Thursday, October 27, 2011

That Was A Very Good Year

The Gruniad Morning Star claims that BBC is facing a growing political backlash to its proposed cuts to local radio after MPs lined up at a Westminster debate to criticise the changes as 'unfair, unjustified' and 'a travesty' for listeners. None of which this blogger necessarily disagrees with but it's a bit rich for MPs of all political parties, many of whom have used the BBC as their own personal punchbag over the last few years in the hope of scoring cheap points with the voters are now suddenly the corporation's bestest friends in all the land, that am. That sounds like rather sick hypocrisy to this blogger. About fifty MPs took part in a private members' debate on Wednesday brought by Conservative MP Robin Walker, many of them highlighting the impact the cuts would have on BBC local stations in their constituencies. The corporation was accused of being 'biased' towards its national stations - such as Radio 4 - at the expense of its local services, and in favour of London and the south-east to the detriment of the north and west of England. Luciana Berger, the Labour MP for Liverpool Wavertree, claimed Radio 4's lunchtime consumer affairs programme You and Yours had more staff working on it than the whole of BBC Radio Merseyside. 'The impact these cuts will have on all of its programming is a travesty,' she told the debate in parliament's Westminster Hall. Roger Gale, the Conservative MP for Thanet North, took aim at the salaries paid to BBC management, saying that the director general Mark Thompson earned twice as much as the cuts being required at the Merseyside station. 'Local radio is a lifeline at times of crisis,' he added. 'If we allow these cuts to go ahead, then broadcasting generally, not just the BBC, will be all the poorer. Once that infrastructure is gone it will be impossible to get it back.' It's really horrible when one finds oneself agreeing with Tories. But, he's not wrong. Former Labour lack of culture minister the vile and odious Bradshaw accused BBC management of ducking the big decisions by salami slicing across the board rather than axing a particular service. Bradshaw, possibly the classic example of those with an agenda when it comes to the BBC - a former employee who, nevertheless, seems to do everything in his power to belittle and harm the corporation whilst he held the ministerial brief until shortly before the last election when he suddenly appeared to realise he was soon to be out of a job and, in an instant became the BBC's biggest cheerleader - said: 'The BBC should be taking a more long-term strategic approach to its reduced circumstances instead of trying to continue to do everything they currently do with less money,' he said. 'They should be bold and stop doing things that few people watch or listen to, or that the commercial sector already does perfectly adequately. It seems to me the BBC was so traumatised by [the rejection of] their proposals to close 6Music and the Asian Network that they won't contemplate closing down anything. That is not leadership.' Quite what the 'things that few people watch or listen to' bit referred to he didn't elaborate. I'm guessing BBC4 which, one imagines, won't go down so well with the more Frappucino-drinking end of the Gruniad's readership. Many of the BBC's forty local stations are having to make budget cuts of twenty per cent, with the axe falling hardest at BBC London 94.9, which is having to save twenty five per cent, about one million smackers. The cuts are being made as part of Thompson's Delivering Quality First proposals, following last year's flat licence fee settlement, which are now the subject of a consultation by the BBC Trust. About two thousand jobs will be lost as part of efforts to save a total of seven hundred million smackers a year. It will include three hundred and eighty jobs going in the English regions, of which two hundred and eighty will be in local radio. Walker, the Tory MP for Worcester who initiated this week's debate, said for many listeners local radio was their only return on the licence fee. 'Of the seven million people who listen to local radio more than two million don't listen to another BBC station,' he added. No, but they are likely to at least glance at BBc1 and BBc2 occasionally so to say it's their only return on the licence fee is probably overstating matters somewhat. Still it is a point worth making that a good portion of local radio's seven million plus weekly listenership don't, by and large, listen to any other BBC radio. 'Local radio is special, not just another part of the BBC.' And, again, it's hard to argue with any of that. The BBC's director of news Helen Boaden, in a blog post published on Tuesday ahead of the debate, admitted that she had 'lost count of the number of people who have complained to me about Radio 4 being protected from the cuts at the alleged expense of local radio.' However, she said it was 'the right decision' that Radio 4 was protected from the 'full force' of the cuts, adding that it was not true to say that 'local radio is being picked on, though its particular circumstances may make it feel like that on the ground. Are the plans for Local Radio ideal? Not at all,' she added. 'Despite the cuts, I believe that BBC local radio can survive and even thrive because it will always have its unique connection to its audiences.' Just, you know, not all day because they're wanting stations to share afternoon, evening and weekend programming. So, that's actually a bare-faced and complete lie, Helen. Thanks for your contribution to the debate. Next ... 'By 2016 we will still have forty BBC local radio stations delivering quality output to audiences who rely on us and often love us. We have no intention of letting them down.' Alison McGovern, the Labour MP for Wirral South, said that the cuts to BBC local radio were 'not just a question of funding but a question of identity, heritage and culture.' Damn straight they are.

So, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, the BBC Trust is currently running a public consultation exercise in relation to Delivery Quality First and would like your views - if you're a licence fee payer, that is - on a variety of subjects, notably local radio. If you haven't already done so then I urge you, please, do take them at their word and tell them what you think; what you like, what you don't like, what you'd discard and what you'd keep. Remember, the BBC belongs to you but the only way that you can affect its programming - and, by logical extension - its future is by taking the opportunity when offered to say what's on your mind. This is too important an issue to 'leave to someone else,' as that someone else could - and probably will - be a BBC-loathing Daily Scum Mail reader with a sick agenda. So if you like local radio or, if you hate it, if you want to see it remain as it is, or even if you'd like to see it flushed into the gutter and replaced with twenty four hours of yer actual bangin' tunes, whatever, take the chance to make your voice count. It's called democracy, dear blog reader. Many people think it doesn't work. Personally, I rather like it.

Somebody who is, perhaps, not so keen on the concept is former Libyan intelligence chief Moussa Koussa who has denied any involvement in the torture of political detainees or in the 1996 massacre at the country's notorious Abu Salim prison. Koussa issued a statement through his lawyers in response to allegations made on Monday's Panorama programme that he, personally, tortured prisoners with an electric rod. Koussa, who made a high-profile defection to Britain in March as the Gaddafi regime began to crumble, also said that he had 'no involvement of any kind or knowledge' of the Lockerbie bombing or the murder of WPC Yvonne Fletcher. Does sort of make you wonder what he was actually doing when he was 'intelligence chief' if he was so clueless about what was going on in the country. Then again, it's just about possible for someone in a position of authority to be, genuinely befuddled by events going on around them. I mean, look at our own government for a kick-off. Moussa Koussa accused the programme-makers of making false allegations, adding: 'I have never tortured anyone nor been involved in torture. Neither was I present at the massacre at Abu Salim prison.' So, there you go, Moussa Koussa thinks the BBC are a bunch of liars and scoundrels. That, so of, puts him on the same side as most of the British press. Which, one imagines, they're all fine with. Koussa left Britain following an EU decision to lift sanctions against him, meaning that he no longer faces travel restrictions or an asset freeze. He was the head of Gaddafi's intelligence agency from 1994 and a senior intelligence agent when Pan Am flight 103 was blown up over Lockerbie in 1988, killing two hundred and seventy people. But, he knows naaaaathink.

The All England Club and BBC Sport have announced that the BBC's current contract as the host broadcaster and UK rights holder for Wimbledon has been extended by three years from 2015 to 2017. The new deal will continue to give audiences access to the tournament across all platforms including TV, radio, online, red button, mobile and tablet. Ian Ritchie, Chief Executive of the All England Club, said: 'Wimbledon fans have been enjoying the BBC's broadcast coverage of The Championships since 1927 and we are delighted to be extending this enduring and successful partnership for a further three years.' Barbara Slater, Director of BBC Sport (or, what's left of it, anyway) said: 'The BBC's first ever live sport broadcast was from Wimbledon and we are proud that our new deal means the longest partnership in Sport's broadcasting continues. We know that Wimbledon fortnight has a very special place in the hearts of the UK public. We are delighted that our new agreement ensures coverage of The Championships remains free to air and available to Licence Fee payers.'
Forty-eight months ago, James Murdoch the small's eventual assumption of the top job at his father's News Corporation seemed only a year or two away. But even his close allies now concede that he is unlikely to take over when Rupert Murdoch steps aside, after it emerged that a majority of the company's non-family shareholders voted against his re-election to the board on Monday evening. Chase Carey, the firm's president who runs its FOX television and cable channels, and who won the support of seventy eight per cent of independent investors and is now described as being 'lined-up' to take over eventually, as James Murdoch contends with the personal fall out from the phone-hacking crisis that closed the Scum of the World and shareholder vote that saw him win the backing of only forty two per cent of non-family investors. The disparity in voting demonstrates the popularity of Carey, who is well known among the firm's Wall Street investors, while those close to the younger Murdoch say he will now have to spend 'five years or whatever it takes' proving himself in the US before he can hope to run the business that his father built up when he inherited an Adelaide newspaper in the early 1950s. Despite the vote result, Rupert Murdoch's thirty eight-year-old son is determined to hang on at the company, and is in the process of relocating to New York. He was re-elected to the board with the help of the Murdoch family's forty per cent bloc vote, but now has to endure further questioning by MPs on 10 November and another vote at the end of that month, this time to re-elect him as director of BSkyB, where he is chairman. The News Corp shareholder vote was also a rebuff to Murdoch's elder brother, Lachlan. Of non-family shareholders sixty four and a half per cent voted against his reappointment, although unlike the former, Lachlan Murdoch is no longer an executive at News Corp, and is instead acting-chief executive of Australian broadcaster Channel ten. Their sister Elisabeth Murdoch, who runs News Corp's UK TV production arm Shine, chose not to stand, a decision that at least means that she was spared a protest vote, although she remains a family outsider, having already fallen out with her father and siblings over the handling of the hacking crisis. Friends say James Murdoch will need to appear before parliament as 'both contrite and in control of current events,' in contrast to Les Hinton, his predecessor as chairman of News Corp's UK subsidiary News International, who when recalled on Monday repeatedly told MPs he 'didn't remember' what had happened at the Scum of the World when he was in charge and when phone hacking was alleged to have taken place in the period running up to 2006. MPs want Murdoch to explain why his recollection of the circumstances surrounding the four hundred and twenty five thousand smackers settlement paid to Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, differ from Colin Myler, the final editor of the Scum of the World, and Tom Crone, the disgraced and disgraceful paper's chief lawyer. Murdoch says he 'cannot recall' being shown the critical 'for Neville' e-mail, which implied that phone-hacking at the paper was not restricted to a single 'rogue' reporter. Some 'insiders', the Gruniad claim, argue that he is now, effectively, a 'dead man walking' because he has to contend with a constant drip-drip of revelations about the scale of hacking in the period prior to the arrest of Clive Goodman, the former royal editor who was later jailed. Murdoch's position as a family member means that he is under no immediate pressure to leave, but the issues that News Corp has to face, including several potential criminal trials of former Scum of the World staff, means he is at risk of slow-motion damage – what one 'insider' allegedly described as 'a tragic choreography.' The allegations stem from the period before he joined News Corp from BSkyB in December 2007. But the pressure on him has mounted because News International failed to launch a thorough internal investigation – and because the company did not begin turning over large volumes of information to the police until last winter, more than a year after the first allegations that phone-hacking went wider than Goodman surfaced in the Gruniad in July 2009. From then until January of this year, News International continued to stick, rigidly, to its 'lone rouge reporter' defence until events forced them to change their tune. What frustrates News Corp is that for all the problems stemming from phone hacking, the firm has been performing well financially, with operating profits up thirteen per cent last year. But the strongest performing units, the FOX broadcast network and the FOX cable channels, are run by Carey, while Murdoch's units in Europe and Asia have either been the source of problems such as hacking, slower profit growth for Sky Italy or heavy investment, where €1.15bn has been spent buying a forty nine per cent stake in Sky Germany. Murdoch also has to win the support of City investors to remain as a director of BSkyB. A year ago, he won ninety eight per cent of the votes, and at the height of the phone-hacking crisis still won the backing of the satellite broadcaster's board after the abortive bid for BSkyB. But, some City investors are preparing to vote against him, such as Aviva, which opposed his appointment last year and is expected to do so again. Some believe that News Corp's problems stem, in part, from its shareholder structure, which is designed to entrench the Murdoch family's control at a company that had a twenty nine billion dollars turnover last year. The company has voting and a larger amount of non-voting shares, which means Rupert Murdoch controls forty per cent of the votes but a total economic interest of about twelve per cent. Professor Charles Elson at the University of Delaware, who specialises in corporate governance, said: 'What you are saying is that you – the management – are brighter than the shareholders. That's the problem with dual-class shareholder structures; these kind of things are going to happen.' But James Murdoch still has some influential supporters. Rich Greenfield, a Wall Street analyst with BTIG, said: 'If you don't like the Murdochs, you shouldn't invest in News Corp.' He added that it was pointless to discuss whether James Murdoch should take over the company until such time as his father has signalled he intends to step down.

ITV and Simon Cowell's company Syco are said to be looking at 'scaling back' the stunts on flop game show Red or Black? in order to reduce the show's production budget for a proposed second series. Earlier this month ITV's director of television Peter Fincham cast doubt over the return of the high budget Red or Black?, saying that changes needed to be made and that he had not yet made a decision about its future. The show attracted an average audience of between four and a half and five million viewers per night when it ran over the summer – significantly below levels that ITV executives had expected (and had, publicly predicted) from a high budget Cowell show fronted by its two most popular presenters, Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly. Cowell's 'super-sized' gambling series, which gave contestants the chance to win one million smackers by guessing red or black on the outcome of large-scale celebrity-fronted challenges, is thought to be one of ITV's most expensive ever entertainment productions per episode. The stunts included transporting contestants to a castle to guess if a red or black parachutist would land closer to a target and elaborate arena sets for challenges such as Twinball – a giant pinball-style game. Anonymous 'sources', quoted by the Gruniad Morning Star, said that ITV and Syco are looking at 'reducing the scale of the stunts' in order to cut costs. They are also, the newspaper claims, understood to be considering running the second series on Saturday nights rather than stripping it every day across a week as the first series was. Other complications include tightening up procedures for selecting contestants after former convicted criminal Nathan Hageman scooped the first jackpot. After his win caused a tabloid shit storm, two other contestants were removed from the show following further criminal checks into their backgrounds. In addition there were, to some people's surprise, four one million quid winners. Although the prize money was underwritten by insurers, premiums could - and, likely will - rise for any second series. Speaking at an ITV event recently, when asked if Red or Black? would return, Fincham said 'I haven't made that decision yet. It is a big show. The sort of thing ITV should be doing on a Saturday night. [It's a show I] want to make some changes to. I'm nearly there, but not quite ready yet,' he added. 'Sources', claim the Gruniad, say that Fincham is expected to make his decision before Christmas if he can. Tied in with Red or Black?'s recommission - or otherwise - is Ant and Dec's own golden handcuffs deal with ITV, which is in the process of being renegotiated. Their previous two-year deal – which is up at the end of December this year – includes which major programmes they will present and, according to production sources, at the end of the last series they were said to be keen to present Red or Black? again. Cowell has previously said he wants to take the show, which is co-produced by his production company Syco and ITV's production arm ITV Studios, 'around the world.' It is understood that his company stands to gain more from sales of the international rights than ITV and that the network signed a one-series deal with ITV Studios and Syco for Red or Black?, with an option to make a second run. If ITV does not take up the option then Cowell's plans to sell Red or Black? abroad could be hindered. One 'source' allegedly said: '[Red or Black?] costs around one million pounds an hour, perhaps £1.3m per show all in, real top-end stuff for ITV. The top end of what they would ever think about investing, up there with X Factor, probably. If you look at the number of shows and the payout to the winners they probably had a net investment of twelve or thirteen million pounds.' The alleged 'insider' allegedly added: 'Commercially it wouldn't have been great returns for them. The multi-million sponsorship with Domino's was split with Syco, there weren't really additional streams like phone-voting and the audience levels weren't great and the viewing profile had no special spike, like a youth skew, so advertising sales probably weren't great.' Note the three uses of the word 'probably' in those two sentences. You've really got to wonder just how 'inside' the Gruniad's alleged insider actually, allegedly, is. If he or she even exists, of course. 'The pressure point is the relationship with Syco. Cowell wants this to go global and so they will definitely be saying they can make it more engaging, put in more jeopardy, make it more watchable.' Probably. An ITV spokesman said: 'No decision has been made on commissioning further series of Red or Black?'

Former ITV director of programmes Simon Shaps could barely hide his glee when he was asked what his erstwhile employer should do about The X Factor, now that Simon Cowell and about two million regular viewers have deserted the format. Speaking on Radio 4's The Media Show, Shaps said that Cowell's US adventure had left a 'fundamental void' in the show, of which he had ultimate oversight until he was bundled out of his ITV office to make way for Peter Fincham in 2008. 'I do think in studio shows you miss him,' said Shaps. 'I'm sitting at home thinking there's something missing.' And, it would seem that Shaps is not alone. So, does he have any pearls of wisdom for his successor? 'Next year if I was there I would be saying to Simon, "Your country needs you. You're fundamental to the show." I think there is inevitably a wear out factor, a built-in obsolescence with these shows, and it's only a question of when they begin to decline. The trick is to spot that and do something about it.' Revenge, as they say, is a dish best served live on BBC national radio.

Eddie Izzard has compared his Sky1 adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic Treasure Island to the Hollywood gangster film Goodfellas. Izzard said that he had previously considered the story to be more like a 'pantomime,' but claimed that the new two-part drama was 'evil enough' to lure him into taking part. 'I agreed to do it because it is a Goodfellas-style kick-ass version.' said the comic. Izzard plays pirate villain Long John Silver, alongside a cast including Phillip Glenister, Donald Sutherland, Elijah Wood, Rupert Penry-Jones, Daniel Mays and Keith Allen. 'The line that I was using was that the original Batman was quite a campy Batman. Then Tim Burton took it, kept it still for the family, but added a real edge to it. This is like the first Tim Burton Batman films,' said Izzard. 'We want to keep everyone watching it, but we also want to add a real edge to it.' Shot on location in Ireland and Puerto Rico, the two-part adaptation was written by Stewart Harcourt and directed by Steve Barron.

Weeds is reportedly likely to return for an eighth season. The Showtime comedy-drama's executive producer Roberto Benabib previously hinted that season seven could be the show's final run, with the season finale providing 'closure.' However, Showtime is now rumoured to be close to announcing a pick-up for another season, according to TV Line. While the eighth year is also being treated as the show's last, Showtime is apparently keen to keep the door open for a potential ninth season as well. Weeds stars Mary-Louise Parker as Nancy Botwin, a single mother who begins dealing marijuana in order to support her upper middle-class lifestyle. Parker's co-star Justin Kirk (Andy) previously denied that the seventh season of Weeds would be the show's last, while Hunter Parrish (Silas) also admitted that he was hoping for an eighth run.

Sons of Anarchy's Theo Rossi has revealed more details about his character's betrayal plot. In the FX biker drama, Rossi's character, Juice, betrayed SAMCRO to Linc Potter (played by Ray McKinnon) and later attempted suicide when overcome with guilt. Rossi told TV Guide: 'He's so destroyed and weak at this point. He loses all self-confidence. He's struggling to find out who he is and how he is going to live with himself on a day-to-day level.' However, the actor hinted that Juice's fortunes will begin to improve in future episodes. 'There is a significant, significant change that comes upon him,' he said. Sons of Anarchy was recently renewed for a fifth run, after the fourth season premiere attracted impressive ratings.

The BBC's Arab Spring coverage is to be evaluated in the latest in a series of reviews assessing the impartiality and accuracy of the corporation's output. Reporting of events in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and elsewhere via TV, radio and online will be probed. The findings will be published in autumn 2012. Edward Mortimer, former UN Director of Communications and an expert in Middle East affairs, will lead the review. Previous reviews have looked at the BBC's coverage of business and science. 'Events in the Middle East during 2011 up-ended many widely accepted notions about the region,' said Mortimer. 'Such stories are always the most exciting for journalists to cover, but also present many challenges. It will be fascinating to examine in detail how the BBC rose to these.' Alison Hastings, chair of the BBC Trust's Editorial Standards Committee, said the so-called Arab Spring had been 'a difficult story to cover. The challenge for the BBC is to ensure that it maintains the high standards of impartiality and accuracy that audiences expect,' she continued. The review will include content analysis, audience research and interviews with interested parties. In 2007, a review of the BBC's science output found it was of 'high quality' but said that it should make a clear distinction between fact and opinion.

Jeremy Clarkson has revealed that he has lifted an injunction banning the publication of details about his alleged affair with his ex-wife after the claims were outed online. Last night Clarkson said the gagging order became 'pointless' when his name was linked with the allegations on websites including Twitter. 'Injunctions don't work,' he told the Daily Scum Mail. 'You take out an injunction against somebody or some organisation and immediately news of that injunction and the people involved and the story behind the injunction is in a legal-free world on Twitter and the Internet.' Clarkson said he was moved to lift the order after his mother and three children, Emily, Finlo and Katya, were affected by the online rumours. 'I dish the dirt out and I can take it. But why should my mother and children have to take it?' he told the Scum Mail. 'There is also an assumption of guilt which goes hand in hand with an injunction.' Clarkson said that he regretted his actions from the day he took out the injunction, adding that his mother was seriously ill at the time he went to the High Court. The presenter and newspaper columnist said his decision was also influenced by the costs involved in the legal process, which were 'unbelievably expensive. You used to be able to take out an injunction and then just sit on it,' he said. 'But as a result of a recent court case you are now ultimately forced by the courts to go to trial.' Clarkson was granted the gagging order last September after rumours surfaced that he was sleeping with his former wife, Alexandra Hall, despite being married to his current wife, Frances. It banned the media from reporting 'sexual or other intimate acts or dealings' between Clarkson and Hall, as well as the Top Gear presenter's 'private thoughts and feelings, his health and other financial affairs.' Clarkson was referred to in court as only AMM, while Hall was referred to as HXW. But soon afterwards his name began to surface online in connection with the anonymous injunction. This prompted a series of unfounded rumours linking Clarkson to a number of high-profile celebrities, including the writer and campaigner Jemima Khan. Earlier this year, Hall featured anonymously in a newspaper interview in which she attacked the privacy injunction granted to her ex-husband, the Scum Mail reports. 'I have no name. I have no voice,' she said. 'I am referred to as a set of initials. Who am I? I can't tell you, because if I do I could have a jail term for contempt of court. I am a nobody. I don't count.' Hall said injunctions were a form of 'bullying by the rich and powerful,' admitting that she still had feelings for the man involved at the time. 'My motive was entirely cathartic,' she said. 'The fact that I might be paid for it would have been a bonus. Yet, here I was, with the threat of jail hanging over my head because my 'ex' wanted to keep his name out of the papers.' Hall, an entrepreneur who has appeared on Dragon's Den, said she was left 'frightened, confused and angry' by the gagging order.

The U2 Group have revealed that they are 'quite likely' they will release new material next year. The band finished up their record-breaking world tour in the summer and have since been working on the follow-up to 2009's No Line on the Horizon. However, The U2 Group maintained that fans will not be able to hear any new songs until next year as they want to spend some time getting 'lost in the music.' When asked by Rolling Stone what's next for the group, Mr Bonio out of The U2 Group replied: 'I'm not sure the future hasn't dried up. The band are like, "Will you shut up about being irrelevant?"' Mr The Edge out of The U2 Group added: 'It's quite likely you might hear from us next year, but it's equally possible that you won't.' Mr Bonio out of The U2 Group continued: 'We have so many [new] songs, some of our best. I'm putting some time aside to just go and get lost in the music.' If anyone is able to help Mr Bonio out of The U2 Group find his way out of the music that he's got himself lost in, please contact the band via the usual address. Perhaps a map might help, one would venture? Meanwhile, The U2 Group will release a repackaged version of their 1991 LP Achtung Baby on 31 October to celebrate its twentieth anniversary of when they used to be quite good. Always assuming that Mr Bonio out of The U2 Group has been found in the music and released by then. The new edition will also feature their recent documentary From The Sky Down.

A Zimbabwean man charged with having sex with a donkey has claimed that the creature was actually a human prostitute who later turned into an animal. And, that's the defence he intends to stick to in court, apparently. Interesting choice. Sunday Moyo, twenty eight, from Mandava township in Zvishavane, made the claim when appearing in court on Monday, New Zimbabwe reports. Moyo told the magistrate Mildred Matuv: 'Your worship, I only came to know that I was being intimate with a donkey when I got arrested. I had hired a prostitute and paid twenty dollars for the service at the Down Town nightclub and I don't know how she then became a donkey.' Well, that sounds perfectly reasonable. Moyo had been spotted allegedly performing a sex act on the alleged donkey - tied by its neck to a tree - at 4am on Sunday morning during a routine patrol by officers. He was remanded in custody until 27 October and ordered to be examined by two government-employed psychiatrists. Last year, a British pensioner was jailed for twenty two months after admitting to having sex with a horse and donkey. Which, of course, he-haw, he-haw, he oughtn't to have done. What? Whaddya expect, it's a donkey joke.

On 27 October 2010, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping began From The North's latest - occasional recurring - series, Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. 'A tiny reminder, dear blog reader, of a time when seven inches of black plastic could, quite literally, rock your world.' The first 45 which yer actual Keith Telly Topping chose to highlight was The Skids' 'TV Stars'. 'We've been asked to speak politics to you today!' A b-side from an - admittedly - Top Twenty hit single from the late seventies; perhaps an early indication of just what was to follow. To be honest, yer actual Keith Telly Topping only expected the conceit to run for maybe a few weeks or so until the novelty wore off and he got bored with the whole shebang. Three hundred and sixty six days and approximately nine hundred 45s (and a few 33s and at least one 78) later, I'll have you know, dear blog reader, that was a very good year.

1 comment:

David Alexander McDonald said...

Did you ever get the OMD songs in that you were proposing to get in some time ago? I've tried to keep up with the blog, but sometimes I miss....