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zaterdag 21 juli 2012

One Direction confirmed as 'X Factor' Australia guest mentors

One Direction have been confirmed as guest mentors on The X Factor Australia.

The 'What Makes You Beautiful' band, who were formed on the 2010 series of the UK show, will reportedly assist full-time panelist Ronan Keating on the upcoming contest.

One Direction perform live at Planet Hollywood Resort Casino for the Theatre of Performing Arts, Las Vegas.

A source told The Mirror: "Ronan was really keen on teaming up with the lads. Despite their age, they are in a great position to give help and support - they've been there and done it.

"They have already gone through the process and have even managed to break America."

Alicia Keys, Usher and Ke$ha have been invited to help remaining judges Mel B, Guy Sebastian and Natalie Bassingthwaighte.

The Legend Of Korra renewed

Nickelodeon has ordered two more books of The Legend of Korra, meaning another forty episodes of the animated series are on their way…

It’s fair to say that Nickelodeon’s follow-up to Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Legend of Korra, is a hit. Drawing an average of 3.7 million viewers per episode, this year’s dark, philosophical story of Korra and the Equalists gained critical praise and a raft of fans of both child and adult.

Those fans who’ll be pleased to know that the show, originally intended as a 12-episode run and then extended to include a further 14 episodes due to air next year, has been lengthened once again. A further two 'books’ are on their way, each featuring 13 instalments of the animated series telling separate stories, and bringing the eventual episode total to 52.

As yet, no official broadcast date for the second book has been confirmed, but we'll keep you posted. The Legend of Korra is expected to conclude at the end of its fourth book.

The UK TV shows to watch out for in 2012

Join us on a round-up of ten (fingers crossed) UK TV treats on their way to our screens in the second half of 2012...

If your boat isn’t exactly floated by the news that Sir Alan Sugar is returning for two more years of unleashing mammon-worshipping Next-suited MBAs on the general public, or that Darcey Bussell will be pirouetting her way onto a Strictly Come Dancing judges chair, or even that they’re making a sewing version of The Great British Bake-Off, then you’re in good company.

Never fear though. The Fades may still be cancelled, Dirk Gently may be no more, and we’ve months to wait until Sherlock’s return, but this year’s crop of new and returning UK TV has more than a few geek treats in store. Read on to see which 2012 shows are causing us to drum our fingers impatiently and draw big felt-tip crosses on the calendar…

Doctor Who

No prizes for guessing our first entry. August is the month we’re expecting to see Asylum of the Daleks on the BBC, shortly after its BFI and Edinburgh Television Festival screenings. The series seven opener will be followed by the subsequent four episodes (Dinosaurs on a Spaceship; A Town Called Mercy; Cubed; unknown), and then a Christmas special in which we first meet new companion Clara. After the mid-season finale, episodes seven to fourteen will be with us in early 2013.

We’ve been keeping the stream of new Who news trickling along on the site as it arrives, so won’t re-tread old ground here. In summary, the series will see the Doctor wave goodbye to the Ponds and hello to Jenna-Louise Coleman’s new companion. Dinosaurs, bowler hats, and Diana Rigg will feature, as will Weeping Angels, Madame Vastra, and more Daleks than you can shake a stick at.

A Touch of Cloth

Charlie Brooker has long been channelling his apoplexy at the modern world into pithy, enjoyably scathing journalism and telly, and his screenwriting output – which includes 2005’s hipster-flaming Nathan Barley, 2008 Big Brother horror mini-series Dead Set, and 2011’s thought-provoking sci-fi/dystopian anthology Black Mirror (due for a second outing next year) – has been just as strong.

A Touch of Cloth is a feature-length crime drama spoof co-written by Brooker and Daniel Maier, starring John Hannah and Suranne Jones as a police detective duo. Sky One will be airing it this August, and have already renewed the show for two more episodes and a feature length film, pencilled in for a 2013 broadcast.

Starting life some years ago as a Midsomer Murders spoof, Brooker and Maier gave A Touch of Cloth a Scandinavian noir update to reflect the current trend for jaded police detectives with tragic pasts, disastrous social lives, and quite possibly thick woollen jumpers. We’ve heard extremely good things.

This Is England ‘90

Shane Meadows has been revisiting the bleak, comic, and often harrowing world of his This Is England gang biennially for the last three years, meaning our next visit will see Woody, Lol, Shaun, Smell and co. up to the era of raves, Nelson Mandela’s freedom, and Paul Gascoigne’s Italia 90 tears.

Letting the characters of Meadows’ 2006 feature live on in the ensuing mini-series was a great move by Channel 4, particularly as a showcase for the impressive acting and improvisation talent of Joseph Gilgun and Vicky McClure. The film’s story of racism, violence, isolation, and friendship in early eighties skinhead subculture became the backdrop to engaging personal stories and glimpses of recent history as experienced by a version of the Northern working class.

As we type, This Is England ’90 is yet to go into production but if it follows the pattern of the previous series, the new series should turn up on Channel Four late this year.

Red Dwarf

Though the most recent outing for the Red Dwarf crew – 2009’s Back to Earth – wasn’t exactly hailed as a classic, the show has amassed so much good will over the last 25 years it’s impossible not to welcome its return. Like a family member or childhood friend, Red Dwarf can easily be forgiven any slip-ups, and early signs from those in the know point towards good things for the tenth series, which was filmed in front of a studio audience earlier this year.

Six new episodes of the show featuring the original cast of Craig Charles, Chris Barrie, Danny John-Jules and Robert Llewellyn are due to air on Dave in September, written by the show’s original co-creator, Doug Naylor. We’ll keep you posted.

Wizards Vs. Aliens

Filmed earlier this year, CBBC’s Wizards Vs. Aliens fills the production gap left by the sad departure of Doctor Who spin-off, The Sarah-Jane Adventures, following Elisabeth Sladen’s death in 2011. It’s a UK sci-fi/fantasy series created by Doctor Who’s Russell T. Davies and Phil Ford, 12 x 25-minute episodes of which will air in the autumn.

The premise is announced fairly succinctly by the title, concerning as it does some wizards at odds with some aliens - the Nekross, to be specific, a race intent on devouring Earth’s magic. Young Tom (Scott Haran) is an otherwise ordinary boy who comes from a family of wizards and teams up with scientifically minded pal Benny (Percelle Ascott) to defeat the extra-terrestrial threat.

With a fifth series of the excellent Horrible Histories also confirmed to be arriving on CBBC in the coming year, it looks as if the kids’ channel has at least a couple of gems in store for the coming months.

The Thick of It

At a time where actual politicians seem to be cutting out the middle man and producing their own satirical strings of real-life fuck-ups and PR disasters, you could argue that a new series of political comedy The Thick of It seems a bit redundant. You could, but we won’t of course, because a new series of Armando Iannucci’s slickly scripted satire is nothing but cause for celebration.

BBC Two is welcoming a seven-episode long fourth series of The Thick of It in the autumn, featuring everybody’s favourite expletive-spitter, Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi), alongside actors Rebecca Front, Chris Addison and more. Word has it that the new series targets the Coalition government, as well as a “Leveson-styled public enquiry”. Filming is complete, and the episodes are being readied for broadcast as we speak. Delightful.


Howard Overman may not be bringing his incarnation of Dirk Gently back to our screens, but his community service 'n' superpowers show Misfits is still going strong, and due to air its fourth series in late October.

Like Being Human before it, there's been a fairly sizeable shake-up to the cast of the new series, with Nathan Stewart-Jarrett’s Curtis the only remaining original misfit. Antonia Thomas (Alisha), Iwan Rheon (Simon), and Lauren Socha (Kelly) won’t be returning for the fourth series, though newcomers Joseph Gilgun (Rudy) and Matthew McNulty (Seth) are expected to reprise their roles. Joining them will be Karla Crome, Nathan McMullen and Matt Stokoe as, respectively, straight-talking Jess, naïve Finn, and “the sexiest guy on the estate”, Alex.

Sket-director Nirpal Bhogal is helming the first episode of the new, reinvigorated Misfits. We'll bring you more as soon as we have it.

Moone Boy

With Katherine Parkinson’s pregnancy and Chris O’Dowd and Richard Ayoade’s film successes delaying the promised IT Crowd special, it could be a while before we see the basement trio back together, but never fear, as O’Dowd’s written and starring in his own sitcom to fill the gap.

Moone Boy, developed from another of Sky One’s Little Crackers shorts (which also brought us Kathy Burke’s Walking and Talking), is a new comedy about Martin Moone, a ten-year-old Irish boy with a lanky imaginary friend named Sean (O’Dowd). Set in a small Irish town in 1989, the show blends animation with comedy, and comes directed by Father Ted’s Declan Lowney. Expect to see guest appearances from Steve Coogan, Johnny Vegas and Jessica Hynes.

Six episodes of Moone Boy are due to air on Sky One later in the year, and a further six were commissioned before the first episode even aired, which tells us that Sky are pretty pleased with what they've seen.


13 new episodes of the BBC’s Merlin began filming in France and Wales earlier this year, and despite the Arthurian legend fantasy getting off to something of a shaky start, we’re of the opinion that it’s improved steadily with age. Its popularity seems to be growing too, with the last series attracting Merlin’s highest UK ratings yet, averaging 7.29 million, almost a million more than its second season average.

The fifth series of the Camelot-set family show is rumoured to be set some years after the conclusion of the fourth, and will feature guest appearances from Game of Thrones’ Liam Cunningham and John Bradley. You can expect to see it on BBC One from Saturday the 29th of September until Christmas, and are welcome to stop by here for our weekly reviews if that kind of thing tickles your fancy.


Still only at the scripting stage, we’re not counting on seeing Utopia this year, but couldn’t fail to mention what has all the makings of a great original series for Channel Four. It’s a fantasy thriller from the pen (or, more realistically, keyboard) of Pulling and stage musical Matilda co-writer Dennis Kelly, about a group of people in possession of a mysterious cult graphic novel thought to predict global disasters, who are targeted by a shadowy organisation known as The Network. Sounds more than alright, that.

Any original UK fantasy/sci-fi-inflected drama is welcome in our books, so expect to hear more about Utopia, thought to be arriving in the form of 6 x 60-minute episodes, closer to the time.

Honourable mentions

In addition to psychological crime drama Luther, which is to return with four episodes to air on BBC One either later this year or in early 2012, a number of great UK comedies are returning this autumn, with new series of Peep Show, Fresh Meat, Outnumbered, and Him & Her on the horizon, as well as a long-deserved solo outing for ubiquitous comedy actor Kevin Eldon: It’s Kevin. By the time all that's done with, we'll be about ready for the new Sherlock and Being Human with any luck.

Iain Morris talks The Inbetweeners USA

The co-creator of The Inbetweeners has said a few words on the forthcoming MTV remake…

Twitter’s not always a place to hear reason and caution preached, well-suited as it is to enjoyably sarky jokes and shared apoplexy, but that’s the gist of what co-creator of The Inbetweeners, Iain Morris, has written today on the subject of the US remake.

The largely negative early response to MTV’s remake of The Inbetweeners, due to air in the US next month, prompted Morris to send his followers a few messages outlining his views (we’ve lumped the Tweets together into this inelegant bundle for ease of reading):

“I’m not going to comment on the American Inbetweeners a lot because I have to use Twitter for more interesting things like complaining but / the pilot director, Taika Waititi, has made consistently funny TV shows and one of my favourite films of all time in Boy. / Brad, the showrunner, is a very funny man who has worked on Arrested Development and My Name Is Earl, two shows I love. / Damon [Beesley, co-creator] and I didn’t have a lot to do with it because we wanted it to be different and American, and I think it is in a positive way. / My wife is American, and she is as funny and clever as anyone I’ve ever met, so I don’t like or appreciate the anti-American stuff. / Anyway, you might like it, you might hate it, but don’t pre-judge it. And the original will always exist. Always. Never going away. Thanks. / Lastly, I know people are only angry about the US Inbetweeners ’cos they love the UK one, which is amazing really, and honestly appreciated.”

Morris went on to say that he expected the show to have “…teething troubles”, but that “…hopefully it’ll make sense on its own terms”. A number of his followers cited the US The Office remake as a blueprint for a successful UK-to-US transition. He’s certainly not wrong about the pilot director’s credentials, which include 2007 indie comedy Eagle Vs Shark, or those of the showrunner Brad Copeland.

At a time when a minority of overprotective film fans are behaving online in a way that can generously be described as a bit potty, perhaps a ‘simmer down’ message of restraint isn’t such a bad idea?

The Wire's top 7 characters

Let’s just get my opinion out there before we start: The Wire is the best TV show ever made. Got it? Good.

Now that that’s out of the way, there are many things that make it brilliant. The slow-burn plots that are allowed to unfold at a steady but eventful pace. The authentic, sometimes to the point of being indecipherable, dialogue. The acting, with subtlety and nuance beyond pretty much anything else I’ve seen on television.

For me though, its real success is its characters. An ensemble show like The Wire relies on its characters more than most. It’s a tough balancing act having such a big cast, and making the show gel.

Thankfully, even the most minor of characters feel fleshed out. They are engaging, and you care about them. They feel real. I can’t think of one role that fits purely into a caricature or a stereotype, and doesn’t in some way challenge and overcome the viewer’s preconceptions.

With this in mind, I will hold back any more gushing compliments about what makes the show a success, and just talk about the top seven people that make The Wire’s Baltimore so damn believable.

D’Angelo Barksdale

D’Angelo is a big presence throughout the first three seasons of the show, even if he only lives to see halfway through the second series. We are introduced to him early on in the show’s first episode. He’s on trial for murder, and escapes conviction after the key witness is bribed to change her testimony. In the courtroom he looks remorseless, and understandably happy to escape conviction. What we should expect from his character seems obvious: he's a typical drug-pushing thug.

We get to know D’Angelo best through his time in ‘the pit’ - the low-rise towers he deals drugs from with Bodie, Wallace, and Poot. He looks out for his comrades-in-arms, acting as a mentor and helping them out in small insignificant ways. He teaches them how to deal effectively, and in a warped world, he comes across like a caring big brother to the young dealers in the pit.

He just doesn’t seem to fit into the brutal world around him. Deep down, (you know, excluding the murder charge), D’Angelo is a gentle soul hardened by the harsh world he lives in. He identifies particularly with Wallace, a 16 year old dealer who also doesn’t have the heart for the brutality of the Baltimore drug trade. He supports his decision to get out of the drug trade, and offers advice wherever he can.

Perhaps the best thing about D’Angelo isn’t the depth of his character, his character progression, or the brilliant performance by Larry Gilliard Jr, but the fact that he consistently defies expectation. Much like the show itself, D’Angelo constantly evolves, and you can never quite put your finger on him. RIP D’Angelo, you were taken from us too soon.

Preston ‘Bodie’ Broadus

‘Bodie’ is a mainstay throughout the first four seasons of the show, working on the front line of the drug trade, standing on corners and in the pit for the Barksdale organisation, and later pushing the product of Marlo Stansfield.

Much like D’Angelo, we first get to know Bodie properly through his time in the pit in the first season. And again, like D’Angelo, we feel we know what to expect from him. Unlike D’Angelo, what we expect is what we tend to get.

He’s a Baltimore youngster, entangled in the drug trade through his unfortunate circumstances, toughened up by the rough streets and the crappy hand life has dealt him.

He’s initially so focused on getting ahead in the drug-selling game, always unafraid to take arms against whomever he perceives to be a threat. So ambitious that he even helps to murder his friend Wallace to get in the good books of his superior, Stringer Bell.

Yet there is more to Bodie than mindless thuggery. He’s intelligent, vociferous, and rallies against rising drug lord Marlo Stansfield when he orders the murder of co-worker Little Kevin. Like D'Angelo and Wallace before him, he's worn out by 'the game'. Even Jimmy McNulty, a cop with a notorious detestation of dealers and drug traffickers, respects Bodie for his loyalty to his Barksdale allies and hatred of Marlo for his ruthless killing spree.

McNulty’s respect is what gets Bodie killed though when one of Stansfield’s lieutenants spots the pair together discussing Marlo’s crew. Just another young life plucked from the streets of Baltimore too soon.

Jimmy McNulty

What sort of a list would this be without the best whisky-swilling, womanising, smart-ass cop on television? A pretty crappy one if you ask me.

Wonderfully brought to life by British actor Dominic West, McNulty is the perennial pain in the ass of everyone he encounters. He's brash, outspoken, and no matter what happens, in McNulty's head, McNulty is always right. On top of that, he's a drunk who sleeps around, with a track record for adultery. The guy's a bit of a mess. We should hate him, right?

Oddly, he's one of the most likable characters on the whole show. Anyone who I've ever spoken to about the show ranks him in their top two favourite characters. Despite the inevitable chaos that follows McNulty around, he's funny, idealistic, and a complete perfectionist. McNulty always fights to the end to produce the best case possible and put the biggest bastard he can find behind bars.

My favourite McNulty moment is arguably my favourite moment of the whole series. Jimmy gets drunk in a bar, and drives home. Squawking along to Flogging Molly on the stereo, eyes half shut, he takes a sharp turn, and crashes his car into a concrete bridge strut. Staggering out of the car unharmed, he assesses the car damage, judges the angle of his misjudged turn, and grumpily climbs back in.

Instead of driving off, he reverses the car back up the road, drives the car even faster than before, and smashes up the side of his vehicle further to finish the job. It's the most character defining moment possible, summing up his hunt for perfection and chaotic nature in one moment of madness.

To quote the man himself: 'What the fuck did I do?' You won our hearts with your charm and recklessness, McNulty.

Lester Freamon

Lester, another cop in the Major Crimes Unit alongside McNulty, is the yin to McNulty's yang. Where Jimmy is impatient, Lester is methodical, and happy to let things take their course. When Jimmy shouts his mouth off about being one of the best policemen in Baltimore, Lester sits quietly, observing, modest. Freamon is summed up perfectly by his nickname, 'Cool Lester Smooth'. The great thing though is that ultimately, they're two sides of the same coin. Both tenacious, fiercely intelligent and talented police officers,

Lester is also a symbol for the effect of in-office politics and corruption in the police force. After successfully convicting a politically-connected criminal, Lester is effectively shelved, pushed into the pawnshop unit for 13 years (and four months, Lester would be keen to remind you). A tragic waste of an exceptionally gifted officer in a town painfully short of them.

Still, we get to follow his re-emergence, and it's a fun ride along the way. He's the thinking man's sort of a cop. A 21st century Shaft. I think that sums it up pretty succinctly?

Stringer Bell

If The Wire were Shakespeare, then Stringer Bell would be Macbeth. The guy's smart, ambitious, ruthless, and a little bit evil. Stringer is consumed by his ambition to make money, and eventually his desire to turn the Barksdale drug ring legit. Sounds pretty Macbethian to me.

The second-in-command of the Barksdale organisation, if someone threatens him or the Barksdales, Stringer will not hesitate to arrange their murder. But unlike Avon Barksdale, his partner-in-crime, his aggression is more calculated. No doubt that he certainly has a temper, but that is balanced with an dastardly mind, constantly machinating his next move.

One of the series' most intense and memorable moments is when Stringer reveals to his friend and business partner Avon that he ordered the murder of Avon's nephew D'Angelo. Avon attacks Stringer, but Bell overpowers his friend, pins him to the floor and yells why he ordered D'Angelo's death. He's a man seemingly in control, now on the edge. Vitriolic, passionate, and heartbroken all in one, it really is unimaginable to think of anyone beside Idris Elba that could make Stringer Bell so believable and vivid.

It was the role of a lifetime for Idris Elba, and for a reason. Stringer rocks.

Roland 'Prez' Pryzbylewski

At first, Prez is incompetent, disrespected, and he wouldn't say boo to a goose. So maybe it's fair to say he has the most dramatic trajectory for any character during the show's five-season run.

Prez is sent to the Major Crimes Unit at the beginning of the show's run, as one of the many supposedly incompetent officers dumped on Lieutenant Daniels. Much like Lester Freamon, Prez proves to be a surprise package, showing a natural aptitude for the paper trail, even managing to crack the pager codes used by the Barksdale crew.

He also has a satisfying character moment when he punches his dragon of a father-in-law, also a Major in the police department, square in the face in front of a crowded room of witnesses. But he isn't suited to the rigours of police work.

Out in the field, Prez covers himself with far less glory, blinding a teenager in one eye by pistol whipping him, and even worse, accidentally killing another police officer in plain clothes while pursuing a suspect.

This leads him to quit the force and become a middle school teacher, encountering 'corner kids' Michael, Randy, Namond and Duquan along the way. This is where Prez shines, in particular taking Duquan under his wing. He's the sort of teacher these kids need, a dedicated and sympathetic one who understands their difficult lives, never patronising them.

We barely see Prez in the show's final season, which is a damn shame, because there's a lot to like about the guy.

Shakima 'Kima' Greggs

If nothing else, the cast of The Wire is made up primarily of men. And that makes sense, with crime and the police being the main subjects of the show. It just makes it all the more important that the female characters are strong, capable, and engaging.

Enter Kima Greggs, a character about as far away from the 'damsel in distress' stereotype as I can imagine. The good thing is that while some of the characters may take note of Kima's gender in a male-dominated workplace, the writers have just made her another cop, nose to the grindstone each day, doing police work. It doesn't matter that she's a woman, not really, which is as it should be.

Her relationship with police informant Bubbles shows a softer side to her character, and the interactions between the two make for some touching scenes. The pair are so very different, and yet very much the same - people muddling through life, making the best of it.

The job puts a strain on her personal life, much like it does for McNulty. But she battles through it, much like the others. That is what makes her great - she is just like another cop, imperfections and all. She's human.

That's the strength of the show - man or woman, young or old, criminal or cop, every single character in The Wire is deeply believable, and more importantly, damn entertaining. If you haven't watched it yet, what the hell are you doing reading this still? Go tune in!

Olympics: London 2012 TV Guide

The London 2012 Olympics are nearly upon us. There's nothing we can do now but keep our fingers crossed that the tubes won't grind to a halt, and hope and pray that Boris Johnson won't do anything too ridiculous to embarrass Great Britain in front of the entire world.

For some people, the Olympics are the pinnacle of years of hard training. A lifelong dream. A moment to display your incredible athleticism. For Digital Spy it's a chance to sit on our bums and watch even more telly.

To help guide you through the weeks ahead, we'll be producing weekly Olympics TV guides, picking out the best of the sporting coverage on the box. Week one includes some ice skating, some comedy and a potentially bonkers Opening Ceremony.

Dancing on Ice Goes Gold - Sunday, July 22, 8pm on ITV1
ITV have deliberately muddled up their Winter and Summer Olympics to allow them to produce a cash-in one-off special of their ice-skating reality series. Torvill and Dean will once again dust off their skates for a routine, while judge Robin Cousins will also venture out on the slippy stuff for the first time in 12 years to perform a solo routine.
A gaggle of ex-Olympians will be swapping their tracksuits for sequins to add a competitive element to the show, but the programme will primarily act as a warm-up exercise for those who enjoy flag-waving and a bit of old-fashioned patriotism.

Absolutely Fabulous - Monday, July 23 at 9.30pm on BBC One
Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley return for one final special episode of the sitcom (until the next reunion anyway), with Patsy and Eddy getting truly into the Olympic spirit. Olympians Dame Kelly Holmes and Tanni Grey-Thompson are guest starring, while the sporting theme of the episode provides the "sweeties" with plenty of excuses to wear ridiculous outfits. Only the best designer tracksuits darling.

Tom Daley: Diving for Britain - Monday, July 23 at 10.35pm on BBC One
The rather dashing Tom Daley will have the expectations of an entire nation on his shoulders when he steps out on the board at the Olympic pool. But after years of media glare, Daley is used to pressure and this brilliant Beeb documentary displays how the young chap copes with his intense training, press attention and the everyday problems of being a teenager. Even if he doesn't win gold at the Games, we can safely say that Daley is one of the most charming Olympians who will be competing in London.

Bad Boy Olympian - Tuesday, July 24 at 9pm on BBC Three
BBC Three has been doing some brilliant Olympic warm-up docs ahead of the games and this examination of British judo medal hope Ashley McKenzie is probably the best of the lot. The ADHD sufferer is a compelling character with plenty to say for himself and even if you don't warm to his personality, nobody can claim he's boring telly. How he blends his brash attitude with such a disciplined sport makes fascinating viewing.

Twenty Twelve - Tuesday, July 24 at 10pm on BBC One
The saddest part of the Olympics starting is that it means we can't have any more Twenty Twelve - without question, the funniest show on TV right now. Can somebody please book us in for another major sporting event pronto, so we can have even more of the hilariously dim Deliverance Committee. Hugh Bonneville and Olivia Colman (and their silent romance) are brilliant throughout, but it is Jessica Hynes's PR-babbler Siobhan Sharpe who steals the show every time for us.

Bert and Dickie - Wednesday, July 25 at 8.30pm on BBC One
Matt Smith takes a break from the TARDIS to get in a row boat and re-tell the story of Bert Bushnell and Dickie Burnell, two gold medal-winning sculls rowers from the 1948 Olympics. Sam Hoare and Smith play the two leads and if you're a soppy sort, you'll probably be in floods of tears come the end of this moving drama from writer William Ivory.

Olympics Opening Ceremony - Friday, July 27 on BBC One
After years of build-up, it is finally here. The London 2012 Olympics kick off proper with a healthy six and a half hours of wall-to-wall coverage for the Opening Ceremony. Danny Boyle is the man in charge of the spectacle and the promise of some "real sheep" being involved is surely reason enough to tune in. We're unlikely to match the brilliance of the Beijing ceremony four years ago (blooming show-offs), but we're sure there'll be a British charm amid the bombast and parade of a billion flags. Gary Lineker and Huw Edwards will be among the hosts to guide us through the evening.

Network Affiliates Defend Cable Retransmission Fees

CBS and NBC TV affiliates told federal lawmakers Friday that regulations permitting broadcasters to charge cable and satellite TV operators for retransmitting broadcast shows are in the public’s interest because the fees support news and other public affairs programming.

The broadcasters are presenting their best arguments for retransmission consent because the Senate Commerce Committee has scheduled a hearing starting Tuesday to review key cable TV regulations. Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, (below left) the committee's chairman, has made it clear that he is particularly concerned that retransmission consent disputes have been resulting in programming blackouts that hurt consumers.

“The current system allows free-market negotiations between broadcasters and other content owners on one side of the table and satellite and cable distributors on the other,” the NBC Television Affiliates Board wrote in a letter Friday to Rockefeller.

"Without fair compensation for the content broadcasters have created or acquired, local television stations will be fundamentally impaired in their efforts to innovate,” the CBS Television Network Affiliates Association, said in a letter to members of the panel.

In another letter on Friday, the ABC Television Affiliates Association told committee members in a letter that affiliates wouldn’t be able to afford top-notch programming without retransmission consent fees because they now have to compensate their networks for network programming.

“If affiliates are financially unable to pay a competitive market-based rate for those programs, the networks will place them on a local fee-based platform, i.e., cable, satellite, or the Internet,” the ABC affiliates said.

“To compete for the most popular national programming with cable and satellite fee-based and advertiser-based revenue streams, local television stations, of necessity, must now charge fees to their competitors for the retransmission and resale of their signals,” the ABC affiliates said. 

Among the key arguments that the affiliates presented in their letters today is that without retransmission consent rules, pay TV distributors would not have to pay broadcasters a fair share of the fees that cable and satellite operators collect from subscribers.

“Retransmission consent fees have increased, but cable systems still pay almost 15 times more in fees for carriage of the Top 4 most expensive cable networks and approximately 10 times more for carriage of the Top 4 most heavily viewed cable networks than they pay in retransmission consent fees for carriage of the Big 4 broadcast network affiliates, despite the far greater ratings obtained by local network affiliates,” the CBS affiliates said in their letter.

The affiliates also said that a key argument of cable and satellite operators for ending retransmission consent is that negotiations over the payments sometimes result in impasses and programming blackouts.

“One cannot help but notice that whenever the pay-TV industry senses the possibility that Congress or the FCC might undercut the retransmission consent principle, the number of bargaining impasses increases,” the NBC affiliates said.

“This is because the MVPDs (multichannel video programming distributors) may want to cite service disruptions to bolster their case for government intervention,” the NBC affiliates added.

Two of the more prominent recent programming blackouts—affecting DirecTV and Time Warner Cable viewers—have just been resolved. DirecTV and Viacom announced a deal Friday clearing the way for the satellite operator to resume carriage of  Viacom networks, which include Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and MTV. Hearst Television announced Thursday that it had reached a retransmission consent agreement clearing the way for Time Warner Cable to resume carrying Hearst TV affiliates. 

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association had no comment on the network affiliate letters, according to a spokesman.

TV Tonight 21th of July 2012

The daily list in alphabetical order, of all the new episodes airing.

    Area no Kishi S01E27: "Ryouma Goes!"
    Bad Dog! (US) S02E04: "Naughty By Nature"
    Beyblade: Metal Fusion S02E50: "Rampage! Horogium"
    Big Brother (UK) S14E51: "BB 13, Episode 51"
    Big Brother After Dark S07E10: "Season 7, Episode 10"
    Big Brother's Bit on the Side S04E47: "Series 4, Show 47"
    Bleach (US) S13E34: "Imprisonment?! Senbonzakura & Zabimaru"
    Casualty S26E41: "Holby Riot - Part One"
    Dakara Boku wa, H ga Dekinai S01E03: "Dangerous Idol"
    Dark Matters: Twisted But True S02E02
    Deal Or No Deal (UK) S07E295: "Episode 1975"
    Detective Conan S19E20: "Suspicion of Initial K"
    Dog Days (JP) S02E03: "Episode 3"
    Fairy Tail S03E45: "The Revived Oracion Seis Appears!"
    Formula 1 S04E25: "German Grand Prix Qualifying"
    Ginga e Kickoff!! S01E16: "TBA"
    Hagure Yuusha no Estetica S01E03: "To Become an Adult"
    Kaijudo: Rise of the Duel Masters S01E08: "Shaw K'Naw"
    Mad Mad World S01E04: "Episode 4"
    My Big Redneck Vacation S02E07: "Prom Promise"
    My Cat From Hell S03E04: "Kitty Jail"
    NYC 22 S01E09: "Playing God"
    Oddities: San Francisco S01E06: "Cobra-Cadabra"
    Pokémon S15E23: "Search for the Clubultimate!"
    Redneck Island S01E06: "The Pinky Swear"
    RocKwiz S10E03: "Season 10, Episode 3"
    Saturday Kitchen S11E06: "July 21, 2012"
    SpongeBob SquarePants S08E29: "Squirrel Record"
    SpongeBob SquarePants S08E28: "Extreme Spots"
    SpongeBob SquarePants S08E31: "Face Freeze"
    SpongeBob SquarePants S08E30: "Demolition Doofus"
    The 2012 Summer Olympics S01E00: "30 Greatest NBC Olympic Moments"
    The Cube S05E08: "Gold Medallist Special (2)"
    The Dog Whisperer S09E04: "Battle of Britain"
    The Hollow Crown S01E04: "Henry V"
    The Million Pound Drop Live S10E12: "Series 10, Episode 12"
    UFC PPV Events S20E08: "UFC 149: Faber vs. Barao"
    Wicked Attraction S05E07: "Reluctant Heiress"

Ratings: Charlie Sheen's 'Anger Management' Rises in 4th Week

Charlie Sheen's FX comedy "Anger Management" has stabilized in the ratings department after a roller-coaster ride that started with a record-setting premiere followed by two weeks of significant drop-offs.

Thursday night's 9:30 airing of "Anger Management" grew in both total viewers and in the 18-49 demographic most desirable to advertisers.

In the key demo, "Anger Management" grew 13 percent among adults 18-49, attracting 1.42 million total viewers in that group as opposed to last week's 1.25 million. In total viewers, the episode -- the series' fifth, since FX ran two episodes on its June 28 premiere night -- inched up 9 percent, to 2.65 million from last week's 2.42 million.

Not staggering gains, but the numbers are encouraging for a series that slid considerably after a pretty lofty start.

"Anger Management" (an adaptation of the 2003 Jack Nicholson/Adam Sandler film) drew 2.65 million viewers in the demo and 5.47 million total viewers -- a record in the demo for scripted-comedy premieres on cable, and also a record in total viewers, excluding children's programming.

The following week wasn't quite as rosy, with the numbers dropping off 35 percent in the demo and 38 percent in total viewers. The show's third week saw further slips.

Nicole Scherzinger breaks down in tears at 'X Factor' Boot Camp

New X Factor UK judge Nicole Scherzinger broke down in tears following a contestant's emotional performance at Boot Camp yesterday (July 19), Digital Spy can reveal.

The ex-Pussycat Doll had to be consoled by fellow judges Gary Barlow, Tulisa Contostavlos and Louis Walsh at Liverpool's Echo Arena, showing no signs that she has toughened up following the criticism of her misty-eyed appearance on the US version last year.

Nicole Scherzinger X Factor judges leaving their hotel to attend the boot camp stage of the competition Liverpool, England - 18.07.12 Mandatory Credit:

Scherzinger's outburst came after one of this year's youngest contestants took to the stage for a performance that received a standing ovation from the entire crowd.

Their success was made all the more significant after Barlow admitted that the track they chose to cover is "close to the top" of his "top five... most annoying songs".

X Factor fans appeared to warm to Scherzinger after the incident, repeatedly shouting out: "We love you Nicole."

The 'Don't Hold Your Breath' star responded by turning around to wave at the audience and making a heart symbol for them with her fingers.

It has recently been reported that Scherzinger is having doubts about her relationship with Lewis Hamilton following revelations of his late-night partying with ten girls.

'TOWIE' Georgina Dorsett 'axed from new series for being boring'

Georgina Dorsett has been axed from The Only Way is Essex.

The reality star is said to have left the ITV2 series by mutual agreement after viewers complained of her being too dull, reports The Sun.

An ITV2 spokesman told Reveal: "I can confirm Georgina won't be in the new series of TOWIE."

Sources close to the socialite say that she wanted to leave the show in order to spend more time with boyfriend Tom Cleverley of Manchester United.

An insider said: "Georgina leaving was a mutual decision between her and producers.

"Her heart wasn't really in it and producers felt she didn't bring much to the show. She really wants to spend more time with Tom out of Essex."

However, a separate source claimed that Dorsett did not get on well with her co-stars and was looking for a way out.

"She was a bit of a damp squib and brought nothing to the show," the insider claimed. "She didn't really mix with any of the others and it didn't look like she wanted to be there."

Dorsett was apparently told back in April that she needed to "raise her game" in order to stay on the show.

The Only Way Is Essex returns for a sixth series on Sunday, July 22 on ITV2.

'Pawn Stars' Regular Danny 'The Count' Koker Gets Spinoff Series on History

Frequent "Pawn Stars" guest Danny "The Count" Koker is getting a sweet ride from the History Channel.

Koker has landed his own series, "Counting Cars," with History. The series will feature Koker and his cohorts acquiring, restoring and attempting to flip classic vehicles for a profit, focusing on the before-and-after transformation of the cars and the negotiations that go into acquiring and selling the cars.

"From vintage Thunderbirds to classic Corvettes and souped-up sidecar motorcycles, Danny will stop at nothing to find and flip the greatest rides of all time," a History release says of the series.

On the show, Koker will be joined by his best friend, Kevin, as well as numerous employees from his car shop, Count's Kustoms, including shop manager and bookkeeper Scott and airbrush artist "Horny" Mike.

"Counting Cars" premieres with a special preview on Aug. 13 at 10:30 p.m., before moving into its regular Tuesdays-at-10/10:30 p.m. ET time slot on Aug. 14.

Ann Curry to Co-Anchor 'Today' From 'Dark Knight' Shooting Scene

Curry, who was replaced by Savannah Guthrie on NBC's "Today" in late June, will co-anchor the morning news show with her replacement live from Aurora, Colo. -- where a gunman killed 12 people and injured dozens of others during a screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" -- on "Today"'s weekend editions.

In addition to Curry and Guthrie, Jenna Wolfe will be reporting from New York.

Curry will also anchor a special edition of "Dateline," which will broadcast live from Aurora Friday at 9 p.m.

The network will also air "NBC Nightly News" live from Aurora Friday night at 6:30 p.m., with Brian Williams anchoring. The Saturday edition will also broadcast live from Aurora, with Kate Snow.

'Big Fat Gypsy Wedding' girl slams spinoff for being a 'freak show'

A teenager has slammed an upcoming Big Fat Gypsy Weddings spinoff show.

Bridget Deadman, 17, was one of ten travellers who have taken part in Thelma's Gypsy Girls.

The series follows dressmaker Thelma Madine as she teaches ten girls how to make their lavish wedding gowns.

However, Deadman has criticised the show for portraying the girls taking part as "freaks".

"Thelma wasn't interested in teaching us anything. It was just a freak show which made us look violent, tarty and stupid. At times it was like being on Jeremy Kyle," she told The Sun.

"Every stereotype there is about gypsies was pushed to the hilt and Thelma and the camera crew seemingly ignored anything that didn't fit that image."

The teenager added: "The crew were determined to make us look wild. The whole thing was disgusting. We trusted Thelma to help us learn a skill."

A spokesperson for Channel 4 dismissed the claims, stating: "The series is a fair and accurate reflection of what the programme makers experienced during filming and we refute any allegation that the show was constructed.

"The girls who stuck with Thelma's course have said that it has been a positive and life-changing experience for them and their families."

Big Brother to feature 'White Room' twist, special episode

Big Brother will have a special 'White Room' twist next month, an idea that was first used on Big Brother Australia in 2007.

Channel 5's schedules for Wednesday, August 1 have revealed that there will be an extended episode of the show, titled Big Brother: The White Room at 9pm. Emma Willis-hosted spinoff show Bit on the Side: White Room Live will air at 10.30pm.

No details of the White Room twist have been confirmed by Channel 5, however, it is expected to follow a similar format to that of the Australian show.

In the 2007 series Down Under, a selection of wild-card contestants were allowed into the White Room to compete for a remaining final place in the Big Brother house. They were required to wear all-white clothes and eat only white food, and the only non-white item in the room was a giant red buzzer in the middle.

If the contestants wanted to quit they were allowed to press the buzzer, and the last housemate standing in the room was the victor.

It is not clear whether the UK version will feature new housemates entering, because the series will be near the end of its run, so it may involve current housemates competing for a prize instead.

Matt Smith doubts 'Doctor Who' movie role

Matt Smith has distanced himself from the idea of a Doctor Who movie.

New rumours of a film based on the BBC sci-fi drama emerged in November last year, with Harry Potter's David Yates reportedly attached to direct.

"I think it would take four or five years to get something like that off the ground, and I don't anticipate that I'll be playing the Doctor then," Smith told Collider. "My skin and the aging process couldn't take it."

He added: "For my money, whoever is playing the Doctor should be in the movie. I don't think there should be two Doctors."

However, Smith insisted that a Doctor Who film could work, suggesting that current showrunner Steven Moffat should script the feature.

"I don't see any reason why it couldn't work," said the 29-year-old. "I think they should get Steven to write it because he's the best."

Doctor Who will return to BBC One in August.

Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss 'delighted' by 'Sherlock' Emmy nods

Sherlock's Steven Moffat has admitted that he is "delighted" with the show's Emmy nominations.

Moffat and co-creator Mark Gatiss took to Twitter to voice their appreciation after the BBC detective drama scooped 13 award nods yesterday (July 19).

Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss arriving for the Arqiva British Academy Television Awards 2012 at the Royal Festival Hall, London.

"Thanks for all your kind words about the Emmy nominations for Sherlock," wrote Gatiss. "We're thrilled!"

Moffat meanwhile singled out Sherlock director Paul McGuigan - who has helmed four of the show's six episodes - for particular praise.

"Shouldn't single people out - but I'm extra pleased for [Paul]," he wrote. "Best director in the world."

Sherlock's Emmy nominations include recognition for stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman and Moffat himself.

Ratings: 'Big Brother' Down; 'Duets' Finale Hits Low

Despite a decline in the demo for "Big Brother," CBS took an overall win Thursday night with a slate of mostly repeats, while ABC's "Duets" ended its season on a series low, according to preliminary numbers.

CBS took first place in both the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic and total viewers with a 1.8 rating/6 share and 6.5 million. The network's slate consisted primarily of repeats, with a "Big Bang Theory" repeat at 8 p.m. earning the night's top ratings and biggest total viewership.

The exception, "Big Brother" at 9, was down 15 percent from last Thursday, drawing a 2.2/7 and receiving 6.3 million total viewers.

Univision came in second in ratings and third in total viewers with an average 1.5/5 and 3.8 million.

ABC drew third place in ratings and second in total viewers with a 1.3/4 and 4.8 million. The singing competition "Duets" at 8 had its season finale, dropping 10 percent to a series low of 0.9/3 and taking 4.5 million total viewers.

"Wipeout" the following hour was also down, dipping 11 percent for a 1.6/5 and attracting 5 million total viewers. "Rookie Blue" at 10, meanwhile, climbed 17 percent for a 1.4/4 and took 5 million total viewers.

Fox came in fourth in ratings and fifth in total viewers. "Take Me Out" at 8 was even with last week with a 1.2/4 and inched up in total viewers with 3.1 million. Repeats of "New Girl" followed.

NBC took fifth in ratings and fourth in total viewers with a 0.6/2 and 2.7 million. Following repeats of "The Office" and "Parks and Recreation," "Saving Hope" at 9 ran flat with last week for a 1.5/4 and took 3 million total viewers.

"Rock Center With Brian Williams" at 10, which last week explored Scientology following the Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes split, dropped 42 percent to a 0.7/2 and took 3.4 million total viewers.

Pundit Lee Dixon defects to ITV Sport from BBC

Pundit Lee Dixon has signed for ITV Sport from the BBC, it has been announced.

Dixon, former Arsenal and England defender, will join Adrian Chiles alongside the likes of Roy Keane and Gareth Southgate.

The 48-year-old will be part of the panel for ITV's revived Tuesday night Champions League coverage from the autumn, as well as FA Cup and Europa League matches.

The respected analyst will also appear in the broadcaster's England's World Cup 2014 qualifying campaign.

Dixon confirmed his BBC departure yesterday via Twitter, saying earlier this week: "Sad to be leaving BBC. Nothing lasts forever. New challenges ahead. Loved my time there. Wonderful people."

Dixon rose to prominence when he contributed to the BBC's punditry team for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

Lauren Carre evicted from Big Brother: 'The atmosphere was horrible'

Lauren Carre has become the seventh housemate evicted from Big Brother.

The Jersey farmgirl lost out to Luke Anderson, meaning Digital Spy readers' desired evictee has remained in again.

On hearing the news, Lauren quietly expressed her disappointment, while survivor Luke A told Big Brother he was "the happiest guy" yet "upset" for his friend.

However, as Brian Dowling remarked, the ex-contestant was "all smiles" in the interview chair.

The presenter went on to congratulate her on receiving the "best reception" of the series, to which she replied that she was "really happy", having been worried about boos.

When Lauren was asked why she thought Luke A had been saved, she described him as an "amazing guy" and praised "the transition he has made".

She went on to say that she was not surprised at being put up for eviction by housemates, explaining that there was a group of seven people who "find one reason to pick on someone and just all go at it".

She described the house's atmosphere as "horrible", commenting: "Everywhere you look, people are talking and whispering, you walk into a room and people stop. I didn't realise paranoia got so bad in there... it's really hard.

"But then, like, they'd be really nice to you for ten minutes, and then next thing they'd bite your head off."

Dowling described it as the "bitchiest and [most] backstabbing house... for a while", with Lauren responding: "I'm glad you've said that because I thought I was losing my mind."

However, she admitted she was "a bit guilty" of such two-faced behaviour herself, putting it down to boredom.

Discussing Caroline Wharram, she referred to the 20-year-old's "whispering, bitching and gossiping" and remarked that, despite having apologised a number of times for her behaviour, she "just never changed".

Lauren also confirmed that there was no chance of romance with Adam Kelly, saying he was a "great guy" but like a brother.

She concluded by saying that she wanted Adam or Luke A to win, with Caroline as her choice to go.

Viacom, DirecTV Reach Deal on Carriage Dispute

Ten days after Viacom blacked out its channels for DirecTV customers, the two companies said Friday that they had reached a deal to return programming to satellite subscribers.

All 26 Viacom networks, including Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, MTV, BET, CMT, Logo, Spike, TV Land, MTV2, VH1, VH1 Classic, Palladia, Nick Jr., Nicktoons, TeenNick, Tr3s and Centric, will return to DirecTV’s channel lineup immediately.

As part of the deal, DirecTV has an option to add Viacom's EPIX movie channel. Earlier this week, DirecTV said Viacom's demand that it carry EPIX killed a potential deal.

"Viacom is extremely pleased to bring its programming back to DirecTV subscribers, and thanks everyone affected by the disruption for their patience and understanding during this challenging period," Viacom said in a statement.

"It's unfortunate that Viacom took the channels away from customers to try to gain leverage, but in the end, it's clear our customers recognized that tactic for what it was," Derek Chang, executive vice president of DirecTV, said in a statement.

During the latest blackout, Viacom estimated that 20 million customers lost their networks.

No terms were disclosed, but DirecTV said earlier in the dispute that Viacom was seeking fee increases of 30 percent, or more than one billion dollars. Viacom contended that the increases would amount to pennies a day for customers.

The fight between DirecTV and Viacom became so pitched, with ad campaigns blaming each other, that Comedy Central star Jon Stewart blasted both companies on the "Daily Show."

"Viacom and DirecTV, what are you doing here? You got ad campaigns blaming each other for taking the shows away, telling people to "rise up and demand it" like some kind of basic cable Arab Spring. I've got news for you: It's not," the "Daily Show" the host said.

The dispute between the two media companies was just the latest skirmish in a seemingly unending battle between cable and satellite companies and content creators over the fees they charge to carry their channels. It is a conflict that has previously ensnared the likes of Comcast, News Corp., Disney and Dish, and carries with it the specter of government intervention.

Cable providers blame escalating retransmission fees for rising subscription costs, while content creators counter that they are only asking to be compensated for the enormous expense of producing the shows that entice people to pay the cable bill in the first place.

'Breaking Bad' Star Aaron Paul Plays 'The Price Is Right'

Aaron Paul, come on down!

Before he gained fame as apprentice meth-meister Jesse Pinkman on "Breaking Bad," Paul just wanted to get his Showcase Showdown on.

During an appearance on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" on Thursday night, Paul revealed a little-known fact about his pre-"BB"days: He had competed on iconic game show "The Price Is Right."

Paul, who told Leno that he had appeared on the show "about 14 years ago," displays the typical mania of a "Price Is Right" contestant as he makes his way toward the stage, strutting mightily and screaming his praise at then-host Bob Barker.

Getting told to come on down on "The Price Is Right" -- apparently, it's a bigger rush than a pipe full of Walter White's blue stash.