Monday, August 20, 2012

O, What A Tangled Web We Weave When First We Practice To Deceive

Silent Witness gave BBC1 a resounding 9pm victory over ITV on Sunday night, the latest overnight data shows. The sixteen-year-old crime drama, starring Emilia Fox, pulled in 5.64m in the 9pm hour, down just over a million viewers on its fifteenth series opener in April. Losing out by some margin, ITV's three-part thriller The Last Weekend premiered with a disappointing 3.2m and an additional two hundred and twelve thousand punters on ITV+1. Celebrity Big Brother continued to struggle with 1.69m. BBC1's Countryfile was the night's most-watched show with 5.78m at 8pm, over double the audience of The Cube's 2.77m on ITV at the same time. Elsewhere, Raiders of the Lost Ark (1.12m) and Family Guy (1.15m) helped BBC3 battle with the terrestrial channels. A repeat of David Hare's spy drama Page Eight on BBC2, starring Bill Nighy and Rachel Weisz, had a million viewers between 10pm and 11.40pm, including thirty nine thousand on BBC HD. Match of the Day 2, in its new permanent home on BBC1, began with 2.6 million viewers between 10.25pm and 11.25pm. Live Premier League football returned to Sky Sports 1. Sheikh Yer Man City against Southampton and Wigan Not Very Athletic's match against Moscow Chelski FC were the featured games. City's 3-2 win over Southampton averaged 1.32 million between 3.30pm and 6.30pm, while Moscow Chelski's 2-0 win had 1.21 million viewers between 1pm and 3.30pm. Overall, BBC1 swept up the peaktime crown with 24.1 per cent of the audience share versus ITV's 13.2 per cent.

And, here's the final consolidated ratings for week-ending 12 August
1 Olympics 2012: Closing Ceremony - BBC1 Sun - 24.46m
2 Olympics 2012: Closing Ceremony Countdown - BBC1 Sun - 12.47m
3 Olympics 2012 - BBC1 Thurs - 9.36m
4 BBC News - BBC1 Sat - 9.20m
5 Coronation Street - ITV Mon - 8.22m
6 EastEnders - BBC2 Mon - 6.97m
7 Ten O'Clock News - BBC1 Mon - 6.40m
8 Emmerdale - ITV Mon - 6.32m
9 Six O'Clock News - BBC1 Thurs - 5.97m
10 The National Lottery: Saturday Draws - BBC1 Sat - 5.59m
11 Olympics 2012 - BBC3 Sat - 4.29m
12 Olympics 2012 - BBC2 Mon - 4.02m
13 Olympics Tonight - BBC1 Sat - 3.82m

Sir Chris Hoy has denied tabloid claims that he will appear as a mentor on The X Factor. The multi-gold medallist cyclist was alleged to have been 'linked' to the role alongside Jessica Ennis, Bradley Wiggins and Mo Farah, as producers reportedly try to 'capture the spirit of London 2012.' This nonsense claim appeared in a serious of tabloid stories over the weekend having begun in the Sun. Which, frankly, should have told everybody it was a load of old cock. Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads reportedly wanted the Olympic stars to coach contestants on 'performing under pressure' and perfecting their craft for a special Olympic-themed live show later in the year with a variety of alleged quotes from anonymous - and almost certainly entirely fictitious - 'sources' used to back up these ludicrous claims. 'X Factor producers were literally jumping up and down with delight when they heard that all four Olympic athletes had agreed to do the show,' an alleged 'source' allegedly said. Although, the fact that he or she - if, indeed, he or she even exists - allegedly said this to the Sun should have given dear blog readers an idea how much faith yer actual Keith Telly Topping put in this story being even slightly true. 'In Mo, Bradley, Chris and Jess he has bagged arguably the cream of the crop from Team GB, and he is ecstatic they are going to be involved.' Or not. Because, seemingly, the 'source' hadn't bothered to asked Hoy whether this was true or not. Hoy tweeted: 'Some amusing stories in press about me being a mentor on X-Factor; that's the first I've heard about it! Don't believe the hype!' He added: 'And no I'm not doing Strictly either!'

Shortly afterwards, Tour De France champion Wiggins became the second of those named to rubbish reports that he may get involved as a mentor on The X Factor. The cyclist also accused the Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads reality series of 'dragging down the public mood' following the success of Great Britain at London 2012. Speaking about what now appear to be tabloid lies that he may get involved in the music show, Wiggins said: 'Let's not talk about The X Factor. Compared to the Olympics, everywhere you went the country was on a high, and as athletes it was phenomenal to see that, then you see X Factor and it's like, "Oh God, everyone's got to put up with that all winter now."' King of the Mods Bradley's musical hero Paul Weller has been a vocal opponent of The X Factor in the past, claiming that the show falsely portrays its acts as 'edgy.' A third of the Olympians alleged to have been 'in talks', Jessica Ennis also said that suchclaims were news to her. Although, rather disappointingly, said was quoted as saying she was quite keen on the idea. Oh, Jess. Where's your self-respect, love?

Mazher Mahmood has been forced into making a second embarrassing climbdown to the Leveson Inquiry, which calls into question his long-held claims about the number of people prosecuted due to his Scum of the World articles. It follows an internal investigation ordered by The Sunday Times editor John Witherow, his current editor, into Mahmood's previous statements to Leveson. Mahmood has claimed for some time that he was responsible for more than two hundred and fifty successful criminal prosecutions, testifying to Leveson last December that the exact total was two hundred and sixty one. But the Witherow investigation, conducted by the global law firm, Linklaters, managed to discover proof of only ninety four prosecutions. In his new witness statement, Mahmood explains that Linklaters took 'strenuous step' to verify the facts through researching press cuttings and making requests to various courts and the Crown Prosecution Service. He admits that although he kept 'a broad running check' on the number of prosecutions he did not maintain records and clippings of every case, 'nor was any proper log or record maintained' by the Scum of the World. Mahmood (also known as The Fake Sheikh) gives a convoluted explanation for the difference between his original claim and the Linklaters total, and apologises for certain errors. He writes: 'I provided to Linklaters details of all of the prosecutions which I could recall that predated my first statement. This list exceeded two hundred and fifty three prosecutions, as I believed the number included in my first statement to be a conservative estimate. The details I provided to Linklaters included the following cases: a) Over one hundred and thirty four different criminal offences committed prior to the date of my first statement and carried out by ninety four individuals. I should make clear here that. I would generally count separate charges on which an individual had been convicted on the same occasion as multiple convictions, if they were for what I considered different offences. For example, someone convicted of carrying a firearm who was also convicted for possession of drugs I would count separately. b) Over one hundred and forty illegal immigrants who I believe were deported as a result of my work, although I did not keep a record of their names. My understanding was that an illegal immigrant commits a crime by being present in this country. I now understand from Linklaters that it is unlikely that these individuals would have been the subject of criminal prosecutions per se. That is not something which I was previously aware of, and I apologise for my error. c) Thirteen individuals who were barred from their professions or by their relevant sporting bodies, or dismissed by the police or prison service, in connection with allegations of criminal conduct, which were exposed as a result of my work. Again, I understand from Linklaters that such actions do not amount to prosecutions or convictions and so I apologise to the inquiry for including these individuals in my first statement.' Mahmood goes on to explain that some courts and the CPS were unwilling to provide the necessary data, adding that he remains 'personally confident' that his work 'led to substantially more convictions than the ninety four individuals which Linklaters has been able to verify independently.' But his statement has been met with extreme scepticism by Paddy French, the journalist who made a formal complaint to the Leveson inquiry about Mahmood's claims. French, who runs an investigative website called Rebecca Television, had conducted a comprehensive search of the Scum of the World's archive for the twenty years between December 1991, when Mahmood joined the paper, until its closure in disgrace and ignominy, in July 2011. French alleged in his statement to Leveson that Mahmood 'may have committed perjury' by overstating the number of successful prosecutions. Now, following the posting of Mahmood's fourth witness statement, French has written to Witherow to say that the Linklaters inquiry findings are closer to his analysis (which found only seventy prosecutions) than Mahmood's two hundred and fifty-plus claim. French maintains his position that Mahmood's previous evidence to the committee was 'questionable.' He also says that Rebecca Television is conducting a second piece of investigative work into Mahmood's evidence to Leveson. A spokeswoman for News International confirmed that Mahmood is still employed by The Sunday Times. Asked whether any internal action was being taken against Mahmood and whether Witherow considered his evidence adequate, she said the company had no comment to make at this time. In Mahmood's first witness statement to Leveson, he stated that he left The Sunday Times in 1988 after 'a disagreement.' The Gruniad columnist Roy Greenslade contested that statement and, after being asked by Leveson to provide evidence to support by contention, did so. This led to Mahmood being recalled by the inquiry and conceding that his departure had been due to his having 'acted improperly.' Lord Justice Leveson told him that he had been 'disingenuous' in his original evidence because he had left the paper after committing 'an act of dishonesty.'

Odious double-barrelled slime-bag Tory slaphead Iain and Duncan Smith's department has made a formal complaint to the BBC claiming that its coverage of the government is 'biased.' Scum. The work and pensions secretary singled out the broadcaster's economics editor, the divine Stephanie Flanders, for the harshest criticism, accusing her of 'peeing all over British industry.' Urgh. I think that's a disgusting charge to lay at Steph's door. She's far too well brought up to do any such a thing. The very idea of Steph giving golden showers to anyone, let alone the collective British industry. It's unthinkable. Officials at the BBC have vigorously defended its record of impartiality and Flanders' reporting. And toiletry habits for that matter. But, pompous full-of-his-own-importance arsehole Duncan Smith told a Sunday newspaper - a particularly strident anti-BBC one, at that. can you guess which one, dear blog reader? - that the BBC 'diminishes the role of the government' in good news but 'dumps' on it when the story is bad. First pissing, now shitting. That's bloke's got a scatological bent of mind, clearly. His department has formally complained to the BBC head of news, Helen Boaden, about the broadcaster's 'carping and moaning.' The minister appeared particularly angered by coverage this week of the unexpected drop in the unemployment rate to eight per cent. The jobless total fell by forty six thousand in the quarter to June to 2.56 million, with the number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance last month at 1.59 million, down by five thousand on June's figure. He told some louse of no importance at the Scum Mail on Sunday: 'The BBC is locked to the reading of the economy that is run out of Ed Miliband and Ed Balls' office. They think if only you spend and borrow more money you can create growth everywhere. This is the general tenor of everything that comes out of the BBC. They expected the [employment] figures to be flatlining. They convinced themselves youth unemployment would continue to rise, but when it fell they were in a complete quandary. Stephanie Flanders poured cold water over the whole thing. She said: "Of course this is good news, but it could be because we aren't productive enough."' Flanders also wrote in her BBC blog last week about the apparent contradiction between two hundred and one thousand more people finding work in the previous three months while output fell 0.7 per cent. Among the possible answers explored by the award-winning journalist were that the Office for National Statistics has been underestimating growth, that a rise in part-time and self-employed workers who would like to work more hours is 'flattering' the jobs figures, and that companies are 'hoarding' good staff while they wait for good times to return. 'Why not just sit back, and enjoy the novelty?' added Flanders. 'The trouble is that the longer the puzzle continues, the more potentially worrying it becomes, because it becomes less and less likely that simple measurement error explains it.' Duncan Smith added: 'If the unemployment figures had gone up, we would have been on the BBC TV News at Six and Ten and would have got the blame.' He added: 'When the news is good, the BBC view is: "Get the government out of the picture quickly, don't allow them to say anything about it." When the news is bad, [it's]: "Let's all dump on the government." Last month, there was a marginal rise in youth unemployment so they centred on that. This time it came down so they cast doubt on the figures. [Flanders] said it could be industry is so bad they have to take on two people where one person could do the job. She was peeing all over British industry and the private sector. It was terrible. Our private industry is unbelievably robust compared to much of Europe.' Commenting on the odious Duncan Smith's interview, Liam Byrne, the shadow work and pensions secretary, said: 'The work and pensions secretary should stop moaning about how this mess is being reported and start doing something about it.' Well, indeed. Do Iain and Duncan Smith not have anything more important to do with their time than turn into TV critics. The BBC said: 'BBC News is confident our coverage of this story was impartial, fair and balanced, reflecting a wide range of views. Indeed Mr Duncan Smith expressed his position on several BBC outlets. Stephanie interrogated numerous aspects of the figures in her analysis. She echoed questions raised by many experts, including the deputy governor of the Bank of England as well as noting the rise in the number of people in work was good news.'

A new TV channel is launching in the wake of the London 2012 Olympics, providing coverage of some of the more obscure sports featured at the games including judo, gymnastics and fencing. London Legacy will launch as a twenty four-hour-a-day channel in November, showing twenty four Olympic sports, including athletics, cycling and wrestling. The channel will initially only be available to BSkyB's satellite TV customers, but is seeking wider distribution. London Legacy is being launched by Highflyer, the independent TV production company that recently lost its contract to produce Channel Four's racing coverage after nearly twenty eight years. John Fairley, chairman of Highflyer, said there was an 'enormous opportunity' to make money from televising minority sports after the success of the London games. Fairley is attempting to give Highflyer a boost after it was replaced by IMG as the producer of Channel Four's racing coverage earlier this month. The London Legacy launch is expected to cost Highflyer around five and a half million quid. 'The amount of athletics on the main channels has been very small, especially when you think of all the disciplines within the athletics, but the games has changed all that,' said Fairley. He added that Highflyer had received 'very serious undertakings' to back London Legacy from 'two or three companies,' including one Olympic sponsor. 'There is this enormous opportunity and no sign that any of the main broadcasters is going to pick it up and run with it,' he said. A total of 51.9 million people – about ninety per cent of the entire UK population – watched at least fifteen minutes of the games on the BBC, with many low-profile events spotlighted by the corporation's blanket coverage.

Hopes of Russell Brand reviving his Radio 2 show, with Peter Hitchens replacing Jonathan Ross as his mischievous playmate, were comprehensively dashed when the pair recently debated drugs policy on Newsnight Brand called the Scum Mail on Sunday curmudgeon, 'homophobic' and 'a peculiar little child' prone to 'foghorn madness,' while Hitchens sneered at 'a mere comedian' being 'taken seriously' by the BBC. However, the encounter could provide Brand with symbolic revenge on the paper which caused his downfall, if its editor-in-chief, Paul Dacre, was watching or has been briefed by a dirty stinking Copper's Nark about its content. It is claimed that if there's one thing which epitomises Britain's degeneracy, for Dacre, it's men who fail to wear ties, and anyone publicly representing his titles clearly has a special obligation to have one. So goodness knows what fate awaits Hitchens, who was shockingly bare-throated on Newsnight.

Cher Lloyd walked off stage during her performance at V Festival at Hylands Park in Chelmsford over the weekend. It happened after the nineteen-year-old was booed by some of the crowd as she sang on the Arena Stage. The former X Factor contestant was seen crying before composing herself and continuing with the rest of her set. Speaking on Twitter after her performance, she said: 'Thank you so much for all the nice messages, shame that a couple of people had to ruin it.'

Post-Olympic fatigue may be having an effect at the Daily Torygraph sports section, where readers weighing up their options in the paper's Fantasy Football league ('the original and the best') discovered on Wednesday that Arsenal players available included 'E Hazard, F Torres, G Cahill, J Mata, P Cech' – ample compensation indeed for losing Robin van Persie. Less surprisingly, but confusingly, this one hundred million smackers-plus quintet could also be found in the Moscow Chelski FC squad.
Sky has lodged an appeal with the body that co-ordinated the Freeview electronic programme guide over plans to shift Sky News further down the guide. Where Kay Burley's odious mush cannot distress the public, hopefully. DTT Multiplex Operators Limited, the Ofcom-licensed provider of Freeview EPG services, recently published a series of proposed changes to Freeview channel numbering. The proposals involve various services, including News and Children's being moved further down the EPG in order to make space for more 'general entertainment' networks and a new local television channel. The new numbering is due to come into force on 19 September, but the proposed changes to the News and Children's genres have been put on hold pending the outcome of an appeal by Sky. A DMOL spokesperson said: 'We can confirm that the moves of News and Children's channels on Freeview will be put on hold pending an appeal by Sky against the proposed relocation of Sky News. Other changes to the guide will proceed as planned on that date.' In a submission to DMOL, Sky detailed its 'broad stroke' objections to the reshuffle, which would result in the Sky News channel being bumped down the EPG. Sky believes that it is not appropriate to move the news channels, both from a commercial perspective, but also more generally that news and children's programming are core to the public service remit Freeview. The broadcaster said that DMOL has not 'demonstrated that there is, in fact, a problem that needs addressing' with the reshuffle, or shown there is a 'resounding consumer call' to make changes that 'will do little (if anything) in terms of improving consumer experience.' Sky notes that changing channel position on an EPG can have major implications for a commercial network's advertising revenue, but also the ability of viewers to locate it as they may have become used to it being somewhere else. The firm goes even further to state that the assumption underlying DMOL's proposals is 'flawed' because genres do not actually play as big a role in viewer choices on Freeview as on other platforms. The Sky, Virgin Media and Freesat TV platforms host far more channels and so provide 'direct access' to genres, but Freeview receivers do not, said Sky. 'Freeview boxes do not currently facilitate the navigation of services according to genre (and Sky is not aware of any proposed changes that might address this issue),' the firm adds. 'For example, it is not possible for viewers to select an option that allows them to go to and/or distill out all the channels in the News or Children's genres. The DMOL EPG is, in effect, a single, long list which consumers simply scroll through (unless they know and type in the number of channel for which they are specifically searching).' Sky therefore feels that DMOL's efforts to create more space for the Freeview channel genres will just 'disrupt unnecessarily the viewer experience. It is inappropriate for existing channels to be pushed down the EPG for the sake of maintaining genre integrity when Freeview genres are practically meaningless and inconsistently applied,' said Sky. Later in the submission, Sky adds: 'Sky accepts that the Freeview EPG may evolve and that improvements should be considered if they are likely to result in an improved consumer experience. However, in considering its evolution, DMOL must recognise the (limited) expectations viewers have in terms of how the DMOL EPG should operate. It must also always bear in mind the interests of existing channels to ensure that any proposed changes will not disadvantage them unnecessarily and, in any event, always be justified and proportionate in the circumstances (ie respond to a documented/demonstrable need and/or a clear consumer demand).' DMOL now has a further four weeks before it must come to a decision on Sky's appeal.

The pub in Scotland that hosted the infamous rhythmic, writhing dance by a naked Britt Ekland in The Wicker Man has been sold to a developer. The Ellangowan Hotel on St John Street in Newton Stewart, a town in Dumfries and Galloway, was used in the cult 1973 British horror film as the fictional 'Green Man' pub. Edward Woodward's Sergeant Howie stays at the hotel as he investigates the mysterious Summerisle, and also drinks in the lounge bar, where he is served by Ekland's character, Willow, and her father (Lindsay Kemp). The first burst of the lewd song 'The Landlord's Daughter' takes place in the bar, as does the famous seductive dance by the naked actress to the strains of 'Willow's Song'. The Ellangowan is also the site of the scene where Ekland plants a burning wax hand next to Woodward's bed. It has been bought by Derrick Jobb, who also owns the Bank of Fleet Hotel in the nearby village of Gatehouse of Fleet, which he has recently refurbished. The purchase price was not announced, but selling agents Colliers International confirmed that it was close to the asking price set by seller Annette Menzies. Collier's Alistair Letham said: 'Whilst the Ellangowan Hotel is your quintessential main street, Scottish village hotel - the core of the community - it came to fame as being the film set for the bar of the Green Man Inn in The Wicker Man, a cult classic around the world, and is therefore visited by film buffs from all over who search out such venues and sets. New owner Derrick Jobb will undoubtedly develop the business creating a good community village pub whilst catering to the many visiting tourists to Dumfries & Galloway although it must be said that a naked Britt Ekland was not included in the fixtures and fittings of the hotel.'

Hollywood director Tony Scott, famous for films including Top Gun, has died after jumping from a bridge in Los Angeles, authorities have said. The Los Angeles County Coroner's office said Scott's death was being investigated as a probable suicide. An alleged 'source' supposedly close to Scott has since told ABC News that Scott had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour. British-born Scott, brother of Alien, Blade Runner and Gladiator director Ridley, shot to fame in the 1980s with a string of action films. The sixty eight-year-old's films included Crimson Tide, Days of Thunder, True Romance and Enemy of the State. 'I can confirm that Tony Scott has passed away. The family asks that their privacy is respected at this time,' Scott's spokesman, Simon Halls, said in a statement. The coroner said Scott jumped from the Vincent Thomas Bridge, which spans San Pedro and Terminal Island in Los Angeles. Lt Joe Bale, from the coroner's office, said the director was seen parking his car and jumping into the water at about 12:30 local time on Sunday. His body was recovered from the harbour less than three hours later. A note was found in his car and another in his office, but it is not clear what they contained. 'We will go where the facts take us. We have no reason to believe it was not a suicide,' Bale told the BBC. He said a post-mortem had not yet been performed. Fellow director Ron Howard said on Twitter: 'No more Tony Scott movies. Tragic day.' Sin City director Robert Rodriguez tweeted: 'Great knowing you, buddy. Thanks for the inspiration, advice, encouragement, and the decades of great entertainment.' Duncan Jones, the director of Source Code and Moon, said: 'Just heard about Tony Scott. Horrible. Tony was a truly lovely man who took me under his wing and ignited my passion to make films.' Stephen Fry wrote: 'Deeply saddened to hear the news about Tony Scott. A fine film-maker and the most charming, modest man.' A statement from Pinewood and Shepperton studios chief executive Ivan Dunleavy said he and colleagues were 'deeply saddened to learn of the tragic news. He was not only an incredibly gifted filmmaker and ambassador for the UK film industry, he was a significant part of the history of Shepperton Studios,' said Dunleavy. 'He directed some of the most successful films of all time and at Shepperton these included The Hunger, Spy Game and Tony most recently produced Prometheus directed by his brother Ridley. He will be sadly missed and our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time.' Scott was born in North Shields in 1944 and grew up in West Hartlepool and Stockton-On-Tees. A relative latecomer to filmmaking, he became famous for his fast-paced blockbusters and distinctive style of editing and digital effects, calling directing 'the best job in the world.' He was the younger brother of Ridley Scott, whose debut - a short film called Boy and Bicycle - Tony starred in at the age of sixteen. Tony originally intended to become a painter, after completing a fine arts degree at Sunderland Art College and graduating from the Royal College of Art. However the success of his older brother's television commercial production company, Ridley Scott Associates, changed his mind - especially when Ridley promised him he would earn enough to buy a Ferrari within a year. He described Ridley's cult SF movie Blade Runner as one of his favourite films of all time: 'I saw so much of our growing up in it, in terms of what he brought to the tone of the movie - which is rain!' The first feature film he directed was vampire romance The Hunger in 1983. Starring David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve it was not a hit with critics, but did later go on to become a genuine cult movie. However it caught the attention of producers Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson who signed him up to direct Top Gun, after seeing a commercial Scott made for Swedish car company Saab. Top Gun's success propelled Scott onto Hollywood's A-list of action directors and he worked again with producers Simpson and Bruckheimer on 1987 Eddie Murphy sequel Beverly Hills Cop II, before directing Cruise for a second time on their big budget racing drama Days of Thunder in 1990. Scott was an avid rock climber and liked driving fast cars and motorcycles, but he called filmmaking his real thrill. 'The biggest edge I live on is directing. That's the most scary, dangerous thing you can do in your life,' Scott said in an interview for his 1995 submarine thriller Crimson Tide. 'The scariest thing in my life is the first morning of production on all my movies. It's the fear of failing, the loss of face and a sense of guilt that everybody puts their faith in you and not coming through.' Often behind the camera in his signature faded red baseball cap, the early 1990s also saw him direct action thriller The Last Boy Scout and True Romance, written by Quentin Tarantino. Scott regularly collaborated with Oscar-winner Denzel Washington, directing the actor in Crimson Tide, Man on Fire, Deja Vu, The Taking of Pelham 123 and his most recent film Unstoppable. The runaway train thriller featured the trademark hyper-kinetic action and editing that he had become known for. Famous for his fast-paced blockbusters, he carved out a distinctive style to his films using fast editing and digital effects which was hugely influential on a generation of directors. He also directed Robert De Niro in The Fan, Will Smith conspiracy drama Enemy of the State, and in 2005 oversaw Keira Knightley's action debut in Domino. Critics were harsher on Tony's films, accusing him of emphasising style-over-substance and he was never nominated for an Oscar. He told the BBC in 2005: 'I stopped looking at reviews after my first movie The Hunger, because I got slagged off so badly. They can be brutal. You know with my movies I reach for difference and I reach for change and I think - especially the American press - they're not up for change. They're too comfortable with what they know.' More recently, he had been producing for television - including hit legal drama The Good Wife on CBS - as well as films. BAFTA chairman Tim Corrie said: 'He was a true pioneer. A great film-maker and a wonderful human being. He will be sorely missed by people all over the world. History will probably always link him with his brother which considering their lifelong partnership is right but Tony had his own style and will stand tall in the history of British film-makers.' At the time of his death, he was rumoured to be working with Tom Cruise on a sequel to Top Gun. He had recently completed filming on Out of the Furnace, a drama he was producing about an ex-convict starring Christian Bale. The movie is due for release next year. Tiny was married three times and had twin sons with his third wife, Donna Wilson.

William Windom, an actor known for roles in TV shows including Murder, She Wrote and Star Trek, has died, the New York Times has reported. Windom played Dr Seth Hazlitt in more than fifty episodes of Murder, She Wrote. He also won an EMMY Award for best actor in a comedy series in 1970 for his role in My World and Welcome to It. The New York Times, citing his wife Patricia, reported that Windom died at the age of eighty eight from congestive heart failure at his home in California. His film credits included the role of the prosecution lawyer who opposed Gregory Peck in the courtroom in To Kill a Mockingbird in 1962. Television viewers knew him from sitcom The Farmer's Daughter, which ran from 1962 to 1965, while he appeared in several episodes of The Twilight Zone and became familiar to Star Trek fans thanks to his role as Commodore Matt Decker in the 1967 episode The Doomsday Machine. His EMMY was awarded for his performance in the sitcom My World and Welcome to It, based on the work of cartoonist James Thurber. The show only lasted for one series but Windom subsequently toured the US with a solo show based on Thurber's work. In the 1990s, he provided the voice for Uncle Chuck in the animated TV version of Sonic The Hedgehog.

Scott McKenzie, who sang the dreadful 1960s hit 'San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair)', has died aged seventy three. The singer was a close friend of Mamas and Papas singer John Phillips, who wrote and produced his most famous song. Released in May 1967, it became a global hit and an anthem for the drippier end of the 1960s counterculture movement. 'I am amazed at how 'San Francisco' continues even now to evoke dreams in the hearts and minds of people all over the world,' McKenzie wrote in 2002. He was found by a neighbour in his home on Sunday afternoon. His death was confirmed by another neighbour, Victoria Byers. She told the BBC he had been in and out of hospital recently after falling ill with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a disease affecting the nervous system. 'I think he had a heart attack this most recent time he was in the hospital,' she said. 'They did not want him to leave the hospital, but he wanted to be in his house [when he died].' Born Philip Wallach Blondheim in January 1939, the singer, songwriter and guitarist grew up in North Carolina where he lived with his grandparents while his widowed mother worked in Washington. As a teenager, he met Phillips and formed a doo-wop band called The Abstracts. The band moved to New York and became The Smoothies, where they played on the club circuit and recorded two singles. It was at this stage in his career that he changed his name, after complaints that Blondheim was unpronounceable. With the rise of folk music in the 1960s, he and Phillips approached banjo player Dick Weissman and went on to form The Journeymen. The trio recorded three LPs, before breaking up in 1964. Phillips went on to form the original The Mamas and Papas. McKenzie declined an invitation to join him in favour of becoming a solo artist, but the two remained close friends. 'San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair)', written by Phillips and featuring him on guitar, was McKenzie's only significant hit. Inspired by the first Monterey Pop Festival, which organised by Phillips and Lou Adler, among others, it was reportedly recorded with McKenzie wearing a flower garland and friends gathered on the floor to meditate. McKenzie released two solo LPs, before dropping out in the late 1960s and moving to Virginia Beach, after struggling with the pressures of fame. Over the course of his career, he dedicated every American performance of the song to Vietnam veterans, and in 2002 sang at the twentieth anniversary of the dedication of the Vietnam Memorial Wall. He returned to music in the late 1980s when he replaced first Denny Doherty, and then an ailing Phillips, in a touring version of The Mamas and the Papas. He also co-wrote the Beach Boys hit 'Kokomo'. 'Never before or since, with the exception of rap, has popular music contained such sheer poetic and social power,' wrote McKenzie on his website in 2002. 'Even at the end of the decade, when so many of us had lost hope, when the summer of love had turned into a winter of despair, our music helped keep us alive and carry us forward into a world we had hoped to change. And so it still does.'

So, I'll bet I know what you think is going to be Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader. Wrong. I mean, not even close.

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