Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Days of Speed & Slow-Time Monday

Yer actual Martin Freeman his very self has discussed the upcoming third season of Sherlock. Whilst promoting The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Freeman talked briefly about his thoughts on the new series, which will begin with his character, John Watson, believing that his friend Sherlock Holmes is dead. Asked whether he could see his incarnation of John fainting upon realising that Sherlock is alive, as he infamously does in Arthur Conan Doyle's short story The Adventure of the Empty House, Freeman replied: 'Probably not. I don't know, I think Mark [Gatiss] is writing the first episode, and again I've not seen the script yet. But yeah ... fainting might not quite cut it.'

Meanwhile, dear blog reader, here's a picture of some Cybermen.
ITV's drama The Poison Tree had less overnight viewers than BBC2's documentary series about Claridge's Hotel on Monday night. With both shows concluding in the 9pm hour, Inside Claridge's gained an impressive audience of 4.33m, rising two hundred thousand punters on last week's episode and 1.1m on 3 December's début edition. The Poison Tree, meanwhile, shed a million viewers as 3.66m watched the two-part psychological drama's climax. On BBC1, a repeat of a 2008 My Family Christmas special appealed to 3.01m. Channel Four's latest episode of Stephen Fry's Gadget Man drew 1.05m at 8.30pm, retaining a comfortable lead over Five's now infinitely missable Gadget Show which held a steady seven hundred and thirty seven thousand across the 8pm hour. Gadget Man was nearly caught by the cult BBC4 quiz show Only Connect, the latest episode of which pulled in 1.01m.

And, speaking of ratings, here's the final consolidated figures for the Top Twenty One programmes week-ending 9 December 2012:-
1 Strictly Come Dancing - Sat - BBC1 - 12.04m
2 The X Factor - Sun ITV - 11.50m
3 Coronation Street - Wed ITV - 9.34m
4 The Royal Variety Performance - Mon ITV - 8.82m
5 EastEnders - Tues BBC1 - 8.46m
6 Emmerdale - Tues ITV - 7.64m
7 Last Tango in Halifax - Tues BBC1 - 7.51m
8 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): Coming Out - Wed ITV - 7.40m
9 Merlin - Sat BBC1 - 7.00m
10 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 6.80m
11 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 5.98m
12 Who Do You Think You Are? - Thurs BBC1 - 5.53m
13 Pointless Celebrities - Sat BBC1 - 5.41m
14 Have I Got News For You - Fri BBC1 - 5.10m
15 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 5.08m
16 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.97m
17 Ten O'Clock News - Thurs BBC1 - 4.81m
18 BBC News - Sat BBC1 - 4.76m
19 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 4.75m
20 The Town - Wed ITV - 4.68m*
21 The ONE Show - Tues BBC1 - 4.58m
Channel Four's highest-rated programme of the week was a broadcast of the movie Elf (4.02m), which proves that some people are just glakes. BBC'2s largest figure was for Masterchef: The Professionals (3.53m, including BBC HD figures).

Ofcom - a government appointed quango, elected by no one - has said that a dance routine by a Britney Spears look-a-like on The X Factor did not breach the broadcasting code. The regulator said that the dance by Lorna Bliss, who had previously auditioned for Britain's Got Talent, was 'saucy' rather than 'overtly erotic or sexualised,' the Gruniad reports, whilst curling its collective lip into a trademark sneer of superiority. Hippies. Bliss's performance of 'Till The World Ends' prompted thirty five complaints - from arseholes - to Ofcom. However, the regulator also moved to 'remind ITV to ensure that careful consideration is given to the use of such images' before the 9pm watershed. One imagines that ITV will tell Ofcom where to stick their 'reminder.' Well, one certainly hopes so. The scenes looked at by Ofcom included Bliss straddling show judge Louis Walsh, a shot moving up her body and a 'brief, mid-shot image of the performer's partially obscured buttocks as she bent over to camera before her audition began.' After the original broadcast, an ITV spokeswoman said: 'Lorna's performance and its editing was carefully considered by the producers and ITV. We do not believe her routine exceeded generally accepted standards or the expectations of the vast majority of the audience.' Or, in other words, ' it might have been pornographic, but most of The X Factor's audience likes that sort of thing.' Fair enough, really. If you don't like it, stop watching. If enough people do that, ITV will get the message. After being cleared by the regulator, ITV said that it 'regretted' any offence caused, noting that 'not all parents' would have felt that Bliss's audition was 'inappropriate' for pre-watershed viewing. Bliss's subsequent inclusion in the show's top forty acts angered some fans - with clearly no more important things in their life to worry about than shit like this - as she received three buzzes and three no votes from the judges. She was eliminated at the semi-final stage. Bliss, who has also appeared on TV shows in Japan, Australia and Italy, reprised her Britney routine on The X Factor, which included Gary Barlow fleeing her advances. The X Factor was investigated by Ofcom in 2010 after performances from Christina Aguilera and Rihanna prompted complaints. The regulator found that the performances were 'at the very margin of acceptability for broadcast' but not in breach of its guidelines. It also noted that 'approximately two thousand' complaints had been received after the Daily Scum Mail's scum coverage of the performances, which featured still images 'significantly more graphic and close-up' than the material which had been broadcast on the programme, and that were 'taken from a different angle to the television cameras.'

The BBC is introducing Teletubbies to Burma as it launches three of its pay-TV channels in the country. Young viewers in the Asian military dictatorship will be able to watch Tinky Winky, La-La, Dispy and Po along with In the Night Garden and Mister Maker on the pre-school channel CBeebies, while the long-running popular family SF drama Doctor Who and The Graham Norton Show will be broadcast on BBC Entertainment. A third channel, BBC World News, will feature a twenty four-hour rolling news service. The announcement comes after David Cameron became the first serving British prime minister to visit the country, which became independent from Britain in 1948, when he flew to Burma in April. Burma has moved to thaw relations with the West by releasing political prisoners and holding parliamentary by-elections, which saw the opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party win forty three seats. Peter Horrocks, director of global news, said: 'For many years, the BBC has delivered accurate, impartial international radio services to the Burmese people, serving as a vital lifeline service to Aung San Suu Kyi and those across the country. I'm so pleased that the BBC is now able to take the next step forward with the country to offer that same impartial news via television as well. It is a great sign of progress for Burma and I'm honoured for the BBC to play a role in opening the country up to the world.' The BBC said all three TV channels, together with BBC World Service in Asia in English, will launch on Forever Group's pay-TV platform on 1 January. Last year, Aung San Suu Kyi revealed that Dave Lee Travis's show on the World Service had been a lifeline when she was under house arrest. Which is, interestingly enough, a remarkably similar position to that which DLT finds himself in right now. Lee Travis strongly denies the allegations, of course.
Big Brother has been named this year's most complained about TV programme, according to data released by Ofcom. The Channel Five reality show received over two thousand viewer complaints - 12.5 per cent of the sixteen thousand alleged issues registered with the regulator - and, just to repeat, a government quango, elected by no one who doesn't have the moral authority to tell TV programmes makers which way to fart let alone what they should be doing with their programmes. Most Big Brother complaints related to contestant Conor McIntyre's apparent bullying of Deana Uppal and, sadly, remarkably few that the show is an insult to the average viewers' intelligence. In November, Ofcom ruled that the series breached its broadcasting code by showing the footage of McIntyre and Uppal. Channel Five was also accused of misleading viewers over Facebook voting. The X Factor and Phillip Schofield's Ze List stunt on This Morning came second and third respectively in the most complained about things of telly. Many X Factor complaints surrounded unsubstantiated accusations that the results had been 'fixed' when Carolynne Poole was eliminated ahead of Rylan Clark. The subject of most This Morning complaints related to Schofield handing the Prime Minister ze list of alleged paedophiles live on TV. The most complained about shows of 2012 (as of December 12) were:-
1 Big Brother (Channel Five) - 2,088
2 The X Factor Results Show (ITV) - 1,488
3 This Morning (ITV) - 811
4 True Stories: Gypsy Blood (Channel Four) - 509
5 Live: The Silent Ascent (Sikh Channel) - 378
6 Sky News - 364
7 Islam: The Untold Story (Channel Four) - 293
8 The X Factor (ITV) - 305
9 Citizen Khan (BBC1) - 256
10 Keith Lemon's LemonAid (ITV) - 246
Once again, sad to report, that very few of the two hundred and forty six complaints about Keith Lemon's LemonAid related to the fact that it was, and remains, risible, odious, banal and pointless tripe but, rather, to other matters.

Sky Arts has ordered a full series of the sketch show Psychobitches. The pilot episode, which sees some of history's most famous women psychoanalysed by a therapist, was originally broadcast as a one-off episode, part of Playhouse Presents ... The new series, starring Rebecca Front as the therapist, will be shown in 2013, produced by Tiger Aspect Productions. Julia Davis will appear as Sylvia Plath, Sharon Horgan as Eve, Sam Spiro as Audrey Hepburn, Frances Barber as Bette Davis, Kathy Burke as Mona Lisa and Katy Brand as Mary Shelley. Psychobitches will also feature Tamsin Egerton, Selina Griffiths, Zawe Ashton, Jo Scanlan, Sarah Solemani and Sharon D Clarke. The series will include characters from wretched, unfunny Jack Whitehall, Harry Enfield and The League of Gentlemen team of Mark Gatiss, Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton. Jeremy Dyson will direct the series and lead the team of writers. Lucy Lumsden, Head of Comedy at Sky, said: 'We are very proud of Psychobitches, a honeypot for our funniest comedy actresses. A treat for 2013.' Well, except for the episode with wretched, unfunny Jack Whitehall - that'll be a pile of weak and runny shit, just like everything else that wretched, unfunny Jack Whitehall touches. James Hunt, Channel Director of Sky Arts, has also announced that a new run of Playhouse Presents... will begin in the spring, details of which will be confirmed in January. Matt Smith, Idris Elba and Marc Warren will feature in episodes of the upcoming run.

Freddie Starr and self-styled 'PR agent' Max Clifford have been re-bailed by officers investigating allegations of historic sexual abuse. They were arrested as part of Operation Yewtree, a Scotland Yard criminal inquiry established in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal. Starr will have to return to a police station in March and Clifford in February. Both men have denied the allegations of sexual abuse made against them. Operation Yewtree has three strands; one is examining specific allegations against alleged dirty old scallywag Jimmy Savile his very self, while the second strand concerns allegations against alleged dirty old scallywag Savile 'and others.' The separate third strand relates to alleged complaints against other people unconnected to the main Jimmy Savile investigations. Starr, from Warwickshire, fell under the strand termed 'Savile and others,' police said. He has denied claims that he groped a girl of fourteen while in a BBC dressing room with Savile. Clifford, from Surrey, is being investigated under the third strand. He has denied the 'damaging and totally untrue allegations,' claiming that anyone who knew him would have 'no doubt that I would never act in the way I have today been accused.' Seven people have been so far questioned as part of the operation which has thirty officers and has already cost the taxpayer around two million quid.

A forty two-year-old actor has been found guilty of raping a fifteen-year-old girl at a house party after getting her drunk on cocktails. Simon Morris, who has appeared in Hollyoaks, claimed he did not know he was having sex as he has a 'sexsomnia' sleep disorder. The Cardiff Crown Court jury convicted him of rape by a majority of ten to two. Morris, of South London, was told by the judge that he faces a substantial jail term when sentenced in the new year. He was also found unanimously guilty of another sexual assault. The prosecution said that the defendant's claims of sexsomnia were 'feeble excuses to escape the inevitable.' He claimed during the trial that he had undergone tests at a sleep clinic in Edinburgh to 'try to understand' his condition. The court heard that Morris, who appeared in the film Shiner in 2000, had said he 'did not remember' having sex with the girl at the party in Newport, until police presented him with DNA evidence. The jury was told that he had travelled from his home in Battersea to the party, where he met the girl and her father.

Former Shameless and EastEnders actor Jody Latham, who admitted producing cannabis, has been spared jail. At an earlier Burnley Crown Court hearing, Latham, twenty nine, admitted growing twenty four plants with a street value of about nine grand at an address in Lancashire. He said he had grown the plants because of concerns about buying from dealers, which Judge Beverley Lunt said could be rectified by 'not smoking cannabis.' Good point. Albeit more than a bit sarky. You're a judge fer Christ's sake, not a stand-up comedian. Stick to the day job, eh? Latham was sentenced to twelve months imprisonment, suspended for two years. Latham had grown the plants at a former girlfriend's house in Stacksteads, near Bacup, behind the partitioned wall of a garage. He had denied cultivating them but changed his plea to guilty before the trial began. He wept as Judge Lent handed down sentence, which she said she hoped would 'deter you from offending and make you give up this drug.' She added that if he committed another offence, he would be jailed.

The Met police commissioner has warned the public against 'jumping to conclusions' after a police officer was arrested on suspicion of leaking details of the Andrew Mitchell case to a newspaper. 'There is more to this than meets the eye,' Bernard Hogan-Howe told the BBC. Met Police Federation chairman John Tully had suggested that the arrest may have been 'disproportionate.' But Hogan-Howe said: 'When people hear the full story they will support what we've done.' A Diplomatic Protection Squad officer was arrested on Saturday by officers investigating how national newspapers came to publish police internal records about an incident at Downing Street, which involved the then chief whip, Andrew Mitchell, allegedly calling police officers 'fucking plebs.' The officers had refused to let him cycle through the main gate to Downing Street. Mitchell subsequently apologised for not having shown enough respect to the police but maintained that he 'did not use the words attributed to me.' However, he still quit the government over the affair a few weeks later, after the official police log of the row was leaked and published by the Daily Torygraph and the Sun newspapers. Hogan-Howe said: 'There's some difficulty in me talking about it, there's an on-going criminal investigation, and also it's now supervised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission. I also hope people will understand that there is more to this than meets the eye, and I'm afraid I'm constrained in explaining that, but when people hear the full story they will support what we've done. As usual in any investigation, you have to go where the evidence takes you, and we got some new information - we acted on it quickly.' Tully had told the Daily Torygraph: 'The thing which disappointed me is around the proportionality of whether it was necessary to arrest the individual. After all, he is a serving police officer. Clearly it needs to be resolved, because there are things that we shouldn't talk about as police officers, and this may be one of those cases.' The officer claims that he witnessed the row, but the IPCC has said it is now 'considering the validity of the officer's claim,' which he apparently made to his local MP. He was arrested on suspicion of misconduct in a public office, and has been suspended from duty. Asked about Mitchell's repeated denials, repeated as recently as Monday that he had not used the word 'pleb' during the incident, Hogan-Howe said that since viewing the fresh information which had led to the officer's arrest, 'there's nothing I have seen that causes me to doubt that original account' of the officers who were on duty at the time. Which basically appears to suggest that Hogan-Howe is calling Mitchell a liar. The Independent Police Complaints Commission is supervising part of the inquiry – into claims by the arrested officer that he witnessed the altercation with Mitchell. Hogan-Howe said the officer was not on duty at the time of the incident with Mitchell. The constable from the specialist Metropolitan police unit, which guards embassies as well as members of the government, was bailed on Sunday after his arrest the day before. The Met said in a statement on Sunday night that its directorate of professional standards arrested the officer on suspicion of misconduct in a public office after the force received fresh information on Thursday regarding the alleged unauthorised disclosure of information. Alleged Scotland Yard 'sources' allegedly indicated on Monday there was 'no suggestion' any payment had been involved in the alleged disclosure of alleged information. But the Met refused to comment on where the 'fresh information' which led to the officer's arrest on Saturday night had come from. The chairman of the Met Police Federation said it was of 'great regret' that Scotland Yard had taken action against an officer over 'plebgate.' Tully said the federation would support members through any difficulties they faced. 'Clearly it is of great regret that the MPS has found it necessary to take this action – I trust justice will ultimately prevail,' he said. The row in September developed after police at Downing Street refused to open the main gates to allow Mitchell to take his bicycle through, instead forcing him to use the side gate like ordinary people. Allegations of the words used in the exchange which followed led - eventually - to the Tory MP resigning as chief whip in October after an unsuccessful month-long fight to fend off the claims and save his career. The exact words used by the politician on the night have been disputed ever since. Mitchell maintained he 'did not use the words attributed to me' and denied using the word 'pleb', although he has admitted to saying: 'I thought you guys were supposed to fucking help us.' It has been argued since then that he should have been arrested for abusing a police officer – a public order offence. On Monday, Mitchell told ITV News: 'I'd just like to reiterate once again that it's the contents of the alleged police log which are false … they are false and I want to make that very clear.' Weeks before Mitchell's resignation the Met launched an investigation into how the Sun obtained an internal report suggesting Mitchell did call the officers plebs. The tabloid, which broke the original story about the incident, said that it had 'seen' a police report of the incident, prepared for senior officers, which indicated that Mitchell also swore repeatedly at officers. The arrest is the latest in a crackdown by the Met on relationships between the police and the press as a result of the Leveson inquiry. Media guidelines say that any officer suspected of leaking information should be subjected to disciplinary and/or criminal investigation. The Met – and the Association of Chief Police Officers – have welcomed the Leveson report, which recommends police whistleblowers who are acting in the public interest should not go to the media but instead report their concerns internally, to Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary or to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. Andy Trotter, an ACPO spokesman on media relations, has dismissed whistleblowers as 'gossips interested in embarrassing others' in their organisation. Earlier this month the Gruniad reported how another constable was being investigated for gross misconduct for a series of blogs and tweets – which he turned into a book detailing his belief that reform of the police service is 'putting the public at risk.' James Patrick's lawyer, Karen Todner, said that his client was 'a whistleblower' and the issue was one of 'freedom of expression.' 'This is someone who has tried to raise his concerns through the legitimate channels but was not able to do so,' said Todner. In its statement regarding the arrest the Met said it had contacted the IPCC on Sunday and would formally refer the matter to the body on Monday. 'The arrest is linked to previous inquiries by the MPS as to how internal MPS information was obtained by national newspapers following an incident at Downing Street in September,' it added. 'These inquiries found no evidence to suggest any of the officers involved in the incident were involved in the unauthorised release of information.' At a regular Westminster briefing the prime minister's spokesman said: 'At the time we said there was a genuine difference of opinion. Clearly this is something the police are dealing with and I don't think I want to get drawn into further comment.' Asked if the prime minister was 'concerned' about the arrest of the whistleblower, the spokesman added: 'That arrest is a matter for the Metropolitan police.' Which is interesting because the prime minister normally has plenty to say for himself when asked for a comment on, for instance, the (entirely legal) tax affairs of others. Asked whether the arrest was a proportionate response, the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, said it would be 'so wrong' for politicians to 'start jumping in and providing a running commentary.' Wrong, certainly, albeit - once again - hardly anything new. 'It's not for politicians to do at all,' he said during questions following a speech. 'Obviously this is a controversial issue but I really think it should be left for the police and the prosecuting authorities to make up their own minds.' The former Tory minister, odious gap-toothed gobshite (and drag) David Mellor said it was 'good news' that the police finally seemed to be taking leaks to the media seriously. 'What happened in the Mitchell case was a serious breach of duty with not only the full details of police reports being leaked, but the actual documents being handed over to newspapers,' he said. 'This was disgraceful. The question has to be asked, what took them so long?' Mellor said he would be 'watching with interest' to see whether the arrest would be taken further, and whether it would change 'deeply ingrained' behaviour among the police.
Hugh Grant has vowed to continue to fight for a new press law right up to a general election in 2015, if he and fellow Hacked Off campaigners fail to derail what they believe is 'a cosy stitch up' between politicians and newspaper editors for continued self-regulation. Grant was speaking on Monday as victims of press intrusion including former police officer Jacqui Hames denounced David Cameron for rejecting Lord Justice Leveson's recommendations in full, including his view that statutory underpinning is 'essential' for the new watchdog to work. At a press briefing in Westminster the actor, who is fronting the Hacked Off campaign for tougher press regulation, said he believed they could win the battle. But, if they did not win in the short term, he said that he was not going to give up. Asked if Hacked Off would continue to campaign up to the next general election if Cameron agreed to newspaper demands for another chance at self-regulation, Grant said: 'If I felt the public wasn't on our side, if I felt this wasn't such a clear cut case of borderline betrayal, I would think this is not worth the fight. But opinion polls continue to show us that eighty per cent of the public back Leveson's recommendation for statutory underpinning of a recognition body for a new regulator. This is a cause that I have every reason to believe will be won, and therefore I personally have no intention of easing up or giving up.' Hames said it appeared that 'a cosy stitch-up with newspapers and owners' was being prepared. 'A clear attempt is being made to sideline abuse,' she added. She said victims of the press had been 'prepared to relive some of their worse memories' when they appeared before the Leveson inquiry and if Cameron continued with his 'shady dealings' it will 'all have been for nothing.' Grant said the current behind-the-scenes negotiations between newspapers and politicians was 'a sickening spectacle.' He warned: 'People should know that Hacked Off is going nowhere, and will go nowhere and will be there for the foreseeable future to ensure there is no cosy stitch-up for the eighth time running. They are not going to turn the face against the united views of the public who are very clearly on our side and on the side of the victims.' Representatives from Hacked Off are meeting senior figures in all parties this week in a continued push to persuade them that the Leveson report on future press regulation should be implemented in full. It is believed they were meeting senior figures from the Labour party in private on Monday afternoon and have a meeting scheduled for later in the week with deputy prime minister Nick Clegg on the matter.

Ed Milimolimandi is seeking a meeting with David Cameron and Nick Clegg this week to thrash out an agreement on how to implement the Leveson report on future press standards amid Labour fears that ministers are 'manoeuvring' to delay a decision until the public interest ebbs away in the new year. Labour had been expecting by lunchtime on Monday to receive the government's version of a draft bill on future press self-regulation, as well as alternative proposals drawn up by Cameron's policy fixer, Oliver Letwin, on how the press could be made subject to a royal charter. Liberal Democrats for the first time briefed that they were 'not opposed' to the idea of a royal charter in principle 'if it could be shown to work.' They also argued progress had been relatively swift, and said the worst outcome would be if all sides dug themselves into trenches which meant no agreement was reached. A meeting is planned for Tuesday afternoon between the lack of culture secretary, the vile and odious rascal Miller, the shadow lack of culture secretary, Mad Hattie Harman, and the Liberal Democrat Scottish advocate general, Lord Wallace. It is the third set of cross-party talks on how to implement Leveson. An alleged Labour 'source' allegedly said: 'This has to be a substantive discussion, and an extended meeting. It has been nearly three weeks since Leveson was published, and so far we have made very little progress. We have put forward proposals in public. We have had nothing from the government.' Labour also said it 'remained unclear' what form of self-regulation the media was now proposing, partly due to the resignation of James Harding as editor of The Times. But Labour is so exasperated by the state of the discussions that it has asked for another meeting between Miliband, Clegg and Cameron probably on Wednesday. All three main parties are said to be trying to find a way of appointing a government-recognised verifier tasked with ensuring a voluntary press-funded regulator does not later slip back from its agreed goal of ensuring high press standards. Previous press commitments to reform itself have often transpired to be flawed. The group is also discussing whether statute is required to give effect to proposed incentives for the media to join the press regulator, such as lower damages settlements for privacy breaches. Letwin has been exploring the idea of an independent group of people appointed by royal charter to verify the press regulator, so avoiding the need for statutory underpinning, something opposed by Cameron in principle and almost the entire press industry in a kind of turkeys voting for Christmas way. Labour's negotiating hand is dependent on Clegg sticking to his previous support for statutory underpinning of the regulator. If Clegg embraces a royal charter, Milimolimandi then faces a political choice of making the best of the agreement, or arguing it does not represent what Leveson recommended after eighteen months examination of the issues. Labour has published a draft bill establishing a verifier chaired by the lord chief justice, the head of the UK judiciary in England and Wales. The verifier would report once every three years on the performance of the regulator. The senior Liberal Democrat peer Lord Lester has proposed a similar role be taken by president of the UK supreme court, the leader of the most senior court in the UK. The president would be required to certify that the press regulator complied with the requirements of the act before it came into force. As a result both Labour and the Liberal Democrats have dropped Lord Leveson's own proposal that the verifier of the press regulator be Ofcom, the current regulator for broadcasting. Labour remains suspicious that the government is planning to produce a deliberately over-complex draft bill implementing the Leveson report in a bid to show it is unworkable, and that the only practical alternative is Letwin's royal charter. Lord Falconer, the former Labour lord chancellor, and Labour adviser on its own draft bill, has challenged a royal charter on the basis it could be amended by the government more readily than its own proposals that require the endorsement of parliament. He has also questioned the role of the privy council in granting the regulator a charter.

Simon Albury, the loquacious former chief executive of the Royal Television Society, is apparently paying the full and expensive price for publicly criticising BBC News executives for an alleged 'culture of denial' over Newsnight's failings at his leaving do earlier this month. The ex-World in Action journalist said: 'I have been bounced off the RTS Journalism scoop of the year jury because I spoke out about shoddy journalism on Newsnight. I am not neutral about journalism. I applaud good journalism and deplore shoddy journalism.' But will Albury be the only one allegedly 'bounced off' an RTS Journalism awards jury? 'If the RTS bounces off everyone who said anything critical about Newsnight this year there is likely to be a shortage of jurors,' Albury whinged.

From January the BBC's regional radio stations across England and the Channel Islands will launch new evening and weekend schedules as part of the BBC's cost-cutting fiasco. 'These schedule changes reflect the ambition of BBC Local Radio to serve communities with the best local journalism, and reflecting the lives and interests of our listeners,' lied David Holdsworth the Controller of English Regions trying desperately to put a positive spin on things. As previously announced the changes will see a networked, evening programme across the thirty nine stations as well as dedicated time slots for BBC Introducing and English language Afro-Caribbean and Asian programmes. Details issued by the corporation state that from 5 January every BBC regional station will broadcast their Introducing programme from 8pm on Saturday evenings. BBC Introducing is a music programme, which ideally would be on Radio 1, however as part of saving budgets in the regions this will broadcast unsigned, undiscovered and under the radar musicians on the regional networks. The BBC say that the series, which is already part of local programming, will make 'a substantial contribution to the profile of undiscovered music in England and the Channel Islands.' Also from next month, BBC Local Radio is to provide a range of current affairs programmes serving Asian, Afro-Caribbean and Chinese audiences. This will be a returning feature to some regions, such as yer actual Keith Telly Topping's local one, BBC Newcastle, which ditched its Asian and Chinese programming several years ago due to low audience figures. The strand will be broadcast on Sunday between 6 and 10pm to reflect a growing demand for news and journalism in a regular and accessible time slot. The programmes will focus on journalism relating to these communities and each programme will contribute to peak time weekday output the BBC state. And as revealed in October, Mark Forrest launches a networked show on the thirty nine local stations from 7 January. Broadcasting for three hours from 7pm the programme is to offer 'a mix of great story telling, focusing on people and places, and debates on the issues that really matter to local communities.'

UK Cycling, triathlon and netball have been given increased grassroots funding, but tennis, cricket and rugby have seen their money cut. Sport England has also given tennis, as well as swimming and basketball, just one-year guaranteed finance with the rest dependent on future results. The body will give four hundred and ninety three million smackers to grassroots sports between 2013 and 2017, up fifty four million quid. Out of forty six sports, thirty two have seen rises in funding, with eleven receiving less money and three getting the same amount as previously. Big winners were cycling (entirely understandably), triathlon (ditto) and netball (bit of a surprise, that one), whose funds will increase by more than thirty per cent after they impressed Sport England with future plans. Or, in the case of cycling, just keep on kicking everybody else in the world's arse, hard. But the Lawn Tennis Association's four-year plan for increasing the numbers of people playing the sport was described as 'not strong enough' and £10.3m of its £17.4m total has been put on hold. Sport England chief executive Jennie Price said: 'Tennis has not performed well in terms of participation. Their plan simply wasn't strong enough to justify the four-year investment. They have only a one-year award for participation and they have to improve their plan for growing participation.' The LTA said it was 'on the right track' but admitted there was 'still work to be done.' Swimming and basketball will also have funding withheld, while Sport England assesses whether new participation plans are working; the former is a clear indication of the general public's incandescent fury at the British Olympic swimming team who were, frankly, a sodding disgrace at London 2012. Sport England said that officials from cricket, rugby union and rugby league were 'comfortable' with their respective funding cuts. It said the reductions were largely due to the end of spending on 'large capital projects' between 2009 and 2013. Overall, the bulk of the funding is aimed at fourteen to twenty five year-olds, with eighty three million notes to help 'talented athletes' get access to better facilities and coaching. However the figures also showed the number of sixteen to nineteen-year-olds participating in sport three times a week had dropped from nine hundred and thirty thousand to eight hundred and twenty five thousand. Price, said: 'We've learned a lot over the last four years and, with a record 15.5 million people already playing sport once a week, we are on track to deliver. We have worked very hard with the governing bodies of sport to make these decisions.' In total forty six sports will receive investment through each sport's governing body following a 'robust and challenging process' to assess the quality of their plans and their ability to deliver for community sport and talent development. Each sport will be subject to 'tough performance management' through a 'payment for results' approach that will see Sport England rewarding success and penalising failure.

Yer actual King of the Mods Bradley Wiggins his very self showed off his guitar skills during an after-party for the Sports Personality of the Year show at London's ExCeL Arena. The Tour De France winner and seven-time Olympic medallist joined Rick Parfitt Junior's band for a rendition of Paul Weller's 'That's Entertainment', aided by an unnamed security guard plucked from the crowd on vocals because he 'knew the lyrics.' Well, most of them, anyway. Brad described winning the prestigious award ahead of Jessica Ennis, Andy Murray and Mo Farah as being probably his greatest sporting achievement.

So, from that, to the original. Here's yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Tell 'em what's it's all about, Modfather.

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