The Jubilee: A look at some TV Queens

You may have noticed that there is a Jubilee going on. No? Well there is, and as both Emma Thompson (in Sky Arts’ Walking The Dogs) and Emelia Fox, Samantha Bond, Susan Jameson, Barbara Flynn and Diana Quick (in Channel 4’s The Queen) will all be playing her maj in coming weeks, we thought that now was an ideal time to take a look back at some of the actresses (and actors) who have played QE2 on TV over the years.

  Prunella Scales took the role in Alan Bennett’s ‘A Question of Attribution’ in 1991.

  Impressionist Jan Ravens used to regularly voice the Queen for Spitting Image.

  Scottish comic Stanley Baxter caused a bit of an uproar when he impersonated the Queen for one of his TV specials in the70’s.   And perhaps the best known impersonator is Jeanette Charles, who was constantly on our screens in the 70’s and 80’s. Here she is with Sooty and Sweep.

The Apprentice: Does anyone still care?

Now in its eight series, has the UK version of The Apprentice become tired, predictable and boring? We say yes.

There was a time when a night spent watching The Apprentice was assured to result in thrills, laughs and the opportunity to swear at and mercilessly mock some genuinely infuriating ‘business’ characters. Alan ‘Sur Alan/ Lord Alun/ the Fluffy Walnut’ Sugar was entertaining and unpredictable and sidekicks Nick and Margaret were dependably astute and withering. TV gold.

This latest series initially had promise; the pretty-but-unhinged Bulgarian Bilyana looked like she could provide laughs, bizarrely-eyebrowed ‘ex-wrestler’ Ricky Martin promised to develop into a stone-cold nutter and there was a supporting cast featuring the usual mix of middle management halfwits any one of which could have taken a left turn into slavering delusion at any moment.

But within a couple of episodes it was obvious that things were not going to pan out. Bilyana was fired in the first episode (which was a wasted opportunity), Ricky failed to fire up and all the rest were just dull. The tasks have been the same as always and there hasn’t even been any good lines from Sugar and his henchmen. How many of you have recorded episodes and deleted them without watching them? Or not bothered to seek them out at all? Lots, we’ll wager.

Perhaps the show has now run its course? Maybe we’re so used to the formula that there are no more surprises to be wrung from it? Maybe the production team have become complacent? Or maybe they just picked a bad bunch of contenders this time round?

The only bright spot is Dara O’Briain on sister show The Apprentice: You’re Fired! who somehow manages to mine laughs from the otherwise dull material.

Whatever the reason, the BBC needs to rethink what was previously a jewel in their crown and shake things up before there is a mass switch off.

Was William Shatner the best ever guest host of Have I Got News For You?

approximately 80 guest hosts. Some (like Bill Bailey, Sean Lock and Rob Brydon) have been predictably reliable, others (like Gordon Ramsay, Anne Widdecombe and Anne Robinson) have been predictably poor, while others have been quite brilliant.

  Last week’s show saw Captain Kirk himself take the hot seat and William ‘KHAAAAAANNNNN!!!!’ Shatner proved one of the weirdest, funniest and most inspired choices yet. He was witty, unhinged, baffled, sharp and oddly coiffured all at the same time. His claim that the sleepy Devon town of Ilfracome is ‘laced with prostitutes’ was a particularly bizarre high-point.

  But has he been the best choice of guest host yet? Unfortunately the BBC are very good at keeping clips of the show off the internet so we can’t show you Bruce Forsyth, Boris Johnson and some other great hosts but here are some of our favourites from the last decade.



Brian Blessed proves there’s more to him than shouting and beards. There’s also beards and shouting.

Former Dr Who Tom Baker on barking mad form.

Former deputy PM John Prescott hosts.

Kathy Burke returns to TV.

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

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?

VIDEO: Prince Charles reads the Scottish weather forecast. Is actually quite funny, shocker

Imagine if the UK found itself in the midst of a republican revolution and, heaven forbid, the royal family have to find proper jobs.

And while it might be fun to imagine what the likes of Princess Eugenie (a fashion designer?) and Prince Philip (a diplomat?) might have to do to earn a crust, we now know what Prince Charles will be doing: presenting weather forecasts in Scotland – at least if this clip of him messing about while on a tour of BBC Scotland’s headquarters is anything to go by.

He’s a natural and surprisingly funny with it – witness his ‘Who the hell wrote this script?’ quip when confronted with inclement weather in the Balmoral area. Via Shortlist

Benedict Cumberbatch deliberately renamed Bandersnatch Cummberbund by Washington Post – goes viral on Twitter

Benedict Cumberbatch. Or should that be Bandersnatch Cummerbund!

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch was at the centre of an unlikely internet storm after it appeared a newspaper had spelled his name drastically and comically wrong – as “Bandersnatch Cummerbund”. Commentators took to Twitter in their thousands to ridicule the Washington Post for the apparent error, debating whether it was down to a faulty spell check.

The discussion proved so popular the name became a trending topic on the social networking site with some hailing it “outstanding”, “epic” and “the best typo ever”. But any sarcastic commentators were left red-faced after it emerged the author had misspelt the name deliberately. Journalist Lisa de Moraes was forced to write a separate piece, far longer than her original article, explaining her choice.

She clarified: “It has come to our attention that there is raging debate, whether we intentionally referred to Benedict Cumberbatch as Bandersnatch Cummerbund in The TV Column and blog. The nickname “Bandersnatch Cummerbund” originated with one of the serious students of television who join me each Friday to chat about all things TV.”

In a short article entitled “Sherlock vs Downton”, the journalist originally used the correct spelling of Cumberbatch in her introduction, before using the bizarre alternative in the third and final paragraph.

The so-called “error” was then picked up by website Poynter, before spreading like wildfire on Twitter. One user wrote: “Amazing Washington Post typo renames Benedict Cumberbatch: Bandersnatch Cummerbund. This needs to be his new name. Amazing.”

A second said: “Holy cow – did not realise that Washington Post ACTUALLY PRINTED ‘Benedict Cumberbatch’ as ‘Bandersnatch Cummerbund’. Another said simply: “Ouch.”

Hours later, the tide of commentary turned as users realised it was a deliberate joke.After placing a bet with a colleague, who leapt to the defence of de Moraes, Poynter writer Craig Silverman is now said to “owe him a beer”.

“De Moraes can also enjoy one on me if we should ever find ourselves in the same place at the same time with alcohol on offer,” he added magnanimously.

This is the second time Cumberbatch has become an unlikely internet hit this year, after a blog comparing him to an otter went viral.

Cumberbatch was also voted the World’s Sexiest Man in a recent newspaper poll for The Sun. The British star beat off stiff competition from second placed David Beckham to secure the coveted top spot, while The Only Way is Essex star Joey Essex came third.

The One Direction boys did very well in the poll, with Harry Styles and Zayn Malik coming in fourth and fifth, Niall Horan sixth, Louis Tomlinson eighth and Liam Payne 11th.

Via The Telegraph

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

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

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


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

The 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 stars settle pay dispute – protect ITV2 repeat payments

The dispute concerned ITV moving omnibus editions of the show from ITV1 to ITV2 which meant that repeat payments for the actors would have been lower as terrestrial showings pay more than satellite.

The repeat fees are worth around 37.5% of the actors’ income but ITV and the union Equity have now come to an agreement which will help protect the money.

An Equity spokesman said: We’ve prevented members’ incomes falling off the edge of a cliff. That’s what would have happened if they’d lost 37.5 per cent. You never get everything you ask for, but we have got more than they initially wanted to give away.”

There had been the possibility of strikes or even resignations if the proposed pay cuts had happened but they seem, for the time at least, to have been averted.