Sunday, October 07, 2012

Week Forty Two: No Mister Bond, I Except You To Twang

TV comedy line of the week occurred on yer actual Match of the Day on Saturday evening when Gary Lineker noted that West Bromwich Albinos were looking for their fourth home win in succession. The last time they had such a good start to the season was, Lineker noted, 'the year Adrian Chiles started supporting them, 1919.' Heh. One-nil to the Lineker there, I'd venture. Nice to see Gary still hasn't lost those predatory instincts in The Box which he had at Leicester, Everton and Stottingtot Hotshots, as it were. Even Shearer laughed at that one. Then he elbowed Martin Keown in the mush. Well, let's be honest, we've all wanted to.
Second quality comedy moment of the week was Stephen Fry's inscrutable Jeremy Clarkson impression on Qi. After informing Alan Davies - who, shockingly, didn't know - that the Top Gear theme tune is 'Jessica' by The Allman Brothers Band, Stephen noted, 'And that's the most interesting fact ... in the world!'
Expect yer man Clarkson to give his old mucker Fry a good hard eye-watering kick in the cream-crackers when he appears on Qi later in the current series!

A draft script for an unmade Christmas episode of The Black Adder has come to light during research for a new book about the BBC's classic comedy series. Blackadder in Bethlehem would have seen Rowan Atkinson's character as the owner of the inn where Joseph and Mary seek a bed for the night. The story also featured Baldrick, the Three Kings and a talking turkey. Written in 1988, the script was given to comedy historian Jem Roberts by writer Richard Curtis. Roberts describes it as 'completely unofficial Blackadder.' Fragments of the unfinished script appear in his book, The History of the Black Adder, which is published later this week. In the book, Curtis that he abandoned the idea 'for fear it would cause too much offence.' To the Daily Scum Mail, probably. Instead, it was the Dickensian-themed Blackadder's Christmas Carol which went into production, and was broadcast on 23 December 1988. The Black Adder ran for four series between 1983 and 1989, starring Atkinson in the title role(s) and Tony Robinson as his dogsbody S Baldrick. There were also some stand-alone stories, the last of which was the not very good Blackadder: Back and Forth in 1999. 'When you write a book about a comedy world, there is a dream that you'll be invited into this Ali Baba's cave of unbelievable archive material,' Roberts told the BBC. 'I always presumed that would never be the case with Blackadder.' But Roberts was amazed when he was handed the previously unseen script while interviewing Curtis at his offices in Notting Hill. 'He printed out a document from his computer and said, "see what you want to do with this." My jaw dropped when I saw I was holding a lost Blackadder script.' Roberts added: 'He wrote on the script that one of the reasons it didn't get used was because it was a strange cross between Fawlty Towers and Life of Brian. He didn't think he was going to make it compare to either of them. That's his reason for it never getting any further than it did.' Set on 24 December at The Blackadder Inn in Bethlehem, the opening scene features an exchange in the foyer between Edmund Blackadder and Baldrick about getting a turkey for the 'most important night in the history of this hotel.' In the next scene, Baldrick is in the kitchen with a turkey which starts to remonstrate with him about being plucked and eaten. Later, Joseph arrives looking for a room. Blackadder offers him Baldrick's lodgings.
 BLACKADDER: 'How about I offer you this young man's room?'
 JOSEPH: 'That sounds excellent.'
 BLACKADDER: 'Yes. It's not that excellent - less of a room, more of a manger.'
'It wasn't a huge script, there were massive amounts missing,' explains Roberts. 'It's the rough workings of a comic genius.' The author said he wanted to write the history of Blackadder from the point of view of a 'devoted fan,' to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the first - unbroadcast - pilot episode of The Black Adder in 1982. The book was written with the co-operation of writers Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, producer John Lloyd and the cast and crew including Atkinson, Robinson, Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. Roberts's previous book was The Fully Authorised History of I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue. But what did Roberts think of the talking turkey scene in Curtis's re-discovered script? 'In the Blackadder universe there are ghosts and witches, so there could have been talking turkeys - why not? If they had made Blackadder in Bethlehem, it would have been very off-the-wall.'

And so to yer actual Top Telly Tips:-

Saturday 13 October
Sandi Toksvig, Bill Bailey, Alan Davies and first timer Susan Calman join Stephen Fry in the latest Qi XL - 9:00 BBC2. They'll be answering fiendishly difficulty questions - or, at least trying to - on places that start with J.
The remaining contestants take to the stage in the second live studio round of The X Factor - 8:20 ITV - and for the surviving act in last week's bottom two, the pressure will be on to give the performance of a lifetime as the singers battle to win praise from the tough-talking judges. And, to persuade viewers to pick up their phones and vote and make Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads loads and loads and loads of love-er-ee wonga. Gary Barlow is in charge of the over-twenty eights, Nicole Scherzinger has got the boys (well, we've all head the rumours), Tulisa Contostavlos looks after the girls and Louis Walsh has the groups. Dermot O'Dreary hosts. Badly, as usual. Interestingly, this week Tulisa told several national newspapers that she often felt like 'the most hated woman in Britain.' I'm not sure that's accurate, frankly. I mean, there's Rose West for a kick off ...

Arthur and Merlin are exhausted as they make their way across the icy plains toward the fortress of Ismere, but with each tired step, the warlock's fear intensifies in Merlin - 8:25 BBC1. What powerful secrets are Morgana and the druid Ruadan searching for among its twisted catacombs? And what dangerous game is Mordred playing? It seems not even Merlin can stop his king from walking into certain danger as the great battle for Albion begins.

Sunday 14 October
In Andrew Marr's History of the World - 9:30 BBC1 - the big-lugged presenter reaches The Middle Ages, and, the start of Bruce Forsyth's comedy career. Marr explores how the collapse of the Roman Empire had allowed the Vikings to lay the foundations of powerful new trading states as they pillaged their way from Northern Europe to North America. Meanwhile Muslim scholars in Baghdad's House of Wisdom built upon the knowledge of ancient civilisations from India, Persia and Greece. By exploring the blood-soaked conquests of Genghis Khan, the adventures of Marco Polo and the extraordinary story of the wealthiest African king who ever lived, Marr finds out how Europe used influences from around the world to rise again with the Renaissance.

Against the advice of her family, Carrie becomes involved in an operation that may neutralise the threat posed by Abu Nazir in Homeland - 9:00 Channel Four. Meanwhile, Brody's handler presses the congressman into service as his relationship with Jessica encounters problems, and Mike questions events surrounding the shooting of Elizabeth Gaines. Superior US espionage drama - '24 with brains', basically - starring yer actual Damien Lewis, Claire Danes, Morena Baccarin, David Harewood and Mandy Patinkin.
An exciting offer for Edith divides opinion, Isobel throws Ethel a lifeline and Anna's perseverance finally pays off in the latest episode of Lord Snooty's massively over-rated Downton Abbey - 9:00 BBC2. Daisy is unhappy when Alfred takes a keen interest in newly arrived maid Ivy, while Matthew's concerns about the estate grow - but are his protests falling on deaf ears? Costume drama, starring Laura Carmichael, Penelope Wilton, Amy Nuttall, Joanne Froggatt and Dan Stevens. Well acted, but driven by an obsession with snobbery that's really unhealthy.

Monday 15 October
This week's Wonderland film, Walking With Dogs - 9:00 BBC2 - is, as the name might suggest dear blog reader, a documentary exploring people's extraordinary relationships with their wonderful one, two, three, four-legged friends. He'll never let you down. The film was made over several months by director Vanessa Engle, who approaches people out walking their dogs on Hampstead Heath, to ask why they have a pet and the role it plays in their lives. The stories they tell are in turns surprising, moving and profound.

David Reynolds explores the reasoning behind the Second World War battles which took place in North Africa and Italy - an area labelled Hitler's 'soft underbelly' by Winston Churchill in World War Two: 1942 and Hitler's Soft Underbelly - 9:00 BBC4. Through his investigation, Reynolds discovers a prime minister who was politically vulnerable at home, desperate to shore up a crumbling British empire abroad and even ready to deceive his American allies. The programme marks the seventieth anniversary of the Battle of El Alamein in 1942 and sixty ninth of the Anzio campaign a year later.

In Never Mind The Buzzcocks - BBC2 10:00 - Radio 1 Breakfast Show host Nick Grimshaw attempts to keep order in the Buzzcocks studio, as chart star Conor Maynard takes his place among the guests joining team captains Phill Jupitus and Noel Fielding for another round of the comedy music quiz.

Tuesday 16 October
In the final episode of Ian Hislop's Stiff Upper Lip: An Emotional History of Britain - 9:00 BBC2 - the broadcaster explores how the British expressed their feelings throughout the Twentieth Century and asks whether regular displays of emotion on today's TV confirm the departure of the 'stiff upper lip' stereotype. He begins with the 1926 General Strike, revealing how behaviour on both sides effectively prevented an all-out revolution in Great Britain, and visits the Imperial War Museum to discover the original story behind the morale-boosting slogan Keep Calm and Carry On. Hislop - who really is very good at making these thoughtful, intelligent, and often funny documentaries - also meets the playwright Alan Bennett and looks at the nation's reactions to tragedies including the 1966 Aberfan disaster and the death of the Princess of Wales in 1997.

Miss Audrey is confined to her bed with a mysterious illness, so Denise and Clara compete to become temporary head of ladieswear, just as an important order is due in The Paradise - 9:00 BBC1. Moray is on edge because Katherine is stepping out with Peter Adler - she is clearly enjoying the respect and affection her new beau is showing her, but is it really enough to make her happy? Period drama, starring Sarah Lancashire, Joanna Vanderham, Emun Elliott and Elaine Cassidy.

There's also International football, Poland versus England (kick-off 8.00pm). Odious greed bucket and breakfast TV flop Adrian Chiles presents ITV - hideous - coverage of the World Cup Group H qualifier at the National Stadium in Warsaw, where Roy Hodgson's men will seek a vital victory. Without full-of-his-own-importance Ashley Cole, presumably. Following their draw at home to Ukraine in their second fixture, England need to ensure they do not lose any ground on their rivals for the sole automatic qualification place and Poland are expected to be among them. Like England, the Poles claimed four points from their opening two games after drawing away to Montenegro before beating Moldova on home soil, and they will also be aiming to remain in the hunt for top spot in the group table, as well as overcoming the disappointment of Euro 2012, when they failed to win any of their games in front of a fervent and expectant home crowd. With commentary by Clive Tyldesley with occasional, utterly pointless, comments from Andy Townsend, and analysis from Roy Keane, Lee Dixon and Gareth Southgate.

Wednesday 17 October
Former footballer John Barnes explores the role his grandfather played in Jamaica's fight for independence from Britain in the latest Who Do You Think You Are? - 9:00 BBC1. He discovers how his relative became the subject of secret telegrams, why he was interned by the British during the Second World War and how, having being at the heart of Jamaican politics, he fell from grace among his former allies.

The detective visits his childhood home to break the news of Roy's death, and his parents plead with him to find out what happened in DCI Banks - 9:00 ITV. Defying Morton, Banks returns to the station in an attempt to lead the investigation into the murders of his brother and Jennifer Lewis, and both officers are convinced the key to cracking the cases lies with a woman being treated at a clinic. Crime drama, starring Stephen Tompkinson and Caroline Catz.

Kevin McCloud marks the one hundredth episode of Grand Designs - 9:00 Channel Four - with one of the programme's most ambitious projects to date. Leigh Osborne and Graham Voce want to convert and extend a landmark one hundred and fifty-year-old water tower in central London into a luxury home. Grade II-listed, derelict and with six foot-thick walls, it's a huge challenge for the pair, who also plan to build two structures at the base - a lift shaft connected by a series of glass tunnels, and a modern living space. The result will be a four-bedroom property over nine floors, complete with a room at the top offering spectacular three hundred and sixty degree views across the capital.

John Ross struggles to stay on top of the drilling operation in the face of more pressure from his Venezuelan associates, and looks to Lucy and Sue Ellen for support as he tries to keep the oil business afloat in Dallas - 9:00 Channel Five. Rebecca reveals news that has serious consequences for Christopher and Elena, while Harris Ryland decides to press assault charges against Bobby.

Thursday 18 October
The family travels to a country estate, where Jack Turner and other interested parties are bidding on the dam contract in Hunted - 9:00 BBC1. As Sam tries to find out the amount of Turner's offer, she runs into a man from her past, who she suspects has something to do with the attempt on her life. Really rather good [spooks]-like espionage thriller, starring Melissa George, Patrick Malahide, Morven Christie and Lex Shrapnel.
Professor David Spiegelhalter tries to get to grips with chance and how it works in Tails You Win: The Science of Chance - 9:00 BBC4. He tackles such questions as whether people are wise to take an umbrella when they go out, to ways of maximising the chances of living to 100, as he tries to establish if luck and fate are embedded in the fabric of the universe. Along the way, he discovers hidden patterns and shapes in a book written exclusively with numbers and explains why going sky-diving only marginally increases his risk of dying in 2012.

The hairy cornflake his very self Dave Lee Travis presents a vintage edition of Top of the Pops from 22 September 1977 - BBC4 7:30 - featuring music by Hank The Knife & The Jets, The Stranglers, Baccara, Stardust, La Belle Epoque (aw, yeah!), Leo Sayer, yer actual Boomtown Rats (featuring Saint Bob his very shaft of incandescent light) and Meri Wilson, plus dance routines by Legs & Co.
Friday 19 October
Comedienne Jo Brand is in the host's seat on Have I Got News For You - 9:00 BBC1 - to take a pop at the past week's headlines with team captains Ian Hislop and Paul Merton, along with their guests.
Originally supposed to have been shown last week, the latest Qi - 10:00 BBC2 - features odious, unfunny, full-of-his-own-importance knobcheese Jack Whitehall making his debut - and, hopefully, his last appearance too - on the general knowledge quiz. He joins regular panellist Alan Davies and comedians Jimmy Carr and Cal Wilson - all of whom are, unlike Whitehall, funny - to answer Stephen Fry's fiendish questions about joints.

And, so to the news: Lawyers acting for more than one hundred and seventy phone-hacking victims, were dealt a blow on Friday after losing a high court application to force News International to do a general search of its databases for potential evidence of illegal voicemail interception. However, the high court did order News International to hand over nine previously undisclosed e-mails between News International employees and the private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who is at the centre of the phone-hacking scandal.
The phone-hacking claimants were seeking further disclosure in relation to Mulcaire's activities before 2001 in an effort to establish whether voicemail interception had taken place earlier than previously admitted by News International during the course of the civil litigation proceedings. They were also seeking access to four hundred and thirty three e-mails in a file on the computer in the room of a senior News International executive labelled 'three - Neville Thurlbeck.pst', along with other documentation submitted to the Metropolitan police and the Leveson inquiry. The '.pst' suffix would ordinarily refer to personal Microsoft Outlook e-mail folders. Mr Justice Vos said the decision not to allow more generic disclosure 'does not come easily to me' in the light of previous evidence that News International, even during the course of litigation, had failed to disclose material which it should have, and had also admitted to the destruction of e-mails. However, he said: 'Even with all that background, it seems to me that, to put it bluntly, you can have too much of a good thing,' adding that the 'value of further general disclosure' was 'unlikely to be justified.' He said that he did not see how further generic disclosure could be 'proportionate' in relation to civil proceedings or 'cost effective.' During the four-day hearing last week, News International argued that it had already made a 'generic admission' that phone-hacking had taken place and further disclosure would not 'serve to advance their case' as it had 'already been conceded' by the publisher. It also told the court that searching all the documents disclosed to the Met by the law firm Linklaters' criminal team would cost over five hundred thousand smackers and to search all the Microsoft Outlook files manually would cost around a million quid. Vos said: 'It seems to me that the bulk of any further disclosure should be on a case-specific basis.' The court also heard that no application had been made by Mulcaire to have the civil trials, currently listed for June, adjourned on the grounds they could prejudice a criminal trial he is facing in September 2013. Vos said he could see how many of the lead cases in the civil litigation could be tried 'without trespassing on any allegations made in the criminal proceedings.' Last week, counsel for Mulcaire told the court that she had 'concerns' Mulcaire's criminal case could be 'prejudiced' by witnesses discussing how injured their feelings were by phone-hacking in the earlier civil actions. Vos noted that News Group Newspapers, the subsidiary of News International that includes the Sun and the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World, had agreed voluntarily to do a manual search for disclosable documents in the Leveson files and the '.pst' files contained on 'Senior Executive B's' computer. This, said Vos, was 'a very constructive proposal' and urged News International to 'continue to be responsive' to 'measured requests' for searches. He added that he was not saying no further application for generic disclosure would be possible. 'Circumstances can change,' he warned. A spokeswoman for News International said Vos had 'in short, agreed with News Group Newspapers that "enough is enough"' which isn't, in fact, what he said or anything even remotely like it. She added: 'We have always been committed to bringing these proceedings to a fair, appropriate and expeditious conclusion and we welcome today's judgment which will assist that process.' Tell you what else would have been 'fair, appropriate and expeditious', sweetheart. Not hacking people's phones in the first place and not denying, for four years, that you had.

Meanwhile, more than fifty victims of phone-hacking and other forms of newspaper intrusion have written to David Cameron expressing 'fury' at suggestions that the coalition government could reject tough new laws which would see the press policed by an independent regulator. In a move designed to send the issue to the top of the agenda at the Tory conference, they warn the prime minister that trust in the media 'cannot be restored' if the press is allowed to continue with a system of self-regulation. Celebrities including Hugh Grant, Jude Law and Charlotte Church, as well as 7/7 victims and members of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, have signed the open letter expressing 'alarm' at reports that Cameron intends to reject any form of statutory regulation of the press if such a recommendation is made by the Leveson inquiry. The judge-led inquiry into the role and governance of the media was established by the prime minister in July last year in response to the phone-hacking scandal at the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World newspaper. Having spent more than a year collecting evidence, the inquiry is considering a range of recommendations which may include a proposal for the press to be subject to an independent regulator backed by law and with significant new powers. But the Hacked Off campaign, which represents hacking victims and has issued the open letter, said it had become 'alarmed and distressed' by newspaper reports that Cameron had decided to give papers 'another chance to improve self-regulation.' Alleged 'sources' allegedly 'close' to the prime minister have been quoted as saying he 'is likely to reject statutory intervention in regulation of the press, even if it is recommended by Lord Justice Leveson.' When asked to comment last month, the prime minister's spokesman said only that the stories were 'speculation.' However, Hacked Off warns that any rejection of the inquiry's potential recommendations before they have been submitted to government would be 'a betrayal of us and your previous commitments.' When he established the Leveson inquiry, Cameron pledged that the test for the future system of press regulation was not whether it suited politicians or the press but 'people who have been caught up and absolutely thrown to the wolves by this process.' Hacked Off said it had also been concerned by comments made by Tory ministers. Appearing before the inquiry, the lack of education secretary, rat-faced loathsome wretched odious nasty slavver-merchant and George Formby lookalike Gove, argued against the statutory regulation of the press and urged Leveson to 'consider carefully' his proposals, as though it has anything whatsoever to do with him. Theresa May, the home secretary, has given a warning on possible 'unintended consequences' if self-regulation were scrapped. Such a move would spark fury among some of the largest newspaper groups and prompt claims that the press was in danger of being muzzled. But a failure to be seen to act after a long-running and costly inquiry that he established would expose Cameron to claims that he was under the thumb of powerful self-interest groups, notably billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch. An alternative way forward, advanced by Lord Black, the chairman of the Press Standards Board of Finance, would be for a new self-regulatory press body that had the power to launch investigations and levy fines of up to a million smackers. But Hacked Off said victims believed that any proposal which did not have a 'statutory backstop' was wholly inadequate. It said that it was seeking reassurances from the prime minister that he had an 'open mind' on the matter and had 'not already decided in favour of a proposal for continued self-regulation which we believe to be unsatisfactory.' The letter concludes: 'We look forward to hearing from you as a matter of urgency so that our minds can be put at rest and so that the public in general may know that your position on this vital matter has not changed.' Professor Brian Cathcart, director of Hacked Off, said it was 'crucial' that the inquiry's recommendations were not prejudged. 'The victims of press abuse who signed this letter are alarmed that, before Lord Justice Leveson has even had the chance to report, it is reported that his proposals will be rejected,' Cathcart said. 'It is hard to believe that the prime minister, who, after all, set up the inquiry in the first place, could really have taken such a decision. The judge has spent a year investigating press culture, ethics and practices; his recommendations, when published, surely deserve to be considered with open minds and with the greatest seriousness.' Dominic Crossley, who represented the families of Milly Dowler and Madeleine McCann at the inquiry, said that it must be kept free from politics. 'If Leveson's recommendations, whatever they may be, are ignored or diminished for purely political reasons, in face of what we heard of the relationship between the press and politicians, it would truly be scandalous,' Crossley said. Charlotte Church and Jacqui Hames, the former Metropolitan police officer who was targeted by private investigators working for the Scum of the World, will discuss their concerns with Cameron on Tuesday at the Tory party conference. 'We await Lord Leveson's independent report, the content of which is a matter for him,' a Downing Street spokesman said.

London mayor, and hairdo, Boris Johnson is increasing under pressure to give evidence to the Leveson inquiry after being forced to publish his diary listing a string of undisclosed conversations with News International executives, including well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks and James Murdoch the small, at the height of the phone-hacking scandal. The one hundred and thirty nine-page document reveals the existence of a number of phone calls and meetings the London mayor had not previously reported to the London assembly nor admitted to in response to freedom of information requests. The conversations took place as the phone-hacking scandal raged and, on two occasions, just days after Johnson had spoken to the then assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan police, Champagne John Yates, who oversaw the original failed phone-hacking investigation. Johnson's spokesman said the conversations had not been made public before because they were either 'commercially sensitive' or 'outside the range of freedom of information requests,' which had specifically asked about the existence of 'meetings' not 'conversations.' However, the contents of the diary raise fresh concerns that Johnson, while carrying out his responsibility as mayor overseeing the Met, appears to have been in an overly cosy relationship with people Scotland Yard was at that time investigating. Johnson battled for nearly a year and a half to keep the diary out of the public gaze, but was forced by the information commissioner to disclose it to the London edition of the BBC's Sunday Politics programme, which will broadcast further details. The commissioner rejected Johnson's argument that publication would involve 'a sizeable risk' to the health or physical well-being of the London mayor because it would provide a guide to his day-to-day movements. Among the seven thousand appointments listed, the diary reveals the existence of three previously undisclosed phone conversations, two with well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks and one with James Murdoch the small. There were also two face-to-face meetings: one with Fred Michel, the News Corp lobbyist embroiled in the scandal over former lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Hunt's relationship with the Murdochs, and one with well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks's husband, millionaire Old Etonian Charlie, who attended Eton with the mayor and the prime minister. Until now, Johnson had only admitted to three meals with News International executives, and these had been left off the London assembly's hospitality register and only came to light after a freedom of information request. The mayor had said at the time that 'for various reasons' these meals did not need to be declared – or there had been a delay in disclosure, including administrative error – the cost being under twenty five smackers or he was dining 'in a personal capacity.' Around the same period, between the end of 2010 and the start of 2011, Johnson was publicly describing the phone-hacking scandal, which has since led to eleven people including well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks and her husband being charged, as 'codswallop cooked up by the Labour party.' On Saturday the leader of the Labour group on the London assembly, Len Duvall, called for Johnson to 'come clean' on what was discussed at these meetings. Duvall said: 'Boris has assured us that all meetings had been disclosed, now we discover there were additional meetings and phone calls with individuals from, and associated with, News International. There is no other pattern at this time of meetings with journalists or lobbyists from other firms. The mayor has serious questions to answer. These meetings coincide with key periods in the police's investigation into phone-hacking, and it is stretching credulity to believe that the biggest scandal to engulf the company was not discussed at any of these meetings. We also believe that no City Hall officials were present at these meetings and that no notes were taken. If they do exist, the mayor needs to publish them now, so that Londoners can have confidence in their mayor.' Caroline Pidgeon, leader of the Liberal Democrats in the assembly, added that it was time for Johnson to give evidence to the Leveson inquiry investigating the role of the press, police and politicians in the phone-hacking scandal. Johnson denied passing on sensitive information to News International executives or discussing phone-hacking. A spokesman said: 'He has frequently and resolutely refuted any suggestion that, had he been in possession of sensitive information at the time of any meeting or conversation with News International about other issues, he would have shared this with these parties.' Critics have also raised concerns that the diary reveals Johnson enjoyed a large number of meetings with bankers, including seven with the former chief executive of Barclays, Bob Diamond, who resigned over the Libor rate-fixing scandal, and five with the bank's chairman, Marcus Agius. Johnson also appears to have enjoyed the high life, according to the diary. He made three trips to The Ritz and five to Claridges between 2008 and 2011, along with the Savoy, Park Lane Hilton and Dorchester. The Carlton Club, Garrick and Athenaeum also feature. However, Johnson's favourite restaurant appears to be the Chop House in Shad Thames – the Conran restaurant clocks up six visits.

The publisher of the Scum Mail on Sunday has lost part of a high court libel case brought by a former Bank of Scotland director over two articles he said falsely implied he was involved in criminal conspiracies. Irfan Qadir, a prominent Asian businessman, said Associated Newspapers libelled him in two Scum Mail on Sunday articles published in May and June 2011. The first article was about Qadir's past dealings with the owners of a London nightclub; the second reported a false allegation that the high-profile banker was involved in a massive mortgage fraud. In a judgment handed down at the high court on Friday, Mr Justice Tugendhat rejected two defences put forward by Associated Newspapers. The judge also made a finding of 'malice' in relation to both articles. There will be a trial at a later date on the defence of justification, to determine whether the allegations relating to Qadir and the nightclub are true. Tugendhat severely criticised Associated Newspapers – and the press in general – for being 'too slow' to admit when they have made a mistake. The senior libel judge said the press was guilty of a 'particular mischief' because 'the press may get away with refusing to admit they have done wrong, when others would not get away with it.' Tugendhat made the rare general criticism after he censured Associated Newspapers for being slow to correct a Scum Mail Online version of one of the allegedly libellous Scum Mail on Sunday articles. The judge said there was a 'deliberate unfairness' in the second Scum Mail on Sunday article, published under the headline Top banker named in mortgage fraud case, and ruled that it was 'not a fair and accurate report' of court proceedings. The article reported a claim made in open court in an entirely separate criminal trial by a defence barrister that the ex-Bank of Scotland director was implicated in criminality. However, the article did not report that the judge in the same trial had explicitly stated 'Mr Qadir did not lend any money' and had rebuked the defence barrister for pursuing the allegation. The story was written by Simon Watkins, the deputy editor of Financial Scum Mail on Sunday, and based on a secondary news report of the proceedings. Tugendhat said in his judgment: 'Looking at the evidence as a whole, again I find that Mr Watkins was deliberately publishing a report that was unfair to Mr Qadir in omitting to attribute to the judge the statement that: "Mr Qadir did not lend any money."' The judge said the first article, headed Bank of Scotland director "drove us out with dogs", was 'not the product of responsible journalism' and rejected a defence of 'qualified privilege.' The first article was based on claims made about Qadir in publicly available court documents obtained by a freelance journalist and passed to the Scum Mail on Sunday. However, the article did not report that Qadir intended to fight the accusations. His defence was publicly available from the court. The article also reported that Qadir had 'declined to comment' on the allegations, but the judge said that the banker did not receive any messages from the Scum Mail on Sunday although several had been left by the newspaper on a voicemail which was 'believed' to be his. In his judgment, Tugendhat said the Scum Mail on Sunday's defence of qualified privilege failed because 'the words complained of were a matter which was not of public concern and publication of which was not for the public benefit in that they omit to state that the claim is disputed, and include the misiniformation that Mr Qadir had declined to comment.' The judge ruled that Qadir's claim of 'malice' partially succeeded in respect of both articles, though the defences of privilege were rejected for other reasons. He said Associated Newspaper should have corrected a Scum Mail Online version of the first article to make clear that Qadir had filed a defence and denied the claims made against him. There will be a trial early in 2013 on whether Associated Newspaper's defence of justification on the nightclub allegation will be successful.

The BBC's new director general George Entwistle has urged BBC staff to 'come forward' and talk to police if they have any information about alleged sexual abuses by Sir Jimmy Savile. In an e-mail to staff, Entwistle added he was 'appalled' by the allegations made in an ITV documentary about the former presenter. No complaints were received by the BBC at the time of the alleged abuses. Scotland Yard have launched a new inquiry into the allegations. If enough evidence is gathered that Savile was, indeed, a dirty old scallywag who fiddled with little girls then, presumably, the police intend to dig him up and put him on trial.

A man has been arrested for hampering a police investigation while dressed as Batman. Mark Wayne Williams from North Michigan was sentenced to six months' probation after refusing to clear the scene following a personal injury road accident last Saturday. 'Troopers were responding to the scene of a personal injury accident in which the driver had left the scene,' Sergeant Jeff Gorno told Petoskey News. 'When we arrived, [Williams] was at the scene in his Batman outfit. He wouldn't clear the scene and we had a canine out there and he kept screwing up the scent. He said he wanted to help us look for the driver. We didn't want the dog to track Batman instead of the accident scene and he was getting in the way of officers who had a job to do.' Williams - known locally as the 'Petoskey Batman' - has been arrested before. In May 2011, Petoskey police received a report of a man dressed as Batman on the roof of a local business. When they arrived, officers found Williams carrying a baton-type striking weapon, a can of chemical irritant spray and a pair of sand-filled bat-gloves. Four months later, the thirty three-year-old pleaded guilty to one count of attempted resisting and obstructing a police officer. He claimed that he never intended to harm anyone, but was sentenced to six months' probation during which he was not to wear any costumes, including his Batman outfit. Following his most recent arrest, Williams again had his costume and 'gadgets' confiscated. Gorno said that he was not found to be carrying any dangerous weapons, and later posted bail before being released from the Emmet County Jail. Emmet County Prosecutor, Jim Linderman, confirmed that Williams had been charged for a second time with one count of resisting and obstructing police in an investigation, which carries a two-year felony. He is due back in court on 18 October. Millionaire Bruce Wayne never had these problems.

Environment officers are monitoring a stream near Lampeter after a tanker crash saw up to six thousand litres of caramel food additive leak into the Nant Creuddyn in Ceredigion. Mmmm. Chocolatey. The spillage on Friday has turned the river water a dark brown colour. As it would. The Environment Agency said the caramel is 'not toxic' - which is something of a relief - but it 'could affect oxygen levels' which could 'have an impact for fish.' Officers hope fast currents will mean the caramel 'quickly disperses.' The incident followed an accident on the A482 near Lampeter involving a tanker. A spokesperson from Environment Agency Wales said: 'Although the food additive is not toxic in itself, it can affect oxygen levels in water which could have a negative impact on the fish population. The current high river flows are helping to disperse the liquid quickly, but we will continue to keep a close eye on the situation and will do everything we can to limit the impact of this accident on the local environment.'

As noted on that day's blog update, Friday saw the fiftieth anniversary of the release of The Beatles 'Love Me Do.' It was also, interestingly, the fiftieth anniversary of the beginning of another British icon, the release of Dr No. So, here's yer actual - belated - Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Also recorded, like 'Love Me Do' at Abbey Road in Studio Two. Small world, eh?

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