Wednesday, November 30, 2011

... While I'm Sitting Here Doing Nothing But Ageing

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping, be it known, is not on strike today, dear blog reader. He's just resting. In solidarity with my brothers and sisters in the public sector. Up the workers, baby.
The full Christmas Day TV schedules have now been released. BBC1's goes as follows: 12.35 Kung Fu Panda; 2.00 Top of the Pops; 3.00 The Queen; 3.10 Monsters and Aliens; 4.40 BBC News; 4.50 Ratatouille; 6.30 The Gruffalo's Child; 7.00 Doctor Who; 8.00 Strictly Come Dancing; 9.00 EastEnders; 10.00 Absolutely Fabulous; 10.30 Michael McIntyre's Christmas Comedy Roadshow. ITV are going for the following in primetime: 5:30 You've Been Framed!; 6:00 Emmerdale; 7:00 All-Star Family Fortunes; 8:00 Coronation Street; 9:00 Downton Abbey. Set in 1919, the two-hour special sees Downton Abbey hosting a lavish Christmas party. However, despite being the season of goodwill, tensions are rife and Bates’s arrest has cast a shadow over the festivities. Will he be a condemned man or will he be found innocent in time for the annual servants ball? Following a contretemps at the shooting party, Mary has to consider her future with Sir Richard Carlisle. Meanwhile, Violet has concerns about Rosamund, whose new suitor - the dashing but raffish Lord Hepworth (Nigel Havers) - is not all he seems. He's Nigel Havers - he never is. On Christmas Night, BBC2 runs with Darcey Bussell Dances Hollywood at 6.30pm, followed by two Blackadder repeats and the documentary The Toys That Made Christmas at 9pm. C4 has the film Ice Age 3 at 7.15pm, with Alan Carr: Chatty Man at 9pm. BBC1's new feature-length dramatisation of The Borrowers, starring Stephen Fry and Victoria Wood alongside Aisling Loftus, Sharon Horgan and Christopher Eccleston, is shown on Boxing Day at 7.30pm. The David Jason drama The Royal Bodyguard - co-starring David Walliams - starts its run on BBC1 at 9.30pm on Boxing Day. The long-delayed new Poirot episode, The Clocks, will be broadcast on ITV at 9pm on Boxing Day. It stars Geoffrey Palmer, Lesley Sharp and the late Anna Massey, plus David Suchet in the title role. The BBC's big festive period drama is Great Expectations, showing at 9pm on Tuesday 27 December, Wednesday 28 December and Thursday 29 December. It stars Gillian Anderson and Ray Winstone. Doctor Who star Matt Smith is a guest on The Graham Norton Show on Friday 23 December at 10.35pm on BBC1, along with Kenneth Branagh, Amir Khan and Russell Kane. Some other festive highlights include The Lost Christmas (5.30pm Sunday 18 December BBC1); Just Henry (7pm Sunday 18 December ITV); Bleak Old Shop of Stuff (8.30pm Monday 19 December BBC2); Fast Freddie, The Widow and Me (9pm Tuesday 27 December ITV) and Charlie Brooker's 2011 Wipe (10.30pm Friday 30 December BBC4).
Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson have been branded 'the scum of journalism' in a series of allegations from a former Scum of the World deputy features editor at the inquiry into press standards. Odious, 'risible', scruffy, pimple-faced, 'needs a damned good shave' wretch Paul McMullan accused Coulson of introducing 'wholesale' phone-hacking when he appointed editor of the Scum of the World in 2003, and described Coulson's predecessor, Brooks, as 'the criminal-in-chief.' In a dramatic two-hour testimony before the Leveson inquiry on Tuesday, McMullan made allegations about a 'culture of illegality' which, he claimed, stretched from 'the little men, the reporters' to senior police officers and politicians. Lord Justice Leveson at times had to interject to warn McMullan that he risked incriminating himself while he was rattling off claims about alleged criminal wrongdoing during his time at News International's disgraced and disgraceful former Sunday tabloid, which was closed at the height of the public outcry over phone-hacking in July. Asked whether his Scum of the World editors knew that voicemail messages were being intercepted, McMullan said: "Yes. I could go a bit further than that. We did all these things for our editors, for Rebekah Brooks and for Andy Coulson. You only have to read Coulson's column in Bizarre. It was blatant and obvious. I don't think anyone realised that anyone was committing a crime at the start.' He added: 'Andy Coulson brought that practice wholesale with him when he was made deputy editor. They should have had the strength of conviction to say, "Yes, sometimes you have to stray into black or grey illegal areas." Instead they said we didn't know they were doing it. They should have been the heroes of journalism. They're the scum of journalism for trying to drop me and my colleagues in it.' McMullen later said: 'For twenty one years you have a culture of illegality of phone-hacking and fiddling your expenses and so on. What you have is a future prime minister cosying up and being moulded by the arch-criminal, Rebekah Brooks, the criminal-in-chief.' Coulson and Brooks have separately and repeatedly denied any involvement in or knowledge of criminal activity at the Scum of the World. One or two people even believe them. McMullan separately launched an extraordinary defence of paparazzi photographers, who have been criticised by alleged victims of intrusion who have given evidence to the inquiry over the past week. 'I absolutely loved giving chase to celebrities,' he said. 'Before Diana died it was such good fun. How many jobs can you have car chases in? It was great.' He also claimed that 'In twenty one years of invading people's privacy I've never actually come across anyone who's been doing any good. Privacy is the space bad people need to do bad things in. Privacy is for paedos. If there is a privacy law your secrets are going to be much more valuable than they were before.' McMullan defended his former colleagues on the now-closed Scum of the World, saying they were 'honest [and] honourable' journalists. He said that hacking into murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler's phone was 'not a bad thing for a well-meaning journalist to do,' claiming that they were trying to find the schoolgirl while she was still missing because they had such little faith in police to do the job.

Former Downing Street director of communications Alastair Campbell has said the press is 'frankly putrid in many of its elements.' Campbell, who worked closely with Tony Blair during his time as prime minister said many newspapers considered their coverage of the lives of celebrities was a 'public service.' His written evidence had already been leaked by blogger Guido Fawkes. It appeared online on Sunday and Paul Staines, who blogs under the name, has been called to attend the inquiry on Thursday to explain himself. Campbell's witness statement has now been posted on the Leveson Inquiry's own website. In it he says: 'Editors are under enormous pressure. Journalists are under enormous pressure. In most of the newsrooms, there are fewer of them with more pages and online space to fill, and less time to do it. These are important factors, but they should not be excuses to let standards and ethics slip.' Campbell - himself a former journalist at the Daily Mirra - highlighted one incident when a newspaper reporter rang him to say they were running a story that he was 'fed up' at Downing Street and was going to a job at Manchester United. He noted: 'I said it was completely untrue and his verbatim quote was "I know, but it's a good story."' Campbell suggested that the freedom of the press being defended most loudly had become a part of the press that is 'barely worth defending. A very, very small number of people have changed the newspaper industry so they've now frankly besmirched the name of every journalist in the country,' he added. He criticised the 'shift downmarket' in the whole newspaper industry, blaming it on 'a fiercely competitive market' and the drive to copy celebrity magazines. Campbell said of the press: 'We allow the public to hate or like celebrities.' He said that he agreed with former Daily Lies reporter Richard Peppiatt, who gave evidence on Tuesday, that the job was predominantly office-bound. 'It's become a desk job and they sit there re-writing other newspapers' copy or agency copy - journalism as a craft, there are not many people doing it,' he said. He blamed media management who cut back on staff to save money, adding: 'That has led to a reliance on private investigators.' Campbell added that some of these private investigators had been 'acting almost as freelance journalists,' presenting ready-made stories to the newsdesks - with too few questions asked about the methods used to obtain those stories. British journalism was the best and the worst in the world 'often in the same edition,' he said. But he suggested that true 'investigative journalism' was dying in Britain and something needed to be done to boost it. Campbell criticised in particular the Daily Scum Mail, which he said used its dislike of the European Union to 'make up' stories which were likely to 'outrage' its reactionary, bigoted, numskull readers. He read out a long list of 'traditional British items,' including 'kilts, curries and mushy peas,' which the Scum Mail claimed the EU was planning to 'ban or regulate.' In the vast majority of those cases it was, simply, not true, he said, highlighting one story about the introduction of 'Muslim-only lavatories' which was also untrue. Campbell said that Associated Newspapers and News International were not alone in making mistakes. Lord Leveson asked him how his evidence might have been leaked to Staines. Campbell said that he had made several drafts and shown them to lawyers, three friends in the media and a number of former colleagues in the world of politics. But, he said, he was confident that none of those would have leaked it to Staines.

Meanwhile, a thirty one-year-old woman has been arrested by police investigating phone-hacking by the press. The woman is believed to be Bethany Usher, a former journalist who had bylines in a number of national newspapers - including the Scum of the World - between 2005 and 2008. Usher is now senior lecturer in media and journalism at Teesside University. The university said: 'It would be inappropriate to comment on any ongoing police investigation.' The woman was arrested in the North East of England by officers from Operation Weeting, the police probe into allegations of phone-hacking. Operation Weeting launched earlier in the year to probe illegal hacking of mobile phones of public figures by the Scum of the World, the disgraced and disgraceful Sunday tabloid shut down in July at the height of the scandal. This latest arrest is the seventeenth by Operation Weeting, including former Scum of the World editor Rebekah Brooks and ex-Downing Street communications chief Andy Coulson. So far, no one has actually been charged with any crime.

Newspapers are to likely to come under the auspices of a new regulatory body that is 'better at enforcing standards of accuracy' than the Press Complaints Commission, according to the lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Hunt. Giving evidence to the Lords communications committee inquiry about the future of investigative journalism, the vile and odious rascal Hunt said that he thought, in light of the phone-hacking scandal, most people agreed that regulatory processes for accuracy needed to be changed. He said he did not want to cut across Lord Justice Leveson's inquiry into media ethics, taking place across town at the high court, but that 'looking at events so far, you'd be likely to conclude we'd be likely to have a successor body to the PCC that's better at enforcing standards of accuracy.' The Leveson inquiry has heard from a number of victims of alleged press intrusion who said they had little faith in the PCC. The vile and odious rascal Hunt also said that 'I don't think investigative journalism is under threat,' but added that it is 'important' and one of the 'absolutely essential parts of a free media.' The vile and odious rascal Hunt said that although it had the potential to make his job more difficult, investigative journalism such as that which uncovered phone-hacking and MPs' expenses showed that democracy in the UK is working. Getting his tongue right up Murdoch's chuff for a damned good lick, he praised the now defunct, disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World for breaking the cricket spot-betting scandal and the Daily Torygraph for uncovering the MPs' expenses story. Though, perhaps significantly, not the Gruniad Morning Star for breaking the phone-hacking story in the first place. However, he said he was not sure a 'particular ownership model results in more investigative journalism. If you asked me [what] the biggest threat [is], I would say that it is the potential lack of profitability in the sector,' the vile and odious rascal Hunt added. But the vile and odious rascal Hunt went on to say: 'Plurality is essential. It's a complex issue. We want to make sure we've got proper protection in place to make sure we do have plurality and make sure we don't have over-concentration of market power.' He said he wanted to 'reserve judgement [on media plurality] as this is something that Lord Justice Leveson is looking at. Because of what's happened in the last six months many members of the public do now really understand that issue. The government is committed to what the public want, which is proper protection of plurality.' The vile and odious rascal Hunt said he had asked his advisers to look at the local newspaper market ahead of the forthcoming communications act. 'I think it's clear to me the local newspaper sector needs to consolidate and develop new business models. I'm a big champion of local media,' he added. He also said he expected some licences for new local TV services, the first tranche of which are due to be awarded next summer, to be awarded to consortiums containing local newspaper groups. The vile and odious rascal Hunt added that 'when it comes to standards of impartiality and accuracy, broadcasters are the gold standard.'

The former Northern Ireland secretary Peter Hain has been told by the Metropolitan police that they are investigating evidence his computer, and those of senior Northern Ireland civil servants and intelligence agents, may have been hacked by private detectives working for News International. The suggestion that the minister's computers, containing sensitive intelligence material, may have been compromised is the most serious sign yet that newspaper malpractice extended far beyond the hacking of mobile phone voicemail, into the realm of other electronic data. The investigation into computer hacking is being carried out by detectives from Scotland Yard's specialist crime directorate. It is separate, but related to the phone-hacking investigation. Officers from Operation Tuleta are looking at the activities of individuals who were paid by News International, including a firm of private detectives allegedly offering 'ethical hacking.' They are also looking at allegations about the detectives' connections within News International. A spokesman for Hain would not directly comment on the news of recent contacts between him and the police but said: 'This is a matter of national security and subject to a police investigation so it would not be appropriate to comment.' News International has declined to comment, but said on Monday night that Operation Tuleta was looking at a number of newspapers. Hain, Labour MP for Neath, was Northern Ireland secretary from May 2005 to June 2007 when he was involved in sensitive peace negotiations. He will have had access to classified information about informers and security. It is understood from legal sources that Hain is to be asked to confirm material obtained by the police investigators comes from his computer. It is not known if Hain has been informed of the nature of the material identified. Tom Watson (power to the people!), a member of the culture, media and sport select committee and a strident campaigner against hacking, said: 'Phone-hacking is one thing, but targeting the computers of ministers with high-security clearance takes this police investigation to another level. It also raises questions for News International about whether its management were aware.' The Metropolitan police arrested a fifty two-year-old man last week under investigation for computer hacking. His name has not been disclosed. He has been released on police bail until early December. The allegations focus on the use of Trojan e-mails. These involve a hacker sending a computer virus to the target's computer. The virus then allows access to computer content as the keyboard is used. The revelation comes on the day the Leveson inquiry heard from Ian Hurst, a former British army intelligence agent, who used to recruit and run agents within the IRA in Northern Ireland. Hurst told the inquiry he understood his computer was hacked into by a Trojan Horse virus in 2006 by private investigators working on behalf of the Scum of the World. He said that he had been shown a seven-page fax by the BBC, which was researching a Panorama programme on the subject for broadcast last March. The fax contained material from July 2006 which was 'not only material from his computer,' which came from the private investigators. Police officers from the Tuleta team are already investigating evidence that Hurst's computer was hacked. The virus had been sent by e-mail, and after he opened an attachment to an e-mail it could read the contents of his computer hard drive and send them back to the private investigators. Hurst told the inquiry that he had learned later the Trojan was also able to see through the webcam so the hackers 'could have actually seen me or the kids at the desk.' The virus was sent to Hurst by 'Mr X' – a hacker whom he knew from his time in Northern Ireland. Hurst said the hacker worked for a private investigator who was in turn working for the Scum of the World. Last week Sienna Miller claimed her e-mail had been hacked into in 2008. She told the Leveson inquiry that Glenn Mulcaire, the former private investigator convicted on phone-hacking charges, had taken a note of 'all my telephone numbers, the three that I changed in three months, my access numbers, pin numbers, my password for my e-mail.' She went on to tell the inquiry that the password 'was actually used to later hack my e-mail in 2008.'

Simon Cowell will return to the Britain's Got Talent judging panel in 2012, a report in the Mirra has claimed. as if anybody actually gives a shit. It's a busted flush now, matey.

Joey Barton has described the cast of Desperate Scousewives as 'disgusting human beings.' The footballer 'blasted' - which is, of course tabloidesque for 'criticised' only with less syllables - the newly-launched E4 series on Twitter. He also said that he had new found respect for The Only Way Is Essex, which he had famously described as 'shallow, fake and pretentious.' Barton wrote: 'How does this shite get on telly? That's the issue here, not these monosyllabic subordinate chimpanzees, doing what people tell them to do? The Only Way Is Essex have gone up in my estimations after this show. When I say gone up, it was impossible for them to go down.' Barton also dismissed reports that he had been 'romantically involved' (or, you know, shagging) with any of the Housewives, writing: 'All the women/creatures look like The Bride of Frankenstein crossed with an Umpalumpa. The men, aren't Scouse lads, there crazy woolybacks. Due to Botox overdose they cannot even form a facial expression! Their [sic] undeserving of our time. How did they come up with the title? Surely it should be rebranded, "just fucking desperate" as none are Scouse or married. Definitely desperate.' He concluded: 'Never commenting on them again, even if they chrip up tomorrow because the producers tell them to.' The former The Only Way Is Essex 'star' - and, one uses that word quite wrongly - Amy Childs has previously accused Barton of attacking the show 'for the sake of publicity.' Which, coming from a plastic, shallow waste-of-space non-entity like her whose entire life seems to be lived for the purposes of publicity, that really is a comedy diamond which I never expected to hear. Plus, I wouldn't get Joey Barton angry. You wouldn't like him when he's angry.

Marks & Spencer's reputation as a paragon of family values has not saved it from a rap across the knuckles from the advertising watchdog, which has banned an 'overtly sexual' lingerie advert. M&S ran two poster adverts featuring scantily clad models on the side of buses as part of a campaign to promote its Autograph lingerie range. The Advertising Standards Authority received a number of complaints that one of the adverts featuring two lingerie models – one pictured lying on her side, the other kneeling on a bed – was unacceptable because it was 'sexually suggestive' and 'likely to be seen by children.' M&S said that the adverts were 'in no way offensive' and had been shot in 'a filmic and atmospheric style.' The ASA said the shot of the woman kneeling on the bed was 'overtly sexual' because her legs were wide apart, her back was arched, she was touching her thigh and wearing stockings. 'We considered that the image was of an overtly sexual nature and was therefore unsuitable for untargeted outdoor display, as it was likely to be seen by children,' said the ASA, which banned the advert from running on buses. 'We concluded that the ad was socially irresponsible.' In October the ASA moved to toughen its stance on raunchy advertising, after the David Cameron-backed Bailey Report into the commercialisation and sexualisation of children called on the industry to limit sexualised imagery near locations such as schools.

The BBC's World News has been taken off the air in Pakistan after broadcasting a documentary that was deemed to be critical of the country. Well how sodding dare they?! Secret Pakistan, which was screened last Wednesday, explored accusations by CIA officials and western diplomats that Pakistan was failing to meet its commitments in the 'War on Terrrrr.' Khalid Arain, president of the country's cable TV association, said that operators had 'blocked' the BBC service as a result. The BBC condemned the decision, which is understood to have been applied to other foreign news broadcasters broadcasting 'anti-Pakistan' content as well. 'We are deeply concerned that BBC World News has been taken off air by the Cable Association of Pakistan,' said a BBC spokesman. 'We condemn any action that threatens our editorial independence and prevents audiences from accessing our impartial international news service. We would urge that BBC World News and other international news services are reinstated as soon as possible.' The service was suspended in parts of Pakistan on Tuesday, with the broadcaster expected to be off-air across the whole country by Wednesday. The blocking of the BBC comes amid high tensions following NATO air strikes that accidentally killed twenty four Pakistani soldiers on Saturday. And, once again let us marvel at the fact that the BBC is a World Class broadcaster with an international reputation for fairness, balance and seeking out only The Truth. And that some countries - run by knobcheese, corrupt and totalitarian dictatorships - are so terrified by that prospect they do what many rank trash Tory MPs and lice Daily Scum Mail journalists in this country would love to do. Silence them.

BBC1 will show a series of daytime dramas focusing on adult literacy next spring. The five forty five-minute dramas will feature characters who experience reading and writing difficulties and the effect it has on their relationships. In the late 1970s, Bob Hoskins starred in BBC's On The Move, which catalysed an adult literacy drive. BBC Learning, who have commissioned the current strand, hope the new dramas will again raise awareness on the impact of low literacy skills. Learning controller, Saul Nassé, said the programmes would aim to break stereotypes and reduce the stigma associated with literacy problems. 'We want these five terrific stories to entertain and engage the widest possible audience, as well as inspire anyone with similar needs to feel more confident about seeking help.' The series will be made by Liverpool-based LA Productions and has been written by Nick Leather, Esther Wilson, Arthur Ellison, Lyn Papadopoulos and Jaden Clark.

ABC has denied that Pan Am has been cancelled. Karine Vanasse tweeted that the show had been axed on Tuesday, adding that it will return for only one more episode after Christmas. 'We received the call, Pan Am is only coming back for one more episode after Christmas. But up to the end, we'll give it our all!' she wrote. However, ABC has since denied the claims, telling Examiner: 'Nothing has changed. We are not cancelling Pan Am. We are still in production and will continue to be in production finishing the original thirteen episodes plus one more additional one. We have one more original episode this coming week. And then will return in January with the new episodes, airing all of them. Pan Am is still in contention for next season. We won't know about that until our upfront announcement in May.'

Noel Gallagher was left starstruck on Sunday after meeting Sir Paul McCartney before his show in Italy. The former Oasis rocker spent the day watching a football game between his beloved team Manchester City and Liverpool, before heading to the Mediolanum Forum venue in Milan to watch McCartney perform - and he was, he claimed, 'in awe' when he spoke to his hero backstage. In a post on his official website, Gallagher writes, 'The match? Well, it ended in a draw. A fair result in the end. We should have won it, but on the other hand we could have lost it. From there we went straight to some arena or other to see Paul McCartney. Somewhat predictably he was mega, as always. He's got all the tunes, innit! Actually managed to get to say hello to him before the show. What a treat. I'm like a small boy when shit like that happens. And he's a true gentleman. The fuckin' daddy!' Gallagher was in Milan ahead of his show in the city on Monday night.

A portion of the M1 was closed on Tuesday after twenty tonnes of Marmite was spilled on the busy carriageway last night. A huge clean-up was under way on Wednesday morning between junctions thirty two and thirty three near Sheffield. A tanker is said to have collided with a motorcaravan at around 10.15pm on Tuesday night, although thankfully nobody in the accident was hurt. A South Yorkshire Police spokesperson said: 'We were called at 10.15pm yesterday to reports of a tanker, which was carrying twenty three and a half tonnes of waste yeast, overturning. Some of the contents were spilled on the northbound carriageway and we are in the process of emptying the remaining contents of the tanker and clearing up the spillage before it can be moved and the road reopened.' Asked what motorists thought of this catastrophe the spokesman said that some of them liked it, but others didn't. Seriously, I'm here all week.

For today's actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, like, here's something from The Beatles. A popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might've heard of them.

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