TV Weekly, our little newswrap of telly news from the past seven days or so with Agony Aunt Vivian Summers.

Box Ticking Increased at the Beeb

It used to be ‘the best person for the job’ or so it was hoped. But these days it seems its fast becoming the right person who ticks a box for the job, not always the best. Here’s the deal about equality – its supposed to mean we’re all equal and that is how it should be. People get a bit cheesed off however when our public service broadcaster runs job positions with the terms ‘anyone apart from heterosexual white people’.

So anyway, this little moan follows the BBC setting out the first in a new series of steps to transform its programming. There used to be a joke on Twitter about the BBC casting a 1960s-set Moon Landings drama, it would have to feature as the main lead ‘a black, lesbian, disabled woman’. It seems we’re not that far from box-ticking reality darlings!

£100m of telly tax is to be spent over three years (from 2021/22-2023/24) towards diverse and inclusive content (as long as you’re not straight or white.)

“The senseless killing of George Floyd – and what it tells us about the stain of systemic racism – has had a profound impact on all of us. It’s made us question ourselves about what more we can do to help tackle racism – and drive inclusion within our organisation and in society as a whole. This is our response – it’s going to drive change in what we make and who makes it. It’s a big leap forward – and we’ll have more to announce in the coming weeks.” – BBC DG Tony Hall

So be far from equal and slant equality away from what it stands for. Good ole Beeb.

Director General, Tony Hall, as potty as a Benny from Crossroads just without the charm, IMO.

Newswrap Quickies

Liam Gallagher has revealed he attempted to fight Coronation Street’s Simon Gregson who plays Steve McDonald. The Corrie actor – who makes the cast of Eldorado look like BAFTA winners – was chased by musician Gallagher for swearing at him from his car. The incident apparently happened at the ITV Studios . “What you f**ing looking at?” Liam reportedly asked Gregson who has eye-rolled and gurned his way through scripts since 1989.

Sky News sports presenter Jacquie Beltrao this week revealed that she has again been diagnosed with breast cancer. Beltrao, who was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 told social media followers the tragic news. She vows to fight the grade three breast cancer.  She added that this form of the illness is ‘much nastier’ than her first battle with the odious disease.

Secrets from the Square. While EastEnders has been put temporarily out of its misery the Beeb are of course bringing us low rating retrospectives and classic episodes to fill the void. Further names signed up to talk about their on-screen personas include Linda Henry, Natalie Cassidy, Scott Maslen, Jake Wood and Shona McGarty. Yawn.

ITV Studios we were told this week had acquired Elk Entertainment’s non-scripted formats catalogue, which is nice. Not that I have a clue or really care what it means. As long as there’s endless repeats of Classic Corrie, Midsomer Murders and Heartbeat on ITV3 my afternoons are sorted.

Chopped Alex Murphy told tabloids she was “devastated, just devastated. Devastated doesn’t describe how devastated I am” after being axed from Dancing on Ice. Or maybe I’m confusing her with Blanche Devereaux in the delightful reruns of The Golden Girls on Channel 5.  Anyway back to DOI. Alex has been dumped from the ITV skating show just weeks after winning the 2020 contest with actor Joe Swash.

Queen of the Vic

EastEnders, series one, came to a dramatic end with Sharon Watts back as owner of the pub her adopted parents ran when the show began back in 1985. Letitia Dean has played Sharon – on and off – since those days back when it was worth watching although sadly Den and Angie have both long gone to the Walford graveyard.

Speaking to Inside Soap Magazine Letitia said she was “excited and a bit nervous!… I haven’t been behind the bar for quite some time now, so it’ll feel like coming home. It’s just going to feel lovely again.”

Hopefully they’ll leave Mick (Danny Dyer) in as manager as usually when Sharon gets hold of the pub a few months later Letitia decides to quit for a sabbatical. At least with Mick Cater running it, it wouldn’t matter if Sharon was upstairs playing with her Rolly or in Spain fondly remembering Ethel’s Little Willy.

She’s Queen of the Vic (again) and she’s excited.

Newswrap Quickies

Vera Lynn. By unexpected circumstance the Coronation Street VE Day special aired much later than planned – with their six episodes per week slashed to three due to Covid-19. And while things like Easter and such has been seen many weeks after originally planned to air in time with the real world, one moment hit the air at the right time. The VE Day special became an unintentional tribute to the late great Dame Vera Lynn when the residents were heard singing We’ll Meet Again in the Rovers Return.

The Apprentice won’t air in 2020. The next series instead will take place next year once working practices in television are, hopefully, back to some form of ‘normal’. The Covid-19 has put an end to any plans for the Lord Alan Sugar series to air this year. In replacement the Beeb will air a ‘best of’ series looking at highlights from the past fifteen years.

Emmerdale saw twelve boring farts, snowflakes, woke twats, whatever you want to call them complain about a throw-away reference to Coronavirus in Emmerdale. Telly regulator Ofcom confirmed that 12 viewers moaned to them about the character of Jimmy saying ‘thank you coronavirus’ for making the school run a thing he no longer had to do. There’s much more worrying things out there sweeties than a half-decent joke in an ITV soap.

Good Morning Britain. Just a reminder that it still isn’t produced by ITN so doesn’t have to adhere to the strict impartiality rules of the news division. GMB may wear the frocks of ITV News, but its not anything to do with ITV News. I’ll keep reminding the dimmer-witted ITV viewers of this, which clearly are GMB viewers. Many who daily can’t understand why the clock is wrong on the ITV+1 channel.

Come Dine With Me has been acquired by OSN, the leading entertainment network in the Arabic region. Various nationalities such as Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Egypt, Bahrain, Oman and Western expats are all being lined up to take part. That’s what I like to see equality for all, take note BBC.

I Don’t Really Know! The tabloids spun a lovely warm-hearted interview with Corrie legend Thelma Barlow – the joyous Mavis Wilton nee Riley – into an apparent rant at how shite the programme now is. Yes the comedy isn’t the same any more, and the show has changed but her comments were nowhere near as sensational as the papers made out. The chat with Distinct Nostalgia – not The Sun or The Mirror – has left producers disappointed by the coverage.

Annoying @DailyMailUK @TheSun @MENnewsdesk @digitalspy @DailyMirror have to twist a warm positive interview with Thelma Barlow about #corrie into a negative saying she’s blasted the soap for storylines. Press so predictable!” … adding “We all need to call the press out on the way they spin things… If the media can manipulate our moods on an entertainment story what on earth are they doing on more serious stuff? Our interview with Thelma Barlow was a warm and positive tribute to 60 years of Coronation Street” – Distinct Nostalgia

Goodbye and Thank You

We said farewell this week to a name seen on the credits of many Tyne Tees Television programmes over the years, Eileen Young who passed away from cancer. Eileen had worked at the North East station for over thirty years, notably directing in the news department. Former colleagues paid tribute.

Tyne Tees Weekend reporter Bob Whittaker said on social media ‘Terrible news, she was so vibrant and full of good humour’. Northern Life anchor Paul Frost added ‘How very sad. It was a pleasure to have worked with her. RIP Eileen’ and North East News host Jonathan Morrell said ‘Wonderful Eileen. Bless her – many happy times… Such a great colleague, wonderful friend and the life and soul of the party.’

There were also tributes to BBC Scotland, ITN News and STV News journalist Harry Smith, who passed away aged 69. The ITN news production company said in a statement ‘We’re deeply saddened to learn Harry Smith has died. Harry was a much-loved friend and colleague to many at ITN, and a highly respected and talented journalist. On behalf of all at ITN, our sincere condolences to Harry’s family and friends.’

Gordon Chree of STV News added on social media that Harry was ‘one of the best.’ and ‘A lovely man off screen and a star on it. Privileged to have been a colleague.’ Harry began his career in newspapers before moving to BBC Scotland, next he was Scottish Television’s longest serving Westminster correspondent before working for national news provider ITN. In more recent years as a freelancer he worked between ITN and STV among other broadcasters. ITV News host Julie Etchingham said of Harry that he was ‘an ITN man to his fingertips.’

The views expressed on TV Weekly are of Vivian Summers only and are not endorsed by ATV News or ATV Network.

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