Sunday, August 12, 2012

Week Thirty Four: I Say The World Is Upside Down

'Words cannot do justice to how I feel,' screamed the BBC commentator - and former Olympic silver medallist - Steve Cram. 'Have you ever seen anything like that? Have you ever seen a man with so much confidence in his own ability?' His colleague, the legend that is Wor Brendan Foster (Olympic bronze medallist in 1976), said it might have been the single greatest moment in British athletics history. 'This stadium is my favourite in the world,' said Bren. 'Every Saturday night you turn up here and Mo Farah wins a gold medal! This is the best moment I have ever witnessed in athletics in Britain. We are privileged to be here.' Magic Mo Farah his very self claimed his second gold of the 2012 Olympics with a stunning win in the five thousand metres late on Saturday evening. Victory for the twenty nine-year-old, who won the ten thousand metres exactly a week earlier, took the host nation's tally of golds to twenty seven on the penultimate day of action. And, genuinely, it was a sight to see, dear blog reader and I mean, a sight to see. The BBC team were all well-excited by it! Gosh, that Denise Lewis is still a fine figure of a woman. Anyway ... Roared on by a packed to the rafters Olympic Stadium, Super Mo took the initiative heading into the final lap and did more than enough to hold off his rivals and claim the win in thirteen minutes 41.66 seconds. Ethiopia's Dejen Gebremeskel took silver while Thomas Longosiwa of Kenya won bronze. A week ago Farah's stunning victory in the ten thousand metres final had provided an unforgettable crescendo to so-called 'Super Saturday.' This was always going to be a tougher contest. Going into the race Farah was ranked only eleventh in the world on season's bests, whilst seven of the men who lined-up had quicker personal bests than he. But Farah had shown in winning five thousand metres gold at the World Championships in Daegu that he could run a brutal ten thousand and still recover sufficiently within a short period of time to take on the world's best again. There are no superlatives to describe the Briton's performance in the race. The early pace was pedestrian, the first five laps all seventy seconds or slower, and only when Gebremeskel went to the front with five laps to go did the pace pick up with a sixty-second lap. The noise was immense, Mo slotting in behind the Ethiopian in second with one thousand metres to go. He pushed on to the front with a lap and a half left and was joined by his training partner Galen Rupp of the United States, but then Farah went hard at the bell and down the back straight to open a metre lead which he would never relinquish. British men had never before won an Olympic long distance gold. Farah now has two in the space of one remarkable week, and joins greats like Emil Zátopek, Vladimir Kuts, Miruts Yifter, Kenenisa Bekele and Lasse Viren who also won five and ten thousand gold at the same games. Farah ran a 52.9 second last lap and despite having two athletes on his shoulder in the home straight never remotely looked like losing. They were chasing the double Olympic champion's shadow as Mo kicked for glory to cross the line with his arms in the air. Mo, whose wife will give birth to twin girls very soon, told BBC Sport: 'Those two medals are for my two girls. They can have one each. It has all worked out well. Two gold medals. Who would have thought that?' He added: 'It's unbelievable. When I took the lead, I knew I had to hold onto it.' After that, everything in the Olympic Stadium on the final night of the track and field athletics was going to be an anti-climax. Well, except for Usain Bolt and his Jamaican four by one hundred metres relay mates breaking a world record, that is! The Jamaican sprint quartet of Bolt, Yohan Blake, Nesta Carter and Michael Frater were too good for their nearest rivals, a American team boasting the talents of Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin. Bolt received the baton with Jamaica already in the lead and crossed the line in 36.85 seconds, smashing the previous record of 37.04 seconds. Bolt is proof that lightening doesn't just strike once or twice but, sometimes, six times. That was Bolt's sixth Olympic gold medal in his second games. He won the one hundred metres, two hundred metres and four by one hundred metres relay in Beijing and has defended his hat-trick of titles in London. Jamaica were trailing the Americans after two baton changes but Blake gobbled up their advantage by overtaking Tyson Gay at the bend and Bolt galloped away from Ryan Bailey to dip home in world record time.

Earlier in the day, Ed McKeever powered to victory in the men's two hundred metres kayak to win Britain's twenty sixth gold medal of the 2012 Olympics. The twenty eight-year-old dominated the K1 single final, with Spaniard Saul Craviotto Rivero taking silver and Canada's Mark de Jonge bronze at Eton Dorney. McKeever crossed the line in 36.246 seconds to win only Britain's second ever Olympic canoe sprint gold medal after Doctor Tim Brabants triumphed in 2008. Ed added Olympic gold to his 2010 world and European titles. He said after Saturday's triumph: 'I'm so happy. I feel relief. It sounds stupid but it's not elation - more relief and I'm so happy to do it front of a home crowd. I was like a kid at Christmas this morning waiting to open his presents. I get to open those presents soon. A hard wind made the race a bit longer. I wanted to focus on the first three strokes, I wanted to nail them and hopefully the rest sorted itself out which it did.' After a barren week for Britain in the canoe sprint events, McKeever raised hopes of a medal when he set an Olympic record in the heats, as gold medal favourite Piotr Siemionowski crashed out. McKeever slipped to the third fastest time overall in the semi-finals, behind de Jonge and Craviotto Rivero, although only 0.024 seconds separated the trio. But on finals day, McKeever, who is training to become an accountant, fed off the energy from a cheering thirty thousand capacity crowd. A blistering start gave him an early lead and he was soon into a smooth paddling rhythm as he kept up the ruthless pace to hold off the chasing pack and take gold. Shortly afterwards, Liam Heath and Jonny Schofield picked up a bronze in the K2 doubles. Heath can count Kylie Minogue as one of his fans after the Aussie songstress wrote him a note at the airport wishing him good luck when he was travelling back from a training camp in Barcelona. Heath actually quit the sport three-years ago, but when his preferred distance of two hundred metres was included for London 2012, he ditched his degree in design technology and jumped back in a canoe. Russia's Yury Postrigay and Alexander Dyachenko won gold. Australia denied Great Britain's men's hockey team their first Olympic medal in more than two decades with a 3-1 victory in their bronze medal play-off. Britain last won a medal in 1988, famously lifting the Olympic title in Seoul. Having endured a 9-2 semi-final pants-down thrashing by Netherlands, Britain went a goal down to Australia through Simon Orchard's first-half strike. Iain Lewers equalised but Jamie Dwyer and Kieran Govers earned Australia their fourth bronze in five Games. Dwyer, competing in his third Olympics, bundled home from a penalty corner midway through the second half before Govers put the result beyond doubt. Australia have not been out of the medals in men's Olympic hockey since, coincidentally, 1988. The Kookaburras won silver in 1992 and gold in 2004, picking up bronze in 1996, 2000 and 2008. In the final, Germany beat the Netherlands 2-1 to take the gold. Around the same moment that Usain Bolt was bringing the Olympic Stadium to its feet, Cool Hand Luke Campbell was doing the same in the ExCel Arena making it two golds so far for Britain in the boxing ring. He did it with magnificent, hard fought victory over Ireland's John Joe Nevin in a little classic of a bantamweight final. Campbell, twenty four, won a fourteen to eleven points decision after three bruising rounds in which both fighters traded some big punches. The bout between Campbell and Nevin was a decider: Hull southpaw Campbell had beaten Nevin on countback in the semi-finals of last year's world championships, while Nevin won at the European Championships in 2009. It is already the best performance by a British boxing team at an Olympics since Melbourne in 1956, when two golds, a silver and a bronze were won already and two more medals guaranteed on Sunday. Ireland finished the boxing tournament with one gold, one silver and two bronzes. They have won four of their five Olympic medals in total in the ring. Just to rounds off a terrific night, at the Aquatic Centre, Tom Daley finally came good, winning a superb bronze in the ten metre platform diving. Roared on by a sell-out crowd of seventeen thousand (including various members of the Beckham family), the eighteen-year-old delivered six dives of consistent excellence. USA's David Boudia took gold. China's Qiu Bo, the world champion and firm favourite coming into the final, had to settle for silver. This seemed unlikely on Friday evening when Bo dominated the qualifying session, with Daley down in fifteenth. But Daley gave a glimpse of his true form this season in Saturday morning's semi-final, only to save the very best until it really mattered. The Plymouth-born diver narrowly missed out on a medal in the ten metres synchro with partner Peter Waterfield last week. Britain have now won sixty two medals - fifteen more than they got at the 2008 Games in Beijing - and have cemented third place in the London 2012 rankings behind the United States and China.

On Saturday evening, the TV cameras momentarily zoomed away from Mo Farah - warming up on the track - to focus on Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was taking his seat in the VIP section at at the Olympic Stadium. Right next to the vile and odious rascal (and drag) Hunt. One hopes you brought a good book, Arnie.
Still, at least he had these two gentlemen around to stop him from falling into a complete stupor of boredom.
Usain Bolt's historic two hundred metres gold was seen by a peak audience of 15.4 million viewers on Thursday night according to overnight data. BBC1's coverage scored a high of 13.73m at 9pm as Bolt became the first man to successfully defend the men's one and two hundred metres Olympic sprint titles. Those figures do not include those tuning in on BBC Olympics One (approximately 1.6m viewers), big screens in pubs or online. Bolt's race - in which he beat compatriot Yohan Blake - was easily the most popular event of Day Thirteen of London 2012. Meanwhile, the first ever Olympic women's boxing finals - including golds for Britian and Ireland thought Nicola Adams and Katie Taylor respectively - were witnessed by an average audience of 3.93m between 4pm and 7pm, climbing to a high of five million in the last fifteen minutes. Olympics Breakfast (1.56m) and Olympics Tonight (3.93m) continued to pick up solid ratings. Friday's BBC audience peak was 10.8m for women's fifteen hundred metres final. BBC1 managed a colossal all-day audience share of 32.1 per cent.

Mexico stunned the favourites Brazil 2-1 at Wembley to win the men's Olympic football tournament for the first time. Oribe Peralta struck from the edge of the eighteen-yard box after just thirty two seconds following some poor Brazilian defending. Fabian Marco hit the Brazil crossbar before a completely unmarked Peralta headed his team's second goal midway throug hthe second half. Brazil, also hoping to win gold for the first time, pulled a goal back through Hulk in injury-time - Hulk Smash! as it were - before an unmarked Oscar headed wide with just seconds remaining when it looked harder to miss than score. However, if the South American side had grabbed a late equaliser it would have been hugely unjust after a very patchy performance, particularly in defence. Mano Menezes's team had scored three in each of their previous five games and were treating the tournament as an important staging post ahead of hosting the World Cup in 2014. But if they are to succeed on home soil they will have to show a significant improvement from what they produced at Wembley, with star forward Neymar a largely peripheral figure. Menezes went into Saturday's match under immense pressure to deliver gold and fill the one significant gap missing for the Brazilian team's trophy haul, but if the game was to be Brazil's coronation as Olympic champions then Mexico clearly had not read the script. They defeated Brazil 2-0 in a friendly earlier in the summer and stunned Wembley when Peralta's low strike nestled in the bottom corner while many inside the stadium were still in the process of taking their seats. The Scum defender Rafael was at fault for the goal, his sloppy pass allowing Javier Aquino to nip in and dispossess Sandro, with the ball running invitingly into the path of Peralta. Brazil could not find their stride - a situation not helped by a series of niggly fouls which broke up play and angered coach Menezes, who could be seen waving an imaginary card on the touchline. And their disappointing start was put into stark perspective when Menezes made a change just after the half-hour mark, bringing on Hulk for Alex Sandro. The substitution made a difference and Jose Corona managed to palm clear a swerving strike from Hulk while Marcelo shot wastefully wide after he had linked with Oscar and Leandro Damiao to carve open the left side of the Mexican defence. By the early stages of the second half it was obvious that Mexico had opted to try to defend their lead. This seemed to play into the hands of their opponents, particularly Neymar, who had disappointed in the opening half but briefly relished the chance to repeatedly run at the Mexico defence. He twice shot wide and saw another effort blocked, but his influence soon faded and Mexico almost struck with a swift break out of defence. There was more shoddy Brazilian defending involved too, as Fabian dispossessed an opponent far too easily and eventually saw his overhead effort rebound off the crossbar. An unmarked Peralta later slotted home from six yards but Brazil were saved by the offside flag. There was to be no reprieve with fifteen minutes remaining, however. A free-kick was delivered from the right and the Mexico striker was left completely alone to head home from eight yards. Brazil's frustrating afternoon saw team-mates Juan Jesus and Rafael square up to each other in the final minutes shortly before huffy young Rafael has his ass hauled off by his manager. Ooo, getting all stroppy and discombobulated, so he was. You wanna try that on with Alex Ferguson next season, pal, see how far you get. Hulk's injury-time strike into the bottom corner briefly ignited hope of a spectacular comeback and Oscar then headed wastefully wide at the near post as Mexico held on for a famous victory.

Nick Woodbridge finished tenth for Great Britain in the men's Modern Pentathlon at London 2012 as the Czech Republic's David Svoboda impressively won the title. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping has always rather liked the Modern Pentathlon, dear blog reader. I've always thought that there simply aren't anywhere near enough Olympic sports designed almost exclusively for Eighteenth Century cavalry officers stranded  behind enemy lines. Woodbridge led home his team-mate Sam Weale, who finished thirteenth, in a sport which involves a day of fencing, swimming, showjumping and a combined run-and-shoot finale. Former European champion Svoboda, a serving military officer, outstripped Chinese rival Cao Zhongrong to win gold. The Hungarian Adam Marosi took the bronze medal. World champion Mhairi Spence is set to compete for Great Britain on Sunday. The women's event, which also features world bronze medallist Samantha Murray, will be the last gold medal on offer at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Those fabulously fit Norwegian girls took the gold in the women's handball after a twenty six to twenty three victory over Montenegro in the final. World, European and now twice Olympic champions Norway built a three-goal advantage at half-time and kept the pressure on the underdogs with their strong defence and probing attack. Linn Jørum Sulland top-scored for the Scandinavians with ten goals before they collapsed on the court with tears in their eyes while their beaten opponents also celebrated a first games medal for the tiny Balkan nation. Montenegro became independent in 2006 when it split from a state union with Serbia and has a population under seven hundred thousand. It's been widely reported that there are only, approximately one hundred women handball players in Montenegro (and fifteen of those are in the Olympic squad). They battled hard to equalise midway through the second period but their indiscipline did not help. Milena Knezevic was shown a red card for three two-minute suspensions and general naughtiness while other team mates were also sin-binned. Tournament top-scorer Katarina Bulatović joint top-scored in the match with ten goals for Montenegro. Norway's win continued recent Scandinavian dominance of the women's Olympic tournament, Denmark having won three straight titles from 1996. Spain claimed the won bronze by beating South Korea thirty one to twenty nine. Double extra time was needed in a thrilling game at the Basketball Arena. The Europeans, whose previous best-placed finish at the games was sixth in Athens, were on course for a comfortable win midway through the second-half, leading by four goals, but a strong Korean fightback forced extra-time with the score tied at twenty four each. After nothing could separate the two teams after the first period of two five-minute halves, another one was forced and Spain finally got the edge when Jessica Alonso threw in with ten seconds remaining to give them a decisive two-goal advantage. The defeat for Korea, who are the most decorated side in Olympic history with six medals, means they have failed to get on the podium for just the second time in eight appearances at the games as they ran out of steam after a gruelling tournament.

In other Olympic news, Britain's Dominic King finished last in the men's fifty kilometre walk but, fantastically, demonstrated a bit of true Olympic spirit by being in jubilant mood as he made his way down the finishing straight on The Mall high-fiving cheering fans. King's finishing time was four hours fifteen minutes and five seconds, more than thirty nine minutes behind the winner, Russia's Sergey Kirdyapkin, who set a new Olympic record of 3:35.59. 'My priority was always to finish and the second priority was to get a personal best,' Dominic said. 'I didn't do too bad, it was my third fastest time ever and I had to get an eight-minute personal best just to qualify so medals were never going to be in the equation, but I feel like I got my own medal just by getting the biggest cheer of the day.' The chap had just walked nearly forty miles in four and quarter hours, I reckon he deserves a medal for that alone. Swedish triathlete Lisa Norden will not receive an Olympic gold after losing an appeal against a photo-finish decision. Switzerland's Nicola Spirig was ruled to have won gold following an unprecedented photo-finish on 4 August. Sweden insisted that it was not possible for officials to 'distinguish precisely' the position of Spirig's torso. But the Court of Arbitration for Sport said that the result would stand because it was 'a field-of-play decision' which cannot be reviewed. Field-of-play decisions can only be looked at retrospectively if there was evidence of arbitrariness or bad faith, neither of which was found to be the case in deciding the result of the women's Olympic triathlon in London. The Swedish Olympic Committee and Swedish Triathlon Federation asked for both athletes to be ranked as joint winners. Both bodies appealed after the race but the International Triathlon Union rejected the appeal on Wednesday. Judges ruled that Spirig's winning margin was less than fifteen centimetres, although an official photograph appeared to show Norden's head crossing the finish first. But the International Triathlon Union insisted two cameras on the line showed the Swiss athlete's torso ahead of the Swede's. It is the first time an Olympic triathlon has been decided on a photo-finish. Meanwhile, France's Julie Bresset took gold in the women's mountain bike cross country race. Bresset cruised to victory with a sensational ride finishing ahead of Sabine Spitz of Germany and Georgia Gould of the United States. Britain's Annie Last - great name! - made a brave start, leading for much of the first lap at Hadleigh Farm in Essex, before finishing a high creditable eighth. Which most certainly wasn't last. The Syrian athlete Ghfran Almouhamad has been disqualified from the Olympics after failing a drugs test, the International Olympic Committee announced. The twenty three-year-old finished eighth in the second heat of the first round of the women's four hundred metres hurdles. And, finally, if you're unsure about the rules of Olympic sailing, let this chap explain. Marvellous.

The American broadcaster NBC was told to cease ringside commentary on Friday after amateur boxing's governing body complained to Olympics organisers that their presence was 'disrupting officials' at the arena. NBC was the only broadcaster allowed to commentate from the ringside floor and the sport's governing body, the AIBA, said they disturbed officials sitting next to them throughout the competition. It recommended to the London organising committee that NBC's commentary team leave their position. They were offered a space with the other media but decided to storm off in right a huff instead, the AIBA claimed. 'NBC commentators were offered a booth in the media tribune like other broadcasters because they were very disturbing for AIBA officials – even during bouts they were not broadcasting – being located at the edge of the Field of Play,' an AIBA spokesman said in an e-mailed statement to Reuters. '[NBC] claimed that since no boxers from the USA were still in the running, they didn't want to stay anyway.' Ooo, get them. NBC claim that this was not true - although, frankly, it doesn't sound like the kind of thing someone would make up - and that it would be 'addressing the matter' with the International Olympic Committee. So, that's the usual American thing if they can't get their own way, throwing their weight around. Expect an invasion and occupation of AIBA to follow shortly afterwards whilst they claim it's a 'police action.' 'That is inaccurate and we will be calling the remaining bouts for the US television audience, as planned,' an NBC spokesman claimed in an e-mailed statement, referring to the AIBA quoting its commentary team as not wanting to stay. 'There are two sides to every story. We'll address the matter with the IOC after the games conclude,' the statement added. The AIBA said NBC cameramen were still recording footage at the arena and that the fights would be commentated on from New York. NBC paid over four billion dollars for the US rights to the next four Olympics, summer and winter, through to 2020 and has attracted big audiences to tune in for the London Games by tape-delaying marquee events to be broadcast in the evening, maximising viewers and advertising wonga. The NBC Sports Group chairman, Mark Lazarus, said last week that the London Games' tape-delayed prime-time ratings had topped the live prime-time ratings for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Lazarus said NBC, which at one point stood to lose two hundred million bucks on the event, had a small chance of making 'a little bit of money' because of the strong ratings performance. However, he was also forced to give an impassioned defence of the network's coverage on a conference call, conceding that some of the criticisms levelled at the network had been 'fair.' A small but vocal contingent of critics have stormed Twitter, Facebook and other social media, decrying the network's delayed broadcasts, technical glitches with online streaming, heavy promotions and the inadequacies of its cast of commentators. US media have also reported ringside comments from one of NBC's boxing commentators, the trainer Teddy Atlas, who was highly critical at the officiating of the London games. USA's women boxers picked up two medals on Thursday, one a gold, but their men have had their worst performance at an Olympic games ever, failing to win a single medal for the first time.

British Swimming performance director Michael Scott has confirmed he will lead a review of the team's - frankly piss-poor - performance at London 2012. UK Sport set a target of five to seven medals for the swimmers, but the team could only deliver three - two bronzes for Rebecca Adlington in the four and eight hundred metres freestyle events, and a very creditable silver for Michael Jamieson in the two hundred metres breaststroke. The result means that British Swimming now faces a severe cut to its funding. 'Following our collective disappointment at not meeting our high expectations at these Olympic Games, we will be undertaking a thorough performance de-brief,' said Scott. Expectations had been raised after the team claimed six medals at the 2011 World Championships yet, while they managed twenty three finalists in the Aquatics Centre pool, they were unable to convert two fourth and six fifth-placed finishes into medals - something which the review will scrutinise ahead of the new funds being allocated in December. Swimming received a total of just over twenty five million smackers ahead of London 2012 and was in the same funding bracket as cycling, rowing and sailing, all of which have exceeded their medal expectations this summer. One of the biggest disappointments for British Swimming was that the times delivered by its athletes in the Olympic pool did not always match expectations. Other than Jamieson, few bettered the performances they delivered at the British trials in March, which was particularly surprising given that other nations did not appear to share those struggles. Well, apart from Australia. Adlington herself admitted that, at times, she found the home crowd 'overwhelming.' Particularly, it would appear, when being beaten by a fifteen year old. Meanwhile, former Olympic swimming champion Ian Thorpe has vowed to keep the games going by offering free swimming tips at a pool in London on Sunday. The BBC Olympic sports commentator tweeted: 'I want to see the legacy for myself and jump start things before I leave. From 9am tomorrow (Sunday) I will be at Tooting Bec Lido in London. I will give swimming tips to those who ask and do some signings. Remember it is limited capacity so first come first serve and only people serious about swimming, whatever age or standard allowed! Lets keep the games going!'

Here's yer actual Top Telly Tips:-

Friday 17 August
The sitcom In With The Flynns returns tonight - 9:30 BBC1. This family comedy is usually all about staying in - ala The Royle Family - but as series two opens Liam and Caroline have actually been to the pictures. They return home to find a man in a Barbara Windsor mask in their front room, about to make off with a laptop. It's only when they manage to restrain him that they realise the burglar is an old schoolmate of Liam's - though Corrie viewers might recognise him as the murderous John Stape (the excellent Graeme Hawley). Their almost quick-witted reaction makes them the very mildest of vigilantes. Meanwhile, Chloe's manipulative new best friend, Megan, a bad girl intent on messing with Liam and Caroline's heads, comes to stay. Can they get her out of the house before she corrupts their daughter forever? Jim, meanwhile, sparks a war with Kevin when he takes sole credit for catching a huge cod that they fished together. Cue the fish puns - and a reassurance that, although In With The Flynns is pretty broad in its comedy, it's not total carp. As usual, the best thing about it - by quite a long way - is the fantastic Warren Clarke as the grumpy old grandad, Jim. Not the most original of comedies, but it's got a decent jokes-per-minute ratio and some good actors. There are worse ways of spending a Friday night.

We're about as far away from Weatherfield as you can get here as Sue Cleaver, Ryan Thomas, Brooke Vincent and Ben Price jet out to Kenya on a mission to use performing arts to educate people on HIV and drug abuse in Corrie Goes To Kenya - 9:00 ITV. Is there any social problem Coronation Street can't cure? As you'd imagine, there's shock at the sight of the slums of Mombasa and tears as the cast members meet the local children. There are an estimated one million orphans in Kenya, largely because the children have lost their parents to AIDs. As Ryan says after visiting an orphanage, 'We complain about so much, but if you came here and saw what these guys have, you would never complain again.'

Or, if you're after something different, there's a repeat of The Joy of Easy Listening - 9:00 BBC4. This terrific documentary is pitched to appeal to both lovers and loathers of this maligned of musical genre. Expect a barrage of groovy tunes, hideous LP sleeves and archive film of lounge lizards living the Austin Powers lifestyle. Songwriters Jimmy Webb and Richard Carpenter (horrifyingly, worldwide sales of one hundred million) are on rebarbative form, bridling at the uncool tag. This blogger defies anyone to watch this without getting the urge to download one catchy-cheesy track from iTunes or browse a hitherto shunned aisle at HMV. The documentary charts the history of the genre, from its emergence in the 1950s to its heyday in the 60s and early 70s, through its survival in the subsequent two decades and revival in the 90s. The programme explores the people behind the songs and the mark they have left on modern life. Also features an interviews with Engelbert Humperdinck. Nice.

In the last episode of the first (and probably only) series of The Angelos Epithemiou Show - 11:05 Channel Four - the host challenges model-turned-bodybuilder Jodie Marsh to an arm-wrestling contest and Scissor Sisters lead singer Jake Shears gets involved in Gupta's bell-ringing club, before the American band perform their latest single 'Baby Come Home'. Angelos is also reunited with Ulrika Jonsson of Shooting Stars and Gabby Logan joins in the fun. Wild and crazy guy.

Saturday 18 August
Casualty returns tonight for a new series - 9:10 BBC1. Zoe begins work as the ED's clinical lead - but her first day gets off to a hectic start as the team have to deal with casualties injured in a disaster at a music festival. Yeah, this blogger has been to one of two disasters at music festivals. Drama, starring Sunetra Sarker, Jane Hazlegrove and Derek Thompson.
Sandwiched between two episodes of last year's notorious game show flop Red Or Black?, The X Factor is back - 8:00 ITV.Oh, joy. The talent extravaganza returns for a ninth series as Gary Barlow, Tulisa, Louis Walsh and new judge Nicole Scherzinger - replacing the sacked Kelly Rowland - search for the nation's next singing sensation. Allegedly. In a first for the show, anyone aged sixteen and above can enter, even if they have had a management deal in the past or currently have one, so the competition is expected to be tougher than ever. Dermot O'Dreary kicks off the auditions in London and Newcastle, where solo singers and groups take to the stage in a bid to impress the panel and get one step closer to stardom.

The new football season also starts today so that means a welcome return for yer actual Match Of The Day - 10:20 BBC1. Gary Lineker presents highlights of all the Premier League clashes on the opening day of the campaign, including The Arse versus Blunderland and yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though still unsellable) Newcastle United up against Stottingtot Hotshots.
To the east of the capital, Aston Villains visit newly-promoted West Hampsters, with new boss Paul Lambert desperate to revive the flagging fortunes of the Midlanders. Elsewhere, Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws fans get their first glimpse of league life under Brendan Rogers against West Bromwich Albinos. Other matches include Stoke's trip to Reading, Poor Bloody Fulham Haven't Got A Chance taking on yer actual Norwich, and Queen's Park Strangers (minus arch-nutter Joey Barton, currently serving a twelve match ban) against Swansea. Alan Hansen and Alan Shearer providing expert analysis. And say 'unbelievable' a lot.

Sunday 19 August
Postponed from earlier in the year because of its alleged similarities to a real life court case, the missing Silent Witness two-parter And Then I Feel In Love starts tonight - 9:00 BBC1. If the plotting in Silent Witness was as immaculate as its sense of style, it would be the best crime show on TV. Unfortunately, it seldom is. What the series does very well is film horrible, upsetting stories with such lovingly art-directed care that we're seduced one minute and repulsed the next. Which is, admittedly, an impressive thing to have on your CV. Waking The Dead used to do it very well too and Silent Witness is the daddy at such conceits. Tonight, for instance, while the pathologists joke around in their lovely clothes and stylish apartments, the main plot concerns an Asian gang grooming white schoolgirls with drugs and jewellery, then sexually exploiting them. It's really nasty stuff, and viewers flit uncomfortably between the two worlds with the nagging sense that the script is dwelling on the horrors of the abuse a little too pointedly. Meanwhile, Harry and Nikki share a takeaway and listen to Coldplay in her flat. Are they flirting or, do they merely want to be bored titless which is what most people get from listening to Coldplay? Nikki sees a barefoot girl being knocked over by a car, marking the beginning of a case that takes the team into the harrowing world of sex grooming and teenage prostitution. The police know the girl has been abused and suspicion soon falls on her stepfather. Meanwhile, an early-morning bath saves Harry's life, and two puzzling corpses are brought in to the centre - a heavily tattooed man and a decomposed body found at the airport. Guest starring Sanjeev Bhaskar, Elyes Gabel and Madeline Duggan. Concludes tomorrow.

In Britain's Hidden Heritage - 7:00 BBC1 - we have the return of the series which explores places and objects that shed a new light on British history. Richard E Grant visits Pinewood Studios and reveals a few cinema secrets, while host Paul Martin takes in Osborne House on the Isle of Wight and uncovers details of Queen Victoria's family life. Gloucestershire's extraordinary Charles Paget Wade collection captures the attention of Clare Balding, and Charlie Luxton examines a Scottish ruin that was once considered an architectural masterpiece.

A summer break in the Suffolk countryside provides a rare opportunity for two couples to spend time together in the drama The Last Weekend - 9:00 ITV. The men, Ian and Ollie, met at university, but they have gone on to lead very different lives subsequently - one is a primary school teacher and the other a wealthy barrister. It should be an idyllic holiday, a chance for the group to catch up and relax, but the competitive edge to the men's relationship soon rises to the surface, with terrible consequences for everyone. Suspense thriller adapted from the novel by Blake Morrison, starring Rupert Penry-Jones, Shaun Evans, Genevieve O'Reilly and Claire Keelan.

If you missed it when it was first shown last year, Keith Telly Topping highly recommends Page Eight - 10:00 BBC2. As an intelligence thriller it has more intelligence than thrills, but Page Eight is lovingly turned, with elegant writing, a flawless cast and a heartfelt message from writer/director David Hare about the danger zone where spies and politicians meet. The tension builds gently as we follow the fortunes of Johnny Worricker, a jazz-loving charmer who works high up at MI5 as an intelligence analyst. It's a part made for Bill Nighy and he purrs out bons mots with a weary panache and wit that women twenty years younger find irresistible. One such is his neighbour in a Battersea mansion block, played by Rachel Weisz. The question for Johnny is whether her interest in him is genuine or hides something darker. As his boss (a super turn by Michael Gambon) puts it, 'Distrust is a terrible habit.' Questions of trust, honour and friendship rumble through the play. The characters exchange oblique repartee as a plot about a damning dossier unwinds. It's not to be missed. Johnny is a long-serving MI5 officer whose boss and best friend dies suddenly, leaving behind a file that threatens the stability of the organisation. Meanwhile, a seemingly chance encounter with Johnny's political-activist neighbour Nancy Pierpan seems too good to be true, and he is forced to walk out of his job to uncover the truth. Spy drama also starring Ralph Fiennes and Judy Davis.

Monday 20 August
Ruth Rendell's Thirteen Steps Down - 9:00 ITV - sees the conclusion of the psychological thriller based on the best selling novel. When Mix finally comes face to face with supermodel Nerissa, reality begins to merge with fantasy, and when Gwendolen returns from hospital he compounds one heinous act with another in a misguided attempt to protect the woman he loves. As his obsessions collide, Mix begins a rapid descent into insanity. Luke Treadaway, Geraldine James, Gemma Jones and Elarica Gallacher star.

Psychologist Laverne Antrobus examines how the effects of obsessive compulsive disorder can dominate the daily lives of youngsters, following a teenager as he undergoes treatment sessions for the condition in Growing Children - 9:00 BBC4. She also looks into new research that aims to offer a greater understanding of how the disorder affects the development of the brain.

With a title like Ian Brady: Endgames Of A Psychopath - 9:00 Channel Four - you know pretty much what you're getting before a frame of the episode has been shown. Fifty years after the child murderer's confinement, this Cutting Edge documentary examines the infamous prisoner's attempts to influence and control individuals around him, such as solicitors and psychiatrists. Brady's mental health advocate, an executor of his will, reveals startling information presenting further evidence of the murderer's continuing efforts to assert power over his victims' families.

In James May's Things You Need To Know - 10:00 BBC2 - the Top Gear presenter explores the complex world of the human brain, discovering why men tend to avoid asking for directions and what the chemistry of love has in common with Class A drugs. He also uses animations and computer graphics to delve into the science behind the human memory.
Tuesday 21 August
The Queen's Mother in Law - 9:00 Channel Four - is the story of Prince Philip's mother Princess Alice, a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria who married into the Greek royal family, but was forced into exile when revolutionaries overthrew the monarchy. She then suffered a severe nervous breakdown, which led to spells in mental hospitals and experimental treatment from psychiatrists including Sigmund Freud. However, she eventually won her battle with mental illness and became an unlikely hero during the Second World War, before dedicating the rest of her life to working with the poor in Greece.

Michael's desire to impress the new business manager looks set to backfire when a full AAU theatre forces him to take desperate measures in Holby City - 8:00 BBC1. Tara rejects offers of help from Elliot and Oliver as she struggles to cope with Jac's brutal regime, but her stubbornness could have unfortunate consequences when a guest patient's diagnosis proves far from routine. A complaint is made against Chantelle, threatening her application for a permanent nursing position on Keller.

In Jon Snow's Paralympic Show - 7:30 Channel Four - the journalist looks ahead to the 2012 Paralympic Games, which begin next Wednesday and will see more than four thousand of the world's leading disabled athletes competing in London. Guests including Clare Balding, Jimmy Carr, Jonathan Edwards and Ade Adepitan also learn more about the events, as well as the men and women tipped to be in the hunt for medals.
Wednesday 22 August
MasterChef co-presenter Gregg Wallace solves a family mystery as he discovers what happened to his great-grandfather, who abandoned his wife and children and was thought to have been a naval deserter in Who Do You Think You Are? - 9:00 BBC1. The food expert is also given a formal portrait of his great-great-grandmother, but the tale of its origins and the fate of its sitter shocks the recipient.
Barbara Flynn examines advances in British aviation in the 1950s and 60s, beginning by exploring the design and technology behind a new generation of military planes including the Vulcan bomber and the Meteor jet fighter in Jet! When Britain Ruled The Skies - 9:00 BBC4. She investigates how the achievements came at a time of national austerity, and there is a tragic reminder of how some test pilots paid the ultimate price for their work. Including contributions by Norman Tebbit and Tony Blackman. Sen. Sational.

Sue Perkins interviews guitarist, songwriter and producer Nile Rodgers, one of the founder members of influential disco band Chic in The Culture Show - 10:00 BBC2. Author Kirsty Gunn, whose novel The Big Music tells the story of a dying composer struggling to create his defining work. She also looks back at twenty five years of comedy competition So You Think You're Funny and explores an exhibition of tapestries by artists including David Hockney, Peter Blake and Paul Gauguin.

Thursday 23 August
The school reopens as an independent establishment in Greenock, Scotland, but things don't go smoothly when foster-home runaway Jade and her squat-dwelling boyfriend Drew attempt to enrol in Waterloo Road - 8:00 BBC1. He reacts angrily to an accommodation proposal made by headteacher Michael Byrne, forcing his girlfriend to reveal a secret that is likely to have far-reaching consequences. New teachers Christine Mulgrew and Audrey McFall are introduced to the other members of staff and discover that not everyone is enthusiastic about the regime, Tariq struggles to adjust to life as a paraplegic and Rhiannon instigates a bullying campaign against Scout. Drama, starring Alec Newman and Daniela Denby-Ashe, with Laurie Brett, Georgie Glen, Paige Meade and Max Fowler.
Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and Martin Hughes-Games present the annual series charting the fortunes of British wildlife during the changing of the seasons in the Springwatch Guide to Sea Birds - 9:00 BBC2.

Whatever Happened To Harry Hill? - 9:00 Channel Four - is a spoof documentary in which the comedian looks back at the Channel Four sketch show which made him famous in the mid 1990s. He discovers what some of his former co-stars have been up to since the series ended, including his big brother Alan (Al Murray), Burt Kwouk and the stars of the Badger Parade, and tries to get them to take part in a one-off reunion. However, the programme also features backstage revelations about the making of the series which suggest the cast have plenty of good reasons for not wanting to work with Harry again.

Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer host an anarchic spin on traditional quiz shows, as contestants including comedian and actor Eddie Izzard face a barrage of bizarre questions and tasks in a bid to win exclusive prizes in Vic & Bob's Lucky Sexy Winners - 10:00 Channel Four. The programme also features new sketches from the duo, as well as their idiosyncratic impersonations of some of Britain's most famous faces.

Friday 24 August
In the latest episode of Celebrity MasterChef - 6:30 BBC2 - the remaining celebrity cooks face their final first-round challenge, as they prepare a two-course meal of their choice. They're making it for John Torode, Gregg Wallace and three guest judges - former contestants Nick Pickard, Danny Goffey and 2010 champion Lisa Faulkner. Once the cogitating and deliberating has finished, the hopefuls discover who has made it through to the last eight of the competition.

In the second decade of the Twentieth Century, morally upright aristocrat Christopher enters into a turbulent marriage with Sylvia, a quick-witted but manipulative socialite, a story told in Parade's End - 9:00 BBC2. Despite their difficulties, he resolves to remain faithful to her - but his world is shaken when he meets forthright suffragette Valentine. Tom Stoppard's drama, based on Ford Madox Ford's quartet of novels, starring yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch his very self, Rebecca Hall and Adelaide Clemens.

And, so to the news: Yer actual Matt Smith will keep playing The Doctor until at least 2014, he has revealed. At least, this is according to the Sun. So, in that case, I'd expect Smudger to announce that he's leaving the series any time soon. Steven Moffat, the tabloid claims, has 'convinced' Matt to stay by creating a 'brilliant' eighth series. Matt already working on shows for the 2013 series, said: 'His first episode sounds great. It hasn't been written yet but the idea is as brilliant and as mental as you'd expect from Steven. So there's a lot to look forward to. When Steven was going to pitch the next season to me not long ago, he said, "Are you ready to cry?"' Matt, back as the Time Lord later this autumn, added that he 'couldn't wait' to get stuck into The Doctor’s fiftieth anniversary celebrations next year. He said: 'We want to do fifty years — and everyone that's been associated with the show — justice. We want to go, "Look, world, here is Doctor Who. It's fifty years old, a science-fiction show, still going and going from strength to strength." Steven will do something brilliant. He'll do something grand or maybe something very simple but he'll come to it as a fan. He'll go, "What would I want to see?"' Matt said he struggled to come to terms with what the role meant when he took it on. He said: 'If you remember, when I took over, no one thought it would work. I was "too young." David (Tennant) had come from a stellar era. I was unknown. For a month or two when I started I was like, "This is impossible. I can't" — just the pressure of it. Everyone was sort of going, "Go on, show us what you've got." I told myself, "If I can get through this I can get through anything."'

The British Film Institute have announced that Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill will attend the preview screening of Asylum of the Daleks on Tuesday 14 August. They will join Steven Moffat in a Question and Answer session after the episode, which will also include executive producer Caroline Skinner. The Q&A will be chaired by broadcaster (and fan) Richard Bacon. Tickets for Doctor Who-related events at the BFI ten to be very popular, with the Asylum preview selling out within an hour of opening registration.

Grumpy old hasbeen and 'tasche, Dangerous Des Lynam has questioned the BBC's use of female commentators for its London 2012 Olympics coverage. Jacqui Oatley and Christine Still have been among the corporation's few lead female voices, for football and gymnastics respectively. How very 1970s of you, Desmond. Writing in his Daily Torygraph column, Lynam opined: 'I have come to the conclusion that while female presenters have done a fine job, the female voice is not so attractive for actual commentating and in some cases become grating.' The former Grandstand anchor went on to praise the BBC for 'generally doing a fantastic job in bringing the games to us.' However, he later criticised the corporation's deployment of Gary Lineker in BBC1's coverage. 'Gary Lineker, the BBC's highest-paid sports presenter who was much touted before the games as the corporation's number one for London 2012, again looked as though he was playing second fiddle as the spotlight in the primetime programme turned back from the Aquatics Centre to track and field,' Lynam wrote. 'Lineker's role seemed to be reduced to that of continuity announcer. One night he even linked to a trail of EastEnders. In my view he should have been in the stadium. It doesn't take a genius to ask a few intelligent questions of the likes of Michael Johnson and Denise Lewis. I know. I did the job for the Olympic Games, the World and European Championships.' Yes. Many, many, many years ago.

Sue Johnston has confirmed that another special of The Royle Family will be broadcast this Christmas. Speaking to the Sun, the actress - who plays Barbara - said that the planned episode is 'definitely happening this year.' What someone from Liverpool was doing speaking to the Sun, after the way that newspaper abused the dead Hillsborough with their lies, I'll leave up to others to question. Co-creator Craig Cash assured the Digital Spy website last summer that a festive episode would be made in 2011. However, it later emerged that he and co-writer Caroline Aherne had run out of time finishing the feature-length edition, which would probably have been shown in its traditional 9pm slot on Christmas Day. Absolutely Fabulous became BBC1's Christmas Day offering instead, marking its thirtieth anniversary. The Royle Family's 2010 special - Joe's Crackers - pulled in an audience of almost ten million viewers. Before that, 2009's special had 10.2m.

Charlie Brooker says that he doesn't like making cameos in the fictional shows he creates. 'I am so weird-looking it'd be obvious,' he said. 'It would be like a dog in a blancmange – it doesn’t really go.'

The annual Perseid meteors are set to put on a spectacular sky show this weekend. Glare from a waning crescent moon may interfere with viewing. But the Perseids remain one of the most popular events in the astronomical calendar, with meteor rates expected to reach as many as one hundred per hour. The Perseids are actually pieces of Comet Swift-Tuttle; each year in August, the Earth passes through a cloud of the comet's debris. These tiny pieces of ice and dust (which range from the size of a grain of sand to around as big as a pea) hit the Earth's atmosphere at some sixty km/s. 'December's Geminids often outperform them by a bit,' said Alan MacRobert, a senior editor of Sky and Telescope magazine, 'but the Perseids are probably the most-watched meteor shower, because they come in the warm vacation season.' The Perseids can be seen all over the sky, but the best viewing opportunities will be across the northern hemisphere. From the UK, the best time to see the Perseid shower is likely to be on the morning of 12 August before dawn, when as many as sixty meteors an hour may be visible. Despite the Moon, this year's prospects for viewing are relatively good. Their name comes from the fact that meteors in this shower radiate from the direction of the constellation Perseus. The Earth passed particularly close to Comet Swift-Tuttle in 1992, when the Perseids put on a spectacular display. The meteor shower has since returned to normal. The comet will not approach so close again until around 2125.

The International Olympic Committee has told South Korea to bar one of its footballers from the bronze medal ceremony after he held up a political message after the team beat Japan. The slogan was said to refer to a long-running dispute about islands which both South Korea and Japan claim. The IOC says it is holding an inquiry. Friday's match came hours after South Korea's president visited the islands, known as Dokdo in South Korea and as Takeshima in Japan, sparking a row. The move prompted Japan to recall its ambassador in Seoul. South Korea won the Olympic football bronze medal by beating Japan 2-0. The IOC says that after the game, a player was photographed brandishing a sign allegedly asserting South Korea's sovereignty over the islands. The committee urged the South Korean Olympic committee to take 'swift action on this issue' and said the player should not be present at the medal ceremony, which took place on Saturday. A Korean Football Association official later named him as Park Jong-woo, twenty three - who was not present at the ceremony. Football's governing body, FIFA, said it had opened a separate investigation to discipline him. The official told South Korea's Yonhap news agency that Park had taken the sign - which reportedly read Dokdo is our land - from a fan after the match, stressing that the incident was not pre-planned. 'Park was running around with the banner which he got from the crowd. We saw the message on the banner so we quickly took it from him,' the unnamed official is quoted as saying. The statutes of both the IOC and FIFA prohibit political statements by athletes and players. Friday's visit by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to the islands was strongly criticised by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda. 'It is contrary to our nation's stance that Takeshima is historically - and under international law - an integral part of our national territory, and is completely unacceptable,' Noda said. The uninhabited islands, which are roughly equidistant from the two countries, are small but lie in fishing grounds which could also contain large gas deposits.

Emanuele Pesoli of Serie B side Verona has gone on hunger strike in protest at his three-year match-fixing ban. The defender has also chained himself to the gates of the Italian Football Federation's headquarters in Rome. 'I am hurt by the sentence and I would like to confront those who accuse me,' said Pesoli. The thirty one-year-old has been banned after a probe into illegal betting on matches while he was at Siena, a club he left in July. Juventus manager Antonio Conte has been suspended for ten months for not reporting match-fixing when he was in charge of Siena, then in Serie B, in the 2010-11 season. 'It is a strong protest but they are ruining my life for something I have not done,' added Pesoli. 'I will stay here until I can't do it anymore.' Pesoli was one of several players, coaches and officials to be banned by the federation on Friday in the latest scandal to engulf Italian football. In May, police searched more than thirty homes, including those of players, trainers and officials of clubs in Serie A, Serie B and lower divisions. Lazio captain Stefano Mauri was held along with former Genoa midfielder Omar Milanetto, while officers visited Italy's pre-Euro 2012 training camp to question left-back Domenico Criscito.

Blackburn Vindaloo's 'global adviser' - whatever the hell that means - and Chuckle Brother lookalike Shebby Singh has suggested that manager Steve Kean will be sacked if Rovers lose their first three Championship games of the season. Well, that's a ringing vote of confidence if ever there was one. Asked at a supporters' forum if Kean will get the tin-tack if they lose three times in a row, Singh: 'If we lose three games, definitely.' But Singh added he will not 'rush to make a judgement' about Kean. 'It's all about results,' said Singh, a former Malaysian international player who was brought to Ewood Park by the club's owners Venky's in June. 'If, after three games, we have dropped nine points then we'll only have a fifty per cent chance of getting promoted.' Kean has faced criticism from many Blackburn fans, who have staged regular protests against him and the club's owners. Rovers were relegated from the Premier League at the end of last season but Kean kept his job. He has since signed seven players, including Leon Best for three million quid (and badly injured in his first pre-season game), Danny Murphy on a free transfer and Dickson Etuhu for an undisclosed fee. In May, Singh wrote a column for the New Paper in Singapore in which he said Kean should be sacked, but he said he will not judge the manager on what has happened in the past. 'I was possibly one of the worst critics [of Kean] last season,' he said. 'I'm sure the manager didn't like me much last season, but I say it as it is. For me, the manager's record starts on the eighteen [of August] because his appointment was made before my appointment. I am working with the infrastructure that is already there and people need to prove to me that they can do their jobs.' Asked if he has the power to sack Kean, Singh said: 'Yes. If the results are not forthcoming, I put the pressure on the manager and the players.'

Glasgow Rangers will be able to borrow as many as nine Newcastle United players in a deal which will see Magpies owner Mike Ashley buy a share in the Ibrox club. The Scottish FA is set ratify the move on the condition Ashley owns no more than ten per cent of Rangers and has 'no personal role' in running the club. Ashley's Sports Direct firm will then take over Rangers' replica kit merchandising operation. Negotiations are under way with JJB Sports to end their retailing contract. Which is funny for one reason - that it will, presumably, put a massive scowl on the boat-race of JJB's founder and Ashley's big rival, Wigan chairman Dave Whelan. Cos, that's always a good thing. JJB and Rangers entered a ten-year merchandising contract in 2006, when the Glasgow club received an initial payment of eighteen million smackers with a guaranteed minimum annual royalty of three million. Any Newcastle players switching to Rangers on loan would need to do so before the end of this month, when a year-long signing embargo comes into place for the Scottish Division Three club. In February, Rangers went into administration owing up to one hundred and thirty four million notes to unsecured creditors. As a result, its registrations with the Scottish FA and Scottish Premier League were terminated. Businessman Charles Green led a consortium to buy Rangers' assets for five and a half million quid and reformed the club as a new company. But the 'newco' did not get the required votes for re-admittance to the SPL and instead, the new Rangers were relaunched in Division Three, drawing 2-2 with Peterhead in their opening game. Under the terms of the agreement with Newcastle, Rangers are also likely to play the Magpies in a friendly. Andy Little rescued a point for Rangers as they began life in Scottish Division Three with a draw at Peterhead. Barrie McKay fired the visitors ahead midway through the first half. Rory McAllister's composed second-half finish levelled matters and Scott McLaughlin's powerful strike edged the hosts ahead eight minutes from the end. But the scores were all square again in the final minute when Little forced the ball over the line after Kevin Kyle's header had struck the bar. The draw was certainly not the result the four and half thousand-strong capacity crowd were expecting as title favourites Rangers were given a rude awakening in the Scottish Football League's lowest division.

Toilets in Newcastle city centre could be turned into a bar, a takeaway, or an art gallery. The city council is inviting bids for the underground premises in the Bigg Market, which closed in April due to alleged 'access problems' and 'running costs.' Built in 1898, with a metal-framed glass roof, the toilet has one entrance and the facilities are reached by a steep and winding staircase. It boasts eighteen (stinking) urinals, five netty cubicles, a cupboard and tiled walls and floor. And, dear blog reader, many is the time yer actual Keith Telly Topping's have gone in there for a much-needed Jimmy Riddle after a night oot on the pop. Councillor Henri Murison, cabinet member for 'quality of life', whatever the hell that entails, said: 'As the building has been in existence for one hundred and fourteen years we believe it has great potential for other uses. We would like to hear from anyone who has an imaginative and creative use for them.' How about using them as a toilet, mate? When you're busting for a slash in the centre of Toon, your quality of life can be massive enhanced by not having to go down a back alley and piss up against a wall. Bit of a radical suggestion, I know, but then that's yer actual Keith Telly Topping for you. Full of radical suggestions.

And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Which, today, features a stonking little classic from Joe Higgs.

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