ATV News round-up other stories from the past seven days in brief.

Including yet another EastEnders plot spoiled by a front page headline, the BBC growing their Fern, the Coronation Street star who’s gone from peeing in public to a serious driving issue, Jan Moir of the Daily Hate Mail being bestowed a fitting award and Corrie goes online with web specials.

Fern Blooms on BBC One

In a brand new show hosted by former This Morning and Ready Steady Cook presenter Fern Britton BBC One explores faith and beliefs. Fern Britton Meets… is a four episode, hour-long, series which sees Fern interview famous faces on their thoughts on what is important for them about Christmas and the end of the year.

Aaqil Ahmed, the BBC’s Commissioning Editor, Religion and Head of Religion and Ethics, says: “This Christmas offers an exciting and diverse range of programming across BBC TV and Radio, from thought-provoking documentaries, to traditional music and live worship.

“Fern Britton Meets… is a welcome addition as it offers a unique opportunity to see how faith has transformed the lives of some really inspiring people from all fields of endeavour.”

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair will talk about the significance of his conversion to Catholicism and why he’s set up a Faith Foundation to get people from different religions working together and to make the case for the importance of faith in the modern world. Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu, still campaigning at 78 after a lifelong battle against injustice in South Africa talks about his hope and God. Sheila Hancock is renowned for being one of Britain’s best- loved actors but less well known for being a Quaker. Dolly Parton, the doyenne of country music, explains how she balances her firm religious faith with her flirtatious stage image.

Fern Britton says: “All the interviewees come from very different backgrounds but what binds them together is the fact that, although their faith has been challenged, they’ve emerged with strong spiritual beliefs.”

The series begins on BBC One in late November 2009 and runs for four consecutive weeks.

Thomas in Street Crash and Split

Ryan Thomas – builder Jason Grimshaw in Coronation Street – has been questioned by police over a car crash on Friday [Nov 6] after a car he was traveling in collided with a lamppost.

The 25-year-old was not charged with any offence, however another man, the driver, has been charged with driving while under the influence of drink or drugs in connection with the incident which happened at the junction of Chester Street and Oxford Road when the Chrysler left the road, mounting the pavement, halting after hitting the street light. Reports had suggested that Ryan made a quick exit from the vehicle leaving his pal behind to explain.

A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said: “A man was charged with Section 5 of the Road Traffic Act.”

Ryan Thomas has appeared in Coronation Street for over nine years and until today lived with former co-star Tina O’Brien who played Sarah-Louise Platt in the ITV soap, the couple are reported to have parted after a ‘fiery-relationship’. Thomas was fined earlier in the year when he was caught urinating in public after a night out.

V’s Big Debut

ABC’s revival and “re-imaging” of the classic 1980’s series V might have had a much troubled road to screens but once it got there it performed brilliantly for the American broadcaster. There has been many a rumour of late that ABC has lost confidence in V after the network halted production and later announced it would only air nine episodes of V this year, holding the rest back until next year. However, despite all the behind-the-scenes issues with the production audience wise the show couldn’t really have opened better.

An impressive 14 million viewers tuned in too see the opening episode but the big task for V now will be retaining these figures. If V continues to pull in such strong figures maybe ATV will have a change of heart regarding the series.

Work begins on Galactica Movie

UniversalPre-production work has begun on the proposed Bryan Singer/Glen Larson big-screen movie of Battlestar Galactica. Little more detail about the proposed movie has emerged expect to confirm it will have no connection to the recent Ronald D Moore series which aired on SyFy Channel in America and Sky One in the UK. Bryan Singer has previously been linked with the Galactica franchise having been tipped to produce a television revival in 2001. However, Singer’s planned revival was scrapped and Moore’s version made it to screen instead.

We’ll bring you more details about the proposed Galactica movie as, and when, we get it.

More Strife from Moir

Daily Mail columnist Jan Moir may have hoped that the furor over her article about singer Stephen Gately’s death had subsided somewhat. Moir wrote a highly controversial article which prompted social-networking site Twitter to go into meltdown, over 20,000 people to complain to the Press Complaints Commission, Marks and Spencers and Nestle to demand their advertising be removed from the internet version of the article and also for politicians to widely criticise the article. Moir probably fought that after such public outcry and being so widely hated things couldn’t get any worse.

Well for Moir things just did when the writer was “awarded” the Stonewall’s Bigot of the Year award – jointly winning the award with priest Father John Owen who claimed most pedophiles were gay.

Tony Gordon to appear in three special Coronation Street webisodes

Following on from the news last month that EastEnders is to launch an online spin-off teen soap, E20, producers at ITV Granada have devised a Coronation Street web-spin-off focusing on the character of Tony Gordon.

Gordon, played by former River City actor Gray O’Brien, will feature in three webisodes. The monologues will look ‘inside the mind’ of the latest Weatherfield murderer.

Recent storylines have seen Tony confess to killing Liam Connor to creepy café owner, and husband of transgender wife Hayley, Roy Cropper. The online spin-off will coincide with this plot.

In the special episodes Tony is seen holding a gun and dictating a confession letter to his fiancée Maria played by Samia Smith. In a similar style to the former LWT soap opera Night and Day the same script will be used in the three episodes but each scene will have a different interpretation of the words, which is the real Tony Gordon? Will he commit suicide by shooting himself? Will he hand himself in to the police? Or will he kill again by turning the gun on Roy or Maria?

EastEnders plot ruined by website

Isn’t it nice when websites, and papers, give away an entire plot weeks/months ahead. It means you don’t need to sit down and watch the episode because you already know what’s going to happen in every detail. Or maybe like us you are old fashioned and actually enjoy sitting down to watch your favourite soap not knowing what’s coming next.

Sadly for those of us who don’t want to know every twist, turn and murder weeks before it happens some sites are determined to spoil it for us. One such website, in its headline, has announced they’ll be another murder in EastEnders. We won’t reveal who the murderer or the victim is because, unlike Digital Spy, we don’t believe in ruining everyone’s enjoyment of the soap.

It’s not the first time Digital Spy has given the plot away quite publicly and we dare say it won’t be the last. However, here at ATV News we may hint, wink and nudge but we will never reveal an entire plot in such detail. We actually believe in sitting down and watching episodes not reading about them weeks in advance – after all where is the fun in that?

And Finally… News At Ten Changed Again

ITV News revamped its look and feel this week, to mixed views. The former classy backdrop of dark or light blue (depending on the time of day) with its fabulous view of the London skyline has been replaced with an incredibly fake looking black and yellow ‘set’.

The new music is more reminiscent of the original Tonight with Trevor MacDonald theme than the iconic News at Ten music. Apparently ITV bosses thought the opening titles featuring the River Thames and London landmarks may put off viewers across the UK. It hasn’t put off viewers over the many years since ITN launched the programme in 1967, so why suddenly now people would be offended would be anyone’s guess.

The new look isn’t just a step backwards, replacing a rather professional and classy look, its a step back two decades. Bold, bulky and ugly. Its reminiscent of the old orange and grey Channel 4 News era, however that looked half decent.

1970s: Big Ben’s clockfaceThe new look ITV News and News at Ten was to bring the news style in line with the ITV1 look and feel. Maybe it would have been better there for to then ditch the serious news, concentrate on Z-list celebrities have the voice over from the X Factor introduce Peter Andre and Kerry Katona as the hosts and have done with it.

As someone commented “Just because ITV is chasing high ratings by appealing to the lowest form of life, it doesn’t mean the BBC has to too.” And maybe if we’re honest, ITV doesn’t need to sink to the gutter either. Popular, ratings and some standards are possible, ITV has always been good at getting the right balance between populist and quality. It can do it again, but at the moment the news looks, frankly, ghastly.

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