Channel 4OD comes to Samsung’s range of Smart TVs

Samsung have added Channel 4’s 4oD catch-up TV service to their range of connected Smart TVs.

Available through Samsung Apps, the company’s Smart TV service portal, 4oD offers thirty days worth of recently-broadcast content from the likes of Channel 4 and More 4, alongside archive content.

Shows like BrassEye and Peep Show are all available to be viewed on demand.

“We’re pleased to be able to extend the availability of 4oD, our successful video on demand service, to Samsung’s Smart TVs as we continue to widen the reach of Channel 4 content onto key platforms,” said Sarah Milton, head of video on demand at Channel 4.

“Smart TV owners will now be able to catch up with recent popular Channel 4 programmes and access many shows from Channel 4’s vast archive spanning 30 years of broadcasting – on demand via their television.”

The app is available to all Samsung Smart TVs released in 2012, or newer.

The announcement follows a similar move by Sky, who also recently added 4oD to their catch-up TV offering.

 

King Richard III: The King in the Car Park. How the last Plantagenet king ended up in a Leicester car park

It’s probably the most hyped archaeological dig since dinosaur fossils were first unearthed, but the long-lost remains of King Richard III have been identified by archaeologists at the University of Leicester “beyond reasonable doubt” – much to Channel 4’s delight as they plan to screen a documentary about it tonight.

The remains were found last year exhumed from under a car park near where the king’s body was thought to be lost. Suspicions over the identity of the skeletal remains were initially raised based on the curvature of the skeleton’s spine and battle wounds consistent with historical accounts of Richard III’s death way back in 1485, as well as the nature of the burial.richard-iii-grave.png

Now a team led by Richard Buckley has used extensive radio carbon dating and DNA analysis comparisons with the king’s living descendants to confirm that the remains are in fact those of Richard III, ending a 500-year mystery as to the location of his final resting place.

Descendants used in the DNA testing included four living males, as well as a sample from Michael Ibsen, a Canadian-born carpenter and 17th generation descendent of the king’s sister.

The team were also able to ascertain that the late king was killed between his late 20s and early 30s, further details that correlate with historical accounts, as well as signs of scoliosis and the ten points of battle-inflicted trauma that was said to have caused his death.

Richard III’s death occurred at the conclusion of two years reign over Britain from 1483 to 1485 at the Battle of Bosworth. It marked the end of the War of the Roses and, for many academics, the closure of the medieval period. However, in modern times Richard III has become best known as depicted by William Shakespeare, one of the Renaissance playwright’s most vile historical villains.

The remains will now be re-interred at Leicester Cathedral, close to the Greyfriars site where he was first discovered. The cathedral will also house a new monument to the king, and is expected to become a tourist hotspot.

Richard III: The King in the Car Park, Channel 4 tonight (February 4th), 9pm 

Via Tech Digest

 

LOVEFiLM to bring Peep Show and Inbetweeners to Instant service thanks to Channel 4 deal

LoveFilm Instant’s catalogue of on-demand streaming titles gets a boost today with the announcement of a new content deal with Channel 4.

The Amazon-owned streaming service will now offer its members access to choice cuts from Channel 4’s 4oD online TV archive, including shows such as Peep Show (right), Father Ted, The Inbetweeners and Friday Night Dinner.

Older shows such as BAFTA award-winning Drop the Dead Donkey, drama Queer As Folk, and all four series of Teachers will also be available.

“Our TV offering has gone from strength to strength and this deal will bring even more iconic British content to the service,” said Jim Buckle, Managing Director at LOVEFiLM. “We’re proud to offer more diverse and exciting instant television programming to our members than any other subscription service.”

The new 4oD content will be housed in a branded collection on the LoveFilm Instant service, and will expand over time to include more Channel 4 TV shows including Shameless and The IT Crowd in their entireties.

“We’re very proud of our rich archive of shows on 4oD and we’re delighted to find another platform for many of them on LOVEFiLM,” Sarah Rose, Director of Commercial & Business Development at Channel 4 added

“Our growing mix of classic comedy, drama and documentary spanning 30 years of broadcasting, complements LOVEFiLM’s already diverse range of great programmes and films.”

Wondering what else is available through LoveFilm Instant? Check out our handy guide to every Netflix and LoveFilm Instant movie or TV show available in the UK now.

Via Tech Digest

The 10 best Christmas TV adverts

‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year’ sang Andy Williams sang of Xmas. It’s certainly the best time of the year for TV ads. Traditionally, the big firms pull out all the stops in an attempt to grab attention in the build up to the festive period. Big budgets, big stars and big piles of fake snow are the order of the day when it comes to creating convincing the public to open their wallets.

Here are 10 of the best:

Coca Cola ‘Holiday’s are coming’

While Coca Cola isn’t Christmassy per se, we should remember that we have them to thank for Santa Claus being red and white. Per Noel had, in fact, generally been pictured in green or brown before Coke’s ad men got hold of him. This ad ran for quite a few years, mainly thanks to its horribly addictive tune.

Toys R Us ‘Magical Place’

Another one with a diabolically memorable earworm of a tune. Maybe music is the key to a great Xmas ad?

John Lewis Xmas 2011

John Lewis have now created a tradition of making mini-features for their Xmas ads, emotion-filled short films with a touching message. This year it’s a glove-buying snowman, last year it was this blub-causer.

Irn Bru Snowman Ad

Funny, clever and affectionate – If only all Xmas ads were as fantastic as this one.

Ferrero Rocher ‘The Ambassador’s Reception’

Yeah, we know, we didn’t realise this was a Christmas ad either. But not only is it a Christmas ad it’s probably the only one on the list that was shown outside of the festive period and that has become a cultural touchstone. That big pile of foil-covered sweets has been seen in everything from Father Ted to Little Britain and the line ‘with these Ferrero Rocher you are really spoiling us’ has entered the language.

Marks & Spencer ‘Xmas wouldn’t be Xmas without…’

M& S must have spent a small fortune on this campaign featuring numerous expensive-looking celebs expounding its virtues.

John Lewis 2007 ‘Shadows’

This very clever ad could have worked at any time of year but there was just something Christmassy about the concept.

Yellow Pages ‘Mistletoe’

Super-cute, super-schmaltzy, super-Christmassy.

Woolworths ‘Cracking Christmas’ Back when Woollies was still a thing they used to corral the big TV stars of the day and film then merrily gambolling around that year’s hot gifts while a terrible tune played in the background. It was the beginning of the end, probably.

Boots 1981

No stars, no big budget, just a decent song and a Christmassy feel. Warms the cockles, dunnit?

Baggage: Would Gok Wan’s new show be better named ‘Garbage’?

It doesn’t sound promising, does it? Gok Wan hosting a Blind Date-style dating show where desperate singletons tell prospective dates about their faults in the hope of getting a snog? Well, that’s the premise of ‘Baggage’, which starts this Friday on Channel 4.

The eight part series will see contestants open suitcases containing details of one of their character flaws. The luggage gets bigger with each round, as does the flaw. The potential date then chooses which of the contestants he dislikes the least and they go for dinner. Or something.

It’s all a bit tawdry and harks back to the days when Channel 4 used to fill Friday night with the likes of the ‘I’d do anything to get on TV’ slot on The Word and that other awful thing that Denise Van Outen used to present which featured penises.

For those of you thinking ‘Oh, no. It’ll be fun. I like that nice Gok Wan and it all sounds like a harmless lark’, take a look at the clip below taken from the US version of the show, hosted by Jerry Springer. It shows women eating butter, glue and dirt while a man tries not to vomit – if that doesn’t convince you this thing will be dreadful then, frankly, you need treatment.

Channel 4 goes mad with a week of programmes on mental health

Tonight sees the start of Mad Week on Channel 4, when it shows a series of programmes looking at attitudes to mental health. This being Channel 4, though, the shows are generally celeb-fronted and appear light-hearted.

First up tonight at 10PM, depression-sufferer Ruby Wax follows a number of successful business people as they reveal their illness to employers, family and friends in Ruby Wax’s Mad Confessions.

Then on Tuesday at 10, sand up comic Jon Richardson presents A Little Bit OCD, where he meets numerous OCD sufferers and discovers more about the condition.

Wednesday at 10 brings the World’s Maddest Job Interview, which finds 8 people with serious mental health issues interviewed and assessed by a panel of business experts (including Apprentice job interview hatchet man Claude Littner) to try and see if their condition affects their work ability.

And finally, on Thursday at 10 is Obsessive Compulsive Hoarder: The Big Clear Out. Here, OCD sufferer and extreme hoarder Richard Wallace tries to rid himself of as many of his pointless possessions as possible.

All the programmes sound great, interesting and (worryingly) a little like the sort of thing Chris Morris would have been lampooning a mad TV of the future a few years ago. Here’s hoping the gimmickier-sounding of these shows are handled sensitively.

Sunday Brunch: Lovejoy and Rimmer jump channels, does anyone care?

 

Sadly Channel 4 have bought the programme (most of it, anyway) and a renamed version launches this Sunday at 10AM. Sunday Brunch – as it’s artlessly dubbed – still features Lovejoy and Rimmer but Redkapp has mercifully been jettisoned and it remains to be seen how many (if any) of the other regular contributors survive the jump.

 

Apparently the programme will still feature cooking, interviews and clips but presumably it will now also require ad breaks, which means it goes from being dull to being dull with added dull bits. Maybe the channel hop will rejuvenate the show and bring a bit more zip and zing to proceedings but, more likely, the law of diminishing returns will exact itself and the show will peter out again fairly soon.

 

 

If Ricky Gervais’s new sitcom is so good why won’t Channel 4 commission a series?

The pilot features Gervais as Derek, a care home worker described as ‘a tender, innocent man whose love for his job and the people he cares for shines through. He’s 49 years old and loves animals, Rolf Harris, Jesus, Deal or No Deal, Million Pound Drop and Britain’s Got Talent – but his main hobby is autograph hunting’. The show also features Karl Pilkington, in his first acting role, and (reportedly) Sean Connery.

So, with Gervais’s sitcom history and a big name cast, this would seem to be a significant opportunity for Channel 4 to score a sure-fire hit – why are they dragging their feet in only making a pilot? In a statement the channel say: ‘Channel 4 is very excited to be working with Ricky Gervais on this new project and it’s wrong to say we have rejected a series. The pilot will be on TV in April and then there’ll be further discussions about the potential for a full series.’

However, after the critical disaster of Gervais’s last sitcom ‘Life’s Too Short’ and (relatively) poor audience figures it would appear either that Channel 4 have slightly cold feet about what would be a major series for them or that Gervais himself wants feedback before he commits to another less-than-popular project.

You get chance to decide for yourselves as the pilot airs on Channel 4 in next month.

 

Homeland: Is it dynamite or dull?

Homeland – for those of you who have series-linked the first few episodes and are still prevaricating about watching it – is the story of an American soldier (Damian Lewis as Nicholas Brody) who has returned to the US from imprisonment in Iraq and the counter-terrorism CIA officer Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison) charged with his post-kidnap care. The big question is whether or not Brody has been brain-washed by his Al-Qaeda captors and is actually a double agent intent on destroying America from the inside. The show has won many awards in the US, where it also received a very positive critical response. It was bought by Channel 4 in the UK after bosses saw the first few episodes and were convinced of the show’s quality.

Many viewers, though, are less sure of the series with many on social networks saying that episodes 2 and 3 were a little lacklustre and others threatening to quit the show if the plot doesn’t coalesce soon. Some have compared it to desert island show Lost which won a massive initial audience but kept viewers tagged along for so many series that it ‘lost’ all credibility – frustrating more than it entertained. UK audience figures for Homeland have been steady, at around 2 million per episode, so it would seem that (for the time being at least) most are gripped enough to stay with it.

Advance word from the US is that episode 7 is a ‘watershed’ and it was then that reception of the show became 100% positive – so, will you be sticking with it?

Deal Or No Deal ‘Involves no skill’ – Did anyone believe it does?

But did anyone really ever believe that being on the show demanded any skill? Only the competitors (who have to live together cult-style for a week and so have cabin fever) and the studio audience (who are locked in a room with Noel Edmonds for hours on end and therefore inevitably traumatised) seem to think that randomly picking numbers and choosing to stick or twist is the work of a strategic genius. Surely the viewing public are sensible enough to spot an elaborate guessing game when they see one?

If the Gambling Commission do decide (after 7 years on air) that the whole shebang is against the law it could have consequences for other shows like Red or Black, which is also just a guessing game.

Peter Bazalgette, the owner of show creator Endemol, defended the programme by saying: ‘It would be very strange if the UK suddenly decided you couldn’t have Deal or No Deal on air.’ Not as strange, Pete, as the resurgence in Edmonds’ career that Deal Or No Deal provided. Proof, if it were needed, that we live in a strange world indeed.