Friday, November 09, 2012

Maybe I'm Just Like My Mother, She's Never Satisfied

David Cameron has warned that accusations of paedophilia against senior Conservative politicians risk creating a 'witch-hunt,' particularly against gay people. Not that he and many of his parliamentary colleagues or their chums in the right-wing media seemed overly concerned about the witch-hunt which they helped to perpetuate against the BBC a few weeks ago, of course. But, now the scandal has come a bit closer to home and various parts of the Internet are gleefully playing a game of spot the paedophile, all this malarkey simply has to stop, it would seem. The prime minister made his comments after being confronted on daytime television with a piece of paper allegedly listing various names currently circulating on the Internet about Tory politicians who are alleged to have been involved in a variety of child sex abuse allegations. Speaking on ITV's This Morning, Cameron appealed to anyone with information - as opposed to rumour and conjecture - to contact the police but raised concerns over the Internet speculation about who may be embroiled in the scandal dating back to the 1970s and 80s. 'I've heard all sorts of names bandied around and what then tends to happen is everyone sits around and speculates about people, some of whom are alive, some of whom are dead,' he told This Morning. 'I do think it's very important that anyone who's got any information about any paedophile, no matter how high up in the country or whether they are alive or dead, go to the police.' The presenter, Phillip Schofield - whom, one imagines, is probably right off Downing Street's Christmas Card list this year - passed Cameron the piece of paper which, he said, listed names he himself had gathered from the Internet, telling Cameron 'you know the names on that piece of paper, will you be speaking to these people?' A clearly irritated - and squirming - Cameron refused to take the list and replied: 'There is a danger if we are not careful that this can turn into a sort of witch hunt, particularly about people who are gay, and I'm worried about the sort of thing you are doing right now, taking a list of names off the Internet.' Cameron, looking more angry on live telly than he has since that time Matt Baker asked him on The ONE Show 'how do you sleep?', said the allegations were 'extremely serious' and the government had 'moved quickly to try to get to the bottom of what they are.' Allegations that senior Conservative politicians may have been involved in child abuse at children's homes in North Wales triggered two separate inquiries this week. They are the latest in a number of inquiries set up over recent weeks after a slew of historic child sex abuse allegations involving the BBC, care homes and Whitehall surfaced, beginning with allegations about Jimmy Savile. As anybody with half-a-brain in their head could have told those politicians and newspapers who, with apparently lustre, jumped on the bandwagon to criticise people currently running the BBC who were at school when these alleged incidents took place, once you start picking at a scab like that, there's no telling what you might uncover beneath. And, so it has proved. The home secretary, Theresa May, announced on Tuesday that the incoming director general of the new National Crime Agency, Keith Bristow, would head a team looking at how North Wales police investigated allegations of child abuse in the 1970s and 1980s, amid claims that they failed to take complaints about high ranking individuals seriously. A high court judge, Mrs Justice Julia Wendy Macur, would examine the scope and conduct of the previous Waterhouse inquiry into the abuse. One of the main issues will be why twenty eight alleged filthy abusers including, it is claimed, one person described as 'an influential ally of Lady Thatcher', were identified during the inquiry but had their names protected. The former children's minister Tim Loughton used an open letter to the prime minister on Thursday to urge him to launch a single, wide-ranging, judicial inquiry into child abuse for fear of 'drowning' in separate inquiries 'which now run to double figures.' The Conservative MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, who served as children's minister for two years until being dropped in the September reshuffle, said it was time to set up an overarching inquiry 'into what went wrong across a whole range of institutions.' Cameron did not rule out one 'mega inquiry' further down the line, but said he was interested in getting the information in the quickest way possible. He told This Morning: 'The real question is would that help us get to the truth quickly. The idea that if you had one mega inquiry that you would speed everything up I'm not sure it's true. I don't rule out taking further steps. I want the government to be absolutely on top of this. I don't want anything to be covered up, I don't want any information held back. If there are more things we have to do, we will do them. But we always have to remember it's very easy for governments to stand up and say: "Here's a new inquiry." What we have got to do is get to the truth as fast as we possibly can.' Loughton made his case for a single inquiry on ConservativeHome: 'It is something I first mooted some time ago when I warned that the Savile revelations only represent the "tip of the iceberg." Without this, I fear we risk a substantial number of inquiries across the police, the BBC, the health service, the church and so on, overlapping in many of their findings and circumstances, but reporting incrementally at various intervals over coming months and years. Notwithstanding the need to avoid anything that would hamper ongoing or revived police investigations, I think we need to demonstrate that there is one substantial inquiry undertaken by a highly respected group of experts with gravitas and authority to look at wherever the evidence takes it. It should be able to investigate all the institutions that have substantial contact with children and young people of which the BBC and other entertainment bodies, the church, care homes, and the NHS are just the starting points that have been subject to exposure already. Without this, I believe we risk an almost weekly call for yet another new inquiry as the media uncovers some fresh or reheated stories of child abuse involving yet another body. The public is rightly asking: "Where will it all end?" and beginning to show signs of "abuse fatigue."'

Subsequently, Schofield - by now clearly chicken-shit scared over what he'd done and the potential repercussions, thereof - quickly tried to apologise after confronting Cameron with his Joe McCarthy-like 'list' of alleged paedophiles. You never used to have these problems when it was just you and Gordon the Gopher, did you Phillip? Should've maybe thought about sticking to what you were good at - kids TV. It has been claimed that names on the list, gathered by supposedly 'trawling the Internet' for three minutes, were visible to TV viewers. 'If any viewer was able to identify anyone listed, I would like to apologise and stress that was never my intention,' Schofield was quoted as saying by the Mirra deputy TV editor Mark Jefferies. Rather makes one wonder what the intention was, in that case. 'I would never be part of any kind of witch-hunt. Unfortunately there may have been a misjudged camera angle.' Cameron refused to look at Schofield's list and added: 'I've heard all sorts of names being bandied around and what then tends to happen is, of course, everyone sits around and speculates about people. There is a danger, if we're not careful, that this can turn into a sort of witch hunt, particularly against people who are gay.' Whether that particular comment was aimed at anyone in particular, Cameron didn't elaborate. Home Office minister Damian Green said Schofield's list was a 'pretty tasteless and silly stunt' while Labour Chuka Ummuna said it was 'foolish and irresponsible. And frankly, rather amateur. It's not what you expect of serious broadcast journalism.' This, of course, presupposes that Phillip Schoifled is 'a serious broadcast journalist.' A presupposition which some dear blog readers may like to take issue with. Mind you, one could also suggest to Mister Cameron that this is what happens when you chose to go on This Morning of all TV shows to discuss such a - very serious - issue rather than, say, Newsnight where, of course, you might have been in danger of getting interviewed by a proper broadcast journalist. TV Regulator Ofcom said it had received 'a few' complaints about the programme. Meanwhile, Tory MP Rob Wilson - someone who seldom has ltitle to say for himself, on any subject - has, according to Guido Fawkes's blog been one of those to snitch-up Schofield to Ofcom.

Rolf Harris's Channel Five show Animal Clinic pulled in 1.6 million overnight viewers on Tuesday. The Australian's first new series in eight years, which premièred with 1.5m but fell to 1.1m last week, achieved an average audience of 1.56m in its 8pm slot. However, Animal Clinic was beaten by George Clarke's Amazing Species (1.94m) on Channel Four, MasterChef: The Professionals (2.54m) on BBC2, and Holby City (4.55m) on BBC1. Nevertheless, added interest in Rolf boosted Body of Proof to 1.01m, although it finished behind Dara O'Briain's brand new BBC2 format, Science Club (1.53m). Heston Blumenthal's new Channel Four series - Heston's Fantastical Food - opened with 1.68m, while The Paradise comfortably led the 9pm hour with a steady 4.61m for its penultimate edition. On ITV, 4.01m watched ITV's - thoroughly rotten - Champions League football coverage of Shiekh Yer Man City's 2-2 draw with Ajax Amsterdam. The match attracted a peak of 5.5m at 9.15pm during the second half. Overall, BBC1 clinched another primetime win with 21.5 per cent of the audience share versus ITV's 17.5 per cent. On Wednesday, the penultimate episode of DCI Banks drew 4.17m for ITV at 9pm, while the latest edition of Brazil with Michael Palin interested 3.64m and Grand Designs mustered 2.09m for Channel Four. Pound Shop Wars opened with 4.47m and led the 8pm hour for BBC1, above the 4.11m tuned in to All Star Mr & Mrs for ITV, while MasterChef: The Professionals had 2.4m for BBC2. The new Gabriel Byrne drama, Secret State, launched with just over 1.2 million viewers on Channel Four. The conspiracy thriller, loosely based on Chris Mullin's novel A Very British Coup (previously dramatised starring Ray McAnally by Channel Four in the late 1980s) had 1.25 million viewers between 10pm and 11pm on Wednesday. The first of the four-parter, the opening salvo in a new season of drama on Channel Four, was twenty two per cent down on Channel Four's slot average over the last three months. The Gruniad said Secret State was 'heaps of fun, but not a whole lot more' whilst the Torygraph was more enthusiastic, describing it as 'a thoroughly entertaining conspiracy thriller.' Wednesday also saw the return of the Comic Strip Presents … thirty years after it first broadcast on the launch night of Channel Four. But Five Go To Rehab, starring Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, Adrian Edmondson and Peter Richardson, was not on Channel Four but on Gold, where it was watched by just over four hundred thousand viewers between 9pm and 10pm. Overall, ITV won the primetime battle with 20.8 per cent, beating BBC1's 17.8 per cent.

BBC3 is to screen a new documentary about Hurricane Sandy. Superstorm USA: Caught on Camera will examine the devastation caused by the storm as seen through mobile phone and personal camera footage. Rumours that it will use The Fall's 'A Lot of Wind' as its title music cannot, at this time, be confirmed or denied. The hour-long special will be shown on Thursday 15 November at 10pm and has been produced by Mentorn Media. 'From the moment that weather forecasters made their predictions, people in New York and New Jersey documented the preparations, and then the frightening reality,' said executive producer Steve Anderson. 'Trees uprooting, power stations exploding and people being evacuated from homes while waist-deep in water; everything has been caught on personal phones and cameras by a generation that understands the power of instant video messaging.' Sandy is believed to have led to at least one hundred and ten casualties across the US and the Caribbean, as well as causing mass property destruction. In August, BBC3 commissioned another fast-turnaround documentary The Batman Shootings to explore the circumstances surrounding the shootings in Aurora, Colorado at a screening of The Dark Knight Rises.

Dara O Briain has said that The Apprentice will 'probably' carry on for two more years. The host of spin-off interview programme The Apprentice: You're Fired told Metro that Lord Alan Sugar-Sweetie will call time on the competition 'at some point. I don't think Sir Alan Sugar-Sweetie wants to do it forever, so we've probably got a couple more years,' Dara claimed. 'People always say they don't like the idiots on the show, so the last series had people who had run their own businesses and were quite competent, then people complained there weren't enough idiots. It's a fine balancing act. People like the ones who say, "I'm like a giant shark," but they also like the ones who can actually do the job.' Asked if he felt bad for the 'cannon fodder' put on the show, he added: 'They're put into awkward situations that might heighten the tension and scope for mistakes but they don't find the crazy people who might go on The X Factor for viewers to point and laugh at. The most common response from the audience on our show is, "Oh, they're not that bad, really," which is fine by me. They look extreme on The Apprentice and then a bit remorseful on our show.'

Modern Family actress Ariel Winter has reportedly been 'removed' from her house by a judge after allegations of abuse against her. The fourteen-year-old, who played Alex Dunphy in the award-winning American comedy, was taken out of her home after a judge ruled that claims against her mother of physical and emotional abuse were 'serious,' according to the TMZ website. An alleged 'court source' allegedly said: 'On 3 October, after a guardianship hearing, a judge determined the allegations that Ariel was being physically and emotionally abused by her mother, Crystal Workman, were serious enough that the judge placed Ariel in a temporary guardianship with her older sister Shanelle Workman.' They also reported that Winter's mother was ordered to stay one hundred yards away from her. TMZ goes on to claim that Winter's sister, Shanelle, was also removed from her mother's home by the Department of Children and Family Services nearly two decades ago. An alleged 'source' - presumably a different one - is allegedly quoted as allegedly adding: 'DCFS placed Shanelle in foster care for more than two years. She never went back to her mother.' Workman senior has since denied all the allegations made against her. Another hearing in the case has been set by the judge for 20 November.

Coronation Street's Sacha Parkinson and Skins actress Lily Loveless are to appear in a new BBC3 drama. Based on real-life events, One Day Like This also counts Georgia Henshaw and Lewis Rainer among its cast. The drama - to be broadcast on BBC3 in 2013 - dramatises the events surrounding a fatal car crash which devastated a small town in England. One Day Like This is based on extensive interviews and research and tells the story of the collision from the point of view of the people involved. Parkinson is best known for playing Sian Powers on ITV soap Coronation Street between 2009 and 2011, while Loveless - who played Naomi in the third and fourth series of Skins - has recently appeared on BBC3's horror drama The Fades and in episodes of Wallander and Good Cop. Henshaw previously starred as Madi Diamond on Waterloo Road from September 2011 to October 2012, while Rainer's past credits include roles on Grange Hill, Holby City and DCI Banks.

Russell Tovey has said that he is 'incredibly excited' to start work on the new ITV comedy The Job Lot. Russell will appear opposite Miranda's Sarah Hadland in the sitcom, which is set in a busy West Midlands Jobcentre. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping who worked in a Jobcentre for nineteen years and then spent the next decade trying to flog various TV production companies a sitcom format about just such a scenario wishes them all well. No, really he does. 'Incredibly excitedly excited to begin the new ITV adventure that is The Job Lot,' said Tovey. 'Superb scripts, gifted actors, and a Jobcentre, the dream.' Hadland added: 'I challenge Russell Tovey to an "excitement-off" over new comedy The Job Lot - I am more excited than him - great scripts, cast and of course [my character] Trish - a desperate woman with a very aggressive perm and a love of beige.' Tovey will play reluctant Jobcentre worker Karl, who works for Hadland's character alongside the sour Angela (played by Jo Enright) and Danielle (Tamla Kari). The Job Lot also stars Sophie McShera, Tony Maudsley, Martin Marquez, Angela Curran and Adeel Akhtar. Big Talk's Kenton Allen, executive producer, said: 'The moment we read the script I immediately thought The Job Lot was a wonderfully warm comedy that brilliantly captured the spirit of these times. As a boy from Birmingham, it seems a very long time since we've had an original comedy from the beating heart of the UK. The Midlands renaissance starts here and I can't wait for the ITV audience to get to know all these brilliant characters.' 'We're proud to be the home of this joyful, modern and warm sitcom,' added ITV's Myfanwy Moore. 'I'm so pleased we're able to support new writers, whilst working with such a truly impressive cast.'

Three of the female stars of The Inbetweeners Movie are to appear in their own E4 sitcom. Drifters has been written by Jessica Knappett, who played Lisa in the film and is also a member of the Ladygarden sketch team. She developed the script with Inbetweeners writers Iain Morris and Damon Beesley, and the six-part series is being made by their production company, Bwark. Knappett will appear alongside Lauren O’Rourke and Lydia Rose Bewley. They will play three women who have just left university and return to low-paid jobs in their home town of Leeds while they try to figure out their future. Bob Mortimer will play the father of one of the characters. Channel Four comedy commissioner Fiona McDermott, said: 'Drifters promises to be a really funny sitcom about really funny girls. It's that simple. Jess is a fab talent and it's great to be working with her and the chaps at Bwark on something new.' In The Inbeweeners Movie, Bewley played Jane, one of girls the boys picked up in an empty nightclub, while O'Rourke played Neil's supermarket-worker girlfriend, Nicole.

And now, some proper good news. Yer man Charlie Brooker is to host a new comedy series for BBC2. Weekly Wipe with Charlie Brooker is a studio-based show in which Brooker will examine the latest news, politics and pop culture. Newspaper headlines, TV shows, adverts, films, books, computer games, product launches, social media sensations and YouTube phenomena will all come under scrutiny from the journalist, critic, writer and acid-tongued wit. Each episode will see Chaz joined in the studio by celebrity guests, with regular contributions from US comedian Doug Stanhope. The six-part half-hour series will be preceded by a 2012 hour-long special, in which Brooker will look at key events from the past year, including the London Olympics, the Diamond Jubilee, the US election and Hurricane Sandy. 'Every week we'll be looking at TV, games, "things in the ether", the online world, and anything and everything in between,' said Brooker. 'And if we need to pad the show out a bit, we'll probably review egg whisks too.'

There's a marvellous - crowing - piece in the Gruniad on Thursday, but, for once, we'll let them off since it concerns FOX News's election coverage, headlined Obama wins, Fox News (almost) experiences the five stages of grief. It begins: 'With recreational marijuana and same-sex marriage being legalized [sic] in some states and liberal Democrats like Elizabeth Warren taking seats in the Senate, FOX News had to deal with an election night that was fair, but unbalanced. Barack Obama's early re-election as president was the capstone of the night's liberal successes and in reacting to the news, the network went through a very public – and very awkward – grieving cycle. It began when an election alert flashed across the screen and the FOX News anchors on deck, Brett Baier and Megyn Kelly, announced that Obama was "the projected winner" in Ohio. Initially, Baier and Kelly took a measured tone that wasn't overtly oppositional towards Obama's success. But their manner soon turned, as it became clear that this call suggested a definitive overall victory for the president. The anchors looked for confirmation from higher-ups off-screen ... and then the roller-coaster ride of grief began.'
Yes, isn't life just tragic?

Barack Obama's victory tweet in the early hours of Wednesday morning may have become the most retweeted message in the short history of Twitter, but subsequently one American teenager's misguided post-election views about Australia were lighting up the twattersphere both down under and in the US. Clearly disappointed with the election result, eighteen-year-old Georgia republican - and, by the sound of her, geography drop-out and very silly little girl - Kristen Neel joined the throngs of American Twitter users claiming that they were 'moving to Australia' to escape the evil clutches of Obama's presidency. Unfortunately, she got a few basic facts about her new chosen home wrong. 'I'm moving to Australia, because their president is a Christian and actually supports what he says,' she tweeted. Neel's comments quickly went viral as bemused Aussies retweeted it more than fourteen hundred times, many pointing out that Australia actually has an atheist, female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, who leads the - broadly left-wing - Australian Labour Party. 'Our Prime Minister is a woman, an atheist who lives with a man she hasn't married. I don't think you'd like it here,' tweeted Ian Cuthbertson, TV editor at The Australian. Neel was just one of dozens of confused Americans who suggested that they were moving to Australia in the wake of Obams's win. Although, whether Australia actually wants these people for citizens is another matter entirely. Buzzfeed helpfully collated thirty seven of the best examples into one spot. The mass of American Republicans eager to head Down Under prompted several responses, including the one below which, helpfully, gives them a few lessons in what Australia is about.
As President Bartlet once asked: 'Toby, tell me, these people don't vote, do they?'

Meanwhile, here's an actual Schadenfreude alert! Karl Rove's live-on-air hissy fit on Tuesday night when FOX News called Ohio – and, with it, the presidential election – for Barack Obama has already been gleefully dissected by all and sundry. Including this blog on the morning after the night before. But it's always worth waiting for The Daily Show's resident satirist Jon Stewart to have his say. 'My friends, eventually someday I will die, as will you. And everyone you've ever known and loved. But this five-minute segment from last night's FOX News election coverage. I believe this piece of footage will, unlike us, live forever!' Click on the link, dear blog reader, for about eight minutes of comedy gold.

And now, dear blog reader, they tried to ban it, they tried to burn it, but it just keeps sticking out.
More than forty Tory MPs and peers are calling for 'an independent system of press regulation' to be introduced. They say the Leveson Inquiry into press ethics has exposed 'fundamental weaknesses' in the current system of self-regulation. The group has written to the Gruniad Morning Star highlighting its concerns. Lord Justice Leveson's inquiry was set up in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal, and is due to publish its findings within weeks. The group includes former cabinet ministers Sir Malcolm Rifkind, Caroline Spelman and Lord Fowler. It is calling for a cross-party response to the Leveson inquiry - to deliver what it calls 'a genuinely independent system' which the public can trust. The letter suggests that should include some form of statutory underpinning for press regulation. It adds that, to be credible, any new regulator must be independent of the press as well as of politicians. The newspaper industry has proposed the formation of a new body with the power to launch investigations and levy fines of up to one million smackers. The plan would preserve self-regulation, and rely on legally enforceable contracts to bind publishers to the new system and ensure funding. But the letter from the Tories says those measures risk being an 'unstable model destined to fail.' It says: 'The worst excesses of the press have stemmed from the fact that the public interest defence has been too elastic and, all too often, has meant whatever editors wanted it to mean. To protect both robust journalism and the public, it is now essential to establish a single standard for assessing the public interest test, which can be applied independently and consistently.' The letter also says the inquiry represents a 'once-in-a-generation opportunity to put things right.' The Leveson inquiry was set up after allegations of widespread wrongdoing by the press, including the hacking of missing schoolgirl Milly Dowler's mobile phone by the Scum of the World. It heard from politicians, celebrities, media figures, police and others over an eight-month period. Lord Justice Leveson is due to make recommendations on the future regulation of the press and conduct between the press, politicians and police. David Cameron has committed himself to implementing these. A second part of the inquiry, looking into the extent of unlawful or improper conduct within News International and other newspaper media organisations, will not get under way until police investigations are concluded.

Former Scum of the World editor - and the prime minister's director of communications - Andy Coulson has challenged a high court ruling that News International is 'not liable' to pay his (presumably massive) legal fees over the phone-hacking scandal. Lawyers for Coulson told the court of appeal in London on Thursday that criminal charges relating to his time as editor of the disgraced and disgraceful Sunday tabloid were 'absolutely essential' to the meaning of a key clause in his contract with News International. Tom Linden QC, for Coulson, argued that News International was also liable for the former editor's legal fees because the company has reputedly agreed to indemnify well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks, its former chief executive, and several Sun journalists as part of criminal proceedings. Coulson, who was in court for the hearing on Thursday, is among seven former Scum of the World staff facing charges of conspiring to intercept voicemail messages. He denies any wrongdoing. As do they all. David Cameron's former communications director wants to overturn a high court ruling in December 2011 that a clause in his severance agreement with News International meant that the publisher was liable to cover his legal costs relating only to his 'lawful duties' as editor and not allegations of criminality. Linden, for Coulson, told the court of appeal on Thursday: 'Is this [the criminal proceedings] a result of his being the editor of the News of the World? If the answer to this is yes then of course we succeed. It is a case which is absolutely essential to the meaning of the clause.' He added: 'Operations Weeting and Elveden are about whether Mr Coulson acted unlawfully in fulfilling his duties as editor. I would submit there is no difficulty in saying that the allegations against him are about how he did his job as editor of the News of the World. This is a case about how he performed his duties as editor.' News Group Newspapers, the News International subsidiary that published the now-defunct Scum of the World, maintains that it is not liable for his legal bills over the phone-hacking affair. Christopher Jeans QC, for News Group Newspapers, told the court: 'The clause covers doing his job as editor. It is not part of his job to hack telephones.' Jeans added that the court should require Coulson to explain 'the context' of the phone-hacking allegations before it decides whether News Group Newspapers is liable to pay his legal costs. 'Let him set out the context in which it allegedly occurred. There has to be a proper context and he has not made it. Without that the court simply cannot decide whether it was a mode of his job,' he said. Jeans told the court that if News Group Newspapers is obliged to meet Coulson's legal costs then he should be reimbursed on the outcome of any criminal proceedings, rather than on a 'pay-as-you-go basis.' However, Coulson's lawyers pointed out that News International appears willing to pay for well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks's legal support 'as she goes along.' They also argued that Tom Mockridge, the News International chief executive, has reportedly committed to funding legal support for Sun journalists arrested in Scotland Yard's investigation into allegations of inappropriate payment to police and public officials. The three appeal court judges – Lord Justice Laws, Lord Justice Sullivan and Lord Justice McCombe – reserved judgment after a four-and-a-half hour hearing.

Meanwhile, the publisher of the Daily Mirra has, reportedly, 'ordered' solicitors to 'take action' to force information on the four claims of alleged hacking at Trinity Mirra titles to be handed over, after not having received any details of the cases being brought by public figures including ex-England football manager Sven-Göran Eriksson. Trinity Mirra, parent of titles including the Daily Mirra, Sunday Mirra and the People, said on Thursday that solicitors have been instructed to 'force' the lawyer representing the four alleged victims of phone-hacking to provide details on the cases. New chief executive Simon Fox briefly discussed the allegations on a call with investors and analysts about Trinity Mirra's financial performance. 'Having had a preliminary look into the claims and having considered the damage done to the share price we will be issuing notices requiring the claim forms to be served.' Trinity Mirra's share price has suffered two major falls in the weeks since the allegations first emerged – at one point the company was down almost thirty two per cent from the 75.25p it enjoyed before the claims were printed. At the close on Wednesday, Trinity Mirra's share price was 66.25p. More than two weeks ago it emerged that solicitor Mark Lewis was preparing to file civil claims against Mirra Group Newspapers on behalf of Eriksson, former footballer Garry Flitcroft, actress Shobna Gulati and Abbie Gibson, the former nanny to David and Victoria Beckham's children. The allegation by Eriksson relates to the Daily Mirra at a time when odious slime bucket (and drag) Piers Morgan was editor. Morgan, now the host of a flop talk show on CNN, has repeatedly denied knowledge of phone-hacking at the title. The claims lodged on behalf of Gulati, Gibson and Flitcroft, allege phone-hacking at either the Sunday Mirra or the People. Fox recently launched an internal investigation into the claims saying it would be 'irresponsible' not to get his legal team to look into the allegations. However he maintained that it was his belief that all the company's journalists 'work within the criminal law and the Press Complaints Commission code of practice.' He also made it clear that he was 'deeply concerned' about the amount of publicity the claims have attracted despite an 'absence of evidence' so far produced to support them. 'Following the extensive publicity given to recent claims of alleged wrongdoing by Trinity Mirra journalists, the board can confirm that no such claims have yet been served, nor have any particulars of such claims been provided,' the company said on Thursday. 'As a result, we are today issuing notices requiring claim forms to be served.'

The death of a member of a popular 1970s rock band who was crushed when a giant hay bale rolled on to his car was 'easily preventable,' a court has been told. Mike Edwards, sixty two, was driving on the A381 near Totnes, Devon, in September 2010 when the six hundred kilogramme bale rolled down a steep field and crushed his vehicle. The former Electric Light Orchestra cellist died instantly. Brian Burden, of Bickleigh Farm, Halwell, and Russell Williams, of Forces Cross, Blackawton, deny two health and safety charges. Prosecutor Rupert Lowe told Plymouth Crown Court that farmer Burden and agricultural contractor Williams did not deliberately cause Edwards's death, but were in the dock over the way they carried out their work. Lowe told the jury: 'They are both decent, hard-working men who you would never expect to be in a court like this.' He described how the huge cylindrical bale rolled down the steep hill in Long Lands field on to the busy A381 at Halwell on 3 September. The jury was shown footage of how a baler works and the field down which the bale rolled. Lowe said: 'You can just how steep it is going down to that main road. Russell Williams told investigators he put the offending bale somewhere half way down the field, that is the bale that landed on the unfortunate Mike Edwards.' He added: 'Once a bale rolls down a hill there is nothing to stop it. It is a risk you cannot afford to take.' The trial continues.

His hits include Absolutely Fabulous, The Office, The Thick Of It and Psychoville – but veteran BBC comedy producer Jon Plowman still regrets missing out on Brass Eye. The pilot for Chris Morris's controversial and ground-breaking satire was made at the BBC, where Plowman was head of comedy entertainment, but the corporation was anxious about the potential legal costs the programme could incur and it was eventually made for Channel Four. 'The guy who made that decision at the BBC then went to Channel Four and took Brass Eye with him,' Plowman told the audience at The Space, a monthly arts show in Brighton this week. The producer also admitted he had turned down Sacha Baron Cohen when the Ali G and Borat creator first came to him as a fledgling comedian. 'I didn't know who he was at that stage,' he shrugged. Reminiscing about his successes, he recalled Jennifer Saunders giving him the first script for Absolutely Fabulous, written in pencil in an exercise book. 'That was the last time I ever got a whole episode written out before we filmed it. While Dawn [French] is very meticulous and worries about stuff, Jennifer thinks if you can get away with it, it's preferable to leave your homework until later.' Plowman also admitted that the fashion culture the award-winning series portrayed was compellingly alien to him. 'It felt like a world I didn't know, but wanted to know about – and those are the scripts worth making, not those written like imitation sitcoms by people who've watched too many sitcoms.' Other collaborations came about in even less orthodox ways. He said that he didn't see a script for The Office before agreeing to produce the acclaimed - if massively over-rated - show. 'Ricky [Gervais] and Stephen [Merchant] had been touting the show about and said. "We're bringing this to you because people say you will do anything." They didn't walk in with a script, just the David Brent character and a tape which became the first episode. They had such fervour I knew I had to give it a go.' Asked which new comedians he tipped for success, Plowman listed Tom Stourton and Tom Palmer's double act Totally Tom, nominated for the 2011 Fosters Best Newcomer award, and comedian and actress Lucy Montgomery, who starred as Saffy's former prison cohort in last year's Absolutely Fabulous Christmas special. He also praised Psychoville creators Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton for creating the new genre of 'horror-com' and expressed enthusiasm for the pair's new BBC2 series which he is producing. Originally called Happy Endings, the pair last month revealed during Richard Herring's Leicester Square Podcast that it was to be called Number Nine, and feature a series of self-contained stories set in different houses, all at Number Nine. It gets harder to make people laugh as one gets older, Plowman suggested. 'There's a point where you're either redoing stuff or you have to search for something genuinely different and I've been lucky in that respect.'

ESPN and BBC Sport are to share coverage of the 2013 Lakeside World Professional Darts Championships. As if anybody's actually bothered about that. The BBC will screen exclusively live coverage of the afternoon sessions of the tournament over the opening weekend of 5 and 6 January 2013. There will be extended BBC afternoon highlights from Monday 7 to Friday 11 January, plus late-night highlights on BBC2 and extra action on BBC Sport online. Additionally, the first semi-final will be broadcast live on the BBC on Saturday 12 January, plus exclusive live coverage of the final on Sunday.

Cyclists, beware! They've taken out your leader now they may be coming for you. Britain's Tour De France champion Bradley Wiggins is in hospital after being knocked off his bike. The four-time Olympic champion and King of the Mods damaged his ribs in a collision outside a petrol station with a white vehicle in Wrightington, near Wigan. Team Sky said on their website: 'The injuries he has sustained are not thought to be serious and he's expected to make a full and speedy recovery.' A Lancashire police spokesman told BBC Sport: 'He was taken to hospital with injuries that are not thought to be life-threatening. His condition is stable. His family have been made aware of what has happened. The driver of the Astra car is a local woman who was not injured but she is helping police with inquiries.' The incident is thought to have happened after the driver of the vehicle pulled out of a petrol station. Garage attendant Yasmin Smith, who saw Wiggins shortly after he was knocked over, told BBC Sport: 'I was in the office and I heard a screeching of tyres and a bang. I ran outside and there was a gentleman on the pavement - I didn't realise who it was at first. He was in a lot of pain - he actually thought he had broken his ribs. His hands looked bruised and they were curled up a bit. And then his colour changed. He got put in a local person's car and when the ambulance came they attended to him immediately. His wife [tried to] hug him and he said: "Don't, my ribs!" He was assisted [in] walking to the ambulance. He could stand up. I think his ribs and hands were the main concern.' The village of Wrightington is around three miles from Wiggins's family home in Eccleston and he regularly goes on practice rides around the rural roads in the area. Wiggins, a father of two, became the first British winner of the Tour De France in July. And just weeks later he won a fourth Olympic gold medal of his career with victory in the time trial at London 2012. Sadly, just hours later British cycling's head coach Shane Sutton also suffered a bike crash in Manchester which left him with bleeding on the brain. British Cycling director Martin Gibbs told BBC Sport: '[Shane's] had a severe knock but he should be fine.' Meanwhile, a British Cycling spokesman stated: 'We call on the government to put cycling at the heart of transport policy to ensure cycle safety.' British Cycling wants cycle safety to be 'built into the design of all new roads, junctions and transport projects, rather than being an afterthought.'

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle came back from two goals down to earn a vital point at Club Brugge and remain top of Europa League Group D. Ivan Trickovski sent Tim Krul the wrong way with a low effort to open the scoring, before Jesper Jorgensen's weak shot from distance made it 2-0. The Magpies responded before half-time with Vurnon Anita's superb volley before Shola Ameobi poked in an equaliser minutes later. Late on, Yohan Cabaye's free-kick hit the bar but neither side could find a winner. With Bordeaux beating Maritimo 1-0 in the other group game, the point keeps United firmly on course to reach the last thirty two. They are four points ahead of third-place Brugge with two games remaining. For the first time in sixty years, two brothers started for Newcastle in a senior with Shola and Sammy Ameobi named in Alan Pardew's starting line-up - emulating George and Ted Robledo in 1952. We'll ignore Matty and Richie Appleby both starting in an Anglo-Italian Cup match in 1992. Shola Ameobi was to have a hand in the first-real chance of the game when the striker's smart back-heel put Gabriel Obertan clear, but the French winger's placed shot was too close to keeper Bojan Jorgacevicl The hosts, looking to end a run of five successive defeats, always booked dangerous on the counter, and it was they who took the lead after fourteen minutes. A long ball from defence was expertly brought under control by Trickovski, who then slipped his way past Fabricio Coloccini and hit a low shot into the net, with Krul having committed himself the wrong way. That was the first goal Newcastle had conceded in Europe this season, but it was to get even worse for Pardew's men in the nineteeth minute. James Tavernier's clearing header went straight to Jorgensen on the edge of the area and the Danish midfielder's effort lacked power, but managed to creep into the far corner. Newcastle attempted to respond, with Sylvain Marveaux failing to connect with the ball from a good position, before Shola Ameobi saw a header tipped over the bar by Jorgacevic. It looked as though they were going to head into the break two goals down before they stunned Brugge with two goals in as many minutes. First, Anita struck a superb forty first-minute volley from outside the area for his first Newcastle goal since joining from Ajax, before the Ameobi brothers combined for the visitors's second as Sammy slipped a pass through for Shola and the striker poked the ball into the net. Newcastle looked to pick up from where they had left off at the start of the second half, with Shola Ameobi twice heading over as the Belgians struggled to contain the big striker. The home side had their chances too, with Krul having to be alert to keep out a scrambled effort from Carlos Bacca before the Colombian rose unmarked to meet a cross but his header flew over the bar. Cabaye was introduced in the seventy second minute and almost made an immediate impact, with his first contribution being a curled free-kick that bounced back off the crossbar. The game continued to swing from one end to the other and Krul again prevented Club Brugge from snatching a late winner when he pushed over a powerful header from substitute Mohamed Tchite. The pace of the game lessened as it headed towards a close, although Brugge had to defend against a succession of Newcastle corners to ensure the game ended in a draw.

Greg James accidentally read out the wrong top 40 singles chart on BBC Radio 1 on Wednesday. The DJ counted down the entire chart at the end of his Chart Update Show, only to realise later that it was actually the chart from four weeks ago. After the news, James confessed to the listeners and Chart Show host Reggie Yates that the wrong chart had been played. He said: 'Lots of things are going wrong today. I've got a confession to make. The rundown which we did about five mins [sic] ago was in fact a rundown from four weeks ago. The wrong one went out on air. Genuinely it was a mistake. What we should do to appease the Official Charts Company and all of the chart fans is to do the real countdown.' The presenter then proceeded to count down the official chart, which placed Robbie Williams at number one for a second week with 'Candy'.

On Thursday evening, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self enjoyed another magnificent, and well-attended, Record Player event at the Tyneside, as dear old kindly Uncle Scunthorpe presented The Artist Formerly Known As The Artist Formerly Known As Prince's Purple Rain.
Truly, it was wondrous in our sight. The evening was purple - with red flashes. And velvety. There was also cake! Purple cake, that that. And yer actual Keith Telly Topping's good mate Geoff Bell, a big prince fan of some renown, brought in a lot of his massive memorabilia collection to decorate the room. Including this, yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Bitchin'.

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