Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Total Wipeout

BBC2's new four-part documentary series The 1970s began with nearly 2.7 million viewers on Monday night. Historian Dominic Sandbrook's retrospective, which started with a look at the years between 1970 and 1972, pulled in 2.69 million viewers, including yer actual Keith Telly Topping, between 9pm and 10pm. Thoroughly well deserved an'all. Even if, as Charles Shaar Murray notes, Sandbrook does have an unfortunate habit of shoehorning pop-culture references into the most unlikely of places. 'So, there was this miner's strike going on but, meanwhile, Marc Bolan was on telly wearing glitter. Far out, baby! Look at those cavemen go.' (He's not called 'The Hoodie Historian' for nothing!) It narrowly lost out to Channel Four's Embarrassing Bodies – but only when Channel 4+1 figures were included. Embarrassing Bodies drew 2.3 million viewers on Channel Four, rising to 2.85 million viewers overall including timeshifts. Elsewhere at 9pm, BBC1's Silent Witness picked up 4.63 million punters and was, for the first time in three weeks, beaten by rival ITV crime drama Scott & Bailey, which had 5.17 million, including ITV1+1. Robson's Extreme Fishing Challenge on Channel Five, also between 9pm and 10pm, drew 1.09 million viewers slightly up on the previous week no doubt helped by Wor Robson's appearance on The ONE Show on BBC1 earlier that evening. The 70s was accompanied by another new BBC2 series, Sounds of the 70s, featuring David Bowie, Roxy Music and Elton John, which began with 1.66 million viewers between 10pm and 10.30pm. It was up against Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares USA on Channel Four, which drew 1.75 million viewers, between 10pm and 11pm. The latest episode of Game of Thrones on Sky Atlantic dropped to below four hundred thousand viewers. Which is still over three hundred thousand more than are currently watching Mad Men overnight on the channel. Dara O'Briain: School of Hard Sums was watched by four hundred and two thousand punters on Dave. This is more than twice Dave's average in that slot, which would seem to bode well for the series future.

It's not just in the ratings that The Voice has the edge over Britain's Got Toilets at the moment, it's also (by a fraction) topping the Audience Appreciation Index figures too. As the following demonstrates:-
The Voice
24 March - AI 83
31 March - AI 83
7 April  - AI 83
14 April  - AI 85
Britain's Got Talent
24 March  - AI 82
31 March - AI 82
7 April - AI 83
14 April - AI 83
As with the ratings, then, it's very close and both talent shows are, clearly, doing 'well' according to most of the accepted criteria of what is 'doing well' and what isn't. (Remember an 'average' AI score is usually considered to be around the seventy eight to eighty mark. Anything above that is doing okay with its audience.) But, apparently, The Voice is doing more 'well' than BGT! Which is nice.

Meanwhile, it's the latest exciting episode of the nations favourite soap opera, Daybreakwatch ...
14 March 724k AI 73
15 March 749k AI 72
16 March 795k AI 72
19 March 748k AI 72
20 March 806k AI 72
21 March 735k AI 70
22 March 772k AI 71
23 March 787k AI 72
26 March 638k AI 73
27 March 646k AI 71
28 March 665k AI 71
29 March 710k AI 69
30 March 706k AI 71
2 April 550k AI 71
3 April 654k AI 74 (Daybreak's joint second highest AI score ever)
4 April 631k AI 72
5 April 639k AI 73
6 April 491k AI 71 (Good Friday)
9 April 397k AI 68 (East Bank Holiday Monday)
10 April 578k AI 72
11 April 538k AI 72
12 April 555k AI 70
13 April 595k AI 70
16 April 679k
It is, of course, worth remembering that the very low audience figures over the Easter weekend - including one episode below four hundred thousand, a new low for Daybreak - occurred on Bank Holidays when, traditionally, maybe people have longer lie-ins and a lot of the audience who normally catch a bit of breakfast TV on both sides, when they're on their way to work, aren't going out. But, still, for a whole week, Monday to Friday, Daybreak didn't manage to get above six hundred thousand once. One wonders if Adrian and Christine are available since, even at their worst, their audience figures were never, quite, that bad.

Virgin Media has pulled an advert in a multimillion-pound advertising campaign featuring David Tennant after the BBC complained about overt references to Doctor Who. The TV campaign features Tennant explaining the virtues of Virgin Media's TiVo personal video recorder and catch-up service. In the advert Tennant uses the service to look up episodes of Doctor Who, while making a reference to how TiVo is good for watching SF, and in the background Sir Richard Branson is seen using a time machine. It was, actually, quite funny. But, BBC Worldwide lodged a complaint with Virgin Media that the advertising campaign, which was launched during Britain's Got Talent in March, appeared to be 'a commercial endorsement' of the service, breaking the corporation's strict guidelines. 'Virgin Media has listened to concerns raised by BBC Worldwide about perceived commercial endorsement by a BBC brand relating to the recent Virgin Media advertisement that featured David Tennant and Richard Branson,' the two companies said in a joint statement. 'As a gesture of goodwill Virgin Media has agreed to withdraw transmission of the advertisement and BBC Worldwide is now satisfied that the issue has been addressed.' Virgin Media has created three TV adverts with Tennant. The two others will continue to be broadcast. And, indeed, one did on ITV on Tuesday evening. The actor Marc Warren has previously appeared in the TiVo adverts promoting the range of bundles of products, including superfast broadband, that Virgin Media offers. The 'collections' campaign was launched in January featuring Olympian Usain Bolt.
Four files relating to alleged offences committed by journalists have been sent to the Crown Prosecution Service to consider if charges can be brought. The cases concern allegations of misconduct in a public office, perverting the course of justice, witness intimidation and harassment. Interception of communications, thought to be phone-hacking, is also included. Four journalists, one police officer and six 'other people' are allegedly involved. The Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, did not give a timescale for making a decision on charges, saying: 'We are now entering a period where we are likely to make a decision one way or another.' There are currently forty three people on bail in connection with three police seperate but interlinked inquiries. Some of the suspects referred to in the files have not been questioned by police yet, the DPP said. The charge of misconduct in a public office relates to the police officer and one journalist. One journalist and six 'other people' are linked to the charge of perverting the course of justice, while one journalist is linked to the witness harassment charge, and one journalist is accused of intercepting communication. The news of cases being passed to the CPS comes on the same day that Starmer published interim guidelines on the approach prosecutors should take when assessing the public interest in cases affecting the media. The guidelines are likely to be relevant when prosecutors are considering whether to charge journalists - or those who interact with journalists - with criminal offences that may have been committed in the course of their work as journalists, he said. There are three police operations currently under way: Operation Weeting looking at alleged phone-hacking; Operation Elveden looking at alleged illegal payments made to police and other public officials and Operation Tuleta looking into 'a number of allegations regarding breach of privacy which fall outside the remit of Operation Weeting', including computer hacking. A CPS spokeswoman said: 'We are not prepared to discuss the identities of those involved or the alleged offences in any greater detail at this stage as a number of related investigations are ongoing. We are unable to give any timescale for charging decisions, except to say that these cases are being considered.'

It has been claimed that the Daily Scum Mail lost the six-figure serialisation battle for Tom Bower's Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads' biography because the paper 'believed it was the only realistic buyer of the book', according to the thoroughly sneering (if, admittedly, funny) article in the Gruniad Morning Star. Instead, the Sun scooped up the rights to publish extracts from Sweet Revenge: the Intimate Life of Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads with a bid estimated at around one hundred thousand smackers, in a week-long deal which began on Sunday. With the revelation of the music mogul's brief affair with Dannii Minogue, the least famous of the Minogue sisters. Bower's agent is understood to have offered the Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads' biography, out this weekend, to both the Sun and the Scum Mail titles, in the belief that the two were the only newspapers likely to offer a six-figure sum. However, the Scum Mail's offer was significantly lower than the Sun's – because, an alleged 'source' allegedly close to Bower's agent said - publisher Associated Newspapers was 'too arrogant.' The Daily Scum Mail? 'Arrogant'? Surely not? 'They believed we could not sell it to the Sun because of the Murdoch connection.' Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads's The X Factor is broadcast on News Corporation's FOX in the US, and his relationship with the Murdoch broadcaster has been close for years. Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads's US breakthrough came via American Idol, another FOX show – and the belief at the Scum Mail as understood by Bower's negotiators was that it would be difficult for the Sun to publish material which was critical of Wee Shughie McFee with sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads. One alleged 'source' allegedly said that the Bower camp initially demanded two hundred grand (in used fivers, no doubt), although it is unlikely that level would have been achieved, the Gruniad claims. And, they seem to know what they're talking about. Or, at least, they seem to think they don't. Agents for the biographer indicated that final price for the Sun deal was 'above' seventy five thousand quid and 'believed to be six figures.' Alleged Daily Scum Mail 'sources' alleged, in their scummery, that the title was 'reluctant' to bid for the serialisation because Bower's agents demanded that publishers 'bid blind' – that is, make offers without knowing what the contents of the book actually are. The title was unsure whether it was worth bidding heavily, contributing to the decision that led to the serialisation ending up with the Sun. Ironically, former Scum of the World journalists - and, specifically, one Tom Latchem, Twitter - have claimed that Bower's revelation of Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads's short-lived relationship with the least famous Minogue sister was something which they, themselves, had tried to publish a couple of years ago. The story was, Latchem claims, put forward to Colin Myler, the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World's then-editor, who was happy to run it, until, the former journalists claimed, Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads rang News International chief executive and well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks. The story was dropped immediately after that call. Bower claims that he had 'no idea' about those accounts from the former Scum of the World journalists until Sunday. But it is understood that it took some time before Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads' would confirm the truth about the least famous of the Minogue sisters' affair to Bower. The biographer is understood to have asked The X Factor impresario on 'four occasions' before he was willing to confirm it. Sweet Revenge is not an officially sanctioned biography, but the author said that he had spent about two hundred hours with Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads in offices, on planes and on his yacht. It's all right for some, isn't it, eh? There was no quote approval, but Wee Shughie McFee did, apparently, give permission for some people to speak to Bower while other associates were, reportedly, 'asked not to.'

Meanwhile, odious horrorshow (and drag) Max Clifford has said that he is 'disappointed' with Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-face Scottish chef off Crossroads for co-operating with author Tom Bower on the unauthorised biography. One is sure that Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads will, quickly, learn to live with this disappointment. Mind you, it might be a bit harder for him to ignore the comments made by another former chum, Sharon Osbourne, who has reportedly commented on the latest revelations about yer actual Wee Shughie McFee's love life, by alleging that he 'must suffer from small-penis syndrome.' Ouch. Although, actually, that would explain a lot.

Dara O'Briain has admitted that his new maths show School of Hard Sums is 'a weird punt.' The Irish comedian said that although he became more attached to the Dave programme than any of his other projects, he could understand why others might balk at it. 'The show is a weird punt,' he told Radio Times. 'I have no idea if this is Dara's folly and people will go: "What the...?" I have experienced greater joy and dejection in this than in any other show I've done: properly gutted at getting something wrong, but then amazingly happy that I came up with a simple method for one of the puzzles.' O'Briain added that he does not rate his chances at being able to make mathematics cool, as his Stargazing Live colleague Professor Brian Cox is said to have done for physics. 'I'm under no illusions that a fat, bald, forty-year-old man is making anything cool,' he said. 'Brian Cox might. Stand-up comedy is cool, yes, but that doesn't mean hipsters are looking at me and saying, "Where's he going next? I want to see where that weather vane of cool, Dara O Briain, is going. He's the Alexa Chung of ideas!" No.'

Irish actress Séainín Brennan has joined the cast of forthcoming BBC2 thriller The Fall. The Hidden star will appear opposite Gillian Anderson in the psychological drama. Brennan will play Liz Tyler, a young woman who becomes the target of a serial killer played by Jamie Dornan. 'I am thrilled and excited about taking on the role of Liz,' she said. 'It's an emotionally-charged performance which takes the character, and the audience, on an emotional rollercoaster that will grip and enthral lovers of quality drama.' The Fall has been written by Murphy's Law scriptwriter Allan Cubitt and will also star Gerard McCarthy. 'Allan Cubitt is such a brilliant writer,' said Brennan. 'So to be given the chance to play one of his characters is a career highlight for me. I have had the honour of working with some amazing actors at the top of their craft so it will be a huge honour working with Gillian, Jamie and the rest of the fantastic cast on The Fall.' The Fall is currently filming on-location in Belfast and will be broadcast on BBC2 later this year.

Sir Patrick Moore has attended a party to celebrate fifty five years of The Sky At Night. The eighty nine-year-old astronomer has admitted that in the beginning he was not sure if he was good enough as host. Not a bad career for a chap who's spent the last half a century looking at Uranus. Nah, lissun. 'I didn't know if I was going to be good enough or if the subject matter would hold up,' he said. He went on to suggest that he was unhappy that the BBC still often broadcasts the show after midnight. 'The main programme first goes on after midnight sometimes and I don't like it a bit.' Moore has only ever missed one episode of the programme, which was first broadcast in 1957 and currently goes out once per month on BBC1 and BBC4. The BBC's outgoing director general, Mark Thompson, threw a party for Moore and the show at New Broadcasting House in London earlier this week.

Jack Davenport has ruled out any future This Life reunions. The two series of the cult drama originally ran in 1996 and 1997, and the cast reunited in 2007 for one-off special This Life Plus Ten. Asked if there would ever be another revival, Davenport told Metro: 'No. It was a nice little coda to check in with those characters ten years on but I don't think there's a need to do it again. We were delighted to do it but knew the press would hammer it. We knew we'd be battered for the slightly Spinal Tap aspect of reforming but people wanted to see it.' He added: 'It was a gift to the people who loved it the first time round rather than those who wanted to hammer it because it wasn't exactly the same.'

Channel M, the local television station serving homes in Manchester, has been shut down after twelve years on air, sounding a clear warning for the future of local TV. Channel M started broadcasting in 2000, but has been operating on a drastically reduced basis since the Gruniad Morning Star Media Group sold its regional newspapers in the North West to Trinity Mirra two years ago. According to the Gruniad, GMG has opted to close down the station entirely after deciding that the government's plans to foster a new generation of local TV services in the UK do not offer a viable enough future for Channel M. GMG Radio chief executive Stuart Taylor, who oversaw Channel M for the last two years, said: 'We've been in a holding pattern with Channel M for two years awaiting the outcome of the government's future plans for local TV. Sadly, we don't feel they provide us with the framework needed to grow Channel M into a profitable business that delivers the quality service viewers and advertisers expect from GMG. I want to thank Channel M controller John Furlong and his team for all they have done through this difficult period.' Channel M, which started life as Manchester Student Television and broadcast on Freeview, officially ceased broadcasting on Tuesday, with the loss of three jobs. The closure is a blow for the lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Hunt, who has spearheaded a big move to develop a new network of local TV stations across the UK. Channel M shed around thirty staff in 2010, as its original programming was cut heavily and replaced by archive material and networked news. This came a year after forty one staff were axed as part of a cost cutting drive. Ofcom is currently consulting on up to twenty new local stations being licenced with a view to starting operations by 2015. Services will be delivered over Freeview using a new overarching multiplex operator. Manchester is among the UK towns and cities earmarked to get a dedicated local TV service, along with London, Brighton & Hove, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Cardiff, Belfast and Grimsby. However, shadow lack of culture secretary Helen Goodman has branded the scheme 'a vanity project' for the vile and odious rascal Hunt, and not worth spending around one hundred and twenty million smackers of public money from the BBC licence fee in such tough economic times.

The teletext service Ceefax will be switched off in the London area on Wednesday. The long-running analogue TV information service will be turned off after nearly forty years as part of the ongoing switchover to digital TV. Currently, the areas of Kent, Sussex, North-East England and Northern Ireland can still access Ceefax on analogue televisions. But, not for much longer. Ceefax provided television viewers across the UK and Ireland with an interactive information news service decades before the arrival of the Internet after it was launched in 1974. It was first used to give viewers the results on the February 1974 General Election. The full interactive service will be turned off completely in October 2012 when the digital switchover is complete. In London and other areas, Ceefax can be seen as Pages from Ceefax on BBC2 overnight until 6am, but it will not have an interactive function. The service includes live news, sport, weather and travel information in real time, as well as shopping and gaming options. Bamboozle - one of Channel Four Teletext's most iconic quiz games - can be purchased as an app for the iPhone or iPad.

The Simpsons' Harry Shearer pitched his Richard Nixon project to the BBC but the corporation failed to match the budget offered by BSkyB, he said on Tuesday. Nixon's The One, a comedy drama based on more than two thousand hours of secret White House recordings made between 1971 and 1973, will be broadcast as part of Sky Arts' Playhouse series. The drama, filmed over two days at a recreation of the Oval office at Sky's Isleworth base, is made by Jimmy Mulville's independent production company, Hat Trick. Mulville and Shearer spent a day pitching the show to the BBC, Channel Four and Sky. 'The BBC made an offer but it was not at the same level as Sky,' Shearer told a Broadcasting Press Guild lunch on Tuesday. 'Channel Four was more lukewarm. The BBC was not slow, just low.' He added: 'It's just so crass to talk about money, isn't it?' Shearer described the project as 'not a history show but a show about this character. There are so many conversations on the tape that are profoundly revealing of what a strangely twisted, fucked up guy he was,' he said. 'What a bizarre character, maybe the most psychologically complex person to have high office, at least in the US, in our memory.' Shearer, who is unrecognisable under layers of prosthetic make-up in the Sky Arts show, said Nixon 'may not have invented the modern form of scorched earth political attack but he certainly practised it and honed it.' It is not the first time Shearer has played an American president – he has also voiced Bill Clinton in The Simpsons and released an CD of songs, called Songs of the Bushmen, about George W Bush. He first played Nixon more than thirty years ago and revived the character for a short-lived NBC show in the 1990s. Shearer said the show would not have been made in the US, adding that he had a 'very chequered experience' with cable channel HBO. 'I knew this would not be done in the way I wanted to do it in America. Nixon is still a highly political character in the states, this is a non-political show,' he added. 'It's lacking the surface controversy that would have made it a sell in the States. There's plenty of controversial material in it, [it's] just the style of it. The acting style, all those things, would have been arguments. One does this to do the show, not to have arguments.' Shearer, who voices evil billionaire tyrant Monty Burns and his fawning sidekick Waylon Smithers – along with many other characters – in The Simpsons, is also a frequent collaborator with Christopher Guest, with whom he starred as Derek Smalls in This Is Spinal Tap.

The BBC believes it was mistakenly listed as using the private investigator convicted of Data Protection Act offences following the Operation Motorman investigation, after a newspaper made an inquiry about the corporation's wine bill. The BBC director of editorial policy, David Jordan, told MPs on the Commons home affairs select committee on Tuesday the evidence taken from private investigator Steve Whittamore's offices during a police raid was 'not as robust' as claimed by the Operation Motorman investigators working for the Information Commissioner's Office. Jordan said the BBC was listed in Whittamore's files for two inquiries in 2001. One related to a story the BBC was covering about a paedophile, but the other was an attempt by a newspaper to find out 'what the BBC's wine bill was.' This was logged by Whittamore as 'BBC wineblag.' It made a reference to upmarket wine shop Berry Brothers and ended up being classified by the ICO as 'a BBC inquiry' when it was, actually, an inquiry made about the BBC. 'That seemed to be handled by Mr Whittamore on behalf of another media organisation,' Jordan said. The incident was one of several attempts at the home affairs committee hearing on the media's use of private investigators to highlight the unreliability of some of the information in Whittamore's files, which formed the basis of the ICO's What Price Privacy? report in 2006. This detailed the number of information requests made to Whittamore by newspapers, magazines and broadcasters. The Daily Scum Mail's deputy editor, Jon Steafel, told the select committee his paper had seen some of the files last summer and they appeared to be 'contradictory or inconsistent.' The managing editor of the Sun, the loathsome Richard Caseby, said they were 'chaotic and confused' and had 'grossly over-exaggerated' the number of inquiries by The Sunday Times. Caseby also criticised the Gruniad editor-in-chief, Alan Rusbridger, claiming he had 'breached the privacy' of the former head of the Food Standards Agency, Geoffrey Podger, during an investigation in 2000 into biotech company Monsanto. He referred to a passage in Rusbridger's witness statement to the Leveson inquiry, which stated: 'In 2000, we commissioned a report about allegations of corrupt links between an international corporation and officials in Europe and Whitehall. We used a corporate security company run by two leading former SIS officials. They could not substantiate the allegations and no report appeared.' Caseby claimed this Gruniad investigation 'went off the rails' and invaded Podger's privacy. It was a 'deep ocean industrial trawl', he said. The Sun's managing editor was then interrupted by a committee member, the Labour MP David Winnick, who asked whether he had raised this point because of the Gruniad's coverage of the paper's publisher News International. He might well have gone on to ask the odious Caseby why anybody should take notice of a single word uttered by an executive from News International, a company whose employees - it is alleged - hacked the phone of a murdered schoolgirl and then spent four years lying that they hadn't. But, tragically, he didn't. A spokesperson for Gruniad News and Media said: 'As Alan Rusbridger said in his evidence to the Leveson Inquiry, there was one occasion when the newspaper used a business intelligence firm to make inquiries into allegations of bribery by a very large international corporation whose activities were at the time causing widespread concern around the world. They proved unfounded and we published nothing.'

TalkSport has struck a groundbreaking deal to secure Premier League radio rights outside Europe and will broadcast live match commentary around the world in English, Spanish and Mandarin. The sports broadcaster, which is owned by UTV Media, has struck a deal for the international radio rights to broadcast live commentary of all three hundred and eighty Premier League matches each season outside the European Economic Area for four years from August. TalkSport will broadcast commentary in three languages from its London studios via the Internet and mobile apps, using a branded radio player. The broadcaster's London premises will be expanded to accommodate the extra work. The Premier League last sold the international radio rights in a three-year deal in 2007 to marketing and media company IMG, which exploited them by selling to broadcasters in different markets, but this deal was not renewed when it expired in 2010. It is understood that the BBC World Service will continue to hold the rights to broadcast the second half of two matches per week – one that kicks off at 3pm on a Saturday and one of the Sunday games. TalkSport said that the four-year deal, which will run until the end of the 2015-16 season, marks 'the most significant development for the station' since it launched in 2000. So, seemingly signing Keysie and Andy Gray has now slipped down the list. Tragedy. UTV said that set up and pre-launch costs will be about eight hundred thousand smackers. The company said that in the first year the service is expected to make a loss of about a million quid, in year two it will hit break even and the remaining two years of the deal it will return a profit. TalkSport is looking to recruit about forty new staff – twenty part time – to be able to handle the increase in broadcasts. The company expects to broadcast twenty one live commentaries on the opening day of the new Premier League season in August. The increase in staff numbers equates to about a thirty per cent increase in the one hundred and twenty staff staff employed by TalkSport. TalkSport said that the production of the international output will be handled by expanding its studio output at its operation in London. 'I'm really excited about the potential for TalkSport as a global brand, invoking the same passion in listeners and advertisers overseas as it does in the UK,' said the TalkSport chief executive, Scott Taunton. The digital radio player will be advertising funded in the first year, but UTV will look at the possibility of launching a paid-for app for a premium service. The global Talksport player could also be offered as a radio service via deals to embed it on other popular sites, with Perform-owned Goal.com cited as an example of 'a good fit' although no talks are currently in progress. 'Premier League is saying "go and prove the model,"' he said. 'We have a good relationship with them and no one has tried this – it is up to us to build the model.' Taunton added that the three launch languages are the tip of the iceberg and if there is a commercial or joint venture partner – the company is in talks with several in different markets – there is the possibility of launching in languages such as Portugese, Indonesian or Thai. UTV is also in talks with rights holders over adding other football rights to the service, as well as other sports to make it a more universal sport radio player. TalkSport said that it also intends to establish a network of global radio partners in key markets such as Asia, North America and Africa. The company said that it is already in discussions with 'a number' of potential commercial and distribution partners for the international programming. 'Since UTV acquired TalkSport in 2005, we have invested significantly in sports rights and presenters,' said the UTV Media group chief executive, John McCann. 'Today's agreement with the Premier League is part of UTV's strategy to market TalkSport globally.' In the UK the radio rights to the Premier League are split between the BBC, TalkSport and Absolute Radio. The latest three-year UK deal was struck in 2010, when the BBC lost a third of its live radio commentaries following an aggressive push by TalkSport.

Professional Footballers' Association chairman Clarke Carlisle does not believe that Ashley Young is a dirty rotten cheat but says that players need to 'be more honest.' The Scum winger Young has been criticised for 'going down too easily' against Aston Villains and Queens Park Strangers in recent days, earning penalties on both occasions. But Carlisle, who was Young's team-mate at Watford, said: 'I wouldn't say he is or has been prone to falling over. He is quick and slight so it doesn't take much contact to make him go over.' Carlisle claims that he did not see the latest incident at Old Trafford on Sunday, where Young fell over like he'd been hit with a van full of bricks despite minimal contact from Villains defender Ciaran Clark. The England forward was criticised by Newcastle defender Ryan Taylor on Twitter and even The Scum's grumpy boss yer actual Sir Alex Ferguson admitted that Young went down 'quite easily' to earn the seventh-minute spot-kick in his side's 4-0 victory over the hapless Brummies. The incident came just a week after Young drew a penalty from Strangers midfielder Shaun Derry when he fell after being lightly tapped in the box. Carlisle added: 'The players' responsibilities are to be as honest as they possibly can but they also need protection from the referees to give the free-kicks or penalties when infringements occur.' And, he believes English football would benefit if retrospective action were taken against 'blatant' cases of diving, such as Andy Carroll's fall against yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies, although the Liverpool forward was booked by referee Martin Atkinson at the time. In Scotland, Rangers midfielder Sone Aluko received a two-match ban for 'simulation' following a 2-1 win over Dunfermline. Northampton Town defender Carlisle said: 'I'd like to see that the outcomes are over the course of the season [and] whether it was considered successful because there are very much grey areas. Like in the Ashley Young-Shaun Derry incident, there was contact, so it depends what the parameters are. If you are trying to judge whether there is sufficient contact, that's so hard to tell. Even in slow-motion replays you can't judge whether the contact on Ashley Young was enough to send him over. All you can see is that there was contact. If it was for blatant cases like [Liverpool's] Andy Carroll against Newcastle, where there was no contact whatsoever and he went down then yes, I think it would be good. Anything we can do to stamp diving out the game is progress, but you would have to establish the parameters and the protocol for reporting and investigating. We want an honest game and we want our players to give a good example to the young guys watching because everything we do on a Saturday is replicated by the kids on a Sunday morning. We don't want to breed a generation of young players who are actively looking to win free-kicks and penalties by diving.' We've already got one, mate - they're playing in the Premiership right now.

The British Film Institute has revealed details of its celebration of filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock, which includes restorations of his silent movies. Champagne and Blackmail, which were directed by the British master of suspense during the late 1920s, will be shown with live musical accompaniment. A three-month long season will also see all fifty eight of his films - including Psycho, Vertigo, Rear Window, North By Northwest, Marnie and The Birds - screened. Actors Tippi Hedron and Bruce Dern will also take part in live events. Speaking at a launch in London on Tuesday, Heather Stewart, the BFI's creative director, said that the BFI had wanted to get out its 'big guns', like other big cultural organisations, during Olympic year. 'The idea of popular cinema somehow being capable of being great art at the same time as being entertaining is still a problem for some people,' she said. 'Shakespeare is on the national curriculum, Hitchcock is not.' She said that in the same way that Picasso had changed the face of modern art, Hitchcock was also a game-changer. 'After Psycho, in particular, film-making could never be the same again.' An open-air screening of Blackmail, directed by the thirty-year-old Hitchcock in 1929, will be staged in the forecourt of the British Museum on 6 July as part of the BFI's involvement in the London 2012 Festival celebrations. The film will feature a live score composed by award-winning composer, musician, writer and broadcaster Neil Brand, performed live by an ensemble of eighteen musicians. A short clip of Blackmail was screened at the launch event, accompanied by the new score. Describing Hitchcock as an 'incredibly seductive' film-maker, Brand said he had not tried to replicate the music of the silent era. 'This is for an audience now.' Hitchcock's 1927 boxing drama The Ring will be shown at the Hackney Empire, with jazz and hip-hop artist Soweto Kinch providing live music and fellow Mercury prize-nominee Nitin Sawhney will score The Lodger: A Tale Of The London Fog. After performing a live saxophone solo over a clip from The Ring, Kinch said: 'The dance sequences in this film have travelled really well with time. There's a particular beat and a tempo that means I'll be able to twin the old with the new.' Film critic and chairman of the London Film Critics' Circle, Jason Solomons said of the Hitchcock retrospective: 'What strikes me is the modernity of the project. We're seeing him now as a cool indie British film-maker.' Which, of course, for a few years in the 1920s and 1930s, he was. He added: 'Music is the first step to re-framing how we see cinema. There are different strains of world music and it proves that his films belong to all of us.' Both The Ring and Champagne will be screened live on The Space - a digital arts service which has been developed by Arts Council England in partnership with the BBC and BFI. Ruth Mackenzie, director of the London 2012 Festival, told the BBC: 'Alfred Hitchcock is one of the great artists of the Twentieth Century and like all great artists he makes us look at the world differently - and he makes his art form transform itself after his input.' The BFI on London's South Bank will also house an exhibition paying tribute to Hitchcock, who died aged eighty in 1980. Over his career, spanning six decades, the iconic director was nominated for five Oscars - but won just one honorary statue in 1968.

A man is being treated for a bullet wound to his arm at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary hospital. The twenty four-year-old man arrived at the RVI in the city centre at around 18:30 on Monday. His injuries are not thought to be life threatening. It is believed the man was shot (with a shootah) in Walker. Police are investigating and closed off an area of Monkchester Road and Dunstanburgh Road in Walker. Which is, quite literally, just a hundred and fifty yards from yer actual Stately Telly Topping Manor, dear blog reader. I never done it, though. I've got an alibi. I was watching telly at the time. True story. Closing off Bird's Nest Road and Monkchester Road did, however, mean that the bus yer actual Keith Telly Topping catches to get into work each morning was diverted on Tuesday, making him ten minutes late for his writing session with the legend that is Alfie Joey. Not that yer actual Keith Telly Topping particularly minded, it needs to be said, it was a nice morning, the sun was shining and he had something to read. Anyway ... Supt Paul Orchard of the Byker pollis said: 'At this stage our inquiries indicate this was not a random incident and as such we do not believe there is a danger to the wider public. Active inquiries are being carried out to trace the person responsible and residents can rest assured we have extensive inquiries in hand to establish the exact circumstances of the incident. Additional high-profile patrols are being carried out in the area to reassure local residents and anyone with any concerns should speak with their local officers.'

The Times reports that an Egyptian man who was surfing for Internet porn – allegedly 'for the first time' – collapsed in shock when he came across his wife. It turns out that she is something of a star, with eleven films under her, ahem, suspender belt. The couple had been apparently happily married for sixteen years and had four children together. And in case you didn't think things could get any worse, however, when the husband, Ramadan, confronted his wife she claimed that she never loved him and her lover was an old boyfriend from before she had married. Expect this to show up as a plotline in The Only Way is Essex pure dead soon, dear blog reader.

Adele, Kate Bush and PJ Harvey will battle it out for best CD at next month's Ivor Novello awards. It is the first time the album shortlist has been exclusively female. Two of big cuddly Adele's songs, - the massively overplayed 'Rolling in the Deep' and the equally massively overplayed 'Someone Like You' - are also nominated for 'most performed work', alongside Take That's 'The Flood'. Hence the fact that they're overplayed, y'see. 'Rolling in the Deep' is also up for best song musically and lyrically. The annual awards will be presented in London on 17 May. They celebrate British and Irish songwriting and composing and are voted for by songwriters. While all the CDs shortlisted are performed by women, producer Paul Epworth is nominated alongside Adele for 21 as he co-wrote some of the key songs. Polly Harvey is listed for her Mercury Prize-winning record Let England Shake, a stunning concept work about Britain at war. Kate Bush's outstanding Fifty Words For Snow is also written around a theme, comprising a suite of seven songs 'set against a backdrop of falling snow.' And, it's the best thing Katie's done - by a distance - since, ooo, Hounds of Love, probably. This year's nominees for best contemporary song are Nero's 'Promises', Lana Del Rey's 'Video Games' and James Blake's 'The Wilhelm Scream'. Justin Parker, who helped Del Rey write 'Video Games', agreed the music business 'seems very female-orientated' at the moment. 'It's been like that for a few years,' he told the BBC. 'But it's great to have really classic songwriting represented, like Adele. Without Adele I think Lana might not have happened. She opened the door for that kind of songwriting.' Other nominees in the best song musically and lyrically are Florence and the Machine's 'Shake It Out' and Ed Sheeran's 'The A Team'. Best original film score contenders are Life in a Day, The First Grader and We Need to Talk About Kevin, which was written by Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood. The Shadow Line, Page Eight and Leonardo are all in competition for best television soundtrack. Adele's second CD 21 has won numerous awards in what has been a stellar year for the big cuddly North Londoner. The record recently overtook Dire Straits' Brothers In Arms in the list of best-selling UK albums. The LP has now sold more than four million one hundred and forty two thousand copies in the singer's home country, making it the sixth biggest-selling LP of all-time. Her awards haul includes two Brit awards and six Grammy awards. Last year, rapper-turned-singer Plan B won three prizes at the Ivor Novellos, including best songwriter - presented by Sir Elton John - and best CD. Special awards went to Muse, Steve Winwood, Free founder Paul Rodgers and musical theatre legend Stephen Sondheim. Previous winners include Sir Paul McCartney, David Bowie, Amy Winehouse and Radiohead.

The Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon - who never won a Novello award, but probably should have - has said that re-releasing the band's anthem 'God Save The Queen' for the Diamond Jubilee 'undermines' them. Nah, sorry Johnny, I'm afraid you, Steve, Paul and Glen did that when you reformed for the first time in 1996 for mucho filthy lucre. On Monday it was announced the single would be re-released by record label Universal. 'I would like to very strongly distance myself from the recent stories and campaign to push 'God Save The Queen' for the number one spot,' the singer said. 'This campaign totally undermines what The Sex Pistols stood for,' he added. The song was originally released during the Silver Jubilee in 1977 and was subsequently banned by the BBC. It - officially - failed to top the charts, peaking at number two, although the band's manager Malcolm McLaren later claimed the song had actually outsold the claimed chart-topper - 'The First Cut Is The Deepest' by Rod Stewart. Some supporting evidence has emerged to suggest that this is one conspiracy theory which might, actually, have a grain of truth in it. In a statement, Lydon said of the re-release: 'It is certainly not my personal plan or aim. I am proud of what The Sex Pistols achieved and always will be but this campaign totally undermines what The Sex Pistols stood for. This is not my campaign. I am pleased that The Sex Pistols recordings are being put out there for a new generation, however, I wish for no part in the circus that is being built up around it.' Wot a fekin' swindle!

A security guard has been arrested following the theft of five of US musician Tom Petty's guitars from a rehearsal space in California. The instruments, worth an estimated one hundred grand have also been returned to Petty and his band. Writing on his Facebook page, Petty said he was 'extremely grateful' to the police and 'touched by the outpouring of good wishes' from fans. The arrested man was Daryl Emmette Washington, fifty one, of Los Angeles. He was a private security guard at The Culver Studios lot, which is used for filming music videos and tour rehearsals. Police Chief Don Pedersen said the break in the case came when the suspect attempted to sell one of the guitars at a Hollywood pawn shop for two hundred and fifty dollars. What a complete glake! Washington was arrested on 'suspicion of grand theft', and of 'being a moron', probably, said a police spokesman, adding: 'We believe that there is a very strong and compelling evidence in this case.' The instruments included Petty's most famous guitar, a blond 1967 maple twelve-string Rickenbacker and his Gibson SGTVJunior. Three other guitars belonging to his band-mates also went missing. The band had previously set up an e-mail address for tip-offs about the instruments' whereabouts, with a 'no questions asked' reward of seven thousand five hundred dollars for information leading to their return. Which will now, presumably, be donated to the police benevolent fund. Known for hit singles including 'American Girl', 'Learning To Fly' and 'Breakdown', Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers are due to kick-off their US tour in Colorado on Wednesday night. They come to Europe in June for a string of festival dates, as well as two nights in London's Royal Albert Hall. The shows will mark the band's first major UK shows for more than twenty years. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping saw them the last time they were here and can report that yer average Tom Petty gig is, usually, a pretty decent night out.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, surf's up, ladies and gentlemen.

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