Monday, August 13, 2012

Be Not A'feard, The Isle Is Full Of Noises

The London 2012 Olympics ended with a spectacular musical closing ceremony and the official handover to the next host city, Rio de Janeiro. You might have noticed, dear blog reader. Indeed, if you're in the UK there's about a one-in-two chance that you watched some or, indeed, all of it. And, if you didn't then, presumably, you were one of those round at Morrissey's gaff watching A Touch of Frost instead. The three-hour show featured some of the biggest names of British pop from decades past, including The Who, Ray Davies, Madness and Elbow. And nobody connected to The X Factor or Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads. Except One Direction, admittedly, but they weren't on for very long so, that was all right. Games chief Lord Coe said: 'When our time came - Britain, we did it right.' Mostly. The official games flag was handed to the mayor of Rio before the flame at the Olympic Stadium was extinguished. President of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge, who declared the games closed just before midnight, said: 'We will never forget the smiles, the kindness and the support of the wonderful volunteers, the much-needed heroes of these games. You, the spectators and the public, provided the soundtrack for these games. Your enthusiastic cheers energised its competitors and brought a festive spirit to every Olympic venue.' At the close of the ceremony, watched in the stadium by the ten thousand athletes and eighty thousand spectators, the flame was extinguished in dramatic fashion. Each nation will receive one of the cauldron's two hundred and four petals. What they do with the thing when they get it is entirely up to them. I'd like to suggest that we use our British one as a piggy bank in which to keep the pennies which the British swimming squad are going to get in public funding from now on. As fireworks went off above the East London stadium, The Who performed 'My Generation' (missing out the 'hope I die before I get old' line, obviously) and the venue became a sea of red, white and blue confetti. Right, now that's all over, dear blog reader, off you go and get back to your lives. And remember, you're living in a country which is in the middle of a double-dip recession and with a government that hasn't got a clue what to do. We're all in it together. But, some of us are more 'in it' than others.

The 'spirit of generosity' demonstrated by British people during the London 2012 Olympics has been hailed by Seb Coe. He identified the public mood as his highlight of the games. Coe also said that the Paralympics, first held in the UK in 1948, were 'coming home.' He predicted that people would be 'amazed' by the 'quality of sport that they see' at the Paralympics, which will start on 29 August. Which suggests that ticket sales have been a bit on the slow side. 'This is going to be an extraordinary moment for us,' he added. Speaking at a press conference, Coe - the chairman of games organiser LOCOG - drew particular attention to those he felt were responsible for the successful running of the games. He thanked the athletes for creating 'moments of heroism and heartbreak,' the spectators for their 'spirit of generosity' and the volunteers for being the 'best ever. Our volunteers have been sensational. They've had boundless enthusiasm, goodwill, humour - they've done it with grace. And they have in large part been the face of these games,' he said. London airports expect to handle the departure of about two hundred thousand people a day this week as visitors leave following the games. Some one hundred and twenty thousand are expected to leave Heathrow each day, with a further seventy thousand set to fly from Gatwick.

London 2012 made its final bow with an enormous peak TV audience of 26.3 million for Sunday night's Closing Ceremony. The performance puts it in the top ten highest rated TV shows of all time in the UK and makes it the second highest TV audience in fourteen years after the Opening Ceremony a fortnight earlier. Some 22.94m - an audience share of 80.7 per cent - were tuned-in to BBC1 alone between 9pm and 12.15am. A further average of two hundred thousand punters watched on BBC Olympics One. Figures - which don't account for those watching in pubs and on outdoor big screens - didn't once drop below the twenty million mark during the live event (although, when George Michael chose the event to perform his new single, they got close - viewing figures dropping by over a million in those five minutes, before rising again later). The Symphony of British Music section was nearly as popular as the twenty seven million peak-scoring Opening Ceremony just over two weeks ago. Gary Lineker and Sue Barker's Closing Ceremony build-up programme with a look back at some of the most memorable moments of the games, voiced by sports commentator Eddie Butler, attracted 12.3m from 7.30pm, meaning that BBC1 claimed a huge primetime audience share of 65.8 per cent - pretty much exactly the same share that it garnered on the night of the Opening Ceremony. But as the BBC celebrated, ITV suffered the worst ever day in its fifty seven-year history - averaging just six hundred and seventy three thousand (plus those in Morrissey's flat, obviously) for a two-hour repeat of A Touch of Frost from 9pm. Overall, ITV averaged a 3.9 per cent share in primetime. ITV's biggest audience of the day was its live coverage of Sheikh Yer Man City's 3-2 win over Moscow Chelski FC in the Community Shield. The traditional opener to the football season had an average of 1.73 million viewers between 1pm and 3.50pm, with a five-minute peak of 3.07 million towards the end. Setting a new all-time low for the third time in the series, the penultimate episode of Channel Five's Big Brother took four hundred and eighty three thousand, eclipsed by BBC2's The Dark: Nature's Nighttime World (five hundred and twenty one thousand). BBC1's weekly share was 37.3 per cent their best week since at least June 1998 (BARB's website records only go back to July 1998).

It may have been the world's premier festival of athleticism, but when it came to armchair viewing it was the two non-sporting events that topped the TV viewing table. The Opening and Closing ceremonies of the Olympics turned out to be the two most watched events of London 2012, although both Usain Bolt and Mo Farah also notched up two entries in the top ten. Danny Boyle's twenty seven million quid extravaganza predictably had the biggest peak audience of any Olympics event on the BBC (although its overall audience was beaten – though, only just – by Sunday's Closing Ceremony). Usain Bolt's one hundred metres win took the gold medal as the most-watched piece of sporting action, with the Jamaican's historic gold in the two hundred metres final taking eighth place in the London games top ten. Both of Mo Farah's golds also made the top ten, with three of the highest audiences coming on Britain's so-called 'Golden Saturday' in the middle of the games which also saw golds for Jessica Ennis in the heptathlon and Greg Rutherford in the long jump. All of the top-rating events were broadcast on BBC1, although the audience for Tom Daley's bronze in the ten metres platform diving final also includes a peak of 6.6 million viewers on BBC3, the digital channel's highest ever rating. Apart from Bolt's victories, only one top sporting entry featured a competitor from outside Britain taking gold – Australia's Sally Pearson in the one hundred metre hurdles. Just outside the top ten were Rebecca Adlington's bronze in the eight hundred metres freestyle final (when, if you remember, she was beaten by a schoolgirl), watched by a peak of 11.3 million viewers on 3 August, and Andy Murray's gold in the tennis, with a high of 10.7 million viewers on 5 August.
The Top Ten rating events were:-
1 Opening Ceremony, 26.9m (27 July)
2 Closing Ceremony, 26.3m (12 July)
3 Usain Bolt, gold in the one hundred metres, 20m (5 August)
4 Mo Farah, gold ten thousand metres, 17.1m (4 August)
5 Jessica Eniss, gold in the heptathlon, 16.3m August)
6 Tom Daley, bronze in the ten metres platform diving, 15.9m (11 August)
7 Greg Rutherford, gold in the long jump, 15.6m (4 August)
8 Usain Bolt, gold in the two hundred metres, 15.4m (9 August)
9 Mo Farah, gold in the five thousand metres, 12.9m (11 August)
10 Sally Pearson, gold in the one hundred metres hurdles, 12.1m (7 August)
Figures are five-minute peak including audiences for all channels on which it was broadcast, including BBC1, BBC3, BBC HD and the BBC's twenty four dedicated Olympics channels (where appropriate).

The London 2012 Olympic Games has proved hugely successful all round for the BBC, as record-breaking audiences flocked to the corporation's television and online coverage to follow the two-week sporting showpiece. After the star-studded Closing Ceremony brought an end to the London Olympics, the BBC has released a report celebrating what it claims was the 'first truly digital games.' Across BBC1, BBC3 and BBC HD, along with the twenty four live video streams made available via the Red Button, the BBC's Olympics coverage on television reached 51.9 million viewers in the UK - the largest combined audience for a major event for at least ten years. But it is online where the BBC has really seen the records tumble, as a daily average of 9.5m global browsers to BBC Sport Online and 7.1m UK browsers smashed previous daily records of 7.4m global and 5.7m UK. In total, BBC Sport racked up fifty five million global browsers and thirty seven million UK browsers across the two weeks of the games. There were one hundred and six million requests for BBC Olympic video content across all online platforms, double the previous highs of thirty two million for the Beijing Games and thirty eight million for the 2010 World Cup. Such was the popularity of the online coverage that over a single twenty four-hour period on the busiest Olympic days, total traffic to BBC.co.uk exceeded that for the entire BBC online coverage of matches at the World Cup in 2010. The BBC delivered 2.8 petabytes of data on its busiest day, while the peak traffic came when Bradley Wiggins won gold in the cycling Time Trial, at over seven hundred gigabits per second. According to the BBC, London 2012 was also the first 'truly mobile games' as 9.2m total UK browsers came from mobile devices, and demand from phones made up thirty four per cent of all daily browsers for BBC Olympic coverage. Over 2.3 million browsers came on tablet, and there were twelve million requests for mobile video throughout the games. Some 23.7m viewers accessed the BBC's twenty four standard and high definition videos streams on various television platforms for at least fifteen minutes throughout the games, and every single stream of an Olympic event attracted at least one hundred thousand viewers. Even the Greco-Roman wrestling? Using its linear TV channels and live streams, the BBC delivered more than two thousand five hundred hours of coverage of every athlete, venue and event at the London 2012 Games. Of the one hundred and six million online video requests, sixty two million were for live streams, eight million for on-demand streams and thirty five million for video clips. The top ten most requested BBC Olympic events via video stream runs as follows:-
1 Tennis Singles Finals - Serena Williams and Andy Murray's Gold Medal Wins (5 August) - 820,000
2 Bradley Wiggins wins gold in the Men's Cycling Road Time-Trial (1 August) 729,000
3 Tennis Singles Semi-Finals - Serena Williams and Andy Murray (3 August) 610,000
4 Mark Cavendish in the Men's Cycling Road Race (28 July) 531,000
5 Athletics Heats including Jessica Ennis in the Heptathlon (3 August) 468,000
6 Rowing Gold in Women's Quadruple Sculls (1 August) 411,000
7 Britain's gold in the Men's Team Pursuit and Victoria Pendleton's in the Women's Keirin Cycling Final (3 August) 407,000
8 Cycling golds for Chris Hoy and Laura Trott (7 August) 348,000
9 Usain Bolt wins the Men's one hundred metres (5 August) 344,000
10 The Brownlee Brothers win gold and bronze in the Men's Triathlon (7 August) 336,000
Danny Boyle's Opening Ceremony has continued to be one of the most popular programmes on BBC Online, with 3.9m requests to view it on either BBC iPlayer or the BBC Sport website to date. Popular video clips included German diver Steven Feck's 'zero point' dive, with over eight hundred and thirty thousand requests, while Cuban pole vaulter McKayla Maroney's pole snapping mid-vault was watched four hundred and twenty thousand times. Usain Bolt storming to victory in the one hundred metres final had over four hundred and twenty nine thousand requests. The BBC's dedicated Olympics app was downloaded 1.9 million times for Apple iOS and Google Android smartphones. Phil Fearnley, the general manager - news and knowledge at BBC Future Media, said that the BBC has delivered on its promise to present a truly digital Games. 'Our aspiration was that just as the Coronation did for TV in 1953, the Olympics would do for digital in 2012,' he said. 'The demand and astonishing feedback we've seen from audiences accessing our Olympics content online, whenever they want, on the devices they choose, has exceeded our expectations and helped fulfil this aspiration. We promised audiences would never miss a moment of the games. We delivered on our promise and will build on this to leave a lasting digital legacy for audiences in years to come.' BBC Sport head of interactive Ben Gallop added: 'Our home Olympics was a special time for the whole UK and it's been really pleasing for BBC Sport to have given our audience the chance to enjoy all that amazing action. We like to think it was the ultimate Olympic choice: on-demand and on-the-move.'

The euphoric reaction to London's staging of the 2012 Olympics continued to the final day, as Monday's national newspaper front pages, leader writers and columnists had one last chance for a bit of Olympic fever. Papers vied to find the right phrase in just a couple of words, or even a single word, to sum up two weeks of what they clearly regard as a British triumph. Didn't We Do Well! said the Daily Scum Express. The choice of an exclamation mark rather than a question mark was significant. Indeed, there are several exclaimers: Out With A Bang! (the Daily Scum Mail), Goldbye! (the Daily Mirra) and What A Swell Party That Was! (the Independent). And there was plenty of patriotic groin thrusting going down too: We lit the flame. We Lit Up The World (the Daily Torygraph), We're World Beaters... Dream GB (the Sun) and Best Of British (the Daily Lies). Some papers preferred a farewell sign off: Goodbye To The Glorious Games (the Gruniad Morning Star), Golden Goodbye (the Metro), That's All Folks (the Independent) and, the oddest of all, Seventeen Days Later (The Times) who, in their leading article lauded 'a great exhibition. These games have been almost dreamlike in their seamlessness and drama. They have occasioned so much breathless British patriotism that the world may wonder if we were ever serious about self-deprecation, but the point is, we were. No one is as surprised as the hosts that this fraught and complex festival of striving should have gone so well.' The Torygraph, taking up Mo Farah's quote about his two gold medals being the result of 'hard work and grafting,' said 'the chief lesson of the Olympics is that success does not come without hard work, and lots of it.' Somebody should tell that to the whinging French press who don't seem to realise that the only place success comes before work is in the dictionary. The Gruniad - as wanky po-faced as ever - celebrated the fact that 'the games brought out much that is best in this country.' It continued: 'They allowed us a golden glimpse of a nation that celebrates men and women with equal awe, and embraces British athletes of all racial backgrounds. They celebrated the rich shared Britishness of competitors and supporters who are also fiercely proud of diverse roots.' Then they went back to whinging about Top Gear, as usual. The Independent, after paying tribute to the public funding which gave rise to the games, also recognised that they were 'a triumph not of old Britain, but new.' It went on: 'Competitors in their teens or fifties, black, white and shades in between; ageing rockers, young rappers; women, contributing nearly half the glory and more than their shares of the smiles; volunteers from every background; the witty, the imaginative, the accomplished. The knowledge of that, the confidence to be drawn from it, could be the real legacy of these Games.' The Daily Scum Mail was thoroughly ecstatic - not even Russell Brand's appearance in the Closing Ceremony could dampen their mood of gazed-eyed patriotic fervour and loved-up jingoism: 'What a fortnight. What a fantastic Olympic Games. The organisers of London 2012 promised us the greatest show on earth. And how they delivered.' It then picked out Mo Farah, 'who fled to Britain from war-torn Somalia as a child' as 'a fantastic role model for millions of young Britons of all walks of life.' Yes, dear blog reader, you heard it here first. The Daily Scum Mail finding something genuinely nice to say about a Muslin asylum seeker. Truly, we are living in The End of Days. Although at least true to form some of their lice readership still found something to whinge about. 'Say goodbye to the Marxist Olympics you brainwashed masses. These Olympics were nothing but Multicultural propaganda,' wrote one 'KJ' of London. Isn't it reassuring to see the Scum Mail's traditional old fashioned blackshirt-supporting bigotry isn't dead after all? Thank you KJ, you've slightly restored this blogger's faith in the natural order of all things. It was also hard not to enjoy the contribution of one 'J Andel, North London,' who wrote (presumably, in crayon): 'Worst olimpics [sic] ever!' To which another reader, not unreasonably, replied 'Worst spelling ever.' According to the Sun, the games were 'two weeks which will burn brightly for ever in our history.' And it claims that 'the world's verdict is unanimous: Our Games were sensational. And they were. We absolutely nailed it.' The Scum Express praised 'ordinary British people who turned London 2012 into an unprecedented spectacle with their generosity and support.' In the Mirra, there was a sporting piece by former Olympian Steve Ovett, who wrote: 'My old rival, Seb Coe, delivered an Olympic Games to make the whole country proud.' The Gruniad's Zoe Williams, after noting that the closing ceremony included 'a homage to our favourite dead performers' (Churchill, Freddie Mercury and John Lennon), added: 'That's what these games have done for our optimism: brought it back from the dead.' There was bound to be one sour-faced tosser, however. Matthew Engel in the Financial Times sought to be grimly realistic: 'This was the last of the big-budget productions from what the government keeps warning (at least before the Olympics began) will become a small-budget country. Normality is about to resume: yesterday the world, tomorrow the London Underground.' Thanks, Matthew. That really helps. A column in The Times by Peter Wilson, the European correspondent of The Australian should have the last word. After saying that London had knocked Sydney off its pedestal as the best host of a modern Olympics Peter added that one of the reasons for the success is that is Australians were flown in by the plane load to help plan and run things. So, not some much as a trace of sour grapes for winning but seven golds there, then.

Here's the final consolidated ratings for week-ending 5 August 2012:-
1 Olympics 2012 - BBC1 Sun - 14.25m
2 BBC News - BBC1 Sun - 9.97m
3 Coronation Street - ITV Mon - 7.85m
4 Ten O'Clock News - BBC1 Fri - 6.70m
5 EastEnders - BBC2 Mon - 6.29m
6 Emmerdale - ITV Tues - 6.15m
7 Six O'Clock News - BBC1 Wed - 6.14m
8 The National Lottery: Saturday Draws - BBC1 Sat - 5.60m
Next week, it'll be back to normal size, one trusts.

Fresh from her general acclaim presenting the Olympics on the BBC - even from the all-things-BBC-hating Daily Scum Mail - Clare Balding her very self will be the face of Channel Four horse racing after the broadcaster announced details of its coverage of the Grand National, Derby and Cheltenham Festival for 2013. IMG Sports Media has won the contract to produce Channel Four's coverage, which will begin in January next year. The commercial broadcaster secured exclusive rights to all terrestrial racing coverage in a four-year deal earlier this year, including the crown jewels of racing such as the Grand National which previously broadcast on BBC1. Balding will also present Channel Four's coverage of the London Paralympics, starting on 29 August. The deal with Channel Four is non-exclusive so Balding, who has been linked with a presenting role for a new sporting chat show on the BBC, will still be able to work for the corporation. Balding's previous Channel Four credits include their coverage of Crufts – like the horseracing, also formerly on the BBC – and Famous and Fearless, the short-lived (and really truly dreadful) celebrity stunt show she co-hosted with Chris Evans. Balding, who anchored the BBC's coverage of the swimming and equestrian events at the Olympics, as well as the BBC's horseracing coverage outside of the games, said that she was 'excited' by Channel Four's plans and 'the way in which they have committed to expanding the profile of jockeys, trainers and horses.' She said the new deal would enable her to combine horseracing on Channel Four with 'expanded and varied programming at the BBC.' IMG Sports Media, part of IMG Worldwide, will produce around ninety days a year of live terrestrial horseracing coverage. Channel Four, which was praised for shaking up TV coverage of cricket when it bagged the England home Test match rights from the BBC (since bought lock, stock and barrel by Sky) has promised a 'range of innovations including graphical enhancements.' But the producer behind Channel Four's cricket innovations, Sunset + Vine (which now produces Channel Five's cricket highlights) and Highflyer Productions, the long-serving producer of the broadcaster's horseracing coverage, lost out to IMG in the race for the new contract. Channel Four chief creative officer Jay Hunt said: 'Clare has shown over the last two weeks at the Olympics why she is rightly acclaimed as one of the UK's leading broadcasters and I'm delighted that, in addition to presenting the London 2012 Paralympic Games on Channel Four this autumn, she will lead our horseracing coverage from 2013. With the expertise of IMG Sports on board, I'm hugely excited about the future of racing on Channel Four.' Channel Four's racing coverage will be headed up behind the scenes by BBC Sport senior programme editor Carl Hicks, a key figure in the corporation's Olympics coverage who will join IMG Sports Media as executive producer. Hicks has previously overseen nine Grand Nationals and eight Royal Ascots, among numerous other race meetings.

Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch his very self has spoken about his upcoming new BBC drama Parade's End. The Sherlock actor plays the lead role in the co-production with HBO, which is based on Ford Madox Ford's novels and is written by Tom Stoppard. Cumberbatch appeared to make a dig at rival ITV period drama Downton Abbey by talking about the 'sophisticated' nature of his new five-part series. 'You rarely see a piece about this class of people that is this accurate, funny and pointed, but also three-dimensional,' he is quoted as saying in the Sun. Especially not if it's written by greasy snob Lord Snooty. 'We're not serving purposes to make some clichéd comment about, "Oh, isn't it awful the way there's this upstairs-downstairs divide." It's a little bit more sophisticated.' The Edwardian-era BBC1 drama focuses on the troubled marriage of Christopher (played by Benny) and Sylvia Tietjens (Rebecca Hall), and is directed by Susanna White.

Phil Davis has joined the cast of Being Human. The legendary fifty nine-year-old actor will appear in series five as the sinister Captain Hatch. The wheelchair-bound Hatch is described as 'bitter, manipulative, obsequious and cruel' and 'embodies the worst in humanity.' The army veteran is also said to be hiding 'a dark and toxic secret that could rattle your soul with fear.' Of his new role, Davis said: 'I'm very excited to be joining the cast of Being Human for series five. It's a great show. I don't want to give too much away about the character at this early stage but I can reveal that he is marvellously disgusting. I'm busy researching now.' The fifth series of Being Human - announced in March - will feature new ghost Alex (Kate Bracken) alongside vampire Hal (Damien Molony) and werewolf Tom (Michael Socha). 'With those three new characters, there's a completely new dynamic and just tons of ideas and stories you can tell,' series creator Toby Whithouse said in April.

Channel Four's hit imported political psychological drama Homeland has escaped a rebuke from Ofcom after a number - probably very small and almost entirely tight-arsed number - of viewers complained about swearing and a sex scene shown close to the 9pm watershed. US drama Homeland tells the story of Sergeant Nicolas Brody, play superbly by Damien Lewis, who returns as an American hero after eight years in captivity in Iraq, but CIA officer Carrie Mathison (Clare Danes) begins to suspect that he may have links to an Al-Qaeda terrorist plot against America. In the episode from Season One broadcast on Channel Four on 4 March, a sex scene was shown seven minutes after the 9pm watershed between Prince Farid of Saudi Arabia and his girlfriend Lynne, who - unbeknown to the Prince - was spying on him for the CIA. Then the opening credits for the episode shown on 8 April featured Brody and Carrie both saying the word 'fuck,' which Ofcom noted was 'clearly audible' to viewers. On both occasions, the complainants were concerned that the potentially offensive content was aired very close to the watershed when children may have just stopped viewing. Ofcom's rules state that 'the transition to more adult material must not be unduly abrupt at the watershed. For television the strongest material should appear later in the schedule.' But Channel Four said that the sex scene was 'editorially justified' because it illustrated the nature of the relationship between Lynne and the Prince, as she was sexually subservient to him and risked being killed if he discovered she was working for the CIA. The broadcaster also noted that the episode was preceded by a clear warning stating: 'Now on Four tonight Homeland which contains nudity, sexual scenes and strong language from the very start and throughout.' Channel Four said that the swearing in the show's opening credits was also artistically justified as it helped reflect Brody and Carrie's characters. The broadcaster said that again, it warned viewers to expect 'strong language from the very start' of the episode. Sadly, it failed to comment about, once again, the utter frigging petty arsewipe nature of Ofcom's suggestion that the Watershed isn't nine o'clock but, rather, 'ten past nine  ... or quarter past if we get some complaints about something that happens at ten past.' If you have a dividing line then you have a dividing line, full stop. Before is before, after is after and utter risible bollocks like this merely infuriates adult viewers who are perfectly capable for themselves of deciding what is 'acceptable' and what isn't without any help from a politically appointment quango, elected by no one. In a statement, Ofcom said that its rules on the watershed transition were 'not prescriptive,' as each case is taken on whether the content was 'editorially justified.' The regulator said that the consensual sex scene lasted eighteen seconds and did show Lynne's naked breasts, but no other nudity was involved as the couple were covered by sheets. After it was over and the Prince left the room, the scene depicted Lynne downloading material from his phone at 'great peril to herself.' Overall, Ofcom felt that the scene was justified by its context, while viewers were also clearly warned about the coming content. It was further noted that Homeland's first season had previously featured much stronger sex scenes, such as the one between Brody and his wife in the opening episode. Discussing the use of the word 'fuck' at fifty and fifty three seconds in Homeland's pre-title sequence on 8 April, Ofcom said that this was justified by 'the editorial context' and would not have exceeded viewer's expectations for the series and broadcaster. Ofcom also noted that both uses of the word were 'not directed at another character,' which in fact lessened their potential to offend most viewers. 'Our research suggests that audiences find strong language more offensive when directed at an individual,' said Ofcom. This blogger's research find that Ofcom is just offensive just by its very existence.

Belarusian women's shot put gold medallist Nadzeya Ostapchuk has been busted for dope and stripped of her title after failing a drugs test, the International Olympic Committee has announced. Ostapchuk, thirty one, threw 21.36m with her third attempt to win in the Olympic Stadium last week. But Ostapchuk has now been disqualified after officials said that metenolone was found in a urine sample she provided. New Zealand's Valerie Adams, who was second, has now been awarded gold. Evgeniia Kolodko of Russia gets the silver and China's Lijiao Gong the bronze. Adjust your Medals Table lists accordingly, dear blog reader. An IOC statement said: 'The athlete was first requested to provide a urine sample for a doping control on 5 August. She competed the next day in the women's shot put event, where she placed first, and was asked to provide a sample straight after her competition. Both samples indicated the presence of metenolone, which is classified as anabolic agent under the 2012 prohibited list.' Ostapchuk won gold at the 2010 European Championships, but was second to Adams at the 2011 World Championships. London 2012 saw the biggest anti-doping operation in the history of the Olympic Games. Before the start of the Olympics, those competing were warned that one hundred and fifty scientists were set to take six thousand samples. Every competitor who won a medal at the Olympics was tested. British discus thrower Brett Morse apologised to his Twitter followers after accusing Ostapchuk of doping last week. Morse made the claim after he failed to qualify for the Olympics discus final and also tweeted: 'I've had a bad day but it could be worse, I could look like Ostaptchuk [sic].'

The Sun has been ordered to hand over documents relating to a story about music promoter Louis Walsh. An Irish high court judge ruled that Walsh is entitled to see documents connected to a Sun story, which alleged that Walsh had made a sexual attack on a man in a night club toilet. After it was published in June last year it emerged that the allegations were entirely false and the man responsible for making them, Leonard Watters, was later prosecuted, and jailed, for having made them. The court was told that the Sun has 'unreservedly accepted' that the allegations made in its article, headlined Louis probed over 'sex attack' on man in loo, were false and that Walsh had been 'completely exonerated.' The judge ruled on Friday that Walsh was entitled to see all documents associated with the investigation by the newspaper's crime writer, one Joanne McElgunn. He also directed that the newspaper should provide all documents identifying or referring to any payments made or offered by the newspaper to Watters and statements of McElgunn's expenses. The documentation must include the booking of a hotel room for Watters, bank statements, text messages, e-mails and records of phone calls. The orders, made by Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O'Neill, also apply to the Sun's editor, Dominic Mohan, its Irish editor Michael McNiff and the editor of its showbiz Bizarre column, Gordon Smart. Walsh has sued the Sun's publishers, News Group Newspapers, for damages - including aggravated and exemplary damages - for defamation. The judge said that in his claim Walsh had alleged that McElgunn had met Watters in a hotel, bought him dinner and offered him money if he would agree to make a complaint to police about being indecently assaulted by Walsh. Walsh further alleged that McElgunn had paid Watters seven hundred euros and promised to make further payments after the story was printed. The judge said News Group relied on a defence of 'qualified privilege', claiming that, by consenting to the publication of Walsh's rebuttal of the allegations against him, he was consenting to the publication of the existence of the allegations. But Mr Justice O'Neill said that while journalistic privilege existed to protect 'the proper functioning of journalism,' the allegations made by Walsh, if true, could well merit 'the description of improper journalism.' In its report of the judge's ruling, the Sun said the high court was told that the paper did not pay or encourage anyone to make false statements to the police. The paper's barrister, James McGowan, said that News Group 'rejected Walsh's allegations' that money was paid to Watters, who was jailed for making false allegations. McGowan said: 'A full defence had been delivered and the newspaper denied encouraging or paying any person to make a statement or complaint to gardai.' The judge said communications between the newspaper's journalists and persons other than Watters and members of the police would be protected from disclosure by journalistic privilege.

Today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day reflected upon the inherently competitive nature of sport and what happens at the end. As ever, we at From The North consider it to be our mission in life to increase your thoroughly worthless knowledge of pop culture subjects, dear blog reader. So, did you know that ABBA were one of the first bands ever to have their own range of miniature action figures made and marketed? And, that the Benny doll outsold those of Bjorn, Agnetha and Anni-Fred put together by a quite considerable distance? Which, when you think about it, isn't really all that surprising. After all, who doesn't want a twelve inch pianist? Anyway ...

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