Friday, October 05, 2012

Treasure These Few Words Till We're Together

With yer actual Doctor Who's fiftieth anniversary coming up next year, in actual fact, there have been inevitable clamours for a multi-Doctor story of the kind not seen since 1985. Not counting the infinitesimal crossover of regenerations, the most recent time we've seen two Doctors in the same place at the same, as it were, time was 2007's Time Crash mini-episode for Children in Need. Which, if you've never seen it, was utterly superb, by the way. David Tennant's Tenth Doctor and Peter Davison's Fifth Doctor enjoyed some banter in the TARDIS console room. Perhaps this picture hints at a return for yer actual Tennant in 2013? Smudger and Ten their very selves got up close and personal after attending an after-party for the press night of Our Boys at the Duchess Theatre in London. Jonathan Lewis's play features among its cast Matthew Lewis and Smudger's old mate yer actual Arthur Darvill.

An Australian politician has started a campaign for Doctor Who to film an episode in Australia. Federal Nationals Party MP George Christensen has launched a campaign to bring the programme to Australia in 2015 to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of Doctor Who's first Australian screening in 1965. Which of course begs the obvious question, don't you have anything more important to do with your time when representing your constituents, George? You know, those annoying 'little people' vote for you who pay your - no doubt not particularly inconsiderable - salary as an elected official? Anyway, the Queensland-based MP wants the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama filmed in his coastal electorate and suggests that bringing the show down-under could help stimulate Australia's film and tourism industry. 'As an avid Doctor Who fan, I would love to see the TARDIS materialise in Australia and, most importantly, it would be a tremendous boost to tourism in Bowen and the Whitsundays, as well as to the local economy,' Christensen said. One is sure that it would. Mind you, the same could also be said about Cleethorpes, which is considerably closer to Cardiff than Oz. In a letter to The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He), he claimed Doctor Who was 'inextricably linked' to Australia because the very first episode, An Unearthly Child, was written by Australian Anthony Coburn. Albeit, an Australian who left the Antipodes years previously due to a lack of work opportunities. Christensen also pointed out that two of the Doctor's former companions, Tegan and Jo, were 'played by Australians', Janet Fielding and Katy Manning. Despite the fact that Katy Manning - despite living in Australia for some years - was, actually, born in Guildford. He also didn't say who would be paying for this massively expensive shifting of resources twelve thousand miles across the globe. Presumably he'd be more than happy to chip in a bit on his government salary since it would benefit his constituency? As usual with politicians, fine with big, attention-grabbing, headline-making ideas but utterly bloody clueless when it comes to financial matters. And then we wonder why the world's in the state that it is. Next ...

It's become a tradition as firmly established as the festive season – the BBC is film its Christmas and Easter editions of Songs of Praise in October, two and five months early, respectively. In what the Daily Mirra scummuishly trumpets as an 'exclusive', it reveals that there will be back-to-back shoots for the two specials, themed with holly and daffodils respectively. The Mirra - on particularly odious form at the moment having seemingly decided that there isn't enough scum reportage in the world going down at the Sun and the Lies and the Daily Scum Mail - reports: 'A BBC spokeswoman insisted it always filmed both specials back to back to save cash. She explained: "We're not faking it. The congregations know what they are in for. Obviously we dress the church appropriately."' Since the issue of 'fakery' in the Songs of Praise specials was widely raised in the press as far back as 2007, perhaps the Mirra is relying too much on the ghost of Christmas past?

Odious Sky News presenter Kay Burley on Friday chose – live on air – to tell two volunteers searching for the missing five year old April Jones that 'having spoken to the family' they 'don't expect to find her alive.' Stunned, both women struggled to offer a coherent response as you'd rather imagine under the circumstances. Within minutes Twitter was ablaze with complaints. Tom Watson MP (power to the people!) said Burley's questions were 'insensitive bordering on cruel.' Yep, that's the Kay Burley we all know and loathe.
Robin Parker of Broadcast magazine described it as 'a new low for journalism.' Others urged people to complain to Sky News and Ofcom over her behaviour and her Wikipedia entry was briefly changed so it read 'she also works part-time as Death.' Papers were quick to pick up on the story and the Daily Scum Mail said the incident raised 'questions over the ethics of rolling live news coverage of such breaking news stories.' Kay Burley has just made me agree with something that the Daily Scum Mail wrote. What a thoroughly horrible individual that woman appears to be.

New espionage drama Hunted launched with and overnight audience of 4.46m on BBC1 on Thursday evening, thrashing ITV's Homefront in the 9pm battle - the military-based drama mustered a mere 2.3m as well as two hundred and sixty thousand additional punters on on ITV+1. Meanwhile, on BBC2 The Choir was watched by 2.27m, and Hotel GB continued with 1.37m on Channel Four. Heroes of the Skies saw Channel Five's best audience of the evening with eight hundred and seventeen thousand t 8pm, but finished bottom in its slot behind Wartime Farm (2.32m) and Location, Location, Location, which grabbed 1.82m for Channel Four. Overall, BBC1 comfortably topped primetime with 20.1 per cent of the total audience share over ITV's 14.5 per cent. Red Dwarf's first new series in thirteen years opened with a colossal audience on Dave - 1.46m in the 9pm slot. The episode, Trojan, represents UKTV's second most-watched broadcast in its twenty-year history, behind Red Dwarf's Twenty First Reunion Special in 2009. However, the SF comedy had tough competition from the Europa League on ITV4, coverage of Liverpool's catastrophic defeat to Udinese, scored 1.39m between 5.30pm and 10.30pm and stayed above two million during the 9pm hour when Red Dwarf was on air. At the same time, BBC4's repeat of Norman Wisdom: His Story interested seven hundred and seventy four thousand, Russell Howard's Good News fell to six hundred and sixty nine thousand on BBC3 and The X Factor USA took six hundred and eighty five thousand between 8pm and 10pm on ITV2.

Sheridan Smith and Johnny Vegas have been added to the cast of BBC1's adaptation of David Walliams's children's novel Mr Stink. The duo join Hugh Bonneville in the cast. Smith and Vegas will play the mum and dad of lonely twelve-year-old Chloe (played by Nell Tiger Free), who becomes close friends with the eponymous tramp (Bonneville). Smith said: 'David is such a brilliant writer, and the character just jumped off the page when I read it. I can't wait to work with Hugh and Johnny.' Harish Patel will play Chloe's newsagent friend Raj. Walliams himself will also appear as the Prime Minister. Mr Stink is Walliams's second children's novel. It was first published in 2009 and has since sold over a quarter of a million copies.

Forget Who Do You Think You Are?, Eddie Izzard is to trace his roots back more than two hundred thousand years. In the two-part BBC1 show Meet The Izzards, he will use the latest DNA technology to discover how his family migrated from Africa to Europe as the human race spread across the world. Eddie will travel through Namibia, Cameroon and Djibouti, up into Arabia and on to the UK, where his family has been since the 1640s – en route discovering that he is related to the San bushmen of the Kalahari and the survivors of Pompeii. Producers – who call the show an 'awe-inspiring adventure' – say Eddie is the first human ever to trace his genes' journey in this way. The two hour-long documentaries will be broadcast early next year.

Mark Gatiss will be at the BFI Southbank on Sunday 28 October for a question-and-answer session following a preview of his feature-length BBC4 documentary Horror Europa With Mark Gatiss, which explores European horror cinema and is a follow-up to his acclaimed BBC4 series A History of Horror. Tickets go on sale to the public on Tuesday 9 October. The ninety-minute documentary will be broadcast on BBC4 towards the end of October.

Doctor Who's Alex Kingston is to guest star in an upcoming episode of NCIS. Kingston will appear during November sweeps as 'a woman of questionable morals' called Miranda Pennebaker, reveals the show's producer Gary Glasberg. I say, isn't that typecasting, rather given River Song's usual modus operandi? Glasbery told TV Line that Pennebaker has connections to 'the highest levels of power' in Washington. 'She deals in everything from high end weapons sales to priceless gems,' he said, Glasberg added that Kingston could return for more episodes of the police drama following her initial appearance.

Comedian and presenter Frank Skinner has told of his failed bid to secure a role in the current series of Doctor Who. In an interview with Absolute Radio, he said: 'I got my manager to phone up the Doctor Who people when I heard this series was being filmed. He never mentioned it again so I take it that he couldn't break it to me.'

Rob Brydon is to pilot for his own comedy series for acclaimed American cable network HBO. In the half-hour sitcom – which has the working title The Valleys – Brydon will star as a Welshman who is a 'fish out of water' in Los Angeles. Julian Farino, the Briton who directed the first three series of Entourage, is developing the show with Brydon. He told Broadcast that the comic will play a character rather than a fictionalised version of himself, but use 'his talents as a singer and an improviser. We share an agent in LA and had some casual meetings before Rob added the Welsh dimension,' Farino told the trade magazine. The title has deliberate echoes of both Wales and Los Angeles – but is unfortunately also the same as MTV's latest regional reality series, set among the youngsters of South Wales.

Allegations of sexual abuse concerning the late Sir Jimmy Savile were not reported by newspapers in the 1970s partly because libel laws made celebrities 'untouchable,' according to a former tabloid editor. Brian Hitchen, editor of the Daily Lies from 1987 to 1995 and the Sunday Scum Express until 1996, said he has known of allegations about Savile abusing underage girls for more than forty five years. And yet, never once did he think about contacting the police about these allegations. Well, what a hero you are, Brian, mate. Hitchen wrote in the Daily Scum Express on Thursday: 'So why in all the years that have passed since I was first told did I never write about Savile? Two reasons. In those days newspapers did not write "nasty" stories about celebrities unless the famous had been handsomely paid for their fairly tame revelations. The second reason is because Britain's libel laws too often help make those like Savile untouchable.' Hitchen is the latest figure to suggest that allegations about Savile and underage girls have been well known in media and entertainment circles for decades. This week a former BBC press officer said he had been instructed by the former Radio 1 controller, Douglas Muggeridge, in 1973 to see whether the tabloids planned to print abuse allegations about Savile. Rodney Collins, who was head of press for Radio 1 when Savile worked at the station, said two tabloid newspapers and two London evening titles told him they knew of rumours about the Jim'll Fix It presenter but did not plan to publish anything. Hitchen said he was told forty five years ago that Savile was removed from a cruise liner in Gibraltar following complaints from the parents of a fourteen-year-old girl. According to Hitchen, Savile denied he had behaved inappropriately after being confronted by the ship's captain. 'The only thing that puzzled me about Sir Jimmy Savile's death was that it took so long for his sexual victims to come out of the woodwork. I have known he abused underage girls for more than forty five years,' he wrote. Lord Grade, BBC1 controller in the mid-1980s when Savile was presenting Jim'll Fix It and Top of the Pops for the channel, told Channel Four News earlier this week that he had 'fleetingly' heard rumours about Savile but nothing which gave him cause to investigate. Paul Gambaccini, the former Radio 1 DJ, said he had waited for the abuse allegations to come out for thirty years and said Savile played the media 'like a Stradivarius.' These fresh claims have emerged this week as ITV prepared to broadcast the documentary Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile on Wednesday evening. The programme broadcast claims of abuse from five women, who each said they were assaulted when they were teenagers at Savile's BBC shows or at the Duncroft Approved School for girls. The show followed an investigation by former Surrey police child protection detective Mark Williams-Thomas and aired claims from other women who said they had witnessed abuse of girls by Savile. The BBC's director of editorial policy, David Jordan, said on Monday that it was right for ITV to broadcast the claims. He attempted to draw a line under claims the BBC attempted to 'cover up' the scandal after it abruptly dropped a ten-minute Newsnight film late last year following Savile's death. Jordan told BBC Radio 4's Today programme there was 'absolutely no evidence' of interference from senior executives over the abandoned Newsnight report. 'The suggestion that BBC management in one part of the corporation wanted it not to go ahead would frankly spur [Newsnight] on and make that investigation go ahead.' The Metropolitan Police, meanwhile, has said it will take the national lead in assessing allegations against Savile. To what end, exactly, isn't immediately clear. Presumably, if they find any evidence which they think would stand up in court, they will be digging Savile's corpse up and putting it on trial? No?

The BBC, meanwhile, has announced that all programmes featuring the late Sir Jimmy Savile 'are to be pulled.' Not, perhaps, the most appropriate phrase to use in this context but, like most aspects of this whole affair, it's now starting to take on a grand Theatre of the Absurd appearance. In the wake of recent allegation of sexual abuse by the broadcaster, several shows will be axed from the TV schedules. Two classic editions of Top of the Pops from 1977 hosted by Savile are among those to be postponed, along with a repeat of the documentary The Story of Light Entertainment. The BBC confirmed that all archive Top of the Pops episodes are 'postponed' over the next two Thursdays, as they feature Savile as host. BBC4 has been broadcasting old episodes of the show near enough every week for the past eighteen months.

BBC1 has commissioned a full series based on Lapland – the one-off comedy which was broadcast last Christmas Eve. The series will star Sue Johnston the recently widowed matriarch of the chaotic Lewis family from Birkenhead. Six half-hour episodes will be shown early next year, following the success of the ninety-minute special, which attracted six million viewers. The festive plot revolved around the close-knit family saving up for a trip to see Father Christmas – but the series will pick up their stories back on Merseyside. The trip changed Eileen's outlook and left her determined to live life to the full – but she finds things at home a little less inspiring than beneath the spectacular vistas and Northern Lights of the Arctic Circle. The series will again be written by Michael Wynne, who won an Olivier award winner for his 2010 play The Priory. Executive producer Pete Thornton said: 'Michael Wynne has penned a beautifully nuanced, warm hearted Northern comedy featuring a highly original comic family.' Mark Freeland, controller of UK comedy production for the BBC said the commission 'shows BBC1 backs fresh, new, comic writing.'

And, speaking of family comedy, the first publicity pictures have been released for Jason Cook's forthcoming - an much-anticipated BBc2 sitcom Hebburn. Co-written by Ideal's Graham Duff, Hebburn is a warm and affectionate tale of North East family life. It tells the tale of the Pearson family and their impetuous and ambitious son, Jack (Chris Ramsay), who has left Tyneside for the bright lights and glamour of Manchester. He has secretly married a middle class Jewish girl, Sarah (Kimberley Nixon), and realises that it is about time he introduced her to his family. Vic Reeves and Gina McKee play Jason's parents.
Junior MasterChef has unveiled Donal Skehan as its new co-host. The Irish TV cook, twenty five, joins MasterChef stalwart John Torode for the second series of the CBBC show. Skehan developed a passion for food from a young age and has worked alongside some of Ireland's top food photographers and stylists. He has been described by some critics as 'Ireland's answer to Jamie Oliver.' What, really bloody irritating and odious, you mean? Fine, this blogger won't be watching that, then. He runs a popular food blog and released the book Good Mood Food in 2009. 'I'm hugely excited to be joining the MasterChef team as a new Junior MasterChef judge,' said Skehan. 'Working with John Torode is incredible - his knowledge of food is fantastic and he's been really supportive and welcomed me into the MasterChef family. The series promises to be really inspirational. The contestants are incredibly accomplished - sometimes I even found myself taking notes! We're about to discover some of the most talented young chefs in the UK.' MasterChef creative director Karen Ross said: 'Donal's energy, enthusiasm, humour and absolute passion for what he cooks and eats made him a natural choice for our Junior Judge. The fact that he and John Torode also hit it off immediately with a shared love of food and an instant cheeky banter is a bonus. We are extremely excited to have him on-board.'

Lee Mack has said that his biggest regret was ditching Catherine Tate and Dan Antopolski the moment he got a chance at a TV break. The Not Going Out and Would I Lie To You? star had recruited the pair for his Edinburgh sketch show, Lee Mack's Bits, which played the Fringe in 1999 and 2000, when it was nominated for the Perrier award. He was later approached to be in ITV's The Sketch Show, which used some of the scripts from the festival shows. Lee leapt at the chance, even though it meant breaking up the team which proved such a hit in Edinburgh. In his new autobiography, Mack The Life, he tells how he reacted to the offer to be part of the TV series: 'Of course I wanted to be in it. Why wouldn't I want to be in it? Looking back now, many years later, I know the answer to that question. The reason I didn't want, or shouldn't have wanted, to be in it was that they didn't want Dan or Catherine. They wanted to put me together with four other performers, but still use a lot of my sketches. Why didn't they want the other two? I have absolutely no idea, but if I had to guess it would be because TV people like to tinker. I'm not a great believer in regret, but looking back over the last eighteen years of me doing this job, not keeping our sketch show Bits together and jumping at the first offer to put a version of it on telly is probably the biggest mistake I've made. Having said that,I was still a relatively new comedian with one pretty forgettable TV show under my belt [he had hosted a Channel Four stand-up show called Gas], who was being asked by Steve Coogan, one of Britain's funniest and most successful comedians, to make a telly show. It's easy to see how tempting it was.' Mack said that although he enjoyed working on the show – which also starred his future collaborator Tim Vine, along with Jim Tavare, Karen Taylor and Ronni Ancona – he didn't like the attitude towards material that led to 'just one stinker too many allowed through because it was felt that we were doing a "mainstream" show, and so what the heck.'

A journalist has won undisclosed - but, hopefully, massive - damages from the Sun after an article implied that she was involved with One Direction singer Harry Styles. ITV Granada's entertainment correspondent, Caroline Whitmore, accepted undisclosed damages, an apology and payment of her legal costs from News Group Newspapers. Her complaint arose from a Sun piece in July entitled: Harry and cougar No 3. The misleading article saw Whitmore become the subject of abuse on Twitter. It followed an interview with boy band One Direction earlier this year during which Whitmore was kissed on either cheek by eighteen-year-old Styles. Whitmore's lawyer stated that the Sun headline, coupled with allegations that Styles had recently dated two older women in their thirties, gave the false impression that there was a relationship between the journalist and the pop star. Speaking in London's High Court on Thursday, advocate Julia Varley told Mr Justice Tugendhat that in referring to Whitmore as a 'cougar' and linking her to Styles, some readers might infer that she had behaved inappropriately by pursuing a relationship with a younger man. 'Such reading was particularly damaging and distressing to Whitmore, since she has been with her husband for seventeen years and married for the last two,' said Varley. 'The article has also been repeated and expanded upon widely by the worldwide media. As a result, Mrs Whitmore has been the subject of abuse on the Internet, including on her Twitter page.' Varley added that the Sun had stated its article was 'intended as light-hearted' and no such meaning was intended, but the matter had now been 'promptly and amicably' resolved. In a statement, Whitmore said: 'I am delighted that this has been resolved and I can now focus on my work at ITV.'

Five media organisations have overturned a high court injunction brought by the TV entertainer Freddie Starr over an allegedly libellous allegation. Starr had obtained an emergency injunction from the high court on Wednesday evening which banned ITV News, the BBC and several national newspapers from reporting the allegation. Mr Justice Tugendhat threw out the injunction at a hearing at the high court on Thursday afternoon. In his judgment, Tugendhat - whose obviously been a busy man this week - said the injunction should never had been heard because it was a claim for libel and there was no evidence that any publisher planned to report the actual allegation. The judge added: 'The upshot is that there is not any evidence of intent by any of the defendants to commit an unlawful act. The defendants would in any event only publish an allegation that they consider they would be able to defend. Therefore the court cannot grant an injunction.' Tugendhat cautioned that his judgment should not undermine any potential legal 'remedy' Starr may later seek concerning the allegation. Starr was granted a temporary injunction shortly before 9pm on Wednesday after his solicitor was contacted by an ITV News journalist. The injunction, granted by Mrs Justice Cox, applied to eleven broadcasters or newspapers and was lifted by Tugendhat after a two-hour hearing on Thursday. Christina Michalos, the lawyer for ITN and several newspaper groups, told the court that the injunction would undermine principles of free speech. She added: 'There is a fundamental public interest in those who wish to publish allegations of potential libel to not be restrained in this sort of way. It is an absolutely clear case in which the claimant, Freddie Starr, should not be permitted to fetter free speech.' Michalos also appeared on behalf of The Times, the Independent and Northern & Shell; Jacob Dean acted for the Sun's publisher, News Group Newspapers and Dean Dunham appeared on behalf of Starr. Starr was ordered to pay indemnity costs to the newspapers and broadcasters, believed to be up ten thousand smackers. And as to what the allegedly libellous allegations were? We still don't know. And, even if we did, we'd be unlikely to say because that would be asking for trouble. Although the Sun, seemingly, have no such qualms. Ooo, there's gonna a court case.
And, speaking of the Sun, the newspaper's former features editor Matt Nixson has reportedly 'settled' his case with News International, more than a year after being dismissed amid allegations that he bribed a prison guard. Nixson was dismissed after an accusation by News Group Newspapers, the News International subsidiary that publishes the Sun, that he had made a seven hundred and fifty smackers payment to a prison guard for information about Ian Huntley, the Soham killer. This alleged incident, uncovered by News Corporation's management and standards committee and revealed in court documents filed in January, supposedly occurred when he was working at Scum of the World in March 2009. Nixson, who joined the Sun in April 2010 after five years at the Scum of the World, has consistently denied bribing a prison officer. He was sacked from the Sun in July last year. At the time of his dismissal the police had announced that they had no interest in Nixson, who launched an employment tribunal claim and also sued the MSC. He was seeking one hundred thousand quid in damages for wrongful dismissal and breach of contract. Nixson has now agreed to drop his legal action against members of the MSC. 'Matt Nixson and News Group Newspapers Limited have reached an agreement, without admission of liability, to settle the claims brought by Matt Nixson against News Group Newspapers Limited in respect of the termination of his employment,' News International and Nixson said in a joint statement. 'Matt Nixson has withdrawn his claims against Lord Grabiner QC, William Lewis, Simon Greenberg and Jeffrey Palker without admission of liability by any of those defendants.' No details of the settlement have been made public. News Corp is thought to have covered all legal expenses in the year-long legal battle, as well as an unspecified amount in compensation. 'I am really pleased to have reached agreement with News Group Newspapers,' said Nixson. 'I am particularly grateful to the many journalists, former colleagues and friends in the press, including at News International, who have provided incredible support to me and my family over the last year.' 'My client is a widely respected and highly experienced senior journalist,' said Alison Downie, a solicitor at Goodman Derrick. 'The high court and employment tribunal litigation has ended by settlement, with Matt Nixson's high reputation and professional integrity maintained. He is glad to be able to put the litigation behind him and looks forward to continuing the career he loves.' One alleged 'source' allegedly said: 'Matt feels totally vindicated by this. It was a really David-and-Goliath situation and he won. News International backed down and it has cost them a lot of money. He'd love to work for them again and is just really sorry that it had to come to this and wants to get on with his life.' Nixson said: 'I'm incredibly grateful to Barry Fitzpatrick and Roy Mincoff of the National Union of Journalists, and all their colleagues, for backing me unstintingly during this very difficult period. I would also like to thank my solicitor Alison Downie of Goodman Derrick for acting for me and her support.' It emerged in July this year that Nixson was in talks about a potential return to News International. But according to the Gruniad Morning Star 'friends' of Nixson allegedly said that his talks to rejoin News International 'went cold months ago' although he would still not rule out a return to the publisher. Nixson's treatment by News International has been heavily criticised by journalists inside and outside the company. 'We are delighted that we have settled Matt's case,' said Barry Fitzpatrick, the deputy general secretary of the National Union of Journalists. 'It has been a very difficult ordeal for him and his family for the past fourteen months. He has thanked the union and all the members who sent messages of support and the support he has received from within the media.'

Tommy Tiernan, Dylan Moran, Spy star Darren Boyd and Rebecca Front are to make their own Little Cracker films this Christmas, Sky One has announced. They join Jason Manford, Paul O'Grady, Katy Brand, Alison Steadman and Sharon Horgan Joanna Lumley, Omid Djalili and Caroline Quentin in telling stories from their past. Rebecca Front said: 'It's a real thrill to be allowed to do one of the Little Crackers. I love the series. And it's pretty weird but also lovely trying to recreate a story from your childhood, casting actors to play your family and even yourself. I hope what we're making will be personal, but will also resonate with people watching.' Lucy Lumsden, Sky's head of comedy, said: 'We are thrilled to be bringing Little Crackers back to Sky for a third year. The series has had two brilliant series so far and we are very proud to again be announcing the best names in comedy. This year we have a behind-the-scenes element to ensure we are bringing even more exclusive content to our customers.'

Mark Forrest has been announced as the host of BBC Local Radio's new nationally networked evening programme. Due to cost cutting BBC regions are to network a programme between 7pm and 10pm across weekdays. The format is of a Nationwide style remit, with local interest features and stories airing nationally. It isn't the first time the corporation has syndicated regional programming between a handful of stations, however it is the first time all thirty nine local networks have broadcast the same programme. In the 1980s and 90s numerous link-up ventures took place such as BBC North FM which saw BBC Radio Cumbria, BBC Newcastle and BBC Radio Cleveland unite after 7pm with occasionally BBC Radio York opting into programming. The Frank Wappat Nostalgia Programme was also widespread with at one point up to twelve BBC local stations ranging from Merseyside to the Scottish borders taking the programme. The new show will be known simply as Mark Forrest and will be broadcast from a studio at BBC Radio Leeds. Mark is an experienced talk and music presenter in networked and local programmes for both commercial and BBC radio stations. Andrew Robson, Head of BBC Local Radio Development, said: 'Mark is a fantastically talented presenter with a great track record in both music and talk presentation. His warm style and sharp sense of humour should make weekday evenings on BBC Local Radio a great listen.' All BBC Local Radio stations will broadcast the Mark Forrest programme, except in instances such as major breaking news stories or sport commentaries.

ITV have confirmed that Emmerdale's fortieth anniversary live episode will be broadcast on Wednesday 17 October between 7pm and 8pm. A description of the episode reveals that 'every aspect of life will be explored' as the episode features two weddings, the cries of two newborn babies, and the shock death of one villager in tragic circumstances. Rehearsals for the live episode commenced this week, in total there will be one hundred and ten hours of rehearsals for the actors involved spanning over eleven days. Sixty one cast members are to take part in the episode, while three hundred and fifty supporting actors will also be involved in the production.

West Yorkshire's Chief Constable Sir Norman Bettison is to retire in the wake of the Hillsborough report. He announced that he planned to leave the service on 31 March 2013. Last month, he was referred to the police watchdog over his conduct after the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 in which ninety six Liverpool fans died. At the time of the tragedy he was a South Yorkshire Police inspector who attended the match as a spectator and later took part in an internal inquiry. In a statement Bettison said: 'Recent weeks have caused me to reflect on what is best for the future of policing in West Yorkshire and I have now decided to set a firm date for my retirement.' He added: 'I hope [my departure] will enable the Independent Police Complaints Commission to fully investigate allegations that have been raised about my integrity. They need to be fairly and fully investigated and I welcome this independent and formal scrutiny.' Bettison said that the timing of his retirement 'would enable' the county's police and crime commissioner, who will take up office on 22 November, to immediately begin a search for his successor. Margaret Aspinall, whose eighteen-year-old son James died in the Hillsborough tragedy, said she was 'absolutely delighted that he's going.' The chairwoman of the Hillsborough Families Support Group told the BBC 'he should have gone a long time ago.' Anne Williams, whose fifteen-year-old son Kevin died on the Leppings Lane terrace, said she thought the findings of the recent report left Bettison's position untenable and with no choice but to retire. Bettison's current contract with West Yorkshire Police was due to end in 2014. Sir Hugh Orde, President of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said Bettison's retirement would be 'a great loss to policing.' He said: 'At the national level he has made an outstanding contribution to the work of the police service as a whole in cutting crime and keeping the public safe. His depth of knowledge and experience is highly regarded within the service.' Bettison's referral to the IPCC came after complaints from members of the public following the release of previously unseen government papers about the disaster at Sheffield Wednesday's stadium on 15 April 1989. A crush during the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest resulted in the deaths of ninety six people. The Hillsborough Independent panel's report found one hundred and sixty four police statements were altered, one hundred and sixteen of them to remove or alter 'unfavourable' comments about the policing of the match and the unfolding disaster. Bettison previously vigorously defended his role in the aftermath of the disaster, saying: 'I never altered a statement nor asked for one to be altered.' He also said: 'I really welcome the disclosure of all the facts that can be known about the Hillsborough tragedy because I have absolutely nothing to hide.'

Newcastle United marked their one hundredth game in UEFA club competition with a 3-0 victory over FC Girondins de Bordeaux in the UEFA Europa League Group D. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies asserted their authority after sixteen minutes, with striker Shola Ameobi side-footing home after a low cross from Gabriel Obertan. They doubled their lead when Bordeaux defender Henrique diverted Danny Simpson's centre into his own net. Papiss Cissé, who looked marginally offside, guided in a third from the impressive Shane Ferguson's cross just after the break. Newcastle's power and pace were too much for Bordeaux to handle as the Ligue 1 club's unbeaten seventeen-game run came to an emphatic end. The French side looked pretty in patches during the first-half but lacked any penetration and they have now lost on each of the five trips they have made across the Channel to play English opposition. Newcastle boss Alan Pardew made seven changes as he weighed up sending out a team strong enough to beat Bordeaux against keeping his players fit and fresh to play The Scum on Sunday. He still selected a Magpies line-up with the strength of Cheick Tioté, the style of fellow midfielder Yohan Cabaye and the threat of striker Cissé. Cabaye, who has been trying to recapture his dynamic form of the latter part of last season, quickly showed signs of doing so when his angled shot from the edge of the area went narrowly wide of the far post. The visitors might have gone in front but for striker Ludovic Obraniak heading over from ten yards. That miss was soon punished, however, when Cabaye instigated a well-worked Newcastle move. The Frenchman sent a sweeping cross-field ball to left-sided winger Obertan, playing against his former club. He jinked past a defender before sliding a low cross to the far post where captain Ameobi applied a simple finish. Bordeaux showed some of their flair in a move which led to Yoan Gouffran having a shot deflected high off defender Mike Williamson. A long-range Ludovic Sane strike was palmed away by home keeper Rob Elliot before Bordeaux's efforts were undone with an inexplicable own goal. Right-back Simpson, back after a lengthy hamstring injury, swung in a cross which keeper Cedric Carrasso was positioned to catch before Henrique launched a leg at the ball and put into his own net. Vurnon Anita had a shot fended away by Carrasso but the game was all but wrapped up by the Tyneside club when Ferguson's cross was met by Cissé, whose first-time effort went in off the far post. With victory sealed, and keeping more than one eye on Sunday's visit of The Scum of Humanity, Pardew had the luxury of withdrawing Cabaye and Tioté towards the end. United now have four points from their two games and lead the group ahead of Bordeaux, Belgian side FC Brugge and Maritimo of Madeira.

Meanwhile, it would seem that UEFA hopes to boost the Europa League's profile by asking managers and players to refer to it in glowing terms. European football's governing body is handing out prompt sheets to the communication departments of Europa League clubs before media conferences. The sheet, headlined 'Discover the Drama,' includes phrases such as 'prestigious' and 'rich in heritage.' 'The most important quality we want to communicate is that the UEFA Europa League is dramatic,' it reads. The Europa League continues to be overshadowed by the Champions League, despite a high-profile rebranding of the competition in 2009. Winners of the Champions League take home £7.24m, while the Europa League winners earn mere a third of that and the difference in TV revenue is also vast. The prompt sheet - found at Stottingtot Hotshots's media conference ahead of Wednesday's piss-poor 1-1 draw with Panathinaikos in Athens - asks press officers to brief players and coaches on the Europa League's many virtues. 'At the start of the press conference, below messages should be used by the club press officers,' reads the sheet. 'In addition, they may also be used by club press officers when briefing coaches and players as their would be of great support to us.' Curiously, Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas, who won the Europa League with Porto in 2011, praised the competition on Wednesday without prompting. One images that Brendan ('you're getting sacked in the morning') Rodgers was somewhat less in love with the competition's virtues after his side's catastrophic 3-2 defeat at home to Udinese.

John Terry's defence against claims that he racially abused Anton Ferdinand was 'improbable, implausible [and] contrived,' according to the Football Association panel which found him guilty of the charge. A sixty three-page report explaining why he was banned for four games and fined two hundred and twenty thousand smackers has been published. It makes fascinating reading. The document says that it is not the FA's case that the Moscow Chelski captain and former England international is a racist, necessarily. Terry, thirty one, cleared of abusing the Queens Park Strangers player in court, has fourteen days to appeal. The incident between Terry and Ferdinand occurred during QPR's 1-0 victory over Moscow Chelski at Loftus Road on 23 October 2011. It was alleged Terry described Ferdinand as 'black' and used 'extreme sexual swear words.' Terry's case was that he used the word 'black' and swore at Ferdinand but insisted he had only been repeating words he thought the defender had accused him of saying. But the report says that parts of Terry's defence were 'improbable, implausible and contrived,' which 'serve to underline and reinforce our decision.' It added: 'His repetition of words that Mr Terry claims were said to him first by Mr Ferdinand is implausible if they were really intended to be a robust denial. A much more plausible and likely explanation is that Mr Terry was angry; angry at Mr Ferdinand's taunting and provocation of him, angry at the way the match had gone, and angry at the way in which it seemed likely to end. The much more likely explanation for what he said is that all of this provoked him into saying [the words].' Terry was cleared at court where the criminal burden of proof is 'beyond all reasonable doubt.' The independent FA commission which investigated the case used the lesser civil test, that of on the 'balance of probabilities.' In court, Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle said it was 'highly unlikely' Ferdinand had accused Terry of racially abusing him, but it was possible Terry believed at the time that an accusation had been made. Riddle went on: 'In those circumstances, there being a doubt, the only verdict the court can record is one of not guilty.' But the FA report says that, on the balance of probabilities: 'The commission is quite satisfied that there is no credible basis for Mr Terry's defence that his use of the words were directed at Ferdinand by way of forceful rejection and/or inquiry. Instead, we are quite satisfied, and find on the balance of probabilities, that the offending words were said by way of insult.' The report also questions Terry's demeanour if he had been accused of making racist comments. 'The commission is entitled to use its collective experience of life and people to judge demeanour,' it states. 'We have watched the film footage many times. In the critical phase, during which he uses the words, Mr Terry can be seen to be smiling initially, before his facial expression changes to disdainful and contemptuous. At no point is his demeanour and facial expression that of someone who is imploring, injured, or even quizzical in the face of an unfounded allegation by Mr Ferdinand that he had just been racially abusive towards him. Anger is a conceivable reaction to such an accusation, but at no time does Mr Terry convey any sense of "no, I didn't" with his facial expression, or body language.' The report adds: 'It is not the FA's case that Mr Terry is a racist. There is a large body of testimonial evidence, including statements from black footballers, to say that he is not.' Which appears to suggest that the FA are saying John Terry is not a racist but, instead, a liar. Interesting.

That certainly sees to be odious Ashley Cole's take on the incident. Cole has used an expletive to criticise the Football Association after his evidence in the John Terry racism case was questioned. Cole's statement supporting Terry was queried by an independent FA commission after it found Terry guilty. Cole responded on his official Twitter account: 'Hahahahaa, well done FA I lied did I, BUNCH OF TWATS.' Nice. Cole, who has been capped ninety eight times by England, was near Ferdinand and Terry during the match and gave a statement in support of Terry to the criminal trial at which his team-mate was cleared. In his witness statement describing what he claims Ferdinand said to Terry during the incident, the word 'black' was added at a later day. According to the commission report, this had the effect of 'bolstering Mr Terry's claim that the words that he spoke to Mr Ferdinand were not said by way of an insult, but as repetition and forceful denial of what Mr Ferdinand had accused him of saying.' Cole sent out the tweet at 12:51 on Friday, about three hours after the commission's full report was released, during Moscow Chelski manager's Roberto Di Matteo scheduled news conference for the Norwich City match. Di Matteo was asked if it was an appropriate comment to make and Moscow Chelski press officer, Steve Atkins, intervened to answer. 'I would say not but again I think we should reserve any comment on that until the more appropriate time,' said Atkins. Di Matteo added: 'I judge the players on what I see when they train and play. I try and select a team that will hopefully be able to win against Norwich. That is my job. I always said about the social networks that it is a good vehicle if used appropriately. Players need to realise that tweets can be viewed by anybody and they have to be responsible. I do not think the players, apart from this, are out of control. I think it is for [England manager] Roy Hodgson to decide [if Cole plays for England].' One very much imagines that it will be anyone but Hodgson's decision if Cole plays for England again after such comments.

Our men's team might have played like a bunch of big girls' blouses in the recent Twenty20 World Cup, but, by contrast, England's women hammered New Zealand by seven wickets to reach the final of the women's competition. Chasing only ninety four to win, captain Charlotte Edwards hit thirty three and Lydia Greenway twenty two to lead England over the line with sixteen balls to spare. On a slow pitch in Colombo, England restricted the Kiwis to ninety three for eight with spinners Holly Colvin and Danielle Wyatt taking two wickets each. England will now play either West Indies or Australia in Sunday's final. With England having beaten defending champions Australia in the group stages and completed a four-one series walloping over West Indies in September, they will start as favourites in the final regardless of their opponents. Arriving in Sri Lanka after a twenty one-match unbeaten run was ended when an experimental side was beaten by the Windies, England have made comfortable progress to be the only side - men or women - to remain unbeaten throughout the World T20. This latest victory was built on a foundation of tight bowling and excellent outfielding which seemed to suck the life out of the New Zealand innings. The tone was set when Kiwi skipper Suzie Bates was run out in the first over and, from there, the White Fearns were never able to build any momentum. As England's spin quartet of Wyatt, Colvin, Danielle Hazell and Laura Marsh took pace off the ball, only Amy Satterthwaite, with thirty from thirty nine balls, was able to make a meaningful contribution with the bat. And, though Nicola Browne and Katey Martin were able to provide late impetus by taking ten from an Anya Shrubsole over, the modest target never seemed likely to pose England any serious problems. So it proved as Edwards and Marsh were able to compile a risk-free opening stand of thirty two, finding the boundary as many times between them as New Zealand had in their entire innings. When Marsh fell, well caught by Morna Nielsen off Sian Ruck, Taylor arrived to snuff out any suggestion of a Kiwi fightback, hitting a Nielsen full toss for the only six of the match. Edwards, after becoming the leading run-scorer in the tournament, fell to a catch at point off the leg-spin of Erin Birmingham, while Taylor was reprieved when stumped off a Frances Mackay no-ball. But, in a stand of forty with Greenway, Taylor put England one win away from regaining the trophy they won in 2009.

A British couple have spent six grand on rescuing a cat from Egypt, only for the animal to piss off! That's what this blogger loves about cats, they are totally mercenary. They'll hang around if there isn't a better alternative elsewhere but, the second the find that can get fed more three doors down the road, they're outta here. Railton and Dawn Elliott said they 'bonded' with the cat, named Omar, and attempted to save him from the violence of the revolution in the country, reports the Telegraph. They decided to raise funds for quarantine and vets bills, and the cat eventually arrived at their home in Oxfordshire. However, Omar disappeared two weeks ago, and the couple have launched a search attempt in the local area with 'missing' posters. Dawn Elliott - who runs a sweets company with her husband - said: 'We're absolutely heartbroken. We'd give anything to have him back. He's such a lovely and friendly creature.' Railton added: 'We were left with no option but to bring him home with us. I've had cats all my life and never known one to be so gentle, so loving and tender.' The married couple first saw Omar while they were bathing on a veranda outside their holiday home at the El Gouna resort in February 2011. Railton explained: 'The holiday resort was huge but deserted, so we were upgraded to a villa right on the beach front. The next morning the most beautiful cat appeared. It was clear that he was an abandoned, not feral, cat. He had sought refuge in a bush immediately to the front of our villa and over the next few days we fed him three times a day with food we collected from the hotel buffet. We became great friends with our new chum.' Explaining why they wanted to rescue him, he said: 'There weren't any towns nearby, or houses or villages. People were leaving Egypt in droves at that time, and I think someone took the decision that if they were to leave their cat at the hotel, he might stand a chance of survival.' Before they returned home, the couple paid for Omar to be looked after at a local vet while they arranged for him to be sent to the UK. Omar later spent six months in quarantine at the Precious Pets centre in Chepstow, Gloucestershire. The couple made the one hundred and fifty mile round-trip three times a week in order to visit him, before he eventually joined them in September 2011. The quarantine cost around two thousand smackers, alongside six months of vets and food bills. The rest of the money was spent on petrol while driving to visit Omar, and other flight and travel costs for the cat. Railton said: 'I left Dawn to sort out the finances - I didn't care what it cost, I just wanted him home. He has loved his new surroundings her, particularly the fields and woods where he could roam to his heart's content.' To quote the great John Lydon, 'ever get the feeling you've been cheated?' The pair have offered a twenty five knicker reward for Omar's safe return, along with a lifetime's supply of chocolate from their Elliotts of Oxford Fine Confectionery and Superior Nuts company.

Musician and campaigner yer actual Billy Bragg will give BBC 6 Music's second annual John Peel Lecture at this year's Radio Festival next month. The lecture was launched last year by inaugural speaker, The Who's Pete Townshend. Bragg will explore how radio's 'pirates' become mainstream and in what ways broadcasters should reflect that. The event is named after the late Radio 1 DJ, whom Bragg called 'a complete hero to the music industry.' He was certainly that. 'I'm delighted to be asked to speak at the event in his honour,' said the Bard of Barking. Peel, who died in 2004, famously promoted new talent using his specially recorded sessions, often giving airtime to unsigned artists. He was among the first to champion acts from The Pink Floyd to The White Stripes, including Bragg himself who famously turned up at Broadcasting House one night with a mushroom biryani after Peel said he was hungry on-air and offered to give the dish to John in return for a session. 'John Peel gave me my first big break in return for a biryani and he was always hugely supportive of my work,' revealed Bragg. Throughout his thirty-year career, inspired by punk, Bragg has often used his music and political songs to offer fans a different perspective on issues of the day. The John Peel Lecture was launched last year and aims 'to discuss and create insight into music and music-related media from the past, present or future.' Bob Shennan, controller of Radio 2 and 6 Music, said digital station 6 Music was its 'natural home. I'm proud that we can continue John's legacy to inspire conversation about music and that Billy - an icon of British music whose outspoken views are sure to spark debate - will take centre stage for this special occasion,' added Shennan. The Radio Festival takes place in Salford Quays between 12 and 14 November, featuring speakers such as BBC Radio 1's Ben Cooper, Absolute Radio's Frank Skinner and breakfast TV flop Adrian Chiles. The Radio Festival's chair Clive Dickens said: 'The lecture is a great way to pay tribute to a man who changed the structure of music radio through innovative programmes, which were delivered with humour and an obvious passion and dedication to music.'

A new range of alcoholic drinks is said to be poured over glamour models' breasts before bottling. Tasty. The liquor, including limited-edition vodka, rum and whisky, is being sold by German company G-Spirits for around one hundred quid each. One of the main women involved in the project is Hungary's current Playmate of the Year Alexa Varga. She is joined by Amina Malakona and Evelin Aubert, who have all been photographed topless demonstrating the process on the company's website. The models will contribute towards producing two thousand five hundred litres of each spirit in small batches and their photographs will appear on the bottles that go on sale. G-Spirits have insisted that the campaign is 'in keeping with public health standards.' A spokesperson has said: 'We pay high attention to a hygienic filling process. Furthermore medical personnel is present to check it.' At least, that's their excuse.

So, anyway, it was fifty years ago today, and all that ... Here's yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. And why not? PS. I love you, dear blog reader.

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