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There was a media firestorm over a recent Top Gear episode in which Jeremy Clarkson and James May enjoyed gin-and-tonics while plowing a four-wheel-drive through the North Pole. May responds to his critics in The Daily Telegraph: “I’m not suggesting you should do this sort of thing on a public thoroughfare. That would be worse than stupid. But we were at least 400 miles from the nearest road, so what, exactly, was the problem? That we might have caused an accident? That we were setting a bad example to other people driving to the North Pole in a Toyota pickup?”
May also says that pay dispute claims are “rubbish”: “”I’m not really sure where it came from, I think it is someone making trouble. I have never stormed off over money or contracts. I am paid quite well by Top Gear, I am pretty happy, and I have never seen Richard Hammond storm off either.” May added that he never discusses money with Jeremy Clarkson or Richard Hammond: “We don’t talk about it. It is unseemly, un-British, ungentlemanly.”(Guardian)
Not a lot of change on this week’s UK Singles chart: Dizzee Rascal and Calvin Harris remain at No. 1 with their party jam, “Dance Wiv Me.” This week’s only new entry comes from Kid Rock, who samples Warren Zevon‘s “Werewolves of London” for his track, “All Summer Long.”
Download Dizzee Rascal and Calvin Harris’ “Dance Wiv Me”
Download Jordin Sparks & Chris Brown’s “No Air”
Download Ne-Yo’s “Closer”
Download Ironik’s “Stay With Me”
Download Chris Brown’s “Forever”
Download Rihanna’s “Take A Bow”
Download Busta Rhymes ft. Linkin Park’s “We Made It”
In other news:
- Torchwood star John Barrowman investigates the origins of his gayness for a BBC documentary, The Making of Me. Is homosexuality caused by “nature” or “nurture”? He tells The Guardian that it doesn’t matter: “It’s not going to change who I am. I always said, if the outcome is you’re born this way, I’m going to be ecstatic. If the outcome is that it’s something that happens to you, a trauma or it’s your choice, I will have to reflect and think about that, but it’s not going to change who I am because I like who I am.” Barrowman also says he plans to have kids with his partner, Scott Gill.
- Catherine Tate thanks Russell T. Davies for taking a chance on her as the Doctor Who sidekick: “Oh gosh, I can’t thank Russell [T Davies] enough for just making that possible. For many people, I’m sure, what a gamble to take on someone like me who is known, by the vast majority of people, for wearing wigs and comedy teeth.”(Evening Standard)
- RTD has received an honorary fellowship from Cardiff University. Tangent: could The Press Association have picked a more unflattering photo of Russell? It looks like he’s auditioning to play one of the monsters on Primeval.
- Patrick Stewart, who is playing Claudius opposite David Tennant‘s Hamlet in Stratford-upon-Avon, reveals why he stays in such good shape: “Well I’m afraid of dying, yes, you can tick that box, and I work hard on fitness. If you want to be a classical actor, as Laurence Olivier said, you have to be fit as an athlete. You can’t go around with a big belly hanging out, drinking late at night.” And what about all those younger girlfriends – does that help? “No, it’s not that. I don’t search them out. I just don’t meet women of my age.”(The Times)
- Life imitates X-Men: Patrick Stewart is now Professor Patrick Stewart.(BBC)
- Matt Lucas and David Walliams have locked down Rosie O’Donnell to appear in a Fat Fighters sketch on the U.S. Little Britain. The sketch “pokes fun at the talk show host’s sexuality and well-publicized weight problems in the scene, set at the Fat Fighters club. Lucas’ brutally rude Marjorie Dawes character asks O’Donnell if she is a lesbian because her weight made it hard to find a man.” Lucas says Rosie was a “good sport” about the ribbing.(Chortle)
- Little Britain is part of HBO’s new strategy of showcasing lighter, less somber fare.(New York Daily News)
- David Walliams is smitten with model Layla Powell‘s “killer curves.”(Sunday Mirror)
- Walliams does love his models: runway queen Abi Titmuss talks about her “long-term relationship” with Walliams in her autobiography.(Sunday Mirror)
- Gavin and Stacey stars James Corden and Ruth Jones are No. 25 on The Guardian’s Media 100, a list of the most influential power players in media. The Guardian says that, due to G&S‘s success, “Corden and Jones now have the sort of opportunities open to them that were enjoyed by Little Britain‘s creators, Matt Lucas and David Walliams. They can do pretty much anything they want.” Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page top the list. BBC’s controller of fiction, Jane Tranter, is No. 10. Simon Cowell is No. 14, Russell T. Davies comes in at No. 31, Jeremy Clarkson is No. 58, and Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke turns up at No. 63.
- Radiohead‘s video for “House of Cards” was created with “3D images and lasers instead of cameras.”(BBC)
- Mark Ronson says he was propositioned for sex by “a very famous, white, bland, and very boring English soul chick, whom shall remain unnamed.” Hmmm, don’t know who that could be.
- Amy Winehouse did her thing at T in the Park, one year after backing out of the festival.
- Bloc Party bassist Gordon Moakes is on paternity leave.(NME)
- Up-and-coming British director Paul Andrew Williams gives an odd quote to The Independent. He says a common misperception of him is that he’s “good at making love. I’m good at faking it.” Hmmm, I didn’t know many people thought that about him. Hell, I didn’t know people thought about him, period.
- Gasp: Princess Anne‘s secret lighthouse obsession.(Daily Mail)
- The gorgeous Sophie Ellis Bextor steps out with her ginger-haired son.(Daily Mail)
By the way, here’s this week’s playlist. A gold star to the person who makes the Primeval connection:
See more posts by 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.