Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Words Weren't Long

Doctor Who fans who don't like spoilers of any persuasion should probably look away now. The Daily Lies alleges that a forthcoming episode of the new series of the popular long-running BBC1 family SF drama will be their own version of the blockbuster Snakes On A Plane called, wait for it, Dinosaurs On A Spaceship. Uh-huh. I'll believe it when I see it, personally (although, I did say that when about Timothy Dalton appearing as Rassilon as well, so, you know, I haven't got an entirely flawless record when it comes to this sort of thing.) An alleged 'insider' allegedly told the alleged paper: 'When we said we had a monster series lined-up, we meant it.' Yeah, that doesn't really sound like anybody that could be remotely described as a Doctor Who 'insider' either. Unless Steven's suddenly got them all talking in crappy tabloidese. Which is possible, I guess. If any dinosaurs do happen to appear in Doctor Who, of course, let's hope they're slightly more successfully realised than the show's previous effort.

Steven Moffat, meanwhile, has 'blasted' (that's yer actual tabloid-speak for 'mildly criticised', only with several less syllables) those 'special' people who claim that Doctor Who and Sherlock are 'too clever.' The BAFTA-winning writer encouraged a tiny minority disgruntled viewers to 'pay attention' and 'think about' his dramas. Or, better yet, fuck off and watch Britain's Got Toilets on the other side. No, actually, dear blog reader, he didn't say that. because, The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat is far too polite to say something like that. But, I'm not. 'There's been a weird backlash among, I presume, fairly stupid people about the fact the shows are "complicated" and clever, but they're both huge international hits,' the fifty-year-old told BAFTA Guru. 'We make no apology. Don't expect to do the ironing; sit down, pay attention and think about it. Audiences like complexity. They follow intricately plotted soap operas all the time. It depresses me when people say, "It's all far too clever."' On not having any plans to move on from the two programmes, he added: "The moment it's time to stop on a show is not an ambiguous feeling - you just suddenly think, 'I can't do it anymore; I've had enough'."

And, speaking of tabloid nonsense, 'The Voice has been 'dealt another blow in the ratings war' after being 'beaten by another bird singing on a BBC1 show – a skylark on Countryfile', at least according to the Sun. The newspaper goes on to - thoroughly mendaciously - quote peak figures rather than averages in their subsequent story. They suggests that Countryfile 'had 6.8m viewers' at 6.25pm. The Voice 'could only pitch in with' an overnight peak of 6.3m when it was broadcast straight after Countryfile at 7.25pm. 'More viewers tuned in to see Chris Packham and Jeremy Clarkson dissect owl droppings, rather than find out the fate of hopefuls on the flailing BBC1 singing contest.' 'Flailing'? That's what it says, dear blog reader. In actual fact, The Voice's average audience of 5.8m was marginally higher than the 5.7m average for Countryfile. Still, there was some good news for The Voice. Here's apparent photographic proof that light really does shine out of Holly Willoughby's arse.
Meanwhile the Brenda Blethyn drama Vera pulled in its best ever audience of 6.1m for its series two finale. The Tyneside detective show, which began last month with 4.8m, won its slot with an average of 5.68m between 8pm and 10pm, adding a further three hundred and sixty thousand on ITV+1. This comes despite its four-episode run being interrupted by a Britain's Got Talent semi-final and last week's Afghanistan-themed episode being pulled following the death of two British servicemen. BBC1's Planet Earth Live (3.92m) and a repeat of Death in Paradise (2.16m) struggled opposite Vera, while Indian Ocean with Simon Reeve (2.12m) and Coast (2.68m) both achieved commendable audiences on BBC2 (the latter beating BBC1's figure in the same slot for the second week running). Overall, ITV edged BBC1 in primetime with an 18.4 per cent audience share versus 17.6 per cent.

And, still on the subject of ratings, here's the consolidated top twenty programmes, week ending 13 May 2012:-
1 Britain's Got Talent - ITV Sat - 12.56m
2 Coronation Street - ITV Mon - 9.30m
3 EastEnders - BBC1 Fri - 7.84m
4 The Apprentice - BBC1 Wed - 6.98m
5 Emmerdale - ITV Wed - 6.76m*
6 The Voice - BBC1 Sun - 6.75m
7 Have I Got News For You - BBC1 Fri - 5.72m
8 Countryfile - BBC1 Sun - 5.71m
9 ITV News - ITV Sat - 5.24m*
10 Planet Earth Live - BBC1 Sun - 5.18m
11 BBC News - BBC1 Sun - 4.88m
12 Not Going Out - BBC1 Fri - 4.75m
13 Six O'Clock News - BBC1 Wed - 4.71m
14 Lewis (repeat) - ITV Sun - 4.63m*
15 Ten O'Clock News - BBC1 Tues - 4.48m
16 Britain's Biggest Hoarders - BBC1 Tues - 4.41m
17 Casualty - BBC1 Sat - 4.37m
18 The ONE Show - BBC1 Thurs - 4.29m
19 Piers Morgan's Life Stories - ITV Fri - 4.27m*
20 Match Of The Day - BBC1 Sun - 4.26m
Those programmes marked '*' do not including HD figures.

The lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Hunt is, deliciously, to be investigated over claims that he failed to register donations from media firms. Parliamentary standards commissioner Sir John Lyon launched an inquiry after a complaint from a Labour MP. It concerns meetings organised by private companies between July 2009 and March 2010, when the vile and odious rascal Hunt and his deputy Ed Vaizey were in opposition. And making statements like this. These meetings were described as 'networking events' where senior Conservatives met figures from 'the creative industries.' Labour has demanded the resignation of the vile and odious rascal Hunt over an 'accumulation of evidence' that his relationship with billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's News International was too close at a time when he was overseeing the company's attempt to take over broadcaster BSkyB. But, he has resisted the calls, claiming that he behaved 'with integrity' throughout the process. The investigation Sir John is heading relates to separate allegations over the vile and odious rascal Hunt's conduct while the Conservatives were in opposition. It follows a complaint from the Labour MP Steve McCabe earlier this month. Vaizey stated in his entry in the register of interests that he and the vile and odious rascal Hunt had attended eight sponsored events between July 2009 and March 2010. Vaizey registered the events as 'donations' worth twenty seven thousand smackers. These were not cash donations, but estimates from Vaizey of the cost to the companies concerned of hosting the events. However, the vile and odious rascal Hunt did not declare the meetings against his name in the register. He has subsequently claimed that he attended only three of the eight meetings and has made it clear he intends to amend the register accordingly.
Lord Mandelson of The Dark Side, meanwhile, gave the vile and odious rascal Hunt some qualified support at the Leveson inquiry, when the former Labour minister and Prince of Darkness said that Lord Leveson should treat controversial e-mails written by a News Corporation lobbyist about the lack of culture secretary's thinking 'with caution.' Giving evidence, the former business secretary said that he was 'not surprised' to learn that references to 'JH' in e-mails written by News Corp's Frédéric Michel to his boss James Murdoch the small were based on information received from the minister's former special 'rogue' adviser Adam Smith. Mandelson was asked by Leveson what he thought of the credibility of Michel's purported updates from the vile and odious rascal Hunt including advance warning of what he was due to say about the bid in parliament. Mandelson replied. 'I think it would be fair to approach this and some of the communications that took place with some scepticism.' The Labour veteran was initially reluctant to answer questions about the modus operandi of Michel, because he had once worked with him at New Labour thinktank, the Policy Network, in the early part of the last decade. 'I am in a difficult position because he left my thinktank by mutual consent,' Mandelson said. When pressed he said Michel was 'perhaps better at networking than he was dealing with policies' and 'might have been suited to public relations than lobbying.' The vile and odious rascal Hunt's special 'rogue' adviser, Smith resigned last month after James Murdoch the small released to the Leveson inquiry last month one hundred and sixty three pages of almost daily updates from the lack of culture secretary's office on the BSkyB bid. The vile and odious rascal Hunt said that the 'volume and tone' of Smith's contact with Michel in the context of the eight billion smackers bid was 'inappropriate.' Mandelson, though, did take aim at the vile and odious rascal Hunt over the conduct of Smith. He said that if a special adviser ('rogue' or otherwise) had been caught in such a close relationship with a corporate lobbyist when he was a secretary of state 'they would have been taken out and shot.' Well, they didn't call him The Prince of Darkness for nothing, you know. Mandelson blamed 'inexperience' of the vile and odious rascal Hunt and Smith to ensure 'inappropriate contact' had happened. Over a three hours of evidence Mandelson discussed the Labour party's links with News International, its former chief executives well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks and Les Hinton and the conversation he had with Brooks when the Sun dumped Labour and switched political allegiance to the Tories in September 2009. He said that Gordon Brown had taken the Sun's Labour's Lost It  front-page splash, which announced the decision, 'too personally' but confirmed that he had phoned Brooks to tell her she and her Sun colleagues were 'a bunch of chumps.' He also confirmed that Brooks came to him to see if he could get arch Murdoch critic Tom Watson removed from the culture and media select committee investigating phone-hacking in 2009. 'She would come to me to complain that Tom Watson or whoever it was, members of the culture, media and sport select committee, were hounding them. Couldn't they be pulled away, pulled off,' Mandelson told the inquiry. Mandelson claimed that he did not enjoy a 'social relationship' with Brooks – he wasn't for instance invited to her wedding in June 2009. But he added that he considered Rupert Murdoch's daughter Elisabeth 'a friend.' He joined her in Corfu for one leg of her fortieth birthday celebrations which also took in Santorini where David Cameron flew to meet Rupert Murdoch. The former minister was unable to confirm or deny whether a disputed conversation between Gordon Brown and Rupert Murdoch took place in the autumn of 2009 after the Sun's switch to the Conservatives, but said that he met the media mogul the following spring over dinner and said that 'he was quite agitated' because he felt Labour had 'declared war' on News Corp.

Meanwhile, Tessa Jowell, the former lack culture secretary, has told the Leveson inquiry that she sought assurances from then prime minister, Tony Blair, that there had been no 'backdoor deal' with Rupert Murdoch when she was given the job in 2001. The former Labour cabinet minister had the task of reviewing cross-media ownership law as part of the Communications Act that was due to go before parliament at that time – and wanted to be assured she had a free hand in rewriting the rules. Giving evidence before the judicial inquiry into press standards on Monday morning, Jowell said she saw Blair 'within a couple of days of my appointment.' She asked the prime minister about whether his relationship with the media mogul would colour her thinking. 'I asked him whether or not any deal had been done with Rupert Murdoch on … the cross-media ownership rules. He gave me an absolute assurance which I completely accepted that there had been no prior agreement,' she said. Given that, Jowell said that she told Blair that it was best 'if you don't see the parties,' by which she meant any interested media owners, and that it was her job to 'take this and come back to you with proposals.' She told Lord Justice Leveson that Blair was 'content' with this approach. Jowell steered through the Communications Act, which eventually saw a partial relaxation of cross media ownership rules – allowing US groups such as Disney and Murdoch's News Corporation to buy British free-to-air broadcasters. That could have allowed News Corp to buy Channel Five. The former lack of culture secretary also told the inquiry that Blair asked her to see if cross-media ownership rules could be relaxed to the point where News Corp could have bought ITV or Channel Five. Jowell had presented proposals that would have prevented News Corp, or any UK newspaper owner with a market share of more than twenty per cent, from taking over ITV or Channel Five. However, at a private meeting in March 2002, Blair asked for 'further discussion of the merits and effects of the different approaches we could take to the rule preventing anyone owning twenty per cent of both the national newspaper market and a Channel Three [ITV] or Channel Five service,' according to a note prepared by officials at Jowell's Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Jowell told the inquiry that said she had 'no detailed recollection' of the conversation at the meeting. But she acknowledged that when it came to cross media ownership rules Blair's 'instinct in relation to this were, I think, more deregulatory than mine.' Shortly after, a second meeting between Jowell and Blair concluded that it was appropriate to allow News Corp to buy Channel Five – but not ITV. An official note from April 2002 confirms this final, agreed position. Jowell said the change in thinking was an example of the normal policy development process and that the proposed change in rules as regarding Channel Five was 'not a big development.' The Channel Five proposal went forward and became part of the Communications Act which was passed by Parliament, while the ITV restriction remains today.

Jowell also told the Leveson inquiry of the 'total' invasion of her privacy by the press and said she will provide a dossier of news articles for which she 'could not understand' the source. The former lack of culture secretary was asked on Monday by David Barr, counsel to the inquiry, whether she thought there were newspaper stories which could only have come from phone-hacking. Jowell replied that she 'kept on reading stories [in newspapers] and could not understand where they had come from' and added it was as if 'friends had simply rung up the journalist' to tell them information. Barr then asked in which newspapers these articles appeared, Jowell said: 'Stuff appeared in the Daily Mail, the Evening Standard, in The Sunday Times' at which point the former minister was interrupted. She then promised to provide examples to Lord Justice Leveson's inquiry. After her Leveson inquiry appearance, Jowell was asked by the Evening Standard to clarify her remarks. 'I was asked a more general question about other newspapers and I said that at the time of this period of intense media interest, I was aware that newspapers including the Evening Standard, had written stories which displayed a level of great personal knowledge which surprised me and alarmed me,' she told the paper. 'I did not suggest that these stories had been procured through hacking my phone.' The earlier exchange at the Leveson inquiry came at the end of a series of emotional answers from the former lack of culture secretary as she relived a period of her life in which she was under intense scrutiny amid questions over the relationship between her estranged husband David Mills and former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. Jowell said that she was first told that her phone had been hacked 'on twenty eight or twenty nine occasions' by the police in May 2006. Evidence collated subsequently by the current Operating Weeting inquiry into hacking in fact suggests it happened more often than this, she added. With her voice breaking with emotion, Jowell said that once she was told about hacking 'it answered a lot of questions I had about why I was followed everywhere and why there were always people outside my house and why photographers and journalists seemed to know where I was going.' She said that the 'invasion of my privacy was total in that period.' Jowell insisted that she was prepared to give evidence in the trial of Clive Goodman, the former Scum of the World royal editor, and the private investigator Glenn Mulcaire in 2006, but was told that she would 'not be needed' as a witness because members of the royal household were providing evidence. She said that the Metropolitan police detective chief superintendent Keith Surtees was wrong to say in his evidence to the inquiry that she was 'unwilling to supply a statement' at the time of the Goodman/Mulcaire trial. She said that she was 'really shocked' when she read his evidence 'because it was untrue.' The former minister said that she had now given five statements to the current Operation Weeting inquiry into phone-hacking, and said she wanted to be 'absolutely clear' that there was no evidence that 'any information was being sought other than information that related to my family.' She added that there 'was no question of sort of commercial espionage or any attempt to interfere with my duties of as a secretary of state' but said 'I did my job every day but life was very, very difficult' at a time when there was 'obsessive curiosity about my private life and about my family, who suffered greatly as a result of that.' Leveson asked Jowell whether she had considered making a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission, but she said that she had not because she did not want 'to focus attention on me. I certainly don't want to be a focus on public sympathy or anything like that because I'm a secretary of state, I am an elected politician. I'm a very tough and seasoned elected politician, and you have zero expectations of fair treatment,' she added. Jowell also described how, despite repeated denials, several newspapers continued to report 'completely untrue' claims that Mills had 'received a bribe from Berlusconi and this money had been used to pay off our mortgage.' Jowell said that at the time the couple had no mortgage. She said she met James Murdoch the small, the News Corporation deputy chief operating officer and former News International and BSkyB chairman, twice a year to discuss government policies. James Murdoch the small, who was BSkyB chief executive for much of the period when Jowell was the lack of culture secretary, made his views very clear but News International got 'nothing' in terms of favours in relation to the BBC licence fee, the Communications Act or digital switchover. She denied that she had an 'inappropriate' friendship with Matthew Freud, the PR agency owner and husband of Elisabeth Murdoch. She described him as 'a friend' and attended what counsel to the inquiry David Barr described as 'lavish parties' at his home including Elisabeth Murdoch's fortieth birthday party. Jowell pointed out that she declined an invitation to their wedding because it would 'not be proper' to attend.

The BBC has struck a deal to save The Football League Show, which had faced the axe after 'budget decisions' forced several Christmas editions to be dropped. BBC Sport has struck a three-year deal with the Football League to keep the Saturday night highlights show on BBC1 for the next three seasons starting this summer. The BBC will also continue to provide midweek highlights of the League Cup and dedicated shows from Wembley stadium for the finals of the League Cup and Johnstone's Paint Trophy. 'Football is a core part of our sports rights portfolio and BBC Sport is delighted to be continuing our relationship with the Football League, bringing games to our audiences on both TV and radio,' said Barbara Slater, director of BBC Sport. The deal will also see Radio 5Live and 5Live Sports Extra continue to hold the non-exclusive rights to all Football League and League Cup games and play-off matches. 'In a short period of time The Football League Show has become an institution amongst supporters of our seventy two clubs, more than a million of whom tune in every week for the comprehensive coverage the show delivers,' said Richard Heaselgrave, chief commercial officer at the Football League. In December fans complained about the BBC dropping The Football League Show from BBC1's schedule for Boxing Day and 2 January. The scheduling move, which the BBC said was part of a 'budget decision', fuelled speculation the show would not be recommissioned at the end of its latest three-year contract. The show will continue to be produced for BBC Sport by IMG.

If there was a danger that the Olympic torch's meandering tour of the UK might quickly begin to feel a little samey, day three – a sunlit romp through Devon and Somerset – proved anything but dull. For starters, the flame went out for the first time because of what the organisers called 'a torch malfunction.' Fortunately the 'mother flame' was close at hand and the offending torch was quickly re-lit. Then there was a row after it emerged some of those taking part in the relay were attempting to make hefty profits by selling their torches on eBay. The London 2012 organising committee, which is letting participants buy their torches for one hundred and ninety nine quid, said that it could do nothing to stop them and just hoped that they would eventually go to good homes. Inbetween there were rumours that Hollywood A-lister Will Smith was going to carry the torch in the Somerset town of Williton. But, he didn't. And then there was another rumour - this one, true! - that Will.i.am, the Black Eyed Peas star and TV talent show judge, was to perform in Taunton to greet the flame's arrival. However, the day's low point came when the flame went out as it was being carried on the side of parabadminton star David Follett's wheelchair in the Devon town of Great Torrington. 'I got it, went a few metres and then it went out,' said Follett, 'I thought: "It would be me – it's always the way."' The hitch, however, did not stop him enjoying his moments with the flame. 'It was such an amazing experience. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity. It was incredible.' The organising committee sounded like they had been expecting this. A spokesman said: 'The flame went out due to a malfunctioning burner. It is not uncommon for a flame to go out and this can happen for a number of reasons, for example, in extreme winds. We keep the mother flame alight in specially designed miners' lanterns so if the flame does go out for some reason we re-light it from the source of the flame.' On a busy day for the committee's spokespeople, they also found themselves explaining why torch bearers were selling their torches on the online auction site eBay. Bids on one torch, that of Sarah Milner Simonds, closed at one hundred and fifty thousand smackers – though it remained unclear if the offer was genuine. Milner Simonds, a gardener and lecturer in horticulture, said that she planned to hand the money she made over to charity. 'Rather than look at the torch for years to come on my mantelpiece I have decided to auction it and put it to long-term benefit for the community,' she said. 'I was looking at eBay and saw that there was a guy who had already sold his torch for three thousand pounds. I thought, that is obscene, imagine what good you could do with three thousand pounds. I instantly decided that of course I should sell it to raise money.' It turns out not to have been as simple as she wished. 'I have received hundreds of hate e-mails that have said I have undermined the value of the Olympics. I haven't. I have attempted to put some good back into the community in the best way possible.' There was some surprise among onlookers that each of the eight thousand people taking part in the relay has his or her own personal torch. Many were also surprised that they were able to buy the torch and sell them on if they chose. A spokesman for the London 2012 organising committee said there was nothing they could do to prevent the sale of the torches or the white uniforms worn by relay runners. 'The torches are the torchbearers' to do what they want with them. We hope they find a good home,' he said. The row reached the Lords, where Tory Lord Cormack asked if it would be a 'good thing to discourage the selling of the torches.' Yes, dear blog reader, you heard it here first - a Tory who dislikes private enterprise. Taroness Garden of Frognal, a government spokeswoman on the Olympics, said the torches were the property of those that had bought them and ministers could not get involved. Away from controversy, there were also some touching tales that emerged from the route. Such as that of Devon farmer Tony Hill, eighty six, who was due to be a torchbearer at the 1948 Olympics but had to dash to hospital instead with appendicitis. Hill, a former cross-country runner, said: 'I never thought I'd get another chance. It's a real honour. I've been doing a bit of jogging to get fit.' On Tuesday the torch continues to wind its way through Somerset before ending up in Bristol. On Wednesday the former eventing world champion – and royal granddaughter – Zara Phillips is due to carry the torch into Cheltenham racecourse on her horse Toytown.

Channel Four is facing an Ofcom investigation for broadcasting a comedy sketch featuring teenagers learning how to handle fame with scenes including pretending to show nipples to paparazzi and taking cocaine in a toilet. Ofcom has launched an investigation into the first episode of Very Important People, which was shown on 27 April, to see if Channel Four has broken rules relating to protecting child actors and 'generally accepted broadcasting standards.' The first episode of the celebrity impression and sketch show featured an impression of Fearne Cotton in a supposedly 'light-hearted' segment teaching three children 'invaluable tips' on Fame Skillz. The young actors faced a series of challenges including 'the Paps Zone', where they had to pretend to squeeze their nipples and flash some nipples painted on their T-shirts to photographers. 'Get your nipples in the paper,' said 'Cotton', who provided a running commentary during the challenges. Other scenes include the youngsters entering a toilet cubicle and being coated in a fine white powder which results in them being put in a small playhouse for 'rehab' until they are pronounced 'clean.' And, it also featured them being encouraged to admit 'dirty secrets' for in a tongue-in-cheek ghost-written biography challenge, one child admitting to being 'lesbian' while another said they have had a 'threesome.' Ofcom is investigating Channel Four under the broadcasting code relating to how under-eighteens are treated on TV shows. The code states that Channel Four has a duty to take due care over the 'physical and emotional welfare and the dignity of people under eighteen who take part or are otherwise involved in programmes.' The media regulator is also investigating Channel Four for any potential breach of rules relating to generally accepted standards. 'Such material may include, but is not limited to, offensive language, violence, sex, sexual violence, humiliation, distress, violation of human dignity, discriminatory treatment or language,' the Ofcom rules state.

In the age of austerity Britain, the last thing licence-fee payers want is a happy-go-lucky family parading around their well-to-do Chiswick home on TV on a Friday night. Or is it? BBC1 controller Danny Cohen has played down claims from the actor Zoë Wanamaker that My Family was dropped because it was 'too middle class.' The Daily Torygraph reports that Cogen told the Radio Times: 'I'm not saying that someone didn't tell her that. But every comedy reaches the point where it's not as fresh as it was.'

Meerkat Aleksandr Orlov has signed a new book deal. Which is impressive since he's a fictional character. The mascot for comparison website comparethemarket.com and 'founder' of rival comparethemeerkat.com will 'write' six books about the characters from his home village Meerkovo, Russia. Orlov said: 'I am very excite to announce new book deal, people say I remind them of a young William Shakesmeer, I never heard of him.' The books for Ebury Press follow Orlov's previous autobiography A Simples Life, which was released in 2010 and sold over five hundred thousand copies. Andrew Goodfellow of Ebury Publishing said: 'A Simples Life was the publishing story of 2010 and the nation's obsession with Aleksandr and all things meerkat continues to grow with over half a million books sold so far. We are looking forward to the same mix of fun and success that we enjoyed with Aleksandr last time.'

The Stone Roses have reportedly given their blessing to a new film set against the backdrop of their legendary 1990 gig at Spike Island, its writer has said. The film is part of a slate of projects announced by BBC Films in Cannes. It tells the story of a group of young teenagers who try to get to the concert without tickets and features extensive use of the band's music. Writer Chris Coghill told the BBC: 'Mani, the bass player and Ian Brown said, "Whatever we can do to help."' He added: 'Essentially, it's my love letter to The Stone Roses and being sixteen years old in 1990 in Manchester. There's a little bit of me in all the boys.' The Stone Roses' outdoor concert at Spike Island in Widnes on 27 May 1990 was attended by around twenty seven thousand people. Although it was badly organised by today's standards and there were some complaints about the poor sound quality, it has since become something of a legendary event - the Woodstock for the Baggy Generation, in fact. 'I never went to Spike Island,' Coghill admitted. 'I got let down with a ticket the day before, which is what happens to the lads in the film. But I just sat on my mum's sofa all day in a mood, whereas these lads go and try to blag their way in.' The film stars Shameless actor Elliott Tittensor, Game of Thrones' Emelia Clarke and veteran actress Lesley Manville. 'It's a coming-of-age story, all the lads have issues that they're dealing with. It's set over three days and they're all running away from things,' said Coghill. The trailer, which was shown to journalists in Cannes, is accompanied by several song from The Stone Roses' eponymous debut LP. Former EastEnders actor Coghill said the band had 'jumped at the chance' to have their music used in the film. 'I'm mates with Mani and I know Ian a bit, and when we first started talking about it, I e-mailed them both an outline of what we wanted to do and they said, "You have our support, you have our blessing, whatever you need."' The Stone Roses are due to reform for a world tour this summer, and Coghill said that he hoped to have the film ready by November. He also said the band 'have at least three or four new tracks recorded.' Other BBC films unveiled in Cannes include Shadow Dancer, in which Andrea Riseborough plays an IRA informant, and Now Is Good, in which former child actress Dakota Fanning plays a determined teenager living in the shadow of a terminal illness.

Manchester's famous Hacienda nightclub has been revived for a one-off party to celebrate its thirtieth anniversary. Ageing ravers attended the event in an underground car park on the site of the venue, which was demolished in 2002. Fans still have 'very intense' feelings for the club, said former New Order and Joy Division bassist Peter Hook, who organised the party. The club became legendary for its place at the heart of the acid house scene in the late 1980s and '90s - as well as for its drug dealing and gang violence. The anniversary attempted to recreate the euphoric atmosphere of its heyday with sets from classic Hacienda DJs including 808 State, Dave Haslam, Graeme Park and Jon DaSilva. Steve Oldroyd used to travel from Harrogate to the venue every Saturday night. Now forty five and a telecommunications engineer, he said: 'There's never been anywhere like the Hacienda. Everybody just seemed to be on the same wavelength. So it's quite nice to be part of something like this tonight.' His friend, Steve Wallace, a thirty nine-year-old commercial director, recalled the atmosphere that made it famous. 'If you came in a bit later, you'd walk into a wall of sound and smoke and heat,' he said. 'You could feel it throbbing. There really is nothing like it. I talk to my girlfriend about it and she looks at me like I'm from a different planet but she was never here. The people that weren't here, who hear us oldies going on about it all the time, they don't get it. It was unique and special. It's quite nice to be back. It's not quite the same, but it's a good second.' The Hacienda opened on 21 May 1982 and was run by the Factory Records label and by New Order. As well as hosting acid house club nights, it also saw early gigs by some seminal Manchester bands including New Order, The Smiths, The Stone Roses and the Happy Mondays. The club's feelgood heyday was famously fuelled by ecstasy - which led to drug rivalries, violence and eventually closure in 1997. A block of flats was built in its place and the anniversary party took place in the block's car park. It finished at midnight to avoid overly disturbing residents.

England wrapped up a five-wicket victory in the first Test as a stand of one hundred and thirty two between Alastair Cook and Ian Bell saw off an early West Indies charge. When Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen both went cheaply inside the first hour on the fifth day, a further one hundred and thirty four were needed and there was a genuine sense that an almighty upset could be on the cards. But Cook's classy, unhurried seventy nine and Bell's sixty three not out blunted the attack and then brought the target of one hundred and ninety one rapidly within reach as the shine went off the new ball. Cook fell with just two runs needed but Bell punched the winning runs through cover alongside debutant Jonny Bairstow to seal victory midway through the afternoon session. England will now take a 1-0 series lead into the second Test at Trent Bridge which starts on Friday having been made to work far harder for the honour than almost anyone outside the Caribbean had expected. With England resuming on ten for two in the morning - still one hundred and eighty one short of victory - West Indies came out in search of an early breakthrough, and found one when Trott pushed nervously at Kemar Roach and was caught at second slip for thirteen. Pietersen marched in swinging his arms and began aggressively while Cook dropped anchor, the opener going twenty seven deliveries with just one scoring shot. Pietersen pulled Shannon Gabriel through midwicket for four, but then tried to do the same to a fuller ball and succeeded only in edging behind for an inauspicious thirteen. It left England fifty seven for four and thoughts began to turn to a similar run-chase at Lord's twelve years ago when England, needing one hundred and eighty eight to beat a more illustrious West Indies side, had sunk deep into the mire before squeaking home by two wickets. The difference here was the quality of the bowling attack. Whilst that England line-up had to face yer actual Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose, the current Caribbean quickies had neither the accuracy nor constant menace of their predecessors. Runs came at pace, the pitch as flat as it had been all match and the ball doing nothing through the air once the shine had been dulled. Marlon Samuels's gentle spin and Darren Sammy's medium pace could not match the threat of Roach's opening spell, and Cook and Bell were able to accumulate with increasing ease. England scored one hundred and twenty one runs in the morning session, and with every boundary the initial pressure lifted a little more. Cook was happy to cut and drive, while Bell displayed his usual extensive range of shots as they closed in rapidly after lunch. Cook was disappointed to fall just short of the finishing line, looking to slap Sammy away for the match-winning boundary but edging to Kirk Edwards at gully. It changed nothing. Bell clipped Samuels through midwicket for four and England were home.

A woman who claimed that she helped Lord Lucan to live 'a secret life abroad' has revealed her identity. Shirley Robey claimed the missing aristocrat fled to Africa and she made arrangements for his children to fly to the country so he could see them. She told the BBC her story in February, under the assumed name of Jill Findlay. Robey said that she hoped by revealing her identity, people would take her claims seriously. Lord Lucan's wife has dismissed her claims as 'absurd.' Lucan infamously disappeared in 1974 after the murder of his children's nanny, Sandra Rivett, who was found dead at Lucan's home in Belgravia. The peer's blood-soaked car was later found abandoned in Newhaven, East Sussex. Lucan, born Richard John Bingham in 1934, was officially declared dead by the High Court in 1999. But since his disappearance there have been more than seventy alleged sightings of him in countries across the world including South Africa, Australia, Ireland, India and the Netherlands. Robey, who now lives in France, worked for Lucan's friend, the Kent conservationist and gambling club owner John Aspinall. She claimed that she attended meetings where the missing aristocrat was discussed by her boss and the billionaire financier, tycoon and Tory grandee Sir James Goldsmith. She said she was instructed to book flights to Africa for Lucan's two eldest children on two occasions between 1979 and 1981. Lucan would have been able to see them from a distance but he would not meet them or speak to them, she said. Robey contacted police after being interviewed by the BBC's Inside Out programme. The Metropolitan Police said that any 'significant' new information would be 'fully considered.' Earlier this year, the Countess of Lucan said that her former husband 'would not have coped' abroad and her children could not have gone to Africa because they were wards of court. Lady Lucan said her former husband liked England, could not speak foreign languages and 'preferred English food.' She believes that he threw himself off a ferry at Newhaven on the night of the incident.

An 'annular eclipse' has been viewed across a swathe of the Earth stretching across the Pacific from Asia to the western US. The eclipse occurs when the Moon is at its farthest from the Earth and does not block out the Sun completely. Millions of people witnessed the resulting 'ring of fire' phenomenon. The eclipse passed almost directly over Tokyo before sweeping just below Alaska's Aleutian islands and making landfall in the western US. In Japan 'eclipse tours' were held at schools and parks, on pleasure boats and even private airplanes. Similar events were also held in China and Taiwan. TV in Tokyo broadcast the event live. Light rain fell on Tokyo as the eclipse began, but the clouds thinned as it reached its peak, providing near perfect conditions. 'It was a very mysterious sight - I've never seen anything like it,' said Kaori Sasaki, who joined a crowd in central Tokyo. Japanese electronics giant Panasonic sent an expedition to the top of Mount Fuji to film the eclipse using solar-powered equipment. 'Our goal is to broadcast the world's most beautiful annular eclipse from the highest mountain in Japan,' the company said. However, in Hong Kong skywatchers were not so lucky. Hundreds had gathered along the Kowloon waterfront where the Space Museum had set up solar-filtered telescopes, but heavy clouds obstructed the view. In the US, viewing parties were reported in Reno, Nevada, Oakland and elsewhere. Hundreds also travelled to the Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which was hailed as one of the best vantage points. 'That's got to be the prettiest thing I've ever seen,' said Brent Veltri of Salida, Colorado.

Which brings of to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Which, given the final story on today's blog, seems rather appropriate.

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