Friday, May 04, 2012

Tell Me Indifference Won

Sherlock co-creator Mark Gatiss says that John Watson's reaction to his friend's apparently return from the dead 'may not be entirely positive.' The detective, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, faked his own death by leaping from the roof of St Bart's hospital at the end of series two, leaving John to mourn him. He will, of course, reveal that he is still alive in the first episode of the new series, which will be based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original story The Adventure of the Empty House. But Gatiss suggests that Martin Freeman's character may not be quite as understanding as his literary counterpart about the rationale behind the plan. 'There's certain things about The Adventure of the Empty House which feel set in stone because that's how Sherlock comes back, but at the same time we feel free to invent and to introduce new stuff to it,' said Gatiss. 'I always found it a little unlikely that Dr Watson's only reaction was to faint, for instance - as opposed to possibly a stream of terrible swear words,' he told the Press Association. Gatiss also revealed that he and Sherlock co-creator The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) take something of a 'magpie approach' to deciding which Conan Doyle stories to adapt. 'Everybody has their favourites, Steven and I have our all-time favourites, but it's really a question of what will fit into the structure. We're sort of guided by our idea for the overall feel of the next three stories,' he explained. Series three of Sherlock is due to start filming early next year.

Tragically not from the same website as Otters that look like Benedict Cumberbatch, nevertheless here's Owls that look like Roy Hodgson.
They've both been known to wear bow ties and they're both (in their own inimitable ways) pretty good with the ladies, but according to Skyfall director Sam Mendes, James Bond and The Doctor have something else in common. During a recent press conference Mendes spoke of the Bond series having a '"regeneration" rather than "evolving,"' describing the way new actors of varying ages - and each with their own personal take on 007 - have stepped into the role of Bond over the years. 'I feel it's like Doctor Who - there's a geek answer - I was brought up on the idea of Doctor Who, who at the end of his final episode, he dissolves and a new actor pops up,' the director told Collider. 'He regenerates and it's a whole other character: sometimes it's an old man, sometimes it's a young man, but he just changes. I've always loved that idea.' Bond actors have ranged in age from George Lazenby, at thirty, to Roger Moore, at fifty seven during his final movie. Meanwhile, current Doctor Matt Smith is the Time Lord's youngest incarnation, compared with the first Doctor, William Hartnell, who played the role until the age of fifty eight. Current Bond, Daniel Craig, recently said he'd play the spy 'until they tell me to stop', whilst Smudger has assured fans he's going nowhere for now. So, it would seem, the immediate future's bright for two British Twentieth Century icons.

The BBC has accused Chinese authorities of attempting to censor its World News channel's coverage of the prominent dissident Chen Guangcheng. And of being evil repressive fascist scum-bastards. Probably. No, actually, the BBC wouldn't do that because they're far too nice. But, I'm not. Peter Horrocks, the BBC's head of global news, said on Thursday that the corporation's international news channel had been deliberately 'jammed' by Beijing authorities in recent days. Horrocks said the BBC was targeted over its coverage of Guangcheng, the blind Chinese activist who escaped house arrest and fled to the US embassy in Beijing. 'Today is World Press Freedom Day and during recent days we have learnt that BBC World News, our 24/7 international news channel, has been jammed by Chinese authorities during stories they regard as sensitive,' said Horrocks in a blogpost on the BBC's website. 'This deliberate electronic interference of the channel's distribution signal is just the latest in a long line of examples to block our impartial news and prevent it reaching audiences.' Horrocks said Chinese authorities had attempted to disrupt the broadcast of a report on Wednesday by yer actual Damian Grammaticas, the BBC's Beijing-based correspondent. In the broadcast, Grammaticas describes Chinese authorities trying to block cameramen and photographers from filming Guangcheng in a Beijing hospital. 'This was one of Beijing's biggest hospitals this afternoon. Chinese security agents desperate to keep one of the country's best-known human rights activists hidden from us,' reported Grammaticas, with footage showing cameramen being physically obstructed from filming in the hospital. Horrocks said the BBC's Chinese-language website has been consistently blocked in the country for years, apart from a brief respite during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which is believed to be the last time the corporation complained about censorship in China. 'We strongly condemn these acts of censorship and harassment. The BBC has a long history of standing up to these attempts to prevent access to free media. This includes working closely with other international broadcasters to highlight these issues and encourage concerted international action,' said Horrocks. 'We would again urge the countries where jamming, censorship and harassment emanates from, to stop these restrictive practices.' The BBC has become increasingly vocal about alleged state interference with its overseas coverage in recent months. The corporation has recently accused authorities in another knobcheese dictatorship, Iran. of a 'dramatic increase in anti-BBC rhetoric' and of attempting to interfere with its coverage of sensitive issues. Mind you, there's plenty of thoroughly wicked politicians - of all stripes - and more than a few louse-scum newspapers in this country that would quite happily see the Beeb knackered in exactly this sort of way on their homeboy turf. Makes you think, doesn't it.
Former News International chief executive and well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks will give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry on Friday 11 May, the inquiry has said. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks was the Scum of the World editor when voicemails on murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler's mobile phone were allegedly intercepted. Her successor in the job, Andy Coulson, will give evidence a day earlier. This comes after a former police officer was arrested by police investigating corrupt payments relating to hacking. The fifty seven-year-old was arrested, as part of Operation Elveden, at his home in Surrey early on Thursday morning on suspicion of 'misconduct in a public office.' Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks, who edited the Scum of the World from 2000 to 2003, has not previously given evidence to the Leveson Inquiry. She is expected to be asked about relations with MPs and police officers. Coulson - who resigned as Scum of the World editor in 2007 after one of his journalists (the single 'rouge' kind, of course) was jailed for phone-hacking - will appear on Thursday 10 May. Appearing on the same day will be Daily Scum Mail and Scum Mail on Sunday owner Viscount Rothermere. Scum Mail Online editor Martin Clarke will be among those giving evidence on Wednesday. Coulson went on to become Prime Minister David Cameron's director of communications. He resigned from that post in January 2011, blaming coverage of the Scum of the World phone-hacking scandal.

The lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Hunt could face a probe into claims he failed to declare sponsorship from private firms when he was a shadow lack of culture spokesman. Labour MP Steve McCabe has asked the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner to investigate the allegations. The vile and odious rascal Hunt and Ed Vaizey, who is now the lack of culture minister, attended at least three events before the 2010 election paid for by creative industry firms. It is understood Vaizey declared them to the Commons but not the vile and odious rascal Hunt. Vaizey's entry in the Register of Members Interests states that both men attended eight separate events between July 2009 and March 2010. Aides to the lack of culture secretary have insisted that the figure of eight is wrong. The vile and odious rascal Hunt is reported to be planning to amend his entry in the register to show that he received sponsorship from the three companies. According to the Daily Scum Mail, he took a donation worth £1,473.81 from advertising agency DDB UK, another worth fourteen hundred and thirty five quid from the Groucho Club, and a third from M&C Saatchi worth £4,563.50. The total value of these three payments was £7,472.31. McCabe, MP for Birmingham Selly Oak, told the newspaper: 'No-one would be asking these questions if Ed Vaizey hadn't made that declaration himself. These are areas where there is a potential conflict of interest. Since there is clearly confusion in their own minds about who went to which events, this is just the sort of thing where the commissioner should seek to establish the facts. The vile and odious rascal Hunt is already under pressure after his special single 'rogue' adviser, Adam Smith, resigned over what he admitted was an 'inappropriately close relationship' with News Corporation during its planned takeover of broadcaster BSkyB. Labour wants David Cameron to order an inquiry into whether the vile and odious rascal Hunt broke the ministerial code. Cameron has declined to do so and accused Labour of 'playing one-sided party politics' with the issue and of having 'self-serving double standards.' Something which Cameron himself would never do. At a party, with James Murdoch the small and well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks, of course. Oh no, very hot water.

Labour MP Tom Watson (power to the people!) has accused Conservative select committee colleague Louise Mensch of tabling amendments which would have 'exonerated' James Murdoch the small in its controversial phone-hacking report following a personal intervention by the son of media tycoon Rupert Murdoch. Poor old Bagashite, she's getting it from all sides this week, isn't she? The row over the Commons culture, media and sport select committee's phone-hacking report pronouncing Rupert Murdoch 'unfit' to run an international company escalated further on Thursday, with Watson saying that had the Tories on the committee had their way they committee would have issued a whitewash report which was 'inspid to the point of being craven.' Watson also hit out against the two other Conservative MPs on the committee, Therese Coffey and the thoroughly odious Philip Davies, and called on the chairman, John Whittingdale, to publish earlier drafts of the controversial report to back up his claim that the Tories had tried to water it down. 'When James Murdoch sent an unsolicited second letter to the committee it was used by Louise Mensch to table a number of amendments effectively exonerating Murdoch junior from any of the accusations made by Colin Myler and Tom Crone,' Watson said, in reference to the Scum of the World's former editor and head of legal. 'Our deliberations were further hampered by Dr Therese Coffey, who persistently stated she would draw conclusions based only on the evidence submitted to the committee – explicitly ruling out all evidence from the public domain, including testimony at the Leveson inquiry and all the civil cases [brought by phone-hacking victims]. To complete the trinity, we had Philip Davies – a man who bitterly complained that Paul Farrelly and I were partisan when the committee published its previous report in 2009. He was so independent minded then he wrote a column in the News of the World to make his claims.' Mensch hit back at Watson's suggestion that she had caved in to pressure from News International. 'Tom is free to publish all the amendments. There is nothing secret about it,' she said. Except whinge, of course. And go on Have I Got News For You and promote yourself and your views. Something you've done several times in the past (although, so has Watson for that matter). Just a thought. She added that she had one briefing from News Corp's European public affairs director, Frédéric Michel, earlier this year, but she claims that she told him in advance that she 'could not discuss' the deliberations of the select committee. 'He gave me a briefing on the [News Corp] management and standards committee, information on the arrests at the Sun. This was all after the arrests at the Sun. I took that briefing and I declared it to the committee the next day. I was offered a briefing over the summer, but declined,' Mensch said. 'To carry on suggesting that undue pressure was applied and I caved in is just wrong. I found Mr Murdoch's evidence convincing and I speak as I find,' she added. Mensch tabled, she believes, 'half a dozen amendments', not all of them which would have got through to a vote. But the three main amendments, which the Gruniad - with some very obvious glee - claims to 'have seen', included requests to include large chunks of Murdoch's letter in the final report. The most significant of the three relates to paragraph one sixty two of the report which states the committee is 'astonished that James Murdoch did not seek more information' in relation to the seven hundred thousand smackers phone-hacking settlement in 2008 with Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the Professional Footballers Association. Mensch and Coffey did not pass judgment on Murdoch for being so incurious and wanted to amend the paragraph to an observation that 'it would have been better had he not relied on Mr Crone and Mr Myler's account, and requested to see more documentation.' A second amendment again related to inserting a portion of Murdoch's letter and a third was a request to change the word 'astonishing' to 'surprising' in relation to another finding. Watson described Mensch's amendments as 'lick spittle'. Great phrase, lick spittle. But Mensch claimed that she saw no reason not to include chunks of Murdoch's letter in the report and said she found him to be a 'compelling' and 'consistent witness. There is nothing secret or underhand about it. I found he was a compelling witness and I thought we should record what he said. I thought it was only fair,' she added. Amendments put forward by Coffey also sought to tone down the criticism of Murdoch. She suggested replacing 'however keen senior executives may have been to delegate' with 'we recognise that delegation is normal in any company.' She also wanted a reference to 'such executive carelessness' replaced with 'this lack of judgment.' Coffey requested the word 'shield' be changed to 'obscure' in a sentence in paragraph two hundred and seven, which asks if the lack of openness of senior management can be explained by 'a deliberate policy of "don't ask, don't tell" designed to "shield" senior executives from events taken beneath them.' The obvious conclusion of that being that 'shield' sounds like a deliberate act whilst 'obscure' can have neutral connotations. Coffey also objected to the 'don't ask, don't tell' phrase and wanted to replace it 'don't tell the family.' The seven-page letter by James Murdoch the small, News Corp's deputy chief operating officer and former chairman of Scum of the World publisher News International, was sent to the committee in March. In the letter, Murdoch once again protested his innocence and denied he had misled parliament. He maintained that Crone and Myler could have disclosed more in 2008 if they had 'wanted to warn me that voicemail interception was more widespread.' Instead, he said: 'They said nothing that led me to believe a further investigation was necessary.' This was a position ultimately taken up by the select committee. Its report, published on Tuesday, accused Myler and Crone of misleading parliament but cleared Murdoch the small, instead criticising him for 'wilful ignorance' about the extent of phone-hacking at the Scum of the World. Watson claimed the original draft of the report by Whittingdale, the Conservative MP and culture select committee chairman, was 'was insipid to the point of being craven towards News International. Without the steady hand of an experienced journalist, Paul Farrelly, who painstakingly and patiently moved dozens of amendments – so powerful in their logic they were accepted unanimously – and the wise counsel of Adrian Sanders – who came under enormous pressure – we would have ended up with a whitewash,' he said. Watson made his comments on Thursday after a rather pointless Twitter spat earlier in the day with Mensch over the decision by the four Tories on the select committee to vote against amendment two hundred and twenty nine declaring Murdoch 'not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company.' In an hour of testy back and forth comments, prompted by Mensch's appearance on Today, Watson threatened to publish all the amendments Tory MPs on the committee had put forward for the report. When Mensch replied that he ought to make sure he included a timeline of the amendments, Watson tweeted: 'You mean James Murdoch's second letter that seemed to uncannily answer concerns raised in private discussions? No problem.' Mensch replied: 'Are you accusing me of something? Not like you. Don't let temper get better of you. "Fit" was error.' Watson told the Gruniad: 'Now that Louise has felt the need to breach the convention that our private deliberations remain that way, we might as well have it out.' He said the best solution was to have the draft report published, which would show a timeline of all amendments proposed by Conservative and Labour committee members as the report was drafted and redrafted over three months. 'In helping the public form a judgment, I would support the chairman of the committee were he to publish the original draft of the report and all amendments tabled by all members of the committee,' Watson said. 'People will make up their own mind as to the integrity and motives of the committee members. It might also help the public debate were all committee members to publish their meetings with employees of News International and BSkyB as well as all hospitality and social invitations.' Fight!

David Abraham, Channel Four's chief executive, will not apply to become the next leader of the BBC, a path that was successfully trodden by the incumbent director general Mark Thompson eight years ago. The boss of the broadcaster has allegedly told 'friends' he believes that it is 'too soon' to contemplate leaving Channel Four, having only spent two years in the job and recruited most of its senior team. With the deadline for BBC director general applications due to close on Monday 7 May, senior broadcasters are having to put together the final touches to their applications or decide that, whatever the temptations, it is not worth applying. Caroline Thomson, the BBC chief operating officer, and Helen Boaden, BBC News director, are understood to have applied. George Entwistle, BBC Vision director, is believed to have told colleagues he has applied, while it is also understood that Tim Davie, the corporation's director of audio and music, will also be completing the necessary documentation. It is understood that Jana Bennett, the former BBC Vision boss, now president of worldwide networks and global iPlayer at the corporation's commercial arm BBC Worldwide, is also considering applying, but that BBC North director Peter Salmon is not going to put his name forward. Tony Hall, the well regarded Royal Opera House chief executive, who previously ran BBC News, is also not applying, despite speculation to the contrary at the corporation. Thompson was lured from Channel Four by Michael Grade to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Greg Dyke in 2004, although he had to be persuaded to take the job. After initially ruling out applying, Thompson said he would 'listen to his inner voice' quoting the words, he said, of Sonia Gandhi. However, Abraham is understood to have promised colleagues that he will not listen to his inner voice, at least as regards the director-generalship. Dominic Loehnis from Egon Zehnder has been talking to a number of people within the industry to gauge opinion, including, it is understood, Channel Four's chief creative officer, Jay Hunt.

Osama bin Liner pondered the merits of US television news channels as he considered how to extract the best propaganda benefit from the tenth anniversary of 9/11 last year, and concluded that CBS was 'close to being unbiased.' Which, if you look up 'back-handed compliments that CBS almost certainly didn't want' on Google, you'll find that one right at the top. But an American-born media adviser for al-Qaeda warned Bin Laden to beware of the broadcasters' 'cunning methods' as he described FOX News as a channel in 'the abyss' that should 'die in anger', CNN as too close to the US government and MSNBC as 'questionable' after it fired one of its most prominent presenters, Keith Olbermann. In a memorandum made public by the US military's Combating Terrorism Center on Thursday, Bin Laden asked for advice on exploiting the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. 'We need to benefit from this event and get our messages to the Muslims and celebrate the victory that they achieved. We need to restore their confidence in their nation and motivate them. We should also present our just cause to the world, especially to the European people,' he said. Bin Laden suggested contacting Al-Jazeera. 'You can point out to them that this way they will be showing the other opinion,' he said. But he also wondered if it would be good to work with an American channel, suggesting CBS as 'close to being unbiased.' Bin Laden added that the organisation should approach a British journalist, Robert Fisk of the Independent, and other reporters to press home the message that the major powers would be better concentrating on climate change than pursuing al-Qaeda.
He wrote: 'This is a chance to explain our motives for continuing the war. The wise people would tell you to give people their rights in order to be able to focus on other vital issues such as global warming. They have the option to stop the war, but we do not have any option, except to defend our nation. This is a conflict between the biggest cultures in the world at a time when the climate is changing rapidly.' A US-born al-Qaeda spokesman, Adam Gadahn, wrote back to Bin Laden laying the merits or otherwise of using US news stations to mark the 'Manhattan battle' as it is referred to in the memo. FOX News is dismissed because it 'falls into the abyss as you know, and lacks neutrality too. I used to think that MSNBC channel may be good and neutral a bit, but is has lately fired two of the most famous journalists – Keith Olbermann and Octavia Nasser the Lebanese,' wrote Gadahn. In fact, Nasser was sacked from CNN after she sent a tweet mourning the death of a Hezbollah leader. Olbermann was dismissed for making financial donations to Democratic party politicians. CNN is questioned, although its Arabic 'version brings good and detailed reports. As for the neutrality of CNN in English, it seems to be in cooperation with the government more than the others (except FOX News of course),' he said. Which will probably come as as big a shock to those at FOX News as it does to you, dear blog reader. Gadhan describes ABC as 'all right: Actually it could be one of the best channels, as far as we are concerned. It is interested in al-Qaeda issues, particularly the journalist Brian Ross, who is specialised in terrorism. The channel is still proud for its interview with the shaykh [Bin Laden],' he said. 'CBS channel was mentioned by the shaykh. I see that it is like the other channels, but it has a famous programme (Sixty Minutes) that has some popularity and a good reputation for its long broadcasting time. Only God knows the reality, as I am not really in a position to do so.' The merits and shortcomings of other major US broadcasters are considered before Gadahn decided he couldn't make his mind up and worried that al-Qaeda's message may come under critical scrutiny. He wrote: 'In conclusion, we can say that there is no single channel that we could rely on for our messages. I may ignore them, and even the channel that broadcast them, probably it would distort them somehow. This is accomplished by bringing analysts and experts that would interpret its meaning in the way they want it to be. Or they may ignore the message and conduct a smearing of the individuals, to the end of the list of what you know about their cunning methods. In general, and no matter what material we send, I suggest that we should distribute it to more than one channel, so that there will be healthy competition between the channels in broadcasting the material, so that no other channel takes the lead. It should be sent for example to ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN and maybe PBS and VOA. As for FOX News, let her die in her anger.' Gadahn also mentions sending 'special media material' on the 9/11 anniversary to a number of newspaper journalists around the world, including Fisk. The intent, he said, is to 'show the fairness of our case to the whole world and the European peoples in particular.' As it turned out, the advice was not required. Bin Laden was killed four months before the anniversary.

And, speaking of FOX News here's a remarkable moment, Shep Smith reacts to Mitt Romney reacting to Newt Gingrich quitting. 'Politics is weird. And creepy. And now, I know, lacks anything like the loosest attachment to reality.'
Especially on FOX News, matey.

Strictly Come Dancing has signed up two new producers from Twatting About on Ice and The Voice. The BBC announced today Glenn Coomber and Andrea Hamilton as co-executive producers of the ballroom dancing show's 2012 series. Coomber has been the executive producer of ITV's Twatting About on Ice for the last two years. Before that he was involved with Fame Academy, I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! and Hole in the Wall. Christ, that's a CV you want to display on your wall, isn't it? Hamilton is currently series editor on The Voice, BBC1's hit singing contest. She previously worked on the corporation's flop version of So You Think You Can Dance. The BBC's head of in-house entertainment, Katie Taylor, said: 'Glenn and Andrea's experience in big scale, live dance shows is tailor-made for Strictly and together I am sure they will be a winning formula for our ballroom.'

Claudia Winkleman has told the Digital Spy website that she is still waiting to hear from the BBC about whether she will be involved in this year's Strictly Come Dancing. Winkleman has hosted the BBC ballroom reality show's results show with Tess Daly for the last two years. However, she opted to exit BBC2 spin-off series It Takes Two last year following the birth of her third child Arthur.

My Family star Zoe Wanamaker says the BBC axed the sitcom because it was 'too middle class.' The actress says that when executives pulled the plug on the show after eleven years and one hundred and twenty one episodes, they told her they were seeking more working-class ideas. But she added that the corporation did itself no favours by making such pronouncements about what sort of shows it wanted – since its next big hit was the very middle-class Miranda. 'I was angry at how they handled it, really more than anything,' she said on BBC4's Mark Lawson Talks To ... 'All I got told was that the BBC didn't want to have any more middle-class sitcoms, which was kind of shooting yourself in the foot really, as a statement, because along comes Miranda Hart, who is the most wonderful ... and she is not exactly working-class.' When BBC1 controller Danny Cohen announced the end of My Family last year, he said that the long-running story had run its course. 'Now that all the Harper children have fled the nest we feel it's time to make room for new comedies,' he said. It was cancelled four years after Wanamaker herself revealed that she had grown to dislike the sitcom, complaining about the conveyor-belt mentality of the production. In 2008, BBC comedy commissioner Lucy Lumsden – who is now at Sky – said the corporation was looking to 'expand the appeal' of its shows, saying: 'The white middle-class metropolitan is well-covered, we need more diversity.' Now its biggest sitcoms are the middle-class Miranda and Outnumbered and the rather more blue collar Mrs Brown's Boys and Not Going Out.

She is the BBC's economics editor, widely respected for being on top of her brief. But this week sexy Stephanie Flanders made a significant political boob – and it played out for all to see in cyberspace, reports the Sun. Flanders fired off an angry tweet on Wednesday evening, saying: 'Just tried to vote. My polling station had closed two hours early. Has anyone else had the same problem?' The red-faced journalist was soon inundated with tweets from her followers pointing out that the polls did not, actually, open until Thursday. 'All stations closed because, er, today isn't Thursday,' she later confessed.
The Premier League has issued an invitation to tender for the domestic UK broadcast rights for the 2013-14 to 2015-16 football seasons. It says one hundred and fifty four matches will be shown live on TV each season from 2013-14 - sixteen more than currently broadcast and more than forty per cent of all top-level matches. The extra sixteen live games comes as matches are moved away from Saturday 3pm kick-off times, due to Europa League involvement or police advice. No 3pm kick-offs can be shown live. The one hundred and fifty four games will be split into seven packages comprising five packages of twenty six matches and two packages of twelve matches. No one buyer will be allowed to buy more than five packages or one hundred and sixteen matches. That means Sky, basically. The current rights are held by Sky and ESPN, and a challenge from Al-Jazeera is also expected this time round. 'This creates a more attractive and compelling offering for both broadcasters and fans; whilst allowing the continued protection of the Saturday 3pm "closed window" and minimising further displacement of Premier League fixtures,' said a league spokesperson. Another sales process will be conducted for two 'near live' packages each containing two hundred and twenty six matches and an Internet-based clips package for all three hundred and eighty matches.

Jamaican double bassist Lloyd Brevett, whose band The Skatalites pioneered ska music and paved the way for reggae, has died at the age of eighty. The Skatalites formed in 1964 and combined jazz, R&B and mento to create ska and take a Jamaican sound around the world for the first time. Their best known songs included 'The Guns of Navarone' (subsequently covered by The Specials) and they backed acts including The Wailers and Prince Buster. Brevett suffered a stroke in March, two weeks after his son was murdered. Thirty two-year-old Okine was shot outside the family's home in Kingston hours after he had accepted a Jamaican music industry award on his father's behalf. Spokeswoman and friend Maxine Stowe told the AP news agency: 'He took his son's death as stoically as he could, but you knew it was devastating for him. He deteriorated rapidly after that.' Former Jamaican Prime Minister and one-time Skatalites tour manager PJ Patterson said it was 'Brevett who quietly provided the mesmerising backbone to the Skatalites' sound. To say that Brevett was a creator of both ska and dub is not to use hyperbole,' he said in a statement. Bunny Wailer, a member of the original Wailers with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, told AP: 'He was there from the beginning. All my bass lines from all my recordings have been attributed to bass lines from Lloyd Brevett.' The Skatalites were only together for eighteen months in the 1960s. On New Year's Eve 1964, trombonist Don Drummond stabbed and killed his girlfriend and vocalist Marguerita. The other band members disbanded in July 1965, with Brevett and other members forming The Soul Brothers, later becoming The Soul Vendors. In 1975, most of The Skatalites reunited to record Brevett's solo LP African Roots. They continued to reconvene periodically before reforming in the 1980s. In 1996, their CD Hi-Bop Ska: The Thirtieth Anniversary Recording, earned a Grammy nomination, with a second nomination coming the following year for Greetings From Skamania. Brevett left the group in the mid-2000s after a dispute with his bandmates. Saxophonist Lester Sterling is now the only surviving member of the original line-up.

And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 33 of the Day. Last evening yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self attended to latest Record Player event at the Tyneside, a vinyl spinning of yer actual Polly Harvey's savagely beautiful, award-winning Let England Shake.
There isn't a Record Player next week - as Steve's doing something else - so, it'll be a fortnight to Hunky Dory.

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