Monday, September 17, 2012

When I'm On The Floor, The Kids Yell For More, More, More

Matt Smith has alluded to UNIT's return to Doctor Who this week. The quasi-fascist military organisation first appeared on the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama in 1968 and has appeared sporadically on the show ever since, becoming a permanent fixture for several years in the 1970s. They were last seen in the 2009 Easter special, Planet of the Dead. UNIT will return to Doctor Who - led by Kate (Jemma Redgrave) - in this Saturday's forthcoming episode The Power of Three, written by yer actual Chris Chibnall. 'I loved Jemma Redgrave!' said Smith. 'She was graceful, funny and charming and an absolute delight.' He added: 'UNIT's return is one for the fans. I think they like cyclical things and we have a good story. It was great to do an episode with UNIT and I hope the true fans like it. Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat also promised that Chibnall's script will bring UNIT back with 'a clever little twist. When I was a kid, and just getting obsessed about The Doctor (still not recovered) it was the Jon Pertwee era, and UNIT was as big a part of the show as the TARDIS itself,' said the writer. 'So when Chris asked if he could bring them back, I couldn't say yes fast enough. And being Chris, he gave it a clever little twist which I know the fans are going to love.'

The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat his very self, meanwhile, has promised 'a fitting end' to the story of Doctor Who companions Amy and Rory. The pair - played by Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill - will depart the drama in forthcoming mid-series finale The Angels Take Manhattan. 'All stories have to end, and painful though that is, the most important thing about a story is how it finished,' said Moffat. 'I had over a year's warning to get this sorted out, and I'm very proud of what we've done. A fitting end to the mighty era of the Ponds!' Moffat explained that he had devised the characters' exit while in New York, which influenced the episode's setting. 'There was something about The Weeping Angels and New York that just seemed to make sense to me,' he revealed. 'And I thought of the story for this episode while in New York. It's always good to find a new form for [The Weeping Angels] and we've got little cherubs this time. I had loads of ideas for The Weeping Angels on both the previous stories that I never got anywhere close to using, so it was good to find the opportunity.' Moffat previously revealed that he 'completely' rewrote Amy and Rory's final scenes after completing his first draft. 'I completely changed the ending as I was writing it, thinking "No, I've got it wrong. I'm on the wrong emphasis" - but it's a good one and it's properly emotional,' he insisted.

As mentioned in yesterday's blog, Doctor Who pulled in its highest overnight audience in over two years on Saturday night, early BARB data suggests. Toby Whithouse's A Town Called Mercy, guest starring Ben Browder, averaged 6.61m for BBC1 between 7.35pm and 8.20pm. Not since April 2010, for an episode featuring The Weeping Angels and the return of River Song, has Doctor Who been as popular in the overnight ratings. Doctor Who's figures are expected to rise even further when viewers who recorded the show - on video, DVD or TiVo devices - and watched later are added to the equation. As of Monday morning, the popular long-running family SF drama remains BBC iPlayer's 'Most Popular' request. The programme's series seven premiere managed 6.4m a fortnight ago (8.33m on final, consolidated ratings), while last week's Dinosaurs on a Spaceship had an overnight of 5.5m. Doctor Who was given a helping hand from Strictly Come Dancing, which attracted an overnight peak of 9.8 million for its 2012 launch in the 6.30pm slot. ITV's risible Red or Black? was Doctor Who's nearest competitor with half the drama's audience. The Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads' game show delivered a mere 3.29m to ITV between 7.25pm and 8.10pm, returning later in the night with an equally unimpressive 3.35m from 9.10pm opposite BBC1's Casualty (4.7m). So, now it would seem that the only question is ...
This blogger's thanks to the lovely Stuart over at Gally Base for that one. And, speaking of people in the Internet with more time on their hands than they know what to do with, and access to photoshop, here's this from yer actual Keith Telly Topping's old pal Tony. You crazy guy.
Still on the subject of ratings, Downton Abbey made a successful return to ITV on Sunday night with an overnight audience of just over 8.6 million viewers. Shirley MacLaine's debut in the hit period drama's third series opener was seen by 8.64m and an additional three hundred and eighty thousand punters on ITV+1. So, we'll call that nine million, give or take. The figure is, of course, superb in any context although it is probably worth notion as a small footnote that it's two hundred thousand lower than last autumn's second series premiere for the drama. However, Downton inherited a far smaller X Factor lead-in than it did in 2011, with the singing contest's final round of auditions drawing 9.33m in the 8pm hour. Despite topping the night and setting a new series high, The X Factor's ITV ratings are down a sizeable 1.9m on last year's equivalent instalment. Bradley Walsh game show The Chase made an encouraging start in the 7pm slot, entertaining 4.82m for its first celebrity special. Overall, ITV easily won the primetime audience shares with 31.1 per cent over BBC1's 18.5 per cent. Fake or Fortune? (3.79m), Countryfile (5.82m) and Inspector George Gently (4.33m/16.5%) aired on BBC1.

In his last day in office, ex BBC director general Mark Thompson has reiterated his belief that the corporation should not face any further budget cuts. Appearing on The Andrew Marr Show, Thompson said the BBC was 'getting very, very close to the edge' after the latest round of cost-cutting. 'When you look around, it's very hard to see what more you can cut.' The licence fee is up for negotiation in 2015-16. The settlement will be a key issue for Thompson's successor. The outgoing director general said he still believed in 'the idea of gathering public money together to create really high quality content,' despite large upheavals in the way people consume media. At the moment, the licence fee is £145.50 per household. The figure was frozen for six years in 2010, resulting in a sixteen per cent real terms cut in BBC funds. Thompson said that, although the freeze had led to job cuts and the loss of some services, the BBC could not have ignored the wider economic situation in the UK. 'In the end, you can't want to be the national broadcaster and not go through some of the same experiences as the rest of the country.' He added the sixteen per cent cuts were 'in line' with other 'cultural institutions' like the British Museum and the National Theatre. George Entwistle, formerly the director of BBC Vision, will take over from Thompson on Monday morning. One of his first appointments will be to visit the breakfast show on 6 Music. Entwistle will be paid much less than his predecessor, who earned six hundred and twenty two thousand smackers in his final year. High salaries for the BBC's executives and star talent was a hot button issue for Thompson, whose own salary dropped by about twenty five per cent during his eight years in office. He acknowledged there was a 'particular sensitivity' about how the BBC spends the licence fee. 'What the BBC tries to do in the way it runs itself, is it tries to be sensitive to what its owners, the British public, thinks. There's no question that we've seen over the last eight years, not just with the BBC but with the whole of public life, a real change in attitudes to these things, and we've tried to respond to it. I think the BBC will continue to wrestle with that challenge. How do you get the best sports rights, the best presenters, and the best creative leaders, and do that in a way that is acceptable to the public.'

Here's a dramatic glimpse at a huge explosion coming up on EastEnders, as a joyride for Lauren and Joey Branning 'goes horribly wrong.' The soap's cast and crew filmed the biggest scenes of the year so far on Friday night for a storyline which sees Lauren and Joey's reckless actions end in disaster. Earlier this week, it was revealed that a future storyline will see the Walford cousins crash into the front window of a shop after stealing Derek's car. The terrifying accident leads to a massive fireball, which could leave lives hanging in the balance. While firm storyline details have yet to be confirmed, it's known that Derek arrives on the scene to pull Lauren and Joey from the wreckage. However, just when it seems that Derek has got the pair to safety, the force of a massive explosion puts them all in further danger - as seen in this newly-released pictures. Filming has been taking place in Keynsham, Somerset over the past week.
Nicole Scherzinger could lose her place on The X Factor panel next series, reports the Sun. They claim that 'producers' (which is a very big word for the Sun to be using, they normally say 'bosses') are 'keen' to 'do whatever it takes' to improve falling ratings, after the show experienced its lowest audience launch since 2006. Viewing figures for the ninth series of the talent contest are down by around three million on last year's series, and alleged 'insiders' have allegedly said that as well as allegedly pushing the 2013 series launch date back a month, the team are allegedly considering bringing guest judge Mel B back to the panel as a permanent replacement for Scherzinger. 'It maybe airs a little early and people struggle when they might be on holiday or enjoying the sunshine at home,' the alleged 'source' allegedly said. Although it's had the same August Bank Holiday opening weekend for the last seven years and, previously, this has never been a problem for viewers. 'The guest judges just don't work. It's great for audiences who are watching live but it doesn't translate well on the telly. People get confused as the line-up's always changing from song to song,' the alleged 'source' allegedly continued. In the meantime, producers are said to be hoping that the end of the Paralympics and the start of the Boot Camp and Judges' Houses rounds - including Cheryl Cole's return as Gary Barlow's guest mentor - will draw in bigger audiences. The Heaton Horror was clear to point out that her appearance, filmed earlier this month, took place as a favour to Barlow and wasn't a marketing ploy devised by Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef from Crossorads.

Russell Howard has revealed that he turned down the chance to appear on this year's series of Strictly Come Dancing. The comedian suggested that competing on the show would mean his career is 'in trouble. My mum was gutted, but there's just no chance I was going to do it,' Howard told the Daily Lies. 'I was flattered they asked, but I really, really can't dance. I'm like a newborn pony. And it'd probably mean my career was in trouble if I did it. I'll stick to the comedy.'

A police constable on duty on the day of Hillsborough warned a judge-led inquiry into the disaster that there was a co-ordinated cover-up by South Yorkshire Police about failings of senior officers at the stadium, documents have revealed for the first time. David Frost, who as a twenty one-year-old officer helped to treat fans in the Leppings Lane terraces, told the Lord Justice Stuart-Smith review in 1997 that his superiors made 'wholesale changes' to the statements made by him and his fellow officers to 'sanitise and protect themselves.' Frost told the judge how, three days after the tragedy, on 19 April 1989, he and fellow policemen were taken to a pub by a senior officer and warned: 'It's backs to the wall, boys. We've all got to say the same thing. Unless we all get our heads together and straighten it out, there are heads going to roll.' The damning testimony from Frost, who quit the South Yorkshire force in anger following the cover-up, was heard behind closed doors at the Stuart-Smith inquiry, set up by the then Home Secretary, Jack Straw. It has been made public for the first time in four hundred and fifty thousand page documents published last week by the Hillsborough Independent Panel. The disclosure means that Frost's evidence, if it had been recognised by the judge, would have revealed a cover-up by police fifteen years ago, when many more relatives of the victims would have been alive. The panel report confirmed families' suspicions that there had been a cover-up, but Frost's evidence to Lord Justice Stuart-Smith reveals that the inquiry judge was warned about the conspiracy as far back as October 1997. In the end, Lord Justice Stuart-Smith's report found that all the new evidence he had heard 'added nothing' to the earlier inquiry by Lord Justice Taylor in 1989. The judge also heard that there was a suggestion that officers, including Frost, were threatened with allegations that they were involved in accepting bribes from fans to allow them through the gates, and that they 'feared retribution' if they later came forward to complain about the cover-up. Frost originally submitted a sixteen-page statement to his superiors, a vivid account of how he climbed inside one of the pens at the Leppings Lane end to help with the rescue, and gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to one man before questioning why there was no organisation by senior officers. He could not even see the 'gaffers' until well after 3pm, when it is now known people were already dying. There was a 'bottleneck' of police officers who were getting in the way of victims being rescued, and the communication system had failed. All of these criticisms were removed from Frost's statement. The sixteen-page original testimony from May 1989, which at times reads like a diary from the trenches of the First World War, was cut down to six pages, the most heavily redacted statement out of all the one hundred and sixteen police statements which were altered. Frost told Lord Justice Stuart-Smith he was ordered to sign the new redacted statement but refused. The final document shows what appears to be Frost's signature, but it is clearly different from his original handwriting, suggesting that someone involved in the cover-up forged his signature. Frost told Lord Justice Stuart-Smith that he quit the South Yorkshire force, whose slogan until recently was Justice with Courage, because he felt he 'could no longer wear the uniform.' Frost told the judge: 'Wholesale changes were made. There were queues of officers outside police stations, and senior officers sat there with their statements, and they were asked/impelled to sign things that they didn't want to that had been changed. This was an attempt by senior management to sanitise and protect themselves; and any honour that the South Yorkshire Police, which I thought at the time was considerable, disappeared for me. That is why I left the force. I was medically pensioned off. I couldn't wear a uniform after this sort of thing took place, and it is not what I believe in and I hope it is not what the establishment believes in.' Frost told Lord Justice Stuart-Smith that on 19 April 1989: 'We were taken to the pub by a certain [officer's rank redacted], who basically said: "It's backs to the wall, boys. We've all got to say the same thing." We were taken out for a drink by this [redacted] and we were basically told: "Look, unless we all get our heads together and straighten it out, there are heads going to roll."' Lord Justice Stuart-Smith assured Frost that his claims were 'something which I am looking into.' In his original sixteen-page statement, Frost recounted every detail of his time at Hillsborough, including the opening minutes of the game. He wrote: 'Peter Beardsley running along the right wing, nice footwork, leaves two players and crosses the ball. I look forward again. People everywhere outside the fence at Leppings Lane end. Best get there quick.' Frost, after breaking away the fencing at one end of the terraces, climbed inside the pens. He gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to one fan who appeared dead. 'Live, live, breathe, come on.' After a 'brief state of calm,' he said, 'fans part, can't believe my eyes, a pile four or five deep of bodies.' But it is well after 3pm when he recorded: 'Megaphone giving orders, it's about time. Keep 'em coming lads. How many dead? Bottleneck two chains of bobbies passing bodies out now meeting at the gate. "This one's alive," I shout repeatedly in a choked voice. "This one's alive." Fighting back tears. Broken bodies being dragged apart trapping each other [like] bags of sand. All out on to the pitch, makeshift stretchers and away. Notice for the first time gaffers are now about. Where have they been? Why was the organisation so late? Anyway good to see them in with the lads. Why did this happen? Will the body I breathed into live or as I suspect already died? Did I do it right, is it my fault? Who is or was he? Fit fans venting anger blaming us. "You're all useless bastards." Yes they are right. I want to do something, that is why I am wandering around. Let me help, give me something to do. A lad barely conscious laid by the fence among the dead. Nearby a son sits by the covered body of his dead father. Try and keep the lad conscious. Please be well.' He helped lift the boy into an ambulance. Frost went back on to the pitch: 'We return to the fencing, a Scouse lady comes round. We are just standing staring. She holds our arms and says: "Thanks, lads." I begin to cry. Sometime later we van up. Where is the friendly chatter now?' Frost finishes his statement saying he feels he has struggled to convey what really happened: 'It is impossible, I feel, to surround a reader with such a huge mental and emotional picture. Please let some good come out of all of this.' Frost could not be contacted for a comment over the weekend, but according to the Independent a 'friend' said that he 'finally felt exonerated' by the panel's report after being 'rejected' by Lord Justice Stuart-Smith. The judge has refused to comment since the report was published. It emerged on Saturday that the controversial policeman Sir Norman Bettison triggered an attempt to prosecute the High Court judge who led the original Hillsborough inquiry in 1989, over claims that he was 'biased' against South Yorkshire Police. A Hillsborough-related complaint against Bettison, now chief constable of West Yorkshire, was referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission yesterday for investigation.

Press baron, Channel Five owner and soft-core pornographer Richard Desmond has said that he will pull out of the joint venture which provides funding to the Irish Daily Lies. The decision comes after the tabloid made the decision to publish controversial Kate Middleton topless photos, becoming the third publication to do so after French magazine Closer and Italian magazine Chi. The International Business Times reports that the paper is funded by a joint venture between Independent News and Media, based in Ireland, and the UK-based Northern & Shell, which is chaired by Desmond. The sixty-year-old told Sky News: 'I am very angry at the decision to publish these photographs and am taking immediate steps to close down the joint venture. The decision to publish these pictures has no justification whatever, and Northern & Shell condemns it in the strongest possible terms.' Desmond's comments were echoed by Gareth Morgan, the editor of Daily Lies Sunday in the UK, who said: 'We're absolutely horrified here in the office, and as a company. This has no merit as an editorial decision, it has no merit morally, it's frankly a horrible decision.' St James's Palace has announced their plans to sue Closer magazine for the initial publication of the photos, and have also released a statement comparing the invasion of privacy to 'the worst excesses of the press and paparazzi during the life of Diana, Princess of Wales.'

The photographers who took 'distasteful' topless pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge are 'peeping toms' who should be prosecuted, Sir John Major has said. The former prime minister, who was appointed as a guardian to the duke and his younger brother when their mother died in 1997, said that 'a boundary had been crossed.' Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show on BBC1, Major said it was 'absolutely right' of Clarence House to aggressively take on the publishers of the French edition of Closer magazine. 'The boundaries have plainly been crossed. I don't think we need to mince words about these photographs. The way they have been obtained is tasteless. It is the action of a peeping tom. In our country we prosecute peeping toms. That is exactly what they have done and they have been peeping with long lenses from a long way away. They are very distasteful. I have often in the past been critical of the British media. I thoroughly applaud the fact that they will not touch these pictures with a barge pole. They deserve credit for not doing so. It is a pity that other people overseas have lower standards.' Asked what he would say if he bumped into the former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, whose family owns a magazine that is planning to publish more of the photos, Major said: 'It is very unlikely and it might not be a good conversation.' Major's comments came as the newspaper owner Richard Desmond was taking steps to close the Irish Daily Star, which had taken the decision to publish the topless pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge sunbathing while on holiday in France. The paper had been condemned by St James's Palace after it ran thirteen pictures of the duchess along with an image of the French Closer magazine, which first published the pictures on its front cover. Desmond is convinced he has the power to shut down the whole operation, given that he owns the British title. Alleged 'insiders' believe he has already instructed lawyers to begin the necessary legal action to terminate publication. The Irish Daily Star website remained down on Saturday evening. It emerged on Saturday that two hundred pictures taken of the couple at their private retreat were being offered to publications around Europe. Alfonso Signorini, editor of Chi magazine, an Italian gossip title, told the Observer that he planned a twenty six-page feature containing thirty pictures to be published on Monday. He said the pictures 'will not damage her dignity, nor are they in any way morbid,' adding that they contain 'normal topless shots, except Kate happens to be the future Queen.' He added: 'They are not scandalous, there are no unpublishable pictures. It is just a huge scoop.'

Giant Spanish slugs have been mating with their British counterparts to create a new mutant strain of 'superslugs' according to the tabloid press. Run for the hills! The Spanish molluscs are thought to have arrived in the UK 'in salads' during the summer months (which, frankly, is disturbing enough in and of itself), and have already spread all the way across the country to Wales. The Mirra reports that they can grow up to fifteen centimetres in length, and produce hundreds more eggs than the typical British slug, which could spell trouble for the indigenous slug population. Slug expert Les Noble of Aberdeen University said: 'These slugs are like conquistadors were to the Aztecs. Native slugs can't keep pace and may become extinct. They are simply being overrun and when you consider the Spanish slug will happily make a meal out of a dead rabbit as much as out of dog muck you can see why they are so successful. We have already seen when these slugs move into an area, the native slugs vanish almost immediately. They can wipe out whole crops and prevent them growing there again.' A seventy two-year-old from Wales has claimed to have seen the giant slugs in her garden 'eating snails,' and added: 'Our dog caught one, it was so big I thought it was a mouse.' What should we do? Quick, somebody ask Victoria Coren.
And, still on the subject of silly animal stories that the tabloids love, an Ohio woman was 'shocked' and 'stunned' to find her pet cat hiding in her suitcase after a ten-hour journey to Disneyland. Despite being security checked at Port Columbus International Airport, Ethel Maze was unaware of the stowaway in her luggage until she arrived at her hotel in Orlando. Metro reports that the fourteen-month-old cat, Bob-bob (which is a stupid name for a cat by the way, Ethel), 'appeared to be shaken from the long-haul flight, however soon began purring after being discovered.' Yes. That was breathing. Once she had found Bob-bob, Maze went to a local pet store to get supplies for her mischievous pet, although questions are now being raised over the security at the airport. Sari Koshetz, a spokeswomen for the Transport Security Administration, said: 'Our machines are very sensitive to picking up explosives and other threats to aviation.' But, not so much with cats, it would seem. Maze was part of a group which travel annually to Orlando with former service members and volunteers. Mike Groleau, who handled the group's bags, told ABC News that 'he thought he saw the bag move, but loaded it along with the other bags heading to Orlando.'

Sarah Millican is to boycott Britain's largest theatre chain because of the crippling extra fees they charge customers. The comic has just announced her mammoth 2013-14 tour Home Bird - but it will not be visiting any of the thirty nine venues owned by the Ambassador Theatre Group. On her website, Sarah wrote: 'Some of you will notice that I’m not playing some of the venues I played on my last tour, those venues are owned and run by The Ambassador Theatre Group. 'I don't agree with the extra charges ATG put on top of the face value ticket price to you the customer and a number of other restrictions they have in place so that's why I've avoided their venues this time round. We’ve booked alternative theatres though across the country so you will still be able to find somewhere close to you to come and see the show.' ATG, which has a separate ticketing agency arm, adds up to £4.90 to the face value of each purchased ticket, plus a 'transaction fee' which can be as high as four quid.

More than fifty four thousand people took part in The Great North Run on Sunday - the annual half marathon from Newcastle to South Shields. Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah was one of five London 2012 competitors who acted as starters for the race. Wilson Kipsang produced a superb sprint finish to win the event with a time of fifty nine minutes and six seconds. Ethiopia's Olympic ten thousand metres champion Tirunesh Dibaba won the women's race on her half-marathon debut. The event, in part created by local Olympic legend brendan Foster, was first staged in 1981 and has become one of the world's biggest road runs. Among those taking part was a man who ran with a fridge on his back for the thirtieth day in a row. Tony The Fridge Phoenix-Morrison has run the 13.1-mile circuit with a forty kilogram fridge strapped to his back on each of the previous twenty nine days as part of a challenge to raise money for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation cancer charity. The forty eight-year-old, from Hebburn, has taken part in the Great North Run sixteen times, including his first time bearing the fridge last year. And he has said he will run the same course on Monday without the kitchen appliance, 'just for fun. It's been an honour to carry out this challenge. I worked really hard to prepare for it and I've got stronger as it has gone on,' he said. 'I'm just going to take my time and enjoy it.' Double Olympic champion Farah - who also started the race last year when he had just been crowned world five thousand metres champion - was due to run the race for the first time this year. But the athlete, who has newly-born twin daughters, pulled out earlier this month saying: 'The last few weeks have taken their toll and it would be disrespectful to take on the distance without the necessary hard training.' He did however win a two-mile race at the Great North City Games on Gateshead quayside on Saturday. The Olympic five and ten thousand metres gold medallist acted as honorary starter alongside fellow London 2012 champions long jumper Greg Rutherford, boxer Nicola Adams, Paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds and rower Kat Copeland, who comes from the North East. There was also a fly-past by the Red Arrows display team at the start of the race. The Great North Run was devised by 1976 Olympic ten thousand metres medallist and BBC athletics commentator Brendan Foster. The first race in 1981 attracted twelve thousand participants but over the next three decades it has become the UK's largest mass participation race, with only the London Marathon attracting a crowd close to matching it. Participants run from the Central Motorway in Newcastle, across the Tyne Bridge, down the Felling Bypass and on to the John Reid Road to the coast at South Shields.

The death of Marc Bolan has its own legend. Fans from around the world have converged on the tree in South West London where the glam rock superstar drew his last breath thirty five years ago today. Now, however, it has been revealed the legend was at least partly wrong. For the first time, an eyewitness to the devastation of the car crash which killed the rock star tells her story to a national newspaper. Vicky Aram, seventy seven, a former nightclub singer, was invited back from a party by Bolan, his girlfriend the singer Gloria Jones and Jones's brother Richard to discuss musical projects. Following them in a separate car, Aram was at the scene seconds after the impact. It was thought Bolan was killed when his car hit the now much-beribboned sycamore tree. He was, in fact, killed when his Mini hit a steel-reinforced fence post. Where previously he had been thought to have been crushed to death in the car, a new book reveals he suffered a horrific head injury from a bolt in the fence. The book also reveals that the tree so despised by fans actually prevented the car from sliding down an embankment and causing an even worse tragedy. The revelations come in a new biography, published this weekend, Ride a White Swan: The Lives and Death of Marc Bolan written by the journalist Lesley-Ann Jones. Speaking to the Independent on Sunday this weekend, Aram described how she was driving just seconds behind Bolan on the ill-fated night: 'As I came over the bridge with Richard [Jones] beside me, I can still in my mind see, so clearly, a purple car which looked like a little beetle. It was upright and it was smoking and there was a tiny glimmer of light from the moon, the night was so still.' The 'little beetle' was the Mini driven by Gloria Jones. Aram said she didn't immediately stop at the car but drove a few metres past it. 'I said "we've got to get them out, this car might blow up." I took my mother's rug from the back of my car and put it on the ground. Some of the fans are comforted by the fact he was laid on a nice lady's rug. I don't think Richard thought Marc was dead, but I knew he was. Gloria was groaning and almost conscious. But Richard cried and said "please don't leave me."' In an eerie parallel with Bolan's death, Aram said she crashed into a tree on the way to give evidence at Bolan's inquest a month later. At the height of his fame which came, like his close friend David Bowie, in the early 1970s, Bolan – born Mark Feld – outsold Jimi Hendrix and The Who with his band T Rex. But his good looks, catchy songs, air of mystique and untimely death at the age of twenty nine meant interest in his star has never waned. Shortly before his death Bolan had become something of a Godfather figure to the early punk movement, touring with The Damned and Siouxsie & The Banshees and, as a consequence, his influence on at least another couple of generations of British pop stars has been widely, and freely, acknowledged. Fee Warner, founder of the T Rex Action Group, bought the land where the sycamore tree stands to stop it from being felled. She and volunteers preserve the shrine dedicated to Bolan. Warner, fifty three, said: 'A lot of people don't realise there was a fence between the tree and the road, because the fence was removed. When we came to build some steps, we found that when they had taken the fences away, they had taken away the ones that were undamaged, but the damaged ones had become buried on the site. That explains something which I have never been able to understand: why the damage to the tree is far higher than anything a Mini could have done.'

Which brings us nicely to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Tell 'em all about it, Marc.

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