Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Twenty Cannibals Have Hold Of You They Need Their Protein Just Like You Do!

According to an article, seemingly with little actual research having gone into it, in the Mirra - what a surprise - Hugh Laurie is 'discharging himself from hit medical drama House to become a blues musician.' The actor reportedly earns over two hundred and fifty thousand smackers per episode as Gregory House in the US medical drama. But he has often complained about having to spend ten months a year filming in Los Angeles, away from his wife Jo and three children who live in Britain. He will quit, the paper claims, 'after filming the eighth series this summer' – and concentrate 'on his ambition of making it as a singer.' Well, quite apart from the fact that the eighth series of the show won't even begin filming until the summer and will go on well into next year, this all appears to be based on an interview Hugh – whose debut CD, Let Them Talk, was released this week – recently gave to the Radio Times in which he mentioned that the next series is the last for which he is currently contracted for. Which we all knew anyway: 'The end of that season looks like the end of the show. That's as far as they've got me for.' Speaking about the toll his career has taken on his family life, Hugh said: 'I wouldn't say that doing the series has made my marriage easier. Better? I don't know about that either.' He added that the filming schedule meant he 'didn't really have a life outside this bubble.' The show has seen Hugh win two Golden Globes. But he still struggles to get into character as the crumpled medic. He said: 'The acting muscles don't know what they're doing. They should, but they don't.' TV 'bosses', the Mirra claim, must now decide whether to replace him. Last year Hugh admitted he wanted an explosive exit, saying: 'I'd like to go out with a bang, not a whimper.' All of this comes on the very day that FOX has officially announced that House has been renewed for an eighth season. Kevin Reilly, President of Entertainment for the broadcasting company, confirmed that the medical drama will continue to run for another year. Reilly said: 'Over the past seven seasons, House has redefined the medical drama and has given us one of television's most compelling and iconic characters. From the producers to the incredible writers to the unbelievably talented cast and crew, the House team is fearless in its creativity and I can't wait to see what they have in store next year.'

TV Comedy Moment of the Week: The look of utter abject terror on poor Brian Wilson's face when Alex Jones blathered something utterly incomprehensible at him on Tuesday night's The ONE Show. Hands up who was expecting him to say 'I was told the BBC is an English-language channel'?
Complaints about Wayne Rooney swearing into a camera during Manchester United's victory over West Ham have not been upheld by the television regulator, Ofcom. An unspecified number of - stupid - viewers contacted the watchdog after the Manchester United striker was seen to say 'What? Fucking what?' while celebrating his hat-trick goal in the game, broadcast on Sky. What these morons expected Sky to have done about this is, sadly, something we'll perhaps never know. Or, indeed, care about. The watchdog said that Rooney's obscenity was 'not clearly audible, and the camera cut away from the scene as soon as it became clear that [his] behaviour was inappropriate.' The commentator, Martin Tyler, apologised after the incident immediately afterwards, although why he felt he needed to do this - since it wasn't in any way his or Sky's fault that Rooney had gone off on one - is, once again, a question perhaps best left unanswered. Jesus, the nonsense that some people chose to care about. Ofcom added in a letter to viewers: 'While we acknowledge that the broadcast of this behaviour during this match was unfortunate as well as unexpected, we consider that, given the circumstances, Sky acted responsibly and do not find grounds to uphold your complaint.' In other words 'grow up.' Rooney accepted the Football Association charge for using offensive language during the outburst but not the two-match ban which he served in the following weeks.

Tweeted this morning by Molly Oldfield (and subsequently retweeted by Alan Davies) Qi starts recording its ninth ('I') series this week. Apparently the great Brian Blessed will be appearing in the first episode to be recorded (although, whether it's the first one that will be shown isn't known at this time).

Merlin producer Julian Murphy has confirmed that talks are ongoing about a potential fifth series. Last November, Murphy first suggested that the fantasy drama could return for two more series. He recently told CultBox: 'We do have a general idea of what would happen in series five. We've always known a long while ahead where we wanted to go.' He also suggested that the show is unlikely to lose any regular cast members in the foreseeable future. 'I don't think we're likely to lose anyone in the cast that's key to our developing story,' he said. 'We know where we're headed and I don't think anything particularly will stand in the way.' Murphy also revealed that a number of possible Merlin spin-off projects have been discussed, including a cartoon. 'It's very early days, but there are thoughts and ideas,' he said. 'I think it'd be very interesting to explore. Something we've discussed, which would have to happen after the series had come to an end, is an animated series.'

The authority of Britain's civil courts appears to be increasingly fragile this weeks after the names of a number of celebrities said to have obtained gagging injunctions – and their alleged misdemeanours – were circulated unimpeded on Twitter. Amid signs that lawyers representing aggrieved clients are unable or reluctant to take action against the US-based site or its users, the ability of the wealthy to suppress inconvenient truths - and also blatant falsehoods - appears to be severely compromised. Online defiance of the courts has reinforced calls for the government to draft a privacy law which would clarify what should be permitted under freedom of speech and how far privacy should be protected. A solicitor whose firm represents several of those identified called on judges and the attorney general, Dominic Grieve, to consider whether flouting of court-imposed superinjunctions and anonymised orders should be punished. Charlotte Harris, a media specialist at the law firm Mishcon de Reya, said: 'We are not going to be suing people on Twitter. You can't sue people who have never been served with an order. If members of the public discuss [injunctions], it ought to be a safe place for them to have a conversation.' Harris said that she was interested in going after whoever initially placed the information on Twitter. 'There has been terrible mischaracterisation of the people involved,' she said. 'In eighty per cent of the cases they involve blackmail, harassment, stalking or threats to families. It's not all famous footballers. This is about using freedom of speech as an excuse.' Asked whether court injunctions were becoming unenforceable, Harris said: 'We have to think carefully about how to enforce them. We will be taking action against the source of the leak. There may be ways for the judges or the attorney general to [launch proceedings]. I don't think it should be left to my client to expose himself to more pain than he has already been through.' A privacy law is needed in Britain, she added. The human rights campaigner and socialite Jemima Khan, one of those named inaccurately on Twitter, described weekend claims that she has taken out a gagging order preventing 'intimate photos' of herself and Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson being published as a 'bloody nightmare.' Khan said the rumours were 'untrue and upsetting,' and added on Monday: 'I hope the people who made this story up realise that my sons will be bullied at school because of it. Plus I'm getting vile hate tweets.' Dan Tench, a partner in media law at the solicitors Olswang, which has obtained injunctions for clients, said: 'We are not looking to do anything. The sensible thing would be to ignore it. Loads of things turn up on Twitter. If one spent all day trying to work out what is accurate there wouldn't be much left of the day. It's not unenforceable. We have led the way in bringing actions against anonymous Internet sites. You can take people down. But in a breach of privacy case, it's not entirely consistent with keeping your identity private.' Twitter's legal status has not been tested in court, but lawyers believe that the website would be able to successfully argue that it is not a publisher. In the closest similar case, Mr Justice Eady ruled in a defamation hearing in 2009 that Google and other search engines were not publishers. Lord Falconer, the former Lord Chancellor, said the defiance of superinjunctions could render them meaningless. He said: 'If a point is reached as a matter of evidence when everyone knows who the injunctions are about then they become pretty pointless. It sounds like it's very difficult to make sure that injunctions like this are complied with.' In a statement on Monday, Twitter said: 'We don't comment on individual accounts. In keeping with our policy, we review reports that accounts violate the Twitter rules and terms of service.' Earlier, the company told the Gruniad: 'On a practical level, we simply cannot review all fifty five million-plus tweets created every day. There are tweets we do remove, such as illegal tweets and spam. However, we make efforts to keep these exceptions narrow so they may serve to prove a broader and more important rule – we strive not to remove tweets on the basis of their content.' Twitter could be served with a court order forcing it to disclose the identity of tweeters breaching the injunctions. The attorney general's office acknowledged it could initiate proceedings for breach of a civil court order in the public interest, but said there were no plans to do so at this time. A spokeswoman said: 'It would normally be for any aggrieved party to bring proceedings.' The breaching of a civil court order is technically a contempt of court, punishable by up to two years in prison, but such cases are very rare. However, Mark Stephens, a senior media lawyer at Finers Stephens Innocent, said that the Twitter user behind the allegations 'should expect a knock on the door within the next forty eight hours' from solicitors representing the people whom he or she named. 'If it is false, it is libellous; if it is true, it is contemptuous,' he added. Which is the main reason why this blog has not - and will not - name any of the individuals concerned unless they have been widely reported by newspapers, as in the case of the (wholly erroneous) allegations concerning Ms Khan and Mr Clarkson. However, there are still some tricky areas. For example the case - and identity - of the so-called 'celebrity chef' who has taken out a gagging order to prevent details of a employment tribunal involving himself has been reported on the US website US Politics Today but, to date, no UK media outlets have picked up the story, presumably because they are prevented from doing so by the injunction. The Liberal Democrat Treasury minister, Danny Alexander, signalled that superinjunctions were turning into a political problem. 'The whole situation is getting farcical,' he said. 'A parallel universe is emerging called the Twittersphere where the law does not apply. It is clear to me that the status quo is no longer an option.' So, Status Quo have taken out an injunction as well? You heard it here first, dear blog reader. 'There are people out there who clearly have not taken out a superinjunction who are being put in a very difficult position. As someone who believes very strongly in freedom of speech, as Liberal Democrats do, the status quo cannot be an option any longer.' Well, indeed. Forty years of imaginative use of demin had to end sooner or later. 'What is emerging on Twitter is because the current position is not sustainable.' The Lib Dem MP John Hemming told the Gruniad that his attempts to put down written questions about individual injunctions were being thwarted by House of Commons officials. 'For some time courts have been covering up bad practice using confidentiality and privacy as a reason to do so,' he said.

In a somewhat related development, ex-motorsports boss Max Mosley has lost his European Court of Human Rights bid to force newspapers to warn people before exposing aspects of their private lives. The verdict in Strasbourg is, according to the BBC News website, 'a blow to his campaign' for tighter privacy laws, although he has the right to appeal. I'm assuming that the double entendre there was entirely deliberate. In 2008, the UK High Court awarded him sixty thousand pounds damages after ruling the News of the World invaded his right to privacy by reporting on his sex life. Victory might have led to new privacy laws, which press bosses oppose. Mosley had argued financial damages could not restore his reputation following the front-page article about him paying five women to take part in a sado-masochistic spanking orgy. He pursued the case to the Human Rights Court, challenging UK privacy laws which allow publication without giving targets advanced warning. He was aggrieved that he had not been made aware of the paper's intention to publish, and so never had the chance to apply for an injunction to stop the story. Judges in Strasbourg ruled that under the European Convention on Human Rights, the media was not required to give prior notice. They said in the UK the right to a private life was already protected by self-regulation of the press, access to civil courts to seek damages, and interim injunctions where applicable. And they said newspapers and reporters already sufficiently understood when publication could infringe the right to respect for private life. They added that if pre-notification was to be made law, it would have to allow for an exception when public interest was at stake. 'Thus, a newspaper could opt not to notify an individual if it believed that it could subsequently defend its decision on the basis of the public interest in the information published,' the ruling stated. The judges said given that the News of the World believed the Nazi overtones reported in their - sensationalist - story on Mosley were of public interest, the paper could have chosen not to tell him even if pre-notification had been required by law. Newspapers could also opt to pay a fine instead of notifying people, if pre-notification became law. The ruling stated: 'Any pre-notification requirement would only be as strong as the sanctions imposed for failing to observe it.' Judges also noted that a UK parliamentary inquiry on privacy issues had been recently held, which also rejected the need for 'pre-notification.' A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: 'We are pleased with the judgement in this case and believe the court has made the right decision. The government recognises the importance of finding the right balance between individual rights to privacy on the one hand, with rights to freedom of expression and transparency of official information on the other.' Lawyers for Mosley, now seventy one, argued that money was not a sufficient remedy for the loss of a person's privacy. They said that newspapers should be made to notify the subject of a story before it ran, giving them time to seek a court order to stop its publication. Speaking before the verdict, Mosley said once a story was out there - regardless of whether it was true or not - the damage was done. He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: 'Once they've published it, you can't un-publish it, you can't take it out of the public mind. And worse than that you recover damages if you win; you get your costs awarded, again if you win; but the costs and the damages are less than the bill from your solicitor. So you get the whole publicity repeated again in open court, on top of which you get a very large bill.' If judges had supported Mosley's case, the government might have had to reinforce privacy laws, compelling editors to go to celebrities or public figures at the heart of a story before running it. That would have fuelled the row over the use of superinjunctions. Newspaper bosses say imposing 'pre-publication notification' to toughen the 'right to private life' would amount to a breach of the 'right to freedom of expression.' The chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, Lady Buscombe, said it would be 'a diminution of our democracy, never mind our freedom of expression' if injunctions could be gained every time somebody sought to block a story.

A newspaper's decision to secretly tape Liberal Democrat MPs breached press rules on 'subterfuge,' the Press Complaints Commission has decided. The Daily Torygraph had produced material 'in the public interest,' the Commission noted. But it said that the paper had not had enough evidence to justify what it called 'a fishing expedition.' Among those MPs taped by reporters posing as constituents was the Business Secretary Vince Cable, who was recorded saying he had 'declared war' on Rupert Murdoch. Other Liberal Democrat MPs secretly recorded by the paper's reporters included employment relations minister Ed Davey, pensions minister Steve Webb, Scottish Secretary Michael Moore, transport minister Norman Baker and health minister Paul Burstow. The PCC ruled the newspaper launched the 'disproportionately intrusive attention' without sufficient reasons and said it would issue fresh guidance over the acceptable use of subterfuge. Cable, one of the most senior Lib Dems in the coalition government, came under fire after he spoke out against Mr Murdoch - at a time when he had ultimate responsibility for the tycoon's bid to take full control of broadcaster BSkyB. He told journalists from the Torygraph - who were attending a constituency surgery in his Twickenham constituency and whom he believed were local residents - that Murdoch's 'whole empire was under attack.' Referring to the BSkyB bid, Cable told them he had 'declared war' on Murdoch, adding 'I think we are going to win.' Despite speculation that he might be sacked for the remarks, Cable retained his position in the Cabinet although he was stripped of powers to oversee the BSkyB bid and other media takeovers - which were handed to the lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Hunt. Who, of course, was not so much at war with Murdoch as in his pocket. This spectacular miscalculation by the Torygraph effectively handed Murdoch BSkyB on a plate, something that is unlikely to be forgotten in a hurry by those who opposed the bid. The PCC received about two hundred complaints after the stories were published in December, led by Commons Leader Sir George Young who said the undercover methods undermined democracy. The newspaper told the PCC it had proved that Lib Dem ministers 'were not consistent in their private and public statements' about the coalition. But the watchdog said the initial evidence was insufficiently strong to warrant the level of intrusion. It said the ministers concerned were asked 'to comment on a series of policy issues with the evident intent of establishing on which subject they might say something newsworthy.' PCC director Stephen Abell said: 'The commission has consistently ruled that "fishing expeditions" where newspapers employ subterfuge and use clandestine devices without sufficient justification are unacceptable. The issue of how journalists make use of subterfuge deserves scrutiny, and indeed goes much wider than the Telegraph's actions on this occasion. The PCC takes this subject seriously and will issue further guidance on this area with a view to ensuring high standards across the industry.' Clause ten of the Editors' Code of Practice bars the obtaining or publishing of material 'acquired by using hidden cameras or clandestine listening devices.' Engaging in misrepresentation or subterfuge 'can generally be justified only in the public interest and then only when the material cannot be obtained by other means,' it states.

The launch of a new national TV network, a key plank of the lack of culture secretary the vile and odious Hunt's plan for a new generation of local services, is likely to be delayed and may even be scrapped. Licensing of a new network to provide a national 'spine' for the local TV services had been due to begin in earnest next month, to be followed by the issuing of local licences in summer 2012. However, the Gruniad understands this is 'now likely to be delayed until after the local services launch and may be abandoned altogether.' More than fifty 'expressions of interest' were received by the vile and odious rascal Hunt's Department for Culture, Media and Sport by the 1 March deadline for bidders to run the new national TV network, with would-be operators currently awaiting government proposals for a formal bidding process due to be published in June. But the scale of difficulty posed by legislating to force Freeview, Sky and Virgin to make channel slot 106 available on their electronic programme guides for the new network, along with the cost of guaranteeing the necessary national spectrum have, according to well-placed sources with direct knowledge of DCMS deliberations, led to a major change in thinking. Extensive lobbying by would-be local operators, fearful of being dominated by a commercial national network operator with its own priorities and anxious to get started, is also understood to have influenced the government's thinking. 'Jeremy Hunt was very impressed on his recent tour of the country with people really committed to local media who just wanted his help to do their own thing the whole idea began to feel rather too "top down," it just didn't feel right for Jeremy's taste,' one 'source' allegedly told the Gruniad Morning Star. 'There is no doubt [the DCMS] are backing off the national spine idea,' added another. A DCMS spokeswoman said: 'The DCMS recently consulted on the local media action plan. Ministers are currently considering a range of responses and we intend to publish proposals for next steps to deliver local TV in the summer.' Following a specially commissioned report from merchant banker Nicholas Shott, the vile and odious rascal Hunt's local media action plan, launched in January, specified the licensing of 'a national spine' ahead of the local services that it was imagined would hang off it. Offered the prospect of free national spectrum and guaranteed 106 EPG placing – also prescribed in the vile and odious rascal Hunt's published plan – the opportunity to start what amounts to a new national network on such favourable terms attracted considerable commercial interest. However, the risks posed by the vile and odious rascal Hunt's initial plan – that the commercial network's interests would tend to dominate, leading over time to reduced support for the local TV services that would depend on it, as happened with ITV – was flagged up in the Shott report, which led many observers to question the vile and odious rascal Hunt's initial approach. Now, rather than licensing a network operator for the national spine first this is now expected to take a back seat to the licensing of local operators based around the use of local geographically interleaved DTT spectrum. Any network to supply shared programming and help sell advertising nationally would only emerge afterwards and be controlled by the local operators. This will come as a major blow to prospective network operators, which have been developing business plans and raising investment cash on the assumption that the DCMS would follow with the published plan.

Sky1 has announced that it has ordered a new comedy called Spy. The show stars Darren Boyd as a single father called Tim who quits his job in an attempt to impress his nine-year-old son Marcus (played by Jude Wright). However, Tim's life is shaken up when he is accidentally recruited by MI5. He ends up having to balance his family life with his new career with the intelligence service and struggles to keep it a secret. Boyd recently starred in Whites and Case Sensitive and has also worked in shows including Dirk Gently and Green Wing. The six-part series will also star My Family's Robert Lindsay as Tim's MI5 boss The Examiner, Dolly Wells as Tim's ex-wife Judith, Ideal's Tom Goodman-Hill as Judith's boyfriend Philip, and Mathew Baynton as Tim's friend Chris. Elsewhere, Rebekah Staton will play Tim's fellow spy Caitlin, who is a possible love interest, while Rosie Cavaliero will star as an 'obsessive' social worker called Paula. Sky's head of comedy Lucy Lumsden said: 'In Spy we have an exciting young cast and a brilliant new writer in Simeon Goulden. It is the first of several new British comedies aimed at a family audience to sit alongside our fantastic US line-up including Modern Family, The Middle and The Simpsons.' Meanwhile, the show's executive producer Jimmy Mulville said that Spy is 'one of the funniest and strangest takes on the family comedy,' adding: 'Dysfunctional doesn't begin to do it justice!' Sounds interesting. It's certainly got a good cast.

A Brooklyn-based newspaper has seemingly removed Hillary Clinton and another woman from the iconic situation room photograph of White House staff watching raid on Osama Bin Liner's compound. The doctored image in Charedi Jewish newspaper Die Zeitung features empty spaces where Clinton and director for counter terrorism Audrey Tomason were originally pictured. Charedi Judaism is a conservative form of orthodox Judaism, and Charedi newspapers do not generally publish photographs of women to supposedly protect female modesty. The digitally-altered image attracted criticism on the FailedMessiah blog where it was first posted online. A reader of the site described the newspaper's decision as a sign of 'clinical psychosis' within the Charedi community, while another noted that the White House gave permission for free use of the original on the condition that it 'may not be manipulated in any way.' Another added: 'This is a bit silly. Secretary of State Clinton was not dressed immodestly. There was no intent of objectification in the photo.' One complained: 'Well done Charedim! You make real Jews look like a bunch of idiots, AGAIN.' In 2009, BBC News reported that Yated Neeman replaced Israeli government ministers Limor Livnat and Sofa Landver with pictures of men in an image of the new thirty-member cabinet, while Shaa Tov removed the women from the shot. Die Zeitung has apologised for digitally deleting the image. It issued a statement saying its photo editor had not read the 'fine print' accompanying the White House photograph that forbade any changes. The newspaper said it has sent its 'regrets and apologies' to the White House and the US department of state. Die Tzeitung said it has a 'long standing editorial policy' of not publishing women's images. It explained that its readers 'believe that women should be appreciated for who they are and what they do, not for what they look like, and the Jewish laws of modesty are an expression of respect for women, not the opposite.'

EastEnders 'does not offer a realistic portrayal of working-class life and is not as multicultural as the real East End of London,' its executive has admitted. And, in today's other shock news, Matt Smith apparently isn't really a nine hundred year old alien with two hearts. Next ... 'EastEnders' East End and its version of working-class life are very stylised,' John Yorke said. 'It's not realistic in that respect but you look for an emotional truthfulness,' he told the Radio Times. It's also 'fiction.' You know, 'made up stuff.' Quite how this qualifies as 'news' this blogger isn't entirely sure. But I report it to you, nonetheless dear blog reader, because somebody has to. He said the BBC1 soap 'may be significantly white compared with the real East End.' But he added that it was 'considerably more multicultural than it was even five years ago and is easily the most multicultural show on telly now.' The BBC's controller of drama production told the magazine that soaps had to find a balance in their storylines. 'Real life changes much more quickly than representations of it on television,' he said. 'Soaps reach a point where they have a really big decision to make - do they stay true to the original vision or do they throw it away and adapt to a changing world? My own feeling is that the truth lies somewhere in between.' The magazine also interviewed Coronation Street executive producer Kieran Roberts. He said the long-running ITV soap presented 'a warm and cosy version of the world' but added 'it's a community that's sufficiently real and sufficiently recognisable that people are drawn to it.' On the subject of the soap's ethnic mix, he said he felt they were getting it 'about right. I'd be very worried if viewers - especially viewers from ethnic minorities - were saying they didn't think the show represented them fully.'

Laurence Fox has landed the lead role in a new festive drama for ITV. Fast Freddie, The Widow and Me stars Fox as Jonathan Donald, a wealthy car salesman who is found guilty of drink driving. He ends up receiving a community service order in the run up to Christmas and has to spend time at The Moonbeam Club, a support centre for young adults. After clashing with the group's leader Laura, played by Wallander star Sarah Smart, Jonathan's attitude begins to change when he meets terminally ill club member Freddie (Jack McMullen). Jonathan ends up vowing to give Freddie, who has spent his life in care homes, the perfect Christmas. Fox has previously starred as James Hathaway in Lewis and has appeared in movies such as Elizabeth: The Golden Age and Becoming Jane. He's still probably best known as Mister Billie Piper, however. The cast of the film also includes Tamzin Outhwaite, David Westhead, Bill Paterson, Marian McLoughlin, Davood Ghadami and Judy Flynn. The drama's writer Christopher Dunlop said: 'I've always wanted to write about the magic of Christmas colliding with the way we torment ourselves trying to make that one day perfect. Fast Freddie, The Widow and Me creates an idyllic family Christmas from the most unlikely collection of characters, who in the process rediscover faith in life, love and hope for the future.' Fast Freddie, The Widow and Me, which is produced by STV, is currently being filmed on location in London.

Kimberley Walsh has claimed that programmes such as The Only Way Is Essex are 'celebrating the stupid.' The Girls Aloud singer expressed her dislike for the ITV2 series which follows the lives of a group of young Essex socialites. 'The second series of The Only Way Is Essex has ended and I'm glad,' Walsh wrote in her OK magazine column. 'I enjoy a bit of car crash TV but that was just mind-numbing! I felt like it was celebrating the stupid. It can be amusing but I always felt like it was an hour I wouldn't get back.' The twenty seven-year-old, who has been tipped as a possible replacement for Konnie Huq on The Xtra Factor, added: 'I worry that youngsters will watch these shows and aspire to become a "celebrity" by getting on TV and acting simple, which is a shame.'

Pippa Middleton has reportedly been offered five million dollars by Vivid Entertainment to appear in a porn film. According to TMZ, the sister of the newly married Kate Middleton was sent a letter by Vivid co-chairman Steven Hirsch after she 'impressed' at the royal wedding wearing a Sarah Burton-designed dress. Hirsch said that Middleton would be able to 'freely choose her sexual partner and would only be required for one "explicit" scene.' The letter read: 'As far as I was concerned, you were the star of the recent royal wedding. As I watched a broadcast of the event, I couldn't help but think that with your beauty and attitude, you could be an enormously successful adult star. This week, after seeing photos of you having a great time at a party, I decided to offer you a role in one of our upcoming movies.' Tasteful. Hirsch also tabled an offer to Pippa's brother, James, to feature in a separate scene for one million dollars. Only in America, ladies and gentlemen. Vivid Entertainment was previously reported to be interested in distributing a sex tape featuring Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt, though Montag was said to be 'strongly against the idea.'

Lord Alan Sugar-Sweetie has claimed that former Apprentice candidate Stuart Baggs has been 'seduced' by the media. Baggs was fired by Sugar-Sweetie in last year's semi-final after surviving several trips to the boardroom. Asked if he was still in touch with Baggs, Sugar-Sweetie told Heat: 'Not really. I think he's too busy mapping out his new career in, I don't know, media? I had a couple of short conversations with him to give him a bit of advice. Let's hope he takes heed of it one day, but he's been seduced by some second-rate TV channel to do something now, so we'll all sit back with bated breath to see how that turns out. I warned him that he'll just be the target of people who want him to make a fool of himself.' Earlier this year, Baggs was confirmed to appear on Channel Four show Celebrity Five Go To... alongside Christopher Biggins, former singer Sheila Ferguson, model Paula Hamilton and ex-cricketer Ed Giddins. Sugar-Sweetie continued: 'If he could contain his enthusiasm and energy and direct it into really getting on with doing something, rather than feeding his ego and trying to be funny. If he could use his intelligence on a project, he could be a very, very successful person. That's what I told him. But unfortunately he's young. You tell a child not to touch a kettle, but the only way they find out why is by touching it.' Sugar-Sweetie added that he would not give Baggs a job 'at the moment,' but that he might reconsider 'in a few years when he's burnt his stupidity out.'

The executive producer of NCIS has revealed that the final two episodes of the season will have a big impact on the characters. Speaking to TV Line, Gary Glasberg explained that viewers might be surprised when the identity of the Port-to-Port killer is revealed. 'He's been hinted at here and there,' he said. 'There are elements that have come up. It will be a surprise and yet a revelation for people. Throughout the finale there are going to be a number of "a-ha" moments. It's very multi-layered and not only wraps up the Port-to-Port story but also a lot of other loose ends that have come up. People will hopefully be excited by it.' Glasberg also hinted that not all of the characters will survive the season finale. 'I won't give you raw numbers, but I will say there is a significant loss that happens for the team - and there is probably more than one,' he said. 'What happens in this week's episode and the finale will absolutely rock the world of NCIS. There is tremendous emotional resonance that happens from the losses they experience over the next two episodes - and that resonance will be felt well into next season. I have no doubt.' Kerr Smith has signed up to guest star in the final two episodes of the season, while cast member Cote De Pablo previously admitted that she was 'deathly terrified' about what could happen.

Colin Hanks has signed up for a role in the sixth season of Dexter. According to TV Line, the actor has landed a 'major arc' in the new episodes. However, details of Hanks's character and storyline in the season are currently being kept under wraps. Colin, the son of Tom Hanks, recently starred in The Good Guys, which was cancelled in December. He has also had roles in shows such as Numb3rs, Mad Men, Band of Brothers and Roswell.

Adam Arkin has landed a guest role in The Closer. According to TV Guide, the actor will appear in one episode of the upcoming seventh season. He will play Steven Hirschbaum, a businessman who is convicted of fraud. He ends up being sued by his employees and investors, but Brenda (Kyra Sedgwick) is worried that they may go to extreme lengths to get revenge. Arkin has previously starred in shows including Knots Landing, Northern Exposure, Chicago Hope, 8 Simple Rules, The West Wing and Sons Of Anarchy. He recently had a guest role in The Chicago Code and has signed up for a part in ABC's pilot Smothered. The new season of The Closer, which is expected to be its last, will premiere on 11 July on TNT. However, the run has been extended by six episodes and producers are hoping to continue the franchise with a new spin-off, Major Crimes.

Former Football Association chairman Lord Triesman claims four FIFA members sought 'bribes' in return for backing England's failed 2018 World Cup bid. Triesman - who was initially chairman of England's bid - made the allegations about Jack Warner, Nicolas Leoz, Ricardo Teixeira and Worawi Makudi. He said their behaviour was 'below what would be ethically acceptable.' He told a Department of Culture, Media and Sport committee that his bid team should have reported them immediately. Speaking at the House of Commons on Tuesday, Triesman then said that he will now take his evidence to world governing body FIFA. But he insisted his findings would, at least initially, fall on deaf ears. Triesman said the FA chose not complain at the time for fear of jeopardising England's bid, which ended up collecting only two out of twenty two votes as Russia landed the tournament in December last year. 'I think, in retrospect, we would have burned off our chances,' he said. 'In retrospect, that was not the right view to take and I accept that.' John Whittingdale, chairman of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport committee, said he would be writing to FIFA president Sepp Blatter to launch an investigation into the evidence 'as a matter of urgency.' Blatter himself promised immediate action if evidence of wrongdoing by executive committee members was revealed. 'I was shocked [upon hearing] but one has to see the evidence,' said the seventy five-year-old Swiss on Tuesday, adding that the accused executive committee members were not elected by the same congress as him. 'They are coming from other confederations, so I cannot say that they are all angels or all devils. There is a new round of information. Give us time to digest that and start the investigation by asking for evidence on what has been said. We will react immediately against all those in breach of the ethics code rules.' Triesman's specific claims are: FIFA vice-president, the thoroughly odious Warner, asked for around two and a half million pounds to build an education centre in Trinidad, with the cash to be channelled through him, and later wanted a further five hundred thousand pounds to buy Haiti's World Cup TV rights for the earthquake-hit nation, again to be channelled through him; Paraguay's FIFA member Leoz asked for a knighthood; Brazil's FIFA member Teixeira asked Triesman to 'come and tell me what you have got for me,' with the implication being that he wanted something in return for his vote and that Thailand's FIFA member Makudi wanted to be given the TV rights to a friendly between England and the Thai national team. The smirking, odious Warner said the allegations made against him by Triesman were 'a piece of nonsense,' which is pretty much what he always says when accused of wrongdoing. Speaking to Sky Sports News, Warner added: 'I've never asked Triesman nor any other person, Englishman or otherwise, for any money for my vote at any time. In the English campaign, before Triesman was unceremoniously kicked out, I've spoken to him on his initiative on only three occasions, while I've spoken to his other colleagues on other occasions and not one of them will ever corroborate his bit of trivia. I have been in FIFA for twenty nine years and this will astound many, I'm sure - including people like David Dein [international president of England 2018 bid] and Geoff Thompson [head of England's 2018 bid].' It was also claimed on Tuesday that two more FIFA executive committee members were paid nearly one million pounds to vote for Qatar's successful 2022 World Cup bid. The accusations were highlighted by MPs, with Tory Damian Collins stating that evidence submitted by the Sunday Times newspaper - which the committee will publish - claimed that FIFA vice-president Issa Hayatou, from Cameroon, and Jacques Anouma, from the Ivory Coast, were involved. FIFA's ethics committee last year banned two other executive committee members after a Sunday Times investigation into World Cup bidding. Collins said the submission claimed Qatar specifically employed a fixer to arrange deals with African members for their votes. Mike Lee, the London-based public relations consultant who worked on Qatar's bid, said he was unaware of any payments being made. Lee, formerly communications director of the Premier League, UEFA and London's 2012 Olympic bid, told MPs: 'I was working at the highest level of that bid and talking at length with the chairman and CEO and saw no evidence of any of these allegations. My experience is I would have had a sense if such things were going on and I had no sense of that.' Two other executive committee members, Amos Adamu from Nigeria and Reynald Temarii from Tahiti, were banned by FIFA's ethics committee last year. the latest developments mean no fewer than eight executive committee members - one third of the total of twenty four - have either been alleged to have been or already found guilty of impropriety in relation to the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids.

The ornate iron gates of a children's home which inspired John Lennon's psychedelic Beatles anthem 'Strawberry Fields Forever' have been removed. The Salvation Army, which owns the former home, is putting the red Victorian gates into storage. It means Beatles fans who pass the Woolton site on bus tours will now be met with ten foot high replicas. The charity said that fans would still get an 'authentic experience.' Replicas of the one hundred-year-old wrought iron gates have been made by metal work specialist Jim Bennett, from Aigburth, and gifted to The Salvation Army. The originals are being taken to a secret location for storage, but could eventually be auctioned off. The long-term future of the site, which closed in 2005, is yet to be determined but the charity hopes to develop a centre for children with learning disabilities. 'Although care has been taken to ensure the original gates to the site have remained in good condition, inevitably time has taken its toll,' said Major Ray Irving, director of social services for The Salvation Army. 'This means that the original gates can be kept safe from further deterioration and with the replica gates in place, allow for an authentic experience for the many thousands of people who come on a "musical pilgrimage" to Strawberry Field.' Alcoholic wife-beating Scouse junkie Lennon wrote the reflective and autobiographical 'Strawberry Fields Forever' (initially entitled 'It's Not Too Bad') in September 1966 in Spain whilst he was filming his role in the movie How I Won The War. The song was recorded by The Beatles at Abbey Road during November and December 1966 - the first recordings in what would become the sessions for the Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band LP. It went through three complete and distinct versions (all at different speeds and in different keys) before parts of two different takes were (miraculously) fused together by George Martin and Geoff Emerick. (If you're looking for the exact join in occurs at exactly fifty nine seconds into the song in the middle of the word 'going'!) It was released in February 1967 as part of a double A-side single with Paul McCartney's equally brilliant an hallucinogenic 'Penny Lane' and remains one of the finest ever two-sided singles every released by anyone, although ironically it was the first Beatles record since 1963 not to make number one in the UK. (It was kept off the top by Engelbert Humperdinck.) Lennon wrote the song, in part from his memories of the home as a child. Lennon and his friends Pete Shotton, Nigel Whalley, and Ivan Vaughan used to play in the wooded garden behind the home and one of Lennon's childhood treats was the annual garden party held each summer in Calderstones Park near the Salvation Army Home, where a Salvation Army band played. Lennon's aunt, Mimi Smith, recalled: 'As soon as we could hear the Salvation Army band starting, John would jump up and down shouting, "Mimi, come on. We're going to be late."' 'Strawberry Fields Forever' and 'Penny Lane' shared the theme of wistful and gentle nostalgia for their authors early years in Liverpool. Although both referred to actual locations, the two songs also had strong surrealistic and psychedelic overtones ('Nothing is real'). George Martin said that when he first heard 'Strawberry Fields Forever' he believed it conjured up a 'hazy, impressionistic dreamworld.' It was also the subject of quite possibly the worst cover version in the history of popular music (by candy Flip). The site itself remains a popular stop on tours of the city's Beatles landmarks and Paul Beesley, chair of the Association of Liverpool Tour Guides, said he was worried about the effect of the gates' removal. He said: 'Last night I was bringing a group here and I decided to tell them they would have been the very final group who would see the gates and they were absolutely aghast.' Beesley said he would like to see the gates placed in a museum, but that uncertainty over their future was not helpful. 'We don't know what's going to happen to them - that's really worrying and I know the fans are not going to be happy.' The original Strawberry Field, which housed a large number of children who had been taken into care, was demolished in the early 1970s and replaced with a smaller building. It closed in May 2005 and has since been used by community groups and various Salvation Army projects.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45(s) of the Day we have a small selection for top tunes one of the most important cult bands of the last forty years, Sparks. Starting with that performance of their first big hit on Top of the Pops. And the moment when the camera first picks out Ron Mael. When, legend has it, John Lennon watching at home shouted to Yoko 'look, mother, Hitler's on telly!'
A pop sensation in Europe for a couple of years in the mid-70s, Ron and Russell eventually moved back to the California (strangely, they've seldom enjoyed much popular success in their homeland). Then, in 1979, they started working with Giorgio Moroder and, suddenly, they sounded like this.
Their third great period was in the mid-90s when, finally, their influence over a generation of bands started to get properly acknowledged. And they made one of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's favourite records ever.
Hilarious chaps, Sparks. They even take the mickey out of their über-fan, Morrissey.

No comments: