Monday, July 09, 2012

Beats Per Minute

Roger Federer's easy win over the 'brave' - that's tabloid-speak for hapless - Andy Murray in the Wimbledon final was watched by a peak audience of 16.9m BBC viewers, according to overnight figures. The peak came towards the end of the match, just as Murray was going down to his three sets to one defeat. The average audience across the four set match was 11.4m. It is the second most watched programme this year so far based solely on peak figures, well behind the England versus Italy match in Euro 2012 but marginally ahead of the 16.3m peak for ITV's coverage of another England game in Euro 2012, versus Ukraine. The highest average figure for a Wimbledon final in TV history was 17.3m when Bjorn Borg beat John McEnroe in 'a five-set thrilla', allegedly, in 1980. Federer thrashed Murray's ass but good, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 on Sunday. Murray has now lost all four of his grand slam finals. Murray became the first British man in seventy four years to reach the Wimbledon singles final but could not overcome the powerful Swiss no matter what he did. He struggled to hold back the tears after his defeat and said, later, that there was 'no shame' in losing to Federer, who has now won the Wimbledon title a record-equalling seven times. Indeed. No shame at all in coming second. It comes right after first. Just ask Buzz Aldrin. Anyway, victory for Federer means that he has now won seventeen Grand Slams and returned to number one in the world rankings. England's Euro 2012 football quarter final against Italy in June attracted an average audience of 20.3m viewers on the BBC, with a peak audience of 23.2m. A bumper day for sport for the corporation was capped by the F1: British Grand Prix which had an average audience of 2.64m between 12.15pm and 1pm on BBC1 and then 3.24m for the actual race from 1pm and 3.30pm on BBC2. Later in primetime, the hit Swedish crime drama Wallander returned with 6.42m between 9pm and 10.30pm - for a complex, but essentially well-told episode - while Countryfile (6.33m) and Antiques Roadshow (6.4m) held up well earlier on. It was another horrorshow of a day for ITV. The highlight of their night being the fact that their new vehicle for the odious and small Andrew Lloyd Webber, Superstar, didn't lose much of its, already very woeful, audience pulling in 3.11m at 8pm. This was only a slight drop on the - really not very good at all - 3.3m audience which watched the previous night's opening episode and was, largely, thanks to a Coronation Street lead-in. After Superstar, the clearly brilliant and imaginative television-fest that was The Nation's Favourite Number One Single - presented by notoriously thin-skinned Fearne Cotton, who is, obviously, not completely rubbish and, currently, about as toxic in ratings terms as Christine Bleakley - followed with 2.53m at 9pm. Which some might consider to be a jolly poor return but then, those people are, clearly, bullies. Oh yes. Across primetime, BBC1 led with twenty seven per cent versus ITV's 14.4 per cent. New Sky1 drama Sinbad launched with an impressive 1.06m from 7pm, while Family Guy took nine hundred and sixty nine thousand and nine hundred and fifty two thousand punters for its two new episodes on BBC3.

Odious, full-of-her-own-importance horrorshow (and drag) Myleene Klass's programme on Channel Five has been criticised by media regulator Ofcom for giving 'undue prominence' to Nestlé cereals in a feature on the show. On the Live with Myleene weekday show on 9 May, Klass welcomed former GMTV presenter Ben Shephard as a guest to discuss the benefits of a healthy breakfast. However, Ofcom today upheld a viewer complaint that Shephard had made several references to a Nestlé advertising campaign which he was fronting during the eight-minute segment. Ofcom said that the 'overall effect of the live interview was to promote and endorse Nestlé cereals.' In the interview, Shephard spent six minutes talking about eating a healthy breakfast, in which time he mentioned Nestlé's Battle of the Breakfasts campaign which he was fronting, along with the benefits of changing from current breakfast choices to Nestlé cereals, such as Cheerios or Shreddies and the fact that further information was available on the Nestlé website. In response to the complaint, Channel Five claimed that it did not have any 'deliberate motivation or any arranged pre-meditated interest in promoting [Nestlé] or its range of cereals.' The broadcaster added that the programme makers were 'aware' of Shephard's 'connection' to Nestlé's Battle of the Breakfasts campaign, but claimed - somewhat unconvincingly - that Shephard was told before his appearance, both verbally and in writing, about not giving 'undue prominence' to the brand during the interview. If he was, he doesn't seem to have taken much notice. As Shephard was a presenter with 'many years of live television experience,' the Live with Myleene production team felt that he 'would be aware' of the need for any product references to be editorially justified, said Channel Five. But in its ruling on Monday, Ofcom totally rejected this crap excuse and said that there was 'insufficient editorial justification' for the several commercial references made by Shephard. 'Ofcom acknowledged [Channel Five's] response that it did not have a "deliberate motivation or any arranged pre-meditated interest in promoting this brand or its range of cereals,"' said Ofcom. 'However, Ofcom considered that the overall effect of the live interview was to promote and endorse Nestlé cereals.' It added: 'The cumulative effect of the manner and frequency of these repeated references, including specific references to the benefits of named Nestlé cereals, was that the brand and its products were promoted during the interview, in breach of Rule 9.4 of the Code.' Despite criticising Live with Myleene, Ofcom welcomed Channel Five's efforts to improve its compliance procedures to ensure such a breach does not happen again in future. Nestlé was the first commercial brand ever to make use of new UK rules on product placement, when one of its coffee machines legitimately appeared on ITV's This Morning in February 2011 in an estimated one hundred thousand smackers deal. Myleene Klass herself made no comment. Which is jolly unusual, frankly, as she's normally got plenty to say for herself on all manner of subjects.

Gavin & Stacey's Joanna Page has suggested that the sitcom is 'unlikely to return.' At last, dear blog reader, some good news in all this financial misery and bad weather.

And, speaking about that steaming pile of horseshit, UKTV's G.O.L.D channel has been warned by Ofcom for broadcasting an episode of Gavin & Stacey at 10am. The broadcaster edited the James Corden and Ruth Jones alleged sitcom, which was originally shown in a post-9pm slot on BBC3 in 2007, taking out strong language and various sex noises. However, some viewers still complained to Ofcom in February about the rerun's sexually suggestive content. Viewers' complaints centred on lines of dialogue such as 'I hopes you're hungry big boy,' 'You got any Johnnies? I ain't going in there bareback' and 'Don't go giving him nothing on the first night. Well not nothing. A kiss, a cuddle, a cheeky finger - just don't go selling him the whole farm.' The episode also featured the odious buffoon Corden flashing his ample buttocks in a red lacy thong and word such as 'bloody', 'shit', 'takes the piss', 'prick' and 'bugger'. And 'semprini'. Ofcom ruled: 'The overall tone and cumulative impact of the sexual language and references throughout the programme resulted in this material being of a more adult nature and which made this episode unsuitable for scheduling on a Saturday morning. The programme included a number of sexual references which were not necessarily sexually explicit but, in Ofcom's view, clearly exceeded comic innuendo and were aimed at a more adult audience. The programme included the frequent use of offensive language. This (taken together with the sexual themes and references) underlined that, despite the edits to the original programme, it still contained a considerable amount of content of an adult audience.' G.O.L.D has commented on the ruling, insisting that it did everything it could to leave only 'mild language and light, oblique sexual references.'

Channel Five's Big Brother is facing a string of investigations by Ofcom after more than twelve hundred complaints about incidents including a black contestant being called 'a gorilla' and housemates labelled 'retards.' The media regulator is investigating three incidents, which have attracted a total of one thousand two hundred and twenty five complaints, to see if they breach the broadcasting code. The incident that prompted the most complaints from viewers, one thousand and eighteen, involved housemate Conor McIntyre being abusive to Miss India UK title holder Deana Uppal. McIntyre was warned about his behaviour by the production team, in which he used a string of expletives and called Uppal 'a piece of shit". The incident occurred at 9.40pm on 25 June on sotfcore pornographer Richard Desmond's Channel Five show. The second incident involved housemate Caroline Wharram calling Adam Kelly, a black contestant, a 'ridiculous gorilla with no sanitation.' Which apart from being hugely offensive, isn't even grammatically correct. Ofcom received one hundred and fourteen complaints from viewers about the perceived 'racial slur' which occurred on 28 June at 10.25pm. On 4 July, a former Big Brother housemate, Victor Ebuwa, appeared on spin-off show Big Brother's Bit On The Side. Ebuwa referred to the housemates as 'functioning retards', which prompted three complaints to Ofcom. The incident occurred at 11.20pm. 'Channel Five is committed to complying with Ofcom's broadcasting code and will help to facilitate a speedy investigation into this particular episode of Big Brother and Big Brother's Bit on the Side,' said a spokesman for the broadcaster. A spokeswoman for the Equality and Human Rights Commission said it would not be looking at the incidents as broadcast falls outside of its enforcement remit. The official sponsor of Big Brother, the celebrity edition and spin-off show Bit On The Side is hair colour brand Schwarzkopf. The brand has featured extensively throughout the programme – including having the housemates and presenter Emma Willis dye their hair the brand's distinctive red colour – as part of a wider two million quid tie-up with parent company Henkel. Henkel's deal includes TV idents for the Schwarzkopf brand as well as product placement deals for Right Guard deodorant and Theramed toothpaste. A spokeswoman who handles the Schwarzkopf tie-up with Big Brother had not responded to a question about whether the brand would stand by its sponsorship deal with Channel Five in light of the official investigation by Ofcom. Or, indeed, how they look at themselves in the mirror in the morning. Ofcom's investigation has shades of the infamous Shilpa Shetty race row which floored Channel Four and effectively spelled the beginning of the end of the broadcaster's long-standing relationship with the Big Brother franchise. Clearly offensive and potentially racist comments were made by the late Jade Goody, Danielle Lloyd and Jo O'Meara about Bollywood actress Shetty, who eventually won the celebrity edition of the show and was referred to as 'Shilpa Poppadom' by the odious ignorant waste of space Goody. The resulting furore prompted over fifty thousand complaints to the media regulator and to Channel Four. The broadcaster subsequently received a stinging rebuke from Ofcom, which following an investigation, deemed Channel Four had committed a 'serious error of judgment' showing four incidents of alleged racist bullying, and resulted in then chief executive Andy Duncan admitting that it needed to think of viewers as 'real people, not ratings.'

The global television market will be worth three hundred and fifty five billion euros by 2020, but the emergence of new ways for people to access content will place a strain on the existing business models, according to a new report. Analysts IDATE have forecasted how television markets worldwide will evolve over the next eight years, identifying the 'core disruptions and innovations that will alter the TV/video market as we know it.' Despite continued global economic uncertainty, the report predicts some impressive growth for the global TV services market, as annual revenues are expected to rise. This represents an average annual growth rate of 4.7 per cent. Much of this expansion is expected to come from emerging markets, while the traditional powerhouses of the US and Europe will see their global share shrink. IDATE said that 'rest of the world' countries, including China, India, Russia and Brazil, will increase their share of the global TV services market from twenty per cent in 2011, to forty two per cent in 2020. The top five European markets, along with Japan and the United States, together represented eighty per cent of the video market in 2011, but this share will drop to sixty per cent by 2020, said IDATE. In the US, the maturity of the pay-TV market and fierce competition for over-the-top content - video services delivered over a traditional digital TV service - will 'weigh on the sector's revenue,' said the report. Italy and Spain's market for live TV services is expected to have more 'room to grow' than the British or French markets, but IDATE feels that Germany's cable market will 'continue to hinder the development of a national pay-TV market there.' Gilles Fontaine, IDATE's deputy chief executive and project manager for the report, said that three clear distribution models for video services are expected to emerge by 2020. He explained that this will include the 'package', working similarly to current satellite and cable TV provider services; the 'digital store', involving an open platform that makes content available directly to viewers and 'self-supply', as viewers cut their link to traditional TV providers. Fontaine said that the market will be particularly disrupted by an increase in video-on-demand services, largely due to the expected boom in connected TV sales. Last week, the BBC-backed YouView venture finally unveiled its new Freeview set top box, which will aim to bring video on demand and other next-gen services to the UK mass market.

Michelle Keegan may join the line-up of this year's Strictly Come Dancing, it has been reported. The Coronation Street actress could take a break in filming from her role of Tina McIntyre in the ITV soap, according to the Daily Lies. So, this is almost certainly a load of colossal bullshit, in that case. An alleged Coronation Street spokesperson alleged stated on the matter: 'Offers to our actors are considered on merit.' An alleged - although, inevitably, anonymous - Strictly 'source', who almost certainly doesn't exist, allegedly claimed: 'We have our hit-list and it's Michelle who tops it. We want her but we know it will be a battle to get her.' Yes, that sounds exactly like the sort of thing that someone connected to Strictly Come Dancing wouldn't say to a tabloid stringer. Perhaps this anonymous 'source' is the same one who, in 2003, allegedly told the Daily Lies that Holly Valance was 'in discussions' to take over the title role in Buffy, The vampire Slayer. Or, the same alleged 'BBC source' who, allegedly, fed the tabloid some juicy quotes about the non-existent possibility of Lady Gaga appearing in Doctor Who. The Daily Lies. Always lying.

Prosecutors aim to decide by the end of this month whether they will bring phone-hacking charges against former Scum of the World journalists, the director of public prosecutions has told the Gruniad Morning Star. Keir Starmer said that he was 'reasonably confident' that the Crown Prosecution Service would reach a conclusion on what action it will take by the end of July in respect of thirteen case files relating to alleged phone-hacking offences conducted by reporters and editors. The DPP added that prosecutors would aim to decide the cases 'as a batch' – raising the prospect, the Gruniad claimed, of 'a dramatic day of announcements in which a group of former journalists learn whether or not they are to go on trial.' The individuals under CPS examination have not been identified by name – although thirteen or fourteen journalists have been previously arrested and remain on police bail, including well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, both former editors of the disgraced and disgraceful Sunday tabloid. Other former Scum of the World journalists who have been arrested as part of the Met's Operation Weeting inquiry into phone-hacking include one-time assistant editor Ian Edmondson, former chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck, and the former managing editor Stuart Kuttner. If any charges are brought, they would result in the first criminal trial related to phone-hacking since the Scum of the World's Clive Goodman and the private investigator Glenn Mulcaire were successfully prosecuted in 2007 for intercepting voicemail messages belonging to members of the royal household. They were sentenced to four months and six months in the slammer respectively. Starmer said prosecutors were working on the basis of a 'broad interpretation' of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, which covers phone-hacking. This would mean it was not absolutely necessary – for the purposes of bringing a criminal prosecution – for a voicemail message to have been unheard by its intended recipient before it was hacked into by, or on behalf of, the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World. There had previously been disagreement between the CPS and the Metropolitan Police over whether a criminal offence had been committed if a voicemail message had already been heard by the person for whom it was left. Former Met assistant commissioner Champagne John Yates had argued that the law was unclear in this area. Starmer added that 'in so far as it was necessary,' alternative hacking charges could also be brought, including conspiring to intercept communications, which does not necessarily require hacking to have taken place, and computer misuse offences. The development comes as the CPS is poised to close a consultation on how it intends to evaluate the public interest in cases affecting the media. Starmer said he would reflect on various issues raised by newspapers and broadcasters in response to his already published interim guidance. In particular, Starmer said he would re-examine the CPS's proposed definition of 'the public interest,' which would be used to evaluate factors mitigating any alleged criminal acts conducted by a journalist. The interim guidelines had proposed a catch-all definition, which said that the public interest could be served by 'conduct which is capable of raising or contributing to an important matter of public debate.' It had been suggested that the open-ended definition of the public interest left little room for journalists to expose, for example, sexual misconduct. Starmer said in the light of responses from newspapers and broadcasters, he was considering turning the broad definition into a list of potential meanings, including 'serious hypocrisy' – the conventional tabloid justification for exposing extramarital affairs by politicians and other celebrity figures. 'We've not formed a view on what is right,' Starmer said. The DPP added that he would also consider whether the CPS public interest guidelines should 'expressly reference' industry codes of practice, the Ofcom broadcasting code or the Press Complaints Commission code – which could act in mitigation for journalists who followed them. He also said he hoped that the Information Commissioner's Office, which has the power to bring prosecutions against journalists for alleged breaches of the Data Protection Act, would use the guidelines the CPS had drawn up. The CPS has already made a range of charging decisions in the past couple of months. It opted to charge well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks with three counts of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice in May and decided not to charge - well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks denies the charges - Gruniad journalists David Leigh and Amelia Hill. Starmer added that a mitigating public-interest factor in the Hill case – which saw the CPS also decide not to charge a police officer who had allegedly passed information to the Gruniad during the early stages of the Weeting inquiry – was her part in the Gruniad's overall investigation into phone-hacking. Starmer said the CPS would 'not insist' on assessing any alleged criminality in the production of an individual news story in isolation from any wider investigation of which it was part.

A show on ITV presented by Leigh Francis in his - really unfunny - Keith Lemon persona has been cleared by Ofcom over a competition that attracted more than two hundred complaints - from cretins - by offering a puppy as a prize. A total of two hundred and thirty seven citizens - seemingly with nothing better to do with their time - contacted media regulator Ofcom about Keith Lemon's LemonAid, saying that the programme had shown an 'irresponsible attitude' to animal welfare and pet ownership. However, Ofcom dismissed the complaints after judging that ITV had taken a number of 'very extensive measures' to ensure the welfare of the puppy offered in a competition. On 28 April, ITV's Saturday early evening show LemonAid featured a giveaway entitled A Right Dog's Dinner, involving three children accompanied by their parents competing to win a puppy as a prize. As usual, as with most aspects of this appalling drivel of a format, it was about as funny as a dose of bruising in the testicles which probably helps to explain why hardly anyone bothered watching it. (The show had an overnight audience of just 2.4m viewers. Albeit, that's still more than Let's Go Gold or You Cannot Be Serious achieved this week.) After being contacted by Ofcom about the complaints, ITV said it 'regretted' that people had been upset by the competition, but denied that it had shown an 'irresponsible' attitude towards animal welfare. The broadcaster said that it had selected the families involved in the competition carefully to ensure that they were actually considering getting a dog. Checks were carried out on them both before and after the game, said ITV. An independent and qualified vet checked whether the parents were capable of caring for a puppy, but these checks were not mentioned on the programme as 'this was not editorially appropriate in an essentially light-hearted entertainment item of this kind,' ITV added. The most shocking thing about this revelation, dear blog reader, is that someone at ITV considers LemonAid - a format so crass and banal it makes Don't Scare The Hare look like I, Claudius in comparison - 'light-hearted entertainment.' Words fail me. On the programme, Francis did ask the three participants whether they were 'serious' about owning a dog and stressed that it was 'a big commitment.' All three parents said that they were, with the third adding: 'I'm very good with big commitments.' Too much information there, matey. After the pug puppy was shown to the family by celebrity guest, Peter Andre, it was returned to the care of the breeder, who then met the winning family to check their suitability as owners. As there were other puppies in the studio alongside the one being given away, ITV stressed that a full risk assessment had been conducted for their welfare. Despite saying that it was satisfied that the puppy's welfare was protected, ITV acknowledged the viewers' concerns and said that it would be 'mindful of this in future programming.' Dropping LemonAid like a tonne of bricks and promising never to produce anything as utterly worthless again might be a step in the right direction, one could suggest. In its ruling, Ofcom accepted that the competition on LemonAid 'may have caused offence to some viewers who object in principle to a puppy being given away as a prize in an entertainment programme.' Whilst the rest of the programme may have been offensive to anyone with a functioning brain in their head. However, the regulator noted that 'at no time was the puppy shown during the broadcast to be in discomfort or distress.' Ofcom welcomed ITV's 'extensive measures' to ensure the welfare of the puppy to be given away as a prize, along with the other dogs in the studio at the time. 'Through these measures, in Ofcom's view, the Licensee demonstrated its awareness of, and fulfilled, its obligations to ensure the welfare of all the puppies involved with this programme,' said Ofcom. 'The broadcaster therefore applied generally accepted standards to this content so as to ensure that any potential offence was justified by the context.' However, Ofcom said that ITV's decision not to inform viewers about the measures taken to safeguard animal welfare could have contributed to the complaints. It therefore advised broadcasters intending to run similar animal features in the future to show clear information about welfare to viewers in order to avoid upsetting people with no lives.

Just two days after his brother started his career in light entertainment with such hilariously piss-poor results, Anton Ferdinand told a court he would have been 'very hurt' if he had heard John Terry racially abuse him. Moscow Chelski and England footballer Terry, thirty one, is charged with a racially-aggravated public order offence - an allegation which he denies. It relates to a comment allegedly made by the Moscow Chelski captain to the Queens Park Strangers defender when the teams played at Loftus Road last October. The trial, set to last five days, is at Westminster Magistrates' Court. If found guilty, the maximum sentence Terry could receive is a two thousand five hundred smacker fine. It is alleged that the Moscow Chelski captain insulted the QPR player by calling him black with the use of 'extreme sexual swear words.' Ferdinand told the court that initially he did not think any racist terms had been used. But after the match, his girlfriend at the time played him a YouTube clip and he changed his mind. Ferdinand told the court that if he had realised at the time what Terry had, allegedly, said he would have told officials. 'I would have been obviously very hurt and I probably wouldn't have reacted at the time because, being a professional, you can't do that. I probably would have let the officials know what happened and dealt with it after the game,' he said. 'When someone brings your colour into it, it takes it to another level and it's very hurtful.' Terry was allowed out of the dock into the well of the court to view footage of the alleged insult. The court heard that Terry maintains he was only sarcastically repeating words that Ferdinand wrongly thought he had used, during the match which was broadcast to millions of people. Opening the prosecution, Duncan Penny said: 'The Crown's case is that the words were abusive and insulting in a straightforward sense.' He added that a racially abusive obscenity had been uttered 'demonstrating hostility based on Mr Ferdinand's membership of a racial group. They were uttered by the defendant in response to goading by Mr Ferdinand on the issue of his extra-marital affair, rather than by way of exaggerated and instant querying of a perceived false allegation,' he said. Two televised clips and footage not previously broadcast of the incident, normally used for training purposes, were shown to the court. The trial heard that Ferdinand said 'something about' the Moscow Chelski player's alleged affair and made fist gestures, before Terry responded. Moscow Chelski team-mates John Mikel Obi and Ashley Cole were nearby when insults were traded, but they will not be called as witnesses as part of the prosecution case. In a statement to the Football Association five days afterwards, Terry said that he and Ferdinand had been exchanging 'verbals' and he had made a gesture to imply Ferdinand 'had bad breath.' He said: 'We're still having a, sort of, ding-dong, if you like,' adding that was when the QPR player had used a racially abusive obscenity. He added that he had taken 'quite a strong offence' to Ferdinand's alleged words. The England defender said that he was not offended by the taunts about the alleged affair with Wayne Bridge's ex-girlfriend, because 'it's not the first time I've heard it, so it's with a pinch of salt a little bit now.' But, he said he was angered by any accusation that he might have used a racist insult. After the match, which took place at Loftus Road, Terry asked a steward to get Ferdinand from the dressing room. Terry said in his statement that he had asked Ferdinand if he was accusing him of using racially abusive language towards him. Later, in an interview, he added: 'I'm being honest and open with you guys, that I didn't mean it in the context that, if you watch the video and me, watching the video, you can quite easily say that doesn't look good. But at the same time, in the context of what I thought Anton accused me of, you know, no-one can argue what my feelings were at that time.' Immediately after the match, Ferdinand did not think that Terry had used racist words, the court heard. 'It's handbags, innit - it's what happens on the pitch,' he said, and the two shook hands. In a statement made to police last November, Terry claimed that he was offended by the accusation that he had used racist language. 'Whilst footballers are used to industrial language, using racist terms is completely unacceptable whatever [the] situation,' the statement read. 'I was completely taken aback by this remark as I have never been accused of something like that and I did not take his remark lightly at all, and took strong offence to his suggestion.' Police questioned the ex-England captain under caution in November 2011 after a complaint from a member of the public following the Premier League match. As a summary offence under the Crime and Disorder Act, the trial will be fully dealt with in a magistrates' court, with no jury, and is being heard by Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle.

Welsh international football is set to make a return to BBC Wales television for the first time in eight years, it has been announced. BBC Cymru has signed a new two-year deal to broadcast highlights of all Wales' home games, including the World Cup qualifying matches. Coverage will begin on 15 August when Chris Coleman's team take on Bosnia-Herzegovina in an international friendly. The deal also covers Wales' 2014 World Cup qualifying game against Croatia, Serbia, Belgium, Scotland and Macedonia, managed by Welshman John Toshak. BBC Cymru will show highlights of the first qualifier on 7 September, when Wales travel to take on Belgium. Rhodri Talfan Davies, the director of BBC Cymru Wales, said: 'Sport is one of the major things that defines us as a nation and I'm delighted that BBC Cymru Wales will be showing television highlights of Wales's home football internationals once again, complementing our existing radio and online coverage in English and Welsh, and giving the audience the best of Welsh sport on all platforms.' There's lovely, isn't it? The BBC's television deal with the Football Association of Wales runs in addition to its existing rights to live commentary of both home and away games on BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru, as well as online. 'We know from our existing coverage that there is a real passion for football in Wales, and we are thrilled to be able to follow Chris Coleman and the Wales team on television, as well as radio and online,' said Geoff Williams, the head of sport for BBC Cymru. 'Coverage of the Welsh international team will complement our existing coverage of the Welsh Premier League and Welsh Cup, and we look forward to bringing action, analysis, news and views to our audiences for the next two seasons.' Football Association of Wales chief executive Jonathan Ford added: 'The Football Association of Wales is looking forward to a close working relationship with BBC Cymru Wales. We all recognise the high quality of sports coverage on BBC radio and television and we know this will be of benefit to Welsh football at all levels.'

Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton started day fifty two of the Olympic flame relay as it travelled the one hundred and twelve miles from Luton to Oxford. The former world champion was the first of one hundred and thirty three torchbearers when he set off in St Georges Square in Luton. It's worth bearing in mind, of course, that had Lewis been in his McLaren he could have done the route in about half an hour, albeit that would have included three pit stops (one really bad one) and, like as not, he'd have been rear-ended by Pastor Maldanado just before the finish line. Monday's relay began just after 06:30 and visited the birthplace of the Paralympic Games, Stoke Mandeville, Blenheim Palace and Bletchley Park. Also carrying the flame was Olympic badminton silver medallist Gail Emms. Gail, who carried the flame in Milton Keynes, was runner-up in the mixed doubles with Nathan Robertson in the 2004 Games in Athens. She also won gold medals at the 2006 World Championships in Madrid, 2004 European Championships in Geneva and the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester. Hamilton was initially asked to carry the torch through his home town of Stevenage, but plans were changed as the flame was there while he was competing in Sunday's British Grand Prix at Silverstone, in which he finished eighth. Jessica Stalley from Bedford, took the flame into Bletchley Park. The sixteen-year-old was nominated for the way she coped with having an operation to straighten her spine and for her aspirations to compete in the Paralympics. Bletchley Park was, of course, the site of Britain's main decryption centre during World War Two and is now home to the National Codes Centre and the National Museum of Computing. Gemma Collis, seventeen, from Aylesbury, carried her torch at Stoke Mandeville Stadium in Aylesbury. Stoke Mandeville Hospital was the site where pioneering neurologist Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann staged the forerunner of the Paralympic Games in 1948 - the International Wheelchair Games. The Games were repeated at Stoke Mandeville four years later before the first official Paralympics took place in Rome in 1960. There will be a separate Paralympic lighting ceremony at the site in Aylesbury, as part of the Paralympic Torch Relay on 28 August. During the first part of the morning, youth Olympic rowing gold medallist Georgia Howard-Merrill took part in the relay in Milton Keynes. Oxford-based Georgia won the medal at the first Youth Olympic Games in the Women's Pairs in Singapore in 2010. Also among Monday's torchbearers was sixteen-year-old Rebekah Wagnell who won three silver and two gold medals for swimming in the eighteenth World Transplant Games in 2011. The Milton Keynes teenager was born with chronic renal failure and received a kidney transplant from her father five years ago. Archer Naomi Folkard, who is competing for Team GB in the Olympics, took the flame in Oxford. After leaving Luton, the flame visited Dunstable, Milton Keynes, Bletchley, Buckingham, Winslow, Whitchurch, Aylesbury, Stoke Mandeville, Waddesdon, Bicester, Kirtlington, Woodstock, Kidlington and Oxford. A game of Quidditch, made famous by the Harry Potter stories, was being played in Oxford ahead of the arrival of the flame. Teams from Australia, France and the US were taking part in the two-day tournament. The final of the event was part of the relay celebrations in South Park where rockers Young Guns and dance act Twist n' Pulse performed. There was also be a performance of Tree of Light, which is part of the London 2012 Festival featuring eight hundred and fifty participants - including singers, dancers and power-generating cyclists - from school and community groups across Oxfordshire. The cauldron was lit by the final torchbearer of the day, former teacher Malcolm Fretter. He has been a paraplegic since 1971 but volunteers at White Horse primary schools. He is also secretary of Oxfordshire Schools' Football Association.

The final four water companies in England with hosepipe bans in place have lifted them, in a move affecting about six million domestic customers and screwing up a punchline for lovers of irony everywhere. South East Water, Sutton and East Surrey Water, Veolia Water Central and Veolia Water Southeast imposed the restrictions on water use in April. The restrictions followed two unusually dry winters but end after 'abnormally heavy rainfall' in recent weeks. Officials said they had expected the bans to remain throughout the summer. Anglian Water, Southern Water and Thames Water all lifted their bans in June. The announcement comes after a weekend in which a number of communities across Britain were hit by flooding following torrential downpours, and forecasters warn there is more rain on the way. Yes, we'd noticed. The four water companies said ground water supplies, which they were heavily dependent on, had recovered enough for the bans to be lifted. Between them they cover all or part of a number of counties in the south and south-east of England, including Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire, Berkshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire. Double the normal average amount of rain for June fell last month, and April was the wettest month since records began more than a century ago. In a joint statement, the four firms said: 'The companies would all like to thank their customers for complying with the restrictions and supporting their plea to use water wisely. This has kept demand for water well below levels normally experienced at this time of year. Significant - or indeed any - recharge of underground resources at this time of year is most unusual but it follows the abnormally heavy rainfall experienced since spring which has finally brought to an end the severe drought after two dry winters.' Mike Hegarty, operations director for Sutton and East Surrey Water, said the hosepipe ban had been expected to be in place throughout the summer. 'The recharge in the aquifers brought about by the abnormally heavy spring rainfall is most welcome,' he said. 'Normally winter rainfall recharges the aquifers. The recharge is unprecedented and is the highest increase in water levels ever recorded in our area at this time of year.' However, Mike Pocock, water resources manager at Veolia Water Central, struck a note of caution and urged customers to continue to use water wisely. 'While most welcome, this recovery in the aquifers does not remove the underlying problems caused by the drought and we are continuing to plan for the possibility of a third dry winter,' he said. The development followed deluges that prompted weather and flood warnings over many parts of Britain at the weekend. On Sunday, Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman visited people in one of the areas worst affected by flooding, Ottery St Mary in Devon. She also went to the Met Office in Exeter for a briefing. Which consisted of 'it might be an idea to take a brolly with you,' basically. There are no longer any weather warnings in place but there are still a number of flood warnings and flood alerts in place in England and in Scotland. A flood warning means immediate action is required, and a flood alert means people should be prepared for possible flooding. BBC weather forecaster Sarah Keith-Lucas said summer was still on hold, with a rainy, cool and breezy week ahead.

France have named former World Cup-winning captain Didier Deschamps as their new manager. Deschamps, forty three, left his position as coach at Marseille last week and replaces his former team-mate Laurent Blanc who resigned after France's loss to Spain in the quarter-finals of Euro 2012. The former Moscow Chelski midfielder - once described as 'The Water Carrier' by Eric Cantona - won the World Cup and Euro 2000 as a player. He may be without four players for his first game in charge after the French Football Federation took disciplinary action following a series of misdemeanours at Euro 2012. Samir Nasri insulted a reporter while Jeremy Menez did the same to captain Hugo Lloris. Hatem Ben Arfa rowed with Blanc and Yann M'Vila did not shake the coach's hand when substituted. France begin their qualifying campaign for the 2014 World Cup with an away match against Finland on 9 September before they host Belarus four days later. Also in Group I are defending champions Spain and Georgia.

And finally, some sad news. The Oscar-winning actor Ernest Borgnine, whose career spanned more than sixty years, has died, his spokesman said. He died of renal failure in a Los Angeles hospital with his family by his side, spokesman Harry Flynn told the Associated Press. Borgnine, who was ninety five years old, continued acting well into his nineties with a role in the hospital drama ER as recently as 2009. He won an Oscar in 1955 for his role in the film Marty. His family released a statement saying Borgnine 'had been in excellent health until a recent illness.' Borgnine was also known for his roles in the classic western The Wild Bunch and the disaster movie The Poseidon Adventure. His TV series McHale's Navy was also a major success in the United States in the 1960s. He is also remembered for his role as the jovial Dominic Santini in the 1980s series Airwolf. The son of Italian immigrants, he was born Ermes Effron Borgnino on 24 January 1917 in Hamden, Connecticut. His parents later changed the family name to Borgnine. He initially never considered a career in acting, serving in the US Navy after leaving high school in 1935. His naval service was impressive. He was discharged in 1941 but re-enlisted when the United States entered World War II, and served until 1945, reaching the rank of Gunner's Mate First Class. In a British Film Institute interview about his life and career, Borgnine said: 'After World War II we wanted no more part in war. I didn't even want to be a boy-scout. I went home and said that I was through with the Navy and so now, what do we do? So I went home to mother, and after a few weeks of patting on the back and, "You did good," and everything else, one day she said, "Well?" like mothers do. Which meant, "Alright, you gonna get a job or what?"' Since he was not willing to settle for a dead-end factory job, his mother encouraged him to pursue a more glamorous profession and suggested that his personality would be well suited for the stage. He surprised his mother by taking the suggestion seriously, although his father was far from enthusiastic. In 2011, Borgnine remembered: 'She said, "You always like getting in front of people and making a fool of yourself, why don't you give it a try?" I was sitting at the kitchen table and I saw this light. No kidding. It sounds crazy. And ten years later, I had Grace Kelly handing me an Academy Award.' After making his acting breakthrough in Tennessee Williams's stageplay, The Glass Menagerie, Borgnine gained his first major film role in From Here to Eternity in 1953, playing a sadistic sergeant who beats up Frank Sinatra's character, Private Maggio. Borgnine built a reputation as a dependable character actor and appeared in early film roles as villains, including movies like Johnny Guitar, Vera Cruz and Bad Day at Black Rock. His trademark stocky build, gruff voice and leering grin led Ernest to be frequently cast as the villain or as sergeant major-types or police officers. But, he escaped the stereotype in 1955, landing an Oscar-winning lead role as a romantic New York butcher in the low-budget film Marty. Some measure of Ernest's achievement comes in the list of the four other nominees he beat to the 1955 Oscar - Frank Sinatra, James Dean, Spencer Tracy and James Cagney. He went on to play character-acting roles in more than sixty films, including The Vikings (1958), The Flight of the Phoenix (1965), The Dirty Dozen (1967), the Cold War classic Ice Station Zebra (1968), Sam Peckinpah's acclaimed, if violent Western The Wild Bunch (1969) and The Poseidon Adventure (1972). Borgnine's work in later life included playing the voice of Mermaid Man on children's TV series SpongeBob SquarePants, as well as that of Carface on the animated film All Dogs Go to Heaven 2. Borgnine also appeared as himself in The Simpsons episode Boy-Scoutz 'n the Hood, in addition to a number of television commercials. His autobiography, Ernie, was published in 2008. His personal life was turbulent at times, and included four marriages. One, to singer Ethel Merman, lasted barely a month. 'The Oscar made me a star, and I'm grateful,' Borgnine said in 1966. 'But I feel had I not won the Oscar, I wouldn't have gotten into the messes I did in my personal life.' However, his his fifth marriage, to Norwegian-born businesswoman Tova Traesnaes in 1972, endured. He is survived by three children - Cristopher, Sharon and Diana - from earlier marriages.

And, so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Here's another pulsating masterpiece from yer actual Kraftwerk.

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