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Its a good week in television for the generation gap
25 May 2012 4:05 PM, PDT
From Skins to your dad scratching his head in front of Top Of The Pops, unable to tell if any of the singers are boys or girls, television has always done a wonderful job of driving a wedge between generations. If that's your thing, you're in luck: this week's telly is basically generation gap city. It's well nang, assuming that's still something youngsters say.
First, for the kids, there's Radio Rebel (Fri, 5.55pm, Disney), the premiere of a new High School Musical-style film about an inspirational 17-year-old podcaster who keeps rubbing her headmaster up the wrong way. It features a character called DJ Cami Q. She's played by someone called Mercedes de la Zerda. Its soundtrack features a song called We So Fly. If you're not currently going through puberty, it might make you want to do your skull in with a pipe. But that's probably the point.
- Stuart Heritage
Media Talk podcast: Adam Smith and Frédéric Michel before Leveson
25 May 2012 10:05 AM, PDT
John Plunkett and Dan Sabbagh have all the latest from this week's Leveson inquiry and discuss the testimonies of Adam Smith and Frédéric Michel. They also ponder what the future holds for Jeremy Hunt.
It's the Eurovision song contest this weekend and Vicky Frost and Dave Simpson join the pod to discuss veteran singer Engelbert Humperdinck chances of bringing glory to Britain. Plus there's a TV round-up which includes the series finale of The Bridge and new Sky Atlantic drama His and Hers.
John PlunkettDan SabbaghVicky FrostDave Simpson »
- John Plunkett, Dan Sabbagh, Vicky Frost, Dave Simpson
How social enterprise is leading the way for women
25 May 2012 9:38 AM, PDT
Our Apprentice star and social entrepreneur says that female leadership is challenging the glass ceiling
Week 10 - The week that marked the end of my own journey in the Apprentice last year. At this point in the competition, you're feeling exhausted from the 4.30am wake ups, missing your family and developing a very odd allergy towards the word "task".
Most if this year's contestants seemed to really enjoy this week's task of finding luxury experience deals for a daily deals website.
But near the end of the episode, I was almost screaming with rage at the TV at how condescendingly Stephen was speaking to Gabriella Omar even stating, "Things are beyond her- I'll be keeping her on a short leash!"
I tweeted saying: "Not hating Stephen - but seems he's not met many strong women who can put him in his place. He speaks down to women. That's a big no, »
Seven days on stage: 1 million viewers could bring the Olivier awards back to terrestrial TV
25 May 2012 7:32 AM, PDT
Viewing figures for the Oliviers could prompt terrestrial pickup, the Met rescinds a ban on its own magazine, the Royal Court scores a hat-trick and Piff the dragon may have a doppelgänger
On the button
Nearly a million people watched the 2012 Olivier awards, according to figures released by the event's organisers. The results – which show that just shy of 700,000 watched a highlights package on the BBC's red button, while a further 180,000 watched the event broadcast live – will lend weight to calls from the theatre community for the ceremony to be returned to mainstream TV. It hasn't featured on a terrestrial channel since 2003, when the Oliviers were screened on BBC2. "Extensive conversations" are said to be ongoing with the Beeb over plans for next year's event. You never know.
London's Royal Court theatre completed a remarkable hat-trick of West End transfers this week, with the announcement that Nick Payne »
- Alistair Smith
Bafta TV awards 2012: who should win?
25 May 2012 6:14 AM, PDT
Which shows and actors deserve to win at Sunday's TV Baftas ceremony? Could all the big awards go West? Tell us your hopes and fears
Read the full list of 2012 nominations
On Sunday evening the great and good of UK telly will gather at the Royal Festival Hall for the British Academy Television Awards – a celebration of the best programmes and performances of the past year that also tends to provoke controversy. (Last year's big, although entirely foreseeable upset: Towie beating Sherlock to the Bafta YouTube audience award. This year's potential upset: Celebrity Juice doing the same). So who should be sweeping off with what? We discussed the nominations – and in some cases lack of them – in a blog when they were released. But now it's time to pick our winners.
- Vicky Frost
Eurovision 2012: who shone brightest in the second semi-final?
25 May 2012 6:09 AM, PDT
Pop-singing pirates, blindfolded balladeers and a Bonnie Tyler wannabe – yes, these really are the acts to watch in the Eurovision final
Eurovision 2012: who sparkled in the first semi-final?
In many ways, the second Eurovision semi-final was going to struggle to live up to the first: no Russian grannies; no sub-satirical ditties about Facebook; no shrieking Albanian Bjorks with towering ratty hairdos. And, tragically, no Jedward to find yourself inexplicably rooting for. But in case you missed last night's semi-final – maybe because something urgent came up or you have a functioning semblance of a social life – never fear. Here are the acts you should keep an eye out for tomorrow, and some that are no longer with us.
Ones to watch
Europe should be pacing nervously around Sweden, which this year rewrote We Found Love by Rihanna in capital letters and then kicked it square in the face. It's huge, »
- Stuart Heritage
BBC secures Premier League highlights for another three years
25 May 2012 6:04 AM, PDT
Match of the Day and Match of the Day 2 to continue showing top-flight football in £180m deal
The BBC has struck a £180m deal to secure the Premier League highlights for a further three years, ensuring that Match of the Day passes 50 years on TV.
The BBC submitted a £179.7m bid to secure the UK free-to-air highlights rights for three seasons from 2013/14 to 2015/16. This represents a 4.5% increase on the £172m the BBC paid for its existing three-year deal.
The rights cover BBC1's Match of the Day on a Saturday evening, which is fronted by Gary Lineker, the Sunday morning repeat as well as Match of the Day 2 on Sunday evenings. The deal extends to "other evenings when Premier League fixtures justify a show".
"It is wonderful news that we have MotD for another three years," said Lineker. "It is a flagship programme and it shows how much the BBC »
- Mark Sweney
A week on the web: Eurovision 2012
25 May 2012 5:35 AM, PDT
It's Eurovision time once again, and the excitement is mounting ahead of Saturday's final. Well, Jedward are excited in any case. Will it be or a hit or miss this year? Here's the online take on proceedings
[Please note: this column is put together using Storify, which does not work on our mobile site and apps. If nothing loads below this paragraph, click here to go to Storify itself, or use the desktop version of the site.]
Television industryEurovisionEngelbert HumperdinckJedwardTelevision
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TV review: The Fish Market: Inside Billingsgate; House
24 May 2012 4:07 PM, PDT
Never mind the pollocks – get a load of these characters
Thank you, Mark Morris, fish merchant, on The Fish Market: Inside Billingsgate (BBC2). Thank you for standing up and telling it like it is, saying what no one else has the cojones to say: that pollock's bollocks.
He says it better. A few years ago no one wanted pollock. You couldn't give it away. Then Gordon Ramsay and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall told us we had to eat pollock instead of cod, because it was more sustainable. And because these men were on the television we did what we were told. Now, as well as making more money than cod does, it's going short. Which is daft, says Mark.
"That's a pollock," he says, holding one up. "Lovely piece of fish, lovely bright colours, that sort of thing. Tastes like shit. Then you get cod [holds up a cod]. That's a fish that's been swimming in the North Atlantic, »
- Sam Wollaston
Geri Halliwell in rooftop protest as Liverpool boos her
24 May 2012 4:07 PM, PDT
The former Spice Girl tries to impress X Factor's Liverpudlian audience by climbing on top of her limo, but it doesn't quite have the desired effect
Arriving in Liverpool for the first round of auditions for The X Factor on Wednesday, Geri Halliwell was probably feeling a bit nervous. This was make-or-break time. Cowell had called her off the substitutes' bench once more and, if she performed her X-Factory duties correctly, a permanent place on the judging panel beckoned.
"Everyone remembers my batshit performance back when I was a guest judge in 2010," she doubtlessly thought to herself. "Maybe I talked too much. Maybe I wanted it too much. But not this time. This time, I'll play it cool. This time it'll be Cowell doing all the chasing!"
And then her limo pulled up outside the studios and Geri peered out of its tinted windows. People cheered. Cameras flashed. Once »
- Sam Delaney
Your next box set: Brass
24 May 2012 4:06 PM, PDT
There's hilarious trouble up mill in this lovably daft Dh Lawrence pastiche from the 80s
There wasn't much to laugh at in the 80s. Puffball skirts, briefly. Impressionist Mike Yarwood, if you were that way inclined. And yes, Wispas were a joke, but not in a good way. (Shut up, Wispa fans. If you aerate chocolate, the result is less chocolate. You're all fools. Fools.)
But there was – gloriously, unforgettably – Brass, which over the course of three series told the story of the feuding families of the utterly northern mining village of, well, Utterly. Self-made man and owner of the village mine, mill and munitions factory, Bradley is the head of the Hardacre clan, which comprises his three sons, Bentley (deceased), Austin and Morris; as well as two daughters, Charlotte (passionate about doing good works and, says her father, "innocent to the point of simplicity") and Isabel, whose bedpost is more notch than wood. »
- Lucy Mangan
TV highlights 25/05/2012
24 May 2012 4:06 PM, PDT
Delius: Composer, Lover, Enigma
Stirring documentary chronicling the life of Frederick Delius, a composer who would possess a more secure place in the pantheon of eccentric English artists were it not for his diffident relationship with England. A child of German immigrants, born in Bradford, he spent most of his life in the Us and Europe – although, much to the excitement of the newspapers of the day, he was buried in a Surrey churchyard at midnight. The soundtrack is provided by the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, violinist Philippe Graffin and the Schola Cantorum of Oxford. Andrew Mueller
- Andrew Mueller, Gwilym Mumford, Ali Catterall, Hannah Verdier, Jonathan Wright, Phelim O'Neill
Eurovision 2012: could Engelbert Humperdinck win?
24 May 2012 7:23 AM, PDT
For the UK to upset favourites Sweden, Italy and Russia, the Hump will have to be top of his game
Finnish metal, Norwegian fiddlers, Serbian power-balladeers; the list of recent Eurovision winners is certainly a rich and varied tapestry. This Saturday, the hopes of the UK rest on a septuagenarian crooner joining their illustrious ranks. At time of writing, Engelbert Humperdinck stands at fourth in the betting odds, behind favourites Sweden, Italy and Russia, meaning he's theoretically in with a good shot. But what does it really take to win this magnificently mad display of cultural diversity?
I have to admit; when the artist formerly known as Arnold Dorsey was announced as the UK representative I was less than thrilled. Given his Vegas-cheesy image and the dark shadows cast by Scooch, Josh DuBovie and DJ Daz, I was instantly plagued by nightmare visions of the pensionable crooner shuffling »
- John P Lucas
Hit & Miss: should non-transgender actors play transgender characters?
24 May 2012 4:28 AM, PDT
Chloë Sevigny plays a transgender assassin in the new series. Paris Lees, who is trans, also went for the part
Chloë Sevigny had to wear a prosthetic penis for her role as Mia, the transgender assassin in Sky Atlantic's new drama Hit & Miss. Apparently this wasn't much fun."I hated it. It was an awful experience," Sevigny said at its UK premiere, revealing her worries about how frequently it would be shown – it did pop up three times in the first episode. Sounds as if she had a spot of gender dysphoria, the physical incongruence many trans people feel before transition.
Though I'm not an actor, I auditioned for the part of Mia last year. I'm trans myself, but declined to discuss my genitals with the directors (unless you're my sexual partner, you really don't need to know).
Should non-trans actors play trans people? It's a heated debate in the »
Panorama versus Eurovision: the balance dilemma that the BBC faces
24 May 2012 4:21 AM, PDT
A documentary about Azerbaijan human rights issues sits uncomfortably with the BBC-sponsored song festival
There is much discussion, especially at the time of elections, about BBC balance: the Corporation's statutory obligation to be politically even-handed across the range of its programmes. This obligation is often controversial, with objections that, for example, the BBC is one-sided over certain issues (the monarchy, global warming and Europe are regularly cited). Complaints rejected by executives with the traditional phrase that the existence of outrage from both sides suggests that they "must be getting it just about right."
But there is another, less visible aspect to balance, which intermittently causes as much concern internally as externally. It happened again this week when Monday's BBC1 Panorama programme anatomised human rights abuses in Azerbaijan, just six days before the country hosted the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest, the centrepiece of BBC1's Saturday night schedule.
Within this dog-on-dog scrap, »
- Mark Lawson
TV review: Hitler's Children; Lewis
24 May 2012 2:50 AM, PDT
Hitler's Children was full of guilt and shame – and yet it managed a happy ending
I never seem to tire of documentaries about the second world war, no matter how often I see the same grainy, black and white footage. It's not that I expect to learn a lot: I suspect I already know about as much about everything from the blitzkrieg to the Holocaust and Hiroshima as I am ever likely to need. Rather, it's the further away it all gets, the more personal it increasingly becomes. My father, who died a while ago, was in the navy throughout the war; my mother, now 88, was a Wren. These events were/are not history to them; they were/are the formative events that shaped and scarred their lives. And therefore indirectly mine. To understand their experience is to make sense of my own and keep us close.
In Germany that »
- John Crace
TV highlights 24/05/2012
23 May 2012 4:05 PM, PDT
The general consensus on this globe-trotting nature show, fronted by Richard Hammond and Countryfile's Julia Bradbury, has been largely negative, with Hammond criticised for cracking jokes rather than getting to grips with the subject. Tonight's instalment brings the series to a close with speculation about the future of the animals involved. Considering the scorn the show has received, maybe it should go out quietly before people start asking how much it cost. Ben Arnold
The Fish Market: Inside Billingsgate
The way of doing things at the London fish market of Billingsgate has essentially been unchanged since Elizabethan times: "tenants", or fish merchants, trade from 2am, but fish may not be moved until a bell rings at 5am – and then only by licensed fish porters. »
- Ben Arnold, John Robinson, Clare Considine, Ali Catterall
The Apprentice 2012 episode 10: live blog
23 May 2012 3:43 PM, PDT
Join me from 9pm as the Apprentice candidates try to set up a daily deals website with offers on hotels, dinners and premium products
Good evening, and welcome to The Apprentice Week 10 liveblog! There are only two weeks left and we've still got seven candidates, which means Lord Sugar needs to start doing some double firings. Is it possible to fire Stephen twice? I'm thinking a pointy-fingered you're Fired!, popping him in a cab, driving it round the block for ten minutes then bringing him back to the boardroom (maybe with the smallest suggestion of a reprieve) and then firing him all over again. It would be the best TV Ever.
Anyway, tonight's task is all about negotiation – essentially the teams are in charge of securing great (pretend) deals for a (real) Groupon-style discount site for Londoners, using all their bargaining and wheeler-dealing resources (Adam, basically). In the process, the »
- Heidi Stephens
Howard Stern on America's Got Talent: star of a show that can't make stars | Jonathan Bernstein
23 May 2012 9:50 AM, PDT
In 1993, I drove from New York to Philadelphia and stood in line with 25,000 people patiently waiting for Howard Stern to sign their copies of his autobiography, Private Parts. That was the height of my Stern fandom but even now, when I can barely summon up the energy to crawl from the couch to the kitchen, I'm still a loyal listener.
My first reaction to the news that Stern was taking over the judge's chair vacated by Piers Morgan on America's Got Talent was excitement. The second was dread. Being a Stern listener is a complicated business. You feel proprietorial: you've put in the hours and the years. You feel included: when he's dismissed by the clueless as a cackling exploiter of strippers and lesbians, »
- Jonathan Bernstein
Eurovision 2012: who sparkled in the first semi-final?
23 May 2012 9:49 AM, PDT
Slipper-clad Russian grannies and Jedward's poptastic cheese – yes, it's time for Eurovision again. Here's who to look out for in Saturday's final
In pictures: the first semi-final
Ah, Eurovision. Spiritual home of twinkly pop, crazy Euro rockers, accordions and Jedward. After last year's runaway win in Dusseldorf, this year it's Azerbaijan's turn to play host. The final will be broadcast live from Baku on Saturday night, but first we have to wade through a couple of semi-finals and send home the countries that haven't quite met European standards for wind machine application and trumpet quality. The 20 winners will join the pre-qualified "Big Five" – UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy – along with the host nation, Azerbaijan, in the final lineup of 26 finalists on Saturday.
Watching last night's first semi-final, it's heartening to see that the market for bonkers Euro cheese remains buoyant in these turbulent economic times. Here's who to watch »
- Heidi Stephens