Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Jesus Save Me From Pity, Sympathy And People Discussing Me

Matt Smith has suggested that The Silence are among Doctor Who's greatest monsters. Smith admitted that he is frightened of the aliens, who have the power to erase themselves from the memories of anyone who sees them. 'They are the best monsters since the Weeping Angels - they are certainly some of the scariest. What is wonderful is that they toy with your psyche. They mess with what you know and don't know and what you can and can't remember - they can influence your mind,' Smith said in an interview quoted by the Press Association. 'They look horrendous and are really mean. So if you're under the age of ten, a good sofa to hide behind is essential. That's what Doctor Who should be about: "I don't want to watch this, but also I do!"' The Silence first appeared on screen in the two-part series six opener The Impossible Astronaut and Day of the Moon and returned for another showdown with The Doctor and his companions in the finale The Wedding of River Song. Smith's co-star Arthur Darvill also recently singled out The Silence as his favourite Doctor Who monsters, describing them as 'a brilliant creation.' Last week, Smith denied rumours that he plans to leave Doctor Who after filming the popular family SF drama's upcoming seventh series. Which is good. According to the Metro, Matt is said to be 'miffed that this story went viral, yet it had no truth in it,' an alleged 'source' allegedly said. Allegedly. And, to the individual from Bristol who stumbled onto this website recently seemingly by typing 'when will the BBC get rid of these useless pathetic dr [sic] assistants and the writer Steven Moffat?' into Google's search engine, the answer, as I understand it, is not for a long, long, long time if they can possibly help it. But, well done on, at least, spelling The Moffster's name correctly. Next ...

Gosh, wasn't that Lenny Henry really, really funny doing his 'Katanga, my friends' routine malarkey on The ONE Show last night? No. He really wasn't, dear blog reader. Not even a little bit. Not even slightly. He was actually exactly what he's been since about 1985, about as funny as a big hairy wart right on the bollock end. By hell, now there's a comedy act which got really old really quickly.

Do you do anything else, Len, or is that it?

Crime drama Sherlock can add yet another award to Steven Moffat's sagging mantelpiece after taking one of the top prizes at the Prix Europa broadcasting festival. Moffat and Mark Gatiss's co-creation won the 'best episode of a television fiction series or serial' award for the episode A Study in Pink at the Berlin ceremony. Judges said the show was a 'fresh adaptation of a timeless classic, visually inventive and made in an arresting style' and brought 'well known characters to a new audience.' Made by Hartswood Films for BBC Wales, Sherlock was also named best drama series at this year's BAFTAs and has been recognised at international ceremonies like the American Peabody Award for entertainment. Shooting on three new episodes for a second series of the show recently ended. They will be broadcast early in the new year on BBC1.

Russell Tovey, meanwhile, has described his upcoming guest role on Sherlock as 'amazing.' The Him & Her and Being Human actor will play Henry Knight in The Hounds of Baskerville, the second episode of the detective drama's 2012 run. 'It's amazing to be a part of it,' he told the Cult Box website. 'I think a lot of people are anticipating it because it's one of the most well-known of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories, so there's quite a lot of pressure on it and hopefully it delivers the goods.' Tovey added that Conan Doyle's original 1902 novel has been given 'a completely modern twist' by writer Mark Gatiss. 'The beauty of Sherlock is that it's completely loyal to the style and tone of the books, but there's this juxtaposition of old and new,' he said. 'What is so exiting about the show is that balance and the quirky reinterpretation of it all.' [spooks]'s star Lara Pulver will also appear in the second series of Sherlock as Irene Adler. Earlier this month, the actress told the Digital Spy website that Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) will have 'an infatuation' with her character. 'We're both very much playing a mind game with each other,' she revealed. 'We've met our matches with each other.'

Consolidated final ratings, now. Here's the Top Twenty-Five programmes week-ending 23 October 2011:-
1 The X Factor - ITV Sun - 10.68m
2 Strictly Come Dancing - BBC1 Sat - 10.35m
3 Downton Abbey - ITV Sun - 9.87m
4 Doc Martin - ITV Mon - 9.61m
5 Coronation Street - ITV Mon - 9.16m
6 EastEnders - BBC1 Tues - 8.98m
7 Emmerdale - ITV Mon - 7.58m
8 Countryfile - BBC1 Sun - 7.37m
9 Merlin - BBC1 Sat - 6.96m
10 Antiques Roadshow - BBC1 Sun - 6.17m
11 [spooks] - BBC1 Sun - 5.95m
12 The Body Farm - BBC1 Tues - 5.55m
13 Holby City - BBC1 Tues - 5.48m
14 Waterloo Road - BBC1 Wed - 5.31m
15 Casualty - BBC1 Sat - 5.23m
16 DCI Banks - ITV Fri - 5.17m
17 Six O'Clock News - BBC1 Thurs - 4.99m
18 The ONE Show - BBC1 Tues - 4.94m
19 Ten O'Clock News - BBC1 Wed - 4.84m
20 Rugby World Cup 2011 - ITV Sun - 4.72m
21 Have I Got News For You - BBC1 Fri - 4.63m
22 Harry Hill's TV Burp - ITV Sat - 4.58m
23 Hidden - BBC1 Thurs - 4.53m
24 The Betty Driver Story - ITV Mon - 4.09m
25 All Star Family Fortunes - ITV Sat - 4.04m
BBC2's three highest rated shows were: Match of the Day 2 (3.91m), University Challenge (3.07m) and Qi (2.9m, plus a further two hundred and fifteen thousand on BBC HD). Channel Four's top performer was Grand Designs (3.51m). Sky Sports 1's Live Ford Super Sunday coverage of Sheikh Yer Ma City twanking The Scum 6-1 had the highest multi-channel audience of the week (2.28m).
X Factor's Kitty Brucknell has denied accusations that she made racially insensitive comments during a fight with fellow contestant Derry Mensah. The twenty six-year-old allegedly called Mensah, a member of The Risk, an 'evil black bastard' after he asked her to move from a sofa in The X Factor house. One should, perhaps, point out that, if true, that isn't 'a racially insensitive comment', that's actually flat out racist. That's if it's true. Which is, as yet, unproven. 'Kitty was resting on a sofa when Derry came in and demanded she move,' an alleged 'insider' told the Sun. 'He kept asking and pestering her to move. Kitty was furious and shouting about needing to sleep. She got up and stormed out. On the way out, she shouted at him before slamming the door.' Brucknell was apparently reported (in other words 'snitched up like a Copper's Nark) to the production team by another finalist who witnessed the incident. A 'source' allegedly close to Brucknell allegedly responded to the claims by stressing: 'She is absolutely not a racist and would never say such a thing. She is devastated that anyone would believe it. Yes, there was a row and Kitty has apologised. She hopes they can move on.' 'There was an argument that was looked into by production,' an X Factor spokesperson said. 'The matter was resolved.' Brucknell was caught up in another X Factor controversy this week after producers admitted to manipulating her voice on this weekend's live show.

A High Court judge has struck out a completely frivolous law suit against BBC2 programme Top Gear, which had been brought by US electric car manufacturer Tesla. A very litigious race, the Americans, I've noticed. The damages claim, which was launched earlier this year, related to a 2008 episode of Top Gear in which the manufacturer claimed a race had been 'faked.' Tesla claimed that the competition between its Roadster model and the petrol powered Lotus Elise – which ended when the electric car had to be pushed into a garage to be recharged – misrepresented its actual performance, and had 'intentionally and/or recklessly, grossly misled potential purchasers.' In particular, the complainant noted Top Gear had claimed the eighty seven thousand pound Roadster had a range of two hundred miles, when in reality it was fifty five miles. The defence team said it would be obvious that the scenario was not like driving on a normal road, and that the programme stressed it was not comparing 'like with like.' Justice Tugendhat told Tesla that he would strike out the claim because of a lack of 'particularity' regarding the alleged impact the programme had made on sales or reputation of Tesla. The decision regarding claims of 'malicious falsehood' follows last week's move to strike out the company's equally preposterous libel suit against the BBC. A BBC spokeswoman said: 'We are pleased that Mr Justice Tugendhat has found Tesla's claims of libel and malicious falsehood against BBC's Top Gear to be unarguable.'

Rob Brydon has told the Digital Spy website that he is intrigued by the prospect of reviving his series Human Remains. The cult black comedy, which he co-wrote and starred in with Julia Davis, ran for only one series in 2000. Brydon and Davis have since worked on numerous hit TV series separately including The Trip, Gavin & Stacey and Nighty, Night, but the Welsh comic claimed that they are both keen to team up again in the future. 'With Human Remains, me and Julia are always talking about [doing more],' he said. 'I'm sure we'll do something else one day. But Human Remains was such a labour of love. The writing period was very intensive and we had a lot of time then. But we do keep talking about doing something else. I'm always in contact with Julia and we often see something on TV and say, "That would be a great Human Remains character." So, yes, something could happen there.' Meanwhile, Brydon - who is currently promoting his autobiography Small Man In A Book - said that a second series of The Trip - his award-winning series with Steve Coogan - is currently still in the balance. 'Personally, I fluctuate between being very keen and in the next minute thinking, "It was terrific, we've done it, let's just leave it at that,"' he said. 'But I'd love to work with Steve and Michael [Winterbottom] again. That was a lovely experience.'

Strictly Come Dancing's Audley Harrison has reportedly been caught up in 'a furious clash' between his wife and professional partner Natalie Lowe. The boxing champion 'faced the wrath' of his hairdresser partner Raychel, who had flown over from Los Angeles to watch him perform, after landing in the bottom two on Saturday for his Halloween-themed jive. Raychel is reported by the Sun as 'becoming furious' with Harrison for failing to impress judges and Strictly viewers, blaming Lowe's choreography for their poor showing. God save us all from armchair critics. 'Raychel was furious that she had come all this way to watch Audley and he was in the bottom two,' an alleged source allegedly claimed. 'She blamed Natalie's choreography and had a stand-up row. Those who saw it were amazed. Natalie was pretty gobsmacked by it all.' Harrison was saved at the expense of Nancy Dell'Olio, who became the fourth contestant to exit this year's Strictly on Sunday. Harrison had previously pledged to 'let out' his 'inner animal' on Strictly. And, now you've let it out, Audley, put it away fer Christ's sake.

And speaking of people who should probably put it away, Barry Gibb lookalike Robbie Savage has rubbished newspaper reports that he may quit Strictly Come Dancing. Savage was accused of 'throwing a strop' after judge Craig Revel Horwood only gave him four points for his paso doble routine at the weekend. The Welsh footballer, whinger and hairdo picked up twenty six points in total for his Michael Jackson-themed Latin dance, which included numerous crotch grabs and a finale which involved Savage jumping on the judges' desk. However, Savage quashed any rumours of discontent at the show, writing on his Twitter account on Monday morning that Horwood's low scores were only inspiring him to work harder. 'Why do reporters make things up?' he asked. 'Just to let you know off me, not some pathetic journalist, I love Strictly and I'm not walking out because of a four. Craig Revel Horwood's marks inspire me. I'm going to prove him wrong!' He added: 'Looks like some of the papers have it in for me. Nothing new there then! Making things up off sources! Last time, I love Strictly [sic].'
Several police officers who investigated the disappearance and murder of schoolgirl Milly Dowler in 2002 may have had their phones hacked, a lawyer for Surrey police has told the Leveson inquiry. John Beggs QC told a Leveson hearing into the culture, practices and ethics of the press at the high court on Monday there is evidence that officers were targeted. The force is itself under investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission after it failed to tell Scotland Yard one of its officers allegedly passed information about the Dowler investigation to the press. The revelation in July that Dowler, who was thirteen when she was murdered by Levi Bellfield, had her phone messages intercepted by Glenn Mulcaire on the instructions of Scum of the World journalists prompted public outrage and led to the closure of the disgraced and disgraceful tabloid paper. It was not previously known that Surrey police may also have had their own mobile phones targeted. The claim was made during a hearing to determine how the inquiry will proceed when witnesses begin giving evidence in two weeks' time. Beggs said: 'My instructions are that it is likely that a number of Surrey police officers themselves were victims of hacking at the time of the launch of the Milly Dowler investigation, in March nine years ago. I don't want to develop that any further.' Surrey police on Monday applied for so-called 'core participant' status at the Leveson inquiry. That would give them the right to give evidence to the inquiry, which is expected to be completed within a year. The force has been criticised after it conceded it knew Dowler's phone had been hacked at the time of its original inquiry but failed to act on this information. Two media organisations which did not originally ask for the same status – Trinity Mirra and Torygraph Media Group – also applied to be core participants on Monday along with the National Union of Journalists. The NUJ is reportedly concerned that members called as witnesses could be asked to reveal information obtained from confidential sources during the course of the inquiry. The inquiry also heard from the Metropolitan police and the Scum of the World's owner News International. They expressed fears that Scotland Yard's investigation into phone hacking at the Scum of the World could be prejudiced by the inquiry as its hears evidence about what took place at the paper. Leveson dismissed those fears. 'I am concerned to protect the integrity of the investigation and I'm also concerned to protect the rights of those who may by subject to further proceedings,' he said. He added that the inquiry would reach conclusions on whether hacking at the paper was 'condoned, encouraged, authorised, required' at a senior level or whether 'there was a lack of supervision which permitted this culture' to flourish among more junior members of staff. He said this could be done without publicly identifying the individuals involved.

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BBC4's premiere of Australian drama The Slap more than doubled the channel's audience for the slot. The first instalment of the series, based on the best-selling novel by Christos Tsiolkas, was watched by five hundred and seventy four thousand viewers last Thursday in the 10pm hour, according to overnight BARB figures. The story follows the repercussions for a group of friends after a man slaps a child at a barbecue. The episode drew more than double the slot average for the year of two hundred and eighteen thousand. Despite the drama's strong performance it was beaten by a new series of Russell Howard's Good News on BBC3 and Celebrity Juice on ITV2. Both programmes drew the biggest audiences of the day to their respective channels.

It is entirely apt that, as the BBC faces mounting opposition to its plans to slash funding for local radio, the industry should decamp for its annual gathering to Salford. The BBC local radio cuts – which could account for two hundred and eighty jobs at forty stations across England – will be at the top of the agenda when director general Mark Thompson addresses the Radio Festival conference on Tuesday morning. BBC Radio Manchester will have a particular interest in proceedings as one of the big city stations having to make cuts of about twenty per cent. It could have been worse – Thompson's Delivering Quality First proposals were originally set to require even bigger savings of local radio before a last-minute change of heart saw one million pounds put back into the budget. But if the eleventh-hour sop was intended to avert a backlash, it appears to have abjectly failed. Many BBC local radio executives reacted with fury to the plans and openly questioned why they were being made to suffer while Radio 4 emerged relatively unscathed and more money was pumped into the BBC Proms. They were joined by a cross-bench show of protest from about fifty MPs at a Westminster Hall debate last week calling for the corporation to reverse the plans, part of Thompson's DQF proposals to save six hundred and seventy million a year. 'I hope that the [BBC] trustees will take the debate on board, because you can bet your sweet life that the BBC management will not listen,' said Roger Gale, the Tory MP for North Thanet in Kent. Tuesday will be Thompson's opportunity to prove him wrong. Such is the scale of the political opposition – the MPs' concerns have been reflected in council meetings up and down the country – that the local radio cuts already appear to be the most likely casualty of the BBC Trust's consultation on Thompson's plans. If a U-turn is the eventual outcome then it is a well-worn path, Thompson having tried, and failed, to close both BBC 6Music and its sister digital station, the Asian Network. The BBC, in its proposals for local radio, said resources would be pumped into each station's breakfast and drivetime shows, with only non-peak programming, such as mid-afternoon and early evening, shared with neighbouring services. But such are the scale of the cuts that station controllers fear they will inevitably impact on the quality of journalism in peaktime shows. An average BBC local radio station with forty or so staff will have to make about a quarter of them redundant. At a time when local newspapers are under the cosh and commercial radio has all but turned its back on localism with quasi-national networks such as Global Radio's Capital and Heart, the plans were at best unfortunately timed. At worst they were, simply, ignorantly wrong-headed and crass. The BBC values 'reach' above all else, and about two million of the seven and a half million local radio listeners in England do not listen to any other BBC radio station. Thompson will be quizzed by Steve Hewlett, host of Radio 4's The Media Show, at the beginning of the first full day of the festival, which returns to Salford, home of the corporation's new BBC North HQ, for the second successive year. It will be followed shortly after by a debate on The Death of Local Radio. Schedule permitting, perhaps Thompson can hang around to have a listen to that one. He might just learn something.

He might, for instance, learn that yer actual Keith Telly Topping's own beloved BBC Newcastle just last week won the prestigious Gillard Award for being the best local station in the country, an event celebrated by Martin, Andrew, Murphy, Patrick, Misha, Sarah and - a very 'tired and emotional' looking - Simon at the ceremony in Sheffield last week!
And, celebrated the next day on the cover of this week's Ariel (something else that's heading for the chop it would seem) by Jane, Jonny and Nigel.
And, all of this with the threat of nineteen per cent cost cutting at the station. So, in other words: 'Well done all of you, for being so good. Now, one in five of you, piss off, will you, you're not wanted anymore.' Something that the staff of Today or You & Yours or Woman's Hour are currently facing, you may wonder? Is it shite.

I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race On TV Again ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible, I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want will return to ITV on Sunday 13 November at 9pm, it has been confirmed. Another batch of - alleged - 'famous faces' will face bushtucker challenges in the jungle, hoping to become King or Queen of the jungle. Ant and Dec will return as hosts for the eleventh series of the reality show. Laura Whitmore will present the ITV2 spin-off show Get Me Out Of Here... Now, replacing Caroline Flack, and will be joined by the comedian Russell Kane (very popular with students) and former I'm A Z-Lister Former Celebrity ... winner Joe Swash. Those tipped to appear in this year's show include The Only Way Is Essex's Mark Wright, controversial comic Freddie Starr and Sinitta. Yes, I know, more 'Z List' than usual. Model Georgia Salpa and comedian Crissy Rock are also rumoured to be heading to Australia next week. That's nothing to do with the programme, it's just a bit of gossip.

BBC Sport has commissioned three independent production companies from across the North of England to produce sport documentaries for the BBC. They will feature former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan, sports promoter Barry Hearn and BBC Sport presenter Gabby Logan. The programmes are part of the series of BBC North Kicker Fund initiatives, which invests in content made by companies from across the North of England. To date, BBC North has invested more than five hundred thousand smackers in content for audiences online and on radio and most recently announced a second year of funding for BBC 5Live. The successful submissions for the Sport North Kicker Fund came from PDI Media who were commissioned to produce a documentary on the flamboyant sports promoter Barry Hearn as part of the build-up to the World Snooker Championships being broadcast on the BBC next year. Also Delatre Media were commissioned to produce an investigative documentary around the issue of sexism in football. The programme is to be presented by Gabby Logan and will be broadcast on BBC1. Finally North Star Media will collaborate with BBC Sport in the production of what's described as 'a thought-provoking documentary' with former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan. He will interview some of the biggest names in sport and explore how they come to terms with retirement and cope with life after sport at the top level. Barbara Slater, the Director of BBC Sport, said: 'We were delighted with the high calibre and number of documentary ideas that were submitted as part of the development process. The winning submissions are innovative and insightful programming concepts and I look forward to seeing the final product on screen in the near future. The Sport North Kicker Fund further demonstrates the BBC's support for engaging with creative talent in the North of England.' Peter Salmon, Director of BBC North, added: 'These three commissions demonstrate that there is a talented production base here in the North of England who are taking a fresh look at sports documentary. These three programmes will add to the rich mix of the BBC's sports coverage in 2012.'

Odious, horrible Dan Wootton, the former Scum of the World showbusiness editor, is to join the Daily Scum Mail. In a marriage made in scum heaven, one might suggest. Wootton, dear blog readers may remember is the odious wretch who, on his blog a few hours before the Scum of the World was, very satisfyingly, thrown into the gutter along with all the other turds, was cheerfully telling his dear blog readers: 'Just remember, my job is to bring you guys the best showbiz stories in the business week in week out – The X Factor, Cheryl and Ashley, Kate Moss, TOWIE and all of that good stuff. I do so in a legal, ethical and moral way and will continue to do so.' As yer actual Keith Telly Topping noted at the time: 'Anybody who considers 'The X Factor, Cheryl and Ashley, Kate Moss, TOWIE' to be 'all the good stuff', frankly, is as guilty of being a piece of disgraceful pond scum in my eyes are some of your newspaper's former employees are in the eyes of others for hacking the phones of bereaved relatives and dead schoolgirls. Sadly, in that one line, we have an almost textbook vivid example of the crass, mind-numbing lowest-common-denominator celebrity-obsessed crap-culture for tittle-tattle and non-entity that gave rise to newspapers like the Scum of the World wading knee-deep through the - metaphorical - detritus of human existence. In search of 'exclusives' from mobile phone messages and e-mails.' The next day, Wootton was widely seen on news programmes with his tongue rammed firmly up well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks' chuff wittering on about the manifest tragedy of the situation. Seems that his loyalty to News International (and to Saint Rebekah of Wapping) hasn't lasted very long once the unemployment benefit started kicking-in. Wootton is understood to have signed an 'exclusivity' deal with the Daily Scum Mail which prevents him working for other national newspaper titles. It is thought that the role will involve interviews, features and potentially a column, working mainly for the paper's Friday and Saturday editions. His role will not overlap with that of Sara Nathan, the Daily Scum Mail's showbusiness editor who joined in 2009 after nine years at the Sun. The twenty eight-year old, who worked at the paper from 2007, has - it is claimed - been weighing up offers since July when News International closed the disgraced and disgraceful tabloid in response to the phone-hacking scandal. Following the closure of the Scum of the World, Wootton reportedly 'held discussions' with ITV which resulted in his role as showbusiness reporter for Lorraine becoming formalised, and he recently signed up for a new segment called The Friday Five.

Ofcom has reminded radio broadcasters of the rules regarding explicit lyrics in songs following several breaches. The media watchdog held a meeting with commercial radio and the BBC after a 'few incidences' which broke the rules, an Ofcom spokesman said. In May, BBC Radio 1 broadcast a Black Eyed Peas concert during the station's Big Weekend in Cardiff which featured several expletives. But Ofcom ruled the BBC was not in breach in this particular case. It found the BBC had taken various compliance measures before the event to prevent the broadcast of the most offensive language, and had issued warnings during the broadcast. But a complaint was recently upheld over a community radio station in Scotland, Brick FM, for playing an explicit reggae record at three o'clock in the afternoon. Ofcom said it would issue new radio guidance in the next few months. The rules already ban the broadcast of inappropriate or offensive material when children may be listening, which generally means in the morning before school and early evening. The move follows a similar warning to TV broadcasters recently, reminding them of their duty not to broadcast material unsuitable for children before the nine o'clock watershed. Ofcom's guidance reminded soap opera producers to be mindful of their pre-watershed audience, particularly with regard to violence. This followed several complaints investigated by the watchdog, including a graphic fight between the King Brothers on Emmerdale and a gang attack in EastEnders, which resulted in Honey Mitchell going into premature labour. The forthcoming new radio guidelines will follow the recent introduction of more stringent rules for TV broadcasters about material aired before the watershed. There have been various instances recently of radio broadcasters breaking the rules on inappropriate material, including Scottish community station Brick FM falling foul over a song called 'My Punany', by some chap called Dr Evil. Despite the station attempting to claim that 'punany' referred to an 'Italian sandwich,' Ofcom noted that it 'was clearly used in this song as an urban slang word meaning "vagina."' However, the problems do not just occur with music programming, as Radio 4 was criticised after comic Mike McShane used the F-word during a live show on a Sunday morning. An Ofcom spokeswoman said: 'Ofcom takes its role in protecting children from offensive language on the radio very seriously. We are concerned that there have been a number of recent cases where offensive language was broadcast, some at times when children were particularly likely to have been listening. That is why we held a meeting with the radio industry this week to discuss the issues. We intend to publish guidance by the end of the year to clarify the rules in the broadcasting code.' In a statement, a BBC spokesman added: 'The BBC, along with all radio broadcasters, sent a representative to discuss the matter and, while we have had no complaints upheld for bad language for more than three years, we will work with Ofcom to ensure we continue to deal with language in a responsible way.'

Traitorous wretched non-entity and horroshow Adrian Chiles' late evening ITV vehicle That Sunday Night Show is being primed for an extended third series, despite underperforming drastically in the ratings. The topical chat programme, which broadcasts in a post-news slot on Sunday evenings, is set to return for a nine episode run early next year. The Avalon Television-produced show's audience dipped to a series low of 1.48m on 23 October, well under ITV and ITV HD's slot average of 2.32m viewers for the past twelve months. The first series fared slightly better, averaging around three million viewers.

Three films including Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy have tied for the most nominations at this year's British Independent Film Awards. Shame and Tyrannosaur join the spy thriller with seven nominations each. The releases will compete against each other in the best British film, director, actor and supporting actor or actress categories. We Need to Talk About Kevin and Kill List garnered six nominations each. Nominations for best actor include Brendan Gleeson for The Guard, Michael Fassbender for Shame, Gary Oldman for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Peter Mullan for Tyrannosaur and Neil Maskell for Kill List. Rebecca Hall (The Awakening) will compete with Mia Wasikowska (Jane Eyre), MyAnna Buring (Kill List), Olivia Colman (Tyrannosaur) and Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin) for the best actress award. The best supporting actor and actress shortlists include Vanessa Redgrave, Carey Mulligan, Kathy Burke, Tom Hardy and Benedict Cumberbatch. Wim Wenders 3D dance film Pina, about the late choreographer Pina Bausch, is nominated in the foreign independent film category, along with Animal Kingdom, Drive, A Separation and The Skin I Live In. Special prizes, including the Richard Harris Award recognising an actor's outstanding contribution to British film, will be announced at a later date. Other awards, including prizes for best screenplay, documentary, British short and promising newcomer, will be handed out at a London ceremony on 4 December. Winners will be decided by a jury of professionals from the British film industry including broadcaster Edith Bowman, actor David Thewlis and Screen Daily editor Mike Goodridge.

Pete Townshend has urged Apple's iTunes to use its power to help new bands instead of 'bleeding artists like a digital vampire.' Townshend made the comments in BBC 6Music's inaugural John Peel Lecture, named in honour of the legendary broadcaster. He also argued against unauthorised file-sharing, saying the Internet was 'destroying copyright as we know it. The word "sharing" surely means giving away something you have earned, or made, or paid for?' he said. The rock legend listed eight services that record labels and music publishers have traditionally provided to artists, such as editorial guidance and 'creative nurture. Is there really any good reason why, just because iTunes exists in the wild west Internet land of Facebook and Twitter, it can't provide some aspect of these services to the artists whose work it bleeds like a digital vampire, like a digital Northern Rock, for its enormous commission?' he asked. Apple should employ twenty talent scouts 'from the dying record business' to give guidance to new acts and provide financial and marketing support to the best ones, he added. iTunes accounts for more than seventy five per cent of all legal downloads. The guitarist and songwriter also said that people who downloaded his music without paying for it 'may as well come and steal my son's bike while they're at it.' If someone 'pretends that something I have created should be available to them free I wonder what has gone wrong with human morality and social justice,' he said. But he also told listeners: 'It's tricky to argue for the innate value of copyright from a position of good fortune, as I do. I've done all right.' And he added: 'A creative person would prefer their music to be stolen and enjoyed than ignored. This is the dilemma for every creative soul: he or she would prefer to starve and be heard than to eat well and be ignored.' Townshend praised John Peel, who died in 2004, for his dedication to listening to the music he was sent by up-and-coming acts. 'Sometimes he played some records that no-one else would ever have played, and that would never be played on radio again,' Townshend said. 'But he listened, and he played a selection of records in the course of each week that his listeners knew - partly because the selection was sometimes so insane - proved he was genuinely engaged in his work as an almost unconditional conduit between creative musicians like me to the radio audience.' The talk, held as part of the Radio Festival, will become an annual event given by a different music figure every year. Held at The Lowry theatre in Salford, it is intended to be the music industry's equivalent of the annual MacTaggart Lecture, which is given by a leading media executive at the Edinburgh International Television Festival every August.

A video posted on YouTube supposedly by the Anonymous hacking group has threatened to expose details about Mexican drugs cartel, the Zetas. The message, which is in Spanish, said that the collective is 'tired of the criminal group the Zetas, which is dedicated to kidnapping, stealing and extortion,' reports BBC News. It also warned that the cartel had 'made a great mistake' in abducting one of its members in Veracruz, a port city on the Gulf of Mexico. The video features a person dressed in the Guy Fawkes mask from the comic book series V for Vendetta, that has become associated with global activist groups and protest generally. (And, as noted yesterday is providing one of the world's biggest multinationals, Time Warner, with, one imagines, some very welcome income.) The person says that the group knows the identities of people, including police officers, journalists and taxi drivers, who assist the cartel in its business. Anonymous warned that it will publish photographs and others details unless the kidnapped member of its order, who is yet to be identified, is released. 'We cannot defend ourselves with weapons, but we can with their cars, houses and bars,' the message added. 'It's not difficult. We know who they are and where they are.' The video, posted on 6 October under the username MrAnonymousguyfawkes, was picked up at the end of last week by the global intelligence thinktank Stratfor. Stratfor said that if Anonymous carried out its threat, the people identified would most likely be murdered by rival gangs, while there could be reprisal attacks against suspected hackers. In September, the bodies of a man and woman were found hanging from a bridge in Nuevo Laredo in Mexico. A message attached to them read: 'This is going to happen to all of those posting funny things on the Internet.' Anonymous sprung to fame this year after claiming responsibility for a number of attacks, including hacking the websites of the Sun and a site run by technology giant Apple.

A journalist was stopped from attending a Noel Gallagher concert in Edinburgh last week after the writer made negative comments about the former Oasis star's new solo CD. Edinburgh Evening News music writer Gary Flockhart was told by the singer's PR that he could not have press tickets to Gallagher's show at Usher Hall in the city. In a column published in the paper the previous week, Flockhart had said that Gallagher's High Flying Birds record was a 'letdown' and 'a big disappointment.' After asking for press tickets to the concert, the journalist received a strong response via e-mail from Simon Blackmore of Black Arts PR. It read: 'Sorry Gary - not going to be able to spare any (is ridiculously oversubscribed and can't fit everybody in). That piece you wrote about him last week didn't exactly help your cause to be honest.' In response to the ban, Flockhart told his own paper: 'Noel is a great musician, and I've no doubt he would have put on a great show. He would have been judged on the gig itself, not the new album. This is a man who has spent his entire career slagging off other artists - he obviously doesn't like it when the shoe is on the other foot.' Well, not from toerags from the likes of Edinburgh Evening News, he doesn't. If you wrote for a real newspaper that might've been different, matey boy. Mind you, a word of advice for Noel himself from The West Wing. As Toby Ziegler once wisely noted: 'You don't ban those who supported your opponent, you make them wallow in their loserdom by covering your victory! You sit them in the front row. You give them a hat!' Tom Little, editor of the Edinburgh Evening News, added: 'Personally, I think Noel Gallagher is a fine artist and songwriter.' There's a 'but' coming here, you can just tell. 'But, it sounds like he needs better PR. Black Arts, indeed.' Yeah. Whatever. I'm sure a boycott by the Edinburgh Evening News isn't, exactly, causing sleepless nights at Supernova Heights.

Pakistan cricketers Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif have been found guilty of their part in a 'spot-fixing' scam after a trial at Southwark Crown Court. Former captain Butt and fast bowler Asif were both found guilty of conspiracy to cheat and conspiracy to accept corrupt payments. They plotted to deliberately bowl no-balls during a Lord's Test match against England last summer. Another bowler, Mohammad Amir, admitted the charges prior to the trial. The guilty plea by the bowler, who was eighteen when the scam took place, could not be reported before. Spot-betting involves gamblers staking money on the minutiae of sporting encounters such as the exact timing of the first throw-in during a football match or, as in this case, when a no-ball will be bowled in a cricket match. After deliberating for nearly seventeen hours, the jury unanimously convicted Butt and Asif of conspiracy to cheat. The jurors also found Butt guilty of conspiracy to accept corrupt payments by a majority of ten to two. The BBC's Aleem Maqbool, in Lahore, said the story was leading the national news in Pakistan and the four-week trial had been closely followed in the country. The judge, Mr Justice Cooke, extended bail for Butt and Asif until sentencing later this week. They were charged after a tabloid newspaper - yes, the disgraced and disgraceful one - alleged that they took bribes to bowl deliberate no-balls. The court heard the players conspired with UK-based sports agent Mazhar Majeed to fix parts of the Lord's Test last August. Three intentional no-balls were delivered during the match between Pakistan and England from 26 to 29 August last year. Prosecutors said Butt and Asif had been motivated by greed to 'contaminate' a match watched by millions of people and 'betray' their team, the Pakistan Cricket Board, their country and the sport itself. Aftab Jafferjee QC, for the prosecution, said the case 'revealed a depressing tale of rampant corruption at the heart of international cricket.' Following the verdict, BBC sports news correspondent James Pearce said the case 'raises serious questions about the integrity of Test cricket.' He also said the sport's governing body, International Cricket Council, 'will have to be asked, and will have to answer, what they are going to do in the future to make sure that they can actually uncover this and not rely on journalists.' Former Pakistan cricket captain Asif Iqbal told BBC 5Live it was 'a sad day for cricket' and said the case would send out 'a huge message.' Yeah. Don't get caught, probably. Angus Fraser, a former England fast bowler, said it could be a 'watershed' for cricket. 'It shows young cricketers that there is a consequence to their behaviour. In the past players have been banned and then they have come back,' he told BBC 5Live. 'The International Cricket Council has got to support the players, see these signs and help them out of predicaments, but also see [that] if players do commit these offences they are punished severely.' It is unknown at this time whether a custodial sentence is likely or not.
A kitten that was stolen by an MP's wife during a burglary at the home of her husband's lover has been found alive and well – and may have had kittens of her own. The Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming confirmed that Beauty, whose theft last year made headlines around the world, was traced over the weekend after a member of the public called his office. News that the cat is being cared for by a resident in the Sparkhill area of Birmingham emerged just three days after Christine Hemming was given a suspended jail term. The MP's wife, who was also ordered to complete one hundred and fifty hours of community work, was convicted of burglary at Birmingham crown court in September after being captured on CCTV stealing the then four-month-old tabby from the home of Emily Cox. At her trial, Hemming claimed she had no recollection of picking up the cat, which she released in the local area a day after it was taken. John Hemming, who represents Birmingham Yardley, said Beauty was thought to have had a litter of kittens and was still being looked after by nurse Sheila Bates, who lives in Sparkhill and came to the aid of the apparent stray. John Hemming, who recognised the lost cat from various distinguishing features, said: 'We think she has been looked after by two households as she has got a collar not put on her by Sheila. It's quite possible that some other household is looking after Beauty's kittens and Beauty.' Christine Hemming's heard she was involved in 'a love triangle' with her husband and Cox at the time of the theft and had no permission to enter the property. In a posting on the Meowseley website, which caters for cat owners in the Moseley area, John Hemming corrected suggestions that the cat had been found in Sparkbrook. 'Your usual standards of accuracy have clearly gone down,' the MP wrote. 'Beauty was found in Sparkhill, off Showell Green Lane. She seems to be feeding kittens, hence our priority is the kittens – not that we have found the kittens.'

And, finally (but, by no means least) Demba Ba's hat-trick continued yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though still unsellable) Newcastle's unbeaten run as they moved third in the Premier League's following victory over Stoke City and their scummy, thuggish anti-football methods. The Senegal striker - booed all night by Stoke's numskull support for the sole reason that he was about to sign for them earlier in the year when a medical fell through - headed in Gabriel Obertan's cross to open the scoring on twelve minutes and followed it up with a close-range finish before half-time from a mishit shot by Leon Best. Ba almost ruined his evening when his push on Peter Crouch led to Jonathan Walters' penalty with fifteen minutes of the game left. But the striker then scored from the spot himself soon after a foul on Best. Ba came back to haunt the manager who pulled out of signing him in January, scoring his second hat-trick of the season. 'A massive risk' was how Tony Pulis, the Stoke manager, described Ba after looking at the player's medical reports when he was on the verge of joining Stoke from Hoffenheim. How he must be regretting his decision to turn down the player who inspired Newcastle to a victory that will force the Premier League to take their renaissance under Alan Pardew seriously. This was only the second time Stoke have lost at home in the league this year but they could have no complaints about the outcome – Newcastle executed their game plan perfectly. Following his move from West Ham to the Magpies in the summer, the goals marked Ba's second hat-trick of the season and lifts his season's tally to eight in just five league games. And victory for Pardew's team puts them above Moscow Chelski FC in the Premier League table with twenty two points from ten matches and they are now just a point behind The Scum. As ever, yer actual Keith Telly Topping's first priority is for his beloved Magpies to get to forty points as quickly as possible and, thus, be safe from the threat of relegation. If we've managed to do that before Christmas then, fine, we can start thinking about other things. The result also marked a significant scalp, given that Stoke had not lost at the Britannia this season, and it underlined the Magpies credentials as the meanest defence in the top tier at the moment as they thwarted Stoke's set-piece threat. The visitors combined that with the ability to break forward down either flank and Yohan Cabaye was also a source of creativity, playing alongside Danny Guthrie in the centre of Newcastle's midfield which was missing Cheik Tioté. It was a measure of how well Newcastle played in the first half that Britannia Stadium came close to falling silent for long periods. 'Where's your famous atmosphere?' chanted the travelling Toon Army, as they revelled in the two-goal lead that the lively Ba had provided. It was Obertan's anticipation that lead to Ba's first goal when he was quickest to latch onto Best's flick-on down the right and his accurate centre found the former West Ham forward in space to head in his sixth goal of the season. Stoke were reduced to set-piece threats but the Newcastle defence lapped it up and although he almost dropped a cross into Peter Crouch's path, Tim Krul saved well from Matthew Etherington's rising effort. There was also a superb performance by man of the match Jonas Gutierrez in a deeper-than-usual role on the left. Tony Pulis's defence were not helped by substitutions to Ryan Shawcross and Marc Wilson, and Asmir Begovic had to be sharp off his line to prevent further quick breaks by Newcastle. Bizarrely, the home supporters booed Ba after his goal, although it was Stoke themselves who decided not to sign him before he joined West Ham, and the jeers grew in volume when Ba doubled the lead. Fabricio Coloccini, who was otherwise excellent in defence, strode forward and his angled pass into the area was not cleared as Best's cross-shot fell perfectly for Ba to tuck in from close range. Newcastle easily withstood Stoke's direct approach in the first half, but they came under more pressure after the break with Robert Huth heading over from Etherington's corner. Pulis brought on ex-Mackem Kenwyne Jones as his team altered their formation, and the change gave them a momentum which led to Walters' seventy fifth minute penalty when Ba clumsily knocked over Crouch following a scramble. Stoke had their tails up and the home crowd were suddenly in full voice, but just as they started to get a bit uppity and sense an equaliser might come they were slapped back down to earth when referee Mike Dean awarded a penalty at the other end for a push on Best by the lumbering ox Huth. Ba took little notice of the controversy and swept in his hat-trick goal to put Newcastle in a league position which some of their supporters - yer actual Keith Telly Topping very definitely being one of 'em - would have thought was barely possible at the start of the season. Newcastle's unbeaten sequence of thirteen Premier League matches stretching back to April is their longest top-flight run for more than sixty one years.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, this isn't one of Mr Morrissey out of The Smiths Group finest solo efforts but it's remarakbly fitting today. Nice video too.

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