Friday, October 14, 2011

When I Get To The Bottom, I Go Back To The Top

Attention all dear blog readers in the North East (of England, that is - everybody else, just relax for a moment). Speaking of local output, which we frequently do on From The North, Inside Out's very excellent Chris Jackson informs me that on Sunday coming at 10.40pm on BBC1 'we have a special documentary on the twenty fifth anniversary of the Metro Centre with exclusive access to Sir John Hall.' There's more information and a sneak preview video which you can watch here at Chris's blog. The new series of Inside Out, incidentally, starts this coming Monday at 7.30pm BBC1 and we'll be featuring the show soon on Top Telly Tips.

A BBC local radio chief has challenged Mark Thompson to 'justify' his cuts to the corporation's local radio output while BBC Radio 4 goes 'untouched.' BBC Cornwall's managing editor Pauline Causey said that local stations in England were suffering unfairly compared to colleagues on Radio 4 and on the BBC networks in the devolved nations. Well, it needed somebody to say it, frankly. Congratulations, Pauline, I very much admire your spunk. Although, don't be surprised if you suddenly find yourself 'redeployed' - to, say, Truro Job Centre - during the next few months. Causey said that her own station, which has an annual budget of £1.6m, is facing cuts of fourteen per cent as part of the director general's Delivering Quality First initiative. Causey's e-mail, sent to Thompson, echoed concerns being privately expressed by several BBC executives that Radio 4 was being safeguarded at the expense of the corporation's local radio output. Causey said BBC Radio 4 had gone 'untouched' in the cuts announced by Thompson last week. She said that the BBC spent three times as much on radio in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland than it did on local radio in England – on a per capita basis – yet the English stations were facing the biggest cuts. 'We apparently cost too much, and don't have a high enough reach,' said Causey in her e-mail to Thompson. 'Radio Cymru costs £16.1m. It reaches one hundred and forty six thousand people. Radio Cornwall, our station, at present has a budget of £1.6m. It reaches one hundred and forty two thousand people. We're successful, local and distinctive.' Causey added: 'Last week we were told that English regions will need to cut twenty seven million pounds a year by 2016. Fifty six per cent of that, fifteen million pounds, will be cut from local radio,' she told Thompson. 'Yet last week you told Shelagh Fogerty [on 5Live] that "the level of challenge both in terms of cuts and efficiencies are not disproportionately high in English regions." You also said we haven't ended up with local radio at the bottom of the pecking order. Can you please help me understand how this is true?' That's probably going to be a touch difficult, Pauline. Because it, quite clearly, isn't true or anything even remotely like it. But, what the hell, you know, Mark Thompson's - five-hundred-thousand-pound-a-year - job is, apparently, safe so that's all right. Yours mightn't be, though. 'Fair' - it's not a word which a lot of BBC executives are familiar with, I'm afraid. Causey made the comments in a staff question-and-answer session with Thompson and other senior BBC executives on Wednesday. BBC 'insiders' said that the sessions was dominated by concerns about the impact of the cuts on local radio. Another BBC 'source' allegedly told the Gruniad Morning Star that the cuts to local radio were 'significant and much higher than we expected,' with individual stations likely to lose around ten members of staff each. Bigger stations, such as BBC London 94.9, could lose more than twenty posts, with shows presented by high-profile names such as Robert Elms and Danny Baker under threat. 'The feeling is that Radio 4 has got away scott free,' said the source. 'They said there was nothing more that could be done more efficiently at Radio 4, which is rubbish. It is hard to see how we are going to be able to keep the current level of quality on these reduced budgets. Something has to give.' DQF, which is aiming to make total savings of six hundred and seventy million smackers, said Radio 4's underlying programme budget would 'stay stable,' with less drama and current affairs but more 'landmark' programming. Regional television is also being hit hard, with regional current affairs show Inside Out facing budget cuts of forty per cent. A BBC spokesperson said: 'It is understandable that staff have strong feelings following last week's announcements, but news and radio across the UK are not immune from the need to find efficiency savings.' Except, apparently, at Radio 4, where they are immune it would appear. Sadly, of course, that's probably going to be the way of things at the BBC from now on, directly because of DQF, everybody's going to be looking at their own part of the organisation and saying 'if we're getting X per cent cut why are they only getting Y per cent?' It's not very healthy but it is, sadly, understandable. 'We are seeking to achieve these savings at times which will have the lowest impact on audiences.' And, you're doing so by targeting local radio which has a national audience higher than 6Music, Radio 3 and BBC 4 put together. Nice. 'The DQF proposals will protect peak-time programmes when the audience is highest and the output is the most distinctive ie breakfast, mid-morning and drivetime programmes; news, weather and local information will remain specific to their stations; and stations will retain the ability to stay local when major stories break.' None of which, as noted on this blog earlier in the week, satisfies specific sections of the BBC's own Royal Charter which state that the BBC should 'reflect and strengthen cultural identities through original content at local, regional and national level, on occasion bringing audiences together for shared experiences.' It says nothing whatsoever about only doing so at specific times of the day when the audience is highest. 'There are no plans at present to stop broadcasting An Nowodhow – the Cornish news bulletin – on BBC Radio Cornwall,' they concluded.

So, once again in what's becoming something of a recurring theme on this blog, if you are a listener or BBC local radio or a consumer of BBC local TV for that matter and you have any comments to make - be they good or bad - on these proposals and how they are likely to affect the future of your BBC then I urge you to go to the BBC Trust website and fill in their questionnaire about your own local station and its output. What you think it does well, what you believe it does badly, how it can be improved, or whether it should be done away with altogether (hopefully not, but I'm open to extreme possibilities). As a licence fee payer, remember that the BBC is, ultimately, yours and its future is something which needs as much - and as varied - comment as possible. This is too important a subject to be left to 'someone else.' Stand up to the mic and say what's on your mind.

Doctor Who triumphed at this year's TV Choice Awards, taking home two prizes, the NME reports. The BBC's popular family SF drama was named as Best Family Drama. Karen Gillan also was named Best Actress for her portrayal of Amy Pond. In an emotional season for her character, Amy was revealed to be the mother of Alex Kingston's mysterious character River Song. In what was a triumphant night for the Doctor Who family, showrunner Steven Moffat's other show, Sherlock, was named as Best New Drama. Toby Whithouse, who wrote this year's Doctor Who episode The God Complex, also won an award in the Best Drama category for his BBC3 series Being Human which beat Glee and Misfits. Meanwhile David Tennant won Best Actor for his performance in Single Father, beating his Timelord successor Matt Smith and Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch. Elsewhere, The Apprentice won Best Reality Show, Britain's Got Talent beat The X Factor as Best Talent Show and Jamie's Thirty Minute Meals won Best Food Show. The ceremony, at London's Savoy Hotel, was hosted by Ben Miller. I thought that took place last month, personally, though the NME insist it was on 12 October.

The revelation at the weekend that England's ODIs in India may not be available on satellite broadcaster BSkyB shocked those who subscribe to the channel - like yer actual Keith Telly Topping - and who have been able to watch almost every England match abroad since 1990. It had been blandly assumed that Sky would acquire the rights to the series as they always do, but the first signs that all was not well came last week when Charles Colvile, Sky's cricket anchorman, told viewers that nothing had yet been agreed. Over the weekend, it became clear that Sky was far from guaranteed to secure the deal, and even if it did, it might not be able to use its familiar commentary team. Newspaper reports suggest that Sky, who has a production team on standby, are 'privately seething,' but they would not know the outcome of a rather muddled tendering process until the morning of the first match. Sky's initial bid of around nine million dollars was rejected on Saturday - the BBC's Test Match Special faced having to pay around $1.7million for the radio rights alone. The delay had stemmed from the fact that the Indian board only awarded a four-year deal for TV rights on Friday. Nimbus, who paid six hundred and twelve million dollars for the contract, could then sell secondary rights on the TV, radio and Internet. But in the UK, specialist satellite channels Zee TV and Sony Asia, who both target an Asian audience, were believed to be seriously interested, and Zee has worked closely with Nimbus before. Thus, at 9:30 on Friday morning when the first ODI began, viewers of Sky Sports 1 saw a rather ashen-faced Ian Ward telling them, rather vaguely, about 'a dispute between the host broadcaster and the Indian government' and punters who'd expected to be watching the game instead had to put up with David Lloyd and Nick Knight doing, effectively, a 'radio' commentary down a mobile phone. The dispute was, finally, resolved around quarter past ten with India five overs into their innings and just in time for viewers to see Steve Finn run out Parthiv Patel. The England team, incidentally, were wearing black armbands in memory of the late Graham Dilley who died last week.

ITV has commissioned a period adaptation of the Daphne du Maurier novel, The Scapegoat, starring Matthew Rhys and Eileen Atkins written and directed by Charles Sturridge. Matthew, who is best known for his role as Kevin Walker in the hit US series Brothers and Sisters will play the double roles of John Standing and Johnny Spence and Atkins will play his mother, Lady Spence. The one hundred minute single film will be produced by Sarah Beardsall and Dominic Minghella's production company, Island Pictures. Set in 1952, as England prepares for the Coronation, The Scapegoat tells the story of two very different men, Standing and Spence, who have one thing in common - a face. Almost exact replicas of each other they meet by chance in a station bar, each at a crossroads in their life, one setting out on a walking tour after losing his job as a teacher, the other avoiding home after a disastrous business venture. The charming and charismatic Johnny wines and dines his new acquaintance but when John wakes the next morning with a hangover he is alone and a chauffeur is standing outside his room, waiting to take him 'home.' Despite his protests he finds himself sucked irresistibly into another man's life. Stepping literally into his double's shoes, the inexperienced schoolmaster is suddenly responsible for a crumbling stately home, a failing business and a dog who doesn't recognise him. For the first time in his life, he has to deal with women, including a distraught wife, a drug-taking mother, a sister who despises him, an eccentric daughter – and two mistresses one of whom is married to his younger brother. So, if you've been watching Ringer ... Although he tries at first to escape John find himself increasing attracted to this disparate and dysfunctional group of women and slowly his presence starts to alter the chemistry of the household. Just as he seems to be making progress however two things happen: John finds himself falling in love and his nemesis Johnny returns in secret to the house with evil intent. Filled with Du Maurier's trademark elements of suspense, dark humor and unexpected twists The Scapegoat is a brilliant story in the tradition of the writer of Don't Look Now, Rebecca and The Birds. Worth keeping an eye open for that one, I reckon.

Wor Sarah Millican has landed her own chat and stand-up show on BBC2. The award-winning South Shields comedienne will blend her own unique comedy material and special guests in the So Television production. Filmed in front of a live audience at the new media hub in MediaCityUK Salford in early 2012, the provisionally-and-imaginatively-titled Sarah Millican Television Show has been handed a six-episode run. 'I am thrilled to be making a series for BBC2, so thrilled that I do little claps every time I think about it,' said Millican. And, you know dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping can, indeed, just imagine Sarah doing exactly that. Good on ya, pet. Alan Tyler, BBC executive editor for entertainment commissioning, added: 'Sarah Millican and So Television feels like a bit of a dream team. Sarah is one of the UK's funniest comedians and we are delighted to bring her first TV series to audiences on BBC2. She is a truly unique combination of wit, warmth and killer punch lines. Sarah is in great hands with So Television who are one the foremost entertainment producers in the UK. This is a great first commission for their new Scottish arm.' Millican won the Best Newcomer title at the 2008 Edinburgh Festival Fringe and was nominated for a British Comedy Award earlier this year. She also hosts her own Radio 4 series Sarah Millican's Support Group and has recently been something of the queen of the quiz shows with appearances on Mock The Week, Qi, The Bubble, Have I Got News For You and Would I Lie To You?

Surrey Police were shown evidence in April 2002 that the Scum of the World had information which was obtained from murdered teenager Milly Dowler's voicemail, it has been alleged. An investigation conducted by the Independent claims that 'senior detectives' at the force held a pair of meetings with journalists from the now defunct, disgraced and disgraceful tabloid. The first meeting is thought to have been requested by the Scum of the World. The paper also alleges that Craig Denholm - now deputy chief constable of Surrey Police - was one of the officers present. An unidentified former Surrey Police officer allegedly said: 'The meetings were clearly significant. It was obvious that the newspaper had got hold of details from Milly's phone messages.' As a detective chief superintendent, Denholm was in charge of the investigation into Dowler's disappearance in March 2002. He has so far declined to comment on the claims. Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Gibson, a second officer who was believed to be present, has since retired from the force and could not be reached for comment. Surrey Police said in a statement: 'In 2002, Surrey Police's priority was to find Milly and then find out what had happened to her and to bring her killers to justice. Clearly, there was a huge amount of professional interaction between Surrey Police and the media throughout that time.' The service also stated that it was 'unable to discuss' the Independent's allegations due to Operation Weeting - the ongoing Scotland Yard investigation into phone hacking - and an Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation. The IPCC is currently looking into claims that a police officer working on the Dowler case passed on information to the Scum of the World. The IPCC confirmed that while the new allegations are outside of its remit, it would deal with 'any evidence of wrongdoing by anybody else in the force' that it uncovers during its investigation. A spokesperson for News International added: 'We are unable to comment on any of the detail in the case. We continue to co-operate fully with the police.'

The subject of the first e-petition to prompt a Parliamentary debate has been ignored by MPs when the debate eventually took place. The online petition - signed by more than two hundred and forty thousand people - called for those convicted of involvement in the summer riots to be 'stripped of their benefits.' The three-hour debate in Westminster Hall covered the wider response to the riots, but did not touch on the benefit subject at all. The second debate prompted by an e-petition is to be held next week. During the hearing, MPs shared their views on the causes of the riots, the police response and the impact on their constituencies. A brief exchange took place about Wandsworth Council, in London, serving a mother and her son with a notice evicting them from their council house after he was charged with looting. Nick Raynsford, Labour MP, said that eviction should not be used as a secondary means to punish people who should have already have been punished by the law. Conservative MP Gavin Barwell said that when one person in a family was repeatedly antisocial, this could be considered a proportionate response. So, hopefully the next time some Tory MP's son or daughter gets arrested after a drunken night out at university, this will also apply to them. The government introduced the e-petitions website this summer. Any petitions gaining the support of more than one hundred thousand people can be considered for a full debate if an MP suggests it to the backbench business committee, which controls about thirty five days a year of parliamentary time. Following the riots in several English cities in August, the petition calling for convicted rioters to lose 'all benefits' quickly became the first to reach the one hundred thousand threshold. At present, anyone jailed automatically loses their benefits, but those sentenced to community punishments do not. Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said that he would consider changing that, but was criticised by two former home secretaries, Peter Lilley and David Blunkett, over the remarks. Last month, House of Commons leader Sir George Young welcomed the backbench committee's decision to propose the two debates in Parliament, saying it demonstrated e-petitions could 'better connect the public with Parliament.' Or at least those members of the public who sign e-petitions. Although the debate subject was broader than the e-petition, it had been widely expected that the idea would at least be raised. Gavin Barwell, who proposed the debate at the backbench committee meeting last month, said he had planned to mention benefits in his opening speech, but ran out of time. Tories - always in love with the sound of their own voice, it would seem. There has been some unhappiness among backbench MPs that they are being expected to hand over some of their few slots to hold Commons debates on subjects suggested by e-petitions posted on a government website. A second such debate - on the 1989 Hillsborough Stadium disaster - is due to be held next week. The petition demands the release of all cabinet papers relating to the disaster.

Steve Coogan has said that he would be 'delighted' if the Daily Scum Mail went out of business, and has also criticised claims that self-regulation is the only way to preserve a free press. Coogan, who has been one of the most high-profile celebrities in the campaign against phone hacking, said on Newsnight this week that the Associated Press title 'trades on people's worst fears. We chose the Daily Mail to be Alan Partridge's newspaper because it has the requisite level of pompous prurience and contempt for the weak and xenophobic attitude,' said Coogan, who was accused of 'a sickening case of hypocrisy' by the Daily Scum Mail after his last appearance on Newsnight to discuss the phone hacking scandal. 'They creates the image of a Little England where people play cricket and drink beer and all the corner shops are run by white people. That is not representative of reality. I don't think that something that trades on people's worst fears, as that newspaper does, and panders to their fears, I don't believe that it deserves to exist. If it went to the wall tomorrow, I'd be delighted. There are much better newspapers - it's worse than the tabloids. At least they wear their vulgarity on their sleeve; there is a certain duplicity in everything the Daily Mail does.' Word, Steve Coogan, word my brother.

UK analogue TV signals will end on 24 October 2012, Digital UK has said. Two days before yer actual Keith Telly Topping's forty ninth birthday although the two events are, probably, unconnected. The last place to enjoy the eighty-year-old transmission technology will be Northern Ireland. Afterwards, people who do not subscribe to satellite or cable services will have to buy digital televisions or set-top boxes to continue viewing. It will also mean the end for teletext-based services, such as BBC Ceefax, as the spectrum is freed up for high-speed wireless and smartphone networks. Digital TV offers a wider range of channels than analogue TV and much of the content available on teletext-based services can be accessed on digital sets. TV broadcasting began in August 1932 with a series of experimental analogue transmissions to test out the novel technology. The BBC began broadcasting TV to a schedule in 1936. The UK's conversion to digital TV began in 2007 with a pilot in the Cumbrian town of Whitehaven. Digital UK - the non-profit company set up by the government to oversee the transition - began switching off analogue signals region-by-region in 2008. The process has been completed across most of the UK and is due to finish in the East of England in November when the last of three analogue transmitters to the Anglia region is switched off. The four remaining regions to switch next year are London, Meridian in the south of England, Tyne Tees in the North East of England, and Northern Ireland. Last month, communications minister Ed Vaizey said the project was on time and had run ;brilliantly smoothly.' Independent media analyst Theresa Wise told the BBC on Friday UK switchover had been a success. 'The vast majority of people have already switched over to digital because they like the additional choice and there seems to be quite good and early communications around what's available for people on lower incomes, or elderly or disabled people,' she said. The government set aside millions of pounds to help vulnerable people make the changes needed for the switchover. Much of that has now been subsumed into the fund to take next-generation broadband to rural areas. The spectrum freed up by turning off the analogue signals will be re-used for a future mobile technology called Long Term Evolution. Regulator Ofcom is due to run an auction in late 2012 that will see the radio spectrum sold to operators to use for the service. Ofcom is currently carrying out a consultation exercise to see how many people will suffer interference when LTE is turned on. It estimated that about three per cent of UK viewers, about seven hundred and sixty thousand people, will see poorer quality TV pictures when LTE is in wide use. Filters which strip out the interfering signals are expected to solve the problem for most people but others may have to find other ways to watch digital TV.

The X Factor's Kitty Brucknell has earned the nickname 'Titty' after rehearsing with her bosoms out, according to a magazine report. And, somehow, in this sick and sorry world in which we live in, this constitutes 'news' dear blog reader. The twenty six-year-old, who has 'sparked controversy' throughout the competition, allegedly left her breasts on display during a performance in the contestants' rehearsal room. 'She's unpopular and doesn't help her own cause with her constant attention-seeking,' an alleged 'source' allegedly told that bastion of investigative journalism Closer. 'Kitty was in the rehearsal room singing when the contestants were taking turns to practice. She put herself forward to be the first and began singing a bizarre tune she'd made up. She was cavorting around the room when her top slipped down and one of her breasts popped out - but she carried on without bothering to cover up.' Cavorting, eh? That's an unusual word for Closer to be using. it's got three syllables for a start, most of their readers' heads will likely explode on contact with it.

An Iraq war veteran, who took the writer of Oscar-winning film The Hurt Locker to court, has had his case dismissed by a judge. Sergeant Jeffrey Sarver said Mark Boal had based the film on him and that he was presented in a false light, which 'led to ridicule' by his colleagues. After the ruling, Boal issued a statement saying the movie had been 'inspired by many soldiers I met.' Sarver's lawyer said he planned to appeal the decision. 'We are not going to stop representing the rights of Sgt Sarver and other military members and the privacy of their families,' Todd Weglarz said. Sarver had also named director Kathryn Bigelow and the producers of The Hurt Locker in his case. But US District Judge Jacqueline Nguyen rejected his claims as without merit. In a twenty two-page legal document, she said: 'The value of The Hurt Locker unquestionably derived from the creativity and skill of the writers, directors, and producers who conceived, wrote, directed, edited, and produced it.' The 2008 movie, which starred Jeremy Renner, won six Oscars, including best director and best original screenplay. It was also named best film at the 2010 BAFTAs. The movie follows a team of dedicated bomb disposal experts in Iraq, whose new sergeant takes unnecessary and dangerous risks. In his court documents, Sarver claimed that Renner's character had been based on him and had 'harmed' his reputation. 'Defendants have essentially placed a bulls-eye on the back of my army uniform/bomb suit for my current and future deployments,' he wrote in a sworn declaration which he signed in Afghanistan in March. Boal was embedded with Sarver's unit in 2004 and wrote about him and other bomb disposal experts in an article for Playboy magazine titled The Man In The Bomb Suit. The soldier claimed Boal wanted to stay with him exclusively because he did not trust other bomb technicians. In his statement, Boal said The Hurt Locker had been inspired by 'a number of servicemen' he had 'met and interviewed during my time reporting in Iraq and elsewhere. It was a disservice to all of those other soldiers for Sgt Sarver to claim that he was the only soldier that was the basis for the hero of the film. I am glad that the Court has decided to dismiss the lawsuit,' his statement concluded.

Wigan Athletic chairman Dave Whelan has said that Liverpool's 'scandalous' call for clubs to be able to sell their own overseas TV rights would 'kill half the Premier League.' Liverpool managing director (and greedy waste-of-space cock-bucket) Ian Ayre believes that the current system - where overseas Premier League revenues are shared equally between the twenty Premiership clubs - is 'unfair to bigger teams.' What this has to do with Liverpool who've finished seventh and sixth in last two years in the Premier League is, frankly, beyond this blogger but, there you go. Probably some of that 'wacky Scouse humour' were always hearing so much about. Like Tarby and Stan Boardman and his 'fokkers.' Hilarious. Whelan said: 'I have just read his [Ayre's] comments and I find them diabolical - I just can't believe what he has been saying. It is absolutely scandalous. It would kill Wigan Athletic. It would kill Blackburn.' Liverpool would need at least thirteen other clubs' support for any changes to be made. But Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea are all understood to be against it - at least, publicly - and so is just about everybody else with half-a-frigging-brain in their head. The league's rights deal, which expires in 2013, is worth £1.4bn. Ayre wants to adopt the Spanish model of total and utter shit-faced greed, where individual clubs have the freedom to negotiate their own packages based upon their global popularity. Which, for the purposes of this argument seems to mean 'how many cheap and nasty replica tops we sell each year in Malaysia.' Ayre believes that it would generate far more money for 'the top teams,' allowing them to recruit the best players and 'stay competitive in Europe.' And, he believes that Liverpool somehow qualify as one of these 'top teams' who 'can't stay competative' apparently, purely because his team does sell lots of cheap and nasty replica shirts in Malaysia. Despite the fact that - as noted - Liverpool haven't even finished in the top four of the Premier League for the last two seasons. So, essentially, this jumped up little insignificant squirt reckons, despite actual league position, that Liverpool are one of a so-called 'Big Four' in England. One imagines Manchester City at the very least, and Tottenham Hotshots at a push, might both have something to say about that piece of rank and arrant glakery. The Latics chairman Whelan - someone never short of an opinion, on pretty much anything. often (though not in this particular case) nothing whatsoever to do with him or his club) - is quoted by several newspapers as saying: 'It is the "American Dream," this?' Which isn't, actually, a proper sentence, but never mind. 'They are thinking "How can we get more money?" But you won't get more money by killing the heart and soul of the Premier League and of football in England. The worst thing for English football is for teams like Liverpool - the Top Four let's say - who want to get rid of virtually half the Premier League. We will finish up like the Spanish league with just two teams in it, no competition, no anything, no heart and soul in the league. What we have is the finest league in the whole world and what Liverpool are calling for would absolutely wreck it. The likes of Wigan, Bolton, Blackburn, Wolves, Sunderland and Newcastle couldn't compete.' Latics manager Roberto Martinez agrees, arguing that the Spanish model has 'not worked' in his native country. 'Real Madrid and Barcelona are getting richer and the others are finding it harder, year by year, to compete. That is great for the two football clubs but no good for the league. The good thing we have [in England] is the competitive edge. That is there for a reason. We should realise why.' Asked whether fans in Spain are starting to get bored by the dominance of their own Big Two, Martinez said: 'Yes. They end up supporting Barcelona or Real Madrid. They don't support their own [local] teams because they are not competing. You end up splitting Spain into two football teams. The league suffers.' Liverpool don't, really seem to have any supporters in this thing, with other clubs scrambling to distance themselves from the proposals and the Sports Minister Hugh Robertson believing that the 'provocative' idea would 'lead to an erosion of the competitiveness of domestic football.' Robertson continued that the Premier League, which he describes as the country's 'greatest sporting export,' would not be best served by Liverpool's idea. So, here's an idea for Ian Ayre, then: Why don't Liverpool simply sod off and set up their own one-team league so they can win it every year? Let's see how many replica shirts you can sell in Malaysia then you plank.

And now, at least in part inspired by this week's The Record Player event that yer actual Keith Telly Topping too his actual self to last night (and, had a blast), for the next few days Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day has become Keith Telly Topping Presents Fab 45s from Around The World Day. In which songs you never knew had been released a single by The Beatles turn up in the most unlike of places. Like, for instance, 'What You're Doing.' In Greece.
Or, indeed, Macca's invention of punk rock, appearing on the b-side of 'Got To Get You Into My Life' in the States.

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