A round up of stories making the headlines today including Joe McElderry losing the battle for Christmas Number One, the death of actress Brittany Murphy, Larry Lamb switches to ITV2 and Ricky Whittle fancies switching Hollyoaks for Hollywood.

No Christmas Factor For Joe

The 2009 X Factor winner Joe McElderry has lost out in the battle to be Christmas number 1 this year. As we reported earlier this week a strong internet campaign – mainly hosted on social networking site Facebook – was pushing to end Simon Cowell’s run of chart topping “production line” songs. Sick of poor cover versions and dreary ballads Facebookers started a protest to get political American rockers Rage Against The Machine to the top spot with their rock shout-fest track Killing In The Name.

The 2009 Christmas UK Number One was originally released as a single in 1993, and is on the same record label as 18-year-old McElderry. Bosses at Sony will be pleased as both songs proved popular with music fans. However Rage Against The Machine won the battle with over 50,000 more sales than Joe’s cover of a song which was only released earlier this year, Miley Cyrus’ The Climb hit the charts in March.

It isn’t the first time music lovers have tried to keep the festive charts free of X Factor winners. Peter Kay tried to top the charts with a Gary Barlow penned festive ditty and failed having spoofed the X Factor format in a Channel 4 “alternative.”

Joe from South Shields, Tyneside, won the singing contest last weekend and was tipped to top the charts – as previous X Factor winners have done over the past five Christmases. Cowell sent his congratulations to the campaign started by Jon and Tracy Morter from Essex. Of course next year someone not from Essex may find a song on a different record label to challenge the X Factor with which may make things more interesting.

Lamb For Africans

Having already recorded a new documentary on unemployment for the BBC, Larry Lamb is now switching to ITV2 for a new factual series which follows the Gavin and Stacey star as he lives with an African tribe. Lamb’s DJ son, George, is also featured in the programme which will air on ITV’s second channel in 2010.

The programme sees the Lambs switch their modern lifestyle with all its gadgets and luxuries for a basic existence with a tribe of Africans living in Namibia.

From Hollyoaks to Hollywood

We’ve heard it many times before, EastEnders stars, Coronation Street actors and even the pretty boys and girls of Neighbours and Home and Away wanting to chuck it all in and try their hand at Hollywood fame. The latest in the long line of hopefuls popping stateside is Hollyoaks actor (and hunk of course) and Strictly Come Dancing runner-up Ricky Whittle. Let’s hope he gets further there than Coronation Street’s Chris Quinten … who thought his talent was big enough to become blockbuster American movie stars…whatever happened? It’s that difficult balance of being grateful for what you’ve got missed with ambition. It of course helps to have talent behind you too.

Farewell To Teatime Treats

It was the end of a daytime era this week as the final edition of The Paul O’Grady Show aired on Channel 4. The show – which has run for eleven series – first started on ITV after Paul proved popular with audiences and ITV bosses while standing in for Des O’Connor on the daily chat show Today.

Paul thanked viewers for supporting him through the series’ and the tough times he’d had to cope with during its run – including the death of his partner, suffering two heart attacks and more recently show favourite – Buster – Paul’s dog dying.

2009 The Year Of Celebrity Death

This year has been appalling for the number of famous faces dying. And it seems so many younger stars have departed this year with the shock deaths of Michael Jackson and Stephen Gately now followed by American actress Brittany Murphy aged only 32. Murphy, best known for her roles in movies 8 Mile, Clueless, Girl Interrupted and Sin City was rushed to hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival. She also provided the voice of Luanne in over 230 episodes of animated television series King Of The Hill.

Murphy died after suffering a heart attack, she had previously battled cancer in her teens.

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