Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Third Class Tickets

A promised tear-jerking Call the Midwife special and a sombre yuletide instalment of Doctor Who mean this may not be an entirely merry Christmas on the BBC, which has unveiled its highlights for the festive season this week. Ratings phenomenon Call the Midwife – which became the BBC's most successful new drama series in over a decade at its launch early this year – features, appropriately enough, a baby born in difficult surroundings in a special Christmas episode. 'For something to be feel-good, it doesn't have to make you deliriously happy – it has to touch your heart in a deep way. And for me that's what Christmas is all about,' said Heidi Thomas, the writer and creator of the show, which is based on Jennifer Worth's memoirs of practising midwifery in London's East End during the 1950s. 'But ultimately it's a very hopeful episode, very resolute: it's about people finding strength through trial, really. It feels very Christmassy to me – I don't think it's wrong to cry at Christmas.' The Snowmen, this year's seasonal Doctor Who adventure, will also follow a less-than-jolly trajectory - at least, to begin with: the episode will see Jenna-Louise Coleman introduced as new companion, Clara (or Avocado, take your pick) and the unveiling of a new look for yer actual Matt Smith – and also another side to The Doctor, according to executive producer The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He). 'The Doctor at Christmas is one of my favourite things – but this year it's different,' noted the Moffinator. 'He's lost Amy and Rory to The Weeping Angels, and he's not in a good place; in fact, he's Scrooge. He's withdrawn from the world and no longer cares what happens to it.' But there is some joy on the BBC's yuletide schedule: Call the Midwife's Miranda Hart gets a second starring role, with a special episode of her self-penned sitcom Miranda – and there are also festive editions of The Graham Norton Show, Sarah Millican's eponymous chat show, The Royle Family and Mrs Brown's Boys. There will also be a Strictly Come Dancing special including Fabrice Muamba, the Notlob footballer who suffered a heart-attack while playing a match in March and has since retired from the game. Room on the Broom, an animated film by Julia Donaldson, the author of The Gruffalo, will be screened for children, and an adaptation of David Walliams' book Mr Stink will star Hugh Bonneville, Sheridan Smith, Johnny Vegas and Walliams himself. CBeebies has a Jack and the Beanstalk adaptation for smaller children. Also for a family audience is Superstars – a revival of the popular 1970s sporting entertainment show which will feature sixteen Olympic athletes, including Mo Farah, Nicola Adams and Lizzie Armitstead, competing against their Olympic teammates over a variety of disciplines. There is a trio of standalone dramas: a two-part adaptation of William Boyd's Restless, a Victoria Wood-written tale of the pianist Joyce Hatto in Loving Miss Hatto (so, that'll be well worth avoiding and it'll be interesting to see if Wood gets all stroppy about whether it's on Christmas Day or not again) and Toby Jones and Sienna Miller starring in The Girl, a drama based on the relationship between Alfred Hitchcock and Tippi Hedren when they were making The Birds and Marnie. There will also be religious programming for Christmas, including Rowan Williams taking a look back at his time as archbishop of Canterbury, Songs of Praise led by Katherine Jenkins, and the traditional Carols from King's. 'The BBC has a rich tradition of being at the heart of British families' Christmas celebrations, and we believe this year's line-up is one of the most exciting yet,' said Roger Mosey, controller of BBC Vision.

Yer actual Matt Smith his very self will top the bill on the festive edition of The Graham Norton Show. Smudger will be promoting the Doctor Who Christmas special - The Snowmen. Other guests on the seasonal edition of Norton's chat show include Hollywood star Dustin Hoffman, comic Billy Connolly and Absolutely Fabulous creator Jennifer Saunders. Amy MacDonald will be the musical guest. Other guests due to appear on the current series of The Graham Norton Show include yer actual Martin Freeman, Dawn French, Daniel Radcliffe, Jessica Ennis and Jake Gyllenhaal. The festive Norton special will be shown on Friday 21 December at 10.35pm on BBC1.

Jessica Raine has described the expected scheduling clash between her period drama Call the Midwife and Downton Abbey as 'stupid.' The two massively popular shows have been preliminarily placed on BBC1 and ITV's Christmas Day line-ups and are expected to overlap to at least some degree during the evening. Speaking after a screening of the Call the Midwife special this week, Raine and Helen George dismissed talk of any rivalry between the two ratings hits and claimed that they would prefer if the two programmes didn't force viewers to pick between them. 'I think it's wonderful now with Sky+ that viewers can watch everything,' said George. 'Doctor Who, Downton and Call the Midwife, everything.' Raine said: 'I don't think they'll ever put us head-to-head, I think that would be so stupid. I love Downton and I don't see it as a competition.' She also revealed that the show's casts had bonded on a joint trip to the US for press junkets. 'We were on the same plane to a PBS convention for the new TV season. We were on the plane with Jo Froggatt and Brendan Coyle and I was bounding up to them asking, "Hi, are you guys here for the PBS thing?" They are really lovely and really nice. And apparently they like our show as well. So it's a mutual love.'

BBC2 has also unveiled its Christmas schedule for 2012. Highlights from the channel's festive line-up include the previously mentioned The Girl, a James May's Toy Stories special and a new Dragons' Den. The Dragons' Den one-off will explore the world of Christmas commerce, with nine entrepreneurs representing six businesses descending the stairs to pitch their festive businesses in the hope of securing a much-needed cash injection. James May's Flight Club - a Toy Stories special - will see the Top Gear host investigate the nation's childhood love affair with the model plane, and set out to achieve the first cross channel flight ever achieved by an engineless, home-made super-sized toy. Also forming part of BBC2's Christmas schedule is Arena special Sister Wendy And The Art Of The Gospel - which follows Sister Wendy Beckett, a South African-born British nun and art expert who rose to fame in the 1990s for presenting a series of BBC art history documentaries. Documentary series Queen Victoria's Children, motoring show Racing Legends, the traditional Carols From Kings and Goodbye To Canterbury - an exclusive insight into the life of retiring Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams - will also air over the festive period.

Sherlock series three will go into production a couple of months later than expected, it has been reported. Work on new episodes of the detective drama was due to begin in January, but the shoot will now start in March, according to Entertainment Weekly. Alleged 'sources' allegedly said the change was - allegedly - necessary to accommodate the busy schedules of Benedict Cumberbatch, who is in Star Trek: Into Darkness, and Martin Freeman, who has been filming The Hobbit. Sherlock's upcoming third season will therefore likely premiere in late 2013, rather than in August, as had previously been rumoured. The BBC is yet to officially announce the show's official return date. A spokesperson for US broadcaster PBS said Sherlock is 'likely' to be shown in the States in 'either late 2013 or early 2014.' Subsequently producer Sue Vertue confirmed the reports of a delay. 'To stop further speculation, Sherlock filming has pushed to March for availability reasons,' Vertue confirmed on Twitter. However, she added: 'It's not expected to affect any likely TX dates.' Series co-creators yer actual Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss his very self have also revealed three teaser words for the new episodes - 'Rat', 'Wedding' and 'Bow'. Gatiss previously told the Digital Spy that he planned to write the Sherlock series three premiere, which will be loosely based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Adventure of The Empty House. 'It'll be a version of it, because that's the one in which [Sherlock] returns,' he explained. 'How much or how little [we change], I don't know yet. As before, we cherry pick and we choose bits and pieces of other [stories] that we like. They're always less literal adaptations.'

Olympic gold medal winner Victoria Pendleton has admitted that she is 'slightly relieved' to leave Strictly Come Dancing. The cyclist departed the show at the weekend after finishing bottom of the leaderboard with her salsa routine. 'The standard of the competition is so far and I knew I was the worst one there,' said Queen Victoria. 'I'm going to miss the other contestants. And the hair and the make-up, they make you feel so glamorous. Everyone gets on so well. It's a lovely atmosphere.' Pendleton also revealed that she was most looking forward to getting home and seeing her dogs again. 'I've really missed them. I left home in mid-July for the Olympics and I've hardly been home since,' she said. Her professional partner Brendan Cole said: 'Victoria had a star quality that people admire and that's why we stayed in the competition so long. The miraculous thing is that someone not in the world of showbiz can come out and be part of it and dance in front of the nation.'

Olympic and Paralympic athletes dominate the shortlist for the 2012 BBC Sports Personality of the Year award. Cyclists Bradley Wiggins and Sir Chris Hoy, tennis star Andy Murray and athletes Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah are candidates in a twelve-strong list. Rower Katherine Grainger, golfer Rory McIlroy (the only non-Olympian to make the list), boxer Nicola Adams and sailor Ben Ainslie are other hopefuls. Paralympians Sarah Storey, Ellie Simmonds and David Weir also make the final twelve for the award ceremony on 16 December. Three former Sports Personality nominees were on an expert panel which decided the shortlist, and the winner will be decided by a public vote on the night. The 2000 winner Sir Steve Redgrave, Baroness Grey-Thompson and Denise Lewis were joined by Baroness Campbell, chair of UK Sport, and representatives from the BBC and the newspaper industry. Presented by Sue Barker, Gary Lineker and Clare Balding, Sports Personality of the Year will be broadcast live on BBC1 and BBC Radio 5Live from 19:30. A capacity crowd of fifteen thousand punters at the Excel in London will make it the biggest show in the event's fifty nine-year history. It will be a star-studded climax to twelve months of sport which saw London host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. With an array of candidates to choose from, the panel faced some difficult choices finalising the shortlist, which was extended from ten to twelve to reflect a once-in-a-generation year for British sport. King of the Mods Bradley Wiggins became the first Briton to win the Tour De France and followed that up a fortnight later with Olympic time trial gold. Hoy won the team sprint and men's keirin at London 2012 - his fifth and sixth Olympic gold medals overall - to beat the record for golds won by a British sportsman. Ennis won the heptathlon and Farah triumphed in both the five and ten thousand metres in the Olympic Stadium. Wimbledon finalist Murray clinched gold (and a doubles silver) at the Games before ending Britain's wait for a major tennis title with victory in the US Open, and McIlroy also triumphed across the Atlantic as he took the US PGA title, played a major part in Europe winning The Ryder Cup team and won the season-ending World Tour Championship. Adams became the first female fighter to win an Olympic boxing title, Grainger claimed rowing gold at the fourth attempt and Ainslie's victory at the Games made him the most decorated Olympic sailor of all time. At the Paralympics, wheelchair racer Weir won four titles, teenage swimmer Simmonds triumphed twice and Storey rode to four cycling titles. Such was the strength in depth of potential contenders that those to miss out include Olympic gold medallists Charlotte Dujardin, Greg Rutherford, Victoria Pendleton, Laura Trott and Alistair Brownlee, along with Europe's Ryder Cup hero Ian Poulter. The expert panel will also choose the first, second and third places for the Team of the Year (one imagines the Ryder Cup team will have that sewn up), Overseas Personality of the Year and Coach of the Year awards. Chair of the panel, BBC Director of Sport Barbara Slater, said: 'If we ever needed reminding just how special a sporting year it has been, then the list of those sportspeople who did not make the final twelve is testament to that.' Other awards on the night will again be Young Sports Personality of the Year and Unsung Hero, which will continue to be decided by the existing specialist panel system - plus the Lifetime Achievement and Helen Rollason awards which will be decided by the board of BBC Sport.

Daily Mirra TV critic Jim Shelley bowed out after eleven years writing his Shelley Vision column on Monday, thanking 'all the features editors, picture researchers and subs' who have helped him, and 'everyone for reading or writing in – even the letters in scary green capitals.' Shelley had a final pop at his bête noire, EastEnders, before signing off by saying: 'I'm off to put my feet up and watch telly.' Blimey. When yer actual Keith Telly Topping gives up this gig, that's the last thing he intends to do.

Cult BBC4 quiz Only Connect scored a new all-time high last night, according to overnight viewing figures. The Monday night hit pulled in 1.13m for its latest episode, rising over three hundred thousand viewers on last week's numbers and setting the audience record a week after host Victoria Coren's wedding to David Mitchell. Only Connect replaced Doc Martin as the most watched multichannel show. Meanwhile, ITV''s main showing of 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) had an audience of 9.02m for a ninety-minute episode, starting at 8.30pm. The commercial channel's terrestrial rival BBC1 had a quiet night in comparison, its line-up of Panorama (8.30pm) and New Tricks (9pm) managing 2.89m and 3.95m respectively. Over on BBC2, University Challenge (3.15m) and MasterChef: The Professionals (2.69m) held up well in the 8pm hour, after which the concluding episode of the channel's three-part documentary series The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler attracted 1.86m. Elsewhere, the second episode of Stephen Fry's new Channel Four show Gadget Man interested 1.3m in the 8.30pm slot, remaining comfortably ahead of Channel Five's The Gadget Show which was watched by seven hundred and fifty thousand punters. The Curious Case of Clark Brothers followed with 1.1m.

Spotty faced wretch and, according to Steve Coogan 'risible individual' Paul McMullan, the former Scum of the World hack, was one of the most memorable witnesses to appear at the Leveson inquiry. He famously told the judge that 'privacy is for paedos' and showed a red-faced David Barr an explicit picture of France's former first lady, Carla Bruni. Now McMullan is back to his old tricks, according to the Independent's diary column on Tuesday. The ex-Scum of the World man was apparently unrepentant when visited at the pub he owns in Dover on Monday by detectives from the Metropolitan police's Operation Elveden investigation. The Indy reports him as saying afterwards: 'I told them there is nothing wrong with paying for information, Operation Elveden is bollocks and they should try investigating real crime instead of hanging around my pub, and they left.'

Meanwhile, one of McMullen's former colleagues, the former deputy editor of the Scum of the World, Neil Wallis, has said that the hacking of phones of Milly Dowler and the victims of Soham was 'unconscionable,' but that is not a reason to shackle the press with new legislation. By contrast, many normal people feel that, on the contrary, that's exactly a reason a shackle the press with new legislation. And, put all of the journalists responsible in prison with all of the murderers and the rapists and the people who nick stuff from Morrison's. Wallis told a debate at the University College London on Monday night that 'the right to freedom of speech' was not just something that should be afforded to victims of press intrusion and issued a warning that politicians would 'seek to censor' the press given the chance. 'Hacking into Milly Dowler's phone was utterly wrong, hacking into the phones of the families [and] victims of Soham, 7/7, Madeleine McCann, was unconscionable, the pillorying of Christopher Jefferies was just wrong, but free speech is for everybody and not just for some of the victims of bad journalism,' said Wallis, who joined the Scum of the World after the Soham and Dowler phone-hacking incidents. 'Of the ten thousand or so journalists in the UK, the hundreds of newspapers and magazines, the millions of stories, only a tiny, tiny, few were involved in the criminal activity that has been discussed,' he claimed. Wallis said that proponents of statutory regulation for the press make 'very seductive' arguments, but the public should 'be careful' of the law of unintended consequences. He argued there were already laws dealing with excesses of the press, noting that at least thirty journalists had been arrested in the last eighteen months as part of the investigations into activities of the press. Indeed, the former tabloid editorial executive is one of those who has been arrested. Wallis has been on bail for the last sixteen months after his arrest in relation to the police investigation into alleged hacking at the Scum of the World. Wallis said there were 'enough laws' governing the media including those relating to libel and privacy. Citing the Terrorism Act of 2000, he said politicians and police had demonstrated 'scant regard' for the rights of individuals when it suited them. The addition of the now-abolished section forty four to the act, which gave police powers to stop and search anyone reasonably suspected of being a terrorist had led to officers stopping and questioning two hundred and fifty three thousand innocent people, but no arrests. 'There was never a single charge,' Wallis added. He branded the Hacked Off campaign to bring in new legislation to regulate the press as 'an unsavoury alliance of celebrities, politicians and ambulance-chasing lawyers.' At the same debate, the Tory MP John Whittingdale, chair of the culture, media and sport select committee, said the notion of a Leveson law to regulate the press was 'horrifying' and the country should give attempts to bring in new regulation, independent of politicians, a chance. If that did not work, Whittingdale added, he would be the 'first in the queue' demanding statutory reforms. Of course, by that time it might be a bit late for another family like the Dowlers of the McCanns, or another individual like Chris Jeffries. Just something to drop into your toaster and see if it pops up brown.

BBC News has denied 'banning' presenters Tim Willcox and Sophie Long, who allegedly have had an affair, from appearing on screen together. Willcox was quoted as being 'hopelessly in love' with his co-presenter Long, according to the Sun. The forty nine-year-old father-of-four has reportedly told his wife Sarah about the affair. He is said to have attended Long's wedding to yacht salesman Will Green in Cornwall in June 2010. A BBC spokesperson said that the pair will not appear together on screen 'in the near future,' adding: 'They are not scheduled to be presenting together, but there is no ban.' A - nameless - friend of Willcox is reported to have said: 'He is very charming and has lots of female fans but he is also very honourable so all this will have been very difficult for him.' The pair are regularly seen presenting BBC News Twenty Four at different times of the day. Willcox was particularly praised for his coverage of the Chilean miners' crisis for the channel in 2010.

National newspapers have been accused by Lord Patten of 'unjustifiably trashing' the reputation of former BBC director general George Entwistle. The BBC Trust chairman said that Entwistle was undermined by 'disparate silos and warring tribes' during his fifty four days in charge at the corporation – some of the same management problems that he had hoped to address after being appointed in July. However, Patten told the Voice of the Listener and Viewer autumn conference in London on Monday that he was 'saddened' that since Entwistle resigned earlier this month Entwistle had been 'written off by large sections of the press as some sort of hapless or inadequate figure,' with 'his reputation regularly trashed. I don't remember very many people saying that when we appointed him. The man we appointed was and remains a strong creative and editorial leader, with a reputation built on twenty three years of outstanding service to the BBC,' he said. 'Given everything that went wrong, it was the right thing for him to go when he did. But that should in no way justify the way his reputation is now being traduced.' Patten added that Entwistle had hoped to 'look at some of the management problems which beneath the surface were still bedevilling one of our greatest institutions' before he stood down in the wake of the ongoing child abuse scandal. 'I was struck on my arrival as chairman by the number of people both inside and outside the BBC who told me it was successful despite its management structure and not because of it,' he said. 'George was determined to deal with the problems of disparate silos and warring tribes. He wanted to establish a culture of self-criticism and self-awareness. It obviously saddens me that it was partly these failings which he was determined to tackle that helped to undermine George Entwistle in his brief time as director general.' In a combative speech, Patten claimed that the Newsnight crisis was a product of 'individual judgments, behaviours, and the management structures around them,' rather than about wider problems of BBC governance. The BBC Trust chairman later repeated his view that it was right for Entwistle to step down when he did, and added to applause from the delegates: 'But I really don't much care for character assassination.' He also rejected suggestions that Entwistle, the former director of BBC Vision, was a 'strategic appointment' to allow Patten more day-to-day control at the corporation.

You think you're having a rotten day, dear blog reader? Just check out this poor lady on Heart FM reading the traffic report. 'Pretty nasty,' indeed.

Pick TV, the Freeview channel that was previously Sky3, is to start carrying nightly one-minute bulletins from Sky News. Sky News evening anchor Martin Stanford presented the first bulletin on Monday night at 9pm on Pick TV, offering a 'fast-paced' update on some of the day's top stories. The report will be produced from Sky News Centre in West London. Despite the fact that the Sky News channel is already available on Freeview, head of Sky News John Ryley said that the nightly Pick TV bulletins will help expand the broadcaster's reach on digital terrestrial television. 'This is a great opportunity for Sky News to give Freeview viewers a snapshot of our world-class news coverage,' he said. 'Viewers will be able to watch the specially-created bulletin and digest the top four to five news stories of the day, and can always turn to Freeview channel eighty two where Sky News is available for a more in-depth look at the day's news.' Pick TV channel controller Stephen Ladlow - crawlingly - added: 'We're thrilled to bring Sky News' world-class service to our audience on Pick TV.' Hey, I think if you really try hard, Stephen, you could probably get your tongue rammed up there a bit further for a right good lick. Pick TV, which launched in place of Sky3 on 28 February 2011, typically showcases fringe Sky content on Freeview. It is also available on Sky, TalkTalk TV and Virgin Media.

An actor in one of the biggest comedies on US television, Two and a Half Men, has described the show as 'filth,' while urging viewers not to watch it. In a video posted online by a Christian group, Angus T Jones said he no longer wanted to take part in the sitcom. The nineteen-year-old explained that the show's 'raunchy humour' 'conflicted' with his recent bible studies. Jones, who has been in the show since he was ten, said viewers should 'question' the impact such programmes had on them. The clip was posted by the Forerunner Christian Church in California, where Jones, who reportedly makes - or, at least, used to make - three hundred and fifty thousand dollars an episode, says he 'sought spiritual guidance.' He added: 'I'm on Two and a Half Men and I don't want to be on it. Please stop watching it.' Which, one imagines, is a pretty sure-fire way of making sure he's not on it very much longer. 'Please stop filling your head with filth. It's, you know, people say it's just entertainment.' He continued: 'Do some research on the effects of television and your brain and I promise you you'll have a decision to make when it comes to the television and especially with what you watch on television. It's bad news.' Warner Bros Television, which produces the show, and CBS, which broadcast it, have made no comment. In Two and a Half Men, which has run for nine seasons, Jones is the underachieving son of an uptight father, played by Jon Cryer. The series originally starred Charlie Sheen as the womanising uncle of Jones's character. But Sheen was fired in March last year after a bizarre rant against the show's lead writer, and Ashton Kutcher replaced him.

The BBC has come in for some criticism over claims that it is being 'Stalinist' in its approach to Jimmy Savile by attempting to, effectively, erase him from its history. For example, Ruth Dudley Edwards in the Torygraph wrote of her 'annoyance' about the removal of Savile's Desert Island Discs appearance from the BBC archive: 'First they said they wouldn't remove it from the archive: then they changed their corporate mind and expunged it. Why? Because listening to it might turn us plebs into paedophiles?' In its news story about the decision to remove the 1985 episode from the BBC database, the Scum Express suggested it was because Savile boasted about becoming a dance hall boss so he could 'meet girls.' That was not the case. According to the Gruniad Morning Star, the real reason for the removal was the fact that Savile arrived in the studio with a young girl (age, as yet, unknown) called Charlotte, whom he described as a former patient - and the 'honorary assistant receptionist' - at Stoke Mandeville hospital. She took part in the programme during a Jim'll Fix It spoof segment which involved her being questioned by the show's then presenter, the late Roy Plomley. 'It is difficult to gauge her age from her voice,' states the Gruniad in a typically muck-stirring piece, 'but she does sound very young.' They continue: 'You can make your own mind up by listening to the recording on YouTube. The problem for the BBC, however, is that it is damned if it does and damned if it doesn't. Clearly, the corporation cannot risk further criticism for failing to excise material that might have involved participants suffering from sexual assaults, or even inappropriate behaviour, by Savile. That's why it is carefully editing past Top of the Tops broadcasts to ensure nothing is transmitted that shows Savile with young girls.

Brian Cosgrove, the creator of the 1980s animated TV series Danger Mouse has been honoured at the British Academy Children's Awards in London. Cosgrove said it was 'an honour and a privilege' to receive the special prize in recognition of his forty years of programme making. Eddie Izzard, odious greed bucket (and drag) Alesha Dixon and Jedward also presented prizes on Sunday. The former, at least, being able to walk in a straight line and talk at the same time. The awards, given by BAFTA, recognise excellence in children's film, television, games and online media. Cosgrove co-founded the Manchester-based Cosgrove Hall Films with animation partner Mark Hall - who died last year - in 1976 and went on to become a major producer of children's television and animated programmes. The company also made film versions of Roald Dahl book The BFG and children's classic The Wind In The Willows, as well as popular animations Jamie and the Magic Torch and Count Duckula. 'Hopefully, via the programmes we made, we brought pleasure to many generations of viewers,' Cosgrove said. For a third consecutive year, CBBC show Horrible Histories won the prize for comedy, while Peppa Pig won the pre-school animation award. Box office hit The Hunger Games, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Woody Harrelson, was named best feature film. CBeebies presenter Justin Fletcher was given the third BAFTA of his career for presenting Something Special - a programme he developed aimed to help children with learning and communications difficulties - making him the most awarded children's presenter to date.

Chris Stamp, one of the original managers of The Who, has died of cancer at the age of seventy. Roger Daltrey paid tribute to Stamp on stage in Detroit on Saturday. He described Stamp as a man 'without whom we wouldn't be the band we were,' according to Billboard magazine. Stamp co-founded the group's Track Records label. He co-managed The Who with his partner Kit Lambert and also helped to launch the career of The Jimi Hendrix Experience among others. Daltrey told the audience at Joe Louis Arena that Stamp 'flew into the universe on a pair of rainbow wings. Chris, we can never thank you enough - well, I can't, for what you brought to my life,' he said. Stamp died on Saturday at Mount Sinai hospital in New York. Born in London - the younger brother of the actor Terence Stamp - Stamp started out as a filmmaker and met business partner and collaborator Lambert while working at Shepperton Film Studios as an assistant director — they both worked on such films as I Could Go On Singing, The L-Shaped Room and Of Human Bondage. The pair shared a flat in West London, and in 1963 Lambert convinced Stamp that the two should direct their own film about the burgeoning British music scene. 'Our idea was to find a group that somehow represented the emerging ideas of our time. They would be rebellious, anarchistic and uniquely different from the established English pop scene,' said Stamp. Stamp and Lambert's contrasting personalities and backgrounds also made an impression on those they met; in a 1972 Rolling Stone article Keith Moon said that the two men 'were as incongruous a team as [The Who].' Lambert was an Oxford graduate and the son of composer Constant Lambert. In contrast, Stamp was five years younger, the son of a Thames tug-boatman, Moon describing Stamp as speaking 'in nearly unintelligible East London cockney.' In early 1964, they met The Who - then known as The High Numbers. Despite having had no prior experience in business management or the music industry, the duo made a move to acquire The High Numbers from their then manager, the publicist Peter Meaden; Lambert had learned from The Beatles' attorney, David Jacobs, that the band's contract with Meaden was legally invalid and in 1964 he accepted a buyout and relinquished control to Stamp and Lambert. Daltrey referred to Stamp and Lambert as 'the fifth and sixth members of The Who.' Stamp worked on the production for The Who's 1967 LP The Who Sell Out and the following year's US compliation LP Magic Bus and is also credited as executive producer of Who's Next, Quadrophenia and the soundtrack for the movie Tommy. Lambert and Stamp parted ways with the band in 1975 and Lambert died of a brain haemorrhage in 1981. Stamp later re-established his connection with The Who, appearing in documentaries about them. He also sat on the board of the John Entwistle Foundation, started in memory of the late Who bass player. In a statement on The Who's website, it said Stamp's loss was 'hard to bear' and that tributes would follow shortly. Chris is survived by his wife of thirty three years, Calixte, his daughters Rosie and Amie, his sons-in-law Edmund and Nicholas and several grandchildren, as well as his brother Terence.

A man has been sentenced after reportedly 'terrorising' local residents ... with a dildo. Ian Poulton from Wellington, Shropshire drew the attention of fifteen police officers (and, a few ladies one imagines) who were armed and wearing bulletproof vests, reports SWNS. The incident happened in Telford when authorities mistakenly believed that the man had a gun tucked in his trousers when he was simply carrying a dildo. Poulton, thirty three, admitted in court that he deliberately used the sex toy to 'deceive everyone.' The judge told Poulton: 'It was clearly not a gun, be it imitation or real. It was an entirely innocent object. It was the defendant's intention to deceive. Witnesses thought it was a firearm so he has to take the consequences.' Poulton was jailed for five years. He also confessed to assaulting a neighbour and causing damage to a police vehicle.

There's a brilliant piece on yer actual Keith Telly Topping's old mate Greg Bakun's From The Archive blog to which I draw your attention, dear blog reader, on the glorious days of tape tradings in the 1980s and 1990s. Check it out.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, this one's for Chris Stamp. Visionary.

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