News

Alan Rickman meets Broadway censorship; and Preston from Big Brother finds it’s hard to be an editor

Alan Rickman

A couple of interesting stories in The Independent’s Pandora today. First, but less amusing, is the news that Alan Rickman is fuming after getting his play cancelled by the Broadway theatre that was supposed to be staging it. The New York Theater Workshop claimed Rickman’s filming commitments, among other things, had forced them to cancel the play concerning the death of a peace activist at the treads of an Israeli army tank. But dear old Alan (who was once kind enough to send me his autograph so that I could give it to one of his fans as a birthday present) wrote a strongly worded letter to point out that they were telling a bunch of porkies. Only sounding a little bit like a conspiracy theorist, he said the theatre had caved under pressure from local Jewish leaders (whoever they might be). Whatever the reason, the moral of this story is not to cross Alan.

Preston from CBB

Story two, which is far more amusing, concerns that Preston from the Ordinary Boys, whom most people know from Celebrity Big Brother. Someone at the BBC, whose brain had clearly been infected by some kind of Brighton-based lead paint (it’s the Islington-based lead paint of the South), thought it would be a simply super idea to get him to be guest editor for the BBC South Sunday Politics Show. Well, what do you know – turns out it’s all going a bit pear-shaped: he can’t get any of the people he wanted to show up. Didn’t see that one coming.

It’s always entertaining to see a TV show such as Wife Swap where people are parachuted into other people’s jobs and find they’re not that easy to master in a week – again how surprising? But why are some journalists so masochistic and deprived of self-esteem that they think that their own job is a complete doddle and even the untrained lead singer of ska band could do it? Having guest editors is just as bad as a free DVD in a newspaper – it’s more effort, makes the final product worse and the audience you get is only ever temporary. Forget misplaced ideals of making your show accessible to “ordinary people” (and who are they supposed to be exactly?) – do your job properly and the “ordinary” viewers should follow.

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New Danny Wallace game show on the way

Oh goody. Another hateful BBC1 quiz show. This time, Danny Wallace is to host School’s Out, “the celebrity quiz show for BBC1 that we should all be able to win because it’s inspired by what we all learned at school.”

The marketing evil goes on:

Some things we can still remember, some still confuse us and for some we simply weren’t paying attention. Everyone went to school and every answer in this quiz we will have known, even if it was just for one day and forgotten the next. In School’s Out, three celebrities will go back to school and compete against each other, answering questions based on the school curriculum for a chance to win prizes for either their old school, their children’s school or another school of their choice. With host Danny Wallace, laden with the teacher attitude, irony and sarcasm (that we love, in hindsight) we’ll see just how far we’ve dumbed down since our school days.

Where do you start with an idea that rubbish?

“Okay, Neil Stuke from EastEnders, can you tell me the first differential with respect to theta of tan theta? You have 20 seconds, starting now! No? Okay, Tamzin Outhwaite, you can steal a bonus by telling me what the atomic mass of Molybdenum is… No? Three of the land concessions the Germans made through the Treaty of Versailles…? No…?”

It’s going to be a long, long evening.

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IT Crowd theme tune

Since a lot of you are coming here now to find out what the theme tune to The IT Crowd was (why??), I thought I’d put you all out of your misery: it was a specially composed track by Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy (who came up with the theme to Father Ted, you may recall). It’s not been released commercially yet, but I’m sure it will be at some point.

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More entertaining Bond news

Will the new Bond movie Casino Royale be even half as entertaining as the advance news? Hot on the heels of Daniel Craig losing his front teeth in a fight (apparently they were part of his plate, not actual teeth. Ugh.) and the discovery that he can’t drive a manual transmission car come a couple of new gem-ettes.

First up, Ford are paying the producers £14 million to get Craig to drive a Mondeo. Pretty much as suave as Texas Hold ‘Em, that.

Second, in a desperate attempt to garner some positive publicity, Craig’s volunteering to go full frontal nude. Of course, the producers haven’t agreed. What a surprise. Nothing quite like an empty gesture, is there?