Wednesday, March 28, 2012

But Now They Only Block The Sun, They Rain And Snow On Everyone

A new series of Torchwood is still a possibility, according to Starz CEO Chris Albrecht. However, Albrecht told Multichannel News that it would be 'a while' before any new episodes materialised. 'You know, Russell is so busy,' he said. 'Obviously, we're in touch with the BBC all the time. They are our partners on [new shows] DaVinci's Demons and Harem. We told them, we stand by ready for any news, but I think it would be a while before Russell came back to Torchwood.' Torchwood executive producer Julie Gardner had previously cast doubt on the show's future in October, while John Barrowman also admitted that the series is 'in limbo.' Eve Myles expressed her hope that the SF drama would return at some stage to give fans closure. 'We've got such an outstanding loyal fan base,' she said in January. 'They deserve Torchwood to go ahead with something else to draw a line under it.'

Upstairs Downstairs finished its second series with a (very disappointing) overnight series average of 5.23 million, down 1.80 million from the three episodes at Christmas 2010. It also lost two million between episodes one and six. Normally, I'd argue that five million (overnight, as well ,and it has been timeshifting quite well) would easily be enough to guarantee another series but, with this one, I'm not so sure. Production does cost a lot and, certainly, from the BBC's point of view, it's under performed. So, jury's still out on that one.

A BBC employee has, reportedly, 'been criticised by colleagues' for allegedly allowing two PRs representing the Mormon church into one of the corporation's buildings in West London to hand deliver a letter of complaint. The member of staff is understood to have allowed two representatives from the PR and lobbying firm APCO Worldwide, which represents the Mormon church into the BBC Media Centre at White City. One of the PRs was said to be James Acheson-Gray, APCO's managing director. They approached Lucy Hetherington, the series editor of the BBC2 This World current affairs documentary strand, and took the unusual step of delivered a letter in person complaining about The Mormon Candidate, made by reporter John Sweeney, which was broadcast on Tuesday evening. Sweeney's hour-long documentary was understood, from pre-publicity to make a series of claims about the Mormons, including suggestions that some members of the church have been brainwashed. Well, yeah, I mean all you've got to do is listen to some Osmond records and, baby, you're gone. Sweeney interviewed a number of ex-Mormons who claim that the church is, actually, a cult. Err ... so's The Rocky Horror Show, what's your point? One of the people interviewed was the cousin of US presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, Park Romney, who claims the church engages in 'brainwashing.' The letter complained about an interview which Sweeney conducted with Mormon apostle Elder Jeffrey Holland, which the church claims was 'an ambush' according to an anonymous BBC 'source.' Sweeney, who once had a very public - and hilarious - spat with the Church of Scientology over two Panorama programmes he has made which went viral on YouTube, disputes these claims, insisting that Elder Holland was fully briefed about who he was and what he wanted to talk about. Sweeney, who was out of the country when the incident occurred, told trouble-making Gruniad Morning Star: 'I was flabbergasted that the PR operation for the Mormon church found it necessary to invade our office. Even Scientology didn't invade the offices of the BBC and people say they can walk through walls.' An alleged BBC 'insider' told the Gruniad that 'many' within the corporation were 'furious' that the PRs were granted access. The BBC themselves issued a statement which said: 'A person turned up unexpectedly and hand delivered a letter to which we later responded. There was no breach of security.' Jesus, the bollocks some people chose to care about continues to both amaze and depress.

James Cameron, it would seem, managed to get himself out on that submarine pretty quickly and rushed back to London to attend the premiere of Titanic 3D. And, it also seems that, for once, Kate Winslett didn't burst into tears at a public event. No, I'm stunned as well, dear blog reader. The first 3D showing of the 1997 blockbuster starring Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio was held at London's Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday evening. The film's Billy Zane and Bernard Hill were also in attendance, along with new Doctor Who star Jenna-Louise Coleman. Who didn't have anything to do with the movie but was probably told to turn up and look like she owned the place to get some publicity.

The Duchess of Cornwall has admitted that she is 'addicted' to The Killing during a visit to the show's set in Denmark. Camilla held up a journalist with a fake gun and was presented with a jumper identical to one worn by lead character Sarah Lund (Sofie Gråbøl) in the crime drama. Whilst watching filming of the third series take place at a scrapyard outside Copenhagen, the wife of Prince Charles reportedly commented: 'I'm an addict. I'm so excited by this.' The trip was specially requested by Camilla for the final day of an eight-day tour of Scandinavia with the Prince of Wales, who instead visited a nearby housing estate. 'Royalty is not the kind of audience you would expect,' creator Soren Sveistrup told the Press Association. 'Prince Charles told me that it was Camilla who introduced him to The Killing. He said it was one of the only things they could agree on seeing together.' Well, one imagines Camilla's really into Top Gear, whilst Chas is more a Springwatch-type chap.

Ex ITV and Channel Five debate show hostess Trisha Goddard is switching to America to front an NBC produced talk show. The show, imaginatively entitled Trisha – like her former British versions – will be produced at the same studios as The Jerry Springer Show, Maury and The Steve Wilkos Show. Don't hold yer breath expecting anything startlingly original.
Former Scum of the World US editor James Desborough will face 'no further action' in connection with the phone-hacking investigation, the Metropolitan police has confirmed. In a statement on Tuesday afternoon the Met said that it had ended the reporter's bail conditions and that he would face no further action. Desborough was the eleventh person arrested under Operation Weeting when he went to a South London station by appointment in August last year and was identified by Scotland Yard. He was released on bail later the same day until March 2012. The Met said: 'On 18 August 2011, officers from Operation Weeting arrested a thirty nine-year-old man in connection with phone-hacking. He was today, Tuesday 27 March, released from bail with no further action.' Desborough was an award-winning reporter for the disgraced and disgraceful Sunday tabloid and was posted to Hollywood in April 2009. He was writing for the Scum of the World until it closed in July 2011. Of the forty five people arrested by police investigating allegations of phone-hacking, police corruption and computer-hacking in the press, seventeen were bailed until March 2012. The police have three choices when an arrestees bail comes to an end – tell the suspect no further action is being taken, rebail the suspect or charge them. Desborough is the first of the Scum of the World staff members to be arrested and then told he faces no further action. Two others arrested – Bethany Usher, a former freelance journalist who has worked on some Scum of the World stories and is now a lecturer in Teeside, and Laura Elston, a journalist with the Press Association – were released from bail shortly after they were arrested last year and told no further action would be taken. In total there have been forty eight arrests in relation to the press – twenty two under Operation Weeting, twenty three under Operation Elveden, the investigation into alleged illegal payments to police and other public officials, and three under Operation Tuleta, which is looking at allegations of computer-hacking.

The chief constable of Avon and Somerset police has described as 'outrageous' the Daily Mirra editor's claim that the paper was 'privately told' by police in the Joanna Yeates case that Christopher Jefferies was 'their man.' Colin Port told the Leveson inquiry on Tuesday that his force did not give any 'off the record' briefings during the hunt for Yeates's killer. He added that it did not release Jefferies' name to the media when the former teacher was arrested in connection with the murder or when he was eliminated from inquiries. 'It's absolutely outrageous, the assertion. I've never done that, it's not my job to pass opinion on this issue, we don't give off-the-record [briefings] and to behave in a collusive manner is abhorrent,' Port claimed. So, therefore, we have a straight-forward choice of whom to believe - either the copper is lying or the Daily Mirra is. I'll leave it entirely up to you, dear blog reader, as to whom you find most trustworthy. Port said that Avon and Somerset police has a policy of conducting 'on the record' briefings and was particularly aware of the importance of this during the Yeates investigation, because there was 'a plethora' of inexperienced journalists on the scene some of whom 'had no idea what they were talking about.' And, this is different from most journalists most of the time, how, exactly? The issue of police briefings during the Yeates murder investigation has become a contentious issue after Richard Wallace, the editor of the Daily Mirra, gave evidence to Leveson in January. Wallace apologised to Jefferies and told the inquiry the paper's coverage of his arrest was 'a black mark' on his editing record. The Daily Mirra was fined fifty thousand quid for contempt of court for its reporting of the Yeates murder investigation and was also one of eight titles that paid substantial libel damages to Jefferies himself. However, Wallace added that when Jefferies was arrested in December 2010 he was informed by his news desk that 'off the record the police were saying that they were confident Mr Jefferies was their man.' Jefferies has now put Avon and Somerset police on notice that he is planning to sue them over this malarkey. The Bristol landlord told Leveson in his own - very persuasive and rather moving - testimony last year he was 'shameless vilified' by the press and felt he was 'effectively put under house arrest.' The inquiry heard that the day after Jefferies was arrested he was described by the Daily Scum Mail as a 'nutty professor' in quotes in a headline. The Sun and the Daily Record called him 'the strange Mr Jefferies' and the Daily Mirra described him as a 'Peeping Tom,' according to his witness statement to the inquiry. Port indicated that he will be 'robustly defending' any action by Jefferies. 'We certainly didn't give any on or off-the-record [briefing which] suggested that Mr Jefferies was arrested,' he claimed. He also took issue with some of Jefferies's claims in relation to the number of people to whom he had disclosed information about his arrest. The Avon and Somerset detective running the investigation into Yeates murder told the inquiry he had given no 'off the record' briefings to the press and had anyone on his team done so he would have expected to have been told. Detective chief inspector Philip Jones said that if there had been a leak it would have been 'unauthorised.' He added that he considered the press an 'additional investigative tool' and said that the police received three thousand e-mails and calls from members of the public after Yeates was reported missing. Earlier on Tuesday the inquiry heard from Surrey police assistant chief constable Jerry Kirkby. He told the inquiry that the internal investigation into the hacking of Milly Dowler's phone by the Scum of the World will be completed by the end of May, and the final report will be submitted to the Leveson inquiry. Kirkby also recalled run-ins with the press over arrests and cited a clash with former Daily Mirra editor, oily scumbag Piers Morgan. Morgan wrote to Surrey police after the force complained about a critical editorial in his paper about the arrest of TV presenter Matthew Kelly in January 2003. Morgan wrote: 'Thanks for the note. These stories are hideously difficult for both you guys and us. Fame and crime sends most of the usual rules out of the window. I hear what you say, and I will bear it in mind when we revisit this story.' Leveson heard that officers were forced to arrest Kelly at a Birmingham theatre over sex abuse allegations earlier than they wanted to because of media interest. Matthew, of course, strenuously denied the allegations and was never even charged, while the Surrey force was heavily criticised in the national media for its handling of the case. Kirkby agreed with Morgan's suggestion that the involvement of a celebrity in a criminal matter could lead journalists to 'abandon' some of their 'usual rules.' He told the inquiry: 'It can do. I don't think it does in all cases. I certainly wouldn't wish to tar all journalists and media with one brush.' Blimey, I would. They're all scum.

Mark Elliott will be the managing editor of Radio Cumbria after current incumbent Nigel Dyson leaves the BBC this month. Elliott has worked in BBC Local Radio for more than twenty years - the last twelve of which have been at Radio Manchester where he was assistant editor. He also worked at Radio Cumbria for four years as a producer and news editor. Elliott told BBC Ariel that he was 'delighted' to be returning to BBC Cumbria, adding: 'It's a great local station which is well-loved by the listeners and deserves its excellent reputation and standing in the community.' The station won three Gillard awards in 2010, with praise for its coverage of Derrick Bird's shootings that summer. Phil Roberts, the head of North East and Cumbria region, said: 'Mark has passion and great affection for both the county and the radio station. He brings a wealth of management experience as well as a vision to serve the audience in a distinctive and compelling way.' In a separate development, Matthew Barraclough will swap the Tees for the Tyne when he becomes acting editor of BBC Newcastle while Andrew Robson goes on a one-year attachment as head of BBC Local Radio development. Backfilling for Matthew at BBC Tees will be assistant editor Dan Thorpe who will become acting editor. Thorpe said it was a 'very proud moment to be asked to take the reins and ensure we continue to deliver news and programming that's relevant to the people of Teesside, North Yorkshire and County Durham.' The latest moves follows the recent appointments of Sue Owen as Radio Merseyside editor and Kate Squire as editor of Radio Manchester.

Channel Five has struck a deal that will see an extra series of Celebrity Big Brother broadcast later this year. Because, of course, we can't have too many of those. The broadcaster entered into a forty million quid agreement with production company, Endemol, in 2011, which saw the reality show move from Channel Four to Channel Five. The deal originally included one series of Big Brother and one of its Celebrity counterpart per annum, and the contract is set to expire after the conclusion of Big Brother this summer. But according to the Gruniad Morning Star a new agreement has been reached that will see Big Brother shortened from its customary fourteen weeks to just ten weeks and three days, in order to make room in the schedule for another run of CBB. It is unclear whether Channel Five has paid Endemol any additional fee to secure the extra series. Celebrity Big Brother - more more popular of the two formats - has earned Channel Five respectable ratings since it was revived, regularly pulling in audiences of two million viewers a night. The final of January's series of Celebrity Big Brother, which was won by Denise Welch, was watched by 3.1m crushed victims of society.

The Cassini spacecraft has made its lowest pass yet over the south pole of Enceladus, an active moon of Saturn which may harbour a liquid water ocean. The flyby, at an altitude of just over seventy kilometres, allowed Cassini to 'taste' the jets of ice and water vapour which gush from the moon's polar region. Several lines of evidence suggest these jets are fed by a liquid water ocean beneath Enceladus' outer icy shell. The spacecraft's closest approach took place at seven o'clock on Tuesday. The scientists are using Cassini's Ion and Neutral Mass Spectrometer instrument to learn more about the composition, density and variability of the plumes from Enceladus. Scientists previously detected salts in these jets, which suggested the sub-surface liquid water ocean was probably in contact with Enceladus' rocky core. This makes Enceladus an even more important target in the search for life elsewhere in the Solar System, as rocks could furnish the ocean with the chemical ingredients thought essential for life. The plumes erupt from fissures at the south pole known as 'tiger stripes.' Last week, scientists presented evidence of a connection between the jet activity on Enceladus and the way Saturn's gravity stretches and stresses the fissures. The results were outlined by Terry Hurford, from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Texas. However, about thirty five per cent of the observations could not be explained by tension in the jets' source regions. Enceladus moves around Saturn in a distorted, oval-shaped orbit rather than a circular one. This causes the moon to be pulled and squeezed by Saturn's gravity, inducing the heat that enables geological activity on the icy moon. Cassini's closest approach to any part of Enceladus occurred in October 2008, when it flew within about twenty five kilometres of the surface. A flyby in October 2015 will bring Cassini to around the same disaster of the moon.

A man in Austria has sawed off his own foot and thrown it into an oven in an attempt to avoid work. Crikey. He really didn't fancy it, did he? Suffering from unemployment, he reportedly wanted to ensure that he would be judged unfit to work before he was to attend a meeting at the Labour Office, according to national broadcaster ORF. The man went to his boiler room, placed his leg at the bench's circular saw and cut his foot off above the ankle. He then hobbled to his garage, bleeding profusely, and called for an ambulance. Local police chief Franz Fasching said that while the man had lost a lot of blood, he was still conscious by the time paramedics and an air ambulance had reached the scene. Emergency services recovered the foot from his oven. Fasching added: 'The foot was taken to the hospital, but it was so badly burned that it could not be sewn back on.' Despite the injury and even though the man could be considered unfit for work, he will likely not be entitled to a disability pension as the wound was self-inflicted. The man would now only qualify for the pension if he was officially declared mentally ill. Which, some might argue, anyone who saws off their own foot for such an, apparently, trivial reason, may well be.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, being the contrary sod that he is, yer actual Keith Telly Topping ignores songs about fine weather, despite this being the hottest March on record and, instead, you get one about clouds instead. If you don't like it, vote for someone else! Anyway, what can I say, I've always loved this particular song.

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