Monday, July 16, 2012

Die Fahrbahn Ist Ein Graues Band

Luscious, pouting sex-kitten Karen Gillan has admitted that she 'cried for two weeks' after filming her final scenes in Doctor Who. This, on the very day that yer actual Jezza Clarkson noted, in relation to another Scottish person, yer actual Andy Murray, blubbing like a girl when he lost at Wimbledon: 'Crying? It's like eating a horse - something foreigners do.' Interesting theory. Anyway, Karen revealed to fans at San Diego's Comic-Con that she 'struggled to hold it together' when shooting her last episode. 'I cried for two weeks. Everything set me off,' said Gillan. Aw, pull yerself together y'big soft lass. It's only a job! 'I couldn't hold it together at all. [Doctor Who] has changed my life in so many ways. And even thought I don't want to say it, I've made two really good friends.' Gillan and her co-star Arthur Darvill will leave Doctor Who midway through the upcoming seventh series. Commenting on the duo's departure, Matt Smith said: 'I miss them. I miss these cats. It's been three years on set. You develop a language with these people. It's like two older brothers who bully their sister and I miss being able to bully Karen.' Smith also commented on the future of Steven Moffat as Doctor Who's showrunner: 'He's going to do the next one hundred and fifty years. He is the most wonderful man to work for. He loves Doctor Who. He doesn't want to give up any time soon.' Which is good news. When asked by a fan whether there was a chance of Rose Tyler ever returning to the show, he commented: 'How the hell should I know, I'm just an actor.' Well, no, he didn't, although he probably should have. Instead, he actually said: 'They tell us things very late. We tend not to know. But at the moment, we're focused on the fall of the Ponds. They are our guys. They're gone. See you later. But I don't know [about Rose]. That would be a Moffat question.' So, that's basically, 'how the hell should I know, I'm just an actor,' basically. Smith, Darvill and Gillan were all coy on the role of Alex Kingston in the latest series, only admitting that she was 'very important' to all the characters. 'We love Alex. She's the nicest and most flirtatious woman on the planet,' said Smudger. 'She could flirt with a fish.' Now that, I'd pay to see.

The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat, meanwhile, has revealed the titles and details of episodes two and three of the new series. Also speaking at Comic-Con, the showrunner of the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama announced that dinosaurs would provide an obstacle to The Doctor and the Ponds in episode two. The title of the episode appears to be Dinosaurs On A Spaceship. 'Dinosaurs on a Spaceship - what more do you need? The Doctor will come face to face with some of the most monstrous creatures evolution has ever produced, on some of the most monstrous sets we've ever built,' said yer actual Moffat his very self. 'We took one look at Chris Chibnall's brilliant script and said to ourselves, "We're going to need a bigger corridor."' As previously announced, The Fast Show's Mark Williams and Sherlock actor Rupert Graves will appear in this particular episode. Commenting on the Toby Whithouse-written episode three, A Town Called Mercy, Moffat said: 'It takes us into a genre Doctor Who hasn't attempted since the sixties - it's a full-blooded western. We knew from the start we need some serious location shooting for this one, and given the most iconic American setting imaginable, there was only one place to go - Spain.' Moffat also spoke for the first time about the series premiere Asylum of the Daleks, commenting: 'It's "wow." It's lots and lots and lots of Daleks. It's what we all see when we close our eyes in our TARDIS-wallpapered bedrooms. More Daleks than you've ever seen in one place.'

Big Brother slumped to one of its lowest ever audiences on Saturday night, overnight data reveals. Which, let's face it, is always good for a laugh. Saturday's highlights show could only muster eight hundred and sixty nine thousand punters for Channel Five in the 9pm hour, nearly half the amount watching Friday's eviction show. The Endemol reality fiasco recorded its worst ever figures of seven hundred and seventy five thousand viewers last month when an episode was shown during England's Euro 2012 quarter-final with Italy. Andrew Lloyd Webber's dreadful Superstar also under-performed to a tough crowd, as 2.89m tuned-in on ITV for the start of the piss-poor talent search's second week at 8pm. Still, it could have been worse. Just. It could have got an audience the size of Let's Go Gold's the previous week. That would have been worse. BBC1's National Lottery: Secret Fortune was watched by 4.28m at around the same time, while Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (4.37m) and Casualty (4.41m) also, comfortably, won their respective slots. At either end of the the channel's peak time line-up, Pointless Celebrities (2.98m) at 5.30pm and Mrs Brown's Boys (3.47m) at 10.30pm also performed well. Back on ITV, the latest Primeval - a once very good show now, sadly, dying a slow, painful and undignified death - drew 1.79m, after which 2.43m sad, crushed victims of society watched You've Been Framed, and The Cube anchored the schedule with ITV's best figure of the night, a mere 3.13m from 7pm. Risible The Nation's Favourite Number One Single, presented by thin-skinned source of the 'bullies' Fearne Cotton rounded off ITV's woeful night with 2.57m at 9pm, while The Million Pound Drop Live was seen by 1.39m on Channel Four. Elsewhere, Dad's Army was BBC2's best-rated broadcast with 1.43m at 7.30pm. Classic drama on ITV3 fared much better with an old Doc Martin episode (1.11m) and Lewis (1.34m) pulling in bumper ratings for the channel. Overall, BBC1 easily topped primetime with 21.7 per cent of the audience share, well clear of ITV's really not very good at all 13.7 per cent.

Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch his very self is to give a Sherlock masterclass at the Edinburgh Television Festival next month, it has been announced. Benny, one of the biggest stars of the small screen at the moment, will appear at the Festival on 24 August, joining a special session on the hit BBC drama series. Also appearing on the high-profile panel will be Sherlock co-creators The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) and Mark Gatiss, as well as show producer Sue Virtue and director Paul McGuigan. The session has been developed in collaboration with The Network, a career development programme which helps young people who want to work in television. In the masterclass, Benny and the panel will reflect upon the show's two series to date, which have gained critical acclaim, multiple awards and bumper ratings. They will discuss the show's conception as a modern interpretation of Arthur Conan Doyle's famous detective, including how the programme 'maintains its dual appeal between die-hard fans of Conan Doyle's original stories and contemporary TV viewers.' Series fans will also be treated to 'revelations' about the forthcoming third series, which picks up from the dramatic series two cliffhanger in episode The Reichenbach Fall. The Edinburgh International Television Festival will go ahead between 23 and 25 August, featuring a range of events, talks and panels. Alongside Sherlock, the creative talent behind various other leading television shows will also speak in masterclasses at the festival, including Modern Family, Educating Essex, Homeland and Horrible Histories. Meanwhile, entries have been extended by one week for The Pinewood Pitching Competition, involving one lucky independent producer being able to win a studio prize worth thirty grand to bring their proposed format to life. Applications are now open for programme makers to submit their ideas for a studio-based format, with the best five to be invited to pitch to a panel of channel controllers live at the festival. The winner will then get to shoot a mini-pilot for their programme at Pinewood Studios.

Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads is reportedly planning to alter the age ranges for this year's X Factor. The boys and girls categories' upper age limits are said to be rising from twenty five to twenty eight, while the older category will now be known as 'Over-Twenty Eights', reports the Sun as this is news of consequence to anyone. The change is, apparently, 'intended to give twenty six and twenty seven-year-olds a greater chance of making it through after they were overlooked last year.' An alleged 'source' allegedly said: 'Last year's crop of wannabes was awful, largely because there were too many youngsters. Lots of girls and boys in their late twenties auditioned, but there was no room for them because the Over-Twenty Fives category had to have the quirky older ones in it to make it work. The show basically snookered itself, so Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossorads has decided to make the change. And this year there are again loads of amazing performers who are older than twenty five but younger than twenty eight.' This did enjoy the comment about last year's wannabes being 'awful.' And this is different from any other year, how, exactly? The alleged 'insider' allegedly added: 'There is no way show bosses will make the same mistake again, so the age limits have changed. This year's show is now shaping up to be one of the best ever.' Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads previously changed the age ranges in the 2010 series, which saw eventual winner Matt Cardle being placed into the boys category from the older group.

Top dramatist Peter Bowker has made an impassioned defence of mainstream British drama. Speaking at the BBC's third TV Drama Writers' Festival Bowker, whose credits include Eric and Ernie, Monroe, Blackpool and Occupation, used a keynote speech entitled Ambition to discuss the power of mainstream drama and comedy shows to raise important issues and provoke debate. After introducing a showreel of clips from Rising Damp and Minder to At Home with the Braithwaites, Soldier Soldier, Lost in Austen and Clocking Off, Bowker praised the often overlooked tradition of these series dealing with race, class, social mobility, gender politics, family dynamics and celebrating ordinary people 'rebelling against the dominant values of the day. There is a common attitude that writing genre or mainstream drama is automatically evidence of a lack of ambition,' he said. 'But their popularity and humour has served to mask the ambition that sits at the heart of them. There is a neglected mainstream tradition where the ambition is all the greater for being subtly deployed. I want to celebrate and bear witness to genuine ambition in a strand of British drama that I think is every bit as significant and valuable as the social realism tradition that began with Cathy Come Home, continued through Boys from the Blackstuff, Hillsborough and Bloody Sunday, and thrives today in the work of Tony Marchant and Neil McKay, to name but two.' With budgets and shooting schedules increasingly tight for many drama projects, Bowker cited Being Human as an example of an ambitious British drama project made on a budget that is a fraction of those available to its US counterparts, calling it 'one of the finest pieces of sci-fi or horror ever seen.' Toby Whithouse, the creator of BBC3's breakout hit, also spoke at the festival, and agreed that low budgets are no excuse for small thinking. 'It's somehow un-British to have a big budget; it'd be a bit vulgar,' he joked, adding: 'Working on low-budget shows forces you to be inventive.' The two-day event was headed by Kate Rowland, BBC creative director, new writing and head of the BBC Writersroom, which acts as a resource for writers and champions talent and diversity throughout the corporation. Run by and for writers, it enables writers, producers and commissioners to debate the future of television drama. Other speakers included the BBC's heads of drama from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland - Faith Penhale, Chris Aird and Stephen Wright, Rev co-creator James Wood, White Heat author Paula Milne, Ashley Pharoah (Life on Mars, Case Histories), and the BBC's controller of drama production and new talent, John Yorke, who gave a masterclass in dramatic structure, or 'Storytelling Physics'. Bowker said: 'The Writers' Festival is two days of discovery, support and inspiration for newer writers and old hacks like myself. Writing is a pretty solitary occupation, so it is important that we emerge blinking into the light every now and then and share some old-fashioned solidarity.'

A new promotional image for series five of Merlin has been released at this year's San Diego Comic-Con convention. The fantasy drama's fifth run - which bears the tagline 'The die is cast' - is currently filming. The promotional picture - which features Angel Coulby, Bradley James, Colin Morgan, Katie McGrath and Richard Wilson - shows Guinevere taking her place upon the throne as queen of Camelot. Co-creator and executive producer Johnny Capps also revealed that Anthony Head will reprise his role as Uther Pendragon as a guest star - hang on, didn't he, you know, die, or did I just dream that? - and said that the series will potentially be turned into a trio of full-length films after shooting on series five has concluded. Capps said: 'We're hopefully going to do a trilogy - three movies. We will focus on them when we finish season five. One idea we've been playing around with is to reboot the whole series [for the films]. We would go back in time and start the story again and show different parts that you didn't see in the series. The other idea is to do a continuation, but we haven't decided yet.'

The outgoing BBC director general Mark Thompson has blamed Sky for escalating talent costs as the satellite broadcaster has looked to take on the corporation in homegrown comedy and drama. Thompson, who called on Sky to invest more in UK production in his MacTaggart lecture in Edinburgh two years ago, said an 'unintended consequence' of them doing exactly that was the cost of talent both behind and in front of the camera had gone up. Both Thompson and BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten used the publication of the BBC's annual report on Monday to highlight Sky's financial muscle in attracting executives and on-screen stars. At a time when the BBC has been looking to drive down the cost of talent and executive pay, BSkyB said it would double its investment in homegrown production to six hundred million smackers by 2015. Thompson said Sky's extra investment was 'very welcome. In 2010 I said Sky should be investing more in original production. It is very gratifying to see them doing exactly that,' he said. 'One unintended consequence was that in certain key areas on camera and behind the camera the cost of programmes and key stars is going up.' But he said the BBC did not face as much competition for its journalists as it did for its entertainment talent. 'Elsewhere it is a different story. We are not currently seeing as much competition in journalism broadly as we are in television entertainment.' Highlighting the increasing competition for executive talent posed by Sky, Patten said: 'Sky is being run to a considerable extent by former BBC employees who I would guess are doing the job for more money,' said the BBC Trust chairman. 'Maybe they have taken Franciscan vows.' Patten added: 'Sky is competing in drama as well as sport and news. Ditto ITV and Channel Four.'

Why has that odious river of puss Kelvin MacKenzie given up his Daily Scum Mail column, uncharacteristically telling his readers 'it has been lovely to know you' as he signed off last weekend? Weren't those two organs absolutely made for each other? Apparently, according to the Gruniad Morning Star, the reason for MacKenzie's departure is because the investors in his online TV channel, Sports Tonight, want him to 'focus on it full-time.' The thoroughly odious MacKenzie made it clear in a statement to the Gruniad that the decision had 'nothing to do with' the Scum Mail's editor Paul Dacre. So any talk of a tension between the two most vile and shitty horrorshow lice in Fleet Street is, claim the Gruniad, 'wide of the mark.' As clearly are other theories put about as rumours: A return to the Sun? Signing up to be the latest John Sergeant/Ann Widdecombe figure in Strictly? Understudying Chris Moyles's Herod in the autumn tour of Jesus Christ Superstar? Developing into a functioning human being with a heart beating in his chest? No, sorry, that latter suggestion is just stupid, I don't know why I even ventured it.

Another, rather spiteful, little piece from the Gruniad noted that Chris Patten sent congratulations to those behind the first of BBC2's Hollow Crown Shakespeare history plays, Richard II, 'and it has been suggested that the fortuitously apt tale of one king replacing another (handily shown in the week of final interviews) may have clinched the DG job for George Entwistle, cancelling out the BBC Vision boss's jubilee regatta nightmare.' The blogger very much doubts that personally but, then again, this is some bucket of phlegm of no importance writing in the Gruniad so, you know, anything goes. But, the Gruniad-wallah wonders, 'did Lord P carpet Entwistle and his courtiers after the fiasco of last weekend's second offering? Bafflingly assigned to a Saturday slot following three Wimbledon finals of unknown duration, with rain forecast several days ahead, the starry, costly and heavily promoted production of Henry IV Part 1 predictably had to be postponed during the tennis to 10pm, so that it ended at midnight .' Hardest hit of all, they note, was poor old Jeremy Irons, who not only played Henry but presented a documentary which came after the drama. Thanks to the sodding tennis, it finished at 1am.

The BBC has sold its historic Television Centre premises in West London in a deal worth two hundred million smackers. So, that should easily be enough to make at least another twenty series of Doctor Who. Bargain. The historic doughnut-shaped building, which dates back to 1960, has been bought by property developer Stanhope PLC, the corporation confirmed on Monday. Mark Thompson said the deal was secured after the First Night of the Proms on Saturday. TV Centre – once the home of TV classics from Top of the Pops to Blue Peter and which once bore the blast from an IRA car bomb – was put up for sale last year as part of the BBC's latest cost-cutting drive. Thompson said its sale 'represents another milestone in the way the BBC is changing' from a number of broadcasting bases to key HQs in the capital and around the country, including the newly-refurbished Broadcasting House in central London and BBC North in Salford. The BBC's chief financial officer, Zarin Patel, said the corporation's property footprint had been reduced by a third, although in the short term spending on property has increased, by thirty seven million knicker. Spending on technology was also up, according to the corporation's annual report published on Monday. Many programmes have already left TV Centre, including Blue Peter which was relocated along with its famous garden and the rest of the BBC's children's output to Salford. The sale did not go down well with everyone, however. Newsnight presenter yer actual Jeremy Paxman had a face like a smacked arse when he criticised the decision in February, saying: 'What organisation – at a time when it has no money, allegedly – would move from cheap square footage in West London to Oxford Circus?' In a statement, the BBC said TV Centre had been sold to Stanhope 'for a total price in the order of two hundred million pounds. Full details of the sale will be available on completion.'

Lord Alan Sugar-Sweetie has agreed to front another two series of The Apprentice. The former Amstrad boss announced on Twitter that he will present a ninth and tenth edition of the BBC reality show, before inviting his followers to apply for next year's series.

BBC Worldwide's pre-tax profits almost halved to one hundred and four million quid in the year until the end of March, impacted by the sale of the BBC Magazines division and a joint venture stake but it managed to keep revenues above one billion wonga for the fourth year running. The BBC's commercial arm – which made two hundred and one million knicker in profits in the previous financial year, thanks to selling out of its joint venture with Discovery – said stripping out these exceptionals, pre-tax profits actually rose thirteen per cent on an underlying basis. Underlying profits fell three per cent to one hundred and fifty five million notes, but removing the impact of the sale of BBC magazines profits rose eight per cent. The strong underlying performance of BBC Worldwide was fuelled by double-digit growth at its international TV channels business and the sale of and exploitation of programming including Top Gear, Doctor Who, Planet Earth and Sherlock. John Smith, the chief executive of BBC Worldwide, said the results represented a 'powerful performance' from the organisation. 'By offering world-class British programming and brands that resonate with global audiences, we were able to lift headline sales beyond a billion pounds for a fourth year in succession and deliver impressive results.' BBC Worldwide's top-selling brands featured all the usual suspects, including Top Gear, Doctor Who, Frozen Planet, Torchwood, [spooks], Sherlock, Planet Earth and Natural World, each of which were sold in over one hundred markets. The five 'core BBC brands' - Top Gear, Doctor Who, Lonely Planet, Dancing with the Stars (the international version of Strictly Come Dancing) and BBC Earth - accounted for thirty per cent of Worldwide's headline sales.

Keith Allen has defended a forthcoming Channel Four series in which he is filmed taking drugs. The musician and actor took MDMA, the pure form of Ecstasy, for the upcoming documentary to examine its effects. Health campaigners said the show ran the risk of being 'voyeuristic' and 'unrepresentative.' True, but it'll also mean that notoriously sour-faced Allen might just have a smirk on his boat for the duration and that, in an of itself, would be an achievement. The fifty nine-year-old said the documentary was designed as 'a forensic analysis' into the physical and psychological effects of drugs. Called Drugs Live, the 'radical' four-part series aims to examine the claims and counter-claims made about recreational drugs by testing them in a monitored environment. TV bosses at Channel Four said the series, to be broadcast in the autumn, would 'provide viewers with unmediated access to a live drug trial.' Speaking on ITV's This Morning, Allen said it was 'insane' to suggest the show glamorised drug use. Nice to see you picked such a well-serious and informed place to start the debate as an interview on This Morning, Keith, mate. Was Holly Willoughby really probing in her questions? What next, and appearance on Alan Titchmarsh's show? 'If you think that I'm glamorising the taking of drugs by spending an hour and twenty minutes for two consecutive Mondays in an MRI scanning machine, then you're insane,' he said. 'There were policemen taking part. There were definitely soldiers, people who'd never taken it before. It's a very, very forensic analysis, a neurological analysis of the effects of MDMA.' But Simon Antrobus, Chief Executive of the drugs charity, Addaction, said the programme risked being voyeuristic, and 'ultimately unrepresentative of some of the wider realities of drug taking. There are a lot of associated risks with taking street MDMA. Not least the fact that you can never be sure what it is you've bought. As an example, we are currently hearing reports of "Pink Ecstasy", which contains a highly toxic drug that is closer in make up to Crystal Meth than it is to Ecstasy. So, we wouldn't want anyone to come away from the programme thinking that MDMA is benign,' he said. Antrobus said he hoped Channel Four provided 'a balanced view' and included an insight into how all drugs can cause problems for people.'We believe that this is a more interesting and worthwhile story,' he added. The Transform Drug Policy Foundation also voiced concerns about the show, saying they were 'not convinced' it was the right way to explore drug taking. 'There are lots of important issues around drug use in popular culture,' said a spokesperson. 'From previous attempts, footage of people taking drugs is usually quite dull and probably unenlightening.' Oh, I dunno, Christopher Mayhew getting stoned off his skull on mescaline on Panorama was one of the TV highlights of the fifties! The study is being conducted by Professor David Nutt and Dr Robin Carhart-Harris, at Imperial College London. Professor Nutt was sacked in 2009 as chairman of the independent Advisory Council on Misuse of Drugs after he claimed - not entirely unreasonably - that alcohol and tobacco were 'more harmful' than LSD, Ecstasy and Cannabis. Allen, whose contentious documentary about the BNP leader Nick Griffin was broadcast on Channel Four earlier this year, has long been outspoken about his drug use. In 2007 it was reported that he enlisted his daughter, the singer Lily Allen, to help him sell drugs at the Glastonbury Festival when she was a child. He said on This Morning that he would be in favour of drugs being taxed, ensuring their use could be used to support public services.

Seemingly genuine reports circulated on Sunday evening that yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies had made an enquiry about re-signing Liverpool Alamaba Yee-Haws striker Andy Carroll on a season-long loan deal. Apparent confirmation came via club officials to Sky Sports News. The twenty three-year-old appears to have a limited future at Anfield since the arrival of new manager Brendan Rogers and has been linked with a loan departure to a number of clubs - although the Reds would seemingly prefer to complete a permanent transfer to recoup at least a portion of their ludicrous thirty five million smackers outlay in January 2011. A deal which now looks like one of the most brilliant pieces of business ever in football. From Newcastle's point of view, anyway. Rodgers when asked in one of his first interviews in the job, said that he could loan Carroll out, suggesting the target man would not be part of Rogers' Anfield plans. And Newcastle would like nothing more than to bring back a player they sold to the Reds for such an outrageous sums less than two years ago. West Ham co-owner David Gold has also said the Upton Park club would be interested in signing Carroll. Carroll struggled with Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws until belatedly showing form and goals towards the end of last season. He headed the winner for Liverpool against Blackburn Vindaloos, while also scoring against Everton in their FA Cup semi-final win and the 2-1 loss to Moscow Chelski FC in the final. He also scored for England at Euro 2012 in a win against Sweden, but he appears to have fallen out of favour at Anfield. Rodgers signed striker Fabio Borini from Roma last week in his first signing since taking over as Liverpool manager. Interest in bringing Gateshead-born Carroll back to yer actual St James' Park comes after United failed to broker a deal with Dutch side FC Twente to sign the highly rated Luuk De Jong and with uncertainty continuing to surround the future of Demba Ba. Although the Senegal front man has gone on the record recently to confirm his happiness to remain with United, a reported seven million quid buy-out clause in his contract until the end of this month hasn't gone away and neither has uncertainty over his future. Whether United's current playing style lends itself to a target man like Carroll is a matter of opinion. And, whether the off-field concerns which dogged Carroll's previous time at United are all in the past is also somewhat open to considerable debate. 'it just slipped out of my hand, guv. Honest.' Newcastle's approach may give Carroll cause for thought considering the success he enjoyed at his home town club before leaving for the bright-lights-big-city down the 'Pool. In his first full season as a first team regular he helped the Magpies back into the Premier League with seventeen league goals in the 2009-10 after they'd been relegated to the Championship the year before. Carroll continued his promising form in the top-flight during the following campaign and made his senior England debut under Fabio Capello in a 2-1 defeat at Wembley by France. He scored eleven times in nineteen league games before becoming the most expensive British player when ex-Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish took him to Anfield. BBC Radio 5Live reported on Sunday night that Liverpool had dismissed Newcastle's offer as 'not close to their requirements.' However, the fact that all of this was played out in public rather than private, suggests that the scent of a deal may well in the air. Some tough talking will be needed though to bridge the sizeable gap between Newcastle's wage limitations and what Carroll currently earns. Let the horse trading, therefore, commence.

Odious, wretched horrorshow (and drag) Sepp Blatter has attempted to defend FIFA's lack of action over the ISL bribery scandal and claimed he 'does not have the power' to strip Joao Havelange of his honorary presidency. Havelange, former FIFA president, and his former son-in-law, Ricardo Teixeira, were named in court documents as having received millions of pounds in bribes from the collapsed marketing company ISL. Asked to respond to having known about the backhanders, Blatter said: 'Known what? That commission was paid? Back then, such payments could even be deducted from tax as a business expense. Today, that would be punishable under law. You can't judge the past on the basis of today's standards. Otherwise it would end up with moral justice. I can't have known about an offence that wasn't even one. I don’t have the power to call him [Havelange] to account.' But, as outrage to such cowardly, self-serving comments threatened to reach fever pitch, he later appeared to change his tune. Blattter told Swiss paper SonntagsBlick: '[Havelange] is a multi-millionaire. That he received bribes beggars belief for me. He does not need it.' He added: 'I will suggest to the committee that the issue be dealt with at our next congress. He has got to go. He cannot remain honorary president after these events.' Bribes which, you may remember dear blog reader, Blatter has already admitted that he knew about at the time they were given or very soon afterwards. Meanwhile, it's all getting a bit testy up at FIFIAland. Yer actual Franz Beckenbauer has hit back at suggestions by Blatter that there was 'irregularity' in the decision to award the 2006 World Cup to Germany. In his interview with Blick over the weekend, Blatter in addition to shitting in his own pants and running a mile over the Havelange question, also suggested that the vote for the host of the 2006 World Cup had 'not run smoothly' and he 'suspected malpractice.' Something which he has never mentioned from that day to this. However, Beckenbauer, who was head of the organising committee for that tournament, was, fairly obviously, unhappy with the comments. 'I cannot understand the remarks and suggestions of Sepp Blatter,' Der Kaiser said. Blatter suggested that the vote had been 'fixed' to favour Germany over his own preference, South Africa. Germany eventually won the right to host the tournament by twelve votes to eleven, with New Zealand's representative of the Oceania confederation abstaining. 'When we talk about a World Cup being bought, I remember back to 2006 where, at the very last moment, somebody left the room and, instead of having a vote of ten-ten, it finished ten-nine for Germany,' said Blatter. 'I am pleased because I did not have to cast a deciding vote but for somebody to suddenly leave the room - maybe I was too kind or too naive at the time.' When asked if he presumed the vote had been fixed, Blatter said: 'I don't presume anything, I am stating facts.' Those facts, according to Beckenbauer, are wrong. 'He has even got the result wrong,' he fumed in Germany's Bild newspaper. 'It was twelve-eleven and not ten-nine. 'And what was decisive was that the night Europeans all united behind us and voted for us.' The president of Germany's Football League, Reinhard Rauball, has called for Blatter to resign as a result of the bribery scandal, but the odious Blatter has, of course, ruled that out. 'It is nothing new that people want rid of me,' said the Swiss. Yes. And, you wonder why? 'Sometimes it is the British media, then the American and then the German. 'The truth is, Rauball called me last Friday and told me that I should resign. 'I told him that it is not as easy as he imagines.' Yes it really is, Sepp. You just say 'I'm resigning.' Go on, give it a try. 'The fact is, I have been elected by the congress. No club will decide whether and when I leave.' So, that'd be a 'no', then?

Tour de France leader Bradley Wiggins was dubbed 'the true gent' by French television and press after waiting for rival rider Cadel Evans when he suffered a puncture in Sunday's leg of the race. Evans was among thirty riders - including Wiggins himself - affected, puncturing three times as the group crested the Mur de Peguere after carpet tacks were reportedly thrown onto the road. The Australian began to see his hopes of defending the yellow jersey deflating before his eyes like a flan in a cupboard as Wiggins and others began to claim a significant lead. The narrow road meant the team support cars were unable to reach the riders quickly and Evans, who began the day three minutes nineteen seconds behind Wiggins in fourth place, had an agonising wait. Evans twice required further attention before eventually settling on a fresh tyre when his team car caught up with him. Wiggins, who changed bikes on the descent due to a mechanical problem, quickly realised that something was wrong. He then told his Team Sky colleagues to slow so the fragmented field could regroup and crossed the line more than eighteen minutes behind stage winner Luis-Leon Sanchez. It is unspoken (although not always admired to) cycling etiquette not to attack when another leading rider suffers a puncture or mechanical problems and afterwards French television hailed Wiggins for being an 'English sporting gentleman.' John Lelange, directeur sportif of Evans' BMC Racing team, was very thankful to Team Sky for their sportsmanship. 'We came back with the whole group and Sky was really honest and didn't attack in the front,' said Lelange. 'They were fair. I went to [Team Sky sports director' Sean Yates at the end of the race to say I really appreciated it.' Lelangue summed up the carnage saying, simply: 'It was a criminal act by hooligans.' Wiggins was more deliberate in the delivery of his words but equally stringent in his verdict. He shrugged his shoulders and said: 'What can you do? It's something we can't control. It's sad but those are the type of things we have to put up with as cyclists. If that happened in a football stadium, you’d be arrested and seen on CCTV. But we are out there quite vulnerable at times, very close to the public on climbs. There is nothing to stop more of that stuff happening. We're just riders at the end of the day and we're there to be shot at. Literally. I just thought it was the honourable thing to do to wait for Cadel. No-one wants to benefit from someone else's misfortune.'

Thousands of athletes and officials have begun to arrive in London for the Olympic Games, as questions remain about recruitment of security staff. Preparations for London 2012 are intensifying with the opening ceremony just eleven days away. The first priority 'Games Lane' has begun operation on the M4 and the Olympic drug testing lab starts work. Meanwhile, the chairman of G4S has refused to express support for his chief executive over the guards fiasco. Heathrow Airport is standing by to process as many as one hundred and twenty thousand passengers on Monday, about ten thousand more than would be normal for this time of year. Immigration Minister Damian Green has said that the UK Border Force would be in full 'Olympic mode' as of Sunday and he promised all immigration desks at Heathrow would be manned at peak times. Volunteers will be directing athletes to the coaches and trains that will take many of them to the Olympic Village in Stratford. The village will house sixteen thousand athletes and officials at its peak. Those that travel by road will benefit from the first of the Games Lanes which at busy times will operate between Junction three and Junction two of the M4 motorway towards London. The motorway has just reopened following emergency repairs on a damaged flyover near Junction two. The rest of the thirty miles of dedicated lanes in the Olympic Route Network will be operational by the middle of next week, with heavy fines for those who misuse them. All road users will be able to go into the lanes when they are not in use overnight. Sports Minister Hugh Robertson said the authorities had plans to lift the restrictions if they were causing gridlock. Kevin Delaney, from the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said the lanes 'could exacerbate traffic problems' in the capital. 'If anything goes wrong with the central and inner London transport network, we tend to get a wholly disproportionate amount of congestion - and so the Games lanes themselves will actually impose serious constraints on this already stretched network,' he told BBC 5Live. The biggest anti-doping operation in the history of the Olympics also begins on Monday. Drug testers are expecting to take the first of about six thousand wee-wee samples for testing at the London 2012 laboratory. Half of the competitors will be tested including every medallist at the Olympics and Paralympics. Ahead of the Games G4S chief executive Nick Buckles has been criticised over the private security firm's failure to recruit enough security guards for the Olympics, after it emerged last Wednesday that three thousand five hundred troops were being drafted in to plug gaps in staff provision. G4S chairman John Connolly told the Financial Times: 'We don't want to do anything that smacks of short-term expediency, but it would be right to consider whether any members of the senior team are best placed to take the company forward.' This comes after Buckles told the Sunday Torygraph that he plans to stay to help deliver the contract but that he had considered quitting over the issue. Buckles is due to appear before the Home Affairs Select Committee on Tuesday to answers MPs' questions after he apologised on Saturday and told the BBC then that he only began to know things were going wrong 'eight or nine days ago.' The Commons Public Accounts Committee has summoned G4S, two government departments and Games organiser LOCOG to appear before it in September. BBC political correspondent Robin Brant said Labour was hoping Home Secretary Theresa May would go to Parliament on Monday to update MPs. The party thinks there are 'serious questions' for May over the extent to which the Home Office had oversight over the contract. May claimed - somewhat unconvincingly - that she was only made aware of the scale of the problem at G4S last Wednesday.

Meanwhile, under the headline Games security fiasco 'completely normal', the normally supportive Metro has had a right go at one of this blog's favourite targets for withering disdain: 'The shambles over Olympic Games security has been dismissed as "nothing more than a hitch"' by the lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Hunt. 'It was "completely normal" for contractors to break their promises on major projects,' according to the vile and odious rascal. He also defended security giant G4S, which failed to recruit the ten thousand-plus people needed to guard the Games, 'saying the company had been "quite honourable."' Jesus, what planet is this berk living on? The vile and odious rascal Hunt added: 'They have put their hands up. Nick Buckles, the chief executive, has said they got it wrong. They have apologised.' Oh, so that's all right then? 'They are going to cover all the costs, he has apologised to the troops who are going to be drafted in at the last moment.' But, as Metro notes, 'his remarks failed to assuage critics,' including Labour's deputy leader Mad Hattie Harman, who said the government had taken its eye off the ball when it should have been most vigilant. She added: 'I think they have been dangerously incompetent on this.' This blogger is sayin' nowt, dear blog reader. Not a sausage. Bugger all.

As so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader. This is something which nobody's likely to be doing much on the M4 for the next few weeks. Not even the German team

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