Friday, 29 April 2016

Comedies Pointless Celebrities

Comedies Pointless Celebrities is on Sunday 1 May, at 3.25pm in Scotland, 5.15pm elsewhere. It features Nigel Planer and Doon Mackichan, the Chuckle Brothers, Adil Ray and Kevin Eldon, and Nerys Hughes and Jeremy Dyson.

 It's a repeat - I know, right? - but it was a good show. I'll be watching again, for sure.

Pointless Celebrities, Saturday 30th April

Saturday's "no theme" Pointless Celebrities are Keith Chegwin and Iain Lee, Lisa Maxwell and Rav Wilding, Helen Lederer and Nicholas Parsons, and Antony Costa and Michelle Heaton.

There was a story going round at the time of filming, something about Cheggers having to rescue Nicholas Parsons, who'd got stuck in the loo. I can't find confirmation of it now, so I'll just leave you with that mental image.

Try not to be distracted by it, on Saturday at 6.15, on BBC1.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

#DangerMouse hits Netflix from Friday

I know, I was apprehensive too. Another classic kids' show reboot? Another one? Of one of my favourite cartons ever?

But now, of course, we all know it's OK, that Danger Mouse was in the safest of hands and mouths. It's as funny and as self-aware as ever.

A new tranche of shows start on CBBC this Friday (the 29th), and on the same day the new version appears on Netflix. Here's the trailer. I really recommend you check the show out.

EDIT: The source I originally spotted this on didn't make it clear that this release is on North American Netflix only. Boo and furthermore BOO. Those of us over here in the land of the world's best secret agent's birth will have to rely on DVDs.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Rockie Award nomination for Rome's Invisible City

Rome's Invisible City, the BBC Documentary presented by Xander and Dr Michael Scott of the University of Warwick, has been nominated in the History and Biography section of the Rockie Awards at the Banff World Media Festival.

The 132 nominees for 22 award categories come from more than 20 countries, and were chosen by a jury of over 350 entertainment and media industry professionals from around the world.

The Rockie Awards Ceremony is on Monday, June 13. We wish Rome's Invisible City well!

Thursday, 21 April 2016

New booking dates open for #Pointless recordings

Ticket applications are now open for Pointless up to 19th May. Come and find out how tall Richard really is, and hear Xander swear!

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Alexander Armstrong speaks up for cathedral choirs

Alexander Armstrong has issued a rallying cry in defence of cathedral choirs, as news emerges that their funding has fallen by up to 50%.

Xander attended Durham School and Trinity College, Cambridge on Choral Scholarships, and more recently topped the classical charts with his debut solo album, A Year Of Songs.

He is unequivocal in his support of life as a chorister, saying:
My background in choral music has meant everything to me. It’s a fantastic grounding in music but it’s a discipline as well. I think you learn gravitas as a chorister, there’s a great dignity to it. 
It brings you into contact with a colossal range of literature, it’s very good for your maths, it’s a grounding in performance. It’s everything that the Brit Academy is trying to do – but times 100. Any child who has been a chorister is destined to have an interesting and fulfilling life.
We have to keep this tradition going because there’s such a huge repertoire of music preserved within those institutions. If one were to lose that we would lose a national treasure of such enormous size and value, that it’s hard to put into words.

On April 27th,  Xander and Aled Jones will host an Evening with the  Choristers of Britain to launch the Diamond Fund for Choristers, which will aim to relieve financial hardship among choristers and allow them to develop and flourish. It sounds like a fabulous evening. Tickets are available online here.

Alexander Armstrong does Shakespeare

Xander has done a beautiful performance of Shakespeare's Sonnet No. 116, Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments, as part of Classic FM's marking of 400 years since the poet and playwright's death. This sonnet became particularly well-known after it was used in the 1995 film adaptation of Sense and Sensibility.

Particularly nice eyebrow work there, Xander, if I may say so.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Crikey Chief, #DangerMouse is back!

The World's top secret agent Danger Mouse will be back on CBBC's screens in brand-new adventures from 7.25am on Friday April 29th (with some assistance from Alexander Armstrong)

The first new episode, The Hamster Effect, features the return of Brunel, the time-travelling Victorian gentlechimp. Can't wait!

Monday, 18 April 2016

Rome's Invisible City on DVD

You may remember a fascinating documentary, Rome's Invisible City, in which Xander and his oppo Dr Michael Scott of the University of Warwick rootled through the innards of Rome: mines, aqueducts, sewers, catacombs - all assisted by exciting new laser scan technology.

Well, the Beeb have brought this doc out on DVD (possibly in preparation for Xander's forthcoming series, Italy's Invisible Cities, which will look at Venice, Florence, and Naples). Available from Amazon and the usual outlets now.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

New #Pointless shows from Wednesday 20th!

New shows of Pointless are back from Wednesday 20th April.
  1. No, I don't know how long they'll be back for. Not long, going on recent form.
  2. No, I don't know why they're starting new shows in the middle of the week either.
  3. Yes, it does mean you can no longer pretend to your family that you're a genius by getting all the pointless answers.
There they are though. All brand new and shiny, ready for us on Wednesday the 20th. See you then?


I spent the afternoon of 12th April at the recording of the 1000th edition of Pointless.


The four couples were all previous jackpot winners, all lovely, and all significant in some way. Trev and Simon represented the Celebrity contingent, there were the first ever jackpot winners, one pair had got three pointless answers in the final, and the winners of the biggest ever jackpot rounded out the contestants.

No I'm not going to tell you who won. I'm also not going to tell you what the BIG TWIST was, as I don't know if they're going to be trying to keep that quiet until broadcast.

What I can tell you is that it was a hilarious afternoon. You're in for a treat once the programme's shown!

Monday, 11 April 2016

Fashion Pointless Celebrities

This Saturday's Pointless Celebrities is a Fashion special, with Brix Smith-Start and Jonathan Phang, Amy Childs and Sam Faiers, Grace Woodward and Brendan Courtney, and Lee Stafford and Nicky Clarke.

Should be quite some #shirtwatching to be done what with all those fashionistas, so tune in at 6.15 on Saturday!

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Land of the Midnight Paperback

You may remember Xander's excellent TV series, Land of the Midnight Sun. If not,  I recommend finding someone who still has it recorded (as it's sadly not been issued on DVD)....I'll put the kettle on.

The series was accompanied by a book, which as well as talking about the places visited gave fascinating background about the process of  making television. It's witty and informative.

Well now, finally, the book is out in paperback, amusing cover and all. Probably worth shopping around for price, as the hardback is down to around £9 at most places online now.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Xander not hosting on HIGNFY this series

The new series of Have I Got News For You - the 51st! - starts this Friday, the 9th of April. Normally the presenters and guests are only announced during the previous week, but this time we already have a list of most of the guest hosts and some of the panelists.

And Xander is nowhere to be seen.

Hopefully he's just too busy with other work, and he'll be back for the autumn series. Otherwise I may go into withdrawal.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

New show times on Classic FM from 9th April

Xander has new show times on Classic FM from next Saturday, 9th April. He'll be on from 1-3pm, on both Saturday and Sunday.

Which means an hour less per week of his velvety voice. NOBODY CONSULTED ME ABOUT THIS CHANGE?!

Friday, 1 April 2016

Join Aled Jones and Alexander Armstrong for An Evening with the Cathedral Choristers of Britain

The place: St Paul's Cathedral

The date: 27th April

The occasion: Choristers from 60 cathedrals around the country come together to perform some of Britain's best-loved choral music

Aled will be hosting the event, and Xander will reminisce about his time as a chorister at Durham Cathedral and what it means to him personally.

The programme will include:
  • Allegri’s Miserere, using the architecture of St Paul’s Cathedral to wonderful effect
  • Excerpts from Britten’s Friday Afternoons and Ceremony of Carols, displaying the versatility of the nation’s young choristers 
  • Handel’s Zadok the Priest, which has been performed at every Coronation since that of George II in 1727 
  • Tippett’s Five Spirituals, drawing on a very different choral tradition
  • The world premier of a specially commissioned work by Philip Stopford 
  • Parry’s I Was Glad, guaranteed to lift the roof off the cathedral.
The evening is in aid of the Diamond Fund for Choristers, which aims to fund grants and bursaries for choristers in financial need, and provide other support to help choristers develop and flourish.

Read more about the event here, and book tickets online here.