Saturday, November 05, 2011

Week Forty Six: Remember Remember The Fifth Of November

Well done to the eagle-eyed Downton Abbey fan at the Daily Torygraph who spotted the massive spoiler in Thursday's press release from ITV about the commissioning of a third series of the popular costume drama. The offending release now appears to have been removed from the ITV press office website so, would anyone other than a nosy journalist actually have known about the massive spoiler if the Torygraph hadn't been and gone and splashed it all over on the front page?: 'The bungle is likely to anger Downton Abbey fans, more than eleven and a half million of whom tuned in to the first six episodes of the second series,' bemoaned the Torygraph. Well, if you'd just shut up about it, people might've been non-the-jolly-wiser, so actually it's your fault. One imagines Lord Snooty will be having an effing good whinge about that. Probably blaming 'left-wingers' as usual.

Not a particularly memorable Have I Got News For You this week, dear blog reader. I'm not the world's biggest Stephen Mangan fan even when he's acting, when he's reading off an autocue he just comes over as odiously smug and irrelevant. I did rather enjoy his one-liner about the alleged dumbing down of the BBC being illustrated by a clip from a 1981 episode of Ask The Family followed by some bird on The Weakest Link getting the question 'travel, British traffic lights are green, amber and which other colour?' and answering 'green!' Not a big fan of the Gruniad's Grace Dent either so the episode was something of a non-event. Qi was good though. Particularly Andy Hamilton.

BBC1 comedy staple The Royle Family will be absent from the channel's festive line-up this year. The Sun claims that the hit comedy, written by Caroline Aherne and Craig Cash, will not be part of the Christmas line-up for BBC1 this year. The tabloid alleges that its absence is because the writers were not able to complete the script in time for filming to begin. The Royle Family has been part of the BBC's Christmas line-up since 2009 when it returned with The New Sofa and since there has been a special every year. 'Bosses are really disappointed,' an alleged 'insider' allegedly told the alleged tabloid. 'Caroline and Craig had said they would deliver a new script for a Christmas special this year and it had already been scheduled. But they just haven't got it together in time. They are known for leaving things to the last minute, but on this occasion they ran out of time. The cast are gutted and viewers will be too.' Well, what you've never had, you never miss, and all that. The BBC have reportedly told the writers to concentrate on a special for next year instead. The Sun claims that the gap in the BBC's schedule caused by the absence of the comedy will be filled with 'an original show' and not a repeat. A BBC spokesperson told the tabloid 'because of other commitments there wasn't enough time for Caroline and Craig to write a brilliant episode. They are going to focus on next year's Christmas special.'

EastEnders has reportedly filmed three different versions of Big Fat Cuddly Pat's exit from the London based soap. The soap has filmed three different versions of the character's exit to keep fans guessing as to exactly how the popular character will be written out of the show. Actress Pam St Clement announced earlier this year that she was leaving EastEnders after twenty five years in the role and since then the tabloids have been full of shit, as usual, and also articles how about 'bosses' are planning to write the character out. Bosses don't write anything, tabloids, writers do. For it is written. According to the Mirra the three different versions of Pat's exit from Albert Square are a fatal heart attack, dying in a fire or dying from cancer. So, all round it's a pretty definitive 'enever darken this door again' type finale. The character will make her last appearance at Christmas - traditionally a dramatic time for the residents of Albert Square - with producers using one of the three filmed exits. An alleged 'source' allegedly snitched to the tabloid: 'When bosses built a special set for a huge fire in the Square everyone thought that was definitely how Pat was going to go. But now there is talk of a second person dying in the flames. And the two other options can be added in at the last minute. There are even gaps in the scripts being given to cast members so the news can't leak out.' Except that now, it has.

Anyway, here's yer next batch of yer actual Top Telly Tips, dear blog reader.

Friday 11 November
Sir Jimmy Savile: As It Happened - 8:30 BBC1 - is, as you might expect, a tribute to the DJ and broadcaster, goodness gracious, now then, now, then, as it happens, who died last month at his home in Leeds, aged eight four. Sho-wuddy-wuddy. The programme includes footage of the former Jim'll Fix It presenter and interviews with family, showbiz friends and representatives of the many charitable organisations for which he raised millions of pounds.

Meanwhile, celebrity guests on the latest episode of Have I Got News For You - 9:00 BBC1 this week include comics Roisin Conaty and Andy Hamilton (so good on this week's Qi). They join in the fun on the satirical current affairs quiz, with regular team captains Ian Hislop and Paul Merton.

After a week of strip-scheduling The Jury - 9:00 ITV - comes to a close. At last the jury retires to consider its verdict in the re-trial of alleged serial killer Alan Lane. But there is some outrageous - and it must be said, credulity-stretching behaviour going on in the jury room. A few big elements don't ring true and are oddly unsubtle, which is surprising coming from the pen of Peter Morgan, the writer of Frost/Nixon and The Damned United. But none of this detracts from what remains, to the end, a riveting drama. Steven Mackintosh, a brilliant but strangely unsung actor, is just heartbreaking as sweet, deceived Paul Brierley, a man who makes a potentially devastating error of judgement.

The opening gag of tonight's episode of Him & Her - 9:00 BBC3 - involves a sodden roll of toilet paper. It stares up at Steve and Becky - the unglamorous anti-heroes of this often darkly amusing sitcom - from the bottom of the toilet bowl while they squabble about whose responsibility it is to, you know, fish it out. That might not sound immediately rib-tickling but the beautifully observed dialogue is, savagely mocking the mundanities of life as a couple. This week the oddly loveable pair (Rusell Tovey and Sarah Solemani) host an unforeseen sleepover for their ragbag of their mates. No one gets a wink of shut-eye but the jokes come thick and fast.

Saturday 12 November
Stephen Fry hosts an extended version of the quiz with a difference, joined by comics Sandi Toksvig, Al Murray, Dara O Briain and regular panellist Alan Davies in this week's extended episode of Qi XL - 9:00 BBC2. He asks questions that no one else dares to about subjects associated with the Inland Revenue, and awards points for the most interesting answers.
Tonight sees the television premier of the first half of Martin Scorsese's much-anticipated Arena documentary George Harrison Living in the Material World - 9:45 BBC2. Scorsese, as he did with his groundbreaking Bob Dylan documentary No Direction Home some years ago traces Harrison's early life in Liverpool, the Beatles' first gigs in Hamburg, the advent of Beatlemania, his psychedelic phase and his increasing fascination with Indian culture, both musical and spiritual. Featuring contributions from his family, from Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and Yoko Ono, producers George Martin and Phil Spector, and Eric Clapton. Concludes tomorrow. Set the video for this one if you're planning on nipping out for a few jars.

Come Fly With Me (The Story of Pan Am) - 8:00 BBC2 - is a rather looking fascinating documentary shown ahead of the BBC's newly acquired drama Pan Am, examining how Pan American World Airways kick-started the jet-age and left a legacy of affordable travel. Former air stewardesses for the airline recall a life of glamour and luxury every bit as exciting as that of their fictional counterparts, which included celebrity encounters and international romances. Featuring contributions by Robert Vaughn and Mary Quant. Narrated by Honor Blackman.

Sunday 13 November
So, if you're not watching the second part of the Scorsese's Harrison documentary then, frankly, you're a lost cause. But, I'll give you a couple of potential dull-but-worthy alternatives. Garrow's Law - 9:00 BBC1 - sees the return of the legal drama inspired by real-life Eighteenth-Century barrister William Garrow, who risks his reputation to defend a man on trial for trying to assassinate King George III. The accused insists that God had spoken to him, convincing the lawyer he is mad - but insanity proves a risky defence in a country where the king himself - the apparent victim in this case - has mental problems of his own. Andrew Buchan, Mark Letheren and Alun Armstrong star.
I'm sorry, dear blog reader, but yer actual Keith Telly Topping has some very bad news for you. I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want)! returns - 9:00 ITV. Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water. Ant and Dec present as a fresh batch of (allegedly) famous faces wave goodbye to their lives of luxury and spend three weeks camping in the Australian jungle - with only each other, the creepy-crawlies and a few dozen cameramen for company. As ever, they will face daring challenges to win meals and treats, with only one emerging to take Stacey Solomon's crown. And, as we speak, some poor kangaroo is having its 'nads hacked off in preparation. Sick.

In World War Two: 1941 and the Man of Steel - 9:00 BBC4 - the historian David Reynolds explores Josef Stalin's handling of the conflict between the Soviet Union and Germany during the Second World War. He reveals how the dictator's mental frailties nearly caused his country to fall to the Nazis in 1941 and examines the compromises he was forced to make to survive. He also investigates the events that led to Stalin eventually siding with the Allied powers, including Winston Churchill's 1942 visit to Moscow.

Monday 14 November
The latest episode of Panorama is entitled Meet the Burglars - 8:30 BBC1. Meetings between offenders and their victims, a controversial scheme aimed at cutting re-offending and empowering the injured parties, helping them recover more quickly. Reporter Raphael Rowe witnesses a tense encounter between two women and the youth who broke in while they slept, and explores the Government's plans to extend the scheme to all types of crime. Tinkers and scallywags, the lot of them.

MasterChef: The Professionals - 8:30 BBC2 - continues apace. Ten chefs take on an invention test, which sees them given fifty minutes to cook a meal from six predetermined ingredients - prawns, mango, lime, chilli, micro coriander and a chocolate bar. Scary Monica Galetti scowls at them with her bestest scowling face as they wither before her and beg for mercy. The cooks must impress Gregg Wallace and Galetti - some chance, in the case of the latter - if they are to progress in the competition and end up cooking for Michel Roux Jr.

The latest in Ross Kemp's utterly risible series of 'look how hard I am, I go to the front line of war zones, me' conceits debuts tonight. Ross Kemp Back On The Frontline - 9:00 Sky1. The actor returns to Afghanistan to discover what has changed in the ten years since the conflict began. In the first edition, Kemp joins the Whiskey Company for a night raid to capture a high-level insurgent, who is suspected of training fifteen-year-old boys to be suicide bombers. He also learns about counter-insurgency, a new way of fighting the Taliban.

Meanwhile, up in Weatherfield in Coronation Street - 7:30 ITV - a bailiff turns up on Chesney's doorstep just as he faces an agonising decision about Schmeichel. I'm guessing that there might be, quite literal, hot dog on the menu for supper tonight. Lloyd struggles to deal with Cheryl's betrayal and takes out his frustrations on Karl, while Tina prepares for dinner with Matt - making Kirsty seethe in the process. Ciaran is stunned when Michelle reveals she would like to stay in Weatherfield.

Tuesday 15 November
As even when there's a big match on (or, you know, England versus Sweden at any rate) we seek to bring you some alternatives to the footie. Although, to be honest, that's probably what I'll be watching.

In Death in Paradise - 9:00 BBC1 - holiday-maker Megan Talbot confesses to shooting dead her husband, but puzzlingly there isn't a body - and without a victim, Richard has little to go on, insisting nothing is definite without hard evidence. But then a local boat crew fish a corpse out of the sea, with two gunshot wounds to the head - just as Megan said. Miranda Raison (ex of [spooks]) and Neil Stuke (Silk) are the latest pair of guest stars in this bright, daft and rather winning Caribbean crime drama, with the excellent Ben Miller, Sara Martins and Danny John-Jules.
Alternatively, there's Double Agent: The Eddie Chapman Story - 9:00 BBC2. Ben Macintyre revisits the story of wartime double agent Eddie Chapman, the subject matter of his best-selling book Agent Zigzag. He reveals how, during the Second World War, Chapman was able to dupe Nazi Germany so successfully that he was awarded the Iron Cross, the country's most prestigious decoration. Includes footage from an interview the former spy gave three years before his death in 1997.

The latest episode of Holby City - 8:00 BBC1 is called Devil in the Detail. A patient's operation has to be cancelled twice in the same day and Michael suggests a switch to private healthcare. Hanssen's micromanagement of resources also prevents Sahira completing a favour for a friend, but she is soon given other things to worry about when Jac reveals Freya is about to be put into foster care. Meanwhile, Dan worries his sexuality will be exposed when agency nurse Stephen Hopewell is admitted to AAU after a fall.

Wednesday 16 November
The BBC's biggest factual natural history programme in a decade, Frozen Planet - 9:00 BBC1 - is currently getting more viewers that even probably those who made it ever expected. A useful reminder that not all TV has to be carefully planned out in advance. With the arrival of autumn the Arctic Ocean begins freezing over, and polar bears gather in large numbers on the coast as they await the return of the ice. Two thousand beluga whales head for a particular estuary to thrash against the gravel and exfoliate, while in Antarctica, Adelie penguins take to the sea for the first time and face the danger of leopard seal attacks.

The BBC were probably hoping for a Mad Men style crossover hit when they bought Pan Am - 9:00 BBC2. The drama from the US follows the fortunes of four air stewardesses in the rapidly changing world of 1960s America. New recruit Laura struggles to deal with a taste of fame, while her sister Kate secretly prepares to risk everything for a chance at a new life. Meanwhile, rebellious purser Maggie receives an unexpected call, French stewardess Colette spots a face from her past, and newly promoted pilot Dean frets over the whereabouts of Bridget, the woman he hopes to marry. Starring Christina Ricci, Margot Robbie, Kelli Garner, Karine Vanasse and Mike Vogel.

In the past he's cast his jaundiced eye over the Western genre and a study on the Deep South as seen through the eyes of Hollywood. In Rich Hall's Continental Drifters - 9:00 BBC4 - the dry-as-a-bone-in-the-desert comedian presents a history of the American road movie. He travels through South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana to explore how the country's culture has both shaped and been shaped by the genre, and analyses films including Bonnie and Clyde, The Grapes of Wrath, Thelma & Louise, Vanishing Point, Five Easy Pieces and The Wizard of Oz.

Thursday 17 November
Children in Need Rocks Manchester - 8:00 BBC1 - is a charity concert led by Gary Barlow, who has brought together 'a stellar line-up of musical talent' (it says here) including Lady Gaga, Coldplay, Michael Buble, Kelly Rowland, Jessie J, Andrew Bocelli, Elbow, JLS, James Morrison, Snow Patrol, Hugh Laurie, Ed Sheeran, the Collective, Dappy and Fazer, plus Jamie Cullum all doing their bit for Pudsey - with other surprise guests promised on the night itself. Well ... I like Elbow, anyway. Presented by Chris Moyles, David Tennant and Fearne Cotton from the MEN Arena.

In the latest episode of the award-winning sitcom Rev - 9:00 BBC2 - a talented new curate arrives to train under Adam at St Saviour's, but when he realises how brilliant the young woman is, Adam's initial enthusiasm wanes and he finds himself doubting his own abilities as a priest. Luckily, Colin realises the vicar is on a downer, so he helps give him a lift - of the chemical variety. Comedy, starring Tom Hollander, Olivia Colman and Amanda Hale.

The world of travelling fairs is the focus of Fairground Attractions - 8:00 Channel Five - meeting some of the families who have been in the business for generations. Anna Carter and her sons, of Carters Victorian Steam Fair, receive a royal visitor when they roll up in Wiltshire, and Henry Danter, owner of Treasure Island funfair, introduces viewers to his heirs - children Kimberley and Harry. Third family the Couplands are gearing up for the grand opening of Mitcham Fair in London. But with preparations well under way, they hear widespread rioting and looting have broken out in the capital, meaning the event may have to be cancelled.

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping has been very much enjoying the latest - and, probably, last - series of House - 10:00 Sky1. In this week's episode, the maverick doctor and his team treat a man convinced that he has diabetes. All the while, House desperately tries to remove his ankle monitor so he can go to a boxing match in Atlantic City. Elsewhere in the hospital, a would-be entertainer is admitted with partial paralysis, but during a hunt for a bone-marrow donor, the team makes a disturbing discovery about his family. Taub is shocked when his ex-wife announces she wants to move to the other side of the country with their daughter.

And, finally, there's The Slap - 10:00 BBC4. Teenager Connie struggles to cope with the pressure of keeping her affair with Hector a secret, particularly since she works for his wife Aisha. However, she eagerly seizes the chance to babysit for the couple, hoping it will enable her to get closer to her older lover - but does not consider the potential repercussions. Drama, starring Sophie Lowe, Jonathan LaPaglia and Sophie Okonedo.

And so, to the news: Claire Foy has landed the lead role in Channel Four's new phone hacking comedy. Hacks, a one-off special, has been written by Outnumbered and Drop The Dead Donkey author Guy Jenkin. Foy has signed up to play Kate Loy, the editor of a tabloid newspaper. Michael Kitchen has also joined the cast and will play the newspaper's proprietor, Stanhope Feast. Kate no longer appears to have a moral compass, but her lack of ethics will end up causing a big scandal. Alexander Armstrong, Kayvan Novak, Nigel Planer, Phil Davis, Gordon Kennedy, Russ Abbott and Celia Imrie are among the other stars who will appear in Hacks. The comedy is expected to air this winter on Channel Four.

Sarah Solemani has revealed that she will appear in the next series of Skins. The Him & Her actress wrote on her Twitter page that she has filmed scenes for the E4 drama. 'Had great time filming Skins in Bristol,' she said. 'What talented young'uns in the cast! Even though I was playing a mother to a teenager (gulp).' Solemani did not reveal further details of her character but joked: 'Just to confirm, in my role in Skins, I play a very young mum to a very young teenager. So...' Skins, which is due to return for its new series early next year, will introduce new characters in future episodes.

Anton du Beke has described the performance of his former Strictly Come Dancing partner Nancy Dell'Olio as 'shit.' The forty five-year-old, who was voted out of the BBC contest with Dell'Olio last weekend, criticised the Italian, ahem, 'entrepreneur' for failing to impress viewers with her clumsy footwork. When asked by Carol Vorderman at a London charity show what he really thought of Dell'Olio's dancing, du Beke replied: 'Shit. No, she never got that good.' Du Beke also joked about Dell'Olio's risible mooted lawsuit against Strictly judge Alesha Dixon over comments made about her on the show. 'Yes, I think the judges were cruel,' he said. 'I think the producers were cruel giving her to me in the first place.' A guest at the event told the Sun: 'Anton was hilarious. It must have been hard for him to dance with Nancy as she was terrible. But he's usually such a gent. He got a massive laugh when he gave us his honest opinion. Fair play to him.'

Downton Abbey's Huge Bonneville, The Fast Show's John Thomson and TV presenter Melanie Sykes will appear in a Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? remembrance special to raise money for armed forces charities. The trio will be seen partnering forces personnel on the Chris Tarrant-fronted general knowledge quiz. Bonneville will join Royal Navy submarine engineer Lieutenant Gary Beels, Sykes will team up with Army medic Major Nicole McCullough and Thomson will partner Sergeant Derek Holland from the Royal Air Force. Bonneville said: 'I am absolutely dreading my encounter with the Smiling Tormentor, otherwise known as Chris Tarrant. However, I have every confidence that Lieutenant Beels is a genius. I only hope that when he realises I am as thick as two short planks he doesn't make me walk one of them.'

Channel Four has revealed that Coach Trip will broadcast a Christmas special this year. Brendan Sheerin will continue as tourist guide for a three-week journey across Scandinavia to Lapland. Seven pairs of ordinary people will partake in a host of festive-themed activities. Contestants who escape red card eliminations will end their trip at the Arctic Circle in Coach Trip's first ever winter series. Coach Trip, which has run at teatime for six series, is expected to return in late November.

Andrew Strauss has dubbed the anti-corruption unit of the International Cricket Council as 'a toothless tiger. The unit hasn't got the resources,' said the England Test captain at a charity dinner after three Pakistan players were jailed for spot-fixing. So, whilst Straussy was scoffing the vol-au-vents, Salman Butt and his hapless chumps would've been banged up and learning aobut the delights of slopping out. 'They can't do sting operations like the News of the World, they can't infiltrate these betting networks. I'm hopeful only a minor percentage of cricketers are involved in it but the truth is we really don't know.' Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir have been given prison terms for conspiring to bowl deliberate no-balls in a 2010 Test match against England. After the verdicts, the head of the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit, Sir Ronnie Flanagan, said corruption in cricket was only 'engaged in by a tiny number of people,' a reaction which seemed ludicrously complacent. While insisting the ACSU were 'doing the best job as they possibly can,' Strauss questioned why it had been a newspaper which had revealed the corruption of the three Pakistan cricketers, rather than the ICC itself. Speaking at an awards dinner for the cricket charity Chance to Shine on Thursday, Strauss said: 'There's still a lot of questions to be answered because they weren't exposed by any of the cricketing members, they were exposed by the News of the World. I think we've got to get better at policing these sorts of things. We all know there's no place for it in the game. We've got to be vigilant. I still think the ICC could be doing a lot more than they are doing.' Butt, Asif and Amir were found guilty of conspiracy to cheat and conspiracy to accept corrupt payments. They were banned from cricket for five years by the ICC in February. Amir has apologised for 'the biggest mistake' of his life but then told Pakistan's Geo News Channel: 'I was not given enough information about the anti-corruption code by the PCB.' What, you mean like 'don't do it, it's wrong'? The PCB has hit back at this ludicrous attempt at denial, stating: 'In March 2010 Amir signed the code of conduct for players when he was issued his central contract. The code of conduct clearly states that by signing the same the player commits to abiding by all ICC rules regarding betting, match fixing, corruption, and any matter that could call into question the integrity of the game. Amir acknowledged that he understood the code and his responsibilities under the same. Amir also committed that he would abide by these rules and any others formulated in this regard.' In January, England play Pakistan in Dubai and Abu Dhabi - but Strauss insisted what happened between the two sides after the fourth Test between Pakistan and England in August 2010 would be 'water under the bridge.' He added: 'One of the strong traits we try to foster within the England team is you worry about yourself and your own performance. That's what we'll be doing in Dubai and it'll be another keenly contested series as it always is against Pakistan.'

Controversial, desperately ugly and horrible right-wing bigot and Daily Scum Mail columnist Melanie Phillips has been named The Bigot of the Year at the Stonewall Awards. The Stonewall Awards usually celebrate those who have made a special or important contribution to the gay and lesbian community but one award which names and shames is The Bigot of the Year award. It is handed to a person which Stonewall feels have done the most harm to the community in the past year. Phillips faced some tough competition in the category. Stagecoach founder Brian Souter was also nominated. Souter was given a knighthood earlier this year to the anger of some because of his support for Section Twenty Right - a law introduced by the Tory government of the late 1980s which banned the so-called 'promotion' of homosexuality in schools. Section Twenty Eight was, very satisfyingly, scrapped by Tony Blair's Labour government but Souter publicly supported a campaign to keep the law. Stephen Green, the leader of Christian Voice, was also nominated in the category. Green is notoriously anti-gay but is perhaps better known for the high profile legal campaign he led against the BBC because it showed Jerry Springer: The Opera which Green considered to be blasphemous. Not a big fan of the Gospel According to Matthew, it would seen, is Green. You know, 'judge not, least ye be judged' and all that. However, the 'winner' of the Bigot award saw Phillips as a unanimous choice. Her attacks on homosexuality in her Daily Scum Mail columns earned her the award. In January she accused the government of 'brain washing' children in schools by including references to gays. Phillips wrote it was an 'abuse of childhood' and part of 'a ruthless campaign' by the 'gay rights lobby to destroy the near concept of normal behaviour.' That particular column provoked a strong backlash with many challenging Phillips to state what 'normal sexual behaviour' actually was. Later Phillips claimed she had received death threats over the article.

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved Newcastle United continued their unbeaten start to the season as Ryan Taylor's stunning goal saw off Everton. Taylor's stunning twenty ninth-minute goal ultimately edged the tightest of contests in front of a season's best crowd of fifty thousand six hundred and seventy one punters to take Alan Pardew's side, for a few hours at least, ahead of Manchester United. The victory ensured that the club matched their best unbeaten openings to a campaign in 1950-51 and 1994-95. Earlier, defender Johnny Heitinga had turned in Danny Simpson's inviting low cross before Taylor doubled the lead when he crashed in a twenty five-yard volley to bring St James Park to its feet. Jack Rodwell headed in a corner to give Everton hope and the visitors felt that they should have been given a second-half penalty when the ball appeared to strike Dan Gosling's hand. But Alan Pardew's side closed out a win to go second in the Premier League. The Magpies - in the month that celebrates the one hundred and thirtieth anniversary of their founding (as Stanley FC of Byker in 1881) - are now undefeated in the league since a three-nil defeat at Anfield in May - a run of fourteen games. However, they now face their toughest test of their ambitions in their next three fixtures. Pardew takes his side to Manchester City and Manchester United on successive Saturdays after the international break, with Chelsea visiting St James' Park the following week. The Newcastle manager will have been concerned at the sight of influential midfielder Yohan Cabaye limping off with a groin injury. Midfielder Danny Guthrie had the first effort on goal after a corner had not been cleared before Everton had a chance to open the scoring. Seamus Coleman dragged his shot wide after Louis Saha had flicked on a Royston Drenthe cross from the left. It proved to be a costly miss as Heitinga inadvertently put Newcastle ahead moments later. Simpson's cross from the right was dangerous and Heitinga could only turn the ball past Tim Howard with Leon Best lurking just behind. Drenthe created two quick chances for Everton but Rodwell and Leon Osman both had efforts saved by Tim Krul before Saha got in behind a faltering offside trap but lacked composure and blazed over. Taylor then opened up a two-goal cushion in spectacular fashion. Rodwell headed a long throw clear to Taylor twenty five yards from goal and the full-back chested the ball down and smashed in a shot which arched over Howard before hitting the underside of the crossbar and bouncing in. Saha hit the post and Taylor saw a cross strike the crossbar before Cabaye limped off to be replaced by former Everton midfielder Gosling. Rodwell then brought the half to an end when he headed in Drenthe's corner at the near post. Everton started the second period strongly and could easily have had a penalty when Saha's shot was blocked by Gosling's arm. James McFadden came on for his first appearance for Everton since January 2008 as David Moyes' side had plenty of late pressure but Newcastle comfortably held on for the three points.
We are the Geordies, the cock o'the North ... an'all that!

And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Now, here's a funny thing, dear blog reader. In 1970 when notorious alcoholic Scouse wife-beating junkie John Winston O'Boogie MBE (returned) did his notorious Lennon Remembers interview with the equally notoriously up-its-own-arse Rolling Stain magazine, amid his astonishing rants about his bitterness that his genius was not recognised by his teachers or his aunt, and calling the hapless Paul McCartney just about every name under the sun, Lennon was, actually - in theory anyway - plugging his latest LP. So, during the course of the interview - between bouts of rampant egomania - he was, occasionally, asked some questions about the songs thereupon. So, when the interviewer, Jann Wenner managed to get a word in edgeways he asked about the lyrical reference to 5 November in the song 'Remember'. Of course, one could suggest that maybe Wenner should've, I dunno, done a bit of sodding 'research' beforehand to find out the significance of that particular date in British history. But, he's America so, what do you expect? Anyway, he asked the question 'What is 5 November?' To which Lennon should've probably replied 'the day after 4 November,' in a 'How did you find America? 'Turned left at Greenland' A Hard Day's Night-style. He didn't. Instead he replied: 'In England, it's the day they blew up the Houses of Parliament so we celebrate by having bonfires every 5 November, Guy Fawkes Day. Haven't you ever heard of Guy Fawkes? I thought it was just poignant that we should blow up the Houses of Parliament.' All of which proves that the auld alcoholic Scouse wife-beating junkie knew as much about English history as he did about Walruses. The fifth of November is not when we celebrate 'blowing up parliament,' it's when we celebrate 'not blowing up parliament'! A necessary difference, I feel. Although, admittedly, in the years since he did his interview, one could suggest that Lennon's slightly warped version of history might've been slightly preferable. 'When we celebrate blowing up parliament...' I ask you. This, dear blog reader, is what drugs do to you. Just say no.
Guy, guy stick 'im up high ...

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