Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Confusion In Her Eyes That Says It All. She's Lost Control Again

A BBC radio car was set on fire in Salford on Tuesday night as broadcasters and other media organisations struggled to keep up with the looting and disorder spreading, like a virus, across the Midlands, the North West and the West of England. Not the North East, though. Just wanted to point that out, dear blog reader. Anyway, the dangers of covering such a fast-moving, volatile and dangerous story were underlined once again when the BBC Radio Manchester car and another vehicle belonging to a reporter were set on fire in Salford, according to the corporation. BBC North West Tonight's political correspondent Arif Ansari also reported that a cameraman was 'set upon' in Salford. This followed numerous incidents of broadcast journalists and photographers being attacked during the London riots on the previous three nights.

An anonymous police officer in Surrey e-mailed the BBC News website on Wednesday to note that the UK will continue to be 'under siege from the mindless violence' until 'something changes in the way we police this country.' Do I sense 'why oh why can't it be like the good old days?' moment here? He continued: 'When my granddad was a police officer in the 1940s he was feared by those who broke laws. He acted professionally and upheld the law, but did not have worry about trial by media if used force to restore order. Every use of force by a police officer in the UK has to be documented and justified. Many officers will not use the force necessary to restore order as they fear for their jobs and liberty. The interview with the two teenage girls on Monday shows this really well where they state "we are showing the police we can do what we want!" The yobs and looters need something to fear or they will continue their reign of terror on the law abiding community.' He was, of course, referring to two teenage girls who claimed to have taken part in looting in Croydon and boasted to a BBC news reporter about grabbing 'free things' adding that they hoped the riots would spread further. The guffawing, strutting, brazen seventeen-year-old brats were said to have been 'drinking stolen rosé wine' at 9.30am on Tuesday morning as they laughed about the previous night's disturbances in South London and made some vague - and semi-coherent - complaints about 'rich people' as justification for their own and others actions. For anyone who believes there is any sort of political or social dimension to these events, I recommend you have a listen to the manifesto of these self-styled urban warriors against the oppression of them what's in charge of things. It's astounding. One told the BBC's Leana Hosea: 'Everyone was just on a riot, goin' mad, chuckin' fings, chuckin' bottles – it was good, though.' Her friend then added: 'Breakin' into shops – it was madness, it was good fun.' One of the girls subsequently bragged about 'gettin' a couple of free fings,' before insisting: 'It's the gov'ment's fault. An'all that, Innit? I don't know. Conservatives, whoeva it is. It's the rich people who've got businesses and that's why all this 'appened. Or whateva.' Well, I'm certainly convinced, I dunno about anybody else. Where do I sign up for the revolution? They concluded by suggesting that further crime would 'hopefully' follow. As indeed, hopefully, will their capture, trial and sentencing to a bowel-shattering scarily long stretch in pokey. During which time perhaps they might, you know, read a few books and try to learn something about the world that they live in. Bit of a radical suggestion, there, I know but that's me. Full of them.

Now, here's something which might, possibly, give those girls a moment's pause for reflection. If, indeed, they can spell the word 'reflection.' Nine out of ten British adults, apparently, say that the police should be able to be use water cannon on rioters and one third support use of live ammunition, according to a YouGov poll. It was conducted on a gorup of just over two thousand five hundred British adults for the Sun. What's slightly more worrying from the point of view of any fluffy liberalism and humanity that we haven't had beaten out of our collective selves by four nights of terrifying TV footage, is the these are not, necessarily, the views of two and a half grands-worth of merely Sun readers - in which case, one is surprised it's not ten out of ten in favour of chemical castration - but also seems to include the views of some normal people as well. The survey included of some quite startling numbers:-
• Ninety per cent think the police should be able to use water cannon when dealing with rioters.
• Thirty three per cent say police should be able to use firearms and/or live ammunition.
• Seventy seven per cent support using the army to help deal with the situation.
• Fifty seven per cent feel that David Cameron is dealing with the situation badly.
• Eighty five per cent believe that either a majority or most of those taking part in the riots will go unpunished.
It's amazing what a bit of fear can do to the general public, it would seem. Meanwhile, the Met are obviously getting pretty fed up with a variety of vigilante groups who - egged on, perhaps, by a few of the scummier newspapers and also by Sky News sending reporters and camera crews out with them - have been popping up and vowing to 'protect' shops and homes from rioters. And, of course, as a by-product to dish out a bit of good old fashioned East End 'sorting' to anyone whose jib they don't, necessarily, like the cut of. According to reports, hundreds of people turned out overnight in several parts of London - including Enfield and Southall - allegedly to defend their property amid fears of further looting. But, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Kavanagh, from the Metropolitan Police, said that they were 'not helping matters.' He told Sky News - whose odious Eamonn Holmes had previously in the morning on Sunrise appeared to, openly, support such groups: 'What I don't need is these so-called vigilantes, who appeared to have been drinking too much and taking policing resources away from what they should have been doing - which is preventing the looting.' He added: 'These are small pockets of people. They're frustrated, they're angry, and that's totally understandable. The sadness of those images through the night and the night before last will affect everyone. But the support that we need is to allow those officers to prevent looting and prevent crime. Ironically, when you see those images with no police available, the police are now having to go and do the vigilantes as well as the other problems that they've got. That needs to stop.' Meanwhile, this YouTube video, which was shot in Eltham and uploaded on Tuesday afternoon, appears to show a number of people gathering to 'reclaim the streets.' Yep fine. No problem there, so long as they do it legally. But, hang on, interesting - is it not - to hear some of them bellowing, gormlessly, 'E-D-EDL!' Once again, it appears, that some people are - just exactly like the pond scum looters whom they claim to detest - using the unrest to push their own diverse (and some might argue quite sinister) agendas where they didn't ought to be. That's why it's probably best to leave the police alone to sort all this malarkey out. That's what they're paid for, after all. The English Defence League has apparently called on its members via their website - which I'm not linking to because ... I don't want to - to 'contact their local organisations' to 'find out how they can help "defend" their communities tonight.' That's going to be really helpful, one imagines. Several media commentators, it would seem, are talking about the power of the police. Philip Johnston says in the Torygraph that the police 'lost control' many years ago and have become 'more like social workers than upholders of law and order.' And, hilariously, Boris Johnson got another 'stern talking to' from a member of the public on a walkabout in Enfield earlier on Wednesday. Watch the latest footage here. It's great. As, indeed, is this one, albeit for completely different reasons. Amateur footage has been posted on YouTube claiming to show police, how shall we put this delicately, 'pacifying' someone who may, or may not, be a suspected rioter in Jutland Street, near Manchester's Piccadilly Station. Is that truncheon in your hand or are you just pleased to see me?

Police in Cheshire have charged a twenty-year-old man with 'intentionally inciting public disorder through the use of social media sites.' He is due to appear before magistrates in Northwich on Wednesday. He was one of eight people in total arrested across in the county on Tuesday for similar offences. Four men are still being questioned, a thirteen-year-old boy has been given police bail - and told to grow up and not to be such a ruddy plank, hopefully - and two other men have been released without charge. A nineteen-year-old woman was arrested after posting what was described as 'an invitation to a riot in Wakefield' on a social networking site. More seriously, a twenty one-year-old man is arrested on suspicion of starting the massive fire at the House of Reeves furniture store in Croydon. The one hundred and sixty year old family-run business was destroyed on Monday evening. In a sad indictment of all sorts of things, someone who seemingly proudly, describes himself as 'a sixteen-year-old looter' from Manchester told BBC 5Live that he intends to continue participating in the violence and thieving until he gets caught, because it is his first offence and 'nothing will happen. What are they gonna do, give me an ASBO?' One of the first people to appear before magistrates on Wednesday morning in connection with the various outbreaks of disorder, one Alexis Bailey, a thirty one year old of Wye Street, Battersea, was committed to Wood Green Crown Court, along with the majority of others. He pleaded guilty to burglary with intent to steal from Richer Sounds in Southend Road, Croydon on Monday. The BBC's Clive Coleman at Highbury Corner magistrates' court noted that Bailey's case is rather typical in that the magistrate committed him for sentencing at the Crown Court. The reason for this is that the magistrates' bench felt the riot was such 'an aggravating feature' to the burglary that the Crown Court ought to be the body to pass sentence because they have 'additional powers.' The magistrates felt that they had insufficient powers to sentence for a single count of burglary. They could only sentence for a maximum of six months whereas that could be up to ten years at the Crown Court depending on the individual circumstances. Shockingly, perhaps, Bailey is described as someone who 'works at a primary school,' although whether he's a teacher or not it, at this time, unknown. An eleven-year-old was among those appearing before magistrates in Romford, Essex. The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared at Highbury Corner Youth Court where he admitted being part of a gang of youths who looted the town's Debenhams store on Monday night. The first e-petition to pass the one hundred thousand threshold looks set to be one calling for convicted rioters to lose any benefits to which they are currently receiving: It's at seventy eight thousand signatures and needs to get past one hundred thousand for the backbench business committee of MPs to discuss whether or not to call a Commons debate on it.

The BBC have apologised for a live interview on its News Channel - broadcast on Tuesday - in which the presenter Fiona Armstrong accused the writer and broadcaster Darcus Howe of having taken part in riots in the past. The Corporation said that it had not intended to show Howe any 'disrespect.' Armstrong said: 'You are not a stranger to riots yourself I understand, are you? You have taken part in them yourself.' Howe replied: 'I have never taken part in a single riot. I've been part of demonstrations that ended up in a conflict. Stop accusing me of being a rioter and have some respect for an old West Indian Negro, because you wanted for me to get abusive. You just sound idiotic - have some respect.' News Channel editors acknowledged it had been a 'poorly-phrased question' but said that this sometimes happened during live interviews and the incident was compounded by technical issues which meant the pair talked over each other.

The prime minister, meanwhile, has suggested that the government is 'ready to increase the number of prison places' in the wake of the riots. Cameron said that if the courts 'want to send more people to prison the government has an obligation to provide those places and it will do so.' The government's sentencing reforms put forward by the Justice Secretary Ken Clarke last month envisaged a fall in prison numbers as part of the government's 'deficit reduction strategy.' Canning Circus police station in central Nottingham was firebombed by a male gang on Tuesday evening. Nottinghamshire Police said ninety people had been arrested in connection with this and other offences. In Liverpool, Merseyside Police have reportedly arrested fifty thieving schleps in relation to disorder in the city. Nine people have been arrested in Gloucester after police officers came under attack from youths throwing stones and bottles from 23:00 including one sixteen year old woman. In Leicester, a group of up to one hundred youths attacked shops and threw items at police, with thirteen arrests. In Bristol, police arrested nineteen people following a second night of trouble. Thames Valley Police made fifteen arrests linked to trouble overnight in Reading, Oxford and other areas. Metropolitan Police have so far arrested seven hundred and sixty eight individuals and charged one hundred and five of them in connection with the violence in the capital, including the twenty one-year-old man who was arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life following the fire at Reeves Furniture store. Officers from all eight Scottish Police forces are being sent to help colleagues in the Midlands and North of England deal with rioting and looting. Meanwhile, just as we in the North East were starting to congratulate ourselves that whatever's been going on down the South, it was nowt to do with us, came news that Northumbria Police said a missile was thrown through the window of a station at Washington early on Wednesday morning injuring an officer. A police car parked outside was also set on fire. Crap. There goes my moral superiority. Tragically, Liam Gallagher's Manchester-based clothes store was broken into by rioters on Tuesday night. Pretty Green - named after the Jam song of the same name, of course - which is located on King Street, had its windows smashed, leading to the shop being ransacked and stock stolen. The incident occurred during a night of violence in Manchester after around one hundred youths broke into the Arndale Centre and stole goods from various outlets. Former Oasis singer Gallagher, who now fronts Beady Eye, set up the men's fashion boutique in December last year. The rapper Plan B has condemned the riots in England in an audio clip released on his website. The twenty seven-year-old from East London questions the rioters motives, asking: 'What's the point of getting arrested and getting put in jail for a pair of new trainers or a microwave?' The riots previously led to a fire at a Sony warehouse in Enfield, London, destroying the stock of over one hundred and fifty record labels, including XL Recordings, Beggars, Domino and Wall Of Sound. Among the stock that went up in some was a load of singles by Adele. So, no harm done there then.

However, sadly, three DVD companies are believed to have been affected by the fire at Sony. Network DVD, who have released numerous classic TV dramas such as Space 1999, Crossroads, Emergency Ward 10, Upstairs Downstairs and Peak Practice, are one of the companies believed to be affected. Network has put a holding page up on its website as a result of the fire which has been updated twice with news for consumers - including news about planned releases within the next few weeks. Network DVD, via the holding page, has announced the planned release of The Strange World of Gurney Slade, will still go ahead on Monday. The Pinkpaper are reporting that Peccadillo Pictures - which have released such films as Plan B in the UK - has also been affected by the fire. The paper also reports that fellow gay film company TLA Releasing - who have released Dante's Cove and The Lair in the UK - are another company affected by the fire.

Libyan foreign ministry spokesman Khalid Ka'im has called on world governments to 'take action' over the unrest in the UK. David Cameron has lost legitimacy and 'must go,' Libya's official news agency Jana reports. This, dear blog reader, from somebody in Colonel Gaddafi government. Thanks for the lecture, matey, we'll take it under advisement. And, kindly remember, even a broken clock is right twice a day. Libya 'demands that the international community not stand with arms folded in the face of this gross aggression against the rights of the British people, who are demanding its right to rule its country,' the report said. Rioting in Britain is 'the fault of the government and police,' Iranian newspaper Resalat reports. In an editorial on Cameron's iron fist, the paper says that the unrest is the consequence of the UK government's 'human rights violations.' No, it really isn't guys, trust me on this one. It's actually a consequence of the crass materialism of the Western world and the capitalist dream that's sold to us all if you want to get ideological on our asses to be honest, we wouldn't really have an answer to that one. It is, in short, no so much David Cameron's fault as Simon Cowell's. Here endeth the lesson. In a rare moment of harmony, press in both Israel and Iran both cite immigration as one of the reasons for unrest in the UK. Editorials in Iran's Khorasan newspaper and Israel's Yisrael Hayom both speculate that tensions in multicultural communities may be the cause. Which would be true if all of the rioters were black, or Asian, or white. But, they're not, they're a mixture of all three it would seem. Seriously, Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney should be writing a song about all these kids of multi-ethnic backgrounds coming together in racial harmony to smash the window of shops selling pianos. Even the Daily Scum Mail's 'Years of liberal dogma have spawned a generation of amoral, uneducated... et cetera, et certera' coverage has belatedly included photos of white rioters and looters. As Michael White notes in the Gruniad: 'Liberals can legitimately point to their marginalisation in the workforce and at school (some of these kids can barely speak proper English), in part the consequences of globalising economic forces and the evaporation of low-skilled jobs. Social conservatives can point to the collapse of family and discipline, happily unaware that capitalism can be pretty devastating to all but the strongest families, both in terms of depressed wage rates and raised expectations.' But that, ultimately, no one is innocent. 'The other blame game that has not yet got seriously underway is between the media and the police, though there are hints in the public discourse. The cops complain that, whenever they get heavy-handed or cut a few corners, liberal society (that includes most Tory politicians too) throws its hands up in their air and seeks to tie the coppers' own hands still tighter in the enduring struggle to protect respectable folk, their lives, livelihoods and property. Liberal society complains in return that too many police forces have chosen to retreat behind desks and computer screens, preferring dry feet to proper policing of their communities. They target fashionable causes – child protection is an obvious one – and pick on motorists and other easy targets which both boost their numbers and even revenues. They're often pretty hack-handed, too, as Operation Trident, and its aftermath, demonstrated in Tottenham. There is validity on both sides – there usually is. And, of course, the Guardian embodies the conflict. It rightly exposed a police cover-up in the death of the innocent news vendor during the G20 demonstrations/riot. It joined criticism of both under-policing and excessive force during the student demos/rioting. It also took on the Met's collusion at pretty senior levels with the Murdoch organisation, with spectacular results. All in all, you can't help feeling sorry for the ordinary copper, who (most of them) neither abuse the citizenry or dine with News of the World execs, but are expected to risk life and limb in the streets, where hooligans throw rocks or champagne bottles at their heads.' What he said. 'All those who felt disadvantaged and full of hatred are now running wild,' the Israeli paper says. for 'disadvantaged' read 'pissed off they haven't got the latest Nikés.' Today's edition of Iranian newspaper Javan carries a front-page picture of London police 'confronting' rioters. The headline reads: Britain's throat in the claws of oppressed rebels. BBC Monitoring, for one, express some doubt as to whether the photograph actually depicts this week's events - indeed it looks to this untrained eye like an image from either the last G20 protest, or possibly the student demonstrations earlier in the year. But then, Iran, they're so used to dealing with their own demonstrations sensibly and non-provocatively that one assumes it's an easy mistake to make. Chinese Communist newspaper China Youth Daily - sort of their version of the Gruniad Morning Star, if you will - asks whether the 2012 Olympics will be safe following unrest in London. 'If things are not settled with local angry youth, the London Olympics really will not put people at ease,' the paper warns. Ah, not so much the Gruniad as the Daily Scum Mail, then? Another Chinese paper, Guangzhou's Nanfang Dushi Bao, said the Games could become 'an unshakeable nightmare for the UK government,' while in Hong Kong, the Oriental Daily News said: 'If the UK wants to use the London Olympics to restore its glory as a great power, this will probably backfire.' What, like Tiananmen Square, you mean?

The Gruniad asked the star of The Wire and Luther, Idris Elba, who was born in Hackney, if he would write a piece for them this week. Idris, as it happens, didn't have time, but he did e-mail the paper with the following statement: 'I'm in London now, I am sad and literally devastated by the riots and the turn of events that has gotten it to this place. The emerging youths that are getting involved in looting need to stay away as it is only a matter of time for someone else to get hurt or go to jail senselessly. Urging the families and the parents of the young kids to keep them home. Communities need to stick together to keep them away. Not just London but nationwide, please keep them home and safe.'

And so to the really important news: The riotin' and a-robbin' and a-lootin' and a-shootin' on the streets of London has forced the BBC to interrupt filming of the new series of their hit drama Sherlock. Location scenes from the second season of the BBC1 drama, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, is being filmed in the capital this week. However, various areas of London have been engulfed in rioting and unrest over the weekend - you might have noticed, it's been on the news and everything - with shops raided and buildings burned. But despite there being sixteen thousand law on the streets of the capital yesterday, Sherlock co-creator Mark Gatiss revealed that filming of a scene had to be curtailed after some of the crew were 'approached' by looters. Wanted to know it they wished to 'buy some trainers,' probably. Writing on Twitter, the League of Gentleman star wrote: 'This is a new one on me. Scene incomplete owing to approaching looters. Unbelievable times.' In response to a message from another Twitter user, Gatiss added: 'Unit evacuated. Fucking terrifying! Tomorrow should be contained. Fingers crossed!' Martin Freeman was also on set in North London when production had to be abandoned due to the disruption.

Coverage of the continued unrest across the UK saw BBC News at Ten peak with more than eight million viewers on Tuesday evening overnight audience data has revealed. The BBC's flagship news bulletin averaged 7.61m for BBC1 between 10pm and 10.30pm, peaking with 8.09m in the first fifteen minutes. The rating was News at Ten's highest so far in 2011 and it also eclipsed the previous night's record of 7.15m. On the other side, ITV's News at Ten saw a slight upswing in its audience to 2.87m on ITV and a further one hundred and sixty six thousand viewers of ITV+1, while BBC2's Newsnight attracted 1.21m from 10.30pm. There were also 1.7 million viewers for the BBC News channel in the 9pm hour and 1.06 million for Sky News at the same time. The BBC News Channel's all-day share of seven hundred and fifty four thousand was, we believe, its highest ever with a peak of 2.14m around 21:00. There were big audiences for news programming pretty much evereywhere (except, obviously, for Daybreak) - 1.23 million for the Channel Four News for example.

Sarah Paulson has signed up to return to Desperate Housewives. The actress first appeared in the show in 2007 as Lynette's troubled sister Lydia. However, Desperate Housewives' executive producer Bob Daily explained that Lydia will now be in a much better place than her sister. 'Lynette always helped put the pieces back in Lydia's disastrous personal life, but she is now engaged and shows up with her new fiancé,' he told TV Guide. 'We'll hear her say, "Oh Lynette, I'm so sorry [about your separation from Tom]. What can I do to help?" The seeds of sibling rivalry are planted as the roles are reversed.' Paulson has previously worked on shows including Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Deadwood and Jack & Jill. Daily also revealed that the producers are hoping to bring back characters including Julie (Andrea Bowen), Andrew (Shawn Pyfrom) and Danielle (Joy Lauren) for the upcoming final season of the popular series. The show may also introduce an older version of Tom's daughter Kayla.

House creator David Shore has claimed that the departure of Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) will not be a 'big story' on the show. In the medical drama's eighth season, House (Hugh Laurie) will find himself in prison after driving his car into Cuddy's home, but Edelstein will not reprise her role after failing to reach a deal with producers. 'There's going to be an acknowledgement [of Cuddy's exit] but it's not going to be a big story about her because unfortunately we don't have [Lisa],' Shore told TV Guide. The producer added that a return for Edelstein to wrap up her character's storyline was unlikely to happen in the near future. 'Down the road, that might be more appropriate [but] It didn't seem right now,' he said. 'Given that she was gone, we decided it was better to not just have her come back to leave again.' Edelstein recently described her departure from House as 'very sad and very disappointing' and 'a really difficult decision to make.'

More details have emerged regarding Marg Helgenberger's upcoming exit from CSI. The actress recently confirmed that the show's twelfth season will be her last, with her character, Catherine Willows, only expected to appear in the first twelve episodes. 'The final case that Catherine will be involved in will actually put her and her family and the people that she cares about in jeopardy,' executive producer Carol Mendelsohn told TV Guide. The showrunner added that Willows will become 'an action hero' in her final CSI appearance. 'Catherine won't just take it lying down, for sure,' she said. 'She'll take matters into her own hands and get to the truth.' It was previously confirmed that Laurence Fishburne will not return to CSI next season, with Ted Danson joining the cast as new lead investigator DB Russell.

Bones's John Francis Daley has revealed that his character will have an expanded role in the new season. The actor told TV Guide that Sweets will partner with Booth (David Boreanaz) following the revelation about Brennan (Emily Deschanel)'s pregnancy. Daley explained: 'He is more active in the investigations because Brennan is slightly less able to go on the scene and get herself into dangerous situations. So you're going to see more of Booth and Sweets working together as FBI agents.' However, Daley insisted that Sweets will still have time for his girlfriend, Daisy (Carla Gallo). 'Daisy is definitely a part of Sweets's life,' he said. Bones creator Hart Hanson has confirmed that the show will have a 'shortened' seventh season as a result of Emily Deschanel's real-life pregnancy.

Popular 1960s sitcom Bewitched is to be remade by CBS, it has been confirmed. The network has ordered a script from Sony Pictures Television and it will be overseen by Douglas Wick and Lucy Fisher, who produced Will Ferrell and Nicole Kidman's - pretty shoddy - 2005 movie adaptation. Bewitched, which was originally broadcast on ABC for eight seasons between 1964 and 1972, followed the story of witch Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery) who was trying to live the life of a normal housewife. Dick York (and, later, Dick Sargent) played Samantha's husband Darrin. Marc Lawrence (Miss Congeniality) will write the script and executive produce the pilot. Bewitched follows on from a number of classic series being remade or reimagined by networks, including Hawaii Five-O on CBS and Charlie's Angels on ABC. TNT is also working on an update of Dallas, which will premiere in 2012.

NCIS showrunner Gary Glasberg has revealed more about Ziva's storyline in the new season. Glasberg told TV Guide that the special agent (played by Coté de Pablo) will encounter figures from her past in the show's ninth season. 'Someone from her past who we haven't met before is coming forward,' he said. 'Ray (Enrique Murciano) will [also] probably come back halfway through the season, and they will intersect.' The producer also revealed that Ziva will be forced to confront her own family issues during a mission. 'Ziva will be dealing with a Middle Eastern family and the matriarch of the family connects with her in a really interesting, personal way,' he said. It was recently confirmed that former V star Scott Wolf will play the potentially recurring role of FBI agent Casey Stratton in the new season of NCIS.

The BBC has responded to complaints that Torchwood: Miracle Day features 'too much gay content.' The fourth series of the SF show, a co-production between the BBC and American cable network Starz, has attracted criticism from some viewers - sick homophobic scum with a terror of sodomy, basically - who are said to be 'unhappy' with the gayness. 'We've received complaints from some viewers who feel there is too much gay content in Torchwood,' the corporation said, sadly neglecting to add 'sick homophobic scum with a terror of sodomy, basically.' What a pity they didn't. 'We have strict editorial guidelines which govern the content of our programmes, and Torchwood is no exception.' The official response, published on the BBC Complaints website, highlighted the relevant section of the guidelines, which states: 'In all BBC output the portrayal of sex, or the exploration of sexual issues, should be editorially justified and treated with appropriate sensitivity. In post-watershed content, we must be able to justify the frank and realistic portrayal of sex and the exploration of themes and issues which some people might find offensive.' The BBC explained that the audience have known Big gay John Barrowman's 'established character', Captain Jack Harkness 'to be promiscuous and bi-sexual' - something first referenced in Doctor Who six years ago and highlighted at regular intervals since. Much to the Daily Scum Mail's chargin. The BBC explained that 'we felt the content was justified in terms of the context and characters and would be within the expectations of regular viewers.' It concluded: 'We aim to depict relationships whether heterosexual or homosexual in an honest and realistic way. These scenes are not meant to cause offence.' And, tragically, they didn't end with a suggestion to those sick homophobic scum with a terror of sodomy and too much time on their hands to go and, perhaps, watch something else that may be more to their particular tastes. Jesus, some people are just scum.
Piers Morgan has repeated his claim that he 'did not hack' Paul McCartney's phone, following last week's revelations by the ex-Beatle. The CNN talk show host instead transferred the blame to McCartney's ex-wife Heather Mills, who recently suggested that Morgan could be guilty of listening to her voicemail. The former Daily Mirra editor and oily twat told Conan O'Brien: 'Paul McCartney is apparently now claiming someone hacked his phone. I kind of thought when Heather Mills poked her head up above the parapet, the whole thing got completely ridiculous. I suspect it was Mills because in the divorce, if you study the divorce papers, Paul McCartney accused Heather then of hacking into his phones and passing information to the papers.' Morgan concluded: 'Heather Mills is not the best person to be throwing any dynamite at anyone on this. It's a bit annoying - I'm hacked off.' Possibly not the wisest choice of words, Piers me auld cock sparra. That one might well come back to haunt you. Since the allegations first surfaced, MPs have pressured Morgan to return to the UK in order to answer questions over the phone hacking scandal.

The Metropolitan police on Wednesday arrested a sixty one-year-old man, understood to be former News of the World news editor Greg Miskiw, as part of its investigation into phone hacking at the paper. Officers from Operation Weeting, Scotland Yard's investigation into phone hacking at the now-defunct News International tabloid - and the only coppers in London not on the streets last night it would seem - made the arrest by appointment at a London police station at about midday. The Gruniad states that the man arrested is Miskiw, according to 'sources.' The man was arrested on suspicion of unlawful interception of communications and conspiring to intercept communications, both contrary to section one of the Criminal Law Act 1977. Miskiw is the twelfth person to be arrested by officers investigating phone hacking at the News of the World. He was the title's news editor, based at its offices in Wapping. He moved to Manchester to head an office for the title soon after former royal editor Clive Goodman was jailed for phone hacking in January 2007. Miskiw went on to found a news agency in Manchester but then moved to Delray Beach in Florida, where he is thought to have worked for supermarket tabloid the National Enquirer and for another title called the Globe. He said in July that he had been talking to police 'for some time' and he was preparing to return to the UK to answer police questions about phone hacking. His former partner Terenia Taras, thirty nine, who is also the mother of his son, was arrested in Leeds in June. Taras, a freelancer, has had bylined stories in the News of the World. She was released on bail. Miskiw worked under the former News of the World editor, Andy Coulson, who resigned in January 2007, and his predecessor well-known Crystal Tipps-lookalike Rebekah Brooks, who went on to become editor of the Sun and then chief executive of News International, which owns Rupert Murdoch's UK titles. Brooks resigned last month in the wake of revelations the News of the World had hacked into a mobile phone belonging to Milly Dowler, the teenager who was murdered in 2002. Although several Roy Greenslade articles in the Gruniad over the last few days have queried whether or not she is still on News International's payroll. This blogger particularly likes the photo of Rebekah and her cold, dead eyes on the link highlighted above. Brooks was subsequently arrested and bailed on 17 July by officers working on Operation Weeting and Operation Elveden, the Met investigation into alleged illegal payments by the News of the World to police officers. Brooks's lawyer, Stephen Parkinson, said the police 'put no allegations to Brooks and showed her no documents connecting her with any crime.'

The BBC is said to be 'considering its options' over a prank website that does a rather good job of mimicking bbc.co.uk. The spoof website, news-bbc.net, features a range of stories which seem plausible – MPs face further expenses queries, new brigade takes over in Helmand – among a range that stretch credulity; Phillip Schofield kidnapped, Man caught on CCTV having sex with pumpkin and Gordon Brown admits affair with Ann Widdecombe.
Felicia 'Snoop' Pearson, who played a drug-gang killer in the hit TV show The Wire, has pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute heroin in Baltimore. The thirty one-year-old actress, who shares her nickname with her character from the show, received a seven-year suspended sentence with credit for time served. Pearson was a real-life drug dealer when she was picked by producers of The Wire for the role. She told reporters she is now moving to Los Angeles to act - and stay out of trouble. 'While I'm delighted to see you here, I don't want to see you again,' Baltimore Circuit Judge Lawrence P Fletcher-Hill told Pearson, according to the Baltimore Sun. The judge accepted the guilty plea on Monday, a day before Pearson's trial was set to begin. According to charges, Pearson conspired with two others who bought heroin in bulk from New York to distribute in Baltimore, allowing them to use her apartment to keep drugs and money. She was one of sixty four people charged in March as part of the case. The actress, who was caught on a wiretap in a case that echoed gritty drug-trafficking drama The Wire, also allegedly occasionally sold heroin herself. Pearson could be sent back to conclude her seven-year sentence should she violate probation at any time over the next three years. Outside the courtroom, her attorney Benjamin Sutley said the plea would allow Pearson to continue her acting career, rather than spending time with the charges hanging over her. 'I can't say she would have been found not guilty,' Sutley said. But Pearson interrupted, saying 'I would have been found not guilty.' Pearson was born to crack-addicted parents and went into the foster-care system before being adopted by an elderly couple. In her autobiography, she describes dealing drugs at twelve, and was convicted of second-degree murder when she was fourteen. Her life was turned around when she landed a role in The Wire after meeting Michael K Williams, who played Omar on the show - but she 'fell back in [with] people who essentially raised her' after the series ended in 2008, Sutley was quoted as saying in court. He told the judge she had learned a 'valuable lesson.' Don't get caught? Outside the courtroom, Pearson said she had two movie contracts in the works and had a plan to stay out of trouble in future. 'I'm moving to LA,' she said, according to the Baltimore Sun. 'I'm out of here, man.'

The latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day is a song about confusion, in all its various forms. Ian, mate, I think we all know now how you felt.

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