Thursday, March 21, 2013

Come To Me For Service Every Hundred Miles

The latest edition of the Radio Times takes a look behind the scenes of Doctor Who with a brief two-page article on filming a scene near St Paul's Cathedral, which will feature in the forthcoming The Bells of Saint John on the 30 March. The next edition of the magazine, on sale from 26 March, celebrates the return of the series, featuring an exclusive episode guide by Steven Moffat, plus a 'free Monster Wallchart.' Tasty.
Jonathan Creek will return to BBC1 on Easter Monday at 8.30pm, star Alan Davies has confirmed. Davies will be back in the title role, with Sheridan Smith reprising her part as fellow investigator Joey Ross. The ninety-minute episode is titled The Clue of the Savant's Thumb. Speaking at the Royal Television Society Awards on Wednesday night, Smith told the Digital Spy website: 'It's lovely to be back together. It's always the same cast and crew and we've also got Rik Mayall and Joanna Lumley this time. It's like having an old family back together.' Davies and writer David Renwick recently confirmed that a full three-episode mini-series of the drama has been commissioned by the BBC and will begin filming in the autumn. However, Smith isn't currently sure that she will be able to take part in the miniseries because of theatre commitments. 'I really want to be, but I'm going to be doing A Midsummer Night's Dream in the evenings. It depends if we can make it work. Fingers crossed,' she said. 'With Alan's hair and the duffel coat - I love him. He doesn't need anyone else. He doesn't need a sidekick.' The last episode of Jonathan Creek was 2010 Easter special The Judas Tree. A full series of the show hasn't aired since 2004.

Britain's golden summer of sport helped the BBC run away with most of the plaudits at this year's Royal Television Society programme awards, including a win in the best presenter category for the nation's sweetheart (according to the BBC-loathing Daily Scum Mail, anyway) Clare Balding. The corporation swept the board with eighteen of the twenty eight awards, including best live event for its coverage of the London Olympics, described as 'the biggest single event in the corporation's ninety one-year history.' Balding, one of the broadcasting faces of London 2012, took to the stage to a rare standing ovation from a packed room of TV executives at the Grosvenor hotel on Tuesday night. And in a nod to one of the many memorable TV moments of the games, she chanted 'Unbelievable! Unbelievable!' in the style of Bert Le Clos's emotional on-air reaction to his son's two hundred metres butterfly gold medal. 'I'm particularly proud as a sports presenter to be nominated alongside an artists and an arts broadcaster because I think it's easy to think of sports being just about sweaty jockstraps and balls,' she said. Fnaar, fnaar. 'Sport is about so much more than that. It is art, it is history, it is science, it is finance, it is news, it is drama and above all it is entertainment. I'm bloody proud to be a sports presenter.' Clare Balding, renaissance woman and philosopher, there. Also available for panto. At the event hosted by Jo Brand, the prestigious judges' awards went jointly - and deservedly - to Danny Boyle for his outstanding Olympic opening ceremony and Channel Four for its Paralymics coverage, fronted by Balding and the wheelchair basketball star Ade Adepitan. Dave Gordon, the BBC's behind-the-scenes mastermind of London 2012, was given the lifetime achievement award. He bowed out as the BBC's head of major sporting events after forty years following the Olympics. 'To be given this award is just, well, I'll die a happy man,' Gordon said as he collected the statuette. Sherlock took the best drama series prize ahead of competition from rival BBC shows Call The Midwife and Line Of Duty. Co-creator The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat was named top drama writer. Another BBC1 drama, Good Cop, was named best drama serial. The best actor prizes went to two stars of bitter whinging old 'it weren't like that in maaaaa day' Red Jimmy McGovern's miserable-as-a-wet-Monday-in-February BBC drama, Accused: Sean Bean for his depiction of a transgender character and Olivia Colman, who played a downtrodden woman on a sink estate. Several years after Alan Partridge flounced off the small screen, Steve Coogan's character was judged the best scripted comedy for the Sky Atlantic special Welcome To The Places Of My Life – marking possibly the first time a tour of Norfolk landmarks has met with such comic acclaim. Unless Sale Of The Century counts. Anthony McPartlin and/or Declan Donnelly retained their crown of top entertainment performance for ITV's I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want). The duo saw off stiff competition from The Voice judge and Charlie Brooker on Channel Four's Ten O' Clock Live. He might dominate the music charts, but Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads's TV star appears to be slowly burning out: his Britain's Got Talent juggernaut was beaten to the best entertainment crown by Keith Lemon's Celebrity Juice. BBC4's Lucian Freud: Painted Life, a ninety-minute biography of the artist, was named best arts programme, but the channel's acclaimed Danish political drama, Borgen, shamefully missed out on the international prize, as judges voted for Sky Atlantic's semi-autobiographical hit Girls. An utter travesty in anyone's language. BBC2's 7/7: One Day in London won the single documentary category.

Dallas's farewell to Larry Hagman's JR Ewing failed to reignite Channel Five's ratings on Tuesday. In its new late night slot at 11pm, the US series attracted but three hundred and ninety nine thousand punters according to overnight data. On BBC1, the drama series The Syndicate returned for a second series and won the 9pm slot with 5.43 million viewers. The latest edition of Pointless at 5.15pm earned 3.45 million. BBC2's evening included The Fixer at 8pm, which had 2.8 million and The Railway: Keeping Britain On Track, which was watched by 2.18 million at 9pm. Sue Perkins's - really not very good at all - sitcom Heading Out continued to struggle in the 10pm slot, only pulling in seven hundred and thirty thousand. Midsomer Murders was watched by 3.28 million from 8pm for ITV.
Police files on celebrities and politicians accused of vile sexual assault were so heavily protected that officers investigating claims could not access them, it has been claimed. Information on what are described as 'high-profile suspects' was marked as 'secret or restricted' and available to only a small number of officers – a system which may have helped allegedly prolific offenders such as dirty old scallywag and rotter Jimmy Savile escape prosecution, The Times has claimed. The approach to sensitive files was designed to stop officers from leaking information to the media. The issue of detectives being unable to access relevant intelligence was highlighted in a report on the effectiveness of the Police National Database after the Savile fiasco. It came after complaints about Savile made to several police forces across the country while the TV presenter was still alive were not able to be shared by detectives. Metropolitan police Commander Peter Spindler confirmed to the newspaper that 'famous people' were protected by 'high levels of confidentiality' built into intelligence systems. He said: 'Any high-profile or sensitive case will be restricted on our systems because we are not going to let fifty thousand [Met officers and staff] across London read sensitive material about celebrities, politicians or other high-profile people. We have had some officers and staff who were prepared to leak information to the media for payment and the mechanism to prevent that was to restrict access to that information.' But, officers believe their new PND, launched in 2011, will help prevent similar errors. The system allows sensitive material to be located but accessed only with official clearance. Speaking after the report was published last week, Chief Constable Mike Barton, the Association of Chief Police Officers' lead on intelligence, said the current system was capable of being accessed by any trained officer across the UK to 'identify suspects, offenders and patterns of behaviour.' The first national shared database for police in England and Wales was set up in 2003, while a later system introduced in 2006 allowed officers to search for intelligence but restricted access to sensitive records.

Alleged comedian Jim Davidson has been questioned over new allegations of sexual offences by officers from the operation related to the Jimmy Savile fiasco. The fifty nine-year-old was answering bail on Wednesday when he was 'further arrested on suspicion of sexual offences', said Scotland Yard. He 'vigorously denied' the initial allegations at the time of his first arrest. He was first arrested in January by detectives from Operation Yewtree. Scotland Yard has so far arrested eleven people under Operation Yewtree, its inquiry into historical allegations of sexual abuse linked to the entertainment industry. The investigation was launched in the wake of revelations that ex-TV presenter and DJ the naughty old rascal and scallywag Jimmy Savile subjected hundreds of young people to sexual abuse over a period of five decades or more. The operation has three strands. One is looking specifically at the actions of Savile himself, whilst the second strand concerns allegations against 'Savile and others.' The third strand relates to alleged complaints against other people unconnected to the Savile investigation. Last week Dave Lee Travis, another ex-Radio 1 DJ and Top of the Pops presenter, was questioned for a second time after further allegations were made to Operation Yewtree detectives. Travis, of Mentmore, Bucks, was arrested on 11 March after answering bail following his first arrest in November 2012. He has, like Davidson, denied any wrongdoing.

There's a new baking show on the block, and it's cooking up quite a storm among some dough-eyed viewers. BBC2's Bread has been dubbed 'patisserie porn' online and its host, yer actual Paul Hollywood, has emerged as an unlikely heart-throb for fans of sensuous kneading. The Daily Scum Mail notes Hollywood's rise to prominence, duly pointing out that his 'new sex symbol status' comes 'despite his discernible paunch.' Yeah. But at least he never supported Hitler unlike you guys.

The chancellor George Osborne's new Twitter account set up for the Budget on Wednesday and quickly got more than seventeen thousand followers. But, also a torrent of abuse. yeah. Could've probably warned him in advance that was likely to happen. You're a popular man, George. Most people find you about as engaging as a cup of cold sick - the reception you got for your appearance at the Paralympics should've probably given that away. If you wanted to be loved, you've picked the wrong job.
The Daily Torygraph and Daily Scum Mail have published pictures on their websites on Wednesday of Vicky Pryce in jail. The Torygraph carries one close-up shot of Pryce, head bowed, at East Sutton Park prison, while the Scum Mail online has run four pictures of her. The photographs and accompanying stories were posted just a little in advance of a letter which was circulated to editors by the Press Complaints Commission informing them that Pryce's daughters are concerned about the presence of photographers at the prison. Alexandra and Georgia Pryce, believe that the photographers may be in breach of the clause in the editors' code of practice, which states that 'journalists must not engage in intimidation, harassment or persistent pursuit.' The PCC does not comment on its pre-publication advice notifications to editors, and its letters remain confidential. If Pryce, or members of her family, were to make a formal complaint, it is hard to gauge the PCC's decision. There is no obvious public interest justification. On the other hand, it is not certain whether photographing someone serving at Her Majesty's amounts to 'harassment', per se. It certainly heaps an extra bit of humiliation onto the woman who is serving an eight-month sentence for perverting the course of justice.

Live television coverage of England's World Cup qualifier in Podgorica could be affected by a dispute between the agency that sold the rights to the match to ITV and the Montenegro Football Association. Unless the wrangle is resolved by kick-off, it could lead to ITV's team and their cameras being locked out of the stadium. Which, if nothing else, is a good thing since it means it'll keep greed bucket horrorshow (and drag) Adrian Chiles off the telly. The match, due to be broadcast by ITV in a primetime slot next Tuesday, is expected to go a long way to deciding whether Roy Hodgson's injury-hit team qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. But, as things stand, ITV is believed to be caught in the middle of a bitter dispute between the Montenegro FA and Kentaro, the global rights and events agency that counts the football agent Jerome Anderson and former France international Emmanuel Petit among its advisers. As with all overseas matches, the rights to the game are not the property of the English FA but are in the gift of the host to sell. Rights to home fixtures against England are highly prized because they command some of the biggest fees from broadcasters. ITV is believed to have paid an upfront fee, estimated by industry insiders at between five and seven hundred thousand smackers to Kentaro. Typically, a broadcaster would pay twenty five per cent of its rights fee upfront for a one-off deal such as this and hand over the balance after the match had been played. But it is understood that the Montenegro FA ended its relationship with Kentaro and instead subcontracted the rights to a rival agency, SportFive. ITV, which has the rights to all England home games until 2014, is faced with trying to recover its money from Kentaro and having to negotiate a new deal with SportFive, which could offer the match to rival broadcasters. Kentaro still counts the Montenegrins among its clients on its website, claiming it is 'proud' to support the Montenegro FA 'and their famous president Dejan Savicevic.' The agency is best known for event management, including arranging Brazil friendlies, but last summer its contract to sell the rights to matches on the South American country's extensive 'world tour' were handed to a rival agency, Pitch International. Coincidentally the last time there was concern that an overseas England qualifier would not be shown on television it also involved Kentaro. In 2009 England's match in Ukraine was shown live as a pay-per-view match on the Internet by Kentaro after Setanta went bust and other broadcasters balked at the fee being demanded for what was, by then, a dead rubber. Amid intense media interest England fans were asked to pay between £4.99 and £11.99 each to watch live over the Internet. The match was also screened in selected Odeon cinemas. Alleged FA 'insiders' allegedly confirmed that 'discussions were continuing' behind the scenes and one allegedly said: 'This game not being broadcast is a huge issue for our fans but we're assured it will be sorted.' On Wednesday night ITV's website was still advertising its coverage of the match, which is due to be fronted by greed bucket horrorshow (and drag) Adrian Chiles alongside Roy Keane, Gareth Southgate and Lee Dixon. On Friday it will show England's away game with San Marino. Alleged industry 'insiders' allegedly said that, although they expected the issue to be resolved before next Tuesday because it would not suit any of the parties for the match to remain off air entirely, any brinkmanship over the fee could leave ITV cutting it fine. An ITV spokesman refused to comment on the contractual situation with Kentaro but said: 'We are working with SportFive towards securing the rights and we're looking forward to screening the match.' England are two points behind Montenegro, the Group H leaders, with both teams having played four matches. The teams are due to meet again at Wembley in October.

The best-selling author James Herbert - a particular favourite of yer actual Keith Telly Topping when he was nought but a nipper - author of pulp horror classics like The Rats, The Fog and The Spear, has died aged sixty nine. His publisher, Pan Macmillan, confirmed that James died at his home in Sussex on Wednesday morning. No cause of death was given. Jeremy Trevathan, his editor for ten years, described him as 'one of the keystone authors in a genre that had its heyday in the 1970s and 1980s.' His first novel, The Rats, depicted a grim and realistic early 70s London overrun by mutant flesh-eating rodents and sold one hundred thousand copies within two weeks of being published in 1974. His next novel, The Fog, was an even bigger seller. Since then, James published over twenty further novels in more than thirty languages, selling more than fifty million copies worldwide. His latest book, Ash, was published last week. James was appointed an OBE by the Queen in 2010 - the same year he was made Grand Master of Horror by the World of Horror Convention. Trevathan described James as 'one of the giants of popular fiction in the Twentieth Century. It's a true testament to his writing and his enduring creativity that his books continued to be huge bestsellers right up until his death. He has the rare distinction that his novels were considered classics of the genre within his lifetime,' he added. Born in London's East End on 8 April 1943, James won a scholarship to St Aloysius Grammar School in Highgate at the age of ten. After a college course in graphic design, he went on to work at an advertising agency. He started wrok on The Rats, at the age of twenty eight, writing in the evenings, weekends and sick days and completed it within ten months. He submitted the manuscript to six publishers, and it was eventually picked up. It's success allowed him to leave his job and write full time. The Rats was one of four Herbert novels made into films, along with The Survivor, Fluke and Haunted. His novel The Secret Of Crickley Hall was adapted for television and broadcast on BBC1 Last December, while The Magic Cottage was dramatised for BBC Radio 4. One of his friends, the musician Gordon Giltrap, paid tribute to the author on Twitter: 'Received some sad news this morning that my good friend James Herbert has passed away. Am in no mood for music, that's for sure.' Another, Peter James, wrote: 'Deeply saddened to hear today that my dear friend, writer James Herbert, died last night. Will miss you lots, Jim, you were a diamond.' Neil Gaiman described James as 'incredibly encouraging.' Gaiman said one of the joys of James Herbert's fiction was that 'for so many people it was the virtual soundtrack to their teenage years.' Paying tribute on Twitter, crime writer Ian Rankin said: 'Sad news about James Herbert - as a teen, I scared myself silly reading him. He led me to King, Barker, others.' Gruniad Morning Star columnist Ali Catterall said that 'for certain boys of a certain generation he was probably the greatest writer that ever lived. Partially because of the sex and horror which was extremely enticing to teenage boys. But majorly because what he did was to make British horror relevant again,' he told the Breakfast show on BBC Radio 5Live. Catterall said James brought British horror out of the doldrums and made it appealing to a new audience. 'By the early 70s when he first started writing British horror was still mired in musty old Hammer horror gothic films. He made horror very relevant for that generation that was living through the likes of the Vietnam and the IRA bombings. He brought that visceral urgency back and [placed] horror among the everyday in a very recognisable England, in the same way Stephen King did for Americana,' he added. Noting Herbert's 'extremely profound' influence on modern-day British horror, Catterall added: 'You can really see his influence on 28 Days Later which is very reminiscent of his book, The Dark, and in The Sixth Sense which is very similar to The Survivor,' he said. Despite the huge commercial success of The Rats and subsequent novels, James remained dissatisfied with his literary status, feeling that the 'literary snobs' should have taken him more seriously. 'I've always suffered from being labelled a horror writer — just because I didn't go to university, just because I still talk in my natural voice, just because I'm not as articulate as Martin Amis. We like to kid ourselves that we’re in an equal society, but we're not.' Actually, he was a very clever author who could introduce characters over the space of just a few pages, make the reader feel as though they knew them and then kill them (usually, horribly). James could - and did - write many memorably nasty set-pieces (there's a particular bit in The Fog which involved a group of schoolboys, a teacher and a pair of garden shears that won't be forgotten in a hurry by anyone that read it as an astonished fourteen year old!) but his work quickly gained a subtle maturity reaching its peak with classic novels like The Jonah and Shrine in the early 1980s. For his later novels, James tended towards supernatural plots. 'The great advantage of my field is that you can always go way over the top if you're in danger of getting bored,' he said. He claimed to have torn the horror genre from the grip of the bourgeoisie and 'upper-middle-class writers like Dennis Wheatley. I made horror accessible by writing about working-class characters.' James is survived by his wife, Eileen, whom he married in 1967, and their three daughters Kerry, Emma and Casey.

On Wednesday, yer actual Keith Telly Topping spent a couple of hours listening to Physical Graffiti in preparation for Uncle Scunthorpe's latest Record Player event at the Tyneside on Thursday evening. Not a work yer actual Keith Telly Topping was greatly familiar with he has to confess. (I knew 'Kashmir', obviously, and 'Trampled Underfoot' and one or two others, but most of this was, effectively new to me.) It's actually rather good - a lot more diverse than yer Keith Telly Topping expected. See, again confession time - yer actual Keith Telly Topping has something of schizophrenic attitude to Dead Zep at the best of times. He rather - grudgingly - admires them for the way they conducted their career (no singles, no telly, almost the opposite of every other band who ever sold records) but, he sometimes find the job of actually listening to them a bit of chore. I very much like the acoustic folk stuff (particularly on Led Zeppelin III) but, when they try to do Dem Blues, to yer actual Keith Telly Topping, Blind Lemon Plant and the boys just sound a bit ridiculous. But, anyway, he really rather like this.

Therefore, for yer actual Keith Telly Topping's (double) 33 of the Day, here's some heavy, heavy sounds.

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