Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Italians Have A Word For It. I Don't Speak Italian Myself You Understand? But I Knew A Man Who Did

The Great British Bake Off's finale peaked with a hefty 7.2 million on Tuesday night early overnight data shows. John Whaite's victory in the competition attracted an average overnight audience of 6.54m to BBC2 in the 8pm hour. Judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood crowned the law graduate ahead of James Morton and Brendan Lynch. Way above the channel's average for the slot, many media commentators expect The Great British Bake Off to be promoted to BBC1 following its unexpected rise in popularity over the last two series. Bake Off's figures are all the more impressive considering the stiff competition from other channels - Holby City drew 5.08m for BBC1, while 4.24m watched ITV's thoroughly unimpressive build-up to the eventually postponed England versus Poland match and Adrian Chiles wittering on like a beach whale for ninety tedious minutes. Probably thanks to the called-off England game, many viewers switched over to The Paradise on BBC1, which saw its audience rise to 5.15m in the 9pm hour. Doc Martin, pencilled in at the last minute by ITV as FIFA prolonged its decision about whether to postpone the footie, managed 1.8m, and was beaten by Ian Hislop's Stiff Upper Lip (2.37m) on BBC2. Overall, BBC1 led primetime with 23.2 per cent, ahead of ITV's 15.2 per cent and BBC Two's 12.7 per cent of the audience share.

Being Human creator Toby Whithouse has dropped hints about the show's new villain. Whitechapel's Phil Davis will appear in the drama's fifth series as the 'manipulative and cruel' Captain Hatch. 'In episode one there's a scene that puts a full stop on The Old Ones, and we move on to much bigger and greater threats,' Whithouse told SFX magazine. The writer went on to describe the character of Hatch as 'gloriously horrible,' praising the 'brilliant' Davis. 'I can't tell you how happy I was when we got Phil,' he said. 'I was writing the first draft of episode six, which is a colossal episode for the character, and I was struggling to find the character's voice; something about it wasn't clicking. Then I thought, "Oh, y'know who'd be brilliant for this part? Phil Davis." Suddenly, writing that character became infinitely easier.'

Downton Abbey's Brendan Coyle has revealed that the cast know when the show will end. The actor, who plays valet John Bates, joked that the hit period drama would turn into Emmerdale if it continued into a more recent era. 'I can pretty much say all of us know when Downton is going to end,' Coyle told the Radio Times. 'This is a show with a finite life. If we bring this into the '50s, it's Emmerdale.' Speaking of his own character, who is accused of his wife's murder, he added: 'Bates was in the Boer War. He would have killed a lot of people. Does that mean he can kill his wife? What does it do to you?' Alleged 'insiders' have, allegedly, predicted that Downton Abbey will run for two more series, before drawing to a close when key actors move on to other projects. Jessica Brown Findlay, who ­played Lady Sybil, is already filming Winter's Tale with Russell Crowe, while Michelle Dockery and Rob James-Collier apparently want to launch US careers.

Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas is to return to The CW network with a new drama. Metropolis is a remake of the UK series of the same name, which starred James Purefoy and was broadcast on ITV in 2000. The project, written and executive produced by Thomas, will follow a group of friends struggling to adapt to adult life post-college. Thomas - who also created Starz comedy Party Down - first attempted to adapt Metropolis for ABC in 2008. The first US remake went to the pilot stage but was not picked up to series. The UK original was created by writer Peter Morgan and also starred James Fox and Matthew Rhys. Another of James Purefoy's ITV series is also being remade for US television - Law & Order creator Dick Wolf is currently developing a new version of legal drama Injustice, which was broadcast in the UK in 2011.

The vile and odious rascal Hunt reportedly faced a tough crowd when he attempted telling the Queen an amusing anecdote earlier this week. Nice to see Her Maj has some taste. The health secretary met with the monarch at Buckingham Palace during a reception to thank those involved with the Diamond Jubilee celebrations earlier this year. The vile and odious rascal Hunt reportedly had his brown tongue hanging out as the odious snivelling little turd congratulated Her Maj over her appearance in the Olympics Opening Ceremony segment with Daniel Craig, according to the Daily Torygraph. He is said to have told her: 'I read about a Japanese tourist who said afterwards how wonderful our Queen must be to take part in that as they would never get their emperor to jump out of the plane.' The vile and odious rascal Hunt was then apparently met with a 'tumbleweed' moment from the Queen, before she smiled and moved on. The Torygraph claims that the Duke of Edinburgh then shook hands with the MP, asking him bluntly: 'And, who are you?' After explaining that he is currently the health secretary, having been the lack of culture secretary at the time of the Diamond Jubilee, Prince Philip replied: 'Well they do move you people on a lot.'
Ken Clarke, the minister without portfolio, has written to Lord Leveson saying that he is 'not opposed' to a form of statutory regulation for the press, pointing out that a similar statutory underpinning of the judiciary has not undermined its independence. According to the Gruniad Morning Star Clarke also dismissed those in his own party who claim that regulation would 'amount to Armageddon' and backed a fully independent body capable of imposing fines. His intervention follows sharp warnings by other ministers, including Francis Maude and the rat-faced loathsome wretched odious nasty slavver-merchant and George Formby lookalike Gove, opposing any intervention to inhibit press freedom in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal. Clarke's remarks come as a poll showed overwhelming support for greater controls over the media and widespread distrust over the closeness of politicians to those in the media. Clarke sent his four-page letter as justice secretary in July and it was published on Wednesday. It is the fullest set of remedies from a senior government minister since the phone-hacking scandal was exposed. He stressed he was writing in a personal capacity, but his letter shows that the government is not uniformly opposed to reform. It is understood that Clarke has been unhappy at the way in which some lobbying on behalf of the revamped version of the Press Complaints Commission has been undertaken. Clarke writes: 'I believe we do need a new regulator – one with substantially more power and independence than the PCC, which failed in its previous incarnation, and no longer commands the confidence of the public. I also share what appears to be the consensus view that a new body should be independent both of the industry and of political influence.' In a sharp break with what some cabinet ministers have been saying, he states: 'I am not convinced, though, that a statutory underpinning of some kind would amount to state control of the press. You have pointed out the statutory duty of the lord chancellor to uphold the independence of the judiciary. I would note as well that press organisations have a legal obligation to register with Companies House and HM Revenue & Customs as businesses; this doesn't appear to me to amount to political interference in their work.' He adds: 'The issue of some kind of backstop, statutory or otherwise, is important because a very difficult question that goes to the heart of the effectiveness of a new body is how you ensure membership of all-powerful media voices. I entirely agree with Lord Hunt [the current chairman of the Press Complaints Commission] that participation of all the big players is highly desirable if the new system is to have meaning. I am more sceptical than Lord Hunt though in thinking that publications would wear membership as a badge of honour; I can distinctly see the opposite being true. At the other extreme, I am troubled at the notion of membership of the body being a "hard" requirement of the right to publish. I cannot see how we could reasonably have a system that forced bloggers and suchlike to sign up, nor licensed gadflies like Private Eye facing legal action and possible closure because they have not complied with a set of pre-agreed requirements.' Discussing what forms of sanctions could be applied, he said: 'A different kind of answer may lie with the advertising agencies and media buyers. If they could be encouraged to support only those publications who were members of the body and who had signed up to the code, the attractions of joining would be readily apparent. This perhaps has parallels with the Advertising Standards Authority, albeit in the other direction, with banned adverts being pulled by broadcasters and owners.'
He also calls for the successor body to the PCC to be able to 'impose' remedies, rather than negotiate them. 'In addition, fines should be available for serious or systemic breaches of the Editors' Code [of Practice]. I would also go further than Lord Hunt in saying that the prominence and content of apologies should sometimes be set unilaterally by the regulator, generally pursuing the principle that it should attract "similar prominence" as the offending article.' He adds that he is 'attracted' to the idea of contracts, with the possibility (hopefully never used) of civil litigation if the contracts are broken.' The proposals for contract law have been put forward by Lord Hunt, the new chairman of the PCC, but need not conflict with some form of statutory underpinning to ensure all newspapers participate. Clarke's support for independent regulation does on the surface conflict with Lord Hunt's idea of 'independently led self-regulation.' The polling conducted by YouGov and handed to Downing Street by the Hacked Off campaign shows more than three quarters of the public prefer an independent body, established by law, to regulate the press rather than a body established by newspapers. Nearly four in five of those questioned said that the former came closest to their own view, compared with just one in ten for the latter. Conservative voters are eighty per cent in favour of an independent body against twelve per cent in favour of self-regulation. Labour voters are eighty one per cent in favour of an independent body as opposed to eight per cent in favour of self-regulation. Lib Dem supporters are eighty six per cent in favour of an independent body. More than two thirds of the public agree with the idea that politicians are 'too close' to owners and editors and 'can't be trusted' to protect people from unethical behaviour by journalists. And at least one person said the whole bloody lot of them should be kicked, hard, in the cream-crackers until they squeal for mercy.

A man in Newcastle has been arrested as part of an investigation into alleged criminal breaches of privacy by police working on one of Scotland Yard's three investigations in to newspaper activities. The forty eight-year-old was arrested at 'a business premises' in the Newcastle upon Tyne area on Wednesday morning on suspicion of conspiracy to commit offences under sections one and three of the Computer Misuse Act 1990 and sections one and two of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, Scotland Yard said. They added that the arrest related to 'suspected business espionage' and was 'not directly linked' to any news organisation or the activities of journalists. 'Searches are being carried out at the business premises where he was arrested and his home address in Northumberland,' said the police in a statement. The arrest brings to seventeen the number of people arrested under Operation Tuleta, the Scotland Yard investigation into privacy breaches including the alleged hacking of computers and stolen mobile phones. The operation is being run in tandem with two other investigations: Operation Weeting, which is looking at alleged phone-hacking, and Operation Elveden, the Scotland Yard inquiry into claims of corrupt payments to public officials and other naughty skulduggery and shenanigans. The man is being questioned at a Northumberland police station.

The Gruniad Morning Star's editor Alan Rusbridger has - sadly - denied claims the paper is considering becoming an online-only publication. The Torygraph reported that executives at the Gruniad and its sister paper, the Observer want to end print editions and focus on The report claimed that Rusbridger 'wasn't entirely on board' with the idea and wanted to develop the paper's digital-only US venture before ending the print edition, to use it as a blueprint in Britain. Trustees of the Scott Trust, the owner of GNM's parent company Gruniad Media Group, allegedly feared that the company didn't have enough cash to sustain the newspapers for that long. However, Rusbridger has since tweeted: 'Telegraph story about the Guardian simply untrue. Largely copied from [More About Advertising article]. Also untrue.'

David Cameron and Ed Milimolimandi have clashed over Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell's future after his row with police at the Downing Street gates. It was like watching two posh boys hitting each other with handbags, frankly. The prime minister said that what Mitchell 'did and said' was wrong, but he had apologised and the officer involved had accepted it. Milimolimandi said despite the apology Mitchell should not keep his job, suggesting that he was 'toast.' The exchanges came during the weekly Prime Minister's Questions. The chief whip is alleged to have called police officers who prevented him from leaving Downing Street via the main gate on his bicycle 'fucking plebs.' Mitchell has denied using the words attributed to him - and, essentially, called the police officer who say he did use those words a liar - but he has apologised for not showing the officers enough respect. Cameron said: 'What the chief whip did and said was wrong and this is why it is important that he apologised and apologised properly. That apology has been accepted by the officer concerned. It's been accepted by the head of the Metropolitan Police. That is why this government will get on with the big issue of helping Britain compete and succeed in the world.' Yer actual Milimolimandi replied that the abuse of police officers was 'a real issue' - which it is - and accused cabinet ministers of supporting Mitchell in public, but telling the media something different in private. 'He is completely undermined. His position is untenable. In other words, he is toast and that is the reality,' Milimolimandi said. 'Let me tell you the truth about this government: Whilst everybody else loses their jobs, the chief whip keeps his.'

Cameron also refused to answer questions about whether he held back dozens of communications between himself and well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks from the Leveson inquiry because they were 'too salacious or embarrassing' for him to reveal. Cameron was challenged after it emerged this week that he did not hand over texts and e-mails of 'a social nature' with the former Scum of the World editor and well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike after seeking legal advice, since they did not fall within Lord Justice Leveson's remit. Chris Bryant, shadow Home Office minister and himself a victim of phone-hacking, urged Cameron during PMQs to publish all the correspondence. But Cameron insisted he had 'no intention' of answering any of the Rhondda MP's questions, with Bryant angrily warning that 'when the truth comes out, the prime minister won't be smiling.' Bryant asked: 'Why won't the prime minister publish all the texts, e-mails and other formers of correspondence between himself and his office, and Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson and News International so that we can judge whether they are relevant? Is it because they are too salacious and embarrassing for the prime minister or is it because there's one rule for the prime minister and another one for the rest of us?' Cameron told MPs they should remember that Bryant had 'stood up in this House and read out a whole lot of Leveson information that was under embargo that he was not meant to read out, much of which turned out about me to be untrue.' He went on: 'And he has never apologised. Do you know what, until he apologises I am not going to answer his questions.' And, if that doesn't work, he'll hold his breath until he goes blue. So there.

In a busy day for the PM, Cameron also said that he was 'appalled' by the fracas at the end of England's Under-Twenty One football match with Serbia on Tuesday. He said that he wants UEFA to impose 'tough sanctions' if racism is proved. Fans ran on to the pitch and scuffles broke out as England celebrated a 1-0 win and Euro 2013 qualification. Sunderland defender Danny Rose has called for Serbia to be banned after claiming he was racially abused by fans in Krusevac. The government is giving its full backing to a Football Association complaint over alleged racist taunts, a spokesman for Number 10 said. The spokesman said Cameron 'was appalled by the scenes that we have seen in Serbia. We are determined to stamp out racism internationally and at home and we are giving our full backing to the FA's complaint on this issue. Clearly it is for UEFA to investigate this issue but we would expect tough sanctions. If we are going to stamp out racism from football, then it is no good giving derisory fines, as have been handed out in the past. It is not good enough to say that people should shake hands and forget about it.' Rose claimed he was subjected to monkey chants throughout the game, starting in the warm-up. He told Sky Sports News: 'I had two stones hit me in the head when I went for a throw-in. After sixty minutes my mind wasn't really on the game. I was just so angry and it was so hard to concentrate. Then we scored and after ninety minutes' worth of abuse, I expressed my emotions as soon as we scored. Next thing I know, all the Serbia players were surrounding me, pushing me. I remember getting slapped twice. I got ushered away and that's when I kicked the ball - and then the referee sent me off.' The Football Association says it has reported a number of racist incidents to UEFA. Sports minister Hugh Robertson has written to the president of UEFA, Michel Platini, urging him to investigate the incident. The minister said: 'The scenes at the end of the game last night were disgraceful. I have written to UEFA president Michel Platini, in support of the FA, urging them to investigate immediately. Racism in any form is unacceptable and must be stamped out. We would expect tough sanctions from UEFA on anyone found guilty of racist abuse.' England defender Nedum Onuoha was racially abused during the 2007 Under-Twenty One European Championship game against Serbia in the Netherlands, for which Serbia were fined sixteen thousand quid by UEFA.

A police force has apologised after an officer used a Taser on a blind man whose white stick was mistaken for a sword. No, really. Colin Farmer, sixty one, was stunned - quite literally - by police following reports of a man walking through Chorley with a samurai sword. Because, of course, a white stick looks exactly like a samurai sword, doesn't it? Chief Supt Stuart Williams, of Lancashire Police, said the force had 'deep regrets' and had 'clearly put this man through a traumatic experience.' Farmer was taken to hospital for treatment and later discharged. 'It felt like I was grabbing an electricity pylon,' he said. Farmer, who has suffered two strokes, said he thought he was being attacked by thugs. He was walking to a pub to meet friends on Friday when the officer fired the Taser. He said the experience had left him 'shaking like a leaf' and scared to go outside. The case has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. A Lancashire Police spokesman said the incident was 'being investigated' and that the officer's Taser had 'been withdrawn.' And, one would hope, replaced by a pair of spectacles. Williams said police had 'received a number of reports that a man was walking through Chorley armed with a samurai sword. A description of the offender was circulated to officers and patrols were sent to look for the man,' he said. 'One of the officers who arrived in Chorley believed he had located the offender. Despite asking the man to stop, he failed to do so and the officer discharged his Taser.' Williams said it soon 'became apparent that this man was not the person we were looking for' - it was, possibly, the white stick which gave it away - and officers 'attended to him straight away,' taking him to Chorley Hospital. He added that the force 'deeply regrets what has happened. We have clearly put this man through a traumatic experience and we are extremely sorry for that,' he said. 'We have launched an urgent investigation to understand what lessons can be learned.' A man carrying a samurai sword - and, not a white stick - was later arrested on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly.

This evening, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self will be attending the latest Record Player event. This week, it's the great lost classic of the 1980s, the third Dexys LP Don't Stand Me Down in all its magnificent, overblown glory. One of the greatest, and most under-rated, records ever made by anyone and now, finally, starting to get a fraction of the Goddamn respect it deserves. So, dear blog reader, here's yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 33 of the Day. And, why not?

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