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The BBC Worldwide Channel's Upfront #BBCWUpront #BBCUpfront2014

We are at the BBC Worldwide Channels upfront at the Inanda Polo Club. You can follow our tweets- @SMtv_Guide and the hashtag- #BBCWUpront or #BBCUpfront2014

Press Release

BBC Worldwide channels today unveiled its winter season of programmes exclusive to DStv viewers in South Africa. The exciting schedules are filled with premieres showcasing the best of British talent – including A-list stars Chris O’Dowd, Jeremy Piven, Jamie Oliver and Graham Norton.

Kully Kaur-Bains, Head of Programming South Africa, BBC Worldwide said: “First class programming takes the centre stage on BBC’s channels this winter with high quality, award-winning content across all genres. South African audiences can look forward to viewing Britain’s most talked about shows, including the critically acclaimed The Great British Bake Off and Moone Boy, and ratings-hit Strictly Come Dancing.”

Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook: Cosmopolitan Cook – An original commission for BBC Lifestyle, this series follows passionate and creative cook Rachel Khoo as she travels Europe and beyond. Immersing herself in local cultures and cuisines, Rachel meets local foodies and learns the latest food trends along the way.

• The Emmy-award winning and hotly anticipated comedy series Moone Boy premieres on BBC Entertainment this winter. Written by and starring Chris O’Dowd (Bridesmaids), Moone Boy follows the imaginary friend of 11 year old Martin, the youngest child in the large, loud Moone family, as he grows up in 1980s Ireland.

• The award-winning Great British Bake Off returns to BBC Lifestyle for a fourth series this July. Queen of Cakes Mary Berry and master baker Paul Hollywood will be judging 13 passionate bakers as they face the infamous Signature, Technical and Showstopper challenges. The Great British Bake Off series 4 saw phenomenal ratings in the UK, with 9.4 million viewers tuning in to watch the final.

• BBC Entertainment debuts ratings hit Big School to South African audiences this July. With a cast of comedy greats, including David Walliams (Little Britain), Catherine Tate (Doctor Who) and Frances de la Tour (Harry Potter), Big School is a fantastic feel-good sitcom where the staff need looking after more than the pupils. Big School premiered to more than 5 million viewers in the UK.

• Premiering on BBC Knowledge this June, Secrets of South America is an ambitious and gripping series about South America’s diverse culture. Hosted by Billy J D Porter, Secrets of South America explores a continent packed with contrasts.

• BBC Knowledge exclusively presents Wild Brazil, a landmark series from BBC’s world renowned Natural History Unit. Brazil is the wild heart of South America, home to more species than any other country on the planet. In never before seen impressions of this majestic country, Wild Brazil follows the intimate lives of an exceptional set of animal characters.

• Returning to CBeebies in October is Dinopaws, a funny and magical animated series featuring three young charismatic dinopaw pals named Gwen, Bob and Tony whose boundless sense of curiosity always leads them on exciting and wondrous adventures. Dinopaws presents a world seen through the eyes of pre-schoolers - a place brimming with wonder and endless possibilities.

Full details of the line-up can be found here www.bbcsouthafrica.com. 

Orange is the new Black's Laverne Cox Covers Time Magazine

Orange is the new Black star, Laverne Cox, made the cover of Time Magazine. The transgender actress, who has won rave reviews for her performance on the Netflix dramedy, had a sit down interview with the prestigious magazine. 

Laverne, who plays Sofia Burcell on the show, has emerged as a public leader of the trans movement, through using her increasing prominence to make the case for equal rights in the USA.  
Laverne was last night announced as one of the nominees of this year's Critics Choice TV Awards. 

Here's an excerpt and a video from the interview: 

What were you like as a child?
I was really creative. I started to dance very young. I loved to dance. I begged my mother to put me into dance classes and finally, in third grade, she did. Tap and jazz but not ballet. She thought ballet was too gay … Throughout all of that, I was very feminine and I was really bullied, majorly bullied. There was this side of me that was this over-achiever that loved learning. But then I was also taunted at school. I was called names. I was made fun of.

Are there any particular instances of bullying that stand out in your memory?
There was this one instance in junior high when I had gotten off the bus and I was chased by a group of kids, which was, you know, pretty normal. They couldn’t really bully me on the bus because the bus driver could see in the rearview mirror, and that wasn’t allowed. But the second we got off the bus, they would try to beat me up. So I’d have to start running, immediately. So that day I was running for my life, basically, and four or five kids caught me. They were in the band. And I remember being held down and hit with drumsticks by these kids. And a parent saw it, the parent of some other student, and called the principal and the principal called my mother and my mother found out about it.

Is there a moment or time you remember first feeling like you might be transgender?
I tell this story about third grade. My third grade teacher called my mom and said ‘Your son is going to end up in New Orleans wearing a dress.’ Up until that point I just thought that I was a girl and that there was no difference between girls and boys. I think in my imagination I thought that I would hit puberty and I would start turning into a girl.

Critics Choice TV Awards 2014: The Nominees

Yesterday we posted about the 30th Television Critics Association Awards nominees. Today it's all about the nominees of the 4th Critics Choice Television Awards. While the TCA Awards are affiliated to the Television Critics Association, the CCT Awards are affiliated by the Broadcast Television Journalists Association. 
Cedric the Entertainer will host the awards, which take place on June 19 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. FX shows, The Americans and Fargo are leading the nominees, with FX getting a total of 19 nominations. HBO is next with 18, CBS with 17 and Fox with 12. 
Check out the nominees below:
Best comedy series
The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
Broad City (Comedy Central)
Louie (FX)
Orange Is the New Black (Netflix)
Silicon Valley (HBO)
Veep (HBO)
Best actor in a comedy series
Louis CK, Louie (FX)
Chris Messina, The Mindy Project (FOX)
Thomas Middleditch, Silicon Valley (HBO)
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
Adam Scott, Parks and Recreation (NBC)
Robin Williams, The Crazy Ones (CBS)
Best actress in a comedy series
Ilana Glazer, Broad City (Comedy Central)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep (HBO)
Wendi McLendon-Covey, The Goldbergs (ABC)
Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer (Comedy Central)
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation (NBC)
Emmy Rossum, Shameless (Showtime)
Best supporting actor in a comedy series
Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX)
Keith David, Enlisted (FOX)
Tony Hale, Veep (HBO)
Albert Tsai, Trophy Wife (ABC)
Christopher Evan Welch, Silicon Valley (HBO)
Jeremy Allen White, Shameless (Showtime)
Best supporting actress in a comedy series
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
Laverne Cox, Orange Is the New Black (Netflix)
Kaley Cuoco, The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
Allison Janney, Mom (CBS)
Kate Mulgrew, Orange Is the New Black (Netflix)
Merritt Wever, Nurse Jackie (Showtime)
Best guest performer in a comedy series
Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black (Netflix)
Sarah Baker, Louie (FX)
James Earl Jones, The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
Mimi Kennedy, Mom (CBS)
Andrew Rannells, Girls (HBO)
Lauren Weedman, Looking (HBO)

Best drama series
The Americans (FX)
Breaking Bad (AMC)
Game of Thrones (HBO)
The Good Wife (CBS)
Masters of Sex (Showtime)
True Detective (HBO)

Brian Williams of NBC News Interviews Edward Snowden

NBC Nightly News' anchor and managing editor Brian Williams (L) sits during an interview with former U.S. defense contractor Edward Snowden in Moscow in this undated handout photo released by NBC News May 28, 2014.
(Reuters) - Former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden told a U.S. television interviewer on Wednesday he was not under the control of Russia's government and had given Moscow no intelligence documents after nearly a year of asylum there.

"I have no relationship with the Russian government at all," Snowden said in an interview with NBC News, his first with a U.S. television network. "I'm not supported by the Russian government. I'm not taking money from the Russian government. I'm not a spy."

The remarks by Snowden, whose leaks about highly classified U.S. surveillance programs shook the NSA and prompted limited reforms by President Barack Obama, were his most extensive to date on his relations with his host government.

Current and former U.S. intelligence officials have said it is unlikely Russian security services have not squeezed Snowden for secrets.

"I think he is now being manipulated by Russian intelligence," former NSA director Keith Alexander said last month.

But Snowden - who said he wants to return to the United States - said he destroyed classified materials before transiting to a Moscow airport, where he was prevented from onward travel.

"I took nothing to Russia, so I could give them nothing," he told NBC's Brian Williams in the hour-long interview.

Later in the interview, Snowden briefly criticized the crackdown on freedom of expression under Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Casting himself as a defender of privacy and civil liberties, he deemed it "frustrating" to "end up stuck in a place where those rights are being challenged in ways that I would consider deeply unfair."

Snowden, who fled to Hong Kong and then Moscow last year, is believed to have accessed about 1.5 million secret documents, U.S. officials have said, although how many he actually took is unclear. The leaked documents revealed massive programs run by the NSA that gathered information on emails, phone calls and Internet use including, in many cases, by Americans.

He was charged last year in the United States with theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified intelligence to an unauthorized person.

"If I could go anywhere in the world, that place would be home," Snowden said.

U.S. officials said he was welcome to return to the United States if he wanted to face justice for leaking details of massive U.S. intelligence-gathering programs.

Secretary of State John Kerry invited Snowden to "man up and come back to the United States." "The bottom line is this is a man who has betrayed his country, who is sitting in Russia, an authoritarian country where he has taken refuge," Kerry told the CBS "This Morning" program on Wednesday.

Snowden made clear he would not return to the United States and hope for the best. He said he would not simply "walk into a jail cell," and that if his one-year asylum in Russia, which expires on Aug. 1, "looks like it’s going to run out, then of course I would apply for an extension."

The Guardian newspaper quoted Ben Wizner, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union and legal adviser to Snowden, responding to Kerry's comments. Wizner said it would be impossible for Snowden to argue that his disclosures had served the common good if he returned home to face the current Espionage Act charges.

He also said Snowden would run the risk of facing numerous additional charges for each document that has been published.

"The exposure that he faces is virtually unlimited under this," Wizner said.

In one odd moment in the NBC interview, Snowden expressed sympathy for working-level NSA employees who have been castigated as a result of his leaks.

"People have demonized the NSA to a point that's too extreme," he said, adding that the problem is with senior-level officials who expand their surveillance powers without public debate.

(Reporting by Peter Cooney and Warren Strobel; Editing by Ken Wills and Simon Cameron-Moore)

Here's the full video of the interview

@MuvhangoSA's 2000th Episode- Tonight on @SABC_2

Tonight, SABC 2's Muvhango, which is the South Africa's second most watched soapie, celebrates its 2000th episode. And a fitting way to celebrate this great milestone, is a wedding of one of the long suffering (in love) lead actresses and original cast member, Thandaza Buthelezi (Sindi Dlathu).

Thandaza will tonight be re-marrying her ex-husband, Ranthumeng Mokoena, played by singer/actor, Brian Temba. Judging by the pictures, it's going to be one classy affair. It's great to see former cast members, like Amanda du Pont and Matshepo Maleme, on the show for this wedding special. Amanda played Thabisile, while Matshepo played Mapule. Both had volatile relationships with Thandaza, But I guess absence does make the heart grow fonder. But those bridesmaids dresses? Terrible. 

Thandaza has seen her fair share of weddings, having been married to Edward Mukwevho (deceased) then to his cousin, Ndalamao, who cheated on her with Meme, forcing them to get a divorce. She then met and fell in love with Pheko Mokoena, who also happened to be Edward's cousin, from his maternal side. This was seen as a taboo relationship. She was forced to let him go (not that Pheko made it easy for her). She then met Ranthumeng, who is Pheko's cousin (sooo incestuous) and married him. 
Ranthumeng (Themba Nofemele) and Thandaza's first wedding
They divorced last year after he cheated on her with his ex-girlfriend, Teboho and Thandaza had a fling with Pheko, who happens to be the love of her life. Teboho then shot Thandaza. 

Ranthumeng and Thandaza reconnected earlier this year and tonight will be tying the knot. 

Congratulations to Duma ka Ndlovu and his Word of Mouth Pictures team for the show's success. From being a weekly drama in the 90s to a daily soap in 2014, it's a great accomplishment. Here's to 2000 more episodes. 

Tune in to the wedding spectacular at 9pm tonight, on SABC 2. 

Jack’s Back- #24: Live Another Day

After four years, Kiefer Sutherland is back playing our favourite counter-terrorist agent in a new series, writes James Rampton

Four years ago, I was lucky enough to attend the premiere of the opening episode of the eighth series of 24 in New York. As the house lights came up, the audience began chanting: “We want more! We want more!” Well, now their wish has been granted. As the posters all over the country have been reminding us: Jack’s back.

The un-killable Counter Terrorist Unit agent Jack Bauer, who in the interim has remained hugely popular with DVD “binge-watchers”, returns after a four-year hiatus to try to foil another terrorist plot that threatens to bring about the end of Western civilisation as we know it. Kiefer Sutherland, the star of 24, confesses that after agreeing to reprise his most celebrated role, “For the next six months I was absolutely terrified about why I’d opened this can of worms once more. But once we got on set, within two or three days, I felt right at home again.”

24’s groundbreaking storytelling technique –  the show pioneered the “real time” format with a ticking clock constantly onscreen –  makes this the most viscerally exciting, nay addictive, show on TV. With its outlandish plots, outrageous cliffhangers and brilliant twists (its motto may as well be, “trust no one, especially the person you think you can trust the most”), the show has hooked fans all over the globe. One well-known aficionado, (former US) president George W Bush, once told regular 24 cast member Carlos Bernard that, “All I can do is watch that show of yours.”

I meet Sutherland on the set of the ninth season, 24: Live Another Day, which starts on tonight on M-Net at 7.30pm. It is being shot in a suitably distressed, derelict factory in west London. Sutherland, who was born in London, sums up the plot of 24: Live Another Day thus: “Jack will have a crappy day and be tested in a thousand different ways!” Since the end of the last series in 2010, Jack has been lying low in Eastern Europe. But he resurfaces in London when he hears of a terrorist plan to wreak havoc. Yet again, he has just 24 hours to save the world. He teams up with his long-time cohort, geeky computer genius and firm fan favourite, Chloe O’Brian (42-year-old Mary Lynn Rajskub).

The show has always attracted obsessive fans. Some of the more out-there aficionados enjoy playing the 24  drinking game, in which they have to neck an alcoholic beverage every time Jack says his celebrated catchphrase, “Dammit, Chloe!”

Sutherland is far more good-humoured than his famously tight-lipped alter ego –  Jack is a man who has not knowingly cracked a smile in the past 13 years. The actor owns up that in the past he has mischievously ad-libbed the catchphrase many times per episode – with predictably messy results in sitting rooms around the world.

But for all the super fans’ over-the-top behaviour, Sutherland embraces their fixation with the show. The star, who is sitting across the table from me in the sort of anonymous interview room in which Jack has conducted some of his more, er, “vigorous” interrogations, says that, “In the past, when fans in the street would call out to me, ‘Jack!’, I didn't respond.
“But now I’m proud of it. I’ve spent a third of my professional life doing this show, and I love the fact that people adore it. Nobody puts on a play and doesn’t care if just three people show up. This show is making up for the times in my life that that’s happened to me!”

The actor, who is ridiculously fit and looks much younger than his 47 years, goes on to assess what state Jack is in at the beginning of 24: Live Another Day. “I was telling a friend the other day that this time Jack is going to be meaner than he’s ever been before. My friend asked, ‘Is that possible?’ Oh yeah, it is!

“The reason is that by the end of season eight, the CIA want to eradicate him, he is estranged from his daughter, he will never see his granddaughter  again,  he  has lost his great love, Renee Walker, and is on the run from the country he spent his life serving. He’s spent the last four years hiding out in Eastern Europe –  all of those things would piss me off!”

But as the season unfolds, “He progresses from that very hard place. Water slowly starts to trickle out of little fissures in the rock. I think it’s very interesting to watch someone’s difficulty as they have to confront the reality of who they are,” he said.
The character of Jack has over the years stirred up some controversy –  his excessive use of torture, for instance, triggered a lot of criticism. But for all that, he remains a widely loved character.

So just why, despite everything, is Jack so enduringly popular? Perhaps it is because we can all identify with his fallibility in the face of impossibly tough decisions. Sutherland explains that the almost insoluble ethical dilemmas Jack confronts on an hourly basis are, “the root of the show. When I was 11, I did a play in Los Angeles called Throne of Straw.

“The play was set in the Lodz Ghetto during the Second World War. It was about an elderly Jewish man in charge of selecting people to be sent from Lodz to Auschwitz. He thought that if he could protect the children for a bit longer, then the Nazis might not eradicate every Jew. Even at the age of 11, I had unbelievable empathy for that character. I feel the same for Jack.”

Sutherland continues that, “Jack is forced to make these impossible decisions –  to save 1 000 people, are these 10 people an acceptable loss? You can’t win. We all feel that. We think, ‘I’ve got a promotion and a raise. It will mean I see less of the kids, but I can put them through private school.’ No one wins cleanly.
“Our lives are complicated. Jack’s experiences are ridiculously out of proportion, but one of his most relatable qualities is that nothing in his life is ever clean. I think people relate to that.”

So where next for Jack Bauer? Could he be smuggled into Eastern Europe to try to sort out the unrest in Ukraine? “There you go!” exclaims Rajskub. “24 has always mirrored reality. You’ve got the next series right there!” – Independent


TCA Awards 2014 Nominations

It's now time for the TV critics to put their words where their mouths (or in this case, articles) are, with the release of the nominees for the TCA Awards 2014. 

The Television Critics Association Awards, are awards presented by the Television Critics Association in recognition of excellence in television. Television Critics Association is a group of approximately 200 United States and Canadian journalists and columnists who cover television programming. The awards were first handed out in 1985. This year marks the 30th edition of the TCA Awards. 

True Detective is leading the nominees, with four nods. The popular HBO mini-series anthology drama, which starred Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. The second season is in pre-production, with the casting process about to begin to find the new detectives for the second edition of the show. 

The TCA Awards will take place after the TCA Summer Press Tour. The winners will be announced on July 19, 2014,  at a ceremony expected to be held at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California. No word if the TCA will be boycotting the hotel, after the Sultan of Brunei homophobia scandal. 

Anyway, here are the nominees

Outstanding Achievement in Drama
“The Americans” (FX)
“Breaking Bad” (AMC)
“Game of Thrones” (HBO)
“House of Cards” (Netflix)
“The Good Wife” (CBS)

Individual Achievement in Drama
Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad” (AMC)
Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife” (CBS)
Tatiana Maslany, “Orphan Black” (BBC America) 
Matthew McConaughey, “True Detective” (HBO)
Matthew Rhys, “The Americans” (FX)
Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming
“The Amazing Race” (CBS)
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” (Logo)
“Shark Tank” (ABC)
“Survivor” (CBS)
“The Voice” (NBC)
Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming
“Adventure Time” (Cartoon Network)
“Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” (PBS)
“The Fosters” (ABC Family)
“Sesame Street” (PBS)
“Switched at Birth” (ABC Family)
Outstanding New Program
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (Fox)
“Fargo” (FX)
“Orange Is the New Black” (Netflix)
“Sleepy Hollow” (Fox)
“True Detective” (HBO)
Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials
“American Horror Story: Coven” (FX)
“Broadchurch” (BBC America)
“Fargo” (FX)
“The Returned” (SundanceTV)
“True Detective” (HBO)
Individual Achievement in Comedy
Louis C.K., “Louie” (FX)
Mindy Kaling, “The Mindy Project” (Fox)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep” (HBO)
Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)
Amy Poehler, “Parks and Recreation” (NBC)
Outstanding Achievement in Comedy
“The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (Fox)
“Louie” (FX)
“The Mindy Project” (Fox)
“Veep” (HBO)
Career Achievement Award
Mark Burnett
James Burrows
Valerie Harper
Jay Leno
William Shatner
Outstanding Achievement in News and Information
“CBS Sunday Morning” (CBS)
“Cosmos” (Fox)
“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” (Comedy Central)
“Frontline” (PBS)
“60 Minutes” (CBS)
Heritage Award
“Lost” (ABC)
“Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
“South Park” (Comedy Central)
“Star Trek” (NBC)
“Twin Peaks” (ABC)
Program of the Year
“Breaking Bad” (AMC)
“Game of Thrones” (HBO)
“The Good Wife” (CBS)
“Orange Is the New Black” (Netflix)
“True Detective” (HBO)


The TV Snitch: Late Night TV, 3Talk and Panel Talk Shows

For a couple of months I’ve been wondering about the South African TV industry and why some things work and some don’t. Here are some of my musings.

Why don’t we have late night TV shows?
I’ve been pondering about this for years. We had The Phat Joe Show, which aired on Thursdays, from 1999 to 2005. e.tv commissioned the late night show and had it for two years, before it moved to SABC1 in 2001. Phat was excellent on the show. He had the personality, and the comic excellence, to be a late night show host – from the jokes he made, to showing how no question was sacred. 

Seeing the success of Phat Joe’s show, SABC 3 then commissioned Late Night with Paul Viv, which aired on Monday evenings. It ran from 2004 to 2006. It wasn’t much of a success, mainly because he wasn’t really funny, but at least he had some great interviews, including one of my favourites with the late Lebo Mathosa and former Miss SA, Claudia Henkel. 
SABC 2 got into the game with Late Night with Kgomotso (quite good) as did M-Net with The Gareth Cliff Show (terrible) and The Trevor Noah Show (disappointingly mediocre). 

e.tv hit the jackpot with the excellent mock news show, Late Night News with Loyiso Gola. The show has even been nominated for an Emmy – that’s how good it is. 
In a country where we desperately need to laugh at ourselves in order to forget the politics and the bad news we hear every day, why don’t we have a couple of late night shows? Surely it would make for great viewing, especially on weekdays? 

Comedy Central (channel 122 on DStv) carries The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report from Tuesdays to Fridays (albeit the previous night’s episodes) late at night, while M-Net has Last Week with John Oliver (Sunday nights, after the M-Net movie), which has a one week delay, is still very funny and topical.

So how about it SABC, e.tv, StarSat and DStv? We have our fair share of talented comedians, including Phat Joe, Chris Forrest, David Kau and Kagiso Lediga, who would translate well on camera, so please give us a daily late night TV show – one where no topic is sacred, we laugh at ourselves and actually have some great TV. 

Imagine how much better LNN would be with some competition? I believe South Africa has people who are sophisticated enough to tune into late night TV shows so it’s time we have a couple. 

3Talk with Noeleen
While I was on leave, I tuned into SABC3’s 3Talk with Noeleen. One thing that’s missing on that show is human interaction. The over-reliance on Twitter comments and viewers calling in is what makes the show very bland. 

The success of any daytime TV talk show is the host’s interaction with the audience. 3Talk doesn’t have that and it’s just so boring. I may not be the target audience, but even so, I must not want to change the channel every time the show is on air.

I’ve been thinking. Panel talk shows, like The View and The Talk are popular and when well-produced, are pretty good. How about we keep Noeleen Maholwana Sangqu and get Katy Katopodis, Kgomotso Matsunyane and Michelle Garforth-Venter to co-host the show in a four-panel show?

I can imagine the show airing from 6pm to 7pm, where the seasoned broadcasters discuss the day’s news, events and other issues. A few visits from personalities and a studio audience, and I think it would be a great TV show. I’d definitely watch it and it would make for a great transition from the daytime soapies, to the news, something that’s missing on SABC3. 

It’s no secret that the 6.30pm news slot on SABC3 is not working. Why not do something about it? Move 3Talk to a later timeslot, thereby moving up Days of Our Lives and The Bold and the Beautiful. 

It’s time that our channels gave thought to how they can keep viewers watching their shows and that’s only possible by producing TV that people actually want to watch. I’m so over being down on South African TV. It needs to end.

Cameron’s Disney Heights

South African Olympic gold medallist Cameron van der Burgh will be flying the flag as Disney’s newest Aim High Ambassador, writes Veruschka Mungroo

Cameron Van Der Burgh of South Africa celebrates after winning the Swimming Men's 50m Breaststroke Final on day twelve of the 15th FINA World Championships at Palau Sant Jordi on July 31, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
When 100m breaststroke world-record holder and 2012 Olympic Champion Cameron van der Burgh switches on Disney Channel to watch his favourite cartoon, the popular Phineas and Ferb, he reminisces about his younger days. Therefore, he felt honoured when he was selected to be Disney’s next Aim High mentor.

Cameron will spearhead the fifth phase of the campaign by spending a day with a lucky South African youngster, acting as his mentor and sharing some of his swimming skills.  
“I so relate to Phineas and Ferb. In my younger days, like the duo, I, too, would concoct fun inventions as a pastime, when I was not practising swimming. They are also hilariously funny.

“I am a fan of Disney and I am really excited to be an ambassador for Disney’s popular mentorship programme and such an iconic brand. It’s a great campaign that offers a unique opportunity to young aspiring sports people,” said the 25-year-old.
Aim High is an international campaign that motivates young people by putting them in touch with their heroes – sport, music, media and entertainment – to inspire them to realise their own potential.

The programme launched in South Africa in July 2011, with Idols 6 winner Elvis Blue as the role model.  The second phase, launched towards the end of that year, saw popular rugby prop Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira in the role. Third mentor was world No 1 fast-bowler, Protea cricket star Dale Steyn.

Cameron said he was up for the responsibility and the challenge. “Knowing that 10 years from now I would have shaped some child’s future by inspiring them” has prompted him to psych himself to be “the best mentor I can be”.
“Growing up I had mentors who inspired me and offered me opportunities which changed my life. I really hope that I can do the same for someone else.
“If I had the same opportunity to meet someone famous to inspire me when I was younger it would probably have been Penny Heyns. Growing up, I didn’t know what the Olympics meant. Yet she won two gold medals and we witnessed that. I remember cutting out her pictures and I’d be like, this girl is my idol,” he said.
“My dream was always to be like her. And when my turn came – even before my Olympic participation – I got a chance to speak to her. She gave me some pointers on how to handle the pressure. So I sort of had my career day with her eventually.

“Hopefully I can inspire someone in the same way Heyns did me, to get to the dreams that they have set for themselves,” said Cameron.
“My mentorship will be simple, inspiring, with a little bit of fun. It will be a tailor-made experience, to the personality and goals of that winner. A lot of my mentorship will be impromptu. 
“I find that youth these days are too consumed by superficial things and really have no meaning to their lives. Therefore, I will take this opportunity to motivate them to allow themselves to be dedicated by – and successful in – setting big goals for themselves,” he said.

The swimmer adds that he’s thrilled to be part of an initiative which inspires children to try new things and think about the numerous opportunities available to them.
“You too can do it,” he promises youngsters.

  • To enter, fans simply need to visit www.disneyxd.co.za/aim-high or disneyafrica.mobi/Aim-High_competition.rbml until Monday, June 23 and answer a multiple choice question and provide a motivation on why they should be selected. 
  • The winner will get to spend an unforgettable day in and out of the pool, learning the tricks of the trade direct from Cameron van der Burgh, which will be filmed and aired on Disney XD (DStv, Channel 304) later on in the year. 
  • The winner will also receive a year’s supply of Nestle Milo Cereal

The Kardashian-West Wedding: Pictures

 While it's not the wedding of the century (Kate Middleton and Prince William's marriage celebration, owns that title), it was pop culture's most look forward to wedding since Katie Holmes married Tom Cruise. Especially since there is still no word on when Brangelina will be getting married. 

Anyway, you must be wondering WHAT this wedding has to do with TV? Well, a lot. In a few months time, we will be able to see the wedding, on the new season of E! Entertainment's Keeping Up with the Kardashians. For the second time on the show, we'll see Kim getting married and of course it will be the season, if not the series, finale. 

Kim and Kanye West got married in Italy this past weekend in a celebration that had fashion royalty mix with hip hop stars and d-list reality stars. So this means Andre Leon-Talley, Franco Sozzani, Valentino Garavani and of course Givenchy's Riccardo Tisci who made the outifts, mixed with the likes of Lala Vasquez, Blac Chyna and Tyga. At least there were other reputable and A-list people, like John Legend and his model wife, Christy Teigen. 

E!Online released these images this afternoon (SA time) and the internet is going crazy. So why wait until the wedding is shown on TV before we see the pictures and what went down? 

Catch Keeping up with the Kardashians, Mondays on E! Entertainment at 7pm. 

ALL PICTURES: e!online

Oh, farewell: Sandra Oh on leaving Grey's Anatomy

It’s the end of an era, writes Lesley Goldberg

For Grey’s Anatomy, the departure of Sandra Oh, one of its few remaining original stars – and an Emmy nominee, Golden Globe and SAG Award winner as well as a fan favourite – leaves the series with a noticeable void heading into its 11th season. Yesterday's season 10 finale was Christina Yang's swansong. 

What was your last day on set like?
I will say, my last day, people asked if I was going to be sad. I didn’t know. But by the end of the day – which ended up being late since we shot late – Kevin threw me this little party. There was lots of celebration because the party was for me, (co-showrunners) Tony Phelan and Joan Rater, Gaius Charles (Shane) and Tessa Ferrer (Leah) who had left earlier that week. The party was joyous for me – the whole day was. I was so excited to come to work. I came in early, which I never do, and hung out.
Take us back to your final table read. What was that like for you?
I realised during this last month that the table read is definitely a ritual. I sit in the exact same spot every time because I’m a creature of habit. Every single table read for 10 years – that’s 200-odd episodes. It was this ritual that we have every week, to come together to read these words. It was really rich. What got me was, we were starting and as we’re all sitting down, our casting director Linda Lowy came up to me and hugged me. Then we read the script, and it was great, and I was filled with all these feelings.
How much of a say did you have about how Cristina’s journey should end? What were your conversations like with Shonda about bringing Isaiah Washington (Burke) back?
I told her I was going to go at the end of season nine and we didn’t really talk about the exit, until the back-half of season 10. She had an idea, but I don’t think that idea really happened. I don’t remember at what point she said, “How would you feel if we brought Burke back?” because she and the writers were trying to come up with an exit, which is tricky. There were a lot of things to consider on Shonda’s part, but for me, I thought it was a great idea.
Was your final scene hard as you expected?
My very final moment of shooting was with Kevin (McKidd), and it was the final moment when Cristina says goodbye to Owen. It was a beautiful image of Cristina in the gallery, basically behind glass and tapping on the OR theatre below. Symbolically, with that distance, it cinematically tells the story of where they are and also puts a distance that they don’t want between them. It felt right because it was tough shooting that. Both Kevin and I, when we were shooting each other’s close-ups, the other person was in the complete dark. Usually Kevin and I are about a foot away from each other, so for there to be so much space between the glass was really rich. It’s not happiness; it’s not sadness. It was very full and rich – even in the way we wanted to be closer to each other, which is exactly like how Cristina and Owen are: They just want to be closer to each other. It’s just not the time now.
Shonda has said before that surgery is the love of Cristina’s life. Looking at her complete journey, do you agree?
Oh yeah. You can say love of her life, you can say purpose, meaning. Those all make sense to me.
Looking back over 10 seasons as Cristina, what’s your takeaway from her journey?
I think back to Scene 44 – the last scene that I shot with Ellen (Pompeo) – and this one line that had tremendous specific meaning to me. It’s Ellen’s line where she says, “I am not finished”. In the context of the scene, it means something else because Cristina is trying to leave and can’t because she doesn’t feel finished. What was challenging for me was, I was finishing. I spent the past year finishing to get the character to this moment. But for me, it was the specific interpretation I had of Cristina saying, “I am not finished”. That speech fills me now. I cannot tell you how much that line means to me now. 
What was the last thing you did before you left the set? Did you take anything?
The last thing that I did was wheel my chair out. In one of the early seasons I bought myself a nice chair. I’m sitting on my chair in the backyard right now. There are certain things that really absorb the time, place and the energy and all of the stuff that has happened, and my chair certainly did. – The Hollywood Reporter