Monday, April 30, 2012

Roy's The One

He's played the world's greatest detective, and currently has parts in two of the biggest movie franchises in Hollywood - Star Trek and Lord of the Rings prequel The Hobbit – but Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch says that he's trying to avoid a proposed role in Dracula. 'There's a script in the pipeline,' revealed Cumberbatch, 'I've been fighting it rather than being in it. There's a lot of Gothic in Sherlock. I don't like to repeat myself too much. I think there are too many vampire franchises,' he told Kate O'Hare. Cumberbatch said that he was keen to steer clear of big movie series for a while: 'I have become involved in another one [as well as Sherlock and Star Trek] - The Hobbit, playing the Dragon and the Necromancer, so that should keep me in fine wine. I suppose I'm part of three franchises. I plan on not getting involved in another one. Like a lot of things in my life, it'd be nice if the culture had a bit of time to breathe and not see another revival of the same thing again and again and again,' he added. So what would Cumberbatch like to do next? 'I want to do something with an American accent, so you won't recognise me.'

Channel Four's new Friday night comedy line-up has attracted only lukewarm overnight audience figures. The return of Eight Out Of Ten Cats and new impression show Very Important People only scored about three-quarters of the channel's average overnight audience for the two slots. At 9pm, the Jimmy Carr-fronted panel show returned with 1.1 million viewers, notably down on the 1.7 million average for the previous run last year. It was immediately followed by Morgana Robinson and Terry Mynott impersonation show, which attracted one million viewers. The show also divided the critics. The Independent's sour-faced malcontent Grace Dent said: 'I just loved this show; the mimics are good and the material strong. It's disgustingly unfashionable to enjoy TV impression shows these days but there are moments of brilliance in here.' But, although the Sunday Mirra's full of his own importance knobcheese Kevin O'Sullivan was impressed by the 'brilliant' impressions, he concluded: 'The dazzling duo's alleged all-out attack on celebrity culture was about as hard hitting as Daybreak. Therefore, it wasn't very funny.' And, for possibly the first time ever, yer actual Keith Telly Topping agrees with an opinion held by odious, wretched, horrorshow (and drag) Kevin O'Sullivan. I think I'll go and have a shower. Channel Four's performance was in marked contrast to BBC1's highly-rated comedy double-act which went out at the same time: Have I Got New For You recorded 4.98 million viewers at 9pm – beating Piers Morgan's Life Stories on ITV yet again despite some unseemly crowing to contrary by the odious Morgan on Twitter – followed by 4.23 million for Lee Mack's Not Going Out.

Sophie Griffin and Sam Buttery have become the first contestants to be eliminated from The Voice's final twenty. Matt and Sueleen and Sam were in the bottom two from Team Tom. Ruth Brown, Adam Isaac and Leanne Mitchell made it through after gaining enough public votes. For Team Will-i-am, Joelle Moses and Sophie Griffin were in the bottom two. Jaz Ellington, Frances Wood and Tyler James were saved by the public. On Saturday, the first live show kicked-off with Team Will and Team Tom unleashing their acts on the UK. Next week it will be the acts from Team Jessie and Team Danny. 8.6m overnight punters watched Sunday's results show on BBC1.

Anyway, here's the final consolidated ratings week ending Sunday 22 April:-
1 The Voice - BBC1 Sat - 11.24m
2 Britain's Got Toilets - ITV Sat - 9.82m
3 Coronation Street - ITV Mon - 9.30m
4 EastEnders - BBC1 Thurs - 8.75m
5 Emmerdale - ITV Thurs - 7.47m
6 The Apprentice - BBC1 Wed - 7.24m
7 Silent Witness - BBC1 Sun - 7.16m
8 UEFA Champions League Live - ITV Wed - 6.18m
9 The Syndicate - BBC1 Tues - 6.08m
10 Countryfile - BBC1 Sun - 5.95m
11 Have I Got News For You - BBC1 Fri - 5.87m
12 Casualty - BBC1 Sat - 5.61m
13 Vera - ITV Sun - 5.29m
14 Scott & Bailey - ITV Mon - 5.29m
15 Waterloo Road - BBC1 Wed - 5.25m
16 Holby City - BBC1 Tues - 5.01m
17 Not Going Out - BBC1 Fri - 4.83m
18 Long Lost Friends - ITV Thurs - 4.69m
19 Ten O'Clock News - BBC1 Tues - 4.65m
20 New Tricks - BBC1 Thurs - 4.57m
21 BBC News - BBC1 Sun - 4.56m
22 The National Lottery: In It To Win It - BBC1 Sat - 4.55m
23 Watchdog - BBC1 Thurs - 4.45m
24 Six O'Clock News - BBC1 Wed - 4.40
25 The ONE Show - BBC1 Wed - 4.33m
None of the ITV shows on this list include ITV HD numbers as figures for that are 'not available' on BARB. A couple of other ITV figures deserve highlighting: Piers Morgan's Life Stories (4.04m - so, that's a bit of a slap in the mush of old odious twat-faced Morgan then. not only did Ian Hislop get more viewers than him Last week but so, too, did Lee Mack, a repeat of New Tricks, Dale Winton, Ann Robinson and Alex Jones. Blimey, I'd give up now Piers, mate, whilst you're ... you know, losing). Also All Star Family Fortunes (3.71m - bragging about that one on Twitter this morning were you, Vern?) and Keith Lemon's Lemon Aid (2.99m) and The Cube (2.78m). Oh dear, there goes ITV's Saturday schedule. BBC2's highest rated four programmes were The Hairy Bikers Bake-Ation (3.43m, including HD), The 70s (2.93m), Match of the Day (2.87m inclduing HD) and The Apprentice: You're Fired (2.80m, inclduing HD). Channel Four's most watched programmes were: The Undateables (2.65m), Homeland (2.64m) Embarrassing Bodies (2.60m) and Elizabeth Taylor: Auction of a Lifetime (2.28m). Channel Five's top four were: CSI (2.39m), NCIS (2.10m), The Mentalist (2.04m) and Once Upon A Time (2.03m).

And, still on the subject of ratings, according to the ever reliable Sun, Britain's Got Talent 'trounced' The Voice on Saturday. (The overnights, you'll remember, were 9.6m versus 9.3m. I'd hardly call that a trouncing or anything even remotely like it.) However, the Sun has the answer - it's all to do with the swivel chairs, apparently. Someone probably should inform the Sun that the swivel chairs were gone last week, when The Voice had more viewers (see above). But then, presumably, last week everyone watched in the hope that a chair might swivel somewhere. However, upon realising that they'd completely wasted their time, several hundred thousand punters vowed never to watch another show with fixed chairs. Mind you, that said, this blogger does quite like the implication of the Sun that people would actually prefer to watch swivel chairs than Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads. Cos, if you look up 'back handed swivel chair complients' on Google, you'll find that one right at the top.

The Radio Times has seemingly become an unlikely battleground for supporters and opponents of the Bahrain government, after the nation's foreign minister urged Bahrainis to vote in an opinion poll on the magazines website. So far more than one hundred and fifty thousand visitors have cast in excess of seventy five thousand votes on a page asking users to vote on which programme they think should win the Current Affairs prize at this year's BAFTA Television Awards. This has been, at least in part due to an intervention from the Khalifa dynasty which rules Bahrain with an iron fist inside and iron glove. On Saturday, Bahrain foreign minister Khalid Al Khalifa tweeted to his nearly eighty thousand followers, urging loyalists to vote against the Al Jazeera documentary Bahrain: Shouting in the Dark in the Radio Times poll. One might've thought that the foreign minister of a major Arab oil-producing nation might have had a few more important things to do with his time than indulge in such nonsense but, seemingly, not. 'I call on everyone to stand with Bahrain,' he wrote, providing a link to the poll, 'and vote against the harmful Al Jazeera film.' Shouting in the Dark, a documentary about how the Bahrain regime prevented the Arab Spring of 2011 from taking hold there with the help of Saudi troops, has already won numerous awards for Al Jazeera. Bahrain's human rights record has been under scrutiny again in recent weeks, following protests surrounding the Formula 1 Grand Prix, held in the island kingdom on 22 April. In the Current Affairs category at this year's BAFTAs - Britain's most prestigious television awards - Shouting in the Dark faces competition from two BBC1 Panorama films, Undercover Care: The Abuse Exposed and The Truth about Adoption, and a searing - and controversial - award-winning Channel Four investigation into alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka's Killing Fields would seem to be the main beneficiary of the Bahrain government's unexpected intervention: the Panorama programmes have only one per cent of the current vote between them. Al Jazeera has reported that activists who oppose the regime in Bahrain have taken to social networks, also linking to the Radio Times poll and calling for a vote for Shouting in the Dark. At the time of writing the Al Jazeera film is winning the poll by a distance, with sixty per cent of the overall vote, although that percentage has fallen slightly since Saturday. Of course, the irony here is that the Radio Times readers' vote does not, in any way, affect the actual result of the award itself: it will be decided by a BAFTA jury and announced on 27 May at London's Royal Festival Hall. The only BAFTA award that can actually be voted for by Internet users is the YouTube Audience Award. Nominees this year include Celebrity Juice, Sherlock and The Great British Bake Off. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping, incidentally, urges all dear blog readers to vote Sherlock and would like to see the Bahraini government join me in this endeavour. You know it makes sense.

ITV has released the first photo of the cast for their new sitcom about 'life, love and long-term unemployment', featuring Sarah Hadland and Russell Tovey. The Job Lot's supporting cast includes Sophie McShera, Tony Maudsley, Martin Marquez, Angela Curran, Jo Enright and Navin Chowdhry.
The creators of BBC1's Merlin have discussed the development of the title character in the fantasy drama's upcoming fifth series. Speaking to SciFiNow, co-creator Julian Murphy explained: 'I think it's interesting because you saw a glimpse at the end of [Series 4], particularly when he killed Agravaine, [Merlin] was becoming a much more stronger, focused and powerful character.' Murphy continued: 'We're really interested in taking him on that journey with all its dangers and the temptations it will bring, so that will be a big part of the fifth series.' Discussing the possibility of a romance for Merlin, the creators have described the character as 'a curiously non-romantic figure.'
Lord McConnell, the former first minister of Scotland, has begun legal action after evidence emerged suggesting that his and his children's phones may have been hacked by the Scum of the World. The former leader of the Scottish Labour party has been told by police that his and his children's details were found in the paperwork of the former Scum of the World private detective Glenn Mulcaire, dating back to when McConnell took office as first minister in 2001. McConnell, who led the Scottish executive until 2007, has started legal proceedings against News International and has been joined in the action by his daughter Hannah, thirty three, and son Mark, twenty eight. In what is the most significant hacking allegation so far in Scotland, it is understood that the Metropolitan police are investigating other potential data breaches against McConnell, in addition to the alleged hacking of the family's mobiles. 'The initial intrusion appears to start early in Jack's time as first minister but the family and the police don't seem to be ruling out anything at this stage,' an alleged 'source' allegedly close to the family allegedly told the Gruniad Morning Star. Allegedly. A 'family friend' allegedly told the alleged Scum Mail on Sunday: 'Jack is angry that this might have happened to him but is absolutely furious that someone could have been interfering in the private lives of Hannah and Mark.' The Scottish Labour party has ratcheted up the pressure on Alex Salmond, McConnell's successor as first minister, over his perceived close relationship with Rupert Murdoch and his son James Murdoch the small. It emerged at the Leveson inquiry last week that Salmond had allegedly offered to lobby the UK government on behalf of the Murdochs to support their proposed takeover of BSkyB, just as he was seeking the support of the Scottish edition of the Sun in last year's Holyrood elections. Margaret Curran, the shadow Scottish secretary, said Salmond and the Scottish National party should 'put the integrity of the Scottish parliament' before their dealings with the Murdochs. 'The Scottish government's response to this growing scandal is weak and insufficient. Their story changes by the day and is utterly self-contradictory. They are treating people like fools in order to cover up their own murky deals with the Murdochs,' Curran said. 'Our Scottish parliament was meant to do things differently, meant to set higher standards. On this issue, that has not happened and Scotland is the poorer for it. This is a test of the Scottish parliament and a test of the SNP's commitment to it.' Salmond has said he offered to support the BSkyB bid 'in the interests of protecting Scottish jobs', and argued that other news organisations have 'been implicated' in hacking and illegally accessing confidential data. So, that makes it all right, then. He has brushed off complaints that he was the only party leader to deepen his personal dealings with Murdoch after it emerged in July last year that the Scum of the World had hacked missing schoolgirl Milly Dowler's phone. In February, Salmond hosted a lunch at his official residence, Bute House, for Rupert Murdoch, Tom Mockridge, the News International chief executive, and Frédéric Michel, the News Corp lobbyist who 'facilitated' contact between Salmond and James Murdoch. The previous weekend, the launch edition of the Sun on Sunday had revealed Salmond's preferred date for the Scottish independence referendum, and Murdoch had sent out admiring tweets about Salmond. Salmond told BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Saturday: 'I think Rupert Murdoch is one of the most substantial figures in journalism for the last fifty years, so it would strike me as important to have a good and businesslike relationship with him. The idea that malpractice and potential illegality is confined to one newspaper organisation is for the birds.' On Sunday, a spokesman for Salmond claimed that the first minister had 'welcomed' the closure of the Scum of the World over the hacking allegations, but 'would not comment directly' on Scottish Labour's complaints about Salmond's links to the Murdochs. He added: 'It is disgraceful that Mr McConnell and his family could have been subjected to such intrusion. The first minister condemns outright all examples of phone-hacking and other press malpractice, regardless of who the victims are and who the perpetrators were. In addition, he has every confidence that Strathclyde police will vigorously pursue, without fear or favour, any evidence of criminality committed against any Scottish citizen.' Until now, the most significant Scottish hacking cases centred on the disgraced Scottish socialist leader Tommy Sheridan and other figures involved in a Scum of the World investigation into his extramarital affairs and visits to a swingers club. It is suspected that phones belonging to McConnell's children may have been targeted because his own answering service was pre-set to send callers to a paging service. There is no evidence, however, that his wife, Bridget, a prominent council executive in Glasgow, was also targeted. McConnell was suspicious during his time as first minister about the source of several newspaper stories about his private life. He was first told of the hacking suspicions several weeks ago by Strathclyde police on behalf of the Met.

Labour is demanding that David Cameron makes a Commons statement on the row surrounding the lack culture secretary. Yep, this story just isn't going anywhere any time soon. Which is, of course, terrific. There have been calls for the vile and odious rascal Hunt to resign after it was revealed his special adviser was in contact with News Corp during its bid for BSkyB. I mean, there were calls for that before it was revealed, chiefly from this blogger, admittedly, but never mind. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, and all that. The prime minister has resisted demands to order an inquiry into claims the ministerial code was broken. But Labour leader Ed Milimolimandi said that there was 'clear evidence' of a breach and questioned government 'integrity'. Commons Speaker John Bercow has yet to announce whether he will ask the prime minister to address MPs. Cameron has argued that he wants to hear the vile and odious rascal Hunt's evidence to the Leveson Inquiry on press standards before deciding whether to hold an inquiry. But, appearing at a Labour event in London, Milimolimandi said: 'Lord Justice Leveson himself has said it's not for him to judge whether the ministerial code was followed or breached.' He added that it was the job of Cameron's independent adviser on ministerial interests - Sir Alex Allan - to investigate the vile and odious rascal Hunt's conduct. A job, incidentally, that Allan is paid thirty grand a year to do. When he's allowed to do it. Milimolimandi added: 'There's clear evidence that Jeremy Hunt breached the ministerial code in at least three ways.' He added that it was 'an all-party call' for Sir Alex to launch an inquiry, as Liberal Democrat deputy leader Simon Hughes and Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin, who chairs the Commons Public Administration Committee, had backed it. Milimolimandi also said: 'People need to know, in these difficult times, that they have a government standing up for them. [That there is] probity and integrity in the way government is run.' Responsibility for ruling on the BSkyB takeover bid in a 'quasi-judicial' manner was given to the lack of culture secretary in 2010. Last week the Leveson Inquiry published one hundred and sixty pages of e-mails between the vile and odious rascal Hunt's special adviser, Adam Smith, and News Corporation's head of public affairs, Frederic Michel, about the company's efforts to take over the sixty one per cent of the broadcaster it did not already own. The vile and odious rascal Hunt has denied Labour claims that the e-mails show the firm had a 'back channel' of influence to his office, but his 'lone rouge' adviser quit last week, saying the extent of contact 'went too far' and had not been authorised by the vile and odious rascal Hunt. One or two people even believed him. Smith has subsequently resigned but Labour says the lack of culture secretary himself should also go - ideally far, far away - because the ministerial code states that ministers are ultimately responsible for not only their own actions but, also, those of their special advisers. It has also accused the vile and odious rascal of misleading Parliament about whether he had published all exchanges between his department and News Corporation, part of Rupert Murdoch's media empire. The vile and odious rascal Hunt has promised to disclose private texts and e-mails between him and the 'lone rogue' Smith to the Leveson Inquiry, to which he will give evidence next month. Cameron told BBC1's Sunday Politics all of the details of the row would be 'laid bare.' He said the e-mail contact had been 'too close' but claimed that, as things stood, he did not believe the vile and odious rascal Hunt had broken the code. Well, no. I mean, he went to a nice school, didn't he? But, Cameron added that he, as prime minister, was 'ultimately responsible' for ensuring the ministerial code was upheld and the issue had to be properly investigated.

With two strikes already against The Times editor James Harding (Rupert Murdoch last week criticised not only every aspect of the outing of the blogger Nightjack, but also the paper's failure to buy details of MPs' expenses and letting the Torygraph get them instead), one spectator's behaviour at the Leveson inquiry prompted speculation. While watching his dad and brother James Murodoch the small doing their stuff, Lachlan Murdoch seemed fixated on the tweets of BBC business editor Robert Pestinfestation, who - the Gruniad suggest - 'appears to be back in favour with the dynasty, his shouty Edinburgh TV festival row with James forgotten'. Making the former Sunday Times journalist a plausible addition to the line-up of potential successors – also thought to include chief leader writer (and Newsnight fixture) Danny Finkelstein and the Wall Street Journal's Gerard Baker – when the umpire calls the third strike on the hapless Harding.

The Badminton Horse Trials have been cancelled after heavy rain waterlogged the course and sparked flood warnings across the South West. Which is, of course, tragically sad news for anyone who enjoys nothing more than watching a bunch of long-faced, toothy in-breeds (and, their horses) falling over and getting all clarty in the mud. It's like Total Wipeout for rich people. Tragedy, so it is. The trials in Gloucestershire were due to be held from Thursday to Monday. Tewkesbury, which was devastated by flooding five years ago, is among the areas affected by heavy rain. Somerset has also been affected, with the Environment Agency issuing flood alerts for every river in the county. Hugh Thomas, event director for the horse trials, said: 'The recent exceptional rainfall has left the ground at Badminton totally waterlogged and partially flooded. Further rain is due this week, leaving no chance of the ground drying out. Very sadly therefore, the 2012 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials has been cancelled.' There are currently 19 flood warnings in the South West, seven in the Midlands, seven in the Anglian area and two in the North East.

White Van Man, the BBC3's alleged sitcom about a Manchester handyman, has been cancelled after two series as the channel appears to be attempting to 'realign' its comedy output. Starring Will Mellor as reluctant handyman Ollie, forced to forgo his restaurateur dreams and take up the family business, the ITV Studios-produced series was created and written by stand-up comedian Adrian Poynton. The first series of White Van Man was commissioned by Danny Cohen, but broadcast from March 2011, shortly after the disastrous Zai Bennett took over running BBC3. The six-part run achieved an average audience figure of seven hundred and fifty thousand punters - a reasonably healthy number for the digital station, and was swiftly recommissioned. Speaking to The British Comedy Guide, Poynton said: 'It's a strange place to find ourselves really. We honestly believe we made a second series bigger, bolder and stronger than series one and audience reaction seemed to back that up. The final episode of the series is a great way to end the show, although I did have a few more stories I wanted to tell, and a few final things to wrap up for the regular viewers. Sadly, it seems BBC3 wants to take its comedy output in another direction.' White Van Man was one of only three comedy programmes - alongside Mongrels and Russell Howard's Good News - that were not immediately axed in a Night of the Long Knives-style purge upon Bennett's arrival at the channel, as series including How Not To Live Your Life and long-running hits Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps and Ideal were brought to a close. Mongrels has also since been axed. However, the second series, broadcast during February and March this year, struggled to attain the same ratings after being moved to a different day and timeslot. Neither White Van Man nor the first series of new channel favourite Pramface, which it was broadcast back-to-back with, performed as expected, with White Van Man achieving an average audience of just over four hundred thousand viewers. Repeats, particularly those in the competitive Friday night line-up, had consistently higher figures, but it would appear not enough to save the show from cancellation. Pramface, meanwhile, had been recommissioned before it had begun broadcasting. The news of White Van Man's cancellation comes as BBC3 struggles to realign its comedy output under Bennett's control. Flagship commission World Series Of Dating, a hybrid comedy-reality series in which humour is derived from commentating on dating encounters as if they are a sport, has flopped after opening with an audience of just three hundred and twenty thousand punters viewers: the final two episodes of the eight-part run have been tucked away as a double-bill from midnight on the morning of Tuesday 8 May. Meanwhile, the channel has ordered an unscripted sketch show pilot called Boom Town, another comedy-reality hybrid that will see real people from across the UK filmed for the apparent 'comedic value' in their real lives and natural behaviour. The footage will then be edited and broadcast such that it appears they all reside in the same town. And, they cancelled Ideal for this, ladies and gentlemen.

BBC executives have been somewhat coy about explaining why their planned commercial download service is known as Project Barcelona, and still coyer about saying whom came up with the name in the first place; but it seems pretty clear that it was meant to signify the mixture of glamour and excellence associated with the Catalan capital's all-conquering football team. In the light of recent events, though, and Barca's defeat by Moscow Chelski FC last week, they may be looking to drop the moniker. After all, you don't want punters to get the idea that what's on offer is endless fiddling around that doesn't, actually, get you anywhere, do you?

Roy Hodgson is set to start talks with the Football Association on Monday and is expected to be appointed England manager within days. The FA says that the West Bromwich Albino manager, sixty four, is 'the only person it has approached' about succeeding Fabio Capello. He has already spoken with FA chairman David Bernstein and will meet with the four-man panel. Roy said he would 'be delighted' to manage England, in a BBC Sport interview before the FA's approach. Hodgson has extensive international experience, having managed Switzerland, United Arab Emirates and Finland, and domestic teams in Sweden, Italy (including Internazionale) and England. Of course, that didn't stop Dan Roan on BBC News suggesting that Hodgson's only 'high profile' job had been at Liverpool, where he had something of a torrid time (although, arguably, his record is about the same as current Alabama Yee-Haws manager Kenny Dalglish over a similar period). Because, of course, managing Inter Milan isn't 'high profile' is it? The parochialism of this country's football media is almost as astonishing as the parochialism of this country's football supporters. Bernstein said: 'Roy is the only manager we have approached and we remain on course to make an appointment within the timescale we set out.' The four-man panel which will decide who takes over from Capello are Bernstein, FA general secretary Alex Horne, FA director of football development Sir Trevor Brooking and managing director of Club England Adrian Bevington. Bernstein approached West Brom on Saturday and was given permission to speak to Hodgson, who is likely to be appointed on a long-term basis. It is expected any contract will cover the three tournaments up to and including Euro 2016, at which point he will be two months short of his sixty ninth birthday. Hodgson's contract with West Brom ends on 30 June. Stottingtot Hotshots boss Happy Harry Redknapp had been heavily linked with the job ever since Capello left the post in February, indeed every football journalist worth his salt had been lining up on Sky's Soccer Supplement on Sunday mornings for the last two months to give Happy Hapless Harry's ringpiece a reet good rimming and inform viewers that the FA had a shortlist of one and Happy Harry was on it. (The Torygraph's Paul Heyward used those exact words just six weeks ago.) One or two of those will, no doubt, be feeling rather stupid today. That's if football journalists don't feel stupid most of the time, of course. Indeed, the amount of egg on various faces in Fleet Street and at Sky Sports News itself (another regular Redknapp cheerleader) who'd all but given him the job twenty seconds after he walked out of court two months ago after beating a fraud charge must be half the gross annual produce of Norfolk. I think it's hilarious, personally. The FA has decided to discuss the position with Hodgson, who has previous international experience from his time in charge of Switzerland, United Arab Emirates and Finland. In total, he has managed eighteen teams either at domestic or international level, including two spells as Inter Milan boss. Former FA chief executive Mark Palios does not believe the talks with Hodgson necessarily rule out a move for Redknapp. He said the FA is 'under pressure' to 'do something' about the vacant job with Euro 2012 a matter of weeks away. 'Hodgson is a candidate they would naturally speak to,' he told the BBC. 'West Bromwich Albion's season is settled and they are now safe. But this doesn't mean to say there aren't other people they would approach.' Hodgson, who had a disappointing time at Liverpool last season, has steered West Brom to mid-table in the Premier League. Prior to the Liverpool job, he took a very average Fulham side to the final of the UEFA Cup. He also managed Blackburn Rovers for two seasons (also getting them into Europe in the first year). Albino chairman Jeremy Peace remains hopeful he will stay on at the Hawthorns. Peace said: 'Roy has done a fantastic job over the past fifteen months and the fact that the FA wants to discuss the England role with him is testament to that. Roy is a proud Englishman and we can understand why he wants to speak to the FA about this highly prestigious managerial position. However, we have emphasised to Roy how much we would like him to remain as our head coach and continue his major contribution to our project at the Hawthorns as we look to establish ourselves as a Premier League club. Everyone here has an excellent working relationship with him and he is immensely popular with our supporters.' England have two fixtures before their Euro 2012 opener against France on 11 June, with friendlies planned against Norway on 26 May and Belgium on 2 June. Stuart Pearce - who is in charge of both the England Under-Twenty One squad and the Team GB Olympic set-up - is currently in temporary control of the national side and oversaw a 3-2 friendly defeat by the Netherlands at Wembley last month. Pearce said he 'would be prepared' to lead the team into Euro 2012 and stated earlier this week that he could name the squad on or around 10 May if no new manager was in place by that date. Hapless Happy Harry his very self has, reportedly 'wished Roy Hodgson well' after the Football Association approached the West Brom manager for the England role. The Hotshots boss also said he did not 'hold any grudges' at being overlooked.

'A good man is just about to take on the Impossible Job.' That was the conclusion of the Daily Torygraph's Henry Winter in writing about the Football Association's decision to offer the England football manager's job to Roy Hodgson. The reason was made abundantly clear in the coverage in other national papers on Monday morning. As Winter noted, they were declaring Hodgson 'a failure before he's even been appointed.' A couple of editors registered their surprise - and, implied criticism - in front page headlines: Hod choice for England (Daily Mirra), What are the Hods on that? (the Sun) and Forget 'Arry, it's Roy in the frame for England (the Daily Lies). In the sports pages, the boot really went in. Reminding readers of Hodgson's brief and unhappy stewardship of Liverpool, the Daily Scum Mail's main headline said: Kop flop Roy is FA's choice. The Mirra was critical too: Oh why, oh why, oh Woy? This reflected the widespread bafflement - amongst various sport writers, if not the actual general public - that the media's favourite, Harry Redknapp, had been overlooked. The general view from almost every football commentator was that Hodgson was little more than a safe and uninspiring choice. They included the Sun's Steven Howard, 'After Fab ... the drab', the Scum Mail's odious fat lout Martin Samuel (Is this a job for Mr Average?) and the Daily Scum Express's John Dillon, 'Little joy in a chase for Roy Hodgson.' The biggest Redknapp cheerleader of the lot, the thoroughly full of his own importance Brian Woolnough in the Daily Lies predicted that the FA would suffer a backlash from fans. 'He is a safe pair of hands rather than the "character" England needed,' he wrote. The word 'safe' can be found in almost every reaction - as though that is, in and of itself, a bad thing. Daniel Taylor in the Gruniad thought Hodgson 'a safe option, a mid-table manager whose best work in England has been done at two relatively small clubs in Fulham and West Bromwich Albion.' In the Independent, Musa Okwonga thought Hodgson's appointment has infuriated 'people' (though he didn't say, exactly, which people) 'because it shows us what we really are: we are outsiders, peering up at football's elite.' So a pragmatic choice makes sense. Tony Evans, The Times's football editor, was wholly unimpressed by the appointment of a man 'whose bathroom cabinet is bigger than his trophy cabinet.' It was 'a retrograde step,' Evans wrote and then had the gall to add: 'It is unfair to pillory Hodgson.' You mean, like what you've just done you odious tosser? In what is clearly a self-fulfilling prophesy Evans concluded that Hodgson 'will become the focus of public criticism very quickly.' Hell hath no fury, it seems, like a football journalist who's back the wrong horse. Amid the negativity, it was a pleasure to read the piece by Winter's only real rival for the best jobbing football journo, Oliver Holt in the Mirra: Don't destroy Roy: why Hodgson deserves better than to be written off before he's even got the England job. He accepted that Hodgson, unlike Redknapp, he lacks 'the common touch', nor does he have the charisma of Martin O'Neill. But, wrote Holt, 'he is tactically astute, he is a clever coach and he is well-respected throughout the game. What he will need to overcome is the inverted snobbery that will be aimed at him by some because he's a cerebral manager.'

Which brings us to today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day.

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