Friday, March 25, 2011

My Magpies Eyes Are Hungry For The Prize

The BBC has released a new fifteen second teaser for the upcoming sixth series of Doctor Who. The clip, which premiered on BBC1 on Wednesday night, sees The Doctor (Matt Smith) coming face-to-face with an astronaut. The show's new run will begin in April, kicking off with two-part adventure The Impossible Astronaut and Day of the Moon. It has also been announced that a brief prequel to the episodes, featuring guest actor Stuart Milligan, will be available to watch on the BBC's official Doctor Who site from Friday at 4pm.

BBC shows such as Come Fly With Me and Top Gear attract millions more viewers than the ratings figures for their linear TV broadcasts suggest, a new BBC audience measurement system has revealed. The BBC this week unveiled the first two months of data from the Live +7 measurement system, introduced last November to work alongside traditional 'overnight' ratings. Live +7 is designed to give a more accurate picture of viewing consumption of BBC shows by aggregating live recordings, narrative repeats, BBC iPlayer and HD viewing for seven days after transmission. The figures, which will be published monthly, show that some BBC programmes actually gain a much larger audience than overnight figures would suggest. Under the new system, an episode of airport comedy Come Fly With Me which was broadcast on BBC1 on 1 January actually received a total audience of over ten million, up forty per cent on overnight figures. Top Gear's transmission on BBC2 on 20 January was watched by 10.6m on all platforms, up ninety seven per cent on overnight data, whilst BBC3's How To Live With Women had a total audience of 1.35m on 28 February, up a massive three hundred and eighty seven per cent on initial TV viewing figures. Other highlights include: A Question Of Sport (BBC1, 10 January) up over two hundred per cent to 6.6m; Madagascar (BBC2, 16 February) up seventy nine per cent to six million viewers and The Brain – A Secret History (BBC4, 6 January) up one hundred and twenty seven per cent to a fraction under one million viewers. David Bunker, the head of audience research at BBC Vision, said: 'The new Live +7 measure is very important to us as it helps us to see the total audience watching a show. Whilst these figures do not represent a replacement for the overnight information, it will be a very useful additional piece of data.' George Entwistle, acting director of BBC Vision, added: 'While audience volume is only one piece of the jigsaw that makes up how we determine the value of a programme it is important that we are able to measure its true size. Live +7 allows us to do just that. By combining quality metrics with the Live +7 data we will be able to form a pretty accurate picture of how a programme has been received by its audience.' Stuart Murphy, Sky's director of programmes for Sky1 and Sky Atlantic, wrote a blog post last week highlighting the growing importance of 'consolidated' viewing figures. Murphy pointed to the series premiere of new drama Mad Dogs, which gained eight hundred thousand viewers on Sky1, but that increased to around 2.2m over the seven-day period after transmission. 'At Sky, we've long since dispensed with the overnights as a measure of how well we're meeting the demand of our viewers, although for some in the free-to-air world or some commentators it remains a preoccupation,' said Murphy. 'Our view is that we've given our customers the opportunity to define their own schedules, and we therefore need to have measurement models which properly reflect the changing behaviours of our customers. We don't want to be in a position where viewers are one step ahead of the rest of us.'

According to Merlin actor Bradley James on Twitter: 'Propaganda on MasterChef last night as there was no mention of the piece of shell someone left in the risotto I almost chipped a tooth on.'

The BBC is almost certain not to bid for a renewal of the right to screen live National Lottery draws when the contract comes up next year. The corporation is searching for more ways to slash its costs and its six-year contract with the lottery operator, Camelot, expires at the end of December 2012. While Camelot has not yet launched a formal bidding process, it is understood that the BBC is likely to rule itself out when the deal if put out to tender. A spokeswoman for the BBC said it was committed to live draws until the end of 2012. 'As the licence is not up for renewal until then, no decisions have been made on the role of the National Lottery on the BBC after that date and it is too early to speculate,' she added. However, 'insiders' allegedly say that the lottery has already been identified as a way of saving more than four million pounds. It is set to be part of a cuts package to be presented to the BBC Trust for approval in July as the broadcaster looks to trim its budget by four hundred million pounds. A spokeswoman for Camelot said it had yet to discuss the plans with the BBC. The BBC's director-general, Mark Thompson, has been drawing up a cost-saving plan after the Government froze the cost of the television licence fee until 2017. Recent ideas floated publicly include cutting BBC2's daytime output and replacing it with rolling news. Others include shutting parts of the BBC World Service, as well as replacing off-peak local radio broadcasts with content from 5Live. In 2006, the BBC saw off competition from ITV and was granted exclusive rights to screen the lottery draw on national television. The deal covered prime-time draws on Saturday nights and Wednesday nights, as well as lottery information on local radio and the BBC's interactive platforms. The corporation is believed to have paid eight hundred thousand pounds a year for the rights. Camelot was initially owned by five shareholders, including Cadbury Schweppes, Royal Mail, De La Rue, Fujitsu and Thales Electronics, when it first won the licence to run the lottery in 1994. It won a second seven-year licence in 2000 and its third licence runs until 2019. Last summer, Camelot was bought by the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan. In the year to the end of March, its sales rose six per cent to £5.4bn, but the end of its contract with the BBC would be a blow to the company because it would reduce the value of the lottery screening rights.

Holly Willoughby has reportedly had her 'phobia of ghosts' cured by two people who describe themselves as 'life coaches' Nik and Eva Speakman. Presumably, they simply told her that ghosts don't exist and not to be such a bloody stupid little girl.

Economist Diane Coyle has been appointed number two to the new chairman of the BBC Trust, Lord Patten. Coyle, who is already a BBC trustee, has been chosen by the lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Hunt to be the new vice-chairman of the corporation's regulatory and governance body. A former economics editor of the Independent who is married to the BBC's technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones, Coyle was tipped as a leading contender for the job earlier this month. An economics consultant and former adviser to the Treasury, Coyle left the Independent after eight years in 2001 to set up her own company specialising in the economics of new technologies. Coyle is a contributor to the New Statesman, a visiting professor of the Institute of Political and Economic Governance at the University of Manchester and a research committee member of the Economics and Social Research Council. She has recently published a book about sustainable economics called The Economics of Enough: How to Run the Economy As If The Future Matters. Coyle was also a member of Lord Browne's review of higher education funding, which said the cap on student fees should be lifted. She is also a keen user of new technologies such as Twitter and Facebook. The appointment still has to receive the formal approval of the Queen, who under the terms of the BBC royal charter is responsible for appointing the Trust's chairman, vice chairman and trustees on the recommendation of the government.

There is a second war going on in Libya between two media tribes. On one side, CNN and on the other, FOX News. The first assault came on Monday when FOX's defence correspondent, Jennifer Griffin, alleged that Gaddafi's forces had successfully thwarted air strikes by using journalists from CNN as human shields. She claimed that British aircraft were about to fire missiles at a target but were forced to abort the mission because journalists from CNN, Reuters and other media teams were too close. They had been bussed into a compound by officials from Libya's information ministry to show them damage from an initial attack. CNN's Nic Robertson responded by lobbing a grenade at FOX News, calling the report 'outrageous and hypocritical.' There had been a FOX News representative with them. Robertson said that when you come to a place like Libya 'you expect lies and deceit from a dictatorship - you don't expect it from the other journalists.' FOX's Steve Harrigan fired back with a direct attack on Robertson. He accused him of being 'dull' - which might be true although what the hell that has to do with the matter in hand is anyone's business - going on a 'propaganda trip' and that his idea of news reporting was 'bullshit.' He added that Robertson would have talked to him in person 'if he was a man.' Robertson promptly got personal too. He said of Harrigan: 'I see him more times at breakfast than I see him out on trips.' Griffin has now been forced to apologise for her error by admitting that a Fox 'security guard' had gone on the visit to the compound. But she repeated her claim that the Libyans are using journalists as human shields, and that there is 'frustration' in the international coalition that journalists are going on government tours. CNN has also issued a statement. A spokesperson told the Huffington Post: 'FOX News has reported and is continuing to report without an accurate and respectful grasp of the conditions for all the reporters on the ground.' FOX News have yet to respond. CNN can, at least, point to its ratings success with its coverage of both Libya and the Japanese earthquake. According to a New York Times report, it has secured larger audiences than FOX and its other cable rival, MSNBC.

Allison Janney has revealed that she loves playing Crystal on Mr Sunshine. Speaking to the Salt Lake Tribune, Janney admitted that she is surprised by the some of the things she has to do on the show. 'I've been asked to do things that I actually am nervous about,' she said. 'And then I get a little bit of encouragement and I jump. I go. It's the furthest I've gone with a character.' Janney also confessed that she admires Crystal in some ways. 'She's me if I didn't have a lot of therapy in my life,' she joked. 'She's certainly who I'd love to be. I'm so afraid of saying the wrong thing all the time, and it's fun to play a character who's not even aware that she's saying anything wrong. There are no boundaries. She doesn't worry about what people think. It just is so freeing and fun to play a character like that because I'm basically the exact opposite of her.'

A controversial mini-series about the Kennedy family that a number of US broadcasters refused to show is to be screened later this year on BBC2. The Kennedys was commissioned to be broadcast on the History Channel in the US before its parent company, A&E Television Networks, pulled the plug following complaints over its historical accuracy. Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes play John and Jackie Kennedy in the series. BBC2 controller Janice Hadlow said it was 'a perfect fit' for the channel. 'It has a very particular flavour and we are delighted to have this new addition to our schedules,' she continued. Her words were in marked contrast to those of A&E, who had decided 'this dramatic interpretation is not a fit for the History brand.' The Kennedys will air in the US next month on ReelzChannel, a digital cable TV channel. It will then be screened on the UK History channel from 7 April. A BBC2 spokeswoman said it would screen the eight-part series in either May or June.

Chancellor George Osborne has laughed off suggestions that the justice secretary, Ken Clarke, fell asleep during his Budget speech on Wednesday. The chancellor told ITV's Daybreak 'if it was any consolation' he had already told Clarke what was in it. Labour leader Ed Miliband claimed in the Commons that Clarke had nodded off. Ladbrokes subsequently paid out to someone who had bet that such an occurrence may happen. Clarke's spokesman later said: 'Of course he didn't fall asleep.' The Budget statement, Osborne's second as Chancellor, lasted fifty six minutes. During his reply, Miliband criticised government measures aimed at accelerating economic recovery. He added: 'There is little reason that they will make the difference to growth we need. Indeed the justice secretary fell asleep during the chancellor's speech, his growth strategy was so compelling.' Clarke, himself a former chancellor, laughed off the claims, amid much jeering from the Labour benches. There was no definitive TV confirmation of whether Miliband's claim had been correct, although there were shots of Clarke with his eyes closed looking, it must be said, fairly snoozy. Ladbrokes said it would pay out on bets made at odds of sixteen-to-one that Clarke would doze off during the statement. Spokesman Alex Donohue said: 'Clarke might have been caught napping but our punters certainly weren't.'

Johnny Depp is to make a guest appearance in Ricky Gervais' new sitcom, Life's Too Short. The Hollywood actor agreed to be in the BBC2 show, despite being the butt of one of Gervais' jokes at The Golden Globes ceremony in January. At the award ceremony, the comic said of Depp's film The Tourist: 'It was a big year for 3D movies. Toy Story, Despicable Me, Tron. Seems like everything was three-dimensional – except the characters in The Tourist.' Life's Too Short, which Gervais has written with his guffawing cohort Stephen Merchant, stars Warwick Davis as the head of a talent agency for people of diminished stature such as himself. Filming starts in May.

Sir Terry Pratchett and Rod Brown, managing director of Prime Focus Productions, have announced an agreement for the exclusive worldwide television rights to create brand new storylines for the characters of Pratchett's phenomenally successful Discworld series. Terry's universal success has seen him create one of the leading fantasy fiction franchises of all time, with seventy million worldwide sales of his thirty eight-book Discworld titles. This will rise to thirty nine following another book to be published in October 2011. While there have been three successful mini-series adaptations of his Discworld books made for television in the UK, this is the first time Pratchett has granted a production company the international rights to his characters and their world. The agreement will see Prime Focus Productions create a series of new stories exclusively for a television audience. The main focus of the series will be the bustling, highly mercantile, largely untrustworthy and vibrant city of Ankh Morpork. It will follow the day-to-day activities of the men, women, trolls, dwarves, vampires and several other species who daily pound its ancient cobbles. This will of course also include Igor in the forensics department. Terry commonly refers to the City Watch police force series as 'the jewels in his Discworld Crown.' These richly developed and highly compelling characters will feature in a 'crime of the week' episodic storyline. As each weekly adventure unfolds, viewers will be taken on a ride through Pratchett's genius imagination, with the author overseeing the creation of the series. 'I believe the globally successful Discworld franchise will readily translate to the small screen in the form of a high-end, mass appeal weekly drama series, giving the audience the anticipation and excitement of brand new Discworld stories every week through the medium of television, rather than books,' said Rod Brown. 'It's a huge responsibility to get this right for Terry, his legions of Discworld fans and the new followers that we'll attract along the way. I believe they'll be in for a treat with a high calibre writing team already attached, including Monty Python's Terry Jones and Gavin Scott. We've already spoken to a number of international broadcasters who've shown early interest and we hope to move forward very quickly to bring this exciting project to fruition.' Terry Pratchett said of the agreement: 'I'm very excited and incredibly happy about this because Rod was co-head of the team that produced the very successful Sky1 adaptations. My message of encouragement to him now is: don't bugger it up!'

Futurama voice actor Maurice LaMarche has confirmed that the animated comedy has been picked up for a seventh season. Comedy Central renewed the show for a sixth run in 2009, the second half of which is due to be broadcast from June. Speaking to Big Shiny Robot, LaMarche revealed: 'Thirteen new episodes have been ordered, with an additional thirteen optional. This is apart from the thirteen episodes that will air beginning in June 2011 on Comedy Central.' He continued: 'They will air in thirteen episode blocks so that means there will be new Futurama in summer of 2012, and most probably in summer of 2013 as well.' LaMarche voices a number of characters on the series, including Kif Kroker, Calculon and Morbo. Prior to its run on Comedy Central, Futurama was broadcast on FOX for four seasons from 1999 to 2003. Following the show's cancellation, it returned as four feature-length, straight-to-DVD movies.

John Oliver has admitted that he is keen to appear in the third season of Community. The Daily Show regular currently recurs on the NBC comedy as unhinged psychology professor Ian Duncan. 'I would love to [go back],' he told TV Squad. 'If they'll have me. I mean, they've been so good about working around my Daily Show schedule. I owe them big. It's really, really good fun.' Oliver revealed that he will appear in 'maybe another two or three' episodes of the show's second run. 'It makes everything much easier when your character has some psychotic traits,' he laughed. '[Ian is] deeply self-destructive and almost pathologically uninterested in the job that he's supposed to be doing. It's a lot of fun.' Community was recently picked up for another run alongside fellow NBC series The Office and Parks and Recreation.

The Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, is to meet with the BBC director general, Mark Thompson, at the behest of the Premier League in a bid to resolve their long-running feud. Premier League insiders confirmed that a meeting between the pair, brokered by its chairman Sir Dave Richards, had been agreed but not yet been scheduled. The Premier League, which has yet to make public the size of the fine that Ferguson must pay for his refusal to speak to the BBC under new rules brought in this season, is desperate to bring a negotiated end to a feud that dates back to 2004. Ferguson has said he will only speak to the BBC again once it has apologised. Thompson is highly unlikely to go that far, and corporation insiders hold out little hope of a settlement, though the Premier League believes there is more chance of their differences being ironed out in a face-to-face meeting. Earlier this month the BBC contacted the Premier League to register its disappointment that Manchester United refused to speak to any broadcasters or the press after their 3-1 defeat at Anfield. But the broadcaster stopped short of the official complaint the Premier League said was required to trigger action against the club for refusing to make a player or a member of coaching staff available to its contracted domestic rights holders, which pours £1.8bn into the coffers of clubs over three years. The episode again highlighted the gulf between the tough league rules brought in at the beginning of the season to protect rights holders and the practical considerations in enforcing them. The Premier League hopes to tighten rules further in the summer to require players and managers to talk to the press, as well as contracted rights holders, after every match or risk a fine. The plan will be voted on by clubs at the end of the season. But the desire to tighten its rules further appears to jar with ongoing attempts to negotiate a truce between the BBC and Ferguson. He has not spoken to the corporation since 2004 when it aired a Panorama documentary about his son Jason, then working as an agent. The fine against United is understood to keep ticking up every time he fails to appear in front of the BBC cameras and could now be approaching six figures. But the league is reluctant to impose it until all avenues have been exhausted and still believes a rapprochement is possible, with negotiations continuing behind the scenes. While stressing its good working relationship with other United players and the assistant manager Mike Phelan, the BBC has consistently refused to apologise for the content of the programme – believed to be Ferguson's price for resuming relations. Three years after the documentary was broadcast Ferguson said: 'I think the BBC is the kind of company that never apologise and they never will apologise. They are arrogant beyond belief.' Which, coming from Alex Ferguson is, I'm sure you'll agree dear blog reader, effing hilarious. A BBC spokesperson said: 'Our position is unchanged and we remain keen to see if there are ways to develop our relationship with Sir Alex.' For what it's worth, this blogger dislikes Ferguson enormously, but I support him fully in his stance that he doesn't have to talk to anybody that he doesn't want to. Unfortunately this is yet another example of the pimps that now run football in this country seem to believe they own not only the game but, also, the soul of everyone involved in it. You don't, pimps, and the sooner you're made to realise that, the better.

The phone-hacking scandal has spilled over into an extraordinary public clash between the Metropolitan police and the director of public prosecutions, with each side implying that the other has misled parliament. The immediate focus of the dispute is a point of law. Its underlying significance is the light it may shed on whether the police have tried to hide the truth about the number of people whose phones were hacked by journalists and private investigators working for the News of the World. In evidence to the House of Commons' culture, media and sport committee, Scotland Yard's acting deputy commissioner, John Yates, listed a series of occasions on which prosecutors had advised police that the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 made it an offence to intercept voicemail only if the voicemail had not already been heard by its intended recipient. He said this advice had been given repeatedly during the original inquiry in 2006 that led to the jailing of the News of the World royal correspondent Clive Goodman. 'It permeated every aspect of the investigative strategy.' It was on this basis, Yates said, that he had previously told parliament police had found only ten or twelve victims of the hacking even though the emerging evidence suggests there were many more. Yates's evidence directly clashes with a written submission from the director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, last October. Starmer said the question of how to interpret RIPA had not arisen during the original inquiry. The prosecution had attached no significance to the point in preparing charges or presenting the facts. 'It is evident that the prosecution's approach to RIPA had no bearing on the charges brought against the defendants or the legal proceedings generally,' he wrote. Yates's new evidence on Thursday follows a claim in the House of Commons by Chris Bryant MP that Yates misled parliament over this point. Yates responded in a letter to the Gruniad, quoting an earlier written submission from the DPP to the culture, media and sport committee. Starmer then replied with a further letter to the same newspaper saying that it was 'regrettable' Yates had quoted a single sentence from him out of context. On Thursday afternoon the DPP's office declined to comment on the new evidence produced by Yates. The committee has heard that the family of one of the Soham murder victims was phone-hacked.

Amanda Knox, the US student jailed for murdering Meredith Kercher, has appealed to a civil court in Perugia, to prevent distribution over the internet of a made-for-television film about her case. Knox, who is appealing against her twenty six-year sentence for stabbing the British student in 2007, told the court she was 'devastated by this invasion into my life and the way I'm being exploited.' The film, called Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy, was broadcast by America's Lifetime network last month and can now be downloaded from the Internet. But, I wouldn't bother, it's not very good. Knox told the judge she had seen a trailer for the film. 'I consider it the pinnacle of the repeated violations by the media against my person, my personality and my story,' she said. 'It does not correspond with the truth.' After the court hearing on Thursday, Carlo Dalla Vedova, a lawyer representing Knox, called for its removal from the Internet, pointing out that one site was now offering the film with Italian subtitles. The case was adjourned to 4 July. As Knox's appeal against her sentence continues, a team of forensic experts called by the appeal judge has reported that a knife prosecutors believe is the murder weapon bears such a small quantity of DNA that it cannot be retested. A police forensic expert told Knox's first trial that DNA belonging to Knox was on the knife. 'There are no traces of usable DNA and for us that's a positive thing,' said Luciano Ghirga, a lawyer representing Knox. But Francesco Maresca, a lawyer representing the Kercher family, said the finding was no surprise. 'The police scientist said all along the DNA had been consumed during testing and this just confirms that,' he said. Kercher's torn bra clasp was originally found to contain DNA belonging to Raffaele Sollecito, Knox's former boyfriend, who was sentenced to twenty five years for participating in Kercher's murder at the flat she shared with Knox in Perugia. The new evidence review found the metal part of the clasp has now rusted and cannot be retested.

This year's Meltdown Festival curator, Ray Davies, has announced the first of his acts for the event at the Southbank Centre in London. The Kinks' frontman has put together an eclectic bill for the event which will take place between 10 and 19 June, which will feature musicians, comedians, composers, poets and filmmakers from across the decades – helping to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the Southbank complex. Highlights will include performances by Davies himself; a re-creation of iconic 1960s TV show Ready Steady Go!, The Fugs' first London show since 1968, Monty Python's Terry Jones and Michael Palin in conversation, gigs by artists including Nick Lowe, Madness and Yo La Tengo, performance poetry from Roger McGough and John Cooper-Clarke and talks by some key figures of British popular culture including Peter Asher, Michael Eavis and Julien Temple. Ever-since its inception in 1993, Southbank Centre's Meltdown has consistently delivered line-ups not replicated in any other summer festival. Ray Davies will open and close the Festival with performances of Kinks songs and solo material. The opening night will see him perform solo and with his band, while the curtain closer will see him take to the stage with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Crouch End Festival Chorus. Previous directors of Meltdown have included Richard Thomson, Jarvis Cocker, Patti Smith, Morrissey, David Bowie, Scott Walker, Nick Cave, the late John Peel and Elvis Costello.

Josh Franceschi has claimed that Noel Gallagher is working on new material in a Los Angeles studio. The You me At Six singer wrote on Twitter that the guitarist has been playing his first post-Oasis songs next door to him. 'Can hear Noel from Oasis blasting his new tunes from the studio next door. Absolutely mental,' he said. You Me At Six are currently in Los Angeles recording their third studio CD, the follow-up to last year's Hold Me Down, NME reports. Despite Last Shadow Puppets guitarist Miles Kane suggesting otherwise, Gallagher recently claimed that he had not yet started work on his solo debut. His brother and former bandmate Liam claimed that he was lying, however, saying: 'I reckon he's written it, man. He's probably going down that Radiohead thing - it's probably out already or something!'

Pete Townshend has said that he wishes he had never formed The Who. Bit late for that now, Pete mate! The guitarist and songwriter has revealed that, despite the band's massive success, and the fact that yer actual Keith Telly Topping's life wouldn't have been worth living without the horrible noise they make, he thinks that he could have done better as a solo artist. 'What would I have done differently? I would never have joined a band,' he told The Who: The Ultimate Music Guide. 'Even though I am quite a good gang member and a good trooper on the road, I am bad at creative collaboration. I would have made a much more effective solo performer and producer working the way Brian Eno has worked. I would be less physically damaged today. My ears, right wrist and shoulder would work more efficiently. In all other respects I am in extremely good shape.'

A number of Christians in Houston, have reportedly started attending a free 'pole dancing for Jesus' keep fit class. Instructor Crystal Dean of Old Town Spring suggested that the twice-monthly Pole Fitness for Jesus sessions help her feel closer to God, KTRK-TV reports. Dean said: 'God gives us these bodies and they are supposed to be our temples and we are supposed to take care of them and that's what we are doing. I do feel a spiritual connection whenever you have the music on and it's singing about lifting you up and being closer to god. You do feel that.' Of opposition to the classes, she said: 'Some guy came up with his Bible and we were in class and he thumped on the door and was waving his Bible. People who want to sit there and judge it, you know, like well that is sacrilegious. That doesn't make you a good Christian when you judge other people.'

Jason Gardiner has said that Kerry Katona is famous for the wrong reasons. Existing?

And so to Keith Telly Topping's 45(s) of the Day and, today, a rather random collection of some of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's fave-rave indie singles during the 1980s and early 90s. Not particularly rhyme or reason for this lot, and notparticular order either other than the vaguely chronological. So, let's get back to a time when white boys (and a few girls) with guitars were all the rage. When jingles were totally jangled and sharp suits and attitude were still in vogue. Starting in Liverpool and the final single on the legendary Zoo label. One of the Wild Swans used to be in The Teardrop Explodes. Some of them went on to be in The Lotus Eaters. But nothing they, collectively, touched - either before or after - was as stunningly epic and sweepingly majestic as 1982's 'Revolutionary Spirt'.Sticking, like glue, to the banks of the Mersey for the moment, for a place in which - according to Alan Bleasdale - nobody had any work, there was loads of good stuff flooding out of the city during the early 80s. Take China Crisis, for instance.Rolo McGinty had - briefly - been in The Wild Swans (and also The Jazz Butchers) before forming The Woodentops. They produced a bunch of wonderful little energetic rockabilly-meets-The Smiths singles on the Food and Rough Trade labels, including yer Keith Telly Topping's particular favourite, 'Move Me'. (Or, if you prfer, here they are on German telly doing it. And, yes that is Seb Shelton from Dexys on drums!)Meanwhile, Alan McGee had founded Creation records and unearthed the first of numerous gems in The Loft. (And here's Peter, Bill, Andy and Dave playing 'Up The Hill & Down The Slope' on The Oxford Road Show.)When The Loft split up, Peter Astor and Dave Morgan went off to form The Weather Prohpets who made some even better records. Like this one. Manchester, of course, was the Indie capital of the planet. They had The Fall, The Smiths, james, The Stone Roses and these guys. And not forgetting these guys as well. And the song that yer actual Keith Telly Topping would rather like played at his funeral!Meanwhile up in Glasgow, the Scottish end of the Indie scene was following one of two distinct paths, those that were influenced by Orange Juice and those that were influenced by the Jesus and Mary Chain. Ironically the leaders of former scene were fronted by a guy who actually played in the latter! Wonder whatever happened to them?! (I've got to say, I think 'Here she comes again/With vodka in her veins' might just be my favourite opening couplet of any song, ever.)It's worth remembering, of course, that the whole indie/jingle-jangle/C86/shoegazing/scene that celerates itself malarkey wasn't all fey spotty white boys with guitars. It had some fey spotty white girls with guitars too. Take The Motorcycle Boy, for instance. Or, the divine Lush for that matter. (A mate of yer Keith Telly Topping's actually went to college with Miki and Emma. I'm not sure I'd've been able to concentrate in class with them there, to be honest!)Another particular favourite of yer Keith Telly Topping's was Wolverhampton's The Mighty Lemon Drops who always sounded to this blogger a bit like a - really good - Echo & The Bunnymen covers band with Julian Cope as lead singer! It's a compliment, guys. They release a bunch of absolutely spankin' singles in 86-87, 'Like An Angel', 'My Biggest Thrill' and this one. Then there was what John Peel deliciously described as 'the catherdal swoppings' of bands like The Cocteau Twins and Felt. Or, thanks to Liz Fraser's contribution to the stunning 'Primitive Painters', both.Then there were the shamblers, best exemplified by Stump. Lights! Camels! Action!By the end of 80s, Madchester was kicking off and lots of chancers were suddenly discovering that, like, they'd always had, like, this dance element to their music. Some, admittedly, with better results than others. Take The Farm, for instance. Last up, we'll stick with Scallyland. And a masterpiece.

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