Monday, September 03, 2012

Right Around The Clock

So, dear blog reader, Asylum of the Daleks. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping liked that, He liked it a lot. So, it would seem did the majority of Doctor Who fandom (The Special People and The Usual Suspects, of course, notwithstanding), if Gallifrey Base's Rant The Episode thread is anything to go by; almost ninety per cent of those who expressed a preference rated the episode at seven out of ten or above, which corresponds closely with the figures achieved on the same website by last year's most successful episode with fans, The Doctor's Wife. The episode enjoyed an overnight audience of 6.4m on BBC1 with a fifteen minute peak of 6.9m, whilst a BARB daily update on Monday morning suggested that in terms of timeshift viewing, within twenty four hours of broadcast that figure had already risen by around one million viewers who recorded the episode. The episode is also currently topping the BBC's iPlayer listings. But, 'what did the press think of it, yer actual Keith Telly Topping?' I hear you urge. Well, I'll tell you, dear blog reader. Because, I can. Perhaps inevitably, the best - certainly the most incisive and well-written - press review of Asylum of the Daleks came form the best TV reviewer currently getting regular work, the Metro's Keith Watson: 'I'll cry at anything these days. An armless Paralympic swimmer who stops the clock by banging his bonce on the end of the pool will do it. Do they put a sponge inside the cap to soften the impact? I flipping well hope so. But you expect to cry at the Paralympics, it goes with the territory. It's when Doctor Who pushes the emotional buttons that it catches you off guard. And while Asylum Of The Daleks was not your full-on tear-jerker, it showed the kind of emotional depth this TV institution doesn't always get full credit for. A scene where estranged companions Amy and Rory cleared the air, for us and them, arrived with precious little build-up yet accelerated through the gears of heartbreak with pace and grace. From barbed bitching to the pain of self-sacrifice in not much more than a minute takes some doing, yet it was indicative of how much we've invested in their relationship that the exchange hit home quite so hard. However, it was the story of the super-confident Oswin – a sneak introduction to new sidekick Jenna-Louise Coleman – that will linger longer. Here, writer Steven Moffat captured the bittersweet nature of self-delusion with a catch-in-throat moment as Oswin was forced to confront who she really was, her sassy bravado evaporating as the scales fell from her eyes. That we know we haven't seen the last of Oswin is the kind of twist that lifts Doctor Who above the time-travelling competition.' Michael Hogan, the Torygraph was, similarly, impressed: 'There were clever riffs on Dalek catchphrase "Exterminate!" and the title of the show itself. Rory (the under-rated Arthur Darvill) got some wry lines, as did Amy (Karen Gillan). When Oswin accused her of being unnaturally angry, the redhead retorted: "Somebody's never been to Scotland!" Full of twists, turns and tear-jerking moments, this was Doctor Who back with a bang and back to its best. Whopremo Moffat, leading man Smith and rising star Coleman can be extremely satisfied – as can everyone who didn't spoil the surprise. Celebratory soufflés all round.' The episode also had a good review from the Gruniad Morning Star's often hard-to-please Sam Woollaston: 'The exciting new arrival aside, this is a lovely episode, overflowing with Moffatism and, well, Doctor Who-ness. It fizzes along, sparkling with life, warmth and wit. It looks good (love the Parliament of Daleks). It's scary - maybe there is something scarier than a million mad Daleks. I'm thinking those Weeping Angels are. How about two million – or a billion – of them? It's loopy – how can The Doctor possibly get out of this one? Oh, like that. And because I'm a bit fuddled and firmly in my forties, I find that a lot of the time I don't understand what the hell is going on.' Radio Times went down an unusual route, getting former Doctor Who actress Katy Manning to do a review for them. She loved it: 'That was absolutely stunning. I’ve got to tell you this: when I'm watching Doctor Who, I forget I've ever been in it. It doesn't even cross my mind. Because it's a very different show, so grown-up now. I think Steven Moffat is exactly right with what he's done. It's progressed exactly the way it should. It has a quirky Alice in Wonderland quality – going from The Daleks up there in this huge sort of Albert Hall of Daleks, spiralling down, down into the hole where Rory sees all the old Daleks. What's glorious for me is to see so many Daleks that aren't tiny little cardboard things superimposed on the screen.' So, seemingly, did the Independent's Neela Debnath: 'In recent times The Daleks have been given more depth and this week really exposed the vulnerability of these creatures encased in metal. The tragedy of Oswin becoming a Dalek without realising it really tapped into this fragility as viewers witnessed a Dalek crying. The sound was childlike and so unfamiliar coming from a creature hell-bent on extermination of other life forms. It is all part of the inversion of how the Daleks are seen, just like Victory of the Daleks where one asks The Doctor if he would "care for some tea." It is an important progression in the overall story of The Daleks, added to this Oswin has erased The Doctor from The Daleks' records which gives him the opportunity to start from scratch with them. Matt Smith gives a searing performance, presenting a different, darker side to the eleventh Doctor. He gives a more mature turn and perhaps this is because he is now fully settled into the role. Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill too have developed their portrayals of Amy and Rory respectively and everyone is on form in the build-up to the Ponds' departure.' Of course, there's always got to be one sour-puss, grumpy-face to spoil the party. And, as usual, it was the Mirra's resident misanthrope, Jim Shelley: 'The episode was dominated by Oswin, played Jenna-Louise Coleman, who had been shipwrecked at the asylum for a year. Striking, beguiling and super-smart, Oswin was either a contender for The Doctor’s next assistant or a Dalek Mata Hari. But which? Or both? In truth, the premise of "a tsunami of insane Daleks" somehow proved a damp squib. It was not that scary. Our heroes were never in any real jeopardy. They couldn’t even kill Rory. Matt Smith looked tired and grumpy and didn't do anything to defeat them. Oswin did it all. Sentimentality took over as The Doctor gently explained that Oswin's conviction she was still human was only a dream – not so much a case of Sympathy for The Devil but Sympathy for The Dalek.' In America, too, the episode seems to have gone down well. 'I am repeatedly on record as being a fan of Smith's Doctor and, at the beginning of his third year, still am,' wrote Robert Lloyd in the Los Angeles Times. 'He has humor [sic] and depth and the quality of being both colt-new and mountain-old; there is slapstick in his swashbuckling, but authority as well. Moffat has been accused of being too cold or clever, and it's true that his elaborate origami folding of time, like a sentence out of Henry James, can be confusing even while it is grammatically correct. I find his sense and his sensibility rather poetic myself - as were [Russell] Davies', but maybe that's true of most good science fiction - and, in its less demonstrative way, just as romantic as his predecessor's. I don't worry much about the loose ends and inconsistencies.' The Huffington Post's Maureen Ryan, added: 'It was a well-paced, exciting, scary and funny hour. Truthfully I've thought for a while now that The Daleks were a little played out. They're not my favorite villains, and season five's Victory of the Daleks is one of the weakest entries in the Moffat era. But I liked how the episode breathed some new life into the old pepper-pots: It was fun to see The Doctor abducted by a new style of human Dalek, and it was a kick to see the Encounter at Farpoint scene with the Dalek parliament go in a different direction. I can't say I wasn't expecting that twist, but I love when my favorite [sic] sci-fi shows take the old chestnuts and execute them with style, wit and flair, which is what happened here. This episode didn't just have the Doctor once again confronting his reputation as an intergalactic predator, it had him essentially rebooting himself with the entire Dalek race, which is a pretty neat trick (but doesn't erase his own knowledge of what he's done). The creepy Island of Lost Toys vibe in the scenes set on the planet were terrifically directed (all in all, the production values on this episode were top-notch), and it was both a fine sole-survivor-gone-half-mad story and a solid haunted-planet mystery.'

Author Neil Gaiman won a Hugo Award for The Doctor's Wife on Sunday night - and promptly announced that he was working on another Doctor Who script. Which was rather good news. His 2011 story won in the Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form category, beating four other nominations which included two other episodes from the same series The Girl Who Waited, by Tom MacRae, and A Good Man Goes To War, by Steven Moffat. During his acceptance speech, fantasy novelist, comics author and movie scriptwriter Gaiman said: 'Only a fool or a mad man would try to do it again. So I'm on the third draft.' When this episode might be made is, of course, open to speculation. The Doctor's Wife had originally been scheduled for series five but was pushed back a year because of budget pressures. The Doctor's Wife, which was directed by Richard Clark, also won the 2011 Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation at the Nebula Awards. It is the sixth Hugo for Doctor Who since the series returned in 2005 (four of them won for script by Steven Moffat). Other winners this year included yer actual Keith Telly Topping's old oppo Mister Paul Cornell his very self, who was part of the team which won the Best Fancast award. Congratulations to Paul and all of the team involved in SF Squeefest.

Arthur Darvill has admitted that he wanted to leave Doctor Who before he 'outstay[ed his] welcome.' The thirty-year-old actor will exit the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama alongside co-star Karen Gillan in upcoming episode The Angels Take Manhattan. 'Me and Karen made a decision to leave when we did, but we're definitely going to miss it,' Arthur told Blastr. 'It does feel like the right time to move on. The worst thing you can do is outstay your welcome on something like this. We've had such a good run and such good stories, but the whole programme is about change. It's about things changing and evolving. So it's sad to leave, but it feels like the right thing to do.' He added that he originally expected to appear on Doctor Who for 'three or four episodes,' calling the length of his eventual stint 'really surprising. As an actor, I wanted to do different things, and, for me anyway, I'm quite an impatient person,' he explained. 'I want variety so signing onto something for so long was a risky thing to do. It's so easy to get bored. But with the scripts that were thrown at us there wasn't a chance of that ever happening, 'cause it wasn't just turning up to work to do the same thing every day. It was something new every single day. Something new to explore about the character.'

The Doctor Who Christmas special production team have cast child actor Cameron Strefford in a small role. The ten-year-old recently filmed his scenes in South Wales, according to This Is Wiltshire. Cameron did not film any scenes opposite Matt Smith, but his character is said to reappear in the festive episode as an adult, played by 'a well-known actor.' Others confirmed to appear opposite Matt and Jenna-Louise Coleman in the episode include Richard E Grant, Tom Ward and Life On Mars's Liz White.

Meanwhile, Smudger his very self has praised the 'totally wonderful' guest star Dame Diana Rigg. Yer actual Damen Diana and her daughter, Rachael Stirling her very self, will both appear in an episode of the popular long-running BBC family SF drama scheduled for broadcast in 2013 and written by yer actual Mark Gatiss. On the subject of working with the former Avengers actress, Smith told TV Guide: 'She's totally wonderful and has some amazing lines.' He added: 'You just sort of melt when she says [them] 'cos she's brilliant. She's going to be great.'

TV Tonight reports that Asylum of the Daleks has set a daily viewer record for the ABC iView Internet TV service (the Australian version of iPlayer, essentially), recording almost seventy six thousand plays on its first day. Asylum of the Daleks premiered on iView immediately after its debut on TV in Britain. It will be shown on Australian terrestrial TV on ABC1 on Saturday 8 September at 7.30pm.

Inspector George Gently was the most watched programme on British TV on Sunday night with an overnight audience of 6.1m - making it the third BBC serial drama to get over six million punters on overnights during the week (New Tricks and Doctor Who being the other two). Against it, the final episode of ITV's three-part drama The Last Weekend put up a rather miserable showing, being watched by two million viewers. Channel Four's evening coverage of the Paralympics pulled in another very impressive figure, 3.2m with - according to Broadcast's Jake Katner, a fifteen minute peak audience of 4.17m. Elsewhere, Coronation Street was watched by a - somewhat disappointing - 5.9m for ITV, only just ahead of BBC1's Countryfile (five million). The Sunday edition of Match Of The Day 2 was viewed by three million overnight punters. And, wasn't Hatem ben Srfa's goal at corker, dear blog reader? Overall, BBC1 once again won the battle of primetime with twenty two per cent of the audience share, ahead of Channel Four, with fourteen per cent, and ITV, on 12.7 per cent.

And, speaking of consolidated, final ratings, here's just such a list of the Top Twenty Three(!) programmes audience figures for week ending 26 August 2012:-
1 The X Factor - ITV Sat - 9.62m
2 Coronation Street - ITV Mon - 8.59m
3 EastEnders - BBC1 Tues - 8.45m
4 Inspector George Gently BBC1 Sun - 6.89m
5 Emmerdale - ITV Tues - 6.35m
6 Silent Witness - BBC1 Mon - 5.97m
7 Accused - BBC1 Tues - 5.47m
8 Who Do You Think You Are? - BBc1 Wed - 5.46m
9 Countryfile - BBC1 Sun - 5.41m
10 Casualty - BBC1 Sat - 5.16m
11 BBC News - BBC1 Sun - 5.13m
12 Holby City - BB1 Tues - 4.90m
13 The Great British Bake Off - BBC2/BBC HD Tues - 4.83m
14 Ten O'Clock News - BBC1 Tues - 4.79m
15 Mrs Brown's Boys - BBc1 Fri - 4.57m
16 Waterloo Road - BBC1 Thurs - 4.44m
17 The ONE Show - BBC1 Tues - 4.27m
18 Six O'Clock News - BBC1 Fri - 4.22m
19 Match Of The Day - BBC1 Sat - 4.17m
20 The Queen's Mother-In-Law - Channel Four Tues - 4.09m
21 Parade's End - BBC2/BBC HD - 3.85m
22 Red Or Black? - ITV Sat - 3.74m*
23 Film: Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl - BBC1 Sat - 3.72m
The X Factor's final figure compromised an audience of 8.57m on ITV and 1.049m on ITV HD. Red Or Black?'s laughably piss-poor figure does not include ITV HD viewers (if there were any), the numbers for which are unavailable for that particular show. Probably because they're too ashamed to tell us what they were. It is possible that Friday's episode of Emmerdale had a higher overall figure than Tuesday's, although if it did then it can't have been by very much. Friday's had 6.17m viewers on ITV but the figures of ITV HD are unavailable (though they must have been less than three hundred and sixty thousand because they didn't make ITV HD's Top Ten most watched programmes). Tuesday's episode was watched by 5.98 viewers on ITV and three hundred and seventy one thousand additional punters of ITV HD giving the above total audience. And, how nice it is to see bitter old Red Jimmy McGovern's Accused pulling in less punters on final ratings than Doctor Who, one of a number of other drama formats that McGovern whinged about so much last year, achieved on overnights. That's called the public speaking, James.

You know how the other day, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping was confidently predicting another slew of X Factor in ratings crisis-type headlines in the tabloids? Well, it seems that even the broadsheets want in on the act. Here's the Torygraph, for instance. Meanwhile, up in the land of the heather and the tartan, the Scotsman was also having its say. The trend even crossed the Atlantic. Here's The Hollywood Reporter. Everybody, it seems, wants to kick Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads whilst he's down. No doubt we'll get Spank Monthly and The Pig Breeder's Gazette's take on the latest X Factor overnight ratings shortly.
The Gruniad Morning Star claims that the vile and odious rascal Hunt is 'expecting to lose his post' as lack of culture secretary in the impending cabinet reshuffle. This is according to alleged 'sources' allegedly familiar with the cabinet member's alleged thinking. Oh, if only wishing made it so. The minister responsible for arts, media and sport - and knifing the BBC at regular intervals - was said to be 'keen to remain in post' having survived a tough Leveson inquiry examination into his relationship with James Murdoch the small at the time the vile and odious rascal Hunt was deciding on News Corporation's bid for BSkyB in 2011. I'll bet he was. However, the vile and odious rascal Hunt's attempts to 'seek assurances' from David Cameron that he will not be moved after a successful Olympics are, state the Gruniad, 'understood to have been unsuccessful' leaving him 'hanging on for a call from Number 10 on Tuesday.' Of course, if all this turns out to be a load of bollocks - which it might - then, that's just one more of so many reasons to hate the Gruniad and the hippy Communist lice that work there for getting our hopes up. Just over a week ago, the vile and odious rascal Hunt gave an interview to another set of odious right-wing scum, the Scum Mail on Sunday, in which he grovelled that he had 'learned my lesson' from the handling of the Sky bid, which saw special 'single rouge' adviser Adam Smith resign over the 'volume and tone' of his e-mail contact with Murdoch's chief lobbyist Frédéric Michel. It remains possible, the Gruniad state, hedging their bets, that the prime minister will leave the vile and odious rascal Hunt in post – but 'there is speculation that the minister once seen as a rising star will move sideways to the Department for International Development.' Meanwhile, there are few clear rumours as to whom may replace the vile and odious rascal Hunt if he does get the tin-tack. 'Some at Westminster', the Gruniad claims, suggest it could be a chance to elevate Cameron's friend then communications minister, Ed Vaizey. But 'others' are said to believe that any replacement for the vile and odious rascal Hunt will be a Conservative minister displaced from another mid-to-low-ranking department. Separately, DCMS 'insiders' allegedly dismissed reports that the department could be broken up and 'scattered around Whitehall.' Like a broken old shoe. Senior cabinet ministers have told MPs that 'no such plans are envisaged.'

And, from that, to this.
Former News International boss and well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks has appeared in court to face a number of charges related to phone-hacking. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks, forty four, appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court earlier, accused of conspiracy to illegally access voicemails. She faces a general charge, and two other specific charges linked to murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler and former union boss Andrew Gilchrist. Well-known Crystal Tippis lookalike Brooks denies all the charges. Prosecutors claim the general charge could affect more than six hundred victims. Seven other reporters and editors from the now-defunct, disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World have already appeared to face similar charges, including former Downing Street press director and the prime minister's 'chum' Andy Coulson. Those charged appeared in court earlier this month and are next due to appear at Southwark Crown Court on 26 September. During Monday's brief hearing, the former News International chief executive and well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike, wearing a dark jacket and skirt, was told she would also appear at the court on that date with the others accused. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks, from Churchill in Oxfordshire, spoke only to confirm her address and date of birth. There was a large media presence outside court. However, well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks did not speak to journalists. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks was told that under her bail conditions, she must not make contact with co-defendants, Coulson, Greg Miskiw, Neville Thurlbeck, Ian Edmondson, James Weatherup and Stuart Kuttner. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks was ordered to appear at Southwark crown court on 26 September and not to contact any of her co-defendants. In addition, she was told she must not contact two others who have been arrested by officers investigating phone-hacking and are currently on bail – former Scum of the World deputy editor Neil Wallis and former reporter Dan Evans. She was also told she must not contact another woman who was not named in open court but is currently on bail. The first phone hacking-related charge is that she conspired between 3 October, 2000 and 9 August, 2006 'with others' to 'unlawfully intercept the voicemails' of 'well-known people and those associated with them.' The second charge is that between 9 April 2002 and 21 April 2002 she conspired with Coulson, Kuttner, Glenn Mulcaire, Miskiw and Thurlbeck 'and persons unknown to intercept communications in the course of their transmission without lawful authority, namely the voicemail messages of Amanda Dowler, also known as Milly Dowler.' The third charge is that between 3 December 2002 and 22 January 2003, Brooks, Mulcaire and Miskiw 'conspired together and with persons unknown' to intercept the voicemails of Gilchrist, then the Fire brigade unions leader. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks was also told she must give seven days' notice to the police of any foreign travel. News International's former legal adviser, Tom Crone, sixty, was arrested last week by police investigating phone hacking. He has been bailed until October. The phone-hacking allegations led to the closure of the Scum of the World in shame and ignominy in July 2011 and the setting up of the Leveson Inquiry into press ethics.

The X Factor contestants are being taken to Las Vegas but told that they can't 'enjoy the highlife' in Sin City, thanks to a 10pm curfew, reports the Sun. Louis Walsh, who is judging the acts and looking after the potentially party-prone youngsters in the groups category, is 'living in fear' that they will 'do a Prince Harry.' What, turn ginger? An alleged 'insider' allegedly told the Sun's TVbiz that The X Factor is 'a family show' and acts can't be seen in 'compromising situations.'

Around five hundred and fifty complaints have been made to Channel Four and media watchdog Ofcom over a documentary which questioned parts of the story of the origins of Islam. Of course they have. And we're, what, surprised? In Islam: The Untold Story, the historian Tom Holland said there was 'little evidence' for how the faith was born. He suggested Mecca may not have been the real birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad and of Islam itself. The Islamic Education & Research Academy said it was 'historically inaccurate' and 'clearly biased.' Holland said he had tried 'to examine, within a historical framework, the rise of a new civilisation and empire' in the Arab empire from the Seventh Century. He claimed that there was little hard evidence for the origins of Islam and asked why it took several decades after the death of Muhammad for his name to appear on surviving documents or artefacts. Mind you, one could ask exactly the same questions - historically - of Christ, about whom virtually no contemporaneous accounts exist. One could, by this blogger isn't going to. Oh no, very hot water. Not touching that with a barge pole. Holland also questioned where and when the Ko'ran was written and said there was an historical 'black hole' surrounding Islam's beginnings. Muslims believe Muhammad was born in Mecca and received revelations from Allah, which were recorded in the Ko'ran. The origins of Islam were 'a legitimate subject of historical enquiry,' Holland wrote on the Channel Four website. It was important to stress, he said, that it was 'a historical endeavour and is not a critique of one of the major monotheistic religions. It was commissioned as part of Channel Four's remit to support and stimulate well-informed debate on a wide range of issues, by providing access to information and views from around the world and by challenging established views,' he added. In a rebuttal, the Islamic Education & Research Academy said: 'Tom Holland's assertion that there is no historical evidence for the Seventh Century origins of Islam is historically inaccurate. This notion cannot be sustained in light of the contemporary non-Islamic as well as material evidence.' It added: 'Holland appears to have turned a blind eye to the rich Islamic historical tradition. There are no "black holes" and there is no missing information. There is plenty of material evidence available to substantiate the accuracy of the Islamic narrative on the early history of Islam.' Holland said in the show that he is a non-Muslim and was brought up a Christian, and in his subsequent response wrote that he had been 'up-front' about his ideological background and presumptions. 'If the film was about the origins of Islam, then it was also about the tensions between two differing world-views,' he wrote. A Channel Four spokesperson said the broadcaster had received around four hundred complaints, while Ofcom has received around one hundred and fifty. An Ofcom spokesman said: 'We will assess them and if we believe there has been a possible breach of the broadcasting code, we would hold an investigation, but no decision to that effect has been taken.'

Romain Grosjean has apologised for causing the first-corner crash at the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa on Sunday that could have had someone's head off. The crash also took out Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Sauber duo Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi. 'The stewards regard this incident as an extremely serious breach of the regulations, which had the potential to cause injury to others,' read a statement from the FIA, the sport's governing body. Grosjean, received a one match ban for the incident making him the first driver to be banned from a race since Michael Schumacher in 1994. He said: 'I misjudged the gap to Lewis. I thought I was in front of him. It was a small mistake, but a big incident. I'm very sorry and I'm just glad nobody is hurt. That's the main thing.' Lotus team boss Eric Boullier added: 'This is a severe penalty, but it's part of his learning curve. Part of the problem is that he wants to do well. He is somebody who is a perfectionist. He needs to understand he will deliver more if he doesn't put too much pressure on himself at the start of the race.' Hamilton, rather sulkily, refused to discuss the incident in detail. 'I really don't want to talk about the start,' said the 2008 world champion in a huffy interview with the BBC. 'People can see what happened.' Hamilton added he had been involved in worse crashes, but Alonso, the world championship leader, said he considered himself 'lucky' not to have been injured in the pile-up. 'You can have an injury in your hand or even in your head because everything was so close,' said the Spaniard, who revealed the accident had left him with back pain. 'I think we broke everything on top of the car, so it was lucky in that aspect. I did not know what happened until I saw the TV. It was difficult to imagine how the hit could be so big.' Speaking before the punishment was handed out, F1 legend Niki Lauda felt Grosjean had caused a 'stupid accident.' The three-time world champion, who was watching from the pit lane, added: 'If I had to make a decision, I would stop him for two races because this was the most dangerous act he ever did.' David Coulthard, another former driver and now a co-commentator for the BBC, thought Grosjean was 'a little too aggressive' into the first corner. 'You have to respect your movement at the start of a grand prix,' said the Scot. 'You cannot swerve from the left side to the right side without any sort sense of where the other cars are.' Alonso, a double world champion, refused to criticise Grosjean, who was his team-mate at Renault in the second half of 2009. 'I am not angry,' he said. 'No-one does this on purpose. They were fighting, two aggressive drivers on the start - Lewis and Romain - and this time it was us in the wrong place and the wrong moment.' However, he pointed out that Grosjean's record does not make good reading, saying: 'It's true also that in twelve races, Romain had seven crashes at the start, so ...'

The UK has taken the Paralympics 'to its heart,' organisers have said, with the games set to see the one-millionth visitor over the next forty eight hours. LOCOG said the ten thousand extra tickets being put on sale every day were usually bought 'within minutes.' Record TV audiences have also prompted games broadcaster Channel Four to clear its daytime schedule for more coverage. The British Paralympics squad now sit second in the medal table behind China after winning sixteen golds, seven of them on Sunday. Across the day Great Britain also won eight silvers and three bronze medals in events including cycling, rowing, dressage, swimming and athletics. The team are now well over halfway to their target of one hundred and three medals after just four days of competition. Almost three million television viewers watched seventeen-year-old swimmer Ellie Simmonds break the world record as she won gold in a dramatic S6 four hundred metres freestyle race on Saturday. Jay Hunt, chief creative officer at Channel Four, said: 'The coverage of the Paralympics has completely captured the public's imagination. We are clearing our schedule to bring viewers even more of this fantastic sport.' The UK broadcaster had been showing late afternoon coverage on sister station More4 but made the change from Monday after strong viewing figures. The channel will show daily games coverage from 07:00 to 23:15, with only a thirty-minute break for Channel Four News at 19:00. A LOCOG spokesman said: 'The whole of the UK has taken the games to its heart. As soon as tickets have been released, they have been snapped up.' Also at the games on Sunday, wheelchair athlete David Weir added a fourth GB athletics gold with victory in the T54 five thousand metres, Great Britain's equestrian team won two golds and two silvers on a day which saw Lee Pearson secure his tenth Paralympic title, teenage swimmer Jessica-Jane Applegate set a Paralympic record to win gold in the women's S14 two hundred metres freestyle, Anthony Kappes and pilot Craig MacLean won GB's fifth cycling gold at the Velodrome in the tandem sprint beating team-mates Barney Storey and Neil Fachie into second place. Also, Aled Davies threw a British record to win gold in the F42 discus. And Britain's mixed coxed four won a gold to secure a rowing medal for the host nation.

Yer actual Oscar Pistorius has apologised for the timing of his comments following his loss in the final of the Paralympic T44 two hundred metres. The South African criticised the International Paralympic Committee, saying gold medallist Alan Oliveira's artificial legs were too long. Pistorius said he still felt that the matter needed to be addressed. But he added: 'I want to apologise for the timing of my comments but I do believe that there is an issue here.' The world record holder was overhauled by Oliveira in the final twenty metres of the race, won by the Brazilian in 21.45 seconds with Pistorius second in 21.52. The IPC said all artificial legs - known as blades - adhered to 'strict regulations' and had been verified and agreed before the race. But immediately after his loss, Pistorius told Channel Four: 'We are not running in a fair race here. I don't know how you can come back, watching the replay, from eight metres behind on the hundred to win. It's absolutely ridiculous.' Oliveira said the comments of his 'idol' were 'hard to take. The length of my blades is all right,' said the South American. 'I went through all the procedures with the referees. I believe Pistorius also knows that.' On Monday morning Pistorius issued the apology. 'I accept that raising these concerns immediately as I stepped off the track was wrong,' said Pistorius. 'That was Alan's moment and I would like to put on record the respect I have for him. I am a proud Paralympian and believe in the fairness of sport. I am happy to work with the IPC who obviously share these aims.' IPC communications director Craig Spence said Pistorius had raised his concern over the rules with them. 'We agreed to meet him at a later date so he could he raise his questions in a formal environment away from the emotion of the stadium,' Spence said. 'The IPC respects the significant role Oscar has played in raising the global profile of Paralympic Sport since his games debut in 2004. Therefore we are more than willing to give him an opportunity to air his views in a non-emotional environment at a meeting to be organised at a later date.' The IPC said in a statement that all competitors had been checked before the race. Pistorius had his lower legs amputated at the age of eleven months, having been born without a fibula in either leg. His parents, Henke and Sheila, were advised that having the amputation done before he had learned to walk would be less traumatic. His parents wrote their son a letter, to read in later life explaining their decision, which read 'a loser isn't the person that gets involved and comes last, but the one who doesn't get involved.' By the age of two, Pistorius had his first pair of prosthetic legs and within days he had mastered them. He played waterpolo and rugby in secondary school. He also played cricket, tennis, took part in triathlons and Olympic club wrestling and was an enthusiastic boxer. In June 2003, he shattered his knee playing rugby and on the advice of doctors took up track running to aid his rehabilitation.

Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haw's owners say they will not damage the club's future with 'risky spending' but have pledged their commitment to the club. In an open letter to fans - presumably, they didn't have the money to buy a stamp and make it a closed letter - John W Henry said: 'We will never place this club in the precarious position we found it when we took over at Anfield.' Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws are without a win in three games in their worst start to a season since for fifty years having finished eighth in last season's Premier League. Henry said that he was 'disappointed' at their failure to add a new striker. Manager Brendan Rodgers has admitted he would not have allowed Andy Carroll to join West Ham had he known he would be unable to strengthen his squad. Rodgers let the England striker leave for Upton Park as he was 'convinced' the club would bring in either Fulham's Clint Dempsey or Moscow Chelski's Daniel Sturridge on loan. The Reds boss, who has the option of recalling Carroll from his season-long loan in January, insists he was not misled by the club's American owners, Fenway Sports Group, over transfers. In the letter to fans published on the official club website, Dubbya Henry said: 'I am as disappointed as anyone connected with Liverpool Football Club that we were unable to add further to our strike force in this summer transfer window. But that was not through any lack of desire or effort on the part of all of those involved. They pushed hard in the final days of the transfer window on a number of forward targets and it is unfortunate that on this occasion we were unable to conclude acceptable deals to bring those targets in. But a summer window which brought in three young, but significantly talented starters in Joe Allen, Nuri Sahin and Fabio Borini as well as two exciting young potential stars of the future - Samed Yesil and Oussama Assaidi - could hardly be deemed a failure as we build for the future.' Sunday's 2-0 home defeat by The Arse left Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws eighteenth in the Premier League after three matches. Some of Monday's less reliable newspapers claim that Rodgers is ready to turn to former Reds striker and odious greed bucket Michael Owen and ex-Moscow Chelski forward Didier Drogba - currently playing in China - to solve his side's goal shortage.

In an unprecedented act, the Sun has cancelled a book serialisation the day after blurbing it and running an interview which praised the bravery of its author. The Scottish edition of the tabloid had planned to start running extracts today from a book entitled Downfall: How Rangers FC self-destructed by Phil Mac Giolla Bhain. But within twenty four hours of its lengthy piece announcing its serialisation the paper ran a leading article explaining that it had changed its mind. The decision followed the jamming of its switchboard as hundreds of Glasgow Rangers fans called to complain while others took to Twitter. Rangers itself lobbied the paper and threatened to ban Sun journalists from its ground. There were also physical threats made to the Sun reporter who wrote the interview with Mac Giolla Bhain.

A woman has been arrested four times during one day in the US. Joyce Coffey was repeatedly arrested for playing her music too loud. Officers initially issued her with a warning at her New Hampshire home but she ignored it and was arrested an hour later. It took Coffey only five hours to be arrested again after being released. She was held for a third time after she persisted in playing AC/DC's Highway to Hell loudly. This time, the charges included crimes against music. However, her fourth arrest in a period of twenty six hours came after she threw a frying pan at her nephew. He claims that he was only trying to remove some of his belongings from her house. The frying pan is not believed to be one of the things he was after. Coffey has reportedly been jailed after her fourth arrest and has been told to use headphones in future when listening to music.


For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, we've got something Joyce might appreciate. But, hey, keep the volume down a touch, love. There's people trying to sleep out there you know.

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