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The Carlton dance and other requests that'll make stars want to punch you
5 hours ago
After much cajoling, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air's Alfonso Ribeiro finally caved in and performed his famous dance on I'm A Celebrity last night. But how do other celebrities cope with public demands to see their party tricks?
The nation has been waiting, perched on the edge of its sofa, nails bitten to the quick, breath bated. And last night, finally, it happened. Yes, I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! contestant Alfonso Ribeiro caved in and busted out his Carlton dance from much-loved Will Smith sitcom vehicle The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Oh happy day. Christmas came early, bearing the gift of iconic 90s comedy choreography.
Despite previously vowing "there will be no dance until I'm voted out" – this is clearly a man who has been dogged by demands for the Carlton dance for the 17 years since he stopped playing Smith's clumsy clown of a cousin – our reluctant hero changed his tune, »
- Michael Hogan
Ripper Street has been cancelled. What is the BBC thinking?
7 hours ago
Dreadful news for fans of quality drama today, as the BBC has officially killed off its superior Victorian crime drama Ripper Street. "The second series didn't bring the audience we hoped and in order to make room for creative renewal and new ideas it won't be returning," a spokesman told the website Digital Spy.
Some might question the BBC's wisdom in putting one of the finest period dramas it has produced in a decade up against a ratings juggernaut such as ITV's I'm A Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here. But Inspector Reid (played by Matthew MacFadyen) and his motley band of crime-stoppers at Division H will be no more in 14 days time. Viewing figures for Last Tango in Halifax, another jewel in BBC1's crown, »
- Julia Raeside
The Good Wife is the best drama on TV right now
8 hours ago
CBS's legal and political saga reached its 100th episode this week with a typically outstanding hour of television. So why isn't it considered one of the greats?
What does quality Us television look like? Typically, any list would include at least one of the following shows: Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Homeland, Boardwalk Empire. Before these shows become box-set fodder, or become available for streaming on Netflix and iTunes, they are broadcast on premium cable channels. The idea of paying for "quality" television is entrenched (HBO itself means "Home Box Office", after all) and these shows, with their high production values and often slow-moving plots given space and time to breathe, are the best examples of it. But for the last four years – and five seasons – one of the best dramas on television has been on CBS, a basic network channel with an average viewer age of 57. The show is The Good Wife. »
- Bim Adewunmi
Why are British people turning off the TV news?
10 hours ago
A new survey reveals that although Britons watch plenty of television, we are one of the lightest consumers of news and current affairs in Europe
Any TV viewer who is reasonably informed about the world suffers moments of shock during quiz programmes when a contestant is unable to name the current prime minister of the UK or has absolutely no idea who Ronald Reagan was.
A poll conducted by the European Social Survey, though, offers an explanation for such knowledge gaps. Although Britons are the second biggest consumers of television as a whole – only Bulgaria, apparently, has more couch potatoes – audiences here are also by far the lightest consumers of news programmes, with 13% of the sample (against a European average of 8%), confessing to watching no bulletins or current affairs at all.
One of the most intriguing findings of the survey is that the only two countries with more news-avoiders than »
- Mark Lawson
BBC boss turns Gary Lineker into Gabby Lineker | Media Monkey
12 hours ago
Match of the Day presenter cited as one of the corporation's top female stars in director of sport's evidence to MPs
The BBC is under pressure over the lack of female presenters in high-profile roles – but a senior executive may have gone too far when she told MPs Gary Lineker was one of its top female stars. BBC director of sport Barbara Slater was giving evidence to the Commons culture, media and sport sommittee on women's sport. MPs asked why TV executives put "very young, attractive" women on screen, while male presenters are usually "old, fat and bald". Slater insisted presenters were selected on merit and experience, but went on to add: "We have some fantastic women presenters who have longstanding careers, genuine expertise and are there absolutely to enhance the credibility of what we do. We have Gary Lineker, we have Sue Barker, we have Gabby Logan, we have Clare Balding, »
Pilgrimage with Simon Reeve; The Joy of Logic – TV review
14 hours ago
Is this really a pilgrimage – or just a very long walk? Simon Reeve is in a bit of muddle
Having journeyed his way across both Tropics and the Equator, not to mention the Indian Ocean and Australia, Simon Reeve has now turned his gaze rather closer to home for his new series. In Pilgrimage with Simon Reeve (BBC2) he journeys along three well-trodden pilgrim routes in Europe and the Middle East because … Well, he's not really sure why. He's not a believer, he's not even that sure he has much of an interior landscape, but he's a good sport, a fun companion and he needs an adventure. So why not?
His first leg took him from Lindisfarne to Canterbury. It started quite promisingly with him walking across the mud flats to the Holy Island to talk about the benefits of being warmed by otters after a hard night's prayer waist deep in the North Sea. »
- John Crace
TV highlights 04/12/2013
14 hours ago
Nigel And Adam's Farm Kitchen | Lionel Bart, Reviewing The Situation | The Tunnel | The Culture Show: Derry-Londonderry – A New Chapter | Storyville: Fame In China | 28 Up South Africa | Problems | International Test Cricket: Australia vs England
Nigel And Adam's Farm Kitchen
"Vegetarians aside, I can't think of anybody who doesn't eat chicken," says Nigel, while stroking a soon-to-be kiev lovingly. Tasty though the recipe looks, it's tempered by some food for thought when he and Adam visit a high-welfare chicken farm to see how the birds live. Adam's having a tough time trying to grow rice and oyster mushrooms in the Cotswolds as the boys look at the nation's favourite foreign foods. Their fusion feast looks predictably delicious, with spring rolls, Mediterranean chorizo stew and Nigel's spiced chicken. Hannah Verdier
Lionel Bart, Reviewing The Situation
Songwriter Lionel Bart is principally remembered for Oliver!. However, over the course of an eventful life, »
- Hannah Verdier, Jonathan Wright, Julia Raeside, Rachel Aroesti, John Robinson, Ali Catterall, Mark Jones, Andrew Mueller
Great British Bake Off's Mel and Sue up for comedy award
21 hours ago
So there may be something funny about a soggy bottom after all. Great British Bake Off presenters Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc have been nominated for best female TV comic at this year's British Comedy awards.
Perkins and Giedroyc, whose BBC2 show is switching to BBC1 next year after the 2013 final attracted more than 8 million viewers, are jointly nominated, facing competition in the category from Miranda Hart, Nina Conti and Sarah Millican.
Australian comedian Adam Hills has »
- Jason Deans
Martin Shaw, actor – portrait of the artist
21 hours ago
How did you become interested in acting?
It started at school. I didn't have a healthy attitude towards education: it took me a long time to work out that I was there for me, not for my teachers. There were only two teachers I could really respond to – one taught English, the other drama. When we were doing Shakespeare, it seemed crystal-clear.
What was your big breakthrough?
In 1968, I appeared at the Royal Court in the first major revival of Look Back in Anger (1). Then I starred in several other plays there. Roman Polanski saw one and offered me the role of Banquo in his film of Macbeth. Everything took off from there.
What have you sacrificed for your art?
I've grown a few grey hairs – well, a »
- Laura Barnett
Masters of Sex recap: season one, episode nine – Involuntary
22 hours ago
Virginia broke my heart in this episode, which further explored the differences between sex and love, and showed all the characters struggling to connect with each other
Spoiler Alert: This blog is for people watching the first series of Masters of Sex at UK broadcast pace. Don't read on if you haven't seen episode nine – and if you've seen later episodes, please do not leave spoilers.
Click here for Sarah Hughes's episode eight recap
'It would be my recommendation that Mrs Johnson try not to take her work so personally and adopts a more detached approach'
Even the absence of Barton and Margaret Scully didn't dent my enthusiasm for this episode, in which a luminous Lizzy Caplan broke my heart several times over. In the first half of the season I felt it was clear that Masters stood for the repressed old world and Virginia the freedom to come. »
- Sarah Hughes
Katie Hopkins petition passes 75,000 as she explains life expectancy tweet
3 December 2013 9:05 AM, PST
Apprentice star repeats apology for timing of tweet after Glasgow helicopter crash, but insists she doesn't see self as controversial
An online petition protesting against Katie Hopkins's tweet about Scottish life expectancy in the wake of the Glasgow helicopter crash has passed 75,000 names, as she gave an explanation of how she came to send the controversial message.
The Apprentice star and Sun columnist prompted online outrage after she tweeted on Saturday: "Life expectancy in Scotland based 07/08 birth is 59.5. Goodness me. That lot will do anything to avoid working until retirement."
The petition read: "On the 30th of November 2013, Scotland was still in shock and trying to come to terms with a horrible crash that took the lives of innocent people. Within 24 hours of this happening Katie Hopkins posted vile remarks on Twitter about how long the people of Scotland live for.
"This is unacceptable and distressing to those who lost friends and family. »
- Dugald Baird
Kenya sci-fi series imagines European immigrants fleeing to Africa
3 December 2013 8:18 AM, PST
TV show set in 2062 presents Africa as an oasis which desperate Europeans are risking their lives to reach
A Nairobi-based sci-fi television series portraying a world in which immigration trends are reversed has been screened for the first time, with producers hoping it will gain a wider distribution.
Usoni, which is set in 2062, tells the story of European refugees fleeing to Africa. Created by Marc Rigaudis of the United States International University in Nairobi, the film casts Africa as an oasis – the only place where the sun continues to shine. It follows a young couple who embark on a dangerous journey to reach the continent but before their dream can be realised, they must overcome the worst of humanity and beat impossible odds.
Speaking to TechMoran, producer Denver Ochieng said: "Usoni is actually a series focusing on the travel of a couple from the natural disaster-stricken Europe to the now »
Russell Brand v the Sun: war of words hots up
3 December 2013 7:17 AM, PST
This week's comedy news
The gloves are off in Brand versus the Sun. On Saturday, the never-knowingly-underexposed comedian wrote a piece for this paper accusing the Sun on Sunday of printing lies about his personal life, and comparing Rupert Murdoch to Hitler. Brand had previously tweeted his intention to sue the tabloid. This week, the red-top struck back, with an article entitled 20 reasons why Russell Brand is the Biggest Hypocrite in Britain – a piece it was so keen to broadcast, it suspended its online paywall. Its accusations? That Brand's anti-capitalist arguments don't square with his £9m fortune. That he has written extensively for the Sun and frequently publicly praised the paper. That his book and TV series were published and broadcast by Harper Collins and Fox respectively – both owned by Rupert Murdoch, »
- Brian Logan
Katie Hopkins apologises for timing of tweet about Scottish life expectancy
3 December 2013 6:34 AM, PST
More than 38,000 people sign petition against Apprentice star and Sun columnist after she tweeted in wake of Glasgow crash
Katie Hopkins petition passes 70,000 as she explains tweet
Several Facebook groups were formed in protest and more than 38,000 people signed an online petition calling for Hopkins to be banned from TV after she tweeted on Saturday: "Life expectancy in Scotland based 07/08 birth is 59.5. Goodness me. That lot will do anything to avoid working until retirement."
The petition said: "On the 30th of November 2013, Scotland was still in shock and trying to come to terms with a horrible crash that took the lives of innocent people. Within 24 hours of this happening Katie Hopkins posted vile remarks on Twitter about how long the people of Scotland live for.
- Dugald Baird
Has the internet killed Have I Got News For You?
3 December 2013 5:53 AM, PST
It used to be the go-to show for forensic news satire. But thanks to Twitter and co, it's up against far faster – and often just as sharp – competition. Is it time for the final edition?
To paraphrase Jimmy Nail: if you love something, set it free. I'm starting to suspect this might be the case with Have I Got News For You. The show used to be fresh and vital, razor sharp and gleeful in its dismantling of the news. But it's a shadow of its former self now. It lumbers along, as best it can, taking easily telegraphed potshots at targets that are already dead. It wrings out titters where there should be guffaws. It used to be Lenny Bruce, now it's Bruce Forsyth. I say this with a heavy heart, but I think it might be time for a dignified retirement.
It's not hard to see where the show went wrong. »
- Stuart Heritage
Getting the splash back on TV: how to give swimming a small-screen revival
3 December 2013 4:45 AM, PST
Here are some inspired ideas for a new generation of stellar swimming shows coming (not so) soon
Swimming is the most popular participation sport in the UK. BBC Sports tells us that just under 2.9 million people participate at least once a week. But since Baywatch finished in 2001 there hasn't been a programme on television that reflects that interest. So I have decided to develop one. I'm kicking around several possibilities; the only thing I can guarantee at present is that, unlike most other programmes on TV, this one will be a Nigel Farage-free zone.
There are a few ways to go when developing TV shows. One is to sell something that appears both new and yet terribly familiar. The Great British Bake Off does that – plays heavy on the retro, with all the tooth-achingly cute bunting and pastel ceramics. Competitive cooking is a well-established TV format. It had just »
- Jenny Landreth
British comedy awards 2013: Fresh Meat, Peep Show, Getting On dominate nominations
3 December 2013 3:03 AM, PST
• How the king or queen of comedy is crowned
The nominations for this year's British comedy awards have been announced, joining last week's king or queen of comedy shortlist, which is the only category voted for by the public. The ceremony will take place on 12 December in London and will be broadcast live on Channel 4.
Best TV comedy actor
David Mitchell, Peep Show
Best TV comedy actress
Best male TV comic
David Mitchell, Would I Lie To You
Jon Richardson, 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown
Lee Mack, »
Liberty of London – TV review
2 December 2013 11:01 PM, PST
Will anyone enjoy Liberty of London as much as the store's PR department?
Maybe I'll do my Christmas shopping at Liberty of London (Channel 4) this year. I'm thinking the pretty art deco ring (£69,500) for my missus, big stuffed bear (£1,995) for my boy, and Liberty prints for everyone else. Job done, all under one rather splendid higgledy-piggledy mock-Tudor roof.
If I didn't have a missus I could maybe even browse the sales assistants too. This woman training new staff for the Christmas period says it's common for friendships to develop with clients over time, and "if somebody should ask you by chance to go for a coffee or tea or lunch or whatever, it's totally up to you. If you feel comfortable with it, go for it … You are allowed to."
Liberty indeed. But it's all part of the "clienteling" process. Step one is Capturing The Client, though the trainer »
- Sam Wollaston
TV highlights 03/12/2013
2 December 2013 11:00 PM, PST
Football: Crystal Palace vs West Ham | Pilgrimage With Simon Reeve | The Sound Of Musicals | The Joy Of Logic | Young, British And Broke | Seduced And Abandoned | Masters Of Sex | Imagine – Who's Afraid Of Machiavelli?
Football: Crystal Palace vs West Ham
7pm, BT Sport 1
Tony Pulis looks to have timed his first match as Crystal Palace manager rather well: off the bottom after a confidence-renewing victory over at Hull City, Palace here face a West Ham side who have managed a single win in their past 10 games. It's a run of form that has left Hammers fans – already unimpressed by their side's functional brand of football – openly questioning whether manager Sam Allardyce is the right man for the job. He could do with a win here. Gwilym Mumford
Pilgrimage With Simon Reeve
Presenter Simon Reeve follows in the sandal-clad footsteps of Christians throughout the ages as they travelled towards holy goals around the globe. »
- Gwilym Mumford, Mark Jones, Bim Adewunmi, Ben Arnold, Hannah J Davies, David Stubbs, Jonathan Wright, Andrew Mueller
Doctor Who anniversary episode breaks iPlayer request records
2 December 2013 4:05 PM, PST
Birthday edition eclipses previous high of Olympics opening ceremony reaching nearly 1.3m requests in 24 hours
The 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who generated a record of nearly 1.3m iPlayer requests in the 24 hours after broadcast, eclipsing the previous high of the Olympics opening ceremony.
The Day of the Doctor, which featured the return of David Tennant and Billie Piper and a special guest star appearance by John Hurt, had a consolidated audience of 12.8 million viewers, including people who recorded it and watched it in the subsequent seven days, up from its overnight rating of 10.2 million.
There were a total of 1.27m requests to watch it on the iPlayer in the 24 hours after its broadcast on 23 November, beating the previous 24 hour record of just over 1m set by BBC1's coverage of Danny Boyle's acclaimed opening ceremony of the London Olympics. The show has now had 2.9m requests on the iPlayer. »
- John Plunkett
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