Sunday, October 14, 2007

Oh the fall from grace - Martine McCutcheon

Being a soap star is a very precarious career choice. You are always under the sword of itchy writers who are looking to spark up ratings by killing a main character off. This is offset, however, by the fact that as an actor, the stability of working on a soap is a considerable advantage, rather than fighting through auditions, being cut off at the last five, taking the latest crushing blow to your already fragile self-esteem, sometimes struggling to string a decent diet together, to say nothing of rental payments etc.

Therefore, to be an arrogant soap star is a recipe for disaster. There's a reason Shakespearian actors don't take a career move to the cast of Corrie - it's credibility poison. It also says a lot about soap actors who think they are too big for the outlandish storylines, and paper-thin characters, and leave to better themselves and their careers.

With a few exceptions (such as Russel Crowe and Guy Pearce who both graduated from minor parts in Neighbors), soap stars invariably fail in their attempts to better themselves, ending up on sub-par ITV dramas, or late night quiz shows.

The latest example surely must be Martine McCutcheon. Usually when these washed up soap stars show up on cheap commercials, for say, Tesco home delivery, great lengths are gone to to remind the viewer of who this person is. A cheesy line from the fawning pleb usually suffices. McCutcheon apparantly, has become so irrelevant, she is not even afforded this luxury in the ad, and is merely a understudy to the delivery men. I wonder is the thought of playing a dippy Eastender seems like a comfortable alternative for our Martine now?

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Virgin Media - infringing on my Freeview

I have recently sang the praises of the vast improvement of Freeview since its inception. And I was sort of looking forward to Virgin Media stepping into the ring with their new channel, although I thought I was going to be missing out on the Eddie Izzard vehicle, The Riches, because the shitty all-in-one remote I bought doesn't function properly with my Freeview box, and therefore I cannot scan in new channels.

However, I woke up this morning to find my Ftn channel, which I was beginning to enjoy with their 15-to-1 repeats and X Files double bills offering some alternatives when required, now being hijacked by "Virgin 1/ We'll See You At 9pm".

Why must they muddle about like this? Why couldn't ABC1 and Ftn share the same channel number if room is to be made, or the two BBC children's channels (CBeebies and CBBC) share the channel numbers with the two BBC digital-only channels (BBC3 and 4). That would pave the way for at least three future channels (although the dearth of home-shopping channels would be a most welcome sacrifice for more quality fare).

Would Freeview not benefit from having more companies paying for their (increasingly valued, especially considering the terrestrial switch-off begins in early 2008) airspace? And would the consumers not benefit from greater choice of service?

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Propaganda statistics from drivers

Mike Rutherford from Auto Express magazine is being interviewed on News 24 about the recent rise on fuel tax. He has said that motorists contribute £55 billion per year in taxes. There must be a miscalculation in there somewhere, because that equates to every person in the country contributing slightly less the £1 billion £1 million (thanks P)* each, every year, never mind the fact of the fewer number of drivers on the road.

*P has pointed out, that if measuring the 1 billion to 9 zeros (rather than 12), the sum would actually come up to approxiamately £1000 a year per person.