Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Andalusia Red Yellow Black Car Red Light Far Black Place Walls Blue Chair Morocco

Inevitably, we start off the latest choice menu of yer actual From The North bloggerisationismness with yer Keith Telly Topping's beloved - and maddeningly addictive - MasterChef. Which reached what I suppose would've been in previous years the quarter final stage this week. 'One of these five amateur cooks will be the next MasterChef champion,' said India Fisher, who was on particularly fine smoky-voiced form. She went on to describe what was to be 'the most feared challenge of all.' Well, up till now anyway, because, frankly she says that every week. But, before we got to that malarkey we had some little poignant character essays on the five remaining contestants. We saw Tom out food shopping, Sara reading from a recipe book, mouthy Manc veggie Jackie wandering around London's Chinatown whilst claiming that she didn't have a life outside the competition (and, actually, one can well believe it), Tim noting that he had given up his job to concentrate on winning the title and James at home with his wife and young daughter. It was all rather sweet and nicely shot but it was also, of course, merely the lull before the horrorshow that was 'the restaurant critics round.' This year, we didn't even get Jay Rayner as one of them to be all gregarious and entertaining as well as savagely pithy. Instead, there was lard-bucket Charles Campion, 'the Godfather of British critics' according to India (in so much as he secretly puts horses heads in the beds of his rivals, it has to be asked?), Tracey MacLeod from the Independent and yer actual Keith Telly Topping's particular bête noire disgraceful sour hatchet-faced full of her own importance horrorshow scowling Kate Spicer from The Times, a women with an apparent plates of chips on her shoulder so big they should be served with a nice battered haddock and some tartar sauce. Tim said that he considered all critics have 'jaded' palates and added that he was going to give them something different. Even John Tordoe, briefly, got on the anti-critics train, saying 'they look like undertakers.' Which was an interesting choice of metaphor as, similarly, nobody particularly likes them either. 'Let's cook' said John in what is fast becoming his own catchphrase. Gregg, of course, this year hasn't got one since the BBC took 'cooking doesn't get any tougher than this' away from him and chucked it in the waste disposal because of overuse. 'Risky' Tim's starter was a fascinatingly insane 'Danish-Japanese' fusion smooshi set - a trio of bite-sized sushi-like appetisers including grilled monkfish. Which, remarkably, wowed just about everyone. He continued the 'from outer space' theme with a deconstructed burger and chips main-course, containing a mocca-flavoured rub-steak (I'm not making this up!) topped with caramelised onions. 'That sounds like a really bad idea' noted MacLeod, repeating both John and Gregg's earlier twisty-faced reactions when told what Tim was planning on serving to them. Meanwhile, Tim was struggling with the timings to get his pudding - pumpkin pie with cranberry sauce and caramelised orange - out. 'Is he experimenting with time?' asked Gregg. 'He's experimenting with time and the experiment failed,' replied John, obviously practicing for his stand-up comedy debut at Jonglers next week. Ho, bleeding ho. Lovely Riviera Sara started with a baby squid and chive potato stack served with black olives and bottarga fish roe. Followed by pancetta wrapped stuffed monkfish, a rosemary, thyme and garlic stuffing and artichoke hearts. Her desert was figs laced in honey and sauvignon and a raspberry coulis. Sara was probably the most consistent of the quintet with no major issues with any of her three dishes. Tom who was, according to Gregg, 'hanging on to MasterChef by his fingertips' after last week's disaster began confidently with a starter of pan-fried fillet of pike with crayfish tails and wilted sorrel. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping has some sorrel recently. It tasted like the ground, dear blog reader. Anyway, next up for Tommy was a canon and breast of lamb with baby turnips and a quince fruit sauce which, against all expectations, went down extremely well. I loathe turnip but, personally, even I could see the qualities of this one. Unlike his desert, a chocolate coffee mousse which was so dense that Gregg managed to stand his spoon up in it. 'You don't need to be a restaurant critic to eat this, you need to be a miner,' chortled Spicer with a hugely offensive smug and self-satisfied grin on her boat-race because she'd been so clever. One wished, perhaps, to wipe it from her, ideally with the aid of a wet haddock. Well, this one did, anyway. Whether you agree, dear blog reader, is entirely a matter for you. Now, over the course of the last four or five episodes, the editing of the series has conspired to suggest that somebody on the MasterChef production team really wants the viewers to dislike Jackie a great deal. She's been shown as bolshy, argumentative, panicky, not a particularly good team player, and never short of an opinion on pretty much anything, often stuff that has nothing whatsoever to do with her. Whether this is an accurate picture of the lady one cannot be sure but tonight such character colourings took a back seat and we got another side of Jackie to look at. The slapstick circus genius with a pee-your-pants-funny knife act. Her first course was a spicy green Thai papaya, in rice paper rolls served with toasted rice. And when we say 'spicy' we mean toxic. Gregg Wallace counted fifteen red hot chilli peppers in the dish. That is, he counted them once he'd nailed the top of his head back on after tasting it and his eyes had stopped watering like Niagara Falls. I mean, this was pure comedy gold dust. It was that Simpsons episode in which Homer eats the hottest chilli in the world and has a psychedelic experience all over again. Complete with talking fox with the voice of Johnny Cash. The King of Comedy Torode stood around and laughed his knob off as Gregg coughed, spluttered, got the hiccups and, generally, suffered for his art like a trooper. Meanwhile, back in the restaurant, all three of the critics looked uncomfortable, Peter Griffin lookalike Campion getting hot under the collar in a satisfyingly Tom & Jerry way, MacLeod claiming that this might be the hottest thing she'd ever tasted whilst the scowl on Spicer's mush threatened to turn nuclear. So, you know, well done for that Jackie. Couple of definite bonus points there, chuck. Lamely, she wittered on about how, perhaps, she'd made a bit of a mistake putting so much chilli in and how it might have been a bit too much for 'Western palates.' Oh, what a stroke of pretentious genius - that's a line I'll have to use myself the next time I cook something inedible. Anyway, her main course, mercifully was less fierce on the palate - Western, or otherwise. A paneer and and spinach stack with rosti. The critics called it the best dish of the day although, to be honest, they might've just been having an unexpected momentary outbreak of humanity and compassion. Jackie had been piss-poor with her timings through both of the first two courses and was, already, hugely late for the desert (which was supposed to be a plum compote with custard) when she var-nigh hacked her own finger off. It was the second cut she'd had and John, sensibly, pulled the plug when he saw the depth of it. Inevitably, floods of tears followed as Jackie bewailed her own clumsiness. Finally we had yer Keith Telly Topping's favourite, the Gospel According to St James the Carpenter. His opener was tuna carpaccio with strawberry and black pepper sauce. Eh? Hang on, I'm no expert - I like a good plate of chips meself - but even I thought that was a bit outré. To the point of being, you know, the kind of thing that even Tim would dismiss as 'too daring.' Not only that, but James's main course was apple poached monkfish on a bed of chard and bacon. 'Strawberry and fish and apple and fish, I don't know,' said Gregg, thoroughly bewildered and shaking his head. And still looking a bit red in the face after his chilli Hendrix experience. James confessed that the apple and monkfish recipe was something which he'd originally tried by accident. John had a look on his mush which suggested it should probably have stayed that way. Sadly, neither dish found any great love from anywhere in the room. At least James's desert, white chocolate parfait with strawberries and a chocolate tweel went down well. Although, even here, John couldn't resist one last dig at the starter saying that whilst the desert was lovely 'every time I see a strawberry now, I'll be thinking about tuna.' He then went on to claim that he and Gregg had tasted fifteen dishes. I made it fourteen, mate, since Jackie almost hacking her own finger off precluded one actually getting made. It was obvious that the final decision rested between James and Jackie and it was pretty clear which way the judges were leaning, despite Jackie's crimes against the tongue on the starter and failure to deliver a dessert. 'Tried to be clever, tried to be creative, didn't work,' said James sadly as he left the competition on which he has been hugely entertaining for the last couple of months with dignity but more than a touch of regret, you could tell.

Speaking to the Digital Spy website after his elimination, James Perry admitted that it was gutting to leave the competition. Blaming his choice of menu for his elimination, he explained: 'It was a silly, silly mistake of a menu. I tried to be a little bit too clever and wild. The thing is, at that sort of time you have to push the boundaries a little bit and go for it and I went for something that was wrong, quite horribly wrong, and I got shot down for it. That's what I have to live with.' James also revealed that he believes Tom will take the MasterChef title. 'Tom has a tenacity like nothing I've ever seen, and a skill like nothing I've ever seen,' he said. 'I think Tom has what it takes to be superb.'

Neil Gaiman has joked that writing an episode of Doctor Who felt like 'being God.' The fantasy author's episode of the BBC drama will feature guest stars Suranne Jones and Michael Sheen. He told Newsarama: 'Getting to write a Doctor Who episode, for me anyway, was probably the nearest to being God that I have ever been or will ever get.' Gaiman added that his episode, entitled The Doctor's Wife, will be 'funny and scary and exciting and heartbreaking. I kind of hope that it may add to the giant Doctor Who mythos because you always want to leave something nice behind you,' he said. 'But really [it's] just somebody who's always wanted to write an episode of Doctor Who being indulged by the BBC in this folly.' The Sandman author added that he'd had 'a similar feeling of megalomaniac power' while writing his first Batman comic script in 1988. 'I got to bring on Batman and write dialogue for Batman,' he said. 'But making Batman talk does not actually compare to the feeling of glorious power you get the moment you type, "INTERIOR. TARDIS."'

ITV Studios and Lookout Point TV have announced the cast from the forthcoming TV drama Titanic. Linus Roache and Geraldine Somerville lead the cast and will be joined by Celia Imrie, Toby Jones, Perdita Weeks, Lee Ross, Jenna–Louise Coleman, Sophie Winkleman, Steven Waddington, David Calder, James Wilby, Stephen Campbell Moore, Noah Reid, Mark Lewsi Jones, Ruth Bradley, and Sylvestra Le Touzel among others. Four hour-long episodes will be filmed on location in Hungary from the end of April. 2012 will see the one hundredth Anniversary of the sinking of the HMS Titanic. To mark this centenary, BAFTA winning producer Nigel Stafford Clark has created Titanic, an epic mini series written by Lord Snotty his very self, Julian Fellowes, the Oscar winning screenwriter of ITV’s costume drama Downton Abbey as well as Gosford Park and The Young Victoria, directed by Jon Jones and produced by Nigel Stafford-Clark and Chris Thompson. Titanic is, ITV claim, 'the extraordinary re-telling of that doomed voyage, cleverly weaving action, mystery and romantic plots featuring fictional and historical characters, before coming together in an explosive and unforgettable finale.' Titanic will focus on different characters ranging from steerage passengers to upper class guests. Each point of view will culminate in a cliffhanger as the ship begins to founder, building to an explosive conclusion which draws together each of the stories. Viewers will be taken on a heart-wrenching journey through the ship's last hours, as the drama reveals which of the characters they have come to know so well will survive. And who doesn't. Laura Mackie, Director of ITV Drama commented, 'Following the hugely successful Downton Abbey, Julian Fellowes has delivered another compellingly written and ambitious drama for ITV. Coupled with exceptional homegrown talent both on and off screen Titanic promises to be the must-see original drama for this landmark anniversary.' Creator and producer, Nigel Stafford Clark commented, 'There is a lasting fascination with the Titanic's one and only voyage, and never more so than in the year of its hundredth anniversary. We will tell the story in a way that is bold, fresh and gripping, with all the human detail that television does so well. We hope it will be a fitting tribute to the events of that night.' Produced in association with ITV Studios and Shaw Media who are partnered with Deep Indigo Productions and Lookout Point in the UK, Sienna Films Inc in Canada and Hungary based Mid Atlantic Films to produce this UK-Hungary-Canada co-production.

New BBC comedy Candy Cabs had an opening night audience of almost five and a half million viewers on Tuesday evening, outperforming Smugglers on ITV, overnight audience data suggests. Candy Cabs, about a group of friends setting up an all-female taxi company, averaged 5.48m for BBC1 in the 9pm hour. The comedy drama proved far too strong for Smugglers, a new reality TV series following the work of the UK Borders Agency, which was watched by 3.25m on ITV plus a further two hundred and fifty thousand on +1. Also in the 9pm hour, Dan Snow#s documentary Filthy Cities premiered with 2.33m on BBC2 and, later, another ninety eight thousand on BBC HD, while Katie: My Beautiful Friends was seen by 1.46m on Channel Four.

David Tennant has admitted that he was shocked by the story behind his new BBC2 drama United. The actor will play football coach Jimmy Murphy in the ninety-minute drama, which focuses on the 1958 Munich air crash which killed twenty three people, including eight Manchester United players. 'I'm not a football expert but I was completely bowled over by the incredible story and journey that Manchester United went on,' he told the Manchester Evening News. 'It's inconceivable that a bunch of the nation's greatest, youngest, most dynamic and most celebrated sportsmen should be wiped out in an instant on the brink of their potential being realised.' Tennant added that United will examine 'the arbitrary nature of fate, the capriciousness of life and the triumph of the human spirit. On a very basic level it's a true story,' he explained. 'We try to tell the story and honour it, because it's a story that should be told.'

Tennant's former Doctor Who co-star Catherine Tate and James Spader are apparently being considered to replace Steve Carell on The Office. TV Line reports that the actors will appear in the comedy's season finale as applicants for the open office manager position alongside previously announced guest stars Will Arnett and Ricky Gervais. Ray Romano is also due to appear, though the publication claims that his earlier commitment to Men of a Certain Age will preclude him from joining the series on a permanent basis. Will Ferrell was previously announced to take part in a four-episode story-arc leading up to Carell's exit. Representatives for NBC have refused to comment on the appearances.

Another former co-star of David Tennant, John Simm, has revealed that he uses a 'Spidey sense' to choose his roles. Simm, who will star in the BBC's upcoming drama Exile, told GQ that he knows if a show will be good. 'I've got this sort of Spidey sense that goes off,' he noted. Simm also revealed that he never wants to work on a series for too long, saying: 'It's about the quality. If it's about to wane, I stop. I never wanted to be in a soap. It keeps it interesting.' The actor, who has also appeared in such brilliant dramas as State Of Play and Life On Mars as well as Doctor Who, added that he is not particularly interested in working in America. 'You get this thing now where you're not allowed to look at the script when you audition,' he explained. 'I'm not keen on that. I want to see what I'm signing up for.' Exile, which also stars Jim Broadbent and Olivia Colman, is expected to be broadcast on BBC1 next month.

Ant and Dec could reportedly make a cool ten million squid by selling their production company to ITV. According to the Sun, the cheeky chappie doon the Bigg Market duo have been holding 'secret talks' for some months with the broadcaster about the sale of Gallowgate Productions. Well, obviously not that secret since the Sun claims to know about them. The company holds the rights to shows such as Saturday Night Takeaway, Push The Button and Byker Grove, in which the pair first rose to fame. TV executives have apparently valued the company at the ten million pounds figure - as long as Ant and Dec themselves remain attached to it. 'The rights to the shows alone are worth a decent whack,' one 'industry member' allegedly told the paper. 'But if you can tie Ant and Dec in, that raises the value and makes it a very tempting sale.' A 'source' supposedly added: 'This deal has been talked about for months. Buying Gallowgate would give ITV a tighter control of their big shows. Push The Button has established itself as a decent Saturday show so it would make sense for ITV to own it. Likewise Gallowgate owns Saturday Night Takeaway, which the lads have said will come back.' While Gallowgate declined to comment on the report, an ITV spokesman added: 'Our focus is on improving the creative output of ITV. We have also been clear that we want to develop our international footprint and we will look at opportunities to invest in that area.'

Former Lost showrunner Damon Lindelof has 'hit back' at criticisms about the hit ABC show's ending from Game of Thrones author George RR Martin. Martin 'took a swipe' at Lost during a recent interview with The New Yorker, claiming that he felt 'cheated' by the programme's conclusion. Speaking about the ending of his A Song of Ice and Fire series, Martin said: 'I want to give [fans] something terrific. What if I fuck it up at the end? What if I do a Lost? Then they'll come after me with pitchforks and torches.' Lindelof reacted on Twitter to the remarks, writing: 'George? You got yourself a feud, motherfucker. Winter is coming, bitch. I don't take issue with his opinion, I take issue with the fact that he coined, "Pulling a Lost" as empirically "fucking up the ending." I've just been informed George is working on his feud response. I'll have it in five years! I stand by the ending of the show and defend it accordingly. Until I am worthy of The New Yorker, this is the platform I've got.' In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, he added: 'I'm not entirely even sure that George Martin knows that he's in a feud. When someone says something in an interview, the beauty of Twitter is that it's a platform for instantaneous response. Unfortunately, he's not on Twitter, and therefore, it's not entirely a fair fight. But over the course of today, apparently he gave some other interviews - he's sort of on an anti-Lost tour. So I think that qualifies as a feud.' Big fight. Little people.

Coronation Street star Simon Gregson has been granted a week off work after falling ill, tabloid reports have suggested. The actor, who plays Weatherfield favourite Steve McDonald, has reportedly been struck down by painful stomach problems. According to the Mirra, Gregson felt unwell while filming with co-star Kate Ford (Tracy Barlow) last Friday but continued to appear in scenes as planned. However, he apparently called in sick at the beginning of this week. It is thought that Corrie's filming schedules has been altered while the thirty six-year-old recuperates. Steve is currently at the centre of key storylines in the soap as the McDonalds have been dealing with Tracy's blackmail and other complicated personal problems. In 2006, Gregson revealed that he had suffered from acid reflux intermittently since 1998. The condition causes stomach acid to come up into the oesophagus.

Bauer is not in active negotiations with BBC Worldwide over the sale of its magazine division, effectively ending months of speculation the German publisher is a shoo-in to become the new owner of titles including Top Gear and Radio Times. The Gruniad Morning Star reports that BBC Magazines is progressing with the sale process with other candidates. 'Sources close to the situation' say that, despite speculation, Bauer has not worked on the project for over a month. As a result the family-owned German publisher doesn't consider its bid as an active part of the process. Bauer did submit a bid earlier in the process, which formally remains on the table. It remains possible that protracted negotiations to buy BBC assets could nevertheless see 'cold' bidders move back into the frame if talks with preferred candidates falter. According to one source with knowledge of the negotiations there are still a 'handful' of credible bidders – both in a financial sense and also fitting the bill as a suitable owner for the BBC titles – being considered. Several of those in the running are thought not to have been named in the media. Meanwhile, a number of companies whose names had emerged as potential bidders – including Metal Hammer and Total Film-owner Future Publishing and Love It! publisher Hubert Media – are no longer involved in the final round. In order for a company to be officially named as preferred bidder BBC Magazines must go through a three-stage process of informing, and getting the greenlight, from the BBC Worldwide board, the BBC executive board and the BBC Trust. Bauer, owner of titles including Grazia and FHM, had long been considered the leading contender, even though the company appeared to face potential competition issues. The German company owns a second publishing operation in the UK, H Bauer, owner of titles including TV Choice and Total TV Guide, which could spark competition concerns over market dominance in TV listings if the BBC's flagship Radio Times is included in the stable. BBC Worldwide has been hunting for a partner to take control of its magazine business since last April and is seeking a single buyer for all of its magazines. This stipulation is understood to have put off a number of potential suitors looking to cherry pick the most profitable parts of the portfolio. In September, BBC Worldwide got the greenlight from the BBC Trust to start the search for a commercial partner to either buy, licence or take a majority stake in its magazine business, having previously said the corporation was restricted by constraints in both its borrowing capability and editorial remit, as well as having other strategic priorities.

Vodafone has agreed to hand over call data relating to actor Sienna Miller, following a legal ruling that could set a precedent for other public figures suing the News of the World over allegations of phone hacking. Miller's legal team obtained a high court order requiring the mobile phone company to reveal who dialled Miller's voicemail number and that of publicist Ciara Parkes, who represented Miller, in an apparent attempt to access their messages. Similar orders are now expected to be obtained by other litigants as lawyers acting for over a dozen well-known people attempt to build cases against the News of the World and Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator who was on the paper's books. Mulcaire and the paper's former royal editor Clive Goodman were jailed in January 2007 for illegally intercepting voicemail messages. Mulcaire denies targeting Milller. Miller's barrister, Hugh Tomlinson, told the high court that his client needed to access mobile phone data belonging to 'third parties' in order to identify who called her mobile phone voicemail number. Tomlinson said Vodafone 'have indicated they do have some material and they don't oppose the making of these orders.' The mobile phone company was not represented at the hearing. At the time of the original 2006 police investigation, the Metropolitan police gave the phone numbers used by Mulcaire and Goodman to mobile companies including Vodafone so they could search their records and identify and alert any customers who may have been targeted by the two men. Vodafone, Orange and O2 each identified about forty customers but failed to notify all of them. The mobile phone data could prove vital for Miller and other claimants who are suing the paper and Mulcaire for breach of privacy. It has proved difficult for claimants to establish if they have cases against Mulcaire and the News of the World because his phone records, address book and notepads were seized by the Met in a 2006 raid on his home as part of its original investigation. Scotland Yard still holds those documents but it has been highly reluctant to make them available, handing over copies of pages relating to alleged victims only when forced to do so by the courts.

Channel Five has confirmed that it has signed a two-year exclusive rights deal with Endemol to brioadcast the reality show Big Brother. The once hit programme, which ran for a decade on Channel Four, will return later this year after Channel Five and producers Endemol finally signed off a deal for the series earlier this week. A new 'all-star celebrity' version (allegedly) of the show will launch in the late summer followed by a brand new series featuring members of the public in the autumn. The programme will continue to be filmed at Elstree Film Studios and produced by Endemol UK's production arm Initial. Channel Five's director of programmes Jeff Ford said: 'We're hugely excited to have secured the return of Big Brother for Channel Five which will form a key part of this year's schedule. The series has previously captivated a decade of television viewers and we aim to bring Channel Five's energy, optimism and vibrancy to the series.' Endemol chief executive Tim Hincks said: 'Big Brother has a passionate and loyal fanbase in the UK and I'm delighted it has found a new home on Channel Five. Ten years on it's as potent and cutting-edge as ever and it's still one of the only truly multiplatform entertainment brands.' Steve Gowans, Channel Five's head of factual entertainment, will oversee the project with Initial's Nick Samwell-Smith and Laurence Jones. Davina McCall has previously confirmed that she will not be returning to the format as the host. It has not been revealed whether 'The Voice Of Big Brother' Marcus Bentley will continue with his voiceover role on Channel Five and sat 'Dae Ayte in the Big Brotha hoose' a lot. Myleene Klass is rumoured to be 'in the running' to host Big Brother according to the Daily Express. Which sounds abnout right. She's so publicity hungry she'd turn up to the opening over an envelope.

FOX News announced this week that it is dropping the vile Glenn Beck's daily talk show – but, in its official statement, it said that the network and the controversial right-wing scumbag would continue to work together on various unnamed future projects. There has been much media speculation that this may simply be a face-saving device for Beck and the network, or that it may be an attempt by FOX to find a way to use Beck in a form which avoids alienating advertisers.

The eyepatch worn by another right-wing scummer, notorious red-neck Republican John Wayne (is Big Leggy), in the 1969 film True Grit is to be sold at auction, it has been announced. Other personal items, including the US actor's Golden Globe which he won for playing Marshal Rooster Cogburn in the movie, will also go under the hammer. 'All these are items that could either stay stored somewhere, or be let loose to the people,' the actor's son Ethan said. Heritage Auctions said that the sale would take place in Los Angeles in October. The actor's cowboy boots, hats, driving licence, passport and various movie scripts with Wayne's handwriting have also been handed over to sell. Items are expected to go for anything between sixty pounds and thirty thousand smackers. Wayne, who also runs John Wayne Enterprises, said that after his father died in 1979, the family never looked through Wayne's personal items, which were kept in storage. 'We thought, what's the best use of these items?' he told Reuters. 'My family and I have a few personal items and a lot of memories, so turning the rest over to his fans is the right thing to do.' The actor made more than one hundred and seventy movies, mainly Westerns, although he was superb in The Quiet Man as well. He died in 1979 of stomach cancer aged seventy two. Prior to the auction, a public exhibition of the John Wayne collection will be held in Dallas, Texas, and New York City in September. All proceeds from the sale will go to John Wayne Enterprises, which supports and funds the John Wayne Cancer Foundation.

Thousands of files from former UK administrations are to be released by the government, including documents about the Kenyan Mau Mau uprising. The publication coincides with a High Court compensation case brought by five Kenyans over alleged human rights abuses in the 1950s and 1960s. Thousands were put in camps by the British during the uprising, and many were tortured or killed, allege activists. The government denies such claims and says that, anyway, too much time has elapsed since the alleged abuses. A Foreign Office minister said archive searches had uncovered the documents. Lord Howell told the House of Lords: 'As a result of searches in connection with a legal case brought by Kenyan Mau Mau veterans against the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the FCO has decided to regularise the position of the two thousand boxes of files it currently holds. The intention is to make as much of this material as possible available to the wider public.' He said that the process of transferring the documents to the National Archives 'may take some years to complete.' The five Kenyans - aged now in their seventies and eighties - are the lead claimants in the reparations case. They want the UK government to acknowledge responsibility for atrocities committed by local guards in camps administered by the British in the pre-independence era. London law firm Leigh Day & Co lodged the claim in 2009, and it will be heard on Thursday. The UK says the claim is not valid because of the amount of time since the abuses were alleged to have happened, and that any liability rested with the Kenyan authorities after independence in 1963. The armed movement began in central Kenya during the 1950s with the aim of getting back land seized by British colonial authorities. Veterans say that they suffered barbaric treatment, including torture and beatings, as the British suppressed the rebellion. The Kenya Human Rights Commission has said ninety thousand Kenyans were executed, tortured or maimed during the crackdown, and one hundred and sixty thousand were detained in appalling conditions. Lord Howell said that 'domestic records of colonial administrations' did not form part of British official records and they were kept by the individual states created at independence. 'It was however the general practice for the colonial administration to transfer to the United Kingdom, in accordance with Colonial Office instructions, shortly before independence, selected documents held by the governor which were not appropriate to hand on to the successor government.' The Foreign Office holds between eight and nine thousand files from thirty seven former British Administrations, including Aden, Brunei, Cyprus, Fiji, Gambia, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaya, Malta, Mauritius, Nigeria, Northern Rhodesia, Palestine, Sarawak, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Swaziland, and Uganda.

Officers from Scotland's largest police force have launched an investigation into an embarrassing break in - at one of their own stations. Strathclyde Police told the press that hats, uniforms and radios were stolen from the station in Uddingston, South Lanarkshire, on Tuesday between midnight and 0645. The force said that the radios were disabled and therefore cannot be used. Some reports suggest that a toilet seat was also stolen. Police say they have nothing to go on. No, listen. They said that no officer or member of the public had been placed in any danger as a result of the break-in. A police spokeswoman said: 'Enquiries are ongoing to establish the full circumstances surrounding the break in and to trace the person or people responsible. A number of items of property, including items of police uniform and police airwave terminals have been stolen. However, the airwave terminals have been disabled and cannot be used. At no time was the safety of the public or any officer jeopardised as a result of the break in. Anyone with information is urged to contact Strathclyde Police.'

A vampire-obsessed Mexican tattoo artist revealed her horn and fang implants at an exhibition last weekend. Maria Jose Cristerna, showed off the changes to her body at the city of Monterrey on Sunday, the Sun reports. Cristerna explained: 'The horns I have are a symbol of strength and were implanted without anaesthetic. I had the fangs done because I loved vampires as a little girl and I changed the colour of my eyes so they were how I really wanted them to be.' She added: 'Tattooing is my way of being immortal, of really being a vampire and not dying - leaving my work on other people's skin.' Cristerna claims that she plans to have two further pieces of titanium implanted in the back of her head and described her tattooing as a 'form of liberation' after suffering domestic violence.

Finally, for yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45(s) of the Day, we're born slipping into the Underworld. No, not the knicker factory on Corrie but, rather, the techno-fusion dance trio. Here's four weighty slices of some of yer actual slammin' drumnbass rave-action, starting with 'Pearl's Girl'.And, continuing with, as far as I know, the only Underworld song with lyrics that were licenced to be quoted in a Doctor Who novel (best twenty five quid me and Marty ever spent, that!) Choose life! Choose lager. Choose 'white thing'.Although Second Toughest in the Infants is normally the CD that most of the cognoscenti go for, personally, I've always preferred the follow up, the elegently luscious Beaucoup Fish, particularly the barking mad 'King of Snake' and the downright weird 'Bruce Lee'.

1 comment:

David Alexander McDonald said...

RMS Titanic, actually, not HMS, as that designation is reserved for Royal Navy craft. Sister ship Britannic ended up as HMHS Brittanic before getting sunk rather easily by a mine, while the Olumpic, which was the first of the class, was for a while HMT Olympic.

Overall, not precisely an auspicious class of steamships. Frankly, rather than grinding out another dull take on the Tit, they ought to consider doing a miniseries about all three ships, perhaps from the POV of Violet Jessup, who survived prangs on the Olympic, and the sinking of both the Tit and the Brit...!