Friday, March 15, 2013

Milestones

We start off today's bloggerisationisms with a jolly strange tale, dear blog reader. Very occasionally, the blog has a day where it proves to be unexpectedly popular - usually when it's been linked to somewhere. Like, for instance, a couple of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's reviews of particular episodes of, say, MasterChef or Doctor Who or Qi have been linked to on the official BBC site(s) and have proved to be spectacularly popular over quite a long period. Or there was a day a couple of years ago when yer actual Keith Telly Topping put up a (very small) illustrative picture of Hugh Laurie (almost) in the buff from some episode of A Bit of Fry & Laurie or other which got linked to on the official House website and From The North had something like two thousand hits in about half an hour when five hundred in an entire day is a more usual amount of traffic. It seems to have happened again. My review of the last episode of the first series of Borgen from last February seems to have been linked to by someone in the Netherlands on Friday because this blogger is, currently, being somewhat inundated with hits from fair Holland, mostly via Twitter. Which is, of course, really nice, I have to say. Hello all you Dutchies out there. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping is a huge fan of your lovely country - which he has visited on several occasions. He particularly like Schipol airport, Gouda, Frijid Pink and Johan Cryuff. Keep up the good work. The hits seem to have slowed down a bit now but, for two or three hours there yer actual Keith Telly Topping was, what he believes the 'Young People' call 'A Trending Topic.' A trending telly topic, if you will. I'm here all week. Right, on to some proper news.

Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch his very self has suggested that Lara Pulver is unlikely to appear in the next series of Sherlock. The actor, in an interview with the Radio Times, seemed to rule out Pulver reprising her role of Irene Adler during the next three episodes. 'She was terrific fun,' Benny said. 'She was so brilliant in [series two] and we'd love to have her back. Maybe not in this series, but she's a great strong character, even though she only appeared once.' Cumberbatch also said that that the third series of Sherlock - which recently kicked-off pre-production - is 'more likely' to introduce new characters from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original stories than bring back too many already-established ones. 'There are quite a few other people as well to feature that haven't been [seen in the show] yet,' he said.
Reunited for the first time in seven years, the cast of The Vicar of Dibley return to television screens this week for a ten-minute Comic Relief special, which also features yer actual Damien Lewis. But, don't get too excited, dear blog reader. It's still The Vicar of Dibley so it'll still be crap.
In one of the most genuinely hilarious bits of TV news in, well, decades, probably Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads' Überflop Food Glorious Food continued to struggle in the ratings on Wednesday night, shedding even more overnight viewers and ending up with less than half as much of an audience as the BBC's MasterChef on opposite it. The Carol Vorderman-hosted series slipped to but 2.11 million punters at 8pm. ITV's catastrophically poor drama Lightfields also struggled with only 2.83m for the latest episode of the supernatural series. Up against both, BBC1's ninety minute episode of MasterChef pulled in a respectably healthy 4.41m for the second episode of its new series in its earlier slot of 8.30pm. The latest edition of The ONE Show attracted 3.96m. On BBC2, two editions of Great British Menu were watched by 1.54m and 1.79m respectively between 7.30pm and 8.30pm. At 9pm A Very British Wedding collected 1.11m, whilst a repeat of Qi was watched by 1.06m at 9.30pm. Channel Four's Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners had an audience of 1.56m at 8pm, while One Born Every Minute pulled in 2.07m at 9pm. Meanwhile, the latest series of The Only Way Is Essex continued to struggle to reach former highs with only six hundred and ninety nine thousand sad, crushed victims of society tuning in at 10pm on ITV. Yet another reason to, briefly, celebrate the fact that the great viewing public maybe aren't quite the morons some TV executives and sour-faced Scottish chefs taken them for.

Comic Relief's Through Hell and High Water fundraising challenge brought in a decent overnight audience for BBC1 on Thursday night. Mel C, Jack Dee, Dara O'Briain and co's dangerous trek down the Zambezi river attracted 4.71 million punters at 8pm. Afterwards, the second series of Prisoner's Wives launched with 4.02 million at 9pm. On BBC2, the biggest show of the evening was the 7.30pm episode of Great British Menu, which pulled in 1.95 million. Later, Horizon had an audience of 1.17 million at 9pm. ITV's Europa League coverage of Moscow Chelski FC's tie with Steaua Bucharest collected 3.48 million from 7.45pm. Channel Four entertained 1.28 million at 9pm with Born To Be Different, while Gogglebox was watched by eight hundred and ten thousand viewers at 10pm.
Jack Dee actually looks more unhappy in that photo than, you know, usual. Is that actually possible?

BBC 4 has acquired a new Swedish crime series for Saturday night, following the success of hit foreign series like The Killing, Borgen, Spiral and Wallander. Arne Dahl, the pseudonym of author Jan Arnald on whose books it is based, begins with The Blinded Man. BBC4's Richard Klein said he hoped the drama, about a team of police specialists, would 'give viewers an excuse to stay in on a Saturday night.' Foreign drama has seen BBC4 treble its Saturday night audience share. Since 2009, the slot has grown from a 0.9 per cent to a 2.9 per cent audience share in 2012, with shows such as The Killing, Borgen and Inspector Montalbano acquiring a cult following. 'We are really thrilled with the increasing audience to, and appreciation of, BBC4's international drama offering - but we have no intention of resting on our laurels,' said Sue Deekes, head of programme acquisition. 'This year BBC4 viewers can look forward to the return of existing favourites and brand new series which we hope will provide more compelling reasons to travel the world on a Saturday night.' This year marks the return of series two of The Bridge and series three of acclaimed political drama Borgen (probably the best TV show in the word ... that hasn't got the words 'Doctor' and 'Who' in the title), as well as the début of prequel series Young Montalbano, about the private life and early crime-fighting career of the idiosyncratic Sicilian detective. In addition, BBC4 will be showing a new four-part Italian series Inspector De Luca, based on the novels by Carlo Lucarelli, and set in and around Bologna during Mussolini's dictatorship. 'Inspector De Luca is a clever and hugely entertaining drama that portrays wartime Italy in a way that is both very familiar to our own war time experiences and intriguingly foreign,' Klein said.
Four journalists or former journalists at Mirra Group Newspapers have been arrested in London by police investigating alleged phone-hacking. Scotland Yard said it had 'identified a suspected conspiracy' to intercept telephone voicemails at the newspaper group. The Sunday People editor, James Scott, is understood to have become the first serving newspaper editor arrested over alleged phone-hacking, relating to his time at the Sunday Mirra a decade ago. Scott was one of four former Sunday Mirra senior journalists understood to have arrested in dawn raids on Thursday. Tina Weaver, the ex-Sunday Mirra editor, Nick Buckley, the deputy Sunday People editor and Mark Thomas, the former People editor, were arrested along with Scott on suspicion of conspiracy to intercept voicemail messages. The Metropolitan police said the alleged conspiracy mainly concerned the Trinity Mirra-owned Sunday Mirra in the years 2003 and 2004 as it announced a fresh arm of its major phone-hacking inquiry. Of course it's worth remembering that Trinity Mirra have, on several occasions during the last two years, taken considerable time and effort to issue statements denying that any of their journalists have ever, not never, under any circumstances, indulged in phone-hacking or anything even remotely like it and it is a disgrace, a disgrace I tell ya, to suggest otherwise. So, we're all awaiting the outcome of these police inquiries with, no doubt, something approaching anticipation. The force added in a statement: 'This conspiracy is being treated as a separate conspiracy to the two being investigated at the now defunct News of the World newspaper.' Scott was made deputy editor of the Sunday Mirra in October 2004, after six months as news editor of the title. Weaver was the Sunday Mirra editor between 2001 and 2012. Thomas was Weaver's deputy editor of the Sunday Mirra before becoming Sunday People editor in March 2003. Buckley was the Sunday Mirra's head of news for eleven years before becoming Sunday People deputy editor last year. The four were all arrested at 6am by detectives from Scotland Yard's Operation Weeting inquiry. They were interviewed at police stations and officers spent much of Thursday searching a number of properties, Scotland Yard said. They added: 'In due course officers will be making contact with people they believe have been victims of the suspected voicemail interceptions.' Scotland Yard launched Operation Weeting in 2011. The investigation is running alongside Operation Elveden, a probe into illegal payments to public officials, and Operation Tuleta, which is an looking at computer hacking and other privacy breaches and naughty skulduggery.

Meanwhile, a former Sussex police sergeant has been charged with leaking information to the Sun about three 'high-profile investigations' in 2010 for £500. James Bowes, who was a neighbourhood police sergeant, will be prosecuted on suspicion of misconduct in public office, the Crown Prosecution Service has said on Thursday. It is alleged that Bowes provided details to the Sun about three investigations between 9 April and 20 July 2010 in return for five hundred smackers. He is believed to be the eleventh public official or journalist charged in relation to Scotland Yard's Operation Elveden inquiry into 'inappropriate' payments made by newspapers to public officials. Bowes has been summoned to appear at Westminster magistrates court on 26 March. Alison Levitt QC, principal legal adviser to the director of public prosecutions, said in a statement: 'All of these matters were considered carefully in accordance with the DPP's guidelines on the public interest in cases affecting the media. These guidelines require prosecutors to consider whether the public interest served by the conduct in question outweighs the overall criminality before bringing criminal proceedings. May I remind all concerned that proceedings for a criminal offence involving Mr Bowes will now be commenced and that he has a right to a fair trial. It is very important that nothing is said, or reported, which could prejudice that trial. For these reasons it would be inappropriate for me to comment further.'

Millionaire Old Etonian David Cameron his very self was facing a potentially damaging Commons defeat over The Leveson Report after he startled his Liberal Democrat coalition partners by unilaterally announcing that he was curtailing months of cross-party talks on press regulation and would put his proposals to a vote in the Commons on Monday. The Lib Dems and Labour, after frantic consultations, announced that they would table alternative amendments to introduce an element of statute and ensure the new press regulatory body was free from industry interference – two issues which the majority of newspaper proprietors have stoutly opposed. Of course they do. Because, they're bastards. Ed Milimolimadi accused the prime minister of 'a historic error.' Milimolimandi said: 'He has not just walked away from the talks – he has walked away from his own commitments to the press victims.' An angry Nick Clegg said that Cameron was 'wrong' to turn his back on cross-party talks at this critical point. 'It's not an issue which I believe should be the subject of party political point-scoring,' the deputy prime minister said. Cameron broke the news to Clegg and Milimolimandi in a joint phone call just before 10am on Thursday and then staged a lightning Downing Street press conference to attempt to justify his decision. He said that his proposals provided 'the fastest possible way' to deliver 'the toughest press regulation that this country has ever seen.' Hacked Off, the campaign group for phone-hacking victims, accused the prime minister of 'a shameless betrayal of victims of press abuse.' The group's lawyers had been in talks with officials from the culture department when the officials were abruptly informed by phone that Cameron had decided to end the discussions, and Hacked Off had to leave the premises. Cameron's initiative was welcomed by some of the UK's biggest newspaper groups, which said they 'shared' his 'frustration' at the cross-party talks being 'hijacked' by advocates of legislation. The Newspaper Society, which represents some owners, said Cameron was 'right' to reject statutory regulation as it would threaten three hundred years of press freedom. And, probably, just as long a period of press disgracefulness and gittery. 'The industry has spent many weeks in negotiating a new independent system of self-regulation, based on the Leveson principles, which provides one million pound fines and the toughest system of regulation in the western world,' the society whinged. But, in a sign that Fleet Street was no longer united in its response, the statement was not signed by representatives of the Gruniad Morning Star, Financial Times, Independent or Mirra Group. That latter of whom had their own shit to worry about (see above). After 'hasty discussions and lengthy wrangling' over parliamentary procedure, Labour and the Lib Dems responded to Cameron's unilateral declaration of arse-licking to Uncle Rupert and his chums by rushing to agree to table joint press reform amendments to the crime and courts bill for debate on Monday. The amendments, to be published on Friday, are designed to ensure that the press has no veto over the press regulatory body, places the regulator – and not the industry – in charge of the press code, and sets out details for the handling of apologies. It will also say that a reformed Press Complaints Commission should have its work overseen by a royal charter body entrenched in law, and so not open to subsequent change by future ministers. If all Labour and Lib Dem MPs vote together they will have three hundred and thirteen votes, and the Conservatives three hundred and three, leaving Cameron dependent on a number of nationalist parties and other cross-bench MPs to prevail. Alleged Labour 'sources' allegedly said that they were 'far from confident' about the outcome, and admitted some rebel Tory MPs who had backed Leveson would be under 'ferocious pressure' to support their prime minister in his hour of shame and ignominy. The Democratic Unionists, if they turn up, are likely to support a royal charter backed by statute. Cameron's amendment to the crime and courts bill will not provide statutory underpinning for the new regulator, but will include a clause agreed by all parties to allow the courts to impose 'exemplary damages' on newspapers which refuse to sign up to the system. In a sign of exasperation at Cameron's behaviour, the Tory MP George Eustice, a supporter of Leveson, said: 'There are not huge differences between the party leaders. It is just that no one has been willing to make the final small concessions required to deliver a deal that would work, and we have now run out of time.' He did not disclose how he, personally, would vote. If Cameron loses, his spokesman said that he would 'accept the sovereignty of parliament.' Which is big of him, frankly since he'd have very little choice to do otherwise. Nevertheless it is open to Cameron simply to drop the bill and say the issue of press freedom should be settled at a future general election. Either way, his stance will strengthen his fraught relations with the scum right-wing press and some scum right-wing members of his own scum party. The editors of the Daily Scum Mail, odious right-wing thug Paul Dacre, and The Times, John Witherow, strongly oppose the use of statute in a future press regulatory system. Tony Gallagher, the editor of the Daily Torygraph, tweeted in the immediate aftermath of the Cameron annoucement: 'The PM's anger is all very well – but his lack of judgment (and foolish closeness to News International) gave us Leveson in the first place. That said, Clegg and Mili [sic] have been disgracefully cynical, seeking to stuff Leveson into every passing bill. No wonder PM stopped the clock.' It will be only the third time the Liberal Democrats have voted with Labour in this current parliament, and represents the biggest fissure between the two coalition parties since the election. Few believe the amendments being hastily assembled by Labour will amount to a sufficient self-standing piece of press regulation. The amendments would have to sent to the Lords for further scrutiny and Clegg stressed yesterday that he would prefer for the all-party talks to continue.

The Sun has been forced to apologise to the former prime minister Gordon Brown for claiming that he had accused the newspaper of 'blagging' details of his son's medical records for its revelation that his son had cystic fibrosis. The apology follows the row over the origin of the front page story, which ran in 2006 and has been the subject of several heated exchanges between Brown, the newspaper, and its former editor and well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks ever since. The Sun on Thursday said that it was 'sorry for comments made' by its associate editor the thoroughly odious weasel Trevor Kavanagh in a column on 12 November repeating the erroneous allegation that Brown had accused the Sun of blagging. Quite why Kavanagh hasn't had his arse kicked into the nearest gutter because of this, you'll have to ask billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch. 'In Trevor Kavanagh's column of 12 November, it was stated that Gordon Brown accused the Sun of blagging his son's medical records,' the paper grovellingly said in an apology printed on page two of the latest edition. You know, opposite the tits. 'In fact, Mr Brown has never made such an accusation, in parliament or otherwise. We were wrong to use this erroneous allegation as a basis to make comments about his character and integrity and to suggest that Mr Brown was "not telling the full story." We withdraw these criticisms and apologise to Mr Brown.' Brown has always said that he couldn't understand how the medical condition of his son got into the public arena and the Sun has always denied blagging. Last year at the Leveson inquiry Brown rubbished claims by well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks, the editor of the paper in 2006, that he and his wife had given the go-ahead for a story on his son's illness. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks - current facing a numbers of criminal charges including phone-hacking, perverting the course of justice and making payments to police officers and public officials, charges which she denies - had said that the Browns had 'consented' to the article which revealed that four-month-old Fraser had the condition. Brown told Lord Justice Leveson that 'no parent in the land' would have given permission to have their child's medical details made public. He said the call from well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks telling him they were running the story had left him in tears. 'We were presented with a fait accompli,' he said. 'There was no question of us giving permission for this – implicit or explicit.' The Sun has always denied getting access to his son's medical records. Last year News International claimed that an alleged 'source' had allegedly come to the Sun voluntarily as he 'wished to highlight the plight of those with the disease,' adding that he had provided 'a written affidavit' confirming this. Last June following the testimony of well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks and Brown at Leveson, NHS Fife chief executive John Wilson apologised personally to Brown after an internal inquiry found it was 'high likely' details of his son's condition were disclosed by a member of staff. Brown complained to the Press Complaints Commission about the latest repetition of the erroneous claim that he had accused the Sun of blagging the information which led to the newspaper's humiliating climbdown.

Psst. Wanna see a picture of Joan Hendricks from the new series of Mad Men? Of course you do, dear blog reader. You're only human, after all.
Yowza.

Today presenter John Humphrys, collecting the Harvey Lee award for 'outstanding contribution to broadcasting' at Thursday's Broadcasting Press Guild event, revealed that following his fateful 'dead man walking' interview in November with doomed BBC director general George Entwistle – who resigned twelve hours later – the latter headed for the studio exit, paused, and returned to shake Humphrys hand while he was still on-air. The sixty nine-year-old presenter said that this showed the qualities both of Entwistle and the BBC, despite the catastrophic fallout from the interview in which Entwistle revealed his total ignorance about a Newsnight report which wrongly implicated Lord McAlpine in an allegation of sexual abuse. 'He looked a devastated man,' said Humphrys of the interview. 'But he was not going to sit there and dissemble and lie.' Describing the moment Entwistle walked back and shook his hands Humphrys said: 'You could see the look in his eyes. He knew that his career was over.'

Sympathy, dear blog reader, should probably be given to David Morrissey, the actor who helped collect the best drama award for Richard II, the BBC's take on Shakespeare's history play, The Hollow Crown. 'I'm here to represent the acting department because the other people are all working,' said Morrissey, who played Northumberland in the drama. Morrissey's admission prompted something of a theme, with Sherlock and Parade's End actor yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch joining in when he collected his best actor award. 'I'm unemployed as well and have just noticed a hole in my shoe which nearly tripped me up on my way to come up here,' he said. But, if this were an attempt to elicit sympathy, Benny didn't exactly endear himself to the assembled hacks with his double-handed compliment which followed swiftly after, at least according to a rather typically snooty and shit-stirring bit of abject faeces in the Gruniad Morning Star. 'I am grateful to receive this from a roomful of people who write, however gossipy and salacious it is and quoting me out of context ... but anyway.' You tell 'em, Benny. There's a queue of people here a mile long ready to hold you lovely Sherlock coat if you want to chin a few of the fekkas.

If the press wanted their own back on Benny, what better wordsmith to deliver a withering mickey-take than Sir Tom Stoppard, who collected the writer's award for his adaptation of Ford Maddox Ford's tetralogy of novels, Parade's End, for BBC2. Picking up on the debate about what drama Cumberbatch had won his acting award for – the awards citation mentioned Parade's End and Sherlock. Stoppard showed us what he thought of that. 'Is Sherlock actually any good – I haven't seen it,' he quipped to howls of laughter. Bet he has, though. He's a man of taste is old Tom.

And, speaking of yer man Mozza, he's become the latest chancer to as express interest in returning to Doctor Who. The actor, of course, played Jackson Lake, a man who believed he was The Doctor, in the 2008 Christmas special opposite David Tennant. And, quite superb he was in it too. Morrissey didn't reveal whether he may appear in the forthcoming fiftieth anniversary episode (unlikely), but he did say that he is still 'very proud' of his role in The Next Doctor. When asked if he would appear, he told BANG Showbiz: 'I can't say anything about Doctor Who, but yeah, I would [go back]. I'm a big fan, it was a big part of my life. I went to Comic-Con this year and my character hadn't been announced for The Walking Dead, so it was great. I thought I could walk around the floor and be fine, but none of the other cast could. But I'd forgotten about Doctor Who. I walked out and all these Doctor Who fans are going crazy. I'm very proud of my association with Doctor Who, it's great. But I can't let you know anything about the future of that.' Speaking at the Broadcasting Press Guild Awards, Morrissey added: 'I have a few bits of memorabilia - a little bit of costume, and I have this screwdriver which I kept. The TARDIS or Colditz Castle were two of the things I really wanted to do, so I've done one of them. They were the two TV programmes I watched. Walking on the Doctor Who set was unbelievable.'

A political satire about a politician who quits because he plagiarised his doctorate has been exposed – for plagiarising, reports The Times. Eagle-eyed viewers noticed that some of the best lines from Der Minister, a German comedy-drama on the rise and fall of a protégé of Angela Merkel, noted that the show appeared to have pinched lines from hit shows of a similar vein, including the BBC's Yes Minister. The writer of the show, watched by 4.4 million people, admitted that she 'took material from the Internet.' Oooh, you don't wanna do that, love. As David Morrissey's namesake once noted, 'there's always someone with a big nose who knows.' After being exposed, Dorothee Scho claimed that 'her' work was 'a media collage.'

From big noses, to big ears (hey, this blogger doesn't just throw these things together, you know). Yer actual Martin Clunes has become the latest actor to join the high octane Sky drama Strike Back. And, there's a sentence yer actual Keith Telly Topping never for a single second thought he'd find himself writing. Dougray Scott and Robson Green were previously reported to have been cast in the action-drama's latest season. Clunes will also appear as former MI6 agent Sebastian Gray, now an intelligence officer operating out of Beirut, Sky has confirmed. Additional details have also been revealed about Wor Robson's character - Lt Colonel Philip Locke is a new commanding officer in chief who takes charge of anti-terrorism agency Section Twenty. Clunes, Green and Scott join returning cast members Philip Winchester, Sullivan Stapleton and Rhona Mitra in the fourth season of Strike Back - the third co-produced by Sky and US cable channel Cinemax. 'It is great to be working alongside Section Twenty and being part of an "Elite Team" for Sky,' said Green. 'Strike Back is a quality drama with incredibly high production values.' Sky's commissioning editor Huw-Kennair Jones added: 'There really is nothing else like Strike Back on British TV, it's a fantastic series full of explosive action that delivers a mini-movie each week. Working with HBO and [producers] Leftbank we've really upped the ante this year with a truly ambitious, global plot that I hope our customers will relish. I am thrilled Robson, Martin and Dougray have joined the cast for a very special fourth series.'

Noxious full-of-his-own-importance gnome, horrorshow (and drag) Andrew Lloyd Webber's career will be celebrated by ITV in a ninety-minute special featuring a mixture of live performances and one-off collaborations. So, that'll be worth avoiding like the plague, just like the last series his very Lordship produced for ITV which was so instantly forgettable I've already forgotten it.
Misty-eyed tributes have been pouring in this week for BBC Television Centre, as TV news crews depart White City for the last time for the move to glitzy New Broadcasting House. Rory Cellan-Jones, the BBC's technology correspondent, wrote that his week was 'tinged with sadness and nostalgia' in his tribute to the so-called 'Fun Factory.' But, it seems, not all of his colleagues feel the same. Newsreader Emily Maitlis tweeted on Wednesday: 'Right. Sorry to be unromantic but I for one am DELIGHTED to be leaving TVC. Nothing works. Will miss WH Smiths pick'n'mix but that's about it.'
ITV is reportedly to be 'getting ready to rumba' in a battle with the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing with plans to launch its own Saturday night dance show, according to a report in the Daily Mirra. A 'top secret' pilot has been commissioned with an alleged 'TV insider' - anonymous, of course, and therefore, almost certainly, fictitious - allegedly saying that it will be an alleged 'cross between Strictly Come Dancing and Mr & Mrs.' So, Strictly & Mrs, then? While it will not be scheduled directly against Strictly, it seems ITV is looking for a little tit-for-tat payback for the Beeb launching The Voice. Allegedly. Mind you, they've already tried a bit of tit-for-tat with Food Glorious Food. And, my didn't that work out well?
Spare a thought, dear blog reader, for the signing expert who was translating Channel Four chief creative officer Jay Hunt's speech into sign language at an event on Tuesday night to reaffirm the broadcaster's commitment to putting disabled people on screen. Hunt is famous for speaking rather quickly and has been known to go through entire speeches without drawing breath. About five minutes in, with the signer resembling a wind turbine in a gale, Hunt suddenly broke off to laughter from the crowd. 'I'm really sorry for you. It's your worst nightmare isn't it?' Hunt told the signer. Hunt described C4 presenters Adam Hills and Alex Brooker as 'two new TV heart-throbs' and went on: 'We have two disabled presenters fronting a highly successful entertainment show on Channel Four on a Friday night. I think that is an extraordinary achievement. I was going to give you an idea of how people react to Alex and Adam. I thought I'd just go through Twitter and have a look. I thought what's the best way of conveying it … it's like the social media equivalent of a young woman throwing a pair of knickers at Tom Jones.' Hopefully, the singer managed to come up with a good one for that.

Yer actual Lewis Hamilton has joined BBC Sport as a regular columnist. The 2008 Formula 1 world champion will write a column weekly for the BBC's website on the Friday before each Grand Prix of the 2013 season. The Mercedes driver's appointment is part of the BBC's revamped online content for the new season. David Coulthard will write a post-race column, while new BBC F1 presenter the divine Suzi Perry will provide a series of videos from behind-the-scenes. BBC F1's technical analyst Gary Anderson will review each race by looking at five key events from every weekend of action, along with providing in-depth technical analysis in his regular Ask Anderson series. The website will provide text and audio commentary from BBC Radio 5Live, along with the new 'driver tracker', on-board cameras and pit-lane streams. Murray Walker will host a series of archive material including videos and articles for each race titled Murray's Memories.

Papiss Demba Cissé scored in, literally, the last second of the tie to send yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle into the quarter-finals of the Europa League where they will face Portugese legends Benfica at the real Stadium of Light. The Senegal striker headed in Sylvain Marveaux's cross three minutes into injury time to break the stalemate. Their opponents Anzhi Makhachkala were reduced to ten men when Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez picked up two yellow cards in seven minutes at the start of the second half. The Russian side almost won it when Mbark Boussoufa's free-kick hit the crossbar, six minutes before Cissé's winner. It was a dramatic finale to a gripping second leg at St James' Park which was finely poised after Newcastle ground out a goalless draw in Moscow. Newcastle's best chance had come moments before Carcela-Gonzalez's red card when defender Steven Taylor shot straight at Anzhi keeper Vladimir Gabulov from six yards. Anzhi had the better chances once they were down to ten men. Champions League winner Samuel Eto'o, who was a constant menace, drilled in a near-post shot from a tight angle that was palmed away by United keeper Rob Elliot. Elliot was then beaten by Boussoufa's delightful twenty-yard set-piece in the eighty eighth minute and was relieved to see it bounce back off the woodwork. The result backed up Alan Pardew's pre-match rallying cry that his side could give the competition 'a good go.' With Newcastle pulling nine points clear of the Premier League relegation zone, the Magpies boss named arguably his strongest starting line-up of the competition so far and included nine of the players that featured in the win over Dirty Stoke at the weekend. But the expensively-assembled Anzhi were a big improvement on the side that had laboured to a draw in Russia despite being without influential playmaker Willian, who limped out of the action last week. Eto'o hit an early strike before teeing up a chance for former Real Madrid and Portsmouth midfielder Lassana Diarra, whose shot was blocked by Taylor. Newcastle's only first half threat came from long range with only Yohan Cabaye testing Anzhi keeper Vladimir Gabulov with a deflected strike. But the Frenchman, who has suffered with injuries all season, was hit with another setback midway through the half and was replaced by Jonas Gutiérrez. However, the game was turned on its head eight minutes into the second half when Carcela-Gonzalez, who had picked up the first yellow card of the night moments after the restart, followed it up with a second for a clumsy, late challenge on Massadio Haidara. Newcastle tried to remain patient but the game looked like it was heading for another thirty minutes of extra-time until Cissé's dramatic late goal. Stottingtot Hotshots and Moscow Chelski FC also made it through to the last eight and will face FC Basal and Rubin Kazan respectively. The fourth quarter final will be between Fenerbahce and Lazio.

So, anyway, dear blog reader, Thursday night's Record Player was a quite magnificent thing which yer actual Keith Telly Topping thoroughly enjoyed (not least because it reminded him of what a pair of genuinely great LPs The Doors and The Velvet Underground & Nico are). On Friday, yer actual Keith Telly Topping will be attending Uncle Scunthorpe's third (count 'em) Record Player event of the week. This one's a very special doodah, Cocktail Hour '59, featuring Miles Davis's A Kind of Blue to be held at a secret location somewhere in Newcastle city centre. Oh, the malarkey. So secret, in fact, that at the time of writing, yer actual Keith Telly Topping still doesn't know where it be. But, he will by the afternoon, hopefully. Otherwise, it'll be lager and crisps hour 2013 in Stately Telly Topping Manor instead. And that would never do. Here, therefore, is yer actual Keith Telly Topping's Jazz Club 33 of the Day, dear blog reader. Gimme a 'niiiice.'

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