Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I've Told You Baby, From Time To Time, But You Just Won't Listen Or Pay Me No Mind

BBC1 has confirmed details of the new Royle Family special to broadcast this Christmas. The popular sitcom will return to the channel's schedules for the first time in two years this festive period. The new episode - written by Caroline Aherne, Craig Cash and Phil Mealey - will see Dave (Cash) plot to pitch an idea on Dragons' Den, while Jim (Ricky Tomlinson) pins his hopes of getting rich on a Christmas scratch card. Meanwhile, a new neighbour moves onto the street with 'an impressive cleavage,' causing something of a stir in the Royle household, with Joe (Peter Martin) on the lookout for romance. A Royle Family special was originally planned for Christmas 2011 but never materialised, reportedly because the script wasn't completed in time. The show's 2010 special - Joe's Crackers - pulled in an audience of 9.9 million, while 2009's special had 10.2m viewers, and 2008's ten million. The BAFTA award-winning series - which was first broadcast in 1998 - also stars co-creator Aherne, Sue Johnston and Ralf Little.

Last Tango in Halifax, Sally Wainwright's gentle drama about a couple reunited via Facebook after sixty years, was watched by an overnight audience of five and a half million punters on Tuesday night. The comedy drama, starring Derek Jacobi, Anne Reid, Nicola Walker and Sarah Lancashire, had an audience 21.6 per cent share of the audience between 9pm and 10pm. It was down on the 6.2 million who watched the opening episode last week. Tuesday's peaktime schedule was predictably dominated by 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), which had 8.1 million viewers who seemingly enjoyed wading through the detritus of human existence between 8.30pm and 10pm. BBC2's Masterchef: the Professionals continued its impressive little run of late with a series high of 3.1 million viewers between 8pm and 9pm, beating Channel Four's George Clarke's Amazing Spaces, with 2.3 million during the same slot. The tables were turned at 9pm but the audiences were less impressive, as Channel Four's Heston's Fantastical Food had 1.3 million viewers beating Dara O Briain's Science Club on BBC2, with 1.1 million viewers. Elsewhere at 9pm, the new BBC4 documentary The Dark Ages: An Age of Light, with Waldemar Januszczak began with six hundred and twelve thousand viewers.

ITV is to axe its Morning News bulletin in favour of delivering content online, with 'extra resources' to be put into 'creating a new foreign affairs unit.' The axing of Morning News is part of 'a budget review' for 2013 of ITV's news output that will, reportedly, result in the loss of fifteen jobs. However, ITV is planning to create eleven new posts at ITV News including establishing a new foreign affairs unit. The new team will be headed by ITV News international editor Bill Neely, supported by a new international correspondent and news editor. Morning News, which airs for thirty minutes at 5.30am before ITV's flop breakfast fiasco Daybreak, is being cancelled as part of the review of the broadcaster's budget for its news operation for next year. ITV has decided to cut the programme, which is produced by ITN, partly because news content is regularly fed into the ITV News website and live stream. The early news content will also be fed into Daybreak, which starts at 6am. Where those well-known broadcast journalists Aled Jones and big cuddly Lorraine Kelly can read them. Perhaps ITV can go the whole hog and send out Phillip Schofield as their foreign correspondent. With his record of tact and journalistic thoroughness, he'd be sure to be a massive hit in, say, Ramallah. A total of fifteen roles, editorial and technical, are at a risk of redundancy as a result of the budget review and the axing of Morning News. The main presenting line up on the show is not thought to be at risk. 'We are redeploying resources across ITV network news as part of an annual review, and as a result of the 5.30am Morning News going,' said Jonathan Munro, acting editor of ITV News. 'Both the review and the 5.30 Morning News decision will result in fifteen roles potentially at risk of redundancy and the creation of eleven new editorial, production, newsgathering and technical posts. Wherever possible we will redeploy staff at risk, and will provide full support and advice to all staff involved in this consultation process.'

Downton Abbey creator, Lord Snooty his very self, has signed a deal for a new series on US television. NBC and Universal Television announced that Lord Snooty will write and produce 'a sweeping epic.' The Gilded Age, will be 'set in the world of the rich in 1880s New York.' Oh, there's a surprise. Lord Snooty's writing something about rich people. Count this blogger as stunned. 'This was a vivid time,' Lord Snooty noted, 'with dizzying, brilliant ascents and calamitous falls, of record-breaking ostentation and savage rivalry; a time when money was king.' In your world, Lord Snooty, money always is king. There is no word yet on when the series will be produced, let alone broadcast. The announcement comes days after ITV confirmed Downton Abbey will get a fourth series in late 2013. NBC says that Lord Snooty will continue in his roles as writer and executive producer of the show as he begins work on his new production deal. Filming of eight new Downton episodes plus an extended special episode for Christmas 2013 will begin in February next year. Jennifer Salke, President of NBC Entertainment, says the network is 'thrilled' to have the 'immensely talented' Lord Snooty on-board. 'Having him on our team represents a major creative coup,' she adds. Before adding 'we just love his crazy British accent. And, apparently, he knows the Queen...' Pass the Valium. Pass out.
David Cameron is facing 'a massive public backlash' if he fails to act to rein in the press when Brian Leveson reports on Thursday, according to a poll which finds that seventy nine per cent of those who expressed a preference are in favour of an independent press regulator established by law. Some sixty per cent of those questioned believe that the prime minister should implement Leveson's recommendations, and while seventy nine per cent favour legislation to create an independent press regulator, only nine per cent are explicitly opposed to such a contrivance. Just over eighty per cent said that national newspapers should be 'obliged' to sign up to the new system by law. And one per cent - yer actual Keith Telly Topping - said that all journalists should be kicked, hard, in the knackers on general principle and then jailed. So, it's probably just as well for everyone concerned that yer actual Keith Telly Topping isn't in charge of the Leveson report but, rather, Brian Leveson his very self is. Support for the creation of an independent body - established by law - is uniform across the voting spectrum, including eighty one per cent support from readers of the Daily Scum Mail, one of the newspapers most vociferous (for which read eye-bulgingly mental) in its opposition to any state intervention. Almost the entire newspaper industry is opposed to a regulator underpinned by law, although there are sharp internal disagreements between various newspaper companies about the degree to which the regulator should be independent of the industry. The poll, conducted by YouGov on behalf of the Media Standards Trust, comes as Cameron and some senior government colleagues prepare to receive the report at lunchtime on Wednesday ahead of publication on Thursday, and a Commons statement by Cameron. On Tuesday eighty six parliamentarians, including eight former cabinet ministers, wrote a letter to the Gruniad Morning Star calling on the government to oppose statutory regulation, even if it is dressed up as 'underpinning.' So, no staggeringly sick agenda going down there, then. The letter says the status quo is not an option - not even with their forty five years of imaginative use of denim - but adds: 'No form of statutory regulation of the press would be possible without the imposition of state licensing – abolished in Britain in 1695. State licensing is inimical to any idea of press freedom and would radically alter the balance of our unwritten constitution.' All of which might be true but, maybe if your chums at the Scum of the World had thought about that before they started hacking the phones of murdered schoolgirls then we wouldn't be in this position right now. Signatories include the former chairman of the Press Complaints Commission Lord Wakeham (so, he's an impartial voice, obviously), the former speaker Lady Boothroyd, the chairman of the culture select committee, John Whittingdale, and all his Conservative colleagues on the committee (including odious risible rent-a-gob Philip Davies). It has also been signed by the former home secretary David Blunkett and five other Labour MPs. The Labour leader, Ed Milimolimandi, on Tuesday became the only front-rank politician to disclose the meetings he has held with newspaper proprietors in the run-up to the Leveson report. Milimolimandi, responding to a Gruniad request, has revealed that he has had twenty five separate meetings with newspaper proprietors or editors since 24 July. The editor of the Gruniad Morning Star, full-f-his-own-importance tosser Alan Rusbridger, is due to meet Milimolimandi on Wednesday, the list discloses. The shadow lack of culture secretary, Harriet Harman, has had thirty five meetings with newspaper executives. Not all the meetings will have been about Leveson, but they do reveal the scale of the lobbying by the newspaper industry ahead of the report and the desperation they appear to be resorting to. Basically, they're all shitting in their own pants that their days of writing whatever the hell they want and sod whether any of it is true or not and whether it destroys people's lives are well and truly numbered. In other words, they're fucking scared. Which is good - now you know who your victims felt. Milimolimandi's officials said: 'The Labour leader regarded it as his duty to listen to senior figures in the industry ahead of publication, but also to remember the promises he has made to the victims of phone hacking. He remains of the view that the Leveson report should be implemented so long as it is realistic and proportionate.' The lack of culture secretary, the vile and odious rascal Miller, the prime minister, the deputy prime minister and the business secretary all declined to publish an update of their schedules of meetings with newspaper executives, saying they would only be published in line with planned government timetable for the disclosure of such meetings. The culture select committee met on Tuesday morning and agreed to invite Lord Justice Leveson, David Cameron, Lord Hunt and representatives of the phone-hacking victims to give evidence to the committee. There is no precedent for the prime minister giving evidence to a select committee save the Liaison Committee, but the culture committee agreed Cameron should attend on the basis that he set up the Leveson inquiry in the first place. So, it's all his fault, basically. The letter from the eighty six parliamentarians appears to acknowledge that Cameron may propose draft legislation which would leave papers subject to a form of regulation if they refuse to co-operate with a revamped PCC. 'The prospect of drafting legislation may have the dual benefit of exposing the dangers of the statutory regulation and at the same time focus the minds of those seeking to further strengthen the existing tough independent proposals,' it says. The letter also embraces the proposals for independent regulation put forward by Lord Hunt which has been criticised as inadequate by the Gruniad and Independent 'due to its lack of full independence from newspaper industry.' The YouGov poll was commissioned by the Media Standards Trust, which is independent of, but has close links to, Hacked Off the group that campaigns for victims of phone-hacking. Voters were given a choice between two propositions. The first, supported by seventy nine per cent, states: 'There should be an independent body established by law which deals with complaints and decides what sanctions there should be if journalists break agreed codes of conduct.' The second, supported by nine per cent, states: 'Newspapers should establish their own body which deals with complaints and decides what sanctions there should be if journalists break agreed codes of conduct.' Which is, basically, what the PCC has been for the last twenty years. And, my, didn't that work out well? Evan Harris, associate director of Hacked Off, said: 'These polling figures show that the public – by a margin of ten to one in most cases – overwhelmingly trust the Leveson inquiry, overwhelmingly do not want the press to be given any last chance, and overwhelmingly expect the government to implement Sir Brian [Leveson]'s recommendations. Just as importantly, the results hardly vary whether voters read the Guardian or the Daily Mail, and are held as strongly by Conservative swing voters as by Labour voters. It is also clear that the self-serving anti-Leveson propaganda campaign mounted by News International, the Telegraph and the Daily Mail has had no impact on public opinion.'

Meanwhile, footage of former Daily Mirra editor and current odious slime-ball, horrorshow (and drag) Piers Morgan telling Charlotte Church how 'a spate of stories' resulted from the hacking of mobile phones will be broadcast in a Channel Four documentary presented by Hugh Grant. The conversation will feature in Taking on the Tabloids, a - very much anticipated - documentary on the future regulation of the press presented by Grant, who is fronting Hacked Off's campaign for stricter regulation of the press. Taking on the Tabloids will be broadcast on Channel Four at 8pm on Wednesday night. Church's conversation with Morgan was filmed in 2003, when the then seventeen-year-old singer was invited to address the Oxford Union where she called for a privacy law to protect under-eighteens. She was interviewing Morgan, who has always denied any involvement in, or even knowledge of, phone-hacking when he was at the Daily Mirra being he got the sack for printing lies, when he reportedly 'got chatting' about the sources of celebrity stories. Morgan told Church: 'There was a spate of stories that came out because of mobile phones. When they first came out, mobile phones journalists found out that if the celebrity hadn't changed their pin code you can access their voicemail. Just by tapping in a number. Are you really telling me that journalists aren't going to do that? If they know they can ring up Charlotte Church's mobile phone, listen to all her messages?' Morgan added: 'Right, now all you have to do – and I know it's hard because celebrities don't like doing anything for themselves – is actually change your security number.' In February this year, Church and her parents won a whopping six hundred grand in damages and costs from News International for Scum of the World phone-hacking, harassment and unlawfully obtaining medical records of her and her mother after the latter attempted suicide. Earlier this year, yer actual Jeremy Paxman his very self revealed at the Leveson inquiry that Morgan had once described to him how to hack into a mobile phone at a lunch held at the headquarters of the Daily Mirra's publisher. Paxo told the Leveson inquiry how he went to a lunch hosted by Sir Victor Blank, the then chairman of Trinity Mirra, held on 20 September 2002, where the subject of phone-hacking came up. At the same lunch, according to Paxman, Morgan teased TV presenter Ulrika Jonsson about the details of private conversations she'd had with Sven-Göran Eriksson, at the time the England football manager. Paxman said: 'He then turned to me and said: "Have you got a mobile phone?" I said: "Yes." He said: "Have you got a security setting on the message bit of it?" I don't think it was called voicemail in those days, I didn't know what he was talking about. He then explained that the way to get access to people's message was to go to the factory default setting and press either 0000 or 1234 and that if you didn't put on your own code, his words: "You're a fool."' Paxman added: 'I don't know whether he was making this up, making up the conversation, but it was clearly something that he was familiar with and I wasn't. I didn't know that this went on.' Under oath at the Leveson inquiry, Morgan himself repeatedly denied that he had any knowledge of phone-hacking at the Daily Mirra, saying he 'had no reason or knowledge to believe it was going on' during his ten-year stint as editor. Before he got the tin-tack. In a series of tense exchanges, the inquiry's lead counsel, Robert Jay QC, pressed Morgan to provide more details about who had played him a voicemail left for Sir Paul McCartney's former wife Heather Mills which had been the subject of a Daily Mirra exclusive. Morgan - pointedly - refused four times, saying on each occasion that he 'could not risk' identifying a source. 'I can't discuss where I was played that tape or who played it, because to do so would be to compromise a source, and I can't do that,' he said.

The late MP Sir Cyril Smith was a disgraceful naughty old scallywag who sexually abused boys in the late 1960s, the police have accepted. The news comes as the Crown Prosecution Service admitted the Liberal MP should have been charged with the allegations more than forty years ago. In a statement, Greater Manchester Police said the boys 'were victims of physical and sexual abuse' by the late Rochdale MP. Smith was never charged despite several investigations into the allegations - in 1970, 1998, and 1999. A file compiled by Lancashire Constabulary in 1970, contained allegations made by eight men that they had been subjected to 'indecent assaults' by Sir Cyril, when they were teenagers. It was handed to the first Director of Public Prosecutions, and contained statements which were 'very similar in nature,' the CPS confirmed. However, in response the DPP, Norman Skelhorn, wrote to the Chief Constable of Lancashire on 19 March 1970, stating: 'I do not consider that if proceedings for indecent assault were to be taken against Smith, there would be a reasonable prospect of conviction.' Nazir Afzal, chief prosecutor for the CPS in the North West, has now accepted that 'this way of thinking bears little resemblance to how such cases are assessed today. The decision made by the CPS in 1970 would not be made today,' he admitted. The Lancashire Police investigation centred on offences committed between 1961 and 1965 when the boys were either living at Cambridge House Children's Home or were 'dependent on Cyril Smith for either employment, financial support or some sort of guardianship,' said Afzal. He confirmed that when the CPS carried out a review of the case in 1998, it was decided no proceedings would be brought against the MP - who died in September 2010 - because he had been told in 1970 that he would not be charged, a decision that could only be reversed if new evidence was unearthed. In a statement, Sir Cyril's family said they were 'deeply saddened and concerned' by the allegations 'made so long after Sir Cyril's death and at a time when he is no longer able to defend himself.' However, Simon Danczuk, who represents the same constituency in Rochdale where Smith was MP for twenty years, recently repeated the allegations that Smith was a dirty old rotter in parliament. 'Young boys were humiliated, terrified and reduced to quivering wrecks by a twenty nine stone bully imposing himself on them,' claimed Danczuk, who added he had been handed statements issued to the police about the alleged abuses at the Cambridge House Hotel. The Labour MP then quoted from one of the alleged victims' statements in which the youngster said: 'He told me to take my trousers and pants down and bend over his knee. He hit me many times with his bare hands and I pleaded with him to stop because he was hurting me.' Danczuk called for police to investigate the claims so 'victims can have their voices heard.'
Andy Coulson's legal fees relating to criminal investigations into alleged illegal activity at the Scum of the World while he was editor should continue to be paid by News International, the court of appeal has ruled. The former Scum of the World editor won his appeal against an earlier high court ruling over his legal bills arising out of police investigations into phone-hacking and payments to public officials. Three senior court of appeal judges ruled on Wednesday: 'I am satisfied that clause 4.6 does cover Mr Coulson's costs and expenses of defending the criminal allegations.' Coulson, David Cameron's former director of communications (and chum), has been charged on suspicion of conspiracy to intercept voicemails, payments to police and public officials, and perjury. He denies any wrongdoing. The court of appeal ruling was handed down by Lord Justice Laws, Lord Justice Sullivan and Lord Justice McCombe. It is likely to signal the end of a twelve-month legal battle by Coulson, although News International could appeal to the supreme court. Explaining why they overturned the earlier ruling, Laws said in the judgment: 'For my part, I cannot accept the judge's view that because Mr Coulson's duties as editor comprised only lawful duties, it cannot have been identified that activities outside his lawful responsibilities would be covered by the indemnity. That would surely deprive the indemnity of all practical use. It would not even cover the editor for the costs of defending proceedings arising out of the publications of alleged libels or publications said to constitute contempt of court, the very occupational hazards of editorship referred to by Mr Jeans [for News International] in argument.' The judges said News International was liable for Coulson's legal costs from the moment he was first arrested, on 8 July 2011, to the conclusion of the criminal trial scheduled for next year.

Naturists have, allegedly, accused the BBC of 'falsifying history' by putting clothes on actors playing early man in Andrew Marr's History of the World. What, all of them? If this story is true - which it almost certainly isn't - then once again, let us simply marvel at the utter risible shit some people chose to care about. These naturists (unnamed, please note) said the BBC had attempted to 'rewrite the history books' for profit by covering the modesty of those who appeared in the show. At least, this is all according to the BBC-hating Torygraph. So, no obvious - and quite sick - agenda there, then.
Coronation Street actors and fans have said a final farewell at the funeral of actor Bill Tarmey, who played Jack Duckworth in the ITV soap opera. Nigel Pivaro, who played his son Terry, paid tribute to the actor during the service. 'Today the world is a little poorer for not having him with us and heaven's a little richer,' he said. 'Thank you Bill for living such a wonderful life so fully and sharing it with all of us.' Tarmey was one of the show's best-loved actors for more than thirty years. He left the soap in 2010. He died earlier this month in Tenerife, at the age of seventy one. The funeral was held at the Albion United Reformed Church in Ashton-under-Lyne. Samia Ghadie, who plays Maria in Coronation Street, also did a reading. She described Tarmey as 'like a surrogate Dad. We felt like his other family, he was always there for us and for that we are truly grateful.' She added: 'Jack and Vera Duckworth were a truly unforgettable and formidable partnership. Jack Duckworth will forever be a Coronation Street legend.' His former co-stars at the service included Liz Dawn - who played his wife, Vera - William Roache, Alan Halsall, Jack P Shepherd, Shobna Gulati, Kate Ford, Sue Nicholls and Helen Worth. Speaking afterwards, Pivaro said: 'We'll wait a long time to see somebody of that quality in front of the camera and behind the scenes. He was just a marvellous human being.' Jennie McAlpine, who plays Fiz, said the number of people in the church was testament to Tarmey's popularity. 'There are not many people who leave that kind of legacy in life,' she said. 'The church was full and I know his family are really touched that so many turned out to celebrate his life.' Several dozen fans also listened to the service on loud speakers outside the church. Kevin Kennedy, who played Curly Watts, said it was 'a beautiful service. I can't really be sad because every time I think of Bill, a smile's not far behind,' he said. 'It's not how you die, it's how you live and he's left a wonderful legacy. Bill was just a joy and I feel honoured that I knew him and to have called him a friend.' Two of Tarmey's grandchildren, Naomi and Matthew, delivered emotional readings of poems they had written for the occasion. Tarmey - whose real name was William Cleworth-Piddington - was also a singer and his recording of the song 'The Wind Beneath My Wings' was played during the service. He was married to his wife Alison for fifty years and they had two children. In 2010 he published his autobiography, which charted his life from growing up in the slums of Manchester through to working as a singer in local nightclubs before landing a role on the soap in 1979. Playing the lovable pigeon-fancying rogue, he soon became a stalwart of the drama along with his nagging wife Vera, and their constant bickering was at the heart of the show's trademark mix of humour and drama. Dawn was written out in 2008 due to ill health. But for Tarmey's final appearance in the soap two years ago, Jack and Vera were reunited one last time when they appeared to dance together as a dying Jack drifted in and out of consciousness. A life-long heavy smoker, Tarmey suffered a severe heart attack at just thirty five while singing on stage and had heart surgery to bypass clogged arteries at forty five, having the operation redone fifteen years later. He also suffered from sleep apnoea, a condition which resulted in him jolting awake several times a night due to breathing problems. As well as suffering ill-health himself, Tarmey eventually left Coronation Street to help care for his son Carl, who was battling a brain tumour. The actor's family asked for donations to be sent to the Brain Tumour Research charity, of which Tarmey was a patron.

An actor in Two and a Half Men, one of America's most-watched television comedies, has grovellingly apologised for calling the show 'filth.' As reported in a recent blog earlier this week Angus T Jones urged people not to watch the 'very inappropriate' show in a video posted online by a Christian group. The nineteen-year-old claimed its 'raunchy humour' conflicted with his bible studies. In a statement issued on Tuesday, he said he 'never intended' to 'disrespect' his colleagues. Although, it's difficult to see what he did expect to happen after publicly telling viewers not to watch the show. 'Without qualification, I am grateful to and have the highest regard and respect for all of the wonderful people on Two and a Half Men with whom I have worked and over the past ten years who have become an extension of my family,' Jones said in his statement. 'I apologise if my remarks reflect me showing indifference to and disrespect of my colleagues and a lack of appreciation of the extraordinary opportunity of which I have been blessed. I never intended that.' Jones has appeared in Two and a Half Men since he was ten as Jake Harper, the underachieving son of the uptight father played by Jon Cryer. He reportedly earns three hundred and fifty thousand dollars per episode, making him the highest-paid child actor on US television. This, dear blog reader, is what happens when nutters with access to a bible get control of the nation's youth. All manner of hilarity and, one presumes, sackings, ensue.

Coverage of FOX News being strongly criticised live on-air has gone viral. Which is, of course, funny. Author and journalist Thomas Ricks was asked about the events in Benghazi, Libya and Susan Rice - the US ambassador to the United Nations - when he levelled criticisms at the network. He stated: 'I think Benghazi was generally hyped by this network especially. How many security contractors died in Iraq, do you know?' Ricks asked co-anchor Jon Scott. 'Nobody does, because nobody cares. We know that several hundred died but there was never an official count done of security contractors in Iraq. So when I see this focus on what was essentially a small firefight I think the emphasis on Benghazi has been extremely political, partly because FOX is operating as the wing of the Republican Party.' Surprisingly, the interview abruptly concluded afterwards.

The piano from the Oscar-winning classic Casablanca is to be put under the hammer at Sotheby's on 14 December. The auction of the fifty eight-key piano, worth an estimated £1.2 million, marks the seventieth anniversary of the film. It features in a flashback scene in Paris at La Belle Aurore where the romance between Humphrey Bogart's character Rick and Ilsa, played by Ingrid Bergman, is established. The pianist, Sam (Dooley Wilson), plays 'As Time Goes By' on it during the scene. A Japanese collector brought the piano for one hundred and fifty thousand dollars in 1988 from auctioneer David Redden at Sotheby's, who will sell it once again next month. Casablanca has been named the most romantic and quotable movie of all time by the American Film Institute.

The Black Keys have settled a legal claim against Pizza Hut and DIY chain Home Depot for copyright infringement. The American rock duo sued both companies in June, saying that two of their songs had been used in TV adverts without their permission. The band had claimed their song 'Gold on the Ceiling' was improperly used to sell pizza, while 'Lonely Boy' had been in a commercial for power tools. Both companies denied copying the songs and details of the settlement were not disclosed. Original court filings by the band said the adverts were 'a brazen and improper effort to capitalise on plaintiffs' hard-earned success.' Lawyers for the band told a federal judge in Los Angeles of the Pizza Hut settlement on Monday. The settlement agreement with Home Depot was reached earlier this month. Both songs appeared on the group's successful seventh CD, El Camino, which was released last year and has sold more than a million copies.

Moscow Chelski FC have - finally - said they 'regret' the way they handled their accusation that referee Mark Clattenburg used racial language about midfielder John Mikel Obi, although - yet again - they stopped short of a full apology. The Blues also 'regretted' the subsequent 'intense media scrutiny' faced by Clattenburg and his family. The allegations were dismissed out of hand by the Football Association and the police dropped their own inquiry, instigated after a complaint was made to them, reportedly by the Society of Black Lawyers - who have, also, yet to apologise to Clattenburg for dragging his name through the clarts for several weeks. The club also indicated they would be happy for Clattenburg to referee at Torpedo Stamford Bridge in future. The Professional Game Match Officials Limited confirmed it would have 'no issue' in appointing him to Moscow Chelski FC fixtures. A joint statement by the Premier League, PGMOL and Moscow Chelski FC said: 'It is time to draw a line under this incident.' Which is probably true, although using the word 'sorry' might've actually helped. Last week, the FA cleared Clattenburg of using 'inappropriate language' towards Mikel in the Blues' home defeat by The Scum on 28 October. Moscow Chelski FC's midfielder, Ramires, claimed after the game that Clattenburg had directed racial language towards Mikel, and the club said in the statement that they were 'duty bound' to report the allegation to the FA. 'The referees accept that, given Chelsea FC had received a good faith claim from one of their employees, the club had an obligation under FA rules to report the allegation,' the statement read. However, Moscow Chelski FC acknowledged that also making the allegations public immediately after the game led to 'unwelcome press attention' towards Clattenburg and his family. 'The club regrets not having given more consideration before issuing a statement on the evening of Sunday 28 October. The club also regrets the subsequent impact the intense media scrutiny had on Mark Clattenburg and his family.' The meeting between PGMOL, the Premier League and Moscow Chelski FC took place on Monday at England's National Football Centre, St George's Park. PGMOL were represented by general manager Mike Riley and all sixteen Select Group referees, the Premier League by chief executive Richard Scudamore and Moscow Chelski FC by the club's chairman, Bruce Buck. Clattenburg missed four weekends of Premier League matches whilst the FA investigated Moscow Chelski's complaint. The thirty seven-year-old always denied the charges and the Metropolitan Police dropped its own inquiry earlier this month. Clattenburg admitted that he feared the allegations could have brought an end to his career as a referee. 'To know you were innocent of something but that there was the opportunity for it to wreck your career was truly frightening,' he said in a statement after being cleared by the FA.

A football reporter from Japan has travelled over six thousand miles to cover Glasgow Rangers' match at Elgin City, only to find it had been postponed when he arrived. Writing for Footballista Magazine in Tokyo, sports reporter Daisuke Nakajima spent fourteen hours on a plane and five on a train to get to Borough Briggs Stadium. Upon his arrival, he discovered that because more tickets had been sold than the terrace could hold, the game had been called off 'for safety measures.' Security feared that more than one thousand extra fans would turn up for the Sunday fixture, according to the Mirra. Nakajima said: 'It was a very tiring, wasted journey. There are a lot of fans of Scottish football in Japan and the story of Rangers is of great interest.' The reporter then attempted to interview some Elgin City officials but was equally unsuccessful.

The advertising watchdog has criticised the Daily Mirra and Cadbury for running a competition giving the chance to win London 2012 Olympic one hundred metres final tickets, and then stripping a winner for not claiming her prize within five hours. Cadbury, the official confectionery provider of the London 2012 Games, ran an online promotion in conjunction with the Mirra offering the chance to win tickets to events at the Olympics. The Advertising Standards Authority received a complaint from a winner who had won tickets to boxing, hockey, canoeing and athletics. They said the prize had been 'withheld without justifiable reason' and that the competition was 'unfair' as entrants were not told there was such a short time to claim their prize. The competition closed at midnight on 18 July and winners were selected the following day. Trinity Mirra, publisher of the Daily Mirra, called the winner four times on the 19 and 20 July but failed to get hold of her. The publisher then sent an e-mail just before midday on the 20 July stating that failure to respond by 4pm that day meant the tickets were forfeit and someone else would be selected. Trinity Mirra chose another winner at 5.23pm.
The complainant said that she was 'not available' on those days due to 'a family situation' and that the four calls came from a withheld number with no voicemail left, so she was unable to respond when she checked her phone. This meant that the first she was aware of the very tight deadline to respond was the e-mail, which arrived less than five hours before the prize was deemed forfeit. Cadbury claimed that it had 'nothing to do' with the competition and blamed Trinity Mirra – despite admitting to the ASA that it had paid a fee to the publisher via a PR agency, had provided branding and tickets to winners. Trinity Mirra also said that issues with the competition were not its fault. The ASA rejected the crass excuses from them saying that they were both responsible and accountable. 'We considered that, in the absence of any information in the original ad setting out a deadline for claiming the prize, two days was not a sufficient period for a winner to confirm their availability and claim their prize,' said the ASA. 'We noted that, although attempts had been made to contact the complainant on both 19 and 20 July, no voicemails and no contact number had been left, and that the e-mail sent to her on 20 July gave her less than five hours to respond. We therefore considered that the promotion had not been administered fairly and that the prize had been withheld from the complainant without justification.'

Dean Gaffney has claimed that he has applied for a job at MI5. Yeah, y'see, one of the drawbacks there, Deano me auld cock sparra, is that to be a spy, you have to keep things a secret and not go blabbing your big mouth off to the first journalist who offers you a small bit of free space in their tabloid. So, I think you might've just stumbled at the first hurdle, mush. Although candidates are usually required to keep their applications secret, the former EastEnders actor said that has responded to an online advert for a Mobile Surveillance Officer with the secret service. 'I've got an enquiring mind, so I thought I'd give it a go,' he told the Sun. 'I love spy films and the whole James Bond thing.' Yeah. Because, of course, working for the actual MI5 is just like that. 'MI5 put out an advert looking for people and I thought, "How hard can it be?"' Well, seemingly, a wee bit harder than you're capable of. 'Most spies spend their lives pretending to be people who they're not. I do that for a living.' Allegedly. The MI5 job advertisement read: 'Join us as a Mobile Surveillance Officer at MI5 and help keep people across the UK safe. A valued member of a diverse team, you'll follow subjects of national security investigations by foot and by car. Your observation skills, quick thinking and ability to fit into your environment means you'll be able to make a big contribution.' An alleged 'friend' of Gaffney's allegedly stated that he had - allegedly - applied for the job after 'struggling' to find acting work in recent years. 'There wasn't much acting work around so Dean had a look at what else was out there,' the alleged friend allegedly said. 'That's when he saw the MI5 advert and figured it was worth applying. He's not heard back yet - but fingers crossed.' Personally, if I were Dean - or, indeed, his alleged 'friend' - I wouldn't be holding my breath waiting for a positive outcome.

The British Museum has launched a new video on-demand channel on BT's television platform, offering films and lectures from the famous institution. The new on-demand channel, a first for the one hundred and sixty five-year-old museum, is available on the BT Vision platform at no extra cost to customers, regardless of what package they are on. It shows mainly long and short-form documentary films on a range of subjects, including Journeys of Faith, Great Leaders, Stories of the World, Contemporary Artists and Shakespeare. There will also be a number of lectures and short films available linked to current exhibitions at the museum. The channel will share its video content with a dedicated website, YouTube channel and on social media sites. BT Vision chief executive Marc Watson said that it was 'a privilege' to be a partner with the British Museum. 'Our customers can visit the museum without leaving their armchairs and see captivating stories of humanity, from civilisations which disappeared thousands of years ago to the world we live in today,' he said. British Museum director of public engagement Joanna Mackle added: 'This is a really exciting collaboration. BT Vision is a wonderful way to widen access to some fascinating documentaries from the British Museum. We are keen to share our content freely and as widely to allow as many people as possible access to the collections and the wonderful stories it tells. Viewers will be able to stay up to the minute with current programmes by watching lectures and films linked to our popular exhibitions.'

And, speaking of popular museum pieces, here's today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day.
Early man, there, dear blog. In fact, that was so good, let's have some more.

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