Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Too Many People Preaching Practices

Doctor Who's showrunner The Lord Thy God Yer Actual Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) has revealed that 'something with Weeping Angels in New York seemed to make sense,' discussing Amy and Rory's departure story. The Doctor Who team are currently filming on location in New York for episode five of the new series, directed by Nick Hurran. Having flown out on Sunday, speaking to BBC America about what to expect in the New York episode, Moffat teased: 'Oh, tragedy! There will be Weeping Angels there. We're not going to go there and film in a back street that we could have done in Cardiff.' Asked if the New York filming was aimed at 'pleasing' American fans, the writer responded: 'To be absolutely honest with you, I don't think American fans care whether we set shows in America or not. It's not like they're starved of shows set in America. It's just that it's a different backdrop to the story.' He added: 'Something with Weeping Angels in New York seemed to make sense to me. It's not to appeal to an American audience particularly. They don't come to Doctor Who to see themselves, they come to see us.'

The BBC Trust has posted the advert for the position of Director General on the BBC Careers website. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping could do that job, dear blog reader. The advert states that they are seeking 'an inspirational leader with the strong, clear vision that will take the BBC through the next review of the Corporation's Charter, ready for the world as it will be in ten or fifteen years' time.' Yeah, yer actual Keith Telly Topping could do that. I'd start by telling the Daily Scum Mail that, since they hate the BBC so much, whatever the do, that we're going to spend the next five years doing every single thing we can to piss off them and their nasty, right-wing readership. That'd just be for a kick-off. Then I'd tell the Gruniad Morning Star the same thing. So, basically, more Top Gear. In both cases. The role, it would seem, still incorporates being editorial leader of the BBC as well as its chief executive, although there had been speculation that these roles could be split in future. Fine, just give yer actual Keith Telly Topping the responsibility of snarling, viciously, like a Rottweiler with an elastic band around its willy, at the government - of whatever political stripe it may be - if they so much as dare to try and threaten the BBC's independence, so use vile and odious, sick bully boy tactics upon the corporation. I reckon yer actual Keith Telly Topping would be really rather good at that. The advert also states that 'Candidates will bring extensive experience of leadership in a creative organisation, and demonstrate a clear understanding of the public service ethos underlying the BBC.' Now, yer actual Keith Telly Topping could certainly do all that, dear blog reader. Because it seems he has a far better understanding of what the term 'public service broadcasting' actually means that most of the people who use it as some kind of crass replacement for 'stuff I want to watch.' Or, in the case of many of those working within the industry already, 'stuff I want to make.' 'To educate, to inform and to entertain.' John Reith had it right seventy years ago and there's no reason to change it now. No matter what self-interest groups, snobs, right-wing Tax Alliance bores or bitter old reds who are pissed off that it isn't the 1960s anymore might try to convince you otherwise. However, having an editorial background is in the 'preferred but not essential' column of the job specification, alongside commercial acumen, rather than in the 'must have' qualities. Editorial judgement, though, is a 'must have'. Hmm ... okay, well, I wouldn't have commissioned Don't Scare The Hare for a start. Actually, this is looking less like a job yer actual Keith Telly Topping would be qualified for. So, I'll have to go for President of the Board of Trade instead. Bugger, I always get lumbered with that gig. The closing date for applications is 7 May, and the advert sternly notes that 'late applications will not be accepted.' The job is categorised as 'business and support' on a continuing contract. The pay isn't mentioned but the hours are good. although, as previously noted, the minutes aren't, necessarily. I still think I'll drop them a CV anyway. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

According to his Twitter feed, yer actual Stephen Fry has just finished shooting his bits of The Hobbit in New Zealand and will be back in the UK by the end of the week. As, curiously, will his old mucker yer actual Hugh Laurie who is just about to film his final episode of House. Are these two events connected, we asked ourselves? Nah, probably not. But, it's as good an excuse as any to dig out this particularly photo.
Ah, bless 'em - Lord Monty and Lord Snot, there - don't they look so young? Apparently the next series of Qi will begin filming sometime in May. That's if someone from the vague Greater Merseyside area hasn't tracked down Alan Davies and done him some serious by that stage, of course. Remember, two episodes of the last Qi series remain to be shown - one, the Shakespeare-themed episode featuring Bill Bailey, David Mitchell and Sue Perkins is tentatively scheduled for late April or early May during BBC2's Shakespeare Season. As for what's going to happen to the Jeremy Clarkson, Ross Noble and Dara Ó Briain episode, cancelled at the last minute due to BBC cowardice over what the Gruniad Morning Star might whinge about, God only knows. But, keep your eyes peeled on Dave, like as not, it'll turn up there first.

Sir Derek Jacobi is set to appear as an extra in Coronation Street, it has been revealed. The actor was on a private visit to the soap's Manchester set and was filmed at the back of a shot in the Rovers Return. It is likely that viewers of the ITV drama will not even be able to spot Sir Derek, who is best known for his Shakespearean roles. In a 2007 Daily Scum Mail interview, the actor confessed he had 'always wanted to be in Coronation Street.' He said that he had plotted with actor Bradley Walsh, who was starring in the soap at the time, to create a role in the Weatherfield saga as producers had never asked him. 'One night I had dinner with Bradley. We both got horribly drunk, I told him how much a part in the Street would mean to me, and we hatched a plot.' Sir Derek added: 'So he's promised to ask if I can be written into the story as his old pal from way back.' The seventy three-year-old joins other famous faces who have made fleeting appearances in Coronation Street. Sir Cliff Richard was seen drinking in the Rovers in 1997, while Prince Charles made a guest appearance in 2000, playing himself in some news footage of a meeting with local councillor Audrey Roberts. Other well-known faces to have had more substantial roles in Coronation Street in recent years, including another theatrical knight, Sir Ian McKellen, Stephanie Beacham, Nigel Havers and Hollywood actor Robert Vaughn. Sir Derek, who was knighted in 1996, is best known for his significant stage roles in Shakespearean productions including Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing and Richard III. He is also, of course, a familiar figure on screen, playing Claudius in the acclaimed 1970s BBC drama I, Claudius for which he won a BAFTA. Sir Derek has also appeared in Doctor Who - as The Master - and Oscar-winning film The King's Speech, playing the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Meanwhile, guess who's on the cover of Radio Times. Again?
Oi, Benny. Give someone else a chance, will ya, pal?!

Oh, and it seems Eve Myles is currently angling for a role in Sherlock. This week, the Torchwood actress confessed in Radio Times that she'd be up for such a challenge. 'It is really hot,' she said. Hell yeah. That's why so many people watch it, love. 'I also love Upstairs Downstairs,' she continued. 'I am proud it gets made in Cardiff.' Well, for the moment it does. Although, if the ratings for the most recent series are anything to go by, it might not be made there - or, indeed, anywhere - for much longer. Eve also confirmed that she loves playing Gwen in Torchwood. 'Because she is a full-on action hero and I get to do all that fun stuff because I do all my own stunts. I also get to do great domestic scenes because I am a married woman with a baby. So I get to save the world and be the girl next door. The mix is wonderful.'

EastEnders actresses Patsy Palmer and Lindsey Coulson are to be temporarily written out of the BBC1 soap. The pair will both bow out of EastEnders for around six months over the Summer. Palmer has been granted time off to spend more time with her family. The temporary departure of Palmer will also coincide with that of Coulson but EastEnders bosses promise that both actors will be 'back by the end of the year.' Bianca Jackson will exit the soap later this month as her struggle to provide for her family reaches its climax. The Mirra reports that Bianca will make her exit from Walford after an emotional showdown with her mother, Carol, who decides to take her grandchildren away from London to life in the country. It was recently announced that Charlie Brooks who plays Janine Butcher will also be written out for six months.

Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads likes to think of himself as The Godfather of Reality TV. Apparently. No, really, he does. It says so in the Sun so it must be true. Now the media mogul and sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads is set to make his quasi-divinity official. This is also according to the Sun. So, make of that what you will. 'Contractual niggles', it would seem, mean that Wee Shughie McFee cannot return to the judge's chair on the UK version of The X Factor later this year. Oh dear. How sad. Never mind. So, it would seem that plans are reportedly 'being considered' to feature Wee Shughie McFee the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads on the show as 'The Voice of God', delivering his judge's comments (or sermons, perhaps) via the Internet phone service Skype. One trusts that ITV will have no technological glitches on Saturday nights. Because the very thought of Wee Shughie McFee's the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads getting lost, mid-Atlantic, by the forces of nature would just be awful.

David Suchet is bracing himself to say farewell to the character of Hercule Poirot when he finishes filming the Belgian sleuth's final five TV adventures in 2013. Shooting starts in October, once Suchet ends his current starring role in Eugene O'Neill's Long Journey into Night in London's West End. Suchet will also bring Poirot to the Chichester Festival Theatre in July. The actor has played Agatha Christie's famous creation since 1989. When the new ITV series is completed in July 2013, Suchet will have appeared in every Christie story ever written for Poirot. 'I'm excited, I will feel as though I have achieved a dream,' Suchet told the BBC. 'But I'll also be gutted, because I will be saying a real farewell and a goodbye [to Poirot] and then I will have to bury him.' The new productions include Curtain, which is the detective's last tale and sees him return to the scene of his first case in a bid to prevent another murder. The other four films will be Labours of Hercules, Dead Man's Folly, The Big Four and Elephants Can Remember. Suchet will also play Poirot in a rehearsed reading of Agatha Christie's rarely-performed Black Coffee, at Chichester's Minerva Theatre on 15 July. The plot sees Poirot and his friend Arthur Hastings summoned to visit a famous physicist, only to discover on arrival that he has been murdered.

For those Telefantasy fans out there with long memories, there's a terrific piece by yer actual Keith Telly Topping's old mucker Greg Bakuk on his excellent From The Archive website about the near-forgotten Moonbase 3. Check it out.

Alexander Armstrong has revealed that he felt pressured into turning down the Countdown hosting role by ex-BBC controller Jay Hunt who is, ironically, now the big bad boss at Channel Four, home of Countdown. Armstrong was considering joining the Channel Four game show in 2008 as a replacement for Des O'Connor, but changed his mind after the executive's angry reaction to the proposed move. 'She hit the roof when she heard that it was in the offing,' the Mirra quotes Armstrong as alleging. 'You have to be very careful about those sorts of things. You think you're a free agent but you're not. I knew she was somebody who held power over a lot of key decisions on things I held dear and that if I did it, it would really piss her off. The ball was in my court, but I could sense that it mightn't be the best idea in the world.' Armstrong added that he was planning to start a quieter life with his family by taking the lucrative Countdown job. 'It had appealed to me because I didn't have any other work lined-up,' he said. 'And, at that point in my life, it was a footballer's salary - well, almost. A second division footballer. I was in my thirties and started thinking we could move out of London and settle down.' Jeff Stelling was named as Countdown presenter in time for its 2009 relaunch, which also saw Rachel Riley replace Carol Vorderman. Nick Hewer of The Apprentice took over from Stelling at the beginning of this year. Armstrong, meanwhile, got lumbered with Pointless instead. It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good, Xander. Hunt, meanwhile, seems to have left behind her at the BBC a reputation somewhat lower than rattlesnakes piss with former colleagues, it would seem, lining up to tell tales out of school about her tantrums. Which isn't, really, very nice. But is very funny.

The creator of the iconic cartoon sitcom The Simpsons has finally revealed the inspiration behind the show's fictional town of Springfield. Matt Groening told Smithsonian magazine he based the town on Springfield, Oregon, but since it is such a common US place name he knew many would think it was their own Springfield instead. The Springfield question is one of the best-kept secrets in TV history. The Simpsons is the longest-running show in the US, and had been broadcast since 1989.
Characters in the show have often joked about hiding Springfield's real location. 'In anticipation of the success of the show, I thought: "This will be cool, everyone will think it's their Springfield." And they do,' Groening said. There are thought to be at least thirty four towns or cities called Springfield in America. Groening also said he was inspired by the TV show Father Knows Best, which was also set in a place called Springfield. Springfield in Oregon is one hundred miles south of Portland, the city where Groening grew up. The Simpsons has sometimes given false answers to the question of Springfield's true location, leaving open the possibility that Groening's latest comments are, themselves, a continuation of the joke. 'Whenever people say it's Springfield, Ohio, or Springfield, Massachusetts, or Springfield, wherever, I always go: "Yup, that's right,"' Groening said. In one episode, Lisa points to Springfield on a map, but the audience's view is obscured by Bart's head. It appears that the town of Springfield, Oregon, has known of its connection to the sitcom since 2007, when Groening visited the town just before the release of The Simpsons Movie. 'Oh, okay, we knew that,' a community relations manager told the Associated Press when she heard about Groening's latest comments. Then she started singing 'The Spider Pig Song'. Probably.

'Spider pig, Spider pig, does everything that a Spider pig does...'
Sorry, dear blog reader, but it's infectious.

Anyway ... A Scottish government advert has been banned for suggesting that China had 'gifted' two pandas to Edinburgh Zoo. It stated 'the Chinese are gifting two giant pandas to live in Scotland, under the custodianship of Edinburgh Zoo.' The zoo, run by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, will pay an estimated six million smackers to house Tian Tian and Yang Guang for the next decade. The Advertising Standards Authority ruled the advert was therefore misleading, after complaints from two animal charities. With, seemingly, nothing better to do with their time than whinge about shit like this that nobody gives a bollocks about. Scottish ministers said that no money was due to be paid by either the UK or Scottish governments to the Chinese authorities for the two pandas. The advert had featured in newspapers under the headline: 'Celebration of links between Scotland and China as pandas arrive in Edinburgh.' It went on to state: 'Now, in a symbolic gesture of friendship between the countries, and following five years of political and diplomatic talks, the Chinese are gifting two giant pandas to live in Scotland, under the custodianship of Edinburgh Zoo.' The text continued: 'The pandas' presence in Scotland is a sign of a strengthened alliance with China, and opens up new opportunities in trade, culture and education with the world's fastest growing economy.' The advert prompted complaints from Animal Concern and Scotland for Animals. The Scottish government said that the charity which owned Edinburgh Zoo was paying an annual sum to the Chinese Wildlife Conservation Association, which would go directly towards Giant Panda conservation projects in the wild. However the Advertising Standards Authority upheld the complaint, saying: 'We considered that consumers would interpret the terms "gift" and "gifting" to mean that the pandas were given without payment. Although we acknowledged that the Scottish government had not made any payment, we considered that the sum paid by the charity that own Edinburgh Zoo would be considered by consumers to be a commercial arrangement. In the absence of text stating that the "gift" was in exchange for a substantial payment, we considered that the claim "in a symbolic gesture of friendship between the countries" in conjunction with the terms "gift" and "gifting" implied that the pandas were provided by China for free. Because that was not the case, we concluded that the ad was misleading.' The watchdog ruled the advert must not appear again in its current form and added: 'We told the Scottish government not to imply in future that the pandas at Edinburgh Zoo were provided without payment.' A Scottish government spokesman pointed out that the ASA had dismissed two out of three parts of the complaint. He said: 'We are disappointed by the ASA's recommendation to uphold one part of this complaint. However, we will of course comply with the ASA ruling. No money was, or is due to be, paid by either the Scottish government or the UK government to the Chinese authorities for the two giant pandas.' John Robins of Animal Concern welcomed the ruling, adding: 'Some people may not feel inclined to pay £57.60 for a family ticket for the zoo and to see the pandas if they know that a large chunk of their money is going to the Chinese government.' In which case, of course, it's more than likely that the zoo itself will go bankrupt and they'll have to eat the animals currently kept there. But that, it seems, isn't Animal Concern's, ahem, concern. Incidentally, Scotland now has two pandas (admittedly, on hire). Which means they've got one more panda than they have Tory MPs. And two more pandas than they have world class footballers. Just a thought.

Meanwhile, speaking of dickheads making whingy complaints about nonsense, an advert showing the actor (well, I suppose, if we call somebody who has appeared in a few films 'an actor') and former footballer (well, I suppose ...) Vinnie Jones carrying out CPR has been cleared by a watchdog of complaints he performed the resuscitation technique incorrectly. The British Heart Foundation TV and Internet campaign showed the former footballer using 'hands-only' CPR. The Advertising Standards Authority said that twenty people with, seemingly, nothing better to do with their time, had complained the advert 'could lead to unsafe behaviour.' Exactly how, they didn't say. The ASA noted that the advert had been prepared with the help of the UK's Resuscitation Council. And, that it was in line with European Resuscitation Council guidelines, the watchdog added. In the campaign, Jones says: 'There are times in life when being tough comes in handy. Say some geezer collapses in front of you. What do you do? We need a volunteer that ain't breathing.' An apparently unconscious man is slid across the floor to him. Jones continues: 'First off you call 999. Then, no kissing. You only kiss your missus on the lips.' He is then shown carrying out 'hard and fast' chest compressions to the beat of The Bee Gees' song 'Stayin' Alive'. The ASA said that 'people' had complained the advert was 'harmful' because, they believed, wrongly, it showed 'incorrect CPR methods.' The BHF said that the campaign aimed to increase bystander intervention in instances of cardiac arrest. The heart charity said it knew of fifteen cases of people applying what they had learned from the advert with a positive outcome. It added that fewer than ten per cent of people suffering a cardiac arrest out of a hospital survived - a survival rate which it described as 'appalling.' The BHF said that while chest compressions could occasionally injure a casualty, the odd broken rib or bruising was a small price to pay for saving a life. The ASA said: 'We noted the ad aimed to teach untrained individuals how they could help in situations where CPR was required, noting the on-screen text and voice-over at the end of the ad that stated: "Hands-only CPR. It's not as hard as it looks." We considered that that made clear the ad was teaching hands-only CPR, and did not believe that trained individuals would consider the messages of the forty-second ad to override their own CPR training. Because the ad showed correct techniques for hands-only CPR, we concluded the ad was not harmful and did not encourage unsafe behaviour.'

Sky News Arabia is to launch on Sunday 6 May 2012, it has been announced. Oh God, as if there aren't enough problems in the Middle East already. The new twenty four hour Arabic language news channel, which promises 'a new horizon' for news reporting across the Arab world, will be available on Transponder Fourteen on Arabsat Badr Four, Transponder Fifteen on Nilesat 201, and in high definition on the OSN pay-TV platform. Commenting on the launch, the head of the channel, Nart Bouran said: 'Sky News Arabia will offer the MENA region a fresh approach to television news with an independent editorial mandate at the heart of everything we do. The Sky News Arabia idea was born more than two years ago. Our aim has been to create an impartial and independent breaking news channel for the Arab world across multiple platforms. It has been a huge collaborative team effort resulting in the most technically advanced news operation in the region. We have nearly four hundred of the best journalists, reporters, presenters, producers and broadcast technicians working together to create an unparalleled news channel.'
The channel will have twelve bureaus across the Arab region as well as in London and Washington, and will draw upon Sky News' network of bureaus around the world to deliver politics, economics, business, sport, lifestyle, technology and cultural news. They promise to be completely independent, except in those territories where they get threatened with having their nadgers hacked-off. In which case, it is rumoured, they'll be telling you exactly what the government wants them to tell you. Just like Sky News themselves, in fact.

A looter has been jailed for eleven-and-a-half years for starting a fire which destroyed a family-run furniture shop in south London in the summer riots. Gordon Thompson stole a laptop from the House of Reeves in Croydon on 8 August before setting fire to a sofa. The Old Bailey trial in February heard that he told another man 'it was me' as he walked away from the blaze. Thompson, of Waddon Road, changed his plea to guilty after the end of the prosecution case. The court heard that the estimated loss to the one hundred and forty four-year-old Reeves business from the arson was three million quid. In a victim impact statement Trevor Reeves, whose family has owned the shop for five generations, described the fire as being 'like a bereavement.' Sentencing, the judge said: 'It was a bad day for Croydon.' He told Thompson that the arson was 'a deliberate, wilful act of shocking dangerous vandalism.' The blaze was one of the images that most shocked the country during the five days of rioting which occurred in several British cities during August last year. It was so fierce that buildings on the opposite side of the road caught fire as well and tram lines in the road were damaged. Maurice Reeves, who ran the furniture shop with his sons Trevor and Graham, had seen his business experience hard times before. 'We survived World War I, the thirties depression, World War II, the recession in the eighties, and all that time we served the people of Croydon. But in the end it was the people of Croydon, so it seems, that has finally destroyed us.' The burnt-out store has since been demolished, but the company - which has been in the Reeves family for five generations - is still trading from refurbished premises across the street.

Reports claim that Katie Price will not have her contract with Sky Living renewed. As if anybody's actually interested in nonsense like that. Various tabloid newspapers suggest that Sky Living will not be renewing Price’s contract when it runs out later this year. The 'glamour model and businesswoman', apparently, was poached by Living - as it was then known - in 2010 in a deal worth a reported five million smackers. Which, during a period of national austerity some people might consider to be positively obscene. This blogger couldn't possibly comment. Price had previously been signed to ITV2 where her series What Katie Did Next - following the odious model after her spilt from her husband, the equally odious Pete Andre - drew one million sad and crushed victims of society per edition. However, when the series moved to Sky Living and was renamed Katie it failed to take most of the viewers with it. As well as continuing to be the focus of her own fly-on-the-wall series Price has also fronted several other shows for Sky Living. The latest series, Signed by Katie Price launched with just one hundred and thirty thousand punters. Price's deal with Sky Living is due to end in November.

A number of Formula One teams expect the Bahrain Grand Prix to be called off amid security concerns caused by civil unrest according to the BBC Sport website. F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone said on Tuesday that no teams had expressed concerns to him, but suggested that the race's contract may not be renewed. A statement released earlier from the Formula One Teams Association said that it was down to the FIA to cancel the race if it wanted to. Unlike last year, the Bahrain authorities are said to be in no mood to cancel the race themselves, so the decision rests with the FIA this time around. Violence between protesters and security forces erupted again on Bahrain's streets earlier this year after unrest during the 2011 Arab Spring led to last year's Bahrain GP being cancelled. Bahrain's majority Shia population have been demanding democratic reforms from the country's Sunni rulers, and the government has tried to quell their protests in the time honoured fashion of rounding up the usual suspects and sending the troops out to shoot a few protestors on the streets. The Bahrain race organisers argued last week that holding the GP would have an 'important unifying role' in the country and Ecclestone has said that he has no doubts about staging the race, scheduled for 22 April immediately after this weekend's China Grand Prix. Former world champion Damon Hill said this week that Formula One should re-think plans to hold the event. Hill had backed the race after visiting the country on a fact-finding mission with motorsport boss Jean Todt in December.

Coronation Street's current set will not be preserved by the Museum of Science and Industry when the soap's production moves to MediaCityUK, it has been confirmed. Coronation Street relocates to its new home at Salford Quays next year, leaving the future of its existing base at Quay Street uncertain. As MOSI is adjacent to Coronation Street's current set, reports had suggested that the two attractions could be combined. However, such a move has now been ruled out by MOSI's director Jean Franczyk. Franczyk told Manchester Confidential: 'There's going to be someone out there who is probably the best in the world at running a Coronation Street visitor attraction, but it's not going to be the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester. That's not our role. We have so much work to do in celebrating the historic site and contents we already possess. Coronation Street is for someone else.' Earlier this year, it was rumoured that the Coronation Street set could be listed by English Heritage. The full-street outdoor set was built in 1982.

Half of the UK's population cannot see many stars because the night skies are still 'saturated' with light pollution, campaigners have warned. Some fifty three per cent of those who joined a recent star count - yer actual Keith Telly Topping included - failed to see more than ten stars in the Orion constellation. That had decreased only very slightly from fifty four per cent since 2007, the Campaign to Protect Rural England and the Campaign for Dark Skies said. The problem remained despite attempts to curb street lighting, they said. They said that in 2010, local authorities collectively spent more than five hundred million smackers on street lighting, accounting for five to ten per cent of each council's carbon emissions. A number of councils have tested schemes to switch off or dim street lights when they are not needed, although the trials have often proved controversial with residents. The information was gathered as part of the annual Star Count survey, which was held across two weeks in January and February this year. Almost one thousand people in different locations around the country took part. Participants were instructed to pick a clear night to count the number of stars in the constellation of Orion. Fewer than one in ten said they could see between twenty one and thirty stars, and just two per cent of people had truly dark skies, seeing thirty one or more stars. Emma Marrington, a rural policy campaigner for the CPRE, says: 'When we saturate the night sky with unnecessary light, it damages the character of the countryside and blurs the distinction between town and country. But this isn't just about a spectacular view of the stars; light pollution can also disrupt wildlife and affect people's sleeping patterns.' Bob Mizon of the CfDS believes light pollution is a disaster for anyone trying to study the stars. 'It's like a veil of light is being drawn across the night sky, denying many people the beauty of a truly starry night. Many children growing up today will never see the Milky Way; never see the unimaginable glory of billions of visible stars shining above them,' he said. For the first time, national guidance has been issued by the government, to encourage local planning authorities to reduce light pollution through design improvements. The National Planning Policy Framework, published at the end of March, states that by encouraging good design, planning policies and decisions 'should limit the impact of light pollution from artificial light on local amenity, intrinsically dark landscapes and nature conservation.' Marrington from the CPRE welcomed the move, saying that 'poor excuses' for bad or excessive lighting were heard too often. 'Of course we need the right, well-designed lighting in the right places - and some areas need to be lit for safety reasons - but there should not be a blanket assumption that glaring lights are needed. The evidence gathered during this year's Star Count Week shows that we need to take action now to roll back the spread of light pollution.' The Local Government Association, which represents councils, said local authorities were 'well ahead of the game on this issue. Over the past two years scores of local authorities up and down the country have been trialling the switching off and dimming of street lights late at night in quieter areas,' it said. However, it added, public safety had to come first and councils would not cut lighting if a large number of people were strongly opposed to the idea and there were genuine safety concerns. It added: 'There is also a role for businesses to play in ensuring glaring lights and neon signs that light up the night sky are not left on unnecessarily.'

I think it's fair to say that Young Lee of our parish might well think twice before dissing Wings again following his punishment of four of the last five Keith Telly Topping's 33 of the Day. I think he's learned his lesson, now. So, instead of Wings today, dear blog reader, here's Paul and Linda McCartney instead. See, that was your first mistake ...

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