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Archive for the ‘TV’ Category

Apologies about posting a little late this week but I’ve only just managed to compose myself after the worst weekend of TV for a long time. Ok so I’ll kick things off with Strictly on Saturday night…

Unbelievably, Ally Bastian was given the boot sending Chris and Ricky through to the final. This was after Ally and her partner Brian Fortuna were given a perfect score of 50 by the five judges.

I was a bit miffed at this to say the least and Ally should have definitely made the final over Chris and I genuinely thought that she’d walk away the winner, partly because I can’t stand the sight of Ricky and his Desperate-Dan-chinned partner but mainly because she has been by far the most consistent dancer throughout the show. Chris was ok but good enough for the final? No way. You could tell by the look on his face when the results were given that he couldn’t believe he didn’t get the chop.

Anyway, Strictly is a good bit of fun and although she should have gone through, the whole drama was nothing compared to the shit storm brewing on ITV1…

First up was an evening with Cheryl Cole. Now I’m not sure when the Earth turned into Cheryl Cole World but I’m absolutely sick to the teeth of her, she’s getting far too much time getting rammed down our throats and this show highlighted the fact that she isn’t talented at all.

Usually when we’re subjected to an evening with… the star in question at least has enough source material and is charismatic enough to be able to handle singing and chatting with the audience for an hour.

Cole on the other hand managed to sing a couple of (crap) songs (didn’t sing live), had to be helped with presenting duties by the beautiful Holly Willoughby (can’t complain there) but the whole show needed padding out with other celebs (purely because Cole didn’t have enough talent  to drag herself through her own show).

So I’m sat there thinking surely this isn’t the best that the UK has to offer on a primetime slot?. Apparently it is, X-Factor or as it should be named, Cole-Factor was just as bad. The three remaining contestants only sang one new song each and went back to sing previous weeks’ efforts.

The big story here was that the three finalists were going to perform duets with three stars. Wow! Or not, as it happened.

Stacey was stuck with Michael Bublé who actually seems like a pretty cool guy, he’s got an amazingly powerful voice judging by how far away his mic is from his face but c’mon! This was supposed to be the equivalent of Shock and Awe!

Bublé isn’t really a well-known star here in the UK and there was a fair bit of headscratching from me when he came out mid-way through Stacey’s song. That’s not to say that it wasn’t a good performance, they both sounded excellent, but if I know one thing it’s that the morons who vote for the X-Factor year in and year out wouldn’t be having any of it, so it spelled bad news for Stacey.

Stacey’s two solo performances were sang almost to perfection and if you ask me, even now, she’s ten times the singer that Leona Lewis is.

Olly sang ok but nothing special, his duet was with Robbie Williams (surprise surprise) and it was all just a bit erm, weird.

Robbie looked as if he’d been caning the ching again and he managed to fluff his cue and came in way too early for his line (which is really disappointing considering that he’s supposedly a world-class singer).

The remaining minute and a bit were spent with Olly and Robbie hugging constantly (?) and Robbie looked every bit the contestant whilst Olly was giving him reassuring glances throughout.

All VERY strange.

Next up was pride of Britain, Cheryl Cole’s adopted brother, little star Joe McElderry. Looking like John Barrowman’s younger twin, he did his thing (which is fine) but for fucks sake, let’s try to push the boundaries a bit and make some decent music!

The excuse that he’s got a great voice isn’t a valid argument. If you go to the church and listen to the choir on a Sunday, most of them have fantastic voices – but would you buy an album with ten tracks of them singing? No.

Joe was partnered up with George Michael who came out looking very out of shape. Obviously years of hanging out in public toilets haven’t been kind to ‘Ol George.

They sang don’t let the sun go down on me (maybe George should have sung don’t let your sun go down on me, to Mr & Mrs McElderry snr) and it was a great song choice for Joe’s voice but again, very strange seeing the two of them up there together, I thought at one stage they were going to do a Robbie/ Olly and spend the time hugging each other.

Nothing special at all from Michael and he didn’t look too comfortable at all during the duet. However, during the Sunday night show he absolutely nailed his solo, so I’ve got to give kudos to him there. His voice sounds as good now as it ever did.

I’m pretty sure that this really was a plan to get McElderry to win. Usually, the contestant who sings with the biggest star, wins.

Need proof? Alexandra Burke sang with beyonce last year whilst JLS and Eoghan Quigg (Yeah, who?) had to perform with Westlife and Boyzone respectively.

Another point to note is the opening VT’s were the contestants travelled back to their home towns to perform. Stacey went to Dagenham working mens club (!), Olly went back to a small shack in Colchester, but McElderry and Cole managed to ram The Sage in Newcastle center full to the hilt, even though Joe comes from South Shields, a place much smaller than Stacey or Olly’s hometowns.

I’m not going to ramble on too much about it but the bottom line is, Stacey got the boot on Saturday and Joe won on Sundays final. I’m absolutely astounded that this happened because let’s face it, Stacey was the real star of the show. As much as I like Olly, it would have done him no harm whatsoever coming second and I’m sure he’ll have a much more succesful career in coming second place than if he’d have won.

To give John Barrowman’s mini-me the win is an absolute travesty. Even more so when you look at the cover of Miley Cyrus’ (!) shitty song that will no doubt launch into the Christmas number 1 spot. I am absolutely gutted and apart from watching the idiots audition next year, I’ll be turning over as soon as the live finals take place because it’s obvious to me that X-Factor has lost that smallest shred of credibility that it had this year.

I can’t knock Cowell, he’s only making money and to be fair to him we were given the opportunity to have a winner in Stacey that could have actually done something decent but yet again, the pond life in the UK that voted completely let me down.

It’s emerged that McElderry was the clear public favourite and bagged the majority of votes from the sixth week so it was a foregone conclusion that he was going to win, I’m just gutted that whatever tiny hope I had in the great British public would come through and we might have had the first ‘recording artist’ to win the contest that music fans could be proud of.

I’ve got my fingers crossed that we haven’t heard the last of Stacey and I’m sure that Olly has got some really good times ahead of him. As for Joe, the sooner he slips from existence the better.

Ok, so the final WTF was that Ryan Giggs was voted BBC Sports Personality of the year. Granted, it was a weakened line-up this year but I’m gobsmacked that he beat Mark Cavendish to the top spot.

I know cycling isn’t the most popular sport over here but his achievements in world cycling far eclipse Giggs, who is way past his best and it seems was given the award as default for services in previous years.

I shouldn’t expect anything less though, it was only two years ago that Zara Phillips beat Joe Calzaghe to the top spot. Luckily, Joe won the award a year later but seriously, some toff who rides a horse should never be put above a reigning boxing champion of the world. Or should they?

Enough from me, I feel as though I’ve vented sufficiently and feel (a little) better now. Thanks for reading and I’d love to hear your comments on this weekend’s media circus

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If you don’t fancy lining Simon Cowell’s pockets even more this Christmas and can’t stand the way that the X-Factor bags the Xmas single every year without being in the slightest bit festive, make a statement and purchase Rage Against the Machine’s single ‘Killing in the Name’ next week.

The single will be available to download on Monday and music lovers in the UK are being urged to pick the tune in a bid to release Cowell’s stranglehold over the charts.

A similar thing happened last year when Jeff Buckley’s ‘Hallelujah’ was released during the same week as Alexandra Burke’s awful cover of the Leonard Cohen song. Unfortunately, Cowell won last year but maybe, just maybe we can make a difference this year.

As much as I enjoy watching the X-Factor, the format is looking REALLY tired now. It’s great to watch the morons who can’t actually sing during the audition process but it’s terrible to see whichever muppet wins the show go straight to the top of the charts every Christmas (usually followed by the inevitable hype – “fastest selling single in the universe” etc. etc.)

I reckon that the year that the X-Factor winner doesn’t get straight to the No. 1 spot at Xmas, will be the final year for the singing show. Cowell’s not daft and I don’t think he’ll flog a dead horse, so if you genuinely can’t stand the shit that pumped out by the likes of Leona Lewis and Alexandra Burke, splash a couple of quid on a digital copy of Killing in the Name and see what happens.

This year’s X-Factor has probably been the strongest one to date with a couple of people who can actually sing but it’s come under fire from Sting, who said that the music show has put British music back a decade and the reason why Calvin Harris jumped on stage during John & Edwards’ performance last month was in protest at Simon Cowell (He’s got some nerve considering the second-rate, re-hashed pop/ dance crap that he releases).

The bottom line is this: I think people are getting wise now, but I don’t know if enough can be done this year, we may have to wait another 12 months before we see the back end of Cowell and his minions.

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I watched the second episode of the fantastic Gavin & Stacey last night and if you haven’t yet caught up on what’s been going on in Barry and Billericay, be sure to jump on before this final series finishes airing. James Corden and Ruth Jones have proved that the tricky third series can indeed be every bit as funny as the first two.

NBC have bought the rights for an American version of the show, and given British comedy’s track record for not transferring well Stateside it may bomb but for the time being sit back and enjoy some genuinely original and funny comedy.

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For the past few weeks I’ve been watching a BBC4 programme called ‘It’s only a theory’. It’s a panel show hosted by Andy Hamilton and Reginald D Hunter (of Have I Got News… fame). The premise is that every week the panel of Hamilton, Hunter and a guest celeb are presented with a theory given by different experts in various fields of science or education. The panel have to decide whether the theory stands up under scrutiny or not. As I’m writing this, the idea doesn’t sound too clever but in fact, the programme is well worth a watch. Hamilton isn’t the best presenter, and Hunter (who I love to see on Have I…) doesnt look at his most comfortable but to be fair, but as new programmes go you could do a lot worse. The set is a bit 1980’s ‘Blockbusters’ and it obviously only cost a couple of quid to knock up but over the past few weeks there’s been some really good arguments put forward by experts.

The show is taking a bit of a beating in forums up and down cyberspace and I think that makes me like it even more. I hope they get another series because for me, it was a fine example of substance over style. If you fancy watching the final episode of the series you can watch it on the BBCiPlayer, here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00n8pzg

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Billed as a companion to Band of Brothers, Pacific takes place during the events of Band.. and follows a group of US Marines whilst War rages in the East. Spielberg and Tom Hanks are back on board, so expect this HBO produced series to be EPIC.

 

 

The miniseries will air in the states in March next year and the UK TV rights have been purchased by Sky for a spring 2010 release.

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 There’s only two episodes to go until David Tennant bows out of Doctor Who and Matt Smith will be introduced as the 10th Doctor on New Years Day. If you didn’t see the waters of mars; the penultimate Doctor Who story for David Tennant; you missed an absolute treat.

 

Tennant was in blistering form and the story was probably one of the best that i’ve ever seen.Tennant’s run as the Doctor will finish on New Years Day, and what a run it was. I’ll be gutted to see him go and there’s some HUGE shoes for Matt Smith to fill. I’m really not convinced that he can pull it off but to be fair, I said the same about Tennant when he replaced Christopher Eccleston in 2005.

Smith will be joined for the new series by Karen Gillian who you may have seen in The Kevin Bishop Show on Channel 4. I’m kind of used to the Doctor by himself now so seeing the 10th Doctor with a new companion will be a clean slate all round.

Tennant will be leaving with Russel T Davies who is pretty much solely responsible for the current Dr Who revival and he’ll be replaced by Stephen Moffat. Moffat wrote the Brit comedy drama Coupling and has also tried his hand to various ‘Who’ storylines during the past 5 years, with great success – even managing to bag a couple of Hugo awards in the process.

It’s a crucial time now for fans of the Doctor. If Moffat is good enough, he’ll cement the series and it will run on prosperously for many years to come. If he bombs, Doctor Who could slip away like it did prior to the 1996 feature film. Let’s hope the new series does do well, my only criticism of Russel Davies is his insistence to re-use Dr Who villains. We’ve had the Daleks every series now since 2004, the Cybermen returned for two series and even the Master will be back during ‘The End Of Time’. If Moffat can come up with a new menace or some fresh ideas rather than ‘monster of the week’ style creatures, I think all will be well.

With that in mind, here are my all time favourite Doctor Who episodes of the past five years:

No 5:

The Parting Of The Ways

This was Eccleston’s Swan song and the episode where we actually found out what the hell ‘Badwolf’ meant. After cropping up all through the series at various points in time, it turns out that Badwolf basically means that Rose Tyler is B-A-D-A-S-S. After facing certain death at the hands of a Dalek fleet, the Doctor get’s saved by Rose, albeit at the expense of his 9th incarnation. Full of emotion, the final words uttered by Eccleston were a great way to say goodbye..

“Rose, before I go I just wanna tell you — you were fantastic…absolutely fantastic…and d’you know what? So was I!”

No 4:

 The Impossible Planet/ The Satan Pit

This was brilliant two-parter that introduced us to The Ood. The Doctor and Rose arrive on a planet orbiting a black hole and shortly after the docile Ood start to talk of ‘the beast’. It turns out that the beast is in fact held prisoner in the depths of the planet and has taken over a crew members’ body in order to escape his black hole prison. The special effects are spot on here and we’re given your typical bread-and-butter Doctor Who story. Fantastic.

“Maybe that’s what the Devil is, in the end. An idea.”

No 3:

Blink

Blink was a standalone Who story (as some of the best are) written by Stephen Moffat, so any doubts you may have about him taking the helm for Doctor Who should be eased if he continues to produce work as good as this. We’re introduced to the Weeping Angels, who feed from peoples ‘time energy’. They’ve already got the jump on the Doctor and sent him back in time (minus the Tardis) to the 1960’s. Enter Sally Sparrow, an unlikely heroine who is given various clues in order to solve the riddle of how to save the Doctor. Intelligent, Jumpy and well written, Blink should be high on anyone’s favourite Who episodes of recent years.

“Don’t blink. Blink and you’re dead. Don’t turn your back. Don’t look away. And don’t blink. Good Luck.”

No 2:

Human Nature/ Family of Blood

As a standalone two-parter, Human Nature and Family of Blood were exceptional, but what the episodes served to do was to pave the way for the Master’s return towards the end of the series. Here the Doctor is being attacked by the ‘Family of Blood’ and in order to survive, he takes up human Form in the early 20th Century. His memories are transferred to a watch via the Chameleon Arc and is given false memories by the Tardis in order to hide from the family. The story gives us a glimpse into the other side of the Doctor’s persona and both episodes are equally important during the first part of the season finale, ‘Utopia’. Once Martha realises that she’s seen a watch similar to that carried by Professor Yana, all hell breaks loose…

“He’s like fire and ice and rage. He’s like the night and the storm in the heart of the sun.”

No 1:

The Waters of Mars

The most recent Who story was a proper belter. The Doctor arrives on Mars in 2059 and finds the first human colony on Mars. The problem is that all is not well here. The crew are unaware but they don’t actually make it back to Earth, the expedition goes missing in 2059 never to be heard from again. This is a massive event in time and one that the Doctor knows he can’t alter. After the colony vanishes, the knock on effect for humankind is great. The missing Astronauts inspire generations after them to reach for the stars and although they disappear, fantastic things come out of the tragedy. It quickly transpires that the Colony doesnt simply vanish, they are killed at the hands of the Ice Warriors of Mars. The Doctor is ready to leave and let time take its cause but after the realisation that he’s the last time lord, he decides to intervene and save the remaining colonists. This action has massive repercussions and the result will end with the death of the 10th Doctor Who….

“There are laws of time. Once upon of time there were people in charge of those laws but they died. They all died. Do you know who that leaves? Me! It’s taken me all these years to realise that the laws of time are mine and they will obey me!”

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Fish-faced ‘model and business woman’ Jordan has walked from I’m a celebrity. I hope that her decision is after the realisation that not many people actually like her. I’m surprised that even Jordan was so blinkered to think that another appearance on the ITV show would boost her public image after her divorce from Peter Andre.

After getting paid over five times more than the other contestants, it’s a kick in the teeth for the remaining celebs who have to see her walk. It’s a typical tantrum for Jordan and things aren’t looking too good elsewhere in her empire. Her latest children’s book sold only 19 copies and out of her last five books (I say her books but they’re actually ghost written), there has only been 1043 sales. The bubble has burst with her fragrance range that is getting trounced in the shops and things are so bad that she’s even offering to sign any one of her products with a personal message – hardly something a successful business woman needs to do.

So what’s the news?

The UK press is going wild at the moment with the speculation that John & Edward Grimes will replace Jordan. £100,000 has been put on the table for them to join the rest of the muppets in the Jungle and a decision should have been made late yesterday evening.

John & Edward were voted off the X-Factor on Saturday night after finding themselves in the bottom two with Olly Murs (!) and I’ve got to say, I ended up quite liking them. They can’t sing and one of them can’t actually dance but they managed to bring a smile to my face every week. They had to put up with people in the crowd booing them during the live shows and they didn’t complain once, they just got on with it. They even had to contend with Calvin Harris invading their performance and also the ridicule that Cowell put their way in the first few weeks of the live shows. I say fair play to them. I hope they do go to the jungle, it’ll earn them a few quid and they’ll be a lot more entertaining than the celebrities already out there.

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