Saturday, March 09, 2013

From The Past Until Completion

The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat has revealed that Amy and Rory Pond could return to Doctor Who ... but only in 'dream sequences and flashbacks.' The popular characters departed the show in The Angels Take Manhattan last September. Moffat recently told the journalist Dan Martin: 'You could never eliminate the possibility of dream sequences and flashbacks, but will The Doctor see [Amy and Rory] again? No.' The Doctor Who showrunner added: 'When I was first talking to Karen and Arthur about it, we said "let's make it the proper ending." Bringing back things just gives you sequelitis. Just end it and get out. Heaven knows if they'll appear in some form of flashback - I have no plans to do that, I have to say - but the story of Amy and The Doctor is definitively over.'

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's old mate Greg Bakun has, as previously mentioned, a terrific website called - not at all confusingly in relation to the title of this very blog! - From The Archives. Dedicated to the golden age of British TV, it's always high on the regular Keith Telly Topping blog reading list at Stately Telly Topping Manor. Today, it's worth highlighting Greg's latest piece, an exhaustive review of one of yer actual keith Telly Topping's most favourite Doctor Who stories ever, 1964's glorious The Aztecs. Recently reissued on a two-disc 'special edition' DVD by the BBC, Greg gives you a full run of what's great and what's merely good. Excellent stuff.
As alluded to in a previous blog update, it can now be confirmed that yer actual Sherlock will commence filming for its third series on Monday March 18 2013. Martin Freeman and various other sources connected to the production have been counting down to the beginning of work on the series over the past weeks in various interviews and events, and producer Sue Vertue has now confirmed the exact start date for production. Sue also confirmed that long-planned scheduling around the availability of both Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman means that principal photography on series three will be done in two batches, with two episodes being filmed from 18 March. A break will then occur in the early summer, and then the third and final episode will be shot a few weeks later. Sue commented: 'We could never have fitted all three films into one long go because of everyone's availability. It's being flexible like this which allows us to keep making them.'

Reporting on John Oliver's temporary stewardship of The Daily Show this week, The Times went with the headline: Unknown British comedian to fill in for Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. Unknown, that is, to anyone who's never seen The Daily Show, where Oliver is a - hugely popular - regular and has been since 2008. The unflattering adjective is hardly testament to The Times' own influence, either. Oliver co-presents The Bugle podcast which was hosted by The Times for four years.
Twenty Four Hours in A&E has been recommissioned by Channel Four. Filming is due to start on twenty eight new episodes following the recommission of Twenty Four Hours in A&E, the critically-acclaimed documentary which shines a light on the people were treated within a twenty four hour period at a busy hospital accident and emergency department. The series is filmed around the clock at one of Britain’s busiest A&E departments at King's College Hospital in South London, featuring daily life-or-death dramas. Twenty Four Hours in A&E won the 2012 Royal Television Society Award for Best Documentary Series and series two averaged an audience of over three million viewers. 2013 also marks King's College Hospital's centenary year. A making of documentary will follow a new third series which is due to be broadcast on Channel Four in the spring.

A previously unknown painting by Seventeenth Century master Van Dyck has been identified after being spotted online. The portrait was previously thought to have been a copy and was in storage at the Bowes Museum in County Durham. But it was photographed for a project to put all of the UK's oil paintings on the BBC Your Paintings website, where it was seen by an art historian. After an investigation by BBC Two's Culture Show, it has been verified by Van Dyck expert Doctor Christopher Brown. Brown, director of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, told The Culture Show that it was 'a substantial discovery. It's quite clear that this is a late English period Van Dyck,' he said. 'I don't think there's any doubt about that. This absolutely is Van Dyck at his best.' Anthony Van Dyck, one of the finest portrait painters of the Seventeenth Century, was born in Antwerp and became court artist for King Charles I in London in 1632. The portrait depicts Olivia Boteler Porter, lady-in-waiting to Charles I's wife, Queen Henrietta Maria. The painting, which was not thought to be important and in a bad condition, was covered in layers of dirt and varnish and was not on display at the Bowes Museum. But it was photographed as part of the Public Catalogue Foundation's mission to document every oil painting in public ownership and added to the BBC's Your Paintings website, where it was spotted by art historian and dealer Doctor Bendor Grosvenor. 'Although as part of our national heritage values are irrelevant, for insurance purposes it should now be valued at anything up to one million pounds,' Grosvenor said. 'Had it appeared at auction as a copy, and in its dirty state, it would probably only have been estimated at about three to five thousand pounds.'

Radio 4 has admitted it 'struggles' to find enough right-wing comedians to provide 'political balance' to its comedy shows. Commissioning editor Caroline Raphael says that she is constantly on the look-out for comics to counter what's often seen - by scummish bullyboy thugs who write for, or read, the Daily Scum Mail, mostly - as an alleged 'left-wing bias' on shows such as The News Quiz. 'It's very difficult to find comedians from the right,' she admitted, even though producers, 'spend a lot of time in the comedy clubs looking for people with a range of views.' She added that 'there isn't a tradition' among stand-ups to take a right-wing view, saying: 'Possibly the right feels more comfortable with a pen and paper and the left standing up on a soapbox or in a comedy club. I don't know, but it's something we struggle with.' Raphael was speaking on Radio 4's audience opinion show Feedback this week, which featured listeners' complaints about Jeremy Hardy's political stance as his stand-up show returned to the station. One complained that Jeremy Hardy Speaks To The Nation was little more than 'prejudiced, extreme left-wing views' and 'what appeared to be a party political broadcast for the Communist Party.' But Raphael countered: 'He takes a lot of swipes at a lot of targets including, actually, himself. The target of satirists will always be those in power.' And she added that there was nothing wrong with airing a polemical show without balancing ever opinion aired. 'The BBC's responsibility to creative people is slightly different from its responsibility to impartiality,' she said. 'I would argue that there are very clever views about Ed Miliband and the Lib Dems as well as the Conservatives [in Hardy's show].' She also told presenter Roger Bolton that The News Quiz was 'a different beast' from other topical comedy shows on Radio 4, especially The Now Show, and allowed for more provocative content. 'The News Quiz is very much the chair asking people for their own personal views. The Now Show is very scripted and they are presenting a view very much as a performer, as an actor with a script – albeit their script – rather than a very personal of-the-moment response.'

Thousands of people came from across Britain to help to build Stonehenge, experts investigating the origins of the monument have claimed. They said that people travelled from as far afield as the Scottish Highlands. Researchers from University College London said their findings overturned what was thought about the origins of the monument. Until now it had been thought that Stonehenge was built as an astronomical calendar or an observatory. The latest findings, which came after a decade of research, suggested it was the act of building the monument rather than its purpose that was key. The researchers believed as many as four thousand people gathered at the site, at a time when Britain's population was only tens of thousands. Analysis of animal teeth found at a nearby settlement suggested people travelled the length of the country to help with the building. Professor Mike Parker Pearson, from University College London, said the scene would have resembled a cross between the Glastonbury Festival and a motorway building scheme. He said that a settlement at nearby Durrington Walls had about one thousand homes, the 'largest Neolithic settlement in the whole of Northern Europe.' Pearson said: 'What we have discovered is it's in building the thing that's important. It's not that they're coming to worship, they're coming to construct it.' He added: 'It's not all fun, there's work too.' The academics suggested that Stonehenge was built about two hundred years earlier than previously thought, some four thousand five hundred years ago. Their findings will be revealed in a Channel Four documentary, Secrets of the Stonehenge Skeletons.

Simon Pegg has called in his lawyers after a Wolverhampton bar falsely advertised that he was to make a live appearance there. The Hot Fuzz star highlighted the lie in a tweet to his three million followers. He wrote: 'Some bar in Wolverhampton is claiming that I am "appearing" there on 16 March. I am not. I am, however, contacting my lawyer.' The Numa Bar, formerly known as the Little Civic, had claimed Pegg was to show up at a party next weekend. An advert, dominating their Facebook page, said: 'British actor and Hollywood superstar Simon Pegg "live" appearance at Numa Bar Saturday 16 March 2013. The Fireball Lounge Party.' The advert was swiftly removed following Pegg's tweet.

A California coroner has said that a lion that killed a volunteer at a big cat park used its paw to lift a partially closed door and escape from a feeding cage. Fresno County Coroner David Hadden said investigators believe the lion then attacked and killed Dianna Hanson as she cleaned a larger enclosure. The lion broke the twenty four-year-old intern's neck and she died almost instantly. Police shot and killed the animal to reach her, believing Hanson was severely injured but alive. 'The lion had been fed, the young woman was cleaning the large enclosure, and the lion was in the small cage,' Hadden explained, adding the cage door was 'partially open', allowing the lion to lift it up with his paw. 'He ran at the young lady.' The coroner added that bite and claw marks found on her body happened after she died, after the lion broke her neck with a paw swipe. The facility, known as Project Survival's Cat Haven, is normally closed on Wednesdays when the attack happened, and only one other worker was present during the mauling. The founder of Cat Haven, Dale Anderson, said that he and two other workers had left to take a cheetah to exhibit at a local school. Hanson was identified by her father, who said working at the wildlife park had been her 'dream job', according to the Associated Press. She had been working for two months as an intern at the one hundred-acre park, about forty five miles east of Fresno. Her father said his daughter had experience at wildlife parks and was 'at ease' with big cats, but added that she told him she would not be allowed inside the lion's cage. The lion was a four-year-old male named Couscous, a California Fish and Wildlife spokesman said. Couscous had been raised at Cat Haven since he was eight weeks old, said Tanya Osegueda, a spokeswoman for Project Survival. The project opened in 1993, and has housed numerous big cats, including Bengal tigers, Siberian lynx, jaguars and leopards.

A man charged with a motoring offence after driving through a puddle that splashed a police community support officer had his case dismissed after an eight-month inquiry. Michael Davidson, from Puckeridge, was accused of driving 'without reasonable consideration' in Cheshunt last June. He was said to have created 'a wall of water' which covered the officer. Heh. Wish I'd seen that. The case was dismissed due to 'irregularities' in police evidence. And, because it was effing stupid. Davidson appeared at Stevenage Magistrates' Court accused of driving through a 'large puddle' on the High Street. Police said his actions produced a 'large wall of water, approximately six feet high, showering and completely covering' the officer, named on court papers as 'PCSO Moore.' However, the Crown Prosecution Service said that 'an irregularity with the recording of evidence by the police became apparent' on the day of the trial, on 14 February, which meant it 'could no longer proceed.' A spokeswoman said: 'The CPS offered no evidence and the case was dismissed.' Hertfordshire Police said it was looking to see 'if any lessons could be learned' from the inquiry. Yeah. Don't charge people with ridiculous offences which exist only in the mind of your not-even-a-real police officer and waste thousands of smackers in tax payers money and many people's time. That probably covers it for the lessons you should have learned. 'We are reviewing the investigation of this incident to understand exactly why the case could not proceed,' a spokesman said. He also confirmed that the PCSO concerned no longer worked for them.
A court in Egypt has upheld twenty one death sentences handed down over football riots in Port Said, amid continuing unrest over the trial. They don't mess about with community service orders and ASBOs over there, do they dear blog reader? Five of fifty two other defendants were sentenced to life in prison for rioting while others received lesser sentences or were acquitted. During last year's violence between rival fans, seventy four people died. The military has been patrolling the coastal city this weekend in an effort to 'ease tension.' At least, that's their excuse. Elsewhere, at least ten of Egypt's twenty nine provinces were affected by an unprecedented strike by thousands of low-ranking police. Some units reportedly left their headquarters after sealing them with chains. They were protesting against being forced by the government of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi to confront protesters as well as a lack of protection from prosecution. The chief of security forces was replaced on Friday to try to defuse anger among police. Confirming the capital sentences, the judge specified 'the death penalty by hanging.' Port Said stadium security chief Essam Eddin Samak was sentenced to fifteen years in jail. Other defendants received terms of fifteen, ten or five years while twenty eight of the accused walked free. The court was sitting in the capital Cairo, for security reasons. After word spread that the defendants were being moved outside Port Said, the city saw six days of violent clashes between police and protesters around the security headquarters. At least seven people - civilians and security officials - were killed. The original death sentences imposed on the twenty one defendants in January sparked a series of riots in Port Said, where many residents saw the trial as politically biased. Most of the victims in last year's riots were supporters of Cairo's al-Ahly club. There has been widespread antagonism towards the police since the mass protests which brought down former President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011. And many people believe police in Port Said stood by in revenge for the fans' role in anti-Mubarak unrest. Police deny the accusation.

A chief executive at one of Lord Alan Sugar-Sweetie's companies has said that former Apprentice star Stella English behaved like she was 'running to a schoolteacher' over issues with her winner's role. English is suing Sugar-Sweetie for 'constructive dismissal' and claimed that Viglen boss Bordan Tkachuk had shown 'contempt' towards her and said there was no job in the IT business. Tkachuk denied bullying the thirty four-year-old businesswoman, telling an industrial tribunal that she was a 'nice girl with a lot to learn,' the Daily Scum Express reports. He denied saying 'there is no job,' adding: 'Obviously there is a potential job for one of the two candidates. I did not say there was no role. For the five previous contestants, there was a job for them.' Tkachuk revealed that there were 'tensions' after English found outstanding invoices totalling £1.4 million, but explained that there was nothing untoward about these. He added: 'There is no need to ring false alarm bells when you do not understand what you are talking about. It was like running to a schoolteacher claiming something that is not true.' The chief executive said that he had taken English for lunch after her resignation, which caught him 'a bit unawares.' Tkachuk claimed that she had explained she did not feel the IT industry or the company were right for her. 'It was an amicable meeting,' he said. 'We got on well. We were there for a couple of hours or so. There was certainly no animosity to myself or the company.' English completed a four-month probationary period at Viglen at the end of 2010, before being named winner of the sixth series of the BBC show. She resigned in May 2011 and was given a role within another company owned by Sugar-Sweetie, before being told that her contract would not be renewed in September 2011. Sugar-Sweetie himself has previously described English as a 'suspicious' person with 'very odd conspiracy theories.'

The Smithsonian Museum in Washington has announced that Warner Brothers have donated a number of costumes from the 1997 movie Batman & Robin to them. What, including Alicia Silverstone's schoolgirl outfit? I take it, they do allow visitors?
Police are currently hunting joyriders who stole a milk float. The truck, which has a top speed of fifteen mph, is thought to have been stolen from the Dairy Crest depot in Shaw Heath, Stockport. The vehicle was found two miles away in a ditch in Bramhall at 7.10am on Friday morning. It was found with smashed windows and no milk in the back. The ignition had also been tampered with. A forensics team was called to examine the float. Charlie North, a spokeswoman for Dairy Crest, told the Manchester Evening News: 'We are aware of the situation and are currently working with police and local authorities to resolve the matter.'
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle United's visit on Thursday to Russia to play Anzhi Makhachkala produced possibly the finest photo to hit the Internet in, literally, years. It features yer actual Keith Telly Topping's old mate Matty Raisbeck dressing for the occasion whilst doing his commentary on the game for BBC Newcastle. Nostrovia, comrade!
The Swedish furniture giant Ikea has withdrawn almond cakes from its restaurants in twenty three countries after bacteria normally found in faecal matter was discovered in a sample. So, if you've ever said 'I had a cake from Ikea, it was shit' you might be closer to the truth than you ever realised. The company confirmed it was investigating claims that Chinese authorities had found 'an excessive level' of coliform bacteria in two batches of the cake made by a Swedish supplier. The product remains on sale in its nineteen branches in UK and Ireland, which are not supplied by the supplier under investigation. Ikea said that eighteen hundred Tarta Chokladkrokant cakes – described as 'an almond cake layered with chocolate, butter cream and butterscotch' – were destroyed in December after being intercepted by Chinese customs officials. It said that it was 'carrying out a full investigation' with the supplier to find out how the shite ended up in there and to 'ensure it would not happen again.' Coliform bacteria, found in the environment and in the faeces of humans and warm-blooded animals, are not normally the cause of serious illness. But, the retailer has not yet been informed of how high the levels of coliform bacteria were in the destroyed cakes. Ikea said in a statement: 'There is no health risk associated with consuming this product. The production batches have, as per safety and quality routines, been tested for bacteria that can cause health issues, such as E-coli, and none of these pathogen bacteria have been found. However, since the product does not comply with our strict food quality standards we have decided to withdraw the concerned production batches from sale in the twenty three affected countries. The UK and Ireland are not affected.' Last week Ikea withdrew its trademark meatballs from sale in stores in the UK and more than twenty other European countries after tests by authorities in the Czech Republic found traces of horsemeat in its Kottbullar line.

A short plug now, yer actual Keith Telly Topping's good mate Christian, whose excellent Manuel Göttsching website has already been highlighted in the past has a new sister site, NMLK: A tribute to Pete Namlook and Fax Records check it out, dear blog reader.

Which bring us to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Someone reminded me that Friday of this week was the thirtieth anniversary of the release of one of the single most important records ever made, New Order's 'Blue Monday'. The biggest selling twelve inch single in history and the record that prove spotty, unhealthy-looking white indie kids could dance. If prodded with sticks.

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