Sunday, April 29, 2012

Week Nineteen: Hunted Down Like A Dog

David Cameron 'would, of course, act' if the vile and odious rascal Hunt's evidence to the Leveson Inquiry suggested that he had breached the ministerial code, Downing Street says. Of course. Difficult to see what else the prime minister could do so, that entire statement was a bit pointless, really. Like much else that comes out of the Eton Rifle's gob. The lack of culture secretary claimed, somewhat unconvincingly, that he acted with 'total integrity' during News Corp's attempt to take over BSkyB. Labour, some Lib Dems  and even a small smattering of Tories, plus everybody else who's non-aligned would quite like a new probe into whether he broke any rules and what all this back channel malarkey is all about. But No 10 said that it would not 'risk pre-empting' the inquiry, after Justice Leveson rejected the vile and odious rascal Hunt's request to bring forward his appearance - expected to be in mid-May. So, they're going to leave him swinging in the wind, basically. Which is, of course, top comedy. The lack of culture secretary has been under pressure since documents released to the inquiry revealed close contact between his special adviser and News Corporation during its planned takeover of satellite broadcaster BSkyB. The vile and odious rascal Hunt was meant to be acting in what he himself described as 'a quasi-judicial' role in deciding whether the proposed merger should be referred to the Competition Commission for final approval. His special adviser, Adam Smith, has resigned over what he admitted was an inappropriately close relationship with News Corporation. The minister has said he did not know about the extent of the contact between the media giant and Smith and, by implication, suggests that Smith was a lone rogue adviser. But, even if this is true, under the ministerial code of conduct, the vile and odious rascal Hunt is still responsible for the actions of his special advisers. Labour has repeated its demand for the prime minister to call in his independent adviser on the ministerial code of conduct, Sir Alex Allan. And, the Leveson Inquiry has refused a request from the lack of culture secretary to have his appearance - expected to be in mid-May - moved forward so he could defend himself at the earliest opportunity. Lord Justice Leveson had emphasised that he would 'not act as an arbiter.' But a Downing Street spokesman said: 'We have always been clear that the prime minister and not the Leveson Inquiry is the arbiter of the ministerial code. Jeremy Hunt will be appearing before the inquiry under oath and has made clear he will be providing all necessary evidence for consideration. It does not make sense to cut across a judicial inquiry with a parallel process that would risk pre-empting, duplicating or contradicting it. Once Jeremy Hunt's evidence is made public and he is questioned, it there is anything that suggests there has been a breach of the code the prime minister would of course act.' So, all in all, it's not been a very good week for the vile and odious rascal Hunt.
Meanwhile, Tommy Watson (power to the people!), the Labour MP who, along with the Gruniad Morning Star helped uncover the full disgracefulness of the Scum of the World phone-hacking scandal, is to write to all other MPs asking whether they have ever been 'threatened or bullied' by News International. He is taking the action after Max Mosley, the former Formula One racing boss, announced that he would fund legal assistance for MPs to reveal potential blackmail and intimidation against them by Rupert Murdoch's newspaper group. Chris Bryant MP, who was also instrumental in exposing the scandal, claimed the intimidation of MPs was 'widespread' and that he intended to list all the threats he had received in his evidence to the Leveson inquiry. Watson said on Saturday: 'The Leveson inquiry needs specific examples of bullying and intimidation so I will be writing to all MPs this week to ask if they have ever been threatened. They can also maintain their anonymity.' Mosley, who won sixty thousand smackers damages from the Scum of the World in 2008 over false allegations he had taken part in an alleged 'Nazi' orgy (which he hadn't), said that he was bankrolling the action in an attempt to expose News International's 'hidden hold on British politics.' Mosley told the Independent that he believed 'at least ten MPs' might have evidence about News International's dealings with politicians. He said: 'Organisations like Hacked Off are trying to make sure that everything that should be put in front of Leveson will be – and that's particularly important where there have been a large number of cases where News International have set out to intimidate, even blackmail, members of parliament and other people in positions of authority. So as far as it's possible to do so, those facts have to be brought to Leveson and I'm trying to help in a modest way. I am making legal advice available.' MPs who are worried about disclosing embarrassing evidence could remain anonymous, Mosley said. Watson has said that attempts were made by News International to make him drop his investigations into the company. Bryant, said in a Commons debate last year that an associate of Rupert Murdoch had warned him that campaigning on hacking would 'not be forgotten.' Bryant said he intended to detail all the threats he had received from News International and News Corp when he gives his evidence to the Leveson inquiry. 'News Corp always worked a double pincer, offering fear and favour. Intimidation was relatively widespread but mostly aimed at people who were the most exposed such as those on the culture, media and sport committee.' Hopefully, this will include the claim made by Bryant during a BBC Panorama episode Breaking The Murdoch Spell. In this Bryant claimed that after he had asked one too many awkward questions about News International was, it is suggested, effectively 'targetted' by them. Bryant, who is of course openly gay, was thereafter the subject of some especially nasty attention for a couple of years in the middle of the last decade. (They weren't alone, it should be noted, the Scum Mail on Sunday joined in with the kicking on at least one occasion when Bryant was pictured posing in his underwear on an online site.) 'On one occasion at a Labour Party Conference,' Bryant suggested, 'Andrew Pierce who was at the time writing for The Times, took me into one party and there as I came in was Rebekah Brooks. She said to me "Oh, Mr Bryant, it's after dark. Shouldn't you be on Clapham Common?" At which point her then husband, Ross Kemp, said "shut up you homophobic cow!"' And, let's face it, it really does take something spectacularly wicked to make one feel all warm and fuzzy about Ross Kemp. Mosley told the Independent that he was 'aware' of two other cases in which News International had brought undue influence to bear on MPs. In 2011, News International executives instructed journalists to scrutinise the lives of the MPs of the culture, media and sport select committee. Private detectives were hired to tail Watson. Shortly after the appearance of the Murdochs before the select committee in July 2011, committee member and Conservative MP Louise Mensch said that she was e-mailed by a journalist calling himself 'David Jones' threatening to expose various past misdeeds including taking naughty drugs. The e-mail was copied to the Conservative chairman and the Conservative chief whip. Mensch then issued a statement to the media confessing to the some of the accusations and concluding: 'I have not the slightest intention of being deterred from asking how far the culture of hacking and blagging extended in Fleet Street.' The true identity of David Jones was never established but colleagues on the select committee say that Mensch has kept a significantly lower profile on the subject of News International and phone-hacking ever since.

Moving back to the lack of culture secretary, the vile and odious rascal Hunt has been urged by a Liberal Democrat MP to 'clear himself' by asking David Cameron to refer his handling of the News Corporation/BSkyB deal to the independent adviser for the ministerial code. Lorely Burt told BBC Radio 4's The World at One that the vile and odious rascal Hunt should not have been given responsibility for the BSkyB deal because, she believed, he was 'always in favour' of News Corp's controversial takeover. 'I certainly think that Jeremy Hunt should give his evidence before a decision is made, but I think Jeremy would do himself a lot of good if he asked David Cameron to actually refer him to the independent adviser for ministerial codes,' Burt said. 'I was firmly under the impression that he did support the BSkyB bid before he took over the job of making this quasi-judicial decision and I don't think Jeremy should have been put in that position. It's right that Jeremy should clear himself because I think it's unfortunate that any suggestion of probity is left.' Burt is the latest figure from the Conservatives' coalition government partners, along with Lord Oakeshott, the senior Lib Dem peer, and deputy leader Simon Hughes, to call for the prime minister to refer the affair to Sir Alex Allan, the independent adviser on the ministerial code. Who, let's remember, is paid thirty grand a year for exactly this sort of situation.

Of course, Cameron claimed that there was 'no grand deal' with the Murdochs in return for their newspapers supporting the Conservatives before the 2010 election. The prime minister told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show he did 'not change policies' to suit newspaper proprietors. And he said he did not believe that the vile and odious rascal Hunt broke rules over his office's dealings with News Corp during its bid to take over BSkyB. Labour claimed he was 'afraid of scrutiny' and was trying to 'brush this away.' The News International-owned Sun newspaper switched its support from Labour to the Conservatives in September 2009, months ahead of the 2010 general election. But Cameron claimed it was 'not true' to suggest he would help the Murdoch's business interests or allow the BSkyB takeover to go through, in return for their support for his party. 'It would be absolutely wrong for there to be any sort of deal and there wasn't. There was no grand deal,' he claimed. One or two people even believed him. He claimed there was 'no great mystery' about his contact with media chiefs as opposition leader because he had 'wanted the support' of as many as possible so he could 'take the country in a different direction.' He said he had disagreed with Rupert Murdoch on some issues, including the detention of terrorism suspects and a licence-fee funded BBC. 'The positions I reach are because I believe them, I think they're right for our country. That's the platform I stand on. I do not do things, change my policies to suit this proprietor or that proprietor.' Cameron has faced questions about whether he had discussed the BSkyB bid with James Murdoch at a Christmas party hosted by then News International chief executive and well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks in 2010. He told the BBC the party came shortly after Business Secretary Vince Cable had been stripped of responsibility for ruling on the BSkyB bid, having been secretly recorded by a couple of Torygraph journalists saying he had 'declared war' on Rupert Murdoch. Cameron said: 'What I recall saying, although I can't remember every detail of the conversation, is saying something like: clearly that was unacceptable, it was embarrassing for the government, and to be clear from now on this whole issue would be dealt with impartially, properly, in the correct way, but obviously I had nothing to do with it, I rescued myself from it.' The vile and odious rascal Hunt has denied Labour claims that e-mails between Adam Smith and Frederic Michel show the firm had a 'back channel' of influence to his office. Labour wants the independent adviser on ministerial interests, Sir Alex Allan, to look into the matter, a call backed by Lib Dem deputy leader Simon Hughes and Conservative backbencher Bernard Jenkin. But in his BBC interview Cameron said all the details would be 'laid bare' by the Leveson Inquiry. He said the e-mail contact had been 'too close' and 'wrong' and said he was 'ultimately responsible' for ensuring the ministerial code was upheld. As things stood, he said, he did 'not believe' the vile and odious rascal Hunt had broken it but said the issue had to be properly investigated. Shadow chancellor Ed Balls told Sky News that Cameron was afraid of scrutiny of his own dealings with News Corporation. 'I'm afraid the prime minister is trying to brush this away. He's trying to push it into Leveson, because he's afraid of scrutiny and he knows the allegation of side deals with News International is about Jeremy Hunt and the prime minister himself.' And, on that excellent news of the vile and odious rascal Hunt squirming in a desperate attempt to save his own skin, so to yer actual Top Telly Tips:

Friday 4 May
On 9 December 2011, in one of the single most despicably cowardly acts in the history of broadcasting in this country, in response to a suspiciously concerted and sick agenda-soaked campaign of whispers against anything even vaguely connected to Jeremy Clarkson by the Gruniad Morning Star, the BBC elected to cancel, at very short notice, a scheduled episode of BBC2's Qi. Allegedly - and this is according to the vile Communist hippie lice at the Gruniad Morning Star so, it should be treated with the total disdain it deserves - 'because of fears it would prompt another backlash from viewers.' Tragically, they didn't bother to tell the person responsible for putting the episodes up on iPlayer and, two days later, for a good six or seven hours, the XL edition of the episode could be viewed by anyone who wanted to watch it. Including this blogger. Which was nice. And, inevitably, as anybody with half-a-frigging-brain in their head could have predicted (and that, of course, inevitably, doesn't include anybody even vaguely connected to the Gruniad Morning Star), it was a very good episode. One featuring nothing in the least bit 'controversial' and with Jezza doing his usual job when he's on Qi of being a reasonably affable and vaguely amusing raconteur and 'sound bloke'. Dara O Briain, Ross Noble and Alan Davies were also on fine form. So, there you go. Like they always used to say about 'Relax' by Frankie Goes To Hollywood when the BBC refused to play it, 'they tried to ban it, they tried to burn it, but it keeps sticking out!' Tonight, the episode finally reaches the greater general public at 10:00 on BBC2. And about bastard time, an'all. Stephen Fry asks questions on the subject of idleness, and awards points for the most interesting answers. Still no news yet on when the extended XL edition is likely to be broadcast. Probably sometime later in the year on Dave, like as not.

Anyway, as you know, dear blog reader, Friday night is BBC comedy night, starting at 8:30 on BBC1 with Would I Like To You? Team captain David Mitchell is joined by comedian Rhod Gilbert and actress Sally Phillips, while his counterpart Lee Mack welcomes TV presenters Des O'Connor and Tess Daly. Host Rob Brydon oversees proceedings as the contestants try to hoodwink their opponents with absurd facts and plausible lies about themselves on the comedy panel show. Ah, Des. Indefatigable crooner with his 'Careless Hands', butt of a thousand Eric Morecambe jokes, chat-show host and borderline national treasure. Who knew that he was daft enough to have eaten cat food by accident? Or is he? Maybe his long (and very peculiar) story about how he dined on this strange dish in a holiday villa is all utter nonsense made up by a clever comedy writer to sound plausible with the right sort of delivery. Des, looking as bronzed as Gene Hunt's Cortina, is a game contestant on Lee Mack’s team, and quickly gets into the spirit of the show after a giggly start. Meanwhile, on David Mitchell’s team, Rhod Gilbert regales us with an account of the acute trauma he suffered at an airport. And comic actress Sally Phillips (remember her from Smack the Pony?) apparently plays a texting-game with her husband while he's at the swimming baths. Worse, she once rode her uncle's mobility scooter. With disastrous consequences. Possibly. It’s a great show, and what Friday nights are for. Staying in.

Yer man Clarkson is on TV again tonight as he's in the host's chair once again for the night's episode of Have I Got News For You - 9:00 BBC1. A job he's done several times in the past and is usually very amusing at. And, there's always a gleeful prospect for anyone who enjoys watching him being needled by yer actual Ian Hislop. Remember the time, for instance, when Clarkson threw his pen at Hislop, who'd just had the temerity to cast doubt on Jezza's authorship of his own newspaper columns, and drew blood? Ian said the most embarrassing thing about it was that he was only the second person Jezza had ever blooded in his life. And, the first was Piers Morgan when Jezza stuck one on him. 'That's not the sort of company you want to be in!' he noted. Their exchanges should be even more spicy, considering Private Eye's pursuit of Jezza after he imposed a superinjunction on his ex-wife (a legal stricture Clarkson himself broke late last year). Surely everyone will have some sport with guest Nancy Dell'Olio, a woman who has turned preening self-obsession into a profession. Obviously, it'll depend what sort of a news week it's been, and the episode can't possibly be as good as the previous weeks ten minute assassination of the Murdochs and the vile and odious rascal Hunt. But, Have I Got News For You remains the most effortlessly funny satire on British TV, even on a slow news week.

A repeat, but a very worthy one, is Peter Green: Man of the World - BBC4 10:00. This sympathetic and very well made film by Steve Graham tells the story of the blues guitarist and singer, who found fame in the late 1960s as leader of Fleetwood Mac. You know, when they were good. Legendary blues guitarist BB King once named Peter Green as one of the greatest exponents of the blues, and the 'only guitar player to make me sweat.' If Green had only written 'Black Magic Woman', 'Albatross' and 'Oh Well', his name would still have a place in blues rock history forever. His three short years leading - what was then known as - Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac saw the band established as one of the biggest-selling groups of the 1960s. Yet at the height of their fame Green left the group, with his life spiralling into turmoil as drug-induced mental health issues took control. Rumours of his demise began to spread, and sightings of him became notorious. Featuring archive footage and interviews with a variety of noted fans, including Noel Gallagher, and Carlos Santana, Green's former band mates and the musician himself now, happily, in the last few years emerged from his exile and playing again, to great acclaim.

Saturday 5 May
With yer actual Sir Tom Jones and having both said goodbye to one of their acts last week, it's now the turn of Team Jessie and Team Danny to step into the spotlight, with viewers voting to decide who stays in the competition in The Voice - BBC1 7:10. And, of course, who goes. Becky Hill, Cassius Henry, Ruth-Ann St Luce, Toni Warne and Vince Kidd are singing for Jessie J, while Aleks Josh, Bo Bruce, David Julien, Hannah Berney and Max Milner represent Danny O'Donoghue. But which two will be leaving tomorrow night? Presented by Holly Willoughby and Reggie Yates. The results can be seen tomorrow at 7.15pm.

Carrie Fisher continues the nostalgic look back at 1970s kitsch culture, focusing on 1977, when she starred in SF blockbuster Star Wars in the latest repeat of I ♥ The 70s - BBC2 9:30. It was also the year that John Travolta strutted his stuff to all those Bee Gees classics in Saturday Night Fever, parents cringed as children sizzled their taste buds with Space Dust and skateboards gave light-sabres a run for their money in toy departments. Oh, and keep yer mincers peeled, dear blog reader, for a young TV reviewer talking about The Professionals and wearing a particularly nasty green shirt. One for which yer actual Keith Telly Topping wholeheartedly apologises to all able-sighted viewers. Horrorshow. Hell, what can I say? It was the 1990s, times were different back then. And green shirts were really 'in' that summer. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

In the first of tonight's two episodes of The Bridge - BBC4 9:00 - the murderer launches a twisted plan to highlight cutbacks in mental health care - by dispatching schizophrenic people to commit synchronised violent crimes in Malmo and Copenhagen. Saga and Martin hope a teenage runaway could prove to be the witness who gives them a vital break in the case. Then, once that's all done and dust, Copenhagen is up in arms following a court case in which a group of police officers who beat an immigrant to death are found innocent. One of the accused officers is kidnapped from his home and is found by the dead immigrant's brother, chained up in his basement. Will he forgive or take revenge on his brother's killer? Here, the murderer wants to draw attention to the fourth truth, namely the failure of the state's integration policy. For the first time Saga and the killer are in contact with each other. Scandinavian crime drama, in Danish and Swedish, starring Sofia Helin, Kim Bodnia, Ellen Hillingso, Emil Birk Hartmann, Christian Hillborg, Dag Malmberg and the fantastically named Fanny Ketter. stop sniggering it that back, it's the lasses name, she can't help it.

Today sees the FA Cup Final between Moscow Chelski FC v Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws. The kick-off is at 5.15 and, if it should happen to go to extra time and penalties then boy, oh boy, is that going to royally screw up ITV's carefully laid plans for starting Britain's Got Talent at 8:45 just after The Voice has finished. So, here's hoping that happens, then. Wembley Stadium is the setting for the one hundred and thirty first staging of what was once the single most important day of the footballing calender but is, sadly, now just another Saturday - as the Blues lock horns with the Reds. Moscow Chelski go into this clash as the slight favourites, having lifted this trophy in three of the last five seasons and thrashed local rivals Happy Harry's Hapless Hotshots 5-1 in their semi-final. However, sour-faced drag Kenny Dalglish's men enjoyed a hard-fought victory over neighbours Everton in the last four and have defeated the Londoners twice at Stamford Bridge this term, winning 2-1 in the Premier League in November and then prevailing 2-0 later that month in the League Cup. Presented by grumpy, greedy Breakfast TV flop Adrian Chiles, with commentary by Clive Tyldesley and Andy 'You! Know! Nothing!' Townsend, and analysis by scary Roy Keane, nowhere-near-as-funny-as-he-thinks-he-is Gordon Strachan and dull-as-dishwater Gareth Southgate. Subsequent programmes subject to change. And, almost certainly will. Much to the chagrin of Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads.

Sunday 6 May
Planet Earth: Live - 7:50 BBC1 - is, as you'll know if you were watching the presenters on The ONE Show earlier in the week, dear blog reader, something really rather ambitious. Richard Hammond and Julia Bradbury host this three-week event following the real-time stories of young animals as they try to survive through the most challenging and critical moments of their lives. Richard begins with reports on the lions and elephants in Kenya, while in North America, Julia is based in Minnesota and watches bears, whales and otters. There are also updates on the fates of other animals around the globe, including meerkats and monkeys. Experts and cameramen/women from the award-winning BBC Natural History Unit combine the spectacular cinematography of Frozen Planet with the live techniques of Big Cat Live and Springwatch to follow real-life animal dramas from around the globe throughout May - a critical time for many of the Earth's young animals.
From baby elephants in Kenya, black bears in Minnesota, macaque monkeys in Sri Lanka, grey whales in the Pacific to the lions of the Masaai Mara, the lives of many wild youngsters hang in the balance. Expect the unexpected as nature writes the script. If the trailer is anything to go by, it'll be stunning. Continues Wednesday.

Harry is called to Budapest by Hungarian human rights lawyer Anna Sandor to perform a second post-mortem on the body of a drowned prostitute in the first episode of the latest two-part Silent Witness, Bloodlines - BBC1 - 9:00. He begins to help his lover investigate the suspicious death, but finds himself implicated in her murder when she is killed in her bed. The pathologist calls on Leo for help as he is forced to retreat underground while continuing to work on the case. Continues tomorrow.

Brody makes his final preparations to die for his country, claiming the vice-president is a domestic threat to the US in the dramatic final episode of the first series of Homeland - Channel Four 9:00. As he does so, his fugitive fellow marine Walker is setting up his rifle across the road from where the policy summit is taking place. Carrie is confined to bed after her betrayal and sacking - but when she finally realises what is happening, she convinces Virgil to drive her to the scene, hoping she won't be too late. Feature-length conclusion of the thriller, starring Claire Danes, Damian Lewis, Morena Baccarin, Mandy Patinkin and David Harewood. Worry not, dear blog reader, it will be back later in the year in the US and, probably, early in 2013 over here.

McGarrett's sister (played by wet as a slap in the mush with a haddock Taryn Manning) is arrested for smuggling blood diamonds worth $20million in the latest episode of Hawaii Five-0, Kalele - Sky One 9:00. This, obviously, prompts big-rock-hard Steve (Alex O’Loughlin) to get a massive chimney on and to seek help in the setting up of a sting operation from an ex-con, who served thirty years in prison for a similar offence. Guest starring the great Ed Asner, who reprises a role he played in the original series back in 1975.

Monday 7 May
Mark Evans and Anita Rani explore the public's changing attitudes toward urban foxes, and the creatures' interaction with household pets in Foxes Live: Wild in the City - Channel Four 8:00. Mark investigates the case of a chihuahua that required stitches after being attacked, and a pet shop owner who became so fond of one fox, he decided to give it a home, complete with TV, sofa, bed and bathroom.

Meanwhile, speaking of wildlife cropping up in the most unexpected of places, Wor Robson Green heads to Texas, where he hopes to catch alligator gar - the second biggest freshwater fish in North America in Robson's Extreme Fishing Challenge - Channel Five 9:00. Later, he travels to the Gulf of Mexico to try to net a higher value of shrimp than the locals, before taking to the beach on the lookout for sharks. Robson ends his Texan journey by competing against an ex-US Navy rescue diver who has become a local fishing legend.

From one cheeky chappie doon Th' Bigg Market, to two more. Ant and Dec host the second of the live semi-finals of Britain's Got Talent - ITV 7:30 - in which another nine acts compete to impress the judges and secure the all-important viewers' vote in a bid to win one of the two places in Saturday's final. Tonight's winners will find themselves one step closer to an appearance at The Royal Variety Performance and a cash prize of five hundred thousand knicker.
Tonight sees the final episode of the excellent The King & the Playwright: A Jacobean History - BBC4 9:00. James Shapiro - with his relaxed, easy, engaging presentation style, compares the legacies of William Shakespeare and James I, and examines how the playwright continued to experiment and react to the troubled Jacobean world around him in his later plays, such as The Winter's Tale and one of his final - and greatest - works, The Tempest. This has been a real corker and a jewel in the crown of the Beeb's loosely-connected Shakespeare season.

Tuesday 8 May
New consultant Serena Campbell arrives on Keller and Malick's predictions come true when she ends up clashing with Ric in Holby City - BBC1 8:00. Tara becomes the target of Jac's anger when she interferes in her treatment of a difficult patient, and Eddi tries to project a nonchalant air following her kiss with Luc, but her efforts to appear laid-back place her at risk of seeming unprofessional.

Reports of a shooting at a retired military captain's home lead to the discovery of unusual shell cases but no body, suggesting the victim was cut apart by bullets to make it easier to dispose of the remains in a terrific episode of CSI (Zippered) - Channel Five 9:00. The officers learn a 'super gun' was used in the murder and when another similar incident is reported, they come face-to-face with an arms dealer selling one hundred and forty four of the weapons that were stolen from Pakistan. Crime drama, starring Ted Danson and Marg Helgenberger. With guest appearances from Annabeth Gish (The X-Files and The West Wing) and Titus Welliver (Lost's The Man in Black).
First Adam Curtis, in All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace, demolished the long-held idea of the 'ecosystem.' Now it's Unnatural Histories' turn to poke holes in the theory that the Amazon has been 'destroyed' by Western diseases - BBC4 9:00. One by-product of Amazonian deforestation has been the chance it has given archaeologists to see evidence of sophisticated habitation going back thousands of years. Meanwhile, the discovery of fertile 'black earth' throughout a region where most soil is very poor also points to centuries of well-managed agricultural systems. Evidence of ancient man-made structures, including entire cities, hidden for centuries deep in what was previously believed to be untouched rain forest, could change perceptions of the region as a natural wilderness. Archaeologists are also discovering highly fertile soils that suggest sophisticated agriculture was present in much of the Amazon basin. Narrated by Deborah MacLaren. Last in the current series.

More Sex Please, We're British - Channel Four 10:00 - is a documentary shedding light on Britain's thriving sex-toy industry. One which is estimated to be worth in excess of two hundred and fifty million smackers. Oh, hang on, a minute. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self ought, really, to rephrase that. Two hundred and fifty million quid. 'Smackers' is probably a somewhat wholly inappropriate word to use in a sentence about sex toys, I'd've thought. Anyway, where we we? Oh yes. The film goes behind the scenes at Lovehoney, one of the nation's leading 'online erotic retailers', to discover how founders Neal Slateford and Richard Longhurst set up a seventy-strong team to provide people around the UK with everything they never knew they wanted for sex - from sexy lingerie to adult toys and literature and games - but were afraid to ask for.

Wednesday 9 May
Former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan explores the challenges which sportspersons face once their careers are over in Sporting Heroes: After the Final Whistle - BBC1 10:45. He meets 1980s boxing champion Herol Graham, who struggled to cope and contemplated suicide, and ex-footballer Tony Adams who compares football to a drug which he cannot give up. Featuring contributions from tennis player John McEnroe, Open golf winner Darren Clarke, retired Olympic badminton player Gail Emms, one-time rugby union prop Matt Hampson and former world heavyweight champion and successful businessman George Foreman.

Edward VIII: The Plot to Topple a King - Channel Four 9:00 - is an exploration of former archbishop of Canterbury Cosmo Gordon Lang's bid to remove the monarch on the grounds that his love for the twice-divorced American Wallis Simpson 'made a mockery of the Crown.' Lang worked with Geoffrey Dawson, editor of The Times, and other establishment figures to bring pressure on the prime minister, Stanley Baldwin, to force an abdication, but his public criticism of Edward eventually backfired and his efforts to make the country a more religious place were unsuccessful. Documentary featuring dramatic reconstructions with one of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's favourite actors, David Calder.

In the latest of BBC4's acclaimed Parkinson compilations - 11:00 - the chat show host recalls memorable moments from his encounters with Peter Cook, one of the most acclaimed British humorists of the Twentieth Century and, quite frankly in the opinion of yer actual Keith Telly Topping, the funniest man this country has, quite possibly, ever produced. A man who, in the week that he was named as 'Britian's Greatest Living Englishman' by Loaded magazine, had the perfect comedy timing, and genius, to die. Includes contributions from Cook's long-time comedy partner Dudley Moore.
The team investigates the murder of a popular hairdresser in a new episode of the excellent Bones, The Don't In The Do - Sky Atlantic 9:00. Lab intern Vaziri makes a breakthrough with the blue hair dye found on the body, providing the detectives with enough evidence to raid the salon where the victim worked. There, they uncover a secret drug problem and that learn jealousy is a possible motive. Meanwhile, Booth struggles to understand Brennan's complex post-natal emotions. With Emily Deschanel, David Boreanaz, Tom Thyne, Michaela Conlin, Tamara Taylor and John Francis Daley.

Thursday 10 May
Phil Spencer: Secret Agent - Channel Four 8:00 - is a new series in which the Location, Location, Location presenter escapes from the withering glower of his usual oppo, Kirstie, for a few weeks and travels across the country. To escape. From Bromley to Birmingham, and Shropshire to south Manchester, he embarks on a mission to help get Britain's property market moving again, seeking potential buyers for the hardest-to-sell homes. Well, at least, that's what he says he's up to.

World's Scariest Weather - Channel Four 8:00 - looks at some of the most violent and dangerous weather ever caught on camera, from heavy storms to flash floods and world-shaking events. Footage shows someone being lifted into the air by a tornado that is causing devastation in America, and a heatwave leads to terrifying wildfires in Russia. A mother with three kids in the back of her car is plunged into darkness as a dust storm hits Phoenix, Arizona, and a British teacher watches as the tsunami of March 2011 washes away his home in northern Japan.

The Two Thousand Year Old Computer - BBC4 9:00 - follows the efforts of a team of international scientists to solve the mysteries of the Antikythera Mechanism. The two thousand-year-old device was recovered from a Roman shipwreck off the southern coast of Greece in 1901, and is believed to be the world's oldest computer. The object appears to be designed to predict solar eclipses, and according to recent findings, calculate the timing of the ancient Olympics.

If you can't find anything else to your tastes on TV tonight then you could do a hell of a lot worst than Qi XL - Dave 9:00. It's a particularly memorable episode, the 2099 Christmas special featuring David Tennant, Bill Bailey and Lee Mack. They join regular panellist Alan Davies to answer questions with a groovy theme, with points awarded for the answers host Stephen Fry finds most interesting. Do not miss, under any circumstances, the discussion about 'Big Graeme Osmond', the half-crazed brother whom the rest of the Osmonds keep locked in the attic till he writes another song like 'Crazy Horses'! Possibly the funniest five minutes of television in the last decade.
Friday 11 May
And so we return to BBC1 comedy Friday with the usual trio - Would I Like To You (8:30), Have I Got News For You (9:00) and Not Going Out (9:30). Quality entertainment, dear blog reader. Tonight also sees the final of the latest series of Mastermind - 7:30 BBC2.

And so to the news: Cheryl Cole has denied reports that she finds Wee Shughie McFee the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads "creepy". Odious, wretched, horrible, mean-spirited, nasty, full-of-his-own-importance, narcissistic to the point of nausea and the sort of person who would bottle your piss and sell it if he thought he'd get a good price, perhaps.
But, definitely not creepy.

EastEnders has won the top prize at the British Soap Awards after being named best British soap. The BBC1 show claimed seven awards in total at the single most pointless awards ceremony in the history of such things, the same number as ITV rival Coronation Street. Emmerdale took three prizes including 'most spectacular scene of the year.' Alison King, Coronation Street's Carla Connor, took the best actress award for playing a factory owner raped by her fiance. She said: 'It's been hard.' we're sure it has. 'It's been really emotional, I got a lot of letters from people who could relate to the story.' Katherine Kelly, who played Becky McDonald in Coronation Street, took the award for best exit. Her departure for Barbados was also named best single episode. For the second year in a row, best actor went to Emmerdale's Danny Miller, who plays Aaron Livesy.

The Ministry of Defence is considering placing surface-to-air missiles on residential flats during the Olympics. An East London estate, where seven hundred people live, has received leaflets saying a 'Higher Velocity Missile system' could be placed on a water tower. A spokesman claimed that the MoD had not yet decided whether to deploy ground based air defence systems during the event. But, estate resident Brian Whelan said that firing the missiles 'would shower debris across the east end of London.' Caused six pounds twenty seven pee's worth of damage. He said: 'At first I thought it was a hoax. I can't see what purpose high-velocity missiles could serve over a crowded area like Tower Hamlets. They say they'll only use them as a last resort, but ... you'd shower debris across the east end of London by firing these missiles.' Whelan, who claims to have 'seen soldiers carrying a crate into the building', added that his property management company put up posters and gave out the leaflets on Saturday. He continued: 'They are going to have a test run next week, putting high velocity missiles on the roof just above our apartment and on the back of it they're stationing police and military in the tower of the building for two months. [The leaflet] says there will be ten officers plus police present twenty four/seven.' Which will, presumably, mean that you'll be living in the safest street in Britain, mate. So, you know, up side and all that. Which, frankly, living in gaff like Tower Hamlets, you'd've thought he'd be glad of. The leaflet states that members of the Armed Forces will be at the location for a military exercise between 2 and 7 May. It goes on to say there will be a 'major national exercise' from 2 to 10 May to test the Armed Forces' capabilities for providing security during the Olympics. The document adds that if the government decides to use the missiles during the Games, the soldiers could be 'operationally deployed for a period of up to two months this summer.' The weapon being considered is a High Velocity Missile system, which would be based on the Lexington Building Water Tower. The tower contains residential flats. The MoD says in the leaflet that the missiles will not pose a hazard to residents and 'will only be authorised for active use following specific orders from the highest levels of government in response to a confirmed and extreme security threat.' The document states: 'Having a twenty four/seven Armed Forces and police presence will improve your local security and will not make you a target for terrorists.' It forgets to add, 'we hope.' 'The location has been chosen as it is situated close to the Olympic Park and offers an excellent view of the surrounding area and the entire sky above the Olympic Park. The top of the tower also offers a flat, uncluttered and safe area from which to operate.' The Army website claims that the HVM system is 'designed to counter threats from very high performance, low-flying aircraft.' It says the missile travels at more than 'three times the speed of sound', using 'a system of three dart-like projectiles to allow multiple hits on the target.' The missiles can be fired from the shoulder, from a lightweight multiple launcher or from armoured vehicles. A MoD spokesman said: 'As announced before Christmas, ground-based air defence systems [or, you know, missiles!]could be deployed as part of a multi-layered air security plan for the Olympics, including fast jets and helicopters, which will protect the skies over London during the Games. Based on military advice we have identified a number of sites and, alongside colleagues from the Metropolitan Police, are talking to local authorities and relevant landowners to help minimise the impact of any temporary deployments. As part of our ongoing planning, we can confirm site evaluations have taken place.' The MoD has previously said it was considering plans to install surface-to-air missiles in south-east London at Blackheath and Shooters Hill during the Olympics.

Despite a very unseemly bit of crass crowing on Twitter - inaccurate as it turned out - Piers Morgan's Life Stories couldn't quite overtake Have I Got News For You on Friday's overnight ratings and was beaten for the third time in three weeks. Albeit only just this time. The CNN anchor and odious twat-faced horrorshow (and drag)'s interview with Carol Vorderman was watched by 4.43m sad, crushed victims of society on ITV in the 9pm hour with a further two hundred thousand on +1. Have I Got News For You, meanwhile, averaged 4.67m for BBC1 between 9pm and 9.30pm, a drop of over six hundred thousand viewers week-on-week but still more than the odious, wretched, vile, oily lump of slime Morgan could manage. Which is always nice. Lee Mack's Not Going Out maintained a respectable 4.06m figure at 9.30pm, then The Graham Norton Show entertained 3.3m from 10.35pm. Earlier, Would I Lie To You? had an audience of 3.15m at 8.30pm, while ITV's 8pm filler Poms and Paradise picked up just 2.94m. Channel Four's new 'spring comedy' night made a slow start: Eight Out Of Ten Cats kicked off its new series with 1.11m at 9pm (and a further two hundred thousand on +1), after which 1.05m watched the new sketch show Very Important People at 9.30pm. How many of them will still be watching the second, we'll let you know next week. Anchoring the 10pm slot, Alan Carr: Chatty Man attracted a healthy 1.65m and two hundred and twenty three thousand more punters on timeshift, the network's highest audience of the night, by a distance. BBC2 fared much better overall, with the Mastermind (1.84m) and Gardeners' World (1.98m) combination coming up trumps in the 8pm hour. The excellent John Le Mesurier documentary It's All Been Rather Lovely was seen by 2.2m at 9pm, before the first new episode of Qi since Christmas was watched by 2.46m at 10pm. On Saturday night, after three weeks of coming second, Britian's Got Talent finally climbed back to the top of the overnight ratings jungle with 9.67m viewers for their latest episode. The peak audience was 10.7m.. The Voice's overnight audience was 9.33m, with a peak audience of 10.3m. So, as we said last week, they're both continuing to do well. Elsewhere ITV had something of a genuine horrorshow of a night, with Keith Lemon's Lemonaid continuing to flop bigger than a big flopping thing with an audience of just 2.39m (and, being beaten in the slot by BBC1's repeat of a two year old My Family episode!) You've Been Framed! (2.67m) and The Cube (2.71m) both lost also their slots. On BBC1 The National Lottery: In It To Win It (4.57m) and Casualty (4.57m) both performed up to their usual standards. Overall BBC1 easily won primetime with 28.5 per cent of the audience share. ITV had 19.5 per cent. The Bridge continued to do well on BBC4 with seven hundred and eighty seven thousand and six hundred and eighty three thousand viewers for Saturday night's two episodes, respectively.

A woman in Poland is facing a lengthy stretch in pokey after she surgically removed all thirty two of her ex-boyfriend's teeth. Dentist Anna Mackowiak had been recently dumped by Marek Olszewski, who then made a - perhaps, some would argue, somewhat unwise - appointment with her to get a toothache investigated. Personally, I might've changed my dentist in such circumstances. NDTV reports that Mackowiak allegedly gave Olszewski an anaesthetic, then surgically removed all of his teeth. She then wrapped his head in bandages, so that he wouldn't immediately notice the difference. 'I tried to be professional and detach myself from my emotions,' Mackowiak allegedly told reporters. 'But when I saw him lying there I just thought, "What a bastard."' Olszewski said that he could tell something was wrong when he awoke, but Mackowiak assured him that he couldn't feel his teeth because of the anaesthetic. He said: 'I didn't have any reason to doubt her.' Well, apart from your lack of teeth, obviously. 'I thought she was a professional. But when I got home I looked in the mirror and I couldn't fucking believe it. The bitch had emptied my mouth.' Mackowiak is under investigation for medical malpractice and abusing the trust of a patient, for which she could face three years in jail.

Here's today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader. A proper outrageous dub-reggae corker from yer actual Lee Scrath Perry, the Upsetter his very self. Eyrie, eyrie. Murda.

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