moby Dick. Described by the BBC as 'one of history's greatest stories of survival at sea' the drama will be told through the eyes of the Essex's cabin boy Nickerson who, at fourteen, was the youngest member of the crew after it was sunk by a whale in 1820. Nickerson and seven other survivors spent three months tossing about at sea before rescue, with some finding themselves on the Pacific Island of Henderson and others resorting to cannibalism at sea. Melville is widely believed to have read Chase's book about the sinking although he would not have read Nickerson's own account which was written fifty five years later in 1876, just seven years before Nickerson died aged seventy eight. However the BBC will put the cabin boy at the centre of its own retelling of the events and is due to cast a well-known American actor in the role of the older Nickerson recounting his teenage experiences. According to the producers of The Whale, which is being made with the US broadcaster Discovery, Moby Dick is clearly inspired by many of the grisly experiences of the Essex crew as documented by Chase. Melville's classic novel is narrated by a sailor called Ishmael and tells the story of Captain Ahab and his obsessive quest to enact revenge on a violent but enigmatic sperm whale which had destroyed his boat and bitten off his leg. 'Very few people will know that Moby Dick was directly inspired by this story, which was first told by Chase and which Melville would have read and we hope to tell it as excitingly as possible,' said Eamon Hardy, executive producer of The Whale. 'Nickerson's experiences were definitely recounted by Chase and would have contributed much to the classic that is Moby Dick.' The drama will also bring to light the importance of whaling in the age before petroleum. 'This was big business – at the time, whale oil was used all over the world,' he said. Martin Davidson, BBC History's commissioner, added: 'Throughout the narrative of this fascinating story some universal themes that everyone can relate to will be explored such as: what is man's place on earth? How does humanity relate to the planet and its creatures? And what lengths will man go to in order to survive? It is a thrilling tale.'

It is better known for Celebrity Big Brother, imported US crime drama and documentaries featuring very long trucks, but Channel Five will also be home this autumn to a sweeping ten-hour epic, The Bible. Soft core pornographer Richard Desmond's channel announced on Monday that it had bought the rights to the drama made by Mark Burnett, previously better known for shows such as reality hit Survivor and The Voice. A big-budget glossy epic, The Bible was a surprise ratings hit in America this Easter with more than thirteen million viewers on the History Channel, one of its biggest-ever audiences. Producers claimed during the making of the show that it had been 'struck by mysterious omens' which indicated 'the hand of God' was at work, including 'a sudden swarm of snakes.' It remains to be seen whether The Bible works any ratings miracles for Channel Five in more secular and cynical Britain. The Bible, which stars Diogo Morgado as Jesus, devotes five hours to the Old Testament, and five hours to the new, with a mix of live action and computer generated imagery. It is billed as a production that 'tries to stay true to the spirit of the book.' 'These are stories that can't fail to draw you in,' said Marie-Claire Dunlop, Channel Five's acquisitions and channel manager. The Bible is Burnett's first scripted project. 'I think it's the underpinning of the greatest storytelling in the history of the world,' he said last year. 'It's very likely to be the biggest thing I've worked on in my life, and seen by more people than all my other shows put together.'
ITV has been censured by the media regulator over a stunt on I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) involving the seven-year-old daughter of EastEnders actress Charlie Brooks. Ofcom received sixty six complaints from viewers of I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) who described the Door to Door challenge as 'exploitative.' Personally, this blogger reckons that I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) as a whole is cruel and unnecessary and that anyone who watches it is taking the risk of wading through diarrhoea in the first place. But, that's just his opinion. In I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want), Kiki Brooks hid behind one of a number of doors while her mother chose which one to open to find 'treats.' But the actress missed out on the reunion as she picked the wrong door. Following an investigation, Ofcom published a ruling on Monday saying it had 'serious concerns' about Kiki's appearance in the allegedly 'adult' reality programme. If you can call I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want), or anyone who takes party in it, or watches it, 'adult.' Which, frankly, is probably stretching matters. The ruling said that ITV had breached the broadcasting code by not reassuring viewers of I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) that Kiki had been 'given support' by production staff as part of the trial. ITV said the decision to include Kiki in the Door to Door challenge on I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) was taken 'after careful consideration' of the welfare of both the celebrities and family members concerned. 'In particular, the possible emotional impact on Kiki of having an opportunity to meet her mother, given this would be denied should her mother be unsuccessful in the challenge, was considered carefully,' said the broadcaster. After realising that she came so close to seeing her daughter, Brooks, who plays Janine Butcher in EastEnders and eventually went on to win I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want), was shown to be distressed, telling viewers that she was 'heartbroken', which Ofcom said 'served to increase the potential offence caused in this case. Strangely, however, she didn't immediately walk off I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) and go home, so she clearly wasn't that 'heartbroken.' One imagines the prize money she got for becoming Queen of the Jungle was of some consolation to her. 'In our view, the appearance of a seven-year-old child placed in such a scenario would have gone beyond the likely expectations of the audience for this programme, which rather would have expected consenting adults to participate in the challenges featured on I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want),' it added. While ITV said Kiki was 'understandably disappointed, but in no way unduly distressed' by missing out on the chance to see her mother, Ofcom found 'a significant level of offence' would have been caused by the decision to involve the young child in I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want), regardless of her demeanour on screen. The media regulator also disagreed that an exchange between I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) presenters Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, following the challenge, in which they said Brooks and Kiki would be reunited 'within days', was 'not enough to justify' any offence caused by the challenge. The broadcaster said Kiki had visited the I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) set and was being cared for by her grandmother, who had given consent for her to be included in the segment. However, viewers were never told this. Ofcom said had this information been provided, it 'might have served to help reassure the audience and so reduce the offence.'

This blogger has, so far, resisted the temptation to comment on the much-reported media case of Paris Brown, the seventeen year old who was about to become Britain's first youth police and crime commissioner and then found herself at the centre of a, suspiciously concerted and well-organised, campaign of media intrusion because of some postings she made on Twitter as a fourteen or fifteen year old. I've kept out of it mainly because it's a proper can of worms which is almost certain to end in tears (and, indeed, already has). It's probably fair to say that virtually everyone who has ever used the Internet has likely got something they said three or four years ago (or even three or four minutes ago, for that matter) floating about in cyberspace which could be used in the most wickedly prejudicial way against them by someone with an agenda to do so. This blogger's only comment, therefore, is confined to a couple of MPs - of both major political parties - who have found themselves the, seemingly willing, party to a campaign with a positively sick agenda smeared all over it. So, this is for Damian Collins and, specifically, Keith Vaz. When you saw a seventeen year old girl crying on national television, did you think 'my work here is done?' Did it, in short, make you feel like a man? Did you get a right stonking chimney-on at the power you had to make teenagers blub? Just wondering? And then politicians wonder why they're widely regards as scum by much of the electorate.

BBC Olympic satire Twenty Twelve, which lampooned the Games organisers, has received four nominations for 2013's TV BAFTAs. The Alfred Hitchcock drama The Girl also has four nominations, along with miserable bitter old Red Jimmy McGovern's slash-yer-wrists fest Accused and Last Tango in Halifax. The Sport and Live Event nominations include the Olympic opening ceremony, Super Saturday on BBC1, Channel Four's Paralympic coverage and the Wimbledon 2012 Men's Final on BBC1. The Girl's Sienna Miller and Toby Jones are up for best actress and actor. Sarah Lancashire is nominated for best supporting actress for her portrayal of Caroline in the BBC romantic drama series Last Tango in Halifax. The series, which tells the story of teenage sweethearts reunited through Facebook sixty years later, has also been nominated in the best drama series category. Imelda Staunton received a best supporting actress nomination for her role as Hitchcock's long-suffering wife in The Girl. The BBC2 co-production is also in contention for best single drama. There are two nominations for Peter Capaldi, who is up for best actor for BBC2's 1950s newsroom drama The Hour. He has also been nominated for best male performance in a comedy programme for his role as foul-mouthed spin doctor Malcolm Tucker in The Thick Of It, which is also in the running for best comedy along with Episodes and the vastly over-rated Hunderby. Steve Coogan's return as Alan Partridge in Welcome To The Places Of My Life is also nominated for best performance in a comedy programme, along with Inbetweeners star Greg Davies, who is recognised for Cuckoo. Sheridan Smith has had her first BAFTA nomination in the best actress category for her portrayal as Mrs Biggs, based on the true story of the wife of the Great Train Robber, Ronnie Biggs. Completing the line-up for best actress is Rebecca Hall for Parade's End. The BBC's First World War drama also up for best mini-series along with Room At The Top and Mrs Biggs. Sean Bean is nominated for his performance as transvestite Tracie in Accused. His co-star Stephen Graham is up for best supporting actor while Olivia Colman gets her second nomination for her role as Sue in another episode of the dreadfully miserable series, Mo's Story. Also in the best actor category is Derek Jacobi for Last Tango in Halifax. He takes on Ben Whishaw, who is recognised for his performance as Richard II in The Hollow Crown, the BBC's series of adaptations of Shakespeare's history plays. The programme is also nominated for Single Drama. In the international category, Sky's imported fantasy epic Game Of Thrones is in the running for best show, along with The Bridge, Girls and espionage thriller Homeland. But, not Borgen so that shows whoever puts these lists together doesn't know their arse from their elbow. ITV's Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile is nominated in the current affairs category alongside Panorama: Britain's Hidden Housing Crisis on BBC1, The Shame of the Catholic Church from BBC2 and Al Jazeera's What Killed Arafat? Made In Chelsea, The Audience, I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) and The Young Apprentice will go head-to-head for the Reality and Constructed Factual award, while Coronation Street, EastEnders, Emmerdale and - bizarrely - Shameless are this year's nominees for the Soap and Continuing Drama award. Last year's winner of the best feature, The Great British Bake Off is in the running again. It will compete against Paul O'Grady: For the Love of Dogs, Grand Designs and Bank of Dave. BBC2 secured the most nominations across all categories with a total of twenty six, while BBC1 follows on twenty ten. Channel Four's programming is recognised in sixteen categories, followed by ITV with ten and Sky Atlantic with six. There were also nominations for BBC3, BBC4, E4, Sky1, Al Jazeera and Watch. The awards ceremony, hosted by Graham Norton, will be held at the Royal Festival Hall, on London's South Bank, on Sunday 12 May and broadcast on BBC1.

The BBC has been reprimanded for an particularly witless episode of Dick and Dom's Hoopla! in which a young girl was left retching and seemingly about to spewing her guts up all over the floor after an eating challenge. The media regulator, Ofcom received two complaints when the game ended with the eleven-year-old 'vomiting into a bucket.' The complainants said that the girl and a boy 'appeared distressed' after being encouraged to drink 'vile concoctions' in front of a live audience. For 'entertainment', apparently. In its ruling, Ofcom said the BBC failed to take 'due care' of the girl. The regulator said that the girl 'appeared to be in some discomfort' during the item called Gypsy Rose Dick, during which she drank a mixture of mayonnaise, spaghetti hoops and tomato soup. It also criticised the approach taken by Dick - whose real name is Richard McCourt although Dick is, actually, a pretty good description of this glake - describing it as 'verging on the aggressive.' It said: 'He repeatedly shouted at, berated and chided the girl and the boy, albeit "in a comedic manner," to urge them to eat the various foods they were presented with.' The BBC said the presenters of the CBBC show were 'well known for their "anarchic" humour' - as though that was any excuse - and that the audience was 'briefed about the nature of the programme.' It also said that the girl had 'volunteered' to take part and her mother, who accompanied her on the show, had 'given written consent' for her involvement. Her mother also told the BBC 'she had been very impressed by the care the programme-makers had taken of her daughter.' Both children were given examples of food that they might be encouraged to eat and told they could refuse it at any time. The BBC told Ofcom there 'was no pressure to participate' and while the girl 'did appear to retch, she was not sick.' However, Ofcom said that regardless of the measures taken by the broadcaster, it 'did not take adequate steps at this stage to ensure that due care was taken over the girl's physical and emotional welfare.' Ofcom said it was 'extremely concerned that at no time pre-broadcast did any BBC staff assess or query the potential risk or appropriateness of organising an eating competition for children.' The regulator was also 'concerned that the BBC did not provide evidence of whether the girl was provided with meaningful, child-friendly information on any likely negative consequences of appearing in the programme. These might, for example, include that she might end up being sick in a bucket on television, or being mocked by her peers at school,' said Ofcom. The BBC accepted that, in the light of the complaints to Ofcom and a complaint to the BBC about the item, 'the spectacle of [the girl's] obvious discomfort would have struck some viewers as going beyond acceptable boundaries, even though her subsequent participation in the programme made clear that her discomfort was temporary.'

Odious disgraced - and recently sacked - horrorshow (and drag) Kelvin MacKenzie faces more woes after being dropped by the Torygraph as it emerged that his former column in the Daily Scum Mail has become the subject of a two hundred thousand smackers libel case. Doctor Antonio Serrano, an NHS doctor in Sussex, has claimed that his reputation was 'smeared' by the risible Mackenzie in his column in April 2012 which described the alleged 'living hell' of one of Serrano's patients. The column, headlined A whole year of hell, thanks to a foreign doctor, suggested that Serrano was 'seriously incompetent' and had an 'inadequate grasp of the English language', according to a claim form filed at the high court in London. Mackenzie's typically provocative and louse-like Daily Scum Mail column was published on 21 April last year and began: 'Last week, I raised the uncomfortable issue of foreign doctors working in this country, and targeted the offensive behaviour of a Spanish consultant. I have since received, and investigated to my satisfaction, an even more shocking case.' The column went on to describe how a diagnosis by Serrano led to a bus driver's licence being revoked by the DVLA. In a thirteen-page claim form 'seen' by the Gruniad Morning Star who could hardly believe their luck in getting to stitch the vile and odious rascal MacKenzie up for the second time in a week, lawyers for Serrano stated that the column 'falsely portrays' the medical professional as 'a particularly shocking example of foreign doctors working in the NHS who, for reasons deriving from their being foreign, are seriously incompetent, inadequate or otherwise unacceptable.' Mackenzie instructed his agent, the former Sun journalist Charles Rae, to 'put some of the allegations' to Serrano, the lawyers claim. The Daily Scum Mail column reported that the patient's local MP, Amber Rudd, was 'appalled' at his treatment by Serrano. In fact, the Tory MP made it clear that she had 'no view or comment' when contacted by Rae on Mackenzie's behalf, according to the claim form. It adds: 'In the premises it is to be inferred that Mr MacKenzie published the article with an irresponsible and insulting disregard for the reputation and feelings of the claimant, being more determined to publish another, follow-up story on his xenophobic theme of 'foreign doctors' than concerned with publishing a story that was either true or fair.' The Daily Scum Mail's publisher, Associated Newspapers, told Press Gazette that it was contesting the claim.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, a glorious trip back to the eighties, with The Primitives. Just to prove life wasn't entirely miserable back then.