Diary: Murdoch's sci-fi encounter

An exciting moment for young James Murdoch yesterday, as he took the stage at the second annual Abu Dhabi Media Summit – which went ahead despite the unrest in the region – to interview fiery filmmaker James Cameron. The pair discussed, among other things, 3D – which, conveniently for the Sky boss, Cameron claimed was the future of telly. Given that Murdoch is both a sci-fi fanboy (he used to have a six-foot statue of Darth Vader outside his office at Wapping, and a miniature Imperial Stormtrooper on his desk) and a committed environmentalist (his office chairs are made from cardboard), I imagine an audience with the director of Avatar must have been a wet dream-worthy experience. How inconsiderate of Cameron, then, to bring up the response of Murdoch père's Fox film studio when they were first presented with Cameron's blockbusting vision for Avatar. "Is there any way," the Hollywood execs allegedly inquired, "to reduce this tree-hugging hippy crap?"

* The Government relaxed its rules on product placement in television programmes last month, and Channel 4 has now announced its first official product placement deal, with the high street clothing chain New Look. The shop's garments will feature prominently in a new fashion-based reality television competition for T4. David Charlesworth, head of sponsorship at C4, said product placement was "integral to squaring the circle of measurable value within the content funded arena," which I presume means it lowers production costs. And, speaking of lowering production costs, I do hope this goes more smoothly than the last time New Look products were featured prominently on the channel: in November, documentary strand Dispatches revealed the chain was among a handful of high-street brands whose sub-contracted suppliers were using illegal sweatshops in Leicester to make their clothes. Whoops.

* In yesterday's column I triumphantly disclosed that Marco Pierre White had passed up programme-making for promotional work, signing a deal to advertise Knorr stock cubes worldwide. It has since been pointed out to me that White has leapt aboard yet another "gravy train", as it were: this weekend saw the first broadcast of his new television advertisement on behalf of Bernard Matthews, the poultry firm responsible for the Turkey Twizzler. Any suggestion that White simply took the gig as a BM brand ambassador to help recoup the cash he spent on his aborted divorce (he and his wife Mati reconciled after a three-year, £3m legal battle) is more than dispelled by the ad itself, in which the chef enthuses about the seasonal bird over lunch with, er... Spandau Ballet's Martin Kemp. "Turkey is one of those meats you can eat every day of the year," White assures a sceptical Kemp. "Turkey, without doubt, is the king of birds," he continues, as Kemp tries to change the subject. "I'm a very big fan of turkey, and I always have been," he insists. Well, I'm convinced.

* Communities Secretary Eric "Extra" Pickles has been very keen to criticise overpaid and superfluous backroom roles in bloated local government since he came to power. So what does he make, I wonder, of the £85k salary being offered for a new spin doctor at Tory-led Essex County Council, which covers Extra Pickles' own constituency of Brentwood and Ongar. That, points out the Political Scrapbook blog, is 30 per cent more than an MP's salary. "It will be your task," the job description reveals, "to enhance our image, build our profile and cement our reputation. Simply, we want to be known as the council that delivers a better deal for the people it serves." The new series of The Only Way is Essex starts this week. Job done, surely?

* British National Party chairman Nick Griffin seemed eager to demonstrate his compassion for his fellow man (of whatever race, colour or nationality) when he took to Twitter over the weekend. "While there's nothing a bankrupt shambles like [the] UK can do to help Japan," he observed, "I do think we could and should send sniffer dog teams to help just a few of those poor people give their loved ones decent burials. Photo follows of our own latest brush w [sic] force of nature. Back fence wrecked." He then helpfully posted a photo of a fallen tree in his garden. Looks like nature missed, for once.


Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment & HR Administrator

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Business Partner

£55 - 65k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: A HR Manager / HR Business Partner i...

Recruitment Genius: Senior HR Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company's vision is to be t...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life