Saturday, April 14, 2012

Think I'll Sign Off The Dole

Doctor Who's Karen Gillan has signed up for Twitter. The actress posted her first tweet on the social networking site on Thursday evening (New York time), and has already amassed over forty five thousand followers. One or two of whom have girlfriends. Probably. So, how long do we reckon it'll be before somebody asks Kazza about a continuity error in Pyramids of Mars and she flees back to the relative safety of non-Twitterdom?
Three hours after Karen's first tweet, Arthur Darvill gleefully remarked: 'So @karengillan2 has NOT turned off her e-mail notifications and her battery has died. Cue fifty thousand e-mails. Today just got so much better!' Wicked!

Meanwhile, five more on-location pictures from the Doctor Who series seven filming has been released. Behind-the-scenes snaps have appeared of Matt Smith, Karen and Arthur at a woodland setting in Central Park. Showrunner The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat and fellow executive producer Caroline Skinner also appear.
Would I Lie To You? and Have I Got News For You both returned to BBC1 on Friday evening to remind planks like yer actual Adrian Edmondson exactly why there are so many comedy panel shows on TV at the moment. Because the best of them (which is, basically, these two, plus Qi) are really effing funny and people like them a great deal. Simples, as the little chap animating the meerkat might say. The former saw probably the world's funniest chap at the moment, Lee Mack and David Mitchell (wearing a shaggy beard that really doesn't suit him) on particularly fine form. Xander Armstrong and Mel Whatsherface from Mel and Sue were also very good, the shrill-voiced and usually very-annoying-indeed Alex Jones off The ONE Show was slightly less annoying than usual. And smug git Chris Tarrent was, well, just as much of a smug git as he always is. It's comforting to know, dear blog reader, that in an uncertain world, some things never change.
Meanwhile, in Have I Got News For You ... well, even forty three series in, give Paul Merton a subject like 'where best to store your panic-bought petrol' (inside a pasty, of course, because 'at least you'll know where it is and, as long as you don't heat it up, you won't pay twenty per cent tax. Or, indeed, blow your house up!') and you're guaranteed more laughs than pretty much anything Ade Edmondson's come up with, well, ever. Even though guest Grace Dent continues to have the real and genuine misfortune of having a face that looks like she's just smelled some shit nearby. I'd do something about that if I were you, chuck, in a certain light you're the spitting image in Thierry Henry. Yer man Hislop was in right cracking form too, in a brilliant rant about tax avoidance. 'If you Google "Tax", does it give you nothing?!'
Ah, it's good to have the pair of them back.

Yer actual Hislop his very self has said that Ricky Gervais is one of his least favourite comics. So that proves what we always knew, Ian Hislop is a very intelligent man of some taste. Speaking to the Radio Times, the Have I Got News For You satirist singled out Gervais as the man most likely to persuade him to switch his TV set off. Of comedy he enjoys, the fifty one-year-old highlighted Jack Whitehall's Channel Four sitcom Fresh Meat, adding: "I was watching Fresh Meat - with Jack Whitehall. He is very funny in it but I think, "Is student life really like that now?" I mean, it's terrifying, isn't it?' Not quite the word I'd use for Whitehall, myself, dear blog reader. Horseshit would be a bit closer.

Indian cooking guru Madhur Jaffrey is returning to TV with her first major new series for seventeen years. The seventy eight-year-old will make the ten-part serial about the impact of curry on the UK for the Good Food channel. Jaffrey fronted her landmark programme Indian Cookery for the BBC more than thirty years ago, and returned in 1995 for The Flavours of India. She is also an actress, having appeared in films and TV shows including a stint in EastEnders, playing Pushpa Ferreira in 2003. In 1965, she won best actress at the Berlin Film Festival for her performance in Shakespeare Wallah and is said to have introduced film-making partners James Ivory and Ismail Merchant. But since the 1980s she has become renowned for her cookery series and numerous best-selling books, showcasing cuisine from the Indian subcontinent. Jaffrey was awarded an honorary CBE in 2004 for her services to drama and promoting the appreciation of Indian food and culture. The new series' executive producer Amanda Ross said of Jaffrey: 'She is in great form, and her unique passion, enthusiasm and insight will make this series very special for the viewers.' The programme is expected to be broadcast later this year.

Amanda Holden has reportedly accused Britain's Got Talent bosses of ignoring her in favour of Alesha Dixon. The actress, who has been on the judging panel since the first series, feels she has been frozen out of the ITV show as the former Strictly Come Dancing judge has featured more prominently in recent episodes. 'Bosses' (that's 'producers' to anyone who uses words of more than one syllable) are said to have re-edited this weekend's show to include more footage of Holden following fears that she could quit altogether. 'Week after week she has had hardly any screen time while the cameras gaze longingly at Alesha. Amanda isn't usually one to make a fuss but she's been really upset about it,' an alleged source alleged told the Sun. 'She had to miss some auditions as she was having her baby so she didn't expect to be in every scene. But even when she's on the panel she's hardly got a look-in. She's made it known that it's not on.' And the fact that this story occurs in the very week when Britain's Got Talent has been on the defensive over moving its start time to avoid a clash with The Voice is, what, coincidence? What's that old Hollywood line? Good publicity is great, bad publicity is good but no publicity is downright fucking terrible!'

Former BBC managing director Sir Paul Fox has accused the corporation of 'losing the will to fight' for live TV sporting events on the eve of its final Grand National and suggested that London 2012 will be 'the last Olympic Games it covers.' Fox, in a Times column - and, therefore, in the pay of Rupert Murdoch and about as impartial as a not very impartial thing on any matter related to the BBC - said that sport was regarded as 'below the salt' in some corners of the BBC, but added that it was an 'essential part of the public's entitlement' in return for paying the licence fee. He said the costs of broadcasting the Olympics were 'considerable' and at a time of further corporation cost-cutting claimed there 'must be doubts' whether it would broadcast the 2016 games from Brazil. 'My fear is that the 2012 games will be the last that we see on BBC television,' wrote Fox in a column in The Times. He said that none of the frontrunners to succeed BBC director general Mark Thompson was 'a natural supporter of sport' but said that without sufficient sports rights the debate over the renewal of the BBC's charter and licence fee in 2016 'could become ugly.' It's going to be ugly anyway, since there's no love lost between the BBC and any set of odious scumbag politicians whom they're likely to be dealing with so, that's no great revelation, pal. 'Next year [the Grand National] will be televised by Channel Four. That could be dismissed as just another change of contract – but there is more to it than that,' said Fox. The BBC will broadcast the Grand National for the last time after more than fifty years on Saturday after the rights were bought by Four. Under the same deal, signed in March, Channel Four also grabbed live TV rights to horse racing events including the Derby and Royal Ascot. In the past year as it cut its sports rights budget to meet cost saving targets, the BBC has also been forced to share live TV coverage of Formula 1 (although, in retrospect, that's looking a better and better deal with each passing week) and the World Professional Darts Championships (though, again, to be strictly accurate we are talking about actual sport here, not 'stuff played by fat blokes in pubs'), with BSkyB and ESPN, respectively, and lost the French Open tennis to ITV. However, the BBC has also signed new exclusive live TV rights deals for Wimbledon and Six Nations rugby union, and won back the IAAF World Athletics Championships from Channel Four. 'This summer the BBC will televise the Derby and the Royal Ascot for the last time, both events that it pioneered. Again Channel Four is taking over: has someone told the Queen that this could bring the antics of John McCririck to the lawns at Ascot?' Fox asked. Well, I think you should be the man for the job, guv'nor since you're clearly on first name terms with Her Maj. 'Gradually the BBC's will to maintain its sports portfolio is petering out. All that is left is a pale imitation of what used to be Match of the Day.' Alan Shearer was so outraged when he heard this comment that he elbowed somebody in the mush. 'Sport used to be part of the BBC's culture. But in some corners of the corporation, it is now regarded as below the salt, and the big events might just as well be scheduled by the BBC's competitors.' Oh, God save us all from bitter old reds pissed off that it isn't the swinging sixties anymore. The BBC's chief operating officer Caroline Thomson, one of the leading internal candidates to be the next director general, warned last November that the BBC would have to be 'ruthless' in prioritising which sports rights it bought, warning that escalating costs could be a 'long-term problem. We think sport does have a part in the mix but it will be about the major events and not the others,' said Thomson. 'We will be ruthlessly prioritising. We have made deeper cuts in sport and less in drama, for instance.' Fox said the axing of Grandstand in 2007 'underlined that sport had lost its supporters within the BBC and that the voices of those who cared for sport had been stifled. The BBC has built a new sports centre at Salford. What is required is to fill it with some frontline sport, not a collection of clips from its competitors,' added Fox, who was managing director of BBC TV between 1988 and 1991 and is also a former controller of BBC1. 'When the next director general arrives this year he or she will face a bulging in-tray. Sadly, none of the frontrunners looks like a natural supporter of sport. But a fresh sports strategy should be near the top of the agenda. Otherwise the debate over the renewal of the licence fee and the charter – due in 2016 – could become ugly.'

Meanwhile, Greg Dyke has a few words of warning for anyone foolish enough to be tempted to apply for the BBC director general's job which he once held. What is it about ex-DGs crawling out of the woodwork to get their names back in the papers? 'You must have an optimistic personality and have every confidence in your abilities because you will certainly find some people, even on your own board, who didn't want you in the first place,' Dyke writes in Friday's Daily Torygraph. So, there's another question for you, dear blog reader, what is it about ex-DGs who suddenly find they enjoy writing from scumbag right-wing broadsheets who once abused them and everything they did? 'They will spend several years trying to undermine you. In my case, the libel laws prevent me from naming names, but a would-be director general needs to recognise that very few DG-ers ever left of their own accord.' Including Dyke, of course. The former DG, who got his arsed kicked out of the door in the wake of the Hutton report, said he would be 'very surprised' if Mark Thompson's successor is paid as much as four hundred thousand smackers a year – compared with yer actual Thommo's reported six hundred and seventy one grand and 'about a quarter of what the equivalent job at ITV paid last year.' And don't go on holiday, suggested Dyke, because 'that's when the big crises always break.' Still, it's not all bad, it would seem. 'It is a great job in a great organisation full of talented and enthusiastic people who believe in what it stands for. How many chief executives can claim that about their organisation? Just watch your back!'

Cheryl Fergison has reportedly signed up for this year's second series of Celebrity Big Brother. If anybody gives a monkey's chuff about such trivia.

Vanity got the better of yer actual Lee Mack after he had to bare all for the new series of Not Going Out – which also started on Friday - so tried to tone up. 'There are a few scenes where I had to strip naked,' he told the Sun. 'So I got a spray tan and lost two stone. I went on the Atkins diet for two months — and had mince for breakfast every day for two months. I wasn't too bothered about stripping off after losing the weight and getting the tan. It doesn't really bother me because, when you reach a certain age, I've accepted the fact I'm looking towards getting a body like Albert Steptoe.'

The producer of ITV's twelve million smackers ratings disaster Titanic has admitted the show's nonlinear storytelling, which sees the ship hit the iceberg in each episode, may have put viewers off the Lord Snooty-scripted drama that has flopped, big-style in the ratings. That, and the fact that it just isn't very good, something which seemed to have been overlooked by the producers but not by the actual people who matter, the potential viewers. Nigel Stafford-Clark said it was his idea to have a narrative moving back and forth in time, as a fresh approach to a well-known story. The four-parter, which concludes on Sunday night, launched successfully with 7.4 million viewers, but had fallen to 3.5 million overnight by the third episode – fewer than saw a show marking comedian Des O'Connor's eightieth birthday which preceded it on ITV. Stafford-Clark, a thirty-year TV industry veteran with producer credits including Peter Kosminsky's Northern Ireland docu-drama Shoot to Kill and the Bosnian war drama Warriors, said he was 'proud' of Titanic, which - because it's written by Lord Snooty who is obsessed with class - focuses on different classes aboard the doomed liner in each episode. Stafford-Clark had previously enjoyed critical and ratings success for a similar fresh approach with BBC1's 2005 Bleak House adaptation, which broke up the Dickens story into TV soap-sized half-hour episodes. But he admitted Titanic had 'failed to woo' viewers in the same way. 'I have to accept that people have found it hard to get around. In that sense I am responsible,' he said. He also defended Lord Snooty's work on the drama. 'The scripts were very good. Julian is not in any way responsible for this. He wrote the scripts over eighteen months to two years, it was not done in a hurry. The series was sold off the back of the script.' Simon Vaughan, the executive producer who first pitched the idea of a TV drama to mark the one hundredth anniversary of the Titanic sinking and raised co-production funding around the world, claimed that when he began the project five years ago he had' no idea' there would be 'so much competition.' Which, if what he says is true, proves only that Simon Vaughan is incredibly stupid. Anyone with half-a-frigging-brain in their head could have predicted that the Centenary a story which has already been the subject of half-a-dozen major movies over years would be something lots of broadcasters would be likely to want a piece of. As well as the re-release of James Cameron's blockbuster movie in 3D, the ITV drama has had to compete with a glut of TV documentaries, including BBC1's Titanic with Len Goodman and Channel Five's Nazi Titanic: Revealed. The former, incidentally, has rated significantly better than the ITV fiasco. However, the ITV Studios-produced mini-series looks like being a commercial success overall, having sold to nearly one hundred countries, with the DVD released in the UK on Monday. 'As a piece of business it's been exceptional, financially extremely valuable to everyone involved,' Vaughan said. Not that this is likely to be of particular interest to the only people who matter in ITV terms, the advertisers. An ITV spokesman said: 'The one hundredth anniversary of the Titanic sinking was marked with programmes from all the channels, and we are proud to have offered our audience a new drama that had real scale and ambition.'
The Times is being sued after the paper accessed an e-mail account for a story unmasking the identity of police blogger Nightjack, a lawyer has confirmed. Mark Lewis, who has represented many victims of phone hacking by the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World, confirmed that legal papers were filed at the High Court on Wednesday on behalf of blog's author, Richard Horton. In 2009, The Times revealed that Horton was the author of the Orwell award-winning blog Nightjack, which revealed various details about the life of a serving police officer. The Rupert Murdoch-owned paper at first denied that it had accessed the e-mail account, but was later forced to admit that one of its journalists had hacked the messages for the story. At the Leveson Inquiry into press standards, The Times editor James Harding grovellingly apologised for the incident and confirmed that the reporter behind the story in question had left the paper for an 'unrelated incident'. However, Harding denied that he had given the greenlight for the e-mail account to be hacked, or had been made aware of the situation. Horton is claiming 'aggravated and exemplary damages' from Times Newspapers over 'breach of confidence, deceit and misuse of private information.' The Times was able to name the Lancashire detective as the author of the blog in June 2009 after the High Court denied his request for anonymity. However, the paper's then legal manager Alastair Brett admitted to Leveson that legal documents filed at the time did not give the judge the 'full story.' It had been claimed that the journalist, Patrick Foster, had worked out Horton's identity using 'publicly-available materials, patience and simple deduction.' But, it later emerged that Foster had been able to correctly guess security questions for the anonymous Hotmail account to access the messages. At the Leveson inquiry, Harding said: 'As editor of the paper I'm responsible for what it does and what its journalists do. I sorely regret the intrusion into Richard Horton's e-mail account by a journalist. I'm sure that Mr Horton and many other people expect better of The Times, and so do I. So on behalf of the paper, I apologise.'

India has reacted angrily to the detention of Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan by US authorities for ninety minutes at White Plains airport near New York. This 'policy of detention and apology by the US cannot continue', External Affairs Minister SM Krishna said. The actor arrived on a private plane and was on the way to Yale University for a function when he was stopped. US customs and border protection authorities later expressed 'profound' apologies for the incident. It is not clear why Khan was detained at the airport which serves New York City although 'being a foreigner' has to be high up on anybody's guess list. In 2009 the actor was detained for two hours at Newark airport and was released after India's embassy in the US intervened. The actor said then that he was stopped because he 'had a Muslim name.' US customs officials denied that Khan had been detained, saying he was, merely, questioned. About his Muslin name. Because, as we all know, Muslims are so welcome in America they were probably just asking him some questions about page forty seven of the Quran. Mind you, as somebody who has travelled to the US a lot over the last ten years this blogger can assure Shah that it was nothing personal. They don't, seemingly, like letting anybody in without a right good grilling. 'Apologies from America have become mechanical,' Krishna said on Friday. He also asked India's ambassador in the US, Nirupama Rao, to lodge a protest with Washington. Member of Parliament Rajeev Shukla said the detention was 'totally uncalled for.' The Bollywood film industry has also come out in support of the actor. 'All that the US immigration authorities need to know about Shahrukh Khan, they can find it at the touch of a button,' musician Javed Akhtar said. Earlier, the Press Trust of India news agency reported that Khan was stopped and questioned for more than two hours before being cleared by immigration officials on Thursday. He was freed after Yale University officials contacted homeland security and customs officials and asked them what the hell they thought they were playing at. 'Khan was very, very upset over the episode,' the CNN-IBN channel said, quoting 'unnamed sources.' Later, the actor told the students of Yale University that he had been stopped and questioned at the airport. But, he made light of the incident and joked about it. 'Whenever I start feeling arrogant about myself, I always take a trip to America. The immigration guys kick the star out of stardom,' he said to laughter from the audience. 'They [immigration officials] always ask me how tall I am and I always lie and say five feet ten inches. Next time I am going to get more adventurous. [If they ask me] what colour are you, I am going to say white,' he said. Khan has appeared in more than seventy films and is considered one of India's most recognisable and popular celebrities. There have been several incidents in the past of prominent Indian officials being stopped or frisked at US airports. In December 2010, the US expressed regret after India's then-ambassador Meera Shankar was pulled out of an airport security line and frisked by a security agent. Some reports said she was singled out merely because she was wearing a sari. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that she was 'concerned' about the incident and vowed to prevent a recurrence. And in 2009, America's Continental Airlines apologised to former Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam for frisking him before he boarded a flight to the US. Members of India's parliament were outraged after it emerged that Kalam had been frisked and made to remove his shoes at Delhi airport in April. Protocol exempts former presidents and other dignitaries from such invasive searches.

Sky Atlantic has acquired the UK rights to the new American drama Awake starring Jason Isaacs. The fantasy drama is broadcast on NBC and revolves around Isaac's character of a detective who finds himself living in two parallel worlds. The drama launched on NBC in March but has not met with anything approaching high ratings and is widely tipped for cancellation anytime soon. The series also stars BD Wong, Michaela McManus and Laura Allen. Awake will launch on Sky Atlantic later this year. And, probably, last about six weeks at current reckoning.

Russell Howard told an interviewer this week that the TV channel Dave was the biggest threat to comedy with its constant reruns. But after the Chortle website, and others, picked up the story Dave were quick to send out an e-mail insisting: 'This story is not accurate' and containing a new quote from Howard: 'That'll teach me for giving a joke answer to a serious question from a broadsheet newspaper! Sorry Dave, you know I love you.'
Diane Keen has confirmed she is leaving of BBC1's daytime soap opera Doctors. The actress plays practice manager Julia Parsons in the medical soap and is currently the longest-serving actress on Doctors. Keen joined the cast of Doctors in 2003 as the ex-wife of Brendan McGuire (Christopher Timothy) and originally started working as a receptionist at the health centre. However, the following year she was prompted to practice manager and re-married Brendan. Their second marriage was short-lived and they divorced once more in 2007. Are you following all this, dear blog reader, because there will be a quiz afterwards? Since joining the cast Diane Keen has been involved in some of the soaps biggest storylines and has become a fan favourite. The actress confirmed her departure from Doctors in an interview with What's On TV in which she said 'It's been a heck of a ride and a huge learning curve. There are so many people I'm going to miss. But we will always keep in touch. Julia has had a tough time over the years, but she has always come through with grace and humour. While she doesn't suffer fools, she does have a heart of gold and a great sense of humour. So whatever happens, here's to Julia's future happiness!'

Liam Cunningham has hinted that he may appear in the next series of Merlin. The Irish actor currently plays Ser Davos Seaworth in the HBO fantasy drama Game of Thrones. 'Flew from Dublin to Cardiff yesterday to be a corpse today,' he wrote on Twitter. 'I rehearsed the scene after a few pints last night.' Cunningham added that his tweet was 'definitely not' related to his role in Game of Thrones. '[It's related to] a different job,' he insisted. He later wrote: 'Been filming with the wonderful Richard Wilson. Can you believe it?' Wilson plays Gaius in the BBC series, which concluded its fourth run on Christmas Eve 2011. Cunningham has previously appeared in episodes of Strike Back, Outcasts and Murphy's Law. His film credits include 2001's Dog Soldiers and 2011's War Horse. Merlin creators Johnny Capps and Julian Murphy previously told the Digital Spy website that the series 'could continue' beyond the upcoming fifth run. 'We've always planned five series, but it depends on how popular the show is,' said the pair. 'There's every possibility it could continue.'

Long running ITV game show Mr & Mrs is to welcome gay couples for the first time as the Welsh series, Sion a Siân, first screened in 1964, returns to television network S4C.

Formula 1's governing body has confirmed the Bahrain Grand Prix will go ahead on 22 April. The decision comes after speculation about the event in the Gulf state, in which civil unrest has continued since February 2011. The FIA has been under pressure to call off the race amid security concerns. But a statement said it was 'satisfied that all the proper security measures are in place for the running of a Formula 1 world championship event.' And F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has said in an interview with BBC F1 presenter Jake Humphrey that he would be 'very surprised if we have problems.' Protesters in Bahrain have called for the race to be cancelled. It is closely tied with the ruling royal family, who are being pressured to improve human rights and make reforms by the majority Shia population, who accuse the minority ruling Sunnis of discrimination. Pressure has built in recent weeks as riots have continued in Shia neighbourhoods. In a statement on Friday Amnesty International said a 'blind eye' should not be turned to the 'ongoing human rights crisis in the country. Holding the Grand Prix in Bahrain in 2012 risks being interpreted by the government of Bahrain as symbolising a return to business as usual,' it added. The FIA statement pointed to a 'fact-finding mission' undertaken by the organisation's president, Jean Todt, in December last year at which he is said to have met with 'a large number of decision-makers and opinion formers' from both sides of the debate. It added: 'All expressed their wish for the Grand Prix to go ahead in 2012 and since then the FIA has kept in close touch with all these stakeholders. 'Away from the public eye, the FIA has received regular security briefings from the most senior diplomatic officials based in the Kingdom, as well as from other independent experts.' The statement emphasised that the FIA's responsibility was to ensure 'the safety of the public, officials, drivers and teams is secured at all times during the event.' Ecclestone said: 'I've never heard anything that would lead me to believe it isn't [safe]. People who live there and work there on a daily basis tell me everything's normal. Things can change anywhere anytime, but I don't imagine it will. I'd be very surprised if we have problems. I met the teams this morning and said: "Does anybody have any problems with next week's race?" No problems. They're not protesting about F1. If we didn't go, whatever problems there are would they stop Monday morning? The answer's no.' Senior F1 figures have refused publicly to get drawn into the debate, but - according to the Gruniad Morning Star stirring up trouble, as usual 'privately many question the wisdom of sending several thousand people working on a race into a potentially volatile and unpredictable situation.' Sheikh Abdul-Aziz bin Mubarak, a member of the Bahrain Royal family, told BBC Radio 5Live that the issue should just be about sport. 'Sport and music do not interfere with religion or politics,' he said. Which, of course, is utter bollocks. 'I could find fault in any of the countries that host Formula One.' Could you? Okay then, go on, that's today's challenge. What's Belgium done to find fault with? 'Security arrangements are going to be low-key and discreet. There won't be a lock-down. Ninety five per cent of areas around Bahrain are safe and welcoming. There are pockets of violence, but these are controlled in a better way than last year. We've made great strides.' But former cabinet minister Peter Hain told 5Live it was a 'serious mistake' to hold the race. 'This may not be the last on it,' he said. 'I don't think it's acceptable for the FIA to say that security concerns have been satisfied if they are at the expense of human rights activists. Sport is not on a different planet to politics - the two do mix.' Bahrain International Circuit chairman Zayed Al Zayani has insisted the Middle East island state was ready to host the race and criticised 'scaremongering tactics', saying they helped create 'misconceptions' about the situation in Bahrain. So, if you see any government thugs out there there with guns and batons and shit laying, mercilessly, into any passing human rights protesters, that's just an optical illusion, a mirage cause by the desert, okay?

Australian comic Celia Pacquola has recalled her worst experience on stage ever – her second night at the 2009 Edinburgh Fringe when a heckler shouted the strangest abuse at her: 'I don't know what's going on. The only reason I came to this show was because I thought you get defecated on. Seriously, the girl who gave me the flyer told me that you get shat on.' Celia tried to deal with him by joking: 'Well, I must tell that girl to stop giving away the ending.' But the man would not give up, and demanded Pacquola get on with the excrement-based entertainment he had been promised. When he finally realised he had been misled, he told Pacquola he hated her, called her a bitch and then stormed out. 'It may well have been the first time somebody left a gig because it wasn't a shit show,' she says. 'But afterwards, I felt kind of euphoric. It toughened me up. No one could touch me after that.'

A female passenger has stripped to nothing at Denver International Airport after clashing with staff about smoking illegally in the terminal. The incident happened on Tuesday morning at about 8.45am. The woman, who remains unnamed, blamed the incident on a 'lack of sleep', reports the Mirra. Denver police spokesman Sonny Jackson said: 'It appears to be some sort of a breakdown.' Passengers stood shocked at the event, and many parents covered their children's eyes according to one witness report. One passenger told KDVR Fox 31 Denver: 'Most were shocked. No one really noticed her at first because people were trying to get to their planes. Then, everyone realised she was just standing there completely naked.' The woman, still naked, demanded that her boarding pass be reprinted. She was taken to hospital for an assessment, but was not arrested and will not face charges.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 33 of the Day, because it's looking a bit grim and miserable outside this morning, here's yer actual the Poet Laureate of the North East, the late and great Alan Hull, Ray Jackson, Rod Clements, Ray Laidlaw and Simon Cowe (looking uncannily like Catweazel) live on The Old Grey Whistle Test in 1972 with The National Anthem. Please be upstanding.

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