Sunday, September 09, 2012

Week Thirty Eight: It Isn't Easy To Explain

Saturday, on one of the hottest nights of the year, saw an evening of lower-than-usual TV ratings all round. The X Factor picked up an overnight average of 7.7m (with a further five hundred and twelve thousand viewers on ITV+1) - a stonking result for most other shows on any day but, I'd still expect further 'show in crisis' from the tabloids considering the context of the show having lost well over a million viewers across four weeks of the current series, let alone that being well down on previous years. The only other programme to top five million on overnights was Doctor Who's 5.5m for Dinosaurs on a Spaceship - two million viewers more than anything else of BBC1, and the highest rated drama of the night (the next one being CSI on Channel Five, getting 1.2m!) With timeshifts, I'd expect Doctor Who's final, consolidated figure to be somewhere in the mid seven millions. The X Factor aside, it was another poor night for ITV with the two episode of notorious risible flop Red or Black? achieving 3.17m and 3.63m respectively and the dreadful Fool Britannia managing just 2.6m (it was beaten by BBC1's Total Wipeout with 2.8m). BBC1's later evening schedule was dominated by Last Night of the Proms which had an audience of 3.2m. Channel Four's evening coverage of the Paralympics pulled in 2.4m punters, with a 3.6m peak around 21:45 as Oscar Pistorius won the four hundred metres. The return of The Thick Of It on BBc2 attracted 1.2m, less than the channel pulled in for repeats of both Qi XL (1.4m) and Dad's Army (1.9m).

ITV has opened a fresh voluntary redundancy programme as part of cost-cutting measures at its regional news operations. The broadcaster opened a two-week voluntary redundancy window on Friday morning. It did not specify how many positions were at risk or a particular timescale for the operation. As a result of the cutbacks, there will be fewer editorial roles in ITV regional news, according to a memo sent to staff. A spokeswoman for ITV denied accusations from the broadcasting union, BECTU, that the broadcaster was 'backing away' from its commitment to news. 'ITV is absolutely committed to continuing to broadcast a high-quality, accurate and impartial news service, as we do at present. Our priority is to continue to invest in regional news on an economically sustainable basis,' the spokeswoman said. BECTU official Spencer MacDonald described the voluntary redundancy programmes as 'unnecessary and haphazard.' Union officials will urge ITV bosses to rethink the plans at a meeting scheduled for Tuesday. In the memo to staff, ITV said the changes were necessary to allow it to continue to invest in regional news within the financial constraints of an ever-changing media landscape. ITV regional correspondents will be expected to significantly increase their camera use and reporters will be expected to shoot news footage the majority of the time, according to the memo. It added: 'As part of ITV's ongoing transformation, along with many other areas of ITV's business, we're required to operate efficiently and operate in a commercial way, which includes the delivery of some financial savings before the end of this year.' In July, ITV said that forty out of one hundred online editorial jobs were at risk as part of plans to split the its digital division into three areas: online products, editorial, and business planning.
News International is expected to face at least two hundred and thirty new compensation claims from alleged victims of disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World phone-hacking malarkey, including former England footballer Sol Campbell. Other new claimants include former waste-of-space reality TV regular Kerry Katona, her ex-husband Brian McFadden, formerly of boyband Westlife, and The Apprentice contestant Ruth Badger. The names were revealed at a high court case-management conference overseen by Mr Justice Vos on Friday, during which it emerged that sixty eight new civil claims for phone-hacking damages have now been lodged. Hugh Tomlinson, QC, representing phone-hacking victims, also told the high court that three hundred and ninety five people had now applied for disclosure of phone-hacking evidence from the Metropolitan police and up to forty more claims were expected to be lodged by the deadline set by Vos of next Friday 14 September. Tomlinson added that in addition, one hundred and twenty four phone-hacking claims have been accepted into the News International compensation fund. He said that he believed the total number of new claims will be 'somewhere under three hundred.' The numbers for expected civil claims and people applying separately to the compensation scheme revealed at the high court on Friday suggests the final figure will be at least two hundred and thirty. These claims are in addition to more than fifty civil cases already settled by News International earlier this year with victims including actors, Jude Law and Steve Coogan, singer Charlotte Church, former deputy prime minister John Prescott and Sara Payne, the mother of murdered schoolgirl Sarah. It was also alleged at the high court on Friday that the Scum of the World - or, someone acting on their behalf - hacked into the phone of a prominent criminal barrister, Kirsty Brimelow, who has acted in rape and murder trials, and Robin Winskell, a sports lawyer who has acted for premiership footballers in disciplinary trials, FIFA arbitrations and libel cases. Also taking action against News International is Tony Iles Blackmore, the uncle of Nadine Milroy Sloan, the woman who falsely accused former Tory MP Neil Hamilton and his wife Christine of sexual assault. His wife Gillian's phone was also allegedly hacked. Robbie Williams's ex-girlfriend Lisa Brash and Observer journalist Daniel Boffey are also listed as claimants, along with three other individuals – the model James Burke and Susan Kirkham and Zoe Williams. John Blake, the former People editor who now publishes celebrity books, has also put in a claim. Friday's case-management hearing was the eighth organised by Vos to manage the final round of civil litigation over Scum of the World phone-hacking and other assorted nefarious skulduggery, shenanigans, malarkey and doings. The judge had originally pencilled in February as the date for these cases to go to trial, but this has now been put back to some time after May because of a potential clash with criminal proceedings involving former News International executives, including well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks, who was chief executive and the prime minister's 'chum' Andy Coulson, who was the editor of the Scum of the World when much of the alleged naughty badness was going on.

Yer actual Julian Clary his very self has won this year's Celebrity Big Brother. if anyone is in the slightest bit interested. He managed to beat Coleen Nolan into second place - although, sadly, not with anything hard - and asked the departing housemate to request that the producers cancel his fireworks as he doesn't like them. Good on ya Jules.

And so to yer actual Top Telly Tips, dear blog reader:

Saturday 15 September
The Doctor develops an unmistakeable Wild West swagger as he bursts through the door of a dusty saloon somewhere in the American desert (or, at least, the Spanish desert doubling for the American desert) in the latest episode of Doctor Who - A Town Called Mercy - 7:35 BBC1: 'Tea! The strong stuff, but leave the bag in,' he demands of the chap behind the bar. He and the Ponds have arrived in the small western town of Mercy, a place that is under siege from a cyborg who patrols the outskirts, threatening death to anyone who crosses his path. 'What brings you down to these parts?' someone asks The Doctor. To which Matt Smith replies: 'I've got a lousy agent.' No, seriously, I'm here all week. Writer Toby Whithouse (creator of the superb Being Human and writer of a handful of great previous Doctor Who episodes) has fun with Wild West movie tropes, borrowing from High Noon and Bad Day At Black Rock - as well as, more obviously - Westworld as The Doctor, riding a 'telepathic' horse (called Susan) is urged by the good townsfolk of Mercy to save them from the mysterious, menacing Gunslinger, a cyborg killing machine. The Doctor might have an ally in a prisoner, a face-painted gentleman called Kahler-Jex (Adrian Scarborough) who claims that he, too, is a time-travelling doctor. The relentless gunslinger will stop at nothing until it has terminated (or, you know, ex-terminated) the remaining name on its lengthy hit list. With Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill and a guest role from cult SF figure Ben Browder (Farscape, Stargate SG-1). Looks a bit tasty.

Don’t dust off your dancing shoes just yet, dear blog reader. Tonight's opening episode of Strictly Come Dancing - 6:30 BBC1 - is merely a warm up for the series proper, which starts in a fortnight. It is, however, a chance to check out new judge - luscious, pouting Darcey Bussell - and to see which professional is teamed with which celebrity (hopefully none will be as disappointed as Lulu was last year). Plus a glimpse of the contestants that have two left feet. Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly host a red-carpet event in which this year's celebrities are paired up with their professional partners. The famous faces also take to the dance floor with a group number in front of the ever-critical Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli, Craig Revel Horwood and Darcey Bussell, who brings a wealth of expertise to the panel. Kimberley Walsh, Richard Arnold, Nicky Byrne and Dani Harmer are among those so far revealed to be taking part. One hopes they're going in reverse order of 'you might actually have heard of them.'

Last night Qi returned so, as surely as night follows day, and solicitors follows ambulances, so tonight sees the return of Qi XL - 9:00 BBC2. Lovely Stephen Fry presents an extended edition of the quiz - and national institution - which tests the most obscure parts of contestants' general knowledge, awarding points for interesting answers as well as correct ones. And all that jazz and kerfuffle in the area. You know the score by now, surely? Regular panellist yer actual Alan Davies is joined by Bill Bailey, Jimmy Carr and, for the first time on a show that's absolutely made for her, Only Connect hostess and divine Goddess of minxy scrumptiousness, Victoria Coren her very self to answer fiendish questions about words beginning with the letter J. This episode, it's all about jargon. And, I know we say this every year but it remains true, it's always great to have it back.

David Tennant asks the questions as two teams of comedians from across the generations compete to showcase their knowledge of comedy in Comedy World Cup - 9:00 Channel Four. However, unlike most panel games, both sides will be keeping an eye on their scores - the show is structured in a tournament format, with the winners of each episode progressing to the next round of the competition, before the last two teams compete in the grand final for the Comedy World Cup title. I have to say, this blogger likes yer man Tennant tremendously - you might have noticed, dear blog reader - and, from the trailer, he also has a fair bit of time for many of the stand-ups taking part in this. But, it just looks, both of paper and from the clips I've seen of it, to be apocalyptically awful. Time will tell, it usually does. Plus, of course, one important side issue: Yer actual David Tennant his very self is Scottish so having him at any sort of World Cup-type event is a bit of a contradiction in terms, surely?

Sunday 16 September
The hardest working bum in showbusiness Fiona Bruce is back to champion more fine old paintings with question marks hanging over them in a new series of Fake Or Fortune? - 6:30 BBC1. It's a great idea for a series, of course, and in full swing it's as ingenious and intriguing as the art world (and underworld) which it explores. Our 'sleeper' picture this week is — or, at least, purports to be — a Degas. Edgar Degas (born Hilaire-Germain-Edgar De Gas, 1834-1917), was a French artist famous for his work in painting, sculpture, printmaking and drawing. He is regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism although he rejected the term, and preferred to be called a realist, just in case you were wondering or don't know how to work Wikipedia. Anyway, back to Fake Or Fortune? It's a tiny, charming oil painting of a ballet dancer, but it is not included in the relevant bible of Degas' works. A nice old gent, Patrick Rice, whose father bought it in 1945 would love to know if it's worth a few hundred pounds or, if it's the real deal, worth up to half-a-million. Rakish art dealer Philip Mould and his gloriously-named researcher Doctor Bendor Grosvenor assist Fiona in tracing the truth. However, although Patrick's father bought it from a reputable dealer in 1945, the piece failed to make the official catalogue of the artist's work - meaning it is not classed as genuine by auction houses and is currently valued at only two hundred smackers. Fiona and Philip trace the artwork back through time to find out whether it really was created by one of France's greatest artists.

Chief Inspector Gently comes up against Rattigan, an old adversary from his days in The Smoke, whose legal challenge to his lengthy prison sentence has been upheld on the grounds that Gently may have fabricated evidence against him in the latest episode of Inspector George Gently - 8:30 BBC1. George gently fabricate evidence? Surely not. Donald McGhee, the detective's friend and former colleague in the Met, unexpectedly arrives in Durham to offer support, but his motives remain somewhat questionable. With Bacchus torn between loyalty and ambition, Gently knows that it's up to him to find a solution to his dilemma. Sixties-set detective drama, starring Martin Shaw and Lee Ingleby, with Kevin Whately, Diana Quick, Nigel Lindsay, Morgan Watkins and Ralph Brown. Yer actual Kevin his very self plays Gently's retired colleague, the kind of sound, salt-of-the-earth copper type that Whately does so well, and Gently needs him badly because his own career is suddenly in tatters. Martin Shaw and Whately work a treat together when they get to share scenes and it's a terrific, dark and doomy episode, as corrupt venal Met officers come to stomp all over Durham, and tell Bacchus, 'We need you to 'elp us nail Gently.' But will he? Last in the current series.

We last saw Matthew Crawley on bended knee in the snow, proposing to that former ice maidenette, the recently thawed Lady Mary, so a new series opens with the wedding preparations in full swing as Lord Snooty's Downton Abbey returns - 9:00 ITV. Of course a wedding means 'wedding guests,' and the most spectacular arrival is that of Cora's mother, the redoubtable Martha Levinson who's come all the way from the United States of yer actual America specially for the event. Swathed in furs, she makes a grand entrance at Downton and soon she becomes involved in verbal head-butting with the fearsome Dowager Countess of Grantham, Violet (Maggie Smith). It's like watching two stately galleons collide in the fog, as neither has any truck with the other's social standing and, you know, ways. This is an opening episode that will thrill Downton's legions of mindless devotees because it's full of what they love best — love, duty, intrigue, peril and great clothes. Mind you, most of them seemed to enjoy the previous series and, that was shit. No one puts it better than the Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) when he declares, 'I'm so happy I feel my chest will explode.' Hurrah. That might be the end of this well-made but pointless endeavour. Oscar-winning actress Shirley MacLaine joins the cast of the period drama as Cora's mother Martha. However, with Matthew and Mary struggling to stay united as their big day looms, will Martha's Atlantic crossing have been for nothing? Meanwhile, Mr Carson runs the rule over new footman Alfred, and Robert receives news that could leave him facing the greatest crisis of his life - and plunge the rest of the household into chaos. Also starring Jim Carter, Michelle Dockery, Joanne Froggatt, Brendan Coyle et al.

Monday 17 September
A teenage girl disappeared after a university disco in Scotland in 2003 and, with no clues as to where or why she vanished, she was eventually presumed dead. But the obsessive investigating officer, Detective Inspector Steve McAndrew (Denis Lawson), and the girl's family never accepted that conclusion. And it seems that they were right, because nine years later traces of her blood are found after a London petrol station is robbed and UCOS is asked to join forces with the now retired McAndrew to solve the case in New Tricks - 9:00 BBC1. And, finally, a replacement for James Bolam arrives! Quite why UCOS is getting itself involved in what appears to be a missing person's case is questionable, but actually this is just a way of introducing Jack's long-term replacement. Because have no doubt, even though Lawson's character is unbelievably irritating (and incomprehensible) to most of the team, he's here to stay. With a taste for whisky, an eye for an attractive lady, an odd hobby (tumbler pigeons) and some dubious methods when it comes to police work, he should fit right in with Brian Lane and Gerry Standing. It's clear that the inquiry is a very personal one for McAndrew, and although his personality rubs the team's rhubarb, his methods soon pay dividends. If there's one thing that New Tricks always manages to do well it's attract impressive guest stars - Sean McGinley and Michelle Duncan are in this one. If you missed the great Nicola Walker's outstanding turn in episode two of the current series, get thee to iPlayer and prepare for a masterclass.
Yer actual Stephanie Flanders goes the extra Reithian mile to cast a shard of light through the fog of economics for the benefit of the average viewer. Given that most of us have a feebler grasp on the subject than we pretend and than politicians and the media assume, this can only be a good thing. Steph starts a new series of three programmes with a study of a man whose name was once mud, but who now bestrides the post-financial-crisis debate: John Maynard Keynes in Masters of Money - 9:00 BBC2. As Alistair Darling points out, Keynes was the prophet of interdependence. 'If you visit upon countries things they can never deliver, it will end in tears,' says Darling of the Eurozone, though it also applied to Germany after the First World War. It's a fascinating history lesson. Stephanie explores the ideas of three influential thinkers who transformed international economics, and examines how their influence has shaped the Twentieth and Twenty First centuries. She begins by profiling Keynes, the Cambridge-born economist who became famed for his work during the Great Depression and the Second World War, and explains why the world's leaders drew on his teachings as the global financial crisis took hold in 2008.

Julie and her much younger lover, Aaron, continue to steal moments of passion at the hotel where they both work, taking an awful lot of chances in Leaving - 9:00 ITV. In fact most of the second episode of this vaguely enjoyable melodrama involves them pawing each other like a couple of randy cats, before springing apart as yet another member of staff walks by. 'This is just a fling fun,' says Julie (Helen McCrory), but you know she doesn't mean it, she's just building up her armour ready to be hurt by the boy (Callum Turner), who is constantly being chatted up by the flirty girls setting the tables. There's a subplot involving Julie's husband and some inappropriate comments to a young woman at work, presumably shoved in to highlight Julie's stultifying marriage to a very boring man. Meanwhile, Julie — perhaps unsurprisingly — finds it hard to keep her mind on her job.

Tuesday 18 September
There's a really big football match on tonight. Rich Madrid v Sheikh Yer Man City in the UEFA Champions of Greed League (kick-off 7.45pm). Sadly, of course, it's on ITV so breakfast TV flop and odious sour-faced greed bag, horrorshow (and drag) Adrian Chiles presents the coverage of this evening's Group D fixture at the Bernabeu between the two richest club sides in the world. This is going to be a question of which team tries to buy all the others lot's players first, isn't it? City have again been drawn in a difficult group as they look to progress to the knockout stages for the first time, and will also have to face Ajax of Amsterdam and Borussia Dortmund as they seek a top-two finish. The hosts were eliminated in the semi-finals last season by Bayern Munchen and made a sluggish start to the defence of their La Liga title, but still pose a major threat to Roberto Mancini's chances of European success. With commentary by Clive Tyldesley and the - genuinely - rubbish Andy Townsend, and analysis by Roy Keane, Lee Dixon and Gareth Southgate.

Love and Marriage: A Twentieth Century Romance - 9:00 BBC4 - is a documentary from director Steve Humphries examining the ups and downs of marriage from the 1900s to the present day, using personal stories of couples and their children. In this edition, one hundred and seven-year-old Hetty Bower, Britain's oldest peace campaigner, discusses her relationship with her late husband and agony aunt Denise Robertson recalls how her parents remained passionately in love despite losing everything in the economic crash of the 1930s.

Scottish Neil Oliver (and his lovely hair) continues his attempt to shed new light on the Norse warriors by examining their sophisticated trading skills, and visits locations in Russia, Turkey and Ireland to explain how they established a business empire in Vikings - 9:00 BBC2.
He also explores the vast array of goods that were bought and sold by Viking merchants and settlers, including Chinese silks and Pictish slaves.

In Derren Brown: Svengali - 9:00 Channel Four - the mind-control expert's award-winning live 2012 show, filmed at the Theatre Royal in Nottingham, in which he attempts to extract secret confessions from the audience. A particular favourite of yer actual Keith Telly Topping, the dryly amusing illusionist and master of mesmerism and prestidigitation also plays his usual set of devious mind games and shares the dramatic history of Svengali - an automaton allegedly created in the image of its owner's dead son - which Brown claims was used in early Victorian magic shows. as always, everything you think you see, you actually don't, and Derren pulls off some quite staggering feats that will leave you staring at the screen saying 'but ... but ... but'!

Wednesday 19 September
The actress Alex Kingston - cropping up in Doctor Who again in a couple of weeks, so relax - researches her family tree, investigating the military life of her great-grandfather William Keevil in the latest Who Do You Think You Are? - 9:00 BBC1. Keevil's career as a photographer led to him being given a key responsibility in the First World War before his death at the Battle of Passchendaele. Alex also explores rumours of Jewish ancestry, going back several generations, and hears how her mother's widowed great-great-great-grandmother embarked on an unconventional enterprise to avoid sliding into poverty.

JR (Larry Hagman, still effortlessly managing to pull off one of the best cheesy grins of TV) coolly puts paid to John Ross's plan to double-cross him, and decides to move back to Southfork in Dallas - 9:00 Channel Five. However, the Ewings face a new set of problems when their old adversary Cliff Barnes (played by original series star Ken Kercheval) resurfaces and tries to reconnect with his nephew Christopher. Meanwhile, Tommy has an intriguing piece of news for Rebecca, and Ann catches sight of skulduggery in the stables. With hilarious consequences. Carlos Bernard (Soulpatch Tony in 24) crops up looking a bit startled frankly.

Kevin McCloud meets a pair of civil partnered university professors who have decided to build their first home from scratch in Grand Designs - 9:00 Channel Four. Why they don't just buy one like, you know, 'normal people' is a question perhaps best left for another day. In addition to all the complications this usually entails, they have also enlisted the services of industrial designers who have developed a new computer-assisted method for cutting precision-engineered building blocks from scratch. Because, to put it simply, some people have more money than sense. However, though the technique may be clever, its creators have never, actually, created a building before - meaning everyone involved with the project is taking a giant leap into the unknown. And, it will all lead up to a point in which Kevin will say, in doomy voice-over 'and then ... the builders arrived!'

Arty Andrew Graham-Dixon visits the Royal Academy's Bronze exhibition in London, and Mark Kermode interviews film director Oliver Stone about his latest work Savages in The Culture Show - 10:00 BBC2. Elsewhere, Clemency Burton-Hill reports on The People Speak, a dramatised book reading, curated by Colin Firth and Anthony Arnove, which aims to tell an alternative history of Britain and features actors including Juliet Stevenson, Celia Imrie and Rupert Everett.

Thursday 20 September
Susan and her code-breaking allies seem to have finally tracked down the murderer, and attempt to confront the naughty culprit in The Bletchley Circle - 9:00 ITV.
However, the pursuit of justice remains complicated - and as the women get closer to their target, they are forced to put themselves in grave danger. Drama set in 1952, starring Anna Maxwell Martin, Rachael Stirling, Julie Graham and Sophie Rundle. Last in the series.

Gareth Malone sets out to improve four British workplaces by persuading their employees to start choirs - before pitting them against each other in a singing competition in The Choir: Sing While You Work - 9:00 BBC2. His mission begins at Lewisham Healthcare NHS Trust in south London, where he hopes to tap into the musical potential of the doctors, nurses and porters at one of the city's busiest hospitals. However, the piece he asks them to perform provides an unexpected challenge.

Dave Lee Travis presents an edition of Top of the Pops from 18 August 1977, featuring music by The Dooleys, Elkie Brooks, Carly Simon, Danny Williams, The Jam (with Paul Weller looking all of twelve!), The Rah Band (aw, yeah!), Brotherhood of Man, The Floaters, Mink de Ville and Candi Staton, plus dance routines by Legs & Co in Top of the Pops 1977 - BBC4 7:30.
In Mock the Week - 10:00 BBC2 - Inbetweeners star Greg Davies, veteran stand-up Jo Caulfield and one-liner specialist Gary Delaney join host Dara O Briain and regular panellists Chris Addison, Hugh Dennis and Andy Parsons for another round of the satirical current affairs quiz.

Friday 21 September
Being Liverpool - 9:00 Channel Five - is a fly-on-the-all documentary looking behind the scenes at Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws Football Club, focusing on the early stages of Brendan Rodgers's tenure as manager. The series begins days after the FA Cup final defeat against Chelsea, takes in the highly amusing sacking of former boss dour, sour-faced miserable Scotsman Kenny Dalglish and follows the inner workings of the club as Rodgers is given the job and starts preparing for the Reds' pre-season tour of North America. Please let it be as wee-in-your-own-pants funny as the legendary Premier Passions, the last time a Premier League football club allowed cameras behind the scenes.

In Parade's End - 9:00 BBC2 - we reach the concluding part of Tom Stoppard's dramatisation of Ford Madox Ford's quartet of novels. Christopher is sent to the Front with McKechnie and Perowne - and while Valentine waits anxiously for news from him, Sylvia makes a final desperate bid to win back his love. Starring yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch, Rebecca Hall and Adelaide Clemens.

There's also a new episode of Qi - 10:00 BBC2. The One Stephen Fry unleashes a batch of fiendishly puzzling questions to test the general knowledge - or ignorance - of Jo Brand, big fat cuddly Liza Tarbuck, Sue Perkins and regular panellist Alan Davies (who, presumably, has been voted an honorary girl for the duration), who reveal what they know about topics including jelly, jam and juice.
And so to the news: The lack of culture secretary Maria Miller - and how good those words sound, quite frankly after the last two vile and odious years - has pledged her support to the adoption of superfast broadband on a wider scale across the UK. The newly-appointed secretary of state for culture, media and sport has proposed changes to regulations that will enable Internet service providers to install fibre optic cables without planning permission. Britain's sites of scientific interest, including those which host protected wildlife, will remain protected but restrictions elsewhere will be lifted if the measures are implemented. 'We are putting in the essential infrastructure that will make UK businesses competitive, and sweeping away the red tape that is a barrier to economic recovery,' Miller said. 'The government means business and we are determined to cut through the bureaucracy that is holding us back.' The proposals were drawn up to help the UK government meet its target of achieving the fastest broadband speeds in Europe by 2015.

A documentary about World War II code breakers and a TV series following teachers are among the leading nominations for BAFTA Cymru awards. S4C's Gwaith/Cartref has six nominations, while BBC Wales' Code Breakers: Bletchley Park's Lost Heroes has five. The film Patagonia, the BBC's Doctor Who and Passion in Port Talbot are also shortlisted. Comedian Rhod Gilbert is nominated for Rhod Gilbert's Work Experience. The BAFTA Cymru awards, in their Twenty First year, honour excellence in broadcasting, interactive and film in Wales. The winners will be announced at a ceremony hosted by The ONE Show's Alex Jones - she's very Welsh - at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff on 30 September. Nominations for best actor include Mark Lewis Jones for Baker Boys, the BBC drama series about the struggles to keep a bakery in the South Wales valleys going, Richard Harrington for Burton: Y Gyfrinach and Craig Roberts for his role in the film Submarine. Best actress nominees include Eve Myles, also for Baker Boys, Rhian Morgan for Gwaith/Cartref and Sharon Morgan for the film Resistance. In total, BBC Cymru Wales has been recognised with forty nominations for programmes including Human Planet, Singer of the World, Rhod Gilbert's Work Experience, The Sarah Jane Adventures and Being Human. Taro Naw and Week In Week Out: Cash for Qualifications are nominated in the best current affairs programme category, while BBC Wales also has three nominations in the best news coverage category - for BBC Wales Today, Election 2012 and Newyddion 9/11. Comedian and presenter Gilbert is up against Huw Edwards, for Fire in the West - The Llanelli Riots of 1911 and Lowri Morgan for S4C's Ras yn Erbyn Amser, in the best presenter category. Passion in Port Talbot, which followed Hollywood actor Michael Sheen as he staged a seventy two hour Passion production in his hometown, is nominated in categories including best single documentary and best factual director for Rupert Edwards. Three programmes have been nominated for the highly-respected Gwyn Alf Williams Award, given to the documentary that contributes most to the understanding of Welsh history. They are BBC Cymru Wales' Lions '71, ITV Wales' Fishlock's Wales and S4C's Wyneb Glyndwr.

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping is reliably informed by one of the cast that the much-anticipated BBC2 sitcom Hebburn (Jason Cook, Chris Ramsay, Vic Reeves, Gina McKee et al) has been scheduled for mid-October.

One of the Queen's corgis, which appeared in the James Bond sketch for the Olympics Opening Ceremony, has died, Buckingham Palace has said. Monty and two other corgis greeted actor Daniel Craig in the short film, Happy & Glorious. The death of Monty who was previously owned by the Queen Mother, leaves two corgis in the palace. The royal family's ties with the breed began when the future George VI bought his first Pembroke corgi in 1933. The palace announced the death of Monty and of Cider, a dachsund-corgi cross-breed. In the short film, screened ahead of the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 games, the dogs ran down the stairs and performed tummy rolls. They then stood as a helicopter took off for the Olympic stadium, carrying Bond and a stunt double of the monarch.
TV presenter Terry Nutkins, famous for appearances on BBC nature programmes like Animal Magic and The Really Wild Show, has died at the age of sixty six. Born in London in 1946, Nutkins helped out at London Zoo as a child and later aided author Gavin Maxwell care for otters on the West Coast of Scotland. The wildlife expert spent seven years on Animal Magic and was later seen on Growing Up Wild and Pets Win Prizes. The father of eight was being treated for leukaemia when he died on Thursday. Nutkins' love of animals was undimmed by an incident when, aged fifteen, he had the top joints of two of his fingers bitten off by a wild otter named Edal. Renowned for his natural ebullience and unruly hair style, Terry played a major role in the restoration of the historic Fort Augustus Abbey on the shores of Loch Ness. In Terry's childhood, Maxwell, the author of Ring of Bright Water, became his legal guardian so that he could remain in Scotland to assist him. Naturalist and broadcaster Johnny Morris, the main presenter of Animal Magic, also regarded Nutkins as his protege and left his house to him when he died in 1999. In recent years Terry made guest appearances on Ready Steady Cook, Celebrity Ghost Stories and a tribute documentary to Australian crocodile hunter Steve Irwin. TV presenter Philip Schofield was among the first to pay tribute to the broadcaster, remembering him as 'a delightful man and passionate naturalist. So sad to hear of the death of Terry Nutkins,' he wrote on Twitter. 'I worked with him often in my "broom cupboard" days.' Wildlife presenter Ben Fogle described Nutkins as one of his 'childhood inspirations.' John Miles, Nutkins' agent, said Terry had died at his home in Scotland after a 'brave' nine-month battle with acute leukaemia. 'He just loved animals,' Miles told BBC News. 'He fought many causes to make sure animals were looked after, and the environment in general. Terry was a fun, ebullient and enthusiastic naturalist,' said the wildlife film-maker Simon King. 'He expressed this through his work on television and through his conservation efforts. He had a great love of animals and will always be remembered for that.' Joe Godwin, director of BBC Children's, described Nutkins as 'a natural children's presenter' who was 'warm, passionate and devoted to communicating the wonders of the natural world to his young audience. I'm sure his enthusiasm and genuine love of animals will have inspired generations of children throughout the country.'

Oscar Pistorius provided a fitting finale to the Paralympics track and field competition on Saturday evening with a gold in the last event, the T44 four hundred metres. The twenty five-year-old, promoted as one of the faces of the games, went into the final without an individual gold but won in a new Paralympic record of 46.68 seconds. He finished almost four seconds ahead of Blake Leeper, with fellow American David Prince taking bronze. Pistorius also won gold in the four by four hundred metres relay and silver in the two hundred metres. Defending champion Pistorius was expected to win the race easily, although at the two hundred metres mark it appeared that Brazil's Alan Oliveira, who stunned the South African in the two hundred metres earlier in the tournament, might cause another Paralympics shock. But Pistorius pulled away from his main rival coming into the final, with twenty-year-old Oliveira tying up badly in the home straight and passed by the American pair. 'It is very, very special to me,' Pistorius said. 'It was the last event of my season, the last event of the London 2012 Paralympic Games (at the stadium). It was just so special. It was the eleventh time I was able to come out on the track and I just wanted to give the crowd something they could appreciate and take home with them. I was very nervous before today's race. I was quite tired but the crowd really kept me going. For the first time I was actually thinking about something beside my race coming into the home straight. I could hear the crowd, which was very weird and so loud. I thought "let's just finish off on a good note."'

Roy Hodgson hailed Tom Cleverley's influence as a new-look midfield guided England to an emphatic win over yer actual Moldova in their opening World Cup qualifier on Friday. The Scumchester United man, twenty three, won his second England cap in the five-nil win. 'Cleverley was excellent for ninety minutes and when you watch him, you understand why Sir Alex Ferguson is pleased with him,' Hodgson said. The England manager gave Cleverley an advanced midfield role in front of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard in a set-up that allowed all three to get forward. He added: 'Tom's come into a team alongside the likes of Lampard, Gerrard and Carrick and didn't look at all out of place.' Hodgson has reshaped his midfield in the absence of Stottingtot Hotshots' Scott Parker, who is recovering from Achilles surgery, and Shiek Yer Man City's Gareth Barry, yet to return after suffering a groin injury on international duty in May. Lampard, who scored twice in Chisinau, said: 'Tom is a pleasure to play with - and with him being at such a young age, he's going to be right in the middle of the team for years to come.' Hodgson was also happy with the performance of nineteen-year-old winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who played for almost an hour before he was replaced by The Arse team-mate Theo Walcott. 'Alex had an excellent first half,' the England manager added. 'He hasn't played much football, and I think even at half-time, he was tired, and we were worried about leaving him on for too long, because his fifteen minutes in the second half weren't as good as his forty five in the first.' Lampard added: 'Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was brilliant. He lit up the first half and it's great to see players like that coming through.'

Kevin Pietersen has not been awarded an England central contract for the 2013 season, the England and Wales Cricket Board has announced. Ten players have been given them though, and a further four have been handed incremental contracts. Talks with Pietersen, thirty two, are 'ongoing and remain private,' the ECB said. The Surrey player was dropped for the third Test against South Africa for sending text messages to rival players, allegedly criticising team-mates. The new contracts are the first to be issued in the post-Andrew Strauss era. Former England opener Strauss retired from all forms of the game, including his role as Test captain, last week. Pietersen's omission comes after he had admitted sending 'provocative' texts and issued a - rather grovelling - public apology, having previously dismissed them as mere 'banter.' Pietersen spoke to Strauss before and after Strauss's resignation as Test captain and held talks with England team director Andy Flower. National selector Geoff Miller said: 'Contracts are ongoing recognition for those players who have regularly been selected for England and have performed consistently, as well as players who we feel could play an important role for England over the next twelve months.' The ten players that have been awarded central contracts are James Anderson, Ian Bell, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Steven Finn, Eoin Morgan, Matt Prior, Graeme Swann and Jonathan Trott. The four players that have been awarded incremental contracts are Jonny Bairstow, Ravi Bopara, Craig Kieswetter and Graham Onions. Miller said: 'Congratulations to Graham Onions, who is the one addition to the list of players who have been awarded increment contracts, and is in recognition of the effort he has put in since his return from injury in 2011 and an indication that we feel he has plenty to offer England in the coming months.'

And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Which, today features this gem from The Ramones.

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