Archive for the ‘Features’ Category

Rosie-Tinted spectacles: Coronation Street’s Helen Flanagan goes to Specsavers

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Corrie's Helen Flanagan goes to Specsavers

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In a very 60s outfit!

By Dave Lee

Ex-Corrie actress Helen Flanagan (who played street ‘sex bomb’ Rosie Webster until February this year) has landed her first post-Weatherfield gig – for Specsavers.

The glasses company has released a set of pictures showing Helen modelling their specs in a variety of poses to help launch their Spectacle Wearer of the Year competition.

Specsavers apparently want to find ‘ordinary people who look extraordinary in their glasses’. Helen, who has worn glasses since she was 9, said: “I first realised I needed to wear glasses when I couldn’t see the whiteboard at school. I was delighted as I was always nagging my mum to get me a pair. I love trying out new looks with my glasses, they bring out a different side to me.”

Ex Corrie star Helen Flanagan in Christine Keeler pose

She added: “I love doing photoshoots, it’s probably the only thing I had in common with Rosie, we are both really girly and like modelling. I really enjoyed the 1960s-themed shoot for this campaign. I wore lots of different wigs which made me wish I had long hair again! But the best thing about this campaign is that it supports anti-bullying charity, Kidscape. Anything that helps stamp out bullying of any kind, especially if it’s for wearing glasses, is a great thing.”

The founder of Specsavers, Dame Mary Perkins, had this to say: “Helen is the perfect ambassador for us, she’s young, fun and uses her glasses to completely transform her look. She is the ideal role model for all young specs wearers out there.”

The competition is open to anyone over the age of 16 and there are a variety of prizes on offer including a one year modelling contract.

For more information on the competition go to






It’s reality TV war as Britain’s Got Talent takes on The Voice in ITV/BBC battle

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Singer Jessie J: one of the judges on the BBC's The Voice

So the gloves are off this weekend as a new series of Britain’s Got Talent goes head to head with the Beeb’s latest reality TV show, The Voice – in which the deal is you get to hear the singers without actually seeing what they look like.

Yesterday saw the official launch of a new series of Britain’s Got Talent which marks the return of music supremo Simon Cowell to the UK as well as a new judging panel, including comedian and swimmer David Walliams and singer Alesha Dixon – poached of course from the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing.

Word on the street is that Britain’s Got Talent is a little slicker than before and the acts – at least from the first episode – are a little less ‘out there’ (which sounds a bit of a shame as I liked the more bizarre ones).

Speaking at yesterday’s BGT launch,  Cowell claimed that he is ready for a battle with the BBC and denied accusations that he wanted Tom Jones – one of The Voice’s judging panel – to work for him.

“I think [The Voice] have got themselves in a mess,” said Cowell. “They need to get their sense of humour back.

“I read one thing today and I want to clear the record up. It was intimated that Tom Jones had been offered a role on one of my shows.

“I met the guy once in Vegas and I think the show he must have been talking about was Opportunity Knocks. It wasn’t one of my shows. He might have got the names confused.”

He added: “They are winding this up to be a big battle, but it’s not. The shows go out at the same time and the better one wins.

The Voice airs on BBC1, 7pm and Britain’s Got Talent starts ITV1, 8pm

Britain's Got Talent 2012

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Alesha Dixon arriving at the press launch for Britains Got Talent at The BFI in London.

STUDY: Over one third of Brits don’t watch live TV

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

By Becca Caddy

smiling-tv.jpgAhh, remember when you were a kid, sat at home with your family watching The Generation Game just because that’s all that was on? We just all seemed to accept the fact TV was rubbish and cheesy, didn’t we? Well now we have SO much choice, with thousands of channels, on-demand services, streaming sites and all the box sets we could ever ask for that we don’t really tend to watch that much live TV much anymore. Well, expect Take Me Out of course.

Although most of us already know this to be the case, as we watch boxset after boxset and sell our souls to Netflix, a new study has revealed that a huge third of Brits no longer really watch live TV AT ALL.

The research commissioned by has found that 36% of people in the UK don’t tend to tune into live TV. It seems technological advances are responsible for the sad (yet inevitable) demise of the TV set, as most of those who admitted to not watching live TV instead rely on the likes of BBC’s iPlayer or Channel 4’s 4OD, as well as services offered by media providers like Sky and Virgin that allow users to pause, record and rewind live television.

It seems our attitude to the latest, must-see episodes has changed too, we’re not all tuning in at the same time as soon as our favourite shows air, 36% of Brits said they don’t watch programmes when they’re first on TV and 74% said instead they catch up with everything they want to watch at the weekend.

Interestingly, 2% also admitted to not owning a television. But, given how much you can watch on your computer nowadays, we imagine this will become the case more and more in the future.

1,763 people aged 18 and over from across the UK were polled in the survey by

[Image via Robert Couse Baker]

Interview: Holly Cocker, Director, My Birthday Shook The World

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Film maker Holly Cocker interviewed five children all born on September 11th, 2001

In New Jersey, Anish tells the remarkable story of how his unexpected early birth saved his Uncle’s life because, rather than going to work in the Twin Towers in New York, his Uncle decided to visit his new nephew in hospital.

While over in Montana, Johnny has been given the daunting task of writing a poem to read at a memorial in his hometown.

We talk to Holly Cocker, Director of My Birthday Shook The World, which follows five US children who were all born on 9/11. It airs tomorrow (March 21st) on BBC1, 4.30pm.

How did you get the idea for the documentary?
I heard about the Arizona shootings (in which Gabrielle Giffords, Member of Congress was shot) and the tragic death of Christina Taylor-Green. She was born on September 11th, 2001 so it got me thinking about what the other kids who were born on that day were up to.

Did the kids have anything in common?
They all feel a weight of responsibility being born on that day. Their parents saw it as such as an awful event and their births on such a tragic day are viewed as a blessing.

How do they celebrate their birthdays?
None of the children celebrate on their actual birthdays.  It’s not that it’s frowned upon, it’s just that they choose not to. Instead they take part in memorial events – for example one boy reads some poetry and one girl rings a fireman’s bell for every victim of the tragedy.

Do you think the same kind of memorial would take part in the UK?
No I think it is entirely different here. I think it’s because Americans are so much more patriotic that the tragic events are marked in this way. It was a bit like delving into another world.

Did you have a big film crew around you when you were filming the children?
No, it was just me which was great because it meant I could really bond with the children, playing with them and being their friend. I went out there last May and then back out in September visiting their homes in New Jersey, Kansas, North Carolina and Montana. 

So what’s next?
I had a kidney transplant a few years ago and I’m actually sailing around America from San Francisco to New York for a few months to raise awareness for organ donation.


My Birthday Shook The World, BBC1, March 21st, 4.30pm


Paddington Bear voted Britain’s best animated character of all time at British Animation Awards

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Paddington Bear and his creator Michael Bond. The bear has been named the nation's favourite animated character. Image: PA

Paddington Bear has been voted Britain’s best animated character of all time. The cuddly bear from darkest Peru beat a shortlist of other distinguished characters including Super Ted, Aleksandr Meerkat and Wallace and Gromit to the title.

The announcement was made at the ninth British Animation Awards which took place in London. Other winners included The Gruffalo, Aardman Animations and Harry Potter. The Tale of the Three Brothers, part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, picked up the award for best animated sequence in a film.

Gorillaz, the animated band fronted by Blur frontman Damon Albarn, took home one of the public choice awards for best video for their track Stylo. Bertie Crisp by Francesca Adams – voiced by Kathy Burke, Tamsin Greig and Mark Benton – won in the best short film category.

Votes for the public awards were cast at more than 20 screenings across the UK.

Paddington Bear was created by former BBC cameraman Michael Bond, and his first book was published in 1958. The popular stories were first made into an animated TV series in 1975 and have been reimagined a number of times.

The Paddington books have sold more than 35 million copies around the world and have been translated into more than 40 languages.

Below you can see the first Paddington Bear episode on TV from 1975:

Dirk Gently: Ahead of tonight’s return here’s 5 things you need to know about Stephen Mangan

Monday, March 5th, 2012

It’s been over a year since the pilot of Dirk Gently was screened by the BBC but the first series proper starts tonight on BBC4. Advance word is extremely positive, with Stephen Mangan (who plays Douglas Adams’ ‘holistic’ detective for the 3 episode run) apparently turning a terrific comic performance.Stephen Mangan
For those of you wondering ‘Stepen Mangan? Is he the one who looks like the donkey out of Shrek and was in that hospital thing?’, here’s a run down of 5 top Mangan-facts.
1) His first substantial role was as Adrian Mole in the 2001 series Adrian Mole – The Cappuccino Years. Sadly, it wasn’t very good.

2) He played Dr. Guy Secretan in the critically-acclaimed Channel 4 series Green Wing. The show ran for 2 series and a special and won significant praise and several awards. It also lead to Mangan forming a kind of ‘advert double act’ with co-star Julian Rhind-Tutt as they went on to make a series of ads for Barclaycard in which they played characters very similar to those in the show.

3) Mangan won Celebrity Mastermind, scoring 15 of his 29 points for specialist subject The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, which was written by Douglas Adams, coincidentally also the author of Dirk Gently.

4) In 2002, he became the only man to ever try and seduce Alan Partridge onscreen when his character Dan ‘DAN! DAN! DAN! DAN! DAN! DAN!’ Moody attempted to involve Alan in a swinging session with him and his wife.

5) Mangan was reunited with Green Wing sitcom co-star Tamsin Greig for sitcom Episodes, about a pair of British sitcom writers transferring their hit sitcom to the US. The programme also featured ex-Friends sitcom star Matt LeBlanc, who played a US sitcom star. Give us a minute and we might be able to get the word ‘sitcom’ into this paragraph a couple more times.

That’s it for now, factwise. Dirk Gently starts tonight on BBC4 at 9PM.

RIP Davy Jones. Star of Coronation Street (and the Monkees) dies, aged 66

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Most people knew Davy Jones as the ‘Daydream Believer’-singing member of the 60’s pop act The Monkees, but the star who passed away yesterday aged 66 began his career with a small part in Coronation Street.

davy jones.jpg

Jones was born in Manchester and played Ena Sharples grandson Colin Lomax for a short period.

After a stint training as a jockey in Newmarket, he landed his big acting break thanks to his boyish features and diminutive stature, playing the Artful Dodger in the West End stage musical Oliver!

He went on to land a Tony nomination when he transferred to Broadway in New York with the production.

Davy Jones hit the big time when, in America with the cast of the musical Oliver!,  Jones and the rest of the cast were guests on The Ed Sullivan Show when The Beatles made their first appearance at the height of Beatlemania.

His feted performance upped his profile and led to a US management deal resulting in TV roles and a short-lived solo music career.

The contract also helped to fast-track him through the auditions for The Monkees, as TV executives put together the group in 1966 partly as a response to the popularity of the Fab Four’s movie A Hard Day’s Night.

He died yesterday in a hospital in Florida after suffering a massive heart attack.

You can see his life in pictures below.

RIP Davy Jones

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Tell us what you would change about your home and WIN tickets to Ideal Home Show with Everest Windows

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Ideal Home Show JPEG.png For over 100 years The Ideal Home Show has been bringing ideas and inspiration to generations of British home owners. The show is back in 2012 at Earls Court London, with loads more features, more expert advice and more fun for all the family.

From kitchens and bathrooms, to bedrooms and basements, from fixtures and fittings to fine food, gardens and the latest gadgets, plus three fully built show homes, you’ll find it all under one roof.

TV Scoop has teamed up with the Ideal Home Show, sponsored by Everest, to offer you the chance to win one of THREE pairs of tickets to this multi award winning homes and gardens event (each pair is worth £24).

Everest handyman.jpg At the show Everest will also be running various competitions including DIY time with a handyman as one of the prizes.

The Ideal Home Show will take place at Earl’s Court, London, 16 March – 1 April, Earl’s Court, London. To be in with a chance of winning one pair of tickets simply tell us:

What is the one thing about your home you would like to change and why?

You can leave your answer in the comments below or on TV Scoop’s Facebook page at You can even send us a picture to show us the part of your home you would like to change.

The closing date for the competition is Friday March 2nd.

Tickets are non-transferable, non-assignable and there are no cash alternatives. All tickets will be scanned upon entry. Multiple applications will be refused entry onsite. Open to UK residents only. Promoter: Ideal Home Show.

See Shiny Media’s terms and conditions here:

For more information on Everest visit its website at

RIP Frank Carson. It was the way he told them

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Frank Carson, who has died, aged 85. Image: PA

Much loved comedian Frank Carson died today, aged 85, his agent has announced.

The Belfast-born stand up, famous for his catchphrase ‘It’s the way I tell them’ had been battling stomach cancer for some time. He passed away this morning at home near Blackpool, Lancs.

The Irish comic rose to fame in the 1960s after winning talent show Opportunity Knocks three times.

A spokesman said: “It is with great sadness that we have to announce the passing of Frank Carson.

“Frank will be remembered for being a wonderful stand-up comedian from the golden era of light entertainment on television shows such as The Comedians, Tiswas, Opportunity Knocks and many, many more.”

He added: “His audience and friends alike will remember him as a genuine, kind-hearted and generous man who was also very funny because of ‘the way he told ’em’.

“We will remember him as one of the nicest people in showbiz, a gentleman and a friend.”

Plans are being made for a funeral in his home town of Belfast.

Via Daily Mirror

Frank Carson RIP

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File photo dated 02/12/2002, of comedian Frank Carson, who has died, aged 85.

CNN puts London in Norwich. But how many of us could place Washington DC on a US map?

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Of course it’s inexcusable for a major news network like CNN to put London in Norwich and put Cornwall on a map as if it’s a city rather than a county – see map on the right.

They used this graphic to illustrate a feature on phone hacking and I’m sure the graphics department have – quite rightly – got a real roasting as a result.

But it did get me thinking. How many of us could put Washington DC on a map of the US correctly? I could get the right sort of area – but would probably place it several hundred miles to the north (like they have put London in Norwich).

Does this map really show that all Americans are stupid and have no understanding of UK, or world, geography? No, probably not, but it is worrying nevertheless. And it isn’t the first time it’s happened.

During the football World Cup an American network managed to put South Africa in the wrong continent! In fact someone in the graphics department of Chicago-based WGN TV seemed to confuse South America and South Africa completely so the country in the southerly part of Africa became the whole of the continent located just underneath the United States!

Now that really is stupid.

South Africa? South America? Easily confused!


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

Doctor Who stars Matt Smith and Karen Gillan win at NTAs

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Doctor Who stars Matt Smith and Karen Gillan were both big winners at the National Television Awards last night (25.01.12).

The pair took home the prizes for Male Drama Performance and Female Drama Performance for their roles as the Doctor and Amy Pond in the BBC One sci-fi series.

Matt beat Shameless star David Threlfall, John Barrowman – who was nominated for his performance in Doctor Who spin-off ‘Torchwood’ – and Doc Martin actor Martin Clunes to the honour and paid tribute to everyone who works on the programme as he collected his statuette.

He said: “Thank you very much. What a massive honour. I’d like to thank everyone in Cardiff who make the show … Most of all I want to thank everyone who watched, who voted and who makes the show what it is.”

Karen was equally thrilled with her win at the ceremony – which was held at London’s The 02 arena – and was quick to pay tribute to her co-stars and showrunner Steven Moffat as she shared her success with them.

She said: “Oh my good God! Thank you so much. This means so much to me. I’d like to thank my co-stars Matt Smith and Arthur Darvill for making ‘Doctor Who’ so fun. I’d like to thank Steven Moffat for his writing and generally being ‘The Moff’. And my mum and dad.”

Other winners at the NTAs – which are voted for by the public – included Ant and Dec, who received the Entertainment Presenter accolade, beating host Dermot O’Leary in the process, David Walliams, who was presented with the Landmark Award for his gruelling Sports Relief charity swim, and ‘Downton Abbey which scooped the Drama gong.

Ant and Dec opened the ceremony by performing Nat King Cole’s ‘Let There Be Love’ with Sir Bruce Forsyth.

‘Coronation Street’ beat rivals ‘EastEnders’ and ‘Emmerdale’ to win the highly coveted Serial Drama gong.

Afterwards, the ITV1 soap’s producer Phil Collinson praised departing cast member Katherine Kelly – who hadn’t been on hand to collect her Serial Drama Performance prize earlier in the evening – insisting the accolade was a testament to her work as Becky McDonald.

Phil told TV Scoop: “It’s amazing to get an award. I feel so proud for all the cast who have worked so hard in Manchester. It’s a great way to start the next 50 years of the show. It’s the best leaving present Katherine could have asked for and this award and the ratings we’ve got are a real testament to her performance.”

National TV Awards 2012

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Karen Gillan with the award for Best Drama Performance during the 2012 NTA Awards at the O2, Greenwich, London

National Television Awards 2012 – full list of winners:

Entertainment Programme – ‘Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow’

Drama Performance (Female) – Karen Gillan, ‘Doctor Who’

Comedy Panel Show – ‘Celebrity Juice’

Newcomer – Jacqueline Jossa, ‘EastEnders’

Landmark Award – David Walliams

Talk Show – ‘Alan Carr: Chatty Man’

Drama Performance (Male) – Matt Smith, ‘Doctor Who’

Entertainment Presenter – Ant & Dec

Serial Drama Performance – Katherine Kelly, ‘Coronation Street’

Reality Programme – ‘I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!’

Outstanding Contribution – Gary Barlow

Factual Programme – ‘This Morning’

Drama – ‘Downton Abbey’

Talent Show – ‘The X Factor’

Situation Comedy- ‘Outnumbered’

Special Recognition – Jonathan Ross

Serial Drama – ‘Coronation Street’

Will Big Brother’s Georgia Salpa be one of FHM’s Sexiest Women in the world

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Georgia Salpa - Big Brother eviction

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Georgia Salpa is evicted from the Celebrity Big Brother House at the Elstree Studios, Borehamwood.

Big Brother “bore” Georgia Salpa is being hotly tipped to become one of the world’s sexiest women. Paddy Power are tipping the Irish model to make her debut in FHM’s top 100 Sexiest Women in the World list after amassing thousands of new male admirers during her stint in the Big Brother house.

The busty babe is just 1/16 to make the top one-hundred and 25/1 to follow in the footsteps of some of the worlds’ most lusted after women like Cheryl Cole and Megan Fox and be crowned the magazine’s Sexiest Woman of 2012.

Georgia might be odds against to see off smouldering heavyweights like Transformers babe Rosie Huntington Whiteley and sexy songstress Rihanna to the Number 1 spot but Paddy Power reckon she’ll impress enough to feature around the 61-80 mark at 5/2 or 81-100 at 11/4.

Sharon McHugh, spokesperson for Paddy Power said: “People can say what they want about Georgia’s personality but when it comes to the looks department she’s far from dull. In fact, she’s smoking hot!

Paddy Power has also begun taking bets on which celeb the Kim Kardashian look-a-like will start dating next. Mysterious Girl singer Peter Andre is the 13/8 favourite followed by her old flame Calum Best at 3/1 and admirer Olly Murs at 14/1.

Georgia Salpa for FHM
1/16     To appear in FHM Sexiest Woman 2012 top 100
25/1      To be FHM Sexiest Woman 2012

Where will Georgia appear in FHM Sexiest Woman 2012 top 100?
25/1      No 1
5/1       2 to 20
11/4      21 to 40
5/2       41 to 60
5/2       61 to 80
11/4      81 to 100

FHM Sexiest Woman 2012
5/2        Rosie Huntingdon Whiteley
4/1       Pippa Middleton
6/1       Rihanna
7/1       Mila Kunis
8/1       Miranda Kerr
12/1      Katy Perry
14/1      Cheryl Cole
14/1      Kate Middleton
16/1      Megan Fox
16/1      Irina Shayk
16/1      Frankie Sandford
20/1      Nicole Scherzinger
20/1      Candice Swanepoel
20/1      Tulisa Contostavlos
20/1      Sara Carbonero
25/1      Georgia Salpa

Others on request

Georgia’s Next Boyfriend
13/8      Peter Andre
3/1       Calum Best
14/1      Jermain Defoe
14/1      Olly Murs
16/1      Any member of One Direction
18/1      Mark Wright
20/1      Teddy Sheringham
20/1      Kirk Norcross
25/1      Mario Balotelli
25/1      Ashley Cole
25/1      Frankie Cocozza
25/1      Gavin Henson
33/1      Matt Smith
33/1      Jack Whitehall
40/1      Matt Cardle
40/1      Russell Brand
40/1      Simon Webbe
80/1      Hugh Hefner
100/1    John or Edward Grimes

It’s Chico time again as Chesney Hawkes pulls out of Dancing On Ice

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Chesney Hawkes has pulled out of Dancing On Ice after injuring himself during training.  The One and Only singer had been due to take part in the ITV1 celebrity skating competition – which launches this Sunday (08.01.12) – but has now left the competition to be replaced by former X Factor contestant Chico.

Chesney said: “I am gutted not to be taking part in Dancing on Ice. I was having a brilliant time and couldn’t wait to finally be skating live on national TV!

“It wasn’t even a spectacular fall, it was a slight stumble as I practised with my skating partner. I think my children are the most disappointed they were so excited at the prospect of watching me skate.

“I’m determined to be back on the ice, I might not be able to appear in this series but hoping I will be able to appear in the show next year!”

Chico added: “Whilst I’m really excited about being part of the new series of Dancing on Ice it’s not necessarily in the best of circumstances.

“I wish Chesney all the best and a speedy recovery. I will not just be skating for myself I will be skating for Chesney as well and do him proud.”

Presenter Philip Schofield took to his twitter account to comment on the news, writing: “Just heard that poor Chesney Hawkes is too injured to continue on DOI, he’s so upset. That’s two celebs we’ve broken and we’re not on air!!

“Dangerous stuff this ice, you don’t get this with a foxtrot! His replacement? Well your clue.. What time is it? ;)”

This is not the first injury to rock the ice skating show.  Heidi Range’s professional partner Sylvain Longchambon has already been ruled out of this year’s series after tearing a tendon in his right bicep.

The Sugababes star had been due to skate with the French hunk throughout the competition but she will now be partnered by Andrei Lipanov.

Dancing on Ice

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Pictured: TV Personality Chico(c) ITV Photographer Nicky Johnston

Does Jonathan Creek pilot from 1997 show that BBC knew about phone hacking?

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

By Marc Moninski

The BBC was fully aware that hacking into people’s answerphone messages was a widespread journalistic practice as long ago as 1997.

If proof is needed, just watch this clip from the pilot episode of Jonathan Creek called ‘The Wrestler’s Tomb’ – produced by the BBC’s own in-house entertainment department, and aired on 10th May 1997.

In the episode, Caroline Quentin plays the role of a freelance investigative journalist called Maddie Magellan.  In one scene  she taps into the answerphone of a character she is investigating, by entering combinations of the possible message retrieval code until she gets the right one.

For activities such as this to make it to a drama series, it has to have been pretty widespread and well-known.  Hacking into phone messages (albeit mobile ones) is at the heart of the current furore.  Which makes all the denials we are hearing during the Leveson Inquiry seem like complete hypocrisy.  It seems to me that it’s time for the BBC – and David Renwick (who conceived and wrote the series) – to explain where they got the idea from and how widespread the practice was.  After all, we’re talking 14 years ago.

I wonder how many of the 9.31 million* people viewing the episode thought they were watching something that was wrong, let alone that it would lead to the demise of The News of the World.

(*and that’s just the first airing of this episode, which has also been aired on several PBS stations in the U.S. and on BBC America, as well as countless repeats on Watch in the UK.  Which begs the question as to whether there isn’t a touch of hypocrisy in the public’s surprise and outrage at such practices.)


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.

X Factor 2011: girl group Little Mix voted surprise winners

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Amelia Lily

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Little Mix were crowned champions of The X Factor last night.

The girl group – made up of Jesy Nelson, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Perrie Edwards and Jade Thirlwall – beat off stiff competition from fellow finalist Marcus Collins to become the first band in the history of the ITV1 show to be named winners.

After a string of breathtaking performances – including a rendition of their winner’s single ‘Cannonball’ – the quartet struggled to contain their emotions as host Dermot O’Leary broke the news to them and ecstatic mentor Tulisa Contostavlos.

Jesy said: “Oh my God, this is never going to sink in. We can’t thank the public enough for picking up the phone.”

After receiving the backing of show boss Simon Cowell – who has predicted the group will be as big as the Spice Girls – Little Mix are now expected to rake in a staggering £8 million in commercial deals.

As well as their £150,000 record deal advance, the foursome are expected to bag a number of lucrative contracts with major brands.

An insider told The Sun newspaper: “Offers have been coming in for weeks now. People in marketing spend their lives looking for suitable role models. Little Mix are the full package. The trick will be knowing what to turn down.”

Meanwhile, Simon has also lined up Richard ‘Biff’ Stannard – the songwriter who helped the Spice Girls find fame – and ‘X Factor’ head judge Gary Barlow to work alongside the band.

The source added: “Simon has made no bones of the fact that he wants the best writers on board. He genuinely thinks the girls can be as big as – if not bigger than – the Spice Girls.

See the gallery above for all the fashion from the weekend.

X Factor 2011: Janet Devlin gets the boot, at last

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

Janet Devlin: the Irish singer wasn't everyone's cup of tea

Though widely tipped to win the competition, it always looked like Janet Devlin was going to struggle after last night’s terrible live performances on The X Factor.

Claiming she was sick, the Irish warbler managed to forget the lyrics to her ‘guilty pleasure’, Hanson’s Mmm Bopp – a song with only about five words in it. Sure, she picked it up for her second ‘hero’ performance of the night, Red Chilli Peppers’ Under The Bridge but she was still a long way short of her slicker opposition.

But this is Janet Devlin who somehow had managed to avoid being voted in the bottom two since the competition began despite several poor and bland performances in recent weeks. So when she was voted into the bottom two tonight (November 27th, 2011) I did think that maybe she would be lucky once again.

Predictably enough her sing-off was against Misha B who is no stranger to these events, having finished in the bottom two three times. And while Devlin’s choice of a Snow Patrol number was perfect for her strange, ethereal voice – and she performed it well – it was no match for Misha B who looked and sounded every bit like a natural performer during the sing off.

In the end, both Louis and Tulisa’s votes to send Janet home proved to be enough to finish her off after Kelly decided to abstain (in any case Gary Barlow would have voted to send Janet packing too).

So who next to leave the stage? Though I think Marcus and Misha are the best singers and performers in the competition it’s difficult to imagine that Misha can go all the way with the public so divided over her (she still hasn’t got over those stories of bullying in the press).  I reckon, then, the final will be Amelia Lily, Marcus and girl group Little Mix and that Marcus will be crowned the overall winner.


X Factor 2011: Janet Devlin voted off

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Janet forgets the words to Hanson's, er, classic Mmm Bopp


I’m A Celebrity 2011. TOWIE’s Mark Wright named favourite ahead of Dougie Poynter and Antony Cotton

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Mark Wright

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TOWIE star Mark Wright (pictured above)  has been tipped to be this year’s King of the Jungle after the line-up for I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here was unveiled.

The 24-year-old is the bookies’ early favourite to win the competition, with William Hill offering odds of 7/2 on him surviving until the end.

I'm a Celebrity 2011: Dougie Poynter (Pic: ITV)

McFly bassist Dougie Poynter (pictured above), who will celebrate his 24th birthday Down Under, is second favourite at 9/2.

The boyband star is looking forward to his jungle experience, saying: “I am really into nature and Sir David Attenborough is a god to me.”

McFly’s Dougie Poynter is the bookies’ second favourite to win

It’s all about the boys this year, as camp Corrie star Antony Cotton is the 5/1 third favourite.

Other stars in with a chance of victory are Jessica-Jane Clement (8/1), Freddie Starr (10/1) and Fatima Whitbread (12/1).

Via Daily Mirror:

See I’m  A Celebrity Gallery below:


Coronation Street’s Betty Driver dies at 91

Saturday, October 15th, 2011

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for BETTY DRIVER.jpgCoronation Street actress Betty Driver has died at the age of 91. Driver, who first joined the ITV soap in 1969 as barmaid Betty Turpin – later Williams, “died peacefully in hospital” in the early hours of Saturday.

She had played the role of Rovers Return barmaid Betty Williams (Turpin) in the soap for 42 years. The actress had been in hospital for six weeks. She had also been unwell earlier in the year and was treated for a chest infection in 2010.

An ITV spokesman said: “She will be sadly missed by everyone who knew her.”
Barbara Knox, who plays Rita Sullivan in Coronation Street, said: “I have lost a very dear friend and the Street has lost a very great character, a professional to her fingertips – she will be greatly missed.”

Julie Goodyear, former barmaid Bet Lynch in the soap, said: “It was an honour and a privilege to work with Betty Driver for 25 years. We laughed together, we cried together and never once had a cross word. She was a totally professional actress. A true icon and legend and a very dear friend.”

Goodyear said Driver was “the very foundation of the Rovers Return”, and added: “She will be missed and remembered by millions.”

She was employed on a three-month contract but stayed for 42 years. “I thought, why not,” Driver recalled. “It’ll make a break for a while.”

She had already been in showbusiness for more than 40 years, touring the UK as a singer by the age of 12. Driver was appointed an MBE in 1999.

Driver had originally auditioned for the role of Hilda Ogden in 1964 but was later persuaded to come out of retirement to audition for the role of Betty. She appeared in more than 2,800 episodes.

In January 2011 she told the BBC she would never retire. “I just love working and I will never retire – ever – they’ll have to shoot me to get rid of me,” she said. “I just love people, you see, and I love the cast.”

Born in Leicester, Elizabeth Mary Driver moved to Manchester when she two. She described an unhappy childhood with little affection given to her or her younger sister Freda.

At the age of eight she discovered that she could sing and her mother immediately began forcing her to enter talent contests.

When she was just 14 she was given the leading role in the revue, Mr Tower of London, and was spotted by George Formby who cast her in his new film Boots! Boots!

Her scenes as a cabaret singer ended up on the cutting room floor but, many years later, the film was re-released on DVD with Driver’s scenes restored.

In 1940 Driver became a big band singer and toured extensively with the Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA) appearing in shows for the troops.

After World War II she continued touring and appeared in her own BBC radio show, A Date With Betty, which was broadcast live.

She was cast in a series called Pardon the Expression, a comedy spin-off from Coronation Street, before retiring and then appearing on Coronation Street.

Driver had a seven-year marriage to singer Wally Peterson, which ended in her late 30s.

RIP Betty. You will be sorely missed.

Betty Driver 1920-2011

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File photo dated 07/03/2000 of Coronation Street veteran Betty Driver after she received her OBE at Buckingham Palace. The actress who played barmaid Betty Turpin in the ITV soap for 42 years has died today aged 91, said a spokeswoman for the programme.