Sunday, May 12, 2013

Week Twenty One: Concentration Slips Away

Yer actual Billie Piper her very self has said that returning to Doctor Who is 'a gift.' Well, yeah. So's every acting job, chuck. The actress spoke at the red carpet event for The Hot House at London's Trafalgar Studios and claimed that resuming her role as Rose Tyler in the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama is 'a privilege.' Piper was, understandably, somewhat coy about her appearance in the fiftieth anniversary special as The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat has been known to kneecap those giving away spoilers. She claimed that she was 'not sure' if she was 'allowed' to discuss it. Err ... That'd be a "no", Bill. She then said: 'It's like going home. It's a real gift, that show. Obviously it's a special one because it's the fifty years celebration. You feel it's very much for the fans, this show, and you really feel that on this particular episode.' She added that she didn't know what made her character, who starred opposite both yer actual Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant his very self, such a firm favourite with fans. Piper revealed that she is 'not currently planning' other projects, as she spends time at home with her two young children. She said: 'It is hard to do everything and feel committed to what you're doing. It's an endless struggle with balance and I'm not entirely sure it exists. When I'm at work I feel brilliant but stressed about having left my children, and when I'm with my kids at some point I feel like I have to go back to work. I love it all, I'm very lucky to have both worlds.'

A prequel for next week's Doctor Who series finale The Name of the Doctor has been unveiled by the BBC. The video was made available via the red button and on Doctor Who's official website after the end of the latest episode Nightmare in Silver. The three-minute episode, titled She Said, He Said, sees The Doctor (yer actual Matt Smith) and Clara (Jenna Louise Coleman her very self) speaking directly to the camera admitting how little they know about each other ahead of next week's episode.
Britain's Got Talent topped the overnight ratings on Saturday with a massive 10.54m. The ITV show was up more than a million viewers on last week. It peaked at 11.33m. The talent competition aired at 7.45pm, after the FA Cup Final between Wigan and Sheikh Yer Man City, which scored an average 4.96 from 5.15pm. Later on ITV, the game show The Cube had 3.26m viewers at 8.45pm and The Jonathan Ross Show took 2.98m an hour later. On BBC1, ratings for The Voice at 8.30pm fell by five hundred thousand to 7.37m after five weeks of audience growth. It peaked at 8.2 million. Earlier, the new Doctor Who episode Nightmare in Silver was watched by 4.74m viewers from 7pm, a slight rise from last week's overnight figure. BBC2 broadcast The Magic Tricks of JJ Abrams: A Culture Show Special at 7.30pm, picking up six hundred and ten thousand. The documentary The Star Trek Story followed with five hundred and eighty thousand at 8pm. However, both were beaten by a repeat of Dad's Army, which scored 1.6m at 7pm. Channel Four showed the 2009 blockbuster Avatar from 7.45pm, bringing in 1.13m viewers.

Life of Crime débuted with 3.9m viewers at 9pm on Friday, overnight data has suggested. ITV's new three-part drama follows the career of police officer Denise Woods, played by Hayley Atwell, over three decades in the Met. In the same timeslot on BBC1, Have I Got News For You - featuring a genuine proper start-turn by the great John Cooper Clarke - was watched by 4.58m and Not Going Out had 3.86m. Earlier, A Question of Sport attracted 3.15m at 7.30pm and Would I Lie To You? entertained 2.88m an hour later. The Graham Norton Show was watched by 3.65m at 10.45pm. On BBC2, the much-publicised Pride and Prejudice: Having A Ball had an audience of 1.5m at 9pm, prior to which Nature's Microwave and Gardeners' World pulled in 1.72m and 2.14m respectively. The Martin Lewis Money Show attracted 3.1m to ITV at 8pm and a repeat of The Suspicions of Mr Wicher garnered one million punters from 10.30pm. The Mentalist was seen by nine hundred and thirty eight thousand punters on Channel Five.
Most actors have fans, any many have obsessive fans. But, as we all know, yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch isn't 'most actors.' Since July 2010, when he first appeared as the title character in BBC's Sherlock, his fanbase has gone from a relatively small group of British television and film aficionados to one of the largest and most dedicated groups of followers in showbusiness. Only a proportion of whom are, like, mental. And, as much as Benny his very self is pure dead grateful for the adoration which is showered upon him by his (mostly female) Internet fanbase – he still has one problem, the name which many of them chose to give themselves; Cumberbitches. 'It's not even politeness,' he told Caitlin Moran in an interview for The Times. 'I won't allow you to be my bitches. I think it sets feminism back so many notches. You are Cumberpeople.' Doesn't have the same ring to it, though, does it? However, it doesn't look very likely that Benny is going to get his way any time soon. Despite raising concerns around the term in the past, @cumberbitches remains one of his largest social media fan groups (almost fifty thousand Twitter followers), and the term is still used around the world wide web as a byword for loving yer man Benny. It's tough being adored, mate. Ask yer actual Keith Telly Topping, he knows this only too well.
One of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's favourite bands were The Housemartins. Something he shares with David Tennant, as it happens. Many are the nights when yer actual Keith Telly Topping has dined out on the story of how he and some chums had a five-a-side kick-about with Paul Heaton and yer actual Fatboy Slim in the car park of the much-lamented Riverside Club in Newcastle in 1986 on the very night that 'Happy Hour' hit the top ten. Saw them five times in about an eighteen month period between late 1985 and early 87 during which time they were, quite simply, catapulted to stardom. For this reason, yer actual Keith Telly Topping is thoroughly delighted that another Housies fan of long-standing, Uncle Scunthorpe his very self, is featuring London 0, Hull 4 as one of this week's Record Player cuts at the Tyneside. Anyway, most of the Housies have had somewhat interesting careers since they split up in 1988. Stan, Stan, Stan, The Man Cullimore, for instance, is now a journalist and best-selling author of children's books. And yer actual Keith Telly Topping's old mate Malcolm Holt - another Hull chap - has done a rather good interview with Stan on his fine entertainment blog A Bit On The Side which you can check out here. Remember, kids, it's sheep we're up against.
Davina McCall has admitted that she has presented some 'awful TV' during her presenting career. This blogger only disagrees with the qualifier 'some' in that statement.
And on that bombshell, dear blog reader, so to yer actual Top Telly Tips in the area:-

Saturday 18 May
Clara receives a letter summoning her to a mysterious meeting, where she is given a message for The Doctor in the series finale of Doctor Who - 7:00 BBC1. The meaning of the message is uncertain, but when an old enemy strikes the Time Lord is left with no choice but to travel to the one place in time and space he should never go - the fields of Trenzalore. This is the place where, according to Dorium Maldovar, The Doctor would visit which would coincide with 'The Fall Of The Eleventh'. Maldovar also told The Doctor that, at this time and place, 'no living creature can speak falsely or fail to answer.' Here, 'The First Question in the Universe would be asked.' And answered? Your guess is as good as mine, dear blog reader. Anyway, The Doctor knows that he's entering into a deadly trap which threatens to unravel his past, his present and, indeed, his future. The Time Lord’s identity is certainly key to this story, which — in a clever way that may well have many fans rewinding their recordings — takes in his whole story from Gallifrey to the end of days on Trenzalore. There's a funereal air as The Great Intelligence and his undertaker-like Whisper Men intrude upon a bizarre conference call across the centuries between The Doctor's closest allies: Vastra, Jenny, Strax, Clara and River Song. For some of our heroes, life will never be the same again, in what is promised to be one of the most audacious and emotional episodes to date. Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman star, with Alex Kingston returning as River Song and Richard E Grant at his nostril-flaring best as The Great Intelligence. Sadly, fans will have to wait a full six months for their next Doctor Who fix, until the much anticipated fiftieth anniversary special which is due to be shown in November.
Yer actual Graham Norton commentates on the fifty eighth Eurovision Song Contest - 8:00 BBC1 - from the Malmo Arena in Sweden, the only country to have held the contest in five consecutive decades. Carrying the featherweight of British expectations this year is husky-voiced Welsh hasbeen Bonnie Tyler, singing the pleasant if unremarkable ballad 'Believe In Me'. Rumours that this was a last minute replacement for 'We're So Shit It's Unbelieveable' cannot, at this time, be confirmed or, indeed, denied. Bonnie could - and by could, we mean will - be eclipsed by several other entries including pre-contest favourites Denmark with their penny-whistle-and-marching-drums rabble-rouser 'Only Teardrops'. Then there's Ireland's Ryan Dolan - assuming he made it through Tuesday's semi-final. However, all of these are likely to face stiff competition from the other twenty four countries, including Sweden's Robin Stjernberg and Spain's ESDM, who both serve up power ballads, Germany's Cascada, confident a dance track will garner the honours and France's Amandine Bourgeois, who brings to mind Amy Winehouse with her bluesy guitar number 'L'enfer et Moi'. Red button viewers will be able to access lyrics to all songs and send comments. Will the Moldovan entry feature men silly hats and MC Hammer-style trousers and a girl on a unicycle playing the trumpet again as it did two years ago? Tune in to find out.

In the fourth two-part adaptation of the crime novels of Arne Dahl - BBC4 9:00 - an illegal African immigrant is shot and killed by the police. Kerstin Holm is assigned the task of interviewing the officer responsible - but the man in question turns out to be her ex-boyfriend, Dag Lundmark, who promptly disappears without trace during the investigation. These nuts-and-bolts Swedish crime stories have built up a devoted audience among viewers on the look-out for a chunk of Saturday-night crime, even slapping old-stagers like Law & Order over on Channel Five in the overnights. Fans have obviously taken to the rather odd, but likeable, detectives of the A-Unit, so they'll all be thrilled when a new story opens with a wedding. But it's not an entirely happy occasion for the straying Paul Hjelm, whose remarkably understanding, even obtuse, wife starts asking questions. As always, Arne Dahl's crimes only marginally impede upon the domestic stuff, and Hjelm and Kerstin are asked to interview a cop who has shot dead an asylum seeker. It turns out that the cop and Kerstin have a difficult history. Swedish drama, starring Malin Arvidsson.

Sunday 19 May
Jason Isaacs returns as private detective Jackson Brodie in the first of three new crime dramas Case Histories - 9:00 BBC1. Haunted by a child-snatching job in Munich which went badly wrong, Brodie is determined to atone for his past mistakes - and gets the chance when the search for a woman's birth parents leads him into the dark heart of 1970s police corruption and murder. The case crosses paths with that of Tracy Waterhouse, a store detective who witnessed a mother abusing her young daughter, presenting the Private Investigator with a moral dilemma - should he do what he feels is right or just walk away? Sadly, odious, risible Victoria Wood guest stars - which is one very good reason not to watch it - along with Amanda Abbington, Zawe Ashton, Emma Hamilton, Gary Lewis, James Cosmo and Maurice Roeves.

The Goddess of punk archaeology Professor Alice Roberts her very self examines the latest discoveries from the Northern hemisphere to shed light on the lives and habitats of the creatures that dominated the planet forty thousand years ago in Ice Age Giants - 8:00 BBC2. She begins by heading to North America, which was home to a diverse group of giant mammals, and discovers how the sabre-toothed cat's out-sized teeth were vital for hunting, yet easily broken. Alice looks at evidence of the bear-sized Shasta ground sloth in a cave in the Grand Canyon and learns about the strange armadillo-like glyptodont - which was, apparently, the size of a small family car. Alice treks up the Canyon to a cave piled high with dung from the last ice age. If she'd wanted to see that, she could have called round Stately Telly Topping Manor and had a look in the netty. Anyway, ground sloths the size of grizzlies did their business here forty millennia ago, and the 'uge pile of plop has lain undisturbed ever since. And, let's face it, who in all honesty would want to disturb it. Other massive mammals of that time include smilodon fatalis, the stocky sabre-tooth cat of which we see imposing skeletons and impressive CGI, wonderful Columbian mammoths and the very odd, armadillo-like glyptodon. It's an enjoyable start to the series, even when it moves at the speed of glaciation.

In the latest Hawaii Five-0 - 9:00 Sky1 - big rock-hard Steve McGarrett takes Catherine on a secret mission into North Korea to find the body of Navy Seal Freddie Hart, one of his friends and former colleagues, prompting him to recall a fateful black ops mission which has haunted him ever since. Expect, therefore, to see not much of Scott Caan, Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park in this one. Hence, it's somewhat missable.

Monday 20 May
Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson her very self) is a reet saucy minx, it would appear and no mistake. A woman who knows what she wants and what she wants, she apparently gets in The Fall - 9:00 BBC2. Like that hunky young detective constable she glimpsed in last week's opening episode. He's soon panting with anticipation quicker than you can say 'inappropriate sexual misconduct.' Gibson finds herself in a difficult situation after a late-night run-in with a journalist causes friction between her and Burns, who is due to face an independent police board. But when the body of Spector's latest victim is found, the detective takes control of the investigation, with pathologist Reed Smith making the initial examination. Meanwhile, the serial killer discovers that his two conflicting worlds of family and murder are in danger of colliding. So Paul, the strangler of young lone women in Belfast, goes about his sinister pleasures. There’s a lengthy and deeply creepy sequence where we watch him take his time over his latest victim, carrying out his embellishments and fetishes. This latest murder prompts Stella, a clever and focused woman, to take yet another decisive step. It's quite a clever drama because a handful of parallel stories are slowly unfolding - ala Broadchurch - there's been a drug-related shooting and what looks like corruption in high places, for instance. Watch out, too, for The Good Wife's Archie Panjabi as a biker-pathologist. Thriller, also starring Jamie Dornan.

Mac Taylor of the New York division travels to Nevada to surprise his girlfriend Christine, a restaurant owner who is looking to expand her business in CSI - 9:00 Channel Five. He meets his old friend DB Russell at a forensics conference, but has to call on his colleague's help after he heads to Christine's hotel to find her room has been trashed and she is nowhere to be found. In an episode crammed with plot, that's merely the first tier: there's also a mystery involving a super-rich couple who go to a party (entering with the password 'Decadence') to buy something that looks sinister and turns out to involve a corpse in a wine barrel and some very up-market grifters. First of a two-part crossover episode with CSI: NY, starring Ted Danson and Gary Sinise.
Three map-lovers square off against a team of Welshmen (from Wales) in Only Connect - 8:30 BBC4 - the competition challenging contestants to make connections between things that initially do not appear to be linked. This week, you might initially find yourself ahead of the teams because the early rounds are, dare one even suggest it, piss easy by this show's normal standards. Having children or a gambling problem will come in handy. Don't get too cocky and shout at the telly too much, though because that soon changes: at least one of the Connecting Walls is a beast which simply can't be tamed. Presented by yer actual Victoria Coren Mitchell her very self.

Tuesday 21 May
Subtlety is not a close friend of Frankie Maddox. Indeed, the district nurse is barely on nodding acquaintance with serenity or understatement it would seem. For ninety per cent of the time she's full-on: talking continuously, singing loudly and dancing round the room in odd moments of discombobulation. Although not when she's visiting her patients, obviously. Because, that would be vastly inappropriate. There she's caring, thoughtful and, as befits the put-upon heroine of a heart-warming drama, almost always right. 'You're so sure of everything, aren't you?' snaps nasty Doctor Evans, a frosty GP who's physically incapable of raising a smile for anyone. In the latest episode of Frankie - 9:00 BBC1 - Ian returns home to an argument after spending the weekend away, so as usual Frankie ploughs herself into work, visiting terminally ill patient Liana, whose positive outlook is an inspiration. However, things take an unexpected turn when her husband and primary carer Joseph falls ill himself. Meanwhile, Andy is called out to an amputee who seems to have given up and Mary faces a language barrier while treating an Indian woman who doesn't believe in diabetes. Eve Myles stars, with Dean Lennox Kelly and Derek Riddell.

In the opening episode of Town With Nicholas Crane - 9:00 BBC2 - geographer and adventurer Nicholas Crane explores four more towns around the UK, looking at the secrets of their survival, the reasons for their enduring appeal and what they reveal about the future of urban living. He begins with the port of Oban in Argyll and Bute, examining the town's surprising role in the Cold War, visiting one of Scotland's oldest whisky distilleries and meeting artist John Lowrie Morrison at his studio. Make no mistake about it, dear blog reader, this is, essentially, Coast just without Scottish Neil Oliver and his lovely hair and the deadly killer Miranda Krestovnikoff, and not always with sea views. Nicholas is exploring four of our 'forgotten' towns to find out what they can teach us about urban living. He starts in a bustling ferry port clinging to the western side of Scotland that most people pass by with barely a sideways glance. They don't know what they're missing, judging by Nick's enthusiasm for the hilltop tower inspired by the Colosseum, for 'coasteering' (scrambling over rocks without getting washed away) and for the cattle market that provides 'a break from island life and where the camaraderie matters as much as the cheque book.' Does anyone actually still use a cheque book? The other towns in the series are, apparently, Huddersfield, Enniskillen and Saffron Walden.

Hobbs' daughter Abigail wakes from a coma to face accusations from the FBI that she assisted her father in his crimes, so Will takes a risk to prove her innocence with a memory-jogging trip to the family home in Minnesota in Hannibal - 10:00 Sky Living. Will Graham is clever enough to have worked out that the girl impaled on antlers wasn't a victim of The Minnesota Shrike. But he hasn't, yet, clocked that whenever he mentions the word 'copycat', a smirk crosses the lips of the otherwise expressionless Doctor Lecter. Why Will or any of his FBI team hasn't spotted this is a mystery, because it's not exactly hidden from view. Still, the tension is ratcheted up by the fact that Abigail is out of her coma and has been taken back to her family home. Not a good move, as it turns out, with all the murder and general chaos that ensue. Meanwhile, Lecter's efforts to impede the investigation begin to take shape as he helps the girl hide a terrible secret.

Wednesday 22 May
Rachel is shocked when Janet walks in on her and Kev at it as it were in the bedroom, and is forced to acknowledge that her chaotic life is affecting her work in Scott & Bailey - 9:00 ITV. Meanwhile, Syndicate Nine are left reeling at the identity of the mole in the team, and when a body is found in Oldham town centre, the detective duo discover that a spate of street robberies may lead them to the killer. Janet Scott climbs on the highest of horses after the previous episode's betrayal of trust and throws an ungrateful Rachel Bailey out of her house. 'You are disgusting' Janet tells her former friend, and you wonder if their sundered relationship can ever be fully mended. The women still have to work together, of course, under the gimlet eye of their boss, Gill, and are dispatched to investigate the sudden death of an elderly man. As a crime-of-the-week story it's perhaps a bit limp - as several of the crime-of-the-week stories have been this year - but as is increasingly the case with S&B, it's a mere backdrop for the team's tormented personal lives. This episode was postponed last week because of the football. The series concludes tomorrow at 9pm.

A film-maker is given access to the lab to document an unusual case about a corpse simultaneously decomposing in two different ways in Bones - 9:00 Sky Living. Meanwhile, Booth becomes emotionally involved in this particular investigation when it becomes clear that the victim was a fellow law official.

Ten O'Clock Live - 10:00 Channel Four - the (patchy and occasionally unbearably smug) satirical current affairs show, with David Mitchell, Jimmy Carr, Charlie Brooker and Lauren Laverne continues. The hosts are joined by guests from the worlds of politics, science and culture for debates, interviews, topical comedy, investigations and opinion pieces. And still nobody can quite work out what Lauren Laverne actually does to justify her existence.
Thursday 23 May
On Friday 19 May 1536, Henry VIII's second wife, Anne Boleyn became the first (although not, quite, the last) British queen to be executed. But the circumstances of her death remain shrouded in mystery and contradiction, a story told in The Last Days of Anne Boleyn - 9:00 BBC2. Hilary Mantel, Philippa Gregory and David Starkey are among the leading authors and historians sifting through the evidence to try to determine why Henry had her killed. Will it be more historically accurate than Anne Of A Thousand Days? Or, The Tudors for that matter? We'll have to watch to find out.

Yer actual sen-sational Tony Blackburn presents an edition of Top of the Pops from 25 May 1978, with music from Blondie, Heatwave, James Galway, Thin Lizzy, Tavares, Black Sabbath, Ian Dury & The Blockheads, Sham 69, Boney M and Cilla Black. Plus, a performance by dance group Legs & Co.
The world's favourite action transvestite is the focus of Eddie Izzard's Mandela Marathons - 9:00 Sky1. This is the first of a two-part documentary following the popular comedian as he attempts to complete twenty seven marathons across South Africa in as many days - one for each year that Nelson Mandela spent in prison - while along the way visiting some of the milestone locations in the ninety four-year-old former president's life. He begins in Mandela's birthplace of Mvezo, which seems like the most appropriate location - but from a runner's perspective it couldn't be worse, with its rocky terrain soon taking its toll on Steady Eddie.
At the very start of the first episode of this current series of Scott & Bailey - 9:00 ITV - we knew that something really very bad indeed would eventually happen to DCI Gill Murray (the excellent Amelia Bullmore) nine months after the events of that particular story. Now, we have reached the last episode, the time has come; as Gill shops for her son's engagement party in her local supermarket, she is being closely watched by someone who wishes her ill. It's the start of a tense hour in Sally Wainwright's drama as Gill has to use all of her powers of persuasion, and all of her considerable personal resources, to keep herself safe. After a decent, but often very uneven series, Scott & Bailey is back on form with a story that manages to build up a proper head of steam. As for sulking detectives (Lesley Sharp and Suranne Jones), surely they can't sustain their angry silences forever? With their friendship in tatters, the lack of communication between Rachel and Janet is making even the simplest of tasks difficult, and it takes a call about Gill's possible abduction to reunite them as a team. The duo soon have Gill's car in their sights and identify the kidnapper, but discover they are heading for a notorious suicide location. Can the detectives get to their boss in time?

Friday 24 May
Odious full-of-his-own-importance arsehole Dermot O'Dreary, Mel Giedroyc, Josh Widdicombe and Matt Dawson join team captains David Mitchell and Lee Mack for Would I Lie To You? - 8:30 BBC1 - the comedy panel show, trying to hoodwink their opponents with absurd facts and plausible lies about themselves. Rob Brydon hosts.
Alexander Armstrong plays host Have I Got News For You - 9:00 BBC1 - the satirical current affairs quiz, as MP Jacob Rees-Mogg (the second oddball Tory fruitcake to appear on the show in two episodes) and vastly over-rated comedienne Josie Long join Ian Hislop and Paul Merton to take a sidelong glance at the events of the past week.

Trad Jazz Britannia - 9:00 BBC4 - is a documentary exploring the development of Britain's budding jazz scene, which rose to prominence as enthusiasts such as Chris Barber tried to bring the music of 1920s New Orleans to the UK in the wake of the Second World War. Grrrr-eat. The film reveals how some new artists dared to break with established genre tropes, splintering British jazz into two warring factions - the mouldy figs, who appreciated tradition, and the dirty boppers, who were more experimental in their approach to music. Includes contributions by Acker Bilk, and archive interviews with Humphrey Lyttelton and George Melly.
And so to the news: His fondness for fava beans and a nice chianti (ffff-f-f-f-f) is already well documented, but when Hannibal Lecter returned in his latest incarnation it was in less charted territory. After the series of books by Thomas Harris and a string of (well, two) hit films, the world's most well-known serial killer has moved to television for the first time. Bryan Fuller's acclaimed adaptation, which launched in the UK on Sky Living last week, is part of a boom in big-screen properties being adapted for TV. After Psycho (adapted in the US as Bates Motel) and the small-screen take on the Woody Harrelson movie Zombieland, (part of a move by Amazon into TV production), Joss Whedon is making a TV version of his Avengers film and there will be two competing mini-series of Lawrence of Arabia, one for the BBC. The 1968 film Barbarella is also being adapted. Paul Wernick, co-creator with Rhett Reese of both versions of Zombieland, said: 'Everyone is looking for an established brand to cut through the clutter of other TV shows. Much like comic books and toy properties, movies have become the latest trend to convert to TV shows. The movie essentially becomes your pilot episode and allows you to jump right into the story rather than having to spend time getting to know new characters.' Like Bates Motel, which tells the story of the young Norman Bates when his mother was still alive, the Lecter TV series Hannibal, for US network NBC, is a prequel to events in Harris's novel Red Dragon. Writer and producer Bryan Fuller, who adapted Hannibal, said the appeal was exploring a fresh part of Hannibal's life. 'We had seen him as a young man, when he was incarcerated and post-escape, but we had never seen him as a practising psychiatrist and cannibal,' said Fuller. 'It felt like it was the most interesting era of his life, and that was a delicious proposition for me as a fan of the literature and films.' Like Robert Altman's M*A*S*H, the Korean war comedy adapted for television more than forty years ago, the latest batch of TV transfers typically make do without their big-screen stars. Fuller, who cast Casino Royale star Mads Mikkelsen as Lecter, said that he looked for someone 'completely distinct' rather than attempting to replicate the Oscar-winning performance of Anthony Hopkins. Zombieland, which was originally developed as a TV pilot, had to cope without Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg or Bill Murray, who made a memorable movie cameo. 'We have a wonderful new cast and have to convince our audience to give them a chance to inhabit these characters as well as the first actors did,' said Reese. 'The most difficult thing, if the movie was good, is to clear the bar that you have already set for yourself.' Kenton Allen, chief executive of Big Talk Productions, which developed the likes of Spaced for TV and Shaun of the Dead for cinema, said it was no easy task: 'On the surface it appears a good idea but why would you want to take a perfectly crafted, brilliant movie which has a beginning, a middle and an end and turn it into something that goes on and on. There is creative jeopardy there. Many people have suggested to me that Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz would be a great TV series. I am never ever going to mention it to Simon Pegg or Edgar Wright because they would think it's a terrible idea.' Fuller attributes the proliferation of remakes and adaptations to 'sentimentality and the soft spots we have for these characters. But it's a tricky proposition. If it's not done with love and care it feels exploitative, and can be heartbreaking for the audience.' For David Ellender, chief executive of Fremantle Media, which is developing a six-part Lawrence of Arabia mini-series with Independence Day director Roland Emmerich, the phenomenon reflects a trend of big-screen talent working in television, and bigger-budget TV dramas seeking to match the production values of cinema. Ellender said the 1962 David Lean film had an incredible pedigree and was familiar to a global audience. 'It's all about the storytelling,' he said. 'We know it's an epic story and that's why Roland Emmerich is attached to the project, to give it a cinematic feel on the smaller screen – or whichever size screen you choose to watch it on.'
Falkland Islands police have asked the Met to investigate an allegation of sexual abuse by the - alleged - comedian Jim Davidson dating back about thirty years. Davidson, fifty nine, is currently on bail for other alleged historic sex offences, having been arrested in January by detectives from Operation Yewtree. A Falkland Islands police spokesman said that they were 'awaiting the outcome' of the Met investigation. Davidson's lawyer said he 'vigorously denies' the claims. Operation Yewtree was set up in the wake of widespread abuse by the late Jimmy Savile. It encompasses investigations specifically into the actions of Savile, allegations against 'Savile and others' and alleged complaints against other people unconnected to the Savile investigation. Davidson's arrest came under the third category. A Falklands police spokesman said: 'The Falkland Islands government have been made aware of allegations made against Jim Davidson. We have asked the Metropolitan Police to make inquiries relating to these allegations. We await the outcome of the investigation.' Davidson's solicitor Henri Brandman said on Saturday: 'Jim continues to vigorously deny the allegations that have been put to him and is helping the police as fully as possible in their inquiries. He has not been charged with any offence. Jim has not been interviewed in respect of any alleged incident with a woman suggested to have taken place in the Falkland Islands about thirty years ago. Unless and until he is interviewed on that subject, neither he nor I can make any comment in that respect.' Davidson was bailed on Friday to an unspecified date in July.

Graeme Swann is back in the England cricket squad after injury for Thursday's first Test against New Zealand at Lord's. The thirty four-year-old off-spinner, who has two hundred and twelve test victims, missed the series draw in New Zealand in the winter with an elbow problem which required surgery. Tim Bresnan, who also missed the New Zealand tour to have an operation on his elbow, is also in the twelve-man squad. Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow are both included, while Kevin Pietersen is out for the series with knee trouble. 'Both Graeme Swann and Tim Bresnan have worked hard to regain fitness following elbow surgery and have demonstrated through their performances for their counties that they are ready for the challenge of international cricket,' England national selector Geoff Miller said. Root, twenty two, made seventy three on his début in India last December and played in all three Tests in New Zealand, with a top score of forty five in the final match. The Yorkshire batsman has already made two hundred and thirty six and one hundred and eighty two for his county this season and recorded an unbeaten century on Friday when captaining the England Lions in the current tour match with the Kiwis. Yorkshire team-mate Bairstow, who made his test début against West Indies in May last year, struck successive half centuries in the final test against South Africa at Lord's in August, with a best score of ninety five. Both played in the final test in New Zealand during the winter, with Bairstow, who had not played a first-class match for four months, dismissed for three and six. This season the twenty three-year-old has made two hundred and seventy five runs in five championship innings for his county, including one hundred and eighty six against Derbyshire. England had been expected to comfortably beat the New Zealanders during the winter, but needed an unbeaten century from Matt Prior, and number eleven Monty Panesar to play out five deliveries, to salvage a draw on the final day of the series. Panesar, thirty one, who took five wickets in that series at a cost of seventy runs apiece, is omitted to make way for Swann, who took four wickets in the second innings on his return to competitive action for Nottinghamshire against Durham at Trent Bridge last month. Swann, who has never played a test against New Zealand, has a test bowling average of 29.13, and has captured five wickets in an innings on fourteen occasions. Exactly half his fifty appearances have been on home soil, where his record is slightly less impressive, with eighty four wickets at a cost of 30.55, although it was in England that he recorded his best Test figures of six for sixty five, against Pakistan at Edgbaston in 2010. Bresnan, twenty eight, who has fifty seven wickets in eighteen tests and a batting average of thirty one, has had two elbow operations but has taken thirteen wickets in three Championship matches for Yorkshire this term. Durham seamer Graham Onions, thirty, the leading wicket-taker thus far in this year's County Championship with eighteen at an average of twenty seven, has not been included and has played only one test since January 2010. Miller said that England are 'anticipating another very competitive series against New Zealand. We know that we will need to improve significantly on our performances in the recent test series against them if we are to start the international summer on a positive note,' he added. 'This series provides a good opportunity for the players to show that they have learned from the experiences over the winter.'

They might have been strutting around Wembley like they owned the gaff on Saturday, but Sunday was a bad day for relegation-haunted Wigan Not-Very-Athletic. Winners of the FA Cup against a horribly below-par Sheikh Yer Man City - whose manager looks set to get the jolly old tin-tack within the next few days as a direct result - twenty four hours later, a necessary dose of harsh reality smacked Wigan (and their odious, risible gobpiece of an owner) right hard in the mush. Which was funny. Victory for yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though, tragically, unsellable) Newcastle United over already relegated Queen's Park Strangers, Norwich City's four-nil hammering of a desperately poor West Bromwich Albinos and a draw between yer actual Blunderland and Southampton their very selves means that Wigan must win both of their remaining games (against The Arse on Tuesday and Aston Villains next Sunday) to avoid the dreaded drop to the Championship. Should they manage to do so, then the final relegation place will be decided between either the Villains (who have forty points and, amusingly, lost to a late Frank Lampard goal against Moscow Chelski FC on Saturday lunchtime) or, Blunderland (who have thirty nine points and who must face a trip to White Tart's Lane to face Stottingtot Hotshots). At the other end of the table, Emmanuel Adebayor scored a late winner for the Hotshots against Dirty Stoke to keep their Champions League qualification hopes alive. They are two points ahead of local rivals The Arse, although The Arse have that game against Wigan in hand (their final game will be at St James' Park). Ten-man Newcastle guaranteed their Premier League survival as they came from behind to defeat a risible awful Queen's Park Strangers at Loftus Road. An early spot kick from Loic Remy - who turned down a move to Tyneside in January to join the Strangers instead for mucho disgraceful wonga; one imagines he's bitterly regretting that move right about now - put the Strangers ahead but Hatem Ben Arfa soon levelled with another penalty after having his shirt blatantly pulled by Jose Boswinga. Then, some calamitous defending from Bosingwa and Rob Green allowed Yoan Gouffran an easy finish to put the Magpies ahead, a lead they held reasonably comfortably despite losing goalkeeper Rob Elliot to a second yellow card when he daftly handled the ball outside the penalty area. Bosingwa, recalled after coming under heavy criticism for grinning all over his boat-race as he retreated down the tunnel following the Strangers' relegation and Stephane Mbia, fined by the club after he suggested on Twitter that he wanted to return to Marseille, were both constantly booed by their own supporters and were substituted at half-time by Hapless Harry Redknapp. United manager Alan Pardew said: 'It is a big relief because this is a massive club. We got the win we needed. The injuries we have suffered this year have been horrendous. This type of year usually ends up in relegation. It was a nervous display from us, we really needed that first goal. We have made mistakes but we will make sure that we protect ourselves. The Premier League is so unforgiving.' Robert Snodgrass and Grant Holt scored to set Norwich on their way to a win over a dreadful West Brom which also takes the Canaries to comfortable safety. Jason Puncheon cancelled out Phil Bardsley's opener to earn Southampton a point at  the Mackems, leaving both teams' survival hopes in the balance. Southampton edged a disappointing first half, but Blunderland took the lead after half-time through a deflected drive from Bardsley. Saints hit back through substitute Puncheon. Southampton should be safe though they can still be - mathematically - relegated (as can Fulham who, like the Saints, are currently on forty points). However, both have a massively superior goal difference to Wigan and Villa so it would take a freak series of results to see either side in trouble. Elsewhere, the Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws comfortably won at Fulham (who've hit a real bad spell towards the end of the season) and will finish in seventh place. The top club on Merseyside, for the second year running (their first back-to-back finishes above Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws since 1937!), will be yer actual Everton who gave The Hamsters a damned good hiding at Goodison Park in David Moyes' final home game before he takes over from the retiring Alex Fergsuon at The Scum. Meanwhile, Troy Deeney scored Watford's aggregate winner in an extraordinary finish to their Championship play-off semi-final second leg against Leicester. Twenty seconds after Anthony Knockaert had what appeared to be a rather soft penalty saved, Watford counter-attacked to the other end and Deeney thumped home the winner with seconds remaining. Earlier, a stunning Matej Vydra volley wiped away Leicester's first-leg advantage. David Nugent headed an equaliser to restore Leicester's advantage and, after another Vydra strike, Deeney netted the dramatic winner. A heartbroken Knockaert was seen blubbing his eyes out at the final whistle, whilst joyous Hornets fans invaded the pitch after their team booked their place in the play-off final at Wembley on Monday 27 May. They will play either Brighton or Crystal Palace for the right to join already promoted Cardiff City and Hull City.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, we have a little bit - well, actually, quite a big bit - of yer actual Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young, Gifted and Black. And why not?