Friday, July 20, 2012

Someone Takes His Pants Off And The Rafters Knock

Matt Smith has praised his new Doctor Who co-star Jenna-Louise Coleman. The actor told SFX magazine (Christ, is that still going?) that Coleman's character - widely believed to be named Clara ... or, maybe Avocado, sources vary - will be 'very different' to her predecessor, Amy Pond. Less ginger, for a kick-off. 'I think Steven's writing her in a very interesting way - in a different way to Amy Pond,' Smudger noted. 'I can't really tell you too much about her and her story because it's all top-secret as always. But we're very excited and we're planning to make the show with her bigger and better than ever and just keep moving forward.' Smith continued: 'Jenna's doing a wonderful job, she's a wonderful actress and very dedicated.' The twenty nine-year-old added that he will miss his 'great friends' Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill, who will depart Doctor Who midway through the seventh series. 'I'm going to miss them terribly,' he admitted. '[But] it is a show that is always evolving and by its very nature regenerates itself so you've got to move with the times.'

Meanwhile, a Doctor Who attraction which has specially built sets and interactive features is opening to fans in Cardiff. The Doctor Who Experience - just like The Jimi Hendrix Experience only, less Afro haircuts - is based next the BBC's Roath Lock studios in Cardiff Bay and is expected to attract up to a quarter of a million visitors a year. Exclusive filming with Matt Smith, is one of the features at the exhibition as well as a replica of the TARDIS. Thousands of tickets have been bought by fans ahead of Friday's opening. Previously, a temporary Doctor Who exhibit visited the city, but the latest development is in a new Cardiff council-built building, and the idea is to have an evolving visitor experience during its five year lease. Philip Murphy, the managing director of BBC worldwide live events, said putting everything into place had been 'a massive job,' but everything is ready for Friday's opening - including a TARDIS at the end of a jetty. 'It has created work too, because a lot of local people have been hired to create this, and through the additional tourism it'll bring in,' Murphy added. When an official Doctor Who convention was held in Cardiff in March people travelled from around the world to attend, and global visitors from places as far apart as Australia, Paris, Holland are expected to make the journey this time. It is hoped queuing should be kept to a minimum as visitors have been allocated specific timeslots. 'Hopefully it will become an important part of the tourism trail in Cardiff,' said Murphy. 'The exhibit will change over time too as new props and costumes featured in TV episodes will be put on show.' In 2013, it will be fifty years since the first Doctor Who episode and costumes and props from the 'archive' will also be on show. Business Minister, Edwina Hart said the exhibition was a 'great coup for Cardiff and Wales' profile internationally. Doctor Who fans span the globe and the programme has been televised in fifty countries. This unique exhibition is expected to attract a quarter of a million visitors a year to its Cardiff Bay venue and boosting our tourism industry, which is already worth over four billion pounds a year to the Welsh economy,' she added. The Doctor Who Experience is based in a three thousand square metre building is at Porth Teigr, next door to the BBC's Roath Lock studios, where Doctor Who, Casualty and Pobol y Cwm are produced.

ITV have offered yet further proof that they don't have a single original frigging idea in their collective skull by ordering a pilot of a new series of Catchphrase fronted by Stephen Mulhern. The game show, which was most famously presented by Roy Walker in the 1980s and 90s, has been the subject of reboot rumours for some time, with the broadcaster's interest in the format first reported in May. STV Productions is now advertising for audience members for a pilot recording, which will feature the odious Britain's Got More Talent presenter Mulhern as the host. The original format will remain, although the show will be updated with new 3D graphics and a new concluding game, reports Broadcast. Mulhern's pilot will be filmed in London on 27 August. Catchphrase originally ran for more than three hundred episodes on ITV from 1986 to 2002.

The BBC have confirmed that the second series of Death In Paradise won't return until early 2013. The BBC have released the first promotional images from the second series, featuring Ben Miller and Sara Martins. The series is currently shooting on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe. Series two sees Miller and Martins again joined by series regulars Danny John-Jules, Don Warrington and Gary Carr. Guest stars for the new series were announced, including British singer-songwriter Jamelia, Amanda Mealing, Kelly Adams and Gemma Jones.

A seven-minute preview trailer has been released for the upcoming TV adaptation of World Without End, based on author Ken Follett's bestseller. To be shown on Channel Four later this year, the eight-hour series stars Peter Firth, Cynthia Nixon, Miranda Richardson, Ben Chaplin and Tom Weston-Jones. The official synopsis reads: 'World Without End is a rousing epic tale of a feisty young woman, Caris, who inspires her medieval town of Kingsbridge to confront the most powerful forces of her time, namely the Church and Crown, as they must fight to save their town from ruin and, ultimately usher in a new era of freedom, innovation and enlightenment.'

Wednesday's overnight ratings were a further kick in the knackers for the towering ego of yer actual Lord Lloyd Webber and his shoe-tree of despair. Superstar, fast turning into one of the biggest flops that ITV have ever commissioned (and this, from the company that thought Daybreak was a 'rilly great' idea) pulled in a mere 2.8m punters and had its ass beaten hollow by the BBC's DIY SOS: The Big Build (which had an overnight audience of 4.34m). ITV put out a - factually accurate, but context-stripped - tweet saying 'ITV was the most watched channel in peak time last night, with an average of 4.2m viewers between 7pm and 10.30pm.' Or, slightly more in line with reality, '7.7m watched Coronation Street and six million watched Emmerdale. Thereafter, viewers deserted ITV in droves.' Superstar's series average overnights so far is approximately 2.79m. Coverage of the Tour De France helped ITV4 to its highest Wednesday primetime share since May 2009.

It is being reported that EastEnders' pub the Queen Vic will close down this summer as part of a storyline. The Sun claims that landlord Alfie Moon (Shane Richie) and wife Kat (Jessie Wallace) have to close the pub because of a flea infestation. The paper claims that the closure will add to the couple's money worries. It is reported that the scenes will be broadcast next month.
Looe's Wild Futures Monkey Sanctuary in Cornwall has secured the support of Stephen Fry. He agreed to present a short film on the charity's work, made public on Friday 6 July. It focuses on Joey, a black capped capuchin monkey taken from the rainforest at three months old. Flown from South America to the UK, he was kept in a cage in a flat in Camden for nine years and became crippled by bone disease. Joey was rescued by Wild Futures in 2007 and taken to the sanctuary which hopes the film will boost interest in its three pound-per-month Adopt A Monkey scheme. Can I have Peter Tork, please? Stephen said: 'We are meant to be a nation of animal lovers, so why the trade in a wild, social animal with complex needs is still legal, continues to astound me. Joey's story is not unique – many of the monkeys rescued by Wild Futures have their own terrible tales. Taking part in this project was important to me and I sincerely hope that many people are moved to support Wild Futures' work, so that the charity can campaign to put an end to the trade and rescue more monkeys in need.' Wild Futures hopes that the film will raise awareness of the plight of many primates and ultimately raise funds through its Adopt A Monkey scheme. Donating three smackers a month, supporters will receive a personalised certificate, a picture of their adopted monkey, a factsheet on their monkey's species and a free membership pass to The Monkey Sanctuary.

The BBC is to reschedule two programmes about last summer's riots in England after a judge prevented them from being broadcast. As detailed in yesterday's blog, the judge presiding over the trial of eight men cleared of murder during rioting in Birmingham in August said the documentaries could prejudice the trial and imposed an injunction. The two-part The Riots: In Their Own Words, had been due to be broadcast on Monday and Wednesday of this week. Following the acquittals, the documentaries can now be shown. The BBC challenged the ruling on Wednesday on the grounds that the films made no references whatsoever to the case being considered by the jury, or even mention rioting in Birmingham itself. But the judge - who sounds like a right clown, frankly - rejected the appeal saying the films 'touched on issues related to his case' and that they were 'literally littered' with potentially prejudicial commentary. And he did all this, at least according to the Gruniad Morning Star, without having actually seen the documentaries in question. So, he's obviously psychic as well. He also imposed a second injunction banning the media from reporting the details of the initial injunction. The first part of the BBC2 series, which had been due to be shown on Monday, featured actors working with a script based on extracts from anonymous interviews with rioters. The second documentary, scheduled for broadcast on Wednesday, featured police officers talking about their experiences policing the riots. 'The BBC was of the firm view that as the programmes did not contain any reference to the incident which was the subject of the trial, their broadcast could not have affected the trial's outcome,' a BBC spokeswoman said. 'As makers of current affairs programmes we felt this was a critical point regarding the freedom of the media to discuss matters that are of general public interest. We were disappointed by the judge's ruling which prevented the programmes from being broadcast until the jury returned its verdicts. Now that has happened, we are pleased to be able to show the programmes.' It is not yet known when the programmes will be broadcast since the Olympics will be dominating schedules for much of the summer. Legal experts have said the injunction raises 'troubling questions' about the freedom of the media to report on issues in the public interest. 'The fact the order was made at all was extraordinary and so was its scope in preventing the naming of the case, court or judge,' said the media law expert David Banks, author of McNae's Essential Law for Journalists. He added: 'It is very worrying in that it effectively negates the section five "discussion of public affairs" defence in contempt of court which is at the heart of the 1981 act and which balances freedom of expression and the right to a fair trial. I think the judge was wrong in saying the right to a fair trial outweighed the interest in broadcasting the programme – there is a balance to be struck and one right does not automatically outweigh another.' David Allen Green, the legal commentator and head of media at law firm Preiskel & Co, said there was 'a strong public interest' in the documentary being shown. Allen Green added: 'For a court to order a national broadcaster not to show such a programme really should only be done if there was direct evidence of prejudicial content. As it was, the film was anonymised and we are told it did not refer to the Birmingham incident at all. If so, the court order was excessive and misconceived.'

Sherlock and Luther have both been nominated for the outstanding miniseries EMMY, while their leading men are up for the best actor awards from the LA-based Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia earned nominations for Benedict Cumberbatch in the outstanding actor in a miniseries category. Martin Freeman picked up a supporting actor nomination for his portrayal of John Watson. The BBC Wales co-production, originally shown on BBC1, collected fourteen nominations in total. It won nominations for director Paul McGuigan, writer The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat, as well as for art direction, casting, cinematography, costume, editing, score and sound. Luther, meanwhile, saw leading man Idris Elba, director Sam Miller and writer Neil Cross nominated. Great Expectations - the BBC/Masterpiece co-production that proved popular with US audiences - was also recognised in the miniseries category for its art direction, cinematography, costumes, titles and theme music. Emma Thompson and Judy Davis are in the running for acting honours for their performances in two BBC dramas, originally shown on BBC2. Thompson was nominated for lead actress in a miniseries for her turn as 'She' in The Song of Lunch (a BBC/Masterpiece co-production), a dramatisation of Christopher Reid's narrative poem. Davis is a best supporting actress in a miniseries contender for her role as Jill Tankard in Page Eight, the BBC's spy thriller which is also nominated for its titles. The BBC America/Kudos co-production The Hour was recognised for Abi Morgan's outstanding writing. Non-fiction plaudits went to Frozen Planet: Ends of the Earth which was shortlisted for its cinematography, picture and sound editing, as well as for sound mixing.

Major shareholders have renewed their push for media mogul and billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch to resign as News Corp chairman at the company's annual meeting later this year. Eighteen major shareholders including Connecticut's state pension fund and Legal & General have now signed a letter calling for Murdoch to step down from the company he has spent sixty years creating. News Corp has been rocked by revelations of widespread phone-hacking at its UK newspaper subsidiary. Earlier this year a UK parliamentary committee said Murdoch was 'not a fit person' to run an international business. 'We believe it is important for News Corporation to uphold the highest standards of corporate governance in order to protect the value of our investment. Given the recent reputational, legal and regulatory risks brought about by allegations of phone-hacking and payments to police officers by News Corporation subsidiaries in the UK and subsequent investigations in the UK and the US, we believe the board is in need of independent leadership,' the shareholders wrote to Murdoch. The campaign has been organised by Christian Brothers Investment Services and members of the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum. CBIS organised a similar protest at last year's annual general meeting. Murdoch received the support of eighty six per cent of voting shareholders but the majority of independent votes went against key board members including his sons Lachlan and James, who ran the UK newspaper business. The votes were a particular embarrassment to Murdoch who arrived at the meeting with forty seven per cent of shares on his side, thanks to the family's News Corp holdings and the support of their largest outside shareholder, Saudi prince Alwaleed Bin Talal. News Corp recently announced that it was splitting the company in two. The lion's share of the business, a largely US-based media empire consisting of the FOX TV empire, Twentieth Century Fox film studio and other entertainment assets, will be separated from the publishing businesses including the Wall Street Journal, its UK and Australian newspaper and HarperCollins book publishing. Murdoch plans to remain chairman of both businesses although Chase Carey, current chief operating officer of News Corp, will be elevated to the number two spot at the entertainment business. 'Further, the board's announcement of its intention to split the company into separate media and publishing arms presents a unique opportunity for serious governance reform. Appointing an independent Chair at News Corp and its successor companies will go a long way to restoring shareholder confidence. We hereby urge the Board to seriously consider the request put forward by the shareholder resolution and agree to appoint an independent Chair at News Corp and its successor companies who has not served as an executive of the company or its subsidiaries,' the shareholders wrote in their letter.

Olympic ticket-holders will be 'free to wear the clothing of their choice' inside the Games venues, according to organisers, despite the Olympic delivery chairman, Lord Coe, claiming that people wearing advertising logos of non-Olympic sponsors would be turned away. In an interview on Radio 4's Today programme, Coe suggested - outrageously - that the Olympic organising committee, LOCOG, had a responsibility to protect the 'commercial rights of sponsors.' He said spectators would not be able to gain entry wearing, for example, a Pepsi T-shirt but that they would 'probably' get in wearing Nike trainers. Commercial rivals Adidas and Coca-Cola are the official London 2012 Olympic sponsors in their industries. The rules are in place to prevent so-called 'ambush marketing' by rival brands, but a spokesperson for LOCOG said that people wearing clothing with other brands would not be prevented from entering venues. Speaking on Friday morning, Coe said, 'We had to raise through the organising committee a mountainous amount of money from the private sector. The organising committee pretty much raises all of its money through that area and we do it thorough sponsorship and we do it through broadcasting rights. And when you have big British businesses that are prepared to really invest in the Games, you have the responsibility to protect them.' Quite how this protection of British businesses applies to the American multi-national Coca-Cola and the German multi-national Adidas is, as yet, unclear. 'We have to protect the rights of the sponsor because in large part they pay for the Games. You probably wouldn't be able to [walk in] with a Pepsi T-shirt because Coca-Cola are our sponsors and they've put millions of pounds into this project but also millions of pounds into grassroots sport. It is important to protect those sponsors.' Asked if people could enter venues wearing Nike trainers, Coe replied, 'I think you probably could.' However, hurriedly responding after the interview, LOCOG said: 'As an individual you are free to wear clothing of your choice. Including trainers.' They affirmed that this would also include a T-shirt emblazoned with a non-sponsors logo, adding that the rules were different for those working at venues, who were bound by different rules. However, LOCOG's advice to those travelling to events states that there are restrictions of 'any objects or clothing bearing political statements or overt commercial identification intended for "ambush marketing."' Ambush marketing has a long history dating back at least to the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996, when spectators in the crowd were handed Nike paper flags to wave, infringing Reebok sponsorship. More famously at those games, Linford Christie wore contact lenses overlayed with a Puma logo during a press conference, which really pissed off their great rivals Adidas. In recent months, LOCOG has been criticised for strictly enforcing sponsorship advertising rules after a butcher near the Olympic sailing venue in Weymouth was asked to remove a sign displaying a ring of sausages and saying, 'fantastic 2012,' and a cafe on the torch relay route was asked to stop advertising its 'flaming torch breakfast baguette.' A LOCOG spokesperson said Coe could have 'got muddled' because of differing rules for spectators and those working and volunteering at venues. 'I think it is just the workforce who have to wear Adidas trainers. There's a lot going on at the moment.' Ticket-holders for the games were sent an e-mail last week pointing them to a website with a list of banned items. These include liquids in containers greater than 100ml, alcohol, placards, laser pointers, pets(!), fireworks and vuvuzelas.

At least fourteen people have been killed in a shooting at a Batman film premiere in the US city of Denver, police say. About fifty people have been injured in the incident at the cinema complex in the suburb of Aurora. Witnesses say a gunman wearing a gas mask opened fire during a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises. A man was arrested in a car park nearby in possession of a rifle and hand-gun. He told police that explosives were stored at his home. Police chief Dan Oates told reporters that an apartment block in the north of Aurora had been evacuated as a consequence of that information. More weapons may have been left in the cinema, he said. Ten people were killed at the cinema and four others died later at hospital from their wounds, the police chief said. There are reports that the gunman also released a smoke bomb during the incident. The Swedish Medical Center, not the area's main hospital, told the BBC that it had received several gunshot victims and expected more. A witness told the local 9News that during a shooting scene in the film he heard loud bangs and a lot of smoke and initially thought they were live special effects put on by the cinema. Projectiles came through the wall from the neighbouring theatre screening, the witness said. CNN quoted one witness saying: 'A guy slowly making his way up the stairs and firing - picking random people.'

Firefighters have been battling forest fires across the Portuguese island of Madeira - one of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's favourite holiday destinations - for more than two days. Dozens of people have abandoned their homes as the wildfires, which began on Wednesday, came close to settlements. The latest evacuations have taken took place on Porto Santo, a smaller island near the main island of Madeira. High winds are said to be hampering efforts to contain blazes on both islands. Television footage from Porto Santo showed houses catching fire and firefighters urging residents of the village of Camacha to leave their homes, Reuters reported. On Wednesday, TV images showed flames several storeys high right on the edge of Madeira's main town, Funchal. The area is now out of danger, but fires have broken out elsewhere on Madeira. Two houses were destroyed and at least twenty five more damaged in the town, according to officials quoted by the Associated Press. At least seventy five firefighters have been dispatched from the Portuguese mainland to help the overstretched local fire services. Fires have also broken out on the mainland itself, with the authorities struggling to contain a wildfire near the town of Tavira, in the Algarve, according to Portuguese media reports. Portugal has been suffering from a heatwave, adding to a drought that has hit the country since the start of the year. On the Spanish island of Tenerife, officials were on Thursday hoping that a drop in the wind would help them contain their own forest fire which has been burning since Sunday. Aircraft have been dropping water in an effort to contain the fire, which has led to the evacuation of Vilaflor, a town of about eighteen hundred people on the south side of the island.

Eddie Izzard has become an associate director of Crystal Palace, the football club he supported as a child. He said that in his new role – announced just before he runs with the Olympic Torch – he wants the team 'win every game from now until the end of time.' Yeah. That's not gonna happen, Ed! In a statement, he said: 'I am very happy to lend my support to Crystal Palace FC by becoming an associate director of the club. With Dougie Freedman as our manager and the new young players coming up through our academy I hope that Crystal Palace will be pushing forward to new heights with all of them succeeding to the best of their ability – and further. All I really want is for Crystal Palace to win every game from now until the end of time. That's all. I know that's a tough thing to ask but that really is what I want. You see, I've been a fan or a supporter of Palace since 1969. At times I've been a fan and at times I've been just a supporter because I'm afraid I'm a bad loser and if we don't win games – I don't deal with it well. I tend to swear in front of children and shout at televisions in pubs. I know everyone has to deal with this and I've tried to mature my behaviour as my life has progressed, but in this one area I am still like the teenager I was in the 70s, living and dying every week for the football games I was playing myself or watching Palace play. So I have circled the idea of trying to do something to help Palace for years and now I'm in. What I can actually do – I'm not sure. But if you know anything about me, I am a determined bastard and I don't like to give in.' Palace chief executive, Phil Alexander, said: 'I am delighted that Eddie has signed up to be an associate director at Palace. He is an iconic entertainer and we hope that he can find enough time during his busy year to attend as many games as possible.' Eddie is, of course, by no means the first comic to become a director of a football club. Stephen Fry is on the board at Norwich City, Eric Morecambe was a director of Luton Town and Tommy Trinder was Fulham's chairman for almost twenty years. And, then there's successive boards at yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle. Comedians, the lot of them. On Tuesday, Eddie ran through his childhood home of Bexhill in East Sussex, with the Olympic flame. On completing his three hundred-yard run Eddie said: 'Just a typical day in Bexhill! It's a beautiful experience I didn't think there would be so much excitement, it's been great fun but I didn't realise it would be over so quickly. It was a wonderful experience to be one of eight thousand runners throughout the UK.' Eddie who is well-known for completing forty three marathons in fifty one days for Comic Relief, jokingly said, 'This run was far easier.' On the subject of the Olympics, he said, 'The feeling is great, the crowds are very excited and it's great for the UK.' Eddie's dad, John, when asked what he thought of his son doing the run with the Olympic torch, said, 'He's a very bright young lad, he's got the confidence to do things I’d never have done.'

Mark Cavendish stormed to his twenty second Tour De France stage win as his friend and team-mate Bradley Wiggins remained on course for overall victory. The Manxman has played a supporting role in Team Sky's bid to put Wiggins on top of the podium in Paris. But the world champion claimed his second victory of this year's Tour on stage eighteen as the peloton caught an escape group inside the final two kilometres. Cavendish powered away in the final five hundred metres to draw level with Lance Armstrong and Andre Darrigade in all-time stage wins. There were no changes in the overall standings with Wiggins still two minutes and five seconds ahead of another Team Sky colleague, Chris Froome. Having come through the final mountain stage on Thursday with his position enhanced, Wiggins's priority for Friday's 222.5km route from Blagnac to Brive-la-Gaillarde was merely to stay out of trouble. Given the Briton's ability in the time trial - he won the other by thirty five seconds from team-mate Froome - he can look forward to extending his advantage in Saturday's 53.5km time trial to Chartres. Wiggins stayed near the front of the peloton for most of the stage as the main bunch chased down a sixteen-man breakaway that included Briton David Millar, winner of stage twelve a week ago, and Team Sky's Edvald Boasson Hagen. Three riders - Alexandre Vinokorov, Lotto's Adam Hansen and Luca Paolini - remained in front as the riders reached the outskirts of Brive, and were joined by three others - Andreas Kloden, Luis Leon Sanchez and Nicholas Roche - entering the final five kilometres. The gap was down to eight seconds with three kilometres to go and Wiggins hit the front of the peloton with one kilometre to go, with Cavendish on his back wheel. The Manxman went from a long way back, but easily out-sprinted Matt Goss and Peter Sagan. If fans of Wiggins are fretting about his reception in Paris should he win the Tour De France on Sunday, they can relax. The French public may have started the race knowing next to nothing about the English cyclist and Paul Weller lookalike - but the more they have seen over the last three weeks, the more they seem to like. 'The French are discovering a little more about him every day,' says Alexandre Roos, who has been following Wiggins on the Tour for L'Equipe. 'They know now that he is articulate. They know he is good at interviews. But above all they know that he has a life outside of cycling - that he likes music and British culture, and that he is very proud of it. And the French respond really well to that side of him. I know people who are not at all into cycling, but who are definitely interested in Wiggins the man.' People who've watched Wiggins over the last three weeks say the attitude of the French has evolved. Initially, there was a certain suspicion - nurtured in some sections of the French media - because of his reluctance to speak to journalists in French. Wiggins spent several years with French cycling teams, so he can - if he wants - speak French fluently. But delivering laconic and (for the French) unintelligible one-liners did not endear him to viewers. In later post-race press conferences he mellowed. And that helped bring the French over to his side. It is a common view in France that Wiggins and Team Sky have provided an efficient - albeit somewhat boring - masterclass in how to shut down a race. A time-trialler by background, Wiggins consolidated an early lead in the first contre-la-montre (and for the rest of the Tour the strategy has been to defend. 'Anglo-Saxon teams like Sky are more organised. They are more pro,' sniffed Yves Blanc, editor of Le Cycle magazine. 'Every member has a clear job to do, serving the leader, and there's no room for poetry. So, yes we have lost something of the romance of the Tour. For the French the history of the Tour is about people who attack, who fail, who overcome disaster to win in the fog or the rain. It's not like that any more - but that's not Wiggins's fault. It's the times we live in.' James Startt of Bicycling magazine agrees that 'what might be brilliant for Team Sky is not necessarily brilliant for spectators.' But on the other hand, he adds, 'you have to hand it to Team Sky for dominating the race so effectively.' It's not just Wiggins, he points out. 'Several of his team-mates could be leaders themselves. When you have a world champion - Mark Cavendish - going back and forth with water-bottles, that shows an amazing depth on the bench.' In many ways Wiggins fulfils the expectations in France of what an Englishman ought to be like. He's seen as stylish, slightly eccentric, gentlemanly, outspoken and humorous. Forty years ago the French warmed to another English rider, the great Tom Simpson, who went on to die in tragic circumstances during the 1967 Tour. For L'Equipe's Roos, it is no surprise that Simpson is Wiggins's role model. 'We had a long talk about it, and he told me how much he admired Simpson for standing up for his Britishness at a time when it was not easy to do so. Back then British riders who wanted a career had to leave Britain and they all ended up being forced to fit the mould in some continental team. But Simpson refused that. He wanted to do things his way. He was a maverick and that is why Wiggins likes him.' So will there be resentment in France, if Sunday's podium is topped by an Englishman? Not for a minute, says Yves Blanc. 'Let's face it, you came with some great riders, and you may end with not one on the podium, but two if Chris Froome comes second. On top of that, if Cavendish wins the last stage, it'll be a record fourth in a row on the Champs-Elysees for him, and he'll be on a podium too. We're impressed. These guys aren't cheats. No-one's going to say they stole the race. What else is there to do but applaud?'

Fans with tickets for a cancelled 1979 concert by The Who in Rhode Island, will be able to use them when the band return to the venue next year in the first major tour for four years. The gig in Providence, Rhode Island, was called off thirty three years ago after a terrible stampede killed eleven people before a previous show in Ohio. Fans who still hold tickets for the Providence show can, if they wish, swap them for February's gig. 'Somewhere, someplace, someone's got it stashed,' Lawrence Lepore, manager of the Dunkin' Donuts Center venue, said. 'The question is, are they willing to give that up? If they are, we're willing to take it,' he told the Associated Press. The legendary group were due to play at the venue, formerly named the Providence Civic Center, in 1979. But the city's mayor called the show off, citing safety concerns after the tragic events in Cincinnati a few days earlier. The band will close their next US tour, during which they will play their 1973 masterpiece Quadrophenia in its entirety, in Providence on 26 February. Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend are taking The Who back on the road for a fortieth anniversary tour for Quadrophenia, taking the rock opera on a thirty six-night tour of North America. 'We've been anxious to work together before we drop dead,' Townshend said on Wednesday. There have certainly been questions about The Who's future - although, to be fair, there's been that ever since 1979 when yer actual Keith Telly Topping first saw the band live. He's subsequently seen then on every major tour they've made (except for 1989) for the simple reason that, every time, you think that's going to be the last opportunity. Townshend has hearing problems, and the guitarist sat out Daltrey's 2011 tour performing The Who's 1969 LP Tommy. Still, Townshend said last year that he wanted to bring Quadrophenia back to the stage. 'I really love playing all of it,' Townshend said. 'It's a unique piece for me in that. It flows naturally, and I always feel proud of my achievement as the writer, that I put it all together and gave the band a third wind.' This time the band incorporates Daltrey and Townshend, plus long-time accompanists Pino Palladino, Townshend's brother Simon, yer actual Zak Starkey and Chris Stainton, plus Loren Gold and Frank Simes who both worked with Daltry on his 2009 tour. Sadly, as usual, the late Keith Moon and the late John Entwistle won't be with them this time, except in spirit. While each night will see them perform Quadrophenia in full, The Who will also revisit classics such as 'Baba O'Riley' and 'Won't Get Fooled Again'. Townshend also confirmed that he is finishing work on his memoir, due this autumn. In a nod to Keith Richards' book, Life, Townshend cracked a ribald joke about Mick Jagger: 'What I remember of the size of Mick Jagger's penis,' he told Rolling Stone, 'I remember it as being huge and extremely tasty.' Too much info, Pete! Released in 1973, Quadrophenia was The Who's sixth studio LP (and, probably, their best). Telling the story of mods and rockers in 1964 and, specifically, a dysfunctional youf named Jimmy who is having a very bad week, it reached number two in the UK. It was adapted into a - really very good indeed - film by Franc Roddam in 1979. The tour begins on 1 November in Florida. No UK or European dates have yet been announced. But, if and when they are, as usual, yer actual Keith Telly Topping will - almost certainly - be there when they get to Tyneside.

The veteran newsreader Sir Alastair Burnet, best known for fronting ITV's News At Ten for many years, has died aged eighty four. In a statement, his family said he died at a nursing home in London, where he was being cared for after suffering several strokes. The broadcaster presented his last news bulletin in August 1991, after retiring at the age of sixty three. His close friend the broadcaster Andrew Neil called him 'one of the greatest journalists of his generation. He will also always be recalled by family, friends and colleagues for his unparalleled professionalism, humour and gentlemanly kindness, especially to journalists starting out on their careers,' Neil said in tribute. 'Joy it was to be in his company and he was an inspiration to many who followed in his footsteps - the broadcasters' broadcaster.' Sir Alastair also had a distinguished career as a print journalist, editing publications such as The Economist and the Daily Scum Express. He joined ITN in 1963 as its political editor, before switching to newsreading four years later. Although mainly remembered for his ITV work during the early and later stages of his career, he spent a period at the BBC during the 1970s working on Panorama and he - memorably - fronted their two general election programmes in 1974. John Hardie, chief executive of ITN, paid tribute to the broadcaster: 'ITN stands on the shoulders of giants, none greater than Sir Alastair Burnet. He defined newscasting for a generation and his influence is still clearly evident today. He set the bar to a standard that has never been surpassed, and perhaps not even equalled. Sir Alastair will be sorely missed by many here at ITN, but his legacy lives on.' With his avuncular figure and an air of authority honed from a distinguished career in journalism, Burnet, was best known as the presenter of ITN's News at Ten and as ITV's anchorman for royal and state occasions, elections and budgets. Before working in television full time, Burnet enjoyed a successful career in print journalism, which included nine years as editor of The Economist and a much shorter, less happy spell as editor of Scum Express. Burnet - christened James William Alexander - was born in Sheffield to Scottish parents in July 1928. He attended the Leys School in Cambridge, then went up to Oxford to read history. He worked on the Glasgow Herald for seven years and on The Economist as a leader writer, before going to ITN as political editor. Along with Andrew Gardner, he presented the first episode of ITN's News at Ten on 3 July 1967. Burnet returned to The Economist as editor, and increased the circulation by fifty thousand over nine years. He is credited with introducing the magazine's 'clever' covers - using irreverent pictures in place of dense amounts of text. Burnet switched to the BBC in the early 1970s, presenting Panorama and anchoring the corporation's two 1974 election programmes. He also presented The World at One on Radio 4. He edited the Scum Express briefly before rejoining ITN full time in 1976. He became the biggest editorial influence on the programme and also became an Associate Editor of ITN. Alastair Burnet carved a particular niche for himself in British television. He had interviewed many leading politicians, and was highly regarded by the royal family. In 1985, he was the first journalist to be granted an interview by the Prince and Princess of Wales - an interview which topped the television ratings. Resulting book and video sales raised one million quid for charity. However, not everyone enjoyed his style. Satirical TV puppet show Spitting Image infamously portrayed Sir Alastair as a cringing, fawning royalist ('lick, lick, smarm, smarm!'), forever trying to suck up to the nearest available member of the royal family. And, after a particularly puke-inducing 1990 interview with the Queen Mother, he was memorably mocked in the opening episode of the newsroom satire Drop The Dead Donkey. The satirical magazine Private Eye once, allegedly, referred to him as Arslicker Burnet. For ITN, Burnet anchored the 1979, 1983 and 1987 General Election programmes, did the commentaries for ITV on the royal weddings in 1981 and 1986 and on Pope John Paul II's visit to Britain. He won high praise for many of these and his work on elections and budgets. He also won several awards, including the Richard Dimbleby BAFTA in 1966, 1970 and 1979. He was knighted in the 1984 New Year honours. Burnet retired early in 1991, a year after he had resigned from the board at ITN in a dispute over the ownership of the company. In 2000, he campaigned with others to have News at Ten restored after it was rescheduled. He complained of a 'fundamental decay at ITV's heart' and said that 'ITN's reputation cannot hope to remain untouched.' Burnet was the ultimate safe pair of hands in news presenting, with a mastery of politics and a concern for what the 'plain folk' wanted to know.

For the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, since they're about to go out on tour again, here's The 'Orrible 'Ooo at their most bolshy and discombobulated. Maximum R&B, introduced by yer actual Whispering Bob Harris. Punish them cymbals, Keith!

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