Farewell, Eartha Kitt

Orson Welles called her "the most exciting woman in the world" - and, when I saw her perform at the old Gold Coast Jazz Festival in the early 1990s, I agreed. Now Eartha Kitt is dead at 81. More here.

Farewell, Harold Pinter

The great British plawyright, director and screenwriter Harold Pinter has succumbed to cancer at the age of 78. More here.

The other Queen's speech

A clever marketing ploy by the producers of the upcoming London production of Priscilla musical and their sponsors:

Season's greetings

<a href="http://www.joost.com/082kfi5/t/The-Pogues-Fairytale-Of-New-York-(video)">The Pogues - Fairytale Of New York (video)</a>

Casting stones in TV land

I'm not the only one who senses humbug over the reaction to the Andrew O'Keefe video. Here's what Tracey Spicer has to say. The fact is, you'd be hard-pressed to find a soul in the media world (or any other walk of life) who hasn't had a few too many and been a bit worse for wear, especially at Christmas time. O'Keefe's only crimes, it seems, were being famous and being caught on camera.

Is Michael Jackson dying?

Michael Jackson has "potential fatal health issues" according to this Fox News report. Author Ian Halperin - who, it must be noted, has a Jackson biography ready to hit the shops - says Jackson suffers from the genetic disease alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency and as a consequence is going blind and is in urgent need of a lung transplant. So much is written about Jackson that it's hard to know what to believe, so I'll take this with a grain of salt for now.

Hi-5: There goes Sun

Sun Park has become the third Hi-5er to leave the children's group following the departures of orignal members Nathan Foley and Kellie Crawford. Now, I suppose, parents of hardcore fans will have to go out and buy an entirely new range of merchandise. Maybe that was the idea all along ... More here.

Carry on, Doctors

All previous Doctors - and one potential new one - will appear alongside David Tennant in this year's Doctor Who Christmas special. The Daily Mail quotes executive producer Russell T. Davies as saying the appearance (via file footage) of such stars as Tom Baker (right) will be a treat for longtime fans. "It is also nice for the kids to get to grips with the fact that there have been lots of Doctors." Meanwhile, the latest suggestion as to who will take over from David Tennant are David Morrissey (who plays a character called The Doctor in the special, although that could be a red herring), David Walliams, Paterson Joseph, Billie Piper, Tom Ellis and Catherine Zeta-Jones. No mention of Brisbane's David Knijnenburg, who was linked to the role in the Australian media, though.

River flows; ABC head goes

Ipswich-based River 949 has appointed Ruby Slipperz* and Dave Greenwood to host its breakfast show, replacing Wayne Roberts who walked out a few weeks ago. According to a River media release, Slipperz is a former top-rating announcer from Toowoomba who has spent for years as a councillor in that city and Greenwood comes via Sea FM on the Fraser Coast and a stint as Elwood at Universal Studios' Blues Brothers show.
Meanwhile, Crikey reports that ABC head of radio Sue Howard has left, paving the way for the intergration of Aunty's broadcasting services, including the creation of multimedia "brands" around Radio National's specialist programs and the creation of a News Radio "continuous news centre".
* Do you think it's her real name? I suppose Mr and Mrs Slipperz could have been film fans.

Busiest man on the airwaves

Gee, Whippy is getting a whipping. Not only was he the first employee of Brisbane's Nova 1069, he's also the busiest. According to the Nova website, he co-hosts the station's breakfast show, and then is on air solo from 9am to 10pm. Yes, that's a total of 16 hours of work a day, not counting preparation time. When does the man sleep? Mistakes aside, the website makes interesting reading because it seems not to mention the regular breakfast team of Meshel, Ash and Kip (not counting Luttsy, who is reportedly moving on to 4BC) at all. I know they are off air at the moment, but other station networks are still plugging their flagship shows. (And the web page mentions Merrick, Rosso and Kate, who are also off air.) Is something afoot? As I wrote here back on October 18, "I've been saying Meshel Laurie will go back down south for a long time now, and one day I'll be right. I understand there are reasons why one or two of the other presenters might want to move on, too."

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