TV & Radio Category
Television and radio programme reviews, trailers, highlights, twilights and cinema news. Also the neglected gems from years past.
Media loves little more than talking about media. No surprise, then, that a letter in praise of the BBC signed by such entertainment bigwigs as JK Rowling and Chris Evans should ride high on the news cycle. But what did the Press make of it?
JK Rowling and Chris Evans have joined a host of A-list names to have signed an open letter to the prime minister calling on him to protect the BBC from cuts to its service
If your names on the list, you’re in. Imagine the upset as celebs not on the BBC register realise they rank below Adil Ray, Mark Rylance and Reggie Yates.
The full text of the letter:
The battle for the BBC
Dear prime minister,
We have seen that the government has pledged to modernise the licence fee, return funding that had been diverted to pay for broadband roll-out, and increase the licence fee in line with inflation in return for the BBC taking on the costs of licence fees for the over-75s.
The government and the BBC are now entering the charter review. We are writing to place on record at the very start of the process our concern that nothing should be done to diminish the BBC or turn it into a narrowly focused market-failure broadcaster.
In our view, a diminished BBC would simply mean a diminished Britain.
The BBC is a very precious institution. Like all organisations, it has its faults but it is overwhelmingly a creative force for good.
Britain’s creative economy is growing and enjoying unprecedented success. The BBC is at the heart of this as the global showcase for our creative industries. The BBC is trusted and loved at home by British audiences and is the envy of the world abroad.
During the course of the charter, we will continue to make the case for a strong BBC at the centre of British life and will be vocal in making the case for the BBC as it approaches its centenary.
Over in the Times, the story is how so many names got together to write a letter:
BBC organised celebrities’ protest letter
Well, of course someone must have. Sat in the BBC canteen, one of them must have kickstarted the project and drafted the thing. Given the lack of wow!, fist bumps and seagull droppings we’d says the root was either Schama or Adil Ray*, the latter chiefly because we don’t know who they are and they could only benefit from the exposure.
The Times says that’s wrong.
The letter was presented as an independent protest against plans to reform the BBC, but The Times can reveal that executives at the highest level helped to co-ordinate it while the corporation officially denied all knowledge.
Annie Nightingale, BBC Radio 1’s longest-serving presenter and one of the letter’s 29 signatories, said she had been invited to be a signatory by Ben Cooper, the controller of Radio 1. She had not seen the text of the letter before its publication.
And then this:
Mr Cohen is friends with two Hollywood stars who signed the letter, Daniel Craig and his wife, the actress Rachel Weisz. They attended his 2012 wedding, where Weisz was a bridesmaid. Neither the actors nor the BBC would comment on whether Mr Cohen had helped to persuade the couple to sign.
Is that a big deal? And, in any case, when Hollywood stars tell the unwashed how great the BBC is, does anyone listen? Yeah, weak politicians do, the ones who view the arts as mirrors to their own sensitive souls, shiny things to pick up and drop when an easy photo opportunity is needed.
But better than reading the grandstanding talent and listening for the politicos reactions are the readers comments papers chose to feature. The Guardian, which is pretty much the BBC’s in-house news sheet, heads its readers’ letters page:
Friends of the BBC will oppose the government’s vicious attacks
Tories, and their friends among the circling vultures of the commercial sector, assume that in doing popular programmes the BBC has been muscling in on natural commercial territory. But they are getting their history back-to-front. The BBC got there first – by several decades. It would be more accurate to say that commercial broadcasters have been muscling in on the BBC’s natural territory. Perhaps the government needs an expert panel to investigate whether they should be scaled back?
Professor David Hendy
University of Sussex
Compare and contrast that to the top reader comment in the Times, the paper owned by Rupert Murdoch, who also owns Sky TV:
What a sad reflection on the Beeb! They try to play dirty by organising their grubby little letter, then lack the testicular fortitude to admit their involvement.
The FOI request will get nowhere – emails inexplicably deleted, so sorry.
All the luvvie rats trying to save the ship how quaint, a few will go to the bottom. I must admit though the list of people who signed are actually talented there are some exceptions but not many..
I have a sickening feeling that the BBC problem will turn into another Greece. We all know it is wrong, however it will drag it on and on until the public get taken again.
* Ray created Citizen Khan, the dire – and I mean turd-stinking bad – BBC sitcom.
TV works in seasons. Summer means Celebrity Big Brother. And that means a visit to Blighty for Farah Arbaham, famous for a sex tape and all the things that go with it: rehab, regret, ‘Made in Hollywood’ jugs and a rubber mould modelled on her primary sexual characteristics avilable to anyone in need of a novelty washing up glove or moneybox as Full-On Farrah Vibrating Pussy and Ass.
But things didn’t quite go to plan for Farrah. The chance to stick your penis or head inside a fake rubby anus shaped like hers (with ‘love tunnels’ heated to a ‘lifelike’ temperatute buy two ‘warming wands’) was not her ticket to fortune.
In January told InTouch where she says the release of her sex tape was a huge mistake and if she could take it back, she would.
“It made it hard to have friends and a private life and to trust family, who I feel use me for money. If I went back in time, I would not have done it. The sex tape ruined my life.”
Despite warnings from family who feared selling the X-rated tape would send a terrible message to her 4-year-old daughter, Sophia, Farrah did it anyway — and says she quickly realized it was a bad idea. “Knowing my sex tape was out there for everyone in the world to see … was overwhelming,” she says. “I wanted to hide my face and not go out or pick up my phone.”
One other reason it was bad idea was that those porn tapes don’t pay as well as the marketing states. The headline story was that sex movies are so rare that Farrah’s backdoor romp earned her $1.5 million. FOX411 said Abraham actually earned around $10,000.
Farrah is now much changed:
“Therapy helped me understand I can’t continue experiencing life [the way I had been], that I’m more special than sex tapes. Hearing others tell me my worth is [all based on] my body. … I’m stronger than that.”
Or as the Sun puts it:
The former star of MTV shows Teen Mom and Sixteen and Pregnant has cashed in once again thanks to CBB bosses, who hope she’ll make the series more X-rated than ever.
F0or a fee, she might…
And now for the pay off. Karen Dancuk is to appear on Channel 5’s Celebrity Big Brother. Having recently appeared on Channel 5 news to tell us that her life is private, a “telly source” says:
“In the last week following the break-up of her marriage she has become all the more marketable. CBB is perfect for her — as viewers will see a lot of her famous boobs and she will have more to talk about.”
Given her love of selfies, will Karen become the show’s first stop motion housemate?
Tiny Hamster Has Tiny Fourth of July BBQ:
In case you missed it:
TV land has banned the Dukes of Hazzard show because the featured car, the ‘General Lee’, had a roof decorated with the Confederate flag. What was good enough for a hit show in the 1980s is today’s poison. It got us thinking what else could have gotten the show banned? And we came up with one name: Daisy Duke. Played by Catherine Bach, Daisy Duke, with her white 1980 Jeep CJ-7, was an adolescent fantasy. In this collection of photos you can see Daisy in her ‘Daisy Duke’ short shorts stood by ‘Red Indians’, dressed as a French maid and using her primary sexual characteristics to flesh out the character. Ban it. Ban it now!
So toxic is the Confederate Flag that re-runs of The Dukes of Hazzard are forbidden. The TV show featured the General Lee car with its Confederate flag design. When the bansturbators make a move it’s good to ask why.
Variety says the ban is “clearly a response to the broader movement to withdraw the flag from official settings and in pop culture, given its historic connection to slavery and the Civil War. The push to remove Confederate flags and Stars and Bars icons came last month in the wake of the slayings of nine African-Americans in a Charleston church allegedly by a 21-year-old white supremacist.”
Did the Dukes of Hazzard make him do it?
Tim Teeman writes:
What is achieved by activist Bree Newsome scaling the flag pole outside the South Carolina state house, and removing the Confederate flag?
What is achieved by TV Land banning reruns of The Dukes of Hazzard?
The first was a courageous, clever act of civil disobedience protesting the endemic, poisonous racism that lay at the heart of the Charleston massacre, with its roots in the South’s slavery-stained, Klan-stained past…
The second is a TV show, with two “good old boys” performing memorable car stunts and the grinning stupidity of Roscoe P. Coltrane. A dumber show, far further down the symbol food chain.
Do you confuse reality and fiction? Do you read works of literature as documents?
The flag is in a public space, central to a community. People have to walk past it, like it or not. The TV show is something you choose to watch or not watch, on a station you can choose to watch or not watch. The decision to remove the flag is right, the decision to strike the TV show seems extreme and wrong-headed, but entirely in keeping with our times.
We are absolutely crazy about banning stuff. Sometimes the bans are in the public interest, like the Confederate flag flying over the court-house.
In our culture of instant offense, we ban before we think. However, banning isn’t a sign of strength or resolve, but an admission of defeat, of showing how little we have engaged with whatever the bigger issue that belies the ban.
Banning things is sign of insecurity. If you can no longer out-debate the bigot, then you’ve lost the argument. Banning is cowardly. It makes a martyr of the banned. It also makes it more attrative to anyone looking for a counterculture punch. The Dukes of Hazzard should wear its ban with pride.
In a recent interview with THR, Dukes of Hazzard star John Schneider defended the series’ use of the flag. “Labeling anyone who has the flag a ‘racist’ seems unfair to those who are clearly ‘never meanin’ no harm,'” he said. His co-star Ben Jones has also come out in defense of the flag, saying it represents the “indomitable spirit of independence.”
Well, now it does.
Instead of asking or addressing the roots of violent racism in the South in 2015—far too difficult, far too intimidating—we focus on symbols. If we take a flag down, if we remove a TV show from the schedules, it shows we are doing something. It shows our hearts are in the right places…
Our culture today is entirely reactive, as if collectively we are 24/7 being tapped on our knees by little doctors’ hammers, primed to agree or disagree on whatever issue commands our attention in the moment.
It’s a good image. And if your knee doesn’t jerk upwards at the right moment, you are sick.
Is The Dukes of Hazzard really a racist-enough curio to ban? Is that what we think when we watch it? I watched the opening titles tonight, and a sequence of those bone-shaking stunts. It just seemed puerile, harmless.
Daniel P. Finney says the Confederate flag is “basically an American swastika”:
…after the leaders in South Carolina started having a meaningful discussion about the Confederate battle flag on government grounds, corporate America decided to have a meaningless one about what toys they sell.
Retailers including Target, Wal-Mart, eBay and Amazon have said they will no longer sell the Confederate flag or items with the flag on it. The General Lee, the car from the show, has such a flag emblazoned on the top of the vehicle.
Warner Bros., the company that produced the TV series and a couple movies based on the show, said it will no longer license “Dukes” products that feature the flag.
These companies don’t give a flip about racism or those victims in South Carolina. Many of them sell products made by child labor in China.
Amazon isn’t selling the Confederate flag anymore. OK, fine. They’re heroes.
But they sell bronze busts of Joseph Stalin, the Russian dictator who ordered the execution of at least 6 million of his own people. They sell his old banner, the Soviet flag, too.
They also sell English translations of “Mein Kampf,” German mass murderer Adolf Hitler’s racist manifesto.
And they offer T-shirts aplenty of convicted murderer Charles Manson. Also available: T-shirts of history’s most inappropriately lauded figure, Che Guevara. Alas, none size 6XLT.
And you know what? I accept all of it. This is a free country. If you want to spend your money on that junk and put it in your house, stick it on the back of your vehicle or walk around wearing it, that’s your right.
Now. Who wants to see the show?
From the tip of his jet black hair to the apex of his breast-feeding-ready shirts, Simon Cowell is all about the authentic experience. It stands to reason that more than most he should be shocked and saddened to discover that Britain’s Got Talent winner Matisse is a “FAKE”.
Cowell has woken, licked his eyeballs and like us read that the shocking news that Matisse the dog is in actual fact a dog.
The revelation that Matisse was not Ant and Dec in a suit is repeated in the Daily Express.
Is this the final straw for Britain’s Got Talent viewers, who must now ask questions about the show? Is Amanda Holden really an eight-yeat-old child playing dress up? Will Alesha Dixon cement her role as Nation’s Sweetheat by punching a black toilet attendant in the face? Is David Walliams a product of CGI?
The Wire is what it is. The show was what it was. The audience saw what it saw. And, well you get the idea…
RIP Terry Sue-Patt, dead at the too-young at 50. You played Benny Green in TV’s brilliant (well, in the early day it was) Grange Hill. You stood up to Gripper in 1978.
I’m not going to investigate Mr Sue-Pratt’s life. When an actor dies, there’s no need to pick over the bones of somebody most of us never knew and didn’t care about. Better to recall what made him famous, and what pleasure he gave us.
This is episode 1 of Grange Hill. It’s shamless nostalgia.
For anyone who was at school in those days, this was must-see TV. And, to say it again, it was brilliant:
London is getting bar ABQ, a venue set in a large RV named after the setting of the TV show Breaking Bad in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
For £30, 22 punters-a-time will not get to sample the blue meth, but”cook” two drinks.
Anyone unable to afford £15 drinks can pop along to Danny’s Burger RV (formerly Danny’s Burger Van) on the M62 betweeen 2am and 5am every weekday, where so long as you’ve got the cash, Danny’s pretty much got anything you want.
‘Fascinating Repairmen’ is a Japanese series featuring people giving a new lease of life to old objects. Some of these are much loved items, like the book in the video below. Others are just bit odd. And the more random the item, the more desperate, touching and intriguing the show gets.
Japanese game show of the day is the one where young women dressed in early 20th Century children’s fashions see who can spread their legs the widest. The winner is the contestant with the smile as wide as their gait:
This is just brilliant. Listeners to the BBC World Service’s World Have Your Say show were introduced to Godfrey Elfwick, a student from Sheffield talking about the lastest Star Wars franchise, Star Wars Episode VIII: The Force Awakens. Godfrey says the character “Dark Raider” is “racial stereotype”.
Godfrey Elfwick is a work of parody. Having said on twitter that he’d never seen Star Wars, the BBC got in touch:
Did Angela do any research? If she did, she must have missed Godfrey’s other tweets, like these:
Godfrey pricked the knowing liberal bubble with a skewer:
Brilliant. Just brilliant…
(PS: is he the only work of parody in that clip?)
That’s NOT Entertainment!
For some time now our happy island nation has, slowly but surely, been invaded by an uninvited and unwelcome breed.
This is nothing to do with immigration, asylum-seekers, refugees, the EU or any of the other supposed threats that exercise the newspapers at election time.
No, this is an insidious invasion that has targeted our TV screens, and in particular the advertisements, ‘trails’ and promotional montages that seem to take up as much time as the programmes they punctuate…
The invaders are instantly recognizable by their distinctive singing style: breathy, slightly flat, sometimes with an ‘emotive’ crack in the voice. Their songs are, variously: drippy, dippy, dull and dreary. They are invariably accompanied by willfully amateurish acoustic guitar. This formula is used to advertise everything from white goods to Barclays’ revolting ‘thank you’ to ‘real football fans’.
These two numbnuts are a cautionary tale about what you sound like when stoned.
Spotter: Death And Taxes
Japan has given us some of the world’s weirdest games shows. But it’s excelled itself with Sing What Happens, the show where male contestants try to sing karaoke whilst a presenter gives them a hand job.
Will you fluff your lines as the fluffer works your metronome? Will you hit the high notes as well as the low ones?
Your turn is over when you ejaculate.
Hold on your Top Gear hair it’s going to be bumpy ride as we look at Top Gear erotic fan fiction. Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May are away…
This is from a work entitled Clutch:
“At first he thought the taut muscles and slender hips belonged to a girl. But, aroused, he strode closer and recognised the unmistakable frame of his friend Jeremy.”
Farewell, James Best, famous for playing Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane on the brilliant The Dukes of Hazzard. You and Flash made afternoon telly great.
It takes a lot of strapping to turn Peter Dinklage into Games of Thrones’ hero Tyrion Lannister.
Peter, a buxom 32D, is rarely seen as nature intended to let his acting do the talking.
Robert Durst has been charged with the murder of Susan Berman in 2000 Durst is suspected of murdering two more people: his first wife Kathie in 1982 and Morris Black.
USA Today reports that if found guilty of first-degree murder, Durst could face the death penalty.
Durst, a scion of one an America’s big property dynasty worth over $4bn, says he’s innocent. (His own weath is estiamted at $100m.)
But he seems to have confessed on camera in Andrew Jarecki’s HBO’s six-part documentary The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst.
On the final show, Durst is shown an envelope addressed to Miss Berman. The lettering is in Mr Durst’s own handwriting – and it looks very much like the block capital lettering on an anonymous letter sent to Beverly Hills police pointing to a “cadaver” in Miss Berman’s home. That body was Miss Berman. On both letters “Beverly” is misspelled “Beverley”.
Durst suggests that the writer of the first letter must have been Berman’s killer.
Has the TV nailed its star?
Durst starts burping. He then heads to the toilets. The microphone is still on as Robert Durst, 71, mutters: “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course… There it is. You’re caught.”
Durst maintains his innocence.
Durst might well be confident of securing an acquittal. As the Times notes:
After Miss Berman’s death, Mr Durst moved to Texas, where he lived in a boarding house masquerading as a mute woman. In 2003 he was put on trial for murder after dismembered body parts belonging to his elderly friend and neighbour, Morris Black, were found floating in Galveston Bay.
Mr Lewis told the jury that Mr Durst admitted to shooting Mr Black, and to using a paring knife, two saws and an axe to dismember his body before dumping the remains.
The lawyer argued however that the killing had been in self-defence and that his client had Asperger’s syndrome. Mr Durst was acquitted of murder.
He served three years for bond-jumping and evidence-tampering.
And here’s the other interesting thing. That allegedly incriminating audio was recorded in 2013. Why didn’t HBO tell the police back then? Well, they claim they didn’t notice until an intern was editing the footage for broadcast.
Mr Jarecki tells ABC News:
“I sat there in the edit room with my partners, and we just sort of shook our heads and it took a while to really understand the impact of it. It was so chilling to hear it.”
Which makes us wonder what would have happened had Durst died before the show aired? What if God had beaten HBO to the punchline? What if the jinx had struck again? What then for justice as entertainment?
So. Why are panda bears endangered? Here’s why: