Saturday, April 28, 2012

Put On Yer Hat, Put On Yer Coat, Election Time Everybody Have T'Vote

On this current week of all weeks, if Have I Got News For You hadn't found something in the news to poke fun at, you'd've probably been justified in wanting the show cancelled. Thankfully, they didn't let us down in any way shape of form. Take your pick from the following, dear blog reader: There was Paul Merton's claim that the vile and odious rascal Hunt (or, at least ,'Jeremy Whatshisname') came to see one of Paul's shows in Edinburgh a couple of years ago. Merton, therefore, argued that 'a member of my audience wouldn't deliberately mislead anybody. So I'm willing to believe everything he says.'
'So that's you and David Cameron,' asked Paul's oppo, Ian Hislop. 'Yes. If the prime minister thinks he's okay, that's good enough for me!' replied Paul. 'The prime minister's has a very good track record,' argued Ian. 'I mean, Andy Coulson, he was okay. Until he wasn't.' Asked for his own opinion on the general malarkey and shenanigans related thereto, the Private Eye editor and - frequently - our nation's moral compass said that he thought the government 'don't come very well out of this. It appears they were so far up Mr Murdoch's bottom you couldn't see any of their heads!'
Guest Chris Packham, asked, reasonably, why the vile and odious rascal Hunt hadn't already got the tin-tack (and, cracked a rather good joke about alleged 'BBC wildlife fakery' in the Daily Scum Mail as well). Merton noted that the vile and odious rascal Hunt is, currently, acting as 'a firewall' since, if he goes, the prime minister's own position might start to look very shaky. 'It's like when everybody starts getting annoyed with each other, they all end up kicking the dog,' added Ian, helpfully. 'It's that thing where you sack the person below you. Jeremy Hunt sacks [Adam Smith], Cameron'll sack Hunt and then we'll sack Cameron! And everyone'll be happy!'
Both the host, Damien Lewis, and Hislop expressed growing 'man love' for Leveson counsel QC Robert Jay. 'It's the way he goes through the tabs, isn't it?' asked Hislop before doing a wonderful impression of Jay's slow, deliberate, precise drawing out of evidence in a terrifyingly dismissive voice. 'I believe this is bundle thirty eight, tab seven, brackets you lying bastard!' Hislop noted that when the now infamous 'although absolutely illegal' e-mail was read out at the Leveson inquiry, James Murdoch the small, claimed that it was 'a joke.' But, Hislop doubted Murdoch the small would know a joke if it got up and gave him a haircut 'given that he's a Dalek! .. He talks purely in management-speak, he pours bullshit on everything until there's nothing understandable left and everyone wants to die!' Lewis got the obvious joke out when referring to Ed Milimolimandi's claim that the vile and odious rascal Hunt was being 'a back channel to the Murdochs' ('sounds unpleasant!') and then closed the ten-minute section with the single line of the episode: 'This is the appearance of the Murdoch at the Leveson inquiry, which heaped more pressure on Jeremy Hunt, the culture secretary. Or, if you're watching the repeat, the former culture secretary. Or, if you're watching on Dave in a years time, the executive director of BSkyB!'
Top man, Damien Lewis. If we didn't already love you for Homeland we would after that performance. His story of having dinner at the White House with Obama and Cameron was pretty good too.

Qi was also on jolly good form on Friday evening with the long-awaited Shakespeare episode (Sue Perkins and Bill Bailey being on particularly fine form throughout). And there's even better news for Qi fans as the other outstanding episode from the last series - the one featuring Jezza Clarkson which was supposed to be shown just before Christmas, but wasn't because of rank BBC cowardice in the face of a suspiciously concerted and agenda-soaked campaign of lies by the Gruniad Morning Star - will now be broadcast next Friday. Five months too late, frankly but, hey, better late than never at all. (Of course, some of us have had a copy since someone 'accidentally' put it up on iPlayer by mistake the day after it should have gone out!)
And, completing the BBC's Friday night comedy line-up was another very good episode of Would I Lie To You? Featuring Richard Bacon being an twenty four carat oaf (as usual), Dale Winton, Clare Balding and Miranda Hart getting into the spirit of the show, and the two captain's doing their usual steady job in drawing laughs from unexpected places. Would I Lie works best - and always has done - when it's a straight fight between Davie Mitchell's cross, grumpy middle-class logic and Lee Mack's dazzlingly surreal flights of fancy. And last night was no exception.
So, there you have it. Friday nights are funny at the moment, dear blog reader. Unless you're the vile and odious rascal Hunt, that is. If you're not a 'young person' who enjoys going out and drinking your alcopops and your Bacardi Breezers with all of your bestest hoddie and chav chums, you could do a lot worse than to stay in and watch BBC1 between 8:30 and 9:30 and BBC2 from ten. You might find it funny, informative about what's going on in the world and, shockingly, you might just learn something. 'The educate, inform, and entertain,' the BBC's mission statement in three successive shows. Hugely satisfyingly, two and a half million punters watched the new Qi episode at 10 o'clock on BBC2 (massively above the slot average). This was doubly impressive since it was up against the return of Alan Carr Chatty Man on Channel Four at the same time (that pulled in 1.7m).

And now, dear blog reader, some absolutely terrible news. ITV, it is claimed, is going to axe Daybreak. Although sadly not with an actual axe. Well, that's just awful. What is the blogger going to do for running jokes now? Mind you, this is being reported in the Mirra so, you know, vat of salt and all that. The tabloid claims that the ITV breakfast flop is being dropped just two years after its ten million smackers launch. 'Bosses' (that's, err, tabloid-speak for 'producers' only with several less syllables) apparently plan to return to the GMTV-style look that Daybreak was brought in to replace with such disastrous, if hilarious, results. Former GMTV regular, big fat cuddly Lorraine Kelly is reportedly lined-up to host the new show. Current hosts Horrible Kate Garraway and Dan Lobb may also still be involved in the new format, the Mirra claim, which will likely focus on news for the first hour until 7am. GMTV's Richard Arnold is also believed to be returning as a showbiz reporter. ITV is said to 'fear' that the current brand is toxic as it is is 'still associated' with risible, greedy, traitorous flop presenters grumpy Adrian Chiles and the curiously orange Christine Bleakley, who got sacked at the end of last year in disgrace and ignominy. An alleged 'source' allegedly told the alleged newspaper: 'If anything this shows that GMTV wasn't a failing formula after all and should never have been axed.' The alleged 'insider' (who was a 'source' a minute ago but, never mind) added of the new show: 'One working title is Lorraine but that's not popular with everyone and may not stay. There are plenty of other possibilities. It wasn't the name that didn't work out, but the programme itself. All the focus is on getting the show right this time.'

Danny O'Donoghue has revealed that the BBC was not expecting The Voice to be as popular as it has proved to be. Which, we kind of knew anyway from various comments Danny Cohen made a few weeks ago. The Script frontman and coach for the singing contest also admitted that he is 'feeling anxious' about the forthcoming live rounds. O'Donoghue - the one nobody had heard of when the show began but who's proved to be a highly amiable and knowledgeable presence - told What's on TV of the show's battle with Britain's Got Talent: 'Everyone loves a derby between two giants and I'm over the moon at the response we've had. The BBC knew it would do well, but not this well. I'm proud, too. Shows like this change the game in TV, bringing families back together around the box. It offers a real window into the industry and to artists in different stages of their career.' The thirty one-year-old added: 'I am [nervous], but if you thought it was good already, wait until you see these shows. We're stepping up another notch and not just shaping voices but shaping artists.'
The Murdoch empire's former employees have, it would appear, not been slow to 'correct the record' this week in response to various claims made at the Leveson inquiry. While an unashamed James Murdoch the small insisted that all his relationships with politicians were 'above board', the former Wall Street Journal executive Iain Martin recounted how he had spotted the vile and odious rascal Hunt 'hiding behind a tree' outside University College London, where Murdoch was delivering a speech, to avoid being spotted meeting the company for dinner. Friday's Have I Got News For You also featured that story to the great amusement of the audience.
The vile and odious rascal Hunt, who is currently fighting for his political career, is just one of half-a-dozen people dumped on from a great height by Rupert and James Murdoch this week. The former Murdoch editors Andrew Neil, David Yelland, Harold Evans and Colin Myler were all criticised personally, as were a smattering of News International lawyers such as Tom Crone. But Evans and Crone got their retaliation in almost instantly. Crone branded Murdoch senior 'a shameful liar.' Evans chose to hint that Murdoch was senile. (Which, as Ian Hislop noted, Murdoch appeared to be at times when it suited him, particularly with regard to remembering detailed on potentially incriminating meetings and conversations. However, when it came to the delicious opportunity to stick the boot in to those he had a seeming grudge with - politicians, former employees, media rivals - that 'selective amnaesia' quickly disappeared.) One of those criticised, who asked the Gruniad not to be named, said that he was horrified by Rupert Murdoch's betrayal. 'He is washing his hands in other people's blood. I would have remained loyal to him to the day I died but he showed not a shred of loyalty to any of us.'

Mind you, if the Murdochs – or the government, for that matter – were hoping this week's evidence before the Leveson inquiry would draw a temporary line under the phone-hacking affair, they will have been very disappointed. Two unresolved events mean that the scandal will remain in the headlines well into next week. Firstly, the vile and odious rascal Hunt continues to fight for his political career after the emergence on Tuesday of a staggering cache of e-mails between his office (if not, necessarily, himself) and News Corp over the company's bid for the remaining part of BSkyB it does not already own. The minister accepted that the one hundred and sixty three pages of e-mails demonstrated that his special adviser, Adam Smith, had 'overstepped the mark' in the 'volume and content' of his interaction with a Murdoch aide. But, he has been left without any obvious forum in which to clear his own reputation. Secondly, James Murdoch the small and other News Corporation executives will learn this coming Tuesday whether they have been found to have misled parliament over their knowledge of phone-hacking. MPs on the culture, media and sport select committee are said to be still divided over the exact wording of their final verdict, which they will have to thrash out the day before publication. The continuing events demonstrate that anybody hoping for closure as regards their own part in the sprawling phone-hacking and related Murdoch sagas will be in for a long wait. It has not helped that the vile and odious rascal Hunt has tried to seek redress through Lord Justice Leveson's inquiry. This was the compromise to which the vile and odious rascal Hunt, David Cameron and Nick Clegg agreed in the immediate aftermath of Frédéric Michel's revelations, rather than send the matter to Sir Alex Allen who polices the ministerial code. However, while the investigation into press standards may have been the forum through which Michel's revealing e-mails to his boss James Murdoch the small emerged, the long-running inquiry has not proved to be a convenient place in which to judge the conduct of the minister. Leveson immediately rejected the vile and odious rascal Hunt's appeal to have his evidence brought forward (see below), because the conduct of an individual minister is not immediately in his remit, and because the order of witnesses is carefully planned. This meant that the vile and odious rascal Hunt would not be able to give a full version of events until mid-May at the earliest, although he may have thought that the temperature would have gone out of the issue by then. The lack of culture secretary's more immediate problem, then, is that he has to endure a somewhat hostile Fleet Street – with even traditionally supportive papers like the Daily Torygraph particularly unsympathetic, and the Daily Scum Mail critical. His second problem is that the Leveson inquiry is not structured to give him the exoneration which that he seeks, because Lord Justice Leveson's written report is not due until autumn this year – which hardly keeps up with a political and media timescale driven by restive backbenchers and newspapers. The vile and odious rascal Hunt, on this scenario, would have to rely on whatever stray remarks Leveson offers, although the judge has made it very clear that he 'dislikes' drawing interim conclusions. On this calculation, it would have been just as easy for the vile and odious rascal Hunt to disclose all his relevant communications with Adam Smith, widely considered to be a trusted and loyal adviser, and make a more detailed statement to parliament. The politicisation of the Leveson inquiry, meanwhile, comes when the equally politicised culture, media and sport select committee meets to agree its verdict on James Murdoch the small and other News International employees past and present. A health warning was given by the attorney general, Dominic Grieve, earlier this month that the committee must use 'moderate language' if it wishes to criticise any of those arrested – even though its report is released under parliamentary privilege. Committee members are split on party lines as regards Murdoch – and MPs are expecting a robust exchange of views as they haggle over the exact wording in Westminster. Their decision falls due as it emerges that News Corporation has only tried to lobby Conservative members of the select committee, according to documents submitted on behalf of Rupert Murdoch to the Leveson inquiry last week. Paperwork submitted as attachment KRM34 to the inquiry details 'subjects on which political engagement has taken place' from 2009 to date, and lists three select committee inquiries. The first of these, a 2008-09 inquiry into press standards, privacy and libel, shows that members of several political parties were lobbied. But two more recent inquiries on press standards and BBC strategy show that News Corp only contacted Conservative members of the committee, including its chairman, John Whittingdale, in the hope of influencing their thinking. News Corporation did not disclose who, if anybody, it had tried to influence as regards the latest phone-hacking report because, the company said, the question asked by Leveson only asked for details of 'lobbying' and was therefore 'not relevant.' But three Labour members of the committee told the Gruniad that they had never been approached by News Corp before the critical meeting, and a final decision may rest on the sole Liberal Democrat, Adrian Sanders, on a body with five Labour and five Conservative members. Although, to be fair, one can never be entirely certain what Louise Bagashite is likely to do on any given day, usually depending on whether there are cameras present.

So, as noted, Lord Justice Leveson has 'rebuffed' the government by making clear it was not his inquiry's role to rule if the lack of culture secretary, the vile and odious rascal Hunt, has breached the ministerial code by his handling of the News Corp bid for BSkyB. The firm refusal from the Leveson inquiry is embarrassing to David Cameron, who claimed on Wednesday that the inquiry was 'the best forum' to determine whether the vile and odious rascal Hunt, as well as his special adviser the hapless Adam Smith, had handled the bid 'in a partisan manner.' Instead, the vile and odious rascal Hunt may now have to face a separate, and potentially far more painful, investigation by an independent watchdog set up to police the behaviour of ministers. Leveson's spokesman also denied claims made by the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, that Leveson intended to bring forward the date of the vile and odious rascal Hunt's appearance before the inquiry so that his case could be 'fast-tracked.' Clegg said: 'I think we've already got an agreement Jeremy Hunt will go the Leveson pretty quick.' Leveson's spokesman said that, on the contrary, the vile and odious rascal Hunt's request to bring his evidence session forward had been turned down 'in the interests of fairness to all.' Leveson's stance underlines that Cameron has not ordered an inquiry by the independent watchdog into the breaches of the code, but may now come under irresistible pressure to do so. Ed Miliolimandi had earlier accused Cameron of a cover-up. The oaf currently leading the Labour party (at least, until his, older, smarter, brother who talks a bit less like Daffy Duck gets a shot at the job) said the 'proper course' would be to refer the vile and odious rascal Hunt's case to Sir Alex Allan, the prime minister's independent adviser on the ministerial code. Sir Alex, who is paid thirty thousand smackers a year for exactly this sort of situation, has so far been excluded from the process on Cameron's instructions. His office was also bypassed by the prime minister over the conduct of Liam Fox, the former defence secretary, who got into a bit of bother last year. Both the Lib Dem deputy leader, Simon Hughes, and Lorely Burt, who chairs the Lib Dem parliamentary party, called for the case of the vile and odious rascal Hunt to be referred immediately to Allan. But Clegg, their party leader, claimed: 'Unless anyone has got a better idea I think having a judge where a cabinet minister needs to give evidence under oath is about the best context to really get down to find out what happened or what didn't happen.' I've got a better idea, sir. But, it would a ducking stool. He added that after the vile and odious rascal Hunt had given his evidence to Leveson it 'might be possible to look at breaches of the code.' Clegg, who denied that the coalition was a sleazy collective of brazen, arse-licking corrupt bastards, claimed that there was a 'danger of crossed wires' if Allan also looked at breaches of the code, such as ministerial responsibility for the conduct of a special adviser. Leveson himself said on Wednesday after a telephone discussion with Sir Jeremy Heywood, the cabinet secretary: 'Although I have seen requests for other inquiries and other investigations, it seems to me that the better course is to allow this inquiry to proceed.' But, it is understood that Leveson is now 'concerned' that he is being asked to examine issues of ministerial conduct in relation to the code which are well beyond his inquiry's original terms of reference. An alleged 'source' allegedly said: 'Lord Justice Leveson is not the arbiter of the ministerial code. There is someone else who can be called on to do that' – a reference to Allan. Alleged Leveson 'sources' were, according to the Gruniad Morning Star, 'clearly anxious' not to get locked into a row with Downing Street, but felt it necessary to assert their role. The vile and odious rascal Hunt said that he would be handing to the Leveson inquiry all the texts and e-mails between himself and his special adviser over the bid, adding that he was 'confident' they would show he had behaved with 'total integrity.' Cameron's plans to rely on Leveson's cross-examination of the vile and odious rascal Hunt came under question from Sir Christopher Kelly, the chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life. He said that Allan was 'the obvious person' to conduct an inquiry. If the issue were to be left to Leveson, Downing Street must make clear that the judge had the power to look into ministerial conduct – something which Cameron's official spokesman has repeatedly confirmed is 'a matter for the prime minister.' There was 'no doubt' that the allegations needed to be 'properly investigated', said Kelly. 'It is important for public confidence in the integrity of government and also in fairness to the individuals concerned that this is done – and done reasonably quickly. One obvious way to do it is by asking the independent adviser on ministerial interests to look at them. If it is to be done instead by Lord Justice Leveson as part of his inquiry then it needs to be clear that all the standards issues, including those relating to the ministerial code, are regarded as being within his remit and will indeed be looked at. It would be helpful to have that put beyond doubt.' Milimolimandi, criticised by some in Labour for focusing too much on News International, kept up the pressure. He said: 'Every day, David Cameron looks more like a prime minister organising a cover-up rather than standing up for the public. First he refuses to sack Jeremy Hunt despite the weight of evidence against him. Now despite all-party calls to do so, he refuses even to ask the independent adviser on ministerial interests to examine whether Mr Hunt broke the ministerial code. As Downing Street admits, it is not Lord Justice Leveson's job to adjudicate on whether Jeremy Hunt has broken the code. Just as last July, the prime minister dragged his feet on a judicial inquiry, defended Rebekah Brooks and clung to the BSkyB bid, so we see the same pattern again.' Mad Hattie Harman, the shadow lack of culture secretary, also wrote to the former cabinet secretary Lord O'Donnell to ask whether he would have cleared the vile and odious rascal Hunt to act as the cabinet minister ruling on the BSkyB bid, had he known what has now been revealed about the conduct of the vile and odious rascal Hunt's office. Lord O'Donnell is expected to state his views when he appears in front of the inquiry himself.

The vile and odious rascal Hunt was 'influenced' by James Murdoch the small over his decisions on the BBC's future funding, it has been claimed. Ex-BBC Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons said that the lack of culture secretary was 'coloured' by BSkyB's interests during talks over the BBC's licence fee in 2010. He told BBC Radio 4's Profile that the vile and odious rascal Hunt had 'quite close links' with Sky. A spokeswoman for the vile and odious rascal Hunt suggested the claim was 'odd' given that Murdoch had complained about the licence fee settlement at the Leveson Inquiry. Lyons raised questions about the vile and odious rascal Hunt's independence when it came to decisions involving rival media companies, such as the BBC. In his role as the lack of culture secretary, the vile and odious rascal Hunt led the negotiations on a new licence fee deal in 2010 which resulted in a six-year freeze in the BBC's licence fee. Asked about the negotiating process in an interview for the BBC's Profile programme, Sir Michael said it was 'very clear' that the vile and odious rascal Hunt was 'not a great fan' of the BBC. Which, of course, anybody who's been reading this blog for the last three years, will be aware of. 'It wasn't uncommon for Conservative ministers to co-join their great respect for the BBC with a narrative that it was too big, too ambitious, got into too many things and needed to be brought down to size,' Lyons said. 'What the proper boundaries are for the BBC, there will be different views about that but there was definitely a period when they were coloured by, I believe, the interest of Sky.' Asked whether the vile and odious rascal Hunt was working as 'an ambassador' for News Corporation Sir Michael said this was a 'rather strong way of putting it.' But he added: 'I have no doubt at all that he had quite close links [with BSkyB] and he was influenced, as many were, by the rhetoric - particularly of James Murdoch - that seemed to suggest Sky was in some way threatened by the BBC.' Sky was a bigger company than the BBC in terms of revenues, he added, had 'seen off most of its commercial competition' and was 'the big beast in this space.' A spokeswoman for the vile and odious rascal Hunt claimed, very unconvincingly, that he had 'always been a strong supporter of the BBC.'

BBC2 has ordered a second series of comedy chat show The Sarah Millican Television Programme. The new seven-part run will kick off with a Christmas special with the remaining six episodes being broadcast in 2013. The debut series was the first to come out of SoTV's new Glasgow division SoTV Scotland, in association with Millican's own Chopsy Productions. It was filmed in front of a studio audience at MediaCityUK in Salford. Millican herself broke the news on Twitter, saying: 'Thrilled to report that The Sarah Millican Television Programme will be back for a second series.' The series was ordered by BBC2 controller Janice Hadlow and BBC Scotland's entertainment commissioner Alan Tyler, who will executive produce. Tyler said: 'Sarah is one of the best comic performers in the UK. Following the success of the first series we are delighted to be bringing her back to the BBC2 audience.' The first series averaged 1.63m viewers per episode on BBC2, with a further one hundred and twenty seven thousand punters watching on BBC HD, pipping the 10pm slot average of 1.43m.

One viewer has, apparently, complained to the broadcast watchdog Ofcom about The Simpsons on 'animal welfare' grounds. One assures the concerned party has been told that no Spider-Pigs were hurt in the making of the programme?

Channel Four is undertaking the first nationwide study of urban foxes in thirty years and uncovering what Britain thinks of this unique city wildlife. To launch the new series, Channel Four released a group of urban foxes into the busy streets of London. Scaring and screeching at commuters at train stations, travelling city style on the underground, raiding and eating out of public bins, jumping the bus queues and causing general mayhem in the city.
'Love them or loathe them, urban foxes appear to be taking over our cities – there are estimated to be twenty seven foxes per square mile in the UK and between thirty to forty thousand foxes living in our cities' the network states. Channel Four is enlisting the help of the British public in undertaking a comprehensive nationwide survey of the urban fox population in the UK. There has been an increase in recent press reports of foxes becoming bolder and braver than ever and it has become even more important to understand how this animal lives in our cities and if we can safely co-exist alongside them. 'Are foxes afraid of humans? Do they steal our rubbish? And do they attack our pets?' are among the questions that the channel will be asking. They hope to also provide the answers as Channel Four aim to educate the nation on urban foxes via the live television. Foxes Live: Wild in The City starts Monday 30 April at 8pm on Channel Four.

Filming has begun on Wizards Vs Aliens, the new CBBC action adventure drama penned by Russell Davies and Phil Ford. Wizards Vs Aliens, produced by BBC Cymru Wales in association with FremantleMedia Enterprises, will be broadcast on CBBC this Autumn. Starring newcomers Scott Haran as Tom Clarke and Percelle Ascott as Benny Sherwood, the series also features Annette Badland, Michael Higgs, Jefferson Hall and Gwendoline Christie. Don Gilet and Nina Sosanya will make guest appearances as Benny's parents.

A series of interactive giant LED balloons are going to illuminate the entire length of Hadrian's Wall as part of celebrations for the London 2012 Olympics. Connecting Light will use tethered weather balloons lit by internal LED lights to form a line of pulsating colours along the wall. The installation will be live from Friday 31 August to Saturday 1 September and is being designed to be viewed all over the world using digital media. Here's lovely Sharuna from Look North to tell us all about it.
The Sunderland footballer (and I use the word 'footballer' quite wrongly) Lee Cattermole has accepted a conditional caution for damaging five vehicles in Newcastle. The Premier League midfielder will also reimburse those owners affected by his crass actions in Stowell Street on 6 December. The twenty four-year-old, from Ponteland, was originally charged with five instances of criminal damage. Magistrates were due to hear the case in May, but now he has accepted the caution it will not go ahead. Clare Donaldson, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: 'By accepting the conditional caution at this stage, he has also accepted his guilt in relation to all five vehicles, something that may have taken significantly longer for us to prove in court. While a prosecution was initially considered in this case, the appropriate use of a conditional caution has ensured that reparations have been made, not only swiftly, but also on a scale that may have otherwise been difficult to ensure.' He was originally charged with team-mate Nicklas Bendtner, but the case against Bendtner was dropped in March. Cattermole, originally from Stockton, started his career with Middlesbrough and joined Sunderland on a six million quid transfer from Wigan Athletic in 2009.

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though still unsellable) Newcastle United are to unveil a statue of Sir Bobby Robson before their last home game of the season on 6 May. The nine foot bronze figure will be placed at the South-West corner of St James' Park. Less than a week after relocating the statue of legendary striker Jackie Milburn to a new site outside the South-East corner of the stadium, United have confirmed that the additional statue is to be erected at opposite corner of the Gallowgate End. Sir Bobby managed Newcastle United for five years between 1999 and 2004 - three of them very successfully as the club finished third, fourth and fifth in successive seasons. He died from cancer aged seventy six in July 2009. The ceremony will be attended by some of those who played under Sir Bobby as well as Lady Elsie Robson, who said he 'was always a Newcastle fan at heart.' Current club manager Alan Pardew, members of his backroom team and representatives from the foundation Sir Bobby set up in 2008 are also expected to attend. Lady Elsie praised Newcastle for funding the statue and said it was a 'fitting' tribute. 'This is where his love of football began. As a boy he'd come here with his dad and he likely queued to get into the ground where the statue will be sited,' she said. The unveiling ceremony will begin at 10:30, prior to the game against Sheikh Yer Man City FC which kicks off three hours later. Sir Bobby, who twice steered Newcastle United into the Champions League, led the club to the UEFA Cup semi-final in 2004. He received the freedom of the city of Newcastle in March 2005. He also managed Ipswich Town for more than thirteen years between 1969 and 1982, winning the FA Cup in 1978 and the UEFA Cup in 1981. A statue of him was unveiled at the Suffolk club's ground, Portman Road, in 2002. He was manager of England for eight years, leading his beloved country to World Cup quarter finals in 1986 and the semi-final in 1990. He also had a hugely successful career as a coach in the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain during the 1990s. The Newcastle statue will complete a quartet of Robson-related art installations in the stadium area, with memorial stones exhibit a short walk away and a cast of his shoes on the walk of fame at St James Metro station.

A heart-warming story to finish. The studio audience of the BBC1 sitcom In With The Flynns, this week sang 'Happy Birthday' to actor Warren Clark, who was celebrating his sixty fifth birthday. Co-star Will Mellor presented Sheikh Yer Man City fan Clark with a personalised framed football shirt.

And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 33 of the Day. Which, today, features a plea for political tolerance (or, at least, votes) from yer actual Clint Eastwood and General Saint in a rub-a-dub-style(e), an'ting. One imagines this might be the vile and odious rascal Hunt's favourite tune when the next election comes around. That's if he isn't looking to 'spend more time with his family' by then.

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