Saturday, November 24, 2012

It's Never Too Late To Breakout

Yer actual Sir David Attenborough's new 3D series on the Galapagos Islands has been confirmed as part of Sky's Christmas schedules. Galapagos 3D will launch on New Year's Day on Sky 3D and rounds off a line-up of festive comedy, high-end drama and US imports across Sky's entertainment channels. Attenborough's project is a three-part series, which will be broadcast on 1, 5 and 12 January. The multi-award-winning natural history broadcaster's fourth collaboration with Sky will use pioneering 3D techniques and technology to explore the unique environments and species of the Galapagos. 'It's only now that the latest developments in camera technology have given us the possibility of filming the full range of wildlife in 3D, and the first place I wanted to put that to the test was the Galapagos,' said Attenborough. 'I mean, lizards that swim, swim down to the bottom of the seabed and graze seaweed, has to be really an extraordinary thing. Galapagos is full of dramas, and it is also full of very, very charismatic animals which, because they're uniquely unafraid of humans, you can get up close to and film: it's a natural for 3D.' Other festive treats on Sky over the period include Daniel Radcliffe and Mad Men's Jon Hamm in A Young Doctor's Notebook, which will be shown on Sky Arts, and a new series of Little Crackers comedy shorts, with Darren Boyd, Rebecca Front and Joanna Lumley among those signed up. There will be Christmas specials for Sky1 and Sky Living sitcoms Spy, the wretched, appallingly unfunny Trollied and Mount Pleasant, while Sky Atlantic will be showning HBO's EMMYy-nominated drama Hemingway & Gellhorn. The Sky Movies Christmas Channel returns on 1 December and The Muppets and The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn will be among the new films on show.

Wasn't it marvellous to see yer actual Sir Roge Moore doing his stuff on Have I Got News For You on Friday night? And his latest evil mastermind nemesis!
Nice to glimpse the eyebrows working overtime there, Roge me auld china.

Tony Hall, the new director general of the BBC, has said he is confident the corporation can get through a 'really tough few weeks.' Lord Hall, chief executive of the Royal Opera House and the BBC's former director of news, said that he cared passionately about the organisation. 'I am absolutely committed to our news operation as a world-beater,' he said. His appointment follows the resignation of George Entwistle in the wake of the Newsnight Lord McAlpine fiasco. Speaking at a news conference at the BBC's headquarters, Lord Hall said: 'It takes a lot to drag me away from the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, a place I love hugely. The reason I'm standing before you today is because I care passionately about the BBC, about what it can do, its programme makers and the impact we have in all sorts of different ways. It's one of those extraordinary organisations which is an absolutely essential part of the UK, of Britain, of who we are, but also has this incredible impact around the world too.' He said that he wanted ;to build a world-class team for this world-class organisation.' Hall is due to take over the role - currently occupied by acting director general Tim Davie - in early March, on a salary of four hundred and fifty grand a year. Hall first joined the BBC as a news trainee in 1973 and during his twenty eight-year career at the corporation oversaw the launch of Radio 5Live, the BBC News Channel, the BBC News website and BBC Parliament. He is believed to have been on the shortlist for the director general post in 1999 when Greg Dyke was appointed. BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten said Lord Hall was 'the right person to lead the BBC out of its current crisis' and the 'out-and-out outstanding candidate.' Introducing Lord Hall at the news conference, he confirmed the Trust had approached Hall directly. 'We had a process with Tony where we interviewed him and he interviewed us and asked some pretty good questions about the BBC,' he said. 'If you appoint the outstanding candidate it does seem that arguments about the process are somewhat by and by.' He said was 'delighted' Lord Hall will spearhead the task of rebuilding trust in BBC journalism. He said: 'Tony has a formidable reputation, first of all in almost three decades at the BBC. He's had an equally distinguished record as leader of one of the great cultural organisations in the UK.' The lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Miller said Lord Hall had 'a very strong track record in successfully leading iconic organisations' and added: 'It is important now that Tony Hall gets to grips quickly - to provide the stability and certainty that the BBC needs, and restore public confidence.' Shadow lack of culture secretary Harriet Harman said Lord Hall was an 'excellent choice the right person to bring stability to the BBC in these difficult times.'

The BBC's former director general, George Entwistle, lost the confidence of the BBC Trust after he said the biggest danger for the corporation was to overreact to the fallout from the Newsnight scandal. Entwistle made the comments to BBC trustees, including its chairman Lord Patten, following his disastrous appearance on Radio 4's Today programme on Saturday 10 November to answer questions about the BBC2 programme's aborted investigation of sexual abuse by Jimmy Savile. If you missed it, he was toasted and left for dead by John Humphrys in one of the most embarrassingly bad performances possible from a PR stand-point. Later that day, Entwistle handed in his resignation after a mere fifty four days in the job. BBC trustee Anthony Fry said members of the corporation's governing body, including Patten, had 'serious concerns around the issue of whether the gravity of the situation had been grasped by the director general and some of his colleagues. To characterise it, I would say the director general had suggested to us the danger for the BBC over that weekend was overreacting, to which my response was the danger to the BBC over that weekend was underreacting,' he said. Fry was giving evidence to MPs on the House of Commons public accounts select committee on Thursday, shortly before the corporation confirmed that Tony Hall was returning as Entwistle's successor. Fry said the Trust's decision to give Entwistle a full year's pay, worth four hundred and fifty thousand smackers, rather than the six months to which he was contractually entitled, was 'in the best interests of the BBC and licence fee payers to reach a quick agreement.' He said the BBC received legal advice that if it only paid Entwistle two hundred and twenty five thousand smackers, he could go to an employment tribunal claiming unfair or wrongful dismissal and it was estimated that he could be awarded an extra eighty thousand knickers on top of the four hundred and fifty thousand quid, plus costs. Entwistle had 'made it clear to the trust that the only thing that was on the table if he was prepared to resign was a payment of four hundred and fifty thousand pounds.' Fry said. 'I had to put aside my substantial irritation and aggravation. I freely admit it was a judgment call I'm not happy about. I still think it was the right thing to do.' In addition to the severance deal, Entwistle was awarded up to forty five grand of legal and PR expenses and a further twelve months of BUPA private medical insurance, said Fry. Labour MP Margaret Hodge, who chairs the committee, was scathing about the size of the payoff. 'It demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of how this is viewed in public given that it is licence fee payers' money,' she said. 'It is incredulous.' The Tory MP Guto Bebb said ten BBC senior executives had shared more than four million quid in severance pay in recent years, including Entwistle and the woman he beat to the job, former chief operating officer Caroline Thomson, who left in September. 'Losing your job at the BBC is the same as winning the lottery,' he said. Fair point, sir. By the way, know any members of parliament who've, I dunno, fiddled their expenses, say, in the last few years? Did you think we'd all forgotten about that? Asked by another Conservative MP, Richard Bacon, whether Entwistle had resigned or was fired, Fry said: 'We could have an interesting debate about who pushed who. The director general was the first person who suggested he should resign. I am sure he would argue the meeting with the Trust left him in a position where he felt he no longer had the full confidence of the Trust. I personally think that was an accurate reading of the situation.' Fry said Entwistle may have to pay back some of the four hundred and fifty thousand notes if he is found to have breached his contact by the inquiry being overseen by the former Sky News chief Nick Pollard into the Newsnight malarkey. Entwistle is expected to give evidence to Pollard on Monday. The former director general's appearance before the inquiry is expected to last several hours.

The BBC's report into why Newsnight's Jimmy Savile investigation was dropped looks set to be delayed until next month amid legal wrangles at the Pollard Review. According to alleged 'sources' within the BBC, allegedly quoted by Broadcast, Nick Pollard's decision to hire a lawyer – Alan Maclean QC from Brick Court Chambers – has led the ongoing sittings to adopt what one alleged 'source' allegedly described as a 'highly legalistic character,' with witnesses poring over their answers, some accompanied by lawyers. The volume of documents submitted threatens to push the publication of Pollard's report past its initial deadline of the end of November, with most alleged 'sources' allegedly suggesting the middle of next month. One alleged 'source' allegedly said: 'It will take a minimum of two weeks to put things together. I would be surprised if it will be done before 10 December. The lawyers will put in their objections and want statements retracted, and it will go all round the houses.' Former BBC director general George Entwistle had indicated before his resignation that he was looking for a speedy resolution to the inquiry and had told aides that he wanted it wrapped up by the end of November. 'Essentially it is like a mini-Leveson, with Pollard and his lawyer quizzing people from behind a desk,' said an alleged BBC source. Allegedly. 'Is this really the best way to get to the truth?' Jeremy Paxman, Kirsty Wark, Helen Boaden, Stephen Mitchell, Panorama's Tom Giles and Newsnight's Liz Mackean, Meirion Jones and Peter Rippon have all been interviewed by Pollard. It is understood that both Mackean and Jones felt lawyers were unnecessary. Several of the other interviewees have retained legal advisers during their questioning. The unexpected legal nature of the review has, the magazine claims, 'raised concerns' over the payment of legal bills among some BBC staffers caught up in the inquiry. The BBC has said it will provide 'financial assistance' to any staff giving evidence to Pollard who require legal advice. But some are anxious that more senior BBC employees will be able to supplement their allowance more than lower-ranking staff. The BBC declined to reveal how much assistance it is offering but alleged 'sources' allegedly said it would be 'fair for all staff' and all contributions would be capped at a reasonable level. 'Obviously, this is licence fee payers' money so there isn't a bottomless pit,' added the alleged 'source' allegedly. 'It would be wrong to say some people are being treated less fairly than others.' A BBC spokesperson said of these anonymous allegations from nameless 'sources': 'While we do not comment on individual cases, the BBC has said that given the importance of ensuring that the Pollard Review is conducted both fairly and as a matter of urgency, the BBC will, where appropriate, provide assistance with the legal costs of relevant employees.' Meanwhile, alleged BBC 'insiders' (presumably all the sources are stuck in the bottle) have described BBC Scotland director Ken MacQuarrie's investigation into how the McAlpine story was handled by Newsnight as 'hopeless.' Allegedly. 'He did not talk to many of the people involved,' one alleged 'insider' alleged said. 'It is well known that Allegra Stratton [Newsnight political editor] refused to appear on the programme and a producer raised questions about the item in a morning meeting. It seems he interviewed the minimum number of people and we still don't know how it got on screen.'

Sir Bruce Forsyth has claimed that he was never fond of Sir Jimmy Savile. The Strictly Come Dancing co-host said that he 'couldn't figure out' the real nature of Savile, who has been the subject of many child abuse accusations in recent months. 'I never liked him,' claimed Brucie. 'I can honestly say that,' Forsyth told the Sun. 'There was something about him that was difficult to like. It wasn't because he was so brash about everything. He had this manner that you thought, "What is behind this man?" Now we know what was behind it all - which is terrible to find out.' Forsyth added: 'I feel sorry for his family and the charity people that put so much trust in him. But of course he was making so much money.' The eighty four-year-old also defended the BBC for its part in the Jimmy Savile scandal, saying that the corporation is not responsible for his actions at Broadmoor and at Leeds Royal Infirmary. He said: 'The whole thing is too dreadful. It is unbelievably bad. He got into hospital and molested people. That is far worse than being in the BBC.' Sir Paul McCartney has also spoken about Sir Jimmy Savile, saying there was always 'something suspect' about him. Didn't stop him working with Savile, of course.
Tragically, like everyone else involved with Savile who has become, apparently, wise after the event, he never bothered to actually say any of this to anyone when it could have done a bit of frigging good. Sad, that.
The vile and odious rascal Hunt has come off second best during an on-air 'who's got the biggest Henry Halls' with the BBC's Nicky Campbell about various texts between David Cameron and well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks. The vile and odious rascal Hunt, the ex-lack of culture secretary, suggested that the 5Live presenter was showing 'salacious interest' in the texts. He asked: 'Can you tell me why you feel it's necessary to read out the content of those texts?' Campbell said that he believed there was a legitimate public interest in the relationship between a prime minister and a newspaper editor who is now facing criminal charges for alleged phone-hacking, obstruction of justice and bribary and corruption. The exchanges came at the end of an interview on 5Live, when the vile and odious rascal Hunt was asked by the presenter about the forthcoming Leveson Inquiry report. Nicky Campbell said it had been a 'rocky ride for the prime minister - I mean all those texts to Rebekah Brooks for thanking her for letting him ride one of the family horses saying it was "fast, unpredictable, hard to control but fun.'" The vile and odious rascal Hunt interrupted at this point to fluster 'with the greatest of respect, I'm not quite sure what you're trying to suggest? He sent texts to someone who was a friend. The Leveson Inquiry was about examining whether there was impropriety in the relationship. Are you suggesting that there's impropriety in those texts? Because I think you need to be clear.' Have you ever noticed, dear blog reader, how whenever anyone begins a sentence with the words 'with the greatest respect', they're inevitably about to say something really disrespectful. Odd that. After the presenter denied that was his suggestion in reading out the texts between the prime minister and the former tabloid editor and News International chief executive or anything even remotely like it, the vile and odious rascal Hunt asked: 'Can you tell me why you feel it's necessary to read out the content of those texts? Why did you bring it up? What's your reason? If there's a sort of salacious interest in private texts that a prime minister brings up then I think you as a responsible broadcaster need to tell me why you think it's necessary to read out those texts this morning?' Campbell then explained that he had brought them up because the relationship between prime ministers and newspaper editors was 'in the public interest.' The vile and odious rascal Hunt replied that the texts read out were about thanking someone for letting him use a horse: 'I mean what has that got to do with the public interest?' The presenter then quoted the text from well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks to Cameron saying 'Brilliant speech. I cried twice. Will love working together' and asked the vile and odious rascal Hunt 'what does that mean "working together?"' The vile and odious rascal Hunt claimed: 'That has been discussed in the Leveson Inquiry but that wasn't what you asked me about. You actually asked me about horse riding.' Campbell then slapped the vile and odious rascal Hunt down to the floor and had him crying for his mummy when he said that was because he had been interrupted during the question he was initially asking. He went one that he mentioned the horse riding 'because I was putting into context their relationship and I think when you get a newspaper editor saying "working together" with a prime minister it is of interest isn't it?' The vile and odious rascal Hunt replied: 'Well that's exactly why we have the Leveson Inquiry and we will see exactly what Lord Justice Leveson says, whether he thinks there is significance and whether he thinks changes need to be made.' One-nil to the Campbell there, I'd've said.
Sienna Guillory has joined the cast of Luther for the crime drama's third series. The latest run of the BBC thriller - which stars Idris Elba as the titular maverick cop - recently began shooting. Resident Evil actress Guillory will play John Luther's new love interest Mary, who meets the detective in a chance encounter. 'You realise why Luther is so good when you read Neil Cross's scripts, and then you meet Idris and understand what "untamed" means,' said the actress. 'There is no other set I'd rather be on, and I love the disastrous fun of being Mary Day, the right girl in the wrong place.' Four new sixty-minute episodes of Luther will see Elba's character on a mission to bring down a ruthless ex-copper. Idris Elba said: 'I want to thank the fans for waiting so patiently for the new season. We're thrilled to deliver it to you. Here comes John!' Warren Brown will also return as Luther's partner DS Justin Ripley, alongside Nikki Amuka-Bird, Dermot Crowley and Michael Smiley.

A script Judd Apatow wrote for The Simpsons twenty two years ago is to finally make it to air, the screenwriter, director and producer has revealed. In an online interview, the Anchorman creator said that he had submitted a script during the cartoon sitcom's first season. The script, he added, saw Homer Simpson hypnotised into thinking he was ten year old. After speaking about his submission recently, he said that he had received a call from the team behind the show saying it would be animated in 2013. 'I got a call from The Simpsons saying "We're going to shoot that episode next year,"' Apatow told another former Simpsons writer, Conan O'Brien on his Serious Jibber-Jabber Internet show. 'Now I can retire,' the forty four-year-old went on to joke, adding that the spec script was 'the first thing I ever wrote.' Apatow is currently promoting This Is Forty, a comedy built around two of the supporting characters from his 2007 success Knocked Up. More than five hundred episodes of The Simpsons have been broadcast since the animated comedy began its first season in December 1989.

Two US newsreaders have resigned live on-air at the end of their programme. Cindy Michaels and Tony Consiglio of ABC's WVII affiliate in Bangor, Maine, announced their joint resignation on the show, and spoke of a dispute with management over journalistic methods. Michaels told viewers: 'And finally tonight, this will be Tony and my final show together right here on ABC Seven. The last six years have been an interesting and enjoyable time for us as we have been the longest-running news team in Bangor.' Consiglio added: 'On behalf of Cindy and me, we have loved every moment bringing the news to you. Some recent developments have come to our attention, though, and departing together is the best alternative.' The pair explained their decision to the Bangor Daily News later, with Michaels saying: 'There was a constant disrespecting and belittling of staff. We both felt there was a lack of knowledge from ownership and upper management in running a newsroom to the extent that I was not allowed to structure and direct them professionally. I couldn't do everything I wanted to as a news director. There was a regular undoing of decisions.' She added: 'It's a culmination of ongoing occurrences that took place the last several years and basically involved upper-management practices that we both strongly disagreed with. It's a little complicated, but we were expected to do somewhat unbalanced news, politically, in general.' However, the station tried to dismiss the claims made by Michaels, with vice president Mike Palmer telling The AP: 'Upper management is not involved in the daily production of the news, period. We've made great changes over the last few months and are not slowing down. Over the last fifteen to eighteen months, we've been a raging locomotive of change.' He added that the pair 'were on their way out, anyway,' and that 'sometimes people leave their jobs before they're asked to leave.' So, no disrespecting or belittling going on there, then. Michaels said she will stay in Bangor to start work on a novel, while Consiglio said he will continue his career 'in another capacity.'

A US remake of Sky1's Mad Dogs is reportedly in the works. Fer Christ's sake, does American television have not a single original idea left in its locker, or what? The Shield creator Shawn Ryan - a brilliant TV writer of many years standing - revealed that he is developing a new version of the UK drama on web-series Kevin Pollak's Chat Show. 'I'm working with a British writer - Cris Cole - who had a mini-series in Great Britain called Mad Dogs that we're looking to make as a mini-series over here,' Ryan confirmed. The original Mad Dogs starred John Simm, Marc Warren, Max Beesley and Philip Glenister as four middle-aged friends who take a holiday to Majorca but find themselves drawn into a world of drug crime and corruption. Two four-part series have be shown on Sky in the UK, with a third run on the way in 2013. Shawn Ryan's past credits include the acclaimed FX cop drama The Shield, FOX's The Chicago Code and the recently-axed ABC submarine thriller Last Resort as well as episodes of Angel.

Hunted's last episode on BBC1 drew a miserably poor audience on Thursday, overnight viewing figures indicate. The drama, however, managed to regain its lead over BBC2's Great Continental Railway Journeys - which had more viewers than Hunted last week - with 2.63 million against 1.98m for the Michael Portillo documentary show. I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) topped a pretty poor night all round with 7.96m for ITV between 8.30pm and 10pm. Crunch matches for Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws and Stottingtot Hotshots in the Europa League gave ITV4 an average audience of 1.52m between 5.30pm and 10.30pm. BBC1's Young Apprentice (3.1m) clung onto its slender lead over BBC2's MasterChef: The Professionals (2.85m), while Kirstie's Vintage Home interested but 1.18m punters on Channel Four. Later on Four, the documentary The Aristocrats was watched by 1.2m at 9pm, beating Hatfield & McCoys's seven hundred and sixty eight thousand for Channel Five. Hebburn concluded its first series with nine hundred and twelve thousand on BBC2 at 10pm, losing out to Living With My Stalker on Channel Four which had 1.03m.

Hunted creator Frank Spotnitz, meanwhile, has confirmed that the flop drama will continue without the BBC. BBC1 was reported to have axed the Melissa George vehicle last week, but US co-producer Cinemax later said that it would produce a second series solo. 'This is the hazard of doing co-productions - it makes it complicated sometimes if you lose one of your partners,' Spotnitz told the Digital Spy website. 'But we're going forward - it's sort of a spin-off of itself and it'll focus more squarely on the character of Sam Hunter. Hopefully it'll be on around this time next year.' The writer added that he 'would very much expect' future Hunted episodes to be shown in the UK, adding that he has considered Sky - which already co-produces the series Strike Back with Cinemax - as a potential partner. 'It's occurred to me!' he admitted. 'I'm pretty confident that British viewers will get to see Sam Hunter as she continues.' Whether many of them actually want to is a different matter, of course. However, Spotnitz revealed that his initial plans for the second series of Hunted - which would have followed protagonist Sam to Berlin - have been abandoned in the wake of the series shake-up. 'It's going to change - that [Berlin plot] was when we still had the BBC as a partner,' he explained. 'Now it's one of those funny things where it's the same character, but it's a different series. As it happens, from the way episode eight ends, it actually makes it quite organic to launch off into a different series, but it's not the direction we would've gone in had we stayed with the BBC.'

A thirty-second television advert scheduled to be broadcast on Thursday night during ITV's I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) was suddenly pulled at the last moment. Clearcast, the organisation which pre-approves UK TV advertising, decided the advert for SodaStream could not be screened after an objection by the bottled drinks industry. Fiona Hope, SodaStream's UK managing director said: 'This decision is absurd. We have neither named nor disparaged any of our competitors in the industry and cannot see how this makes any sense.' But a spokesperson for Clearcast explained: 'The majority decided that the ad could be seen to tell people not to go to supermarkets and buy soft drinks, instead help to save the environment by buying a SodaStream. We thought it was denigration of the bottled drinks market.' Hope countered: 'Through the ad, we are simply displaying an alternative way to living more sustainably and illustrating one of our product's benefits – the reduction of plastic bottle wastage. Consumers should be allowed to make their own decisions about how to live their lives and the products to chose. This decision appears to put the sensitivities of the world's soft drinks giants ahead of concern for the environment.' She said the company would press Clearcast to reverse its decision, which it claims was taken 'at the eleventh hour.' A similar advertising campaign has been shown in the United States, Sweden and Australia. The British advert shows different scenes of soft drink bottles disappearing as people use the SodaStream soda maker, delivering a message about waste and sustainability. The spot's closing line states: 'With SodaStream you can save a thousand bottles per year.'

Alan Pardew faces a growing injury crisis after Hatem Ben Arfa and Papiss Cisse both limped out of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle's 1-1 Europa League draw with Maritimo. The Magpies manager takes his team to Southampton on Sunday with ten of his first team squad injured and Fabricio Coloccini still banned for a further game. Ben Arfa picked up a hamstring problem and Cisse a thigh injury as the Magpies reached the last thirty two of the competition against their Portuguese opponents. 'We are getting blow after blow at the moment,' said Pardew. 'We will have to wait and see about Papiss but Hatem will be missing on Sunday. I don't know how long he will be out. Papiss got a kick on the thigh. We thought he might stiffen up over half time and he did. He possibly has a chance for Sunday.' Pardew blamed Newcastle's poor second-half showing against Maritimo on the disruptions caused by Ben Arfa and Cisse's withdrawals. The Magpies had been leading through Sylvain Marveaux's first goal for the club when the duo left the fray either side of half-time. Maritimo substitute Fidelis equalised with eleven minutes left by shooting low past Tim Krul but the draw was still enough to secure a spot in the knock-out stages in front of a crowd of more than twenty one thousand. Pardew added: 'When you get two very good players, who affect the game, coming off the pitch it gives the other team a lift and we didn't have the options to add some attacking flair or get down the sides. But we needed to get a result tonight and we got that and now we are through. They had nothing to lose, so they came on to us, and that was a little bit disappointing, that period. But I am delighted we are through. It's very important for us, for our feeling because up until that last twenty minutes, we have been excellent in this tournament, so I am not going to get carried away by that. We know that we are really stretched at the minute, and I thought that showed in that period.'

Referees' union Prospect has demanded that Moscow Chelski FC apologise to Mark Clattenburg and compensate him after he was cleared of making a racist remark. The Blues had claimed that Clattenburg used 'inappropriate language' towards their midfielder John Obi Mikel. The FA has now cleared the referee and Moscow Chelski FC accepted the decision. Prospect chief Alan Leighton called for 'a full and unreserved apology and compensation for loss of earnings, damage to reputation and stress.' Leighton, the national secretary of the union, also called on Moscow Chelski FC to make a 'sizeable donation' to anti-discrimination bodies Show Racism The Red Card and Kick It Out. Responding to the FA's decision, a Moscow Chelski FC statement read that the club 'accepts the Football Association's decision regarding Mark Clattenburg and welcomes the fact that the FA recognises the club and players were correct in reporting the matter.' But the Blues - pointedly - did not apologise directly to the referee. The evidence for Moscow Chelski FC's allegation came from their midfielder Ramires, who, when interviewed, explained his instinctive reaction had been to seek confirmation from Mikel as to what Clattenburg had said. Mikel, who was being spoken to by Clattenburg at the time of the incident, was much closer to the referee than Ramires but did not hear what was alleged to have been said. The Moscow Chelski FC midfielder has been charged by the FA with misconduct following his involvement in a subsequent incident in the referee's room after the match between Moscow Chelski FC and The Scum in October. Leighton believes Moscow Chelski FC were right to investigate the claim but should not have made the issue public. 'The charge was based on the flimsiest evidence that should never have got to this stage,' he said. 'It should never have been made public and should have been dealt with confidentially. We are not criticising Chelsea because they investigated the complaint - they had a duty of care. Rather the evidence consisted of just one statement and that is why they shouldn't have gone public.' David Elleray, chair of the FA's referees committee, welcomed the decision to clear Clattenburg and praised the official's handling of the complaint against him. 'The FA's referees committee, and refereeing in general, welcomes the news that Mark Clattenburg has no case to answer,' Elleray said. 'I wish to express my admiration for the professional manner in which Mark and his colleagues have conducted themselves during this very difficult time. Referees are at the forefront of reporting abuse on the field of play and it is important that all cases are investigated, especially when match officials are the subject of abuse. The case raises important issues which we will need to reflect on in the coming weeks.' In a statement on Thursday Clattenburg said: 'To know you were innocent of something but that there was the opportunity for it to wreck your career was truly frightening.'

Happy Mondays frontman and I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) contestant Shaun Ryder has landed his own UFO show on the History Channel. No, honestly, I'm not making this up. Filming has started on the project, which will feature the Manchester pop-singer searching for intergalactic travellers, extraterrestrials and close encounters in what is described as 'a road trip of epic proportions.' A 'lifelong UFO fanatic' and believer, Ryder will examine secrets, myths, experts, scientists and eccentrics connected to alien life forms. The singer will start his journey in his hometown in the North of England, where he had his first UFO sighting as a fifteen-year-old, and he will then travel the globe, stopping off in Chile and Area Fifty One in the US. Producers are currently looking for viewer contributions to the show and people interested in the series can upload their own photos and videos of UFO sightings to the programme's official Facebook page to get involved. Shaun Ryder on UFOs will be broadcast on History in 2013.

Downton Abbey has been - unsurprisingly - picked up for a fourth series. The EMMY-winning period drama will return to ITV in autumn 2013 with eight new episodes. A special extended episode will also be broadcast at Christmas 2013, with filming set to begin in February next year. Gareth Neame - the drama's executive producer - said: 'Viewers can look forward to more drama, comedy, love, hatred, jealousy, rivalry, ambition, despair and romance.' Laura Mackie, Director of Drama at ITV, added: 'We're thrilled to welcome back a drama series that has become a much anticipated part of all our lives every autumn and achieved success around the globe. Creator, writer and executive producer Julian Fellowes and the production team, led by Gareth and the producer Liz Trubridge, never rest on their laurels and have exciting plans for the fourth series.' Downton Abbey will also return to ITV this Christmas Day for a two-hour festive special. 'We hope the Downton family of viewers will gather together to watch this major TV event as a shared Christmas night experience,' said Mackie. 'Last year's special episode set the nation talking on Boxing Day and 2012's Christmas Day episode is no different. As ever, Downton will take its audience through a whole range of emotions. All of life's experiences will feature in this episode. This is one episode you will want to see live with millions of others - and best have the tissues ready.'

Hugh Grant's Channel Four documentary following the actor's campaign for stricter press regulation has been parachuted into the schedule on Wednesday night – on the eve of the publication of the Leveson report. The sixty-minute programme, called Hugh Grant: Taking on the Tabloids, is to be shown at 8pm on the network on the evening of 28 November, in a gesture which anti-regulation campaigners will interpret as provocative. As though rat-faced loathsome wretched odious nasty slavver-merchant and George Formby lookalike Gove attempting to belittle Leveson in a speech and the Daily Scum Mail running mind-numbingly insane twelve-page hatchet jobs on some of those involved in the inquiry isn't provocative - or unbalanced - in the slightest. Oh no, very hot water. No thoroughly sick Tory agenda going down there, whatsoever, no siree Bob. Taking on the Tabloids is 'an observational documentary' following Grant campaigning for stricter press regulation in recent weeks, including interviews with those for and against such a move. Interviews for the documentary are still being filmed, with the programme unlikely to be finished until close to transmission. But it is understood that Channel Four and the independent production company making the documentary – Roger Graef's Films of Record – are making what they describe as an 'extremely balanced programme,' which includes the views of the Hacked Off campaign for stricter press regulation – of which Grant is a director – as well as the views of opponents who regard such a move as a threat to freedom of speech. Lord Hunt, the Press Complaints Commission chairman who favours a revamped version of self-regulation as a solution to the concerns about press activity, is understood to have been interviewed at length by the producers. The film includes a scene relating to Conservative MP Alun Cairns's complaint about it: he told the Daily Scum Mail that he believed the documentary was likely to be biased. A sequence has been shot in which Grant reads the Scum Mail's story out to camera, according to Hacked Off sources. Cairns has written to the chief executive of Channel Four, David Abraham, questioning whether a programme presented by Grant about press standards 'will ever comply with Ofcom's rules about impartiality.' In his letter, a copy of which has been sent to Ofcom's chief executive Ed Richards, the Vale of Glamorgan MP said he is 'extremely concerned' about the programme. The documentary also filmed Grant while he was taking part in an ITV discussion show The Agenda earlier this month, appearing alongside London's mayor (and hairdo), Boris Johnson, the singer Jamelia and a historian, Kate Williams. A Channel Four spokesman said: 'The film is an observational documentary following Hugh Grant and the Hacked Off campaign in the run up to the publication of Lord Leveson's report on his inquiry. The film accompanies Grant as he meets figures from different sides of the debate and those involved and interested in the inquiry and explores different views of what Lord Leveson's recommendations might be.'

British horror studio Hammer is taking its first steps into the world of live theatre in a new stage adaptation of The Turn of the Screw. Rebecca Lenkiewicz's play, based on the classic ghost tale by Henry James, opens in January at London's Almeida theatre. Hammer Theatre of Horror has a co-production credit for the first time. Hammer boss Simon Oakes said that it was 'a toe in the water' and the company was 'keen to explore' more theatre projects. Earlier this year Hammer production The Woman In Black, starring Daniel Radcliffe, became the highest-grossing British horror film of the past twenty years. As well as films, the brand has also branched out into book publishing with recent titles from Jeanette Winterson and Helen Dunmore. Oakes said the new version of The Turn of the Screw was 'ideal' for Hammer Theatre of Horror's inaugural project. 'It's very much at the creative centre of what we're trying to do in the rebooted Hammer,' he told the BBC. 'It's really a toe in the water. The Hammer name is there as a co-producer [with Act Productions] - it wasn't a project we developed ourselves. For us it's about understanding the dynamics. The long-term idea is to create shows that can then become content for our film business as well.' The Turn of the Screw tells the story of a governess who arrives at a remote estate to care for a nephew and niece after the death of their parents. Published in 1898, the story has been adapted for film, TV, radio and the stage on numerous occasions. The best-known film version is 1961's The Innocents, starring Deborah Kerr and Michael Redgrave. The cast for the Almeida production, announced on Friday, includes Gemma Jones as the housekeeper Mrs Grose and Anna Madeley as The Governess. The production will be directed by Lindsay Posner, whose recent credits include Uncle Vanya at the Vaudeville Theatre, Abigail's Party for the Menier Chocolate Factory and Noises Off for the Old Vic. Hammer was founded in the 1930s, though it was not until the 1950s that its name became synonymous with the horror genre. Its run of monster movies included Dracula and The Curse of Frankenstein, which made stars of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. After lying dormant since the 1980s, the company and its back catalogue were bought in 2007 by a consortium with Simon Oakes as CEO. The Turn of the Screw runs at the Almeida from 18 January to 16 March 2013.

Larry Hagman, who spent more than a decade playing TV villain JR Ewing has died at the age of eighty one, his family says. Hagman, who had suffered from cancer and cirrhosis of the liver, died in hospital on Friday afternoon, according to a family statement. 'Larry was back in his beloved Dallas, re-enacting the iconic role he loved most,' said the family. 'He was surrounded by loved ones.' Long-time friend Linda Gray, who played his screen wife Sue Ellen, was by his bedside. 'Larry Hagman was my best friend for thirty five years,' said Gray in a statement released by her agent. 'He was the Pied Piper of life and brought joy to everyone he knew. He was creative, generous, funny, loving and talented and I will miss him enormously. He was an original and lived life to the full.' During thirteen years as the most scheming oil tycoon in Dallas, JR in his Stetson became one of the most distinctive faces on television screens across the world. It quickly became one of the network's top-rated programmes - with its three hundred and fifty six episodes being seen by an estimated three hundred million people in fifty seven countries - and was revived earlier this year. Larry was born in Fort Worthin 1931. His mother, Mary Martin, later became a Broadway actress, and his father, Benjamin Hagman, was an accountant and a district attorney. Larry's parents divorced in 1936, when he was five years old and he later moved to Los Angeles where he was cared for mainly by his grandmother. His mother became a contract player with Paramount in 1938 and occasionally took him to her movies. Larry attended the strict Black-Foxe Military Institute. When his mother moved to New York City to continue her Broadway career, Hagman again lived with his grandmother in California. After a brief period spent working in the fields, and a period in the US Air Force when he stationed in London - he spent the majority of his military service entertaining US troops in the UK and at bases in Europe - Larry followed his mother into showbusiness. Moving into television, he played astronaut Tony Nelson in the 1960s television comedy I Dream of Jeannie. He directed (and appeared briefly in) a low-budget comedy and horror film in 1972 called Beware The Blob (a sequel to the classic 1958 horror film The Blob). He first performed as JR Ewing in 1978 and became its highest-paid star, as the programme came to define 1980s excess. The actor himself owned more than two thousand cowboy hats. When Dallas ended in 1991, Hagman went on to appear in hit films Nixon and Primary Colors. His forthright biography, Hello Darlin': Tall (and Absolutely True) Tales About My Life, detailed his youthful drug-taking exploits and revealed the extent of his fifty-year battle with alcoholism. He was also a great story-teller sparing no details, for instance, in describing the night he drove his Malibu neighbour Keith Moon to rehab after the legendary drummer over-indulged on Black Beauties. Moon and Hagman were long-time friends, having originally met on the set of Stardust, the 1973 movie about the shadier end of the rock business starring David Essex. Even on the hardworking set of Dallas, Larry reportedly consumed five bottles of champagne a day for years and was finally diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver in 1992. Three years later he had a liver transplant and kept a photo of the organ donor above his mirror. 'I say a prayer for him every morning,' he said. Despite this, Hagman continued to drink secretly until a further life-saving operation in 2003 forced him to stop for good. In 1954, Larry married Swedish-born Maj Axelsson and they had two children, Heidi Kristina (b. 1958) and Preston (b. 1962). Longtime residents of Malibu, they then moved to Ojai, California. Larry was a member of the Peace and Freedom Party since the 1960s. Hagman derided President George W Bush, a fellow Texan, before the Iraq War. At a signing for his book he described Bush as 'a sad figure, not too well educated, who doesn't get out of America much. He's leading the country towards fascism.' In 1967, Larry's friend the musician David Crosby, supplied Hagman with LSD after a Byrds concert: 'LSD was such a profound experience in my life that it changed my pattern of life and my way of thinking and I could not exclude it,' Larry said. Hagman was introduced to marijuana by Jack Nicholson, as a safer alternative to Larry's heavy drinking. 'I liked it because it was fun, it made me feel good, and I never had a hangover.' Although Hagman said he no longer smoked marijuana and was on a Twelve-Step Programme, he explained, 'Marijuana is like being compared to alcohol and when you come right down to it, alcohol destroys your body and makes you do violent things, but with grass, you just sit back and enjoy life.'

Britain's top code-breakers say they are 'stumped' by a secret code found on the leg of a dead pigeon. The remains of the bird were found in a chimney in Surrey with a message, apparently, from World War II attached. Experts at the intelligence agency GCHQ have been struggling to decipher the message since they were provided with it a few weeks ago. They say it may be 'impossible' to decode it without more information. The message was discovered by David Martin when he was renovating the chimney of his house in Surrey. Among the rubbish, he found parts of a dead pigeon including a leg. Attached to the leg was a red canister. Inside the canister was a thin piece of paper with the words 'Pigeon Service' at the top and twenty seven handwritten blocks of code. This was given to GCHQ at the start of the month. 'We didn't really hold out any hopes we would be able to read the message because the sort of codes that were constructed to be used during operations were designed only to be able to be read by the senders and the recipients,' said GCHQ historian Tony, who asked that only his first name be used. He told the BBC: 'Unless you get rather more idea than we have of who actually sent this message and who it was sent to we are not going to find out what the underlying code being used was.' The experts believe there are two ways the message might have been coded. One is with a so-called one-time pad where a random 'key' is applied to a message. If the key is truly random and known only to sender and recipient, the code could be unbreakable. Another option is that this code was based on a specific - and now probably destroyed - code-book put together for a particular operation so the maximum amount of information about that operation could be relayed in the shortest message (this could be done in conjunction with a one-time pad). There had been speculation that the message might have been sent by an agent of the Special Operations Executive and that it was heading for Station X at Bletchley Park. But these theories have largely been discounted. An undercover agent in occupied Europe would not use an official note pad in case he or she was caught with it in their possession. And Bletchley became a station to decode German and Japanese messages rather than a place in which the British military regularly sent its communications via pigeon. 'The most helpful suggestion we had through all of this was from a member of the public who suggested that, since the message was found in the chimney, the first two words were most likely to be "Dear Santa,"' Tony said. The best guess is that the message was sent by a unit in the middle of an operation in Europe which was on the move and so unable to stop and set up the aerial for a traditional wireless message. It remains possible it could have been some kind of training exercise though - even perhaps for D-Day. GCHQ is on the lookout for any help in discovering the kind of contextual information which could aid the process by identifying the sender or recipient. Based on the abbreviation of Sjt in the message, it is thought this was most likely an Army unit, since this is where the old fashioned spelling of Sergeant was used. But so far 'Sjt W Stot' and X02 have not been identified. Another avenue is trying to identify the unit to which the pigeons referred to in the message were assigned. Some two hundred and fifty thousand pigeons were used during the war by all services and each was given an identity number. There are two pigeon identification numbers in the message - NURP.40.TW.194 and NURP.37.OK.76. It is unclear which one relates to the bird in the chimney. Help from the public is the best hope for any breakthrough. 'There are still quite a lot of people alive who worked in communications centres during the war and who might have some knowledge about this and it would be very interesting if anyone did have information if they could put it in the pot and we could see if we could get any further with it,' explains Tony. And without fresh information this pigeon may well have taken its secret to the grave.

On Friday evening yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self only went and recalled a time when he wore his safety pins with pride at the - for one week only - Record Player Punk Off at the Tyneside. He didn't, however, follow Sandi Thom's advice and wear flowers in his hair along with his bondage trousers and leathers. because he'd've looked frigging stupid. Anyway, dear blog reader. Here's eight minutes of magnificent noise.

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