Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Trip of A Lifetime

It was once known as 'The Delia Effect' – a TV show boosting sales of a particular product (after Delia Smith got the country cooking in the 1980s). Perhaps we should rename it 'The Coxy Cause-and-Effect' from now on after BBC2's Stargazing Live, presented by yer actual Professor Brian Foxy Coxy, saw telescope sales soar almost five hundred per cent, according to the Sun. No, that's not a euphemism for anything - as in, 'is that a telescope in your pocket or are you just looking at Uranus? - I mean actual telescopes. Amazon reported sales up four hundred and ninety one per cent in the three hours after the show went out on Monday. The interest in Cox has also seen sales of his books more than double on Amazon since the physicist - and former pop musician - appeared on The Jonathan Ross Show. 'In the three hours following Stargazing Live being aired we saw an almost six-fold increase in sales of telescopes,' said Neil Campbell, the camera and photo store manager at Amazon. 'Each time the popular physicist appears on TV we see a jump in telescope sales and that would appear to point to a significant 'Brian Cox effect' encouraging a renewed interest in stargazing.' There's no word yet on whether this effect had also seen any significant increase in CD's by D:Ream. Probably not, I'm guessing.
According to the BBC press office as of Wednesday afternoon the BBC had received one hundred and eighty three 'contacts' (one hundred and eighteen comments and sixty five actual complaints) from viewers concerning various aspects of Stargazing Live. Only one of them - a complaint - related to Foxy Coxy's stridently anti-UFO stance. Personally, I thought that was a bit off, myself. It was an excellent show, Ed Bishop was particular good in it. No? Okay. (Yer actual Keith Telly Topping is indebted to his mate Duncan for that particular joke. Any complaints, send them to Duncan. Or, you know, Peter Gordino!) Perhaps a shade more worryingly was that the majority of the complaints were from 'people who disliked Dara O'Briain's presenting style.' I thought Dara - who, himself, of course as Coxy noted on Wednesday's show, studied cosmology and physics at Dublin University and is a very clever man indeed - did an excellent presenting job in a nicely self-deprecating way. And, he got that question he was asked about why stars twinkle and planets don't spot on. Maybe it was all the middle-aged ladies complaining about a portly bald Irishman spoiling their view of The Coxinator his very self? Who, honestly, knows? Or cares, for that matter? Sorry, I'm still chuckling away at Duncan's UFO jape. Ed Bishop! Anyway ... The BBC have also, much more importantly, received 'numerous' comments of praise about the series. Including, astonishingly, from the Daily Scum Mail. (Stargazing Live and Sherlock have continued to receive a steady drizzle of enthusiastic comments direct to the Beeb all week, apparently. Nice to see a bit of BBC-lurv in the house for once.)
Including HD viewers, three million watched the final episode of Stargazing Live on Wednesday with 2.6m of them hanging around for the subsequent Stargazing Live: Back to Earth discussion programme at 9:00pm. The main show had an audience of 2.73m on BBC2 and a further two hundred and sixty one thousand on BBC HD. Back to Earth's audience was 2.42m with two hundred and thirty one thousand on HD. Overall it was another very good night for BBC2 with the opening episode of The Crusades following with 1.9m. Earlier in the night, Eggheads , Great British Railway Journeys and Hairy Bikers' Best of British all topped two million for the channel. Georgia Salpa's eviction from the Big Brother house attracted an audience of 1.99m on Channel Five, according to overnight data. Celebrity Big Brother was followed by Kate Thornton - Anorexic: My Secret Past at 10pm, which averaged six hundred and sixteen thousand. So, to those people at least, it's no longer a secret, is it? Elsewhere, BBC1 had a steady night in the four to five million range broadcasting The ONE Show (4.4m), Rip Off Britain (4.69m), DIY SOS: The Big Build (5.19m) and MasterChef (4.25m) and the BBC News at Ten (4.7m). ITV's primetime coverage mostly consisted of an FA Cup football match, which averaged 3.4m, they having clearly picked the wrong match in Wolves versus Birmingham which probably appealed to few outside the west Midlands area. Piers Morgan's Life Stories in which the odious and oily twat interviewed Richard Branson had a risibly small audience of nine hundred and eighty six thousand sad, desperate punters from 10.45pm. On Channel Four, One Born Every Minute had 2.83m viewers in the 9pm hour with a further four hundred and sixty seven thousand of C4+1. Overall, BBC1 again came out on top with just over a twenty per cent audience share across the night, ahead of ITV's 15.4 per cent. BBC2 followed with 9.4 per cent.

Here's a little AI teaser from Monday of this week which should speak volumes without any additional commentary from this blogger. The Royal Bodyguard -seventy five; Mrs Brown's Boys - ninety one. Although, to be fair, one could suggest (and Gally Base's McLem actually did!) that Mrs Brown's Boys' AI may be artificially inflated by people simply being 'happy that The Royal Bodyguard is over.' Don't come for me looking for a quick answer on that one, dear blog reader.

BBC America is reportedly 'furious' with CBS over the US network's plan to produce a modern-day Sherlock Holmes series. Elementary - devised by Medium writer Rob Doherty - will, it is claimed, 'transport Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's detective to present-day New York.' BBC America chiefs have labelled the project as a 'blatant copy' of UK drama Sherlock, claims the Mirra. 'We want Sherlock to rate big in the States and this could take the shine off it,' an unnamed - and probably fictitious - 'source' allegedly told the odious tabloid. A 'US TV source' - again, almost certainly not real - added: 'The success of Sherlock in the UK has been major factor of bringing Elementary to life. We believe this modern twist will appeal to viewers. We want fresh American faces in the role.' BBC1's Sherlock - co-created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss - has, of course, already been commissioned for a third series. Moffat recently promised that fans will not have 'that long' to wait for new episodes. 'We're making movies - those six films we've made could go in the cinema,' said the writer. 'You can't factory produce that - it's a different kind of show. So, when we're good and ready - it won't be that long - but when we're ready, you'll get the follow-up.'

Wor Kev Whately has revealed that Lewis could soon come to an end. The Inspector Morse spin off - which also stars Laurence Fox - has been broadcast on ITV since 2006. Whately told the Radio Times: '[It won't last] a lot longer. I'm now police retirement age this year, so the time is coming quite soon, I think.' He added: 'You can definitely expect one more [series] next year, then after that, we'll see.' Whately - who has played Robbie Lewis since 1987 - admitted that he originally planned to stick with the role for just a few years. 'After three years, I thought "I've done enough of this now, I better leave it and go on to something else,"' he explained. 'I said I wasn't going to do any more, and luckily they persuaded me. Twenty six years later, I'm still at it.' The actor also confirmed that he had watched recent one-off prequel Endeavour, which starred Shaun Evans as a young Morse. 'I enjoyed Endeavour,' he said. 'I think it's got promise, so we'll see what they do with that.' It was recently reported that Endeavour could lead to a full series, with talks said to be 'ongoing' between production company Mammoth Screen and ITV. 'We're thrilled with the overwhelming response,' said executive producers Damien Timmer and Michele Bucker. 'The cries for a series are testament to Shaun Evans's remarkable performance.'

Russell Kane has signed up to host a new BBC3 comedy show. Live At The Electric, similar to BBC1's Live At The Apollo, will feature young comedians performing stand-up routines. Kane - very popular with students - will introduce the acts and also entertain the audience with his own sets, the Sun reports.

Dozens of classic horror movies produced by Britain's Hammer studios are to be restored for their release on Blu-Ray. More than thirty films will be resurrected, with several gaining new or extended scenes that were cut from the original. Among them is Terence Fisher's Dracula, which will incorporate a recently-discovered extended death scene considered too gruesome in 1958. Hammer was established in the 1934 and became synonymous with the horror genre in the 1950s and 1960s. Its run of monster movies included Dracula and The Curse Of Frankenstein, which made stars of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. After lying dormant since the 1980s, the company and its back catalogue were bought in 2007 by a consortium, and recently started producing new films including Let Me In and The Woman In Black. The restoration of its older titles is a large undertaking, with the likes of Pinewood Studios, Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros, Studio Canal and Paramount Pictures all contributing material. In a press release, Hammer added that the Blu-Ray discs would contain 'newly-filmed extras, including interviews with cast members.' The company is also asking members of the public to help it track down lost footage and deleted scenes from its movies. Some discoveries have already been made - the original UK title sequence has been reinstated on the 1966 masterpiece The Plague of The Zombies, while the UK title cards for Dracula: Prince of Darkness will be included on its release. Other classic gothic titles slated for restoration include Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter, The Mummy, Frankenstein Created Woman, The Lost Continent, The Reptile, Slave Girls (not, please note, The Reptile Slave Girls as the BBC News website has it. Such a movie does not exist!) and The Vengeance of She.
News International could face a seven-figure bill after agreeing to pay substantial compensation on the eve of a high-profile trial to 'a significant number' of the fifty eight claimants who have fought to prove their phones were hacked by the Scum of the World. The claimants alleged that senior employees and directors at News Group Newspapers, the News International subsidiary that published the Scum of the World, knew that their journalists were engaging in illegal practices, and that the group deliberately deceived investigators and destroyed evidence whilst continuing to insist to the general public that any hacking that had gone on had been the work on one rogue reporter. While not admitting or denying those claims, NGN has agreed that compensation to the claimants can be assessed 'on that basis.' Its position means victims will receive sums far in excess of the usual range of compensation in cases of misuse of private information, with some sums believed to be in excess of one hundred thousand notes. Victims whose claims are expected to be settled include Christopher Shipman, the son of the mass murderer Harold Shipman, HJK, an anonymous member of the public who had a relationship with someone famous, and the politicians John Prescott, Chris Bryant and Denis MacShane. The actor Jude Law received one hundred and thirty thousand smackers and his ex-wife Sadie Frost fifty grand while the ex-deputy prime minister Lord Prescott was reported to have received forty big ones. Footballer Ashley Cole also settled for 'an undisclosed fee' with the now-defunct, disgraced and disgraceful tabloid's publisher, the court heard. News International said that it 'would not comment' on the agreements. The claimants' victory will provide an informal tariff for the other approximately seven hundred and forty victims whom Scotland Yard have confirmed had their phones hacked by the tabloid. The settlements also include a promise from NGN to 'continue to search' its electronic archives, meaning further evidence of unlawful interceptions could still be disclosed. Settlement orders contain a specific provision that new claims can be brought if further wrongdoing emerges in the future. This is important, say lawyers, because attempts are being made to reconstruct e-mail archives which were destroyed by NGN in an apparent attempt to cover up wrongdoing. Tamsin Allen, who has represented eight victims for Bindmans LLP, said: 'The claimants now have some clarity about what happened to them in the years between 2000 and 2005 and satisfaction that justice has finally been done. Many of them have wondered for years how tabloid newspapers were able to obtain secret personal information about them, even suspecting their closest friends and relatives. Lives have been severely affected by this cavalier approach to private information and the law. News Group's misguided decision to defend claims aggressively made matters worse,' she added. 'News Group have finally started to see sense and agreed to apologise and to pay compensation and costs in the majority of the remaining claims. The Leveson inquiry will, in time, reveal to the public the full extent of the perversion of good journalistic standards at the News of the World during the phone-hacking years.' The information extracted by the claimants provides such a detailed picture of the hacking operation at the Scum of the World which future claimants will be in a strong position to bring claims based on an inference, Allen added. 'The documents News Group has been forced to release paint such a comprehensive picture of the activities at the News of the World that new claimants may not need to prove Glenn Mulcaire had their pin number or that information from a voicemail left on their phone appeared in a subsequent article to successfully claim their phone was hacked,' said Allen. 'We have now established patterns of behaviour by the paper that could be relied upon to prove hacking in other cases where, seen in isolation, there appears to be less direct evidence of hacking.' In a pre-trial hearing where decisions will be made on further disclosure and how the remaining ten cases will be tried in February, Mr Justice Vos, the high court judge in charge of all hacking cases, is expected to hear statements in open court in which NGN accepts responsibility for wrongdoing. A number of claimants, including the MP Simon Hughes and the sports agent Sky Andrew have refused to settle their cases and seemingly want their day in court. The case is due to come to court on 13 February. As a result, NGN will continue to disclose further information and evidence. The full trial is expected to last three weeks. The remaining cases are likely to be tried together without any lead claims. Mark Thomson of Atkins Thomson, who represents victims including Jude Law and Simon Hughes as well as former claimants Sienna Miller and Kelly Hoppen, said: 'After years of denials and cover-up, News Group Newspapers has finally admitted the depth and scale of the unlawful activities of many of their journalists at the News of the World and the culture of illegal conduct at their paper. After more than a year of litigation, they have now not only made admissions and apologies to many individual victims of the phone-hacking conspiracy but also made general admissions about what went on.' Thomson paid tribute to the courage of the victims. 'All of the claimants have been extremely brave to take on and succeed against a massive and influential multinational media organisation. They can take the credit for triggering the new police investigation, the parliamentary inquiries and the Leveson inquiry. They should be very pleased with what they have achieved.' Gerald Shamash, a solicitor at Steel and Shamash who represents Alastair Campbell and Paul Gascoigne, said: 'When the now-defunct News of the World investigated and published stories about people, including people high up in government as well as other people in the public eye, it systematically ignored any privacy rights and interests they might have, and knew no limits in what it was prepared to do to get a story. It had a distorted idea of the "public interest", justifying its behaviour like a tyrannical father,' he added. The Scum of the World had placed Lord Prescott under surveillance when he was deputy prime minister, the court heard. Other payouts included forty thousand quid to rugby union star Gavin Henson and the same sum to entrepreneur and friend of Princes William and Harry, Guy Pelly. Pelly said in a statement read in court he had phoned his voicemail to find it engaged. The BBC's legal correspondent Clive Coleman said some commentators were viewing the latest settlements as News International 'waving the white flag.' There did not seem to be a huge appetite on News International's part to put their current and former journalists and editors in the witness box, he added. Labour MP Chris Bryant, who was awarded thirty thousand knicker, said in a court statement it was 'a matter of utmost distress' to discover that he was a victim. Joan Hammell, chief of staff to the Lord Prescott, was awarded forty thousand quid. She was party to highly sensitive information and cleared to the highest security vetting level within government, the court heard. Christopher Shipman, son Dr Harold Shipman, was awarded an undisclosed fee after it emerged that both his e-mails and phone were hacked. The Gruniad claims that is 'understands' there are about seventy more phone-hacking cases 'waiting in the wings.' Mark Lewis, the solicitor representing the Dowler family, and many other phone-hacking victims said the Thursday's rulings were 'just the tip of the iceberg.' Lewis added: 'It's a significant to the individuals who have settled but in the greater scheme of things is not particularly significant. The generic issues which have to still get discussed ahead as a trial because issues have to be resolved unless every case is settled.'

Perhaps the most significant new element of Thursday's hacking settlement announcements is the accusation by the hacking victims' lawyers that Murdoch company directors tried to destroy evidence. Although the lawyers' statement does not name specific names, it accuses 'directors of News Group Newspapers Ltd,' the Murdoch subsidiary which controlled the Scum of the World, of seeking to conceal the wrongdoing by 'deliberately deceiving investigators and destroying evidence.' The directors of NGN were headed, from April 2008, by James Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch's son. Murdoch the younger has already been at the centre of public allegations that he first authorised a cover-up in June 2008, by agreeing to buy the silence of Gordon Taylor, one of the hacking victims, with a lavish seven hundred thousand quid 'secret pay-off.' The following year, former Scum of the World editor Rebekah Brooks joined the NGN board. This was on 23 July 2009, a few days after the Gruniad Morning Star revealed the existence of the cover-up at the Scum of the World. Brooks, who by now had been promoted by Rupert Murdoch to head his entire UK newspaper operation, responded by claiming: 'The Guardian coverage, we believe, has substantially and likely deliberately misled the British public.' It now appears that it Brooks's own statement was far more likely to do that. Thursday's announcement accused NGN of a 'conspiracy, a cover-up and the destruction of evidence/e-mail archives.' It does not spell out on which dates the alleged destruction of the e-mail archive and/or evidence took place. But it says, under the company's new independently chaired management committee that 'attempts are being made to reconstruct e-mail archives which had been destroyed by News Group in an apparent attempt to cover up wrongdoing.' The allegations are, the Gruniad notes, carefully worded: The Murdoch organisation has not made any formal admission of guilt which could assist any criminal prosecution. The announcement says: 'News Group has agreed to compensation being assessed on the basis that senior employees and directors of NGN knew about the wrongdoing and sought to conceal it by deliberately deceiving investigators and destroying evidence.' But the lawyers involved, the Gruniad continues 'make plain their belief' that they have obtained a sheaf of incriminating documents, the significance of which News Group does not care to attempt to contest in open court. They say that in the course of the litigation, they have: 'obtained nine separate disclosure orders from the court. As a result, documents relating to the nature and scale of the conspiracy, a cover-up and the destruction of evidence/e-mail archives by News Group have now been disclosed to the claimants.' About sixty civil cases have been steadily fought through the courts throughout the last year. The disclosure battles have taken place largely behind the scenes. The Leveson inquiry public hearings may have attracted more limelight, with their lurid tales of tabloid sordid malpractice, shadfy skulduggery and naughty shenanigans and malarkey, but the lawsuits, brought by three firms of solicitors working in a co-ordinated project, have been the driving force behind the unfolding of the entire phone-hacking scandal. The series of disclosure orders forced the abandonment of the Scum of the World's long-held 'single rogue reporter' defence, the revival of a major police inquiry, which is still continuing, the departure of the prime minister's press secretary, former Scum of the World editor Andy Coulson, numerous arrests and the setting up of the Leveson inquiry itself. Leveson is likely to want to be supplied with the confidential papers detailing the reasons behind any settlements announced. This week, James Harding, the editor of the Murdoch-controlled Times, published a confessional editorial saying: 'It appears that the News of the World routinely used illegal means to unearth stories of questionable, if any, public interest. As the evidence of wrongdoing came to light, News International, Rupert Murdoch's company that also owns The Times, was unable or unwilling to police itself. This was a disgrace.' Thursday's statement from Bindmans, which represented a number of the claimants, credited 'the work of investigative journalists at the Guardian' in helping the victims by revealing the cover-up at the Scum of the World. Meanwhile, the Torygraph's chief reporter, Gordon Rayner, claimed in two separate tweets on Thursday that, firstly 'NGN [has been] asked to search desks, drawers and filing cabinets of eight staff members by lawyers for the hacking victims,' and, secondly that: '[A] QC accuses NGN of "deliberately destroying" PCs of eight journalists accused in the phone-hacking row.' Ravi Somaiya, a London-based reporter for the New York Times, added: 'One claimant settled-with tells me his legal costs are two hundred thousand pounds. There are sixty hacking cases pending. Again, ouch for News International.'

Jude Law has expressed relief that, now legal proceedings that resulted in him receiving one hundred and thirty thousand mucho wonga plus costs had concluded, he could finally 'speak out' about the impact phone hacking had on his life. 'Over a number of years, the News of the World conducted an illegal campaign of hacking and surveillance against me,' the actor said in a statement read out in court by his lawyer, Mark Thomson. In 2011, Law said that he decided to bring legal proceedings against the group to 'try to find out the truth. Today, in court, it has been announced that those proceedings have been completely successful,' he said. 'I have been unable to make any statement until now about phone-hacking because of those proceedings. Now they are at an end, I can finally speak out about what went on.' Law described how, for several years leading up to 2006, he was suspicious about how information concerning his private life was coming out in the press. He changed his phones and had his house swept for electronic bugs. 'But, still the information kept being published,' he said. 'I started to become distrustful of people close to me.' When the source of the stories – and the full scale of the invasions into his life, and those of his family and friends – became clear, he said that he was deeply shocked. 'I was truly appalled by what I was shown by the police and by what my lawyers have discovered,' he said. 'It is clear that I, along with many others, was kept under constant surveillance for a number of years. No aspect of my private life was safe from intrusion by News Group newspapers, including the lives of my children and the people who work for me. It was not just that my phone messages were listened to: News Group also paid people to watch me and my house for days at a time and to follow me and those close to me both in this country and abroad.' Including, Law claimed, in his statement whilst he was at JFK airport in New York making this, technically, an offence under US law as well as in the UK. Law said that he had achieved everything he wanted from this litigation. 'I hope this means that they will never invade my privacy again. They have also finally given a proper apology,' he said. The actor made it clear that the case, for him, was never about money. Although, he certainly wasn't going to turn his nose up at one hundred and thirty big ones, and rightly so. 'It was about standing up for myself and finding out what had happened,' he said. 'I owed it to my friends and family as well as myself to do this.' Law emphasised that he continues to believe in a free press. 'But,' he added, 'what News Group did was an abuse of its freedoms. They have overstepped the mark for many years. They were prepared to do anything to sell their newspapers and to make money, irrespective of the impact it had on people's lives. It was not just those like me, whose work involved them being in the public eye, but also many other people, often at the most vulnerable times of their lives. It is now up to the police and the Leveson inquiry to continue their investigations into tabloid abuses.' Rumours that the apology he received began with the words 'Hey Jude, don't take it bad,' cannot, at this time, be confirmed or denied.

Neville Thurlbeck, the former chief reporter at the Scum of the World has written on his blog that he is 'aware' of News International executives 'who witnessed practices which would send the share price crashing through the floor.' Thurlbeck wrote: 'The most damaging allegation to emerge against News International today was that its directors took part in an orchestrated cover-up of criminal wrong-doing and sought to destroy incriminating evidence. Much more evidence against News International will come in the future. I worked there from 1988 onwards and I am aware of executives who witnessed practices which would send the share price crashing through the floor. I expect much of this to come out in industrial tribunals and high court actions by former members of staff. But it is the irrevocable loss of trust which could sink it.'

The editor of celebrity magazine OK! has denied to the Leveson inquiry that a recent front page about the Duchess of Cambridge 'crossed a barrier.' Appearing before Lord Justice Leveson on Wednesday, Lisa Byrne denied that a front page in January about Kate Middleton's thirtieth birthday celebrations misled readers. The editors of two other leading celebrity magazines – Heat and Hello! – and four regional newspaper editors also gave evidence to the inquiry on Wednesday. The cover Byrne was asked about featured a strapline stating Catherine's royal birthday – the intimate party, gifts, star guests and delicious menu. It also featured a box saying: 'My husband is my soulmate – world exclusive interview and pictures.' Carine Patry Hoskins, counsel to the inquiry, asked if these words were misleading because they suggested the magazine had an 'exclusive' interview. In fact, the words 'My husband is my soulmate' referred to another story entirely. Byrne denied this, saying the two headlines of the different stories were not very close together on the front page. 'If I was going to be misleading I would have pushed it up. Some people might see that it could be misleading. There was nowhere else to put that box.' She added that there was speculation at the time that Prince Harry and Pippa Middleton were organising 'this ridiculous party' and 'we spoke to the palace who said it was going to be a real intimate occasion and all it did was put a piece together exploring what they bought each other in the past, what was their favourite food.' Patry Hoskins said the words 'guests and delicious menu' next to the headline about the birthday created the impression that the story had details about the Duchess's birthday plans. Byrne replied: 'It's just discussing what they like as a couple. There's loads of detail. All magazines have to an extent sell their publication and not cross a barrier. I felt that had not crossed a barrier. If we had, we would have said "world exclusive" and we haven't done that.' Earlier, Byrne told the inquiry that she understood how some OK! readers might have been 'upset' by a front-page headline about the wedding of Wayne and Coleen Rooney in 2008. The Press Complaints Commission ruled against the magazine after a coverline referred to the 'star-studded' wedding, but inside there was merely a full-page advert for coverage of the event the following week. Byrne was on maternity leave at the time, but she said that if the magazine had pictures of the wedding, it would have put them on the cover. 'I have to sell the magazine and make sure that whatever is on the front page is [accurate]. Accuracy is very important,' Byrne said. The Heat editor, Lucie Cave, said that the magazine made a 'grave mistake' in 2007, before she took over running the title, when it published a sticker mocking the disabled son of glamour model and reality TV star Katie Price, who made a complaint to the PCC. 'All I can say is that this was a grave mistake,' she said. 'Everybody who worked at the magazine and who works at the magazine did everything they could to apologise. I don't think it is justifiable. Everybody who worked at the magazine was mortified by that mistake.' Except, presumably, for the people who made it and the editor who passed it and the publisher who counted all of the taking for that particular issue, of course. Or, were they all merely 'mortified' that Price - someone not known to be shy of publicity and a close working relationship with magazines such as Heat - complained about it? Perhaps, we'll never care. Heat paid a donation to a charity and printed an apology to Price after the sticker was published in November 2007. The editors were also questioned on their use of photographs from paparazzi agencies. Cave was challenged over pictures published by Heat published a picture of X Factor creator Simon Cowell on a private yacht. The magazine did not check with Cowell before publication. She said: 'We know from working with him he kind of enjoys the lifestyle that goes with his celebrity. We took the decision he is clearly playing up to the paparazzi. In this instance, and the tone of the piece, he would not have a problem with that picture.' Hello!'s Rosie Nixon admitted that the claim that the magazine had a 'rare interview' with author JK Rowling in 2001 was 'clearly misleading.' Nixon was questioned about an interview with the Harry Potter author, seven years before she was made editor. Rowling told the inquiry last year that the article claimed to be 'a rare and exclusive interview' but 'what they had done was taken that article from a different paper and repackaged it.' She claimed the piece was used to justify further articles about her private life. Nixon said the quotes in fact came from a Q&A session with a group of children arranged by Comic Relief. She admitted that the packaging of the story as a 'rare and exclusive' interview was 'clearly misleading.' She said the magazine now treats the term 'exclusive' seriously and there are processes in place to ensure the mistake is not repeated. Leveson also heard on Wednesday from four regional newspaper editors, who described how tough the business had become commercially in recent years. Spencer Feeney, editor of the South Wales Evening Post, said that the general view was that advertising revenues in the past five years had 'about halved.' John McLellan, editor of the Scotsman said: 'The big categories that have taken the steepest fall, recruitment, property and motors have taken the most flak, in particular recruitment which was the mainstay of the regional press, which it is fair to say has all but disappeared.' Leveson has repeatedly expressed concern about the future of regional and local papers, saying they perform a valuable service for communities, reporting from courts, on local councils and public sector bodies such as health authorities.

Now, yer actual Keith Telly Topping is a lad of considerable girth, dear blog reader, he's never hid that fact. And, by and large, he doesn't do 'wobble bottom' jokes. But he simply has to fill you in on a conversation he overheard in the local chippy on Thursday lunchtime. Large lass: 'Can I have sausage and chips, and pie and chips, and curry and chips, and chips, please?' Lad on the counter: 'Sausage and chips, and pie and chips, and curry and chips, and chips?' Lass: 'Aye. Oh, and fried onion ring. And another battered sausage.' Lad: 'That it?' Lass: 'Yeah. Oh, and plenty of batter on the sausage and chips, and pie and chips, and curry and chips, and chips.' Lad: 'Do you want salt and vinegar on your sausage and chips, and pie and chips, and curry and chips, and chips?' Lass: 'Just salt. Loads of salt. But no vinegar. It ruins the taste. I hate vinegar, me.' Lad: 'Do you want any drinks with that?' Lass: 'Aye, give me a coke. No, better make it a diet coke, I'm watching me figure!' True story.

Liverpool's centre forward Andy Carroll has revealed that he wears a T-shirt under his red top with a message on it for whenever he scores. Rumours that it reads 'Save the Chilean Miners' cannot, at this time, be confirmed or denied. I heard it was 'Ruth Ellis is Innocent' personally.
Keith Telly Topping's latest 45 of the Day is another trip into yer actual Fabsville (near Funky Town, just outside Grooveumbria). Roll up, roll up, you peasants. The party is about to begin. (Please bring your own narcotics, this is a family blog.)
And, as an extra special bonus, here's one for Foxy Coxy's massive fanclub. (Although, actually, I'm not sure he's playing on this one - and he's definitely not on this Top of the Pops performance. But, it's much better than their other two big hits!)

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