Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It Couldn't Be Me And Be Her In-Between Without You

On Tuesday morning, The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) tweeted the following: 'Forgive me if you can, but these days come only once.' He was, of course, referring to the cover(s) of the Radio Times published that day.
Aw, bless 'im!

Life On Mars creator Matthew Graham has revealed that he was keen to write an 'epic' and 'scary' episode of Doctor Who. Graham, who has written the upcoming two-parter The Rebel Flesh and The Almost People, told the Den of Geek website that he 'wouldn't be surprised' if the BBC airs a warning before the first episode's broadcast. 'I showed it to my wife the other night, and there were a couple of images in it where she went, "Actually, that's quite scary. That's not very pleasant,"' he admitted. 'I [also] notice that it's going out a bit later [at 6.45pm].' Graham added that he had partly written the episodes as 'a response' to viewers who were disappointed by his previous contribution to the series, 2006's Fear Her. '[For] those who maybe thought that Fear Her was too childish and too silly, I'm hoping that [this story] will silence them,' he said. Graham also confessed that he is eager to write another episode of Doctor Who in the future. 'I had such a good time on this run that I would love to come back and do some more,' he confirmed. 'They seem very, very pleased with the [new] episode, so I hope that they'd consider asking me back.'

Torchwood scriptwriter Jane Espenson has confirmed that a new online spin-off from the SF drama is in the works. She revealed on Twitter that Torchwood: Web of Lies will accompany the new ten-part series Torchwood: Miracle Day when it begins in July. 'There is going to be Torchwood web content,' she wrote. 'So in addition to [the television series] there is Torchwood: Web of Lies. Enjoy all the brands!' In subsequent posts, Espenson also hinted heavily that the actress Eliza Dushku will appear in the online series. 'We have faith in Torchwood: Web of Lies,' she said. 'It's tru; there's an echo of my past work in [this spin-off].' The most perfect-looking woman ever to walk God's Green Earth, divine luscious and pouting Eliza previously played the popular character of Faith in the cult hit Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its - equally brilliant - spin-off Angel. She also starred as Tru Davies in FOX's Tru Calling (which was sadly crap, despite Eliza) and portrayed Echo in the acclaimed, if short-lived, SF drama Dollhouse (which wasn't). Espenson worked as a writer and producer on all three series. Although even Magic Jane couldn't save Tru Calling from its inherent rubbishness.

Meanwhile, three new guest stars have been confirmed for the upcoming fourth series of Torchwood. Starz has announced that Nana Visitor, Mare Winningham and Frances Fisher will all appear in the new ten-part run, Miracle Day. A press release from the cable network also confirms the previously-reported involvement of Seinfeld's Wayne Knight, The Hitcher's C Thomas Howell, Ghostbusters star Ernie Hudson and Star Trek's John De Lancie. Visitor is best known for her role as Kira Nerys in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and also starred in ABC Family drama Wildfire. In addition, she has had guest roles on Battlestar Galactica, CSI and Frasier. Winningham recently starred in five-part HBO mini-series Mildred Pierce opposite Kate Winslet and has also featured in episodes of Criminal Minds, 24 and CSI: NY, while Titanic star Fisher has appeared on The Shield, Sons of Anarchy and Private Practice.

The Goddess that is Lisa Edelstein has announced that she will not be returning for House's upcoming eighth - and, possibly, last - season. The actress, who plays Greg House's on-off love interest and boss Lisa Cuddy, confirmed that she has declined to extend her contract due to a desire to pursue other opportunities. 'After much consideration, I am moving onward with a combination of disappointment at leaving behind a character I have loved playing for seven years and excitement of the new opportunities in acting and producing that lie ahead,' Edelstein said in a statement. The forty four-year-old later tweeted: 'Twitter friends, I am reading all your kind thoughts and it feels great to have such support. You are the best!' The actress - whom yer actual Keith Telly Topping has loved ever since she played Sam's 'accidental' prostitute girlfriend in The West Wing - suggested in March that she was looking forward to returning for the new season along with the show's other cast members. So, something's clearly happened in the mean time. Following the news of Edelstein's departure, as well as confirmation that Hugh Laurie, Olivia Wilde, Peter Jacobson, Robert Sean Leonard and Omar Epps have all signed new contracts, only Jesse Spencer's status remains unknown. A glimpse of what House fans will be missing with Lisa's departure could be seen in this week's second-to-last episode of the current series, After Hours; a cunning and subtle deconstruction of a standard House episodes featuring separate plotlines for Thirteen and Chase, House and Cuddy and Foreman and Taub. Next week's season finale - Moving On - will be Cuddy's finale. Unless something changes in the interim. We can but dream.

Once again, yer actual Keith Telly Topping must draw your attention, dear blog reader, to a piece by the Metro's most excellent TV reviewer Keith Watson, this one on the subject of the vile and odious Jamie Oliver's new Channel Four format. 'Jamie's Food Revolution Hits Hollywood was basically an hour of Oliver sulking about not getting his own way,' notes yer man Keith. 'One of these days, Oliver will give up on saving the world from gorging itself to death, Earth's crust will buckle under the weight carried around by people and Oliver, who bagged himself a spot on a space station in the nick of time, will be up there wagging his finger saying: "I told you so." But, until the day we get Jamie's Food Revolution Hits The Moon, we're stuck with Jamie's Food Revolution Hits Hollywood: a title which was a shameless attempt to inject a spot of showbiz allure into an hour of Oliver sulking about not getting his own way. If you tuned in for famous faces, forget it. This was suburban LA giving Oliver the once over and thinking: "Just what this city needs, another diet guru." As he banged on doors and pouted his lips, Oliver couldn't understand why LA's officials weren't throwing open their school kitchens and embracing his healthy food manifesto with gusto. The trouble is, for all that he bangs on about people not listening to him, Oliver is none too hot at listening himself. People have to take responsibility for their own lives and the likes of Oliver would be better off doing something tasty with radishes or fennel – now that's a real challenge.'

The latest episode of Qi to be filmed - the fourth in the next series - will feature two first-time panelists, Frnak Skinner and John Bishop, along with regular guest Sean Lock.

Bruce Forsyth has reportedly signed a half a million pound deal to return to Strictly Come Dancing - then proved that he's 'still got it' - what it is - by 'jiving down a catwalk with a model barely a quarter his age.' According to the ever reliable Sun, BBC bosses 'breathed a sigh of relief' when eighty three-year-old Brucie agreed, scotching speculation that he'd retire this year. Whether the Sun reporters were actually in the room to hear this alleged sigh of relief which they claim was breathed, they didn't say. A 'spokesman' allegedly said: 'We're delighted and looking forward to the new series.' Bruce was this week at a Cannes fashion show when he was invited to hit the catwalk. He then had a twirl with wife Wilnelia. He said: 'I had a wonderful time. I've never been on a catwalk. In the last couple of years I've done so many new things.'

E4's biggest hit, the US high school musical drama Glee, is heading for one of BSkyB's subscription channels. A bidding war has been taking place between the satellite broadcaster and Channel Four over the third series of the hugely popular show. Channel Four executives are understood to be 'resigned' to losing the show to Sky. According to 'sources', Sky offered more than double the amount Channel Four previously paid to Glee's US distributor, Twentieth Century FOX Distribution. The fact that Sky and FOX are owned by the same man probably helped too, one would guess. So, ultimately, it's just a case of Rupert taking money out of one pocket and putting it into another. A Channel Four 'source' allegedly said: 'We are not prepared to pay over the odds.' The Daily Lies reported on Tuesday that Sky was prepared to pay about five hundred thousand smackers per episode. Dubbed 'High School Musical for grown-ups', the comedy-drama began on E4 in 2009 and has numerous high-profile fans and has featured guest stars, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Britney Spears. The second series began on E4 in January with a consolidated audience of about two and a half million. Glee's audience has dipped to about two million since then but it remains - by some distance - E4's biggest hit and one of the most popular multichannel shows in the UK. Last autumn Sky's head of entertainment, broadcast operations and news Sophie Turner-Laing said of capturing Glee: 'I think Channel Four would like to keep it. They've got rather a lot of money because they have no Big Brother, and Friends has gone to Comedy Central so actually I think Channel Four is where we'll see a lot of the buying going on.' However, Channel Four is understood to have recently switched its acquisitions budget to picking up the US version of The Killing, also from Twentieth Century FOX Television Distribution, and was not prepared to pay 'more than double' for more Glee. A Channel Four spokesman said, rather sulkily: 'By not renewing the Glee deal, we are freeing up huge amounts of budget to invest in homegrown programming, British talent and of course continuing to discover and showcase what the US has to offer. We are particularly thrilled to have recently acquired The Killing.' Which sounds very much like a - rather poor - damage limitations exercise to this blogger. Last month, Broadcast was told by a 'source': 'Sky has a war chest of cash that can outbid most players in the market. It paid north of three hundred and fifty thousand pounds for NCIS: Los Angeles a few years ago so it's not difficult to imagine it going higher for a proven hit like Glee.'

As noted on yesterday's blog, an apocalyptic storm which will 'wipe out all but a hardcore of believers' is to hit the Earth on Saturday - at least, according to a fringe US religious sect. The prophecy of doom has been made by Harold Camping, who claims close study of the Bible has revealed the date of The Rapture. He says that a huge earthquake will strike on 21 May, when just two hundred million 'true believers' will be lifted to Heaven. For, is it not written in the Book of Jehosephat III, chapter seven, verse, twenty five, 'And Lo, the Lord sayeth onto the multitude, "do not plan of thy doeth anything they verily on 22 May 2011. Because it might noteth be feasible."' Seems pretty clear to me. The forecast for everyone who ins't in the two hundred million is not so cheery – one hundred and fifty three days of 'horror and chaos beyond description' will occur until the planet is destroyed in October. Just before yer actual Keith Telly Topping's birthday. Which'll be nice. Bright side, at least this way all those planks who reckon the Mayan Calendar says the world will end next year are going to look like proper Charlies. Camping, eight nine, said: 'There is no possibility that it will not happen. We do not have a plan B.' That's what I like to see, a man firm in his convictions. Other believers are making practical preparations for the big day. Websites such as promise to look after the cats and dogs left behind by the Heaven-bound host. There is, however, a vague possibility that Camping, who runs the Family Radio religious network, might be wrong in his assertions. He once predicted that the world would end on 6 September 1994. But, as you might have noticed, it didn't.

The Flintstones, the prehistoric cartoon series featuring Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble and their modern stoneage families is to be revived by the creator of Family Guy, Seth MacFarlane. The new version of the animated series, which originally ran in the US on ABC for one hundred and sixty six episodes between 1960 and 1966 – and has been repeated virtually ever since – will be broadcast on Rupert Murdoch's FOX network. MacFarlane promised 'a modern take' on the show featuring the adventures of Fred and Wilma, their neighbours Barney and Betty, and their children Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm. Which might seem like a contradiction in terms but, hey, give the lad a chance. 'What's the animal version of the iPod? That's the kind of thing we have to think about,' said MacFarlane. 'One of the first things that I drew when I was two years old was Fred Flintstone,' he added. 'So it's appropriate that events have come full circle, allowing me to produce the newest incarnation of this great franchise. Plus, I think America is finally ready for an animated sitcom about a fat, stupid guy with a wife who's too good for him.' The Flintstones, of course, is also a huge influence on America's longest running animated sitcom, The Simpsons, something which creator Matt Groening has always been very open about. Fans will be hoping the new version of the show is better than the 1994 big-screen spin-off starring John Goodman which prompted the review: 'Yabba-dabba-don't.' However, the film grossed threwe hundred and fifty eight million dollars worldwide at the box office, according to IMDb. FOX said that production on the revival would begin immediately with it due to debut on the network on 2013. That's if the world doesn't end of Saturday. or, indeed, in 2012. 'FOX has long been home to iconic families like the Simpsons and the Griffins, so I have no doubt that the Flintstones and the Rubbles are going to fit right in on our air,' FOX entertainment president Kevin Reilly told The Hollywood Reporter. Heavily influenced by The Flintstones' original producers Hanna-Barbera – for whom he was an animator and writer – MacFarlane's Family Guy debuted on Fox in 1999. He went on to co-create American Dad!, as well as Family Guy spin-off, The Cleveland Show. All of the shows are broadcast on FOX. The Flintstones will be jointly produced by Fox and Warner Bros. Let the debate on whom was seixer, Betty or Wilma, recommence forthwith. (It was Betty.)

Strictly Come Dancing viewers will be familiar with Bruno Tonioli's acerbic turn of phrase – he once memorably described Ann Widdecombe as dancing 'like a dalek in drag.' Only, with an Italian accent, obviously. But he may have pushed the innuendo envelope a little too far on a recent episode of the US version of the show, Dancing with the Stars, when he told one of the contestants: 'You were too rough with your pussy, darling.' Cue an overdose of moral outrage across America's bible-belt and the bleeping of the 'p-word' for subsequent broadcasts by network ABC. Spare a thought for professional dancer Karina Smirnoff and her celebrity partner, Karate Kid actor Ralph Macchio, whom Tonioli asked: 'Are you wearing extra large diapers?' Tonioli attempted a rapid reverse – 'No, a pussy cat. What is she? We call it a pussy cat' – but the damage may have already been done. Besides, it's a well known fact that eight out of ten cats prefer Len Goodman. I'm here all week, dear blog reader. Well, till The Rapture comes, anyway. After that, who knows?

Vic Reeves and Rhys Darby are joining forces for a new Channel Four sitcom. Both are starring in a pilot episode of The Fun Police, a comedy about a health and safety team in a small town. Written by Russell Brand's former collaborator Matt Morgan, the show will be recorded in front of a live studio audience later this month and air as part of the Comedy Showcase season this autumn. The comedy also stars Jack Doolan, Kerry Howard, Katy Wix and Clive Rowe and is being made by Roughcut TV – the company behind The IT Crowd.

CBS has reportedly renewed CSI: NY for an eighth season, while axing Criminal Minds: Suspect Behaviour. According to various reports, the former show, which stars Gary Sinise and Sela Ward, has been picked up, despite recent speculation surrounding its future. The crime drama's seventh season finale was broadcast on the network on 13 May and attracted over ten million viewers. Decent in US terms but, compared to its two stablemantes, CSI and CSI: Miami, it remains the ginger-haired step-child of the franchise. The Forest Whitaker-led Criminal Minds: Suspect Behaviour will reportedly not return for a second run. The series, which also stars the divine Janeane Garofalo and Beau Garrett, pulled in over thirteen million viewers when it premiered in February, but the most recent instalment attracted just 9.31m. CBS is due to announce its official 2011-12 fall schedule tomorrow at the upfronts. The network recently axed $#*! My Dad Says, Mad Love and The Defenders, but picked up new shows The 2-2, Unforgettable and How to Be a Gentleman.

Comic Ben Miller has been announced as the host of the 2011 TV Choice Awards. The Armstrong & Miller and Primeval star will front the ceremony, which takes place at London's Savoy on Tuesday 13 September. Miller has hosted the show twice before. It is the fifteenth year for the awards show, which celebrates the magazine's favourite programmes. Daz will sponsor the event, while the beneficiary charity is Cash For Kids. Fans can cast their votes for their favourite shows until 10 June. A shortlist will then be announced and voting will reopen.

Masi Oka has reportedly been promoted on Hawaii Five-0. According to TV Line, the populat actor will become a series regular when the show returns for its second season in the fall. Oka appeared in several episodes of the first season as Max Bergman, a savant medical examiner. He has previously starred as Hiro in Heroes and also worked on shows such as Reno 911! and Scrubs. Last month, it emerged that Oka is working on a new project for Syfy about two agents who travel to a parallel universe. Hawaii Five-0 has not yet been officially renewed by CBS but it is widely expected to return in the fall. The first season of the show ended this week with a high octane episode - Oia'i'o - which concludes with McGarrett and Kono under arrest, Chin having, seemingly, sold out his friends and Danno's future up in the air as his annoying wife and really annoying daughter prepare to fly back to New Jersey without him. Still, one imagines all of that will take a maximum of two episodes to resolve come September!

A British novel which takes on the themes of Harper Lee's To Kill A Mocking Bird is to be made into a film with Inception actor Cillian Murphy. BBC Films will make the 'very modern take' on Lee's 1960 literary masterpiece - one of the ten greatest novels ever written by anyone in yer actual Keith Telly Toppings, not in the slightly humble, opinion. Broken will be based on Daniel Clay's 2008 novel of the same name which shifts the locale from the American Deep South in the New Deal era to southern England in the first decade on the new millennium. Theatre director Rufus Norris, whose credits include a West End revival of Cabaret, will make his film debut. His other theatre credits include a 2008 Broadway adaptation of Les Liaisons Dangereuses and London Road, a play about the murders of five women who worked as prostitutes in Suffolk. BBC Films said Broken, which will feature character Rick Buckley as the equivalent of Lee's Boo Radley, would be an 'ultimately uplifting tale' in which 'the power of innocence' triumphed. To Kill A Mocking Bird, Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, follows the story of Atticus Finch, a family man lawyer who defends a black man, Tom Robinson, against the charge of raping a white girl. The novel, Lee's only literary work, was set against the backdrop of racism and segregation in the southern USA in the 1930s. Part narrated by Skunk Cunningham, an eleven-year-old girl in a coma, Broken tells the intertwining stories of three families who live in a suburban square in the south of England. The Oswalds – Bob and his five daughters – are the scum neighbours from hell. They lie, steal, bully and intimidate anyone unlucky enough to be anywhere near them, including Rick Buckley, a geeky but harmless nineteen-year-old boy who lives with his parents on the other side of the square. Humiliated publicly by the Oswalds in the early stages of the novel, Rick descends into madness. Skunk, her brother Jed and their new friend Dillon become fascinated with what's happened to Rick.

Ideal creator Graham Duff has joined the impressive line-up of comedy industry figures at Chortle's seminar for those trying to break into the business. Duff also co-wrote Dr Terrible's House Of Horrible with Steve Coogan, the Radio 4 SF comedy Nebulous, in which he also performs, and script-edits Count Arthur Strong's radio shows. He will be sharing his tips and experience of writing comedy at the event in London's Soho Theatre next week, replacing Sam Bain who has had to withdraw because of other commitments. Also joining the seminar is Simon Wilson, the senior executive editor for comedy commissioning at the BBC, who will be offering advice for those with ideas for TV or radio shows. Tickets are still available for the event. They are priced ninety five pounds, which includes coffee and lunch. Further details are available on the Chortle website.

Sir David Attenborough has warned that the use of computer-generated imagery on TV science documentaries has the potential to confuse viewers about what is actually real. Giving evidence to a House of Lords select committee, Attenborough expressed his 'misgivings' over CGI sequences in Inside The Human Body, a new series aired on BBC1 last week. 'If I wanted to show a fish from the abyss that nobody's ever seen alive, but they fished it out and put it in a tank with coral or something but it's dead, it's not difficult now to use a computer to make it waggle its fins. That's false, but it's also true,' said the eighty five-year-old. 'The problem comes when you overstep the mark and put in something that isn't true. With modelling by computers, if you wanted to confuse the audience, you've got more ways than ever before. I had some misgivings about the Inside The Human Body programme. I did think, "I don't know where we are with that."' The natural history broadcaster said that the solution would not be as simple as putting a 'red spot' on the screen to indicate a digital reconstruction. 'If you've got to put a red spot on everything, spots would be coming and going, then there would be half spots,' he said. 'I think it's a very real problem. If you wanted to confuse an audience there are more convincing ways of doing it than ever in history.' Attenborough also told the committee that the BBC should give a greater platform to 'oddball' opinions which challenge mainstream thinking. 'One of the things the BBC has lost - for safety-first reasons, perhaps - is for cranky, oddball and eccentric viewers to have a platform of some sort,' he said. When he was director of BBC programmes in the late 1960s, Attenborough commissioned One Pair Of Eyes, a series giving a voice to non-orthodox views. But he conceded that a similar programme today might just provide a platform to a lot of eccentrics. He further said that the BBC's flagship channels 'don't have the personality they used to,' largely because of a 'laborious' commissioning process. He feels that channel controllers are now hamstrung by market-testing for new shows at the BBC executive level. Attenborough gave evidence to the committee alongside fellow BBC presenter, professor Brian Cox, who called on the corporation to show bias towards 'scientific consensus' on issues such as climate change and be more bold with its approach. Cox added: ' would like to see it more on the front foot. The way it delivers the best possible programming is not to be scared to make quite serious mistakes and make many mistakes because that's the way it comes a creative organisation. I would like to see it more confident.' Not that Cox was a shrinking violet: the Wonders of the Universe presenter condemned government cuts to the funding of the BBC World Service. 'I think it's a ridiculous thing to do personally,' said Cox. 'It is one of the most powerful foreign policy instruments this country has.' The Manchester University professor said that the BBC's licence fee should be set by an independent body in the same way that the Bank of England sets the interest rate. This after the licence fee was reduced by the government by sixteen per centin real terms when it was frozen until 2016, with the BBC given extra funding responsibilities – including the World Service. 'For me the BBC will become weaker the more it feels under threat by whichever government is in at the time,' said Cox. Both men were full of praise for the corporation – 'What the BBC offers can't be paralleled in the present broadcasting landscape,' said Attenborough.

As Cox was giving his views on the World Service, the drawn-out battle over controversial cuts to the World Service took a new turn, with the odious slaphead William Hague questioning the BBC's 'commitment to efficiency savings' and the scale of the job losses the corporation said would be required by a sixteen per cent reduction in its funding. The sixteen per cent reduction that was foisted upon them by Billy Fizz's own department when they decided that they were no longer going to pay for the service. Hague, the foreign secretary, said the reduction in the World Service's funding by the government, which will see its budget reduced by forty six million a year and lead to the loss of up to six hundred and fifty posts, was 'challenging but fair.' The odious slaphead Hague accused the BBC of 'a lack of transparency' over back office savings and described the level of staff cuts in relation to the reduction in funds as 'somewhat disappointing.' Because, of course, Tories aren't happy unless their four people running a department that needs forty. Unless it's their own bloated bureaucraxu, of course, in which case, the slimy gits just love it. 'The FCO is committed to saving one hundred million pounds from our administrative budgets while boosting frontline activity. The World Service assured us at the time of their settlement that they were working to identify savings in this area too. The degree to which they have done so is not clear,' said the odious slaphead Hague.

It seems to be open season of the BBC this week from scum Tories emboldened by the fact that most peop,le in the country seem to hate the Liberals slightly more than they hate them. The lack of culture secretary, the vile and odious rascal Hunt, risked the ire of the BBC when he appeared to tell a parliamentary select committee that the broadcaster frequently accused of leftwing bias 'often' doesn't 'get it right' on issues of impartiality. This is the same vile and odious Hunt whom dear blog readers may remember whilst the opposition lack of culture spokesman broke the spirit, if not the actual letter, of employment law by stating that the BBC should employ more members of his party ('I wish they would go and actively look for some Conservatives to be part of their news gathering team'). So, it would seem that the vile and odious rascal Hunt's idea of impartiality only extends as far as one side of the political spectrum. The insidious, snake-like, hypocritical Murdoch-arse-licking twat that he is. The cabinet minister immediately corrected himself while giving evidence to the House of Lords communications committee, but he added the corporation would set an exalted standard if it was always politically neutral. 'I believe that it tries to be impartial,' said the vile and odious rascal Hunt. 'They would be a deity if they managed to get things right the whole time. They themselves have conceded that often they don't.' Recognising that his remark could easily be 'misinterpreted,' the vile and odious rascal Hunt swiftly backtracked, saying that political lapses were 'infrequent: That's perhaps overstating it. They've conceded that sometimes they don't.' The vile and odious rascal Hunt also welcomed new BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten's review of the governance of the BBC, but time and again told the committee that if the corporation did not reform itself then it would be up to the government of the day in 2016 – when the BBC's charter comes up for renewal – to do the job. The lack of culture secretary once again called for the BBC to open its accounts fully to the scrutiny of the public spending watchdog, the National Audit Office, saying it would rein in corporation spending in the same way MPs changed their habits after the expenses scandal. Something which the vile and odious rascal Hunt himself would know all about since in 2009 the vile and odious rascal Hunt was investigated by a 'sleaze watchdog,' the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards after allowing his political agent to live in his taxpayer funded home in Farnham as a lodger from November 2005 to June 2007. The commissioner found the vile and odious rascal Hunt 'to be in breach of the rules in not reducing his claims on the Additional Costs Allowance in that period to take full account of his agent's living costs. As a result, public funds provided a benefit to the constituency agent. But I accept that Mr Hunt received no real financial benefit from the arrangement and that the error was caused by his misinterpretation of the rules.' The vile and odious rascal Hunt's offer to repay half the money - nine thousand five hundred and fifty eight pounds - was accepted. The vile and odious rascal Hunt also had to repay one thousand ine hundred and ninety six pounds for claiming the expenses of his Farnham home whilst claiming the mortgage of his Hammersmith home. The commissioner said that the vile and odious Hunt 'has readily accepted he was in error, and in breach of the rules of the House, in making a claim for utilities and other services on his Farnham home in the period during which it was still his main home. He has repaid the sum claimed, one thousand ine hundred and ninety six pounds, in full. It is clear that, as a new Member in May 2005, his office arrangements were at best disorganised.' So, quite where the hell the vile and odious rascal Hunt gets off in telling other people how to run their finances when he can't even run his own is, to be honest, a bit of a mystery. 'NAO access is something the BBC should wholeheartedly welcome,' said the vile and odious rascal Hunt. 'I have always agreed with the BBC that there should be a red line on NAO access – it shouldn't in any way impinge on editorial independence or the ability of BBC journalists to do their job in terms of scrutinising the executive. Beyond that the BBC should be relaxed about letting the NAO do the investigating they want to do and extend them their full co-operation. It is a much more effective way of having real accountability. We are discovering that in central government too. Transparency and openness is a different kind of accountability but it's a very effective one.' He compared public scrutiny of the BBC accounts to the MPs' expenses scandal. 'The knowledge that every single expense you submit is going to become public does make everyone think very hard whether the expenses they are submitting are value for money and can be justified as value for money,' he added. 'Therefore the BBC would find with full transparency their licence fee pounds will go a lot further inside the organisation. They will take much more care over how they spend it.' The vile and odious rascal Hunt said it had taken the BBC too long to curb its executive pay and had been 'out of step with public opinion for a considerable period of time.' He said that the BBC was 'reputationally the poorer because of it' and added that comparisons with commercial rivals were false. 'I don't think there should be comparability between the director general of the BBC and the chief executive of ITV. They are doing different jobs.' Just in case you hadn't realised it, dear blog reader, we're in a war. And, it's a war that this bunch of hypocritical scum-gangsters cannot be allowed to win.

Discovery Networks UK has agreed its first product placement deal under newly-relaxed regulations, with appliances manufacturer Kärcher to appear on the Real Time channel. Using innovative digital insertion technology supplied by MirriAd, images of Kärcher products, such as multi-purpose vacuum cleaners, will appear in the background of episodes of Tommy's Fix It, a new commission due to be broadcast on Real Time in May. The agreement is the first of its kind for Discovery UK and has been made possible by changes to the law introduced by the government in 2010, and brought into force by Ofcom earlier this year. On 28 February ITV made history with the first paid-for product placement on British television, when Nestlé's Dolce Gusto coffee brand appeared on This Morning. Channel Four and Sky have since gone on to agree product placement deals for their channels and programmes as commercial broadcasters tap into the new revenue stream. Under a twelve-month deal, Kärcher is also sponsoring Discovery's home and property programming across a range of channels, including Real Time, Quest, Shed and DMAX. The partnership further involves the launch of a Kärcher microsite on the Discovery website, offering advice on home improvement and a video gallery of Kärcher's products. The sponsorship and product placement deal was negotiated between Jane Reynolds, brand solutions manager at Discovery Networks UK, and Mark Penrose, sales and marketing director at Kärcher UK. Martin Heaton-Cooper, Discovery's vice president of commercial development, said: 'We are pleased to team up with Kärcher - their products are a perfect fit for our DIY programming and this partnership will take advantage of the continuously growing popularity of home improvement content. We're also pleased to be the first to initiate this innovative approach to product placement and are looking forward to building on this opportunity and replicating the technique across European markets.' Penrose added: 'The partnership with the Discovery Channel is a very important part of our current plans and reflects the wide appeal of our DIY products. We have found another great opportunity to get our message out to an audience of DIY lovers, and in the process be part of some fantastic pioneering product placement technology.' Under Ofcom's rules, all broadcasters must run a logo - a black and white letter 'P' - warning viewers that UK-produced programmes contain product placement.

The Daily Scum Mail has seized on a suggestion by Newsnight presenter and well-known faceache (and drag) Emily Maitlis that we are 'a nation of pervs' after one of her co-presenters said that he enjoyed watching women play beach volleyball. This has prompted the Scum Mail's Ephraim Hardcastle column to point out that Maitlis went to Cambridge, can speak five languages and 'dresses sexily.' For which affront she should, clearly, be whipped through the streets. Plus, the paper adds, she once had 'a wardrobe malfunction at an awards do. Emily enjoys her fair share of perv fans,' it concludes. Not really. Although, when she made this celebrated comment quoting Frankie Boyle's infamous 'pussy' joke when interrogating Mark Thompson she did, briefly, go viral. Can't stand the woman, personally. At least from her on-screen persona which is, essentially, 'haughty cow who seems to think that she's better than the rest of us.' Might be doing the lady a frightful disservice, of course, I'm aware of the possibility. But when yer actual Keith Telly Topping - as he inevitably will - ultimately finds himself in charge of the BBC the second thing I'm doing - right after telling the vile and odious rascal Hunt where he can effing well go and what he can do with the horse he rode in on - is to send faceache Maitlis packing. There'll be no room for her sort in my BBC. And you can definitely hold me to that, dear blog reader. When I'm in charge of the BBC.

Sky News has launched a campaign to persuade football world governing body FIFA to run a televised debate between its presidential candidates. The broadcaster wants to run a live TV head-to-head featuring existing FIFA president Sepp Blatter and challenger Mohamed Bin Hammam on the eve of the 1 June election. John Ryley, the head of Sky News, has written to Blatter and Bin Hammam asking them to take part in the debate. Bin Hammam has accepted the offer, but Blatter has yet to respond. Ryley, who played an integral role in getting the prime ministerial debates introduced for last year's UK general election, said that the race for the FIFA presidency will 'help decide the future path of the game and its importance cannot be underestimated.' Among the key issues under scrutiny is the how greater transparency would be introduced within world football governance, following recent allegations of corruption. An online petition has been launched for the campaign and various public figures and organisations have already loaned their support, including the one hundred and eighty thousand-member Football Supporters' Federation. FSF chairman Malcolm Clarke told Sky News: 'The Football Supporters' Federation supports anything that can increase transparency in this election to let football supporters know where each of the candidates stand. There is no more important post in football.' Prime minister - and knob - David Cameron, who took part in the UK leaders' debates last year, has also given his support for the plans. His spokesman said: 'Anything that allows the candidates to set out their views and plans to the football watching public would be a good thing.' As, indeed, is anything that makes Cameron's pal Rupert Murdoch more money. As he elbows the vile and odious rascal Hunt out of the way so that Cameron himself can get in there for a good, hard lick. But, hang on, is this the same David Cameron who was so vociferous in his criticism of the BBC for shining a light upon alleged FIFA corruption in a Panorama programme last year? Surely not? Sports minister Hugh Robertson added: 'It's a fantastic idea for the two candidates to have a live television debate. This would give them an opportunity to convey their plans to the football-loving public and highlight how they might look to reform the organisation and make it more transparent.' Lord Sebastian Coe, London mayor Boris Johnson, Conservative MP Louise Bagshawe (who seems to have an opinion on pretty much everything) and Football Association chairman David Bernstein have also backed the move. Blatter and Bin Hammam are currently on the election trail, attempting to gain support from the two hundred and eight football associations around the world ahead of the crucial vote. At least some of whom are, clearly, not wholly corrupt.

And, there's more on everyone's favourite Eton Rifle. Cameron has denied newspaper reports that he intends to support a ban on gay people kissing on television before the 9pm watershed. Reg Bailey, the chief executive of the Mothers' Union, will next month submit a report to the government on the way children are potentially 'sexualised' by cultural mediums, such as TV shows, music videos and adverts. Several newspaper reports have suggested that Bailey will recommend a ban on same-sex kissing on TV in the early evening, which has already led to fierce criticism from the soap community, and elsewheres. Coronation Street's Kym Marsh said that the rumoured ban was 'absolutely ridiculous' and accused Cameron of 'living in the dark ages.' He went to Eton, love, that much is a given. However, a spokesman for the prime minister told the BBC's Newsbeat that those suggesting he is considering such a ban are 'both wrong and being irresponsible.' The spokesman also claimed that the remit of Bailey's review 'doesn't include making recommendations as to what should or shouldn't be shown on TV.' All the major soap operas - Coronation Street, EastEnders, Hollyoaks and Emmerdale - now have gay or lesbian characters, but the landmark TV moment came in 1994 when former Channel Four drama Brookside featured a pre-watershed lesbian kiss. Earlier this month, Bailey used Twitter to urge the public not take everything they read in the newspaper reports as fact. He tweeted: 'Don't believe everything you read in the press. Brookside kiss has never been mentioned in anything the review has looked at.' In other words, the tabloids have lied. According to Reg Bailey. You heard it here ... last. Then again, a bloke called Reg Bailey being chief executive of the Mother's Union ... what's all that about?!

The government is to be urged to relax UK intellectual property laws to make it easier for people's work to be parodied, potentially paving the way for the more robust humour seen in US programmes such as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Professor Ian Hargreaves' wide-ranging report on intellectual property will recommend that the government scrap strict laws on parody that often deter comedians and other content creators – including those who make videos for Internet services such as YouTube – from caricaturing people's work without permission. While US performers such as Stewart rely on the ability to parody other people's material, the Hargreaves report will argue that in the UK comedians, journalists and others have been forced to take a more conservative approach due to 'fear of prosecution.' Last year's viral hit 'Newport State of Mind' – a parody of Alicia Keys and Jay Z's hugely successful single 'New York State of Mind' – was forced off YouTube after the seven co-writers of the original song declined to give their permission for this use of their IP. Under the Hargreaves recommendations the parody, which writers Alex Warren and Terema Wainright unsuccessfully attempted to get clearance for in a meeting with Universal Records, would be given the green light. 'The case for introducing and updating this exception is strong in both cultural and economic terms,' Hargreaves, chair of digital economy at the Cardiff School of Journalism, will say in the review. 'A healthy creative economy should embrace creativity in all its aspects. A legally sound structure would not be mocked by pervasive infringement by otherwise law abiding citizens and organisations with the stature of the BBC.' Hargreaves' report, which is expected to be published on Wednesday, is also expected to recommend the establishment of a new intermediary agency that will act as a swift one-stop shop for clearing the use of copyright content. The idea of the IP clearing house, or digital exchange – which would be run by rights holders representing sectors including the music, video game and film industries – is to make the UK 'the best place in the world to do business in digital content.' This idea was raised before the publication of former Labour minister Lord Carter's Digital Britain report in 2009, and Europe has been keen and many have seen it as a way to solve the issue of 'orphan works.' Organisations including the BBC and the British Film Institute have large quantities of archival content that has not been exploited by the industry because there have been issues over who some of the IP rights holders might be. A centralised IP clearing house would allow content creators and producers to pay a fee and be protected from rights holders they are unaware of. Another issue likely to be resolved is the copyright anomaly that makes the downloading of a CD onto an MP3 player – a commonplace practice – technically illegal, even if the person doing the downloaded has already bought the CD. The Hargreaves report will recommend amending the rules around 'format shifting,' leaving the industry and government free to focus on more fundamental issues such as tackling web piracy.

Some very sad news now: Edward Hardwicke, who died on Monday aged seventy eight, was a particular favourite actor of yer actual Keith Telly Topping. He was probably best known on television for playing Doctor Watson in Granada's handsome Sherlock Holmes adaptatations in the 1980s and 90s, but had already come to public attention a decade earlier in the BBC drama Colditz as the character based on the real-life war hero Pat Reid. Hardwicke had been suggested as the foil to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's inscrutable sleuth by the actor David Burke, who had portrayed Watson in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1984-85), alongside Jeremy Brett. When Holmes was resurrected from the dead after plunging from the Reichenbach Falls and the series was revived, in 1986, as The Return of Sherlock Holmes, Hardwicke played Watson in eleven hour-long episodes. As the calm and attentive companion to the moody sage of Baker Street, Hardwicke retained the role for two-hour versions of The Sign Of Four and The Hound Of The Baskervilles (1988) as well as in subsequent adventures broadcast as The Casebook Of Sherlock Holmes (1991) and the valedictory The Memoirs Of Sherlock Holmes (1994) as well as three specials, The Master Blackmailer, The Last Vampyre and The Eligible Bachelor. The Granada adventures were exceeding faithful to the original Arthur Conan Doyle stories, so Hardwicke played Watson not as a bumbler of the Basil Rathbone-Nigel Bruce era but as a dashing, stately former military doctor - a concept which has, since, become a key part of most Conan Doyle adaptations up to and including Ian Hart and Martin Freeman on TV and Jude Law in film. 'The superbly handsome Jeremy Brett, the regularity of his features made dramatic by a broken nose, the mellifluousness of his voice made arresting by a slight vocal impediment, presented a ravaged and romantic Holmes [whose] relationship with Edward Hardwicke's transparently decent Watson was that of a drowning man clinging to a raft,' declared the actor Simon Callow. As Captain Pat Grant in Colditz, Hardwicke based his character on Major Pat Reid, the real-life escape officer in the supposedly escape-proof German prison perched on a two hundred and fifty foot-high cliff. The first series, shown in 1972, and the follow-up two years later were based on Reid's books about his exploits at Colditz and the efforts of the Allied prisoners to escape. Edward Cedric Hardwicke was born on 7 August 1932 in London, the son of the acclaimed actors Sir Cedric Hardwicke and Helena Pickard. His film career in Hollywood began when he was only ten, in Victor Fleming's film A Guy Named Joe (1943), with Spencer Tracy. Returning to England, Edward was educated at Stowe, and did his National Service as a pilot officer in the RAF. He then went to RADA. He appeared at the Bristol Old Vic, the Oxford Playhouse and the Nottingham Playhouse before joining Laurence Olivier's National Theatre in 1964, performing there regularly for seven years. He appeared with Olivier in Othello and The Master Builder. Among many other roles, Hardwicke also appeared in Charley's Aunt, Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Congreve's The Way of the World and with Robert Stephens in Peter Shaffer's The Royal Hunt of the Sun. He returned to the National in 1977 for a production of Feydeau's The Lady From Maxim's. In 2001 he played Arthur Winslow in The Winslow Boy at the Chichester Festival Theatre, reprising a role taken by his father in the 1948 film version. Hardwicke's other television credits included the sitcom My Old Man with Clive Dunn (1974-75), Holocaust (1978), Oppenheimer (1980), Lovejoy (1992), The Ruth Rendell Mysteries (1997), David Copperfield (2000), Agatha Christie's Poirot (2004) and Fanny Hill (2007). In 1978 he appeared in the last episode of The Sweeney. His final TV role was in the Channel Four series Shameless. He also had parts in numerous movies, among them The Day of the Jackal (1973), The Black Windmill (1974), Richard Loncraine's 1995 version of Richard III with Ian McKellan, The Scarlet Letter (1995), Shadowlands (1993), Elizabeth (1998), Enigma (2001), The Gathering Storm (2002) and the romantic comedy Love, Actually (2003). Edward was twice married. He was divorced from his first wife, Anne Iddon, who died in 2000, and is survived by his second wife, Prim Cotton, as well as by the two daughters from his first marriage Kate and Emma and a stepdaughter, Claire.

A waxwork of the former England and Newcastle United striker Alan Shearer has been unveiled. The figure, which took four months to make, is on show at Madame Tussauds in Blackpool. Shearer's figure will stand in the 'locker room' with models of David Beckham and Wayne Rooney. Alan Shearer said: 'I think they've done such a great job, it's scary. It's weird looking at yourself and thinking how incredibly alike it is.' The process begins with a sitting in which the pose and expression are discussed so that as many details as possible can be included in the model. Experts assessed Shearer's hair (or, what's left of it, anyway), eyes and skin colour, studied pictures and watched videos to get to know a little bit more about his character. Hopefully, the watched that goal he scored against Everton from about forty yards at the Gallowgate End a few times. Or, the time he - accidentally - stamped on Neil Lennon's head. Or when he got Roy Keane sent off when Keane presented him with the ball for a throw in and Big Al said 'would you like me to sign that for you, son?!' Shearer, forty, said: 'They take a million different measurements of everything and then do the cast which takes a few hours but we did it all in a day in London. You'd be surprised by the detail that goes in to it and now seeing it this close up you can see how careful they've been.' Now, the obvious next question is, will they be using the waxwork figure on Match of the Day on Saturday rather than Alan himself? And, if they do, will anyone actually notice the difference? The bonus, I guess, would be that the waxwork, presumably, won't be able to lead with its elbow.

And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. And, tdoay, for all of you feeling a bit iffy, it's time for a couple of proper doses of The Cure. Starting with a reminder that the was a time when ever weird shit like this could get on Top of the Pops. (Robert looks about twelve on this!)
And few years on and they were making proper hit singles, including this one, a particular favourite of this blogger. Even if it does sound just like New Order!

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