Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Fiddler And The Hoff

Matt Smith has revealed that Doctor Who fans will have to wait until the second half of the current series to find out who River Song is. The twenty eight-year-old actor has promised viewers that they will find out who the mysterious archaeologist (played by Alex Kingston) but not until the BBC1 show takes it's mid-season break following the seventh episode. Although Matt can't give too much away he insists that her true identity will have 'serious' consequences for The Doctor. He said: 'It does develop nicely and there are huge cliff-hangers throughout the coming series. There's a great one at the end of episode seven which is a killer and at the start of the next sort of season as it were, episode eight, we really do learn who she is. It's particular serious and something we've all been waiting to hear that. Well at least I have.' Matt relishes the scenes he gets to act with Alex when The Doctor and River meet, as they did in the opening two episodes of the current series, and he thinks the time-traveller is one of the few people in the Doctor Who universe who can challenge the Time Lord. He added to BBC Radio 1: 'The first time The Doctor met her she died and then she's come back under the tenure of Mr Steven Moffat and we don't know what she is. She just kinds of swoops in and swoops out and causes all kinds of madness and havoc and saves his life on most occasions. But she knows more about his future than he does which for The Doctor is a very strange and bizarre concept because he usually knows the most and therefore it hopefully creates for quite a funny and flirtatious relationship, it makes The Doctor uncomfortable, which I think is good because not a lot does.'

Anyone watching Doctor Who Confidential on Saturday night will have spotted a special message from the Doctor. He introduces the Script to Screen competition where viewers aged between nine and eleven years old can have their Doctor Who script brought to life. This exciting competition will give one lucky team of primary school children the chance to write their own Doctor Who mini-adventure starring the Eleventh Doctor. Matt said: 'I'm delighted to support Script to Screen because I'm very passionate about creative writing and believe it is a great skill to nurture. I'd absolutely love to write a Doctor Who script at some point in the future but it's going to be impossible to compete with Steven Moffat who is simply a genius and his creativity knows no bounds! It will be interesting to see what ideas the children come up with for me - I could finally be defeated by a new enemy, or I could be exiled to a distant galaxy - who knows? That's the beauty of a child's imagination!' To win this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, primary school children aged nine to eleven are encouraged to collaborate on a three minute script that takes the resident Time Lord on a new quest travelling through space and time inside the TARDIS. As part of the ultimate prize, the lucky winners will travel to the BBC's studios in Cardiff where they will see their script brought to life by the Doctor Who team. Doctor Who Confidential will also be on hand to take viewers behind the scenes to show how the script gets developed from paper to TV screen - from the first script meeting, a cast read-through, and on-set filming all the way to the final edit. A host of specially created learning resources are now available online at the BBC Learning website to help guide teachers and pupils through the process. The Doctor and his companions, Amy and Rory, present a series of online videos, which challenge children to a range of tasks to help equip them with the necessary writing skills needed to prepare a short script for TV. These include writing Amy's blog, writing instructions to help Rory land the TARDIS, and writing a report about a new planet. The site also includes specially produced videos with expert advice for young script writers about character, stage directions and how to pull together a stand out script with memorable characters from members of the Doctor Who team, including BAFTA Award winner and showrunner, Steven Moffat. Children can be as creative and imaginative as they like in order to put together a story that's filled with all the excitement and adventure of the popular BBC1 family drama. The script must be set in the TARDIS and feature the Eleventh Doctor. It can include one of four aliens from the show: Ood, Judoon, Cyberman or Weeping Angel and/ or a brand new human character (a contemporary figure or a historical character) to test the wits of the Doctor. The winning script will be chosen by Steven Moffat, Saul Nassé the Controller of BBC Learning, Piers Wenger and Beth Willis, Executive Producers of Doctor Who. Full details about the competition, with the judging criteria and terms and conditions are available at bbc.co.uk/teachers. Closing date for entries is Monday 13 June 2011. Sadly, yer actual Keith Telly Topping is a bit too old to take part but he'd like to wish the nation's nine-to-eleven year olds all the very best in their endeavours. Albeit, if you could avoid creating something then waiting thirty odd years before claiming that the programme subsequently ripped you off that would be appreciated, I'm sure.

Doctor Who: The Curse of the Black Spot had an Audience Appreciation figure (or AI for those 'in the biz') of eighty six on Saturday, once more putting it firmly in the 'excellent' category. The Sunday repeat on BBC3 was watched by 0.41 million viewers

Downton Abbey and Human Planet have been honoured at the BAFTA Television Craft Awards. The programmes both picked up two prizes at the ceremony, which was held over the weekend. The popular drama Downton Abbey won awards for direction and sound, while Human Planet was recognised in the categories for factual editing and factual photography. Other winners included ITV's game show The Cube, which beat The Apprentice, Strictly Come Dancing and The X Factor in the Entertainment Craft Team category. Peter Bowker took home a BAFTA for his writing on Eric and Ernie, whilst Mongrels writer Jon Brown won the Breakthrough Talent prize. Charlie Phillips of Hartswood Films won the Best Editing Fiction award for Sherlock: A Study In Pink. Merlin was awarded for its Visual Effects, the Makeup and Hair Design honour went to This Is England '86, and Worried About The Boy was recognised for its costumes. Meanwhile, Any Human Heart won for its original music and Misfits was awarded the Production Design award. Coronation Street director Tony Prescott was rewarded for his work on the show's hour-long live episode. He won the multi-camera director award for the 9 December programme which featured a spectacular tram crash in Weatherfield, marking the soap's fiftieth anniversary. This year's special award went to BBC2's Springwatch nature show in recognition of its 'outstanding creative and technical teamwork.' Dan Reed won the factual director award for Channel Four's Dispatches: The Battle for Haiti. BBC1's South Riding won a photography and lighting prize.

Top Twenty Shows week ending 1 May 2011:
1 The Royal Wedding - BBC1 Fri - 13.59m
2 BBC News - BBC1 Fri - 10.76m
3 EastEnders - BBC1 Tues - 9.59m
4 Britain's Got Talent - ITV Sat - 9.27m
5 Coronation Street - ITV Mon - 8.94m
6 Doctor Who - BBC1 Sat - 7.30m
7 Emmerdale - ITV Thurs - 7.24m
8 The Suspicions Of Mr Whicher - ITV Mon - 6.70m
9 MasterChef - BBC1 Wed - 6.60m
10 Vera - ITV Sun - 6.05m
11 Six O'Clock News - BBC1 Fri - 5.79m
12 UEFA Champions League Live - ITV Wed - 5.66m
13 Ten O'Clock News - BBC1 Fri - 5.65m
14 Holby City - BBC1 Tues - 5.63m
15 Casualty - BBC1 Sat - 5.51m
16 Exile - BBC1 Sun - 5.50m
17 DIY SOS: The Big Build - BBC1 Wed - 5.37m
18 Antiques Roadshow - BBc1 Sun - 5.26m
19 The Royal Wedding Highlights - BBC1 Fri - 4.93m
20 Countryfile - BBC1 Sun - 4.79m
Channel Four's best performer was Cutting Edge: My Big Fat Royal Gypsy Wedding - Thurs - 4.56m.

Glossy new BBC drama Atlantis premiered with an overnight audience of five million viewers on Sunday evening, while Vera remained popular on ITV, the latest audience data has revealed. Atlantis, a factually-based drama telling the story of a massive natural disaster which shook the ancient world, averaged 5.04m for BBC1 in the 9pm hour, peaking at 5.56m for the first fifteen minutes. Vera, the new North Country detective drama starring Brenda Blethyn, continued with 5.33m on ITV between 8pm and 10pm, whilst an additional three hundred and twenty four thousand viewers tuned in on ITV+1. Countryfile grabbed 6.01m on BBC1 in the 7pm hour, while The Cube was watched by 4.1m on ITV from 6.30pm and two hundred and eight thousand viewers on timeshift. Antiques Roadshow had an audience of 5.85m on BBC1 in the 8pm hour. The new arts strand Perspectives was watched by 1.09m on ITV from 10.15pm for Robson Green's rather lovely and moving film about the Ashington Pitman Painters.

Britain's Got Talent has been accused of 'outright fraud' by a member of the string quartet Bond. Eos Chater criticised the show claiming that auditionee Alexandra Parker had played 'over' a recording from one of their CDs. 'Just been sent a link of the violinist on BGT an [sic] she is playing cough over our recording ON THE SHOW! Inexcusable of ITV,' she wrote on Twitter. 'The track she played over is called 'Gypsy Rhapsody' she wasn't covering it. Playing along to our CD. Totally passing off! She could plead ignorance to laws of copyright and passing off but not BGT or ITV! WTF?' Parker, who wore skintight leather during her performance, advanced to the next stage of the competition after impressing judges Michael McIntyre, Amanda Holden and David Hasselhoff. Chater continued: 'Seriously. She has literally just pressed play on our CD and played some wafty faff over it. The tune you hear is our CD! I love watching BGT but this is outright fraud. She got through to the next round btw. I don't wish her any ill will for the record. Oh wait! She hasn't done one. Sorry I've got a "be stupid" twitch. But BGT you've got some explaining to do.' Branding the situation 'BondGotTalentGate', she then linked to a 'recently recorded YouTube clip' of Parker performing. 'Oh look. That's funny. Here she is playing some weird stuff over 'Viva' (from our first album, Born),' she added. Responding to the claims, a Britain's Got Talent spokesperson told the Mirra: 'A montage showed Alexandra played the violin live to a backing track. It was an authentic audition in front of an audience.'

Stephen Fry has paid a visit to Port Lympne Wild Animal Park to film part of a new language documentary. And despite suffering from severe back pain, the Qi presenter said he had had a 'simply fabulous time.' Yer actual Keith Telly Topping knows how Stephen feels, he's a martyr to his back, too. On the way to the wildlife park, near Folkestone, on Monday, his mood seemed dour, and he wrote on social networking site Twitter: 'Being driven to Lympne for more language documentary filming. Back in agony. Missing snooker final. Far from my favourite day.' But hours later his spirits had somewhat lifted: 'Had a simply fabulous time in Port Lympne Wild Animal Park, despite back. Communes with gorillas, capuchin, colobus and Diana monkeys.' Fry is a vice president for Fauna and Flora International – a charity aiming to conserve biodiversity. Port Lympne’s head of communications, Eddie Kemsley, said it was a pleasure to have the star at the wild animal park. 'Mr Fry is a passionate conservationist, so it was a pleasure to share our work at Port Lympne with him,' he said. 'Port Lympne Wild Animal Experience works in conjunction with a world leading conservation charity, The Aspinall Foundation, to protect endangered species across the globe.' He added: 'Mr Fry spent the day at Port Lympne to film for a new television programme. He was an absolute pleasure to host and we look forward to seeing the result and sharing more details about the project later in the year.' Part of Fry's conservation work saw him join the Save the Rhino campaign at the Royal Geographical Society in 2009. The Aspinall Foundation has recently added its voice to a growing campaign of awareness which urges governments and individuals to address the issue of rhino poaching in Africa.

Alan Davies has criticised the way the BBC cancelled his supposed sitcom Whites. The alleged comedy, which also starred Isy Suttie, Darren Boyd and Katherine Parkinson, was dropped by BBC2 in March after one series. Davies has now told the Daily Torygraph that he believes the BBC should have treated the matter differently. What, and not cancelled it, you mean? 'I got an e-mail from someone I'd never met,' he said. 'I've been working at BBC Comedy for sixteen years, so I thought I could have had a bit more than that. It was pretty shoddy.' Davies also criticised the BBC for dropping the sitcom in the first place, saying: 'They're not interested in anything I've taken to them in the last fifteen years. They've canned Jonathan Creek and they've canned Whites. I was hugely disappointed that Whites was cancelled. It's such a shame for the BBC not to back two young English writers doing their first show.' To be fair, to the BBC, of course, they might just not have thought much of the series, hard as that seems to be for Alan Davies to grasp. I'm a licence fee payer, me, but I thought it was desperate, personally. Davies added that the cancellation casts doubt on reports that BBC One controller Danny Cohen wants more 'working class' comedies. Yeah, but I think he's looking for, you know, good 'working class comedies,' Al not just any old ones he can get his hands on. 'It's inexplicable, as is the decision to cancel Jo Brand's Getting On,' he said. 'They want blue-collar comedy, they say, and they canned the two blue-collar shows they had.'

As if one Doctor taking on pirates wasn't enough, another will encounter some swashbuckling action too. Former Doctor Who star David Tennant will provide the voice of Charles Darwin in The Pirates In An Adventure With Scientists, a new film from Aardman. During this, the famous naturalist will team up with a pirate crew led by The Pirate Captain - the lead role being voiced by Hugh Grant (who himself had a brief flirtation with the role of the Doctor in Steven Moffat's The Curse of Fatal Death). Other characters will be voiced by actors like Martin Freeman, Russell Tovey, Salma Hayek, and Imelda Staunton (as a pirate-hating Queen Victoria). The animated tale is based on two books from The Pirates! series by Gideon Defoe, who also wrote the screenplay, and is the first collaboration by Aardman with Sony Pictures Entertainment (their previous films being with Dreamworks). It is due to be released in cinemas March next year.

A presenter on the BBC show Countryfile has claimed his family received death threats after he was involved in a programme about the culling of badgers. Adam Henson, who farms in Gloucestershire, said animal rights extremists had threatened to 'burn' his children following the broadcast of the programme about badgers and links with bovine TB in cattle. He told a farmers' conference in Cornwall: 'There are some very nasty extremists about. I have had some serious hate letters from them – things like: "We are going to burn your children."' The government has consulted on whether – and how – badgers should be culled in England as part of a package of measures to control bovine TB in cattle. It is still considering the results and is expected to reveal its decision soon. Henson said conservation groups and farmers were 'at war' with each other when they should be working together to solve the problem. He said his report on the subject was balanced and met strict BBC guidelines. 'These guidelines are very strict. So you will never hear me saying we should be culling badgers,' said Henson. 'My hands are completely tied on the issue. I cannot campaign for anything at all. I simply report what is said on both sides. Badgers are fantastic animals to watch and can be a great asset, and there should be middle ground between farming and conservationists on tackling the bovine TB problem.' As well as working on Countryfile, Henson, a father of two, is a regular contributor to Radio 4 and a co-presenter on the BBC2 series Lambing Live with Kate Humble. He is a regular speaker at agricultural events and last year won the 2010 Farmers' Weekly farming champion of the year award. Henson's comments were reported in the Western Daily Press.

Sky has announced the appointment of former BBC executive Anne Mensah as its new head of drama. Mensah, formerly head of independent drama at the BBC, takes the role vacated by Elaine Pyke, who was recently promoted to director of programmes for Sky Atlantic. Reporting to Sky's director of programmes Stuart Murphy, Mensah will oversee all drama commissioning for Sky's portfolio of channels, including Sky1, Sky Living, Sky Atlantic and Sky Movies. In February 2006, she joined BBC Scotland as head of drama, later being promoted to head of independents at the BBC in April 2009. Her executive producer credits for BBC1, BBC2 and BBC3 include the Emmy-nominated Wallander, Waterloo Road, Single Father and Sweeney Todd. 'I'm thrilled to be joining Sky at such an exciting time in their growth. I'm excited by Sky's real and tangible commitment to UK programming, developed and produced by the best British talent,' said Mensah. 'This commitment has already delivered some truly exceptional TV and I look forward to building on this momentum as part of their creative team and not just as an avid viewer.' Murphy added: 'Sky's such a great place to work because we hire brilliant people who love what they do. We've increased our investment in original shows, especially across scripted, and cannot wait to welcome someone with as much flair, style and creative gusto as Anne. She's stood out in the industry as someone who loves writers, takes thrilling but calculated creative risks and nurtures ambitious projects so is ideally suited to running the slate across five channels.' The appointment of Mensah completes Sky's commissioning executive team, with Duncan Gray as head of entertainment, Lucy Lumsden as head of comedy, Mark Sammon as head of factual entertainment and Celia Taylor as head of factual and features.

The Pakistani government has introduced curbs on international media in the garrison town where Osama Bin Liner was killed, ordering television stations to 'cease broadcasting' and telling some reporters to leave town. On Saturday night the television regulator, Pemra, ordered nine international channels, including the BBC, CNN and FOX, to stop 'illegal' broadcasts from Abbottabad, where Bin Liner's house has been the subject of intense media coverage. It suggested the channels could not broadcast from Abbottabad or anywhere in Pakistan without obtaining a licence, a previously unknown requirement. Simultaneously, government officials contacted several British, Australian and American journalists, instructing them to leave Abbottabad because their visas did not permit them to stay. The government also took measures to stop more journalists entering Pakistan. At diplomatic missions in London and New Delhi, Pakistani officials said there was a temporary hold on media visas. The measures appeared to be part of a concerted government effort to stem a tide of critical media coverage over thorny questions about how Bin Liner lived for up to six years in a garrison town which is home to three regiments of the Pakistani army, a military academy and thousands of soldiers. Implementation, however, has been haphazard. The BBC foreign editor, Jon Williams, said the station had not received the government letter instructing it to quit broadcasting, and a BBC reporter in Pakistan said operations were continuing as normal. But a Channel Four journalist said the station had been told to return to Islamabad and seek permission to work in Abbottabad. The broadcaster's crew left at lunchtime on Sunday. Until now most western criticism has been directed at Pakistan's military and intelligence agencies. Some US officials have insinuated that the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence helped to harbour Bin Liner. Now the ISI seems to be hitting back with judicious media leaks. In a move bound to infuriate the US, on Friday several Pakistani television stations named the CIA station chief in Islamabad as Mark Carlton. The stations said that he had been given a verbal roasting by the ISI chief, General Shuja Pasha. The naming is sensitive because the previous CIA chief in Islamabad quit his position over security worries last December after being named in a court case and the national media. Some US officials blamed the ISI for the leak. The military's other weapon in the media war has been leaked accounts of life with Bin Liner from his surviving wives and children, who are believed to be in military custody near the general headquarters in Rawalpindi. Bin Liner's twelve-year-old daughter, named as Safiya, reportedly told Pakistani investigators that she saw her father being shot by US forces. Local media have reprinted a copy of the passport of one of Bin Liner's wives, twenty nine-year-old Amal Ahmed al-Sadah, a citizen of Yemen, although some versions of the image appear to have been digitally altered. Other leaks have sent journalists on apparent wild goose chases. On Saturday the New York Times and the Pakistani paper Dawn, quoting Pakistani officials, said Sadah had claimed that Bin Liner lived for two and a half years in a small north-western village before moving to Abbottabad in 2005. The news triggered a media stampede to Chak Shah Mohammad, near Abbottabad, where journalists discovered a hamlet of a few hundred houses and about two thousand inhabitants with no Internet or telephone connection. But at the time there was little sign of Bin Liner. Most houses were small, mud-brick dwellings, while the only one with high walls was that of the local mullah and still under construction. As reporters swarmed the village, shops sold out of bottled water, one school closed for the day, and the villagers denied any connection with the Saudi. Some wondered whether there was a connection between a local cave complex and Tora Bora, Bin Liner's hideout in late 2001. 'Bora means cave. So yes, both places have caves,' one elder laconically told the Daily Times newspaper. 'Will we be bombed now?' Probably, mate, probably.

Music TV broadcasters are to receive a dressing down from the media regulator after an unedited version of Rihanna's 'S&M' video, containing scenes of 'sexual bondage, dominance and sadomasochism,' broadcast during the morning when children could be watching. Ofcom has called broadcasters to an emergency meeting on the scheduling and compliance of 'highly sexualised' music videos such as 'S&M', after finding music channel WTF TV in breach of its broadcasting code for showing the Rihanna promo at 11.25am. To an adueicne of about six, admittedly, but still. The regulator is planning to 'lay down the law' to all music TV broadcasters because this is the second incident of inappropriate scheduling of such content recently according to a nostril snorting article in the Gruniad. Ooo, fair dribbling into their Frappaccinos, so they were. Ofcom recently ruled against the broadcast of a racy Flo Rida video on MTV and Channel Four's 4Music which it deemed 'too sexualised' for a pre-9pm watershed transmission. 'We will be requesting that broadcasters who transmit such programming attend a meeting at Ofcom to discuss the compliance of such material,' Ofcom said. The media regulator also said that it will 'shortly be issuing new guidance about the acceptability of material in music videos broadcast before the watershed.' Ofcom censored WTF TV for broadcasting an unedited version of the 'S&M' video which included images of Rihanna being dragged into a press conference, being restrained behind cellophane, dragging gossip blogger Perez Hilton on a leash while whipping him and in various sexual positions in 'rubber and latex fetish outfits.' Other scenes featured the use of gag balls, the word 'slut' written vividly and various sexualised lyrics in the song itself. The regulator received a complaint - from one of the six viewers - that the music video was 'completely unsuitable for daytime broadcast.' WTF TV argued that Rihanna is a popular artist and that the 'S&M' video was laden with 'irony' and did not 'contain images of dominant/submissive practices in a pornographic style. It is artistic and not dark or seedy,' the broadcaster said, while admitting that 'in hindsight' the title may have caused problems. Ofcom said the song 'clearly and repeatedly focused on sex, bondage and sadomasochistic sexual practices as a theme.' The regulator added that a number of the scenes 'could have potentially dangerous consequences if imitated by children.' Yeah, cos kids love getting spanked, don't they?

Ofcom has criticised ITV News for failing to give fair warning to epilepsy sufferers before broadcasting a report on the royal wedding that featured flashing images, following a recent similar rebuke for BBC News. Broadcast on 14 February at 6.30pm, the ITV News item focused on the announcement that Prince Harry would be the best man for Prince William's wedding to Kate Middleton. The pre-recorded package included a clip of Prince William and Prince Harry at a photo call, featuring lots of flash photography. A viewer complained to Ofcom that the flashing images during the report could have caused potential distress to viewers with photosensitive epilepsy. The complainant was particularly concerned that the report did not feature a warning before or during its broadcast. According to Rule 2.12 of the Broadcasting Code, all broadcasters must take precautions to maintain a low level of risk for viewers with PSE, including 'adequate verbal and also, if appropriate, text warning at the start of the programme or programme item.' Ofcom carried out technical tests on the flashing images in the report and found 'one potentially problematic sequence lasting just under four seconds.' ITN, the producer of ITV News, said that the footage was checked before transmission and was deemed not to be in breach of Ofcom's guidelines. ITV said that ITN's PSE testing equipment is 'regularly checked,' and so it had 'no reason to believe it was not working properly.' ITN is currently in the process of installing new PSE testing kit for high definition broadcasts, but checked the footage using old analogue kit. It said that it has re-checked the footage, and again not registered a breach. However, Ofcom said that the report contained a four-second segment of flashing images where 'the brightness transitions exceeded the "intensity" limits as set out in the guidance.' The sequence featured seven flashes per second, considerably above Ofcom's stipulated limit of three per second. Ofcom criticised ITN for failing to 'correctly identify the material as problematic in advance of transmission.' The regulator accepted that there was 'editorial justification' for broadcasting the report due to interest surrounding the royal wedding, but said that ITV should have given appropriate warnings to assist viewers with PSE. 'Ofcom considers that warnings of this type may assist viewers with PSE to avoid instances of flashing images that the broadcaster cannot reasonably control,' said Ofcom. 'In this case, however, ITN failed to correctly identify a potential problem with the flashing imagery in this material and therefore did not provide any warning to viewers. The broadcast of this material, without an appropriate warning, was therefore in breach of Rule 2.12 of the code.'

Adam Crozier's first year at ITV has had something of an extended honeymoon feel to it thanks to the remarkable recovery in the TV advertising market. However, reality will bite on Wednesday when he announces that the broadcaster is set to report its first fall in ad revenue in eighteen months. Crozier revealed bumper results for 2010 in March, fuelled almost entirely by an outstanding market-beating TV advertising sales performance: up sixteen per cent year-on-year. ITV's share price flourished this year, reaching four-year highs and it returned to the blue-chip firms of the FTSE One Hundred this spring – ITV had dropped out in 2008 with losses of £2.7bn. However, ITV's trading update on Wednesday this week will not be so rosy. The first quarter is expected to look healthy, with TV advertising revenues likely to be up about twelve per cent year-on-year and April up about six per cent. But May and June are likely to be down at least seven per cent and twenty per cent respectively – ITV's first revenue fall since November 2009.

Prince William and Kate Middleton have reportedly adopted a baby Humbolt penguin called Acorn. I reckon that puts it about fourth in the line of succession to the throne. Which, I'm sure you'll agree, is pretty good going for an orphan penguin.

Sir Alex Ferguson and Ryan Giggs voiced their joy as Scumchester United moved to the brink of becoming the most successful team in domestic history. United need one point to move clear of Liverpool with nineteen title triumphs having beaten Moscow Chelski FC 2-1 on Sunday. 'To be the most successful team is fantastic,' said Ferguson, who insisted they will get the point they need. Giggs added: 'It is a great achievement by the team and manager to overhaul our nearest rivals during the 70s and 80s.' Giggs, who like Ferguson will collect a twelfth Premier League title if United get at least a draw from either of their remaining two league fixtures added: 'Fifteen, twenty years ago you would never have thought it.'

For the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45(s) of the Day we're back in the early 70s. Once upon a time - in a galaxy far, far away - there was a band from Coventry called Stavely Makepeace, who made damn queer records like this. Which sold but three copies.
Then one day, the guitarist, Rob, had a bright idea. Let's get his mother into the band - and change their name - and, surely, hits would follow like night follows day. And the strange thing is, this harebrained scheme actually worked. Let Tony Blackburn explain further. Sen. Sational.
What the hell is it with pirates this week? Everybody wants a piece of the pieces-of-eight action. (By the way, check out the lady in the audience in a white blouse giving it some righteous boogie at 2:20 - shake that thing, sister!)

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