Archive for the ‘Features’ 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.

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

Monday, February 4th, 2013

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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

 

Can animals talk to each other? Top 10 Natural History questions revealed by Eden HD

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Small - UKTV David Attenborough 10-05-12 0607Can animals understand and use language? What actually happened to the dinosaurs and why do cats purr? These intriguing questions  top a list of natural science mysteries which the British public would most like to see answered according to a new study released today. The survey of 2,000 British adults was commissioned to celebrate the launch of new TV show David Attenborough’s Natural Curiosities, screening every Tuesday 8pm on Eden HD.

The perennial conundrum of whether animals have a language proved the most popular mystery of natural science, with almost a third (31%) of those polled choosing this question as one of the questions they would most like to see answered. In second place was the answer to the age-old question  – why did dinosaurs become extinct (29%)? The top three is rounded off by the public’s desire to know why our feline friends purr (22%) – a question which remains unanswered despite the fact that Britain houses 10.3 million domestic cats!

Here is that Top Ten list in full.

1.       Do animals have language? – 31%

Scientists are still unsure. Animals can certainly communicate in sounds and gestures and trained to follow commands, but in terms of using this language between them there is no final answer. The vervet monkey alarm call in particular has led people to question ‘language’ in animals. It is thought that prairie dogs can in one chirp, distinguish the identity of the predator, its size and its direction of travel.

2.       How did dinosaurs die out? – 29% 

No one knows conclusively, but it’s suggested that the decline was due to volcanic eruptions affecting the world’s climate, combined with drastic falls in sea level. A huge asteroid struck the seabed near Mexico 65 million years ago which may have finally wiped out dinosaurs.

3.       Why do cats purr? – 22%

This is still up for debate. Although it is tempting to state that cats purr because they are happy, research suggests that for a cat purring is a means of communication and a potential source of self-healing

4.       Why does the zebra have stripes? – 19%

There are several theories, but no conclusive answers. Theories include: to confuse predators when they’re in a group; to keep away blood-sucking flies because the striped patterns reflect light; and that zebras use the stripes to recognize each other.

5.       How do animals navigate? – 17%

It’s been suggested that carrier pigeons and migrating birds all navigate using magnetic fields, in addition to visual references. This has been proved as a pigeon with a magnet strapped to itself will get completely and utterly lost! No one knows how the brain is able to sense magnetic fields, and as such no one knows whether humans also may be sensitive.

6.       How can dogs predict epileptic seizures in humans? – 16%david attenborough

There’s no conclusive answer to this remarkable ability. One popular theory is that a dog’s superior sense of smell helps to make a prediction, whilst others believe that dogs are more sensitive to body language so they can pick up on tiny changes in behaviour that occur prior to an epileptic seizure.

7.       Why did the giraffe develop such a long neck? – 14%

No one really knows – they don’t necessarily need it for eating food, so it’s been suggested that it’s used in males to club other males during the mating season or a combination of both.

8.       How do creatures survive at the bottom of the ocean? – 12%

Different animals that live deep in the oceans have come up with their own solutions to solve the problem of living in a dark, cold and high pressured environment.  Some of these adaptations are well understood others less so. One sea creature with amazing abilities still baffling scientists is the tardigrade which can reversibly suspend its metabolism enabling it to withstand the vacuum of space and temperatures from -273°C to 151°C.  As of yet, no one fully understands how these animals can reverse the suspension of their metabolism and come back to life

9.       How are oysters able to change sex?– 12%

Oyster’s reproductive organs contain both eggs and sperm- a successful reproductive strategy evolved to ensure the survival of the species; one oyster can produce an egg and then fertilise it or, change sex. The question of how however, is still not certain and further research is required to fully understand the process

10.   How does a bee buzz? – 8%

It used to be thought that the movement of the wings caused the sound. However the bees can buzz even when the wings are at rest. So it may be that the vibration of the muscles in the thorax that causes the buzzing sound, but this isn’t conclusive – and it may be a combination of both.

David Attenborough’s Natural Curiosities, Tuesdays at 8pm on Eden.

Review: Tom Daley’s Splash! ITV1. Omid Djalili’s dive saves the day

Monday, January 7th, 2013

Omid Djalili after completing his rather impressive dive from the 10m high board

Maybe it was seeing Tom Daley and a few B-list celebrities without many clothes on (I’m thinking the Sugababes girl and Benidorm actor here, rather than Helen Lederer or Omid Djalili)? Or maybe it was the fact that there really wasn’t much else on telly that night and it was a cold evening.

Whatever, it seems that Splash! really did make a Splash! in the ratings on Saturday, reaching over 6 million (sad?) people. Certainly it was as cheesy as hell. Right down there with the rest of ITV’s reality TV programmes. But in my opinion whatever brings the art of diving to a greater audience has to be a good thing.

For years councils up and down the land have been mercilessly ripping out diving boards at local pools for fear of being sued if someone lands on the boards on their head, so it’s about time that diving – one of the most technically complex and frightening of Olympic sports – began to fight back. The show is filmed at the brand spankingly new £26 million Inspire leisure centre in Luton, complete with Olympic sized swimming pool, and rarely has Luton looked this good on camera, thanks largely to some nice red lighting illuminating the boards.

Presented by Gabby Logan and Vernon Kay, who looked like an accountant who has just rolled his trousers up to go for a walk on the beach (those long shorts looked terrible), the show wasn’t without its moments, including Jo Brand’s judging commentary – the wittiest I’ve ever seen her. But if ex-Olympic diver Leon Taylor was supposed to be Simon Cowell (ie the bad guy on the panel) it didn’t really work.

Ultimately the problem with diving as a massive spectator sport is that it’s over in a few seconds. Really I think each of the divers needed to have at least a  couple of dives so there is a bit more to judge them on. Other than the dive off at the end following the cheesy elimination process of the rubbish divers (Helen Lederer being the worst by some distance) we only got to see them once. Perhaps it was because there simply wasn’t time to cram it all in alongside the inevitable emotionally heart wrenching back story about how the contestants were scared out of their wits by water/heights/diving etc.

Still, even if you hated the programme, it was undoubtedly worth watching for Omid Djalili’s performance alone. The actor/comedian is a big fella and when he said he was going off the top 10m board (the height of more than double decker buses) I feared the audience members might be in for a chloriney water soaked shower. Would it be like Peter Kay bombing into the pool in the John Smith’s ad or would it be a fat man embarrassingly belly flopping into the pool? Actually it was neither. It was a fairly decent dive – OK with a bit of over rotation – but better than anything I could do. The man clearly has guts. You can see it here: http://www.itv.com/news/update/2013-01-05/see-comedian-omid-djalilis-winning-splash-dive/.

You can see the divers who took part in Saturday’s episode below:

Splash! with Tom Daley

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Olympic diver Tom Daley is the mentor for the celeb divers

 

 

 

 

Come Dive With Me! Tom Daley puts celebrities through their paces in Splash!

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Splash! with Tom Daley

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Olympic diver Tom Daley is the mentor for the celeb divers

ALL PICTURES: ITV

It’s been hyped to death, but I am genuinely interested in seeing Splash! this weekend – though they really should have called the programme Come Dive With Me (maybe legal issues prevented it). Featuring Olympic diver and all round pretty boy Tom Daley as mentor, it stars fifteen celebrities, all of whom will try and master the art of diving off the boards. One of the most difficult Olympic disciplines, diving is one of the few sports that is genuinely terrifying (even Daley himself admits that he gets scared every time he dives so heaven knows what the molly coddles slebs will be feeling).

Hosting the show will be Vernon Kay and Gabby Logan. Says Kay: “I’m looking forward to bantering with anyone in Speedos!” while Gabby Logan adds, rather more intelligently: “It’s fascinating to watch people try to overcome the fear factor. Watching people climb up the stairs and decide which board to dive from is one of the most exciting moments of the whole programme.”

Celebrities in the first episode include Sugababes singer Jade Ewen, TV Presenter Jennie Falconer and best of all comedian Omid Djalili. I don’t want to sound mean but I’m kind of expecting him to do a Peter Kaye type ‘bomb’ off the high board like the John Smith’s advert. But then maybe he will surprise us all!

Here’s the full line celeb line up:

Show 1

  • Jake Canuso, actor
  • Omid Djalili, comedian
  • Jade Ewen, Sugababes singer
  • Jennie Falconer, TV presenter
  • Helen Lederer, comedian

Show 2

  • Caprice, model
  • Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards, ski jumper
  • Joey Essex, TOWIE
  • Diarmuid Gavin, TV gardener
  • Charlotte Jackson, Sky Sports presenter

Show 3

  • Linda Barker, TV designer
  • Dom Joly, comedian
  • Tina Malone, actress
  • Jennifer Metcalfe, actress
  • Anthony Ogogo, Olympic boxer

Splash! Saturday January 5, ITV1,  7.15pm

End of the world as we know it. But I’ll just sit and watch Corrie!

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

It seems frankly amazing to me, but according to research carried out by digital TV solution YouView over 1 in 10 of us would spend our last half an hour on planet Earth watching Coronation Street.

Apparently, should the world end tomorrow – as predicted by the Mayan Calendar – 11 per cent of us would rather spend our final moments on the sofa watching Corrie than doing something, let’s say, more physical with a loved one/passing stranger.

Other shows that we would choose to watch in the final moments include Dr Who (9%), Downton Abbey (9%), Homeland (8%) and Eastenders (7%).

Surprisingly very few would turn to their TV for some light-relief during their last hours on Earth, with no comedy programmes featuring in the top five at all.

Classic comedy Dad’s Army was the first to make an appearance in joint sixth place alongside Gavin and Stacey, with one in 20 (5%) of the 2,000 respondents surveyed looking for laughs in their last hours.

It may come as little shock to some that reality shows The Only Way Is Essex and Made in Chelsea failed to make it into the top ten at all, although together they were still the preferred pick for 3% of the nation.


For more information visit: http://www.youview.com

The 10 Best Musical Moments On TV

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Forget the X Factor, forget the Brit Awards, forget Top Of The Pops (what do you mean, you have already?) – when it comes to great, memorable musical moment s on your tellybox all of them come from non-musical shows.

Supposed ‘musical programming’ is all well an good but it’s the times when the music surprises you, makes you laugh or moves us that really stick in the mind. Don’t believe us? check this list…

The Simpsons – monorail song

Morecambe and Wise – Andrew Preview

The Office – David Brent’s dance

Our friends in the north – Don’t Look Back In Anger

The Royle Family – Mambo no. 5

Alan Partridge – Nobody Does It Better

Monty Python – The Lumberjack Song

The Muppets – Mannah, mannah

Les Dawson plays the piano

Adler and Perlman perform Summertime on Parkinson

The 10 best Christmas TV adverts

Monday, November 19th, 2012

‘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?

A Beginner’s Guide To Helen Flanagan – All you need to know about the jungle babe

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

She may be currently ‘wowing’ the nation by wearing a series of very revealing bikinis and crying at the sight of anything that comes within 10 feet of her, but Helen Flanagan did, in fact, have a life before joining I’m A Celebrity Get me Out Of Here. Not a very varied one, but a life just the same.

 

Helen was born in 1989 in Bury and went to school until she was 10 years old. She then joined Coronation Street (in 2000) and continued to go to school while playing Kevin and Sally Webster’s daughter Rosie.

 

Rosie, you may remember, had been born in a taxi on Christmas Day. Helen was not, as far as we can ascertain, born in a taxi. But she might have been. We can’t rule it in or out, to be honest.

 

Nothing much then happened to Rosie (or Helen) for a few years until she suddenly turned into a schoolgirl minx and started seducing her teacher John Stape (this is Rosie now, not Helen. Again, as far as we know). Then, almost overnight, Rosie turned into complete flibbertigibbet. The producers seemed to take any opportunity to include scenes where Rosie needed to appear wearing just her underwear, she started trying to pull all the men in Weatherfield, wearing very skimpy outfits and behaving, generally, like a bit of a gold-digging slapper.

 

Helen, meanwhile, started dating footballer Scott Sinclair.

 

After Helen took a 3-month break from the soap in 2011 life started to imitate ‘art’ as Rosie was a fairly unsuccessful model in the show and Helen decided to quit Corrie to become a sort-of unsuccessful model. She has dedicate the last few months of her life to a couple of fairly low profile modelling jobs that involved her wearing very few clothes and tweeting pictures of herself wearing very few clothes.

 

And now she has returned to our screens! Wearing very few clothes and squawking. Welcome back, Helen!

 

 

Coronation Street’s Jack Duckworth dies. RIP Bill Tarmey

Friday, November 9th, 2012

One of Corrie’s greatest stars, the man who played Jack Duckworth for more than 30 years, Bill Tarmey has passed away.

Bill left the soap in 2010 to spend more time with his family after suffering with heart problems for many years. Details of his death are not yet available.

Bill Tarmey joined Corrie after a career as a singer and acting extra. Brow-beaten Jack and his battle-axe wife Vera swiftly became one of the greatest double acts in soap and beloved by the nation. The constant battles they had with wayward son Terry and combative yet loving relationship they shared ensured they stayed at the heart of the show right up until Liz Dawn, who played Vera, left in 2008. Bill stayed with the show for a couple of years after but Jack was killed off and he retired.

Goodbye, Bill. Creator of one of the funniest, most touching and universally-loved characters that British TV has seen.

 

Jack and Vera

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You can see the final touching scenes from Coronation Street when Jack Duckworth passes away below:

 

Felix Baumgartner breaks sound barrier and most YouTube live streams ever

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Regardless of what you think about the ridiculously named Felix Baumgartner (translates as tree gardener apparently) crazy stunt, there’s no denying the guy has got some balls doing what he did.

Jumping out a balloon-powered space capsule from 128,000 feet, spinning apparently out of control for part of the plunge – yet still not passing out or screaming for your Mum – is a truly incredible feat. Personally I get a bit giddy on top of a kids’ rollercoaster so I can’t imagine what free falling at Mach 1.24 (833 miles per hour) at temperatures of -68 degrees centigrade must feel like. All on the 65th anniversary of Chuck Yeagar breaking the sound barrier for the first time – though of course he did in a plane, the wimp.

Apparently Baumgartner, his sponsor Red Bull and YouTube have set another record too. During last night’s stunt there were more than two million concurrent livestreams of the event going out around the world. The previous record for a single web video service was around 500,000 concurrent streams, which Google served up during the Olympics this summer.

You can see the whole thing here:

And you can see highlights here:


(By the way rumours of RyanAir’s Michael O’Leary introducing parachute drop offs from aircraft as a way of saving on landing fees are completely unfounded)

For more information on the world record breaking jump go here.

X-Factor for geeks? Simon Cowell and Will.i.am discuss TV hunt for tech entrepreneurs

Monday, October 1st, 2012

XFactor-tech.jpgNews has been spreading like wildfire across the internet this morning that super knowledgeable tech experts (and fame whores) Simon Cowell and Will.i.am are soon to be launching the hunt for the next big name in the industry to rival the likes of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. Yep, we have no words either.

According to The Telegraph today, at a recent event in London Will.i.am of Black Eyed Peas and stupid hat and glasses fame, revealed that he would be teaming up with Cowell to start a new tech-based endeavour:

“We’re working on a project called X Factor for tech — and it’s going to be out of this world.

“Singing and performance create a couple of jobs. But this will create lots.

“It’s about getting in touch with youth and giving them a platform to express themselves — whether that’s in science or mathematics.”

OK so it sounds fairly positive in theory if Will.i.am’s jumbled and vague explanation is anything to go by and it’ll be a great move if it gets “in touch with youth” about tech. Whatever that actually means.

We also imagine it’d be super entertaining, like some kind of X Factor, Dragon’s Den, Apprentice and hopefully even Battle Royale hybrid.

But on the other hand it all just seems far too contrived. But what else were you expecting from a member of The Black Eyed Peas and the big S-Co?

Via Shiny Shiny

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

Comedian Eric Sykes RIP. 1923-2012

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

Eric Sykes, who had died today (4/7/2012), collecting his CBE from the Queen in 2005

Eric Sykes died today aged 89 after a short illness, his manager Norma Farnes said.

One of the most endearing and popular comic actors of his generation, Sykes was still appearing on the West End stage into his 80s, even though he became almost totally deaf and nearly blind.

Sykes found fame in a series of TV sitcoms from the 1950s, including Sykes And A… alongside Carry On star Hattie Jacques.

Sir Bruce Forsyth paid tribute to the star, calling him “one of the greats of comedy in this country”.

“He was universally loved here,” the entertainer continued. “He was just one of the funniest men ever.”

Comedian Stephen Fry wrote on Twitter: “Oh no! Eric Sykes gone? An adorable, brilliant, modest, hilarious, innovative and irreplaceable comic master. Farewell, dear, dear man.”

Actor Bernard Cribbins, who starred in two of Sykes’ comedy shorts, The Plank (1979) and It’s Your Move (1969), also paid tribute: “I just wish him a lot of rest up there with all the other comics, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe. They will all be up there, having a laugh together.”

Sykes’ film credits include Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire (2005) and Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines (1965). He was also a novelist, director and producer.

Here he is being interviewed by Des O’Connor:

Image: Andrew Parsons/PA Wire

Britain’s Got Talent 2012 Final: Pudsey voted top dog

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

Britain's Got Talent 2012: Ashleigh and Pudsey

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Always thought something a little bit different was going to win BGT this year and am not at all surprised it was the dog. I think people are a bit bored of karaoke acts and genuinely want to see original and interesting talent.

And while I would have loved the synchronised swimmers Aquabatique to have scooped first prize (original and truly difficult to perform) I’m not at all surprised it was Pudsey who proved to be the competition’s top dog. With a whopping half a million quid prize money that’s an awful lot of Pedigree Chum!

Obviously there is no getting away from the fact that dogs are cute and this one especially, but there was something about his owner Ashleigh and her genuine warmth and love for Pudsey that shone through. Tonight’s Mission Impossible, or should that be im-pawsible, routine, was inspired though Jonathan and Charlotte – the opera singers – proved to be worthy runners’ up. What a transformation from those two both in terms of looks and performance since the audition when she seemed to be little more than a prop for his talent.

As for the rest, I really liked The Lovable Rogues who also performed their own stuff, sounding a bit like Rizzle Kicks meets Plan B with a bit of Madness thrown in (though not quite as much as the judges kept going on about). Ryan O’Shaughnessy showed he had original talent with his own songs too – though his James Taylor inspired style wasn’t really to my liking.

All in all I thought this year’s BGT was pretty good viewing. David Walliams, in particular, gave the show a camp humour which made it seem less up its own arse than previous overblown Americanised Simon Cowell productions. Walliams’ performance with The Show Bears was typical and the way he pretended to fawn over ‘My Simon’ was reminiscent of the Little Britain Prime Minister sketches with Anthony Head.

Even Cowell seemed to get into the show this year (especially Ashleigh and Pudsey), though his comments at the end seemed to suggest that BGT had run its course. Surely not? Or maybe it has on ITV and he is planning to move it to the Beeb as reported.

My only criticism is that the early stages seemed pretty rushed with you only getting very quick bursts of the acts. Still there are only so many acts like the man doing Dalek impressions with a saucepan on his head you can put up with at any one time. And it was much better than last year which was won by the instantly forgettable Jai McDowall. Who?

Will and Kate beat Jonny’s drop goal to win TV’s most uplifting moment

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Will and Kate’s balcony kiss from the 2011 Royal Wedding has topped a poll of the most uplifting British TV moments from the last ten years.

In research released today to celebrate ten years of Freeview, the landmark moment topped the poll, narrowly ahead of Jonny Wilkinson’s World Cup winning drop-goal in 2003.

Other notable moments in the Top 20 list included Susan Boyle’s first appearance in Britain’s Got Talent in 2009 (7th), Tim and Dawn’s “kiss” in the final episode of the office in 2003 (9th), and Freddie Flintoff’s moment of true sportsmanship, when he consoled Brett Lee at the end of the Edgbaston test match during the epic Ashes series of 2005 (10th).

Britain’s Got Talent, which is currently doing battle in the ratings with The Voice, received a boost as it was voted the UK’s favourite TV programme of the last ten years ahead of Doctor Who, while – strangely – Emmerdale topped the list of soaps, finishing ahead of Coronation Street and EastEnders.

The research also gauged peoples’ views of British television; a fifth of Brits believe that British TV has never been better.  And nearly four out of ten of those over the age of 45 believe that British TV is currently the best in the world (39%), compared to a third of adults overall.

Despite technical innovation in TV over the last ten years, the pull of the major TV event still appeals to viewers. Nearly three out of ten people like to watch programmes live, at the time of broadcast.

The research coincides with the launch of  Freeview’s new online game show, The Generosity Game, featuring Jon Culshaw. Viewers can play the game at www.freeview.co.uk.

OnePoll conducted the research in April 2012, polling 2,000 adults across the UK.

Top 20 Uplifting TV Moments:

1.       Royal Wedding: Will and Kate’s balcony kiss (2011)

2.       Rugby World Cup:  Jonny Wilkinson’s winning drop-goal (2003)

3.       Only Fools and Horses: Delboy and Rodney bring an illegal immigrant home (2002)

4.       I’m a Celebrity: Jordan and Pete get together (2004)

5.       EastEnders:  Alfie comes back for Kat (2005)

6.       Champions League Final: Liverpool’s comeback (2005)

7.       Britain’s Got Talent: Susan Boyle’s audition (2009)

8.       Planet Earth: Emperor Penguins end of winter scene (2006)

9.       The Office: Tim and Dawn’s kiss in the final episode(2003)

10.   The Ashes:  Freddie Flintoff consoles Brett Lee (2005)

11.   Doctor Who: Rose defeats the daleks (2005)

12.   Vicar of Dibley:  Puddle scene (2006)

13.   Gavin and Stacey: Smithy crashes Nessa’s wedding (2010)

14.   Sport Relief: David Walliams swims the River Thames (2012)

15.   Top Gear: James and Richard convert a Reliant Robin into a space shuttle (2007)

16.   Olympics: Kelly Holmes wins gold in the 800m (2008)

17.   The Apprentice: Good guy Tom wins after being in the losing team (2011)

18.   Downton Abbey: When Lady Mary and Matthew get together (2011)

19.   Formula 1: Lewis Hamilton winning the World Championship (2008)

20.   Comic Relief:  Robert Webb on Let’s Dance (2009)

British Soap Awards 2012: Michelle Keegan and Brooke Vincent pictures

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Anna Shaffer

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Anna Shaffer arriving for the 2012 British Soap Awards at ITV London Studios, South Bank, London.

ALL IMAGES: PRESS ASSOCIATION

The Corrie and Hollyoaks leading ladies stole the style show at this years British Soap Awards.

Doing it for the cobbles were Michelle Keegan, who went for a stunning midnight blue long backless frock, while Brooke Vincent also followed the backless trend in a purple plunge neck number.

Samia Smith kept it safe, yet stylish, in a simple black frock.

Over in the ‘Oaks camp Jennifer Metcalfe showed off her curves in a turquoise long bodycon frock, while Claire Cooper went for a slinky silver number. Anna Shaffer also stood out in a red vintage lace short frock.

Flying the fashion flag for Eastenders was Preeya Kalidas who went for a racey red strapless frock with empire line styling and Shona McGarty kept it simple in a black frock.

Making a special appearance was Emma Bunton who also kept it simple in a black batwing dress.

See the winners of the British Soap Awards below (via Digital Spy)

SEXIEST FEMALE (Last year’s winner was Michelle Keegan, Coronation Street)

Coronation Street: Michelle Keegan (Tina McIntyre) – WINNER
EastEnders: Jacqueline Jossa (Lauren Branning)
EastEnders: Preeya Kalidas (Amira Masood)
Hollyoaks: Jorgie Porter (Theresa McQueen)

SEXIEST MALE (Last year’s winner was Scott Maslen, EastEnders)
Coronation Street: Chris Fountain (Tommy Duckworth)
EastEnders: Scott Maslen (Jack Branning) – WINNER
Emmerdale: Matthew Wolfenden (David Metcalfe)
Hollyoaks: Danny Mac (Dodger Savage)

VILLAIN OF THE YEAR (Last year’s winner was Emmett Scanlan, Hollyoaks)

Coronation Street: Andrew Lancel (Frank Foster) – WINNER
EastEnders: Ace Bhatti (Yusef Khan)
EastEnders: Joshua Pascoe (Ben Mitchell)
Hollyoaks: Jeff Rawle (Silas Blissett)

BEST ACTOR (Last year’s winner was Danny Miller, Emmerdale)
Coronation Street: Chris Gascoyne (Peter Barlow)
EastEnders: Shane Richie (Alfie Moon)
Emmerdale: Danny Miller (Aaron Livesy) – WINNER
Hollyoaks: Emmett Scanlan (Brendan Brady)

BEST ACTRESS (Last year’s winner was Jessie Wallace, EastEnders)
Coronation Street: Alison King (Carla Connor) – WINNER
EastEnders: Jo Joyner (Tanya Jessop)
EastEnders: Nina Wadia (Zainab Masood)
Hollyoaks: Karen Hassan (Lynsey Nolan)

BEST BRITISH SOAP (Last year’s winner was EastEnders)
Coronation Street
Doctors
EastEnders – WINNER
Emmerdale
Hollyoaks

Panel-voted categories:

BEST COMEDY PERFORMANCE (Last year’s winner was Patti Clare, Coronation Street)
Coronation Street: Stephanie Cole (Sylvia Goodwin) – WINNER
Doctors: Jan Pearson (Karen Hollins)
EastEnders: Tameka Empson (Kim Fox)
Hollyoaks: Joe Tracini (Dennis Savage)

BEST YOUNG PERFORMANCE (Last year’s winner was Alexander Bain, Coronation Street)
Coronation Street: Alexander Bain (Simon Barlow)
Doctors: Charlie Kenyon (Cameron Waterhouse)
EastEnders: Lorna Fitzgerald (Abi Branning) – WINNER
Emmerdale: Eden Taylor-Draper (Belle Dingle)

SPECTACULAR SCENE OF THE YEAR (Last year’s winner was The Tram Crash, Coronation Street)
Coronation Street: Carla’s car crash
EastEnders: Fire at the B&B
Emmerdale: John and Moira’s car accident – WINNER
Hollyoaks: Rae’s murder

BEST ON-SCREEN PARTNERSHIP (Last year’s winners were Shane Richie and Jessie Wallace, EastEnders)
Doctors: Matthew Chambers and Elisabeth Dermot-Walsh (Daniel Granger and Zara Carmichael)
EastEnders: Jake Wood and Jo Joyner (Max Branning and Tanya Jessop) – WINNER
Emmerdale: Jeff Hordley and Emma Atkins (Cain Dingle and Charity Sharma)
Hollyoaks: Ashley Taylor Dawson and Jessica Fox (Darren and Nancy Osborne)

BEST NEWCOMER (Last year’s winner was Emmett Scanlan, Hollyoaks)
Coronation Street: Natalie Gumede (Kirsty Soames) – WINNER
Doctors: Lu Corfield (Freya Wilson)
EastEnders: Jamie Foreman (Derek Branning)
Emmerdale: Gemma Oaten (Rachel Breckle)

BEST EXIT (Last year’s winner was Bill Tarmey, Coronation Street)
Coronation Street: Katherine Kelly (Becky McDonald) – WINNER
EastEnders: Pam St Clement (Pat Evans)
Emmerdale: James Thornton (John Barton)
Hollyoaks: Kim Tiddy (Heidi Costello)

BEST DRAMATIC PERFORMANCE (Last year’s winner was Jane Danson, Coronation Street)
Coronation Street: Alison King (Carla Connor)
Doctors: Owen Brenman (Heston Carter)
EastEnders: Jo Joyner (Tanya Jessop) – WINNER
Emmerdale: Jeff Hordley (Cain Dingle)

BEST STORYLINE (Last year’s winner was End of the line for the Websters and Dobbs, Coronation Street)
Coronation Street: Carla’s ordeal
Doctors: Lauren’s murder
EastEnders: The Brannings deal with Tanya’s cancer diagnosis
Emmerdale: Jackson’s choice – WINNER

BEST SINGLE EPISODE (Last year’s winner was Coronation Street Live)
Coronation Street: Becky’s Final Farewell – WINNER
Doctors: ‘Last Words’
EastEnders: Pat: The End of an Era
Emmerdale: The Longest Day

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD (Last year’s winner was Bill Tarmey, Coronation Street)
Pam St Clement (EastEnders) – WINNER

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD (Last year’s winner was Gavin Blyth, Emmerdale)
Simon Ashdown (EastEnders) – WINNER

You can see the British Soap Awards on ITV1, Wednesday May 2nd.

Arrested Development Season 4 to come Netflix all at once

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

key_art_arrested_development.jpgThe long-awaited fourth season of US sitcom Arrested Development will be released in its entirety by Netflix upon release, the streaming giant has confirmed.

Rather than drip feed the ten new episodes week by week, Netflix subscribers will be able to watch the latest misadventures of the Bluth family all at once when the show returns in 2013 after a six-year absence.

Netflix inked an exclusive deal for the show back in November, with their plan to offer all ten episodes at once clearly setting themselves apart from rivals like cable TV and the US streaming service from HBO.

The move follows the Netflix-only release of their original show Lillyhammer, starring Sopranos actor Steven Van Zandt, which was also released in its entirety in the US back in February. Lillyhammer will hit UK shows after completing a run with the BBC first.

Hopefully when Arrested Development lands, we’ll get it at the exact same time as our pals across the pond. Here’s a compilation clip from one of our favourite episodes to whet your appetite:

Corrie copycat killer gets 16 years for killing Mum. But are violent soaps to blame?

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

Daniel Bartlam.jpgThe young teenager who battered his mother to death with a hammer after being inspired by fictional character John Stape has been locked up for at least 16 years. But is TV really to blame?

Obsessed with the soap’s serial killer, teenager Daniel Bartlam – pictured right – bludgeoned his own mother seven times with a claw hammer at their home on Easter Monday last year before pouring petrol all over her bedroom and setting it alight. Her body was so badly burnt that she had to be identified by dental records. Nice boy.

Apparently a montage of violent scenes from various soaps was found in Bartram’s house including scenes from Coronation Street, Hollyoaks and Emmerdale.

Despite being referred to a councellor over an incident in 2010, in which he shouted at a tie and said it was trying to hurt him, a mental health assessment six weeks before the murder concluded Bartlam demonstrated ‘no mental illness’ and was of little or no risk to himself or others. How wrong could they be?

So is TV making teenagers more violent? Well you won’t be surprised to hear there is a debate going on over at the Daily Mail website. Our view? That soaps are getting more violent but they hardly make someone a killer. Unfortunately it seems this teenager was mentally ill and the authorities failed to diagnose it in time to save his poor Mum, Jacqueline Bartlam.

Q&A with Vince Gilligan as Breaking Bad season 3 hits the UK

Friday, March 30th, 2012

breaking-bad

Despite the fact US audiences have already seen seasons one, two, three AND four of cult TV show Breaking Bad, audiences in the UK haven’t been quite so lucky. Until now. This weekend the first three seasons will be available from the online streaming service and to celebrate we had the chance to interview the show’s creator, Vince Gilligan.

For those not in the know, Breaking Bad is a US TV show that’s received widespread critical acclaim and follows the tense story of Walter White, a high school teacher who after being diagnosed with lung cancer turns to a life of crime.

We sat down with Vince Gilligan to find out more about the show, Walter’s character and how it all might end…

Can audiences still sympathise with Walter?

Although the whole Breaking Bad cast is outstanding, a large part of our conversation with Gilligan was about Walter White, a truly fascinating character played by the very talented Bryan Cranston.

Gilligan explained that from the start Breaking Bad has been “a story about both change and transformation” and how Walt’s moral dilemmas and decisions shape the character he becomes.

One of the main things we wanted to know about Walt is whether Gilligan feels the audience will still be able to identify with him as he gradually becomes darker and darker. Gilligan said, “Oh, he’s definitely a Jekyll and Hyde kind of character.” However, he believes that because the audience has empathised with him so much from the start, they’re now being taken along on his journey and continue to root for him as his choices become even more questionable. He doesn’t think there’s a problem with that though, “as long as he remains interesting and his decision making process remains relatable” he said.

Who’s your favourite character?

Gilligan spoke in great depth about the supporting characters too and admitted that he LOVES Saul Goodman because he finds he’s one of the most genuine characters on the show, “he’s the only one who has made peace with who he is […] I’d love to see a spin-off, the Saul Goodman show!” He also said that Gustavo Fring is “one of the most interesting bad guys” he’s ever come across and there’s some fascinating Fring back story to come…

Have you decided on an ending?

Unfortunately all good things must come to an end, and although we’ll be sad when it does, we’d hate to see Breaking Bad just fizzle out slowly.

When asked about the ending of the show, Gilligan admitted he’s got a lot of ideas floating around and has some “big hopes and dreams for the main characters”.

According to Gilligan, the writers have been toying with ideas about how the show will end for months now. Although they all have a “pretty good idea” about what’ll happen, it’s still not set in stone despite the fact season 5 has begun filming, which is pretty exciting if you ask us.

Which other TV shows do you rate?

Gilligan was keen to talk about his love for TV, particularly the talent over here in the UK, “there’s so much British television I love”, he admitted, “The Office is one of the best pieces of television ever made.”

Season 3 of Breaking Bad will be launching exclusively on Netflix from the 1st of April and the first two seasons will also be available for those who are a bit behind and need to catch up.

[Image via Press Association]