Is Gary Lineker going to leave the BBC for a job with BT?

It’s being reported that long-time BBC football presenter an notorious crisp-flogger Gary Lineker is being courted by BT, who are looking for an anchor for their upcoming Premiership coverage.

BT will be showing 38 premier league games next year and Lineker will be out of contract at the Beeb around the same time. He has already been informed that he will be receiving a pay cut if his contract with the BBC is renewed, so may well be ready to jump.

A source reportedly said: “Gary Lineker’s agent has been on expressing Gary’s interest,” a BT source claimed. Obviously we’re keen that our coverage is hosted by a big name presenter with a proven track record, and few people in sports ­broadcasting can boast Gary’s credentials. He’s popular and experienced, and looking for a new deal at exactly the right time, so everything is falling into place nicely. We have paid an enormous amount of money for the games, so it has to be a success.

With the BBC’s football coverage coming in for an increasing amount of criticism (many people think the presenters and pundits have been in place too long and need replacing) it may prove the right move for the Beeb, Lineker, BT and the viewers.

Are ITV planning to drop the X Factor?

The Daily Star are today claiming that ITV may be looking to replace their Saturday night megahit the X Factor.

The last series was deemed by many to have been a relative disappointment and, with Simon Cowell again missing from this year’s judging panel, it looks like there are plenty of people around ready to sound the death knell for the show.

The paper are quoting a ‘senior ITV source’ as saying: “Every television network is always looking for the next big thing. They’d be crazy not to. X Factor has had a brilliant run, but no show lasts for ever. Over the past few years Simon Cowell has been the main source for many of our top hits but some feel that we’ve got too many eggs in one basket and we’ve become too reliant on one man.”

Scrap a show that is still raking far more money than it costs to produce AND risk the ire of Cowell, one of TV’s most successful moguls? Seems a bit unlikely. We think it’s far to early to write the show off.

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

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

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

 

 

Alan Partridge ‘apologises’ to upset farmers

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

 

Alan insults the Irish

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

 

Dan!

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

 

Alan previews the World Cup

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

 

Monkey Tennis

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

Introducing Veep – Armando Iannucci’s new political comedy

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

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

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

 

X Factor 2012 judges confirmed – here’s the first official picture

The judging line up for the 9th series of the X Factor has been released. It will once again feature Gary Barlow, Louis Walsh and Tulisa Contostavlos but Kelly Rowland has been replaced by former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger.

Sherzinger has been quoted as saying: “I’m so excited to join the UK X Factor family. It’s where I got my start, so it feels great to come full circle. I can’t wait to see what talent the UK has to offer and to help inspire and bring out the best in these artists.”

She had previously been a guest judge on the show. This series will also feature Geri Halliwell, Rita Ora, Leona Lewis, Mel B and Anastacia as guest judges.

 

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

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

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

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

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

Bad News Tour

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

Mr Jolly Lives Next Door

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

The Strike

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

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

The Yob

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

Detectives on the verge of a nervous breakdown

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

Jenny Eclair leaves Loose Women after failing to ‘integrate’

Comedian Jenny Eclair is leaving ITV’s Loose Women after reportedly failing to get on with her co-stars.

It’s being reported by the Mirror that after a year with te sow she rarely spoke to Loose Women regulars like Carol McGiffin, Denise Welch and Andrea McLean when they were not on camera.

Eclair said: I’ve had a brilliant time at Loose Women over the past year. It’s been an absolute hoot and I’ve met some really lovely people,” said Eclair.

“I just want to say thanks to everyone at ITV for 12 months of many laughs and I wish Loose Women, and all who sail on her, all the love and luck.

“There are no hard feelings on either side and I’m happy to offer my services behind the Loose Women desk should there be any last-minute emergencies. After all, I only live down the road.”

The Mirror quotes a ‘show insider’ as saying: “It is no secret that there is tension backstage between some of the women. Jenny never fully integrated with the other women and feels now is the time to move on.”

First view of the new Alan Partridge TV series

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

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

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

Euro 2012: ITV V BBC, who has the best pundits?

And so it begins again, the bi-annual face off between the UK’s main domestic channels to see who can capture the hearts of the nation’s footy lovers. Euro 2012 kicks off today with Poland V Greece on BBC1, then it’s Russia versus the Czechs on ITV, then it’s…..you get the idea, the behemoths of British broadcasting take turns to slug it out match by match until we decide which of them we will watch the final with on July 1st.

The opposing pundit panels will play a major part in our decision making so it’s worth looking at the options.

The Beeb have gone for a mixture of the experienced and predictable; Hanson and Lawrenson at the back with Shearer and Lineker up front. Booooooooring. Sad to say but this team have been in place for so long they have become jaded, dull and lifeless. It always feels like they’re doing you a favour by getting off the golf course to drag themselves to the studio, and when they get there they simply offer the same tired clichés. Even Shearer’s hair doesn’t bother turning up anymore.

ITV, sadly, don’t appear much better. There’s Jamie ‘calm down’ Carragher, Roberto ‘manager of footballing giants Wigan’ Martinez, Gordon ‘Gimley’ Strachan and Gareth ‘Alan Partridge’ Southgate. The only potential highlights are Patrick Viera (who actually knows what he’s on about), Roy Keane (who could go on a barely literate rant at any second) and Adrian Chiles (whose miserable head may just implode live on air with dourness one day).

Who will win? The BBC, obviously. Why? Because it doesn’t have ads. The commercials kill ITV’s punditry stone dead every time, stopping any decent debate and forcing Chiles to spout scripted guff for 90% of his screen time. Even if ITV had a panel made up of Jack Charlton, Maradona, Gazza and a re-animated Brian Clough they wouldn’t get an entertaining word in between the Lynx and lager missives.

Big Brother returns: Here’s our guide to the new housemates

For around the next 47½ months we can all ‘enjoy’ seeing a load of deluded halfwits lying on couches, lying on beds, lying in hot tubs or lying on kitchen surfaces while they moan endlessly about running out of hair product. Dear, oh, dear. What has humanity become?

Actually, what with the Olympics, Wimbledon and Euro 2012 to divert our attention this could actually be the year that viewing figures finally reach zero and they kick the whole thing into touch. Fingers crossed, eh?

Anyhoo, just in case there are any of you out there planning to watch this year’s Dreck-athon, here’s a run down of the pitiful creatures you’ll be gawping at:

BENEDICT GARRETT, 32 – Botswana-born zither player Benedict is allergic to marzipan, French cheeses, talcum powder and fun. He was once caught with 12 items in his basket at a 10-items-or-less checkout queue.

ADAM KELLY, 27 – A former hedge fund manager, Adam gave up his job when he discovered that it had nothing to do with hedges.

SHIEVONNE ROBINSON, 28 – Shievonne pronounces her name ‘Chav-one’. It’s the only interesting thing about her.

LAUREN CARRE, 20 – A very unique contestant. Lauren is the first housemate to come from Iceland, the first to have gills and the first to dress entirely in tinfoil.

ARRON LOWE, 23 – Despite being born with 7 tongues, devote creationist Arron is a world champion yodeller and the great grandson of former snooker commentator Ted Lowe.

SARA McLEAN, 22 – There is nothing whatsoever interesting to tell you about Sara McLean.

DEANA UPPAL, 23 – Party girl Deanna likes to pretend that she got her surname because she’s always ‘Up-All’ night. In fact it was her step-dad’s name which she was forced to take when her mother remarried. Her original surname ironically being ‘Narcoleptic’

CONOR MCINTYRE, 24 – Rangers fan Conor is fanatical about hometown football club. He has been to every game since he was 3, he has every room in his flat painted bright blue, he has the club badge tattooed across every part of his chest and lower abdomen and he once broke into Ibrox and stole some of the pitch so he could replant his back garden as a tribute to the club. A crime for which he spent 3 years on probation.

SCOTT MASON, 20 – Scott Mason is the nephew of fictional TV detective Perry Mason. You know, the one who was in a wheelchair. No, hang on that was Ironside. Anyway, you get the idea.

LYDIA LOUISA, 25 – The youngest ever housemate, or at least she would be if she was 7 years younger. A fact which causes Lydia great and furious consternation. The housemate most likely to get ‘stabby’.

VICTORIA EISERMANN, 41 – Recently released from the psychiatric wing of Holloway Prison, Victoria is hoping to use her appearance in the house to gain public sympathy before an appeal against her 17 year conviction for tickling a police horse.

CHRIS JAMES, 21 – The only thing we can find out about Chris is that his mam thinks he walks funny.

CAROLINE WHARRAM, 20 – 7’3” Sumo wrestler Caroline once tied herself to Edwina Curry as a protest about the price of eggs. No-one is quite sure how long this event lasted for as it generated no public interest whatsoever.

ASHLEIGH HUGHES, 20 – The housemate with the most body hair, Ashleigh must shave her entire torso every 6 hours or she overheats and has to be hospitalised. Doctors have expressed severe concern about her involvement in the programme.

LUKE ANDERSON, 31 – Luke works in a garden centre in his home town of Worthing. He is in charge of Geraniums.

LUKE SCRASE, 24 – Luke also works in a garden centre in his hometown, this time of Hastings. He is in charge of Begonias. Expect fireworks between these two.

ANTHONY, 33 – The first of three contestants who apparently thought it would be ‘cooler’ to not use their surname while in the house. So we’ll just call him Anthony Cakmangler. That’ll teach him.

BHAVESH, 30 – Another one with no surname. Let’s call him Bhavesh Bumtickler.

REBECCA, 19 – Last one (thank God). Erm, we’ll call her Rebecca Loos-stools. That’ll do.