Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Like A Racehorse On Speed

You wait ages for a British gold medal at the Olympics, dear blog reader, then - like London buses - two turn up at once. Rowing pair Heather Stanning and Helen Glover ended the host nation's five-day wait for Olympic gold and dedicated their success to the 'whole country.' In front of thirty thousand fans at Eton Dorney, they produced a blistering display to win the women's pairs. Glover told BBC Radio 5Live: 'This was for the whole of the team and the whole of the country.' Then, yer actual King of the Mods, Bradley Wiggins got on his bike, do you see, and smashed the field to win gold in the men's cycling time trial. The bronze went to The Wiggsters team-mate Chris Froome. Germany's Tony Martin split the two Britons to take silver. Britain also picked up another medal in the rowing as the men's eight claimed bronze behind world champions Germany in a thrilling final. The British crew, featuring 1992 gold medallist Greg Searle, pulled ahead of Germany at halfway, but just ran out steam towards the end with Canada pipping them on the line for silver. Wiggins dominated the forty four kilometre ride around Hampton Court to move one medal clear of Sir Steve Redgrave as the most successful British Olympian of all time. The result gives Britain their seventh and eighth medals of London 2012. Wiggins' previous Olympic medals came on the track - three golds, one silver and two bronzes. At the 2000 Sydney Olympics he was part of the group that won the bronze medal in the team pursuit. Four years later he became the first British athlete in forty years to win three medals at one Olympics. Then, in Beijing, he again won a part of the team pursuit and became the first rider to successfully defend the individual pursuit title at the Olympics. To complete an excellent day for the host country, Michael Jamieson produced the swim of his life to take two hundred metres breaststroke silver and smash his own British record. Only a new world record from Hungary's Daniel Gyurta could deny the twenty three-year-old gold. Japan's Ryo Tateishi took bronze.

The BBC has commissioned a third series of Rev, the hit comedy about a London inner-city vicar – but fans will have to wait until 2014 for it to be broadcast. Earlier this year James Wood, who co-created the show with its lead actor Tom Hollander, admitted that it was proving very difficult to get the cast of the award-winning BBC2 sitcom together for a new series because they were working on so many projects. The BBC has commissioned Big Talk Productions to start development on a new series later this year with shooting earmarked for the autumn of 2013, with Hollander returning as the put-upon vicar Adam Smallbone. As a result, by the time the third series of Rev is broadcast, most likely not until the second half of 2014, viewers will have had to wait two and a half years. The second series ended in December 2011. 'Such is the brilliance of the Rev cast that getting everyone back together for further adventures is always challenging,' said Kenton Allen, co-chief executive of Big Talk and executive producer of Rev. Wood told the Gruniad Morning Star in May that the comedy's ensemble cast has been 'too bloody successful' and have been swamped with other work. Hollander is due to make two films this year, beginning with a role in Ralph Fiennes's film about Charles Dickens's mistress, Nelly Ternan. Olivia Colman, who play's the vicar's long-suffering wife, stars in a West End production of Noël Coward's Hay Fever and has many other commitments including her roles in the Channel Four comedy Peep Show and the BBC Olympic sitcom Twenty Twelve. Other cast members include Simon McBurney, who plays Archdeacon Robert, but who spends a large part of his professional life running the experimental theatre company Complicite. 'We're absolutely delighted to have Rev back on the channel,' said Janice Hadlow, the controller of BBC2. 'It's one of the real comedy jewels in BBC2's crown.' Wood will once again be the lead writer on the series, with multi-award-winning Peep Show creator Sam Bain returning as script editor. So far the BBC has made two series and a Christmas special, attracting a range of impressive guest stars including Ralph Fiennes, Richard E Grant and Geoffrey Palmer.

Yer actual Tom Baker his very self has paid tribute to his former Doctor Who co-star Mary Tamm. Tamm - who played Romana opposite Baker's Doctor in 1978 and 1979 - recently died following an eighteen-month battle with cancer. 'The dreadful news of Mary Tamm's death amazed me,' Baker wrote on his official website. 'I had no idea she was ill. We got on terribly well and I admired her wit and style and warmth. We used to meet at different Doctor Who conventions and sometimes had time for a little chat. I remember meeting her at Heathrow in the first class section: her section, of course. She was flicking through a magazine and sipping a beer: the epitome of cool style.' Seventy eight-year-old Baker also reflected sadly on the recent deaths of fellow Doctor Who actors Elisabeth Sladen and Caroline John. 'Fate is capricious and quite indifferent to our fears,' he wrote. 'Lovely girls: Elisabeth Sladen, Caroline John and now Mary Tamm: all dead. And here am I closing in on eighty and all I've had was whooping cough! It's not fair, is it?' He concluded: 'I never met Mary's daughter and hardly ever met Marcus, her husband. But I send them from the bottom of my old heart sincere condolences. To have known her consoles me a little: poor darling Mary, poor us.'

More than ten million punters watched Michael Phelps become the most decorated Olympian in history on Tuesday evening. The US swimmer's nineteenth Olympic medal, with a gold in the four by two hundred metres freestyle relay final, drew a five-minute peak of 9.7 million viewers on BBC1 at 9pm on Tuesday with another four hundred and seventy thousand on one of the BBC's twenty four dedicated games channels, BBC Olympics One. BBC1's evening Olympics 2012 programme had an average of seven million viewers, a 29.7 per cent audience share, between 7pm and 10pm. Earlier, BBC1's Olympics shows averaged 2.3 million viewers between 2pm and 4pm, and 4.8 million viewers between 4pm and 6pm. Phelps' historic medal win narrowly missed out on being the most watched sporting action of the 2012 Olympics to date, which remains Rebecca Adlington's bronze medal in the women's four hundred metres freestyle final, watched by 10.7 million viewers on Sunday night. Britain's women's football team's excellent 1-0 win over Brazil was watched by a peak of 3.9 million viewers, with 3.3 million viewers watching on BBC3 and five hundred and fifty five thousand on BBC Olympics Four. BBC3's evening Olympics programme, which also included volleyball highlights, averaged 1.6 million viewers between 7pm and 11pm. Coverage of Britain's equestrian team's silver medal performance peaked with 3.3 million viewers, 3.1 million on BBC1 and two hundred thousand viewers on BBC Olympics Three, around 1pm. BBC1's Olympics morning programmes averaged two million viewers between 9am and 11.30am, and 2.6 million viewers between 11.30am and 1.15pm. It was a good night all round for the BBC with EastEnders' second outing on BBC2 being watched by five and a half million viewers, a 24.3 per cent audience share, between 7.30pm and 8pm. Holby City, which has also switched from BBC1 to the channel to make way for the Olympics, made its BBC2 debut with 3.7 million viewers. The commercial channels have seen their audiences hugely suffer in the face of the BBC's Olympics onslaught, but Channel Four documentary Secrets of the Shoplifters still shone through with 2.3 million viewers between 9pm and 10pm. It beat ITV's Benidorm repeat which had 1.8 million viewers, also between 9pm and 10pm, but lost out to BBC2 documentary Midwives: Delivering Under Pressure, watched by two and a half million viewers. Earlier, ITV's Emmerdale had 5.7 million viewers between 7pm and 7.30pm. Apart from Emmerdale, Love Your Garden was ITV's highest-rated programme with just 2.07m. Predictably, BBC1 topped primetime with 28.4 per cent of the audience share, while BBC2 soared to second place with 11.9 per cent. ITV struggled with 9.8 per cent in third. BBC Three followed with 6.5 per cent.

ITV has reportedly cancelled the crime drama Case Sensitive after two series. The show - based on the novels of Sophie Hannah - followed police officers Charlie Zailer (Olivia Williams) and Simon Waterhouse (Darren Boyd). Boyd broke the news of the show's axe on Twitter, writing: 'Those of you who enjoyed Case Sensitive, I'm sorry to report that ITV have decided not to make any more. Shame, but them's the breaks.' The actor later tweeted at author Hannah: 'A real shame we won't get to explore Charlie and Simon anymore. Was a pleasure and a joy working with you.' The first series of Case Sensitive attracted an average of 5.64m viewers in 2011, while the two-part second run averaged 4.35m. Last month, Boyd told the Digital Spy website that there was 'huge scope' for future series of Case Sensitive. 'We've got cases and storylines coming out of our ears, thanks to Sophie, we've got a wealth of material there,' he said. 'If things go well and people like [series two] as much as the first one - and I see no reason why they shouldn't - we could be doing this for a while and I would be very happy if we did that.'

When Mazher Mahmood appeared before the Leveson inquiry he insisted that his investigations during his years as the Scum of the World's 'investigations editor' were prompted by reliable tips and were in the public interest. He claimed that he usually exposed criminality, though he would also deal on occasion with cases of 'hypocrisy' involving people guilty of 'moral lapses.' And he firmly denied accusations of entrapment. But was it really as straightforward as the man known as The Fake Sheikh suggested? A Channel Four documentary tomorrow night, Undercover at the News of the World, will explore Mahmood's activities by looking closely at some of his most notorious stings. So the investigator himself is being investigated. One big plus is that the programme's makers have been helped by Mahmood's former right-hand-man, who worked closely with him from 2001 to 2009. He has now turned against Mahmood and will reveal just how he went about his undercover work. The documentary includes interviews with some of those who were stung (or nearly stung), such as jockey Kieren Fallon and politician George Galloway. Among his other targets were the Countess of Wessex and Sven-Goran Eriksson. Mahmood's typical modus operandi was to pose as a wealthy Arab, prompting indiscretions from his celebrity victims by offering them inducements, including money, alcohol, sex and fame. And his team were masters of covert filming and taping. Mahmood was hired to work for The Sunday Times once the Scum of the World was closed by Rupert Murdoch last July. Sadly, the hour-long programme, produced and directed by Richard Sanders for ITN, will be not be screened in prime time. C4 will broadcast it from 11.05pm tomorrow.

Directors within billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation could face corporate charges and prosecution for neglect of their duties, in plans which are being examined by the Crown Prosecution Service according to the Gruniad Morning Star. Well, that's what happens when you do crime, I guess. You get caught and you do jail. It's The Law. Company lawyers, fearing a dramatic escalation of the hacking scandal by criminalising the boards on which Murdoch family members sit, are understood to have protested to the authorities. A criminal prosecution could have a strong adverse impact on the deliberations by Ofcom as to whether News Corp representatives are 'fit and proper' to hold UK broadcasting licences. Asked about representations that have been made to the police or the CPS about the 'unfairness' of possible corporate charges, a News International spokesman said this week that Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers, who is leading the police inquiries into phone-hacking, conceded the company culture had now changed: 'She agreed that the current senior management and corporate approach at News International has been to assist and come clean.' The company's protestations that it had turned over a new leaf appeared to receive some support from Lord Justice Leveson at his inquiry last week, when he brought up its past alleged obstruction of the police. Leveson said at the inquiry: 'I received evidence of the response which the police received when they visited News International in 2006. Would it be right for me to conclude at this stage that whatever might have happened in the past at News International titles, the senior management and corporate approach now has been to assist and come clean, from which I might be able to draw the inference that there is a change in culture, practice and approach?' Akers responded: 'Yes, sir. I don't disagree with any of that.' One problem for News International, however, is the wording of section seventy nine of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, the hacking legislation under which eight senior Scum of the World journalists and executives have already been charged. It provides for the corporate prosecution of a company which commits such an offence, and also of any director whose neglect or connivance led to the crime. The most senior executive so far charged with offences, and the only News International board member, is well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike (and drag) Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive, who denies separate allegations of an attempted cover-up of the hacking scandal, as well as denying the charges of involvement in hacking itself. She only joined the board in 2009 and resigned last year. Billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's son James Murdoch the small joined the News International board in April 2008, and resigned last year. His father also recently resigned all his UK newspaper board positions. The only other senior Murdoch executive on the NI board throughout the period of the original hacking scandal was its previous chief executive, Les Hinton, who left the UK boards in 2007. He said later: 'I was ignorant of what apparently happened.' Hinton rejected heavy criticisms of him by a Commons committee investigating the phone hacking, which accused him of 'selective amnesia' in his dealings with them. The report, published earlier this year, claimed he misled parliament and was 'complicit' in a cover-up of the true extent of the hacking. The culture, media and sport committee also accused James Murdoch the small of 'willful blindness' in failing to investigate the extent of phone hacking. Opposition MPs on the committee branded Rupert Murdoch as 'unfit to be in charge of a large media firm.' The CPS is not making any public statements. But the disclosure that it was advising the police on possible corporate criminal charges was made by Akers during her Leveson testimony, when she said that advice was being obtained 'in respect of both individual and corporate offences.' Despite subsequent speculation that this was a reference to possible action against the company by the US justice department, it is understood that the CPS is only looking at potential UK offences. News International said: 'We are aware of the reference made by DAC Sue Akers in her evidence to the Leveson inquiry.'

Great Britain will play Canada in the quarter-finals of the women's Olympic football tournament after defeating Brazil 1-0 at Wembley. Steph Houghton struck from a tight angle in the second minute to score her third goal in as many games. Kelly Smith had a penalty saved after the break as Britain went in search of a decisive second goal. But they held on to earn the win that sees them top Group E, much to the delight of a record seventy thousand five hundred and eighty four crowd. It was not quite enough to break the Olympic record of seventy six thousand four hundred and eighty nine set at the 1996 Games, but it comfortably surpassed the fifty three thousand who watched Dick Kerr's Ladies FC take on St Helen's Ladies at Goodison Park in 1920, the highest crown ever recorded for a women's game in Britain. And, the masses inside Wembley created a fantastic atmosphere as they witnessed a game that was a superb advert for the women's game. There might not have been that many clear-cut chances but there were moments of great skill, lots of passion and a series of thundering tackles from Brazil that angered many home fans. It was a fantastic occasion, with Britain now the only team not to have conceded a goal in the tournament so far. The match could not have got off to a better start for the hosts, with left-back Houghton striking so early in the contest. The defending was pretty poor but there was nothing shoddy about the finish as Houghton collected a pass from Karen Carney and took a touch before slotting home with a low strike. The goal produced a surge of noise inside Wembley but coach Hope Powell stood on the sidelines visibly trying to calm her players down. Perhaps she knew what was to follow because Brazil, fourth in the world rankings, soon started to look dangerous, dominating possession and occasionally mesmerising their opponents with dazzling footwork. Cristiane twice shot wide from long distance after Britain had squandered possession, while the twenty seven-year-old forward was later denied by Karen Bardsley after some scintillating approach work from Thais Guedes. Brazil also went close when Alex Scott headed against her own post after being put under pressure by Marta and Cristiane. Beijing silver medallists Brazil did not have it all their own way and two very cynical challenges from Bruna and Rosana showed how concerned they were by Britain's attacking threat. It took some last-ditch defending to clear a cross from Carney, with skipper Casey Stoney lurking at the far post, while Smith was not far away with a cracking strike across goal. Powell's team wasted a golden opportunity to extend their lead after the break, when Smith's penalty was saved by Andreia diving to her left. The spot-kick, correctly awarded not long before the hour mark after Francielle brought down Eniola Aluko, came during a period when the home team looked threatening. Kim Little, anonymous in the opening forty five minutes, came to life and played a series of dangerous passes as Brazil seemed to lose a little of their sparkle. But they reminded everyone of the danger they posed when Marta, who boasts better than a goal-a-game ratio for her country, drew a save from Bardsley with a low strike from a tight angle. Britain closed out the victory - their third straight win in the group - to send the Union flags fluttering around Wembley at the final whistle.

A seventeen-year-old boy arrested as part of an investigation into Twitter messages sent to the diver Tom Daley after he and team-mate Pete Waterfield narrowly missed out on an Olympic medal on Monday has been issued with a harassment warning. Dorset police say the teenager was bailed pending an investigation into other communications on his Twitter account. The teenager was held at a guesthouse in Weymouth hours after Daley retweeted messages he had been sent soon after finishing fourth in the ten metre men's synchronised platform diving event. Daley, eighteen, retweeted a message that said: 'You let your dad down I hope you know that.' The diver added: 'After giving it my all, you get idiots sending me this.' Daley's father, Rob, sadly died from cancer last year. A spokesman for Dorset police said: "The 17-year-old arrested in the Weymouth area this morning on suspicion of malicious communication has been issued with a harassment warning.

Eight badminton players have been disqualified from the women's doubles competition after being accused of 'not using one's best efforts to win.' Two pairs from South Korea and one each from China and Indonesia made a series of basic errors in Tuesday's matches. All four pairs were accused of wanting to lose, in an attempt to manipulate the draw for the knock-out stage. A South Korean appeal was subsequently rejected by the Badminton World Federation while Indonesia withdrew an appeal. As well as the 'not using best efforts' charge, the players were also accused of 'conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport.' Their places in the last eight will be taken by the pairs who finished third and fourth in the qualifying groups concerned. BWF Secretary general Thomas Lund said: 'The decision was to reject the case.' Some players had blamed the introduction of a round-robin stage rather than a straight knock-out tournament as the catalyst. In the round-robin format, losing one game can ultimately lead to an easier match-up in the next round. However one Chinese player said that their actions were due to them 'trying to preserve energy' ahead of the knock-out stages. In the first women's doubles match at Wembley Arena on Tuesday, fans jeered China's Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli and South Koreans Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na. The longest rally in the first game lasted only four shots, with match referee Thorsten Berg appearing on court at one point to warn the players to try harder. South Korea won the Group A match, which lasted twenty three minutes, 21-14 21-11. With Yu and Wang losing, the two Chinese pairings could have only met in the final. Speaking before the disqualification verdict was released, South Korea's coach Sung Han-kook, said: 'The Chinese started this. They did it first. It's a complicated thing with the draws. They didn't want to meet each other in the semi-final, they don't want that to happen. They should do something about that.' They have. But Yu claimed the Chinese were aiming to preserve energy ahead of the knockout stages. She said: 'Actually these opponents really were strong. This is the first time we've played them and tomorrow it's the knockout rounds, so we've already qualified and we wanted to have more energy for the knock-out rounds.' A later match between South Korean third seeds Ha Jung-Eun and Kim Min-Jung and Indonesian pair Meiliana Juahari and Greysia Polii was played out in a similar atmosphere. Both pairs had also already qualified for the knock-out stages, with the winners of Group C to play Yu and Wang and the Korean pairs to face each other if Ha and Kim lost. The Koreans won 18-21 21-14 21-12 and did not comment before leaving the court, but Polii said: 'I don't know what happened. If that's the game, we have to accept all the things. Either they want to trust us - we play bad or we play good. Our control is only to play as good as we can.' Gail Emms, a badminton Olympic silver medallist for Great Britain in 2004, who was at the event commentating for the BBC, said: 'I'm furious. It is very embarrassing for our sport. This is the Olympic Games. This is something that is not acceptable. The crowd paid good money to watch two matches.' China's Olympic sports delegation has begun an investigation into the matches, state media reported. The country's Olympic Committee opposed any behaviour which violated 'sporting spirit and morality,' a spokesman said. Further action could be taken based on the results of the investigation, the spokesman said in a report published by Xinhua news agency.

Twitter has apologised for its role in suspending journalist Guy Adams's account. Adams, who writes for the Independent, had his account suspended over the weekend after criticising NBC's coverage of the Olympics, then posting the corporate e-mail address of one of its executives for anyone who wished to complain. Despite Adams's account being re-instated on Wednesday, many criticised Twitter for its stance and pointed to NBC's Olympic partnership with Twitter as a possible reason behind the ban, an assumption which was partly confirmed by the company in a statement earlier. The company re-iterated that a corporate e-mail address still constitutes private information - something which Adams, and just about everybody else with half a brain in their head, contests - but confirmed that employees were 'involved' in reporting Adams tweets to NBC rather than the other way around as they had originally claimed. The statement said: 'We want to apologise for the part of this story that we did mess up. The team working closely with NBC around our Olympics partnership did proactively identify a tweet that was in violation of the Twitter Rules and encouraged them to file a support ticket with our Trust and Safety team to report the violation. Our Trust and Safety team did not know that part of the story and acted on the report as they would any other.' The statement signed off by re-iterating the company's commitment to free speech, saying: 'We do not proactively report or remove content on behalf of other users no matter who they are. This behaviour is not acceptable and undermines the trust our users have in us. We should not and cannot be in the business of proactively monitoring and flagging content, no matter who the user is - whether a business partner, celebrity or friend.' General Counsel of Twitter Alex Macgillivray later sent a grovelling 'please don't sue us' tweet to Adams, saying: 'Let me to add my personal apology for your suspension.'

A new trailer for the latest James Bond film, Skyfall, has given fans their first glimpse of Oscar-winning actor Javier Bardem's villain in action. Bardem's character, named Silva, is seen confronting a manacled Bond, played by Daniel Craig, and is later shown disguised as a British policeman. The trailer features actor Ben Whishaw as Q and explosive action in various London locales. It also shows Bond being 'killed' in action and M typing up his obituary. Played by Dame Judi Dench, 007's boss is then seen being chastised by Ralph Fiennes' character Gareth Mallory for losing a disc drive containing details of undercover British agents. Subsequent scenes depict an explosion at MI6's Thameside HQ and a Tube train plummeting into an underground vault. The trailer reveals previously unknown plot points, one of which appears to have been drawn from Ian Fleming's novel You Only Live Twice. The 1964 book concludes with an obituary for Bond written by M after the secret agent is believed to have been killed during a mission in Japan. The latest trailer comes shortly after Craig's cameo appearance during the Olympic Opening Ceremony in a short film which showed Bond escorting the Queen to the Olympic Stadium. Audiences in the US were treated to a teaser of the new footage during NBC's much-criticised broadcast of the London 2012 Opening Ceremony. Other scenes unveiled on Tuesday include one showing British actress Naomie Harris, in her role as field agent Eve, shooting Bond off the roof of a moving train in Turkey. Skyfall, to be released in the UK on 26 October, marks Craig's third big-screen appearance as Fleming's legendary spy. The forty four-year-old was previously seen in the role in 2006's Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace in 2008. Spanish actor Bardem won the best supporting actor Oscar in 2008 for his villainous role in No Country For Old Men. The forty three-year-old, who is married to fellow Spaniard Penelope Cruz, was also Oscar-nominated in 2001 and 2011.

Celebrated writer and political commentator Gore Vidal has died aged eighty six. He died at his home in Los Angeles on Tuesday evening, with the cause of death believed to be complications from pneumonia. Gore Vidal produced twenty five novels, including the best-selling Burr and Myra Breckenridge, more than two hundred essays and several plays. He also ran for political office twice and was a well-known - often acerbic - commentator. His nephew Burr Steers told US media that his uncle had been ill 'for quite a while.' He was among a generation of literary writers who were also genuine celebrities - fixtures on chat shows and in gossip columns. His circle included Tennessee Williams, Orson Welles and Frank Sinatra. He was also closely linked to the Kennedy family, becoming a confidant of Jackie Kennedy, who was his stepsister. Vidal ran for a seat in Congress in 1960 and again in 1982, but lost both times. Gore saw himself as the last of the breed of literary figures who became celebrities in their own right. Never a stranger to chat shows, his wry and witty opinions were sought after as much as his writing. He was an accomplished screenwriter and playwright. His political drama on two presidential contenders, The Best Man, was made into a film starring Henry Fonda in 1964 and was a success on Broadway, where it was revived earlier this year. In the 1990s he wrote sympathetically about Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma bomber, and as well as being one of America's great literary and cultural icons he also became one of its critics, writing about its decline. The author Christopher Hitchens, who once considered him a modern-day Oscar Wilde, criticised him for his more recent comments, saying they suffered from an 'utter want of any grace or generosity.' His third novel, The City and the Pillar, tackled homosexuality, making it highly controversial at the time. Bookshops refused to stock it, and he was ostracised for most of the 1950s and forced to work under pseudonyms. In the late 1950s he began to write under his own name again, working on the screenplay to Ben Hur, among other films. Eventually in the 1970s and 80s he was widely feted for his historical novels based on the lives of US figures such as Abraham Lincoln. But he was not always comfortable with the literary and political establishment. He had long-running spats with several of his contemporaries, conservative pundit William F Buckley Jr and writer Norman Mailer, whom Vidal once likened to the serial killer Charles Manson. On the 15 December 1971 taping of The Dick Cavett Show, Mailer allegedly head-butted Vidal during an altercation prior to their appearance on the show. His feud with Buckley was legendary, with the pair coming to blows several times and trading insults on national television while working as pundits on the 1968 Democratic convention. He once described Truman Capote as a 'filthy animal that has found its way into the house.' Born in 1925, Eugene Luther Vidal was the scion of one of America's grandest political dynasties. His grandfather, TP Gore, was a senator and his father a one-time Secretary of Aviation under Franklin D Roosevelt. He was also a distant cousin of former Vice President Al Gore. He took his mother's maiden name Gore and used it as his first name. In the 1960s, Vidal moved to Italy. He gave a cameo appearance in Federico Fellini's film Roma. In 1992, Vidal appeared as himself in the film Bob Roberts and also appeared in other films, notably Gattaca, With Honors and Igby Goes Down, which was directed by his nephew Burr Steers. In 2005 he appeared as himself in artist Francesco Vezzoli's Trailer for the Remake of Gore Vidal's Caligula a piece of video art which was included in the 2005 Venice Biennale and is in the permanent collection of the Guggenheim Museum. Vidal also voiced himself on both The Simpsons and Family Guy. Vidal was a member of the advisory board of the World Can't Wait organisation, a left-wing organisation seeking to repudiate the Bush administration's program, and advocating the impeachment of George W Bush for war crimes. On 30 September 2009, The Times published a lengthy interview with Vidal headlined We'll have a dictatorship soon in the US — The grand old man of letters Gore Vidal claims America is "rotting away" — and don't expect Barack Obama to save it. Vidal had affairs with both men and women. The novelist Anaïs Nin claimed an involvement with Vidal in her memoir The Diary of Anaïs Nin but Vidal denied it in his own memoir Palimpsest. Vidal also discussed having dalliances with people such as actress Diana Lynn, and alluded to the possibility that he may have a daughter. He was briefly engaged to Joanne Woodward, before she married Paul Newman. After eloping, the couple shared a house with Vidal in Los Angeles for a short time. In 1950, he met his long-term partner Howard Austen. Vidal once reported that the secret to his lengthy relationship with Austen was that they did not have sex with each other: 'It's easy to sustain a relationship when sex plays no part and impossible, I have observed, when it does.'

Senegal international striker Demba Ba has remained a Newcastle United player after the deadline to activate a release clause in his contract passed. The twenty seven-year-old international had repeatedly expressed his desire to remain on Tyneside and manager Alan Pardew was confident of retaining his services. But there had been speculation over Ba's future before the 31 July cut-off. It is understood the clause would have been triggered at seven and a half million smackers. Ba finished his first season at Newcastle as the club's leading scorer with sixteen goals, three ahead of compatriot Papiss Cisse, who proved a sensation following his January arrival from Freiburg. All but one of Ba's goals came before he headed off on Africa Cup of Nations duty at the turn of the year.

And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. This one's for Bradley, from one of his heroes. And one of mine.

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