“Life on Mars” Star Philip Glenister. Plus: Gordon Ramsay in The New Yorker

It seems that Philip Glenister shares some of his character's tell-it-like-it-is qualities: the actor, who plays DCI Gene Hunt on Life On Mars, has criticized the British TV industry. From The Daily Mail:

"There's so much dumbing down on television. I'm p***** off that every awards ceremony has a special 'soap' category. I don't want to be a snob, but they only do it to satisfy market forces.

"Soaps are churned out with no time for any creative process. I have a soft spot for Coronation Street but EastEnders is up its own arse."

Aw, Phil, EE's just going through a "transitional period," that's all. So they say.

He also attacks reality TV:

"There's so much cheapness, with this reality stuff. Someone makes big bucks at someone else's expense, and it's the sadistic element of shows like Big Brother I find so cruel."

Not always true, though: haven't you caught Faking It, Phil? The second series of Life On Mars is ending in the UK, and I warn you, avoid spoilers at all costs. Season Two is supposed to be electrifying – and truly satisfying as a culmination of the series. No scheduled airdate yet for BBC AMERICA, but it's coming.

Gordon Ramsay has a long-ass (10-page) profile in The New Yorker. It goes behind-the-scenes of his New York restaurant and features the celebrity chef in all his grandeur. Writer Bill Buford witnesses some nasty interactions with staff and says, "He does get angry, helplessly and uncontrollably angry – not an earthly anger but something darker – and has trouble knowing how to stop."

Ramsay admits the reason why he does Hell's Kitchen for Fox: "I do television so I can do New York. Basically, I'm a prostitute. I prostitute myself so I can have a restaurant here. But I don't fully take off my knickers."

Ramsay also admits to New Yorker magazine that he stole a book from his own restaurant and blamed it on his culinary rival, Marco Pierre White. The Daily Mail has picked up the story.

In other news:

  • Suffer little children: Deny Snoop Dogg a visa into the UK, and the little nippers will pay the price. The rapper, who is touring with P. Diddy, tells MTV: "With my mic and my presence I can reach kids the politicians can't and tell them to stop the violence and killings that are currently going on in the UK. I'm here to perform and give people what they want – to be a peace figure. Me and Puffy come from a background where with the east coast and the west coast there were a lot of diferences in the hip hop community. But now we want to go around the world and show postive examples in the UK."
  • American Idol judge Randy "Dawg" Jackson looks set to bring the "Yo Factor" to X-Factor, replacing Louis Walsh. I'm sorry, he's just Aiiight for me. A little pitchy. (The Sun)
  • More Jude Law and Natalie Portman news: they reportedly got cozy at the wrap party for My Blueberry Nights, the new Wong Kar-Wai film. "Natalie is not with her on-off boyfriend Gael Garcia Bernal at the moment, so she saw no harm in having some fun with Jude at the party." (Daily Mail)
  • Heather Mills is "enraged" over Paul McCartney and Sabrina Guinness. Paul says he and Guinness are just "good friends" and that he realizes "everyone wants to see me with a new bird right now and that's very flattering." (Telegraph)
  • Naomi Campbell exits her community service job in style. (Daily Mail)
  • Playwright Christopher Hampton defends Billie Piper (Doctor Who) in The Guardian: "I like Billie very much and, given that this is the first thing she's done on stage, I'm very impressed with her. But the simple truth is that she got ill and missed two performances. She was not 'tired and emotional'. The poor girl was genuinely sick." Piper appears in Hampton's play, Treats.
  • The top 10 most crowded trains in Britain: if you're planning to take the 7:59 am from Durham to Newcastle, you're screwed. Also: The Guardian asks for an alternative "seven wonders of the world."
  • Mark Germode in The Guardian calls Danny Boyle's sci-fi epic, Sunshine, one of the year's best films.
  • Sir Elton John invited 20,000 friends to 60th birthday concert in Madison Square Garden. (The Times)
  • Who wants to be the next J.K. Rowling? Be ready to suffer for it.
    (The Times)
  • Natasha Bedingfield presents herself as a grounded Christian girl in an interview with The Times.
  • Mark E. Smith and the guys from Mouse on Mars have formed a band named von Sudafed or some sh__ like that(Gigwise)
  • Shilpa Shetty will run the London marathon for an Indian charity.
    (Daily Record)
  • Daniel Craig has been given an actual British passport under the name "James Bond." It was a gift to the production company from the British Home Office, but the UK's home secretary says, "The Identity and Passport Service require such passports to be returned and destroyed immediately after use."

  • Harry Potter and the Eco-friendly Paper Stock: For the final HP installment, "Scholastic has partnered with the Rainforest Alliance and will use 30 percent recycled paper for its 12 million copies. (At 784 pages, a total of 16,700 tons of paper.) Plus, 65 percent of the paper will be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council as having come from forests that are managed responsibly."
  • Robbie Williams is penning a musical about his life, says a source. "This will be a lavish musical, like Billy Elliot meets Mamma Mia, all about Robbie's rise to fame. But it also touches on the loneliness and sadness." That just sounds like a heaping tablespoon of awful.

  • Robbie Williams has been snubbed by Timbaland. And Sway, to make matters worse. (Female First)
  • Joss Stone has a crush on Jared Leto, who has admitted to friends he doesn't know who she is.
  • Has Russell Brand finally done away with that rat's nest hair?
  • ITV will produce a "populist" alternative to the BAFTA Film Awards. Sounds like a rip-off of the MTV Movie Awards to me. (The Times)
  • Sarah Harding of Girls Aloud rubbishes claims she's making an album with the Arctic Monkeys. "Of course we're not doing a bloody album together. I can't believe everyone's making so much of it. Everyone who interviews me now wants to know if we're collaborating. It was a joke."
  • The Stone Roses will reunite for a charity gig.
  • Now, Lindsay Lohan is being linked to James Blunt. (MSNBC)
  • Kele Okereke opens up to the LA Times.
  • Hugh Grant and Jemima Khan, who had broken up, have been seen out-and-about. (Daily Mail)

Kevin Wicks

Kevin Wicks founded BBCAmerica.com's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself - he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri - he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.

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