Sunday, October 21, 2012

Week Forty Four: Do The Dance Sensation That Is Sweepin' The Nation

Yer actual Martin Freeman his very self may have spent the best part of eighteen months filming Peter Jackson's The Hobbit in New Zealand, but that doesn't mean he's forgotten about Sherlock. Which is nice. Speaking exclusively to the Radio Times at Channel Four's Stand Up To Cancer event, Sherlock's John Watson revealed that he had seen 'a rough outline' of the plot of the opening episode of series three. Although he is yet to see a finished script, Freeman did say, 'the first one sounds brilliant.' And, dear blog reader, if you're wondering exactly how yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch his very self can possibly have survived his pavement dive at the climax of The Reichenbach Fall, Martin is more than happy to drop a few hints. 'Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss tell us bits about it so I know that all the clues were on screen. It's not going to be a cheat - everything that we saw on that final episode offers hints as to how he did it.' And what about the three words cryptically revealed by yer man Gatiss at this year's Edinburgh Television Festival - 'rat, wedding, bow?' Freeman admits he's party to their meaning, but 'I don't want to ruin the surprise.' Skill.

And, speaking of Channel Four's star-studded Stand Up To Cancer telethon, it averaged an overnight audience of 1.2m over its six and a half hours. Hosted by Davina McCall, Alan Carr and Christian Jessen, the - very worthy - charity fundraiser pulled in an eight per cent audience share between 7.30pm and 2am, peaking with around 2.1m for Cheryl Cole's - truly disastrous - performance of her new single. Which, admittedly, was funny. And, it was all for a good cause so, double bonus. Channel Four enjoyed its most popular Friday night since early last month during the Paralympics thanks to the broadcast, which raised a much-needed six million smackers for charity. Elsewhere, odious oily full-of-his-own-importance glake Piers Morgan's Life Stories scored an unexpected high for an interview with the actress Felicity Kendal - the programme was watched by 4.14m crushed victims of society on ITV in the 9pm hour. However, Have I Got News For You - featuring the odious oily full-of-his-own-importance glake Piers Morgan's old nemesis yer actual Ian Hislop his very self - remained dominant for BBC1 with 5.15m in its usual half-hour slot from 9pm. It wasn't all good news for BBC1, however, at 9.30pm, the second episode of the romantic (alleged) comedy Mr & Mrs Jones could only muster 2.42m, down seven hundred thousand on the - already low - audience for last week's opener. Stephen Fry's beloved Qi led BBC2's night with a solid 2.21m at 10pm - albeit for its worst ever episode, one featuring smug, unfunny loathsome loudmouth and hairdo Jack Whitehall - while Mastermind (2.01m), Gardeners' World (2.03m) and Natural World (1.97m) drew almost identical audiences earlier on. Eddie Stobart: Trucks and Trailers kicked off Channel Five's peak time schedule with 1.01m, but over-hyped football documentary Being Liverpool netted just five hundred and fifty four thousand viewers an hour later.

Strictly Come Dancing has become the champion of the Saturday night ratings battle once again. The popular BBC show topped the charts on Saturday, attracting considerably more overnight viewers than its ITV rival The X Factor for the third week running. The Hollywood-themed episode of Strictly, which saw Denise Van Outen top the leader board with her Toy Story themed foxtrot and big cuddly Lisa Riley come a close second with her quite extraordinary jive to 'Hanky Panky', averaged 9.9 million viewers over it's near two-hour long show. That's almost exactly the amount of viewers that tuned in to the show last weekend. The figure amounts to a 44.2 per cent audience share, and at its peak, 11.3 million people watched Brendan Cole and Queen Victorian Pendleton doing their An Officer and a Gentleman routine. On the other side, The X Factor shed viewers for the third week running. The latest episode brought in an average of 8.21 million. The ITV show peaked at 9.3 million viewers. Merlin also had another very good night, pulling in 5.5m opposite The X Factor on BBC1 for the episode featuring Tony Head's return to the series. There were also respectable figures for Casualty (4.1m), and, earlier the new series of Pointless Celebrities (4.22m). Match of the Day scored 3.67m from 10.30pm, beating ITV's Jonathan Ross Show, which attracted a poor 2.54m. And, it seems that viewers are finally waking up to what an utter dog of a show Take Me Out is, just 3.1m tuning-in to the odious Paddy McGuinness vehicle from 7pm. Elsewhere, BAFTA-winning political satire The Thick of It had a series low of eight hundred and sixty two thousand from 9.45pm on BBc2, prior to which Qi XL had an audience of 1.31m. Overall, BBC1 overtook ITV in an historic Saturday primetime victory, with 28.9 per cent versus 24.9 per cent of the audience share.

And now, a short correction, dear blog reader. On yesterday's blog update, in a news report about the latest Twitter activities of the BNP's leader, Nick Griffin, due to a mix-up the image used to illustrate the story was not, in fact, one of Mister Griffin himself but, rather, a picture of The Devil. From The North would like to, sincerely, apologise for any upset or embarrassment caused. To Devil.

Chain-smoking Dot Branning is to return to EastEnders in the new year after what producers called 'an explosive Christmas' in Albert Square. Veteran actress June Brown will return to the role in January after taking a sabbatical in the spring. Brown joined the BBC series for its launch in 1985. Her character - then known as Dot Cotton - changed her name in 2002 when she married Jim Branning. The eighty five-year-old actress previously took a four-year break from the show in the 1990s. EastEnders' executive producer Lorraine Newman said: 'Dot is one of EastEnders' best-loved characters and Albert Square hasn't been the same without her.' During the most recent break from EastEnders, Brown wrote her memoir and worked on a BBC1 documentary, Respect Your Elders. The role earned her a BAFTA nomination for best actress in 2009, after a special episode, Dot's Last Tape, in which she delivered a thirty-minute monologue. The programme showed her dictating an emotional message into a cassette for her husband to hear in hospital as he recovered from a stroke. Although she eventually lost out to Anna Maxwell, it was the first time a soap actress had been nominated in the best Actress category since Jean Alexander was shortlisted in 1988. It was EastEnders' star Leslie Grantham who originally suggested June for the role. Until then, the Suffolk-born actress's career had incorporated stage, film and television, with appearances in Coronation Street and Doctor Who. She was appointed an MBE in the 2008 Queen's Birthday Honours for services to drama and charity.

And so to yer next batch of Top Telly Tips, dear blog reader:

Saturday 27 October
The latest episode yer actual Qi XL is on, once again, marginally pre-watershed, at 8:45 BBC2 tonight. So, best behaviour and watch the language lads and lasses. This is, of course, an extended edition of the comedy panel game and national treasure in which host Stephen Fry hosts finds out how much Shappi Khorsandi, Ross Noble, Johnny Vegas and regular panellist Alan Davies know about the world of journalism, awarding points for the most interesting answers. And, if you didn't know that then where the hell have you been for the last decade? One of the most perfect examples of the BBC's Reithian ethic - to educate, inform and entertain - dangerously, if you watch Qi, dear blog reader, you might just learn something. You don't get that from Britain's Got Talent.

It's Halloween at Strictly Come Dancing - 6:30 BBC1 - which means a hair-raising (or, indeed, toupee-raising) spectacular. The dozen remaining dancing couples perform their spookiest routines, with the fearsome foursome of Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli, Craig Revel Horwood and yer actual Darcey Bussell deciding who was frightfully good and who was awfully bad. But there's more for the celebrities tonight as they also join the professionals in 'a thrilling group number.' It says here. Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly (horrorshow and drag) present all the fun. The result show can be seen tomorrow at 7.20pm.
The Home Office has cut police numbers and created a huge backlog of paperwork, while managing to shift the blame to DoSAC for the problems in the latest The Thick of It - 9:00 BBC2. Malcolm suggests that Dan Miller is sent on a fact-finding mission to a police station as it will make the Government look unresponsive. Or does he have another motive? Last in the current series.

Historian and journalist Tim Stanley examines how US TV comedy shows can give an understanding of what the average American think about issues including race, religion, gay rights, abortion and the economy in Family Guys? What Sitcoms Say About America Now - 10:00 BBC2. With the help of sitcom writers and some of the best examples of their work, he uncovers a fast-changing country that can leave the politicians scrabbling to catch up. Including clips from South Park, The Cosby Show, Family Guy, Will & Grace, The Simpsons and Ellen.

Sunday 28 October
Following a secret debrief from Saul, Estes authorises a covert operation to pursue intelligence recovered in Beirut in the excellent Homeland - 9:00 Channel Four. Brody receives a shock when he runs into Carrie at Langley, and an invitation to bury the hatchet ends in an unforeseen encounter. Meanwhile, Dana discovers she has something in common with Finn Walden, the vice-president's son.
Dry as a bone in desert comedian Rich Hall - in addition to his frequently hilarious appearances on the likes of Qi and Have I Got News For You over the years - has, of late, made something of a name for himself producing thoughtful, intelligent and very funny documentaries for BBC4 about various aspects of his homeland and the media's portrayal of it. This blogger particularly recommends 2008's Rich Hall's How the West Was Lost and 2010's Rich Hall's The Dirty South. Rich is also part-Cherokee so it makes sense that, for his latest journey into the heart of America, he goes in search of the real American Indian, often stereotyped in popular culture in Rich Hall's Inventing the Indians - 9:00 BBC4. Rich explores a different idea of what life is like for the race today, with the help of native Dallas Goldtooth. He also questions the screen image of the 'noble savage Indian' in films such as Soldier Blue, Stagecoach and A Man Called Horse, before visiting the Navajo Reservation in Arizona and Pine Ridge in South Dakota, home to many of today's Native Americans and incorporates interviews with tribal elders and activists, archive clips of some of cinema's finest films, historical photographs and footage, all brought together with Rich's customary wit and intelligence. Sounds like another winner.

So, you thought Harry & Paul has been cancelled, dear blog reader? Yeah, me too yer actual Keith Telly Topping must admit. Nevertheless, Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse return with their BAFTA-winning comedy show, showcasing another collection of sketches featuring new creations and old favourites at 10:30 on BBC2. Nowhere near as funny as she thinks she is Victoria Wood guest stars in the first episode - so that's one very good excuse not to watch it if you've got something better to do elsewhere - which includes parodies of Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train and Danish crime drama The Killing.
Monday 29 October
Richard Hammond celebrates fifty years of James Bond films in a much-anticipated Top Gear special - 9:00 BBC2 - which will, of course, be an excuse for some lice of no importance at the Gruniad Morning Star and the Daily Scum Mail to whinge about something. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping noticed smug, unfunny, loathsome loudmouth Jack Whitehall cracking an unfunny Richard Hammond joke on Qi this week, which says it all, really. If Jack Whitehall's against something, this blogger is for it. On general principle. Anyway, Richard looks back at the franchise's vehicles, including the original 1960s Goldfinger Aston Martin DB5 and the Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me. Richard also talks to Danny Craig and Sir Roge Moore, goes behind the scenes on the latest Bond adventure Skyfall and attempts to turn a Lotus into a fully working submarine car.
Some chaps get all the good jobs!

Strickland's Whitehall pal Stephen Fisher is targeted by an assassin, so the UCOS boss enlists the team to find whoever was responsible in New Tricks - 9:00 BBC1. Strickland reveals that thirty years earlier, he and Fisher were involved in a covert MI5 operation to break into the house of a journalist believed to have information about an IRA arms deals. But with several of the original agents involved in the affair having died in suspicious circumstances, he now believes someone is out to kill them all - and when a connection is made between a gangster and MI5, it seems the threat may be coming from within the security service itself. The great Tim McInnerny and Shallow Grave's Kerry Fox guest star. Last in the current series.

Art historian Alastair Sooke reveals how Lucifer's image was created by artists in the Middle Ages in How The Devil Got His Horns: A Diabolical Tale - 9:00 BBC4. He explores how visual interpretations of Satan evolved between the birth of Christ and The Renaissance, and how he was depicted in an array of different guises, including tempter, tyrant and rebellious angel.

The surgeon (Jimmy Nesbitt way out of his usual comfort zone) tries to cure a woman whose epileptic seizures are becoming more destructive, and decides to operate on her brain while she's awake, to ensure the procedure doesn't interfere with her speech in Monroe - 9:00 ITV. Meanwhile, Bremner and Witney prepare a teenage girl for a long-awaited heart transplant, Gillespie gives protégé Mullery more responsibility, and several members of the team come to surprising conclusions about their dysfunctional love lives. And, still nobody's watching it.

Tuesday 30 October
Carol Vorderman hosts The Pride of Britain Awards 2012 - 8:00 ITV - from London's Grosvenor House, where Prince Charles joins some of the biggest names in TV, showbusiness, politics and sport, including Stephen Fry, David Cameron and David Beckham, to celebrate the nation's heroes. The winners include the stars of the Olympics and Paralympics, a courageous girl who saved her four-year-old sister's life and members of the emergency services and armed forces. David Walliams, Amanda Holden and dancing dog act Ashleigh and Pudsey are among those taking part in surprises for some of the recipients. Sometimes, you simply don't need a punchline.

In Horror Europa with Mark Gatiss - 9:00 BBC4 - the actor and writer follows his exceptional three-part exploration of American and British horror movies in 2010 with a new, and much-anticipated, documentary. He explores the history of European horror cinema, from the seminal gems of German Expressionism, to the Italian trademark school of giallo thrillers. In the ninety-minute special, Mark visits the castle in Slovakia where FW Murnau shot Nosferatu in 1922, heads to Paris where he meets Edith Scob, the woman in Eyes Without A Face and go to Rome, where he talks with director Dario Argento about Italy's distinctive brand of horror, the giallo. In Madrid, he also has a rare interview with Spanish horror's pioneer director Narciso Ibáñez Serrador and the current top Spanish-language horror director Guillermo del Toro. 'Europe is so much the home of horror, with its myths of vampires, werewolves, witchcraft and the undead, yet it's like those myths were exported to Hollywood, leaving Europe the room to develop a new tradition as a way of processing its traumas, particularly the two World Wars,' says Mark. 'Now I'm going in search of the stories behind the classics of European horror cinema – and meeting the people from across the continent who created the films I most admire.' This is what yer actual Keith Telly Topping pays his licence fee for!

The nature programme Autumnwatch returns at 8:00 on BBC2. Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and Martin Hughes-Games broadcast over the next four nights from their base in the Highlands, where they will be watching the action unfold as red squirrels, pine martens, beavers and other creatures prepare for autumn. There is news of how the wettest summer in one hundred years has affected wildlife and a celebration of one of the UK's biggest nature spectacles, as thousands of wading birds from across Europe mass on the coast.

Immediately afterwards, yer man Packham is back on the telly leading an expedition of adventurers and scientists to the Arctic to explore the unknown world of icebergs, following the frozen behemoths from their creation to their end in Operation Iceberg - 9:00 BBC2. In the first of two programmes, the naturalist is joined by ocean specialist Helen Czerski, diver Andy Torbet and team medic Chris van Tulleken on a visit to Store Glacier in Greenland, to find out why it makes so many icebergs on such a huge scale. They look at the forces at work in this unpredictable environment, explore the inside of the glacier and witness the moment when a multi-million-ton block of ice breaks away to form an iceberg.

Wednesday 31 October
In the second episode of Brazil with Michael Palin - 9:00 BBC1 - the former Monty Python's Flying Circus comedian continues his first visit to Brazil by travelling by river from the northern border with Venezuela to the capital of Brasilia. Along the way he visits indigenous tribe the Yanomami, learning about the threat to their hunter-gatherer way of life, before watching a rehearsal by the Amazon Philharmonic Orchestra and searching for the remains of Henry Ford's unsuccessful attempt to build a vast rubber plantation in the middle of the rainforest. In Belem, music producer Priscilla explains why Amazonian women are such powerful forces, then he moves southwards, meeting rock star and political activist Dinho Ouro Preto, who believes that despite its social and environmental problems, the country is on the brink of becoming a superpower.

Kevin McCloud meets artists Indi and Rebecca, who are planning to build a modern, larch-clad home on the Isle of Skye, with a second hand-crafted building alongside to use as their studio, all on a tight budget of one hundred and fifty grand in Grand Designs - 9:00 Channel Four. A hundred and fifty grand? There's parts of the country where that might, just, get you a half-share of a cardboard box, guys. The couple have, apparently, been saving for years, but making their dream happen will mean taking on the savage weather, not to mention the sceptical locals - and as if that weren't enough, most of the work is being done by one man, local builder Donald.

Since Mary Shelley wrote her classic novel Frankenstein almost two hundred years ago, the story of a scientist playing God by creating a man from body parts taken from corpses, film-makers and theatre producers have been inspired to create their own versions of the tale, a story told in Frankenstein: A Modern Myth - 11:10 Channel Four. This film looks at some of those adaptations, focusing on Danny Boyle's recent National Theatre production, in which Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller alternated the roles of Victor Frankenstein and The Monster, Adam. Including a contribution from cult film director John Waters.

Arty Andrew Graham-Dixon visits The National Gallery's first major exhibition of photography to explore the influence of painting and fine-art traditions on the work of leading photographers in the latest episode of The Culture Show - 10:00 BBC2. Big-quiffed Marky Kermode is joined by John Sweeney - who has made two documentaries about Scientology - to review Paul Thomas Anderson's film The Master, which chronicles the life of the charismatic leader of a religious cult. In the first of two reports about this year's shortlist for the Samuel Johnson Prize, sour-faced Miranda Sawyer reviews three of the books in the running. The programme marks the four hundredth anniversary of The Pendle Witch Trials with music by Maxine Peake and The Eccentronic Research Council.

Thursday 1 November
Sarah's parents Ben and Susan are visiting the Pearson home for the first time and Pauline immerses herself in Jewish culture to make sure everything is perfect in the third episode of BBC2's new, and very welcome, sitcom hit Hebburn at 10:00. The fancy dress competition at Swayze's turns to violence when some outsiders turn up at the pub, but Ramsey is the unlikely hero of the hour. Meanwhile, Susan and Pauline almost come to blows when Jack and Sarah announce that they are having a second wedding - should it be in Hebburn or York? With the excellent Chris Ramsey, Vic Reeves, Gina McKee and guest starring Phil Nice and Jan Ravens. On the evidence of the first couple of episodes, this really rather sweet family-based comedy from Jason Cook and Graham Duff is going to be a real grower. Hopefully, it'll run for years.
The odious Beard of Despair his very self presents a vintage edition of Top of the Pops from 6 October 1977 - BBC4 7:30 - featuring music by Smokie, Danny Mirror, Deniece Williams, The Steve Gibbons Band, The Emotions, The Stranglers, Baccara, Yes and David Soul, and a dance routine by Legs & Co.

Teenager Louise Wedderburn from Fraserburgh in Aberdeenshire is determined to start a career in fashion, despite having a rare genetic condition that is gradually turning all the muscles in her body into bone. Her story is told in The Human Mannequin - 9:00 Channel Four. This film follows her efforts to break into the notoriously image-conscious industry.
Sam awakes to find a familiar face in her hospital room, a man who divulges a secret about the conspiracy against her in Hunted - 9:00 BBC1. Determined to find out the truth once and for all, she sets out to investigate, and ends up somewhere familiar - the country estate where she was taken as a child after her mother was killed. Melissa George stars in the action espionage thriller, with Adam Rayner, Stephen Dillane and Morven Christie.

Friday 2 November
Yer actual Jezza Clarkson his very self returns to the host's chair of Have I Got News For You - 9:00 BBC1 - joining team captains Ian Hislop and Paul Merton to poke fun at the week's news with guest panellists including Canadian stand-up comic Tony Law.
Directly because of yer man Clarkson's presence expect, therefore, the sound of grinding teeth from readers of the Gruniad Morning Star and the Daily Scum Mail across the land. Which is, of course, always good for a laugh.

In Qi - 10:00 BBC2 - Stephen Fry hosts another round of the popular intelligence quiz and finds out how much Jo Brand, Johnny Sessions, Dara O Briain and Alan Davies know about the topic of jumble. In Alan's case, I'm guessing that'll be 'not much.'

Derren Brown: Apocalypse - 9:00 Channel Four - sees the acclaimed master of mesmerism and prestidigitation yer actual Dazzling Dezza Brown concludes his two-part special in which he convinces one person they have survived a meteor strike on earth, which is now a zombie-ridden land. Don't laugh, it could happen. No, actually, thinking about it, it really couldn't. The unwitting participant continues his adventure in a post-apocalyptic world as a series of challenges and staged situations begin to transform the way he sees himself and his life.
Tonight also sees the return of Channel Five's popular The Mentalist - 9:00 - the crime drama starring Simon Baker. Tensions rise between the CBI and the FBI as they try to cover up the events leading to Jane's unsuccessful takedown of Red John and the death of Wainwright. While Jane tries to find out more about Lorelei's connection to the serial killer, the agencies work together to investigate the murder of a hotel employee. With Robin Tunney.

And so to the news: Righteous dub poet, yer man Benjamin Zephaniah his very self says that black and Asian pupils are 'turned off' history because they are told only 'half the story' in British schools. But all over Britain, he says, many regularly attend Saturday schools to learn about their own community's history. The poet, who works in schools, also says multiculturalism is under attack. History Curriculum Association chief Chris McGovern has claimed that black pupils want to study 'traditional British history' (whatever the hell that means). He claims that black pupils and their parents he had met in Lewisham 'were fed up with a diet of slavery and deprivation' and preferred some of 'the more traditional diet of schools like Eton.' Zephaniah was speaking ahead of a talk in memory of Anthony Walker, who was killed in a racist attack in 2005. The comments are particularly pertinent as the lack of education secretary rat-faced loathsome wretched odious nasty slavver-merchant and George Formby lookalike Gove has said schools should focus on 'a traditional narrative' of British history in response to concerns it had become 'too politically correct.' Benjamin has said that the current approach to history denies 'children the opportunity to hear our island story,' and that this has to change. And reports last weekend suggested schoolchildren would have to learn about two hundred key figures and events in British history from the Anglo-Saxon kings to Winston Churchill. But Zephaniah told the BBC: 'The reality is for young black kids in school, the majority of them know that when it comes to history, especially the history that includes the Caribbean and Asia, we have only got half the story. That's why all over Britain in our communities we have classes in people's front rooms and community centres teaching us the real black history. We get kids that are playing truant in the week, still going to classes on a Saturday to learn the real history. Most of the history teachers that I come across cannot name any early African philosopher.' He added that there was far greater focus on the the work of Florence Nightingale in schools during the Crimean War when the Jamaican nurse Mary Seacole made just as big as contribution. He continued: 'The truth is if you have the real history of the world, the British involvement in the empire would not look so rosy. For example the massacre of Amritsar is not spoken about.' He added: 'Black history is not just for black people - it's important for all of us who want a real history of the world.' Secretary of the Campaign for Real Education Nick Seaton added: 'All youngsters live together in the same country and they need to know about the history of the society that they're living in.' He added that all countries focused on teaching their own history and that it was ridiculous to suggest a large proportion of the time should be given over to African or Asian history. Zephaniah also expressed concerns that multiculturalism was under attack, saying that 'to be against multiculturalism is anti-British.' He said: 'When politicians say, as Cameron has said, "What we want is not multiculturalism, but muscular liberalism" - what does he mean?' He complained that the Britishness test for those wishing to become British citizens was laughable. 'Some of the questions are like how many Catholics live in St Albans. I see people who are really stressed about it. But it doesn't make you British passing that test,' he said. The comments come ahead of a lecture commemorating the life of Anthony Walker. The poet, who runs poetry workshops in schools, gave the lecture in Birmingham on Friday evening. The NUT, which sponsors the event, used it to launch a set of new educational materials tackling racist and religious hate crime for schools. They also highlight the persecution of black people during the Nazi regime. NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: 'Racism in schools or our communities needs to be eradicated. As multiculturalism is being attacked on a daily basis, we need to celebrate the diversity of modern Britain and work together to raise children who are proud of themselves and their communities.'

The small Scottish community of Glenelg will hold a ceremony to twin itself with its namesake on Mars. NASA's roving robotic laboratory, Curiosity, is headed for a geological feature on the Red Planet that has been called Glenelg. Back on Earth, residents of Glenelg in the West Highlands are preparing to hold celebrations, which include the twinning ceremony and a ceilidh. Guests include former NASA astronaut Bonnie Dunbar. She flew on five space shuttle missions in the 1980s and 1990s on Challenger and Columbia. In 1995, she flew in the first shuttle mission to dock with the Russian Space Station Mir. Three years later, she was on the last mission to deliver a US astronaut to Mir. Dunbar's paternal grandparents came from Scotland. Her grandfather Charles Dunbar was born in Dundee and her grandmother Mary was born close to Gardenstown, near Banff. NASA's Mars mission team has been using names taken from Canada's Northwest Territories to label the places the rover is visiting. The Canadian North-West has some ancient rock formations thought to be of a similar age to those found in Gale Crater, Curiosity's landing site. The naming system is an attempt to make it easier for scientists and the public to understand what is being discussed when a particular location comes up in conversation. Glenelg on Mars takes its name from a particular rock found in the Northwest Territories. However, the placename has its roots in the Scottish Highlands. Glenelg in Ross-shire has a long history. In nearby Gleann Beag stand the ruins of Dun Telve and Dun Troddan, the fortress-like stone homesteads of Iron Age farmers. Close to Glenelg's white painted houses are the ruins of a Red Coat barracks. Construction of the building was ordered after the 1715 Jacobite rising and was completed in 1723. The Knoydart clearances started in Glenelg in 1853. It saw families forced from the land and emigration to British colonies. The placename is also found in other parts of the world. There is a beach resort in Adelaide, Australia, named Glenelg. It was established in 1836 and named after Lord Glenelg, a secretary of state for the British colonies and an MP for Inverness and Fortrose. Glenelg in Maryland takes it name directly from the Scottish placename. In the 1880s, the descendants of the area's first settlers named it Glenelg 'after an old estate in Scotland and because it spelled the same from either end.' Home to about three hundred people today, Glenelg in Ross-shire has been keen to embrace its Martian namesake. Emma MacLean, a twinning ceremony organiser, said the link with the NASA mission and the Red Planet was a good way of keeping the community 'healthy and vibrant.' She said: 'Small communities such as ours are always looking for ways to promote the wide variety of attractions that our community has. The arrival of the Mars rover at Glenelg will be used to showcase to the international astronomy community the quality of the dark skies we have in Glenelg and Arnisdale. With so little light pollution the skies above are truly spectacular, especially at the moment with the Northern Lights activity.'

For today's Keith telly Topping's 45 of the Day, here's yer actual Danny and the Juniors.

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