Thursday, October 25, 2012

Unfinished Sympathy

Yer actual Craig Charles and Michael Parkinson his very self have appeared in a trailer for an upcoming documentary about Ghostwatch. Parky is, obviously, taking some time off from hanging around like the virry Grim Reaper himself giving away free pens in the afternoon on ITV3 it would seem. Which, let me assure you dear blog reader, must be one hell of a relief for nervous Octogenarians everywhere. Behind The Curtains will mark the twentieth anniversary of the classic BBC horror, if you will, mockumentary, which scared the living bejesus out of half-the-country - including yer actual Keith Telly Topping, I might add! - with its Orson Welles's War of the Worlds-style presentation. Writer Stephen Volk, and participants Sarah Greene and Mike Smith also appear in the film, which is yet to have a release date. It is expected to be released later in 2012 to celebrate twenty years since the first - and so far, only - broadcast of Ghostwatch on 31 October 1992. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping had been in Leicester that Saturday watching his beloved (and even then unsellable) Magpies losing to The Foxes. And then he got home to an hour of bowel-shatteringly scary Pipes-action. The show followed a seemingly-real live investigation of a supposedly haunted house in London, where a poltergeist named Pipes began terrorising its residents and various BBC reporters. Ghostwatch received an estimated thirty thousand calls over the course of an hour when it was broadcast at Halloween, with many viewers believing it to be an actual documentary after missing the introduction which stated it was a work of fiction. The one-off programme is often claimed to have inspired the likes of Most Haunted, The Blair Witch Project and Derren Brown's Séance. The BBC was besieged with phone calls from irate and frightened viewers, and British tabloids criticised the BBC - so some thing never change, it would seem - the next day for the 'disturbing' nature of some scenes, such as Greene's final scene where she is locked in an under-stairs cupboard with the howling ghost, and Parkinson's eerie possession scene. The reaction to the programme led the BBC to place a decade-long ban on the programme being repeated after its initial broadcast and, although this has now been lifted and the drama has been shown in places like Canada and Belgium (and, it's available on DVD), it remains unlikely that it will ever be shown again on British terrestrial television.

Dawn French, Steve Pemberton and June Brown are among a host of popular actors appearing in a new BBC2 sitcom created by and starring The Great British Bake Off presenter Sue Perkins. Heading Out tells the story of Sara – played by Sue - a vet who is successful and popular – but with her fortieth birthday looming is still struggling to come clean to her parents about her sexuality. Sara's friends Justine (the great Nicola Walker) and Jamie (Dominic Coleman) arrange for her to see an eccentric lifestyle coach and threaten to tell her parents her sexual secret if she won't. The series, which will be broadcast in 2013, also features Shelley Conn, Raquel Cassidy, Drop The Dead Donkey's Jeff Rawle and Harriet Walter. Quality line-up. Also in the cast is Perkins' Great British Bake Off oppo Mel Giedroyc.

Mark Addy and Siobhan Finneran are among those confirmed to star in a second series of the BBC1 drama The Syndicate. Series two of Kay Mellor's acclaimed show will focus on five low-paid hospital workers in Bradford who win seventy two million smackers in the EuroMillions lottery draw. Addy will play recovering alcoholic Alan, who finds himself tempted by the booze following the big win, while Finneran is cast as nurse Mandy. Natalie Gavin will star as Mandy's daughter Becky, a single mother whose numbers win the jackpot, while Jimi Mistry is male nurse Tom, who decides to have a baby with his girlfriend following the win. Alison Steadman is the final member of the syndicate, former dancer Rose, who hopes to pick up where she left off with the help of an expensive double knee replacement. 'The Syndicate is a drama series of our time,' said writer Mellor. 'As the world recession bites harder and deeper, more and more people are doing the lottery. It gives them the weekly hope of winning their way out of debt and poverty. They are five little balls away from living their dream. Or so they think!' The BBC's Polly Hill added: 'We are delighted to be making a second series of the acclaimed drama The Syndicate. Kay's brilliant scripts have once again attracted an incredible cast that will make this drama a real treat for the BBC1 audience next year.' The first series of The Syndicate starred Timothy Spall, Lorraine Bruce, Matthew Lewis, Matthew McNulty and Joanna Page as supermarket workers who won a massive cash prize.

Yer actual John Simm has downplayed the likelihood of returning to Doctor Who. The Life on Mars actor was quoted earlier this week as saying that he is open to appearing in Doctor Who again to take The Master to a 'very, very dark place. I'd love to have another take on him, to be a bit quieter,' Simm told fans at the Cheltenham Literature Festival. He also said: 'I started annoying myself after a while [in my previous appearances]. Russell T Davies had a specific idea of what he wanted him to be like. So I just had to do exactly what he wanted me to, and he wanted a giggling lunatic.' Simm has now taken to Twitter to clarify that he was speaking 'off the cuff' and that another Doctor Who guest appearance is not actually in the works. 'The Master thing is honestly a non-story. I was answering a specific question at a Q+A. [It's] been taken out of context,' he wrote. Isn't that always the way?

Holby City actress Sarah-Jane Potts has left the BBC1 medical drama. Potts made her final appearance as Eddi Mckee in this week's episode, in which viewers saw Luke Tittensor reprise his role as Eddi's brother Liam, as Eddi left the hospital to overcome her addiction demons. The character's departure was kept under wraps. Eddi made her first appearance in Holby City in June last year and her relationship with colleague Luc has since proved to be popular with many of the show's fans. Holby City's producer Justin Young adds: 'We were very sad to say goodbye to Sarah-Jane, but we always agreed that Eddi would only be a part of the Holby team for a limited time. In just a year, Sarah-Jane created a fantastic character, and – along with Luc – became half of one of the most talked about couples in Holby's history. Sarah-Jane was great to work with and we miss her. It's the end of Luc and Eddi's story for now, but who knows what the future might hold?'

John Yorke, the long-serving BBC drama executive who oversees EastEnders, Holby City and Casualty, is leaving to head up the independent production company responsible for shows including Shameless and Skins. He will take over the reins at Company Pictures from George Faber and Charlie Pattinson, who founded the maker of Wild at Heart and Inspector George Gently in 1998. They are leaving to set up another venture at the independent producer's owner All3Media. Yorke, who holds the title of controller of BBC drama production and new talent, is to join Company Pictures as managing director. He first worked with Company Pictures in 2004 when he was the head of drama at Channel Four. Yorke has worked in BBC drama since 1999, barring eighteen months at Channel Four. He joined the BBC as EastEnders executive producer, before being promoted to head of drama series. Yorke returned to the BBC from Channel Four in early 2005 as the head of independent commissioning and was promoted to controller of drama production the following year, overseeing shows including EastEnders, Holby City, Casualty and Doctors. Earlier this year he also had a four-month stint overseeing The Archers.

Tom Bennett has joined Chris O'Dowd's new HBO comedy. Family Tree - from This Is Spinal Tap's Christopher Guest - will focus on Tom Chadwick (played by O'Dowd), a man searching for his long-lost relatives who stumbles across a string of unusual characters and stories. Bennett will play Tom's best friend, while actress and comedian Nina Conti has also been cast as the lead character's sister, Deadline reports. Amy Seimetz has also joined Family Tree as aspiring writer Ally, who meets Tom when he visits Los Angeles. The comedy - which will be filmed in a documentary-style like much of Guest's previous work - started life as a pilot and was ordered to series in August. Guest's old Spinal Tap partner Michael McKean and Fred Willard were previously confirmed to have landed supporting roles. Family Tree is expected to run for around eight episodes, with BBC2 screening the show in the UK.

A 'television actor' has been charged with the rape of a teenage boy. The actor, who has not been named, allegedly attacked the fourteen-year-old at a theatre in the London area in 2010. The actor, from the Sutton area according to the Digital Spy website, answered police bail on Tuesday and was charged with five offences. In addition to the charge of rape he is also accused of three other sex attacks and an 'assault by beating' at London's Italia Conti theatre school, Scotland Yard said. All of the charges relate to the same alleged victim. The actor will appear in court on 6 November. Although the actor has not been named - 'due to legal reasons' - the Sun describe him as a 'top telly star' and Gay News somewhat gave the game away by revealing the actor's age. So, if you were worried that this case might have related an actor you like, if they're not the age quoted by Gay News then, it would appear, worry ye not.

Mick Hucknall has claimed that he attempted to launch his own TV talent show on the BBC. The Simply Red singer alleges that his 'concept' to 'find the next musical icon' was rejected in favour of The Voice last year. Hucknall hoped to find creative artists who could be turned into global superstars in a format that was said to be different from The Voice and The X Factor. 'I approached the BBC about a year ago with the idea of a programme,' he told the Daily Scum Express. 'I said I wanted to find the next David Bowie, the next Freddie Mercury, the next Lennon and McCartney but they rejected it and went for The Voice instead, which to me was another version of The X Factor because it's not about creative artists.' He added: 'I would call on them to devise a programme to find the next Elton or the next Mick Hucknall.' Hang on ... Mick Hucknell out of Simply Red, the desperately middle-of-the-road wailer of tripe like 'Holding Back The Years' is classing himself in the same league as a 'creative artist' as Elton John and David Bowie? Has this blogger woken up in Bizarroland this morning, or what? 'The BBC are the people to do it because they represent British culture; they should be looking to find the next musical icon.' They are, mate. Just not from you.

Anybody else truly astonished to hear somebody having the bright idea of using Hawkwind's 'Master of the Universe' as the background music for the new Ford B-Max advert? Just yer actual Keith Telly Topping then?

And now, the first in a semi-irregular From The North series Christ, didn't they used to be young?! Number one: Philip Glenister in a 1991 episode of Drop The Dead Donkey (with the very excellent Clive Mantell).
The row between the government and the BBC over its handling of the Jimmy Savile sex abuse scandal has escalated, with the lack of culture secretary saying it was right to 'reflect the deep level of concern' about the - media created - crisis enveloping the corporation. The vile and odious rascal Miller made her remarks on Wednesday morning as Conservative backbench MP Sir Roger Gale - no, me neither - raised the stakes by saying director general George Entwistle, who is barely a month into his new role, and BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten may have to 'fall on their swords.' The vile and odious rascal Miller refused to back down in the face of criticism from the Patten, who on Tuesday responded to an earlier statement from the lack of culture secretary by warning her against questioning the independence of the BBC. 'It was right the government reflect the deep level of concern. What is important now is the inquiries are already working, looking at these allegations and can continue to do so and get to the bottom of these problems,' the vile and odious rascal Miller told BBC News. On Tuesday Miller wrote to Patten to warn the scandal had raised 'very real concerns' about 'public trust' in the corporation and said it was vital that the independent inquiries into what had happened were 'able to follow the evidence wherever it takes them.' Patten responded by effectively telling the vile and odious Miller to back the smeg off. 'I know that you will not want to give any impression that you are questioning the independence of the BBC,' he wrote in a letter. The vile and odious rascal Miller's initial letter to Patten on Tuesday 'reflected government concern' over what was felt to be Entwistle's less than reassuring appearance before the Commons culture, media and sport select committee earlier in the day, during which he was questioned about the BBC's handling of the Savile scandal. Gale criticised Patten for telling the vile and odious Miller that she should not get involved and said he was 'out of touch' with the strength of feeling and concern among the public and MPs about the Savile case. 'Attack may be the best form of defence but in seeking to criticise a culture secretary who has not, ever, sought to challenge the independence of the BBC, he indicates how very little, within that corporate arrogance, has really changed. The "Auntie knows best" line simply does not wash any more,' he said. 'BBC management, over far too many years, has sought to maintain an imperious disdain for criticism and it has become clear that successive directors general have, while happy to criticise others for not answering difficult questions, either turned a blind eye to criminal activities or have not known what has been going on on their own doorstep, which is also culpable,' Gale added, with no obvious - quite sick - political agenda going down there. 'It is as if your favourite and respectable aunt has been revealed to be on the game and if Lord Patten is not able to grasp that, then I fear that not only the director general but also the chairman of the BBC Trust are going to have to fall on their swords.' Gale, MP for Thanet North, told Kent News that Entwistle and Newsnight editor Peter Rippon were being 'hung out to dry' and called for questions to be asked of his predecessors, Mark Thompson, Greg Dyke and Lord Birt. 'George Entwistle, as the current director general, has been hung out to dry while having very little responsibility for these matters and the Newsnight editor, Peter Rippon, would appear to be the fall-guy for years of BBC self-preservation,' he said. 'Who is seriously challenging those earlier editors-in-chief, John Birt, Greg Dyke and, most particularly the man who was in the hot seat when the Newsnight decision was taken, Mark Thompson? Thompson was paid nearly a quarter of a million pounds of licence fee money a year to, apparently, not know what was going on under his own roof,' said Gale. The select committee which grilled Entwistle on the Savile scandal on Tuesday considered summoning Rippon and the BBC News director, Helen Boaden, but after a vote, a majority decided against. John Whittingdale, the committee chairman, said: 'We are not going to call Helen Boaden or Peter Rippon. We are not conducting an inquiry.' Boaden has come under fire for not alerting Entwistle, at the time BBC Vision director with responsibility for a planned BBC1 tribute to Savile, or Thompson last December that Newsnight was working on an investigation that would have exposed one of its biggest stars of previous years as a sexual predator. Sir Christopher Bland, a former chairman of the BBC, described Savile as a 'male Mother Teresa' and said it was 'easy' to understand why his numerous victims were too frightened to come forward. But, he admitted that even if they had, it was very likely their complaints would not have been listened to 'twenty years ago, thirty years ago, or ten years ago.' Speaking on BBC Breakfast, he said he believed the public's trust in the broadcaster had been damaged. 'Plainly, it has been damaged, but the BBC is a resilient and powerful, and on the whole, a really strong and trustworthy organisation, trusted far more than almost any other part of British public life,' he added.

Trinity Mirra could face at least two more legal actions over alleged phone hacking, including from a former football manager, according to the lawyer who brought civil claims against the company's newspapers on Monday grassing up this information to the Gruniad Morning Star. They could join the four civil actions which have been filed at the high court against Mirra Group Newspapers, publisher of the Daily Mirra, the Sunday Mirra and the People. The civil cases are being taken against MGN on the basis of alleged breach of privacy. Mark Lewis, one of the leading lawyers acting for alleged victims of disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World phone-hacking, was contacted by the two new potential claimants after news that the civil cases had been launched against the publisher broke on Monday night. While still at an early stage of being assessed, it is thought that the pair are considered to have 'reasonably good' grounds for a thorough assessment of potential legal action. There is no guarantee that any of the claims will result in legal action against Trinity Mirra, of course. One is understood to be a businessman who believes that a story based upon his personal activity which ran in one of Trinity Mirra's titles could only have been known about through voicemail interception. The second potential claimant is understood to be a retired football manager who believes that his phone may have been hacked in relation to stories about a high-profile former England manager in the 1990s. This occurred before the introduction of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act in 2000, which made the accessing of voicemails illegal. Monday's claims are the first to be made against a UK newspaper group, other than billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's News International, over phone-hacking. The claims were filed by Lewis on behalf of Sven-Göran Eriksson, the ex-England football manager, former footballer Garry Flitcroft, actor Shobna Gulati, who played Sunita Alahan in Coronation Street and Anita in Dinnerladies, and Abbie Gibson, the former nanny to David and Victoria Beckham's children. The allegation by Eriksson relates to the Daily Mirra when odious oily Piers Morgan, now a TV host on CNN in the US, was the editor. The claims lodged on behalf of Gulati, Gibson and Flitcroft allege phone-hacking at either the Sunday Mirra or the People. Trinity Mirra has always robustly defended itself against allegations of phone-hacking at its titles. As, of course, did news International for four years, claiming that no hacking had taken place and, if any had, it had been the work of a single 'rogue' reporter, a story they stuck to until the evidence against them proved to be overwhelming. 'As we have previously stated, all our journalists work within the criminal law and the Press Complaints Commission code of conduct,' said a spokesman for Trinity Mirra on Monday. Which may well be true. Time will tell. It usually does.

In the light of the civil claims against Trinity Mirra over alleged phone-hacking, now might be a pertinent time to revisit the various boasts made by the former Daily Mirra editor, odious oily Piers Morgan, about his knowledge of voicemail interceptions in the past. In October 2006, Morgan wrote in the Daily Scum Mail about the marriage difficulties of Sir Paul McCartney and his then wife, Heather Mills-McCartney: 'At one stage I was played a tape of a message Paul had left for Heather on her mobile phone. It was heartbreaking. Paul was pleading with her to come back. He sounded lonely, miserable and desperate, and even sang 'We Can Work It Out' into the answerphone.' Mills told the Leveson inquiry that she had never authorised Morgan, or anyone else for that matter, to access or listen to her voicemails. And, she also said that she had been told by a former Trinity Mirra employee in 2001 that he had listened to voicemail messages left by her former husband. Morgan was questioned about the McCartney-Mills incident when he gave evidence to Leveson by videolink from the US. He refused to say who played him the voicemail message. He said: 'I can't discuss where I was played that tape or who played it, because to do so would be to compromise a source, and I can't do that.' In January 2007, when Morgan was one of the proprietors of the Press Gazette, he gave an interview to its editor, Dominic Ponsford. It followed the resignation of Andy Coulson as editor of the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World after the paper's royal editor, Clive Goodman, had been sentenced to do jail for the interception of voicemail messages. Morgan is quoted as saying: 'Andy is a brilliant, instinctive editor who consistently broke huge stories, and I would expect him to land another big job very quickly. As for Clive Goodman, I feel a lot of sympathy for a man who has been the convenient fall-guy for an investigative practice that everyone knows was going on at almost every paper in Fleet Street for years.' In April 2007, Morgan was asked by Naomi Campbell during a GQ interview about hacking. 'I can't get too excited about it,' he said, and continued: 'It was pretty well-known that if you didn't change your pin-code when you were a celebrity who bought a new phone, then reporters could ring your mobile, tap in a standard factory setting number and hear your messages.' Campbell replied: 'It's an invasion of privacy, though.' Morgan said: 'It is, yes. But loads of newspaper journalists were doing it.' Campbell then asked: 'Would you like it if someone listened to your messages?' Morgan answered: 'Oh, they used to do it to me. And no, I didn't like it. But with new technology comes new temptation and new issues. And this has brought the practice out into the open and it won't happen any more.' In June 2009, odious oily horrorshow (and drag) Morgan appeared on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, during which the interviewer, Kirsty Young, pressed him about tabloid news-gathering methods. Young asked: 'What about this nice middle-class boy who would have to be dealing with people who rake through people's bins for a living? People who tap people's phones, people who take secret photographs. Who do all that very nasty down-in-the-gutter stuff – how did you feel about that?' Morgan replied: 'Well, to be honest, let's put that into perspective. Not a lot of that went on. A lot of it was done by third parties, rather than the staff themselves. That's not to defend it, because obviously you were running the results of their work.' He didn't go on to defend it, but he didn't deny it either. That prompted an American editor, Lloyd Grove, to write a piece for the Daily Beast headlined Morgan admits dodgy practices. In May this year, Jeremy Paxman gave evidence to the Leveson inquiry about a lunch at Trinity Mirra's offices in September 2002. One of the guests was Ulrika Jonsson, who had been reported to have had an affair earlier that year with the then England football manager, Sven-Göran Eriksson. Paxman told the inquiry: 'I was really struck by something that Piers Morgan said at lunch. Morgan said, teasing Ulrika, that he knew what had happened in conversations between her and Sven-Göran Eriksson, and he went into this mock Swedish accent. Now, I don't know whether he was repeating a conversation that he had heard or he was imagining this conversation, to be fair to him, I think we should accept both possibilities, because he probably was imagining it.' Then, said Paxman, Morgan turned to him and asked whether he had a mobile phone and whether he had created a security setting. Paxman continued: 'I didn't know what he was talking about, and he then explained that the way to get access to people's messages was to go to the factory default setting and that if you didn't put on your own code, his words, "You're a fool." It was clearly something that he was familiar with, and I wasn't.'

Disgraced former Daily Torygraph owner - and convicted fraudster - Conrad Black is back in town, big-style, throwing verbal haymakers at all and sundry ahead of a guest hosting turn on Friday's Have I Got News for You. In barely twenty fours since touching down in Britain after a three-year jail stint in the US, in his tour of London TV studios the former mogul had already branded Sky News's Adam Boulton 'a jackass' - well, even a broken clock is right twice a day - and told Newsnight's Jeremy Paxman that he's 'a priggish, gullible British fool.' This after telling the Scum Mail on Sunday that billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch is 'a psychopath. Like Stalin, except that he doesn't kill people.' That we know of, Conrad, that we know of. After serving thirty seven months in The State Penn for defrauding investors and obstructing the course of justice, viewers might have expected more humility from the former press baron. Not a bit of it – he's got a book to promote, after all: Conrad Black – A Matter of Principle. In round one with Paxman on Monday night, the Newsnight presenter appeared to adopt Muhammad Ali's rope-a-dope strategy, goading Black with repeated suggestions that he was 'a criminal' – with spectacular results. Black came out swinging: 'Let me tell you something. I am proud of having gone through the terribly difficult process of being falsely charged, falsely convicted and ultimately almost completely vindicated without losing my mind, becoming irrational, ceasing to be a penitent and reasonable person and actually being able to endure a discussion like this without getting up and smashing your face in.' When a slightly flummoxed Paxo interjected: 'Well, you go ahead,' Black replied, with both barrels: 'No, I don't believe in violence.' Pity. I'd've loved to see him try and chin Paxo and then wake up in the morning with a crowd around his bed. That would've been brilliant telly. Earlier he told yer man Jezza: 'I've been persecuted half to death. I don't have any shame. I am proud of what happened. I am proud of being in a US federal prison and surviving it.' Throughout his Sky News and Newsnight appearances, Black's line of defence is that he was a victim of a terrible miscarriage of justice. 'Everything I did was legal, I didn't misunderstand [the law]. It as a smear job from A to Z because 99.95 per cent of prosecutions are convicted, the whole [US legal] system is a fraudulent fascistic conveyor belt of corrupt prison system,' he told Newsnight. When Paxman reminded him he was nonetheless 'a convicted criminal,' Black turned to him: 'You're a fool, you're just a gullible fool; a priggish, gullible British fool, who takes seriously this ghastly American justice system that any sane British person knows is an outrage.' On Tuesday afternoon, he popped up for his second round on Sky News's Boulton & Co. 'Stop being a jackass, you're just being abrasive,' Black chided menacingly when Boulton asked him where he was going to live when his native Canada, where he is on a one-year temporary visa, turfed him out. 'I am not a refugee. Let me tell you something,' he chided, before stopping to ask Boulton: 'What's your name again?' Burn! Later when asked why he had agreed to appear on BBC2's Have I Got News for You where he will, presumably, be mercilessly mocked by Ian Hislop, he said: 'I am here to sell books; I am not here to enjoy your somewhat predictable questions.' He branded Boulton's employer, billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch, 'a sleaze-mongerer' and insisted he wasn't a criminal because the US legal system had 'no validity.' In 2007, you may remember, Black was convicted of defrauding Hollinger International shareholders of $6.1m, by paying himself a tax-free bonus from the sale of newspaper assets without the approval of the company's board. He had been forced out of the company by shareholders in 2003. Black was released on bail after serving two-and-a-half years while his case was under an appeal, which resulted in two of his three fraud convictions being quashed. The third remained. His original seventy eight-month sentence was reduced to three years. He returned to jail last September to serve another thirteen months and, with time off for good behaviour, he has now completed his jail sentence. It is clear that he does not see this as a bar to returning to public life in the UK, or resuming his seat in the House of Lords. He compared his plight to that of Nelson Mandela when he was released from Robben Island. 'First of all there is not a prohibition on a convicted criminal sitting [in the Lords],' Black said on Newsnight. He told Boulton that he would 'presumably' return to the upper house but hadn't decided yet. When Paxman moved to the subject of the extravagance of his wife Barbara Amiel, he feigned biliousness: 'Oh, God, I'm going to throw up. My first morning back in Britain and am I to be subjected to this? She wasn't extravagant. She's a magnificent wife – she visited me every week in prison, even when she had to come back from China to do it.' Tom Bower, author of a book about Black, told Newsnight: 'What is so comical about Conrad Black is when he was in London he was always saying how genius capitalism is, but when shareholders said that he was stealing money in 2001, he said he was the victim. Five years ago he was convicted of defrauding the company he ran, Hollinger. He still claims to be innocent of all crimes. In the end Conrad Black believes he is God and everyone must bow to him. The one thing you can't say is he is a coward, he comes back again and again to suppress his critics.'

The former children's minister Tim Loughton and Labour's education spokesman Stephen Twigg are calling for better safeguards for children working in the media and entertainment. The Savile case shows the need for such change they say. Loughton wrote in the Sun that he was 'frustrated' he had failed to persuade the lack of education secretary, rat-faced loathsome wretched odious nasty slavver-merchant and George Formby lookalike Gove, to update the existing forty-year-old rules. The Department for Education says that it is 'still considering' changes. But a spokeswoman added that nothing the department was looking at 'would have had any bearing on the Savile allegations.' Loughton, who lost his post in the last reshuffle, wrote an article for the Sun in which he said he put forward proposals to improve regulations on children and young people working in entertainment earlier this year, but that they were not taken forward. He wrote: 'We need to bring the regulations concerning children involved in performances from The X Factor to panto into the Twenty First Century to keep them performing safely. 'At the moment they are bureaucratic, go back to the 1960s and are largely ignored. Frustratingly I failed to persuade Michael Gove to include improvements in legislation when I was at the education department.' The former minister says he will now try to get the measures passed by the House of Commons through a Private Member's Bill. Stephen Twigg says he will 'look at the details' of the bill and is calling for MPs from all parties to unite to bring in better safeguards. In a speech on Wednesday he said: 'We will consult with the media and entertainment industries and with local authorities to ensure we get this right, but it must be a priority.' Referring to the Savile abuse claims, he said: 'The terrible truth is that the claims that something like this couldn't happen today don't stand up to scrutiny. Recent child abuse cases, like in Rochdale, show how power relationships are still exploited, and young people, particularly girls, are too often ignored when they come forward.' A spokeswoman for the Department for Education said officials were still looking at child performance legislation. 'We issued a consultation in May on a new framework which will leave strict laws on children involved in professional broadcasts in place,' she said. 'The government is considering the responses to the consultation and will announce plans in due course. Nothing the Department for Education has considered would have had any bearing on the Savile allegations.'

Prime Minister David Cameron has said Britain will continue to defy a European Court ruling saying that prisoners must be given the right to vote. 'No one should be under any doubt - prisoners are not getting the vote under this government,' he told MPs. It's rather curious that the prime minister is so keen for those in prison not to have the vote, especially as several of his constituents are, currently, facing the possibility of lengthy custodial sentences if convicted of various charges - which they, of course, deny. You'd've thought the PM would've been keen for all the support he can get come the next election.
A Brazilian man has shocked his friends and family after he turned up alive at his own wake. Gilberto Araujo's relatives were gathered around a coffin at his mother's house in Alagoinhas when the forty one-year-old car washer arrived. His brother, Jose Marcos Araujo had heard news that a car washer had been killed, and wrongly identified the body in the mortuary as he hadn't seen his brother in four months. The dead man, said to closely resemble Gilberto, is believed to be another car washer who was murdered at the weekend. Gilberto said he heard about the mistake when an acquaintance approached him in the street to say his family were about to set off for his funeral. 'A friend told me there was a coffin and that I was inside it,' he said. 'So I said, "But I'm alive, pinch me!"' Gilberto said that he tried to call another friend who was at the wake but the friend thought it was a hoax and hung up, so he decided to go in person to prove it. His mother, shopkeeper Marina Santana, told reporters she was 'overjoyed' when her son showed up alive. She said: 'What mother wouldn't be, after being told that her son is dead and then sees him alive?' Family friend Maria Menezes, who was at the wake, recalled: 'Some people fainted and others were so scared they ran away. It was a big shock.' Police inspector Roberto Lima said the confusion surrounding Gilberto's presumed death was 'understandable' due to the similarities between the two men. 'The two men closely resembled each other and both worked as car washers,' he said. Police stated that the dead man has now been identified as Genivaldo Silva Gama but they are now seeking further information about the events surrounding his death.

And so, to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. This very evening, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self is attending Scunny Steve's latest Record Player event at the Tyneside. This week, it's the shimmering beast that is Blue Lines. Word, brethren. So, what better start to the day than a bit of unfinished sympathy? Skill.

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