Monday, May 28, 2012

She Is The Torch And She Is The Theme

It was another successful night for the BBC at the 2012 BAFTAs on Sunday, the corporation winning fourteen out of the twenty four awards, although they couldn't quite manage to match last year's fifteen. It was also a triumph for ITV's Appropriate Adult - the drama about the relationship between serial killer Fred West and Janet Leach. Which, if only for the fact that it's a slap in the face of the odious Daily Scum Mail which kicked up such a load of risible prejudicial bollocks about the drama before before and after it was broadcast, was a jolly good thing. Appropriate Adult took three awards for its stars Dominic West, Emily Watson and Monica Dolan. The actor, who played Fred West in the drama, said the programme 'required incredible sensitivity and judgment.' Watson, who collected best actress, played the volunteer companion to West, Janet Leach. She said: 'It was such a disturbing place to go. In my speech I was very overwhelmed I forgot to thank Janet Leach, she gave very generously to us. The public perception of the West case is a tabloid-driven view and then I read the script and it was a very intelligent piece full of integrity. It's a deep abyss right in the middle our our society.' Appropriate Adult also saw Monica Dolan win best supporting actress for her astonishing portrayal of a foul-mouthed Rosemary West. But it lost out in the best mini-series category to This is England '88, the third of Shane Meadows' dramas about the lives of a group of friends on a Sheffield estate. The Fades, a supernatural drama broadcast on BBC3 last year, won best drama series. It was revealed in April that it has not been recommissioned. The central premise was that dead people not allowed into heaven could come back to earth as vengeful beings. The cast included Daniel Kaluuya, Johnny Harris and Daniela Nardini. 'A couple of years ago we were thrilled to even get a commission for a show that was this ambitious,' said producer Caroline Skinner backstage. 'Obviously we would have loved to do several series, and we had ideas for at least another two when we were making it.' She said fans had taken their show to their hearts and the BAFTA win did not feel like a 'bittersweet' victory. The night was hosted by the Irish comic Dara O'Briain, who himself lost out on the award for Best Entertainment Performance which went to The Graham Norton Show. O'Briain - a genial and witty host who just about made up for the rambling nonsense, lame comedy and overacting that came from some of those presenting awards - joked he could not begrudge the Eurovision Song Contest coverage host his award, 'because he's spent the last twenty four hours comforting Engelbert Humperdinck.' O'Briain also concluded proceedings by noting that it wasn't just the winners we should be congratulating but also those nominated who did not win 'because your work was just as good and it's just politics!' Co-written by Jack Thorne, This is England '88 beat Appropriate Adult, Channel Four's Top Boy and BBC2's The Crimson Petal and the White. The hard-hitting Channel Four drama stars Thomas Turgoose as Shaun, Vicky McClure as Lol and Joe Gilgun as Woody. 'This is England started out as my story, the character of Shaun was me in a lot of ways,' said Meadows. He said the win was all the more exciting as it came in the same week as The Stone Roses reunion concert in Warrington. 'The Stone Roses are my all-time favourite band,' confessed Meadows. 'I thought there's no way we can top seeing The Stone Roses coming back after fifteen years - and somehow it happened.' The film-maker is currently making a documentary about The Roses, and the band will figure in Meadows' final sequel This is England '90, about 'the Hacienda and Madchester.' Meadows added: 'Skinhead culture was something I attached myself to as an eleven-year-old boy, but The Stone Roses I loved, so This is England '90 is me signing off with something that I truly loved.' Coronation Street won the best soap and continuing drama award, beating last year's winner EastEnders. 'It's the big one,' said William Roache, 'and we feel we deserved it, after all the work that we did on the fiftieth anniversary and I didn't feel that we got the just desserts for that.' Coronation Street producer Phil Collinson said the episode judged by BAFTA had focused on the aftermath of Carla Connor's rape by her fiance Frank Foster. 'We followed what happens after a rape is reported. It was a different, bold and unusual episode for Coronation Street and I'm really proud of it,' he said. Andrew Scott won the best supporting actor award for his role as Jim Moriarty in Sherlock. In winning the award he beat his co-star Martin Freeman, who had won it last year. Speaking before the ceremony, Benedict Cumberbatch - who himself lost out for the second year running on the leading actor award (Dominic West noted that even his sister had been rotting for Benedict!) - said that he was 'keeping his fingers crossed for both Andrew and Martin,' but added 'I hope Andrew gets to share the glory that Martin had last year.' Benny and Matt Smith also appeared as a tremendous double act - albeit looking uncannily, as Scunny Steve Drayton noted, like a cross between Sparks and a pair of pox doctor's clerks! - in presenting the Dennis Potter writer's award to their boss of Sherlock and Doctor Who, The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He).
The Great British Bake Off, which pits amateur cooks against each other, won the best feature category. Presenter Mel Giedroyc said backstage: 'We never realised there could be such drama in a quiche. It's a gentle show - it's not about trauma and back-stories.' The best Sport and Live Event award went to the team behind BBC1's coverage of the Royal Wedding and the Specialist Factual award went to Channel Four's Mummifying Alan: Egypt's Last Secret. Newsreader Kate Silverton presented the Single Documentary award to BBC2's Terry Pratchett: Choosing To Die - the best-selling author's examination of the tricky subject of euthanasia, another one that various lice tabloid newspapers kicked up a stink about sight-unseen. Pratchett, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, thanked the BBC for 'allowing us to tackle this rather strange subject for a documentary.' The comedy performance awards went to Jennifer Saunders for Absolutely Fabulous – her first BAFTA for the show since 1992 - and Darren Boyd for Spy. The International category was won - thoroughly deservedly - by the superior Danish political drama Borgen, shown on BBC4, which beat The Killing, US comedy Modern Family and Australian drama The Slap. 'We owe a lot to The Killing,' said Borgen creator Adam Price. 'They really paved the way everywhere and made people form everywhere notice the drama we are doing. We are on a wave right now.' BBC3 won the best factual series category with Our War. New category Reality and Constructed Factual was won by The Young Apprentice. BBC1's Mrs Brown's Boys won the Situation Comedy category, beating competition including Rev and Fresh Meat. Which, at least, allowed the producers of the the award ceremony in include a shot of loser Jack Whitehall wallowing in his loserdom. Accepting the award from Philip and Robert Glenister (who claimed it was the first time they'd ever been on stage together), Brendan O'Carroll, said: 'All we wanted to do was make people laugh and it seems to have worked.' O'Carroll, who plays the loud Irish matriarch Agnes Brown, said he hadn't expected to win. 'I didn't think I'd win a raffle - I was expecting to be clapping for someone else.' He recalled how the character started out as a five-minute slot on Irish radio in 1992. 'We got paid fifty T-shirts a week from the radio station which we sold at the gigs. That's how we financed ourselves. It's taken them twenty years to get the joke.' After the success of the TV series, a film is in the pipeline, due to shoot in 2013. O'Carroll said not to expect any foreign locations or Hollywood guest stars. 'Having said that, if Eddie Murphy wants to be in it, who's going to stop him? He can play my sister,' he laughed. Mrs Brown's Boys, of course, was yet another show that provoked feigned outrage from toerag tabloids for its strong language. The last award of the night was the BAFTA Fellowship, given to the veteran Australian artist, singer and entertainer Rolf Harris. Presenting him with the award, actor Robert Lindsay said that Harris was 'a national British treasure' and introduced a film of tributes from big names including Russell Crowe. Harris came on stage to a standing ovation, brandished his award and joked: 'I was going to say "Can you tell what it is yet?", but perhaps I won't. How amazing is it to discover what you love doing most can become your career, if you've been as lucky as I have been.' Harris told BBC News: 'It's unbelievable for a start, it's very humbling and thrilling. I can't tell you how exciting it was when they asked if I would accept the award.' Receiving his award, Steven Moffat said he owed a great deal to 'the two best things the British have ever given to the world: Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who. Of course the work, and the people I get to work with, has always been all the reward I need – a fact I'm very glad that BAFTA has disregarded.' He also paid tribute to his colleague and wife, Sue Vertue, who he said was 'the best and wisest women I have ever married.' Cumberbatch described Moffat as 'a word machine,' saying: 'His name is a byword for quality family entertainment,' while Smith said Moffat was 'brilliantly cantankerous.' Which yer actual Keith Telly Topping can confirmed from his handful of meetings with Moff over the years, he is. He's also a warm, intelligent, funny man and probably the greatest screenwriter this country has produced in the last thirty years. And now, he's got a BAFTA to go with his other three BAFTAs. Stick that up yer Pandorica, The Special People. Speaking backstage Moffat also said that he was delighted Andrew Scott had won the best supporting actor award. 'In the first series he was only Moriarty in the last scene, and he became a star from the last scene. It takes an extraordinary powerful actor to do that.'
Tremendous socks y'got on there, Smudger!

The BBC has reported that insurance market Lloyd's of London is preparing 'contingency plans' for the possibility of the euro collapsing. With Greece facing new elections in June and anti-bailout feelings high, there are fears that Athens may be forced to exit the eurozone. In a Sunday Torygraph interview, chief executive Richard Ward said Lloyd's needs to 'prepare for that eventuality.' He said that Lloyd's would settle claims using multiple currencies. Ward is one of the first bosses of a large UK business to admit that he is planning for the end of the euro. Lloyd's of London is a market in which syndicates meet brokers and agree to take on particular risks. Greece has implemented tough austerity measures in return for two multi-billion-euro bailouts, but five years of recession has seen the Greek people become increasingly opposed to pro-austerity politicians. Many analysts think that Greece may abandon the austerity measures and be forced out of the euro if the leftist bloc Syriza, which came second in Greece's 6 May election, wins on 17 June. This could potentially trigger a run on banks not only in Greece but in other eurozone nations. 'We've got multi-currency functionality and we would switch to multi-currency settlement if the Greeks abandoned the euro and started using the drachma again,' Ward told the newspaper. 'I don't think that if Greece exited the euro it would lead to the collapse of the eurozone, but what we need to do is prepare for that eventuality.' He added: 'I'm quite worried about Europe.' In March, Lloyd's announced a loss of five hundred and sixteen million quid for 2011, saying it was its worst year for catastrophe claims such as the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the earthquake in New Zealand. Ward's comments come as more and more politicians and business leaders talk of a Greek exit. In an interview with the Gruniad Morning Star, the head of the International Monetary Fund urged Greeks to pay their taxes. Christine Lagarde suggested it was 'payback time' for Greece. In addition to a Greek exit, investors are also worried about what would happen if other ailing economies like Spain and Italy followed suit. On Friday, Spain's Bankia said it needed nineteen billion euros more from the government - the biggest bailout ever - as it and fellow regional banks struggle under a mountain of bad property debt. Stocks have fallen over the past few weeks while on Friday the euro tumbled to under $1.25 for the first time since July 2010.

This is, incidentally, a really good piece on the BBC website concerning the last time this sort of Pan-Continental crisis occurred. 410AD!

The Eurovision Song Contest proved a popular destination for viewers on Saturday night, overnight figures suggest. Featuring Engelbert Humperdinck flopping for Britain (and Jedward failing for Ireland as an added bonus), the two hundred and seventy-minute marathon, presented with plenty of wit and charm, as usual, by Graham Norton, commanded an average audience of 7.47m on BBC1 between 8pm and 11.30pm. While not able to match last year's eleven-year high, this was a much higher figure than 2010. Eurovision peaked with an impressive 9.6m punters at 11pm, despite the fact that yer actual Humperdinck was garnering only a tiny proportion of votes and finished second bottom. Some two million stayed up for the 11.45pm repeat of the excellent documentary Bee Gees: In Our Own Time, which was broadcast as a tribute to the late Robin Gibb. However, The Voice dropped to a new low of 4.49m at 6.30pm, although that may at least partly be explained by the early start on what was the hottest day in Britain for almost two years. Interestingly, the programme is currently 'Most Popular' on the BBC iPlayer. Over on ITV, Roy Hodgson's first match as manager of England in a friendly against Norway attracted 4.64m between 7pm and 10pm, managing a peak of 6.6m at 9pm. Channel Four's screening of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers appealed to 1.05m between 6.30pm and 10pm. The Chelsea Flower Show ended with 1.36m, and was BBC2's best-rated programme of the night, while Channel Five's CSI: NY took 1.15m at 10pm. Overall, BBC1 beat ITV in primetime with thirty three per cent against 19.3 per cent of the audience share.

Tony Blair is set to be asked about his friendship with billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch, when he appears at the Leveson Inquiry later. He will be the first of several high profile politicians due to appear this week, including embattled lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Hunt. Claims of a 'pact' between Blair and Murdoch have been previously denied at the inquiry by Lord Mandelson. The inquiry is investigating the link between the media and politicians. Blair was the Labour party leader between 1994 and 2007, and was prime minister from 1997 to 2007, before being succeeded by Gordon Brown. He is reported to have had a close relationship with News Corporation chairman Murdoch, which could form the basis of the scrutiny levelled by the inquiry's barristers. The witness list also shows that Education Secretary Michael Gove, Home Secretary Theresa May, Business Secretary Vince Cable, Justice Secretary Ken Clarke and the vile and odious rascal Hunt are all due to appear before Lord Justice Leveson before 31 May.

Jaz Ellington, Ruth Brown, Max Milner and Becky Hill all exited The Voice on Sunday evening. The four acts received the least amount of viewer votes from their respective teams, and were sent home from the competition. This week saw the first time in which the votes were purely made from the public, with the coaches not allowed to pick their favoured contestants. Max Milner said of his time on The Voice after learning of his elimination: 'I've had the most incredible time, met so many people and learnt so much, getting notes that I've never heard. And I feel like I've kept my integrity throughout it.' Becky Hill also talked about her experience on the show, saying: 'I've learned so much, that everything is reachable - if you wanna go for it, you can. And I've been blessed so much by being able to come here.' The result leaves the final four as Tyler James, Leanne Mitchell, Vince Kidd and Bo Bruce. Kylie Minogue also appeared on the results show, performing her new single 'Timebomb'. And she didn't appear to be miming, unlike some people we could mention.

Cheryl Cole, meanwhile, has denied suggestions that she manipulated Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef from Crossroads while on The X Factor. The Heaton Horror was alleged in Tom Bower's biography Sweet Revenge: The Intimate Life of Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef from Crossroads to have 'played the soulful victim' in order to get her own way with the music mogul and fellow X Factor judge. In the book, Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef from Crossroads is quoted as saying about the pop singer: 'She would come in dressed in her tracksuit and slippers, drop her eyes and play the soulful victim to get around me. She played me. When she walked over, I felt I was the mouse with a beautiful cat.' However, in an interview with the Observer, Cole brushed off any suggestion that she attempted to seduce Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef from Crossroads, joking: 'That's actually really flattering, because if I can seduce him in me tracksuit and slippers, I must have something good. You know, he said the same thing to my face about me manipulating him. I said, "Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef from Crossroads, seriously - you've become so cynical that you think people manipulate you, but I'm not one of those people. Maybe what confuses you is that I don't play with you; you can't buy me." And he said to me, "When I say you manipulate, I mean it in the sincerest form of a compliment. Meaning: you're highly intelligent, and I don't even think you know you're doing it." Sorry, but if I was going to do it, it wouldn't be in me tracksuit bottoms.' The twenty eight-year-old also confirmed reports that she had been approached to write her own autobiography, adding: 'I'm torn. The past ten years have been incredible - the whole of my twenties. That would be amazing to put into words, and go into my thirties with a clean slate. But then I think: I can't be bothered.' Don't forget to include a really detailed chapter about how you beat that woman up in a Guildford nightclub, Wor Cheryl. She dashed any ideas that she would provide any revelations about her relationship with Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef from Crossroads in the book, however. 'I don't know if I've got three hundred words to say on Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef from Crossroads. He might get a footnote if he's lucky,' she said. Cole was criticised by Bower earlier this month as being 'not very intelligent.' She went to the same school as yer actual Keith Telly Topping, Tom, trust me when I tell you Walker Comprehensive did about as much for education as myxomatosis does for the average rabbit.

Alison King and Chris Gascoyne are taking a four month break from Coronation Street. Their departure from the street this summer ties in with the on-going custody battle for Simon. Peter, played by Chris, is currently fighting his ex Leanne (Jane Danson) for custody of Peter’s son, Simon.

Huddersfield Town boss Simon Grayson credited former manager Lee Clark after they were promoted to the Championship. The Terriers beat Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United eight-seven on penalties after one hundred and twenty minutes of stalemate minutes failed to separate the two teams in the play-off final at Wembley. Grayson took over from Clark in February and told BBC Sport: 'Credit goes to Lee Clark because he put most of that team together. We came in with a remit to finish the job off and we've managed to do that.' The former Leeds boss has now guided three teams to promotion from League One having taken Blackpool up via the play-offs in 2007 and sealing automatic promotion with the Elland Road club in 2010. Despite the positive result he admitted he is yet to put his mark on the team: 'This promotion is different. We came in at the end of February so we only had three months to work with the players. There'll be players with us here today that may not be with the club next season and it won't be until then that I stamp my authority on the team.' Blades keeper Steve Simonsen missed the vital penalty for his side to hand victory to the Terriers. Grayson praised United's efforts: 'Sometimes it's written in the stars and you have a bit of luck. How we recovered from missing our first three penalties I'll never know. I feel sorry for Sheffield United because someone had to lose and they're a good team with a good manager. Hopefully they can go up next year.' Reading loanee Sean Morrison was successful in his attempt from the spot, to cap off an impressive display alongside Town skipper Peter Clarke. The Huddersfield boss was unsure whether he would be able to retain the services of the twenty one-year-old centre-half: 'We'll assess the situation with the chairman. He's not our player. He's got a very good partnership with Peter but whether we try and sign him will depend on other availabilities and budgets I have at my disposal.' Personally, the moment that Simonsen missed his kick the first thought that went through yer actual Keith Telly Topping's head was of the ignorant numskull who pulled a knife on yer actual Keith Telly Topping after his beloved (though even then unsellable) Magpies had beaten the Blades in an FA Cup semi-final in 1998. Purely, it would seem, because yer actual Keith Telly Topping happened to be walking the wrong way down a street after the game in which his team had lost. I hope you enjoy another year in division three, pal.

Roy Hodgson's reign as England manager began in Oslo's Ullevaal Stadium with a first win against Norway in thirty two years. Ashley Young's early goal provided the decisive moment of a rather low-key friendly that turned into an audition for several of Hodgson's shadow squad as he formulates his final plans for Euro 2012 after replacing Fabio Capello. England showed early signs of the tactical discipline that will be demanded by Hodgson. And while the performance hardly set pulses racing, it should be remembered that the side that starts the serious action against France in Donestsk on 11 June will not resemble the one on show in Oslo. Hodgson also has Wayne Rooney to call on once he has served a two-match suspension at the start of the tournament - and it is abundantly clear that England will rely as heavily as ever on Rooney's ability to shape the outcome of important games. If Hodgson was looking for early evidence of what he must improve before the tournament gets under way in Poland and Ukraine, it was carelessness in possession - especially in the second half - that will not go unpunished against opposition superior to Norway. Hodgson was able to introduce Arsenal teenager Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for his debut late on as this makeshift England line-up closed out a victory that was solid for the most part without ever threatening to be spectacular. There was also an injury scare for Hodgson as midfielder Gareth Barry, who was substituted after replacing captain Steven Gerrard at the start of the second half, was replaced by Liverpool's Jordan Henderson with seventeen minutes left. Hodgson admitted there would be an early element of experimentation about England's side, with his focus firmly on that opening Euro 2012 meeting with France, perhaps even above getting a victory in Norway. He would still have been looking for encouraging signs, however, especially from striker Andy Carroll. The Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haw forward's presence has taken on increasing importance with Rooney suspended and Danny Welbeck's ankle injury still a source of concern. And Carroll provided a hint of what Hodgson was looking for in the opening minutes as he sent a header wide from Stewart Downing's cross before playing a role in Young's fine individual effort after nine minutes. Carroll played in Young and the Manchester United winger took advantage of desperately flat-footed defending from Fulham's Brede Hangeland and an intelligent decoy run from Gerrard to beat keeper Rune Almenning Jarstein. England's formation was a rigid four-four-two against a Norway side of surprisingly limited ambition and on one of the rare occasions James Milner got in the action he forced a save from Jarstein. Gerrard had been loudly cheered before kick-off as a result of Liverpool's large Norwegian following - but he was being jeered as the villain by the time he ended his forty five-minute appearance after a heavy challenge that resulted in Tom Hogli being replaced by Espen Ruud. The second half was a scrappy affair, not helped by the disruption of substitutions. Oxlade-Chamberlain was given his England debut late on in place of Young, while Henderson came on for Barry. England's failure to retain the ball inevitably encouraged Norwegian pressure and keeper Robert Green needed to be alert to block John Arne Riise's powerful drive at his near post. As the game drew to a muted conclusion, there was even time for Liverpool defender Martin Kelly, who did not make England's stand-by list for Euro 2012, to get his first cap as an eighty seventh-minute substitute. It underlined the experimental nature of this fixture, a fact acknowledged by Hodgson as he began his tenure with victory.

Craig Levein suffered his heaviest defeat as Scotland boss as the USA raced to a 5-1 victory in Florida.  Which was funny. Effing hilarious, so it was. The kick-off was delayed by more than twenty minutes as a record crowd turned up in Jacksonville to see the hosts make a flying start through Landon Donovan. Michael Bradley had the Scots two down after eleven minutes before a Geoff Cameron own-goal halved the deficit. But Donovan struck two more to claim his hat-trick and Jermaine Jones's seventieth minute header completed the rout. The result proved to be ample reward for the majority of the forty four thousand fans as they watched the US make the gulf between the two nations appear far greater than the nineteen places which separate them in the FIFA World Rankings.

The Netherlands played the first of three warm-up matches on home soil in the next week on Saturday evening, but opponents Bulgaria ran out surprise 2-1 winners at the Amsterdam Arena. Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk opted to start with Newcastle's Tim Krul between the posts, the twenty four year-old winning his third senior cap. The home side led 1-0 at the break but Krul was then beaten by a fiftieth minute spot-kick and could do nothing to prevent an injury time winner. Before kick-off, the United 'keeper was confirmed as one of three custodians in the Netherlands squad for Euro 2012 and with AS Roma's Maarten Stekelenburg struggling for fitness, Krul has been chosen to start against Bulgaria ahead of Swansea City's Michel Vorm.

England blew away the West Indies top order in the late Sunday sunshine to take an unshakeable stranglehold on the second Test and the series. James Anderson bowled Kieran Powell for just one in his second over and had Adrian Barath LBW in his third to leave the tourists reeling. Stuart Broad then took the key wicket for Shivnarine Chanderpaul for eleven before Tim Bresnan trapped Darren Bravo, Denesh Ramdin and Kirk Edwards LBW as West Indies crashed to sixty one for six by the close of day three, a lead of just three runs. It was a desperate display of batting after hard work and perseverance from the bowlers had given West Indies a real chance in the match. But their dramatic collapse in the last session means England are almost certain to wrap up the win on Monday, and with it the three-match series. The West Indies top four has looked dreadfully vulnerable throughout the tour but this was wasteful in the extreme, undoing all the good work of Kemar Roach and Ravi Rampaul earlier in the day. On a pitch showing little sign of deterioration, the underdogs would have been delighted to take England's remaining eight wickets for one hundred and sixty nine runs after Andrew Strauss and Kevin Pietersen resumed on one hundred and two and seventy two respectively. Pietersen was the first to go, LBW for eighty playing around a full one from Rampaul that reversed a little. The crowd's disappointment was alleviated by some brisk strokeplay from Ian Bell before he was beaten for pace by a skiddy, snaking delivery from Roach and given out LBW on referral for twenty two. Roach, plagued by no-balls on Saturday, was working up a genuine head of steam, roughing up new batsman Jonny Bairstow and finding bounce and pace to keep Strauss watchful. Bairstow never looked comfortable against the short ball and it was no surprise when he fended another rapid one to mid-on off the leading edge to depart for just four. The young Yorkshireman had come into the Test team with a burgeoning reputation and glowing references from several sage judges, and England will hope these early frailties against short-pitched bowling can be eliminated by batting coach Graham Gooch. Darren Sammy had already enjoyed one of his better Tests after his maiden century in the first innings. It got even better for the West Indies captain before lunch when he bowled a cavalier Matt Prior via inside edge for sixteen to leave England three hundred and thirty six for six, still thirty four in arrears, and after Strauss had crashed away a series of meaty drives, had his opposite number caught behind for one hundred and forty one. Once again England's tail came good. Tim Bresnan cut and drove with relish - Stuart Broad by comparison was more watchful - and fifty three precious runs were added for the eighth wicket. England's lead was up to forty six when Broad, on twenty five, top-edged a sweep from off-spinner Shane Shillingford to Sammy at slip. Although Graeme Swann and Jimmy Anderson went soon after to Marlon Samuels, the West Indies capitulation began almost immediately. If the bowling was tight and aggressive, the shot selection was awful and the footwork poor. Powell aimed an expansive drive at one that he should have left to be bowled off the inside edge, Barath barely moved from his crease and Bravo for some reason threw away a referral on a LBW that was taking out middle stump. Ramdin was pinned in front by another unerring off-cutter from the rampant Bresnan, and Kirk Edwards - absent from the ground for much of the day with flu - lasted just two hapless balls before falling the same way. Bresnan will resume on Monday with figures of three for ten from six overs and Anderson two for twelve off seven, and it will take another near-miraculous partnership from first-innings centurions Samuels and Sammy to deny England the win that will give them an unassailable two-nil lead in the series.

Mark Webber won the Monaco GP for the second time in three years from Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso. The Red Bull driver led from the start and controlled the race, measuring his pace to ensure he stayed ahead. McLaren's Lewis Hamilton ran third in the early laps but lost out to Ferrari's Alonso and Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel on strategy. His McLaren team-mate Jenson Button had a horrible race, running with middle-markers after a poor start and retiring after a spin near to the end whilst in twelfth place. The top six, completed by Ferrari's Felipe Massa, ran nose to tail in a tense last ten laps, enlivened by intermittent light rain. But all kept their cool on the tricky and tight street circuit and there were no changes before the flag. Webber's victory makes this the first Formula 1 season in history to feature six different winners in the first six races. 'I'm feeling incredible,' said the Australian. 'It was an interesting race. It was reasonably straight forward at start, getting the gap and managing super-softs. Then it was matter of trying to get back into gap on track after the stops.' The result moves Alonso into the world championship lead, three points ahead of Vettel and Webber, who is classified third on results count-back. Hamilton drops from third to fourth, thirteen points adrift of the Ferrari driver. Webber shrugged off his reputation for poor starts by leading into the first corner, followed by Mercedes' Rosberg, Hamilton and Alonso. Up front, Webber pulled out a lead of about two seconds and controlled that gap, with Rosberg a similar margin ahead of Hamilton. Alonso initially dropped back a little from Hamilton but he was merely saving his tyres so he could use their grip closer to the pit stops. The strategy paid off, as when Webber and Hamilton stopped on lap twenty nine, two laps after Rosberg, Alonso stayed out for one more lap, on which he put in the two fastest sectors of the race to that point. That allowed him to emerge ahead of Hamilton. The leaders' stops left Vettel, who had started ninth, in the lead. The world champion had started on the more durable 'soft' tyres as opposed to the 'super-softs' on the drivers at the front of the grid. And his race was made by leaping up to sixth place at the start as he took to the shorter escape road at the first corner to avoid an accident triggered by Lotus's Romain Grosjean spinning after he drove into Michael Schumacher's Mercedes. Race stewards investigated Vettel's move, which was echoed by other drivers, but decided to take no action. Once he was running at the front, Vettel pulled out enough of a lead to enable him to stop on lap forty six and rejoin ahead of Hamilton - he needed to chop across the McLaren on the way up the hill after the first corner Sainte Devote to consolidate his position. From that point on, the top six stayed in close contact, nervously watching the skies for the threatening rain, and driving accordingly when it did start to fall. Only four seconds separated Webber from Hamilton at the flag, with Massa only two more behind. 'Its been world class driving from all of them - on the trickiest circuit, I have not seen a mistake from any of these guys,' said BBC co-commentator David Coulthard. It was Red Bull's third Monaco win in three years - Vettel won in 2011 - and they became the first team to win twice in 2012. Schumacher had qualified on pole but was demoted to sixth place for causing a crash in the previous race in Spain, sipped back to eighth on the first lap as a result of Grosjean pushing him against the wall at the start. Schumacher was seventh after the pit stops, but progressively dropped back out of the points with an engine problem, retiring on lap sixty four, with fourteen laps to go. Schumacher's misfortune moved Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne into an impressive seventh, but he lost out with a late gamble to fit intermediate tyres. That promoted the Force Indias of Paul Di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg, with Lotus's Kimi Raikkonen and Williams driver Bruno Senna completing the top ten.

Large crowds turned out to see the Olympic flame begin its journey from Swansea to Aberystwyth on the ninth day of the torch relay. Torchbearer Paul Adams was then treated to a view of Swansea Bay as he rode on a land train along the promenade. The flame stopped off at Oystermouth Castle, which stands on a hillside in the town of Mumbles. During the one hundred and thirty seven-mile journey the flame was also carried on a cob horse when the relay visited Aberaeron. Over the course of the day, one hundred and fourteen torchbearers carried the flame, ahead of an evening celebration in Vicarage Fields in Aberystwyth. At Swansea's Bracelet Bay, the flame was carried by the day's first torchbearer, sixteen-year-old Corey Thomas from Swansea, who was nominated for his work as one of Wales' first Youth Sports Ambassadors. It was then carried on the Swansea Bay Rider - a seventy two-seater land train which runs along Swansea promenade from Blackpill to the Mumbles - the torch's second train journey in four days. Two of the day's torchbearers were more than eighty years old - great grandmother of six Bella Murray, eighty two, and the day's penultimate runner, eighty one-year-old Martin Jones. Sunday's relay route took in Swansea, Llanelli, Burry Port, Kidwelly, Carmarthen, Haverfordwest, Fishguard, Newport, Cardigan, Aberteifi, Sarnau, Brynhoffnant, Llanarth, Aberaeron, Llanon, Llanrhystud and Aberystwyth. Early on Sunday morning it stopped off at Oystermouth Castle, which stands on a hill overlooking Swansea Bay in the town of Mumbles. It was founded by William de Londres early in the Twelfth Century and has recently undergone a one million smackers revamp. Kidwelly Castle, another stop on the route, is also a Norman building, which was used as one of the locations for Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The flame reached the university town of Aberystwyth after six o'clock and arrived at the Vicarage Fields about half an hour later for an evening celebration. This included a cauldron-lighting ceremony and performances by the rock Band Kids in Glass Houses, dance act Twist and Pulse and a seventy-strong Welsh male voice choir. At the culmination of the day's festivities, the Olympic flame was transferred to a lantern for an overnight stay in Aberystwyth.

And, on that note, I'm really not sure why it's taken nine days for this little beauty to be yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. But, now it is. Tell 'em all about it, Mark.

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