Latest Channel 4 News - Page 4



'Big Brother' Officially Axed 2512985 26th August 2009

Channel 4 has announced 'Big Brother' will be axed after next year's show.

Following rumours the reality TV show faces the chop, the network has confirmed it will not renew its contract with programme makers Endemol when it ends in 2010.

Kevin Lygo, Director of Television and Content, said: "The programme has reached a natural end point on Channel 4 and it's time to move on."

Philip Edgar Jones, Creative Director of 'Big Brother' added: "On behalf of the whole 'Big Brother' team who work so hard I would like to say a big thank you to all the show's fans and housemates for helping us ensure it remains the biggest show on Channel 4 even after all these years. Big thanks also to Channel 4 for all their support in what continues to be a great partnership. We'll be back next year and it's going to be a blast... and after that, well, Big Brother will get back to you, you can count on it."

The show first hit screens in 2000, and was an instant hit.

Contestants such as Jade Goody, Alison Hammond and Brian Dowling managed to carve out successful careers for themselves, but more recent hopefuls have struggled since leaving the house.

This year's edition of the Channel 4 reality TV show has been the least popular in history with just two million viewers regularly tuning in, compared to eight million in previous years.

news_bang_old 76283 2734828 Channel 4, Big Brother, Jade Goody
End Of 'Big Brother' 2512990 26th August 2009

'Big Brother' is facing the chop, it has been claimed.

This year's edition of the Channel 4 reality TV show has been the least popular in history with just two million viewers regularly tuning in, compared to eight million in previous years.

A source told Britain's The Sun newspaper: "The reality is people are bored with it. Even at Channel 4 the vibe among staff is that if you like 'Big Brother' you're not cool.

"If the people commissioning the show don't think it's cool, what hope is there? The truth is nobody's talking about 'Big Brother' any more."

It is expected that next year's series will be the last.

The TV channel is contracted to air the programme in 2010 due to its deal with 'Big Brother' creator Endemol.

The show first hit screens in 2000, and was an instant hit.

Contestants such as Jade Goody, Alison Hammond and Brian Dowling managed to carve out successful careers for themselves, but more recent hopefuls have struggled since leaving the house.

The show's fall from grace has been blamed on show bosses' decision to make it less controversial following the infamous race row in 2007's celebrity version.

Jade, who re-entered the house, former S Club 7 singer Jo O'Meara and glamour model Danielle Lloyd were accused to racially teasing Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty.

The incident resulted in 55,000 people complaining to industry regulator Ofcom.

news_bang_old 57740 2734833 Big Brother, Channel 4, Danielle Lloyd, Jade Goody, S Club 7, Shilpa Shetty
Sree Slashes Wrists 2513546 29th July 2009

'Big Brother' contestant Sree Dasari has slashed his wrists in a desperate cry for help.

The Indian-born student - the fourth person to be voted off the Channel 4 reality TV show in this year's series - was discovered in his university room in Hertfordshire on Friday morning (24.07.09) and taken to hospital, but discharged later that day.

It has been claimed Sree became upset while watching the show, although he did not make a suicide bid. He was treated for "cuts and lacerations".

A spokesman for the TV channel told Britain's The Sun newspaper: "Housemates' welfare is of paramount importance. There is a well established and extensive after-care system in place for all housemates.

"Sree continues to be given ongoing support by the production team and regular access to the show's psychologist."

Sree also appeared on 'Big Brother' spin-off show 'Big Brother's Big Mouth' on Friday evening, the same day he was admitted to hospital.

Sree was evicted with 85 per cent of the public vote after competing against Freddie (Halfwit).

He became obsessed with Irish beauty Noirin while in the house, but she regularly told other contestants his advances made her feel uncomfortable.

Sree's struggle since leaving the show is expected to reignite the argument that the current series should be the last. Viewing figures have also been the lowest of any in the 10 series of the programme.

news_bang_old 57740 2735377 Big Brother, Channel 4, Slash
Five New 'Big Brother' Housemates 2513779 17th July 2009

Five new housemates are set to enter the 'Big Brother' house tonight (17.07.09).

Producers are keen to spice up the Channel 4 fly-on-the-wall reality show, so are sending in five fresh faces, including a Muslim fashion designer, a camp northerner, a rugby-playing Tory a jet-setting Playboy and a polyamory (having multiple lovers) practicing bohemian.

The newcomers will be introduced to the house by host Davina McCall after tonight's eviction which will see one housemate - either Karly, Noirin, Sophie (Dogface) or Siavash - exit the show, leaving eight contestants in the house.

Host of spin off show 'Big Brother's Little Brother', George Lamb said: "All the girls will be getting excited about the Playboy, I know Kris was worried when he came out we were going to send another fit guy in there. Well, it's come true Krissy, maybe you're going to get a run for your money with old Dogface (Sophie).

"And maybe there'll be sparks between the camp northerner and Charlie?

"Also, a bohemian polygamist will be right up Freddie's street. And a Muslim fashion designer - another fashionista, Siavash is going to get a little uncomfortable I imagine."

The present contestants have already discussed the prospect of new housemates entering and are convinced it will happen soon.

Charlie had predicted Big Brother would bring two lads and one girl who was "really beautiful".

news_bang_old 57740 2735610 Big Brother, Channel 4, Davina Mccall, George Lamb, Playboy
News Corp Denies Wiretap Allegations 2519968 13th July 2009 News Corp on Friday denied allegations that its London tabloids, the Sun and the New of the World used illegal wiretaps to obtain personal information about actors, sports stars, politicians and other celebrities. The reports had appeared in the rival Guardian newspaper. In a statement, News Corp called the Guardian 's claims "irresponsible and unsubstantiated." However, it did not directly address the claim by the Guardian that it settled a lawsuit by Gordon Taylor, the head of a professional soccer union, for more than $1 million to keep him quiet about the alleged wiretapping. The Guardian did not back down, calling for News Corp to publish the legal briefs related to the lawsuit and asking police to release details of their investigation. Meanwhile, the New York Times on Saturday commented that "perhaps the most surprising thing about the accusations ... is how widespread, even accepted, such dubious journalistic methods are in Britain." It quoted Jon Snow, a news anchor on Britain's Channel 4 network as saying that British tabloid reporters "will go to any lengths to get material pretending to be someone they're not, dressing as the gasman to get into someone's home, paying neighbors, going through trash bins, convincing relatives that the person has given them permission to talk."

13/07/2009 news_studio_old 76283 756623 Channel 4
British Tv Nude Art Class Draws Complaints 2519991 9th July 2009 Britain's Channel 4 was the object of complaints from viewers Wednesday over the station's daytime educational show, "Life Class Today's Nude," which instructed viewers on the techniques of drawing real-life nude models. The London Telegraph said that the TV network received "dozens" of complaints, including one from Punteha Yazdanian, who said, "It was adult viewing, not for screening in the middle of the day."

09/07/2009 news_studio_old 76283 756623 Channel 4
Housemates Told Of Nominations 2513970 8th July 2009

The 'Big Brother' housemates were told five people are up for eviction last night (08.07.09)

Charlie, Kris and Sophie (Dogface) already knew they will face the public vote for breaking rules by discussing nominations, but the other housemates were on edge as Big Brother announced who else is up for eviction.

Big Brother named Freddie (Halfwit) first, and the resigned housemate - who is facing the boot for the fifth time- simply raised his hand. Marcus was called next, but hardly flinched upon receiving the news.

Siavash, who had looked nervous throughout, said: "That's half of the house? And..."

Marcus said: "I reckon that's it yeah?"

Sivash continued: "Could be more, could be more. Give it another 30 seconds."

There were no more names called, so the housemates all shook each other's hands and told each other there were no hard feelings.

Ever the optimist, Freddie said: "It feels nicer that half the House is up for eviction this time."

Earlier this week - before nominations took place - Karly, Kris, Lisa and Sophie had mixed opinions about being up against Freddie.

Lisa said: "If he goes up against a strong character, he won't stay."

Karly added: "Charlie or Sophie up against him, he'd have no f*****g chance."

Kris wasn't so sure, saying: "I don't know. I wouldn't want to face him, you just don't know."

Fans of the show later complained however, after the same phone voting number was displayed for both Marcus and Kris on the Channel 4 website.

Some people posting on internet accused the show's producers of trying to manipulate the result of the vote.

The eviction will be shown live on Channel 4 from 9pm on Friday (10.07.09).

news_bang_old 57740 2735788 Big Brother, Channel 4
Lisa And Freddie Friends 2514066 3rd July 2009

Lisa and Freddie have made up.

Following a blazing argument on Wednesday (01.07.09) between the two 'Big Brother' housemates - which concluded with Lisa saying she wasn't going to speak to Freddie (Halfwit) ever again - they made peace with in the garden this morning.

Posh Oxford university graduate Halfwit - who faces eviction for fourth week running tonight (03.07.09) - had accused the unemployed lesbian of turning the other housemates against him and criticising his privileged background.

But this morning Freddie agreed when Lisa told him: "I don't dislike you and I don't envy you because your family are rich."

She added: "Sometimes people are scared to approach me, but I'm probably one of the softest people in the house."

Freddie advised her: "You wanna be careful with the acid tongue."

Lisa explained: "That is my protection. It's just because I'm a loud person."

She also denied spreading rumours, adding: "I haven't spoken to anybody about you. That upset me."

Freddie then explained: "It's so difficult in this house because it's hard to think straight. I wanted to explain how I felt. I didn't intend to start an argument."

Lisa then said she thinks the other housemates have misjudged Freddie.

She said: "I think we're probably reading you wrong because you don't smile.

"You're not a nasty guy. You haven't got a bad bone in your body. Your approach is good. I see that."

Earlier this morning, Freddie told Sivash he'd had an epiphany and was to embark on a new attitude in the reality TV house, starting today.

Either Freddie or Indian student Sree will be evicted from the house tonight, shown live from 9pm on Channel 4.

news_bang_old 57740 2735884 Big Brother, Channel 4
British Tv Exec Says U.k. Networks Should Emulate Hulu 2520044 1st July 2009 Dawn Airey, the head of Britain's Channel 5, has urged fellow broadcast executives in the U.K. to build online partnerships and "then return to stabbing each other in the back over the broadcast schedules." She cited the success of Hulu in the U.S., which she said, resulted "because three ferociously competitive global media players - Fox, NBC Universal and now Disney-ABC - are grown up enough to know that there is a time to compete and fight likes rats in a sack for audience share and there is a time to put aside your differences and form partnerships that are mutually beneficial." She lambasted the U.K. government for rejected her proposals for a quasi merger with the troubled network Channel 4 on the grounds that it would not pay off in the long term. "Unless we come up with a sustainable business model for commercial broadcasting in the short- to medium-term, then the longer-term isn't going to matter," she said.

01/07/2009 news_studio_old 46247 1529487 Nbc, Channel 4
Marcus Immune From Nominations? 2514250 24th June 2009

Marcus may be immune from eviction from 'Big Brother' this week.

The hairy housemate thanked Siavash - acting as King Henry VIII - at last night's (23.06.09) banquet for "letting him stay another week" after he completed his own role in the task of Village Idiot.

During the Tudor period re-enactment shopping task, Marcus, 35, was forced to be locked in the stocks and pelted with fruit and fish guts soaked sponges every time Siavash got a question about the monarch he was portraying wrong - which he frequently did.

Earlier in the 16th century task Siavash had been given the opportunity to choose one housemate who will not nominate for Friday's (26.06.09) eviction in tonight's live show. He picked Charlie, who was ecstatic at being exempt from voting.

Meanwhile, Channel 4 has confirmed tonight's nominations will take place live. After the usual summary show at 10.00pm, host Davina McCall will present a special show which will see each of the 12 housemates - apart for Charlie - called to the Diary Room and given a short amount of time to nominate and give their reasons why.

Executives for the channel warned, however, any housemate failing to give adequate reason or running over time will not have their votes counted.

news_bang_old 57740 2736068 Big Brother, Channel 4, Davina Mccall
Big Brother's House Of 'Rejects' 2514289 23rd June 2009

Three contestants from this year's 'Big Brother' are reportedly rejects from last year's series.

Marcus, Charlie and Rodrigo all auditioned for 'Big Brother' series nine - which was eventually won by school teacher Rachel Rice - but while they got as far as taking part in a trial run before the real show started, they all missed out on a place in the house.

However, producers are said to have been left stunned by the lack of interesting people auditioning for this year's series they called the trio back after they impressed during their time in the fake 'Big Brother' house.

A source told Britain's The Sun newspaper: "There was a real dearth of contestants this time. Bosses had hardly anyone to choose from."

Channel 4 bosses think many would-be contestants were put off by how quickly last year's housemates time in the limelight came to an end.

This year's series has not been the ratings winner bosses had hoped for and last week it was claimed producers were considering sending in a new housemate to spice things up.

An insider said: "We're thinking of how we can put someone in and shake the show up. The current housemates need a kick to give fans better entertainment."

It is believed there are currently 10 prospective housemates in hiding who could join the reality show at a moment's notice.

news_bang_old 57740 2736101 Big Brother, Channel 4, Nme
'Big Brother' Live Nominations 2514314 22nd June 2009

'Big Brother' housemates will be forced to nominate each other live on air this week.

The remaining 12 contestants on the Channel 4 fly-on-the-wall series will be asked to name the two people they want to face the public vote - and may have to do so in front of the rest of the house.

A source said: "Bosses are always wanting to shake things up and what better way than to pile on the drama by forcing everyone to air their grievances not only to the viewers but to the people they're complaining about. Everyone expects sparks will fly and it'll make great live TV."

It is expected the housemates will be given just a few minutes notice before being told of the live nomination plan on Wednesday (24.06.09).

On Friday, (19.06.09), American student Cairon became the second official housemate to leave following Sophia the week before.

Both contestants lost the public vote against posh Freddie, who is now favourite to win the series.

news_bang_old 57740 2736122 Big Brother, Channel 4
New Housemate For 'Big Brother'? 2514406 17th June 2009

A new housemate is set to enter the 'Big Brother' house.

Channel 4 bosses are keen to boost flagging ratings by secretly arranging for a new person to join the show next week and spice things up.

An insider said: "We're thinking of how we can put someone in and shake the show up. The current housemates need a kick to give fans better entertainment."

It is believed there are currently 10 prospective housemates on standby that could join the reality show at a moment's notice.

The programme's bosses are said to be keen for a girl to enter the house because there are currently more male housemates than female contestants.

There is speculation the new housemate could be a stunning girl, put into the reality TV house to test the strength of housemates Sophie - aka Dogface - and curly-haired lothario and self confessed womaniser Kris' budding relationship.

The couple kissed last week and shared a bed on Sunday (14.06.09) and Monday (15.06.09) nights.

A show source told Britain's Daily Star newspaper: "Their feelings are going to be tested to the limits when the new arrivals get into the house.

"I think we will start to see their true colours. Will they be so into each other that they can't be tempted?

"Or will they drop each other like a hot potato?

"Everyone who's involved in the show is expecting that there will be some fireworks either way."

Before 'Big Brother' began there were rumours of former Miss Wales Stephanie Holland, 22, becoming a housemate on the show.

news_bang_old 57740 2736214 Big Brother, Channel 4, Nme
All 'Big Brother's Contestants To Face Eviction 2514652 4th June 2009

All 16 'Big Brother' contestants could be evicted within three days of the show's start.

Those entering the fly-on-the-wall TV house tonight (04.06.09) will be told they are only 'guests' and need to earn the right to stay on as housemates.

The eight male and eight female contestants will each be handed a task - which if they fail will see them evicted on Sunday's (07.06.09) live show.

The show's executive producer, Sharon Powers, said: "We wanted the series to get off with a real bang and put them on the back foot from the beginning.

"We'll test their fear and we will see just how stupid they are prepared to look in order to survive. The tasks are designed to make us laugh while making them as uncomfortable as possible.

"It's going to make the first few days incredibly uncomfortable and I wouldn't be surprised if some of them can't hack it and ask to leave - which they are free to do."

Contestants enter the reality TV house tonight (04.06.09) and are in for a shock as they will discover it is almost completely bare with no furniture other than packing crates to sit on.

'Big Brother' will be shown live on Channel 4 tonight at 9pm.

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Jamie Oliver To Take On America's Fattest Cities 2520505 11th May 2009 British chef Jamie Oliver is to take his healthy eating initiatives to the US for a new television series, it has been announced.

The Naked Chef, famed for revitalising school dinners in the UK, is to team up with American Idol host Ryan Seacrest for a new six-part series to improve eating habits in a US city.

After Oliver's 2005 series Jamie's School Dinners highlighted the use of processed foods in British schools, the government pledged a £280 million overhaul of school meals and the chef was voted the Most Inspiring Political Figure of 2005 by Channel 4.

And having impressed US television bosses during his appearance as a judge on the one-off series Oprah's Big Give, Oliver will travel to one of the unhealthiest cities in the US to improve local dietary habits, with Seacrest's production company shooting six one-hour episodes.

"I couldn't do what I do in terms of my schedule if I didn't eat right and exercise right," Seacrest told the Hollywood Reporter.

"As a kid I was chubby, and I'm a firm believer that the fuel we put into our body results in a healthy lifestyle.

"Jamie's going to come over here, roll up his sleeves and use the resources of each town to help condition living habits to make it a better and healthier place."

The as-yet untitled show is expected to air on ABC in the US later this year with Oliver focusing on the produce available at city grocery stores, catering choices for office workers and the spread of fast food outlets.


11/05/2009 12:16:44 news_direct 65006 851354 Jamie Oliver, Abc, American Idol, Channel 4, Ryan Seacrest
U.k.'S Channel 4 To Halt Buying U.s. Shows 2520540 7th May 2009 In a blow to U.S. TV show producers, Britain's Channel 4 network, which once aired such U.S.-produced series as Friends and Frasier , said it has no plans to buy any new U.S. show in the coming year. Kevin Lygo, director of television for the network, told the London Times "We will be spending nowhere near the levels we did in the past on American programming and it's unlikely we will buy a new [U.S.] show this year unless we get a good deal." The Times reported that Channel 4 plans to cut at least $90 million from its programming budget in response to an 18-percent decline in advertising.

07/05/2009 news_studio_old 76283 756623 Channel 4, Frasier
Myleene Klass Takes M&s Paycut 2520607 2nd May 2009 Myleene Klass has taken a £250,000 pay cut to stay at Marks & Spencer.

The model and presenter has kept her job, but had her salary slashed from £1 million to £750,000 as the retailer makes cutbacks amid falling sales.

Other high-profile models who have starred in M&S adverts, Elizabeth Jagger, Noemie Lenoir, Erin O'Connor or Lily Cole, have not had their contracts renewed, according to a report in the Daily Mail.

But Twiggy has kept her job with the company, the report added.

A spokesperson for the retailer told the paper: "Myleene has re-signed and we will still be working with Twiggy, who will be in adverts celebrating M&S's 125th birthday.

"As far as the other models go, we have an ongoing relationship with them but they have not currently been signed up for anything definite."

Ms Klass also presents Channel 4's makeover show Ten Years Younger and hosts the Classic FM Breakfast Show on Saturdays and Sundays.


02/05/2009 11:28:45 news_direct 33619 842795 Elizabeth Jagger, Channel 4, Lily Cole
Actress Morton Reveals Tainted Past 2520703 25th April 2009 Acclaimed British actress Samantha Morton has revealed how she was convicted of threatening to kill a girl in a carehome when she was younger.

The star, whose has played characters as diverse as Myra Hindley and Marilyn Monroe in previous roles, told a national newspaper in an interview that she was sentenced to 18 weeks in an attendance centre over the incident.

Morton claimed the threats came when she pulled a knife on an older girl who was bullying her during a disturbance at a care home in Nottingham.

"I was being physically abused and I retaliated," she told the Guardian newspaper, adding: "The only person I hurt in the end was myself."

Morton said she never intended to touch her victim but was arrested by police in the immediate aftermath and "locked in a cell for three days".

"It was terrible. I just sat there thinking, I don't want this life - I'm not a petty criminal. I'm not a thug. I was so ashamed of myself," she added.

Morton is currently doing publicity rounds for her directorial debut The Unloved - which is partly based on her experiences from childhood and will be screened on Channel 4.


25/04/2009 20:35:08 news_direct 74791 677682 Samantha Morton, Channel 4, Marilyn Monroe
Itv To Search For New Chief After Grade Steps Down 2520740 23rd April 2009 Michael Grade is to switch to a non-executive role at ITV, leaving the broadcaster to find a new chief executive.

The former BBC and Channel 4 boss joined ITV in November 2006 but has seen his tenure hampered by declining advertising revenues, premium rate telephone competition scandals and the impact of the recession.

In its statement, the broadcaster also said it believed it had adequate liquidity and had no current plans for a rights issue.

Having cut 1,600 jobs in the past year and announced plans to dispose of its Freeview business SDN, ITV also confirmed plans to raise an additional £58 million through covenant-free financing.

But in confirming Grade's move to non-executive chairman by the end of the year, a statement from the broadcaster said there were no current plans to sell shares.

"In the light of the regulatory timetable now expected, Michael Grade has recommended to the board that the conclusion of the regulatory reviews will be the right time for him to relinquish his executive responsibilities and become non-executive chairman, as planned," the statement read.

"The board has agreed with this recommendation and accordingly will now commence a formal search for the next CEO.

"It is intended that a new CEO will be appointed as soon as practicable following the outcome of the CRR regulatory review process and, in any event, no later than the end of 2009."

Grade, 66, became Controller of Programmes at BBC1 in 1984, moving to Director of Programmes in 1986 and Managing Director Designate the following year.

He returned to commercial television as chief executive of Channel 4 in 1988, leaving after nine years, before chairing the BBC Board of Governors from 2004 to 2006.


23/04/2009 09:29:47 news_direct 76283 756623 Channel 4
Libel Victory For Channel 4 And Da Ali G Show 2520754 22nd April 2009 Borat creator Sacha Baron Cohen has successfully defeated an $800,000 (£550,000) libel lawsuit against his former programme Da Ali G Show.

A female plaintiff, who sued as 'Jane Doe' claimed to have been physically, emotionally, and economically damaged during a skit in which Cohen interviewed US author Gore Vidal while in the guise of his Ali G character in 2004.

Ruling in the Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday April 21st, judge Terry Friedman ruled in favour of Cohen, Channel 4 and US channel HBO, citing the clearly "absurd" nature of Da Ali G Show.

The sketch in question saw Cohen appearing as Ali G and interviewing Vidal about amending the US constitution, during which he made reference to an ex-girlfriend who was constantly "amending herself".

"Ain't it better sometimes, to get rid of the whole thing rather than amend it 'cos, like me used to go out with this b***h called [Plaintiff's name] and she used to always be trying to amend herself," he said in the skit.

"Y'know, get her hair done in highlights, get like tattoo done on her batty crease, y'know gave the whole thing shaved and very nice but it didn't make any more difference," he went on.

"She was still a minger and so, y'know, me had enough and once me got her pregnant me said alright, laters, that is it. Ain't the same with the Constitution?"

Judge Friedman said "no reasonable person" could consider Da Ali G Show a factual programme, adding it was "obvious that the Ali G character is absurd, and all his statements are gibberish and intended as comedy".

"Prior to the reference to Plaintiff, while ‘interviewing’ the author Gore Vidal, Ali G refers to the Constitution of the United States as having been written on two tablets, clearly intended to confuse the Constitution with the Ten Commandments," he added.

"Altogether, the program is obviously a spoof of a serious interview program. No reasonable person could think otherwise."

The ruling in Channel 4's favour was only the second pro-media verdict of its kind in the US, after comedy show Saturday Night Live won a similar case.

C4 controller of legal and compliance Prash Naik commented: "This is an important ruling for Channel 4 and sends out a clear signal that we will not hesitate to fight unmeritorious claims of this nature."


22/04/2009 14:12:43 news_direct 53832 599120 Sacha Baron Cohen, Ali G, Channel 4, Gore Vidal, Hbo, Saturday Night Live
Bbc Criticised For Expansive Commercial Activities 2520959 7th April 2009 A House of Commons committee has condemned the actions of BBC Worldwide – the corporation's commercial arm – singling out its increasing number of magazines, investment in production companies and its controversial acquisition of Lonely Planet as aggressively commercial actions undertaken by the organisation.

The culture committee said BBC Worldwide's direction was having a negative effect on its commercial competitors and suggested the organisation limits its operations to those directly in line with BBC core programming.

BBC Worldwide produces a substantial income from its operations which helps to reduce the burden of licence fee payers on creating BBC programming.

However, the committee was concerned the direction of the organisation, following a loosening of its operating restrictions, was making it aggressively commercial.

"We are in no doubt that the BBC should seek to obtain the maximum value from its brand and assets in order to reduce the pressure on the licence fee," said committee chairman John Whittingdale.

"However, in many cases there is no reason why the BBC need undertake commercial activities itself and where it does there should be a clear link to BBC programming.

"There is a balance to be drawn between generating a return for the BBC and preventing damage to its commercial competitors.

"We believe that the balance has tipped too far in favour of BBC Worldwide's expansion and we look to the BBC Trust to correct this."

Liberal Democrat media spokesman Don Foster agreed with some concerns raised by the Committee, but was critical of their recommendations to prop up Channel 4 using licence fee money.

He said: "Robbing Peter to pay Paul is a recipe for disaster."

He suggested a partnership between Worldwide and other public service broadcasters would be a preferable solution.

Channel 4 currently suffers from a funding gap of £150 million and it had been suggested a partnership between Worldwide and Channel 4 could help close it.

The committee noted, however, that there was "no obvious synergy" between the two companies, pointing out that any arrangement would not come close to the £150million needed, and recommended using a proportion of the licence fee instead.



07/04/2009 12:37:37 news_direct 76283 756623 Channel 4
Scandinavian Role Wins Branagh Award Shock 2521164 27th March 2009 Actor Kenneth Branagh's TV exploits in Wallander have won him the best actor gong at today's Broadcasting Press Guild Awards.

The Shakespearian specialist may have wowed audiences with his version of Hamlet, but it was for a different Scandinavian role that he will receive his award later today.

Playing Swedish detective Wallander in the three-part BBC1 series has resulted in Branagh receiving his first major TV acting award in the UK.

Previous winners include Colin Firth, Sir Alec Guinness, Michael Gambon and David Suchet.

The best actress award will be handed to Andrea Riseborough for two roles: her spirited performance as the Iron Lady in Margaret Thatcher: The Long Walk to Finchley and her lead in Channel 4's adaptation of The Devil's Whore.

These won the best single drama and best series drama awards respectively.

Elsewhere, Sir David Frost will receive an early birthday present through the Harvey Lee award for outstanding achievement.

The 69-year-old – who is 70 next month – won the gong after the Guild had his exploits flagged up to it by Frost/Nixon.

It "served as a reminder just how much he has brought to the television business", they said.

"First as a presenter and interviewer, who managed to combine entertainment with hard-hitting exposes, and later interviewing any world leader who is anybody… and also as one of the founders of two ground-breaking commercial TV companies, London Weekend and TV-am."


27/03/2009 10:01:32 news_direct 83268 1523186 Kenneth Branagh, Channel 4, Colin Firth, David Suchet, Michael Gambon
Ads For Abortion Advisers To Air In U.k. 2521173 26th March 2009 In an apparent effort to halt the rising number of teenage pregnancies in Britain, the country's official Broadcasting Committee on Advertising Practice, announced Wednesday that it will allow pregnancy advisory services -- who often direct clients to abortion clinics -- to advertise on the country's commercial channels, including ITV, Channel 4, and Sky. Clinics that do not offer abortions will have to disclose that fact in their ads. The decision immediately set off roars of protest from British pro-life groups. "It will mean that abortion is promoted as a solution to women's problems," said John Smeaton, national director of the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child, told the London Independent. But Julie Douglas of the pregnancy advisory service Marie Stopes International told the newspaper that her group plans to advertise "extremely sensitively and informatively rather than just plugging our organization."

26/03/2009 news_studio_old 76283 756623 Channel 4
Channel 4 Announce Animal Autopsy Programme 2521199 25th March 2009 Channel 4 viewers will be treated to the dissections of animals including an elephant, crocodile and a whale, it has been announced.

A new show, provisionally entitled Animal Autopsy, was revealed on Wednesday as part of the channel's planned spring and summer season.

The first human autopsy seen on television was screened by Channel 4 in 2002 and now, in co-operation with the Royal Veterinary College and biologist Richard Dawkins, viewers will be given an unprecedented look at the animal kingdom.

"Traditional wildlife films tell you how animals behave but stop short of revealing the changes that have taken place inside their bodies to allow that behaviour in the first place," said commissioning editor David Glover.

Other highlights of the Channel 4 spring and summer season include The Unloved - Golden Globe winner Samantha Morton's directorial debut and a drama about a girl raised in a children's home.

Mamma Mia! star Julie Walters is to play the late Northern Ireland secretary Mo Mowlam in a one-off drama about the politician while Rupert Everett will play romantic poet Lord Byron.


25/03/2009 16:49:22 news_direct 76283 756623 Channel 4, Julie Walters, Rupert Everett, Samantha Morton
Michelle Heaton Gives Up Singing 2521297 19th March 2009 Former Liberty X singer Michelle Heaton has announced she is to give up her career as a musician.

The 28-year-old said she was hanging up the microphone to focus on TV presenting.

Earlier this year Heaton appeared in the Channel 4 reality TV show Celebrity Big Brother.

Commenting on her decision to quit singing, the former Liberty X member said: "The only thing that I've done is I recorded a single last year for an Irish autism charity with Keith Duffy from Boyzone but that was never meant to be a solo single, it was for the charity.

"But that's it as far as solo work in the pipeline goes, I'm concentrating on presenting to be honest.

"I'd like to keep performing, I've been doing a couple of auditions for West End and stuff, but as for releasing music, I can't see that ever being in my life again."

Heaton appeared to have a fairly unhappy time in the Big Brother house after becoming the butt of US rapper Coolio's jokes about her alleged romance with former boy-band member Ben Adams.


19/03/2009 12:13:36 news_direct 82742 572429 Liberty X, Ben Adams, Big Brother, Boyzone, Celebrity Big Brother, Channel 4, Coolio, Duffy, Keith Duffy, Michelle Heaton
Richard And Judy Could End Tv Partnership 2521468 8th March 2009 TV presenters Richard and Judy could bring an end to their daytime television partnership to pursue solo projects.

Richard Madeley told Radio 4's Desert Island Discs show, that they felt they had achieved all they could as a chat show pair and wanted to consider other projects.

Madeley said: "I think we both feel we have done pretty much all we can do as a partnership in terms of the talk shows, but I think probably we both feel the need to diversify.

"It has been over 20 years doing the same kind of thing and there are tantalising possibilities in terms of solo projects or doing one-off projects together," he added.

"I am not saying we will never work together again - I'm sure we will."
The couple, who shifted from Channel 4 to new digital channel Watch, have seen their ratings plummet since the move.

Madeley said the pair were expecting viewing figures after the switch to be lower but were disappointed that the channel was not catching on with audiences.

The couple are contracted to present the show until Christmas this year.



08/03/2009 11:24:05 news_direct 76283 756623 Channel 4
Richard Tribute Show Leads Bbc Viewing Figures 2521574 1st March 2009 The BBC's tribute programme to actress Wendy Richard, who died earlier this week, pulled in more than five million viewers according to statistics.

The former EastEnders star, who passed away aged 65 on Thursday, was the subject of a hastily-arranged show screened between 20:00 and 20:30 GMT that evening.

The programme replaced the listed screening of Rogue Traders and pulled in a 22 per cent audience share of 5.31 million - ahead of the average viewing figures for the Master Chef on BBC2 between 20:00 and 21:00 GMT (5.16 million, 20.9 per cent).

Billy Connolly: Journey To The Edge Of The World was the top performing show on ITV with 4.33m viewers at 21:00 GMT, while Channel 4's Cutting Edge film Love, Life, Death In A Day pulled in 1.75m (7.4 per cent) at 21:00.

And Five managed an average of 1.09m (5.3 per cent) with mystery thriller Freedomland between 21:00 and 23:15.


01/03/2009 10:47:48 news_direct 34279 769952 Wendy Richard, Channel 4, Eastenders, The Edge
Channel 4 Slammed Over 'Child Abuse' Programme 2521826 12th February 2009 A local council has asked Channel 4 to scrap a reality show which 'emotionally abuses' its child participants.

Boys and Girls Alone, which began last month, features 20 children aged behind eight and 11 left to fend for themselves in a Cornish cottage.

The youngsters have been shown fighting and in states of distress over sleeping and cooking arrangements and Cornwall County council has called on media watchdog Ofcom to put pressure on Channel 4 to cancel the programme.

Ruby Parry, the council's assistant director of social care and family services, said the local authority may seek an injunction to prevent the broadcast of the remaining two episodes in the series.

In a letter to Channel 4, she said the council had serious concerns over the possible "emotional and physical abuse" inflicted upon the children by the programme, which sees them split into two "villages" on gender lines.

Ms Parry added the social care and family services board did not condone the programme's "experimentation with the emotional and psychological welfare of children" and was critical of the broadcasting of scenes showing the children in tears.

"This distress has now been publicly broadcast to all of these children's peers, and is therefore likely to have long term consequences for some of them," she wrote.

"It is in our view highly irresponsible for Channel 4 to broadcast a programme which demeans and to some extent demonises children and thus re-enforces negative public perceptions of children and their vulnerability," she added.

Andrew Mackenzie, Channel 4's head of factual entertainment at Channel 4, said the children's welfare was the broadcaster's "first priority when filming" and stressed Boys and Girls Alone abided by Ofcom guidelines.

"All the children were carefully chosen and screened by appropriately qualified experts, including a clinical psychologist, to make sure they could cope well with the experience of being in the series," he added.

He also categorically denied any claim that Channel 4 may have breached performance licensing legislation as the children were "not performing".

A spokesman for Ofcom said the regulator would conduct an investigation into the show and monitor any complaints received.


12/02/2009 18:06:02 news_direct 76283 756623 Channel 4
Watchdog Blocks Plans For Kangaroo On-demand Service 2521951 4th February 2009 The Competition Commission has rejected plans conceived by the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 for an on-demand video service called Project Kangaroo.

The watchdog said it was in favour of the innovative proposals but could not permit them to go ahead as the service would pose "too much of a threat to competition".

"The three joint venture partners are the largest TV companies in this country and you would normally expect them to compete with each other on a thing like this," chairman Peter Freeman told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"And we're not against the exciting invention - that's great - but there are lots of other people who can offer it.

"All we're saying is that we don't think these three people should do it together."

The commission report said the project - developed by BBC Worldwide, ITV and Channel 4 - could prevent rival on-demand video services from developing.

Kangaroo would have sold current Channel 4 and ITV programming as well as archived BBC shows.

The three broadcasters currently offer their own shows for free online via the BBC iPlayer, ITV.com and 4OD.

In a joint statement, the networks said the "real losers" from the ruling were British consumers.

"This is a disproportionate remedy and a missed opportunity in the further development of British broadcasting," they added.

The commission's findings follow a provisional report issued last year which warned Kangaroo could prevent competitors from developing.


04/02/2009 15:38:59 news_direct 76283 756623 Channel 4
Complaints Pour Into Bbc Over Gaza Appeal Turndown 2522074 27th January 2009 The BBC was under fire today (Tuesday) for its refusal to air an appeal for humanitarian relief aid in Gaza. Some 15,500 complaints about the policy were registered by BBC switchboard operators. On Monday, protesters mounted a demonstration outside Broadcasting House in London, and some participated in a noisy protest in the lobby until police removed them. Some of the demonstrators burned their TV licenses in front of the police (and TV news cameras). Some 112 Members of Parliament introduced a motion criticizing the BBC for turning down the spot by the Disasters Emergency Committee's Gaza Crisis Appeal. The BBC said it was doing so on grounds that it would run "the risk of reducing public confidence in the BBC's impartiality." The spot, however, aired on commercial outlets ITV, Channel 4, and Channel 5. But News Corp-controlled Sky Broadcasting also refused to air it, saying that it was "incompatible with our role in providing balanced and objective reporting." Labor MP Richard Burden told BBC News, "Viewers and listeners can see the difference between a humanitarian appeal and politics -- even if the BBC and Sky management cannot." The Disasters Emergency Committee is asking for funds for food, medicine and blankets for noncombatants in Gaza who were left homeless by the recent Israeli siege. On Monday, the Archbishop of York issued a statement saying that in this instance the BBC ought to place humanity over impartiality and show the spot. Today's London Times reported that the BBC Trust, the broadcaster's governing body will review the decision not to air the appeal.

27/01/2009 news_studio_old 76283 756623 Channel 4

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