Saturday, February 16, 2013

How Could We Miss Someone As Dumb As This?

BBC Worldwide have announced that William Hartnell's final four-part Doctor Who story The Tenth Planet is to be released on DVD in late 2013 and that, like last month's The Reign of Terror, will have its missing episode four animated by Planet Fifty Five Studios. Range producer Dan Hall said: 'It's a real thrill to be bringing such an iconic Doctor Who episode back to life. Without the events established in The Tenth Planet episode four, there would be no Doctor Who as we know it!' Which is, technically, true since it includes The Doctor's first regeneration, an element that would become key to Doctor Who's longevity. The story was originally released on VHS in 2000 and featured a reconstruction of the missing episode using existing telesnaps from the episode and the audio soundtrack; it is expected that this reconstruction will also be included on the DVD as an extra. The missing 1966 episode marked the end of the first Doctor's adventures, and introduced the revolutionary concept of the appearance of The Doctor changing - a key element of the series lore which has enabled the popular long-running family SF drama to keep on reinventing itself at regular intervals as each lead-actor leaves the show to such an extent that it is now able to celebrate its fiftieth year. The story, of course, also features the first appearance of one of The Doctor's most iconic enemies, The Cybermen as The Doctor, Ben and Polly encounter the Mondasians at a South Pole scientific base. Albeit, they look (and sound) a bit weird to modern audiences. Though the 'regeneration' scene itself has survived, along with a few tiny clips from earlier in the episode, the full episode has been lost from the BBC archives since the 1970s. The rumour is that the Blue Peter production office borrowed the masetr tape of The Tenth Planet's final episode around 1973 when putting together an tenth anniversary feature on the show (which is where the regeneration scene survives from) but that, somehow, the tape was never returned to where it should have been returned to. A selection of stills of the new animation-in-progress can be seen via a gallery on BBC Worldwide's official Doctor Who fiftieth anniversary website. There is also a showreel available to watch on the Planet Fifty Five website featuring a number of their concepts - including the first Doctor stalked in the snow, a scene inspired by The Tenth Planet.

Meanwhile, still on the subject of the days when Doctor Who was in black and white, Sunday 17 February sees the broadcast of the five-part 1968 Patrick Troughton story The Mind Robber in Australia and New Zealand. The Mind Robber was (and still is for that matter) a particular favourite of yer actual Keith Telly Topping and, is one of his earliest memories of watching the show - the scene where Jamie loses his face in The Land of Fiction, in particular, which was so scary that it made yer actual Keith Telly Topping shite in his own pants ... Mind you, this was last week. The story is the latest instalment in the the fiftieth anniversary season of classic Doctor Who stories on the UKTV channel in the Antipodes. New Zealand viewers will have an additional screening on Monday 18 February at 3:50am. The Mind Robber was first broadcast in Australia in 1970. New Zealanders had to wait another fifteen years to see the story (it was first screened in 1985 to launch an extensive series of Doctor Who screenings by TVNZ which, continued with a few interruptions, until 1990). UKTV is showing stories every week throughout the year in the lead-up to the show's golden anniversary in November. The Mind Robber is the third of four stories to be shown as part of the channel's celebration of the second Doctor this month. The next story is the 1969 six-parter The Seeds of Death (24 February).

Top Gear plays the world's first ever car rugby match on this weekend's episode. Hosts Jezza Clarkson and James May captain two teams as they take to the pitch at Twickenham for the special match. The motoring show - loathed by the Gruniad Morning Star and Daily Scum Mail, beloved of everyone else that actually matters - which has famously taken on both car five-a-side football and car ice hockey in the past, carried out the car rugby game as part of a consumer test of the new Kia C'eed.
Well, at least, that was their excuse, anyway!

As the prime minister called a shock election, it was difficult to work out who was more excited, the onscreen politicians plotting against her, or the viewers, desperate to see Birgitte Nyborg fighting her political corner once more. And, having ended its acclaimed second season this month on a high, BBC4 has announced that Danish drama Borgen (the best TV show in the world ... that doesn't have the words 'Doctor' and 'Who' in the title) will be returning to the channel for its third and final series. 'Strong characters coupled with delicately woven personal and political storylines have kept our audiences hooked on a Saturday night, and the final season will be equally as engrossing,' promised Richard Klein, controller of BBC4. Fans anticipating opening scenes of Copenhagen election mania, however, should not hold their breath. This final season of the show, currently being shown in Denmark and destined for British screens next winter (probably January), begins two and a half years after we last saw Nyborg, with the former prime minister out of office and out of love with politics. Nyborg's great rival, Lars Hesselboe, is leading the government, and Birgitte is absent from the political stage. A return to public life is not at the top of her agenda. Instead, when we meet her at the beginning of the series, Nyborg is more concerned with moving house than a political party with which she is increasingly disillusioned. Borgen, which has been a surprise - but, very welcome - international hit for Danish broadcaster DR across Europe and beyond, has attracted strong audiences for BBC4, with the opening two episodes of the second series this year each attracting more than one million viewers. 'We are so thrilled that BBC4 is on board for season three. And amazed at how the UK viewers have taken the series into their hearts,' said Camilla Hammerich, the creative producer of Borgen. The second season was, possibly, more dark than the BAFTA-winning first series of the political thriller, which drew great acclaim for its exploration of family, women and the political and journalistic spheres. But Sidse Babett Knudsen's compelling central performance has never faltered for a second. Sue Deeks, head of programme acquisition for the BBC, said: 'We are delighted that this intelligent, complex and compelling political drama will be returning to the channel next year for its third and final season.'
One of the most senior police officers to be targeted by Operation Elveden has been arrested over allegations that he passed information to a journalist from News International, it has emerged. Chief Superintendent Andy Rowell is the borough commander in Ealing, West London. The Metropolitan police said that his arrest did 'not involve any allegation' that he received money, and that the information leading to his detention came from News Corporation, the parent company of News International. The seniority of Rowell's rank and position were not released by the Metropolitan police after his arrest. His identity only surfaced on Friday, a day after he was arrested in a dawn raid and, subsequently, bailed. In a statement the Met said that the arrest 'relates to the suspected release of confidential information but not alleged payment.' Rowell, fifty one, was dragged from his bed at around 6am on Thursday at his home in Wiltshire on suspicion of misconduct in public office. He has been suspended from duty and a temporary borough commander for Ealing has been appointed. One alleged 'source' who allegedly knows Rowell allegedly described him to the Gruniad Monring Star as a 'very sensible, level-headed guy.' He has been an officer for twenty nine years, with postings as a detective in London's West End and murder squads in Paddington, Kensington and Barnes. He is the sixty first person to be arrested under Operation Elveden, which was set up to investigate allegations of 'inappropriate payments' and other general naughty behaviour related to police officers and other public officials. It is not entirely clear at this stage how Rowell's arrest fits into this remit given the fact that it has been stressed that no money was received. The Met confirmed the arrest was the result of 'information being provided to police by News Corporation's management and standards committee,' which was set up in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal that engulfed billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's empire and was meant to show the company was making good on promises to co-operate with the police. Inquiries by Elveden have led to the arrest of two other past and serving senior officers over the alleged passing of information to the media, where no money was involved. The information was passed to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which arrested a superintendent from the City of London and a former Met chief superintendent, David Cook. Rowell has been bailed until March.

Sky TV's director Stuart Murphy has rubbished inaccurate reports that the broadcaster is planning to launch a new soap opera. Odious, risible Daily Scum Mail 'journalist' (and drag) Dan Wooton - formally, of course, of the Scum of the World where his reputation for printing any old shite imaginable was virtually unsurpassed in Fleet Street - claimed in his weekly column that 'Sky bosses' were planning on launching a rival to established terrestrial primetime soaps EastEnders, Coronation Street and Emmerdale. He used the word 'bosses' presumably because he believed his readers at the Daily Scum Mail were too bone thick to understand the word 'executives' instead. Which probably tells you everything you need to know about odious, risible Wooton and all his works. Wooton claimed that Murphy has 'started speaking to producers' and that the series 'would air on Sky1 or Sky Living.' However, in an unusual step, Murphy quickly denied the claims on Twitter, describing Wooton's report as bogus. 'In [the] Daily Mail [it] says I have spoken to people about Sky launching a soap. Not true, Dan. I have no plans and spoken to no-one,' Murphy wrote. So, either Murphy himself is lying - which, given the vociferousness of his comments, seems rather unlikely - or Wooton is. A Daily Scum Mail journalist writing mendacious nonsense? Surely not?
BBC1 is to strip schedule new five-part drama Mayday across a single week. The thriller stars Sophie Okonedo, Aidan Gillen, Peter Firth and Lesley Manville. Scripted by Whitechapel writing duo Ben Court and Caroline Ip, Mayday tells the story of a missing teenager and the hunt for the abductor, told through the eyes of a close-knit community. 'I am very excited that they are screening Mayday over five days,' said Okonedo. 'I think it will suit the piece enormously. It has a lot of twists and turns and things are not always as they seem. The reality is often heightened with a cliffhanger at the end of every episode.' Mayday has been directed by Black Mirror's Brian Welsh and produced by Chris Fry who previously worked with Firth on [spooks]. The series premiere is on Sunday 3 March 3 on BBC1.

The BBC will formally advertise for directors of TV and news next weekend, as the incoming director general Lord Hall continues to assemble his senior executive team. Adverts for the two key appointments will be placed in The Sunday Times on 24 February. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping may apply. The newspaper advertisements will appear shortly after the expected publication next week of the transcripts of Nick Pollard's inquiry into the BBC's handling of the Savile fiasco, which could prove embarrassing for several senior corporation executives. This is, according to a typically spiteful, shit-stirring and trouble-making piece of odious horse excrement masquerading as journalist from, of course, the Gruniad Morning Star. 'Trenchant criticism' by Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman of how BBC management handled the Savile fiasco is expected to be among the evidence redacted from the transcripts in Pollard's report. The director of television job, technically a new post after Hall decided to scrap the role of director of BBC Vision, has been vacant since September last year when George Entwistle began his brief and ill-fated stint as director general. Roger Mosey, who oversaw the BBC's successful Olympics coverage and is thought to be in the running for permanently taking over the job of running the BBC's television channels, is currently acting vision director. According to alleged 'sources' allegedly quoted by the louse filth at the Gruniad, other potential candidates for the post include present BBC1 controller Danny Cohen and Peter Salmon, the head of BBC North. 'It may just be that Danny is too young and that while his time will come, the feeling seems to be that with everything that's been going on they need an older and wiser head,' an alleged 'senior BBC source' allegedly said. But, since the Gruniad haven't bothered naming this mysterious individual it's not unreasonable to suppose that he is entirely fictitious and this entire quote is a mendacious attempt at pushing the Gruniad's own lousy and sick agenda. Another possible candidate, according to some further nameless - and probably non-existent - 'sources', is the ITV director of programmes, Peter Fincham, a former (and, much-admired) controller of BBC1. But one alleged 'source' allegedly close to Fincham allegedly said that it was, allegedly, 'debatable' whether he will want to return to the corporation after losing his job as BBC1 controller in 2007 over the so-called 'Queengate' affair, in which an inaccurately edited promotional tape wrongly suggested that the monarch had stormed out of a photo session. The director of news post, which became vacant after Hall's decision this week to move present incumbent, Helen Boaden, to the job of director of radio, has fewer clear internal candidates. According to two alleged BBC 'sources', Hall has allegedly approached the acting director of Vision about the news job. Mosey is said to have indicated that he is not interested in the post, but declined to comment when contacted by Gruniad. Although, hopefully, to told the ignorant nosey hippie Communist wankers to mind their own frigging business. Another potential candidate for the role is director of global news Peter Horrocks, who has responsibility for the World Service and BBC World News channel. Hall is thought to be 'open' to the idea of an outside candidate for the BBC News director job. This could open the way for Nick Pollard himself, the former head of Sky News who was wisely praised for the way he ran the inquiry into the Savile fiasco. According to other alleged 'sources' allegedly within BBC News, Hall has allegedly indicated that whoever gets the job he wants Newsnight to be a 'broadsheet of the airwaves.' According to two further alleged BBC 'sources' he is alleged to have be considering the possibility of recruiting a senior newspaper executive to oversee the programme. One alleged BBC news source alleged said: 'Newsnight has taken a battering over Savile but Tony Hall sees its potential. He wants it to have a real place late at night, to get that kind of excitement that you get when the first pages of the papers drop.' Allegedly.
And, speaking of the Savile fiasco the comedian Adam Hess has talked about 'a strange encounter' he had with disgraceful old scallywag Jimmy Savile back when Hess was a thirteen-year-old boy and Savile was a revered eccentric national treasure and the personal friend of the then prime minister. Hess recalled being on a cruise holiday, 'when this man just came up to us with a bowl of custard. He said, "Would you like some of this?" and he put his finger in the custard. I didn't have a clue who he was but was told it was Jimmy Savile, the TV star.' At the Dancing About Architecture talk show at Dave's Leicester Comedy Festival last weekend, Hess also recalled a creepy comment which Savile allegedly made to Hess's father when he spotted the two of them walking on deck. 'Careful, you're not done for underage,' the late DJ and alleged  serial paedophile reportedly said to Hess Sr.

Dara O'Briain doesn't want to see the gaming BAFTAs televised. Not that anyone has actually suggested they should be since the potential audience for such a programme would be, what, six? The host of the yearly awards said the ceremony 'works as it is' and would have to be 'more pressured' if broadcast live. He explained the difference in atmosphere of the gaming awards compared with last year's television BAFTAs, which he hosted for the first time, saying it's a 'very different experience. There's a lot more riding on the television ones because they're broadcast live to the nation, so in some ways it's a bigger deal in terms of the production around it,' he told the Digital Spy website. 'This one is a more enjoyable one to do because it is just the people who know all about [the industry]. The television one is surrounded by people who won't have watched all the television shows. There's a lot of glamorous people there, there's all that hoopla around it that has to be dealt with in its own way. It's a very different experience, hosting a big, live television show. [The gaming BAFTAs], because it doesn't have that, it doesn't have that pressure, you can be more informal, and you can go, "Hey you!" and point to individual tables and go, "That thing, the guy who got shot in the head? What was that all about?" It's much more enjoyable, in a kind of "I know your stuff, you know your stuff [way], let's have a chat about it." With the television one, you have to look past the audience to the cameras, and also the audience are much more nervous and on show in the way that people in this one aren't. They're obviously nervous about winning awards but they don't have a camera shoved in their face.' When asked whether he would like to see the awards televised, he responded: 'No, for exactly that reason. Also, it's a bit like, I do a show for Dave called Dara's School of Hard Sums. It's Dave's most successful ever commission. It gets more numbers than anything they've ever commissioned. It gets four to five hundred thousand for an individual showing and that accumulates over the week. If you put it on BBC2 it would get the same four to five hundred thousand audience, and it would be a disaster. But these things find their own audience and equally this finds it own audience. Not everything has to be a massive production, this thing works as it is, I think. If you stick it on television you have to worry about busting extraneous beautiful people because the cameras need to see them, screw that. This is a celebration of the industry, what the industry does, and I think the industry is very happy with that without pretending it's something it isn't.'

A reality TV show featuring the late Reeva Steenkamp is to be broadcast in South Africa this weekend as scheduled, despite her tragic death this week. Producers of Tropika Island of Treasure said that they had decided not to shelve the pre-recorded show, which will premiere on South African TV on Saturday. Filmed in Jamaica, the celebrity show sees Reeva compete to win the one million rand prize. She was found shot dead in the home of her boyfriend, the Paralympian Oscar Pistorious, on Thursday. 'This week's episode will be dedicated to Reeva's memory,' a Tropika Island of Treasure producer said. In a statement, executive producer Samantha Moon said: 'As we grieve today with Reeva's family and friends and struggle to make sense of this shocking tragedy, it has taken much deliberation to come to the decision to continue screening Tropika Island of Treasure Five as planned.' Thankfully she didn't try to claim that 'it's what Reeva would have wanted' or any horseshit like that since, one imagines, what Reeva would have most wanted was not to be shot. A special tribute programme will be broadcast ahead of Saturday's show, on SABC1. The show, now in its fifth series, sees seven South African celebrities and seven other contestants embark on a string of 'adrenaline-fuelled' challenges over a period of ten weeks, while living at two 'seven-star' villas. Each week the winner of the challenge can decide who stays and who leaves the island.

Formula 1's global television audience fell last year, driven down by a thirty four per cent drop – twenty five million viewers – in China where several Asian races clashed with other local sports events. Several F1 races in Asia and the Middle East took place during the evening so that they are broadcast in the morning in the sport's traditional heartland of Europe. However, this puts them in competition with local sports events and it fuelled the fall in viewer numbers in China from 74.5 million in 2011 to 48.9 million last year. F1's boss Bernie Ecclestone said that 'a small handful of territories didn't meet expectations in terms of reach, with the Chinese market suffering a decrease which could not be absorbed by a significant number of increases elsewhere.' The 2012 figures were revealed in F1's annual broadcast report, which measures the number of people who have watched more than fifteen non-consecutive minutes of the sport throughout the season. For the first time, the report did not publish a total figure for the global TV audience, which in 2011 was five hundred and fifteen million punters. But the 2012 audience is thought to be just over five hundred million, when declines in China and other markets is counterbalanced with countries where F1 viewing is growing. F1's largest market is Brazil where viewing figures accelerated 8.9 per cent year-on-year to 85.6 million in 2012. There were also improvements in Spain and Italy, where respective increases of eleven per cent and fifteen per cent compared to 2011 were fuelled by the strong performance of the Spanish Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso. UK coverage was split for the first time between the BBC and pay-TV broadcaster BSkyB in 2012, which led to viewing figures falling by 3.8 million to 28.6 million. Audiences also dropped in other new markets for F1. In Russia they fell by 12.8 per cent ahead of the first Russian Grand Prix next year which will take place at Sochi's fifty billion dollar Olympic Park. This drop was attributed to the poor form of Russia's only F1 driver, Vitaly Petrov, who failed to score a point in the 2012 championship and has not been signed up this year. TV audiences even fell in the US, despite the return of its home race after a five-year hiatus. The American Grand Prix took place in Texas in November to great acclaim within the industry, but viewers of F1 in the US fell by three per cent to 9.7 million. The decline in TV viewing is a trend which is being closely monitored by the F1 teams. Lotus team boss Eric Boullier said: 'We do monitor the new strategy to go to pay TV. It may increase the fan profile and "educated" audience but we may have to review our sponsorship figures if the tendency becomes global.' On Thursday a deal was signed to move F1 to subscription-only coverage in France with Canal+ from this year. It follows the signing of new contracts last year which split F1 coverage between subscription and free-to-air in both Italy and the Netherlands. The loss of viewers puts pressure on team budgets which are already squeezed due to the weak economic climate. On average, sponsorship comprises forty two per cent of team budgets and the lower the viewer numbers, the lower the rates they are able to command. However, it isn't all bad news for the teams. For the first time this year they will receive sixty three per cent of F1's total profits as prize money, meaning that they also benefit from the increased money brought in from TV rights sales. The deal with the BBC and Sky is understood to be worth one hundred million dollars annually – a twenty five per cent boost on the price of the previous free-to-air-only coverage. F1's global TV audience took a big dip in 2009, from six hundred million to five hundred and twenty million, before recovering the following year to five hundred and twenty seven million.

The BBC has begun searching for a new boss to take the helm of Casualty and Holby City. Current executive producer Johnathan Young has been in charge of the popular medical drama franchise since March 2011, but his two-year fixed-term contract will soon come to an end. According to Broadcast, the BBC is now advertising for a successor and it is currently unclear whether Young intends to reapply for the position. Young took over from Belinda Campbell on the programmes after five years at Talkback Thames. He was The Bill's executive producer for its final five years and was also one of Holby's original producers in 1999. Young's current post sees him oversee both of the BBC's prime-time medical dramas, working with Nikki Wilson and Justin Young, who are the series producers of Casualty and Holby respectively.

It may be, if you will, a slow burner but can it fire up the audience? Norwegian public TV is broadcasting a programme showing nothing but a crackling fireplace - for twelve hours. The NRK Woodathon features firewood specialists providing commentary and advice on subjects such chopping, stacking and burning the wood. The transmission, entitled Hel Ved, also features music and poetry. The head of programming at NRK, Rune Moeklebust, described it as 'slow but noble television. We'll talk about the very nerdy subjects like burning, slicing and stacking the wood, but we'll also have cultural segments with music and poems,' he said. NRK is no stranger to such programming. In 2011 it broadcast more than a one hundred and thirty hours of a cruise ship sailing up the Norwegian coast to the Arctic. Moeklebust said that the production was inspired by the, ahem, 'roaring success' of a firewood book by Lars Mytting, Hel Ved - which translates as 'Strong Character', and is also a pun on the word ved - the Norwegian for firewood. 'People in Norway have a spiritual relationship with fire,' Moeklebust was quoted as telling Reuters. 'Fire is the reason we're here, if there was no firewood, we couldn't live in Norway, we'd freeze.'

Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell will not appear in any further episodes of the soap whilst he faces charges of child sex offences, ITV has confirmed. The forty eight-year-old's character, Kevin Webster, has been immediately dropped like hot shit from the programme as legal proceedings continue. Earlier this week, it emerged that Le Vell has been accused of nineteen offences including raping a child, indecently assaulting a child and sexual activity with a child. Le Vell, who has played Webster for over thirty years, will appear in court in two weeks' time and has said he will 'vigorously' fight the charges. An ITV spokesperson said: 'Given the serious nature of these charges, Michael Le Vell will not be appearing in Coronation Street pending the outcome of legal proceedings. It would not be appropriate for us to comment further at this time.' Le Vell, who was charged under his real name Michael Turner, is scheduled to appear at Manchester Magistrates' Court on Wednesday 27 February. He was previously arrested and questioned over the alleged child offences in September 2011, but the matter was later dropped. Le Vell, a forty eight-year-old father of two, said in a statement on Friday: 'I would like to make it quite clear that I am innocent of these charges and intend to fight them vigorously. I will now put all my efforts into clearing my name and proving my innocence. I thank my friends, family and fans for their continued support. I would ask now for time to concentrate on preparing my defence with my legal team.' In late December when the case was originally dropped, the authorities said there was not enough evidence to charge him. At the time Le Vell said he was delighted to have been 'completely exonerated,' and thanked police for their 'thorough' investigation and Coronation Street staff and the public for their support.

After Bruce Willis's awkward (dare one say tired and emotional) interview on The ONE Show, the comedian Omid Djalili has revealed that he was equally distracted at a press conference for the 2006 animated film Over The Hedge, in which both he and Willis provided voices. 'He drew pics of boobies and vag entire time,' Djalili tweeted.

Wrestling's world governing body FILA has parted company with its president in the wake of the recommendation to drop the sport from the Olympics. The sport must now vie with other fringe disciplines for a spot in future games, following the International Olympic Committee's decision. Switzerland's Raphael Martinetti had been in the position since 2002. He was issued with a vote of no confidence at a FILA executive committee meeting in Thailand. FILA vice president Tomiaki Fukuda said the governing body would 'continue to discuss' wrestling's plight during the annual gathering in Phuket. 'We will discuss in what ways we can bring wrestling back, but if nothing is decided today, we'll continue our discussions on Sunday,' said Fukuda. Modern pentathlon and taekwondo were thought to be the sports most at risk when the IOC met in Lausanne on Tuesday, but wrestling was the surprise choice. It will now compete with with seven other sports - baseball and softball, squash, karate, sport climbing, wakeboarding, wushu and roller-sports - for a place in the 2020 Olympic Games. Wrestling, which combines freestyle and Greco-Roman events, was included in the inaugural modern Olympics in Athens in 1896. It has been in every games since, apart from Paris in 1900. At last year's Olympics, it featured three hundred and forty four athletes competing in eleven medal events.

Barry Gibb has unveiled a statue of The Bee Gees in the Australian town where they spent part of their childhood. Thousands watched the Isle of Man-born singer unveil the statue in Redcliffe, Queensland, where The Bee Gees signed their first recording deal in 1959. Barry, the last surviving member of the group, said it was 'an emotional experience.' Robin Gibb died last year following a lengthy battle with cancer, whilst his twin brother Maurice died in Miami in 2003. Their younger brother Andy, who was also a popular singer died in 1988. Barry, who was with his mother Barbara and sister Lesley Evans, said: 'I think they are with me. I can just sort of tell they are there. All three of them. It has been an emotional day - I will have a bit of a cry later on but it's a wonderful thing.' Moreton Bay council Mayor Allan Sutherland said: 'Redcliffe is where they were discovered and this is our way of saying thank you on behalf of the millions around the world who have enjoyed their music. It was on a kitchen table in Redcliffe that The Bee Gees signed their first recording deal after being discovered at the local speedway.' The bronze statue shows the Gibb brothers as children between the ages of nine and twelve. 'The statue doesn't depict them at the height of their fame but as lads walking along the beach at Redcliffe - foot loose and fancy free with Barry playing his guitar,' continued Mr Sutherland. 'There were many, many people here today who would have remembered them playing and sat on the beach.' The brothers, who emigrated with their family from Manchester to Australia in the late 1950s, scored nine US number one singles and five chart-toppers in the UK and - particularly in their late 1960s works - remain a huge favourite of yer actual Keith Telly Topping. The statue was part of the region's tribute to The Bee Gees. It will mark the start of The Bee Gees Way - a seventy metre walk which tells the group's story in words and pictures, curated by Barry Gibb.
Yer actual Prince will return to the Montreux Jazz Festival for three nights in July, organisers have announced. The Purple Rain star will play three shows at the event, the first to be held since founder Claude Nobs died earlier this year. Prince first performed at the festival in 2007, shortly before his twenty one-night residency at London's O2. Tickets go on sale on Friday morning, starting at one hundred and twenty two quid. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping imagines that his good mate Geoff, the world's biggest prince fan, will be at the head of the queue. The rest of the line-up will be announced in April. Prince has been on the comeback trail this year, releasing a series of well-received singles online which recall the blues funk of his 1980s and early 90s heyday. In particular 'Screwdriver', a punchy, guitar-heavy track, has received positive reviews, with Rolling Stone praising its 'lascivious synths' and a 'scalding guitar solo.' The material is his first since 2010, and has been appearing online via a mysterious, but apparently official, YouTube account called 3rdeyegirl. The musician has also hired a new, all-female band, and performed a handful of surprise concerts in his hometown of Minneapolis. Prince first played Montreux in 2007, followed by one of his famed after-show parties at 03:00 in a late-night jazz cafe by the Lake Geneva shoreline. (Lucky, 'some stupid with a flare gun' didn't burn the place to the ground on that occasion.) He returned in 2009 for two back-to-back shows, which mixed classics like 'Little Red Corvette' and 'Sign O The Times' with rarities and jazz-tinged songs from his back catalogue. Among them was the unreleased 1986 ballad 'In A Large Room With No Light', which had long been a fan-favourite on bootleg recordings. His Montreux performance was later released as a download, leading fans to speculate that more new material could be forthcoming at this summer's shows. 'We consider him one of the headline acts,' said festival spokeswoman Emilie Loertscher. Claude Nobs, who founded the Montreux festival nearly fifty years ago, died in January after several weeks in a coma following a skiing accident. The seventy six-year-old had been immortalised by tuneless, turgid old lice-stinking hippies Deep Purple as 'Funky Claude' in the song 'Smoke on the Water'. When some stupid with a flare gun did burn the place to the ground. The song is about a fire which destroyed the Montreux Casino, where the festival was then being held, during a Frank Zappa concert in 1971. Nobs, who lured the likes of Miles Davis, Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin to Switzerland, will be honoured at this year's festival, which runs 5 to 20 July.

Former model Paula Hamilton has been fined four hundred smackers for assaulting a policeman ... with a sunflower. Hamilton, fifty two, launched the attack with the fourteen foot long sunflower after police were called to her home near Slough, last September. Hamilton, who denied the charge, rose to fame in a 1980s car advert and was recently seen in that home for has-beens and never-weres Celebrity Big Brother. After the Aylesbury Magistrates' Court hearing Hamilton said that she had been punished for 'being an individual.' Whatever the hell that means. 'My crime here today is because I have an alternative lifestyle,' she said. 'I was giving a policeman a family flower, a crest, and yes, I had drunk a bottle of wine like Bridget Jones. We are all becoming robots.' Right. Jesus. Anyway, Hamilton first rose to 'fame' (all five minutes of it) in a television advert in the 1980s, when she played a jilted lover who dumped luxury gifts in the street but kept the keys to a VW Golf. She was the first housemate to be evicted from this year's Celebrity Big Brother which was quite an achievement since most of the audience had, almost certainly, never heard of her. Hamilton was fined four hundred knicker and ordered to pay six hundred and fifty notes in costs and a fifteen quid victim surcharge. Which, for the copper involved, is a bit like getting three numbers up on the lottery.

Richard Collins, a writer and producer who was blacklisted during the 1940s Communist witch-hunts and later 'named names' before the House Un-American Activities Committee, has died. His death in Ventura, California, at the age of ninety eight was confirmed by his son, Michael, the Los Angeles Times reports. Collins was one of nineteen Hollywood writers and directors called by HUAC in 1947. He went on to have a thirty-year career as a writer and producer on such TV shows as Bonanza and Matlock. Collins was not asked to testify in 1947 and was not one of the 'Hollywood Ten' who were subsequently jailed for refusing to co-operate with the shameful activities of HUAC. That list included Dalton Trumbo, who wrote the Oscar-winning Stanley Kubrick film Spartacus and Edward Dmytryk, the director of Crossfire. Subpoenaed again in 1951, Collins identified more than twenty colleagues as Communist sympathisers - among them Budd Schulberg, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of On The Waterfront, who went on to 'name names' himself. According to the Los Angeles Times, one of those Collins named - his friend Paul Jarrico, with whom he had written the 1944 musical drama Song of Russia - never spoke to him again. Collins's Communist associations were well-known by the time he testified in front of HUAC. He admitted to formerly being a member of The American Communist Party, the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League, Writers' Mobilization, the Joint Anti-Fascist Committee and the Progressive Citizens of America. Despite his past, Collins claimed that he had stopped paying his Communist Party subscriptions in 1939, and even divorced his wife, Dorothy Comingore, because of her unwillingness to be cooperative during her HUAC testimony. Their drama provided the basis for the 1991 film, Guilty by Suspicion. Collins, who would later express regret over his 'friendly' testifying, went on to work on such 1950s classics as Riot in Cell Block Eleven and Invasion of the Body Snatchers before finding regular employment in television. After clearing his name in front of HUAC, Collins spent his time working on programmes like Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theater, a former radio variety show looking to make the jump to television. He produced one hundred and twenty seven episodes of the popular Western Bonanza and one hundred and eight episodes of the legal eagle drama Matlock before retiring in 1992 at the age of seventy eight. Between 1939 and 1945 he was married to the actress Comingore - best known for her role as Susan Alexander, the second wife of Orson Welles's character in Citizen Kane. Collins married Julie Danson in 1949; she died in 1991. In addition to his son, he is survived by a daughter, two grandsons and a great-granddaughter.

Google could have to act faster to remove potentially libellous posts from its blogger platform following a landmark ruling in a UK court. The three-judge panel yesterday overturned an earlier court ruling in which a judge said that Google could not be held liable for comments posted on a blog because it was 'not the publisher.' The master of the rolls, Lord Justice Richards, said that if no action was taken against a post containing allegedly defamatory comments for more than five weeks after a complaint was made against it, then Google could be left open to potential libel action. Ian De Freitas, a lawyer at Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP, told Bloomberg that this is 'a blow' to Google. 'It is a blow to the technology platform providers because the Court of Appeal decided that Google is arguably responsible for the postings by the blogger once they have been notified of them and have failed to take them down,' he said. However, the court also ruled that Google could not be sued in a specific case relating to defamatory comments posted on its blog service. Payam Tamiz, a twenty three-year-old law graduate and former Conservative party local council candidate, had sued Google over eight offensive remarks posted in 2011 by other users on his London Muslim blog. Despite the judges acknowledging that some of the comments, including false claims that Tamiz was a drug dealer, were defamatory, they ruled that no libel action could be brought against Google as it was not the publisher. Judge Stephen Richards, of the UK Court of Appeal, also said that it was 'highly improbable that any significant number of readers will have accessed the comments.' He added: 'Any damage to the appellant's reputation arising out of continued publication of the comments during the period will have been trivial.' This was the first time that the UK appeals court had looked at whether Internet companies were liable when defamatory material is published on their platforms. Iain Wilson, the lawyer representing Tamiz, said in an e-mailed statement: 'Mr Tamiz is disappointed with the outcome of the appeal but happy to have played a role in clarifying the law for the benefit of others who might be defamed in online publications.' Tamiz is said to be now considering whether to appeal the ruling in the UK's highest court. Google said that its service 'helps users to express themselves and share different points of view,' adding: 'Where content is illegal or violates our terms of service we will continue to remove it.'
A burglar fled from a Devon home after reportedly being disturbed by the family's giant pet rabbit. Toby, a two-foot-long buck, is said to have frightened the intruder away by thumping his back feet on the floor. According to Metro, Toby's owners - Kimberley May, her fiancé Martin and their three-year-old daughter Olivia - were in bed when the thief broke into the house. 'We went to bed on Wednesday at about 10pm,' Kimberley explained. 'In the early hours of the morning Toby did five loud thumps. I sort-of half woke up, then realised he'd stopped and went back to sleep.' She continued: 'When I went downstairs every single cupboard and drawer were open. There were bits out everywhere [and] we started noticing things were missing and we phoned the police. They managed to take a laptop, an iPad and my handbag with my purse and everything in, but the worse thing was my great granddad's medal.' The break-in is believed to have occurred between 10.30pm on Wednesday 6 February and 7am on Thursday 7 February. The culprit has yet to be arrested and Plymouth police are currently appealing for witnesses.

The singer Chubby Checker is reported to be suing Hewlett Packard over an app which used his name as a euphemism for enlarged penis size. The Chubby Checker app - which appeared on websites for Palm OS devices - claimed to guess the intimate measurement based on shoe size. Lawyers acting for the singer are seeking five hundred million dollars in compensation, saying that the app has done 'irreparable damage' to his reputation. Although, arguably, no more than his 1987 record with The Fat Boys. HP said that it had removed the app as soon as it received a complaint from Checker's representatives. Lawyers for the seventy one-year-old singer - real name Ernest Evans - filed a 'cease and desist' order against HP and its subsidiary, Palm, in September 2012, soon after the app became available. Now they have launched a trademark infringement case against the two tech firms. 'He's hurt,' his lawyer Willie Gary told Associated Press. 'He worked hard to build his name and reputation over the years. We cannot sit idly and watch as technology giants, or anyone else, exploits the name or likeness of an innocent person with the goal of making millions of dollars.' The app had used his client's name and trademark without permission, claimed Gary. In a statement, an HP spokesman said: 'The application was removed in September 2012 and is no longer on any Palm or HP-hosted website.' The German firm behind the offending program, Magic Apps, is no longer selling the software. It is not clear how many copies it sold but WebOSNation, which monitors the use of Palm smartphones, estimates it was downloaded only eighty four times before it was pulled. Chubby Checker is best known for his song 'The Twist' which topped the US singles chart in both 1960 and 1962. And it's follow up 'Let's Twist Again.' And several further twist-related singles.

A fundraising project for a Tokyo-style cat café in East London has reached its goal with just one and a half hours left on the clock. Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium launched its IndieGoGo campaign in January, with the aim of raising one hundred and eight thousand smackers to open a venue where customers can walk in for coffee and chat among some feline residents. The fixed funding campaign, organised by Lauren Pears, meant that if the funds were not raised by Friday 15 February, all contributors would receive their donations back. The page eventually closed with a total of one hundred and nine thousand five hundred smackers. A message on the campaign's Facebook page said: 'With only 1.5 hours remaining and over one hundred and nine thousand on the campaign page, it's safe to say that this has been an unmitigated success. We've got the funding we need and we're going to do it!' It added that delivering 'perks' which had been purchased as part of the fundraising campaign, such as early bird tickets to the café, were 'the priority' for organisers, alongside scouting properties and negotiating with the council. 'A million thanks to all of you for being part of this. It literally could not have happened without you,' it said.

On which pussy-related bombshell means that it's time for yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Time for a bit more kitty-hijinx, one supposes. Here's The Cure in a legendary Tim Pope video, being very very silly. Which is why we love it.

No comments: