Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Star Trek: The Bath of Khan

Doctor Who's Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) has 'laughed off' fan speculation surrounding the forthcoming fiftieth anniversary special. Speaking at Sunday's BAFTA Television Awards, the showrunner insisted that many of the wild and silly rumours surrounding November's celebratory episode are 'absolutely mental.' As, indeed, are most of those creating and spreading such rumours. Oh yes indeedy. 'Most things that have been said about the fiftieth are not true,' he claimed. Things that 'aren't true' being spoken upon the Interweb? Surely not? 'Normally I am responsible for the disinformation and the rubbish rumours - I usually put them out myself, but I haven't needed to for this one,' added The Moffinator. 'People are spinning off the most amazing things - it's absolutely mental! Some of them, I think, are actually quite good ideas. I might use them in future.' Moffat also insisted that this Saturday's series finale The Name of the Doctor will not leave fans 'empty-handed. I know I'm guilty sometimes of making you wait a very long time for answers, but you actually are going to get some,' he claimed. 'I won't just say, "Oh, we'll tell you next time" - not completely anyway. You've got to leave something.'

The latest edition of the Radio Times (dated 18-24 May) sees Jenna-Louise Coleman her very self gracing the front cover with the actress being featured as part of the publicity for the series finale, The Name of the Doctor. Talking about being the public spotlight, Jenna-Louise said: 'Matt warned me there's nothing that can prepare you for it. All I can do is enjoy it. I've noticed some changes – nothing huge. I have a really cool job and get to do these crazy things and you do have so many "pinch me" moments.' A word of advice at this juncture, dear blog reader. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping really wouldn't advise that any of Jenna-Louise's admirers do, actually, pinch her, however. As you tend to get a visit from the chaps from Operation Yewtree for that sort of malarkey these days. 'I've just been sent e-mails with pics of the Clara doll. That isn't completely normal, is it? People do come up to me, but so far they've really engaged with the show and the character and just want to chat.' And, there's been no pinching so, you know, everybody's happy. 'Yesterday a little boy walked past and said, "You all right, Soufflé Girl?" Which put a smile on my face. So it's not obtrusive.' Commenting on advice from her co-star, Smudger his very self said added: 'His first advice was never Google yourself and, now that I've got a three-month break, he said take your time and choose your next role carefully. I've read loads of scripts but nothing I'm really in love with.' And on the resolution of the mystery of the Impossible Girl, she said: 'In the beginning we see a Clara in the sixties, seventies and the eighties so there are a lot of costume changes, which I love. Always one for a bit of dressing up, me. Love a red carpet. Richard E Grant is back with his evil Great Intelligence, The Doctor's greatest secret is revealed, all of his friends rally round to protect him and we finally understand why The Doctor has met Clara so many different times.'

So, from one SF icon to another, yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self went to see the new Star Trek movie (in 3D, mark you) on Tuesday morning. Aye. It's all right. Not as good as the last one; as usual with just about film yer actual Keith Telly Topping goes to see these days, it was about fifteen minutes too long (I needed two pee breaks mid-movie - talk about an over-active bladder) and there were a few too many Wrath of Khan riffs for my liking (I mean, really obvious ones as well). But, otherwise, it was a not wholly unentertaining way to spend a couple of hours keep one off the streets. And Benny was very good in it. And, the hot dog was quite nice as well. Albeit massively over-priced.
Oh, and of course, there's Alice Eve in her undies. I mean, what's not to love?
The much-trailed The Fall opened to excellent overnight viewing figures for BBC2 on Monday evening. The new crime drama starring yer actual Gillian Anderson launched with 3.53 million viewers at 9pm, beaten on the night only by soaps and news programming. Which is excellent as it allows yer actual Keith Telly Topping to use this picture of Gilly which always seems to pull in plenty of visitors to From The North. Welcome. Hang around, we've got ratings and all sorts coming up. And that. Earlier, Auction Hero opened to 1.50m at 8pm. On BBC1, Rip Off Britain was seen by 3.39m at 7.30pm, while Panorama's unemployment special attracted just 1.83m at 8.30pm. The Prisoners ended with 2.74m at 9pm. Adrian Edmondson's risible The Dales launched for another series of twee nonsense with 3.19m at 8pm. Vicious dropped almost another million viewers for its third episode, with an audience of 2.66m at 9pm, a far cry from the five million plus who watched the series opener. One wonders if ITV are regretting the haste with which they commissioned a Christmas special (see below). The Job Lot also lost more viewers, falling to 2.17m at 9.30pm. On Channel Four, new series Skint launched with 2.5m at 9pm. On BBC4, The Flying Archaeologist continued with six hundred and fifty nine thousand at 8pm. David Frost's Frost on Sketch Shows was seen by four hundred and sixty seven thousand at 9pm. Only Connect was, comfortably, the most watched show on the digital channels, taking in seven hundred and seventy two thousand viewers to BBC4 at 8.30pm.

Peter Capaldi has appeared to suggest that The Hour could return for a one-off special. The BBC newsroom drama was dropped after two series. Because no bugger was watching it, basically. But, Capaldi claimed at the BAFTAs that a final episode could be in the works. 'We might do a one-off - catching up on some of the characters,' said the actor - who was nominated for his performance in the show's second run. 'I think it'll be fascinating to see them again.' Romola Garai - who played Bel Rowley - admitted that she would be 'interested' in reprising her role for a final special. 'They could do that - the show was left on a terrible cliffhanger so I think it's really sad that you don't get to finish off any of the storylines,' she said. 'Something like that would be great.' Asked about possible storylines for the special, she added: 'Possibly the Freddie and Bel love story coming to some kind of dramatic resolution and them ending up together. I certainly know people who enjoyed the show wanted that to happen, so that might've been a direction we could've gone in.' The Hour creator Abi Morgan previously revealed her plans for a third series of The Hour, explaining that Freddie (Ben Whishaw) would have 'gone to the dark side' after surviving a brutal beating from mobsters.

One from the 'we are the knights who say "maybe we should re-form"' column. Yer actual Michael Palin – leader of the knights who protect the sacred words 'Ni', 'Peng' and 'Neee-wom' you may recall – has uttered the, if you will, Holy Grail of sentences that Monty Python fans want to hear. I might get the gang back together, or words to that effect. At least, according to  the Sun. 'The lines of communication are open,' he says.'"No one has ever said we would never, ever do anything again.'
Big hard Kiefer Sutherland has officially signed up for a new season of 24. The tool-stiffening action-drama will return to FOX as 'a limited series' titled 24: Live Another Day, the network's president Kevin Reilly has confirmed. 24 - a real-time thriller which followed Sutherland's anti-terrorism agent big hard Jack Bauer - originally aired eight seasons between 2001-2010. About five of them rather good. And the last three really not. The revived show's 'limited series' format means that a single season will not span twenty four full episodes as previously - instead the show will run for twelve weeks. Whether they'll change the title, as a consequence, is - at this time - unknown. Reilly also revealed that he expects the 24 revival to premiere in May 2014. Former 24 showrunner Howard Gordon - now executive producer of Homeland - will co-produce the new run. Following 24's original cancellation, Sutherland starred in the FOX drama series Touch - from Heroes creator Tim Kring - but that show has now been dropped by the network.

The Today programme presenter John Humphrys has won a Sony Award for his grilling of former BBC director-general George Entwistle over the Savile fiasco. Entwistle was widely criticised for his performance in the interview on BBC Radio 4 and resigned just hours later. Humphrys won the journalism award and Today became a double winner with the honour for best breakfast programme. BBC Radio 5Live won the prestigious radio station of the year ahead of Classic FM and the BBC's Asian Network. Humphrys said in his acceptance speech: 'I thought [Entwistle] dealt with that interview with grace and elegance. He was in a difficult place but he dealt with the questions, he didn't duck and dive, he was honest. And then he went and resigned.' Organisers called the sixty nine-year-old broadcaster 'a giant among radio news journalists.' Radio 5Live also won the award for best events coverage for London 2012 and the station's Olympics show with Peter Allen and Colin Murray was named best sports programme. The judges said: '5Live reflected the drama and passion of some amazing events through the Jubilee and the Olympics, but also delivered really ambitious and difficult journalism.' The world's greatest living broadcaster, yer actual Danny Baker, won the best entertainment show award for his unmissable Saturday morning 5Live programme. In all, the BBC won a total of twenty awards, including six for Radio 4 and four apiece for Radio 1 and 5Live. Radio 2 bagged a pair but there was nothing for Radio 3. Radio 1's Phil Lester and Dan Howell, who made their names on YouTube as Danisnotonfire and AmazingPhil, won the inaugural Golden Headphones award, voted for by listeners.
The Sun's Whitehall editor, Clodagh Hartley, and two other people are to be charged with conspiracy to commit naughty misconduct in a public office. It is alleged that the Sun paid over seventeen grand to Jonathan Hall, a press officer for Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, in exchange for information, including some concerning government spending plans. It is alleged that Hall was mainly paid via his partner, Marta Bukarewicz. The trio, all from London, are being charged as part of Operation Elveden, the Metropolitan Police inquiry into alleged corrupt and illegal payments to public officials. Gregor McGill, a senior lawyer with the Crown Prosecution Service, said: 'It is alleged that between 30 March 2008 and 15 July 2011, the Sun newspaper paid seventeen thousand four hundred and seventy five pounds to Jonathan Hall, mostly via Marta Bukarewicz, in exchange for the unauthorised disclosure of information obtained as a result of his employment with HMRC. The information allegedly provided included details about government plans, including upcoming but as yet unannounced spending and policy decisions relating to the 2010 Budget and the coalition government's deficit reduction plans. Information also related specifically to policy and decision-making within HMRC, including that relating to job losses and casework.' Hall and Bukarewicz, both from Kentish Town, and Hartley, from Brockley, will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 29 May to answer the charges.

BBC2 drama Murder has been commissioned for a full series. Murder: Joint Enterprise won Best Single Drama at Sunday night's BAFTA Television Awards and an extended series will now follow. 'Murder was one of the most striking and distinctive single dramas on BBC2 last year and I'm delighted to see it turn into a series,' said BBC2 Controller Janice Hadlow. Joint Enterprise - which was broadcast in August - starred Joe Dempsie and Karla Crome as two young people caught up in a murder investigation, with both characters directly addressing the camera to tell their side of the story. Ben Stephenson, the controller of BBC Drama, said: 'It is testament to the talented team behind Murder that it will return to BB2 as a series. It is a truly innovative way of telling crime stories in a unique way and its BAFTA for Best Single reinforces this.'

Shameless creator Paul Abbott has revealed his new Channel Four comedy drama project No Offence. The eight-part series is a Manchester-based police show, which Abbott claims will mix 'cop drama, family saga and social mayhem.' Channel Four's press release about the show describes its plot as follows: 'Set in a crumbling Victorian cop shop on the wrong side of Manchester, No Offence follows a group of bobbies on the front line, wondering what they did to end up here, in this force, on this side of town. Keeping these streets clean is a Herculean task, enough to demoralise even the keenest rookie. But there's a reason these cops are in this force. As the never ending rabble off the local estates pours in, Inspector Vivienne Deering, the station's sharp, funny (peculiar) and hard as they come boss, and her team led by DC Dinah Kowalski (smart but impetuous, stuck in the middle, single mother in her thirties) and DC Joy Freers (buttoned up so tight she might pop! But nobody's mug), show they have what it takes to crack crime and to expose the addled, the skanky, the pimps, the petty and the really proper nasty bastards for the sewer rats they are.' 'I'm a big fan of well-told cop shows and jet-black social comedy, and I wanted to see how explosively we could bang two genres' heads together,' said Abbott. 'No Offence is reared on wilder-than-average seeds and I've had a ball with the AbbottVision team in building this concept.' Piers Wenger, Channel Four's head of drama said: 'No Offence is the best of what the world has come to expect from a Paul Abbott script: characters you can adore, gags which practically blind you with their brilliance and plots which, while appearing outlandish, challenge the way you think about the world. We're delighted to announce the commissioning of this new series created and written by Paul and welcome him back to Channel Four.' Abbott's impressive list of TV credits includes some of the best dramas produced by British telly in the last twenty years - Touching Evil, State of Play and Clocking Off. And Linda Green, but we try hard to forget that one.

Lord Alan Sugar-Sweetie his very self reportedly ignored a Made in Chelsea cast member at Sunday's BAFTA Television Awards. The businessman is said to have 'snubbed' Made in Chelsea person Andy Jordan (no, me neither) at the event, according to the Mirra. Sugar-Sweetie tweeted his furious annoyance that The Young Apprentice had lost out to the E4 show in the Reality and Constructed Factual category. He tweeted: 'Young Apprentice did not win a BAFTA tonight. Made in Chelsea won. Can't believe it.' This, of course, comes in marked contrast to Lord Sugar-Sweetie's seeming enthusiasm for reality TV when, infamously, The Only Way Is Essex won a BAFTA despite a chorus of disapproval, in 2012. Sugar-Sweetie tweeted on that particular occasion: 'Brilliant! U [sic] have no idea what a smack in face this is for the intellectual snobs lovies [sic] in TV production.' Boot somewhat on the other foot now, it would seem. Jordan claimed that he 'confronted' Sugar-Sweetie over the tweet, but was ignored. Think yourself lucky, mate, he could have done a Monty Burns and instructed someone to release the hounds. Jordan said: 'He stone cold blanked me despite everyone around him saying hello. I was excited and it was so rude and I was let down. It's such a shame to see people like that behave with so little tact.'
A former BBC producer arrested by police investigating sex abuse claims against Jimmy Savile and others will face no further criminal action. Ted Beston, seventy six, was arrested on suspicion of sexual offences on 19 December as part of Operation Yewtree. Police said that an investigation 'into a man in his seventies' found there was 'insufficient evidence' to support a prosecution. Beston, of Bromley, had always - and, continues - to deny the allegations against him. At the time of his arrest Beston released a statement which said he 'vehemently' denied abuse claims and that he had been 'shocked' by the allegations of widespread abuse carried out by Savile. Beston had worked with Savile on his Radio 1 shows, including Savile's Travels. The former producer was being investigated under the strand of the investigation termed 'Savile and others' - meaning that the allegations were linked to Jimmy Savile personally. A statement from the Metropolitan Police said: 'There was early investigative consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service, but in accordance with the DPP's guidance on charging, the police did not submit the case for full CPS advice to decide the outcome.' Police say four hundred and fifty victims have alleged abuse by Savile, who died in October 2011.

William Roache has appeared in court accused of raping a fifteen-year-old girl in the 1960s. Roache, eighty one, was arrested at his home in Wilmslow on 1 May and was later charged with two counts of rape against his alleged victim in 1967. The actor, who has played Ken Barlow in Coronation Street since its launch in 1960, has said he 'strenuously denies' the charges. He appeared at Preston Magistrates' Court and his case was committed to crown court for a hearing on 10 June. An ITV spokesman said that the actor 'would not be appearing' in Coronation Street 'until legal proceedings were concluded.'

Some really genuinely appalling news now, I'm afraid, dear blog reader. ITV has won the exclusive live rights to televise England's competitive matches at home and away for the next four years in a one hundred million smacker deal, covering the Euro 2016 and 2018 World Cup qualifying competitions. So, we're stuck with grumpy odious greed bucket (and drag) Adrian Chiles and his gang of mumbling misfits for the next four years. Truly, there is no God. What was it Bob Dylan once said, 'money doesn't talk, it swears'? Meanwhile, Sky Sports has won the rights to all the live qualifying matches involving Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland at home and away and will show highlights of England's games. The contracts are the first to be negotiated under UEFA's central greed strategy, under which the rights to all qualifying matches were packaged up and sold by the European governing body. UEFA had already guaranteed the Football Association a minimum income of between twenty and twenty five million knicker per a year, which was an improvement on its current income. Lots of lov-er-leee wonga for everyone, it would seem. The deal is a coup for ITV, which has attracted healthy audiences for its England ties, and will be able to market itself as the home of all competitive internationals for the next four years, despite being utterly shit in every single thing they do. 'Bringing viewers exclusive live coverage of each key England international match is hugely important to ITV and means football fans will be able to watch for free England's progress both at home and abroad as they attempt to qualify for the final stages of these tournaments,' said ITV's director of television, Peter Fincham. For Sky, the deal means that it has successfully frozen out new challenger BT Sport from showing any competitive internationals involving the home nations for the next four years. Under the deal, it will show more than five hundred live international matches over a three year period. 'Both the UEFA European Championship and FIFA World Cup are football's most important international tournaments and this deal offers Sky Sports viewers the complete qualification story,' said Sky Sports' managing director, Barney Francis. 'We've been broadcasting international football since the beginning of Sky Sports and this deal means our viewers can enjoy watching some of the best players and nations over the next four years.' Under the deal, ITV will also show twenty matches on ITV4. It will be allowed to show ten games from other nations across each qualifying competition, getting the first pick of all matches not involving the home nations or Ireland for the first eight match days and second pick behind Sky on the climactic ninth and tenth. The rights to England's home friendly matches and the FA Cup between 2014 and 2018 are also currently up for grabs, with the FA expected to complete the process by July. ITV and ESPN, the UK assets of which have been bought by BT Sport, currently share the rights to the FA Cup while ITV shows England friendlies. The FA is hopeful that the BBC will re-enter the ring for those rights and BT Sport has also shown an interest.
Sir Derek Jacobi has revealed that a second series of the ITV sitcom Vicious might not shoot until 2014. And, given the plummeting ratings it's been getting over the last three week,s one imagines ITV aren't exactly heartbroken about that state of affairs. The comedy - which stars Jacobi and Sir Ian McKellen as an ageing gay couple - is yet to be 'officially' renewed by ITV, but Jacobi - speaking at the BAFTA Television Awards - said that he is 'hoping' to film more episodes. 'It's a whole new world for me - I'm in sitcom hell now!' he said. Yes, dear, we noticed. 'We've done a Christmas special to remind people that we're still around, because Ian, of course, is a movie star. He goes off and does the movies, and he's not free now - God damn him - 'til this time next year, so we can't do another one until he's free.'

A survey in Scotland has shared some of the strangest excuses tenants make for not paying their rent. Letting Protection Service Scotland questioned landlords across the country. From all the weird excuses accumulated, 'I have a phobia about touching my cheque book' was voted, by a considerable distance, the best, followed by 'my father died' - specifically when used for at least the third time. The director of the organisation, Kevin Firth, said: 'There are certainly some entertaining answers there. But at the end of the day they are all just excuses and excuses don't wash. The same can be said about deposit protection. There'll be no excuses for Scottish landlords and letting agents after 15 May. All deposits need to be protected by that date.' The top ten oddest excuses for non-payment, as voted by Scottish landlords, were:-
1 I have a phobia about touching my cheque book.
2 My father died - for the third time.
3 A dog ate my rent money.
4 My pet died and I have to pay the funeral costs.
5 I need the cash for my Rangers season ticket.
6 It's Christmas and I've had to buy presents.
7 I had to pay a bank tax.
8 I spent the money at the bookies.
9 I'm saving for a holiday.
10 The money fell out of my pocket.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader, here's a well-fine mighty slab of yer actual Chad Jackson. And that's what's happenin'.