Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Down By Law, Right From The Core

Downton Abbey won back its Sunday ratings crown from The X Factor this week, the latest overnight data has revealed. Some 9.46m watched the most recent episode of ITV's hit period drama in the 9pm hour. Meanwhile, The X Factor pulled in 9.37m in the 8pm slot as Rylan Clark survived another week at the expense of Melanie Masson. Apparently. Strictly Come Dancing's half-hour results show, which culminated with the departure of Johnny Ball, drew 8.06m at 7pm on BBC1. ITV's late scheduling of an hour-long Coronation Street in the 7pm slot, which attracted 6.24m, seems to have dented Strictly's audience somewhat. Tracy Barlow's pregnancy bombshell in Corrie was seen by a further four hundred and eighty four thousand punters on +ITv1. After Strictly on BBC1, Countryfile commanded a strong 6.44m at 7.30pm, then 4.51m watched The Antiques Roadshow. But, sadly, the hole in BBC1's - otherwise very impressive - Sunday night line-up continues to be Andrew Marr's History of the World which was watched by a frankly piss-poor 2.6m at 9.30pm. Elsewhere, the second episode of Homeland's second series dipped to 1.83m at 9pm on Channel Four. Over on BBC2, a rare showing of an episode of Fawlty Towers attracted 1.57m at 7pm, while Dragons' Den appealed to 1.79m in the 9pm slot.

England's opening World Cup qualifying group game gave ITV a reasonable audience on Friday night. Between 7.30pm and 10.10pm, an average of 5.5 million watched England's not especially impressive 5-0 victory over San Marino. Have I Got News For You returned with 5.09m with a superb episode hosted by Clare Balding and anchored BBC1's schedule in the 9pm slot. However, new sitcom Me and Mrs Jones launched with a modest 3.13m at 9.30pm (and a modest amount of laughs, too). Nigel Slater's Dish of the Day (4.96m) and Miranda (4.29m) secured solid audiences earlier on. Elsewhere, Qi (two million) topped the night for BBC2 in its 10pm slot.

Here's the final consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty Five programmes for week ending 7 October:-
1 Downton Abbey - Sun ITV - 11.34m
2 The X Factor Results - Sun ITV - 10.2m
3 Strictly Come Dancing - Sat BBC1 - 9.97m
4 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 9.18m
5 New Tricks - Mon BBC1 - 8.48m
6 EastEnders - Tue BBC1 - 8.32m
7 Merlin - Sat BBC1 - 7.12m
8 Emmerdale - Thu ITV - 6.86m
9 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 6.52m
10 Ten O Clock News - Fri BBC1 - 5.82m
11 The Paradise - Tue BBC1 - 5.79m
12 Hunted - Thu BBC1 - 5.69m
13 The Great British Bake Off - Tue BBC2/BBC HD - 5.69m
14 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 5.16m
15 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 5.04m
16 Holby City - Tue BBC1 - 4.93m
17 Watchdog - Wed BBC1 - 4.90m
18 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 4.88m
19 Six O'Clock News - Fri BBC1 - 4.87m
20 Mrs Biggs - Wed ITV - 4.45m*
21 The Chase: Celebrity Specials - Sun ITV - 4.43m*
22 The ONE Show - Tue BBC1 - 4.40m
23 All Star Mr & Mrs - Wed ITV - 4.14m
24 Paul O'Grady: For The Love Of Dogs - Mon ITV - 4.10m*
25 Monroe - Mon ITV - 4.00m*
Those programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures. Aside from The Great British Bake Off BBC2's other top performers of the week include University Challenge (2.99m). Homeland pulled in 3.03m for the star of its new series on Channel Four.
Charlotte Church has called on billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch to apologise and withdraw his comments after he called phone-hacking campaigners 'scumbag celebrities' in a Twitter attack on the singer and others who are lobbying David Cameron to implement press reforms. Church, whose family received a six hundred thousand smackers pay out from Murdoch's news International for their naughty phone-hacking ways earlier this year, went on Twitter on Monday to join the growing number of people who have rounded on the News Corporation chairman and chief executive for his remarks. 'It would be decent to withdraw and apologise for calling me Jacqui Hames scumbags,' Church said in a tweet. She was responding to Murdoch's extraordinary outburst on Saturday when the odious slime bucket (and drag) criticised the prime minister for meeting a group of phone-hacking campaigners, including Church and the former policewoman and Crimewatch presenter Jacqui Hames who is currently suing News International over alleged hacking by the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World. He tweeted: 'Told UK's Cameron receiving scumbag celebrities pushing for even more privacy laws. Trust the toffs! Transparency under attack. Bad.' Church and Hames are part of the Hacked Off lobby group which is campaigning for press reforms. Members of the group last week met with Cameron to discuss reports that he was preparing to allow newspapers one more chance at self-regulation. Murdoch's remarks on Twitter have angered many including former MP Evan Harris, one of the founders of Hacked Off who said: 'The mask has slipped. This is no longer "the humblest day of my life", Murdoch is it?' Last year Murdoch went before a parliamentary select committee to ever so humbly apologise for the Scum of the World's loathsome hacking of the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, calling his appearance as 'the humblest day of my life.' He also paid three million smackers to the Dowler family and to charities of their choice in compensation. Murdoch's remarks come days after the high court heard News International was facing more than one hundred and seventy claims for damages for alleged phone-hacking by the Scum of the World, including cases brought by Cherie Blair, Neil Kinnock, Sarah Ferguson and Joanne Lees, whose boyfriend was killed in the Australian outback. On Twitter, Murdoch subsequently tried to back-peddle for his 'scumbag' remark telling Hames that he wasn't referring to her or Church, tweeting 'not referring to these ladies.' But he then went on to make a direct attack on Hugh Grant, who is also part of Hacked Off and is also suing News International for alleged hacking. When one Twitter user responded to Murdoch: 'Scumbags? And your journalists and executives are what?', the odious billionaire louse replied: 'They don't get arrested for indecency on major LA highways! Or abandon love child's.' No, indeed. They've merely been arrested for, allegedly, hacking phones, attempting to pervert the course of justice and paying bribes to police officers and other public officials (charges which they all deny, of course). That's very different. Murdoch then seemingly tried to link the issue with the Jimmy Savile scandal. 'Likes of Saville further protected if we don't fight Cameron, dodgy celebrities in UK,' he tweeted. 'Could not happen in US.' Church hit back on Monday tweeting: 'What do you mean by "dodgy"? My understanding of the word is "lacking legitimacy", a term that befits NI before me or Jacqui Hames.' Hames then tweeted: 'When you're in a hole Rupert. Celebrities not scumbags, just "dodgy", Murdoch tweets.'

Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks received a pay-off worth about seven million smackers after resigning as chief executive of News International at the height of the Milly Dowler phone-hacking crisis in July 2011. The exact figure has never been disclosed by the Murdoch company – whose parent News Corporation holds its annual meeting on Tuesday – but one source said they believed it was between six and eight million quid. An intimate of billionaire tyrant and Twitter abuser Rupert Murdoch, Brooks started out as a secretary at the Scum of the World in 1989, becoming editor of the Scum of the World and, later, the Sun. She retained Murdoch's confidence as the phone-hacking crisis intensified. After the News Corp patriarch flew into London in July last year, he took Brooks out for dinner, declaring that she was his 'top priority' when questioned in the street by journalists. The pay-off package, far in excess of the £1.7m which was speculated about after her departure, comprised cash payments for loss of service, pension enhancement, money for legal costs, a car and an office. News International declined to comment on the sum involved, but alleged 'company insiders' allegedly 'stressed' there were 'clawback' arrangements, which mean Brooks would have to pay some of the money back 'in certain circumstances.' It is understood that pay-back would be enforceable if Brooks were to be found guilty of a criminal offence relating to her employment. She is currently facing charges relating to interception of communications and obstruction. News Corp has not had to make any disclosure in public accounts, because its British companies have not reported their results to Companies House yet. News International companies have a financial year that ends on 30 June. The revelations about the size of Brooks's pay-off, made by the Gruniad Morning Star, are likely to be raised at the company's annual shareholder meeting at News Corp's FOX studios lot in Los Angeles. Some investors, such as the British group Hermes, are expected to vote against billionaire tyrant and Twitter abuser Rupert Murdoch remaining as chairman in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal, but the media tycoon controls forty per cent of the votes so he is unlikely to lose. The Independent newspaper reported on Tuesday that private e-mails between David Cameron and well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks were 'withheld' from the Leveson inquiry into press standards. A government lawyer advised the prime minister that the e-mails involved were 'not relevant.' They were said to reveal the 'close friendship' between Cameron and well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks and were allegedly described by alleged 'sources' as containing 'embarrassing' exchanges. A Downing Street spokesman said: 'All the material the inquiry asked for was given to them.' The newspaper claims there was an 'agreement' between No 10 and the Leveson inquiry that Cameron would provide all e-mails and texts 'relevant to the News International bid for broadcaster BSkyB,' as Cameron set out in his witness statement to the inquiry. Alleged government 'sources' allegedly said this was 'accepted' by the Leveson inquiry and some texts or e-mails handed to the inquiry by Cameron, deemed to be 'on the margin' of this definition, were not published by Leveson. No 10 is not challenging the newspaper's claim that Cameron had sought legal advice on the nature of the exchanges to be given to Leveson.

The X Factor 'bosses' have stated that they were 'too cautious' during Saturday's live show. Host Dermot O'Dreary was reportedly asked by producers to apologise to viewers over Tulisa Contostavlos's use of the word 'milf' (an acronym meaning 'mother I'd like to fuck', apparently). After Contostavlos used the word to describe contestant Melanie Masson, O'Dreary later apologised on her behalf, despite the word being used well after the watershed at 10.30pm. 'I want to apologise for the language Tulisa used. Naughty, naughty, but that's why we love her,' said O'Dreary, quite wrongly. Speak for yourself, matey. Some viewers described the apology as 'ridiculous', the Sun reports. One said: 'I cannot believe Tulisa isn't allowed to say MILF at 10.30pm. Has the world gone mad?' 'Tulisa said MILF at 10.30 and that's not allowed? What?' another added. An alleged 'senior X Factor source' allegedly admitted that the decision to apologise was, perhaps, not necessary, saying: 'It was a bit over-cautious and over-sensitive.'
Johnny Ball, the oldest contestant to take part in BBC1's Strictly Come Dancing, also became the first to leave the new series on Sunday after he lost the dance-off to full-of-his-own-importance TV presenter Richard Arnold. Ball suffered more than his share of bad luck after his professional dance partner had to sit out the first live show with a fractured ankle, then he was asked to change the first quarter of the routine at short notice. Still, there's always an upside to his early exit, he told the Sun. 'It is a pity Strictly has come to an end for me, as I doubt I'll keep my fitness up. But I have given up beer, so I might sneak it back in.'

Mad Frankie Boyle is suing the Mirra newspaper for libel, over an article which labelled him racist. He is complaining about a story published on 19 July, which said he was in talks for a new series on Channel Four. The first sentence read: 'RACIST comedian Frankie Boyle could soon be returning to TV despite upsetting thousands of viewers.' The Mirra claims that it will defend itself 'on the basis of truth and fair comment.' On Monday afternoon, Boyle told the court that his heroes include Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, and said he had been a member of anti-fascist action groups in Scotland. Boyle is suing for libel and malicious falsehood over the Daily Mirra article, headed Channel Four: We are back on the Boyle. The comic complains that he was 'seriously libelled' by the article, which also claimed he had been 'forced to quit' the BBC2 show Mock The Week. The trial, at the High Court in London, is expected to last a week.

Michael Bolton is set to star in a new television sitcom, playing a washed-up singer called Michael Bolton. The fifty nine-year-old will play a fictionalised version of himself in the ABC series Michael Bolton's Daughter Is Destroying My Life. Now in development, the show is loosely based on the early showbiz experiences of actor Allison Miller. It 'tells the story of a naive young writer who moves to the big city and ends up taking a job heading "social media" for singer-songwriter Michael Bolton,' according to Deadline, which adds of the show: 'The writer quickly learns she has her hands full with Bolton and the wild-child daughter he has recently taken in.' While Miller is unlikely to herself appear in the show, Bolton will star, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed. The singer will also contribute as a co-executive producer, and the series will be written by Tami Sagher, who wrote for 30 Rock. Bolton has recently been tiptoeing into television roles, appearing as a contestant on Dancing with the Stars and poking fun at himself in a 2011 appearance on Saturday Night Live. But he has also remained a busy musician in his career's fourth decade, releasing CDs in 2009, 2010 and 2011. The most recent, Gems: The Duets Collection, reached number eleven in the UK - which probably says more about the depressing state of the charts these days than anything else. By portraying a skewed version of himself, Bolton becomes part of a recent TV trend: Matt LeBlanc played a shallow actor called Matt LeBlanc in the series Episodes, and James Van Der Beek – Dawson of Dawson's Creek – is a secondary character on Don't Trust the Bitch in Apartment Twenty Three, which is also on ABC.

Michael Fish has spoken about his infamous 1987 weather report on its twenty fifth anniversary. 15 October marks a quarter of a century since the UK's Great Storm of 1987, where eighteen people died after winds hit speeds of up to one hundred and fifteen miles per hours. BBC weatherman Fish became a household name for his forecast earlier in the day, telling people not to worry after a woman has allegedly phoned in claiming there was 'a hurricane on the way.' The clip's cult status reached even greater heights earlier this year when it was used during Danny Boyle's London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony. Fish revealed that the woman in question actually didn't exist, and that he told a 'white lie' for his opening line. Expect the Daily Scum Mail to run a leader on BBC 'fakery' forthwith if not sooner. 'The amusing thing is that there wasn't a lady in Wales, but still people come maintaining that they are the person that rang in,' he told BBC News. 'In fact there wasn't a phone call, it was me telling a white lie. There was a colleague with me who rang his mother in Wales on a BBC phone. She was about to go to Florida on holiday and was concerned about hurricanes and we told her not to worry. I thought, "I'll use that as an intro."' On his overnight fame, he added: 'If I can take every single copy of that to my grave I'd be a happy man, and if I received a penny for every broadcast I'd be a multi-millionaire. Who would have thought I'd star in the Olympic Opening Ceremony?'

Former Daily Torygraph owner and convicted fraudster Conrad Black is to appear on BBC1's Have I Got News For You, just months after being released from prison having served a three-year sentence for defrauding investors and obstructing the course of justice. Black, who is currently living in his native Canada on a temporary residency permit, is to be a guest on the satirical panel show alongside Victoria Coren. Black will guest on programme three of the latest series of HIGNFY, which will be hosted by Alexander Armstrong, although the exact date of broadcast is not clear. The former press tycoon was renowned for his wit and scathing one-liners about his rivals and critics. And his jail sentence, of course. 'I have no doubt that mothers in America use my name to frighten their children into finishing their vegetables,' he said before being jailed for plundering funds from the media group which owned the Torygraph to fund a lavish lifestyle.'

Felix Baumgartner's 'space jump' project has set a new YouTube record, it has been confirmed. The Austrian-born skydiver survived a dramatic free-fall from one hundred and twenty eight thousand feet above the Earth on Sunday afternoon landing in the New Mexico desert. Baumgartner's feat prompted over eight million simultaneous live streams of the event on YouTube, which broadcast the mission with a time delay of around twenty seconds just in case anything went mhorribly wrong. A post on the video-sharing site's blog confirmed the record, adding: 'We congratulate Felix Baumgartner and the entire Red Bull Stratos team for their successful mission, and for creating a livestream with the most concurrent views ever on YouTube.' Baumgartner set three records during the jump. The first was the highest jump from a platform, while the second was the longest distance free-fall, of one hundred and nineteen thousand eight hundred and forty six feet. He also became the first person in recorded history to intentionally break the sound barrier without the aid of a vehicle or motor, reaching a maximum vertical velocity of 833.9 mph. Baumgartner confirmed at a post-event press conference that prior to jumping from the platform of his capsule, he said: 'I know the whole world is watching right now and I wish the world could see what I can see. Sometimes you have to go up really high to understand how small you really are.'

Yer actual Rolling Stones have announced four concerts in London and New York at the end of the year. The band will play London's O2 Arena on 25 and 29 November and at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey on 13 and 15 December. Rumours of a tour to mark The Stones's fiftieth anniversary had been circulating for a number of years. Tickets for the UK gigs go on sale on Friday, with the New Jersey tickets on sale next Friday. Pre-sale tickets for the UK dates are already available with prices ranging from one hundred and six to four hundred and six quid including ticket fees. Making the announcement in a video on YouTube, the band said: 'You must have guessed this was coming. Surely you didn't think we weren't going to do this? Soon we will be back on stage playing for you in two cities that know how to rock and roll.' Dame Mick Jagger her very self suggested there could be some special guests at the shows, saying there would be 'maybe a few friends joining us.' The news comes as the band release a new single, 'Doom and Gloom'. Jagger told Radio 2's Chris Evans: 'It was written very quickly and the band seemed to like it. It was a quick recording session. We recorded two songs - the other one is called 'One More Shot'.' The singer also appeared to hint that the four new dates could be the start of a longer run of gigs at a later point. Prior to the announcement, when asked how many shows the band would be performing, Jagger replied: 'It's not going to be a long tour, the first bit.' The Rolling Stones last world tour, A Bigger Bang, played to four and a half million people in thirty two countries over two years before it finished in London in 2007.

And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Given that his dad-in-law just got the boot from Strictly, it's probably time for a bit of the Fat Boy, I reckon.

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