Tuesday, October 25, 2011

It's Called Love, And Every Cruelty Will Cloud It

ITV has issued an apology for Frankie Cocozza following his bad language on The X Factor at the weekend. Cocozza was caught on camera yelling 'fuckin' have it' after he discovered that he was through to the next stage of the ITV talent show. The broadcaster said that it did not make an on-air apology because it did not believe his comments were audible to viewers. According to the Daily Scum Mail, there were twenty complaints about Cocozza's swearing. Seemingly all from people who didn't have anything better or more constructive to do with their time. An X Factor representative said: 'Emotions were running high during the live show and we apologise if any potentially offensive language was audible. All the contestants are reminded of their responsibilities regarding language on the live shows.'

The broadcasting regulator Ofcom has rejected a complaint from former Scottish Socialist Party Leader Tommy Sheridan over a BBC documentary, The Rise and Lies of Tommy Sheridan. Sheridan, who was convicted of perjury in 2010 after allegedly lying under oath during an earlier lawsuit against the Scum of the World, claimed that the BBC's use of CCTV footage of him being interviewed by the police constituted 'unfair treatment and unwarranted infringement of privacy.' Solicitors acting on behalf of the former MSP alleged in their complaint that the BBC had used the footage 'specifically for sensational purposes' and to 'suggest that Mr Sheridan was guilty [of perjury], although the matters discussed related to a different period of his life.' The complaint also claimed that no consent had been sought from Sheridan for the footage to be used, and that the BBC's description of it during the programme as 'leaked' suggested that the broadcaster was aware that it 'contained a cloak of confidentiality.' Responding to the complaint, the BBC said that it was legitimate for the programme to address Sheridan's personal life prior to the trial as it formed 'an important context.' The broadcaster also claimed that Sheridan's admissions during the police interviews of involvement in group sex and of having an affair with a Scum of the World columnist were part of the 'issue of his sexual character,' which was 'brought up consistently during his trial.' Ofcom found against both parts of Sheridan's complaint, ruling that the use of the footage was 'unlikely to materially affect viewers' understanding of Mr Sheridan, his defence at trial and his denial of the allegations levelled against him, in a way that was unfair,' and that, while the former MSP had a legitimate expectation of privacy while being interviewed by the police, the BBC's right to freedom of expression and the public interest surrounding the perjury case justified the intrusion of privacy and lack of consent. Ofcom also rejected a separate privacy complaint against the programme by Sheridan's wife, Gail, whose interviews with police were also shown, ruling that Sheridan had made details of her interviews public himself in order to further his defence and that parts of the recordings were already in the public domain. The programme – which aired on 23 December 2010, the same day that Sheridan was found guilty at the high court in Glasgow – covered the background to the perjury case against him and his history as an MSP. Sheridan was convicted after the Glasgow court ruled he had convinced a libel jury in 2006 that the Scum of the World had lied about him making visits to a Manchester sex club, for which he was awarded two hundred thousand pounds in damages. In January this year, a month after being found guilty of perjury, Sheridan was sentenced to three years in prison. The CCTV footage shown in the BBC documentary had not been aired in court, and was introduced in the programme as 'leaked police interview footage seen for the first time.' Sheridan's perjury trial gained an additional amount of publicity in 2010 due to connections to the phone-hacking scandal. Former Downing Street director of communications Andy Coulson, who was editor of the Scum of the World when the paper ran the contested stories about Sheridan, gave evidence at Sheridan's perjury trial. Strathclyde police confirmed earlier this year that they had opened a perjury investigation into the evidence given by Coulson himself at the trial. Ofcom, in their latest monthly bulletin also ruled that Torchwood: Miracle Day was not in breach of the broadcasting code despite seventy eight viewers (none of whom, one hopes, were disgraceful homophobic bigots) complaining about the 'sexual material' contained in the recent series. For which read John Barrowman's character getting sucked off during a one-night stand with a chap he's just met in a bar. Ofcom concluded that the sucking off was entirely justified and relevant to the plot. Good on ya, Ofcom. I'm not, normally, the biggest fan of them - especially as they're elected by no one to serve as the nation's moral compass and tell me what I can and can't watch on my TV - but on this occasion, they've done some good for once. Other programmes given a clean bill of health by the regulator include Penn & Teller: Fool Us (one complaint about 'violence and dangerous behaviour'), Downton Abbey (sixteen complaints about Aviva's sponsorship), Doctor Who (one complaint about scheduling and one about 'general acceptable standards' during the episode Closing Time. I guess some people really don't like James Corden), Gillette Soccer Saturday (one complaint about an alleged case of racial discrimination), Qi (one complaint about an alleged case of gender discrimination), [spooks] (two complaints of various subjects both of which fell 'outside of the remit' of Ofcom) and The ONE Show (ninety three complaints about alleged animal welfare issues). There was also the usual excepted complaint from some glake about a repeat of Top Gear on Dave Ja Vu concerning 'offensive language' but that was also, satisfyingly, thrown out. More worryingly, though, what on earth was the alleged 'offensive language' from In The Night Garden which prompted one discombobulated viewer to complain?

And on that bombshell, a word from our sponsor.
James Murdoch's future at News Corporation looks increasingly precarious as shareholders delivered a damning verdict on his tenure amid widespread criticism of his handling of the hacking scandal.
Following a contentious meeting in Los Angeles last week News Corporation shareholders lodged a massive protest vote against James and his brother Lachlan Murdoch. A majority of independent shareholders voted against the re-election of chairman Rupert Murdoch's sons James and Lachlan Murdoch. James Murdoch received the largest vote against his re-election at thirty five per cent. James, thirty eight, faces a second grilling in the Parliament next month over phone-hacking at the Scum of The World, one of News Corp's UK newspapers. Some thirty four per cent of shareholders voted against Lachlan Murdoch. After subtracting the shares controlled by Rupert Murdoch, sixty seven per cent of the votes went against James Murdoch and sixty four per cent against Lachlan, said Julie Tanner, assistant director of News Corp investor Christian Brothers Investment Services, who last week called for Rupert Murdoch to step down as chairman after the 'extraordinary scandals' at the company. 'Shareholders are saying loud and clear that this board has failed as a group,' she said. Billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch, chairman and chief executive officer, proved far more popular with investors, receiving eight six per cent of votes, although a sizeable number of shareholders, representing twelve million votes, abstained. The votes are a particular embarrassment as Murdoch went into the meeting with at least forty seven per cent of voting shares on his side, thanks to the family's control of the company's voting shares and the support of their largest outside shareholder, Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal. Thanks to the Murdoch's controlling share interest the company defeated attempts to throw the Murdochs and others off the board from major shareholders including the giant Californian pension funds CalPERS and CalSTRS, the Church of England and Hermes, the BT pension fund. A combative Murdoch faced hostile shareholders at the company's meeting in Los Angeles on Friday and claimed that News Corp was 'dealing with the situation.' While he acknowledged the 'seriousness' of the hacking scandal Murdoch described attacks on News Corp as 'unfair' and said that the company was 'the stuff of legend.' Yes. So is Jack the Ripper. Next ... Shareholder critics called for the Murdochs to step down at the meeting and criticised the pay deals of the company's top executives. The firm delayed releasing the results of the ballot until late Monday. Father Seamus Finn of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, who attended the meeting, said: 'The vote clearly demonstrates a profound lack of confidence in this company's leadership.' Earlier Les Hinton, the former chairman of News International, which runs the company's UK newspapers, had defended James Murdoch saying he saw no reason why Murdoch should resign his position. Michael Wolff, Rupert Murdoch's biographer and author of The Man Who Owns the News, said it was now 'inevitable' that James Murdoch would leave. 'James will probably go by himself, that's what everybody will be waiting for. I wonder too if Lachlan will step off the board. But could this drag on for another year? Yes.' Wolff said that the size of the vote against Murdoch's son had created 'a very difficult family moment.' Chief operating officer Chase Carey received strong support from the company's shareholders, garnering ninety one per cent of the votes cast. Former New York city school Chancellor Joel Klein collected ninety six per cent of the votes cast. Natalie Bancroft, scion of the family which sold Dow Jones to News Corp, also received a huge vote against, as shareholders called for greater independence on the News Corp board. Tanner said the votes against the Murdoch sons and Bancroft showed shareholders were 'serious' about wanting 'more independence' at News Corp. 'The overwhelming influence of the Murdoch family is not acceptable anymore,' she said.

Meanwhile, James Murdoch has admitted that News International will 'have' to pay any damages awarded against the private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, in instances where it is proven that Mulcaire was instructed to hack phones by Scum of the World staff. Murdoch made the concession in a letter to the parliamentary select committee investigating the phone-hacking scandal, three months after announcing it would no longer pay Mulcaire's legal fees. His letter states that News Group Newspapers has 'already admitted' that it was 'vicariously liable for Mulcaire's actions' if its staff did indeed instruct him to hack on the paper's behalf, and that it will 'continue to take this position.' Murdoch wrote: 'This admission was made, and will be made, in cases where it is apparent that Mr Mulcaire had acted on instructions from News of the World staff. I understand this means that, as a matter of law, if Mr Mulcaire's actions result in News Group Newspapers being obliged to pay damages, it will do so.' His concession that News International will shoulder Mulcaire's financial burden in such cases comes just weeks after the private investigator's lawyers wrote to solicitors representing more than sixty alleged victims of phone hacking, imploring them not to sue him because he was skint as a church mouse. Payne Hicks Beach told the claimants that there was 'nothing to gain' in suing Mulcaire, as he couldn't afford a barrister to defend himself and couldn't afford to pay damages. They claimed, quite ludicrously, in a letter to people bringing phone-hacking claims, that legal action against Mulcaire personally could be construed as 'persecution'. Which it couldn't, even under the broadest definition of what the word actually means. 'Because he is unable to pay for representation, we have advised him to do nothing in respect of these proceedings,' Mulcaire's lawyers wrote. 'To continue to join our clients to yet more claims, without any proper litigation purpose, looks like persecution, or alternatively (or in addition), an opportunistic move to drive up costs that News Group Newspapers might eventually have to pay,' Payne Hicks Beach added. Which, one imagines, is not going to be a defence relied upon by too many other convicted criminals in the future. Although the thought of the brief of some armed blagger facing a twelve stretch trying it out at the Old Bailey is, undeniably a fascinating one. 'Detective Inspector, is it not true that you are persecuting my client simply for him having had the misfortune of you catching him read-handed with all the stolen money?' Most of claimant's solicitors however are not planks. They ignored Mulcaire's pathetic pleas and High Court records indicate that at least forty two of the proceedings initiated against News Group Newspapers are joint actions against both the publisher and Mulcaire.

ITV is understood to be close to securing a deal to continue broadcasting the FA Cup and England home games until 2014, with the value of the rights expected to be at least twenty per cent less than the sixty five million smackers per year paid under the existing agreement. This is, of course, utterly terrible not least because it is likely to keep Adrian Chiles in gainful employment for the next two years. Well, when I say 'gainful employment' ... The broadcaster's current two hundred and seventy five million pound four-year deal expires at the end of this season and it is not willing to pay anywhere near the amount it forked out when it struck the last agreement at the pinnacle of a booming sports rights market in 2007. ITV is close to securing a cut-price, two-year deal, according to sources, with few other credible bidders on the radar. The FA effectively lost a major player in the negotiations when the BBC pulled back its commitment to sport with a fifteen per cent cut to its rights budget as part of Mark Thompson's Delivering Quality First cost-cutting measures. 'As I understand it there is an air of resignation at the FA that they have to take it on the chin this time,' said an alleged 'source with knowledge of the negotiations' allegedly told the Gruniad Morning Star. They have been 'preparing people and stakeholders' for a reduced deal and 'the talk has been of at least a twenty per cent reduction, with the range rumoured to run from twenty five per cent to forty five per cent although the top end seems a bit extreme.' BSkyB, which held the FA Cup rights jointly with the BBC in a three hundred million quid deal which expired in 2007, is thought to have had a look at the current TV rights package but is not expected to make a late bid. However, it is not entirely out of the question that the two broadcasters could come together to split the rights as they did in July to secure the joint TV rights for Formula One. Channel Four is not thought to be a runner and Richard Desmond's Channel Five appears to be backing out of football. Last week Channel Five ended its relationship with the UEFA Europa League with ITV signing up to be the lead UK broadcaster. Even discounting the lack of competition in the market, ITV was never likely to want to pay as high a price as it did last time. When the deal was struck in 2007, jointly with the now defunct Setanta, it was for a total of for hundred and twenty five million wonga – one hundred and twenty five more than previous rights holders BSkyB and BBC paid. In 2009 ITV was forced to make a fifty million quid write-down in value on sports rights deals including the FA Cup, as the advertising market soured in the recession and the broadcaster admitted it would struggle to make as much revenue from the deal as originally forecast. There is also an issue with the package the FA is offering, which will run for two seasons from 2012 to 2014 rather than the traditional four-year cycle. The FA was forced to strike an out-of-sync four-year deal with ESPN in 2009 when Setanta went bust halfway through the existing agreement. It makes sense to sell the FA Cup matches in a two-year deal to ITV now in order to harmonise the cycles. The FA can also only sell a two-year deal for England international matches – a key part of the package for broadcasters because big audiences for the international team balances often dwindling interest in many FA Cup ties – because UEFA will take over the contract for England qualifiers in 2014 as part of its plan to centralise sales. These factors mean the FA was always going to struggle to secure the same sort of income from the current rights negotiations, a situation which favours the incumbents ITV and ESPN extending their arrangement.

Steven Moffat has criticised the BBC for its decision to cancel the behind-the-scenes series Doctor Who Confidential. The BBC3 series, which offers fans an insight into the production of Doctor Who, was axed by Zai Bennett earlier this this month. It was the latest casualty of the new controller's cull of programming at the digital channel which also saw comedies Ideal and Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps get cancelled despite fan outrage. Moffat has criticised the decision to cancel the series during an interview with the Doctor Who Magazine in which he said 'I'm not supposed to say it, but I'm going to anyway: Bad day, bad decision. I know we're all at sea and the night is colder but you don't start burning the lifeboats to keep warm. All shows have their time and all shows end but not, in all sanity, while people still watch and love them.' Doctor Who Confidential was axed as part of cost cutting measures at the corporation as BBC3 concentrates its budgets on prime-time broadcasting. Confidential was launched in 2005 alongside the revived Doctor Who and has taken a behind-the-scenes look at every episode produced since the popular family SF drama's return. As mentioned previously, yer actual Keith Telly Topping is a bit sad to see Confidential go but then, I was always a bit surprised that it lasted longer than a couple of seasons. But, Saturdays won't be the same without it. Now, I'll be able to write my episode review in peace and quiet. It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good.

X Factor judge Louis Walsh apologised live on Sunday for accusing contestant Misha Bryan of being 'a bully.' On the previous night's live show, Walsh and fellow judge Tulisa Contostavlos alleged that some of their acts had been 'bullied' by Bryan. A contrite Walsh explained: 'Lots of things are said backstage that I don't know about. I shouldn't have called Misha a bully and I apologise.' Speaking to the Mirra, Bryan has spoken about the issue of bullying. 'At school I was bullied – and I did bully people myself, but I am a different person now. When I was younger, the stuff that I had to deal with was tough. You make mistakes and learn from them.' So, there you go dear blog reader. The X Factor saves the world. Again.

Omid Djalili is set to star in a remake of David Baddiel’s movie The Infidel for American TV. The NBC network has put a series based on last year's film into production, with Djalili attached to reprise his role as a flawed Muslim family man who discovers that he was adopted and is, ethnically, Jewish. Djalili has had a holding deal with the network since his breakthrough Edinburgh Fringe show of 2002, according to Hollywood industry website Deadline. Plans for a starring vehicle were put on hold when American invaded Iraq, although he has had supporting roles in two sitcoms: Whoopi Goldberg's Whoopi and The Paul Reiser Show – both of which were short-lived. Bruce Almighty writer Mark O'Keefe is working on The Infidel adaptation, which is being produced by Avalon Television and the company behind the film, Slingshot Productions. Baddiel, who wrote the original movie, will be among the executive producers.

Bectu's freelancer members have approved the introduction of a minimum pay rate for those working on BBC Vision's drama series and serials. The move, revealed by Broadcast magazine, is the first time a minimum salary has been adopted by a broadcaster. The BBC has guaranteed that it will not reduce the rates of any freelancers currently paid above those minimums. Members last week accepted the terms – which include a one per cent increase on 2009's average pay – with seventy per cent voting in favour of the change. Although the union described the pay increase as 'modest' it noted that the introduction of a minimum standard was an important milestone. Acting general secretary Martin Spence said: 'I'm delighted that members have shown their support for this new agreement and this new relationship with the BBC. Now we can start the real work: using it to deliver practical results on the ground for freelance crews. And of course this is just the beginning: we also aim to broaden the scope of the new relationship, initially in other areas of drama production.' The BBC has also agreed to a range of new commitments to exchange information and consult on issues such as working hours and scheduling, including the length of the working week. The agreement also provides greater clarity on payment of 'box money,' overnights, travel time and meal allowances.

Daybreakwatch, now:-
11 October 688k AI 69
12 October 742k AI 71
13 October 711k AI 70
14 October 709k AI 69
17 October 700k AI 69
18 October 700k AI 69
19 October 741k AI 71
20 October 735k AI 70
21 October 714k AI 67
24 October 604k
They're consistent, at least, you have to give them that much. (Remember in relation to Audience Appreciation Index scores, anything in the high seventies is average, anything below that is considered poor. In terms of ratings ... Well, seven hundred thousand, it's crap, basically.)

The ONE Show's Matt Baker will saddle up next month for an epic journey in aid of Children in Need. He plans to ride a bike nearly five hundred miles in eight days from Edinburgh to London, with the aim of raising thousands of pounds for the BBC charity. And it will be no ordinary bike ride as he will be travelling on a rickshaw and carrying a passenger a day, where possible (it will not be possible on steep downhills, where there's a risk of falling out, and on steep uphills any passenger will be expected to get out and help push). Baker - seen right, with a bear behind. Nah, lissun - will be on the road for ten hours a day, burning up to nine thousand calories (or, two of Gregg Wallace's puddings) by the time he turns in each night. 'It is fantastic that Matt is undertaking this massive challenge,' says David Ramsden, BBC Children in Need chief executive. 'Peddling four hundred and eighty four miles in eight days through the November weather will be an incredible achievement. He's going to raise lots of money that will help us change the lives of disadvantaged young people across the UK who are facing their own challenges.' The rickshaw marathon starts on Friday 11 November at Edinburgh Castle Esplanade. The intrepid and popular presenter, who made his name on Blue Peter and later, Countryfile, will then visit Hawick, Hexham, York, Lincoln, Peterborough and Cambridge before making his way to London. At each location, his colleagues on The ONE Show will meet him as he crosses the finishing line. 'I'm hoping to arrive in time for The ONE Show's live Children in Need special,' he says, 'but the hilly roads, winter weather and the tough schedule will not make it easy. Any support would be greatly appreciated - even something tasty to keep my strength up.'

Freesat, the subscription-free satellite TV service which recently passed two million sales, has announced the addition of the Argos TV shopping channel to its platform. British catalogue retailer Argos launched its own shopping channel on Sky in June, as the firm searched for new routes to market amid a 'significant decline' in sales. Which is tragic, frankly, to think that the Laminated Book of Dreams is no longer getting the use it once did. Argos TV has now expanded to join Freesat at channel 819, broadcasting live product demonstrations and enabling viewers to make purchases direct from their sofa. 'With the Christmas shopping rush approaching, we're delighted to offer Freesat customers another great way to pick up deals or find the perfect gift,' said Freesat's head of channels, Mark Briggs. 'Freesat is the fastest growing TV platform in the UK, and having recently hit the two million sales mark, we're constantly working to make sure we have a diverse set of channels to suit our growing audience. Argos is a key retail partner for us and we're delighted to have them on board.' Darren Frost, the head of Argos TV, said: 'We are very excited about the launch of Argos TV shopping channel on Freesat as it gives us the opportunity to reach substantially more customers with another way to explore and shop the Argos range. Viewers will be able to watch the same shows at the same time that they are available elsewhere, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. As the UK's biggest retailer of Freesat devices we know that many of our customers are already using the service so it was a logical place for us to be. We are looking forward to our great programming being seen by a whole new audience.' Freesat has also confirmed that Chinese news service CCTV-NEWS will join its satellite TV platform this month, and will be available on channel 211.

Shakespeare's name is being removed from signs in Warwickshire in a campaign against a new film which questions whether he wrote his plays. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is taping over nine road signs for the day to coincide with the premiere of Anonymous at the London Film Festival. It criticised the film as an attempt to 'rewrite English culture and history.' And, really screw up their tourist industry into the bargain! A memorial in William Shakespeare's home town of Stratford-upon-Avon is being covered with a sheet. The sign on The Shakespeare pub in Welford, where the Bard is said to have enjoyed his last drink, is one of ten pub signs that are also being covered. The trust said it wanted to highlight the potential impact of the film's 'conspiracy theory' that Shakespeare was the 'barely literate frontman for the Earl of Oxford.' Anonymous stars Rafe Spall as the Bard, Rhys Ifans as the Earl of Oxford, Vanessa Redgrave as Queen Elizabeth I, and asks 'was Shakespeare a fraud?' It reignites the age-old debate over the authorship of Shakespeare's work, taking the view that it was Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, and not William Shakespeare who was in fact the true author of the famous plays. Dr Paul Edmondson, head of knowledge and research at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, said: 'This film flies in the face of a mass of historical fact, but there is a risk that people who have never questioned the authorship of Shakespeare's works could be hoodwinked.' By which he means Americans, of course. 'Shakespeare is at the core of England's cultural and historical DNA, and he is certainly our most famous export. Today's activity barely scratches the surface, but we hope it will remind people of the enormous legacy we owe to William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon.'

To the Q magazine awards at London's Grosvenor House Hotel on Monday, where U2 were named the greatest act of the past twenty five years. It was a special prize, you see, because it is Q's twenty fifth birthday. Best band in the world today – as opposed to the best band on Venus today, presumably – went to turgid insomnia curers Coldplay. There was (thoroughly welcome) also a prize for Noel Gallagher, was was named Q Icon. U2, Noel and Coldplay – the next issue of the Bauer music magazine will be an especially reassuring one for those Q readers of a certain age not overly keen on change. Which is pretty much most of them, to be fair. And the Q classic song? 'Chasing Cars' by Snow Patrol. Now there's a tune you could do with hearing just one more time … Pass the Valium. Pass out.

Mind you, to be scrupulously fair, yer actual Keith Telly Topping will be forty eight years old tomorrow, dear blog reader. And, in that rime he's managed to embrace pop, glam, prog, punk, post-punk, mod, post-mod, ska, synth-pop, indie, post-indie, krypto-indie, neo-indie, goth, post-goth, shoegazing, soul, funk, house, reggae, rap, hip-hop, trip-hop, trance, post-trance, Madchester, grunge, post-grunge, Britpop, dadrock, techno, hardcore, post-hardcore, jungle, drum n’ bass, handbag, post-handbag, garage, contemporary UK R&B, jazz fusion, glam metal, thrash metal, death metal, black metal, nu metal, post-metal, ragga, bhangra, two-step tanga and the English folk revival-revival. And then, sometime around 2007 I just thought ... 'nah, sorry, that's me done. Can I have some milky cocoa and a pair of slippers now?' It's a fair cop, guv'nor, I've reached middle age disgracefully. But I'd still rather read Mojo and Uncut than Q any day.

And speaking of yer actual Keith Telly Topping, he had the jolly great good fortune to encounter only his fourth ever mad-psycho cyber-stalker at 9:15 in the morning. That was rather fun, let me assure you. If you've never tried dealing with one, dear blog reader, I can highly recommend it - great for the blood pressure. There's a lot of things wrong with Facebook, frankly, but their 'block' facility genuinely isn't one of them.

Right, having dealt with that, for today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, here's a delicate little piece of soul bearing from Roddy Frame and Aztec Camera. Gorgeous.

1 comment:

Owain said...

Happy Birthday!!! @)