Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Get On Moi Laaand!

Glastonbury Festival's founder and organiser the great Michael Eavis has revealed that he will never move the broadcasting rights for the event away from the BBC. The largest British music festival has been covered by the Beeb since 1997, when it took over the event from Channel Four. Eavis said that he would never consider moving back to Channel Four or sell the rights to a rival broadcaster such as Sky. 'All through the years, we'd have people phone us from Sky and Channel Four - "Can we do it, we'll do it better, we'll pay you more money,"' he told the Radio Times. 'And I said, "Well, we're not interested in the money. We want to support a national institution that benefits the whole wide world for free. Okay? That's it. Period." We love the BBC, but then, we've been good to them as well.' This year's BBC Glastonbury coverage will be bigger than ever before, offering viewers live streams of six stages all weekend. The festival is headlined by The Arctic Monkeys, The Rolling Stones and Mumford & Sons this year. Eavis confessed that The Stones were the last act on his original wish list of twenty to play the festival, which included David Bowie, U2, Led Zeppelin, Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan.

Long Lost Family, if you will, lost nearly half-a-million family viewers for its second episode, according to overnight figures. However, the ITV series was still the most-watched programme outside of soaps on Monday evening, with 4.76 million at 9pm. Which, frankly, says more about the quality of the Monday night schedules at the moment than it does about anything else. Earlier, The Dales was seen by 3.01m at 8pm. On BBC1, Panorama interested 2.24m at 8.30pm, followed by a repeat of New Tricks with 2.86m at 9pm. BBC2's Today At Wimbledon scored 1.95m at 8pm, while Rick Stein's India was watched by an audience of 2.31m at 9pm. Channel Four documentary The Man with the Ten-Stone Testicles pulled in a bumper 3.05m at 9pm. Daisy Donovan's The Greatest Shows On Earth was watched by six hundred and three thousand punters at 10pm. On Channel Five, The Gadget Show's latest episode had seven hundred and seventy thousand viewers 8pm. BBC3's new documentary series Don't Call Me Crazy opened with five hundred and ninety thousand viewers at 9pm. BBC4's Only Connect got its usually impressive eight hundred and thirty two thousand at 8.30pm.

Secrets From The Workhouse opened to decent ratings on Tuesday evening, according to overnight figures. The first of a two-part documentary featuring the likes of Fern Britton and Brian Cox was seen by 3.1 million viewers at 9pm on ITV. Odious runt-faced Alan Titchmarsh's new show Love Your Garden launched to a risibly low 2.98m at 8pm. Which this blogger had a jolly good laugh about. Earlier, Nature's Newborns brought in 2.42m at 7.30pm. Again, it was a pretty horrible night for all of the major channels in terms of overnight ratings. On BBC1, Life Savers concluded with 2.77m at 9pm. The ONE Show sought to entertain 3.23m at 7pm. BBC2's Today at Wimbledon bored the arse off 1.65m viewers at 8pm, followed by Route Masters: Running London's Roads with 1.79m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Something For Nothing attracted seven hundred and eighty nine thousand punters at 8pm, while Child Genius interested 1.34m at 9pm. The latest CSI was watched by 1.67m at 9.15pm on Channel Five, while Big Brother continued with 1.26m at 10pm. BBC3's documentary series The Call Centre dipped to eight hundred and fifty four thousand at 9pm. BBC4's The World's Most Beautiful Eggs: The Genius of Carl Faberge brought in seven hundred and ninety eight thousand at 9pm.

Charlotte Moore has become the new controller of BBC1 following Danny Cohen's appointment as the corporation's director of television. The BBC's former commissioning editor for documentaries has been acting in the position since May. Tony Hall, the BBC's director general, described Moore's new role as 'a very critical appointment.' Her 'ideas and vision,' he continued, had a 'boldness and originality' which is 'what the channel should offer.' Moore, whose recent programmes include BBC2's Inside Claridges, The Great British Bake Off and Terry Pratchett: Choosing to Die, has been, according to the Gruniad Morning Star, the front runner for the job after the final round of interviews last week. Moore's promotion to run the BBC's flagship TV channel comes after two months of senior management reshuffles prompted by the arrival of Lord Hall as director general in April. She takes over a BBC1 in generally good shape, following its acclaimed coverage of the London 2012 Olympics, a strong run of popular drama including Call The Midwife, Sherlock and Last Tango In Halifax, a back-on-form Strictly Come Dancing, two of its most popular sitcoms in years in Miranda and Mrs Browns Boys and this year seeing the fiftieth anniversary celebrations of long-running popular family SF drama Doctor Who. One of Moore's key tasks will be to oversee a revamp of the talent show The Voice, which has recently been commissioned for a third series. A former producer and director, Moore became the BBC's commissioning editor for documentaries, responsible for programming across BBC1, BBC2, BBC3 and BBC4, in 2009. Previously, Moore was head of documentaries at the independent production firm IWC Media, where she was responsible for films including BBC2's EMMY award-winning Stephen Fry's Secret Life of the Manic Depressive. At the BBC her credits include BBC1's Famous, Rich and Homeless in 2009 which saw former Coronation Street actor Bruce Jones and comedian Hardeep Singh Kohli sleeping rough. More recently Moore was responsible for BBC2's Airport Live, a behind-the-scenes documentary on Heathrow.

David Harewood has claimed that he 'probably won't' replace Matt Smith on Doctor Who. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping would like to assure David that there's no 'probably' about it, he definitely won't. Next.
ITV are reportedly considering cancelling a new game show before it has even aired. Emma Willis and Alexander Armstrong have filmed a pilot for a new show titled Prize Island, in which couples attempt to win prizes in Mozambique. However, alleged 'sources' have allegedly claimed it was 'supposed to air in the spring' to go up against The Voice. An alleged 'insider' allegedly told the Sun: 'Prize Island has been kicking around for so long everyone's convinced it's been dumped. It's a very ambitious show and expensive - because the production crew and stars had to be carted off thousands of miles away to film it. The rumour is it isn't very good.' Developed by Pointless anchor Richard Osman, it was filmed in October last year. Osman himself hinted that Prize Island may never see the light of day, when writing for the Gruniad in an article titled UK TV's worst ever game shows. He wrote: 'Do we have a hit on our hands? Considering I've just watched a couple from Birmingham win a fitted kitchen by bouncing off an enormous inflatable octopus, your guess is very much as good as mine.' An ITV spokesperson said that the show will be broadcast 'sometime in 2013', but could not give an exact date.

Paul O'Grady is to appear in the BBC1 drama Holby City. The fifty eight-year-old will guest star in three episodes of the show, playing cancer patient Tim Connor, to be shown in September. The BBC Radio 2 host said that he was 'delighted' to be given a role, having been a long-time fan of the hospital drama, which is now in its fifteenth series. 'I'm a big fan of Holby City so to be featuring in three episodes is absolutely brilliant,' he said. Holby City's executive producer Oliver Kent said: 'Having Paul appear in Holby City is such a great coup for the show. Paul has a vibrant personality and a very unique way of engaging with the audience - not to mention he's incredibly funny. This is exactly what we need for a storyline that will be filled with a rollercoaster of emotions.' O'Grady's teatime chat show is also set to return to ITV later this year following the success of his recent series, For The Love Of Dogs. He will also be narrating ITV documentary Me And My Guide Dog, to be broadcast next week.

The BBC has responded to viewer complaints about Holly Willoughby's dress on The Voice's final. Willoughby - a witless waste-of-space at the best of times - wore a plunging back maxi dress on Saturday night's show - which saw Andrea Begley win the competition - sparking one hundred and thirty nine complaints from BBC1 viewers. All, presumably, with nothing better to do with their time. 'We're sorry if some viewers found Holly's dress to be unsuitable,' a BBC spokesperson wearily told Broadcast magazine. 'Holly enjoys fashion and we felt the dress she wore for the live final of The Voice was glamorous and wholly appropriate for the occasion.' In other words, it was her fault, not the BBCs. The alleged 'source' allegedly added that the dress did not go 'against audience expectations for a TV spectacle such as this.' Given that most viewers were probably surprised that Holly Willoughby can walk in a straight line and talk at the same time, the latter statement is, probably, true.
Yer actual Idris Elba - he's not gonna be the next Doctor either - has refused to rule out a fourth series of Luther. Series creator Neil Cross previously announced plans to 'wrap up' the hit BBC crime drama and launch a spin-off movie. 'My personal ambition is to see this [turn] into a film,' Elba confirmed. 'But I'm very loyal to the audience that have been very loyal to us. If the audience demands another season, or some sort of variable on that, then it should happen.' Elba has also revealed that the planned Luther movie will be a prequel to the TV series, adapted from Cross's 2011 novel Luther: The Calling. '[The film] starts at the beginning of who Luther is and where he's come from,' said the actor.
Lawyers working for a Hollywood stunt-woman allegedly hacked by News Corp journalists said on Tuesday that they are working with more potential victims. At a press conference in New York, Norman Siegel, lawyer for Eunice Huthart, Angelina Jolie's sometime stunt double, said that they had spoken to a number of people who claim they have been hacked by journalists working for News Corp. He refused to give any details but added: 'There are a bunch of people, the majority from England but some from here, who want to bring claims.' Siegel is part of a team bringing the first case for alleged hacking in the US courts. He is working with Mark Lewis, the British lawyer who has represented nearly one hundred clients, including the family of Milly Dowler, the murdered thirteen-year-old whose voicemail is said to have been hacked by reporters from the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World tabloid. News Corp initially dismissed the hacking scandal in the UK as the work of a single 'rogue reporter', said Siegel. That case grew into a scandal which has led to more than one hundred arrests and the closure of the Scum of the World in shame and ignominy. 'Six years later we are on this side of the Atlantic looking at one case but at something that will clearly go further,' said Siegel. Huthart, who is British, worked with Jolie on movies including Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Salt and Mr & Mrs Smith. According to a civil lawsuit filed in Los Angeles: 'illegal activities were undertaken [by News Corp employees and their representatives] principally through the two newspapers, the Sun and the News of the World.' The suit alleges that Huthart's personal messages were intercepted and used in several stories by the newspapers, including the fact that Jolie had started a relationship with co-star Brad Pitt on the set of Mr & Mrs Smith, something which only their bodyguards, their PAs and Huthart knew. News Corp chairman, billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch regularly called the editors of his newspapers to discuss their top stories and 'knew or should have known that executives, employees and agents of the Sun and News of the World were engaged in widespread phone hacking,' the suit alleges. This is the first time that News Corp, parent company of News International, which controls the newspapers, has been named as a defendant in a case. It comes as the Justice Department continues to investigate News Corp under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, used to pursue US companies accused of bribing foreign officials. Siegel has also worked with the relatives of 9/11 victims who were also reportedly hacked by News Corp employees. Siegel said it was his understanding that a FBI investigation into those allegations was 'ongoing.'

The BBC's aim to broadcast in North Korea for the first time has been curbed by government cuts to its budget, the corporation's director of global news has said. Peter Horrocks said airing programmes in the secretive state is still on his 'wish list' but is unlikely to happen in the next year, following the £2.2m annual budget cut announced by William Hague earlier this month. 'We're still looking at the feasibility of it. We've always said if we can find a practicable and cost-effective means of doing it, it would be worth doing,' Horrocks told the Gruniad Morning Star. 'This year it will be hard to [progress plans] because of the Foreign Office cut we had ten days ago but it's definitely on the wish list for the future.' The BBC World Service has seen its budget cut by more than forty two million smackers since 2010 and is expected to be further stretched ahead of its funding switching to the licence fee from April 2014. On Tuesday, the BBC Trust announced that the World Service will have an expected budget of two hundred and forty five million quid under the licence fee in 2014-2015, compared to its £240.2m budget this year. Speaking after the BBC revealed its global news audience had passed a record two hundred and fifty six million people a week, Horrocks said the likelihood of launching World Service programming for North Korea was 'as great as ever' under the leadership of Tony Hall, the director general, and James Harding, the director of news and current affairs and former Times editor. Horrocks said: 'These are people who for different reasons are as internationally focused as anyone in those roles. The BBC Trust and management are getting really behind that global role.' However, there remain a number of obstacles to overcome – not least the challenge of broadcasting programmes to an audience who face arrest if they are discovered listening to foreign media. We've got real issues to overcome, for example radio sets are sold pre-tuned. It's like only being able to listen to one service. But then we're told that [North Koreans] are prepared to take risks,' said Horrocks. The prospect of the BBC broadcasting in North Korea was briefly examined by MPs in an all-party parliamentary group earlier this year. Lord Alton, the cross-bench peer who chairs the group, last year claimed to have held 'very positive' discussions with officials in Washington about the plans.

A TV company committed a 'serious breach' of broadcasting rules by screening an advert for a bookmaker on its children's channels, a media regulator has said. The advert for Coral was broadcast nine times on Saturday 25 May between 06:42 and 08:42 on Turner Broadcasting's Cartoon Network and Boomerang channels. The Advertising Standards Authority said Turner had explained that the advert was broadcast 'in error', and had 'apologised unreservedly.' Coral said it was 'horrified.' The advert opened with a voiceover saying: 'This is Coral gaming, online and on mobile' before showing a shot of The Incredible Hulk, among other images. The ASA said the broadcast code strictly prohibits gambling adverts 'in or adjacent to programmes commissioned for, principally directed at, or likely to appeal particularly to audiences below the age of eighteen years.' Failure to comply with this requirement was a 'serious breach', it said. Seven viewers complained that the advert was unsuitable for broadcast on dedicated children's channels. The ASA said the advert had been cleared with a note reminding broadcasters of the gambling industry's voluntary agreement not to schedule gaming adverts before 21:00. It added it was 'deeply concerned' the advert had been broadcast but acknowledged Turner's assurance that it was taking steps to prevent the mistake being repeated. It ruled that no further action was necessary because the advert had already been removed from broadcast. Turner said it had been 'inadvertently and incorrectly scheduled' after a booking number was erroneously allocated to the advert. The company said the advert would not be broadcast again on its children's channels. 'We apologise unreservedly and have reviewed our transmission processes to ensure this highly regrettable incident remains a one-off occurrence,' it added. Coral said that neither it nor its agency had booked advertising air-time on children's channels or during any other children's programmes. After being notified of the error, it instigated an investigation and suspended all other Coral adverts due to be aired by Turner that weekend.

Durham's director of cricket Geoff Cook has regained consciousness after he suffered a heart attack while jogging near the county's Chester-le-Street headquarters last Thursday. The sixty one-year-old former England test batsman had been in a coma since he was found close to the River Wear in the park adjoining the ground after he went for a run ahead of a Twenty20 planning meeting. 'Geoff Cook has recovered consciousness and is now making steady progress in hospital,' said Durham in a statement. 'His family have asked us to thank all of the very many people whose messages of support have given such encouragement.' Cook's wife, Judith, and their children Anna and Andrew have been at his bedside since Thursday and six Durham players and members of the coaching staff visited him on Friday. Born in Middlesbrough, Cook played for Northamptonshire from 1971 to 1990 and in seven test for England in the early-1980s. He joined Durham as director of cricket in 1991 to oversee their transformation from the Minor Counties Championship to first-class status. Under Cook's guidance, Durham won the first major title in the club's history, the Friends Provident Trophy, at Lord's in 2007. They went on to win the County Championship for the first time in 2008 and again in 2009.

SF, horror and fantasy writer Richard Matheson, who wrote the classic 1954 vampire novel I Am Legend, has died aged eighty seven. A spokesman for the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films said that Richard died on Sunday in Los Angeles, but no other details were provided. In a career spanning some sixty years, many of the author's works were adapted for both the big and small screens. I Am Legend was his most successful, inspiring three film adaptations - most recently in 2007 starring Will Smith. The novel was considered a landmark work in the genre, ushering in zombies and apocalyptic themes to post-WWII America. Vincent Price starred in the first adaptation in 1964, titled as The Last Man On Earth. Charlton Heston later starred the - perhaps definitive - 1971 adaptation, Omega Man. Born in Allendale, New Jersey, in 1926 and raised in Brooklyn, Richard first began publishing science-fiction and horror stories in the 1950s. His earlier works adapted into films included his 1953 ghost novel Hell House (adapted by Richard himself for the classic 1973 movie The Legend Of Hell House, a particular favourite of this blogger), 1956's The Shrinking Man and 1958's A Stir of Echoes. The 1978 novel What Dreams May Come was also adapted into a big screen version in 1998 starring Robin Williams, which won an Oscar for best visual effects. Steven Spielberg's first feature-length film, Duel, was also based on Matheson's short story of the same name. 'Richard Matheson's ironic and iconic imagination created seminal science-fiction stories and gave me my first break when he wrote the short story and screenplay for Duel,' Spielberg said in a statement. 'His Twilight Zones were among my favourites, and he recently worked with us on Real Steel. For me, he is in the same category as [Ray] Bradbury and [Isaac] Asimov.' Matheson also worked as a writer for numerous TV shows including The Twilight Zone, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, The Martian Chronicles and Amazing Stories. He wrote the script Nightmare at Twenty Thousand Feet in 1963 for The Twilight Zone, one of the most well-remembered episodes of the landmark anthology series which starred William Shatner and featured the famous shot of a gremlin peering into the window of an aeroplane from its wing. Richard was also responsible for writing The Twilight Zone episode Steel, which inspired the 2011 Hugh Jackman film, Reel Steel. His movie scripts also include Hammer's The Devil Rides Out (1968) and a series of Edgar Allen Poe adaptations for director Roger Corman (The House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Raven). Richard is credited with influencing several generations of storytellers including Stephen King, who dedicated his 2006 novel, Cell, to him. Matheson had been due to receive the visionary award at the Academy of Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Films' Saturn Awards on Wednesday. The organisation said the award would be presented posthumously and ceremony would be dedicated to the author.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 33 of the Day it's time, I'm afraid, for The Black Arabs. Totally. Tell 'em all about it, Mister Super Bad.