Wednesday, October 17, 2012

You Must Have Shot An Awful Lot Of Tigers, Sir

Filming has now commenced on episode six of Doctor Who's seventh series, the first episode of next year's run of episodes. It is written by, of course, The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) and directed by Colm McCarthy, with Simon Dennis as Director of Photography. The episode is - provisionally - entitled The Bells of Saint John according to reports. McCarthy recently posted a photo featuring himself with two of this year's other directors: 'Directors UK Roath Lock branch meeting with Farren Blackburn and Saul Metzstein.' Some of the location filming has been taking place in London with Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman climbing on board a motorbike and racing alongside a bus alongside the Embankment. Rumours over the possible reappearance of previous companions in 2013's fiftieth anniversary of the BBC's long-running popular SF family drama continue, fuelled by the usual 'insider' gossip nonsense. Almost all of which is entirely made up: 'Next year is massive for the show,' an alleged 'insider' alleged told the Daily Scum Express. 'They are going to be pulling out all the stops - the fiftieth anniversary show is set to feature stars from the past and present. There will be plenty of nods to the show's remarkable history and some old faces are likely to be reappearing. Karen and Billie are two of The Doctor's greatest companions and it's hoped they will be involved.' Please note the use of the word 'they' in this sentence and then consider how 'inside' this alleged 'insider' actually is. Other names being bandied around include former Doctor David Tennant and The Doctor's original travelling companion Susan (Carole Ann Ford). Meanwhile, according to the Sun, Downton Abbey actor Thomas Howes has his eye on being a future Doctor: 'There are a lot of dream roles I'd love, like James Bond and Indiana Jones,' he said. But I'd never get a look in there. Doctor Who is probably the only one that I could play because he's quite quirky – and he regenerates, so he can be anyone. So one day, who knows, I might have a chance. I'd love to play that part.' First thing I'd try learning, matey, the character is called The Doctor, the show's called Doctor Who.

Paul O'Grady's For the Love of Dogs concluded with a series high of almost five million punters on Monday night. The final edition of O'Grady's seven-part show for ITV drew 4.73m. Clashing with BBC1's popular EastEnders, For the Love of Dogs has become ITV's most successful format in its Monday 8pm filler slot in the Twenty First Century (which, isn't really saying much). For the Love of Dogs has also, massively, outperformed the presenter's Friday night chat show Paul O'Grady Live, which was dropped after two series following unspectacular viewing figures. There was also good news for ITV in O'Grady's old stomping ground, as The Chase was watched by 2.89m punters at 5pm, beating Pointless's 2.58m on BBC1. However, ITV's success didn't run into the 9pm hour, where James Nesbitt's thoroughly uninvolving Monroe sunk to a, frankly, piss-poor 2.77m at the mercy of New Tricks, which remained solidly high with 7.26m. Elsewhere, University Challenge (2.68m), Nigellisima (2.24m) and Wonderland (1.54m) were consistent for BBC2. Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two had an audience of 1.91m at 6.30pm. Meanwhile, Channel Four's 999: What's Your Emergency climbed to 2.07m at 9pm. Overall, BBC1 topped primetime with 23.3 per cent of the audience share over ITV's 21.9 per cent.

John Whaite has won this year's The Great British Bake Off final. Whaite – a law graduate – saw off competition from James Morton and Brendan Lynch to take the title after impressing the judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood in Tuesday night's episode. Whaite is currently saving up to go to Paris and train as a pâtissier.

Strictly Come Dancing's Victoria Pendleton felt like she had left her pride 'in tatters' after her first dance. The Olympic cyclist's début routine didn't go to plan, resulting in her being placed bottom on the leader board with partner Brendan Cole. 'I left all of my pride in tatters on the dance floor after my first performance,' Pendleton told the Radio Times.
'I felt prepared beforehand. But then I stepped out into the spotlight, forgot one step and it all went wrong. I just didn't have the dance experience to recover. I have never experienced that feeling of helplessness before. I was so upset I let down Brendan after all of the hard work that he had put into teaching me the routine. I was so annoyed that I didn't hear a word the judges said to me. I am sure they weren't very nice, but nothing they said could have made me feel any worse. The one thing that cycling has taught me that I can bring into the dance studio is that when you fall off your bike you just have to dust yourself off and jump straight back on.'

BBC1's flagship arts documentary series Imagine presented by former controller of BBC1 Alan Yentob returns for a new run with programmes including a look at Britain's most successful crime writer, Ian Rankin, while novelist Jeanette Winterson returns to the scenes of her childhood in Lancashire and there is an episode looking at the life of rock star Freddie Mercury. Returning next month the series will include authors Rankin and Winterson, pianist Lang Lang, photographer William Klein, choreographer Matthew Bourne, and The Sound Of Music, an exploration of why music has such a powerful effect on our emotions.

The Euro-crime invasion of British television drama is set to continue with a new version of Belgian author Georges Simenon's pipe-smoking policeman, Maigret. Twenty years after Sir Michael Gambon last played the commissioner, Jules Maigret, the character is being revived for a new production which the company which bought the rights claims will have the 'ambition' of hit BBC1 series Wallander. The new version has been spurred on by the popularity of European crime fighters such as Danish detective Sarah Lund in The Killing and Swedish sleuth Wallander, played by Kenneth Branagh in the British adaptation. It is also timely as David Suchet announced last year he was stepping down from his long-running portrayal of Poirot for ITV, potentially leaving a vacancy in the myriad of Euro-detectives on British screens. Caroline Michel, the chief executive of agency Peters Fraser & Dunlop and co-chief executive of The Rights House, which now owns the Maigret brand, said: 'In the film and television world there's extraordinary interest in European crime, it has taken Europe and the US by storm.' It is understood that there are three media companies or broadcasters interested in the new Maigret, but Michel would only say: 'We've got interest from the UK and the US in television and feature films, they are pretty significant. Everybody sees the potential here. In Europe he's a hero and there have been over five hundred hours of TV drama and sixty films made.' Around eight hundred million Simenon books have been sold globally and the merged PFD and The Rights House recently snapped up the rights to the prolific author from previous owner Chorion, which announced last year it was splitting up its rights and selling them off. Michel said 'one of the directions we want to take at PFD and The Rights House' is to own more rights because the companies have the 'experience putting content into various platforms so we should be owning the content, rather than just representing it.' There have been numerous incarnations of the character of Maigret on the small screen by French, British, Irish, Austrian, Dutch, German, Italian and Japanese actors. In France, Jean Gabin played the part in three films and is seen by many as the definitive Maigret. Arguably, the most celebrated French version starred Bruno Cremer, who played the character in more than fifty TV movie adaptations between 1991 and 2005. Jean Richard also had an earlier long-running series playing the character on French television - however, Simenon himself is said to have disliked Richard's Maigret because he would not take his hat off when entering a room. Gino Cervi played the character on Italian television, from 1964 to 1972; Simenon himself considered Cervi's interpretation of the character to be one of the best he had seen. In Japan, Kinya Aikawa played Megure, a Japanese-born equivalent to Maigret, reinvented in a modern Japanese setting, in Megure Keishi, a twenty five-episode series in 1978. One of the most popular versions of the Chief Inspector was played by Rupert Davies in a series made for the BBC starting in 1960. Davies took over the part after Basil Sydney, who appeared in the original transmitted pilot, proved unavailable due to ill-health. Davies went on to star in fifty two adaptations over the next three years. His portrayal won two of the highest accolades: his versions were dubbed into French and played across the Channel and Simenon himself presented Davies with a signed novel inscribed to his 'perfect Maigret.' ITV produced a generally well-received adaptation of Maigret in 1992 and 1993, in which Michael Gambon appeared in the title role. A less successful earlier version (1988) on ITV starred Richard Harris.

The Attorney General is applying to have the verdicts in the inquest into the ninety six deaths at Hillsborough quashed. Dominic Grieve announced the move in Parliament in his response to the Hillsborough Independent Panel's report published on 12 September. The report revealed forty one fans could potentially have been saved. The victims' families have always challenged the original inquest verdict of accidental death. Grieve said his consideration of the evidence was far from over, but he was taking the exceptional step of indicating he must apply to the High Court for new inquests to be held on the basis of the evidence he has already read. He told the Commons: 'I will apply to have every one of those ninety six inquests quashed. I believe that these deaths, arising as they do from a common chain of events, should all be considered afresh.' He added that any criminal proceedings 'would have an impact' on when a new inquest could take place but said that this would 'not affect' the timing of his application to have the original verdicts overturned. Grieve also said the resources for fresh inquests would be funded by taxpayers. When asked about where the inquests would take place if the application was successful, he said it would be for the court and coroner to decide if the hearings would take place in Liverpool, as the victims' families have requested. He also told MPs Home Secretary Theresa May will lead a debate on the Hillsborough panel's report in the Commons on Monday. Michael Mansfield QC, who is representing Hillsborough families, said it was an 'extremely sensible decision' to apply for fresh inquests. He said: 'I think it is very welcome especially as the families have suffered so much anguish for so long. The original inquest was conducted on a false basis and many families refused to accept death certificates until a proper, thorough and independent hearing takes place.' Liverpool Walton MP Steve Rotheram said the move 'marks one of the biggest steps forward in the fight for justice for the families in twenty three years.' He said: 'The undeniable fact is that the original inquest was unsound and this application, if successful, will mean that evidence will be able to be heard after the 3.15pm cut off imposed by the original coroner in the 1989 inquests.' The Hillsborough Independent Panel spent eighteen months looking through more than four hundred and fifty thousand pages of documents relating to the fatal crush at the Hillsborough stadium during Liverpool's FA Cup semi-final match against Nottingham Forest on 15 April 1989. It found the lives of forty one of the victims could, potentially, have been saved if the response of the emergency services had been swifter. The Attorney General's announcement follows confirmation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission and the Director of Public Prosecutions that the biggest ever independent investigation into police wrongdoing is to be carried out into the disaster.

It was the Blackadder sequel that never was – a big-screen spin-off featuring Rowan Atkinson playing the illegitimate son of Elizabeth II. Tony Robinson, who played Baldrick, revealed Edmund Blackadder would have been the manager of a 1960s rock band featuring a drummer with no hair - called Bald Rick, obviously - reports The Times. But it never happened, possibly because of the atmosphere of chaos that Robinson described surrounding the show in which the regular cast (Atkinson, Robinson, Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry and Tim McInnerny) would routinely rewrite Richard Curtis and Ben Elton's scripts. 'We would never do rehearsals, we would just discuss the text,' said Robinson. 'Other actors hated working with us because they thought we were really unprofessional. Which was true!'

Adrian Chiles, dear blog reader. A hugely over-inflated fraction of a greed bucket (and drag), a breakfast TV flop, hugely unpopular among many. And, quite possibly, the worst presenter possible to have in a minor crisis. On Tuesday night the nation had to suffer ninety minutes of Chiles treading water on ITV as the rain poured on Warsaw and England's World Cup qualifier was postponed. One of the friendlier tweets on the subject read: 'We are united as a nation, watching ITV, hoping we get to see Adrian Chiles drown live on TV.' There were times when it seemed perilously close. Chiles put on a show of mock outrage and half bonhomie that did him no favours as he wailed, plaintively: 'An act of God? No, just an act of stupidity in not closing the flipping roof. They should go round the Polish equivalent of B&Q, buy every pitchfork and get working.' Finally, at 9pm, it was over. 'The game is orf,' said Chiles with glee. 'This prepares us for when ITV moves into Test cricket coverage. Our names will be first on the team-sheet.' Yer actual Keith Telly Topping hopes that he is not alone in praying that never happens.

David Mitchell has spoken about his new BBC2 comedy Our Men. The actor and comic will re-team with Peep Show and That Mitchell & Webb Look co-star Robert Webb - the unfunny one - for the series, which follows the lives and loves of the British Embassy team in Tazbekistan. 'It's such a good subject,' Mitchell told Reader's Digest. 'We couldn't believe that something along these lines hadn't been written before.' Mitchell will play Keith Davis, the newly appointed British Ambassador of Tazbekistan, while Webb is cast as Neil Tilly, Deputy Head of Mission. 'Like a lot of things we do, it's exploring different attitudes to authority,' Mitchell explained. 'In contrast to Peep Show, these are highly capable senior people who very much have jobs. But they have very different views on [how to do them].' He added: 'Some people will think my character is right and some people will think he's wrong, and both sets of people will be correct.'

Mad Frankie Boyle has mounted a spirited defence of some of his most provocative jokes, telling a high court jury his Channel Four Tramadol Nights show was intended to be 'ridiculous, over the top nihilism.' The Scottish comedian defended a series of Tramadol Nights sketches – including jokes about Muslim women in burkhas and his comments about Rebecca Adlington – at the second day of his libel action against the publisher of the Daily Mirra on Tuesday. Boyle told the court that his jokes about immigration were intended as a parody of 'racism at the heart of British policy.' He said: 'I don't think British people are racist. I think it is a top down thing. I think you have a lot of rich and Conservative people who control our country who are racist and their views trickle down through things like tabloid papers. I think there is racism at the heart of British policy and has been both in Labour and Conservative times.' Boyle said the accusation of racism 'goes against everything I've tried to do in my work, to do in my life.' Boyle is suing Mirra Group Newspapers for libel over an article that described him as 'a racist comedian.' He also claims that he was defamed by the article because it stated that he was 'forced to quit' the BBC show Mock the Week after his infamous joke about Adlington. Asked about his use of the word 'nigger' in an episode of Tramadol Nights, Boyle said: 'Context is everything. If you use this at a dinner party to insult someone that would be a terrible hate crime. It's not a word I would use lightly.' He went on to tell the court how he had written more than one hundred anti-war jokes and that far-right policies on immigration are 'the opposite of my views.' He added: 'I think one of the things about comedy is its easy to read stories in the papers and think it's a terrible thing for someone to have said but when you see it in the context of the show it can be more easily explained.' Boyle later told how he was 'completely disgusted' at being labelled a racist. He said: 'I was just absolutely shocked by it. It just went against everything I've tried to do in my life and against everything I've tried to do in my work. I was completely taken aback by it, completely disgusted.' The court heard how Boyle was confronted by an Asian man about the racist claim while out with his girlfriend and children in Glasgow. He later went on to show some remorse for his joke about Adlington on BBC2 show Mock the Week in 2008. The comedian left the show in 2009 and has repeatedly denied he was sacked because of the joke. He told the jury: 'There was no malice in the jokes [about Adlington] in particular. I was really surprised by the Rebecca Adlington thing.' Boyle said he had asked Mock the Week producers not to include a segment on the Oympics before the show was recorded, because be wanted to cover more serious topics. He added: 'I had no idea Rebecca Adlington was as famous as she was or that she had been a huge success.' Asked by his counsel, David Sherborne, whether he was forced to quit Mock the Week over the gag, Boyle said: 'Absolutely not. The idea you would be forced to quit the show for saying someone looks like they are looking in the back of a spoon, it just seems ridiculous because they just don't sack people on those panel shows.'

Tina Fey is to reunite with fellow US comedy star Amy Poehler to host the seventieth annual Golden Globes ceremony in 2013. The duo replace British comedian Ricky Gervais who has been the show's host since 2010 and has managed to piss off just about everybody in the process. Fey and Poehler previously starred together in the film Mean Girls and on Saturday Night Live. The awards, voted for by Hollywood's foreign press, will be broadcast on 13 January, less than two weeks before the Oscars. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association and NBC, who organise the event were 'thrilled' to have Fey and Poehler on board, with Paul Telegedy, of NBC describing their involvement as 'a major coup. Tina and Amy have a proven chemistry and comedic timing from their many years together on SNL to their successful co-starring roles in Baby Mama,' he said. Poehler's show, Parks and Recreation is currently in its fifth season on NBC, while Fey's 30 Rock is airing its seventh and final season on the network. The comedic duo previously co-hosted Weekend Update, a satirical news sketch on SNL, from 2004 to 2006. Gervais, who spent three years ruffling feathers in Hollywood, announced earlier this year that he would not be returning as host. Viewing figures dipped slightly this year from seventeen million in 2011 to 16.8 million in 2012, with many observers noting that Gervais' jokes seemed less caustic than in previous years. The Globes are usually handed out about a week before the Academy Award nominations are announced, but that won't be the case next year. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has moved up the Oscar nominations announcement to 10 Jan - three days before the Globes. The eighty fifth annual Academy Awards, which will be hosted by Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, is to be held on 24 February.

Channel Four chief David Abraham has said he 'can't recall' seeing an image of a fifteen-year-old girl in a low-cut top prior to its use in a campaign to promote Big Fat Gypsy Weddings, despite the broadcaster telling the advertising watchdog the adverts were all approved 'at the highest level.' The Channel Four chief executive was forced to offer a public apology for the advertising campaign – which used the strapline 'Bigger. Fatter. Gypsier' – after it was condemned by a committee of MPs as offensive and irresponsible. The poster campaign was censured by the Advertising Standards Authority for reaffirming negative stereotypes and prejudices and depicting a child in a sexualised way. Channel Four, in its submission to the ASA, had said that the campaign was approved at the highest level of the broadcaster. However, Abraham, appearing before the House of Commons culture, media and sport select committee on Tuesday, said he 'could not recall' if he had seen the most contentious of the four images – two girls in low-cut tops, one of whom was fifteen at the time of the photograph – before it appeared on billboards. 'I was aware of the overall approach but not the detail,' said Abraham. 'I can't recall whether I saw this particular advert. I definitely saw the advert with the horse, and the one with the boy.' Committee member and Labour MP Ben Bradshaw said the campaign had caused 'immense distress and upset' in the Gypsy and Traveller communities, who 'quite clearly feel so far that Channel Four hasn't expressed a strong enough or categorical enough apology.' Abraham said the broadcaster had taken 'great care' in getting permission from the people featured in the photographs and their families. 'We were absolutely of the view that the child was sixteen when the advertising ran. Those photographs were taken at a New Year's Eve party [and] taken out of context,' he said. But another member of the committee, Tory MP Damian Collins, said it was Channel Four that had taken the photographs out of context. He said: 'They are two young girls, one of whom was fifteen when the photographs were taken, wearing low-cut tops. I would think that was irresponsible, I would hope you did too.' Abraham said: 'We have categorically apologised if we have offended sections of the community. The fact remains we are proud of the programme and its ability to shed a light on the [Traveller and Gypsy] community.' The ASA said in its ruling on 3 October that Channel Four had acted 'irresponsibly' by including the sexualised image of a fifteen-year-old girl, and also criticised its use of the picture of an aggressive looking young boy. It later emerged that a Channel Four art director had tried to persuade the photographer working on the campaign in an e-mail to take pictures of a 'very young girl pretending to be a bride' and also a 'dirty kiss with a tongue.' Abraham said only one of the four photographs used in the campaign was taken after what he called the 'ill-advised e-mail.' He said the e-mail, sent by Pablo Gonzalez de la Pena, 'did not reflect the approach of Channel Four and the individual has apologised and we have apologised as well.' He added: 'We would absolutely distinguish between the ill-advised writings of a relatively junior member of staff and the overall approach of the programme and the campaign.' He said de la Pena had been 'formally reprimanded and put on a training programme. He took a personal view to express to the photographer to take a more sensational approach, which was not what the original brief to the photographer was.' In evidence provided to the ASA by law firm Howe & Co, which represented the Irish Traveller movement in Britain in its complaint against Channel Four, it said the Big Fat Gypsy Wedding programmes had 'significantly contributed to racist bullying and abuse of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children in schools.' It said the billboard campaign had 'played its part and to some extent exaggerated the effect of the programmes.' But Abraham, giving evidence to MPs, said the programme had 'shone a light' on a marginal community about which the public previously knew little about. 'The research suggests three times more people have a positive understanding of the community than they did before they saw the programme,' he said. 'The people who participated in the programme and the advertising campaign were very comfortable with it.'

Odious full of himself TV chef Jamie Oliver has revealed his restaurants' toilets have been targeted by thieves. Police say they have nothing to go on. Nah, lissun. Oliver has had to start welding handles and flushers at his thirty food outlets, Metro reports. Oliver said: 'Honestly, some people were coming out for a meal and going home with half a toilet. Bonkers! Thankfully, we're ridiculously busy.' Oliver explained that every establishment in his chain of eateries has the traditional-looking Thomas Crapper toilets because they 'look wicked. But they're really expensive,' he said, 'and we've had to have the handles and flushers welded on because people were unscrewing them and nicking them.'

Downing Street has denied rumours of a feud between cats belonging to the chancellor and prime minister after they were pictured fighting. George Osborne's Freya was photographed slugging David Cameron's Larry with a nasty-looking left claw, the evidence being posted on Twitter. But the PM's spokeswoman insisted the two cats were 'able to co-exist.' Although not, necessarily, on friendly terms. A bit like the coalition, really. She added that she would not 'get into commenting on the adventures of our feline friends.' Residents of Numbers 10 and 11 Downing Street have historically disagreed strongly over policy. Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were reportedly often left hissing at each other over public sector reform impasses. But Osborne and Cameron are thought to be among the more friendly prime minister-chancellor teams of recent decades. Five-year-old Larry, in fact, has sometimes been castigated for a lack of aggression, and his suitability for 'mousing' duties was questioned as a result of repeatedly falling asleep on the job. The Political Pictures snap seems to confirm Freya's dominance. Larry came to Downing Street from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in February last year after a large rat was seen scuttling past the door of No 10 during live television broadcasts. Freya went missing from the Osborne's old home in Notting Hill for two years, her owners being identified when a vet found the details on a microchip. They were reunited last year. Perhaps hardened by her time on the streets, Freya has been drafted in for pest control duties, in an arrangement described by the Daily Scum Mail as a 'job-share to avoid hurting Larry's feelings.'

Footage from Felix Baumgartner's helmet camera as he jumped from space has been released. The Austrian-born skydiver free-fell from over twenty four miles above Earth on Sunday, landing safely in the New Mexico desert. The footage from a chest camera pointing at Baumgartner's helmet - broadcast on Austrian TV - shows the jumper uncontrollably spinning after he first leaves the capsule. Be warned, however. If you have lunches, prepare to shed them.

A new online archive featuring more than nine hundred of Alistair Cooke's celebrated Letter From America is being launched by the BBC. Broadcast on Radio 4 between 1946 and 2004, it is one of the world's longest-running speech radio programmes. The archive covers some of the biggest events in recent US history up until Cooke's death in 2004. The nine hundred and twenty episodes will be available on the Radio 4 website from 1 November, as the BBC celebrates ninety years of radio. Reflecting social, political and cultural aspects of American life, the series had a notably diverse agenda. 'I covered everything from the public life of six presidents to the private life of the burlesque stripper, from the black market in beef to the Black Panthers; from Senator Joseph McCarthy's last stand to the massacre of Muhammad Ali by Joe Frazier,' wrote Cooke in his book, America. Radio 4's controller Gwyneth Williams said Letter From America had 'defined an era. I can see Alistair, as I listen afresh, telling his stories and drawing in listeners with his easy authority and knowledge of history, his reporting skills and his passion for America,' said Williams. She added: 'There are so many letters to choose from - for instance the one he broadcast having been a witness to Bobby Kennedy's assassination, from his position in the pantry next to the ballroom; the shots, he said, sounded "like someone dropping a rack of trays."' 'It's an immensely rich collection of programmes, which takes listeners back to the early days of BBC Radio through one of its most distinctive voices,' added the BBC's director of Audio and Music, Tim Davie. Cooke was born in Blackpool in 1908, but studied at Yale and Harvard in the early 1930s where his fascination with America began. He originally convinced the BBC to take him on as a film critic, after spending a summer in Hollywood where he befriended Charlie Chaplin. His first programme was broadcast on 24 March 1946, when the item was called American Letter. Over fifty eight years Cooke revealed intimate details of American life and lives in his uniquely conversational style. 'From the golden age of 1950s America, to the disillusionment of the Bush years via JFK, civil rights and Watergate, this is an astonishing record of the great years of the American century,' said Zillah Watson, who produced the Cooke archive. The programmes will also be available in a new collection of Alistair Cooke downloads featuring the Letter from America archive. Radio 4 and BBC World Service will also broadcast a four-part series called In Alastair Cooke's Footsteps - in which presenter Alvin Hall travels across America to find out whether Cooke's letters are still relevant today.

A Greek Television channel has attracted criticism after it removed a scene from Downton Abbey which featured a gay kiss. NET – owned by the country's state broadcaster - has come under fire from Greece's main opposition party after removing the scene from the premiere episode of the period drama, reports the Gruniad.

The actor and author John Clive has died at the age of seventy nine following a short illness, his family has confirmed. John, who was the voice of the animated John Lennon in Yellow Submarine and appeared alongside Michael Caine in The Italian Job, died on Monday. His other credits include several Carry On films, Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange and two Pink Panther movies. Clive also appeared in TV series including Rising Damp, The Sweeney, The Dick Emery Show and in the title role in the cult children's favourite Roberts Robots along with episodes of Z Cars, Man in a Suitcase, Here Come The Double Deckers, The Man Outside, How Green Was My Valley and The Nesbitts Are Coming. He also starred in Ken Loach's 1965 Wednesday Play Wear A Very Big Hat. John's stage career included several stints in London's West End. He played The Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz at the Victoria Palace and also appeared in Tom Stoppard's The Real Inspector Hound at the Young Vic. He later played Sydney in Alan Ayckbourn's Absurd Person Singular. In The Italian Job, John played the garage manager who had been looking after the car of Charlie Croker while he served a jail sentence. The scene between the pair was, reportedly, ad-libbed. In 1971 he played the role of the tormentor of the lead character in A Clockwork Orange, where he asked Alex to 'lick my boots' following his controversial aversion therapy. In later life, John went on to become a best-selling author with books including KG 200 - which he co-wrote with JD Gilman - about a secret Luftwaffe unit during World War II. Other well-received works include Barossa and Broken Wings. John is survived by two children from his first marriage - Alex and Hannah - a step-son Deane, and his second wife Bryony.

So, for yer actual Keith Telly Topping's Soundtrack CD of the Day, here's a bit of Quincy. It's Caper Time, dear blog reader.

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