Sunday, July 05, 2015

It's Only Me Pursuing Something I'm Not Sure Of

Doctor Who is bringing back Rachel Talalay to direct this year's series finale. The Tank Girl director was previously behind the camera for series eight's two-part closer, Dark Water and Death In Heaven. She will return to direct episodes eleven and twelve this year - written by Doctor Who's executive producer The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE).
Yer actual Peter Capaldi has promised 'an epic sweep' for the upcoming ninth series of Doctor Who. Returning for his second series as The Doctor, Peter told Entertainment Weekly that fans can expect 'old monsters and new ones. 'There is an epic sweep to this season and I think the villains and monsters reflect that,' he said. 'Great new ones, brilliant old ones, and some very scary creatures looming in stories with real emotional ambition.' Peer also hinted that his Doctor would be less curmudgeonly this time around - 'throwing himself into life with a new found hunger for adventure. He's in pursuit of joy and grabbing every thrill that he can along the way,' he said. 'But, I sense him running from something, that even he does not yet understand. [The opening episodes] place The Doctor in a conflict that is central to his being, as well as containing some subtle tributes to the 1960s and truly wonderful guest performances,' he said, adding that The Doctor will 'make a mistake that has cataclysmic repercussions.'
The Met: Policing London topped the overnight ratings outside of soaps on Monday. The documentary series continued with 4.05m at 9pm, gaining more than three hundred thousand viewers week-on-week. Earlier, Nigel Slater: Eating Together appealed to 2.46m at 7.30pm and Panorama drew but 1.76m at 8.30pm. On BBC2, Wimbledon's opening day highlights rounded up the events for 1.34m viewers at 8.30pm, before coverage of the RHS Hampton Court Palace Show brought in 1.23m at 9.30pm. Episodes followed with seven hundred and seventy thousand punters at 10pm, while Newsnight had six hundred and fifty thousand at 10.30pm. ITV's Countrywise averaged 2.40m at 8pm, before Vicious shed even more viewers, drawing just 2.17m at 9pm. Which was bad, but not a patchy on the properly awful audience It's A Funny Old Week attracted with all of the enthusiasm of a fart emerging from a pile-ringed anus - a mere 1.22m at 9.30pm. Jason, mate, fer Christ's sake, next time ITV offer you a format that's not only unoriginal but also unfunny, make an excuse and run. On Channel Four, Dispatches was watched by 1.09m at 8pm while The Real Story interested 1.71m at 8.30pm. Kevin McCloud's Escape To The Wild continued with 1.97m at 9pm and Man Down had an audience of five hundred and seventy thousand at 10pm. Big Brother remained steady - and, steadily rotten - with 1.09m on Channel Five at 9pm, while Under The Dome was watched by six hundred and forty eight thousand at 10pm.

The BBC's revamped Wimbledon highlights show has come under fire from newspapers - with an agenda - and 'some people on Twitter during the first week of the Championships. Because, as we all know, according to most of the media, Twitter is The Sole Arbiter Of The Worth Of All Things instead of, you know, just a bunch of mouthy glakes whinging about shit. It appears that many tennis fans enjoyed the reliably straightforward nature of the previous format, Today At Wimbledon's replacement, Wimbledon 2day, hosted by Clare Balding. Still present are McEnroe and Lindsay Davenport as expert pundits, only they are not afforded the opportunity to be sharp and informative amid the 'interactive' features of the new format. 'Dumbed down' and 'full of gimmicks' according to detractors, Wimbledon 2day attempts to incorporate 'quirky skits' and 'fan interaction' with a chat show format played out in front of a live audience of fans who are made to stand in The Gatsby Club (one of Wimbledon's hospitality suites) clutching drinks and trying to catch the camera's eye over McEnroe's shoulder. The Daily Scum Mail's odious rancid pile of phlegm, Jan Moir was particularly scathing about the new show - so, no obvious sick agenda at work there then - arguing that the 'disastrous' new show was 'a travesty and a tragedy' more about Balding and 'silly features' than about giving the fans what they actually wanted – to watch some tennis. As though anybody gives a stuff about what those worthless pile of turds at the Daily Scum Mail think. About anything. 'Like some nightmarish cross between Top Gear and Play School, guests must chat to Clare while standing around one of those high top tables that are so popular in wine bars,' the vile and wretched Moir whinged. 'Precious little court action from the day's matches is shown. Instead of crisp analysis and lots of tennis, there are gimmicky items. Tennis fans who have been working all day, which means the vast majority of us, want to come home and watch a plain and simple, comprehensive round-up of the day's play. We want as many on-court highlights as possible and straight-forward scrutiny and expert opinion. What we don't want is Clare reading out inane tweets or talking over match play while rock'n'roll musik is played over her words.' Well, thanks for appointing yourself the spokesperson for a generation of tennis fans, you odious horrorshow (and drag). The Guardian Morning Star's Stuart Heritage was equally critical and dismissive, saying: 'Wimbledon 2day has a horrible name. But that's only part of the reason why everyone hates it – and, let's be clear, they really do hate it. They hate it because it can't decide whether it wants to be Top Gear or The ONE Show, when actually it should be a sober review of matches that people missed because they were working. They hate it because it has a shipped in a pseudo-studio audience who are only there to look bored and go "Weeeey" whenever prompted.' Thanks, Stu, but you can't have the job of being the spokesperson for a generation of tennis fans, that Jan Moir from the Daily Scum Mail already has it. Tough break. Inverdale fronted the much-loved Today At Wimbledon for a dozen years, a format which could easily have been continued with a fresh presenter. Indeed, even leading pundit McEnroe was seemingly left confused by the new show's purpose, saying 'this is so bizarre and crazy.' When later randomly asked by Balding if he'd ever had a beard, McEnroe responded bluntly, 'What the hell are you asking me about beards for?' So-called 'media insider' - whatever the fuck that means - Charles Sale claimed in another Daily Scum Mail column of the new show: 'There is much bemusement among the BBC's Wimbledon team as to why it was felt necessary to dispense with the successful highlights show hosted by John Inverdale for a woeful Clare Balding-presented programme that is being panned from all quarters. Such has been the criticism that Balding, a frequent Twitter user, hasn't been on the site since the hugely negative response to her new programme, which is the talk of Beeb personnel.' And, he's a 'media insider', apparently, so he should know. A BBC spokeswoman has defended the show, saying: 'The focus of the highlights show remains the tennis, which forms the vast part of the programme, along with analysis from expert pundits. This is a new look for the show which we expect to evolve as the fortnight progresses.'

The Syndicate continued to top the overnight ratings outside of the soaps on Tuesday. The BBC1 drama continued with 5.03m at 9pm, while Imagine ... brought in eight hundred and fifty thousand at 10.45pm. On BBC2, Wimbledon 2day was watched by 1.36m at 8.30pm, while The Bank: A Matter Of Life & Debt interested seven hundred and ten thousand at 9.30pm. Newsnight followed with seven hundred and ninety thousand at 10.30pm. ITV's flop documentary series A Great Welsh Adventure With Griff Rhys Jones continued with 1.79m at 7.30pm while Love Your Garden dipped to 2.24m at 8pm. The 7/7 Bombing: Survivors' Stories was seen by 1.57m at 9pm. Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners averaged 1.21m for Channel Four at 8pm, while Child Genius had an audience of 1.24m at 9pm. On Channel Five, OAPs Behaving Badly was watched by seven hundred and thirty nine thousand at 9pm, while Big Brother continued with 1.19m at 10pm. E4's Empire brought in three hundred and ninety five thousand at 9pm.

England's injury time exit from the Women's World Cup brought in impressive numbers for BBC1, according to overnight figures for Wednesday. The team's semi-final defeat to Japan averaged 1.74m from 11.15pm. Earlier, Don't Tell The Bride continued with 2.63m at 8pm and the latest episode of The Interceptor brought in a mere 2.45m at 9pm. Not, quite, as staggeringly disastrous a flop of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell but hardly numbers that will have the drama department rushing to commission a second series. ITV's Long Lost Family topped the ratings across all channels outside of soaps, remaining consistent with 3.63m at 9pm. The Cube was seen by 2.88m at 8pm. On BBC2, Wimbledon 2day appealed to 1.30m at 9pm, before coverage of the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show interested 1.07m and Newsnight followed with seven hundred and forty thousand punters at 10.30pm. Channel Four's The Auction House gathered 1.03m at 8pm, while Twenty Four Hours In A&E was watched by 1.50m at 9pm. Big Brother continued with 1.16m on Channel Five at 10pm. E4's US imports Jane The Virgin and Nashville continued with one hundred and twenty three thousand viewers at 9pm and two hundred and six thousand viewers at 10pm respectively.

Celebrity MasterChef topped the overnight ratings outside of soaps on Thursday. The z-list celebrity cooking series continued with 3.75m viewers at 9pm, following Britain Beneath Your Feet, which brought in 3.34m at 8pm. On BBC2, Wimbledon 2day was up three hundred thousand on the previous night with 1.71m at 8.30pm, before coverage of the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show averaged 1.25m at 9.30pm, and Mock The Week drew 1.35m at 10pm. ITV's Tonight was watched by 2.31m at 7.30pm, while Big Box Little Box continued with 2.31m at 8.30pm. Superhospital was up next with 2.33m at 9pm. Channel Four's Dogs: Their Secret Lives had an audience of 1.16m at 8pm and The Tribe brought in 1.05m at 9pm. On Channel Five, Benefits: Thirty Seven Years On The Dole was watched by 1.04m at 8p, before Big Brother dipped to 1.07m at 9pm. Person Of Interest had six hundred and sixty thousand viewers at 10pm.

The latest Big Brother live eviction was seen by more than one million sad, crushed victims of society on Channel Five on Friday. An average overnight audience of 1.01 million tuned in to the Victorian freak show to watch another housemate leave the compound. BBC1's Celebrity MasterChef was the evening's highest-rated show, attracting 3.59 million at 8.30pm. BBC1's evening kicked-off with 1.77 million for The ONE Show at 7pm, followed by 1.7 million for a Would I Lie To You? repeat immediately afterwards. The night ended with 2.65 million for The Graham Norton Show at 10.35pm, which featured highlights from the previous season. On ITV, Gino's Italian Escape: A Taste Of The Sun was seen by 2.18 million and an old episode of Doc Martin played to 1.79 million. Tennis - and whinging, cos those two seem to go hand-in-hand dominated BBC2's schedule, with 1.3 million watching the latest episode of Wimbledon 2Day. The evening continued with 1.63 million for Gardener's World at 9.30pm and 1.15 million for RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown was Channel Four's highest-rated show with 1.2 million, narrowly beating The Last Leg with 1.18 million punters.

Coverage of the Women's World Cup in Canada drew an audience of more than 1.4 million overnight viewers on Saturday. England's third-place play-off match against Germany averaged 1.44m from 8.30pm on BBC3. England eventually won 1-0 after extra time. Family Guy followed the football, as the 11pm and 11.20pm episodes were watched by 2.07m and 2.03m punters respectively. On the terrestrial channels, BBC1's coverage of Wimbledon continued with 4.17m across the evening from 5.15pm. BBC2's Wimbledon 2Day managed seven hundred and fifty four thousand from 8.30pm. ITV broadcast Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince, which averaged 2.3m. On Channel Four, Nasty Penelope Keith's Wretched & Awful Hidden Villages concluded with eight hundred and thirty threee thousand from 8pm, before the movie GI Joe: Retaliation attracted 1.92m. On Channel Five, the latest Big Brother 'highlights' appealed to eight hundred and ninety eight thousand in the 10pm hour.

The Sheridan Smith drama Black Work concluded with strong overnight ratings on Sunday. ITV's crime serial wrapped up its three-episode run with 5.14m at 9pm. Earlier, Catchphrase sent 2.44m punters to sleep at 7.15pm, while Surprise Surprise averaged 3.36m at 8pm. However, it was BBC1's Countryfile that was Sunday night's most-watched overnight programme, bringing in 5.48m at 7pm. Fake or Fortune? interested 4.85m at 8pm, while the 7/7 drama A Song For Jenny attracted 3.12m at 9pm. On BBC2 a broadcast of the notorious movie flop John Carter gathered 1.41m at 6pm, before a repeat of The Best Of Top Gear was watched by 1.86m at 8pm and the latest episode of Odyssey appealed to 1.09m at 9pm. Channel Four's Amazing Spaces: Shed Of The Year continued with 1.29m at 8pm, while Humans continued with 2.30m at 9pm. Big Brother rose to nine hundred and eighty two thousand on Channel Five at 9pm.

And, so to the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty programmes, week-ending Sunday 28 June 2015:-
1 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 7.88m
2 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 7.29m
3 Top Gear - Sun BBC2 - 6.92m
4 Black Work - Sun ITV 6.78m
5 The Syndicate - Tues BBC1 - 6.49m
6 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 6.13m
7 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 5.16m
8 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 4.85m
9 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 4.63m
10 Ten O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 4.56m
11 Six O'Clock News - Fri BBC1 - 4.52m
12 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.51m
13 Celebrity MasterChef - Thurs BBC1 - 4.44m
14 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.40m
15 The Graham Norton Show - Fri BBC1 - 3.95m
16= The Met: Policing London - Mon BBC1 - 3.83m
16= The ONE Show - Mon BBC1 - 3.83m
18 Watchdog - Thurs BBC1 - 3.71m
19 Humans - Sun C4 - 3.63m
20 The National Lottery: Who Dares Wins - Sat BBC1 - 3.57m
These figures, as usual, do not include iPlayer or ITV Player viewers. ITV programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures. BBC2's highest-rated weekly programmes - apart from Top Gear - were Japan: Earth's Enchanted Island (3.02m), followed by the opening episode of Odyssey (2.13m), Gardeners' World (1.85m), Mountain Lions: Big Cats In High Places (1.84m) and Sunday night's coverage of Glastonbury (1.83m). Aside from Humans, Channel Four's top-rated shows were Twenty Four Hours In A&E (2.09m), the movie Taken 2 (2.02m) and Kevin McCloud's Escape To The Wild (two million viewers). Channel Five's highest-rated broadcasts were Psycho Pussies: When Cats Attack (1.78m) and Big Brother (1.45m). BBC3's coverage of the England Versus Norway match at the Women's World Cup was the most-watched multichannels broadcast (1.49m). More4's highest-watched shows were The Good Wife (five hundred and forty two thousand), Come Dine With Me (three hundred and ninety six thousand) and The Saboteurs (three hundred and ninety five thousand thousand). Midsomer Murder was ITV3's best-rated drama with eight hundred and eight thousand viewers. Lewis attracted six hundred and sixty nine thousand. BBC4's weekly list was topped by Saturday's Glastonbury coverage (eight hundred and eighty seven thousand) and Catching History' Criminals (six hundred and thirty one thousand). 5USA's Chicago PD attracted four hundred and eleven thousand. Penny Dreadful (four hundred and ninety nine thousand) and the opening episode of True Detective's second series (four hundred and seventy five thousand) were Sky Atlantic's chart-toppers. The Affair drew three hundred and ninety five thousand punters. Sky Living's most-watched programmes were Chicago Fire (four hundred and sixty two thousand viewers),Madam Secretary (four hundred and fifty six thousand) and Hannibal (three hundred and forty four thousand). On Dave, Storage Hunters UK was the channel's highest-rated programme of the week - five hundred and twenty three thousand - followed by Top Gear (three hundred and fifty four thousand). Watch's Grimm had an audience of five hundred and twenty three thousand. With the current series of NCIS having ended last week, FOX's highest-rated shows were American Dad (two hundred and fifty one thousand) and Wayward Pines (one hundred and ninety three thousand). NCIS did top CBS Action's weekly list (one hundred and ten thousand). The Universal Channel's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit had one hundred and fifty five thousand. On the Discovery Channel, Fast N' Loud was watched by two hundred and eighty six viewers. Discovery History's codes & Conspiracies had an audience of by thirty six thousand viewers. On Discovery Turbo, Wheeler Dealers drew sixty seven thousand. CI's A Town & Country Murder brought in seventy one thousand. ID's Deadly Women was watched by seventy five thousand. National Geographic's Cabin Fever: Sky High Sanctuary had sixty seven thousand. Gold's The Interviews attracted two hundred and fifteen thousand punters. The thrilling Twenty/20 international between England and New Zealand was Sky Sport 2's largest audience with five hundred and ninety three thousand.

Sexy Suzi Perry - the only woman in TV history who looks as good in leather as Diana Rigg - has hinted that she has spoken to Top Gear producers about joining the show. Speaking on ITV's This Morning on Tuesday, the presenter said: 'You know what it's like when you work for a channel and you have conversations. But we don't know what's going to happen with that show. So until as a broadcaster you know what's going to happen with the show, I don't think you can really think very seriously about it.' However, she admitted that she doubts she would have enough time to film both Top Gear and the BBC's F1 coverage, saying: 'I'm away twenty weeks a year doing Formula 1. 'So unless someone has invented forty eight hours in a day. It would be pretty tough I think for me to do it.' When asked if she had once turned it down, Perry said: 'When they brought it back ten or twelve years ago, they didn't have the whole team assembled, so it wasn't true that it was those three - because if it had of been those three, I probably would have jumped on board. Jeremy [Clarkson] wasn't on board at the time and there was a lot of talk about it. I just didn't think that I could do it.' Perry added: 'I feel okay about it [now] actually because I think those three were incredible together. They made that show a success with Andy Wilman, it was about those three, I don't think it was particularly about the format, it was very much about their relationship together and that's what works. That's what's dynamite on television and that's what needs to be assembled. That's what Chris [Evans] has to do, he has to assemble a good team that works very well together and keep the good bits and freshen it up with some new bits.'
Deadline is reporting that Hannibal's cast and crew have been released from their contracts. In addition to other stumbling blocks towards making any potential fourth season of Hannibal, new contract deals would have to be negotiated with stars Hugh Dancy and Mad Mikkelsen - presuming it didn't interfere with their other potential upcoming projects. Showrunner Bryan Fuller, who has been asked non-stop about Hannibal's possible future since it was announced last week that NBC had declined to continue broadcasting the series, also seems to be shifting his focus instead to American Gods. Though he said recently that a fourth season of Hannibal would not interfere with his co-showrunning American Gods, he told Deadline: 'The question would be for the potential new distribution partner is how comfortable they are in waiting. Because I do have an obligation to American Gods and a passion for American Gods, so I absolutely want to service that in the way that it needs to be serviced.'
Bad times ahead for the BBC, it would seem. The corporation is to cut one thousand jobs because of a one hundred and fifty million smackers 'budget gap' in its licence fee income. An unexpected increase in the number of households saying that they do not watch live TV so do not pay for a licence has been blamed for the short-fall. Many cuts are to come from professional and support areas, while management structures will be streamlined. One wonders if any of those smears in local radio, for example, who were so sneering about Clarkson leaving Top Gear a few weeks ago are quite so bolshy now given that the BBC could probably really use that fifty million quid which they're going to lose when Chris Evans' reboot flops like a big flopping thing next year (Suzi Perry's involvement in it notwithstanding). Just sayin'. BBC Director General Tony Hall says that this will save around fifty million knicker a year so more cuts will come. Lord Hall said that the BBC was facing 'difficult choices' because of the 'tough financial climate.' He said that more than one million fewer people had a television set than was predicted in 2011, when a previous round of efficiency savings was implemented, so extra savings had to be found. 'Despite the progress already made, and the realities of the licence fee being frozen for seven years, a new financial challenge means additional savings must now be found,' he said. He added that decision-making had become 'too complicated' in recent times, as new services have been introduced, and that he wanted to cut these back to 'make things simpler', which 'inevitably would lead to fewer decision-makers.' Professional and support departments such as IT, human resources and engineering will be looked at closely to see where there is duplication, with the possibility of merging divisions across the BBC and its commercial arm, BBC Worldwide. In announcing more than a thousand jobs cuts, Lord Hall said he recognised 'this is a tough message.' No shit? He said that the BBC had already made one an a half billion quid in savings, but because of the shortfall in licence fee income, more needs to be done. The four key areas for making the savings are: Merging divisions, bringing together teams in BBC and BBC Worldwide; Cutting management layers, reducing management levels from up to ten in places to a maximum of seven; Reducing management roles, bringing down the number of senior positions and simplifying procedures in professional areas including legal, marketing and finance. The BBC licence fee of £145.50 has been frozen for seven years and the process of charter renewal is only just getting under way in a hostile political climate. This will decide how the BBC is run when its current royal charter runs out at the end of 2016. Broadcast union Bectu said that whilst it supports the BBC's ambitions of 'simplification and standardisation', it is opposed to any compulsory redundancies. General secretary Gerry Morrissey said: 'We welcome the aims and the commitment to cutting the layers of management between the DG and programme makers, for example. That said it is essential, as in any programme of cuts, that staff and unions are fully involved in the consultation and that where jobs are closed that redeployment opportunities are maximised.'

The BBC Trust has approved the corporation’s plans to scrap the BBC3 TV channel and make it online-only in a move set to save the corporation thirty million quid a year. In its first major decision since Rona Fairhead was appointed as chair of the Trust last September, the regulator recognised the 'clear long-term potential' in moving online, but admitted there were 'clear concerns' about the loss of services to the, allegedly, 'key' sixteen-to-twenty-four-year-old demographic as well as the BBC's ability to try out new ideas and develop new talent. In a blow to the corporation, the Trust rejected another proposal to launch a new BBC1+1 channel in place of BBC3 because of its 'likely impact on commercial rivals' including ITV and Channel Five. 'We want a strong, sustainable BBC which is innovative, distinctive and relevant and has clear boundaries with the commercial market,' said Fairhead. 'It is clear that the long-term future of broadcasting is online and the BBC needs to find new and exciting ways to help audiences make that transition, while bearing down on costs overall.' The closure of the twelve-year-old youth-oriented channel will save about thirty million notes a year, according to the BBC, which aims to redirect some of those savings into its drama budget for BBC1. The budget for the new online-only BBC3 will be cut to thirty million smackers. Although it points out that BBC3's audience is falling, the Trust suggested the BBC could run the online version and TV channel 'in parallel' for a yet-to-be decided period in order to 'address concerns' about the impact of its closure on young people and those without superfast broadband. In the Trust's own analysis, the BBC's reach among sixteen-to-twenty four-year-olds could fall by three per cent. Up to five per cent of black audiences and women in lower income households are also likely to be lost. On average, 11.2 million people watch BBC3 every week, with fewer than one million of that total claiming that they do not watch any other TV service. The Trust estimates that up to eighty per cent of the nine hundred and twenty five thousand audience who use no other BBC TV service could be lost. 'We know young audiences are already moving towards the online future, but we do recognise in the short term some of them will feel the immediate impact of the BBC3 proposals,' Fairhead said. 'We are therefore asking the BBC for commitments to ensure it uses the full range of its television services to better serve young people and others who make up BBC3's audience.' She added at a media Q&A that the decision had been 'finely balanced' but, in the end, cost pressures combined with a sense that the future was online weighed against the fact that the public value of the proposals was at best 'low to medium. We all know in the future that many more people will watch online. The BBC needs to adapt to that challenge to learn to make greater content online,' she said. 'Online is the way of the future. With the licence fee frozen in 2010 that cost pressure is really starting to bite. The fact is the BBC does not have endless resources.' The BBC will be asked to explore use of the spectrum left behind on the network once BBC3 becomes fully online now that the Trust has blocked its plans to show catch-up programmes on BBC1+1. Rejecting proposals for a sale of the BBC brand by two leading independent producers, Fairhead said: 'What may be left is some spectrum. If the BBC can find ways of finding value out of that we encourage them to do so.' ITV was one a number of commercial broadcasters that made submissions in opposition to the BBC1+1 channel, while Ofcom's assessment was that it would have had the 'greatest adverse market impact of any of the proposals.' 'We had previously stressed that we felt that it would be an inappropriate use of the licence fee to launch a highly competitive, peaktime repeat channel purely to gain audience share against other broadcasters,' said an ITV spokesman. 'We will be looking at the detail regarding the Trust's view on BBC3.' Asked why a proposal to 'purchase' the BBC3 brand by two independent producers was not considered in its report, Fairhead said it was up to BBC management to consider all proposals for spectrum use. But she added, 'It would be crazy to drop the brand. The BBC brand is not for sale.' BBC3 had built up a keen and responsive audience, especially for comedy, she said. The public value would be improved, she added, if the BBC met the conditions imposed to put more programming on BBC1 and BBC2 for young people and run the online and TV services in parallel. Under the current plans, BBC3 programming would change: 'There will be less light entertainment and reality television and more distinctive BBC3 content,' said Fairhead. 'Moving BBC3 audience online will have a short term impact. We recognise that this audience cares very deeply about BBC programmes that the BBC doesn't want to lose,' Fairhead added. 'In the long term we think it will help ability to create a genuine multimedia broadcaster.' Richard Ayre, a trustee, described the move online as 'a liberating opportunity' with new types of programming that is not restricted to twenty eight minutes. Conditions the Trust has imposed on the closure also include commitments to broadcasting programmes on BBC1 and BBC2 that appeal to a younger audience, including continuing existing BBC3 programmes. Although BBC3 shows such as Snog Marry Avoid have proved controversial, BBC3 has acted as a seed bed for new talent and ideas. The BBC must also promise to continue taking risks on new talent and ideas 'of the sort that BBC3 has been successful in developing.' Under BBC proposals, the budget for entertainment and features such as reality television shows will be scrapped, while the bulk of the remaining reduced budget of thirty million notes will be spent on drama and serious factual such as the award-winning Murdered By My Boyfriend. The budget for personality-led tripe such as Odious, Unfunny, Lanky Streak Of Rancid Piss Jack Whitehall & His Dad will be halved (sadly, it seemingly won't be done away with altogether), while scripted comedy including series like Cuckoo will see a twenty five per cent budget cut to about ten million knicker. Factual entertainment programme Don't Tell The Bride has already moved to BBC1 as part of the plans. Meanwhile, Russell Kane (very popular with students) has been told never to darken the BBC's door again. Hopefully. The corporation had intended to replace the BBC3 TV channel with a one-hour time-shifted version of BBC1, a move that most viewers seemed to think was a great idea since the BBC is the only broadcaster which does not, at the moment, offer a +1 service. However, this 'concerned' commercial rivals, who claimed it was a ratings-driven move - which it might be but, what the hell that had to do with them, or Ofcom, is another question entirely and one very much worth asking, this blogger reckons. The BBC Trust, showing the collective backbone of a mollusc. rejected the proposal, saying it has 'limited public value' (with is certainly not a view shared by this blogger) and cited 'a range of issues' including 'a lack of distinctiveness' and that almost a quarter of UK households would need to upgrade TV equipment to receive such a channel. Ofcom's market impact assessment concluded that a BBC1+1 channel would have 'a negative impact' on commercial rivals, 'capturing viewing share for the BBC at the expense of commercial channels and reducing the profitability, in particular, of ITV and Channel Five.' And, this is a bad thing? The BBC Trust accepted that other parts of the corporation's plans, including extending the CBBC children's channel by two hours to 9pm and developing the BBC iPlayer to include more online-only and third-party content. Such a move will allow BBC3's online only content to be seen more readily on the iPlayer. The Trust said the extension of CBBC's hours would 'expand choice for younger viewers, can be implemented at minimal cost and represents a good use of the licence fee.' Some of the thirty million wonga BBC3 budget will be redirected towards drama on BBC1, which currently has a budget of about one billion quid. The corporation, which announced its decision to close BBC3 in May 2014 but did not submit the proposals to the Trust until December, has until the end of July to respond to the findings. After public consultation the final proposal will be announced in the autumn. Under its original plans, BBC3 TV would have been switched off this autumn; this has been extended until January 2016, the last year of the current BBC charter. A BBC spokesperson said: 'We welcome the Trust's provisional conclusion, which is the next step in delivering our vision for a new BBC3. With a frozen licence fee and the BBC's income cut by twenty six per cent we have had to make some very difficult choices, however our plans will allow us to innovate with new ideas and new forms of content for younger audiences. We will now consider the areas the trust have asked us to address and respond in due course.'

An Ofcom review into public service broadcasting in the UK has raised concerns about a fall in spending on drama and children's programming. Investment in TV drama has fallen by forty four per cent since the last review in 2008. The report found that 'the drops in the levels of investment, particularly on ITV, are a concern.' The media watchdog's review found spending on children's programmes in the UK had also fallen from one hundred and three million smackers in 2008 to eighty eight million knicker in 2014. The BBC now accounts for ninety seven per cent of total public service broadcasting spending on children's programmes. Spending by ITV, Channel Four and Channel Five on children's TV has dropped by seventy four per cent to a mere three million notes in 2014. The review points out there is 'very limited provision of non-animation programming beyond the BBC.' The review found that, despite the success of big budget dramas like Downtown Abbey, Sherlock and Doctor Who, the amount of new UK drama being shown on the main channels has fallen from six hundred and twenty seven hours in 2008 to three hundred and seventy one hours in 2014. Although it noted that 'audience satisfaction with drama is stable.' The review found that - following the removal of specific quotas in 2003 - public service programmes in arts and classical music, religion and ethics, and formal education has significantly reduced. Ofcom is required by Parliament periodically to review how public service broadcasting is performing. Ofcom also warned broadcasters need to adapt as the trend towards online viewing grows. The politically appointed watchdog quango,elected by no one, found that unless the main TV channels adapt their business models, they would struggle to pay for public service programming in the future. Ofcom warned another challenge for the broadcasters in the future will be delivering news to younger audiences, as viewing of TV news has fallen by twenty nine per cent among people aged sixteen to thirty four. It also found that 'certain audience groups' were 'concerned' about how they were portrayed on screen - particularly people from BAME backgrounds or people with disabilities - either being under-represented or unfairly portrayed. However, the review found that general audience satisfaction was high with seventy nine per cent believing PSB was delivering on its purposes, such as delivering 'trustworthy news' and 'high quality programming' reflecting the UK. That figure is up from sixty nine per cent in 2008. The review also found PSB channels continue to make 'a significant contribution' to UK broadcasting. In 2013, they invested just over two billion quid in new UK programmes, not including sports content, compared to around three hundred and fifty million knicker from non-PSB companies. The main UK TV channels, BBC, ITV, STV, UTV, Channel Four, Channel Five and S4C, are all supposed to carry programmes with 'public service values' - although if you can find any on ITV, Channel Five and even Channel Four for much of the time, you're more observant than this blogger. Over half of all TV viewing is on these main channels - but that figure rises to more than seventy per cent when the time-shifted channels are taken into account.

The Director General of the BBC, Tony Hall, has rejected demands from a cross-party group of MPs, including Boris Johnson and Alex Salmond, to stop the broadcaster using the term 'Islamic State' to refer to the terrorist group. Sadly, Tony stopped short of telling them to 'go fuck themselves' with their 'demands' but, one imagines, the implication was there in the rejection. The MPs made their demands in a letter following criticism of the BBC from oily David Cameron, who used an appearance on the Today programme on Monday to suggest that Muslim listeners would 'recoil every time they hear the words "Islamic State"' to refer to its 'appalling, barbarous regime.' Initiated by Rehman Chishti, the Conservative MP for Gillingham and Rainham, the letter urged the BBC to instead adopt the term 'Da'esh', based on Arabic acronym al-Dawla al-Islamiya fil Iraq wa'al Sham, which translates as 'Islamic State of Iraq and Sham', but is close to 'Dahes' or 'one who sows discord'. It was signed by one hundred and twenty MPs including Johnson and the chair of the home affairs select committee Keith Vaz. But the head of the BBC rejected the demands, saying that using 'Da'esh' would not preserve the BBC's impartiality as it risked giving an impression of support for the group's opponents, The Times reports. He is said to claim that the term is used pejoratively by its enemies. Instead, it is reported, Hall said the BBC would use terms such as the 'Islamic State group' to distinguish it from a true state, and continue to use descriptions such as extremist or militant for its members. Chishti told The Times that Hall's decision not to adopt the term 'Da'esh' was 'very surprising' and 'rather unacceptable', as it has been adopted across the Middle East and by the French and Turkish governments. Although, not by the British government, of which she is a member so, frankly, the more surprising thing here is Chishti's badgering the BBC about this rather than her own boss, oily David Cameron. In a Commons debate later on Monday on the UK's response to the Tunisia massacre, the Prime Minister said that it would even be 'preferable' for the broadcaster to use the term 'Isil' - which, frankly, sounds uncannily close to political interference in an independent broadcaster's right to freedom to speech - which is used by most UK politicians. The acronym is short for 'Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant', the description used by British security agency MI5. 'I personally think that using the term Isil or ‘so-called’ would be better than what the BBC currently does,' Cameron said. 'I don't think we'll move them all the way to Da'esh, so I think saying Isil is probably better than Islamic State because it is neither, in my view, Islamic or a state.'

Odious, full of his own importance smear Donald Trump has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Univision. The Spanish-language TV network had cancelled its contract to broadcast the Miss USA pageant which is co-owned by Trump. Univision had said last week that it would not broadcast the pageant because of what it called 'insulting remarks' about Mexican immigrants made by Trump. Trump has accused Univision of 'stifling his freedom of speech' in order to boost the Democratic Party frontrunner, Hilary Clinton. While announcing his candidacy for Presidency earlier this month, Trump had accused Mexico of sending 'rapists and other criminals' to the United States. He also pledged to build a 'great wall' on the US border with Mexico and insisted it would be paid for by Mexicans. He later insisted that he was criticising US lawmakers, not Mexican people. US TV network NBC has also said it would not be airing the Miss USA and the Miss Universe pageants both owned by Trump. Responding to the announcement, Trump said he would consider suing NBC.

The World Cup dream may be over for England's women's football team this year, but ITV is celebrating the game with a new drama. The channel is developing a show that focuses on the foundation of the first women's football team in 1894, Radio Times reports. Honeyballers will take a look at the lives of Nettie Honeyball and Lady Florence Dixie, who set up the British Ladies Football Club. ITV will explore the working relationship between Honeyball - who came from a working-class Northern family - and Dixie - a famous travel writer from an aristocratic background. England's Lionesses enjoyed a successful World Cup campaign this year, reaching the semi-finals before being eliminated by Japan. They subsequently won the - completely bloody pointless - third place play off with Germany after extra time thanks to a Fara Williams penalty. Oh, the irony.
Waste-of-space full-of-her-own-importance media personality Fearne Cotton has admits that She May Never Return To Work. Oh, the manifest tragedy. Anyway ...
Timothy Spall is reported to be 'in advance talks' to play the late Northern Ireland first minister the Reverend Ian Paisley in a film about his life. The Journey will tell the story of the former Democratic Unionist Party leader's unlikely friendship with Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness. The film is being written by the County Down-born novelist and screenwriter Colin Bateman. Both Liam Neeson and Sir Kenneth Branagh were reportedly early contenders for the role. Filming is expected to start in Northern Ireland in late September.
Golfer Bubba Watson is to paint over the Confederate flag on the car from The Dukes Of Hazzard TV series, as part of a growing backlash against the rebel symbol from the US Civil War. The golfer, who owns the car, announced the move by tweeting that he believed 'all men are created equal.' The flag divides opinion in the US, symbolising racism to its many critics - and Southern heritage to its - sometimes white sheet-wearing, sister marryin', good ol' boy - defenders. The debate was revived by a recent gun attack on a black church in Charleston. The suspect behind the murder of nine churchgoers, Dylann Roof, appeared in many photos holding the flag. The Confederate battle flag became a potent symbol for the Southern states fighting the Civil War as they sought to break away from the Union. Many of those states now display the flag outside government buildings. It also appears on number-plates and is sold as a bumper sticker. And, a Primal Scream CD cover, but that's not important right now. It remains controversial, seen by some as an icon of slavery and oppression, while others say it symbolises their history and identity. And their Goddamn right to sing 'Freebird' in public. All twenty seven minutes of it. The Charleston attack has prompted fresh calls for displays of the flag to be curtailed, particularly in government buildings. Watson, the third-ranked golfer in the world and two-time Masters champion, said on Twitter that he would cover the flag on the car with the Stars and Stripes. 'All men ARE created equal, I believe that so I will be painting the American flag over the roof of the General Lee,' he said. The car was a centrepiece of the US TV show from the late 1970s. If you don't remember it, you missed nowt. Watson acquired the car in 2012, according to the Washington Post.
Meanwhile, in the latest example of From The North's occasional Only In America series, Maine State Police report that a man celebrating the Fourth of July holiday died when he tried to launch a firework off the top of his own head. Stephen McCausland, a spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said that a twenty two-year-old man from the town of Calais near the Canadian border had been 'setting off fireworks with friends' on Saturday evening in the backyard of one of his friends' home. McCausland added that the man placed 'a fireworks mortar tube' on his head and set it off. He died instantly. Police say the man and his friends had been drinking.

Sir Michael Parkinson has confirmed he has been given an all-clear by doctors after two years of treatment for prostate cancer. 'I have the all clear as regards my prostate cancer,' he said 'That has been the case for quite a time now.' The eighty-year-old former chat show host revealed he was receiving radiotherapy for the condition in 2013. Two years on, he said he still needed to have regular tests and have the 'occasional' blood transfusion but that his current job of giving away free pens to pensioners on afternoon telly shouldn't be affected by this. The transfusions, he told the BBC, are 'to deal with a problem with anaemia which I have always had and which was exacerbated by the radiotherapy. Hopefully the gap between transfusions will get longer and maybe finally disappear altogether,' he went on. 'Otherwise I am feeling well and still have the odd gentle workout.' The BBC News website asked Sir Michael for an update on his condition after he was quoted in the Daily Scum Mail as saying that his doctors had 'got rid of the cancer.' Presumably, they also asked Parky what a good old Barnsley socialist lad like he was doing talking to the Hitler-supporting Daily Scum Mail. And, if they didn't, they should have. The broadcaster was diagnosed after a routine health check in May 2013 but said at the time that he would be 'around for a while yet.' Sir Michael's television career spanned fifty years and saw him interview high-profile guests such as Muhammad Ali and Sir Elton John. He announced his retirement in 2007. Except for giving away pens to pensioners, obviously.

Former Blue Peter presenter John Noakes suffered no injuries after going missing from his home in Majorca for several hours on Tuesday. The eighty one-year-old, who has Alzheimer's, will continue to be monitored by doctors, his agent said, but is 'as well as can be expected.' Police spent Tuesday searching for Noakes after being alerted by his wife, Vicky, at about 9am local time. He was spotted by a helicopter nearly ten hours later close to his home. His wife said that search parties had looked in the area where he was eventually discovered earlier in the day but failed to spot him because he was 'in the bottom of a storm drain and had fallen in amongst long grass there.' The TV presenter was taken to hospital, where he stayed for the next three days because of his age and dehydration caused by the hot weather. 'I would like to say that the emergency services have been really excellent and pulled out all the stops, and they were greatly helped by our friends and local people,' she said. Noakes worked on Blue Peter for twelve years from 1966 to 1978 and remains one of its best-loved presenters. He moved to Majorca with his wife in the 1980s, after a round-the-world yacht trip was cut short by a giant wave, which badly damaged their boat off the coast of North Africa. They had embarked on the trip after Noakes quit Blue Peter in 1978, and Go With Noakes eighteen months later. Noakes trained as an aircraft engine fitter before training as an actor.

CNN has withdrawn a video after a member of their staff at the Pride parade in London mistook a flag showing sex toys for that of Islamic State. In an 'exclusive' report on Saturday, the CNN anchor, Suzanne Malveaux, claimed: 'The Isis flag amongst a sea of rainbow colours was spotted by a CNN international assignment editor.' CNN journalist Lucy Pawle told viewers that she had seen 'a man dressed in black and white waving what appeared to be very bad mimicry, but a very clear attempt to mimic, the Isis flag – the black and white flag with the distinctive lettering.' She added: 'I mean, if you look at the flag closely, it's clearly not Arabic, in fact it looks like it could be gobbledygook, but it's very distinctive – the Isis flag.' Pawle said she was 'the only one' to have spotted the 'distinctive' banner. She continued: 'I seem to be the only person who had spotted this, and nobody seems to be raising any questions or pointing it out, so I immediately went to an events organiser who said he didn't know anything about it. I also spoke to the police nearby, who weren’t aware either.' CNN took down video of the report from its website on Saturday afternoon after being ridiculed on social media. There's a very good piece from the Washington Post interviewing the chap who made the flag here.
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's continued facial growth has forced a necessary change in From The North's 'separated at birth' strand. From yer actual Ollie ...
... to yer actual Gerry.
And, here's a picture from 1968 of yer actual Keith Telly Topping with Peter and Mike (his two favourite monkeys, if you will). I really like that coat, dear blog reader. I wonder what ever happened to it.
Sir Paul McCartney features on the front cover of this month's Esquire magazine and, in an in-depth interview, he talked about embracing his Be-Atles heritage, life before fame and whether it's time for him retire. 'Sit at home and watch telly? That's what people do, man. Gardening, golf? No thanks. Occasionally, I do think, "You should have got fed up by now, you should be jaded." My manager, who I don't have any more, glad to say, suggested quite a long time ago that I retire at fifty. He said, it's not a good look. I went, "Oh, God, he could be right." But then I still enjoy writing, I still enjoy singing. What am I gonna do? You see so many people who retire and then immediately expire.'
Bruce Springsteen became an honorary Beach Boy on Wednesday when he made a surprise appearance at a Brian Wilson concert in New Jersey. The Boss joined Wilson and his band on stage at the PNC Banks Arts Center in Holmdel, strapping on his guitar for a rendition of 'Surfin' USA' and singing back-up on 'Barbara Ann'.

The actor Edward Burnham died earlier this week at the age of ninety eight. Edward had two major roles in Doctor Who. In 1968 he played Professor Watkins, the uncle of Isobel, in four episodes of Patrick Troughton story The Invasion. He returned to the series at the end of 1974 in Tom Baker's début story Robot, playing Professor Kettlewell, the creator of the Experimental Prototype Robot K1. Born in Lincoln on Christmas Day 1916, Edward was an actor for over sixty years, appearing on television as early as 1938 in productions of The Marvellous History of St Bernard and The Swiss Family Robinson. In 1959 he appeared in the acclaimed science fiction series Quatermass & The Pit. Other roles followed in productions such as The Citadel, No Hiding Place, Harpers West One, The Rat Catchers, The Avengers, Z Cars, The Plane Makers, The Saint, Callan, Hadleigh, The Girls Of Slender Means, The Pallisers, The Search For The Nile, Churchill's People, Van Der Valk, Two Women, As Good Cooks Go, The Troubleshooters, Perils Of Pendragon, Suez 1956, Muck & Brass, Tales Of The Unexpected, Eh! Brian! It's A Whopper, All Creatures Great & Small, Nightingales, Black Books and Nicholas Nickleby. He also appeared in the movies To Sir, With Love, The Abominable Dr Phibes, The Hiding Place, Young Winston and Ten Rillington Place. In the early 1960's he played two roles, Doctor Dorking and Doctor Danvers-White, in Emergency - Ward Ten and in 1985 he played Mister Grimwig in Terrance Dicks's production of Oliver Twist. His last screen appearance was in the BBC's Swiss Toni in 2003. Until his death Edward was the second-oldest-living actor to have appeared in Doctor Who, behind centenarian Olaf Pooley.

The Irish singer and television entertainer Val Doonican has died at the age of eighty eight. His family said that Val had died 'peacefully' at a nursing home in Buckinghamshire. He had not been ill, but his daughter said that his 'batteries had just run out.' The performer was a regular fixture on British television with The Val Doonican Show which ran on the BBC from 1965 to 1986, featuring his own performances and guest artists. A version was also shown in the US in the 1970s on ABC. Val was also rarely out of the British singles and LP charts in the 1960s and early 70s with songs like 'Walk Tall' and the psychedelic easy listening classic 'Elusive Butterfly'. In the LP chart, he had five successive top ten records and, famously, knocked The Be-Atles' Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band off the top spot in late 1967 with Val Doonican Rocks, But Gently. Indeed, when yer actual Keith Telly Topping was but a wee lad growing up, we didn't have many records in Stately Telly Topping Manor but The World Of Val Doonican (Decca SPA3) was very much one of them. And, it was much played and much loved by this blogger in a completely non-ironic way. In a statement, Val's family said: 'He was a wonderful husband, father and grandfather and will be greatly missed by family, friends and his many fans.' Sir Bruce Forsyth also paid tribute saying 'he was a one-off. He was just a lovely guy. What you saw is what you got, this is a very sad day', he told the BBC. 'Although we never saw him very much in the last few years, I worked with him a couple of times and enjoyed that very much. He had this way of relaxing his co-stars and his audience and that went right through the screens into your homes. It's not simple to do what he did. To be relaxed as he was is an art. You can't go in front of millions of people on television and be that relaxed and that good.'
    Val was born Michael Valentine Doonican in Waterford in February 1927, the youngest of a family of eight children. In 1941 when he was still a teenager his father, John, died from throat cancer. Val would, movingly, recall his father, before his illness became known to his family, asking Val to collect wild flowers for him when Val appeared on Michael Parkinson's chat show in the 1970s. He then described how, many years later, he found in a book of Irish herbal remedies that the flowers he'd been asked to collect were believed to be a cure for cancer. After his father's death, Val had to leave De La Salle College to get factory jobs fabricating steel and making orange and grapefruit boxes to support his mother, Agnes. Doonican was from a musical family and began to perform in his hometown and in a summer season at Courtown Harbour. He soon featured on Irish radio and reportedly appeared in Waterford's first-ever television broadcast. In 1951 Val moved to England to join The Four Ramblers, who toured and performed on BBC Radio shows broadcast from factories. Doonican met the dancer Lynnette Rae when both she and The Ramblers supported Anthony Newley on a tour. Newley introduced them and the couple married in the early 1960s and had two daughters, Sarah and Fiona. Val's career took off after he was booked to appear on Sunday Night At The Palladium in 1963. An eight minute slot proved to be such a hit with viewers that it led him to be offered his own BBC show - for which he became known for his trademark rocking chair, colourful cardigans, melodious voice and witty banter - and kick-started his recording career. As he would later note, he became 'an overnight sensation ... after seventeen years in the business.' He filmed some twenty five BBC Christmas specials, which Val told the Daily Scum Express in 2013 he 'couldn't bear to watch. They became something of a national institution, attracting audiences of up to nineteen million. It felt embarrassing seeing myself. We'd sit as a family enjoying ourselves but as soon as my show started, I'd nip off to another room,' he said. He was sometimes compared to the American singer Perry Como, although he claimed that his main influence was his hero Bing Crosby. As it was a variety show, The Val Doonican Show also gave a number of other performers valuable early exposure, most notably the comedian Dave Allen with whom Val was a close friend. Val's other hits included 'The Special Years', 'What Would I Be?', 'If The Whole World Stopped Loving', 'Two Streets', 'Morning' and the theme tune of his TV series, 'Some Of My Best Friends Are Songs'. He also sang the theme for the film Ring Of Bright Water. He was equally well known for his recordings of comic Irish folk songs and music hall show tunes like 'O'Rafferty's Motor Car', 'Delany's Donkey', 'Paddy McGinty's Goat', 'The Juice Of The Barley', 'Marvellous Toy' and, yer actual Keith Telly Topping's particular favourite, 'The Jarvey Was A Leprechaun'. He was the subject of This Is Your Life in 1970, Eamonn Andrews meeting him to present the famous red book at the eighteenth green of the South Herts Golf Club as Val, a keen golfer, finished playing a round. Val stopped performing in 2009 after more than sixty years in showbusiness. He is survived by his wife Lynn, daughters Sarah and Fiona and grandchildren Bethany and Scott.

So, for today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader, here's Val's finest three minutes.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The More We Elaborate Our Means Of Communication, The Less We Communicate

The next series of yer actual Doctor Who will consist of twelve episodes, it has been confirmed. This matches the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama's previous eighth series, according to Doctor Who Magazine. It is unclear if series nine will feature a double-length premiere - akin to 2014's Deep Breath. Episodes eleven and twelve will be the next to go before the cameras, following episode ten - written by Sarah Dollard - with episode nine as the final one to be recorded. Doctor Who will return to BBC1 this autumn, opening with two-parter The Magician's Apprentice and The Witch's Familiar - written by The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat and marking the return of Missy (Michelle Gomez). Other guest stars confirmed for the new series include Game Of Thrones' Maisie Williams, Rebecca Front and Paul Kaye, while Jemma Redgrave, Ingrid Oliver and Joivan Wade will all return to the show.
BBC Worldwide Australia & New Zealand has announced the first ever official Doctor Who 'Festival' in Australia, which will take place in Sydney at the Royal Hall of Industries & the Hordern Pavilion on Saturday 21 & Sunday 22 November. The Doctor Who 'Festival' will be attended by The Doctor, yer actual Peter Capaldi and The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat his very self with more guests to be announced in due course. Fans of all ages - with plenty of cash - will be able to celebrate the heritage and magic of the show with exclusive access to props, costumes and talent from both in-front-of and behind the camera. A week after the Doctor Who 'Festival' in London, Australian fans will have the chance to hear from key cast members in a series of onstage talent Q&A's, with 'limited' photo and autograph opportunities also available. For a price. A series of interactive workshops with Doctor Who's resident creative team will give visitors the chance to learn about the television production process and what it takes to be a Doctor Who monster. Fans can also test their knowledge for the chance to win some great prizes in the ultimate Doctor Who Quiz, and get some exclusive Doctor Who merchandise. And, in a first for New Zealand fans, yer actual Peter Capaldi will then head to Auckland on the 24 November (presumably, he gets 23 November off for good behaviour) for 'an intimate evening' with fans. Venue and ticket details for this will be announced in due course. And, they'll be expensive, trust me.
BC Worldwide has abandoned plans to release the 1967 Doctor Who story, The Underwater Menace on DVD. This month's Doctor Who Magazine reports that the plan to release the two surviving episodes from the four-part story, alongside animated versions of the two episodes missing from the archives, have been cancelled by the BBC, following 'financial problems' with the company contracted to provide the animation. The Underwater Menace was first shown at the start of 1967, starring Patrick Troughton alongside Anneke Wills, Joseph Furst, Michael Craze and a very young Frazer Hines. It wasn't very good, to be honest, although the infamously over-the-top cliffhanging ending to episode two was good for a laugh. Following the episode junking which took place in the 1970's only episode three remained in the BBC's shamefully incomplete archives. This episode was included in the Lost In Time DVD Box set, released in 2004. However in 2011 episode two was recovered alongside the third episode of the 1965 story Galaxy 4. It was planned to release the two existing episodes from The Underwater Menace, alongside animated reconstructions of the missing episodes, with BBC Worldwide telling the Doctor Who News website last December that they 'hoped' to release the disc in 2015. However this has now been cancelled following these 'financial problems' at animation company Qurios which have seen the firm cease trading. It has, the magazine report, 'not proved financially viable' to find another partner to take on the animation and the BBC are reluctant to release an incomplete version. Although a DVD release now seems unlikely, it is possible the episodes may be released at some point in the future via some other means. A commentary track has been recorded along with bonus material intended for the DVD. Until then, episode two of The Underwater Menace remains the only classic Doctor Who episode, currently in the BBC archives, which has never had a release on DVD. If you don't count the seven episodes of Marco Polo which they may, or may not, have. Allegedly.

And, speaking of the Doctor Who Magazine, issue four hundred and eighty eight is now available from all good newsagents (and some bad ones) for the usual price, featuring interviews with yer actual Ingrid Oliver, David Warner his very self and The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat among others.
Due to a major refurbishment taking place at the Fitzroy Tavern in Charlotte Street, the regular 'first Thursday of the month' gathering of London's Doctor Who fans will be temporarily changing to a new venue for the first time in thirty years. The new venue is the College Arms close to Goodge Street tube station. This was a public service announcement for all those dear blog readers desperate for a pint.

The bus named after John Nathan Turner, Doctor Who's longest serving producer, has entered service in Brighton. As reported earlier in the year, the decision to honour the producer, who lived in Brighton for many years, was taken by a public vote, with John's name adorning one of the twenty four new Coaster buses brought by the city. The bus travels Route Twelve, from Brighton to Eastbourne, passing the Seven Sisters Country park, where parts of 1969 Doctor Who story The War Games were filmed. John Nathan Turner comes with a low emission 'Euro Six' engine, free Wi-Fiso if you're riding on it, you can checkout From The North's latest update, an upper deck table with USB charge points, softer seating, next stop information and real time tracking of the bus location. Too much, a magic bus indeed.
And, so to the latest ratings malarkey: Wretched and unfunny alleged 'sitcom' Vicious dipped yet again in the overnight ratings for its latest episode on Monday. Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Derek Jacobi's utterly laughless comedy-in-name-only brought in 2.18m overnight punters for ITV at 9pm. Elsewhere on the channel, Johnny Kingdom's Wild Exmoor interested 2.71m at 8pm and It's A Funny Old Week - Jason Manford's latest horrifically unoriginal vehicle for the commercial network - was seen by a risibly low 1.32m at 9.30pm. BBC1's Nigel Slater: Eating Together gathered 2.88m at 7pm which, low as it was, was still a higher total than anything on ITV all night outside of soaps. Disaster On Everest followed with 2.19m at 8.30pm and The Met: Policing London was the most-watched programme of the night across all channels outside of soaps with 3.73m at 9pm. On BBC2, The One Hundred Thousand Pound House: The Final Fix appealed to 1.44m at 8pm, while Japan: Earth's Enchanted Island drew an evening high of 2.66m at 9pm. Episodes followed with eight hundred and fifty thousand punters at 10pm. Channel Four's Dispatches was watched by even hundred and thirty thousand viewers at 8pm, before Gadget Man attracted six hundred and ten thousand at 8.30pm and Kevin McCloud's Escape To The Wild was watched by 1.55m at 9pm. On Channel Five, sick Victorian freak show Big Brother remained steady (and, steadily wretched) with 1.01m at 10pm. Earlier, Kicking Off: Caught On Camera 'entertained' eight hundred and eighty seven thousand people who enjoy watching grown men and women fighting in the streets at 8pm. Inside Manchester's Midland Hotel interested nine hundred and twenty eight thousand at 9pm. BBC Three's coverage of the Women's World Cup and the England ladies' 2-1 victory over Norway was up to 1.39m between 9.30pm and 12.15am.

The Syndicate dominated overnight ratings outside of soaps on Tuesday evening. The BBC1 drama's third series continued with 5.12m punters at 9pm, while Imagine ... interested nine hundred and ten thousand at 10.45pm. On BBC2, Alex Polizzi: Chefs On Trial was seen by eight hundred thousand at 7pm, before Mountain Lions: Big Cats In High Places brought in 1.67m at 8pm and The Bank: A Matter Of Life & Debt averaged nine hundred thousand at 9pm. A repeat of Rev followed with five hundred and thirty thousand viewers at 10pm. ITV's A Great Welsh Adventure With Shouty Griff Rhys Jones had an audience of to 1.71m at 7.30pm, while Love Your Garden was watched by 2.54m at 8pm. Don't Blame The Council appealed to a miserably low 1.58m at 9pm. Channel Four's No Offence ended its first series with 1.02m at 9pm. Consolidated figures for previous episodes show that the comedy-drama, recently recommissioned (see below), has averaged around 2.4m total viewers per episode. Meanwhile, Big Brother continued to shovel the nation's collective intelligence down the nearest sewer on Channel Five with 1.11m at 10pm. On E4, the latest episode of Empire drew an audience of four hundred and thirty six thousand at 9pm, while Tattoo Fixers debuted with three hundred and eighty six thousand viewers, up forty eight per cent on the channel's average overnight audience in that particular timeslot.

Mawkish, trite, bland as a boiled egg Long Lost Family continued, depressingly, to be an overnight ratings winner for ITV on Wednesday. The Davina McCall-fronted series was watched by 3.55m at 9pm. Earlier, The Cube drew 2.61m at 8pm. Don't Tell The Bride's BBC1 debut brought in 2.77m at 8pm, while The Interceptor continued to shed viewers faster than ... big shedding thing with 2.39m at 9pm. On BBC2, Alex Polizzi: Chefs On Trial interested six hundred and eighty thousand at 7pm, before Dara & Ed's Great Big Adventure averaged eight hundred and seventy thousand at 8pm and Napoleon was watched by 1.10m at 9pm. Channel Four's The Auction House gathered 1.01m at 8pm and Twenty Four Hours in A&E had an audience of 1.63m at 9pm. Peter Kay: Live & Back On Nights followed with 1.26m at 10pm. Psycho Pussies: When Cats Attack brought in 1.59m at 8pm on what was - in relative terms - a strong night for Channel Five (and a rather weak one for everyone else). Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords was next with 1.15m at 9pm, while Big Brother rose to 1.25m at 10pm.

Celebrity MasterChef was BBC1's medium-sized overnight ratings winner on Thursday. The cookery competition - so z-list this year that the latest episode featured Syd Little, fer Christ's sake (who was, incidentally, incorrectly described as 'a comedian' during the episode) - brought in 3.84m overnight punters at 9pm to top the ratings outside of soaps. In and of itself a sad indictment of just what a thoroughly rotten night all round it was. Elsewhere, Watchdog averaged 3.52m at 8pm, and Question Time interested 2.27m ) at 10.45pm. On BBC2, Rick Stein's German Bite gathered 1.11m at 8pm, before Protecting Our Foster Kids was watched by seven hundred and seventy thousand at 9pm and Mock The Week continued with 1.30m at 10pm. ITV's Tonight was seen by 2.61m at 7.30pm, while Big Box Little Box got 2.13m at 8.30pm. Superhospital followed with 2.76m at 9pm. Dogs: Their Secret Lives had an audience of 1.05m on Channel Four at 8pm and The Tribe appealed to 1.10m at 9pm. Channel Five's latest contender for the most ignorant and offensive format they've yet came up with, Celebs On Benefits: Fame To Claim was gawped at by nine hundred and sixty four thousand brain-dead troglodytes at 8pm, while Big Brother's latest crass scum-filled hour brought in 1.12m at 9pm. Person of Interest drew five hundred and thirty four thousand at 10pm. Meanwhile, Love Island continued with four hundred and fifty two thousand sad, crushed victims of society on ITV2 at 9pm.

An average audience of nine hundred and eighty thousand overnight punters watch BBC2's Glastonbury coverage from 8pm. It returned with nine hundred and forty thousand at 10pm, while a further five hundred and seventy thousand stayed up late to watch a mixture of highlights and live coverage at 11pm. BBC3 broadcast various Glastonbury sets throughout the evening, beginning with two hundred and thirty five thousand for James Bay & Catfish and The Bottlemen at 7pm. Jungle & The Vaccines continued with three hundred and forty thousand at 8pm, while nine hundred and sixty nine thousand watched Rudimental's set from 11pm. BBC4's Glastonbury coverage included three hundred and eighty three thousand for Motorhead at 8.30pm and five hundred and seven thousand for Mark Ronson at 9pm. For the second week running, The Graham Norton Show was the evening's highest-rated programme outside of soaps. An average audience of 3.41m watched guests including Lewis Hamilton at 10.35pm. BBC1's evening began with 3.24 million for The ONE Show at 7pm, followed by 2.43 million for Would I Lie You? Celebrity Masterchef continued with 3.29 million from 8.30pm until 10pm. Outside of Glastonbury coverage, BBC2 attracted 1.69 million for Gardener's World at 8.30pm, followed by nine hundred and forty thousand for Arthur Ashe: More Than A Champion at 9pm. On ITV, Gino's Italian Escape drew 2.47 million at 8pm while 2.11 million watched a Doc Martin repeat at 9pm. Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown was once again Channel Four's highest-rated show with 1.19 million. It was sandwiched between seven hundred and ten thousand for Location, Location, Location and nine hundred and ninety thousand for The Last Leg at 10pm. The latest Big Brother live eviction was seen by an average audience of 1.08 million at 9pm on Channel Five.
Prized Apart dipped to two and a half million overnight punters on Saturday. The BBC1 'etnertainment' (and I use that word quite wrongly) format averaged 2.48m from 7pm shedding one hundred thousand from the previous week's debut episode. The National Lottery: Who Dares Wins was watched by 3.53m afterwards. Casualty had 3.99m from 8.55pm, then The John Bishop Show appealed to 2.76m. On BBC2, a Dad's Army repeat was watched by 1.16m. Coverage of Glastonbury and, specifically, Kanye West's headline set appealed to 1.04m from 9.30pm. ITV broadcast the movie Harry Potter & The Order Of The Phoenix for the nineteen time from 7pm, which was watched by by 2.21m. On Channel Four, Nasty, Agenda-Soaed Tory Penelope Keith's Horrid Hidden Villages fell to nine hundred and four thousand from 8pm, down from the previous week's audience of just over a million, which does rather restore ones faith in the viewing public knowing a stinking turkey when they see it gobbling at them. The film Taken 2 then averaged 1.7m. Channel Five's latest Big Brother fiasco took eight hundred and seventy seven thousand in the 9pm hour. On the multichannels, the set by Paloma Faith - dressed as a cat, for some obscure reason - at Glastonbury drew eight hundred and seven thousand from 9pm on BBC4. Burt Bacharach's performance an hour earlier was watched by just over six hundred thousand punters, including this blogger. Obviously.

Ah, yer man Burt at Glasto, dear blog reader. Niiiiice. And, when he played 'Alife' at the climax of a lengthy 'Movie Medley', well, the last time this blogger felt that good, it involved a bottle of tequila, a big dirty woman and a feather boa. True story.
The final episode of the current version of Top Gear topped the primetime overnight ratings on Sunday. The episode brought in an overnight audience of 5.36m for BBC2 at 8pm, up slightly on the show's previous outing in March. One imagines that with timeshifts the final, consolidated audience should comfortably top seven million and the +7 figure, which includes viewing across all platforms (including iPlayer) may be even higher. It was a major night for Beeb2, the channel's coverage of acts including Lionel Richie (by a distance, the hit of the festival according to most informed opinions) at Glastonbury was watched by 1.71m between 6.15pm and 8pm, while the imported terrorist drama Odyssey - starring the geet lush Anna Friel - appealed to 1.77m at 9.15pm. It was, to be honest, a bit Homeland-lite for this blogger's tastes but, hey, it had Anna Friel in it, so who's complaining? Further Glastonbury coverage - including headliners The Whom showing that Mister Canny West blokie a thing or two - had seven hundred and eight thousand viewers from 10:40pm. More Glastonbury highlights on BBC3 and BBC4 drew two hundred and seventy thousand for Alt-J and Charli XCX (they are 'popular beat combos, m'lud'), four hundred and fifty thousand for Lianne La Havas and Jamie T, three hundred and sixty thousand for The Chemical Brothers dropping a sodding great atom bomb of techno scariness on the Pyramid Stage and six hundred and forty thousand for The Goddamn Modfather his very self, Paul Weller. On BBC1, Countryfile and Antiques Roadshow continued with 5.09m at 8pm and 4.44m at 9pm respectively. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell ended with a, sadly awful, 1.71m at 9pm. As previously noted, this blogger rather enjoyed the early episodes of the fantasy adaptation. But, seemingly, it was an enjoyment that wasn't shared by too many other members of the viewing public. ITV's Catchphrase had 2.16m at 7.15pm before Surprise Surprise induced rich, sickly puke in the back of the throats of 2.77m punters at 8pm. The second episode of the Sheridan Smith drama Black Work dipped to a, still impressive, 5.23m at 9pm. Channel Four's Humans dropped to 2.06m for its third episode at 9pm - although it still caned BBC1 and BBC2's drama offerings in the same slot - while Amazing Spaces: Shed Of The Year interested 1.08m earlier at 8pm. Channel Five's showing of Dirty Dancing proved popular with 1.06m at 7pm, while Big Brother continued with 1.09m at 9pm.
Predictably, the Daily Scum Mail's Glastonbury coverage included a piece by some smear of no importance in which they were so utterly appalled by Charli XCX's 'naugthy schoolgirl' outfit that they felt it necessary to publish several photographs of it.
One final thought on Glastonbury, dear blog reader. This blogger imagines that a stinking, lice-ridden hippy woke up in his tent sometime late on Sunday afternoon and asked his mate what he'd missed whilst he was zonked out of his skull on some particularly potential skunk that he'd bought from a shady geezer in the chill-out field the night before. 'Well, there was Patti Smith singing 'Happy Birthday' to the Dalai Lama and a hundred thousand people singing along with Lionel Ritchie' came the reply. To which the half-awake lice-ridden hippy presumably said: 'Christ, the acid this year must be the best since 1978.'
Reviews for Jezza Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond's final Top Gear episode we're, broadly, supportive. The seventy five-minute 'special', compiled from footage shot before Clarkson was tin-tacked for punching some bloke in March (and, you know, in the mush), was broadcast on BBC2 on Sunday. The Gruniad Morning Star described the episode as 'clever, stupid telly', going on to praise the presenters' camaraderie. The show was anchored by Hammond and May who ran through their links in an otherwise empty studio. They were accompanied by a, literal, elephant in the room - a large, plastic, replica elephant called Jeremy. The show contained no other allusions or references to Clarkson's departure, or the circumstances surrounding it. Instead the episode stitched together two films: a trip across Britain in three classic cars and a series of challenges in second-hand SUVs. 'Mercifully, neither film included any racial slurs for old times' sake,' wrote Ellen Jones in the Independent. 'But even without them, it felt like the end of an era.' The 'infectious chemistry' of the three presenters, said the Daily Torygraph's critic, made the episode feel like 'an intimate farewell gig by a much-loved band. There were tears of mirth, toilet humour and mild incontinence,' Michael Hogan continued, saying the show was 'huge fun, if typically puerile.' 'The ideas, the humour, the chutzpah are hard to argue with,' wrote Sam Wollaston in the Gruniad. 'We can boo the puerility - and worse - of the presenters but this Top Gear has often been imaginative, original, entertaining, amusing and artfully made television.' The Daily Scum Mail's Christopher Stevens was, predictably, less charitable. So, no obvious, sick agenda going down there then. In a one-star review, he whinged the episode was 'as painful as pulling teeth.' But then, nobody with half-a-brain in their head gives an effing stuff what the Daily Scum Mail thinks. About anything. 'Top Gear's finale was a stark reminder why the programme would never have worked with one member of the hilarious trio missing,' wrote Katie Earlam in the Sun. May and Hammond 'seemed lost without Clarkson', she went on, adding that their studio links 'were simply sad.' Her comments were echoed by Nicola Methven in the Daily Mirra - another newspaper which, like the Gruniad and the Scum Mail has seemingly, taken sneering delight in each and every misfortune to have befallen the show over the last couple of years. 'James and Richard looked pretty choked at the end,' she observed. 'The studio scenes were odd in the extreme, thanks to the lack of studio audience (and Hammond's beard).' The two films, said Andrew Billen in The Times, reminded him 'how consistently well-made these [filmed reports] were.' After the episode ended, Clarkson tweeted: 'Many, many thanks for all your support and encouragement over the years. So sad and sorry it's ended like this.'
And, so to the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty programmes, week-ending Sunday 21 June 2015:-
1 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 8.07m
2 Black Work - Sin ITV 7.48m
3 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 7.04m
4 The Syndicate - Tues BBC1 - 6.31m
5 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 6.19m
6 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 5.49m
7 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 5.29m
8 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 4.85m
9 DIY SOS: The Big Build - Wed BBC1 - 4.82m
10 Ten O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 4.78m
11 Celebrity MasterChef - Thurs BBC1 - 4.60m
12 Humans - Sun C4 - 4.45m
13 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.41m
14 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.40m
15 Six O'Clock News - Wed BBC1 - 4.25m
16 The Graham Norton Show - Fri BBC1 - 3.99m
17= The Interceptor - Wed BBC1 - 3.67m
17= Long Lost Family - Wed ITV - 3.67m*
19 The National Lottery: Who Dares Wins - Sat BBC1 - 3.65m
20 Watchdog - Thurs BBC1 - 3.53m
These figures, as usual, do not include iPlayer or ITV Player viewers. ITV programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures. BBC2's highest-rated weekly programme was Japan: Earth's Enchanted Island (3.12m), followed by Stonemouth (2.12m), An Hour To Save Your Life (also 2.12m) and Attenborough's Big Birds (2.02m). Aside from Humans, Channel Four's top-rated shows were Twenty four Hours In A&E (two million viewers), Amazing Spaces: Shed Of the Year (1.98m) and Kevin McCloud's Escape To The Wild (1.86m). Channel Five's highest-rated broadcast was Big Brother (1.44m). Sky Atlantic's Game Of Thrones's series finale was the mutichannels most-watched broadcast of the week with 2.27 million viewers, followed by BBC3's coverage of the England Versus Columbia match at the Women's World Cup (1.89m) and E4's The Big Bang Theory (1.69m). More4's most watched shows were The Good Wife (five hundred and seventy eight thousand) and The Saboteurs (four hundred and thirty one thousand). Midsomer Murder was ITV3's best-rated drama with 1.04m viewers. BBC4's weekly list was topped by Great British Railway Journeys (five hundred and two thousand) and Glastonbury Golden Greats (four hundred and ninety four thousand). 5USA's The Mysteries Of Laura attracted four hundred and fifty three thousand. Sky Living's most-watched programmes were Bones (seven hundred and twenty four thousand), Madam Secretary (four hundred and sixty seven thousand) and Hannibal (three hundred and seventy eight thousand). Sky 1's Modern Family brought in eight hundred and ninety two thousand viewers. On Dave, Storage Hunters UK was the channel's highest-rated programme of the week - five hundred and six thousand - followed by Mock The Week (three hundred and thirteen thousand) and Qi XL (two hundred and ninety thousand). Watch's Grimm had an audience of four hundred and fifty one thousand. FOX's series finale of NCIS was watched by seven hundred and fifty eight thousand. NCIS also topped CBS Action's weekly list (one hundred and twenty five thousand) and also the Universal Channel's (one hundred and sixty thousand). On the Discovery Channel, Fast N' Loud had two hundred and fifty two thousand viewers. Discovery History's latest repeat of Time Team was watched by twenty seven thousand viewers. On Discovery Turbo, Chasing Classic Cars drew forty three thousand. ID's FBI Casefiles was watched by fifty six thousand. National Geographic's Wicked Tuna had eighty four thousand. Gold's Bob Monkhouse: Million Joke Man attracted one hundred and ninety four thousand punters. The third ODI international between England and New Zealand was Sky Sport 2's largest audience with three hundred and ninety three thousand.

The dramatic finale of season five of Game Of Thrones delivered a record consolidated +7 audience of 3.1 million on Sky Atlantic, making it the most-watched programme ever on Sky, aside from live sports events. The figures include live audiences for the 2am simulcast with the US and 9pm broadcast on 15 June, as well as viewers watching Sky+ recordings and catching up on-demand over the next seven days. Overall, audiences for the latest series of Game Of Thrones were up forty two per cent on the average audience for the previous four series.

The first episode of series two of True Detective was broadcast around the world this week. This blogger can't make up my mind yet if there was too much plot or not enough. The thing looked gorgeous, though. And, location spotting in Sherman Oaks and North Hollywood was, for this blogger at least, a lot of fun. I particularly enjoyed that shot of the freeway just off Mulholland Drive, an area of LA which yer actual Keith Telly Topping knows very well from numerous trips up it to the Airtel Plaza in Van Nuys each February in the late 90s and early 2000s.
But, just as one great US drama returns, another one is ending with the horribly unwelcome announcement that NBC has decided not to pick up its option on Hannibal. Technically speaking, network hasn't cancelled Bryan Fuller's Red Dragon prequel after three seasons - they doesn't produce the show in the first place, merely broadcast it. There's quite an interesting article on the Cultural Leanings website about this very subject and the - seemingly quite slight - chances of the production being picked up by another network or a streaming service. Nevertheless, please allow this blogger to bellow 'you utter bastards, I was watching that,' loudly in NBC's general direction. Mind you, yer actual still hasn't forgiven them for cancelling The West Wing. Gits. The current thirteen-episode third season of Hannibal will run its course in the US on Thursdays at 10pm, concluding on 27 August. The fourth episode was shown this week and was, as usual, terrific. Alleged 'sources' allegedly told The Hollywood Reporter that there 'may have been a rights issue' at the centre of the decision to end the series as Fuller had wanted to introduce the character of Clarice Starling in season four, with the rights to the character previously portrayed by Jodie Foster in The Silence Of The Lambs said to be 'unavailable'. Although a far more likely reason was the it, simply, wasn't pulling in the numbers that NBC were banking on. Producers Gaumont TV are currently said to be 'exploring options' to see if they can find another home for the series, with Executive Producer Martha DeLaurentiis confirming as much via Twitter. 'NBC has allowed us to craft a television series that no other broadcast network would have dared and kept us on the air for three seasons despite Cancelation Bear Chow ratings and images that would have shredded the eyeballs of lesser Standards & Practices enforcers,' Fuller also said in a statement. '[NBC Entertainment executive] Jen Salke and her team have been fantastic partners and creatively supportive beyond measure. Hannibal is finishing his last course at NBC's table this summer, but a hungry cannibal can always dine again. And, personally, I look forward to my next meal with NBC.' The network added in a statement: 'We have been tremendously proud of Hannibal over its three seasons. Bryan and his team of writers and producers, as well as our incredible actors, have brought a visual palette of storytelling that has been second to none in all of television - broadcast or cable. We thank [producers] Gaumont and everyone involved in the show for their tireless efforts that have made Hannibal an incredible experience for audiences around the world.' All of which is of no comfort whatsoever to viewers who were enjoying the damn thing.
The latest Hannibal episode - Aperitivo - incidentally, featured the welcome return of both Fredrick Chilton and Alana Bloom, the latter of whom got three or four of the best lines in series so far. This blogger particularly enjoyed: 'I've always enjoyed the word defenestration. Now I get to use it in casual conversation.' And: 'Forgiveness isn't all its cracked up to be, Mister Verger. I don't need religion to appreciate the idea of Old Testament revenge.' Although Jack Crawford's pithy one-line description to Chilton concerning the current state of Will and Hannibal's relationship - 'maybe it's one of those friendships that ends after the disembowelling' was also pretty decent!
Dame Diana Rigg has paid warm tribute to her Avengers co-star, the late Patrick Macnee. 'Patrick was a very dear man and I owe him a great deal,' she said.
The spy novelist John Le Carre is to make a cameo appearance in the BBC adaptation of his novel The Night Manager starring Tom Hiddleston. He will appear opposite Hiddleston in a restaurant scene. The book tells the story of a former British soldier who becomes embroiled in the arms trade. It also stars Huge Laurie, Olivia Colman and Tom Hollander and is the first television adaptation of a Le Carré novel in more than twenty years (since Smiley's People, in fact). Le Carre also made a brief cameo appearance in a Christmas party scene in the film adaptation of his novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, starring Gary Oldman in 2011. Filming started on The Night Manager this spring and the mini-series will be broadcast in 2016. It will be a contemporary interpretation of the novel in which Hiddleston will play British serviceman Jonathan Pine. He is recruited by an intelligence operative, played by Colman, to navigate the shadowy recesses of Whitehall and Washington and infiltrate the inner circle of an arms dealer, played by Laurie. The book has been translated into more than twenty languages and has sold more than one million copies in North America alone since it was first published in 1993.
Matthew Macfadyen - seen below in a Keira Knightley/Rosamund Pike sandwich (and, hey, why ever not) - and Romola Garai are among the latest actors who have joined ITV's feature-length film Churchill's Secret. Set during the summer months of 1953, the one-off drama stars Michael Gambon as Churchill (the British Prime Minister, that is, not the dog off the insurance adverts), who in his late seventies suffered from a life-threatening stroke. The story is told from the perspective of his young nurse Millie Appleyard (played by Garai). Macfadyen will play Churchill's son, Randolph. Daisy Lewis, Rachael Stirling and Tara Fitzgerald have signed up to portray Sir Winston's other children Mary, Sarah and Diana respectively. Further cast additions include Bill Paterson, James Wilby, Alex Jennings, Patrick Kennedy, Christian McKay, Chris Larkin and John Standing. Churchill's Secret is based on Jonathan Smith's recently-published book The Churchill Secret: KBO, and is being adapted by Stewart Harcourt. Filming will begin this month in London, Hayes and at the Churchill family's principal home in Kent.
Tom Hardy is returning to the acclaimed BBC gangster drama Peaky Blinders for its third series. Creator Steven Knight has confirmed that the busy actor will be back as the imposing Alfie Solomons. 'Yes, Tom is coming back,' Knight told Deadline. He also hinted that more big-name guest stars could sign up to appear in the next series, adding: 'We have new big roles that are written and have enormous interest from really good people. We're hoping to land some good names. The response from everyone and people in the business has been unbelievably good, so we're in a good place for approaching people who wouldn't normally do this sort of thing.' The next series of Peaky Blinders will begin shooting in September with Knight again voicing his ambition to follow Thomas Shelby (Cillian Murphy) til the eve of World War II. 'It's a long shot, but the ambition is, I would love to end the final episode of the final series with the first air raid fire of the Second World War,' he explained. 'We've been going in two-year jumps [between series], so that would be about ten series. We may have to start making bigger jumps to get to that point. But I'll let the story lead [and do] what feels natural'"
Sir David Attenborough has paid a visit to The White House at the invitation of President Obama, to discuss the future of the planet. If, indeed, it has one. The president described himself as 'a huge admirer' of the broadcaster. 'You've been a great educator as well as a great naturalist,' he told Sir David who made the visit on his eighty ninth birthday. David described the president as 'friendly, hospitable and genuine.' The full interview can be see on BBC on Sunday 28 June.

Stephen Mangan and Six Feet Under actor Michael Weston are to lead the cast of ITV's period drama Houdini & Doyle. The UK/Canadian co-production will be executive produced by House creator David Shore, and follows the real-life friendship between the Sherlock Holmes author and the famous illusionist. Mangan will take on the role of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, while Weston will play Harry Houdini. Set at the turn of the Twentieth Century, the drama will explore their unique friendship and how they both worked with New Scotland Yard on unsolved crimes. Albeit, it should be noted that, in real life, the pair's - seemingly very sincere - friendship came to an abrupt end shortly before Houdini's untimely death due to the latter's frustration over Conan Doyle's increasingly bizarre behaviour and belief in spiritualism and, you know, fairies and that. Canadian actress Rebecca Liddiard will play Constable Adelaide Stratton, who in the series is the first female officer to work for the London Metropolitan Police Force. Blackadder's Tim McInnerny will play Inspector Horace Merring, while Adam Nagaitis will appear as Sergeant George Gudgett. Stephen Hopkins will be the show's lead director, while Adrian Sturges (who worked on The Enfield Haunting) will produce. David Shore said of the series: 'I've long been intrigued by both Houdini and Doyle; men who were ahead of their time, each fascinating in their own right. But the idea that these two, seemingly so different, could have been friends is almost too perfect. In Michael and Stephen, we have found two incredible actors that embody the intelligence, humour and mystique of these men, who even when viewed through the lens of history, are larger than life.' Houdini & Doyle will begin shooting later this year and will be broadcast on ITV in 2016.

And now ...
Ofcom - a politically appointed quango, elected by no one - has received more than one thousand whinges (from people with, seemingly, nothing better to do with their time) after Big Brother contestant Helen Wood compared her fellow housemate Brian Belo to a rapist and murderer. Belo, who, like Wood, is a former Big Brother winner - quit the show after the row, saying that he felt 'degraded.' Although, one imagines the money he'll be paid by the production will, perhaps, somewhat ease his pain. Wood's behaviour drew three thousand eight hundred and seventy four complaints on last year's show - which she won - amid allegations of bullying. Ofcom said that they would 'assess' the whinges from Wednesday night's episode 'before deciding whether to investigate.' As if anybody with an ounce of substance between their ears that isn't, you know, shit, actually cares about such trivial bollocks as this. Belo became increasingly stroppy and discombobulated during Wednesday's show on Channel Five, which saw the contestants invited to play a game in which Big Brother his and/or her very self posed a series of antagonistic questions for the contestants to answer about each other. Wood and Belo argued, culminating in Wood telling Belo: 'Brian you look like a rapist, you look like a murderer-slash-rapist.' Various other contestants then told Wood that she was 'out of order', but she continued her invective, telling Belo 'you have issues. The men in the white coats are waiting for you,' she told him, as he stormed into the diary room. The row resulted in Wood and another contestant, Marc O'Neill, being given a formal warning. Belo confided in fellow contestant Nikki Grahame with whom he entered the house on 12 June Speaking in the diary room, a visibly upset Belo said: 'I feel like I'm being ganged up on. I don't want to cry. I've tried to keep away from there. I shouldn't have come back here. This is really hard. I feel like I'm living in hell. I'm defeated. I'm getting a barrage of abuse.' He described Wood as having 'the morals of an alley cat. I just feel degraded,' he told fellow Grahame. He ended up quitting the show, by climbing over the garden wall. Former contestants Wood, Belo - who won Big Brother in 2007 - and Grahame were brought into the show two weeks ago, as part of this series desperate efforts to attract some viewers to the increasingly jaded and sick Victorian freak show. Following his departure, Wood said that she had called Belo a rapist 'to get a reaction', and was 'glad' he had left the house because he 'made my skin crawl.' She added that honesty was 'one of my best qualities'.Which is the usual excuse given by ignorant rude bastards when saying offensive, upsetting shit to others, this blogger has noticed. In a statement, a Channel Five spokesman said: 'Big Brother takes rule-breaking very seriously. Helen and Marc were both warned regarding their behaviour and as with all housemates they continue to be closely monitored at all times."
US broadcaster, PBS, is postponing its third series of Finding Your Roots, after the show omitted 'embarrassing' details about Ben Affleck's ancestry. Finding Your Roots, which is similar in format to the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are?, researches celebrity family histories. A review into an episode, which was broadcast in October, concluded that Affleck lobbied producers about ditching details concerning his slave-owning ancestors. PBS said that it plans to hire a fact-checker and an independent genealogist in future - although, one does rather wonder why they hadn't thought of doing that in the first place. Following its investigation, PBS concluded that producers 'violated network standards' by allowing Affleck to have 'improper influence' and 'by failing to inform PBS or [New York TV station] WNET of Mr Affleck's efforts to affect programme content.' The public service broadcaster said that it would not commit to a fourth season of the series 'until we are satisfied that the editorial standards of the series have been successfully raised to a level in which we can have confidence.' Affleck's request to omit details about a slave-owning relative from the show came to light with the publication of hacked Sony e-mails between the series host, Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr, and Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton. Gates is professor and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. The details were eventually left out of the show. 'I lobbied him the same way I lobby directors about what takes of mine I think they should use,' Affleck wrote on Facebook, when the e-mail exchange came to light earlier this year, seemingly oblivious to all of the trouble he'd gotten Gates into. 'I didn't want any television show about my family to include a guy who owned slaves. I was embarrassed,' the actor said, not unreasonably. At the time, Gates defended his editorial choices: 'Ultimately, I maintain editorial control on all of my projects and, with my producers, decide what will make for the most compelling program [sic]. In the case of Mr Affleck - we focused on what we felt were the most interesting aspects of his ancestry,' Gates said in April. In a statement released on Wednesday, Gates thanked PBS for its 'thoughtful internal review. I sincerely regret not discussing my editing rationale with our partners at PBS and WNET and I apologise for putting PBS and its member stations in the position of having to defend the integrity of their programming.' The third series of the show will be delayed to ensure 'improved editorial and production processes', PBS said in their statement. It added that the episode in which Affleck's ancestry was examined will be withdrawn from all forms of distribution, including digital streaming and DVD.
Paul Hollywood, Mark Gatiss and Jerry Hall are among those who will trace their family history in the new series of Who Do You Think You Are? One imagines non of those have slave-owners in their ancestral closet. The twelfth series of the popular factual show has signed up ten celebrities who will investigate their genealogy to find out what happened to their ancestors. Last Tango In Halifax actors Sir Derek Jacobi and Anne Reid will also feature, as will the actresses Jane Seymour and Frances De La Tour and choirmaster Gareth Malone. Rounding out the series will be reporter Frank Gardner and Anita Rani. The new series will take the celebrities to places including Tunisia, Tasmania, India and America, with discoveries about convicts being sent to Australia, sisters separated by the Holocaust, socialites accused of treason in Tudor England and even stories about vampires. Hall's story sees her discovering her ancestors' history as pioneers in America, while Jacobi's history includes big twists such as an ancestor leading a double life and an unlikely connection to royalty. 'Who Do You Think You Are? is back with another fantastic line-up of much-loved faces, uncovering hidden history by bringing our celebrities' ancestors to life,' said the show's executive producer Colette Flight. 'Following our best-known stars on their personal journey into their family trees reveals extraordinary stories, sometimes tragic, sometimes funny, but always compelling.' Who Do You Think You Are? will return with its new series this summer on BBC1.

Horrifying things we learned from the Metro this week. Number one: Balding, risible, up-his-own-ringpiece TV hasbeen Paul Daniels is a fan of NCIS. This blogger may stop watching the popular long-running US crime drama in protest. The lovely Debbie McGee's opinions on her fictional namesake, Tim is not, at this time, known.
Ben Fogle has signed up to host BBC2's new 'global fishing competition' The Big Fish. The series will see eight amateur anglers from the UK battling it out to prove their fishing prowess in front of judge Matt Hayes. Sounds riveting telly. The contestants will travel across four continents and will visit a different country in each week's episode to become immersed in local fishing techniques. Why they don't just ask Wor Geet Canny Robson Green to give them some tips is a question best left for another day. The amateurs will be judged both by Hayes and by a local specialist. 'I'm really thrilled to be a part of the series to see how these fantastic fishermen get on in some really tough places, learning to fish the way the locals do and facing some pretty extreme water around the world,' Fogle said. 'We will be immersed in the countries we are staying in and will hopefully come face to face with some phenomenal fish.' And, hopefully, some phenomenal chips to go with 'em.
Channel Four has commissioned a full new series of Chris Evans' chat show TFI Friday following its one-off revival earlier this month. Eight episodes of the show have been ordered and will be broadcast later this year, the broadcaster has announced. Evans, recently confirmed as the new host of the BBC's Top Gear will present the programme. TFI Friday, which mixed music and chat with stunts and sketches, originally ran from 1996 to 2000. A one-off revival of TFI Friday was broadcast on 12 June and featured appearances by former Oasis singer Liam Gallagher, Roger Daltrey and F1 champion Lewis Hamilton. The show drew a peak audience of 4.2m viewers. A short filmed sketch showed yer man Jezza Clarkson instructing Evans in how to present the motoring show. Evans was confirmed as the new Top Gear presenter just four days after the programme was broadcast on Channel Four.
Meanwhile, because there's a 'y' in the day, some Middle Class hippy Communist arsehole of no importance at the Gruniad Morning Star has run yet another Top Gear-related story (based on camera-phone footage recorded by some snitching Copper's Nark in the audience at one of the live shows). And, obviously, to the tutting disapproval of many of the Middle Class hippy Communist readers of the Gruniad, seemingly. Christ only knows what the Gruniad are going to do once Chris Evans' Top Gear starts if Jezza, Hamster and Cap'n Slow haven't started whatever their next project is by that time. They'll have nothing to write about. They'll have to go back to reporting the frigging news. What a novel concept.

A TV presenter has claimed she was banned from breastfeeding at the Chelsea Flower Show. Gardeners' World host Rachel De Thame revealed she was stopped from doing so while filming at the world famous horticultural showcase. The presenter told Radio Times magazine: 'I absolutely think women and men are equal in the world of horticulture and design, though there was one occasion when I was filming at the Chelsea Flower Show and I wasn't allowed to breastfeed. I'm an Earth mother. I liked being pregnant and giving birth and breastfeeding. Up until that point, the job I was doing was working really well with juggling the kids, but not then.' The fifty three-year-old, a familiar face on the BBC’s coverage of the event alongside the likes of Monty Don and Joe Swift, has four children aged between nine and twenty six. Speaking about this year's show in May, she added: 'Having said there are as many opportunities for men as there are for women, I did notice that there weren't many show gardens designed by women this year at Chelsea and I am not sure what that's about. Maybe the same issues that affect women working in other spheres do affect women in horticulture. We have babies. We are not available for full-time work.' A spokesman for the Royal Horticultural Society said: 'When Rachel De Thame left the RHS Chelsea Showground to breast-feed over ten years ago, the reason was because babes in arms and children under five are not allowed on site for their own safety. This would not be the same at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show for instance, which is a much more spacious and less busy showground.'

Paul Abbott’s darkly comic police drama No Offence starring Joanna Scanlan will return for a second series on Channel Four. The Shameless, Touching Evil and State Of Play creator's latest drama, which also stars Elaine Cassidy, Alexandra Roach and Will Mellor, launched with an audience of two and a half million viewers last month. Abbott has described it as a 'comedy for a crime-addicted audience who love The Bill. It's The Bill, tilted.' Although the drama has not held onto all of its overnight audience, it has been warmly received by critics. The first series ends on Tuesday. Channel Four said the consolidated series average, including people who recorded it and watched it in the subsequent seven days, was 2.5 million, forty seven percent up on its slot average. Filming on the new eight-part series will begin in Manchester in early 2016. Programme makers said that it would 'see the team investigating a whole new case, involving warring crime families and will see DI Deering [Scanlan] come up against her toughest adversary yet - a woman who is pretty much her mirror image, in her brains, ingenuity and determination, except she's on the other side of the law.' Channel Four's head of drama, Piers Wenger, said: 'No Offence is not just unlike any other cop show on TV, it's unlike any other show on TV – and we are delighted to announce its return next year. Paul and the cast have set the bar high in terms of thrills, spills and belly laughs this year and we can’t wait to see where they go in series two.'

Full-of-his-own-importance slapheed Nick Robinson has said that he is unsure whether a comment made by oily David Cameron about shutting down the BBC was a joke or a genuine threat. The Gruniad Morning Star has publicised the report, which Robinson, who is political editor for the BBC, originally wrote in his new book Election Notebook. The extract reads: 'News reaches me from the Tory campaign bus that the PM marched on board and called the story "rubbish." When one hack jokingly muttered "Bloody BBC," the PM responded, "I'm going to close them down after the election!" Joke? Expression of frustration? Threat? All three? No one could be sure.' Robinson has since spoken to the Gruniad and said that although he was 'unsure' if the Prime Minister had been joking or not, it was still seen as added 'pressure' by many within the BBC. 'What really matters is the impact it has on other people,' he said. 'Some people on the bus regarded it as funny but they generally didn't work for BBC. The people who did regarded it as yet another bit of pressure and a sort of sense of "Don't forget who's boss here."' He also said that other comments made by Conservative ministers 'publicly and privately' had 'added to concerns' of BBC staff. However, Robinson added that he does not think the Government would close down the BBC even if the Prime Minister's comments were made seriously. 'The Tory's attitude and Cameron's in particular is rather like their attitude to the Church of England,' he said. 'They are delighted it exists and regard it as vital to the fabric of England, but they also find it really annoying. I've never met a senior Tory who wants to close down the BBC. I could be proved wrong (but) I don't think the BBC will get closed down.'
Meanwhile, the shadow lack of culture secretary Chris Bryant has criticised anonymous briefings claiming that the government is going to 'cut the BBC down to size' and called for the launch of a consultation on the corporation's future. 'The BBC is the single biggest cultural investment we make in the UK and is one of our greatest assets,' said Bryant. 'Yet with time fast running out for charter renewal, the government still haven't even started formal negotiations on its future. Instead of this spree of wild anonymous briefings about how the Tories are going to cut the BBC down to size, the government must launch an open, wide and transparent consultation as a matter of urgency.' Bryant was responding to recent reports on the government's plans for negotiations over the renewal of the BBC charter, expected to be outlined in a green paper released this summer. The reports include claims in the Torygraph that the government will hand oversight of the corporation to communications regulator Ofcom, and plans to continue the freeze of the licence fee. However, according to the Gruniad Morning Star, alleged government 'sources' have allegedly told the alleged newspaper that 'no decisions' have been made and the green paper will not name a replacement for the BBC Trust. Other themes expected to be discussed in the document include the possibility of privatising or part-privatising BBC commercial arm BBC Worldwide. Details of the paper are 'still being finalised', but there are, the Gruniad claim, 'also suggestions that it will look at the privatisation options for the BBC's in-house production departments.' Bryant added: 'There are important issues to address, especially how to regulate the BBC, how to guarantee its independence and how to fund it. The last thing viewers and listeners want is a slash and burn raid on the Beeb.' On Thursday, the Independent reported that chancellor George Osborne is considering shifting the bill for free licences for the over-seventy fives from the welfare budget to the BBC, leaving a six hundred million quid hole in the corporation's finances. The corporation is also facing a further gap of two hundred million smackers if plans to decriminalise non-payment of the licence fee go ahead.
You wouldn't expect the BBC to ever have to apologise for Alan Titchmarsh swearing on live TV, but it happened on Tuesday morning. BBC Breakfast said sorry to TV viewers after Titchmarsh mentioned 'bastard trenching', apparently a legitimate gardening term. 'I don't double dig every day - digging to two spades' depth. There's another name for it, and it sounds terrible, but it's called bastard trenching,' he said. 'By the end of it you realise that's a very fitting name for it.' Host Louise Minchin said: 'Thank you very much. And I just have to offer our apologies for the language used in the last couple of minutes. Apologies if people were offended.' 'Oh no, no,' Titchmarsh replied. 'It's a term in a gardening book. I shan't repeat it but it's not offensive at all.' As it turned out, viewers were actually more annoyed that the BBC felt it necessary obliged to apologise in the first place, rather than the phrase itself.
ITV News has reshuffled its presenters with Tom Bradby stepping down as political editor to become the main presenter of News At Ten. The bulletin is returning to its 1990s format with a single anchor, which for most of the year will be Bradby. The rest of the time it will be fronted by current co-anchor Julie Etchingham and, occasionally, international affairs editor Rageh Omaar, who currently presents some weekend bulletins. It means that after eight years at the helm of the flagship bulletin, Mark Austin will move to co-anchor the early evening news with Mary Nightingale. Austin has fronted the 6.30pm bulletin before, when Sir Trevor McDonald returned to News At Ten for its last major relaunch in 2008. 'Some within ITN have expressed their surprise at the move given that Austin has twice won the Royal Television Society presenter of the year award' claim the Gruniad Morning Star citing no names for any of these people who were, seemingly, surprised. So, that either means the Gruniad are lying or someone at ITV has been snitching like a filthy stinking Cooper's Nark. Although the 6.30pm bulletin gets substantially more viewers than News At Ten it is viewed as a prestigious position and earlier this year it won the RTS Daily News Programme of the Year. However ITV is understood to be keen to make Bradby one of the key faces of its channel. He has established the well-regarded political show The Agenda and also wrote drama The Great Fire.

Susanna Reid has secured herself a reputation for on-air gaffs on ITV's breakfast TV flop, Good Morning Britain. The host’s latest unintended moment saw her having a sudden realisation that she'd left her breakfast plate on the floor in clear view of the camera. Susanna carried on talking to camera as if nothing had gone awry. Her foot, however, could be seen pushing the plate behind her desk in comic 'no one will notice' slow motion. A solid, if futile, attempt.
She might not play big fat cuddly Pat Butcher anymore, but actress Pam St Clement was allegedly involved in confrontational Eastenders-esque scenes with a railway worker after a Pat Butcher joke didn't go down very well. According to witnesses, the ex-Eastender told the worker at the quiet Haddenham and Thame Parkway station, Oxfordshire, to 'fuck off' after he joked: 'Pat Butcher? I thought you were dead.' The seventy three-year-old former actress played the character for twenty six years before leaving the soap in 2012. The Sun reports that commuters were left 'gob-smacked' when Pam, allegedly, 'went ballistic' at the worker and that she was, apparently, 'disgusted' at what he said. An - anonymous, and therefore probably fictitious - 'onlooker' who was, presumably, paid for their grassing, snitched like a Copper's Nark: 'He obviously meant absolutely nothing by it. I'd have thought that she got called Pat all the time to be honest, she was on the telly for years.'
Former Coronation Street actress Michelle Keegan has landed a starring role in the BBC1's drama Our Girl. In the five-part series about medics in the British Army, Keegan will play Corporal Georgie Lane, an army medic on a risky mission in Kenya. 'I'm a massive fan of the series so I can't wait to be a part of it,' Keegan told the Mirra. 'It's going to be a big but exciting ­challenge for me.' Well yes, as it will, presumably, involve acting. That'll be a change. A BBC spokesman added: 'It won't be an easy posting as she has to earn the love and trust of her fellow soldiers and the greater respect of her commanding officer, while ­working alongside aid workers in the world's biggest refugee camp. Kenya will be full of surprises that will challenge Georgie professionally and personally.' The first series followed Molly Dawes, a medic in Afghanistan played by Lacey Turner. Turner will note be continuing with the series due to her EastEnders commitments. Filming of the second series of Our Girl starts in January, and it is due to be broadcast in late 2016.
They have become a fashion staple for modern women, yummy mummies and slinky-hipped hipsters, but skinny jeans should come with a health warning, 'experts' claim. Squatting in tight jeans can, apparently, cut off the blood supply to muscles and compress a nerve behind the knee which brings a debilitating loss of feeling in the legs, feet and toes, according to doctors. Albeit, doing so also makes the day of any passing admirer of callipygian excellence. Just, you know, something to drop into your toaster and see if it pops up brown. Alleged health 'experts' issued the warning after a thirty five-year-old woman in Australia was found lying on the ground, unable to get up, after collapsing when her feet and ankles became numb. In the hours before she fell, she had been helping a friend to move house and had squatted down frequently while wearing jeans to empty cupboards and lift up boxes. Her calves were reportedly so swollen that the jeans had to be cut off. She couldn’t move her ankles or toes properly and had lost feeling in her lower legs and feet. Doctors said the pressure of material on the back of the leg caused a condition called 'compartment syndrome' where the blood supply to the leg muscle was reduced, causing swelling of the muscles and compression of the nearby nerves. Changing a car tyre, or replacing a bicycle wheel could also lead to a similar crouching posture which could potentially compress the fibular nerve and cause leg numbness. The woman, who has not been named, suffered 'serious swelling' in her calf muscles, and needed to spend four days in hospital on an intravenous drip before she could walk again unaided. So, to sum up then, wearing tight, potentially circulation-cutting, clothing isn't a good idea if you're planning on doing any sort of physical activity. No shit? We needed 'experts' to tell us this? Did everybody take the frigging Stupid Pill this week, or what?
You won't have to shell out a fortune for curries, salads and barbecues this summer because prawn prices have, if you will, dived. Hurrah. This blogger likes a nice prawn curry, he may have mentioned this on occasions in the past. Anyway, the cost of warm water prawns has reportedly fallen by fifteen per cent wholesale since April. They are recovering after disease struck the crustacean's main habitat in the tropics during 2013. The Thai Shrimp Association (for, there is such an organisation and good on them, they do jolly fine work) said this week that it expects output to rise by five to ten per cent above last year's haul of two hundred and thirty thousand tonnes of nice juicy prawns, the Grocer magazine reports. The price of cold water prawns has also been falling for the past two years.
The Italian firm behind Ferrero Rocher chocolates and Nutella Spread has agreed to buy British chocolate retailer Thorntons for one hundred and twelve million smackers, striking a rare deal to expand in Europe's biggest confectionery market. The deal is the first by family-owned Ferrero International since the death earlier this year of its patriarch Michele Ferrero, who was reported to be Italy's wealthiest man and largely shied away from acquisitions as he built up a business that also spans Kinder Surprise eggs and Tic-Tac mints. Ferrero said on Monday that it would pay one hundred and forty five English pence per share in cash for the one hundred and four-year-old Thorntons, a forty three per cent premium to the British firm's closing stock price on Friday. Thorntons' management said it backed the deal. Thorntons has been hit in recent years by the rise of newer and upmarket brands such as Green & Black's and Hotel Chocolate. Ferrero is best known in the UK for its piss-funny and pretentious 1990 TV adverts which featured Ferrero Rocher being passed around at an embassy party with the now infamous tagline 'Ambassador, you're spoiling us.'
BBC presenter Paul Rose has said he is 'happy to be alive' after a terrifying polar bear attack. The explorer was filming forthcoming BBC2 series The Pennine Way on the Arctic East Coast of Canada when the incident took place. Speaking about the attack, Rose said: 'The first thing I knew was when I woke up unable to move as it had me pinned down. Somehow I got out from underneath the bear, only to find I was staring right at it after I carefully opened the zip at the front of the tent to look outside.' Paul added: 'Perhaps I should have stayed in the Pennines. There's certainly less likelihood of encountering a polar bear there.' Oh, I dunno, I've heard one or two have been spotted in The Tyne Gap. Rose later wrote on Twitter: 'Polar bear in my tent last night. Wrecked tent. Sore shoulder. Alive, happy!'
A lifelong football fan has left his favourite amateur club more than three hundred grand in his will. Colin Rowell was an avid Bishop Auckland supporter and left the bulk of his estate to the club following his death in January at the age of seventy nine. Stunned officials said that the bequest would help to secure the County Durham club's future. Rowell, from nearby Cockton Hill, has no surviving family members and had been a fan of the club for more than seventy years. The Northern League Division One club has pledged to mark the gesture by scattering Rowell's ashes on the pitch and naming a section of its Heritage Park ground after him. Club chairman Richard Tremewan said the generosity was 'unprecedented. Although we have received one or two bequests before, we've had nothing like this,' he said. Darren Brown, of Hewitts Solicitors, in Bishop Auckland, said: 'Colin never married and he had no children so it was, perhaps, the natural thing for him to leave it to the football club that had given him so much pleasure over the years. After he died, we found a drawer full of newspaper clippings about Bishop Auckland FC and the team's new ground at Heritage Park. Clearly, he followed them until the end.' He said that Rowell had stipulated the money must be used to improve the team's home ground. Executor of Rowell's will, Karen Eyre, said: 'Colin loved sport of all kinds, but football, in particular. Shortly before he died, he said to me that his dream would be to have his ashes scattered on the penalty spot at the new ground. He would have been delighted to know that's what is going to happen.'

England beat New Zealand by fifty six runs in the one-off Twenty/20 international at Old Trafford on Tuesday. Joe Root hit sixty eight in England's one hundred and ninety one for seven, with Jason Roy, Alex Hales and Ben Stokes all playing bright cameos. After Brendon McCullum bludgeoned thirty five from fifteen balls, New Zealand were well set at eighty two for two from eight overs. But collapses of three for twelve in eleven balls and then five for four in twelve balls saw the Black Caps bowled out for one hundred and thirty five in 16.2 overs, despite Kane Williamson's classy fifty seven. In an entertaining contest which provided a fitting finale to New Zealand's thrilling tour which has done so much to remind people why cricket, actually, can be good fun, England earned victory in their final match before The Ashes begins on 8 July. They did so at a packed, sun-drenched Old Trafford thanks to another display of unrelenting aggression with the bat and then a fightback with the ball after a lightning New Zealand start. In the face of McCullum's power and Williamson's artistry, England were failing to master a pitch that both took spin and required the fast bowlers to vary their pace. McCullum cleared the ropes four times, twice from the first two deliveries of Mark Wood's T/20 international debut, only for the Durham seamer to bowl the New Zealand skipper off his pads later in the over. If that was one problem dealt with for England, they still had to contend with Williamson, who played his part in taking Adil Rashid's loose first over for sixteen runs. As Williamson and Ross Taylor added forty one in twenty six balls, New Zealand appeared to be coasting, especially when wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow dropped a relatively simple chance off Taylor from the bowling of Ben Stokes. But, when Rashid returned to have Taylor held at long-off in the next over, the momentum was reversed. Stokes bowled Colin Munro and had Luke Ronchi skying a ramp shot into the gloves of Bairstow in the same over and, from then on, England did not relent. Dot balls were accumulated, the ground fielding improved and, after Mitchell Santner missed a swing at Wood, a moment of brilliance effectively sealed England 's victory. As New Zealand looked for a quick single, David Willey swooped in the covers to hit the stumps with a direct hit to remove Williamson. From there, the Black Caps subsided, Willey taking the final two wickets in as many balls to leave the tourists well short of an England total that had seemed only slightly above par earlier in the day. A steady flow of wickets prevented the hosts from ever truly breaking the shackles, with Roy, Hales, Sam Billings and Stokes all briefly sparkling around the in-form Root. Roy looked likely to be destructive, dancing to clear the ropes, before he was run out by a poor call from Hales for twenty three. Hales also threatened before skying the impressive left-arm spin of Santner for twenty seven, leaving the inventive Root to cut, pull and dab his way to a thirty six-ball half-century. Billings's power helped take twenty three off one Nathan McCullum over and, after both he and Root fell to Mitchell McClenaghan, Stokes added some late impetus. By then, though, England already had enough.

Separated by the Tamar and conflicting views about whether butter or jam goes first on a scone, Devon and Cornwall have always had a keen rivalry. But in the world of cricket the two proud counties could be willing to put differences aside and come together, if it offers them a chance to play at the highest level. The England and Wales Cricket Board is currently reviewing the structure of the domestic game and one possibility could be to increase the County Championship from eighteen to twenty one clubs, split into three divisions, instead of the current two. This would be the first time the championship had been expanded since Durham's elevation to first class status in 1992. It has been suggested that Ireland and Scotland could take two of the extra places, and Devon and Cornwall are willing to unite to fill the third. Devon has provided a number of well-known cricketers, including former England wicketkeeper Chris Read and brothers Craig and Jamie Overton, who play for Somerset and were recently called into the national one-day squad. Cornwall, meanwhile, had a local boy in England's 1986-87 Ashes-winning team with Surrey wicketkeeper Jack Richards, who was born in Penzance, playing in all five Tests. The ECB is saying very little on the subject at present, apart from a statement saying that it is 'at an early stage of the review process.' No decision on changes to the domestic programme are expected until late November, but there is no doubt that there is an appetite for first-class cricket in the South-West area. Devon took the scalp of Leicestershire in the 2004 C&G Trophy and their one-day matches against first-class counties were always popular, with crowds of five thousand regularly turning out at Exmouth.

The actress who played Titty in the acclaimed 1970s adaptation of Swallows & Amazons says she thinks the name is sweet and that she has been sent messages from around the world following the decision to rename the character Tatty in a new film version of Arthur Ransome's classic children's story. Sophie Nevile said that the news Titty's name will be changed to avoid, ahem, titters and innuendo 'has started an impassioned national debate. I had no warning! However a whole range of comments from fans has hit my social media pages.' She went on: 'I loved playing the part of Titty in the EMI film Swallows & Amazons, made on location in the Lake District back in 1973. It has been such an enduring success that children all over the world still call me Titty. It's a sweet name. They'll see me in the street and call out, "Hello, Titty! How are you?" That can turn a few heads. I was in France last year when an adult started calling me Titty. He apologised, realising he was calling me by the character name, and then went right on calling me Titty, quite naturally. I don't mind a bit.' She says in a letter to the Gruniad Morning Star that she often spends time with Suzanna Hamilton, who played her sister, Susan, in the film, and that they still refer to each other by their characters' names. Nevile went on: 'I am sure the producer of the new film adaptation of Swallows and Amazons has a reason for changing the name. I have a young friend called Tatty who is just like the character, so can easily take it on board. Arthur Ransome was inspired by a real girl. Her nickname came from the fairytale Titty Mouse and Tatty Mouse. He insisted that Titty wasn't short for anything. Roger Wardale, Ransome's biographer, will confirm that she was just called Titty in the books. I received the sweetest e-mail from Japan saying "We love your Titty!" I was once staying at Bank Ground Farm in the Lake District to record an interview for the BBC with Ben Fogle, when two Japanese ladies arrived to stay there. They flung up their hands and screamed in delight. The name Titty echoed from the hills of Cumbria.' The BBC is in the process of filming the latest adaptation of Ransome's story, which follows the adventures of the Walker children – John, Susan, Titty and Roger – as they sail on a lake and camp on an island one summer. Characters’ names have often been modified to avoid sniggers from modern audiences. A 1963 film adaptation of Swallows & Amazons renamed her Kitty, while Fanny in Enid Blyton's The Faraway Tree became Frannie. And, as for Garry Russell's Dick ... 'nuff said. (sorry Garry, love, I know it's an old joke but I couldn't resist.)
A street sign stolen from a Nottinghamshire village - which shares the name of Batman's home city - has been found. The metal sign welcoming people to Gotham was found by officers in Loughborough after they executed a search warrant on a premesis in the town. The sign belongs to Nottinghamshire County Council and has previously been taken from its spot on Nottingham Road between Clifton and the village of Gotham. Previously, community support officer Anthony Davies said that people may have taken the sign 'as a prank' owing to its links with Batman. A spokesman for Nottinghamshire County Council, who sounds like he was enjoying his moment in the spotlight, said: 'This has all the hallmarks of The Joker's work. We will arrange for the batmobile to collect.'
'An angry dwarf' has been jailed after impersonating a Dalek which led to him being Tasered twice by the police according to the Daily Torygraph. Ian Salter-Bromley, stuck a sucker dart on his carers in his sheltered housing complex in Hull. Salter-Bromley, who is four feet tall, had initially been 'quite jolly' but his mood changed and he threatened to kill one of the members of staff. He returned to his flat and barricaded the door after they called the poliss and he was involved in a stand-off before he was tasered. Twice. The police claim they were 'worried' they would hit his colostomy bag but, used the tasers anyway. The offence was committed during 'a campaign of public abuse' after Salter-Bromley allegedly defecated in a council office in a protest about his kitchen work tops having been mounted eight inches too high for him to reach. Salter-Bromley, it is claimed, 'exposed himself and spread excrement and urine' in the main reception of Hull's Wilson centre and in toilets. He was given an ASBO for making a string of nuisance calls to emergency services. Salter-Bromley appeared for sentence at Hull Crown Court after admitting a charge of affray for threatening police during the Dalek stunt, possession of a knife in a public place and breach of another ASBO for threatening a woman on a bus with a bread knife when he thought children were making fun of his dwarfism. Crown barrister Dale Brook said that on 5 July last year Salter-Bromley threatened members of staff at Thornton Court in the activity room saying 'I am going to kill you, Joe' after pretending to be a Dalek. Hull Crown Court heard that when police arrived, Salter-Bromley barricaded himself in his flat. Officers forced their way in and found him holding a twenty centimetre knife. 'One officer described him [as] angry with veins sticking out of his neck. They eventually tasered him with two stuns guns because they "feared for his welfare,"' the court heard. Brook said Salter-Bromley had to be sentenced for a disturbance on board a bus on 9 September when he produced the knife and began 'waving it about' before telling one woman that 'if he was going down for killing someone, she was going down with him.' A passenger managed to disarm Salter-Bromley and he was arrested by British Transport Police at Hull Paragon Interchange. Salter-Bromley also breached an anti-social behaviour order by going into the station, which he is banned from entering, on 22 November. Three days later he abused a security staff member at Newington Health Centre, breaching his ASBO again. Defence barrister Paul Genney said that the offences 'sounded worse than they were' as his client was 'a lonely man with few friends' who recently had his wheelchair stolen. 'The incident in Thornton Close got out of hand. He had a target dart to stuck to the middle of his forehead and dominoes in his mouth. He was in his wheel chair and said "I am a Dalek! Exterminate! Exterminate!"' Genney claimed that Salter-Bromley 'took no issue' that the police had to be called after he barricaded himself in his room but questioned what threat he posed to others. 'He is three feet tall,' said Genney. 'He is a dwarf. He has a zimmer frame and a colostomy bag. Not the most threatening figure in the world. He was tasered not once but twice. It is a very sad state of affairs. He said in the bus incident the woman admitted she had not felt threatened. The knife was only a butter knife, which was blunt and only slightly serrated,' he added. 'His physical state is poor. He once tried to kill himself and broke his back. He also doesn't have his wheelchair anymore, after it was stolen and walks everywhere with his zimmer frame. My client is depressed and is in enormous suffering. He drinks, has no friends and is isolated. But I admit he is often his own worst enemy.' Jailing Salter-Bromley for nine months, Recorder David Gordon told him: 'Individually, these aren't the most serious offences, but together they take on a different complexion. You would have been jailed for longer if it hadn't been for your disabilities. I appreciate you are isolated and have an extremely lonely life, which makes you frustrated. But now you have time behind bars to reflect and try to keep your temper under control.'

One of the schoolgirls accused of the brutal attempted murder of a classmate to please the fictional character Slender Man has admitted she may try to attack someone again. Morgan Geyser, aged thirteen, made the shocking revelation to a doctor as he tried to assess her mental health according to the Daily Mirra. They state that Doctor Kenneth Casimir asked Geyser what she would so if Slender Man told her to kill again and she, allegedly, responded: 'Well, if he told me to hurt more people, I'd have to do it. If he told me to break into someone's house and stab them, I would have to do it.' Casimir made the revelation during a court hearing in which a judge is trying to decide if the girl should be tried as an adult or a child. Geyser arrived at the hearing with her hands and feet shackled and, the newspaper add, 'fidgeted as psychiatrists testified about her rare early-onset schizophrenia.' Doctors claim that the thirteen-year-old 'masterminded' the plot to stab a classmate nineteen times after she and her fellow accused, Anissa Weier, lured their twelve-year-old victim, Payton Leutner, into the woods in Waukesha, Wisconsin. 'She continues to believe that Slender Man is real. She continues to believe that she has an ongoing relationships with several characters from the Harry Potter book who come and visit her and who she feeds and who sometimes sleep over,' psychiatrist Doctor Kenneth Robbins said. 'Severe schizophrenia is predictably going to do very poorly in the criminal justice system and we have hundreds of examples of that,' he added. The judge wants to take a few weeks to decide a very gray area of the state's law: What is the appropriate way to try a young girl with severe mental health problems accused of an adult crime. Each girl's case will be decided individually so it is possible for one girl to be tried in children's court and one in adult court. The final decision will be made in August. Geyser and Weier were both just twelve at the time of the attack in May last year. The girls could be sentenced to up to sixty years in prison if they are convicted as adults. The two girls' attorneys have never denied they attacked and stabbed Leutner, but claim they were so disturbed they truly believed the Slender Man - a popular online urban myth - would kill their own families in three seconds if they did not do his bidding.

NASA's Curiosity Rover has photographed a pyramid on Mars - possibly containing Sutekh, possibly not, this blogger will leave it up to you, dear blog reader, to work that one out. At least, this is what some 'paranormal enthusiasts' (or, 'totally bloody nutters' as they're also know) seem to believe. A new YouTube video from Paranormal Crucible (who are, obviously, not mental nor nothing, oh no, very hot water) claims that a photo image snapped by the rover's Mastcam camera on 7 May shows a pyramid of 'near perfect design and shape' and that the object is likely 'the result of intelligent design and certainly not a trick of light and shadow.' Not surprisingly, NASA's explanation for the object in the photo is somewhat more down to Earth. Or, down to Mars, if you prefer. 'It is a rock,' Doctor Jim Bell, deputy principal investigator of the Mastcam investigation program and a professor of astronomy at Arizona State University, told The Huffington Post in an e-mail when asked whether Martians were, if you will, walking like an Egyptian. 'It is probably a volcanic rock (like most rocks that we've seen with rovers on Mars), and just like many volcanic rocks on the Earth, many volcanic rocks on Mars break and cleave in very sharp, angular ways. This one happens to have cleaved into a pyramidal shape, which is actually not too uncommon among hard, dense volcanic rocks on the Earth either.' As for the size of the rock, Professor Bell said an analysis by the Mastcam team suggests that it is 'only about four inches tall.' Bell, who said the photo was 'fun to look at but not particularly Earth-shattering', or, indeed, Mars shattering, seems to have been trying hard not to offend anyone who believed the pyramid story. Unlike this blogger.

It's just two weeks to New Horizons' Pluto fly-by and the NASA spacecraft's teams are working overtime to make sure it meets the 14 July date. On earlier this month, a small fifty-second thruster burn was completed to correct New Horizon's trajectory and flight time. The course correction was one of three planned months in advance, according to Doctor Bobby Williams, director of space navigation and flight dynamics for KinetX Aerospace, leading the New Horizons navigation team. As the rendezvous with Pluto approaches New Horizons' hazard detection team will be looking for any unknown bodies or debris. 'The images are going to be like suddenly putting something into focus,' Williams explains. Scientists are hoping to be able to estimate the mass of Pluto and its several moons with the data collected from New Horizons. The spacecraft will also give scientists a chance to see Pluto's moons up close. 'We're stretching the limit, there are no other spacecraft this far out, about thirty astronomical unit from the Sun,' says Williams. 'We're completing the first full recount of the solar system, Pluto being the end point.' Williams said that he hopes the navigation team will be able to use what they learn from New Horizons to help future deep space missions go even further. 'Every day we break a new distance record to Pluto, and every day our data get better,' says mission Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute. 'Nothing like this kind of frontier, outer solar system exploration has happened since Voyager 2 was at Neptune in 1989.' After the fly-by New Horizons will still have enough power and fuel to run for quite a while suggests Williams. Mission control are planning a manoeuver after the Pluto fly-by to further explore within the Kuiper Belt beyond Neptune.

Joni Mitchell is still unable to speak after being found unconscious in her home in March, according to her friend David Crosby. Crosby said the singer-songwriter had suffered a brain aneurysm and faced a long struggle. 'She is home, she is in care, she is recovering,' he told Th Huffington Post. 'How much she's going to come back, and when, I don't know.' There has been no official confirmation of Mitchell's condition; the seventy one-year-old was found unconscious in her Los Angeles home on 31 March and taken to hospital. A statement released on her website several days later said that the singer was 'resting comfortably' and continued to 'improve and get stronger each day.' Her representatives later denied that Mitchell was in a coma, saying 'she's alert and she has her full senses.''"She took a terrible hit,"' said Crosby on Saturday. 'She had an aneurysm and nobody found her for a while. And she's going to have to struggle back from it the way you struggle back from a traumatic brain injury. To my knowledge, she is not speaking yet.' Crosby and Mitchell dated in 1967, when he was still a member of The Byrds. They have remained close friends ever since. 'She's a tough girl and very smart,' he said. 'I love her. She's probably the best of us — probably the greatest living singer-songwriter. [But] I think we're all holding our breath and thinking of goodbye. And hoping it's gonna turn out okay.'
Yer actual Saint Brian Wilson has called off his UK tour later this year, to promote a new movie about his life. The seventy two-year-old former Beach Boy was due to play a string of shows in Britain this September. But, due to the success of the biopic Love & Mercy, starring Paul Dano and John Cusack as the singer at different stages of his life, Wilson has postponed the tour to support the movie. A statement on his official website read: 'I'm sorry I won't be able to make these shows this year, but I look forward to seeing all my fans in 2016 to help me celebrate fifty years of Pet Sounds. This will be my final European tour.'
A new documentary film about late Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett is set to be released later in 2015. Barrett, who died in 2006, founded The Pink Floyd with Roger Waters, Nick Mason and the late Rick Wright in 1965. He famously retreated from the media's spotlight after leaving the band in 1968. The film, titled Have You Got It?, is directed by Roddy Bogawa and aims to provide insight into the singer and guitarist's semi-mythical life and short musical career. It features interviews with the surviving members of the band. Speaking to Mojo recently, Bogawa described the film as 'truly unique', adding that it 'has an intimate quality that the other films about [Barrett] haven't been able to capture.'
And, finally, dear blog reader, the first in a new semi-regular From The North series, 'Only In America'.
For the latest Keith telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader, how's about a quality bit of Britney?