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Matt Smith: Who's that man?

The new Doctor Who is Matt Smith. At 26, Smith is the youngest ever actor to pilot the Tardis. Until the announcement, Casualty star Paterson Joseph was the runaway favourite with the bookies, who tipped him to be the first black actor in the coveted TV role. The good news is that Smith is an experienced stage actor and, apparently, behaves older than he actually is (a handy attribute for a very old Time Lord in a young man's body). More here.

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.

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.

Only in America

"I feel like I could be a good senator - I'm every woman and the consummate New Yorker."

So says Fran Drescher, of The Nanny fame, who is eyeing Hillary Clinton's vacant Senate seat. God bless America.

AOK's video 'nasty'

The Seven network has reportedly shelled out $25,000 to buy up and bury a mobile phone video of Deal or No Deal and The Rich List host Andrew O'Keefe drunk and disorderly, crawling along a Melbourne street and being helped to his feet by a "mystery blonde companion". It's also alleged he is smoking. If I was running Seven, I'd screen the vid just to prove their star is human. I reckon ratings would soar. In fact, I can see a whole series in this. Stars Behaving Badly. It's brilliant. You read it here first!

Extra: Yes, it's Heather

Channel 9 Brisbane has confirmed that recently retired newsreader and proud mum Heather Foord will host Extra next year. Nine Queensland station manager Lee Anderson says in a media release:

"I'm pleased we've been able to juggle our busy daily local production schedule so Heather can remain on air and still be there for her girls. It's a good outcome, and I'm sure our viewers will be happy to see her back – just half an hour earlier than usual!"

Foord replaces Jillian Whiting, who was either "boned" or decided to "spend more time with her family"*, depending on which particular coded language you prefer. Extra will celebrate it 18th birthday in 2009 - that's 17 more than most pundits thought it would last!
* It seems Heather Foord is the rare person in TV land who gets to stay on air and spend more time with her family.

Good old days

I've just finished reading biographies of Ronnie Barker and Spike Milligan (right), both of which hark back to a "golden era" of broadcasting. The Barker book (by Bob McCabe, BBC Books) reveals that the audience for The Two Ronnies in the UK in the 1970s and 80s peaked around 20 million, accounting (by my calculations) for about two-fifths of the UK population and certainly well over half the viewing audience. I know times have changed, and there are many more viewing options, but it certainly puts the popularity of some of today's "stars" in perspective. The Milligan book (by Humphrey Carpenter, Coronet) reveals how the Goon Show scripts were vetted by the BBC, and one of the criticisms was that "there is no British embassy in Calcutta".

Bill's big night out

"After divorce, some men just want a whole new life. It sounds like a midlife crisis, but I don't think it's worrisome. After being married for a long time, sometimes men just like to have some fun and feel free.

So says Manhattan psychotherapist Rachel Moheban about actor Bill Murray's apparent habit of turning up at parties frequented by young women, then dancing, drinking and (in at least one case) helping them find cabs to go home. Seems perfectly harmless to me.
Meanwhile, actor Billy Murray (of The Bill fame) is flogging the services of a company called "Injury Lawyers 4 U" in British TV ads.

Missing piece in 9 puzzle

Channel 9 Gold Coast News presenter, Eva Milic will join Andrew Lofthouse in presenting Nine’s Brisbane Weekend News bulletin next year, according to a network media release. The former Miss World Australia holds a bachelors degree in business and a masters degree in journalism. They team replaces former solo reader Melissa Downes, who will be reading the weekday bulletin with Bruce Paige. It seems strange that, in a time of recession that's hit the free-to-air TV industry particularly hard, Nine feels it necessary to replace one person with two. Could it be that at least one of them is "on hold"?

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