Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Last Night Of The Fair

Benedict Cumberbatch has suggested that his character Sherlock fell in love with Irene Adler in A Scandal in Belgravia. In the first episode of the second series of Sherlock, Cumberbatch's detective matched wits against the iconic character, played by Lara Pulver. Benny spoke about the challenges of shooting the episode, confirming that Sherlock was charmed by Irene and ultimately fell for her over the course of the instalment. 'Well, he's supposedly an asexual, emotionless machine, and has cut off feelings of attraction or sensory enjoyment or interest in the female form other than to gain information,' Cumberbatch told Deadline. 'So it was [about] how to get the audience to believe that you could possibly be in a position that was vulnerable - how could he possibly be feeling something for this woman?' he explained. 'But the thing about [Irene] that is very obvious when you read [A Scandal in Bohemia] is Sherlock definitely does fall for her and he does lose his cool,' Cumberbatch continued. 'He's no longer the logical machine. He fell for her charms. And so it was a balancing act, but it was so deftly written [by Steven Moffat] that it was so easy to do,' he concluded.

Neve McIntosh has played down reports suggesting that her character Madame Vastra is in line to return to Doctor Who. The Daily Lies recently claimed that McIntosh's Silurian warrior, who appeared in 2011 episode A Good Man Goes To War, would become infatuated with Jenna-Louise Coleman's new companion during the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama's upcoming seventh series. An alleged 'source' - who almost certainly doesn't exist - allegedly said: 'Steven Moffat loves to shake up the show. What better way than a lesbian storyline?' Yes, that sounds like exactly the sort of thing someone even vaguely connected with the show would tell the Daily Lies. So, shall we file this alongside the Lies' 2003 'exclusive' that Holly Valance was 'in discussions' to take over from Sarah Michelle Gellar in Buffy? Or any of their other ridiculous Doctor Who stories based on half-truths or no-truths-at-all? McIntosh has since taken to Twitter to dismiss the rumours, posting: 'Just to say I have no idea WHAT the Star is talking about! No-one's asked me.' After a fan asked about the possibility of a return for Madame Vastra, she replied: 'I wish. Still thinking up plot lines to pitch to Mr Moffat.' When another user pointed out that many Doctor Who fans wouldn't believe her denial, she admitted: 'I know cos even if it's true I can't say! But really we're talking about the Daily Star.' Moffat previously told SFX that he was keen to revisit the characters of Madame Vastra and her maidservant Jenny (Catrin Stewart). 'I think I might revisit them,' Moffat said. 'They were great fun to write. I was pleased by the reaction to them, but not surprised. They really cut through as characters, given how little screen time they had. I certainly wouldn't be averse to them returning. It's just a thing that worked, isn't it? I love that Victorian setting, and having kicked it out of Sherlock Holmes I can always kick it in somewhere else!' Earlier this month, the Lies also reported that classic villains the Ice Warriors are due to feature in series seven. And, working on the assumption that even a broken clock is right twice a day, that one might, just, be true.

Katie Leung and Olivia Colman are set to lead the cast of the upcoming Channel Four drama Run. The allegedly 'gritty' four-part drama presents the stories of four unconnected people whose lives intertwine in a story of modern-day survival. Each episode, directed by BAFTA-nominated Skins and Being Human director Chris Martin, will focus on a different character. Best known for her role as Cho Chang in the Harry Potter films, Leung will play an illegal Chinese immigrant hoping to make a life for herself in the UK. Colman, who recently received a BAFTA nomination for her work in Twenty Twelve, will play a struggling single parent who gets mixed up in the world of crime. Run is currently filming in and around London.

Well known Scottish comedian Billy Connolly reportedly had a furious row with his wife Pamela Stephenson when she wanted to let their teenage daughters' boyfriends sleep over. The couple fell out when daughters Daisy, now twenty eight, Amy, twenty six, and twenty three year old Scarlett began dating boys, as they debated whether they should allow the girls to invite boyfriends to stay in their family home. Billy told Australian newspaper The Age, 'We argued about kids sleeping over. The question is, do you let your children sleep with their lovers at home or elsewhere. You will find that when it comes to daughters most women are for it, and most men are against it.' Bill was also left stunned when one of his daughters ejected him from her bedroom at the age of fourteen, adding, 'I never thought she would speak to me like that. I was delusional, living in fairyland, which I've done most of my life.'

Strictly Come Dancing will have a new dancer for the next series of the show. Karen Hauer, thirty, is a former World Mambo Champion and the only new professional dancer joining the contest. Last month Katya Virshilas was dropped ahead of the tenth series, which starts in the autumn. Hauer, who's originally from Venezuela, said: 'If I could dance how I feel about joining Strictly then you'd be able to see how excited I am.' Of, alternatively, you could just used words instead of the medium of dance. Just a wild crazy suggestion there. The newcomer has recently been performing as the main dancer in Burn The Floor, an international touring dance show. She joins last year's winning professional Aliona Vilani, along with Erin Boag, Flavia Cacace, Kristina Rihanoff, Natalie Lowe, Ola Jordan, Anton Du Beke, Artem Chigvintsev, Brendan Cole, James Jordan, Pasha Kovalev, Robin Windsor and Vincent Simone. BBC Controller of Entertainment, Katie Taylor, said: 'We're thrilled to have such a fresh and talented professional join us and I can't wait to see what she will bring to the ballroom this autumn.' The first contestant to sign up for Strictly's 2012 series is former England cricketer Michael Vaughan. The 2005 Ashes-winning captain joins former England cricket stars Darren Gough and Mark Ramprakash, who have previously been winners of the competition. And Phil Tufnell, who wasn't. The show also has a new judge, Darcey Bussell, who takes over from talentless greed bucket Alesha Dixon who left to join Britain's Got Talent on ITV.

Incidentally, dear blog reader, Sunday was the very first day of a Westlife free world. There was sunshine and birdsong and a sense of universal harmony restored. Which was nice.
Football legend yer actual Sir Bobby Charlton carried the Olympic torch past Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium on day thirty seven of the relay. Sunday's route from Salford to Leeds saw one hundred and fifty one people carry the torch one hundred and twenty one miles across the Pennies, ending the day at Temple Newsam. The torch made its way through Lancashire towns which were once intrinsic to the cotton industry, before crossing the Pennines into West Yorkshire. BMX world champion winner Shanaze Reade was the day's first torchbearer. The twenty four-year-old, from Cheshire, has won six world titles across BMX and track cycling and competed at her first Olympics in Beijing. She started the day's proceedings at Salford's Media City, home to the BBC's offices. Sir Bobby, carried the flame up Sir Matt Busby Way to the front of Old Trafford in front of a packed crowd. Inevitably, since this is Manchester we're talking about, it was raining. Sir Bob stopped for a photo opportunity in front of the iconic Trinity statue, which depicts himself and his team-mates the late George Best and Denis Law. The 1966 World Cup winner, now aged seventy four, finished at Old Trafford, where he handed the flame to fellow torchbearer Heather Davidson. Two weeks ago, Sir Bobby's brother, Jack, had carried the torch in Newcastle. On Sunday, the relay will travelled through Salford, Trafford, Moss Side (where, fortunately, no one carrying it got stabbed), Rusholme, Longsight, Levenshulme, Stockport, Ashton-under-Lyne, Oldham, Marsh, Huddersfield, Brighouse, Halifax, Bradford, Keighley, Skipton, Ilkley, Headingley, Potternewton, Harehills, Richmond Hill and Leeds. The oldest torchbearer carrying the flame on Sunday was ninety four-year-old Thora Beddard. She has written six thousand poems, learned to swim at fifty, discovered yoga at sixty and took up abseiling and lingerie modelling at seventy. In her eighties she passed her English GCSE and carried the Commonwealth baton in Manchester in 2002. She has eight grandchildren, twenty three great-grandchildren and eight great-great-grandchildren. Her nomination said her life represented an 'ideal example of magnificence, fighting spirit, determination and success to every one of us.' Charity worker and fundraiser Matthew Norton carried the torch through Halifax. The thirty one-year-old from Holmfirth has spent the last four years working with the Maasai Heritage Preservation Foundation in Africa, a charity he founded in the UK in 2009. Described as a 'true inspiration to his colleagues and community,' he has helped to develop schools in Tanzania and Kenya caring for over five hundred children and had helped to raise over one hundred thousand smackers for the project. Other torchbearers included Moira Kelly, who has worked with Aboriginal children in Western Australia and at twenty two worked alongside Mother Theresa in Calcutta. Satpal Singh Digwa, from Manchester, carried the Flame in Rusholme. The sixty give-year-old was the first Sikh girl to live in England, according to her nomination. On Saturday, the torch was carried into Manchester by Britain's most successful Olympic cyclist Sir Chris Hoy and in Preston by former eight hundred metre champion Diane Modahl, who won at the 1990 Commonwealth Games and competed in four Olympic Games.

Man of the match Alex Hales fell agonisingly short of a century but still helped England to beat the West Indies by seven wickets in a thrillingly entertaining Twenty20 international at Trent Bridge on Sunday afternoon. The twenty three year old Nottinghamshire batsmen, playing just his fifth international game on his home ground scored ninety nine - the highest total ever by an England player in T20 - before being bowled by Ravi Rampaul off the final ball of the penultimate over with just four runs needed for victory. He had shared in a one hundred and fifty nine run partnership with Ravi Bopara, also a record for England in this form of the game. Bopara also went three balls later for a fine fifty ninety leaving Eoin Morgan to get the two runs required for victory with two balls to spare. Morgan droves Marlon Samuels to mid-off, and a fumble from the fielder Dwayne Bravo allowed Jos Buttler to scamper back for the second run. England completed a very impressive run chase, whilst the West Indies, despite playing some terrific cricket at times, go home without an international win on their tour. Hales and Bopara had come together with England in some trouble chasing a daunting one hundred and seventy three for victory when Craig Kieswetter lost his wicket early in their innings. Hales's innings - which included four sixes and six fours - was the highest score by an Englishman in a T20 international. The previous best was Morgan's eighty five against South Africa in Johannesburg in 2009. England captain Stuart Broad said: 'We did some really good things today, but there are things we can improve on. The way Alex Hales played was fantastic, he was distraught not to get to one hundred and I think the Trent Bridge crowd felt the same.' A clearly disappointed West Indies captain Darren Sammy added: 'I thought we posted a good total, but Hales and Bopara played really well in the middle. We probably could have bowled better, but that has been the story of our summer.' Earlier the Windies had set a daunting total for England scoring one hundred and seven runs in their last eight overs (and sixty three in their last four) as first Dwayne Smith (seventy, including five sixes), then Dwyane Bravo (fifty four not out with three sixes) and Darren Pollard (twenty three not out from just thirteen balls with two massive sixes) savaged England's bowling. England had looked relatively comfortable at the half-way point of the West Indies innings having reduced the tourists to thirty for three and, later, one hundred and seven for four. Smith's first six hit a supporter on the head which, according to TMS's Simon Mann, 'prompted the stadium announcer to ask the crowd to pay attention to the game!' Quite right an'all.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso became the first man to win two races this year with a spectacular victory in a thrilling European Grand Prix. Alonso did so after starting eleventh on the grid. He gained third after a pit-stop problem for Lewis Hamilton, passed Romain Grosjean on the restart and later saw leader Sebastian Vettel retire. Lotus's Kimi Raikkonen was second, while Hamilton crashed with two laps to go, hit by Williams's Pastor Maldonado. Hamilton was second with three laps left but, battling fading tyres, was passed by Raikkonen just before Maldonado crashed into the side of him having rejoined the race track after running wide trying to pass Hamilton around the outside. Hamilton looked about as pissed-off as it's possible for any man to be without, actually, exploding. Grosjean retired from second with sixteen laps to go with alternator failure - seemingly the same problem which caused Vettel to retire. The frantic action promoted Mercedes's Michael Schumacher to third place - Shuie's first podium finish since his comeback to the sport in 2010 - and Red Bull's Mark Webber to fourth from nineteenth on the grid. It was by far the most exciting race the Valencia street circuit has ever produced and it was won by a top-drawer performance from Alonso. BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard said: 'A truly world class drive - and bitter disappointment for Lewis Hamilton after a tap by Maldonado, who T-boned him after running wide.' Few would have predicted the result in the early stages as Vettel, who started from pole position, streaked away from the field at the front and pulled out more than five seconds in the first three laps. Vettel controlled the race, building a lead of twenty seconds over Grosjean, before the safety car was deployed on lap thirty, with twenty six laps to go, because of debris on the track following a collision between Caterham's Heikki Kovalainen and Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne. Meanwhile, Alonso was driving one of the best races of his illustrious career, moving up to eighth on the first lap and taking seventh from Force India's Nico Hulkenberg on lap twelve. Two quick laps before his own pit stop while the leaders in front of him made theirs promoted him to a de facto fourth behind Vettel, Grosjean and Hamilton. All the leaders pitted for a second time when the safety car came out, and Alonso - who had been closing on Hamilton at approaching half-a-second a lap - gained another place following the latest in a series of disastrous pit-stop problems for Hamilton after his front jack failed. Alonso then passed Grosjean around the outside of Turn One on the restart - a move he had used to pass Mark Webber's Red Bull earlier in the race - and then took the lead when Vettel's engine stopped further around the same lap. 'To be honest we don't know yet [what happened],' Vettel said. 'I lost drive on the straight down to Turn Seventeen and I had to give way to the other people. The engine stalled and switched off.' Hamilton's engineers urged him on, believing Alonso's tyres would wear out faster than theirs, but the double world champion was always in control. The twenty ninth victory of Alonso's career and extraordinary result moves the thirty-year-old back into the championship lead, twenty points ahead of Webber. Hamilton is third, twenty three points adrift and Vettel fourth, now twenty six points - more than a win - behind Alonso. It was a gripping battle as the combination of the fast-wearing Pirelli tyres and a perfectly judged DRS overtaking zone finally cracked the problem of overtaking at Valencia. There were fights up and down the field, positions changing and collisions. Paul di Resta went into the final four laps in sixth place, but his valiant attempt to make only one pit stop left him vulnerable in the closing laps and he lost places to Schumacher, Webber and Mercedes' Nico Rosberg. Di Resta finished seventh, ahead of Hamilton's McLaren team-mate Jenson Button, Sauber's Sergio Perez and Maldonado, who may well face a stewards' inquiry for the incident with Hamilton.

It was, sadly, as predictable as Christmas occurring in December, England crashed out of yet another major tournament on penalties as Italy booked a semi-final showdown with Germany in Euro 2012 on Sunday evening. Alessandro Diamanti slotted home the decisive spot-kick after both Ashley Young and Ashley Cole had missed for England. Roy Hodgson's side had ridden their luck during normal time (and, especially, in extra time) as Italy dominated possession for the majority of the game and had a host of chances (many of them falling to Mario Balotelli) but could not break the deadlock. The Italians hit the post twice and Antonio Nocerino's late scrambled effort was ruled out for offside but ultimately England's luck ran out in the shoot-out as it usually does. In truth, after a decent display in the first half in which despite having less possession they, at least, looked like they had a few ideas of how to break down the Italians, England were desperately poor thereafter and anything other than an Italian win would have been an injustice. England defended well - particularly Glen Johnson and John Terry - but they were woeful going forward, giving the ball away, needlessly, far too often and generally lacking creativity and guile. And, once big lumbering Andy Carroll had replaced the more mobile Danny Welbeck, England's sole plan seemed to be to hoof long balls up to the lanky Liverpool striker and hope for the best. With Wayne Rooney looking about as far away from a world class international footballer as it's possible to, it was left to the Italian playmaker Andrea Pirlo to dominate the game. Italy were vastly superior to England over the course of one hundred and twenty minutes - but the resilience and organisation which have swiftly become the trademark under new manager Roy Hodgson took an enthralling game all the way to penalties. And, as on five of the previous six occasions that England have entered this sudden-death environment, they were left broken hearted, with Italy confirming a semi-final meeting with Germany in Warsaw on Thursday. England's captain Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney were successful from the spot - about the only thing Rooney did right all night - but Ashley Young struck the bar and Ashley Cole's effort was saved by Italy's keeper Gianluigi Buffon. Mario Balotelli scored Italy's first spot-kick but Riccardo Montolivo's miss gave England hope that was cruelly snatched away as Pirlo audaciously chipped in his spot-kick and Antonio Nocerino coolly slotted home before former West Ham midfielder Alessandro Diamanti scored the decisive penalty. England cannot complain that the better team did not emerge as winners - but even in the face of a constant wave of Italian attacks Hodgson's men still showed enough heart and durability to make their Euro 2012 exit with some pride. As Italy subjected them to what was almost torture by possession, England's back four and goalkeeper Joe Hart responded magnificently by erecting a wall of defiance, with John Terry outstanding. England will head for home on Monday after a campaign they can reflect on with a measure of satisfaction despite the disappointment. Hodgson - at short notice - marshalled his forces effectively but the gulf in class with Italy was clear for all to see and his team looked jaded long before the end of ninety minutes, let alone extra time. Hodgson will now take stock of events in Ukraine, where England drew with France and won against Sweden and Ukraine to top Group D, as he plots the qualifying campaign for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Hodgson picked England's first unchanged team since the miserable last-sixteen encounter with Germany at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa - a show of faith in the side that beat Ukraine in Donetsk. England were almost given the worst possible start when, after a prolonged period of possession, De Rossi's swerving left-foot volley hit the post with Hart stretching in vain to make contact. If this was an ominous start for England, they responded with an opportunity of their own when Glen Johnson found space in the area but could not get sufficient power in his shot and Buffon was able to claw the ball away. England's opening spell had been their best of Euro 2012. It was almost capped with a goal in the thirteenth minute when Johnson crossed for Rooney but he could only glance a header over the top. Balotelli had been his usual combination of threat mixed with moments of infuriating slackness. He was slow to react to the peerless Pirlo's pass and allowed Terry to make a fine recovering tackle, then forced his Sheikh Yer Man City team-mate Hart into a save from a low effort. England had lost the measure of control they had exerted for a spell, but there was still much to encourage Hodgson, particularly when Rooney opened up Italy's defence and Danny Welbeck should have done better than side foot wide from the edge of the area. Balotelli was again involved as he closed in on Antonio Cassano's header six yards out but was left hacking at the post in frustration as Terry and Joleon Lescott combined to clear. Italy continued to control possession after the break and England were fortunate to survive a chaotic incident in which Hart saved from De Rossi and Balotelli before Montolivo diverted the rebound over the bar. Hodgson knew he needed to shift the momentum away from Italy and he chose to try to do it with a double substitution on the hour, replacing Welbeck and a very disappointing James Milner with Andy Carroll and Theo Walcott. Both were involved as England managed to unsettle Italy, only for Young's close-range effort to be deflected following work by Carroll. Italy coach Cesare Prandelli introduced Diamanti in an attempt to pierce England's stubborn resistance and he swiftly forced Hart into a smart save. The game continued to absorb into the closing seconds of normal time as Johnson produced a crucial block to stop Italian substitute Nocerino, while Rooney almost stole the win for England with an overhead kick at the other end. England made a quick change in extra time as Jordan Henderson replaced Scott Parker but Italy still held the initiative, with Diamanti's attempted cross bouncing of the upright to safety. Nocerino then had the ball in the net with a header as penalties loomed, but it was rightly ruled out for offside. So it went to penalties - and a familiar tale of woe as England were again the victims of this cruellest form of defeat.

In the aftermath of another penalty shoot-out fiasco, Roy Hodgson defended Ashley Young and Ashley Cole. 'Anyone can miss a penalty. They were not nonchalant,' Hodgson said. 'Ashley Young's smashed against the bar and Ashley Cole's was well saved by Gianluigi Buffon.' He told BBC Sport: 'A player's reputation should not be forged on a penalty shoot-out, their reputation should be forged on the four games and in those four games we have not lost. We stuck to our guns right until the end and the players should be very proud of what they did. I have learned a lot about the players and their determination and dedication to the task and the fact they are so keen to play for England. There were some heroic performances not only tonight but also in the previous three games.' England keeper Joe Hart failed to save any of Italy's penalties, with the Azzurri's only failure coming when Riccardo Montolivo sent his effort wide. 'I went in confident we would win the game,' said Hart. 'I was required to step up and didn't make the saves. They were superior in regards to chances, but we were very resolute and gave everything when defending. I face penalties against Mario Balotelli on the training ground and I felt confident, but he took a good penalty. Of course I expect to make saves, I feel like no-one can beat me. We've lost at the end of the day, but I don't think anyone has let the country down and we have adapted well to the manager.' Hodgson had his players practising penalties in the build-up to the game and he had hoped they would be able to improve England's dire record in penalty shoot-outs. 'When we took it to penalties I was rather hoping it would be our tournament to win on penalties. Certainly the practising didn't help us too much on this occasion,' he said. 'Maybe it's just fated at the moment that we don't win on penalties but I really can't fault any of the players for their effort. At the end we had lots of players out there running on empty, with very tired legs, fighting off cramp, but they kept us in there until the end and when you go to penalties you do have a chance, but unfortunately Italy took the chance and not us. Penalties has become an obsession for us in English football and in training the players have done extremely well. But you can't reproduce the tired legs. You can't reproduce the pressure. You can't reproduce the nervous tension. [The Italians] stood up to it better than we did. Pirlo's [dinked] penalty was the perfect example.' England almost took the lead when an early Glen Johnson effort was saved by Buffon but they were on the backfoot for most of the game as Italy went close with several chances as well as hitting the woodwork twice. 'I thought the chances were there for both teams but as the second half went on we tired very badly and they came at us again and again,' said Hodgson. 'We have lost and we have gone out without losing a game with our heads held high.' England's next competitive game is a World Cup qualifier against Moldova on 7 September and, despite their Euro 2012 exit, Hodgson has been impressed by the qualities shown by his squad. 'I've been very happy with what I have seen from this group of players and how they have dealt with the demands of an England shirt,' he said. 'I do think we have got some very good young players coming through and this tournament has been very good for them.'

France midfielder Samir Nasri became involved in a row with a French journalist after his side's Euro 2012 quarter-final defeat by Spain. The clash occurred in the Donbass Arena after the Sheikh Yer Man City player was asked for his reaction to the result. Nasri reportedly called the journalist 'a son of a bitch' (or, you know, 'un fils de pute' since, presumably, he said it in French) and repeatedly complained about the media's behaviour. The twenty four-year-old, a substitute in the game, added: 'There, now you'll be able to say I've been badly brought up.' Two goals from Spain midfielder Xabi Alonso brought an end to France's campaign in Poland and Ukraine. Manager Laurent Blanc bemoaned the early goal his side conceded against a team he believed 'were there for the taking. The only thing I regret is that they scored off their first chance,' the forty six-year-old said. 'If we had gone in 0-0 at half-time, I think we would have had more room in the second half.' Blanc fielded two right-backs with Anthony Reveillere in the defensive position and Mathieu Debuchy pushed up into midfield to stem Spain's threat on their left flank, but his plan did not have the desired effect. First, Real Madrid midfielder Alonso headed the holders into a nineteenth-minute lead following some excellent work down that side by Valencia full-back Jordi Alba. Then a clumsy challenge from Reveillere in injury time allowed Alonso to score his second goal from the penalty spot. 'We had analysed the Spanish line-up well because they had two very strong players on the left but the most frustrating thing is that we conceded the goal from that side,' Blanc added. The addition of Reveillere at the expense of midfielder Nasri took much of the sting out of the French side's attack and their only shot on target came in the thirty second minute when Newcastle United's Yohan Cabaye saw his free-kick tipped over by Iker Casillas. 'I think the boys gave their all,' Blanc told TF1. 'Against Spain, it's hard. It is very difficult to create danger for them. They are so tough to beat - you have to be very clinical when you only get thirty to thirty five per cent of the possession.'

Portugal legend Eusébio is in a stable condition after being taken to hospital complaining of feeling unwell. The seventy-year-old, who has been with the national side during Euro 2012 as a team ambassador, has a history of heart trouble and was taken to hospital in Poznan on Saturday. Hospital spokesman Stanislaw Rusek said: 'The news is good. Doctors are satisfied that his condition is stable. I talked to him and I asked him if his heart hurt. He said "not at all."' Eusébio, who was at Portugal's Euro 2012 quarter-final win over the Czech Republic on Thursday, underwent a heart operation five years ago and has been admitted to hospital three times since December. He has been suffering from hypertension and his doctors have said he must have regular examinations. The former striker played for nine clubs during a twenty two-year professional career but is most remembered for his fifteen glorious years with Benfica and a goal-laden international career. Born in Mozambique in 1942 when it was still a Portuguese colony, Eusébio da Silva Ferreira went on to play sixty four times for Portugal, scoring forty one goals and winning the Golden Boot as top scorer at the 1966 World Cup. Nicknamed The Black Panther, he won ten league championships, five Portuguese cups and one European Cup in his fifteen years at Benfica and was Portugal's top league scorer between 1964 and 1973. A Portuguese Football Federation statement read: 'Eusébio felt unwell on Saturday when he was at the hotel with the team in Opalenica. After an initial observation and contacting his doctor in Lisbon, he moved as a precaution to a hospital.'

A Paul Weller concert in Cheshire has been cancelled because of bad weather, organisers have said. Elbow performed at the open-air venue on Saturday night as part of a Live From Jodrell Bank concert. However, event director Jon Drape said the site was now 'unfit to accommodate crowds. We are unable to deliver the concert safely,' he said, adding all ticket holders would get a refund. The Goddamn Modfather his very self said that he was 'extremely disappointed' the show was not going ahead. Jodrell Bank, home to the Lovell telescope, has seen crowds of up to twenty thousand watch concerts by The Flaming Lips, British Sea Power, OKGO and Alice Gold. The bill for Weller's show also featured Gomez, Graham Coxon and The Craig Charles Funk and Soul Club.

Newcastle's annual travelling fair, The Hoppings, finally opened two days late after being postponed because of bad weather. Organisers of the fair held on the Town Moor said that they had now dealt with standing water and thick mud, which had made setting up stalls and rides difficult. One of Europe's largest, the fair was due to be officially opened by the Lord Mayor on Friday but this was postponed until early Sunday afternoon. Northumbria Police are warning that there will be no on-site parking. A statement issued on behalf of Newcastle City Council, the city's Freemen and the Showmen's Guild, said improvements had been made to the site. 'Those involved in the management and restoration of the site have been working non-stop to improve the conditions,' they said. The Freemen's vice chairman, David Wilson, said: 'We brought in massive machines to even out the surface. We have also brought in large quantities of bark chippings and straw to soak up some of the water as well as drafting in two submersible pumps to collect water which can then be moved off site.' So, now the site in merely knee-deep in clarts. Just like most years, in fact.
For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, a song that - for some strange reason- always makes yer actual Keith Telly Topping think of The Hoppings (or 'The Moor' as most locals call it). A cheap story of teenage lust and people getting stabbed. Here's The Smiths, on a similar theme.

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