Girls Unbound.

Music Thanks to my nearly total obsession with the Sugababes reunion and lack thereof, it's impossible not to also be taking a sideways glance at Girls Aloud, the ITV to their BBC, and just exactly what happened there. Now, here's an unsurprisingly frank interview with Nadine in which its reveal exactly what did happen there, and unfortunately it all occured on my patch:
"In an ideal world there would be a commemorative plaque above the entrance of Liverpool’s Echo arena. “Here ended Girls Aloud, the last great girl band” it would say. On 20 March 2013 Nadine Coyle – one fifth of the genre-bending, pop-reshaping rabble – was getting ready for the final night of the band’s reunion tour. “I was in hair and makeup,” she explains in a north London restaurant, “going through my nightly ritual.” Rather than taking delivery of a good-luck bouquet, Coyle received some news via the band’s PR and manager – the other girls wanted to call it quits. Not the more fashionable “hiatus”, which they’d already done in 2009, but a proper split. With the band working to majority rule, there was nothing she could do."
Astonishing behavior from all concerned.

Class Dismissed.

TV Let's mark some time. Doctor Who spin-off Class is officially cancelled which was somewhat expected given show runner Patrick Ness had already announced he's walked away. Here's what current BBC Three controller Damian Kavanagh said today at the Broadcasting Press Guild with some invective:
"No, [we're not bringing it back]. There was nothing wrong with it – I thought Patrick did a great job, he explored an amazing world."
No, it was rubbish. After a promising first couple of episodes it plopped straight into the kind of sub-Buffy territory those opening episodes seemed like they were commenting against, with some astonishingly ripe dialogue an uncertain tone and a feeling of watching some random episodes from a much longer series were all the character development was happening elsewhere. Also had the interesting approach for a Doctor Who spin-off of mostly ignoring all the potential mythology available in favour something trite and generic. A glance through my reviews shows someone become increasingly tetchy as the series unfolded.
"In honesty, it just didn't really land for us on BBC Three."
Which judging by the lack of pre-publicity and in series promotion seemed be the case before it was "broadcast" or uploaded. There were hard core Doctor Who fans who didn't even know it existed despite Capaldi turning up in the first episode.  If you thought it was actually any good you would have mainstreamed it on BBC Two, except there isn't a timeslot on the channel any more for this kind of thing with primetime mostly filled with documentaries and Dragon's Den.  So you dumped it on BBC One, again without bothering to publicise it first.  It's almost as though you didn't want people to watch it because you were quite rightly embarrassed.
"Things sometimes don't, and I've got to make decisions about what we're going to do from a drama point of view."
Well, quite.  Thanks to the license fee settlement, gone are the days of even being able to afford Being Human of Spooks: Code 9 or indeed the BBC could afford to pay for BBC Three to go out on a linear channel.  This wouldn't have gone into production without the US money.
"There are always times when you do something and you have to decide that it's not going to come back. Class is just one of those things."
Honestly, we understand. It probably wasn't what you were expecting and it wasn't what we were either. It's just annoying that it ended on a cliffhanger. Perhaps Big Finish'll produce their usual ten boxed sets in other to provide a resolution.  This generation has its own The Tripods.

None of which has stopped me from foolishly buying the bloody thing on blu-ray because I'm a flagellating completist.

TV Creamed.

TV Last week, nostalgia website TV Cream celebrated its 20th anniversary birthday, which I planned to mention here but entirely forgot about in the middle of everything and so here's a belated happy birthday anniversary to them.  My guess is I first stumbled into the website pretty soon after launch when it was still in its black html stage with alphabetical pages of text and downloadable real media recordings of programme theme tunes.

Having lived in a BBC family, it was an ideal way of learning about the kinds of programmes which had been broadcast on the other side as well as the proper USP of reminding of the programmes which I'd completely forgotten or slept through because I was a baby.  Finally I had an explanation for the programme filled with monsters which had haunted me for decades, multi-coloured beasts not of this dimension that cause a fair few nightmare.  It was Animal Kwackers.  See above.  Shocking.

Then there was the newsletter with its stunning length and authority. Just how many hands did work to produce this voluminous text?  During my recent life laundry, in one of the boxes I found a print-out of a Cream Digest from March 2004, the TOP 50 Media Movers and Shakers.  It's twenty-four pages long, in courier new, double sided.  Needless to say it's at the top of the magazine mountain waiting to be reread.  There are people listed who I've never heard of and that has always been one of TV Creams best aspects, making you feel like an insider.

Eventually I was invited to write for their sister publication Off The Telly which is pretty high in my list of things in life which I look back on with amazement and glee (if you see what I mean) and although I've been asked to write for Cream now and then I never seemed to have any decent enough ideas, or at least good enough to suggest, which can be added to the list of life's regrets along with not accepting the Kirsten from France's invitation into her room on my second night at BA (Hons) university, not actually living in Manchester during my MA university because I miscalculated my finances during the application process and not dieting until being forced to by my hernia operation.

To bury the headline somewhat, to celebrate the anniversary birthday, TV Cream have produced an actual television programme, which is quite frankly brilliant and you can watch through this YouTube playlist on YouTube.  It's an offshoot of the kinds of things they've created for their periodic podcast, but in vision with analyses of some frankly bonkers television, interviews and other surprises which I won't reveal because its best to watch with little idea of what to expect.

I'd love to see more of the commentary pieces on forgotten television if they wanted to turn that into a regular YouTube thing.  Please make these clips go viral pronto.  Anyway, Happy Birthday Anniversary TV Cream.  Here's to the next twenty years!

Missing Presumed Drowned.

TV While some of us still have nightmares about the furnaces the BBC employed to cremate old episodes of Doctor Who, if reports are to be believed, spare a thought for those seeking information about shows broadcast on The DuMont Television Network in the US which shut up shop in the 1950s. During his search for old episodes of The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong, the first US network show starring an Asian-American actress, he discovered a pretty horrifying bit of testimony:
"As it turns out, there wasn’t much to hear. The DuMont Television Network made and aired ten episodes in 1951, canceled the show in 1952, then shuttered for good by 1956. According to the 1996 Library of Congress testimony of actor Edie Adams, most of the DuMont series kinescopes — including, presumably, any remaining episodes of The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong — met a watery end following a legal dispute over the network’s archives in the ’70s: “[One of the DuMont lawyers] had three huge semis back up to the loading dock at ABC, filled them all with the stored kinescopes and two-inch videotape, drove them to a waiting barge in New Jersey, took them out on the water, made a right at the Statue of Liberty, and dumped them in Upper New York Bay! Very neat, no problem!”
The rest of piece will ring bells for anyone who's read about the search for old archive shows in the UK [via].

"around £60 I think"

Music This extensive interview with composer David Arnold manages to include a question about his work on the Eighth Doctor theme which has recently returned to the audio releases:
You did the Eighth Doctor’s theme for Big Finnish Productions’ “Doctor Who.” What goes into doing a theme for a character with such a deep musical legacy and such high expectations? What influences did you look to and was there anything about the least famous Doctor character that spoke to you?

Arnold: I did this when Doctor Who was off air and had been for many years. No one really expected it to come back and this was for a limited edition CD run of audio stories of Dr Who. it was a low key, low budget (around £60 I think ) favor I was doing for Mark Gatiss whom I’d known for a while. I loved the show when it was on TV and watched it religiously as a child. My favourite was Patrick Troughton. It was great to be able to go back to how I felt about watching the show. I wasn’t interested in re-inventing really… more revisiting….so I stuck closely to the classic Derbyshire version. It was always Doctor Who so in a way the actor didn’t matter; I was still writing for The Doctor.
One of the reasons I returned to the show was that version of the theme introducing Storm Warning, Eighth's first adventure. It sounded so strange and alien and yet also comfortingly nostalgic and close to the original, which is just what those first audios ended up being.