ATV News Today: Priceless

Today, sudden death for EastEnders actress as Samantha Womack’s father is found dead.

X Factor has the ratings for Saturday Night while the shows first sob-story of the season is released. ITV2’s Katie Price has a priceless encounter in a fast food takeaway. And the BBC have grief over faking ‘scandal’ at Reef.

Top Stories

Dad Death for Enders Womack. Samantha Womack – EastEnders’ Ronnie Mitchell – is reported to be distraught after the death of her father. The actress had previously had a difficult relationship with her sixty-year-old dad – who reportedly suffered from depression.

In June he spoke to The Sun of his distress at being cut from wedding snaps of Samantha and her new husband Mark Womack when they appeared in a magazine. The Sun reports Mr Janus was found dead in his bathroom after hanging himself.

Speaking to The Sun newspaper a neighbour of the deceased, John Austin, commented: “As far as we know he hanged himself. He was a nice chap and I got on with him. I saw him coming back with his dog on Friday evening. He seemed quite bright even though he had heart trouble.”

ITV’s X Factor pulled in just under 10 million for the most part of its return show on Saturday night with figures peaking at just over 11 million at the height of viewer interest.

The new look show, hosted by Dermot O’Leary, which sees the mentally ill, deranged and hopelessly talent-less perform alongside the genuinely gifted singers now have to audition in front of a live audience – instead of just to the panel of judges as in previous series.

Meanwhile, as The Sun describes him “hunky”, contestant Danyl Johnson has been the first to possibly hit the viewers sympathy vote with news he has a tragic sob story worthy of the violin underscore. The 27-year-old we are told had the heartbreak of dealing with the cot-death of his baby sister – when he was FOUR. This information comes from his father apparently, Owen, who in further heartbreak hasn’t spoken to Danyl for over a year, after another tear-jerking rift.

Last week it was announced that all contestants on the Thames produced talent shows – Britain’s Got Talent and X Factor – would undergo psychological tests to make sure they can cope with the pressures of fame after Scottish singer Susan Boyle had a public ‘breakdown’ after appearing on BGT.

The best rating show on the BBC on Saturday was the National Lottery Show, with just over 2 million.

Don’t Flog It, Fake It. We did wonder how long it would be before another ‘scandal’ from the world of television production hit the headlines and it seems Reef Television Productions were the ones to oblige.

In their Angela Rippon fronted series, Sun, Sea and Bargain Spotting its reported today that a faking incident has narked some BBC bosses.

So what have Reef done? Conned millions of pounds out of viewers? Mis-lead the daytime audience with dodgy competitions? No – they used a cameraman as a ‘customer’ in the show.

The show features two teams, who have to sell the most items they’ve bought abroad in the show in question the contestants had wandered round Dinan in north-west France to find bargains and later tried to flog their tat on a London market stall. The game is simple – the one who makes the most money wins.

The problem was that one team were somewhat “struggling” to sell an item, a rather fetching acrylic panel, so the producers decided to fake a sale. Cameraman Craig Harman purchases the item for £25, £5 less than the team had paid for it.

The BBC were not aware of the fix, and have suspended all programming by Reef Productions while they mooch over the issue with their morning tea and biscuits..

Other Stories

Katie Price Branded ‘A Slag’. You couldn’t make it up. Queen of the chavs and ITV2’s superstar – well they’re not fussy – Katie Price has been confronted in the classiest of places – a kebab shop. Price was left with red chili on her face as the, as yet unidentified, woman hurled abuse at the former model. Events escalated when the protester – made a protest sign on a napkin, which read “You are a slag.”

The Daily Mail report that Price appeared to be unshaken by the incident, later pictured ready to enjoy her greasy meal. Public sympathy has fallen on the side of her ex-Peter Andre since they spit in May this year; and while her attempts at publicity have been deemed in poor taste – such as getting her boobs out for the boys and photographers on a beach – the nation pats Pete on the back and wishes him well.

STV Ditches More ITV programming. It was announced on Friday that the channel 3 broadcaster in Scotland, STV, is to ditch even more ‘ITV Studios’ output. STV owns two regional franchises on the network and they, along with Northern Ireland’s ITV station UTV, have had a long running row with ITVplc – owner of the regional networks in England and Wales on the channel 3 network – over the cost of programming.

Drama Wuthering Heights is the latest to be dropped by STV.

UTV Continue to Invest locally. Following on from STV’s decision to ditch major ITV shows UTV is following suit.

Michael Wilson, Managing Director UTV said: “UTV is committed to working with independent producers to bring innovative and popular programming to our audience.”

It follows the announcement the broadcaster will be injecting more money into local productions including the popular Ultimate Ulster, one of the most watched programmes ever on UTV, has been re-commissioned for a second series by independent production company, Televisionary. Channel Television, the only other ITV company independent of ITVplc, continues to screen ITV Studios programming as scheduled by the London Network Centre.

BBC Boss Quits Job. The BBC’s Head of Audio and Music has decided to leave his role with the Media and Technology unit. James Cridland’s decision to quit the corporation is unknown however over the two years at the BBC he has been credited with bringing the BBC Radio Networks to the iplayer. Cridland previously worked for Virgin Radio before switching to the BBC in 2007.

Cooking up new comedy for BBC Two. A new sitcom starring Alan Davis as a “lackluster” famous chef has been commissioned by the BBC Two comedy department according to reports. Entitled ‘Whites’ the series has been written by Peep Show actor Matt King and follows the fortunes of a celebrity chef, who likes the fame – but can’t be bothered to do any work.

Sky Online or Offline? British Sky Broadcasting plans to axe up to seven of its company websites due to falling advertising revenue at The ditched websites include the money advice service, dating pages, careers, lifestyle and teen-aimed websites.

While up to ten jobs may be lost in the new media division Sky aim to invest the money saved from the axed sites into their more successful online pages. Meanwhile last week ITVplc announced that had bucked the downturn and predicted the online presence of the broadcaster would make up to £30 million from its online advertising.

Has He Got News For You? A story we would have covered last week, however with our little revamp of how we bring you the news it fell by the wayside, rather like this presenters career in recent years. Yes its good for a laugh Angus Deyton, possibly the most ditched TV face in UK broadcasting history.

Reports last week suggested that Deyton could be making a sensational return to satirical quiz show Have I Got News For You? A show he fronted for 12-years before being ditched after saucy stories about his private life made the headlines. The bad news for Angus is it would be just a one-off return to mark the shows 20th year.