Sunday, July 22, 2012

Week Thirty One: My Daddy Left Home When I Was Three

Sherlock's creator The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) has admitted that he is 'delighted' with the show's EMMY nominations. And well he should be as yet another jigsaw piece of his vastly complicated plan for world domination falls, cunningly, into place. Don't say you weren't warned, people! Yer man Moffat and co-creator, yer actual Mark Gatiss, took to Twitter to record their appreciation after the BBC detective drama scooped thirteen nominations on Thursday. 'Thanks for all your kind words about the EMMY nominations for Sherlock,' wrote Mark. 'We're thrilled!' The Moffster, meanwhile, singled out Sherlock's director Paul McGuigan - who has been behind the camera on four of the acclaimed drama's six episodes - for particular praise. 'Shouldn't single people out - but I'm extra pleased for [Paul],' he wrote. 'Best director in the world.' Sherlock's EMMY nominations include recognition for stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman and yer actual Moffat his very self.

As the fiftieth anniversary of Doctor Who approaches (23 November 2013, just in case you were wondering), the first indication of special programmes to celebrate the milestone has surfaced with a recent - curious - advertisement by BBC Careers for a new producer, stating that a 'passion for drama and a knowledge of Doctor Who is essential,' and that the applicant should preferably have knowledge of period drama. Well, yer actual Keith Telly Topping fits the bill so far! The role is for a single drama - seemingly on BBC2 - with the producer based at the new Roath Lock Studios in Cardiff Bay for a five-month term. Full details of the position included the following comments: 'You will be producing high-quality, cost-effective drama and will be accountable for the delivery of the drama on time and within the agreed editorial brief and production budget. One of your main responsibilities will be to help develop the script to the highest standards as well as encouraging, fostering and developing creative talent and ability on behalf of the Drama Department. You will need drama-producing experience. A passion for drama and a knowledge of Doctor Who is essential. Ideally the successful candidate will have a wide-ranging knowledge of the television drama production processes, preferably including period drama and use of CGI, and an understanding of the jobs of programme and resource personnel who are engaged to complete the production.' No other details of the post are known at present, but docudramas and biopics following iconic careers and film and television developments have become rather common in recent years - for example BBC4's excellent The Road To Coronation Street in 2010. The possibility of the creation and early production of Doctor Who becoming material such a subject was broached on The Graham Norton Show back on 11 February, when Mark Gatiss was asked if he was involved in such a project - to which he, cunningly, avoided a direct answer to the question and said 'I'm writing on the back of my hand, now, what a good idea that would be!' Gatiss previously contributed to 1999's Doctor Who Night on BBC2, including a spoof documentary on commissioning the series, The Pitch of Fear.

Anyway, on that potential bombshell, here's yer actual Top Telly Tips:

Saturday 28 July
Now, this might be a bit of a shock to you, dear blog reader, but the Olympics have arrive. I know, they'd kept it so quiet, and everything ... Anyway, tonight, yer actual Gary Lineker presents coverage on the opening evening of the games from 7:00 on yer actual BBC1, featuring the first four swimming finals at the Aquatics Centre and the latest men's bantamweight and middleweight boxing bouts at the ExCeL London. The rivalry between American swimmers Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte is regarded as one of the potential highlights of the games, and both will expect to be involved in the four hundred metres individual medley final which kicks-off the night's entertainment at 7:30, while Britain's Hannah Miley won silver in last year's world championships in the women's four hundred metres individual. The schedule thereafter includes, the women's one hundred metres butterfly semi-finals, then the men's four hundred metres freestyle final, the women's four hundred metres individual medley final, the men's one hundred metres breaststroke semi-finals and, finally, the women's four-by-one hundred metres freestyle relay final. Meanwhile, Luke Campbell has emerged as one of the finest boxing talents in Britain, and the Hull-born bantamweight won a silver medal in last year's world amateur championships. Andy Jameson and Adrian Moorhouse commentate on the swimming, and the boxing is covered by Jim Neilly, Richie Woodhall and Ronald McIntosh. Over on BBC3, on the other hand, Jake Humphrey introduces the final men's artistic gymnastics qualifying session and the start of the women's basketball fixture between Great Britain and Australia (tip-off 10:15pm). The North Greenwich Arena is the first focus of attention as the male gymnastic competitors look to secure their places in the team and individual finals, and the British squad have high hopes following the emergence of the likes of Louis Smith and Daniel Purvis. The focus then switches to the Basketball Arena in the Olympic Park, where Britain and Australia begin their Group B campaigns. Matt Baker (taking a break from The ONE Show), Mitch Fenner and Christine Still commentate on the gymnastics, with Mike Carlson and John Amaechi covering the basketball. Also on interest earlier in the day, you've got Mark Cavendish, Chris Froome, Bradley Wiggins, Dave Miller et al going for gold for GB in the Men's Cycling Road Race (10:00am BBC3). But, they're up against a very strong Australian team. It's a six hour marathon so, if you're planning on watching this, schedule some necessary toilet breaks in at regular intervals. There's also badminton, fencing, shooting (not, really, a great spectator sport, that one), archery (from Lord's!) and table tennis if you know where to look.

ITV's cunning response to the BBC's wall-to-wall Olympic coverage is ... repeats of Agatha Christie's Marple (6pm) and Midsomer Murders (8pm). So they're obviously going for the Octogenarians-who-hate-sport vote. Hmmm, interesting demographic choice, there.

Sunday 29 July
This evening's Olympic coverage on BBC1 includes another four finals from the pool - and by this stage, trust me, you'll be getting very bored with the swimming - along with updates on the women's hockey and men's football, both featuring Team GB. Or, Great Britain as anyone who doesn't indulge in depressing Americanised teen-speak calls them. Clare Balding is at the Aquatics Centre, hoping to see Rebecca Adlington add to the two gold medals she won at the Beijing Games. The twenty three-year-old became an overnight sensation four years ago when she won the four and eight hundred metres freestyle disciplines, setting a world record in the latter into the bargain. The full schedule of finals features the women's one hundred metres butterfly, the men's one hundred metre breaststroke, the women's four hundred metres freestyle and the men's four by one hundred metres freestyle relay, along with the semi-finals in the men's two hundred metres freestyle, the women's one hundred metres breaststroke, the men's one hundred metres backstroke and the women's one hundred metres backstroke. Along with the drama in the pool, there will also be updates and live coverage from the Riverbank Arena, where Britain's women begin their hockey Pool A campaign against Japan, while in the men's football, Wembley Stadium hosts Great Britain vs the United Arab Emirates in Group A. Andy Jameson and Adrian Moorhouse commentate on the swimming, with Sharron Davies providing poolside reports, while Barry Davies and Mel Clewlow commentate on the hockey. Over on Beeb3 there's you can actually watch the football (kick-off 7:45). Jake Humphrey introduces coverage of the game, as the two sides play for the second time in the group stage. Britain began their campaign against Senegal and face a final test against Uruguay later in the week, with the top two in the group going through to the quarter-finals. Coach Stuart Pearce has assembled a squad - of sorts - and knows his side will start as favourites (for the group, if not the competition), despite the disadvantage of drawing players from different national squads. With analysis by yer actual Alan Hansen and Robbie Savage, and commentary by Jonathan Pearce and misery-guts Mark Lawrenson. There is also a chance to see some men's basketball highlights from the North Greenwich Arena, where Great Britain take on Russia in their opening Group B fixture. With commentary by Mike Carlson and John Amaechi. Keep you eye open, also, for Nicole Cooke, Lizzie Armistead and Lucy Martin biking off in the women's road race (noon, BBC3), Ben Ainslie kicking-off (or, rather casting off) in the sailing, six times Olympian Allison Williamson in the archery, some water polo (Italy versus Australia), the opening games of the hockey and the start of the rowing and canoeing.

Away from sport, biologists and camera crews explore the wildernesses of South and Central America at night, discovering how wildlife changes when skies get dark in The Dark: Nature's Nighttime World - 9:00 BBC2. They begin with an expedition to the jungles of Costa Rica, where they encounter some of the world's deadliest nocturnal predators. Entomologist George McGavin searches for the net-casting spider, which has a distinctive method of catching its prey, while camera operator Justine Evans gets perilously close to a male jaguar and Gordon Buchanan discovers the remains of ruined temples.

In February, the Queen her very Magisterial self marked her Diamond Jubilee by making Greenwich in South-East London a royal borough. To celebrate the honour, John Sergeant presents Royal Greenwich - 7:00 ITV - a documentary exploring the area's history and looks forward to events over the coming year. His journey takes him on board the clipper Cutty Sark to meet the team giving the famous ship a fifty million smackers face-lift, and to the Queen's House, where he finds out how it has been transformed into the backdrop to the Olympic equestrian course. See, you just can't get away from the Olympics even if you try. So, therefore, why try?

A repeat, but a very worthy one, is The Kenneth Williams Story: A Reputations Special - 8:00 BBC4. So, stop messin' about and watch it - unless you get hooked by Great Britain versus the United Arab Emirates, of course. Ooo, innee bold. And all that malarkey. This is an intimate portrait of the much-loved comic actor, a highly talented but deeply insecure man who remained a cantankerous contradiction until his death in April 1988. Friends - for he did still have a few left that he hadn't pissed off with his constant bitching - and colleagues describe a man whose outrageously camp performances delighted audiences but disguised an essentially brooding, complex and not particularly likeable personality. Includes contributions from Sheila Hancock, Miriam Margolyes and Michael Parkinson, as well as clips from his finest moments on TV, radio and film and readings from his quite extraordinary diaries. That's followed by the brilliant biopic Fantabulosa! - 9:30 - in which Michael Sheen takes the lead role in a stunning drama based on Williams' diaries. The film charts the actor's life at the top of his profession, with a list of credits including the Carry On movies, radio programmes such as Round the Horne and numerous TV appearances. It also delves behind the laughter to explore the actor's inner demons, insecurity and self-doubt and his often awkward personalty conflicts with many of his colleagues. Like Frost/Nixon, The Queen and The Damned United, it sees Sheen giving a quite mesmerising performance in the central role.

Monday 30 July
On BBC1 - quelle surprise - there's the Olympics. Look, stop whinging, it's only once every four years and some orf it is actually quite good. Not the swimming, admittedly, but some of it. Gary Lineker, again, presents all the action on BBC1 from this evening's session at the Aquatics Centre, where four finals and three semi-finals are set to take place. I could list them, dear blog reader, but I'm not going to. They do, however, include the men's two hundred metres freestyle final which is likely to be another chance for American Ryan Lochte to claim gold. But, there will be high hopes of British success in the women's backstroke. Gemma Spofforth set the world record in Rome three years ago on her way to winning the world championship. And, Liam Tancock is a three-time world champion and holds the world record in the shorter fifty metre discipline. Clare Balding and Mark Foster introduce the swimming, with commentary by Andy Jameson and Adrian Moorhouse, and analysis by Aussie swimming legend Ian Thorpe. Plus, there will be updates on the rest of the evening's action, which includes men's team artistic gymnastics and men's boxing flyweight and light heavyweight bouts. Or, if you prefer, on BBC3, Jake Humphrey introduces the men's hockey match between Great Britain and Argentina (which starts at 7.00pm) and Great Britain versus Canada in the women's basketball. There is little room for error for the hockey team at the Riverbank Arena, as they play the first of five Pool A matches to determine whether they can finish in the top two and progress to the semi-finals. The pool facing Jason Lee's men, currently ranked fourth in the world, also contains Australia, Spain, Pakistan and South Africa, so victory against the South Americans is imperative to build early momentum. The Basketball Arena is the venue for the British women's team to play their second Pool B fixture, having started their campaign on Saturday against Australia, in a pool that also features Brazil, Russia and France, with coverage from 8:30. Plus, there's action from this evening's men's and women's beach volleyball preliminary matches at Horse Guards Parade, and Great Britain versus Algeria in the volleyball at Earls Court from 10:00. Earlier Tom Daley will be throwing himself manfully - or, in his case, teenager-fully - into the pool in the synchronised ten metre platform drowning. Sorry, diving.

We Love The Monkees - 9:00 ITV - tells the story of the 1960s pop group, who were put together in Los Angeles for a TV show as America's answer to the Beatles, had a string of hits, made a star of Manchester-born actor and singer Davy Jones, who died in February and, quite unexpectedly, made some of the best records of the 1960s.Yer actual Keith Telly Topping would, at this point, drone on and on about what a genuinely great LP Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, Jones Ltd is, dear blog reader. But, he doesn't want to bore you by stating the obvious. You don't want that. Or, maybe you do - you're here, after all. Anyway, the film includes new interviews with fellow band members Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork (although not, significantly, Mike Nesmith, who's obviously far too rich these days to be bothered with all this nonsense from his past). It also talks to insiders who reveal how the musicians first came together and Davy's sisters and daughters talk about his rise to fame and what it was like growing up with a celebrity dad.

Michela Chiappa demonstrates how to create Italian family dishes, taking viewers through the basics of making dough, sauces, filled pasta and a few celebratory specials in Simply Italian - 8:30 Channel Four. Hopefully, it will be better than the BBC's futile exercise in smarmy, simpering, nauseating pointlessness, The Little Paris Kitchen, which was so revoltingly up its own arse, that yer actual Keith telly Topping was on the verge of kicking his TV screen in. Fortunately, he used his remote control wisely instead. Anyway, Michela begins with a guide to preparing fresh pasta without gadgets, including linguine primavera and farfalle in an mozzarella and tomato sauce. Or, you could just buy some in a packet in Morrisons like normal people. Michela also heads to a specialist shop in Bologna and learns the secrets of authentic bolognese. Or, you could just buy some in Morrisons, in a tin, like normal people. Do you detect a theme emerging here, dear blog reader?

If you missed it last time it was on then Paul McCartney and Wings: Band on the Run - 9:00 ITV4 - is highly recommended. The former Beatle talks to the arsehole that is Dermot O'Dreary about the ground-breaking LP he made in 1973 with his late first wife Linda and singer-guitarist Denny Laine. Recorded in Nairobi, the work achieved huge critical acclaim (many considering it his finest work since Abbey Road, although being the contrary sod that he is, yer actual Keith Telly Topping rather likes Ram, personally) and won a Grammy Award, despite the departure of two bandmates just before recording started and Sir Paul losing some of his demo tapes to muggers. If you can manage to sit through O'Dreary's witless wittering it's worth it for the archive footage including the in-the-studio take of 'Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five' which is just breathtaking.

Tuesday 31 July
The main focus of today's Olympic attention is on the Aquatics Centre, where Clare Balding introduces four finals and three semi-finals. Michael Phelps won eight gold medals in Beijing - the most by any competitor in a single games, surpassing Mark Spitz's record from 1972. Those were added to the six he won in Athens in 2004. The American star is once again expected to be involved tonight, while Britain's Hannah Miley could be a threat in the two hundred metres individual medley as she looks to improve on her performances four years ago, when she failed to reach the final. The full schedule features the finals of the women's two hundred metres freestyle, the men's two hundred metres butterfly (with Phelps), the women's individual medley and the men's four by two hundred metres freestyle relay, along with the semi-finals of the men's one hundred metres freestyle, the women's two hundred metres butterfly and the men's fifty metres doggy-paddle. Or something. With commentary by Andy Jameson and Adrian Moorhouse, poolside reports by Sharron Davies and analysis from Ian Thorpe and Mark Foster. Plus, updates and reaction from Wembley Stadium, where the women's football match between Great Britain and Brazil takes place, as both sides play their final fixture in Group E, with places in the quarter-finals at stake. That's on live on BBC3. But, don't get too excited, it's only the women's football. Hope Powell has selected a squad consisting of sixteen English players and two from Scotland, and will be looking to England's record goalscorer Kelly Smith against the 2008 runners-up, who are aiming to improve on their disappointment of only reaching the quarter-finals of last year's World Cup. The Brazilian squad includes Marta, who is regarded as one of the greatest women's players in history, and has been named FIFA Women's Player of the Year on five occasions. Plus, highlights of the day's earlier matches, which included USA versus North Korea, France versus Colombia and Canada versus Sweden, and action from the men's volleyball match between Great Britain and Australia. With football commentary by Guy Mowbray and Lucy Ward, and analysis by Sue Smith and Faye White, and commentary on the volleyball with Jonathan Legard. Check out, took, the canoe men's slalom final from the newly built Lee Valley White Water Centre. Plus beach volleyball, hockey, more sailing (Finn, Laser, Star, 49er and Yingling classes, it says here), table tennis, weightlifting and judo.

Nick discovers a killer he helped send to jail seven years previously is set to have his conviction overturned, following the revelation that one of the cops on the case was corrupt in the latest CSI - 9:00 Five. Russell and the team try help him prove the felon's guilt by reinvestigating the crime - but with little admissible evidence at their disposal, they are forced to use all their expertise to ensure justice is done.

Secrets of the Shoplifters - 9:00 Channel Four - is a follow-up to the January documentary exploring the increase in stealing from Britain's stores, and the sophisticated tactics used by both the thieves and those out to catch them. Cameras are in York, where the second recession in four years is causing the profile of shoplifters to change, with a wheelchair-user and a pensioner among the bewildering array of characters caught red-handed and bundled off down the cop-shop for a good kicking. Hopefully. One shop is losing a grand's worth of goods per week to shoplifters - so the bosses call in Steve and Dan, the self-proclaimed 'Batman and Robin of Brighton' seen in the first film, to help solve the problem.

Wednesday 1 August
Tonight's Olympic highlight are mostly in the pool - again - featuring the finals and semi-finals in seven swimming disciplines. Is anybody else looking forward to the good stuff, the cycling and the athletics - starting? Not just me, then? This evening's agenda starts with the final of the men's two hundred metres breaststroke at 7.30, and includes the finals of the women's two hundred metres butterfly, the men's one hundred metres freestyle and the women's four by two hundred metres freestyle relay. Plus some semi-finals. The best chance of victory for Britain this evening appears to be Ellen Gandy in the women's two hundred metres butterfly. The twenty-year-old won the silver medal at last year's world championships in Shanghai, finishing behind Jiao Liuyang, who came second in the 2008 Games. Britain are also well represented in the freestyle relay, with the likes of Rebecca Adlington, Joanne Jackson and Caitlin McClatchey among the squad. With poolside reports from Sharron Davies. Plus, updates on the men's football Group A fixture between Great Britain and Uruguay at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Which, you can actually see on BBC3 if you're as bored with swimming as I expect you will be by this stage. With analysis by Alan Hansen and Robbie Savage, and commentary by Jonathan Pearce and Mark Lawrenson. Plus, a look back at today's earlier matches, which included Spain versus Morocco and Brazil versus New Zealand, and a preview of the last eight, along with basketball and handball highlights. Ah, handball. Handball's good.
At 2:15 in the afternoon (BBC1), there's also Bradley Wiggins in the men's individual time trial cycling which, if he's recovered from his glories in the Tour by now, he should be in with a decent chance of a medal in. Emma Pooley goes in the women's equivalent, both covered on BBC3. The rowing will also cop a decent amount of coverage along with the gymnastics and more canoeing, sailing and hockey. You'll probably have to look hard to find much footage from the fencing, though.

Charming but idle cop Jack Armstrong gets a shock when he meets new partner Georgina Dixon, a highly ambitious officer who has just been promoted to detective inspector in the opening episode of the second series of Vexed - 9:00 BBC2. She has no reservations about expressing her disdain for his sloppy approach to crime-solving, but the duo have to put their differences aside when they are given their first case - the suspicious death of an egotistical car salesman. Misfits creator Howard Overman's comedy crime drama, starring Toby Stephens, Miranda Raison, Roger Griffiths and Ronny Jhutti.
On Top of the Pops 1977 - 7:30 BBC4 - Tony Blackburn presents an edition from 7 July 1977, in which Hot Chocolate's 'So You Win Again' topped the chart. The show also features Smokie, Brotherhood of Man, Barry Biggs, The Rah Band's 'The Crunch' (aw, yeah!), Olivia Newton-John, Bob Marley & The Wailers, Andy Gibb, Alessi and Boney M, as well as a dance sequence by Legs & Co.

Remember Tetris, dear blog reader? That was a nine day wonder that got old really quickly. Or, was it? Tetris: From Russia With Love - 8:00 BBC4 - tells the 'incredible story' (it says here) of the Russian-designed computer game. A simple but fiendishly addictive puzzle, designed by a programmer at Moscow's Academy of Science, that became the biggest-selling computer game of the 1990s. However, in the process, it generated a vast corporate feud as the leading corporations in the West battled to secure the rights.

Thursday 2 August
Gary Lineker introduces blah, blah, blah, more bloody swimming. Britain's best chance of a medal tonight appears to be in the women's one hundred metres freestyle, in which former European champion Fran Halsall will hope to have a decisive part to play, while Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte will once again expect to continue their rivalry in the individual medley. Phelps won an incredible fourteen gold medals over the last two Olympics, and is confident of adding to that tally, although Lochte matched him during the dramatic US trials, and the pair are hard to separate in a number of disciplines. On BBC3 Jake Humphrey presents the final sessions on day six of the games, featuring Belgium versus Great Britain in the women's hockey, Spain versus Great Britain in the men's basketball and Great Britain versus Italy in the men's volleyball. The Riverbank Arena is the setting for the hockey coverage from 7:00, as Belgium and Britain play their third Pool A match of the competition, with only the top two nations in each pool progressing to the semi-finals. The focus then switches to the Basketball Arena from 8:30 to pick up on the basketball Group B fixture, as Britain face a tough test against the Spanish, who won the silver medal four years ago in Beijing. Plus, the start of the men's volleyball Pool A match at Earls Court from 10:00. The commentary teams include Barry Davies, Mike Carlson and Jonathan Legard. The track cycling also gets under way with Victoria Pendleton and Jess Varnish going up against the Australians and Germans in the team sprint. Later, Chris Hoy, Jason Kenny and Philip Hindes will be taking part in the men's team event. Hands up who'll be watching the dressage? No, me neither. Not even if we are winning medals! (Note that, in Radio Times, yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch his very self, says: 'I'll be watching a few things. The sort of short distance track events are always exciting and I'd quite like to watch the horse competitions, because I learnt [sic] how to ride for the film War Horse and now I'm a little obsessed with all things horsey.' Though, probably not Clare Balding, one imagines.) Today;s minority sport where, suddenly, everyone will become an expert in it after watching five minutes is archery, where we reach the quarter finals stage. Men's C2 slalom canoeing, handball between Great Britain and Argentina, the quarter finals of the men's and women's tennis singles (why is tennis even in the Olympics? Seriously!) and sailing (day five of the regatta at Weymouth) may also be to your liking. Although, in this blogger's case, not the tennis. Honestly, if given the choice between watching tennis and being blinded, I'd have to think twice before giving a definitive answer.

The Briefs - 9:00 ITV - is a two-part documentary exploring the world of criminal law, with access to one of Britain's leading legal-aid practices - Tuckers in Manchester. Senior partner Franklin Sinclair visits a sixty three-year-old woman accused of drug dealing, and lawyer Iain Johnstone's client is on trial for blackmailing Coleen Rooney. Plus, defendants accused of burglary, harassment and assault. Narrated by Nicholas Jones.

Historian and bossy boots David Starkey explains how writing a biography of his ancestor John, the first Duke of Marlborough, changed the way Winston Churchill was seen by the public and politicians, and so paved the way for his return to power in The Churchills - 8:00 Channel Four. The first volume, published in 1933, reinforced the perception of him as a man past his time. But it was the second instalment, depicting John Churchill's march to the Danube and victory at Blenheim, which began to mark out Winston as the only leading politician who truly knew war.

Friday 3 August
Olympis, yadda-yadda, Gary Lineker blah, blah, BBC1, yakka-yakka. 'Packed evening of coverage on day seven of the games from the pool', et cetera, et cetera. Including the first night of athletics disciplines - hurrah! - and the latest swimming finals. Oh. Great. There's also lots of cycling and rowing so Britain might even win a few medals today. And shooting. So, unless we've sent for a team of youths from Manchester, we're unlikely to do so well in that. The swimming schedule at the Aquatics Centre features the finals of the women's backstroke, the men's butterfly, the women's eight hundred metres freestyle and the men's fifty metres freestyle. That one might be worth watching, since it's short. The women's freestyle appears to represent Britain's best chance of success, with Mad Frankie Boyle's favourite, Rebecca Adlington expected to have qualified for the final as she looks to retain the title she won four years ago in Beijing. Michael Phelps should be involved in the 100m butterfly, and Lizzie Simmonds, who won silver for Britain at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, could line-up in the two hundred metres backstroke final. Athletics coverage at the Olympic Stadium begins with the opening heats in the men's fifteen hundred metres from 8:05, followed by the men's shot-putt final, the heptathlon two hundred metres and the women's ten thousand metres final. Andy Baddeley and Ross Murray are Britain's metric mile representatives, while Jessica Ennis continues her quest for heptathlon glory in the fourth of seven disciplines. Andy Jameson and Adrian Moorhouse commentate on the swimming, with Steve Cram, Paul Dickenson, Jonathan Edwards and Brendan Foster at the athletics. Plus, updates on the concluding women's football quarter-final at the City of Coventry Stadium. Or, if you're really keen, you can watch that on BBC3. Amongst the highlights in the Velodrome are the men's team pursuit final and the women's Keirin final (once memorably described by, I think, Hugh Dennis as 'six people in Lycra chasing a pizza delivery boy!'). Katherine Granger - three time silver medalist - will be involved in the double sculls. Plus, sailing, archery, hockey, Great Britain versus Angola in the handball and badminton which reaches the semi-final stage. yer actual Keith Telly Topping used to play a bit of badminton, dear blog reader. Just thought I'd mention that to prove that I haven't spent my entire life sitting on the couch eating crisps and watching Doctor Who. Just, you know, most of it.

And, so to yer actual news: The BBC has unveiled plans for a 'creative hub' at Television Centre which will include studios for shows such as Strictly Come Dancing alongside residential, office and leisure developments. The corporation announced on Monday that it had sold a long leasehold to the West London site to developer Stanhope for two hundred million notes. A BBC spokeswoman confirmed that the corporation had sold the leasehold to the site, not the freehold, meaning that the corporation retains control over what happens to the site and can control the legacy. Stanhope has the conditional option to buy the freehold 'in due course.' BBC Worldwide, the corporation's commercial arm, will become an anchor tenant at the site, which will be completed in 2014-15, leasing office and entertainment space. Following a temporary relocation BBC Studios and Post Production will move back to the redeveloped site. Parts of Television Centre, which opened in 1960, including the doughnut-shaped central block and Studio One, home to Strictly Come Dancing, have been awarded grade II listed status and will be retained. The BBC's chief operating officer, Caroline Thomson, said in an e-mail to staff on Friday that the deal had been structured so that the corporation will 'maintain links with Television Centre well into the future. We all felt that it was important that we retained a link to a building that has played such an important part in our history and has felt like a home from home for so many of us over the years,' she said. Wider plans for the site will now be drawn up, with Stanhope promising a 'vibrant mix of uses' including leisure, office and residential. Sounds very vibrant. I know, nothing increasing a good bit of stiff vibrancy in yer actual Keith Telly Topping that office space. It fair gives me The Horn, so it does. Stanhope's funding partners include Japanese property company Mitsui Fudosan UK and Canada's Alberta Investment Management Corporation. Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, the architects behind projects including the Saatchi Gallery and Barbican Arts Centre, have been appointed to 'develop the wider plans.' Or, in other words, 'knock some old shit down and build some new shit up.' Under the deal the BBC has also secured an undisclosed share of future profits from the development. The sale is part of the BBC's long-term plan to reduce its property portfolio by thirty per cent. The proceeds from the sale, together with the reduction in running costs from operating Television Centre, will contribute towards the BBC's target of achieving annual savings in property expenditure of forty seven million smackers a year by 2016.

Some very sad news now, the Welsh actress Angharad Rees has died after a long battle with cancer, her family has said. Angharad, who starred in the hugely popular BBC drama series Poldark in the 1970s, was sixty three. In a statement, her family said they were 'deeply saddened' and the actress, who also enjoyed an extensive theatre career, would be 'greatly missed. Angharad passed away peacefully today with her family at her bedside in London, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer,' her family said. Angharad was married to the late Dynasty actor Christopher Cazenove for more than twenty years and they had two sons together, Linford and Rhys. Linford, the elder of the two, died in a car crash on the M11 in Essex in 1999 aged twenty five. In 1994 the Cardiff-born actress divorced Cazenove and went on to marry David McAlpine in 2005, with whom she lived in London. She was best known for playing Demelza in Poldark, a massively popular period costume drama based on the Cornish novels written by Winston Graham and broadcast in the UK between 1975 and 1977. She also had a role in cult classic Hammer Jack the Ripper movie Hands Of The Ripper and on stage she appeared in A Winter's Tale, Richard II and Romeo And Juliet. She made her screen debut in 1968, aged eighteen, in the BBC's Play of the Month adaptation of Man and Superman and went on to appear in The Avengers, The Way we Live Now, The Fenn Street Gang, Full House, as a series regular in Doctor In Charge, Within These Walls, The Duchess of Duke Street, Dennis Potter's Joe's Ark, Robin of Sherwood, the sitcom Close To Home and Trainer. In addition to her acting success, she also founded an eponymously titled jewellery design company based in Knightsbridge, with her pieces featured in the film Elizabeth, The Golden Age. Her family said she remained an active supporter of the arts and was an honorary fellow of Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. Her funeral will be private but there are plans for a service in celebration of her life which will be announced at a later date.

The conservation group World Wildlife Fund in Spain has removed King Juan Carlos as its honorary president after he went on an elephant hunting trip in Botswana. The WWF's Spanish chapter voted overwhelmingly to abolish the post, a statement said, adding that the safari 'did not sit well' with WWF goals. One would imagine not. The king was widely criticised in the Spanish media after news of the trip emerged in April, in the middle of a severe economic crisis. Spain's royal family has faced a series of embarrassments this year. King Juan Carlos apologised to the Spanish people for the hunting trip, which only came to light when he was flown home from Africa after breaking a hip. An online petition calling for his resignation from the WWF post accumulated almost eighty five thousand signatures by the time he made his public apology. The controversy prompted Spanish newspapers to publish a photo of the king on a previous safari, in which he is seen standing with a gun beside a dead elephant. 'Although this type of hunting is legal and regulated, many members consider it to be incompatible with the position of honorary patron of an international organisation that aims to protect the environment,' the WWF statement said on Saturday.

Billionaire tyrant and loathsome knobcheese Rupert Murdoch has resigned from a string of directorships controlling his News Corporation's UK newspapers. Murdoch, eighty one, quit directorships at NI Group Ltd, NewsCorp Investments and Times Newspaper Holdings on Friday. News Corp plans to split itself into two firms - as if by magic - separating its newspaper and book publishing interests from its now dominant TV and film enterprises. Except in this country where they're nowhere near as dominant as they'd like to be. Which is, of course, tough cheese, old man. Murdoch is expected to chair both businesses but to be chief executive only of the TV and film side. The BBC's business editor, Robert Pestinfestation said that alleged 'sources' allegedly 'close to Mr Murdoch' had allegedly 'played down' the alleged significance of the alleged resignations. These alleged 'sources' allegedly said the alleged move was 'tidying up' in preparation for the splitting of News Corporation. Allegedly. When News Corp announced on 28 June that it would divide itself into two separate businesses, it said that Murdoch would chair both of them - although he would continue as chief executive of only the TV, film and entertainment one.

After eight months of witness hearings, the final week of the Leveson inquiry will begin with an update from the senior Scotland Yard officer in charge of the investigations into alleged phone-hacking and corruption of public officials by journalists. Metropolitan police deputy assistant commissioner Sue Akers is expected to tell Lord Justice Leveson on Monday morning whether she believes the investigations have much further to go or are close to winding up. Akers is in charge of three interlinked investigations set up in the wake of revelations about alleged criminality at the now-disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World. Operation Weeting is looking into phone-hacking, Operation Elveden into allegations of very naughty payments to police and other public officials for stories, and Operation Tuleta into alleged computer hacking and other invasions of privacy not covered by Weeting or Elveden. So far seventy four individuals have been arrested: twenty six people in connection with Operation Weeting, forty one in connection with Operation Elveden and seven in connection with Operation Tuleta. Some charges have been made. All of those charges deny the offences. Akers testified before the Leveson inquiry in February and surprised many when she spelled out details of what she called a 'culture of illegal payments' at the Sun. She claimed that one public official received more than eighty grand in total from the paper and regular 'retainers' were apparently being paid to police and others, with one Sun journalist drawing more than one hundred and fifty thousand smackers over the years to pay off his 'sources'. The remainder of the witnesses appearing next week are all core participants delivering closing remarks at the end of the formal witness hearings, which began in November. On Monday counsel to the inquiry for alleged victims of press intrusion, including the Dowler and McCann families, will make his closing remarks as will counsel for the Met, Torygraph Media Group and Daily Scum Mail publisher Associated Newspapers. On Tuesday the inquiry will hear from Northern & Shell, the Gruniad Morning Star and News International. Although next week marks the end of formal witness hearings, Leveson has said he may recall some witnesses to 'tie up loose ends' in the autumn, before he publishes his report with recommendations for the government on the future of press regulation.

Warner Bros. has cancelled two more red carpet events for The Dark Knight Rises in the wake of an attack at a midnight screening of the film in the US. It said cast members would not be making appearances in Japan and Mexico scheduled for Monday, 'due to the tragic events in Colorado.' Twelve people were killed and fifty eight hurt in the attack at a Century Sixteen cinema in Aurora, near Denver. A man wearing a gas mask opened fire as movie-goers watched the film. The Hollywood studio behind the Batman movie franchise also decided to hold off publishing weekend box office figures until Monday. 'Out of respect for the victims and their families, Warner Bros. Pictures will not be reporting box office numbers for The Dark Knight Rises throughout the weekend,' said a spokeswoman. The move was quickly followed by rival studios, Disney, FOX, Sony, Lionsgate and Universal, concerned about offending the public. This was despite the fact that unofficial figures cited by industry daily Variety suggest that it made seventy five million dollars on Friday alone, the third biggest opening day ever at the US box office. The Dark Knight Rises was one of the most-anticipated films of the year with The Hollywood Reporter suggesting that opening weekend sales were forecasted to be between one hundred and seventy and two hundred million dollars. That would have made it the second or third highest debut weekend ever, after this year's other great blockbuster, The Avengers, on $207.4 million. Within hours of the attack in Colorado, Warner Bros. cancelled the movie's Paris premiere, which was to include appearances by the cast and crew, including director Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale, who plays Batman. On Saturday, Bale commented about the killings, saying: 'Words cannot express the horror that I feel. I cannot begin to truly understand the pain and grief of the victims and their loved ones, but my heart goes out to them.' Nolan also issued a statement describing the cast and crew's 'profound sorrow at the senseless tragedy that has befallen the entire Aurora community.' In a separate step, Warner Bros. scrapped a trailer for a 1940s mobster movie, Gangster Squad, starring Sean Penn, Emma Stone and Josh Brolin, because of a shooting scene similar to the Colorado massacre. The trailer had featured in some packages which ran ahead of screenings of The Dark Knight Rises. The Los Angeles Times reported on Saturday that Warner Bros is considering delaying that movie's planned September release, or making changes to the film to take into account sensibilities after the Colorado shooting. But it said editing the scene showing a gunman shooting at the audience could be difficult because it serves as a climactic moment. Any significant changes might require shooting new scenes, the newspaper reported.

Britain's football team were completely outclassed by Brazil in their first and only outing before they start their Olympic campaign against Senegal at Old Trafford on Thursday. Embarrassing, so it was. Stuart Pearce's team were given an indication of the huge task facing them if they are to win a medal - or, even a point - at the games as Brazil, one of the pre-tournament favourites, cruised to victory at the Riverside Stadium. It was always going to be a difficult task for Pearce's side against a hugely talented team not only determined to win their first Olympic football gold but also looking to build towards the World Cup they will host in 2014. Tottenham midfielder Sandro headed his team in front after just twelve minutes following a free-kick was allowed to reach him at the far post and Neymar doubled the advantage from the penalty spot before the break. Mano Menezes's side were certainly worthy of their lead at half-time and looked like a team keeping plenty in reserve, although their opponents did improve as the match wore on. Brazil took an early grip on the contest and at times mesmerised their bewildered opponents with a well-honed willingness to pass and move, constantly seeking space to exploit. Oscar, reportedly heading to Chelsea, was particularly superb in this respect, with a gift for finding space both to receive possession and pick out a team-mate. In contrast, and understandably, there were times when Britain looked like a group of strangers, particularly in defence. The central defensive pairing of James Tomkins and Micah Richards - changed at the break when Steven Caulker replaced Tomkins - allowed Leandro Damiao to flick a goal-kick on to Neymar just minutes into the contest. The striker was clean through but smashed his shot wide. Neymar showed the theatrical side of his game when he went down on the edge of the area just before the half-hour mark and stayed there for an extended period, much to the consternation of the crowd, who sprung into life by booing him and calling him a dirty filthy cheating foreigner - allegedly - before subjecting him to a slow hand clap. The twenty-year-old Santos forward was unfazed and shortly afterwards showed great composure in slotting his penalty into the bottom corner after Richards had lost track of the excellently-named Hulk and fouled the Porto forward from behind. Britain made changes at the break, with goalkeeper Jack Butland the busiest of the new arrivals, first denying Oscar and then Damiao. The home team did briefly threaten when Danny Rose drilled a low cross that Craig Bellamy, booed throughout by the Smoggie crowd, stabbed goalwards, only to be ruled offside. And there were certainly more encouraging signs for Britain after the break as they slowly grew into the contest, which is their first serious outing following a behind-closed-doors match against Mexico last weekend. But the cutting edge continued to belong to Brazil, who open their Olympic campaign against Egypt in Cardiff, and Neymar drew a brilliant one-handed save from the excellent Butland, who also smothered an attempt from Lucas and palmed over an effort from Alexandre Pato. Britain will need to step it up quickly if they are to qualify from a group that includes Uruguay and United Arab Emirates in addition to Senegal.

Adverts for an alleged acne treatment endorsed by the likes of Katy Perry and Justin Bieber have been ordered to be taken off air after the Advertising Standards Authority declared them 'misleading'. The Proactiv cream product has also been endorsed by a number of other high-profile celebrities including Elle Macpherson and Avril Lavigne. According to the Sun, the ASA took issue with the fact that the British formulation of the cream features a different active ingredient from the US version. Guthy-Renker UK Ltd, the company behind the commercials, insisted that the stars had been sent the UK version of Proactiv to use, but the ASA argued that this is not enough to back up the claims made in the advert. The ASA said: 'We noted the signed statements, which related to only five of the seven testimonials, said the celebrities had each used the UK formulation of the product for a period of only several weeks, between one and three years before the ads appeared. We noted the ads were targeted at a UK audience and that the UK Proactiv products had a different active ingredient to the US version. In that context, we therefore considered the claims of continued use had not been substantiated. We concluded that the ads were misleading.'

Yer actual Sir Chris Hoy says that Britain's men's cycling sprint team are going better in training than they did at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where they won gold. The four-time Olympic gold medallist also backed team-mate Jason Kenny to win gold in the individual event. Hoy said: 'In training we've got quicker than we did in Beijing so that bodes quite well.' And, yer acutal Queen Victoria Pendleton said she and team-mate Jessica Varnish were 'going faster than ever.' Kenny was a surprise selection ahead of Hoy for the individual sprint as the Scot would have been defending his Beijing crown. Hoy said: 'Jason's going to be up there and is our best chance of a gold medal in the sprint.' Philip Hindes, nineteen, has replaced the retired Jamie Staff in the men's sprint team and Hoy is predicting great things from the German-born teenager. The thirty six-year-old Hoy said: 'We see him potentially pulling out something quite special on the day. We'll celebrate any medal because that will be a significant achievement. The standard is very, very high but it's very, very close.' Kenny, who won gold with Hoy in the team sprint in 2008, admitted he was surprised at his selection ahead of the Scot - as he initially feared he was in trouble with performance director Dave Brailsford and coach Shane Sutton. He said: 'I got called in for a meeting and they said you've been selected for the sprint and that was it. I thought I was in trouble to be honest with you, I usually am when I'm called in for a meeting with Shane and Dave, so it was quite nice I wasn't getting shouted at.' Pendleton, who is defending her Beijing individual sprint title as well as competing in the team sprint, revealed preparations were going very well for herself and Varnish. She said: 'We're both going faster than we've ever gone in our lives and you can't ask for more than that.' Meanwhile, Hoy will not make a decision about retirement until after the games, with the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow earmarked as a perfect send-off. He added: 'All I know is I'm going to have a bit of a holiday afterwards and not touch the bike for a good month. I honestly don't know how I'll feel afterwards, whether I'm going to be desperate to get back into it or whether my body's going to wave the white flag, but there couldn't be a better way to finish my career than at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. I've never raced internationally in Scotland, so what a way to finish. But at the same time we have a strong Scottish team so to even get into the team is going to take commitment.'

Meanwhile, the British team for London 2012 is 'the best ever,' according to British Olympic Association chairman horrible nasty little Tory gnome Lord Moynihan. The five hundred and forty two-strong British team is targeting fourth place in the medal table - the same position they, unexpectedly, achieved four years ago in Beijing. 'Performance is at a level never seen before,' Moynihan told BBC Sport, adding that the team is 'the best prepared and best supported in Olympic history. Our aspirational goal is to match Beijing and come fourth, but nobody should be under any illusions how tough an assignment it will be,' he added. Speaking at a news conference in East London with the opening ceremony less than week away, Moynihan also took the opportunity to pay tribute to Britain's Bradley Wiggins, who is on the verge of becoming the first Briton to win cycling's Tour De France. 'We've been on a long journey and it is appropriate that Bradley Wiggins is closing in on an outstanding success,' added Moynihan. 'His cycling team is not a team of stars but a star team, and that is the type of approach we have taken to in building this Team GB for the games.' Although confident of Britain's potential, Moynihan is under no illusions about the threat posed by the other major sporting powers. 'The performance of teams such as Germany and Australia will be of the highest standard,' he warned. 'China will come here and deliver extraordinary success and you can be sure the United States will be determined to deliver outstanding success also. And if you look at any country, one that has made significant strides is Germany and they will not want to sit back and see Team GB, Russia, United States and China in front of them. I am under no illusion that it will be major task and very tough to match the success of Beijing.' Elite performance director of the BOA Sir Clive Woodward echoed Moynihan's sentiment but said that he was 'relishing the challenge' after several years of planning. 'We've spent three years preparing for this and we are looking forward to the start,' said Woodward. 'It's incredibly competitive but we've prepared the athletes as much as we can on what it will be like to compete at a home Olympics so they can perform to the best of their ability.'

On Saturday evening, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping attended Scunthorpe Stevie Drayton's latest Record Player event. This one was a one-off special at The Sage in Gateshead as part of the weekend Americana Festival. And, very good it was too - indeed the whole three hours which I checked out the festival itself was lovely (apart from a dodgy cheeseburger I had in the cafe which, sad to say, tasted like shit ... with cheese on it!) It's always nice to see the old Record Player crowd - Stevie himself of course, Geoff (accompanied by his good lady, Lorraine), Christian and Vicky, Chris et cetera. The Foundation Hall's acoustics were even better than at the Tyneside and the sound system they used certainly packed one hell of a punch. It needed, too, because the chosen LP for the night, a classic slice of Americana if e'er there be one, was yer actual Johnny Cash Live at San Quentin. Personally, Keith Telly Topping slightly prefers the previous year's Live at Folsom Prison if given the choice between Johnny's two classic late 1960s live LPs - it's more dangerous and (genuinely) unhinged - but listening to San Quentin again, on virgin vinyl and on a quality deck, reminds one of just what a genuinely groundbreaking idea it was at the time, And, not for nothing, what a great guitarist Carl Perkins was. Primo-rad moment of the night, though, came when Steve's slideshow included a photo of a certificate which noted that Johnny Cash had been inducted into The Rockabilly Hall of Fame. As number one hundred and fifteen. I'd love to know who the one hundred and fourteen people ahead of him were! Hank Williams and Elvis, I could just about handle. Maybe Jerry Lee Lewis. But, after that ...?! Anyway, that was a terrific night all around, ending with a glass of white wine, a pleasant stroll with Steve back over the Millennium Bridge to Newcastle quayside and catching a taxi home. There's another Record Player special being held at the Spanish City in yer actual Whitley Bay in mid-August, which sounds like a fascinating deal (they're doing Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds) whilst the next season proper starts at the Tyneside in mid-September. Because of all that, of course, for today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, here's a little morality tale about parental guidance - or lack of it - from The Man In Black his very self.

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