Archive for the ‘Digital and satellite’ Category

Get points on your Tesco Clubcard – watch ClubcardTV for free (with personalised adverts)

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

tesco clubcard tvIs this the future of TV? Tesco has announced a deal with BBC Worldwide which will enable its Clubcard customers to watch programmes such as Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, Goodness Gracious Me and Alistair McGowan’s Big Impression for free.

The agreement, which also includes shows featuring star chefs Antonio Carluccio, Ken Hom and Gary Rhodes, will see hours of BBC Worldwide content made available to its 16 million Clubcard members via the ad supported service. As well as comedies and cookery shows the service will also features dramas such as Carrie’s War and Blackpool and children’s classics Stig of the Dump and The Secret Garden.

Clubcard TV has been developed by the team behind the Tesco movie and TV service blinkbox and, rather cleverly, is supported by targeted advertising based on users’ shopping habits. Wow – that’s clever, if a little sinister.

Says Scott Deutrom, MD Clubcard TV, said: “With this deal we’re adding a raft of new TV titles to our expanding catalogue, providing access to even more great digital entertainment in a way that’s easy and accessible for customers.”

Lisa Rousseau, Head of UK, Ireland and Pan European Television Sales, BBC Worldwide, said: “We’re thrilled to have concluded such an extensive deal with Clubcard TV which will offer their customers a rich range of fantastic British content.”

Tesco is the first retailer in the UK to reward its customers with their own online movie and TV service. Content spanning comedy, drama, kids TV, romance, thrillers and documentaries is on offer with no charges, contracts or subscriptions.

Channel 4 OD joins Sky TV On Demand from Monday March 18th

Friday, March 15th, 2013

sky-4od-top.jpgSky have announced the arrival of Channel 4’s 4oD service as part of Sky TV’s On Demand hub.

Landing next Monday, Sky subscribers with their boxes hooked up to the internet will be able to access on demand content from Channel 4 and More 4, with E4 and Film 4 content set to launch a little later.

As well as recently televised shows, the 4oD service also offers top-notch archival content, including great comedy shows like Peep Show, Brass Eye and The Inbetweeners.

“The way people enjoy TV is changing as customers embrace technology to take control over their viewing. We know customers have busier lives than ever, which is why we’ve created the most comprehensive catch-up service in the UK,” said Luke Bradley-Jones, Sky’s Director of TV Products.

“Offering great TV from Channel 4 on demand on Sky+ and on Sky Go at no extra charge is all part of our continued commitment to offer our customers the best combination of content and innovation.”

Sarah Rose, Channel 4’s Director of Commercial & Business Development, added:

“The launch of our successful VOD service, 4oD, on the Sky on demand and Sky Go platforms this month will extend the reach of our content to enable even more viewers to enjoy our wide range of programmes. And through the recent arrival of More4 HD and much anticipated launch of Film4 HD in September, we’re delighted to complete the roll out of our HD portfolio.”

The the free app should go live on Monday, so check back in your Sky On Demand portal then to view the new content.

Via Tech Digest

YouView ‘official’ launch with national treasure Joanna Lumley

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

2012-09-27 10.00.25.jpgNot sure how many launches digital terrestrial TV service YouView has had now, but at the latest ‘official’ launch we were treated to national treasure Joanna Lumley appearing to beat the hell out of the original Austin 1300 car used in the famous Fawlty Towers sketch (actually she wasn’t hitting it that hard because the owner of the beautifully restored car was standing right in front of her).

Ostensibly the launch was to showcase the latest partnership with Talk Talk which will see the company’s telephone/broadband customers receive a YouView set top box for a one off charge of £50 covering the cost of an engineer’s installation visit, providing they sign up to TalkTalk’s service for £14.50 a month.

And while sister site Tech Digest reviewed the Humax box and were less than impressed by its facilities (particularly lack of wi-fi), if YouView can get the hardware right then it promises to be a useful service for those who want to watch catch-up services like the BBC iPlayer, ITV Player and 4OD via their TV rather than web tablet or games console.

To promote the official launch at the Vinyl Factory in London’s Soho, Talk Talk went back in time to recreate some of the best 10 TV moments in history, including the wrong chandelier moment from Only Fools and Horses which saw the usually glamorous Lumley exchanging high heels for a Talk Talk overall and holding a large white blanket. Very strange indeed.

Then there was an entire room from the 1970s showing Mr Ben on a lovely old boxy wooden TV set. Not sure which TV moment that was supposed to represent but it looked great – aah the good old days. See gallery from the launch event below.

YouView launch - Vinyl Factory, Marshall Street, Soho, London (Sep 27)

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Joanna Lumley recreates famous Only Fools and Horses sketch

Sky Atlantic confirms transmission dates for Boardwalk Empire season 3

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

Exciting times ahead for those of you hooked on HBO’s prohibition drama Boardwalk Empire. Season 3’s first episode will air on Sky Atlantic on Saturday the 29th of September at 9PM.

The new season will pick up a year after the dramatic events at the end of season 2, which saw Atlantic City’s de facto boss Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) kill rival/ surrogate son Jimmy Darmody (Michael Pitt). Expect the repercussions to play a big part in the new series. Al Capone (Stephen Graham) will also be much more involved in the machinations in the new series.

Terence Winter, the creator of the show said: “Dramatically we think of Season 3 as the night before the morning after – it’s basically the big party before the hangover. People still haven’t confronted their actions from season 2… Things have changed in the world and in the world of bootlegging – it’s a much more violent world, a much more competitive world, all of these things converge and it ultimately culminates in a really, really exciting season.”

Here is the trailer and below is a feature on the making of season 3.

First look at Charlie Brooker’s new comedy ‘A Touch Of Cloth’

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

After his superb 3-part comedy series Black Mirror aired earlier this year, screenwriter Charlie Brooker returns with cop comedy ‘A Touch Of Cloth’, which will air on Sky 1 in August.

The show stars John Hannah and former Corrie star Suranne Jones and id described by Brooker as ‘just Airplane-style daftness”

He continued: The inspiration there was just to entertain, I co-wrote the pilot in 2003, something like that. Then we adapted it and changed it a lot. So that’s always been something that I’ve wanted to do – something just daft.”

Here’s the trailer for the show.

Dracula is returning to TV in a major new series; here are some famous portrayals

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

It has been announced that Count Dracula is to return to the small screen in a major new 10-part adaptation, the NBC/ Sky Living production will star Jonathan Rhys Meyers as the famous vampire.

Created by author Bram Stoker in 1897, Dracula has been the subject of hundreds of film and TV adaptations over the years, let’s have a look at some of the most famous:

Bela Lugosi stars as what was, for many years, Hollywood’s defining Dracula.

Hammer Horror made dozens of Dracula films in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, many with Christopher lee in the role.

Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola directed Gary Oldman as the count in this 1992 film adaptation.

After spoofing westerns and Frankenstein, Mel Brooks has a go at Dracula.

A famous and creepy BBC TV adaptation from 1977.

And a recent BBC update from 2006

Alan Partridge returns to TV tonight: Here are some of his best bits

Monday, June 25th, 2012

It’s been a few years (10 in fact) since Alan Partridge has been on our TV screens. In the meantime he’s toured the country as part of creator Steve Coogan’s live show and appeared in a series of internet only programmes.

Now he returns to Sky Atlantic with a series of specials, starting tonight at 9PM with Alan Partridge: Welcome to the places of my life. To celebrate we’ve trawled the archives to find some of his best bits. Enjoy, and A-Ha!



Alan Partridge ‘apologises’ to upset farmers

After upsetting the Norfolk farming community Alan interviews farming a union representative (played by Chris Morris) and digs himself even further into the hole.


Alan insults the Irish

While trying to land an Irish TV deal Alan manages to display his complete ignorance of the history of the country to two very embarrassed TV executives.



Alan somehow makes shouting ‘Dan’ for a minute hilarious.


Alan previews the World Cup

From his first TV outing, The Day Today, Alan talks about the upcoming World Cup. Please note that the clip contains light swears.


Monkey Tennis

Alan lists potential TV programmes to the head of programming at the BBC. You should note that some of these have actually been made into programmes now (Gordon Behind Bars = Cooking in Prison).

Introducing Veep – Armando Iannucci’s new political comedy

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

After the BBC comedy The Thick Of It and it’s big screen spin off In The Loop took a satirical sledgehammer to UK politics, creator Armando Iannucci is looking to do the same in the US with new show Veep.

Veep starts this Monday (25th) at 10 PM on Sky Atlantic and stars Seinfeld star Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the titular Vice-President Selina Meyer. Like The Thick Of It, the show is set within the corridors of government and uses a hand-held, semi-improvised style to mock the shenanigans of political bigwigs. It also has plenty of swearing, for those who like that sort of thing.

Already a big hit in the USA, where it aired earlier in the year, it has already been recommissioned for a second series. You can see a trailer for the show below.


The Comic Strip moves to UK Gold: Here are their 5 best episodes

Friday, June 15th, 2012

Iconic comedy series The Comic Strip has moved home. The loose-weave collective of writers and performers will make a new film for UK be shown in November.

In the near 30 years since the Comic Strip made their first film, many of the stars, writers and directors have gone on to become household names, some have made genuinely great TV and one or two have gone on to be that bloke, y’know, he was in that thing with the wotsit – him.

The Comic Strip was formed around a core cast of alternative comics including Rik Mayall, Ade Edmondson, Robbie Coltrane, Peter Richardson, Alexie Sayle, Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, Nigel Planer and Keith Allen (with the occasional involvement of everyone from Leslie Philips to Kate Bush). Over the years, and increasingly sporadically, this loose affiliation of talents has made around 40 TV shows, specials and films. Some of the shows were great and still stand up today, some were only passable and are showing their age and some were utterly awful, but, if nothing else, everything the Comic Strip ever made was experimental and intriguing.

Here’s an introduction to the best of the team’s earlier work:

Bad News Tour

‘I could play Stairway To Heaven when I was 12, Jimmy Page didn’t actually write until till he was 22. I think that says quite a lot.’ The words of Vim Fuego, singer and lead guitarist with dodgy heavy metal group Bad News during this fake documentary which follows the band to a gig in Grantham. Vim (Ade Edmondson) and band mates Spider (Peter Richardson), Den (Nigel Planer) and Colin (Rik Mayall) are awkwardly accurate deluded rock n roll archetypes and the Comic Strippers involved wrote and played the songs themselves. Sounds a bit too much like Spinal Tap? It was made the year before, so you can’t say they copied.

Mr Jolly Lives Next Door

Basically Mayall and Edmondson doing their Bottom/ Dangerous Brothers shtick but with Peter Cook chucked in as a Tom Jones loving psycho killer. It stands out for being genuinely, down-at-heel funny and it’s lent a noticeable air of class by the presence of occasional Comic Strip collaborator (and proper A list movie director) Stephen Frears and a spectacularly game performance by Nicholas Parsons.

The Strike

Hollywood takes on Arthur Scargill’s finest year and, when Alexie Sayle’s naive screenwriter Paul sells his gritty, accurate script about the Miners’ strike to Robbie Coltrane’s forget-the-facts movie mogul, turns it into a syrupy love story. The Strike moves cleverly between the making of the film and the film itself as Peter Richardson’s Al Pacino makes increasingly insane script demands as he builds his remarkable Arthur Scargill performance and Jennifer Saunders plays Meryl Streep playing Mrs Scargill.

The idea of Al Pacino playing Arthur Scargill might have seemed a ridiculous one in 1988, but the notion of Meryl Streep playing Thatcher would have been equally unlikely until The Iron Lady came out. Maybe someone should phone Al and get him to start growing a comb-over.

The Yob

The best thing Keith Allen’s ever done – which is more of a recommendation than it sounds. Using the body swap concept of The Fly, The Yob sees Allen’s pretentious, coke-sniffing, money-obsessed pop promo producer Patrick slowly become a racist, homophobic, boorish football hooligan. Surprisingly he’s more endearing after the change. It’s a bit too 80’s, the UB40 cameo is bit too rubbish and it takes a while to get going but once it does Allen is unsurprisingly annoying.

Detectives on the verge of a nervous breakdown

Many years before Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes, the Comic Strip parodied all of the most memorable 70’s, 80’s and 90’s cop shows in a single half hour show. This superior sequel to the earlier The Bullshitters finds the Professionals, the Sweeney and Spender all thrown together to find out who killed a Keith Floyd-style Gourmet Detective. Keith Allen plays both the Floyd-alike and ‘Bonehead’ opposite Peter Richardson’s ‘Foyle’, who also plays Jason King clone Jason Bentley; Phil Cornwell plays philosophical, lamenting Geordie ‘Spanker’; but it’s the ever-magnificent Jim Broadbent who totally steals the show as ‘Shouting George’, a no-nonsense ’10-Guv-a-day’ yelling, Regan-type who out-Gene Hunts Gene Hunt with ease.

First view of the new Alan Partridge TV series

Monday, June 11th, 2012

The first teaser clip of the new Sky Atlantic series featuring Steve Coogan as Alan Partridge has been released.

After the hugely successful series of the Youtube only mini-shows Mid Morning Matters, Partridge is back in his first full TV outings for a decade. The one-hour special, Alan Partridge: Welcome To The Places Of My Life, will air in the next few weeks. You can watch a clip below.

Another special, Alan Partridge On Open Books With Martin Bryce, will follow and then a re-edited series of Mid Morning Matters. Steve Coogan says: “Alan has been off the TV for too long but he is even more excited than me about his chance to have a second bite of the cherry. Alan feels the second decade of the millennium is the right time.”

Out of Luck: Hoffman hit cancelled due to horse deaths

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Just when viewers were beginning to get to grips with new HBO horse racing drama Luck it has been cancelled during filming of the second series due to the death of a race horse. Two horses died during the making of the first series of the Dustin Hoffman-starring show last year, prompting complaints from animal welfare groups. Now a third horse has died in an accident prior to going in front of the cameras so show makers HBO have decided to cancel the show and launch a full investigation.Luck

HBO released a statement saying that they believe the safety of the horses was not compromised by filming but they will nevertheless not be continuing with production. A statement says: ‘It is with heartbreak that executive producers David Milch and Michael Mann together with HBO have decided to cease all future production on the series Luck. Safety is always of paramount concern. We maintained the highest safety standards throughout production, higher in fact than any protocols existing in horse racing anywhere with many fewer incidents than occur in racing or than befall horses normally in barns at night or pastures. While we maintained the highest safety standards possible, accidents unfortunately happen and it is impossible to guarantee they won’t in the future. Accordingly, we have reached this difficult decision.’

The show has been a hit in several countries despite complaints from viewers and critics that it is difficult to follow. We reported last week that the NY Times critic had described the show as ‘unnecessarily opaque’, but viewers on social networks have indicated that it becomes clearer as the first series unfolds. It seems that they will now not get the chance to enjoy a second series of the show.


Anne Widdecombe on Cleverdicks: Is she the worst quiz show host ever?

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

If you’ve seen Anne Widdecombe hosting Sky Atlantic’s new quiz show Cleverdicks you’ll know how spectacularly bad she is. If you haven’t, don’t think you’re missing something – you’re not, she’s just awful.Cleverdicks


From the stilted ‘banter’ with the contestants to the stuttering pace to the terrible screech of Anne’s voice (which Dylan Moran once described as sounding like a Stegosaurus on fire) it’s just a disaster. Anyone making the mistake of tuning in will even struggle to concentrate on the questions and answers, so bad is Anne’s first crack at hosting.


Is she, though, the worst quiz show host ever? We’ve been racking our brains and we can only think of a handful who come close to being as bad – Robert Kilroy-Silk was terrible on Shafted and (despite Transatlantic success) Anne Robinson has always been rubbish on the Weakest Link. Can you think of any other contenders? Please let us know.


Sky Go now available for Android smart phone users

Monday, February 20th, 2012

tv-sky-go.jpgSky Go, the on-the-go mobile, laptop and tablet TV service available to Sky customers, can now be downloaded from the Android Market to most smartphones running Google’s OS.

Users will now be able to access all of the Sky Sports channels, ESPN, Sky News, a range of Sky Entertainment channels and 11 Sky Movies channels via the Sky Go app all from the palm of their hand.

Of course you have to be paying for Sky’s (sometimes pricey) TV package in the first place, but Sky Go is a great addition and makes the hefty price tag seem even more reasonable.

Visit the Android Market to get your hands on the Sky Go app now.

Get ready for a Safari Park Adventure in 3D!

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

If you love animals you will love this new show which comes to Sky 3D this February.

Safari Park Adventure will take you behind the scenes at Woburn Safari Park, giving you an insight into the lives of the six hundred animals that live there which is only surpassed by an actual visit to the park.

The ten part series takes viewers behind the scenes to follow some of the surprising aspects of the lives of the creatures and keepers at the world famous safari park.

TV Scoop were among a selected few to have a sneak peek at the first episode, in which we were introduced to rhinos, mischief causing squirrel monkeys (but cute as a button!), a pride of hungry lions and Raja the elephant who enjoys a regular pedicure and scrub. Who said life was easy as an elephant?

The Duke of Bedford, owner of Woburn Safari Park said: “We are proud to have the opportunity to showcase the precious collection of wild animals; including many critically endangered and threatened species cared for at Woburn. It’s a fantastic chance for everyone to go behind the scenes and see the hard work and dedication of our team of keepers, including the special care taken to provide a fun and educational day out.”

Safari Park Adventure 3D premieres on the Sky 3D Channel on February 4th at 9pm. You can also catch it on Animal Planet.

For more information about Woburn Safari Park visit

Sir David Attenborough discusses The Bachelor King 3D – his latest Sky 3D movie

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

Last night Tech Digest, TV’s Scooop’s sister title, was invited to the première of Sky 3D’s latest natural history movie, The Bachelor King 3D. Helmed by Sir David Attenborough, the movie tracks the trials and triumphs of a King penguin from adolescence to adulthood.

You’d expect nothing less from an Attenborough flick, but The Bachelor King 3D, shot on the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia, is particularly beautiful, in no small part thanks to the 3D work employed. From underwater chases with Orca whales to sweeping shots of hundreds of thousands of penguins protecting their brood in the harshest climate on the planet, it’s funny, tragic, and touching, giving an informative look at these charming birds.

It’s the second time Attenborough has been commissioned by Sky 3D, following last year’s Flying Monsters 3D movie. But 3D natural history movies come with their own shooting challenges.

“Technically it is impossible to use a long telephoto lens, the reason being that a 3D camera mimics the human eye and has two cameras close together with the same kind of separation as our own” said Attenborough.

“If you shut one eye when looking at something that’s close to you, you get one view, shut the other you get another view. The brain puts those two together.

“If you’re looking at something on the other side of this theatre, you would see no difference. The way that you would get a stereo image is to separate the two components further.

“But when you do that…they have different backgrounds so it won’t go together. So with the state-of-the-art at the moment it’s not possible to use long lenses. And that is a very considerable problem when it comes to natural history programming.”

ice penguin bar
However, that’s not to undermine the importance of Attenborough’s films. When asked by Tech Digest whether his two roles as both naturalist and broadcaster ever came into conflict, Attenborough answered:

“Broadcasting has given natural history a chance to reach audiences it never ever could before. Particularly these days, when according to the United Nations over half the population of this globe is now urbanised. This means to a greater of lesser extent, they’re living without contact to nature.

“Some people wont see a single wild creature from dawn to dusk, apart from a pigeon or a rat! But it’s crucially important for our own welfare that we understand the natural world. Natural history is not just a pastime, it’s an essential part of someone’s comprehension of the world in which we live, and we depend upon that world.

“I believe broadcasting has a very important function in keeping natural history in the awareness of an ever increasingly urban population.”

Attenborough’s next two Sky 3D flicks, ready for broadcast next year, will be shot in Kew Gardens and the Galapagos Islands respectively, the latter of which he last visited back in 2006.

“Galapagos is one of the most wonderful places in the world. There are extraordinary creatures living there that live nowhere else – a whole slew of marvellous animals” said Attenborough.

“But one of the things that make them even more extraordinary is that because the islands were not discovered by human beings until relatively recently, and they had remained isolated for so long, the animals still haven’t become frightened of human beings. You can walk among them carrying your own snap shot cameras or even carrying a 3D rig and they won’t go away. They continue behaving in just the way that they would do naturally. Galapagos is full of drama, full of charismatic creatures which you can film; it is a natural for 3D.”

The commissions are part of Sky’s commitment to increase its investment in original UK content by 50% to £600million a year by 2014, further cementing its position as one of the biggest investors in the UK’s creative enterprises.


The Bachelor King 3D will air exclusively on Sky 3D at 8pm on New Years Eve, 31st December. It will then have a theatrical release, before returning to Sky 3D in 2012.

World’s first remote control London Black Cab unveiled for Dave’s Driving Wars

Friday, October 14th, 2011


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The world's first fully remote controlled Black Cab unveiled in London today by creator Engineer James Brighton to mark the launch of Driving Wars, a brand new extreme Driving Show presented by Colin Murray - the show airs on Dave on Wednesday 19th October at 9pm .Pix.Tim Anderson 14.10.11

Here’s a tech gadget you probably wouldn’t want to take down the park on a Sunday – not unless you wanted terrified kids fleeing for their lives. Described as the ‘ultimate boy’s toy’ it’s a full-sized London Black Cab with one big difference. It’s controlled by a handheld remote.

For a ‘gadget’ weighing just shy of two tonnes and capable of hitting 80mph, click-happy controllers will have a remarkable level of authority over steering control, forward and reverse gearing, a sensitive braking system and a fully proportional throttle.

And Londoners were given a glimpse of the vehicle when it pulled up outside the O2 arena, alongside its driver!  The brainchild of engineering wizard Dr. James Brighton, it  marks the launch of Driving Wars, a brand new extreme driving show due to hit Dave on Wednesday, October 19th. Dr Brighton and the Driving Wars team – including presenter Colin Murray – spent two months working on the cab which is controlled via a hand held control console.

Driving Wars invites members of the public to take to the remote controls of a series of specially customised real cars in order to recreate moments of motoring magic from TV and cinema.  According to Dave, it promises to be a heady cocktail of burnt rubber, squealing tyres and spectacular pyrotechnics.

Wild reality TV fun this October as Meerkats 3D premieres on Sky 3D

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

You’d be excused for thinking meerkats are cute little creatures who sell insurance, but did you know that these funny, affectionate and cuddly creatures also have slightly more wicked side?

The nation has fallen in love with ‘the little earthmen’ who live in the Kalahari Desert, so when TVScoop was invited to an early screening of the small furballs’ next TV adventure we didn’t hesitate to accept.

Together with National Geographic Channel, Sky 3D are bringing you Meerkats 3D this October.

Meerkats 3D follows the journey of Clinky and her family of meerkats as they cope with the twists and turns of life in the stunning yet hostile Kalahari Desert. See the highs and lows of being a meerkat matriarch: the daily dilemmas, tackling the tough and dangerous terrain as well as trying to keep little teenage meerkat daughters out of trouble – and away from rival gang’s admirers!

Expect drama, sadness and a lot of giggles as Clinky, Miss Bean, Harry and the rest of the clan watch over the new pups as they tackle their first scorpion, avoid deadly cobra attacks and take their first trip out with the group, trying to keep up – their lives depending on it.

The hour-long docu soap is produced by Oxford Scientific Films – the team behind popular Meerkat Manor – and immerses the audience in the complex social lives of meerkats over several different seasons.

Caroline Hawkins, the film’s producer, said the team were keen to bring meerkats to 3D as the “format makes the film more natural and dramatic” and “brings the viewer into the meerkat world as closely as possible”.

Before the screening at London Zoo, we quickly caught up with Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Tim Clutton-Brock, who has spent over 18 years studying the fascinating animals and who assisted the film team before they went on location. Prof. Clutton-Brock told stories of how the ten inch desert creatures can be quite vicious when needs be – killing or banishing their own to protect the future success of their clan – and why meerkats make a very poor pets because of their social nature. “They become quite vicious when taken away from their pack” and are quite “brutal and not just cuddly” said Prof Clutton-Brock, who generally avoids being called Meerkat King despite his vast knowledge of these small animals.

Meerkats 3D will be shown on the Sky 3D channel on Sunday 16th October at 8pm.

If you don’t own a 3D TV the 2D version of Meerkats can be seen on the same day and time on Nat Geo Wild (Sky channel 528).

BBC3’s Top TV Failures: Coming of Age, Snog, Marry or Avoid

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Last orders for Two Pints of Lager....

So, Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps has been cancelled, and it only took ten years. Some would call it the end of an era. Some wouldn’t. Some would call it one of the most underrated sitcoms of noughties British comedy. I have not met any of these people, but I’m sure they are out there – discussing the matter over some Chavignon Blanc.

For now though, BBC3 have decided to stop commissioning the mad antics of Sheridan Smith & co. in favour of making room for all the vibrant new writers out there to contribute to the channel instead. A commendable action, you might say.

After all, BBC3 has always provided us with the sort of fresh, hip programming that is so current not even Peter Dickson could not provide an irreverent enough voiceover to accommodate them. So in the wake of Two Pints of Lager – what better time to cast our minds back to some of those other flashes of genius that BBC3 have spotted over the years?

Coming of Age

Coming of Age is a coming of age sitcom about some teenagers who are coming of age. Hooked yet? First broadcast in 2007 with the opening episode ‘B…lowjob’ – the show promised to be a mix between the Inbetweeners and Two Pints of a Lager and a Packet of Crisps. Because if there’s anything a good cock joke needs, it’s a slightly more appalling cock joke.

It is essentially a programme where Jay from the Inbetweeners lives with Jay from the Inbetweeners whilst going to college with Jay from the Inbetweeners. And I like Jay from the Inbetweeners. Vulgarity can be fine in sitcoms if you don’t over-do it of course. But on one level, there’s Vivian from the Young Ones hurling himself out of a window, and then there’s a whole new level – where a Welsh teenager discusses masturbation techniques, with only a troupe of long-dead titters from the built in laughter track present to suggest it was supposed to be funny.

As such, within the first 2 and a half minutes of watching Coming of Age you will have already encountered anal slapstick, approximately eight side fringes, and one of the characters telling a gag about Richard Whiteley. The joke? The joke is that he is dead. That’s it. No, that’s it. Really. The show actually ran for three series and only came to an end this year. Which is a shame. Because the first episode was bad enough.

Coming of Age

Snog, Marry or Avoid?

As many of you will most likely have seen it – (I’m not being presumptuous here, you have ALL seen it, because you ALL have low self esteem, and you are ALL lonely) doesn’t it seem a bit odd that the whole premise of the program is an ex-Atomic Kitten member talking to a CGI purple machine called ‘Pod’ about the fact some girls are sluts and some aren’t? Did somebody take Louis Walsh’s dream notebook from his bedside table and use it to pitch ideas to the BBC until one stuck? Well in that case, fair enough.

Snog Marry Avoid

Kirsten’s Topless Ambition

Former SmART (I took a stab at the funky capitalizing, there) presenter Kristen O Brien – left – considers going topless for a magazine, coincidentally in front of a BBC camera crew.

Kristen proceeds on this mission by asking if people think she’s sexy (everybody says no), dancing for Peter Stringfellow (who does not get an erection) and having this HORRIFIC HAIR that was so chemically straight it may well have been lego. Now, is lego sexy?  I have not wanted to shake someone quite as violently since Fiona Phillips’ birth.

As the show progressed, Kirsten talked to other people who had taken their clothes off once, and donned some hot pants for absolutely no inexplicable reason. The end result – she did not decide to partake in a topless photo shoot, and has probably never been topless in her entire life.

My Topless Ambition

Danny Dyer: I Believe in UFOs

Don’t ask me. It is what it is.

If you have the energy.

Two Pints of Lager is cancelled after 10 years

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Sheridan Smith: made her name in Two Pints of Lager...

Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps has been cancelled. The BBC 3 sitcom – which helped to launch the career of Sheridan Smith – has been axed by bosses at the channel after a decade on air to give new writers a chance to pitch ideas, despite speculation a final series would be commissioned.

BBC 3’s Zai Bennett said: “BBC3 is all about giving new writers a chance to break into TV – it’s what we did with creator Susan Nickson and many of the other writers on the show. “It’s now time to give that chance to others.

“I want to thank the production team for creating a warm, cheeky and popular comedy.”

Speaking about the show’s decade long run, Susan joked: “I’ve had a fantastic time for the last 50 years but wholeheartedly believe it’s right for us all to move on.

“The crew, fans, actors and writers have become like family over the life of the show – in that I see them once a year and ask them for money.

“I’m thankful we brought such happiness to a lot of people and a lot of enjoyable rage to many others.”

Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model (BINTM) Episode 2 Review

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Photo: Ian West/PA Wire/Press Association Images

We’re one week late into the action of the catwalk for this year’s hunt for Britain’s next top model, but not like we’ve missed much. This year Ireland has been invited to join in on the fun as well! Every Monday at 9pm on Sky Living we can follow the team of judges as they eliminate the girls one by one until the prettiest/oddest looking/most catty/friendliest (we’re not quite sure what makes a good model) girl is left standing alone on the runway to be crowned winner of Britain & Ireland’s Next Top Model.

The judges are the same as last year and consist of Elle ‘The Body’ Macpherson, fashion designer Julien Macdonald, stylist Grace Woodward and model Charley Speed. New of this season, we’re having to sit through the auditions as the judges travel across Britain and Ireland in search of their next star. This actually makes for some really bad catwalk and ‘pulling on heartstrings’ moments, but becomes old soon… reeeeeally soon.

After watching Episode 2 of the show we can now tell you that BINTM is going to make you feel FAT, SHORT and OLD. But you already knew that didn’t you?

Best moment in this episode must be the lovely and oddly shy Charlotte who Julien found in Cardiff’s ‘Fantasy Lounge’, a venue that promises ‘the best erotic entertainment’ in Cardiff. She’s so shy that she’s never tried it out as a model before, yet she’s a lap dancer?! Errr…

If you’re wondering, Grace Woodward still has a pretty sharp tongue that can come across as rude – but we love her for her honesty! And what about Elle you say? She’s still gorgeous and her legs look longer than ever.

Next week the judges are off to Manchester and Dublin to hunt for more model material. We just have one request: Please can we just skip the auditions and get on with the competition.