Thursday, July 14, 2011

Your Money Is The Lowest Form Of Wit As You Bite The Hand That Feeds You For The Hell of It!

Hackgate, day eleven and now we've got an international dimension that's sure to get Hollywood interested in the film rights. The FBI is investigating reports that Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation sought to hack the phones of victims of the 9/11 terror attacks, reports say. Send for Fox Mulder, he's the only one that can sort out a conspiracy this complex. Reports of a criminal probe follow calls from a growing number of senators and a senior Republican congressman for an investigation. An FBI official told the BBC that reports of probe were 'credible.' That, basically, means there is one. An FBI inquiry would be mean that the phone hacking scandal has crossed the Atlantic, analysts say. In Washington, a spokeswoman for the US justice department, which oversees the FBI, declined to comment. 'The department does not comment specifically on investigations, though anytime we see evidence of wrongdoing, we take appropriate action,' Tracy Schmaler told the BBC. Whether that would include extraordinary rendition or waterboarding, we just don't know. Though, it's be jolly nice if it did. News Corporation, based in New York, is the parent company of News International, the UK firm at the centre of a growing scandal over phone hacking and payments to police officers. In Washington, senators this week asked authorities in the US to investigate amid allegations that the phones of victims of the 11 September attacks may have been hacked into by News of the World journalists. Democratic senators Jay Rockefeller and Barbara Boxer urged the attorney general and the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate whether US laws had been broken. Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, who wrote to the attorney general separately, said claims that newspapers had sought to 'exploit information about personal tragedies for profit' needed to be investigated. Republican Congressman Peter King - who is chairman of the House homeland security committee and represents a constituency in New York that lost more then 150 people in the 9/11 attacks - called on Wednesday for an FBI inquiry. According to the Internet, anyone found guilty of 'being beastly to the family of 9/11 victims' is liable to a sentence of 'having their knackers put in a vice and then letting loose the crazed dogs.' Or something.
A former deputy editor of the News of the World was arrested in the early hours of Thursday morning by police investigating Hackgate. Sky News reported that detectives attended the home of Neil Wallis, sixty, in West London before taking him in for questioning.  Wallis joined the News of the World as deputy editor in 2003, and served under Andy Coulson, who was arrested by detectives last week as part of the same investigation. Wallis was appointed executive editor of the newspaper in 2007, when Coulson left, and was previously a deputy editor of the Sun, also owned by News International, and the People, which isn't. In a statement, the Metropolitan Police confirmed that a sixty-year-old man was arrested at 6.30am as part of Operation Weeting - the probe into phone interceptions allegedly made by News International journalists. "At 6.30am this morning officers from the MPS Operation Weeting team arrested a sixty-year-old man at a residential address in London on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications, contrary to section 1(1) Criminal Law Act 1977,' said the statement.  'The man is currently in custody at a West London police station. It would be inappropriate to discuss any further details at this time.' Coulson was released on bail last week along with the newspaper's former royal editor Clive Goodman. An unnamed sixty three-year-old man was also arrested last week in connection with allegations of payments made by News International to police for information, but he was later released. Sky later reported - in a new and murky twist to this getting murkier by the moment story - that the Metropolitan Police have previously employed Wallis as a 'consultant' during the last year. The Met's official statement soon followed: 'Chamy Media, owned by Neil Wallis, former Executive Editor of the News of the World, was appointed to provide "strategic communication advice and support" to the MPS, including advice on speech writing and PR activity, while the Met's Deputy Director of Public Affairs was on extended sick leave recovering from a serious illness. In line with MPS/MPA procurement procedures, three relevant companies were invited to provide costings for this service on the basis of two days per month. Chamy Media were appointed as they were significantly cheaper than the others. The contract ran from October 2009 until September 2010, when it was terminated by mutual consent.' During this time Scotland Yard said THAT there was no need to reopen the phone hacking investigation, a decision made by Yates, despite allegations in the Gruniad that the first police investigation into the scandal had been inadequate. The statement concluded: 'The Commissioner has made the Chair of the police authority aware of this contract.' Then it got even stranger when Sir Paul Stephenson, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, revealed that he'd had dinner with Neil Wallis - albeit in 2006. Needless to say he quickly added that his own integrity was 'completely intact,' although one could suggest that's something other people get to decide, not you, sir. He added: 'I do not believe that on any occasion I have acted inappropriately. I am very satisfied with my own integrity.' Then it emerged that Sir Paul is not the only senior Met officer who had met with Wallis, Tom Watson MP reporting that assistant commissioner John Yates - who may want to start thinking about changing his Christian name to G Gordon - may also have had dinner with him since the launch of Operation Weeting. The Gruniad's National News Editor, Dan Roberts, rather cynically, wrote on Twitter: 'Cops swore blind they didn't take NI money. What they didn't tell us they were paying ex-NI execs instead.'

Well-known Crystal Tipps-lookalike Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of News International, will face MPs next week to answer questions over the phone-hacking scandal. However, schadenfreudegasm seemed to be striking thirteen, big style, as for a while it appeared she might have been on her own when she goes to the headmaster's office for the cane. The Commons culture select committee issued a summons to Rupert Murdoch and his son James after they said that they would not be available to attend the session. The younger Murdoch had offered to appear on an alternatively date - 10 August instead. It was not immediately clear whether the committee could compel the men to face questioning as they are US citizens. Rupert Murdoch wrote a letter to the committee, in which he said: 'Unfortunately, I am not available to attend the session you have planned next Tuesday. However, I am fully prepared to give evidence to the forthcoming judge-led public inquiry and I will be taking steps to notify those conducting the inquiry of my willingness to do so. Having done this, I would be happy to discuss with you how best to give evidence to your committee.' Rumours that both Murodchs said they were 'washing their hair' that day cannot, at this time, be confirmed or denied. Brooks bowed to pressure from parliament to take responsibility by attending the parliamentary committee to account for those events which took place under her watch.
John Whittingdale, chair of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said earlier in the day that Brooks and the Murdochs were 'the key people' to talk to following the allegations of illegal practices which took place in papers in the News International stable. 'We're decided that these three were the most appropriate,' he said. 'If we wanted to talk to others then we might consider that in the future, Murdoch was the chairman of News International in this country until very recently. Rebekah Brooks is the chief executive. They are the people who are directly responsible.' Before the announcement, Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, said that Rupert Murdoch should appear before the committee to answer questions about the phone hacking scandal. Clegg said that Murdoch had 'big questions' to answer. He added that all three should appear 'if they have any shred of sense of responsibility or accountability for their position of power.' On proposed changes to the Press Complaints Commission, the deputy prime minister called the body 'far too weak,' and said that the Lib Dems had 'never been in thrall' to Murdoch. 'To be fair, I've been criticised for many things in my time, but [not] the idea that Liberal Democrats have been in the pockets of media moguls. Not least because they were, perhaps, not very interested in having us in their pockets in the first place.' He went on to say that parliament can't 'frog-march' Brooks to appear before the Commons select committee - although, in theory, they actually could have - but that if she has 'any shred of decency' then she would appear. A reporter asked Clegg if Vince Cable was 'on the naughty step' for his comments about 'declaring war on Rupert Murdoch.' Clegg looked a bit surprised by the question - 'Vince, on the naughty step. That's an interesting image. No, he was never on the naughty step.' So, the questioning continued, is Vince Cable owed an apology now for being punished for saying he had declared war on Murdoch, when he had the responsibility for deciding whether News Corp should take over BSkyB? Clegg did not give a clear answer. 'Do I think that Vince's misgivings about the proposed deal have been vindicated?' he mused, without answering. 'Was it a deal serious enough to elicit serious scrutiny? You bet.' The BBC soon pointed out that at one moment Clegg accidentally appeared to called Rupert Murdoch's company 'News Corpse.' Paul Waugh of PoliticsHome heard it too, calling it 'a Cleggian slip.' Another impressive moment in Clegg's press conference was when he said 'n one now believes the Status Quo can continue.' Well, indeed. Many of us reckon they should have hung up their demin and stopped playing their thirteen-bar boogie-woogie music decades ago. John Whittingdale, on BBC News explained what the position was in terms of the Murdochs and Brooks being compelled to attend the select committee. The hearing would go ahead next Tuesday, he said, and either the three would appear or 'there will be three empty chairs.' Whittingdale added that he really would be prepared to hold a hearing with three empty chairs if necessary. If the witnesses did not appear, the committee would then report that matter to the Commons as a whole as a potential case of 'contempt of parliament.' But at that point it was not clear what would happen next, Whittingdale said. The last time such a thing happened was fifty years ago, when John Junor, the Sunday Express editor, was summoned to parliament over comments he had made in an editorial about MPs allegedly fiddling their expenses (oh, how little things change). Junor subsequently obeyed the summons. To find a precedent where someone had refused to obey a summons, you have to go back much further. 'We are almost into uncharted water,' Whittingdale said. The Gruniad's Andy Sparrow noted that his understanding was, in theory, the Commons could order the Sergeant-at-arms to go off and arrest the Murdochs or Brooks for a contempt of parliament. That is what used to happen in the eighteenth century, when the Commons also had the power to jail people for an offence of this kind, or even execute them. But, apparently, the governments lawyers had accepted that it would be impractical for parliament to try and do this now. For a start, it would never get past the Human Rights Act. The Gruniad - following the Financial Times's lead - were then reporting that James Murdoch in actual fact holds dual nationality and is, therefore, both an American and a UK citizen, which may mean - they speculated - that even if his father could be summoned before the Commons, he potential could. News International confirmed to the newspaper that Murdoch junior does indeed have joint citizenship. Channel Four's Cathy Newman was soon writing that 'If Murdochs leave the country, they will still be in contempt of Parliament if they fail to fly back by Tuesday, Commons says.' In the event, it was soon confirmed that Brooks would be attending - presumably with a pair of Teflon knickers on. And then, just hours after they had both - respectfully - declined the invitation, News International announced that both Murdochs would be joining her. As the BBC's Laura Kuenssberg pointed out it took just six hours for them to change their minds in the face of hostile public opinion. The idea that, just little more than a week ago Rupert Murdoch could be forced into doing pretty much anything he didn't want to was, near enough, inconceivable. As Vince Cable himself noted in the afternoon: 'This is like the end of the dictatorship when everybody discovers they were anti the dictator.' As a footnote, Michael Crick, the political editor of Newsnight, dug up the following gem from the Oxford Mail in 1953: 'Keith Rupert Murdoch, an undergraduate at Worcester College, for whose arrest Oxford magistrates issued a warrant yesterday, was charged later in the day with failing to produce a certificate of insurance for his car when asked to do so on 21 December. He was bailed to appear before the magistrates next Friday. A warrant was issued when Murdoch failed to appear and had not written to the Bench explaining his non-attendance. He arrived after the court had risen.' Ah, you have previous, Mister Murdoch? A simple recidivist, no doubt?

Labour MP Tom Watson - 'the people's champion' according to one national newspaper this morning - has seen his stock rise almost unimaginably as Rupert Murdoch's scandal-laden company has seen its stock fall in the opposite direction. In a profile piece on Watson, the Independent notes that the West Bromwich MP was once best remembered as part of the Gordon Brown-supporting coup attempt against Tony Blair in 2006. The 'top toadie,' as he was then known in some circles (not all of them Tory) had a modest revival as parliamentary secretary during the Brown government (he was an efficient and well respected Under Secretary at the MoD). Now, there's speculation that however happy he seems to be on the backbenches, he might not be able to resist the temptation to step up and exploit his new status as a member of the shadow cabinet. But, how things have changed. 'Let's face it, Tom and Chris Bryant have become our Woodward and Bernstein after all this,' gushed one party official. 'The big question is who gets to play them in the film?' Not a question Watson himself might have been mulling even a fortnight ago. Next Tuesday, in a small committee room in the house of Commons, he'll have his tractor beam set on Rupert Murdoch and co. It should be a sight to see, dear blog reader. And, I mean a sight to see.

And, speaking of Tom Watson's colleague of the moral high ground, Chris Bryant, the shadow justice minister has warned the Murdochs against 'stonewalling' in front of the Commons committee next week: 'It is within the powers of the committee to decide that witnesses shall give evidence under oath. I think that's one of the things they should do so that if they then perjure themselves they can be had up for perjury. It may be that their lawyers tell them to stonewall but I think that would be a big mistake.' He went on to say that the public 'would not accept' them keeping quiet

Laura Kuenssberg has reported that the Cabinet Office did advise the then prime minister against a judicial inquiry into phone hacking in 2010, but claimed that Sir Gus O'Donnell is adamant he told Gordon Brown it was 'up to him' as to whether he initiated such an inquiry. She said that such a spin on thing contradicts Brown's account that the Cabinet Office actively blocked the inquiry, and chimes more closely with Alan Johnson's point which he made earlier in the week, that doing it in the run-up to the General Election would have 'looked very much like political point-scoring.' Patrick Wintour, the Gruniad's political editor, added that O'Donnell had released his full advice to Brown and sent to Brown's principal private secretary, Jeremy Heywood, on 19 March 2010. In his first major speech in the House of Commons since he resigned as prime minister, Brown said on Wednesday, 'I deeply regret my inability to do then what I wanted to do and to overturn the advice of all the authorities and set up a judicial inquiry.' O'Donnell said: 'It was for the prime minister to decide what to do. I set out options. My advice is clear and was based on the evidence available at the time, and I would have taken the same decision now if I had the same evidence as I had then.' O'Donnell claims that he pointed out to Brown that were such an inquiry to be called so close to a general election in May 2011 there would be little or no possibility that a judicial inquiry could have produced a result in time. In his document, marked 'restricted,' O'Donnell set out the necessary steps to be taken before an inquiry could be launched and whether, in this case, such an inquiry would be merited. He wrote: 'Any decision to hold such an inquiry could be challenged by judicial review particularly if the inquiry were extended to the media in general and it is not inconceivable that such a challenge might succeed.' He also stressed the immediate proximity to an election would inevitable raise questions over 'the motivation and urgency' of such an inquiry. O'Donnell's memorandum notes that a previous report by the Commons culture committee had provided 'some arguments in favour of an inquiry,' including a reference to 'a culture' at the News of the World which had 'at best turned a blind eye to illegal activity.' But, the report goes on to say: 'From the limited information available, it is doubtful whether this case would merit the holding of a public inquiry under the terms of the 2005 [Inquiries] Act.' The select committee, it continued, had looked at 'essentially a localised issue involving the actions of a small number of people within the News of the World.' The document adds: 'Does that really amount to a matter of 'public concern' justifying a public inquiry?' Well, we now know the answer to that one. It also says: 'It is questionable whether a public inquiry would be likely to uncover more evidence than the police and the committee were able to do, bearing in mind that the events in question occurred in 2005-7.'

Torygraph 'sources' alleged that Elisabeth Murdoch has become 'increasingly hostile' to Rebekah Brooks, exacerbated by the phone-hacking scandal at the News of the World. Discussing Brooks in recent days, they claim that Ms Murdoch has been saying: 'She has fucked the company.' Observers, they state, have pointed out how the Murdoch family has started to fall out dramatically over the News of the World scandal and its remarkable and rapid fall-out. This morning, the Financial Times reported how Ms Murdoch 'has been playing a more important role within her father's media group, since she sold Shine, the television production company she founded, to News Corp for four hundred and fifteen million pounds earlier this year.' She is due to join News Corp's board when the TV deal is completed. It has been speculated that in the wake of the troubles which her brother James Murdoch has encountered at News International that she could even be a potential candidate to take over the overall News Corp business from her father. That is, if there's any news Corp to take over once all these shenanigans have been concluded.

Slaphead Nick Robinson, the BBC's political editor, on his blog asks if this is the beginning of a new era for politics and the media, and rapidly concludes that it, actually, isn't: 'On the morning after the night the Commons broke the spell of Murdoch some are hailing a new era. Never again, they say, will our political leaders be swayed by the charms and the threats of Rupert or James or Rebekah or, indeed, the owner or boss or editor of any paper. To which I say: "Clear your head, stop and think and stop fantasising." Politicians and the press are fated to be locked perpetually in a loveless embrace.'

Sky News have reported 'sources' suggesting that Abi Titmuss, the former nurse, model, presenter on a pornographic TV channel, Celebrity Love Island and Come Dine With Me contestant and shameless self-publicist, is to sue News International over alleged phone hacking. As if anybody gives an effing stuff about that nonsense. This is, after all, a woman who made a great deal of money during the past decade flashing her baps off in the Sun, the News of the World and several other tabloid newspapers and magazines. Once you're done that, then the right to expect a private life is the least thing you lose. (I mean, there's dignity, for one. Still, I'm sure the cheques were very supportive, Abi.) On a slightly more serious note, the BBC has reported that the phone number of a cousin of Jean Charles de Menezes, the Brazilian electrician shot dead by police in July 2005 at Stockwell Tube, is alleged to have been found among the papers of private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, raising suspicions that his phone was hacked. That's something, one suspects, which a fair few people who couldn't give a buggering stuff about Abi Titmuss might, just, be slightly more interested in.

Ian Katz, the deputy editor of the Gruniad posted a brilliant oneliner on Twitter on the subject of what the Gruniad 'told No 10 about Coulson's links to corrupt PI - "axe murder yes, hacking no!"'

The Daleks appear to have fallen through a crack in the space-time continuum - trundling past Parliament almost half a century after TV viewers readers first saw them conquer the Earth. The evil bubbling balls of hate in bonded polycarbide from the devastation that was Skaro (before the Doctor blew it up, of course) were wheeled out this week to re-stage a famous scene from the 1964 Doctor Who adventure The Daleks Invasion of Earth on London's Westminster Bridge. Four generations of Daleks - showing how the creatures had evolved over the years - were wielding their power on the deserted road. They were doing so as part of the publicity for The Doctor Who Experience, a London-based exhibition.
Glee co-creator Ryan Murphy has confirmed that Lea Michele, Cory Monteith and Chris Colfer will not appear in the show's fourth season. Murphy told The Hollywood Reporter that the trio's characters - Rachel Berry, Finn Hudson and Kurt Hummel - will all graduate at the end of season three. He explained: 'You can keep them on the show for six years and people will criticise you for not being realistic, or you can be really true to life and say when they started the show they were very clearly sophomores and they should graduate at the end of their senior year.' Murphy added that 'more characters are leaving than are staying' when the season ends. Murphy also confirmed that Colfer and Michele had been involved in the plans, adding: 'We made that decision and I involved Chris and Lea and they thought that was a good idea. They both trust the writing and trust me and felt that it would be great to have an open and closed experience for them to go out while they were on top.' He also added that while he had not yet discussed his plans with Monteith, the actor 'knows [Finn] was a sophomore when the show started.' Chord Overstreet, who plays Sam Evans, may also be leaving Glee after executives decided not to give his character series regular status. However, an 'insider' allegedly said that Overstreet is 'welcome' back to the show when filming starts again next month.

The BBC's head of HD and 3D, Danielle Nagler, is leaving the corporation along with two team members - and is not being directly replaced. Meanwhile, the BBC HD channel will move towards becoming a simulcast of BBC2, although a spokeswoman stressed that a full BBC2 HD channel remained 'a long term aspiration.' No proposals have been put to the BBC Trust yet, but they could feature as part of Delivering Quality First. Nagler will leave in September to join City law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner, while team members Ian Potts and Umme Ali will depart the business at the end of the year. BBC2 controller Janice Hadlow will take overall responsibility for HD at the BBC, while a replacement for the 3D elements of Nagler's role will be announced in due course. Nagler joined the BBC as a journalist in 1996, moving to the Vision department in July 2008. She was responsible for a series of developments including the launch of the BBC HD and BBC1 HD channels, as well as spearheading the corporation's push into 3D, resulting in the first free-to-air 3D broadcast, of the Wimbledon finals, earlier this month. The broadcaster also recently revealed a push into original 3D content. Roly Keating, director of archived content, paid tribute to her 'tremendous' work. 'Danielle has always played a very active role within the BBC, bringing to all her jobs a sharp strategic focus, a beady sense of humour and a can-do approach,' he said. 'I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Danielle for the exceptional contribution she has made to the BBC, and to Vision in particular: her passion, intellect, energy and drive have made remarkable things happen here, and she'll be much missed.'

Idris Elba has admitted that it feels 'amazing' to be nominated for two Emmy awards. The actor was recognised in the category of 'Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie' for his performance in Luther, and also received a nod for his guest appearance on Showtime's The Big C. 'This has been such an amazing morning for me' said Elba. 'I am extremely honoured to be nominated in two categories. Luther has been such a passion project for me and working on The Big C was a great time.' The former star of The Wire also quipped: 'My daughter told me I am going to be as famous as the guy from Twilight.' Elba also addressed his nomination on Twitter, writing: 'Two Emmy nods, age thirty eight. Perseverance.' Last year, Elba received a Golden Globe nomination for his Luther performance.

Kal Penn has signed up for a recurring role on the sitcom How I Met Your Mother. The actor will play Kevin, a potential love interest for Robin (Cobie Smulders), on the CBS sitcom, according to TV Line. Penn previously appeared in 2004 film Harold & Kumar Get the Munchies and its 2008 sequel Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay. He also played Kutner on FOX's House from 2007 to 2009, but eventually left the show to take up the position of associate director in the office of public liaison at the White House. Penn will leave his political role later this month. His other television credits include a recurring role in the sixth season of 24 and a guest role on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. How I Met Your Mother co-creator Craig Thomas previously suggested that the show's sixth season will focus more on Robin's romantic life. 'Robin didn't do a hell of a lot of dating at all,' he said. 'She was more [immersed in] switching careers.'

Bones creator Hart Hanson has confirmed that the show will have a 'shortened' seventh season. In March, the series' female lead, Emily Deschanel, confirmed that she was expecting a baby, with her pregnancy subsequently being written into the show. 'We have a shortened season because Emily is actually pregnant,' Hanson told The Hollywood Reporter. 'We hope to get sixteen episodes done [and] I'm sure we will. That's going be the bulk of this year.' The showrunner also suggested that Brennan and Booth (David Boreanaz) will have to re-examine their relationship in the wake of her pregnancy announcement. 'The baby will be born, and these two disparate people are going to have to figure out the environment in which that child will be raised,' he explained. 'What is their relationship? Are they going to live together? How involved will Booth be in the raising of the baby?' Castmate John Francis Daley recently revealed that he expects Booth and Brennan to be in 'some sort of a relationship' next season.

Emma Caulfield has confirmed that she will appear on TNT series Leverage. The former Buffy The Vampire Slayer star announced the news on her Twitter account, and also revealed that Star Trek: The Next Generation actor Jonathan Frakes will direct the episode. She wrote: 'So Jonathan Frakes is directing me in Leverage next week.' Caulfield did not reveal any further details about her role on the show. The actress is best known for playing Anya on Buffy The Vampire Slayer from 1999 to 2003. She also appeared as Emma Bradshaw on the short-lived CW drama Life Unexpected and featured in a recurring role on TeenNick comedy-drama Gigantic. Leverage's executive producer Dean Devlin recently claimed that the show's current fourth season is the best yet, while series star Timothy Hutton suggested that future episodes will have a 'family' theme.

Online TV service SeeSaw has been saved from closure by a consortium of investors including the former Channel Four chief executive, Michael Jackson (no, not that one), in a deal led by the US private equity firm that snapped up Bebo for a knockdown price. Criterion Capital Partners has taken a controlling stake in SeeSaw, which is owned by transmission business Arqiva, in a deal estimated to be worth well over ten million smackers. The private equity firm has pulled together a group of investors from the film, TV and new media industry – including Dan Adler, a former Disney and Creative Artists Agency senior executive, who will build international relations with studios – with Arqiva retaining a twenty five per cent stake in the business and a seat on the new board.

Channel Four has announced details of a new sitcom starring Vic Reeves and Rhys Darby. Fun Police will focus on the employees of Brightsea Council's Health and Safety department, and has been written by The Russell Brand Show co-host Matt Morgan. Flight of the Conchords' Darby will play eccentric office boss Leslie, who takes charge when the previous boss suffers an accident in the workplace. Oh, the irony. Cemetery Junction's Jack Doolan, Tracy Beaker actor Clive Rowe, Him & Her's Kerry Howard and Not Going Out's Katy Wix will also appear alongside Reeves and Darby. Man Stroke Woman writer Dan Hine will serve as producer on Fun Police, while The Office's Ash Atalla will executive produce. The IT Crowd director Richard Boden will shoot the series. The project is part of the third season of Channel Four's Comedy Showcases, which previously spawned full series of The Kevin Bishop Show, Campus and The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret. Meanwhile, Alexander Armstrong and Ben Miller are to star in a new sitcom on Channel Four. The pair will play the title roles in Felix and Murdo, a period series from Men Behaving Badly creator Simon Nye. Set in 1908, the show will follow the titular heroes as they engage in a drink and drugs spree while competing in the first London Olympics. Armstrong and Miller's production company Toff Media will co-produce Felix and Murdo alongside Objective Productions. The pair previously worked together on sketch show Armstrong and Miller between 1997 and 2001, before filming three series of The Armstrong and Miller Show for BBC1. Ben Farrell and Saskia Schuster will produce, while Phil Clark and Andrew Newman will serve as executive producers.

Which brings us nicely to .... Daybreakwatch
27 June 743k AI 69
28 June 793k AI 67
29 June 742k AI 68
30 June 712k AI 67
1 July 711k AI 71
4 July 726k AI 69
5 July 793k AI 72
6 July 761k AI 67
7 July 757k AI 67
8 July 716k AI 67
11 July 722k AI 70
12 July 750k AI 66
13 July 727k
So, as you can see, it's been a cracking couple of weeks for Daybreak! So, about that 'corner' you recently turned, Ms Bleakley...

Martin Scorsese's documentary about the late Scouser of distinction George Harrison will debut on US cable channel HBO this autumn. Co-produced with Harrison's widow, Olivia, it will feature home movies and interviews with surviving Beatles. Both other them. Scorsese, who also made Rolling Stones documentary Shine a Light and the award-winning Bob Dylan documentary No Direction Home, said that making the film was 'a joy and an experience I'll never forget.' Living in the Material World will be shown in two parts in October. It will be available on DVD on 10 October. Other interviewees include Harrison's ling time friend Eric Clapton, John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono, and record producers Sir George Martin and good old mad-as-toast Phil Spector - presumably live from his jail cell. Scorsese said that the documentary had allowed him to spend time with Olivia Harrison 'interviewing so many of George's closest friends, reviewing all that footage, some of it never seen before, and listening to all of that magnificent music.' Scorsese added that the first time he heard Harrison's highly regarded 1970 solo LP All Things Must Pass 'was like walking into a cathedral. George was making spiritually aware music, we all heard and felt it, and I think that was the reason that he came to occupy a very special place in our lives.' An accompanying book, written by Olivia Harrison, will feature photographs, letters and diary extracts from the star's personal archive. Harrison, who died of lung cancer in 2001, wrote Beatles songs including 'Something', 'Here Comes the Sun', 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' and yer actual Keith Telly Topping's particular favourite 'Long, Long, Long'. He enjoyed further success, both as a solo artist - particularly in the early 1970s - and with the 1980s supergroup Traveling Wilburys as well as a movie mogul with his HandMade Films production company.

A centurion's substantial savings have come to light in a dig at a Northumberland Roman fort. The hoard of twenty one silver denarii coins has been recovered during the excavation of a Second Century centurion's living quarters at Vindolanda, the famous Roman auxiliary fort just south of Hadrian's Wall. The hoard had been buried, possibly in a purse or some similar package which had long since rotted away, in a shallow pit within the foundation material of the floor in the middle of a room. Centurions had separate accommodation at the ends of barracks housing the men they commanded. The coins would be worth around three thousand pounds in today's money. Doctor Andrew Birley, the director of excavations at Vindolanda, said: 'The coins were tightly packed together and several had corroded on to one another, held together as a group by the foundation clay of the building on the surrounding packaging that had rotted away. The archaeological context suggests that the hoard may well have been deliberately buried, rather than lost, and was probably the savings of an individual who was unable to recover his money.' The hoard has now been conserved at Vindolanda and reported as treasure trove under the 1996 Treasure Act. It is hoped that the hoard will remain at Vindolanda for public display at the site museum. Andrew added: 'Roman soldiers were paid three times a year and this is a significant part of his annual salary that he is burying. It looks as if he is keeping the fact quiet, for whatever reason that he is saving cash by hiding it under the floor. It appears he didn't want people to know in what was a tight community inside the fort. The coins are in beautiful condition. It is a lot of money and would have been enough to buy a good horse. The questions it raises is why did he bury the money and why did he never come back for it?' The coins are the second major find at Vindolanda during this year's excavations. Last month the Journal reported how circular roundhouse style huts of the type occupied by Romano-British farming communities around Hadrian's Wall had been found within the fort. It is believed that they housed farming families fleeing from a rebellion by the Northern tribes between the years 208 and 211AD, and who were taken in at Vindolanda for protection.

The London mayor, Boris Johnson, was said to 'furious' to learn today that Scotland Yard hired former News of the World deputy editor Neil Wallis as a consultant, according to Sky News crime correspondent Martin Brunt. Channel Four's Cathy Newman uses a different word: 'Mayor of London "extremely cross" Met commissioner didn't tell him full relationship between Met and News of the World former exec editor Neil Wallis.' Cross, eh? What next, 'miffed'? Sir Paul, let me tell you, you wouldn't like Boris when he's angry.

Kerry Katona says that she was 'sad' to see the News of the World go - not least for the fees they paid her for providing them with trite and dubious stories on an almost weekly basis. 'It's part of a tradition, really, innit?' she asked. No, I haven't the faintest idea what this dreadful woman is dribbling on about either, dear blog reader.

Oh, and Torchwood, episode one. Class.
That is all.

And, so to year actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. A minor corker from the early 1990s by Love and Money.

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