Tuesday, February 05, 2013

There's No Need To Explain

Channel Four's documentary about the discovery of the - probable - skeleton of Richard III proved a right royal overnight ratings hit with an average of 3.7 million viewers on Monday night. Richard III: The King In The Car Park, had a near sixteen per cent audience share between 9pm and 10.35pm, with a five-minute peak of 4.3 million. The documentary overshadowed the start of BBC2's new Stephen Poliakoff drama, Dancing on the Edge, which began its five-part run with 2.3 million viewers between 9pm and 10.30pm, including one hundred and thirty four thousand viewers on the BBC HD channel. Also returning to BBC2 last night was Food and Drink, the magazine show which was last broadcast on the channel in 2001. Back with a new line-up of presenters featuring Michel Roux Jr and Kate Goodman, the second serving of Food and Drink began with 2.6 million viewers including eighty eight thousand punters on BBC HD. Mrs Brown's Boys came to the end of its all-conquering third series with 6.4 million viewers between 9.30pm and 10pm. It did not hit the heights of previous episodes, but had to do without the ratings inheritance from fellow hit BBC1 sitcom Miranda, which ended last week. The Outnumbered repeat which replaced it, the first episode of series three, had 3.6 million viewers between 9pm and 9.30pm. On ITV at the same time, detective drama Lewis had 6.2 million viewers between 9pm and 10pm. As one sitcom finished on BBC1, another one began, with Sue Johnston comedy Being Eileen – a spin-off from 2011 Christmas comedy drama special Lapland – launching in a post-news slot with 2.5 million viewers, between 10.35pm and 11.05pm.

Channel Four's Big Fat Quiz Of The Year will not be investigated by the media watchdog, despite nearly two hundred complaints from Daily Scum Mail readers about allegedly 'controversial' jokes about the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and Susan Boyle. Ofcom received one hundred and eighty complaints about the annual Jimmy Carr-fronted quiz show, which featured the likes of odious, unfunny skinny glake Jack Whitehall, unfunny lard bucket (and drag) James Corden and Jonathan Ross and was broadcast on 30 December 2012. A series of spiteful, trouble-stirring Daily Scum Mail articles published from 31 December and with sick agenda smeared all over them a foot thick attempted to fuel the controversy with headlines including Channel Four and the sick show they call comedy. Whitehall and Corden were the focus of the complaints for a series of jokes about the royal family, athlete Usain Bolt and Britain's Got Talent runner-up Boyle. These included Whitehall making a joke about the bladder infection suffered by the Duke of Edinburgh last summer and saying that Olympic gold medallist Bolt could 'rake it in' by going to stud like the retired racehorse Frankel. Ofcom has assessed the complaints and decided that the programme did not breach its broadcasting code. In deciding not to investigate the programme, Ofcom noted that the show was preceded by a warning about containing strong language and adult humour, and that it was broadcast after the 9pm watershed. Many regular Channel Four viewers would have been aware of the show's often risqué content it has been running since 2007, the regulator said. Big Fat Quiz Of The Year was watched by 3.1 million viewers on Channel Four on the night it was broadcast. Ofcom is understood to have received just a single complaint on the day the show was broadcast, Sunday 30 December, and a mere five more the following day. However, after a series of shit-stirring Daily Scum Mail front-page stories and the paper reprinting jokes from the programme in full on page four on Wednesday 2 January, complaints to Ofcom increased to one hundred and eighty. An Ofcom spokesman said: 'After careful consideration, Ofcom has taken the decision not to investigate this issue. In reaching this decision, we concluded that the programme was scheduled post watershed; it was preceded with a clear warning of "strong language and adult humour" and was consistent with audience expectations of a satirical quiz on Channel Four.'

Meanwhile, the ITV show Lorraine broke broadcast rules after it allowed Dannii Minogue - the least famous of the Minogue sisters - to promote a milk product she had a commercial deal with, Ofcom ruled. The singer appeared on the programme on 8 November 2012 to discuss her role in a forthcoming diet feature on the show. But during the segment she went on to talk about the product, where it could be bought and said it was 'amazing.' Ofcom ruled although the discussion was brief, the overall effect was to 'promote and endorse' the product. The regulator added that as it was not made clear to viewers that Minogue was being paid to promote the product, all references made to it were therefore 'unduly prominent.' During the interview, which lasted about five minutes, Minogue spent one minute talking about the product after presenter Lorraine Kelly asked her about her own dietary regime. The exchange included the singer saying she had 'discovered this milk in Australia. It's been a huge success there and it's coming over here.' She also detailed the difference between the product and regular milk and suggested it may be 'beneficial' for people who are intolerant to dairy. At the end of the discussion, Kelly said: 'Well that's great, it obviously works.' ITV told Ofcom neither it nor any person connected with the programme had received payment for the references to the product. It admitted that it understood Minogue was 'motivated to talk about' the milk because of her commercial deal, but added that producers had given 'clear advice' to the singer that 'only a passing reference' to the product could be made. The broadcaster added Kelly's comment was intended as 'a polite acknowledgement' of what Minogue was saying, rather than an endorsement of the product. However Ofcom said the singer's use of promotional language - including saying the product was 'amazing' - together with telling viewers it was available to buy in British supermarkets, was a clear endorsement encouraging viewers to purchase it. The regulator added it was concerned at Minogue's 'implicit claims' the product could benefit those with a dairy intolerance. Ofcom concluded the information in the segment 'went beyond what would be justified for editorial reasons' and as no indication was given to viewers Minogue had a commercial deal with the product, all the references were in breach broadcasting rules. As the incident was of a similar nature to a breach ITV made in 2011 when Amanda Holden gave undue prominence to a group of law firms on This Morning, Ofcom said it expected ITV to 'take further steps to ensure compliance in this area.'

Z-List Celebrity Drowning will return in 2014 with a second series. You have been warned in advance. Hopefully, someone will shit in the pool next time before the competition begins just for a bit of extra drama.

David Baddiel is reported to be working on a new game show for Radio 4 – in which comedians have to avoid getting a laugh. Which shouldn't be too difficult for yer man Bladdibub himself as he was last funny in about 1996. The idea of the show, Don't Make Me Laugh, is to subject stand-ups to 'the one thing they hate above all else,' being taken seriously. To make matters difficult, the comics will have to talk about topics that producers think are inherently funny, such as 'bottoms' or 'my most embarrassing sexual experience' or 'why David Cameron's face looks like a big ham.' When the studio audience do chuckle, the comic must pass the mike to the next in line. The person who can speak for the longest time without getting a laugh gets the most points. So, it's Just A Minute with a few tweaks, basically. Bladdibub – who is currently working on a return to stand-up – will be hosting a one-off recording of the show in London next month. He previously created the comedy discussion programme Heresy for Radio 4, and hosted the first four series before Victoria Coren took over. And made it better.

Channel Four has announced an all-star cast for new drama Dates. The nine-part series - first announced in September - is from Skins creator Bryan Elsley and will focus on the complexities of modern relationships, with each episode focusing on a different date. Sherlock's Andrew Scott and Merlin's Katie McGrath are among the actors to have signed up for the half-hour series. Fresh Meat actor Greg McHugh, White Van Man's Will Mellor and Sheridan Smith will also appear in Dates, which is currently filming in London. Ben Chaplin, Neil Maskell, Oona Chaplin, Gemma Chan, Montana Thompson and Sian Breckin make up the rest of the cast. Dates - described as 'surprising, awkward [and] sexy as hell' - will be shown on on Channel Four in summer 2013.

Rebecca Adlington, the two-time Olympic gold medallist, has announced her retirement from swimming at the age of twenty three. Which may come as a considerable surprise to those who saw her performance at London 2012 and believed that she'd retired already.
Detectives investigating allegations of historical sexual abuse and other dreadful and nefarious naughty doings have arrested a sixty five-year-old man in South London. The operation was set up in the wake of the Jimmy Savile fiasco, but the arrest is said to be part of the strand looking at complaints against people who are not directly connected to the late BBC presenter. The arrested man is the eleventh person to be questioned as part of Operation Yewtree. Ten have been arrested and one suspect was interviewed under caution. The Met said they were 'not prepared' to disclose any further details of the latest arrest, which was made early on Tuesday morning. Last month a Metropolitan Police report claimed that Savile had abused adults and children across the country over a time span of fifty years. The NSPCC said Savile had been one of the most prolific sex offenders in its one hundred and twenty nine-year history. Operation Yewtree is the Met's investigation into the allegations which have arisen since Savile was accused of abuse. The operation has three strands. One is looking specifically at the actions of Savile and the second strand concerns allegations against 'Savile and others' in cahoots. The third strand relates to alleged complaints against other people unconnected to the Savile investigations. High-profile names arrested in connection with the investigation are PR consultant Max Clifford, alleged comedians Freddie Starr and Jim Davidson, DJ Dave Lee Travis and former TV producer Wilfred De'Ath. All strenuously deny any wrongdoing.

And, speaking of people who strenuously denied any wrongdoing, yer actual Chris Huhne has resigned as an MP after he admitted perverting the course of justice over claims that his ex-wife took speeding points for him a decade ago. He will be sentenced later and will, likely, do considerable bird for his naughtiness and his lying ways. The ex-Lib Dem cabinet minister changed his plea to extremely guilty on the first day of his trial at Southwark Crown Court after failing in a bid to have the case dismissed. He had previously spent the last few months furiously denying the allegations against him, denials which now would seem to have been outright lies. His former wife, Vicky Pryce, has pleaded not guilty to the same offence. The judge ruled that text messages from Huhne's son urging Huhne to admit his guilt that he was the driver of the car could be used in evidence. Mr Justine Sweeney revealed that Huhne's legal team had previously made two applications to have the case dismissed or suspended to allow their client to weasel out of his crime but these were not granted and the trial proceeded. Speaking outside court, Huhne squirmed: 'Having taken responsibility for something that happened ten years ago, the only proper course of action for me is to resign my Eastleigh seat in Parliament, which I will do shortly.' Surely that should have read: 'Having taken responsibility for something that happened ten years ago - which I lied about then and continued to lie about up until today when I decided to cough up - the only proper course of action for me is to resign my Eastleigh seat in Parliament, which I will do shortly. Because, by and large, the electorate doesn't tolerate liars. Or, indeed, MPs who end up in jail.' The Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg claimed that he was 'shocked and saddened' by Huhne's admission but said his former challenger for the party leadership had 'taken the right decision in resigning as an MP.' All of which suggested that Clegg is claiming he was unaware the the charges against Huhne were true, something which probably says more about the Deputy Prime Minister's gullibility than about anything else. Huhne and Pryce were charged last year over an incident in March 2003 when Huhne's car was caught by a speed camera on the motorway between Stansted Airport in Essex and London. It is alleged that between 12 March and 21 May 2003, Pryce who was married to Huhne at the time, falsely informed the police that she was the driver of the car so that Huhne could avoid prosecution. The prosecution revealed Huhne had a history of speeding and was in danger of losing his licence, having already accrued nine penalty points. Huhne had boldly vowed to fight the charges and last week pleaded not guilty. His barrister, John Kelsey-Fry QC, had previously attempted to get the Huhne case thrown out of court, describing the prosecution's evidence as 'insufficient', 'circumstantial' and 'at best gossamer thin.' So, gossamer thin, in fact, that Huhne took one look at it and decided he'd better finally start telling the truth. Kelsey-Fry also claimed that the media had 'constantly assumed Huhne was guilty' - which, as it turns out, he was - which meant the ex-minister could not possibly receive a fair trial. But text messages between Huhne and his son Peter, sent in May 2011 and declared admissible in court by Mr Justice Sweeney, revealed that Peter put pressure on his father to 'accept responsibility' for his doings and take his caning like a man. Peter said: 'We all know that you were driving and you put pressure on Mum. Accept it or face the consequences. You've told me that was the case. Or will this be another lie?' Huhne replied: 'I have no intention of sending Mum to Holloway Prison for three months.' On Monday, Kelsey-Fry invited the court to read the indictment to Huhne once more, even though he had already pleaded not guilty at last week's hearing. When the allegation of perverting the course of justice was read, Huhne quietly declared that he was extremely guilty as charged. Granting Huhne unconditional bail until a sentence date yet to be fixed, Mr Justice Sweeney said: 'As Mr Kelsey-Fry has foreshadowed, you should have no illusions whatsoever as to the sort of sentence that you are likely to receive' which suggests that sometimes in the coming weeks Huhn'e can look forward to his first night inside and the pleasures of slopping out. Huhne, from Eastleigh in Hampshire, resigned as energy and climate change secretary after he was charged and has now forced a by-election in his constituency.

Newcastle United right-back Danny Simpson has insisted that he is 'okay' after Internet footage emerged showing him apparently unconscious in the street. The twenty six-year-old is alleged to have been 'caught up in violence' after a night out in his home city of Manchester on Saturday. A video shows the defender lying in the street outside a takeaway with claret all over his boat. Simpson posted a message on Twitter on Monday, saying: 'For the record im [sic] okay, 2 on 1 [sic] well done!' Police are not investigating the incident and Newcastle United did not want to comment.

Yer actual Reg Presley, lead singer of The Troggs, has died aged seventy one. The frontman died at his home in his beloved Hampshire surrounded by his family, his daughter Karen said. The Troggs had a number of huge hits on both sides of the Atlantic during the mid-1960s including 'Wild Thing', 'With A Girl Like You' and 'Love Is All Around' (the latter two written by Presley himself). Reg had announced his retirement from music a year ago after being taken ill during a concert in Germany and being diagnosed with lung cancer. Music publicist Keith Altham said on Facebook his 'dear old pal' had died after 'a succession of recent strokes and a losing battle with cancer. He was one very real person in a sometimes very unreal world. Our thoughts are with his wife Brenda and the family and those legion of fans who loved his music and his band. I will miss him hugely.' BBC 6Music presenter Marc Riley paid tribute to the 'great character' of Presley. 'He was so engaging and, at the same time, having been so influential, he was so humble and so likeable,' Riley said. In January 2012, in a letter to fans posted on his band's website, Presley had said: 'As you all know I was taken ill whilst doing a gig in Germany in December. During my stay in hospital tests showed that in fact I have lung cancer. I am receiving chemotherapy treatment and at the moment not feeling too bad. However I've had to call time on The Troggs and retire. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for the cards and calls and for your love, loyalty and support over the years.' Reg was born Reginald Maurice Ball born in Andover in 1941. Originally a bricklayer, Reg changed his name to Presley after his idol, Elvis, and The Troggs were formed in 1964, enjoying much local popularity around the dance halls of their native Hampshire with their hard-edged R&B sound. They were subsequently signed by Larry Page, manager of The Kinks, and recorded on Page's Page One label. Their début single 'Lost Girl' was released in 1966. But it was their second single, a version of Chip Taylor's 'Wild Thing' with Presley's proto-rap in the middle ('Wild thing ... I think I lurv you!') which ushered them into the big league. 'Wild Thing' was a massive hit on both sides of the Atlantic and was later covered by Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen and countless garage bands over the years. The Troggs were at their peak during the 1966-67 period scoring a number one with 'Wild Thing's follow up 'With A Girl Like You'. They had further hits with the classic garage-punk 'I Can't Control Myself' ('Oh! No!'), another Taylor masterpiece the ballad 'Anyway That You Want Me' and then two Presley songs which became hippie anthems written, so Reg would note, under the influence of nothing stronger than a cup of tea, 'Night Of The Long Grass' and 'Love Is All Around'. The latter, a hit in the summer of 1967, would keep Reg in royalties for the rest of his life, particularly after it became a hit again twenty seven years later when a (particularly bland and inoffensive) cover version by Wet Wet Wet remained at number one in the UK for fifteen weeks. The success of that version, which featured on the soundtrack of the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral, allowed Presley to pursue his interest in crop circles and UFOs. The singer even published a book, Wild Things They Don't Tell Us, about the paranormal in 2002. 'Love Is All Around' was also covered by R.E.M. which led to a collaboration between The Troggs and Mike Mills, Peter Buck and Bill Berry on the well-received 1992 CD Athens Andover. After the hits dried up, for a while it looked as if The Troggs were going to be mainly remembered for the infamous Troggs Tapes, an expletive-ridden recording of the band arguing with each other in the studio whilst trying to produce a hit single. It became something of legend in the music industry ('y'gotta put a little bit of fairy dust over the baaaaastard!') The much bootlegged recording is often reported as being one of the inspirations for the, if you will, rockumentary This Is Spinal Tap. It even, eventually, gained an official release as part of the band's 1992 archive collection Archaeology. The band continued to gig regularly throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s on the popular oldies circuit. In between tours, Reg fulfilled his love of acting, making a cameo in a Bob Dylan film and appearing in an episode of the Ruth Rendell Mysteries TV series. He also participated in Channel Four's quiz The Music Game. Nevertheless, The Troggs are now widely seen as a highly influential band whose sound was an inspiration for numerous garage and punk bands. The Jimi Hendrix Experience famously covered 'Wild Thing' during their appearance at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, climaxing with Hendrix setting fire to his guitar. Iggy Pop was a noted fan, Buzzcocks featured 'I Can't Control Myself' in their live repertoire and The Ramones were also among the bands who have cited The Troggs as a direct influence. The MC5 covered another Troggs song 'I Want You' and recorded it for their seminal LP Kick Out the Jams. In 1990, the first hit for art rockers Spiritualized was a - magnificent - cover of 'Anyway That You Want Me.'

So, for today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, this one's for Reg.

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