Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick Or Tweet

The global economy is on the verge of a new - and deeper - jobs recession which may ignite social unrest on a worldwide scale, the International Labour Organization has warned. Not only that, but according to Maxwell's Second Law of Thermodynamics the universe is gradually slowing down and will, eventually, collapse inwardly upon itself, under the laws of entropy when all of its thermal and mechanical functions stop. Thus rendering all of human endeavour and achievement, ultimately, pointless. And, on that cheery though, here's yer latest batch of Keith Telly Topping's actual Top TV news:
Bet you never knew that the first word yer actual Keith Telly Topping said as a child was 'bleak', did you, dear blog reader? Well, you do now.

Well-known horrorshow (and drag) Nancy Dell'Olio became the fourth celebrity (or, to be most exact, the first 'alleged clebrity') to leave this year's Strictly Come Dancing. The 'lawyer and entrepreneur' - it says here - who has received the lowest score from the judges every week since the show began, was finally eliminated along with her partner, Anton du Beke, after the competition's Hallow'een special. Audley Harrison and Natalie Lowe also finished in the bottom two but were ahead of Dell'Olio when viewer votes were combined with the judging panel's verdict. Alesha Dixon had told Dell'Olio on Saturday evening's show that she is 'a walking disaster.' Which, coming from a waste-of-space like Dixon who has no obvious talent in any walk of life must've been a right kick in the naughty bits for poor old Nance. Dell'Olio and Anton du Beke finished at the bottom of the leaderboard yer again after their disastrous Hallow'een rumba was 'blasted' - that's tabloid-speak for 'criticised' only with less syllables - by the judges. Dixon was the strongest critic on the panel, claiming that it would have been better if Dell'Olio had remained in the stage prop coffin for the whole routine. 'I think you're a sexy woman and you know how to work it but I have to be honest, you are a walking disaster,' said the not-very-good singer and former Strictly champion. 'Your legs are so far apart and that's not very feminine. It was very ploddy.' That's not what Sven used to say. Allegedly. But we're probably best to steer clear of Nancy having her legs open. Oh no, very hot water. Dixon's criticism wasn't just confined to Dell'Olio, however; 'And the lift, Anton the lift was so unflattering. You both should have stayed in the coffin.' If I'd've been du Beke, personally, I'd've said 'I'm a professional dancer, Miss Dixon. I don't know what the fuck you are.' Tragically, he didn't. Craig Revel Horwood was, for once, upstaged in the critique and merely described it a 'dance horribilis' whilst Bruno Tonioli described his fellow Italian, Dell'Olio, was a 'zombie of Bond Street.' Head judge Len Goodman added the final twist of the knife: 'There were moments of Mills and Boon and moments of Meals on Wheels.' For their final dance together Dell'Olio and Du Beke left the show to the curious strains of a rather piss-poor cover version of The Specials' 'Ghost Town.' Too much fighting on the dance floor, indeed.

And, speaking of horrorshows (and reaping), Louis Walsh is reportedly considering replacing Tulisa Contostavlos with Cheryl Cole on The X Factor after Simon Cowell has ordered him to 'refresh' the panel. That is, of course, if The Heaton Horror would even consider coming back to the show which she flounced out of in high dudgeon earlier in the year. Tabloid claims suggest that Cowell has tasked the veteran judge with reversing the show's 'disastrous' ratings crash (see yesterday's blog for a bit of analysis and context to this), apparently giving him forty eight hours to decide if Contostavlos, Kelly Rowland or Gary Barlow will be 'axed.' Although, tragically, not with a real axe, it would seem. 'Simon will do anything to turn the show around,' an alleged 'source' allegedly told the Mirra. An alleged newspaper. 'It's no coincidence that as soon as the new team came in the viewers fell off. He thinks the only way to save he show is to get rid of some of the panel. Louis and Simon are best friends. Louis is his eyes and ears in the show, Simon's man on the ground, so he is the best-placed person to decide who gets the chop.' ITV have, of course, denied that Walsh is doing any such thing or anything even remotely like it. Time will tell. It usually does. So, if by Wednesday The X Factor hasn't announced any changes to its judging line-up then either the Mirra is lying, or they've been lied to by their alleged 'source.' If, indeed, he or she, actually exists. Which is unlikely. The Daily Scum Mail, meanwhile, said in relation to The X Factor being beaten in the overnight ratings by Strictly on Saturday, presumably, through gritted teeth: 'Despite the ITV show's dwindling audience, a source close to Cowell insisted: "Simon says it's good to have some healthy competition." He says "good on the BBC, well done, them."' Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's a made-up quote too. The Sun, meanwhile, went straight of the jugular: 'Shell-shocked producers made a series of late-night SOS calls to show supremo Cowell — believing his return is the only thing that can return it to its ratings dominance. And an exclusive poll for the Sun proves audiences agree with them — and that bosses are right to fear for the show's future [their italics, not mine]. A shock fifty five per cent of X Factor viewers surveyed said the show should be AXED after the current series is over.' Oh well, that's it then, they might as well all go home now if they've lost the Sun!

It's not been a good few days for Mr Cowell, frankly. In the Metro, Neil Sean also claims that FOX is 'less than happy' with the US X Factor's ratings of 'a mere' 11.6m, which 'is half of what American Idol gets.' However, Neil was assured that 'we are hopeful they will rise,' by a FOX 'insider.' Allegedly.

Sophie Habibis's dreams of stardom and wealth beyond the imagining of avarice (followed, a year later, by being back working on the tills at Tescos) have been shattered as she was unceremoniously booted off The X Factor on Sunday. Sophie's rendition of the XX's 'Shelter' was not enough to ensure her survival. On Saturday, her performance of Sonny Bono's 'Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)' was dubbed 'dull as dishwater' by judge Gary Barlow on the Halloween themed version of the ITV contest. And, as when Alesha Dixon criticises somebody, when Gary Barlow calls you 'dull', that's really got to hurt. But, Sophie has reportedly refused to blame Kelly Rowland for her surprise X Factor exit. Habibis told the Digital Spy website that the Destiny's Child singer was 'an inspiration' to work alongside and dismissed accusations that Rowland had neglected her acts. 'As much as everyone said that she didn't talk to us and that she wasn't there, she really was,' Habibis claimed. Several national newspapers, notably the Metro, had rather gone to town on Monday morning with stories of how viewers had appeared to 'punish' Rowland for missing the episode due to alleged ill-health. 'Sick X Factor judge Kelly Rowland phoned in to vote on Sunday's results show, but fans on Twitter were rather disbelieving of her excuse and claimed that she was to blame for acts Misha B and Sophie Habibis being in the bottom two,' they said. Their supporting evidence for this? Twitter. As though, once again, Twitter is now the sole sodding Arbiter of All Things. 'She had time for all of us. I want to give her praise, because she's such a good mentor. She really helped me a lot,' said Habibis. Rowland missed this week's X Factor live shows supposedly with a throat infection. Even a few celebrities got in on the kicking. Chat show host Jonathan Ross tweeted: 'Kelly Rowland is delivering the least believable sick voice I have ever heard. She's clearly not ill.' This Morning presenter Holly Willoughby seemed to think she was being incredibly clever and witty when she added: 'She was like the dude from Inspector Gadget!' That's a porn film, isn't it? Many viewers suggested that they wanted Rowland to phone in sick for them the next time they fancied a day off, while the odious oily twat Piers Morgan said: 'I think someone needs to politely explain to Kelly Rowland that quaint old showbiz phrase "the show must go on." Sick My Arse.' Which might be true but could somebody also explain to Piers Morgan that nobody likes you. Because you're a twat. Speaking about coping without her mentor this weekend, Habibis said: 'It was tough. It was tougher than I thought it would be. My main concern was Kelly's health and I want her to be well and better. I don't want her flying over when she's not well. The thing is that we all need to be able to do this on our own. I can't always have Kelly there in my life. I need to support myself and do it myself as well.' The nineteen-year-old added: 'I think what's meant to be is meant to be. It wasn't Kelly's fault. It just happened. You've just got to deal with it.'

Whilst all of this was going on, yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self was watching a documentary by Fiona Bruce (and her hardest working ass on TV) on Leonardo Da Vinci on BBC1, instead. Da Vinci: The Lost Treasure. And very good it was too.
Although, personally, I could've done with a wee bit more on my own personal favourite Da Vinci painting La Vierge, l'Enfant Jésus et Sainte Anne and a bit less on more familiar works.
And a few more shots of Fiona in that rather lovely yellow dress walking, seductively towards camera wouldn't have gone amiss either.
I don't know much about art, dear blog reader. But I know what I like.

Anyway, the television licence fee could be extended to cover catch-up services such as the BBC iPlayer as part of an overhaul of the levy being considered by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. British viewers must pay for a £145.50 television licence if they watch or record TV programmes as they are broadcast, whether viewed via a television, computer, mobile phone or video games console. However, computer catch-up services such as the iPlayer – via which one hundred and fifty three million television and radio programmes were broadcast in September – do not require a specific licence. The issue is likely to intensify over the next year, as a rash of new Internet-enabled set-top boxes, including the BBC-backed YouView, are expected to launch. A number of industry experts have suggested that services such as YouView, which will bring iPlayer to the television set, will result in increasing numbers of viewers claiming not to watch television 'live' as it is transmitted, instead pulling popular BBC programmes such as Doctor Who, Top Gear and Strictly Come Dancing or ITV shows like The X Factor and Downton Abbey from broadcasters' own catch-up offerings. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport, says that it is considering changes to the licence fee. A spokesman said: 'Government is aware of developing technologies and the changing viewing habits of those who watch television programmes. How the BBC is funded as these issues evolve is a matter the department will need to address in the near future.' The department would not comment on the changes it is considering, but the legislation governing the licence fee is contained within the Communications Act. The lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Hunt has already committed to a new communications bill within the current Parliament, and a green paper is expected to be published around Christmas. The vile and odious rascal Hunt said last year that the way the fee is collected may have to be rethought, but added: 'We are not going to introduce a PC licence fee.' The BBC insists that no changes are needed, pointing to its own research showing that only 0.2 per cent of households watch only catch-up television, with no live viewing, each week. A spokesman said: 'We believe the current system works very efficiently and do not see a need to change its scope at present.' However, research carried out by the BBC Trust in 2009, before services such as YouView were conceived, conceded that changes may be necessary. In its 2009 review of licence fee collection, the Trust wrote: 'It is not yet clear whether households are likely to switch to Internet streaming as the sole method of watching television, avoiding the use of a dedicated television set. It is clear, however, that this is happening in some segments – research for the BBC Executive shows that forty per cent of students in halls of residence use a laptop as their main way to watch TV. Households may also take the opportunity that Video on Demand presents to forgo live television entirely, although the pull of live events may act against this.'

The relaxation of TV product placement rules raised the possibility that regulars at Coronation Street's Rovers Return would be swapping their fictional Newton and Ridley ale for a pint of Boddingtons. However, the first product placement in the ITV soap will take a rather more mundane form, with a Nationwide Building Society cash machine appearing in Dev Alahan's corner shop next month. The ATM will replace an unbranded prop cash machine from Monday 14 November, and the building society will also have a branded sign outside the shop. The deal, thought to be for an initial period of four months, marks the first product placement in a UK primetime show. But it is hardly the deluge of brands being thrust on to viewers' screens that had been predicted in some quarters when product placement rules were relaxed by the media regulator Ofcom in February. Product placement got off to a slow start, with only about half a dozen deals struck in the first six months, for daytime and weekend programming. They included ITV's first, with Nescafe featuring its Dolce Gusto coffee machine on This Morning. The slow start has been put down to factors including broadcasters being unfamiliar with the new rules and not wanting to fall foul of regulations which forbid product placement of junk food or alcoholic drinks and ban it altogether on children's and news programmes and in UK-produced current affairs, consumer affairs and religious shows. Nick Price, a branded content expert at the media buying agency MPG, which brokered Coronation Street's tie-up with Nationwide, said cracking a show such as the soap could mark a tipping point for a wave of new product placement deals. Gary Knight, the commercial content director at ITV, said: 'Editorial integrity remains at the heart of what we do as we continue to talk our clients about a number of product placement opportunities, spanning a range of programmes and channels.' Some forecasts estimated that the UK product placement market might rapidly grow to be worth up to one hundred million spondoolicks annually based on developments in the US, where brands have featured within TV shows for years. However, Ofcom was more circumspect, forecasting that it might be worth twenty five to thirty million wonga annually within a few years. The organisation's regulations state that product placement must be editorially justified, not gratuitously added to a storyline or scene, there must not be any 'undue prominence' given to the product and that a small letter P must be shown on screen to alert viewers to the existence of a product.

Helen Flanagan has revealed why she has quit ITV soap Coronation Street. The actress has played the role of Rosie Webster since 2000 but earlier this month it was announced she was quitting the Manchester based soap. The news came after the actress reportedly suffered a series of panic attacks on the set and her decision to quit was linked to those attacks in several tabloid stories. However, in a new interview with Hello magazine the actress reveals the real reason why she decided to quit Corrie. 'I didn't enjoy playing her when she went through a promiscuous phase. I'd always felt I would leave by the time I was twenty one, but when I made up my mind, it wasn't even as if I had a choice. I just knew instinctively. After twelve years playing Rosie, it is time to be myself.'

Mathew Horne refused to be interviewed for a programme about James Corden it has been claimed. Oily twat Piers Morgan revealed on Life Stories that the actor declined to make an appearance. The Gavin & Stacey pair became best friends for a time, but split up their partnership after their utterly risible eponymous BBC3 sketch show and their wretched movie Lesbian Vampire Killers were both panned by critics. Morgan told Corden: 'We asked him to take part in this programme, and he chose not to.' Corden, appeared slightly uncomfortable but responded: 'I didn't know that,' before adding, 'But I can understand why. Because it's a hard time to talk about. And I still hope one day we can do something together, again. It won't be a TV show or a sketch show.' Plus, you know, maybe he just doesn't like you anymore.

And, speaking of unfunny double acts, David Walliams has reportedly been approached to join both The Voice and Britain's Got Talent. The Little Britain comedian has repeatedly been linked to the ITV talent show and rumours of his involvement escalated following Michael McIntyre's decision to quit the judging panel last month. However, the People reports that the BBC has attempted to 'snare' Walliams away from ITV, apparently offering him 'a fortune' to host the upcoming talent contest. 'The stations are at loggerheads,' an alleged 'source' allegedly claimed. 'David can't believe it and finds it very flattering. He thinks The Voice is one of the biggest events around the world and being the face of it is tempting. But David also loves Britain's Got Talent. He has a lot of experience and he knows about quality talent acts. David is more tempted by the BBC as Simon Cowell's shows seem more about in-fighting than talent these days. The Voice is with the panel turning their backs to judge contestants on their voices alone. But David would be head judge on Britain's Got Talent whereas he would just be presenting The Voice,' claimed the source. 'He just has to make a decision.'

Saint Bob's daughter Peaches Geldof, according to the Metro's Green Room gossip column has told 'pals' that she won't be going shopping alone again after the latest incident of alleged shoplifting. And, again, we ask the most important question here, does anyone, anywhere still use the word 'pal' as anything other than a dismissive pejorative or an term of ironic and casual disdain. 'Are you looking at me, pal?' and the like. Anyway: 'I am scared to just even look into a shop window now,' Peaches confesses. Probably a good idea to pay somebody to do your shopping for you in that case, m'love. it's not like you're short of cash, nor nothing.

Not since Rory Cellan-Jones was a utility cub reporter, freezing his nuts off by militant firefighters' braziers and forced to schlep to Heathrow daily to quiz strike-hit queuers, has the BBC's technology correspondent had such a bad day at work. Last week Rory began to phone in a report to Radio 4's The World at One on Wednesday, but after a burst of excited burbling there was nothing but silence; he later tweeted that his 'career hit a new low in a toilet on a South West train between Woking and Winchester' due to 'non-existent 3G.' Adding to the poignancy, or perhaps comedy, was the event he was covering: the Nokia phone launch. Let's hope the poor chap picked up something more reliable at the event.

Occupy London activists have lodged a complaint with the Press Complaints Commission about national newspaper claims that their encampment was unoccupied overnight. The story, originally broken in the Torygraph on Tuesday, purported to prove using high-tech thermal imaging equipment that ninety per cent of tents at the site were left empty overnight. A video shot by the Torygraph and posted on their website showed row upon row of dark coloured tents outside St Paul's, while those walking around the encampment appeared on camera brightly illuminated. The story – which was followed up on the front page of The Times under the headline, St Paul's 11:12, just one protest tent is occupied and also in the Daily Scum Express and on the Daily Scum Mail's website – was cited in condemnation of protesters in parliament. It drew calls from City of London councillors that the campsite was a 'phantom protest.' The Gruniad has also learned that similar claims of unoccupied tents were used in a City of London document to set out the case for the camps eviction. The PCC complaint over accuracy was prompted when activists from the camp decided to hire the exact same thermal camera – the FLIR P60 – from the same Surrey-based Thermal Imaging Ltd company used by the newspapers and repeated the experiment on Thursday night. In a series of experiments witnessed by the Gruniad, activists discovered that it is virtually impossible to 'see' inside tents using the camera as there is not enough of a heat signature which seeps out of the tents for the camera to pick up despite adjusting contrast settings. Even with six people inside a standard two person tent the thermal camera showed a blacked-out shelter until activists reemerged into the open. They then produced a video which they posted on Youtube.
An activist at the camp - who said that he wanted to be known simply as James - claimed that he had hired the camera because he felt the claims were untrue. 'When we pointed the camera at tents we found that people show up very brightly when they're outside but as soon as they get inside the tents, it is as if they disappear. That made us question all of the controversy surrounding the claims that so many protesters are not staying in the camps. I wanted to do [the experiment] to expose the lies around people's commitment to the camp. There were a lot of people putting a lot of time into making this encampment work and they were facing a constant barrage of hostility from certain parts of the media.' He added that they knew it was the same camera as used by the Torygraph because the newspaper footage was still on the camera when they hired it. All of which is very interesting and anything which exposes the frequent and pernicious lies told in newspapers for all political stripes has this blogger's complete support. But, I must say, it's a bit odd to hear people who are supposedly protesting about Big Business using the methods of Big Business to make their point. I'm reminded of that line in The Young Ones when Rik says that he's going to write to his MP. Vyvyan points out that Rik claims to be an anarchist therefore, surely, he doesn't have an MP which, of course, forces Rik, instead, to write to 'the lead singer of Echo and the Bunnymen.' ('Dear Mr Echo...'). Perhaps a more obvious example of this odd dichotomy can be found in one of the main and most visual symbols of the current 'Occupy' protest - the semi-ubiquitous V For Vendetta Guido Fawkes masks being worn at many protests on the streets of London, New York, Rome et al. Okay, they're a very interesting symbolic image, particularly when you take into consideration the plot of the comic (and film) from which they come which is about protest in all its forms. However, the irony of the fact that the masks are copywrite of - and the profits from their sale go to - one of the biggest multinational corporations in the world - Time Warner - surely can't be lost on anyone? You're either part of the solution or you're part of the problem.
McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh is - bizarrely - pinning some of the blame for Lewis Hamilton's string of clashes with Felipe Massa on Jenson Button's impressive form. Isn't that a bit like saying the reason Moscow Chelski FC have gotten beat twice this week is because Sheikh Yer Man City are better than them? Curious logic, I'd've said. Hamilton and Massa collided again during Sunday's Indian Grand Prix as Button finished second behind winner Sebastian Vettel. 'Lewis, the great, exciting driver that he is, will not like being beaten by Jenson,' said Whitmarsh. 'For any driver, the first driver you want to beat is your team-mate.' Hamilton, the 2008 world champion, came home a very disappointing seventh in India after his chances of a podium finish were ruined by a crash whilst trying to pass Massa on lap twenty four. Massa was adjudged to be in the wrong, receiving a drive-through penalty before retiring later in the race after hitting a kerb and damaging the front suspension on his Ferrari. Button, meanwhile, finished a strong runner-up behind world champion Vettel to consolidate his second place in the overall championship, thirty eight points ahead of fellow Briton Hamilton, who is fifth behind Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Red Bull's Mark Webber. Button, the 2009 world champion, has recorded three wins and been on the podium ten times this season. Hamilton has scored two victories of his own but has had far few podium finishes and has also picked up six penalties, including a three-place grid drop in India for ignoring caution flags. McLaren team principal Whitmarsh added: 'Lewis will be feeling under pressure because of the great performances from Jenson at the moment. I don't want him to enjoy being beaten by his team-mate. I want him to try to beat Jenson, just as I want Jenson to try to beat Lewis.' Whitmarsh added that he felt Massa was also struggling to come to terms with the dominant form of Ferrari team-mate Alonso. 'Felipe is under enormous pressure within that team and that causes him to react,' he said. Hamilton, who recently split with long-time girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger, has suffered a number of disappointments this season. The fact that he's not longer getting any from Nicole Scherzinger being, one would suggest, one of the biggest ones. Asked whether he felt Hamilton had been 'too hard on himself,' Whitmarsh replied: 'Yes, I do frankly.' Although, without Nicole Scherzinger's presence one might imagine that Hamilton 'being hard on himself' may prove someone more challenging than usual. 'I have told him on several occasions, "Don't apologise, you're a racing driver. If you've made a mistake, accept it, learn from it and move on." He is very analytical. He's very serious about trying to do the best job he can. He's much too hard on himself but I've known Lewis for a long, long time and he has always been like that since he was in karts. That's his way, that's his psychology and that's how he motivates himself. His body language this weekend has been much more positive than for the last races. He has all the skills. We saw him qualify and race fantastically at the last race [in Korea, where he finished second] and qualify fantastically here. It can change.' The latest clash between Hamilton and Massa came on lap twenty four of the race at the Buddah International Circuit. The two touched as Hamilton dived down the inside of his Brazilian rival at Turn Five. The nose of Hamilton's car was damaged in the incident, forcing him to pit, but Massa managed to continue. The pair had previously touched wheels in both Monaco and Singapore, resulting in a drive-through penalty for the McLaren star on each occasion. Hamilton, who pipped Massa to the world title in 2008, has admitted the relationship between the two drivers is not good - but Whitmarsh rejected suggestions that he and Ferrari should organise a meeting to clear the air. 'They are men, they've got to figure it out for themselves,' said the McLaren chief, who said he had spoken to Ferrari about the pair.

Cher Lloyd has admitted that the reaction she received during and following her time on The X Factor nearly made her quit her music career altogether. Which comes as a considerable surprise to those of us who never realised she's started in the first place.
The U2 Group's Mr Adam Clayton (one of The Other Two) has admitted that living with frontman Mr Bonio out of The U2 Group was 'very hard.' The bassist shared a house with Mr Bonio out of The U2 Group and Mr Larry Mullen (the other one of The Other Two) in Los Angeles in 1987. Clayton told Q: 'It was a mad house. I think Bono drove us mad. It's very hard to live with Bono. It was a house that was due to be demolished and was built in blocks around a pool. We each had a bedroom and living area; it was basically a commune.' The fifty one-year-old added: 'Bono would find all these things to do late at night, all these underground clubs.' Guitarist Mr The Edge out of the U2 Group chose to live away from the rest of the band to focus on work. 'It was a strange time for me - things weren't going great at home,' Mr Claypole of The U2 Group explained. 'Then up the road, the others. People were really enjoying the fact they were in a rock band that was a big success. It was like being in a candy store - a lot of partying, a relatively hedonistic time. It was more of a refuge for me, I was throwing myself into work.' Mr Bonio out of the U2 Group was unavailable for comment. Which is jolly unusual as you can seldom shut the bugger up. On just about any subject.

The bookmaker Paddy Power has muscled in on DQF, offering punters generous looking odds of six-to-one that 'BBC bigwigs' will have a change of heart on its proposed local radio cuts after a 'stellar' performance in last week's Rajar listening figures. 'Whilst Radio 4, which is being protected from major cuts, has seen just a slight rise in audience, it is clear many people find BBC local radio a turn-on,' said the bookie. Lord Patten please take note. Paddy Power has spoken.
Woof!

A US man has been hospitalised after claiming to have severed his arm in a homemade guillotine. Professionals at a urology clinic in Bellingham, Washington contacted police on Thursday after the man showed that his right arm had been sliced off above the elbow. One imagines that might, conceivably, have hurt a bit. Police told the Bellingham Herald that officers searched the area surrounding the clinic for the severed limb, eventually discovering it at a transient camp along with an elaborate handcrafted guillotine. The appendage was sent to a medical centre in Seattle, to which the man had been airlifted, in the hope that it could be reattached. The unidentified patient is currently believed to be in 'a serious condition' in an intensive care unit. Authorities believe that the injury was 'self-inflicted.'

A ninety two-year-old woman was refused service at an off-licence because she was unable to prove she was over eighteen. Diane Taylor, who is a great-grandmother, was unable to provide photo identification at a One Stop Shop in Essex while trying to purchase some alcohol for her son. 'It seemed so stupid, I thought the cashier was complimenting me,' Taylor told the Mirra. 'But then I realised that she was being serious so I pulled out my bus pass, my blood donor's card but it was no good, she said she wanted proof of age. I was so taken aback I didn't know what to do.' Errr... never shop there again, perhaps? Taylor said that she refused to believe she looked under the age of twenty five and has since received an apology from a spokesperson for One Stop Shop.

For this Hallow'een Keith Telly Toping's 45 of the Day here's one of Katie Bush's lesser works. But, very in keeping with the spirit of the day.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

If You Make Sure You're Connected The Writing's On The Wall

Television Comedy Moment Of The Week, by about a million miles, dear blog reader. It was that bit in Match of the Day when John Terry very amusingly fell over on his arse like somebody wearing a whopping great pair of oversized clowns shoes allowing Robin van Persie through to score. Hilarious, thigh-slapping, 'rolling on the floor kicking your legs in the air like one of those robots on the "For Mash Get S.M.A.S.H" adverts'-funny. Seriously, dear blog reader, if you missed it, it was funnier than anything on this week's Have I Got News For You, Mock The Week, Would I Lie To You? and Qi XL put together. This man is, clearly, a comedy genius. I laughed. Until I stopped. And then I laughed some more.
A howlingly funny moment for Hallow'een weekend.

In what might be seen in weeks and months to come as a genuinely symbolic moment, for the first time since 2007 an episode of BBC1's Strictly Come Dancing had a higher overnight average audience - 10.2m - than an episode of ITV's The X Factor which was broadcast on the same evening - 9.9m (and that includes ITV+1 and ITV HD figures). Strictly won, dear blog reader. Not just the head-to-head crossover between the two shows but the entire night. This blogger has, somewhat, poo-pah'd in the past the seeming tabloid campaign of whispers against The X Factor of late and this whole 'show in crisis' malarkey. No show getting ten million viewers is 'in crisis' or anything even remotely like it. But, it is now an undeniable fact that The X Factor appears to have lost approximately fifteen per cent of the audience which it had last year. That's not the end of the world, of course, there may be a variety of different reasons for this situation - very popular long-running TV shows often find, eventually, that their audience plateaus. And it's still very difficult to try and paint a show getting var nigh ten million viewers each week as one that is close to being 'in trouble.' Nevertheless, at least a portion of X Factor's regular audience from previous years has clearly found something lacking this time around. And if ITV aren't maybe just a little bit worried about that then one imagines their advertises who are paying premium mucho wonga for thirty second slots during the show, perhaps, will be. The Strictly episode - which slightly overran its slot by about three minutes - has a peak of a whopping 11.5m during the final fifteen minutes. Following that, Merlin continued its good form with an overnight audience of a fraction under six million. The bad news of the night was that 4.4m people chose to watch the odious unfunny egomaniac Piers Morgan's Life Stories featuring an interview with another odious unfunny egomaniac, James Corden.

That's Just Wrong TV Moment Of The Week: Sticking with Strictly, whose bright idea was it to have miniature pop puppet Harry Judd and Aliona strutting their funky stuff to 'Psycho Killer' by The Talking Heads? I mean, that's just all sorts of wrong.
Qu'est-ce que c'est?

Meanwhile, actress Chelsee Healey blubbed her poor little heart out after she suffered 'a wardrobe malfunction' on Strictly. The Waterloo Road star was visibly upset after dancing a tango with her dance partner Pasha Kovalev, but one of the show's hosts, Tess Daly, assured her afterwards: 'We saw nothing.' Whether that actually helped is another matter. One of the judges, Craig Revel Horwood, told her: 'You coped with the wardrobe malfunction quite well, but it did throw you, that's why it was a bit of a mess towards the end.' The dancers' tango to 'Love Potion Number Nine' received one of the best scores of the evening, thirty two out of a possible forty. Alesha Dixon - who still knows nowt - told her: 'You have nothing to cry about, my darling. It did not distract from the dance.' Bruno Tonioli added that she was 'a wicked little dancer' and said she had 'great musicality until the little incident happened.' The lowest score of the night went, again, to Nancy Dell'Olio, who with partner Anton Du Beke collected only fourteen points. The show had a Hallow'een theme and Dell'Olio climbed out of a coffin at the start of their rumba to 'Spooky.' Horwood - with his usual lack of tact - told her, no unreasonably: 'The moment you stepped out of that sarcophagus was the moment it went horribly wrong.' Len Goodman added: 'There were moments of Mills and Boon, and moments of meals on wheels.' Footballer Robbie Savage, whose performance last week was described by Horwood as 'sloppy,' gained some revenge when he jumped on a desk in front of the Australian whilst clutching his crotch. Errr... his own crotch, not Horwood's. Just wanted to make that very clear. Oh yes, very hot water. He and partner Ola Jordan had just performed a paso doble to Michael Jackson's 'Bad.' The pair collected twenty six points. After something of a off-week last time around, red-hot favourite Jason Donovan and Kristina Rihanoff were back at the top of the leaderboard with thirty seven points for their quickstep, the best score of the series so far.

Well-known faceache (and drag) Arlene Phillips has said that she has come to 'accept' her Strictly Come Dancing 'departure.' Which is big of her since it wasn't, actually, a departure it was a sacking. The sixty eight-year-old claimed to be 'over' her 2009 axing from the judging panel in favour of Alesha Dixon, but accepted that she will be 'forever tangled up' with the show. Dear blog readers with longer memories may remember that last year bitter old gasbag and well-known faceache (and drag) Phillips was claiming 'Strictly's the last thing on my mind. It doesn't feel like it is a part of me any more. It's so tiresome. I'm bigger than Strictly.' Which presumably explains why barely a week has gone by for the last two years without well-known faceache (and drag) Phillips appearing in some national tabloid rag or other talking about some aspect of Strictly. me thinks the lady doth protest too much. 'I've come to accept it,' she told the Daily Scum Mail who, of course, lapped all this up like a fly nibbling on a big sweating dog turn in the road on a hot day. 'What's been a real surprise is the endless tweets, e-mails, comments on Facebook and in the street. I really thought it would have completely faded by now. But I realise I'll be forever tangled up with it in some way. It's a huge programme - a mega programme. I just live with it now.' Odd, then, that it was only last November that well-known faceache (and drag) Phillips was claiming that she believed Strictly Come Dancing had 'gone flat' in her absence. And yet, ironically, it's now getting far greater ratings than it ever received in the past when embittered old faceache (and drag) Phillips herself was on the judging panel. Go figure, dear blog reader. Maybe some unemployment counselling might help. Phillips explained that the pain of her Strictly exit had been diluted by the death of her agent and friend Michael Summerton, which occurred within twenty four hours of her firing. 'It was so hard to separate the emotion because it came one after the other,' she recalled. 'My personal loss was greater than Strictly and my grieving went on and on. Strictly was actually floating up somewhere.'

Eddie Izzard reportedly got so attached to the crutch he used as Long John Silver in the new Sky 1 version of Treasure Island that he took it home after the shoot. He said: 'I grew to love the crutch. It looks great.' Eddie revealed that he made a last-minute decision to ditch a West Country accent and play Long John Silver as a Cockney villain. The comedian plays the pegged-legged pirate in Sky's new adaptation of the famous Robert Louis Stevenson story - in which a ship of pirates and sailors sets sail from Bristol in search of buried gold - and said he opted to make a break with tradition just before filming started. 'I chose to make him London rather than West Country,' said Eddie. 'I was getting ready to do him West Country then I thought, "Everyone does him West Country!" There must have been so many sailors from London too, and it just twisted it a bit and made it mine.' The forty nine-year-old added that it was also his idea to shave his head to play Silver. Eddie said he only agreed to take on the role if the tone of the two-parter was more like Tim Burton's dark Batman and less like a pantomime or The Pirates Of Penzance. He said: 'I agreed to do it if it could be a kick-arse Goodfellas version. I think the analogy I was using was Tim Burton's Batman.' Producers used CGI to make it look as if Eddie had only one leg, and the actor said he learned to enjoy using Long John Silver's crutch. 'It became part of the character and I actually grew to like it, you know how soldiers keep their guns with them at all times? I just wanted to be with that crutch,' he said. Treasure Island, which was filmed in Ireland and Puerto Rico and which also stars Donald Sutherland, Elijah Wood and Rupert Penry Jones, will be on Sky 1 during the Christmas period.

Director Steven Spielberg paid tribute to The Adventures of Tintin co-writer Steven Moffat and his other British contributors: 'Steven wrote one of my favourite TV shows, which is Doctor Who. Peter (Jackson) and I felt whoever did Doctor Who would have a good sensibility for Tintin. And it so happens Steven had read Tintin since he was eight. Even when he had to leave the Tintin project to get on with making Doctor Who, I got two other Brits — Shaun of the Dead's Edgar Wright and Attack The Block's Joe Cornish — to finish the job. They're two great British writers.'
The greatest actor on the planet, Richard Schiff, has signed up to appear on Once Upon a Time. The former West Wing star will play King Leopold on ABC's fantasy drama, according to TV Line. Leopold is the father of Snow White (played by Ginnifer Goodwin) and a denizen of the Enchanted Forest. The character will first appear in the show's eleventh episode. Since The West Wing concluded in 2006, Schiff has appeared in episodes of Burn Notice, White Collar and the axed CBS procedural Criminal Minds: Suspect Behaviour as well as spending much time in the theatre both as an actor and a director. True Blood's Kristin Bauer van Straten, Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Emma Caulfield and Lord of the Rings's Brad Dourif have also signed up for roles in Once Upon a Time.

BBC1's award-winning school drama series Waterloo Road is to re-locate from its current Rochdale base to Greenock in Inverclyde. The move will see the former Greenock secondary become the new on-screen Waterloo Road school from next year. Shed Productions make the popular drama, which is currently in its seventh series for BBC Scotland. Inverclyde Council agreed to lease the former Greenock Academy building for the filming of the next two series. Over the next two years the re-location is expected to provide a boost to the Scottish creative sector worth an estimated twenty million smackers, while up to two hundred jobs could also be created. The move is part of BBC's aim to increase network programming from Scotland and the other nations of the UK. Shed Productions CEO Eileen Gallagher said: 'Waterloo Road has had an incredibly happy six years in Rochdale working with one of the best TV crews in the country. But now we have outgrown our present site and we couldn't resist the BBC offer to take the show to Scotland.' Inverclyde Council Leader Councillor Stephen McCabe said: 'We have been working hard for the past four years to invest in our schools, leisure facilities and town centres to transform Inverclyde into a place to work, live and relax. Waterloo Road's relocation reflects how far we have come and what we have achieved.' Filming is expected to start in April 2012.

Jonathan Ross will stay with ITV for a second series of his new chat show, according to a report. The Daily Lies Sunday claims that the presenter has signed an extension on his deal with the broadcaster. 'Both ITV and ­Jonathan were worried it might not work after he moved from the BBC but it has been a massive hit,' an alleged 'source' allegedly revealed. But, it's probably lies. 'Paul O'Grady's show hasn't worked as well for ITV so they want to keep Jonathan on board to give the BBC's Graham Norton a run for his money.' The fifty-year-old, who left the BBC in January last year, had originally agreed to film eighteen episodes of The Jonathan Ross Show. The programme's first series is expected to continue in the New Year. O'Grady confirmed earlier this month that he would be focusing on projects other than his Friday night show.

Secret Diary Of A Call Girl star Billie Piper is pregnant with her second child, according to a report. The actress feared that she would have to pull out of upcoming London play Reasons To Be Pretty after learning she is expecting again, according to the Daily Scum Mail. She approached director Michael Attenborough and offered to bow out of the production but he assured her the script would be rewritten to accommodate her. Attenborough says, 'She was upset and told me she was pregnant. However, she was Neil LaBute's and my first choice for the part - and fortunately the character is pregnant - so with a bit of judicious re-writing we're all delighted she'll be with us. I told her that I'd love her to do it and she just wept on my shoulder. She thought that was it. She was thrilled.' Piper has a three-year-old son, Winston, with her actor husband Laurence Fox.

The world's second greatest actor (after Richard Schiff), Michael Sheen, is to take on the role of Hamlet in a new production at the Young Vic: 'It's the most dangerous play that exists, yet our culture has made it safe,' he told Wales online. 'What I want is to make it difficult and jagged again, unsettling and uncomfortable and disorienting for the audience.' Speaking about the language of Shakespeare, he said: 'We've debased our language in lots of ways now. We speak in not particularly expressive ways. The way people express themselves in Shakespeare's plays is so rich and so tense. It takes more energy and uses more of yourself. It's an investment and once you adjust to it, it becomes an incredible kinetic experience, really extraordinary. It works on your imagination and emotions just like music – you can be incredibly moved just because of the rhythms and notes.'

Peter Andre is to host this years Collars & Coats Gala Ball for Battersea Dogs and Cats home. One imagines an ITV2 documentary about that can't be far behind.

Johnny Vegas's forthcoming autobiography might be on hold as we reported a couple of days ago – but here's a little bit of his well-hidden personal history - his very first TV appearance. He appeared under his real name, Michael Pennington, as a contestant on the wretched (and now, thankfully forgotten) Bob Mills fronted game show Win, Lose Or Draw in 1996 on a team with celebrities Windsor Davies and Kriss Akabusi! True story. Watch it here. Where's Monkey you really need him?

Spare a thought, dear blog reader, for 1980s children's music quiz show host, Keith Chegwin, who was reportedly lined up for a starring role on ITV's Twatting About on Ice. Except his first rehearsal for the ITV show didn't go entirely to plan after he broke three ribs and fractured his shoulder, reports the Sun. 'I couldn't breathe or talk,' said Cheggers. What a pity such a thing didn't occur when he was on Multi-Coloured Swap Shop every week. The good news, though, is he will still be able to do his panto in Swindon.

And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. And a bit of proper sage advice from yer actual Stereo MC's. Vital for all Top Telly Tippers, some might argue. Yer actual Keith telly Topping his very self couldn't possibly comment.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Week Forty Five: Here's A Murder Rap To Keep You Dancin', With A Crime Record Like Charles Manson

Fronted by the always pure-dead-funny Lee Mack, Friday night's episode of Have I Got News For You once again benefited hugely from a guest appearance by the great Ross Noble. Who is rapidly becoming virtually omnipresent on BBC comedy quiz shows of late. Well, y'see, that's what happened when you employ a Geordie, dear blog reader. Somebody, somewhere, gets a grant. Ross's highlights included: 'I don't claim to be the most political of men, but where does the Primula Cheese Spread®™ fit into all of this? Sorry, I thought this was Have I Got Cheese For You?' and, on the subject of a would-be Dublin alchemist recently jailed for setting fire to his council house after trying transform his own faeces into precious metal: 'He's a bloke from Ireland who turns shit into gold? Isn't that Westlife?'
The best comedy moment of the night, however, was Ian Hislop's explanation of the Eurozone crisis: 'We accept that Greece is going to go bust, everybody's taken that on board, but now it's Italy as well. Most people have thought "Gosh, Italy, that's a stable country run by a sensible fellow. That can't possibly be going down the tube." But, apparently he's spent over a hundred trillion Euros on prostitutes!' Then there was Hislop's mobile phone unexpectedly going off in the middle of a round about Jezza Clarkson's former superinjuction and the clip of Jeremy Paxman interviewing Jacob Rees Mogg on Newsnight and invoking the spirit of Bagpuss. Sound.

'On doctor's advice, I have to sleep in a cycle helmet due to the violent nature of my dreams!' Friday also saw a quite mad-brilliant episode of Would I Lie To You with Barry Cryer, Sue Perkins, Dara O Briain and Lorraine Kelly all on tremendous sparkling form. The show, once a rather pale Call My Bluff for the Twenty First Century has recently become one of the BBC's most consistent and amusing comedies. As usual, though, it was the regulars - Davie Mitchell (with his angry foot-stamping logic), Lee Mack (with his laid-back laconic Lancastrian wit) and host Rob Brydon who provided most of the best one liners (in the case of the latter admonishing the audience for laughing at a - wholly intentional - double entendre, 'No! This isn't Never Mind Your Buzzcocks [sic]'!)
The round involving David's - alleged - teddy bear, Tablecloth, and its terrible mistreatment at the cruel hands of HM Customs was an especially funny one.
But, Barry Cryer stole the show with his convincing performance in claiming that early in his career he'd written a trio of romantic novels under a transvestite non-de-plume. That was a lie, tragically. But, Lorraine Kelly did once turn up drunk when presenting an episode of TV-AM.

And then there was yet another delightful episode of Qi dealing with the subjects of injustice and inequality. Of particular note here was the debut appearance by the excellent German comedian and broadcaster Henning Wehn who was witty and engaging and fitted in alongside the likes of Clive Anderson and Sandi Toksvig very well indeed. Hope they have him back on next year.
And the round on corporal punishment and 'whipping boys' was brilliant. 'Who got the blame when the Prince of Wales misbehaved?' asked Stephen. 'Seeing we're in Britain, usually the Germans,' replied Henning. 'Well, they are Germans,' added Clive, pithily. And as for the allegation what Fergie (not the one from the Black Eyed Peas) was 'marrowing' Prince Andrew ...

ITV has poached the free-to-air broadcast rights to the French Open tennis tournament from the BBC, after agreeing a three-year deal with the Fédération Française de Tennis. The commercial broadcaster will cover its first ever tennis grand slam event in summer 2012, showing four matches from the French Open, including the mens' and ladies' singles finals, live on ITV. Through the fifteen-day event at Roland Garros in Paris, ITV4 and ITV.com will broadcast around six hours of live coverage from each day's play, as well as a highlights package. ITV has picked up the free-to-air rights to the tournament after the BBC dropped out of the running, while Eurosport is understood to be negotiating a new deal to the UK pay-TV rights. ITV has recently been expanding its sports content, including a deal to snatch UEFA Europa League rights from Channel Five, as part of plans to strengthen digital channel ITV4. Niall Sloane, ITV's controller of sport, said: 'I'm hugely excited that we have agreed a major new deal to bring the Roland Garros French Open to ITV. It's the first time that a grand slam has been shown live on ITV and with around six hours of coverage over each day of the tournament we'll be offering viewers more free-to-air coverage of the tournament than ever before.' FFT media and sponsorship director Michel Grach said: 'We are delighted that ITV will bring the clay of Roland Garros to British tennis fans. This new partnership will not only enhance the exposure and appeal of the tournament in the United Kingdom but is also an important first step in our new distribution strategy throughout Europe.' Angela Jain, ITV's director of digital channels and acquisitions, added: 'ITV4 now holds a terrific portfolio of sports rights and, alongside our new agreement for Europa League football, this major new deal to bring the Roland Garros tournament to the channel is great news for our viewers and advertisers. Live sports coverage now sits at the heart of ITV4's schedules alongside a range of other entertainment content.' The ITV deal comes just a day after the BBC extended its agreement to show Wimbledon by a further three years, meaning the corporation will cover the British grand slam to at least 2017. The French Open 2012 will take place at Stade Roland Garros in Paris from 27 May to 10 June. Rafael Nadal and Li Na are the reigning mens' and ladies' champions.

An alleged celebrity psychic (alleged 'celebrity' and alleged psychic, in case you were wondering) who claims to speak with the dead in sellout shows across the country has been challenged by sceptics to prove her supernatural powers. They have invited TV 'star psychic' Sally Morgan to demonstrate her ability to connect with the spirit world in a specially designed test in Liverpool on Monday. The Halloween challenge is backed by the US paranormal investigator James Randi, and qualifies as the first step towards claiming a million-dollar prize established by the James Randi Educational Foundation for any psychic who can 'prove' their 'gift' to be real. Morgan, whose website offers psychic readings over premium rate phone lines, has written three books and is filming the third series of Psychic Sally on the Road for Sky Living. Sceptic groups, led by the science writer Simon Singh, arranged the test after one of Morgan's shows in Dublin last month at which some members of the audience reported hearing someone at the back of the theatre apparently feeding her information on stage. Morgan, who claims to have seen her first ghost at the age of four, has strongly denied being involved in any fakery and blamed the voices heard at the Dublin show on 'chattering technicians at the venue.' The theatre appeared to support this account in a separate statement. TV illusionist Derren Brown - like Randi a regular debunker of alleged psychics, mediums and spiritualists - said: 'It's important people don't think that a test is a way of debunking or disproving. It's a great way of anyone making amazing claims to show that they hold up and are not just a result of trickery or self-deception. The test should be both scientifically rigorous and yet fair to the psychic: it would show, if the psychic is successful, that what he or she does is real. Such tests are important because it's too easy for a person to fool others (or themselves) into thinking he or she has special abilities. If someone is going to put you in touch with your dead child you'd want to know if they were real, deluded or a scam artist.' The group behind the challenge has enlisted Professor Chris French, head of the anomalistic psychology research unit at Goldsmith's, University of London, to design and conduct the experiment, which, if Morgan attends, will be hosted by the Merseyside Skeptics Society in Liverpool. 'There are still question marks hanging over Sally with regards to how she derives her insights during her readings. By agreeing to our test, Sally has an opportunity to reassure any fans who might doubt that she is genuine in her communication with their deceased loved ones,' Singh said. 'This is not a trivial issue, as many vulnerable, grieving and desperate people turn to Sally for support and advice, and it is crucial that these people can be confident that they are not being deceived,' he added. Audiences who attend Morgan's shows can hand in photographs of dead loved ones for her to use on stage. During the performance, Morgan selects a picture and claims to make contact with the deceased, at times adopting their voice to relay messages from beyond the grave. In the challenge, Morgan will be shown photographs of ten deceased women and asked to match each to an entry on a list of their first names, by connecting with their spirits. Singh said the test was expected to last twenty minutes. To 'pass,' Morgan would be required to match seven or more names to the right photographs. A Gruniad request to Morgan for comment on the challenge was reportedly passed to her lawyers, who did not respond. 'I believe that this opportunity to conduct a direct, simple, understandable test of "Psychic Sally" and her often-stated ability is an excellent situation in which she will be able to not only establish her claimed abilities, but also move on to earn the million dollar prize that stands ready to be paid out,' said Randi. Professor French added: 'It's important for any test to be as fair as possible, and an accurate reflection of what Sally claims to do. Fortunately, the types of readings Sally gives in her live shows lend themselves very well to a very simple test design. With the right controls in place, we can perform an experiment where anyone who is deluded or who wants to cheat would find it very hard to be successful, but someone with genuine psychic ability, as Sally claims to have every night in her sold-out shows, should find the whole thing a breeze.' Michael Marshall, vice president of the Merseyside Skeptics Society, said: 'At the moment, there's no real proof that anybody is able to communicate with the dead. In fact, no medium has ever, in the history of the human species, been able to reliably demonstrate such an ability. Whilst we're somewhat sceptical of the claims Sally makes, we'd love nothing more than the opportunity to get to the bottom of things, once and for all. If Sally really is able to demonstrate in a very simple test that her skills are in fact psychically derived, as opposed to produced via the various magic tricks and techniques we know fraudulent mediums could use to appear to have psychic powers, then we'll be first in the queue to celebrate her talents. But until she can show her readings are genuine, we don't think it's right that vulnerable people are led to believe she's really talking to the dead.'

And so to yer next batch of Top Telly Tips:

Friday 4 November
Host John Humphrys welcomes contestants back to the terrifying ordeal of the black chair in the long-running specialist and general knowledge quiz, as the hunt begins to find the next Mastermind champion - 8:00 BBC2. As usual, four contestants brave the glare of the spotlight on the black chair as they answer questions on their specialist subjects and test their general knowledge to win the coveted trophy. And be abused by jealous glakes on the Internet. Probably. The topics in the first edition are the Life of Robert Bruce Lockhart, Human Parasites, the Siege of Malta and the Life and Work of AC Swinburne.

In Derren Brown: The Experiments - 9:00 Channel Four - the award-winning illusionist and master of prestidigitation, mesmerism and malarkey Dazzling Dezza introduces his third large-scale social experiment, The Guilt Trip, in which he investigates what it would take to convince a man that he is to blame for a murder which he, in fact, did not commit. An unwitting participant finds himself at the centre of a fictitious mystery, with Derren trying to persuade him that he has actually killed somebody. As usual, a very heavy subject is dealt with seriously when it needs to be but, also, with considerable humour and in a light and entertaining way, featuring an inventive and jaw-dropping mixture of stunts, magic, illusion, suggestion and thought-provoking entertainment, combined with psychological insight.

Live at the Apollo returns tonight - 9:30 BBC1. With its usual mixture of piercingly offensive graphic routines (here it's Jason Byrne doing a lengthy string of one-liners concerning sex with his wife. Which involves imagined maracas and a tuba, rather alarmingly) and the occasional comedy diamond. Host Mickey Flanagan is something of an acquired taste, it should be noted (though sometimes brilliant on Mock The Week, I feel he often falls back on rather crude stereotypes when he appears to be capable of so much more). During the regular 'insult some Z-listers in the audience' bit, his throwaway gag to a The Only Way Is Essex participant about glueing glitter on a certain part of the male anatomy is very much a case in point. Is it funny? Yeah, it is, actually. But, it's also a bit ... obvious. Nevertheless, Flanagan has some good routines - particularly one about the perils of being nice to your neighbours and a Seinfeld-style sequence about the petty embarrassments of saying 'hello' more than once to acquaintances. Seann Walsh, meanwhile - again, something of an acquired taste although his show was very good in Edinburgh this year by all accounts - provides a bit more subtlety with a routine aimed squarely at his London audience centred on Tube-travel etiquette. In particular he hurls himself into the physical comedy of a superb impression of a strap-hanging commuter falling asleep while standing up. That's worth the entry fee alone.

Saturday 5 November
Qi XL - 9:30 BBC2 - sees Stephen Fry hosting an extended version of the quiz with a difference, joined by semi-regular panellists Jo Brand and Andy Hamilton, first timer science columnist Doctor Ben Goldacre and his old sidekick Alan Davies. Tonight Stephen asks questions on the topic of illness, and - as usual - awards points for the most interesting answers. The single best show on British TV, dear blog reader. Because it does exactly what programmes on the BBC are supposed to do, educate, inform and entertain all at the same time.

Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly get on their fake smiles as the ten remaining couples don their dancing shoes once more, aiming to light up the dancefloor with a few fireworks for Bonfire Night in Strictly Come Dancing - 6:25 BBC1. As ever, they are hoping to impress both viewers at home and the judges in the studio, who for one week only include Dirty Dancing actress and Dancing With The Stars champion Jennifer Grey, sitting in for Len Goodman. Or, if you prefer, there's X Factor on the other side.

Sunday 6 November
The last three winters in Great Britain - due to a variety of different reasons - have provided us all with a short, sharp snap of something many of us has pretty much forgotten about since the late 1970s - genuinely arctic weather. So, as usual, the BBC is throughly on the mother trying to get this bitch sorted. And shit. In Will It Snow? - 9:00 BBC2 - Kate Humble, Adam Rutherford and Alys Fowler assess what Britain's weather will be like this winter, following the high levels of snow which caused chaos across the nation in 2009, twice in 2010 and again earlier this year. The presenters explore how methods of prediction have developed through the centuries, from medieval folklore to modern supercomputers, and discover how people and businesses are preparing for the possibility of more severe weather in the months to come.

In the final episode of the current series of Downton Abbey - 9:00 ITV - between extended advert breaks, the wedding approaches and excitement is in the air, but Branson's plans could rattle everyone. Oh, hang on, here's another advert break. Meanwhile, Spanish 'flu reaches the house and a desperate Thomas looks for a way to re-establish himself. But, before he can, there's another advert break. Then, Ethel faces a dilemma when the Bryants return with a heartbreaking proposition, and a decisive Anna forces Bates to think about their future. Plus, there's adverts. Costume drama, starring Allen Leech, Rob James-Collier, Amy Nuttall, Joanne Froggatt and Brendan Coyle. Last in the series. There's currently no news on whether or not the show was been recommissioned for next year although only a fool would bet against it returning. If only because without it, what the hell are ITV doing to use to sell advertising space?

In Paul Merton's Adventures - 8:00 Channel Five - this week Paul's in Florida. Where everything is in the eighties - the temperatures, the ages and, of course, the IQs. After a bit of fluff and nonsense about being stalked by a rollercoaster-mad family, he sets off to find the real Florida, which means joining enthusiastic spectators at a pig race and a demolition derby, attending a spiritualist meeting and a dog fair (called, somewhat inevitably, Woofstock) and visiting the Conch Republic, which seceded from the States in 1982. You can see how the nickname of Florida Crackers came about but Merton seems at ease with most all Floridians and has a special bond with the micro-nation's joke-cracking secretary general.

Monday 7 November
After the thoroughly disastrous way in which BBC1 treated this year's Celebrity MasterChef and the reported anger from the production company about it, it's something of a relief to see the return of MasterChef: The Professionals, steady and reliable, in its traditional BBC2 slot of 8:30. Thank goodness for that, I had visions of them arsing about with the scheduling yet again and putting it on at something like two in the morning with an idiot statement about this giving fans the chance to watch the programme 'at a convenient time.' Planks. The Professionals, of course, is something of a oddity among the MasterChef franchise - albeit one with a cult following which yer actual Keith Telly Topping considers himself very much a part thereof. John Torode doesn't take part in this, instead Gregg Wallace is paired up with the great Michel Roux Jr and the scowling gravy boat-of-hate this is sous chef Monica Galetti on the judging panel in the culinary challenge as ten new contestants enter the kitchen. The cooks are given one hour to prepare a meal from a list of six ingredients - duck breast, leeks, blackberries, garlic, thyme and cinnamon - and must demonstrate their creativity if they are to progress to the final test. Monica's boat-race continues to scowl at the contestants (especially the girls, for some reason) whilst they perform their doings. Which is always jolly entertaining.

Almost ten years after its first series, The Jury returns for a new five-part run strip-scheduled on ITV at 9:00. In the time since, Peter Morgan's been to Hollywood, written The Queen, The Last King of Scotland, Frost/Nixon, The Damned United and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and the forthcoming next Bond movie and, generally, done all right for himself! The lives of twelve people are turned upside down when they are summoned for jury duty in a controversial murder retrial. New evidence has come to light calling into question the conviction of Alan Lane, who was found guilty almost five years previously of killing three women he met on the Internet. Julie Walters stars as defence barrister Emma Watts, with Roger Allam, John Lynch and Steven Mackintosh. Continues tomorrow and all this week.

In Shankill Butchers - 9:00 BBC4 - Stephen Nolan examines the murders committed by the so-called Shankill Butchers, a gang of vicious sectarian killers which operated during the dark days of the Troubles in the mid-1970s. The presenter looks at the evidence and returns to the area where he was brought up to ask how the criminals managed to evade the authorities for so long. With nineteen murders between them, the Shankill Butchers were the most prolific gang of serial killers in British history. During the dark days of the Troubles their savagery - and sick and evil use of big fuck-off knives - stood apart, paralysing both communities in Northern Ireland with fear. The judge at their trial accused them of 'sickening sectarian bigotry.' With unique access to the evidence, and exclusive interviews, Nolan goes back to the patch where he was brought up to ask how the Shankill Butchers got away with murder for so long. Previously shown on BBC1 in Northern Ireland.

It's all murder this evening, I'm afraid as the next Top Telly Tips is Real Crime with Mark Austin: The Game Show Killer - 10:35 ITV. The documentary series returns for a new series, beginning with the case of John William Cooper, who murdered four people in Pembrokeshire in the 1980s. The crimes remained unsolved for more than twenty years, but Cooper was convicted in May following painstaking research and forensic analysis, which included the use of footage from his 1989 appearance on game show Bullseye.

Tuesday 8 November
Death in Paradise - 9:00 BBC1 - continues its moderately impressive start. The opening episode didn't reinvent the wheel but, to be honest, I'd be surprised if any of the almost six million viewers were actually expecting that. In the latest episode, a voodoo priestess who predicted her own murder is found dead in the local school - and while the team thinks her prophecy has come true, Richard is more inclined to believe it is simply a good old-fashioned killing. He soon discovers a link to an affair between the school priest and the wife of the headmaster - a scandal that led to a woman's disappearance years before. Caribbean crime drama, starring Ben Miller, Sara Martins, Don Warrington and Danny John-Jules, with Mona Hammond, Michael Maloney and Nicholas Farrell.

In this week's Holby City - 8:00 BBC1 - Eddi clashes with the new senior registrar, and Oliver makes a decision about his career. Meanwhile, Jac battles to save baby Freya after she is diagnosed with a life-threatening heart condition, and Eddi is forced to put the AAU in lockdown after unstable patient is discovered to have contracted a form of TB while in prison. With Sarah-Jane Potts, Laila Rouass, James Anderson Rosie Marcel and Wil Johnson.

James May's Man Lab - 8:00 BBC2 - continues as James works in his own foundry to form a lemon squeezer from various kitchen utensils, and provides a lesson in how to cheat at playing the guitar. He also launches the ashes of a cat and a budgie into the stratosphere and promotes a boiler suit as the only garment the modern man really needs.

Wednesday 9 November
Frozen Planet - 9:00 BBC1 - got off to a kicking start last week. Massive audience figures, great reviews and lots of sympathy for those poor penguins. Tonight's episode looks at how animals in the polar regions adapt to the summer weather. Cue some more sick and wrong pingu snuff-movie footage. In a colony of four hundred thousand king penguins the adults go surfing and the chicks take mud-baths to cool off, while polar bear cubs take their first swimming lessons as the ice they inhabit melts away. A minke whale is hunted by a family of killer whales, succumbing to their battering after two hours, and Adelie penguins try to prevent their chicks being snatched by skuas.

In Peter Jones: How We Made Our Millions - 9:00 BBC2 - the entrepreneur and Dragons' Den regular - explores the world of high-end business, interviewing the Innocent smoothie company co-founder Richard Reed, and Michelle Mone, the woman behind the multi-million pound Ultimo lingerie brand. They discuss their successes and failures, the strategies they employ and what drove them to start their own businesses, before taking The Dragons' Den star on a tour of their companies, factories and homes.

A repeat, but a very worthy one, is Dynamo: Magician Impossible - 8:00 Watch.
The series sees the twenty eight-year-old travelling the globe as the unassuming anti-hero who just happens to astound everyone he meets, whether it's an international footballer or Hollywood actor. The street magician travels to Los Angeles, where he meets Natalie Imbruglia and Travis Barker, before returning home to make headlines with Radio 1 presenter Scott Mills.

Thursday 10 November
The much anticipated second series of Rev kicks off tonight - 9:00 BBC2. This award-winning sitcom, if you've never seen it before, concerns the life of Adam Smallbone, a young, well-meaning vicar running a modern inner-city church, with a reluctant wife and a depleted, motley congregation and facing the challenges that many churchmen do in an era of apparent spiritual aridity and questioning of the power of faith. The central couple (Tom Hollander and Olivia Colman) are both terrific and the series picked up a committed following during its first run (including, to the surprise of many involved in the production, within the real Church of England). It's sweet and charming but also with a dark undercurrent. And, it's about as far removed from the syrupy nonsense of The Vicar of Dibley as it's possible to be, which is a big tick in its plus column, frankly. In this episode, Adam is acclaimed as a hero for thwarting a mugging, but when he begins to revel in the recognition he receives an unexpected visit from the high levels of the clergy. Guest starring Ralph Fiennes.

Brunel's Last Launch: A Time Team Special - 9:00 Channel Four - sees a team of archaeologists scouring the banks of the Thames to discover why the launching of Isambard Kingdom Brunel's SS Great Eastern in 1858 ended in disaster. Leading to the taking of that infamous picture of Mr Brunel standing in front of the big chains looking miserable. Anyway, Tony Robinson joins them as the team examines the slipways to discover what went wrong and how it affected shipbuilding in London during the middle of the Nineteenth Century. One of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's favourite factual series, this. And it's always great to see it back.

Frank Skinner's Opinionated returns - 10:00 BBC2. The comedian - last seen fronting his excellent BBC4 documentary on George Formby earlier this week - is back for a new series of the topical show. For the first episode Frank is joined by the excellent Dave Gorman in Manchester, where the host and a studio audience debate a range of subjects. In a humorous and entertaining fashion.

And, finally, there's the return of The Mentalist - 10:00 Channel Five - in the first of a new series of the popular US crime drama called Scarlet Ribbons. Patrick Jane is taken into custody for fatally shooting the man he whom believed to be the serial killer Red John. (Played, of course, by the lovely Brad Whitford and, therefore, almost certainly not an evil serial killer!) Jane bluffs his way out of jail and tries to exonerate himself. He begins by visiting his victim's wife - and learns her house contains not only a secret room, but also a reluctant guest. Starring Simon Baker.

And so to the news: Sarah Clarke has signed up for a role on The CW's Nikita. The former 24 star will appear in the latter half of the second season, according to TV Line. No details about her character are currently known. It is also unclear when Clarke will make her Nikita debut or how many episodes she will appear in. The actress is best known for playing villain Nina Myers on 24 from 2001 to 2004 and appeared in 2008's Twilight as the mother of Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart). Her additional credits include episodes of House and Men of a Certain Age. Clarke is married to Nikita regular Xander Berkeley, having met her future husband on the 24 set. Dillon Casey (Sean Pierce) was recently promoted to a series regular on Nikita, having first appeared in the show's second season premiere.

Nickelodeon has announced that its live-action shows Victorious and Big Time Rush are to go free-to-air this month on ITV's terrestrial and digital channels. ITV has picked up thirty three episodes of Victorious, the show starring Victoria Justice, along with forty nine episodes of Big Time Rush, which has become the highest-rated live-action series in Nickelodeon's thirty-year history. The programmes, previously shown only on pay-TV, will be broadcast during the breakfast slots on weekend mornings on ITV, and after-school slots in weekdays on CITV, as well as in high definition. Season one of Victorious launches on ITV's channels on 30 October, and season one of Big Time Rush will break on the following day. 'Our clients around the world look for top-performing programming which travels and resonates with kids no matter where they are and Nickelodeon's latest hits, Victorious and Big Time Rush, really have it all,' said Caroline Beaton, the senior vice president of programme sales at Nickelodeon-parent Viacom. 'I'm delighted that we're able to extend these two hit live-action series to even more audiences, this time across the UK, through our long-standing and fruitful partnership with ITV.' Tina McCann, the managing director of Nickelodeon UK, said: 'Victorious and Big Time Rush have been huge hits for Nickelodeon UK. Each features outstanding young talent who really engage with UK fans. Both shows feature friendship, music, dance, fashion and aspirational lifestyle that really resonate with our audiences. We are delighted to be bringing these properties to a wider market.' Jamila Metran, the programme manager at CITV, added: 'We are very pleased to have secured Victorious and Big Time Rush for broadcast on CITV and ITV Breakfast. The deal continues ITV's successful partnership with VIMN on past titles which include Drake and Josh and SpongeBob SquarePants.'

The Daily Scum Mail's new corrections and clarifications column got off to a rocky start last week. Two of the items in Tuesday's column were of particular interest. One was an apology for a story published on 19 July – 'in common with other newspapers' – that falsely claimed the NHS was paying over thirty seven pounds for each loaf of gluten-free bread it buys. However, not in common with other papers - which apologised for the mistake ages ago - the Scum Mail took far too long to admit its error. But that was not nearly as delayed, or as extraordinary, as the other contentious item in that column – a wholesale climbdown on a story published on 19 March this year about the actor Neil Morrissey. This article, headlined Man behaving badly: TV star banned from bar near his idyllic French retreat after locals object to 'le binge drinking', took up three-quarters of a page. It alleged that Morrissey had been barred by the owners of a bar in Lot-at-Garonne for being drunk and boisterous. The piece was illustrated with three pictures and a poster featuring Morrissey's photograph that said: 'Do not serve this man.' It further claimed - evidencing the Scum Mail's seeming obsession with property prices - that Morrissey's nearby property was worth an exaggerated five hundred thousand smackers. Asked for a response the day before publication, Morrissey's press advisers, and then his lawyers, had warned that the story was entirely untrue. When it subsequently appeared, despite this denial, Morrissey - who says the story was a complete fabrication - immediately complained through his lawyer, Peter Crawford of Stitt and Co. It took a month for the Scum Mail to even respond - with what was described as 'a disingenuous reply.' Then, with the paper not standing by its tale but still not prepared to back down, Crawford issued legal proceedings in June. To describe the Scum Mail's reaction to that legal complaint as 'procrastination' may be to entirely redefine the term. Nearly two months passed before the Scum Mail reluctantly acknowledged that the story was false and defamatory and, finally, began to negotiate with Crawford about the wording and prominence of an apology to Morrissey. The paper's lawyer had even indicated – subject to the editor's final approval – that the apology would appear on a right-hand page, above the fold, before page nineteen, and with a specific heading agreed by both parties. So imagine the surprise for Morrissey and his lawyer when the Scum Mail unilaterally placed a couple of paragraphs – with wording that had not been agreed – in their new page two 'corrections' column. It accepted that its story about the actor being barred was 'incorrect.' It accepted that it had wildly 'overstated' the value of his property. And it concluded: 'We apologise to Mr Morrissey.' But Morrissey regarded it as a slap in the face, arguing that it was a derisory recompense for the hurt that the original article had caused. He was especially furious given that he had been called before publication by the Scum Mail's reporter and he had strenuously denied the allegations when they were put to him. 'It is not easy to believe it was an accidental mistake by the Mail,' he told the Gruniad. 'The story was a blatant falsehood. And a piddling little half-inch apology is just not good enough given the big display they gave it and how they behaved.' His fundamental point seems to be that a corrections column is not the place to publish an apology to someone who has been potentially libelled. Crawford has since written to the Scum Mail to complain that both the printed apology was insufficient and the online one was 'inaccessible.' Morrissey is, seemingly, refusing to let the matter drop. He intends to ask a judge to assess reasonable compensation, and to allow him to get proper publicity for the Scum Mail's cowardly climbdown plus an apology with a statement in court. There is a precedent for this - in 2009, the actress Kate Winslet was permitted to make a statement in court because of an insufficient apology by the Scum Mail. For its part, the Scum Mail is clearly determined to use its supposed 'corrections' column to deal with high-profile legal actions. On Thursday it published an apology to Carole Caplin for a story blurbed on page one on 18 September 2010 - thirteen months ago - implying that she was about to 'dish the dirt' on Tony and Cherie Blair. Now the paper says: 'We accept that Ms Caplin would not disclose such matters.' But there is no equivalence between either the Morrissey or Caplin apologies to the original prominence of the false articles about them. One recalls that it was the Scum Mail's editor, Paul Dacre, who said at the Leveson inquiry seminar two weeks ago: 'I believe corrections must be given more prominence.' He did so in the context of revealing that he was about to introduce his paper's 'corrections and clarifications' column. But there is surely a point to Morrissey's complaint. A couple of paragraphs in a corrections column is inadequate compensation for a libel. Whilst we're on the subject of Daily Scum Mail apologies, note also that it has just paid 'substantial damages' to Osmond Kilkenny, a former manager of the singer Susan Boyle, for publishing an untrue story about his management of her finances. Similarly, it also paid 'substantial damages' to Lady Moore, the wife of actor Roger, for wrongly suggesting that she had had relationships with wealthy older men more than fifty years ago. The Scum Mail, and Dacre, have a long way to go to clean house. Perhaps Lord Justice Leveson should pay some attention to its record as part of his deliberations, it would appear.

Geordie Shore's Greg Lake has confirmed that he has quit the show. The twenty six-year-old announced his departure on Twitter, explaining that he hopes to 'explore new avenues' outside of the MTV programme. Presumably he's heard that Morrisons in Byker are taking on shelf-stackers this week.
Meanwhile, speaking of unemployable Geordies, gormless buffoon Paul Gascoigne has revealed that he is interested in starring in the next series of Strictly Come Dancing. The forty four-year-old ex-footballer, who was rumoured to be joining I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity ... in 2009, allegedly believes that he would stand a strong chance of winning the BBC ballroom reality show. Mind you, this is all according to the Daily Lies so, you know, as ever, a vat of salt might be required here: 'I'd love to do it. I'm up for any challenge now - and I think I would win hands down. I'm skilful at anything. I would take it full-on just like my football. It would be a piece of piss. I could dance when I was drunk. But I wasn't one of those who went to nightclubs and wanted to dance. However, if people say I can't do something, I try to prove them wrong.'

Sinitta has reportedly signed up to star in this year's I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race On Telly Again ... Please Vote For me To Stay Here As Long As Possible, I'll Even Eat Worms if You Want! The singer, who also appears as a guest hanger-on on The X Factor for several years, will fly to Australia in the next few days to prepare for the series. She is said to be 'terrified' that viewers - including alleged 'friends' such as Simon Cowell - will vote for her to do every Bushtucker Trial. 'She is frightened that she will get all the trials for the comedy value,' a 'friend' (one presumes, not Cowell) told the Daily Lies Sunday. 'She has worn some outrageous things on The X Factor, including leaves, so she will be right at home in the jungle.' Yeah. Course. Benidorm actress Crissy Rock, alleged comedian Freddie Starr and former Big Brother contestant Imogen Thomas have also been linked to the new series of I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity ... The Only Way Is Essex's Mark Wright, who is rumoured to be quitting the ITV2 reality show, has also been tipped to enter the jungle when the new series starts on ITV next month. An I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity ... spokesman said: 'Any names suggested are pure speculation at this stage.' Pure speculation? From the Daily Lies? Never in the world.

Two posters for British film SKET, including one that asked David Cameron if he still wanted to 'hug a hoodie,' have been banned from London Underground stations across the capital by Transport for London. Advertisements for the film, a retribution thriller set in London focusing on violence committed against and by teenage females, have also been banned from publication in commuter newspaper Metro. The first poster advert features the four female leading characters caught on CCTV above images of the prime minister, his deputy Nick Clegg, former Labour leader Gordon Brown and London mayor Boris Johnson, with the strap line: 'Do you know these people? Wanted in connection with having broken Britain.'
The second poster depicts the female characters supposedly having just beaten Cameron to the floor with baseball bats, with the line: 'So Mr Cameron. Do you still want to hug a hoodie?' Street crime and violence have been major issues over the years, particularly in London, but the problems really came to the fore during the August riots that escalated across the UK, prompting the prime minister to say that he wanted to fix 'broken Britain.' SKET, directed by newcomer Nirpal Bhogal and starring Ashley Walters and Lily Loveless, is scheduled for release this week. This is not the first time that Transport for London has taken the decision to ban a controversial advert from running on the Underground. Only last month, flyers promoting Lulu, Metallica's collaborative album with Lou Reed, were blocked from London subways and Tube stations because officials were concerned that the artwork was too close to 'street graffiti.' In 2006, posters for the US TV series Sleeper Cell, featuring the slogan 'America's latest hero is a Muslim straight out of jail,' were banned from the London Underground because the word 'Muslim' was deemed to have the potential to offend. Kamran Pasha, a writer on the show, told Total:spec magazine at the time: 'From a practical perspective, whenever people protest or try to ban things, then they just give it more power. From a purely business perspective, the fact they banned the advertising in the UK just gave us more publicity. There were front page articles about the advertising being banned, so after that people who were probably not going to watch the show ended up watching it.'

Prince Charles has claimed that Vlad the Impaler is one of his ancestors. The heir to the British throne was speaking for an upcoming television documentary about the Carpathian Mountains in Transylvania, reports the Daily Torygraph. Prince Charles said: 'The genealogy shows I am descended from Vlad the Impaler, so I do have a bit of a stake in the country.' Cruel and wicked Vlad Țepeș III (1431–1476), was a three-time Voivode of Wallachia, ruling mainly from 1456 to 1462, the period of the incipient Ottoman conquest of the Balkans. His father was a member of the Order of the Dragon (Dracul) and the word Dracula means, literally, 'the son of the Dragon.' Vlad is thought to have been the inspiration for Bram Stoker's fictional vampire character Count Dracula in 1897. Yeah, I can see the similarity between him and Chas and you come to mention it. The Fifteenth Century nobleman gained a fearsome reputation for torturing and executing people, often with impalement. Even during his lifetime Vlad Țepeș became infamous as a tyrant allegedly taking sadistic pleasure in torturing and killing. He is shown in contemporary cryptoportraits in the role of cruel rulers or executioners such as Pontius Pilate ordering the torture and execution of Jesus Christ, or as Aegeas, the Roman proconsul in Patras, overseeing the crucifixion of Saint Andrew. In Romania, however, he's regarded as something of a nationalist hero for his war against the Ottoman empire.

Former radio DJ, television presenter and charity fundraiser Sir Jimmy Savile (OBE) has died, two days short of his eighty fifth birthday. His death came after he spent ten days in hospital earlier this month with suspected pneumonia. Savile, who was one of the most famous faces on British radio and TV during the 1960s, 70s and 80s, died on Saturday. Jim'll Fix It (1975-1994), drew huge audiences and the programme received twenty thousand letters a week at the height of its popularity. Savile was the first host of Top of the Pops in 1964 and also appeared on the music show's final edition forty two years later. His TV persona included chunky gold jewellery, a huge cigar, trademark snowy white hair and a number of catch-phrases, as it happens, now then, now then, guys and gals. Which, of course, were frequently parodied by a thousand bad impressionists across the land such as what yer actual Keith Telly Topping has just proved an example thereof. My apologises. Especially as, whatever Hugh Dennis might think, no one, and I mean no one, could pronounce the word 'Sho-waddy-waddy' quite like The Savile. Savile was born into a working class family in Leeds, the youngest of seven children, to his beloved mother Agnes (whom he called The Duchess) and his father Vincent Savile, a bookmaker's clerk. he was a Bevin Boy, conscripted during World War II to work as a coal miner. An underground explosion brought down the coal face on his back damaging his spine to such an extent that he was told he would never walk again. But he proved the medical experts wrong and after three years he was able to throw away his sticks. Having started playing records in dance halls during the early 1940s, Savile subsequently claimed to have been, effectively, Britain's first ever DJ; according to his autobiography, he was the first person to use two turntables and a microphone, which he did at the Grand Records Ball at the Guardbridge Hotel in 1947 pioneering the concept of DJing as we know it today, although his claim to have been, definitely, the first has been disputed. Savile later moved to Manchester and lived in Salford, working as the manager of the Plaza Ballroom in Oxford Road in the mid-fifties. He also managed the Mecca Locarno ballroom in Leeds in the late 1950s and early 1960s. His Monday evening records-only dance sessions (admission one shilling) were a huge favourite with local teens. Savile was also, at various times, a volunteer hospital porter at Leeds General Infirmary and became a semi-professional sportsman, competing in the 1951 Tour of Britain cycle race and working as a professional wrestler. He proudly claimed that he lost all of his first thirty five fights. 'No wrestler wanted to go back home and say a long-haired disc jockey had put him down. So from start to finish I got a good hiding. I've broken every bone in my body. I loved it.' In one hundred and seven bouts he, reportedly, won just seven. He began his broadcasting career on Radio Luxembourg in 1958 before later moving to the pirate station radio Caroline and then to the BBC. In 1960 he broke into television presenting the Tyne Tees music programme Young at Heart. Although the show was broadcast in black and white, Savile nevertheless dyed his hair a different colour every week. On New Year's Day, 1964, he presented the first edition of Top of the Pops from a television studio – a converted church – in Rusholme, Manchester. On 30 July 2006 he also co-hosted the final edition, ending the show with the words 'It's number one, it's still Top of the Pops,' before being shown turning off the studio lights after the closing credits. On 31 December 1969, Savile hosted the BBC/ZDF co-production Pop Go The Sixties, shown across Western Europe, celebrating the hits of the 1960s. During the early 1960s he co-hosted (with Pete Murray) New Musical Express Poll Winners' Concert, annually held at Empire Pool, Wembley, with acts such as The Beatles, Cliff Richard and The Shadows, The Rolling Stones, The Who, and many others. He is also well remembered for fronting a long running series of advertisements in the early 1980s for British Rail's InterCity 125 (in which he declared 'This is the age of the train') and an even longer running series of Public Information Films promoting road safety, notably 'Clunk Click Every Trip' which encouraged motorists to used seatbelts. This led to Savile's hosting his own Saturday night chat/variety show on BBC1 from 1973 entitled Clunk, Click, which in 1974 featured the UK heats for the Eurovision Song Contest featuring Olivia Newton-John. After two series, the show was replaced by Jim'll Fix It. Savile was featured on This Is Your Life twice (his second turn reportedly as a result of the production team's being unaware of his previous appearance). He was interviewed by Doctor Anthony Clare for the radio series In The Psychiatrist's Chair and also appeared in a notorious, fascinating and at times disturbing BAFTA-award winning Louis Theroux documentary, When Louis Met Jimmy. In 1967 he joined BBC Radio 1, where he initially presented Savile's Travels and the discussion show Speakeasy. His best-remembered contribution to Radio 1, however, was the Sunday lunchtime show Jimmy Savile's Old Record Club, where entire top tens from years gone by were played. It began in 1973 (initially called The Double Top Ten Show) and ended in 1987 at which point he left Radio 1 after nineteen years. One of Britain's most recognisable personalities, aside from his TV and radio work, Savile carried out a considerable amount of charity work, including raising huge amounts of money for the Stoke Mandeville Hospital where he worked for many years as a volunteer porter. He also raised money for the Spinal Unit at the National Spinal Injuries Centre and for St Francis Ward - a ward for children and teens with Spinal Cord Injuries. His charity fund raising activities included running over two hundred marathons (his last being the 2005 London Marathon at the age of seventy nine) and raised an estimated forty million pounds over the years. A member of Mensa, Savile was first made an OBE in 1971 (his pride in being awarded the honour meant that his TV appearances thereafter always saw him credited as James Savile OBE). He was knighted by the Queen in 1990 again for his considerable charitable works.

Adele has cancelled all her remaining live dates and promotional appearances for 2011 after suffering continuing problems with her voice. So, it would seem there is a God after all.

And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Here's a piece of geographical identification from NWA.
Word, brothers. Although, personally, yer actual Keith Telly Topping has always preferred Nina Gordon's version.