Category Archives: Film & TV

Never rely on predictive text!

What do Leona Lewis and my lovely Dad have in common?   Well up until this week I would have said “absolutely nothing apart from a surname!”.  That was before I heard the story about a tweet sent by the ubiquitous Simon Cowell last week.

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Telling his 8.5 million Twitter followers about X Factor alumni Leona Lewis’ new Christmas album, he fell foul of dreaded predictive text and the message went out as Leonard Lewis instead – I’d like to think that Dad would have found that quite amusing, particularly since the Cowell and my Dad actually attended the same school in North London (albeit quite a few years apart!).

The story was also covered on the ITV2 show, Celebrity Juice, on Thursday night and was met with much hilarity from the studio guests and provided a laugh out loud moment for me in my living room too!!!

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Simply brilliant!

I am a big fan of Strictly Come Dancing as it is great to see people pushed to their limits week in, week out and to see just how much they improve over the series. However, after watching the latest episode of the US version, Dancing With the Stars, we have long way to go before our celebs can match the brilliance of Kellie Pickler and her professional dance partner, Derek Hough. It was quite simply magical – watch it here and see if you agree!

Ding Dong!

My heartfelt thanks this morning go to ITV who decided not to cover “The Funeral” but instead to continue with their normal scheduling, largely ignoring the event.

Daybreak, Lorraine and This Morning all featured interviews with commentators and friends of the former Prime Minster, and cut away to the scene at St Paul’s Cathedral every now and again.  However, from 9.30 to 10.30 ITV was broadcasting The Jeremy Kyle Show, a controversial talkshow dedicated to sordid, embarrassing family dramas.

Jeremy Kyle

As the BBC showed David Dimbleby interviewing  Conservative grandees and political veterans, and Sky News showed scenes from  inside the cathedral, ITV broadcast a shouting match between two girls and a man  who was trying to deny that he was their father.

And while grandees filed into St Paul’s and  Lady Thatcher’s coffin was driven to the cathedral, a young woman told the  studio audience that she was trying to work out who her real father was.

Then at 10.30 This Morning was hosted as usual by Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby –  neither known for their political acumen but with a nod to the main event they were both dressed demurely in black.  As the coffin was taken into the cathedral,  This Morning ran a feature on dangerous criminals – apparently ignoring the  start of the funeral.  They also interviewed the victim of an arson  attack in a Leicester gay bar from October 2011 and then Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans joined Schofield and Willoughby on the show, discussing his own career.  The pair also interviewed a writer who said  that seeing his wife give birth gave him post-traumatic stress order, and  interrogated him on his love life

However, the BBC and Sky News each set aside hours of programming dedicated to the service so there was plenty of opportunity for those who did want to watch and I personally think it is a little unfair for people to criticise ITV for giving people a choice to not watch if they didn’t want to.

Rust in Peace

Time for bed Zebedee?

Magic RoundaboutSwindon is a town with a reputation for stupidity when it comes to town planning and their roads in general.  You need look no further than the unimaginatively named “Magic Roundabout” which was  constructed in 1972 and consists of five mini-roundabouts arranged around a sixth central, anti-clockwise roundabout.   In one opinion poll in 2005 it was voted the worst roundabout in Britain and then in 2009 in another poll it was voted the fourth scariest junction in Britain.  However the up-side is that the roundabout provides a better throughput of traffic than other designs and has an excellent safety record, since traffic moves too slowly to do serious damage in the event of a collision.

It is hardly surprising, therefore, that the local council are now under fire because of their latest initiative – a campaign to stop people illegally parking in alleyways.  Bungling contractors have painted yellow lines down a narrow alleyway, leaving a gap of just 33cm in between them.  The tiny alleyway itself is just 4 feet wide – too narrow for a car!

And the council’s excuse?  A spokesperson apparently said: ‘It seems that our contractors forgot just how big cars actually are when they painted this one.”

Oh well, that’s alright then?  No doubt the Council Tax payers of Swindon are delighted that their money is so well spent … BOING!!!!!

Newhall Street Swindon

Holy Shit (again!)

My favourite news story of the day so far!

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A man is due in court charged with handling stolen goods after another man dressed in a batman costume handed him over to the police.

The incident happened on February 25 when a ‘wanted’ man was  taken into Trafalgar House police station in Bradford.   As a result a 27-year-old man will now appear at Bradford magistrates court on March 8th.

He who dares Rodney, he who dares.

Holy Shit!

death of RobinThe end of an era!   Batman’s young partner Robin will die saving  the world in a comic book published on Wednesday, DC Comics has announced.   Both the Boy Wonder and Batman’s son, the  Damian Wayne character will meet his end in the eighth issue of the comic Batman Incorporated.

Apparently he does his job – he saves the world and dies an absolute hero.   He will inevitably be killed fighting a vicious assassin who also happens to be his brother, ‘cloned from his genetic material’.   Batman will not be there to save him.

This news reminded me of the hysterical episode of Only Fools and Horses, Heroes and Villains, where Del Boy and Rodney [David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst] dress up as Batman and Robin for a party with their usual calamity filled antics.  This episode was shown on Christmas Day in 1996 and attracted a record audience of  21.3 million.  If you’ve not seen it for a while, check out this clip and I’m sure you’ll agree that even 16 years on it definitely stands the test of time – an absolute classic!

More haste, less speed

2013 has been an eventful year so far for actress Jennifer Lawrence … and we’re only two months in!

Hot on the heels of her recent calamity at the Screen Actors Guild Awards where she caught and ripped the bottom of her dress on a chair in her hurry to get up on stage to collect her award, she’s created headlines yet again by falling up the stairs on her way to collect her Best Actress award at last night’s Oscars!

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She must surely be the most accident-prone actress in Hollywood!!!

Now I am sure she’s delighted with all these awards but I’m guessing she may also be mortified at these mishaps.  It’s one thing to fall over when few people are watching but it’s quite something else to do it in front of millions of TV viewers!

So Jennifer, if you’re reading this, I have a few words of advice.  Take your time, look where you’re going and definitely make sure you sack your stylist – a shorter dress would be far less hazardous for you love!!!

Why you should never be in a “tearing” hurry!

If you’re a high-profile movie star, there are few things more embarrassing than turning up at an event in the same dress as someone else and giving the paparazzi a field day and plenty of column inches.  However, this weekend, Jennifer Lawrence managed to create headlines with her dress in a different way with an unfortunate incident when standing up to receive her Best Female Actor in a Leading Role statue for her role in Silver Linings Playbook at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Jumping up from her chair and hugging the people around her, she failed to notice that someone had planted the leg of their chair on her navy Dior gown.  Keen to get on stage and accept her award, the actress attempted to run off, tearing her dress in the process.   Not so much a wardrobe malfunction as a wardrobe catastrophe!!!

SAG Awards

Naturally the cameras were also on the other nominees in this category, Marion Cotillard and Nicole Kidman, who both managed to create suitably shocked expressions, presumably while laughing hysterically on the inside and eternally grateful that it hadn’t happened to them!!!

SAG awards

Jennifer almost hadn’t attended the ceremony as she is thought to have been suffering from pneumonia and has missed various red carpet occasions in recent weeks.   You can bet that she woke up this morning wishing she’d stayed in bed a bit longer!!!

Ewing’s the name, oil’s my game!

And so we bid farewell to Larry Hagman who has died today at the age of 81.  To most of us he will always be JR Ewing, the lovable rogue he spent 13 years portraying in the TV drama Dallas.   As the most scheming oil tycoon in town, JR in his Stetson became one of the most distinctive faces on television screens across the world.   It quickly became one of the network’s top-rated programmes – with its 356 episodes being seen by an estimated 300 million people in 57 countries – and was revived this year.

His forthright biography, Hello Darlin’, detailed his youthful drug-taking exploits and revealed the extent of his 50-year battle with alcoholism.   Even on the hardworking set of Dallas, he consumed five bottles of champagne a day for years and was finally diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver in 1992.   Three years later he had a liver transplant and kept a photo of the organ donor above his mirror.   “I say a prayer for him every morning,” he said.   Despite this, Hagman continued to drink secretly until a further life-saving operation in 2003 forced him to stop.

I can still remember the furore around the “Who Shot JR?” mystery in 1980.  It was one of the most talked about stories of that year with Hagman even being offered £100,000 during a British vacation to reveal the identity of the shooter, but he admitted that neither he nor anyone in the cast knew the answer.   Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother was apparently among the millions worldwide intrigued by the mystery, and a session of the Turkish parliament was suspended to allow legislators a chance to get home in time to view the Dallas episode with the answer.

I like to think he is now sitting in his Southfork Ranch in the sky, still wearing his Stetson, and still smiling that slightly sinister smile as he reflects on a full and fascinating life story that was just as dramatic in real life as that which was seen on the screen!

Permission to speak, sir?

Sad news today of the death of the actor Clive Dunn, best known for his role as Lance Corporal Jones in the much-loved series, Dad’s Army.  He has passed away at the age of 92 at his home in Portugal.   Apparently in recent years he was struggling to see, but his mind was as sharp as ever.   In an interview for this month’s edition of Oldie magazine, he was  asked what it was like being 92. He replied simply: ‘It’s like being  91.’

I think it is widely known that the actor was actually only 48 when he began playing the doddery pensioner in the BBC comedy in 1968. The series ran until 1977, regularly attracting 18million viewers, and is still repeated to this day.   Few know, however, the real wartime service of the man behind bungling Corporal Jones, who saw active service with the 4th Hussars during the Second World War and spent four years as a prisoner of war in Austria.

I grew up with Dad’s Army and Lance Corporal Jones was a favourite of mine – he had all the best lines and several catchphrases that never failed to make me laugh – “Don’t panic Mr Mainwaring, don’t panic”, “They don’t like it up ’em” and “Permission to speak, sir”,  whilst always enjoying telling long rambling stories of his wartime heroics but often forgetting whether he was fighting ‘the Bosch’ or ‘the fuzzie-wuzzies’ in Sudan!

Above all, however, what never ceased to crack me up was his complete inability to stand to attention at the same time as the rest of the platoon – always just a beat behind the rest – so sit back and enjoy these clips of a very funny man – RIP Clive Dunn.

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