Saturday, October 29, 2011

Week Forty Five: Here's A Murder Rap To Keep You Dancin', With A Crime Record Like Charles Manson

Fronted by the always pure-dead-funny Lee Mack, Friday night's episode of Have I Got News For You once again benefited hugely from a guest appearance by the great Ross Noble. Who is rapidly becoming virtually omnipresent on BBC comedy quiz shows of late. Well, y'see, that's what happened when you employ a Geordie, dear blog reader. Somebody, somewhere, gets a grant. Ross's highlights included: 'I don't claim to be the most political of men, but where does the Primula Cheese Spread®™ fit into all of this? Sorry, I thought this was Have I Got Cheese For You?' and, on the subject of a would-be Dublin alchemist recently jailed for setting fire to his council house after trying transform his own faeces into precious metal: 'He's a bloke from Ireland who turns shit into gold? Isn't that Westlife?'
The best comedy moment of the night, however, was Ian Hislop's explanation of the Eurozone crisis: 'We accept that Greece is going to go bust, everybody's taken that on board, but now it's Italy as well. Most people have thought "Gosh, Italy, that's a stable country run by a sensible fellow. That can't possibly be going down the tube." But, apparently he's spent over a hundred trillion Euros on prostitutes!' Then there was Hislop's mobile phone unexpectedly going off in the middle of a round about Jezza Clarkson's former superinjuction and the clip of Jeremy Paxman interviewing Jacob Rees Mogg on Newsnight and invoking the spirit of Bagpuss. Sound.

'On doctor's advice, I have to sleep in a cycle helmet due to the violent nature of my dreams!' Friday also saw a quite mad-brilliant episode of Would I Lie To You with Barry Cryer, Sue Perkins, Dara O Briain and Lorraine Kelly all on tremendous sparkling form. The show, once a rather pale Call My Bluff for the Twenty First Century has recently become one of the BBC's most consistent and amusing comedies. As usual, though, it was the regulars - Davie Mitchell (with his angry foot-stamping logic), Lee Mack (with his laid-back laconic Lancastrian wit) and host Rob Brydon who provided most of the best one liners (in the case of the latter admonishing the audience for laughing at a - wholly intentional - double entendre, 'No! This isn't Never Mind Your Buzzcocks [sic]'!)
The round involving David's - alleged - teddy bear, Tablecloth, and its terrible mistreatment at the cruel hands of HM Customs was an especially funny one.
But, Barry Cryer stole the show with his convincing performance in claiming that early in his career he'd written a trio of romantic novels under a transvestite non-de-plume. That was a lie, tragically. But, Lorraine Kelly did once turn up drunk when presenting an episode of TV-AM.

And then there was yet another delightful episode of Qi dealing with the subjects of injustice and inequality. Of particular note here was the debut appearance by the excellent German comedian and broadcaster Henning Wehn who was witty and engaging and fitted in alongside the likes of Clive Anderson and Sandi Toksvig very well indeed. Hope they have him back on next year.
And the round on corporal punishment and 'whipping boys' was brilliant. 'Who got the blame when the Prince of Wales misbehaved?' asked Stephen. 'Seeing we're in Britain, usually the Germans,' replied Henning. 'Well, they are Germans,' added Clive, pithily. And as for the allegation what Fergie (not the one from the Black Eyed Peas) was 'marrowing' Prince Andrew ...

ITV has poached the free-to-air broadcast rights to the French Open tennis tournament from the BBC, after agreeing a three-year deal with the Fédération Française de Tennis. The commercial broadcaster will cover its first ever tennis grand slam event in summer 2012, showing four matches from the French Open, including the mens' and ladies' singles finals, live on ITV. Through the fifteen-day event at Roland Garros in Paris, ITV4 and ITV.com will broadcast around six hours of live coverage from each day's play, as well as a highlights package. ITV has picked up the free-to-air rights to the tournament after the BBC dropped out of the running, while Eurosport is understood to be negotiating a new deal to the UK pay-TV rights. ITV has recently been expanding its sports content, including a deal to snatch UEFA Europa League rights from Channel Five, as part of plans to strengthen digital channel ITV4. Niall Sloane, ITV's controller of sport, said: 'I'm hugely excited that we have agreed a major new deal to bring the Roland Garros French Open to ITV. It's the first time that a grand slam has been shown live on ITV and with around six hours of coverage over each day of the tournament we'll be offering viewers more free-to-air coverage of the tournament than ever before.' FFT media and sponsorship director Michel Grach said: 'We are delighted that ITV will bring the clay of Roland Garros to British tennis fans. This new partnership will not only enhance the exposure and appeal of the tournament in the United Kingdom but is also an important first step in our new distribution strategy throughout Europe.' Angela Jain, ITV's director of digital channels and acquisitions, added: 'ITV4 now holds a terrific portfolio of sports rights and, alongside our new agreement for Europa League football, this major new deal to bring the Roland Garros tournament to the channel is great news for our viewers and advertisers. Live sports coverage now sits at the heart of ITV4's schedules alongside a range of other entertainment content.' The ITV deal comes just a day after the BBC extended its agreement to show Wimbledon by a further three years, meaning the corporation will cover the British grand slam to at least 2017. The French Open 2012 will take place at Stade Roland Garros in Paris from 27 May to 10 June. Rafael Nadal and Li Na are the reigning mens' and ladies' champions.

An alleged celebrity psychic (alleged 'celebrity' and alleged psychic, in case you were wondering) who claims to speak with the dead in sellout shows across the country has been challenged by sceptics to prove her supernatural powers. They have invited TV 'star psychic' Sally Morgan to demonstrate her ability to connect with the spirit world in a specially designed test in Liverpool on Monday. The Halloween challenge is backed by the US paranormal investigator James Randi, and qualifies as the first step towards claiming a million-dollar prize established by the James Randi Educational Foundation for any psychic who can 'prove' their 'gift' to be real. Morgan, whose website offers psychic readings over premium rate phone lines, has written three books and is filming the third series of Psychic Sally on the Road for Sky Living. Sceptic groups, led by the science writer Simon Singh, arranged the test after one of Morgan's shows in Dublin last month at which some members of the audience reported hearing someone at the back of the theatre apparently feeding her information on stage. Morgan, who claims to have seen her first ghost at the age of four, has strongly denied being involved in any fakery and blamed the voices heard at the Dublin show on 'chattering technicians at the venue.' The theatre appeared to support this account in a separate statement. TV illusionist Derren Brown - like Randi a regular debunker of alleged psychics, mediums and spiritualists - said: 'It's important people don't think that a test is a way of debunking or disproving. It's a great way of anyone making amazing claims to show that they hold up and are not just a result of trickery or self-deception. The test should be both scientifically rigorous and yet fair to the psychic: it would show, if the psychic is successful, that what he or she does is real. Such tests are important because it's too easy for a person to fool others (or themselves) into thinking he or she has special abilities. If someone is going to put you in touch with your dead child you'd want to know if they were real, deluded or a scam artist.' The group behind the challenge has enlisted Professor Chris French, head of the anomalistic psychology research unit at Goldsmith's, University of London, to design and conduct the experiment, which, if Morgan attends, will be hosted by the Merseyside Skeptics Society in Liverpool. 'There are still question marks hanging over Sally with regards to how she derives her insights during her readings. By agreeing to our test, Sally has an opportunity to reassure any fans who might doubt that she is genuine in her communication with their deceased loved ones,' Singh said. 'This is not a trivial issue, as many vulnerable, grieving and desperate people turn to Sally for support and advice, and it is crucial that these people can be confident that they are not being deceived,' he added. Audiences who attend Morgan's shows can hand in photographs of dead loved ones for her to use on stage. During the performance, Morgan selects a picture and claims to make contact with the deceased, at times adopting their voice to relay messages from beyond the grave. In the challenge, Morgan will be shown photographs of ten deceased women and asked to match each to an entry on a list of their first names, by connecting with their spirits. Singh said the test was expected to last twenty minutes. To 'pass,' Morgan would be required to match seven or more names to the right photographs. A Gruniad request to Morgan for comment on the challenge was reportedly passed to her lawyers, who did not respond. 'I believe that this opportunity to conduct a direct, simple, understandable test of "Psychic Sally" and her often-stated ability is an excellent situation in which she will be able to not only establish her claimed abilities, but also move on to earn the million dollar prize that stands ready to be paid out,' said Randi. Professor French added: 'It's important for any test to be as fair as possible, and an accurate reflection of what Sally claims to do. Fortunately, the types of readings Sally gives in her live shows lend themselves very well to a very simple test design. With the right controls in place, we can perform an experiment where anyone who is deluded or who wants to cheat would find it very hard to be successful, but someone with genuine psychic ability, as Sally claims to have every night in her sold-out shows, should find the whole thing a breeze.' Michael Marshall, vice president of the Merseyside Skeptics Society, said: 'At the moment, there's no real proof that anybody is able to communicate with the dead. In fact, no medium has ever, in the history of the human species, been able to reliably demonstrate such an ability. Whilst we're somewhat sceptical of the claims Sally makes, we'd love nothing more than the opportunity to get to the bottom of things, once and for all. If Sally really is able to demonstrate in a very simple test that her skills are in fact psychically derived, as opposed to produced via the various magic tricks and techniques we know fraudulent mediums could use to appear to have psychic powers, then we'll be first in the queue to celebrate her talents. But until she can show her readings are genuine, we don't think it's right that vulnerable people are led to believe she's really talking to the dead.'

And so to yer next batch of Top Telly Tips:

Friday 4 November
Host John Humphrys welcomes contestants back to the terrifying ordeal of the black chair in the long-running specialist and general knowledge quiz, as the hunt begins to find the next Mastermind champion - 8:00 BBC2. As usual, four contestants brave the glare of the spotlight on the black chair as they answer questions on their specialist subjects and test their general knowledge to win the coveted trophy. And be abused by jealous glakes on the Internet. Probably. The topics in the first edition are the Life of Robert Bruce Lockhart, Human Parasites, the Siege of Malta and the Life and Work of AC Swinburne.

In Derren Brown: The Experiments - 9:00 Channel Four - the award-winning illusionist and master of prestidigitation, mesmerism and malarkey Dazzling Dezza introduces his third large-scale social experiment, The Guilt Trip, in which he investigates what it would take to convince a man that he is to blame for a murder which he, in fact, did not commit. An unwitting participant finds himself at the centre of a fictitious mystery, with Derren trying to persuade him that he has actually killed somebody. As usual, a very heavy subject is dealt with seriously when it needs to be but, also, with considerable humour and in a light and entertaining way, featuring an inventive and jaw-dropping mixture of stunts, magic, illusion, suggestion and thought-provoking entertainment, combined with psychological insight.

Live at the Apollo returns tonight - 9:30 BBC1. With its usual mixture of piercingly offensive graphic routines (here it's Jason Byrne doing a lengthy string of one-liners concerning sex with his wife. Which involves imagined maracas and a tuba, rather alarmingly) and the occasional comedy diamond. Host Mickey Flanagan is something of an acquired taste, it should be noted (though sometimes brilliant on Mock The Week, I feel he often falls back on rather crude stereotypes when he appears to be capable of so much more). During the regular 'insult some Z-listers in the audience' bit, his throwaway gag to a The Only Way Is Essex participant about glueing glitter on a certain part of the male anatomy is very much a case in point. Is it funny? Yeah, it is, actually. But, it's also a bit ... obvious. Nevertheless, Flanagan has some good routines - particularly one about the perils of being nice to your neighbours and a Seinfeld-style sequence about the petty embarrassments of saying 'hello' more than once to acquaintances. Seann Walsh, meanwhile - again, something of an acquired taste although his show was very good in Edinburgh this year by all accounts - provides a bit more subtlety with a routine aimed squarely at his London audience centred on Tube-travel etiquette. In particular he hurls himself into the physical comedy of a superb impression of a strap-hanging commuter falling asleep while standing up. That's worth the entry fee alone.

Saturday 5 November
Qi XL - 9:30 BBC2 - sees Stephen Fry hosting an extended version of the quiz with a difference, joined by semi-regular panellists Jo Brand and Andy Hamilton, first timer science columnist Doctor Ben Goldacre and his old sidekick Alan Davies. Tonight Stephen asks questions on the topic of illness, and - as usual - awards points for the most interesting answers. The single best show on British TV, dear blog reader. Because it does exactly what programmes on the BBC are supposed to do, educate, inform and entertain all at the same time.

Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly get on their fake smiles as the ten remaining couples don their dancing shoes once more, aiming to light up the dancefloor with a few fireworks for Bonfire Night in Strictly Come Dancing - 6:25 BBC1. As ever, they are hoping to impress both viewers at home and the judges in the studio, who for one week only include Dirty Dancing actress and Dancing With The Stars champion Jennifer Grey, sitting in for Len Goodman. Or, if you prefer, there's X Factor on the other side.

Sunday 6 November
The last three winters in Great Britain - due to a variety of different reasons - have provided us all with a short, sharp snap of something many of us has pretty much forgotten about since the late 1970s - genuinely arctic weather. So, as usual, the BBC is throughly on the mother trying to get this bitch sorted. And shit. In Will It Snow? - 9:00 BBC2 - Kate Humble, Adam Rutherford and Alys Fowler assess what Britain's weather will be like this winter, following the high levels of snow which caused chaos across the nation in 2009, twice in 2010 and again earlier this year. The presenters explore how methods of prediction have developed through the centuries, from medieval folklore to modern supercomputers, and discover how people and businesses are preparing for the possibility of more severe weather in the months to come.

In the final episode of the current series of Downton Abbey - 9:00 ITV - between extended advert breaks, the wedding approaches and excitement is in the air, but Branson's plans could rattle everyone. Oh, hang on, here's another advert break. Meanwhile, Spanish 'flu reaches the house and a desperate Thomas looks for a way to re-establish himself. But, before he can, there's another advert break. Then, Ethel faces a dilemma when the Bryants return with a heartbreaking proposition, and a decisive Anna forces Bates to think about their future. Plus, there's adverts. Costume drama, starring Allen Leech, Rob James-Collier, Amy Nuttall, Joanne Froggatt and Brendan Coyle. Last in the series. There's currently no news on whether or not the show was been recommissioned for next year although only a fool would bet against it returning. If only because without it, what the hell are ITV doing to use to sell advertising space?

In Paul Merton's Adventures - 8:00 Channel Five - this week Paul's in Florida. Where everything is in the eighties - the temperatures, the ages and, of course, the IQs. After a bit of fluff and nonsense about being stalked by a rollercoaster-mad family, he sets off to find the real Florida, which means joining enthusiastic spectators at a pig race and a demolition derby, attending a spiritualist meeting and a dog fair (called, somewhat inevitably, Woofstock) and visiting the Conch Republic, which seceded from the States in 1982. You can see how the nickname of Florida Crackers came about but Merton seems at ease with most all Floridians and has a special bond with the micro-nation's joke-cracking secretary general.

Monday 7 November
After the thoroughly disastrous way in which BBC1 treated this year's Celebrity MasterChef and the reported anger from the production company about it, it's something of a relief to see the return of MasterChef: The Professionals, steady and reliable, in its traditional BBC2 slot of 8:30. Thank goodness for that, I had visions of them arsing about with the scheduling yet again and putting it on at something like two in the morning with an idiot statement about this giving fans the chance to watch the programme 'at a convenient time.' Planks. The Professionals, of course, is something of a oddity among the MasterChef franchise - albeit one with a cult following which yer actual Keith Telly Topping considers himself very much a part thereof. John Torode doesn't take part in this, instead Gregg Wallace is paired up with the great Michel Roux Jr and the scowling gravy boat-of-hate this is sous chef Monica Galetti on the judging panel in the culinary challenge as ten new contestants enter the kitchen. The cooks are given one hour to prepare a meal from a list of six ingredients - duck breast, leeks, blackberries, garlic, thyme and cinnamon - and must demonstrate their creativity if they are to progress to the final test. Monica's boat-race continues to scowl at the contestants (especially the girls, for some reason) whilst they perform their doings. Which is always jolly entertaining.

Almost ten years after its first series, The Jury returns for a new five-part run strip-scheduled on ITV at 9:00. In the time since, Peter Morgan's been to Hollywood, written The Queen, The Last King of Scotland, Frost/Nixon, The Damned United and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and the forthcoming next Bond movie and, generally, done all right for himself! The lives of twelve people are turned upside down when they are summoned for jury duty in a controversial murder retrial. New evidence has come to light calling into question the conviction of Alan Lane, who was found guilty almost five years previously of killing three women he met on the Internet. Julie Walters stars as defence barrister Emma Watts, with Roger Allam, John Lynch and Steven Mackintosh. Continues tomorrow and all this week.

In Shankill Butchers - 9:00 BBC4 - Stephen Nolan examines the murders committed by the so-called Shankill Butchers, a gang of vicious sectarian killers which operated during the dark days of the Troubles in the mid-1970s. The presenter looks at the evidence and returns to the area where he was brought up to ask how the criminals managed to evade the authorities for so long. With nineteen murders between them, the Shankill Butchers were the most prolific gang of serial killers in British history. During the dark days of the Troubles their savagery - and sick and evil use of big fuck-off knives - stood apart, paralysing both communities in Northern Ireland with fear. The judge at their trial accused them of 'sickening sectarian bigotry.' With unique access to the evidence, and exclusive interviews, Nolan goes back to the patch where he was brought up to ask how the Shankill Butchers got away with murder for so long. Previously shown on BBC1 in Northern Ireland.

It's all murder this evening, I'm afraid as the next Top Telly Tips is Real Crime with Mark Austin: The Game Show Killer - 10:35 ITV. The documentary series returns for a new series, beginning with the case of John William Cooper, who murdered four people in Pembrokeshire in the 1980s. The crimes remained unsolved for more than twenty years, but Cooper was convicted in May following painstaking research and forensic analysis, which included the use of footage from his 1989 appearance on game show Bullseye.

Tuesday 8 November
Death in Paradise - 9:00 BBC1 - continues its moderately impressive start. The opening episode didn't reinvent the wheel but, to be honest, I'd be surprised if any of the almost six million viewers were actually expecting that. In the latest episode, a voodoo priestess who predicted her own murder is found dead in the local school - and while the team thinks her prophecy has come true, Richard is more inclined to believe it is simply a good old-fashioned killing. He soon discovers a link to an affair between the school priest and the wife of the headmaster - a scandal that led to a woman's disappearance years before. Caribbean crime drama, starring Ben Miller, Sara Martins, Don Warrington and Danny John-Jules, with Mona Hammond, Michael Maloney and Nicholas Farrell.

In this week's Holby City - 8:00 BBC1 - Eddi clashes with the new senior registrar, and Oliver makes a decision about his career. Meanwhile, Jac battles to save baby Freya after she is diagnosed with a life-threatening heart condition, and Eddi is forced to put the AAU in lockdown after unstable patient is discovered to have contracted a form of TB while in prison. With Sarah-Jane Potts, Laila Rouass, James Anderson Rosie Marcel and Wil Johnson.

James May's Man Lab - 8:00 BBC2 - continues as James works in his own foundry to form a lemon squeezer from various kitchen utensils, and provides a lesson in how to cheat at playing the guitar. He also launches the ashes of a cat and a budgie into the stratosphere and promotes a boiler suit as the only garment the modern man really needs.

Wednesday 9 November
Frozen Planet - 9:00 BBC1 - got off to a kicking start last week. Massive audience figures, great reviews and lots of sympathy for those poor penguins. Tonight's episode looks at how animals in the polar regions adapt to the summer weather. Cue some more sick and wrong pingu snuff-movie footage. In a colony of four hundred thousand king penguins the adults go surfing and the chicks take mud-baths to cool off, while polar bear cubs take their first swimming lessons as the ice they inhabit melts away. A minke whale is hunted by a family of killer whales, succumbing to their battering after two hours, and Adelie penguins try to prevent their chicks being snatched by skuas.

In Peter Jones: How We Made Our Millions - 9:00 BBC2 - the entrepreneur and Dragons' Den regular - explores the world of high-end business, interviewing the Innocent smoothie company co-founder Richard Reed, and Michelle Mone, the woman behind the multi-million pound Ultimo lingerie brand. They discuss their successes and failures, the strategies they employ and what drove them to start their own businesses, before taking The Dragons' Den star on a tour of their companies, factories and homes.

A repeat, but a very worthy one, is Dynamo: Magician Impossible - 8:00 Watch.
The series sees the twenty eight-year-old travelling the globe as the unassuming anti-hero who just happens to astound everyone he meets, whether it's an international footballer or Hollywood actor. The street magician travels to Los Angeles, where he meets Natalie Imbruglia and Travis Barker, before returning home to make headlines with Radio 1 presenter Scott Mills.

Thursday 10 November
The much anticipated second series of Rev kicks off tonight - 9:00 BBC2. This award-winning sitcom, if you've never seen it before, concerns the life of Adam Smallbone, a young, well-meaning vicar running a modern inner-city church, with a reluctant wife and a depleted, motley congregation and facing the challenges that many churchmen do in an era of apparent spiritual aridity and questioning of the power of faith. The central couple (Tom Hollander and Olivia Colman) are both terrific and the series picked up a committed following during its first run (including, to the surprise of many involved in the production, within the real Church of England). It's sweet and charming but also with a dark undercurrent. And, it's about as far removed from the syrupy nonsense of The Vicar of Dibley as it's possible to be, which is a big tick in its plus column, frankly. In this episode, Adam is acclaimed as a hero for thwarting a mugging, but when he begins to revel in the recognition he receives an unexpected visit from the high levels of the clergy. Guest starring Ralph Fiennes.

Brunel's Last Launch: A Time Team Special - 9:00 Channel Four - sees a team of archaeologists scouring the banks of the Thames to discover why the launching of Isambard Kingdom Brunel's SS Great Eastern in 1858 ended in disaster. Leading to the taking of that infamous picture of Mr Brunel standing in front of the big chains looking miserable. Anyway, Tony Robinson joins them as the team examines the slipways to discover what went wrong and how it affected shipbuilding in London during the middle of the Nineteenth Century. One of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's favourite factual series, this. And it's always great to see it back.

Frank Skinner's Opinionated returns - 10:00 BBC2. The comedian - last seen fronting his excellent BBC4 documentary on George Formby earlier this week - is back for a new series of the topical show. For the first episode Frank is joined by the excellent Dave Gorman in Manchester, where the host and a studio audience debate a range of subjects. In a humorous and entertaining fashion.

And, finally, there's the return of The Mentalist - 10:00 Channel Five - in the first of a new series of the popular US crime drama called Scarlet Ribbons. Patrick Jane is taken into custody for fatally shooting the man he whom believed to be the serial killer Red John. (Played, of course, by the lovely Brad Whitford and, therefore, almost certainly not an evil serial killer!) Jane bluffs his way out of jail and tries to exonerate himself. He begins by visiting his victim's wife - and learns her house contains not only a secret room, but also a reluctant guest. Starring Simon Baker.

And so to the news: Sarah Clarke has signed up for a role on The CW's Nikita. The former 24 star will appear in the latter half of the second season, according to TV Line. No details about her character are currently known. It is also unclear when Clarke will make her Nikita debut or how many episodes she will appear in. The actress is best known for playing villain Nina Myers on 24 from 2001 to 2004 and appeared in 2008's Twilight as the mother of Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart). Her additional credits include episodes of House and Men of a Certain Age. Clarke is married to Nikita regular Xander Berkeley, having met her future husband on the 24 set. Dillon Casey (Sean Pierce) was recently promoted to a series regular on Nikita, having first appeared in the show's second season premiere.

Nickelodeon has announced that its live-action shows Victorious and Big Time Rush are to go free-to-air this month on ITV's terrestrial and digital channels. ITV has picked up thirty three episodes of Victorious, the show starring Victoria Justice, along with forty nine episodes of Big Time Rush, which has become the highest-rated live-action series in Nickelodeon's thirty-year history. The programmes, previously shown only on pay-TV, will be broadcast during the breakfast slots on weekend mornings on ITV, and after-school slots in weekdays on CITV, as well as in high definition. Season one of Victorious launches on ITV's channels on 30 October, and season one of Big Time Rush will break on the following day. 'Our clients around the world look for top-performing programming which travels and resonates with kids no matter where they are and Nickelodeon's latest hits, Victorious and Big Time Rush, really have it all,' said Caroline Beaton, the senior vice president of programme sales at Nickelodeon-parent Viacom. 'I'm delighted that we're able to extend these two hit live-action series to even more audiences, this time across the UK, through our long-standing and fruitful partnership with ITV.' Tina McCann, the managing director of Nickelodeon UK, said: 'Victorious and Big Time Rush have been huge hits for Nickelodeon UK. Each features outstanding young talent who really engage with UK fans. Both shows feature friendship, music, dance, fashion and aspirational lifestyle that really resonate with our audiences. We are delighted to be bringing these properties to a wider market.' Jamila Metran, the programme manager at CITV, added: 'We are very pleased to have secured Victorious and Big Time Rush for broadcast on CITV and ITV Breakfast. The deal continues ITV's successful partnership with VIMN on past titles which include Drake and Josh and SpongeBob SquarePants.'

The Daily Scum Mail's new corrections and clarifications column got off to a rocky start last week. Two of the items in Tuesday's column were of particular interest. One was an apology for a story published on 19 July – 'in common with other newspapers' – that falsely claimed the NHS was paying over thirty seven pounds for each loaf of gluten-free bread it buys. However, not in common with other papers - which apologised for the mistake ages ago - the Scum Mail took far too long to admit its error. But that was not nearly as delayed, or as extraordinary, as the other contentious item in that column – a wholesale climbdown on a story published on 19 March this year about the actor Neil Morrissey. This article, headlined Man behaving badly: TV star banned from bar near his idyllic French retreat after locals object to 'le binge drinking', took up three-quarters of a page. It alleged that Morrissey had been barred by the owners of a bar in Lot-at-Garonne for being drunk and boisterous. The piece was illustrated with three pictures and a poster featuring Morrissey's photograph that said: 'Do not serve this man.' It further claimed - evidencing the Scum Mail's seeming obsession with property prices - that Morrissey's nearby property was worth an exaggerated five hundred thousand smackers. Asked for a response the day before publication, Morrissey's press advisers, and then his lawyers, had warned that the story was entirely untrue. When it subsequently appeared, despite this denial, Morrissey - who says the story was a complete fabrication - immediately complained through his lawyer, Peter Crawford of Stitt and Co. It took a month for the Scum Mail to even respond - with what was described as 'a disingenuous reply.' Then, with the paper not standing by its tale but still not prepared to back down, Crawford issued legal proceedings in June. To describe the Scum Mail's reaction to that legal complaint as 'procrastination' may be to entirely redefine the term. Nearly two months passed before the Scum Mail reluctantly acknowledged that the story was false and defamatory and, finally, began to negotiate with Crawford about the wording and prominence of an apology to Morrissey. The paper's lawyer had even indicated – subject to the editor's final approval – that the apology would appear on a right-hand page, above the fold, before page nineteen, and with a specific heading agreed by both parties. So imagine the surprise for Morrissey and his lawyer when the Scum Mail unilaterally placed a couple of paragraphs – with wording that had not been agreed – in their new page two 'corrections' column. It accepted that its story about the actor being barred was 'incorrect.' It accepted that it had wildly 'overstated' the value of his property. And it concluded: 'We apologise to Mr Morrissey.' But Morrissey regarded it as a slap in the face, arguing that it was a derisory recompense for the hurt that the original article had caused. He was especially furious given that he had been called before publication by the Scum Mail's reporter and he had strenuously denied the allegations when they were put to him. 'It is not easy to believe it was an accidental mistake by the Mail,' he told the Gruniad. 'The story was a blatant falsehood. And a piddling little half-inch apology is just not good enough given the big display they gave it and how they behaved.' His fundamental point seems to be that a corrections column is not the place to publish an apology to someone who has been potentially libelled. Crawford has since written to the Scum Mail to complain that both the printed apology was insufficient and the online one was 'inaccessible.' Morrissey is, seemingly, refusing to let the matter drop. He intends to ask a judge to assess reasonable compensation, and to allow him to get proper publicity for the Scum Mail's cowardly climbdown plus an apology with a statement in court. There is a precedent for this - in 2009, the actress Kate Winslet was permitted to make a statement in court because of an insufficient apology by the Scum Mail. For its part, the Scum Mail is clearly determined to use its supposed 'corrections' column to deal with high-profile legal actions. On Thursday it published an apology to Carole Caplin for a story blurbed on page one on 18 September 2010 - thirteen months ago - implying that she was about to 'dish the dirt' on Tony and Cherie Blair. Now the paper says: 'We accept that Ms Caplin would not disclose such matters.' But there is no equivalence between either the Morrissey or Caplin apologies to the original prominence of the false articles about them. One recalls that it was the Scum Mail's editor, Paul Dacre, who said at the Leveson inquiry seminar two weeks ago: 'I believe corrections must be given more prominence.' He did so in the context of revealing that he was about to introduce his paper's 'corrections and clarifications' column. But there is surely a point to Morrissey's complaint. A couple of paragraphs in a corrections column is inadequate compensation for a libel. Whilst we're on the subject of Daily Scum Mail apologies, note also that it has just paid 'substantial damages' to Osmond Kilkenny, a former manager of the singer Susan Boyle, for publishing an untrue story about his management of her finances. Similarly, it also paid 'substantial damages' to Lady Moore, the wife of actor Roger, for wrongly suggesting that she had had relationships with wealthy older men more than fifty years ago. The Scum Mail, and Dacre, have a long way to go to clean house. Perhaps Lord Justice Leveson should pay some attention to its record as part of his deliberations, it would appear.

Geordie Shore's Greg Lake has confirmed that he has quit the show. The twenty six-year-old announced his departure on Twitter, explaining that he hopes to 'explore new avenues' outside of the MTV programme. Presumably he's heard that Morrisons in Byker are taking on shelf-stackers this week.
Meanwhile, speaking of unemployable Geordies, gormless buffoon Paul Gascoigne has revealed that he is interested in starring in the next series of Strictly Come Dancing. The forty four-year-old ex-footballer, who was rumoured to be joining I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity ... in 2009, allegedly believes that he would stand a strong chance of winning the BBC ballroom reality show. Mind you, this is all according to the Daily Lies so, you know, as ever, a vat of salt might be required here: 'I'd love to do it. I'm up for any challenge now - and I think I would win hands down. I'm skilful at anything. I would take it full-on just like my football. It would be a piece of piss. I could dance when I was drunk. But I wasn't one of those who went to nightclubs and wanted to dance. However, if people say I can't do something, I try to prove them wrong.'

Sinitta has reportedly signed up to star in this year's I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race On Telly Again ... Please Vote For me To Stay Here As Long As Possible, I'll Even Eat Worms if You Want! The singer, who also appears as a guest hanger-on on The X Factor for several years, will fly to Australia in the next few days to prepare for the series. She is said to be 'terrified' that viewers - including alleged 'friends' such as Simon Cowell - will vote for her to do every Bushtucker Trial. 'She is frightened that she will get all the trials for the comedy value,' a 'friend' (one presumes, not Cowell) told the Daily Lies Sunday. 'She has worn some outrageous things on The X Factor, including leaves, so she will be right at home in the jungle.' Yeah. Course. Benidorm actress Crissy Rock, alleged comedian Freddie Starr and former Big Brother contestant Imogen Thomas have also been linked to the new series of I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity ... The Only Way Is Essex's Mark Wright, who is rumoured to be quitting the ITV2 reality show, has also been tipped to enter the jungle when the new series starts on ITV next month. An I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity ... spokesman said: 'Any names suggested are pure speculation at this stage.' Pure speculation? From the Daily Lies? Never in the world.

Two posters for British film SKET, including one that asked David Cameron if he still wanted to 'hug a hoodie,' have been banned from London Underground stations across the capital by Transport for London. Advertisements for the film, a retribution thriller set in London focusing on violence committed against and by teenage females, have also been banned from publication in commuter newspaper Metro. The first poster advert features the four female leading characters caught on CCTV above images of the prime minister, his deputy Nick Clegg, former Labour leader Gordon Brown and London mayor Boris Johnson, with the strap line: 'Do you know these people? Wanted in connection with having broken Britain.'
The second poster depicts the female characters supposedly having just beaten Cameron to the floor with baseball bats, with the line: 'So Mr Cameron. Do you still want to hug a hoodie?' Street crime and violence have been major issues over the years, particularly in London, but the problems really came to the fore during the August riots that escalated across the UK, prompting the prime minister to say that he wanted to fix 'broken Britain.' SKET, directed by newcomer Nirpal Bhogal and starring Ashley Walters and Lily Loveless, is scheduled for release this week. This is not the first time that Transport for London has taken the decision to ban a controversial advert from running on the Underground. Only last month, flyers promoting Lulu, Metallica's collaborative album with Lou Reed, were blocked from London subways and Tube stations because officials were concerned that the artwork was too close to 'street graffiti.' In 2006, posters for the US TV series Sleeper Cell, featuring the slogan 'America's latest hero is a Muslim straight out of jail,' were banned from the London Underground because the word 'Muslim' was deemed to have the potential to offend. Kamran Pasha, a writer on the show, told Total:spec magazine at the time: 'From a practical perspective, whenever people protest or try to ban things, then they just give it more power. From a purely business perspective, the fact they banned the advertising in the UK just gave us more publicity. There were front page articles about the advertising being banned, so after that people who were probably not going to watch the show ended up watching it.'

Prince Charles has claimed that Vlad the Impaler is one of his ancestors. The heir to the British throne was speaking for an upcoming television documentary about the Carpathian Mountains in Transylvania, reports the Daily Torygraph. Prince Charles said: 'The genealogy shows I am descended from Vlad the Impaler, so I do have a bit of a stake in the country.' Cruel and wicked Vlad Țepeș III (1431–1476), was a three-time Voivode of Wallachia, ruling mainly from 1456 to 1462, the period of the incipient Ottoman conquest of the Balkans. His father was a member of the Order of the Dragon (Dracul) and the word Dracula means, literally, 'the son of the Dragon.' Vlad is thought to have been the inspiration for Bram Stoker's fictional vampire character Count Dracula in 1897. Yeah, I can see the similarity between him and Chas and you come to mention it. The Fifteenth Century nobleman gained a fearsome reputation for torturing and executing people, often with impalement. Even during his lifetime Vlad Țepeș became infamous as a tyrant allegedly taking sadistic pleasure in torturing and killing. He is shown in contemporary cryptoportraits in the role of cruel rulers or executioners such as Pontius Pilate ordering the torture and execution of Jesus Christ, or as Aegeas, the Roman proconsul in Patras, overseeing the crucifixion of Saint Andrew. In Romania, however, he's regarded as something of a nationalist hero for his war against the Ottoman empire.

Former radio DJ, television presenter and charity fundraiser Sir Jimmy Savile (OBE) has died, two days short of his eighty fifth birthday. His death came after he spent ten days in hospital earlier this month with suspected pneumonia. Savile, who was one of the most famous faces on British radio and TV during the 1960s, 70s and 80s, died on Saturday. Jim'll Fix It (1975-1994), drew huge audiences and the programme received twenty thousand letters a week at the height of its popularity. Savile was the first host of Top of the Pops in 1964 and also appeared on the music show's final edition forty two years later. His TV persona included chunky gold jewellery, a huge cigar, trademark snowy white hair and a number of catch-phrases, as it happens, now then, now then, guys and gals. Which, of course, were frequently parodied by a thousand bad impressionists across the land such as what yer actual Keith Telly Topping has just proved an example thereof. My apologises. Especially as, whatever Hugh Dennis might think, no one, and I mean no one, could pronounce the word 'Sho-waddy-waddy' quite like The Savile. Savile was born into a working class family in Leeds, the youngest of seven children, to his beloved mother Agnes (whom he called The Duchess) and his father Vincent Savile, a bookmaker's clerk. he was a Bevin Boy, conscripted during World War II to work as a coal miner. An underground explosion brought down the coal face on his back damaging his spine to such an extent that he was told he would never walk again. But he proved the medical experts wrong and after three years he was able to throw away his sticks. Having started playing records in dance halls during the early 1940s, Savile subsequently claimed to have been, effectively, Britain's first ever DJ; according to his autobiography, he was the first person to use two turntables and a microphone, which he did at the Grand Records Ball at the Guardbridge Hotel in 1947 pioneering the concept of DJing as we know it today, although his claim to have been, definitely, the first has been disputed. Savile later moved to Manchester and lived in Salford, working as the manager of the Plaza Ballroom in Oxford Road in the mid-fifties. He also managed the Mecca Locarno ballroom in Leeds in the late 1950s and early 1960s. His Monday evening records-only dance sessions (admission one shilling) were a huge favourite with local teens. Savile was also, at various times, a volunteer hospital porter at Leeds General Infirmary and became a semi-professional sportsman, competing in the 1951 Tour of Britain cycle race and working as a professional wrestler. He proudly claimed that he lost all of his first thirty five fights. 'No wrestler wanted to go back home and say a long-haired disc jockey had put him down. So from start to finish I got a good hiding. I've broken every bone in my body. I loved it.' In one hundred and seven bouts he, reportedly, won just seven. He began his broadcasting career on Radio Luxembourg in 1958 before later moving to the pirate station radio Caroline and then to the BBC. In 1960 he broke into television presenting the Tyne Tees music programme Young at Heart. Although the show was broadcast in black and white, Savile nevertheless dyed his hair a different colour every week. On New Year's Day, 1964, he presented the first edition of Top of the Pops from a television studio – a converted church – in Rusholme, Manchester. On 30 July 2006 he also co-hosted the final edition, ending the show with the words 'It's number one, it's still Top of the Pops,' before being shown turning off the studio lights after the closing credits. On 31 December 1969, Savile hosted the BBC/ZDF co-production Pop Go The Sixties, shown across Western Europe, celebrating the hits of the 1960s. During the early 1960s he co-hosted (with Pete Murray) New Musical Express Poll Winners' Concert, annually held at Empire Pool, Wembley, with acts such as The Beatles, Cliff Richard and The Shadows, The Rolling Stones, The Who, and many others. He is also well remembered for fronting a long running series of advertisements in the early 1980s for British Rail's InterCity 125 (in which he declared 'This is the age of the train') and an even longer running series of Public Information Films promoting road safety, notably 'Clunk Click Every Trip' which encouraged motorists to used seatbelts. This led to Savile's hosting his own Saturday night chat/variety show on BBC1 from 1973 entitled Clunk, Click, which in 1974 featured the UK heats for the Eurovision Song Contest featuring Olivia Newton-John. After two series, the show was replaced by Jim'll Fix It. Savile was featured on This Is Your Life twice (his second turn reportedly as a result of the production team's being unaware of his previous appearance). He was interviewed by Doctor Anthony Clare for the radio series In The Psychiatrist's Chair and also appeared in a notorious, fascinating and at times disturbing BAFTA-award winning Louis Theroux documentary, When Louis Met Jimmy. In 1967 he joined BBC Radio 1, where he initially presented Savile's Travels and the discussion show Speakeasy. His best-remembered contribution to Radio 1, however, was the Sunday lunchtime show Jimmy Savile's Old Record Club, where entire top tens from years gone by were played. It began in 1973 (initially called The Double Top Ten Show) and ended in 1987 at which point he left Radio 1 after nineteen years. One of Britain's most recognisable personalities, aside from his TV and radio work, Savile carried out a considerable amount of charity work, including raising huge amounts of money for the Stoke Mandeville Hospital where he worked for many years as a volunteer porter. He also raised money for the Spinal Unit at the National Spinal Injuries Centre and for St Francis Ward - a ward for children and teens with Spinal Cord Injuries. His charity fund raising activities included running over two hundred marathons (his last being the 2005 London Marathon at the age of seventy nine) and raised an estimated forty million pounds over the years. A member of Mensa, Savile was first made an OBE in 1971 (his pride in being awarded the honour meant that his TV appearances thereafter always saw him credited as James Savile OBE). He was knighted by the Queen in 1990 again for his considerable charitable works.

Adele has cancelled all her remaining live dates and promotional appearances for 2011 after suffering continuing problems with her voice. So, it would seem there is a God after all.

And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Here's a piece of geographical identification from NWA.
Word, brothers. Although, personally, yer actual Keith Telly Topping has always preferred Nina Gordon's version.

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