Wednesday, January 11, 2012

They 'Bout T'Bash Dem

The Financial Times editor Lionel Barber has said that the closure of the Scum of the World was a 'wake-up call' to the newspaper industry - which it was, as well as being a great day for everybody whom the disgraced and disgraceful tabloid had stitched up, shat upon and had their lives ruined over the years - but, ludicrously, insisted that his paper's code of conduct is 'a viable model for self-regulation.' No it isn't mate. That's why you and all of your journalist mates are now sitting in an inquiry sweating your nuts off and shit-scared that you're all going to get regulated into the middle ages. Speaking yesterday at the Leveson Inquiry into press ethics and standards, which was launched in response to the phone-hacking disgrace, Barber said that journalists should be held 'accountable in the court of public opinion.' Yes. And in the courts of justice if they break the law. Barber called for the establishment of a new independent press regulator, which was 'robust, credible and worthy of joining.' He added: 'We are in the last chance saloon drinking our last pint. It is incumbent on the industry to produce new, credible proposals for independent regulation.' The disgraceful Scum of the World was shut down in July last year following a string of revelations about the hacking of phones of high-profile individuals by its journalists. Barber feels that the Financial Times 'should be the gold standard in journalism,' as its relationship with readers is 'one of trust.' Which is also ridiculous as the only people who read the FT are those with a pink bathroom. 'They need to be able to trust the information that we provide and that is why we have a very stiff code of conduct which goes beyond the PCC,' Barber told Lord Leveson at the inquiry. He said that employees who could harm the Financial Times' reputation faced the sack, providing real and meaningful penalties for anyone engaging in malpractice. The FT, he claimed, also uses a minimum of two primary sources for stories, as relying only on a single source meant 'you could potentially be manipulated,' said Barber. 'I would argue that the Financial Times code of conduct is a model for self-regulation,' he said. 'Because the penalties for not getting it right are severe.' The day before, the Sun's editor Dominic Mohan told the inquiry that the tabloid newspaper no longer uses private investigators, whilst former editor odious slime-bucket Kelvin Mackenzie (justice for the ninety six) defended the process of paying people for information. Meanwhile, The Times has claimed that prime minister David Cameron will be asked to appear before the Leveson Inquiry to answer questions over his relationship with News Corporation boss Rupert Murdoch. A spokesman for Cameron told reporters: 'We haven't received any request but, when the prime minister announced that we were setting up the inquiry, he made very clear that it would have the ability to call politicians, including serving politicians and previous prime ministers. Obviously, if he was asked to attend, he would.' The Times further claimed that Labour leader Ed Milimolimandi and ex-prime minister Gordon Brown are also expected to appear at the inquiry.

Meanwhile, the Daily Torygraph paid the 'source' behind the MPs' expenses scoop a sum 'in the order of' one hundred and fifty thousand smackers for a computer disc containing the damning information. Will Lewis, the editor of the newspaper at the time the story broke, told the Leveson Inquiry on Tuesday that he had initially feared the story was a hoax. The paper had ten days to analyse the disc covering four years of MPs' expenses information, but it was only after former justice secretary Jack Straw wrote back to them confirming his expenses that Lewis felt confident to proceed with the story. 'I was also aware that this story was laced with risk all round, as the best and most important journalism tends to be,' he said. The Leveson Inquiry has this week been hearing from senior newspaper professionals on standards in the industry following the phone-hacking scandal at the Scum of the World. Lewis said that the Torygraph had applied 'an iterative process' of five steps before deciding whether to run the expenses story. 'We gathered the best of the best in a secret room to get them to see what was on the disc, they uncovered things no-one thought probable,' he said. 'I became aware it was my responsibility to bring it into the public domain. I remember when I was told that Jack Straw replied and confirmed his expenses; only then did I feel able to give the greenlight.' He said that the middle man who brought the disc to the paper had asked not only for the money and legal protection, but also balanced coverage from the paper. Lewis said that it was not just about using the story for commercial gain, but an 'ethical obligation' to get wrongdoing by MPs into the open. He added: 'We brought this profound wrongdoing at the heart of the House of Commons into the public domain. And I remain proud of that achievement.'

Lewis then refused to tell the Leveson inquiry whether he knew anything about how the BBC's Robert Peston obtained a leak of a covert interview with Vince Cable from the title's newsroom. The newspaper journalist – who had by the time the Cable story was published in December 2010 joined the management team of News International – was asked on Tuesday by Robert Jay QC, counsel for the inquiry, whether he was the source of the leak from his former employer. Replying, Lewis said: 'I can't assist you with that, as you know, core to any journalist is the protection of journalistic sources, whether they are my source or someone else's source.' A simple 'yes' would've done, mate. He continued: 'Any way that I answer that question, as helpful as I would like to be, would endanger that principle' and concluded that it was 'not a matter' he felt 'able' to assist the inquiry on at all. So, that'll be a 'yes', then? In December 2010 the Torygraph sent two journalists to pose as constituents of Cable, the business secretary, and secretly recorded the Liberal Democrat MP. The purpose of the sting was to expose cracks in the coalition but the Torygraph got more than it bargained for when Cable openly criticised Rupert Murdoch at a time when he was adjudicating on the media mogul's proposed buyout of BSkyB. That recording was not first published by the Torygraph - who were, themselves, one of a number of newspapers and media organisations opposed to Murdoch's takeover plans - but, instead, was leaked from the newspaper and was broadcast by Peston, the BBC business editor. Peston said that an unnamed 'whistleblower' had passed him the tape of the interview. Subsequently the Torygraph Media Group, the owner of the newspaper, hired Kroll Associates, the private investigators, which concluded that it had a 'strong suspicion' that Lewis had orchestrated the leak. Lewis had by then left the Torygraph in May 2010, and joined News International as group general manager later that year. When Jay first raised the subject of the Kroll investigation, Lewis told the Leveson inquiry that he had 'left the Telegraph in May 2010 so I've no idea if the Telegraph conducted such an investigation.' Later, as Jay tried to probe Lewis further on the subject, a security alarm went off – prompting laughter in the courtroom. Peston's disclosure about Cable's 'war on Murdoch' remark had a significant impact at the time. Cable was stripped of his responsibility for deciding on News Corp's bid for BSkyB, and it was widely believed that his successor in the task, the vile and odious rascal Hunt, would have been more sympathetic to the bid. The bid was just days away from being rubber-stamped in the summer when the phone-hacking scandal's worst excesses were exposed leading to Murdoch eventually dropping his plans. Much, one imagines, to the satisfaction of the Torygraph.

The High Court has ruled that Justice Secretary Ken Clarke was wrong to stop the BBC filming a terrorism suspect held for seven years without trial. The court said there was public interest in interviewing Babar Ahmad, due to the case's exceptional nature. The Justice Secretary had argued an interview was not necessary to inform the public about Ahmad's story. The British Muslim denies terror-related charges and is fighting extradition to the US. After the ruling, Clarke said that he would not be appealing the verdict and would now begin negotiations with the BBC about how and when the interview would take place. The thirty eight-year-old London man has been held in prison pending extradition since 2004, believed to be a record for an unconvicted British citizen. He is awaiting a final decision on his case by the European Court of Human Rights. Ahmad is accused of fundraising for extremists and other offences, all of which are said to have been committed in the UK. He has never been charged or faced trial in this country and denies any wrongdoing. Last year, more than one hundred and forty thousand people signed an official government e-petition calling for him to be tried in the UK, leading MPs to include his case in two Parliamentary debates. At the High Court hearing last year, the BBC argued that the Justice Secretary had the power to restrict journalists' access to prisoners - but he had been wrong to turn down an application from reporter Dominic Casciani to film Ahmad. Lord Pannick QC, for the BBC, said that the refusal to allow an interview breached the journalist's freedom of speech as set out in Article ten of the European Convention on Human Rights. In their judgement, Mr Justice Singh and Lord Justice Hooper said: 'The [interview ban] constitutes a disproportionate interference with the right to freedom of expression in Article ten. In the circumstances of this particular case, the justification for that interference has not been convincingly established. The claimants have demonstrated on the evidence before the Court that they do require a face-to-face interview with Mr Ahmad.' Counsel for the Justice Secretary had argued that allowing BBC cameras into prison would open the floodgates to many more such stories. But the court said Ahmad's case was 'far from ordinary' and there was public interest in seeing and hearing from Ahmad. 'It is difficult to think of a case which would fall within the exception if not for the present case,' said the judges. 'We make it clear that we do not consider that the present case should be regarded as setting any precedent for other cases. The crucial question is whether in the very unusual circumstances of the present case, when taken together, an exception must be made. We have come to the conclusion that it must.'

Director Toby Haynes has described next weekend's Sherlock series finale as 'an action-adventure.' The third episode of series two, The Reichenbach Fall will be broadcast at 9pm on Sunday 15 January and sees Sherlock and John locking horns once more with their nemesis, Jim Moriarty, in one final problem that tests loyalty and courage to their very limits. Speaking to the CultBox website in the edit suite in Cardiff last year, Haynes revealed that the episode would be 'a heist film really' and 'the tone is action-adventure.' He added that Moriarty's plan is 'less of a game and more of a trap' and is 'all about reputation and trying to destroy [Sherlock].'
The imported medical drama series Body of Proof began with strong numbers on Channel Four on Tuesday night, according to overnight ratings data. Starring Desperate Housewives' Dana Delany, the US series earned 1.73m viewers from 9pm. The latest instalment of Celebrity Big Brother followed with 2.09m, while Celebrity Wedding Planner and Cowboy Builders were broadcast earlier with two hundred and eighty three thousand and 1.45m respectively. On BBC1, Holby City was watched by 5.35m from 8pm. DIY SOS: The Big Build had an audience of 4.68m immediately afterwards. ITV had the latest in a series of a quiet nights. River Monster was watched by 2.8m from 7.30pm, the opening episode of The Exit List with smug, odious Matt Awright averaged 2.37m and the sick and tawdry disgrace that is The Biggest Loser ended up with 2.67m from 9pm and was, very satisfyingly, beaten by BBC2's The Mystery of Edwin Drood (3.1m). Elsewhere on BBC2, Hairy Bikers: Best of British was watched by 1.88m, The Great Sport Relief Bake Off by an excellent 3.27m and a repeat of Have I Got News for You by 1.47m.

Karen Gillan has said that she never cared about modelling. The Doctor Who actress was scouted by an agency before winning her first TV roles and walked the catwalk at London Fashion Week. Of whether she shared the thoughts of Jean Shrimpton, who she plays in upcoming BBC4 drama We'll Take Manhattan, Gillan told Stylist: 'Yes, I understand everything she says about modelling. As a model you just do what you're told. It's not something that ever bothered me really because I didn't feel that there was a lot riding on it. I didn't care about modelling, so the pressure wasn't there for me.' Asked if she met Shrimpton when preparing for the role, she added: 'No. I didn't have the chance because she's quite private. She runs a hotel in Penzance. Part of me was tempted to book in but I thought that might be a little weird. I read her autobiography and her modelling guide though,' Gillan added. 'The guide was written while she was at the height of her fame, the autobiography was written late on in life, so she's far more honest about how she feels in that. She hated the fame side of things.' The actress also confirmed that Shrimpton has watched the television movie and 'left a message for me saying she loved it.'

Having tackled The Tudors, the BBC is taking on the Yorks and the Lancasters in what promises to be an epic BBC1 drama about the War of the Roses. In a twist on the male-dominated lens through which history is frequently viewed, the epic serial about one of the bloodiest periods in English history will be told from the point of view of powerful women who 'shaped their men and who shaped history in the process.' They include queens, mothers, lovers and witches and the publicity for the drama reminds viewers that at the time women could still be burned at the stake for sorcery. Even though they weren't, they were hanged. The War of the Roses is an adaptation of Philippa Gregory's best-selling series of books The Cousin's War and is part of a renewed focus on BBC1 drama. The BBC said that it is yet to cast the drama or decide the number of episodes. Witches are also the subject of BBC1's traditional festive treat for children. Following the success of airing author Julia Donaldson's children's books The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo's Child in past festive seasons, BBC1 and Magic Light Pictures are bringing another one to life this December called Room on the Broom. Also on the cards for Christmas is a three-part adaptation of what TS Eliot called 'the first and greatest of English detective novels,' Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone. The drama follows Sergeant Cuff of Scotland Yard as he tries to uncover a crime involving the theft of an Indian jewel by a British army officer at the storming of a Maharajah's palace. Halloween will be marked by BBC1 with a three-part drama taken from James Herbert's haunted house chiller The Secret of Crickley Hall. BBC1 will also feature new contemporary dramas with Ben Stephenson, controller of drama commissioning, announcing the arrival of Truckers. Written by William Ivory and made by Company Pictures, the six-part series follows a group of men and women who work for the same haulage company driving forty-ton articulated lorries across the Midlands. The BBC described it as 'a warm, funny, bitter-sweet character-driven show about getting by in difficult times.' Which is pretty much what they said about Candy Cabs so, you know, let's wait and see. Speaking at a Broadcasting Press Guild lunch in London, Stephenson revealed that Sean Bean, Anna Maxwell Martin and Stephen Graham will be joining the cast of the next series of bitter old Red Jimmy McGovern's Accused. He also said that Sir Derek Jacobi and Sarah Lancashire will be appearing in writer Sally Wainwight's new series about rekindled love, called Antony and Cleopatra. It is, the BBC publicity claims, Jacobi's first TV drama since he appeared in ITV's monk drama Cadfael in the mid-1990s (presumably ignoring his appearance as The Master in Doctor Who in 2007). Other casting announcements made by Stephenson included Matthew Macfadyen taking the lead role in Tiger Aspect's new Jack the Ripper drama Ripper Street and Hayley Atwell to star in William Boyd's Restless. In addition, Ben Miller island crime series Death in Paradise is being recommissioned for a second eight-part series (which isn't a surprise but is very welcome) and Denis Lawson is joining the cast of veteran detective show New Tricks. Stephenson revealed that Lawson, who is best known for his roles in Dead Head, Local Hero and Holby City and appeared in the BBC's adaptation of Bleak House, is to replace James Bolam who is leaving the show. '2012 is a massive year for drama on BBC1 as Danny Cohen and I up the scale and pace of our output in order to secure the next generation of mainstream hits, risk taking and originality,' said Stephenson. 'The unique nature of our funding means that only BBC1 drama can bring you this kind of quality and range to ensure there really is something for everyone.' He added: 'I believe BBC1 showcases the biggest and broadest range of what mainstream drama can offer of any channel in the world. This year alone will see BBC1 launching over twenty new titles, as well as bringing back over fifteen returning series.'

A forthcoming storyline on BBC1's Casualty will involve a riot, it has been revealed. Producers on the long-running medical drama are planning to explore the issues surrounding riots in a forthcoming storyline. However, the storyline was reportedly conceived before the riots that broke out in London and other cities over several nights last Summer. 'We're building up to a major storyline about the effects of riots at the end of the current series of Casualty,' Casualty's producer Nikki Wilson, told Inside Soap. 'That'll be interesting after what happened in real life last summer. We actually planned the story ages ago, before all of that, so it's been useful to use true events as research for the plot. Our original idea was for it to be a protest march that got out of control, but that's changed slightly as a result of what took place in London and elsewhere back in the summer.' Casualty recently returned from its Christmas break with its first episode produced at its new home in the Roath Lock Studios in Cardiff. The newly built studios are also home to Doctor Who, Upstairs Downstairs and the Welsh language soap Pobol Y Cwm. Casualty moved to Cardiff last year following the BBC's decision to relocate production from Bristol where it had been filmed for twenty five years. To cover the move the Accident and Emergency Department of Holby General burnt down (once again) allowing the introduction of new sets, in the dramas new home, as well as new opening titles and logo. The first Cardiff produced episode, which was broadcast on Saturday evening, was seen by over six million viewers which represents Casualty's highest ratings for several months.

Bones' executive producer Stephen Nathan has admitted that he expects Booth and Brennan to get married eventually. However, Nathan told TV Line that the duo - played by David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel - will not be tying the knot in the near future. 'I can't see a wedding happening this season,' he said. 'At some point I think there has to be [one].' Nathan added: 'But there are going to be so many problems they'll have to deal with before that, like how their work is affected by this baby - and it's going to be affected a lot.' Bones creator Hart Hanson recently suggested that the FOX show is likely to be renewed for an eighth season.

An adaptation of Martin Scorsese's 1990 masterpiece Goodfellas is, reportedly, being developed for television. AMC is working with writer Nicholas Pileggi, who wrote the original screenplay as well as the book on which Goodfellas was based, and producers Irwin Winkler and David Winkler to develop a TV version of the movie, Deadline reports. A Goodfellas TV series has long been rumoured, and was said to be officially in the works in October 2010. Goodfellas starred Ray Liotta as gangster Henry Hill, along with Paul Sorvino, Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci. Who amused us. The TV series will likely follow the early years of Henry Hill.

ITV is reportedly in talks with the team behind axed BBC2 Sunday morning show Something for the Weekend to make a new version of the series for the commercial broadcaster. The BBC's decision to end the food and chat show, fronted by Tim Lovejoy, chef Simon Rimmer and Louise Redknapp, prompted a furious reaction with more than twenty one thousand fans joining a Facebook group called Save Something for the Weekend From the Axe. If those twenty one thousand could each persuaded about ten of their mates to join and the all promised to watch every single episode then I think it's a fair bet to say the BBC might be persuaded to change its mind but, that's probably not going to happen. ITV 'sources' allegedly say that the broadcaster is 'in discussions' about retaining the presenting team and repackaging them to create a new show for ITV. The series is made by Princess Productions, rather than the BBC themselves, so the production team could transfer wholesale to ITV. One alleged 'insider' allegedly claimed that 'talks' were at early stages, adding: 'We're always looking at things that might work creatively. But it would not be called Something for the Weekend.' It is thought that the BBC cancelled the show in order to save money under its Delivering Quality First initiative. Under the plan the BBC will lose two thousand jobs, show more repeats on BBC2 and cut spending on sport and entertainment programmes in a bid to cope with a licence fee freeze that is due to last until at least 2017. Transferring a show to another channel after it has been dropped by one broadcaster is not a new phenomenon. The most famous example of one switch that proved successful is Men Behaving Badly, which began on ITV in 1992. It was cancelled after two series but was subsequently picked up by the BBC and turned into a massive hit. Others include This Is Your Life, Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, Big Brother and Neighbours although not all switches of channel have been anywhere near as successful as some of those. Take The Morecambe & Wise Show, for example. The BBC confirmed that it had received 'a number' of complaints about axing the show but could not confirm how many at the time of publication.

The identity of the actress originally cast to play Sarah Jane Smith in Doctor Who, before Elisabeth Sladen took on the role, has finally been revealed. It has long been known that another actress was initially hired to play the companion before Sladen was eventually cast in the role. However, the name of the actress concerned has never been revealed until now. The truth is revealed in the information text for the 1974 six-part fiasco Invasion of the Dinosaurs which has been released on DVD in the new UNIT Files box-set. The story features Sarah Jane and the Doctor (Jon Pertwee) returning to London after the events of The Time Warrior only to find it has been evacuated and is under martial law because of the appearance of dinosaurs. The text reveals that the original actress hired to play Sarah Jane was April Walker. The actress has many roles under her belt with most recent being appearances in Waking The Dead (in which she played Peter Boyd's anger management therapist), Judge John Deed and BBC4 biopic Gracie. In the 1970s she appeared in programmes such as Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads?, Fawlty Towers, Beryl's Lot, Anna Karenina, The Onedin Line, The Two Ronnies, Dad's Army, In Sickness & In Health and Crossroads.

Ronnie Corbett was taken to hospital on New Year's Day after collapsing at a dinner celebrating his CBE. Corbett's wife, Anne Hart, revealed that she had thought the eighty one-year-old had died when he fell on her. Speaking to the Sun, she quotes the comic as saying, 'I feel terrible', just before he lost consciousness. Corbett was treated at Croydon University Hospital and moved to Shirley Oaks private clinic before being allowed home last week. Hart, who has been married to Corbett for fifty years, divulged: 'I thought he'd died. I've never been so frightened. Of course the little bugger wanted to come home, but we said no. He's a bloody fighter.' The seventy eight-year-old also confirmed that her husband has been suffering from blood pressure problems since a knee operation last year.

The British film industry should back more 'mainstream' movies, whatever the hell that means, a report is expected to recommend next week. Ahead of a visit to Pinewood Studios on Wednesday, Prime Minister David Cameron said the film industry should support 'commercially successful pictures.' So, that's any one that makes money, basically. His comments come before the publication of Lord Smith's review into the government's film policy on Monday. The review was commissioned to find out how the industry could offer better support to UK film-making. Cameron praised the UK film industry but said 'we should aim even higher, building on the incredible success of recent years.' He acknowledged the British film industry had made 'a four billion pound contribution to the UK economy and an incalculable contribution to our culture.' So, that's lots more films about the royal family and the nobs featuring people with nice teeth that sell well in America, and less about 'horrid Northern people being Northern,' then? Lord Smith, the former Labour lack of culture secretary, is also expected to recommend developing an 'export strategy' to increase the profits of British films. Speaking to the BBC, director Ken Loach said it was important to have a diverse film industry with a wide range of films to choose from. 'If everyone knew what would be successful before it was made, there would be no problem,' he said. 'What you need to do is fund a lot of different, varied projects and then you'll get a really vibrant industry.' Loach added he would encourage more independent cinemas, saying: 'The market does not provide choice if you don't intervene.' Speaking at the time, Lord Smith said: 'We want to hear from everyone involved in UK films. Film-makers, distributors, audiences and experts can all offer a useful perspective on how Government policy can help our film industry grow.' The principal objectives of the review were to identify obstacles to greater success in the British film industry, to determine how to spend increased Lottery funding and bolstering audience demand for film, including independent British film. Last year saw the highest grossing independent British film of all time, The King's Speech, pick up four Oscars. The big screen spin-off from E4's The Inbetweeners recorded the biggest opening for a UK-produced comedy, and had made forty five million smackers at the box office by November last year.

Sports channel ESPN is to 'review' its pitch side previews for live Premier League matches after that unfortunate - if thigh-slappingly amusing - incident in which Martin Keown was thumped on the side of his big ugly mush by a stray football. The former defender-turned-pundit was hit on the head by a ball kicked by a Leeds United player whilst warming up ahead of their 1-0 FA Cup defeat by Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. The station also had to apologise for foul language picked up by a pitch side microphone, reports the Daily Scum Mail. That'll be Keown, probably, asking who dunnit.
ITV has extended its TV rights deal for Tour de France until 2015. The broadcaster will continue to offer live coverage and highlights of the premier cycling event on digital channel ITV4.

And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Here's Claudette & The Corporation and a bit of yer righteous h'anger, an'ting. Rok style.

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