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vrijdag 23 december 2011

'30 Rock' Preview: Jenna Becomes a Reality Show Judge

'30 Rock' Preview: Jenna Becomes a Reality Show Judge

Need someone unafraid to crush the dreams of even the most pint-sized singing competition contestant? Self-involved "30 Rock" character Jenna Maroney is just the woman for the job.

In the sixth season of "30 Rock" -- which premieres Jan. 12 -- Jenna (Jane Krakowski) becomes a judge on the singing competition "Kidz Got Singing" and goes all Simon Cowell (the fun, "American Idol"-version Cowell) on a little girl named Liddy.

"Even if you could sing, with that face, it would be like eating a steak that just came out of a dumpster," Jenna tells the bespectacled wannabe.

Netflix's Upcoming U.K. Debut Shows Content Challenges for Company Abroad

Netflix's Upcoming U.K. Debut Shows Content Challenges for Company Abroad

The company is facing the challenge of getting digital rights from powerful TV players, which own most of their content and have their own streaming services.

Amid its push into international markets, Netflix may find itself boxed out of the most coveted content in the U.K., Bloomberg News reported.

Netflix is facing the challenge of getting digital rights from powerful TV players, such as Channel 4, the BBC, BSkyB and ITV, which own most of their content and have their own streaming services, it said. U.K. consumers can also already use a competing streaming services from’s Lovefilm unit.

Netflix plans to launch in the U.K. and Ireland in early 2012. Importantly, a content deal with broadcaster ITV probably won’t include the most recent episodes of such hit shows as Downton Abbey, a source familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. A BBC deal this week gave Netflix access to such popular series as Top Gear, but only six months after they air.

“Broadcasters are controlling a lot of the premium, online, video-on-demand business in the U.K.,” said Rio Caraeff, CEO of video streaming company Vevo. “They’re able to protect their television business by packaging it with their online business.”

“The U.K. is a competitive market, and we look forward to offering the people of the U.K. and Ireland a great service with fantastic content and ease of use,” a Netflix spokesman told Bloomberg.

Versus to Air NHL Winter Classic Alumni Game on December 31

Versus to Air NHL Winter Classic Alumni Game on December 31

Also joining the Saturday afternoon telecast of the Flyers-Rangers match-up is Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia and MSG Network stateside, and the CBC in Canada.

The National Hockey League is hoping TV fans embrace another mid-winter classic game.

The pro hockey league on Friday unveiled plans for Versus, Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia and MSG Network to air for the first time the 2012 NHL Winter Classic Alumni Game between the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers on Saturday afternoon, December 31.

CSN Philadelphia’s Jim Jackson will handle the play-by-play, while Kevin Weekes of the CBC and and the NHL Network will provide on-air analysis.

And MSG’s Al Trautwig will report on the Rangers’ bench while CSN Philadelphia’s Steve Coates will handle the Flyers bench, to include Eric Lindros and his “Legion of Doom” line.

The alumni game, to air in Canada on the CBC network, also comes ahead of the North American telecast of the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic game between the New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on Jan. 2, 2012.

Emmy-Nominated "Whale Wars" Returns to the Antarctic Battleground for Fifth Season

Emmy-Nominated "Whale Wars" Returns to the Antarctic Battleground for Fifth Season

The series will return in June on Animal Planet with a yet-to-be-determined number of episodes.

WHALE WARS, one of Animal Planet's most talked-about, best-performing and award-winning series, has once again signed on to follow Captain Paul Watson and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's next whale defense campaign in Antarctica. Produced by The Lizard Trading Company, WHALE WARS will return for a fifth season in June on Animal Planet with a yet-to-be-determined number of episodes. The announcement was made to WHALE WARS fans via Facebook this morning (

This year's Sea Shepherd campaign - called Operation Divine Wind - is currently underway, having launched from Australia and is expected to run through the end of February after an anticipated two-month engagement with the Japanese whaling fleet. Operation Divine Wind is the Sea Shepherds' eighth whale defense campaign. The Sea Shepherds will have three vessels with a crew of nearly 100 international volunteers aboard the Steve Irwin, the Bob Barker and the Brigitte Bardot. Many of last season's crew will return, and, of note, Peter Brown from the inaugural season will rejoin Captain Watson on the bridge after being absent for several seasons.

"WHALE WARS has been ground-breaking and riveting television, because each side is willing to risk it all in the Southern Ocean," said Marjorie Kaplan, president and general manager of Animal Planet. "Last year, we all thought the Sea Shepherds had ended whaling but now they are once again preparing to risk much for what they believe in."

"It makes little political or economic sense for the Japanese fleet to return to whale in the Antarctic waters," said Watson. "But it appears their motivation has shifted from hunting whales to refusing to surrender to Sea Shepherd."

WHALE WARS continues to be one of Animal Planet's best-performing series ever, with the past season averaging over 1.0 million P2+ viewers (1.06M), ranking among Animal Planet's top 3 best performing series this year to-date among P2+ (#3), P25-54 (#2), M25-54 (#2) and W25-54 (#3).

For the past several years, Captain Paul Watson and his Sea Shepherd Conservation Society crew have taken to the high seas in an attempt to stop Japanese ships from hunting whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. WHALE WARS documents the ongoing battles in the icy Antarctic waters as the conflict between Sea Shepherd and the whalers grows more intense with each engagement - each pushing the other to the limit to fight for what they believe. Watson and his eclectic group of international staff and volunteers - labeled activists and heroes by some, eco-pirates by others - take a hard-line approach to eradicate whaling and what they view as ocean-law violations. WHALE WARS follows a masterful match at the far end of the globe as both Sea Shepherd and the Japanese whalers engage in an environmental showdown with millions of dollars at stake.

The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences recognized WHALE WARS in 2009 for exploring issues of concern to our society in a compelling, emotional and insightful way by bestowing the series with a Television Academy Honor which identifies it as "television with a conscience." The series has been nominated for a Primetime Emmy(R) for Outstanding Cinematography in a Non-Fiction Series (three times), Outstanding Picture Editing for a Non-Fiction Series and Outstanding Sound Editing for a Non-Fiction Series. Seasons one through three of the series are available on DVD at

Liz Bronstein is the executive producer for The Lizard Trading Company, and Jason Carey is the executive producer for Animal Planet. Charlie Foley is the vice president of development for Animal Planet.

NPR's 'Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me' To Make Its BBC America Debut On TV

NPR's 'Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me' To Make Its BBC America Debut On TV

NPR's quiz show "Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me" is making the leap from radio to television.

The show debuts Friday evening on BBC America. The first show will be a year-in-review special. Host Peter Sagal, scorekeeper Carl Kasell and a panel including Paula Poundstone and Alonzo Bodden will discuss the year's events.

They promise to delve into 2011's biggest scandals, from former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner to the phone hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch's media empire and the Occupy Wall Street protests.

The show will also broadcast on NPR stations this weekend. It was taped Dec. 2 in front of an audience in Chicago.

"Wait Wait" is in its 14th season on NPR and draws a weekly audience of 3.2 million listeners on 595 public radio stations.

TV Tonight 23rd of December 2011: Europe, the USA, Canada and Australia.

TV Tonight 23rd of December 2011: Europe, the USA, Canada and Australia.

The daily list in alphabetical order, of all the new episodes airing in Europe, the USA, Canada and Australia.

    20/20 S34E17: "Season 34, Episode 17"
    8 out of 10 cats S12E11: "Greg Davies, Jedward, Micky Flanagan, Liza Tarbuck"
    All on the Line S02E05: "Cesar Galindo"
    America's Most Wanted S25E04: "Season 25, Episode 4"
    Best Dish - The Chefs S01E40: "Episode 40"
    Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai S01E12: "We Have Few Friends"
    Chelsea Lately S05E192: "Duane "Dog"
    Chuck S05E07: "Chuck Versus the Santa Suit"
    Coach Trip S08E10: "Series 8, Day 10"
    Come Dine With Me S17E96: "Series 17, Episode 80"
    Come Dine With Me S17E97: "Comedians Christmas Special"
    Coronation Street S52E259: "Fri 23 Dec 2011 [Episode 2]"
    Coronation Street S52E258: "Fri 23 Dec 2011 [Episode 1]"
    Countdown with Keith Olbermann S09E135: "Season 9, Episode 135"
    Dateline NBC S21E13: "FR2113"
    Days of our Lives S47E32: "Ep. #11742"
    Deal Or No Deal (UK) S07E101: "Episode 1781"
    Dragon Ball Z Kai S03E17: "Combine Your Strength! The Final Kame-hame-ha!"
    EastEnders S27E204: "December 23, 2011"
    Emmerdale S40E301: "December 23, 2011"
    Facing Evil S02E06: "Teenage Terror"
    Flying Wild Alaska S02E09: "Breakup"
    For Better or Worse (2011) S01E10: "To Believe or Not To Believe"
    For Better or Worse (2011) S01E09: "For Richer or Poorer"
    General Hospital (US) S49E186: "#12460"
    Guilty Crown S01E11: "Resonance"
    Have I Got News for You S42E10: "Martin Clunes, Rebecca Front, David O'Doherty"
    Hollyoaks S17E255: "December 23, 2011"
    Home for the Holidays S01E06: "Episode 7"
    Invention USA S01E06: "Inventor on Board!"
    Invention USA S01E05: "Coppers and Robbers"
    Jeopardy! S28E70: "Show #6275"
    Last Call with Carson Daly S10E04: "Maker Studios, Seth Olenick, Foster the People"
    Last Call with Carson Daly S08E311: "Maker Studios, Seth Olenick, Foster the People"
    Late Night with Jimmy Fallon S02E195: "Seth Meyers, Kim Wayans, the Muppets"
    Late Show with David Letterman S18E183
    Little Crackers S02E10: "Barbara Windsor's Little Cracker"
    Little Crackers S02E11: "Johnny Vegas's Little Cracker"
    Live At The Apollo S07E07: "Jason Manford, Jimeoin, Tom Stade"
    Mawaru Penguin Drum S01E24: "Episode 24"
    Nissene over skog og hei S01E23: "Season 1, Episode 23"
    One Life to Live S44E113: "Ep. #11092"
    Persona 4 The Animation S01E12: "It's Not Empty At All"
    Pointless S05E85: "Series 5, Episode 85"
    QI S09E15: "VG Part 2"
    Sanctuary (US) S04E12: "Sanctuary for None: Part 1"
    Say Yes To The Dress S07E17: "Ready, Aim, Focus"
    The Bold and the Beautiful S25E194: "Ep. #6223"
    The Graham Norton Show S10E09
    The Idolmaster S01E25: "Episode 25"
    The Jeremy Kyle Show S07E76: "December 23, 2011"
    The Jonathan Ross Show S01E09
    The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson S07E220: "Christmas Email Spectacular"
    The Life and Times of Tim S03E02: "Percey Davis Boulevard/Cool Uncle Stu Balls"
    The Tonight Show with Jay Leno S19E216
    The View S15E78: "Meryl Streep, Phyllida Lloyd, Mario Cantone, Joey McIntyre"
    The Voice of Holland S02E27: "The Results 4"
    The Voice of Holland S02E26: "Live Show 4"
    The Young and the Restless S39E191: "Ep. #9806"
    Thuis S17E85: "Season 17, Episode 85"
    Un-Go S01E11: "Watashi wa tada sagashite iru"
    Winx Club S05E29: "Valtor's Fury"
    WWE Friday Night SmackDown! S12E65: "Season 12, Episode 65"
    X-Men (2011) S01E10: "Countdown"

Mark Charnock's Christmas tears

Mark Charnock's Christmas tears

Mark Charnock cried on set "for the first time" while shooting Emmerdale's Christmas Day (25.12.11) episode.

The 37-year-old actor - who portrays Marlon Dingle in the ITV1 soap - explained while the past few festive periods on the Yorkshire-based show have been relatively quiet, this year will see a number of emotional storylines come to a head.

He exclusively told BANG Showbiz: "On Emmerdale we've had two or three Christmases where the episodes have been quite quiet, but that all changes this year.

"This is the first time I've actually cried on set."

Mark revealed as well as his alter-ego's steamy affair with vicar's wife Laurel Thomas (Charlotte Bellamy) wrapping up at Christmas, Debbie Dingle (Charley Webb) will also be centrally involved in a particularly emotional ploy.

He added: "The Christmas Day episode will see Debbie's storyline come to a head as well as Laurel and Marlon's relationship reach breaking point.

"It's one of the most emotional things we've done in a long time. It's a fantastic piece of drama."

David Walliams close to signing BGT deal

David Walliams close to signing BGT deal

David Walliams is close to signing a contract for 'Britain's Got Talent'.

The 'Little Britain' funnyman is set to sign on as a panellist on the ITV1 talent series in a deal estimated to be worth around £300,000, with show boss Simon Cowell also rumoured to return alongside current judge Amanda Holden.

An insider said: "Walliams is a great name to have on board and Cowell coming back is something viewers have demanded.

"Bosses are thrilled with this line-up and feel it will bring back the spark some felt was missing."

Meanwhile, when Amanda Holden - who is currently pregnant with her second child - goes on maternity leave, she is expected to be replaced by former 'EastEnders' actress Samantha Womack.

The source added to The Sun newspaper: "Amanda is a much loved stalwart of the show and bosses really hope to have Samantha on board as well."

The last series of 'BGT' saw Amanda, Michael McIntyre and David Hasslehoff sit on the judging panel, but the comedian left to concentrate on his upcoming tour, while the former 'Baywatch' star was axed from the show.

David recenly said: "I have nothing but fond feelings for Simon Cowell and the team. But it's a hell of a job. During those audition rounds you're working 10am to 10pm.

Work of Art Winner Defends Lola, Praises The Sucklord and Depends on Waterproof Mascara

Work of Art Winner Defends Lola, Praises The Sucklord and Depends on Waterproof Mascara

After all the studio flirtations, scatological subject matter and soggy breakdowns, Work of Art: The Next Great Artist crowned its second season winner Wednesday night.

[WARNING: The following interview reveals the winner and details from the finale.]

In her final exhibition challenge, Iranian-American painter Kymia Nawabi created an installation that examined the concept of what comes after death through detailed drawings, amplified with textured paints and accompanying burial sculptures. She beat out performance artist Young Sun Han and figurative painter Sara Jimenez to win a solo show at the Brooklyn Museum in addition to the $100,000 cash prize. Not bad for a waitress with only $50 to her name.

From the Real Housewives bus brawl to the Royal Wedding: Top TV moments of the 2011

With the influx of cash, she'll be keeping her funds closely tied to the growth of her art. "I'm going to be realistic and keep working my waitressing job just a couple days a week," Nawabi tells, "knowing I can comfortably pay my studio rent, that I can be in there when I'm not working so I can fully concentrate on making new work for hopefully potential buyers or gallery curators."

Check out the rest of our interview with Nawabi as she discusses her artistic insecurities on the show, if there's lasting friction with fellow artist Lola Thompson, if Morgan "The Sucklord" Phillips is as cool as he seems and how she kept her eye makeup from running despite all the crying. And there was a lot of crying!

Congratulations! Is this process of having your win be official and public surreal for you?
Kymia Nawabi: This happened more than two months ago, and I finally got to watch it last night and it was experiencing it all over again. I was with my boyfriend Devin Yalkin at his parents' place with his family. And I had my sister over from L.A. She flew in with my brother-in-law and his mother. We were all together. Unfortunately, my mother was in North Carolina, as usual, but I'm going to see her this week to celebrate with her. But we were all together and watching it and just freaking-out all together.

What were your first thoughts on diving into the finale challenge? Did you find the freedom intimidating? How long did it take to conceptualize your exhibition?
Nawabi: Actually I knew conceptually what kind of work I wanted to make when I was in the Final 5 stage. You still spend some time in the back of your mind thinking, "If I do make it to the Final 3, what the hell am I going to do?" I was already starting to have stuff marinate upstairs where I was like, "OK, I know this is sort of the theme I want to work within and these are the sort of images and characters. Where can this go?" After I was told I was in the Final 3, things just started snowballing for me.

Work of Art's Lola on Jerry's guilt and what happened with The Sucklord

What has the response been to your finale piece from viewers at home? In Jerry Saltz's recap, he said there were textures and other details we couldn't see on our screens.
Nawabi: Seriously, I have yet to read anything negative about the show, which is incredible to hear and see that. I can't wait to hear even more responses of the people who actually go to the museum and see the exhibit for themselves in person. I'm glad that Jerry really took the time to share that with people. There was so much texture, there were so many little mystical-magical things happening within each drawing and each sculpture that you have to see in person to fully 100 percent appreciate them, especially the works on paper. There's a lot of texture within the painting process that I used and there's a lot of stuff embedded within the paint, the delicacy of the lines that I chose to use for making the drawing. I feel that the response from those who have only seen the work on TV has been overwhelming, so I hope that once they see the work in person that it'll be that much more, if not even better.

An artist can be their own worst enemy and critic. What were your insecurities and doubts during the course of the show?
Nawabi: You just think that you've never made work under these circumstances before. I'm not even talking about the camera being on you 24 hours a day, but just the fact that you're given an assignment in a sense and you're given X amount of time with X amount of materials or budget to work with. For me, it was just, "Are you actually capable of doing something like this?" because, as most viewers know obviously at this point and my close friends and family know, I am a very nervous, neurotic, anxious person. And to go into something that infuses that even more, that makes it a zillion times worse, you wonder, "How masochistic am I, really? Is this really what you want to be doing? How much does this mean to you?"

Yet, an artist also has to have a strong sense of ego and self to put themselves out there and be their biggest champion.
Nawabi: I think in the end that's where I was my own champion. I told myself I still want to be here and still want to be doing this regardless of the fact that I am going to be more nervous than usual. I'm putting myself in a very vulnerable position. I think the thing for me was, "Oh my God, can I handle all that?" The fact that I tried, let alone won, putting that aside, the fact that I even tried was a big deal for me. That was one of my insecurities at the beginning but I came out more confident in myself and that I'm capable of way more than I ever thought. I feel like a warrior.

Work of Art's Michelle on what went wrong, the Kymia controversy and why poop is a good thing

What specifically do you think you offer as an artist?
Nawabi: I'm turning myself inside out. That is as original as it gets. I wish everyone else had something like that that they were willing to share with one another. I think when we're willing to share as individuals as I'm doing in my work, sharing such personal ideas and visions that I have, I think that it's almost like you are another philosopher. You're giving the public more information to believe in.

Naturally, the series had its share of dramas. Is there any bad blood with Lola still?
Nawabi: I would like to just take this opportunity of clearing the air with the public about all that. I had a lovely experience with Lola aside from a little bit of drama during the street art challenge. Part of the experience of just being there was being with Lola. So for everyone out there who are so harsh towards Lola, she's just had a lot of people tearing her apart. I just feel bad for her. I don't want people to think we had a bad relationship and that we aren't friends because that's not true at all. She's a very strong personality, and yes, she has a very cheeky way of saying things at times, but that's just part of why we all love being around her. She is who she is and that's not how a lot of us are. We are all different. I hope that thing dies out and people forget about it.

How do you feel about your portrayal on the show?
Nawabi: I feel that for the most part I was accurately portrayed. I react very honestly and quickly and sincerely. I think that there's a few things that came up in the individual interviews that seems as though I said them, but they were things I did not say. There were times there were comments that it seems like I made that were actually not true. I feel they were comments taken out of context. What's really frustrating is when you can see someone else making you like Frankenstein, putting together something, making you say something that you didn't say, especially something that's hurtful towards someone else, when you've been so careful and caring of others around you as I was during the whole competition. I'm like, "Oh, I never said that, but they're making me seem like I'm a little bit catty or a little bit rude or overcritical." I was extremely professional in carrying myself and towards others. I hope that that came through and that it wasn't ruined. I really want people to understand that there was so much love we all had for one another.

Do you still think you'll hear your mentor Simon de Pury's voice and accent in your dreams after this experience?
Nawabi: Oh, I really hope so. I reached out to him and sent him a thank-you card I had made and actually a couple mix CDs because he's a DJ as well. I absolutely, 100 percent adore Simon like family. He's become part of my art family in my mind. I definitely could not have gotten into the point in my work without him.

Despite getting the boot halfway through the show, The Sucklord was such a curious character and big presence. What's your take on him?
Nawabi: I love The Sucklord so much. I felt incredibly close to him from the moment I met him at the museum. Before I came into the competition I made miniature sculptures that are sort of figurines out of characters from my drawings. And seeing the figurines that he made before I got to introduce myself to him, and finally seeing him, there was this weird cosmic connection. It was like, "This guy is f---ing cool. He makes incredible, smart work. He's really interesting and he's got spunk. ..." Obviously as we were going along the competition together, I felt very close to him. They didn't show it, but during a couple freak-outs that I had, I would go to him and give him a hug. He'd hug me back. He's just a great guy-friend to have and a great artist.

Work of Art's The Sucklord on how the kids challenge ruined him

What are your thoughts on The Sucklord's action figure he made, the glow-in-the-dark Jerry Saltz, based on one of the judges who was the harshest on him?
Nawabi: I am floored by him again. I thought that was just genius. He took the time to make these figurines out of the experience he had of his judges. Especially to still have the heart to make one of Jerry Saltz as hard as Jerry was on him during the competition. That just shows you what a wonderful artist and person he is. Sucklord's incredible! I plan on keeping in touch with him for the rest of my life and I want to see more of his work, hang out, do studio visits. He deserves his own show in my opinion.

This is kind of a silly question, but I noticed your makeup didn't run on the show, despite all the crying. Knowing the stressful situation you were getting into, did you make a deliberate decision to  invest in a good waterproof mascara?
Nawabi: [Laughs] I just adore wearing very heavy, dark eye makeup. I grew up with beautiful Iranian women surrounding me with the most gorgeous eyes. They always wore such heavy eye makeup. I think it's just one of those things I started wearing when I was very young. I knew before I got on the show that yes, there would be some breakdowns, so I had to make sure I didn't look like hell when they taped me.

"Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta" Season 3 Premieres Friday, January 6th on TLC

"Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta" Season 3 Premieres Friday, January 6th on TLC

Friday, January 6th

9:00 PM ET/PT


Choosing the perfect wedding gown isn't easy, especially when the bride is missing her mom. So it will it take some extra encouragement for these brides to say yes when they don't have the support of the most important person in their lives.

9:30 PM ET/PT


Two brides, a pro dancer who can't commit to a dress and a pageant queen with her own team of finicky judges, struggle to find their dream dresses. They're used to dressing for the stage, but can they find the perfect gown to take them down aisle?

Sunday, January 8th

8:00 PM ET/PT


JIG is the remarkable story of the Irish Dancing World Championships, held each year in Glasgow, Scotland. Thousands of dancers, their families and teachers from around the globe descend upon the city for a dramatic week of fierce competition.

Wednesday, January 11th

9:00 PM ET/PT


Pets are beloved family members and having one pass away is a devastating moment. TLC explores the incredible opportunity to bring a lost animal back into someone's life in the one-hour special. An extraordinary break-through in science means an exact clone of a pet dog can be created and this special follows three animal lovers who explore this unique method to bring their furry loved ones back to life.

Sunday, January 15th

10:00 PM ET/PT


No episode description available at this time.

Why Charles Dickens' novels make great TV

Why Charles Dickens' novels make great TV

As the BBC adapts Great Expectations and The Mystery of Edwin Drood, the writers and producers explain Dickens' appeal

2012 isn't just about the Olympics. It is also the bicentenary of Charles Dickens' birth and the BBC is kicking things off with two big Dickens drama adaptations – Great Expectations and The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

It's strange to think that nearly three years ago the BBC drama department signalled a move away from "bonnet" dramas" towards more "modern" period fiction. But you won't find me – or millions of others – complaining about excessive TV exposure when it comes to the work of a certain 19th century writer which seems uniquely made for the box.

"He knew how to work an audience and how to get them laughing their heads off one minute or on the edge of their seats and holding their breath the next," Sarah Phelps, screenwriter of the forthcoming Great Expectations, says. "The other thing about Dickens is that he loved telling stories and he loved his characters, even those horrible, mean-spirited ones."

Those characters have prompted many adaptations over the years. Whether it was the cheaper BBC teatime shows of the 1970s, the more expensive adaptations of recent times, or even – and we're talking proper quality here – The Muppet Christmas Carol, it sometimes feels as though Dickens understood how TV and cinema storytelling worked before the mediums were invented.

It's often said that Dickens's episodic style of writing was the precursor of TV soap. His cliffhangers were so compelling that Victorian passengers sailing from England were mobbed on US quaysides by fans desperate to know the latest plot twist. His long-form narrative certainly makes his work perfect for TV serialisation.

Early next year an Arena film, Dickens on Film, will illustrate how Dickens' use of narrative – juxtaposing separate scenes for emotional effect for example – was hugely influential for early film-makers. The great Hollywood film-maker of the early 20th century, DW Griffiths and the great Russian auteur Sergei Eisenstein both claimed to have been massively influenced by the writer.

The sheer ebullience of his characters and the fact they are instantly recognisable also makes for compelling, emotionally charged TV. Even if it's sometimes at the expense of plot.

"In Little Dorrit, for example, there are many changes of fortune, some of which come from outlandish pieces of plotting," says the director of the BBC's 2008 adaptation of Dorrit (as well as the upcoming Drood), Diarmuid Lawrence. "But what always interests Dickens is the emotional impact of these changes."

Kate Harwood, who is controller of series and serials at BBC Drama Production, is a Dickens fan who believes that the writer's love of theatre infused his writing – that is what makes him work perfectly for TV.

"Dickens had an external, expressionistic form of writing," she says. "He was writing at time when theatre was quite fallow and there was very little room for anything intimate or anything personal. But he loved the theatre. In many ways he was a playwright manqué. In some books it's about a look or a gesture – in Dickens they tend to say it. If it's gesture, its grand gesture; it's big, it's bold, it's chewy."

Such is the dramatic appeal, less scrupulous contemporary theatre producers were putting his books on stage even before the ink was dry on the last instalment (much to his annoyance). His works were filmed in the very early years of the last century, long before talkies emerged.

However strong the inclination to ridicule Dickens's books, with all those whiskers, top hats, ruddy-cheeked urchins and villainous ne'er-do-wells, his popularity is lasting. "When you read Drood you see that he was in many ways strikingly modern," says Lawrence. "It's a book which is essentially about drugs and stalking and I have no doubt that if he were writing today he would have something pretty cutting to say about the banks and bankers."

Ricky Gervais Wages Twitter Battle With Christian Fundamentalists

Ricky Gervais Wages Twitter Battle With Christian Fundamentalists

The comedian engages with users upset over his views on evolution and religion.

Comedian Ricky Gervais is engaged in an ongoing war of the words with Christian fundamentalists offended by his views on creationism and God.

A self-proclaimed atheist, The Office creator and 2012 Golden Globes host ruffled feathers for portraying himself as Jesus Christ in his "12 Days of Rickmas" PETA campaign and explaining his religious view in an interview with Britain's New Humanist magazine. He's also under fire for other offenses such as posing like Jesus on the cross for the magazine cover and believing in evolution.

One particular Twitter user, @GodsWordIsLaw, has been verbally sparring with Gervais since last week. According to @GodsWordIsLaw's Twitter page, his name is Keith and he represents Minnesota's Christians for a Moral World.

A sampling of their Twitter posts are below:

@GodsWordIsLaw: "That picture of @RickyGervais on a fake cross hanging like Jesus with the words "Atheist" on his body...MOST OFFENSIVE THING IVE EVER SEEN"

@GodsWordIsLaw: "I forgive you @RickyGervais but will God? Quit with your bigotry and @CFAMW will leave you alone."

@GodsWordIsLaw: "Just wasted 5 minutes of my life watching the disgusting Atheist PIG @RickyGervais on youtube. He is not even funny!!! #GodWillNotBeMocked."

@RickyGervais: "I am not anti christian. I am anti bigot @GodsWordIsLaw I don't believe in ANY god. I treat all religions equally. And all good people."

@RickyGervais: "@GodsWordIsLaw @MargieJPhelps 'My religion is Kindness' Dalai Lama. You should try it. Not supernatural or random but its fu--ing magical."

@RickyGervais: I think we can save Keith. He's not as hateful as he thinks. He's obviously been hurt and sold a lie. Kindness will cure him. Thoughts?

Gervais said in his New Humanist interview that he became an atheist when he was a boy: "I used to believe in God. The Christian one, that is. Luckily I was also interested in science and nature. And reason and logic. And honesty and truth. And equality and fairness. By the age of eight I was an atheist. (That word shouldn’t even exist. It shouldn’t be needed. But it does. And it is.)"

On another industry note about @GodsWordIsLaw, he's also calling for a boycott of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: "Calling All Christians - We must boycott The Hobbit movie - it is made by an Atheist and promotes witchcraft ideals.

'Workaholics' Star Blake Anderson Breaks Back in Ill-Conceived Beer-Pong Stunt

'Workaholics' Star Blake Anderson Breaks Back in Ill-Conceived Beer-Pong Stunt

As one of the stars of Comedy Central's slacker comedy "Workaholics," Blake Anderson might not be a fan of back-breaking labor. Back-breaking recreation, on the other hand ...

Anderson underwent surgery Thursday, after reportedly fracturing his spine while embarking on a most noble endeavor: Leaping from his roof and onto a beer-pong table.

According to TMZ, the incident occurred during a party at Anderson's Los Angeles home Saturday night, the site reports.

Wonder if this'll land Anderson the first-place prize on "America's Funniest Home Videos" -- he'll probably need the cash to pay his medical bills.

Comedy Central told TheWrap that the surgery was successful, adding, "We're pleased to report that the prognosis is for a full and complete recovery.  Our thoughts are with Blake as he recuperates from this injury."

"Workaholics" wrapped its second season Nov. 22, and has been picked up for a third season -- doctor's orders providing.

McFly pose naked to celebrate Harry Judd’s Strictly win. We drool

McFly pose naked to celebrate Harry Judd’s Strictly win. We drool

McFly has got us salivating at our desks here at omg! HQ as they got naked (except for their socks!) to honour their deal with fans that they would strip down if Harry Judd won Strictly Come Dancing.

Tom Fletcher, Dougie Poynter and Danny Jones all posted the racy snap on Twitter last night.

Their captions highlighted their different levels of mortification over the silly pic.

King of the Jungle Dougie tweeted: "As pervs."

Bashful Tom tweeted: "I was forced to do this...thanks for voting!"

Danny, who's used to naked photos, tweeted: "We said we would do it!.......thanks for your votes! :) x"

He also stripped to celebrate Dougie's win on I'm A Celebrity.

'American Horror Story' Season 2: New House, New Cast, New Story

'American Horror Story' Season 2: New House, New Cast, New Story

You can't accuse Ryan Murphy of getting overly sentimental about his characters: The "Glee" co-creator, who caused a serious stir with plans to overhaul the cast of the Fox show, plans a largely new cast and completely new setting for the second season of the FX horror drama "American Horror Story."

Murphy and FX President John Landgraf announced the changes Thursday, and Landgraf later discussed them in an interview with TheWrap. Plans for the second season include a new haunted building -- the season that wrapped Wednesday night took place in a hellish Los Angeles home -- as well as a mostly fresh cast.

Some actors from the first season may return as regulars, but in different roles.  Murphy and Landgraf wouldn't say which actors will be back.

"The next year of the show -- every season of the show -- will be a different haunting," Murphy told reporters, saying it was the plan all along. He co-created the show with Brad Falchuk, who also co-created "Glee."

Wednesday's finale earned a season-high 3.22 million viewers, and focused on a philandering psychiatrist Ben Harmon (Dylan McDermott), his wife, Vivien (Connie Britton), and their daughter, Violet (Taissa Farmiga). The theme of the season was infidelity -- and the theme of the next will change, Murphy explained.

Murphy previously tormented "Glee" fans with news that he expected several characters to leave when they graduated, but later backtracked and said the characters wouldn't necessarily exit just because they no longer performed with the glee club.

"Horror Story" fans hopefully figured out from the show's bloody first episode not to get too attached to any of the characters. Not that death necessarily meant anyone was off the show -- viewers soon learned that many characters who seemed to be alive weren't.

L.A. Weatherman Creates His Own Storm, Huffs Off Camera

L.A. Weatherman Creates His Own Storm, Huffs Off Camera

The morning weather forecast on Los Angeles CW affiliate KTLA was cloudy with more than a chance of hissy-fit on Monday.

Veteran weatherman Henry DiCarlo brought his own storm to the air earlier this week, after producers saddled him with both an on-location interview and a forecast.

Unable to adequately multitask with the time allotted to him, DiCarlo huffed, "When you send a weatherman out to do the weather but you’re also sending him out to do a story, you might want to give him a little extra time. But that’s just me."

DiCarlo then made an abrupt exit off-camera, his mood amply summed up with a thousand-watt scowl. The best part? As the weatherman stomped off, a Salvation Army sign bearing the seasonal message "God Bless You: Sharing Is Caring" sat behind him.

Clearly caught off guard by DiCarlo's meltdown, anchorman Chris Schauble quipped, "Maybe we'll give him a little cheese to go with that whine."

DiCarlo has gained no small amount of online notoriety for his fit, but he appears to be taking it in stride. Wednesday morning, the on-air personality posted a screen cap of a story covering his bout of crankiness on his Facebook page.

"20 years in the business and it takes a meltdown on live tv to make todays AOL homepage! I should have done this years ago," DiCarlo wrote in the caption for the photo.

No VAT on Military Wives' single

No VAT on Military Wives' single

The Government is to waive VAT on sales of the Military Wives' Christmas single.

According to the Daily Mail, the Treasury will give the money to charity in lieu of the tax taken from sales of Wherever You Are, which looks set to be Christmas number one.

Chancellor George Osborne and Defence Secretary Philip Hammond are said to have struck the deal after Conservative MP Oliver Colvile called for the tax to be waived.

A Treasury source told the newspaper: "George thinks this is an incredibly worthy cause and is sorting this out. We look forward to making an announcement shortly."

Mr Colvile, who wrote to the Treasury and started an online petition over the issue, told the paper he was "absolutely delighted the Government has seen sense".

Last month the Government agreed to make a charity donation equivalent to the sum of VAT receipts collected on the sales of the X Factor's charity single Wishing On A Star.

The Military Wives were formed by Gareth Malone for BBC Two programme The Choir, which climaxed with the group performing at the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall.

Their song has become the fastest seller for six years and could hit the half-million mark by the end of the week, virtually guaranteeing a Christmas number one. The group is outselling this year's X Factor winners Little Mix by a margin of six to one, with 242,000 copies sold in two days, according to the Official Charts Company.

Proceeds from the single are being donated to the Royal British Legion and the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association.