Posts Tagged ‘ TV ’

#tirednewsflash: no news is good news

hello. and our top story today: __________

the BBC Director Major-General Mark Thompson thinks that, given the currants economic, you, the public, will have little to less sympathy for those BBC employees who plan to take part in the 48 hour NUJ strikeout today and tomorrow, which will leave the BBC news provision across both TV and radio in a precariously positioned place.

when we put that question to former NUJ spokesman Andrew St Fleetst, earlier, he has this to say: “Well he would say that wouldn’t he, Thompson?”

the initialled reports were that several BBC News faces/voices like Fiona Bruise, Kirsty Walk and Knicky Campbell would all partache in The Event by simply not turning up. “Luckily”, claimed a sauce from within the BBC’s TV news production team, “part of it is scheduled for a Saturday and people are used to the good ones being off at the weekend and it being the troll-like ones that usually only do the BBC News Channel, so we think most people won’t notice. The radio team has it easy – they’re just getting in (Jon) Culshaw to do all (the voices) for both (days).”

however, we now understand that will not be the case, and that all BBC News staff will be instead performing what is known in the trade as a no-newser. as action organiser, watercolourist and former anchor Nicholas Witchell explained to non-BBC reporters this morning, “they will all go in and it will be like normal, but they’ll say that there’s no news and will be mostly silent. it’s like a vigil. and, legally, all the presenters will have to be paid.”

it is of course not the first time BBC News staff have pulled a no-newser over pay/pension restructuring – just incase you were out of town the last time, here is some footage of 2008’s infamous ‘no news tuesday’.

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well, given that we ourselves are entrenched in ongoing and sadly quite violent contract negotiations here at RQT (hence no #showertunes this weekend), we’re fully supporting all those who choose to join the strike, and roundly booing those who choose to use the opportunity to forward their careers by gleefully agreeing to swap the stacking chairs of South Yorkshire Tonight for the ‘full gas-action’ rotating thrones of the main BBC News desk.

shame on them.

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#showertune: ‘electric feel’ by MGMT

bon jovi

and how, as only Americans would ask, are we today? sadly, it seems that everybody’s favourite country, Yemen, is suddenly in the naughty corner. apparently there is one or maybe two inconveniently anti-Western people living at 15, Yemen Road, Yemen who have bomb making equipment which is undetectable to any form of scanner, and who want to use it to kill the president.

luckily, when they tried to do Justin That the other day, at the last moment the plane that the bomb was on disappeared from metres above The White House and reappeared seconds later at East Midlands Airport near Leicester. no-one knows how it got there, and frankly, given the fairly bad acting from everyone except the limping lesbian from ER, few people care. impersonally, i blame illegal aliens (and also metaphors with the sneaking subtlety of dyspraxic flamingoes in tap shoes).

i don’t know about you, but i’d say a war is in order. and, whatismore, speculation on that very subject has lead to perhaps the best lines of journalism ever written, which can be found on today’s addition of the Guardian online. and i quote

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“In Washington, the US government was considering whether to grant the CIA far greater powers to select targets in Yemen for assassination by missiles fired from unmanned drones, despite mounting hostility in the country to such air strikes.”

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just perfect.

besides the facts that their plot failed and they’ve probably given a country that loves few things more than wars – and is currently involved in a couple of boring, stalematey ones – a reason to make a new one on them, the news gets worse for the Yemeni scamps, as James of the Hewlett Packard customer support line confirmed to me this morning that putting a bomb inside any HP printer most likely invalidates the warranty.

here, have a #showertune: Electric Feel by MGMT

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#showertune: ‘dirge’ by death in vegas

good mourning

well done. you made it through the vile veil of evil and live (either that or you’re reading this as a ghost, zombie, vampire or other type of unquiet or undead thing). either way, welcome to mondaynity.

i don’t know about you, but here are my results: 143 houses, 112 treats, 57 tricks (note: as always, some got tricks even though they gave out treats because the treats were crap, or the people looked, smelled or seemed annoying). far fewer tricks needed to be done than last week – hallowe’en always brings a year-high spike to the graph of treats i find – which is good, because smashing windows is tiring, petrol and lighters are very expensive and trapping pets in bins is politically sensitive.

i was already in a bad mood because, for Hallowmorn, The Dr and i went to a preview screening of Let Me In, the boringly titled new American remake of the brilliant Swedish vampire film Let The Right One In. i can’t say it was a disappointment, because I wasn’t expecting much, but it was depressingly, predictably mediocre. basically everything they changed was for the worse. i’ll write up a proper review soon, but for heaven’s sake just see the original.

so, what with that, and several references in various media to “Halloween night” (see what happens when we forget about apostrophes?), i almost didn’t bother to dress up as Frank from Blue Velvet and head over to the posh end of town.

in the end i talked myself into it. however, thinking ahead, i went out nice and early so i was only competing with the small kids and i could get home to watch the whole slew of crunchy, gloopy horror films that would surely be on in the evening to cheer me up. it turned out that someone at freeview had forgotten to schedule any, except for Halloween, which was on BBC 4 at 11:35, and Halloween 5, which was on BBC 2 at 1:55, meaning that if you are a vampire and weren’t planning on getting up till dusk today, then you could watch one good and one really lame film, with an hour’s break in between to do your nails. if like me, however, you are not such, you were basically stuck with James May’s Man Lab.

other than hair like a grey spaniel and horrible shirts, the key to being a man is apparently that we all like really crapply made things moulded out of concrete, and train sets. it was so depressing to watch him padding around onscreen describing colanders as ‘leftwing’ and seemingly believing that he’s not just a massive stereotype. it was practical though, given that he taught a gawping idiot how not to charm a woman, and then spent ages showing us all how to defuse a bomb – which noone in their right mind would ever attempt for real, and which, even though he had the required self-tapping needle, he ballsed up. and, after all that, when it finally went off, he wasn’t even slightly maimed or lacerated. by this point, the joy i’d got from all the pensioners i’d alarmed earlier was wearing right off.

luckily, the Psychoville special made everything better. if you missed it, you should get all over iPlayer. me likey.

today’s festive #showertune is Dirge by Death In Vegas

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#showertune: ‘beat me till i’m blue’ by the mohawks

yes? what?

i was put into a rage this morning by an idiot from off TV. The Dr insisted on putting on that one about getting a job, over breakfast, and one of the group of unbelievably stupid and annoying people thereon is a woman who apparently thinks that ‘manoeuvrement’ and ‘professionality’ are words. she was fired, but, according to her, the universe will avenge her death.

‘if the universe is on the side of such people, then all hope is lost’, i mused as i crunched my cornflakes.

speaking of pain, on, erm, recommendation from Dave Cameron, Nick Clegg recently made today’s #showertune the official song of the Lib Dem cabinet.

it’s Beat Me Till I’m Blue by The Mohawks

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#showertune: ‘brain’ by N*E*R*D

congratulations, and welcome to the week beginning today

“The problem with Feminism” Bono once observed “is that is has made clever women less attractive”. whether or not the South African-born quiz show host and international backgammon champion is not just a chauvinist or not, is, in both senses, moot. what could be true, however, is that of the people we see regularly on television, it is easier to think of men who are intelligent, articulate and engaging than women (who are).

where i you ask are the female Stephens Fry, Jons Snow, Jeremys Paxman and Davids Attenborough? Jnn Bnd? urrrrmmmm, she can’t say vowels. Fiona Bruce? well, perhaps. Kirsty Wark? ok. Clare Balding? look, stop ruining my point. one aspect of the Sue Barker? seems to be that we are far more open to men growing ‘wiser’ on our screens than we are women. once women get to a ‘certain age’ they disappear to Radio or Hades to be replaced by younger, glossier, often hollower specimens. of course, while age commands some sense of gravitas and experience can make you wise, being older can’t simply summon cleverness that was not previously there. it’s not just about the lack of older women in the media that effects all this, it’s also the apparent barrier to women who done got some smarts in they heads.

it wasn’t always like that though. when i was young, TV seemed stocked with middle-aged women who carried themselves with an air of seriousness and commanded at least some sense of intellectual authority: Judith Hann, Esther Rantzen, (how much wood could) Lynn Faulds Wood (fold, etc.), Valerie Singleton, Maggie Philbin, Angela Rippon, Sue Lawley, Judith Chalmers. i’m not saying these people were geniuses, but if Judith Hann explained something on Tomorrow’s World, it stayed splained. then, things all went a bit Philippa Forrester, Michaela Strachan and Tess Daly.

female presenters got younger and more attractive, but also fulfilled different roles that ranged from the ‘make it light-hearted, accessible and simple’, through to the ‘we just need you to be a clueless smile-pony’. it wasn’t important for these ones to be authoritative, even in science or current affairs programming, that aspect could be added elsewhere, by men in serious glasses. then the wind changed and it stayed that way.

whereas for a while a space had opened up for women to be more than just the ones in that hold the giant cards on Play Your Cards Right, it seemed to some extent to close up again. of course, it’s no where near as blatantly sexist as it used to be, but the dominance of the aesthetic over the intellectual does seem to prevail when it comes to women on TV.

if, however, you are both clever and attractive, then you probably can get in: Carol Vorderman played the role of ‘thinking man’s crumpet’ on TV for many years before recently having to be decommissioned and responsibly recycled into plastic cups and water bottles. now it seems her mantle has been grasped by Victoria Coren. however, as the looks begin to fade, it seems that as a woman in TV you will need to either inject yourself with every chemical known to humankind (Anne ‘the Ronsealed robot’ Robinson), and/or just slip away and die, please (Arlene Phillips).

today’s #showertune, by the way, is Brain by N*E*R*D

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#telosvision: the good, the bad and the ok

greetings

in the month that we took off to do secret important things, the calendar changed from ‘summer’ to ‘autumn’ which can only mean two things: 1) slippery leaves, bonfires, conkers, mists and mellow fruitfulness and 2) there is a whole new lineup of TV to enjoy.

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before we get stuck into the meat and two veg of the new ones, i thought i’d do a small round up of what i’ve been watching over the last few months, just so that we’re all on the same page:

Louie: the first season of Louis CK’s new sitcom premiered on American FX over the summer and it went down a treat in the penthouse. despite a couple of fairly unwelcome up-pops from Ricky Gervais – who once again proved his immense range by playing a tactless, annoying, English nob-end – here at RQT we reckon it was something of a triumph. look out for it on DVD fo’ shizzle. the good

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This Is England ’86: this has already had a mention, but i thought i’d put it in here anyway. like two Crunch Corners it was rough in some places and sweet in others, but overall truly a treat in four parts. the good

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Sherlock: Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat’s twenty-first centuried mini-series with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman was something of a mixed bag. given the hype and the liberally apportioned praise that it received, i was left a little underwhelmed. the main problem with it was the fact that it couldn’t be both realistic and set in a world where Sherlock Holmes never existed and his literary legacy never changed the shape of the public imagination. you just can’t do modern investigative fiction without the legacy of Holmes and Watson. from where i was sitting it was fine, but ultimately a bit meh. the ok

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Entourage: despite being only ten episodes, season 7 was a welcome return to form for the guys and gals of LA town. why they’re only making six episodes for the next season i’ve no idea. we got cameos from Nick Cassavetes, John Stamos, Jessica Simpson, Queen Latifah, Stan Lee, Mike Tyson, Aaron Sorkin, Randall Wallace, Bob Saget, Mark Cuban, Christina Aguilera and Eminem, as well as season long performances from Sasha Grey and, most excitingly, the insanely attractive Dania Ramirez. A sad tone to the season overall. lots of destruction, but hints that things may come right for Drama and Turtle, if not for Ari and Vince. E was as boring as ever. the good

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Treme: i enjoyed Generation Kill, but wasn’t blown away by it, so i wasn’t sure what i was going to make of this new offering from David Simon. i’m glad to say, however, that it was in every way as good as i would hope a series about the music, culture, death and rebirth of New Orleans would be. the deep spirit of NOLA was alive and well in the fabric of every episode and the script, acting and music were just superb. it’s too early to watch it again yet, but hopefully soon it won’t be, so that i can. if The Wire is about power, fear and greed then Treme is about hope. if you didn’t catch it on HBO, find it and watch it asap. the good

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so … now we’re up to speed, let’s have a think about some of the newer stuff that’s around:

House: so, they finally did it. and now it’s all about the boring making it work stuff. after the dramatic end to season 6, the run-of-the-mill-ness of season 7 is something of a comedown, but at least we have a new title sequence. i like House, but i honestly don’t think this season is going to grip me – i’ll be dipping in and out. the good

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Boardwalk Empire: one of HBO’s new season big hitters comes courtesy of Martin Scorsese and Mark Wahlberg and sees Steve ‘Shut the fuck up Donny’ Buscemi, Michael ‘I just look like a young Leo DiCaprio’ Pitt and Kelly Macdonald, among others, inhabit the murky, but sharply dressed world of Prohibition era Atlantic City. while i’ve not yet been blown away, i think it might have some legs. the good

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The Whole Truth: while it’s great to see the lovely Maura Tierney back on the tellybox after having successfully battled with breast cancer, i fear that ABC’s new courtroom drama is probably not going to end up making it into her ‘keepers’ box. it pits Tierney’s prosecution attorney against a defence lawyer played by the cop/normally-smart brother from Numb3rs in a ‘the way we want to beat each other in court reflects our obvious attraction for each other’ style cliche fest. however, the worst thing by far about the first episode was the way that it couldn’t resist using the last 5 seconds to remove all doubt about whether the convicted teacher really did kill his student and then carve chinese symbols on her dead body with a crucifix. why can’t the American public deal with even an ounce of ambiguity? the bad

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Spooks: yeah, the world’s most overworked intelligence officers are back. Ros is still dead, so a new woman has joined the team in the usual no interview, no questions asked kind of way. she looks like Kathy who used to be on EastEnders. Lucas is really called John, apparently, although we don’t yet know why. Harry just won’t have that inevitable heart attack, even after Ruth spurned his advances at Ros’s funeral. funerals eh, they give me the horn too. I guess that time when her husband got all shot is still playing on her mind. i still miss Malcolm, the new geek is terrible. the good

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Mad Men: some people are beginning to murmur that they don’t like season 4. i do like it. it’s fun to see everyone’s lives fall apart. Roger is a cockend and deserves to be hated. he will likely die soon leaving his annoying wife-doll to sling her stupid hook. the new Peggy is nicely spunky and it’s good to see Don’s veneer starting to crack. i still don’t like the new offices though, and i miss Sal. the good

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Pointless: yes, they made a new series of the dr’s and my favourite afternoon quiz show, and we are straight back in the groove of TiVoing it and watching it at teatime. Alexander Armstrong is a really good host and the banter between him and the answers-man Richard is verging towards classic. the fact that they zhooshed the format and changed the way several of the rounds work has detracted a bit from the pure experience of the first series, but we still like it. things do, however, get depressing when they have really stupid people on – so far in the new series there have been people who’ve thought that Hampshire, Orlando, Newcastle and Mexico were all US States. a preponderance of really camp men on this series too (obviously not a judgement, just an observation). the good

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Genius: another programme that’s had its format all messed around. the new way of doing things is frankly crapola. the whole point of genius was that it took itself too seriously, but now it’s like it’s trying to be too ironic about how it used to be so serious. this new approach pretty much makes everything a joke and is basically dull. the bad

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The Rob Brydon Show: “i can do impressions of Ronnie Corbett and Tom Jones – would you like to hear them?” we’re just all going to have to get used to that and that’s that. i basically like Rob, but he can be a bit samey. with good guests he’ll be fine though. to be honest, i’m surprised he has any time to film it the amount of adverts he does the voice for. already better than fawning, overpaid, boring, comic loving Wossy. Four Poofs and A Piano are missed though. the ok

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The Inbetweeners: why do people like this? i watched the first two episodes when it started and thought it was proper bollocks and that it would disappear gracefully, but instead it’s not, and now everyone seems to think they need to pretend to like it. i actually began thinking that maybe i was the one who was wrong, so i watched another two episodes of the new series. i am not wrong. it’s terrible. for a start, these are clearly 27 year old men pretending to be at school with zero apparent irony – it’s The History Boys all over again. then there’s the main one’s stupid grinning, squinting face and sniffy, posh voice. arrrrrggh, he’s so awful, i hate him. then there’s all the really bad jokes. in the four episodes i’ve watched, i haven’t even smiled, let alone laughed – not even once. the bad

#blogjammin: rev raises roof

[from Sunday]

given the (entirely appropriate) way that the eucharist always clears out the Sunday morning schedule across the board – and this year’s seemed to be passionately embraced as a return to solid GBness, rizla cannons and all – and the fact that tonight was always entirely bound to be Beverley (K)Night, with the UK soul legend bringing a huge and lingering smile to mainstage’s face, it is perhaps surprising that the day really belonged to comedy.

although when you consider that Milton Jones was both performing to Centaur, and then later being interviewed, and that James Wood, the writer of the BBC’s excellent ecclesiastical comedy Rev, was booked to be conversing about the show, then perhaps it’s not so surprising.

however, as throughout the day excited whispers began to give rise to rumours, anticipation began to seep from all quarters. in the end, of course, the gossip was true, and not only did Rev’s brilliant lead actor (and star of In The Loop and Pirates of the Caribbean among other things) Tom Hollander join Wood for the amazing Big Top Q & A session, but it emerged that the whole Rev team were on site filming some footage which will hopefully (surely?!) appear at some point as part of a second series.

“My brother”, quipped Milton Jones, “is currently recovering from massive head injuries. Well, when you have a massive head, you tend to pick up injuries.” rarely are his jokes longer than that, but then rarely do they not raise at least a chuckle, if not something more energy-sapping. one after another he fires them at the audience, and, like a cluster of obese 18th century giants huddled round the end of a blunderbuss, eventually you will get hurt, bad. it’s a barrage of comedy which never lingers, never waits but just keeps on coming.

“Perhaps, to promote animal rights, horses should throw themselves in front of Suffragettes … I hear one of the Sugababes has quit – diabetes apparently … For a recent birthday my family were so kind, they all clubbed together and got me some expensive vouchers, for a clinic in Switzerland.”

later, in the Big Top, Jones reflected on various aspects of his experiences of working in comedy, his favourite fellow performers and Cheggersgate – as noone called it. the queue was such that if you got in, you were very fortunate and if you didn’t, you’ll no-doubt be keen to read a close account of what was said from bloggers who did.

extracting humour from the everyday struggles of Adam Smallbone, a conscientious inner-city London priest, Rev recently graced the screens of people who had them pointed towards BBC2 on Monday nights at around 10pm. its mix of gentle but heartwarming humour, touching sentiment and a refreshingly honest grounding in accurate research, has endeared itself to many, even causing the Guardian to write nice things about something vaguely religious. certainly it was a big hit in the penthouse and, given the staggering queues outside the Big Top and overwhelmingly appreciative atmosphere evaporating off the crowd of punters within like so much love steam, i’d say we weren’t alone.

following a VT medley of highlights from the show, James and Tom, as i feel i can now address them, strode onto stage to rapturous applause. they graciously answered well chosen questions for around an hour and seemed genuinely touched by the obvious affection in the room for the show, them and the character of Colin as well as intrigued by the antipathy for Darren, the evo-vic who hijacked Adam’s church in episode 2.

“Yes we went there, and I actually really liked it”, was how Wood replied to several of the audience’s suggestion that Darren’s outfit might have been based on a certain wealthy and well attended London evangelical church. “In fact, I felt so good there, I stayed for the next service, I went round again. The attractive women were so friendly.”

answering, with good humour and grace, questions which probed their inspirations, their consultation with real-life priests, the response they’ve received and even how making the series has impacted their spiritual lives (which is about as close to an altar-call as GB could muster or would want), they came across as lovely human beings.

it was a truly classic greenbelt_ moment and i left in a fantastic mood and no doubt that the reason the programme has left such a big impression on the GB faithful is down not just to the way they valued and approached the research that was put in, but because of the reality and honesty of these people’s perspectives on faith in general, and their own religious experiences.

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