Tuesday, August 14, 2012

You're Living A Hoax! Someone's Got You Sussed!

Doctor Who showrunner The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat his very self has 'remained coy' about rumours that the show's fiftieth anniversary will involve a multi-Doctor episode. BBC Radio 5Live's Richard Bacon probed Moffat on the subject on Tuesday afternoon, but the writer refused to confirm or deny suggestions that previous Doctors such as David Tennant and Christopher Eccleston could return. 'I'm not telling you,' said The Moffster flatly. When Bacon replied: 'That means a yes,' Moffat added: 'Is it? Oh good.' Bacon continued to try to tease information from Moffat on the subject, discovering that the executive producer recently had dinner with Tennant. 'I saw [David] the other night, he's in very good form,' said Moffat. 'He's a mate of mine. We went for the dinner the other night. I showed him photos of the new series.' After describing Sylvester McCoy as a 'cracking Doctor,' Bacon jokingly asked if he would also be involved in a multi-Doctor special. Moffat still refused to play ball on the subject. And, hopefully, at that point smacked Bacon, hard, right in the mush with a wet haddock. Speaking about a possible return last week, Tennant added fuel to fan speculation, commenting: 'I cannot be drawn on anything. Who knows what will happen next year? I'm sure there are lots of plans being discussed. I am not confirming nor denying anything.' Tennant was the show's Tenth Doctor between 2005 and 2010. Matt Smith has spoken on numerous occasions about his support for a multi-Doctor episode and his desire to work alongside Tennant and his predecessor, Eccleston. Moffat also criticised crass, ignorant shatscum whinging - from glakes - that recent series of Doctor Who have been 'too complicated', claiming that fans should celebrate the show's more complex plotlines. Or, if they can't do that, then they can always fek off and watch The X Factor on the other side which may be more to their own, unique, tastes. The showrunner also claimed that he had received no 'actual feedback' from viewers - you know, normal people - that the show had become too complicated. Moffat did acknowledge that criticism existed among some fans, almost exclusively on the Internet, but claimed that none of it came from children who watched the show, which satisfied him. 'It's demanding television, but isn't that something to celebrate?' Moffat told Bacon. 'We are doing the opposite of dumbing down. Shouldn't that be celebrated and not criticised?' Yes, it should. But you're talking about The Special People here, Steven so, you know, different rules apply. Commenting on the subject of whether Doctor Who is a children's show or an adult drama (it's actually neither, it's a family drama, which is something different entirely) he joked: 'Everyone by the end of the opening music is a kid! It is watched by more adults than kids, but there is something at its heart, which belongs to children. You look at a risotto on a menu and you see the children's menu and there's sausage and chips. All the good stuff belongs to children!' According to some of those who attended the BFI event, Moffat confirmed that Asylum of the Daleks would be broadcast on BBC1 on Saturday 1 September. Which is nice.

Meanwhile, here's Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill arriving on the red carpet for the first official screening of Asylum of the Daleks at London's BFI Southbank. Like the beard, Artie.
Karen Gillan has revealed that she has signed up to star in Sky1's comedy drama A Touch of Cloth. The actress told the Digital Spy website at Tuesday's BFI Doctor Who screening that she will be appearing in the show. Gillan refused to give away any further details about her character, but added that she will begin filming for the programme 'soon.' A Touch of Cloth, written by yer actual Charlie Brooker his very self, stars John Hannah and Suranne Jones as detectives in a spoof of police dramas. A two-part story has already been shot and will be broadcast later this month, but two further editions of A Touch of Cloth have been commissioned by Sky1 and are expected to be shown early next year.

I urge all dear blog readers to check out a quite superbly-argued piece by Jason Manford on the subject of Internet trolling, with specific reference to the recent tragedy in the life of Gary Barlow. It was originally posted on Facebook but it's been reprinted, in full, here. Moving, balanced, heart-felt, articulate. Beautiful.

Luke Anderson - no, me neither - has won Big Brother, apparently. His, ahem, 'triumph' being watched by around one and a half million viewers on Monday night, early overnight data shows. Was it really only eight days ago that four-time gold medallist Matthew Pinsent said: 'I hope after the games we watch that "reality" stuff with a better idea of what winning, talent and drama really are.' As noted at the time, that was also this blogger's hope, Matthew. But, I wouldn't bank on it. Despite the Channel Five reality fiasco recovering somewhat from its all-time low the day before when it was on opposite the Olympics Closing Ceremony, the final episode's 1.48m is still -satisfyingly - the lowest-rating final in its twelve-year history, down six hundred thousand on November 2011's climax. Of course, if you read either the Daily Lies of the Daily Scum Express on Monday, newspapers who seem to delight in printing all manner of celebrity twaddle, invariably accompanied by prurient, all but pornographic images of C-list TV presenters, footballers' wives and ersatz pop stars, then it was 'a triumph.' Apparently. Richard, mate, you'd put a dog out of its misery if it broke its leg, surely? Ruth Rendell's Thirteen Steps Down, a new (patchy, but decent enough) ITV drama adaptation, premiered with four million punters at 9pm. Countrywise interested 3.1m an hour earlier at 8pm. A Mrs Brown's Boys repeat was watched by a stunning audience of 4.85m on BBC1 at 9.30pm, benefiting from a strong EastEnders lead-in. An excellent Panorama documentary on the hideous miscarriage of justice in the Cardiff Three case was watched by 3.06m at 8pm. A Dispatches programme on benefit cheats pulled in a quietly impressive 1.74m for Channel Four at 8pm (with an additional three hundred thousand on C4+1), then the war documentary Escape From Colditz was watched by 1.4m. Over on BBC2, University Challenge managed 2.25m at 8pm (and there really is something genuinely encouraging by the fact that University Challenge had an audience eight hundred thousand greater than Big Brother, frankly). EastEnders secured 7.8m viewers as the character of Sharon Rickman made her return to Walford. The soap pulled in 7.84m at 8pm as a tearful Sharon turned up on Phil's doorstep unexpectedly. 6.72m returned at 9pm to see a kidnap drama involving Sharon's son Dennis. Coronation Street was the evening's most-watched programme. Tracy's hopes of a reunion with Steve were seen by 7.87m at 7.30pm, while Steve's attempts to be honest with the mother of his daughter was seen by 8.26m at 8.30pm. Overall, BBC1 topped primetime with 22.8 per cent of the audience share, beating ITV's 21.8 per cent. Elsewhere, The Premier League's Most Amazing Moments was one of the evening's most-watched multi-channel show with seven hundred and twelve thousand for BBC3 between 8.30pm and 10.30pm. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's good mate Mick Snowden demanded on Facebook to know why the programme did not feature any moments featuring his beloved Dirty Leeds United. It was left to yer actual Keith Telly Topping to point out to Mick that the title of the programme was The Premier League's Most Amazing Moments and not League One's Most Amazing Moments. Oh yes.

Has British sports, collectively, delivered under the spotlight of London 2012? It's a question well worth asking and now, in the warm afterglow of the Closing Ceremony (Jessie J murdering 'You Should Be Dancing' notwithstanding), is as good a time as any. At Beijing in 2008, Great Britain's squad won forty seven medals - nineteen of them gold - across eleven sports, the country's best performance at an Olympics since 1908. At London 2012, they won sixty five medals - twenty nine of them gold - across sixteen sports. Certainly diving, hockey, judo, shooting, tennis and triathlon all failed to win medals in Beijing but reached the podium at London 2012, suggesting a progression has very definitely been made whilst the traditional big hitters of cycling, rowing, sailing and, to an extent, athletics also delivered big-style. The nation's athletes and competitors, by and large, thrilled the country with their efforts.
This was, again, the best British medals total since 1908 and way ahead of the minimum aim set of forty eight medals and in more sports than previously. But, away from the overall picture, each sport was also given an individual target and this was vital for future funding allocations from UK Sport. While two-thirds of Great Britain's sporting teams hit the mark, nine sports failed to reach the standard set and will have to wait - nervously - outside the headmaster's office to see if they're in for a caning or not.
Here's a rough guide to how they all got on:-
Larry Godfrey - Britain's best archer since Robin Hood, probably - and the Merrie Men's team (did you see what I did there?) made it to the last sixteen of the archery competition, as did the women's team, although nobody broke through to the quarter-finals. In reality, that's probably not too far off expectations. The sport is dominated by other nations, most notably South Korea, and a British medal was never considered very likely. Remember that one South Korean girl who won a gold did so with an 'eight' and promptly burst into tears claiming she was 'ashamed' of such a low score! The governing body may be a little disappointed that nobody got closer to the quarter finals, but it's not a major under-performance by any stretch. Archery GB says that the sport has 'rocketed in popularity' following its appearance early in the games at the gorgeously scenic setting of Lord's. 'Larry was a one-arrow shoot-off from making the last eight,' added performance director Sara Symington.

Britain's track and field athletes won six medals, well within their target range of five to eight set by funding body UK Sport, although head coach Charles van Commenee had always publicised a more ambitious eight medals as his own target. There were some high-profile casualties: The world champion Dai Greene finished fourth in the four hundred metres hurdles (and then, astonishingly, claimed that he was 'too tired'), while triple jumper Phillips Idowu failed to even reach his final after a build-up much-publicised for its bewildering secrecy and tit-for-tat accusations of mysteriously undefined injuries. But, in some ways, quality compensated for quantity in this particular case. In a dazzling hour on the night of Saturday 4 August, heptathlete Jessica Ennis, long jumper Greg Rutherford and distance runner Mo Farah all picked up Olympic titles, the latter going on to complete a distance double later in the games. Christine Ohuruogu, although initially disappointed, will be delighted with four hundred metres silver and Robbie Grabarz similarly content with his high-jump bronze. Van Commenee has previously said he would step down if the team did not meet his target - the question is whether those four gold medals are considered enough to counterbalance the two medals missing from the tally he had hoped to see. Certainly his bosses would like him to stay and build further for the next Olympics and the world athletics championships which Britain will host in 2017. With such a large squad, there are plenty of other talking points. The emergence of Adam Gemili (his cock-up in the relay, notwithstanding), Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Lawrence Clarke, Andrew Pozzi and Andrew Osagie is well worth taking into account. 'Decent, with some major highlights, but still room for improvement' is probably the best description of UK Athletics achievements over the last fortnight. And, next time, try getting the baton round, lads!

Possibly the biggest disappointment of the entire games, swimming aside, was the performance of Britain's badminton players. It's a sport we've traditionally done quite well in - it's only eight years since Gail Emms and Nathan Robertson came within a match of winning Olympic gold. Yet none of the four British badminton competitors got past their group stage and their games was, effectively, over within a day of the Olympics kicking off. The sport, in fact, had a bit of a rough time all round - including a new format which caused controversy when some entrants appeared to engineer their own defeats so as to secure a better draw for the knockout stage. Rajiv Ouseph and Susan Egelstaff went out of the men's and women's singles respectively after two matches, while Chris Adcock and Imogen Bankier played three mixed doubles group games before making their exit. Adcock and Bankier won world silver medals last year but were seen as a long shot to replicate that in London. 'We are not hiding,' said Badminton England chief executive Adrian Christy. 'We knew there would be a number of impending retirements which would mean we had a team of first-time Olympians in London if Nathan Robertson was not selected, and that is exactly how it panned out. I know our members, the general public and the media would love badminton to be delivering the success some other sports are enjoying, but it will take us time.' Badminton is a cracking sport, and has a good tradition and a high level of participation in the UK so, it's to be hoped the experience of London will stand the young team in good stead as they continue to develop.

Britain's basketball teams had both been asked to aim for fifth to eighth place which, in practice, meant finishing in the top four of their six-team group. This was always a tough ask, given the British governing body had faced a prolonged battle simply to convince the organisers to let the teams compete at the games in the first place. The women lost their five group games; the men looked to be heading the same way, but pulled off a welcome and historic first Olympic win since 1948 when they beat China ninety to fifty eight in their final match. Getting to Rio will be a challenge for both. Even with host-nation status, entry to London 2012 required an almighty scrap, and the teams will have to improve significantly in the next four years. 'We put women's basketball on the map,' said GB's Temi Fagbenle. 'I hope everyone saw how hard we fight, and how we won't give up. We'll never give up, I hope they see that. Rio? I can't wait.'

Not all of British boxing's medal hopes came off, but five medals (including three golds) from a ten-person team represents a strong conversion rate for chief Rob McCracken and his team. It was Britain's best Olympic performance since 1956. The delightful Nicola Adams made history as the first-ever Olympic women's boxing champion while Anthony Joshua won Britain's last gold medal of London 2012, in an arena within ExCeL which became renowned for its incredible noise level. In Adams, the sport couldn't have a better standard-bearer - charming, self-effacing but also talented and tremendously enthusiastic, she's on the verge of becoming a national treasure of Stephen Fry proportions already. Victory for Adams cemented the status and success of women's boxing in the UK, which is a huge step forward for the sport, while success has also been maintained in the men's corner - remember, it's only eight years ago that Britain's boxing team for Athens 2004 consisted of Amir Khan on his own, a pretty accurate indication of the level that British amateur boxing had sunk to at that time. Moves to alter the way Olympic boxing works in future, including proposals to allow a more professional element to the sport at the games, may have an impact on the shape and feel of the British set-up by 2016.

GB Canoeing will be - rightly - thrilled with their medal haul from London 2012, winning an Olympic title in each of the sport's two disciplines, sprint and slalom. Following on from the sterling efforts of Tim Brabants - the canoeing doctor - four years ago, Tim Baillie and Etienne Stott stunned better-known team-mates Richard Hounslow and David Florence in the C2 two-man slalom event, leading an unexpected British one-two which made up for earlier disappointments as Britons struggled to reach individual finals at the Lee Valley course. After a similar week on Eton Dorney's flatwater course, Ed McKeever roared to gold over the blink-and-miss-it two hundred metres distance, followed by bronze for Liam Heath and Jon Schofield in the two-man race. 'We have never had that many [medals] so it's a fantastic boost,' said McKeever. 'If we keep pushing forward and developing, I think we can become the leading canoeing nation in the world. We can take a lot of encouragement from these Games and I think the team will be really strong in four years' time.' Expect canoeing to receive a major financial boost as well as a sudden influx of new participants in this exciting sport.

It's sometimes really hard being the best in the world. Unless you're a British cyclist, of course. In which case they make it look piss easy. British Cycling surpassed what was already the most demanding medal target set for any team at London 2012, led by a scintillating repeat of their Velodrome dominance of Beijing four years earlier. Even the most wildly optimism of fans didn't expect another six gold medals. But, that's what they got. Laura Trott established herself as a new leading light within the team, turning recent success at world and European level into two Olympic titles in women's endurance events, while Sir Chris Hoy became the most-decorated British Olympian of all time. And Victoria Pendleton bowed out with a gold and a silver which, but for some arsehole judging, could easily have been more. Performance director Dave Brailsford has forecast a dip in British track results in the four-year Olympic cycle to come. 'You can't sustain this level for four years,' he said, before adding: '[But] our job is to believe it is possible to do even better. You've got to go there and think, "Let's go and win all ten."' So, for the moment at least, all continues to be well with Britain's track cyclists, Wendy Houvenaghel's stroppy and highly unbecoming 'you should have picked me, me, me, me, me' rant notwithstanding. There's no 'i' in team, sweetheart. Bet you don't get picked for the squad again any time soon. On the road, the inability of the road race team to deliver a gold for Mark Cavendish on the opening day was easily compensated by His Majesty King of the Mods Bradley Wiggins's time trial victory (and Chris Froome's bronze) one of the genuine highlights of the games and one which really did catch the public's imagination at just the right time. However, BMX duo Shanaze Reade and Liam Phillips were unable to reach the podium, a shock for Reade in particular who had been seen by just about every media commentators as simply having to turn up to win gold. Doesn't always work that way. Mountain biking once again felt like something of a poor relation compared to the other three disciplines, but the emergence of eighth-placed Annie Last, who led the women's race for a spell, suggests she could be a major player in Rio.

Young Tom Daley's emotional individual bronze ensured that the diving team met their medal target for London 2012. However, they would prefer not to have cut it quite so fine next time. Daley missed out with partner Peter Waterfield in their synchro event, finishing fourth, and no other British entrant did better than fifth. Monique Gladding and Stacie Powell were both surprise casualties in the women's ten metres platform preliminaries. But the popular Devon teenager's bronze on the penultimate night of the games at least gives diving a place on the medal table and a return to take to the funding table later this year.

A haul of five medals represents an immensely successful games for Britain's equestrian riders, even without the team eventing gold medal which many - Daily Scum Mail readers, mainly - had expected them to take because they had the Queen's granddaughter in the team. The fact that Zara Phillips's scores were the ones they had to drop possibly suggests that next time, it might be an idea to give royalty a miss and stick, merely, with picking the lower nobility. The eventing team settled for silver but GB's showjumpers produced a slightly unexpected team gold and narrowly missed out on an individual medal when Nick Skelton clipped a fence in his final jump. Still, at least he got a hug off the new national sweetheart, Clare Balding, so that was all right. The dancing horses of Dressage were the stars, though. Carl Hester, Laura Bechtolsheimer and Charlotte Dujardin confirmed their meteoric rise in the world standings over the past couple of years by winning both team gold and then individual gold, courtesy of Dujardin. The trick for British equestrian sport is in securing the right horses to do the job for the next four years. Some, like Dujardin's Valegro and Hester's Uthopia, look to be on the way out in a world where top horses command huge sums and not many riders own the horses on which they compete. Some will train their own star rides for 2016, others will look elsewhere to import fresh talent. Scott Brash, who picked up Hello Sanctos from Ukraine last Christmas, is an example of a British rider who went talent-scouting and won gold this summer as a result.

The two British teams reached the last eight but at first glance, London 2012 was something of a disappointment for British Fencing. Top prospect Richard Kruse did not make it past the last thirty two of the men's foil fencing, with no individual fencer reaching the last sixteen in any of the five events entered. However, a spirited last-day showing in the men's team foil has given the British team a little cause for optimism, particularly the potential displayed by the likes of James Davis, who played a large part as Britain took world number one Italy right to the wire in their last-eight contest. Chairman David Teasdale says the sport will now undergo a 'robust, thorough but speedy review, with necessary decisions on the way forward.'

Football was not set a target because the team does not receive direct UK Sport funding. However, there can be no denying that both the men and women would have wanted more from London 2012. The men topped their group but, inevitably, went out on penalties in the quarter-finals, while the women lost to Canada at the same stage. Given the extensive political wrangling which took place prior to London 2012 simply to bring together two properly British football teams for a home games, there is a big question mark over the likelihood of British participation at Rio 2016 or, indeed, ever again in the Olympics. That obstacle must be crossed before any concerns about performance and development can be considered. Hope Powell, who coached the British women at London 2012, said: 'I am not the decision-maker but my answer would be, if we had the opportunity to go into the Olympics - just the women - I would take it. We have raised awareness throughout the whole of Great Britain. People are now aware that women's football does exist and that it is a fantastic product.'

In years to come, this may be remembered as the breakthrough games for British Gymnastics. While Louis Smith's bronze medal at Beijing 2008 set the ball rolling and was momentous in its own right, team bronze for the men in London and a four-medal total - with individual contributions from Smith, Max Whitlock and, at last, Beth Tweddle - makes clear the sport's ability to now contend on multiple fronts at the Olympics. That is a step change for gymnastics in the UK and, as as the country's first ever genuine gymnastic superstar Tweddle leaves the sport, the continuity of that talent looks assured, particularly on the men's side, where the juniors have won the last three European titles. 'Team bronze came about on a quiet day, around tea-time with a big audience on TV,' recalls performance director Tim Jones. 'We could have never planned for that, but we got some great publicity from it. It's really catapulted the sport forwards.' The absence of a Briton in either trampoline final may be considered a slight disappointment, while British Gymnastics must now decide how to pursue its rhythmic gymnastics programme after fielding its first-ever group at a games by virtue of host-nation status.

Set an ambitious target of reaching the Olympic quarter-finals, neither Britain's handball men nor the women were able to win a group game and make it through to the knockout stages. This is no surprise - a programme in its infancy compared to world-leading teams from continental Europe, and neither team would have come near to qualifying for the Olympics without the benefit of host-nation places. They did, however, both have to convince the British Olympic Association they would be 'competitive' prior to being officially entered for their home games. For the players, this was always a chance to showcase the sport to the nation rather than make any serious bid for a medal. The Copper Box, home to all the handball group games, has certainly been one of the success stories of London 2012, praised for its atmosphere, and this is where British Handball wants to squarely place the emphasis. 'The crowd in the Copper Box has been amazing and it seems as if handball has really caught on in Britain,' read a report on the British Handball website. Let's hope that's true because it is, unquestionably, a terrific sport and one that the British public probably would embrace if only they got to see it more often. 'This was one of the main goals for the GB team going into the Olympic Games, to show Britain exactly why handball is such a great sport.' Now, they need to show UK Sport exactly why handball deserves funding to pursue a Rio 2016 bid. The funding body may prove a tougher audience.

Heading into the Olympics with both the men's and women's teams ranked fourth in the world, the expectation from GB's hockey coaching staff had always been to reach the semi-finals and then see what happened from there. That part was entirely successful, though few on the men's side of things will care to remember the miserable, humiliating 9-2 pants-down thrashing from the Dutch team which followed. The women similarly bowed out in the semis, well beaten by Argentina, but whereas the men lost 3-1 to Australia in their bronze play-off, the women defeated New Zealand in a thriller at the Riverside Arena for a first British Olympic hockey medal in two decades. That means targets have been met. More broadly, a bigger battle is now beginning for British hockey: attracting more people into the sport. Initiatives such as Back To Hockey have been running for years but the organisation knows the period immediately after a home Olympics, especially with a medal-winning team, is the most vital to its future. 'I am relieved,' said chief executive Sally Munday after the women won bronze. 'It is just so important for the whole hockey family. This is payback, not just for those immediately involved, but for the hockey clubs and everyone involved in the sport. The country has really got behind us and become emotionally involved with us.'

Judo was a surprise - but very welcome - success at London 2012, defying doom-and-gloom predictions following an eighteen-month period riven with under-performance and internal reshuffling in the lead-up to the games. While few will forget Euan Burton's tearful self-criticism on live television following his elimination mere moments into his first bout, his other half, Gemma Gibbons, delighted the nation with a superb, battling and emotional silver medal. To which Karina Bryant later added bronze. Colin Oates also made it through to his quarter-final. Scott McCarthy, the sport's chief executive, made no attempt to hide his relief as he said: 'This success marks the start of a new era for British Judo and we must all commit to continue to progress and ensure that we win multiple medals at all future world events. The increased interest in the sport has been unprecedented and provides us with a unique opportunity to grow judo in the UK. Almost five million people watched Thursday's final [featuring Gemma Gibbons] and the entire competition provided an excellent showcase for the sport.'

Samantha Murray won silver in the women's modern pentathlon, the final event of the London Olympics, to preserve the superb record in the sport of Britain's women. Mhairi Spence, the world champion, had her hopes ruined by getting saddled - literally - with what appeared to be the Jeremy Clarkson of the horse world in the showjumping element, but her team-mate Murray's second place means GB pentathletes have won at least one medal in each of the four Olympic Games since the women's race was introduced at Sydney 2000. The men's event saw Nick Woodbridge finished tenth with Sam Weale thirteenth. Murray's silver and Spence's world title are likely to give pentathlon a position of considerable strength from which to argue its corner for funding to Rio 2016.

No other sport exceeded their medals target by the distance rowing achieved, winning nine medals to the six demanded of them. Four of those medals were gold with two silver and three bronze. Even then, some crews left disappointed, notably silver medallists Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter in the lightweight double sculls, blubbing their eyes out on John Inverdale's slender shoulders at 'only' coming second. You done fine, lads. The sport will have few worries about sitting down with UK Sport for its performance review. Rowing chief David Tanner, summing up the Olympic regatta, pointed out it was the best ever for a British team. 'Together we have been so strong and so much stronger than any other nation, which is a source of great pride and pleasure,' he said.

The sailing medal coveted more than any other by British fans was a fourth gold for Ben Ainslie, and he duly delivered. Sailing hit its medal target with five in all, though the other four were all silver and there may be a modicum - and I do mean a modicum - of frustration within the sport that more could not be converted into gold. Injury hampered the hopes of Paul Goodison, who finished seventh. 'To have come away with medals in fifty per cent of the events, we've got to be really happy with that,' said sailing chief Stephen Park. 'I suppose we are also conscious there were opportunities that slipped away from us when we were racing for gold. But on the whole I have got to be happy. It's been great to have a mix of some of the more experienced sailors and some of the newcomers. It bodes really well for the future [and we will] continue to strive to be even more competitive in 2016.'

Peter Wilson's Olympic double trap gold medal had been by far shooting's best bet going into the games. Wilson pulled it off, winning a superb Olympic title twelve years after team-mate Richard Faulds did the same at Sydney 2000, but none of his GB team-mates could reach their finals. The sport needs to find ways to achieve success outside the double trap discipline, but will be buoyed by the exposure shooting has received on national TV in the wake of Wilson's achievement. 'Shooting really is a sport for everyone. I cannot emphasise enough how easy it is to get into,' said Wilson. 'Whether fat or thin, tall or short, you can shoot, so why not get involved? Six years ago I wanted to start shooting so I typed "clay pigeon shooting" into Google and found my nearest range. I'm now a gold-medal Olympian.' So, dear blog reader, if murdering a few clay pigeons - who have done you no harm whatsoever - sounds like the kind of thing you'd consider 'fun', off you get to your nearest shooting club. Remember, guns don't kill people, bullets kill people.

Swimming provided - by a distance - the British team's biggest series of disappointments at London 2012. After the positivity of Beijing with then-teenager Rebecca Adlington's double triumph, and a couple of quite successful world championships in 2010 and 2011, expectations were high that at least one of those Adlington titles would be successfully defended amid a host of other potential medals (five to seven was the target) from names like Fran Halsall, Hannah Miley, Ellen Gandy and Keri-Anne Payne. None of them did. Payne, to be fair, got very close with a fourth in the open water swimming but, as so often with British swimmers it was a case of nearly, but not quite. In short, with a few notable exceptions, the British swimming team were a sodding disgrace. They let themselves down but, much more importantly, they let the country down. Almost no personal bests were set in the pool. Only Adlington and - the very impressive - silver medallist Michael Jamieson reached the podium, prompting performance director Michael Scott to begin an immediate review into what went wrong. Adlington's performance (and her buttock-clenchingly embarrassing post-race interview with Sharon Davies after she'd just lost her eight hundred metres freestyle title to a schoolgirl) was the subject of much debate in the media and elsewhere. A case of too much pressure? Too many chats show appearances? Too much believing in media hype? Too much swanning about at the Spotlight on Swimming party at Omega House? Adlington told Davies that she 'hates' it when people describe third place as 'losing'. If you're only expected to come sixth, say, then that is perfectly valid stance to take. If, on the other hand, you're the world record holder and Olympic champion and you don't even swim your fastest time when coming third, then nah, not so much. And, again, this blogger says all that not as an international swimmer himself - God, not even close, I swim widths! - but, merely, as a tax payer. One of those annoying 'little people' who, though the government funds provided to Sport UK, helps to pay Rebecca's wages. Adlington's agent, one Rob Woodhouse, had plenty to say for himself (and, indeed, for her) in 2009 over the notorious Mock The Week Mad Frankie Boyle incident. Never stopped mouthing off to any agenda-soaked journalist who came looking for a quote, so he did. One wonders where, exactly, Woodhouse was during the games. He could have come in really useful in explaining away how his client got spanked by a fifteen-year-old. 'Following our collective disappointment at not meeting our high expectations at these Olympic Games, we will be undertaking a thorough performance debrief,' said Scott. 'In the Olympic cycle to London, the British swimming team has achieved best-ever results at world, Commonwealth and European level, but in London we failed to continue this trend and we need to fully understand why.' Even the British team's own press release pointed out that swimming received twenty five million smackers in funding for London 2012 - comparable with cycling, rowing and sailing, all of whom met or exceeded their targets - and considerably more than, for instance, judo, triathlon, canoeing and shooting get put together. Such a paltry return for so much wonga, and so many crass excuses given poolside, may well cut little ice with a British public whose tolerance threshold for plucky losers is, it would seem, rapidly growing thin when it comes to those wearing goggles and trunks.

Britain's synchronised swimmers met expectations in both the duet and team events. The duet pairing and team finished ninth and sixth respectively, within their agreed target range. Jenna Randall, who competed in both, said of the duet: 'In Beijing we didn't make the final so it was great to be a part of it at home this year. Hopefully for the next Olympics we'll be even higher up.'

Paul Drinkhall beat Singapore's Yang Zi in the men's singles to reach the third round and meet his British table tennis's modest expectations. Joanna Parker also got through to the second round of the women's singles but Britain exited both team events at the first opportunity. Table tennis falls into the bracket of sports whose participation in London 2012 meant far more in terms of exposure than medals. Drinkhall said: 'Just look around at the crowds, it doesn't seem like a table tennis hall. It's just amazing being on TV all around the country, all around the world. Twitter is going crazy, it's brilliant to be a part of it. It's massive for me and the rest of table tennis, and hopefully we are putting on a good show.'

Medals for two of the four British athletes competing in Olympic taekwondo, including a brilliant gold for Jade Jones, represent a strong set of results for GB Taekwondo. However, question marks will continue to linger for some over the selection of Lutalo Muhammad in preference to world number one Aaron Cook. How far Muhammad's bronze medal stems that debate remains to be seen. 'I think it is not about who was selected. At the end of the day the selectors are experts and made their decision and knew what Lutalo was capable of,' said Gary Hall, the GB performance director and clearly a very relieved man that Lutalo's elimination by a French fighter whom Cook had beaten on several occasions was, later, converted via the repechage into a medal. 'He has just shown that as the first British male Olympic medallist, and we've had a first female Olympic champion. Two medals is a fantastic games for us.'

Tennis entered the UK Sport framework in the build-up to London 2012 as it sought access to advice and support from the funding body. When the sport made that move, it was given a target for the games of one semi-final and one quarter-final appearance. Andy Murray's gold and silver, the latter won in mixed doubles with Laura Robson, more than matched that and reached the upper end of the up-to-two medal target. And, suddenly, 'grumpy sour-faced Scotsman Murray' was 'happy, cheerful, British gold medallist, Andy.' Tennis, of course, does not rely on the Olympics in quite the same way as many other sports for exposure. But Lawn Tennis Association chief executive Roger Draper said: 'The whole message around London 2012 has been about inspiring the next generation and that's exactly what Andy and Laura have done. Our job now is to capitalise on that and never have we been better-placed to ensure that those people who want to get involved in our sport have every opportunity to do so.'

One house in Bradford single-handedly took care of British Triathlon's medal target for London 2012, Alistair Brownlee winning gold and his younger brother Jonny taking bronze in the same race. Helen Jenkins laboured determinedly through the women's race after a build-up ruined by a knee injury, clinging on for fifth after being dropped by the leaders towards the end of the run. Triathlon participation has been on the rise for years and gold at a home games can only help this exciting - and demanding - sport develop its growing grass-roots membership. However, a selection policy geared to favour domestiques (effectively pace-setters whose role is to help the big names - a role fulfilled magnificently by Stuart Hayes for the Brownlee brothers in the men's race) rather than all-round triathletes caused some grief within the elite sport and that may yet take time to settle down.

Britain's indoor volleyball teams, entering the Games with nothing like the international pedigree of many rivals, were set the challenge of winning one game. The women defeated Algeria to meet that target, the only victory either team notched up as both bowed out at the group stage. Britain's male beach volleyball pairing did not get out of their preliminary round but the female duo of Zara Dampney and Shauna Mullen did at least qualify for a 'lucky loser' repechage, eventually going out to Austria and the sport, in general, was one of the surprise hits of the games. Jizhong Wei, president of volleyball's world governing body, subsequently hailed the indoor teams' 'substantial progress' and has invited British Volleyball to submit an application for money from an international development fund. Which is nice.

Neither of the British water polo teams won a game at London 2012. This had been half-expected as, like several other British team sports at the games, the programme had come to life with a home Olympics in mind and had little time to reach the level of the world's water polo powers. However, the teams were devastated not to claim a single win between them, and must now face uncertainty over whether the programme's life is prolonged for the next four years to Rio. 'It's what we've worked for over the past few years, we're just so disappointed the results didn't go our way,' said GB goalkeeper Rosie Morris. 'I hope it carries on after this, [the Olympics] has been so much better than we thought it would be. I've had so many messages from people saying they want to have a go.'

Jack Oliver was the nearest British weightlifter to the target of a top-eight finish, placing tenth, while Zoe Smith - the sport's poster-girl in the run-up to the games - came twelfth. In truth, those results were near to the best the British team could have hoped for, with no realistic expectations of a medal. Smith, impressively, set a British record in her event. British Weightlifting, which admits Britain has had a 'limited record' at international level to date, must now wait to sit down with UK Sport and plan for the Rio games.

Britain's lone wrestler, Ukraine-born Olga Butkevych, lost in her opening encounter - she's been targeted to make the quarter finals. That is unlikely to bode well for the sport, whose build-up to London was dominated by issues surrounding the nationality of some wrestlers and related internal in-fighting. At grass-roots level, British Wrestling has launched new projects aimed at developing and supporting clubs in the UK. But future funding depends on convincing UK Sport and others that the sport will offer better prospects and a less tempestuous ride to Rio 2016.

NBC's coverage of London 2012 was the 'most-watched television event in US history,' the TV network has announced. Citing Nielsen ratings figures, NBC said more than two hundred and nineteen million viewers watched the games on its networks, compared to the two hundred and fifteen million who tuned in for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. The network broadcast some five thousand five hundred hours of Olympic coverage on TV and online. But it drew much criticism for delaying the broadcast of popular events until primetime hours. Viewers also complained of problems with online streaming and edited versions of the opening and closing ceremonies. Sunday's closing ceremony - which was cut down by almost an hour and omitted such acts as Muse and Ray Davies - drew an audience of thirty one million people. Yet NBC enraged some viewers by leaving the ceremony at 23:00 local time to broadcast a new sitcom, Animal Practice, and then half-an-hour of local news. At midnight, the network returned to the ceremony to screen the eight-minute finale by The Who. NBC was previously criticised for cutting a tribute to victims of the 7 July London bombings out of its opening ceremony coverage. NBC paid $1.18bn for the exclusive US broadcast rights to the games. Meanwhile, the BBC said its coverage of the Olympics was watched by ninety per cent of the UK's population (the other ten per cent were round Morrissey's gaff watching A Touch of Frost) and that 51.9 million people had watched at least fifteen minutes of coverage. BBC1 controller Danny Cohen said the games had been seen by the 'largest TV audiences since the pre-digital age.'

Actress Kristin Chenoweth has left The Good Wife to recover from injuries she sustained after being struck by a piece of lighting equipment on the set. The forty four-year-old, best known for The West Wing, Glee and Pushing Daisies, spent a short time in hospital after being hit on the head last month. Chenoweth was put in a neck brace and taken away in an ambulance. The actress, who played a reporter in the US TV drama, said in a statement: 'It is with deep regret I inform everyone that due to my injuries I am unable to return to The Good Wife at this time,' she said. 'Getting better slowly and thank you everyone for your concern.' At the time of the accident the CBS network said a gust of wind blew a lighting silk out of place, hitting Chenoweth. Lighting silk is cloth used to soften or deflect artificial light or sunlight during shooting and is sometimes stretched over a lightweight metal or plastic frame. Chenoweth joined hit legal drama in a recurring role for its fourth season. She will be seen playing a political journalist who tries to uncover dirt on the lead character, Alicia Florrick, and her estranged husband who is running for governor. Chenoweth is also a renowned Broadway actress, having originated the role of Glinda in hit musical Wicked. In 1999 she won a Tony award for You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. She also won a best supporting actress EMMY in 2009 for Pushing Daisies.

Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch has said that he is 'not happy' about the 'posh-bashing' he sometimes suffers. The actor told the Radio Times that such attention makes him consider moving to the US. Something which is only available to those at the posher end of the social scale, admittedly so he's sort of scoring a bit of an own goal with such malarkey, frankly. 'All the posh-bashing that goes on,' Cumberbatch said. 'I wasn't born into land or titles, or new money, or an oil rig. [I'm] castigated as a moaning, rich public school bastard, complaining about only getting posh roles.' He added: 'So domestic, and so dumb. It makes me think I want to go to America.' Cumberbatch has previously complained about being typecast because of his upbringing. 'Being a posh actor in England, you can't escape class-typing, from whatever side you look at it,' he said last year. 'I realised quite early on that, although I wasn't trying to make a career speciality of it, I was playing slightly asexual, sociopathic intellectuals.' When it was suggested that drinking green tea had turned him 'all LA,' Cumberbatch said: 'No, I'm just being good today. And actually, you know, LA is not all that abstemious. There's much more drinking and partying going on than I thought there would be. It's all about extremes with that place, so you get the worst excesses of everything - the health-kick thing, over-indulgence, recreational drug use, everything. It's paradise!'

Harry Hill has said that he would have continued TV Burp indefinitely had he been allowed to film fewer episodes per series. Harry Hill's TV Burp ended in March after eleven years on ITV, when the comedian quit the show to 'pursue new projects.' Explaining the reason for his departure to the Daily Torygraph, he complained: 'It was a mixture of extreme boredom and extreme stress. The turnaround was pretty fierce - some of the runs lasted twenty six weeks. They never let me do just eight shows, and if they had, I could have gone on till they carried me off. The thing with TV Burp was, it took over your life. You couldn't get researchers to watch everything because we had to spot the laughs.' Since splitting with his management at Avalon, Hill has committed to a Reunion special of his classic Channel Four show, which is broadcast on Thursday 23 August. However, Hill claimed that the clip show had become more difficult to make following the influx of structured reality shows such as The Only Way Is Essex and Made in Chelsea. 'You got this new, knowing breed of shows, like The Only Way Is Essex, where the jokes were already built in, and there was no leverage for us. Even Coronation Street became jokier,' he explained. 'EastEnders was TV Burp fodder par excellence - it was made in a hurry and it took itself incredibly seriously. But we'd kind of exhausted it. I think, in the end, we just about avoided it going a bit shit.'

BAFTA-winning BBC1 sitcom Mrs Brown's Boy is being adapted into a Saturday night game show. Brendan O'Carroll's comic creation will front Mrs Brown's Celebrities, a studio format created by Twelve Yard Productions. The series will involve two contestants competing in a quiz with the help of five famous faces from the worlds of sport, music, television and film. O'Carroll's Irish mother Mrs Brown will oversee the game show. A non-broadcast pilot is being filmed and a full series is expected in 2013. O'Carroll said: 'It will be fun to see how Mrs Brown copes with a quiz as she knows as much about trivia as my backside knows about snipe shooting! A new adventure, and Mrs Brown is always up for a new adventure! It's great to be part of the BBC1 family.' Mrs Brown's Celebrities was commissioned by controller of BBC1 Danny Cohen, controller of BBC entertainment commissioning Mark Linsey, and executive editor of BBC entertainment commissioning Alan Tyler.

The Only Way Is Essex 'stars' - or, you know, the waste-of-space nobodies who take part in the 'scripted reality' show, anyway - have reportedly been told to 'excite viewers' or 'face the axe.' Sadly, not a real axe. That shouldn't be too difficult, most of the viewers for that particular vanity exercise for the narcissistic and talentless would get excited by a balloon on a stick.

And speaking of utterly trivial and pointless celebrity tat, Grazia promises a 'post Olympic pick-me-up' to readers but the magazine might need a pick-me-up of its own this week after splashing with the claim that Jennifer Aniston was in 'turmoil' over her relationship with Justin Theroux. 'Breaking news – it's over?' screams the glossy mag's front-page story. Alas, at approximately the same time the rest of the world was learning that the couple had got engaged after actor and screenwriter Theroux popped the question to the former Friends star on his forty first birthday. 'Jen's turmoil as Justin runs back to ex,' shouts Grazia. 'As Grazia was going to press, the couple were gearing up to spend Justin's birthday together. But, according to sources, it was unlikely to be a happy one. "Things have been so bad in the last few weeks that while they haven't actually split, it's pretty much been all but over," said one friend. "It's looking fairly unlikely they'll survive the next few weeks."' Close, but no wedding invitation we're guessing. The incident has unfortunate echoes of the Bauer title's sister magazine Heat, which splashed two years ago with the 'shocking truth' that Cheryl Cole would 'never leave' her husband, Moscow Chelski FC footballer and notorious trouser snake, Ashley. On the same day Heat hit the newsstands, the Girls Aloud singer and Heaton Horror announced she was separating from Cole.

Just one day after most people with a heart beating in their chest were actually feeling a bit sorry for him over the way he'd been, disgracefully, slurred by some odious louse of no importance at the Sun, wretched gnome Louis Walsh has reignited his feud with BBC entertainment icon Sir Bruce Forsyth, claiming that the Strictly Come Dancing presenter should have already retired from showbiz. Walsh has previously claimed that Forsyth 'shouldn't even be alive' and that he should 'bow out gracefully' and 'go home to sit on his sofa and drink Horlicks.' Tasteful. In a new interview with the Radio Times, Walsh made another dig at the eighty four-year-old, commenting; 'My ambition's to get to ten years [on The X Factor]. After that we'll see. I don't want to be like Brucie. I'll know when it's time to give it up.' Do you want to tell him, dear blog reader, or shall I?

The Duke of Cambridge was, reportedly, 'shocked' and 'stunned' by the fallout from Buckingham Palace's decision to alert police after details from a conversation he had on his mobile phone appeared in the Scum of the World, his friend Tom Bradby, now political editor of ITV News, has claimed. In 2005, Bradby called Prince William about meeting to discuss a project. When details of the meeting appeared in the newspaper soon afterwards, Bradby suggested that the royal phone might have been hacked and encouraged the palace to go to the police. In 2007, the paper's royal editor, Clive Goodman, and the private investigator Glenn Mulcaire were both slammed up in the pokey after they admitted to intercepting voicemail messages on royal aides' phones. Since then, the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World has been shut down in shame and ignominy after having repeatedly claimed that only one 'rogue' reporter was involved in hackerisation, the Leveson inquiry has been set up and the prime minister's former director of communications Andy Coulson charged in connection with phone-hacking along with well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks, and ... others people. The vile and odious rascal Hunt, meanwhile, is clinging to his job by his fingertips, Boris Johnson looks like being the next Tory leader and Rebecca Adlington was beaten by an opponent who only got to swim after she was given the night off from doing her maths homework. And all of this, Willie, because of you. Bradby told the Radio Times: 'We agreed that there was some potential security implication and it was then up to them to go to the police, as they did. Ultimately, it was that tiny nexus on a trivial, unimportant, irrelevant story that triggered this avalanche.' He added: 'I had no idea this was going to happen, and neither did he. Have we both occasionally been quite shocked by the scale of the avalanche? Yeah. Do I occasionally feel uncomfortable about it? Yup.' He added: 'A free press is a pretty critical part of the democratic mix and I would feel nervous about that being diluted.'

The Evening Standard, former BBC Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons, and ex-Channel 4 chairman Luke Johnson are among those bidding to run one of the vile and odious rascal Hunt's new local TV channels in the UK capital. Their involvement was revealed on Tuesday as Ofcom published details of fifty seven bids for licences to run local TV services in twenty one cities and towns across the UK, including Glasgow, Manchester and Leeds. The media regulator has received a further four bids for licences to operate local TV multiplexes. Ofcom has received five bids to run a new local service in London, with a decision on the winner to be made in the autumn following a 'beauty parade' in which applicants' business plans are scrutinised. Alexander and Evgeny Lebedev are backing a plan for the Evening Standard to expand its editorial and commercial skills from print to TV, under the name London Live. It will offer what will initially be an eighteen-hour-a-day channel covering news, current affairs, entertainment, weather and sport. An initial five-year plan will include annual marketing support of five million quid. 'This is a real opportunity. We have one hundred and twenty London-centric journalists to form the basis of a quality bid,' said Tim Kirkman, director of the Evening Standard bid. Lyons is chairman of YourTV, which has submitted bids for local service licences in London, Sheffield, Preston, Newcastle, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Birmingham. Steven Norris, the former Conservative MP and candidate for London Mayor, is chairman of YourTV's London bid. Johnson is chairing a bid called London8, which is supported by ITN, MeteoGroup, Riverside Studios, Time Out and the Press Association. Other key London8 figures include Paul Jackson, the ex-BBC and ITV entertainment executive and producer, William Burdett-Coutts, the producer of Black Books and theatre director Paulette Randall, appointed by Danny Boyle as associate director for the London Olympic 2012 opening ceremony. Made Television, which is chaired by former Sky executive and co-founder of pay-TV firm Top Up TV Ian West, has submitted bids for eleven licences across the UK. The company, which is branding each service with a city tag such as Made in London, is targeting licences in Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle, as well as the capital. The fifth bidder for a London licence is Richard Horwood's LondonTV, backed by his Channel Six consortium. Horwood is a former executive at Trinity Mirra. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has said that twenty five million knicker in local TV infrastructure costs will be met by the BBC licence fee, with a further five million notes of licence fee money to be spent annually for three years on local content. STV, the Scottish ITV licensee, has submitted bids for local TV licences for Edinburgh and Glasgow using the brands GTV and ETV. Local newspaper group Archant, which owns magazines and newspapers including the Eastern Daily Press, has submitted a bid in its stronghold of Norwich. The TV service is branded Mustard. Newspaper groups have mostly been negative about the commercial viability of the local TV plan, with former Trinity Mirra chief executive Sly Bailey particularly scathing in her assessment. Canis Media, the TV channel management company behind launches such as Ocean Finance TV and LA Muscle TV, has submitted a bid for Leeds. Canadian broadcaster Channel Zero has submitted bids for eight local TV licences for cities including Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle.
Waterloo Road's Alec Newman has confirmed that the character of Denzil Kelly dies in the lorry accident seen at the end of the last series. Newman, who plays headmaster Michael Byrne, said that the independent school's start in Scotland is tinged by a 'real sense of sadness.' The actor told Inside Soap: 'We come back, and there's a real sense of sadness - we discover poor Denzil was killed in the accident. So Michael and Lorraine are reflective, but they're also supercharged. The opening of this new school at a new location has to work - they have a lot riding on it.' Reece Douglas had played Denzil since 2009.

Richard Herring - the funny one out of Herring and Lee - has predicted the Edinburgh bubble is about to burst, in the face of disappointing ticket sales. He said that he was getting his lowest audience figures in seven years and that even without the effects of the Olympics, the festival had got 'too big' to be viable for many acts. Writing on his Warming Up blog, Herring said: ‘I am being forced to accept that this is going to be a very quiet year in Edinburgh. The only consolation (if it can be called that) is that it is seemingly the same for everyone, but it's a shame that I have taken the chance on a bigger venue in the year when the Olympics/the recession/the dissatisfaction with high prices of everything in Edinburgh (delete or add as applicable - there's no definitive answer) has sucked out all the punters as if someone opened the door on a space craft. I got a respectable one hundred and fifty eight in tonight, but that is half the number that came to see me last year and my lowest Friday night Edinburgh audience since 2005 (and only because the room that year only held one hundred and fifty). It's very hard not to let your head drop as you think about the financial implications.' He added that another factor was that 'The Fringe has got too big and there are too many comedians. It's open to the same market forces as the rest of life and it can't expand indefinitely.' Herring is not the only bigger name act to have modest sales, and said that the failure of bigger acts to sell out also hits newer comics in the established venues who might benefit from 'overflow' sales. Herring added that he would scale down his venue next year to be 'more realistic' about the number of fans he has. He has also previously questioned his venue's policy of showing the Olympics on screens in the bar, causing noise to disrupt his show, saying: 'It's odd being in a venue where the performance takes equal or even second place to the bar.' You should try doing a few working men's clubs, Richard, you'd find its commonplace there.

Oscar-winning actress Jodie Foster is to direct and produce a new female mob show for US cable network Showtime, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Angie's Body has been described as a Sopranos-like drama, based around a shrewd and lethal woman who runs a family-based crime syndicate. Further plot details are unknown but the script has been penned by Heroes and Jericho writer Rob Fresco. The project marks Foster's first major venture into television directing. The forty nine-year-old previously produced 1998 TV movie The Baby Dance, starring Stockard Channing. Russ Krasnoff from Sony Pictures TV will executive produce alongside Fresco and Foster. The Showtime project comes as the network ends the runs of Weeds and The Big C, two other series driven by female protagonists. Foster, who won Oscars for The Accused and The Silence of the Lambs, has increasingly turned her attention towards directing in recent years. While promoting her latest acting role in Neill Blomkamp's Elysium, she suggested she was considering a move into TV. Her previous directorial credits include 1991 film Little Man Tate, in which she also acted, and 1995 comedy drama Home for the Holidays. Last year she directed and acted alongside Mel Gibson in dark comedy The Beaver.

Stand-up Matt Kirshen has accused a soft drink manufacturer of 'stealing' one of his jokes for a high-profile advertising campaign. A series of commercials for Old Jamaica Ginger Beer currently running on Comedy Central features members of the public telling their favourite jokes. One of them – featuring one 'Dan from London' – is shown telling a gag which Kirshen wrote for his Edinburgh Fringe show last year. The joke is: 'I was playing chess with my friend and he said, "Let's make this interesting." So we stopped playing chess.' It was shortlisted for the Joke Of The Fringe by TV station Dave last August, and so received plenty of media coverage at the time. Kirshen tweeted: 'Hey, Old Jamaica Ginger Beer. Thanks for stealing my joke for your Comedy Central UK ad campaign where you have people telling their favourite gags.' Well, to be completely fair, Old Jamaica Ginger Beer didn't steal your joke, pal, one 'Dan from London' did. To be equally fair, the advertising campaign states that it features people 'telling their favourite joke' but never claims that these jokes are, necessarily, the teller's own. Just, you know, a couple of things to throw into the fire and see if they burst into flames or splutter and cough and put the embers out. Kirhsen urged other comics to check the campaign to see if they had been 'plagiarised' too. He said the company – which has spent somewhere in the region of two million smackers on its current advertising push - had 'no excuse' for not knowing he had authorship of the gag.

Ex-England cricket captain Michael Vaughan says it will be 'a long time' before Kevin Pietersen is welcome back in England's dressing room. Pietersen was dropped for the third Test against South Africa over reports that he sent text messages to Proteas players criticising Andrew Strauss. 'If it's true that he sent those texts, it will take a long time for him to be allowed back,' Vaughan said. In a statement on Sunday, Pietersen said he was 'gutted' to be dropped but did not comment on the text messages issue. Pietersen's omission from the England squad for the final Test at Lord's came at the end of a turbulent week in which he first hinted that he could retire completely from international cricket, only to dramatically back down on Saturday and commit to playing for England in all forms of the game. However, the England and Wales Cricket Board wanted assurances from the thirty two-year-old that he had not sent derogatory texts about Strauss, which Pietersen was, reportedly, 'unable to provide.' In a statement released on Monday, the South Africa team manager said that texts had been sent by Pietersen, but they were nothing more than 'banter.' Speaking on BBC Radio 5Live, Vaughan, who was England captain when Pietersen made his Test debut in 2005, added: 'Strauss is as popular a captain as England have ever had. It's been a mad, but also a very sad week for the England cricket team. There are no real winners, but one very big loser and that's Kevin Pietersen. I don't think he's getting the right advice. I don't know who is advising him but in my eyes they are not doing the right job for Kevin. We don't know what has been going on behind the scenes for the last few months, because the text messages could only be a tipping point. There's no way he could have arrived in that dressing room at Lord's on Tuesday morning. It will take time, but he will get another chance. I hope he does.' Following the drawn second Test at Headingley, when Pietersen first threatened to quit playing for England in all forms of the game, he referred to 'points that I'm trying to sort out in the dressing room.' Reports last Wednesday suggested that Pietersen felt some of his England team-mates were behind a parody Twitter account that poked fun at the Surrey batsman, an account that was subsequently closed.

Meanwhile Britain's finest comedy football club, Blackburn Vindaloos, continued to provide the laughs to the rest of the footballing world in abundance. Their 'global advisor' - well-known Chuckle Brother lookalike Shebby Singh - has made a public apology over comments he made about manager Steve Kean and midfielder Morten Gamst Pedersen. On Saturday, Singh suggested Kean would be sacked if Rovers lost three games in a row early in the season. He also likened long-serving Norwegian Pedersen to 'a pensioner.' But Singh later told the Lancashire Telegraph: 'I would like to extend an apology to Steve Kean because some things were said on Saturday.' He added: 'I would also like to apologise to Morten Gamst Pedersen for what was said. There are no excuses and Morten is a great character.' Singh, who backed Kean after being appointed by club owners Venky's in June, added that some of the comments may have been misinterpreted. 'I think [the comments] would have hurt Steve Kean's feelings and, for that, I sincerely apologise,' he added. 'Some things are said in jest that don't come across like that when repeated, but I am not making excuses. I apologise for hurting any feelings. My blunt honesty also sometimes upsets people and sometimes rubs people up the wrong way. I am making efforts to bring the club back to the fans and, in trying to do that, I have gone too far. I am trying to find the middle ground.'

Killing Joke frontman Jaz Coleman has been 'found' two weeks after his band-mates claimed he had gone missing. Coleman has been located in the Western Sahara revealing his bafflement at his colleague claims and stating that he was never missing in the first place. The singer was feared to be missing after taking off when a tour with The Cult was cancelled at the last minute. Posting on his Facebook page in a message which has since been deleted, Coleman wrote: 'What's all the fuss about then?' He claims to be working on a solo CD and a book whilst living a 'nomadic lifestyle.' However, despite being found safe and well, Coleman will not be performing with Killing Joke in London next month with the band cancelling their Metropolis Studio gig, which was scheduled for September 8. This whole story started after Coleman reportedly posted an update on the Killing Joke Facebook page which criticised both The Cult and The Mission, after their joint tour with Killing Joke was cancelled earlier this year. However, it confusingly later turned out to have come from a fan rather than Coleman. The band claim their attempts to get hold of Coleman have proven fruitless and were 'concerned for his welfare.' Coleman, infamously, did a disappearing act back in 1982, allegedly - and this is one of those stories that seems to change each time it's told depending on who's telling it - because he believed the Apocalypse was at hand. He subsequently turned up in Iceland.

So, anyway, with the jolly good news that Jaz Coleman is, indeed, alive and well and living with the Bedouin, here's the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping saw The Joke on that tour in Bristol with my mate Abie. Out of the streets it's straaaaaaange!