Monday, February 20, 2012

One Way Ticket

Ofcom has dismissed a complaint from a trade union about Jeremy Clarkson's controversial appearance on The ONE Show, in which he said that striking public sector workers 'should be shot.' UNISON wrote to Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards to complain about the 'extreme and wholly unjustified' statements made by Clarkson last November. On the programme, the Top Gear presenter said that public sector workers taking industrial action over their 'gilt-edged pensions' should be executed 'in front of their families.' However, Ofcom director Christopher Woolard wrote back to the union to say that the comments were 'not in breach' of the broadcasting code because they were justified by the context on the BBC1 programme, something that every single person who has whinged about this after some odious scum at the Gruniad Morning Star decided to make it their story of the week entirely missed. Sometimes through judicious editing of the clip when it was reposted online, mostly through wilful determination to take offence just purely for the sake of it and, because it was Clarkson saying it. Woolard acknowledged that the statements were 'potentially offensive' to members of the union working in public service, but noted that they were 'justified' by the context of The ONE Show, which is a 'light' programme and not intended as 'serious daily news.' Woolard said that presenter Alex Jones used 'light-hearted irony' to introduce Clarkson, by saying he was a 'guest with balanced uncontroversial opinions who makes great efforts not to offend.' Ofcom said that 'editorial content and the editorial nature of the programme as a whole would have prepared viewers for the type of comments Jeremy Clarkson would be likely to make.' It continued: 'In Ofcom's view, viewers' expectations would also have been influenced by Jeremy Clarkson's well-established public persona. His often controversial (and, to some, offensive) views are widely publicised in both print and on television.' He added: 'Further, we considered that it would have been clear to most viewers that his comments were not an expression of serious held beliefs or views that should be literally interpreted.' Woolard also agreed with Clarkson's claim that his comments were 'aimed to a considerable extent at the BBC' themselves, particularly at the corporation's need for 'balance' in its coverage of major news stories. Clarkson had begun his comments by noting, when asked about the strikes: 'I think they have been fantastic. Absolutely. London today has just been empty. Everybody stayed at home, you can whizz about, restaurants are empty.' He then added: 'We have to balance this though, because this is the BBC. Frankly, I'd have them all shot. I would take them outside and execute them in front of their families.' Those, very important, opening lines giving context to what was, quite clearly, intended as a joke (you know, one of those things that people say which they do not, necessarily, mean. For the purposes of merriment and japery. It might not, necessarily, have been a very good joke, but it was a joke nonetheless) are usually the first things judiciously snipped out of any reporting of the incident. But, especially, of any reporting of the incident in the odious lice at the Gruniad Morning Star. And the equally odious Daily Scum Mail for that matter. Once again, dear blog reader, let us simply marvel at the ability Jezza Clarkson has to wind up the two most odious scum newspapers in Great Britain at the opposite ends of the political spectrum. There's not much you'll find the Gruniad and Scum Mail agreeing on, but their abject hatred of yer man Clarkson and everything he stands for is, certainly one of them. Like the man said, 'if they're shooting at you, you must be doing something right.' Despite acknowledging that Clarkson's comments were 'likely to offend' anyone not familiar with his personality (or, indeed, anyone specifically looking to be offended), Woolard said that Alex Jones had made a 'wide-ranging apology' at the end of the show, and the BBC had also apologised after the controversy broke. Not that they should have, frankly. There had been claims that BBC 'bosses' were 'made aware' of Clarkson's intended comments before he made them, but Woolard said that the production team had actually claimed that they told Jezza it would 'not be appropriate' to make the joke. But he made it anyway. This led the team to instruct Jones to make the apology at the end of the show. The BBC itself received more than thirty one thousand complaints about Clarkson's appearance on The ONE Show. About two thousand within a couple of days of the appearance and then a further twenty nine thousand once the odious Gruniad Morning Star had stuck its odious oar into the waters and started stirring up trouble. It is expected to announce its own findings on the matter shortly. Which will, also, rightly, tell those complaining to grow the hell up.

The UK series premiere of the - excellent - American drama Homeland picked up an initial audience of 2.3m on Sunday night, according to overnight data. Starring Claire Danes and Damian Lewis, the show averaged 1.96m on Channel Four from 9.30pm before a further three hundred thousand punters caught it on C4+1. On ITV, Twatting on Ice continued to slip, disastrously, in the ratings, attracting an audience of 6.8m for the main show. An average of 5.61m tuned in for Twatting About on Ice: The Skate Off. Its lowest ever overnight audience figure. Wild at Heart took 5.74m from 8.30pm. Also its lowest ever overnight rating. By contrast, it was an excellent night for BBC1. The series finale of Call the Midwifewas watched by a huge 9.24m as Chummy married Constable Jimmy, bless 'em. Upstairs Downstairs - which ended with nearly seven million last series - returned to an audience of 6.53m for the first episode of its second run. A more than decent figure considering it didn't start until 9:30. One imagines the timeshift on that figure will boost it considerably. Antiques Roadshow earned 6.78m (from 7.30pm and Countryfile 5.7m. ITV's episode of Coronation Street, moved from Thursday in a deliberate attempt to screw up the BBC's Sunday night schedule and which, you may recall, some ITV insiders were predicting would 'destroy' Call The Midwife was watched by 8.27m. BBC2's Top Gear was watched by 4.73m in the 8pm hour (3.9m on BBC2, eight hundred thousand on BBC HD), with Swimming with Crocodiles banking 1.72m from 9pm. Overall, BBC1 dominated prime time with an impressive twenty seven per cent of the audience share ahead of ITV's 22.4 per cent. ITV will probably be happy that the scheduling of Corrie affected Upstairs Downstairs audience, by pushing its start time later, but Twatting About on Ice continues to flounder, Wild at Heart suffered its lowest ever ratings and all for what? They might well be doing high-fives at ITV this morning because Upstairs Downstairs didn't debut to the numbers it should've done but, in doing so, they've harmed two of their own major brands even more. The multichannels once again saw ITV2's The Only Way Is Essex perform strongly as it was watched by 1.03m from 10pm. Got to Dance had seven hundred and twenty thousand punters on Sky1 and Being Human averaged six hundred and fifty nine on BBC3 and BBC HD.

The Simpsons has reached a major television milestone with the broadcast of its five hundredth episode on Sunday. It saw the cartoon family exiled to a community of outsiders where they met Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. FOX TV said that Assange recorded his lines from the UK, where he is currently fighting extradition to Sweden over alleged sex offences - charges which he strenuously denies. The animated comedy is in its twenty third season, making it the longest-running prime-time scripted programme on US TV. The show is contracted to run for at least another two seasons. In the five hundredth episode, entitled At Long Last Leave, the Simpsons are shown sneaking into a secret town hall meeting where they hear they are about to be thrown out of town. They subsequently find a welcome in 'The Outlands', where Assange is their neighbour. Previous guest voices on the programme have included former Prime Minister Tony Blair, graffiti artist Banksy, three of The Beatles and novelist Thomas Pynchon. And Rupert Murdoch. Can't forget Rupert Murdoch. Once the show's twenty fifth season has been completed, the number of episodes made will stand at approximately five hundred and fifty nine. Creator Matt Groening said that the writers still had stories to tell, mostly involving 'characters we've never dealt with. We have a character we call Squeaky-Voiced Teen,' he told the Los Angeles Times. 'I'd like to know a little bit more about that guy.' Personally, I want to see them do an episode with Snake, Apu, Disco Stu and Captain McAllister getting marooned on a Lost-style desert island. I dunno why, it just amuses me, that's all.

Shooting has started on the seventh series of Doctor Who which is expected to be broadcast on BBC1 this Autumn. Filming has officially got under way at BBC Wales' new Roath Lock studios in Cardiff. The newly built studios are also home to Upstairs Downstairs, medical drama Casualty and the Welsh language soap Pobol y Cwm. Matt Smith will once again reprise his role of The Doctor with co-stars Karen Gillian and Arthur Darvill returning for an as yet unknown number of episodes. The departure of their characters, Amy Pond and Rory Williams, has been confirmed with Steven Moffat promising a 'heart-breaking' finale for the two companions. It is also expected, but not yet officially confirmed, that Alex Kingston will return as River Song at some point. So far only two writers have been confirmed for the new series; Toby Whithouse and Chris Chibnall alongside, of course, Moffat himself. Rumoured writers include Mark Gatiss and John Fay. As for directors only newcomer (to Doctor Who) Saul Metzstein has been confirmed. It's been rumoured that the Yeti will return to menace the Doctor for the first time since (briefly) 1982, and more substantially, 1968. Mind you, the same rumour went around two years ago (along with similar ones about the returns of both The Ice Warriors and The Zygons) and nowt happened. So, you know, don't get your hopes up, that's all!

Actress Nikki Patel is leaving ITV soap Coronation Street once more. The actress will bow out as Amber Kalirai next month after a series of clashes with her on-screen stepmother Sunita (Shobna Gulati). Patel reprised her role of Amber, daughter of Corner Shop owner Dev (Jimmi Harkishin), late last year. Amber returned from University to life with her father Dev and a none-too-pleased Sunita. The character then became involved in a lesbian love triangle with Sophie Webster (Brooke Vincent) and Sian Powers (Sacha Parkinson) which eventually led to the break-up of the popular couple. 'Nikki's part in the love triangle was a huge success, but the producers feel that the character has run her course. Nikki is a professional and she understands, although of course she is disappointed,' an alleged 'source' is allegedly quoted in the People as allegedly saying. Patel originally joined the cast of Coronation Street in 2005; introduced as a secret love child that Dev had kept hidden from Sunita. Amber moved in with Dev when her mother relocated to Finland. Patel remained with Corrie until 2009 when the character was written out, leaving to go to university.

Broadcaster HBO has released a behind-the-scenes preview of Armando Iannucci's forthcoming comedy Veep, which is set in the office of a fictional US vice-president. The series, which stars former Seinfeld actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer, has been described by its writer as 'a cousin of The Thick of It, the BAFTA award-winning British comedy created by Iannucci that satirised the inner workings of modern government. Veep is also to include Chris Morris among its directors, the comedian and writer whose previous credits include The Day Today and Brass Eye. In 2010, Morris directed his first feature-length film, Four Lions, which followed a group of homegrown Islamist terrorist jihadis from Sheffield.

ITV has announced that Sheridan Smith and Danny Mays will lead the cast of its new five-part drama Mrs Biggs; which based on the life of Charmian Biggs, the wife of Great Train Robbert Ronnie Biggs. Written by award-winning writer and Executive Producer Jeff Pope, Mrs Biggs will chronicle Charmian's life from the fateful moment that, as a teenager on a train, she first met and fell in love with the flirtatious and worldly Ronnie. Sheridan and Danny will be joined by Adrian Scarborough and Caroline Goodall who will be playing Bernard and Muriel Powell, Charmian's parents. 'When I received the call to say that I'd got this job I burst into tears. Charmian is an incredible woman, and I'm so lucky that she'll be on hand to support me and give me advice during the shoot. I hope that I can do her story justice,' Smith said. Mrs Biggs will recount the story of their struggle to stay together in the face of fierce opposition from Charmian's family - aghast at Biggs' criminal record (and, not, we're not talking about the one he made with The Sex Pistols, that was actually pretty good) - and their idyllic life as the parents of young children before money worries forced Biggs to ask for a loan from an old friend to pay the deposit on a house they wanted to buy for their growing family. That friend was Bruce Reynolds, at that very moment planning what would become the most famous crimes in British history - the Great Train Robbery of August 1963. The consequences of the robbery were to devastate Charmian's life. Blissfully ignorant of what her husband was up to - he told her he was on a tree-felling job in Wiltshire whilst he was away on the robbery - she nonetheless went on the run with her husband and children after he'd dramatically hopped the wall of Wandsworth. Shunned by her parents and desperate to keep her own family together, she secretly emigrated with her sons to Australia on false passports. Biggs had already quietly slipped out there and she now managed to help her husband, one of the world's most wanted men, avaid capture for more than four years. But she was never to find any real peace and when - at her insistence - Biggs fled the country for Rio, only hours before Melbourne Police discovered where they were living, Charmian and her three boys were on their own, facing an uncertain future in a foreign country. Set on location in London, Surrey, Buckinghamshire, Adelaide and Melbourne Mrs Biggs is a co-production with Melbourne based December Media for Seven Network in Australia.

Jennifer Saunders is to play an unhinged prison governor, described as 'a sexual Margaret Thatcher' in the new BBC3 sitcom Dead Boss. Filming has begun on the show, written by Pulling creator Sharon Horgan and extremely unfunny stand-up Holly Walsh. The sitcom was formerly known as both Bitches and Life Story. It stars Horgan as as an inmate falsely imprisoned for murdering her boss while Saunders portrays Margaret as 'a woman of culture and elegance who finds playing mind games with guards and prisoners to be good for her morale' – and 'probably even more psychotic than any inmate in Broadmarsh,' the fictional setting of the sitcom. Last year, Saunders gave a Baby Jane-influenced interpretation of Baroness Thatcher in the Comic Strip's The Hunt For Tony Blair. Bryony Hannah – who appeared with Keira Knightly in the West End production of The Children's Hour last year, plays Helen's cellmate, an arsonist; while Geoffrey McGivern plays a hapless lawyer and Ideal's Tom Goodman-Hill will be one of the guards. Also in the cast is Lizzie Roper, who plays a leader of a gang whose members include Scottish comedian Susan Calman. Caroline Quentin also has a guest role. Which is yet one more reason not to watch it. Walsh claimed that the style was influenced by 'comedy films that went for big jokes like Police Squad, Stir Crazy and The Other Guys. We wanted to make something with big, colourful characters – like a John Waters film. We spent ages casting for people who were not only great comic actors but also had really expressive faces. Helen deals with her time in prison by being naively optimistic and ridiculously self-righteous' Walsh added. 'She's convinced that the truth will out. She reveals her innermost thoughts and fears to a murderer on Death Row in Kansas via weekly postcards. Her biggest concern is getting out of prison and getting bloody married. However, no one on the outside is that keen to help her out.' Jeremy Dyson is the script consultant while his League of Gentlemen director Steve Bendelack is also in charge of shooting. Walsh added: 'We went for high stakes and gags – we wanted big, laugh out loud moments. The idea of writing something where all the characters were both good and bad mixed together really tickled us. It's also worth noting that none of this is based on reality. Neither of us have been to prison – Sharon has killed but never been punished.' Dead Boss is currently shooting in London and expected to be broadcast in April.

Mary McCormack has signed on to star in a new ABC comedy pilot. The West Wing actress will be playing a female executive, Hilary Pfeiffer-Dunne, who suddenly becomes a stay-at-home mum, according to Entertainment Weekly. The as yet untitled pilot has been written and produced by The New Adventures of Old Christine showrunner Kari Lizer. The forty three-year-old actress, who played Deputy National Security Advisor Kate Harper in the final three series of The West Wing has just finished a five-season run on the popular USA drama In Plain Sight. McCormack's other series credits include Murder One, ER, Traffic and the HBO semi-scripted DC comedy K Street. Her film roles include Private Parts, Deep Impact, True Crime, High Heels and Low Lifes, K-PAX, Right at Your Door and 1408.

Stephen Colbert will will resume production on his political parody show The Colbert Report this week. According to the New York Times, a representative from Comedy Central has announced that the late-night show will resume filming on Monday, with novelist Ann Patchett as guest. New episodes are to be broadcast all week. Filming for the Emmy-winning show was postponed last week due to what were described as 'unforeseen circumstances.' In lieu of new episodes, reruns of the show were broadcast Wednesday and Thursday. Anonymous - and, therefore, unconfirmed, alleged 'sources' claimed that Colbert's ninety one-year-old mother, Lorna, had been taken seriously ill, prompting the halt in filming, although this has yet to be officially confirmed by the host himself or, indeed, anyone closely connected to the show. Colbert did leave a message for fans via his Twitter account on Friday evening, saying: 'My family and I would like to thank everyone who has offered their thoughts and prayers. We are grateful and touched by your concern.'

BBC1 is to broadcast a Victoria Wood-scripted biopic of reclusive British pianist Joyce Hatto, whose husband was responsible for a notorious musical fraud, passing off dozens of recordings by other artists as his wife's work. Loving Miss Hatto will star Francesca Annis as the late Hatto and Alfred Molina as her husband, William Barrington-Coupe.'Loving Miss Hatto is a screenplay inspired by the true story of classical pianist Joyce Hatto and her husband Barrie,' said Wood, whose TV writing credits include the acclaimed Morecambe and Wise biopic Eric & Ernie, the really very good indeed drama Housewife 49 and the wretched and wholly unfunny alleged comedy Dinnerladies. Stick to drama, Victoria, you're just not funny. 'It begins with their meeting in the grey shabby London of the early fifties and ends in the Twenty First Century in a cul-de-sac in Royston, Hertfordshire. This is a story of two young people with high hopes who, like most of us, get bashed in the face by life. It is, above all, a love story.' Hatto, a pianist and piano teacher, died in 2006, aged seventy seven. She was a concert pianist from the fifties, but her playing received mixed notices and she retired from public performances in 1976. However, from the early 2000s, recordings of work by composers including Beethoven, Mozart and Prokofiev were attributed to Hatto and released through a record label run by her husband to rave reviews. The reclusive pianist appeared to enjoy a remarkable creative renaissance in the years immediately before her death. A glowing 2005 profile in the Boston Globe described her as 'the greatest living pianist that almost no one has ever heard of.' The Gruniad Morning Star's obituary the following year said she was the 'one of the greatest pianists Britain has ever produced.' But doubts began to surface about how a pianist who had not performed in public for thirty years and was said to be fighting cancer could produce such a vast number of high-quality recordings. Then, from February 2007 Gramophone magazine ran a series of articles claiming CDs supposedly of Hatto's work contained recordings made by other artists. It has been estimated that more than one hundred recordings were falsely attributed to her. Barrington-Coupe admitted the fraud in a letter to the head of a record label that had originally released some of the plagiarised recordings. He claimed his wife was unaware of the fraud, that he acted out of love and made little money from the deception. In September 2007 he told Intelligent Life magazine that on behalf of his late wife he intended to get back at the music industry and critics who had shunned them both. Loving Miss Hatto will be filmed in Ireland and is being made by Left Bank Pictures. The company is the UK independent producer behind the BBC's Wallander adaptation and its upcoming Nelson Mandela drama, in association with The Tudors producer Octagon Films.

Interviewed in PR Week, Channel Four's controller of press and publicity, Jane Fletcher (ambiguously described as 'a charming and fragrant version of Donald Rumsfeld's comedy sister' by Sky's Stuart Murphy), naturally chants the Jay Hunt mischief-making mantra, enthusing about 'working on programmes that are going to cause controversy and stir up debate.' And, alongside the piece, a Channel Four advert for a job under her similarly burbles: 'We love to stir things up. Raise a few eyebrows. We're not just talking about our programmes either. We're talking about fresh, creative and innovative campaigns that set tongues wagging and get people watching.' Like those 'Bigger. Fatter. Gypsier' adverts for Big Fat Gypsy Weddings that created an unmanageable social media and press 'racism' storm coinciding awkwardly with the Fletcher interview?
TV presenter Matthew Wright and the comedian Charlie Baker have escaped censure by broadcasting watchdogs after joking about the murder of sixteen-year-old in the Hebrides. The pair caused upset during an episode of Wright's Channel Five show in December when they discussed the death of Liam Aitchison. In a paper review, Baker pointed out the story of the first Hebridean murder hunt for forty years – to which Wright responded in a cod-Taggart accent: 'There's been another murder.' As the audience laughed, Baker added: 'The longest episode of Taggart of all time. There's lots of down-time in between.' Ofcom received two thousand three hundred and fifty eight complaints over the comments and said 'the degree of offence that the comments caused was considerable.' But, it decided that the case was resolved after Wright made on-air apologies in two subsequent programmes. The presenter did himself no favours with the wording with the first apology, when he added the comment: 'Not helped though by people running campaigns: Report Matthew Wright to Ofcom. I mean, grow up, folks. I'm very sorry all the same.' In its ruling, published this week, Ofcom said that the offence in the initial broadcast 'was mainly because Matthew Wright responded to Charlie Baker's introduction to the news story by making a joke that made light of the murder. He then went on to laugh loudly with the audience as the conversation continued. In doing so, he appeared to pay no regard to the unfortunate circumstances of this murder case concerning the killing of a sixteen-year-old well known to many within the local community in which he lived. The potential for offence was heightened because Matthew Wright made his joke while a photograph of the victim Liam Aitchison was being shown on-screen.' The regulators were more sympathetic to Baker, saying that his remarks 'were made in response to a comment by the presenter of the programme, which according to Channel Five was unexpected to the production team and to Charlie Baker, given the briefing exercise before the programme started.' They concluded: 'Ofcom recognises that the comments caused considerable offence, particularly to viewers in Scotland. On balance, however, and in light of the steps taken by Channel Five to mitigate this offence, Ofcom considered the matter resolved.' In a separate ruling, Ofcom criticised Comedy Central for broadcasting The Dukes Of Hazzard movie, which contained 'multiple uses of the word "fuck"' and a topless scene, at 6pm. The broadcaster said human error meant a fifteen-rated version went out in the early evening, instead of an edited version. The human who erred has not been taken out and shot.

Max Clifford's new PR firm, Exclusive TV, was launched on Friday, predictably - but still disappointingly - offering a mixture of tame interviews with alleged 'celebrities' and equally tame interviews with 'people who come to us with stories.' But, the publicity blurb claims, it will also be 'pitching ideas' to TV channels. Max's clients are, as you'd imagine, the usual line-up of has-beens and never-weres line-up (and Simon Cowell), judging by the Max Clifford Associates website. (Though most, of course, prefer not to be identified.) Cowell is, obviously, the star of the show, along with the lines of Stacey Solomon, Kerry Katona, Lauren Goodger, Imogen Thomas and Theo Paphitis – though it's just Theo's lingerie, the Boux Avenue range, that Clifford apparently promotes and protects, apparently, not the Dragon's image or his many other pursuits.

Twickenham Film Studios, recently used for The Iron Lady and My Week with Marilyn, has gone into administration. The renowned studio, which was due to celebrate its centenary next year, will be wound down between now and June. Gerald Krasner, who is handling the administration, said the the business had lost money over the past three years. 'I doubt it will be retained as a film studio,' he said. Half of the seventeen employees have already left. The remainder are working their notice, Krasner added. 'We are selling it on,' he told the BBC News website. 'Everyone will then be paid in full.' Classic movies shot at Twickenham, which opened in 1913, include include the Sherlock Holmes film The Missing Rembrandt, made in the 1930s, and The Beatles movies A Hard Day's Night, Help! and Let it Be and many of their promo films for singles like 'I Feel Fine', 'Ticket To Ride' and 'Hey Jude'. Roman Polanski's Repulsion, Alfie starring Michael Caine and Saturday Night and Sunday Morning also made use of its facilities. More recently War Horse and Horrid Henry: The Movie were made there, while director Phyllida Lloyd completed post-production on The Iron Lady at the historic studios. Its old viewing theatre and wardrobe department was also seen in My Week with Marilyn, starring Michelle Williams and Kenneth Branagh. 'I think it is a real shame that Twickenham's closing,' said key grip Rupert Lloyd Parry, who worked on both The Iron Lady and My Week with Marilyn. 'It's one of our older studios. It's nice when you work where you feel like there's a real sort of tradition of the British film industry. It's like working at Ealing, places like that. The film industry is buoyant at the moment, there is work coming in. There doesn't seem like there is any reason for it to shut.' Built on the site of a former ice rink, St Margaret's Studios was set up in 1913 by Dr Ralph Jupp and was the largest studio in the UK at the time. It was re-named Twickenham Film Studios in 1929 by its then-owners Julius Hagen and Leslie Hiscott.

Irish bookmaker Paddy Power has come under fire for TV ads asking viewers to spot the "transgendered ladies" among a crowd of racing fans at the Cheltenham festival.

Paddy Power and broadcaster BSkyB were accused of inciting 'transphobia' with the campaign, which promised to make the festival's Ladies' Day 'even more exciting by adding some beautiful transgendered ladies: Spot the stallions from the mares.' The advert goes on to show a series of shots of well-dressed racegoers with a voiceover guessing which are men and which are women. The campaign, which broadcast on Sky Sports at the weekend, immediately drew criticism from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. LGBT Lib Dems Northern Ireland said Paddy Power has brought 'shame on itself' and that the marketing tactic was in 'poor taste' at a time when the UK government is trying to wipe out all forms of prejudice in sport. 'To use the subject of transgender in such a degrading and mocking way is a clear-cut case of transphobia,' said the organisation on its website. 'What is worse is that the advert appeared during Sky Sports' very popular Soccer Saturday not just once but three times. So while we have the UK government running a campaign to wipe out transphobia in sport we have the nation's number one sports channel showing such an advert.' Paddy Power is no stranger to controversy, having recently featured Imogen Thomas in an advert campaign in a bid to capitalise on the publicity surrounding Ryan Giggs's affair. In 2010 the bookmaker aired what was to become the most complained-about advert of the year featuring blind footballers kicking a cat. Complaints which were, rightly, rejected. The Cheltenham Festival website said the campaign was 'tongue-in-cheek' but admitted that some people have found it 'in poor taste.'
Invited to add their comments, visitors to the site branded it 'a disgrace' and 'simply horrendous.' 'I have never seen such an insensitive hate ad,' wrote Alex Kennedy. Stephen Glenn wrote: 'We have a government that is working to get homophobia and transphobia out of sport. Yet we have a betting company linking this gross advert to the name of the Cheltenham Festival. I don't think the staff for Cheltenham should be asking us what we think of this but should have condemned it outright themselves.'

Spare a thought. dear blog reader, for BBC weather forecaster Alex Deakin whose weekend broadcast took an unlikely four-letter turn as he predicted a chilly but bright Sunday morning. 'By and large it is simply a lovely winter's day,' began Deakin, promising 'bucketloads of cunt'. Well, it depends on how lucky you get, one imagines. He had, apparently, intended to say 'sunshine over central and eastern areas' but it didn't quite come out that way. BBC weather types are no strangers to the occasional on-air gaffe – we're looking at you, Tomasz Schafernaker. Let's hope Deakin didn't end up in bucketloads of trouble with some wretched bucketloads at the Daily Scum Mail for a simple slip of the tongue.

An American student is to be tried for allegedly stealing a pumpkin worth two dollars. Lauren Medina from New Mexico will face a jury on Tuesday accused of taking from a patch in the city of Moriarty. She was allegedly given the opportunity to plead guilty and be put on probation, but refused. Her sister Annette Atencio has claimed that Medina spent seventy five dollars on food on the day in question, but simply forgot to pay for the squash. 'I'm in disbelief - the more I talk about it, the angrier I get,' she told KOAT. 'She is a college student, and she's never been in trouble and never been arrested.' Well, she has now, if we're going to be completely accurate about this. Atencio also said that Medina was 'put in handcuffs' despite offering to pay for the pumpkin. Which is usually what happens when one has been arrested for stealing, apparently. I wouldn't know myself, never having been arrested for stealing.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, here's The Be-Atles at Twickenham Film Studios. In happier times.

No comments: