Top of the Pops put out to pasture

You almost certainly didn’t hear it here first, but Top of the Pops has been cancelled. It’s always sad to see old regulars go, but it had had a good life and it needed a rest.

It can always come back later as a retro thing. Wouldn’t you just love to see DLT or Peter Powell introing hit acts from the 70s and 80s making a comeback again?

Hell, while we’re about it, bring back the Golden Oldie Picture Show. I’m sure there’s a few songs out now that could have better videos done on the cheap for them by the Beeb.

UPDATE: DLT has just signed up with radio station Magic.

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William Fichtner joins Prison Break

William FichtnerGood old William Fichtner. He’s survived a lot of rubbish in his time, mainly through being a good actor. He managed to make a whole episode of the dire fifth season of The West Wing watchable. He’s been a high-point of various series and movies, including the never-seen-in-the-UK series MDs, which co-starred John Hannah, and the I-wish-it-had-never-been-seen-in-the-UK movie Armageddon.

Lately, though he’s been reduced to being creepy in Invasion. As we all know, that’s now been cancelled, the moral of the story being never star in sci-fi shows written by former members of The Partridge Family who also happened to play little Joe Hardy of The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew fame (I’m not saying it’s an easily generalisable moral). What a shame.

But the good news is that now that show’s over, he’s free to appear as Prison Break’s equivalent of Lieutenant Gerard. He’s the one with the unenviable task of chasing Michael “I have a cunning plan” Schofield and the other prisoners through Dallas (yes, season two’s being shot in Dallas instead of Chicago – where will all that snow go?).

EquilibriumIncidentally, that move reunites him with Dominic Purcell, who plays Michael’s brother Lincoln, since they both appeared in the Christian Bale Matrix-a-like flick Equilibrium, a film that knows its audience so well, it actually had a “view fight scenes only” option on the DVD. Cracking scenes they were, too, since an entire new martial art, “gun kata”, was invented for the movie, but all the same…

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The next assistant

Or should that be companion? I don’t know the terminology these days. Anyway, as well all know know from yesterday, The Sun wasn’t telling porkies and Billie Piper is leaving Doctor Who at the end of this season. We’ve had various theories, most of which seem to be about Michelle Ryan, but some of today’s papers have ‘exclusively’ revealed who’s in the running to be the next companion (even though The Sun says she’s already been cast).

Nikki SandersonThe Daily Express (no link because their web site is pants) says former Coronation Street star Nikki Sanderson is going to be the name of choice, this time. I suspect that rumour’s about as reliable as their weekly Princess Diana revelations, in part because young Nikki seems to have done an awful lot of Loaded shoots, which probably won’t endear her to the Beeb as a possible star of its family flagship. You never know though.

Freema AgyemanMeanwhile, The Sun, which as we all know is the paper that managed to get the exclusive rights to the BBC’s press release first, is claiming Billie’s replacement is going to be Freema Agyeman, who appeared on the short-lived revival of Crossroads. She’s also appearing in the final two episodes of this season. Again, seems a little unlikely, but since it’s The Sun, which appears to have a hotline to RTD these days, we might have to give this particular rumour a little more weight.
Plus maybe RTD is thinking along the same lines as us and reckons it’s time for the TARDIS to finally get multi-cultural. Or maybe she’s a really good actress and we just never noticed. All the same, probably not.

None of today’s other papers have names yet: most are just following up with the news; the Daily Star, as always, is claiming their news is exclusive; the Daily Mirror is busy slagging off Billie in its ‘TV Land’ column, accusing of her dishonesty for making us all think she was signed up for season three (which she still might be).

Michelle RyanThank God for Welsh papers though. The Western Mail goes out on a limb and names… Michelle Ryan as the name in waiting, mainly thanks to an interview with Paul Murphy of TV Choice magazine. It also hedges its bets with a few other names, all of which are probably wrong. But who would have guessed “Billie Piper” two years ago?

Sarah Dunn“Sarah Dunn, who is leaving Hollyoaks this week”

Eve Myles“Eve Myles, currently starring in Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood”

Roxanne Pallet“and former Emmerdale actress Roxanne Pallet”

The Western Mail has also commissioned John Campbell Rees, 39, from Treherbert, who has a science-fiction degree from the University of Glamorgan (I never knew there was such a thing…) and is a self-confessed Doctor Who super-fan, to tell us all (officially) who are the best/most important Doctor Who companions/assistants. Turns out, they were Sarah-Jane Smith, Romana, Victoria Waterfield, Susan Foreman and Jamie McCrimmon.

Caroline John as Liz ShawHa! No Liz Shaw? Your list is worthless, I tell you!

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Billie Piper leaving?

If you can believe The Sun, Billie Piper’s leaving Doctor Who at the end of the season, as foreshadowed in The Satan Pit. Her replacement has already been picked.

The article’s got quotes from Billie and RTD, so it’s probably true, but you never know with The Sun. There’s nothing on the Beeb’s Doctor Who site or its news site yet.

UPDATE: There’s a press release now. Thanks Scott!

UPDATE 2: Now the Beeb’s news site has a story about it. The door, apparently, is open for Piper’s return. Who reckons this is all so she’ll be a surprise regular next season?

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