Friday, October 12, 2012

But Here I Am In Prison

Who Do You Think You Are? was beaten in its Wednesday night slot for the first time in its run this week, according to the latest overnight data. Celia Imrie's family history, the eighth edition of the genealogy show's ninth series, drew 4.32m overnight viewers in the 9pm hour. The BBC1 show was pipped by the return of ITV's crime drama DCI Banks, which pulled in 4.42m. This is the second week ITV has won the 9pm slot after Who Do You Think You Are? made way for a Panorama programme last week. Starring Stephen Tompkinson, the crime drama's second series launch matched last year's Friday opener, and added two hundred and sixty three thousand additional punters on ITV+1. Grand Designs, which also didn't broadcast last week due to Channel Four's week-long spread of the risible flop Hotel GB, held onto the majority of its audience, 2.15m, while Dallas's slow decline deepened with 1.2m watching the latest episode of the US import on Channel Five. During the 8pm hour, Watchdog re-extended its lead over the abysmal All Star Mr & Mrs, with 5.02m against the waste-of-space game show's 4.39m sad crushed victims of society. The Great British Food Revival was shown on BBC2 with 1.4m, whilst The Food Hospital on Channel Four was watched by 1.16m.

The BBC has unveiled a new animated Doctor Who scene set after The Angels Take Manhattan. The sequence - which was written by Chris Chibnall but never shot - has been brought to life using animated storyboards and a voiceover from Arthur Darvill. P.S. was released on Friday on the BBC's official Doctor Who site. The four-and-a-half minute scene sheds more light on what happened to Rory and Amy after they were sent back in time by The Weeping Angels and also features the character of Rory's father Brian (played by Mark Williams). 'We're delighted we can present this lovely scene written by Chris Chibnall,' said Doctor Who executive producer Caroline Skinner. 'People took Rory's dad, Brian, to their hearts very quickly, so it's fitting we can give the character a degree of closure in this poignant piece.' It is, indeed, rather sweet - albeit, the music's a bit overwhelming.
Expect some members of fandom to now spend the next seventy five years or so arguing over whether this is canon of not!

Shonda Rhimes's political thriller Scandal has found a home in the UK on More4. Kerry Washington stars as former White House communications director Olivia Pope in the ABC show. Her character is partially based on George Bush press aide Judy Smith. Set in Washington DC, the show centres on Pope's new crisis management firm and its staff. Henry Ian Cusick, Columbus Short, Darby Stanchfield, Katie Lowes, Guillermo Diaz, Jeff Perry and Tony Goldwyn also star in the first season of the drama. It's not The West Wing, but it's pretty decent I've you've never stumbled across it before. It will premiere in the UK on Thursday 25 October. The show's second season started in the US last month.

A BBC film crew was arrested at gunpoint and, they claim, threatened with all manner of nasty malarkey while trying to sneak into Area Fifty One, the notorious US military base where some people believe a UFO is housed. While filming new BBC3 series UFO: Conspiracy Road Trip, Irish comedian Andrew Maxwell and 'UFO expert' (so, somebody without a real job) Darren Perks tried to get into the site. Presumably, they thought the massive signs saying 'No Trespassing' didn't apply to them? However, they were stopped by guards armed with M16 machine guns and forced to lie face-down in the dirty for three hours while authorities 'checked their credentials.' Or, you know, 'taught them a - long overdue - lesson in why it's, generally, not a very good idea to trespass on military installations. Particularly when those guarding said installations have very big shooters.' It would be interesting to know if Irish comedian Andrew Maxwell said anything particularly thigh-slapping and hil-bloody-larious whilst he had his nose buried in the dirt and a geet big nasty M16 pressed into his neck. I'm guessing probably not. The twelve-strong crew had visited the Area Fifty One site in Nevada 'looking for evidence that a flying saucer and even alien bodies had been held there by the US military since the 1940s.' As though these morons expected just to walk in to one of the most heavily guarded bits of land on the planet and say 'oh, look, there's a UFO, let's get a quick shot of it.' Prats. It was, reportedly, as they crossed the border into the site that they were arrested by military officers, who confiscated their mobile phones, wallets and identification. Speaking to that jolly good friend of the BBC, the Daily Scum Mail, Perks said that they had been filming for half-an-hour at what is known as 'The Back Gate' of Area Fifty One, when they decided to walk past the barriers and into the restricted area. Emphasis on the word 'restricted' there, I'd've said. 'We filmed again for another thirty minutes and even messed around doing a silly dance, but still no guards,' he said. 'Then one of the other stars of the trip pointed out that on looking through one of the security hut windows, she could see the guards all sitting down eating dinner and watching the basketball game on TV. They did nothing. So after a few more minutes and a few more picture taking and filming, one of the crew decided to speak to the guards and knocked on their hut door.' Well, that was a good idea. wasn't it? 'All hell broke loose,' Perks continued, seemingly with some surprise. 'The guards rushed out with their weapons and forced us all to lay face down at gunpoint in the tarmac. We were all searched, had our phones, wallets and IDs taken and the film equipment taken.' The group were held face down for three hours until the Lincoln County Sheriffs arrived on the scene. At that stage, Perks said that 'things eased off a bit' and they were taken off the restricted area, processed and fined three hundred and seventy five pounds each. 'We were told that this incident was so serious that Washington had to call London to advise that twelve "Brits" had just breached security at America's most top-secret military base and that we all were at one point going to jail for six months. Luckily whoever it was in Washington was kind enough to just fine us,' he said. 'As time went on into the evening at approximately 11pm we were allowed to stand around together while things were signed off to let us go. At this point I managed to talk to the guards a bit and one told me how they could "make you disappear and your body will never be found."' The group was allowed to leave the site at 11.30pm local time, but said that they were followed by government vehicles right into the following day.

Two former senior BBC TV executives have strongly denied that claims of sexual abuse by alleged dirty old scallywag Sir Jimmy Savile were 'an open secret' - the Gruniad Morning Star's words, not this bloggers - at the corporation in the 1980s. Jim Moir, who as a BBC entertainment executive was in charge of Jim'll Fix It and Top of the Pops in the 1980s, said he never received any complaint or warning about Savile's alleged behaviour towards underage girls. Jonathan Powell, the controller of BBC1 from 1987 to 1993, also told the Gruniad that he had never heard of 'any rumours or complaints.' Powell said he had never even met Jimmy Savile during his period at the BBC. Moir, the BBC's head of TV variety from 1982 to 1987 before he became head of light entertainment between 1987 to 1993, told the Gruniad: 'There is so much talk about rumours, but I can tell you that neither from external sources or internally, neither by nods and winks or by innuendo, did I receive any scintilla of this story whatsoever, or discuss it or his behaviour with my superiors. There was not a scintilla of this either from Roger Ordish, his producer for twenty years.' Moir claimed that none of the three BBC1 controllers he worked with during that time – Alan Hart, Michael Grade and Powell – ever discussed the matter with him. He added that the late Bill Cotton, the former managing director of BBC TV, would 'never have turned a blind eye to paedophilia' and Keith Samuel, BBC TV's chief press officer for thirteen years from 1985, also now deceased, had 'never raised it' with him. Moir added: 'I have subsequently heard, round about the time of his funeral, stories about his preferences for young girls, but never about underage young girls.' Moir said he was 'bemused' that so much predatory activity is alleged to have taken place on BBC TV premises in West London. 'As to [Savile's] time at TV Centre, we made one series of Jim'll Fix It a year, thirteen programmes. He rarely if ever appeared [during] the filming, all he was required to do was take the brief from Roger Ordish and read the links, rehearse late afternoon, and do them. Top of the Pops ran for fifty two weeks, but he was no means the main presenter – there was Noel Edmonds and Dave Lee Travis.' Former Radio 1 press officer Rodney Collins and former BBC TV studio manager Brian Thompson also denied that sexual abuse allegations about Savile were 'well known.' Collins, the former press officer for Radio 1 when Savile was a DJ at the station in the 1970s, welcomed the BBC's announcement that it will launch an internal inquiry following any criminal investigation. Collins was asked by the former Radio 1 controller, Douglas Muggeridge, in 1973 to ask tabloid newspapers whether they planned to publish any sex abuse claims about Savile. He said: 'I never knew anything of this and it's important to stress that after the incident in 1973 in my remaining couple of years at the BBC I never heard any more about Savile or the allegations or certainly any sex ring.' Thompson, a writer and former BBC studio manager, said he could not remember seeing 'anything amiss' at the corporation's London TV studios, where some of the abuse is alleged to have taken place. He added: 'I didn't think at any time that women were being exploited in any way but, as I said, I wasn't looking for it.' The man leading the BBC investigation is Kit Kitson, the head of the corporation's investigation unit, which deals with all matters relating to health and security. The unit, which has in the past investigated everything from whistleblowing to theft, is taking phone calls and written accounts from members of the public and BBC staff.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the BBC Trust made his first public intervention in the Jimmy Savile affair, arguing that he was confident there had been no 'corporate cover-up' when Newsnight dropped its planned investigation into allegations of sexual abuse by the presenter in December of last year. Lord Patten spoke at a Broadcasting Press Guild lunch on Wednesday to defend the involvement of director general George Entwistle and other senior executives who were aware of the proposed film at the time – and to provide a qualified endorsement of the editor of Newsnight for his decision to drop the investigation. The peer insisted that Peter Rippon, Newsnight's editor, 'was not leaned on' by any of the senior executives he said were made aware of the Savile investigation at the time – and added that 'whether or not you think he [Rippon] made the right judgment' everybody 'is incredibly good at being wise after the event.' The senior executives aware of the Newsnight film were, Patten said, Entwistle – then director of vision, Mark Thompson, the former director general, and Helen Boaden, the director of news. All were alerted about the film because of the investigation's sensitivity and because the BBC was planning to broadcast tributes to the recently deceased Savile last Christmas. 'They did not interfere to stop it,' Patten said, adding that 'I react quite badly' to 'questions about their journalistic integrity.' The BBC Trust chairman had also observed that it was 'wrong to suggest' that the film had been dropped because of 'a corporate cover-up' because that was 'not how the BBC operates.' Patten said he had not seen the script or treatment of the Newsnight film, which alleged 'insiders' at the programme allegedly told the muck-raking Gruniad was prepared because their investigation into Savile was 'so advanced.' But the chairman indicated that he expected the abandoned Newsnight film to be among the subjects examined by the planned BBC independent inquiry. The chairman said it was 'literally inconceivable' that the planned inquiry – whose chair or lead has yet to be named – could proceed unless 'the person conducting it was not absolutely satisfied with the terms of reference.' The BBC has not yet announced who will lead the inquiry, but has confirmed it will be someone from outside the BBC. The former Conservative cabinet minster said that he was 'not aware' of similar allegations of wrongdoing made against any other BBC presenter, after police said on Tuesday that they were investigating one hundred and twenty lines of inquiry about alleged sexual abuse by Savile relating to up to twenty five women and at least one man. The full scale of the allegations about the radio and television star's alleged abuse first emerged last week in an ITV documentary. Patten also said the he had written to Entwistle to ask for 'reassurance' that the BBC's harassment and child protection policies are of 'a gold standard' as the broadcaster contends with allegations that some of the alleged abuses by Savile allegedly took place on its premises. He said that he wanted the director general 'to assure us' that the BBC child protection policies 'are up to date' and 'effective in protecting minors.' He released a copy of the letter he had written to Entwistle, which also asked for reassurances about the BBC's sexual harassment policies.

There isn't much to laugh about in the Jimmy Savile scandal generally but even if there was, don't expect much the BBC's output. At least that's what comedian Dara O'Briain claims. He alleges that he's been told not to make any references Savile on his Mock the Week show. 'I don't think they wanted anything about that on Mock the Week, so we were the one organisation which couldn't talk about Jimmy Savile,' he allegedly told the Sun. If this quote is accurate, and I've no reason to believe that it isn't, then how nice it is to see Dara nitching up his employers - who, one assumes, pay him a pretty decent annual salary for presenting Mock The Week and his science shows with Brian Cox - like a dirty stinking Copper's Nark to, of all people, News International.

One final bit about the latest round of Savile revelations and it's this: A former BBC TV director has claimed that he 'blew the whistle' about Jimmy Savile having sex with a young girl at the BBC but was ignored when he reported the incident to his bosses. So, seemingly, he didn't blow the whistle very loudly. David Nicolson, now sixty seven, worked with Savile on Jim'll Fix It and Top of the Pops over ten years and said 'his bosses' - whoever they are - 'just shrugged it off' when he told them what he had seen. He claimed it is wrong of executives at the corporation to say nobody knew what was going on because 'everyone would have known about it.' Which, if these allegations are true, is shocking in the extreme. But, here's a thought to drop into your toaster and see if it pops up brown. Nicolson claims that he saw a crime being committed and yet he never once mentioned this to the police. Instead, he waited thirty years till after Savile's death (and, not even immediately afterwards, but a year later), before selling his story to the Sun. Well, what a total bloody hero you are, Dave, mate. Jolly well done on all counts. Course, it's worth speculating that had you gone to the police when you were, allegedly, a first-hand witness to this skulduggery that plenty of other women might not have had to suffer from Jimmy Savile's alleged abuses. Nicolson claimed that he walked into Savile's dressing room one day and caught 'him having sex' with a 'very, very young' girl. 'It was a bog standard changing room in the basement. They both quickly pulled up their pants. The girl could have been sixteen, maybe fifteen. But she was just one of many – he always had one in the room,' Nicolson claimed to the Sun. He added: 'I was shocked. I had gone in to talk business and quickly got out.' Nicolson added: 'Everyone knew what was going on. That includes senior BBC people – chiefs at the highest levels. There were always girls in Jimmy's dressing room. Everyone would have known about it – all the hair and make-up people, the wardrobe, show directors, producers.' Chiefs 'at the highest level' whom, helpfully, he didn't actually name. He alleged that on the set of Jim'll Fix It, Savile would always bring 'scruffy girls into the studios – all teenagers. But no questions were ever asked.' And, again, to note that Nicolson, along with plenty of other people who claim to have 'known' about Savile's alleged crimes - like, for instance, the former tabloid editor who alleges that he 'knew' of the allegations against Savile for forty five years - said nothing, either to the police or the papers which might have stopped these alleged abuses from continuing. A BBC spokesperson said: 'We have been disturbed to hear these allegations. All staff past and present who have any information relating to allegations of this kind should raise them with the BBC's internal investigations unit or with the police directly.'

The biggest ever independent investigation into police wrongdoing is to be carried out following a damning report into the Hillsborough disaster. The IPCC police watchdog and director of public prosecutions have announced they will both launch inquiries into possible crimes committed by police. The IPCC said both serving and former officers would be investigated over the manslaughter of ninety six Liverpool fans in 1989. The Hillsborough Family Support Group said it was 'too good to be true.' The Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer will review evidence relating to how the fans died, which could lead to charges of 'manslaughter through gross negligence.' Meanwhile, the IPCC said it would look at whether there was a 'criminal cover-up' by South Yorkshire Police of failings by the force. A 'large number' of current and former officers now face investigation over claims made in a report on the Hillsborough disaster, the IPCC said. The Hillsborough Independent Panel last month revealed one hundred and sixty four police statements were altered - one hundred and sixteen of them seemingly to remove or change 'negative comments' about the policing of the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at the Sheffield stadium. It said police and emergency services had made 'strenuous attempts' to deflect the blame for the disaster on to victims themselves. The panel also found that forty one of the ninety six who died had the 'potential to survive' and calls have been made for fresh inquests. Deborah Glass, deputy chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, said 'without a shadow of a doubt' it would be the biggest ever investigation carried out into police behaviour in the UK. Both South Yorkshire Police, who dealt with the tragedy, and West Midlands Police, who investigated how South Yorkshire handled the disaster, will come under scrutiny. The scale of what the IPCC has announced is completely unprecedented. There has never been an independent police investigation in the UK into multiple forces, in which the key allegations include perverting the course of justice - one of the most serious crimes that could potentially be committed by a sworn officer. What is not clear at the moment is how many officers, both serving and former, will come under investigation and how long it will take. The second key issue will be whether, after all these years, investigators will be able to build cases which will reach the criminal standard of proof required for prosecutions. Sir Norman Bettison, the soon-to-be-former Chief Constable of West Yorkshire, has been referred to the IPCC over allegations that he provided misleading information after the tragedy. It has also been revealed that he is additionally under investigation over allegations that he 'attempted to influence the decision-making process of the West Yorkshire Police Authority in connection with the referral that they had made,' Glass said. She added: 'The potential criminal and misconduct offences disclosed by the panel's report fall into two broad categories. They are the allegations that go to the heart of what happened at Hillsborough in April 1989 and individuals and institutions may be culpable for the deaths, and there are allegations about what happened after the disaster, that evidence was fabricated and misinformation was spread in an attempt to shift blame.' West Yorkshire Police said that Bettison was 'keen to co-operate with the IPCC inquiry.' Oh, I'll bet he is. Responding to the news of the inquiries, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said everything the families of Hillsborough victims had said in the past was justified and added: 'You need truth, then you need to use the truth against people who did some very bad and wrong things.' Allegations that statements were altered and that misleading information was passed to the media and MPs will be investigated and could lead to police misconduct and criminal charges, Glass said. Claims that officers questioned bereaved next of kin about their loved ones' alcohol consumption, carried out alcohol testing and checked the police national computer to find information about the dead and injured could also lead to charges. Liverpool Football Club said the inquiries were 'another significant step forward in the campaign for justice for Hillsborough families and survivors.' Chief Constable of West Midlands Police, Chris Sims, said: 'I welcome today's decision by the IPCC to look into the role of West Midlands Police following the tragedy at Hillsborough in 1989. As chief constable I read the Hillsborough Independent Panel Report and immediately referred West Midlands Police to the IPCC. Today, the IPCC have accepted that referral and West Midlands Police will give their full support to the IPCC investigation.'

Is Brian Leveson a shade nervous about the possible reaction from certain sections of the press to his hotly-anticipated report on the future regulation of the industry, by any chance? One only only asks after it emerged - in notorious trouble-making toilet paper, the Gruniad Morning Star - that Leveson will be 'leaving the country shortly after his report in published,' flying to the other side of the world for a media conference in Sydney on 7 December. W'hat better way to escape any press backlash than speak at an event in the country of Rupert Murdoch's birth?' asks some louse of no great importance at the Gruniad.

The lack of culture secretary, Maria Miller, has decided that Global Radio's takeover of the Gruniad Morning Star Media Group's radio business does not raise serious plurality issues relating to the provision of news. Former lack of culture secretary, the vile and odious rascal Hunt (oh, how we're missing you here in medialand, rascal) ordered an investigation into Global Radio's seventy million smackers deal to buy GMG Radio in August, citing 'concerns' over media plurality issues raised by combining the largest and third largest radio groups in the UK outside of the BBC. Media regulator Ofcom was asked to deliver a report on potential plurality issues with the deal to the Department for Culture Media and Sport, with concerns over a concentration of news provision in areas such as Wales. On Thursday Miller, who took over as lack of culture secretary in last month's cabinet reshuffle whilst the vile and odious rascal Hunt went off to destroy the NHS, cleared the deal in relation to those issues. Global Radio, the parent company of brands including Capital, Heart and Classic FM, has offered to spin off a separate news service in Wales to address any plurality issues there. 'We welcome the secretary of state's decision today,' said a spokesman for Global Radio. 'The enhanced news service that Global intends to provide in Wales post the merger, in the event of full merger clearance in Wales by the Competition Commission, is of enormous value to the people of Wales, deepening and strengthening plurality in the nation. We are pleased that the secretary of state, along with the Welsh Assembly, has recognised its enormous value.' The deal will still be scrutinised by the Competition Commission on competition grounds. Global Radio has already applied for the deal to be put through a fast-track investigation process by the competition regulator. The news is a blow to Bauer Radio, the second largest commercial radio group in Britain, which has lobbied for the deal to be investigated and blocked. Bauer, which owns networks including Magic and Kiss FM, was an unsuccessful bidder for GMG Radio. So, not sour grapes at all, then. Oh no, very hot water.

Denise Van Outen may not be able to perform on Strictly Come Dancing on Saturday night. She revealed that she was 'in serious pain' after suffering whiplash earlier this week. You have to pay good money for that sort of thing down Soho, dear blog reader. Oh, so this blogger is led to believe. Anyway ...

A restaurant has apologised after a toddler was served whiskey instead of fruit juice at his birthday party. Sonny Rees drank the forty per cent proof whiskey at his second birthday in a Frankie & Benny's restaurant in Swansea. His mother, Nina Rees, 'only realised the mistake' after he had nearly finished the drink. And ordered another one. Probably. Rees, thirty four, said: 'We went to the restaurant just after midday and I had ordered him lime juice and water, his favourite. The drinks arrived and I was encouraging him to take sips because he was eating salty things. We had finished our first course when we noticed he was pulling a face as he was drinking. I took it from him and took a sip myself. It was whiskey, I would say a double. As soon as I sipped it I had the slight burny feeling in my throat and warming in my chest. Sonny had taken about ten sips - he was obviously intoxicated.' Rees, who is a teacher, complained to the manager who took a sip herself. And, no doubt, said 'that's a whiskey, you were only charged for a lime and water. What's the problem?' Rees was 'disappointed by the staff's reaction' and called NHS Direct before taking Sonny to accident and emergency. Sonny was asleep by the time he arrived at Morriston Hospital, Swansea, where staff monitored his vital signs. He was later given the all-clear and allowed to go home. The family took photographs of Sonny with his drink before they realised it was whiskey. A Frankie and Benny's spokesman said: 'The company is incredibly sorry for what happened. It was a human error and we are putting measures in place to ensure it never happens again.' Like, presumably, 'y'can't give booze t'baby,' one imagines.

And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. This would seem rather appropriate. Sing, Phil.

No comments: