When British daytime TV and geek heroes collide

Doctor Who, Star Trek and more: what happened when sci-fi, horror & fantasy heroes have popped up on British daytime TV over the years…

Pre-YouTube, fandom was a hard-earned thing. It took research, dedication and enough patience to hover over the family video player’s ‘record’ button for an entire episode of TV-am in anticipation of six minutes with Sylvester McCoy. Six minutes in which the Seventh Doctor would be polled if he was a cat or dog person and then asked to taste a lemon roulade.

Scarcity bred desire in those days, so we took what we could get from our heroes of yore, even if that meant watching Hammer Horror legend Ingrid Pitt make a chocolate mousse, or the aforementioned McCoy attempt to answer fan questions above the hubbub of a Nottingham swimming pool complex. The collision of geek icons and UK daytime magazine shows was sometimes illuminating, sometimes excruciating,
See full article at Den of Geek »

Martin Luther King and the March on Washington; New Tricks; Burgled; Horizon: Dinosaurs – the Hunt for Life – review

The BBC's masterly documentary about Martin Luther King was so good that it ought to be on the national curriculum

Martin Luther King and the March on Washington (BBC2) | iPlayer

New Tricks (BBC1) | iPlayer

Burgled (C4) | 4oD

Horizon: Dinosaurs – the Hunt for Life (BBC2) | iPlayer

Much of the entire 20th century was summed up in a BBC documentary last week. Quite possibly the best thing the BBC has created in years. This distanced itself from Hairy Antique Dog-Chef Celeb Walford Dragon-Baker in the way the gods used to distance themselves from mortals: it was a quantum gulp.

It was, inter alia, the story of Martin Luther King's speech in 1963. A good speech, admittedly: as (doomed) generations of media students surely know, the power of the oratory came from the omission of full stops; he simply sang through them. But so much more was revealed by this programme.

See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Phillip Schofield defends Holly Willoughby over 'Daily Mail' article

Phillip Schofield has defended his This Morning co-host Holly Willoughby over an article questioning her presenting capabilities.

Responding to news that Willoughby has earned an estimated £10 million from her TV gigs and endorsement deals, television agent Jon Roseman wrote in the Daily Mail that she doesn't have "a single flicker of talent".

Roseman suggested that she is a "bimbo" hired as "eye-candy" so broadcasters can appeal to advertisers. He also stated that she lacks the depth shown by presenters he has represented in the past, such as Anne Diamond and Fern Britton.

"Just in case you ever wondered what was so wrong with television today, you need look no further than presenter Holly Willoughby and the news that she is on her way to amassing a £10 million fortune," Roseman wrote.

"How has she done it? Not by showing a single flicker of talent, that's for sure. Can she ask a searching question?
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

Violent games and movies: can we talk about parents?

Feature Simon Brew 5 Mar 2013 - 06:44

Movie and videogame violence is a common scapegoat for real-world crime. But what about the role parents play in all this, Simon wonders...

Just before we get going, it's worth making something straight from the start. This is a piece that deliberately isn't being written or timed in response to some of the horrendous tragedies that have taken place over the past year or two, for which games and movies have got the blame. This isn't a knee-jerk reactive article. It's deliberately running in slightly calmer times, as that seems to be the right point to have some kind of rounded debate about the issues I want to talk about.

Basically, I want to chat about the proverbial elephant in the room.

I've just finished reading David Kushner's book Jacked, about the life and times of the Grand Theft Auto series, and the controversies that have surrounded the games.
See full article at Den of Geek »

Mike Morris obituary

Laid-back and popular presenter on TV-am's breakfast programme who went on to work for Yorkshire Television

As a presenter at TV-am, Mike Morris, who has died aged 66 from heart failure after suffering from cancer, was distinctive on screen for his prominent moustache and relaxed manner. Along with the puppet Roland Rat, this laid-back style was adopted more widely by TV-am, ITV's first breakfast television franchise holder, and proved successful, following the failure of its initial presenting line-up – the so-called Famous Five – to attract audiences.

The big guns of David Frost, Anna Ford, Robert Kee, Angela Rippon and Michael Parkinson, with their high-brow approach, were firmly rejected by viewers, who opted instead to watch Selina Scott and Frank Bough on the BBC's Breakfast Time. The BBC show was lighter in style and gained an advantage by going on air 15 days ahead of TV-am's Good Morning Britain and Daybreak programmes
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Dawn French denies gastric band claims: 'Shut up Anne Diamond'

Dawn French denies gastric band claims: 'Shut up Anne Diamond'
Dawn French has hit back at Anne Diamond's suggestion that she may have had a gastric band. Diamond said in an open letter to French published in the press last month that while the comedian had made an "astonishing transformation" by losing weight, an "obesity surgeon" had told the former TV-am presenter that "the easiest way to guarantee [that] sort of dramatic and consistent weight is to have a gastric band or a gastric bypass". The comedienne has since insisted that she lost "a lot more" than the six stone Diamond estimated, and put the weight loss down to healthy eating and walking. Speaking on a Radio 2 French and Saunders special to be aired tomorrow, (more)
See full article at Digital Spy - Movie News »

The Leveson inquiry: what we've learned so far

From the 'toothlessness' of the Pcc to Hugh Grant's middle name, we round up what 10 days of testimony has taught us

Over the past 10 days, a succession of famous faces, and some who are less well-known, have appeared at the Royal Courts of Justice to tell the Leveson inquiry into press standards about the worst excesses of the "gutter press". Lord Justice Leveson has listened intently from his lofty perch in courtroom 73 as his team has cross-examined those who feel they have suffered at the hands of the British media – an industry Tony Blair famously described as a "feral beast". As if that wasn't bad enough, two former journalists have lifted the lid on what it's really like to work for the tabloids. So what have we learned so far?

Comparing Rupert Murdoch's News Corp to a crime cartel is all the rage. Murdoch's nemesis, Labour MP Tom Watson,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley to leave Daybreak, ITV confirms

Breakfast duo to 'focus on peak-time commitments', says ITV1

ITV has confirmed that Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley are to leave Daybreak to "focus on peak-time commitments".

The departing Daybreak presenters are understood to have been in talks with ITV to sort out their future with the broadcaster since last weekend, when news leaked that they were leaving the ITV1 breakfast show.

Chiles and Bleakley joined ITV last year from the BBC on exclusive deals reportedly worth a combined £10m amid much fanfare about their leading role in Daybreak, which replaced GMTV as ITV1's breakfast programme in September 2010.

ITV said that it has reached mutual agreements with Chiles and Bleakley that will see them give up their Daybreak roles "later this year" and instead fulfil their contractual obligations on other "peak-time commitments with ITV1".

Chiles's main priority will now be his role as the anchor of ITV's football
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Who should present Daybreak?

Johnny Vaughan, Emma Crosby, Natasha Kaplinksy, Sian Williams and Dan Lobb could all be considered for the breakfast TV job. But which would you choose?

There's little to dwell upon about the departure of Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley from Daybreak. At very most, Chiles might grow a scruffy protest beard like he did when The One Show made him unhappy, but that's about it. In a few weeks they'll be gone.

Which means it's time to start speculating wildly about who will replace them. This, largely, depends on what sort of show Daybreak wants to be. Bleakley was seen in some circles as too lightweight when it came to handling big news stories, from which we can assume that Daybreak wants to beef up its current affairs in order to compete with BBC Breakfast. That's why the likes of Natasha Kaplinsky and Sian Williams have been put in the frame.
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Eamonn Holmes keen for Daybreak presenter role

Sky News man 'would like to be in the frame' for ITV breakfast show, but co-host frontrunner Natasha Kaplinksy less interested

Sky News presenter Eamonn Holmes has admitted he would "like to be in the frame" for a presenting job on Daybreak, although ITV newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky has distanced herself from taking over as a co-host of the ITV1 breakfast show.

Kaplinsky and Holmes have been widely tipped as frontrunners to take over hosting Daybreak, following reports that Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley are to leave the show in the new year.

The former BBC presenter, now working for ITV News, has a close working relationship with incoming Daybreak editor David Kermode – he was editor of 5 News when Kaplinsky was anchor – and helped make her a firm frontrunner to takeover from Bleakley.

However, a spokeswoman for Kaplinsky has all but ruled her out, saying that she has done her "fair
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Huge Celebrities Set To Testify Against Murdoch Tabloids

Huge Celebrities Set To Testify Against Murdoch Tabloids
London -- They've been hacked and libeled, stalked and slandered. Now the public figures whose personal lives have long offered grist for Britain's news mill have been given a rare chance to confront their tabloid tormentors.

Film star Hugh Grant, "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling, and the father of missing girl Madeleine McCann are among those due to testify over the next week at the U.K. inquiry into media ethics – a judicial body that could recommend sweeping changes to the way Britons get their news.

The nationally televised inquiry would give many of those in the public eye an unprecedented chance to challenge those who write about them, said Cary Cooper, a professor at northern England's Lancaster University and the author of "Public Faces, Private Lives."

"This is the first time the celebrities have been able to strike back," Cooper said. "I think it will have an impact, and
See full article at Huffington Post »

Hugh Grant And J.K. Rowling To Join Other Celebs Testifying About News Corp Scandal

  • Deadline TV
This will be another bad week for James Murdoch and News Corp as 21 witnesses including several celebs line up to tell a government inquiry how overzealous and unethical reporters turned their lives upside down. The investigation is led by Lord Justice Leveson who Prime Minister David Cameron asked to examine both the phone hacking at News Of The World, and problems with the country’s press culture. The parents of Milly Dowler, a 13-year-old who was murdered in 2002, will kick things off tomorrow. The Notw scandal broke open this past July when it was disclosed that after Dowler was missing the tabloid hacked into the girl’s phone and deleted messages, giving her parents false hope that she might still be alive. Grant will follow them, and is expected to continue his assault on reporting tactics used by Notw and the Daily Mail. Also due on Monday is the lawyer for actor Jude Law.
See full article at Deadline TV »

Ofcom clears BBC after anger over EastEnders cot death storyline

EastEnders cot death storyline drew thousands of complaints but watchdog clears BBC of breaching broadcasting regulations

When EastEnders featured a recently bereaved mother swapping her dead baby for another couple's newborn child, it generated tens of thousands of complaints from viewers and became one of the most controversial plotlines in the soap's 26-year history.

However, the BBC programmet has been cleared of breaching broadcasting regulations by media regulator Ofcom which said the soap had a record of tackling "highly sensitive social issues". The cot death story triggered 13,400 complaints to the BBC and another 1,044 to the regulator itself.

Viewers complained that the plot, featuring troubled Ronnie Branning played by actor Samantha Womack – who has since left the soap – was an "inaccurate, insensitive and sensationalised portrayal" of sudden infant death syndrome. Such was the scale of the protest that BBC drama chiefs ended the storyline earlier than planned.

Ofcom noted that complainants
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

EastEnders cleared over 'baby swap' storyline despite 13,400 complaints

Media regulator Ofcom clears BBC of breaching broadcasting regulations, saying scenes 'not unduly disturbing or graphic'

A controversial cot death "baby swap" storyline on EastEnders has been cleared of breaching broadcasting regulations by media regulator Ofcom despite thousands of complaints from viewers.

The regulator said the scenes broadcast in the BBC1 soap were "not unduly disturbing or graphic" and said the plot would "not have exceeded" viewers' expectations.

A total of 13,400 people complained to the BBC, and 1,044 to Ofcom, about the story in which Ronnie Branning, played by actor Samantha Womack, lost her baby James and swapped him for Kat and Alfie Moon's newborn son, Tommy.

Viewers complained it was an "inaccurate, insensitive and sensationalised portrayal" of cot death.

Others said it was "distressing", "horrific" and inappropriately scheduled, broadcast over two episodes on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day at the beginning of this year.

The cot death plot
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

The Archers and EastEnders: why are fans making such a fuss?

BBC storylines featuring Nigel Pargetter and Ronnie Branning have upset some – but don't they know it's only make believe?

There is nothing like soap when it comes to getting into a lather. And with barely a week gone, 2011 has already witnessed two foaming controversies over long-running dramas, both at the BBC.

First there was Nigel Pargetter falling to his death in The Archers, a plot twist that the BBC promised would "shake Ambridge to the core". In the event, Ambridge survived the shock with commendable stoicism, but the same could not be said for many disappointed listeners, who were shaken by the fact that they were not more shaken.

Then came the furore surrounding the cot-death story in EastEnders, with upwards of 6,000 complaints concerning the plotline in which the character Ronnie Branning, played by Samantha Womack, lost her baby James and, in her grief, swapped him for Kat and Alfie Moon's baby,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

EastEnders to shorten cot death plot as complaints pass 6,000

Storyline to be cut short after figures including broadcaster Anne Diamond and Mumsnet founder Justine Roberts express outrage

The BBC will cut short a controversial cot death story in EastEnders that looks set to become the long-running soap's most complained-about plotline to date.

More than 6,000 complaints have been made about episodes in which Ronnie Branning, played by actor Samantha Womack, lost her baby James and swapped him for Kat and Alfie Moon's newborn son, Tommy.

Campaigning website Mumsnet described it as cynical and ill-informed and likely to reinforce misconceptions about bereaved mothers as "deranged and unhinged".

The BBC defended the plotline, which began with baby James's death in the New Year's Eve edition of the soap. It said it did not intend to cause distress but acknowledged it was a "particularly emotive storyline", which was approached "with great care and attention" following advice from experts.

But in response to the
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Daybreak figures plummet as audiences reject 'glum' Adrian Chiles

Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley's Daybreak has just 600,000 viewers to BBC's Breakfast 1.3m

Fresh questions about the future of Daybreak, ITV's troubled breakfast show, were raised as it emerged the audience stayed below 600,000 for the first three days of this week.

The successor to GMTV, presented by Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley, averaged 592,000 viewers on Monday, 544,000 on Tuesday and 545,000 on Wednesday. BBC1's Breakfast audience was more than 1.3m on all three days.

The One Show on BBC1, which the pair left to take the ITV1 shilling, notched up 4.8m viewers on Tuesday.

So what's wrong with Daybreak? And should ITV1 step in? Perhaps evengoing so far as to resurrect GMTV?

Well, it's probably worth remembering that most programmes of these kind experience teething troubles. TV Am was not an overnight success when it launched in 1983 and when GMTV took over in 1994 it faced a backlash from disgruntled viewers who missed the old format.
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Can Daybreak be saved? | Ben Dowell

ITV1's breakfast show is still flagging. So what's making viewers switch off - and can anything be done to tempt them back?

It was launched with much fanfare – but now ITV's hyped breakfast show appears to be faltering. So what might improve the beleaguered Daybreak's fortunes? A new pairing to replace Christine Bleakley and Adrian Chiles? A new format? The return of GMTV? God? Although ITV1 chiefs have already sought the assistance of the Almighty by paying to have the dome of St Paul's Cathedral illuminated to improve the backdrop to the new set. And even that didn't really work.

Instead the show is still shedding viewers, on Tuesday sinking to what has gleefully been reported as a "new low" – pulling in fewer than 550,000 viewers against BBC Breakfast's average of 1.5m. On the same night the One Show, which Chiles and Bleakley left to join ITV, notched up 4.8 million viewers.
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

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