Sunday, May 20, 2012

Week Twenty Two: The Man Upstairs He Grabs My Arm Saying "Don't I Know Your Dad?"

As mentioned in a previous blog, yer actual The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat's mantelpiece will be groaning under the weight of yet another trophy later this month when he receives a special honour at this year's BAFTA Television Awards. The Sherlock and Doctor Who executive producer and showrunner will receive his accolade on Sunday 27 May at the ceremony taking place at London's Royal Festival Hall. Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He), who recently won Best Writer at the BAFTA Craft Awards for the third time, is being honoured by the Academy in recognition of his 'outstanding creative writing contribution to television.' Tim Corrie, Chairman of BAFTA, said: 'Steven has had an outstanding year with Doctor Who and Sherlock, not to mention the feature film The Adventures of Tintin, and we are delighted to honour his contribution to television and the arts at the BAFTA ceremony. He is one of the finest exponents of his craft and his Award, presented in honour of the late, great Dennis Potter, is very well deserved indeed.' Previous recipients of BAFTA's Dennis Potter Award include Paul Abbott, Alan Plater, Lynda La Plante and Moffat's immediate predecessor in the Doctor Who production office Russell Davies. Learning of his honour, Moffat reportedly said: 'Blimey! A Special Award! I didn't even know I was ill! So thrilled by this – especially after two years of Sherlock and Doctor Who, my two favourite shows ever. 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 tweeted: 'Thanks all, re: the special BAFTA award. My favourite interview question so far: "Would you have preferred a proper BAFTA?"' Err ... he's already got three of those. Moffat's first TV work was the 1989 teen drama series Press Gang starring Julia Sawalha, for which he won his first BAFTA (he got a second in 2008 for the Blink episode of Doctor Who, and a third earlier this month for Sherlock's A Scandal in Belgravia). He then went on to write the sitcoms Joking Apart, Chalk and the highly successful Coupling in 2000, which was based on his relationship and marriage to TV producer Sue Vertue. Meanwhile, there's a very big, and rather good, Moffat interview with the Digital Spy website covering lots of stuff which you can read here. I particularly enjoyed the 'could Jekyll have been as big as Sherlock?' debate.

Ever since her upcoming departure from Doctor Who was announced last December Karen Gillan has been ratcheting up the anticipation, telling fans what an emotional experience they're in for later this year when Amy Pond and her husband Rory Williams finally say goodbye. And it seems that she isn't planning on letting up any time soon. Talking at the Cannes Film Festival this week - where she's promoting her debut movie, romantic comedy Not Another Happy Ending - yer actual Kazza her very self said of the first time she went through the script alongside her co-stars, 'I, literally, couldn't read it without crying. It was the most highly charged read-through I've ever experienced. But I couldn't have asked for a better exit,' she told Total Film. And although she won't be sharing any details of her departure, she has revealed that she and her co-stars Matt Smith and Arthur Darvill shed yet more tears after shooting their final scene together. 'We don't film in chronological order so the last shot we filmed was me, Matt and Arthur going into the TARDIS,' said Gillan. 'Then Matt closed the door for the last time and we were in darkness. We hugged and started crying. It was a feeling of "Look at what we've done." It was lovely,' she told The Daily Record. Amy Pond may be bowing out for now, but Gillan says she'd be intrigued by a Doctor Who movie. 'I think it would be great in a franchise-y sort of way, I'd look forward to sitting down and watching it,' she admitted. But would she return for a big-screen outing if asked? 'who knows. I guess you can only cross that bridge when you come to it!' Series seven of Doctor Who is expected to begin broadcasting in the autumn and will continue into next year following the Christmas special which introduces new companion Jenna-Louise Coleman.

Well-Known Crystal Tipps Lookalike Rebekah Brooks: The Movie has been announced at the Cannes Film Festival. Rocky producer Gene Kirkwood, who is behind the planned project, compared the life story of the former Scum of the World editor to that of Pip in Great Expectations and Richard Nixon, the Daily Torygraph reports. The movie will be based on an article by Suzanna Andrews in Vanity Fair called Untangling Rebekah Brooks, which examined the journalist's 'journey to the top' of billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's empire. The project is 'at a very early stage' with no actress cast, but Nicole Kidman has apparently been suggested on account of her physical resemblance. Kirkwood said: 'She's a great story. Her rise is almost like Great Expectations - with a moral. [The film will be] a porthole into Murdoch's world. I see it as a Citizen Kane approach.' He added that they would wait until the phone-hacking scandal has reached 'some sort of conclusion', commenting: 'As soon as there is an ending, we're going forward. Murdoch might retire - who knows?' Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks, her husband, millionaire Old Etonian Charlie, and four others were charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice this week. Brooks has said that she is 'baffled' by the decision to prosecute her.

And so to yer actual Top telly Tips:

Saturday 26 May
If you turn on your TV and are marvelling at how much Engelbert Humperdinck looks like Tom Jones these days, you're a little premature. The Eurovision Song Contest is at 8pm. But you could always think of The Voice - 6:30 BBC1 - as a vocal warm-up to the big event. At least the ratings are going back up again now that Britain's Got Talent is finished. Albeit, only by about sixty thousand or so. The four coaches each have two acts left in the competition but can choose only one to go through to next week's final. So we can expect an annoying amount of 'This is such a hard decision' procrastination before they stick the knife in someone's back. What should be interesting is seeing the contestants sing with their mentors as well as performing individually as the hopefuls make a desperate last-ditch bid for next week's final. And then, like as not, one hit single followed by instant obscurity. Hosted by Holly Willoughby and Reggie Yates. The results, as usual, will be announced tomorrow evening.

In 2011 Britain chose former boy band Blue to represent the nation at The Eurovision Song Contest - 8:00 BBC1 - in the hope that a catchy song coupled with their pretty-boy good looks and alleged 'hefty Euro fanbase' would swing those pesky bloc-voters our way. Unfortunately, it failed. Miserably. So, this time, a bit like the England football team recalling Teddy Sheringham for the 2002 World Cup, we're sending for a seventy six-year-old crooner who hasn't had a UK hit since the 1970s. Engelbert Humperdinck is performing first in the 2012 show from Baku, the capital of yer actual Azerbaijan, which, as devotees of any singing or talent contest knows, is nothing to smile about. Going on first, that is, not being in Azerbaijan. Although, having said that ... Cast your minds back to 1976, though, and going on first didn't hurt Brotherhood of Man's dreams of Euro glory (they won). So did Buck's Fizz in 1981. Scootch, however, didn't. So there's a chance Bert will make as memorable an impact as he did in 1967 when he kept 'Penny Lane' and 'Strawberry Fields Forever' off the number one spot. Graham Norton's tart commentary will, as usual, be a delight (although, no doubt, some sour-faced malcontents will be scowling into their copy of Radio Times and wondering where that nice Terry Wogan is) and there are some weird and wonderful acts to enjoy. Hopefully, Russia's granny group, the unintentionally hilarious Buranovskiye Babushki, will have survived the semi-final knock-out stage. Will the Moldavians have sent another act in silly hats with a girl on a unicycle playing a trumpet? Norton presents coverage of the Fifty Seventh edition of the musical extravaganza from the Crystal Hall in Baku - the first time that the former Soviet republic has hosted the competition. Humperdinck is bidding to add another achievement to his once glittering career by becoming the first UK winner since 1997 (Katrina and the Waves, remember?) with his frankly rather limp ballad 'Love Will Set You Free', and will be the first of tonight's twenty six finalists to take the stage. However, he is likely to face strong competition from Italy's Nina Zilli, whose jazzy pop tune 'L'Amore E Femmina' has been heavily tipped by both pundits and bookmakers, while Sabina Babayeva carries the hopes of the host nation with the smooth ballad 'When the Music Dies'. Other fancied contenders include Swedish dance singer Loreen, and Irish pop twats Jedward - though all three will need to have qualified from Tuesday and Thursday's semi-finals to be in the running.

'A beautiful mess' is how Big Issue seller Hazel describes London, the city she calls home. A Picture of London - 9:15 BBC2 - is a quietly lyrical film, passing over the 'deep in the heart the sprawling Metropolis'-type approach to such conceits and going, instead, for the observations of 'ordinary' contemporary Londoners, including cab drivers and a crane operator.
These are interwoven with representations of the capital in words and paintings from across the centuries. Canaletto's idealised pictures are contrasted with the grotesques of Hogarth's Gin Lane. Clever CGI imagines what London would have been like if Wren's blueprint, post The Great Fire, had been completed and we glimpse the London shrouded in 'pea soupers.' The words come from John Betjeman, JG Ballard, Conrad, Tolstoy and wartime CBS reporter Ed Murrow. The documentary charts the growth of London over the years, using eyewitness accounts to reveal how life in the city has changed. In addition to familiar paintings, the programme draws on a range of visual records including posters, cartoons, architectural sketches, maps, photos and film. Nice city, London. Could do with a population transplant, mind.

Norway play England in tonight's International Soc-her (kick-off 7:45) as ITV's impeccably wretched coverage of this evening's friendly international at the Ullevaal Stadium in Oslo gets underway to vast indifference across the land. Roy Hodgson takes control of England for the first time since being appointed as manager earlier this month. Roy has just this match and next Saturday's friendly against Belgium to assess his squad ahead of next month's European Championships, and this is his first chance to bring together the twenty three players he hopes will perform well in Poland and Ukraine. Norway will not be taking part in the tournament, but came close to qualifying, missing out on the play-offs by virtue of Portugal's greater goal difference, and they will be looking to extend an unbeaten record against England that stretches back to 1980. The venue, Ullevaal Stadium, doesn't augur well. It was the setting for an inglorious and calamitous England defeat in a 1981 World Cup qualifier and the most famous post-1966 piece of football commentary. You know the one. This time, England fans will be hoping to hear Clive Tyldesley turn the tables. 'King Olaf, Roald Amundsen, Liv Ullmann, Edvard Munch, Thor Heyerdahl, Henrik Ibsen, Edvard Grieg and Anni-Frid from ABBA. Your boys took a helluva beating!' Which would be mildly racist, of course, even if it's in a postmodernist ironic fashion. But still far more interesting than anything grumpy odious greed-bucket Adrian Chiles has to say on any subject whatsoever. Because, he's an effing disgrace, basically. Later on ESPN, it you just can't get enough International Soc-her for the night, there's USA vs Scotland (kick-off 1am) in Jacksonville, Florida. Worth a bit of sleep deprivation on Sunday morning, I'd've said.

Sunday 27 May
Jake Humphrey introduces coverage of one of the most exciting days of the F1 calender live from the Circuit de Monaco in Monte Carlo, where the sixth round of the season takes place - 12:05 BBC1 (race start-time 1.00pm). Sebastian Vettel made the most of starting on pole last year by going on to win the race, with Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button joining him on the podium. Thrill as a bunch of millionaires in cars that cost three times as much as your house go tear-assing around the streets of Monaco harbour. The Monaco Grand Prix is unique in having been held on the same circuit every time it has been run over such a long period — only the Italian Grand Prix, which has been held at Autodromo Nazionale Monza every year except 1980 and 1921, has a similarly lengthy and close relationship with a single circuit. Notably, the course includes the tunnel. The contrast of daylight and gloom when entering/exiting the tunnel presents 'challenges not faced elsewhere', as the drivers have to adjust their vision as they emerge from the tunnel at the fastest point of the track and brake for the chicane in the daylight. With analysis by Eddie Jordan and David Coulthard.

The BAFTA TV Awards Ceremony - 8:00 BBC1 - is a long one and can be tough on the bottom if you're in the audience. So consider yourself lucky to be watching at home, where you can tuck into a sack of Maltesers and crack open a bottle of Pinot Grigio that keep for special occasions. No one is looking and you'll be nice and comfortable watching Dara O Briain host from London's Royal Festival Hall. Best of all, you'll be able to shout at the screen in the knowledge that you're not making a fool of yourself in front of anyone but your family when your favourites doesn't win. And, you can enjoy speculating why, for example, Sherlock hasn't been nominated for a best drama series BAFTA but the now defunct The Fades is. You might ponder, too, why The Shadow Line, one of the best dramas of last year, waves its hand in only one category: best supporting actor for Stephen Rea, who was unforgettable as the deadly hit man Gatehouse. Maybe it will be Appropriate Adult's night, with a best actor nomination for Dominic West, who was both disturbing and compelling as Fred West, and Emily Watson, up for best actress as Janet Leach. Will The Great British Bake Off triumph in the features category? And, internationally will The Killing II win over Borgen? Dara hosts the annual ceremony celebrating the best of British TV, where shows including [spooks], This Is England '88, Misfits and Scott & Bailey are battling for recognition. Actors and actresses hoping for a gong include Benedict Cumberbatch, Joseph Gilgun, John Simm, Nadine Marshall, Romola Garai and Vicky McClure, while the entertainment performance category sees Dara himself up against Alan Carr, Graham Norton and Harry Hill, the latter having made his swansong TV Burp earlier this year. One person sure of a gong, however, is antipodean entertainer and national icon Rolf Harris, who is being awarded this year's BAFTA Fellowship. The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat's getting one as well (see above), to go with the three he's already got.

Exploring the stories of Britain's harbours, Coast continues on its merrie, and jolly entertaining, way - 9:00 BBC2. Nick Crane visits Newlyn in Cornwall, from where in 1854, a fishing boat sailed twelve thousand miles to Melbourne. Dick Strawbridge explores how airships were built in Barrow-in-Furness, Tessa Dunlop travels to Portsmouth to investigate the history of body art and Ruth Goodman hears how Birkenhead's harbour led to the opening of the world's first municipal park.
Plus, a look at the naval warfare reenactments by Scarborough council staff.

Dermot O'Dreary presents the latest, utterly frigging pointless, Soc-her Aid game - 6:00 ITV. Of course, it's all in the name of yer actual charriddeeee so one shouldn't be too down on this spectacularly meaningless exercise in narcissism from men who should be old enough to know better. But, I'm going to be because this nonsense offends me on so many levels. Unicef benefit from the fiasco, which is good, but viewers are left, merely, with the unedifying sight of former 'footballing heroes' (ie. some 'old men' who used to be good a decade ago) teaming up with a bunch of 'celebrities' (one or two of whom you might have actually heard of) for an England versus the Rest of the World soc-her match live from Old Trafford (kick-off 8.00pm). Rockin' Robbie Williams is captain of the England team, managed by Stottingtot Hotshots supremo Harry Redknapp. Now, given that earlier in the year there was a time when it seemed Happy Hapless Harry's next managerial gig could well have been Wormwood Scrubs First XI, this could (could, I say) be regarded as a step in the right direction. Then again, until a three weeks ago, according to the informed, insider opinion of every arse-licking odious football journalist in the land, Happy Hapless Harry was a total shoe-in for the England job. But, the FA were of a different mind and so, as a consolation prize, instead of going to the Euros, Happy Hapless Harry is in charge of David Seaman, Steady Teddy Sheringham and Big Ugly Martin Keown, plus Jason Isaacs, Mark Owen, Marvin Humes (who?), Aston Merrygold (who?!), Olly Murs (no, really!), John Bishop, Jonathan Wilkes, Ben Shephard, Jamie Theakston and Paddy McGuinness. Tre-effing-mendous. Meanwhile, sour-faced misery-guts (and, now unemployed) Scotsman 'King' Kenny Dalglish manages the opposing team, who will be looking for another win following the penalty shoot-out which ended in their victory two years ago. This time they will call upon the talents of Hernan Crespo, Edwin van der Sar, Crazed Roy Keane, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Jaap Stam, lining-up with captain Michael Sheen, Will Ferrell, Gerard Butler, Mike Myers, James McAvoy, Sergio Pizzorno (who?!), Patrick Kielty and Gordon Ramsay. Kirsty Gallacher is pitchside. Talking risible shit, as per usual. Subsequent programmes subject to change. Sadly, this one isn't subject to change.

Monday 28 May
Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and Martin Hughes-Games head to Ynys-hir nature reserve in mid-Wales to take a look at the area's wildlife, beginning with a fox family caring for more than ten cubs, and hidden-camera footage of kingfishers trying to raise their young in the start of a new series of Springwatch - 8:00 BBC1. Plus, the presenters keep an eye out for local barn owls, blue tits and pied flycatchers. it's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it. Anybody, in fact, other than Bill Oddie. Which is good.
Tonight sees the final episode of 56 Up - 9:00 ITV - the documentary update profiling the lives of a variety of people first filmed in 1964, when they were seven years old, revealing how their views and aspirations have changed with the passage of time. Director Michael Apted revisits them to explore their lives and find out how they are facing up to the challenges of middle age. Last in the series. Until 2019 when, hopefully, we'll have 63 Up.


Wor Robson Green draws his competitive fishing travelogue to a close in Alaska, taking on an ex-marine in a silver salmon-fishing contest at Resurrection Bay, one hundred and twenty five miles south of Anchorage in the final episode of Robson's Extreme Fishing Challenge - 9:00 Channel Five. He also casts his rod (ahem) at Annette Island, a Native American reserve, and heads for Homer on the Kenai Peninsula to face his final challenges, in which he engages two local veterans in a race to catch lingcod and halibut.

The notes taken by journalist Lady Grace Drummond-Hay are used to provide an account of day-to-day events during the 1929 circumnavigation of the globe by the Graf Zeppelin, the first by an airship, a story told in Around the World By Zeppelin - 9:00 BBC4. Beneath the enormous airship hung a gondola to accommodate the lucky passengers and crew for the duration of the twenty one-day voyage, among them the young journalist Lady Grace, reporting for the Hearst media empire. Based upon her letters and diaries and told exclusively through archival and newsreel film from the time, this film relives the incredible voyage. As a crew of forty kept the zeppelin in the air, Lady Grace feasted her eyes on the world's major cities, white alpine peaks, oceans and swamps, and fell in love with a married man. Rare archival footage gives glimpses of day-to-day life in a zeppelin gondola, Grace listening to one of her fellow passengers playing the accordion, the repair of a tear in the cloth shell during the flight, the sleeping cabins and lounge, and the splendid views from the windows. The film offers a fascinating look into the world of the roaring twenties which would soon be gone forever.

Tuesday 29 May
Clive prosecutes three students accused of sexually assaulting a waitress, but soon wavers in the face of expert defence counsel - until a chance meeting with an old friend helps him reignite his passion for the courtroom in the latest episode of Silk - 9:00 BBc1. Meanwhile, Martha defends a violent young man who trashed a shop and attacked the owner - a case that proves an uphill struggle when it becomes clear the client is on a path to self-destruction.
In Jimmy and the Giant Supermarket - 9:00 Channel Four - Jimmy Doherty investigates how Britain's best-selling low-cost meat products are made, and tries to find a way to create alternatives that will rival them in cost, but will be manufactured to the highest standards of animal welfare. He begins by revealing his plan to make meatballs with British rose veal, using meat from male dairy calves that would otherwise be killed solely because there is no market for them. However, he must first persuade dairy farmers and a leading supermarket to work with him, and faces a challenge to change public perceptions of veal.

Russell and Catherine go on the run, and their colleagues try to track them down ahead of Mark Gabriel's hit men in CSI - 9:00 Channel Five. However, the two investigators are in no mood to trust anyone - and make a shocking discovery that changes the entire complexion of their investigation into shady military contractors Ceressus. Marg Helgenberger makes her final appearance after twelve years as Catherine Willows.
Wednesday 30 May
The murder of a babysitter throws up a number of questions for Lewis and Hathaway in Lewis - 8:00 ITV. Was she the intended victim or was the killer targeting her employers? Was the crime calculated or opportunistic? And why was she elaborately tied up after being murdered? As the detectives dig for clues, they are led into a world of suburban swinging and fetish photography, far removed from the Oxford they know. Gary Kemp (remember him?), Lucy Cohu, Primeval's Ciaran McMenamin and Georgia Taylor from Casualty guest star.

The Unforgettable Gordon Jackson - 7:30 ITV - is, as you might expect, a profile of the dour-faced Scottish actor who appeared in movies including Mutiny on the Bounty, The Ipcress File and making a right balls-up of not speaking English during The Great Escape. Oh dear. Elementary schoolboy-type error, that, Gordon. Mind you, it was still nowhere near as bad as that bloody fool Nigel Stock tripping over his own feet and giving the game away. If it hadn't been for that prat, Ian Chesterton would've gotten out the tunnel. And, whilst we're about it, have you ever noticed how Steve McQueen gets from Poland to the border of Switzerland on a motorbike faster than Jim Rockford and Donald Pleasance get there in an effing plane? I'm just saying ... Logically flawed, that movie. Anyway, after he was shot to death by Nazis in a field with Dickie Attenborough, Gordon recovered and becoming a household name in the 1970s for his portrayal of the no-nonsense butler Hudson in Upstairs Downstairs, and later as gammy-legged, whisky drinking, seen-it-all spy boss Cowley in The Professionals. This is a profile of his life, and career with contributors from any former colleagues including John Alderton, Pauline Collins, Tom Conti and Stanley Baxter.

Undoubtedly the best title for any TV show this week is Delphi: The Bellybutton of the Ancient World - 8:00 BBC4. What really went on at the ancient Greek oracle at Delphi, how did it get its awesome reputation and why is it still influential today? Michael Scott of Cambridge University uncovers the secrets of the most famous oracle in the ancient world. A vital force in ancient history for a thousand years it is now one of Greece's most beautiful tourist sites, but in its time it has been a gateway into the supernatural, a cockpit of political conflict, and a beacon for internationalism whose influence lasted a thousand years or more. And at its heart was the famous inscription which still inspires visitors today - 'Know Thyself'.

Much anticipated by this blogger, Evidently: John Cooper Clarke - 10:00 BBC4 - is a celebration of Salford punk poet's life and work, with contributions from Bill Bailey ('you've either never heard of him, or you love him!'), Plan B, Steve Coogan, Kate Nash, The Arctic Monkeys' Alex Turner, Arthur Smith, Miranda Sawyer and Paul Morley. And, full-of-his-own-importance wanker Stewart Lee (but, don't let that put you off.) The programme explores the contributions John has made to poetry, comedy and music, and how he has remained a significant influence on the popular culture of four decades. The word genius is bandied about far too freely these days but, if there is such a thing, then John Cooper Clarke was, and remains, one. If you've never come across John's stuff before - 'it's poetry as rock and roll' notes The Fast Show's John Thompson - here's a legendary performance of 'Beasley Street' on The Old Grey Whistle Test from 1980. Now you know what you've been missing, so you can start to put that right by watching this documentary.

Thursday 31 May
Tonight's Playhouse Presents - 9:00 Sky Arts 1 - is the much anticipated Walking The Dogs. This is a comedy drama starring Emma Thompson, Eddie Marsan and Russell Tovey, based on real life incident in 1982 in which an intruder - Michael Fagan - broke into the Queen's bedroom at Buckingham Palace. Her Majesty disturbed him. She said 'there is no God.' Yes, I know, it's Paul Merton joke and it's funnier when he tells it. Anyway, once you get past the hilarity of Emma Thompson playing the Queen, this looks really rather good.
Tonight sees something of an epoch-making moment on Top of the Pops 1977 - 7:30 BBC4. Because, for a certain generation of proto-teenage hooligans around the country it was a moment that we didn't know we'd been waiting for until it happened as The Jam made their TV debut with a furious version of 'In The City'. While only a minor hit on the charts, the song was the UK's first introduction to The Jam, and was characteristic of Paul Weller's youth anthems—mod-influenced celebrations of British youth—that dominated the band's early output. In doing so they became the first of the new wave 'Class of 77' to appear on the BBC's première music show (much to the annoyance of then producer Robin Nash who wasn't into any of 'that punky nonsense') and, in doing so kicked the door open for others like The Stranglers, Buzzcocks and, indeed, the Pistols (albeit, only on film) to follow in the months to come. This edition - from 19 May 1977 - is presented by yer actual David 'Kid' Jensen. The other acts include Suzi Quatro, Linda Lewis, Carole Bayer Sager, Tony Etoria, The Jacksons, The Bay City Rollers, Joe Tex, Joy Sarney and Rod Stewart, as well as another dance routine by Legs & Co. All of which probably gives dear blog readers some idea of why seeing yer actual Paul, Bruce and Rick in their sharp suits and with their Rickenbacker guitars and their attitude of cocky Surrey defiance was such a necessary moment of importance when you were a fat fourteen year old from Newcastle.

Britain's Lost Routes with Griff Rhys Jones - 8:00 BBC1 - sees the - sometimes really very annoying indeed - Welsh actor and comedian setting out on a journey to discover 'the most influential pathways' in the nation's history. No one knows why. He begins by retracing Queen Elizabeth I's route through the Cotswolds and into the West Country, recreating the baggage train the monarch took with her, sampling Elizabethan forms of transport and visiting some of the castles and stately homes she stopped at along the way. And, as usual Griff will be talking in that slightly too-fast way of his until he suddenly realises that he's doing it and will ... deliberately ... slow ... down. Which can be quite funny if you know what you're looking for.

Married to the Moonies - 9:00 Channel Four - is an insight into the Unification Church, a religious movement founded in South Korea in 1954 by Sun Myung Moon. The film follows three British believers as they prepare to take part in a mass wedding, travelling to the Asian country to be blessed by Reverend Moon himself. The trio undertake a condensed courtship with their potential partners, some of whom meet just a few days before the ceremony takes place.

Friday 1 June
Journalist, broadcaster and - according to the most recent episode, 'hard-faced shameless bastard' - Alastair Campbell guest-hosts Have I Got News For You - 9:00 BBC1 - the satirical current affairs quiz, with regular team captains Ian Hislop and Paul Merton joined by celebrity panellists to poke fun at the week's news. And, this particular week, the guest host, no doubt.
Prince Charles pays a very personal tribute to mummy, Her Majesty to mark her sixty-year reign in what promises to be the thoroughly grovelling and sycophantic A Jubilee Tribute to the Queen by the Prince of Wales - 8:00 BBC1. Which is the sole reason we're not getting Would I Lie To You? this week. For shame, BBC, for shame. Anyway, Old Charlie reflects on various public events and private family moments over the past six decades and shows previously unseen photographs and home movies - some of which were shot by the very Queen her Royal self. One is rather minded, at this point, of the time that Spike Milligan - despite having served his country in a World War - discovered that, technically, because he'd been born in India, to Irish parents, he was not a British citizen and would have to jump through a series of hoops to get a British passport. Charles, of course, was style-appointed Goons fan number one (despite once being called a 'little grovelling bastards' on live TV by yer Spikeship) and told Milligan that it really wasn't too much fuss and bother. 'All you have to do is fill in a few forms and swear allegiance to the Queen,' he said. 'I've done it.' To which Milligan reportedly replied: 'It's all right for you! She's your mother!'

At least Chas has an excuse to make a nauseatingly twee and self-important TV shows about his dear old mum. ITV on the other hand, have no such get out clause. But, that hasn't stopped them giving it a go anyway. One trusts that the knighthood is in the post. Elizabeth: Queen, Wife, Mother - 9:00 ITV - is, as you might expect, 'an intimate profile of the monarch' (yes, another one), featuring contributions by the people closest to her, including Prince William, who describes her as 'grandmother first, Queen second.' I think that only applied to you, Will. The rest of us have our own grandmothers, thank you very much. Also appearing are her children Prince Andrew and Princess Anne, who recall what it was like to grow up at Buckingham Palace with a mother who constantly had to juggle the twin pressures of family life and royal duty. But, perhaps significantly, not Edward whom they all seem to want the public to forget is actually related to them. Narrated by the nauseating brown-tongued Alan Titchmarsh. Avoid like the plague, dear blog reader. Watch anything but this.

Thank God, frankly, for BBC4 and a new series of Punk Britannia - 9:00. A necessary counterpoint to all this mawkish, sentimental genuflecting reverence for royalty that should have gone out when Jamie Reid stuck a - metaphorical - safety pin through Her Maj's nose in 1977. And, an insight into the musical landscape of the 1970s, exploring the development, influence and legacy of the punk genre, beginning with the rise of pub rock and the emergence of bands including Doctor Feelgood, Ducks Deluxe and Kilburn & The High Roads. Featuring contributions by artists including Paul Weller, John Lydon, Mick Jones, Adam Ant and Wilko Johnson. Narrated by Peter Capaldi. There's no future in England's dreaming.

And so to the news:
Billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch has denied reports that News Corp is considering spinning off its British newspapers to protect the rest of his media empire from various criminal scandals. The Daily Torygraph and the Financial Times newspapers claimed that executives at the company were looking into ways to 'split off' the Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times, published by its News International unit. However, Murdoch, the chief executive of News Corp, said in a statement: 'News Corporation remains firmly committed to our publishing businesses, including News International, and any suggestion to the contrary is wholly inaccurate. Publishing is a core component of our future.' Police are, of course, examining claims that journalists at the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World – a paper shut by Murdoch last July – routinely hacked into the phones of hundreds of celebrities, politicians and victims of crime to generate front-page stories. They are also investigating whether staff hacked into computers and made illegal payments to public officials, including the police, to get ahead in their reporting. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks, a former senior executive of News International and editor of the Scum of the World and the Sun, has been charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice. Charges which she denies. The Daily Torygraph and the FT said News Corp was discussing putting the News International titles 'into a trust.' A News International spokeswoman denied the report, saying in a statement: 'There are absolutely no plans to put News International into a separate trust.' Selling the newspapers to one or more wealthy individuals was another option under consideration, the FT said, quoting two alleged people allegedly 'familiar' with the company. They noted 'no decisions' have been made and a spin-off or a sale might not happen, the FT added. Which makes the entire story one colossal example of speculation and guess-work. The sort of thing that the murdoch papers specialise in. The Daily Torygraph claimed that a proposal to go into 'a joint venture' with a media partner was 'also on the table,' without citing its sources. Because they, almost certainly, don't exist.

Former bitter football rivals Patrick Vieira and Crazed Roy Keane have signed up to join ITV Sport's team for their - crap - coverage of Euro 2012. At a press launch this week, ITV confirmed that grumpy odious greed-bucket and tub of lard Adrian Chiles would lead 'the team' in Poland and Ukraine as rubbish presenter, aided by long-time pundit the most boring man on the planet, Gareth Southgate. They will be joined by Vieira and Keane, who often clashed during their Premier League playing careers at The Arse and The Scum respectively. Jamie Carragher, the Liverpool defender, completes the ITV vastly unimpressive sport team for the tournament, which gets under way next month. ITV will share the UK coverage rights to Euro 2012 with the BBC, as both broadcasters have committed to running live coverage of all thirty one games from the tournament on TV, online and on mobile. ITV will kick-off England's campaign with the group stage clash against France on 11 June. The BBC will show the middle group game against Sweden on 15 June and ITV will close the pool stage campaign with the match against the Ukraine on 19 June. Should England make it out of the group, the BBC will broadcast the team's first knock-out match. The final, on 1 July, will be shown simultaneously on BBC1 and ITV.

The Heaton Horror Wor Cheryl Cole and Kylie Minogue (the more famous of the Minogue sisters) will perform during The Voice's semi-final results show, it has been confirmed. It was rumoured that the pair would appear earlier this month, and it was reported on Friday that Cole was using Gwyneth Paltrow's personal trainer Tracy Anderson to help her work out ahead of the unconfirmed guest slot. The BBC has now announced that the pair will sing during the semi-final results show on Sunday 27 May, stating: 'It is the eliminations again and this time there is more at stake than ever. A place in The Voice live final. Eight artists remain, but only one artist from each team will make it through. As the drama unfolds, international superstar Kylie Minogue and pop princess Cheryl Cole will also be performing exclusively in The Voice arena.' Cole is currently working on her third studio CD A Million Lights, and has reportedly teamed up with Wretch Thirty Two (who is, apparently, a rapper of some description, m'lud) for the delightful sounding song 'Screw You'. Which, on assumes, has nothing whatsoever to do with Wee Shughie Mcfee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads. No siree, Bob.

Meanwhile, Rockin' Rod Stewart - a chap yer actual Keith Telly Topping used to have a modicum of respect - for has reportedly signed up to guest judge The X Factor. Filmed auditions start in Liverpool on Wednesday but 'bosses' are reportedly still searching for a permanent replacement for Kelly Rowland after Dannii Minogue (the least famous of the Minogue sisters) reportedly rejected a million knicker offer to return to the talent show. Producers are said to be 'worried' that it is 'too late' to secure an A-list star like Katy Perry and are said to fear they 'could end up with Sinitta on the judging panel.' Which would, of course, be very bad. 'Rod is a genuine living legend and exactly what the show needs. The details are still to be ironed out but it looks like he'll be at the auditions next month in London and possibly Glasgow because of his Scottish heritage,' an alleged 'source' allegedly told the Mirra. 'He's sold more than one hundred million records worldwide so he knows exactly what it takes to succeed in the tough world of showbusiness, and hopefully he'll also be a big draw for viewers who might not have been fans of The X Factor before. It's a big coup to get him involved and Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads is absolutely thrilled.' Which would be a first.

The Olympic flame has embarked on a seventy-day tour of the UK in the run-up to the London 2012 Games. Triple Olympic gold medallist sailor Ben Ainslie was the first torchbearer in the eight thousand mile relay, which set off from Land's End in Cornwall at 07:15am on Saturday morning. Cheering crowds greeted the flame as it passed through lanes and streets. During the day it was borne by more than one hundred people including Olympians Duncan Goodhew and rower Michael Lapage who won silver medal at the 1948 Games. The flame travelled through Cornwall into Devon where it ended its first day with an evening celebration on Plymouth Hoe. It is being carried by members of the public, young and old, who were nominated for their achievements and community work. Each will run (or walk, in some cases) for about three hundred metres with the flame before lighting the next bearer's torch in 'a kiss.' The BBC's Jon Kay in Marazion, Cornwall, said that the numbers of people turning out to watch the relay had been 'quite astonishing.' There was 'a great sense of spirit from tens of thousands of people,' he said, adding that the high turnout was slowing the torch convoy's progress. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's mate Abie caught a glimpse of the torch as it passed through his hometown gaff of Redruth and noted: 'We've seen the torch!' Then, when poked, yer actual Keith Telly Topping got him to give From The North a - slightly - better quote: 'It was actually really great to see it, we went down to Penzance for its appearance just after 8am and there was a heck of a crowd but we got a great view - Falmouth and Truro later in the day were absolutely packed apparently. Great day for Cornwall.' Devon and Cornwall police said that a three thousand five hundred-strong crowd had gathered at Land's End in the early morning. The Olympic flame arrived on Friday evening on board a special BA flight from Athens to Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose. The flame spent the night - peacefully, one hopes - on the base before being flown to Land's End by a Royal Navy search and rescue helicopter, which had one gold-painted rotor blade, early on Saturday morning for the start of the relay. It was carried to the world-famous signpost, where Ainslie's torch was lit shortly after seven o'clock. The sailor, who on Friday won a record sixth Finn world title, said: 'It's something I'll never forget. It was an amazing atmosphere. But it's back to reality tomorrow and training for the Olympics.' He ran a short distance before passing the flame and wishing good luck to the second torchbearer, eighteen-year-old Cornish surfer Tassy Swallow. Tassy, from St Ives, said she wanted to take it slowly to take it all in but she got 'a bit excited and a little crazy and ran too fast.' She has represented Britain four times as member of the junior British surf team and dreams of becoming the first woman to represent surfing and snowboarding for her country. She told the BBC: 'There's a good spot near here if there are some waves. I'll maybe check that out on the way home.' Penzance relay runner Marie Wilson said after handing over the torch: 'It's so amazing. I was crying so much I was worried I was going to put out the flame.' The runners are accompanied the whole way by police officers from the Torch Security Team, co-ordinated by the Metropolitan police. TV presenter Ben Fogle took the flame up in a helium-filled balloon in the Eden Project rainforest biome. Hip-Hop artist Labrinth (not, one assumes, his real name) headlined the first evening celebration on Plymouth Hoe which started at 19:00. The free two-hour stage show will featured Britain's Got Talent finalists Twist & Pulse. (Not their real names either.) Later, the torch visited BBC Radio 1's dance party at Paignton. On Friday evening there was a short ceremony at Culdrose as the Olympic flame landed from Athens on board flight BA2012. The Princess Royal carried it off the specially-painted plane in a lantern and footballer David Beckham then lit a cauldron. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was at the Royal Naval Air Station to formally welcome the flame with five hundred members of the public, armed forces and dignitaries. Most of whom had turned up to see Beckham, the flame, Boris Johnson and then Clegg in, very definitely, that order. Clegg said: 'Eight thousand people will pass it from hand-to-hand, a human chain that reaches the length and breadth of Britain. With every step, the excitement will build. Ten weeks from now, the world will watch as the flame arrives at the Olympic Stadium, bringing with it the hopes of a nation.' Chairman of Olympic organisers LOCOG, Lord Coe, who went to Greece for the lighting and handover of the flame, said this next stage in the build-up to the Games was a 'magical moment for any host country.' The torch visits the four nations of the UK before being taken to the Olympic Stadium in Stratford on 27 July for the opening ceremony of the Games. It will travel through one thousand and nineteen cities, towns and villages, on foot or in convoy, and drop in at UK landmarks like the Giant's Causeway, Stonehenge and The Angel of the North. It will be carried by eight thousand bearers and will also be transported by boat, bicycle, tram and train. The flame, meant to represent purity, was kindled from the rays of the sun using a parabolic mirror in a ceremony on 10 May at Olympia, the home of the ancient Olympic Games. It was taken on a eighteen hundred mile-long relay around Greece before being handed over to the Princess Royal on Thursday evening at the Panathenaic stadium, Athens. A flame first burned for a modern summer Olympic Games at Amsterdam 1928, but it was not until Berlin 1936 that a full torch relay was staged. So, yeah, basically it's the Nazis we've got to thank for all this. That sort of takes the shine off it all, a bit.

Premier League champions Sheikh Yer Man City had to ask for their title-winning ball back after a teenager stole it. What, something illegal going on in Manchester? Surely not? The seventeen-year-old grabbed the ball during the pitch invasion by fans after City's victory against QPR at Eastland, last Sunday. After examining CCTV footage, the club contacted Greater Manchester Police, who arrested the youth. The tight-fisted bastards, they're owned by one of the richest blokes in the world and they're still worried about a twenty quid ball. The youth was later 'de-arrested' after the club opted not to press charges on condition that he gave the ball back. The win, which came after a last-ditch winner by striker Sergio Aguero, handed Manchester City a 3-2 win and their first league title in forty four years. Fans streamed onto the pitch following the final whistle to congratulate players and to celebrate the victory. After realising the ball was missing and studying CCTV footage of the pitch invasion, officials from the club contacted police on Thursday to report the theft. A police spokesman said a youth was arrested on Friday but the charges were dropped shortly after. 'It was decided the most appropriate cause of action was to use restorative justice, so the boy was taken to the Etihad Stadium where he met with security staff and resolved the matter,' he said.

Gary Lineker has reportedly received an apology from the Daily Lies after it printed false quotes from the England football legend and Match of the Day presenter. Saturday's paper features the front page headline Lineker: England team are losers. In the article, the former footballer is quoted as saying that fans will 'end up disappointed as usual,' in extracts apparently taken out of context from an upcoming Reader's Digest interview. 'Headline in tomorrow's Daily Star is a disgrace. I never said "England team are losers." Please change late editions,' Lineker wrote on Twitter on Friday night. 'Is it any surprise the newspaper industry is dying? How can they use a front page headline that is complete fabrication? If anyone has a recording of me uttering the words "England team are losers" I'll resign.' Lineker later added: 'Have text from Daily Star saying "only says this in headline, the story itself does not suggest this is your quote." Oh that's alright then. I have now received an apology from the editor of the Daily Star. Wonder if I'll get one in the paper?'

Finally, it was an horrible day for football on Saturday. Firstly moneybags Russian club Moscow Chelski FC won the Champions League - although that did, at least, have a silver lining in so much as it means that a bad few weeks just got a whole hell of a lot worse for Happy Harry Redknapp and his Stottingtot Hotshots, depriving them of a place in next year's competition despite finishing fourth in the league. So, that, at least, was funny. Earlier, however, no pleasure at all could be derived from odious, full of his own importance lard bucket Sam Allardyce's West Hamsters gaining promotion to the Premier League via a play-off victory over plucky little Blackpool.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, here's a bit more John Cooper Clarke. And, why not?

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