Saturday, July 23, 2016

Cogito Ergo Sum

Yer actual Matt Smith is definitely not returning to Doctor Who. Not that anyone with an ounce of credibility had suggested for a single second that he was, of course. In a web-chat for the Gruniad Morning Star, Smudger his very self shot down the latest wild and inaccurate Interweb rumours whilst promoting his new play, Unreachable. Responding to a fan who asked if he would be back in series ten, the former Doctor wrote: 'No, it's not true. I miss everything [about the show]. I miss Steven, I miss Karen, I miss Arthur, I miss Jenna. I miss time travelling. And, I miss my friends in Cardiff. But, onward goes the march. It's Peter [Capaldi]'s TARDIS now. And I love what he does. So I watch as a fan.'
As filming continues on Sherlock series four, the BBC seem keen to release official images from the set quicker than blurry leaked ones can reach the Interweb. Here's the latest one, which shows yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch and director Rachel Talalay having a chat on set.
A new TV series is reportedly looking for people who might be interested in buying a Dalek. Crook Productions - no jokes, please - are preparing a TV auction show called Sell Or Swap, where viewers can bid on a mix of items ranging from expensive antiques through to a second hand speed boat or unique memorabilia. One of the items being auctioned is a life size replica of a black Dalek. The production company are looking for potential buyers before the auction goes ahead on Tuesday 26 July in Bristol. Potential buyers would have the opportunity to bid on the item in the auction or if they had an item they wanted to get rid of then there could be the possibility of a swap. If you are not able to make it to the studio then it might be possible to submit a phone bid. Anyone interested should contact cleodixey@crookproductions.com.
It was jolly nice to see both a Doctor Who question and a Game Of Thrones question on this week's Only Connect episode on Monday night, dear blog reader; both of which, incidentally, this blogger got, unlike the two teams who both muffed the Doctor Who question. The divine Victoria expressed surprise that no one recognised a photo of Neil Tennant. This blogger expressed equal surprise - at his TV, anyway - that no one recognised Jim Capaldi of Traffic. But then, that was probably just me.
Also, things we learned from TV this week - number one: David Mitchell watches Game Of Thrones. The divine Victoria, however, does not. And, she implied that he only watches it for the tits!
Things we learned from TV this week, number two: Hannah Fry's excellent BBC4 documentary The Joy Of Data brought to a wider audience the 2006 discovery by one Mark J that clicking on the first lowercase link in the main text of any Wikipedia article, and then repeating the process for all subsequent articles, eventually gets one to the 'Philosophy' page. This blogger had vaguely heard about the theory before but, it's a real thing, seemingly, as the delightful Hannah proved with a number of seemingly random Wiki pages including 'eggs', 'marmalade' and 'One Direction' (they are a popular beat combo, m'lud). And, as yer actual Keith Telly Topping subsequently confirmed when he tried it, starting with his own Wikipedia page - it took twenty four moves, one more than the median, apparently - and also Doctor Who - a mere seventeen moves - and Newcastle United Football Club - also seventeen moves. This blogger also tried René Descartes which took ... two moves. Not unreasonably, this blogger feels. Be warned, however, if you do start trying it out to se if it works - which it does in ninety five per cent of cases  - it's sodding addictive! (In this blogger's case the sequence goes: Keith Topping, Walker, Ward (electoral subdivision), Neighbourhood, American and British English spelling differences, Comparison of American and British English, British English, English language, West Germanic languages, Germanic languages, Indo-European languages, Language family, Language, Communication, Meaning (semiotics), Semiotics, Ferdinand de Saussure, Linguistics, Science, Knowledge, Awareness, Consciousness, Quality (philosophy), Attribute, Philosophy.)
It's official, it would seem: we're going to have to wait a little longer for any new Game Of Thrones episodes. The popular adult fantasy series' showrunners previously alluded to the fact that the HBO hit might miss its traditional April air-date. Now the cable network has confirmed that the series won't be back 'until summer 2017.' It's also now been established that next series will be comprised of seven episodes - a shorter run than the standard ten for the previous six years. The series will be filmed in Northern Ireland, Spain, and - as was previously reported - Iceland. 'Now that winter has arrived on Game Of Thrones, executive producers David Benioff and DB Weiss felt that the storylines of the next season would be better served by starting production a little later than usual, when the weather is changing,' said Casey Bloys, president of HBO programming. 'Instead of the show's traditional spring debut, we're moving the debut to summer to accommodate the shooting schedule.' Game Of Thrones will conclude after two more series, with the eighth and final batch of episodes expected to follow in 2018. 'I'm sure on some level [HBO would] love to see the show carry on beyond the seasons that we've got planned, but they trust the people that they work with,' said writers David Benioff and Dan Weiss. 'So [if] we tell them that the story ends here and there is no real story beyond that endpoint, they stick with it.'
Gotham creators have cast The Walking Dead's Benedict Samuel as The Mad Hatter for the upcoming third series. The twenty eight-year-old Australian actor will appear as a regular, Jervis Tetch, a talented but mad hypnotist who arrives in Gotham City to find his sister Alice, who went missing in the city some years ago. A clue about The Mad Hatter's arrival in Gotham was hinted at in the series two finale when Hugo Strange and his assistant Ethel Peabody were talking about his resurrection process; as he clutched a copy of Alice's Adventures Through The Looking Glass and also quoted from Alice's Adventures In Wonderland. The Lewis Carroll-influenced character was first re-imagined for DC Comics' Batman series back in 1949. Samuel is perhaps best known for his role as The Wolf in the seventh series of The Walking Dead. His character met an untimely end in the AMC drama after helping to save Alexandria's stand-in doctor Denise Cloyd. The actor will join Gotham's new series three regulars Claire Foley (Poison Ivy) and Jamie Chung. Chung will play Valerie Vale, a journalist and the aunt of Bruce Wayne's future love interest Vicki Vale.
This week, incidentally, saw the seventy eighth birthday of the most effortlessly cool woman who has ever lived, Dame Diana Rigg. Everyone at From The North sends Diana our best wishes.
Jeez, but it's been hot in the UK this week, has it not dear blog reader? And, the drums never cease ...
UK Commuters were facing delays as soaring temperatures affected train services on the hottest day of the year so far on Tuesday. Temperatures have already exceeded 32.9C in Southern England and were due to pass 35C later in the week. The heat buckled a rail in North Yorkshire and speed limits were put in place on some railway lines due to 'high rail temperatures.' Or, 'the wrong sort of heat.'
And then, this happened. British people in hot weather, eh?

An early Lucian Freud painting worth at least three hundred thousand smackers has been identified by the BBC, despite the artist's own denials that it was his work. The painting, by the acclaimed portrait artist who died in 2011, was identified by Fake Or Fortune? Experts at Christie's auction house claimed it to be a Freud in 1985, but the artist vehemently denied that it was his work. However, notes uncovered from the artist's former solicitor and further analysis proved that the painting was by him after all. It is claimed the artist's reticence in acknowledging the work was probably down to the fact that it was originally owned by Denis Wirth-Miller, an artist with whom Freud had a long-running enmity. Denying authorship meant it was impossible for it to be sold under his name. Fake Or Fortune? presenters Fiona Bruce and art historian Philip Mould had the breakthrough when they spoke to Freud's solicitor, who found a note in her files of a phone conversation with the artist from 2006. The Freud Dude apparently said that he had 'started' the painting, but it had been completed by 'someone else' and for this reason, he would not acknowledge it as his own work. Now, after analysis of the techniques and materials used in the painting, three Freud experts said they believed the painting was solely by him, and was likely to have been completed in 1939. London-based designer Jon Turner, who inherited the painting of a man in a black cravat, said he spent years trying to authenticate the portrait but he believed Freud had continued to prevent his investigations. Mould, who valued the painting at three hundred grand or more, said: 'It was a novel and gargantuan task to overturn the reported views of the artist. It was different from anything we'd taken on until now - we had never had to arm-wrestle with the words of an artist beyond the grave. It was all the more frustrating as the more I worked on the picture and Fiona was able to add the background with her enquiries, the more I felt confident about it being entirely by Freud.' A grandson of the psycho-analyst Sigmund Freud and the son of an architect, the artist was born in Berlin in 1922 and fled from Nazi Germany to Britain with his family in 1933, when he was ten. After attending art school as a teenager, Freud was soon recognised as a brilliant talent. He said his work was purely autobiographical - painting 'the people that interest me and that I care about and think about in rooms I live in and know.' Bruce added: 'As this investigation progressed we had to investigate Freud the man as much as the painting. He was an extraordinary and controversial character.' It is not the first time the BBC programme has made such a huge discovery. In 2014, a painting thought to be by Russian-born artist Marc Chagall bought for one hundred thousand quid, was found to be a fake and had to be destroyed.

The BBC is to make a six-part adaptation of Les Misérables with the team behind War and Peace, including producer Harvey Weinstein and screenwriter Andrew Davies. The new six-hour drama will be based on the Nineteenth Century novel by Victor Hugo, rather than the award-winning all-singing, all-dancing musical, and will be shown on BBC1. Weinstein described Les Misérables as 'one of the greatest novels of all time' with 'contemporary relevance to what's going on in the world today.' Davies, who adapted the original version of House Of Cards for BBC1 among many other important works, said: 'Les Misérables is a huge iconic title. Most of us are familiar with the musical version which only offers a fragmentary outline of its story. I am thrilled to have the opportunity of doing real justice to Victor Hugo at last by adapting his masterpiece in a six-hour version for the BBC, with the same team who made War & Peace.' Announcing the new adaptation on Thursday, the BBC said that the story of former convict Jean Valjean and police officer Javert's cat-and-mouse relationship, against the epic backdrop of revolutionary France, had a 'striking intensity and relevance to us today.' Charlotte Moore, the director of BBC content, said: 'Andrew Davies' extraordinary skill for adaptation will bring the world famous Les Misérables into powerful focus for a modern audience with a multi-layered re-telling of Victor Hugo's masterpiece. BBC1 viewers can expect the same quality and scale from the team behind War & Peace in this epic tale of redemption and the healing power of love.' The mini-series will be made by BBC Studios and independent producer Lookout Point, in association with Weinstein Television. The three partners previously worked together on Davies' adaptation of Tolstoy's War & Peace, which was shown to great acclaimed on BBC1 earlier this year. Weinstein said: 'Victor Hugo's Les Misérables is one of the greatest novels of all time – and while the musical is one of my favourites, this will be completely different. An intense and serious drama that will find contemporary relevance to what's going on in the world today. I'm thrilled to be reunited with Faith Penhale and Simon Vaughan, my partners from War & Peace, with Charlotte Moore from the BBC, and of course, with Andrew Davies. I think the BBC and Weinstein Television collaboration are a new paradigm in the telling of classics – they're modern and yet respectful. And, with the exception of James Bond, nobody does it better than Andrew Davies.' BBC Worldwide will distribute the series with Weinstein Television distributing in the US and China.

The new Star Trek TV series is to be streamed globally on Netflix from January next year. The show will be made available the day after it is broadcast on CBS All Access, the network's US subscription streaming service. It is the franchise's first return to television since 2005 with a new ship, characters and civilisations, although casting has yet to be announced. Production is set to begin in Toronto in September. Alex Kurtzman, who co-wrote and produced the recent franchise films Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) will also serve as executive producer for the series. The Netflix deal will see the new show available in one hundred and eighty eight countries excluding the US and Canada. The whole back catalogue of Star Trek TV series will also be made available to watch. Just in case you haven't seen then the last fifty eight times they've been shown. 'Star Trek is already a worldwide phenomenon and this international partnership will provide fans around the world, who have been craving a new series for more than a decade, the opportunity to see every episode virtually at the same time as viewers in the US,' said Armando Nunez, CBS Studios president and chief executive officer. 'The new Star Trek will definitely be hailing on all frequencies throughout the planet.' The original Star Trek series (1966 to 1969) spawned thirteen feature films and four spin-off television series. Two of them really rather good. Two of them ... not. It was last on-screen with Enterprise - one of the 'not ones - which was set a century before the original series and ran from 2001 to 2005 before being cancelled due to lack of interest. Paramount Pictures confirmed this week it had approved plans for a fourth Star Trek movie featuring the current crew of the Enterprise. Producer JJ Abrams has said that the role of Chekov, played by Anton Yelchin who was killed in a tragic accident at his home last month, will not be recast. The actor's parents took out a full-page advert in The Hollywood Reporter on Monday to thank the industry for the support they have received since his death. 'We are deeply grateful for your unconditional love for our son. He would be surprised by how many hearts and souls he touched,' they said.
Veep actor Peter MacNicol has had his EMMY nomination withdrawn after the Television Academy ruled his performance was 'ineligible.' He had been nominated last week for outstanding guest actor in a comedy for his role as Jeff Kane in the HBO show. The category is open to actors who have appeared in less than fifty per cent of a programme's current series. MacNicol appeared in five of the ten episodes of Veep's latest season - exactly fifty per cent. The Television Academy told The Hollywood Reporter: 'Upon review of the category, we have determined that Peter MacNicol unfortunately exceeds the number of episodes permissible for inclusion.' The academy acknowledged MacNicol's entry had been eligible at the time of submission, but added he had subsequently appeared in a further episode. 'Unfortunately, that additional appearance places him in fifty per cent of the season's episodes and makes him no longer eligible to compete in the guest actor category,' it said. 'This decision is in no way a diminishment of Mister MacNicol's stellar performance on this season of Veep.' The academy said a replacement nominee would be announced shortly.

Doctor Thorne actress Stefanie Martini has been cast as the young Jane Tennison in a prequel to popular crime drama Prime Suspect. Tennison will tell the story of the early years of the character made famous by Dame Helen Mirren. The cast also includes veteran actor Alun Armstrong as the head of a crime family and The Inbetweeners' Blake Harrison as Tennison's sergeant. An ITV spokeswoman said filming had begun on six hour-long episodes. Martini tweeted that she was 'so happy' to be able to announce her involvement in the series, written by Prime Suspect creator Lynda La Plante. Other cast members include Australian actor Sam Reid and Geraldine Somerville and Nick Sidi as Tennison's mother and father. The spokeswoman said that the show would look at the beginning of Tennison's career, 'revealing why she became such a complex and formidable character in the Metropolitan Police.' The Tennison prequel follows the success of Endeavour, which tells the story of Inspector Morse's early years in the police. The drama, which featured Martini, recently announced it had been commissioned for a fourth series. No transmission date for Tennison has yet been given.
Channel Four and National Geographic have teamed up to make a drama about four young British people who travel to Syria to join Isis. The 'fact-inspired' drama, which will be written and directed by Wolf Hall director Peter Kosminsky, will tell the tale of four men and women who leave their lives at home behind to join the militant group in Raqqah. 'After a year of extensive research, Peter has written a fascinating fictional story that sheds light on an unknown and unimaginable world,' said Beth Willis, head of drama at Channel Four. 'This is a deeply authentic drama through which we are able to question and confront an incredibly complex, divisive and urgent global issue.' The four-part co-production, which the broadcasters describe as 'timely and dramatic,' will be broadcast next year on Channel Four in the UK and on the National Geographic Channel across the rest of the world. 'National Geographic has always been on the forefront of covering the complexities of war in our documentary features and series,' said Carolyn Bernstein, head of global scripted development at Nat Geo. 'Peter's scripts take that same bold, unblinking approach to telling the fact-based stories of young Isis recruits and offer an authentic and nuanced look inside one of the most serious global threats we face today.' The drama will be produced by Archery Pictures. And, will be criticised by the Daily Scum Mail.
Les Dennis has announced he is to leave Coronation Street later this year 'in a hugely dramatic storyline.' The sixty two-year-old, who has played Michael Rodwell on the ITV soap since 2014, said his decision to move on was 'a hard one.' The actor said that he wanted 'freedom to do more projects' and it felt 'like the right time' to leave the show. 'The talented team of writers have come up with a very dramatic exit which will be exciting to film,' he added. Earlier this year Dennis took a sabbatical from the soap to appear in a production of Alan Bleasdale's Down The Dock Road at The Royal Court Liverpool. The character first appeared on the soap as a burglar who began a relationship with Gail Platt after he broke into her house. His subsequent storylines saw him marry Gail, but split after he discovered that she had lied to him about the identity of his son. He then began a relationship with Eileen and the Rovers saw many a confrontation between Michael and local builder Pat Phelan. 'As a lifelong fan of the show, playing Michael Rodwell in Coronation Street has been a dream come true. Becoming part of the ITV Coronation Street family has been a wonderful experience and my decision to leave was a hard one,' Dennis said. 'I'll treasure the two-and-a-half years I have been part of such an iconic show and move on with very fond memories, so many lovely friends and colleagues and an ambition achieved.' The soap's producer, Kate Oates, said the team was 'very sad' to see Dennis leave. 'We have worked on giving him a great story to ensure a fantastic and dramatic end to his time on the Street,' she added.

Sky 1 has ordered a new thriller from author Harlan Coben. Coben's follow-up to this spring's The Five will be called The Four - although it is said to be 'otherwise unrelated' to his previous work. Spanning eight episodes, The Four will be a 'stand-alone, character-driven thriller,' according to The Hollywood Reporter. It will tell 'the chilling story of an idyllic family community irrevocably shattered by secrets, lies, suspicions and misguided trust.' Like The Five, this new series will be written by Ordinary Lies creator Danny Brocklehurst, based on Coben's original concept. 'I am incredibly proud of what we all achieved with The Five,' said Coben. 'Our goal from the start was to create a gripping crime drama that moved you, surprised you - and had a shocking and emotionally satisfying ending. I never wanted to make a sequel to The Five - that story has now been told - but rather, to start fresh and bring a whole new crime drama to the screen.'
Official photos of the first studio recording for The Grand Tour have been revealed. Jezza Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May have been shooting their 'studio' segments for their new Amazon Prime show in Johannesburg. And, it appears as though they're keeping things very low key, as the set consists of just a table and chairs.
Meanwhile, Top Gear presenter Rory Reid has said joining the BBC motoring show was 'like being a soldier parachuted into a war.' Only, with a bit less being shot at by machine guns. Obviously.
An episode of ITV2's worthless pile of rancid stinking shat Love Island is being extremely investigated by Ofcom over a sex scene shown just after the watershed. The footage, broadcast on 30 June, showed Emma-Jane Woodham and Terry Walsh - no, me neither I'm afraid - 'getting intimate' in a room full of other contestants. Because, that's entertainment in the Twenty First Century it would seem, dear blog reader. Two z-list 'celebrities' that you've never heard of, shagging each other on live telly whilst a bunch of other z-list celebrities that you've never heard of watch. Didn't Nigel Kneale more-or-less predict exactly that in The Year Of The Sex Olympics forty years ago? There were eight complaints about the footage of the couple having The Sex, broadcast approximately ten minutes after the 9pm watershed. An Ofcom spokesman said: 'This programme included sexual material shortly after the watershed. We're investigating whether the transition to more adult content was unduly abrupt.' In the scene, Woodham asked one of her fellow islanders: 'If we have sex on top of the covers, they can't air that, can they?' Oh, do you want to bet? This is ITV2, love, they'll show anything if they think gawping morons will watch it. The two then got into bed with other contestants surrounding them in the room and indulged in a couple of minutes of squelching noises. The scene then showed contestants giving opinions of the couple's actions, along with footage of the two in bed. There was no full nudity in the scene. The incident was not the only controversy of the series - former Miss Great Britain Zara Holland was extremely stripped of her title after having The Sex with fellow z-lister that you've never heard of, Alex Bowen on the show. This series has attracted thirty nine complaints as a whole. Love Island began in 2005 and ran for two series. It was revived last year. Why, is a question well-worth considering.
Ofcom has said it will not investigate a Sky News segment which prompted Gruniad Morning Star journalist Owen Jones to stage a geet stroppy walk-out. A press preview feature on 12 June saw Jones reviewing the following day's newspapers, most of which which referred to the horrifying Orlando nightclub attack. Ofcom investigated whether Sky's Mark Longhurst and columnist Julia Hartley-Brewer appeared to 'dismiss Jones's view that the attack specifically targeted the LGBT community.' Which it clearly was. Ofcom received two hundred and fifty three complaints. It said: 'After careful consideration, we won't be taking the matter forward for investigation.' While on-air, Jones described the discussion as 'one of the most astonishing things I've ever been involved with on television.' Referring to the Orlando attack, he said: 'This has to be called out for what it is - it was an intentional attack on LGBT people. It was a homophobic terrorist attack.' Longhurst responded by suggesting it was an attack 'against human beings. It's an attack on the freedom of all people to try and enjoy themselves.' Hartley Brewer then said that the attacker 'would probably be as horrified by me as a gobby woman' as he would by the LGBT community. In its statement, Ofcom said: 'We found that neither person responded to Owen Jones in a way that caused unjustified offence. Both [Longhurst and Hartley-Brewer] were simply attempting to highlight the impact of terror attacks on society more broadly.'
There's a properly fascinating piece by Paul Reynolds on the BBC's broadcasting plans in the event of a nuclear attack during the Cold War era which this blogger urges you to have a gander at. 'The BBC's headquarters would have been a bunker at the Engineering Training Department at Wood Norton in Worcestershire, where ninety BBC staff would have been assembled, including engineers, announcers, twelve news editors and sub-editors and ominously "two nominations from Religious Broadcasting,"' Reynolds writes. 'Output would have been controlled by the government. To keep the public amused during Armageddon, a collection of cassette tapes of old radio programmes including The Goon Show, Just A Minute and Round The Horne, was kept in a grey locker at Wood Norton. It was eventually realised, however, that these were redundant. If there had been a nuclear attack, radios would probably have been dependent on batteries and these would have needed to be conserved for news and important announcements. Choosing the staff to go into the bunkers was a delicate matter. In the early versions of The War Books, it is made clear that staff were "assigned" or "designated" to go underground. In later, less authoritarian days, they were "invited" to do so. Some staff opted out. There is a note in one file stating that Huw Wheldon, Managing Director of Television, "refused to take part in matters dealing with war time broadcasting." Curiously, the Director General had no place in the bunkers. In the later editions of the plan at least, the BBC teams were to be led by the Head of Radio 4, perhaps because it would have been a radio-only operation.'
Game Of Thrones' The Mountain has been beaten to Europe's Strongest Man title by a man from Swindon. Laurence Shahlaei, originally from Cheltenham, took the title in Leeds from two-time title holder Hafthor Bjornsson who is famed for his role in the popular television drama series. Shahlaei, nicknamed Big Loz, said he felt Bjornsson is 'a great strongman but it was my day and it felt really good to win.' The thirty two-year-old is the first Englishman to win the title in twenty seven years. Standing at six feet two inches and weighing twenty two stone, the Wiltshire-based athlete had to overcome injury last weekend to take the crown. 'I've had a rough few years with injuries and to come back and win Europe's Strongest Man has just meant the world to me,' he said. 'There's five different events that you have to do. I did a four hundred and twenty kilo dead lift, which was good enough for joint second and then we did a frame carry - it's a race and you're running a twenty-metre course while carrying four hundred and fifty kilos, which is close to ninety stone, and I won that event.' Competitors also had to lift a twenty eight stone block above their heads 'as many times as possible' as well as tackling the infamous Atlas stones - an event synonymous with strongman competitions. But it was running twenty metres with a Volkswagen Beetle on his shoulders in around eleven seconds that clinched the title from Bjornsson. 'My favourite of the competition was the car walk. Imagine Fred Flintstone running in his car - that was basically me,' Shahlaei said. 'I actually broke the world record on that event. They made the car even heavier this year and I managed over a second off my world record - which was really, really good.'
Tom Crone, the former Scum of the World lawyer, has appeared before a Bar Standards Board disciplinary tribunal. He is facing six charges of 'professional misconduct' and, if found very guilty, could be disbarred. He was a central figure in the phone-hacking scandal. The five-person tribunal has heard the evidence against Crone, but only part of his response. He will resume giving evidence at a reconvened hearing on 2 August. Crone was the legal affairs manager with the newspaper’s publisher, News International (now News UK), until he resigned in July 2011, the month in which the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World was closed - in shame and ignominy. He joined billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's UK newspaper division in 1985, acting for both the Scum of the World and the Sun. In 2007, following the jailing of the Scum of the World's royal editor, Clive Goodman, Crone 'supervised' an internal investigation into hacking at the paper but, he claimed, 'could find no evidence' to suggest that anyone else was involved. This formed the basis of the company's four years of public denials into any and all allegations that phone-hacking at the paper was more widespread than Goodman (the so-called 'lone rogue reporter' defence). James Murdoch The Small, the former boss of the UK division of his billionaire tyrant father global's media empire, told a parliamentary select committee in July 2011 that Crone was one of two executives whom, he alleged, had 'misled him' about substantial payments made to individuals to prevent the scale of phone-hacking inside the Scum of the World becoming public. During the trial of former Scum of the World editor (and, jailed phone-hacker) Andy Coulson, it was revealed that the personal safe of Crone at News International's London offices contained transcripts of the voicemails of David Blunkett, the former Home Secretary. Coulson testified that he had told Crone about the hacking of Blunkett's messages, which took place in 2004. Crone and Scum of the World editor Colin Myler also e-mailed James Murdoch The Small in the spring of 2008 giving details of the infamous 'for Neville' communication which made clear that knowledge of phone-hacking at the Scum of the World extended to more than a single 'rogue' journalist. Yet, the company kept up their denials for a further three years until the overwhelming weight of evidence against them made the continued protestations pointless and forced them to come clean. Crone gave evidence to the Commons culture, media and sport select committee about hacking allegations in July 2009 and again in September 2011. Three months later, he gave evidence to The Leveson Inquiry. He was very arrested in August 2012 in connection with the Metropolitan police’s investigation into hacking and placed on police bail. In October 2014, the Crown Prosecution Service announced he would not face charges because there was 'insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction.' Crone qualified as a barrister in 1975 and, after five years of private practice, joined Mirra group Newspapers, leaving for News International five years later. Since his resignation from News International he has maintained a low profile.

The Sun has deleted a tweet promoting a controversial column attacking Channel Four News for using a Muslim presenter to report news of the Nice Bastille Day attack. Odious worthless tub of lard and scum Kelvin MacKenzie's column, which ran with the headline Why did Channel Four have a presenter in a hijab fronting coverage of Muslim terror in Nice?, appeared in Monday's edition of the wretched, odious tabloid. In it MacKenzie criticises Channel Four News for using Fatima Manji, who wears a hijab - as is her absolute right in a free and democratic society - to front its coverage of the Nice truck attack on the previous Friday. The worthless MacKenzie argued - with no supporting evidence whatsoever - that Channel Four would not have used an 'Orthodox Jew to cover the Israeli-Palestine conflict' so it should not have used Manji to cover the Nice attack. 'Was it appropriate for her to be on camera when there had been yet another shocking slaughter by a Muslim?' the awful, horrid, fraction of man continued. 'With all the major terrorist outrages in the world currently being carried out by Muslims, I think the rest of us are reasonably entitled to have concerns about what is beating in their religious hearts. Who is in the studio representing our fears? Nobody.' The Sun tweeted out a preview of the column on Monday morning and then quickly deleted it. An alleged 'source' allegedly told the Gruniad Morning Star that the decision to delete the tweet had been taken because the tweet did not make clear that the piece was by MacKenzie, and not by the Sun. What a bunch of heroes, eh? 'We're taking this down because we're worried people might believe it's what we thin, even though we published the article in the first place.' Twats. By Friday, the press regulator had received more than eighteen hundred complaints about the column - including some very strongly-worded ones from Channel Four itself - and the odious worthless tub of lard and scum MacKenzie is currently very 'under investigation.'
Eric Clapton will appear on The Rolling Stones' blues-inspired new CD, Keef Richards has confirmed. Eric - who almost joined The Stones (a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might've heard of them) on at least two occasions in the past - 'dropped by for a couple of numbers,' Richards told BBC6 Music, adding the recording sessions had been 'like old times down in Richmond.' Both The Stones and Clapton's former band, The Yardbirds (another popular beat combo of the 1960s), used to perform at The Crawdaddy Club in Richmond. Keef said The Stones were 'hoping' to play some European dates next year and would 'love to perform' in the UK. 'I think it's on the menu somewhere,' the seventy two-year-old said. The new CD was confirmed by the band earlier this year at the launch of Exhibitionism, a career retrospective at London's Saatchi Gallery. The recording sessions have included both new material and a number of blues covers, including songs by Little Walter and Howlin' Wolf. Richards said the CD would feature 'a lot of Chicago blues' and would be 'coming out in the autumn.' Clapton was considered as a replacement for both Brian Jones in 1969, shortly after Cream broke-up, and for Mick Taylor in 1974. Indeed, as Rockin' Ronnie Wood tells it, Clapton has been known, on occasions, to tell Ronnie 'I could've had your job.' To which Rockin' Ronnie usually replies, 'yes, Eric, but I've got to live with them!'
A 1969 Led Zeppelin session for the BBC that was thought to have been lost has been recovered from a recording made by a fan. The rock legends' set went out on the BBC World Service as part of Alexis Korner's Rhythm & Blues programme and was taped from an AM radio in Europe. It includes the band's only known recording of the song 'Sunshine Woman'. The session recording has been restored with help from Jimmy Page for inclusion on a new compilation. The Complete BBC Sessions, which will be released in September, is a remastered update of a 1997 collection of song recorded for the BBC between 1969 and 1971. It includes eight previously unreleased recordings, including the first broadcast of 'Stairway To Heaven', from the BBC Paris Cinema in London on 1 April 1971. Versions of songs from the band's first two LPs also feature, including 'Communication Breakdown' and 'What Is And What Should Never Be'.
And now, dear blog reader, the first in a new semi-regular From The North series: Just! Call! The! Wedding! Off!
Ouch.

California Governor Jerry Brown has denied parole to Leslie Van Houten, a former follower of Charles Manson, who is serving a life sentence for murder. The prison board had recommended parole. However, Governor Brown said Van Houton's 'inability to explain her willing participation in such horrific violence' made him think that she was 'still a risk to society.' Relatives of her victims opposed her release with a petition signed by one hundred and forty thousand people. Van Houten has now been denied parole twenty times over the 1969 killings of Leno La Bianca and his wife, Rosemary. Then nineteen, she held down Rosemary La Bianca while someone else stabbed her and she later admitted that she stabbed the woman after she was dead. Which was, obviously, a very naughty thing to do. 'I don't let myself off the hook. I don't find parts in any of this that makes me feel the slightest bit good about myself,' she said at her April parole board hearing. Since her conviction, Van Houten, now sixty six, completed college degrees and demonstrated exemplary behaviour while in detention. She was the youngest Manson follower to be convicted of murder. The La Bianca killings came a day after other followers of Manson carried out the grisly murder of actress Sharon Tate and four others in Bel Air. Prosecutors at the time said that Charlie 'controlled' his followers - The Family - using drugs and other means. Manson, who directed but did not take part in the murders, thought that the killings would start a race war, called Helter Skelter after The Be-Atles song which he rather liked. Now eighty one - and still as Mad As Toast - he remains in prison, as do others of his followers, including Patricia Krenwinkel and Charles Watson.
Forget the Oscars and BAFTAs, yer man Steven Spielberg has won one of the best awards in the world. The famed director is now the proud owner of a gold Blue Peter badge. He says that he has 'always secretly privately wanted' one. The badge is the highest honour given by the long-running BBC children's show. Blue Peter only gives a few out each year and says that Spielberg earned it with his talent, passion and pioneering movie work. Steven says that he has been a long-term fan of the show, claiming: 'I've been aware of Blue Peter ever since I started making movies here in 1980. This is my first Blue Peter badge. So, thank you.'
Plans designed to reduce 'intolerable behaviour' by players and managers in English football have been announced. In a statement, the Premier League, English Football League and Football Association said that 'poor conduct' has reached 'unacceptable levels.' Starting this season, red cards will be issued to players who confront match officials and use offensive language or make gestures towards them. Behaviour within the technical areas will also be more rigorously enforced. Not one player has been sent off in the Premier League for insulting or abusive language towards a match official in the last five seasons. But Premier League chairman Richard Scudamore said there has been concern 'for some time' that players have been 'overstepping the mark. It is our collective position that these types of behaviour should no longer be tolerated,' he added. 'Things happen in the heat of the moment during fast and highly competitive football. We still want to see the passion fans enjoy and demand, but players and managers have to be aware there are lines that should not be crossed.'
A UKiP councillor who said on social media that all Remain voters should be killed has apologised - big of him - and said that his comments were 'a joke.' Just not a very funny one. Terence Nathan, a councillor in Bromley, posted on Facebook it was 'time to start killing these people.' He wrote: 'There is no need for threats just a bullet.' A spokesperson from UKiP said that the councillor was 'obviously joking.' Obviously. The Met Police confirmed that an investigation into the comments was under way. The UKiP spokesperson added that the joke 'was in very poor taste.' You think?
Coldplay singer Chris Martin - a man who is, in the words of the great Katy Brand, 'made entirely of hummus' - and his ex-wife, full-of-her-own-importance actress Gwyneth Paltrow, have had their divorce finalised. The 'uncoupling', which was signed off by a Los Angeles judge on Thursday, states that neither Paltrow nor Martin will have to pay spousal support. Given the fact that they're both millionaires, that's hardly surprising. Who is to get custody of the couple's Feng Shui advisor, subscription to the Gruniad Morning Star and lifetime supply of quiche is not, at this time know. Nor, indeed, cared about very much.
And now, dear blog reader ...
Britain's decision to leave the EU has led to 'a dramatic deterioration' in economic activity, not seen since the aftermath of the financial crisis. Data from IHS Markit's Purchasing Manager's Index shows a fall to 47.7 in July, the lowest level since April 2009. A reading below fifty indicates 'contraction.' Which is, you know, bad. Both manufacturing and service sectors saw a 'significant' decline in output and orders. One trusts, therefore, that all of those who voted Leave because they 'wanted their country back' are now happy that they've got their country back. Even if it is skint and broken. Maybe they could try taking it back to the shop and see if they can get a replacement?
One of the Moon's biggest craters was created by an asteroid more than one hundred and fifty miles across, a study suggests. It smashed into the lunar surface about 3.8 billion years ago, forming Mare Imbrium - the feature also known as the right eye of the Man in the Moon. Scientists claim the asteroid was three times bigger than previously estimated and debris from the collision would have rained down on the Earth. The research is published in the journal Nature. The asteroid was so big it could be classified as a protoplanet - a space rock with the potential to become a fully formed world. Lead author Professor Peter Schultz, a planetary geologist from Brown University, said: 'One implication of this work is that the asteroids may not have been these small chunks flying around - there may have been many more of these very large protoplanets. It would have been a catastrophic period of time.' Particularly, one imagines, if one was to be standing under it when it landed. Catastrophic but, quite short. The Imbrium crater measures more than seven hundred and fifty miles across. Until now, scientists used computer models to estimate the size of the asteroid that led to its formation. But for the new assessment of the collision, Schultz recreated the smash in the lab. Using a three-storey-high, hyper-velocity gun, his team fired small spheres of metal travelling at more than thirteen thousand miles per hour into a curved aluminium plate. Which, it must be sound, sounds like great fun! 'We film it with high-speed cameras: things that go up to one million frames a second,' Schultz told BBC World Service's Science In Action programme. By analysing the slowed-down footage and the pattern of debris, the researchers were able to calculate the size of the asteroid that crashed into the Moon. 'We know there were big asteroids, but we have increased the size significantly,' explained Schultz. 'The previous estimate for the Imbrium asteroid was in the order of eighty milometres [wide] and we've increased that by a factor of three.' The researchers say it would have been travelling at more than forty thousand miles per hour, hitting the lunar surface at an angle of about thirty degrees. The colossal high-speed impact not only left a giant dent in the near-side of the Moon, it also would have sent billions of tonnes of debris hurtling towards the Earth.
Two pilots have been very arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of alcohol as they prepared to fly a transatlantic passenger jet from Scotland to Canada. Staff are understood to have 'raised concerns' about the pilots' behaviour before the Air Transat A310, carrying up to two hundred and fifty passengers on board, was due to depart from Glasgow on Monday afternoon bound for Toronto. Officers extremely arrested the men, aged thirty seven and thirty nine, on suspicion of being 'impaired through alcohol' before they were due to take off at 1pm. A spokeswoman said: 'Police Scotland can confirm that two men have been arrested in relation to being allegedly impaired through alcohol under the Railway and Transport Safety Act 2003 (Section Ninety Three).' The Canadian airline confirmed the arrest of its employees, adding that the flight had been rescheduled and the passengers 'put up in hotels.' A spokesman said: 'Air Transat has learned of the arrest on 18 July of two crew members assigned to its Glasgow-Toronto flight. We will await the results of the investigation and judicial proceedings before commenting on the matter before making any further comments. The safety of our crews and passengers is, and will remain, a top priority.'
Anti-pornography groups have succeeded in their efforts to get Starbucks and McDonald's to block porn on the chains' Wi-Fi networks. Well, dear blog reader, that's the last time this blogger is going to McDonald's for his breakfast and taking his laptop along, that's for sure. It's the free access to naughty stuff that's the attraction, not their breakfast bagels. Anyway, earlier this year McDonald's responded by putting filters in place at most of its US restaurants, a change which was only disclosed this week. The company had already had the filtering in place at its UK restaurants for some time. 'McDonald's is committed to providing a safe environment for our customers,' he said. 'We had not heard from our customers that this was an issue, but we saw an opportunity that is consistent with our goal of providing an enjoyable experience for families.' The anti-porn groups Enough Is Enough and the National Center [sic] On Sexual Exploitation then appealed to Starbucks to follow McDonald's lead. In response to questions from the media, Starbucks said on Friday that it will 'do the same thing' at its company-owned stores around the globe. 'Once we determine that our customers can access our free Wi-Fi in a way that also doesn't involuntarily block unintended content, we will implement this in our stores,' said a Starbucks spokesperson. 'In the meantime, we reserve the right to stop any behaviour that interferes with our customer experience, including what is accessed on our free Wi-Fi.'
Saudi Arabia's top clerical body has renewed a fifteen-year-old edict that the Pokemon game franchise is 'un-Islamic,' Saudi media said on Wednesday, although the fatwa made no mention of the successful new Pokemon GO mobile game. Anyone caught Pokemonning in the area will be given a damned good public whipping. They should probably think about trying that over here, frankly. The General Secretariat of the Council of Senior Religious Scholars said it had revived a 2001 decree against a Pokemon card game in response to 'queries from believers.' The Council argued that the 'mutations' of the creatures in the game, who are given specific powers, amounted to 'blasphemy' by 'promoting the theory of natural evolution.' 'It is shocking that the word "evolution" has been much on the tongues of children,' the fatwa read. It also said that the game contained 'other elements' prohibited by Islamic law, including 'polytheism against God by multiplying the number of deities and gambling, which God has forbidden in the Qu'ran and likened to wine and idols.' The fatwa added that 'symbols' used in the game promoted Japan's Shinto religion, Christianity, Freemasonry and 'global Zionism.' Blimey. In conservative Saudi Arabia, home to Islam's two holiest sites, cinemas are banned and women's sports are discouraged as promoting sin. The pre-Islamic era is dismissed as 'the age of ignorance' and its relics are deemed 'ungodly.' Some clerics even see patriotism as tantamount to idolatry.
After allegedly 'spending a lot of time' behind chicken wire, a twenty seven-year-old Wisconsin woman could be spending a lot of time behind bars, after being charged with three counts of prostitution for performing sexual acts for money out of a chicken coop on her property. According to local news outlet FOX 9, Polk County police began receiving complaints that Sarah Bradehoft was 'neglecting her children and was involved in prostitution.' Police had been on Bradehoft's tail for a while, even arranging for an undercover officer to respond to an advert on Back Page to set up a meeting with the mother of six at her home. After obtaining a search warrant, police interviewed Bradehoft at her house. She extremely confessed that she had been using the chicken coop as 'a place to exchange sexual acts for money' with five clients, because she said, she 'needed money to get back to Florida.' After the interview, Child Protective Services immediately took four of her children into custody and it was later revealed that her two-year-old child tested positive for amphetamines, methamphetamine and cocaine. Bradehoft has also been charged with one count of child neglect.
A central Pennsylvania man has reportedly been accused of spraying fluid used to embalm a human brain on marijuana that he then smoked. State police in Carlisle on Thursday charged Joshua Lee Long with 'abuse of a corpse' and 'conspiracy.' WGAL-TV says that court records indicate Long's aunt discovered the brain in a department store bag while cleaning out her nephew's trailer. Long allegedly told her during a phone conversation from the Cumberland County jail that he used the formaldehyde-soaked pot 'to get high.' Court records indicate a coroner concluded the brain was real and that Long supposedly named it Freddy. Which, you know, is as nice a name for a brain in a jail as any. This blgoger calls his Peregrine. Just in case you were wondering. According to the arrest affidavit, the coroners who examined the brain believe it is 'most likely' a stolen medical specimen.
Women in Georgia are being warned to be extra vigilant of their surroundings for the next six months after state lawmakers unwittingly made it legal for people to take a photo up a woman's skirt in public. In 2013, one Brandon Lee Gary, a store clerk from Perry in Georgia, was prosecuted for taking a video up a lady customer's skirt. He, and many before him, were convicted of invasion of privacy since the state lacks a specific 'upskirting law.' But, recently, Gary took his conviction to the state Court of Appeals. They overturned his conviction, saying that the wording of the privacy law did not cover the concept of upskirting. This, essentially, gives lawmakers no way to convict someone who takes a picture up a woman's skirt without her consent in public places. The judges ruled that it is up to state lawmakers to reword the law to make upskirting illegal in an of itself. Unfortunately, that won't be happening until the next legislative session, which will be in the spring on 2017. Which means that taking upskirt photos without a woman's consent in Georgia will be entirely legal for the next six months.
Donald Trump has once again been criticised for the 'unauthorised use' of music; this time it's Earth, Wind & Fire who are God damn pissed off. Earlier this week, The Queen Group 'hit out' (that's tabloidese for 'criticised' only with less syllables) at the Republican presidential nominee for using their song 'We Will Rock You' at the Republican National Convention. Now Earth, Wind & Fire have accused the businessman - and hairdo - of using their song 'September' without their permission. According to Billboard, the house band played a rendition of the song during the second night of the convention where Trump was formally nominated.
The estate of the late George Harrison has also taken issue with the former Be-Atles' music being used at the Republican National Convention without prior approval. They registered their displeasure via Twitter on Thursday evening after the Harrison-written 1969 Be-Atles classic 'Here Comes The Sun' was used as the entrance music for Ivanka Trump, who introduced her father Donald Trump as the official Republican nominee (and hairdo) for president. But George's estate didn't say that all of his music was off limits. In fact, they suggested a tune they thought might be a better fit: 'Beware Of Darkness'. He's been dead for over a decade and he's still the funniest Be-Atle!
A 'previously-unreleased' David Bowie LP is to be included in a new box-set, his estate has announced. The Gouster has never appeared as a complete LP before, although all of the songs featured on it - recorded during the early stages of what would eventually become the Young Americans LP in 1974 - have appeared over the years as singles and bonus tracks on other releases in one form or another. The seven-song work includes an early version of 'Young Americans', along with the radical re-recording of 'John, I'm Only Dancing (Again)', which was released as a single in 1979. Bowie's producer Tony Visconti said it was 'forty minutes of glorious funk.' The work, which Visconti said came about because he and Bowie wanted to make 'a killer soul album,' will be released as part of the David Bowie - Who Can I Be Now? (1974-1976) box-set, the sequel to 2015's highly regarded Five Years. A post on Bowie's Facebook page said that the release date would be formally announced next week. Bowie released three studio LPs between 1974 and 1976 - Diamond Dogs, Young Americans and Station To Station. Writing in the sleeve notes, Visconti said that 'Gouster' was 'a word unfamiliar to me, but David knew it as a type of dress code worn by African American teens in the 1960s in Chicago. In the context of the album, its meaning was attitude, an attitude of pride and hipness. Of all the songs we cut, we were enamoured of the ones we chose for the album that portrayed this attitude.' He added that the pair both had 'a long infatuation with soul' and were fans of the American music TV show Soul Train on which, a year later, Bowie appeared, performing his two big US hits of the era, 'Fame' and 'Golden Years'. 'We weren't "young, gifted and black," but we sure as hell wanted to make a killer soul album, which was quite insane, but pioneers like The Righteous Brothers were there before us.' He added that 'John, I'm Only Dancing (Again)' was an 'outrageous brand new, funkafied version' of the original.
The former frontman of turgid prog-rock hippy dinosaurs Yes, Jon Anderson, has bizarrely claimed that Phil Collins 'scuppered my solo career.' So, a case of 'Phil Collins. Not all bad' then, it would seem.

Wayne Simmons, a frequent guest on FOX News, alleged that he had twenty seven years' experience in the CIA and was captioned by FOX News as 'a former CIA Operative.' However, it seems that Simmons was, in fact, nothing of the sort. No one seemed to realise this until Simmons tried to flog his bogus background to acquire a government contract. That attracted the attention of the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia (impersonating an intelligence officer while dealing with the US government tends to do that) and, subsequently, the attention of a judge. Simmons was very sentenced to three years in The Big House on Friday on fraud charges. In a bizarre twist, he pleaded extremely guilty and admitted to committing fraud — but denied making up the CIA story. He continues to maintain, according to the AP, that he joined the agency in 1973 and participated in missions like Operation Iranian Trust and Operation New England. There is no evidence of any of that, however, and Senior Judge TS Ellis III said he was amazed at how long Simmons was able to get away with the tissue of lies. 'The claim that Mister Simmons was a CIA operative, or a CIA employee for twenty seven years is, if I were to use a less offensive term, buffalo chips,' he said. Which, this blogger thinks is a minced oath and, actually, he meant bullshit. Could be wrong, one or the other. 'It's astonishing to me how many people believed otherwise,' the judge continued. Simmons apparently made the most of his invented persona. He used it to get out of an assault charge, the AP reports. He used it to knock over four hundred thousand dollars off a one million dollar tax bill. He used it to convince a contractor to send him to Afghanistan as an intelligence adviser, albeit for just two weeks before his clearances were revoked. And, perhaps most unsurprisngly of all, he used it to get on FOX News and spout off about how President Obama's election was 'the coronation of the Boy King,' and how then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was 'a pathological liar.' 'That should give us all pause as we listen to the news,' Judge Ellis said. Simmons' refusal to admit his CIA background was a sham, despite admitting he used it to defraud people, drew the ire of the prosecuting attorneys. They took the unusual step of compiling hundreds of pages of sentencing memos to prepare for the hearing and US Attorney Dana Boente was scathing in his assessment: '[Simmons] is quite simply a criminal and a con man and his fraud had the potential to endanger national security and put American lives at risk in Afghanistan.'
Two former members of the popular 1960s beat combo The Tremeloes have been extremely acquitted of indecently assaulting a fifteen-year-old girl after a gig almost fifty years ago. Leonard Chip Hawkes and Richard Westwood had been due to stand trial early next year over allegations that they assaulted the teenager in a hotel room in Chester in April 1968. However, a judge at Reading Crown Court ordered that both men should be found very not guilty. It comes after the prosecutor, Owen Edwards, said there was 'no evidence to offer.' Which, does rather make one wonder why the case got this far in the first place if there was, indeed, 'no evidence to offer.'
New research from the Sun has revealed that putting toilet roll between your bottom and the seat in a public lavatory can actually increase the likelihood of attracting germs. Toilet seats are, the research claims, 'specially designed' to repel such germs. Their shape and smooth surface make it extremely difficult for germs to, ahem, cling on to them. In fact according to the recent research, far from being germ magnets, the average public lavatory seat is actually cleaner than most people’s kitchen sinks, chopping boards and washing up sponges. Although, this blogger still doesn't recommend that anyone, you know, lick one just to prove the point. The real germ-spreading culprit, researchers claim, is actually the netty roll itself. The Sun explains that its rough, absorbent texture makes it perfect for germs to stick to as well as for it's intended purpose of wiping the shite from your arsehole. And, toilet rolls' 'close proximity' to the porcelain throne means that water-containing germs can often 'spray back' out when the crapper is flushed and 'attach themselves' to the paper. So, effectively, if you're one of those people who layers bog-roll on the seat before you take a dump, you're putting your bum directly onto a potential sea of germs. Most of the bacteria found on the seat, the research concludes, are already present on our bodies anyway. Which, sort of renders the entire research a bit pointless, really. Like most other things found in the Sun.
Sam Allardyce is to be the new England football manager in preference to Steve Bruce. Bit like the movie Sophie's Choice, that.
Russian track and field athletes will remain extremely banned from the Olympics following claims the country ran a state-sponsored doping programme. The Russian Olympic Committee and sixty eight Russian athletes attempted to overturn the suspension, implemented by the body that governs world athletics. But the Court of Arbitration for Sport has ruled it can stand and told them to stop cheating and then maybe they'll be readmitted. A handful of Russian athletes could still compete as neutrals at the Rio Games, which start on 5 August. 'It's sad but rules are rules,' said Olympic one and two hundred metres champion Usain Bolt, who will be chasing more gold medals in Rio. He said that it was important to 'send a strong message' to the dopers. 'Doping violations in track and field is getting really bad,' said the Jamaican. 'If you cheat or go or against the rules, this will scare a lot of people.' Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva - one of the sixty eight to appeal to CAS - whinged that the ruling was 'a blatant political order.' The 2012 gold medallist told the Tass news agency: 'Thank you all for this funeral for athletics.' The International Association of Athletics Federations said it was 'pleased CAS has supported its position,' adding that the judgement had 'created a level playing field for athletes.' IAAF president Lord Coe added: 'This is not a day for triumphant statements. I didn't come into this sport to stop athletes from competing. Beyond Rio, the IAAF taskforce will continue to work with Russia to establish a clean safe environment for its athletes so that its federation and team can return to international recognition and competition.' Separately, the International Olympic Committee is considering calls to ban all Russian competitors across all sports from the Rio Games following a second report into state-sponsored doping. Some Russian athletes could compete in Rio as neutrals if they meet a number of criteria, including being repeatedly tested outside of their homeland. At least two - eight hundred metre runner and doping whistleblower Yuliya Stepanova and US-based long jumper Darya Klishina - have already gone down that path. Now the CAS ruling has cleared the way for more to follow. CAS said the ROC could still nominate athletes 'to compete as neutrals.' However, there appears to be little time for athletes to comply with the criteria. Russia was very suspended from track and field events by the IAAF in November 2015 following the publication of an independent World Anti-Doping Agency report which showed 'a culture of widespread, state-sponsored doping.' Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko grovellingly apologised for Russia's failure to catch the cheats but - significantly - stopped well-short of admitting that the scandal had been state-sponsored. However, another WADA-commissioned report delivered earlier this week - The McLaren Report - contained further damaging allegations and suggested that 'senior figures' in Russia's sports ministry were 'complicit in an organised cover-up.' The report implicated the majority of Olympic sports in the cover-up and claimed that Russian secret service agents were 'involved in swapping positive urine samples for clean ones.' Following Monday's publication of The McLaren Report, the IOC faced calls to ban all Russian competitors from the 2016 Olympics and will hold an second emergency meeting on Sunday to decide its course of action. The Russian authorities have already suggested that they will look at ways to continue legal action. Well, they would, wouldn't they? Following the ruling, Mutko said CAS had set 'a certain precedent' by punishing a collective group for doping offences by individuals. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov added: 'The principle of collective responsibility cannot be acceptable. The news is not very good.'
Days after Charles Kinsey was shot by North Miami police as the behavioural health care worker tried to help a patient, we now know more about the officer who fired the shot — and according to the head of the local police union, the officer was trying to shoot Kinsey's patient, a man with autism,rather than Kinsey. 'Fearing for Mister Kinsey's life, the officer discharged his firearm, trying to save Mister Kinsey's life,' says John Rivera, president of the Dade County Police Benevolent Association. 'And he missed, and accidentally struck Mister Kinsey.' So, in other words, he is not a rogue cop, just a really terrible shot. You'd've thought that somebody might have told the Union rep that, generally speaking, when you're already in a hole, it's normally wise to stop digging.

Over forty years after the first commercial VHS video cassette recorder rolled off the production line, the last known company making the devices is to cease production. According to Japanese newspaper Nikkei, Funai Electric, a Japanese consumer electronics company, will give up on the format by the end of the July after thirty years of production. Declining sales, plus a difficulty in obtaining the necessary parts, prompted Funai to stop production. While the Funai brand might not be well-known in the West, the company sold VCRs under the more familiar Sanyo brand in China and North America. Funai Electric began production of VCRs in 1983 following the unsuccessful launch of its own CVC format in 1980. While CVC had its strengths — its quarter-inch tape made its machines smaller and lighter than VHS machines, which used half-inch tape — VHS and Betamax were strong competitors. At its peak, Funai sold as many as fifteen million VCRs per year, but last year only sold seven hundred and fifty thousand units. That VCRs were being sold at all still comes as something of a surprise to many people, not only because VCR has been superseded by two far superior formats — DVD and Blu-ray — but hard disk-based personal video recorders have rendered its one advantage, the ability to record content easily, all but obsolete. Betamax players, which were the chief competitor of VCRs in the 1980s, were discontinued in 2002. However, tapes were made up until November 2015, when Sony finally stopped production. Despite losing the home-recording war, Betamax kind of lives on: Betamax was the basis for Betacam, which is still used in broadcasting. While most people prefer the look of modern video digital video over VHS, there is a rapidly growing group of collectors seeking out old sell-through tapes. Some of the rarer horror movies are worth as much as fifteen hundred knicker. 'These are movies that feel too cleaned-up on DVD and Blu-ray, as if they were never meant to look that good,' one collector told the Independent. 'You can see the mistakes they made and the bad make-up and everything. Watching them on VHS is closer to the old drive-in or grindhouse theatre, the way the director intended it to look.'
HMP Reading is to open to the public for the first time for an arts project celebrating former inmate, Oscar Wilde. Actors Ralph Fiennes and Maxine Peake and singer Patti Smith are among those who will take part in readings at the former prison's chapel. Wilde was a prisoner between 1895 and 1897 and wrote about his experience in his celebrated poem, The Ballad Of Reading Gaol. The Inside: Artists & Writers In Reading Prison project runs from 4 September to 30 October. It will also include new works by artists such as Steve McQueen and Wolfgang Tillmans, which will be installed in the former prison's corridors, wings and cells. Wilde was sentenced to two years with hard labour for gross indecency after his affair with Lord Alfred Douglas was exposed in 1895. After his release, he composed The Ballad Of Reading Gaol and reflected the brutality of the Victorian prison system. Every Sunday at midday, a different reader will recite De Profundis, a one hundred-page letter to his lover Lord Alfred Douglas written by Wilde in his cell in 1897, which organisers Artangel called 'one of the longest and greatest letters in the English language.' De Profundis was not published until five years after Wilde's death in Paris in 1900. The four-hour recitals will see many readers take part, including actors Neil Bartlett, Kathryn Hunter and Ben Whishaw, performance artist Ragnar Kjartansson, poet Lemn Sissay and author Colm Toibin. Artangel's co-director Michael Morris said they would be 'an intimate experience for a live audience that is free to come and go or sit rooted to the spot.' He said Wilde 'feels very contemporary; he was not only, in many ways, the first celebrity, but in De Profundis, he was the first celebrity to take off a mask and speak from the inside.' An abridged version, recorded in Wilde's former cell, will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on 11 September. Visitors will also be able to listen to and read letters written especially for the event by the likes of artist Ai Weiwei and novelists Deborah Levy, Gillian Slovo and Jeanette Winterson. An Artangel spokesman said the project would 'offer the public an opportunity to reflect, in a particularly powerful place, on the implications for the individual when separated from society by the state.' He said they were 'excited' to be opening the Victorian building to the public for the first time in its one hundred and seventy-year history. A Grade II listed building, Reading Gaol opened in 1844 and became a remand centre and young offenders institution in 1992, before closing in 2013. The Inside project is part of Reading's Year of Culture 2016 and also the first phase of Reading International, a new three-year arts initiative led by the University of Reading.
Food giant Kellogg's has been very banned from telling consumers that its Special K cereal is 'full of goodness' and 'nutritious' in UK advertising campaigns. Kellogg's ran a TV advert for Special K cereal promoting it as 'a five grain super-porridge full of goodness.' As opposed to full of ... porridge? The company's website also says the Nutri K flakes used in Special K cereal help make 'a nutritious start to your day.' The Advertising Standards Authority received a single whinge about the health claims for somebody with more time on their hands that is, probably, good for them. Under ASA rules companies cannot make 'general health claims' unless 'backed up by a specific health benefit' for the consumer. For example, while the Kellogg's advert claimed that Special K contains vitamin B2, which is good for skin, the ASA said that it wasn't 'clearly linked' to the general claim that it is full of goodness. 'We, therefore considered the specific health claim did not appear with or immediately following the general health claim "full of goodness,"' said the ASA in its findings. 'As such, we considered it did not accompany the general health claim and in that regard, the ad breached the [advertising] code.' Similarly, the ASA said Kellogg's failed to 'back up' the 'nutritious' claim on the website with a specific benefit from eating the cereal. The ASA said that consumers had to click through two web pages to find a dedicated page with information on the Nutri K flakes and their specific health benefits. 'We therefore concluded the presentation of the claim, as it appeared on the home page, breached the code,' the ASA said. '[The adverts] must not appear again in their current form. We told Kellogg Marketing and Sales UK to ensure that relevant authorised health claims accompanied any general health claims that featured in their advertising.'
The actor William Lucas has died at the age of ninety one. One of those great character actors that Britain produces by the dozen whom have been in everything, William will be known to Doctor Who fans for his terrific performance as Range in the 1984 Peter Davison four-parter Frontios. It was a part that William took over at short notice just before the story was recorded following the murder of the original actor, Peter Arne. William's best known role was playing Doctor James Gordon in the TV series The Adventures of Black Beauty, which ran on ITV from 1972 to 1974 and was revived in the early 1990s. Lucas and his co-stars – Judi Bowker and Roderick Shaw as the doctor's children, Vicky and Kevin and Charlotte Mitchell as his loyal housekeeper, Amy Winthrop – found themselves part of a minor screen phenomenon which owed much to writers such as Ted Willis and Richard Carpenter adapting Anna Sewell's novel. Denis King's lush 'Galloping Home' theme tune would evoke childhood memories for decades afterwards. Born William Clucas in Manchester in 1925, on leaving Burnage High School, William worked in a bank, then served in the Royal Navy during the war. A string of jobs followed – from cafe chef to farm labourer and lorry driver – before he achieved his ambition to train as an actor winning a scholarship to the Northern Theatre School, established by the Bradford Civic Playhouse's artistic director, Esme Church. Advised that his surname might be a shade too obscure, he changed it to Lucas. He began his career in 1948 as an assistant stage manager at Chesterfield civic theatre. Several years acting in rep followed before his television breakthrough in 1955 playing the blackmailing car dealer Reg Dorking in the crime thriller Portrait Of Alison. He reprised the role in a film version made later the same year. For the next forty years William was a regular face on British television, appearing in over one hundred drama productions. He played the title role in The Infamous John Friend, Detective Inspector Mitchell in Flower Of Evil and its sequel, Days Of Vengeance and Eddie Prior in The Prior Commitment. He also had regular roles in Coronation Street as well as the BBC's soap Eldorado. His CV also included appearances in Strike, The Strange World Of Planet X, Sword Of Freedom, The Crime Of The Century, The Adventures Of Robin Hood, White Hunter, Champion Road, Solo For Canary, Dial 999, Four Just Men, Danger Man, Out Of This World, Suspense, Zero One, The Saint, Redcap, No Hiding Place, United!, the Peter Cushing version of Sherlock Holmes (as Lestrade), Thirty Minute Theatre, Z Cars, The Avengers, Public Eye, Paul Temple, Wicked Women, Doomwatch, Special Branch, Brett, The Troubleshooters, Dixon Of Dock Green, New Scotland Yard, The Hanged Man, Warship, The Spoils Of War, The Two Ronnies and Dick Turpin. He was still working into the new century with parts in episodes of Last Of The Summer Wine, Doctors and The Bill. His movie work included X The Unknown, Crack In The Mirror, the very under-rated Payroll, Shadow Of The Cat, Bitter Harvest, The Sky Bike, the dreadful Tower Of Evil and Man At The Top. William died on Friday 8 July. He is survived by his second wife, Camilla, and by Daniel and Thomas, the sons of his first marriage to the actress Rowena Ingham.

In a career spanning half-a-century, Garry Marshall who died this week aged eighty two made people laugh and cry with a string of romantic comedies and hit sitcoms. The writer, director and actor was behind the Hollywood blockbusters Pretty Woman, Beaches and The Princess Diaries. But, it was his work in TV sitcoms - including Happy Days and Mork & Mindy - that first endeared Marshall to audiences around the world. Marshall once said in an interview that comedy had always been his 'path in life.' He said: 'In the neighbourhood where we grew up in, the Bronx, you only had a few choices. You were either an athlete or a gangster, or you were funny.' Garry was born in New York in November 1934. He studied journalism at Northwestern University and then got a job at the New York Daily News. But in the 1960s, he started selling jokes to comedians, going on to write sketches for The Tonight Show which caught the eye of comedian Joey Bishop, who took him to Los Angeles to write for his own show. Along with then-writing partner Jerry Belson, Marshall wrote scripts for some of the most popular TV comedies of that decade, including The Lucy Show and The Dick Van Dyke Show. The pair also turned their hand to screenwriting in 1967, with How Sweet It Is, starring Debbie Reynolds, and The Grasshopper in 1970. That same year, they turned The Odd Couple - a Broadway hit - into a sitcom, produced by Marshall and starring Jack Klugman and Tony Randall, which would go on to run for five series. In the mid-1970s, he created perhaps one of his biggest hit, Happy Days. The sitcom, set in the late 1950s, went on to run for ten years and spawn several spin-offs. Not all of them as wretched as Joanie Loves Chachi, thankfully. He also created the massively popular Laverne & Shirley, co-starring his sister Penny Marshall and Mork & Mindy, featuring then unknown Robin Williams as an extraterrestrial who comes to Earth, both of which had their origins in episodes of Happy Days. By the end of the decade, the sitcoms were three of the top five comedies on-air in the US. He once estimated he was responsible for one thousand sitcom episodes. In his autobiography, Wake Me When It's Funny, Marshall wrote of his body of work on the small screen: 'Critics have knocked me for targeting society's lowest common denominator. I believe that television was, and still is, the only medium that can truly reach society's lowest common denominator and entertain those people who maybe can't afford a movie or a play. So why not reach them and do it well?' Turning his attention to the big screen, his films included 1984's The Flamingo Kid, starring Matt Dillon, which he wrote and directed, along with Overboard in 1987, and Beaches, with Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey, in 1988. In 1990, he directed Pretty Woman, which propelled Julia Roberts into the limelight, and went on to also direct the actress in Runaway Bride nine years later. Richard Gere, who also starred in both films, said of Marshall: 'He was a mentor and a cheerleader and one of the funniest men who ever lived. He had a heart of the purest gold and a soul full of mischief.' The following decade saw Marhsall produce the Anne Hathaway hit The Princess Diaries, in 2001. His career also saw him take to the screen himself in supporting roles, including a casino boss in Lost In America and a network executive in Soapdish. Marshall's most recent work included serving as a consultant in the 2015 reboot of The Odd Couple - starring Matthew Perry and Thomas Lennon - and appearing in an episode of the sitcom earlier this year. His credits also included 2010's romantic comedy Valentine's Day and Mother's Day which was released in April. In an interview earlier this year, Marshall also discussed plans for a third Princess Diaries film and a musical version of Pretty Woman - saying his work, and his six grandchildren, were continuing to keep him busy. Marshall died in hospital in California of complications from pneumonia, following a stroke. He is survived by wife Barbara and their children Lori, Kathleen and Scott.