Friday, June 29, 2012

Let Me Flow Into The Ocean

One of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's favourite actors, the great David Warner, is to guest star in an upcoming episode of Doctor Who. The latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine reports that the veteran actor will take a role in a story written by Mark Gatiss, which is part of the recording block currently being completed in Cardiff. With a career that stretches back to the early 1960s, when he appeared opposite Bob Dylan in the legendary Madhouse on Castle Street and in the title role in David Mercer's Morgan - A Suitable Case for Treatment, David Warner has had a long and illustrious acting career appearing in films such as The Omen (decapitated!), Time Bandits, Tron, The Lost World, Titanic, Perfect Friday (a now virtually forgotten caper movie that is a particular favourite of yer actual Keith Telly Topping), The Company of Wolves, Time After Time and Planet of the Apes. He has appeared in the Star Trek movies The Final Frontier and The Undiscovered Country as well as playing Gul Madred in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Although David has not appeared on television in Doctor Who before, he has loaned his vocal talents to the series when he provided the voice of Lord Azlok in the animated adventure Dreamland, first shown in 2009. He has also appeared in many audio plays for Big Finish Productions, where he has played an alternative universe version of The Doctor. The story, due for transmission in early 2013, will be the fifth script for the series by Mark Gatiss, whose last story, Night Terrors, was shown last year. Gatiss, of course, interviewed David about his role in The Omen as part of his excellent BBC4 series A History of Horror in 2010. Sherlock co-creator Gatiss told Doctor Who Magazine he was 'thrilled' to be writing for the Eleventh Doctor once more, this time alongside his new companion played by Jenna Louise Coleman. It will be directed by Douglas MacKinnon who previously directed The Sontaran Stratagem and The Poison Sky in 2008. The story will also star Irish actor Liam Cunningham, who has appeared in a number of film and television productions including A Little Princess, First Knight, Jude, Dog Soldiers, The Wind that Shakes the Barley, Clash of the Titans, The Guard and the BBC1 SF drama series Outcasts. Two guest stars have also been confirmed for the previous episode to be recorded, the first to be filmed with Jenna-Louise Coleman. Written by Luther creator and [spooks] regular Neil Cross and directed by Jamie Payne, both of whom are making their début on Doctor Who, the episode will feature Dougray Scott and Jessica Raine.

Meanwhile, Noah Wyle also appears to be angling for a job in Doctor Who. The former ER actor - currently starring in SF drama Falling Skies - previously revealed that he was a fan of the series as a child. '[I enjoyed] various incarnations, and [it was] sort of sporadic, although I'm told that I should really get back into it, because it's been a radically reinvented franchise,' he told the Digital Spy website. 'I guess the guy that's now in charge [that would be The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat] is quite brilliant, so I'm curious to see [what it's like].' Asked if he would consider a guest role on the BBC series, Wyle said: 'Sure, I never turn down work!' The forty one-year-old admitted that science fiction was never his 'go-to genre,' but added that he enjoys SF 'when it's done really well. I certainly grew up right there with Star Wars and Star Trek, Close Encounters and films like that,' he revealed. 'When science fiction is metaphorical storytelling for something else, I tend to enjoy it more.' Whether 'the guy that's in charge now' picks up on Wyle's less than subtle hints despite the fact that he, seemingly, couldn't even be bothered to find out the chap's name, is another matter entirely.

Christopher Eccleston has claimed that the best scripts come from television writers. The forty eight-year-old actor - who can be seen in BBC1's new drama Blackout next week - claimed that some actors still have a 'snobbishness' about working in TV. 'Some film actors won't do television - which is great!' he told the Gruniad Morning Star. 'I've done feature films, but the best scripts I've ever had have been in television.' Eccleston last appeared on the big screen in 2009 film GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra, while his recent TV credits include BBC2 drama The Shadow Line and an adaptation of The Borrowers. 'When you're writing for film, you've got a wider canvas and you can concentrate on the visuals,' he suggested. 'With television, you really can't get away with that much.'

Live football coverage dominated primetime television on Wednesday night, according to overnight ratings analysis. Match of the Day - featuring Spain's dramatic (and very funny) penalties win over Portugal in the Euro 2012 semi-finals - drew an average audience of 8.84m, peaking at more than 12.9m in the final fifteen minutes. Wimbledon continued in the evening on BBC2, managing 1.4m. The Secret History of Our Streets followed with 1.14m. On ITV, a two-hour Midsomer Murders episodes was watched by 3.43m and a further one hundred and fifty nine thousand punters on timeshift. Overall, BBC1 won primetime with 38.7 per cent of the audience share, considerably more than ITV's seventeen per cent.

Yet again, sodding tennis on Thursday night managed to ruin yer actual Keith Telly Topping's night, with the episode of Mock The Week scheduled for 10pm having to be postponed because they just couldn't tear themselves away from the Rafael Nadal versus Lukas Rosol match. Or some other shit that I couldn't give a toss about. It will now be shown on Sunday. Have I mentioned recently, dear blog reader, how much yer actual Keith Telly Topping frigging loathes tennis?

The BBC's popular family sitcom Outnumbered will return for a fifth series and a Christmas special, it has been confirmed. The forty-minute Christmas edition will be broadcast later this year (probably around Christmas!), whilst filming for the next series will begin in early 2013. Centred around the Brockman family, Outnumbered follows parents Pete (Hugh Dennis) and Sue (Claire Skinner) as they struggle to control their unruly children Jake (Tyger Drew-Honey), Ben (Daniel Roche) and Karen (Ramona Marquez). There had previously been rumours that the programme may not get a fifth series with other claims that the show would only return with one-off specials. Created by the great Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin writing team (creators of Drop The Dead Donkey), the show won the National Television Award for Best Comedy earlier this year. The most recent Christmas special of Outnumbered pulled in over eight million viewers for BBC1 on Christmas Eve.

The deputy chief constable of Surrey Police is to be investigated over the hacking of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler's mobile phone voicemail. The Independent Police Complaints Commission said it would examine the conduct of Craig Denholm, who led the initial probe into her disappearance. The IPCC is also investigating Detective Supt Maria Woodall, who took over as senior investigating officer in 2006. The probe follows claims that officers knew in 2002 that the phone had been hacked. The IPCC said in a statement that it was considering 'whether Mr Denholm was aware during Operation Ruby [the investigation into Milly's disappearance] that the News of the World had accessed Milly Dowler's voicemail in 2002 and his handling of that information.' Denholm was a detective chief superintendent at the time of the thirteen-year-old schoolgirl's disappearance in March 2002, while Woodall was a detective chief inspector when she took over the case in 2006. The watchdog's announcement came after the Surrey force began an internal investigation in July 2011 into the voicemail hacking. The Surrey Police Authority said that as a result, it was voluntarily referring the two officers to the IPCC. Neither Denham nor Woodall has been suspended, and they remain on duty, the force said. He added that the watchdog was also examining information provided by Woodall to Surrey Police during the internal inquiry into the force response to allegations that Milly's voicemail had been illegally accessed in 2002. Surrey Police said its Chief Constable Lynne Owens had met the Dowler family to update them on the inquiry and to let them know about the referrals to the IPCC. Mark Lewis, the Dowler's solicitor, said: 'The Dowler family welcomes the proper investigation of what happened at Surrey Police ten years ago. They regret that the passage of time means that some individuals can now no longer be investigated.' Milly Dowler went missing in Walton-on-Thames in March 2002. Her remains were found six months later near Fleet in Hampshire. Former bouncer Levi Bellfield was convicted of her murder by a jury at the Old Bailey in June 2011. The now disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World admitted hacking the thirteen-year-old's mobile phone but it remains unknown whether two missing messages were deleted deliberately, as previously suggested, or were removed from her message box automatically. The revelation that Milly Dowler's voicemail had been hacked led to a public outcry over British media ethics, and forced News International to close the Sunday tabloid in 2011.

A former NHS employee has been arrested by Scotland Yard officers investigating allegations of inappropriate payments by newspapers to police and public officials. The thirty one-year-old man was arrested about 6am on Thursday in Uxbridge by officers from Operation Elveden, the investigation into alleged illegal payments to public officials, which is being run in conjunction with Operation Weeting, the Metropolitan police inquiry into phone-hacking and other nefarious skulduggery. 'A thirty one-year-old man, a former NHS employee, was arrested at his home address in Uxbridge on suspicion of conspiracy to cause misconduct in a public office (contrary to Common Law) and on suspicion of corruption (contrary to the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906),' Scotland Yard said in a statement. 'He is being questioned at a west London police station.' The Met added that the arrest was a result of information provided by News Corp's management standards committee. 'It relates to suspected payments to a public official and is not about seeking journalists to reveal confidential sources in relation to information that has been obtained legitimately,' Scotland Yard said. He is the thirty sixth person arrested under the Elveden investigation, which was launched in 2011.

The BBC has defended Jean Slater and Michael Moon's recent EastEnders storyline following complaints from some viewers. Reportedly 'more than one hundred people' have contacted the corporation to 'raise concerns' over the plot, which saw Michael (Steve John Shepherd) con Jean out of a substantial sum of money before launching an elaborate plan to discredit her. And, once again, let us just stand back and marvel at the utter shit some people chose to care about. Jean, who suffers from bipolar disorder, was doubted by a number of Albert Square's residents as the story played out. However, Michael finally confessed his guilt in Friday's episode. It is thought that some viewers were unhappy over the 'cruel treatment' Jean received in the storyline. A statement released on the BBC's website has confirmed that others felt 'the depiction of bipolar, as portrayed through Jean Slater, is unrealistic.' In response, the corporation said: 'It is important to note that Jean Slater is not intended to be representative of everybody with bipolar disorder. We treat all of our characters as individuals, with their own sets of behaviours and opinions, and there's no suggestion that all of Jean's characteristics are linked to her condition. We work closely with a number of experts in the mental health field to ensure that we are as accurate as possible when it comes to Jean's bipolar, her medication, the impact it has on her and those around her, and attitudes and prejudices towards her.' The statement added: 'Michael is a well-established villain, intent on destroying others for his own twisted motives, and the current storyline is completely in keeping with his character. The audience were aware from the start that it was Jean who was telling the truth even when other characters doubted her. In Friday's episode Alfie, Kat and Janine learned the truth, and Jean was completely exonerated.' In a separate statement, a BBC spokesperson confirmed the total number of complaints. The representative told the Daily Torygraph: 'We have received a total of one hundred and seven complaints from over sixteen episodes. As every EastEnders viewer will know, this storyline has been running for over a month, with the climax reaching over eight million viewers. The storyline was never about Jean's bipolar disorder but about how Michael has manipulated her.'

Phillip Schofield has 'slammed' (that's tabloidese for 'criticised' only with less syllables) the Daily Scum Mail writer Liz Jones over her latest article. Jones has claimed that Schofield's This Morning co-host is 'anti-feminist' and a 'playground bully' for tweeting photos of themselves without make-up. She wrote: 'Holly Willoughby - who appears on TV with eyelashes so long they probably contribute to the El Nino effect and lips so red and plumptious she resembles a drag queen - this week posted a picture online to prove she doesn't really need all that artifice, so dewy is she, with such teeny, tiny pores. I wager these supposedly bare-faced snaps are not what they seem: their lashes have probably been dyed and enhanced with extensions, brows tinted, skin tanned. That luscious, artfully tousled hair has been dyed a fetching shade, kept in perfect condition - and often supplemented with extensions. Not admitting all the effort that goes into looking so radiant and "bare-faced", not showing us the join, as it were, is tantamount to denying you have had a facelift, wear Spanx, or have a personal trainer.' Jones later added: 'My feeling is that not wearing make-up is in fact anti-feminist. Women like Holly are saying to the rest of us: I am too busy to wear make-up at home. I am not vain, or frivolous, I am deep. My husband loves me for who I am: naturally gorgeous. These women are the ultimate playground bullies: they know men hate make-up (my husband used to say I was like a moth, leaving dark smudges on him in my wake), so they pretend they need no help.' Schofield tweeted his disdain for the article and personal mentions of Willoughby on Thursday morning. He wrote: 'I swear there can be no greater force against all womankind than Liz Jones. She is inconsistent, bitter, nasty and unhinged.' Well, she works for the Daily Scum Mail, matey, what do you expect, sanity?

According to the Gruniad Morning Star Downing Street and the Treasury have come 'under fire' from 'senior Tories' who were 'furious' after an inexperienced junior minister was utterly humiliated in successive television interviews. Chloe Smith, who was promoted to the Treasury last year at the age of twenty nine, is fighting to recover her shattered reputation among Tories after struggling to answer basic questions about fuel duty on both Newsnight and Channel Four News on Tuesday night. Smith, who was appointed as exchequer secretary because David Cameron - wrongly - believed she was a trained accountant, toured the studios to explain George Osborne's announcement that he would defer a three pence rise in fuel duty until January. The chancellor was entertaining Tory MPs to dinner while Smith defended his announcement on television. Conservative MPs were scathing about the decision to allow such an inexperienced minister to appear on air on such a sensitive matter. 'It was obvious that Chloe was struggling after her appearance on the 7pm Channel Four News,' one told the Gruniad Morning Star who, clearly, thought this was highly amusing. 'Whoever allowed her out again on Newsnight at 10.30pm should be taken out and shot.' Tory MPs were also critical of Smith herself, who was appointed to the Treasury last October to replace Justine Greening after Greening was promoted to the cabinet as transport secretary. 'There is no question that Chloe has been damaged by this,' one MP - nameless - said. 'She really did slip up on the basic politics.' Smith looked hesitant and, frankly, like a rabbit caught in the headlights of an oncoming articulated lorry, as she explained that the five hundred and fifty million smackers cost of deferring the fuel duty would be paid for by four billion quid of underspends in Whitehall departments last year. Figures released on Tuesday showed that the government had to borrow an extra £2.7bn in May after Britain entered a double-dip recession. In what was regarded by Tory MPs as one particularly excruciating moment Smith told Jeremy Paxman that the government was 'still committed' to eliminating Britain's structural budget deficit. Paxman, with a look on his face which resembled that of a shark just before it bites someone in two, asked if she was joking. There were suggestions on Wednesday night that both Downing Street and the Treasury did advise Smith and had identified that she was in trouble. But Tories said Smith's experience highlighted weaknesses in Downing Street. 'This would never have happened under Alastair Campbell,' one Tory said. Nadine Dorries, the outspoken Tory backbencher, was scathing about Osborne's treatment of Smith. 'If Osborne sent Chloe on re scrapping three pence [then] he is a coward as well as arrogant,' Dorries tweeted. 'Newsnight last night would have been a tough gig for a minister with years of experience – Chloe is a good egg and didn't deserve that.' The poor performance by Smith may have implications for the ministerial reshuffle. There was deep resentment among many male MPs after the promotion of Smith, elected to parliament in a by-election in 2009, as part of Cameron's drive to ensure that two-thirds of Tory ministers are women by the time of the election. 'There are a lot of chaps with smiles on their faces,' one Tory said. But there was personal sympathy for Smith. 'The way Paxman treated Chloe was bit like a giant cat playing with, and then ensnaring, a tiny mouse. It was painful.'

They are the third most famous brothers in British broadcasting. But Jeremy and Tim Vine have been keeping a shocking secret. Growing up in Cheam, the BBC presenter and his comedian brother formed a pop-punk band called The Flared Generation. It was all going so well, until Smash Hits magazine described them as 'the most unfashionable punk band in the country.' The pair tell all in the latest issue of Saga magazine, as faithfully recorded in the Daily Scum Express's diary column.
BBC1 Saturday night series The Magicians and ITV's Jonathan Ross-fronted Penn & Teller: Fool Us have been axed. The two magic shows failed to pull in massive ratings and despite a revamp for the BBC programme's second series earlier this year, neither will return, reports the Sun. A BBC spokesperson said: 'We can confirm that a third series of The Magicians will not be commissioned by the BBC.' Originally hosted by Lenny Henry in 2011, The Magicians had an overhaul this year, switching to live tricks, more celebrity guests and new presenter, Darren McMullen. However, the revamped show failed to match the first series ratings and struggled to sub-five million figures. A pilot for Penn & Teller: Fool Us was highly-acclaimed in January 2011, but following a full series run in the summer, ITV will not be renewing its attempt at a primetime magic show either.

The creator of Thunderbirds, Gerry Anderson, has revealed he has Alzheimer's Disease. Gerry was diagnosed eighteen months ago but has spoken about it publicly for the first time for an Alzheimer's Society walk launch on Thursday. The eighty three-year-old, who lives in Henley-on-Thames, said of living with the condition: 'I've lost my freedom.' Speaking on BBC Berkshire Gerry said: 'I don't think I realised at all. It was my wife Mary who began to notice that I would do something quite daft like putting the kettle in the sink and waiting for it to boil. Finally I was persuaded to go and see the doctor and eventually I was confronted with the traditional test - a piece of paper with drawings on it, taking a pencil and copying them. I thought "Why are they doing this? A child could do this." But when I started to copy the drawings, that wasn't the case. I started to get in a muddle. That's when I began to realise that there was something wrong.' Anderson, who also created the marionette puppet series Stingray, Joe 90 and Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons and the live-action UFO and Space: 1999, said being told he was no longer able to drive 'was the bitterest blow of all. That virtually took away my freedom. It meant that I couldn't go to Pinewood studios where I worked, and this depressed me enormously because my film work was my life. Suddenly my life was cut off. Since I've had Alzheimer's I've realised how debilitating it is. It can affect your life in so many ways that you don't think about.' Gerry was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in early 2010 but his son Jamie said the family noticed recurring symptoms 'five or six years ago. Little things like losing his way on car journeys he's done for twenty years or more, using very strange ingredients when making soups, struggling to dial numbers,' he said. 'We look with hindsight now and we see symptoms that were recurring five or six years ago and if we'd bitten the bullet and dealt with it then perhaps it would have been different. Gerry will be taking part in the Windsor Memory Walk with Jamie on 13 October in support of the Alzheimer's Society, which is encouraging people to sign up for the walks that will take place around England. Alzheimer's Society chief executive Jeremy Hughes said: 'We're so grateful to Gerry for supporting Memory Walk. By speaking out about his dementia he's spreading the message much further that it can happen to anyone.'

Rob Brydon is to make his West End acting debut later this year in Alan Ayckbourn's A Chorus of Disapproval. The actor, comedian and presenter will star opposite EastEnders' Nigel Harman and Ugly Betty's Ashley Jensen in the production at the Harold Pinter Theatre. Trevor Nunn will direct the play about a young widower who joins an amateur operatic society and becomes a hit with the ladies of the cast. Previews will begin on 17 September, with the show running until 5 January. Producers added that there would be more than one hundred ten pound tickets available for every performance. Although Brydon, whose BBC2 chat show is currently in its third series, has appeared in the West End before, it will be his acting debut. In 2009, the Welsh star had a three-week London stint as part of his eighty seven-date UK stand-up tour. A Chorus of Disapproval was first performed at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough in 1984. It had its London premiere a year later at the National Theatre starring Bob Peck, Michael Gambon and Imelda Staunton. It was also made into a film in 1989, directed by Michael Winner, and starring Jeremy Irons, Anthony Hopkins and Prunella Scales. But, that was crap. The production at the Harold Pinter Theatre will be the first time the play has been seen in London for more than twenty five years.

Mario Balotelli secured Italy a place in the Euro 2012 final against Spain as his two goals defeated Germany in Warsaw. Sheikh Yer Man City's enigmatic striker provided Italy with the cutting edge and two first-half goals as Joachim Löw's Germany failed to produce the impressive form that had seen them touted as potential winners. Balotelli put Italy on the way to victory when he directed Antonio Cassano's cross past Germany keeper Manuel Neuer then added a thunderous second from Riccardo Montolivo's pass. Mesut Özil's injury-time penalty provided the briefest anxiety for Italy, who were victorious moments later and Balotelli fell into the warm embrace of an elderly Italian lady as he made his way down the tunnel. The twenty one-year-old limped off with cramp late on - but his work was done and Italy can now look forward to a meeting with world and European champions Spain in Kiev on Sunday. Italy's victory maintained their stranglehold on Germany - they are undefeated in eight competitive encounters that take in five matches at the World Cup and three in the European Championship. And the scale of Italy's achievement is the greater for the fact that Germany had an additional forty eight hours to prepare while Cesare Prandelli's side were going through after extra-time and penalties against England. Balotelli, along with the pass master Andrea Pirlo, was the inspiration but Italy's defenders and goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon provided defiance and quality as Germany threatened in the first half then attempted to mount a recovery after the break. German coach Löw responded to Pirlo's master class against England by detailing the recalled Toni Kroos to monitor the veteran. The ploy was not a success. Buffon and his German counterpart Neuer greeted each other warmly in the tunnel before kick-off in a prelude to a busy first forty five minutes for the pair. Buffon was grateful Pirlo was well placed to clear Mats Hummels' effort off the line while he also needed to be alert to deal with Jérôme Boateng's dangerous cross, which almost deflected in off Andrea Barzagli, as well as a shot from Kroos. Italy edged their way into the game as Neuer saved from Montolivo and they capitalised on the spell of pressure when Balotelli headed them in front after twenty minutes. Cassano was the creator as he escaped Hummels and crossed perfectly for Balotelli, who lost Holger Badstuber to head past Neuer. Germany's slack defending was in sharp contrast to their attacking and Buffon was again called into action to save from Özil and Sami Khedira before Balotelli provided another demonstration of the talent that makes him such a compelling footballer and personality. Montolivo's pass exposed Germany, leaving Balotelli to take a touch before drilling a magnificent finish high past the helpless Neuer - although by stripping off his shirt in celebration he received a needless booking from the rather fussy French referee Stephane Lannoy. Germany required emergency action and Löw took it at the start of the second half when he replaced the anonymous Lukas Podolski - watched, after completing his summer move to Arsenal, by his new club manager Arsene Wenger - and Mario Gómez with Miroslav Klose and Marco Reus. A German response was to be expected and captain Philipp Lahm almost provided it, only to waste a presentable opportunity by firing off target - bringing a reaction from Prandelli as he removed Cassano and sent on Alessandro Diamanti. Reus almost provided what Löw was looking for just after the hour but once again Buffon showed great athleticism to turn his free-kick on to the bar. Claudio Marchisio was guilty of squandering the chance to wrap things up for Italy before Balotelli's night ended prematurely with twenty minutes left, making way for Antonio di Natale. Another spell of slick passing, inevitably, involving Pirlo, played Marchisio in again but he flashed a low, angled effort beyond Neuer but also the far post. Germany, backed by magnificent vocal support, thought they had a late lifeline when Özil scored from the spot after Federico Balzaretti's handball - but nothing could stop Italy and Balotelli's night of triumph.

David Beckham has not been selected for the Great Britain Olympic football squad. The thirty seven-year-old former England skipper said in May he thought he had a 'good chance' of playing at London 2012. He said: 'Naturally I am very disappointed, but there will be no bigger supporter of the team than me. I would have been honoured to have been part of this unique Team GB squad. Like everyone, I will be hoping they can win the gold.' Beckham made manager Stuart Pearce's shortlist of thirty five players but was overlooked for the final eighteen-man squad as one of three players over the age of twenty three allowed to compete in the Olympics. Pearce, who watched Beckham play for Los Angeles Galaxy last week, picked Sheikh Yer Man City defender Micah Richards ahead of him. Pearce rang Beckham on Wednesday night to tell him the news, explaining that he wanted more defensive cover in the squad. Richards has been included alongside The Scum midfielder Ryan Giggs and Liverpool Alabama Yee Haws' striker Craig Bellamy as the three over-age players. Beckham, who signed a new two-year with LA Galaxy in January, was part of the Olympic flame handover ceremony in May, bringing it to Britain for the torch relay. He played a major role as a sporting ambassador when London won the 2012 bid, and has made no secret of his desire to captain Team GB. He said in April this year that he wanted to 'be a part of history' by competing in the Olympics in his home town. London 2012 chief Lord Coe said he would be talking to Beckham about a role during the Olympics. 'David has been an extraordinary supporter - probably our number one supporter - of the Games from the very beginning and is keen to continue his enthusiastic support right to the end,' he said. 'He is from East London and knows how important the Games and sport are to young people. He is a great role model.' In January, Beckham said: 'I have led my country before and know how special it would be to lead them into the Olympics.' However, Pearce said in April: 'He's been a great ambassador but that's no guarantee he'll get in the squad. I'm picking on form and merit alone. David Beckham will be treated exactly the same as any other individual, whether it is young or over-age. I have a duty of care to the Great Britain squad to try to win a gold medal. I will pick the strongest squad I can.' Match of the Day's Gary Lineker reacted to Beckham's omission by tweeting: 'Never thought for a second that David Beckham would be excluded from GB's team. Terrible shame for Beckham having given so much to the Olympic bid and football.' Former Wales international and BBC Sport pundit - and gobshite - Robbie Savage tweeted: 'Why was Beckham on the shortlist in the first place, then not pick him? Disgrace!' And Beckham's former England team-mate Danny Mills, who played under Pearce at Man City, told BBC Sport: 'There's always an issue around the Beckham brand. We know how big he is - he's global, he's huge. But when it comes to football reasons, David Beckham can still do a job. "I think he would have been a great spectacle and I think it's a bit of shame he's not in there. Stuart Pearce doesn't always like confrontation and he's struggled with big players in the past.' 'Maybe he's thinking that what Beckham brings with him is too much to handle.' Though, what ignorant skinhead Danny Mills knows about 'big players' is another matter entirely. The British Olympic Association said it had not received the final eighteen-man squad from the Football Association. A statement read: 'We are expecting the list no later than the early part of next week.' Team GB were drawn in Group A at London 2012 alongside Senegal, Uruguay and United Arab Emirates. They begin their Olympic campaign against Senegal at Old Trafford on 26 July before facing the United Arab Emirates at Wembley on 29 July, and Uruguay at the Millennium Stadium on 1 August. Each squad must contain fifteen players born after 1 January 1989.

Former captain Alan Shearer believes England have 'no chance' of winning the 2014 World Cup and are 'a million miles away' from the top international sides. Roy Hodgson's side were knocked out of Euro 2012 by Italy on penalties. 'I don't attach any blame to Roy Hodgson,' Shearer told BBC Sport. 'But I don't go along with the idea England go home with their heads held high. It's no good sitting here saying we will win the World Cup in two years' time. The reality is we will not.' And, in other news, apparently, the pope is Catholic and bears do shit in the woods. Next ... Hodgson's side were beaten on penalties by Italy last Sunday after being outclassed in a goalless draw in Kiev. England's players won plaudits for an improved performance in Ukraine, after a disastrous World Cup in South Africa in 2010. Germany coach Joachim Löw - who masterminded a 4-1 thrashing of Fabio Capello's side two years ago - has praised Hodgson's management, and said that 'England will develop under him in the next few years.' But Shearer sees a vast gulf in quality between England and the likes of Spain and Löw's Germany side. 'The big thing people have spoken about is the togetherness and work ethic but if you just want eleven guys to go out and work hard, I can find you eleven men from Newcastle city centre who will work their socks off,' he said. 'That has to be a given, whether at a club or even more so for an international team. We are a million miles away from the top sides. Heads held high? Do you think France will go home to that reception? It's a sign of how far behind we are now that we can go home and say we can hold our heads up high for getting into the quarter finals.' The Football Association recently voted in proposals for youth coaching which include smaller-sided games on smaller pitches with smaller goals. But Shearer believes any progress on the international stage will need a vast improvement in the coaching culture of the country, which could take years. 'It's no good sitting here saying we will win the World Cup in two years' time,' he said. 'The reality is we will not. We have got to get out of the habit of going to tournaments thinking we can win it. This tournament has proven that. We need a change in culture and to be fair to the FA they are trying to change things now. It's going to take time to put these systems in place. Our league is the best in the world for entertainment but only because it is full of foreigners.' Fellow England international and BBC Sport pundit Lee Dixon also called for changes. 'Let's remind ourselves where we were two years ago under Capello,' he said. 'We have come on, the team was an absolute shambles. We have repaired that but we haven't moved forwards football-wise. If you go and watch how they teach kids to play football on the continent, they are all doing it a different way to us. And we are not progressing, so they must be doing it right. It's not rocket science.'

Flash flooding and lightning storms caused widespread disruption and chaos for drivers and train passengers throughout the North East on Thursday. And, in other places as well but yer actual Keith Telly Topping wasn't so bothered about them. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping got very, very wet just as a matter of pure disinterest. Egged by the legend that is yer actual Alfie Joey, Keith Telly Topping had only been and gone and decided that Thursday was the perfect day to take his brother and sister-in-law - Our Terry Telly Topping and Our Gudi Telly Topping - to The Hoppings. We got there just as a blackened sky cracked opened and The Flood hit Tyneside. In fact, we got as far as the first burger stall just as the heavens descended (yer actual Keith Telly Topping did have a burger whilst he was standing there getting drenched so at least they got £3.50 out of him this year!) We tried sheltering under the canopy and then a tree (despite the lightning getting very close) but, after two minutes we were soaked through to the skin so we decided to come home. By the time we'd walked back to the car (parked down by West Jesmond Metro Station) we'd already absorbed more water than the average river contains and then it took over ninety minutes to get home as the Cradlewell Bypass and the Coast Road (indeed, most of Gosforth, Jesmond and parts of Heaton) were - literally - under water! Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's best suede jacket is totally ruined and he will be spending, ooo, the next month, at least, drying out. Monsoon-like deluges hit the region on Thursday prompting the Environment Agency to issue a flood alert for the River Tyne from Hexham to Wylam. A spokesman said the alert may be extended to other rivers in the region. Police said that flood-hit homes in Felling, Gateshead and Lanchester in County Durham, were being evacuated. Several lightning storms also struck - firefighters were tackling a house fire in Angel View, Benwell, caused by lightning striking a solar panel. Northern Powergrid said about twenty three thousand customers across the North East were experiencing power cuts caused by lightning strikes. Areas affected included Whitley Bay and Shiremoor on North Tyneside, Prudhoe in Northumberland and Consett in Durham. A spokesman for the power firm said: 'Flash flooding is making access to some substations and power lines difficult at present but we are committed to restoring supplies to customers as soon as possible.' Some Metro services on Tyneside were cancelled. The A167 Central Motorway in Newcastle was also closed southbound. A spokesman for the Environment Agency warned that because of the unpredictable nature of thunderstorms it would be hard to predict where river levels would rise. He said: 'The rise could be quick and anyone living near a watercourse is warned to take precautions.' Northern Rail also said there were delays of up to forty five minutes between Newcastle and Carlisle due to flooding at Haltwhistle. The Hoppings, meanwhile, closed about ten minutes after we'd left and trudged off into the distance like a trio of drowned rats. It had already lost three days worth of trade after it was forced to shut from Friday to Sunday because of previous torrential downpours. And, from what yer actual Keith Telly Topping saw of the gaff from his vantage point at the burger van this afternoon, it's now starting to resemble Passchendaele.
And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 33 of the Day. Which, somehow, seems appropriate.

1 comment:

chas_m said...

Another wonderfully amusing instalment that always makes me laugh out loud (as a loyal Gruniad reader). One of my main connections back to British culture, filtered through the tasteful eyes (wait -- can eyes be tasteful?) and ruthlessly honest writing of Yer Actual.