Sunday, July 10, 2011

Every Weekend Through The Door Comes Words Of Wisdom From The World Outside

As he made his way to work for the final time, the final News of the World editor Colin Myler said: 'It's a very sad day.' Which, it isn't, really. In fact, it's a great day. A day in which a stain that's existed for over a hundred and fifty years has been removed from British life. 'I'm thinking about my team of talented journalists,' he continued. I'm not. I'm thinking of the tens of thousands of people over the decades that your newspaper - this 'national institution' that people are getting misty-eyed over - has stitched-up or shat upon, whose lives (and those of their families) you've made a misery. The lies you've told. The wretched, nasty, mean-spirited way in which you've, literally, trampled of the graves of children to get a story. The racism, the homophobia, the sexism, the bigotry, the sleaze you've waded in. The insults you've given out. The people you've destroyed. I'm thinking how utterly effing fantastic it is that slowly, but with increasing pace these last six days, the whole sour-and-rotten-to-the-core edifice of disgraceful doings from people who have gotten away with it for decades is crumbling before our eyes. And it is magnificent in my sight! There's been a load of sentimental twaddle written in the national press over the last few days, and lots of people - who frankly should know a hell of a lot better - have been squirting salt water in their eyes and talking about the manifest tragedy of a scummy right-wing shitbag of a tabloid being bitten by its own hubris and - ironically - its own methods. I'm not sharing in that. I'm effing glad the News of the World is dead. In fact, let's have an encore, I can think of a few other worthy candidates to join it in the ground. As Gruniad columnist, and former Daily Mirra editor Roy Greenslade noted: 'I know some of the staff. And I know many of them are not guilty of any wrong-doing. However, it's a bit rich to claim integrity while working for a paper that has engaged in the dark arts - entrapment, subterfuge, covert filming, the use of agents provocateur and phone hacking - for the best part of twenty years.' What he said.
Chief sub-editor Alan Edwards said that he was 'devastated' at the closure of the paper. 'I feel sad that so many good journalists are actually going to be put on the dole because of what's happened years before they ever worked on the newspaper, so it's a very sad day,' he said. Political editor David Wooding tweeted that many people in the office were wearing black and added that well-wishers - poor deluded people who, presumably, have just been released back into the community - had left flowers on the front steps of the building. Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, who was arrested twenty four hours earlier, said that it was 'a very sad day' for the newspaper. 'More importantly to the staff who, in my mind, are brilliant, professional people and I really feel for them.' News International on Saturday denied reports that the paper's offices are to become a designated crime scene when the journalists leave. 'Following discussions with the police, all necessary steps have been taken to secure the information necessary for their investigations,' a spokesman said. Another unnamed journalist expressed the bitterness felt by many staff over the perception that they had been sacrificed to save Rebekah Brook's skin to the Gruniad: 'I know Rebekah Brooks has said she wants to find people other jobs but after the injustice and hypocrisy of what has been done to us I don't imagine many people are very interested. I've worked here a long time. In my experience there is a cult-like loyalty to the News of the World from its employees. I mean that in a positive way. It's like a big family. When I think how it had to end and the headlines we have read about ourselves – it's not a paper I recognise. And we have now all been made to suffer for one person.' Meanwhile, there were reports that the News of the World was upping its circulation to five million copies for its final edition. At least, this was according to ever-reliable-for-a-quote 'showbiz editor', the thoroughly odious Dan Wootton. He tweeted on the subject, reminding his readers that Sunday's edition will 'include my final XS column.' Thanks for the timely reminder, mate. Thanks for reminding us that we'll not have to be reading any more of your turgid prose about 'The X Factor, Cheryl and Ashley, Kate Moss, TOWIE and all of that good stuff.' Wootton - wearing a particularly vile pink shirt, incidentally - told Sky News that the increase in the print run was due to anticipated increased demand. His comments followed remarks from newspaper industry insiders that the Sunday tabloid's sales could be as much as thirty per cent higher than the usual 2.6 million copies sold. BBC News reported that the National Federation of Retail Newsagents expects the final edition to sell 'extremely well.' Spokeswoman Anne Bingham said: 'Many people will be buying it as a collectors' item.' Someone is also reported to be making a fast buck on the back of the News of the World's closure by selling the final edition on eBay. The seller has already sold two of the ten copies on offer on the online auction site - priced at five pounds fifty each. Its normal cover price is a quid. Ah, capitalism in action - Rupert's old mucker Maggie T would be well-proud. Speaking of the man himself, Murdoch has said that it was 'a collective decision' to close the News of the World. The News Group chairman and CEO, who was at a conference in Idaho, is expected to arrive in Britain sometime over the weekend, flying into the eye of the storm that has enveloped his media empire and threatened his proposed takeover of Sky.

Robbie Collin, film critic at the News of the World, has heavily criticised the paper's former features executive Paul McMullan for his dubious defence of phone hacking on Friday night's Newsnight when Steve Coogan wiped the floor with him. 'The slimebag last worked for the paper eleven years ago, yet is happy to say "we do this" every night on live telly like he still works here.' Collins added: 'The worst thing is, he's nothing to do with us. Hasn't worked here for eleven years, apparently was a walking joke when he did. How is a crumpled idiot who makes a tit of himself on Newsnight "as much of a journalist" as I am?'

The Shropshire Star, meanwhile, has an interesting rebuttal of the claims of News of the World political editor, David Wooding, that the paper's current regime had 'cleaned up' the 'dodgy practices' of their predecessors. Wooding - obviously on the look out for any work he can get - blagged himself the opportunity to write a rather self-congratulatory and, in places frankly downright Stalinist piece for the Gruniad on Saturday, beginning his piece with this hysterical (in every sense of the word) paragraph: 'It was a good day for the bad guys. Villains, paedophiles and corrupt politicians will be able to sleep more soundly now that the greatest investigative newspaper on Earth has gone.' I trust somebody will be asking Alan Rusbridger whether this former employee of a thoroughly disgraced investigative newspaper will be paid for this exercise in trying to rewrite history. Nevertheless, PR consultant Jools Payne shared her own experience in the Shrophie Star of dealing with what Wooding's refers to as his 'decent, hard-working" colleagues' when her teenage son's girlfriend, Frankie McFall, was murdered by her father, along with her mother, Susan. She describes how she was contacted on her mobile phone by someone claiming to be a PR consultant on the morning after the murders to arrange an interview with her son, Max, for the News of the World. Following repeated calls from different journalists at the News of the World, and at least two further calls from the original PR consultant, she issued a photograph of Max to a news agency with a warning that further inquiries would prompt a complaint to the PCC. Her son was then targeted by a daily torrent of 'friend' requests on Facebook, which she has no doubt were from the News of the World and other tabloid journalists. Payne writes: 'It grated with me that they were still trying to wheedle their way in to my son's life and trauma at an extraordinarily difficult time for him. These exchanges plagued me. How had the press got my mobile number? How had they found Max's address so quickly? Why had that woman purported to be a PR consultant? Frankie's headmaster told me he had News of the World (and doubtless other newspaper) hacks skulking in bushes in the school grounds and brazenly marching straight into his office demanding comments and answers with impunity. I would remind David Wooding that the ethically questionable subterfuge, and harassment my own family endured at the hands of News of the World journalists – or their appointed agents – was a mere fifteen months ago - under the watch of an editor he calls "decent."'

One of the less remarked upon aspects of the demise of the News of the World is that their psychic, Mystic Meg, is now facing an uncertain future. Oh, the irony. What a shame she, apparently, didn't foresee the closure of the paper. Not much use as a psychic, are you Meg?

Former New Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell says the Daily Scum Mail editor Paul Dacre could soon be under the same pressure as Rupert Murdoch. On his blog on Saturday Campbell praised Steve Coogan for stressing on Newsnight on Friday evening that the phone-hacking scandal is not just restricted to the News of the World, and drew particular attention to the comedian's comments about Dacre. 'He will however be a central figure in any public inquiry into the standards and practices of the modern press, because the Mail's influence has been so strong upon the rest of the media and because there is already the previous work of the Information Commissioner for a judge to have as a useful starting point when seeking answers as to why newspapers need to spend so much money on private detectives like Stephen Whittamore, Jonathan Rees, Glenn Mulcaire and many more. The Mail was the biggest user of Mr Whittamore. When police investigating a murder trial involving Mr Rees raided his home, they found invoices totalling thousands and thousands of pounds relating to inquiries into many public figures for many different papers. The inquiries on me, for example, were made by my former paper, the Mirror. As for Glenn Mulcaire, well we know a lot about him, but there is a lot more to come. So Mr Dacre and his Mail Group, whose coverage of the phone-hacking scandal has been minimal until recent days – wonder why? – will be an important part of any serious and rigorous inquiry.' All good stuff, albeit, it might have been a hell of a lot more hard-hitting if he'd mentioned his own former boss, Tony Blair, and his close working relationship with Rupert Murdoch. Shame that.

Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein (you know, the one Dustin Hoffman played in the movie) says that the phone hacking scandal should only come as a surprise to those who 'have turned a blind eye' to Murdoch's 'pernicious influence on journalism.' Writing for Newsweek, the veteran journalist says the events of the past week mark 'a watershed for Britain, for the United States, and for Rupert Murdoch.'

The Mirra, meanwhile, claims that people they describe as 'Rupert Murdoch's aides' have 'warned' Ed Milimolimandi that the tycoon's newspapers would 'never again back Labour' unless he dropped his demands for Rebekah Brooks to quit. News International 'bosses' allegedly told the party leader there would be 'repercussions' if he continued his calls for the under-fire chief executive to resign over the News of the World phone hacking scandal, it was claimed. If this is true, then to his credit Milimolimandi wasn't taking much noticed of it when he appeared on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday morning. He called on Murdoch to drop his bid to take over BSkyB and told Marr that the second thing Murdoch should do after dropping his bid is to sack Brooks. 'It beggars belief that that Rebekah Brooks is still in her post,' he added. The Mirra added that there was 'growing concern' at News International that Brooks may 'also face arrest' as her former deputy and successor Andy Coulson did on Friday. A reply - in the form of a letter - from well-known Crystal Tipps-lookalike Brooks to the Commons home affairs select committee chairman, Keith Vaz, describes the 'hurt and suffering caused to Milly Dowler's family, and the many other alleged crime victims of phone hacking' as 'horrendous and inexcusable.' Her response, along with that from Andy Coulson's lawyers, was posted on Twitter by Channel Four News home affairs producer Marcus Edwards. In the letter to MPs, Brooks denied all knowledge of any alleged hacking of the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler or any other case while she was editor. Which, if true - and hell it might be - really doesn't say much for her abilities as an editor, does it?

The family of Milly Dowler, meanwhile, will meet David Cameron on Monday to discuss the government's response to phone hacking, Downing Street has said. A spokesman said the Media Standards Trust charity – which had initially arranged talks with Nick Clegg, the deputy PM until everyone realised that he just wasn't important enough – had requested that the premier also now attend. Apparently, Hugh Grant's going to be there as well.

Scotland Yard and the CPS will be severely criticised for their handling of the phone-hacking investigation later this month when an influential parliamentary committee publishes what is described as 'a damning report' into the affair. The Observer says that it understands that the Culture, Media and Sport select committee - John Whittingdale, Tom Watson, Paul Farrelly et al - which originally investigated the scandal, is to issue a follow-up report that is expected to be 'scathing of senior figures in both organisations.' The new report is expected to criticise the former director of public prosecutions, Old Lord Macdonald (he had a Criminal Prosectuion Service, ee-aye, ee-aye, oh), who, allegedly, advised the Yard on the scope of its original investigation. Old Macdonald was head of the CPS during the initial inquiries in 2005 and 2006, when critics maintain it was aware of the true scale of the phone hacking. The committee is likely to claim the CPS simply 'rubber stamped' the Yard's request to restrict the remit of its original investigation which was confined to only a handful of victims. The criticism is potentially hugely embarrassing as Macdonald is now advising News International on how it handles legal claims brought by phone-hack victims. The CPS has defended its original decision, saying it was standard procedure in complex cases to limit the scope of an investigation. Old Macdonald's successor, Keir Starmer, will also come under fire for his subsequent handling of the affair, the Observer suggests. But the most savage criticism is likely to be for John Yates, the Met's assistant commissioner, who investigated allegations that phone hacking on the paper was widespread following the original inquiry. One MP said: 'Yates was tackled very aggressively by the select committee over the failures of the police investigation, including the lamentable performance in contacting victims. The report will undoubtedly be scathing about his actions and sceptical of the motives for the police in trying to close the inquiry as soon as they could.' The report threatens to make uncomfortable reading for the Yard, which is currently battling to distance itself from allegations that it, collectively, became too close to News International. The company said last week that it had found e-mails suggesting it paid several police officers for information leading to the arrest of three individuals.

Meanwhile, John Yates himself has expressed his 'extreme regret' for the decision not to reopen the police investigation into phone hacking two years ago. Despite fresh allegations emerging that thousands of public figures had been targeted, the senior detective ruled in July 2009 that there was 'no new evidence.' He has come under fierce fire from MPs this week over his stance and has been called on to give evidence to an ongoing inquiry by the influential Commons committee. The initial police investigation in 2006 led to the jailing of News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman and the private investigator Glenn Mulcaire. But Yates accepted News International's assurances that these men's actions were 'an isolated incident.' Speaking after this week's revelation that the mobile phone of murdered school girl Milly Dowler was among those targeted, he said: 'We are all extremely shocked by it and it is a matter of massive regret we didn't deal with it earlier.' Milly's details,along with other alleged phone hacking victims - including relatives of dead soldiers, the families of 7/7 terrorist victims and the Soham schoolgirls killed by Ian Huntley - were contained in eleven thousand pages of material seized by police when Mulcaire was first arrested in 2006 and in their possession ever since. Yates was asked by the Metropolitan Police Commissioner to look at the case again in July 2009, but said there was no fresh material that could lead to further convictions. He has now accepted that he made the wrong decision and says that he should have taken further action when the revelations came to light. He said: 'My byword has always been you look after the victims and the job will always resolve itself. I always put the victim first but here I didn't follow my principle and that is my greatest regret. I didn't do a review. Had I known then what I know now, all bets are off. I would never have reached this conclusion. I am accountable and it happened on my watch and it's clear I could have done more. I have regrettably said the initial inquiry was a success. Clearly now that looks very different.' You think? No shit, Sherlock. Yates had the opportunity to reopen the case in 2009 but chose not to do so after just eight hours' consideration, including consultations with other senior detectives and Crown Prosecution lawyers. Whether that eight hours also includes lunch and tea-breaks is, at this time, unknown. He told the Sunday Torygraph that the entire scandal has been 'a very damaging episode' for the Met Police, which now faced the difficult task of rebuilding public confidence. However, he insisted that any officers found to have been paid money by the News of the World for information would be jailed.

The Sunday Times lead story suggests that 'at least nine journalists and three police officers' are facing jail over the scandal. According to the paper, 'a cabal' of 'about six' News of the World journalists acted as the 'gatekeepers' to Glenn Mulcaire, who systematically hacked phones for them. These journalists are now facing arrest. The Independent on Sunday also says that more arrests are 'expected next week.' Its 'sources' predict that the first wave of arrests will take in 'anywhere between five and twelve' though it doesn't say whether these are journalists, editors, executive, police or, indeed, politicians. The Telegraph states that 'Rebekah Brooks, the chief executive of Rupert Murdoch's News International, faces being questioned under police caution over her role in the phone hacking scandal which brought down the News of the World.' It adds, rather tersely: 'Senior executives at News International are understood to have been warned by the Metropolitan Police that their chief executive will be expected to present herself at a London police station to give a full account of the extent of her actions during the period from 2000 to 2003 when she was editor of the now disgraced paper. Brooks will also be asked to clarify whether she authorised payments to police officers in return for information. "We've been told that Rebekah will be questioned by the police in connection with their inquiries over the conspiracy to hack phones and making payments to officers. There has been contact from the police to prepare the company for this,"' they report a 'senior News International source' as saying. 'There is a lot of anger here that she has seemed to be untouched by the fallout that is seeing good, innocent journalists lose their jobs, but it was always going to be a matter of time before the police turned to her.'

The crisis engulfing David Cameron over phone hacking deepened on Saturday when Lord Paddy Ashdown revealed that he had warned Downing Street only days after the general election of potential 'terrible damage' to the coalition if the prime minister employed Andy Coulson. The former Liberal Democrat leader, who had been 'extensively briefed on details that had not been made public for legal reasons,' was so convinced that the truth would eventually emerge that he contacted the prime minister's office. Ashdown, a key player as the Liberal Democrats agonised over whether to join in a coalition with the Tories, told the Observer that, based on what he had been told, it was obvious Coulson's appointment as Cameron's director of communications 'would be a disaster.' 'I warned No 10 within days of the election that they would suffer terrible damage if they did not get rid of Coulson, when these things came out, as it was inevitable they would,' he said. But Cameron refused to heed the advice and recruited the former News of the World editor, who was arrested by police on Friday over his role in the scandal, to be his right-hand man in charge of the media. It has also emerged that Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, received similar briefings to those given to Ashdown before the election, which he raised with Cameron only to be rebuffed by the prime minister who insisted it was right to give Coulson 'a second chance.' Senior Whitehall sources say that Clegg was 'stunned' by what he was told but concluded, after the coalition deal was struck, that he was 'powerless' to change Cameron's mind. A neat summation of the entire coalition fiasco, dear blog reader? You decide. 'Clegg said: "It is not up to me to tell the prime minister who to appoint as his director of communications,"' said 'a source'. Downing Street also faces fresh questions about why it failed to act on information passed by the Gruniad - twice, according to Alan Rushbridger - to Cameron's director of strategy, Steve Hilton, about Coulson's professional relationship with private detective Jonathan Rees. Downing Street appeared to alter its story after initially claiming that the information passed to it was merely that which had already appeared in the newspaper. Later, they amended this to claiming that 'much' of it was. The Gruniad insists that Hilton was, in actual fact, told information which it had been unable to publish owing to then ongoing legal proceedings, including the fact that Rees was awaiting trial for a murder and that he had previously been jailed for seven years for conspiring to frame a woman by placing cocaine in her car. Coulson went on to be cleared by the security vetting team at Downing Street after three in-depth interviews about his professional and personal life. He was given 'strap one' status, which allowed him the highest access to top secret material. The news will raise fresh doubts about Cameron's judgment in bringing Coulson into the centre of government and comes as the Observer revealed that Cameron's former director of communications, who was released on bail by police on Friday, has now been fired by his latest employer, Kate Robertson. Robertson, chair of Euro RSCG, one of the world's largest advertising companies, hired Coulson after he was forced out of Downing Street by phone-hacking allegations earlier this year and gave him responsibility for promoting her charity, One Young World. She said she could no longer work with Coulson after last week's 'sickening' developments, adding that she felt 'naive.' Recounting an emotional conversation with Coulson only days before his arrest, Robertson, who says she still counts him as a friend, said: 'Every time I have had a conversation, and I spoke to him at the beginning of this week, he said: "If you feel you need to step away, step away." And to be honest with you I was just going: "I'm so devastated and so sorry." The whole thing was absolutely horrific. I keep saying to myself how naive are you really? I never asked him what the truth was. I said what do you think your position is – this was months ago – and he said: "It has been a terrible thing, I don't know that it is over." And he always said: "I will try to tell you what I know if I think it is going to be terrible, I don't want to damage One Young World in any way." I accept the guy has now been arrested, but it is still a case of innocent until proven guilty. But, no, he can't do One Young World work at the moment, that is absolutely clear. I am really, really sad about the stuff this week. It is just awful and I can't say there haven't been a couple of big media figures who haven't said to me: "You must be crazy, don't you realise he is going to get arrested?"' On Saturday, Coulson denied a request from the Commons home affairs select committee for him to give fresh evidence, claiming it 'could prejudice' the criminal investigation. Brooks, as previously noted, responded to questions about the possibility that more of her titles had been involved in phone hacking by claiming she had 'no reason to believe' that was the case. Meanwhile, a sixty three-year-old man who was arrested in Surrey on Friday night in connection with alleged corrupt payments made to police officers, was released on police bail. Police would not comment on suggestions that he is a private investigator. Coulson is due to answer bail at the beginning of October. A Downing St spokesman said that the issue of warnings about Coulson was 'being looked into.'

Serious questions continue to be raised about David Cameron's judgement in appointing Coulson Sky News has been told by Alan Rusbridger, the editor of the Gruniad. He referred to how his newspaper had passed to 'a senior Cameron aide' information about the News of the World's links to the detective, Jonathan Rees, which could not at the time be reported because Rees was awaiting trial for murder. Rees had been hired to work for the News of the World when Coulson was editing the newspaper. 'That seemed to be an absolutely devastating fact and I told or got messages through to all three party leaders just to say, look you should be aware of all or part of the context of this, which is not writeable, but which will come out if Mr Cameron takes Coulson into Downing Street. There were no shortage of warnings and I know there were other Fleet Street figures who had warned Mr Cameron and he ignored them all, so that does raised questions about Mr Cameron's judgement, his stubborn insistence that he was going to take Coulson with him, but also the extent to which Coulson was vetted before he went into Dowing Street in order to see material at a very high level of security clearance. Who asked what questions? It does not seem a very thorough process to me.' Sticking the knife in even deeper, the Energy Secretary Chris Huhne said that the Liberal Democrats would look at the detail of the Opposition motion on the BSkyB takeover before deciding which way to vote. He also told The Andrew Marr Show that 'very serious risks' had been run by the Prime Minister in hiring Coulson. Asked about this week's Commons vote, Huhne said: 'There are two separate processes here - one is that Ofcom can, at any time, investigate whether the people running one of our broadcast organisations are "fit and proper people" - and that's not associated with the question of clearing the merger. I believe we should have a personal assurance from Rupert Murdoch that these illegal practices were confined to the News of the World.' Huhne's intervention on the BSkyB takeover came after Ed Milimolimandi said that Murdoch's media empire must not be allowed to take over broadcaster. On the same show, he said: '[Murdoch] has got to understand that when the public have seen the disgusting revelations that we have seen this week, the idea that this organisation, which engaged in these terrible practices, should be allowed to take over BSkyB, to get that one hundred per cent stake, without the criminal investigation having been completed and on the basis of assurances from that self-same organisation - frankly that just won't wash with the public.' The Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond, conceded that the idea of the BSkyB takeover going through while criminal inquiries arising from the hacking affair were still in progress 'raised serious concerns.' But he insisted on Sky News' Murnughan programme that the government was constrained by the law and that breaching its obligations would place it in the same category as phone hackers. Meanwhile, the lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Hunt is alleged to be 'taking legal advice' on the 'potential implications' of 'a successful Labour parliamentary motion' calling for the suspension of the deal allowing Rupert Murdoch's takeover of BSkyB. The Gruniad says that it understands the vile and odious rascal Hunt will 'seek the advice first thing tomorrow morning.' Labour may reveal the details of the motion on Monday and one 'senior source' told the paper that it would be written to ensure 'as much cross-party support as possible.'

The Church of England has condemned the phone-hacking scandal and threatened to 'disinvest' in News Corp due to the company's failure to 'uphold ethical and governance standards.' Professor Richard Burridge, deputy chairman of the church's Ethical Investment Advisory Group, said that the threat of disinvestment could have an impact in spite of the relatively small amount of shares - £3.7m - it currently holds in News Corp. 'If we don't get a satisfactory answer then disinvestment comes on to the horizon, but you can't go straight to the nuclear option, you have to engage first. I would love to think that Rupert Murdoch lies in bed at night quaking in fear of the Church of England but I fear that may not be the case. Certainly disinvestment is our ultimate sanction if engagement does not work. We have written a letter and we have not had a reply yet.' The Rev Canon Jonathan Alderton-Ford, a vicar in Bury St Edmunds and a General Synod member, added that senior figures in the church were 'embarrassed' by its holdings in News Corp. I should bloody cocoa. 'I can certainly say that clergy and lay people that know about it are of a mind that we should divest ourselves of this investment or we should be pressing through our ownership for change in the leadership at News Corp.' Oh, Rupert, you've really gone and done it now. You've lost Mumsnet, you've lost Gary Lineker, now you've lost God. How much worse is it going to get?

Peep Show co-creator Jesse Armstrong has denied claims that Channel Four is developing his script about the Murdoch family. The Murdochs is a proposed one-off drama set in the future, as Rupert Murdoch's family struggle to decide who should take over his media empire when he dies. The script was rejected by Channel Four's former director of TV Kevin Lygo two years ago because it was 'too media-centric' - or, more likely, because he was scared - but it was rumoured that it had been revived following the News of the World phone hacking scandal. The broadcaster's head of drama, Camilla Campbell, who originally brought the idea to Lygo, is said to have been a fan of the script and recently told the Gruniad that it was back in 'active development. For me it never really went away, but with the stories about hacking I think the time could be right to make this,' Campbell added. However, speaking on Twitter, Armstrong has dismissed the claim. He said: 'No - story of going into production incorrect sadly [sic].' It was recently announced that Armstrong had signed up to write an episode of Charlie Brooker's new Channel Four drama Black Mirror.

John Barrowman has claimed that he 'loved' filming a screen kiss with James Marsters for a 2008 Torchwood episode. Well, you know, who wouldn't? Women. Lesbians. Gay men. Straight men. They've all got a thing for Sweet James. Torchwood's series two opener Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang featured ex-lovers Captain Jack (Barrowman) and Captain John Hart (Marsters) on a violent - yet rather amusing - collision course, with their first meeting at a Cardiff bar culminating in a passionate kiss that subsequently erupted into a brawl. 'It was a great moment. I loved it,' Barrowman - seen left, licking Sweet James's hair! - told CNN. 'Walking through the saloon doors, right up to each other, looking like we're just going to punch the crap out of each other, and then they kiss! Brilliant.' Marsters later reprised the role of Captain John for two further episodes to close out Torchwood's second series, where his character made his peace with Captain Jack. The popular American actor - currently about to take on the role of David Frost in an LA stage production Frost/Nixon according to rumour - has since claimed that he would love to return to Torchwood for a further guest appearance. Masters, of course, was previously best known for his epic performances as Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel which gained him a cult following. Since then, he's developed a reputation as a fine character actor working extensively in US TV, most recently as a recurring villain (with a very dodgy Irish accent!) in Hawaii Five-0.

TNT has officially greenlit the Dallas reboot. In May, the network said that the remake of the popular TV show was 'still under consideration' after the series was left out of TNT's official fall schedule. Over the weekend, the network confirmed that Dallas has been given a series order. 'TNT has explored the possibility of an updated version of Dallas for several years, but it wasn't until we read Cynthia Cidre's outstanding pilot script that we knew we had the foundation for a great new series,' said Michael Wright, executive vice president and head of programming for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies. The original Dallas aired from 1978 to 1991. It followed the power struggles of the Ewings, a wealthy Texas family in the oil and cattle-ranching industries. TNT will provide a preview of the new Dallas pilot this Monday during the season premieres of The Closer and Rizzoli & Isles. Meanwhile, the series itself is expected to debut in the summer of 2012. Dallas will star Brenda Strong, Jesse Metcalfe, Julie Gonzalo, Josh Henderson and Jordana Brewster. Original Dallas actors Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray and Larry Hagman will also feature, repressing their former roles. Strong recently insisted that the new Dallas is not a remake of its predecessor, stating that the project is, instead, 'a continuation' of the CBS soap opera.

The Mirra are reporting that Cash In The Attic is being cancelled after nine years as the BBC hunts out new daytime shows. It will end its eighteen-series run in spring next year following criticism from governing body the BBC Trust that it was an example of the Beeb's 'formulaic' daytime programming. The broadcaster has had success in recent months with factual daytime shows such as Rip-Off Britain and dramas including Moving On. BBC head of daytime programming Liam Keelan said: 'Cash in the Attic has had a tremendous run, but the show has been taken as far as it can and the time is right to make way for new ideas. We've had great success recently bringing more history, consumer and drama programming to BBC daytime and we're constantly looking at ways to refresh our schedules.' Hosted by the likes of former journalists Angela Rippon and Jennie Bond, the programme sees a different presenter join an antiques expert to visit a viewer's home for a rummage to find things to auction. The format has worked for more than one thousand episodes shown daily, including celebrity versions of the show. BBC Trust attacked much of the Beeb's daytime output in July last year. It said that audiences had highlighted antique shows such as Cash in the Attic, claiming they were 'too formulaic and derivative.' Cash in the Attic began in November 2002 and has since been screened in one hundred and sixty countries.

Joe McElderry has threatened to release on new CD on the back of his alleged popularity in flop ITV talent show Popstar to Operastar. Have you no concept of mercy, you wicked, evil, shallow fraction of man?

Kate Thornton has reportedly been sacked as the host of Loose Women. The presenter, who joined the show two years ago, will not return after the show's summer break. Zoe Tyler, who has been a panellist for four years, will also exit the ITV programme as producers deal with a huge slump in ratings. 'Kate and Zoe have been fantastic on Loose Women,' an ITV spokeswoman told the Scum Mail on Sunday. So 'fantastic' that they're getting their arses kicked out of the nearest door, it would seem. 'We've really enjoyed working with them and look forward to working with them again in the future.' A 'show source' allegedly added: 'Contracts were signed on Friday and all the panellists who are returning have been spoken to. There will be some changes and it is true that Kate and Zoe will not be coming back in September.' Lynda Bellingham, Denise Welch, Lisa Maxwell and Carol McGiffin will all return as panelists, while former weather girl Andrea McLean will remain in her role as anchor. Coleen Nolan has already announced that she is leaving Loose Women to 'move on to new adventures.' What those adventures might be - so that, you know, we can all avoid them like the plague - she didn't say. Three newcomers are now expected to join the show. Sarah Millican, who joined the panel as a guest at the beginning of the year, is said to be unsure of her return due to other commitments. Come on, Sarah, you've got more dignity that that, surely? Thornton, who confirmed her split from fiancé Darren Emerson on Loose Women in February, was famously sacked from The X Factor in 2007 and replaced with Dermot O'Leary.

England survived a superb Sri Lanka fightback to win the fifth one-day international by sixteen runs at Old Trafford and secure the series three-two. When England posted two hundred and sixty eight for nine after their fifty overs and, on a pitch that was expected to be a difficult batting track, the hosts were big favourites. Sri Lanka slipped to twenty nine for three in reply but a brilliant partnership between Jeevan Mendis and Angelo Mathews threatened to turn the game on its head. However, Mendis fell for forty eight and Mathews for sixty two as England edged to victory. It was a gripping finale to a series which had seen both sides pick up a brace of easy wins apiece to leave matters tied going into the game at a new-look Old Trafford. The square has been rotated by ninety degrees as part of the redevelopment of the ground, and with it set to be properly relaid this winter the wicket was expected to be slow and grippy, favouring Sri Lanka. In the event as the game wore on it became increasingly even paced and Mendis and Mathews made batting look easy before the high run rate which they had been landed with by the failure of the tourists' top order finally took its toll. England won the toss and got off to a flyer as Craig Kieswetter and Alastair Cook rattled along at over seven runs an over until the batting power play was taken in the thirteenth over. Then, as happens so often with England these days, rather than runs flowing, there was a flurry of wickets instead. Cook advanced down the pitch and was comfortably stumped as Suraj Randiv, who was to end with five for forty two with his seemingly innocuous off-spin, finding substantial turn. Four balls later, Kieswetter was bowled by Dhammika Prasad for a run-a-ball forty three. When Kevin Pietersen soon followed, England's promising start was in danger of going up in smoke, but Jonathan Trott and Eoin Morgan set about re-establishing control. They put on an untroubled partnership of one hundred and eighteen from one hundred and twenty four balls until Morgan advanced down the pitch and was stumped for a sixty-ball fifty seven to spark another clatter of wickets. Trott's immensely composed innings of seventy two off eighty seven balls then came to an end as he unluckily bottom-edged the ball onto his stumps via his pads. England threatened to subside completely towards the end of their innings, but a late flurry from James Anderson and Tim Bresnan lifted them to two hundred and sixty eight for nine, a total TMS analyst Michael Vaughan described as 'about thirty or forty above par.' Over on Sky Sports Knighty, Bumble, Mikey, Sir Ian and co all agreed, believing that it was a pretty formidable total. Sri Lanka needed a solid start but they were soon in trouble as Bresnan made early in-roads, removing Dimuth Karunaratne and the dangerous Tillakaratne Dilshan. When Mahela Jayawardene, having been dropped a few balls earlier, lofted a drive off Jimmy Anderson to an exultant Cook at mid-off, the tourists were twenty nine for three. With well over two hundred required from just over forty overs they needed a major partnership to have any chance and Dinesh Chandimal and Kumar Sangakkara set about repairing the damage. Chandimal was the aggressor, but he chanced his arm against Graeme Swann once too often and was stumped for fifty four, having put on a partnership of ninety four. When Sangakkara chopped Bresnan onto his stumps for forty eight three overs later the writing seemed to be on the wall, and Bumble was talking about getting the caaaaar staaaaarted. But Mendis and Matthews kept the tourists alive with a battling partnership. Entering the final ten overs they needed seventy three - which seemed gettable - but Mendis finally holed out off Samit Patel in the forty sixth over. That left Mathews and the tail and with wickets tumbling around him the all-rounder decided he had to try and win it on his own. A couple of glorious fours over extra cover had both sets of fans on the edge of their seats but with two overs remaining Jade Dernbach produced a sublime slower ball which Mathews could only spoon to third man, and with him went Sri Lanka's hopes.

Clem Burke, the drummer with Blondie, is to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Gloucestershire. The veteran US musician has been awarded the degree for his 'groundbreaking work with students' as part of a pioneering drumming project. The project was launched in 2008 to explore the positive physical and psychological effects of drumming. It has also been used to target 'super-obese' children. Research has revealed professional drummers can have a heart-rate profile similar to professional footballers. The Clem Burke Drumming Project has been researching the heart rate, oxygen uptake and blood lactate levels of professional drummers in rehearsals and during live shows. Doctor Steve Draper, co-founder of the CBDP at the University of Gloucestershire, said it was 'a fitting recognition of the achievements of its figurehead. Clem is a respected, world-renowned and Grammy award-winning artist who has enjoyed a long and varied career in music. It has, and continues to be, a privilege to work with him.' Clem himself said he had never expected his work would result in such an award. 'It is truly a great honour and I accept this award on behalf of my brother drummers everywhere in the world,' he said. The graduation ceremonies will be held on 30 July.

Prince William has scored four goals at a charity polo match in California, in the latest stage of his first foreign tour as a newly-wed. The match was one of a series of British-themed events attended by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as they did what lots of British people in various walks of life do, wowed the Americans with their, you know, Britishness. They subsequently joined Hollywood stars for a BAFTA black-tie reception. Earlier they were reunited with famous friends David Beckham and Stephen Fry. The California trip follows a - very successful - nine-day visit to Canada by the royals. They drew a huge crowd at the exclusive Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club to raise millions of dollars for good causes for the club's centenary. Guests paid anything from four hundred dollars to four thousand for the privilege of watching the prince, who helped his side to victory wearing the number four jersey. The duchess drew compliments for her fashion sense, with actress Rosario Dawson calling her style 'effortless and elegant.' It's ironic, isn't it, the Americans fought a revolution to get rid of royalty, now, seemingly, they want it back! The first event of the three-day visit was a UK Trade & Investment show focused on new media, followed by a reception at the British consul-general's residence. The couple are staying at the residence. On their arrival, cheering residents lined the streets to greet them. Five helicopters flew noisily above the residence as American media tried to get a glimpse of the couple. The duke and duchess were joined by about two hundred guests at the 'drinks and canape' reception in the garden, chatting to people around the pool. Guests included people associated with the Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry and senior staff from the charity Centrepoint, which has the Duke as patron, who are in Los Angeles for the royal couple's visit to the organisation's Inner-City Arts this weekend. The duchess wore a green silk gown by the American designer Diane Von Furstenberg for the event. After the event, Stephen Fry tweeted: 'Entirely charming evening at the British Consulate here in LA. The Cambridges dazzled everyone.' 'They are the most genuine, down-to-earth people I have ever met,' said Neil Stiles, the president of Variety magazine group who hosted the technology event at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. William and Kate are to visit a community arts organisation working in the deprived Skid Row area of the city, as well as a jobs fair staged by charities that support the reintegration of servicemen and women into civilian life. Speaking shortly ahead of the couple's arrival, Sir Nigel Sheinwald, Britain's ambassador to the US, said: 'They have had a fantastically successful trip to Canada and they will have a great welcome in California. They will meet a huge range of people from the governor to people working in the projects of Skid Row. They will get a good snapshot of life in this part of California.' The city has taken measures to protect their privacy from the paparazzi, as police have enacted strict anti-trespassing measures to keep photographers at bay.

The phone-hacking scandal, and News International's decision to close the News of the World, dominated the news on Friday with several pages of coverage in all of the national papers. Even the Metro gave it five pages worth of coverage. Well, almost all of the papers – the Daily Lies (a mere two pages) and Daily Scum Express (just three) both paid something approaching lip service to the story - the Lies being, predictably, far more interested in their front page story about the Duchess of Cambridge's dress blowing in the wind and revealing a flash of thigh. But at least the Scum Express managed to work the late Princess Diana into their coverage. So, you know, it proves they were paying attention.

For today's special Keith Telly Topping's 45(s) of the Day (and a 33 as well), I decided not to have 'It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)' for the third time and, instead, went for a trio of descriptive emotions on this historic day. This one.
This one. (You tell 'em, Joe!)
And, this one - for Rupert and co. Hope your sleep hasn't been too affected the last week.

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