Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Switch On The TV You May Pick Him Up On Channel Two

Doctor Who's fiftieth anniversary will be 'an international event,' the BBC's head of drama Ben Stephenson has said. Stephenson told The Hollywood Reporter that the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama's anniversary celebrations will 'unite all the fans across the world.' Well, most of them, anyway. Some will still manage to find something to whinge about. Because there's a 'y' in the day, basically. 'Doctor Who is an international brand, and this year marks its fiftieth anniversary,' Stephenson said. 'That is a really exciting moment for the BBC at home and abroad. We haven't revealed yet what we are doing, but it will be an absolutely enormous, very, very ambitious event.' It was announced on Monday that the Doctor Who special will be filmed in 3D, with showrunner Steven Moffat promising 'a whole new dimension of adventure for The Doctor to explore.'
Now, on a slightly related subject, please allow yer actual Keith Telly Topping a moment to editorialise here. Since it is, after all, my blog and I can say whatever the Hell I want on it, within - of course - the boundaries of the law as it currently stands. In other words, stand by dear blog reader, cos yer actual Keith Telly Topping is about to go off-on-one. If there is one thing that righteously, corporeally pisses yer actual Keith Telly Topping off to infinity and beyond it is a certain section of Doctor Who fans - The Special People, basically - whinging about, well, pretty much anything, as it happens. But, specifically, just to take one very current example, the number of episodes that they're being given to view in any given year. 'Oh, so it's only gonna be ten this year! What a disgrace, I shall write to my MP.' Or, whatever. You bunch of utterly ungrateful sods, show some Goddamn respect and grow the frig up whilst you're about it. See, some of us, dear blog reader, are not children but can actually remember an entire decade going by where the number of Doctor Who episodes made was one. Not one a year, just one. And, that wasn't a very good one. But, the thing that really - really - grates my effing cheese the most is that many of these whingers are, or at least appear to be, American. Now, don't get me wrong, some of my best friends number amongst our cousins from across the mighty blue ocean (and, more specifically, American Doctor Who fans). Great country, nice people, broadly speaking - although some of them seem to have an unhealthy love of killing each other -  they make good guitars, I even quite like their president. But, let's just remember these are people who, because they do not pay a licence fee, contribute not a single, solitary penny towards the BBC's cost of making the damn show in the first place. (Yes, I'm sure they all buy the DVDs religiously whenever they come out - and none of them would ever dream of illegally downloading episodes off the Internet, no siree, Bob. But, as we've previously discussed in relation to Top Gear, the vast amount of monies accrued by BBC Worldwide in their commercial exploitation of certain BBC brands, including Doctor Who, does not go back to the production of the programme(s) in question but, rather, goes into a central pot which is then distributed around the BBC. If you spend your whatever it is, fifty dollars or so, on a Doctor Who box-set you're paying about as much to the actual Doctor Who production office as you are to the photocopying section at BBC Radio Rutland.) The sense of sheer ignorant entitlement that The Special People seem to wear, proudly, like a sodding great chip on their shoulder, often staggers me. The BBC does not - whatever you may think to contrary - owe you, or me, or anyone else for that matter, a guaranteed personal gift of fourteen Doctor Who episodes each year, every year, till the end of time come what may. They just don't, and that's end of the matter. They make the damn show, it's theirs to do with as they wish and if 2013's schedule for the various parties involved - Matt, Steven and the Beeb themselves in these tough financial times - indicates that ten episodes is the best they can manage in 2013 then, fine, that's what you'll get and you should be bloody grateful for that because it could have been ten episodes less than that. It's been said before but it really does bear repeating there are a certain section of Doctor Who fans who, greatly, resemble rescued dogs in so much as because they perceive they've been mistreated in the past (a perception, incidentally, which doesn't always bear close examination) they seem to expect it'll happen again and again. But, sadly, that's fandom in general, for you, not just in Doctor Who's case. Want, want, want. Want it all, want it now, don't want to pay for it. To those of us who are simply happy that here we are in 2013 and Doctor Who is a living, breathing entity, and a highly regarded one, when as recently as 2004 it wasn't that or anything even remotely like it, can I just ask that the next time you go onto Gallifrey Base to start whinging about everything not being just so and how unhappy 'the fans' are you please remember one important thing. You don't, even remotely, speak for me. Here endeth the righteous fury.
Good. I feel better now.

The new edition of the Radio Times has revealed that Lesley Manville is to portray William Hartnell's wife Heather in the fiftieth anniversary drama An Adventure In Space And Time. The actress has had an extensive career going all the way back to her appearance, as a teenager, in Emmerdale Farm in the 1970s. Check out, for instance, her magnificent performance as Gary Oldman's wife in Alan Clarke's 1989 classic The Firm. Her more recent work includes Grief alongside long-term collaborator Mike Leigh, on television in Cranford and Law and Order: UK, and on film in Womb (which also starred Matt Smith).

Charlie Brooker's dark Channel Four drama Black Mirror returned with nearly 1.6 million viewers for the first of a new three-part run starring Hayley Atwell and Domhnall Gleeson on Monday evening. The opening episode, Be Right Back, had a nine per cent share of the audience between 10pm and 11.05pm. It was, marginally, down from the 1.9 million viewers who tuned in to the opening episode of the first series in 2011, but was up fourteen per cent on Channel Four's slot average over the past three months. Channel Four may have axed Big Fat Gypsy Weddings, but Monday night's one-off special, My Big Fat Gypsy Valentine, appears to show there is no shortage of viewer appetite for the format. My Big Fat Gypsy Valentine was watched by 4.1 million viewers between 9pm and 10pm. The documentary series attracted overnight audiences of more than six million when it first appeared on Channel Four two years ago. However, with more than double the network's three-month slot average, Monday night's special still gave the channel a much-needed ratings boost. It beat BBC2's really rather disappointing Stephen Poliakoff drama Dancing On The Edge, which had but 1.7 million viewers for the third of its five-part run. BBC1's new natural history documentary, Penguins: Spy in the Huddle was watched by 4.6 million viewers between 9pm and 10pm. The slot was won by ITV's Lewis, with 6.3 million viewers. BBC2's 8pm hour continued to be one of the channel's best of the week as University Challenge was watched by 2.89m and 2.47m viewed Food and Drink half-an-hour later, the latter nearly matching Panorama which could only muster 2.69m for BBC1. Meanwhile, the new BBC4 documentary Chivalry and Betrayal: The Hundred Years War had five hundred and seventy thousand viewers, including yer actual Keith Telly Topping as it happens. That was twenty four per cent up on its slot average over the last three months. Helped by the fact that gothy presenter Janina Ramirez is something of a stone cold fox. Ahem. Anyway, the third and final series of Sky1's Spartacus: War Of The Damned took to the battlefield with three hundred and seventeen thousand viewers, between 10pm and 11.15pm, up one hundred and seventy three per cent on the slot average.

Just recommissioned for the third series, Death In Paradise's overnight audience for BBC1 on Tuesday night was just under 6.2m. The full Tuesday figures will appear in the next blog update.

The BBC has unveiled a new trailer for its 2013 drama series using Elvis's 'The Wonder of You' as its theme. Skill. Doctor Who, Luther and Call The Midwife all feature in the Original British Drama trail. Also glimpsed are David Tennant in the new legal thriller The Escape Artist from [spooks] creator David Wolstencroft and scenes from detective drama Quirke featuring Gabriel Byrne and Merlin's Colin Morgan. Cillian Murphy's period drama Peaky Blinders, the much-anticipated Gillian Anderson crime thriller The Fall, new zombie drama In The Flesh and Lacey Turner's new project Our Girl also feature in the three-minute clip. 'Drama and the BBC are inseparable – it is written through the BBC like a stick of rock,' said Ben Stephenson. 'No other broadcaster in the world has drama so firmly in its DNA. Ultimately I can boil this down to one thing – I want to make the BBC the hall mark of quality drama and the automatic home for the best talent in the world.' Damn straight.
There was so much terrific stuff to announced that Ben Stephenson appeared to get rather carried away at Monday night's star-packed 2013 programming launch, and marked his fourth year in the post by taking an unscripted - but, very amusing - pop at Sky and its (recently successful) efforts to 'poach' talent for low-rating shows. 'I want you, the best talent in the world. I hope we'll be more welcoming, more fun, we are a weighty institution, we're working on it, I want to bypass that we're the adventurous ones. Yes, I am looking at you Sky and your "original drama." And we are not about niché!' The drama boss said that he wanted the BBC to be 'inspiringly creative' and that he intended to articulate 'that we are the adventurous and gung-ho market leader that the competition can only follow and sometimes, maybe even copy.' Stephenson also appeared to criticise Sky Atlantic's attempts to become 'a British HBO' and its recent commission for a British adaptation of the Scandinavian crime drama The Bridge, claiming that the BBC will always innovate rather than mimic American TV or Nordic Noir. 'At all costs we must protect our own British values. Without which we're a cheap imitation of Hollywood or a less Scandi version of Scandi,' he said. 'Why copy other countries when we can be the best at what we can do? I want us to be international, but crucially on our own terms. Rather than naively chasing the ambition to be a British HBO and chasing famous names, it's about having a Danny Boyle vision to our work. Britishness doesn't mean we don't work with the best international talent. We should have really open and creative borders. None of this is about being niche. The ambition to be popular and brilliant runs through the BBC.' So, that's yer man Ben's chances of ever getting an executive job at the Sky empire gone for a swim in the Arctic. Good on ya, Stepho ma'boy, that's what I like to see in the TV industry - career planning with a difference.
Still on the subject of yer man Benji - who really seems to have enjoyed his few moments in the spotlight on Monday - he also claimed that commissioning Sherlock was 'a risk.' The Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman detective drama has proven to be a huge hit not only in the UK but also internationally becoming one of the BBC's biggest exports. But Ben told The Hollywood Reporter that the show's 'tone' made it a risk for the corporation. 'In my opinion, if you take risks with stories and writers, you will actually drive big audiences,' he said. 'For example, the tone of Sherlock only works on the BBC in this country. The risk we took with that tone drove the success of it internationally.' He continued: '[Sherlock] is a massive show internationally. It is in hundreds of territories internationally, is a hit in America and has made Benedict a star. That came out of the same approach and attitude that goes into our other work. Being popular is absolutely at the heart of what the BBC does.' Sherlock co-creator Steven Moffat has previously admitted that he did not expect the show to be a mainstream hit. 'We thought it'd get four million [viewers] and an award from a Polish festival, something like that,' he said in August. Sherlock producer Sue Vertue confirmed last year that shooting on a third series had been scheduled for March.
Talent on view at the BBC drama launch included Luther's most excellent Idris Elba, who cheerily stayed on till late and seemed to very enjoy hobnobbing with much of the BBC's top brass, including Alan Yentob, Roger Mosey and acting DG Tim Davie. Another long-stayer was Anne Reid, who said that some of the lines in the surprise hit Last Tango in Halifax, including many of her right-wing Daily Scum Mail views, had been 'very frightening' to deliver. Still, Anne's well up for a second series, filming this summer. It also emerged that though BBC Television Centre has been more or less emptied of staff, it is currently in use as a set, for the BBC2 drama about the creation of Doctor Who fifty years ago, An Adventure In Space And Time. Jessica Raine, star of Call The Midwife is, as previously announced, taking the part of the late Doctor Who producer and TV industry giant Verity Lambert, once described by her BBC drama boss Sydney Newman (Doctor Who's creator) approvingly as being 'full of piss and vinegar.'

The Digital Spy website has exclusive footage of a recent Q&A session with Borgen's Sidse Babett Knudsen. And, jolly fascinating stuff it is too. At the screening at the Edinburgh Filmhouse, Knudsen confirmed that the third series of Borgen - due to broadcast in the UK in early 2014 - is definitely the acclaimed political drama's finale.

The Hour has been cancelled by BBC2. The newsroom drama - which starred Dominic West, Ben Whishaw and Romola Garai - will not return for a third series, Broadcast reports. The show, which received multiple award nominations, mirrored the experiences of former journalists Catherine Freeman and Grace Wyndham Goldie. The latter re-launched BBC current affairs magazine Panorama in 1955. It was also noted that Whishaw, who played idealistic reporter Freddie Lyons, bore an uncanny resemblance to the late correspondent Charles Wheeler in his younger years. A BBC spokesperson said: 'We loved the show but have to make hard choices to bring new shows through.' Jane Featherstone, chief executive of producers Kudos Film and Television, said that she was 'sad and disappointed' by the BBC's decision. However, whilst critically acclaimed, the show was never a ratings success. The first series of The Hour launched with 2.89 million viewers in July 2011 and subsequent episodes did just about enough to earn a second series. But the show's next run fared less well in the ratings, opening with 1.68 million. The period thriller's creator Abi Morgan previously admitted that she would enjoy writing a third series. 'I love those characters and I'm really excited to create more characters, so fundamentally I'd love to see it develop and grow,' she said in November. But, now she's not going to.
Also on the subjects of series not returning, Ricky Gervais's wretched BBC2 sitcom Life's Too Short will not be back for a second series though it will bow out with a one-hour special guest starring Val Kilmer. So, that's some good news, anyway. Well, apart from the bit about the Christmas special.

Bruce Willis has apologised for a recent interview on The ONE Show. The Die Hard actor appeared as a guest on the BBC magazine show last week to promote the latest movie in the action franchise. During the interview with Matt Baker and Alex Jones, Willis spoke about the future of the series, and appeared more distant than usual. Willis has since stated that he was jet-lagged, which made him look 'boring' on-air. A bit like John McClare in the second, third and fourth movies, actually. 'I have to apologise,' Willis told XFM. 'I didn't get very many compliments about it. But I was so jet-lagged. I'm very sorry, you kids on The ONE Show.'

A perfume advert featuring yer actual Keira Knightley has been banned during children's television programming because it is seen as 'too sexually suggestive.' The Advertising Standards Authority ruled that Chanel's Coco Mademoiselle advert was unsuitable for young children. The watchdog investigated after a complaint from a viewer who saw it in the day time during the film Ice Age 2. So, clearly an unemployed viewer, then. Chanel said 'a degree of sexual charge' was common in perfume adverting. The company also argued Keira Knightley's character in it was playful and sensual but not overtly sexual. The advertisement shows the actress being photographed on a bed, with the photographer unzipping her clothes. She is then shown dressed only in a bed sheet and crawling towards him before lying back. Cor. A spokesperson for the Advertising Standards Authority said they decided it was suitable for older children. 'We therefore concluded that the ad was inappropriately scheduled and an ex-kids restriction should have been applied to prevent the ad from being broadcast in or around children's programming,' they said. The watchdog ruled it must not be broadcast again in its current form in or around programmes of particular appeal to children.
Robert Downey Jr has optioned an episode of Charlie Brooker's Channel Four anthology series Black Mirror with the aim of producing a science-fiction thriller, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Created by Peep Show writer Jesse Armstrong, the episode, The Entire History of You, centres on a world in which people can replay their memories using 'grain' implant technology. It was originally broadcast in December 2011 and starred Toby Kebbell as a jealous husband obsessed with using the replay technology to uncover evidence that his wife (Jodie Whittaker) had been engaged in an affair. The proposed film version, which is being put together at studio Warner Brothers via Downey Jr's Team Downey production company, appears to be slightly different. Set in the near future, it will centre on a widower who uses similar technology to reconstruct his relationship with his dead wife until he unwittingly uncovers a vast conspiracy. Armstrong, whose film work includes 2009's Oscar-nominated In the Loop (with Armando Iannucci, Simon Blackwell and Tony Roche) and the 2010 terrorism satire Four Lions (with Chris Morris), will also write the screenplay. Downey Jr is not yet attached to star in the film and there are no further casting details. The second series of Black Mirror began on Monday night. All three episodes of the new series are written by Brooker, a columnist for the Gruniad Morning Star. But, don't hold that against him.

Dom Joly's hidden camera series Fool Britannia has been commissioned for a second series by ITV. Why? Why, for the love of God, why?

A television station's regular programming was interrupted by apparent news of a zombie apocalypse on Monday. Which, one imagines, rather surprised their six viewers. The Montana Television Network alleges that 'hackers' broke into the emergency alert system of its Great Falls affiliate, KRTV, and its CW station. KRTV notes on its website the hackers broadcast a message which alerted viewers that 'dead bodies are rising from their graves' in several Montana counties. Blimey. The network claims there is 'no such emergency' (but then, they would say that, wouldn't they?) and its engineers are investigating. Not investigating the zombie apocalypse, you understand, because, well, firstly I doubt engineers would be much good in such a scenario, frankly. You'd need state troopers to 'shoot 'em in the head!' 'The message did not come from our station, and appears to be the result of a hacker. Our engineers our looking into the origin of the alert to make sure a similar occurrence does not happen again,' KRTV say.
The actress (well, sort of) and singer (well, sort of) Martine McCutcheon has been declared bankrupt after filing for insolvency at a London court. McCutcheon, best known for playing Tiffany Mitchell in EastEnders, petitioned in her given name - Martine Kimberley Sherri Ponting. Bankruptcy trustees KPMG said the actress's 'largest creditor' was Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. The thirty six-year-old, who lives in Esher, will be discharged from bankruptcy on 2 January 2014. After EastEnders' McCutcheon launched a - briefly, and baffling - successful career as a singer, scoring a number one in five countries with the song 'Perfect Moment' in 1999. Despite the fact that it was, in fact, shit. She later won a Laurence Olivier Award for best actress in a musical for her performance as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady in 2002. In 2003, she appeared alongside Hugh Grant in Love, Actually, playing Grant's tea lady and love interest, Natalie. The actress also published her first novel in 2009, The Mistress, which featured on several bestsellers list. Despite it being a complete and utter waste of trees. Recent television work has included roles in Midsomer Murders and [spooks]. So how, you may wonder dear blog reader, has someone with so many diverse and, seemingly, successful revenue streams ended up stony and right on her uppers. KPMG's David Standish, who was appointed joint trustee in bankruptcy of McCutcheon by the Secretary of State on 24 January 2013 said: 'Ms McCutcheon petitioned for her own bankruptcy at Kingston-Upon-Thames County Court. We are now responsible for administering her estate and are in the process of establishing the individual's assets and liabilities.' McCutcheon's management declined to comment on their client. Ed Thomas, insolvency practitioner at accountancy firm Mazars told Credit Today it was the celebrity's responsibility to ensure their financial affairs are up-to-date. 'Without knowing the background to this matter, one should not point the finger, but generally we are seeing several celebrities failing in their obligation to ensure that their financial affairs are dealt with properly. There is no doubt that they pay a lot of money to people who claim to be managing their affairs professionally.' He added that HMRC will give 'several warnings and opportunities' to settle any liabilities before taking action. 'Therefore, any abrogation by the celebrity of their responsibility to deal with income tax and other debt issues, is no real defence,' he said.

Perhaps Martine might consider asking Don Johnson for a sub since the former Miami Vice actor is not short of a bob or two at the moment. Johnson has this week won a multi-million dollar settlement after a long-running legal battle over his 1990s TV show Nash Bridges. Now, perhaps, he'll be able to afford socks. The actor had negotiated a fifty per cent stake in the detective series with producer Rysher Entertainment if it lasted more than sixty six episodes, he argued. He scored a $51.2m court victory against Rysher in 2010, but it was reduced to fifteen million dollars in 2012. The money has now been paid, bringing the dispute to an end. The earlier settlement had been so high because, when a jury awarded Johnson $23.2m, the judge added interest, inflating the figure to more than fifty million bucks. In a statement in 2010, Johnson said: 'Nash Bridges was my project and I poured my heart into it. I feel a sense of vindication and sincere gratitude that both the jury and Judge Stern continue to agree with me.' Rysher had contended the show had lost money overall, that Johnson had made about forty million bucks from fees as an actor and producer, and was not owed any more. According to court records, the settlement money was transferred on 30 January and the sixty year-old actor's lawyers had acknowledged receipt. Two other companies, Qualia Capital and 2929 Entertainment, were also successfully sued by Johnson as part of the same case. The US crime drama, created by Carlton Cuse, followed Johnson and Cheech Marin as two inspectors with the San Francisco Police Department's Special Investigations Unit. It ran for six seasons from March 1996 to May 2001 and is still shown around the world in forty six countries.

Yer actual Peter Capaldi will play Leonardo Da Vinci in a new 3D dramatised documentary based on the Italian's journals. The show will be shown on Sky Arts 2 and Sky 3D. Da Vinci's journals feature over six thousand pages of notes and drawings and chronicle the life of the world's most renowned inventor, philosopher, painter and genius. The show will use stunning visual effects and 3D technology to recreate the polymath's mindscape and ideas. 'Leonardo's journals are an extraordinary body of work, highlighting Da Vinci's position at the vanguard of ideas, thought and design. It's wholly fitting therefore, that his works are being brought to life in such a creative way with the use of Sky's cutting edge 3D technology,' said James Hunt, channel director of Sky Arts. 'Sky Arts and Sky 3D customers will be captivated by the stunning visualisations of his work and by Peter Capaldi's performance which impassions the eclectic and brilliant mind of this Fifteenth Century genius.'
A serving Metropolitan police officer in the territorial policing command has been arrested over alleged corrupt payments from journalists. The male officer, fifty, was reportedly held on suspicion of misconduct in public office by detectives from the Operation Elveden investigation at 6am on Tuesday morning. Which, presumably means he was dragged from his pit by the full might of the law. He was arrested at his home in Wimbledon and becomes the sixtieth person held under Operation Elveden and the one hundred and sixth arrest as part of the three investigations into phone-hacking, illegal and naughty payments from journalists to police and public officials, and criminal breaches of privacy. Scotland Yard said that the officer serves in the territorial policing command based in a South London borough. He is being questioned at a South London police station. The force added in a statement: 'Today's arrest is the result of information provided to police by News Corporation's Management and Standards Committee. It relates to suspected payments to a police officer and is not about seeking journalists to reveal confidential sources in relation to information that has been obtained legitimately.' Territorial policing officers are described as 'London's local police' and serve in the capital's thirty three borough command units. They are assisted by specialist officers from the Territorial Support Group when responding to planned or spontaneous disorder in London. The latest arrest comes twelve days after DCI April Casburn became the first person to be jailed as part of the Operation Elveden inquiry. She was sentenced to fifteen months in the pokey after being found extremely guilty of offering to sell information to the Scum of the World about Scotland Yard's investigation into phone hacking.

Then, just twenty four hours later, six journalists from the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World also got the dawn raid treatment and were arrested by police investigating allegations of phone-hacking at the newspaper. Scotland Yard said that three men and three women were held in London and Cheshire. It said its Operation Weeting investigation had 'identified a further suspected conspiracy to intercept telephone voicemails.' Police said the case relates to the 2005 to 2006 period and was separate from its earlier inquiry which has seen charges laid against the likes of well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks and the prime minister's 'chum' Andy Coulson. Two men aged forty five and forty six were arrested in Wandsworth, while a thirty nine-year-old man was held in Greenwich. The three women arrested were a thirty nine-year-old detained in Cheshire, a thirty three-year-old in Islington, and a forty-year-old in Lambeth. They were being questioned on suspicion of conspiracy to intercept telephone communications contrary to the Criminal Law Act 1997. The Scum of the World was closed down in shame and ignominy by its publisher in 2011 following the public outrage over hundreds of cases of phone-hacking. The Metropolitan Police said all the suspects worked for the newspaper. It added: 'In due course officers will be making contact with people they believe have been victims of the suspected voicemail interceptions.'
David Cameron has rejected calls to reconsider introducing statutory underpinning for a new press regulator after 'two months of behind-the-scene deliberation with legal and policy advisers' according to the Gruniad Morning Star. A new press watchdog proposed on Tuesday by the Conservative party in the wake of The Leveson Report would be established by a royal charter but it will not be backed by new legislation. The long-awaited detailed proposals for press regulation come eight weeks after the prime minister said that a 'Leveson law' would 'cross a Rubicon' and end centuries of press freedom. The decision is likely to send the party on an immediate collision course with Labour, which has called on the Tories to endorse Leveson's central recommendation to underpin the new watchdog by statute. The vile and odious rascal Miller, the lack of culture secretary, told Sky News: 'We do not want to have a press law.' No. And neither do the press which is one very good reason where there should be such a law. The vile and odious rascal Miller said she hoped the 'certainty' the Labour party was looking from for the press regulator can be achieved through the royal charter body. Under the proposals the new watchdog would be audited by a recognition panel every three years to ensure newspapers do not 'slide back' into a culture which could spawn another scandal such as phone-hacking. This 'verifying' body would be established by a royal charter, which could not be amended without written approval from the three main parties in the Commons and the support of two thirds of the members of both the lower house and the Lords. The is designed to address criticism that the scheme would give powers to cabinet members to 'interfere' in press regulation as they sit on the Privy Council, which is the body vested with the power to hand out, amend and remove royal charters. The Tory proposals offer the first details on how the press regulator's recognition panel would operate and the regulatory authority it verifies. The board of the recognition panel, will have up to eight members, none of whom can be news publishers or civil servants. A separate appointments committee, chaired by Baron Brown, justice of the supreme court, will determine the make up of the panel and of consist four members – including one representing publishers, one representing the public and one public appointments assessor. Serving editors or politicians will not be allowed to sit on this committee. The Tory proposals also include some 'fresh thinking' on the regulatory body to replace the Press Complaints Commission. It will be able to investigate third-party complaints and it will also have the power to regulate 'a website containing news-related material,' such as The Huffington Post or the Guido Fawkes blog. Or, indeed, From The North for that matter. It also gives outsiders the first opportunity to be involved in drawing up the code of practice for journalists covering everything from accuracy to privacy. This has, up to now, been the exclusive preserve of editors. The new watchdog will also be required to provide an arbitration process in relation to civil claims for alleged libel and privacy breaches. The vile and odious rascal Miller claimed that the proposals would allow the Leveson 'principles' to be implemented swiftly and 'in a practical fashion.' She said the royal charter 'would see the toughest press regulation this country has ever seen, without compromising press freedom.' However, Hacked Off, which has been campaigning for press reforms, accused Cameron of 'selling out' on his promise to protect victims of press harassment by 'watering down' Leveson's recommendations. The Lib Dems gave a cautious welcome to the plans. 'We have always said our preferred option is to implement what Leveson suggested – a system of independent self-regulation backed by statute. But we are also clear that, as both Leveson and the victims have called for, the best outcome would be to move forward with cross-party agreement,' said a spokesman. Hacked Off alleged the Tories 'undermined' several key Leveson recommendations including the one calling for appointments to be made 'without any influence from industry or government.' The royal charter gives the industry a veto over appointments, changing this to without 'direction from industry.' The campaign group said that the royal charter also 'obliterates' the independence of the regulatory board by watering down the rules over its membership. Hacked Off also said that the charter omits any mention of corrections and apologies, something that concerned Leveson, who found that newspapers had in the past tried to 'resist or dismiss complainants almost as a matter of course.' Publishers who want to avoid large fines will be able to do so by creating a corporate vehicle 'for their convenience,' Hacked Off said.

And, speaking of corrections, judging by the convincing nature of Moscow Chelski's 4-1 shellacking of Wigan Not Very Athletic on Sunday, the team's pre-match scouting report appears to have worked like a charm. 'The analysis proved spot on when David Luiz and Fernando Torres combined midway through the first half to put Ramires through on goal,' declared the Daily Scum Mail's Neil Ashton on Monday, after the paper found itself with what it believed was the bona fide Moscow Chelski FC pre-match scouting report. In a page-lead story, headlined REVEALED: How Rafa dossier worked a treat against Wigan, the Scum Mail explained how the club document 'proved spot on' and was read 'line-by-line' to Moscow Chelski FC players by manager Rafa Benítez before the game. 'With remarkable accuracy, the report identifies Wigan's vulnerabilities and urges Chelsea's players to take full advantage of their anxiety,' the paper reported. Remarkable accuracy, indeed – given that the Scum Mail admitted on Tuesday that the supposedly 'official' dossier was not, actually real. In a corrections column tucked away on page two, the paper admitted: 'It was understood that the scouting report referred to in the articles was a genuine Chelsea FC club document. We have since been advised that this is not the case and we are happy to clarify the position.' No trace of the editorial own goal is available on the Daily Scum Mail's website, as the online version of the story has been swiftly taken down.
England and Moscow Chelski FC midfielder Frank Lampard had a cracker in the game against Wigan, possibly boosted by the revelation that he is to write a series of children's books for publisher Little Brown. No, I'm not making this up. The footballer, whose contract expires at the end of the season, will - allegedly - 'pen' five books, called Frankie's Magic Football, for children aged five and above. Which is about the readering age of the average Premier League player so, you can kind of see the thinking here. The stories will follow 'the adventures of a school boy, Frankie, his football-loving friends, and pet dog Max.' Lampard claimed that the stories were 'loosely based on friends and team mates.' The thirty four-year-old will publish his first book, Frankie Versus The Pirate Pillagers, in June, followed by two more this year and another two in 2014. 'I first had the idea of Frankie and his Magic Football when reading stories to my own children,' he said in a statement. 'Sport and reading are two essentials for us at home, so I decided to make up my own football stories and adventures.' Lampard has two daughters, aged five and eight, with his former fiancée, Spanish model Elen Rivas. He is currently engaged to horrorshow (and drag) the curiously orange Christine Bleakley. The vice-captain of Moscow Chelski FC, Lampard currently earns one hundred and fifty thousand smackers per week whilst most authors can't get a deal with a publisher because the industry is frightened of taking risks. Irony? Oh, don't get me started. Lampard started his career in 1994 at The Hamsters, where his father, Old Frank Lampard, also played. Lampard's book deal was brokered by Neil Blair and Zoe King, who also represent JK Rowling - and if Rowling isn't outraged by the idea of a millionaire being handed a children's book deal not on the strength of any inherent writing ability but, purely it would seem, on their name, then she really frigging should be. These jokers claimed the books were 'full of loveable characters on wacky adventures' and destined for 'great things' whilst making lots and lots and lots of lovely wonga for them. The greedy turds. Sick, dear blog reader. The world is sick and it's vile and it's wrong in so many ways and on so many levels.

Lovely Sue Perkins is, apparently, the subject of an utterly pointless Internet 'campaign' to become the next Doctor Who lead on some website or other with about fifteen readers a day. Much like this one, in fact.  That, in and of itself is harmless enough. But, what's really sad is that this complete non-story, it would seem, constitutes 'news' as far as the Sun are concerned. Is it just me or has everybody in the world taken their stupid pills this week, or what?

A mobile phone was discover after a prisoner's anus began to ring. Which, of course, gives a whole new meaning to the term ringpiece, one could suggest. A Sri Lankan man was reportedly trying to conceal his mobile up his back passage but was caught when his Gary Glitter began to 'ring' at a dramatically inappropriate moment at the Welikada Prison. The fifty eight-year-old convict was subsequently admitted to the national hospital in Colombo, where doctors managed to remove the device from his orifice. A prison official said: 'The man had concealed the phone inside his person. Unfortunately for him, the phone rang at the wrong time and guards knew he had a phone at the wrong end.' The official also disclosed that the prisoner was in hospital for two days but was then taken back to the prison. He is currently serving a ten-year stretch for theft.
The organisers of T in the Park have announced German electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk are to headline this year's festival. It will be the group's first ever appearance at the Ballado event.

Just weeks after the death of Patrick Moore, his colleague Reg Turnill, the BBC's aerospace correspondent from the beginning of the space age through to the shuttle era, has died aged ninety seven. He covered every manned American spaceflight from the Moon Landings through to the shuttle flights in the 1980s. After being sent to Moscow to cover the first manned space launch, Reg regularly reported from Cape Canaveral and Houston on the Apollo Moon missions. In 1970, he broke the story to the world that Apollo 13 was in serious trouble. Turnill's eldest son confirmed the news of his father's death to BBC Radio Kent. Michael Turnill, seventy two, said his father was 'always very committed to what he was doing' and was still writing stories just eight weeks ago. He added that Reg's mind was still 'remarkable' at the age of ninety seven. Turnill's career began with the Press Association in Fleet Street when he was fifteen. He stayed with the news agency as a staff reporter until recruited by the BBC in 1956 as assistant industrial correspondent. In 1958, he was made the BBC's air and space correspondent, with a brief to cover defence. He interviewed all of the Apollo astronauts and was friends with Wernher von Braun, the architect of NASA's moon programme (and, arguably, a war criminal as well but, you know, that's a debate for another time). Despite officially retiring from the BBC in 1975, he continued to contribute to the corporation's space coverage, particularly on John Craven's Newsround. Reg wrote a tribute to the late Neil Armstrong in the October 2012 edition of Astronomy Now magazine and also contributed to the BBC's coverage of the astronaut's death. In his later years, he lived in Sandgate with his wife Margaret. Reg died peacefully in the early hours of this morning at the Pilgrim's Hospice in Ashford, where he had been for the past month.

And so to today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. And, this one would appear to be for Reg his very self. Tell 'em all about, Mister Bowie.

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