News

The F-Word’s coming back – with tweaks

Gordon Ramsay in The F Word
Gordon Ramsay’s The F Word has been recommissioned for a second season. However, it’s going to be tweaked, apparently.

I can’t imagine what they’re going to do with it. I liked it as it was, a kind of mélange of every other food show under the sun: a bit of Naked Chef as Gordon shows you how to make something, while roaming around at home; a bit of Watchdog, with that Giles Coren reporting on something we should all be concerned about (food in bins, double tipping, the sewers); a bit of Masterchef, as Gordon tries to make a better dessert than a guest celebrity; a bit of a Nigella, as Gordon chats briefly with another group of celebrities; and so on. There was nothing outstanding about any of these amuse-bouche, but together they made something reasonably tasty and fun to watch.

In shows like this, without resorting to a dozen focus groups, it’s hard to see what people might like and what they might dislike, there are so many different things. All I can imagine they’ll do is strip out a few parts, give it a bit more focus and maybe add in a few things to see if they might work instead. But that’s why I just write about this stuff rather than make it.

PS If you’ve arrived here via a Google search looking for the theme tune, it’s Babybird’s The F Word

PPS Went to Gordon’s restaurant in Chelsea on Wednesday. He wasn’t there. Damn.

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Best American artist of the 20th century?

Robert Hughes paints a slightly wordy but reasonably convincing case for Robert Rauschenberg as the best American artist of the 20th century, over in The Guardian. I think I probably agree with him, although Rauschenberg is certainly not the best artist of the 20th century overall. That honour belongs to Picasso, Dali or Bacon; I can’t decide which.

One thing I do recall from the last exhibit I saw of his (at the Guggenheim in New York, 1997) was his inordinate fondness for biros. Probably not what I was supposed to take away from it, but hey ho.

Matthew Perry to return to TV in another Aaron Sorkin project

Matthew Perry (you know, Chandler on Friends) is to make his regular-TV comeback on Aaron Sorkin’s regular-TV comeback, Studio 7 on the Sunset Strip, according to Ain’t It Cool News.

Sorkin is very loyal to those who impress him, and that’s probably why he’s given Perry the role. If you recall, Perry made a few guest appearances on Sorkin’s The West Wing, and was actually very good.

Equally, Perry is as much a writer at heart as an actor, so he probably likes the idea of sticking with someone who can write.

We should probably expect Joshua Malina to turn up some point as well, now he’s been released from The West Wing. Malina’s been in almost everything that Sorkin’s done, right from the stage version of A Few Good Men that launched Sorkin’s career. Sorkin’s loyalty to Malina, among other things, stems from Malina saving Sorkin’s life in a burger-swallowing incident. I don’t think that’s why Perry’s got the job though.

UPDATE: Variety’s confirmed the story.

A for Andromeda to get a live remake like The Quatermass Experiment

David Tennant in the Quatermass Experiment

Just in case you missed it, wedged as it is under news of Kenneth Williams’ diaries being dramatised, the Media Guardian reports that BBC4 is to remake A for Andromeda. Just like last year’s The Quatermass Experiment, which featured new Doctor Who David Tennant, it’s going to be a condensed version of the original, performed live on the night.

In case you missed The Quatermass Experiment (it’s available on DVD if you want to catch up), it was actually rather good and quite creepy – a curious combination of theatre and television that’s so rare these days. Since I’m the proud possessor of the Quatermass Collection as well, I can say it was significantly better than the original, which was slow moving to say the least – of course, by the standards of the 1950s, the original was a veritable hurricane.

The original A for Andromeda titlesAs I recall, the story’s pretty good, despite being put together by Nobel Prize-winning physicist and “life evolved in space” nut Fred Hoyle. It bears remarkable similarities with the naffo Species, although it bears none of that movie’s deficiencies, so we know it can fit into a couple of hours without serious plot-curtailment. I have high hopes for this live version. No word yet on casting, but I suspect D Tennant will be a bit too busy to make an appearance this time round.

PS BBC4 again. They’ve definitely been at those super-wheaties.

PPS I had copies of the few remaining bits of A for Andromeda and its sequel The Andromeda Breakthrough back in the early 90s, but I purged them long ago in one of my Nights of the Long Video Knives. You can view the title sequences at TV Ark. While you’re at, have at look at the Ace of Wands titles, complete with Thames TV opener: they’re magnificent. They were victims of my library purge, too. Sigh.

News

Bourne back on course

The Bourne Ultimatum

The Bourne Ultimatum, the sequel to The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy, is to start filming in August, according to an interview on the iF website with producer Frank Marshall:

Filming starts August 1st shooting in Europe. Paul Greengrass is the director. Matt Damon is in it. He loves the script. Tony Gilroy wrote the script and we’re off and running. Paul is doing a movie called FLIGHT 93 right now, so Pat Riley and I are going over to England next month to start pre-production. [Tony Gilroy] made up an incredible story. It’s really, really out there. Joan Allen and Julia Stiles characters [are back] and then some fresh new characters. And a couple of baddies

Despite bearing the title of the third book in Robert Ludlum’s Bourne trilogy (unbelievably, there’s a fourth book, The Bourne Legacy, written by Eric Van Lustbader of all people), it’s unlikely to have many similarities. By the third book, Bourne aka David Webb is married to Marie (a Canadian economist), has two kids, is a university lecturer, is best pals with Conklin and finds he’s under attack from his arch-enemy and noted terrorist, Carlos the Jackal. Doesn’t really gel with the last movie, does it? It’s also not very good, and is more of a long curse at old age by Robert Ludlum, disgusted to find his mind was slowing down, 20 years or so after he wrote The Bourne Identity. An original movie wouldn’t have to work too hard to be better.

The return to the series of both Tony Gilroy, writer of the previous two films, and Paul Greengrass, director of The Bourne Supremacy, isn’t so welcome though. Supremacy is a good film if you’re watching on a widescreen television at home. It’s impossible to watch at the cinema without getting motion sickness, thanks to Greengrass’s trademark use of handheld, jerky shots at all times: would it have hurt him to lock off the camera just once in a while? I would have preferred Doug Liman, director of Identity, who at least knows how to shoot a fight scene.

And while Gilroy appears to turn in clever scripts, if you look at earlier drafts of both Identity and Supremacy, you see that most of the clever bits were added in later by the directors and script doctors. Thankfully, Marie being run over by a bus and Bourne spending a lengthy time in an Indian prison never made it to the big screen version of Supremacy.

Nevertheless, I’m hoping that Greengrass can temper some of Gilroy’s more lame-brained ideas, and that feedback from critics and audiences alike will convince him to cut back on the shaky-cam. I’m fed up with the increasingly stupid Hollywood blockbusters we get each year, and fancy another decent, clever spy thriller that doesn’t massively insult my intelligence. At the moment, there’s precious few of those and The Bourne Ultimatum might just increase the count by one.

PS Anyone know how to view the “alternative Russian ending” to The Bourne Supremacy on the region 2 version? I know it’s there on the region 1 disk, but it’s not in the same place on the Euro version.