Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Time is Money (Bastard)

The BBC director general, Mark Thompson, has ruled out any proposed merger between BBC local radio with Radio 5Live or dropping the BBC Parliament channel from Freeview as part of plans to find twenty per cent of cost savings. Thompson said that he would not be closing any local radio stations or merging regional TV news operations in England. Something which yer actual Keith Telly Topping has been forthright in his opposition to since the proposals were first leaked to the press earlier in the year. As I said then, yer actual Keith Telly Topping freelances in local radio - so, he's got a vested interest in the subject, he freely admits as much. But it is important to note that it's arguable 'BBC local radio is the - possibly only - proper surviving example of the original Reithian concept of true, genuine "public service broadcasting."' It exists purely to service local licence fee payers with something that directly affects, educates, informs and entertains them. Whatever you might've heard about BBC local radio, it's not Alan Partridge, dear blog reader. It's much more important than that. 'We haven't ruled out service closures yet but the work so far suggests there's a smarter way of making savings without taking entire services away from the public ... because every single service is strongly valued by its audience,' Thompson added. The director general made the comments in an e-mail to staff updating them on the progress of his Delivering Quality First initiative to cut costs by twenty per cent as a result of last year's flat licence fee settlement. A merger between local radio and Radio 5Live was one of the - idiotic - proposals to come out of DQF, but it has now been ruled out, as was the withdrawal of the BBC Parliament channel. 'I'd also like to reassure you about some of the things that we won't be proposing, but about which there has been speculation,' said Thompson. 'We won't be closing any local radio stations or television regions. There will be no full or partial merger of local radio and Radio 5Live. We will not be removing BBC Parliament from Freeview. And as you heard from the chairman earlier this month, we will not be privatising BBC Worldwide.' Thompson said that job losses would be 'relatively higher in non-content areas and among senior managers.' He added that his staff e-mail followed what he called a 'positive meeting' with the BBC Trust last week, with final proposals due to be presented by management in September. Thompson said the BBC would focus its investment on five editorial priorities: the best journalism in the world; inspiring knowledge, music and culture; ambitious UK drama and comedy; outstanding children's content and events that bring communities and the nation together. Of the twenty per cent savings, ten per cent will come from productivity, eight per cent from 'scope reductions' and two per cent from current efficiency programmes and from increased commercial revenue. 'Those scope changes have to mean real cuts in activity rather than efficiencies by another name, otherwise there's a risk that quality will suffer,' Thompson said. 'We haven't ruled out service closures yet but the work so far suggests there's a smarter way of making savings without taking entire services away from the public. Why? Because every single service is strongly valued by its audience.' He added: 'Inevitably the financial challenge we face will mean post closures over the period to 2016 and I appreciate it's important to end the uncertainty as soon as we can. I expect percentage job losses to be relatively higher in non-content areas and among senior managers, and lower in content areas but this picture will vary across the BBC and over time. As always, where possible, we will seek to implement this through turnover, redeployment and voluntary redundancy. We expect the total job losses to be lower than some of the wild numbers I've seen in the press. We'll give you the full picture as soon as it is agreed with the trust.'

ITV has recommissioned four of its new drama series. Vera, Scott & Bailey, Monroe and Case Sensitive will all be returning with new episodes, the channel has announced. Vera, which stars Brenda Blethyn as a detective, will return with four two-hour films. Filming has already started on the new episodes. Scott & Bailey will return next year with eight new episodes. The drama stars Suranne Jones and Lesley Sharp as police officers working together in Manchester. The new series of Monroe will focus on neurosurgeon Gabriel Monroe getting used to single life and facing further challenges at work. James Nesbitt and Sarah Parish will return to the series, along with two 'major new additions' to the cast. However, production on the show is not expected to begin until next year. Meanwhile, Case Sensitive will return with a new two-part story based on Sophie Hannah's novel The Other Half Lives. Darren Boyd and Olivia Williams are due to reprise their roles as DC Simon Waterhouse and DS Charlie Zailer. ITV's director of drama commissioning Laura Mackie said: 'We couldn't be more delighted with the success of Vera, Case Sensitive, Monroe and Scott & Bailey. It's terrific to think we are commissioning the most watched and appreciated original dramas for the ITV audience.' Of the four, Scott & Bailey was, by far, the biggest ratings success. ITV has already renewed its Trevor Eve drama Kidnap & Ransom and is working on a new one-off film based on the work of Victorian detective Inspector Jack Whicher following the success of The Suspicions of Mr Whicher with Paddy Considine.

Series eight of New Tricks stayed well above eight million viewers on Monday night, as Jason Manford's Show Me The Funny continued to struggle, according to overnight audience data. A new episode of the crime drama, titled Setting Out Your Stall, was seen by 8.28m on BBC1 from 9pm. Meanwhile, Show Me The Funny continued with a meagre 2.48m on ITV and a further one hundred and forty six thousand viewers on ITV+1.

The Conservative party reportedly agreed to abandon plans to share money from the BBC licence fee with other broadcasters after a request from James Murdoch. The policy, known as 'top slicing,' was picked up by the Tories in 2008 as a way to use a proportion of the then £3.2bn annual licence fee to ensure Britain had 'a plurality of public service broadcasters.' A later version of the proposal involved one hundred and fifty million pounds of licence fee money going to Channel Four, under new public service obligations including education and promoting cultural diversity. Tory leader David Cameron, then in opposition, opted to drop the plan in November 2008, saying: 'I'm sceptical of that. I think we need to look at this issue of top slicing but I think there are quite a lot of difficulties with it.' The proposal was also not included in the Conservative manifesto at the general election in 2010. Neither was capping the BBC's licence fee as a matter of pure disinterest, but they did that anyway. Tim Montgomerie, editor of the ConservativeHome website, said that he was at the time informed by a senior Tory, claimed to be 'one of the architects of the policy,' that it was abandoned after a request by News Corporation executive James Murdoch. Murdoch wanted to preserve the duopoly between the BBC and Sky because that was the most desirable situation for News Corp, according to the Sunday Torygraph. A 'senior source' allegedly said: 'The last thing Sky wanted was other broadcasters getting a slice of the licence fee. The policy was amended accordingly.' A spokesman for the lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Hunt denied the 'top slicing' stance, but another 'well placed' Tory MP has backed claimed that the vile and odious rascal Hunt is not being entirely frank and that Cameron 'exerted pressure' on the vile and odious rascal and spineless coward Hunt to drop the policy. The National Union of Journalists has said that evidence James Murdoch may have changed broadcasting policy 'underlines the need to reassess the current disastrous BBC licence fee deal.' Last October, the BBC and the government hastily agreed to freeze the TV licence fee for six years, effectively cutting the corporation's income by sixteen per cent in real terms. The BBC was also handed additional financial obligations such as BBC World Service and BBC Monitoring. Again, none of which was in the Tory manifesto at the last election. And, it wasn't in the Lib Dem manifesto either. Just a further thought to illustrate that all politicians are scum and will say owt to get themselves elected. The BBC's resulting drive to cut its budget by up to twenty per cent has already proved controversial, with the NUJ staging a twenty four-hour strike earlier in the month over compulsory redundancies at BBC News. NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said that the Sunday Torygraph report demonstrated the 'sinister influence wielded by the Murdochs over government. David Cameron and his colleagues have been shamelessly prioritising the commercial interests of the Murdochs over those of the British public,' she said. 'The shabby deal on the BBC licence fee settlement was done behind closed doors last autumn, with no democratic scrutiny or transparent discussion. It marked a watershed in the BBC's eighty nine-year history.' Stanistreet added: 'The decision to freeze the licence fee for the next six years has led to the axing of vital language services at the BBC World Service and the imposition of twenty per cent spending cuts across the BBC. Quality public service journalism and the BBC audiences are suffering the consequences of this deal, clearly taken at a time when huge pressure was being exerted by News Corporation. The dodgy licence fee deal must now be re-examined as a matter of urgency in light of the latest revelations. The deal should be undone and there should be the proper transparent and open debate with staff and stakeholders about the future funding of the BBC that was called for - and ignored by the government - at the time.' Cameron remains under pressure over his close relationship with the Murdoch empire following revelations that he has had twenty six meetings with News Corp executives since entering Downing Street. The Prime Minister was also recently forced to admit that he had discussed News Corp's proposed takeover of Sky with Murdoch executives, although the conversations were described as 'appropriate.' News Corp ultimately decided to withdraw its eight billion quid bid to acquire the sixty one per cent of Sky that is does not already own following the phone hacking scandal. However, that has not stopped questions over how the government managed the regulatory review process of the takeover. Ivan Lewis, the shadow lack of culture secretary, said that the latest allegations of Murdoch influence over government policy 'raise further serious questions about David Cameron's judgment. The suggestion that Tory media policy has been driven by NewsCorp's interests and not the public interest will send shock waves through his own party and among Lib Dem MPs,' said Lewis. 'They will fuel suspicion that the supposed independent decision making process in relation to Sky was nothing but a sham.'

The British Phonographic Industry chairman Tony Wadsworth has said that the BBC needs to produce a new music show similar to Top of the Pops. Simon Cowell has previously shown interest in buying the Top of the Pops franchise, while Channel Five owner Richard Desmond revealed that he wanted to revive the show last year. Wadsworth told Music Week: 'We are not saying "bring back Top of the Pops" but there is a gap, and the BBC is missing a trick by not having a show.' BBC 6Music presenter Wor Luscious Lovely Lauren Laverne agreed, but said that the format would need to change in order to attract new viewers. 'I think now more than ever we need Top of the Pops back. I don't know whether you'd want to do it in a chart-based way or more of some kind of social media you could base it on.' However, the BBC cooled any rumours of a return for the show, with a spokesperson saying: 'We are constantly in discussion with the music industry, but there are currently no plans to bring back Top of the Pops.' The final weekly Top of the Pops episode was broadcast on 30 July 2006, though the traditional special editions continue to be shown at Christmas.

The BBC has said that it expects more than three quarters of the UK population to watch its coverage of the London Olympics next year. Roger Mosey, the head of BBC Olympics coverage, said that the corporation thinks viewing figures for the UK Games will be on a par with previous Olympics. He said that seventy five per cent of the TV audience tuned in to BBC coverage of the Beijing Olympics in 2008, despite the time difference issues, while eighty per cent watched the Athens games in 2004. 'Interest is building slowly, evidence from the past host cities is that it takes off in the final year,' Mosey told a meeting of international broadcasters according to the Torygraph. Mosey confirmed that the majority of the BBC's coverage would be aired on BBC1, along with twenty four dedicated Internet and interactive TV channels. Gary Fenton, the Olympics head of the Australian rights-holder Channel Nine, said that the dour British weather would not be an issue for broadcasters. However, both Mosey and Fenton said that the biggest challenge facing the organisers would be the safe transport of officials, athletes and spectators. 'Getting them in and getting them out, we are not sure how it will work,' said Fenton. Both Fenton and Mosey also agreed that the biggest television audience during the Games would most likely come from the men's one hundred metres final. In June, the BBC selected sports media services company Deltatre as the main television graphics provider for its coverage of London 2012. The corporation also offered live 3D coverage of this month's Wimbledon Finals to digital TV platforms, possibly offering a glimpse as to how it could run live 3D broadcasts of the Games.
A 'special committee' at News Corporation's the Wall Street Journal has criticised the paper's coverage of the phone-hacking scandal at News International as 'too slow,' and distanced itself from an interview that the paper did with Rupert Murdoch at the height of the recent controversy as being 'not tough enough.' In a long piece, the committee – which was set up 'to oversee the continued editorial integrity of the Journal and its sister organisation, Dow Jones Newswires' when News Corp took over in 2007 – writes that it believes no one is putting 'political, ideological or commercial pressure' on journalists to damp down their coverage of the story. But, it says: 'The Journal was slower than it should have been at the outset to pursue the phone-hacking scandal story, in our opinion, though it is doing much better now with aggressive coverage, fitting placement in the paper, and unflinching headlines. We agree it could have done a better job with a recent story allowing Mr Murdoch to get his side of the story on the record without tougher questioning. We have discussed this with the involved editors.' The interview with Murdoch came on Thursday 14 July following the closure of the News of the World and the abandonment of News Corp's bid for one hundred per cent of BSkyB, and led to criticism of the News Corp chief after he used it to say that his company had handled the crisis 'extremely well in every way possible,' making just 'minor mistakes.' The committee also says that it finds 'nothing to even hint that the sort of misdeeds alleged in London have somehow crept into Dow Jones,' and warns against complacency in case the 'journalistic rot on sad display in the UK' spreads. It goes on to reject the idea that it should have 'tested' Les Hinton's claim that phone hacking was the work of a lone rogue reporter, saying that it was created 'to help preserve the editorial integrity of Dow Jones and that is where we have focused our attention.' Hinton was the former chief executive of News International who crossed the Atlantic to become chairman of Dow Jones. The report says that there has never been any suggestion that Hinton has promoted or condoned misconduct at Dow Jones. And it concludes that it did not find 'a pattern of wrongdoing, a culture of journalistic malpractice,' or that journalists are 'shills for Rupert Murdoch.' But the committee says that it has had and is continuing to have meetings with Robert Thomson, the WSJ editor, and other key figures, about 'steps to be taken to make sure that no issue of journalistic integrity lurks hidden and that the standards of Dow Jones are reinforced.' On Friday the Journal reported that the US department of justice was 'preparing subpoenas as part of preliminary investigations' into News Corp relating to alleged foreign bribery and hacking. Murdoch made it clear in his testimony to the culture committee on Tuesday that he considers the Wall Street Journal the jewel in his crown. Last Monday it published a thoroughly arse-licking leading article attacking the Gruniad and the BBC for their coverage of the phone-hacking story and stoutly defending News Corp.

Sheila Hancock, Paterson Joseph and Martin Kemp have signed up to guest star in the eighth series of Hustle. Filming for the new episodes, which are expected to be the last featuring the current cast, began this week. Robert Vaughn, Robert Glenister, Kelly Adams, Matt Di Angelo and Adrian Lester will all return for the series, which will see the characters trying to pull off their biggest con yet. The group will also attempt to scam the world of slimming pills and try to carry out a difficult gold heist. 'Hustle has been a big part of my life for the last eight years,' Lester said. 'The time is right for me to move on. I'm looking forward to seeing what tricks the gang get up to in this last series and I'm very pleased to be given the opportunity to direct one of the episodes.' Meanwhile, the show's executive producer Karen Wilson said: 'Hustle goes from strength to strength every year, cementing its position as one of BBC1's most successful dramas. The new series will be no exception, featuring some fantastic cons that will keep viewers guessing until the very end of each episode with daring double-bluffs and unexpected twists and turns.' The eighth series of Hustle will be filmed this summer in Birmingham and London and the show will broadcast on BBC1 next year.

Jon Hamm has signed up for a role in The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret. The Mad Men actor will appear in five episodes of the comedy's six-part second season, the show's network IFC announced. However, details of Hamm's character in the show have not yet been released. Hamm is best known for his role as Don Draper in Mad Men. He has also had guest roles in comedies like 30 Rock and Children's Hospital and recently starred in the movie Bridesmaids. Meanwhile, former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, who worked on the first season of Todd Margaret, will return to provide more original music for the soundtrack. The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret stars David Cross as Todd Margaret, a man who ends up landing a senior sales position in London. Sharon Horgan plays Alice, the object of his affection, while Will Arnett appears in the show as Todd's boss, Brent. Cross has previously claimed that the show was 'a little overly influenced by Lost.'

Channel Four is to 'pay tribute' to - or 'exploit before her body's even cold' depending on your point of view - Amy Winehouse following the singer's death on Saturday. The broadcaster has announced that it is to screen an updated version of the documentary Amy Winehouse: What Really Happened on Tuesday night, reports Broadcast. The film, originally compiled by Jacques Peretti in 2008, will investigate how the twenty seven-year-old went from being one of the most talented singers of her generation, to falling into a destructive path which led to her death. It includes interviews with friends and family, exploring important events in her life from the divorce of her parents to her relationship with Blake Fielder-Civil. Amy Winehouse: What Really Happened will be broadcast on Channel Four on Tuesday at 11.05pm. It replaces a repeat of Alan Carr: Chatty Man. And, I hope whoever made such a decision will be able to sleep soundly in their beds. Which they probably will since, as they work in television, they will have no conscience whatsoever.

Now, dear blog reader, a recommendation: Check out, please, Charlie Brooker's fantastically angry piece of the media coverage of the atrocities in Norway in the Gruniad: 'I went to bed in a terrible world and awoke inside a worse one. At the time of writing, details of the Norwegian atrocity are still emerging, although the identity of the perpetrator has now been confirmed and his motivation seems increasingly clear: a far-right anti-Muslim extremist who despised the ruling party. Presumably he wanted to make a name for himself, which is why I won't identify him. His name deserves to be forgotten. Discarded. Deleted. Labels like "madman", "monster", or "maniac" won't do, either. There's a perverse glorification in terms like that. If the media's going to call him anything, it should call him pathetic; a nothing. On Friday night's news, they were calling him something else. He was a suspected terror cell with probable links to al-Qaida. Countless security experts queued up to tell me so. This has all the hallmarks of an al-Qaida attack, they said. Watching at home, my gut feeling was that that didn't add up. Why Norway? And why was it aimed so specifically at one political party? But hey, they're the experts. They're sitting there behind a caption with the word "EXPERT" on it. Every few minutes the anchor would ask, "What kind of picture is emerging?" or "What sense are you getting of who might be responsible?" and every few minutes they explained this was "almost certainly" the work of a highly-organised Islamist cell. In the aftermath of the initial bombing, they proceeded to wrestle with the one key question: why do Muslims hate Norway? Luckily, the experts were on hand to expertly share their expert solutions to plug this apparent plot hole in the ongoing news narrative. Why do Muslims hate Norway? There had to be a reason. Norway was targeted because of its role in Afghanistan. Norway was targeted because Norwegian authorities had recently charged an extremist Muslim cleric. Norway was targeted because one of its newspapers had reprinted the controversial Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Norway was targeted because, compared to the US and UK, it is a "soft target" – in other words, they targeted it because no one expected them to. When it became apparent that a shooting was under way on Utoya island, the security experts upgraded their appraisal. This was no longer a Bali-style al-Qaida bombing, but a Mumbai-style al-Qaida massacre. On and on went the conjecture, on television, and in online newspapers, including this one. Meanwhile, on Twitter, word was quickly spreading that, according to eyewitnesses, the shooter on the island was a blond man who spoke Norwegian. At this point I decided my initial gut reservations about al-Qaida had probably been well founded. But who was I to contradict the security experts? A blond Norwegian gunman doesn't fit the traditional profile, they said, so maybe we'll need to reassess. But let's not forget that al-Qaida have been making efforts to actively recruit "native" extremists: white folk who don't arouse suspicion. So it's probably still the Muslims. Soon, the front page of Saturday's Sun was rolling off the presses. "Al-Qaeda" Massacre: NORWAY'S 9/11 – the weasel quotes around the phrase "Al Qaeda" deemed sufficient to protect the paper from charges of jumping to conclusions. By the time I went to bed, it had become clear to anyone within glancing distance of the Internet that this had more in common with the 1995 Oklahoma bombing or the 1999 London nail-bombing campaign than the more recent horrors of al-Qaida. Some remained scarily defiant in the face of the new unfolding reality. On Saturday morning I saw a FOX News anchor tell former US diplomat John Bolton that Norwegian police were saying this appeared to be an Oklahoma-style attack, then ask him how that squared with his earlier assessment that al-Qaida were involved. He was sceptical. It was still too early to leap to conclusions, he said. We should wait for all the facts before rushing to judgment. In other words: assume it's the Muslims until it starts to look like it isn't – at which point, continue to assume it's them anyway.' Rage on, King Charlie, your nation needs you.

Terry Gilliam and Simon Callow are to star in a new BBC (if you will) 'mockumentary' about fictional forgotten film stars. The Cricklewood Greats has been written by The Thick Of It's Peter Capaldi along with Tony Roche, who was also on the political satire's writing team. Other actors taking part include former Hollyoaks star Tim Downie, and Alex Macqueen, who played Julius Nicholson in The Thick Of It. A pilot is being made for BBC4, but Capaldi would not be drawn too deeply into the details of the project in an interview with Chortle this week. However, he did confirm that Malcolm Tucker would be making an appearance in the fourth series of The Thick Of It next year; the first episodes since the Tory-led coalition took power. But he also dropped hints that the savage spin doctor might not be in the comedy forever, saying: 'I don't think it's a show that's reliant on cast.'

Fiona Bruce's former accountant was facing ruin according to an article in the Gruniad, after formally being told by the taxman that it would no longer deal with him. The decision will create further complications for the thousands of freelance clients working in stage and screen who depended on Christopher Lunn and Company. HMRC told Lunn this week that it would no longer recognise any returns filed through his East Sussex-based firm. The taxman is pursuing Lunn and his seven thousand clients for what it believes is one hundred and seventeen million smackers in unpaid tax. In a court judgment published in February it emerged that HMRC believed there were systematic errors in tax returns filed on behalf of clients by Lunn's firm. HMRC feared that one client had allegedly omitted seven thousand quid of income from their return, claimed that sixty five thousand wonga of income came from a 'non-domiciled distant relative' without the necessary supporting evidence, and said that a holiday in Palma had, in fact, been a business trip to New York. Another client submitted a return which had claimed no income from property, despite their bank statements featuring income labelled 'rent.' HMRC raided Lunn's offices in June last year, with Lunn and his son Jonathan arrested and interviewed under caution by the law. The taxman is pursuing a criminal investigation into the firm and a separate civil inquiry into Lunn's clients to claw back unpaid tax. Christopher Lunn acted for thousands of TV freelancers including Fiona Bruce and fellow newsreader Joanna Gosling. Companies House records indicate that Bruce and Gosling's service companies, which had been registered at Lunn's firm's address, are now registered at the addresses of different accountants. The decision, which has immediate effect, means that current clients will need to find a new accountant to file their tax returns, as well as somebody else to represent them in the ongoing civil inquiry. Around one thousand five hundred clients are thought to have left since the problems began. HMRC had earlier tried to withdraw Lunn's ability to file returns, but lost a judicial review into its move after the courts said it had not followed proper processes. The tax authority said it would write to all Lunn's clients, past and present, to inform them of its decision. Permanent secretary for tax Dave Hartnett said: 'HMRC decides to stop dealing with tax agents only in exceptional circumstances, where we have reason to believe there may be serious irregularities in tax returns and accounts.' A spokesman for Christopher Lunn said: 'Our lawyers have today received notification that HMRC has, yet again, decided to refuse to deal with CLAC as a tax agent. In making this decision, we believe that HMRC has acted wrongly and improperly and we will be contacting them to demand an explanation of their conduct.'

The high court has extended a gagging order obtained by a leading actor to prevent reporting of his 'sexual relationship' with a former prostitute. The married actor, described by judge Mr Justice King as 'a world-famous celebrity,' brought a privacy injunction to stop naughty Helen Wood revealing details of his extramarital affair in April. In a judgment handed down on Friday, King agreed to uphold the gagging order but relaxed rules over how the actor can be identified. The actor – who has admitted to the affair – can now be identified as 'a leading actor' and 'a world-famous celebrity,' King said in the judgment. The media can also refer to the affair as 'a sexual relationship.' The judgment was published online on Friday but was later withdrawn by the court due to copyright issues, it is understood. The judge added: 'It seems to me that this is material to the public debate about the class of person who is seeking these injunctions and the status they are seeking to protect when preventing the publication of private sexual encounters.' No anonymity was sought by Wood, described by the Daily Torygraph as 'a middle class prostititue', who has previously claimed to have slept with Wayne Rooney and then sold her story to the now defunct News of the World. Wood had offered information about her relationship with the actor to the Sun. Granting the injunction, King concluded that the actor was 'likely to establish that he has a reasonable expectation that that which he does in his private life by way of sexual encounters, albeit with a prostitute, should be kept private.' The judge also pointed out that neither Wood nor the Sun had argued that publishing details about the affair was 'in the public interest.' The injunction is the latest to be heard in the high court following a huge storm over the controversial gagging orders in May and June.

Another recommendation, now, dear blog reader. Two in one day - that's more than yer actual Keith Telly Topping normally gives out in an entire month. There's a very good piece in the Evening Standard by Rosamund Urwin on the anachronistic idea of male-only private members clubs after it was announced that the actor Hugh Bonneville has proposed that Joanna Lumley be allowed to join the Garrick, which would break a one hundred and eighty year men only tradition.

Odette Annable has signed up for a role in House. Annable will be a series regular when the show returns for its eighth season in October, Deadline reports. Details of Annable's character have not yet been confirmed, but she is expected to play a doctor working at the prison where House (Hugh Laurie) is being held after driving into Cuddy's home in the season seven finale. House allegedly ends up recruiting Annable's character to join his team at Princeton-Plainsboro. Annable's entrance follows the news that Lisa Edelstein will not be returning to the show. Recurring star Amber Tamblyn has also completed her arc on the series, while cast member Olivia Wilde is expected to take further breaks to pursue her movie career. Annable's House contract reportedly includes space for her to continue working on FOX's show Breaking In if it is picked up. The series was cancelled in May but reports have suggested that it could yet be saved. Annable has also appeared in Brothers & Sisters as Annie, a love interest for Justin, who was played by her real-life husband Dave Annable. She has also worked on shows including October Road and South Beach and had a role in the movie Cloverfield.

And, so to cricket. Jimmy Anderson took five for sixty five as England stormed to a one hundred and ninety six-run victory over India on the final afternoon of a thrilling opening Test at Lord's. Needing nine wickets to win, England made the perfect start, removing three batsmen in the morning session, and taking the key wicket of Sachin Tendulkar after lunch. With Suresh Raina (seventy eight) offering stern resistance, India battled through to tea with five wickets intact, but Chris Tremlett removed captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and the tourists' tail offered little resistance. With a packed Lord's cheering every ball, Stuart Broad took the last Indian wicket, sparking jubilation among the England players as they seized a one-nil lead in the four-match series. And, Andrew Strauss's men will head to Trent Bridge for the second test on Friday full of confidence after getting the better of the world's top-ranked side in a match which proved entirely worthy of the two thousandth test in the history of the game. India remain the number one side in the test rankings but England will supplant them if they can win the series by a two-match margin. With all four results still possible at Lord's, fans queued up outside the ground from as early as 2.00am to get their hands on a ticket for the final day's action. By 9.30am, ninety minutes before the start of play, hopefuls arriving at St John's Wood Underground station were being turned away, while the ground was beginning to fill with those lucky enough to get a seat. It took half an hour for the first wicket to arrive but when it did, it was the crucial one of first innings centurion Rahul Dravid. Dropped on thirty five by Ian Bell at short leg, Dravid added just one more run to his score before he flung the bat at a wide away-swinger from Anderson and was caught by Matty Prior behind the stumps. VVS Laxman eased his way to a fifty third test match fifty and was looking comfortable at the crease before he was tempted into a cross-batted pull at an Anderson loosener and pulled straight to Bell at mid-wicket. In the next over, three wickets became four as Gautam Gambhir was deceived in the flight by spinner Graeme Swann and trapped leg before wicket for twenty two. The left-hander asked for the decision to be reviewed by the TV umpire but replays showed there was no edge onto the pads to save him. Enter Tendulkar, for perhaps his final Test appearance at Lord's, but after getting off the mark with a four off his toes, the little master looked somewhat out of sorts having missed much of Sunday's fourth day because of a viral chest infection. He was lucky to survive an lbw appeal from Stuart Broad - one of two desperately poor LBW decisions from the usually reliable umpire Billy Bowden - and was dropped in the slips by England captain Strauss. But then, just two balls later, he missed a straight ball from Anderson and was trapped in front for twelve off sixty eight balls. Raina and Dhoni added sixty either side of tea, raising the prospect of India saving the game, but the new ball did the trick for England, with Chris Tremlett finding the edge as Dhoni limply dangled his bat away from his body and Prior doing the rest. The last four wickets fell in quick succession as Harbhajan Singh skied an attempted pull and Broad clean bowled Praveen Kumar. An Anderson away-swinger drew an edge from the excellent Raina, before Broad (three for fifty seven) completed an excellent personal performance by snaring Ishant Sharma leg-before. England will take enormous satisfaction from their victory, having been put in to bat under heavy clouds on the first day. They achieved an imposing first innings total of four hundred and seventy four for eight declared, thanks mainly to man-of-the-match Kevin Pietersen's two hundred and two not out, bowled India out the tourists for two hundred and eighty six, and recovered from a second innings wobble to set them a record target. Prior's battling one hundred and three not out in the second innings was of particular note given the circumstances of the game at the time he arrived at the crease with England just two hundred and sixty ahead and with only five wickets left. Then, on a riveting final day, all four frontline bowlers played their part in seeing them to a memorable triumph.

Stephen Fry and Alan Davies are to take part in the first live tour of Qi – but, tragically, you'll have to go to Australia to see it. The pair will take to the stage in Brisbane, Perth and Melbourne, for a ten-date tour in late October. A line-up of celebrity panelists, yet to be announced, will join them each night. The dates follow the first live Never Mind The Buzzcocks, which took place at the Latitude festival earlier this month. However it is not known whether any British dates are in the pipeline for Qi.

Annoying-voiced well known faceache (and drag) Jane Horrocks has criticised the rise of reality television. Horrocks, who will appear in Sky1's new comedy Trollied, suggested that the programmes have caused a decline in the quality of acting work. 't's not just that there's less work around these days,' Horrocks told the Radio Times. 'The quality of the work has gone downhill as well. And that's purely because of the "reality" situation. I never put the TV on these days because I don't want to watch another show about a house being done up.' Horrocks added that she believes reality shows 'spoonfeed' viewers, saying: 'I do voiceovers for reality-type shows - and I'm not complaining, it's work - but it's a very odd situation. I mean, you can see something happening on screen. So why do you need me to tell you about it as well?' Horrocks also defended her decision to star in those really effing annoying adverts for Tesco, explaining that the job had allowed her 'more freedom' to decide which acting projects to pursue. 'Tesco commercials have given me licence to avoid crap, and I'm eternally grateful to them,' she said. So, you're avoiding crap by appearing in crap? Flawless logic there, sweetheart. 'I see friends having to do shows on television, which ten or fifteen years ago they wouldn't have considered. Now they have to do them for financial reasons, because TV just isn't investing in drama in the same way.'

BBC America has announced two unscripted commissions as the broadcaster moves into its first major original commission in America. The move into original commissions for the American broadcaster comes as it celebrates record ratings - boosted by shows such as Doctor Who. BBC America's General Manager, Perry Simon, has green lit two original series – Would You Rather with Graham Norton (working title) and Hard Drive with Richard Hammond (also working title) – and announced an initial slate of unscripted development, kicking off the channel's first major steps into original US production. The move comes on the back of BBC America's highest rated quarter ever. In second quarter 2011, the channel beat all previous records and was up thirty per cent year-on-year. Building on the popularity of the channel's core unscripted programme brands – such as Top Gear, Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares and The Graham Norton Show – the slate' aims to expand on the talent and subject-matter BBC America viewers are responding to.' Apparently. 'It makes sense to offer our viewers even more of what they love about the channel by developing compatible original programs [sic] featuring some of our biggest stars. But this is just the start,' said Simon. 'Our development team, Richard De Croce, Rachel Smith and Erin Jontow, is already working on the next raft of titles including BBC America's first original scripted series.' Simon's first original series pick-up on the unscripted side features host and comedian Graham Norton, who has entertained BBC America audiences for many years with 'his trademark irreverence and ballsy style of interviewing.' Yeah, that sounds like Graham. Norton's new show is Would You Rather with Graham Norton an all-new original comedy game show of thirteen episodes which tests the wits of the best US comics. Shot in New York, it is produced by So Television and executive produced by Graham Norton, Graham Stuart and Jim Biederman. It will premiere later this year as part of BBC America's recently launched comedy franchise, The Ministry of Laughs. Top Gear has consistently rated as one of BBC America's most successful shows. Now host Richard Hammond ('he's not a real hamster') will star in an original six-part series called Hard Drive with Richard Hammond. Produced by BBC Worldwide Productions and based on the BBC format, World's Toughest Driving Tests, it features Hammond travelling the US and competing with local experts driving some of America's toughest and most extraordinary vehicles. The executive producers for BBC Worldwide Productions are Rob Fox, Elli Hakami and Jane Tranter. In development, BBC America has a pilot with another Top Gear presenter, James May. James May's Man Lab US is produced by Plum Pictures and based on May's successful British format of the same name. In the US version, James comes to America and 'teams up with an American sidekick' in order to help his transatlantic brethren rediscover and relearn the skills that define what 'being a man' is all about. Well, in America, that's invading a small third world country, isn't it? That's what FOX News seems to believe, anyway. Executive Producers for Plum Pictures are Will Daws and Stuart Cabb.

Ally McCoist - izz justa weeeee stain - has refused any interviews with the BBC, with the Rangers manager adamant he 'will not cooperate' with the broadcaster until he receives an apology for a news item broadcast on Friday. At his pre-match press conference for Saturday's match against Hearts, McCoist was questioned by a BBC news reporter about sectarianism and violence surrounding Old Firm fixtures. The forty eight-year-old insisted that he has no qualms about discussing such topics but believed the way the BBC television package was edited portrayed him in an unfair light. 'I won't speak to anyone from the BBC until I get an apology for a broadcast which went out on Friday night which, in my opinion, was appalling,' McCoist said. If this means that he'll not be appearing of A Question of Sport anymore then, all I can say is more power t'yer elbow BBC. 'Having worked in television for a good number of years, I know exactly what went on.' Before and after the Hearts game, McCoist's first competitive match as Rangers manager, he refused to be interviewed by anyone from BBC 5Live or BBC Scotland. The package which angered him so much was produced in Scotland for BBC television's network news. 'I won't be marching anyone out of press conferences but I won't speak to anyone at the BBC. I can handle left-field questions all day long, that wasn't the problem. It was how the whole interview was put across. While they asked the question they showed a shot of me when I'd just answered another question. The whole thing was put together to show I had a flippant attitude towards either religious bigotry or trouble between Old Firm fans. As most people know I don't have a flippant attitude towards those subjects. There was a comment [on air]: "Well, it might not bother Ally McCoist," but it does bother Ally McCoist.' A BBC spokesman said on Monday: 'We have received a complaint from Rangers, which we are looking into.' McCoist is not the first high-profile football manager to take umbrage with the BBC. Sir Alex Ferguson has had a feud with the corporation dating back to 2004, after a Panorama documentary was broadcast which focused on the work of his son, Jason, who was at that point working as a football agent. Like McCoist, Ferguson demanded an apology. In 2007, the Manchester United manager famously said: 'I think the BBC is the kind of company that never apologise. They are arrogant beyond belief.' Which, coming from Alex Ferguson is one of the best examples of pot-kettle-black in living memory. McCoist leads Rangers into a Champions League qualifying tie against Malmo at Ibrox on Tuesday night. Despite being held to a home draw by Hearts, and the high stakes on offer if Rangers can reach the group stage, McCoist remains relaxed. 'I am not feeling the pressure any more than I did on Saturday.'

Sick disgraceful numskull Glenn Beck, the right wing scumbag broadcaster and Tea Party favourite, has compared those who were massacred on the Norwegian island of Utøya to the Nazi party's youth wing. 'There was a shooting at a political camp, which sounds a little like the Hitler youth, or, whatever. I mean, who does a camp for kids that's all about politics. Disturbing,' said Beck on his syndicated radio show. The comments were condemned by Torbjørn Eriksen, a former press secretary to Jens Stoltenberg, Norway's prime minister. Eriksen described the comment as 'a new low' for Beck, telling the Daily Torygraph: 'Young political activists have gathered at Utøya for over sixty years to learn about and be part of democracy, the very opposite of what the Hitler Youth was about. Glenn Beck's comments are ignorant, incorrect and extremely hurtful.' Particularly as, unlike the US, Norway was invaded and occupied by the Nazis and suffered five years of terror as a result. Sagging ratings, a string of damaging remarks and an exodus of advertisers combined earlier this year to end Beck's tenure on the US cable network FOX News. A campaign to pressure advertisers to boycott the pundit's daily slot had been gathering pace, while Beck was embroiled in battles erupting from his frequently aired conspiracy theories involving individuals ranging from the financier George Soros to Barack Obama. His denunciation of Soros included reference to his wartime childhood in Hungary. In remarks that were decried as 'monstrous' by Jewish groups, the broadcaster claimed: 'Here's a Jewish boy helping send the Jews to the death camps.' However, his latest comments about the 'disturbing' nature of political youth camps will probably have come as something of a surprise to Beck's followers in the Tea Party movement. The anti-tax, anti-immigration right wing movement has been holding summer camps in states including Florida and Missouri where children as young as eight have been taught a curriculum based on God, the US constitution and 'the defence of economic liberty.' Now that does sound a bit scary. Glenn Beck, dear blog reader? Moron, hypocrite, dangerous right wing fanatic or just plain ignorant? Your guess is, probably, as good as mine.

American character actor GD Spradlin - best known for playing corrupt senator Pat Geary in The Godfather Part II - has died in California at the age of ninety. The former lawyer and oil producer died of natural causes on Sunday at his San Luis Obispo ranch, his grandson Justin Demko told the Los Angeles Times. Spradlin's other notable parts included the general who sends Martin Sheen up river in the Vietnam epic Apocalypse Now. His film credits also include The War of the Roses and Tim Burton's Ed Wood. Born Gervase Duan Spradlin in Oklahoma in 1920, Spradlin served in the Army Air Forces in China during World War II and worked as a lawyer before becoming rich as an independent oil producer. He also directed John F Kennedy's 1960 presidential campaign in Oklahoma and ran for mayor of Oklahoma City, unsuccessfully, in 1965. He joined the Oklahoma Repertory Theatre in 1964 after his daughter took him to a father-daughter acting competition and his acting career blossomed. A notable break for Spradlin resulted from his work in television in the 1960s. Fred Roos had cast Spradlin in such television shows as I, Spy and Gomer Pyle USMC. When Roos co-produced The Godfather Part II, he recommended Spradlin play the role of Senator Geary to Francis Ford Coppola. In The Godfather Part II, Geary pours scorn on the Corleone family as he attempts to charge Al Pacino's Michael Corleone too much for a gaming licence. But the senator is put on the back foot later in Coppola's Oscar-winning drama, after being found in bed with a murdered prostitute. The role helped establish Spradlin as a confident, authoritarian figure which led to his portrayal of many such figures in his future roles. Spradlin also worked with Jack Webb on the series Dragnet playing multiple roles from a safecracker to a low-level con man. In later life he found regular employment playing politicians, preachers, doctors, judges and military officers. His last screen role came playing Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee in the 1999 comedy film Dick.

Actress Linda Christian, the 1940s Hollywood starlet who went on to become the first Bond girl, has died aged eighty seven. She died last Friday in Palm Desert, California, after suffering from colon cancer, her daughter said. Christian starred as Vesper Lynd, the love interest of James Bond in the first TV adaptation of Ian Fleming's debut novel, Casino Royale, in 1954 opposite Barry Nelson's Bond. The actress's curvaceousness led Life magazine to nickname her 'the anatomic bomb.' Born Blanca Rosa Welter in Mexico, Christian was discovered by Errol Flynn in Acapulco before pursuing an acting career in Los Angeles and eventually signing a contract with MGM. She made her film debut alongside Danny Kaye in the 1944 musical comedy Up In Arms. Five years later the actress married Tyrone Power, one of Hollywood's most popular leading men, but they divorced in 1956. In 1953 the couple had a chance to work together in the leading roles of From Here to Eternity, but Power refused the part and neither ended up in the film. Christian was later briefly married to English actor Edmund Purdom in the early 1960s. During the same time she appeared in several European films including Elizabeth Taylor film The VIPs as well as US TV shows including The Alfred Hitchcock Hour and The Lloyd Bridges Show. The actress took a break from showbusiness for twenty years, returning in 1987 to appear in two Italian films. Her last big screen appearance was in Italian TV movie Cambiamento d'aria in 1988. She is survived by her two daughters, the singer Romina Power and the actress Taryn Power, and eight grandchildren.

The Israeli Chamber Orchestra will break with tradition to play a work by Hitler's favourite composer, Richard Wagner, in Germany. Roberto Paternostro will conduct classical piece Siegfried Idyll on Tuesday at Bayreuth's Wagner festival. It is rare for Israeli musicians to play the anti-Semitic composer's work, which was appropriated by the Nazis. Paternostro said that while Wagner's ideology was 'terrible,' the aim was 'to divide the man from his art.' An unofficial ban on Wagner was introduced in 1938 by the Palestine Orchestra - now the Israel Philharmonic - after Jews were attacked by the Nazis in Germany. Musical director Paternostro said it had been 'a very difficult and rocky path' but that 'there wasn't a moment when I had any doubts about this project. I know that in Israel this isn't accepted,' added Paternostro, who is Jewish and whose mother survived the holocaust. 'But many people have told me it's time we confront Wagner, especially those in the younger generation.' It was too soon for the orchestra to perform Wagner in Israel and they had not rehearsed the work there, he added. Hitler was a passionate admirer of the work of Wagner - who lived from 1813 to 1883 - as well as his theories on Germanic racial purity. The Israeli Chamber Orchestra's performance forms part of a fringe festival linked to Bayreuth's annual Wagner opera festival which began on Monday with a production of Tannhauser. In July 2001, conductor Daniel Barenboim led a German orchestra in performing a piece from Wagner's opera Tristan und Isolde, at the annual Israel Festival. At the end of a concert in Jerusalem, Israeli Barenboim told the audience the orchestra would be playing the piece and that anyone who objected could leave. Some angrily protested and left the hall but at the end of the performance, the remaining audience gave the orchestra a standing ovation. In December, pianist Barenboim told reporters: 'We need one day to liberate Wagner of all this weight.'

Staff at a Selfridges store in Manchester have been forbidden from using colloquial 'Mancunian' vocabulary. The list of banned words includes 'hiya,' 'see ya' and 'cheers.' Well, what a reet how'd'yado? These words have been deemed 'totally unprofessional' to greet customers with. By snobs. Employees are expected to use the words 'hello,' 'goodbye' and 'thank you' instead. And 'may I lick your boots, sir or madam.' Probably. A Selfridges spokesperson explained: 'Making everyone feel welcome, whether our customers or employees and regardless of language or dialect, is central to the Selfridges experience. Part of that experience is to make sure our customer service is consistent throughout all our stores, including a formal but friendly greeting.' Yeah, like I say, snobs. Diana Mather, from the business etiquette training company Public Image, agreed with the change, adding: 'It is all to do with the way "hiya" is said. There is a high-pitched twang to "hiya." It is just not considered professional. Even "hi" isn't.' The move, however, has also been met with criticism. One employee stated: 'It is all a bit bizarre considering that we are a Manchester store and many of our shoppers are from the Manchester area. It's out of order. Why should we change what we say? We are never impolite and those words are not impolite.'

Today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day is, therefore, respectfully dedicated to the brown-tongued snob whose idea this was. And, indeed, to brown-tongued snobs everywhere. Here's Swans with a positive and somewhat joyous message for all would-be dictators.

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