This morning a look at the latest from the world of media and television including; the death of director John Stroud, the demise of Big Brother – maybe, our suspicion on Robin Williams dragging up being proved right, new jungle challenge for EastEnders actor Joe Swash and a look at the star names in this years Strictly Come Dancing who may have a chance of winning the series.

My Hero and Minder Director Dies

John Stroud, best known for his comedy work, has died aged only 54 from a brain tumour it was announced this week. His most recent work had included BBC One sitcom, My Hero, however his career spans over thirty years. Stroud first broke into broadcasting as a trainee director at production company Thames Television – who at the time also broadcast on ITV in the London region. This enabled John to work on a variety of programming, starting off in the company’s children’s department producing Sooty and Rainbow.

In the 1980s he switched to Channel 4 where he directed Who Dares Wins, one of the networks early sketch shows. A move back to ITV saw Stroud at Central Independent Television in Birmingham where he was one of a team of directors on the satire show Spitting Image.

In the 1990s it was the BBC where John had his big hits, BBC Two’s spoof of Sky Television KYTV and Harry Enfield and Chums for BBC One. He returned to Thames Television to direct the last-ever edition of the original Minder drama and later set up – with Marcus Mortimer – an independent production company, Big Bear Films.

Big Bear, with Stroud again as director, produced five series of My Hero. The company has also produced The Hairy Bikers’ Cookbook and this year a new comedy for the BBC, Big Top.

I’m A Jobbing Actor Get Me A Presenting Role

Former EastEnders actor and winner of ITV’s reality series I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here Joe Swash – which he won earlier this year – is set to become a presenter on the shows ITV2 coverage.

I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here Now! airs directly after the main ITV show each night. Last week it was announced the programme will have a new line-up of presenters, with previous hosts Mark Durden-Smith, and former jungle winner Matt Willis, plus his wife Emma Griffiths, being dropped from the series.

Alongside Joe the new-look show will be co-presented by Caroline Flack – who has been linked to one of the more gingerous royals, if anyone cares. It’s her presenting ability that matters surely? Then again its ITV2 where if you have big tits and look like a badly tanned Barbie doll you can get your own series.

Over Boyled

We did suggest on Monday that reports Robin Williams was tipped to play Britain’s Got Talent singer Susan Boyle in a movie of her life were made up. Seems they most likely were fiction. I mean, its not as if she looks like a man in drag is it? …Don’t answer that. Although if Robin can’t do it, give Eddie Large a bell.

Big Brother To Bow Out?

Reports, in the same newspaper that gave us the ‘Robin Williams will play Susan Boyle’ it has to be said, suggest the long running Channel 4 reality series Big Brother is to be axed after a dramatic decline in ratings. The show, many feel, has never recovered since it exposed Jade Goody – and a few others – as a racist bully in a celebrity series in 2007.

A source told The Sun “The truth is nobody’s talking about Big Brother any more.”

Big Brother will air a new celebrity series in January 2010, followed by what, if The Sun is correct, its final Channel 4 series later in the year. The format would only continue if another broadcaster re-commissioned it.

The show being axed can only be good news for television; executives may start looking for ‘real celebrities’ in future with actual talent rather than making famous contestants who just want to be famous – with no endearing qualities or talent whatsoever. Having said that, we can’t blame Big Brother for Piers Morgan.

Top Stars for Strictly 2009

Let’s run down the showbiz names who will be battling it out in this years Strictly Come Dancing on BBC One. The show, hosted by Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly returns next week.

Now we know it should be about dancing ability, but lets face it – it never has been. The public vote in two ways; for people they know and love and for those they loathe and want to laugh at.

The ones viewers love may be poor dancers but they’ll vote for them because they’re more famous than other better dancers, or they’re from a popular programme with a loyal following. The evil side of voting is when unpopular z-list presenters are kept in week after week – just so viewers can have a ruddy good laugh at them. Famously, of course, Fiona Phillips was one such victim.

So who’s known to the audience this year, who will possibly do well? Let First Report guide you through the fickle world of reality, celebrity, dancing competitions.

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