Thursday, June 28, 2012

Straight Connection

New BBC2 police drama Line of Duty made an impressive start on Tuesday night, topping the 9pm hour. The hard-hitting thriller, starring Lennie James, Gina McKee and Vicky McClure, launched with 3.35m on BBC2 and BBC HD. Ranking as BBC2's best-rated drama in 2012 to date, Line of Duty retained a steady audience from start to finish. With viewers spread fairly evenly across the terrestrial channels, BBC1 came second in the slot with 3.17m for new factual experiment series Turn Back Time: The Family. Meanwhile, the concluding part of ITV's Strictly Kosher - a programme following a Jewish community in Manchester - interested 2.36m. Gordon Ramsay's new Channel Four cooking-in-prison vehicle Gordon Behind Bars beat ITV with 2.64m - adding three hundred and twenty one thousand additional punters on timeshift. CSI was last in the slot with 1.55m and one hundred and seventy one thousand on C5+1, but Channel Five had a solid night overall with 8pm's Killers Behind Bars (1.32m) and 10pm's Big Brother (1.28m). BBC2's peak time share was boosted by early evening coverage of Wimbledon, which had 2.73m between 5.50pm and 8pm for Andy Murray's first round win. Overall, BBC1 topped primetime mostly thanks to the popularity of EastEnders and Holby City. ITV followed in second place with 13.5 per cent of the audience share.

Speaking of the opening episode of Line of Duty - which was excellent, dear blog reader - once again, yer actual Keith Telly Topping wishes to praise - considerably - the review of the Metro's Keith Watson who hit the nail absolutely on the head: 'You're not supposed to root for the bad guy but that's the sly trick Line Of Duty is pulling, because all the evidence in front of our eyes is telling us detective Tony Gates is a bad 'un; a love cheat who covers up crimes and plays fast and loose with the facts to accelerate his rise up the career ladder. Yet somehow, it's hard to resist his charm. Particularly when the anti-corruption officers sent in to investigate his dodgy ways are such a callow, self-righteous bunch. Line Of Duty is a police thriller where you know which side you're supposed to be on but the other side looks a much more fun place to be. That's down in no small part to a nuanced turn from Lennie James as Gates, a ducker and diver between good and evil who, we hope against hope, may have a noble hidden agenda. In a week when BBC3 had already asked Can We Trust The Police?, Line Of Duty's answer seemed to be a resounding "no", the action opening with a farcical operation resulting in an innocent man being killed. But that was just the set-up, marking out the territory for principled young officer DS Steve Arnott to make his stand. Here, it faltered a little, Martin Compston looking improbably young and wet behind the ears to fight the good fight. But maybe he'll grow into the part. Let's hope so, because Line Of Duty dangled a teasing lace of criss-crossing plot strands in its opening episode, more than enough to draw us in. Just don't get too settled with which side you're backing.'

Call the Midwife actress Jessica Raine has apparently won a role in Doctor Who. Raine will play a character named Emma Grayling on the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama, according to her CV at acting agency Gordon & French. Her episode is seemingly titled Phantoms of the Hex and will be directed by Primeval's Jamie Payne, who also worked with Raine on Call the Midwife. In addition to her role as nurse Jenny Lee on the BBC's hit period drama, Raine has appeared in 2012 Daniel Radcliffe film horror The Woman in Black, as well as episodes of Robin Hood and Garrow's Law. It was recently confirmed that the first episode of Doctor Who's seventh series - to be screened on 14 August at the BFI Southbank in London - will be titled Asylum of the Daleks. Other guest stars confirmed for the new episodes include Dougray Scott, Ben Browder, Rupert Graves, David Bradley and Mark Williams.

Doctor Who's famous sonic screwdriver will be the inspiration for a new TV remote, it has been reported. The Doctor's trusty instrument, introduced for Patrick Troughton's Time Lord in 1968, unlocks doors and performs medical scans on the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama series. The TV remote screwdriver will be operated by a flick of the wrist, according to A wave upwards and downwards will change the channel, while a circular motion activates volume control. The gadget has been designed by Wand Company, which started trading after pitching its business model on Dragon's Den. However, it is not yet known when the sonic screwdriver TV remote will be on sale. Earlier this year, it was revealed that scientists were in the process of creating a working prototype of the fictional screwdriver.

Noel Clarke has suggested that a return to Doctor Who for his character is unlikely. Speculation is rife among fandom that several former Doctor Who cast members may return to the show for its fiftieth anniversary in November 2013, but Clarke told the Digital Spy website that he does not expect to appear in any celebratory episode. 'I'm sure if I was gonna be there, I'd know about it already,' said the thirty six-year-old actor and director - who played Mickey Smith in Doctor Who between 2005 and 2010. 'I'm not chasing it and I'm not begging for it. I do my own thing and they do their thing. If they called me, then I'm sure there'd be a conversation, but I'm not calling them or chasing it.' Noel added that he has continued to watch Doctor Who following his departure from the series, adding that he is a fan of current lead Matt Smith. 'I love what Matt brings to it and I'm sure the fiftieth anniversary will be no holds barred, I'm sure it'll be great,' he said.

The BBC has said its global weekly TV, radio and online audience rose six per cent – to two hundred and thirty nine million viewers and listeners – in the past twelve months on the back of the Arab spring uprising. And, once again dear blog reader, let us merely reflect open the supreme irony that the BBC is a world class broadcaster hugely respected right across the globe and that the only place it isn't are in knobcheese dictatorships and in their own back-yard with shit-louse right-wing scum in the House of Commons and Fleet Street. Peter Horrocks, the director of BBC global news, said in a blogpost on Wednesday that viewers flocked to its Arabic and Persian services for coverage of widespread unrest in the region. Because it was the only news organisation they could trust to tell them the truth. The BBC World Service saw its global audience rise eight per cent – to one hundred and eighty million – in 2011 despite severe budget cuts and a withdrawal from some countries in eastern Europe. When the cuts were announced in early 2011, the World Service had warned that the changes – which saw five foreign-language services closing and a reduction in short-wave broadcasts, with about six hundred and fifty job losses – would cost it thirty million listeners. Horrocks said the corporation's global audience would have been higher if the sixteen per cent cut in its budget imposed by the government in 2011 had not 'lessened the BBC's ability to take our journalism into some countries.' The BBC said its Arabic service saw a record rise in audiences, with twenty five million adults tuning in a week. Horrocks said the corporation's Persian TV service had doubled its reach in Iran, to six million people, 'despite facing a campaign of censorship and intimidation by the Iranian authorities.' He added: 'None of this is cause for us to rest on our laurels. But these figures are a step in the right direction as they underline the international desire for the sort of independent journalism that the BBC provides. Globally, there remains a dire need for journalism that isn't slanted towards any one country, political or commercial viewpoint.' Horrocks also warned that investment in news media by the governments of Russia, China and Iran 'designed to give their own perspective on the world' meant there was a 'dire need' for the BBC's independent-branded coverage overseas. 'Recent times have not been the easiest for the BBC's international news services. The challenges our journalists face have never been so severe or varied,' he said. 'From increased harassment and intimidation to persistent efforts to censor the BBC's news. With global competition only intensifying, the BBC World Service has also had to face significant cuts to its funding, undergoing disrupting and painful change.' Horrocks said the increase in global audience were cause for 'cautious confidence' but not complacency. The BBC news executive came under fire earlier this week after it emerged that he has asked global news staff to suggest money-making ideas for the corporation at their next appraisals. Critics, including Sir John Tusa, the head of the World Service, said this move threatened the editorial independence of the BBC. A BBC World Service spokesman said journalists had not been ordered to come up with money-making schemes. He said no one had been given financial targets and editorial independence would not be compromised. He added that the BBC's public service mission to provide impartial and independent news would always take precedence over wider commercial goals, adding that nothing in the e-mail suggested anything different. Last year the BBC World Service closed five language services – Albanian, Macedonian, Portuguese for Africa, Serbian, and the English for the Caribbean regional service – in response to cuts to its grant-in-aid funding from the Foreign Office.

The BBC is introducing a new on-screen device into its Olympics coverage which will allow presenters to point to graphics and move them around the screen. The device, called Kinetrak and devised by Mammoth Graphics, will be used for the first time on BBC1 and BBC3 during the London Games coverage this summer. The BBC director for London 2012 coverage, Roger Mosey, said Kinetrak will be mainly used to illustrate what events can be seen where and when, adding that it will be 'critical' for viewers' enjoyment that they are able to find the thirty six sports and three hundred and four events featured in the Olympics. 'It will help you find Graeco-Roman wrestling if you want to find it,' Mosey told a Broadcasting Press Guild lunch in London on Tuesday. Asked whether the device could prove too gimmicky, Mosey said: 'What we want with the Olympics first, second and third is live sport but if you use something like [Kinetrak] to make it more exciting that the cherry on the top of the cake.' Mosey confirmed that committed viewers will be able to take in two thousand five hundred available hours out of the about three thousand hours of sport which will take place over the fortnight of the Olympics. He said with the many interactive elements and the use of shared feeds as well as the BBC's own cameras, two thousand five hundred hours would be filmed and broadcast on various TV and digital services. However, some minor events such as the archery ranking event and the shooting preliminary rounds will not be available to view because they will not even be filmed by the so-called 'core feeds' provided by the host broadcaster for the London Olympics. The BBC will have near wall-to-wall coverage on BBC1 and BBC3 as well as its radio services and twenty four dedicated BBC Olympics channels will also be available on the Sky, Virgin and Freesat digital TV services. These will be available to about sixteen million households and about sixty per cent of the UK viewing population, although Mosey insisted that he expected most viewing to take place on BBC1. Because some live events will continue until midnight the BBC will not have a highlights package, with some aspects of each day's events summarised by an eighty-minute show fronted by Gaby Logan from 10.40pm. The BBC's main presenter for the opening ceremony will be Huw Edwards with support from Hazel Irvine and Trevor Nelson, the latter described by Mosey as 'a Hackney lad. Huw is the BBC's man for the big occasions,' said Mosey, who confirmed that former middle distance runner Steve Cram would be the lead athletics commentator for the corporation. Mosey also gave journalists a sneak advance listen to the song 'First Steps' from the Manchester band Elbow, which the BBC will use in its Olympics coverage promotions and will be heard in full on the opening night. He said the BBC did not learn specific lessons from its much-criticised coverage of the recent Queen's diamond jubilee pageant. 'Not all live events go to plan,' Mosey said of the river pageant, adding that the BBC was 'confident about what we're doing' with the Olympics. 'Everything will be criticised in some way by one or two people on Twitter or by one of two newspaper commentators,' he said naming no names but, meaning the Daily Scum Mail, obviously. He added that some 'unforeseen events' were capable of disrupting plans. 'Seb Coe has said that nobody would have thought that a volcano exploding in Iceland would frozen the travel plans of most of Europe,' Mosey said, giving an example. Mosey declined to reveal how much the BBC was spending of the Olympic coverage but said that a detailed breakdown of the overall costs would be published in the autumn. He also declined to give a target audience figure but said that he expected the BBC's coverage over the period to have at least a forty million reach. The 2004 Athens Olympics was watched by forty five million overall on the BBC, while Beijing in 2008 was watched by forty two million over the whole period. Mosey said he had seen all the plans for the opening ceremony masterminded by Danny Boyle and described it as a 'clever ceremony' and compared it to a 'live movie.'

As Chloe Smith discovered to her cost on Tuesday night, sour and grumpy Jeremy Paxman likes nothing more than the opportunity to grill a poorly briefed junior minister who has been dumped in it by her boss on Newsnight. It was a sight to see, dear blog reader, a ruddy sight to see. The hapless Smith was put up by the Treasury to explain why the government had been so implacably opposed to delaying the fuel duty rise on Monday but had reversed gear so rapidly on Tuesday. But Smith is not the first - and almost certainly not the last - to have felt the discomfort of being asked the same unanswerable question over and over again by Paxman. The most famous is Paxo's interview with Michael Howard in which he asked the then home secretary the same question twelve times over the dismissal of the governor of Parkhurst Prison, John Marriott. And he still never got a straight answer. Paxman puts Tony Blair in an awkward position by listing pornographic publications in the same stable as the Express Newspaper (whose owner Blair said was a suitable party donor). The British National party leader, Nick Griffin, felt Paxman's withering disdain in a pre-election interview. And, then there was the time Paxman called a European parliament spokesman 'Mr Idiot.' Or the occasion when student protester Clare Solomon got the full treatment from Paxo. And even Paxman's colleagues aren't safe. Economics Editor Paul Mason has an uncomfortable interview from Athens. He's a national treasure, to be sure. A throwback to a time when you had to be fantastically rich to be that rude to people and get away with it!

A number of ITV presenters have reportedly been warned over their involvement with product placement. Executives have allegedly met with the likes of Holly Willoughby and Gino D'Acampo and advised them not to advertise brands in which they have a vested interest on screen. TV bosses have also given Lorraine fashion expert Mark Heyes a warning after he promoted clothes from Debenhams while being paid as the store's brand ambassador. 'There was a change in the Ofcom ruling with regards to undue prominence and product placement in TV. When there are changes we chat to talent and agents about them,' an alleged ITV 'source' allegedly told the Mirra. 'In the past Holly has worn a number of her own dresses from the brand Very and Gino often wears bright watches which are on camera a lot, so we have to look at things like this now to make sure we don't do anything wrong.' The alleged 'source' allegedly added: 'It is important to ITV that there is no favouritism for any brand on Lorraine and the clothes being shown should be the best ones, regardless of what store they come from.' An ITV spokesman insisted that Heyes's outside role didn't affect editorial decisions on the show. 'ITV ensures that all of its talent are aware of and comply with the Ofcom code on product placement and undue prominence. This is an ongoing dialogue,' he said.

Scum Mail Online has been accused of invading the privacy of a family grieving over the death of their eleven-year-old son in a Swiss coach crash as recently as last week, while the Leveson inquiry was investigating press standards and ethics. The Associated Newspapers website was still last week using a photo of the grieving nine-year-old sister of Sebastian Bowles, one of twenty eight killed returning from a school ski trip in March, the Leveson inquiry heard on Tuesday. The picture showed Helena Bowles being comforted by her father just moments before they visited the scene of the tragedy in Switzerland. This was despite a letter sent by the Press Complaints Commission asking papers to remove a photograph of Helena and other pictures including some taken from the father's Facebook page on 17 March, four days after the tragedy occurred. Scum Mail Online removed the Facebook pictures after receiving the PCC letter, but was still carrying the photograph of Helena in Switzerland until at least 19 June, the inquiry was told. Scum Mail Online wrote to the inquiry on 25 June to say it 'did not realise' that the photo accompanying its story was of Helena because she was not identified in the caption. It has now removed the photo. Sebastian's father, Edward Bowles, asked a family friend, solicitor Giles Crown, to get in touch with the PCC to help deal with the media, after his son's death attracted huge interest. Packs of reporters had gathered outside Bowles's house in London and the family decided to stay in Belgium to avoid the media. Crown gave evidence to the inquiry on Tuesday because Bowles felt unable to do so. 'Edward was very distressed by that point. I was calling them to try and help, but there was a lot of damage already done. The pictures had already been published. So I suppose the main point, to my mind, is why what appeared to me fairly clear code provisions hadn't been complied with by the media,' Crown told Lord Justice Leveson. He said that Bowles had not given permission for the photo of Helena to be taken. He added that letters asking the newspaper to remove the photograph and those taken from the Facebook page from its website were sent on 17 March by himself and the PCC. Publishing a photograph of a child without permission of a parent or guardian is a breach of the PCC code of ethics. Crown told how the photograph of Helena being comforted by her father was taken without his knowledge as they were standing in the porch of a hotel assigned to relatives of the victims. Helena was carrying flowers to take to the scene of the crash. 'Mr Bowles would never have given consent of the publication of this photograph of his nine-year-old grieving over the death of her brother in these terrible and distressing circumstances, is that right?' the counsel for the inquiry, Carine Patry Hoskins, asked Crown. He replied that this was correct. The inquiry heard how Bowles had travelled to Switzerland after the crash. Photographers had gathered outside the hotel but barriers had been erected to obstruct their view of the bereaved families. Crown said it was taken at a distance. Crown said it was clear to Scum Mail Online that the photo was of a relative of a victim. 'As I have explained that was a hotel specifically for victims who had died. They, to my mind, knew that the photo was of a young relative of a victim.' Leveson also expressed concern that the PCC had asked Crown to draft the letter asking newspapers to remove the photo of Helena and other material it considered a breach of privacy including photos taken from Edward Bowles's Facebook page. Crown said he was equipped to deal with the situation because he happened to be a lawyer but he does not know what might have happened if it had been Bowles who made the call to the regulator's twenty four-hour helpline. 'I am slightly concerned that the PCC left it to Mr Crown to draft a letter. One would have thought they could have done that,' Leveson said. He added that he was also concerned given the high level of publicity surrounding the PCC's handling of complaints made by members of the public such as the McCann family since the Leveson inquiry launched. 'I am sure you would appreciate why in the light of the fact that this occurred in March, after we had been going four months, if not nine months, if you take it from last July [when the inquiry was set up by David Cameron]. I think it is important,' Leveson said. Crown said the Bowles family say they had 'no wish to have a fight with the media' and they 'did not object to the media reporting of the accident in itself as he [Edward] recognised it was a tragedy of national importance. However, he did and does object to the nature of media coverage and the intrusions.' He added that the family had agreed that he should give evidence reluctantly. 'The Bowles family have not made and will not be making any public statement of the media in relation to these matters,' Crown said.

John Barrowman, Kate Thornton, Patrick Kielty and Emma Willis have signed up as guest hosts for This Morning throughout the summer. Odious fat glake Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford will take over the presenting duties from Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby on Mondays to Thursdays, while a selection of rotating guests will fill in on Fridays. 'Just because some of the audience go on holiday at this time of year it doesn't mean their favourite shows should too - and if the British summer lives up to its reputation then we'll have more people indoors watching us than ever before!' said Holmes. Langsford added: 'Summer should be a happy time and we think we've got the programme to make it just that.' Strictly duo Russell Grant and Flavia Cacace will be 'offering Latino workouts' to help viewers get fit, while Big Brother host Brian Dowling will be fronting a 'Dream Dates' segment to 'aid singles looking for love.' Britain's Got More Talent host Stephen Mulhern will be showcasing hidden talents in an 'End of the Pier' feature, while Abbey Clancy returns to the daytime show to look at summer fashion trends and more 'Hunks in Trunks.' Other guests across the summer in the kitchen studio and in 'The Hub' will include Britain's Got Talent's The Showbears, Rusty Lee and Lisa Faulkner. Horrorshow.

Gunmen raided the headquarters of a pro-government Syrian TV station early on Wednesday, killing seven employees, kidnapping others and demolishing buildings, officials said. An Associated Press photographer who visited the al-Ikhbariya station's compound said five portable buildings used for offices and studios had collapsed, with blood on the floor and wooden partitions still on fire. Some walls had bullet holes. Al-Ikhbariya is privately owned but strongly supports President Bashar Assad's regime. Pro-government journalists have been attacked on several previous occasions during the country's fifteen-month uprising. 'What happened today is a massacre,' the information minister, Omran al-Zoebi, told reporters. He blamed 'terrorists.' The rebels deny that they target the media. Much of the violence that has gripped Syria over the past fifteen months has been sanctioned by the government to crush dissent. But rebel fighters are launching increasingly deadly attacks on regime targets, and several massive suicide attacks this year suggest al-Qaida or other extremists are joining the fray. The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, said on Wednesday that she has 'great hope' that a meeting of key powers on Saturday in Geneva can be a turning point in the Syria crisis. But the UN gave a dire assessment of the crisis, saying the violence has worsened since a ceasefire deal that was supposed to go into effect in April, and the bloodshed appears to be taking on more dangerous, sectarian overtones. Syria severely restricts the media in the country, making it difficult to gain a credible account of events on the ground. Assad denies that there is any popular will behind the uprising, saying terrorists are behind 'a conspiracy to destroy the country.' Zoebi said gunmen stormed al-Ikhbariya's compound in the town of Drousha, about fourteen miles south of the capital Damascus, and detonated explosives. He said the attackers killed seven people and kidnapped others. In comments broadcast on state-run Syrian TV, he said the killings amounted to 'a massacre against the freedom of the press.' Most news organisations in Syria are either state-run or private bodies that carry the government's point of view. Most of the private TV stations and newspapers are owned by politicians or wealthy businessmen who have close links to the regime. An employee at the station said several other staffers were wounded in the attack, which happened just before 4am local time. He said the gunmen kidnapped him along with several station guards. He was released but the guards were not. The employee, who did not give his name for fear of repercussions, said the gunmen drove him about two hundred metres away, then he heard the explosion from the station being demolished. 'I was terrified when they blindfolded me and took me away,' the man said by telephone. Earlier this month, two al-Ikhbariya employees were shot and seriously wounded by gunmen in the north-western town of Haffa while covering clashes between government troops and insurgents. Hours after the attack, the station was still on the air, broadcasting a rally in Damascus's main square against the station raid. Meanwhile, Burhan Ghalioun, the former leader of Syria's main opposition group, said he briefly entered rebel-held areas in the north of the country in a rare trip by the exiled political opposition to the country. Ghalioun told al-Jazeera TV that the areas he visited in Idlib province are ruling themselves, without any regime presence. Ghalioun, former head of the Syrian National Council, did not say when the visit happened. 'I went to see the war that the Syrian regime is staging,' Ghalioun said. 'The regime continues to shell and kill.' Ghalioun said he spoke with wounded Syrians including some who lost limbs and others who were paralysed. He added that he was able to drive about freely and that 'part of the country is liberated.' Activists reported violence throughout Syria on Wednesday. The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least ten government soldiers were killed in an ambush in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour. The group said that rebels on Tuesday were able to shoot down a helicopter gunship in Idlib province. Amateur videos showed a helicopter burning in a field but the report could not be independently confirmed. In neighbouring Turkey, some thirty more Syrian soldiers defected with their families overnight, the country's state-run Anadolu news agency reported. It was not clear if the group included any senior officers. Assad's regime has suffered an embarrassing string of high-ranking defections this week, with dozens of soldiers, including senior officers, reported to have fled to Turkey.

Cesc Fàbregas was the hero again as Spain kept alive their hopes of defending their European title with a dramatic shootout win over Portugal. Which, if for no other reason than it featured the delicious sight of Cristiano Ronaldo with a face like a smacked arse at the end, was wee in yer own pants funny. The Barcelona midfielder sent Spain to Sunday's final in Kiev, rolling his penalty in off the left-hand post to spark scenes of wild celebration. Portugal's Bruno Alves missed the decisive penalty, with Ronaldo a bystander as the fifth penalty-taker.

The match finished 0-0 after extra-time with neither side doing enough to win. Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport has apologised for publishing a cartoon that depicted footballer Mario Balotelli as King Kong. Some readers of the paper complained about the image, which portrayed the flamboyant striker, who plays for Italy but is of Ghanaian descent, swatting away footballs while climbing London landmark Big Ben. It was published in the paper on Sunday ahead of Italy's Euro 2012 clash with England. In a statement, Gazzetta apologised to readers who found the cartoon offensive. 'We can honestly say it was not among the best products of our talented cartoonist,' said the paper. 'The newspaper is for those who read it and hence, if certain readers found the cartoon offensive, we apologise.' The cartoon prompted criticism from anti-discrimination group Kick It Out, particularly as the Sheikh Yer Man City striker Balotelli was regularly targeted with racist abuse when he played in Italy. 'Mario's such an important person in Italian football,' a spokesman for Kick It Out told the Daily Torygraph. 'Aspiring players in Italy who want to follow in his footsteps could wonder what support they will have when they get to his level when they see cartoons like that. It is not the first time we have seen this sort of depiction of Mario and we think the media have a responsibility. How do they think they can portray him like that?' However, Gazzetta rejected any suggestion of racism against the paper or Valerio Marini, its cartoonist. 'At this time, a measure of prudence and good taste are necessary because everything, absolutely everything, can be misinterpreted,' the paper's statement said. 'But those that accuse Gazzetta, and poor Marini, of racism are going overboard. This newspaper has fought any form of racism in every stadium and has condemned the boos directed at Balotelli as an unacceptable form of incivility.'

Eric Cantona attended a Stone Roses concert in France last night, according to reports. The Scum legend and movie actor performed on stage in Lyon with the gig's support act, The Clash's Mick Jones. Cantona was attending an event organised to benefit the victims of the Hillsborough disaster. Cantona performed a duet of Clash anthem 'Should I Stay or Should I Go?' with Jones, who was collaborating with The Farm and Pete Wylie. The elusive Frenchman, forty six, was originally expected to accompany the Roses on stage. Sheila Coleman, a spokeswoman for the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, told the Liverpool Echo: 'The HJC is thrilled that Eric Cantona spent some time with the band's musicians. Eric knows all about the campaign and he said that he supports it – and Ian Brown from the Stone Roses has given his backing too. It shows the campaign for the truth transcends football rivalries.' The Madchester group's song 'This Is The One' is traditionally played at Old Trafford as the players go down the tunnel.

More than eighty per cent of all Olympics tickets - some seven million - have now been sold, the BBC has learned. Organiser LOCOG said a million were bought in the last month and several thousand were yet to be made available. There were most tickets remaining for volleyball, boxing, weightlifting and basketball although they were mainly top prices in early competition rounds. Meanwhile, London 2012 chairman Lord Coe watched as giant Olympic rings were lowered into place on Tower Bridge. The event marked a month until the opening ceremony of the Games. LOCOG said excluding football, ninety per cent of all tickets had been sold. It said tens of thousands more had yet to be made available from a remaining pool of contingency tickets. There had been a small trickle of returned tickets including one or two pairs of one hundred metres finals seats which would be released on to the general website when cleared for resale. LOCOG said it was 'very close' to its revenue target of six hundred million smackers, which includes VAT. The organiser's ticketing system has drawn criticism in the past, with its sales website seemingly unable to cope with the demand for tickets. In some cases, the system reportedly mistakenly informed potential buyers they had secured tickets, only to then tell them that they had not. Earlier, the lack of Culture Secretary the vile and odious rascal Hunt and London Mayor Boris Johnson also witnessed the suspension of the giant Olympic rings under the high-level walkway of Tower Bridge. The eighty two feet wide rings, which weigh three tonnes, cost two hundred and fifty thousand quid to produce and around fifty three grand to install. Lord Coe said: 'The Olympic rings are an iconic symbol, inspiring athletes and uniting people around the world. To athletes they represent the culmination of thousands of hours of training and reaching the highest level in sport. With one month to go to the Olympic Games opening ceremony, these spectacular rings on one of London's most famous landmarks will excite and inspire residents and visitors in the capital.' A multi-coloured light show will bring the rings to life on Wednesday night.

A musical based on the life of Motown founder Berry Gordy is set to open on Broadway next year. Producers said that Motown the Musical would feature songs made famous by artists who found fame with the label including Stevie Wonder and the Jackson Five. Gordy will write and co-produce the show, which will open next spring. The eighty two-year-old mogul said the production was 'a challenging and exciting opportunity to tell my story and share the magic of Motown. I can't wait to feel that same Motown spirit come alive on stage every night,' he added. Producers described the show as 'a gripping story about the protégés and stars of a uniquely talented musical family who, under Gordy's guidance, began as The Sound of Young America and went on to become some of the greatest superstars of all time.' Other songs to feature in the musical include those made famous by Diana Ross and the Supremes, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, The Temptations and Marvin Gaye. Producer Doug Morris said: 'This is an amazing opportunity for everyone to experience the Motown phenomenon through the eyes of the man who lived it.' Casting for the show has yet to be announced.

An American robbed a bank and then drove straight to the police station to confess his wrongdoings. Raymond Carl Knudson was enthralled by a documentary that explored the causes of the 2008 global meltdown, and consequently decided to rob a bank. However, the Portland resident decided to hand himself in within minutes of committing the crime. The Oregonian reports that Knudson pleaded guilty on Monday to the felony. The fifty-year-old carried out the robbery on a branch of Bank of America in April. According to court documents, he entered the bank and handed over a robbery note to a cashier. After gaining the four hundred and twenty five dollars in loot, he then went straight over to Gresham Police Department to confess. Knudson, who revealed that watching Inside Job encouraged him to commit the crime, is scheduled for sentencing on 10 September.

And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Which today, features a twenty four carat techno classic from yer actual Kraftwerk.

No comments: