Tuesday, June 19, 2012

We Come From Chaos, You Cannot Change Us

Spam salad, homemade shorts and billeted spare rooms – the BBC's tale of British Olympic rowers Bert Bushnell and Dickie Burnell is a far cry from the branded tracksuits, athletes' village and nutritionally balanced diets of London 2012. The story of how a mismatched pair of oarsmen brought together at the last moment triumphed against all the odds to win gold in the double scull at the 1948 London 'austerity Games' is a reminder of what the event is really about, said the drama's writer, William Ivory. 'It's interesting that there are so many parallels really; the austerity of then and the austerity of now. Personally I'm hoping [the 2012 Games] will do a similar job – there will be a similar coming together of people and a uniting of spirit,' he said. The BBC1 drama stars Doctor Who's Matt Smith and Sam Hoare as the titular Bert and Dickie, with the pair almost literally thrown in the deep end as they tried to conquer the basics of sculling in just one week. 'It was a crash course. I think I fell in three times at least – and we definitely fell in once in front of the camera crew, which was mildly embarrassing,' said Hoare at a press screening of the show on Monday. Smudger added: 'Just even to stay in the boat is a very hard skill because it's all about balance, which is what the film is about – if you're not a team then you're dead. The moment one of you tips you're dead and buried, or the moment one of you breaks the rhythm of the stroke then you've lost a length, two lengths. Me and Sam had to really develop on all of those ideas.' The actor, who recently served as a torch bearer for the 2012 Games in Wales, said that training was one of the most enjoyable parts of the process, but it did require determination. 'Even to get halfway down the course is terribly hard,' he said. And having trained alongside some of this summer's Team GB rowing hopefuls, the pair are now desperate to watch them in action. 'If ever there was an opportunity, me and Sam would love to go to the rowing!' said Smith, ruing his lack of tickets for the event. Pfft! Chancer! The film paints a fascinating picture of a ruined post-war Britain in which London was still peppered with bomb sites and the population – and athletes – were still rationed to one egg a week, desperately trying to put on an event that it could ill afford. With no money to kit out the British team, athletes' mothers and wives sewed their shorts by hand and competitors cycled home after competitions. The drama was shot last summer, in a break in filming for Doctor Who, which takes up Matt's time for nine months a year. And this Doctor says he has no intentions of regenerating in the immediate future. 'I am loving making it, I think we have one of the strongest seasons yet coming up, I really do. We go into the fiftieth year all guns blazing and I'll be around,' said Smith, joking that he wanted to continue in the role 'Forever! For fifty years!'

Meanwhile, Matt's predecessor in the TARDIS, yer actual David Tennant and Emily Watson have signed up to star in new BBC2 drama The Politician's Husband. The three-part serial is written by Paula Milne (author of the recent BBC2 drama White Heat) and has been described as a 'bookend' to her award-winning 1995 drama The Politician's Wife. Tennant will play Aiden Hoynes, a senior cabinet minister and political rising star, while Watson - who recently won a BAFTA for her role in ITV's Appropriate Adult - will play his wife and fellow politician Freya Gardner. The Politician's Husband - directed by Boardwalk Empire's Simon Cellan Jones - will explore the complexities of a political marriage and the consequences when a wife becomes more successful than her husband. 'It is said that all power corrupts but the power balance within a marriage can be unspoken and subtle whereas the power games in politics are more overt and manipulatory,' said Milne. 'The drama explores the personal realm of a political marriage played against the ruthless hubris of Westminster politics, and what can happen when those two realms collide.' Ed Stoppard , Oscar Kennedy and two of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's favourite actors, Jack Shepherd and Roger Allam will also star. Sounds proper good. The Politician's Husband will be produced for BBC2 by Daybreak Pictures and begins shooting this month in London.

So, if you're going to Glasto or one of the other big festivals this summer, dear blog reader, this is the sort of tent you need.
Top Twenty programmes for week ending 10 June 2012:-
1 Diamond Jubilee Concert - BBC1 Mon - 15.32m
2 BBC News - BBC1 Mon - 10.74m
3 Coronation Street - ITV Thurs - 8.51m
4 Euro 2012: Germany vs Portugal - BBC1 Sat - 8.43m
5 EastEnders - BBC1 Tues - 8.37m
6 Euro 2012: Ireland vs Croatia - ITV Sun - 7.56m
7 Euro 2012: Spain vs Italy - ITV Sun - 7.45m
8 Emmerdale - ITV Thurs - 6.87m*
9 Diamond Jubilee Carriage Procession - BBC1 Tues - 6.26m
10 Lewis - ITV Wed - 6.22m
11 Euro 2012: Netherlands vs Denmark - BBC1 Sat - 6.20m
12 William At Thirty - ITV Thurs - 5.69m*
=13 Casualty - BBC1 Fri - 5.64m
=13 Silk - BBC1 Tues - 5.64m
=15 Have I Got News For You - BBC1 Fri - 5.38m
=15 Euro 2012: Russia vs Czech Republic - ITV Fri - 5.38m
17 Euro 2012: Poland vs Greece - BBC1 Fri - 5.08m
18 Holby City - BBC1 Tues - 4.89m
19 Countryfile - BBC1 Sun - 4.85m
20 Ten O'Clock News - BBC1 Fri - 4.84m
21 Antiques Roadshow: Diamond Jubille Special - BBC1 Sun - 4.81m
22 ITV News - ITV Tues - 4.65m
23 BBC News - BBC1 Tues - 4.63m
24 The Inspector Lynley Mysteries [rpt] - BBC1 Sun - 4.62m
Those programmes marked '*' do not including HD figures. The Euro 2012 pre and post-match coverage is excluded, these figures related purely to match ratings. The largest audience for any of the pre or post game programmes was 6.39m for the BBC after the Germany vs Portugal game. BBC2's highest rated programmes were Springwatch 2.61m, Transit of Venus: A Horizon Special 2.46m, Great British Menu, 2.46m, Gardeners' World 2.46m and The Secret History of Our Street 2.18m. All except the latter include BBC HD viewers. Tuesday's launch of Big Brother brought Five its biggest audience of the year so far, 2.93m.

Andrew Scott, fresh from winning a BAFTA for his Moriarty in BBC1's Sherlock, is to feature in new ITV drama The Town. The story is scripted by Laurence Olivier award-winning playwright Mike Bartlett, whose theatre credits include the recent Love, Love, Love at the Royal Court. In the three-parter Scott plays Mark Nicholas, a man who returns to his hometown after ten years away, following a shocking incident involving his family. The Town also features Martin Clunes as the local mayor, Julie McKenzie as Mark's grandmother and Charlotte Riley as his childhood sweetheart. A large ensemble cast also includes Kelly Adams, Aisling Bea and Sam Troughton as Mark's old friends and newcomer Avigail Tlalim as his teenager sister. The Town is being made by independent producer Big Talk, the company behind Rev, Friday Night Dinner and Him & Her. Luke Alkin is producing, with Colin Teague directing.

The Fades creator Jack Thorne has suggested that the show was axed in favour of Being Human. Thorne's paranormal drama was cancelled following a single series, with the writer blaming 'massive cutbacks' at BBC3 due to the recent Delivering Quality First fiasco. 'When it came down to it, it was between Being Human and The Fades [to be kept] and they chose Being Human,' Thorne told A Younger Theatre. 'I can't complain because it is a great show. It happened when there were massive cutbacks, so the drama budget [at BBC3] was halved and they could only keep one long-running series.' Being Human was ultimately picked up for a fifth series in March. Regarding the future of The Fades, Thorne added that 'there is a possibility' the show could still return, following its BAFTA win last month. 'I don't know what's going to happen,' he admitted. 'I'd love for it to come back, as I've still got stories to tell.'

He won't be playing the music or lighting the lights, but the great Danny Baker will be writing the words for a new The Muppet Show-style format for BBC1. The show, which had the working title No Strings Attached, will feature a mixture of puppets and real-life celebrities and starred Stephen Fry in a non-broadcast pilot. Developed by the BBC with the Jim Henson Company, the US producer responsible for The Muppet Show, plans for the Saturday teatime family show emerged earlier this year. Baker, who won a Sony gold award last month for his BBC Radio 5Live Saturday morning show, tweeted: 'I'm writing the new Muppet/Puppet show for BBC/Henson. There I've said it.' Baker, who posted a picture of himself with a toy Kermit, has previously written for Chris Evans, Jonathan Ross and Angus Deayton. He also had his own BBC1 chat show in the 1990s, Danny Baker After All. It is not a bad time to be a puppet after the Oscar-winning success of the latest Muppets movie, the first in a decade. A separate Muppets TV series is also being made in the US. Fry appeared in a non-broadcast version of the BBC1 show but it is not known whether Baker was involved.

A clip from Matt LeBlanc series Episodes has reportedly 'gone viral' in Israel after a mistranslated gravestone suggested that a deceased character was 'pickled.' Episode three of the BBC2 production's second series featured Jewish TV boss Merc Lapidus (played by John Pankow) at the funeral of his father. However, viewers in the Middle Eastern country noticed that the previously-unseen character's headstone was shown to have a Hebrew transcription written backwards that when translated into English reads 'pickled at great expense.' The team behind the programme were apparently trying to write 'dearly missed,' according to the Gruniad Morning Star. Israel is one of the one hundred and fifty countries that Episodes, which also stars Tamsin Greig and Stephen Mangan, has been sold to.

Downing Street has, according to the Gruniad ordered ministers to refrain from commenting in detail about the Leveson inquiry after deciding that a 'running commentary' would be 'unhelpful.' The prime minister's spokeswoman said that ministers would await the outcome of the report after Lord Justice Leveson complained to the cabinet secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, following an intervention by rat-faced loathsome wretched odious nasty slavver-merchant and George Formby lookalike Michael Gove. Leveson was said to be 'furious' after the education secretary, a former senior journalist on The Times and the chief brown-nosed-and-tongued cheerleader for billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch, said in a speech in February that the inquiry was 'having a chilling effect on freedom of speech.' It's not having a chilling effect on this blogger's freedom of speech to opine that rat-faced nasty slavver-merchant and George Formby lookalike Michael Gove is loathsome wretched and odious, it should be noted and nor will it. See, democracy in action, pal. And all within the boundaries of the law as it current stands. Which is how it should be. The judge was understood to be concerned that Gove, whose remarks were allegedly 'studied with sympathy' in Downing Street according to the Gruniad, was attempting to undermine his inquiry. Downing Street indicated that ministers would now 'tread with greater care.' The prime minister's spokeswoman said: 'It is certainly the case that it would be unhelpful for the government to be providing a running commentary on the Leveson inquiry when the prime minister has set the inquiry up to look at the relationship between politicians and the media. We look forward to the outcome of his findings.' The remarks by the prime minister's spokeswoman do not mark a rebuke of Gove because Cameron, the Gruniad claims, has some sympathy for his view. The prime minister did not reject Gove's remarks out of hand when he was asked about them by Robert Jay, counsel for the inquiry, when he appeared last week. The prime minister said: 'We have a slightly different view. Michael comes from a print press background. He was news editor of The Times. I think he's right to make the point there is a danger if we don't get this right, that you could have a chilling effect. We don't want that. But we all put our points in our own way.'

The excellent Kevin Eldon has landed his own BBC2 sketch show It's Kevin with Kevin Eldon, to be broadcast next year. The fifty one-year-old actor, best known for featuring in several comedy shows in the 1990s, the movie Hot Fuzz and his work with Bill Bailey is writing and starring in six thirty-minute episodes of the format, which will contain songs and special guests. It's Kevin will be produced by the BBC in-house comedy team behind the BAFTA-winning Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle, in which he has appeared for sketches. Cheryl Taylor, controller of comedy commissioning, said: 'Kevin Eldon is a very special comedian indeed and we're delighted to have the opportunity to showcase his many talents on BBC2.' Kevin said: 'I have always liked chaffinches. The money I may receive from this show may well allow me buy more pictures of chaffinches.' Kevin collaborated with Chris Morris in Brass Eye, Jam and the movie Four Lions, Lee and Richard Herring in Fist of Fun, and also played laughing racist Mike Sampson in the first series of I'm Alan Partridge. It's Kevin with Kevin Eldon, to be screened in early 2013, will be produced by Richard Webb.

ITV thoroughly wretched new alleged comedy show You Cannot Be Serious! has tumbled to a new audience low of under two million overnight viewers. Which, anyone who's watched it, will understand. The Alistair McGowan-fronted clip show, which began with a pretty meagre 2.2m punters a fortnight ago, was watched by just 1.74m at 7pm and an additional one hundred and forty thousand desperate crushed victims of society on ITV+1 on Saturday night. With Harry Hill an executive producer, the format has been touted as a long-term successor for TV Burp, which ended in March. Unfortunately, it's crap and nobody's watching it. The long-delayed fifth series of Primeval was broadcast in the 6pm hour, bringing in 2.55m and an additional three hundred and ninety four thousand on timeshift. The batch of episodes has already be shown on Watch last year. Repeats of You've Been Framed and Agatha Christie's Poirot mustered 2.27m at 7.30pm and 2.06m respectively. Over on BBC1, Czech Republic versus Poland scored 5.72m as Euro 2012 reached its second weekend. Pointless Celebrities (3.47m) and a repeat of Mrs Brown's Boys (3.5m) were shown either side of the football. Highlights of the Queen's Birthday Parade from the military in Trooping the Colour gave BBC2 its best rating of 2.56m between 6.30pm and 8pm. A second screening of the 2011 drama The Young Victoria logged 1.78m. Overall, BBC1 led primetime with twenty five per cent of the audience share, while BBC2 finished ahead of ITV with 8.6 per cent versus 8.3 per cent. BBC3 and BBCHD's Euro 2012 live game between Greece and Russia netted a combined audience of just over one million viewers - and was the most-watched multichannel broadcast of the night.

A new Saudi Arabian version of the Britain's Got Talent TV format has been launched, which reportedly bans women from taking part. Buraidah's Got Talent contestants are also not allowed to sing or dance, with men only able to show off their skills in religious chanting, poetry or sporting prowess in relation to the Koran and Allah. Can we have that over here, it sounds great? The 'official' spin-off Arabs Got Talent - patronising title notwithstanding - is seen by millions in the Middle East, and is broadcast on the Dubai-based TV channel MBC4. The Buraidah version is held in an outside arena, with a poet and TV producer serving as judges, according to the Sun. The show is reportedly organised by the strict Wahhabism branch of the Islam religion. Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads is said to have been 'unaware' of the new spin-off. A spokesperson said: 'This programme has nothing to do with Syco or Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads.' Well, except that, presumably, since they own the international rights to it, they're getting paid something. The Got Talent franchise has been sold to thirty nine countries around the globe since the pilot of Britain's Got Talent was made in 2005.

The eleven date tour for The Voice Live has been cancelled due to a lack of interest. The gigs were due to feature eight of the show's finalists. The Voice Live tour was to begin at the Bournemouth International Centre on 12 September and was then due to visit venues in Cardiff, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, London, Glasgow and Sheffield. Organisers say fans with tickets for the cancelled dates can get a refund. A number of ticket outlets had cited five dates as being axed earlier today, but organisers have confirmed that none of the scheduled dates will be going ahead.

The actor and singer Brian Hibbard has died at the age of sixty five. He became famous as the lead singer of the chart-topping a-cappella group The Flying Pickets but moved into acting. He had parts in the films Twin Town and Rancid Aluminium and appeared in Emmerdale, Coronation Street, EastEnders, Doctor Who and the Welsh language soap Pobl Y Cwm. Hibbard was born in Ebbw Vale. His agents confirmed his death but gave no more details. Brian came to prominence after forming The Flying Pickets with a group of other actors who used to sing in a coach on the way to appearances. Their hit, a cover of Yazoo's 'Only You', took them to number one in the charts in December 1983.

Yer actual Paul Weller has released a cover of The Beatles' Birthday as a seventieth birthday tribute to its author, Sir Paul McCartney. The former Jam and Style Council frontman said that he wanted to do something to mark the occasion because the ex-Beatle had been 'an immense and enduring inspiration.' The song - originally from The Beatles' White Album - will only be available to download in the UK and Ireland on Monday - Sir Paul's birthday. Proceeds from the song will go to the War Child charity. Speaking about the release on his website, Weller said that he had recorded the song in twenty four hours at his Black Barn studios in Surrey. The fifty four-year-old said that he wanted to mark Sir Paul's birthday because 'it was him and his three friends that made me want to pick up a guitar in the first place. I saw him play live recently and he inspired me just as much as ever,' Weller continued. 'He was brilliant. I just hope he likes our little version, a token of my and the band's love for him and his music. Rock on Macca.' Sir Paul and Ringo Starr performed the song together on stage in New York for Starr's seventieth birthday in 2010.

Danny Boyle's playlist for the opening ceremony to the London 2012 Olympic Games has reportedly been leaked. I say 'reportedly' because, like the Buraidah's Got Talent story above, this originated in the Sun so there's a pretty fair to evens chance that this is a load of old cock. The list of eighty six songs was apparently revealed to be included in the director's planned event to open the games next month. The Sex Pistols, Dizzee Rascal, The Jam, Oasis, The Who, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, The Specials, New Order, Underworld and The Beatles are just some of the artists used to celebrate the best of British music. Terrific. Mind you, it's not all good news. There's also Queen and Mike Oldfield. Those'll be useful moments to go and make a cup of tea, I'd've thought. The pop and rock will be joined by classical music and hymns, iconic radio broadcasts like The Shipping Forecast as well as the themes to TV shows such as EastEnders, Coronation Street and Doctor Who. The leak reportedly came from a 'music industry source', while an Olympics spokesman would not confirm the accuracy of the list, according to the Sun. Boyle's 'countryside' themed opening ceremony model was unveiled to the public last week. The fifty-minute pre-show starts July 27 at 8.12pm and the ceremony kicks off properly at 9pm with the ringing of a massive bell. Sir Paul McCartney will also perform during the closing section of the opening ceremony.

They always seem to do it the hard way. Italy earned themselves the victory they needed against an already eliminated Republic of Ireland side to go through to the last eight of Euro 2012 on a hot and steamy night in Poznan. Ireland started with purpose pressing the Italians high up the pitch and, for most of the first half, Giovanni Trapattoni's team played far better than they had in their previous two games put together. But, they went behind when Antonio Cassano headed in a near post Andrea Pirlo exquisite corner. An equaliser would have knocked Italy out and their keeper Gianluigi Buffon smartly saved a Keith Andrews strike. Andrews was later sent off for a second booking - getting himself in, if you will, a right paddy and kicking the ball away after his dismissal before storming off down the tunnel looking cross. Soon afterwards Mario Balotelli provided the touch of class that the game had lacked, volleying in over his shoulder from a corner to settle the tie in Italy's favour.

It's the oldest joke in football 'Jesus Saves, but [insert own team's striker] got the rebound.' Or, there was the time last year when somebody knocked on yer actual Keith Telly Topping's door and asked 'what would you do if Jesus came to Newcastle?' Yer actual Keith Telly Topping thought about this for a moment and then said, 'move Papiss Cissé to the right wing and play 4-3-3.' Anyway, roll out them all out for another round tonight as, when Spain needed a goal, they sent for Jesus. Jesús Navas scored the dramatic late winner as Spain produced a nervy and unconvincing performance to qualify for the quarter-finals of Euro 2012. The Seville winger prodded in Andrés Iniesta's clever pass three minutes from time to break Croatia hearts and ensure the champions top Group C. Spain had been within a goal of leaving the tournament but ultimately it was Croatia who were left to book the plane tickets back to Zagreb. The world champions could now play England, France or Ukraine in the last eight.

Netherlands coach - unless he gets sacked between me writing this and you reading it, dear blog reader - Bert van Marwijk refused to answer questions about his future after the nation's vastly disappointing Euro 2012 group stage exit. Tipped as one of the pre-tournament favourites, the Dutch crashed out as a 2-1 loss against Portugal condemned them to a third straight Group B defeat. 'You can ask me all types of questions, but not about my future,' the former Feyenoord boss said. However, the sixty-year-old took full responsibility for the Portuguese loss. The beaten 2010 World Cup finalists knew they needed to beat Paulo Bento's side to stand any chance of reaching the last eight. A surprise opening 1-0 defeat by Denmark, followed by bitter rivals Germany's 2-1 success over them in the second round of group games, left Van Marwijk's side facing an uphill battle to qualify for the knockout phase. He responded by naming attacking pair Rafael van der Vaart and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar alongside Robin van Persie in his starting eleven for the Kharkiv clash in an apparently bold attacking move. Van der Vaart's early curling strike gave the Dutch a glimmer of hope before Portugal skipper and cheating little shit Cristiano Ronaldo's brilliant double broke the Dutchie's spirit. 'We knew we had to win by a two-goal margin so we had to take that risk and go forward,' said Van Marwijk. 'Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I think we started quite well today and we scored after about ten minutes. But you saw that when we concede a goal, the uncertainty remains. If we'd scored a second, we might have been more sure of ourselves, but we didn't take our chances. We're just disappointed. It wasn't a good game at all today. I'm responsible for that and I'm disappointed.' Stottingtot Hotshots' Van der Vaart candidly admitted his team had failed in Poland and Ukraine. 'We lost three times. We were bad and we don't deserve to go through,' he said. 'We started quite well but we were playing against one of the better teams today.'

Denmark's Nicklas Bendtner has been banned for one match and fined one hundred thousand euros by UEFA for his goal celebration against Portugal. He lowered his shorts to reveal the logo of a certain betting company - one that has a name which rhymes with Daddy Glower, just in case you were wondering - on his underpants after scoring the second of his two goals in the 3-2 defeat. 'This suspension applies to the next 2014 FIFA World Cup match for which Bendtner is eligible,' said UEFA. Bendtner has three days in which to appeal. Denmark play the Czech Republic in their first World Cup qualifying game in September. After the Portugal game on 13 June, the Arse striker said: 'It is just a pair of lucky boxer shorts that I used in the first game as well and have used before the tournament. I didn't know I was breaking any rules but I am aware of that now.' That's his excuse and he's sticking to it.

BBC commentator Simon Brotherton made a right arse of himself and was the subject of a Twitter trend on Monday night. During the Spain versus Croatia match which was covered on BBC1, the broadcaster repeatedly mistook Spain's David Silva for David Villa. Although - like all these Johnny Foreigners - their names are similar, Barcelona winger Villa is not currently in the Spanish squad due to injury. Manchester City's nippy little midfielder Silva, however, very much is. Brotherton made the error on several occasions throughout the first half of the match on BBC1, something which even yer actual Keith Telly Topping noticed. He, however, didn't rush onto the Internet to crow about spotting such a discombobulation. (Well, until now, anyway.) Unlike many other people who, seemingly, couldn't bleeding wait to tweet about the mistake and how clever they were compared to poor old Simon and his idiot ways. Take, for instance, the football feed OptaJoke who said: 'According to the BBC, David Villa will create another seven chances during this match. Absent.' Heh. Actually, that is quite funny, to be fair. FourFourTom (not his real name, one presumes, cos if it is, he really wants to have a word with his parents) added: 'Dear commentator, stop calling David Silva "David Villa". They're not the same person. Feel free to call Xabi Alonso "Ewan McGregor" though.' Hah. Yeah, okay, that's quite funny as well. Match of the Day host Gary Lineker (and his lovely teeth) later played down the errors, tweeting during the live show: 'Calm down everyone. Silva/Villa mix up passed on.' And Simon - normally a very good commentator, it should be noted - will, presumably, be, ahem, 'passed over' for any chance of commentating on the final. Hopefully he'll learn from his mistake and, when he's covering Aston Villa in the premiership next year, won't refer to them as Aston Silva.

Premier and Football League clubs will no longer carry advertising for the high-cost lender Wonga on their websites. The move follows a campaign by football fans, led by Northampton Town supporter Bob Ward, calling on clubs to stop carrying adverts for the lender, which charges four thousand two hundred and fourteen per cent APR for short-term online loans. More than eighty sides use a website platform carrying advertising negotiated by the league through an Internet subsidiary - last season this advertising included promotion of Wonga's loans. But a league spokesman said: 'The Football League's website advertising agreement with Wonga.com concluded at the end of the 2011-12 football season. It is not currently envisaged that this agreement will be extended.' He said the short-term deal had run from December 2011. Wonga is the highest profile of about two hundred so-called 'payday' loans firms which are the subject of an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading. High cost – or payday – lenders have attracted criticism from MPs and consumer groups for targeting low-income customers who often end up rolling over their borrowing and accruing huge charges. In March supporters from eighteen different clubs wrote an open letter to the Gruniad, calling on their sides to stop carrying Wonga advertising. Ward and Scunthorpe United supporter John Flanagan also tabled a motion to be debated at the Football Supporters Federation AGM in July 2012, asking the League and the FLi not to renew the website contract with Wonga until the payday loans industry was subject to strict controls and a cap on interest rates. Labour MP Stella Creasy, a fierce campaigner against high cost lenders which she describes as 'legal loan sharks,' called for people to join the FSF so they could vote at the AGM and 'show Wonga the red card.' Ward welcomed the announcement, saying: 'Some twelve per cent of the FLi website's demographic is under eighteen – that means one person in eight being exposed to these revolting adverts is not even an adult. The Football League and Wonga may say this is strictly a business decision but I can't help thinking that in some small way the campaign is responsible for this.' A spokesperson for Wonga said: 'We had a small advertising deal with the Football League which ended at the end of the 2011-2012 football season. We will continue to assess all opportunities and sponsorship deals for next season.' It is understood that Wonga was 'disappointed' with the new business generated by the FLi website advertising. Credit card provider Capital One, which recently announced its , is expected to start advertising through the FLi website platform in July, although the Football League and Capital One refused to confirm this. It is not the first time one of Wonga's advertising deals has ended following criticism. In January 2011 Transport for London excluded Wonga and other high cost lenders from its sponsorship deals following bad publicity of Wonga's sponsorship of free travel on New Year's Eve 2010. Wonga is a prolific advertiser on TV (featuring some gormless fat buffoon bellowing 'WONGA!' a great deal), radio and on London buses: it also sponsors two football clubs Blackpool and Heart of Midlothian and says it is 'committed to continuing these relationships.' This means it is unlikely to be the last that Wonga hears of Ward and his fellow supporters. 'There is still a payday lender involvement with football clubs so the campaign still has legs,' he said.

The woman at the centre of the sexism row involving former Sky Sports pundits Richard Keys has launched a legal action against parent company BSkyB. Louise Glass, the former partner of Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp, filed legal papers at the high court in London on Thursday, seventeen months after Keys and Andy Gray lost their jobs over a series of controversial comments. Glass said in January last year that she planned to sue the broadcaster for breach of privacy and defamation. Keys resigned and his co-host Andy Gray was sacked by Sky in January 2011 after leaked footage appeared on YouTube of them making a series of lewd sexist remarks about women. Keys, now a TalkSport presenter, referred to Glass as 'it' and twice asked the former Liverpool footballer Redknapp whether he had 'smashed it.' In the leaked footage, a conversation begins with someone off camera mentioning a former girlfriend of Redknapp called Louise. Keys asks Redknapp whether he 'smashed it' and the former player replies that he 'used to go out with her.' Although Sky Sports did not originally broadcast the footage, BSkyB-owned Sky News replayed the comments after they appeared on YouTube. Glass told the Sunday Mirra in January last year that the remarks made her feel 'awful. Richard Keys spoke of me like I was some old whore, like I was nothing. I'm not a prude, I've got a sense of humour, but the level of aggression in there was awful,' she said. 'I wasn't even a whore. I was an "it." My life has turned upside down and now I'm paying the price for their slapstick.' She added: 'I just feel that if so many people are talking about me I should tell them I'm not an "it", that it's not "banter", it's very detrimental to my character and whoever leaked that should be punished.' Keys has maintained a relatively low profile since joining TalkSport just two weeks after the Sky Sports sexism row, although he and Gray picked up a Sony award for best sports programme for their radio show last month. He apologised at the time for what he described as 'prehistoric banter.'

Curry houses in Birmingham are applying for the city's famous Balti dish to be given protected EU status. If the application is successful, the name 'Birmingham Balti' would be given EU protected name status. ADAS, the agency which helps in the application process, said it would be a big advantage for the city's so-called 'Balti Triangle' district and 'pin down' its recipe and cooking method. The application by Birmingham Balti Association is being consulted on. Under the twelve-week UK consultation, which ends in September, interested parties will be able to comment or object to the application. The association wants to make Birmingham Balti a Traditional Speciality Guaranteed product, which means only curries conforming to a precise specification can use the name. It includes the meal being served in the Balti dish in which it is cooked and fresh spices and vegetable oil being used. Irene Bocchetta, EU protected food names manager at ADAS, said it was unusual to have a place name included in a TSG application. 'But people know the Balti is from Birmingham,' she said. 'It is a reputation that has been built up over years.' If there are no objections to the Birmingham Balti plan, it will go before DEFRA which will decide whether to forward it to the European Commission. Forty-eight UK products have been given various protected statuses under the EU food scheme, including Stilton Blue and Bonchester cheese, Cornish pasties, Cumberland sausage and Melton Mowbray pork pies.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, here's Mr Lydon proving, as if any proof were needed (and despite a few butter adverts), that some people grow old disgracefully. And thank God for that. Tell 'em all about it, Johnny.

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