Thursday, June 23, 2011

For Goodness Sake

1950s drama The Hour headline BBC2's 2011 summer and autumn line-up. The channel's controller Janice Hadlow revealed the highlights of its upcoming slate of shows as detailed in yesterday's blog. The Hour, which stars Romola Garai, Dominic West and Ben Whishaw, heads up the drama output for the broadcaster, alongside Bill Nighy and Michael Gambon's Page Eight and Anna Maxwell and Claire Foy's The Night Watch. The comedy output includes a return for the award-winning sitcom Rev and a tenth series for Rab C Nesbitt. Further series of MasterChef: The Professionals, The Rob Brydon show, Dragons' Den, Frank Skinners' Opinionated and Hairy Bikers food politics show Meals on Wheels are among the factual and entertainment series airing over the coming months. Stephen Fry's Planet Word, a major new series dissecting language, is the most notable show in the arts line-up. 'BBC2 has had a great start to the year, with some breakthrough hits in drama, comedy and factual. I've been delighted to see the channel win five RTS and five BAFTA Awards, right across the spectrum of programming, and I believe the channel is performing at its best with quality, distinctive and original output,' said Hadlow. 'Looking to the next six months, we have some exciting new drama and comedy. There is a host of BBC2 talent adding their voice to the channel, like Amanda Vickery and Lorraine Pascale returning for a second time with new projects, through to some of our more established faces on the channel, like Gareth Malone, James May, Alice Roberts, Ben Macintyre and Sue Perkins.'

BBC1 has ordered a live history series in which news anchor Sian Williams and academic Dan Snow uncover stories behind the UK's most exciting historical locations. The five part National Treasures Live will be broadcast mid-week at 7.30pm during the summer. It will be shown from locations across the country, including restorations, digs and heritage sites. Williams and Snow will be joined by presenters including the actress Sheila Hancock, History Cold Case's forensic historian the excellently-named Xanthe Mallett and social historian Ruth Goodman. The show will also send Snow and The ONE Show's Michael Douglas on a 'history road trip', while MasterChef's Gregg Wallace, Ruby Wax and Lenny Henry will also feature. As part of BBC Learning's Hands on History campaign, the series will offer audiences the opportunity to get involved, with more than twenty organisations putting on events and activities. Commissioned by history and business editor Martin Davidson, the series is funded by BBC Learning and will be made in-house by BBC Vision Productions. Eamon Hardy will executive produce and Alan Holland is the series producer. Davidson said: 'National Treasures Live is a fresh approach to telling the story of Britain's shared past, bringing popular history to the heart of BBC1.' BBC1, 2 and 3 controllers Danny Cohen, Janice Hadlow and Zai Bennett have all said in recent Broadcast interviews they are keen to order more live programming.

Former Doctor Who showrunner Russell Davies has pulled few punches in his latest salvo against the hated coalition government. According to their brown-tongued slavering pals, the lice at the Daily Scum Mail, Big Rusty has described David Cameron and Nick Clegg as 'savage and evil people' over the government-enforced BBC budget cuts. Which is, of course, completely true. However, he didn't stop there. 'There is a great intelligence behind the Tory party that says let's appear slightly bumbling and slightly buffoonish, while they are lethal as a laser underneath it all,' he told Radio 4. You make them sound like the Daleks, Russell. Actually, they're much smaller and more pathetic than that.

ITN have poached the BBC's chief political correspondent Laura Kuenssberg to take up its newly created role of business editor. Kuenssberg, previously considered one of the BBC's rising stars, will join ITV in September to lead business coverage, both in the UK and internationally. She will also contribute to ITV's current affairs strand, Tonight. Kuenssberg said: 'The BBC has been an integral part of my life for more than a decade and I will always be grateful for the experiences I have been given. But while families round the UK cope with the squeeze and the country grapples with making its living, moving to cover British business is an even more exciting prospect.' She added: 'I'm really delighted to be joining ITV, and thrilled about the range of opportunities I'll have as the ITV News business editor - from being a part of the team on the award-winning News at Ten, to working with some of the best journalists in the country on ITV's Tonight programme.' Kuenssberg joined the BBC in 2000, starting in regional news but later joining The Daily Politics as a reporter. At BBC News, she covered the build-up to the Iraq war in 2003, Barack Obama's presidential campaign and the formation of the UK coalition government last year. ITV's director of news, current affairs and sport Michael Jermey said: 'Laura is an exceptionally talented journalist. She's a great addition to ITV News's team of specialist editors and will greatly enhance ITV News's reporting of business stories.' ITV News editor Deborah Turness added: 'Laura has an impressive track-record and I've admired her sharp journalism and drive. I can't wait to see her talent flourish and grow with us in such a key position.'

Case Histories finished with a marginally disappointing series average of 4.28 million overnight viewers across its six episodes. No BBC1 drama this year has been recommissioned with that sort of average figure, although Luther was last year with a very similar average overnight audience. And this year, of course, Luther has been doing fantastically, over five million on overnights and looking a certainty for a third series.

ITV is to broadcast a controversial 1960s Coronation Street suicide storyline for the first time as part of a celebration of the soap's history. Shiver Productions has been commissioned to make three part, thirty-minute series The Corrie Years, which will explore some of the most significant storylines in the soap's fifty-year history. It will include clips of a character attempting to take their own life, which was deemed too controversial to be broadcast at the time, after the plot was leaked to the press. Factory worker Sheila Birtles was filmed swallowing a bottle of pills and vomiting before being discovered but the scenes were never shown. The Corrie Years will be produced by Kerry Allison and broadcast later this summer. ITV Studios-owned Shiver has also been commissioned to make a prime time show about an ex-patriot British community in the town of Eymet in the South of France. The twelve part Little England (working title) is to explore the home comforts the community has brought to the French town, including tea shops and a local cricket team. The observational documentary will be produced by Simon Paintin, who was the executive producer of The Dales. It follows the - relative - success of similarly-themed Poms In Paradise, which has averaged around 3.7 million viewers. Both series were ordered by ITV factual commissioning editor Diana Howie and director of factual and daytime Alison Sharman. They will be executive produced by Shiver creative director Mark Robinson.

BBC1's The Apprentice continued its 2011 renaissance staying well above seven million viewers on Thursday evening and soundly beating a repeat of Lewis on ITV, overnight audience data has revealed. The firing of Leon Doyle after his team's failure in the British export challenge was seen by 7.62m viewers in the 9pm hour, up four hundred thousand week-on-week. Spin-off show The Apprentice: You're Fired! also had a bumper week, with an audience of 2.97m on BBC2 from 10pm and an additional one hundred and forty thousand viewers on the BBC HD channel. An old episode of crime drama Lewis could only muster 3.69m on ITV between 8pm and 10pm, along with one hundred and sixty thousand on ITV+1. Waterloo Road took 4.88m on BBC1 from 7.30pm, giving something of a trousers-down hiding to Poms In Paradise and their 3.24m on ITV. In With The Flynns continued with 3.61m on BBC1 from 8.30pm and a Not Going Out repeat was watched by 1.81m from 10.45pm. Coverage of Wimbledon had an average audience of 2.53m on BBC2 between 5.45pm and 9pm, with one hundred and seventy thousand people watching on BBC HD up to 8pm. The tennis's peak audience of around three and a half million at 7pm - covering Laura Robson's first round match - also seemed to hit the viewing figures for Emmerdale which was a lower than expected 5.7m

Speaking of ratings, according to the Sun, Loose Women 'was in crisis last night' after viewing figures 'plunged from two million to a low of seven hundred thousand.' The massive drop has left bosses worried the twelve-year-old format is 'growing tired.' Actually, Wednesday's ratings were 1.1m, the seven hundred thousand figure refers to Friday 3 June's episode when the audience was seven hundred and seventy six thousand. The series, which is anchored by Kate Thornton and Andrea McLean, features a team of regular panelists including Coleen Nolan, Carol McGiffin, Denise Welch and newest recruit Janet Street-Porter. The Sun report claims that after falling from two million viewers for an episode in January, the Loose Women team have allegedly been warned that the daily one-hour show could face the axe 'if things do not improve.' While changes including a new set and improved content are planned, ITV have denied that these changes are because of the slump. However, a spokeswoman for ITV defended the ratings claim: 'The average audience for Loose Women so far this year is 1.2 million, which is in line with the performance for [the] same period for the last five years.'

Times are tough, it would seem for lots of people who, just a couple of years ago, were considered to be 'celebrities' by arse-licking newspapers and magazines who believed their readers were obsessed with fame of any kind. Take, for instance, Howard Brown from the Halifax adverts. News came this week that poor old Howard's waxwork had been melted down by staff at Madame Tussauds. The reason for this? 'He's unlikely to be coming back to television any time soon,' they noted. Ah, Howard mate. The ephemeral and inherently fleeting nature of 'fame,' eh? It's a bitch, innit?

If you were still looking for a reason not to watch full-of-himself tosser Ricky Gervais' forthcoming - alleged - comedy, Life's Too Short, yer Keith Telly Topping is delighted to provide you with the ultimate in excuses, dear blog reader. As if Gervais's presence isn't enough already, it's going to feature Sting. There you go, that was a public service announcement. Stay no to Sting. You know it makes sense.

Actor David Suchet has dropped the strongest hint yet that there will be more episodes of the Agatha Christie detective Poirot. The future of the ITV drama had been in doubt since the beginning of the year when reports claimed that the adaptations were being axed because of the costs involved mixed with low ratings. Then it emerged over the Spring that ITV were considering ordering another adaptation - there are only five novels remaining to be adapted for television. Now the actor who plays the Belgian sleuth has suggested that Poirot will return. He told the Daily Torygraph: 'I have done all but five of the stories. My lifelong dream will be releasing the Poirot boxset of all the novels she wrote. It may happen. There’s a green light flickering and I'm waiting for it to be steady. It may be next autumn.' The actor was recently honoured with a CBE for his services to drama and accepted the award from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace this week.

The executive producer of Taggart is working on an adaptation of Erin Kelly novel The Poison Tree for ITV. STV Productions head of drama Margaret Enefer is overseeing the development of a two part story based on the psychological thriller, published by Hodder & Stoughton last year. The novel is being adapted by Emilia di Girolamo, the lead writer on ITV drama Law & Order: UK, and focuses on straight-laced university student Karen, who is 'drawn into the world of a bohemian orphan' who lives in a crumbling mansion in Highgate with her brother. She soon becomes entangled in the family's history and the story culminates in a murder, which casts a shadow over Karen's future. The project follows ITV's decision not to recommission STV flagship drama Taggart in May. There are no developments on STV's bid to keep the twenty eight-year-old crime drama alive and it remains in discussions with a number of other broadcasters, including UKTV, about future series. STVP is also working on ninety-minute Christmas drama Fast Freddie, The Widow And Me for ITV, written by No Angels author Christopher Dunlop.

The Mentalist creator Bruno Heller has revealed new details about the upcoming fourth season. In the third season finale, Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) publicly killed a man (The West Wing's Brad Whitford) who claimed to be his old serial killing nemesis Red John. 'Within five minutes of the season-opener, Jane is in jail for homicide with no way out,' Heller told TV Guide. 'And he and Lisbon (Robin Tunney), to some extent, start questioning his sanity.' Heller also ruled out the possibility of Jane claiming self-defence to avoid a jail sentence. 'Not only is there no cell phone with any calls from [Red John's CBI mole] O'Loughlin, but no gun will be found [by the police],' he hinted. The showrunner previously suggested that Red John's apparent death does not necessarily mark the end of the character's storyline. 'If you killed your worst enemy, would that be the end of the story?' he asked. 'No, it would be the beginning of a whole different story.'

Bones showrunner Stephen Nathan has revealed new details about the show's seventh season premiere. In the FOX drama's sixth season finale, Brennan (Emily Deschanel) confessed to Booth (David Boreanaz) that she was carrying his illegitimate love-child, after the pair spent a night of steamy and sinful passion together off-screen. Nathan told TV Line that the forthcoming premiere will reflect Deschanel's real-life situation, explaining: 'The first episode will pick up with Brennan moving into the third trimester of her pregnancy.' He added that Brennan is 'still the same strong character' and will not be limited by her pregnancy. '[She] shows no sign of slowing down,' he insisted. 'She attacks each case as she always has, although she must now deal with the realities of being pregnant.' Emily Deschanel previously suggested that her real-life pregnancy could pose a problem for the writers of Bones. The seventh season of the drama will premiere in the fall. The show will take a mid-season break to accommodate Deschanel's pregnancy, but will then return in the spring.

John de Lancie has revealed details about his character in Torchwood: Miracle Day. The Star Trek actor will play a role in the SF drama, it was announced in April. 'I'm a recurring character in the final three episodes of the series,' he told SFX. 'My character is CIA, very gruff, [and] unimpressed by the "Torchwood clowns" as he'd call them.' De Lancie, best known for his role as Q in the Star Trek franchise, added that the new season of Torchwood still has a 'British' feel. 'My sense is the show is still quite British,' he said. 'It has, mostly, an American crew, but the sensibility of it, led by Russell, is very British.' He also claimed that Miracle Day is 'completely different to Star Trek' and that his role involved 'no technobabble. It's someone's future, potentially real,' he explained. 'I enjoyed that.'

Angela Jain has made it a priority to replace Secret Diary Of A Call Girl with a new original drama for ITV2. Broadcast magazine claims that it 'understands' ITV's director of digital channels and acquisitions is examining developments from indies and is open to scripted ideas to fill the gap left by Secret Diary, which drew to a close earlier this year. While there is no specific brief, Jain is thought to be hunting for ideas which reflect the channel's 'young-skewing, female-friendly' audience demographic. ITV2 has traditionally focused on entertainment, but Jain’s biggest successes in her previous role as boss of E4 were with scripted shows. She commissioned the award winning Misfits and The Inbetweeners, with the latter becoming the highest-rated show in the channel's history last year. The final series of Tiger Aspect's Secret Diary averaged a consolidated audience of just over six hundred thousand across its eight-part run. Viewing figures had declined since the Billie Piper drama's hay-day, when it regularly exceeded an audience of one million as numerous punter tuned-in to see if, in words on one Internet forum wag Billie's character was 'going to take it up the arse this week or not.' At its peak, more than 1.9 million people tuned into one instalment in September 2007.

Panorama films made out of the BBC's Northern Ireland base are regularly coming in over budget, and in some cases by as much as double the tariff, it has emerged. 'Sources' within the BBC and 'from indies' allegedly told Broadcast magazine that a number of factors were making it difficult for the Belfast hub to produce the current affairs strand within budget. Chief among them is, the magazine claims, the cost of travel and accommodation for staff who have not permanently relocated to the nation, with suggestions that individuals sometimes stay in hotels for months. Two BBC current affairs executives are based permanently in Belfast. Another contributing factor is believed to be late changes made to films during post-production, with sources indicating this is a result of intermittent contact with executives who are not based in Belfast. The hub also tends to focus on demanding investigations rather than 'bread and butter' films, which means it is difficult to make up the shortfall through other programmes. The division is guaranteed more than ten hours of factual commissions annually, including nine Panoramas and two hour-long Panorama specials – around a quarter of the long-running current affair strand's entire annual run. The tariff varies from film to film. A BBC spokeswoman acknowledged some programmes had exceeded their budget but said it was 'not true that all editions of Panorama produced in Northern Ireland come in over budget”, stressing that many of the 30-minute shows “come in or under budget.' She added: 'The BBC’s out-of-London strategy is work in progress and we have always said there will be extra transitional costs, which we expect to fall over time.' The BBC allots an additional ten per cent towards costs for programmes coming out of the nation, as 'travel and accommodation costs obviously differ between BBC production bases. We have two executives based full-time in Belfast and it is ridiculous and wrong to suggest that senior members of the Panorama team are only involved in the later stages of production,' added the spokeswoman.

The BBC has announced that professor Brian Cox is to deliver a live lecture on BBC2 next year, discussing some of the most challenging concepts in physics. The programme, currently under the working title A Night With The Stars, will see Cox go 'back to basics' with a lecture in front of a live audience of famous faces, scholars and amateur enthusiasts. Cox will discuss a range of physics concepts in the sixty-minute lecture, including quarks, leptons and the Higgs boson particle, along with the secrets behind the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. The programme will be broadcast on BBC2 next year. Janice Hadlow said: 'A Night With The Stars is a great opportunity to combine Brian's scientific expertise with the natural, witty and spontaneous talent that we have seen on Stargazing Live and on The Infinite Monkey Cage on Radio 4. It's an exciting new departure for Brian Cox in 2012.' A Night With The Stars was commissioned by Kim Shillinglaw, and will be executive produced by Andrew Cohen, head of science at BBC Productions.

Detectives investigating phone hacking by the Filth of the World have arrested a woman in West Yorkshire, Scotland Yard has said. The thirty nine-year-old woman was arrested at 6.55am at her home on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications contrary to section one of the Criminal Law Act 1977. Scotland Yard, which has forty five officers investigating phone hacking as part of Operation Weeting, did not release details of the woman's identity. However, it is understood the woman arrested is not a journalist. She was taken to a police station in West Yorkshire for questioning this morning. Metropolitan police commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson said on Wednesday the Operation Weeting team remained at full strength and was continuing its wide-ranging inquiry into phone hacking as well as providing information for the civil court claims. A spokesman for Scotland Yard said: 'The woman was arrested from a residential address in West Yorkshire. Operation Weeting is conducting a new investigation into phone hacking. It would be inappropriate to discuss any further details regarding this case at this time.' A spokeswoman for Scum of the World owner News International said: 'This morning's events did not relate to a current employee or a former full-time member of staff of the News of the World. We have been co-operating fully with the police inquiry since our voluntary disclosure of evidence reopened the police investigation. Since then we have been determined to deal with these issues both on the criminal and civil side. In April we admitted liability in several civil cases and we are attempting to bring these to a fair resolution.' The woman is the fourth person arrested by officers on the inquiry. In April a senior reporter at the Scum of Humanity, James Weatherup, was arrested and questioned. Weatherup, who has also worked as a news editor with the Sunday tabloid, was released after questioning. The paper's chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck, and former assistant editor Ian Edmondson, were also held in April and released on police bail to return in September. Scotland Yard was heavily criticised over its handling of the original phone-hacking inquiry, which led to the conviction of News of the Screws royal editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire in January 2007. The then News of the World editor, Andy Coulson, resigned following Goodman and Mulcaire's convictions. Coulson resigned again as prime minister David Cameron's director of communications in January this year, admitting that the ongoing row about the affair was making his job impossible. Days later the Met launched Operation Weeting, after receiving 'significant new information' from News International. Subsequently, the Gruniad Morning Star gleefully reported that the thirty nine-year-old woman is 'believed to be Terenia Taras, who has contributed more than thirty stories for the News of the World, although Scotland Yard would not confirm this.' Taras is the ex-girlfriend of Greg Miskiw, the News of the Scum's former assistant editor (news). Miskiw is now understood to be living in the US. She contributed to, according to the Gruniad, about thirty six stories to the News of the World over a period of nearly six years. She last wrote for the News of the World in June 2004.

The lack of culture secretary, the vile and odious rascal Hunt, is - quite disgracefully - expected to give the final go-ahead to News Corporation's proposed takeover of BSkyB early next week, after receiving a report on the deal from media regulator Ofcom on Wednesday. The vile and odious rascal Hunt has, he claims, 'been waiting to receive final reports on the regulatory issues relating to News Corp's bid to buy the sixty one per cent of BSkyB it does not already own from Ofcom and the Office of Fair Trading.' The vile and odious rascal Hunt is expected to announce the deal will go through next week, although it is understood that he is to put the decision out to a further seven-day consultation. He has previously indicated that he was 'minded' to approve the merger on condition that News Corporation agrees to spin-off Sky News and restrict its shareholding in the channel to thirty nine per cent. And, because Uncle Rupert told him to. Although Ofcom has delivered its report to the vile and odious rascal Hunt, the lack of culture secretary is currently in Brazil with the deputy prime minister, the equally vile and odious Nick Clegg, as part of an official UK vile and odious government visit. The vile and odious rascal Hunt gave the deal a provisional green light in March and had been expected to announce his final decision by the end of April after putting it out to consultation. The delay in publishing a final approval for the takeover is due to make negotiations more intense on points of detail of the Sky News spin-off agreement between News Corp and Ofcom and the OFT, which have both been advising the vile and odious rascal Hunt on how best to sell this lemon to the British public. Regulatory sources say they want to structure the legal agreement 'so it cannot be got around' – an attempt to head off a perception that Rupert Murdoch has been successfully able to work around previous legal agreements he has signed designed to secure the editor's independence at the point when The Times was acquired in 1981 and when the Wall Street Journal was bought in 2007. In both cases the agreements were designed to prevent the editor of both newspapers from easily being removed, but in practice editors at each title have come and gone largely at the behest of the whims and caprices of the owner. The long delay is said to have 'frustrated Murdoch's News Corp,' which is keen to conclude the transaction at a time when BSkyB's share price has been rising due to its strong financial performance. Although why it should is, frankly, beyond this blogger since the sods have got exactly what they wanted with virtually no cost to them. News Corp's original proposal was seven hundred pence a share a year ago, but Sky's share price was 830.5p on Wednesday of this week. A final bid is thought likely to succeed at around eight hundred and seventy five pence – costing News Corp about £1.8bn more than the original seven and a half billion smackers proposal. A string of media organisations, including the parent company of the Gruniad, have opposed the proposed Murdoch merger, arguing it would stifle media plurality by bringing together the largest newspaper group, Sun and Times owner News International with a thirty seven per cent share of all copies sold in the UK, and the largest broadcaster, BSkyB. Although, ironically, it was reporters from one of those media organisations, the Torygraph, which in a thoroughly ill-advised 'sting operation' outed Vince Cable (LibDem, allegedly) in whose hands the decision on whether to give Murdoch what he wanted had rested, thus passing the decision on to the vile and odious rascal (and, apparently, Murdoch lapdog) Hunt. Last year the fast-growing Sky had a turnover of £5.9bn, taking it comfortably ahead of the BBC.

Glasgow production company Matchlight has secured three specialist factual commissions across two BBC channels, including a new show fronted by Professor Amanda Vickery. BBC2's The Prime Of Miss Jane Austen marks the second time that The Vickers and Matchlight have worked together, following the RTS Award-nominated series At Home With The Georgians. The new sixty-minute documentary investigates how Austen's novels have been valued in different periods in history, taking her from marginal author when she died to cultural phenomenon nearly two hundred years years later. Commissioned by Mark Bell and Janice Hadlow, the show will celebrate the bicentenary of the publication of Sense And Sensibility when it broadcasts this winter. Also for BBC2 is The Great Game, a two-part series looking at two centuries of foreign intervention in Afghanistan, from the Nineteenth Century British Empire to Cold War Soviet and US involvement, up to the current conflict. In the series, which was commissioned by Hadlow and history commissioning executive Martin Davidson, diplomat, historian and soldier Rory Stewart attempts to extract lessons from past mistakes. Matchlight is also making She Wolves, in which historian Helen Castor examines the significance of six medieval and Tudor queens who challenged the patriarchal status quo. Based on Castor's book of the same name, the lives of Matilda, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Isabella of France, Margaret of Anjou, Lady Jane Grey and Mary Tudor will be investigated over three hour long episodes for BBC4. The series was commissioned by Davidson and channel controller Richard Klein. Matchlight creative director Ross Wilson said: 'All three presenters excel at making history that is sharp, engaging and approachable.' Wilson will executive producer for Matchlight on all three programmes, while Sam Anthony will produce for the BBC.

Louis Walsh is being investigated over indecent assault claims. A twenty four-year-old man has alleged that The X Factor judge indecently assaulted him in the toilets of a Dublin nightclub earlier this year following a Westlife concert in the Irish capital. However, Walsh has vowed to clear his name, telling the Sun: 'The allegations made against me are wholly false and with no foundation. I will happily cooperate fully with the police and am one hundred per cent confident that after a full investigation I will be fully exonerated.' A spokesperson for Walsh added: 'If contacted by the police, he will willingly cooperate with any investigation.' Police sources have confirmed that an investigation into the incident, which the person involved alleges took place at the Russell Court Hotel's Krystle nighctlub in the early hours of 10 April, is 'ongoing.' The paper also reports that detectives are looking at CCTV footage from the venue as part of the investigation.

Distributor Zodiak Rights has secured pre-sale deals with broadcasters in the US and Latin America for BBC2's hour-long documentary Seventeen Days, which looks at last year's Chilean mining disaster and the time the miners spent underground. US news channel MSNBC and NBC Universal's Spanish language broadcaster Telemundo have secured the North American rights for the Ronachan Films production and will broadcast the documentary in early August this year. Directed by BAFTA-winner Angus Macqueen and promising exclusive access to five of the miners, Seventeen Days is scheduled to premiere in the UK on BBC2 later this summer, in conjunction with the anniversary of the event. Emily Elisha, Zodiak Rights head of factual, said: 'The world watched in celebration and awe as the Chilean Miners were rescued but there is a much darker, less-well known story about the first seventeen days when they were totally cut off with little hope of surviving. With exclusive first-hand testimony this moving film will reveal just how these men pulled together in such extreme conditions – and how their survival became a symbol of hope and camaraderie across the globe.'

A FIFA report 'seen by the Press Association' says there is 'overwhelming evidence' that Mohamed bin Hammam 'used bribery in his presidential campaign.' The ethics committee also stated that former FIFA vice-president the thoroughly odious Jack Warner was 'an accessory to corruption.' Or, 'the full extent of FIFA's duplicity over arch rogue Jack Warner escaping bribery charges has been laid bare by a leaked report of the ethics committee inquiry into the scandal,' according to the Daily Scum Mail. Warner resigned from his role on Monday and quit all football activities. As a result, football's governing body dropped all of its investigations into him, adding that 'the presumption of innocence is maintained.' However, the full report of the ethics committee headed by Namibian judge Petrus Damaseb said that there was 'comprehensive, convincing and overwhelming proof' that bribes had been paid to officials to support Bin Hammam's campaign for the FIFA presidency, and that Warner had 'facilitated this.' Both sixty eight-year-old Warner, from Trinidad and Tobago, and Qatar's Bin Hammam, sixty two, were provisionally suspended on 29 May. Bin Hammam withdrew as a candidate in the FIFA presidential race against Sepp Blatter on the morning of his ethics committee hearing on 29 May. Both Bin Hammam and Warner continue to deny the allegations. The seventeen-page FIFA report was faxed to Warner on 14 June. Three days later, he informed FIFA that he was quitting. The report 'obtained' by the Press Association concludes that there was 'compelling evidence' that Bin Hammam and Warner arranged a special meeting of the twenty five members of the Caribbean Football Union on 10 and 11 May in Trinidad and that, with their knowledge, cash gifts were handed over to the members. Statements from witnesses, contained in the report, said they were handed brown envelopes each containing forty thousand US dollars. One of the witnesses, Fred Lunn from the Bahamas, photographed the cash before returning it. The document also stated that four witnesses claimed Warner told the CFU delegates on 11 May that the 'money for the "gifts" allegedly distributed the day before had been apparently provided by Mr Bin Hammam.' Warner's evidence to the 29 May hearing is described in the report as 'mere self-serving declarations' and that he 'failed to provide the FIFA ethics committee with a plausible explanation.' Bin Hammam said in a statement: 'There is nothing I can say more than I deny the allegations and insist that I have not done anything wrong during the special Congress at Trinidad.' Damian Collins, the Tory MP who is campaigning for a reform of FIFA, believes the FIFA case against Warner should be re-opened. 'This makes FIFA's claim that Warner can be "presumed innocent" absolutely incredible,' he said. 'I believe Jack Warner should be made to answer these charges - it's not enough just for him to resign. This shows it was a big error of judgement by Sepp Blatter to call off the inquiry and cover this up. FIFA should also confirm Mohamed Bin Hammam should not similarly be allowed to resign in return for having the investigation dropped.' Although Warner has insisted on several occasions that he did not receive a salary for his role as vice-president of FIFA, reports in the British press stated that he stands to benefit from a pension of approximately two hundred and thirty thousand dollars a year. This was revealed in an article published by the Gruniad. When contacted by the Trinidad Express for a comment, Fuad Khan the vice chairman of the United National Congress, of which Warner is chairman, said that he wanted to 'err on the side of caution' and withhold making a statement on the article. 'If it is not an official report, I don't want to comment on something like that,' Khan said. 'Commenting on a secret report [could have serious implications] if it is not true. It would be unfair for me to do so.' Khan had, only recently, called on all party members to resist rumour-mongering, hearsay, and any vilification that may lead to Warner's conviction as FIFA vice president. He also called on party members to 'stand behind' Warner and insisted that Warner must be presumed innocent until proven corrupt. The article in the Gruniad states that FIFA has accrued a pension pot of US$16.8 million to pay a pension to' all long-serving executive committee members of the world football governing body.'

For the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, here's a sixties standard from The Swingin' Blue Jeans.

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