Saturday, July 16, 2011

Week Thirty: The Things You Say - You're Unbelievable.

Doctor Who's Matt Smith has joked that the Timelord would prefer a game of chess to having sex. The actor was asked on Alan Carr: Chatty Man whether The Doctor has ever had a night of passion in the TARDIS. 'No. The Doc's idea of an orgy is playing chess with an ostrich,' Matt replied. 'His brain doesn't work in that way. He would find it weird and peculiar. He finds women peculiar. He is quite asexual.' Smith added that he hopes the BBC will bring back former Timelords such as Colin Baker and David Tennant when the series marks its fiftieth anniversary in 2013. He also assured fans that the Daleks will be making a return at some stage, saying: 'As with any monsters they need a bit of a rest.' Doctor Who was recently renewed for a seventh series, with Smith returning in the lead role.

Syfy has picked up the fourth season of Merlin in the US. The cable channel, which has already broadcast the first three seasons, confirmed to TV Guide that the British series will return to the network. Merlin, which stars Colin Morgan, Bradley James and Katie McGrath, picked up a series high of 1.87m for its season three finale on Syfy earlier this year. The fourth season will focus on Merlin as he tries to ensure that Arthur 'fulfils his destiny as the Once and Future King.' Merlin's executive producer Johnny Capps recently claimed that the fourth season goes to 'interesting and dark places,' while his colleague Julian Murphy has revealed that talks about a fifth season are already under way. Personally this blogger still reckon it takes itself a bit too seriously, but it's certainly improved over the last couple of years.

A journalist slips some cash into the policeman's hand and minutes later he is seen rifling through a dead man's pockets. No, it's not the latest example of Fleet Street's disgrace but rather a detail from BBC2's new newsroom drama The Hour, set in 1956 as television journalism came of age. 'It's a really interesting time for the show to be broadcasting, although obviously I wasn't aware of the situation at the time,' Abi Morgan, writer of The Hour told the Gruniad. 'We also have phone-tapping going on in our drama – although it's very different from the kind we're hearing about now.' With the Suez crisis as a backdrop, the stylish drama weaves thriller and newsroom drama together. It follows three news journalists – played by Dominic West, Romola Garai and Ben Whishaw – as they launch a groundbreaking new programme, The Hour, which aims to shrug off the constraints on television journalism at the time. 'In the late fifties, journalists felt very inhibited and penned in by The Establishment, so the notion of The Hour was that it was a show where journalists could stand up and have an opinion,' Morgan suggested. But while journalism at the time had 'a level of nobility' the writer's research also suggested that journalists paying off policeman really did happen. 'But it is fiction,' she stressed. 'The idea is that it's a great ride. I'm a storyteller, so my job is to tell a dramatic fiction.'

And so to yer actual Top Telly Tips, in the area:

Friday 22 June
With Fish Town - 8:00 - Sky Atlantic presents its first British documentary series, providing an insight into life in the Devonshire fishing port of Brixham. Interesting conceit although one does, rather, wonder if Sky Atlantic's audience will be as accommodating towards it as they are towards some of the channel's imported drama. Time will tell, it usually does. Spring is in the air, and the town is a hive of activity as skippers return their pleasure yachts to the water after wintering in the dry dock, while the pressure is on for Brixham to look its best for the arrival of Princess Anne, who will officially open the new twenty million pound fish market, and for the start of the summer season.

In Phil Collins: One Night Only - 9:00 ITV - the risible, balding ex-Genesis singer and sorry excuse of a man massacres (in a truly appalling tone-deaf way) a selection of Motown and soul classics in a manner that should be, frankly, against all laws of God and Man. I mean, seriously, the version of 'My Girl' is enough to have Smokey Robinson turning in his grave. And he's not even dead yet. Okay then, it's enough to kill Smokey Robinson stoned dead. And then have him turning in his grave. It's that bad. And as for his version of 'You Can't Hurry Love,' you can't do that to Holland, Dozier and Holland. It's just wrong. The balding ex Genesis singer, tax exile and odious Tory, who is accompanied by musicians from Motown Records' legendary session players the Funk Brothers (all of whom are clearly so desperate for work these days that they'll hang out with any old Tom, Dick or Philip), also recalls the people and places that inspired his career. So, it's boring and tedious as well musically piss poor. Presented by Ben Shephard - who frankly should be sodding well ashamed of himself. Tragically, the title is also incorrect as this is, in fact, a repeat. So, it wasn't for one night only was it, Philip?

Saturday 23 July
The latest episode of Casualty - 8:50 BBC1 - sees a nervous Ruth returns to clinical duties for a probationary period, but her first task is to help an uncooperative man who appears to be suffering from a serious lung disease. Meanwhile, Adam's moralistic attitude threatens to affect his medical judgement when he treats a patient accused of assaulting an underage girl. Guest starring William Ash (Waterloo Road's Christopher Mead) and The Bill's Kaye Wragg.

The Space Shuttle's Last Flight - 7:30 Channel Four - is, as the title might suggest, a documentary charting the history of NASA's space shuttle programme. This, of course, timed to coincide with Atlantis completing its one hundred and thirty fifth (and final) mission. The programme explores how the craft has become a symbol of the USA's technological dominance, transformed people's understanding of the universe, aided technological advancement and enabled humans to discover the environmental impact they have on Earth. personally, yer actual Keith Telly Topping is with Fox Mulder on the subject. 'There are those futurists who believe the Space Shuttle is a rusty old bucket that should be mothballed. A dinosaur spacecraft built in the seventies by scientists setting their sights on space in an ever declining scale.' Yeah, what he said.

Lee Mack's All Star Cast - 9:40 BBC1 - features boy band JLS, actress Ashley Jensen and comedian Tommy Tiernan on 'the entertainment show featuring chat, stand-up routines and a chance for members of the public to win their moment in the spotlight.' Last in the series. It won't be missed.

Sunday 24 July
In the latest episode of Top Gear - 8:00 BBC2 - Jeremy Clarkson tries out the new Lotus T125, which apparently brings F1-style performance to the track, and an updated version of the classic 1960s sports car the Jensen Interceptor. Nice. The shining shaft of brilliant pure white light which occupies the space that once housed the body of Saint Bob Geldof gets behind the wheel of the Reasonably Priced Car, so it might be an idea to shield your eyes whilst that's taking place. And, for this week's challenge, Jez, Hamster and Cap'n Slow employ all manner of second-hand military equipment to knock down a row of derelict houses, aiming to complete the job in less time than a team of demolition experts. And, we're four weeks in and we've still had no wholly manufactured bollocks in the Gruniad or the Scum Mail about any aspect of the series. Like we said the other day about Alastair Campbell saying something nice about Nick Clegg, clearly we are living through The End of Days.

A call girl is found murdered at an upmarket apartment, apparently the victim of a client who risks losing everything if his secret obsession for the woman is revealed in the latest episode of Law & Order: UK - 9:00 ITV. Leading the cross-examination, Phillips begins to suspect that someone had a reason to frame the accused, and doggedly pursues the truth even if it means he loses the case. Guest starring Greg Wise, with Bradley Walsh, Freema Agyeman, Jamie Bamber, Peter Davison et al.

In Around the World in Sixty Minutes - 7:00 BBC2 - the audience is given a view of Earth from an altitude of two hundred miles, as a camera circumnavigates the planet to show changes that occur on its surface during one orbit. A bit like London To Brighton in Three Minutes. Only, obviously, from higher up. And, it's fifty seven minutes longer. And it's not from London to Brighton. Otherwise, it's exactly the same. The British-born astronaut Piers Sellers discusses what it is like to live and work in space, while the film reveals forces of nature that bring one hundred-mile-wide storms and reshape continents. Narrated by David Morrissey and previously shown on BBC4. I wonder if David Morrisey and Andrew Marr have ever thought about doing a series together. Possibly with Matt Smith. Oh, suit yerselves ... I mean here I am, brain the size of an Adidas Telstar. Wasted on you guys, this stuff, wasted.

I'm not bitter. I'm bittersweet.

Next ...

Monday 25 July
British Masters - 9:00 BBC4 - is a rather very good series indeed. In this, the final episode, the art historian James Fox explores how painters tackled widespread existential angst in Britain following the Second World War, when the question of how to create a humane world seemed increasingly difficult to answer. He analyses the ways in which works by artists as diverse as Lucien Freud, Graham Sutherland, Francis Bacon, Richard Hamilton and David Hockney dealt with issues of evil, consumerism and optimism, before charting how young British artists of the 1970s became opposed to the country's traditional painting culture. Last in the series. I must say, I've very much enjoyed Fox's enthusiastic take on his subject over the last two episodes. His summation of Walter Sickert's The Camden Town Murder, for instance, was genuinely fascinating: 'The killer is still in the room: you are the killer,' warned Fox. 'You arrive at this painting innocent. And you leave it,' a pause, 'guilty.' And, blow me, but that's exactly how one feels viewing the work after you've had that pointed out to you. Though Fox's penchant for melodrama occasionally lapsed into the sordid realms of self-parody – draping himself in a towel to recreate an epiphany in a Jewish bath-house was more than a shade over the top – there has been no mistaking Fox's genuine passion for his subject and it shone through British Masters. If you've missed the previous episodes, get thee to iPlayer forthwith, you won't be disappointed.

New information links the unexplained death of a market trader to a series of drug rapes in east London in New Tricks - 9:00 BBC1. But with that case still ongoing, UCOS are unable to question the chief suspect, so they have to look into their victim's past in their search for clues. Gerry soon finds a likely culprit in the shape of the market inspector who clamped his car, while Sandra has problems of a more personal nature when her hated mother arrives for a visit. The great Sheila Hancock guest stars. Meanwhile, rumours that Dennis Waterman has been sounded out about playing the part of Andy Haymen in the forthcoming Hackgate: The Movie cannot, at this time, be confirmed or denied. Although, to be fair, there wouldn't be much acting involved. On the other hand, with Waterman, 'not much acting involved' has been pretty much his career's mission statement since about 1982.

And speaking of Hackgate: The Movie, it might be well topical today but, by the 25 July it could be as 'yesterday's news' as fish and chip paper. Unless, of course, Tom Watson and Chris Bryant's All The Prime Minister's Social Events has been published by then. Both ITV and the BBC (with next Monday's Panorama) have been quick on the ball in getting documentaries capturing the ongoing nature of Schadenfreudegasm on screen. Channel Four have taken a bit more time. But, they're on the case now. How Murdoch Ran Britain is an episode of Dispatches - 8:00 Channel Four. It is, as the title suggests, 'an investigation into media mogul Rupert Murdoch's business activities, and the influence and political power he exerts in the UK.' But, even since that blurb has been written the story's moved on and, perhaps, it should not read 'used to exert.' Watch this space, dear blog reader, things can only get .... murkier.

Izzy is held prisoner in her own home by an increasingly disturbed Gary, and struggles to make herself heard when Owen turns up on the doorstep in Coronation Street - 8:30 ITV. A misunderstanding at the reading group leaves Julie jeopardising her chances with Brian again, and Tracy invites Steve to tea as he dwells on Becky's romance. Meanwhile, in a shocking development, Dennis and Rita try to jolt Ken out from his black mood. Why bother? It's lasted since 1960, I can't see it changing much now.

Tuesday 26 July
Tonight sees the second episode of The Hour - 9:00 BBC2. The programme is struggling - ratings are down, reviews are terrible and the staff are bickering like children. So, just like Daybreak in fact. What's a TV executive to do? Well, you could try sacking Adrian and Christine however much it costs and getting some proper news journalists in, some might consider that the obvious solution. Oh, hang on, that question related to The Hour not to Daybreak, didn't it? My apologies (although, I still think mine's a good idea.) However, as events escalate in Suez, Bel sees an opportunity to pull off a scoop - if anchorman Hector is up to it. Meanwhile, Freddie is still reeling from his friend's death. Convinced that it was murder, he investigates further - and discovers a mysterious code which may well provide a clue or two. Newsroom drama, starring Ben Whishaw, Romola Garai and Dominic West.

Oh Christ, what have we here? Geordie Finishing School for Girls - 9:00 BBC3 - is a new series in which four 'wealthy young southern women' - aged eighteen to twenty five according to the pre-publicity blurb - experience ten days of, let us be brutally honest here, roughing it, living 'on the breadline' oop T'North. Where's it's Grim, apparently. Because, let's face it, that's what all the posh birds are doing this year, isn't it? Indulging in a bit of poverty tourism. It's been described as 'a kind of a sequel to Peckham Finishing School For Girls,' which was broadcast, also on BBC3, last year and which indulged in exactly this sort of 'let's live like The Common People' conceit which I, personally, as a thoroughly common oiyk myself, find grossly offensive. The ladies begin by moving into a former council house in yer actual Keith Telly Topping's home-boy gaff, Walker. A suburb of Newcastle where unemployment is almost three times the national average and more than fifty per cent of local children are classed as living in poverty. And, most of them hang around in my street making a nuisance of themselves, but that's neither here not there. It's also a place where the sun seldom shines, few flowers grow and all the rats pissed off years ago. So, this crass exercise in social glimpsing and then buggering off back wherever they came from in the first place (I'm guessing first class and as fast as GNER can carry them) was going on virtually on my doorstep and I knew nowt about it? Well, that's just shocking. (And, slightly annoying, as I'd've gladly gone round there and given them an example of 'local colour' if only I'd known.) Anyway, Steph, Fi, Lucy and Fiona are, the press release claims, 'posh and pampered with virtually no experience of life at the other end of the social spectrum.' Nor have any of them have ever ventured North before - because it's Grim - or grappled with the Geordie accent. Their guides are four local women - Shauna, Lyndsey, Makylea and Kimberley - who educate the southerners in the harsh realities of living with little money. The girls immerse themselves in' an unfamiliar world' and hand over their credit cards to survive on the equivalent of job-seeker's allowance, but find the process harder than expected. Hateful. If it turns out to be good, I'll apologise. But, I don't think that's likely.

In the latest episode of Holby City - 8:00 BBC1 - Ric is left with a dilemma when Elizabeth's mother Simone returns to Holby in a critical state, and signs an Advanced Decision form that stipulates she is not to be resuscitated if her condition should worsen. Meanwhile, a tricky trauma case prevents Sahira making it home in time for her son's birthday party, and an outbreak of food poisoning confounds Eddi and Sacha in AAU, and gives Lulu an opportunity to show off her skills.

In a exercise of self-congratulation that some dear blog readers may find sickening Celebrity Juice: Coronation Street Special - 10:35 ITV - sees three of the soap's cast members, Kym Marsh, Shobna Gulati and Andrew Whyment, join host Keith Lemon and regulars Holly Willoughby, Fearne Cotton and Rufus Hound on the alleged comedy panel show. Because, now that the News of the World no longer exists, they've got to work that bit harder to get their worthless non-entity tripe into the public domain. There is also - double bonus, dear blog reader - a 'special round' featuring, wait for it, Austin Powers star Verne Troyer. Yeah. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping would consider watching this fiasco under certain circumstances. If, for instance, I had lost all sense of dignity, taste and decency. Just to take one example.

Wednesday 27 July
The Code - 9:00 BBC2 - is a new series featuring Horizon's tame mathematician (and Alan Davies's mate) Marcus du Sautoy. He explores the hidden numerical code which, it is argued, underpins nature, going in search of the numbers, shapes and patterns in everything from human veins to the night sky. Like a cross between Adam Curtis and James Burke, you might say. He begins by revealing how Twelfth Century medieval clergy used simple number ratios to create cathedrals which, they felt, mirrored God's creation, uses pi to predict a Brighton fisherman's biggest-ever catch and explores the bizarre world of imaginary numbers, claiming that the radar used by air-traffic controllers is only made possible because of a figure that - in theory at least - does not even exist.

As somebody who has only read the first two Harry Potter novels (and thought they were averagely decent children's novels but hardly the literary masterpieces they're often made out to be by people who, really, should know better) and only seen the first movie (and didn't think much of it) yer actual Keith Telly Topping is probably not the right person to give a balanced critique of Fifty Greatest Harry Potter Moments - 8:00 ITV. To mark the release, two weeks ago, of the eighth and final movie in the series, Robbie Coltrane narrates a countdown of the movie franchise's best moments. From Harry's first meeting with Ron and Hermione aboard the Hogwarts Express through to magical mysteries, spellbinding battles and tragic deaths, every key scene is here. Ralph Fiennes reveals the secrets of being Voldemort, Julie Walters discusses how the young cast grew into such confident adult performers and full-of-herself JK Rowling talks about seeing her words being brought to life on screen. Other contributors recalling their favourite Potter scenes are Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Jason Isaacs, Richard Curtis, Russell Kane, Will Young, Rowland Rivron and Eliza Doolittle. Who, I thought was a fictional character created by George Bernard Shaw but, apparently, not.

New series. Three British teenagers secure jobs as counsellors at an elite Californian summer camp, hoping to have the perfect summer in Beaver Falls - E4 9:00. This is a summer job that requires them to be responsible. To set an example. To be role models to their young charges. None of which any of them has much talent in. However, things begin well when Barry meets lifeguard Kimberley and A-Rab gets along well with guidance counsellor Rachael. But their fun is threatened when they fall out with the children they are looking after. Comedy drama, starring Samuel Robertson, Arsher Ali and John Dagleish.

You can always tell when a scandal has really made its mark on the public. It's those occasions when Channel Four does not one but two documentaries abut it in the same week. Murdoch: The Mogul Who Screwed the News - 10:00 gives us yet another change to watch a bunch of talking heads giving Rupert a good, hearty, kick in the knackers to prove that they're no longer scared of him. In the wake of the News of the World hacking scandal, Jacques Peretti investigates how Rupert Murdoch used celebrity stories to pay for the expansion of his business empire, speaking to people - including actor Hugh Grant in his new role as Britain's 'moral compass' - and some of those close to the media mogul.

Thursday 28 July
Torchwood: Miracle Day continues - 9:00 BBC1 - as the team goes on the run - what's that, the fourth time in four series? - finding a new enemy along the way. But, as Jack and Gwen launch an attack on the PhiCorp headquarters, the captain is forced to confront the mysterious Oswald Danes. Superior SF thriller, starring John Barrowman, Eve Myles, Bill Pullman and Mekhi Phifer. But, you knew that already, right?

Or, you may prefer Town with Nicholas Crane - 9:00 BBC2 - a new series in which geographer, adventurer and Coast presenter Nicholas Crane investigates urbanised Britain, where ninety two per cent of the UK population will live by 2030. He begins by visiting the Ludlow in Shropshire, which has more listed buildings than anywhere else of comparable size, plus two Michelin-starred restaurants. Nicholas discovers how the town came to be packed with such treasures, and whether it is as perfect as it first appears.

In EastEnders - 7:30 BBC1 - a remorseful Jack apologises to Michael - but discovers he is more interested in making Eddie suffer. Billy nervously prepares his family for a visit from a social worker, the unexpected return of Tanya's mother proves too much for Greg to bear, and Anthony is forced to intervene when Tyler nearly comes to blows with Mr Lister. Meanwhile, up the road in Emmerdale - 8:00 ITV - Aaron's fate is revealed as the jury reaches its verdict, and Debbie worries when she finds another bruise on Sarah, realising there is more to it than she first thought. And, Amy steals some of Val's jewellery to pay off Jared, and Scarlett says her goodbyes before leaving the village.

So to the news: Day Twelve of Hackgate was yet another astounding series of one improbable revelation after another.
It ended in possibly the most unexpected twist of the story yet when Rupert Murdoch officially apologised. For everything. National newspapers on Saturday carried a full-page advert with a signed apology from Murdoch over 'serious wrongdoing' by the News of the World. The advert states: 'We are sorry for the serious wrongdoing that occurred.' It certainly seems to be much more contrite and humble than the News of the World's final editorial – and is a complete change of tone from Murdoch's, frankly, arrogant interview with the Wall Street Journal just forty eight hours earlier. It's almost as though somebody - say, for the sake of argument an outside public relations firm - had a quiet word in Uncle Rupert's shell-like said said, 'Oi, mush. You do realise that pretty much everything you've said so far has made the situation worse. You know, like claiming that you've handled the story pretty well and made only "a few minor errors." That didn't play well with the general public. Nor did, when asked what your first priority was, instead of saying "apologising to the victims" or "trying to make amends", indicating that you were most interested in helping Rebekah Brooks keep her job. Do you not think that, maybe, that strategy isn't working?' Therefore, in what the Gruniad called 'Bloody Friday', Rebekah Brooks and senior News Corporation executive Les Hinton - a Murdoch loyalist for over fifty years - both resigned over the phone-hacking scandal. The printed apology expresses regret for not acting faster 'to sort things out. I realise that simply apologising is not enough. Our business was founded on the idea that a free and open press should be a positive force in society. We need to live up to this. In the coming days, as we take further concrete steps to resolve these issues and make amends for the damage they have caused, you will hear more from us,' says the statement which is signed 'sincerely, Rupert Murdoch'. In other developments: Downing Street revealed that former News of the World editor Andy Coulson stayed at Mr Cameron's official residence Chequers in March of this year, two months after he resigned from his job as Director of Communications in Downing Street. Coulson was, of course, arrested last week as part of the police inquiry into phone-hacking. A list of Cameron's guests at his country retreat showed that he was visited there twice by Brooks, in June and August last year, as well as once in November by News International chairman James Murdoch and his wife Kathryn. The former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott has called for the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson to resign. Sir Paul has come under pressure after it emerged that he hired former News of the World deputy editor Neil Wallis as a PR consultant. Wallis has also been arrested as part of the police investigation into phone hacking by the newspaper. The actor Jude Law is suing the Sun newspaper for alleged phone hacking. He's launched legal proceedings over four articles which were published in 2005 and 2006. A spokesperson for News International called the development 'a deeply cynical and deliberately mischievous attempt to draw the Sun into the phone-hacking issue.' ITV's Keir Simmons notes that the allegations relate to the period Rebekah Brooks was editor and the Sun that the claim was lodged on 17 June, long before this scandal erupted with the Milly Dowler allegations last Monday. That somewhat pours cold water on News International's claim that Law is being opportunistic and 'mischievous' in bringing suit. Hey Jude, don't take it bad, okay. Brooks is scheduled to appear alongside Rupert and James Murdoch in front of the Commons media select committee next Tuesday to answer MPs questions on the hacking scandal. She was editor of News of the World between 2000 and 2003, during which time the phone belonging to murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler was tampered with. In a statement resigning as chief executive of News International, well-known Crystal Tipps-lookalike Brooks said she felt 'a deep responsibility for the people we have hurt.' She added that she wanted to 'reiterate how sorry I am for what we now know to have taken place.' Her statement went on: 'I have believed that the right and responsible action has been to lead us through the heat of the crisis. However my desire to remain on the bridge has made me a focal point of the debate. This is now detracting attention from all our honest endeavours to fix the problems of the past.' Murdoch ignored 'earlier advice' from 'senior News Corporation figures' to accept Brooks' initial offer of resignation, according to the New York Times. It adds that Murdoch 'has become an increasingly isolated figure, not only in Britain but within his own company. The departure in recent years of top executives who often provided a counterweight to his famous irascibility and stubbornness has left him surrounded by fewer people who can effectively question his decisions. He initially rejected Brooks's offer to resign from News International, his British subsidiary, despite advice to accept it from senior News Corporation executives, said people briefed on the company's discussions.' Prime Minister David Cameron - a close personal friend of Brooks - said through a spokesman that her resignation was 'the right decision.' Rumours that he is now going to offer her Andy Coulson's old job cannot, at this time, be confirmed. She has been replaced at News International by Tom Mockridge, who was in charge of News Corporation's Italian broadcasting arm.
Les Hinton, chief executive of the media group's Dow Jones, was head of News International from 1995 to 2007 and has worked with Rupert Murdoch for more than five decades. Hinton, the most senior executive to leave the conglomerate, said in a statement that he was 'ignorant of what apparently happened' but felt it was 'proper' to resign. In the wake of the phone-hacking scandal, Hinton is the first Murdoch executive to fall on his sword in the US, where the FBI announced on Thursday it was investigating reports which originated in the Mirra that the News of the World had also snooped on the phones of 9/11 victims. Murdoch said in a statement: 'Les and I have been on a remarkable journey together for more than fifty two years. That this passage has come to an unexpected end, professionally, not personally, is a matter of much sadness to me.' The Australian-born media baron and billionaire tyrant added: 'I vividly recall an enthusiastic young man in the offices of my first newspaper in Adelaide, where Les joined the company as a fifteen-year-old and had the rather unenviable task of buying me sandwiches for lunch.' Earlier on Friday, Murdoch personally apologised to the family of murdered British schoolgirl Milly Dowler. The crisis shaking News Corp exploded after it emerged the thirteen-year-old's mobile phone had been hacked by the News of the World newspaper in 2002 when she was still missing. Allegations surfaced last week that the News of the World had also snooped on senior politicians, the families of other crime victims, the families of the victims of London's 2005 terrorist bombings and the families of dead British soldiers. As Murdoch emerged from a meeting with the Dowler family at a London hotel to tell reporters he was appalled by their ordeal, the eighty-year-old was jeered by hecklers who shouted 'Scum!' at him. In a statement following the meeting, the family's solicitor Mark Lewis said: 'We told him that his papers should lead the way in setting the standard of honesty and decency. At the end of the day actions speak louder than words. He was humbled, shaken and sincere. This was something that had hit him on a personal level. He apologised many times and held his head in his hands.' Lewis said that he was pleased Brooks had resigned. He added: 'News International, News of the World, had ruined people's lives. In a sense it is the chicken coming home to roost. It is time. Every dog has its day and Rebekah Brooks, I suppose, is that dog.'

The Torygraph's assistant comment editor Will Heaven wonders whether Rebekah Brooks and the Murdochs will face 'a kangaroo court' when they appear before the home affairs select committee next week. He has blogged: 'But here's the problem. Tuesday's Commons Culture Committee hearing – chaired by John Whittingdale, a man who was defending News Corp just earlier this month – is all we have to deal with the rot. Plainly, the police cannot be fully trusted. So we must rely on these ten MPs to begin to restore dignity to the British establishment. It's a chilling thought.' Reuters reckons that MPs on the Commons media committee will be combing over transcripts of Rebekah Brooks's past appearance before Tuesday's session: 'The whole committee feels quite betrayed by the evidence that has been given to them by News International executives in two or three inquiries. They will be expecting apologies,' said Steven Barnett, Professor of Communications at the University of Westminster. Reuters quotes Brooks from 2003 as having said: 'The days of foot-in-the-door harassment and snatched photos are gone. The pictures of journalists mobbing ordinary people as portrayed by television are a travesty of the truth.' Reuters points out: 'Her comments came as journalists from her own company were allegedly already hacking into phones, but long before this month's revelations that their targets may have gone beyond royalty and celebrities to include thousands of ordinary people. Also in 2003, Les Hinton, head of News International until 2007, told the same committee: 'There is probably no part of the [Press Complaints Commission] code that is paid greater attention than the issue of intrusion into grief. Editors at all levels, on a daily basis, and journalists as well are not unfamiliar with the need to behave according to the strictures of the code in taking care not to intrude into the grief of bereaved members of the public.' Reuters also notes that David Cameron received James Mudoch and his wife at Chequers on 7 November 2010, and once attended 'a World Cup party given by Victoria and David Beckham for charity' as 'guests of Rebekah Wade.' In the interests of scrupulous full disclosure, the Reuters story includes the line: 'Reuters is a competitor of Dow Jones Newswires, the financial news agency that News Corp acquired along with the Wall Street Journal in 2007.' Elsewhere on the web as talk about a News of the World movie continues, the Belfast Telegraph considers the top ten actresses who could play Rebekah Brooks.

Writing in the Gruniad, Jonathan Freedland rather poetically describes the potential for Hackgate to be seen as a moment of history: 'This has not looked like a revolution. There have been no crowds massed overnight in Trafalgar Square, no tanks or water cannon deployed on the streets of London. And yet, in their own bloodless way, these have been the ten days that shook Britain and shocked the world. Quietly and without violence, we have witnessed a very British revolution. Yes, the government remains in place and Buckingham Palace is safely unstormed. Our official masters still rule over us. Nevertheless, these wild, dizzying days have carried a distinctly revolutionary echo. One of the most famous images of the revolutions that swept eastern Europe in 1989 came from Romania, when Nicolae Ceaușescu addressed a crowd in Bucharest's main square. Suddenly, someone started booing. Then another, and another began jeering and whistling. No one had ever heard such a noise before, least of all the dictator himself, who stared at the crowd, utterly baffled by such a show of dissent. The revolution was under way within hours, the regime toppled within days. What happened in that moment was that the Romanian people lost their fear, instantly but completely. Of course, Rupert Murdoch is no murderous despot. But he was feared by the very people many would have assumed were too powerful to be intimidated. From the moment late on 4 July that the Guardian reported that the News of the World had listened to, and deleted, messages left on the phone of a missing schoolgirl, Milly Dowler, that fear, accumulated over three decades, began to melt away. What had once been a few lonely whistles in the crowd – from Labour MPs Tom Watson and Chris Bryant, from Guardian reporter Nick Davies – became a loud, collective roar, voiced in a united House of Commons which, on Wednesday, succeeded in making Murdoch drop his bid for total control of Britain's biggest commercial broadcaster and led to the resignation of his cherished News International chief executive. Overnight, those who had cowered before the Murdoch empire felt free to rage at it. MPs who days earlier had felt obliged either to say nothing about News of the World hacking or to couch their obligation in the most inoffensive terms, were by Wednesday queueing up to hurl stones at the once mighty titan. David Cameron, who initially refused to join Ed Miliband in calling for Rebekah Brooks' resignation, was, by Wednesday, demanding that she go. All such changes in the established order bring strange reverses, as those who once wielded great power are suddenly laid low. The quiet British revolution of July 2011 has been no different.'

Saturday's Torygraph editorial pulls absolutely no punches, heavily criticising Cameron's role in the crisis and asking whether Britain can still claim to be 'above corruption' in light of the relationship between the police and the tabloid press. 'Even in Palermo, this would raise eyebrows,' the paper says. 'This is the United Kingdom we are talking about, not one of those southern European countries whose corruption Britons have traditionally found so amusing. It will be a long time before we can make any more jokes at the expense of Italy or Greece. After the revelations of the past week, the whole world has learned the shameful truth about modern Britain: that its leading politicians and policemen have been lining up to have their palms greased and images burnished by executives of a media empire guilty of deeply criminal – and morally repugnant – invasions of personal privacy.' The leader, the Torygraph subsequently noted, 'prompted much discussion, with speculation that it will cause deep concern at No 10.' The Financial Times was pulling no punches either with its judgement that the phone hacking affair 'marks one of the lowest points in the long history of the Met Police.' It quotes Chris Bryant as stating: 'It feels as if the News of the World turned the Metropolitan Police into a partly owned subsidiary.' Meanwhile, the Gruniad is claiming that Sir Paul Stephenson and the the Metropolitan Police's director of public affairs, Dick Fedorico, twice tried to 'convince' the paper that Nick Davies's stories about phone hacking were 'overegged and incorrect.' In a letter from Fedorico to editor Alan Rusbridger, the police PR man said that Davies was presenting 'an inaccurate position from our perspective and continues to imply this case has not been handled properly and we are party to a conspiracy.' According to Rusbridger, at neither meeting, which took place in December 2009 and February 2010, did the Met's representatives mention to him that they were - at that time - employing Neil Wallis, a former News of the World deputy editor.

There seems to be a bit of a world championship heavyweight Twitter war going between Big Lord Prescott and Even Bigger Adam Boulton, of Sky News. The former Labour MP tweeted. 'Adam Boulton. It seems you are nothing but a Murdoch mouthpiece. His Master's Voice. Little Nipper. Thank God we've stopped him getting Sky.' Most of which is, actually, very hard to disagree with no matter how much you may loathe Prezza and all he stands for. (As it happens, I've always rather liked the bloke, even when he is going so far over the top he's down the other side.) The tweet came after Boulton wrote: 'Tom Watson so thrilled seem happy to cross the picket line and go on BBC air.' School sneak, was it Adam?

Speaking of Twitter, this page encourages readers to get all Shakespearean regarding the scandal. Chris Bryant's been a regular witty contributor and Prescott has weighed in with 'NoW is the Hinton of our discontent,' 'Hackbeth' and 'The Taming of the Screws.' Other gems include 'Is this a blagger I see before me?' and 'I come to bury Murdoch, not to praise him.' But may own particular favourite is from musician, satirist, broadcaster and all round jolly good chap, the great Mitch Benn who suggested: 'For never was a story of more woe/Than this of Murdoch and his CEO.' Heh.

In the US, attorney general Eric Holder has said that, in response to requests for members of Congress that the phone-hacking allegations be investigated in America, 'we are progressing in that regard using the appropriate federal law enforcement agencies in the United States.' America seems to be really waking up to the News Corp situation: 'Rupert Murdoch phone hacking scandal becomes US political issue,' says the respected US website Politico.com. In the article, by Ben Smith, it states: 'The scandal has handed talking points to Democrats and a political cudgel to President Barack Obama's re-election campaign, which is bracing for what's become the usual battle with FOX News. Mainstream American politicians of both parties have generally avoided open combat with Murdoch, with Bill and Hillary Clinton famously seeking to court him and reach an accommodation. Even Obama, who has warred openly with FOX at times, has more recently pulled back, even after seven-figure contributions to groups tied to the Republican Party were reported last year. But Murdoch, wounded, suddenly appears mortal, and his enemies are emboldened.' Is it now time to stop speculation over will he sell or won't he? From the article quotes Lou Colasuonno, a former New York Post editor, who worked for Murdoch in the 1980s - 'The newspapers will leave the building when Rupert leaves the building.'

In the light of the dramatic resignation of Les Hinton, Rupert Murdoch's right hand man, on Friday night it might be worth kicking off with one of the jokes that has been doing the rounds recently: 'Would the last person to leave News International please turn out the lights.' One is certain that Neil Kinnock, in particular, wryly is chuckling at that one.

Despite having his private life frequently splashed across the Mirra newspaper, Top Gear presenter Jezza Clarkson has mounted a robust defence of Rupert Murdoch, Rebekah Brooks and tabloid journalism in general in his column in - Murdoch owned - Sun newspaper. Jezza warns 'we may well end up with a press that can't expose a thing' if reform of newspaper regulation is left to MPs. In his column in the Sun, he says: 'Of course I don't like being photographed looking fat. Of course I don't want my private life splashed all over the Mirror' but adds that allowing politicians 'a bunch of people who are still smarting from the way journalists exposed their expenses fraud' to drive the debate will be a mistake. He describes himself as one of Rebekah Brooks' 'closest friends' and laments the loss of the News of the World but says it would be worse if Rupert Murdoch sold his remaining titles, the Sun, The Sunday Times and The Times. 'I urge you all to remember that while Rupert Murdoch is being presented right now as the devil and even if you believe that, he is at least the devil you know. A man who loves newspapers very nearly as much ... as you do.'

You may remember Imogen Thomas, dear blog reader, for her tearful appearances on ITV's This Morning, being interviewed by Phillip Schofield on the subject of an injunction that she couldn't talk about, concerning an individual she couldn't name. Oh, all right, it was Ryan Giggs. Anyway, the great news for all her fans is that she is going to be a regular on the show. Not talking about gagging orders – the audience may find that a little tiring, week after week – but giving women style and beauty tips, broadcasting from a 'British holiday hotspot each week,' reports the Sun. Her first job will be judging a 'Hunks in Trunks' contest in Brighton on Monday. One would have thought she'd've seen enough briefs in recent months to last a lifetime. Legal briefs, that is. Next week we hope to reveal which desperate former reality TV show regular fallen on hard times has agreed to become Daybreak's 'I'll do anything to get on TV, I'll even eat my own shite if you want me to' correspondent. Dignity, dear blog reader? It's rather over-rated.

Big Brother voice over artist Marcus Bentley has revealed that he has left Channel Four. Bentley, who has narrated the reality show since its inception in 2000, announced on Twitter on Friday that he would be departing from the channel on Monday, prompting speculation that he may join Channel Five to voice its new series of Big Brother, which begins next month. He tweeted: 'Listening to the epic Glasvegas on my way home from my last ever Friday working for Channel Four! Time for a drink!' When questioned by former Big Brother housemate Luke Marsden about the news, Bentley elaborated: 'Last day on Monday, Luke. After ten years time to move on etc.' He did not say whether he would now be defecting to Channel Five for Big Brother Twelve, although Bentley had previously revealed in an interview with the Daily Lies Sunday that the thought of someone else taking over his role for the new series would 'break [his] heart.'

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45(s) of the Day we celebrate one of the great labels of the British industry, Parlophone. Founded in Germany in 1896 by the Carl Lindström Company as Parlophon, the British branch was formed in 1923 as Parlophone which developed a reputation in the 1920s as a leading jazz label. It was acquired in 1927 by the Columbia Graphophone Company which later became EMI. George Martin joined the staff in 1950 as assistant label manager, taking over as manager from Oscar Preuss in 1955. Under Martin, the label produced and released a eclectic mix of product including comedy recordings of The Goons, Charlie Drake, Rolf Harris and Bernard Cribbins, the pianist Mrs Mills, jazz recordings by Humphrey Lyttelton, early British rock and roll from The Vipers Skiffle Group and Shane Fenton, Germany's the Obernkirchen Children's Choir and Scottish musician Jimmy Shand. Contrary to common belief, the label did have pop hits before the arrival of the Beatles in 1962, most notably the massively popular Adam Faith. So, here's a smattering of over thirty years of Parlophone. Starting with this one:
And this one:
And this one:
And this one:
And this one:
And this one:
And this one:
And this one:
And this one:
And this one:
And this one:
And, finally, this one:

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