Tuesday, April 03, 2012

He'll Never, Never Do It Again - And Of Course He Won't - Not Until The Next Time

Brian Cox's major new BBC1 series Wonders of Life - the follow-up to Wonders of the Solar System and Wonders of the Universe - is to be co-produced by Chinese state television. In the first arrangement of its kind between CCTV and the BBC Science Unit, Cox's new show will be broadcast on CCTV-9, the Chinese state broadcaster's documentary channel. The co-production deal also covers another landmark series, Generation Earth, which examines the planet's most ambitious engineering projects. The five-part Wonders of Life is set to be broadcast in Britain and in China at the end of this year, with Generation Life – which is not presented by Cox – to follow in three episodes early in 2013. Wonders of Life is described by Cox as 'a physicist's take' on natural history and the story of life. It will, like Cox's previous series, feature spectacular locations from around the globe. Wonders of the Universe attracted more than six million viewers to BBC1 in 2011. CCTV-9 channel director Liu Wen said: 'The BBC is world-renowned for its factual programming, and we've had great success [showing] titles such as Human Planet and Frozen Planet, so we're very pleased to be partnering with them on two ground-breaking new series.' The BBC and CCTV have collaborated before: Wild China, known in China as Beautiful China, was a co-production by the BBC Natural History Unit and a CCTV production company.

He was one of broadcasting's most-loved entertainers – a maverick comedian who delighted radio and television audiences with his comic characters and a quick, sometimes controversial wit that more than once saw him lose his job. And, a Tory the week it became fashionable to be so. Now Kenny Everett is to be celebrated on BBC4, with a ninety-minute biopic that focuses on his relationship with his wife, singer Lee Middleton – they married in 1966 and separated in 1979 – and charts his rise from rebellious young DJ to rebellious household name. The Best Possible Taste takes its name from the catchphrase of Everett's American mouthy porn actress, Cupid Stunt, one of the performer's most famous comic creations alongside Sid Snot. Both characters feature in BBC4's film about Everett, who died in 1995 of an AIDs-related illness. Everett is played by newcomer Oliver Lansley, while former Coronation Street actor Katherine Kelly plays Middleton. The script is by Tim Whitnall, best known for writing the stage play Morecambe, about comedian Eric. 'Kenny Everett was a genuine original: wild and unfocused maybe, but also deliciously anarchic and always entertaining,' said Richard Klein, the controller of BBC4. 'In many ways Kenny was a very modern celebrity, wearing his heart on his sleeve while coping with a complex life. Re-evaluating this talented and exuberant personality, enabling audiences to reconsider Kenny's undoubted impact and legacy, makes this a very BBC4 drama.' Everett's infamous appearance at a 1983 Young Conservatives' conference, where he shouted 'Let's bomb Russia!' and 'Let's kick Michael Foot's stick away', will feature alongside tales from his radio career on pirate, commercial and BBC stations. The comedian also had hugely popular television shows on first ITV and then BBC.

As previously rumoured Sue Johnston is to join the cast of Coronation Street. Producers on the Manchester-based soap have confirmed that Johnston has been cast in the role of Gloria, the mother of Stella Price (Michelle Collins). The confirmation of Johnston's role follows several press stories linking her to the part in the soap last month. Producer Phil Collinson said of Johnston's casting 'I'm delighted to be welcoming Sue Johnston. She is a national treasure and a stunning actress.' The role of Gloria will not be the first time that Johnston has appeared on the cobbles of Weatherfield; in 1982 the actress had a small part in the Granada soap. This occurred a few months before Johnston took on her most famous soap role was that of Shelia Grant in Channel Four soap Brookside a part which made her a household name. After leaving Brookie in 1989 Johnston went on to star in Medics, Full Stretch, My Uncle Silas and more recently The Royle Family, Jam and Jerusalem and Waking the Dead. And Crime Traveller, although she probably wants to forget about that, as does everybody else involved in it.

Who needs an hour long episode when you have a two-minute trailer? The preview for The Newsroom, Aaron Sorkin's new drama about a studiously impartial TV anchor, played by Jeff Daniels, who flips into a hell-raising partisan, has all you could ask for. There are the shouting matches and walk-and-talk pedaconferencing that The West Wing and Studio Sixty on the Sunset Strip fans so loved, but not only those: the trailer also features multiple grudges between men and women, invisible right-wing straw men and a choicely dropped expletive to remind us that this series will be appearing not on the moribund NBC but on HBO. Daniels character has his Howard Beale moment not on the air but while speaking in a college auditorium after a young woman he disses as a 'sorority girl' asks him why the US is the greatest country around. Daniels loses it, spouting off facts and numbers in one of those classic Sorkinish litanies – and, soon his rant has gone viral, and the right smells blood. In fact Daniels's character is allegedly a moderate Republican: 'I only seem liberal,' he explains, 'because I believe that hurricanes are caused by high barometric pressure and not gay marriage.' (A hurricane is actually a low-pressure weather system, Aaron, but let's not allow that to spoil a good line.) Not unlike The West Wing on the face of it, the remainder of the series seems to consist of a put-upon good guy struggling with both the confines of an institution and evil unseen conservative elements somewhere in the distance. Daniels has more than a few antagonists: there's Emily Mortimer as his producer, Sam Waterston as the head of the network, and – introduced at the climax of the trailer, with the music swelling behind her – yer actual Jane Fonda, as the owner of the network's cable company, looking spectacular in a white pantsuit and pearls. Fonda, obviously, is a metonym for her ex-husband Ted Turner, the founder of CNN and a reminder of a time when you could actually earn both money and prestige from television news. The Newsroom knows those days are long gone. Mortimer's character thinks that soon they'll be 'doing the news in 3D.' It's an appealingly pessimistic approach for Sorkin. The West Wing, made during one of the darkest moments in American history, pretended that everything could be hunky-dory in Washington again, and that the White House could be full of honest, hard-working people trying to do the right thing. And Josh Lyman. But The Newsroom seems to be very much about the here and now. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping - a proudly out besotted Sorkin worshipper of many years vintage - can't wait for the debut of this.
The ex-deputy editor of the Scum of the World has claimed to the Leveson Inquiry he did not put any of his contacts 'in an armlock' to provide him with favours. Neil Wallis said: 'I am a journalist. Journalists live or die depending on their contacts. I nurtured those contacts.' Last week the head of the Met's press office Dick Fiasco resigned after questions were raised over a PR contract awarded to Wallis's firm. Wallis said 'working lunches' were 'the way of the world' and suggested: 'I won't accept that me going to dinner with a police officer is different to a civil servant going to dinner with a businessman.' Wallis acted as an unofficial adviser to a succession of Met police commissioners and helped Lord Stevens secure the top role in 2000, the Leveson inquiry has heard. Wallis described on Monday how he 'gave advice' on an ad hoc basis on 'policy and strategy' to three police chiefs at the force going back to the mid-1990s when Lord Condon was the Metropolitan police commissioner. Wallis described in his witness statement how he specifically advised John Stevens to fashion himself as the 'copper's copper' and a 'man of action rather than rhetoric' when he ran for the top job in 2000. 'I advised Lord John Stevens throughout the application and interview process in which he was ultimately successful,' Wallis said. 'I recall having a number of discussions with him on the subject of his candidature. My input in this process was that he would be well advised to emphasise that he was a "copper's copper" or "thief taker" - in other words he was a man of action, rather that rhetoric.' This, remember, whilst Wallis was the deputy editor of a national newspaper. He added: 'He was a consummate professional in his role as a police officer and had been for number of years who was, therefore, highly respected in this role.' The sixty-year-old former newspaper executive is one of the key witnesses of this phase of the Leveson inquiry into press ethics. Last summer Wallis was arrested in relation to phone-hacking and it transpired, some weeks later, that he was paid twenty four grand by Scotland Yard to work as a two-day-a-month 'consultant.' That contract was cancelled less than six months before the launch of Operation Weeting – the second investigation into phone hacking at News International. At the Leveson inquiry on Monday, Wallis told how had first met Stevens in 1997 when he was introduced to him by Dick Fiasco. At the time the police were 'suffering from the fallout' of the MacPherson report into the Stephen Lawrence investigation and Lord Condon's ending of a 'jobs for life' policy. Under questioning, Wallis described the arrival of Stevens as the 'opposite of a perfect storm, a perfect sunburst' because his views chimed with those of the Sun where Wallis was then deputy editor. He told Leveson that his advice during his candidature 'grew like topsy' and that Stevens would use him as 'a sounding board' for 'non-operational matters.' Wallis also told the inquiry how Stevens was 'anxious to widen his circle of acquaintances' and how Wallis introduced Stevens to Lord Alli, the former chairman of Chorion. 'Lord Alli's is an old friend of mine so I introduced him and they got on very well,' claimed Wallis. The former deputy editor of the now defunct, disgraced and disgraceful Sunday tabloid was recalled to the Leveson inquiry to give evidence for a second time to answer questions on his relationship with five senior Met figures. Striking a confident note throughout, Wallis appeared relaxed. He recalled how Stevens successor, Lord Blair, was 'very unhappy' that the Scum of the World had given his predecessor the title 'The Chief' and told Wallis so on a visit to the paper's offices in Wapping. According to Wallis, Blair told him: 'I don't know how you can call him "The Chief." He's not the chief anymore, I am.' Robert Jay, counsel to the inquiry, put it to Wallis that the newspaper didn't like the new commissioner and had done this to be 'provocative.' Wallis said: 'No, not me,' as he turned grinning to Lord Justice Leveson and then to the public gallery. He later added: 'Mischief is a significant component of tabloid newspapers.' Wallis told Leveson that Blair 'wasn't interested' in the views of the tabloid or mid-market press and agreed that his failure to establish relationships with senior editorial figures was 'partly responsible' for the negative reporting about him. But he denied that the Scum of the World or the Sun were responsible for his resignation. He put this down to Blair's 'arrogance' and to the broadsheet papers. He said Blair was 'out of touch' and recalled how the former managing editor of the Scum of the World called him following an interview and told him the moment he learned of the innocence of Jean Charles Menezes, who was shot by anti-terrorist police post 7/7 bombings in 2005, as 'like a Houston, we've got a problem' moment. 'Ian Blair couldn't have rescued himself from the press by buying us drinks and being friendly,' said Wallis. Wallis was also questioned about Met chief Paul Stephenson who succeeded Blair. When he arrived he 'made it plain to him that I thought John Stevens's relationship and attitudes and policies towards the media were more successful than Ian Blair's was.' Wallis who is also due to be questioned about his controversial PR contract with the Met described himself as 'an expert in his field' and somebody who police commissioners 'could learn a lot from.' When he picked up the contract in 2009, he was used for 'crisis management. That was my value to them,' he claimed. He taught them about the 'rhythm' of newspapers and that if a story hadn't broken by the weekend 'it's over.' At one point he interrupted Jay to make his point about being 'an expert' who justified the contract more explicit. 'I'd been at deputy editor level for twenty-odd years. This is what I do. I understand newspapers, and I understand mass market newspapers and that's a particular area of expertise.' He claimed that the relationship with the Met was 'two-way' and the press industry as a whole benefited because he was able to offer the 'police perception' of matters as input into the Press Complaints Commission's code of practice as he sat on the editor's code committee.

The Swansea student given fifty six days in prison for posting racially offensive comments about the critically ill Fabrice Muamba on Twitter 'should not have been jailed,' according to Europe's most senior human rights official. In an interview the day before he left office, Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe's commissioner for human rights, said that the sentence imposed by British courts on twenty one-year-old Liam Stacey was 'excessive.' After six years in his post at Strasbourg, the Swedish official used his departing comments to plead for greater freedom of expression and to question blanket imposition of traditional media restraints on the Internet. Stacey, who admitted 'an offence of racist intent,' made repeated, and highly offensive, remarks on Twitter after the Bolton Wanderers footballer collapsed during a match. The student's appeal against sentence was dismissed out of hand last week. But Hammarberg - who is, clearly, not a complete and total nutter - told the Gruniad Morning Star: 'It was too much. He shouldn't have gone to prison. To put him in prison was wrong.' Yes. Cos, heaven forbid we start locking up racists. That's the thin end of the wedge, isn't it? 'Politicians are at a bit of loss to know how to protect Internet freedom while also having regulations against [such problems as] hate speech and child pornography. There are limits to freedom of expression but regulators don't know how to handle this. It would be useful to have a more enlightened discussion at a European level, otherwise we are going to have different practices in different countries. In traditional media there are editors who are responsible for print content. It's not so easy to have to the same legal procedures when it comes to action [against lone online voices].' Yes it is. It's pure dead simple. Don't post racist, homophobic or other illegal garbage on the Internet and then you won't do jail. See, easy. Most people manage to get through the day without doing so. Some don't and, as a consequence, should pay the price for this for such rank glakishness. 'People are at a loss to know how to apply rules for the traditional media to the new media,' this clown claimed. 'It's tricky and that's why there needs to be a more thorough discussion about this.' His comments are directly at odds with the enforcement practices of British courts and the views of the attorney general, Dominic Grieve, who has warned that social media and other microblogging sites must not flout the law over such issues as privacy, incitement to hatred or libel. Which this blog always bends over backwards not to. Because, as noted on the side of this page whilst this blogger is an outspoken defender of the concept of freedom of speech and the rights of the individual to say whatever the hell he or she damn well likes, it's always tempered with the proviso that this freedom of speech is carried out 'within the boundaries of the law as it currently stands.' Dismissing Stacey's appeal against sentence on Friday, the judge, Mr Justice Wyn Williams, sitting with two magistrates, observed: 'There are no applicable sentencing guidelines. We have been referred to no previous decided cases either in the court of appeal or at the crown court to assist in determining an appropriate sentence for this type of offence.' The question of how severely online comments should be dealt with echoes the debate over the jailing of several youths who posted remarks encouraging local riots during last summer's disturbances. Hammarberg also repeated his call for Britain to grant prisoners voting rights and to raise the age of criminal liability – currently one of the lowest in Europe. He praised the justice secretary, Ken Clarke, for his support for rehabilitation. 'My feeling is that he agrees with our assessment and would like to take another approach to help prisoners rebuild their lives,' he said. 'His approach is what we would like the government to take but it is not popular.' The outgoing commissioner reserved his harshest comments for eastern European countries, however. He said that he had been 'shocked' by what he had seen in countries such as Romania, Ukraine, Russia and Azerbaijan, where there is widespread corruption and 'people do not believe that they get justice in courts.' The next human rights commissioner in Strasbourg is a Latvian, Nils Muižnieks, who starts work on Monday.

Meanwhile, almost before these - quite ludicrous - words were out of the hippy liberal bleeding-heart egghead Communist's gob, it was announced that police are investigating claims of yet another Premier League footballer being racially abused on Twitter. The tweet, believed to be from a seventeen-year-old Liverpool fan, was posted after yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle United defender James Perch clashed with Pepe Reina in the match against Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws on Sunday. Durham Police said that they were 'looking into the case.' A police spokesman said 'an appointment has been made for an officer to visit them and take further details.' Officers were contacted when James Perch was reportedly targeted on Sunday after a clash with Liverpool's goalkeeper Pepe Reina which ended with the Spaniard receiving a red card during his side's 2-0 defeat. Other Twitter users immediately rounded on the abuser, some apparently taking great delight in telling him that he would be grassed up like a kipper to the poliss and reminding the writer about what has recently happened to Liam Stacey. A call about the abuse which James received was made to Northumbria Police, but because the complainant was from the County Durham area, officers from that force will take up the issue. A Durham Police spokesman said: 'Northumbria Police contacted us yesterday afternoon after a member of the public complained about allegedly racist comments posted on Twitter.' Jesus, will people ever learn? Saying James Perch should possibly be looking at himself for the very soft way in which he went down when Pepe Reina tried to stick the nut of him - and missed - is probably fair comment (and this blogger says that as a Newcastle fan). It's certainly not illegal. Introducing his racial background into the debate, however, most definitely is. And, hopefully, the individual who did this will soon be slopping out at Her Majesty's pleasure whilst being given a lengthy opportunity to reflect upon the singular error of their ways. Sorry, pal, but it's The Law.

Sir Peter Blake has taken inspiration from his famous Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band LP cover to create a new artwork. The acclaimed English pop artist, seventy nine, is best known for designing the 1967 Beatles cover, a colourful collage of life-sized cardboard models of famous faces together with yer actual Fab Four their very selves. Each of the band members picked their own favourites for the crowd scene, which featured the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Bob Dylan, Marlon Brando, Karl Marx, Marlene Dietrich, Albert Stubbins, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy among many others. The new artwork features some of those who have inspired Sir Peter, who has been dubbed The Godfather of Pop Art, over the decades. British artists, film directors, musicians, writers, film stars, fashion designers and chefs, as well as Peter himself and his close family, are all represented. Those whose faces are on the new image include John Peel, Ian Curtis, Paul Weller, Elvis Costello, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Wreckless Eric, Agatha Christie, fashion designers Vivienne Westwood and the late Alexander McQueen, filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock, Amy Winehouse, Eric Clapton, artists Anish Kapoor, Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin and David Hockney, supermodel Kate Moss, TV cooks Fanny Cradock and Delia Smith and one Beatle, Sir Paul McCartney, along with his daughters, Stella and Mary. Sir Peter said: 'I've chosen people I admire, great people and some who are dear friends. I had a very long list of people who I wanted to go in but couldn't fit everyone in - I think that shows how strong British culture is and its legacy over the last six decades.' The artist said: 'The Sgt Pepper album cover was made by cutting pieces of cardboard and hand-colouring them. This one is computer generated. I often thought that if I did it again it would be very quick on the computer but it was very laborious. Putting this together made me realise we've got the most exciting artists, actors and chefs in this country. Our cultural scene is incredibly healthy.' Sir Peter has made the artwork to go on display during his eightieth birthday celebrations at this year's Vintage Festival, celebrating the best of British culture.
Noel Gallagher, another of those featured, said: 'When they told me I had been chosen I was obviously very chuffed. It's nice to be recognised by as great an artist as Sir Peter Blake.' Gallagher, who worked with Sir Peter on the cover for Oasis's greatest hits CD Stop The Clocks, said 'I was lucky enough to go down to his studio. We were fans and all the props were still there from the Sgt Pepper photo shoot.' Gallagher added that he had his photo taken with a waxwork of the boxer Sonny Liston and 'was as starstruck meeting the doll in the jumper that said, "Welcome the Rolling Stones", as I was when I met Ringo. If, for me, The Beatles and The Who and The Kinks and The Stones were the sound of the Sixties then Sir Peter's work is the visual representation of that. When I look at his pop art stuff, I hear The Beatles. He's as important as the music.' Wayne Hemingway, who runs the Vintage Festival, said that the work was 'a tribute to Britain's standing as the world's leading creative nation. Sir Peter is the Godfather of British Pop Art and is still as passionate as ever about art and culture. It is truly an incredible honour to have him re-imagine such an iconic work of art and we are proud to be dedicating the Sunday at Vintage this year to celebrate his eightieth birthday and creative and cultural legacy.' The Wayne Hemingway Vintage Festival, where an exhibition of Sir Peter's work will be on show, takes place in Northamptonshire from 13 to 15 July.

Internet companies have warned that the government's reported plans to monitor e-mail and social media use by the British public could be used by autocratic regimes to justify state surveillance. As anybody with half a frigging brain in their head could have worked out when it was first announced. No Internet businesses were willing to mount a public criticism of the coalition's controversial plans on Monday, but many have privately raised fears over the power of authorities to see who is contacting whom online in real time. 'There is a question of jurisdiction. There is a risk that if you offer this access to Britain then you have to offer it to countries like Syria and Bahrain,' an Internet industry official who declined to be identified because the proposals have not been outlined in detail told the Gruniad. The fears follow strong criticism from a number of MPs and civil liberties groups who argue that the plans will endanger privacy and stifle free expression online. Julian Huppert, the Lib Dem MP, said on Twitter that the Commons home affairs committee wanted to call the Home Secretary, Theresa May, to give evidence on the proposals. More than fourteen thousand people signed a petition by the Internet advocacy body Open Rights Group against the plans on Monday. The coalition's proposals, expected to be outlined in the Queen's speech on 9 May, will allow the authorities to have 'on demand' access to online communication in real time. However, the security minister James Brokenshire said that the emphasis was on 'solving crime' rather than 'real-time snooping on everybody's e-mails.' He told BBC Radio 4's World at One programme: 'We absolutely get the need for appropriate safeguards and for appropriate protections to be put in place around any changes that might come forward. What this is not is the previous government's plan of creating some sort of great big Big Brother database. That is precisely not what this is looking at.' One official 'familiar with the plans' said that the government wanted to bring social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook, 'broadly into line' with existing legislation covering the surveillance of phone calls. Authorities would not be able to read the content of messages without an intercept warrant issued by the Home Secretary. The Home Office is understood to have outlined its plans at a meeting in January with the Internet Service Providers' Association, which represents companies including Google and BT, after a series of high-level meetings with the government intelligence agency GCHQ. No detailed proposals have been seen by ISPA. The body was given only a cursory outline of what the government hopes to introduce. Internet companies are anxious to learn what they will be required to do under the bolstered surveillance law. Internet service providers, such as BT and TalkTalk, could be required to install systems to harvest so-called packet data from Internet communications, meaning security officials will be able to see who is visiting which websites and talking to whom. 'We haven't seen full proposals yet and we are hoping for more information from the Home Office soon. It appears to be something we would have to look very carefully at,' said one industry official. Another official suggested that 'stronger powers' to secretly monitor Internet communication could 'compromise' the government's 'bid for transparency.' But the backlash over the plans has been capitalised on by some Internet firms. Tor, the Internet anonymity shield used by activists in Iran and China, said that it would support users who wished to evade detection by UK authorities. Andrew Lewman, the director of Tor, compared the Home Office plans with data retention laws in Germany that require Internet providers to log the website visits of each user. He said use of Tor rose dramatically after that law was introduced. 'Once the data is collected, regardless of the current intentions, it will be used for all sorts of reasons over time,' Lewman told the Gruniad Morning Star. 'The number of crimes will expand to include all sorts of petty issues, political repression, and restrictions on speech. Eventually someone will think they can predict crime before it happens by using the data.' Uh-oh. Minority Report. That was a bad film. The Association of Chief Police Officers claimed that the impact of communications data on criminal investigations was 'critical to the ability of the police service to protect the public.' A spokeswoman for ACPO said: 'Telecommunications technology is changing rapidly and in this new world there is a need to look at how we can ensure the capability to investigate crime, save lives and prosecute offenders is maintained. It is a matter for government to ensure the right boundaries are set so that our approaches are justified, necessary and proportionate.'

The UK's only polar bear in a public zoo is to be joined by another male later this week. Three-year-old Walker has been at the Highland Wildlife Park, near Kincraig, since December 2010. He is not old enough to mate so the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland is bringing in a four-year-old male for, ahem, company. A new young male Amur tiger is also expected to arrive at the park on Wednesday. Last month, an aged female Amur tiger at the park was put down after her health started to fail and she began exhibiting odd behaviour. Sasha had three cubs at the Highland Wildlife Park in 2009 and shared an enclosure with the litter's two females. Her long-time mate Yuri was put down in 2010. New tiger Marty, a two-and-half-year-old, is to arrive in Scotland from Olomouc Zoo in the Czech Republic. RZSS staff hope that he will he breed with one of Sasha's cubs, Dominica. Her sister Natalia is to go to Lisbon Zoo, in Portugal. Arktos, the Highland park's new polar bear, previously shared an enclosure with his brother Nanuq at Hannover Zoo in Germany. Douglas Richardson, Highland Wildlife Park animal collection manager, said: 'Arktos is a little older than Walker and slightly bigger, but we have high hopes that the playful bear duo will get on with each other when they are eventually introduced. Male immature polar bears tend to respond well to each other and it will be great if they do as Walker desperately needs a wrestling partner. Arktos will have a period of settling-in to his new surroundings, in a holding enclosure next to Walker, so both boys will be able to catch the scent of one another and they'll know they have company next door.' Richardson added: 'In the future a female breeding partner will be sourced for the males, but both still have a few more years to go before they are sexually mature. At this stage a second polar bear enclosure would be constructed.'

The BBC is backing Dan Roan, the sports news correspondent who has been banned from 'future media activity' involving Sheikh Yer Man City FC. 'Dan has our full support and we stand by his story which was based around accurate quotes obtained during a one-to-one interview with Patrick Vieira,' said the Corporation. Roan's exclusion follows last week's publication on the BBC Sport website of the article in which City's Football Development Executive is quoted as saying that The Scum, together with other 'big clubs', receive 'favourable refereeing decisions' when they play at home. These comments were 'deliberately taken out of context' by Roan, Vieira claims. The former Arsenal midfielder alleges that he was 'misrepresented' by the correspondent whom he accuses of asking 'a very leading line of questions' during a charity event on Wednesday. Vieira claims Roan did not include his clarifying statement that he hadn't seen The Scum's match against Fulham at Old Trafford on Monday where, controversially, the visitors were denied a late penalty. 'I called the reporter twice to ask for a retraction and an apology which has not come,' Vieira says, adding that both Roan and the BBC had shown 'a complete lack of respect for me, the Football Against Hunger charity and Manchester City Football Club.' But the BBC insists that it 'prides itself on impartial and honest reporting and it would never be our intention to misrepresent or take interviews out of context.' It added that the initial online article was amended as additional material became available and was then supported by an extended video clip. A spokeswoman for Sheikh Yer Man City pointed out in a statement that the 'leading and aggressive' questioning took place during an interview which had been arranged to promote the charity, which campaigns against starvation in Africa. The lack of any correction or apology, she continued, left them with 'no option but to issue an immediate ban to Dan Roan from future media activity.'

Oh, and if you were thinking - as yer actual Keith Telly Topping was on Monday morning - that the preceding weekend was almost too perfect, I've got news for you.
Ah. That explains so much.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day we have piece of yer actual proper social comment from The Smiths. This one's, perhaps, for anybody arrested for making racist comments online. Next time, lads, don't.
In the midst of life we are in debt, et cetera.

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