Sunday, October 28, 2012

I Woke Up And Discovered Everything In My Apartment Had Been Stolen And Replaced With An Exact Replica

Yer actual Russell Davies his very self was a guest on The Graham Norton Show this week, where he discussed his new children's series starting on Monday next week, Wizards vs Aliens. During the interview, the question of future series of Torchwood was raised, to which he answered: 'I loved making it [in the USA], and I would have carried on if circumstances hadn't brought me back to this country, so it's kind of in limbo for me at the moment. I'm not working on it, I'm only working on Wizards vs Aliens - when I get back to work one day, I don't know, it'll be old news to the BBC. It's not officially (cancelled), it's in a nice limbo where it can stew - those shows can come back in ten, twenty years time.'

TV comedy line of the week - if not, of all time - came from the latest episode of Qi when Stephen Fry asked 'who founded the Daily Mail?' and Shappi Khorsandi replied: 'Satan?'
As previously noted, the BBC once again thrashed ITV in the 9pm Monday night drama slot as New Tricks showed no sign of slacking with 7.4 million viewers. In a change from the scheduled episode (due to, ahem, 'recent events in the media') the finale of series nine of the popular crime drama was shown a week earlier than planned and beat ITV's Monroe at a canter. James Nesbitt's colossal flop medical drama reached a new low of 2.7 million viewers and is, currently, sinking faster than a stone. The Paradise and DCI Banks have both, seemingly, found a settled audience; the department store drama was watched by 4.9 million viewers on Tuesday for BBC1 whilst the Stephen Tompkinson whodunnit had a decent 4.7 million audience on Wednesday for ITV.

Overnight ratings took a minor dip for both Strictly Come Dancing and The X Factor on Saturday night but the BBC competition is still comfortably leading its ITV rival. The X Factor's ratings dropped two hundred thousand punters week-on-week to 8.4 million (including ITV+1 viewers), peaking at 9.4 million. There was also a minor dip for Strictly Come Dancing, as it pulled in 9.6 million - a minor drop from last week's 9.9 million. Its peak audience was a massive 10.8 million, also a slight decrease on last week's peak. This is the fourth consecutive week that The X Factor ratings have declined. Perhaps the most interesting figures are the comparison with the equivalent episodes last year; Strictly also won that head-to-head with an overnight average of 10.2 million against The X Factor's 9.9 million. That does seem to suggest that whilst ratings are down across both shows this year, The X Factor has lost a hell of a lot more viewers than Strictly. Merlin was also, slightly, down on last week's audience, being watched by 5.4 million.
Coronation Street's Jack and Vera Duckworth are rumoured to be returning to the cobbles. As ghosts. The couple are reportedly coming back from the dead to appear in a segment for Children In Need. According to the Mirra, seventy one-year-old Bill Tarmey - who played Jack for thirty one years before leaving the series in 2010 - will play The Ghost of Christmas Past in the A Christmas Carol-themed sketch. Liz Dawn, seventy two, who left the Street in 2008 after playing Jack's wife for twenty five years, is expected to return as a fellow spirit. However, her appearance in the charity sketch will be dependent on her health, as she suffers with emphysema. An alleged 'source' allegedly said: 'Getting Bill Tarmey "back from the dead" is a stroke of genius.' The role will be the now-retired actor's first TV appearance in two years. Prior to his departure, he was the second longest serving male actor in Coronation Street history.

The Vicar of Dibley could return as The Bishop of Dibley. Dawn French claimed the bafflingly popular sitcom, which ended in 2007, could be revived bvut only if the Church of England allows the ordination of women bishops. The issue goes before The General Synod next month, with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said to be backing the move. So, that, in an of itself, is one very good reason for all church lay-people to be campaigning furiously against such a move. It's for your own good, people. French revealed on ITV’s notorious breakfast TV flop Daybreak that the sitcom set is 'still in storage', and if the show makes a comeback her character, Geraldine, would be promoted.

A new BBC1 series is to explore the issue of sleeping disorders. From parasomniacs who scream the house down and snorers whose trumpeting rattles the window-panes, to insomniacs who bake six hours a night, Goodnight Britain 'lays bare' the strange and hidden secrets of our nation's night-time world. The two-part series - presented by yer actual Sian Williams alongside sleep experts Doctor Kirstie Anderson and Doctor Jason Ellis – ventures into the bedrooms of five of Britain’s most tormented sleepers, discovering an array of conditions. Through the use of night vision cameras, the sleep experts observe the secrets of the patient's sleep problems first hand. But the investigations don't stop there: the five contributors are also subjected to a night at the Goodnight Britain Sleep House, where every toss (steady) and, indeed, turn is monitored using yer actual state of the art equipment whilst they sleep. Only then do the causes of their night-time traumas fully come to light and the experts can begin to devise a treatment plan that just might work. It is estimated that a quarter of the UK population suffer sleeping difficulties of one sort of another - yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self among 'em - and over ten million prescriptions for sleeping pills were issued in Britain last year alone.
The government should be very reluctant to bring in tough new laws to regulate newspapers following the publication of the Leveson inquiry, the communities secretary, odious lard bucket , wobble bottom(and drag) Eric Pickles (he ate all the pies), has said. Big Jar of Pickles claimed that the press was 'working towards' a way of offering proper recourse for those with legitimate complaints, saying the right of newspapers to expose corruption must be protected. He added that ministers 'must be very careful' about introducing statutory regulation if Lord Justice Leveson recommends a new independent watchdog to monitor the press. His remarks were taken as the clearest view yet of his Conservative cabinet colleagues' attitude to the Leveson inquiry. They came on the very day it was reported that David Cameron his very self was said to have 'urged' Tory cabinet colleagues at a private meeting last Thursday not to say anything which might be taken as pre-empting the government response to the Leveson inquiry due to report next month. Yer man Pickles, it would seem, believed this didn't apply to him. Which is, one could suggest, rather typical of Tories in general. In a lengthy Lords debate last Thursday on press regulation the government spokesman worked hard to be even-handed and did not rule out a form of statutory underpinning as a stop-gap. The right-wing media are already - of course - campaigning furiously to oppose any form of statutory intervention, saying it would represent 'an unacceptable interference' in press freedom. Harriet Harman, the Labour deputy leader, said on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show that there had to be some kind of statutory underpinning. Her view that the press has failed to reform itself are broadly in line with those of the Liberal Democrats. Pickles said: 'I think it is really massively important to ensure we have freedom of press in this country. Some of the characteristics of the British press – it is good at exposing corruption and it is good at going to places where other press wouldn't. I think it was Thomas Jefferson who said that for a free society to operate, then the "river of a free press had to flow without restriction." I think, given that the press are looking towards finding ways, the end result of offering a good way that people who have a legitimate complaint can find recourse, then that is right. We should be very, very, very reluctant to take on legislation. It's a balance and my view is that we should always balance in favour of a free press.' Then he asked if he could have some cake. Allegedly. Lord Black, the peer who represents the views of the newspaper industry, told fellow peers last week that it would be possible to bring in a new, tighter form of self-regulation 'within three months,' but statutory legislation would take three years, and might face a legal challenge. A spokesman for Hacked Off said the newspaper industry could bring in its voluntary reforms now without waiting for the Leveson inquiry if they really believed they were the right reforms to introduce.

Billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, described by Labour MP Tom Watson ('power to the people!') as a 'toxic institution', could find itself publishing his book on phone-hacking as the publisher considers a bid for Penguin. The reported one billion smackers offer from News Corp's publishing arm, HarperCollins, could be put to the board of parent company Pearson as early as Wednesday, The Sunday Times - another News Corp organ - said. Any approach could spark a bidding war, as Pearson is already in talks with Europe's biggest publisher, Bertelsmann, which owns Random House. A deal with Random House would create a publishing house responsible for a quarter of English language books worldwide. A HarperCollins link-up would give the firm a market share of about twenty per cent. Both are likely to face inquiries from the competition commission before a deal is finalised. A number of writers warned that Penguin's reputation would be damaged by a Murdoch takeover. Martin Hickman, co-author of Dial M for Murdoch, published by Penguin, said: 'Penguin have a great reputation. They are a publisher with integrity and a wider social mission, so are not the most nakedly aggressive publisher out there. But with HarperCollins, their virtues would be lost. The idea of News Corp taking over Penguin is nightmarish for our book. I don't think we'd see a paperback edition published by them and certainly not any updated editions. I don't have the same fears with Random House, which I feel have integrity.' Another Penguin author, David Lodge, best known for his campus trilogy, said he was 'fearful' of a takeover by the Murdoch-owned company, although he pointed out that his publishing relationship with Penguin ends soon. He said: 'It would bother me if I was seriously connected with Penguin any longer. I don't view it with any enthusiasm. I think the whole thing is going to reduce chances for authors placing their work if it was to go ahead.' Other authors and agents, who 'declined to be named' for 'fear of future publishing prospects', also told the Gruniad Morning Star they were 'concerned to be associated with the Murdoch brand.' One agent, who represents authors across all three publishing houses, said: 'Authors have told me they are frightened by a Random House takeover, but terrified by a HarperCollins one. HarperCollins are far less author-friendly – they appear to be a monolithic and centralised organisation and, although Murdoch may not be pulling the strings, his mindset is certainly instilled in the company. Penguin is probably the only publisher that still has a gold-plated brand identity. Across the world they are known for paperback publishing and have an excellent reputation. Murdoch could come in and make assurances that he won't interfere, but he said that when he bought The Times newspaper and you only need to look at what happened with Chris Patten's book on China.' In 1998 HarperCollins dropped Lord Patten's East and West under Murdoch's orders over fears it would be critical of China, where News Corp was hoping to expand. The company was later forced to apologise and agree an out-of-court settlement. Another - nameless - Penguin author said: 'This is all to do with Amazon and the big publishers hoping to challenge the website's dominant position. But if Penguin ends up with HarperCollins that would be a terrifying prospect. It could well lead to Murdoch making an approach for the [Pearson-owned] FT.' It is thought discussions with Random House are more likely to succeed and could lead to Penguin's chairman and chief executive, John Makinson, being given a senior role within the new company. The deal would provide Pearson with a clean break from book publishing as the company looks to focus its attentions on its education business, which makes up four-fifths of its turnover. Any deal with HarperCollins would boost News Corp's publishing division ahead of a split in the company between broadcast and print.

A bizarre marital spat reached Twitter over the weekend as the former full of her own importance Tory MP Louise Bagashite Mensch clashed publicly with her American husband over exactly why she resigned from Parliament recently. According to Peter Mensch, better known for managing the hard rock band Metallica than for his in-depth knowledge of British politics, his wife stood down at least partly because she believed she would be ousted as the MP for Corby in 2015. 'She thought - and I wasn't going to argue with her - that she'd get killed at the next election,' he told The Sunday Times. 'So, to her, it seemed much more short-term than my job as a manager, which is going to go on for another twenty years.' Within hours of his comments being published, Mrs Mensch, who now lives in New York, tweeted: 'Can honestly say I had no fear whatsoever of defeat at next election since had already decided not to stand again.' She added: 'Nothing, repeat nothing, influenced decision to resign other than inability to hold family life together away from him.' Ah. Bless. Her husband swiftly - and suspiciously obediently - fell into the party line, tweeting: 'This is why I don't do politics. Stick to music.' Ooo. Significant use of the three-line whip there, Louise? Mensch posted later that her husband was 'apologetic but not a pol [sic], doesn't do "on message" and I love him for it. Thinking of creative ways he can make it up to me.' During her time in parliament, Mensch was a shameless self-publicist who brown-tongued crawling to Rupert Murdoch when part of the Commons Culture Committee won't be forgotten by anyone in a hurry (least of all, one suspects, the voters of Corby). Her departure has left the Conservatives with an uphill struggle to hold on to Corby in the by-election which is taking place on November 15.

Channel Four's commitment to outsiders, strengthened since Jay Hunt's arrival – disabled athletes, Gypsy brides, Mancunian rogues, horseracing fans, Mad Frankie Boyle, et cetera – now even extends to the animals it covers, it would appear. And banishes creatures considered too humdrum for Channel Four's viewers – too BBC or ITV-like, one supposes – from any opportunity to star on the channel. In a thoroughly bizarre interview in Broadcast, David Dugan, the man behind Inside Nature's Giants, alleges that its presenter, Mark Evans, 'is keen to do something on dogs, but dogs are just not a C4 angle.' ('Cheeky, urban' foxes, by contrast, 'suited the C4 brief very well.') Yet only seven months ago, Hunt's channel misguidedly covered Crufts, and so part of its website is still a showcase for these insultingly mainstream pets who blatantly clash with the C4 brand.

A new DVD featuring highlights from yer actual Harry Hill's TV Burp - nowhere near as funny as he used to be - will be released next month. Harry Hill's Cream of TV Burp includes archive footage from the show alongside new exclusive extras. A synopsis for the DVD asks: 'How does Harry find himself on the set of Downton Abbey? Why would boxer Frank Bruno be dressed as a waiter and throwing a trifle in his face? Who invited an alcoholic dog on May The Best House Win, ITV? Ever wondered who would win a fight between 'nervous' and 'knackered'? All will be revealed in the brilliant new Cream Of TV Burp. And if that's not enough there are plenty of hilarious out-takes and unseen footage to tickle your funny bone.' The main feature of the disc has a running time of sixty three minutes, with a further twenty four minutes of extras. The DVD will be released on 26 November.

Guests on Radio 4's The Media Show last week were given a courteous warning that there would be a TV camera in the studio during the live broadcast. This was because David Jordan, the beleaguered head of editorial policy and standards at the Beeb, had opted to do an interview, correcting the reasons he had given in an earlier edition for the infamous decision to pull Newsnight's Jimmy Savile investigation. A cameraman from BBC News had hovered expectantly. But when the guests were all seated, Jordan reportedly 'dashed in with a minute to go,' explaining the cameras had been sent away because 'I want to do a radio interview.' After his grilling, which revealed that the show's presenter, Steve Hewlett, knew about a meeting between Jordan and the Savile report's producer, Meirion Jones – or, Snitchy as he's known around the Beeb, who had then told Jordan that Peter Rippon's blog was inaccurate, two and a half weeks before it was corrected - Jordan, reports claim, 'dashed out with a look of thunder on his face.' Allegedly another, much more public, encounter with Jones swiftly followed.

The scientist and broadcaster Jacob Bronowski is to be honoured with a blue plaque in Hull, marking his ties with the city where he once taught. Doctor Bronowski, who died in 1974, is best remembered for presenting the acclaimed 1973 BBC TV series The Ascent of Man. The plaque will be unveiled on Monday at 29 Hallgate in Cottingham, where he lived between 1934 and 1942 when he was a lecturer at the University of Hull. The unveiling follows a two-year campaign by humanists in Hull. The campaign for a plaque in the city began after diaries discovered by Dr Bronowski's daughter, the academic and broadcaster Professor Lisa Jardine, showed he had lived in Hull. According to the diaries, the academic moved to the city in 1934 to lecture in mathematics at the University College of Hull. Tim Stephenson, secretary of the Hull and East Riding Humanist Group, said Doctor Bronowski was 'a real Renaissance man. He's known as a mathematician and a scientist who was interested in physics and biology, but he was also a poet,' said Stephenson. 'He was a multi-faceted person who was involved in the broad area between the arts, the sciences and the social sciences. He was a really interesting character.' Bronowski, who died aged seventy two, is known to have inspired figures such as Carl Sagan, who went on to make the TV series Cosmos, and David Attenborough, said Stephenson.

Tributes have been paid to the musician Jo Dunne of Fuzzbox who has died aged forty three. Dunne, who rose to fame with the all-girl indie rock group in the mid-1980s, died from cancer at St Mary's Hospice, Birmingham, on Friday night. The band, whose full name was initially We've Got a Fuzzbox and We're Going to Use it, had hits including 'Rules & Regulations', 'Love is the Slug', 'Pink Sunshine' and 'International Rescue'. The Birmingham band, including Dunne on bass guitar and her sister Maggie on keyboards, reformed in 2010. Known for their distinctive videos, the group returned with a cover of the M song 'Pop Muzik'. Fans left messages on Twitter expressing their sadness and memories of Dunne. Miles Hunt, of The Wonder Stuff, said: 'Very sad to hear that Jo Dunne of Fuzzbox passed away last night. Far too young to be moving on. Much love to all of her family and friends.' The band reformed in 2010 after lead singer Vickie Perks was approached by an agent after appearing on BBC2's Never Mind the Buzzcocks.

Yoko Ono was not responsible for splitting up The Beatles, Sir Paul McCartney claims in a new TV interview. And, though it's hardly the first time that Macca - or, indeed, other members of The Beatles - has said this, it's being reported as 'news' by lots of media outlets. 'She certainly didn't break the group up,' the seventy-year-old will be seen telling yer actual Sir David Frost in an interview to be broadcast next month. 'I don't think you can blame her for anything,' he says, claiming John Lennon was 'definitely going to leave.' His remarks challenge a small but very vocal school of thought which holds Lennon's widow entirely responsible for the band's separation in late 1969. Sir Paul's 'revelations' feature in an hour-long interview with Sir David his very self which will be broadcast on the Al Jazeera English TV channel in November. The programme will also see the former Beatle claim that notorious alcoholic wife-beating Scouse junkie Lennon, who died in 1980, would not have written his song 'Imagine' without the conceptual artist's influence. Something which, again, is hardly 'news' Lennon himself sending most of the 1970s saying the same thing. Between bouts of drinking. 'When Yoko came along, part of her attraction was her avant garde side, her view of things,' Sir Paul tells the veteran broadcaster. 'She showed him another way to be, which was very attractive to him. So it was time for John to leave.' According to the Observer, the interview will see Sir Paul muse on losing his mother, Mary, at the age of fourteen and the death of his first wife Linda in 1998. The musician also discusses being a father and a grandfather, which he describes as 'my coolest thing.' Oh, I dunno. It's good, but compared to 'For No One' or 'Penny Lane'? It's certainly cooler than The Frog Chorus, I'll give you that, Mac.

Yer actual Papiss Cissé's deflected injury-time winner gave yer Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle a barely deserved third Premier League victory of the season against West Bromwich Albinos at yer actual St James' Park on Sunday. Sammy Ameobi's hopeful shot deep into injury time struck the back of an oblivious Cissé and flew past stranded away keeper Ben Foster. It was Cissé's first league goal of the season (although he has, previously, scored in both the Carling Cup and the Europa League). Romelu Lukaku's second-half header looked to have maintained the Albino's fine start to the season, equalising Demba Ba's earlier volley. But Cissé's goal helped The Magpies move into the top half with a first win in five games. It left eighth-placed West Brom still searching for their first away win of the campaign, despite this being their best start to a top-flight season since 1983. Meanwhile Cissé, who scored thirteen goals in his first fourteen Premier League matches last season, will be hoping the lucky break can help him rediscover his goalscoring touch. West Brom manager Steve Clarke watched his attack-minded side succumb to two late goals in the defeat by Sheikh Yer Man City last weekend, but promised that his side would retain their offensive outlook on Tyneside. And they looked more likely to go on and score a second-half winner than their hosts who, after a decent first half, appeared to lack creativity and too often carelessly gave away possession. It had been Newcastle who, after a somewhat sedate start, carved out the first chance of the game when Shola Ameobi flighted a lovely curling cross into the path of strike partner Ba, who planted a diving far-post header wide. But the Senegal striker Ba did manage to grab his seventh goal in nine Premier League games this season shortly before half-time. It came from a 'route one' move, Tim Krul's goal-kick flicked on by Ameobi, and helped on further by Gareth McAuley's wayward header into the path of Ba, who spun smartly to volley past Foster.

Elsewhere The Scum closed the gap at the top of the Premier League to one point after Javier Hernandez's late winner gave them a hotly-contested win over nine-man Moscow Chelski at Torpedo Stamford Bridge. David Luiz's own goal and Robin van Persie's clinical finish gave The Scum a two-goal lead early on, but Moscow Chelski FC fought back superbly to level with goals from Juan Mata and Ramires either side of the interval. A pulsating game then turned on two red cards awarded against Moscow Chelski in the space of six minutes which set the scene for substitute Hernandez to secure the controversial three points for scowling bitter old Scotsman Sir Alex Ferguson's side. Moscow Chelski FC had few complaints about Branislav Ivanovic's red card for fouling Ashley Young as he raced through on goal, but the dismissal of Fernando Torres for diving was bitterly disputed by the home side - and they looked to have a case. The Spaniard appeared to have been caught on his heels by Reds defender Jonny Evans but referee Mark Clattenburg ruled that he had dived and produced a second yellow card, to the obvious astonishment of Torres and the undisguised fury of Moscow Chelski FC. Substitute Hernandez then smuggled in a winner from close range but even that looked like it was converted from an offside position to leave Chelsea manager Roberto di Matteo nursing a burning sense of injustice after the game. Objects were thrown at Hernandez and a steward was injured as The Scum's players celebrated - a sad conclusion to a thrilling game which ended in Moscow Chelski FC's first Premier League defeat of the season. Meanwhile, Luis Suarez took centre stage as Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws and Everton Toffees shared the points after a pulsating ninety minutes in the two hundred and nineteenth Merseyside derby. The Uruguayan was controversially denied an injury-time winner after Everton had fought back from 2-0 down, but it was an earlier goal celebration which is likely to prove the game's enduring image. Having played a key role in Liverpool's opener with a shot that deflected in off Leighton Baines, Suarez ran to celebrate with a swallow dive in front of Everton manager David Moyes - a reference to claims by the Scot before the game that Suarez often went down too easily. Which, to be fair, he does. Suarez added Liverpool's second with a deft header four minutes later only for Everton to score twice before half-time through Leon Osman and Steven Naismith. The result leaves Everton in fifth and extends Liverpool's unbeaten run to four matches.

Moscow Chelski FC, meanwhile, have made a formal complaint against referee Mark Clattenburg after accusing him of 'using inappropriate language' to two of their players in the defeat by The Scum. Part of the allegation is that Clattenburg used what has been described as 'racial language' according to media reports. 'We have lodged a complaint to the Premier League match delegate,' said a Moscow Chelski FC spokesman. 'The match delegate will pass the complaint to the Football Association.' Referees' organisation Professional Game Match Officials later issued a statement which said: 'PGMO is aware of the allegations and they are being treated with the utmost seriousness. Mark will co-operate fully and welcomes the opportunity for the facts to be established.' All four officials - the referee, his two assistants and the fourth official - wear microphones and ear pieces which allows them to hear what each other is saying throughout the match, although what is said between them is not recorded.

A drunk Zimbabwean man has been caught having sex with a donkey in his back garden. When asked for a comment, the donkey said 'he-haw, he-haw, he-haw'tent to do that.' The twenty eight-year-old man was 'spotted with the animal' by neighbours, who called the police. According to Standard Kenya, when officers confronted the man he insisted that the donkey was 'a prostitute' he had hired for twenty Zimbabwe dollars earlier that evening. He explained that he had taken the 'lady' home, where they had decided to have sex in his backyard before they got into the house. 'I don't know how the prostitute became a donkey,' he said. 'I think I am also a donkey. I do not know what happened when I left the bar, but I was seriously in love with the donkey.' Good defence, making on ass of oneself. The local magistrate has ordered that the man, who was arrested for his actions, be 'examined' by government doctors to assess his mental health.

And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day which, today, is for Jo Dunne.