Celebrity Apprentice Back In Business on Channel 9

Filming began today on a new series of the Nine Network’s Celebrity Apprentice.

In Celebrity Apprentice some of Australia’s most well-known and controversial celebrities work towards raising money for their various charities.

Mr Mark Bouris, one of the country’s most successful high-profile businessmen and Chairman/Co-Founder of wealth management company Yellow Brick Road, is back to helm the series.

 Joining Mr Bouris in the boardroom in 2015 (in alphabetical order) are:

Esther Anderson: Popular Aussie actress. 

Mel Greig: Radio DJ.

Gabi Grecko: Mrs Edelsten.

Gina Liano: Real Housewife.

Tegan Martin: Miss Universe Australia.

Sophie Monk: Aussie “It” girl.

Matt Cooper: NRL Superstar.

Tim Dormer: Big Brother winner.

Geoffrey Edelsten: Aussie Tycoon.

Blake Garvey: The Bachelor.

James Mathison: Aussie TV music presenter.

Richard Reid: Hollywood Gossip Guru.

In series four, Mr Bouris will have two new advisors to be his eyes and ears on the ground: television personality and charity aficionado Kerri-Anne Kennerley and Shelley Barrett, CEO and founder of ModelCo.

Celebrity Apprentice will bring audiences the same robust conflict, comedy, characters and cleverness we know and love, while also keeping focus on business. Our celebrity contestants will need to rely on more than just their black books to get through these challenges. As always, in Celebrity Apprentice the ultimate goal is to raise much-needed funds for deserving charities, as nominated by each of the celebrity contestants.

Celebrity Apprentice is a FremantleMedia Australia production for the Nine Network.

Country Music Star Sam Mcclymont Joins The Farmer Wants A Wife

Sam McClymont of Australia’s number one country group, The McClymonts, was today announced as host of the new season of The Farmer Wants a Wife.

In her first television presenting role, Sam will guide six lovelorn farmers on their quest to find a wife: Lachlan from south of Sydney, Adam from Victoria, Julz and Jedd from South Australia, Matt from outback Western Australian, and Lance from Far North Queensland.

Sam, with her sisters Brooke and Mollie, grew up in Grafton in northern NSW. Their dad was a butcher and their mum a hairdresser and they raised their daughters on a music diet of country and Top 40 radio.

The girls showed early on that they had more than a passing interest in music and their raw talent quickly developed. They were soon travelling far and wide on the talent quest circuit, and word spread around the country music community about the sisters from Grafton with voices of angels and hearts of gold.

Sam was signed to Universal Music in 2006 after she won the Toyota Star Maker talent contest at the Tamworth Country Music Festival. The award-winning McClymonts, with Sam on bass and vocals, have gone on to release multiple top-selling albums and tour extensively throughout Australia and the USA, where they have opened for some of the biggest names in country music, including Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan.

Sam McClymont said: “I am thrilled to be joining Farmer Wants a Wife. I’ve been a fan since it began. The thing that has struck a chord with me, and I think the TV audience, is that the men and women going on this show are genuinely looking for real love.

“Being newly married, I look forward to helping these farmers and ladies find that special someone, and hopefully we can add some more marriages and babies to the show’s amazing success rate.”

Nine’s new production executive, Stuart Clark, said: “We are thrilled to have Sam on board helping our six farmers on their quest for true love. She’s a country girl, a great musical talent, and the perfect host to guide our famers through the trials and tribulations of finding love on the land.”

Production will commence next week on Australia’s most successful reality dating program. With eight marriages and 10 babies already to its name, The Farmer Wants a Wife will return soon to Channel Nine.

Doctor Who – The War Machines

BBC DVD / Region 4

Featuring William Hartnell, Peter Purves, Anneke Wills, Michael Craze

One of the final William Hartnell stories and the final story for the third season of the show, this is classic era Who at its very best, a brilliant story by Ian Stuart Black (based on an original idea by Doomwatch creator Kit Pedlar). This was actually the very first Who story set in the present day. In it The Doctor is battling a super computer known as WOTAN, which is kept in London’s Post Office Tower, it has sinister plans for world domination.

WOTAN (which stands for Will Operating Thought ANalogue) is due to be linked to a group of other super computers, has apparantly decided that humans are no longer good enough to run the planet and that he should now be in charge.

There is some great glimpses of swinging London in this crisp and still exciting serial, with mentionings of “fab gear” and nods to shows such as The Avengers (which was huge at the time). We also get the departure of one companion (Jackie Lane as Dodo) and the arrival of two new ones who will go on to make quite an impression on the series. These two Anneke Wills as Polly and Michael Craze as Ben help bring a nicely modern sixties touch to the series.

A must have for fans especially including as it does the great array of extras that always accompany these doctor who releases, including snippets from the venrable Blue Peter, a Now and Then location feature, a look at the restoration of the serial, radio times pdf billings and photo galleries.

Doctor Who – Series Four Volume Four

BBC DVD / Region 4

Featuring David Tennant, Freema Agyeman, Billie Piper

The fourth season of the best show on TV comes to an explosive climax in this fourth collection of episodes released this month by BBC DVD and what a thrill fest it is, tying up lots of loose ends and definitely leaving us wanting more. Turn Left opens up precedings and is very much a two hander between Donna and Rose, writer and series head honcho Russell T. Davies gives us a nice central conceit of what would have happened if Donna never met the Doctor, well apparently the whole world would have been in danger of exploding, luckily though Rose in on the scene to get through to Donna and by the end of the episode things are (mostly) back to normal.

The Stolen Earth and Journey’s End is the big two part season finale and sees Doctor-Donna arriving on Earth on a nice Saturday morning only to have the whole planet (along with 26 others) disappear on them. It soon becomes apparant that this is yet another devious plot by The Daleks, who are hellbent on taking over the universe once again. With the doctor seemingly out of action it is up to companions and friends, both past and present, in the shape of Captain Jack and much of the Torchwood team, Rose and Martha, Sarah Jane and even prime minister Harriet Jones to pull together and combat the Dalek menace. Without revealing too much in the way of spoilers, this is satisfying stuff indeed.

Davies has all the stops very much pulled out here, this trio of episodes deserves to be watched in one mammoth sitting, as Davies pulls together a huge amount of stuff that has previously been set in motion and definitely something to keep us going until the Christmas special. Don’t miss this.

David Lynch Collection

Umbrella Entertainment / Region 4

As the man who has done more to expose the strange and dark underbelly of American suburbia, David Lynch has long been one of the most important and at the same time idiosyncratic directors so this box set looking at his work with short films over the years (as well as featuring his first feature Eraserhead and a featue length) is certainly more than welcome.

Lynch himself grew up in the kind of small town, white picket fence environment, that he likes to pick apart so much and he has often said that his child hood years were the happiest of his life but it was at art college in Philiadelphia (which he apparently hated intensely) that he first discovered film making, moving from painting to animation with his first short The Grandmother (included here). Over the next five years he continued to make shorts whilst also working on his incredible debut eraserhead, filmed in black and white (to cut down on processing costs) and telling the distinctly Kafka-esque tale of a man (with amazing hair!) looking after a small monster. Incredibly strange and also very poignant, Eraserhead can be seen at its heart as a study of someone having trouble coming to terms with impending fatherhood, the movie made a major impression on aficianados and although wasn’t widely seen at the time certainly made Lynch’s name as someone to watch out for. The collection also includes a feature length interview with Lynch on the making of the movie and the original trailer.

The Short Film Collection features 6 short Lynchian masterpieces, from his earliest The Grandmother right up to the 1980s, whilst Dynamic 01 again focuses on his short films, this time later productions including fully realised works that up to now have only been available on his website, latterly, especially over the last few years, Lynch has been devoting more and more time to internet projects including Dumbland, his startling and bizarre animation series (also featured here of course) that is drawn (very crudely in black and white line drawing style) by Lynch as well as being mixed, scored and voiced by him too.

FInally there is Lynch (one) a fantastic feature length documentary, some two years in the making, focusing on Lynch as he made his last film Inland Empire (he actually had to release this movie himself as no major studio wanted to get involved incredibly). This also includes some behind the scenes featurettes, galleries and trailers.

A fantastic collection of rarely seen material from one of America’s most individual directors. Well worth checking out.

Battle Of The Somme

Network DVD and Strike Force Entertainment / Region 2

In this age of instant global communication it is easy to forget how hard it was in the pre computer era to find out info about what was actually going on in the world, take yourself back even further to 1916, pre talking pictures and when cinema was still very much in its infancy and the first world war was leaving bloody casualties by the million and you might begin to get some idea of the power that the amazing Battle of the Somme would have had on its audience when it was first seen.

Network have teamed up with the Imperial War Museum to release a completely digitally restored version of this landmark and pioneering documentary, made by Geoffrey Malins and John McDowell (who were the official British documenters actually working at the front line) and intended to be a piece of propaganda that would show the folks back home what was going on and hopefully persuade even more Tommy’s to join up, it ended up becoming so much more than this, showing the full reality and horror of war for the first time.

You can guarantee if you have ever seen iconic images of WWI soldiers “going over the top” or trudging wearily with a blank look in their eyes then the images have come from BOTS, the fighting on the Somme started on 1 July 1916 but the battle lines had been drawn for some time and the over the top footage shot by Malins and McDowell was actually one of the few staged moments in the whole thing, being shot a few days previously during a test run, most of the action shot by the pair though was from the first frantic day of battle including the attack on Hawthorn Ridge Redoubt.

An incredibly important and moving piece of film making, easy to see why UNESCO have added the doco to their “memory of the world” list, which is part of a project to ensure that the collective consciousness of the world doesn’t forget what war is really about.

Looking absolutely spot on, the release also includes a 36 page booklet, some previously missing footage, interviews with key members of the restoration team, a full orchestral score by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra as well as a collection of the songs of the time that were recommended as accompaniment by trade journals of the time.

Superb.

Azincourt By Bernard Cornwell

Published by Harper Collins

In his bloodthirsty epic Azincourt, Bernard Cornwell takes us right into the dark and bloody heart of battle as two mismatched sides fight in a field on St Crispin’s Day in 1415 to settle who should be the rightful King of France.

Agincourt (or Azincourt as the French spelling has it) is one of the most famous of all English battles when a vastly outnumber army of 1000 men at arms and 5000 archers took on 30,000 French soldiers. The legend that is the English bowman has long since fascinated Cornwell, his Grail Quest series followed young Thomas Hookton through a whole series of battles that culminated in the English victory against the French at Crecy. Here Nicholas Hook, no relation to Hookton, is born to be an archer but his family’s long running feud with the neighbouring Perrill family threatens to see him hung before he has even drawn a bow in battle. After tangling with them once too often Hook finds himself an outlaw and is forced to seek out a role as a mercenary in France where he witnesses the horrors of the sacking of Soissons. After rescuing beautiful French girl Melisande Hook is taken under the wing of Sir John Cornwaille – one of the leading lights in King Henry V’s army.

From there the pace is relentless as Henry, who believes God is on his side and that the French crown should also be his, gathers his forces to first attack the French town of Harfleur and then, after being bogged down in a disastrous and long winded seige of the town, moving on to the devastating final battle at Azincourt. The whole book naturally enough is about the build up to this battle which takes up at least the last 100 pages, Cornwell puts us firmly in the middle of the action, told from all sides and with all its mud and blood and guts and horrors, never before has war seemed so horrifically vivid. Cornwell is a consumate storyteller too though so we have subplots involving Hook’s deadly fight with the Perrills, most of whom are also archers for King Henry and the machinations of the evil priest Sir Martin who has his eyes on Hook’s girl Melisande.

A superb journey into a legendary battle.

Cool Hand Luke Deluxe Edition

Warner Bros Home Video / Region 1

Featuring Paul Newman, George Kennedy, J.D. Cannon, Lou Antonio, Jo Van Fleet

“What we have here is a failure to communicate”

One of the best movies of the 1960’s and one of the all time greats Cool Hand Luke stars Paul Newman in a performance of almost iconic proportions as he plays the drifter whose bucking against the system finds him sent to prison.

Newman plays Lucas “Cool Hand” Jackson, who, in an act of drunken rebellion, decides to cut off all the parking meters in a small Southern town’s main street, an act that sends him straight to jail. Once inside his disruptive ways land him ever harsher punishments until by the end of the movie, a final inevitable toll has been taken.

Co-written by Donn Pearce from his own novel and directed by Stuart Rosenberg, CHL, in all its crisp widescreen wondrousness, is a superb film full of classic and memorable scenes (the egg eating contest, the fight with George Kennedy’s oscar winning Dragline, the girl in the clingy dress) and brilliant dialogue. On top of all that, it is completely owned by Newman, his piercing eyes and astonishing good looks drawing you to him with every frame he is in. Newman was already a major star by this time but this movie turned him into an icon and Luke, like any self respecting anti establishment hero of the 60’s doesn’t really explain (and doesn’t need to) his motives for what he does but the rights of the individual to be an individual is a sentiment that still stands up today, more so in fact with the way that corporate branding is on the verge of turning us all into interchangable clones.

Stunningly good then (small wonder it was nominated for foour oscars – best music, best screenplay, best actor and best supporting actor, in the end only taking out best support for George Kennedy), this new release comes to us in an excellent deluxe edition that includes a completely new wonderful looking digital transfer, audio commentary from Newman aficianado Eric Lax and an excellent new doco looking at the making of the movie.

Only When I Laugh – The Complete Second Series

Network DVD / Certificate PG / Region 2

Featuring James Bolam, Peter Bowles, Christopher Strauli, Richard Wilson, Derrick Branche

With its brilliant pedigree, script by Eric Chappell (hot on the heels of his legendary Rising Damp) and starring James Bolam and Peter Bowles (then two of the best known names on TV thanks to Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads and To The Manor Born), Only When I Laugh was sure to be a hit and its first season certainly proved to be so.

This second series of 7 episodes is business as usual with the trio of hospital patients Roy Figgis (Bolam), Archie Glover (Bowles) and Norman Binns (Strauli) doing their best to stave off boredom and generally wind each other up. You never really discover what is wrong with the trio, none of them are overly sick (and lets face it you wouldn’t want them to be too ill as then we would actually have to feel some sympathy for them!)

Figgis is your archetypal working class man – a lorry driver in the outside world and who has an opinion on absolutely everything; Glover is a would be cultured hypochondriac who thinks everyone should be waiting on him hand and foot, whilst Norman is the young naive lad, something of a mummy’s boy who is at the mercy of both of the other two.

Most of the action, by necessity, revolves around the hospital ward and the other two principal characters are exasperated surgeon Dr Gordon Thorpe (an early role for Richard Wilson) and put upon nurse Gupte (Derrick Branche).

Tapping into that same “trapped” classic vibe of series such as Porridge and Steptoe and Son. Only When I Laugh has some great quality scripts from Chappell and never fails to make you laugh.

Funny and definitely worth checking out visiting hours for.

Outrageous Fortune Season One

Umbrella Entertainment / 3 disc set / region 4

Featuring Robyn Malcolm, Grant Bowler, Antony Starr, Antonia Prebble, Siobhan Marshall,

We don’t get to see much New Zealand drama (probably because they don’t make enough of it) but when we do we are always blown away at the high quality of it. No exception is Outrageous Fortune, season one of which has just been released by Umbrella, which at times manages to out Shameless Shameless.

Grant Bowler plays Wolfgang, the head of the petty thieving West family, but when he is sentenced to four years in jail, his wife, Cheryl, decides that the time is right for the family to go straight, not that any of the family is overly interested in what she thinks of course. Youngest daughter Loretta is more interested in blackmailing her teacher, her 18 year old sister Pascalle is a wannabe model who has been targetted by an unscrupulous photographer, meanwhile brother Van is working for an Asian family with possible Triad links and only his twin brother Jethro is on the straight and narrow having just graduated from law school (the twins, poles apart in terms of character are excellently played by Antony Starr).

If you haven’t caught up with this show yet (it has suffered somewhat in the schedules and has appeared on three different Australian channels) then this is the perfect opportunity to spend some time with this totally entertaining comedy drama series.

Extras take us behind the scenes in a short featurette and there is also a photo gallery.