Friday, September 30, 2011

Week Forty One: Live A Lifetime In Each Minute

Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat has described this week's finale as 'the maddest episode ever.' Moffat told TV Choice that The Wedding of River Song is 'a big roller coaster ride of Doctor Who madness. It's pretty much all the answers in terms of what you saw at Lake Silencio and in The Impossible Astronaut,' he explained. 'We also truly find out about River Song (Alex Kingston) - who she is to the Doctor. There have been a whole lot of hints about a good man that she kills, and the reason why she's in prison. She certainly seems to behave like a lover or a wife to him, and this is where we say what that's all about.' Moffat admitted that he is looking forward to unravelling many of Doctor Who's recent mysteries. 'We've always talked about our plot arcs on Doctor Who, but, as you know, in the past they've been very slight,' he said. 'This has been a real ongoing story and it's nice to think everyone's now going to get answers to all their questions. Well, all except one, because that's the way I am!' it's whether Hitler ever got out of the cupboard, isn't it?
'And then, I turned around and they were all wearing eye-patches...'

The wretched Sophie Dahl returns to BBC2 last night with a thoroughly woeful 1.4m overnight audience for her new series The Marvellous Mrs Beeton. Which from the five minutes yer actual Keith Telly Topping saw of it looks to be just as smug and full-of-its-own-importance as her last series. And with an equally rubbish audience too. It was outperformed not only by Educating Essex on Channel Four but also the Europa League football on Channel Five. There's nothing like a good cookery programme. And everything Smug Sophie touches is, indeed, nothing like a good cookery programme.

BBC Scotland has refuted rumours that drama River City is being cancelled. Director Ken MacQuarrie promised that the Glasgow-set soap would continue during a question and answer session involving BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten. 'We have no plans to cut River City, I can make that absolutely clear,' BBC News quotes MacQuarrie as saying. Meanwhile, Lord Patten branded the River City speculation as 'far-fetched.' He declared: 'I very much hope that we'll see more dramas being made in Scotland. I couldn't have spent any time looking at the papers without realising that River City is extremely popular and the BBC should be very pleased it makes programmes as popular as that. I am sure people will have noticed the reaction to some of the slightly far-fetched suggestions about what might happen to it.'
One of the two journalists who uncovered the Watergate scandal has said that he was 'struck by the parallels' between the Scum of the World phone-hacking affair and the saga that brought down Richard Nixon in the 1970s. Carl Bernstein said that the two events were 'shattering cultural moments of huge consequence that are going to be with us for generations' and that both were 'about corruption at the highest levels, about the corruption of the process of a free society.' The American reporter - you know, the one Dustin Hoffman played in the movie! - speaking at an event in London organised by the Gruniad Morning Star, specifically likened Rupert Murdoch, the Scum of the World's proprietor, to the ousted US president in his relation to criminal acts and alleged criminal acts conducted by their respective employees and subordinates. Bernstein said that the important thing was not whether there was 'a smoking gun' which could link Murdoch directly to 'knowledge of phone-hacking on a specific date' – just as it was not important whether Nixon knew that 'the Watergate break-in would happen on a specific date.' Instead, he added, both events were 'about a sensibility that corrupted a free institution' whose consequences in the case of phone-hacking helped 'drive the ever descending lowest common denominator of journalism that resulted in a diminution of reporting standards' across the British press. The event, After Hacking: How Can The Press Restore Trust?, brought together Bernstein with George Eustice, David Cameron's former press spokesman, in a public meeting that saw the Conservative MP argue that the British press needed tighter regulation in order to prevent a repeat of the phone-hacking scandal and raise standards generally. Eustice, complaining that journalists frequently wrote news items to the dictates of news desks, editors or owners, said that there was 'not much wrong' with the existing Press Complaints Commission code apart from the fact that it is not really enforced. The former spin doctor – who was replaced by Andy Coulson, the former editor of the Scum of the World in 2007 – added that a reformed PCC should be strengthened with 'proper sanctions' that are 'enforced independently' of government. Eustice also complained that in the early stage of Cameron's leadership, the Conservative party tried to adopt a distant relationship with print media. Hinting at a change of approach that began when Coulson arrived at Conservative party headquarters, he said: 'It was our analysis [that under Tony Blair] there was too much emphasis on getting the headlines right. It was our position that if we were invited to News International's worldwide conference we'd have politely declined. Our position was not to respond to page one headlines … but it was very hard to sustain that and abandoned in 2007.' However, Bernstein responded by saying that he was horrified by the idea of introducing stiffer press regulation, arguing that the press needed to be regulated in the same way as every other person's speech is, through general law rather than a specific code. Alan Rusbridger, the editor of the Gruniad, said that PCC had run into trouble because its 'mistake was to call itself a regulator. It is not a regulator.' Rather, he continued, the body was best described as 'a mediator' handling complaints from the subjects of news articles. He said he liked the idea of continuing with two systems of regulation for press and broadcasting but even that distinction would become 'tremendously complicated,' as newspapers developed their websites and started appearing on electronic TV programme guides. Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Bernstein along with his partner Bob Woodward played a leading part in exposing the Watergate scandal which rocked US politics during the 1970s and ultimately led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. The Washington Post reporters unraveled a system of political corruption which stemmed from an investigation into a burglary at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate complex in June 1972. Their stories exposed a link between the burglary and the campaign to re-elect Nixon and suggested that attempts had been made by the president's closest advisers to cover up the break-in which led to numerous high-profile government investigations into the scandal and the resignation of Nixon two years later. And a rather good book and movie, All The President's Men.

And, on that Oscar-winning bombshell, here's yer next batch of actual Top Telly Tips in the area:

Thursday 6 October
The BBC seem to be really pushing Hidden - 9:00 BBC1 - their new drama starring the great Philip Glenister judging by the trailers. Small-time solicitor Harry Venn (played by the Gene Genie his very self) is asked for the whereabouts of a criminal acquaintance, reminding him of his own murky past as a getaway driver in a botched robbery that ended with the deaths of his brother and another associate. Driven by guilt, he begins to uncover why such a seemingly simple operation went so wrong - but the policeman who led the investigation all those years ago is soon back on Harry's case. Conspiracy thriller, also starring Anna Chancellor from [spooks] and The Hour and Thekla Reuten. Looks proper decent.

Mixed Britannia - 9:00 BBC2 - is a great idea for a TV show. George Alagiah explores the history of Britain's mixed-race communities, with archive material helping to chart events from the turn of the Twentieth Century. He begins with the romances between women workers and foreign seamen during the First World War, and the street riots they caused in port cities as soldiers returned to find local girls in relationship with non-white men. He also reveals how Britain narrowly escaped laws preventing interracial marriages.

In Shock and Awe: The Story of Electricity - 9:00 BBC4 - Jim Al-Khalili charts the history of mankind's attempt to understand and harness the power of electricity. He begins by exploring the writings and theories of scientific innovators including Humphrey Davy and Stephen Gray, and examines the methods they used to create and control electrical forces. He also tells the story of the battery, the first major breakthrough in mankind's battle to use electricity for its own ends.

And, it's the final part of Billy Connolly's Route 66 - 9:00 ITV - as the well known Scottish comedian completes the last leg of his motor-trike journey along the world-famous Route 66. Billy visits a massive meteorite crater in Arizona, before heading to the Grand Canyon. He meets a campaigner trying to keep the historic route alive, and bottle-feeds a lion cub in a sanctuary for unwanted exotic pets. Finally he reflects on his three thousand-mile ride when he ends his travels in Santa Monica right next to the Pacific. Been there. It's very nice.

Friday 7 October
Autumnwatch Live returns tonight - 8:30 BBC2 - but without Katie Humble. That's a blow. Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and Martin Hughes-Games present the nature programme from the National Arboretum at Westonbirt in Gloucestershire, studying wildlife through the season and tracking the changes as winter approaches. In the first edition, they examine wild boars and bats in the Wye Valley, while naturalist Roy Dennis follows the migration of osprey chicks as they head for Africa.

The popular Outnumbered reaches the end of its fourth series tonight - 9:00 BBC1. Another guest arrives to stay as the family tries to get rid of Auntie Angela, and Sue has to make a decision about Jake's girlfriend. Elsewhere, Ben and Karen discuss dreams, the Mafia and trampolining bears. Comedy, starring Hugh Dennis, Claire Skinner, Daniel Roche and Ramona Marquez.

In the latest episode of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's well-beloved Qi - 10:00 BBC2 - it's all about 'invertebrates.' And, Jimmy Carr's on the panel. Is this a coincidence, we ask ourselves‽ (Note the entirely valid use of the interrobang there, dear blog reader. Hey, I don't just throw these things together you know‼) Stephen Fry, as usual, does the hosting, Alan Davies comes last and they're joined by first time guest the Queen of South Shields herself Sarah Millican and good old mad-as-toast Johnny Vegas. Who always seems to provoke something of a negative reaction in some of the more mouthy Qi fans but, personally, I think he's great. And so, seemingly, do Stephen, Alan and the producers otherwise they wouldn't keep inviting him back! Stephen asks the questions about insects and other invertebrates, and awards points for the most interesting answers. You know the score by now. The extended XL edition is on tomorrow night at 9:00.

Saturday 8 October
In the very week that it was announced he might be about to quite the show, Harry Hill's TV Burp returns for a new series - 7:00 ITV. Old Big Collared Harry is back with his regular review of the week's small-screen highlights, promising soap spoofs, reality show send-ups and the odd fight or two - and with Strictly Come Dancing and The X Factor back on the box, he will have plenty of prime-time material to work with one imagines.

Speaking of the latter, tonight's episode of The X Factor is a mind-numbing (and bum aching) two and a half hours long. I'm serious. That's longer than the average Oliver Stone movie.

Series two of Boardwalk Empire starts tonight - 9:00 Sky Atlantic.
Nucky's control over Atlantic City is threatened when Jimmy forms an alliance with the Commodore and Eli - and the politician also comes under scrutiny from federal agents investigating the election results. Chalky's old enemies return to haunt him, Margaret tries to discipline her son, and Angela fears Gillian is squeezing her out of Jimmy's life. Prohibition-era drama, starring Steve Buscemi, Michael Pitt, Kelly Macdonald and Michael Kenneth Williams.

Sunday 9 October
In the latest episode of [spooks] - 9:00 BBC1 - an imprisoned religious extremist leader has his appeal for parole rejected, so he sends two recently released inmates on a suicide revenge mission, unaware one of the men is an MI5 spy. Section D needs him to gather intelligence - but things go disastrously wrong when his daughter is kidnapped by the bombers and used as collateral. Meanwhile, an attempt is made on Elena's life, strengthening Harry's suspicions about CIA deputy-director Jim Coaver.

Fry's Planet Word continues merrily - 9:00 BBC2. Stephen Fry explores how language is often abused, arguing that swearing plays an important part in human communication. Sodding well right it does. Y'bugger. He meets a Tourette's sufferer and a stroke patient who cannot help using the F-word, and finds out from Brian Blessed how swearing can help relieve pain. He is joined by Armando Iannucci, Omid Djalili and Stephen K Amos to discuss the power of four-letter words in comedy, and considers how the texture of language has been made richer by double entendre, euphemism, slang and jargon. There you go kids, next time you get told off by a parent or teacher for using profane language just tell 'em Stephen Fry said it was all right!

A very welcome repeat, if you missed it when it was first shown last year is Rich Hall's The Dirty South - 9:00 BBC4. In this, the dry-as-a-desert-road American comedian sets his keen eye and acerbic wit on his homeland, as he unpicks the truth from the fiction in Hollywood's version of the southern states of the US. Featuring specially shot interviews and archive footage of classic films including Gone with the Wind, A Streetcar Named Desire and Deliverance.

Monday 10 October
Twincredibles - 9:00 BBC2 - sounds fascinating. The genetic phenomenon of black and white parents who have twins of differing skin colour, meeting five pairs of siblings to see how they are affected and how the world views them. They include James and Daniel, who grew up in south-east London, where it was the whiter-looking Daniel who suffered racial abuse, and eleven-year-old Glaswegian sisters Ebony and Moesha, who have proved to be very different in character.

The latest episode of the BBC's Panorama is called BNP: The Fraud Exposed - 8:30 BBC1. In this, investigative reporter Darragh MacIntyre uncovers evidence that the British National Party has falsified and fabricated financial documents to deceive the Electoral Commission and failed to declare major donations to the party. Yet as Panorama claims to reveal, its published accounts show the BNP is insolvent and apparently unable to pay its creditors. Oh, what a shame that is.

On a similar theme we've got Dispatches: Britain's Rubbish - 8:00 Channel Four. Reporter Morland Sanders travels the UK in the wake of the Government's Waste Policy Review to find out about bin collections, litter, excessive packaging and refuse habits. He hears from householders angry about their waste not being collected every week, and challenges a family to live without a bin for a fortnight - recycling everything instead. Sounds like a trivial subject but it is something which, of course, affects all of us.

Tuesday 11 October
High Stakes - 8:00 ITV - is yet another rubbish game show format from a network that seems to specialise in them. Odious, wretched Jeremy Kyle hosts 'a big-money game show' in which the players 'use clues to guide them' across a grid containing cash prizes ranging from one thousand quid to half a million smackers. But if they stand on a trap, the whole grid descends and the game is over for them. And they're killed. No, not really. Although if they were I might just watch.

It's the last in the current series of Holby City - 8:00 BBC1. But, don't fret dear blog reader, they take a break of exactly seven days and then they're back with the start of the next batch of episodes. In tonight's drama, Hanssen tries to contain the plastics scandal, while Sahira realises how much she will miss Greg, as he and Elliot work their final shift. Chrissie's delay in telling Sacha she's engaged to Dan has repercussions, and her dreams of an idyllic life with the consultant are threatened by a patient's intrusive questions. Meanwhile, snowboarder Josh prepares to face the outside world.

In The Body Farm - 9:00 BBC1 - the team is called in to examine the body of a human rights lawyer, burnt to death at his home. The victim's son is convinced his father was murdered by an asylum seeker who he failed to acquit on an assault charge, although there is no proof the fire was started deliberately. But a reconstruction back at the lab, burning one of the farm's bodies, soon brings fresh evidence to light. And then at the end, Tara Fitzgerald gets to stand around in a muddied field looking wistfully into the distance and getting all philosophical in voice-over. Which worked really well in the first week but do we have to have that as the episode's finale every single time, it's becoming a bit of a drag. Every time people see Tara walking down the High Street they duck into shops to avoid her in case she starts doing the 'staring wistfully into the distance and getting all philosophical in voice-over' thing. Jonas Armstrong (from Robin Hood), the great Tim McInnerny and The Office's Ralph Ineson guest star.

Wednesday 12 October
The latest episode of Midsomer Murders - 8:00 ITV - is called The Night of the Stag. A tax inspector goes missing as he tries to track down the maker of an illicit, potent cider popular among the residents of Midsomer Abbas. Barnaby and Jones have a murder investigation on their hands when the man's body is found floating in a vat at the village's spring fair, where the duo are sampling the local brew. Guest starring Warren Clarke and Corrie's Denise Black.

Soho Blues - 9:00 Channel Five - features 'an insight' into a night's patrol with the jokingly nicknamed 'booze bus', a London ambulance dealing exclusively with alcohol-related incidents. Meanwhile, police set out on the trail of drug-users, a car is involved in a serious collision, and a bystander expresses his opinion of paramedics.

Getting near the end of its eighth series Shameless - 10:50 Channel Four - has never been more popular. In tonight's instalment, Marty turns to crime to tide him over until he finds a job, but using items borrowed from the Maguires could land him in trouble. Billy stands up for his rights as a father when he demands to be allowed to give Cilla a second name, but Mimi is reluctant and delivers her own ultimatum, and Micky's flat is raided by police.

Thursday 13 October
Joanna Lumley's Greek Odyssey - 9:00 ITV - sees the actress and Britain's favourite posh-bird exploring the history of Greece, visiting some of the most significant sites of the ancient empire and meeting people who carry on the old traditions. Nice work if you can get it! She begins in Athens with a trip to the Parthenon, a temple to the goddess Athena built nearly two thousand five hundred years ago. And, where they say of the Acropolis that there are no straight lines. Apparently. I learned that off Qi. As with most of my knowledge. From there, Joanna travels around the southern part of the country, encountering modern Greeks still influenced by this ancient era - including marble cutters who continue to use the same tools as their ancestors.

It's the last in the current series of Mock the Week - 10:00 BBC2 - which was really hampered this year by being off-air when just about all of the major news stories broke (Hackgate, the Eurozone Crisis, superinjunctions and Cherylgate). The marvellous Milton Jones, Miles Jupp and Andi Osho join host Dara O Briain and regular panellists Hugh Dennis, Andy Parsons and Chris Addison for another round of the satirical news quiz. And now watch, you can absolutely guarantee that as soon as they're off air next week something massively important (and with tons of comedy potential) will occur and Dara and co will be sitting in their cupboard at the BBC gnashing their teeth in fury because they had a really good joke lined up about just such an occurrence. Them's the break in comedy, guys.

And so we come full circle. Having recommended it earlier in this blog, it seems pointless not to note that the second episode of Hidden is on tonight - 9:00 BBC1. With his office blown to pieces, Harry becomes determined to find out who tried to kill him and begins by finding out more about the elusive Gina Hawkes. However, breaking into her doctor's office, questioning her barrister and visiting the imprisoned Stevie Quirke only serve to prove how deep the mystery really is. In one last desperate bid, the lawyer tracks his quarry down to Paris - only to be confronted by a past he thought he had long since left behind. David Suchet crops up in this episode.

And, so to the news: Legendary crooner Tony Bennett has become the oldest living performer to score a US number one CD, hitting the top spot at the age of eighty five. Duets II, which features Amy Winehouse, Lady Gaga, Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin and kd lang, is also the first US number one of the singer's sixty-year career. Bennet, who has won fourteen Grammy Awards, first rose to fame in the late 1950s. The chart news comes after Bennett caused controversy by suggesting that US action prompted the 9/11 attacks. In an interview with shock-jock radio host Howard Stern last week, Bennett said: 'Who are the terrorists? Are we the terrorists or are they the terrorists? Two wrongs don't make a right. They flew the plane in, but we caused it. We were bombing them and they told us to stop.' He later issued an apology, saying that as a World War II veteran, he was 'proud to fight to protect our values.' He added that he believed that 'violence begets violence and that war is the lowest form of human behaviour.' Quite right too. You tell 'em, Tony. 'I am sorry if my statements suggested anything other than an expression of my love for my country, my hope for humanity and my desire for peace throughout the world,' he added. Duets II sold over one hundred and seventy thousand copies in its first week, according to Billboard magazine. Which kind of proves the old adage that 'there's no such thing as bad publicity.' It includes Amy Winehouse's last recording, on the song 'Body And Soul'. Which is really rather good. Last week's number one CD, Lady Antebellum's Own the Night, fell to number two, while Adele's Twenty One dropped to third place.

Dannii Minogue has said that both she and Cheryl Cole were 'eaten up and spat out' by The X Factor. The Australia's Got Talent judge and least famous of the Minogue sisters, who quit the ITV talent show in May, sympathised with the Girls Aloud singer over her 'big year.' Speaking on Heart FM, Minogue divulged: 'It's been a big year that she's been through with the American X Factor. She's been incredible to work with. She was always there as a support for me when I had tough days because it is a tough show. It does eat all of us up and spit us out at the end.' Clarifying why she stepped down from the format, she continued: 'The dates of the filming got put back twice and I'd already started Australia's Got Talent by the time they said, "Okay, here it is - let's do the show."' Minogue added: 'It would've meant me flying back and forth from Australia once a week for ten weeks with a one-year-old child. I'd just got out of hospital three days before having my appendix out and I was like, "I'm sorry but it's not possible." Until they can clone me!'

Polly Harvey will return as a guest on The Andrew Marr Show next month. The singer will perform on the topical programme on the 2 October edition, which will also feature Prime Minister David Cameron. Presumably Dave won't be jammin' with Pol, however. Which is, of course, tragic. Harvey previously appeared on the show in April 2010, alongside then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown. On that occasion she debuted the title song for her CD Let England Shake. The work won the Mercury Music Prize last month. Polly revealed that she was 'surprised' to win the award for a second time.

The financial trader who caused an Internet storm after claiming in a BBC interview that he was 'dreaming of another recession' has admitted that he is 'an attention seeker,' but added that he 'meant every word' he said. The BBC was this week forced to deny that Alessio Rastani was a hoaxer after Twitter users and some trouble-makers at the Gruniad doubted his credentials as 'an expert on financial markets' when he made some alarming comments. In a live interview, broadcast on the BBC News Channel on Monday, Rastani said: 'For most traders, we don't really care that much how they're going to fix the economy, how they're going to fix the whole situation - our job is to make money from it. Personally I've been dreaming of this moment for three years. I have a confession, which is I go to bed every night, I dream of another recession.' According to the Daily Torygraph, Rastani is an independent trader and 'investment speaker' who operates from a two hundred thousand smackers property in Bexleyheath, which is owned by his wife. He is a ninety nine per cent shareholder in public speaking venture Santoro Projects. But the fact that he has never been authorised by the Financial Services Authority and has no clear history of working in a City institution has led to questions over how he ended being interviewed by the BBC. Speaking to the newspaper, Rastani said that he was 'approached' by the corporation to appear on the BBC News Channel report, and admitted that trading is just a 'hobby' of his. 'I'm an attention seeker. That is the main reason I speak. That is the reason I agreed to go on the BBC,' he said. 'Trading is a like a hobby. It is not a business. I am a talker. I talk a lot. I love the whole idea of public speaking.' He added: 'I agreed to go on because I'm attention seeker. But I meant every word I said.' Challenged over Rastani's credentials, the BBC said: 'We've carried out detailed investigations and can't find any evidence to suggest that the interview with Alessio Rastani was a hoax.'

A woman in Brazil aged sixty one has announced her pregnancy. The mother-to-be, who has requested her identity to remain anonymous to the press, used a donor egg to be pregnant with her thirty eight-year-old husband. 'My husband wanted to be a father,' she told O Globo. 'I wanted to be a mother, too. I am in great health and I have undergone a very thorough medical clearance.' The woman is due in November. Earlier this month, another woman, aged fifty two, gave birth to twins, while her husband is eighty eight years old.

And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Here's a little near-forgotten pop classic from Cupid's Inspiration. The clip comes from Beat Club and, unfortunately, there's an introduction from the Hairy Cornflake himself.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Filming has begun on this year's Doctor Who Christmas special and the first pictures have started to appear online. The likes of Claire Skinner, Bill Bailey, Alexander Armstrong and Arabella Weir have signed up to appear alongside Matt Smith in the festive instalment - which is expected (though not yet confirmed) to be broadcast on Christmas Day. 'The Doctor at Christmas - nothing is more fun to write,' said showrunner The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat. 'Maybe because it's so his kind of day - everything's bright and shiny, everybody's having a laugh, and nobody minds if you wear a really stupid hat. Of all the Doctors, Matt Smith's is the one that was born for this time of year - so it's the best news possible that he's heading back down the chimney.' Sounds like a line yer actual Keith Telly Topping used in a bar once, dear blog reader. True story.
A second journalist at the heart of the Scum of the World phone-hacking scandal is taking Rupert Murdoch's News International to an employment tribunal, claiming unfair dismissal. Ian Edmondson filed his claim in April, but the case has only come to light in the wake of revelations that the paper's former chief reporter, Neville Thurlbeck, is also taking News International to an employment tribunal, claiming he was unfairly sacked. However, unlike Thurlbeck, Edmondson is not claiming that he was a 'whistle-blower' and, therefore, should not have been sacked because he disclosed wrong-doing on the paper. Edmondson was sacked in January this year after he was named by private investigator Glenn Mulcaire as the person who asked him to hack into the mobile phone of football agent Sky Andrew. As the former assistant editor of the disgraced and disgraceful Sunday tabloid, Edmondson was one of the most senior journalists on the paper. It is thought that Thurlbeck was only actually sacked by News International this month. Because he is using a whistle-blower's defence, his case is expedited through the system, with a preliminary employment tribunal hearing in East London on Friday of this week. News International said that it would 'vigorously contest' both cases. Thurlbeck was arrested in April on suspicion of unlawfully intercepting mobile phone voicemail messages but remained on the payroll of the paper until recently.
The Scum of the World paid staff of rival tabloid newspapers to hand over their news lists of stories, it emerged on Wednesday. According to the Gruniad Sue Harris, a secretary at the Sunday People, was sacked in 1995 after it was alleged she had sold stories obtained by the paper to the Scum of the World. She is believed to have received two hundred and fifty smackers a week for passing her paper's best scoops to the Scum of the World, which was then edited by the oily, vile and odious Piers Morgan. Several years later, two Daily Mirra reporters were sacked for a similar offence after Morgan joined the Mirra as editor from the Scum of the World. Morgan recounted the story in his best-selling book The Insider. Legal experts said that this revelation could leave the Scum of the World's former parent company News Corp vulnerable to legal action under US law because it could breach the Foreign and Corrupt Practices Act. Although the act was set up primarily to prevent American companies from bribing foreign officials, it is also an offence under the legislation to fail to keep a record of all payments made by a company listed in the US. That part of the act is enforced by the securities and exchange commission, American's stock market regulator. Mike Koehler, an assistant professor of business law at Butler University in Indianapolis, said: 'The reason this is an FCPA issue, perhaps, broadly is because the books, records and internal controls provisions apply to publicly traded businesses like News Corp. If the News of the World was making those payments and they weren't recorded you can be sure the SEC will be interested in those records.' Koehler added that because the Harris case took place many years ago, it was unlikely it could be cited by lawyers examining whether a prosecution could be brought against News Corp. 'Obviously there is a statute of limitations issue, but if [payments to rivals] happened in the last five years or so, I'd see the SEC becoming very interested in this.' Mark Lewis, the British lawyer whose clients include the family of Milly Dowler, teamed up with American legal experts last week to initiate legal proceedings against News Corp under US anti-corruption laws. Any such action is likely to focus on alleged payments by Scum of the World executives and journalists to British police officers. That is being investigated by officers at Scotland Yard's Operation Elveden. Koehler said the revelations about payments to staff on rival titles could also form part of that case. 'Every investigation has a point of entry. Once you're in an investigation they are not going to have blinkers on. They are going to go where the evidence leads them.' The Sunday People's owner, Trinity Mirror, declined to comment.

It takes a lot to shock Kelvin MacKenzie. But the moment the Metropolitan police laid in front of him the documentary evidence that his phone had been hacked he felt 'violated.' Perhaps now he knows how relatives of the Hillsborough victims feel after the newspaper which he edited ran spiteful, hurtful lies about the circumstances of their deaths. If you're fishing for sympathy, Kelvin, you despicable rotter, you're not going to get much on Merseyside, I fear. Justice for the Ninety Six. In this week's Spectator, the former Sun editor and columnist writes about the incident in terms that show the level of his distress at betrayal by journalistic colleagues. He does little to hide his displeasure at discovering the truth about the Scum of the World's interception of his mobile phone voicemail messages. He begins by explaining that he was called in by officers from Operation Weeting and shown 'a tatty binder with my name down the side.' He continues: 'Sheet one had my name on it with a number by the side. The next page was more interesting. It had the pin code used to access my phone's voicemails. Up to this moment I had always believed that the pin codes of mobiles were 0000 or 1111 and that's why it was so easy to crack. But no. In my case it was something like 367549V27418. That surely must kill the idea that the hackers guessed or blagged the number – they must have had inside help from the phone networks.' It gets even more interesting by the time he is shown the final page. It contained six dates in 2006 that gave the time and duration of his phone being hacked. He writes: 'For the first time I felt uneasy. If you have been editor of the Sun for twelve years, if you have floated and run a public company as founder, chairman and chief executive, very little worries or concerns you any more; your nerve endings have become encased in cement. But, oddly, I felt quite threatened by this invasion and understood more clearly why celebrities - no matter if they were A- or Z-listers - felt they had been violated. You see, there are three sides to this triangle and it's the last side where the money and the hurt lies. Side one is the name and mobile number. Side two is the actual hacking of the voicemail. Side three is information gained from the voicemail that has a value to the media.' MacKenzie does not lash out at anyone. He may have quit the Sun to join the Daily Scum Mail but he remains as loyal as ever to the News Corporation chief he always called 'boss.' He writes: 'I know Rupert Murdoch and I know he would have gone ballistic at the very thought of such actions.' But it is widely speculated that MacKenzie he has little time for the departed News International chief executive and well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks. In his Scum Mail column two weeks ago, he wrote about putting a voicemail message on his mobile saying: 'I'm sorry that I am not here right now but do leave a message and Rebekah will get right back to you.' He wrote: 'Rebekah didn't find it funny and told me so in an e-mail.' In private, it is understood that MacKenzie is much more disparaging of her, and his views about her management style more generally at News International are said to have played 'some part' in his decision to quit the Sun. He often wondered whether she was involved in making editorial decisions, despite having moved on from the Sun editorship, in order to advance or protect the company's wider commercial interests, not least the BSkyB deal. Nor was he enamoured with the editing skills of Dominic Mohan. He also thought the Sun's employment of Jeremy Clarkson as a columnist reeked of hypocrisy when the paper was publishing editorials criticising superinjunctions while Clarkson was publicly defending their use. MacKenzie has pledged not to sue News International. But the Spectator piece does suggest he is working towards settling accounts with his former employers.

A Labour MP has alleged that phone-hacking at News International has gone 'far beyond the News of the World' as he claimed that the Sun is also implicated in illegal practices. Tommy Watson (power to the people!) made the allegation during an emergency motion debate on the phone-hacking scandal at the Labour party conference which called for James Murdoch to stand down as chairman of BSkyB in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal that rocked Rupert Murdoch's media empire this summer. The scandal took centre stage at the party conference on Tuesday morning as speakers took turn to lament Labour's past era of cosy relationships with media barons and called for measures to clamp down on bad practice by media companies and journalists. Watson warned Labour activists that the scale of phone hacking at the now closed Scum of the World could be the tip of the iceberg. 'Do you really think that hacking only happened on the News of the World?' he said. 'Ask Dominic Mohan, the current editor of the Sun. He used to joke about lax security at Vodafone when he attended celebrity parties. Ask the editor of the Sun if he thinks Rupert Murdoch's contagion has spread to other newspapers. If he gives you an honest answer, he'll tell you it's only a matter of time before we find the Sun in the evidence file of the convicted private investigator that hacked Milly Dowler's phone. This month we learn that journalists at The Times are affected by this scandal. The paper is shutting down its BlackBerry phone network – I hope they aren't deleting the records.' The emergency motion called for trade unions to have a role on the press watchdog and for the rules governing media ownership in Britain to be examined in the wake of the affair. Watson turned on the case for applying the 'fit and proper' test to News International, a company he described as 'sick' with corruption and criminality from 'top to bottom. Let's tell Ofcom what we think about James Murdoch,' he said. 'I wouldn't put him on the board of an ornamental garden. He's certainly not a fit and proper person to chair a major broadcaster.' Watson was among a number of speakers who hailed the leadership of Ed Milimolimandi following revelations over the summer of how widespread phone-hacking had been at News international, and contrasted it to Labour's past closeness to Rupert Murdoch under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Watson, who received a standing ovation from delegates over his persistent questioning on phone-hacking which, more than anyone else, has kept the topic in the public eye when nobody else wanted to touch it with a bargepole, said MPs had to 'accept our shame of the blame' but said that Labour had, at least, acted quickly in response to hacking allegations. He said that hacking had been allowed to take place because of 'police failure, a newspaper out of control, politicians refusing to act. There is no point in us glossing over it. We got too close to the Murdochs and allowed them to become too powerful,' he said. 'As a party, we got there in the end. When Ed got up at prime minister's question time and said what he said about the Murdochs, like you I thought, "That is the leader I want." This is the Labour party I want to be part of.' He went on: 'Now our leadership must spearhead seeing the reforms through. It is not just about the News of the World or just about phone-hacking. Murdoch should also tell us about the computer hackers, the people who left Trojan devices on computer hard-drives enabling them to read e-mails.' Chris Bryant told the conference that Labour's past relationship with the Murdoch empire was 'not our finest moment' as he urged the party to 'choose our bedfellows with a little more care' in the future. Ivan Lewis, the shadow lack of culture secretary, underlined Labour's new approach to the media mogul as he told delegates that Labour would create 'tougher' media ownership laws and a register which could see errant journalists barred from the profession. Lewis said the history of the relationship between Labour and the Murdoch press was a 'complex and tortuous one. But what can never be complex or tortuous is the responsibility of politicians to stand up in the public interest without fear or favour.' Setting out his reforms, he said: 'Never again can one commercial organisation have so much power and control over our media. In the period ahead, Labour will bring forward proposals for new, tougher cross-media ownership laws.' While a free press was 'non-negotiable,' Lewis said that with freedom also comes responsibility. 'Neither the current broken system of regulation nor state oversight will achieve the right balance,' he said. 'We need a new system of independent regulation, including proper, like-for-like, redress which means that mistakes and falsehoods on the front page receive apologies and retraction on the front page. And as with other professions, the industry should consider whether people guilty of gross malpractice should be struck off.' Lewis also said it was time David Cameron 'came clean' about the appointment of former Scum of the World editor Andy Coulson as his communications chief. Bryant, a former minister whose phone was hacked, told Labour delegates that he hoped those involved in phone hacking and the ensuing cover-up would go to jail. He hit out at those who had 'lied and lied and lied' to parliament during the hacking investigation. Earlier this month, he claimed that he had tracked fifty three lies told to parliament. But he said his tireless researcher had now tallied that a total of four hundred and eighty six lies had been told to parliament. 'I hope that people will go to jail for the criminal cover-up that happened at News of the World,' he said. 'But there is a bigger scandal, because it is the monopoly that BSkyB have. The fact that they've got eighty per cent of the pay-TV market and ninety five per cent in the pay-TV market in many places. They can hoover up television rights, and hardly produce a decent programme of their own. That is one of the things that we should be dealing with – the monopoly at BSkyB.' Unite general secretary Len McCluskey pressed for a 'long overdue' review of the rules governing media ownership in the UK and told the conference that there should be an element of 'shame' in the party over the way past leaderships helped to 'prop up' the Murdoch empire. In a swipe at former premier Tony Blair, he said: 'The Labour party needs to learn lessons – and they won't be learned by standing down by the banks of the Jordan blessing Murdoch's children. They will be learned by setting up the two commissions called for in this motion. One is for an overdue look at the rules controlling media ownership and the unacceptable concentration of power, of which the Murdoch empire is the worst example. And the second is to look at a still wider question – how independent trade unions are essential in ensuring that the rich and powerful do not get it all their own way. That they do not control our politics without the slightest counter-balance in society as a whole.' Milimolimandi has pledged to work with actor Hugh Grant on media reforms. The actor, who has become a champion for the Hacked Off campaign that is pressing for tougher sanctions and restrictions on the press, claims some newspapers will be 'back to their old tricks' soon and questioned whether Labour MPs would still stand up to the media when the furore had died down. Grant met the Labour leader on Monday night to press his case at the party's conference in Liverpool. A senior Labour source said it was 'an excellent meeting. Ed expressed his thanks for Hugh's work in the Hacked Off campaign and they said they would work together in future.'

This blogger is intrigued by the new Sky One trailer for its drama line-up. It kicks off with the words 'original British drama.' Which is, as most dear blog readers will recall, the tagline for the BBC's campaign, which began in April and is still running (the latest BBC trail, excellently, features The Jam's 'Start!' as its soundtrack). All this begs the question just how 'original' is Sky's 'original British drama' trail?

Harry Hill has reportedly quit his ITV series TV Burp. The popular show returns for its eleventh run on 8 October, with the Sun claiming that the comic turned down a one million smackers pay rise to sign on for more. The forty six-year-old previously admitted that working on the BAFTA Award-winning show, which sees Hill poke fun at the week's TV, was 'a drag,' saying that the longer runs had left him feeling 'completely mental.' Hill - who is currently appearing in drag in the somewhat mental This is Jinsy for Sky - is said to be planning to focus on working on Simon Cowell's rumoured The X Factor musical, which he was linked to last week. 'Harry kept telling people how much he hated doing it but they thought he was joking. He wasn't,' an alleged 'source' allegedly told the alleged newspaper. An ITV spokesperson said that another series of TV Burp 'would air in 2012,' while production company Avalon responded: 'Harry has a lot of commitments in the next year, but a final decision has not yet been reached.'

CSI creator Anthony Zuiker is developing a new drama for ABC. Chameleon will follow an undercover female FBI agent who is a master of disguise, according to Deadline. World Trade Centre writer Andrea Berloff will pen the pilot script and will also executive produce alongside Zuiker. Berloff worked with ABC last season on a proposed update of Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet. Zuiker - who is due to appear as a guest judge on America's Next Top Model - recently signed a three-year overall deal with ABC Studios. Other drama projects in development at ABC include a new legal series from Changing Lanes writer Michael Tolkin and a modern-day update of the Jekyll and Hyde story. A new medical drama from The Whole Truth creator Tom Donaghy and adventure series The Seven Wonders are also in the works.

John Thaw's daughter Abigail has signed up to appear in ITV's new Inspector Morse prequel. Endeavour will star Shaun Evans as a younger version of the legendary detective. Abigail Thaw has now joined the cast of the drama, the Sun reports. 'Abigail's a brilliant actress in her own right,' Evans said. 'It was amazing having her on set.' Thaw has previously appeared in shows including Vanity Fair, The Bill, Casualty, Love Soup, Midsomer Murders and Doctors. Endeavour is being produced as part of the celebrations surrounding the Twenty Fifth anniversary of the first episode of Morse.

Carol Vorderman has said that she won't talk about her sex life on Loose Women, to avoid embarrassing her children. And scaring the horses, no doubt. The presenter, who joined the ITV lunchtime panel show earlier this month, told the Mirra that she would not be joining in the frank discussions about her fellow stars' bedroom antics. 'No, no, no, no, no,' Vorderman said. 'There are things you can discuss, just as you would with your own girlfriends, without giving away too much. I'll just think of my mum back home watching me and telling me off. And I wouldn't want to embarrass Katie and Cameron in front of their friends. But if the other ladies are happy talking about sex, that's up to them. I'm not at all judgemental of other people. Denise [Welch] and Carol [McGiffin], carry on!' The former Countdown number-cruncher, who says turning fifty 'changed' her, admitted that she is enjoying the single life, having split from partner Des Kelly earlier this year. 'I've always been with someone from the age of fifteen, I've always had a boyfriend, husband or lived with someone,' she said. 'Now's the first time in my life I've been single and I really like it. But that's not to say I'm not dating, by the way!'

Sunderland's centre half Titus Bramble has been arrested on suspicion of sexual assault and possession of a Class A drug. The thirty-year-old defender is being held by police on Teesside. Cleveland Police said that 'a thirty-year-old man from Wynyard' was 'arrested in Yarm in the early hours.' Sunderland AFC said in a statement: 'The club is looking into this matter but due to ongoing police investigations is unable to comment further at this stage.' Bramble, who began his career at his home town club, Ipswich, was picked ten times for England's Under-21s. He also played for yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved Newcastle - where he earned the nickname Titus Shambles for his frequent calamitous clangers - and Wigan Athletic, before joining Sunderland in 2010.

Meanwhile, four footballers, a substitute and their manager were all reportedly sent off in a recent match due to a heated argument over the colour of their underwear. Darren Adie was refereeing a game between Newport County and Bath City Academy in the FA Youth Cup when the furore happened, the Sun reports. In the first half, the referee ordered two Bath players, who were wearing white and black underwear respectively, to remove their offending items because the colours clashed with their red shorts. Law 4 reads: 'If undershorts are worn, they must be of the same main colour as the shorts.' With Bath temporarily down two men as the two players changed outside, Newport scored, igniting a number of confrontations which saw six members of the Bath team receiving a red card. Two hundred spectators eventually saw Newport win six nil. The Bath chairman said: 'It was farcical. The players were made to strip in front of the crowd, which is quite an ordeal for lads aged sixteen or seventeen.' The Football Association is reported to be investigating the incident.

Today's Keith Telly Topping's 45(s) of the Day is one that I've been planning for a while and has a special not-particularly fab feel to it. During the early 1970s when bootleg LPs of The Beatles unreleased recordings first started to appear all manner of unusual items were included which were claimed by those responsible to be 'lost Fab outtakes' but were, in fact, nothing of the sort. Of course, this was years before Mark Lewisohn's Complete Beatles Recording Sessions book came out in the late 1980s. Prior to that, what The Beatles actually had and hadn't recorded in and out of Abbey Road was still shrouded in fab-gear mystery and discombobulation. Here, then, are five such 'not-Beatle' artefacts. Starting with 'Have You Heard The Word?' a song which appeared on many an illegal Fab Four release in the 70s and 80s claiming to be a John Lennon song recorded during either the Sgt Pepper or Magical Mystery Tour period. Of course it's neither. It's actually a 1970 single by a band called The Fut who were, basically, Maurice Gibb of The Bee Gees (doing a superb Lennon impression) and a couple of other blokes. To be fair, it did fool a lot of people including, apparently, Yoko who reportedly tried to copywrite the song during the 1980s. Only to subsequently discover that it wasn't her late husband, the old alcoholic wife-beating Scouse junkie's work at all.
Another regular feature on many early Beatles bootlegs was a song called 'The LS Bumblebee.' The odd thing is that, unlike most of the others not-Beatles recordings which masqueraded as the real thing, this doesn't really sound anything like the Beatles. It's actually the great Peter Cook and Dudley Moore doing a rather funny pastiche of the Pet Sound-era Beach Boys in a song - very obviously - about drugs. There is a sort of Beatles link to the recording in so much as the song was premiered by the classic comic duo during their Christmas 1966 TV special Not Only ... But Also in the same episode that Lennon made his well remembered cameo acting appearance as Dan The Doorman of The Ad-Lav Club. Nevertheless, despite what you might've heard to the contrary on You Tube, 'The L.S. Bumble-Bee' is not 'an unreleased Beatles recording from 1967' but, rather, a single, on Decca, by two of the greatest comedians this country has ever produced.
When 'We Are The Moles' was released in 1968, many people assumed that it was The Beatles recording under a pseudonym. The certainly sounds like an atypical 'I Am The Walrus'-style piece of Spike Milligan-meets-Lewis Carroll-down-the-UFO-club-for-a-cup-of-tea weirdo Lennonism. The lyrics appear to allude to it having been recorded by someone covering their true identity - 'hiding our faces/revealing our souls' - and the fact that it was on the Parlophone label was, surely a further clue that it must be The Beatles? In fact, it was a single concealing the true identity of the band behind it (and they did record on Parlophone) but, rather than The Beatles it was actually the far-less-famous Simon Dupree and the Big Sound. Anyway, it's still a great slab of late-period Brit psychedelia.
Similarly, two songs called 'Shades of Orange' and 'Living Loving Scared' cropped up on more than a few Beatles bootlegs and (quite a few Rolling Stones ones as well). Indeed, one or two of these even alleged that the recordings were by The Beatles and The Stones together in the same studio but they were never released by they were on different labels. The truth, as ever, is far more mundane. The songs were the respective A and B sides of a single by a band called The End who were produced by Bill Wyman. But, it's not The Beatles.
The last one is the most curious of all, by virtue of the fact that whilst it's pretty certain it isn't by The Beatles nobody has yet come forward to actually claim responsibility for thae damn thing. 'The Candle Burns' (also known as 'Peace of Mind') first seems to have surfaced sometime around 1973. It was claimed to have come from a cassette tape which was 'found in a rubbish bin' outside Apple's Saville Row HQ circa 1970. And that's all anybody knows about it. The - very rough and demo-like - recording does, vaguely, sound like some of Lennon's home recordings from the mid-to-late 60s and for at least one chap, that in and of itself is proof that it's a genuine article regardless of the lack of an explanation as to how this ended up in the hands of bootleggers in the early 70s whilst we had to wait for a further twenty years to hear most of the rest of Lennon's home recording archive of that vintage. Lyrically, the song is also slightly reminiscent of other Lennon output from that era, such as 'Tomorrow Never Knows' and 'She Said She Said', although George Harrison has also been mentioned as its possible songwriter. Indeed, on the CD bootleg Day Tripping, the song is attributed to Harrison and given the name 'Pink Litmus Shirt', a reference to definitely spurious Beatles song title 'Pink Litmus Paper Shirt.' Many experts on The Beatles and their recordings are unconvinced. Both Mark Lewisohn and Doug Sulpy completely ignore the song in their books on the subject. Richie Unterberger allows for a slight possibility of a Beatles origin, stating: 'Unless some surprising proof is unearthed, it must be assumed that 'Peace of Mind' is not the Beatles - though not beyond the shadow of a doubt.' John Winn, author of several books documenting Beatles recordings, was asked his opinion about the song and was quoted as replying: 'The only surprising thing about this is that so many people still believe it might have a Beatles connection, despite the fact that no evidence of such a title has turned up in the EMI tape log, the Lennon home archive, the eighty hours of Get Back sessions, copyright records, any written documentation, or any interview (Paul, Ringo, and George Martin have all been asked about 'Peace Of Mind' and/or 'The Candle Burns' and it didn't ring a bell with any of them). I would bet my entire collection that it's not a Beatle recording.' Decide for yourselves, dear blog reader.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

In My Lonely Room I’d Sit My Mind In An Ice Cream Cone

Philip Glenister has apparently angered the creator of Ashes to Ashes, Matthew Graham. Speaking in this week's Radio Times top promote his new drama, Hidden, Glenister alleged that he had coined the Gene Hunt catchphrase 'Fire up the Quattro!' He said: 'The writers maintain "Fire up the Quattro!" was their idea, but it was mine. They will dispute it but - sorry guys - put it in print,' the actor claimed. However, Graham hit back on Twitter: 'In the Radio Times you will read that Phil created "Fire Up The Quattro!" He didn't. Nor did "the writers". It was me. I have drafts of Ashes going back to before he was even shown the script. Originally it was "fire up the Princess."' The writer further claimed that Glenister was not fond of the line initially, adding: 'I sat down and deliberately coined a phrase that might rival [Life on Mars catchphrase] "armed bastards." Phil didn't like the line. Wanted to drop it.' Graham concluded: 'Thanks Phil. Great timing mate. Thank you for that deluded ego trip. That sideways jibe. That public sneer after I sing your praises. Thanks for reducing five years by referring to [co-creator] Ashley Pharoah and I as "the writers." I've decided to go fishing. I look forward to Phil's next screenplay. I hear it's a thriller that "some writer" helped him with.' Ooo, blimey. Do not piss off The Writer. That's a bad move Philip, you'll never hear the last of it!

ITV has apologised after footage which it claimed was from an IRA propaganda video was, in fact, from a computer game. The pictures were used in Exposure, a documentary broadcast on ITV on Monday which focused on Colonel Gadaffi's links with the republican movement. It claimed that footage labelled 'IRA film 1988' was of terrorists using Libyan weapons to shoot down an aircraft. The pictures were, in fact, from a game called ArmA2. ITV has said the mistake was 'an unfortunate result of human error.' And that the human who erred has not been taken out and shot. The website PC Gamer first raised concerns about the footage which showed black smoke pouring out of the stricken aircraft. In a statement ITV said: 'The events featured in Exposure: Gaddafi and the IRA were genuine but it would appear that during the editing process the correct clip of the 1988 incident was not selected and other footage was mistakenly included in the film by producers. This was an unfortunate case of human error for which we apologise.' The game's developer, Bohemia, said that the studio was not aware ITV had used footage from its game, and branded the case as very misleading. 'It is very weird to see our game used this way, especially considering the journalists were simply unable to tell the difference between reality and game footage and described a short film clearly made using our game ArmA2 with what they call real IRA footage from 1988,' CEO Marek Spanel told Spong. 'At the moment we are gathering further information about the matter but I already had the chance to see the documentary and so far I am not sure how they could make such an obvious mistake.' He added: 'On a somewhat more positive note, we consider this as a bizarre appreciation of the level of realism incorporated into our games.'

ONE Show host Alex Jones has been described as 'dancing like a Thunderbird' in Strictly Come Dancing training by her professional partner, James Jordan. Jones and Jordan are currently in rehearsals for the first Strictly live shows, which launch with a double bill this weekend. Jones will be dancing a cha cha cha. Teasing the TV presenter about her awkwardness on the dancefloor, Jordan revealed that Jones currently has numerous nicknames including 'Bambi stilts, when you have shoes on,' 'kangaroo' and 'oven ready. Because it looks like you're about to put something in the oven.' Talking about her Thunderbird nickname, Jones laughed: 'Don't you always think of Thunderbirds, when you think of the cha cha cha?' Jordan replied: 'No, but when I look at you, I do.'

A financial trader who appeared on the BBC was not a hoaxer, the broadcaster has insisted after doubt was cast on his credentials by those Communist lice scum at the Gruniad Morning Star. It issued a statement after Twitter users suggested that Alessio Rastani was not a trader. 'We've carried out detailed investigations and can't find any evidence to suggest that the interview was a hoax,' the BBC said. In the interview, Rastani said traders 'dream of recessions.' He was interviewed live on the BBC News Channel on Monday and said: 'For most traders, we don't really care that much how they're going to fix the economy, how they're going to fix the whole situation - our job is to make money from it. Personally I've been dreaming of this moment for three years. I have a confession, which is I go to bed every night, I dream of another recession.' He then added: 'The governments don't rule the world. Goldman Sachs rules the world. Goldman Sachs does not care about this rescue package, neither does the big funds.' After Twitter speculation that he was a member of hoaxers The Yes Men, the BBC press office made enquiries and concluded: 'He is an independent market trader and one of a range of voices we've had on air to talk about the recession.' On his website, Rastani describes himself as 'an experienced stock market and forex trader and professional speaker.'

Ofcom has fined Al Ehya Digital Television seventy five thousand spondoolicks for 'repeated breaches' of the broadcasting code in the Saturday Night Special programme aired on Noor TV. Noor TV is a general entertainment and Islamic education channel broadcast on Sky, and Saturday Night Special features presenters taking calls from viewers who donate money to the channel in return for prayers. In June, Ofcom found the show guilty of 'various breaches of its Broadcasting Code,' including 'the exploitation of susceptible viewers, and unfair promotion of products and services.' The regulator said that the offer of 'inducements' for donations of up to one thousand quid, such as 'special gifts' and 'prayers that were claimed to improve the donor's health,' wealth or success, 'carried the risk that susceptible members of the audience may have been persuaded to donate money to Noor TV when they would not otherwise have done so. In particular, the appeal focused heavily on religious beliefs, which Ofcom considered had created an additional risk that susceptible viewers would have been more likely to make donations than they otherwise would have done,' the regulator added. Ofcom said that it was 'extremely concerned' that viewers donating money via the website of charity the Mohiuddin Trust under the belief that it was to fund Noor TV's programming were being 'misled,' because it understood that the cash did not actually go to its stated purpose. The watchdog also said that Saturday Night Special breached its rules by 'overly promoting a DVD.' Ofcom has decided that the breaches were 'sufficiently serious' as to require the imposition of a financial penalty of seventy five thousand smackers on Noor TV operator Al Ehya Digital Television. The fine is payable to the Paymaster General. Post-dated cheques are not acceptable, they want it in cash. Noor TV must also broadcast a statement of Ofcom's findings in a form and on a date decided by the regulator.

BBC3 has axed behind-the-scenes show Doctor Who Confidential. The series originally launched in 2005 to tie in with Doctor Who's revival. However, Confidential will not continue after the current sixth run due to BBC budget cuts, according to the Gruniad. BBC3's controller Zai Bennett is reportedly keen on 'focusing investment on original commissions in the future.' Bennett has recently cancelled a number of long-running BBC3 shows, including Ideal, Hotter Than My Daughter, Coming of Age and Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps. In a statement, a BBC spokeswoman said: 'Doctor Who Confidential has been a great show for BBC3 over the years, but our priority now is to build on original British commissions, unique to the channel.'

Terry O'Quinn has signed up for more episodes of Hawaii Five-0. The former Lost star was originally contracted to appear in six episodes of the CBS drama's second season. O'Quinn's role as Joe White has now been expanded, executive producer Peter Lenkov told TV Guide. 'His original deal was six episodes, and now we'll do another three,' he revealed. 'And we're hoping for even more.' O'Quinn recently admitted that he is keen to reunite on-screen with Lost co-star Michael Emerson. He has also signed up for a role in Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry's new ABC pilot Hallelujah, which is currently undergoing re-writes. 'Terry's a guy who really wants to get his own show, and he deserves that,' said Lenkov. That's his goal. But we'd love to make it work where he could do both.'

The Cure will play their first three LP in full at a rare UK show and again in the US later this year. The band will play Three Imaginary Boys, Seventeen Seconds and Faith at London's Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday 15 November. Labelled The Reflections Show, the band previously played the set at the Vivid Festival in Sydney. The Cure follow the London date with three US shows at the Pantages Theatre, LA on 21, 22 and 23 November and further dates at the Beacon Theatre, NYC on 25, 26 and 27 November.

Barry Gibb lookalike Robbie Savage has admitted: 'I'm not very good at all' Frankly, football fans have been telling the loudmouthed ex-Welsh international that for nearly two decades.

Sky News and the BBC's live coverage of the Labour party conference in Liverpool went off air for a few minutes during Ed Milimolmandi's keynote speech on Tuesday afternoon after a generator failed. It was particularly embarrassing for Sky as this occurred just after Milimolimandi had spoken of how 'sickened' he'd been by the revelations that the Scum of the World had hacked the phone of Milly Dowler. The Labour leader's address to the conference disappeared for about five minutes due to a technical fault with a contractor's truck that was supplying pooled footage to broadcasters. The BBC News channel switched to 5Live's audio coverage while the problem was being fixed but BBC2, which was also showing the speech, went blank. A BBC spokesman said: 'It was a technical fault caused by a generator failure in a contractor's truck which was supplying a pooled feed to broadcasters.' A spokesman for Sky News explained: 'Unfortunately during Ed Miliband's speech a junction box powering some of the broadcast trucks tripped and as a result we lost the feed to our live link. An alternative method of transmission was used via satellite to re-establish the live link. This process took approximately five minutes.' There were suggestions on Twitter that in the interests of balance and to avoid 'suggestions of conspiracy' the broadcasters should also go off air for the same amount of time during David Cameron's speech at the Conservative Party conference in October. Which would be a blessing.

A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced a woman to ten lashes for breaking the country's ban on female drivers. You have to pay good money for that sort of thing down in Soho. Or, you know, so this blogger is led to believe. The woman, identified only as Shema, was found guilty of driving in Jeddah in July. Women2drive, which campaigns for women to be allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, says she has already lodged an appeal. In recent months, scores of women have driven vehicles in Saudi cities in an effort to put pressure on the monarchy to change the law. The sentence comes two days after the Saudi leader King Abdullah announced women would be allowed to vote for the first time in 2015. Two other women are due to appear in court later this year on similar charges, correspondents say.

The latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day considers that there's time much hatred and nastiness in the world. It's time to let the Love in. Sing, Arthur.