Thursday, August 04, 2011

This Is The Fierce Last Stand Of All I Am

Doctor Who star Matt Smith has claimed that the show's upcoming mid-series premiere is his best episode yet. The actor praised Steven Moffat's Let's Kill Hitler at the recent Television Critics Association press tour. 'I think Let's Kill Hitler is maybe my favourite episode to date,' he said. 'It just rockets along.' Smith also promised that mysteries introduced in the first half of the popular family SF drama's sixth run will be resolved in future episodes. 'We've still got to understand just what happened to The Doctor in episode one,' he hinted, alluding to the apparent future death of The Doctor seen in The Impossible Astronaut. 'Steven [Moffat] has always delivered the pay-off to all these revelations, in a way that is exactly what you would want it to be. It doesn't disappoint.' Smith's co-star Karen Gillan recently revealed that Let's Kill Hitler will feature a 'really cool robot villain. It goes back in time and fixes people that have done [something] wrong in history,' she explained.

Lara Pulver has signed up to appear in the second series of BBC1's Sherlock. The True Blood actress will play Irene Adler in the opening episode A Scandal in Belgravia, according to the Den of Geek website. The episode, written by Steven Moffat, is based on Arthur Conan Doyle's short story A Scandal in Bohemia. The original tale marked Adler's only appearance in the Sherlock Holmes canon, though the character is often used as a romantic interest for the detective in film and television adaptations. Pulver previously played Isabella in the final series of the BBC's Robin Hood and will appear in the upcoming tenth series of [spooks]. She also held the recurring role of Claudine Crane on HBO's True Blood and will appear in upcoming film Language of a Broken Heart. Being Human star Russell Tovey will also appear in the new series of Sherlock, playing Henry in The Hound of Baskerville.

The X Factor wannabe thrown off the show after being caught using drugs backstage has apologised. Danny Egan was asked to leave auditions after he was filmed in a dressing room by hidden cameras. However, the singer told the Sun that he had not used cocaine as previously suggested. Producers told Danny and his wife Keeley to leave the Manchester set before they had the chance to perform for the judging panel, which includes Gary Barlow and Tulisa Contostavlos. The twenty eight-year-old insisted that Keeley had not used the drug, which he identified as mephedrone. 'I set up lines in front of the mirror,' he told the paper. 'I'd no idea my face was six inches from a camera. I'm sorry and feel really bad for my wife. She didn't do anything wrong.' X Factor staff did not call the police, while a spokesperson said that 'appropriate action' had been taken. Auditionees are being recorded by secret cameras after bosses decided to feature more behind-the-scenes footage in the ITV show. Which sounds a bit Stalinist in one way but really good fun in another.

Robert Lindsay has claimed that he did not want to film a twelfth series of My Family. The actor told TV Times that he and co-star Zoe Wanamaker were relieved when the show was cancelled after eleven years. 'Zoe and I both knew in our hearts that we didn't want to do any more and the BBC made it easy for us,' he said. Lindsay also revealed that the My Family cast and crew were unaware that the sitcom was ending when they filmed the final series. 'We filmed [it] over a year and a half ago, and at that point no decision had been made to finish the series,' he said. 'So there was no end-of-series party or any significance to the last [filmed] episode.' BBC1 boss Danny Cohen confirmed the cancellation of My Family in March, suggesting that it is 'time to make room for new comedies.'

The ONE Show producers are reportedly auditioning female presenters to replace Alex Jones with her dreadful over-pronunciations. Jones has appeared as the main female host since August last year when she replaced the orange and departing traitor Christine Bleakley. However, 'sources' allegedly claim that the BBC is holding auditions due to poor ratings compared to this time last year. Producers are also apparently concerned about 'the lack of chemistry' between Jones and co-host Matt Baker, who joined the show in January. 'The bosses are planning a major shake-up soon,' an 'insider' allegedly told the Daily Lies, so this is almost certainly entirely made up. You know, like that time they claimed Lady GaGa was going to be appearing in Doctor Who and produced 'quotes' from a 'BBC insider' to back up the story. 'Alex joined the show last year,' the alleged 'source' continues, 'and was paired with Jason Manford but then he got involved in a Twitter sex text scandal and had to leave. Then she had to co-host with a string of stand-ins before the ­producers opted for Matt Baker. This latest pairing doesn't ­appear to be working out as well as people hoped.' Producers are reportedly considering Total Wipeout presenter Amanda Byram as a replacement, who screen-tested for the show before losing out to Jones. However, a BBC spokesperson has flatly denied the reports, saying: 'Alex Jones has had a brilliant year, there is no question of The ONE Show wanting to replace her, and they couldn't be happier with her as their main presenter. We can categorically confirm The ONE Show have not screen-tested anyone for the main presenter roles, nor do they have any plans to.' So, that's another Daily Lies story shot down in flames. They must be used to it by now.

Sets from shows at BBC Television Centre in West London are being transported across the road at night on Land Rovers in a bid to cuts costs. Previously scenery from programmes such as Strictly Come Dancing, Later with Jools Holland and the Channel Four quiz show Eight out of Ten Cats was stored just outside the studios at Television Centre. After each recording they were taken down so the studio could be used by other productions and protected from the rain just outside in a special set store. However, according to 'sources', Johnson Controls, the outsourcing company which manages Television Centre for BBC Studios and Post Production wanted to increase the charge for the use of scenery storage and other areas used for workshops, studio stores and props to about two hundred and fifty thousand smackers a year. So BBC Studios & Post Production has moved its facilities from Television Centre, across Wood Lane to a building off Ariel Way. To transport the scenery which it used to store just outside the studios it has hired two Land Rovers and trailers to carry over each night's kit. One 'insider' snitched to the Gruniad Morning Star: 'It means now that sets have to be put on the trucks and carted over the road, probably late at night to avoid traffic problems. So if you fancy seeing the set of Strictly Come Dancing when it comes back to Television Centre, then walk down Wood Lane late at night.' The BBC is unclear about the future of BBC Studios & Post Production, which is a commercial subsidiary of the corporation and runs its studios at Television Centre and Elstree. Television Centre is up for sale as the BBC is vacating it by 2015, but the Studios arm may maintain a presence there if it can find partners, especially if the BBC decides it needs London studios. Some BBC staff fear the corporation will become too reliant on Peel Media, which owns the studios the BBC uses at its new northern headquarters in Salford and which has recently been cleared to take over Pinewood Studios. One 'insider' - presumably, a different one to the other 'insider' mentioned earlier - said: 'Peel has already shown it is a good negotiator in Salford. Now it has Pinewood too, just as the BBC seems to be giving up on its own studio business and relying more on Peel.' W12 programme director Richard Deverell recently told in-house BBC magazine Ariel that the BBC does not need the TVC facilities: 'There are plenty of other options. The BBC has studios elsewhere, such as Pacific Quay and Salford, we already use Pinewood. Television Centre is expensive to maintain.' Staff numbers at BBC S&PP have fallen from more than a thousand to about two hundred and its future has been in doubt since a sell-off was ditched four years ago. According to the BBC's annual report for 2010-11, BBC Studios and Post Production's operating profit was its highest ever, six million pounds, but after restructuring costs its income actually fell by 1.1 per cent to leave it down seven hundred thousand on last year. A BBC S&PP spokeswoman said: 'We have moved our studio stores, props, workshops and scenery storage across to a purpose-built unit on Relay Road, just across from TV Centre, which will enable BBC Studios and Post Production to make significant cost savings and operate more efficiently than having to work to fit to the spaces available in our former home the Drama Building.' The head of BBC Studios and Post Production's Television Centre studios operation Craig White said: 'We are exploring and evaluating a number of strategic options around accommodation, including staying at Television Centre and will continue either at Television Centre or elsewhere. As well as making BBC shows such as Later with Jools Holland, Miranda, Strictly Come Dancing and EastEnders, recent credits also include ITV's Harry Hill's TV Burp, Channel Four's Deal or No Deal (made at our production facilities in Bristol), Living TV's Britain's Next Top Model and Channel Four's Ten O'Clock Live.'

BBC Radio 5Live has been accused of an 'almost willful reluctance to define what it regards as news' by one of the station's founding editors. Robin Britten, a former news editor on 5Live and visiting lecturer at the University of Staffordshire, was commissioned by TalkSport owner UTV Media to analyse a week of the BBC station's output. Hardly an impartial set of comments, then. Although, it's hard to disagree with to be honest. I'll defend the BBC on most things but, as previously noted on this blog you do get moments like that one mentioned in the link. (One day in March a colleague was giving yer actual Keith Telly Topping a lift home and, as usual, he had 5Live on in the car. It was The Richard Bacon Show and Bacon was interviewing Jim Davidson. Now, we'll ignore for a second the fact that yer Keith Telly Topping was not particularly happy that his licence fee is going towards publicising pretty much anything that Jim Davidson has to say for himself. As Bacon was introducing Davidson he gave a little aside to his listeners. I'm paraphrasing slightly but it was something along the lines of: 'William Hague is in the process of making a statement to the House of Commons on the situation in Libya. If he says anything interesting, we'll let you know what it was. So, Jim Davidson, what's your new play about?' That's not an exact quote but it was something very similar to that. Now, it should be noted, this blogger has nothing whatsoever against Richard Bacon or his show, it's very listenable. But, should it really be on 5Live rather than Radio 2 or Radio 4?) The findings, submitted by UTV to the BBC Trust review of 5Live, concluded that there was 'a growing confusion between topicality and news' and 'blurring of distinction between informed discussion or debate, and chat' on the station. TalkSport has previously accused 5Live of failing to fulfill its news quota – seventy five per cent of the station's output must be news, as outlined in its BBC service licence. The Trust, which rejected TalkSport's complaint, is looking at the way 5Live's news and non-news output is defined as part of the ongoing service licence review. Britten estimated that as little as fifty per cent of the station's output in the week beginning 9 May could be categorised as 'news' per se, rising to 58.9 per cent if sport summaries and trails were taken into account. 'There is a growing confusion between topicality and news [and] between informed discussion or debate, and chat,' said Britten, a former deputy editor of BBC Radio 4's World at One. 'I simply cannot understand why the BBC is not more specific about what it regards as news in the context of 5Live. It seems to want to skirt around what, after all, is a relatively simple issue.' He added: 'There seems to be a general shyness, almost a self-serving reluctance, to clearly define aims and purpose. I think it is extraordinary that the world's largest newsgatherer cannot – or perhaps will not – come up with the definition against which it judges the actual output of BBC Radio's home of continuous news and live sports coverage.' Britten's comments echo some of the concerns of commercial radio trade body, the Radio Centre, which published its submission to the trust review last month - although, again, it must be noted they're hardly an impartial voice in this debate either. The Radio Centre accused 5Live of 'suffering from an identity crisis and confusion over its purpose and role.' It said the station had 'ill-defined and confused priorities' and said it should cease branding itself an 'entertainment' station in favour of more news-led output. Britten offered his own definition of 'news', but at two hundred and ten words long it suggested that any new way of measuring 5Live's output will not necessarily be a straightforward matter. Britten said 5Live had 'genuinely changed and enhanced British civic society' with its 'direct conversation between the audience and decision makers. It can at times be a real agent for debate and change,' he added. 'However, the audience feedback and interaction has now been so built into much looser programme formats that when it does not come it leaves a vacuum. Largely repetitive and often uninformed chat too often fills the vacuum. A refusal to admit this development is behind 5Live's tacit confusion of topicality with news and almost willful reluctance to define what it regards as news.' A 5Live spokesman said the BBC Trust review of 5Live and its digital sister station, 5Live Sports Extra, was 'ongoing. We believe BBC Radio 5Live has a clear identity, offering high-quality, award-winning news and sports coverage to over six million listeners every week,' he said.

Shaun Evans has been cast as Endeavour Morse in ITV's prequel to the popular detective series. Endeavour, which is written by Russell Lewis (who has also written for the Morse spin-off Lewis and Cadfael), will explore the origins of the character, famed for his love of crosswords, classical music and real ale. Evans, whose TV credits include The Take and Come Rain Come Shine, will play the younger version of the Oxford detective originally made famous to TV audiences by John Thaw. 'Morse as a young man is a wonderful character that I'm very excited to be playing. My hope is that we can compliment what's come before, by telling a great story, and telling it well,' said Evans. Endeavour will be part of the twenty fifth anniversary celebrations of the first episode of Morse, which was broadcast on ITV in 1987. Thaw went on to film thirty three more stories over the next thirteen years. Set in 1965, the story will be based around a missing schoolgirl investigation which finds Morse back in Oxford, where he is sidelined and ignored by Detective Inspector Fred Thursday. Morse will have to face his own demons and risk everything to find a truth 'that will haunt him for the rest of his days.' Laura Mackie, director of ITV Drama, said: 'Inspector Morse was a television institution and nearly fourteen million people tuned in to watch the final episode in 2000 when Colin Dexter's eponymous hero died from a heart attack. Endeavour is a beautifully written story that not only provides many nods to Morse's unique character traits for fans but reunites many of the team behind the original series.' Dexter himself, the author of the Morse novels, added: 'Immortal was Endeavour Morse - End-eavour more shall be so!'

A story which suggested that users of Internet Explorer have a lower IQ than people who chose other browsers appears to have been an elaborate hoax. A number of media organisations, including the BBC, reported on the research, put out by Canadian firm ApTiquant. It later emerged that the company's website was only recently set up and staff images were copied from a legitimate business in Paris. It is unclear who was behind the stunt. Or, indeed, why. The story was reported by many high profile organisations including CNN, the Daily Scum Mail, the Torygraph and Forbes. Not to mention this blog! Questions about the authenticity of the story were raised by readers of the BBC website who established that the company which put out the research - ApTiquant - appeared to have only set up its website during the past month. Thumbnail images of the firm's staff on the website also matched those on the site of French research company Central Test, although many of the names had been changed. The BBC contacted Central Test who confirmed that they had been made aware of the issue but had no knowledge of ApTiquant or its activities. ApTiquant issued a press release claiming that it had invited one hundred thousand web users to take IQ tests and matched their results with the type of browser they used. It also supplied extensive research data. The results claimed to show that Internet Explorer users were 'generally of lower intelligence.' The BBC sought alternative views for the original story, including Professor David Spiegelhalter of Cambridge University's Statistical Laboratory, who said: 'I believe these figures are implausibly low - and an insult to IE users.' True. They were funny, though. No-one on ApTiquant's contact number was available for comment. Graham Cluley, senior security consultant at Sophos, examined the source material for the BBC after concerns were raised. 'It's obviously very easy to create a bogus site like this - as all phishers know it's easy to rip-off someone else's webpages and pictures,' he said. Mr Cluley also looked at the pdf file containing the data that many people had downloaded from a variety of sources and said it did not appear to contain malware. In fact, if anything, the entire scenario appears to have been enacted to prove how easy it is to get a completely made up story spread by reputable media organisations simply by issuing a press release and seeing what happens. And, it worked. So, well done to them for that, if nowt else!

Once memorably described as 'a skeleton covered by a skin of ambition' Natasha Kaplinsky, the former BBC and Channel Five newsreader, is to take an interim role at ITV presenting London Tonight and national network news programmes. Kaplinsky, who became the highest-paid newsreader in Britain when she signed a deal in 2007 to defect from the BBC to Channel Five on a reported one million smackers a year, left the Richard Desmond-owned broadcaster at the end of last year. ITV has hired Kaplinsky to cover the maternity leave of newsreader Nina Hossain and will pick up her pattern of shifts anchoring ITV London Tonight from mid-September.

Paul O'Grady, Frank Skinner and Catherine Tate are among the notables who have signed up to appear in the second series of Sky Arts' Fame In The Frame. The show sees celebrities dressing as characters from famous portraits and sitting for celebrated art forger John Myatt, who tries to replicate the original work. As Myatt works on the project, he interviews his celebrity guests and reveals his tips for forging and painting. He also talks about the history of the paintings and explains why they have become so popular. O'Grady has signed up for Myatt's replica of American Gothic, Skinner will be painted in the style of Vincent Van Gogh's Self Portrait 1888, and Tate will sit for a copy of Joshua Reynolds's Sarah Siddons as the Tragic Muse. Tamsin Greig, Terry Gilliam and Wor Luscious Lovely Lauren Laverne will also take part in the series, featuring in Myatt's takes on John Singer Sargent's Lady Agnew of Lochnaw, Odilon Redon's The Buddha and Vladimir Tretchikoff's Chinese Girl respectively. Sky Arts channel director James Hunt (no relation) said: 'We're delighted that the first series was so popular - the second series has had celebrities flocking to have their portrait painted by John Myatt. Myatt is a master in capturing the true character of his sitter, making the interviews as insightful and inspiring as the portrait itself.' Julia Bradbury, Ronnie Wood, Stephen Fry, Myleene Klass and James May were among those who appeared in the first series of Fame In The Frame. The Fry episode, in which he and John discussed Catholicism and their respective stretches at Her Majesty's was especially memorable.

Marg Helgenberger has revealed that next season will be her last on CSI. The actress, who first revealed her intention to leave the CBS procedural drama last year, announced the news during the network's TCA presentation in Los Angeles on Wednesday. CSI executives will prepare for Helgenberger's departure by writing in the arrival of a new character played by Ted Danson in a manner that causes Helgenberger's Catherine Willows role to be 'moved around' in the ranks. Helgenberger explained: 'There is a little resentment, but Ted's character so far is endearing and has a unique way of looking at a crime scene. It's a nice fresh perspective and it kind of gets under everyone's skin a little bit, in a good way. I think Catherine is very intrigued by him. Ultimately Catherine is a team player and they took some liberties last season the way the crime came about or was solved and she was willing to admit it. And this is the fallout.' Helgenberger also insisted that the decision to leave the show was her own, adding that while she will miss the 'family' of her crew, she is looking forward to pursuing other projects. 'I've been itching to get back on the stage, but it's been hard. The commitment on this show and then raising a son, who's now twenty, a production assistant on CSI! He was nine when I started the show,' she said. 'That's one of the cute things about being on this show as long as you've been on. A lot of crew members' children who were all little kids at the time are now working on staff. That's what makes it even more of a family and even harder to leave.'
Heather Mills has alleged a senior Mirra Group journalist admitted hacking voicemails left for her by her then-boyfriend Sir Paul McCartney. Mills has told BBC Newsnight that after Sir Paul left the voicemail in 2001, the journalist rang her quoting parts of the recording. When challenged about how they knew what was said, Mills alleges that the journalist admitted the message had been hacked. Parent group Trinity Mirra claims that all its journalists 'work within the law.' Pretty much exactly what News International claimed about all of its journalists (bar one) right up until January of this year when they, suddenly, changed their tune. Mirra Group Newspapers is part of Trinity Mirra plc which publishes over two hundred and sixty titles including the Daily and Sunday Mirra, the Daily Record and the People. Trinity Mirra responded to the allegation by saying: 'Our position is clear. All our journalists work within the criminal law and the PCC code of conduct.' In which case they are, essentially, accusing Mills of lying. The subsequent law suit once the implications of that have sunk in should be very interesting indeed. Mills told Newsnight that in early 2001 she had a row with her then-boyfriend McCartney who later left a conciliatory message on her voicemail while she was away in India. According to Mills, afterwards someone whom she describes as 'a senior Mirra Group Newspapers journalist' rang her and 'started quoting verbatim the messages from my machine.' Mills said that she challenged the journalist saying: 'You've obviously hacked my phone and if you do anything with this story I'll go to the police.' She said they responded: 'Okay, yeah we did hear it on your voice messages, I won't run it.' The journalist, whom Mills said contacted her is not Piers Morgan, who was the editor of the Daily Mirra at the time. However, the message in question appears to be the same as one which Morgan later admitted to listening to. In a 2006 article in the Daily Scum Mail, Morgan rather boastfully referred to hearing 'a recorded message' which Sir Paul had left for Mills. He wrote 'at one stage I was played a tape of a message Paul had left for Heather on her mobile phone. It was heartbreaking,' Morgan wrote. 'The couple had clearly had a tiff, Heather had fled to India, and Paul was pleading with her to come back. He sounded lonely, miserable and desperate, and even sang 'We Can Work It Out' into the answer phone.' Morgan continues to insist that he, personally, has never hacked a phone or, indeed, authorised anyone else to hack a phone. Although if he, as he suggested in the Scum Mail article, was 'played a tape' of a message left by McCartney for Mills then he probably should have realised that there was no way it could have been obtained legally and notified the police at once. It would appear that he didn't do so. If Mills' recollection is correct, the call Morgan listened to had been hacked, and a fellow Mirra Group Newspapers journalist had tried to use it to get a story. Mills says: 'There was absolutely no honest way that Piers Morgan could have obtained that tape that he has so proudly bragged about unless they had gone into my voice messages.' Newsnight has also learned that many other 'prominent people', including footballer Rio Ferdinand and TV presenter Ulrika Jonsson, also believe they were hacked by the Mirra group. The programme said that it 'understands' Ferdinand believes an article in 2003 in the Sunday Mirra about his missed drugs test, which appears to be based on text and voicemail details, involved the hacking of his messages. And Jonsson has also been told that she was hacked by the Daily Mirra as well as the News of the World in connection with her alleged affair with then England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson in 2002. So far, most of the revelations surrounding phone hacking have centred on the News of the World. Earlier this year, the News of the World finally admitted that more than 'a lone rogue reporter' had been intercepting voicemails, amid intense pressure from those who believed they had been victims. Among them were celebrities, politicians and victims of crime. In the following months, the News of the World was - deliciously - shut down, a number of its former journalists and editors were arrested and News International executives were asked by MPs to explain themselves. The prime minister also launched a judge-led inquiry into phone hacking and the ethics of the press. Last week, amid the latest developments, Trinity Mirra announced that it was to review its editorial 'controls and procedures.' The company said this was being conducted in light of the current environment rather than because of a specific allegation.

Footage from Alfred Hitchcock's first film has been uncovered in New Zealand. The British director was just twenty four when he made the 1923 silent film, The White Shadow. The three reels were found among some unidentified American nitrate prints, which were left at the New Zealand Film Archive in 1989. Hitchcock was the writer, assistant director, editor and production designer on the drama, which starred Clive Brook and Betty Compson. He went on to make classics including Psycho, The Birds and North by Northwest in a fifty year career. He died in 1980. David Sterritt, chairman of the National Society of Film Critics, called the find 'one of the most significant developments in memory. These first three reels offer a priceless opportunity to study his visual and narrative ideas when they were first taking shape,' he added. The film archive described the movie as 'a wild, atmospheric melodrama.' Compson played the role of two twin sisters, one of whom was good and the other was evil. The family of New Zealand projectionist and film collector Jack Murtagh sent the highly flammable prints to the organisation for safe keeping after his death in 1989. Murtagh's grandson son Tony Osborne said: 'From boyhood, my grandfather was an avid collector - be it films, stamps, coins or whatever. Some would view him as rather eccentric. He would be quietly amused by all the attention now generated by these important film discoveries.' It is not known where the remaining three reels are and no other copy is thought to exist. The footage will be preserved at Park Road Post Production in Wellington.

Odious balding little Tory Paul Daniels has claimed that the pizza-throwing incident on The Sooty Show has been 'blown out of proportion.' The ex-TV magician and now tragic figure of ridicule to millions was alleged to have been 'left dazed' by a pizza chucked by glove puppet Sooty during filming for the children's TV favourite's latest CITV series. Daniels spoke to Sky News Radio on Wednesday morning, playing down the story and insisting that his only injury was a small amount of pizza in his eye. Faster than you can say 'isy-whizzy, let's get busy' no doubt. 'That was over a month ago, I wasn't hospitalised, I got pizza in my eye,' he said. 'It stung.' He continued: 'So on the way home I stopped off at a wonderful village hospital and the nurse said, "Oh no, this will sting a minute," put a drop in and it was all over. It did sting for a minute and then it was gone. The worse thing is that they've said Paul Daniels is in hospital. I am not. I am about to open at the Edinburgh Fringe this afternoon. I'm fine. I don't even know what this is really about other than there's no other news for the Sun journalists.' Joking about the recent hacking scandals surrounding the Sun's owner News International, he said: 'I had a great tweet. "Delete all your old voicemails and then they'll catch up with the news."'

A fish which eats chocolate wafers is being forced on a diet after being deemed overweight. The 8.8lb giant gourami was only fed English confection Kit Kats by his previous owner before being donated, reports the Sun. So, again, this is all probably a load of old made-up crap. You pays yer money and you takes your choice, dear blog reader. New owners at the Sea Life London Aquarium grew concerned that the fish, named Gary, was outgrowing his tank and tried to feed him healthier food, but Gary initially refused it. Well, that's one way of slimming. Rebecca Carter, who looks after the fish, admitted: 'I've never heard of a fish being fed chocolate, let alone brought up entirely on the stuff. Gary doesn't appear to have suffered ill effects. Most fish wouldn't be able to survive on Kit Kats, but gouramis are very hardy.' Kit Kat pieces were eventually put into grapes and banana slices to convince the fish to snack on the fruit.

A meeting is being held to try to solve the problem of motorists becoming stranded on the Holy Island causeway. Seahouses RNLI crew has been involved in nine call-outs this year to the Northumberland tidal causeway and say it is a growing problem. Rescuers suggest that they continue to be baffled as to why drivers ignore safe crossing times. Northumberland County Council has set up a meeting on 23 August and is inviting people with ideas to go along. Seahouses Lifeboat operations manager Ian Clayton said: 'It seems to be getting worse this year.' He said that since 2000 they had rescued about one hundred and seventy seven people from the causeway. He said: 'It is just unbelievable that people, despite all the warnings, all the publicity in the media, they just continue to drive across completely oblivious to the warning signs warning them not to cross when the water has reached the causeway.' Northumberland councillor Dougie Watkin said the problem was mostly with drivers leaving the island. He said about two hundred and fifty thousand vehicles a year used the causeway. He added: 'Make no mistake, people going to Holy Island are in no danger at all. It's quite simple, if you don't drive into the North Sea you won't get stuck and people who are getting stuck are driving into water.' Among the possible solutions could be a sign on the island to make it obvious when it was safe to cross, he said.

We had a Smiths song for Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day yesterday and, do you know what, we're going to have one today as well. And, why not, they were after all for about three years in the mid-1980s, just about the only thing worth getting out of bed for. Here's 'Well I Wonder'.

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