Friday, October 26, 2012

I Know This Is A Lesson Mister Big Stuff You Haven't Learned

Russell Davies has confirmed that he will not be involved in Doctor Who's fiftieth anniversary. Not that anybody of any consequence had actually said he was going to be, of course. But, you know what the Interweb's like these days, dear blog reader. Big Rusty served as head-writer and showrunner on the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama between 2005 and 2010, but told What's on TV that he is unlikely to contribute a new episode in 2013. 'I think I'd be like the ghost at the feast,' he said. 'What would I do - turn up and make the tea?' Davies added: 'I have asked current boss Steven Moffat not to tell me what they are planning.' I don't believe for a single second Russell Davies said 'current boss' before the words 'Steven Moffat', that's likely been added by a What's On TV sub-editor. The Welsh writer also insisted that there will be no Doctor Who references in his new CBBC show Wizards Vs Aliens. 'I drew the line at Doctor Who - it would feel like the most awful in-joke' he explained. 'Even though I'd love the Daleks to turn up one day, we couldn't do it. They are separate universes.'

And now some news that's guaranteed to cheer you up, dear blog reader. ITV's notorious breakfast TV slop Daybreak has claimed another casualty on its mounting scrapheap of career suicide. Editor David Kermode is to leave the struggling breakfast fiasco less than two months after a major relaunch utterly failed to revive its dismal fortunes. Kermode is understood to have paid the price for Daybreak's poor ratings performance, watched by half the audience of its rival, BBC1's Breakfast. He will leave at the end of next month. The programme was relaunched last month with a new presenting team of Lorraine Kelly and Aled Jones but attracted just seven hundred thousand punters viewers on Thursday against BBC1 Breakfast's 1.5 million. Karl Newton, the executive producer of Daybreak and ITV's This Morning, takes over at the beginning of December. Staff were told about the changes after Friday's show. Kermode was brought into the show last year from Five News, which he edited, taking over from Ian Rumsey. He edited the BBC's Breakfast between 2004 and 2007 before joining Sky News as Five News editor. An ITV spokesman said: 'Daybreak editor David Kermode will be leaving the programme at the end of November. We would like to thank him for his hard work and the part he played in helping to deliver the many changes which have been made to Daybreak over the course of the year. We wish him well for the future.'
Trinity Mirra chief executive Simon Fox has launched an investigation into the allegations of phone-hacking at the Daily Mirra, Sunday Mirra and the People, made by four public figures including ex-England football manager Sven-Göran Eriksson. Fox, who joined the newspaper publisher as chief executive just last month, has sent an e-mail to staff informing them Trinity Mirra's lawyers are to investigate the four civil claims filed at the High Court on Monday. In the e-mail, Fox says that it would be 'irresponsible' if he did not get his legal team to look into the allegations, but also said he believed the company's editorial staff 'adhered to the law' and the Press Complaint Commission's code of practice. Trinity Mirra's share price slumped, dramatically, by more than twelve per cent in early trading on Tuesday as shareholders shat in their own pants and ran a mile at the potential financial implications if the company ends up paying out over any cases of phone hacking. Fox's announcement comes after the Financial Times reported on Wednesday that some of Trinity Mirra's biggest shareholders were calling for an independent inquiry into the allegations. 'Even though we have yet to receive the legal claims which have been reported on, it would be irresponsible of me not to ask our lawyers to look into the four claims that have attracted this recent attention,' said Fox. 'My clear observations over my first few weeks at Trinity Mirra are that the company operates to the appropriate ethical standards and our editorial procedures and processes are robust. As we have consistently said, all our journalists work within the criminal law and the Press Complaints Commission code of practice.' Fox said that he was 'deeply concerned' in the 'absence of evidence [how] four unsubstantiated claims can attract publicity of such magnitude.' Sly Bailey, Fox's predecessor, robustly defended Trinity Mirra's decision not to launch an internal investigation into whether its national papers were involved in phone-hacking. She told the Leveson inquiry in January that it was 'unhealthy' for a company to investigate unsubstantiated allegations about itself. Trinity Mirra did review its editorial 'controls and procedures' following the hacking scandal in July 2011. Fox's investigation relates to the four civil claims brought against Mirra Group Newspapers by Eriksson, former footballer Garry Flitcroft, actor Shobna Gulati, who played Sunita Alahan in Coronation Street and Anita in Dinnerladies, and Abbie Gibson, the former nanny to David and Victoria Beckham's children. The allegation by Eriksson relates to an article in the Daily Mirra at the time when odious slime bucket (and drag) Piers Morgan was the newspaper's editor. The claims lodged on behalf of Gulati, Gibson and Flitcroft, allege phone-hacking at either the Sunday Mirra or the People. 'As we have previously stated, all our journalists work within the criminal law and the Press Complaints Commission code of conduct,' said a spokesman. He forgot to add 'we hope.'

Meanwhile, The Times newspaper has publicly, and grovellingly, apologised in the High Court to the Lancashire detective it ummasked through e-mail hacking as the author of the NightJack blog in 2009. Times Newspapers, the News International subsidiary which publishes the newspaper, agreed earlier this month to pay Richard Horton a whopping forty two grand in damages. Anthony Hudson, counsel for The Times, told Mr Justice Vos on Friday morning that the paper was offering its 'sincerest apologies' for the hurt it had caused and to pay 'substantial' damages for accessing Horton's e-mail account and to pay his legal costs. The paper's editor, James Harding, had previously apologised to the Leveson inquiry for the actions of the paper's former reporter, Patrick Foster, who hacked in Horton's account to expose his identity. It also accepted it had gone to the High Court to fight an injunction sought by Horton without admitting that it had already accessed his e-mail account. Horton sued The Times after these details emerged through the Leveson inquiry and won his settlement three weeks ago. Counsel for Horton, Patrick Daulby said: 'The claimant has brought this claim for damages for breach of confidence, misuse of private information, and for deceit.' In a separate development at the High Court hearing on Friday, Vos said he also planned to manage the first phone-hacking claims against Trinity Mirra's papers. As noted above, four claims have been lodged involving Trinity Mirra titles. Vos is the judge managing more than one hundred and fifty civil claims for damages over alleged Scum of the World phone-hacking.

A senior government official has sparked anger by advising Internet users to give fake details to websites to protect their security. So, if anybody naughty is reading this, yer actual Keith Telly Topping does not, in fact, live at Stately Telly Topping Manor and was not born. Ever. So, you know, schtum. Andy Smith, an Internet security chief at the Cabinet Office, said that people should only give accurate details to 'trusted sites' such as government ones. He said names and addresses posted on social networking sites 'can be used against you' by 'criminals.' His advice was described by Labour MP Helen Goodman as 'totally outrageous.' She told BBC News: 'This is the kind of behaviour that, in the end, promotes crime. It is exactly what we don't want. We want more security online. It's anonymity which facilitates cyber-bullying, the abuse of children. I was genuinely shocked that a public official could say such a thing.' Goodman, MP for Bishop Auckland, said she had been contacted by constituents who have been the victims of cyber-bullying on major social networking sites by people hiding behind fake names. Smith, who is in charge of security for what he described as the 'largest public services network in Europe,' which will eventually be accessed by millions of people in the UK, said giving fake details to social networking sites was 'a very sensible thing to do. When you put information on the Internet do not use your real name, your real date of birth,' he told a Parliament and the Internet Conference in Portcullis House, Westminster. 'When you are putting information on social networking sites don't put real combinations of information, because it can be used against you.' But he stressed that Internet users should 'always' give accurate information when they were filling in government forms on the Internet, such a tax returns. 'When you are interacting with government, or professional organisations - people who you know are going to protect your information - then obviously you are going to use the right stuff. But he said that fraudsters gather a lot of personal information 'from Google, social networking sites, from e-mail footers, all sorts of places.' He added that they were 'bringing this information together and cross-collerating information and then they are using it against you.' Smith's comments were backed by Lord Erroll, chairman of the Digital Policy Alliance, a non-profit policy studies group which claims to speak for industry and charities, who was chairing the panel. He said he had always given his date of birth as '1 April 1900.' Asked by BBC News to clarify his remarks, Smith, who is head of security at the Public Sector Technical Services Authority, said there was a 'balancing act' to be struck between giving details to reputable sites and posting them on websites where the need to confirm identity was not so vital. He said: 'Don't put all your information on websites you don't trust. If it's somewhere you trust - and obviously with government you really do need to put accurate information. Large commercial sites you are going to put the right information. If you are not sure about something then just be very, very cautious of what you put up, what you expose if you really don't want to be used against you.'

Twenty years after his death Channel Four are to take a fresh look at the popular comedian Frankie Howerd in a one-off documentary special. In The Unseen Frankie Howerd the broadcaster promise 'never-before-seen footage' of the Up Pompeii star will be broadcast. Alongside the clips from classic shows, the programme will unveil professional and personal archive film and audio which has never been transmitted on television before. From pilot productions that never went to air the first time round to home movie footage and never seen on television material from his live stand-up show form part of the documentary. Titter ye, lots.

The BBC Trust chairman has finally shown a bit of backbone and defended George Entwistle's performance before parliament, saying he was 'unfortunate' to be engulfed by a 'tsunami of filth' – his description of the Jimmy Savile scandal – less than two weeks into his new role. And, if you look up 'back-handed, less than ringing endorsements of your DG' on Goggle, that'll be one of the first examples you'll find. In a Radio 4 interview, Lord Patten also admitted that the Savile sex abuse scandal had done 'terrible damage' to the corporation's reputation. Patten's defence of the beleaguered BBC director general on Thursday came as Entwistle asked Radio 5Live controller Adrian Van Klaveren to lead the corporation's editorial coverage of the Savile scandal, taking over responsibility from BBC News director Helen Boaden and her deputy, Steve Mitchell. The BBC's appointment of an executive with no involvement in the dispute over why a Newsnight story on Savile was dropped in December 2011 to oversee its reporting of the scandal comes against a background of intense scrutiny of the corporation's handling of the affair. Internal BBC discord over the scandal, described - gleefully - as a 'civil war' by some papers - with the thoroughly sick agenda smeared all over their smug faces - on Thursday, has been highlighted by what ITV News, snitchily, reported as a 'verbal confrontation' between Meirion Jones, a producer who worked on the spiked Newsnight story, and its head of editorial policy, David Jordan, in front of colleagues late on Wednesday. Speaking on The World At One, Lord Patten said: 'It was a very, very difficult initial baptism of fire for a new director general of the BBC. This broke over him, this great tsunami of filth, broke over him eleven days into the job.' The peer resorted to political comparisons, saying that the great Victorian prime ministers would have found it difficult to endure the grilling from the culture, media and sports select committee on Tuesday. 'If there had been a combination of Benjamin Disraeli and Mr Gladstone they would have had a pretty tough job. I'm not criticising the select committee. I think John Whittingdale did an exemplary job in managing that as he did in the Murdoch inquiries,' said Patten. However, he conceded that he thought the Savile scandal was 'very damaging' to the BBC – and voiced concerns for the alleged victims of the late presenter of Jim'll Fix It. Patten said: 'Our main concern has to be for the victims of the abuse and worse, men as well as women, but mostly women, who have been marooned for years trying to tell their stories and not being believed, including it seems, by the BBC and secondly we have to consider the terrible damage to the reputation to the BBC which has hitherto been a national institution that has been trusted.' The peer and former Tory party chairman said it was he who insisted that a controversial blog by the Newsnight editor, Peter Rippon, had to be 'corrected' after he was informed of 'inaccuracies' in relation to the programme's original investigation into Savile. Patten said that he demanded changes to the blog on Sunday. The BBC's correction altered Rippon's initial explanation about the decision to shelve the Newsnight Savile film and followed objections about the editor's version of events by the reporter behind the investigation, Liz MacKean and Jones. Patten had previously supported Rippon's explanation for dropping the programme's Savile investigation – and explained his decision to do so: 'Should I have disbelieved what a senior editor said? I have at a certain point to believe. I can't disbelieve everything that is said my concern is to get to the bottom of what's happened.' He also rejected claims that he had acted 'inappropriately' earlier this week when he told the vile and odious rascal Miller, the lack of culture secretary, to 'stop interfering' in the BBC Trust's management of the crisis, reminding her that the corporation was not a government body. 'I think it's important in view of what some people have said. It's quite important to remember the BBC is independent. It is answerable to licence fee payers, it is not an agent of the government. We are a national broadcaster, we are owned by the license payers,' he said. Earlier this week the vile and odious rascal Miller told Patten that he needed to be 'aware' of the deep public concern over the Savile scandal and the impact it was having on public confidence in the BBC. Labour leader Ed Milimolimandi on Thursday said the BBC had not handled the Savile scandal well and Entwistle needed to 'get on top of what's happening. I think his job is to show that he realises the gravity of what's happened,' he added. Milimolimandi also called for the government to set up an independent inquiry into the Savile scandal. 'What I would like to see happen is an independent inquiry, commissioned by government, covering not just the BBC but all of the institutions that frankly allowed Jimmy Savile to get away with the terrible things that he appears to have done,' he said. 'I think the BBC hasn't handled this situation as well as it could have done. It would be easier to restore confidence if the inquiry was commissioned outside and looked at all the institutions concerned.' Van Klaveren revealed that Entwistle had asked him to take over as 'editorial lead' of the BBC's Savile scandal coverage in an internal e-mail. He described his role as 'supporting Helen Boaden, Steve Mitchell and the whole [BBC News management] team through what is likely to be an exceptionally demanding period.' The former head of Sky News, Nick Pollard, is heading an inquiry into what happened with the Newsnight Savile story, which is expected to be completed within six weeks. Salford-based Van Klaveren said his new job would last until Christmas, with Jonathan Wall taking over as acting Radio 5Live editor for that period. Wednesday's alleged confrontation between Jordan and Jones reportedly took place at Broadcasting House in Central London after the former had appeared on BBC Radio 4's The Media Show, broadcast at 4.30pm. A BBC spokesman told ITV News there was a brief discussion about a 'single, isolated incident.' Then there was a 'full and frank exchange of views – nothing more.' It emerged on Thursday that Jones, the producer of the ditched Newsnight Savile investigation, initially offered the story to both the BBC2 programme and BBC1's Panorama on the same day in late October 2011, according to Kevin Marsh, editor of the BBC College of Journalism and former Today editor. The BBC told Marsh that in a short, five-or-six-line e-mail to the Panorama editor Tom Giles on 31 October 2011 – two days after Jimmy Savile had died – Jones wrote that he believed he could gather evidence of Savile's alleged abuse at the Duncroft approved school where Jones's aunt had been headmistress.

Meanwhile, over at the studios of the BBC's beleaguered flagship programme Newsnight, some consternation has been caused by Jezza Paxman's recent failure to wear a tie while presenting the programme. Anyone wondering what this change in attire might have signified should thank God for the Daily Scum Mail, which brilliantly adduced that it was obviously some kind of crazed sartorial semaphore for 'I, Jeremy Paxman, care nothing about the ongoing investigation into Savile's alleged paedophilia and the suspected BBC cover-up of his activities.' It also raised the important question of whether, 'with the pulled Newsnight investigation into Jimmy Savile topping the news agenda, it was an appropriate time to début the less formal new look,' when it first caught sight of Paxman, flagrantly displaying parts of his neck in a sneering one-man protest against decency. Or something.
It's interesting to note that in these trying times for BBC staff, gallows humour still prevails. The Gruniad Morning Star - of course - reports that a spoof story from satire website NewsBiscuit on the internal strife stirred up by the recriminations over Newsnight's abandoned Jimmy Savile story – BBC2 declares War on BBC1 – is proving a viral e-mail hit around the beseiged corporation. Alongside a mocked-up picture of BBC correspondent Orla Guerin, in full warzone attire of helmet and Kevlar vest in front of the corporation's Broadcasting House engulfed in flames, the article begins: 'Warring news-tribes, angered by the Panorama investigation, opened fire on studios where radical BBC1 journalists are known to be in occupation. Fierce hand-to-hand fighting at BBC Television Centre escalated into a mortar battle in the early hours, as BBC1 responded with heavy rounds of rocket fire, killing four Newsnight producers and prompting an application for voluntary redundancy from a fifth.'
So, as with most aspects of this whole sorry affair, actually about as funny as a kick in the cock, then?

Hayley Atwell is to star in a new ITV crime drama. The three-part series, entitled Life of Crime and scripted by Waking the Dead writer Declan Croghan, will span three decades of a police officer's career. Atwell will take the lead role of rookie policewoman Denise Woods, who becomes obsessed with one particular case involving the murder of a teenage girl. Beginning with the Brixton riots in 1985, the three episodes will follow Denise's professional development through the police force, her single-minded and frequently reckless pursuit of justice, and her struggle to be accepted in a male-dominated environment. The second and third episodes will be set in 1997 and 2013 respectively.

Gobby horrorshow (and drag) John McCririck has signed off from a thirty one-year career covering racing for ITV and Channel Four with a stinging attack on the decision to leave him out of the new Channel Four racing team. Other members of the existing team who will be left out when IMG takes over production duties on 1 January include Derek Thompson, Mike Cattermole and Alastair Down, although the form expert Jim McGrath will remain as an analyst. While the bombastic broadcasting style of McCririck, which has seen him appear on numerous entertainment shows in recent years, tends to polarise opinion, he is a widely recognised face of the sport and frequently the first port of call for other broadcasters when racing makes the headlines for good or bad reasons. 'According to Channel Four, I'm being sacked after audience research,' said McCririck, who was speaking while on holiday in the USA. 'Yes, I do antagonise people, as reactions to being twice in the Celebrity Big Brother house and also on Coach Trip prove. Yet, as Clare Balding, a terrific choice to lead the new young team, said recently, I've become the face of racing alongside Frankie Dettori and now of course Clare herself.' McCririck, who is seventy two, said it was 'so sad' that 'ageism' had played a part in the selection of the presenting team. 'Among the thirteen slated to be on screen, only Jimbo McGrath is over fifty.' McCririck was particularly aggrieved at not having been contacted by Channel Four until shortly before the line-up was revealed on Thursday afternoon. 'Without any consultation or being asked to change my presentation style, I was only told by Channel Four's head of sport, Jamie Aitchison, half an hour before their press release,' he said. 'Racing continues to prosper and is a magnificent sport for all ages and classes of society. I trust those now in power, having shown their macho images as all new producers do by getting rid of their most well-known older performer, don't forget that racing appeals to all generations.' McCririck hopes to continue his appearances on the specialist racing broadcaster At The Races. A Channel Four Racing spokeswoman disputed the allegation of ageism and explained that the presenters selected had been chosen as the producers sought 'a change of tone and style' to the programme. 'It hasn't been an easy process and there have been complications on the way but, with regards to the choice of the squad, we were conscious that the programme will have a very different feel,' she said. 'Behind Clare Balding as lead presenter and Nick Luck in a supporting role, we were looking for a more journalistic approach to the content.' Further details of the changes expected to feature in Channel Four's eighty eight scheduled days of racing coverage in 2013 are likely to be revealed at a press conference in the weeks ahead, but it is understood that Balding will be presenting about half of the programmes, allowing her to maintain other broadcasting commitments at the BBC. Along with the expected appointments of Rishi Persad and the former jockey Mick Fitzgerald to the team of presenters, the existing Channel Four employees Emma Spencer, Alice Plunkett and Tanya Stevenson have been retained, to be joined by the established racing broadcasters Graham Cunningham and Gina Bryce. 'It's a fascinating opportunity to join an ambitious new team at the end of a year when racing's profile has been boosted no end by Frankel's performances and the attention devoted to him,' Cunningham said. 'This doesn't mean the end of my time on Racing UK. On the contrary, I am anxious to continue to be a part of their excellent team, for the simple reason that I enjoy it and because I owe them a great deal for giving me the chance to cover so many of their showpiece events in recent years.' Aitchison, hailed for his role in the channel's broadcasts of the Paralympics, pledged that 'sports fans have something to look forward to' when coverage begins. 'Being the new home of horse racing is a real privilege and I'm delighted to announce this carefully selected team of presenters and reporters; a mix of broadcasting heavyweights and racing experts,' he said. 'Our racing coverage will be insightful, intelligent and ground-breaking.'

Adam Hills has traced his European ancestry for the television show Who Do You Think You Are? The comedian filmed his episode for the Australian version of the hit genealogy show this summer, in which he explored his Austrian, Maltese and Scottish roots. 'I already knew a bit on my Dad's side,' he said. 'There was a family scandal a couple of generations back but I knew too much about that already. On my mum's side we followed her grandfathers, one of whom came to Australia from Malta in 1912. The other came from Austria in 1907. But the day we started filming I knew nothing beyond that, my schedule literally said "Prague, overnight" and next day driving to a mystery location. It was very tight-lipped.' Adam, who has just signed an exclusive, year-long deal development deal with Channel Four in the UK, also revealed how his great-grandmother resented her husband's nationality. 'When World War One broke out, German and Austrian subjects were treated very badly in Australia, especially by the police,' he said. 'And they couldn't get work. So he hid his heritage a bit. His Scottish wife hated it, she would never let him talk about it. This whole part of my family history was passed over.' Who Do You Think You Are? is shown on Australian broadcaster SBS next year.

The BBC is standing behind Sky in a row with the Board of Control for Cricket in India which could leave the radio and television commentators grounded in London for England's four-Test series which begins in Ahmedabad next month. Sky has been in dispute with the BCCI for some time over its demand for an additional eight hundred thousand dollars, on top of the six-year rights agreement to stage Test cricket from India that was announced only last month, to cover the 'realistic costs' of the facilities they will need at the grounds. The BBC is being asked for a comparatively modest eighty thousand dollars for the facilities required for live ball-by-ball radio coverage for Test Match Special – a fee, like Sky's, which had not been mentioned when their own deal to cover the series was concluded six weeks ago. But they are also refusing to pay. Both broadcasters see this as a point of principle, which means that a compromise between now and the start of the first Test on 15 November is anything but inevitable. Sky has already made arrangements for its usual commentary team, including Sir Ian Botham, David Gower, David Lloyd and Nasser Hussain, to cover the matches from their studios in Isleworth, with viewers given the option of listening to Star's Indian commentators from the ground via the red button. But there is no guarantee that the BBC will cover the matches at all, as commentating from television pictures would leave them in the same position as, the non-rights holding website which has been covering cricket on that basis for some time. A BCCI spokesman was unable to comment about the dispute on Thursday, when the Indian board was receiving another major boost to its swelling coffers as a Chennai-based television network purchased an Indian Premier League franchise in a ten-year deal worth around fifty million smackers. England will begin their preparations for the series in Dubai on Friday, when the emphasis will be heavily on spin. The three specialist spinners who have been included in the squad – Graeme Swann, Monty Panesar and Samit Patel – have been joined by four other current or future contenders in James Tredwell, Scott Borthwick, Simon Kerrigan and Azeem Rafiq, as well as Peter Such, the former Test off-spinner who is now the spin-bowling coach.

Channel Four has announced its autumn and winter schedule, with several new comedy shows in the pipeline. The line-up includes a full series of Anna Crilly and Katy Wix's sketch show, a return of Ricky Gervais's dreadful Derek and a new trilogy of Black Mirror films from Charlie Brooker. There will also be another Channel Four Mash Up in January, in which Alan Carr will host Million Pound Drop, and the Eight Out Of Ten Cats team will take on Deal Or No Deal. Jimmy Carr replacing Noel Edmonds, it's like all of your worst nightmares coming true at once, dear blog reader

The father of a BBC journalist who apparently killed himself has called for an inquiry into how his complaints about alleged harassment were handled. Russell Joslin, a reporter for BBC Coventry and Warwickshire, died in hospital on Monday. His father Peter said his son, who had mental health problems over the past six months, should have received more help from BBC managers. The BBC said it would ensure the family's concerns were addressed. The radio reporter was hit by a bus on Friday morning and was admitted to Warwick General Hospital. He died from asphyxiation on Monday afternoon. Peter Joslin, a former chief constable of Warwickshire Police, said he did 'not blame the BBC but management did not save him.' He said the allegations surrounded complaints his son made about sexual harassment by a female colleague. Peter Joslin said there had been 'plenty of opportunities' for managers at the BBC to intervene after his son complained, but 'nothing had been done to help him.' He said the alleged sexual harassment took place five years ago. The former policeman said he felt more should have been done to pick up the problems as his son was clearly quite distressed. The woman accused of harassing the reporter said there was never a complaint against her and she denied any wrong-doing. She said she was asked by managers to try to help him. Russell Joslin, who had lived in Kenilworth, had been a journalist for most of his working life, reporting mainly in the Midlands. He had worked for the BBC in Coventry and Birmingham and had also worked as a freelance reporter for national newspapers including the Sun and Daily Mirra. BBC Coventry and Warwickshire's news editor Sue Curtis, who had known the reporter for nearly twenty years, said he had brought 'considerable talents to the BBC.' She said he had 'an amazing creative talent.' His colleagues are being offered counselling by the BBC. An inquest into the reporter's death was opened and adjourned at the Leamington Justice Centre earlier. Russell's funeral is due to be held this week. A BBC spokesperson said: 'Our thoughts and condolences are with Russell Joslin's family at this sad time. This is a difficult time for everyone who knew him. The BBC is committed to working constructively with the family to ensure that their concerns are vigorously addressed. It would not be appropriate to comment further until the facts are established.'

Yer actual Rolling Stones have performed to three hundred and fifty fans in Paris after announcing a surprise gig on Twitter. It was their first concert since 2007, and came ahead of fiftieth anniversary shows in London and New York. Playing for almost an hour and a half, the band rattled through hits like 'It's Only Rock and Roll' and 'Brown Sugar'. 'I can't believe we're all still standing up,' joked Lord Mick Jagger his very self. 'You'd think by now one or two of us would be sitting down, but we're not.' Tickets to the event at Le Trabendo club in Paris cost twelve smackers, selling out within minutes. By contrast, seeing the band at London's O2 Arena in November could set you back four hundred and six notes. The Rolling Stones are in Paris to rehearse for those arena dates and tweeted that last night's performance would be 'a short warm-up gig.' They played fan favourites including 'Route 66' and 'Miss You', as well as their latest single 'Doom and Gloom'. Le Trabendo has previously hosted famous names including Metallica, The Arctic Monkeys and The Neptunes. But The Rolling Stones are the biggest band to perform there. The venue has a capacity for seven hundred people and the crowd was also made up of the band's friends and colleagues from the music industry. 'We really lucked out,' said one fan from San Francisco, who had secured a ticket because her husband's former boss works for the Stones. 'I have seen them before, but it has been in larger arenas with forty thousand people, and [in] such a small club it was incredible.' Some fans claimed that they had got in for free after organisers granted last-minute entry to those who had been unsuccessful queuing for tickets earlier in the day. 'They let about fifty extra people in, of all ages, and we did some very loud clapping!' said one man, who was wearing a backstage pass. Guitarist Ronnie Wood had earlier hinted that the band could perform in Paris. He told the NME that there were 'going to be little club gigs that we're gonna surprise ourselves to do as well. I don't know who we'll be billed as but we'll turn up somewhere and put a few to the test. Tiny, two, three hundred people kind of places.' There will be a second private gig on Monday funded by investment company Carmignac Gestion for their employees. Fans at Thursday nights gig said there were already rumours of further possible concerts in the French capital next week as the band continue to prepare for their major shows.

He may have labelled phone-hacking victims 'scumbag celebrities' (he has since, grovellingly, apologised to Charlotte Church, Jacqui Hames and Hugh Grant for doing so), but billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch seems to be in a more charitable mood about his business rivals. Murdoch was asked on Twitter what he thought about disgraced former Torygraph owner - and convicted fraudster - Conrad Black's comment that the News Corp chairman is 'a psychopath. Like Stalin, except that he doesn't kill people.' Murdoch's response – unlike much of Black's abrasive output this week – was the model of diplomacy: 'Saddened. Conrad was first class publisher of Telegraph, but tricked in dodgy stuff in Canada by bad partner.' If only the US jury in Black's fraud trial had seen it that way. But, they didn't.

Which brings us, almost as if it was designed that way, to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. This would seem somewhat appropriate.

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