Friday, June 01, 2012

Show A Little Faith, There's Magic In The Night

Doctor Who showrunner The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) has insisted that the BBC still backs the show. The writer said that there was 'no chance' of the broadcaster 'giving up' on the popular long running family SF drama any time soon, in an interview on Radio 5Live's Richard Bacon Show. 'It's a huge money-spinner,' Moffat explained. 'It's doing better than ever abroad - the global number of people watching Doctor Who has just gone up and up and up. It was the most downloaded show on American iTunes last year - [there's] not a chance of the BBC giving up on Doctor Who, not at all.' Moffat also dismissed the suggestion that viewers were getting 'shorter and shorter seasons' of the programme. 'We're just splitting it over Christmas, we're making the same number of episodes as usual,' he said. 'We delayed it a few months to start it later in the year, that's all that's happened.' The seventh series of Doctor Who will introduce a new companion, with Moffat describing the arrival of actress Jenna-Louise Coleman as 'very exciting. When a new companion comes in it sort of reboots the show a little bit, it makes you look at the Doctor differently, it makes the show feel different,' he suggested. 'It's literally a new beginning, you're back to chapter one - in a way [the show is] always a story of someone getting to know The Doctor, and now it's Jenna's character.' The showrunner went on to praise Coleman, calling the twenty six-year-old 'wonderful and spiky and salty and clever. I'm thrilled with her - everyone's going to be,' he said.
Moffat has also admitted that he is 'not impressed' by the CBS series Elementary. The Sherlock co-creator previously revealed that the US network had approached him about remaking Sherlock, before pressing on with their own Sherlock Holmes update. 'We weren't ready to do [a US remake] yet,' the writer explained to IGN. '[CBS] said, "We're great people to come to, we're full of integrity," - a few weeks later, we discovered they were just going ahead and doing it anyway. So that was another example of what happens in LA television, I suppose. I wasn't very impressed by it. I haven't had good experiences in general with that lot.' Moffat criticised the network's conduct, calling it 'pretty remarkable behaviour. It's tough,' he explained. 'If [Elementary is] bad, it debases the coinage of our show [or] if it's too like our show, we'll have to take action.' Moffat recently told THE Digital Spy website that he has not seen any clips from Elementary, insisting that his previous quotes about the show have been 'rather exaggerated. I haven't seen it, so I can't really comment,' he said. 'I think everyone's very anxious for me to have a go at it, and I'm really not.'

Meanwhile, Luther creator Neil Cross is to write an episode of Doctor Who. The story, which will be broadcast in 2013, is currently filming in Cardiff and will star new companion Jenna-Louise Coleman, Doctor Who Magazine reports. Cross - one of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's favourite screenwriters - created award-winning Idris Elba crime drama Luther in 2010 and also served as head writer on [spooks] between 2006 and 2008. He is also currently developing a ten-part pirate series, Crossbones, for NBC. Mark Gatiss has also confirmed that he will write a 2013 episode of Doctor Who. 'It's for the new companion, Jenna-Louise Coleman - that's all I can tell you or I will actually be shot!' he joked. Coleman will first appear in the show's 2012 Christmas special, which will start filming later in the year. Steven Moffat recently said that he is keen to keep the identity of Coleman's character a secret until Christmas. 'We can't really contain everything, because people will crawl all over us with cameras and sneak views of scripts and call-sheets,' he admitted. 'Something will get out. But we've been fairly sly, so let's wait and see.'

And now, it seems, something has got out. Albeit, only a name. Doctor Who's latest character's name may have been revealed. Coleman will first appear in the upcoming seventh series of the show at Christmas, replacing current companions Amy Pond and Rory Williams. Fans attending the filming of Coleman's first episode have claimed that they 'overheard' producers and cast members calling her Clara. 'Jenna Louise is CLARA,' one extremely excited fan tweeted. Oh, what a shame. This blogger was really hoping it was going to be Avocado. The actress revealed in March that she 'knew little' about the character, including her name. Doctor Who will return to BBC1 in the autumn, with the series seven premiere debuting at this year's Edinburgh International Television Festival.

The latest episode of The Apprentice drew similar numbers week-on-week on Wednesday night, according to overnight data. An average of 6.15m viewers tuned-in to see the semi-final firing on BBC1, with 2.32m catching the BBC2 spin-off You're Fired! Earlier on BBC1, DIY SOS: The Big Build grabbed 4.41m. The third two-hour instalment of ITV's Lewis continued with 4.85m and a further three hundred and twenty thousand punters on ITV+1. Prior to You're Fired! on BBC2, Springwatch attracted 1.66m and Afghanistan: The Great Game was watched by nine hundred and fifty four thousand. Overall, BBC1 secured primetime victory with 21.9 per cent ahead of ITV's 19.9 per cent.

The fifth series of Primeval is finally to be broadcast on ITV. The SF drama's most recent run will premiere on 16 June, producers Impossible Pictures have confirmed. The show was renewed for two more series by ITV and digital channel Watch in 2009. Under the joint agreement, ITV had first broadcast rights on Primeval's fourth series, with Watch then being able to broadcast the episodes at a later date. Watch then showed the fifth series first - between May and June 2011 - with ITV having second run rights. The six latest episodes - starring Andrew-Lee Potts, Hannah Spearritt and Ciarán McMenamin - will now be broadcast on ITV over a year after their first digital broadcast. The future of the original Primeval is currently unclear with no further episodes being commissioned since the 2009 revival. In May 2011, Potts told the Digital Spy website that he and co-star Spearritt were unsure of their future with the programme. 'Primeval deserves to carry on, and I hope it does,' he said. 'As for mine and Hannah's involvement in that, we're not entirely sure.' A new Primeval spin off - subtitled New World - was officially announced in February 2012. The 'older, darker and scarier' series has filmed in Vancouver and will be broadcast on Watch in late 2012.

The BBC is to make it 'faster, simpler and easier' for licence fee payers to complain about its TV shows and services, while also saving resources by 'ending correspondence on trivial or vexatious' complaints. Which, to be fair, is the vast majority of them so that should save a hell of a lot of time. In July 2011, a House of Lords report called for a revamp of 'the convoluted and overly complicated complaints process at the BBC,' and mooted the possibility of handing the power to media regulator Ofcom. The BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten responded by launching a review of the corporation's complaints procedures, which identified a number of areas which could be improved. The resulting new system, coming into effect from 26 June onwards, will ensure that complaints received by other parts of the BBC are 'forwarded to a central point' to improve coordination. Recording of all complaints is to be improved, using a central address, phone number and weblink, and responses to multiple complaints about the same subject will be sped up by handling them at the same time and providing a single response to the complainants. The BBC will also focus its resources on dealing with substantive complaints by 'ending correspondence on trivial or vexatious ones,' although these complainants would still have the right to appeal to the Trust. So, that's basically anything to do with Top Gear that's been whipped up by hippy Communist lice in the Gruniad or jackbooted bully boy thugs in the Daily Scum Mail. Any 'substantive' complaints about content on the BBC's website must be handled within thirty days, as is standard for broadcast issues. But the BBC has decided that there should be no time limit for complaints from individuals who are the subject of online content, such as people featured in news stories. In the public consultation, concern was raised over how many complaints would be disallowed if they were considered 'vexatious.' Therefore, the Trust has asked BBC bosses to provide regular reports on the number and subjects of dismissed complaints. The Trust will intervene if 'there are concerns that the process is not being used appropriately.' 'We have agreed improvements to the complaints system to speed it up, simplify it, and focus resources where they are genuinely needed,' said Richard Ayre, chair of the Trust's Complaints and Appeals Board. 'If the BBC gets something wrong, these changes should ensure complaints get more quickly to the people best placed to deal with them. And, if the BBC sometimes gets things badly wrong, it should deliver a remedy that's timely and unambiguous.' The changes will come into force on 26 June and independent 'mystery shopper' exercises will be carried out in 2013 to test the effectiveness of the system. As announced in March, the BBC Executive also intends to launch a new 'corrections and clarifications' page in June on the BBC website, covering mostly news content. Meanwhile, the Trust ruled this week that BBC News breached laws by partially identifying a teenager involved in criminal proceedings during a BBC1 10pm news bulletin on the August riots.
The vile and odious rascal Hunt, the lack of culture secretary, texted James Murdoch the small congratulating him on getting approval from Brussels for News Corporation's eight billion smackers BSkyB takeover, barely ninety minutes before news broke of Vince Cable's comment that he had 'declared war' on billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch. In evidence revealed at the Leveson inquiry on Thursday morning, it also emerged that the vile and odious rascal Hunt texted the chancellor, George Osborne, on the same day, 21 December 2010, warning that Cable's 'hostile comment' about Rupert Murdoch was 'going to screw up' the bid. The vile and odious rascal Hunt and James Murdoch the small exchanged texts hours before the vile and odious rascal Hunt formally took over responsibility for the proposed acquisition from Cable, after the business secretary's comment to undercover Daily Torygraph reporters. The vile and odious rascal Hunt texted James Murdoch the small at 12.46pm on 21 December, about five hours before he inherited Cable's quasi-judicial responsibilities for the News Corp/Sky bid, saying: 'Sorry to miss your call. Am on my mobile now, Jeremy.' After a further exchange of texts about arranging a 4pm phone call later that day, at 12.57pm the vile and odious rascal Hunt texted Murdoch: 'Great and congrats on Brussels. Just Ofcom to go!' This was a reference to a decision that day by the European commission to give the green light to the BSkyB takeover on competition grounds. At about 2.30pm on 21 December the BBC's Robert Peston broke the Cable story. At 4pm the vile and odious rascal Hunt spoke to James Murdoch the small on the phone, as they had earlier arranged. Within twenty minutes, the vile and odious rascal Hunt was having text and e-mail exchanges with Osborne and Andy Coulson, the then director of communications at Downing Street, about 'what to do about' Cable's comment. The vile and odious rascal Hunt told the Leveson inquiry that during the 4pm phone call with James Murdoch the small, the News Corp executive was 'expressing his concern that there was bias in the [bid] process' because of what Cable said and 'I think my e-mail to Andy Coulson and text message to George were my response to Mr Murdoch's call.' His e-mail to Coulson, timed at 4.10pm said: 'Could we chat about this. Am seriously worried Vince will do real damage to coalition with his comments.' Two minutes earlier, at 4.08pm, he texted Osborne: 'Could we chat about Murdoch Sky bid am seriously worried we are going to screw this up.' Almost immediately, he fired off another text to the chancellor: 'Just been called by James M. His lawyers are meeting now and saying it calls into question legitimacy of whole process from beginning "acute bias" etc.' Osborne responded to intimate that the vile and odious rascal Hunt had now got the job of overseeing the News Corp/Sky bid, texting him at 4.58pm: 'I hope you like our solution.' At this point the vile and odious rascal Hunt admitted it was 'mooted' that he would take over from Cable but it did not become public until about 'an hour later.' Downing Street formally announced David Cameron's decision to give the vile and odious rascal Hunt responsibility for the bid just before 6pm. Earlier on Thursday, the vile and odious rascal Hunt told the Leveson inquiry it was 'entirely appropriate' for him to have a mobile phone conversation with James Murdoch the small in November 2010 despite his having been given legal advice not to become involved in News Corp's BSkyB bid. The lack of culture secretary said he 'just heard Mr Murdoch out, and basically heard what he had to say about what was on his mind at that time' during the phone conversation on 16 November 2010, when Cable still had responsibility for the bid. 'I thought it was entirely appropriate to hear what a big player in my industry was saying about a particular situation. Indeed, I thought that was my duty to do so,' he added. But the vile and odious rascal Hunt said he would 'do things differently' now because of the 'massive number of conspiracy theories' that have abounded over his role in the News Corp bid. 'Having been through the BSkyB bid and the process that I've been through, I would take a different view about the presence of officials in conversations that a culture secretary has with media proprietors,' the vile and odious rascal Hunt said. 'I think actually going forward I would always want to have officials present and taking notes.' A meeting between the vile and odious rascal Hunt and Murdoch the small was cancelled the day before the phone call because his office had received legal advice it would be inappropriate. Robert Jay QC, counsel to the inquiry, asked: 'If a meeting is inappropriate why is a telephone call appropriate?' The vile and odious rascal Hunt replied: 'I didn't see the telephone call as a replacement for the meeting. My interpretation of the advice was that I should not involve myself in a quasi-judicial process that's being run by another secretary of state.' The vile and odious rascal Hunt claimed that his special adviser, Adam Smith, who resigned last month after the full scale of his contact with News Corp lobbyist Frédéric Michel emerged, was 'a very uncomplaining, decent hardworking person. I doubt there's a minister who worked more closely with a special adviser than I worked with Adam Smith,' he added. The vile and odious rascal Hunt claimed that Smith did not tell him 'the full extent' of the pressure he was put under by Michel. The lack of culture secretary said he 'didn't see Mr Smith in this process as being someone who would be telling me what News Corp thought or telling News Corp what I thought. I saw him as a point of contact in a very complex process.' Asked what Smith was told his role should be, the vile and odious rascal Hunt said: 'I don't think he was given any express instructions other than how I've described it.' He added that Smith's role 'was to be a point of contact among a number of official points of contact, but I do not think we said: "Adam, you're going to look after Mr Michel." I don't think we had that kind of conversation.' It also emerged at the Leveson inquiry that the vile and odious rascal Hunt was using a private Google e-mail account for government business. The vile and odious rascal Hunt told the inquiry his G-mail account was 'the only account I use.' Asked if he had an official Department for Culture Media and Sport e-mail account, he replied: 'No, my departmental e-mail gets looked after by my private office.' The information commissioner ruled in March that failure to disclose the content of private e-mails sent between the education secretary, loathsome brown-tongued wretched odious slavver-merchant and George Formby lookalike Michael Gove, and his advisers had 'led to breach of the Freedom of Information Act.' The government is desperately challenging this, claiming that they 'fall outside the act.' The issue was first raised last year when the Financial Times claimed to have seen a series of e-mails which revealed brown-tongued wretched odious slavver-merchant and George Formby lookalike Gove and his advisers had used private G-mail accounts to conduct official business. The inquiry also heard: the vile and odious Hunt revealed that he considered resigning, but added: 'I had conducted the bid scrupulously fairly through every stage and I believe it was possible to demonstrate that.' He said sending replies to text messages from James Murdoch the small were 'just me being courteous,' adding he would probably now 'avoid all text messages.' He was advised not to have a drink with No 10 director of communications Andy Coulson after he left Downing Street until the bid process was over, as Coulson was considered to be close to News International. He defended his special adviser's contact with News Corporation lobbyist Frederic Michel, saying he was 'totally shocked' by the volume of contact from Michel, describing one of his texts as 'pushy' and 'cheeky.' 'What Mr Smith hasn't done, as far as I can tell, is ever go back and agitate for the thing Mr Michel is putting him under pressure to achieve,' said the vile and odious rascal Hunt. He said that he had accepted Smith's resignation over the contact with a 'very heavy heart,' and 'personally found the whole thing very difficult' but felt the result was inevitable. The vile and odious rascal Hunt said claims made on 4 July 2011 that murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler's phone had been hacked by the Scum of the World - part of the News Corp empire - had made him re-evaluate the News Corp bid. In the days after the revelation, it was announced the newspaper was being shut down. He denied having been pressured by Downing Street to ask Ofcom and the Office of Fair Trading to re-examine the bid, saying the decision had been his own. 'I asked myself, if they found it necessary to close down the whole paper, this is a big big decision for News Corporation, is there a corporate governance issue here?' said the vile and odious rascal Hunt. In a rare moment of levity during the vile and odious rascal Hunt's testimony, the lack of culture secretary was asked about an evening reception and dinner with James Murdoch the small where the vile and odious rascal Hunt was reportedly to have hidden behind a tree to avoid being seen by the Wall Street Journal's Iain Martin. The event, which the vile and odious rascal Hunt said was hosted by the master of University College of London, took place just after the vile and odious rascal Hunt joined the cabinet of the new coalition government in May 2010. Billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch was also at the event. 'It wasn't a private dinner with James Murdoch,' said the vile and odious rascal Hunt. 'I spotted a large group of media journalists and I thought this is not the time to have an impromptu interview, so I moved to a different part of the quadrangle.' Jay asked: 'There may or may not have been trees; is that right?' The vile and odious rascal Hunt replied: 'There may or may not have been trees.' Another lighter moment came when it was revealed that on 15 July 2011, Smith had texted the vile and odious rascal Hunt to inform the minister that well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks had resigned. 'About bloody time!' replied the vile and odious rascal Hunt. 'Um, nothing personal against Mrs Brooks,' he quickly added.

The vile and odious rascal Hunt attempted to achieve two goals at the Leveson inquiry on Thursday – to show he handled the BSkyB bid with procedural fairness and also show that like the business secretary Vince Cable, he was able to set aside personal sympathies and judge the bid on its merits. In addition he might have hoped to display a personal loyalty to his special adviser Adam Smith, and that Smith had rightly interpreted his role as acting as his buffer to News Corporation. Morning sessions on the opening day of a cricket match can sometimes be misleading, but judging by the opening three hours, the vile and odious rascal Hunt was struggling to achieve these goals. The torrid first hour of hostile bowling from the excellent - Michael Holdingesque - Robert Jay repeatedly penetrated the vile and odious rascal Hunt's defences, with the result that far from answering questions, the vile and odious rascal Hunt was facing more. less Geoffrey Boycott, more David Lloyd facing Thomson and Lillie. It emerged that the vile and odious rascal Hunt held 'inappropriate unminuted meetings,' something he conceded, he had phone calls with James Murdoch the small when being expressly advised not to do so by his officials, conducted most of his business via a private e-mail account, and was is constantly aware that his special adviser Adam Smith is in constant contact with News Corp, a fact that his permanent secretary, Jonathan Stephens, did not know. He also frequently derided Ofcom, even though, as he pointed out, he insisted the regulator had to be involved in the critical role of assessing the undertakings. All in all, it couldn't have gone much worse for the vile and odious rascal Hunt. But it was to get worse. As the evidence session wore on, the scale of the vile and odious rascal Hunt's sympathies towards News Corp emerged to be greater than imagined. At one point he described the bid as 'critical to thousands of jobs and the future of the sector.' Hours before he was considered to take over the role of judging on the bid from the business secretary Vince Cable, he texted James Murdoch the small to congratulate him on the decision, made coincidentally on the same day by the European Commission, to clear the bid on competition grounds. The vile and odious rascal Hunt texted 'Only Ofcom to go.' Yes. That sounds supremely fair and balanced. The vile and odious rascal Hunt conceded that text sent at 12.54pm showed 'sympathy' for the bid. Later that afternoon, once Cable's remarks declaring war on Murdoch were leaked by somebody in the Daily Torygraph (one still wonders whom, exactly) to the BBC's Robert Peston, the vile and odious rascal Hunt spoke with James Murdoch the small and then lobbied the chancellor George Osborne by text and the prime ministers then spin doctor Andy Coulson by e-mail, expressing concerns that the whole bid was in danger of being 'screwed up.' Yet when asked to take over the handling of the bid, he did not tell the cabinet secretary Lord O'Donnell about any of these exchanges. Nor did he tell the cabinet secretary that he had lobbied No 10 privately in November 2010 to demand that the business secretary Vince Cable take a different approach to the bid. The fresh evidence of texts and e-mails between the vile and odious rascal Hunt, Osborne, Coulson and James Murdoch the small shed further light on the nexus of relationships in Downing Street. (Coulson, of course, had always denied that he had any involvement in the News Corps bid whilst he was working at Number 10, yet the vile and odious rascal Hunt here admitted to having e-mailed him about Vince Cable's 'bias' and seeking 'a chat.') It makes it increasingly likely that Osborne himself will be called to give evidence before the inquiry. Osborne, after all, told the vile and odious rascal Hunt that he played a role in the 'solution' to the Cable affair – handing responsibility to the vile and odious rascal Hunt. The vile and odious rascal Hunt maintained that these exchanges still do not undermine his point that he handled the bid fairly, effectively wiping his mind clean of bias. Some of Thursday's key exchanges were focused on the vile and odious rascal Hunt's knowledge of his special adviser's activities. These are critical to determining whether the vile and odious rascal Hunt has breached the ministerial code on the basis that he is responsible for the conduct of his political adviser, and that conduct had been improper. He described Smith as a 'very uncomplaining, decent, hard-working person,' but the vile and odious rascal Hunt insisted that he, personally, did not know about the volume of the texts between Smith and Michel, or the impact of this persistent correspondence by Michel on Smith. 'We weren't expecting five hundred and forty two text messages to Mr Smith. When you do the analysis it looks like Mr Michel was trying to contact Mr Smith five times every working day, which is an extraordinary amount we didn't anticipate at all.' Flattery and pushiness were weapons that Michel deployed, he conceded. The vile and odious rascal Hunt claimed to have been 'shocked' by the level of contact, and alleged that Smith never told him the full extent of the pressure he was put under by Michel. The vile and odious rascal Hunt persistently defended Smith, saying 'he is one of the most decent honest and honourable people,' adding that he, personally, did not think Michel's account of his exchanges with Smith were always accurate, including suggestions that the culture department asked News Corp to forward resounding criticisms of Ofcom's work. The lack of culture secretary said he 'didn't see Mr Smith in this process as being someone who would be telling me what News Corp thought or telling News Corp what I thought. I saw him as a point of contact. In a very complex process.' Asked what Smith was told his role should be, the vile and odious rascal Hunt said: 'I don't think he was given any express instructions.' Similarly asked about this own frequent text contacts with News Corp, the vile and odious rascal Hunt said this was just a sign of his 'willingness' to be courteous, but it had no impact on the process. (The Sunday Times political correspondent Isabel Oakeshott tweeted that the vile and odious rascal Hunt 'says his working relationship with Smith was "exceptionally close." Incompatible with his defence, that Smith was going off-piste.') Early suggestions from Tory benches is that the vile and odious rascal Hunt could survive. Louise Mensch, a Conservative member of the culture select committee, made a brave defence of the vile and odious rascal Hunt, saying he had been 'completely exonerated.' She denied that the vile and odious rascal Hunt 'misled' parliament by telling MPs he made absolutely no interventions in the quasi-judicial decisions of Cable. Yet the vile and odious rascal Hunt admitted to Leveson he had sent a memo in November 2010 trying to persuade David Cameron to convene a high-level meeting on Cable's handling of the bid. The vile and odious rascal Hunt also told Leveson that 'in retrospect' it would have been impossible for Cable to attend such a meeting, and conceded he did not know enough about the quasi-judicial process to realise the request was impossible. Ultimately, the harder questions here are for David Cameron. The vile and odious rascal Hunt never made any secret of the fact that he was pro the bid. So, as ITv's Tom Bradby asked on Twitter, 'why did Cameron give him responsibility for it?' Following the morning's evidence, Labour's Chris Bryant told the BBC that David Cameron should sack the vile and odious rascal Hunt. He said the vile and odious rascal Hunt had been texting Murdoch the small even though he had told Parliament he had had 'no direct contact' with the company over the matter. 'We learned that Jeremy Hunt, at the very time when it was being decided who should be taking over responsibility for the decision on the BSkyB takeover, was in conversation with James Murdoch,' Bryant said. He added this was 'effectively colluding with News Corporation.'

Of course, in one of the most predictable outcomes imaginable, Cameron has decided not to order an inquiry into whether the vile and odious rascal Hunt broke the ministerial code after he was grilled at the Leveson Inquiry. It is likely the vile and odious rascal Hunt is now safe in office at least until a late summer reshuffle, but his authority within the media industry is severely damaged. Within minutes of the vile and odious rascal Hunt's finishing six hours of evidence, No 10 announced that Cameron would not be referring the vile and odious rascal Hunt's handling of the bid to his independent adviser on the ministerial code. Cameron claimed that the lack of culture secretary 'acted properly' when he was responsible for Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB takeover bid, Downing Street said. No 10 added the prime minister would not refer the case to Sir Alex Allen, his adviser on the ministerial code. Deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman called the decision not to refer the vile and odious rascal Hunt's case 'disgraceful.' And for once, even Mad Hattie's right. The Gruniad asks a question a lot of us would like to know the answer to: Is Jeremy Hunt a scoundrel or a fool? The prime minister appears to have decided he's the latter and yet kept him in-post.

Prime Minister David Cameron's former director of communications Andy Coulson has been charged with perjury. Coulson was questioned in Glasgow as part of an investigation into evidence at the perjury trial of former MSP Tommy Sheridan in 2010. He was detained at his South London home early on Wednesday morning by Strathclyde Police and formally arrested that evening. The ex-Scum of the World editor was a Downing Street employee at the time he was a witness at Glasgow's High Court. Coulson was detained at his London home at 06:30 on Wednesday. He arrived at Govan police station shortly before 15:30 and was held for about six hours before being released after being charged. A Crown Office spokesman said there was 'no legal obligation' for Coulson to stay in Scotland, and he was free to return to his home in London. The spokesman said that no date had been set for any court appearance. A decision will now be taken by Scotland's prosecution service, the procurator fiscal, about whether Coulson should face a trial. Earlier, a police spokeswoman said: 'Officers from Strathclyde Police's Operation Rubicon team detained a forty four-year-old man in London this morning under section fourteen of the Criminal Procedure Scotland Act 1995 on suspicion of committing perjury before the High Court in Glasgow.' Coulson gave evidence at the trial of Tommy Sheridan in 2010. Sheridan was awarded two hundred grand in damages from the Scum of the World in 2006 after it printed allegations that he had committed adultery and visited a swingers' club. After the court action, the former MSP and his wife Gail were charged with perjury. She was acquitted during the subsequent trial but Sheridan was convicted in December 2010. He has since been freed after serving just over a year of a three-year sentence. Coulson was called to give evidence at Sheridan's trial over two days as he was editor of the Scum of the World between 2003 and 2007. During heated exchanges with Sheridan, who represented himself at the trial, Coulson denied being involved in, or aware of, any illegal activities, including phone-hacking. Coulson resigned from that post in January 2011, saying coverage of the Scum of the World phone-hacking scandal had 'made it difficult to give the one hundred and ten per cent needed in this role.' In July 2011, he was arrested by Metropolitan Police investigating the Scum of the World hacking scandal and later released on bail. BBC chief political correspondent Norman Smith said: 'Unlike the arrest of Coulson last year by the London Metropolitan Police - which centred on claims about hacking during his time as editor of the News of the World - this arrest relates to a period when Coulson was working as David Cameron's director of communications.' Coulson's lawyer said that his client would 'vigorously contest' the allegations if they went to trial.

Chancellor George Osborne has dropped plans to limit tax relief on charitable giving announced in March's Budget following protests from charities. There will be no limit - as existed before the Budget - on what an individual can donate to charity and offset against their tax liability. A spokesman said the Treasury had 'listened to the views of charities.' It is the latest in a series of humiliating U-turns on policies announced in the Budget, including the pasty and caravan taxes. Osborne said: 'I can confirm that we will proceed next year with a cap on income tax reliefs for wealthy people, but we won't be capping relief for giving money to charity. It is clear from our conversations with charities that any kind cap could damage donations, and as I said at the Budget that's not what we want at all. So we've listened. Frankly, at a time like this the government is going to focus on the big issues like the worsening eurozone crisis and Britain's deficit, and not get distracted with unnecessary arguments. We're going to concentrate our efforts on what really matters: keeping Britain safe in the gathering storm.' The consultation on how a cap would be imposed on the other tax relief measures will continue this summer. A government spokesman said that they had been 'clear' that the uncertainty caused by the proposed cap on charitable reliefs created 'a risk' to the charitable sector and in light of this they had decided to exempt charitable reliefs from the cap. The Treasury will write to the charitable sector confirming the new position later. The spokesman declined to comment on the suggestion that this might be a good be a 'good day to bury bad news,' given that media attention is focused on lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Hunt's appearance up a'fore the Leveson inquiry. Something which the Torygraph alleged that the Lib Dems were particularly 'furious' about.

Sir Sean Connery refused to follow up warnings from police that he may have been a victim of phone-hacking as he 'did not want anything to do with the scandal.' According to the Daily Torygraph, the actor's name is said to have appeared in the records of Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator who was jailed in 2007 for intercepting voicemails on behalf of the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World. Police are said to have contacted Connery to inform him that his phone may have been targeted by Mulcaire, and even potentially accessed illegally. However, the former James Bond actor, who is a high profile supporter of the Scottish National Party, decided not to return the call as he did not want to get involved, his representative claimed. 'An attempt to contact Sir Sean was made by an individual connected with the investigation into phone-hacking,' said the Scottish actor's representative. 'No specifics were supplied and Sir Sean didn't return the call as he truly didn't wish to be involved. He is enjoying his retirement.' Murray Grigor, Connery's friend and biographer, told the Torygraph that there were apparently 'ten instances' of alleged hacking. 'The police were quite excited about it but he doesn't want to know,' said Grigor. 'He doesn't want anything to do with it. He's just having a good time and he just shrugged it off.'

Life on Mars' Philip Glenister is to make his National Theatre debut in a play about two real-life Labour whips. The actor, best known for his Gene Hunt role in Mars and its sequel Ashes to Ashes, will appear with ex-EastEnders and Quadrophenia star Phil Daniels in This House later this year. Glenister will play Wakefield MP Walter Harrison, while Daniels will portray south London MP Bob Mellish. The pair were renowned for the tactics they employed to keep Harold Wilson's minority 1974 government in power. Written by James Graham, This House will open in the National's Cottesloe theatre on 18 September and run in repertoire until 1 December. The production sees Glenister follow in the footsteps of his brother Robert, who has performed at the National in such plays as Blue Remembered Hills and Brighton Beach Memoirs.

England batsman Kevin Pietersen has announced his retirement from international limited-overs cricket. The thirty one-year-old, who made his debut in 2004, played one hundred and twenty seven one-day internationals and thirty six Twenty20 internationals. 'I think it is the right time to step aside and let the next generation of players come through to gain experience for the World Cup in 2015,' he said. 'I still wish to be considered for selection for England in Test cricket.' Pietersen, who was player of the tournament in England's World Twenty20 triumph in the Caribbean in 2010, had been expected to be at the forefront of the side again during this year's competition, which takes place in Sri Lanka from 18 September to 7 October. But it has emerged that the ECB does not allow players to pick and choose between ODI and Twenty20 formats. Pietersen said: 'For the record, were the selection criteria not in place, I would have readily played for England in the upcoming ICC World Twenty20.' Hugh Morris, managing director of England Cricket, said the ECB was disappointed with the timing of Pietersen's decision, coming four months before the World T20. 's the programming and planning for ODI and T20 format cricket are very closely linked, we have a selection policy that means that any player making himself unavailable for either of the one-day formats, rules himself out of consideration for both formats,' he said. 'The selectors will now replace Kevin in both the ODI and the T20 squads. Kevin is a world-class player and I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his efforts and we look forward to his continued contributions to the Test match side.' Andrew Strauss was the last senior player to retire from ODI cricket, although he was never part of the Twenty20 set-up. In an interview with BBC Sport late last year, England spinner Graeme Swann said the fifty-over international format should be scrapped. Pietersen said that he had considered the 'intensity of the international schedule and the increasing demands on my body, approaching thirty two.' South Africa-born Pietersen, who has an English mother, has been one of the most successful England batsmen of recent times since he qualified to play international cricket by serving four years in the county game. His four thousand one hundred and eighty four one-day international runs at an average of 48.14, puts him sixth in the all-time list of England batsmen, and he heads their T20 list with eleven hundred and seventy six runs at an average of 37.93, the only England player to pass four figures in the shortest form of the game. Pietersen's relationship with the ECB, which came under scrutiny when he as England captain in January 2009 following a rift with then coach Peter Moores, was tested again this month after he was fined for criticising commentator Nick Knight on Twitter.

Premier League footballer Titus Bramble has been cleared of sexually assaulting two women. The Sunderland defender was accused of groping a woman's bottom in a nightclub in Yarm, on Teesside, before sexually assaulting another woman in a cab home. The thirty-year-old, who was born in Ipswich but now lives at Wynyard in Middlesbrough, had denied the charges. He was cleared by a jury at the end of a four-day trial at Teesside Crown Court. Bramble admitted that he was 'quite drunk' on the night of 28 September 2011 and shared a consensual kiss with the woman in the back of a cab before her mood changed. Believing something was wrong, the taxi driver took the pair to a police station, where Mr Bramble was arrested. During the trial, his defence lawyer Ronnie Jaffa said the woman had made the sexual assault allegation to 'save face' after she regretted kissing him. Another woman came forward later to report that while in the Cross Keys nightclub she had felt someone grope her bottom. She said she had turned and seen the footballer 'smirking' at her. Jaffa said she had not actually seen the person who groped her. 'It's unlikely [Bramble] would grab her bum and simply stand there,' he said. Sunderland AFC said it would not be making any comment about the case.

And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. And, after Thursday night's sensational Scunny Steve Drayton's Record Player event at the Tyneside, rocked the effing shack with Born To Run, here's a bit more Brooooce.

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