Saturday, June 09, 2012

Week Twenty Five: You Can Feel Them Pulling Me Down To The Rusted Sign

Doctor Who stars Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman have appeared in their first official photo together. Coleman has joined the cast of the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama as The Doctor's new companion, following the departure of Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) and Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill). Smith told BBC Blogs about his new co-star: 'It is going well. Jenna brings a really different energy to the show – one which I think is very interesting.' Further new pictures of the pair are expected to be released in the coming days. Coleman's character name was recently rumoured to have been revealed as Clara although ,personally, yer actual Keith Telly Topping is still hoping for Avocado. The actress completed her second read-through as the new companion earlier this week at the BBC's Roath Lock Studios.
Star of Friday evening's last in the current series of Have I Got News For You was undoubtedly Victoria Coren who - like her fiancé, Davie Mitchell - can be provoked into harsh outbursts of angry logic by the most mildly inoffensive conceits. In this case, it was the BBC's coverage of the jubilee celebrations, guest host Kirsty Young's suggestion (or, rather, one of the Have I Got News For You writing team's suggestion) that fellow BBC panel show Qi was 'tedious' ('it's the only programme the BBC makes that assumes the audience can spell!' spluttered Victoria incandescent with fury) and, best of all, the news that the current European football championships have an alleged psychic pig tipping results.
And so to the next batch of yer actual Top Telly Tips:
Saturday 16 June
There be coverage of one of this evening's Euro 2012 Group A clashes - 7:10 BBC1 with the other game deemed unworthy of a slot on the nation's favourite channel relegated to being shown on BBC3. The games take place at the Municipal Stadium in Wroclaw and the National Stadium in Warsaw, respectively. The Czechs and Poles were drawn alongside each other for the 2010 World Cup qualifiers, a tournament in which neither team progressed. Poland triumphed 2-1 when they hosted the Czechs in Chorzow, but were defeated 2-0 when the reverse fixture took place in Prague. The joint hosts will be attempting to progress to the knockout phase of a major competition for the first time since the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, and the first time ever in a European Championship, having been eliminated at the group stage four years ago in their only previous appearance at the finals. This is the third consecutive European Championship at which Greece and Russia have been drawn together in the group stage, and the Greeks will be seeking to put an end to their poor run against the crack Russians, which has seen them lose both of those encounters. At Euro 2004 they also faced each other in the third and final match of the round-robin format, when a 2-1 victory for Russia could not prevent them from finishing bottom of Group A. The result also did not stop Greece from progressing to the knockout stage after they finished second to Portugal, who they went on to defeat in the final.

In the first of tonight's two episodes of the brilliant (albeit repeated) second series of Spiral - 9:00 BBC4 - Laure continues to close in on Aziz, but has to call in a favour from Judge Roban to hold a suspect. A police stakeout at the estate goes dangerously wrong, and Pierre is faced with a moral dilemma. Meanwhile, Karlsson is embroiled with Szabo's shady clients. Then, Rachid's death causes problems for Karlsson and the police, while Gilou investigates a murder linked to a gay nightclub. Gregory Fitoussi stars. In French.

Tonight also sees another welcome repeat of the first series of Mrs Brown's Boys - 10:30 BBC1 - the comedy, written by and starring Brendan O'Carroll, hated by the Daily Scum Express but loved by the general public. A doting mother-of-six constantly interferes in her children's lives while also running a fruit and veg stall and caring for her aged father-in-law. Agnes Brown tries to solve her son Dermot's relationship problems by giving his girlfriend advice, and Grandad ends up in hospital after Dr Flynn's effort to read his temperature goes awry.

Sunday 17 June
At Euro 2012 there's Portugal v Netherlands (kick-off 7.45pm). Odious, risible greed bucket, breakfast TV flop (and drag) Adrian Chiles presents ITV's odious risible coverage from the Metalist Stadium in Kharkiv, where the teams play their final match in Group B. The only previous fixture to feature these nations at a major finals was a tempestuous affair full of argy-bargy in the last sixteen at the 2006 World Cup, when four players were sent off in a 1-0 victory for the Portuguese. More recently, the Dutch were heavily criticised for their bruising performance in the 2010 World Cup final against Spain, when seven of their starting outfield players earned yellow cards, in addition to John Heitinga being given his marching orders for two bookable offences. This is in contrast to the reputation that normally precedes the Netherlands, famous for what was labelled totaal voetbal under the tutelage of Rinus Michels at the 1974 World Cup and Euro '88, but has been less apparent during Bert van Marwijk's reign in charge. With commentary by Clive Tyldesley and odious, risible Andy Townsend, and analysis by Roy Keane, Roberto Martinez and Patrick Vieira.

Exploring the stories and histories of Britain's beaches. Nicholas Crane searches for leeches in the pebble-pools of Dungeness in Kent, and learns how the area was formed in the last of the current series of Coast - 9:00 BBC2. Meanwhile, Hermione Cockburn takes to the air to view sand art in Jersey, Andy Torbet visits one of the nation's most dangerous beaches, Tessa Dunlop visits a steelworks built on the shore of Port Talbot, and in Aberlady Bay, Nick Hewitt unearths submarines that played a pivotal role in sinking the Tirpitz, one of Hitler's largest battleships.

Tony Robinson, Phil Harding and Alex Langlands explore the Dorset Ridgeway and investigate how the discovery of burial grounds, henges that showcased unexplained rituals and a town built on top of an Iron Age hill fort have made the area one of the richest archaeological sites in the country in a Time Team Special - 5:20 Channel Four. For thousands of years, nomadic tribes roamed freely across Britain. But by 5,000BC they were starting to settle down. One group made their home on a famous landmark in the southwest: the Dorset Ridgeway. Some archaeologists believe the Ridgeway with evidence of one thousand ancient monuments is as important as Stonehenge in understanding the lives of our prehistoric ancestors. The Dorset Ridgeway is today one of the most popular walks in Britain. But few ramblers realise they're walking on a spot where, for thousands of years, people made their homes. Tony, Phil and Alex explore the Ridgeway. The team also explains how recent scientific advances have helped shed light on Britain's prehistoric civilisations.

Monday 18 June
Depending on earlier results it's either Italy versus Republic of Ireland or Croatia versus Spain (kick-off 7.45pm) tonight on BBC1. Coverage of one of the final Group C fixtures, staged at the Municipal Stadium Poznan and Arena Gdansk respectively. Tonight's match featuring the Republic will be billed as Giovanni Trapattoni against the nation of his birth, whom he represented as a player on seventeen occasions and later led as manager from 2000 to 2004. While the vastly experienced head coach of the Republic of Ireland will be the focus of much attention in the build-up to this contest, his attention will be fixed on steering his charges to a victory over the 1968 champions that could prove crucial in their attempt to reach the knockout stage for the first time. Despite never having faced Spain in a competitive fixture before, Croatia will know a stern test lies ahead of them this evening as they tackle a Spanish outfit attempting to become the first country ever to retain the trophy. The group stage presented few problems for the Iberians four years ago, as they defeated Russia, Sweden and 2004 winners Greece, and though they did have to rely on penalties to overcome Italy in a tedious, defensive quarter-finals, a second win over Russia in the semi-finals preceded a deserved 1-0 victory over Germany in the final. Tonight they face a Croatia team that crashed out of the quarter-finals four years ago when losing on penalties to Turkey, whom they recently defeated in the qualification play-offs to book their passage to this summer's tournament. Whichever game isn't on BBC1 can be seen on BBC3.

Eight Out of Ten Cats Uncut - 10:00 Channel Four - is, as the name would suggest, an extended version of the irreverent panel show hosted by Jimmy Carr. Teams captained by Jon Richardson and Sean Lock answer questions based on opinion polls carried out around the country to see who best understands what is going on in Britain today.
Film-maker Kate Blewett investigates the institutional care system in Ukraine, where ten times as many children are in care as in England in Ukraine's Forgotten Children - 9:00 BBC4. Shot over six months in an institute housing one hundred and twenty six disabled and abandoned children, Blewett uncovers evidence that housing children of widely varying abilities is causing more harm than good.

Tuesday 19 June
This is The Big One. England versus Ukraine (kick-off 7.45pm). Unfortunately, ITV had first dibs on this one so breakfast TV flop Adrian Chiles presents coverage of the clash at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk, where the host nations play their third and final match in Group D against yer actual Mighty England. Or, you know, not as the case may be. The fervent home crowd will hope Oleg Blokhin's men can emulate the result of their only previous match against England on home soil, when they triumphed 1-0 in a World Cup qualifier in October 2009. Robert Green, who is expected to be on the bench tonight, became the first England goalkeeper to be sent off when he received his marching orders early on for fouling Artem Milevskiy in the penalty area. Although former Chelsea striker Andriy Shevchenko missed the resulting spot kick, there was little Green's replacement David James could do about Sergiy Nazarenko's deflected shot on twenty nine minutes, which handed Fabio Capello his first loss in a competitive fixture as England manager. Despite that defeat, England can still boast a winning record over tonight's opponents having triumphed in the three contests prior to that, and Roy Hodgson's men will be hoping to add to that tally with a win in this contest. With commentary by Clive Tyldesley and Andy Townsend, and analysis by Roy Keane, Gareth Southgate and Jamie Carragher.

Nick and Morgan witness a speeding car plough into a parked truck, and discover the driver has been shot in the latest episode of CSI - 9:00 Channel Five. The investigators discovers the case could be linked to another shooting, but have trouble figuring out what happened beforehand - so DB calls on a former colleague, blood splatter expert Julie Finlay, for assistance. However, she is far from impressed with the team's work, and has no qualms letting them know about it. Elisabeth Shue joins the regular cast with this episode.

In the first of three programmes in which actors and directors explore the playwright's work, Joely Richardson examines the female characters of Twelfth Night and As You Like It. In Joely Richardson on Shakespeare's Women: Shakespeare Uncovered - 9:00 BBC4 - she delves into Shakespeare's early career, discovering how a personal tragedy may have influenced one of his most famous works and reflecting on how the female roles of the period were written to be performed by boys. She is also joined by her mother, Vanessa Redgrave, to look back at the Royal Shakespeare Company's 1961 production of As You Like It.

When one of his informants is found dead, George Gently (Martin Shaw) suspects the local police aren't telling him the truth and visits an old colleague (Neil Pearson) for help in a repeat of one of the best episodes of Inspector George Gently - 8:30 BBC1. Meanwhile Bacchus (Lee Ingleby) questions a gibbering teenager whose brother has disappeared. Known as the Blackburn lads, they're hooligans who have vandalised a children's home and terrorised one of the autistic teens there. Gently looks into the suspicious death of old friend and informant China, when he is told conflicting reasons for the man's demise by the coroner and the nurse who tended him in his final few hours. The investigation leads him to the local police station, where it becomes clear the officers are hiding something - and to complicate matters, the disappearance of a teenage boy is also linked to the case. Crime drama, with a terrific cast that also includes Dean Lennox Kelly and Mark Benton. Well worth watching if you're not too busy with the football or if you missed it first time around.

Wednesday 20 June
Today, there is no football. But, this cannot be allowed to stand. Anyway, Martha's loyalty is tested as she defends Jody Farr, the man responsible for the death of her former client Brendan Kay in Silk - 9:00 BBC1. However, when she suspects that he is not being given a fair trial, she puts her personal feelings to one side and sets a dangerous trap to uncover the truth. Clive focuses all his efforts on the prosecution in a bid to forget his forthcoming tribunal, while Billy faces an uncertain future - no thanks to dodgy solicitor Micky. Maxine Peake, Rupert Penry-Jones and Neil Stuke star. Last in the current series.

Barrister and historian Harry Potter - no, really - charts the development of the English justice system in The Strange Case of The Law - 9:00 BBC4. He begins by exploring the rise of trial by ordeal, in which painful and dangerous physical tests were used to determine guilt or innocence. He goes on to explain why Henry II's attempt to unify law in England led to the murder of Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket in 1170, and examines one of the most famous legal documents in history - the Magna Carta.

Bodie and Doyle are assigned to protect Cowley's former girlfriend, now a controversial evangelist, from an assassin in The Professionals - 4:55 ITV4 - in one of the single worst episodes of any TV series ever made, Look After Annie. Directed by the great Charles Crichton, this features one of the worst choreographed fight sequences in TV history and some appalling editing and acting. Annie (played by Diana Fairfax), in particular, lacks any hint of the charisma her impact requires. As usual with a Brian Clemens script, the dialogue isn't very good (although it does include the memorable 'Drop everything! Everything - including your pants!') A plank of wood in the shape of Lewis Collins and a curly mop that looks vaguely like Martin Shaw star, if that's the right word. Good theme tune, though.

In the thoroughly uninvolving True Love - 10:45 BBC1 - the drama series continues with the story of Sandra, who no longer has anything in common with her husband now their children have moved out, and has learnt to live with the fact he is having an affair. So, when she receives unexpected attention from a new customer in her shop, making her suddenly feel alive again, she has to decide whether she can give everything up for this new man. Risible silly Jane Horrocks, Charlie Creed-Miles and Alexander Siddig star.

Thursday 21 June
Yay. The footie's back. But, unfortunately, it's on ITV. Adrian Chiles presents coverage of the opening quarter-final between the winners of Group A and the runners-up in Group B, held at the National Stadium in Warsaw (kick-off 7.45pm). The knockout phase of the tournament begins, as the eight teams to finish in the top two positions of their respective groups compete for places in the last four. Portugal and Germany faced each other at this stage four years ago, and one of those teams could well be in action tonight if they finished second in Group B, which also featured Denmark and the Netherlands. Prior to the commencement of the tournament, the Danes were seen as rank outsiders to progress to the quarter-finals, and few pundits could agree on which of the other three teams would occupy the top two positions in what was nicknamed The Group of Death. While Group A may not have whetted the appetite as much as Group B, it was no easier to predict the final outcome before a ball had been kicked, but Poland fans had high hopes of their team topping the table, which would see them compete in tonight's match in the capital.

Having been displaced from its Friday night spot for the last few weeks by the jubilee and football, Would I Like To You returns for the first of its final two episodes of the series in a new slot at 9:30 on BBC1. Team captains David Mitchell and Lee Mack are joined by alleged comedian the odious smug-faced full of his own importance tosspot Jack Whitehall, newsreader Emily Maitlis, actor Jim Carter and writer, producer and director Armando Iannucci to hoodwink their opponents with absurd facts and plausible lies about themselves. Comedy panel show, hosted by Rob Brydon.

The latest in Sky Arts' excellent Playhouse Presents - 8:30 - is Psychobitches. This is a rather fine-looking comedy starring Rebecca Front as a psychiatrist who conducts therapy sessions with some of history's most famous women, including Joan of Arc, Mother Teresa, Beatrix Potter, Judy Garland, Frida Kahlo and Eva Braun. The cast includes Katy Brand, Samantha Spiro, Catherine Tate, Andy Nyman, Sharon Horgan, Sheila Reid and Selina Griffiths. Last in the current series.

And lastly, on a good night for comedy - and I do include ITV's football coverage in that - Carl Donnelly, Jo Caulfield and the great Milton Jones join host Dara O Briain and regular panellists Hugh Dennis, Andy Parsons and Chris Addison for another round of the satirical news quiz Mock The Week - 10:00 BBC2.

Friday 22 June
Obviously, we start with yer actual footie. The BBC has coverage of the second quarter-final (kick-off 7.45pm), between the winners of Group B and the runners-up in Group A, held at the Arena Gdansk in Poland. The victors in this contest will progress to the second of the two semi-finals, in which they will face the winners of the fourth quarter-final. With me so far? Good. While the runners-up in Group A will be delighted to have qualified for the knockout phase, they face arguably their greatest challenge of the tournament so far, having been drawn against the winners of what was considered the most competitive group in the tournament. Neither Austria nor Switzerland could make the most of home advantage when they co-hosted Euro 2008, with both nations exiting in the round-robin stage, but Poland were expected to put up a better show and occupy one of the top two positions this time around. Should the Poles finish top of Group A, either Greece, Russia or the Czech Republic will be in action tonight, and regardless of their performances thus far, they would surely begin as underdogs against Germany, Portugal, Denmark or the Netherlands. Presented by yer actual Gary Lineker (and his lovely teeth). Subsequent programmes are subject to change in the even of extra time, penalties, or whatever else UEFA dream up in the way of entertainment.

In Simon Schama's Shakespeare - 9:00 BBC2 - the historian's message is a relatively simple one, that it was Shakespeare who 'gave us a sense of who we are.' This two-part documentary is about how Shakespeare painted a picture of England in his history plays and in the process didn't just record the nation (absorbing Elizabethan vernacular and street slang onto the stage for the first time), but also helped to actually create it. Being Schama, of course, the presenter makes his case with perfect diction and beautifully lush turns of phrase (he describes Henry VI as 'Kill Bill in tights.') But he also calls on a classy coterie of actors to perform speeches, and in the end they rather steal the show. You can't compete with the wonderful Roger Allam as Falstaff. Simon presents the first of two documentaries tracing Shakespeare's enduring popularity back to his own times, to discuss how he dramatised the world around him. He begins with the history plays, such as Henry IV, in which the Bard created an England where royals and lords shared the stage with pickpockets, squires, prostitutes and ragged soldiers. They all surrounded the memorable character of Sir John Falstaff, the fat knight who transfixed Elizabethan audiences and still moves people today with his English irreverence, generosity and wit. Schama's thoughts are mirrored by performances from actors including Judi Dench, Simon Russell Beale and Harriet Walter.

Ziggy Stardust was only a brief flash of alien light: James Hall's superb David Bowie and the Story of Ziggy Stardust - 9:00 BBC4 - reminds viewers that there was just a year between that performance of 'Starman' on Top of the Pops and Bowie's brutal destruction of his alter ego at the Hammersmith Odeon in July 1973. But forty years later Ziggy is still shining, with weird and gilly, and still inspiring musicians and fans to turn rock music into a wide canvas splashed with strange colour. He took it all too far, but, boy, could he play guitar! Bowie and the late Mick Ronson are about the only absentees as the Spiders and their acolytes recall how Bowie, after years of fickle fame-chasing, found himself by pretending to be someone else. Jarvis Cocker narrates this revealing insight into the singer-songwriter's creation of his glam-rock alter-ego, describing how the Great Dame's hairstyles, fashion sense, stage presentation and LP The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars turned him into a global superstar success. Featuring contributions by Elton John, Marc Almond, Holly Johnson, Peter Hook and Jon Savage.

And, so to the news: The Information Commissioner's Office has launched an investigation following Virgin Atlantic's admission that one of its employees passed private flight details of celebrities to a pictures agency. The airline voluntarily contacted the data protection regulator after it was disclosed in April that travel details of celebrities such as Sienna Miller, Sacha Baron Cohen, Daniel Radcliffe and many others had been passed on to Big Pictures, the agency set up by Celebrity Big Brother contestant Darryn Lyons. Media coverage of the scandal resulted in the Virgin Atlantic employee responsible for the disclosure resigning from the firm. Virgin Atlantic said in a statement issued to the Gruniad Morning Star that it had found no evidence of other employees tipping off paparazzi about the activities of its celebrity customers. 'Following the allegations in the press in April, we voluntarily contacted the Information Commissioner's Office and have fully assisted with their enquiries,' said the firm. 'Our internal investigation found no evidence that this was anything other than an isolated incident relating to a single member of staff who is no longer with the business. We continue to treat the security of customer information extremely seriously and apologise to the passengers affected.' However, the ICO has opted to launch a broader investigation into Virgin Atlantic's information disclosures, in partnership with the Leveson Inquiry into press ethics. In April, Leveson heard from Martin Moore, the co-founder of the Hacked Off campaign, who warned that the leaks raised a 'much bigger question about the trade in personal information which the inquiry has not yet properly examined.' Referring also to the ICO's Operation Motorman files containing evidence of newspapers paying private detectives for information, Moore added: 'Clearly this shows that data mining, blagging and other forms of trade in private information is not historic at all - as we can see from this, a significant trade is continuing.'

Online campaigning group Thirty Eight Degrees has attracted more than thirty five thousand signatures to a petition urging the BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten to appoint a non-politically partisan replacement for Mark Thompson as director general. The online petition, which urges Patten to 'safeguard the independence of the BBC,' was launched after London mayor Boris Johnson's insistence that the next director general must be a Tory. Writing in the Torygraph in May, odious risible hairdo Johnson said he had 'just fought a campaign in which I sometimes felt that my chief opponent was the local BBC news' adding that 'the prevailing view of Beeb newsrooms is, with honourable exceptions, statist, corporatist, defeatist, anti-business, Europhile and, above all, overwhelmingly biased to the left.' Interviews for the job take place next week, with shortlisted candidates including Ed Richards, the Ofcom chief executive, whose suitability for the job has been called into question in various parts of the media because he is a former Labour policy adviser. Internal candidates are understood to include George Entwistle, BBC Vision director, deputy chief operating officer Caroline Thomson, BBC News director Helen Boaden, and Tim Davie, director of audio and music. A blog on the Thirty Eight Degrees website points to the role the campaign group played in helping to save BBC 6Music, which was given a reprieve from closure two years ago. 'We know that Thirty Eight Degrees members can influence the BBC's decisions. Two years ago we helped save 6Music by convincing bosses to drop their plans to close the station. And BBC bosses must be glad we saved the station now – 6Music just won UK radio station of the year at this year's Sony awards,' Becky Jarvis said in the blog. 'The BBC is famous all over the world. People rely on its news reporting. Its programmes are enjoyed in countries thousands of miles away from the UK. The new director general will be in charge of it all. It's vital the right person ends up in the job – and that means someone who understands that the BBC's independence must never be compromised.' The petition, sent to Patten and the BBC board of trustees, concludes: 'The BBC's global reputation rests on its independence – please don't do anything which could put that in danger.'

Supermarket Morrisons has signed a deal with Channel Five and Big Brother to become an official partner and provide grocery, food and household shopping for the housemates. The current Big Brother series and upcoming celebrity run will have items delivered to the house in Morrisons-branded bags, confirms Media Week.

Police in Gloucestershire are reportedly on the hunt for a man dressed like a smurf. The man - said to be in a skin-tight blue suit and covered in blue make-up - has allegedly been running up to women in the Forest of Dean area, waving and performing star-jumps in front of them. Which if not exactly illegal per se is, certainly, a bit startling. The strange incidents took place in May Hill, Longhope on Sunday 20 May and Saturday 2 June in the middle of the day. Police want to confirm the man's reasons for his odd behaviour. A spokesman said: 'One witness told police the man was dressed in a blue skin-tight outfit, had blue paint on his face and looked "like a smurf." He has been seen waving at women and doing star-jumps while running up to them.' Police are urging anyone with relevant information to come forward by calling 101 and quoting incident one hundred and ninety two of 2 June.

The European Champions 2012 have started, dear blog reader. You just might have noticed. And, they're going to dominate the TV schedules for the next few weeks. Which is jolly unlucky if you don't happen to like football. But, if you don't happen to like football then you're nowhere, baby. A total zero. Fortunately, yer actual Keith Telly Topping does. And so do all other right-thinking individuals. So, without further ado ...
The tournament got under way with a thoroughly entertaining Group A game between the co-hosts, Poland and Greece. For the first thirty minutes, the Poles were in the ascendancy playing neat, quick-passing football and taking the lead via a header from yer actual Robert Lewandowski. Captain Jakub Błaszczykowski delivered a peach of a cross from the right which the Greek keeper Kostas Chalkias got nowhere near and Lewandowski planted a header down into the turf and watched it bounce into the top corner. The game, however, turned just before half-time when the over-fussy Spanish referee dismissed Sokratis Papastathopoulos - the man with the most Greek name in the world - for two bookable offences. The second probably wasn't worthy of a booking. The first wasn't even a foul. As the BBC's Steve Wilson noted, if that's the way matches at this tournament are going to be refereed, one can see a lot more games ending without a full compliment of twenty two chaps on the pitch. As Aristotle once said: 'Όλες οι ανθρώπινες ενέργειες έχουν μια ή περισσότερες από αυτές τις επτά αιτίες: πιθανότητα, φύση, εξαναγκασμοί, συνήθεια, λόγος, πάθος, επιθυμία.' Which, I think we can all agree with, can't we? But, as it happens, Sokratis himself was not permanently missed. Whether it was the manifest unfairness of the dismissal that finally roused the previously docile Greeks to get a right chimney on and start playing like they meant it is a matter for debate but, in the second half they were by far the better team. Not bad considering they were playing with, effectively, nine-and-a-half players since that big plank Samaras was doing his usual job of looking like a lazy, workshy sod. But, with their substitute Dimitris Salpingidis - on for the disappointing Sotiris Ninis - particular prominent Greece was, indeed, the word for the second half. It was Salpingidis who provided the equaliser. A veritable Euro bailout, as it were. It was a similar goal to Poland's, Vassilis Torossidis swinging in an excellent cross from the right, The Arse's keeper Wojciech Szczęsny flapping about wildly and failing to make the cross, the loose ball fell at the feet of Salpingidis who poked it home. Soon afterwards, the Greeks should have won it. Salpingidis was involved again, beating the offside trap whilst latching on to a long ball and skipping around Szczęsny - who promptly tripped him. A clear red card and a penalty. Sub keeper Przemysław Tytoń made himself an instant national hero, diving to his left to keep out Giorgos Karagounis's tame penalty. Both teams had chances to win it at the death but, ultimately, a draw was probably the right result. So, good start that.

In the day's second match, a very impressive Russia gave the Czech Republic a 4-1 trousers-down hiding. With Andrey Arshavin in particularly fine form, two goals from Alan Dzagoev and strikes from Roman Shirokov and Roman Pavlyuchenko sealed the victory. Vaclav Pilar replied for the very disappointing Czechs.

And so, dear blog reader, to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Here's The Smiths.

No comments: