Saturday, June 30, 2012

Week Twenty Eight: I Forgive You, Boy, But Don't Leave Town

The final three episodes of the next - J - series of Qi were recorded earlier in the week. Tuesday saw the filming of the Christmas episode - Jingle Bells - featuring Sarah Millican, Phill Jupitas and, in his first appearance since his recent health scare, the legend that is Danny Baker. On the following day the final two episodes of the series were taped. Justice will feature a very welcome return for Professor Brian Cox (so good on the episode of last year's series in which he appeared) together with Jason Manford and debutant the New Zealand comedian Rhys Darby. And, finally, Jam, Jelly and Jugs of Juice - no jokes please - will include guest appearances by Jo Brand, Sue Perkins and Liza Tarbuck, the show's first ever all female guest cast. As ever, all episodes will also feature yer actual Alan Davies and are hosted in his usual charming and erudite fashion by yer actual Stephen Fry. The series of sixteen episodes will be shown in the autumn.

The Doctor takes the time to check out a mystery box he's discovered reports the Sun. The time-travelling science-fiction hero, played by Matt Smith, was filming scenes on location for the new series of the long-running popular family SF drama. Acting out a scene from what is believed to be an episode entitled Cubed, the actor clutches a mystery box and tries to have a further peek using a magnifying glass. Earlier this week it was revealed that renowned film, stage and television actor David Warner will guest-star in Doctor Who in its seventh season. As yet details about his part have not been revealed though he will appear in an episode which will be broadcast next year. Several more guest stars for the next series of Doctor Who have also been revealed. Appearing in the same episode as Warner will be Liam Cunningham. The actor plays Ser Davos Seaworth on HBO's fantasy drama Game of Thrones and last year he was part of the cast of BBC1's ill-fated SF fiasco Outcasts. Meanwhile Jessica Raine and Dougray Scott will appear in the episode penned by Luther's Neil Cross. Dougray Scott has a wide variety of roles behind him such as appearances in Desperate Housewives, Day of the Triffids, Deep Impact, Mission Impossible 2 and Solider Solider. Jessica Raine will be best known for her role of nurse Jenny Lee in BBC1's smash hit Call the Midwife. The three join other stars confirmed for the seventh season such as Adrian Scarborough, Mark Williams, Rupert Graves, David Bradley, Steven Berkoff and Ben Browder.

There will not be a new series of Top Gear until 2013. It has been confirmed by Jeremy Clarkson that the hit BBC2 motoring show will not return to the nation's screens until next year due to 'boring reasons.' Which, doubtless, will be news to be celebrated by various hippie Communist lice at the Gruniad Morning Star and jack-booted bully-boy thugs with an agenda at the Daily Scum Mail. The presenter took to his Twitter account, saying: 'Pay attention.' Yep, sounds like Clarkson. 'There will be no Top Gear until next year. Boring reasons.' Jezza's latest comments follow his previous tweets in suggesting that it would be 'a while' before the trio of presenters – including colleagues Richard Hammond and James May – would return with a new series of the show. Back in May Clarkson outlined, again via Twitter that, 'there's a rumour in Internetland that there will be no more Top Gear this year. I'm afraid that apart from an Christmas Special, it's true.' In his usual pithy style Jezza suggested rival TV programmes were the reason for Top Gear's postponed return, adding: 'Would love to be back in the Autumn but Sunday nights will be full of fat people singing.' In a battle to keep ratings for the long-running program high, the BBC may have decided to move the show from its traditional autumn slot to January. Still, one images that the break will be welcomed by some of the team.
And so to yer actual Top Telly Tips:
Friday 6 July
Phil Mitchell must be utterly sick of people losing the plot around him in EastEnders - BBC1 8:00. First his son Ben got somewhat carried away with a photo frame round at Heather's and done a bit of murderin'. Now, his sangria-soaked girlfriend Shirley is singing from the top of the public toilets at the local barbecue. Not a pretty sight at the best of times. This spectacle should at least shift the gaze away from Kat, who agrees to meet her secret lover in an alleyway. No jokes about 'taking it up the back passage', please. The smart money is on Jack being her mystery geezer, but there's always the fear that Derek is the one getting his wicked way with her. Kat tries to soothe her guilty conscience by working to fix her relationship with poor old Alfie. Janine, meanwhile, is furious - as per usual - this time to discover that Michael has given the baby a different name without her consent. Derek, meanwhile, makes another attempt to bond with Joey and Shirley is overwhelmed by grief - until she receives support from an unlikely source.

The Popes press ahead with plans to return to West London in Parents - 9:00 Sky1. Nick tries to convince Len (the brilliant Tom Conti) to let him convert his shed into a home office for his energy drink business, and Jenny (Sally Phillips) applies for a job in a coffee shop.
While there, she bumps into an old flame, abattoir owner Kelvin Mann. Guest starring The Fast Show's John Thomson.

Patience and tempers are stretched to the limit as the six drivers continue their missions on Bolivia's so-called 'Death Road' in Ice Road Truckers: Deadliest Roads - 8:00 Channel Five. Dave Redmon and Lisa Kelly deal with a malfunctioning truck and have a race on their hands to get their load delivered on time. Hugh Rowland and Rick Yemm battle both the language barrier and muddy conditions, while Tim Zickuhr and Tino Rodriguez's inexperience shows itself on the treacherous cliffside paths. At the end of another challenging day, two of the truckers decide enough is enough and quit.

Saturday 7 July
Always assuming that the effing tennis hasn't over run yet again, The Hollow Crown continues - 9:00 BBC2 - with an adaptation of Henry IV Part 1. King Henry is having an uneasy reign, troubled by guilt over the way he acquired the crown from his cousin, Richard II, and constantly defied by his son and heir Prince Hal, the Duke of Lancaster who spends most of his time carousing in Mistress Quickly's tavern with the cowardly knight Sir John Falstaff and his ne'er-do-well companions. However, when the prince's rival, Harry Hotspur the son of the Lord Percy the Duke of Northumberland, leads a rebellion against the king, the time comes for him to step up to the mark and join his father in battle. Jeremy Irons stars in the second of this cycle of Shakespeare history plays, with Tom Hiddleston, Simon Russell Beale, Julie Walters, Alun and Joe Armstrong (cunning cast as father and son, Northumberland and Hotspur), Tom Georgson, Michelle Dockery, Robert Pugh and Maxine Peake. Lavish.

Waste-of-space horrorshow, arse (and well-known drag) Amanda Holden is the host as Andrew Lloyd Webber launches a new risible talent search to find a singer and actor to play the title role in a forthcoming arena tour of Jesus Christ Superstar. If Superstar - 7:25 ITV - if it's even a quarter as deranged and ludicrous as yer actual Lordship's last BBC effort, the criminally awful Over the Rainbow, this is likely to be the sort of thing that even genuine lovers of musical theatre will avoid like the plague. His obnoxious, full-of-his-own-importance sirship, having left behind his Shoetree of Despair with the stinking, sweaty ruby slippers thereupon, is helped by some judges. There's former soap actor and star of Iceland adverts Jason Donovan and Melanie C (the 'plain looking but reasonably talented' one from The Spice Girls), who will be playing Mary Magdalene in the show, which also stars Tim Minchin and Chris Moyles, as Judas and Herod respectively. Christ almighty. Forgive then, Lord, they know not what they do. The process begins with the audition tour, where Andrew meets the early hopefuls, before the top one hundred face the panel.

Jonathan Ross, Denise Van Outen and Anthony Cotton are the guests joining team captains Rufus Hound and Rhys Darby for Mad Mad World 10:10 ITV. Let dread fill your hasty hearts, dear blog reader when yer actual Keith Telly Topping informs you that this is a comedy quiz based on news, events and TV clips from around the world. So, You Have Been Watching, in other words. Only, without Charlie Brooker to make sure it's funny. Is there nobody at ITV who has a single original thought in their heads? No, stupid question. I'm sorry, I don't know why I asked that, really. But, it gets worse. Paddy McGuinness asks the questions and tries to keep order. So, not only is this thing hugely derivative of half-a-dozen other quiz show formats, but it's also presented by a hyperactive plank. Like the pasties he advertises for Gregg's, one imagines that - due to tax purposes - this will be lukewarm. In fact, you would probably have to be mad to watch it.

Sunday 8 July The recently knighted Kenneth Branagh returns to his BAFTA-winning role as the eponymous star of Wallander - 9:00 BBC1 - the story of a Swedish detective in three new adaptations of stories by Henning Mankell. In this, Wallander moves into a new home with his girlfriend, only for the couple's dreams of domestic bliss to be rudely shattered when they discover a skeleton in the garden. As you do. Wallander must find the killer if he has any hopes of getting his life settled again - and is surprised to discover the body was buried more recently than he first thought. Saskia Reeves and Sarah Smart co-star.

Celebrities undertake some of the most perilous journeys in the world in World's Most Dangerous Roads - 9:00 BBC2. Why they should do this, no one knows. Maybe it's just a case of egos so desperate to get their boat-races on telly at any excuse? Who, in all honesty, can say? Anyway, this time at least we have a couple of reasonable funny and affable blokes to accompany. Comedians Ed Byrne and Mock the Week regular Andy Parsons drive along Siberia's M56 Kolyma highway, known as the 'Road of Bones.' Along the way, they brave sub-zero temperatures, traverse icy routes, encounter deserted gulags and meet the locals who inhabit the frozen wilderness, but despite picking up practical tips for survival, the duo feel they are out of their depth.

Dress-maker Thelma Madine, whose elaborate outfits have been seen on Big Fat Gypsy Weddings, wants to expand her business to keep up with demand. To give back to the community that helped make her name, she is hiring a group of inexperienced gypsy and traveller girls, including teenagers Margaret, Kathleen and Rosanne, as trainees as seen in Thelma's Gypsy Girls - 9:00 Channel Four. But it's a big risk, as some have poor literacy and numeracy skills and others cannot even tell the time - so turning up for work could be a challenge in itself. She begins her search with an advert on a social-networking site, and is inundated with requests to work for her. But when thirty turn up on the recruitment day, the younger applicants prove hard to handle.

Monday 9 July
Daniel begins his quest for redemption, desperate to keep his dark secret from Alex in the second episode of Blackout - 9:00 BBC1. But while Detective Bevan questions the integrity of the investigation into Pulis's attack, Ruth begins to piece together the truth - a hunt that leads her dangerously close to the new mayor. Psychological thriller, with Dervla Kirwan, Ewen Bremner, MyAnna Buring and Andrew Scott.

Ben Macintyre brings his best-selling book to the small screen, revealing the true story of five of the double agents who helped to make D-Day such a success in Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies - 9:00 BBC2. As well as being a victory of arms and a tactical coup, the event was also a triumph for espionage, deceit and thinking of the most elaborate kind.

Radio 1 DJ Gemma Cairney investigates how the riots in England last August changed the lives of those involved in Riots: The Aftershock - 9:00 BBC3. Over the course of nine months, cameras follow three people who were arrested, as well as several victims of the disturbances, to find out how their journey through the court process, and in some cases prison system, affected them.
Tuesday 10 July
Arnott is convinced Gates played a part in Jackie's disappearance, so the team use Fleming to set a trap, hoping he will reveal his involvement in covering up the missing woman's crimes in the third episode of Line of Duty - 9:00 BBC2. Crime thriller, starring Lennie James, Martin Compston, Vicky McClure, Neil Morrissey, Adrian Dunbar and Craig Parkinson.

Kate Humble and Iain Stewart visit the site of the 1969 Mauna Ulu eruption in Hawaii, which covered seventeen square miles of rainforest in lava in the second nightly episode of Volcano Live - 8:00 BBC2. Environmental scientist Hugh Tuffen talks about his expedition to watch the Puyehue volcano in Chile erupt, and the programme also features a report on how the residents of an Icelandic island managed to save their harbour during a 1973 eruption.
That there Dynamo certainly knows the secret to a good trick: it's the reaction. Like his last series (which was nominated for a National Television Award), the opening episode of series two of Dynamo: Magician Impossible - 9:00 Watch - is punctuated by gasps, nervous giggles and yelps of disbelief. Softly spoken, Dynamo is no Derren Brown-style showman, preferring the street to the stage. On London's West End pavements he shrinks mobile phones; at a poolside in LA he swallows a necklace then pulls it from his midriff; and in his nan's favourite pub in Bradford, he predicts the future. These small feats are his bread and butter, but now and then he does something so dazzlingly weird that the gasps become howls of wonder (and, the occasional cry of 'burn the witch!'). Staunch sceptics will find themselves joining in. In this episode, the magician visits the World Poker Tour in Venice and reveals how fame has changed his life in the past six months.

Wednesday 11 July
Former The Apprentice colleagues Nick Hewer and Margaret Mountford reunite to present a two-part experiment testing how well old age pensioners can cope in the modern workplace in The Town That Never Retired - 9:00 BBC1. They pluck fourteen people out of retirement in Preston and send them back to full-time work at a building site, a chocolate factory, a restaurant, a health clinic and an estate agent's. Over the course of the week, the employers cut the older workers no slack, while most of the pensioners seem stuck in the past, with their outdated knowledge and antiquated tools. But some undergo personal transformations as they embrace new techniques and the cut-and-thrust of the workplace. At the end, the bosses decide whether to keep any of them on for a second week, or send them back into retirement. Concludes tomorrow. Part of the When I'm Sixty Five season.

In the latest episode of NCIS - 9:00 Channel Five - the team suspects the port-to-port killer has struck again when Tony's former Baltimore PD partner Danny Price is murdered in a manner that fits the criminal's modus operandi. However, a key difference in the way the victim was bound suggests that the crime may have actually been the work of a copycat, forcing the investigators to consider whether Price had any enemies. With, obviously, hilarious consequences.

Twisty-faced Miranda Sawyer chats to Plan B (he's 'a rapper', m'lud) as he finishes his new CD in The Culture Show - 10:00 BBC2. Meanwhile, big quiffed Marky Kermode (so good on this week's Quadrophenia documentary on BBC4) joins action transvestite comedian and national icon yer actual Eddie Izzard in Bexhill-on-Sea, to discuss his sponsoring of a sculpture by artist Richard Wilson that replicates the hair-raising final scene from 1969 film The Italian Job. Choreographer Elizabeth Streb rehearses with her dancers for performances at London landmarks, Tom Dyckhoff tours the capital's Olympic architecture and the programme joins the crowd at a Stonehenge 'fire installation.' Or, 'a bonfire' as normal people who don't read the Gruniad Morning Star call it.

Thursday 12 July The tennis is now finished, dear blog reader, thank God. So at least Mock The Week - 10:00 BBC2 - is hopefully safe this time around. Unless some unexpected volcanic activity causes Volcano Live to go into extra time. Josh Widdicombe and Miles Jupp join Dara O Briain and regular panellists Hugh Dennis, Andy Parsons and Chris Addison for the topical comedy panel show taking a look back at the week's news.

Former Bond girl Maryam d'Abo (Timothy Dalton's bit of Czech stuff in The Living Daylights for those of you who think the series started with Daniel Craig) recounts how she overcame a cerebral haemorrhage in Rupture: Living with My Broken Brain - 10:00 BBC4. She hears to the stories of survivors of vascular brain diseases, including Robert McCrum, Pat Martino, and Quincy Jones. The actress talks to leading experts in neurology and also explains how it affected her personal and social life as she struggled to recover from an injury that could have killed her. Part of the Flesh, Blood and Bone: The Amazing Human Body season.

Detective Sergeant Charlie Zailer investigates the murder of a music teacher's husband, and uncovers a twisted saga of thwarted ambition and deadly jealousy in the opening episode of the second series of Case Sensitive - 9:00 ITV. As inquiries proceed, and her relationship with fellow officer DC Simon Waterhouse becomes increasingly fraught, she finds herself taking desperate steps to ensure the case doesn't fall apart completely. Decent, if a bit 'by the numbers' crime drama, starring Olivia Williams and Darren Boyd. Concludes tomorrow.

To the news: Former TV presenter Suzanne Virdee, who quit Midlands Today after eleven years amid claims of a 'poisonous atmosphere', is suing the BBC. Virdee, a long-time co-host with Nick Owen of the popular tea-time news programme, has lodged a claim for an employment tribunal through her lawyers. The former Birmingham Mail reporter originally announced in March that she would not be signing a new five-month BBC contract because of what she called 'circumstances beyond my control.' But the controversy over Virdee's departure intensified after it emerged that she had been unable to fulfil the final two days of her contract amid claims she was ordered to leave early by Cath Hearne, head of regional programmes in the West Midlands. Lawyer Michael Sweeney said: 'I can confirm that a claim has been lodged with Birmingham Employment Tribunal. This is very much to do with the historic problems that have been prevalent in BBC Midlands Today management.' Hearne had been at the centre of an alleged bullying row in September 2010 after the NUJ passed votes of no confidence in her and then acting editor Mark Hayman's management. An independent inquiry later rejected claims of intimidation. Following her departure, Virdee issued a statement, saying she was 'surprised and deeply saddened' by the circumstances of her departure. The National Union of Journalists later issued a statement deploring the BBC's alleged treatment of the presenter. 'This chapel deeply regrets the fact the BBC could not reach agreement with Suzanne Virdee over the continuation of her contract,' it said. 'We feel we are losing a first-class presenter and a valued colleague. We deplore the way she was treated by the BBC management over a considerable period of time but the decision not to allow her to present the programme and say goodbye after eleven years at Midlands Today is nothing short of disgrace.' A BBC spokeswoman said: 'This is not an area that we would comment upon.'

'Is comment still as free at the Guardian as it was in CP Scott’s day?' asks the Daily Torygraph's Tim Walker in a spectacularly nasty and spitefully worded gossip piece about the Gruniad's resident faceache, Grace Dent. Whom, one is sure, is a very nice person and all that but she does, undeniably, have a virtually permanent look on her face which suggests that she's just smelled some shit nearby. The Gruniad's founding father, Walker notes, 'would doubtless be keen to dispel any notion that Grace Dent has now made good on her threat to get a twenty three-year-old graduate trainee sacked for having the temerity to poke fun at her appearance on Have I Got News For You.' Which, if true, is certainly a bit mean but not, necessarily, unprecedented in the notoriously huffy world of Fleet Street where skins are thin and senses of humour are thinner. 'You'll bear the brunt of your idiocy at 10am tomorrow when you're unemployed — good luck,' Dent, who was at the time working as the Gruniad's television critic, informed one Mufadal Jiwaji on Twitter in April. (Grace left the post later that month. This was her last column.) She also suggested, Walker claims, that she 'had a professional relationship with his employer, Hill & Knowlton, the PR company.' All of this followed comments made by Jiwaji on Twitter after Dent's 'peculiarly unfunny turn on the BBC1 show.' (That's Walker's opinion not, necessarily, one shared by this blogger. Personally, I thought - face-like-she's-just-smelled-shit aside, she was actually pretty funny.) Jiwaji had, apparently 'joshed' (again, Walker's phrase, which would seem to prove that the Gruniad aren't alone in hiring rubbish journalists) on Twitter that Dent reminded him of a former girlfriend. 'By girlfriend, I mean that time I accidentally made love to an ugly abhorrent horse,' he had added as the punchline. Not a very funny punchline, admittedly but then many well known comedians have made a career out of far less than that. A popular member of the Hill & Knowlton team, according to Walker, Jiwaji was quick to apologise for his 'vulgar and puerile' comment, but - Walker claims - Dent, 'who made her name by making often obscene and personal comments about others, was not placated.' When contacted by the Torygraph Jiwaji declined to comment, though he had recently tweeted: 'Woke up this morning unfettered by the constraints of employer Twitter censorship.' A spokesman for Hill & Knowlton confirmed to Walker that he had left the company, but insisted it was 'unconnected to Dent.'

There will be no Scottish or Northern Irish players in the men's British Olympic football squad when it is announced on Monday. BBC Scotland claims to have learned that manager Stuart Pearce will list eighteen players from England and Wales. Fifteen of the squad must be under twenty three, with Ryan Giggs, Craig Bellamy and Micah Richards the three permitted overage players. None of the England players at Euro 2012 were considered for the squad. Four reserve players will also be put on stand-by, should anyone withdraw from the squad. There were Scots, including Steven Fletcher and Barry Bannan, on Pearce's shortlist of thirty five players. The Scottish Football Association, along with their Northern Irish and Welsh counterparts, have taken no direct involvement with Team GB and have made it clear they do not want their players involved for fear of risking their countries' separate identities in world football. But they cannot block any players from participating if they wish to do so. The women's football squad was named earlier this week, with Scottish duo Ifeoma Dieke and Kim Little the only non-English players selected. The men's Team GB were drawn in Group A at London 2012 alongside Senegal, Uruguay and United Arab Emirates. They begin their Olympic campaign against Senegal at Old Trafford on 26 July before facing the United Arab Emirates at Wembley on 29 July, and Uruguay at the Millennium Stadium on 1 August.

Comedian Mad Frankie Boyle has strongly defended his tax arrangements after he became the latest personality to have his tax arrangements put under the spotlight. In a curiously mean-spirited piece full of innuendo but little in the way of hard facts the Daily Scum Mail (of course) alleged that Frankie 'could' have avoided paying nearly nine hundred grand in tax last year. Boyle said on Twitter that he had paid £2.7m in tax since 2007, which amounted to just under forty per cent of his income. He added that he was 'certain' he paid more tax than most people in showbusiness and, indeed, in the cabinet. The Daily Scum Mail claimed the tax 'could' have saved when he put his production company into voluntary liquidation. The newspaper alleged that Boyle, who recently mocked Jimmy Carr after Carr's recent tax malarkey, 'might' also have been the beneficiary of legal accountancy methods to save tax on the millions of pounds he has earned through TV shows, tours, DVDs and book sales. You'll notice, dear blog reader, there's plenty of 'could's and 'might's here but remarkably few 'did's. By closing Traskor Productions Limited, of which he was sole director and shareholder, the paper said Boyle 'might' (there's another one) have been able to pay a tax rate of ten per cent, rather than fifty per cent if he had taken money out as dividends or income. This is because he 'could' have been entitled to 'entrepreneur' tax relief, saving him over eight hundred and eighty thousand smackers. On Twitter Boyle wrote: 'From 2007 I have paid £2.7m in tax and this equates to just under forty per cent of my income. There's a lot of things people do to avoid paying tax and I don't do any of them. I wound my company up for legal reasons separate from tax and my accountant applied for tax relief on this. This tax relief is approximately half of the tax saving the Mail quoted in its article today. I am certain I pay more tax than most people in showbusiness and the cabinet.'

President Barack Obama has been voted 'better at handling an alien attack' than Republican presidential opponent Mitt Romney. A National Geographic poll found that sixty five per cent of Americans surveyed and who expressed a preference believed that President Obama would be 'more equipped' to deal with such an hypothetical attack. The TV channel's survey asked one thousand one hundred and fourteen glakes, sorry, Americans questions about all-things alien ahead of its show Chasing UFOs. Sixty eight per cent of women and sixty one per cent of men said that they thought Obama would cope with an alien onslaught better than Romney.

A new by-law has banned people from swimming in the River Thames without prior permission from the Port of London Authority. The PLA has grown concerned by an upsurge in so-called 'wild swimming', made popular by comedian David Walliams' one hundred and forty-mile Sport Relief swim. The authority said that the ban was needed because it had a responsibility for the safety of all river users. The measure is due to come into effect on Sunday. Any person wishing to from that date will need prior written permission to swim anywhere in the Thames between Crossness in east London and Putney Bridge in south-west London. The PLA said it had seen an increased interest in river swimming since Walliams swam the length of the Thames from Lechdale in Gloucestershire to Westminster Bridge last year. But the river is potentially dangerous, with tides, strong currents, and whirlpools. The PLA's chief executive Richard Everett, said there were good reasons for stopping people wading in. He said: 'We have a responsibility not only to the individuals, but also to other river users. There's always a risk that if a boat comes across a swimmer, it has to take evasive action and that puts the people on the boat at risk, as well as other boats.' The law does not apply to people 'undertaking diving activity' or 'engaged in the emergency repair or inspection of vessels or structures.' Journalist Matthew Parris criticised the move. In 2010 he admitted to diving into the Thames in the middle of the night, making his way across, aided by a friend on the opposite bank who held a torchlight. He was criticised at the time, especially as he misjudged the tidal currents and was swept upstream. He said: 'Swimming in the Thames is dangerous, swimming in the sea is dangerous, swimming in any river is dangerous. There are all kinds of dangers and they're dangers that we take into account before we try it.'

The Stone Roses played the first in a series of comeback gigs in Manchester on Friday night. The quartet performed classic songs including 'I Wanna Be Adored', '(Song For My) Sugar Spun Sister', 'Fools Gold', 'Waterfall', 'She Bangs A Drum' and a righteous encore of 'I Am The Resurrection' in front of a crowd of over seventy thousand people, with Ian Brown telling fans: 'As you see, we still got it.' The band announced that they were reforming last year following a bitter split in 1996. Friday's homecoming concert was their first large-scale show in the UK since the fall-out. It marked the start of a three-night stint topping the bill at Heaton Park, which will be followed by a series of festival dates later in the summer. Brown had previously insisted that he would need to be begging on the streets before he would consider a Stone Roses reunion. (He isn't, by the way!) In preparation for the Manchester dates, they performed a secret gig at Warrington's Parr Hall in May. They have also played some small European festival dates. Tickets for the remaining shows this weekend are so sought-after that they have been selling for 'four figure sums.'

Which, inevitably, brings us to Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. And, another one The Roses played in Heaton Park. Tasty.

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