Thursday, January 19, 2012

What Do You Want To Be?

Steven Moffat has promised that Sherlock fans will not have 'that long' to wait for a third series of the hugely popular drama. The writer told the Radio Times that he plans to 'starve' and 'tease' viewers in the run-up to future episodes. 'Get used to a bit of starvation,' he said. 'We're making movies - those six films we've made could go in the cinema. You can't factory produce that - it's a different kind of show. So, when we're good and ready - it won't be that long - but when we're ready, you'll get the follow-up.' Moffat also confirmed that a third series of Sherlock was commissioned alongside the second run back in 2010. 'We knew we had this cliffhanger coming, we knew that we were doing The Final Problem, and we did not want people to know that [Holmes] survived,' he explained. 'We wanted to wind the audience up so that the final shot [of series two] would have the impact that it evidently did. We were commissioned for series two and series three at the same time, but we decided to keep it under wraps that day that series three was in the bag.'

Meanwhile, CBS is reported to have picked up a new detective drama pilot, described as 'a modern-day take on Sherlock Holmes.' Hmm ... that sounds remarkably original. Elementary will transport Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's detective to present-day New York, according to Deadline. The project has been devised and written by Medium writer Rob Doherty, who will also executive produce alongside Justified's Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly. Elementary was first announced in September, when BBC producer Sue Vertue used Twitter to remark on the similarity between this project and something which she, herself, works on. She wrote: 'Interesting CBS, I'm surprised no one has thought of making a modern day version of Sherlock before. Oh hang on, we have!'

On the subject of his other show, Moffat has admitted that he is excited about plans for the fiftieth anniversary of Doctor Who. The BBC's long-running popular SF family drama was first broadcast in 1963. A new series of 'at least fourteen' episodes is expected to debut in the autumn. 'There will never be a better time, I promise you,' Moffat told the Radio Times. 'I'm saying this as a Doctor Who fan myself, and knowing a certain amount about what's coming.' He continued: 'For so many reasons I can't talk about yet, there will never be a better time to be a Doctor Who fan, I absolutely promise that.' The showrunner previously insisted that he has 'huge' and 'extensive' plans for the anniversary year.

The second episode of the new series of MasterChef gave viewers another eight sacrificial victims (sorry, 'hopefuls') to get all excited - and prejudiced - about. During the opening moments one of them, a blonde lady called Lex, confessed that she can get 'quite fiercely competative' which, she continued, can sometimes lead to her getting a bit ... then she made a sort of 'grrr!' sound. Christ almighty, she was annoying. 'I really hope she goes out, quickly' this blogger thought. Which, as it happened she did. Eventually. Wrong, I know but, what can I say? I'm a licence fee payer, dear blog reader, I pay these clown's wages. The invention test again kicked-off the episode - seventy minutes to prepare one plate of food from a selection of lovely-looking ingredients on display. Lex, as it happens, was first up. Described by India Fisher on voice-over as 'Brighton mum, Lex' but, on the on-screen caption as having the profession of 'charity development.' Eh? Oh ... I get it. One of those 'that's not a real job' type jobs. Gotcha. Lex said she was going to be cooking Salmon fish-cakes and salmon tart. Might've helped if she'd actually picked salmon instead of sea trout in that case. (To be fair, though, she wasn't the only contestant to make exactly that mistake.) She twisted her face in a pouty fashion when Gregg and John both said they didn't like the tart but she got through to the next round anyway. So did Charlie, in his Spiritualized T-shirt who said he had 'no fear' and cooked a nice-looking chicken Kiev, and Ashvy, who did roast sea trout with parsley and mint salsa verde which the judges found 'intriguing.' Supply teacher Emma also made it through - cooking roast pigeon with raspberry sauce and a bubble and squeak. Wallace thought this was so good that, after she'd left the room, he picked up the pigeon in his bare hands and attacked it like a begger receiving alms! You greedy starver, Gregory.
The other four contestants were a strange bunch, frankly. There was Afsaneh, who made a Middle Eastern-influenced stuffed breast of chicken with pine nuts and citrus and apple sauce. The judges liked some of it although John said he found the sauce 'a little stick sticky and a little bit messy.' In desperation at seeing her dreams in danger of flying off out of the window, Afsaneh wittered on for a while about having to 'follow her passion.' As she left, Gregg noted that unfortunately, her passion didn't resemble anything she'd given them on the plate. Luckily, perhaps, she did get through. And, then she's blossomed. Also getting through was Matthew from Norfolk who made rabbit legs with pigeon breast. He was, Gregg considered, 'the boldest cook in the room' but his dish 'didn't quite work' and he had 'well and truly under-delivered.' Ejected was Sanjay who said 'I'd put me through!' Torode and Wallace begged to differ. Rachel also went, despite having talked a good game earlier on. Her pork lion stuffed with apple and dates was dry and lacking in sauce according to John. 'Next time, I'll be better,' she said. Sadly for her, there wasn't to be a next time. The remaining six then went off to two top London restaurants - the Imli and the Prism - for a day of sweat, stress and - in the case of Lex, Matthew and Ashvy at least - lots of mistakes. I'm really not sure about having the professional kitchen section this early in the competition. Tuesday night's was madly entertaining for the astonishing rudeness of that berk from the Gilgemesh but Wednesday's just felt like fifteen minutes of padding between the good stuff either side. This blogger actually flicked over to Stargazing Live for a bit. But, John Bishop was on, so I soon came back to MasterChef. Star of the second round was undoubtedly Afsaneh whose trio of deserts, including saffron and cardamom ice cream and a fig fritter blew both judges away the mostest, baby. Having used various awkward Persian puns when imagining how good it might be ('magic carpet ride' and all that) what they got was truly jaw-dropping. 'That looks stunning,' said John Torode, never a man to use an adjective like that when 'adequate' will do! 'If that tastes as good as it looks I might just kiss you.' Afsaneh looked as though she be quite prepared for that eventuality. Gregg was equally impressed (although, he didn't mention any proposed kissing). As Afsaneh staggered away about to have an emotional outburst, the best comedy double act currently on TV provided the perfect understated punchline ('she did all right!', 'yeah, not bad!') Afsaneh apart, however, the other five were much-of-a-muchness and, in the end, you sensed John and Gregg had put through the trio they did on the strength of their first round more than their second. Charlie was the most adventurous, cooking lion of venison with leek and ginger mash, parsnips, haggis and venison bon bons and a red wine jeux. John liked it, even if he did consider it 'slightly bonkers.' This time, unusually, it was Gregg who was a bit sniffy. But, Charlie made it, as did Ashvy who produced 'a meat lovers tasting platter' (pork kebabs, mango lamb chops and chicken tikka with mint chutney). Gregg said he was 'looking forward to the meat-fest' (ho-hum) and pulled some interesting faces when he tasted the chicken tikka and liked it. John was more restrained in the facial department. The last place went to Matthew who, I have to say, can probably consider himself a bit lucky. His dish included loads of lovely stuff that this blogger would've happily scoffed till the cows come home (lobster linguine with tarragon sauce, scallops tartar and prawns in garlic butter). But, there appeared to be a bit too much going on. 'You're trying too hard,' said John before actually seeming, for once, to get properly angry. 'I know you've got a work ethic but this is just wrong.' Then he, too, did the 'grrr' sound. Just like Lex only far scarier. 'Hopefully, it won't cost me,' Matthew bleated though you sensed it would. In the end, however, he got through at the expense of Emma and Lex. The former had a nightmare, cooking a peach and pecan tart with raspberry and apple ice cream. 'Pretty much every element could go wrong' she confessed. And one of them did, and did big style. The tart didn't set and the pastry was, John considered just plain 'nasty.' 'It seems to be falling apart,' Gregg noted. Whether he was talking about the tart or Emma's chances, it was hard to say. The undercooked pastry made it, John added, 'nothing short of a disaster.' The waterwork, inevitably, came from Emma at that point although she tried her best to remain perky and hopeful - against all reason - that she might just have squeaked through. She didn't. And, neither did competitive-to-the-point-of-grrrr! Lex whose 'twist' on lemon curd and cream cake involved lime and cardamom sponge and a ginger biscuit. 'A mixed bag,' announced Gregg at which point Lex produced a face like a smacked arse. 'Too many errors,' added Gregg. So, on Thursday we have the final episode of the opening stages. The end of the beginning, as it were. Next week, the competition proper starts.

The public push initiated on BBC2's Stargazing Live series to find planets beyond our Solar System appears to have had an immediate result. A viewer who answered the call has helped spot a world that appears to be circling a star dubbed SPH10066540. The planet is described as being similar in size to Neptune and circles its parent sun every ninety days. Chris Holmes from Peterborough found it by looking through time-lapsed images of stars on Planethunters.org. The website hosts data gathered by NASA's Kepler space telescope, and asks volunteers to sift the information for anything unusual that might have been missed in a computer search. 'I've never had a telescope. I've had a passing interest in where things are in the sky, but never had any more knowledge about it than that,' Holmes told BBC News. 'Being involved in a project like this and actually being the one to find something is a very exciting position.' Chris Lintott from Oxford University who helps organise Planethunters.org and co-presents The Sky At Night added: 'We're ecstatic. We've been groaning under the strain of all these people who want to help us, which is exactly how it should be.' The public participation project was launched last year, but it got a huge fillip when it was featured in the popular Stargazing series' return to BBC2 on Monday.
Volunteers have tripled to more than one hundred thousand people, and the number of images inspected has now reached a million. The new planet candidate's status will need more checking, but it looks strong, said Lintott. 'It would be our fifth detection since we started and our first British one as well,' he added. The Kepler space telescope, launched in 2009, has been searching a part of space thought to have many stars similar to our own Sun. It looks for the periodic dip in light that results every time a planet passes in front of one of those stars. These so-called transits have to be observed several times before a planet will be confirmed. For the orange dwarf star SPH10066540, five such events have now been seen in the Kepler data. Holmes found a pass; the Planethunters team then looked deeper into the Kepler archive and found it had made other transits before and after at approximately ninety day intervals. The candidate has a radius about 3.8 times that of Earth, and orbits its parent star at a distance of fifty five million kilometres - a separation similar to that between Mercury and our Sun. This means the planet is probably too hot (and too big) to support life. 'Kepler is trying to answer the question: "how many planets are there in our Milky Way Galaxy?"' explained Lintott. 'Now, you can build an algorithm to search through the data but the chances are it will have some systematics - it may be missing some things. Planethunters is the ultimate check. If the computers don't find the planets, the humans will; and it helps us to be sure that we're getting a true picture of the planet population in the Milky Way.'

Top Gear hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May attracted an audience this week as they filmed for the new series of the BBC show. Driving what appeared to be customised mobility scooters, a crowd formed to watch the trio race against each other in Abergavenny in South Wales. Expect some slime-bucket waste-of-oxygen at the Gruniad Morning Star to write a pre-emptive story gleefully detailing someone complaining that they are, in some way, 'insulting' disabled people (or the Welsh, or indeed both) very soon.
What's the longest word you can make from the letters RAEPKWAEN? Straightfaced Countdown host Nick Hewer stifled his blushes after a contestant offered 'wanker' on the pre-recorded Channel Four afternoon show. Hewer stifled a smile on Wednesday's show after contestant Mark successfully spelled out the word, which was bleeped out, and was making its fourth appearance on the long-running Channel Four daytime show twenty one years after it was first aired. Mark hid his laughter as he told Hewer he had a six-letter word, followed by a short bleep and laughter from the studio audience. 'Right, and, um, Nick?' said Hewer, quickly. Susie Dent, in dictionary corner, dutifully confirmed that the word 'wanker' is, indeed, in the dictionary and Mark was awarded the six points. 'Jolly good,' mused Hewer, who took over as host of the show earlier this month. A Channel Four spokeswoman confirmed that 'wanker' is a valid word on the show, as it is classed as 'vulgar slang' and not a swear word, per se. It means, just in case you didn't know, a masturbator or, figuratively, a very silly person. it first appeared, in print at any rate, around 1972 according to the Oxford Dictionary of Slang. 'Wanker' first popped up on the evergreen quiz show, which has been on air since Channel Four launched in 1982, more than two decades ago, when then-host Richard Whitely squirm with embarrassment saying 'it'll be interesting to see if that's in the dictionary' when both players offered the plural version 'wankers.' It was. Christine Hamilton fell victim to the word when she was a dictionary corner guest in 2003 and it also made an appearance while Des O'Conner was at the helm in 2008. Hamilton joked at the time: 'I wouldn't have thought it was in the dictionary but it is in there and we all know what it means so I think we'd better move on.' Loyal fans of Countdown will note that words including 'piss' and 'fart' have all been used – but Channel Four pointed out that they rarely scoop the points. Well no, they wouldn't, they're only four letter words. Infamously, Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie sent up Countdown's problem with naughty words in an episode of A Bit of Fry and Laurie.
It was intended as a raucous, beer-soaked celebration of the start of the latest series of one of Brazil's most popular TV programmes. Fuelled by alcohol and accompanied by live music from one of Rio de Janeiro's top samba schools, this was the opening party for the twelfth season of Big Brother Brazil, the Endemol-produced reality show. But police in Rio on Tuesday confirmed they were investigating a suspected rape which allegedly took place in the Big Brother House after the party last Saturday. According to reports in the O Dia newspaper, a team of police officers went to the TV studio where the programme is filmed to question the alleged suspect, Daniel Echaniz, a thirty one year-old male model, and the alleged victim, twenty three-year-old Monique Amin. A seven-minute video of the alleged rape – shot by the Brazilian broadcaster TV Globo using a night vision camera – has subsequently been posted on YouTube, although the channel has taken steps to remove it, claiming copyright violation. And, you know, taste violation as well. 'We already have the video and we will analyse the images,' police chief Antônio Ricardo said. 'The fact is serious and needs to be investigated.' The alleged rape of Amin, a student from Porto Alegre in southern Brazil, triggered outrage on social media and among women's rights activists and celebrities. On Monday, Brazil's minister for women's policies, Iriny Lopes, asked Rio's public prosecutor to accompany the case. But speaking on the programme on Sunday, Amin claimed she could not remember the incident. 'We kissed, I remember one kiss, he said there were two. We touched each other and really this is all I remember,' she said. 'Sex?' she added. 'No. Only if he was a real scumbag and did it while I was sleeping.' On Sunday Echaniz was expelled from the programme by Globo executives. In a statement, the show's host, Pedro Bial, said: 'Big Brother has examined Daniel's behaviour without jumping the gun and with the utmost care. We have analysed the images which show an infraction of the programme's rules. The programme's directors believe that the contestant's behaviour on the night of the party was seriously inadequate.' In an interview with the Brazilian media, Big Brother's director, José Bonifácio Brasil de Oliveira, denied there had been a rape but admitted Echaniz had 'overstepped the mark.' That did little to dampen calls for a police investigation. Speaking to Brazil's Veja news magazine, Geórgia Bello, a legal representative of the Commission for the Defence of Women's Rights at Rio's state parliament, said: 'The girl was visibly inebriated and in a vulnerable state. Of course this is rape. From his movements in the images, you can see that his hips are touching the young lady. She was not awake and this may characterise rape,' Bello said. On Tuesday morning Echaniz used his Twitter account to defend himself. 'People, if something happened this is my problem and no one else's.' Later that day Echaniz revisited the subject. 'Mum I am calm,' he wrote. 'Justice will be done. You don't need to get upset. I love you a lot.'

BBC2 detective comedy Vexed is to return for a second series. Toby Stephens will reprise his role as disorganised detective Jack Armstrong in a new six-part run. Former [spooks] star Miranda Raison will join the cast for series two as newly promoted DI Georgina Dixon, replacing Lucy Punch's Kate Bishop. 'We're very much looking forward to the return of Vexed,' said Chris Sussman, executive producer for the BBC. He continued: 'The second series promises to be just as much fun as the first, and with Miranda Raison joining Toby Stephens as new partner DI Dixon, we're hoping it's going to be all-guns blazing.' Holby City's Roger Griffiths and Survivors actor Ronny Jhutti will also return to the cast, with The Iron Lady's Nick Dunning joining the show as Georgina's father. Vexed is currently filming in Dublin.

Mongrels' Dan Tetsell has announced that the series has been axed. The puppet comedy, created by Adam Miller, began on BBC3 in 2010 and recently concluded its second run. Voice actor Tetsell - who plays idiotic cat Marion - broke the news of the show's cancellation on Twitter. 'If you were (like me) hoping Mongrels would get a third series, I've got some bad news' he wrote. When a fan enquired if he was being serious, Tetsell replied: 'Yeah, we've all been sacked now.' In August 2010, Tetsell also broke the news of Mongrels being picked up for a second series. The series was accused of plagiarism in the same year, with writer Brian West claiming that the show's format and characters were copied from his own project Pets.

Caroline Quentin has admitted that she regrets the majority of her acting choices. Speaking to the Gruniad, the Men Behaving Badly actress revealed that she was not impressed with her recent TV roles. Neither, seemingly, have most of the general public. Well, you know, don't just do it on our behalf, Caz. If you don't like it, stop doing it.

CSI showrunner Carol Mendelsohn has dropped new hints about Marg Helgenberger's forthcoming exit. Helgenberger will depart her role as Catherine Willows later this month, after almost twelve years on the CBS crime drama. 'As a woman, Catherine feels she's hit a glass ceiling at CSI,' Mendelsohn told TV Guide. 'It's something that's been weighing on her, and she sees a door to a new life.' She added that Catherine will be inspired to move on after working a case with an old friend (Annabeth Gish) who tries to help the FBI trap her criminal husband. 'These FBI agents shine a mirror on how good [Catherine] is at what she does,' revealed the executive producer. However, fellow executive producer Don McGill confirmed that Helgenberger is welcome to return to CSI in the future. 'It's not a "for always" goodbye,' he said. 'There's always an open door.' Helgenberger recently admitted that she 'felt the need to step back' from her CSI role. 'I had been playing this character for eleven and a half years,' she explained. 'I'm very excited about the great wide open, the future and all the possibilities.' Elisabeth Shue will replace Helgenberger as a series regular.

House's Greg Yaitanes has hinted that Lisa Edelstein could still return to the show. But, that she probably won't. So, it's not really a news story, in that case. The actress quit her role as Lisa Cuddy at the conclusion of the FOX medical drama's seventh season. Executive producer Yaitanes told TV Line that Edelstein will be asked back if the current eighth season of House proves to be the show's last. 'That is a conversation [we will have],' he confirmed. 'We would love to have her back.' However, Yaitanes then added that the future of House is still uncertain, with FOX entertainment president Kevin Reilly admitting at the recent TCA press tour that a final decision on a potential ninth season has yet to be made. 'If it's not the end, I don't think [a return for Cuddy will] happen,' said Yaitanes, which would make this entire conversation a colossal waste of time, energy and breath. 'But that's just my personal opinion.' Hugh Laurie has suggested that he may retire from acting once House ends, in favour of writing and directing.

Teri Polo has signed up for a guest role on Criminal Minds. The actress - who recently appeared in ABC's axed sitcom Man Up - will play an obsessive teacher on the CBS drama, according to TV Line. Jailed for molesting one of her students, Polo's character Miss Hallman is released from prison and becomes determined to track down her victim. Polo is perhaps best known for her role in 2000 comedy film Meet the Parents and its sequels. Her television credits include a stint on The West Wing (as Matt Santos's wife) and a supporting role on short-lived NBC series Law & Order: Los Angeles.

Warwick Davis has admitted that he would love to appear in Doctor Who. The Life's Too Short actor told the Radio Times that after the enormous flop of his recently completed sitcom, a part in the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama is his 'dream' role. 'Steven Moffat is somebody I want to talk to,' he said. Yeah, you and every other fanboy under the sun, matey. 'I love Sherlock and I would love to be in Doctor Who - it's been a dream of mine for many years.' He added: 'I don't want to play the Doctor, but a villain or something like that would be pretty good.'
The editor of Heat magazine has claimed that there is a 'public interest' in 'exposing' the actions of allegedly 'hypocritical' celebrities who claim to be role models. Appearing at the Leveson Inquiry into press ethics and standards, Lucie Cave admitted that there is a 'great difference between public interest and things that are interesting to the public.' However, she said that it was justified for magazines to expose a star 'who portrayed themselves as a real family person' but was having an affair. 'Obviously there is a great difference between public interest and things that are interesting to the public,' she said at the high court in London. 'There obviously can sometimes be a public interest argument if a celebrity who is a role model for our readers does something that contradicts how they portray themselves.' Carine Patry Hoskins, counsel to the inquiry, asked Cave to give an example of this, to which she said that it may be someone who 'earned money from having photoshoots with their children,' but then was 'found out to be having an extramarital affair.' However, she admitted that just because a celebrity was paid for a photoshoot or story in a magazine, this did not mean that it was 'open season' on any aspects of their private life. Cave gave a cautious welcome to the idea of a register being set up, most probably by the Press Complaints Commission, which would indicate the celebrities who wanted to remain private. She said that it may work, but only if it is regularly updated. 'It might be there's a moment in their life where they particularly don't want a photograph taken of them for whatever reason, but then at other times they might be happy to have a photograph taken,' said Cave. 'It would be a very useful tool for us if they used a body like the PCC to update them on their circumstances.'

Weather presenters could face jail if they give incorrect forecasts, it has been reported. The South African government has passed the legislation with the hope that forecasters will not cause unnecessary panic. Politicians have successfully argued that wrong predictions on drought and flash-flooding can lead to economic damage. Severe weather alerts will now only be issued by a presenter after receiving written permission from South Africa's Weather Service Bill first. First offenders of the new law could face a fine of up to four hundred thousand smackers and a maximum five-year prison sentence. For repeat offenders, a ten-year sentence and an eight hundred thousand notes fine would apply.

A fourth suspect has been arrested by detectives investigating allegations that Tottenham Hotshots spied on Olympic officials during its stadium bid. Police said a forty five-year-old man was being held at a south London station on suspicion of fraud after his property was searched. West Ham United and the Olympic Park Legacy Company allege that information was unlawfully obtained, the force said. Spurs have denied putting officials under surveillance. The club had lost out to West Ham in the race to become the Olympic Park Legacy Company's first choice to move into the stadium after the 2012 Games. A deal with West Ham and Newham Council to use the stadium in Stratford, East London, collapsed in October. The government announced that the stadium would instead remain in public ownership.

Costume designer Richard Bruno, who won a BAFTA in 1990 for his work on Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas, has died aged eighty seven, Variety reports. During a three-decade career, he worked on more than fifty films including Heaven Can Wait and The Untouchables. But it was Bruno's work on Scorsese movies including Raging Bull and on The Color of Money which gained him recognition. The Costume Designers Guild praised him as a 'remarkably gifted designer.' Bruno's Hollywood career began as a costume designer in 1965 for several low-budget movies before working on the 1973 Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand film The Way We Were and 1974's Chinatown, starring Jack Nicholson and directed by Roman Polanski. He first teamed up with Scorsese on 1977's New York, New York and went on to work with him for four more films until Goodfellas. Bruno's designs also proved influential when his deep-collared, steep-pointed shirts that he designed for Goodfellas started a trend in the US. He retired in the late 1990's, with horror sequel Species II his final film. 'Richard Bruno was a remarkably gifted designer especially in designing costumes for male characters,' said Mary Rose, president of the board for the Costume Designers Guild. 'Always a professional, he was well respected by the industry and will be greatly missed by all of us.' He is survived by two daughters.

A man has been arrested after reports of a racist comment directed at yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle United on Twitter. The tweet was made on the social networking site on Tuesday. Police began an investigation and the account that it came from was later deleted. Newcastle United issued a statement saying it was 'appalled' by the comments made in reference to the club and its players. A twenty nine-year-old man has been arrested and is currently in custody.

And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Which, today, is fabulous. And, tuned to a natural E.

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