Thursday, June 14, 2018

All The World Is Football Shaped, Made Just For Me To Kick In Space

So, dear blog reader, in case you're wondering about all this malarkey that is kicking-off, big-style, in Russia at the moment, here's the deal. Association football is a sport which is played between two teams of eleven players - or, if Portugal are one of them, two teams of eleven and nine ... or eight - using a spherical ball. Because, using a square one would be bloody ridiculous. It is widely considered to be the most popular participation and spectator sport in the vast majority of countries of the world. Except in the USA where they don't even use its proper name and think it's something that girls play. The game takes place on a pitch of grass or artificial AstroTurf (never, ever, try smoking the latter, it's really not very nice and believe me, I'd tried). The object is to score 'a goal' by getting the ball into the opposing team's net and stopping them from doing the same thing to you. Fairly, of course. Or, if you're Italian, any way you can. In general play, the goalkeepers are the only players allowed to use their hands to touch the ball (although at least one former Argentine international tended to ignore that when he felt like it). The rest of the team normally use their feet to kick the ball. And, frequently, each other. It's a game of two halves, Brian and at the end of ninety minutes the team which scores the most goals will be Over The Moon and the other lot will be As Sick As A Parrot. Or, to put it another way, it's a game of two halves and extra time and then, the Germans win on penalties. So, if there's something you want to watch on TV immediately after the scheduled conclusion, don't bother setting your recording devices because, like as not, it'll be cancelled. The game is controlled - or, more often, not controlled - by an officious, whistle-happy berk aided by two visually-impaired prats with flags. It was invented by the English but, whisper it, we're really not very good at it these days and haven't been for a very long time. Though, hope springs eternal. And, then is crushed into a million tiny fragments whenever we get knocked out in the Second Round or, if we're really lucky, the Quarter Finals. The Germans, French and the Brazilians, however, are good at it. Except when they aren't. The Belgians and the Spanish are sometimes quite useful too though, more often than not, they end up fighting among themselves after a couple of matches. Which can be jolly amusing in the right circumstances. The game has many rules, most of which are reasonably straight forward. Except for offside (don't ask, we'll be here all day). Every four years the best thirty two nations in the world come together in a spectacularly expensive corporate brown-tongued hate-fest. Scotland seldom take part. Because, as noted, it's a tournament for the world's thirty two best national sides. Thirty one of them inevitably go home muttering darkly about bias, conspiracies, bad luck, dodgy red cards and 'that was never over the line.' There can be only one champion. A bit like the movie Highlander only with less beheadings. Although, if you're ever seen Uruguay play ...
So, let's kick-off this latest bloggerisationisms with a proper fanfare ... Like, this one. Now it feels like the World Cup!
The 2018 World Cup may be missing some big footballing nations - most notably Italy and The Netherlands - but that's what makes the tournament so special. It's also being hosted in a morally bankrupt country with a dangerous psychotic numbskull as leader and which is full of sinister and sick racist, homophobic scum. But, FIFA - those notoriously corrupt and cowardly appeasers of dictators and criminals - awarded them the tournament in a 'secret' ballot so bent it was almost 'U'-shaped. Thus, we're stuck with it now so we might as well, at least, enjoy the football. Anyway, Brazil are looking to bounce back from the national outrage of 2014, whilst Spain, Argentina and France will be hoping to dethrone the defending champions, Germany and their atypically impressive and 'ruthlessly efficient' squad. Can the talented Belgians or the European Champions, Portugal make a big splash this time? Do England's overpaid, under-performing prima-donnas have what it takes to get beyond the first round? There are more questions than answers, dear blog reader, but if you're interested, here's yer actual Keith Telly Topping's rough guide to the thirty two nations that qualified. And, as the World Cup progresses Keith Telly Topping's World Cup Trivia Page will be providing periodic updates on how it's all going. The first one is here.
As if to prove the point about Spain often shooting themselves in the foot at major tournaments, they have sacked their head coach Julen Lopetegui after he was named the new Real Madrid boss just two days before their opening World Cup match with Portugal. Real Madrid announced on Tuesday that Lopetegui would succeed Zinedine Zidane at the Bernabeu on a three-year deal. The Spanish football federation said that it had dismissed the fifty one-year-old because the negotiation had occurred 'without any information to the RFEF.' Spanish sporting director Fernando Hierro will take charge for the World Cup. The former Real Madrid and Notlob Wanderers defender is in his second spell as sporting director, having returned to the role in November 2017, six years after leaving the position. RFEF president Luis Rubiales, who was told of Lopetegui's new role five minutes before it was publicly announced, said that he had found himself 'in a very difficult situation. I know there's going to be criticism whatever I do,' he added. 'I'm sure this will, in time, make us stronger. I admire Julen very much, I respect him very much. He seems a top trainer and that makes it harder to make the decision. You can't do things this way, two or three days before the World Cup. We have been compelled to make this decision.' Lopetegui became Spain's manager in 2016 following Vicente del Bosque's retirement and remained unbeaten through his reign. Spain won fourteen of twenty games with Lopetegui in charge, drawing the remaining six. According to reports in Spain, Rubiales was 'incensed' when he discovered Lopetegui had agreed a deal with Madrid. He left a FIFA Congress meeting in Moscow early in order to return to Spain's base in Krasnodar to deal with the situation. It has been claimed that senior players - including captain Sergio Ramos - fought for Lopetegui to remain in charge for the duration of the World Cup.
World Cup assistant referees have been told to keep their flag down for tight offside calls to enable VAR to make the correct decision, says FIFA referees committee chairman Pierluigi Collina. Russia 2018 will be the first World Cup to use the video assistant referee system. 'If you see some assistant referee not raising the flag it's not because he's making mistakes,' said big scary - but, hugely respected - Collina. 'It's because he's respected the instruction to keep the flag down.' Italian former referee Collina was speaking at the World Cup referees media briefing on Tuesday. 'They were told to keep the flag down when there is a tight offside incident and there could be a very promising attack or a goal-scoring opportunity because if the assistant referee raises the flag then everything is finished,' he said. 'If the assistant referee keeps the flag down and the play goes on and maybe a goal comes at the end, there is a chance to review the goal using the technology.' FIFA president Gianni Infantino confirmed in March that VAR would be used in Russia, having been used in Germany and Italy and trialled in in some domestic English cup games last season. The VAR - a current or former top referee - is in place to check decisions on four sorts of incidents: Goals, including 'missed' attacking offences in the build-up, penalties awarded and not awarded, including 'missed' attacking offences in the build-up, direct red cards and cases of mistaken identity where the wrong player is shown a red or yellow card. The referee can accept the information relayed through his earpiece by the VAR team, an option usually reserved for objective calls of fact, such as if a player is offside. For more subjective decisions such as red cards and penalty-area fouls, he can review the footage on a pitchside television monitor before deciding whether to change his initial call. Replays of incidents reviewed by the VAR will be shown on big screens during the World Cup and the crowd will also be told when a decision is being reviewed and why a decision has been reached. Not that this will stop them going mental if it's against their team, obviously.
The 2018 World Cup hadn't even kicked-off but, already, we knew that the 2026 World Cup will be held in the United States, Canada and Mexico after their joint bid beat Morocco's proposal to host it. The 'United 2026' bid was selected by FIFA member nations, winning one hundred and sixty five votes compared to sixty five for Morocco. The 2026 tournament will be the biggest World Cup ever held - with forty eight teams playing eighty matches over thirty four days. 'Football is the only victor. We are all united in football,' US 'Soc-her' president Carlos Cordeiro said. 'Thank you so, so much for this incredible honour. Thank you for entrusting us with this privilege.' Of the two hundred and eleven FIFA member nations, two hundred cast a vote at the sixty eighth FIFA Congress in Moscow on Wednesday, with the winning bid needing a majority of one hundred and four. Canada, Mexico, Morocco and the US were exempt, while Ghana was absent after the country's government said that it had 'disbanded' its football association amid allegations of 'widespread corruption.' Three US territories - Guam, the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico - were among the other member nations to not vote. Both Mexico (1970 and 1986) and the United States (1994) have previously hosted World Cups. Canada staged the Women's World Cup in 2015. Since the 2018 and 2022 tournaments were awarded to Russia and Qatar respectively in December 2010, widespread corruption has been exposed in the global game, including allegations of bribery and payment for votes. A BBC Panorama documentary claimed that Qatar spent one hundred and seventeen million quid on their successful bid for the 2022 World Cup - the first to be held in winter - while former FIFA president Sepp Blatter suggested there was 'an agreement' in place for Russia to host the 2018 tournament before the vote took place. Prominent figures, including Blatter, have since been indicted on criminal charges with some of them facing lengthy spells in The Big House if convicted. As a result FIFA - under the presidency of Gianni Infantino - promised 'a more open and transparent' vote to decide the 2026 World Cup host. It was decided that FIFA's twenty two-strong executive committee would no longer vote on behalf of the membership, as had occurred previously. Instead, the two bids made a final fifteen-minute presentation in front of congress before the FIFA member nations cast their votes.The 'United' World Cup will generate over ten billion knicker in revenue for FIFA, says Cordeiro. FIFA, needless to say, had their greed right-on when they heard this. Of the sixteen host cities, ten will be in the United States while the remainder will be split evenly between Canada and Mexico. Sixty matches will take place in the US, while Canada and Mexico will host ten games each. The final will be held at the eighty four thousand-capacity MetLife Stadium, which is home to NFL sides the New York Giants and the New York Jets. The distance between the most Northern host city (Edmonton) and the most Southern (Mexico City) is almost three thousand miles, which compares to nineteen hundred miles at this month's tournament in Russia. The tournament will mark the first time a World Cup has been shared by three host nations although one previous one - 2002's - was shared between two, South Korea and Japan. The 1994 World Cup, staged by the US, had the highest average attendance in the tournament's history, while Mexico was the first nation to host the event twice. Morocco Football Federation president Fouzi Lekjaa said: 'I wish to congratulate FIFA for the conduct of this process and congratulate the president for what he has done in order to move things towards more transparency and more inclusion. I would like to reaffirm the determination of my country to continue to work for football and realise one day our dream to host the World Cup in Morocco.' Morocco's bid faced unwanted attention when FIFA secretary general, Fatma Samoura, was the subject of an investigation into an alleged conflict of interest. Members of FIFA's World Cup bid evaluation task force said that she had 'an undeclared family link' with Morocco 2026 bid ambassador El Hadji Diouf. She was subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing and dismissed the claims as 'laughable and unfortunate.' The same evaluation task force later expressed concerns over stadiums, the availability of accommodation and the travel network, despite ratifying their proposals. Nine of the fourteen stadiums included in Morocco's bid were yet to be built, while the remaining five required 'significant renovation or upgrading.' But bid chief Hicham el Amrani said that he was 'confident' the country's infrastructure 'could deliver' and made play of the North African nation's position, nine miles from the Southern tip of Spain - dubbing it a 'European' World Cup.
England should have 'great confidence' in bidding for the 2030 World Cup, says FIFA vice-president David Gill. Gill said that he was 'pleased' by the new bidding process for the 2026 tournament. England lost out to Russia for the right to host the 2018 tournament in a process that since-discredited FIFA president Sepp Blatter has admitted was pre-ordained. Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay have announced their plans to jointly bid for 2030. Since the 2018 and 2022 tournaments were awarded to Russia and Qatar respectively in December 2010, widespread corruption has been exposed in the global game, including allegations of bribery and payment for votes. As a result, FIFA's executive committee is no longer responsible for the final say on which country is awarded a World Cup. Instead, FIFA member nations cast their votes. 'What it does is gives great confidence that the procedures in place now are appropriate and relevant,' said Gill. 'So, for me, I was very pleased with the process and delighted with the work that was done over many, many months.'
There's a very interesting piece by Tom Gerken on the BBC Sport website asking the question Does England have the most critical media in world football? To which the answer would appear to be 'of course it does, what planet have you been living on since 1970?'
A Russian MP has been heavily criticised after urging women not to have sex with foreign men during the World Cup. Communist Party MP Tamara Pletnyova told a Moscow Radio station that she was 'not a nationalist' but believed that Russian women should avoid sex with people 'of a different race' because 'their children suffer.' She was responding to a question about the 'kids of the Olympics' - referencing the claim that there was a spike in births of mixed-race children in Russia after the 1980 Summer Olympics. Pletnyova said that these children were 'abandoned' by their foreign fathers. 'It's not so bad if the fathers are of the same race,' she said. 'But if they are of a different race, then that's it. [The children] are abandoned, and they stay here with their mother. We should be giving birth to our children.' Pletnyova has been widely condemned online, with some people drawing parallels between her comments and FIFA's Say No to Racism campaign. Recalling how a former ice skater defended a racist tweet by claiming her Twitter account had been hacked, radio presenter Tayana Felgengauer wondered if Pletnyova might claim something similar had happened to her. 'I wonder what Pletnyova will say when they remind her of Say No to Racism,' she tweeted. Further critics of Pletnyova have included one who called for her to be 'thrown out of The Duma.'
Do you know what grates this blogger's cheese, dear blog reader? Then Keith Telly Topping shall tell you. What really grates this blogger's cheese, what really boils his piss, what really smokes off his cornet big-style is a curious phenomena which usually occurs during the run up to and the duration of all major football tournaments (and, to a lesser extent other major sporting competitions like the Olympics); this sees lots of people that you've never heard of proudly telling the world - or telling a few dozen others on Facebook anyway - how much they don't like football and, therefore, how miserable the next month is going to be for them. As thought that somehow makes them in some way special. It doesn't, it just makes them different for others - like this blogger, for instance, who does like football. But, the important question to ask at this point is why do they think anyone else is in the slightest bit interested? This blogger doesn't particularly like marine biology, for example, but he doesn't use the start of each new marine biology documentary series of Discovery to inform the world (over and over again) of this discombobulation. Listen, dear blog reader, it's very simple - the World Cup is on for the next month and will be widely covered on BBC1 and ITV. If you don't want to be involved in it, then that's perfectly fine - there's no law that says you have to. There are plenty of other things you can, surely, find to do during the next four weeks. You live in a world where television now offers hundreds of alternatives choices of viewing. You have DVDs you could watch, CDs you could play, books or magazines you could read. You could do something else constructive with your time, go for a nice walk in the fresh air, have a meal or drinks with friends or family, go on a blind date with a consenting adult of your choice. You may even find the time to go up the local park and have some disappointing sex (with someone else or, indeed, with yourself if that's what floats yer boat). Or, you could do what you're currently doing - whinging about something you were never going to participate in anyway on social media. Twenty First Century life in a nutshell.
The fixtures for next season's Premier League were released on Thursday. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies' opening five games are, at home to Stottingtot Hotshots (same as last season), away to newly-promoted Cardiff, at home to Moscow Chelski FC, away to Champions Sheikh Yer Man City and at home to The Arse. So, that'll be United bottom of the league after five game, then.
Meanwhile, dear blog reader, it's the summer so there's also some cricket on. And, the TV comedy line of the week came from Nasser Hussain commentating on the first England/Australia ODI on Sky Sports at the fall of the first Australian wicket. 'Willey, with swing, is dangerous,' noted Nasser. As, indeed, all men can confirm from personal experience. Tragically, this being a one day game, Mikey Holding wasn't in the commentary box to provide a 'the commentator's Holding, the bowler's Willey,' moment.
Now, dear blog reader, moving away from sport, a week wouldn't be week without the Daily Mirra publishing a highly speculative article about Doctor Who, would it? The latest one sees the Mirra taking a few stray comments made by the Restoration Team's Paul Vanezis on a recent Radio Free Skaro podcast about missing episodes and their possible existence and turning them into ... well, not much, really. Plus, there's another use of the hateful 'W' word. (Radio Times also picked up the same story and, whilst it's equally speculative, it is, at least, a little bit more informed and nuanced than the Mirra's ludicrously overblown nonsense.) Of course, it's always worth remembering it is only a little over a year since the Mirra's 'senior celebrity editor', one Vicki Newman, claimed to have 'a source' who informed her that Kris Marshall had already joined the Doctor Who cast and would be appearing before the end of the series as the next Doctor. They really were much more trustworthy as a source of news when they used to hack people's phones.
The Mirra's article, incidentally, ends with the claim - with no supporting evidence - 'starring new Doctor Jodie Whittaker, the [next] ten-episode series will run from Sunday 23 September and Friday 21 December.' Whilst a move to Sunday as the broadcast date for the next series would not be the greatest surprise in the world (indeed several fandom-types a lot closer to the production than this blogger have stated this is, indeed, a distinct possibility), the final episode going out on a Friday would be. For what it's worth, this blogger was recently informed that the new series is 'likely, though not certain' to begin during the second week of October and run through to just before Christmas. But that rumour could well be a right load of old bollocks, this blogger freely admits. And, the Mirra could be correct in their assertions. Time, as a wise old Time Lord once said, will tell. It usually does.
A statement on the BBC America website has revealed that Jodie Whittaker and the cast of the upcoming series of Doctor Who will hold a panel ahead of series eleven's premiere at this year's San Diego Comic-Con. Which, of course, inevtiably led to lots of whinging from entitled members of British Doctor Who fandom about why this event wasn't being held in, you know, Carlisle instead. During the panel, Jodie will be joined by co-stars Tosin Cole and Mandip Gill, who play Ryan and Yasmin, as well as series showrunner Chris Chibnall and executive producer Matt Strevens.
Captain Mainwaring and his platoon are to feature on a new set of stamps to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the BBC sitcom Dad's Army. The much-loved characters from the comedy of the 1960s and 70s are featured alongside their catchphrases. Philip Parker of the Royal Mail, hoped they would 'raise plenty of smiles' whilst people are, you know, licking their backsides. Oh yes. Ian Lavender, who played Pikey in the series - you knew that, right? - said it was 'overwhelming' to be featured on a stamp. They will be available from 26 June. The hit series ran from 1968 to 1977 and followed the misadventures of a World War Two Home Guard platoon, defending Walmington-on-Sea against a seemingly imminent invasion by Ze Chermans. At its height, the programme attracted over eighteen millions viewers. 'I didn't believe you could have someone still alive on a stamp apart from the Queen. Being on a stamp is not something you hope for simply because it is so unlikely,' Lavender said. 'You can hope for an OBE or a BAFTA - those are things that happen. But to be on a stamp, well it really is so nice. What a lovely surprise.' Dad's Army joins its follow BBC series Doctor Who which was given its own range of stamps in 2013 to celebrate it's fiftieth anniversary.
It has long been something of an anomaly that the UK home of a number of grim US TV crime dramas like Criminal Minds, Bones and Blindspot - where most of the episodes are about investigating death - has been Sky Living. Sky has, seemingly, finally noticed this and, on Friday, announced that it will be rebranding the channel later this summer to fit in more with its line-up of shows. The channel will be known as Sky Witness. Starting on 6 August, the channel will also begin to roll out a new slate of US dramas, including the premiere of the much-hyped Nine-One-One, from American Horror Story co-creator Ryan Murphy. Sky Living was already confirmed to be picking up Alan Cumming's Instinct about a profiler of serial killers and it will be joined on the new Sky Witness by the legal drama For The People and The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair, the mini-series which marks the return of former Grey's Anatomy actor Patrick Dempsey. The adaptation of Joël Dicker's novel casts Dempsey as a famous author at the centre of the murder investigation into the historic death of a fifteen-year-old girl. Sky Living was originally launched as UK Living in 1993. Over the years, it was home to such wretched unmitigated horseshit as Most Haunted, Scream Team, I'm Famous & Frightened!, Trolley Dollies and reality shows starring Jodie Marsh, Jade Goody and Katie Price. So, it will therefore be missed about as much as a really nasty rash on the bell-end.
Jo Brand's sitcom Damned has been dropped by Channel Four. Because no one was watching it. Brand and co-writer Morwenna Banks handled very upsetting subject matter in the series set in the Children's Services wing of a local health council. This blogger though it was rather good,actually, but the half-hour comedy-drama was never a ratings hit despite some critical praise. Ultimately, the ratings weren't strong enough to warrant a third series, according to a statement given to the British Comedy Guide from a Channel Four spokesperson. 'Across two series of Damned, Jo Brand, Morwenna Banks and the What Larks team created a warm, poignant, and pointed comedy of which we're incredibly proud,' a channel representative said. 'However, with a number of other brand new comedy series already commissioned for 2019, there are currently no plans for a third series.' When Damned launched in 2016, Brand said that she wanted to use the vehicle of the sitcom to explore the serious crises, in funding and otherwise, that Children's Services workers face daily. Damned also starred Alan Davies, Himesh Patel, Isy Suttie and Kevin Eldon.
Series four of Fargo will 'hopefully' start production 'in the fall of 2019' according to executive producer Warren Littlefield. '[Creator] Noah Hawley is directing a film this summer,' Littlefield told Deadline, 'and then in the fourth quarter, he'll write the opening hour of Fargo and then at the top of the year, the writers' room will go to work. Hopefully we get most of the season written and then in fall go into production.' After explaining that Hawley's busy schedule has 'slowed things down' behind the scenes, Littlefield did add that 'some aspects' of series four have already been settled. 'We have a year, a city and a location,' he confirmed. Talking about his ideas for series four, Hawley recently suggested that he could be 'taking things further back in time' than ever before – 'as long as there's something unique to say about it. On some level, there's a good joke in the idea that the more things change, the more they stay the same. I don't know if there's ten episodes in that or not! But if you look at the history of the region and the waves of migration and people coming in and the things people do for money. There's something interesting to making a period version of it.'
Jeremy Vine will become the presenter of Channel Five's new daily current affairs programme after the departure of Matthew Wright. Wright announced last month that he was quitting The Wright Stuff, which he has presented since 2000. The new look Channel Five show will be broadcast from September with the show getting a new name for the first time in its eighteen-year history. Vine will juggle his new role alongside his popular weekday BBC Radio 2 show. In a statement, Vine said: 'Matthew Wright has built a brilliant show that's a big part of the British TV landscape. I'm delighted to be carrying on all the conversations he has started, with all the guests he's made me feel I know over the years. Radio 2 has a beautiful editorial overlap with the serious but accessible agenda of this show. I am proud to be Channel Five's choice to front it.' Wright spoke last month about why he was leaving on ITV's Loose Women. 'There's not a lot to say really other than the fact that, you know better than most, the demands of getting up for a daytime show,' he said. 'I'm up at three o'clock in the morning these days and I go to bed at half seven. I've had eighteen-and-a-half years of it, Mrs Wright, we pass like ships in the night and you're looking around and thinking, at some point you've got to have a change.' Ben Frow, director of programmes for Channel Five - and the man responsible for such twenty four carat disasters as Don't Stop Believing and Up Late With Ryan although he was also the chap who cancelled Live From Studio Five and shovelled it into the gutter along with all the other turds so, you know, swings and roundabouts - said: 'Jeremy Vine is a brilliant broadcaster whose supreme ability to make challenging stories accessible to a wider audience, not to mention his intellect, energy and wit, makes him the perfect choice to present our daily current affairs show.'
A theatre director has spoken of her 'disbelief' that the BBC approved the name Snatches for her new TV series. Vicky Featherstone, the Royal Court Theatre's artistic director, has curated eight monologues for BBC Four to mark one hundred years of women's suffrage. On the word Snatches - which can be a derogatory term for a vagina - she told the Radio Times magazine: 'It's reclaiming the word, isn't it?' She said BBC Four 'were rather amused by it. It was my first idea and I thought, "There's no way they're going to let it happen,"' she said. But it was allowed and Featherstone says it 'fits very well.' Expect some shit of no importance at the Daily Scum Mail to have a right good tut and a 'won't someone think of the children' about that. 'Our monologues are literally snatches of women's lives but a lot of those stories are about people and issues that aren't really known, so we're reclaiming the history and we're reclaiming the word,' she told the magazine. The eight fifteen-minute episodes, directed by Vanessa Caswill and Rachna Suri, have been penned by writers including Abi Morgan and Tanika Gupta. Romola Garai, Siobhan Finneran and Liv Hill are among the actresses involved. One of the monologues is based on rape within marriage, while another is about an actress's experience meeting a producer. The series, which will be broadcast this summer as part of the broadcaster's Hear Her season, marks the centenary of women over the age of thirty - and who owned property - being able to vote in the UK. Featherstone said that working on the series had been 'a wake-up call' in terms of gender equality. 'I'm an incredibly optimistic person,' she said. 'But I think the shock, for all of us who worked on Snatches, is that things maybe haven't changed as much for women as we thought they had. Snatches shows how things can shift. We just have to make sure they don't shift backwards.'
Odious, unfunny bucket of phlegm James Corden says that he has given up meat but adds bread is now his 'vice.' And, this pointless banal drivel constitutes 'news', apparently.
The model Chloe Ayling says that she feels 'vindicated' after the man she accused of kidnapping her was very convicted and jailed for almost seventeen years in the pokey. Ayling was lured to Italy from London on the promise of a photoshoot by Lucasz Herba, who drugged her and took her to a farmhouse in a holdall. Herba held her there for six days in July 2017 and demanded a three hundred thousand Euro ransom. The Polish national was jailed following a trial at a court in Milan. The court heard that he offered Ayling for sale online, before handing her over to the British consulate. Herba - described by prosecutors as 'a narcissist and a fantasist who was obsessed with Miss Ayling' - was also found extremely guilty of attempted extortion and carrying false documents. He was jailed for sixteen years and nine months. Herba had claimed Ayling went with him willingly, which she strenuously denied. At the start of the trial in February, a police officer told the court that Ayling had 'suffered mental and physical abuse' during the six-day ordeal. Her agent, Adrian Sington, said: 'This has been an incredible burden on her shoulders for the last year in the face of media criticism of her motivation and this is vindication - her story is true. It means now she can get on with her life. It's hard if you're being painted in the press as a liar and now she's able to say, "I know it's a bizarre story but it's a true one."' He called Herba 'a psychopath and a narcissist' who 'behaves in such a way that it's almost impossible to believe that someone could be so stupid. So, in some ways, it's not surprising that the media found Chloe's story difficult to believe,' he added. 'Let's not forget she was bundled into a suitcase, injected with ketamine in the boot of a car and thought she was going to die.' Herba orchestrated 'an extraordinary kidnap plot' in an attempt to win the model's affections. Herba, who lived in Oldbury, posed as a photographer in July last year and lured the model, from Coulsdon, to a fake studio in Milan. She was drugged, stripped, handcuffed, placed in a holdall bag and driven one hundred and twenty miles in the boot of a car to a remote farmhouse near Turin and held captive for six days. It was heard in court that Herba then pretended to be from a group called The Black Death, involved with selling models as sex slaves in Saudi Arabia but, ultimately, released Ayling after discovering she had a child. This, according to the prosecution, was another elaborate lie, set up in an attempt to win the model's sympathy and affection before releasing her. In his defence, Herba claimed that he had previously met Ayling and had fallen in love with her. He alleged that he wanted to 'create a scandal' to 'help her career' by creating extra publicity. Herba said that he was 'inspired' after watching the film By Any Means - in which a similar kidnap plot was carried out. The court ruled out any involvement from Ayling. Herba's brother, Michal, is alleged to have been involved in the kidnap and is in the process of being extradited from the UK. He denies any involvement.
Prince Edward has been 'slammed' (that's tabloidese for 'criticised' only with less syllables) for a 'blatant abuse of public money' after taking a private jet costing taxpayers an estimated six grand for a one hundred and thirty three-mile journey between engagements. The Duke of Wessex, travelled between Poole in Dorset and Tamworth, to attend an event marking the death eleven hundred years ago of Anglo-Saxon ruler Aethelflaed. The normal hire cost of the plane to do the journey between airports in Dorset and Birmingham would be around six thousand pounds for a one-way trip. A first-class train ticket would have cost around two hundred and fifty smackers-per-person. Mind you, this is all according to the Daily Scum Mail so, you know, pinch of salt, perhaps.
An FBI agent accused of accidentally firing a gun as he danced at a bar has been charged with second-degree assault (and, first-degree crap dancing). Chase Bishop was dancing at a Denver bar on 2 June when his gun fell from his waistband on to the floor and discharged itself, police said. It went off as he picked it up, injuring another customer in the leg. The victim's injuries were 'serious but not life threatening' and they have since been released from hospital. Bishop turned himself in to the local sheriff's department and was charged with the alleged assault on Tuesday. Denver District Attorney Beth McCann said: 'We are filing [the assault] charge now rather than waiting until the [blood alcohol content] report is received, which we understand could take another week, because sufficient evidence has been presented to file it. If an additional charge needs to be filed after further evidence is received, we can file those charges then.' The FBI declined to comment on the case 'in order to preserve the integrity of the ongoing investigation.' Spokeswoman Amy Sanders said: 'The FBI will continue to fully cooperate with the Denver Police Department and the Denver District Attorney's Office as this matter proceeds through the judicial process.' Bishop had been off duty and on holiday at the time.
Indian chess champion Soumya Swaminathan has pulled out of an Asian tournament in Iran over the country's compulsory headscarf rule. The Grandmaster said that the rule was a violation of her personal rights. 'Under the present circumstances, the only way for me to protect my rights is not to go to Iran,' she wrote in a Facebook post, which went viral. The Asian Chess Championship will take place in Iran next month. Swaminathan, who is ranked number five in India, told local media that the tournament was originally supposed to be held in Bangladesh. 'But, once the new dates and new venue came up, I excused myself,' she said. When asked if the All India Chess Federation should have protested against the decision to shift location, she told the Times of India: 'I can't expect everyone to be of the same opinion as me. It's a subjective issue.' But, in her Facebook post, Swaminathan said that she was 'disappointed to see that player's rights and welfare are given such less importance while allotting and/or organising official championships.' She wrote that athletes often 'made adjustments' for the sake of sport, but 'enforceable religious dress' should not be one of them, adding that 'some things simply cannot be compromised.' This is not the first time an Indian athlete has withdrawn from a tournament over the same issue. Heena Sidhu, a top shooter, pulled out from the Asian Airgun meeting in Iran in 2016 for the same reason. American chess player Nazi Paikidze also drew international attention when she refused to attend the Women's World Championship in Iran in 2016. In an Instagram post, she wrote that it was 'unacceptable' to host the tournament in a place 'where women do not have basic fundamental rights.' An international chess tournament hosted in Saudi Arabia last year also prompted controversy when a double world champion said that she would boycott the event. Ukrainian chess player Anna Muzychuk said that she did not want to wear an abaya, the full-length, loose-fitting robes women are required to wear in public in Saudi Arabia.
Macedonia has agreed to change its name, bringing an end to a twenty seven-year long dispute with neighbouring Greece. The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia will now be known as Severna Makedonija, or the Republic of Northern Macedonia, providing sufficient difference from the neighbouring province of Macedonia which lies within Greece's borders. 'After months of negotiation we have managed to reach a deal that will solve our longstanding difference over the name of our neighbour,' Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, said. The two nations had been locked in the dispute 'ever since the former republic seceded from Yugoslavia and declared independence as the Republic of Macedonia,' the Gruniad Morning Star noted. The language of the Republic of Northern Macedonia will still be called Macedonian, as will the name of the people from the small Balkan nation. The new name 'will now need to be approved by the Macedonian people and Greek parliament.'
An Air Force officer who was involved in classified planning and analysis of NATO's control and last seen withdrawing more than twenty eight thousand dollars in 1983 has been found in California. William Howard Hughes Jr, a former Kirtland Air Force Base officer with top security clearance, was apprehended at his home after a fraud investigation involving a fake identity he had been using, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations said in a news release. Hughes was charged with desertion and is being held at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield. Hughes, a captain, worked in command and communications surveillance systems during the Cold War. He specialised in radar surveillance. He was thirty three years old and single when he vanished, according to news reports. Hughes was last seen withdrawing thousands of dollars from a bank in Albuquerque in the summer of 1983 after returning from a two-week vacation in Europe. He had just completed a stint in the Netherlands, where he worked with NATO officers on the Airborne Warning and Control electronic surveillance aircraft. 'Interviews of friends, associates and coworkers failed to disclose information regarding Hughes' whereabouts,' OSI said. 'Checks with law enforcement agencies both in the United States and overseas also failed to locate him.' An Office of Special Investigations spokeswoman told the Albuquerque Journal that there is 'no indication' Hughes was involved with the Soviet Union or that any classified information was leaked. Hughes told authorities after his capture on Wednesday that he was 'depressed' about being in the Air Force and 'decided to leave.' He created a fake identity and lived in California ever since.
A thirty five-year-old man has been very arrested as part of a police investigation into letters calling for 'a day of violence' against Muslims in the UK. The man, from Lincoln, was arrested on suspicion of soliciting to murder by police investigating the so-called 'Punish a Muslim Day' letters. He is also being held on suspicion of sending a hoax noxious substance and threatening letters. The anonymous letters called for a co-ordinated attack on Muslims. The man is currently in custody at a police station in West Yorkshire. In a statement, Counter Terrorism Policing North East said that 'searches have taken place' at a home in Lincoln and an office in the city centre. The letters, which proposed specific forms of attack, have been circulated online and received in communities across England - including West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Leicestershire and London.
A man accused of being a member of a banned neo-Nazi group called for 'traitors' who supported multi-ethnic Britain to be 'hanged from lampposts,' in a video shown to an Old Bailey jury. In the clip, taken in March 2015, Matthew Hankinson, addressed a crowd in Newcastle upon Tyne. He is one of six men who deny being in National Action after a ban in 2016. On Tuesday, one of the group admitted planning to murder a Labour MP as part of what he called 'a white jihad.' Jack Renshaw, of Skelmersdale, pleaded very guilty to preparing an act of terrorism by buying a machete to kill West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper. He also admitted making a threat to kill police officer Victoria Henderson. There is no dispute in the trial that Hankinson, of Newton-le-Willows in Merseyside, is the speaker at the rally which took place more than a year before National Action was banned under terrorism legislation. He and the five other defendants deny being members of the group after it was outlawed in December 2016. During the Newcastle event, Hankinson appeared wearing dark sunglasses and surrounded by flag bearers, including one man carrying the National Action insignia. He told the crowd they need to 'prepare for a coming race war' which was necessary to secure the future of white people. 'If we don't fight and cut out the cancer, Britain will die,' he says. 'The system will not compromise with us. We need the strongest of our race.' Referring to so-called race traitors who oppose far-right ideology, Hankinson says: 'They will end up hanging from lampposts. We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children. Blood must be shed, the blood of traitors. Stand up white men and set our people free.' The jury also watched a video of a demonstration involving National Action in Liverpool which resulted in minor clashes with anti-racism protesters and police in 2016. Duncan Atkinson QC, prosecuting, told the jury that Renshaw was a masked man seen to be holding a banner, alongside some of the group's founders. A further video of a Rochdale protest included footage of another of the defendants - Andrew Clarke of Prescot. The other accused, who all deny being in the group are: Christopher Lythgoe and Michal Trubini both from Warrington and Garron Helm from Seaforth. Lythgoe also denies encouragement to murder by allegedly giving Renshaw permission to kill Labour MP Ms Cooper on behalf of the group. The case continues.
Actor and musician Jackson Odell, best known for his role in US TV series The Goldbergs, has died at the age of twenty. He was found unresponsive at 'a sober living facility' in California on Friday, according to the Los Angeles County coroner. The cause of his death is being investigated. Odell starred as Ari Caldwell in the ABC sitcom The Goldbergs and appeared in guest roles on Modern Family and Arrested Development. He was also a songwriter and contributed to the soundtrack for the romantic drama Forever My Girl, which was released earlier this year. In a statement on his Twitter account, his family described him as 'a shining light and a brilliant, loving and talented soul. He had so much more to share. Our family will always carry that truth forward. Our wish is that the rest of the world who knew and loved him does as well,' the post read.

Friday, June 08, 2018

Red, Yellow & Green Cards

The BBC has announced it is making every episode of Doctor Who made since 2005 available to watch on BBC iPlayer. Which is, obviously, great news ... for everyone that doesn't already own all of them on DVD. Ahead of yer actual Jodie Whittaker taking up the role of The Doctor later this year, all ten previous series of the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama will be available to watch as box-sets, plus every special from the past thirteen years of The Doctor's adventures, including the mini-episode The Night Of The Doctor. Fans can take the TARDIS back to 2005 to enjoy every moment from Christopher Eccleston's Doctor first meeting Rose Tyler right up to Peter Capaldi's Doctor's final moments in last Christmas's Twice Upon A Time. The initiative follows recent trials where former series of Our Girl, Peaky Blinders and The Bridge were brought back to iPlayer before a new series was broadcast. The BBC says that the returning series of Doctor Who will 'help to ensure BBC iPlayer is a must-visit destination for viewers this summer.' Or, you could just watch The World Cup like everyone else, of course. Dan McGolpin, controller of programming for the BBC, said: 'We're reinventing the BBC for a new generation and BBC iPlayer is key to that. Bringing back these series of Doctor Who is just part of our offer this summer giving viewers the chance to uncover or rediscover The Doctor's previous adventures. You can also watch the World Cup live in UHD, catch-up on the latest stories unfolding in Albert Square and binge-watch box-set drama like Our Girl or comedy like This Country. BBC iPlayer will have something for everyone.
BBC Studios were offering a seven week training and development opportunity working on Doctor Who in Cardiff earlier this week. But, if you fancied the gig, you're too late, the closing date was 6 June. The offer was aimed at those hoping to work in television drama, but who lacked the knowledge to know how to achieve this. The BBC was also looking for an Assistant Producer, a Content Producer and a Senior Content Producer, to work on the digital output supporting Doctor Who. Duties include designing and creating assets to support the Doctor Who franchise. The jobs were being offered as three month contracts. But the closing date for those was the same so, again, you've missed your chance.
Okay, dear blog reader, do you want to see picture of yer actual Matt Smith his very self and a family of Canadians all dressed as Bender from Futurama? Stupid question, of course you do! And, why ever not?
The final episode of A Very English Scandal, broadcast last Sunday, included what might be Russell Davies's finest line of dialogue for television since 'Nice to meet you, Rose. Now, run for your life!' 'I want to say congratulations,' noted Adrian Scarborough's George Carmen. 'What for?' asked Hugh Grant completing his potentially BAFTA-winning turn as Jeremy Thorpe. 'These are the greatest charges ever levelled against a member of parliament. And, considering the House of Commons has had two hundred and seventy years of bastards, liars, perverts, thieves, blackmailers, inbreds and arsonists, that really is quite an achievement!' Highly positive reviews of the episode can be found here, here (written by Carman's son, Dominic), here, here, here and here. Dear God, even the Daily Scum Mail's repulsive and wretched creature Littlejohn quite liked it. We are living in strange and dangerous times, dear blog reader.
Big Rusty is, of course, no stranger to futuristic dramas - you knew that, right? - and his newly commissioned BBC1 show Years & Years will prove no exception. Davies, fresh from his acclaimed adaptation of A Very English Scandal - which, just to repeat, because it's genuinely difficult to wrap ones head around, even the Daily Scum Mail quite liked! - has been commissioned to write a new family drama set over the course of fifteen years. Starting in 2019, the series will follow a single family, the Lyons, through Britain's imagined future political, social and technological evolutions. 'When their lives all converge on one crucial night in 2019, the story accelerates into the future, following the lives and loves of the Lyons over the next fifteen years,' the show's producers Red said. In the near future portrayed in the show, Britain has left the EU, America is growing increasingly isolationist and China is asserting its dominance. Meanwhile, MP Vivienne Rook, a new breed of politician is taking advantage of the new world order. 'I've wanted to write this for twenty years or so,' Davies said. 'And as the world accelerates like crazy around us, I realised I'd better get on with it! It's a joy to be back home with Red and an honour to be on BBC1.' The six-part drama will begin production later this year. Davies has worked closely with Red Productions before, collaborating on shows like Queer As Folk and Cucumber. 'What Russell does so expertly is navigate a potentially dark and fearful story into a compelling drama that is full of wit, warmth and hope, with family at the heart of the show,' executive producer Nicola Shindler said. 'I can't wait to get started.'
Sylvester McCoy is joining Holby City in a guest role. Sylv will play 'an adventurous patient who winds up on Holby's Darwin Ward after running away from his retirement home.' Best known for portraying The Doctor from 1987 to 1989 and, again, for ten minutes in 1996 before he regenerated into Holby's very own Paul McGann, Slyv was also Professor No Ken Do in Tiswas. And, used to often hammer a nail into his face on stage Which was quite a sight, to be honest. Executive Producer of Holby City and Casualty, Simon Harper, said: 'Sylvester is a fantastic actor and a TV icon - and there's an added buzz in having both the seventh and eighth Doctor under one roof at Holby! Let's hope it doesn't result in a Time Paradox.' It probably won't, mate. Sylvester added: 'Just what a hospital needs: two Doctors!'
This blogger had a couple of quite bad days, depression-wise, at the start of the week dear blog reader. Nowt startling, Keith Telly Topping is certainly not fishing for sympathy here. Honest. But, it does go to show that such bad days have become so infrequent over the past few months that, when a couple - like London buses - turn up one-after-another, it is rather noteworthy. Then, the blackness thankfully lifted so Keith Telly Topping used the opportunity to catch up on the last three episodes of Westworld back-to-back. Effin' Nora, it's getting well-complex! And, Old Hopkins has turned up, seemingly from beyond the grave.
Ofcom has rejected more than one hundred whinges - presumably from people with nothing better to do with their time - about a recent murder scene in Emmerdale. Ex-prisoner Gerry Roberts, played by Shaun Thomas, was very killed by Lachlan White (Thomas Atkinson) in a scene broadcast last month. Gerry was lured to a B&B where the roof collapsed and extremely killed him in the ITV soap. An Ofcom spokeswoman said that the whinges were dismissed because they 'found no graphic details were shown on screen. We carefully assessed complaints that scenes involving violence were not suitable for broadcast before the watershed. The scenes were also part of a long-running storyline, which would have been within regular viewers' expectations.' Ofcom also received eleven whinges about a suicide storyline in Coronation Street, which was praised widely by fans of the soap. It saw Aidan Connor, played by Shayne Ward, take his own life in the plot which was constructed with the help of various mental health charities. An Oftcom spokeswoman said: 'We considered a small number of complaints about this storyline involving a character ending his life. However, neither the suicide nor the body were shown. We also took into account that clear warnings were provided at the start of the programme and that ITV worked closely with the Samaritans when creating the storyline.' Tragically Ofcom - a politically appointed quango, elected by no-one - did not take the opportunity to name and shame the individuals who did all the whinging and expose them to the public ridicule that they so richly deserve. An opportunity missed, one could suggest.
Ofcom has, however, upheld a complaint made against Eamonn & Ruth's Seven Year Itch. The programme was broadcast on 21 September 2017 and followed presenters the wretched Holmes individual and his wife, Ruth Langsford, as they 'celebrated their seventh wedding anniversary and explored different methods and hobbies used by couples to reinvigorate their relationships after years of marriage.' One of the hobbies included in the programme was dance. Thus, the couple visited a London ballroom. However, following its broadcast, Ofcom received a complaint from the mother of a thirteen-year-old girl who was filmed at the location. Featured in an Ofcom Broadcast and On Demand Bulletin published on Monday, the ruling upheld a complaint made by the mother about the broadcasting of her daughter's face. It also said 'comments of a sexual nature' were made and resulted in the daughter being 'treated unfairly' in the programme. 'Ofcom has upheld this complaint of unjust or unfair treatment made by Mrs J on behalf of her daughter,' said the ruling. 'The programme included footage of Mrs J's daughter, who was thirteen years old at the time, participating in a dance competition while the programme discussed the intimacy of dance and referenced studies in "a strip club in America, that found that table dancers in America earned higher tips when the girls were at the more fertile stage of their cycle.' Mrs J's daughter was not named, but her face was shown unobscured.' Tragically, Ofcom did not take the opportunity to suggest that ITV use this opportunity to fire the vile and awful Holmes and shovel him into the gutter along with all the other turds. Once again, something of an opportunity missed, Ofcom.
A drama series about the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie in Scotland is in development at Channel Four, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald is in charge of the project, which was originally conceived as a film. 'We've decided to turn it into TV, as is the way of the moment,' Macdonald is quoted as telling the industry journal. Channel Four would neither confirm nor deny the project - allegedly to be written by Scottish playwright David Harrower - had been commissioned. The Pan Am flight from London to New York exploded thirty thousand feet over Lockerbie, thirty eight minutes after take-off from London on 21 December 1988. The two hundred and fifty nine people on board the plane were killed, along with eleven people on the ground. Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was jailed for twenty seven years in 2001 after being found guilty of Britain's worst act of terrorism. The Libyan intelligence officer died of prostate cancer in 2012 after being released on compassionate grounds in 2009. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Macdonald's series will dramatise the bombing and the various conspiracy theories surrounding it. Last year he described the Lockerbie bombing as 'one of those huge events that sort of casts a shadow over Scottish life. It seems like it is Britain's JFK in some ways - a looming unanswered conspiracy,' he told The Scotsman. The director of One Day In September, Touching The Void, State Of Play and The Last King Of Scotland unveiled his latest film, a documentary about Whitney Houston, at the Cannes Film Festival last month.
Duran Duran - they were a popular beat combo of the 1890s, yer honour - are taking over BBC4 for one night in June, with a pair of newly-filmed documentaries. The highlight is set to be Duran Duran: A Night In - which sees the band taking a Gogglebox-style trip through the TV, movies and adverts that inspired them. Duran Duran: There's Something You Should Know will take an in-depth look at the band's turbulent history. The documentary will feature previously unseen archive footage and rare demo tapes, as well as the group's memories of the forty years that have passed since they first formed in 1978 in Birmingham. And, the thirty years that have passed since they stopped selling records. Cindy Crawford, Boy George, Mark Ronson, and Nile Rodgers will all feature in the documentary, alongside Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor and Roger Taylor (no, the other one). A Night In, meanwhile, will feature footage of Blade Runner, Barbarella, Tomorrow's World, Prince, Roxy Music and even kids' cartoon Roobarb as the band take a trip down memory lane. 'Without the BBC, there would be no Duran Duran,' said bassist John Taylor, in a statement. So, that's something worth pondering when displaying unconditional love for Auntie. Forty years ago this October, the BBC first aired Barbarella. It was while watching that late-night screening of the Jane Fonda SF movie that members of a burgeoning Birmingham post-punk band decided the name of one of the film's characters - Durand Durand - would make for a cool and unusual band name. 'The BBC provided us with a constant stream of the best contemporary music throughout the 1970s, just when we were coming of age and finding ourselves as individuals and future artists. Everybody who was anybody went through the doors of Top Of The Pops and The Old Grey Whistle Test and we were there soaking it all in, so it is with great pleasure we present our curated night of music on BBC4. These documentaries and clips have allowed us to explore the origins of the band through personal experiences and cultural touchstones. Even the savviest fans will find surprises.' Boys On Film - A Night With Duran Duran will be broadcast on BBC4 on Friday, 29 June.
The eighth and final series of Game Of Thrones may still be a year away but already, potential spoilers have begun to spill out if you're bothered about that sort of thing (this blogger isn't). Fortunately, it appears as if 'potential spoilers' are the only kinds of spoilers we're going to get, as the chances of anyone getting their hands on a script from series eight is highly unlikely. That's because, according to Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, actors on the show are only give scripts digitally, and they 'self-destruct' after filming. 'They're very, very strict. It's reached a crazy level this year,' Nikolaj told a reporter at Cannes after he and castmates Kit Harington and Liam Cunningham had spent the previous weekend havin' it large at the Monaco Grand Prix. 'We actually get the scripts and then when we've shot the scene - and we only have it digitally - when you've done the scene, it just vanishes. It's like Mission: Impossible. "This will self-destruct ..."'
Game Of Thrones could be getting a prequel series, HBO has announced, one of five potential spin-offs of the series. Author George RR Martin created the new series alongside British screenwriter Jane Goldman. HBO has ordered a pilot episode for the show, set thousands of years before the battles over The Iron Throne. Executives say that any spin-off will not be broadcast until after Game Of Thrones' final season in 2019. If picked up, the prequel will chronicle 'the world's descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour,' HBO said in a statement. 'From the horrifying secrets of Westeros' history to the true origin of the White Walkers, the mysteries of the East, to the Starks of legend it's not the story we think we know.' Jane Goldman, who wrote Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class and the Kingsman films, will serve as a showrunner for the as-yet-unnamed drama. HBO first announced what Martin described as 'successor shows' in May 2017 saying that 'a number of writers' who were working on these series. Other than Goldman, they include Max Borenstein, Brian Helgeland, Carly Wray and Bryan Cogman. Previous reports suggest HBO could be willing to throw more than fifty million smackers at each series of these new spin-offs. But HBO's programming president Casey Bloys previously told Hollywood Reporter these series would not focus on the current storyline. 'This story, A Song of Fire and Ice, is done,' he said. 'There's no revival, reboot, spin-off talk.'
Joss Whedon may be returning to television. Whedon will be executive producing Freeform's female-centric detective series Pippa Smith: Grown-Up Detective, from BBC America podcast host Siobhan Thompson and Rebecca Drysdale according to Variety. As the title suggests, this half-hour 'dark comedy' is about a Nancy Drew-esque former child sleuth trying to shake relationship drama and addiction as she tries to crack grim cases which are anything but juvenile. Freeform is currently developing Pippa Smith with Whedon and, if it picks up the show for a full season, it will be the producer's first TV project since Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D in 2013. Whedon was most recently working on a film version of Batgirl for DC, but dropped out of the project in February because, he said, he 'lacked inspiration. Batgirl is such an exciting project and Warners/DC such collaborative and supportive partners, that it took me months to realise I really didn't have a story,' he explained at the time. 'I'm grateful to Geoff and Toby and everyone who was so welcoming when I arrived and so understanding when, uh, is there a sexier word for "failed"?' Aside from his Avengers movies, Whedon of course is perhaps best known to the general viewing public for creating enduring classic telefantasy drama like Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel and the short-lived Firefly.
Gotham is ending with its fifth series and, as previously speculated, it appears as if the final series is going to have fewer episodes than the previous four. Far fewer. Camren Bicondova, who plays Selena Kyle, said during an Instagram Live broadcast that series five will have just ten episodes and suggested it will premiere in January 2019. However, FOX would neither confirm or deny the episode count at this time. Producer Danny Cannon recently said that the drama's last series is 'almost a reboot and a different show.'
Replacing From The North favourite Gillian Anderson in American Gods was never going to be any easy task, but Deadline is reporting that Shameless star Kahyun Kim will be taking on the role of a rebooted-Media when the drama returns. Called New Media, Kim's character is set to 'symbolise the role of social media in modern American life, updating Anderson's Media who was a figure of television and pop culture.' Or something. And, two more characters have officially been cast too, according to Entertainment Weekly. Dean Winters from Divorce and Thirty Rock will play Mister Town, who was one of Mister World's 'spooks' in Neil Gaiman's novel. And, college student Sam Black Crow will be played by Devery Jacobs, whose previous credits include the crime drama Cardinal.
FOX has confirmed that cancelled show Ghosted will return for the rest of its first - and, now only - series. The network's supernatural sitcom was last broadcast in January. Its first nine episodes pulled in an average viewership of around three million punters, but that wasn't enough to prevent FOX from pulling it from the schedules before its remaining seven episodes had been shown. Ghosted will resume from Sunday 10 June. Not that there's much point in watching it now since it's soon to finish.
Lost Voice Guy has been crowned the winner of Britain's Got Toilets, the first comedian ever to win the show. The thirty seven-year-old, whose cerebral palsy affects his ability to speak, uses a voice synthesiser for his act. The comedian, whose real name is Lee Ridley, will receive two hundred and fifty grand in prize money and the opportunity to perform at The Royal Variety Performance. Musical comedian Robert White - the bookies' favourite - came second, while singer Donchez Dacres came third. The final was watched by an overnight average of 8.7 million viewers, the highest figure for the show since 2015. After the result was announced, Ridley said via his synthesiser: 'I have been blown away by the support of the judges and the general public. I'm very excited to perform in front of the Queen. I've loved her since she sang 'Bohemian Rhapsody'.' Heh! The comedian, who is from Consett, was bruised and wearing a plaster on his nose following a fall after his semi-final performance. He said that he had been told to 'smash it' in the final but his injury showed he had taken this advice 'too literally.' Interviewed for the final, Lee said: 'When I am performing, it's as if I have finally found my voice - and it's a great feeling making people laugh.' His biggest laugh of the night came with the joke: 'I started off in a disabled Steps tribute band. We were called Ramps.' In his prize-winning performance he also joked that he'd had a facelift and that it was 'almost as bad as Simon's.' But, Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads appeared to take the joke in good humour, saying after the results that he was 'thrilled' to see the comedian win. Robert White, a comedian who has Asperger's syndrome, came second in the final with a routine which drew laughs from the crowd for its mocking of the judges. The Giang Brothers, gymnasts from Viet'nam, wowed the audience by performing a daring leap that they had never completed without a safety harness before. One of the acrobats jumped from a step on to a platform with his brother on his head, prompting judge David Walliams to call it 'beyond beyond.' Whatever the Hell that means. Other highlights of the show included a performance from The D-Day Darlings, who sing World War Two era songs.
Some lucky Poldark fans were treated to a preview of the first episode of series four at its premiere in Cornwall. The period drama, based on novels written by Winston Graham, attracted audiences of more than nine million in it first series in 2015 and has since had global success. The fourth series which begins on BBC1 on Sunday is the 'best yet,' according to cast members. Several attended the special screening at Redruth Cinema on Tuesday evening.
Matt Berry is returning to Channel Four for a new comedy series called Year Of The Rabbit. The broadcaster announced that the show is 'inspired by the unhinged chaos of Victorian-era London.' According to the synopsis: 'This brand new series follows Detective Inspector Rabbit (Berry), a hardened booze-hound who's seen it all, and his new, hapless, by-the-books partner (Freddie Fox). While they're investigating a local murder, the lewd-but-insightful adoptive daughter (Susan Wokoma) of the chief of police joins them, becoming the country's first female officer. Together, the trio must fight crime while rubbing shoulders with street gangs, crooked politicians, Bulgarian princes, spiritualists, music hall stars and The Elephant Man.' Channel Four has also announced a new comedy from W1A's Rufus Jones. This one is called Home and is a 'warm, touching and deftly surprising modern sitcom which gets to the very essence of home and family.' And, Roisin Conaty's comedy GameFace will be returning for a second series.
Richard Gere's upcoming BBC drama MotherFatherSon has added a raft of new names to its cast, including Happy Valley's Sarah Lancashire. The drama follows Gere's billionaire character Max, who is grooming his self-destructive son Caden to take over his empire. Lancashire will play the role of Angela Howard, a businesswoman-turned-MP and leader of the opposition, while Sinéad Cusack and Paul Ready have been cast as two journalists called Maggie and Nick at a newspaper Max owns. Also joining the ensemble are Danny Sapani as Jahan Zakari, the first Muslim Prime Minister of the UK and Pippa Bennett-Warner as Lauren, a senior executive with the company and trusted adviser to Max. Joseph Mawle is also in the drama as an enigmatic and damaged man named Scott, who becomes entangled with Helen McCrory's character Kathryn. As previously reported, McCrory will play Max's former wife, a British heiress who has been estranged from him since the breakdown of their marriage many years ago.
Robert Pestinfestation's Sunday morning political show on ITV, Peston On Sunday, is to move to Wednesday nights from September. It will be shown after the main evening bulletin, at around 22.35 and be renamed Peston. When Peston, ITV's Political Editor, was poached from the BBC in 2015, a key temptation was the offer of his own show. Blessed with a loaded news agenda in its early run, including Brexit and the election of President Trump, the show attracted top political guests but initially struggled to gain any sort of a significant audience. ITV made the decision to replay the show on Sunday evenings, following the main news bulletin and found the show garnered two to three times the audience in its later slot. The Sunday morning TV schedule is packed with political shows already. On BBC1, The Andrew Marr Show is broadcast from 9am, while Ridge On Sunday is shown on Sky News at 10am. Also on BBC1 is The Sunday Politics, at 11am. Allegra Stratton was the secondary presenter of Peston On Sunday, but stepped down. Another secondary presenter will be alongside Peston in September. By moving to Wednesday nights, the new show will be able to take advantage of Prime Minister's Questions on the same day. There is also no other dedicated political show on Wednesday evenings at the moment. The new programme will be a direct competitor to Newsnight on BBC2. Some aspects of the programme will have to change - not least the set, which currently sports croissants and orange juice. One option under consideration is extending the show by fifteen minutes. ITV executives believed that, given the show was performing better in the late night slot, it should move to an evening position permanently, while retaining the live element. And it will be easier to persuade politicians to contribute on Wednesday nights than on Sundays. The move is part of an interesting new late-night battle in British television. In a recent speech to the industry, Ian Katz, the new Director of Programmes at Channel Four and former Editor of Newsnight, said that he wanted to make the 11pm slot 'the free-est and most creatively exciting space in British broadcasting.' Pestinfestation - a former print journalist who became a national figure with his eccentric delivery and a string of scoops around the financial crisis - will aim to fulfil Katz's vision on a different channel.
The government has set up a potential multi-billion-pound bidding war for Sky between billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's Twenty First Century FOX and US cable giant Comcast. The lack of culture secretary, the vile and odious rascal Hancock has cleared Comcast's bid and said that FOX can go ahead if it sells Sky News. FOX has been chasing approval from UK regulators since 2016 to buy the sixty one per cent of Sky that it does not already own. The bid was held up by politicians and regulators who feared it could give billionaire tyrant Murdoch too much power over UK media. The Murdoch-controlled FOX has been attempting to address those concerns through a series of concessions, including selling Sky News to Disney once the deal is complete. Separately, Disney has struck a deal to buy FOX's entertainment assets, including its stake in Sky. However, US media giant Comcast waded into the bidding in February with a twenty two billion knicker offer for Sky, trumping the offer from FOX, which valued the broadcaster at around eighteen billion. If Comcast wins the battle, it will not be compelled to sell off Sky News. There will now be further talks between officials at the Culture Department and FOX, Sky and Disney with the aim of finding 'an acceptable form of remedy,' the vile and odious rascal Hancock said. The vile and odious rascal Hancock added that he 'needed to be confident' the final undertakings ensured the continuation of Sky News's long-term financial viability and that it could continue to operate as a major UK-based news provider making independent editorial decisions. Because, obviously, the Conservative party would collapse if Kay Burley's job was in danger. He added that talks would start 'immediately so we can all be confident Sky News can be divested in a way that works for the long-term. I am optimistic that we can achieve this goal. However, if we can't agree terms at this point, then I agree with the CMA that the only effective remedy now would be to block the merger altogether. This is not my preferred approach.' The vile and odious rascal Hancock hopes to publish the result of the consultation in a fortnight. Shadow lack of culture secretary, Tom Watson (power to the people!) said that the approval of both bids 'means that this is not the end of the story.' He said Labour's priority going forward was to 'safeguard the future of Sky News' which is 'a beacon for independent and rigorous journalism.' Apart from the vile and odious Burley, obviously. 'Were the FOX/Disney deal to fail it could leave Sky News isolated from Sky and owned by a foreign company with few news interests in the UK. It's hard to see how that would be in the public interest,' he said.
For the first time in fifty years, Radio 4 comedy panel show Just A Minute was not hosted by Nicholas Parsons. The ninety four-year-old broadcaster, who has been at the helm of the programme for more than nine hundred episodes, was replaced by regular panellist Gyles Brandreth. The unexpected absence reportedly led to 'a minor frenzy' on Twitter. If not amongst anyone that, you know, actually matters. The BBC's head of radio comedy explained that Parsons was 'taking a couple of days off.' Julia McKenzie tweeted that Parsons is 'totally fine' and 'the apocalypse is not upon us.' The BBC said he will be recording an edition of Just A Minute this Wednesday as usual and will be back on-air in a couple of weeks. Parsons began presenting the panel show in 1967, ensuring that players of the game speak on a subject for sixty seconds without hesitation, repetition or deviation. When introducing the show, the former MP Brandreth said: 'After fifty years at the helm [he] quite rightly thinks he should be allowed a day off.' Panellists on the fourth episode of the eighty first series were Tony Hawks, Sara Pascoe, Josie Lawrence and Paul Merton. In 2016 Merton reached a milestone by clocking up more appearances than Kenneth Williams, who appeared three hundred and forty six times. The late Clement Freud has the most appearances on the show as a panellist, after playing the game on five hundred and forty four occasions. In 2016 Prince Charles, a long-time fan of the show, performed a cameo on the programme's Christmas special. Although a simple concept, few players are able to speak for sixty seconds without breaking the rules, leading to interruptions from their fellow panellists. In 2015 yer actual David Tennant made Just A Minute history when he spoke for the whole minute without being interrupted on his first appearance. He spoke on Shakespeare's stage direction in A Winter's Tale, 'Exit, Pursued by a Bear.'
The BBC is to close its iconic Maida Vale Studios, which have played host to generations of pop stars, from The Be-Atles to Adele. Director General Tony Hall announced the closure in an e-mail to staff on Tuesday morning, saying the complex would be replaced by a new, state-of-the-art facility in East London. The move means the BBC will 'be able to record and broadcast more live music than ever before,' he added. It is expected to be ready by 2022. The BBC hopes to relocate most of Maida Vale's functions to the Olympic Park in Stratford, alongside other arts organisations including the V&A, Sadler's Wells and the London College of Fashion. Built in 1909, Maida Vale Studios was originally the Maida Vale Roller Skating Palace and Club. In the 1930s, it became home to the BBC Symphony Orchestra, but was also a stand-by centre for BBC radio news during World War Two. The orchestra still uses the studios for rehearsals, performances and recordings of classical music - but the complex is perhaps best known for playing host to John Peel's famous Radio 1 sessions. The world's biggest rock and/or roll stars - from Led Zeppelin to Pulp and Jay-Z to Little Mix - have all performed there, while artists including The Be-Atles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Who, David Bowie and The Fall have all released retrospective CDs of their BBC performances. Maida Vale was also home to the BBC's Radiophonic Workshop, famed for Delia Derbyshire's groundbreaking realisation of the Doctor Who theme tune; Bing Crosby made his final recording there in 1977, three days before he died of a heart attack on a golf course in Spain. The studios have been under regular threat of closure - with the BBC announcing in 2007 that the run-down facility, located in a residential area in North London, was 'wholly unsuitable for the Twenty First Century.' However, no viable alternative was found and the studios were given a stay of execution - until this week. 'I understand how much our musical heritage at Maida Vale means to us, to artists and to audiences,' said Lord Hall in his note to staff. 'We haven't taken this decision lightly. But we're determined to ensure that live music remains at the heart of the BBC and moving to this new development gives us the opportunity to do just that.' The new site will contain recording and rehearsal studios, providing a purpose-built base for the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus and the BBC Singers, as well as being used regularly by the BBC Concert Orchestra.
Inevitably, the news of this brought some predictable wailing and gnashing of teeth on various online fora of the 'why, oh why, oh why ...?' variety. This blogger is forced to note, however, that he loathes such crass sentimentalising of buildings! It was the same with Television Centre, it might've been state-of-the-art in 1960 but, when Keith Telly Topping (briefly) worked there in the late 1990s, it was a flaming dump, hugely over-crowded, badly laid out and the product of another age. Maida Vale is the same - it was never really fit for purpose even in the 1930s and certainly not by the 70s. As noted above, it wasn't built as a studio/concert space it was originally an Ice Rink! It's not even as if it's a particularly nice building - it's hardly a rococo palace, rather it's a fairly ugly Edwardian structure with a few art deco flourishes and very little aesthetic beauty. Yes, lots of cool bands have recorded sessions there and, yes, the Radiophonic Workshop did some marvellous things with tape, sticky-back plastic and bits of string down in the basement. But in 2018 the building is, quite simply, a relic of a long-gone era and has been falling apart from at least two decade. This blogger would be very upset if the BBC announced they were getting rid of live music altogether but they're not, they're just moving buildings, it happens all the time. So, what's the problem?
Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein has formally pleaded not guilty to rape and sexual assault charges. His appearance in New York Supreme Court on Tuesday came after he was indicted last week by a grand jury. Weinstein has previously insisted via his lawyer that he has never had non-consensual sex and that he was not a very naughty man. He could face up to twenty five years in The Big House if convicted of either offence, which relate to two women. The identity of one of the women whose accusations prompted the charges has been confirmed by her lawyer. Lucia Evans, a former actress, had already publicly accused Weinstein of carrying out a sexual assault in 2004. The former film producer has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than seventy women. He faces additional investigations in Los Angeles, London and by the US federal government. Wearing a black suit and tie, Weinstein and his lawyer Benjamin Brafman walked past a crowd of reporters and photographers as they arrived at the courthouse in Manhattan. Weinstein left without speaking to reporters. His lawyer said: 'We are going to file a series of legal motions that will get us more information and may impact the process and if we are successful there may not be a trial - and if there is a trial we will proceed expeditiously and vigorously to try and clear Mister Weinstein's name.' Yeah. Good luck with that. Brafman has previously argued that unfair political pressure was placed on prosecutors to secure a conviction because of the high-profile nature of the case and the rise of the Me Too movement highlighting sexual harassment. Weinstein is currently free on a million bucks bail. He has agreed to wear a GPS tracker and to surrender his passport.
Big companies 'say all the right things about supporting new mothers' but 'do not follow through,' The ONE Show presenter Alex Jones has alleged. Jones, one of the BBC's highest-profile female presenters, gave birth to her son Teddy in January 2017. She told The Hay Literary Festival that she returned to work after three months, which she felt was 'too quick' after a first child. She said that 'things would have been better' if there were more facilities for new mothers. 'Companies all say the right things. They say, yes, we're there. We're going to support families, we are going to make it possible for dads to take paternity leave, for mothers to take extended maternity leave, to feed at work,' she said. 'Actually, the truth is the facilities still aren't there. They talk a good game but even at the BBC - and, oh my goodness, I hope they're not here now - there isn't a creche, there isn't a room where you can express milk, there isn't a fridge where you can put your milk. there's a pregnancy contemplation room.' The session was being chaired by the Radio 3 presenter Clemency Burton-Hill, who informed Jones that in fact there was a mothers' room on the third floor of Broadcasting House. a different building to where The ONE Show is filmed. Burton-Hill said that after she had a child in 2014 she used the room every day and it was horrible. 'You have to really know what you're looking for and it is down a corridor. You get in there it's dark, it's smelly, it hasn't been cleaned for a week.' She recalled going in there one morning with her 'boobs about to explode' and finding 'a bloke having a kip.' He was at the end of an overnight shift for the news channel and he 'seemed resentful' about being disturbed, she said. Jones said that she had returned to work 'too quickly' not because of pressure from the BBC but because of the pressure she put on herself, fearful that her stand-in would be 'doing too well. What if they are amazing? What if they are brilliant?' she asked herself. She revealed that the newsreader Sophie Raworth had advised her not to watch the programme while she was on leave because 'it will just fill you with dread.' A BBC spokesperson said: 'The BBC already offers flexible working, jobshares and childcare vouchers, whilst Donalda MacKinnon [director of BBC Scotland] is currently leading a piece of work to examine what more can be done to support mothers and all women in the workplace. This review has been hearing from women across the BBC as well as examining best practice in other organisations and will be reporting back.'
Full-of-her-own-importance television presenter - and close personal friend of David Cameron - Kirstie Allsopp has defended her decision to sit separately from her sons when flying. Allsopp told the Sun newspaper that she and her partner sometimes sit in the business class cabin, while her children, aged ten and twelve, sit in economy. Some people that you've never heard of on social media have suggested that Allsopp should 'look after' her children and sit with them. This, Allsopp sneered - was 'utter rubbish,' adding that having her sons in premium seats seemed 'an absurd waste of money' and 'very spoiling.' She pointed out the money saved from not buying two more expensive seats allows her family to 'take a shed-load of holidays. Club class should be huge treat that you've worked for. If kids get used to Club class what do they have to work towards?' she asked. Dunno, having a mother that actually want to be associated with, possibly? Allsopp - or One Bad Mother as she shall, henceforth, be described as - is best known for presenting property TV shows in the UK including Channel Four's Location, Location, Location in which One Bad Mother and her colleague, Phil Spencer, swan about like they own the gaff 'helping' various indecisive Middle Class couples - mostly with 'that's not a real job'-type jobs - buy property. In her defence, Allsopp claimed that people 'parent differently' and that she was more concerned by the dangers of social media than air travel.
Channel Four 'bosses' - that's newspaper-speak for 'executives' only with less syllables - have said that the vile and odious Jamie Oliver's entirely self-appointed campaign for a ban on broadcasting junk food adverts before 9pm is 'wrong,' arguing that it is 'anachronistic' because children rarely watch live television. The full-of-his-own-importance 'celebrity' chef, who is currently one of Channel Four's highest earners, recently launched a campaign backed by Jeremy Corbyn and Nicola Sturgeon for a ban on TV advertising for food high in salt, fat or sugar before the watershed, arguing that such products are a cause of childhood obesity. However, Channel Four said that any such ban 'could have a substantial impact' on its revenue and prevent it from funding programmes about healthy living. Specifically, one imagines, those made by the vile and odious rascal Oliver, clearly. So, that's probably a good thing, then. More power to his elbow. Alex Mahon, the Channel Four chief executive, said that if such advertising were restricted on mainstream television, junk food advertisers would instead spend their money with the likes of Facebook and 'target young people even more specifically. None of us want childhood obesity in the UK,' she said, adding that she had 'no objection' to Oliver making his case. 'We're just saying on this particularly point we need a slightly more complex consultation.' Jonathan Allan, the channel's chief commercial officer, was more direct, saying that a ban could take two hundred million knicker out of the commercial television industry. 'It's a serious financial risk for broadcasters,' he said. 'We feel the 9pm watershed is probably not proportionate because it would stop advertising around shows that don't appeal to kids at all. It is potentially anachronistic when children are watching on-demand at any time of the day.' The news will probably disappoint the vile and odious rascal Oliver, who made Jamie's School Dinners for the channel in 2005, when he helped focus media attention on children's diets by launching a 'war' on Turkey twizzlers. 'Jamie is obviously free to have his agenda,' said Allan, pointedly. 'We fund and commission loads of great shows about health and if we've got less money we can afford to put less shows like that out.' Which, obviously, was in no way whatsoever a direct threat to Oliver's continued presence on the channel. Oh no, very hot water. Channel Four launched its annual report on Tuesday, the first under its new leadership team of Mahon and director of programmes Ian Katz, a former deputy editor of the Gruniad Morning Star. They have pledged to 'focus on attracting a younger audience' with investments into E4 and online programming. The commercial broadcaster, which is ultimately publicly owned, said revenues fell from nine hundred and ninety five million notes to nine hundred and sixty million in 2017, amid a weak advertising market. It is looking to move a substantial part of its operation outside London as part of a deal with the government to spend more money on programmes produced away from the capital. Channel Four announced a deal with Vice to bring hundreds of hours of programming to its All4 catch-up service by the end of the year. Vice, which recently appointed a new chief executive, has struggled to gain a British audience for its Sky channel but hopes to reach younger viewers through the Channel Four partnership.
Emmerdale's Isobel Steele says she has been 'blown away' by the response after a - female - louse-scum journalist filth at the Sun suggested she 'flash a bit of flesh.' The paper's 'fabulous fashion director', one Tracey Lea Sayer, criticised the seventeen-year-old's decision to 'cover up from head to toe' at The British Soap Awards, where she was named best young actor. 'There's been people from all of the soaps saying they think it's out of order,' Isobel told BBC's Newsbeat. The Sun, which was widely criticised online, has now snivellingly apologised and taken down the comments. Whether they have taken any disciplinary action against Sayer - like, say, sacking her sorry ass - they don't say.  Which is very surprising as they've normally got so much to say for themselves.
ABC has issued an apology after a recent episode of the Priyanka Chopra drama series Quantico which revolved around Indian terrorists plotting an attack in Manhattan with the goal of blaming Pakistan for it. The episode, entitled The Blood Of Romeo was broadcast 1 June. In it, Chopra's character, FBI agent Alex Parrish, thwarts a terror plot just days before a summit between India and Pakistan is to be held. During her investigations, Parrish finds a religious Hindu symbol - a Rudraksh chain - on the neck of one of the suspects, leading her to conclude that the plot was devised by Indian nationalists to 'frame' Pakistan in a nuclear terror attack. The episode caused a social media storm, with fans questioning how Chopra, who is Indian, could have agreed to be part of the controversial plot. In its statement, ABC said: 'ABC Studios and the executive producers of Quantico would like to extend an apology to our audience who were offended by the most recent episode, The Blood Of Romeo.' ABC added that 'the episode has stirred a lot of emotion, much of which is unfairly aimed at Priyanka Chopra, who didn't create the show, nor does she write or direct it. She has no involvement in the casting of the show or the storylines depicted in the series.' ABC also explained that 'Quantico is a work of fiction. The show has featured antagonists of many different ethnicities and backgrounds, but in this case we inadvertently and regrettably stepped into a complex political issue. It was certainly not our intention to offend anyone.' Quantico is in its third and final series, after ABC cancelled the drama along with the Kiefer Sutherland vehicle Designated Survivor. After being off-air for nearly a year, the third series of Quantico premiered to a lacklustre audience, though the drama had strong international sales, thanks in part to Chopra's massive following. In India, the show is broadcast on the English entertainment channel Star World, which is part of FOX's Star India unit.
After the comedian Michael McIntyre was the subject of a high-profile mugging by moped thieves earlier this week, video footage of the extent of the damaged to his car has now emerged. McIntyre reportedly fended off the robbers who escaped with his Rolex. The masked thieves targeted the comedian as he was doing the school run to pick up his children. He was waiting outside Golders Gate school in London for his sons, when his Range Rover was attacked and his watch stolen. A witness who claimed to have seen the crime, described the incident to anyone in the media whom he thought would listen to him: 'The guy at the front of the moped, started to hit the driver's window about ten to fifteen times and it eventually just cracked.'
It seems the Z-List Celebrity Big Brother house won't be graced by the presence of bird-watcher Bill Oddie any time soon. The former Springwatch presenter and Goodie has 'revealed' that he turned down the opportunity to appear on the z-list reality TV freak show because he 'has principles,' which presumably include not being stuck in a house with z-list celebrities. Good on ya, Bill. Speaking to Talk Radio, Oddie said: 'The Celebrity Big Brother house - no offence to them or anybody else but I, for two seconds, I had to go "argh" when you ask what the fee is, because it's ridiculous.' He revealed that with the amount of money he was offered to go on the show he could have bought himself 'a couple of footballers' - although, what he would have done with them, he didn't reveal - but having turned it down he stated: 'I have principles.' Who knew? Oddie also admitted to turning down I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) 'more than once' because he is 'not going on television eating wildlife.' Oddie hasn't always been opposed to reality TV, however, having appeared on BBC1's The Real Marigold Hotel alongside Lionel Blair and Dennis Taylor in 2017.
Jo Brand was a guest on this week's episode of The Graham Norton Show and told a few stories about being recognised by fans - or, by people who dislike her - at the most inappropriate moments. 'I was having a smear test and the doctor was down at the "business end" when he said, "Don't I recognise you?"' she recalled. Tragically, she didn't reply 'not from where you're looking, I hope.' Looking back at another uncomfortable encounter, Jo told Norton: '[When I am recognised] it is mainly negative. I was in Sainsbury's the other day and a man came up to me and said, "You look like that shit comedian!"' Mind you, he could've been talking about Jack Whitehall. Brand - whom this blogger thinks is a very funny lady, by the way - added: 'I don't like flying at all. I was coming back from Malta and had had a few drinks. I didn't want to be that person but then I suddenly was that person that stood up and said, "We are all going to die." The stewardess actually slapped me and pushed me back into my seat. Since then, I have done a course at Heathrow. A pilot tells you all about anxiety but it was the seventy-year-old in the toilet illegally selling Valium that was the most helpful!'
Sheridan Smith has signed up to lead a new TV drama, Care, written by 'celebrated screenwriter' - for which read 'bitter old Red' - Jimmy McGovern. God, bet that'll be a barrel of laughs. The ninety-minute drama, which will be shown on BBC1, is co-written by Gillian Juckes, whose own life formed the inspiration for the story. According to the BBC, Care will see Smith play Jenny, a single mother to two girls who manages to hold down a job thanks to help from her widowed mother Mary, played by Alison Steadman. But, after Mary suffers a stroke and develops dementia, Jenny's life starts to unravel and she and her sister Claire (Sinead Keenan) must find new ways to cope. Presumably, Radio Times that week will come with a free razor blade so viewers can slit their own wrists afterwards. McGovern said: 'A great cast, a wonderful director and a superb co-writer. I'm really looking forward to making this.' Juckes added: 'It has been a great experience working with Jimmy and a wonderful opportunity to write about a subject very close to my heart.' Controller of BBC Drama Piers Wenger praised the cast and crew of the new drama, saying: 'They tell a truly remarkable story of one woman's battle to get the best care for her mother. The cast, led by the wonderful Sheridan Smith, will portray this poignant story with the warmth and gravitas it deserves.' Filming for Care is set to take place in Liverpool imminently.
Doctor Foster is clearly becoming something of a global phenomenon, with the acclaimed BBC drama now getting another overseas remake. Following the recent news that Russia will make its own version of the drama, France has now joined the queue with a remake called Infidéle. The six-episode series will see French actress and singer Claire Keim take on the lead role, here renamed Emma Sandrelli. Infidéle will be made by TF1 with Storia Télévision, becoming the first scripted BBC Studios production in the region. It will be directed by Didier Le Pêcheur, with Hélène Duchâteau, Baptiste Filleul and Pierre Linhart adapting the screenplay. Meanwhile, on the UK Doctor Foster front, there is yet to be any direct confirmation of a third series of the drama, with Suranne Jones admitting earlier this year that there haven't been any discussions. 'You should never say never,' she said, 'because if I say I'm not doing it, then I rule that out, so I'm not saying no. But we're busy.'
Whatever happened to The Doctor's daughter? It is a question which Doctor Who fans who pondered it will have to ponder-no-longer, as the character of Jenny (Georgia Tennant) returns in a new series of audio plays for Big Finish. Jenny, a genetic anomaly artificially created from The Doctor's DNA, debuted in the 2008 TV episode The Doctor's Daughter. But, while her Time Lord genetics allowed Jenny to escape a near brush with death, the character hasn't been seen since she hijacked a rocket and jetted off into space looking for adventure at the episode's climax. Looking back on her TV debut as the character, Georgia told the Digital Spy website that she 'wasn't totally satisfied' with her performance, explaining that - as the daughter of fifth Doctor, Peter Davison - she 'felt overwhelmed' by the pressure of appearing in the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama. 'It's been such a massive part of my life, and then to get to the point where I'm in it, I just thought, "If I can just get through this, it'll be fine. If I can just say the words in the right order and put one foot in front of the other." Now, of course, I look back and go, "Oh, I could've done so much more with that!" I think it would've been really great if I'd done that character now. I felt such pressure back then to just sort of get through it.' A decade later and Georgia is reprising the role, having recorded four stories for a new box-set release in December of last year. 'I've enjoyed it much more than I thought I was going to enjoy it,' she admits. 'The pressure that I felt back then has lifted' and I've just had a bit of a laugh!' Big Finish explores various realms of the Doctor Who universe on audio, from Torchwood to Class to the further adventures of Lady Christina De Souza (Michelle Ryan) and had been trying to secure Georgia to appear in a Jenny spin-off for 'quite a long time.' 'Enough time needed to have had passed after the TV episode, so that I felt like I could put my own mark on her,' she explains. 'Because obviously she was effectively born at the beginning of the TV episode, so by the end of it, she's not formed a massive personality. I wanted to make sure that I could create a well-rounded, interesting, fun version of her that I would be happy to commit to. It's a slightly weird thing in that you're reprising a role, but actually you're sort of creating it fresh, because she wasn't particularly fully-formed [on television].' As part of that process, Georgia was also involved in Jenny's new adventures as an associate producer - advising on story ideas, scripts and casting. 'It's a power thing!' she says. 'They didn't at any point say, "Step back, madam!" so that was good.' In fact, Georgia is now regularly working as a producer alongside her acting gigs, having most recently put out the romantic comedy You, Me & Him, co-starring her on-screen father and off-screen husband David Tennant.
Kylie Minogue has surprised fans at a London festival by joining Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds on-stage for a rare live performance of their 1995 duet 'Where The Wild Roses Grow'. The crowd erupted as Cave introduced his fellow Australian, with the pair embracing before the duet. 'Where The Wild Roses Grow', a number eleven hit in the UK in 1995, remains one of the most left-field moments of Kylie's career. The singers first performed it together at the Feile Festival in Cork in 1995. They gave another live rendition at T In The Park in Scotland that year - but did not appear together on-stage for several years before Kylie popped up for the encore of Cave's show at London's Koko club in 2013. It is by far the most successful single for Cave and his band. Written by Cave, it originally appeared on the 1996 CD Murder Ballads. Though the song never appeared in one of Kylie's studio CDs, it is included on three of her greatest hits compilations and is credited with helping to transform her public image from novelty pop star to serious musician in the years after she ended her association with Stock, Aitken and Waterman. The gloomy video for the song famously featured Kylie, complete with dark red hair, singing while submerged in a river and reliving the details of her character Eliza Day's murder. Earlier at the festival, Patti Smith, Courtney Barnett, St Vincent, Marika Hackman and Nadine Shah had performed.
Big mouth strikes again, it would seem. Mad-as-a-Hitler Morrissey has been explaining his support of the controversial right-wing For Britain party, as well as saying that the media treatment of very jailed EDL co-founder Tommy Robinson has been 'shocking.' Yep, dear blog reader, it looks like Morrissey's brain really has broken for good, this time.
Earlier this year, Morrissey made headlines when he discussed accusations of racism - which have, not unreasonably, dogged him for decades - and his belief in the alleged connections between Halal meat and ISIS. He also referred to Adolf Hitler as 'left-wing' - which he really wasn't - and claimed that London Mayor Sadiq Khan 'can not talk properly.' Morrissey later issued a further statement in which he said he 'despised racism and racism' and voiced his support for Muslims - one or two people even believed him - whilst also advocating the far-right political party For Britain. In a new interview with Fiona Dodwell on Tremr this week, the former Smiths frontman has 'explained' his stance and called for more of a political dialogue between ideologies. 'I have been following a new party called For Britain which is led by Anne Marie Waters,' said Morrissey. 'It is the first time in my life that I will vote for a political party. Finally I have hope. I find the Tory-Labour-Tory-Labour constant switching to be pointless. For Britain has received no media support and have even been dismissed with the usual childish "racist" accusation. I don't think the word "racist" has any meaning any more, other than to say "you don't agree with me, so you're a racist." People can be utterly, utterly stupid.' They certainly can as, indeed, Morrissey himself has just ably demonstrated. Morrissey also recently announced details of a summer UK tour with shows in July in Manchester, Edinburgh, Portsmouth and Reading. And, it will be jolly interesting to see how many people turn up to those.
It is, frankly, horrifying to witness what Morrissey has become if for no other reason than, once upon a time (a long time ago, admittedly) in addition to being the frontman and lyricist of one of the best bands ever, he also - at least appeared - to be a thoughtful, intelligent and humane man. He always had that ability to piss people off - and has quite a bit of previous with regard to extremely dodgy statements on the subject of race going right the way back to his time in The Smiths - but, back in the 1980s, by and the large the people he was pissing off were those who, kind of, deserved it. Now, it's everyone. But this latest malarkey is - surely - the point at which even some of his biggest defenders wave a little white flag? Though, inevitably, there are a fair few sycophant apologists still out there who will probably defend him to The Apocalypse and beyond.
So, yer actual Keith Telly Topping was asked in the aftermath of Morrissey's latest outburst: 'If, against all conceivable probability, there was to be a Smiths reunion, would you go?' Keith Telly Topping replied that, of course, there won't be one - all concerned have made that very clear. 'But ... hypothetically. No. Not, necessarily, because of all this - although it is, undeniably a factor - but, far more importantly, because it would probably be awful.' At times like this, dear blog reader, Keith Telly Topping is reminded of his favourite line from the movie Picnic At Hanging Rock. 'Everything begins - and ends - at exactly the right time and place.' The Smiths certainly did. That said, if it was Johnny Marr, Mike Joyce and Andy Rourke playing 'Oscillate Wildly', 'Money Changes Everything' and 'The Draize Train', then this blogger might be tempted. Providing the ticket-price reflected the fact that punters would only be getting three tunes, obviously.
There's a very good interview with The Cure's Robert Smith - a particular From The North favourite - with the Gruniad's Dorian Lynskey which you can check out here, dear blog reader. In it, Robert claims: 'I was very optimistic when I was young, now I'm the opposite.' To which this blogger can only note that if Bob was in an optimistic period when he wrote the songs on Pornography, I'd really hate to meet him when he's being pessimistic!
A referee has shown football's first ever green card to discipline a player in the CONFIFA World Cup. The card, used as a disciplinary measure between the yellow and red cards, was shown to a player at the tournament held in London. The CONFIFA tournament for non-FIFA affiliated teams was played in non-league grounds in London and became the first competition to include the green card. It was issued by referee Raymond Mashamba twice in a match between Padania and Tuvalu. CONIFA rules state that 'a player who receives a green card must leave the field of play immediately, but can be replaced if his team have not used all of their substitutes.' A player receiving a green card is not excluded from his team's next match. The tournament's organiser Paul Watson told Sky Sports News: 'We'd really like to clamp down on the dissent problem. Football has a problem with the lack of respect for referees. That's not to say that isn't also the case in CONIFA games - the players in our tournament still have those traits. But it would be nice that, instead of it being ignored and therefore in a way condoned, it shouldn't necessarily cost someone their chance to play at this tournament, if they just lose their cool.' CONFIFA's Asia President Jens Jockel also supports the introduction of the green card. 'We have had some minor problems in the past, with some red cards at the end of a game - mostly when teams realised they can't keep up and find themselves losing heavily with ten minutes left,' he explained. 'It's a really good idea of how to sanction things that might not be worthy of a red card. More like personal mistakes - using swear words, disrespecting spectators and coaches and so on. It's a perfect way to find something in between.'
Amazon will show twenty Premier League matches a season for three years from 2019, after winning one of the final two broadcast packages. The online streaming service has won the rights to show every game from the first round of midweek games in December and all ten games on Boxing Day as part of the three-year deal. The matches will be available free to Amazon Prime's UK members. The other unsold package of twenty matches was bought by BT Sport for ninety million smackers. That takes their total number of games to fifty two per season, while a further one hundred and twelve will be shown by Sky Sports, including Saturday night fixtures. Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore described Amazon as 'an exciting new partner.' The deal marks the first time a full round of matches will be shown live in the UK. In addition to live action, there will also be weekly highlights of all Premier League games throughout the season shown on Amazon. The Premier League offered two hundred live matches a season to be broadcast, an increase from the one hundred and sixty eight for which broadcasters bid in 2015. Other changes for the 2019-2022 deal include eight individual games being shown live in a 'prime-time' Saturday night slot, three complete rounds of ten midweek matches all shown live and one set of bank holiday games. The broadcasters bid on seven packages of fixtures and in February, Sky Sports paid three-and-a-half-billion knicker for four packages, while BT Sport spent two hundred and ninety five million quid on another. The Premier League's last deal, agreed in 2015 and running until 2019, was worth £5.14bn.
Premier League clubs will have a winter break in February from the 2019-20 season. The break will be staggered across two weeks, with five matches on the first weekend and five the following weekend. The FA Cup fifth round will be moved to midweek to accommodate the break, with replays being scrapped at that stage. The Football Association described it as 'a significant moment for English football' that 'will greatly benefit club and country.' 'It's no secret that we have a very congested fixture calendar and over recent years we have been working with the whole game to find a solution,' said FA chief executive Martin Glenn. 'As we head into summer international tournaments in the future we are sure that this mid-season break will prove to be a valuable addition for our players.' All three divisions of the Football League will remain unchanged, with a full programme of fixtures taking place on each of the weekends where there is a break. Winter breaks are already factored into schedules of the top leagues in Germany, France, Italy and Spain, though they all take place between December and January, which is the busiest period for Premier League teams. Shiekh Yer Man City manager Pep Guardiola alleged in January that the festive schedule was 'killing' his players, while earlier in the 2017-18 season his The Scum counterpart Jose Mourinho claimed the lack of a break was hampering English clubs' hopes in the Champions League. However, former The Arse manager Arsene Wenger once said he would 'cry' if a winter break was introduced. The Gunners played six games in nineteen days during the festive period last season, the Frenchman's final one in charge.
FIFA have filed a criminal complaint against ticket resale website Viagogo. Following 'numerous complaints' from fans worldwide football's world governing body has finally taken action on the eve of the World Cup in Russia. They regard the issue 'with the utmost importance' and say they want to 'protect fans' and 'prevent unauthorised ticket resales' at the tournament which kicks off next week. 'As part of its efforts to protect the fans and prevent unauthorised ticket resales for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, FIFA filed a criminal complaint on 4 June 2018 based on a breach of the law on unfair competition against Viagogo AG with the public prosecutor’s office in Geneva,' an official statement read. 'Over the past months, FIFA has received numerous complaints from individuals, consumer protection bodies and other market players over the opaque and deceptive business conduct of Viagogo AG. FIFA took action after aligning with other stakeholders that have already filed criminal complaints against Viagogo in Switzerland due to the company's unfair business practices. FIFA's ultimate objective in the fight against the secondary ticket market is to prioritise the safety and security of fans and enforce a fair 2018 FIFA World Cup ticketing pricing scheme.' FIFA also revealed that they have 'worked alongside' European counterparts, UEFA, as they look to 'stamp out the illegal reselling of tickets.' They added: 'Recently, FIFA has held fruitful talks with UEFA in order to coordinate action against unauthorised platforms and established cooperation with the Fédération romande des consommateurs, the consumer protection association for French-speaking Switzerland, which is a strong advocate against ticket sales conducted through unauthorised sources.' They also confirmed that any tickets purchased from Viagogo 'will be cancelled as soon as they are identified.' 'FIFA regards the illicit sale and distribution of tickets as a serious issue and views the security implications of the unauthorised transfer and/or resale of tickets as being of paramount importance. In light of the above, we encourage fans not to purchase tickets from unauthorised platforms/sellers. Tickets purchased via unauthorised distribution channels, including all tickets purchased through Viagogo AG, will be cancelled once identified. FIFA reserves the right to refuse entry to the stadium to any holder of such tickets. During the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, FIFA and local authorities will conduct strict admission checks.'
West Hamsters United's new manager, Manuel Pellegrini, has reportedly been mugged at gunpoint in Chile. Pellegrini, who won the Premier League with Sheikh Yer Man City in 2014, was on his way to a restaurant in Santiago with his wife and two friends when they were targeted by a criminal gang. A spokesman for West Hamsters United said: 'We are relieved to hear that Manuel and his wife were both unharmed.' In a tweet, Pellegrini thanked Chilean police for their 'quick and courageous' response. The Chilean newspaper, La Cuarta, said that Pellegrini's wife had her purse stolen by the group. An official told the newspaper the gang shot at police before driving away in a stolen Porsche. Another local news report said officers recovered the purse when they found the car abandoned.
Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred is expected to finalise his move to The Scum this week. The Brazilian came on as a second-half substitute in his side's two-nil win against Croatia at Anfield on Sunday. It is now anticipated Fred will have a medical at The Scum before completing his switch to Old Trafford for a reported fifty two million quid. Brazil coach Tite says that he wants his players' domestic futures 'sorted' ahead of this month's World Cup in Russia. 'When this happens and it is inevitable, they are going to come to us and our advice to them is resolve this as soon as you can so your head is back with us and focusing on the national team,' he said after Sunday's friendly. 'If I was a manager I'd ask to sign him as well.' Provided the deal goes through as anticipated, Fred would be Jose Mourinho's first signing of the summer, although he is also closing in on the transfer of nineteen-year-old Porto full-back Diogo Dalot. Fred joined Shakhtar in 2013 and was part of the Brazil squad for the 2015 Copa America.
      He is not to be confused, however, with the Cruzeiro striker Fred who was part of the Brazil team that got that infamous seven-one hiding by the Germans in the semi-final of the 2014 World Cup. And, if memory serves, was booed off the pitch by his own supporters when he got substituted. Nor is he to be confused with Old Fred who brought The Be-Atles (a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might've heard of them) to Pepperland in a Yellow Submarine to fight The Blue Meanies. Obviously. Completely different bloke. The younger, however, Fred was the subject of Errol Dunkley's 1979 hit, 'OK Fred'. Probably. Although, whether he is, indeed, a yagga-yagga' has never been entirely clear. Perhaps we'll find out at Old Trafford next season.
Defender Kamil Glik was named in Poland's twenty three-man squad for the World Cup but then injured his shoulder on the day the squad was named. The thirty-year-old Monaco player hurt himself while attempting a bicycle kick in training after coach Adam Nawalka submitted his squad list to FIFA. Injured players can be replaced up to twenty four hours before the first game, with Stuttgart's Marcin Kaminski on stand-by in case Glik does not recover in time. There are four Britain-based players in the squad. Ipswich goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski, Swansea keeper Lukasz Fabianski, Southampton defender Jan Bednarek and Hull winger Kamil Grosicki are on the plane to Russia. Midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak spent last season on loan at relegated West Bromwich Albinos from Paris St-Germain. Bayern München striker Robert Lewandowski, who scored sixteen goals in qualifying, is the star name in the squad.
Peru captain Paolo Guerrero has been named in the country's World Cup squad after his doping ban was temporarily lifted. A Swiss tribunal agreed on Thursday to lift a fourteen-month suspension, imposed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, while it considered the thirty four-year-old Flamengo striker's appeal. Midfielder Sergio Pena was the player cut to make way for Guerrero. The Granada player said: 'This is the most difficult moment of my career.' Watford forward Andre Carrillo is the only Premier League player in the squad.
A brewery is removing the Saudi Arabia flag from World Cup bunting from hundreds of its pubs after complaints it was inappropriate to display it where alcohol is sold. The Saudi flag carries the Shahadah - the Muslim profession of faith. Greene King said 'feedback' from 'some customers in London' alerted them it was 'inappropriate' to keep the flag among those from all competing nations. It added the removal 'was not a comment on any nation.' This does, of course, raise the tricky question of Saudi Arabia themselves seemingly being perfectly happy to take part in a tournament one of the official sponsors of which is Budweiser.
Argentina has cancelled a World Cup warm-up match with Israel, apparently under political pressure over Israel's treatment of Palestinians in Gaza. Striker Gonzalo Higuain told ESPN they had 'finally done the right thing.' But Israel's defence minister said it was 'too bad' Argentina's footballers did not 'withstand the pressure of the Israeli-hating inciters. We will not yield before a pack of anti-Semitic terrorist supporters,' Avigdor Lierberman tweeted. Anti-Semitic in this particular case being, it would seem, anyone that disagrees with the human rights record of the Israeli government with regard to the Occupied Territories rather that its dictionary definition of people who have a fear of and a hatred for Jewish people generally. Interesting distinction. The Israeli Embassy in Argentina tweeted to confirm that the football friendly between the two countries was off. Media reports suggest that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Argentine President Mauricio Macri in an attempt to salvage the friendly, due to be played in Jerusalem on Saturday. News of the cancellation was met with cheers in Gaza, where at least one hundred and twenty Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces during recent protests. In Ramallah, the Palestinian football association issued a statement thanking Argentina striker Lionel Messi and his colleagues for the cancellation. 'Values, morals and sport have secured a victory today and a red card was raised at Israel through the cancellation of the game,' said chairman Jibril Rajoub, quoted by Reuters. Rajoub, who had before the reported cancellation called for Palestinians to burn replica shirts and pictures of Messi, announced that he would hold a press conference on Wednesday. The campaign group Avaaz, which had called for the game to be cancelled, praised what it called 'a brave ethical decision. This proves Argentina understands there is nothing friendly about playing in Jerusalem, when just miles away Israeli snipers are shooting unarmed protesters,' said Alice Jay, campaign director at Avaaz. Israel said that its snipers had only opened fire 'in self-defence' or 'on people trying to infiltrate its territory' under cover of the protests orchestrated by the Hamas militant group, which runs Gaza. The match, which was to be Argentina's final game before the start of their World Cup campaign, was set to be played at a stadium in West Jerusalem. The status of Jerusalem is a highly sensitive issue. Israel regards Jerusalem as its 'eternal and undivided' capital. Palestinians see the Eastern part of the city as the capital of a future Palestinian state and were angered by a decision to relocate the game there from Haifa.
The BBC have released full details of their World Cup coverage on television, radio and online, together with a rather tasty trailer. BBC Sport online will stream all of the BBC's World Cup matches on desktops, tablets, mobiles and Connected TVs. On-demand video clips, live text commentary and tactical analysis will also feature online.
He is considered the most powerful figure in football in Croatia, but now Zdravko Mamic has been sentenced to six-and-a-half years in The Big House for corruption and other nefarious naughty doings. Mamic was found extremely guilty of siphoning off millions of Euros in transfer fees when he was an executive at Dinamo Zagreb. On the eve of the verdict he fled across the border into Bosnia. Among the ex-Dinamo players caught up in the trial is Croatia captain Luka Modric, who was charged with perjury. The Real Madrid midfielder is suspected of having made false statements during the trial, when he was questioned about his 2008 transfer to Stottingtot Hotshots. He has not commented on the charge. The case will not affect his role in the World Cup in Russia later this month. Though, it may affect his liberty after that. Mamic was not just chief executive of Dinamo Zagreb, Croatia's biggest club, he was also vice-president of the Croatian Football Federation. For years, fans at Dinamo alleged that he and his allies had used their club to make money for themselves by depriving the club of funds from lucrative transfers and evading taxes. Then, in 2015 he and his brother Zoran, the Dinamo coach, were nabbed by the fuzz. The scandal was brought on to the international stage when Croatian football supporters threw flares on the pitch at the Euro 2016 championships in France. Charged with diverting one hundred and sixteen million Croatian Kuna from the football club and evading another twelve million in tax, Mamic was later shot and wounded on a visit to his father's grave. The court in Osijek also handed down jail terms to his brother Zoran Mamic, former club director Damir Vrbanovic and tax inspector Milan Pernar. None of the accused were in court to hear their sentences, but they have all denied the charges and have the right to appeal. The night before the verdict Mamic fled to a shrine at Medjugorje in Bosnia-Herzegovina, where he holds dual citizenship. Whatever he did there, supporters of Dinamo Zagreb will feel that their prayers have been answered. They have been protesting against Mamic's stewardship of the club for years. Dinamo is supposed to be a fan-owned, non-profit organisation. But fans claimed that Mamic and his associates had staged a 'silent privatisation,' with the aim of sucking money out of the club. The best-known supporters' group, The Bad Blue Boys, have been boycotting matches - making for an eerie atmosphere at Zagreb's Maksimir Stadium. Some formed a breakaway club, Futsal Dinamo. Now the court has agreed with the supporters' interpretation of Mamic's modus operandi.
Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws goalkeeper Loris Karius was referred to medical experts in Boston after contacting the club while on holiday in the United States. The German visited Massachusetts General Hospital and was diagnosed with concussion five days after the Champions League final. Karius made errors for the first and third goals his side conceded in the three-one defeat by Real Madrid on 26 May. Doctor Ross Zafonte said it was 'possible' the injury 'would affect performance.' Shortly before his mistake for Real's opening goal, Karius collided with Spanish defender Sergio Ramos - but in a statement released with the player's permission, doctors did not say if that incident was the cause of the concussion. Karius appeared to show no signs of injury and did not request any treatment during the game in Kiev. The collision occurred early in the second half. Minutes later, the German threw the ball into the path of Real striker Karim Benzema, who stuck out his leg and scored. Real's third goal came when Karius let a long-range shot by forward Gareth Bale slip through his hands. Doctor Zafonte, who is a leading expert in head injuries in the NFL, said Karius' assessment involved reviewing 'game film,' a 'physical examination' and 'objective metrics.' He added it was 'likely' that 'visual spatial dysfunction' - which hampers a person's ability to process visual information about where objects are in space - would have occurred immediately after the event that caused the concussion. Doctor Willie Stewart, a consultant neuropathologist at Glasgow's Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, said a delay in the concussion diagnosis is 'not surprising.' He told BBC Sport: 'How did he get concussed and we didn't know? The obvious signs of concussion can take hours and days to develop, so it's not surprising that it might be picked up after the match.' In the aftermath of the game, Karius received death threats, prompting a police investigation and the goalkeeper told fans that he was 'infinitely sorry.'
Gianluigi Buffon has been banned for three European matches by UEFA for his comments about referee Michael Oliver after Juventus' Champions League defeat by Real Madrid. Buffon was extremely sent off for dissent after Oliver awarded Real a penalty late in the quarter-final second leg in April. Buffon played his last Juventus game in May after seventeen years at the club. The charges relate to his 'direct red card and for breaching UEFA's 'general principles of conduct.' Juve's Medhi Benatia brought down Lucas Vazquez and Ronaldo scored the ninety seventh-minute penalty as Real won three-one at the Bernabeu to progress four-three on aggregate. Buffon later told Italian TV: 'The content remains and I stand by all of it. I'd say them all again - maybe with a different type of language.' Oliver and wife, Lucy, were offered police support after both were targeted on social media, with police also investigating threatening text messages. Immediately after the game, Buffon had said: 'It was a tenth of a penalty. I know the referee saw what he saw, but it was certainly a dubious incident. Not clear-cut. And a dubious incident at the ninety third minute when we had a clear penalty denied in the first leg, you cannot award that at this point. The team gave its all, but a human being cannot destroy dreams like that at the end of an extraordinary comeback on a dubious situation. Clearly you cannot have a heart in your chest, but a bag of rubbish. On top of that, if you don't have the character to walk on a pitch like this in a stadium like this, you can sit in the stands with your wife, your kids, having your drink and eating crisps. You cannot ruin the dreams of a team. I could have told the referee anything at that moment, but he had to understand the degree of the disaster he was creating. If you can't handle the pressure and have the courage to make a decision, then you should just sit in the stands and eat your crisps.'
Roma have been fined fifty thousand Euros by UEFA following crowd disturbances at the Champions League semi-final first leg against Liverpool at Anfield. The Italian club have also been banned from selling tickets to their fans for their next European away game. Liverpool fan Sean Cox suffered serious head injuries in an attack outside Anfield before the 24 April tie. Roma were given a two-match ban on selling away tickets, with the second deferred under a probationary period of two years. Cox, from County Meath, was attacked outside The Albert pub in Walton Breck Road, next to the ground, less than an hour before the match. He had surgery at Liverpool's Walton Centre but has since been moved back to Dublin in Beaumont Hospital. Daniele Sciusco pleaded guilty to violent disorder over the incident. Compatriot Filippo Lombardi has pleaded not guilty to the same charge and another of inflicting grievous bodily harm. UEFA opened disciplinary proceedings against both Liverpool and Roma following the game, which Liverpool won five-two.
Meanwhile Besiktas have also been fined by UEFA after a cat wandered on to the pitch during their Champions League last-sixteen defeat by Bayern Munich in March. Referee Michael Oliver - yes, him again - stopped play in the second half at Vodafone Park until the animal left the pitch of its own accord. The Turkish club have been charged with 'insufficient organisation' and have also been penalised for fans throwing objects and blocking stairways, leading to a fine of thirty four thousand Euros. Bayern won the tie three-one on the night and eight-one on aggregate as they progressed to the quarter-finals. Fans of the German club voted the cat as Besiktas's man of the match on Twitter!
Championship strugglers Aston Villains have suspended their chief executive Keith Wyness. The announcement came as it emerged the Villains are working with HM Revenue & Customs to resolve an unpaid tax bill, although that is, 'in no way, connected to Wyness' suspension' according to the BBC. Villains said that owner and chairman Doctor Tony Xia will 'assume the [chief executive] role until further notice.' Wyness joined The Villains in June 2016 shortly after the Chinese took over at Villa Park. Villa - amusingly - lost to Fulham in the Championship play-off final at Wembley on 26 May, meaning they will spend a third consecutive season in the second tier. This news will come as a shock to Villains notoriously fickle support, who are still coming to terms with the play-off final defeat. It will also do little to calm fears that the club has entered a deeply troubling financial situation after missing out on the windfall that would have come with promotion. Xia has previously stated that Villains face 'severe' challenges under financial fair play rules. The Villains have 'gone to the casino, rolled the dice and it hasn't worked' in their failed bid to return to the Premier League, according to the club's former finance director, Mark Ansell. Losing the Championship play-off final saw The Villains miss out on an estimated one hundred and sixty million smackers. Which is, obviously, very sad.
Crystal Palace captain Jason Puncheon has admitted 'lashing out' at nightclub doorman with his belt. Puncheon appeared at Staines Magistrates' Court for the start of his trial, but changed his previous not guilty plea upon arrival. The footballer admitted a public order offence from 17 December near the Mishiko Bar on Church Street in Reigate. When a bouncer who confiscated the belt tried to return it, Puncheon told him to 'keep it. Buy a house with it.' Prosecutor Craig Warsama told the court that after the incident Puncheon was 'irate. He was shouting "arrest me, arrest me" in what was described as an aggressive tone,' Warsama said. It's difficult to imagine how someone shouting 'arrest me, arrest me' could be in a tone other than aggressive but, we'll let that one go for the moment. Puncheon's lawyer, Sallie Bennett-Jenkins QC, claimed - unconvincingly - that her client was 'acting in self-defence' after 'someone' had attempted to strike his wife and that his 'friend' had been punched. But this was dismissed by Judge Michael Snow. The judge said: 'It is quite clear to me that he had completely lost control of his behaviour at that time and he was striking indiscriminately at that group. The CCTV is clear and unarguable. He was not acting in self-defence or in the defence of another [when he used the belt].' Puncheon was given a community order requiring him to carry out two hundred and ten hours of unpaid work and pay the doorman two hundred and fifty quid compensation. Plus, he must change his name from Puncheon to Beltin. Probably. A further charge of assault by beating was dropped after no evidence was offered by the prosecution. A Crystal Palace spokesman claimed: 'This was a regrettable incident and entirely out of character. The matter will be dealt with internally.' In a twist at the end of the hearing, the Bromley footballer Ben Chorley was charged with contempt of court. After taking a photograph of Puncheon while he was in the courtroom, the thirty five-year-old father-of-two was fined a thousand quid. Chorley had been out with Puncheon on the night of the row.
In the lead-up to the World Cup, the Discovery History channel in the UK has abandoned their usual programming - documentaries about Nazis and 'ancient-aliens-built-the-pyramids-and-it-was-covered-up'-type conspiracy malarkey - and replaced it with a variety of documentaries about football, including the official FIFA films of the (colour-era) World Cups. This has, seemingly, annoyed some regular viewers who don't like football and prefer documentaries about Nazis and 'ancient-aliens-built-the-pyramids-and-it-was-covered-up'-type conspiracy malarkey. Still, with the World Cup now about to start they're already showing trailers for some of the more 'normal' programmes they're soon going back to. There's one, for instance, about various people in some sort of competition with really bloody lethal-looking knives. It's called Knife Or Death. So, that'll be much more healthy viewing than twenty two blokes kicking a ball around a field, clearly.
US President, hairdo and buffoon Donald Trump has suggested that he 'may' pardon the boxing legend Muhammad Ali for a draft-dodging conviction, even though it has already been overturned. Trump told reporters before he left the White House for the G7 summit that he was "'hinking about' the late boxer and 'some others very seriously.' Ali was convicted in 1967 after refusing to fight in the Viet'nam War. But a lawyer for his family said that a pardon was 'unnecessary' as Ali was already pardoned by the US Supreme Court. 'We appreciate President Trump's sentiment, but a pardon is unnecessary. The US Supreme Court overturned the conviction of Muhammad Ali in a unanimous decision in 1971,' said Ali's lawyer Ron Tweel in a statement. 'There is no conviction from which a pardon is needed.' Trump reportedly said that Ali, who died in 2016, was one of three thousand people he was 'considering' pardoning, saying that many of these people 'have been treated unfairly. I'm thinking about Muhammad Ali. I'm thinking about that very seriously and some others,' the buffoon said. Donald Trump has, seemingly, fallen in love with the presidential pardon. Or, at the very least, he appears to be namoured by the spectacle and speculation that he has managed to create by publicly entertaining ways to use his broad pardon power. Never mind that Muhammad Ali, whose conviction for draft-dodging was overturned, has no criminal record that needs presidential expungement. Never mind that Ali died two years ago, with his legacy as a boxer and a civil rights icon intact. The president is, as the saying goes, just 'spitballing.' He's throwing names out and clearly enjoying the new game he's created. The president even suggested he might entertain 'pardon recommendations' from NFL players who have protested police discrimination and violence during the national anthem - the same individuals whose patriotism Trump has publicly questioned. Ali was a conscientious objector to the Viet'nam War. He said that fighting in a war he did not believe in would disgrace his Muslim religion, his people and himself. Trump's comments follow his highly publicised pardon of conservative political commentator and author Dinesh D'Souza and his granting of clemency to Alice Johnson after lobbying by Kim Kardashian West. The president has recently mooted pardons for the lifestyle personality Martha Stewart and the former governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich. Trump also recently claimed he has 'the absolute right' to pardon himself in the Russia inquiry, although he insists that he has done nothing wrong. One or two people even believed him. The president has expressed admiration for Muhammad Ali before. Unlike Ali who, in 2015, was heavily critical of Trump and his - then proposed - ban on Muslims entering the US. Ali famously declared he 'ain't got nothing against no Viet Cong' after he was reclassified as eligible for service. After refusing to serve, he was stripped of his boxing titles and did not fight for three years while he appealed, until his conviction was quashed by the US Supreme Court. President Trump is also reported to have said that he is considering pardoning OJ Simpson - because 'the glove didn't fit' - and Richard Kimble - because 'The One Armed Man did it.'
A US judge who was widely criticised for his leniency towards a campus sex attacker has been removed from office by voters. Judge Aaron Persky handed Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner a six-month sentence in June 2016. But county judges in California are elected and if a petition to remove them from office garners enough signatures a vote will be held. Such elections are rare - the last time a judge was recalled was in 1977. Tuesday's vote in Santa Clara County marks the first time that a Californian judge has been removed in this way for more than eighty years. Reacting to the result, the campaign to unseat Judge Persky said the voters of Santa Clara were the winners. 'We voted today against impunity for high status perpetrators of sexual assault and domestic violence,' chair of Recall Persky, Michelle Dauber said. The former Santa Clara County judge recently said that he had 'no regrets' about the case and had been bound by sentencing and probation guidelines. Persky said judges should adhere to 'the rule of law and not the rule of public opinion.' He has been cleared of misconduct by the California Commission on Judicial Performance. Turner, twenty at the time of the offence, was seen by two other students sexually assaulting his victim behind a rubbish bin outdoors in January 2015. The trial heard how the victim, then twenty two, was 'intoxicated to the point of unconsciousness' after attending a party on campus. In March 2016, Turner was found very guilty of three felony charges and faced up to fourteen years in The Slammer. Prosecutors had asked for a six-year term. But, he was handed the much shorter six-month sentence and three years probation after Judge Persky expressed 'concern' about the impact that prison would have on him. He cited the Turner's age, lack of a previous criminal record and the fact that both the perpetrator and the victim were intoxicated. The case sparked a national debate about sexual assault and whether wealthy white men are treated more favourably in court. Turner was released after serving only three months in county jail. He is on the sex-offenders register and has appealed against his conviction. Outrage at the sentencing was compounded by a letter from his father, Dan Turner, saying that his son's life would 'never be the one that he dreamed about, a steep price to pay for twenty minutes of action out of his twenty-plus years of life.' The victim, who has remained anonymous, directly addressed Turner in court in a moving impact statement that was widely read online. 'You don't know me, but you've been inside me and that's why we're here today,' it began. She goes on to describe the shock at realising she had been sexually assaulted, after drinking at a party on campus. 'The next thing I remember I was in a gurney in a hallway. I had dried blood and bandages on the backs of my hands and elbow. I thought maybe I had fallen and was in an admin office on campus. I was very calm and wondering where my sister was. A deputy explained I had been assaulted. I still remained calm, assured he was speaking to the wrong person.' After rebutting Turner's court defence in sometimes graphic detail, she continues: 'You made me a victim. In newspapers my name was "unconscious intoxicated woman," ten syllables and nothing more than that. For a while, I believed that was all I was. I had to force myself to relearn my real name, my identity.'
An off-duty FBI agent was filmed accidentally shooting a customer in the leg, as he went to pick up the gun he dropped whilst performing a particularly expressive dance move. The man who was hit by the bullet was subsequently taken to hospital with a non-life-threatening injury. It is unclear if the agent, who has not been named, will face charges or disciplinary action. Although he should. For the dreadful dancing - whilst packing heat - if nothing else.
A Florida car burglar was, literally, caught with his pants down as a wardrobe malfunction sent him crashing to the floor during a hapless getaway.
Salad Cream, one of the UK's most traditional condiments may be renamed Sandwich Cream, it has been reported. Its maker, Heinz, says that only fourteen per cent of those who buy the sauce use it on salads, with many more preferring to use it in sandwiches. Personally this blogger tends to use it to clean the Stately Telly Topping Manor lavatories since there's no way on God's good Earth that he'd consider actually consuming the damned thing. Because it tastes exactly like cold spunk. A spokesman for Heinz told trade magazine The Grocer that the name no longer 'fairly represents the product's ingredients or usage occasions.' It would be the first name change for the product since its launch in 1914. 'Fans' of the traditional name - for there are, indeed, some such people - 'took to social media' to 'express their anger.' Of course they did. Because, they've got nothing better to do with their time, it would seem.
Odious twonk Paul Dacre will step down as editor of the Daily Scum Mail in November it has been announced. Few tears will be shed for him, however, as Dacre is one of the most hideous and wretched puddles of rancid phlegm ever to infect journalism with his tawdry presence. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
And, speaking of horrible diseases, England has continued to see a rise in cases of syphilis and gonorrhoea over the past year. New data shows a twenty per cent increase in cases of syphilis and a twenty two per cent increase in gonorrhoea, compared with 2016. Diagnoses of sexually transmitted infections in England 'remain stable overall,' with around the same number reported as the previous year. Health experts have 'expressed concern' over a decline in testing for chlamydia. The impact of STIs remains greatest in young people aged between fifteen and twenty four years, with gay and bisexual men among those most at risk, says Public Health England in its report. Black and minority ethnic populations are also disproportionately affected by STIs. Chlamydia remains the most prevalent of the diseases, accounting for more than two hundred thousand cases last year - nearly half (forty eight per cent) of all new STI diagnoses in 2017. Testing in contraceptive clinics has fallen by sixty one per cent since 2015, which experts say may indicate a squeeze on resources. However, it may also reflect a rise in the use of home testing kits - and the availability of testing in other settings. More than seven thousand cases of syphilis and nearly forty six thousand cases of gonorrhoea were reported to Public Health England in 2017. The rise in syphilis follows a ten-year trend, with three-quarters of new diagnoses in gay and bisexual men. Health professionals have expressed concern at the rise of gonorrhoea and the threat of super-gonorrhoea, a rare but emerging strain that is resistant to routine drug treatment. In March, the first case of super-gonorrhoea was detected in the UK, in a man who is thought to have caught the infection having sex in South East Asia. Two 'similar' cases were subsequently discovered in Australia, suggesting that super-gonorrhoea may become more common in the future. Debbie Laycock, from the Terrence Higgins Trust, said: 'Our sexual health services are stretched too thinly and demand outweighs availability, with more cuts already planned. The significant rise in both syphilis and gonorrhoea shows why further cuts are completely unacceptable and would be extremely damaging, particularly given the emergence of a new extensively drug-resistant strain of gonorrhoea.' Meanwhile, a significant fall in rates of genital warts - a ninety per cent decrease on 2009 - reflects the widespread take-up of the Human Papilloma Virus vaccine in girls aged twelve to thirteen. Last December, Public Health England launched a sexual health campaign aimed at promoting condom use among young people. Doctor Gwenda Hughes from PHE said: 'Consistent and correct condom use with new and casual partners is the best defence against STIs and if you are at risk, regular check-ups are essential to enable early diagnosis and treatment.'
A woman involved in a twenty nine million Australian dollar money laundering syndicate based in Hong Kong has been very jailed in Western Australia for almost four years. Trusted syndicate member Ka Sing Lai took Po Yi Cheng to seventeen bank branches to deposit a total of nine hundred thousand dollars on three separate days between September and October 2015, the WA District Court heard. Judge Alan Troy said Cheng never went to the same branch twice. 'You had no real idea who your current employer was or where the money had come from, other than apparently having been reassured by Mister Lai that it came from nearby but unspecified businesses.' Judge Troy said that between March and December 2015, more than twenty nine million dollars was deposited into accounts in Sydney and Perth and the money was then electronically transferred to Sydney-based money remitter accounts. Lai travelled from Sydney to Perth to collect cash, then arranged for the money to be deposited. Cheng was among several people arrested following police Operation Churchill. Judge Troy said Cheng, who had arrived in Australia in September 2015, became involved in the syndicate because she had debts in Hong Kong. 'The case against you was strong to the point of being overwhelming and it is a great pity that you chose to contest the matter, as opposed to accepting the inevitable and pleading guilty so as to obtain some discount,' he said. 'This activity is deliberately made difficult to detect. It is also done in such a way that those higher up the organisation are protected from criminal activity by using people like ... you to do the front-end work.' Cheng, who is a mother to a four-month-old child, was convicted after a trial on three charges related to dealing with money that was the proceeds of crime and was sentenced to three years and nine months behind bars. Lai dealt in proceeds of crime totalling more than $5.9 million in Australia and was previously sentenced to ten years in jail.
A health physicist at Michigan State University has pleaded not guilty to charges of bestiality involving a basset hound called Flash. Joseph Hattey works at MSU's Office of Environmental Health and Safety. He is accused of 'penetrating the canine with his penis and hand.' Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette charged Hattey with two counts of bestiality, a felony which carries a maximum penalty of fifteen years in The Big House. The alleged offences did not take place on MSU campus or with a university-owned animal. The attorney general said that the dog is 'now in the custody of Ingham County Animal Control.' Hattey was released from Ingham County Jail on a personal recognizance bond. Outside the jail, Hattey refused to comment and did not want to appear on camera, FOX 2 reported. This is not the first sex scandal to hit MSU. Larry Nassar molested hundreds of girls and young women whilst serving as national team doctor to USA Gymnastics and an osteopathic physician at the university. He is currently serving a one hundred and seventy five-year sentence in jail. With time off for good behaviour, he could be out in a century-and-a-half.
Rhode Island police are looking for two people who were driving around Wakefield in a green pickup and asking youngsters for directions. The teens told police that the man was driving and the woman with him was very topless. The two youngsters were not together but reported similar encounters which happened mere minutes apart. The man asked for directions and then invited the teen to get in the vehicle. Both teens kept walking. They described the truck as a dark green Dodge pickup,' police said. The man and woman are described as being white and aged thirty to forty years old. He is 'medium to larger build, with wavy hair and also some facial hair.' The woman has 'reddish hair.' And massive bazoomas.
An Ontario teacher who slapped a student and told another to 'lick me where I fart' received a two-month licence suspension on Monday after pleading extremely guilty to professional misconduct for the second time in two years. Jennifer Elizabeth Green-Johnson admitted to 'a troubling history of inappropriate comments' at a hearing before an Ontario College of Teachers disciplinary committee. The three-person committee followed the advice of Christine Wadsworth, the college's lawyer and suspended Green-Johnson's teaching licence for the next two months. She will also receive an official reprimand in her file and must take courses on anger management and 'maintaining boundaries with students.' 'It's a serious consequence and because it's a serious consequence it sends a strong message to the profession,' Wadsworth said, suggesting that the penalty would be strong enough to deter Green-Johnson and other teachers from engaging in similar behaviour in the future. Both Wadsworth and Green-Johnson's lawyer 'warned the committee against a stricter penalty.' Green-Johnson politely declined to comment when approached by a reporter outside the hearing. During the 2015 school year, the teacher reportedly told a student to 'lick me where I fart' after the student took some gum from Green-Johnson's drawer and asked if her friend could have some. She is alleged to have told another student 'it sounds like your ass cheeks are too close together.' On 26 March 2015, Green-Johnson was in her classroom with a student who is also a family friend. When his mother, a teacher at the school, joined them, the student ignored her. Green-Johnson responded by slapping him in the head, calling him 'an idiot' and telling him to 'grow some balls.' 'Teachers set the tone for their class and students look to teachers about what behaviour is or isn't appropriate,' Wadsworth, said. '[It's] obvious that you shouldn't slap a student in the head, whatever the explanation is for doing so.' At the time, the Grand Erie District School Board suspended Green-Johnson without pay for one day, but her poor behaviour continued. On 11 November 2015, a student offered to trade Green-Johnson muffins for a passing grade. 'You mean a bribe?' Green-Johnson asked. 'I'd be able to shit for a week because of all that fibre.' On another occasion, she is reported to have said 'fuck you' to a student after he suggested that women were 'asking' to be sexually assaulted. Days later, she criticised another student for 'looking like a frumpy old lady.' Green-Johnson received a six-day suspension without pay on that occasion and was warned again about her behaviour. In January 2016, the Ontario College of Teachers suspended the teacher's licence for one month, reprimanded her and ordered her to take a class on establishing boundaries with students after finding her guilty of professional misconduct. That case focused on her 'inappropriate behaviour' during the 2011 to 2012 school year. After she saw a student climb on another's back, she asked them: 'So you like it from behind?' She told her class she needed a microscope to find an actor's penis. And, she called her students 'idiots' and 'stupid.' She also, accidentally, struck a student in the groin, causing him to fall to the floor in tears.
A human resources supervisor at a Georgia UPS facility has been extremely fired after making Facebook comments suggesting a black man who was deliberately hit by a police officer in his vehicle 'deserved what he got.' Atlanta's WSB-TV reported on Wednesday that Gwendolyn Carder - a now-former human resources at a UPS facility in Atlanta - 'posted racist comments in response to an article the news station shared' about Athens police officer Taylor Saulters deliberately hitting a black suspect while chasing him with his car. 'Thugs deserve it,' Carder wrote in the comment, adding that it 'seems to be people of color [sic] who are the problem.' Carder made her comment over the weekend and, after concerned social media users contacted her employer of twenty five years, she had her ass fired on Monday. 'UPS has no tolerance for hate, bigotry or prejudice,' the UPS statement read. 'The company embraces diversity and inclusion as one of its core values. The comments Ms Carder shared in response to WSB-TV's story do not reflect UPS's values or culture.'
An Oxford University student who was spared jail despite viciously stabbing her boyfriend in a drunken rage has lost her latest bid to appeal against her sentence. The Court of Appeal ruled that Lavinia Woodward could not challenge her ten-month prison term which was suspended for eighteen months. She had applied to have her case heard by a full court of three judges. Naughty Lavinia pleaded very guilty at Oxford Crown Court last year to unlawful wounding at Christ Church college. At her trial, Judge Ian Pringle QC suspended her ten-month jail sentence having said he believed immediate custody would 'damage her career.' The case prompted a widespread debate about inequality in the criminal justice system after he deferred her sentence to give her a chance to prove she was no longer addicted to drugs and alcohol. He described Woodward as 'an extraordinarily able young lady' and said that sending her to prison would damage her hopes of becoming a surgeon. Which is, one trusts, a defence that all criminals can now use. 'Yes, yer honour, I was indeed caught red-handed with a piece of lead piping, breaking into that gaff but, you see, I harbour ambitions to become the President of the Board of Trade. So, can you please let me off any Richard III so I can do that instead?' Woodward appealed against her sentence - quite what punishment she was expecting having pleaded guilty to wounding she didn't say. A small fine, perhaps? But a judge at the Court of Appeal denied her permission after reviewing her application. She then applied to have the case heard before more judges, who also denied her bid. Rejecting her appeal, Judge Johannah Cutts said the Crown Court judge had taken 'an exceptional course' by suspending her jail term in the first place and his sentence was 'constructive and compassionate.' Oxford Crown Court heard that Woodward attacked her then boyfriend, whom she met on the dating app Tinder, in December 2016. She became angry when he contacted her mother on Skype after realising that she had been drinking. She threw a laptop at him and then stabbed him in the lower leg with a breadknife, also injuring two of his fingers. In his sentencing remarks Judge Pringle said there were 'many mitigating features' of the case and Woodward had shown 'a strong and unwavering determination' to rid herself of her addictions. Woodward has voluntarily suspended her studies at Oxford until the end of her sentence when she will face 'a disciplinary procedure' if she decides to return.
A man who claims that he is a time travelling alien from the year 6491 but has 'got stuck' in 2018 when his time machine 'broke down,' has allegedly 'passed a lie detector test.' James Oliver's story was doubted (no shit?) but 'paranormal experts' say that they were 'blown away' when they 'put it to the test,' because polygraph results 'showed' he was, in fact, telling the truth. Because, obviously, lie detectors are completely infallible and have never, ever, failed to establish complete credibility. Not once. Oliver claims that he comes from almost five thousands years in the future but was 'sent back in time,' the Daily Scum Mail reported. So, it's obviously true then. Who sent him back - and why - he did not disclose. Paranormal YouTube site ApexTV (no, me neither) carried out 'an experiment,' which, they suggest, had unexpected results. 'Your years are different to mine' Oliver claims in a video which blurs out his face. 'Where I'm from, the years are longer. My planet is further away from the Sun than yours is, so it takes longer to get around. But we have gifted mathematicians who work to calculate our years from those from other civilisations.' Although the man has a strong Birmingham accent he claims that he is, in fact, from another planet. Which Birmingham isn't, despite strong evidence to the contrary. Describing life in the future, he claims that more species and planets will be discovered and that there are 'fights' coming between humans and aliens. He said: 'We are constantly finding new planets and galaxies every day. Most of it is just nothing. Sometimes you hit the jackpot and find intelligent life on it. You find new planets, new eco-systems. There are a lot of planets more intelligent than humans. There have been some conflicts, but most of it has been put under control by The Federation very quickly. The Federation is there as a peace keeping vessel.' According to Oliver, global warming is 'going to get worse' and our planet is 'going to get hotter.' He also says that there is a United Nations-style system of planetary leaders to ensure peace. Yes, just like in Star Trek. Suspiciously so, in fact - they've even got the same name. And, he claims that he is 'friends with people from other planets.' He said: 'The definition of alien is something out of this world, so technically, I am meeting one right now. I have, on occasion. But the only time I meet them is when I am at home. It's the same sort of thing. They travel to where I live and I do know them. I have personal relationships with a few of them, I have friends I'd consider aliens. They are a nice lot, they are. Don't be quick to judge. I have some who are quite good friends. My closest friend is from another galaxy.' Another surprise for the future is how we will all have our own Artificial Intelligence system called Siri - the same name as the Apple operating systems assistant - which recognise users by their voice. However, Oliver said that there is 'a restriction as to what I can tell you' about the future when he was asked who the next US President would be.
A crocodile has extremely killed a Protestant pastor who was baptising followers near a lake in southern Ethiopia. Docho Eshete was reportedly conducting the ceremony for about eighty people on Sunday morning at Lake Abaya in Arba Minch town's Merkeb Tabya district. Residents and police told BBC Amharic that a crocodile leaped from the water during the baptism and decided that it was dinner time. Pastor Docho died after being bitten on his legs, back and hands. 'He baptised the first person and he passed on to another one. All of a sudden, a crocodile jumped out of the lake and grabbed the pastor,' local resident Ketema Kairo told the BBC. Despite huge efforts, fishermen and residents could not save pastor Docho, policeman Eiwnetu Kanko said. They used fishing nets to prevent the crocodile from taking the pastor's body into the lake. The crocodile escaped.
A family in Redwood Falls, Minnesota, have apparently been waiting decades to finally say what they really thought about their mother. An obituary for eighty-year-old Kathleen Dehmlow ran in the Redwood Falls Gazette on Monday. The obituary started in a standard fashion, stating her date of birth, parents, marriage and children. It went on: 'In 1962, [Kathleen] became pregnant by her husband's brother, Lyle Dehmlow and moved to California. She abandoned her children, Gina and Jay, who were then raised by her parents in Clements, Mr and Mrs Joseph Schunk.' Kathleen's family does not appear to have forgiven her, because the obituary ends with: 'She passed away on 31 May 2018 in Springfield and will now face judgment [sic]. She will not be missed by Gina and Jay and they understand that this world is a better place without her.'
During a 1980 episode of Minder, Arthur Daley (played by the late George Cole) walks into the Winchester Club. 'Allo Arthur,' says Dave the Barman (Glynn Edwards). 'You're early. I've only just opened.' 'Who said you can never find one when you want one?' asks Daley. 'Who is it who said you can never find one what?' asks Dave laboriously. 'A copper. GH Chesterton was'n it? Or was it The Bard himself, George Bernard?' This was typical of much of Edwards' acting career - he was regularly on the receiving end of somebody else's funny lines. And, if he wasn't playing straight man to Cole in Minder, Michael Crawford in Some Mothers Do 'Ave Em, or to such comedians as Harry Worth and Les Dawson, Edwards, who died last week aged eighty seven, was often the lead character's patsy. In Get Carter (1971), for instance, Edwards played the small-time crook Albert Swift, whom Jack Carter (Michael Caine) stabs to death in front of the outside lavatory a Wallsend betting shop for his treachery. During the 1960s, 70s and 80s, Edwards proved a redoubtable and reliable character actor in such dramas as Callan, The Professionals, Softly Softly, Z Cars, The Saint, Target and Dixon Of Dock Green, frequently as a baffled-if-genial police or army officer or other minor establishment figure. He less frequently got to exploit his prowess at playing sinister characters. He was particularly chilling as Mister Dix, the schoolteacher in the early 1970s ITV sitcom Please Sir! and as a menacing gamekeeper in a village whose residents had cloven hooves in an episode of ITV's Thriller (1973). Edwards got his big break in 1979 when he settled for what eventually became fifteen years at the Winchester. When Edwards first read the Minder script, he thought the role was negligible, Dave only had a couple of lines in that first episode but his agent told him to take the part anyway since it might grow into something more substantial. It did: Edwards was behind the bar at the Winchester for nearly one hundred episodes. Modestly, Edwards ascribed Dave's longevity in Minder to the dramatic demands of Daley, the show's protagonist. 'He needed a base because of 'er indoors. He couldn't go home, so that base became the Winchester.' 'Er indoors was, of course, Daley's never-seen wife, whom her husband often complained gave him 'GBH of the ear-ole.' At the Winchester, Dave's role was often to be the voice of reason to Arthur and his minder, Terry (Dennis Waterman). Not that they ever took much of his wisdom to heart.
       Edwards was born in Penang, Malaya, where his father was in the rubber business. His mother died shortly after his birth and he was raised first by his grandparents in Southsea and then by his father and stepmother, who ran a pub in Salisbury. Edwards was an amateur actor in his teens and then went to Trinidad, where he worked first as a sugar farmer and then as assistant stage manager and compere of calypso shows for tourists. He spent a year-and-a-half at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London then found employment as a stage manager at the King's Theatre in Gainsborough. Soon afterwards, he was hired by Joan Littlewood and worked as an actor for ten years in her Theatre Workshop. He appeared in her productions of The Good Soldier Schweik and two plays by Brendan Behan, The Quare Fellow and The Hostage, all of which transferred from the Theatre Royal, Stratford to London's West End. He also appeared in Littlewood's memorable production of Lionel Bart's musical of Frank Norman's play Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'Be, opposite Miriam Karlin and Barbara Windsor. When the stage production transferred to TV, Edwards recalled, some of Bart's more outrageous lines (such as 'Once in golden days of yore/Ponces killed a lazy whore') were suppressed. Famously, the title song - performed by Edwards and Karlin on-stage - was a hit single in a bowdlerised version sung by Max Bygraves. Edwards faced a career crossroads in 1964 when he was offered two parts - one in Littlewood's stage show Oh! What A Lovely War and the other the role of Corporal Allen in Cy Endfield's Zulu. He chose the latter. He also became a regular performer in TV commercials. 'I earned ten times as much money from Bran Flakes as I did from the he whole of the movie of Zulu,' he recalled. He once appeared in an advert for Rich Tea biscuits as a character who tells the waiting press: 'Yeah, I'll make a statement. A drink's too wet without one!' which became the brand's slogan for the next decade. His CV also included appearances in The Heart Within, The Hi-Jackers, Robbery, The Ipcress File, The Blood Beast Terror, The Bofers Gun, Fragment Of Fear, Burke & Hare, All Coppers Are ..., Shaft In Africa, Under Milk Wood, The Seventh Sign and on TV, The Human Jungle, The Avengers, Steptoe & Son, The Fall & Rise Of Reginald Perrin, Letty, A Sharp Intake Of Breath, Play For Today, Crown Court, The Velvet Glove, The Main Chance, Thirty Minutes Worth, The Persuaders!, Thirty Minute Theatre, Manhunt, Out Of the Unknown, The Baron, The Newcomers, Redcap, Diary Of A Young Man, Madam Bovary, Man About The House, Spindoe, Public Eye and The Paper Lads. His hobby was boating and he lived for several years on a houseboat on the Thames. After his retirement in 1994, he divided his time between homes in Edinburgh and Spain. In 1958 he married the actress Yootha Joyce, whom he met at the Theatre Workshop and appeared with in the film Sparrows Can't Sing (1962). After their divorce in 1968, he married the one-time Benny Hill Show girl Christine Pilgrim. They also divorced. He is survived by his third wife, Valerie Edwards and a son, Tom, from his second marriage.
Danny Kirwan, a key force in Fleetwood Mac's early three-guitar line-up of the late 1960s and as a singer and songwriter on the group's transitional LPs of the early 1970s, died on Friday. He was sixty eight. The band's founding drummer, Mick Fleetwood, acknowledged Kirwan's death in a statement for the group on his Facebook page on Friday evening. 'Danny was a huge force in our early years,' Fleetwood wrote. 'His love for the blues led him to being asked to join Fleetwood Mac in 1968, where he made his musical home for many years. Danny's true legacy, in my mind, will forever live on in the music he wrote and played so beautifully as a part of the foundation of Fleetwood Mac. [He] will forever be missed!' In early 1968, at the age of seventeen, the South London-born Kirwan - who had already showed formidable skill in the London trio Boilerhouse - joined the original Mac line-up of Fleetwood, guitarists Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer and bassist John McVie. Legend has it he was the successful applicant out of three hundred auditioners. In its earliest incarnation, the group was a leading light of the British blues explosion and made some truly magnificent records. Danny's first recorded work with the band included his superb slide guitar on Mac's chart-topping instrumental 'Albatross' (1969) and its b-side, Kirwan's composition 'Jigsaw Puzzle Blues.' He played alongside Green and Spencer on the subsequent singles, 'Man Of The World''Oh Well', 'Rattlesnake Shake' and 'The Green Manalishi' and his playing was heavily featured on the classic 1969 LP Then Play On. However, whilst on tour in Germany, the group attended a party where Kirwan and Green allegedly took LSD which, according to Fleetwood and McVie, caused significant changes in both of their behaviour. The tormented Green - the band's main songwriter - left soon thereafter and the quartet line-up (later augmented by keyboardist Christine McVie) issued Kiln House in 1970. The collection included another wonderful Kirwan composition, 'Station Man'. Spencer became the next significant defection, after an association with the religious cult Children of God and he was replaced by the American singer-songwriter-guitarist Bob Welch. Kirwan and Welch split the writing on a pair of elegant and somewhat under-rated LPs, Future Games (1971) and Bare Trees (1972), to which Kirwan contributed such songs as 'Sands Of Time', 'Dust' and 'Child Of Mine' as well as the gorgeous single 'Dragonfly' - a particular favourite of this blogger. Kirwan's escalating alcoholism,however, led to confrontations with the other members of the band, including a violent altercation with Welch which resulted in Fleetwood firing him in 1972. He remained active briefly, recording three unsuccessful solo LPs for the DJM label between 1975 and 1979 - Second Chapter, Midnight In San Juan and Hello There, Big Boy! His recording career ended at that point; his alcoholism and severe mental health problems left him homeless for several years. He remained estranged from his former band mates and failed to appear when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Fleetwood Mac in 1998. Divorced from his wife Clare, Kirwan is survived by a son, Dominic.
Nightclub owner Peter Stringfellow has died at the age of seventy seven, a spokesman has said. Stringfellow - a thoroughly entertaining chap with a Premier League ability for self-promotion - died in the early hours of Thursday morning. The so-called 'King of Clubs' opened many venues around the world and his eponymous nightclub in London's West End became a magnet for celebrities (of both the A-list and Z-list variety). The Be-Atles, The Kinks and The Jimi Hendrix Experience were among the popular beat combos that he booked as a promoter in his six decades in the industry. His publicist, Matt Glass said: 'It's very sad news. He passed away in the early hours of this morning. It was kept very private, he didn't want to tell. He wanted to keep it a secret.' He added that the Stringfellows club in Covent Garden will continue to operate 'as normal.' The novelist and journalist Tony Parsons shared a picture of Stringfellow alongside Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye, calling them 'three legends. Peter had the biggest hair and the biggest heart. A lovely man.' Comedian David Baddiel shared a story from a meeting with Stringfellow, writing: 'He had a sense of humour beyond the haircut. I asked him what he'd be doing if he hadn't ended up running strip clubs. He said: "Two words: benefit fraud!"' Stringfellow underwent treatment for lung cancer after being diagnosed in 2008. However, he only told family and close friends and kept the diagnosis a secret for nearly six years until it was leaked to the press in 2015. The son of a Sheffield steelworker, Stringfellow started in the club trade in the early 1960s and he initially held music nights in his home city. In 1980 he opened Stringfellows in Covent Garden, describing it as the world's 'premier gentleman's club.' The Upper St Martin's Lane venue was an immediate success, frequented by international film and music stars - plus yer actual Keith Telly Topping who managed to blag his way in on a couple of occasions in the mid-1980s; it was all right, actually - and he went on to launch venues in New York, Miami, Beverly Hills and Paris. Stringfellow explained how a trip to the United States was behind his change in direction. 'I went to a strip club in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in the 1980s and loved it,' he said. 'I then immediately opened up Stringfellows New York and it became a great success as I changed it to a strip club.' The Stringfellow brand became known for its topless girls in the 1990s and he later opened an adult entertainment club - Angels - in Soho in 2006. Stringfellow said that his clubs had hosted stars including Prince, Rod Stewart, Marvin Gaye and Tom Jones - while Professor Stephen Hawking also joined him for dinner at one of the venues. However, his success didn't come without any pitfalls. His clubs in Miami and Los Angles were disasters and put him in huge debt. 'I don't want anyone coming into my clubs thinking they are going to get a sexual encounter,' he once told the BBC. 'Of course it's sexually stimulating, but so is a disco, so is a pretty girl. So is David Beckham with his gear on. So are the Chippendales.' That said, he was known as a ladies' man but would neither confirm nor deny claims that he had slept with more than three thousand women. His behaviour, often described as outrageous, earned him critics and in 2003 he was voted by Channel Four viewers as the eighteenth worst Briton (Peter was, reportedly, annoyed that he hadn't come higher). Born in Sheffield in 1940, Stringfellow was the eldest of four boys and they were raised by the women in his family after the men went to war. He left school at the age of fifteen and served in the British Merchant Navy, travelling the world aged seventeen. In 1962 he served a brief prison sentence for selling stolen carpets, which he said was 'a sharp lesson' which put him on the straight and narrow. In an article for the Gruniad in 2012 he attributed his entrepreneurial spirit to his feisty mother. 'First of all I'm not a businessman, I'm just a bloody good club owner. I'm very autocratic and have a very good team but ultimately I make the final decision.' Married three times, Stringfellow married former lap dancer Bella - forty one years his junior - in 2009. The pair's two children - Rosabella and Angelo - were born when he was in his seventies. Last year, he held his children's naming ceremony at his London club. He told Hello! magazine he had turned down Westminster Cathedral. 'It would have felt hypocritical,' he said. 'None of that religious stuff sits well with me.' He is survived by Bella and by four children and six grandchildren.
And finally, dear blog reader, a somewhat more personal remembrance than usual. This blogger was appalled and saddened by the death on Thursday, of Kim Eichelberger, the wife of Keith Telly Topping's close friend Clay at the dreadfully young age of fifty. Kim and Clay have been friends of this blogger for twenty years and the immense pleasure of their company was always appreciated by this blogger whenever he was in Los Angeles and in need of some friendly faces. Kim had been ill for some time and the strength and bravery with which she bore her - many - health problems over the years rather puts into perspective this blogger's own, occasionally somewhat trivial, health issues (both mental and physical) by stark contrast. Kim was warm, funny, effervescent, a great conversationalist and a sweet and caring person with a really big heart. She was, in short, a lovely lady, it was a joy to have known her and the world is a much sadder and colder place without her. This blogger's thoughts at this time - as those, I'm sure, of all of our many mutual friends - are with Clay as he attempts to cope with something so horrible and fundamentally life-changing. The loss of anyone close to you is always a sadness of course but, for someone to be taken before they've had their share of life, their share of fun, seems hideously unfair. It can, frequently, be a beautiful life but there are times where it can also be a really shitty one. Be good to each other, dear blog readers and make the most of what you've got when you've got it. Because, like everything, it won't be there forever.