Tuesday, May 03, 2011

I'll Never Find What It's Worth

So, what a very strange holiday weekend that was. A prince gets married to his princess and the most evil man in the world is dead. It's like Disney have taken over the news for a few days.

I also understand that it's a rather special day here at From The North. I'm led to believe we have the entire viewership of Don't Scare The Hare reading the blog today. So, in that case, 'hello Mrs Bradbury.'

Matt Smith reportedly had a run in with a real life doctor over the weekend after the actor fell over in his apartment and split his head, according to tabloid press reports. The Doctor Who star was rushed to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff and is said to have received three stitches after the accident claim the Daily Scum Mail. Smith had apparently been celebrating with his BBC1 co-stars on Saturday night after the crew had finished shooting the second half of the latest series. A BBC 'source' told the Sun: 'Matt tripped over in his flat and sustained a minor head cut. He went to A&E as a precaution. He is very, very clumsy so nobody will be surprised.' Yes, that sounds like just the sort of thing a BBC 'source' would say. I don't think. Despite his accident, Matt apparently returned to the party after receiving the stitches to carry on celebrating.
In one of the least unexpected announcements of the year so far, David Boreanaz has confirmed that a seventh season of Bones has been ordered. The former Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel star, who plays FBI agent Seeley Booth on the FOX show, used Twitter to break the news. Logging on to post his thoughts on his favourite ice hockey team, the Philadelphia Flyers, Boreanaz also wrote: 'Oh, Season Seven is GO for Bones.' FOX has not yet commented but a formal announcement is expected in due course. A spin-off called The Finder, which stars Geoff Stults as former military policeman Walter Sherman, is also in the works. His character has already been introduced in the main series. Producer Stephen Nathan recently claimed that specific elements of the season finale were 'up in the air' as a result of extra work to introduce Stults and his co-stars to audiences.

The Daily Scum Mail on Tuesday morning finally noticed that Doctor Who's ratings were somewhat lower this week because of the hot weather (be fair, it only took them three days which, for the Daily Scum Mail is remarkably observant). And, they promptly launched a thoroughly sick and venal, agenda-driven attack on Steven Moffat using three - random and anonymous - quotes drawn from some malcontents on various Internet forums as evidence of a 'fan backlash.' Whenever you get a sentence starting 'Another unnamed viewer, writing on a dedicated fan site said...' you pretty much know what's coming next. Unfortunately, the lice who write for the Scum Mail then went and ruined their attack by mentioning, in passing, the - record breaking - timeshift figures and impressive final, consolidated, ratings for last week's episode. You know, the one that got just a sliver under nine million viewers - that's before iPlayer is taken into consideration - and was the fourth most watched show on British TV of the week? That one. You can't have it both ways Scum Mail, surely?  But that's not going to stop you from trying to, is it? Scum. Broadcast magazine also started off as though they're intending to make a crisis out of a popular family SF drama but, ended well: 'Doctor Who lost more than a million viewers following its worst launch since the franchise was rebooted. The sci-fi drama, starring Matt Smith and Karen Gillan, continued on last week’s story in the Utah desert with an audience of 5.38m from 6pm to 6.45pm on BBC1 and BBC1 HD, according to overnight BARB figures. It was more than a million viewers down on last week's series six launch audience of 6.51m – the lowest debut since Doctor Who was resurrected in 2005. The continued good weather is unlikely to have helped the doctor's cause, but the audience figures will rise once consolidated and online viewing is taken into account. Last week's episode had a consolidated rating of 8.86m.' Which brings us nicely to ...

Top Twenty Programmes week ending 24 April 2011:-
1 EastEnders -BBC1 Mon - 11.01m
2 Coronation Street - ITV Mon - 9.79m
3 Britain's Got Talent - ITV Sat - 9.13m
4 Doctor Who - BBC1 Sat - 8.86m
5 Emmerdale - ITV Mon - 7.00m
6 Lewis - ITV Sun - 5.89m
7 The Reckoning - ITV Mon - 5.78m
8 Holby City - BBC1 Tues - 5.72m
9 Casualty - BBC1 Sat - 5.27m
10 Have I Got News For You - BBC1 Fri - 5.21m
= DIY SOS: The Big Build - BBC1 Wed - 5.21m
12 Midsomer Murders - ITV Wed - 5.10m
13 MasterChef - BBC1 Wed - 5.03m
14 Antiques Roadshow - BBC1 Sun - 4.98m
15 Countryfile - BBC1 Sun - 4.91m
16 Ten O'Clock News - BBC1 Wed - 4.78m
17 Long Lost Family - ITV Thurs - 4.52m
18 Farewell Liz - ITV Wed - 4.40m
19 Candy Cabs - BBC1 Tues - 4.33m
20 Six O'Clock News - BBC1 Mon - 4.24m
Outside of the top twenty, BBC2's top performer of the week - by quite a distance - was the Munich Air Disaster drama United with a very creditable audience of 3.49m. Candy Cabs finished its series with an average of 5.14m - which suggests it's in with a decent chance of being recommissioned for another run. Lewis finished its latest series with an official series average of 6.67m with an average timeshift of 0.72m - down, respectively, 1.16m and 0.33m on last year's corresponding figures. Though the continued STV opt-out won't have helped.

Still on the subject of ratings, welcome you are ladies and gentlemen, to the latest exciting edition of what's fast become the nation's favourite game show, Daybreakwatch:
25 Apr 350K - AI 66
26 Apr 767k - AI 66
27 Apr 730k - AI 67
28 Apr 771k - AI 65
29 Apr 725k - AI 79
Hang on! What on Earth is going on with that last AI figure, I hear you scream? Royal wedding factor, dear blog reader, don't sweat it. Though, in the interest of fairness it should be noted that this is the very first occasion on which Daybreak have had an AI score above seventy one since it started last September. (And, as a consequence, also the first time they've had one that - just - qualifies as 'average' into the bargain.) Isn't nice to see that getting a few thousand crushed victims of society tuning in whilst sitting on the sideboard wrapped in a Union Jack singing 'Rule Britannia' can make Christine Bleakley, however temporarily ... well, 'average' actually? Perhaps, as yer actual Keith Telly Topping's good mate Ian noted over on Gallifrey Base, 'they should scrap the whole London skyline in the background schtick and just move the Daybreak studio outside Buck Palace, the audience clearly seem to appreciate that backdrop more.' It doesn't appear to have done them much good in the longer term, however. On Monday 30 April Daybreak had an audience of three hundred and ninety three thousand. Yes, it's true it was a Bank Holiday but it's worth considering that at the same time BBC Breakfast was getting 1.52m. And, it was a Bank Holiday over there too. Meanwhile, here's another depressing little list for Adrian and Christine. And for Jason and Sue, too come to that.
Bottom AI scores, week ending Sunday, 1 May 2011:-
Don't Scare The Hare BBC1, Sat 30 Apr - 51
Daybreak ITV, Thu 28 Apr - 65
Daybreak ITV, Mon 25 Apr - 66
Daybreak ITV, Tue 26 Apr - 66
Daybreak ITV, Wed 27 Apr - 67

Modern media works at lightning speed, especially social media such as Twitter. Which may explain the grimly amusing raft of spelling mistakes confusing Osama (bin Laden) and (Barack) Obama. The conflation of the terrorist chief with the American president by a FOX station in California may have struck many as no mere coincidence given FOX News's openly critical stance of Obama's administration. A TV headline at the Sacramento station read: Obama bin Laden dead. To be fair, left wing commentator Keith Olbermann, a former host at rival cable news channel MSNBC, made the same slip – blogging that George W Bush had 'deprioritised the hunt for Obama.' An MSNBC correspondent tweeted: 'Obama shot and killed.' In fact, the mistake was so common that in its apology the Sacramento FOX station pointed out that anchors or journalists had also got their Obamas and Osamas mixed up at another FOX station, CNN and ABC News. A check on the main FOX News channel yesterday afternoon suggested that they'd sorted out who was whom, although by now they were spelling the killed terrorists name 'Usama' instead. The BBC (and Sky News, to be fair), bless 'em, never faltered.
Meanwhile, a photograph has been released of the president and his team watching the raid on Bin Laden's compound live. I have but two observations to make at this juncture. Firstly, the Situation Room's certainly changed a hell of a lot since President Bartlet's time. More spartan. And, secondly, is anybody else expecting one of them - probably Hillary - to jump up at any moment and shout 'Oi! Linesman, you onion! That was miles over the line!'? Just me, then ...
The man who unknowingly gave the public the first play-by-play commentary of Bin Laden's last moments told ABC15 that he didn't know anything about the compound where Bin Laden was living but heard a lot of activity the night he was killed. Sohaib Athar, an IT consultant, lived a few miles away from the compound in Abbottaad. On the morning of the attack, Athar posted on Twitter and logged a first-hand account of what he heard right outside his windows as US special forces moved in on the home. His first tweet read: 'Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).' A short time later he wrote: 'A huge window shaking bang here in Abbottabad Cantt. I hope it's not the start of something nasty.' After his tweets went viral, the number of Athar's followers skyrocketed and he took notice tweeting: 'Uh oh, now I'm the guy who liveblogged the Osama raid without knowing it.' Eight hours - and some tirty five tweets - later, the confirmation came: 'Osama Bin Laden killed in Abbottabad.' Athar reported. 'There goes the neighbourhood.' When asked what it was like to witness a part of history, he jokingly replied, 'tiresome.' He went on to say, 'Real history will be made the day these wars end.'Athar said it was ironic Bin Laden lived so close to him, because 'I moved with my family from Lahore, a terrorist favorite attack place, to Abbottabad to get away from all that.' Athar says that he's trying to escape from the sudden, overwhelming attention which he has received and even tweeted a plea which said: 'Bin Laden is dead. I didn't kill him. Please let me sleep now.'

BBC1 controller Danny Cohen has revealed that he would like more long-running drama series on the channel. The Daily Torygraph reports that Cohen said it would be 'very nice' to have a show to match the length of Danish drama The Killing, which ran for twenty episodes on BBC4. However, speaking at a Broadcasting Press Guild event, Cohen admitted that it may be some time before the length of British television series begins to change. 'If you could do it, it would be something to aspire to,' he said. 'We're not brilliantly set up as an industry in the UK to do it in the way the American industry is, with more of a team writing model. So there's some quite big structural changes that we'd have to make to deliver that, but you can't force creatives into it very easily.' He added: 'We're encouraging people to try and think like that.'

From The North sends its sincere congratulations to Norwich City directors Stephen Fry and Delia Smith whose beloved Canaries were last night promoted back to the Premier League with a 1-0 win over Portsmouth. Stephen was at home watching the match on Sky and gave his Twitter followers something of a 'watching from behind the sofa' running commentary during the game culminating in 'Oh my Lordy I just don’t know what to DO with myself. Norwich City FC in the Premiership. Let joy be unconfined. If I hadn't been filming o [sic] could have made that match. But so happy for everyone at Norwich.'

Emily Mortimer is said to be 'in talks' for a role in Aaron Sorkin's forthcoming HBO pilot. Mortimer, who starred in the Leonardo DiCaprio film Shutter Island, will reportedly play the female lead in the tentatively titled More As This Story Develops, according to Deadline. Actress Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler) was previously rumoured to be close to being cast for the same role, but negotiations appear to have fallen through. Jeff Daniels signed on to play the male lead in March. The project is not the first television series from the Social Network scribe, who has previously created three shows: Sports Night, the critically-acclaimed The West Wing (the greatest TV show in the history of the world that doesn't have to words 'Doctor' and 'who in the title) and the excellent but sadly short-lived Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Olivia Munn and Alison Pill are currently in the final stages of negotiations for roles on the pilot also.

Richard Hammond has, like many people, enjoyed an Easter holiday. But The Hamster, who has has many cars to chose from - a 1957 Land Rover, a 1969 Dodge Charger, a Morgan AeroMax, a Porsche 911, a Porsche 928 and a Harley Davidson motorbike, not to mention Oliver - said that he took his wife Mindy and daughters on holiday in a VW Campervan. 'I know, it's weird - I'm on the telly and everything and there wasn't a private jet or a five-room suite in sight,' Hammond wrote in the Daily Mirra. 'And it was, without doubt, one of our most successful holidays and quite possibly my favourite of all time,' he said of his touring trip to Cornwall. 'It's pretty common knowledge that old VW campervans, while tremendously evocative things to look at, tend not to work,' he wrote. 'And even if they do, they won't go over about 5mph. This one worked perfectly and cruised at a steady 70mph. It's not a replica though, not some recreation of the evocative old Boogie Bus of the 60s and 70s - it's the real deal. But brand new. The van is made at a VW factory in Brazil and imported to the UK. They turn it into a camper in much the same way as companies have been doing since the 60s. Except of course, they have access to modern materials and equipment to turn a base van into a genuine home from home complete with cooker, fridge, TV and a double bed in the roof that means it can sleep four. So long as you're not complete ­strangers. Best of all, the wheezy old air-cooled engine has been replaced with a modern 1.4-litre petrol unit from a Polo - not enough to trouble hot hatches but hence the healthier cruising speeds.'

Jason Manford will reportedly host a new ITV competition which will see ten potential comedians battle to win one hundred thousand snots of wonga. He also announced that he is to leave his regular role as team captain on Eight Out Of Ten Cats to front the new show. Manford, who has been with the Channel Four quiz since taking over from Dave Spikey in 2007, will be replaced by Jon Richardson. According to the Sun, Show Me The Funny will see the hopefuls take each other on in various tasks including performing live for a panel of professional comedians. 'They have just started filming and had the first tasks in ­Liverpool before performing a gig,' a 'source' allegedly grassed to the paper. 'It went really well and all the signs are that the show will be a hit.' Mind you, they also said that about Jason's last ITV outing, Comedy Rocks. Which, as it happens, it didn't. 'He just wants to carry on with his career and do what he does best - making people laugh,' a 'friend' of the twenty nine-year-old allegedly told the paper. 'This is a big show and it is great for him to have his own prime time gig that mixes the talent show format with comedy.' Manford is also expected to return for the third series of ITV panel show Odd One In later this year.

ABC has denied rumours that it has decided to cancel Brothers & Sisters. Rachel Griffiths, who plays Sarah in the drama, sparked speculation about the programme's future when she hinted that she may be 'unemployed' soon. According to TV Tonight, Griffiths made the comment while at the Logie Awards in Australia. She joked: 'I'm soon to be unemployed, so I checked in with [benefits centre] Centrelink and said, "Looks like I'm out of a job and wanna sign up."' However, a spokesperson for ABC told TV Line that 'no decision has been made' on the future of Brothers & Sisters. The show's executive producer David Marshall Grant said last year that he was 'living with the hope' that the series would be renewed and admitted that he is not planning the end of the programme. However, before the current season began some cast members confessed that they were expecting the show to end. Meanwhile, ABC renewed a number of its series in January, but the list did not include Brothers & Sisters.

In the MasterChef final, Tim Anderson, the twenty six-year-old pub manager who last week became the youngest series winner, created a trio of burgers in tribute to Los Angeles, Tokyo and London, the cities that have shaped his tastes. The LA burger was suffused with Mexican flavours, including lime, avocado and jalapeno. 'I also wanted to reference the smog in LA so I added a German smoked beer and smoked salt,' he explained matter-of-factly to the Gruniad, as if that would be an entirely predictable thing to do. It was the sheer unpredictability of the Wisconsin-born chef and his inventive dishes which fused Japanese ingredients with a passion for counterintuitive pairings – cola-braised pork belly, mocha steak – that had judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace salivating on a weekly basis. Anderson has been hailed as a wacky molecular gastronomist and a disciple of Heston Blumenthal, but he admits that he is not a particularly 'scientific' cook. 'I do find him inspiring and he's an incredible mind, but it's more to do with the way he's an artist and a scientist and a craftsman,' Anderson says of Blumenthal. 'He understands that eating isn't just about taste – it's about all your senses, your memories, the context, the anticipation of a good meal, things you don't really think about when you put the food in your mouth. He's really good at using scientific knowledge to make exceptional eating experiences.' Anderson himself was raised on typical midwestern flavours. 'You just can't beat a burger sometimes. That's what I get nostalgic for,' he says. But it was chancing upon a Japanese TV show called Iron Chef when he was fifteen that inspired his passion for cooking. 'I was really attracted to the spectacle and also to the food, which seemed so exotic and interesting.' He subsequently studied Japanese food culture at university and then travelled to Tokyo, immersing himself in the cuisines of regional Japan for two years. He met his wife, Laura, and they relocated to London three years ago. Anderson worked in a series of unsatisfying jobs, fell in love with London curries ('To me, curry is the London dish') and spent his wages on fancy ingredients from Japanese supermarkets. 'We haven't been on holiday for a while, partly because I've been spending all my money on food and equipment. I owe her a trip,' he says. During the latest series, John Torode visibly swooned each time he tasted an Anderson creation. Although they are consistently hyperbolic, the MasterChef judges were obviously delighted to unearth such a distinctive talent. Now, though, Torode goes out of his way to praise other 'extraordinary' past winners of the show - including Thomasina Miers, James Nathan, Mat Follas and Dhruv Baker - and stresses that Anderson's future business plans are the American's own responsibility. 'If a phone call has to be made, I'll make a phone call,' says Torode. 'But these guys get thrown so many offers I'm the last person they want to see again.' Anderson kept his victory secret from everyone except Laura since the final was actually filmed in December (viewers may have noticed shots of the contestants arriving for the final in taxis with snow falling). Serendipitously, Tim's family were visiting when the final was broadcast and they all watched it together. He is, he notes, still slightly dazed. 'I did it on a lark, I popped online for twenty minutes, filled in an application form and here I am. What if I'd botched the online application or the phone interview?' Anderson is inspired by the example of the previous MasterChef winner, Thomasina Miers, who has opened a mini-chain of Mexican restaurants. There are 'little offers trickling in' but he knows that he must first 'fill in knowledge gaps' by working as a professional chef. 'I would expect to be the lowest of the low, I need that experience, I need to learn all the fundamentals. Not just the cooking but all these nuts and bolts – supplies, margins, staffing – about running a restaurant. I need to improve my knife skills, I need to master sauces. So I'd love to work in some good French and Japanese kitchens but really I want to get as many influences as I can.'

It's almost exactly a year since Mark Thompson raised the point – in an attempt, perhaps, to have a dig at Britain's biggest broadcaster, BSkyB. Sky, he reminded his audience in a spiky and well-received MacTaggart lecture at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International TV Festival last summer, 'pays nothing' for retransmitting Britain's five most watched television channels, 'despite the fact that, taken together, they are by far the most watched channels they offer.' The debate may have gone quiet in the months since, but the issue has not gone away. Indeed, a groundswell movement among disgruntled public-service broadcasters is finally gathering pace – as its rivals weigh up challenging an arrangement which has proved as generous and useful to Sky as was the music industry's decision to allow MTV free use of music videos in that network's early days. Their aim is to claw back fees that they hope could amount to as much as one hundred and twenty million smackers a year. Thompson looked for the best authority he could find, quoting News Corp chief executive, Rupert Murdoch, to back up his argument. Murdoch's company has been pushing, successfully, to get local US television stations to pay retransmission fees for the FOX broadcast network. FOX wants stations to pay twenty five cents per cable subscriber per month, and is threatening these stations with the prospect of switching elsewhere. News Corp's FOX television stations are on course to generate one billion dollars in 'a couple of years,' according to Chase Carey, the chief operating officer, largely as a result of the fee demand – but it is not clear that Britain's public broadcasters have the same leverage to take their channels away from the ten million-plus Sky homes. As for the BBC boss, to be clear, he did not expect the 'free at the point of use' BBC to start charging. But he said that Sky – and Virgin Media – should start paying for carrying ITV, Channel Four and Channel Five, broadcasters that invest heavily in popular, and usually British, programming. Calculations based of international comparisons, adjusted to take into account the specifics of the UK market, indicate that in the region of one hundred and twenty million pounds per year could be extracted from BSkyB, for the most part, but also from Virgin. If, that is, either distributor could actually be prevailed upon to pay. 'This has been slow burn, but we all have an interest in this and it is now definitely on the table among broadcasters,' one senior TV executive allegedly told the Gruniad. 'We all pay a fair amount of money to Sky and provide them with free channels, but no money flows to us. Yet where would their platform be without PSB channels? How many people would subscribe?' Figures show that more than fifty per cent of viewing on the Sky platform is of the PSB channels. Broadcasters are also keen to see the practice of charging PSBs about twenty million quid annually to appear on the satellite platform scrapped. Even the BBC – perhaps the one broadcaster with the clout to take its channels away from the cable and satellite operators – says that it continues to monitor the situation. 'Retransmission and access fees are an area that needs serious consideration and we're continuing to look at this complex issue,' said a BBC spokesman. One 'source', who described the discussions on the retransmission fees issue as 'tight-knit, high-level, early stage,' said that while a concerted effort by the broadcasters is what is really needed, care has to be taken not to cross the line into anti-competitive collusion. ITV would only say that 'we continue to examine the best ways of distributing ITV's channels and services across a range of platforms.' As for Sky, unsurprisingly the company cannot see anything wrong with the status quo. 'All PSB channels are available free-to-air on the Sky platform [and] as with all channels on our platform, including our own, we ask for an appropriate contribution to our investment,' said a spokesman. That is because Sky charges the broadcasters to access its electronic programmme guide, and asks for a contribution to provide regional variations where necessary. 'We ask for a financial contribution that reflects the performance of channels on the Sky platform, with those who benefit the most paying accordingly,' said the spokesman. Disgruntled broadcasters are likely to make their first public push to have the issue examined when the Department of Culture, Media and Sport releases its 'issues paper,' calling for input into the new communications bill. The issues paper is expected to be sent out within the next few weeks and will feed into what will eventually be a green paper on the new bill, due to be published at the end of this year. However, legislative change would be needed to alter the status quo on retransmission fees, and here there's a major potential stumbling block; broadcasters feel that the lack of culture secretary, the vile and odious rascal Hunt, is unlikely to want to tackle the issue. 'Given what appears to be a relatively snug relationship between News Corporation and the government, I'm not sure I can see action being taken,' said someone described as 'a senior TV executive.' BSkyB, meanwhile, can be expected to be robust in its response. The broadcaster said that if the likes of ITV and Channel Four want to make more money, then perhaps they should look to diversify their own businesses away from a reliance on TV advertising. 'As our recent pay deal with ITV [which saw ITV launch three HD channels on Sky] shows, we are very open to helping other broadcasters develop sustainable models in pay television,' said a BSkyB spokesman. 'But Sky customers cannot be expected to pay for content that is given away freely elsewhere.'

Hollywood directors including James Cameron, Peter Jackson and Kathryn Bigelow have signed a protest letter against the video on-demand plans of the major Hollywood studios. Earlier in the month, twenty one leading filmmakers backed the letter objecting to plans to make movies available to download into people's homes while they are still being shown in cinemas. The directors expressed their dismay at the decision by Sony Pictures Entertainment, 20th Century Fox, Universal Studios and Warner Bros to support the move, arguing that it will hit box office revenues and filmmaking budgets. Under the plans, some films would be made available via premium video on-demand just sixty days after their theatrical release, compared to the current one hundred and twenty-day exclusive window. The filmmakers, including Guillermo del Toro, Michael Mann and Roland Emmerich, are concerned that changing the release pattern for new films 'could irrevocably harm the financial model of our film industry.' Their letter said: 'Careers that are built on the risks that can be taken with lower-budget films may never have the chance to blossom under this cut-throat new model.' Cinema owners are also concerned that reducing their exclusive release window could lead to dwindling theatre audiences due to the ease of access to top digital copies. Avatar director Cameron said: 'The cinema experience is the wellspring. If the exhibitors are worried, I'm worried. Why on earth would you give audiences an incentive to skip the highest and best form of your film?' However, not everyone in the film industry is against the plans, with some people arguing that the approach is about keeping track with how consumers want to enjoy movies. Stephen Margolis, a film producer and head of Future Films, released Flawless, starring Demi Moore and Michael Caine, via video on-demand three weeks before it went into theatres. Margolis believes that the approach can generate a groundswell of support for films via word of mouth. 'The film industry has an opportunity to avoid some mistakes that the music industry made. It has to grasp reality and understand what the consumer needs are,' he told the Gruniad.

N-Dubz singer Tulisa Contostavlos has reportedly been ruled out of a judging role on The X Factor after screen-testing for 'ITV bosses.' Or producers as normal people call them. The twenty two-year-old was recently tipped as a possible replacement for Cheryl Cole - who remains likely to depart the ITV programme for the US version alongside Simon Cowell. However, the Daily Lies claims that Contostavlos has now lost out on the job after an expletive-filled one-hour screen test. 'Tulisa did do a one-hour audition but was turned down because she couldn't stop swearing,' a 'source' allegedly told the paper. 'It was all the time and bosses became worried about putting her on live TV in front of millions of viewers, including children.' The newspaper claim that the 'insider' - if indeed he or she actually exists - added: 'If she ended up cursing or making a rude comment live on the show, the programme would get into serious trouble.'

Left-handed people are affected more by fear than those who are right-handed, new research has claimed. The Daily Torygraph reports that the study, conducted by psychologists at Edinburgh's Queen Margaret University, revealed that left-handed subjects who watched eight minutes of footage from Oscar-winning thriller Silence of the Lambs had more difficulty recalling information from the clip. Dr Carolyn Choudhary, who led the research, told the paper: 'The prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder is almost double in left-handers compared to right-handers. People who were left-handed showed significantly more fragmentation in their memories and more repetition.' She added that left-handed subjects made more errors in verbal recall. Choudhary also suggested that the right-hand side of the brain 'seems to be involved in fear.' However, she said that further research was necessary to work out whether left-handed people experience fear more profoundly because the right hand side of their brain is thought to be more dominant. Around ten per cent of the global population is thought to be left-handed, including US president Barack Obama, British prime minister David Cameron, Paul McCartney and, as it happens, yer actual Keith Telly Topping.

Today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day is a mighty slab of righteous indie-dance crossover from The Soup Dragons. Rave on.

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